In the recent ATP tournament at Indian Wells Nadal again couldn’t take the pain anymore and had to withdraw before the semifinal match against Roger Federer. He has been consistently suffering from it and even during the tournament there were moments where you could see how much he had to pull out of his reserves to actually reach the semi-final.
It’s the same injury that has plagued Nadal for a long time now and it was almost not that big a surprise when he pulled out again because of that very reason. Last year a tearful Nadal had revealed that the pain had become a bit too much to deal with as he withdrew from US Open.
It’s still a well-documented thing but Nadal’s form this year and his ability to still make the Australian Open final was something that instilled the belief that he could still do decent damage come French Open.
By all means, even with a broken leg if Nadal enters Roland Garros he would be the favorite to win. Such is his supremacy that it is hard to look beyond him. Even though World No.1 Novak Djokovic has been on a roll in the last three grand slams it would have still been hard to mark him down as a favorite with Nadal in contention.
The reasoning behind that? Nadal leads the head to head between the two 24-8 on clay which underlines the domination that the Mallorcan has had over the best tennis player in the world right now.
But with Nadal facing serious knee issues you’ve got to mark down Djokovic as the favorite as he looks to rewrite history by holding on to all the 4 grand slams at the same time yet again. Even if Nadal does heal and plays you’ve got to ask whether the knee has seen enough and just can’t take it anymore, especially on the most demanding surface of all.
Djokovic himself is in red-hot form and Nadal definitely needed to be at his best to get one over him but with a Nadal in a less than optimum form you’ve just got to admit that unless Djokovic plays really badly, Rolland Garros should be his this time around.