The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Talk of Nadal’s demise prov­ing to be pre­ma­ture

- By Mike Dick­son

RAFAEL NADAL left Roland Gar­ros 12 months ago in tears, hav­ing just about kept it to­gether when he pulled out of his thir­dround clash due to wrist trou­ble.

It looked like this might sig­nal the end of the most ex­tra­or­di­nary reign in ten­nis his­tory, for it would be the sec­ond year he had not fin­ished the event hold­ing the Coupe Des Mous­que­taires.

Yet, as with his great ri­val Roger Fed­erer, 2017 has shown that pre­dic­tions of his demise as a Grand Slam win­ner may have proved de­cid­edly pre­ma­ture.

It is re­mark­able to think that, if Nadal beats Stan Wawrinka in to­day’s fi­nal, then the two great­est cham­pi­ons of their era will have col­lected the first two ti­tles of the sea­son so far. Even more in­cred­i­ble is that it would be a tenth French Open tri­umph. That would rep­re­sent the first time any player of ei­ther sex has gone into dou­ble fig­ures in claim­ing one of the sport’s quar­tet of pre­mium ti­tles.

Un­usu­ally, he has not been talk­ing him­self down. He said: ‘The only thing I care about is I have been play­ing well the whole event.’

One thing Wawrinka can count on, how­ever, is the crowd. For all his hege­mony it has never been un­re­quited love be­tween Nadal and the hordes on Court Philippe Cha­trier.

Per­haps they have tired of his dom­i­nance, and in the ab­sence of a French chal­lenger a fran­co­phone from their Swiss neigh­bours would be re­garded as the next best thing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK