Could Novak Djokovic be the top seed at the French Open? It’s possible. According to the ATP, Novak Djokovic has a chance to overtake Rafael Nadal for No. 1 ranking at the end of the Rome Tennis Masters.
I call it “slim” because for it to happen Djokovic must win the Rome title and hope Nadal loses before the semifinals.
“If I keep winning I’ll get closer but I’m trying not to think about that,” Djokovic said.
While I think Djokovic certainly could win Rome, I just don’t see Nadal going out before Saturday.
“If I lose No. 1 it’s not the end of the world,” Nadal said. “If I lose it I will be No. 2 and I’ll be very happy.
“I’m just happy to go out on court and have the feeling that I’m competitive and I still have this feeling, but at the moment I haven’t been able to beat him but I’ll try to work and beat him [next time]. The good things will come and you’ve got to be patient.”
And with Djokovic winning today over Nadal I have to wonder what the Serb has to gain by playing Rome. Sure, the No. 1 ranking is there but odds are Nadal will get to the semifinals, even though he may have to go through Bellucci, Kohlschreiber and Ferrer to do it.
What’s the best thing that can happen for Novak if he wins Rome? Getting to No. 1 if the scenario above unfolds would be a great achievement but it’s a long shot. So realistically then is it the ranking points? Even more confidence? More money? And if he were to win think of the added pressure he would face of being the favorite in Paris (I think if he beat Nadal again in Rome you would have to make Djokovic then the fav for Paris).
Djokovic’s worst case scenario in Rome (aside from injury) is that he gets crushed by Rafa in the final. Much the momentum he had accrued would be gone and his confidence would take a hit going into Paris. Plus, maybe he has a long match here or there and fatigue from all the tennis he’s played this year starts to set in.
So my gut says Djokovic won’t risk exhaustion, injury, etc., by either skipping the tournament or withdrawing midway (remember, he had his knee wrapped this weekend and he did tweak his ankle/knee/leg a few times I saw) to save himself for the bigger prize in Paris. If he wins the French (the real goal) the No. 1 ranking should come with it. Talk about a great way to finally get to No. 1!
On the subject of rankings, this is the first week in the history of the pro rankings that no American is in either the ATP or WTA Top 10. Tennis-wise things are tough in the USA.
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