Roland Garros Preview: A Conference of Anti-Experts. Pt 1
Ahead of the French Open, your Aussie blog mistresses – Doots, PJ and LJ – convened for a cosy fireside chat of the anti-experts in place of your usual ‘draw analysis’, pointless predictions, and French Open themes. Best enjoyed with a glass of wine, a hint of sarcasm, and a dash of hope.
Read on and enjoy!
Doots: So I posed a question on the blog yesterday about the lesser of two evils between Rafa and Novak. Obviously now that Roger has drawn Novak, this is kinda redundant but what did either of you think about which is the “easier” side?
PJ: I actually hope for Federer to land on Rafa’s side of the draw. If I have to take another 2011 redux where he plays brilliant to beat Satan and then fart to Rafa in the final…I may just jump into Yarra River.
Doots: But surely a final is better than a semifinal?
LJ: It is, but fuck – losing another French final to Rafa? Seriously every time I venture onto the Roland Garros website, I cry a little looking at the scoreline.
Doots: I was in the Rafa for semis camp, because I figured it would at least give him a few more days to settle onto grass if he loses, but when I saw the draws, I have to say I breathed a sigh of relief that he had drawn Novak.
PJ: I agree – a final is better than semifinal. But I cannot take Fed losing another Slam final to Rafa. And also – I have Wimbly/Olympic dreams. If Roland Garros has to be forgone … so be it.
LJ: I can give up Roland Garros, but I don’t think he will.
PJ: Nah the fucker wouldn’t. He’s too competitive to consider giving one up for the other. He wants everything.
Doots: It’s not about competitiveness, it’s about professionalism and confidence. As a possible GOAT, I think it would be outrageous for Federer not to go into every slam with the professional mindset that he can win this thing and to treat it as his immediate and utmost priority.
LJ: as for which half is tougher, I think both halves are actually quite balanced. I bitch about Rafa having the easy quarter but Muzz has Isner and Ferrer in that half, so it’s not easy. And look I think if he [Federer] loses, he loses. We lived through Soderling and Berdych for fuck sake.
PJ: Both halves are balanced … in the sense that Fed and Muzzface get the nightmares and Rafa and Djoko get the sweet dreams.
Doots: I dunno about that, PJ. I think a person’s perception of the draw is very subjective. Let’s look at the quarters 1 by 1.
Nole’s quarter: He has Tsonga on the other hand, PJ’s lover possibly second round. Gulbis or Davydenko.
PJ: PJ’s lover? Errrr.
Doots: You know you totally still have the hots for Lleyton. Don’t deny it.
PJ: That is not in the discussion, Doots. Boo.
LJ: Dangers: Melzer 3rd and Verdasco 4th round.
Doots: You think Verdasco is still capable of posing a danger to anyone, his Madrid win notwithstanding?
PJ: Verdasco lost to Ferrer R2 in Rome
LJ: But that was Ferrer.
Doots: Everyone outside the Top 4 loses to Ferrer. That’s forgivable. Any foreseeable upsets in this section?
LJ: Belluci taking out Troiciki. I don’t think Novak will have a problem but its not easy. And I know I just gave Verdasco topsm but Muller might be difficult, and Malisse might take out Simon.
PJ: I hate to say this but I have a feeling, Cipolla over Wawarinka. Stan’s been kinda a tomato can. Cipolla likes the dirt.
Doots: Fair enough. Moving on. Federer’s quarter –
LJ: NALBY. FUCK
Doots: I think everyone panicked when they saw the names BERDYCH and DEL POTRO. What do we think: Cupcake? Muffin? Brick? Titanic 3D?
LJ: BRICK, but only at quarters. I think he’ll be fine until then, if Fat Dave turns up, it’ll be fine. Roddick hates clay, and Lopez isn’t a claycourter either. And then, it can either be Delpo or Berdych, I’ll have ulcers either way.
PJ: Brick, but Nalby is tricky. If Fit Dave turns up, it’ll be like Acasusco 2009 or worse.
Doots: Acasuso took Federer by surprise. Nalbandian – not so much. He and Federer know each other’s game too well, so on the day, it very much comes down to execution. Nalbandian at his best, in his prime, might have a chance. I think given their current forms, Nalbandian should be the least of our worries.
PJ: Going by form and recent play, I don’t expect Berd to be troubled till R4 against Delpony. BUT he lost to Steve Darcis last year R1. So depending which Berd turns up to play, he may lose to Lopez second round or something.
LJ: and Delpo should be fine until Berdych. That would be my pick match for round 4. Delpo vs Berdy.
Doots: I know this is a little far fetched, but I’d love to see old Ferrero pull an upset.
LJ: Nah, I don’t think Juanqui has the legs for best of 5.
Doots: Poor Juanqui. I used to feel the same way about him as I do now about Ferrer – boredom. But some people do grow on you like benign tumours.
PJ: Ferrero over Cilic wouldn’t be such a shocker.
LJ: actually, I wouldn’t be surprised. Cilic hasn’t been very consistent, and if conditions are slow and plays to Ferrero …
PJ: Round 1 danger in Fed’s quarter to me is actually del Potro and Montanes. Montanes is no potato can.
Doots: Yes he is. You only say that because of Estoril . And let’s face it – Federer would’ve lost to a lot of people that day, let alone a guy who has been consistently top 40 most of his career.
LJ: oh god Estoril. You hope they won’t be playing in MUD on Phillip Chatrier.
Doots: For me the real shame is Mahut v Roddick. WHAT IS WITH MAHUT’S UNCANNY ABILITY TO DRAW HARD SERVING AMERICANS FIRST ROUND?
LJ: Oh god yes, WTF TENNIS GODS??
PJ: They may do the Roland Garros version of Isner v Mahut.
LJ: Nah, Roddick will fuck up.
Doots: Yes. The French crowd will drive him nuts. If I can find a stream, this is my Round 1 pick of the crop to watch.
Doots: Murray’s quarter:
I feel like there has been some kind of poetic justice served with Murray having drawn Ferrer here, since his quarter would otherwise be the weakest in terms of clay credentials. Murray’s also got his recent conqueror Gasquet, and – for Aussie interests – Bernard Tomic?
LJ: Tomic is shit on clay, he can’t move
PJ: I know Tomic is seeded, but I don’t see getting past Giraldo or Falla in the second round. Muzz’s quarter is full of headcases: Youzhny? Dolgopolov? Gasquet?
Doots: Blake and Youzhny first round – that would be my kind of match … if played on ANY OTHER SURFACE than clay.
LJ: Isner is my darkhouse. I’m interested to see if he can replicate davis cup success
Doots: Nah-uh. I’m quite annoyed about this. I feel as though Isner has been shoved down my throat a little as the next great American hope. when all he did was channel some of his patriotism in trying conditions against the Swiss team. Don’t get me wrong – great effort, but but one Davis Cup tie does not a clay courter make.
LJ: I feel like Isner was missing all clay season, was he injured? Or just had shit results?
PJ: lost to Cilic in Madrid, lost to Seppi in Rome, lost to Baldy in Nice.
LJ: so no rhythm coming into this then. I personallly think this quarter is really the Free For All quarter, it’s where we’ll see the most interesting results
Doots: Free for all? I’d been very surprised if Ferrer doesn’t come through.
LJ: free for all until Ferrer comes through, I mean.
Doots: Aaaaaaand last but not least, the Nadal quarter: filled with lots of people not named Rafa.
Okay, me bad. I do try not to get cynical about the relevants of draws for Rafa during the clay season. We’ve got Tipsy as the highest seed, Raonic as a potential 1/16 opponent, and other clay courters of note include Baby Jesus and Almug.
LJ: Tipsy can be interesting, but there is no one with balls in that quarter to take down Rafa, and with confidence from Rome, Rafa is gonna steamroll into finals. He’s found his colm, no? If somehow that clay turns blue suddenly, nothing is going to trouble Rafa.
PJ: I have Rafa fans on my Twitter TL going “RAFA DREW MILOS? HE NEVER GETS A BREAK!” Seriously?
Doots: But Rafa never underestimates the combatition. 😉
PJ: I don’t see anyone in this quarter that will remotely even trouble Rafa…but then The Rule of Soderling –
Doots: WHO WILL BE THE ROBIN SODERLING OF 2012?
PJ: Andreas Seppi? AHAHAHA, I’m kidding. My heart really wants Dolgopolov to be Soderling of 2012. If he does it, I will eat my hat and my shoe.
Doots: FEARLESS PICKS? Semifinals? Finals? CHAMPION?
LJ: semi, Fed vs Novak, Ferrer vs Rafa. Final… Novak vs Rafa… Winner…Rafa. #ANTIJINX!!!!
Doots: Geez LJ. I did say “fearless”.
LJ: Fearless? Fed vs Tsonga, Ferrer vs Tipseravic, Fed vs Ferrer, Winner … Fed.
PJ: It’s always Heart v Brain for me. Heart says Fed v Tsonga, Ferrer v Rafa. Final: Ferrer v Fed, winner: Fed (DELUSIONLAND YAY).
Brain says Fed v Djoko, Ferrer v Rafa, final – Fed v Rafa, winner – Rafa.
Doots: I’ll antipick Murray to make the semis, I think. On the other side, let’s say Tsonga v Federer, with another Federer v Nadal in the final, and Roger finally slaying the Clay Monster and the shoving his trophy up the nostrils of all naysayers. YEEHAW!
PJ: I just thought of the most hilarious scenario: Muzzface busts out of the barracks and beats everyone to win RG as his first Slam.
Doots: Oh PJ. Don’t quit your day job.
LJ: I’ll give up tennis if that happens … actually I won’t, but you know what I mean.
Doots: I give up tennis if Djokovic wins and his family rock up in t-shirts printed with his winning face. I. Give. Up.
But I don’t see Djokovic winning this time round. He has lost some momentum this year, and if it wasn’t enough last year, I don’t see him magically conjuring enough drive to get through a tough draw at Roland Garros this year.
LJ: I dunno, I always felt that he was conserving throughout the season after AO, to maybe win FO.
Doots: So you gonna anti pick Satan to take home the French?
LJ: I pick Rafa, but I’m not going to be suprised if it was Satan.
Doots: Fair enough. Lock and load, as one fine Denny Crane used to say! And onto women’s!