Rafael Nadal

Absent From Indian Wells and Miami, Rafael Nadal Targets Clay-Court Season

Much to his disappointment, Rafael Nadal will miss out on the Indian Wells and Miami Open tournaments due to injury. Nadal made the announcement on Friday, March 2nd, the day after he withdrew from his first match in the Mexican Open. After suffering an injury pre-match at Acapulco, Nadal said that he needed more time to recover. He will take a month off, missing at least two major tournaments. Apparently, the injury is in the same area as a previous injury that Nadal picked up at the Australian Open last year.

“The injury I suffered in Acapulco before starting the tournament is the same area as the one suffered in Melbourne,” said Nadal.

Nadal was leading by two sets to one against Cilic at the Australian Open in Melbourne. At the end of the third set, he fist-pumped the air and cried out in joy as he took the lead. Yet Nadal struggled to keep pace in the fourth set and went down 4-1 before calling a medical timeout and receiving treatment on the court. Defeated, Nadal retired in the final set, leaving the crowd wondering what had become of the then world number one.

The following day, Nadal’s team made an announcement that the tennis legend had a serious injury. An MRI scan showed a grade 1 strained iliopsoas, a muscle of the inner hip. Nadal missed the Davis Cup but was expected to make a triumphant return at the Mexican Open on February 24th. Though Nadal did make the trip to Mexico, he withdrew before his first match. Tennis may require the wits of poker, but it also requires a top physical form, and Rafael was not up to the job.

The Mexican Open was the 8th straight tournament that Rafael Nadal has pulled out. Last month, he lost out on his number one ranking to Roger Federer, who went ahead to win more matches and titles. Federer now sits ahead as the world number one, just 600 points ahead of Nadal. He will need to make the semifinals in the Indian Wells to maintain his lead.

Due to the hip injury at the Mexican Open, which seems related to his original injury at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal will also miss the Indian Wells, which is now in progress, as well as the Miami Open. Both are hard-court Masters 1000 events, the highest tier below Grand Slams.

“I won’t be able to play in Miami or Indian Wells as I need to recover,” said the world number two.

Last year, Nadal lost out to Roger Federer in the fourth round at Indian Wells, and again to Federer in the final of the Miami Open. As it stands, there will be no highly anticipated rematches at this year’s events. Federer has expressed disappointment that Nadal won’t make the tournaments.

“Rafael Nadal deserves this place, he had an amazing season. I am disappointed that he is injured and that he is not here for the tournament,” said Federer at the Indian Wells.

The pair has played each other 34 times since 2004. Nadal was the winner in 23 of those meetings, though Federer has more Grand Slam titles and now holds the number one spot, at least until Nadal comes back from injury.

The Indian Wells started on Monday, March 5th. Federer won his rain-delayed first round while Novak Djokovic took an unexpected early exit. The Miami Open, however, starts on March 19th.

Nadal’s injuries and problems are a growing concern for fans and tennis experts. He suffered the same injury at the Mexican Open as he did at the Australian Open. Last time, Nadal received anti-inflammatory treatment and physiotherapy for the injury, and so it is assumed he will be undergoing similar treatment this time alongside a game or two of poker from what we hear.

Although much of Nadal’s focus will be on recovery right now, he is likely upset that the injury has slowed down his season already. After such a solid performance last year, Nadal would have wanted to carry on his form early this year. Aside from rest and physiotherapy, Nadal is known to be an avid poker player and has previously enjoyed games of poker at the Indian Wells as well as the usual tennis tournaments. He is also a known Texas Hold ‘Em player who is said to have an aggressive style.

Although no confirmation has been made as to when Rafael Nadal will be back in action, he is now preparing for the clay-court season, which begins in April. The Monte-Carlo Masters on April 14th may be the first tournament that we see Rafael back in action. Usually, this is the first date on his calendar for clay matches.

Nadal has also confirmed that he will be playing at the Queens pre-Wimbledon tournament, which he won 10 years ago in 2008 — one of Nadal’s best years to date, as he also won Wimbledon as well as the French Open. Unfortunately, the chances of seeing Nadal at the Miami Open are about as slim as the world ending via a solar flare, which according to the 888 Poker infographic is pretty much impossible.

As Rafael Nadal’s career progresses, the 31-year old, who has an impressive 16 Grand Slam titles to his name, may have to pick his tournaments more carefully and play fewer games to stay strong and win the competitions that he does play in. It’s an approach taken by rival Roger Federer, who now enjoys a lighter season. Nadal suffered a minor wrist injury in 2016, but this hip injury appears to be a recurring concern.

Many tennis stars of Nadal’s generation are starting to show signs of strain. Thirty-year-old Andy Murray had hip surgery earlier in the year, Djokovic has been affected by recent injuries and Stan Wawrinka will also miss the Indian Wells and Miami Open. Still, Nadal is one of the top tennis players in the world. Only last year, he won the French Open without losing a set! He should be able to take the top spot again when he gets back into his stride. Either that or he’ll have to find an alternative career as a poker player! I wonder if he’s any good at Omaha Hi-Lo.

Expect The Unexpected At The 2018 Australian Open

The Australian Open has a history of producing unpredictable results with healthy helping of long-shot champions, finalists and semifinalists. A primary reason for this is because the event is played in the third week of the tennis season and a players off-season training – or lack thereof – showcases itself.

Injuries and comebacks are the major theme heading into the 2018 Australian Open. On the men’s side, five-time finalist Andy Murray is out of the event after undergoing hip surgery. Former top 10 star Kei Nishikori of Japan is also not competing due to injury. Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka are expected to post in their returns to tournament tennis. Djokovic has not played since last summer with a right elbow injury. Wawrinka has also not played since the summer after undergoing  knee surgery.

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal had a much shorter injury layoff, not playing an official tournament since having to withdraw from the ATP World Tour Finals at the end of the 2017 season with a hampered knee.

The Australian Open has a long history of long-shots advancing deep into the tournament and also claiming the men’s and women’s singles titles. On the men’s side,  some most recent surprise performances have been champions Petr Korda (1999), Thomas Johannsson (2002) and also Marcos Baghdatis, Fernando Gonzalez and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who made their only major singles final appearances in 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively. Since then, winners and runners-up have been among the elite of the elite – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray – with the lone exception being Stan Wawrinka, who was ranked No. 9 when he won his first major title in Melbourne in 2014.

In 2017, Grigor Dimitrov had another breakthrough major tournament by reaching the semifinals, where he lost in an epic five-set thriller to Nadal. After his victory at the year-end ATP World Tour Finals in London to end 2017, Dimitrov is the top choice to win the title in Melbourne this year other than No. 1 Nadal and No. 2 seed and defending champion Roger Federer. Austria’s Dominic Thiem, ranked No. 5, and Germany’s Alexander Zverev, ranked No. 4, are also poised for greatness and could begin this next generation of champions with an Australian Open win. Australia’s immensely talented Nick Kyrgios, ranked No. 17, could put his temperament aside and rise the tide of local support to fulfill his massive potential. His title in Brisbane leading into the event have buoyed his tennis betting odds.

On the women’s side, the Australian Open has also crowned unheralded champions such as Kerry Reid in 1977, Chris O’Neil in 1978 and Barbara Jordan in 1979. Angelique Kerber was the Australian Open surprise in 2016, winning her first major title with a final-round upset of world No. 1 Serena Williams.  Kerber and 2008 champion Maria Sharapova are the only two former Australian Open winners in the 2018 women’s singles field. Defending champion Serena Williams has pulled out of the event, not feeling her post-pregnancy comeback has progressed fast enough for her liking. Vika Azarenka, the 2012 and 2013 Australian Open champion, also pulled out of the event since she is not able to travel overseas in a custody battle of her son.

The top two women’s seeds, Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki respectively, have never won a major singles title, which may place No. 3 seed Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon champion, as the favorite. Elina Svitolina, the No. 4 seed, has also never won a major singles title but appears as though she is a future candidate for that role and Australia would be an appropriate stage for this kind of breakthrough.

Johanna Konta of Britain, born in Australia and ranked No. 9, may be a surprise pick to win the title. She was a surprise semifinalist Down Under in 2016 and also at Wimbledon in 2017 so she could make a move to a later round.

“The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” Makes For Great Holiday Gift

Having trouble thinking of the proper holiday gift for the tennis player in your life? Consider the book “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” by 2017 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Steve Flink

“The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” features profiles and rankings of the greatest matches of all time dating from the1920s featuring Bill Tilden and Suzanne Lenglen up through the modern era of tennis featuring contemporary stars Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Flink breaks down, analyzes and puts into historical context the sport’s most memorable matches, providing readers with a courtside seat at these most celebrated and significant duels. Flink also includes a fascinating “greatest strokes of all-time” section where he ranks and describes the players who best executed all the important shots in the game through the years. Other champions featured in the book include Don Budge, Maureen Connolly, Rod Laver, Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf among many others.

The book is published by New Chapter Press, the premier global publisher of tennis books.

The hard-cover book, that makes for a centerpiece of a coffee table or at your local tennis club, retails for $28.95, and can be purchased here on Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/0942257936/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_Qj-rybVBRK7ZW or at www.NewChapterMedia.com and where ever books are sold.

Flink, one of the most respected writers and observers in the game, is currently a columnist for TennisChannel.com. A resident of Katonah, N.Y., he is the former editor of World Tennis magazine and a former senior columnist at Tennis Week.

The book has received high praise from some of the most respected names in the sport, including Chris Evert, a winner of 18 major singles titles in her career, who wrote the foreword to the book.

Said seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras, “Steve Flink was there reporting on almost every big match I played in my career. He has seen all of the great players for the last 45 years. I encourage you to read this book because Steve is one of the most insightful writers on the game that I have known and he really knows his tennis.”

Said former U.S. Davis Cup captain and player Patrick McEnroe, “As a writer and a fan, Steve Flink’s knowledge of tennis history and his love of the sport are second to none, which is why you should read his book.”

Said ESPN’s Cliff Drysdale, “To see tennis through the eyes of Steve Flink is to wander through a wonderland. These are not fantasies because Steve captures the essence of tennis matches in graphic detail. There is no one more passionate or caring about his subject. In this absorbing book, I can relive matches that I have called on television.”

Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “The Greatest Jewish Tennis Players of All Time” by Sandra Harwitt, “The Secrets of Spanish Tennis” by Chris Lewit, “Sport of a Lifetime” by Judy Aydelott, “Absolute Tennis: The Best and Next Way To Play The Game” by Marty Smith, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer, “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins (a new third edition published in late 2016), “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Your Playbook for Beating Depression” by Cliff Richey and Mary Garrison, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “On This Day In Tennis History” by Randy Walker, “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “The Lennon Prophecy” by Joe Niezgoda (www.TheLennonProphecy.com), “Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Susan Anson, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According To Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin, “People’s Choice Guide Cancun” by Eric Rabinowitz, “Lessons from the Wild” by Shayamal Vallabhjee among others.

Suffering Too Much For Rafael Nadal In ATP World Tour Finals

Perhaps the signature theme of the book “The Secrets of Spanish Tennis” is how the Spanish – in sports and in life – almost relish in “suffering.” As famed Spanish tennis coach said Pato Alvarez, “In order for a player to play well he or she needs to suffer.”

Rafael Nadal of Spain was doing much “suffering” in his opening round-robin match at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals in London. However, after suffering through a 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 loss to David Goffin, Nadal decided the suffering was too much and withdrew from the competition to rest his ailing knee.

“My season is finished,” Nadal said following the loss. “I tried hard. I did the thing that I had to do to try to be ready to play, but I am really not ready to play. I really fought a lot during the match, but knew there was a big chance that it would be the last match of the season.”

Nadal’s withdrawal makes Roger Federer the overwhelming favorite to win the title, according to NetBetSport

“The good thing is that this is nothing new,” said Nadal. “Everybody on my team, we have the right experience with this thing. We hope to manage it well, to have the right rest, the right work, and try to be ready for the beginning of next season.”

The year-end ATP World Tour Finals is the one glaring omission on Nadal’s career resume. Nadal has qualified for the season-ending finals 13 years in a row, but has only actually played seven previous times, only reaching the final twice, losing to Roger Federer in 2010 and Novak Djokovic in 2013. He also lost in the semifinals three times, losing to Federer in 2006 and 2007 and Djokovic in 2015, the last time Nadal played the year-end championships. In 2009 and 2011, Nadal failed to emerge from round-robin play. Incredibly, Nadal has been injured and not able to participate in the event five times, including last year.

“This is an event I missed too many times in my career,” he said. “But at the same that’s how it works, my career. I can’t complain. I feel very lucky about all the things that are happening to me, but on the other hand it is true that I am probably the top player who has had more injuries and more troubles in the careers of anyone.

“I really believed that I didn’t deserve after this great season to spend two more days on court with these terrible feelings. Of course I am disappointed, but I am not going to cry. I had a great season. I really appreciate all the things that happened to me during the whole season.”

Rafael Nadal Seeks Missing Link On Career Resume at Nitto ATP World Tour Finals

Rafael Nadal is extra motivated to win the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals in London. Why? Because it is the one big tennis tournament that is missing from his incredible career. Resume

This week in London provides a great opportunity for Nadal, the world No. 1, to nab the missing link in his career with two of his chief rivals, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, not in the field due to injuries. However, Nadal is also nursing a tender knee that has some question whether he will be able to finally break-through and win the prestigious year-end championships. Roger Federer has won the ATP World Tour Finals six times and, as the best indoor court player in the world, is the tennis betting odds favorite to win the title once again.

In seven previous appearances at the ATP World Tour Finals, Nadal has only reached the final twice, losing to Roger Federer in 2010 and Novak Djokovic in 2013. He also lost in the semifinals three times, losing to Federer in 2006 and 2007 and Djokovic in 2015, the last time Nadal played the year-end championships. In 2009 and 2011, Nadal failed to emerge from round-robin play. Incredibly, Nadal has been injured and not able to participate in the event five times, including last year.

Also missing from the Nadal career resume is the Miami Open. Nadal has been a runner-up there on five occasions – in 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017 – being points away from the title twice.

Nadal has won ten French Championships, as has been so well documented, as well as two Wimbledon titles, three U.S. Open titles and one Australian Open title. He won Olympic gold in singles in 2008 (and gold in doubles in 2016!) and led Spain to the Davis Cup title four times.

And then there are the ATP 1000 level events, in the past referred to as the “Super 9” of which some have long and storied histories and others that are starting traditions and are only prestigious now due to ATP points and prize money offered. At these events, Nadal has won in Indian Wells three times (2007, 2009 and 2013), Monte Carlo ten times, Rome seven times and also in Madrid in its two incarnations as an indoor hard event in the Fall in 2005 and as a clay event in the Spring in 2010, 2014 and 2017.

During the summer hard court season, Nadal has won in Canada three times (2005, 2008 and 2013) and also in Cincinnati in 2013.

Nadal has not won in Shanghai and at the Paris Indoors, two of the more recent additions to this elite level of events, without as much of the history and tradition as the others. Nadal, however, did also win at the German Championships in Hamburg when it was a “Super 9” event in 2008.

By comparison, the only missing titles on Federer’s resume are Monte Carlo and Rome, but has also has won all four major titles, the Davis Cup for Switzerland, Olympic gold in doubles (silver in singles) and the ATP World Tour Finals six times. For Novak Djokovic, Cincinnati remains the missing link on his career resume, in addition to an Olympic gold medal, although the Serbian did win a bronze medal in singles in 2008.

Nadal Continues Capturing Slams

Rafael Nadal won his 16th Grand Slam singles title, and third US Open, in today’s well-fought but straight-sets win over first-time Slam finalist Kevin Anderson, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.

Nadal’s long career shows no signs of slowing down. He won two major titles this year (including his 10th Roland-Garros championship). “I wake up every morning with the passion to go on court and to try to improve things. That’s why I still have chances to compete in this sport,” he says. “I still feel the nerves every time that I go on court. When some day arrives that I don’t feel those nerves or that extra passion for the game that I feel, it will be the day to say, ‘OK, I’ll do another thing.’ ”

Photo by Chris Nicholson, author of ‘Photographing Tennis.’ Follow Chris’ US Open photos on Instagram (@ShootingTennis).

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal Favorites For The US Open

by Michael Lemort

The US Open starts in late August and the favorites are Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal without a doubt. Not really a surprise as we know how huge those two champions are, but more than a year ago, who would have thought that the balance inside the Big Four would be so different than it is today!

Novak Djokovic was the invincible number one for several years and he had just won majors in a row in between two years after winning the French Open. But five months later, he gave up his throne to Andy Murray. The British player won Wimbledon, the Olympics and the Masters Cup in London and became the last member of the Big Four to be number one at the ATP rankings. Nadal and Federer, injured and obviously getting older, had withdrawn for the end of the season.

Today the Serbian has lost his four majors crowns, he hasn’t won a Masters 1000 this year and he is ranked number 4. Moreover he has just announced this week that he will withdraw for the rest of the season to heal an elbow injury and get some time off to take care of his family and get ready for next year!

Andy Murray, like Djokovic, hasn’t won a Major neither a Masters 1000 in 2017. Exhausted by his achievements of last year and also weakened (hip injury), he is about to lose his supremacy. Federer and Nadal, fresher than ever, are just behind him and have almost no ATP points to defend until the end of the season. Aged 36, the Swiss is more aggressive than he has ever been. He looks more impressive than he was back 10 years ago when he was at his top. He won the Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Halle and Wimbledon (without dropping a set!) and he beat Nadal three times in a row for the first time of his career. The Spaniard won his tenth French Open (a record) after triumphing in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid. Both of them have shared the big trophies this year and they will probably race against each other for the number one ATP ranking until the end of the season. Who would have thought about that a year ago?

Everybody also thought that, besides Murray or Djokovic, a new member of the next generation would hold some big trophies in 2017. But except Alexander Zverev in Roma (the only big tournament that Nadal and Federer haven’t won so far this year), they will have to wait some more as «  the old Roger and Rafa » still hunger for success and are not retired yet. Dominic Thiem, Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov represent the best chances but after Nadal crushed the Austrian at Roland Garros and Federer did the same with the Canadian and the Bulgarian in London, on their favorite surface, the way to the top doesn’t seem that close. Kei Nishikori and Nick Kyrgios have been injured too much and their body seems fragile. Also Borna Coric, Frances Tiafoe and Andrey Rublev, all members of the teen « Next Gen », are getting better and tougher each year but they will probably need some more time to compete with the Top 10.

So Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal seem to have the best chances to hold the trophy at Flushing Meadows. But as we saw the turnover that happened between last year and this year, some more surprises, comebacks and upsets can happen very soon. And don’t forget that the defending champion hasn’t been mentioned yet ! Only player to have won several Majors besides the Big Four in the last 15 years, the other Swiss player, Stanislas Wawrinka, even though he is quite inconstant, could perfectly win two US Open back to back!


Who Has Most Motivation To Win Wimbledon Among The Big Four?

Most observers will conclude that, in all likelihood, the men’s singles champion at Wimbledon in 2017 will come from “The Big Four” – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

There isn’t much that separates these four titans of tennis, but the slimiest of margins separates victory from defeat. It could be a moment of hesitation, a slight lack of confidence in executing a shot in a crucial stage. Extra desire, belief, confidence and having that extra step could decide the championship.

Let’s look at each of “The Big Four” and discuss their motivations and intangibles that could help them and hurt them as they approach the final weekend. If you are looking for Wimbledon betting tips, these insights will prove helpful.

Roger Federer – The Swiss maestro may be believing that this could be his last shot to win what would be a record eighth men’s singles title at the All England Club. Striving for that record is a major goal of Federer’s that would further his legacy in the sport, if that is even possible for a player who has won a record 18 major singles titles. He has taken the entire clay-court season off – ceding that ground to Nadal – but this has kept Federer fresh and hungry which can serve him well in the later rounds.

Rafael Nadal – The Spaniards is a competitor full stop all the time and one of the most physically fit players in the history of tennis. Could a slight bit of energy drain from the long-drawn out clay-court season be the difference between winning and losing for the Spaniard. For the last three years, Nadal has been primarily focused on winning his unprecedented 10th French Open men’s singles titles. Having achieved that goal last month, is a title on the Wimbledon grass too much too soon for the Nadal to refocus on entirely in every corner of his mind? The grass courts at Wimbledon are playing slower than usual, which helps him, and, like any other Spaniard, he relishes in “suffering” on a tennis court.

Novak Djokovic – The Serbian has been out-of-sorts in the last 12 months since he entered Wimbledon last year having won the previous four major championships. He seems the most vulnerable of “The Big Four” but the “X” factor with Djokovic is his new relationship with new coach Andre Agassi. The new voice from the Hall of Famer, who also turned around a much more steep career nose-dive in his career, could resurrect Djokovic. Playing for Agassi and wanting the validate the relationship and “please” the all-time great could provide extra motivation and intangibles that could help Djokovic return to the Grand Slam winner’s circle.

Andy Murray – Wimbledon is just the place for Murray to recalibrate after his sensational 2016 season where he won his second title at Wimbledon and the Olympics. His year was capped with an exhaustive effort to win the year-end ATP World Tour Championships in London to finish as the year-end No. 1. The end-of-the-year push hurt Murray at the start of the 2017 season and he started to find his top form again at the French Open, where he was a tie-breaker away from reaching the singles final. Now on the comfortable environs on the hometown courts at Wimbledon, with his adoring fans supporting him full-tilt, the top-seed will be tough to beat.  However, Murray hasn’t won a tournament since the year-end event in London last year and he has suffered many early-round upset losses this year, which could hurt his inner confidence in the big points with the title on the line.

Stars Old And New Decorate Roland Garros In 2017

by Rob Hemingway


Perhaps it is fitting that a tournament named after a trailblazing fighter pilot who vanquished his many adversaries should become so synonymous with Rafael Nadal, who administers the same fate to his opponents as Roland Garros did during the First World War.

After putting away Stan Wawrinka on Sunday in Paris, the Majorcan notched up yet another French Open title and achieved La Decima, his tenth grand slam victory in one event, a feat that transcends sport and is surely comparable with any other individual achievement in the modern age.

Such unparalleled dominance, the result of a unique combination of extraordinary talent, world-class coaching and insatiable drive, has been supplemented in the 2017 edition of his reign by the presence in his camp of long-time friend and influence, Carlos Moya. Analysis of Nadal’s matches during these two weeks – and indeed earlier in the year – is clear evidence of subtle tweaks that have allowed him to be so successful since returning to the tour after injury. These changes, including an improved backhand and greater consistency and variety on the serve, should allow him to remain competitive even as age and physical decline gradually take their toll over the coming years.

There was enough evidence in Paris this year to suggest that the men’s game will be well served even when Nadal and his “Big 5” rivals have moved on. Dominic Thiem, the 23 year-old Austrian, broke through emphatically in getting through to the semifinals, and Karen Khachanov, the 21-year old from Moscow, displayed all his emerging skills during a run to the fourth round. Further down the age range, the next big thing from the junior ranks could be Alexei Popyrin, who triumphed in the Boys Singles, becoming the first Australian to take home the title since Phil Dent in 1968.  His game, modeled on Juan Martin del Potro’s, could become equally as effective, given his powerful serve and varied forehand.

On the other side of the locker room, the women’s event revealed a new superstar. Jelena Ostapenko, the unseeded 20-year-old Latvian, defeated the experienced Simona Halep in three sets, sparking wild celebrations at Riga’s iconic Freedom Monument as the country celebrated its first ever Grand Slam champion. This was a remarkable triumph given that she went the distance in every match from the fourth round onwards, that she was a set and a break down in the final, and particularly as clay is her least favourite surface. This breakthrough should equip her with the necessary confidence to build on this win which, incredibly, was also her first ever on the women’s tour.

Tournament Director Guy Forget fortunately had far fewer scheduling headaches this year than in 2016, as the weather remained dry enough to catch up on matches delayed from the first week’s showers. The modernisation project at Roland Garros – provisionally approved earlier this year – cannot come soon enough however. Capacity issues still affect the site, particularly when compared to the other three Grand Slams, and the roof that will be present for this year’s US Open will once again throw into focus the glacial pace of change in French Tennis’ administrative corridors.

As the last of the players now start dusting down their socks, the grass of Wimbledon looms large on the horizon. All eyes will be on the returning, rejuvenated Roger Federer, whose decision to rest during the clay court swing could bear fruit as he seeks his eighth crown in south-west London. It promises to be another unmissable event in this already extraordinary 2017 season.

How Will Rafael Nadal Now Fare On British Grass?

Rafael Nadal proved to be invincible on the French clay but how will he fare on the British grass?

The freshly-crowned 10-time Roland Garros champion was to get his first taste of grass at the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club in London. The event, which runs June 19-26, is one of the most prestigious events in tennis, and the most regarded grass-court title other than Wimbledon. However, Nadal withdrew from the event two days after his win at Roland Garros, stating, “After speaking to my team and doctor, I have decided my body needs to rest if I am going to be ready to play Wimbledon.”

Nadal will now have a three weeks off to rest after his ferocious run through seven straight-set wins en route to the title in Paris. The Spaniard has traditionally placed the bulk of his efforts into the clay court season, from April until June, where his productivity declines in the last six months of the year, when play is on faster services.

However, Nadal has won four career titles on grass – two at Wimbledon in 2008 and 2010, the Queen’s title in 2008 and also in Stuttgart in 2015.

Success at Queens has translated into success at Wimbledon as seven different players have completed The Queen’s Club-Wimbledon title double in the same year, including Nadal in 2008, and also John McEnroe (1981, ’84), Jimmy Connors (’82), Boris Becker (’85), Pete Sampras (’95, ’99), Lleyton Hewitt (2002) and Andy Murray (2013).

The top-ranked Murray, the defending Queens and Wimbledon champions, will be the favorite to win the title again. Last year, Murray became the first player to win five Queen’s Club titles when he defeated Milos Raonic in the final.

Murray has struggled of late, but left the French Open in a positive frame of mind with a semifinal finish, falling to Stan Wawrinka in five sets, failing to put away the Swiss in a fourth-set tiebreaker that would have put him into the final in Paris for the second-straight year.

Murray will be tested by an extremely talented field that also includes Wawrinka, who has enlisted former Pete Sampras and Roger Federer coach Paul Annacone to help him with his grass-court preparations for Wimbledon, the only major tournament he hasn’t won. Remember that both Federer and Sampras have won Wimbledon seven times each!

The hard-serving Raonic, who also lost in last year’s Wimbledon final to Murray, will also be a contender in the Queens field as well as the talented and hot-headed Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov, a former Wimbledon semifinalist.