Diego Schwartzman and Stefanos Tsitsipas have respectively beaten Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the past. The two players have come into the French Open 2020 semi-finals in fine form and with the confidence to defeat a tennis superstar each. However, only a few would bet against a Nadal-Djokovic final, given their consistency at this level.
While Schwartzman and Tsitsipas pose a strong challenge, both Nadal and Djokovic are chasing a title win that would be quite significant in the larger scheme of things.
Tennis legend Jim Courier threw further light on this and why he believes Nadal and Djokovic will come through in their semi-finals on Friday.
“There’s a huge piece of history on the line for both Novak and Rafa,” Courier said in an interview. “They’re most likely to win it – not that they are guaranteed to – but one of them is certainly the oddsmakers’ favorite.”
Courier feels there is no way a Nadal-Djokovic final won’t happen. “The two of them against the two challengers, we all expect Rafa or Novak to win don’t we? Of course we do. That’s a two-slam swing when it’s all said and done between those two players,” Courier expressed.
British tennis great Tim Henman echoed Courier’s thoughts and felt like “the final everyone wants to see” would be played on Sunday. “As much as I like the youngsters relatively come and bring it to it, I love to see this history while we still have the chance,” Henman said.
For Nadal, Schwartzman’s challenge is even tougher than usual. The Argentinian defeated Nadal for the first time just a couple of weeks ago. He also comes into the match on the back of a final at the Italian Open. While Courier feels that that will be a factor, he believes Nadal holds a clear advantage at Grand Slams.
“Best-of-five increases the degree of difficulty for a repeat of that performance. And also the fact that Rafa has now won five matches and played wonderfully in all of them, and has more momentum than he had in Rome when he was searching for his game,” Courier expressed.
Meanwhile, Djokovic battled injury issues in his quarter-final and also did not play his best tennis. But the win is what eventually matters, feels Henman.
“That’s what I think some people fail to realize sometimes in a sport like tennis. It’s not about playing perfect tennis, it’s just about being better than one player on a given day. Djokovic is so good at that,” Henman said.
The two men have 36 Grand Slam titles between them. If they prevail in their semi-finals, the title winner will create a big piece of history and bag the momentum in the Grand Slam race.