Djokovic, Nadal Start Solid; American Nightmare at French Open
| May 29th, 2017, 6:16 pm

French Open favorites Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic led the charge on Day 2 at Roland Garros on Monday as the No. 2-seeded Serb beat Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, and the No. 4-seeded Spaniard rolled past France’s Benoit Paire 6-1, 6-4, 6-1.
“It was a bit of a rusty start,” said Djokovic, who while winning in straights needed eight set points to close out the first with new coach Andre Agassi looking on. “At a set and 4-1 up, I just played a couple of sloppish games. And in the third set when I had him on the ropes, I played very bad games on my serve.”

Djokovic in his post-match conference was asked about Agassi at length, prompting him to ask whether he should bring his coach in to the press room next time.

“I’m really enjoying it so far,” Djokovic said of his coaching relationship with the former No. 1-ranked American. “For me it’s very different relationship than from any other that I have had really with anybody, consistently talking a lot about those things. I can see only positives to now. But it’s hard to say whether there is significant difference on the court, because it’s only a few days that we are together.”

Nadal is seeking to become the only player to win 10 titles at one Grand Slam tournament in the Open Era.

“For me, it’s important to serve a little bit better than what I did today,” Nadal said after advancing into the second round. “I feel that some moments I was not serving that well. The rest of the things I am happy with.”

Other Top 10-seeded players into the second round on Monday were No. 5 Milos Raonic who defeated Belgian Steve Darcis 6-3, 6-4, 6-2; No. 7 Marin Cilic who dismissed Ernests Gulbis 6-3, 6-3, 6-3; and No. 10 David Goffin who had little trouble with Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.

“I was able to break relatively early in all three sets and just sort of go about my business throughout the whole match,” Raonic said. “So I’m happy with that, and it gives me a little more freedom to spend more time working on my game tomorrow and playing hopefully even better on Wednesday.”

It was a brutal day for U.S. tennis as Americans went 1-for-6 on the day. No. 25 seed Steve Johnson was the only U.S. winner when he squeaked-out a five-setter over Japan’s Yuichi Sugita, a match continued from the previous day.

No. 17-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut led the lower-seeded winners, as his draw opened up after a four-set win over Aussie John Millman. Other seeded victors were No. 22 Pablo Cuevas, No. 24 Richard Gasquet who defeated Belgian Arthur De Greef in four, No. 28 Fabio Fognini who defeated American Frances Tiafoe 6-0 in the fifth, and No. 30 David Ferrer who outlasted American Donald Young 13-11 in the fifth.

American and No. 14 seed Jack Sock was shocked in his opener by Jiri Vesely in straight sets, while other upsets were Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili dismissing No. 31 Gilles Simon in four, and Italy’s Stefano Napolitano coming from a set down to oust No. 32 Mischa Zverev.

Tuesday’s highlights at Roland Garros include (9) Alexander Zverev vs. Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco (tied at one-set all to finish), (1) Andy Murray vs. Andrey Kuznetsov, (15) Gael Monfils vs. Dustin Brown, (18) Nick Kyrgios vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber, (29) Juan Martin del Potro vs. countryman Guido Pella, and Nicolas Almagro vs. Marcos Baghdatis.

Philippe-Chatrier Court
11:00 AM
Johanna Konta (GBR) [7] vs. Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE)
Andy Murray (GBR) [1] vs. Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [12] vs. Renzo Olivo (ARG)
Jana Cepelova (SVK) vs. Simona Halep (ROU) [3]

Suzanne-Lenglen Court
11:00 AM
Elina Svitolina (UKR) [5] vs. Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ)
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [3] vs. Jozef Kovalik (SVK)
Nao Hibino (JPN) vs. Caroline Garcia (FRA) [28]
Dustin Brown (GER) vs. Gael Monfils (FRA) [15]

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40 Comments for Djokovic, Nadal Start Solid; American Nightmare at French Open

RZ Says:

For the Americans, I would say that Tiafoe and Young had good showings, especially as Fognini and Ferrer are both very strong clay players. But what is going on with Jack Sock? Vesely is an underachieving player and it’s not a complete shock that he won, but I would have thought Sock would have put up more of a fight in that match.

gonzalowski Says:

Sock just ruined my bracket :(

gonzalowski Says:

Didn’t know, Agassi confessed in his autobiography that played the end of Roland Garros in 1990 with wig !!!, and that he was more pending that it did not fall that of the own party against Gómez.

Ah the crazy 80’s :)

Nole’s crew is now a real circus! (just joking)

Van Persie Says:

Sascha is going home

Van Persie Says:

Stan is the big fave to be finalist from that half, given Andy’s latest form, but who knows…

Daniel Says:

Wow, first shocker of the tournament. Guess he nees a few more years to really contest for Slams. Thiem at least has a semis to his name.

One of Wawa, Murray, DelPo or Kyrgios will be finalist.
Maybe Kyrgios will feel excluded as the other young ones were hyped and will show something, hard to guess.

Safer bet is Wawa. Hope we see the Murray x DelPo third round contest.

First things first, Murray einning his opening.

Van Persie Says:


Not so much of a shocker for me. Never considered Zverev a great contender at this FO. Thiem is more consistent than Zverev at this level…

and Nando is Nando, tricky also for the very best!

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Guess a lot of brackets got wrecked this morning!

The talent side on one side of the bracket just gets more and more unbalanced.

Agree with Daniel: “One of Wawa, Murray, DelPo or Kyrgios will be finalist.”

I don’t really think there’s any evidence Kyrgios can hold it together for a Slam. Its possible, but he’s easily the runt of this litter.

I’m really looking forward to that DelPotro-Murray match. Didn’t see DelPotro this morning, but his serve stats were really good: over 70% 1st serves, and 13 aces in 3 sets.

OTOH, Novak dominated him last time, pinning him on the backhand crosscourt, forcing him to slice. I don’t really get, mechanically/tactically why this worked when DelPotro had seemingly been hitting his 2HBH with ease in prior matches. Someone mentioned, maybe it was the depth Novak was getting. I don’t know. But I know Murray’s skill set is very similar to Novak’s, so its certainly possible he can mimic his tactics.

Its Rnd 3, so we should get a rare first week treat!

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Gonazalowski, great story, eh? It (Novak’s camp) really is a bit of a circus. Agassi seems normalized, but if you read his book you see, he’s a bit messed up with insecurity. Remember that charity match with Sampras/Fed/Rafa a few years back, Agassi suddenly started mocking Sampras as a mean cheapskate. So, we can look forward to some, perhaps, awkward moments.

RZ Says:

Suprised to see Murray still playing. The French Open app had put a checkmark by Murray’s name so I thought his opponent retired. I’m glad that’s not the case. Murray needs match play. Just hope this doesn’t go 5 (he needs a 3 or 4 set win).

I underestimated Verdasco, or maybe I overestimated Zverev, and didn’t expect the first round upset.

Kokkinakis is competing well after his comeback. Nice to see him back and playing. (My favorite young gun after Thiem)

No surprise to see Konta lose. She’s not good on clay.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Zverev a victim of the Tennis-X In The Funk Curse.

RZ Says:

VP – did you enter the bracket challenge?
I had Zverev losing round 3 to Cuevas. That may save my bracket.

Margot Says:

I have very kindly fallen on my sword in the bracket challenge, for the sake of all you tennisxers.
Pass the tissues please…..

RZ Says:

@Gonzalowski and TV – on the topic of Agassi’s hair/wig, you may enjoy this.

Giles Says:

^^^ Serves you right for being a cradle snatcher! 😉😄

Tennis Vagabond Says:

RZ, pretty funny.

Here’s classic Kyrgios after his win, on why he doesn’t like clay:

“I don’t really like running. When the rally gets long, I go for a low percentage shot. I also don’t like how my shoes get dirty. When I’m back home, I don’t train that much on clay because it makes my cars dirty too.”

Van Persie Says:


Wanted to skip it this time. Want to enjoy this FO without hoping, somebody will lose in order to save my bracket. Hehe. More relaxed now ;)

RZ Says:

@TV – I guess Kyrgios isn’t willing to shed blood, sweat, and tears to win.

@VP – I understand how that goes. Enjoy watching the FO.

Margot Says:

Fabulous final set from Andy! That’s the way to do it! C’mon!
Cheeky boy…;)

gonzalowski Says:

RZ and TV, lol

For Rafa fans, here a nice mobile commercial with Rafa:

Colin Says:

Not being one of the rich folk who can afford a Sky subscription, I’m having to listen to BBC radio coverage from Paris.

Andy seemed for some time to be in full sarcastic-laughter and self criticism mode, but he recovered to win the deciding set 6-0. Lendl had to make for the bathroom at the end of the previous set, and barely managed to get back to the box in time to see Andy close out the match. Considering his age, and the fact he’s carrying quite a lot of weight, I wonder if Ivan’s prostate is giving him what, right now, one might call a oui-oui problem! If so he has my sympathy, as I know what it’s like.

As for Andy, no sane person would make predictions about him, but he might, he just might, go quite deep in this tournament.

Willow Says:

Colin cant stop laughing at your post, anyhow after a blip in the second set, Murray seemed in no mood to hang about, and got his head straight, afraid im not one of the rich folk but i have Sky, as its one of the few pleasures one has in life, and i dont go out much, i know what its like as i look after a bunch of old people with bladder problems, male and female are not imune either ….

Truth Says:

I realise how underrated Samprasagassi is. Djoker probably realized this and saw how sour the relationship between Agassi & Sampras became.
Djoker didn’t want to become bitter and wallow in regrets, like the previous generations.
They weren’t mentally and physically the best but they didn’t have too many old age excuses, whereas Fedal always felt elderly at age 27-33 because Djoker became a magician that snuck up behind the 2003-2006 weak era lapdogs and stole their “thunder”.
Fedal almost stopped playing tennis for over 1 year, whined about how Djoker was lucky without injuries, and vented their anger with insecure interviews about GOAT Djoker.
Fedal didn’t fear each other because they weren’t dominating tennis for long but they feared the genius and self destructive clown Djoker.

Sampras had low red blood cell count so didn’t have longevity on his side.
Agassi appreciated his improved emotional health and focus at age 29-35, but his hips were horrendously injured. He choked in the 2005 us open final and had so much agony that he had to give up before losing too many matches.

J-Kath Says:

Colin: TV4 on UK Television…assume you can’t access…..?

Andy definitely self criticism – but presume you heard him lament the fact he couldn’t get his legs to move -!!! Sorri, I’m not worried about Ivan’s possible prostrate – just about how much real help he can give Andy. Can Andy go further? I’d say NO – but given the level he achieved at various points in to-day’s match perhaps the next round – but unless he shows he’s able to sustain a high level throughout he’ll fall to Del Potro (a guy I struggle to like). C’est la vie.

J-Kath Says:

Colin – PS You can also get the tennis on Eurosport and is very reasonable.

Margot Says:

Colin: As Kath says it’s on ITV4 and also Eurosport which is £6.99 a month and a blessed relief from Petch/Inverdale and Courier, I can tell you.
Kath: Who knows what the enigmatic Mr Murray can do, but that 4th set was pretty fab. As for JMDP his back hand looks an awful liability at times. Also he seems quite slow to me.
Lol, he’ll probably go and win it now.
Lovely interview with Fabrice afterwards with Andy telling him he was inspirational to him as a young player.

RZ Says:

What is going on with Tsonga? Down 2 sets to Olivo.

Surprised Struff managed to get a set off Berdych. I watched Struff play Pouille at Indian Wells, and he seemed to be little more than a ball basher.

RZ Says:

@Colin, Willow, J-Kath, and Margot – the French Open website’s article about Andy’s match is quite entertaining, with lines like “But the opening sets resembled a private competition between the players to see who could gift the other more opportunities, with Murray a worryingly generous participant.”

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Boy, 2nd round is just a dud-load. Can definitely plan the next couple days around NOT watching tennis.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Hopefully this means the 4th round match-ups will be super-high-octane.

gonzalowski Says:

maybe I shouldn’t/ or you just know about streamings,

but batmanstream tennis is awesome; I don’t use it, anyway ;)

Daniel Says:


The R16 for Djoko and Nadal won´t be that exciting. Djoko may get Pouile, who he will beat handly, maybe only with crowd making some noise. And Nadal may get Batista Agut, who can´t trouble him on clay. This 2 matches (if they happen, they could face someonme with less clay pedigree) are dull. The other ones I see more tension, speciall top half.

Anyone winning this RG would be great and even if the main contender don´t win it, it wouldn´t be the end of the world. Except for Nadal. This is a Slam opn paper, he must win. After the year he had, AO finals, winnign clay lead ups as old days.

Because if Djoko, Murray, or Wawa doesn´t win won´t be that big news. If they win it will: Wawa 4th Slam. Murray winnign RG after the bad year he has and only AO to complete career Slam. Djoko getting second career Slasm, defending his title and gettin #13, one shy from Sampras and Nadal reignating GOAT debate.

The only one who can actually be impacted negativelly by not winning this year is Nadal. He is in enourmes pressure. Because if he doesn´t win here things will look tuff from him going forward. He won´t be favorite for Wimby nor USO and it will be 3 straight year he doesn´t win RG.

Willow Says:

Im pretty cool with whatever happens, he doesnt have a god given right to win it, and records in sport are there to be broken, thats if Djokovic does defend the FO ….

J-Kath Says:

I thought Pouille was out???
With respect to Nadal, I will be much surprised if he is the favourite for Wimbledon. But do think he’ll get his 10th FO.

RZ: Thanks for the entertaining articles – some of those commentators needed super-glue on their lips.

Margot: Yes the interview with Fabrice (one of my favourite people). I shall try not to be pleased that Mr. Argentina may have a suspect digital. Saw a longish glimpse of the wonder of Andy in the last 2 sets….but I didn’t have my glasses on (hedging my hopes).

J-Kath Says:

Apologies: Pouille not out – maybe I’m a visionary….

chrisford1 Says:

Cheers to T. Kokkinakis, the 3rd Aussie with good potential to get very rich off tennis in this current NextGen. Let’s hope his repaired shoulder holds together. The Aussie player that is talented enough like Bernie and Nick or Leyton in his day to be in Top 20 or above, but with what seems to be A level character and temperament. I think Nick can grow up like Fed, Djoker did by age 23, though time is running short. Like Leyton did eventually.
But Bernard the Croat transplant Germany passed on, is a lost cause.
Groth and Saville, alas, are journeymen.

Margot Says:

Hoping Nick is going to concentrate on winning some matches now, rather than worrying about getting clay on his shoes!

Kath: I told my friend that Simon had lost, way before he had! Spooky!
Eeeeek, as I would say….;)

Willow Says:

J-Kath i dont think anyone sees Rafa as a favorite at Wimbledon anymore, as for the USO i would say it depends on the lead up events, he has won it twice, but the USO is a very open GS, with not one player in particular dominating it in recent years, so i would see he has a legitimate shot there, but so do quite a few other, i think Andy and Federer would be the favorites at Wimbledon their games seem better suited to grass ….

J-Kath Says:

Margot: WOW! Those who dismissed your prophecies before will be listening now, including the Bookies.

Willow: I thought someone was touting Rafa for Wimbledon – evidently I am the reverse of Margot I’m seeing things that don’t turn out to be right.

Willow Says:

Tsonga out ….

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