Hello, Roland Garros: Nadal & Djokovic are favorites

Novak Djokovic

On Monday, in the final in Rome, Novak Djokovic already knew that if he was playing respectably, he was going to win another ATP 1000

That is not easy. He wasn’t perfect, but he was good enough, and he mixed it up a lot. He confused Diego Schwartzman, and the Serbian was slightly in the zone. He went straight at him. Djokovic broke him down, and he pushed down Schwartzman 7-5, 6-3.

Djokovic hasn’t lost hardly anything over the past 12 months. He is obsessed with tennis, which is why he wants to be totally prepared in Paris.

Djokovic can be pissed off, and you can see at the 2020 US Open that he was not totally right while playing. But, last week in Rome, finally, with Djokovic and most of the players, the rust was gone.

Now Djokovic will have a week before Roland Garros starts in Paris, which begins on Sept. 27. He should be healthy and should take most of his matches.

Can Djokovic beat Rafa Nadal on clay and upset the Spaniard? It is doubtful on clay because Nadal has won the RG 12 times. He really is the “King of the Clay.” When he was a teenager, everyone saw that Nadal had a vast lefty forehand, his bulky serve and he just kept sprinting. Those are tremendous assets. And he hustles every second When he is set up, he can blast the winner over and over again.

What they would really like is not only to see Nadal and Djokovic face off, but Dominic Thiem, who won the US Open. He has gotten so much better. not just the strokes, but his expended mind. Thiem reached RG finals twice, losing to Nadal in the last two year. Whether No. 3 Thiem will get out there and really push. If he super close to victory, will he trip them up? He is better this year than last year. Thiem is growing.

Forget about the finals yet, as it is too early to figure out who will make it. But if you want a short list of who will reach the quarters in the second week, here they are: Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini, Denis Shapovalov, Roberto Bautista Agut and Felix Auger-Aliassime.