Roland Garros starts this Sunday, of course nothing but a money grab. though expecting major events to care about fans is the equivalent of transparency at FIFA.
Apart from the horrible news that one of the premier claycourt clowns Andy Roddick has withdrawn from event has made fans and gamblers alike very mad. Fans who can watch the movement of a constipated rhino on ice skates is a sight to behold and the bluff coming to net. Gamblers aren't happy cause they can get good odds on an early round loss for Rawdick.
This time around the lead up clay season has been different, it's usually Rafael Nadal playing at 5% capacity and thrashing his opponents. Well this has happened for the most part, but this time Novak Djokovic has been able to stand up to him and win Madrid and Rome without losing a set in the finals.
The questions which will be answered in 16 days are has Nadal lost a bit on clay while trying to improve on other surfaces. Will the gluten free diet of Djokovic be good enough to take him through to his first RG title. In reality he is still a poor mans Ivan Lendl with less humour, flair and a better backhand. Djokovic's forehand has improved significantly and at the moment isn't having problems with Nadal's groundies, defensively Djokovic has always been excellent but he is able to take the initative to put Nadal on the defensive when the chance arises. As Nadal gets pressured, he goes back into moonball or defensive mode as that's his comfort zone which isn't threatening "gluten free" at the moment. Best of 5 is a different beast when it comes to Nadal, but at least there is a bit of buzz around instead of tedious inevitability.
Some interesting 1st round matches
Nadal vs. Isner : Unless is steaming hot and Isner serves at 87% 1st serves, then big John isn't getting it done.
Federer vs. LaLo : LaLo almost got Fed last time they played, but even with Alberto Berasategui in LaLo's corner. It won't help him and Fed will continue on his way to make LaLo his turkey (10-0+ in H2H).
[Q]Gremelmayr v Davydenko: Just not sure what kind of form the PMK is in at the moment. He's due to meet Nadal in the 3rd round if seedings go to plan, though this doesn't always happen. Davydenko won Munich more so because he was in less poor form than the others, at the same time if he gets to play Nadal he can lift, but don't see it happening.
Monaco v Verdasco: For the good of tennis Monaco has to win this match up. Anyone that loses to the Grand Pubah of clay court clowns in Lu doesn't deserve to win anything. Pico has an excellent record against Verdasco, he makes enough balls back into court for Verdasco to make errors. As Querrey is the other seed in this section, it's a big chance for Monaco to make the 4th round.
Gimeno-Traver v Haase: DGT well I don't say he's truly on the way back, but has managed to win some matches of late. Haase is an explosive player with a big game, clay isn't his best surface but far from a goose on the surface. Not sure if a cooler day would help DGT in this match for him, it depends on how his backhand holds up to the flat shots of Haase. Either way the winner of this would be playing "Fisker med" Mardy Fish or Mello, which are almost dream matches for a 2nd round on clay, but that one match a time cliche is there for a reason.
[Q]L.Mayer v Brown : The Aligator and Dreddy, there will be plenty of huge serving in this match. Not the best qualifer for Dreddy Brown to have drawn, maybe he can use his sexy forehand slice winners and dropshots to get Mayer out of rhythm. The main thing for Brown is as always the shot selection and how erratic he is. Brown winning means more entertainment for the crowds and can see the Parisians really cheering him on.
[LL]Bolelli v [Q] Dancevic : Go the poor mans Federer in this one against the guy who can't return a phone call.
Berlocq v Tomic: Charly "the Panther" Berlocq got a great 1st round draw against Tomic, who is a shocking mover on clay at best. Bernardo doesn't really have any interest at the moment improving on clay, though his varied game could do well on the surface. The Panther will relish the chance to take down another young gun like he did to Donald Young in Miami 6-0 6-0, not sure it will be a triple bagel. But with Berlocq the mullet, the grunt will give Tomic a clay lesson.
Ferrer v Nieminen : Jakke Nieminen must have pissed someone off to get this draw, when there are so many gimps that he could have drawn. Sure Ferrer doesn't have a great RG record mainly cause the amount of pression he puts on himself to do well here. Nieminen hasn't been near top form recently, hope he gets a better draw at Wimbledon.
Nishikori v Lu: Nishi should retire from tennis if you lose to Lu on this surface. The Taiwanese is one of the greatest clay court clowns to grace this sport. He can live off his result of beating Verdasco on clay. If Kei withdraws, then it would be a true lucky loser.
[Q] Schoorel v M.Gonzalez: The "Dutch Karlovic" has improved quite a lot in the past few months and it's not a surprise that he qualified for main draw. He has a very good chance against Machi Gonzalez, who fights very hard and is aggressive, came back well from long term injury. This one could be a very good match as Schoorel besides the serve is reasonable from the ground, being a leftie helps as he can break the weaker backhand side of Machhi. At the same time the big Dutchman is erratic.
Serra v Andreev: Both are in shocking form, if I back Andreev this means Serra wins. As Andreev has the better looking girlfiend Davai Igor.
Kendrick v Garcia-Lopez: Bye for GGL against a quality clay court clown.
Gabashvili v Seppi: Interesting match up here for the South Tyrolean sex machine. Gabashvili has 4th round points to defend and can play some very inspired tennis at the same time he can be insipid. Seppi just coming back from injury, only played a few matches. He needs a lot of matches before he plays his best tennis. I hope Seppi gets up, but not too sure. Winner of this plays either Golubev or Bellucci in a ballbashing classic.
Del Potro v Karlovic: del Potro is coming back from injury, not exactly sure how fit he is. Best of all he is going to be the shorter and quicker player in this match coming from someone who is 1.98m that's an impressive feat. Not sure how many engaging rallies there'll be in this match, it's not like this will be a match for delPo to get any rhythm. It would be good if Karlovic won, but can see him making a few too many mistakes where he gets broken or loses the busters.
Gulbis v Kavčič: Interesting match here mainly because it's not sure which Gulbis will turn up. The one that doesn't give a shit about anything and will put balls into the River Seine or the one that shows his ability.
It's well known what you'll get with Kavčič, plenty of fighting spirit, hard work, feisty attitude on court plus some poor serving at times. Kavčič has done well this season, unlike 2010 where he played so much, at one point it was 8 weeks in a row. He has been smarter with his schedule and it has paid off so far.
Kavčič has chances of course to win this match, but he has be prepared to handle the mix of ballbashing and dropshots. Sure it would be better if it was heavier, but got to take what you can with this game. At the same time Gulbis can make a lot of errors, so Kavčič needs to vigilant and take his chances.
As for who will win anyone outside the top 4, there needs to be a surprise winner of a Slam again.