That perennial question.

Nadal or Djokovic. Who is the lesser of 2 evils in a grand slam draw? Specifically – who would you prefer in Paris:

Djokovic? An obvious choice, since he has a far greater losing record in Paris than Rafa. On the downside, your reward for beating him would most likely be a final against Rafa, which makes a mockery of the concept of ‘victory’.

Nadal? Much riskier choice, and by risky, I mean – the guy has lost just once in Paris, and so you have a 1 in 7 chance of being the Robin Soderling of 2012. On the up side, you’ll most likely save yourself the inevitable pain and humiliation of losing in a grand slam final, and head to the grass season early enough to be ready to roll at Queens/Halle.

So at the risk of making this sound like a drinking game: who would you rather?


xx doots

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14 responses to “That perennial question.”

  1. marcoiac says :

    I want Rafa. It’s about time that Fed kicks the bull’s ass in Paris. And if he doesn’t, he might as well lose in the SF. Assuming he gets there. You never know.

    Nole: I think he lost that crazy mental state of being possessed that he had last year. He doesn’t look insane anymore on the court. Can he get that wonderful insanity back to win RG? Maybe. However, I doubt it. I have the feeling he’ll never get that fire within back. He’ll win titles, for sure, but last year he was SO mentally possessed when on the court, he could have checked himself into a psychiatric ward. Weird stuff, the mind 🙂

    • dootsiez says :

      “Weird stuff, the mind” – of course YOU would say that, Mister Mirror Neurons.

      Nole strikes me as a player who is more affected by extraneous factors than just the quality of tennis being played on court – i.e. his own emotions, the reaction of the crowd, his family in the stand, and in the case of last year, I think the Davis Cup victory and his patriotism gave him a boost that propelled the amazing 12 months.

      Gut feeling says you’re right and that he has lost some of that fire. I think what he still has left is enough for a finals run though, and Federer will have to play very well and work with the French crowd to take him out should they meet in Paris.

      • marcoiac says :

        You know what? Fed hasn’t won with Rafa in a best-of-five match in about five years, which is an awfully, stinking long time. And yet, I am all pumped up at the idea that Fed can meet (and beat!) Rafa at RG. It’s totally irrational. I know that most likely it won’t happen. But hope never dies. When hope dies, you are clinically depressed. It’s a beautiful feeling, hope. The imagination runs wild, and you have these mental images of Fed dominating Rafa on clay. He’s done it before, even at RG, just for not enough time 🙂 somehow, he always, eventually unfolds when he hits against Rafa, especially at RG. But why does it have to happen all the time? Why can’t we hope for a change, for a glorious streak of three magnificent sets in which he imposes his will, his gorgeous hitting, his fabulous art of shotmaking?

        You know what’s my dream brain imaging scanning session? Scanning Fed!!! Put him in the scanner, and see what happens in that incredible brain of his when he thinks about tennis (he can’t really hit in the scanner, sadly :(), when he mentally rehearses his shots, his heart-breaking losses, his astounding victories. That’d be some neuroscience! 😀

  2. Carol says :

    I would rather both Djokovic and Nadal lose to John Isner and Milos Raonic in an early round. One can dream……….

    • dootsiez says :

      LOL Carol, you’ve picked 2 guys I would never think to pick against Rafa. To be blunt here – if Isner couldn’t get it done last year, he won’t ever.

      As for Raonic – unproven until proven.

  3. mattzemek says :

    It’s Djokovic.

    I know this isn’t a popular sentiment, but if you told me right now that Fed will lose to Rafa in the final after beating Djokovic, hey, sign me up.

    A final would be – to use Fed’s word – “fantastic.”

    The bigger hope is that snipers are lined up in the 4R-QF stages for Djokovic. (I don’t think there’s a sniper who can pick off Rafa at Roland Garros since Soderling is out.) I’d like to see Raonic in Djokovic’s round of 16 and Berdych in his QF match.

    PS – I do not consider Isner a threat to any of the big guys.

    • dootsiez says :

      What annoys me about Isner’s name being mentioned all the time by American media is that it is solely because of his lone victory over Federer on clay in their Davis Cup tie (and maybe pushing a fatigued and depressed Rafa to 5 sets at Roland Garros last year).

      The guy hasn’t exactly popped back on the radar this clay season either.

      And let’s be honest here – we’ve watched Federer in Davis Cup ties enough to know what kind of tennis he typically plays there.

      Like yourself, I’d be … content … with a finals showing, but as always, Federer should never count out any slam, even one that’s a bit of a ceremonious march for Rafa each year.

  4. BS says :

    Definitely Djokovic. Federer knows that he can beat Djokovic on any given day. He proved that last year when no-one expected him to do it. He knows how he has to play in order to beat Djokovic.If he were to play Djokovic in the semis I don’t believe that Federer would let an opportunity at a Grand slam final pass him by should he put himself in that position. He has revenge in his sights after the US Open.

    The thing with Federer and Nadal is simple. Nadal is in Federer’s head and no matter how hard Federer tries, he’s always going to have that mental block against him, especially on clay. The one interesting thing that I noticed this year is that it’s the first time since 2005 that Federer and Nadal have not played each other in any of the lead-up tournaments to Roland Garros. I just wonder how that might affect them both should they meet in Paris.

    I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing I dislike more than watching Fed lose to Rafa on clay. Even if it meant Fed getting to another grand slam final, I don’t know if I could watch it happen again.

  5. Tournament Junkie says :

    I am not sure who I want, my disdain for Rafa is temporarily blinding me. I may just be more invested in Rafa not having his clay security blanket this year. To be honest I just want Fed to emerge from RG rejuvenated and ready for grass and the summer. It doesn’t mean I don’t suffer from the hope that Fed might get a great win over Rafa some day.

    As for Nole I wonder if he didn’t conserve himself into a stupor. He has no fire this year; this maybe the DC slump we anticipated last year. But by the time I wake up, the draw will be set.

  6. pban says :

    Call me pessimistic but I have zero expectations from RG …….just want Fed healthy in the English stretch of the summer,with some help from the draw and a wet Wimby we can dream can’t we….

  7. steve says :

    Why can’t he beat both of them? He has to play who’s in front of him to win the title, and if it is Djokovic then Nadal (as it will most likely be should he make the semis), then that’s that.

    He clearly believes he can do it. If he didn’t he wouldn’t be the champion that he is.

    It doesn’t matter how well or poorly the other guys are playing, what matters is his level, which is better than it was even in 2004-06. Smoother strokes and movement, more efficient and aggressive play, and greater variation.

    Why is it that everyone gushes over Nadal’s supposed mental toughness and persistence in the face of defeat, yet when Federer states his belief that he can beat Nadal in the French Open, he’s called delusional? Who is the one who showed true persistence in the face of defeat? Who is the one who had to battle harder and longer to win the Career Slam? Who was the one who fought through 77 games under the watching eyes of Sampras himself to break Sampras’ own Grand Slam record?

    People are always rushing and falling all over themselves to tell us what Roger Federer CAN’T do. They practically wet themselves in fumbling eagerness as the words tumble out of them in a great rush, babbling excitedly about all the things that they think are impossible for Roger Federer. Every jackass on the Internet is a certified expert with a Ph.D. in Things Roger Federer Can’t Do. And it’s so, so urgent that they share their opinion with us all and that we all agree and are convinced that Roger Federer can’t do X, Y, and Z.

    Who frickin’ cares? What does it matter what he can’t do? I’m far more interested in what he is doing. He’s playing very well, if he wins he wins and if he loses he loses. End of story.

  8. Katarina_YYZ says :

    I’d prefer Roger got Nadal in the semi. If he loses there, I don’t have to watch that damn trophy ceremony again. Rafa’s hugs and biting the trophy, the runner-up plate, the photos together, etc. And no, I’m not saying he HAS to lose. If he beats Nadal in the semis, then he beat Nadal at RG; it doesn’t take anything away that it was in a semi and not a final. Of course it would kind of suck to then go on and lose the final (to whoever). But it doesn’t take anything away from the SF win.

  9. Caprice says :

    The less likelly scenario:

    If Federer gets Rafa in SF and beats him and then loses to Djokovic in F, then Federer would have helped Djokovic to avoid Rafa to claim the coveted 4 slams in a row, a huge achievement that propels him into the GOAT conversation.

    The more likely scenario:

    If Federer beats Djokovic in SF and then loses to Rafa in F, then he helps Rafa avoid Djokovic (plausibly the only player who can beat Rafa on clay) and gain another slam to his tally, allows him to encroach another step into Federer’s GOAT territory. Thing is, he has a better chance to reach the F and thus gaining ATP points for year end no 1.

    Of course, the best outcome is to beat both Rafa and Djokovic, it is possible but not probable. That being the case, and the fact that Federer has shown he is still very capable of reaching slam finals, he has a shot at year end no 1 and would be better off facing Djokovic in SF and try to reach the F. Beating Rafa in the F would be icing on the cake.

    It turns out Federer is drawn into Djokovic’s half, so this is the better scenario. However he has a top form Berdych in his quarter, and I expect that to be a very high quality and close match. Their h2h is 3-3 over the past 2 years and all matches were close except for Wimby 2010 when Berdych was red hot and WTF 2011 when Federer was untouchable.

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