The first two tournaments that Rafael Nadal played during the clay court season, he dominated and seemed invincible. He won every set losing 5 games in a set only once the entire duration of the two tournaments.
After taking the Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open, Nadal faltered at the Madrid Masters. He ended up losing the the quarterfinal against Dominic Thiem who further lost the final to Alexander Zverev. Come the Italian Open and he faced Zverev in the final. He nearly lost the match before a quick spell of rain helped him get his momentum back. He ended up wining the match from the German.
Suddenly the last two tournaments have shown that the Spaniard is beatable. He isn’t an invincible as he seems to be. Zverev, Thiem and Djokovic can certainly challenge him, something that even Uncle Toni said.
Former Wimbledon Champion, Richard Krajicek, in his column for Telesport wrote how he doesn’t consider the current world number 1 as the guy who’ll take French Open very easily. He further named a few players who can challenge him for the title.
‘Two weeks ago, I was totally convinced that Nadal would win the French Open for the 11th time,’ Krajicek wrote.. ‘But now it seems that two men could seriously threaten him.
The first is Alexander Zverev, the German is very solid as the world no. 3 and who won three Masters 1000 titles. In the Rome Open final, he was going to win his fourth, but Nadal’s experience was a decisive factor.’ Krajicek also added, ‘Zverev is getting close to the big leaders’ level, (Roger) Federer and Nadal.
In the meantime, I see that Novak Djokovic is slowly, but definitely improving. I think that the French Open is coming too early for him, but he is a dangerous outsider. Zverev and Djokovic are the only two men that can keep Nadal off the title in Paris.’