05 May 2019
Why Rafael Nadal might not win the French Open 2019?
Termed as the 'King of Clay', he has record 11 French Open under his belt.
However, with his shaky form this term, there are apprehensions that he might not be the favorite to defend the title at Roland Garros.
King of Clay
Nadal is unstoppable on clay courts
Analyzing his clay-court performance to date, he has been the most dominant force in the history of sport.
Nadal has pocketed 57 clay-court singles tournaments, the most by any tennis star in the Open Era.
He has scripted several records on his favorite surface including a 81 match winning streak.
His stats prove why he is called the 'King of Clay'
2019 clay season
Nadal is trophy-less on clay this season
Ironically, Nadal is enduring a hard time on the clay surface in 2019. He has already lost a couple of tournaments.
Further, in both Monte Carlo and Barcelona Masters, he lost the semis in straight sets.
His under-performance, this season on the surface, has also raised some eyebrows about his fitness.
Nadal is coming from an injury, which might make things difficult for him.
Why is Nadal struggling this season?
While Nadal's underwhelming performance on clay does come as a surprise to many, quite a few saw this coming.
Many believe it is his knee that has been troubling him since a couple of years.
Further, Nadal has been suffering from abdominal, ankle, knee and finger injuries since November.
The recurrence of these injuries are the reasons as to why Nadal has been shaky.
Who other than Nadal can win French Open?
Assuming Nadal is not in the best shape to win French Open this year, who are the other possible contenders?
While the likes of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will enter as favorites, we feel Djokovic has an upper hand.
Moreover, new blood like Dominic Thiem and Fabio Fognini cannot be ruled out either, as they are the ones who have tamed Nadal recently.
Nadal not the favorite to win French Open
Nadal has a sharp mind to judge his performance, especially on clay. He will give it all to win the French Open in 2019.
However, the author feels that the chances of him winning his favorite Grand Slam are low this time around.
Moreover, if his injuries aggravate before or during the tournament, we don't see any realistic chance of him defending the title.
Nadal eyes fine performance in Madrid and Rome before Paris
Currently, Nadal is training hard and looking to come up with a stellar performance in the upcoming ATP Madrid Masters, starting this week.
It would be followed by the ATP Rome Masters the following week, where he is the defending champion.
Least to say, if Nadal loses any one or both of these, his chances of winning the French Open would take a hit.
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