Roland Garros: The draw

REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

Welp, just about everything has happened to insure that Rafa can feel he’s not the favorite at Roland Garros this year. Way to take the pressure off, draw gods. Now Rafa just has to go prove everyone wrong. I’m calling this the “Accept or Die” draw.

Rafa’s in Djokovic’s quarter and Murray’s half. If seeds hold, our potential quarterfinals are: Djokovic vs. Rafa; Murray vs Ferrer; Berdych vs Nishikori; Wawrinka vs. Federer.

But right now, the most important thing is: Rafa’s first opponent is Quentin Halys (FRA). One step at a time, one match at a time.

Here’s the pdf to download and follow along with.

42 Responses

  1. fifijohnston says:

    What a draw! Poor Rafa! We know he’ll play the best he can and try his hardest and that’s all we can ask him to. Wishing him all the best of luck – I think he’ll need it this year.

  2. haddie says:

    The only thing I can say is …. OH DEAR !!!
    Rafa .. as sure as God made little apples.. if you can pull this rabbit out of the bag then you are definitely and indisputably the King of Clay make no bones about it.
    But we know you can do it.. you are NADAL

  3. kemannin says:

    Who needs coffee when you wake up to this draw? I echo what haddie said: you are NADAL, and it is time for birth and rebirth. We are cheering you on!

  4. luckystar1 says:

    Rafa can do it, as long as he plays like he did vs Isner or Berdych. He served well, returned well, hit his forehand and backhand well during those matches, if only he could find the consistency… I trust that Rafa will do his best at RG, he owns the courts there, no one knows how to play well at the courts there more than Rafa does. When Rafa puts his mind and his soul into his game, he can beat anyone especially when it is on clay at RG.

  5. Aero says:

    The French obviously don’t want Rafa winning again, it pisses me off they didn’t seed him higher like Wimbledon does based on his accomplishments at that tourney, they put every road block in his way (I honestly question those draws sometimes)…………………It is what it is I guess assuming he even reaches the quarters based on his current form, he’s set to meet Dimitrov in the 4th round so problem players loom even before the quarters. I think this is Djokovic’s year for RG regardless of where he meets Rafa, he’s in a league of his own at present with Rafa at his worst.

    • miri says:

      They don’t change the seeding like Wimbledon does because they don’t have an established, pre-approved formula that the ATP has signed off on. To change the seeding willy-nilly opens them up to all kinds of finger-pointing and favoritism/anti-so-and-so claims.

      I’m not even getting into the draw conspiracy theory stuff. I guess they got Sharapova to pull the right chips out at the right time to get Rafa there in the draw because I’m sure she’d happily put Rafa in the same quarter as her boyfriend.

      • Aero says:

        Each Grand Slam committee reserves the right to make that decision, some on the French Open committee even favored it for Rafa, as did the likes of Djokovic. “All four Grand Slams are allowed to seed as they choose” http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2013-05-04/12280.php I think the real finger pointing comes with the inconsistency between slams, why one does it but the other doesn’t.

        And where’s the fun without conspiracy theories?

        • miri says:

          I’m well aware that other slams have the right to make the decision, but they traditionally don’t. Wimbledon (for the men) has an agreed upon formula because there are so few tournaments on grass. Rafa had plenty of opportunity to raise his rankings with tournaments on clay. He didn’t. That’s the cold hard facts. That’s math. That’s ranking and seeding.

          • Aero says:

            I’m not arguing obvious cold hard facts, but what’s good for the goose should be good for the gander. Traditionally Wimbledon didn’t do it either and it has less to do with the few grass tournaments and has more to do with favoring successful grass court players by giving them additional points for grass court events.

            • miri says:

              They’ve done it for the men (per and agreement with the ATP) every year since 2001 (there was a slight revision of the formula in 2002). Their original reasoning was along the lines that: ranking points weren’t a fair predictor of play on grass because points earned on grass were such a small percentage of available points. So, they devised a formula to boost the percentage of grass points included in the seeding points by awarding grass results over time. (I know we are talking semantics here, but for some reason, this makes a difference to me.)

              From the Wimbledon site (date for the 2014 tournament):

              Take ESP points at 16 June 2014
              Add 100% points earned for all grass court tournament in past 12 months
              Add 75% points earned for best grass court tournament in 12 months before that.

              If other tournaments want to do this, they have a chance to make an agreement with the players to do so as well. (To me, it’s the idea that the ATP – the group that, in theory, helps represent player desires – has agreed to the Wimbledon formula that makes it acceptable.) I just got the feeling this was never done because there are plenty of tournaments offered on the other slam surfaces so that the rankings felt fair as far as seeding goes. If clay tournaments keep going by the wayside, though, that might change down the line.

  6. kaushik says:

    It is really tough draw granted but we just have to take it step by step and 1 match at a time .rafa just has to try his level best at every moment and just see what happens .we have to believe and support him .as rafa says ,we shall see no ;-)

  7. haddie says:

    Though initially I felt my best friend has been put before a firing squad I take comfort in the knowledge that Grand Slams are notoriously unpredictable.. anything can, and does happen..
    And as Rafa would say ‘it is to be with colm” let us hope his first rounds give him the confidence he so desperately needs..

  8. I’m going to be positive in a different direction. An early exit from RG will give Rafa time to work on his grass court game.

  9. JayDee50 says:

    Oh lordy, how depressing, a one-in-four chance of Rafa landing in Novak’s quarter and it just had to happen. I wonder who is the most worried? Novak or Rafa? Novak knows he’s never beaten Rafa here (well, only one person ever has) but Rafa knows how well Novak’s playing this year, which currently = unplayable. I feel really stressed over RG this year, all the hype, the speculation, the wild predictions, it’s all becoming too much for me. I simply can’t stomach the thought of Novak defeating Rafa in the QFs and openly gloating and wallowing in the glory of having ‘dethroned’ the King of Clay, if indeed that transpires. Or at least that’s what his hostile fans would do.

    Whatever happens, I know for sure Rafa will try his hardest in every match, and his fans will be behind him.

    • Rafa, as usual, is worried about getting TO the quarterfinals. One match at a time. I suspect Djokovic would prefer to face Rafa in quarterfinals and get it over with, one way or another, With his boatload of points he wants all or nothing from RG.

      Rafa’s won RG NINE times, remember? And he’s never expected to win it. He certainly never expected to win it nine times. It’s all us other people who assumed it was a cakewalk for him.

      Roger might just be the big beneficiary here. You think he wouldn’t love to have the double career slam? That would put the icing on his GOAT cake. If Djokovic does go through Rafa, Murray and Fed to win he will have earned some gloating. But it’s a slam, anything can and will happen.

  10. emir says:

    Everything is so sad about Nadals career for the last past year and so. I am afraid ı dont see any light at the end of this tunnel as well. He is going to drop outside of top 10 after RG.

    • luckystar1 says:

      So what with Rafa dropping out of top ten? He’ll soon get back into it, don’t forget, after FO, he has only 370 points to defend, whilst others have a boat load of points to defend!

      Cilic for eg has 2000 from the USO to defend, Kei has 1200; Raonic drops 360 from FO and has to defend 720 at Wimbledon; Ferrer has 360 at FO and 600 at Cincy; Fed has 6380 points and Novak 7460 points from FO to WTF!

      • emir says:

        I wont bank on Rafa to gain serious amount of points outside of clay at his current form level. Things could only be more difficult after RG. I pray all those negative things wont open the door of retirement decision or something.

        • haddie says:

          Oh save us.. what a happy little bunny you are.. throw the cloud of doom and gloom over everyone including Rafa.. that should really give us all, and him in particular, a whole bundle of confidence.

        • Aero says:

          Assuming he loses here at RG (and I think he will) I do think his decline has already started. It’s all speculation of course but based on his style of play and the wear and tear his body has suffered he doesn’t have the longevity of the likes of Federer. If he drops out of the top 10 I think his decline will continue……………….and as for early retirement, I don’t think it will happen anytime soon. Although I’d completely respect his decision if he walked away from the game after loosing RG, it would be a sad day for all. However it may be even sadder watching him in gradual decline! I think given his spirit and competitive nature even if he fell outside the top 50 he’d still be competing! So we’ll continue to see Rafa compete, but must accept that all good things must come to an end, including Rafa’s dominance on clay!

          • haddie says:

            Roger Federer even says now that Rafa is the danger man, that RG does not play like any other courts that they have played thus far. The courts at RG favour Rafa and as we know BO5 is totally different ball game!!!
            But think on this scenario.. should the worst happen, and Rafa loses and drops out of the top 10
            next season, Rafa would have no points to defend, and if he has hopefully found his form.. what a dream wrecker he would be in the early rounds of any tournament !!!!

            • Aero says:

              Agreed Haddie, I do think others know that Rafa still poses a threat, however he does have an uphill battle. If he makes it to the quarters, an in-form Djokovic will beat Rafa this time around, he’s oozing with confidence and playing awesome. Rafa can hope a day which he plays like his old self and a day match with a scorching hot sun which favors his game.

              Understood, no points to defend bodes well for his ranking however, I’m worried about his ability now to win on grass and hard considering he can no longer win on clay with any consistency. Next year he turns 30! I think it a changing of the guard in the works and Rafa is the first of the big 4 to slide. We must remember that at 19 he already had his first GS and was #2 in the world. We can’t expect him to maintain that kind level, indefinitely. He has already accomplished more in the last 10 years than most tennista’s will do in a lifetime! We want him to win but must also be realistic.

          • CB says:

            Can’t imagine why Rafa would retire if he loses the French for only the second time since 2005.

            • haddie says:

              As I have said in a previous post, the worst scenario is that he loses the FO, he drops out of the top 10.
              But he is then in a position to cause some real problems for the top players. When. then he returns to form, as he will he will cause so much damage in earlier rounds of any tournament. The giant slayer will return !! Of one thing Im sure he will not skulk off into the shadows.. did you read this.
              •Rafael Nadal Is 80 Percent Of What He Used To Be – by Carl Bialik (fivethirtyeight.com)

              Nadal has, indeed, been far from terrible on clay this year. He is 17-5, meaning he has won an excellent 77 percent of his matches on the surface. Tomas Berdych, the fourth-ranked player in the world, has won 78 percent of his matches on all surfaces this year. Win more than three-quarters of the time in tennis, and you’re one of the very best in the world.

          • luckystar1 says:

            I think you got it wrong. Rafa said if he no longer can win tournaments, he’s not going to carry on playing. I doubt he would still be playing when he’s ranked 50 and thinks that he has no chance of winning titles.

            I don’t see why the doom and gloom to be honest. Even if he loses to Novak, so what? Novak is no.1 in the world, losing to him even at the FO is no shame, when Rafa has already lost to Fog, Murray and Stan on clay this year.

            Rafa is a mentally tough guy, highly competitive, he’ll fight back to be competitive elsewhere. I do feel he’ll do well on the HCs, where he’s gradually having a firm footing on, even beating Novak at the USO final twice. It may be good for Rafa that there’ll be no more expectation for him to win every single time he steps on clay, at least the pressure is not that great anymore for him to win.

            I do hope Rafa will play the way he played at Montreal/Cincy, even NY in 2013, ie a more aggressive Rafa. Rafa was really great at USO2010 (rewatched that final match), he’s aggressive, with big serve, great FH and CCBH, great slices, (even DTL slices), good court coverage and played so well at the net with good volleying and deft touches. He’s also playing well at USO 2013 with good balance of defense and offense. It takes Novak until now, at 27-28, to get the balance right, that of good net play with aggressive baseline play, when Rafa was already doing it back in 2010! So, Rafa has it in him to play a more aggressive game, even when his game now is more defense orientated, just look to play like he did in 2013, which I think is good enough to deal with the current Novak.

    • luckystar1 says:

      There’s no need for lamenting over Rafa’s ranking drop, Murray also dropped out of top ten last year but got back into top ten soon. Rafa is a much more accomplished player than Murray; Rafa only played half or two third of the season last year, yet he ended the season as no.3, dropped 2000 points and he’s still no.7. If he’s to lose his FO crown, then he no longer has any pressure defending anything, may then help him to play freely from then on. I’m sure after feeling sad about losing his crown, he’ll soon pick himself up and think of doing better at the other important tournaments, he’s too competitive not to do so!

      • JayDee50 says:

        Agree about other tournaments; that’s why he’s opted to play in two grass court tournaments before Wimbledon, Stuttgart and Queens, so that he can get much more grass court practice than he normally has time for. He’s obviously intending to have better results at Wimbledon than he’s had for the last three years.

  11. CB says:

    Truly a shame for all of the big 4 that Rafa is ranked so low. (But then again — not all may make it to the quarterfinals.) Djokovic has never beaten Rafa at Roland Garros. Roland Garros is Rafa’s house. Rafa has played brilliantly at times during the clay court season so he is capable of his best. And he will be the most comfortable on Center Court as he has been all season. The pressure is truly off this year — will that help or hurt? Who knows? And we must take just one match at a time anyway. Rafa, you’ve won 9 out of the last 10 — you must believe and just DO IT! :) Looking forward to watching Rafa at the French, no matter what happens. I know he will make us proud whatever the results as he will play his heart out. Vamos, Rafa!

  12. JayDee50 says:

    Now that I’ve had time to digest the shock of the draw, here’s my subsequent thoughts on it: let’s assume for argument’s sake both Rafa and Novak reach the potential QF match: IF Rafa wins, it will be rather embarrassing for Novak who couldn’t beat Rafa not playing anywhere near his best. IF Novak wins, everybody knows that Rafa hasn’t been at his best this clay season anyway, and Novak would have a rather more hollow victory over Rafa than if Rafa had been at his absolute best. So, in other words, it doesn’t matter! For Rafa it’s a win! win! situation.

    That’s my take on things and it makes me feel better to think this way. And Miri, thank you SO MUCH for creating this site where we can all express our words and feelings and thoughts on all matters Rafa.

  13. casmis says:

    Another thank you to Miri – definitely helps to have fellow fans to travel with through this FO. Last year, and for many years before, I have faced the FO with a combination of excitement and dread, feeling that it was just not possible for Rafa to do it again, regardless of his results during the clay court season – the law of averages would just have to catch up with him. Even with all of his success throughout his career, watching his matches has frequently been like being on a roller coaster, as he so often managed to pull himself out of what appeared to be an impossible hole and I am hoping for that same dynamic with this tournament. Even though, at this point the odds definitely do not appear to be in his favor, he has absolutely nothing to prove. His record is historic and it is only because beating him best of five at the FO is considered to be the hardest ask in tennis that the will he or won’t he speculation has reached epic proportions. Whatever happens on the tennis court, we know he will be the same impressive class act he always is – he won’t break rackets or scream obscenities at the crowd and he will have given the best of what he has to give.

  14. haddie says:

    I have been discussing the forthcoming FO on another forum with some hardened Djokovic fans.
    I have taken comfort in knowing that they are nowhere near as confident about a Novak win as you might think given the draw that he has.
    1. The sense of occasion.
    2. The expectation
    3. Playing the king on his home ‘turf’
    4. The courts will play differently to that of other clay courts played on recently
    5. BO5 and not BO3
    6. Rafa’s past history of raising his game at the FO
    7. Can he maintain the high level and consistency that he has had
    8. He desperately wants this GS

    All of this and more can affect Djoko’s performance. So all is not lost
    Rafa knows these courts and has had years of experience here.. so keep faith fellow Rafa fans

  15. CB says:

    Let me add my thanks to Miri for this site!

    So anxious for Rafa to get started at RG — guess we’ll have to wait until Tuesday.

  16. materijalmen says:

    I have to say a thank you for Miri. I think it was a real pain for him that he went to Italy and he saw what he saw…at least, you wish all the best for your beloved player when you go to watch a tournament…
    For the draw, and for the predictions…I am trying to see my realistiec side, I dont know what will happen, I wish all the best and tones pf luck for Rafa, is everything I can say. I will not say anything about who will win the tournament, and I am not interested in past nor in present because I think what I think…I just hope Rafa will face up with the inception he might need somebody new in his team. Everything might get a fresh restart. I am praying for his luck. And I am praying for myself too, because I just cannot get over of the pains of a lost RG tournament which is uncomparable with Rafas pain….

    • haddie says:

      just hope Rafa will face up with the inception he might need somebody new in his team. Everything might get a fresh restart.

      Oh no not again !!!

    • CB says:

      Of course, we all want Rafa to win everything, especially clay court tournaments and especially RG. But, as Rafa always says, it is only tennis. It won’t be a tragedy for anybody, even for Rafa, if he loses the French. He has won it more times than anyone could imagine. Of course, we want him to win. But if he doesn’t, life will go on, Rafa will go on.

  17. degard says:

    Dear friends,
    I am still in italy after attending the bnl in rome last week and will return to germany on thursday.
    I had the pleasure to watch rafa three times (and off course all the other top player roger, nole, david, …) and i would have loved to see him proceeding to the final like the year before, when i saw him first time at rg.

    • degard says:

      As you all i am worried about rg this year t
      But when i read the presser script where rafa made some simply, but profound notes about lieing (“At the end of the day, you can lie here but not on court.”) or about comparisons (“Comparisons will always happen when you have achieved a lot in the past”), it reminds me why i love this guy.

      • degard says:

        Sure, his playing style, his fighting spirit and his court fairness is outstanding.
        But what puts him apart from all the other great players is his mind set and insights in what really counts in life.

        So do not worry about the future. Weather he reaches the QF, loses to nole, retires or what ever.
        I am sure, his personality will grow further and – as he himself knows – life goes on and changes everything every minute

        Only this is guarantied.

  18. degard says:

    As you all i am worried about rg this year t
    But when i read the presser script where rafa made some simply, but profound notes about lieing (“At the end of the day, you can lie here but not on court.”) or about comparisons (“Comparisons will always happen when you have achieved a lot in the past”), it reminds me why i love this guy.