The French Open concluded in anti-climactic fashion, with Rafael Nadal soundly defeating David Ferrer in straight sets Sunday. It was another memorable Grand Slam with plenty of interesting stories. In honor of Rafa’s 8th French Open title, ere are my 8 final thoughts on the tournament.
Same Ole’ Same Ole’- For the 8th time in 9 years, Rafael Nadal has won the French Open. He is undoubtably the greatest of all time on clay, and as each year goes by, his winning ways on the red clay become more and more remarkable. Even more remarkable is his ability to shrug off an extremely physical 4 and half hour semifinal, and then look completely unfazed two days later…which leads to thought number 2.
Suspicion- Doping in tennis is a very sensitive subject. Perhaps the two most scrutinized players when it comes to doping and steroids were both in the final. Nadal has an incredible ability to never get tired. He plays unbelievably physical matches, and then suddenly recovers completely for his next match. His injuries have raised many questions when in comes to doping, and the ITF has lenient at best testing policies. Nadal was also reportedly one of the athletes in the infamous Operation Puerto case, where hundreds of vials of blood were ordered to be destroyed by the court for some odd reason. Andy Murray tweeted: “Operacion puerto case is beyond a joke… biggest cover up in sports history? why would court order blood bags to be destroyed? #coverup“. Until a positive test becomes public, we will have to assume that he is clean.
Ferrer has a fair amount suspicion from fans and fellow players alike. He was a patient of Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral, who was accused of providing performance enhancing drugs to athletes and is being investigated by USADA. Ferrer is 31, yet he playing the best tennis of his life, and he also seemingly never gets tired. Maybe there is something in the water in Spain?
Rankings Movers: Notable movers include Tommy Haas, whose Quarterfinal run moves up to number 11 in the world, once again on the brink of the top ten. Remember, the guy is 35 years old. Benoit Paire is up to a career high #25, Kei Nishikori moves up 2 places to a career high #13, as does Kevin Anderson who is up to #23. Notable drops include Marcel Granollers who is down to #41, David Goffin who drops 26 places to #84, and Santiago Giraldo drops 17 places to #95.
French Disappointment- Jo Wilfried Tsonga was playing the best clay court tennis of his life, and after beating Roger Federer in straight sets, there was real hope amongst the French crowd that he could win the title. That hope came to a screeching halt when he played one of the more disappointing matches I remember him playing, getting absolutely crushed by David Ferrer in the Semifinals.
Unrealistic American Optimism- Some were saying this was a big improvement for the American on clay, but it really wasn’t. Sam Querrey was by far the most impressive, and even he only made it to the third round, where he blew a 2 sets to 1 lead over Gilles Simon. John Isner played a memorable match against Tommy Haas, but once again came up short. Ryan Harrison and Jack Sock each picked up wins, but they were over inferior opponents. Still not much doing for the Americans on clay.
Match Fixing- Tennis’ anti-corruption unit banned Russian player Sergei Krotiouk for life and given him a $60,000 fine after finding him guilty on 41 charges of rule violations. This happened during the French Open, so it didn’t get as much publicity as it probably should have. Krotiouk is the third player to get a life ban for match fixing charges. He reportedly asked 41 players to lose a set or a match. These players turned him in, and he is gone. Now it’s not like Krotiouk is a bigtime player, he was ranked #789 in the world. Still, things like this make us question the integrity of the game.
French Open Scheduling- The French organizers have continued to schedule this tournament very poorly. The men’s and women’s quarterfinal matches were played at the same time on consecutive days, not allowing fans enough coverage of each match. It needs to change soon. And by soon, I mean next year.
Let’s Get Ready for Grass- It’s an incredibly fast transition to the grass court season, with only two week before Wimbledon. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m excited.
What are your guys final thoughts on this years French Open? Let me know by leaving a comment.