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No clay title - Will Rafa win or lose in Roland Garros?

  • Rafa will win RG even if he won no clay title during the European clay season prior to RG

    Votes: 14 40.0%
  • Rafa will lose in RG just like in 2015

    Votes: 21 60.0%
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Discussion Starter #1
Since 2005, when Rafa won his first Roland Garros, Rafa always entered Roland Garros winning at least 1 clay title and at least 1 clay Masters 1000 title during European clay season prior to RG. When Rafa won at least 1 Masters 1000 before RG, he won RG that year, except 2009, when an inspired Soderling showed up and Rafa had a bad day at the office.

Since 2011, the year when Djokovic became the Djokovic we all know of, Rafa always entered into RG winning at least 1 Masters 1000 title, with the exception of year 2015.

In 2015, Rafa won no Monte Carlo, no Barcelona, no Madrid, and no Rome. It's the first time Rafa went into RG without winning a clay title during the European clay season. That year, Rafa lost to Djokovic in straight sets in RG.

In 2020, it's the second time Rafa going into RG without winning a clay title during the European clay season, just like in 2015. What is going to happen this year? Will Rafa lose again? Or will Rafa win RG this time around?
 

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You can't compare those years to this one. Totally different situation. Nadal would have won at least two clay titles this year. He only played one event, which tells us nothing. He plays his best at the French. He is still the favourite by a long way.
 

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NOw that I see he has Thiem for the semi--if he gets there, I think it becomes even more unlikely.
He may well handle Thiem but if it's a long 5 setter, and Djok is fresher that could be a problem.

I feel Rafa is in greater Jeopardy at RG than he has been since 2015. That was a shitty year for Rafa, but this time it's different--not enough clay tournaments first, the colder weather, the roof, and having both Thiem and Djok potentially to get through.
 

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You can't compare those years to this one. Totally different situation. Nadal would have won at least two clay titles this year. He only played one event, which tells us nothing. He plays his best at the French. He is still the favourite by a long way.
Came here to say exactly this. The sample is not representative and thus statistically insignificant for comparison with pre-pandemic clay season format.
 

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Sure, with 12 RG titles to his name, Rafa is the favorite. He loves playing here. However, he did not have a chance to play 4 tournaments to get himself into God mode, this year. The one clay event he played this year, is a straight set loss, with a gazillion breaks of serve and missed forehands.

Lack of matches and lack of titles this year presents uncertainty about Rafa's form going into RG. He's not been in such a situation in his career ever before. 2015 is a comparable year and is the closest, in terms of number of titles on clay. Further, he is going after the #20, at his beloved slam and on his beloved surface; probably the biggest moment of his life. As a fan, I have my fingers crossed.
 
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Definitely some good points by the OP. Lack of match practice could be a problem for him when he faces an inspired opponent, especially in more humid/wet conditions. Plus pressure of going for #20. Still I think he can play himself into form in first few rounds of RG. We'll see, he's the favourite but surely not as strong as in previous years. There could be a big upset this year.
 

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You make a good point. Just like in 2015 Nadal will lose in the QF 3-0 in sets.
 

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I will say he has a better chance to win the title without dropping a set than losing. Thiem might not make it to the semi(he just won his first slam and had no clay matches up to RG, plus his draw while not as difficult as some make it out to be is still tough) and even if he does nadal lost 1 close set to thiem in 4 matches against him here so he will most likely win, and the rest are very unlikely to take a set off him, all he needs to do is play decent. The possible final against novak might be problematic in these conditions, but novak needs to reach the final first and if he does nadal will still be the HUGE favorite.
 
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You make a good point. Just like in 2015 Nadal will lose in the QF 3-0 in sets.
2015 for Nadal is a different story. He had a lot of match play but still played poorly throughout the clay season, because he had problems with his mind on the game.

This year is different, he does have his mind on the game but doesn't have much match play.

Ask yourself this. What is more important, confident without much match play or lack of confidence after having a lot of match play?

Which benefits in the long run?
 

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This is different
Rafa in 2015 was bad, really bad.. and it dosent matter if he played 5 events of clay or 10.
Now, he just haven't played enough tennis that we can see his level, he have the 2-3 matches at the start to really finds his game.
Im pessimistic because Rafa always need a lot of time to find his game and beast mode.. but its 2020.. anything is possible
 

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This is different
Rafa in 2015 was bad, really bad.. and it dosent matter if he played 5 events of clay or 10.
Now, he just haven't played enough tennis that we can see his level, he have the 2-3 matches at the start to really finds his game.
Im pessimistic because Rafa always need a lot of time to find his game and beast mode.. but its 2020.. anything is possible
Maybe him playing Zverev and Theim would be like playing two finals before reaching the final.
 

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Maybe him playing Zverev and Theim would be like playing two finals before reaching the final.
The conditions + draw + lack of playing make Rafa impossible to win the title

Especially the slower conditions and heavy balls

They gifted the title to Novak
 

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The conditions + draw + lack of playing make Rafa impossible to win the title

Especially the slower conditions and heavy balls

They gifted the title to Novak
Rafa said that he has been practicing with this ball for some time back in Mallorca. He doesn't like them. But are we sure Djoko likes them? I am not so sure.....Slow, heavy conditions are not his type either.
 

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Rafa fans already despairing, show some courage folks. The OP made some valid points, I agree, but this situation is new for everyone and we can't make comparisons with 2015, the worst year of Rafa's career. This season we've seen very little of him, he played just the AO, Acapulco, and Rome. The loss in Rome isn't at all surprising, or new, in fact, Rafa was prone to such losses in recent years too, even the seasons when he won RG without dropping a set.

I also don't get why people behave like the different conditions will affect Rafa alone, they might as easily affect Thiem and Djokovic more than Rafa, and favor someone like Zverev or someone we couldn't even guess right now.

Well, I like the gloominess, feels better than overconfidence.
 

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The conditions + draw + lack of playing make Rafa impossible to win the title

Especially the slower conditions and heavy balls

They gifted the title to Novak
With all the haters and naysayers eager for Rafa not to win no.20 why do fellow Rafa fans have to spread despair as well? I mean, yeah, it's not ideal, and will likely be tough but Rafa is still Nadal at RG.
 

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Rafa said that he has been practicing with this ball for some time back in Mallorca. He doesn't like them. But are we sure Djoko likes them? I am not so sure.....Slow, heavy conditions are not his type either.
Novak won RG in slow and heavy conditions. And these conditions won't help many players on Novak's side of the draw, like Tsitsipas.
 

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Rafa said that he has been practicing with this ball for some time back in Mallorca. He doesn't like them. But are we sure Djoko likes them? I am not so sure.....Slow, heavy conditions are not his type either.
Slow conditions are in Djokovic favor, but heavy conditions like humidity will be hard for him
 

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Novak won RG in slow and heavy conditions. And these conditions won't help many players on Novak's side of the draw, like Tsitsipas.
But he also lost USO 19 in similar conditions .... By getting injured.....it's the same heavy conditions of USO 19. Slow, heavy conditions........ 2016 is like in the bygone era.....you know what, those days Stan and Andy were competing in semis and not in R1.
 

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Rafa is still the favorite, but I have a feeling he's not gonna win it this year. Especially if he has to get through Nishikori, Fognini, Thiem, and ultimately Novak.

1 bad day at the office in tough conditions against either of these players and I wouldn't be too surprised if he doesn't win.
 
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