By Jake Davies
- Five Reasons why Rafael Nadal will win 2017 Roland Garros
PARIS, FRANCE – Even more history beckons for Rafael Nadal as he targets an incredible third La Decima this season. Here’s five reasons why he will do it.
Nadal at Roland Garros is the biggest challenge in tennis
We talk about the aura of certain players at some tournaments, Novak Djokovic winning in Melbourne six times, Roger Federer‘s dominance on a grass court at Wimbledon, but no challenge is tougher than surpassing Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros. The nine-time French Open champion has only lost twice at this tournament, which was in 2009 to Robin Soderling and in 2014 quarter-finals against Djokovic. Nadal also has never lost a Roland Garros final. The issue many have when playing Nadal at this event is that you are not only playing the player, but you are playing the history he has created and continues to create on this surface.
The difficult adjustment a player has to make against Nadal
The one stumbling block a player has to overcome when facing Nadal is the regulation rally balls to the Nadal backhand. In most matches two right-handed players exchange rallies from forehand to forehand cross court, but when a player rallies cross-court with Nadal, they are actually playing into a strong, stable and secure backhand shot that very rarely breaks down.
The battle for tactical superiority
It is difficult to win a tactical battle with the Spaniard. Wawrinka will try to get his one-handed backhand into play in direct contest with the Nadal forehand, which is the wing of Nadal that has the most upside, but also is the most vulnerable when pressured. The problem for Wawrinka is that Nadal’s forehand has looked very impressive this clay court season and his ability to change the course of a rally and attack with his forehand down the line, shows just how confident he is feeling.
Changing defence to offence
Can Wawrinka get past this fresh challenge and win a second Roland Garros title and fourth major overall? Nadal offers a different test for Wawrinka. When Wawrinka hit aggressive groundstrokes against Murray he would often receive a defensive ball in response. Wawrinka has to be wary against Nadal, because of the Spaniard’s capability of striking offensive balls from the end of his range. That is something he has done time after time throughout his career.
Nadal dominates the head-to-head against Wawrinka
If you look back through the history of this match-up, Nadal has commanded the head-to-head, including a 12-match win streak against Wawrinka. The Swiss is a different player since 2013 and has gained some wins over Nadal in recent years, but Nadal still is the favourite to come through with the title on Sunday.
Nadal and Wawrinka will play the Roland Garros 2017 final not before 3pm (2pm BST)
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