French Open R1 previews and predictions: Fognini vs. Tiafoe, Zverev vs. Verdasco

Fellow seeds and recent Rome opponents Fabio Fognini and Alexander Zverev will begin their Roland Garros campaigns on Monday. Fognini is facing Frances Tiafoe, while Zverev hopes to keep his hot streak going a the expense of Fernando Verdasco.

Frances Tiafoe vs. (28) Fabio Fognini

Fognini and Tiafoe will be squaring off for the first time in their careers when they clash in round one of the French Open on Monday. This is a showdown between two considerable talents who are unafraid to play high-risk, high-reward tennis from the back of the court. At just 19 years old, Tiafoe is starting to put it all together and he is being rewarded with a ranking of No. 66 in the world (one spot off his career-high). The American won two clay-court Challenger titles this spring, so his preparation for Roland Garros has been just about ideal.

The same cannot be said for Fognini, who has other things on his mind aside from tennis at the moment. He pushed Nadal to three sets in Madrid and showed signs of making a big run at home in Rome by upsetting world No. 1 Andy Murray in the second round, but his motivation level dipped against Alexander Zverev one match later with the birth of his first child imminent. That birth did, in fact, take place during the Rome event. The 29th-ranked Italian has been his typical self in 2017, with wild fluctuations in form (from a semifinal showing in Miami, for example, to five-opening match losses). This is a massive opportunity for Tiafoe to pick up his second–and biggest–Grand Slam main-draw win.

Pick: Tiafoe in 5

(9) Alexander Zverev vs. Fernando Verdasco

Zverev has been one of the best players on the entire tour this season and he is coming off the biggest title of his career at the Rome Masters, but the French Open draw gave him no rewards. The 20-year-old German could face Pablo Cuevas in the third round and Kei Nishikori in the last 16 just to reach the quarterfinals. Before that, however, Zverev must survive an opening date with Verdasco on Tuesday. The head-to-head series stands at 1-1, with Verdasco getting the job done 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-3 on the indoor hard courts of Metz before Zverev just recently prevailed 7-5, 6-3 in the Madrid first round.

Zverev’s Rome run included wins over Fognini, Milos Raonic, John Isner, and Novak Djokovic–the latter via a 6-4, 6-3 victory in the final. He is into the top 10 for the first time and he is somewhere between confident enough and cocky enough to know he belongs there–and thus he is likely to stay there rather than fizzle out. Verdasco, a former top 10 player (career-high of No. 7) , currently finds himself at 37th now that he appears to have exited his prime at 33 years old. The Spaniard, who is a mediocre 14-11 this season, will likely be the victim of too many backhand-to-backhand rallies against the red-hot Zverev.

Pick: Zverev in 4

85 Comments on French Open R1 previews and predictions: Fognini vs. Tiafoe, Zverev vs. Verdasco

  1. Well I just hope that you not comparing Tiafoe to Zverev and challenger events to Grand Slams. Don’t you? Or do you. No you did. OK. Good.

    Fog and Zverev FTW.

    #HawkstradamusRising
    #NoleIsBack

  2. I would love to see Tiafoe get this win, but don’t think it’s going to happen. Fog may be preoccupied right now as a new father, but I still think he will prevail in 4 sets.

    Thanks to Ricky for the nice words about Zverev. I do agree that he has the Rafa gut amount of confidence versus cockiness to stay in the top ten. I have had my eye on him for a while and saw the potential. He should be able to handle a Nando who is past his prime. I think Zverev could get it done in 3 sets, but will hedge a bit in saying that Nando might get s set.

    • Zverev has the right amount of confidence and cockiness! How did auto correct put Rafa in there! *

  3. I can’t decide for a winner in Tiafoe v Fognini. Probably Tiafoe in maybe straight sets. But I would think FF will fight since it’s FO. Be sad if he didn’t. He’s not getting any younger. Forza Fabio!

    Sascha is my pick but this isn’t going to be easy, I don’t think.

  4. An in form A Zverev vs an over the hill (and his hill wasn’t that high at its peak) Verdasco? No brainer. At this point I might pick MZ over Fer.

    Tiafoe vs Fognini is a tougher choice. Is the kid there yet? Is new daddy’s head elsewhere? I’ll go with Francis in 4.

    • Ramara,

      I had the same battle as you. For the same reasons. For what it’s worth, i hope you are right.

      • Ramara,

        I should clarify that my previous comment @ 7:48 pm was addressing your take on the Fog/Tiafoe match. I am still second guessing that one.

    • For myself, the WTA is infinitely more difficult. Too unpredictable these days. I am already kicking myself for picking Kerber to even win a match or two. She’s out. Kerber needs some help to turn things around.

      Mugu has been slumping, Aga is not doing much, Halep is once again injured and nobody seems ready to step up.

      • Nny,

        It’s strictly just for laughs – laugh at how hopeless picking currently is for WTA – that’s why I made 3 brackets and still I won’t come close! Also it would help me to SEE the matches! Most of the time there’s no coverage of WTA in the USA.

        But it was great to see and watch brave Petra Kvitova win her first round match in her comeback after her horrific stabbing attack – and get a look at the talented 15 year old Amanda Anisimova from New Jersey.

        • rc,

          Yes it really is for laughs these days. It has s hard when you can’t even see the women’s matches to get a sense of where the players are at with their form.

          I am so glad that you mentioned the return of Kvitova! I got to see highlights of that match and was moved to tears when she won. Her reaction said it all! What a great moment! They say she usn’t fully healed yet with her hand, but just to see her on the court was inspiring! It made my day!
          ?

  5. Yeah I did my WTA bracket at 4am this morning and it took me 15 minutes . Only one Big Al though.
    Kerber and Goerges out already – so that’s two out of my last 16 gone.
    I went for a once-again injured Halep over Mladenovic in the final, as you say its just for laughs these days.

  6. Actually the Slams is the only WTA coverage I get now- Eurosport.

    Don’t know much about Tiafoe – must be good on clay, when everyone is picking him over Fabio .

    Zverev in four .

    • Actually slams are not WTA which is why you can still see the women play there. I don’t really follow the women’s tour so I don’t know what it is with the WTA and TV rights these days. I believe in the US the rights now belong to a network called BEIN, which relatively few people get and which only intermittently exercises said rights.

      Possibly with the state the WTA tour is in these days they figure the fewer who see it the better?

  7. Well done Verdasco, takes the first set. Let’s see how both of them will do next.

    BTW, why is Ferrer being so poor lately, can’t even figure out how to break Young’s serves after so many games?

    • And Zverev takes the second.

      Ferrer seems to have had an extended run of poor-mediocre form, I wonder if he’s just getting close to the end of his career now.

      • That’s what I think. It’s gettIng close to the end for Ferrer.

        So Zverev is in a real match! Nando stlll has some life in him yet.

        Play suspended. That is going to play havoc with the schedule tomorrow.

        We’ll have to see how Zverev handles himself in the third set tomorrow.

  8. David Ferrer won! Congrats Daveed!
    Herbert won. 🙂
    And Fognini is going to win…yesss!

    A bit worried about Sascha losing that first set.

    • Oh, so Ferrer pulled it out in the end! Good! Very happy for him! I don’t know how much longer he can keep going. It’s not getting any easier.

      Fog had a battle with Tiafoe. Looks like Tiafoe ran out of gas in that fifth set.

      I had to go out, so I didn’t see Sascha. I am also a bit concerned. After so much hype over him as someone who could go deep.

    • Reactions from Herbert and Ferrer were awesome, especially Ferrer’s. I felt bad for Young even though I typically don’t like him very much.

      • I am totally okay with Ferrer gutting out that win. For one thing, I picked him in my bracket. For another, I like him and don’t like Young.

        • Fognini is very experienced at going 5 sets. I thought he’d be sneaky and steal it in the 5th. Poor Francis will know about him next time!

          • Yes, Fog is the cagey veteran. But he was up two sets and Tiafoe won the next two sets to even it up. I think that may have taken too much out of him. I picked Fog to win this one.

            • Definitely Fabio didn’t mean to lose the third set but since he did, I noticed he seemed to take his foot off a bit. I think it’s either win in 3 or win in 5 for FF in these cases. It takes a lot of confidence to win like that.

              Good match from Tiafoe – he came close. Next time Francis!

  9. Fog wins in five.

    Challengers are not slams.

    Congrats to Me. Another awfully good pick.
    (Commies to Ricky.)

    #HawkstradamusRising
    #NoleIsBack

  10. Heh heh heh!…And there goes my Bracket Sascha!..And i picked you to the final!…Isk!Isk!

    • MA,

      Uh oh! I picked him to get to the quarterfinals I think. I would have to go back and check. I just had a feeling he wasn’t ready to go deep here.

      At least Nishi is doing better up a break in the second set. These early rounds are nerve wracking.

      But I know that you picked Rafa for the final! So hopefully you will be half right!
      ?

      • Hey Nny!…U picked Sascha through to the SF…and u picked Stan to the final…at least stan still alive and breathing Nny!Hehe…But as u said..as long as Rafa win…hey hey!..that’s enough right?..Woohoo!!

        • MA,

          Oh no! I thought that I changed that one because I had second thoughts about him! Yikes! Remember when I said that I was going to change some of my picks? I did have doubts about Zverev going deep. But I guess that I never changed it. Oh well! But I still thought he would do better than losing in the first round.

          • Nny!!…Hahaha!..that’s okay Milady!There’s a 100 something players still playing…Sascha lost don’t mean a thing!..But more importantly…Our Rafa is still playing Nny!!..and not only playing..he seems like a man possessed!!!..Urgh!!Scary!!

  11. Zverev lacking against the experienced Nando. Once Nando got in the groove, Sasha was out of his depth, out of ideas.

    • Joe Smith claimed Zverev was a threat to Djok and Rafa! Ha ha ha! Just because he beat Djok at Rome. Joe obviouslydoesn’t watch tennis ( what does he watch? ). If he had, he would have known a Slam is a different animal.

      • Definitely, especially on clay Mary.

        He’ll be great I think (not like the Big 3 – more like a Becker) but give him time people.

  12. In Germany Alex Zverev is our great new tennis hope. But frankly, while he is incredibly talented – his recent good results are certainly not a fluke – I don’t like him very much. I don’t know, why. He is still very young,though, and has to mature. Maybe, I will reconsider eventually.
    I picked Verdasco for the win, btw. On talent alone Zverev should’ve won. But while Verdasco is a little crazy, he’s a leftie and also a very experienced clay court veteran. And he’s certainly not without talent 😉 It’s more a question of him making use of it. But when he’s on he can go toe to toe with the best of them, as Rafafans know only too well. Also, Zverev might’ve been a little exhausted after his reasonably successfull clay court season. He also sorely lacks slam and best-of-five experience. Verdasco was a less than ideal first round opponent for him.
    I’m glad that Fabio won. Not exactly an easy personality but he and his tennis are one-of-a-kind.

    • Well said littlefoot. I want to like him but jury is still out.

      Never thought I’d like Kyrgios but I’m a fan today and my reservations on Sascha are far less on what they were on Kyrgios a few years ago.

      • Hawkeye, I have changed my mind often. And since I’m not exactly fixated on a specific playing stile (although I dislike ace machines simply because their matches can be so boring), I mostly go by a player’s demeanor on court and their personality. But since I don’t really know them, it happens quite often that I learn new things about a player which change my mind. Kyrgios’ anti-Trump t-shirt certainly didn’t increase my initial dislike 😉
        Once upon a time I actually liked a certain young hot headed, pony-tailed and incredibly talented 19-year old player called Roger Federer 😉 But that player eventually morphed into a Goat and his game became a religious experience for many fans. While I absolutely respect his incredible achievements, he’s just not my cup of tea anymore. So, it goes both ways. Sometimes I start to dislike players later in their career.

        • Wow, you don’t see many fedfans change their mind once they are fans. Well, I suppose that’s not just fedfans.

          Yeah, for me it’s all the hype, fawning and preferential media for me. I actually love watching him play and his ability to maintain confidence for so long (other than 2013 largely due to his back). At times, he seems extremely likable and friendly and other times he comes across so arrogant.

          Yeah, the only guy I can think of who I soured on was Wawrinka. Once he started winning, he also started coming across as quite arrogant.

          More common for me is not liking a player at first only to warm up to him eventually (e.g., Mardy Fish, Kyrgios, Berdych).

          I can go either way with Zverev, too early to tell.

          But Kyrgios. Just so much unique and natural talent. And flawed which I have a soft spot for. I love that he doesn’t get rattled in terms of feeling pressure – interesting to see if he can keep this ability if he starts winning tournaments and expectations rise. I hate it when players feel pressure, get anxious and can’t play to their potential – a very human trait, but frustrating to see. So I love it when a player can just let loose and throw inhibitions to the wind. I love his ability to pull off trick shots in tight situations. I hope he never loses that. He’s still the most exciting young gun for my money with the most potential if he can just commit to wanting it for himself.

          • I disliked Fed from the beginning, loved Rafa and Muzz from first glimpse, liked Nole but disliked him later, hated Serena when she first appeared but now for many years I have been a big fan…
            I don’t think I will ever like Kyrgios or Zverev or Thiem.

            • I watched Kyrgios vs Kohls this morning for about 20 minutes and for at least five shots, my jaw would drop in disbelief or I would laugh at the audacity of his shot selection, intuition and creativity.

              I also see a concerted effort to improve his behaviour, while keeping positive sides of his personality and creativity. He needs a seriously good coach but I don’t think anyone wants to go near him, and I can’t blame them for the most part.

              I’m certainly glad you don’t see his obviously abusive father around anymore. I bet you Nick was physically and emotionally abused as a kid. I wonder why his father is not on the scene anymore but it can only mean good things for Kyrgios. I think Agassi would have been good for him but no way Agassi wants the commitment required to handle Nick. Cahill possibly.

              But, yeah, I can certainly see why you can’t warm up to him too.

          • Hawkeye, I probably was never a “true” or ardent fan of Fed – whatever that means anyway. But I liked him well enough initially and looked forward to follow his career trajectory. But when he suddenly started to win everything left and right I got bored stiff by the lack of resistance and true competition during the early years on his path to goatness. And then the fawning, adoration and favoritism started, as well as the total lack of critical distance by most journalists. I’ve never seen anything like it before in the history of tennis. And Fed seemed to relish it all and accept it as his birth right. The last straw was the unfortunately often quoted article: “…Federer as religious experience…”. Being a Fed fan had turned into a cult for some people. When I watch sports I want to have a good time, see great matches, and, like you, I have a soft spot for the technically and mentally flawed ones, because I find it interesting and exciting to see how they cope and overcome their mental or technical limitations. If I want to see artistic perfection and elegance I can go and see Swan Lake performed by the Bolshoi Ballet. And IMO one should never ever settle an athlet with the impossible burden of having to provide a religious experience, especially since this is an incredible insult of the opponent. It implies somehow that the universe is off kilter if the other guy wins – as if evil triumphed over good.
            In the beginning when Rafa appeared on my personal tennis horizon, I was just thrilled that finally someone wasn’t afraid and had the guts to challenge Fed seriously not just on clay but also on hard court and to my immense surprise even on gras! And he did it in a totally unorthodox way. Tennis became interesting again. And while others called Rafa’s style brutish and grinding, I could and still can see as much artistry as in Fed’s game. It is just a very different art form. And right from the beginning I saw a fierce tactical intelligence behind all his muscles and his early pirate exterior, as well as certain psychological issues he had/has to deal with. Fed’s apparent perfection eventually turned me off. And I can understand those tennis fans who think that the clay court season has become predictable and boring – especially during Rafa’s peak, when he came very close to being perfect as well. But when this happened I was a real fan of the guy and therefore of course never bored by his often lopsided wins and his crazy winning percentage 😉

            • I’m a Fed fan but I like a lot of other players too and usually it’s for their game styles. I love to watch Roger because I just think his game is so smooth to watch and I like the avariety of his game. Stan I love to watch because of the tennis he produces in the biggest matches. So much unbelievable and jaw dropping shotmaking. I really enjoy Kyrgios for that exact reason. A little strange that both Kyrgios and Wawrinka are my two favorite players behind Roger ?

            • Interesting, Littlefoot. I go mostly on style, like Benny, so I like many of the same players. My favourite might be Dolgopolov, who I think hits the most jaw dropping shots when he’s on. He lacks the consistency, unfortunately, but when he’s red-lining it’s pretty spectacular. Like others I’m not a big fan of the huge servers. However, I think Isner gets a bad rap, because he really does try (and sometimes succeeds) to play a more rounded game.

            • littlefoot,

              Interesting to read your take on players you like and thoughts on Fed.

              I have spoken in the past of how I finally had to give up my passion for tennis due to Fed’s dominance and inability of other players to challenge him. I found in quite boring to see him winning all the time. Because I stopped watching, I missed the rise of Rafa.

              People urged me to watch this Spanish player named Nadal. Finally my curiosity got the better of me and I tuned in to the 2007 Wimbledon. That was my first glimpse of Rafa and that was all I needed. I was hooked! I had the same feeling I had when I watched Borg. I knew Rafa was my one and only the moment i saw him play. But the biggest surprise was when I saw him play Fed in the final. This young man came out and just took the fight to Fed. No fear! I was amazed watching him go toe-to-toe with Fed for five sets. Rafa lost that one and I had tears over his loss. But I found a reason to watch tennis again and I k we he would be back even better next year.

              For myself, I have taken a liking to young Zverev. I have watched him closely and see some things that stand out to me. He’s got a little sass and some attitude, but what I really like is how mentally tough he is and just hangs in there and keeps fighting. I have watched him come up with brilliant shots to turn the dynamic of a match in his favor. He is incredibly talented and has great potential. I don’t like to make predictions. But I believe that he has the mindset of a champion and that is something you cannot teach. If he continues to work hard and improve his fitness, then he can do great things in this sport.

              It’s funny that I have warmed up
              to Zverev over Thiem and Goffin. I respect the talent of those two guys quite s but, but I just connect more with Zverev. We like who we like.

              Kyrgios turned me off with his attitude and antics on the court. I cannot abide that kind of behavior. He doesn’t appreciate the opportunity he has and the privilege of playing this sport. Only recently has he given me reason to tolerate him more. When he settles down and just plays his game, then I can appreciate his talent.

            • littlefoot. Well said.

              Always appreciated Feds talent but hated when media referred to Rafa as a brute. Always looking to marginalize Rafa in favour of Fed because of the threat he posed to his legacy.

              Today when Verdasco beat Sachs, Jon Wertheim referenced his slam win over Rafa last year in Australia.

              When Delpo won today, US Open tweeted true or false, Delpo beat Rafa there losing just six games. Never ends and you never see them bring up Feds past losses. Ridiculously sad.

            • I’ve felt similarly in some ways littlefoot, although I remain a fan of Federer more than any of the other big four. I didn’t see a lot of early, occasional-outburst pony-tail Fed, I think at that point I was kind of indifferent. During his early slam years, however, I did not like him. It was like watching this ice cold technical robot dominate the field. It was like he was on another level, and he would crush his opponents and barely even react, like it was no big deal, like he thought it was just who he was. I remember being happy and surprised when Safin beat him at the 2005 AO. The rage-filled but somewhat tragic and very human Russian had defeated the ice-cold Fed-bot.

              When I saw Nadal for the first time at that tournament, I didn’t really like him either. I had to admire the tenacity and the relentless ball-striking, but I didn’t particularly like watching his style, and he always seemed to have this scowl on his face. Later I realised that this look was not really who he was, he was not at all humourless or overly serious, but I still didn’t really take to the style of play.

              Not particularly liking either player, I wasn’t too invested either way in the rivalry in its infancy, although I thought it was good that *someone* was really taking it up to Fed. At some point though it became clear that Nadal was getting the better of things, and Federer, for the first time in ages, could not find the answers. His demeanour didn’t really change, but with the seeming aura of invincibility rapidly dissipating, I saw the Fed-bot just reduced to another player. Still winning slams, but losing that grip. Strangely, I found myself wanting him to come ‘back’, and for his style of play, which I had always admired (even though I didn’t like Fed himself) more than that of most other players, to somehow prevail.

              Of course, this whole ‘invincible aura’ thing around Fed and the style of play meant that this rather fake brand had been created, one that centred on perfection and ‘classiness’. And yes, to the point of religiousness. ‘Omg, Roger is just so classy and perfect’ you might hear some numbskull adorned in an ‘RF’ cap say. But I’ve never really cared for that sort of thing, I don’t admire Federer for his personality or personal interests. There is a sizeable degree of phoniness with such things, a manufactured, curated PR image that is not in-line with reality. This is the case with most players, but the case of Fed is particularly notable, but also interesting. I remember these awfully phony advertisements with Federer, Tiger Woods and some other best-of-the-best type sportsperson, extrapolating their champion sporting abilities into who they (supposedly) were as people. We saw Woods lose face long ago, his image fell away and much of his game along with it. Is Federer really *anything* like the RF brand? Possibly not, but who really knows. At this point even he may not quite know himself, having carried this persona, this appearance, for so long.

            • Hey, thanks everybody for contributing their thoughts. I find it very interesting to look at the reasons for other people’s preferences. We are all tennis fans, and yet we seem to have very different perceptions. Sometimes it seems to just a question of getting to know a player’s personality and individual history a little better.
              I’m a huge Dolgopolov fan btw, which is mostly frustrating unfortunately 😉
              I became a Nick Mahut fan after he lost the three-day match against Isner, simply because I felt that he was so heartbroken after losing that bizarre match. And it seemed to be his destiny that he would be always remembered as the grandest loser in the history of tennis. Bad luck and Nick Mahut seemed to be made for each other. But then he met Pierre-Hugues Herbert, and in this partnership he suddenly turned his career around and became the owner of two GS titles in Doubles, one of them won at Wimbledon, the place of his worst loss!

    • Yeah fabio has unbelievable racket skills. He hits shots so hard with almost no transferring of his body weight or footwork at all.

      • MA,

        You are so sweet! I have told this story before, but not recently. Since you have joined the site recently, you never heard the story.

        Yes, Rafa brought me back to tennis! I have been able to go back and see some of his matches from 2004 to mid 2007. I still am just blown away by his fearlessness when he played Fed even as a teenager. Simply extraordinary!

        Rafa became the second tennis love of my life. Borg was my first and I have spoken about how he broke my heart when he walked away from the game so young. I never really got over it.

        That’s why it was so special for me to find Rafa. He has stayed in the game and I just admire him so much for hanging in there and not giving up.

        There have been ups and downs, great victories and really tough losses. But I would not have missed this ride for anything!
        ??

        • Hey Nny!…It’s very exciting to hear your story!Thank u for telling me!…And i understand how u felt about Borg…i can’t imagine what i’m gonna feel if the same thing happen to rafa!..In fact i’m dreaded the time when he will announce to the world that he’s done with tennis…I think i’m going to cry and moody for days!!hehehe….

          And Nny!…Because of rafa that we’ve met!…and other Rafans on here too…U guys are so special to me..that’s another thing that we have to thank Rafa for…Yeah…he’s sooooo special!

  13. Also can’t get enough of Muller’s game. Personally I freaking love watching serve and volley players so I love watching guys like Muller, Herbert, Mahut, etc. Also Brown Monfils Willis cuz they got a little bit of everything.

  14. I definitely prefers a tactical brain, a strategic game over most others. Most good to great players have good enough racket skills, but not everyone can have a good tennis brain, just like not everyone is blessed with creativity. So for me, good tennis brain + creativity + great tennis/racket skills will give me an exciting player to watch.

  15. NNY, Rafa certainly can/could make people like him the first time we see/saw him play! I, like you, was immediately captivated by Rafa’s style of play – his passion, his never gave up attitude, his relentless pursuit of every point, his joy when he won the point, very often leaping into the air doing his fist pumping, his fearless fight vs Fed. I was thinking to myself, how could anyone not like a player who gave his all out there?

    The first match I saw of Rafa was against Fed; like you I was told of this Spanish kid who could beat Fed when everybody else couldn’t, so I made a point to watch a Fed match, vs this kid. From then it’s all Rafa for me!

    Rafa wasn’t a flawless hero, unlike that Fed where everybody except me thought of him (Fed) as perfect. From the beginning, I’d already disliked Fed, from the smug look he had, each time he defeated a player like Roddick, who looked helpless against Fed. Rafa despite his not so great serve, not yet well rounded or polished game back then, was already good enough to beat most guys, not without some roller coaster type of ups and downs in some of his matches, where his mental fortitude was put to the test and many times he passed those test!

    What’s fascinating about Rafa and his style of play that some people don’t appreciate, is that it’s more difficult to play his style with success and for so long, than Fed’s style for example. It’s not about Fed’s varieties etc that I’m talking about (recognizing his great varieties and not many players could play like him), but it’s about his first strike tennis style vs Rafa’s counter punching style. To me it’s more challenging to play the counterpunching style to win, than playing first strike tennis to win.

    Rafa could play the counterpunching style for so long and he’s still winning matches and big titles, it’s certainly a difficult thing to do, when most counterpunchers would have been gone or become irrelevant by Rafa’s age now. Rafa is certainly a special player in my eyes, for not only surviving for so long despite all his injuries, but still remaining relevant and fighting for big titles and staying in the top ten since 2005!

    • Lucky,

      Thanks so much for sharing how you found Rafa! Great to read! You expressed so many of the things I loved about him and his game and the passion and fire he brought to his matches! You and I saw the same things in Rafa that appealed to us. Thank you for saying it all so well! I always loved the counter puncher. That’s why I loved Borg! I enjoy that kind of tennis more than Fed’s brand. While I respect Fed’s game as a tennis fan, his persona on court left me cold.

      I couldn’t bear to watch Roddick get beaten I over and over by Fed. I think Fed really got in Roddick’s head with all those losses he suffered.

      You have such a wonderful tennis mind and really got to the heart of what makes Rafa so special!

      Thanks again for sharing!
      ?

    • Yeah Lucky!…Agree with Nny!…It’s really great to read your version of Rafa and everything that related to him…Thank u for writing such a wonderful ‘analysis’ about Rafa Lucky!!..And i’m looking forward to read more of your great tennis mind and opinion here Lucky….It’s a pleasure…

  16. I Have always have appreciated Federers talent and artistry for the game, its just the nauseating fawning that some of his fans bestow upon him that gets irritating, Virginia Wade, Annabelle Croft oh my goodness talk about OTT, even some of the commies cant resist bringing him up in matches, even though hes not even playing the FO, watching the Tsonga match yesterday and i think it was Chris Bradman that said about Olivio that was sublime Federer like, go figure ….

  17. @ littlefoot MAY 30, 2017 AT 8:52 PM
    I wish there was a facility for ‘like’ on Tenngrand. It was the excessive media adulation and promotion of Fed that turned me off plus I don’t like his game unless when he is pushed. I hated how players used to feel privileged to play against him, virtually handing him matches because they felt they shouldn’t beat him. Farah actually said so after failing to serve for the match against Federer at Wimbledon in 2010, losing the final set 60 to Federer because he didn’t want to beat him.

    Rafa on the other hand, didn’t buy into the adulation and got the upper hand against Fed right from his first match. So did Murray and Djokovic. Rafa says the ‘right’ things that all players are expected to say such as Federer is the greatest etc. but can’t really believe it deep down. I prefer Rafa’s style 100% because he plays tennis like a sport not an art. As you say, if I want ballet I know where to go definitely not to a tennis tournament.

  18. Yeah agree its about playing to win, not playing to make up the numbers, what i loved about Rafa is he just concentrated on his game and what he was doing, rather than being intimidated by the Federer aura, although Rafa has said he has great respect for Federer and how amazing he is, he certainly doesnt beat it all to the ground ….

  19. We are so lucky to have Lucky!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Have been an ardent fan of her wisdom, astute analysis and fair mindedness for years.

    • Even after Tsonga won that 3rd set, and had the home crowd behind him, it never really seemed like he was in control & would turn things around. His level just kept going up and down, and he looked v frustrated. He’d string a few winners together, but then multiple UE’s would follow in the next game. Olivo just kept his head down and his level steady, a great win for him.

    • I am not surprised that Tsonga lost. He didn’t look that good and wasn’t playing his best. Olivo played well and deserved the win,

  20. RT @sportdw: The 6th favourite for the French Open (Alexander Zverev) is yet to beat a top 50 player in a best-of-5 set match in his career…

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