Roger Federer to win Roland Garros?

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Roger Federer has never won the French Open title

Roger Federer has never won the French Open title

After a thrilling match with German Tommy Haas yesterday, Roger Federer is now as 6/5 favourite to claim an elusive French Open title.

Andy Murray sits behind the Swiss ace at 7/2 with the bookmakers, while Juan Martin Del Potro is a long shot at 6/1.

Seemingly it is now in Federer’s hands whether he can finally claim the one title that has eluded him throughout his career. Having reached three consecutive French Open finals, only one man has prevented him from holding the trophy aloft in the Parisian air: Rafa Nadal.

The Spaniard has defeated Federer in the final on the last three occasions. In 2006 and 2007 Nadal overcame the former world number one in four sets. A demoralised Federer slumped to a straight sets defeat in 2008. Indeed throughout Federer’s career his only nemesis has proved to be the clay court specialist Nadal.

Yet 2009 brings renewed hope for the five-time Wimbledon and US Open champion. Sensationally, Nadal was dumped out of Roland Garros in the fourth round against rugged Swede, Robin Soderling. Defeated in four sets the Spanish star endured a lack lustre performance and has now thrown the tournament wide open.

Nadal even went on to tip the world number two as the favourite for the 2009 Roland Garros title:

“That would be great – he has tried to win it for many years, and he was very unfortunate losing three finals and one semi-final,”

He added: “If one guy deserves it, that’s him.”

Indeed one would expect Roger Federer to now successfully claim a precious, inaugural French Open title. Yet yesterday he struggled to overcome the ever-tenacious German, Haas.

One has to ask, should Roger Federer go on to claim the one title that he craves most, will it be tainted? Everybody expected Rafa Nadal to go on to claim a fifth consecutive title and it seemed only natural that Federer would be the player to meet him in the final. It seemed inevitable to be crowned champion in France, he would have to beat Nadal.

After the disappointments of 2006, 2007 and 2008, Federer would have loved to have beaten Nadal along the way to the title. Does it devalue his victory? As a true great of the game there’s no doubt he deserves this accolade.

Jimmy Connors’ described the four different types of tennis players in the game:

“In an era of specialists – you’re either a clay court specialist, a grass court specialist or a hard court specialist. Or you’re Roger Federer”.

Indeed there is no doubt if it wasn’t for Nadal, Federer would have at least two or three French Open titles and would have surely completed the grand slam of slams a long time ago. It’s worthwile to point out, as an ultimate competitor; it seems undeniable that Federer would have loved to have beaten Nadal along the way.

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