- Ronaldo is Nadal, Messi is Federer – Cassano (via goal.com)
Antonio Cassano believes Cristiano Ronaldo is football’s version of tennis great Rafael Nadal, while Lionel Messi is more like Roger Federer, insisting the latter is the best player in history. … “Leo is the best, and that’s why I named my son after him. He and Ronaldo are two great players, but different. If we compare it to tennis, Ronaldo is like Nadal, Messi is Federer.”
- History of French Open champions by seed (via ESPN)
Only three unseeded players have ever won the singles title at Roland Garros: Mats Wilander (1982), Gustavo Kuerten (1997) and Gaston Gaudio (2004). … And if Nadal manages to defend, he will join Jan Kodes of the Czech Republic as the only No. 7 ever to claim the title.
As Ali nicely lays out, in the case of Djokovic, he combined Federer’s precision and professionalism with Nadal’s persistence. He realized that fitness was essential, a prerequisite for toppling the two. He realized, too, that he would need to win on all surfaces. He realized that he’d need to return peerlessly. He improved. He caught a few breaks along the way. Now his stock is trading at an all-time high.
- Tebbutt: The case for Rafa (via Tennis Canada)
Ideally, Nadal will be drawn into the opposite half to Djokovic at Friday’s draw ceremony at Roland Garros, setting up the scenario of Nadal going for victory No. 10 and Djokovic for No. 1 in the grand finale on June 7th.
The Spaniard played four events to rack up 1,185 points but goes into the French Open without a European clay title for the first time in his career. His losses came to quality players in Djokovic, Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Fabio Fognini…
- Rafa in Paris: The Numbers (via The Tennis Notebook)
Through this entire process, I find myself reaching very obvious conclusions for Rafael Nadal: take the simplest path to win the GSM (game-set-match), serve to the forehand if your opponent’s backhand is lethal, crush the 2nd serve return, win the shorter points, and kill it with that forehand.
- Five Mega Story Lines Heading into Roland Garros (via Tennis Now)
People talk about the end of Rafa this year almost as if they had forgotten last year. He followed virtually the same sketchy path, fraught with missteps and shock losses, until Roland Garros came along and made it all right again.
- Rafael Nadal, Bjorn Borg , Ivan Lendl and the seven kings of clay (via Sky Sports)
Rafael Nadal is without doubt the greatest clay-court player of all time after winning an unprecedented nine French Open singles titles. The Spaniard is three clear of Bjorn Borg and returns to Roland Garros for the 2015 tournament with a career win-loss record on clay of 335-29.
- Tough Crowd (via Tennis Tuesday)
As far as I know, the French haven’t booed or hissed at him for a while, and they even sang “Happy Birthday” to him a couple of years ago. Should they take the next step and finally embrace their nine-time champion?
- Stars in Paris (via Roland Garros)
- Top 20 male clay-court players of all time (via The Telegraph)
- Best photos from the 2015 Italian Open in Rome (via SI.com)