Sunday, April 20, 2008

An Early French Open Prediction...

For those of you who have been around long enough you may remember me correctly picking Novack Djokovic to win the Australian Open. Well, I've been saying to anyone who will listen to me lately that I think this is Federer's year to win the French. A couple of reasons why:

1. Since 2004 there has been one stretch where Federer has gone 2 tries without winning a Grand Slam (2005 Australian - had a match point in the semis, 2005 French semis).

2. He's had a little bit of a rest, granted it was because he had mono, but I'd suggest that this 'rest' is more beneficial mentally than anything else.

3. Federer has started to come out of his slump, making the Final of the Estoril Open (to play Davydenko on Sunday). I realize he hasn't played anyone in the top-50 enroute to the finals, but, half the battle here - I think - has got to be for him to re-gain some confidence, especially on the dirt.

4. Fed's got a new coach, Jose 'George Hamilton' Higeuras and some tennis insiders (here and here) seem to think its a good fit. George Jose has coached more than a couple of French Open champs (Michael Chang, Jim Courier, Carlos Moya, Sergi Bruguera), and maybe can give the Fed some inside as to how to crack Nadal.

5. Speaking of Nadal, Bjorn Borg is the only person to win 4 FO titles in a row in the Open Era (see the list of Men's singles Champs). Nadal, who currently has 3 in a row, has had progressively more injury problems over the last few years; he typically plays a pretty rigorous clay court schedule, and will (presumably) have Djokovic in the semis, which, should take a lot out Nadal.

That said, it may be a little (or a lot) early to call this, since the French is more than a month away...

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