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Unique circumstances this year, and the schedule makes for tough decisions. Stan's early exit at Rome might suggest that rustiness will be an issue for those who practised on clay. And there is also the risk for Rafa that he will get a rude awakening the first good opponent he faces.

On the other hand, will match-tough Novak and Dominic cruise through the RG draw only to run out of legs when it really counts? And with this in mind, should Novak tank at Rome once he gets a few matches under his belt?
 

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Though question. Maybe the answer is somewhere in between. Rafa looked good yesterday vs PCB but sure it's too early to draw any decisive conclusions.
 

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Thiem wil lose 2-2-2 in the French Open Final if he repeats his US Open level.
That was a disgrace.
The US Open didn't harden these guys at all.
 

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Did you see the SF? Against Medvedev, he produced a very high level.

He also had by far the hardest route to the final.
All true, but then a massive choke against AZ. Picture him trying to close out RG final against Rafa. LOL!!!
Except I doubt he will have that opportunity. Maybe in four years.

Rafa practicing on clay and skipping hard seems from what little I've seen to have paid off, his level is very high already.
Match tough should make little difference for the ultimate showdown at RG
 

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All true, but then a massive choke against AZ. Picture him trying to close out RG final against Rafa. LOL!!!
Except I doubt he will have that opportunity. Maybe in four years.

Rafa practicing on clay and skipping hard seems from what little I've seen to have paid off, his level is very high already.
Match tough should make little difference for the ultimate showdown at RG
Pressure will be off in the final against Rafa, though, where he'll be the underdog.

Don't think we can judge Rafa's level yet. PCB was poor.
 

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I would say the match tough, but then Nadal looked like he hadn't missed a step yesterday. And there are really only 3 contenders for RG, maybe 4 if Zverev surprises again.
 

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Hmmm good question - I'm leaning on the ones who rested and practiced stricly on clay
 

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Pressure will be off in the final against Rafa, though, where he'll be the underdog.

Don't think we can judge Rafa's level yet. PCB was poor.
I can judge Rafa's level, but I agree PCB looked weak ...
I'm sure part of his weakness was Rafa
But also Rafa was hitting the kind of FHs he only hits when feeling very confident, outright winners, usually the ISOCC,
anyhow of course it's better to judge against ...who? DJok or Thiem only?
 

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I can judge Rafa's level, but I agree PCB looked weak ...
I'm sure part of his weakness was Rafa
But also Rafa was hitting the kind of FHs he only hits when feeling very confident, outright winners, usually the ISOCC,
anyhow of course it's better to judge against ...who? DJok or Thiem only?
I think Schwartzman could be one guy for example.
 

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I think Schwartzman could be one guy for example.
Rafa LOVES Swartzman. I mean I know Diego is good, and has taken a set off Rafa now and again (USO last year?) but he can't really bother Rafa.
Someone like Fog when on can bother Rafa on clay, so could AZ when on--neither are here or still around. I just looked at his draw, I don't see anyone on his half that can even test him. Hope I'm not wrong!

I know Djok has a way of lifting his game enormously for Rafa. There have been times when Djok looked only middling, Rafa looked great, then they played and Djok did him in. But this hasn't happened on clay in ages.

I'm feeling very bullish. LOL
 

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Very easy to answer this: at Rome those who practised only on clay, but at RG they who are more match-tough could very well accustom to clay by that time... so the difference could be erased.
 

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Nadal anyway needs to not play too much tennis otherwise injuries is inevitable. On clay he has the experience to win without much matches. A few matches and he will be ready for it no problem. Don’t understand estimate the greatest every clay player and one who has 12 Roland garros. It’s naive. If Nadal was playing tournament after tournament and played the us open, he’d not win it. His knees would go for sure.
 

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I think Nadal is going to be miles ahead of the field to start RG with Thiem, Zverev and Djokovic trying to play catch up. Problem for these guys is I expect them to have to play way more in the early rounds than him.
 

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All true, but then a massive choke against AZ. Picture him trying to close out RG final against Rafa. LOL!!!
Except I doubt he will have that opportunity. Maybe in four years.

Rafa practicing on clay and skipping hard seems from what little I've seen to have paid off, his level is very high already.
Match tough should make little difference for the ultimate showdown at RG
But could also be that he learned a thing from it... monkey off the back / first slam in the bag

I think especially for a veteran like Rafa, practicing on clay and staying fresher was a good move. He can tap into his vast match experience. For Thiem (and perhaps also AZ) the deep runs could be a morale boost, i.e. playing USO was the right choice. (Obviously it was when you went that far and gained finals experience and a good haul of points (AZ) or won the title (Thiem), but also when just isolating its mental effect towards the RG chances.)

For guys who only managed a couple of rounds at USO, I don't think they gained much, but were not particularly hampered either as they had more time to practice due to early exits.
 
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