Tennis Column #4 – Clay, Nadal, Djokovic and Czech Queens

Rafael Nadal

French Open 2018 starts in two weeks (May 28th) and there is one clear favorite. Rafael Nadal is unbeatable. He even did not lose a set on clay this season till today, when lost with Dominic Thiem. He played 15 matches (till 11/05/2018) on clay and he won all to zero except the one with Thiem. He took home two tournament trophies from Monte Carlo and Barcelona and also won two Davis Cup matches against Alexander Zverev and Kohlschreiber. Look at the opponents’ list and results. It is just impressive.

Date Tournament Opponent Result
06/04/2018 Davis Cup Kohlschreiber 3:0
08/04/2018 Davis Cup Zverev A. 3:0
18/04/2018 Monte Carlo (2R) Bedene 2:0
19/04/2018 Monte Carlo (3R) Khachanov 2:0
20/04/2018 Monte Carlo (QF) Thiem 2:0
21/04/2018 Monte Carlo (SF) Dimitrov 2:0
22/04/2018 Monte Carlo (F) Nishikori 2:0
25/04/2018 Barcelona (2R) Carballes Baena 2:0
26/04/2018 Barcelona (3R) Garcia-Lopez 2:0
27/04/2018 Barcelona (QF) Klizan 2:0
28/04/2018 Barcelona (SF) Goffin 2:0
29/04/2018 Barcelona (F) Tsitsipas 2:0
09/05/2018 Madrid (2R) Monfils 2:0
10/05/2018 Madrid (3R) Schwartzman 2:0
11/05/2018 Madrid (QF) Thiem 0:2

Looking at it, I do not doubt that Rafael Nadal will win French Open 2018 (pending no health problems or unexpected injury). Probably there is no one who will bet against him in Paris.

At moments like this, I am just sorry that Roger Federer is not playing on clay (which on another hand I fully understand). Matches during clay season would be much more interesting if Rafa would have serious opponents there. One Dominic Thiem is just not enough.

Novak Djokovic



Novak Djokovic is a player I had high hopes this season. I was wrong. What did not look so bad in January at Australian Open, looks really bad now on clay. It is just not Djokovic we were used to. Change of coaches, instability in deciding moments. The pending question right now is if he will win at least one more match on clay this season. He fights, he tries, but he just loses with players who are not unbeatable.

Date Tournament Opponent Result
16/04/2018 Monte Carlo (1R) Lajovic 2:0
18/04/2018 Monte Carlo (2R) Coric 2:0
19/04/2018 Monte Carlo (3R) Thiem 1:2
25/04/2018 Barcelona (3R) Klizan 1:2
07/05/2018 Madrid (1R) Nishikori 2:0
09/05/2018 Madrid (2R) Edmund 1:2

His results 3 wins vs 3 losses would be fine for a player on a 30+ place in ATP ranking. But this is Novak Djokovic. I expect much more, but I lost the hope, that I will see it on clay. I will see it maybe on grass, but I am not very sure about it.

Playing on clay and looking for new tennis shoes? Check what you should not miss and what is important for clay tennis shoes in our guide.

Czech Clay Queens

Madrid semifinal between Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova is just another proof that Czech women tennis players belong to the best. Five Fed Cup Trophies in last seven years is another example and maybe we will see their sixth win in this season October final.

Kvitova, Pliskova twins, Strycova, Allertova, Siniakova, Vondrousova, Safarova are probably the most stuffed Fed Cup team in a world ever (and for sure in past 7 years).

And what seemed like their least favorite surface is just like home turf now. Just look at the match record Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova have on clay this season.

Karolina Pliskova has 10 wins and 1 loss on clay (20:4 on sets) and tournament trophy from Stuttgart. The loss was in Fed Cup with Georges in Stuttgart. However, the loss did not mean much as Czech Team qualified to final.

Petra Kvitova has 11 wins and 2 losses on clay (23:6 on sets) and tournament trophy from Prague. She lost just to Kristina Pliskova at the first clay tournament of the season in Charlotte, USA and then in the first round of Stuttgart tournament against Kerber.

Czech women’s tennis is really flourishing now. You can bet that Czech ladies become one of the hottest favorites right now for Rolland Garros.

Check how our readers predict winners of upcoming French Open 2018 in our poll



Posted in Tennis Column.

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