The men’s final of the French Open will be played between nine-times Roland Garros Champion Rafa Nadal and 2015 winner Stan Wawrinka. The King of Clay ‘Rafael Nadal’ looks to achieve a unique record ‘La Decima’ which was never achieved before in Tennis history. Nadal is desperate to move on to 15 majors and to within three of the absent Roger Federer. Whereas Stan Wawrinka looks for his second French Open Title.
Rafael Nadal is 9-0 in French Open finals; Stan Wawrinka is 3-0 in Grand Slam finals. Rafa is the best ever on clay, but over the last three years, Stan had made himself into one of the game’s premier big-match players. Nadal is 15-3 against Wawrinka, but Stan has beaten (an injured) Rafa in a major final and has also beaten him on clay. Most important, if anyone has the shots to hit Nadal off the court, it’s Wawrinka.
Nadal’s 10th title would also put him into a tie with himself for the most titles at any tournament. This year he added titles No. 10 in both Monte Carlo and Barcelona and can do the same at Roland Garros. This would also be Nadal’s 15th Grand Slam title, moving him past Sampras for the second-most all time and putting him three behind Federer for the all-time lead.
Can Stan outlast Rafa?
After watching Wawrinka outlast Murray, you’d think — why not? Why can’t Wawrinka beat Nadal? It was impossible for him to do it three years ago in Melbourne too! It was more impossible to top Djokovic two years ago in this very match and even in last year Us Open Final! Surely he can do it again.
Just keep it simple. Nadal doesn’t have to do anything different to the way he has played all season. His unforced error count so far this tournament is exactly half of Stan’s. He will concentrate on the crosscourt forehand, and use the forehand up the line – which has been deeper and more consistent this season – to spread play.
As for Stan, he needs to avoid being pushed deep – both the men who have beaten Rafa at Roland Garros, Novak Djokovic and Robin Soderling, maintained an average position within a meter of the baseline – and play smart rather than ultra-agressive. Stan needs to return well not just by blocking or slicing the serve. Rafa would kill those slices.
Stan Wawrinka: Backhand Down the line
Rafa Nadal: Forehand Down the line
Match on Court Philippe Chatrier (Center Court)
Men’s Singles Final: Not Before: 3:00 PM Local Time. (6:30 PM IST)