Novak Djokovic v Stefanos Tsitsipas For The French Open Title, Who’s The Pick?

by Sean Randall | June 12th, 2021, 7:45 pm

So here we are. After his stunner Friday beating Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic stands all of three sets from some serious, serious tennis history as he takes on the confident and hungry Stefanos Tsitsipas tomorrow in the French Open final.

What’s at stake? Not just No. 19 for Djokovic, but also a second Career Slam, another Australia-French double and the Calendar Slam stays in play.

Three sets.

In my mind, a win tomorrow almost locks him to pass Roger Federer and Rafael for the all-time Grand Slam title lead. Because after Paris, he’s going to win at least two of the next three Slams (Wimbledon, US Open, Australian Open) and they are not. It’s my belief that Federer and Nadal are done. With the young guys gaining strength by the day, Roger and Rafa are going to need a lot of help to add to their total.

So Novak has another 12 months at most to clean up before the kids come knocking for him. And they will.

You could make the case that at the forefront of that charge is Tsitsipas. The flashy Greek has all the shots, size, strength and speed you could hope for when creating the model tennis player. All the tools are there. And he’s getting tougher. He’s learning on the job.

Yesterday, Stef dropped the third and fourth sets, got down a few break points to start the fifth but didn’t panic. For someone just 22, that’s darn good.

And he matches up well with Novak. We know that. We saw him in 2018 breakout and stun Djokovic in Canada. Then last fall push the World No. 1 to five.

Even the 2-day Rome match last month went down to the end.

But the difference here is 12 years and a lot of experience. This is Tsitsipas’s first Slam final, Djokovic’s 29th. And while I think Tsitsipas is best equipped of the youngsters (like Zverev, Medvedev, even Thiem) to handle this occasion because of his free-flowing nature, I just think this is one of those moments Djokovic has been waiting years for.

Three sets.

I even think Tsitsipas understands the historical implications. If Djokovic loses, he can still get past 20, but he’ll never get a second Career Slam (not with Nadal, Thiem, Tsitsipas next year), and the Calendar Slam chase would be over for him for good.

On the flip side, if Tsitsipas, at age 22, can steal this, he could parlay the win into a couple more by the end of next year, maybe even a 2022 run for No. 1. So it could really send him on his way. He’ll win some anyway, but a title tomorrow would jumpstart his run and give that much more hope to the younger generation.

So Djokovic is going to feel some rust from the Rafa win at the start, but I think he gets Tsitsipas on the defensive and gets the crowd going, the fist pumping, and maybe even a shirt rip, or two. Whatever he has to do to get his serve on track, and then his game will follow.

Tsitsipas is going to show up and going to fight. In a tight one…
The Pick: Djokovic in 5

Of all the outcomes, I don’t see Tsitsipas crushing Djokovic. The reverse could certainly happen, or Tsitsipas wins in four or five. He’s got the game, the moxie, and already the big match wins. But with so much on the line, Djokovic has to rise up to this challenge. It’s all on his racquet right now. For the first time, he controls it.

Three sets.

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79 Comments for Novak Djokovic v Stefanos Tsitsipas For The French Open Title, Who’s The Pick?

Wog Boy Says:

The key for Nole will be if he can forget Rafa match, if he does that he can win his second FO and that’s extremely hard to do, to forget Rafa match, he will be mentally, more than physically, drained.

Tsitsi has so much to play for and reasons to win, not just his first GS, beating best player in the World, but also he will be clear 1000 points from Nole in the race and clear favourite to finish the year as #1, he is mentally the strongest on the tour outside Rafa and Nole, physically very well prepared (he put some muscles on in a last 6 months) and spent less hours on the court and basically breezed through his opponents bar Zverev match, even that wasn’t that physically taxing, so yes, advantage Tsisi.

FedExpress Says:

Cant see the next gens beating Nadal or Nole in a GS final as long as they dont retire.

Michael Says:

Too much fuss is made about Novak involved in a draining match with Rafa hurting his chances, but it is a too simplistic conclusion. Only set 3 was brutal and went the distance, other sets were easy take-aways either for Novak or Rafa (1st set). One thing Tstispas can be pleased about is not meeting Rafa in the final, for he might have mercilessly butchered about. Relatively, Novak’s game suits Tstispas well and although the H2H is 5-2 in favour of Novak, there are many close encounters including the two recent ones on Clay. Novak has definitely a bigger stake than Tstispas with legacy issues hanging in balance and so he will be under pressure. It depends upon how Tstispas can exploit Novak’s ambitions having a bearing on the flow of his game. But Novak has the confidence and experience to derail his opponent’s chances.If the match goes the distance, Novak will inevitably win. Tstispas’s prospects hinges on Novak’s sub-par performance and the match ending in four sets which is a tall order given Novak’s fighting abilities

Van Persie Says:

Completely agree, WB. I really hope he does not think too much about the semifinal and am sure his team is aware of that. I trust Vajda kept his mind busy.

Against Tsitsipas, who serves great, another tactic is needed.

Age and freshness is on Tsitsi’s side… but maybe good news for Nole, am sure that Tsitsi had also his deamons to overcome: Medvedev was always in his head, so he had to fight against that. The match against Zverev was also not that easy.

Mentally I would see Nole in advantage (wishfull thinking perhaps). Tsitsi cried after the semis, Nole did not celebrate his win, as if it would have occured in a final.

We shall see tonight 🙂

Michael Says:

Wog boy,

Welcome !!

You definitely have a point.From the tournament’s history, there is this voodoo outlook of Nadal’s curse in play as those who have won against him have never gone to win the tournament: Soderling lost to Roger and Novak to Wawrinka. But it is all in Novak’s hand as the match is in his racquet.

Van Persie Says:

Not to forget: Soderling and Nole won their next matches after beating Nadal in 4th round (Sod) and quarters (Nole) , may be a good thing that the next match is now the final! 😋

Dave Says:

I’m picking Djokovic in 4. Djokovic actually served well against Nadal, it’s just Nadal stands so far back and is such a good returner that you don’t get the free points. With the hot bouncy conditions, Djokovics high kick serve is going to come in handy against the one handed backhand of Tsitsipas. Djokovic had great preparation beating guys with hard and great forehand’s. Also, Djokovic is returning amazing and hitting hit backhand at peak. And he’s doing great things with his forehand. Tsitsipas doesn’t have much of a slice backhand and Won’t be returning as well as Nadal even close. And he’s not even close to as good at making versatile and good decisions when retrieving drop shots. He’s super predictable. His backhand down the line isn’t Wawrinka or Thiems yet, which he will need. I gotta back Djokovic to win this with all of the experience. And I actually don’t think Tsitsipas matches up well against Djokovic. And in that fifth set facing triple break point was more to do with Zverev not capitalizing then Tsitsipas being clutch and playing amazing, Sasha did the same thing, just in a different order of the match against Thiem at the US Open. He plays super aggressive for 2 sets and gets passive to let Thiem back in, against Tsitsipas he was nice and aggressive in the 3rd and 4th only to be passive when it mattered most.

Giles Says: Hope so. Come on Tsits! 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

Giles Says:

The fakers obsession with winning and breaking records is surely something to do with his acute inferiority complex! Poor man! Booooooo.

FedExpress Says:

Stefanos is also very bad in finals. Lost more than won

Van Persie Says:

Giles, Nadal will have finally something in common with you during this FO final: watch the match on TV and chearing for Tsitsipas 😉

Van Persie Says:

Nole idemoooo!!!

FedExpress Says:

Stefanos had SP on Noles serve, long rally but Nole painted some lines where i thought it would go long. Saved it and broke next game.


Daniel Says:

WTF. Djoko serving for the set. no first serves in, he is 2-10 in second serves?!?! And hitting a lot of shots unbalanced. Very weird lost of focus to close the set and breaker.

Or unless there is some wind we are not seeing damaging who ever pkays top side.

FedExpress Says:

Useless mf Stefanos

4-0 and 5-2 with MB u0

And now 5-6 SP Nole

FedExpress Says:

Stefanos won somehow the set

Giles Says:

Tsitsi Tsitsi Tsitsi Tsitsi Tsitsi Tsitsi Tsitsi Tsitsi Tsitsi

Daniel Says:

Well. Djoko would have to do what Zverev couldn’t.
What is his problem with RG finals tgat he can’t produce his best tennis?! Only agaisnt Murray he was able to play well and that because he was already in his head.

He would need an early break soon to start believing again, because his body language now is awful.

skeezer Says:

Djoker still the favorite here. He is playing his usual cat and mouse. Djoker in 4.

Van Persie Says:

I understand why Nole cannot be very successfull at the FO. He does not like sunny days, when he has to peak here. See FO 2015, 2014. Today also hot and sunny… In 2016 it was a cloudy day.

Van Persie Says:

Rafa loves these conditions on clay at the French

skeezer Says:

Djoker is still the favorite, Djoker in 5. Cat and mouse strategy still in effect.

Van Persie Says:

Would be interesting to see, if Nole can push this to 5🙂

Giles Says:

Tsitsi Tsitsi Tsitsi Tsitsi Tsitsi All the way!
Boo boo boo boo boo boo boo Faker

Tennis Lover Says:

Out of all the new generation competitors, Stefanos resembles most Roger Federer in terms of styles and attitude and particularly how they represent themselves on the court. Roger has won his first Grandsalm at the age of 22. Can Stefanos repeat the same feat by winning his first slam at 22 in Rolland Garros today against one of the greatests of the game?

Van Persie Says:

Nole not giving up. 4th set i tis. Nole idemoo!

skeezer Says:

Spot on!

Daniel Says:

Baby steps, 1 done. It would have been better if he had broken last game 0-30. He needs to hold and keep the pressure. If he breaks Tsisi early on, he may think of Zverev match here we go again. And this time is Djoko on the other side. If the sets ho on serve, pressure will be on Djoko. Either will shpudl be a tense set.

FedExpress Says:

3rd time this season where Stefanos chokes away a clay court match vs the Nadal/Nole?!

FedExpress Says:

This is Zverev USO 2020 final reloaded

Van Persie Says:

Should we have set 5: Tsitsi is not Musetti and Nole is nit Sascha 😁

Van Persie Says:

is not Sascha, correction

Daniel Says:

Djoko is zoning now. Amazing drom shot, 3-0 and serve. Wouldn’t be surprise if he blows Tsisi out. he shown signs of crumbling throwing his racket and not the same composure as earlier. Let’s see of he ends this set better for the fifth.

FedExpress Says:

5th set. Cant see Stef winning this.

Daniel Says:

2-2. Pressure on Tsisi even him serving first. 2 sets he didn’t have BP on Djoko’s serve, Djoko increase his second serves points won and is hitting more flat and onnthenrise taking the time away from Tsisi. He made this adjust forcing way more errors frommTsisi. Only chance for Tsisi is have an above 75% 1st serve sin this set and hope for a Djoko bad game. Because the things are going seems Djoko will cruise again. He is totally calm and focused now and every aspect of his game working.

jatin Says:

Djokovic’s MENTAL STRENGTH is on full display this whole tournament.

Daniel Says:

One thing we know for sure, Djoko sure likes some drama in RG finals! 😜

3-1 early break and he is the same mood as set 3 and 4.

Pretty soon to make history and another achievement both Federer and Nadal couldn’t. Soon to be GOAT, at lears till Wimbledon (if somehow Federer manages his last chance at a Slam). If Djoko wins that too, game set match!!

Daniel Says:

I rally think he has a real shot at the Grand Slam this year. Can’t see Nadal beating him in Wimbledon, Fed qould have to be serving crazy to do it in 3 max 4 sets and nobody else has a real shot. Unless he loses to a big server ealry on (which he hardly ever does).

But. First things first, 3 more games.

Van Persie Says:

Wow, I am done.

I will be arrogant now. Nole is GOAT for me🙂

Thank you Nole and Congrats💐

FedExpress Says:

What a choker Stefanos is developing into. Not good.

Daniel Says:


Fianlly well deserved 2nd Roland Garros for the second best clay court player of this last 2 decades.

2nd career Slam, 19th Slam, #1 all time weeks records, 6year end#1 (pretty soon to ve 7th record alone), Masters titles record, and on top positive HxH versus other 2 gost candidates. The numebrs speak for themselves. Remarkable player who did the unthunkable, push both Federer and Nadal and is on hos way to passing them for good. He has the best odds of winning 2 more Slams, wouldn’t evenbe surprise if he does it this alone to put ant doubt to rest for good.

What a comeback!!

jatin Says:

Nuff Said….

Congratulations Tsitsipas for an amazing match and tournament. Dissapointed for him as he gave his all and was very close to win in the end.

FedExpress Says:

Dont know how can one be condsidered as a GOAT when he has still one GS less.

Daniel Says:


Lets give credit where credit is due. Nadal could
Have 21 and he wouldn’t be the goat if that is another RG. Djoko held 4 Slams in a row (something none did Open era) and now has a 2nd Career Slam. Another achievement none has in Open era. Plus all the other achievements I listed above. The only formality is win another Slam, which unless he deops dead tomorrow, it will happen, most likelly this year.

He will be 7th year end #1 after this title and 340plus weeks #1 with it, eclipsing Federer by quit a margin. He is just 1 Slam short, 2 finals short to passing Federer total 30finals and having all the main records.

The Djoko Slam (4in a row) plus this second Career Slam togther with his numebr records making him GOAT.

David Says:

What if Nole loses his slam again,like he did at 2020 US Open? Lol

Daniel Says:

Oh, and I forget the Masters Sweep winning all. Another fest the other 2 don’t have.

If he wins Olympics in 50days and one more Slam there will absolutely nothing less to argue. He already has the ost complete resume out of the 3 and with these two icing on the cake he leads every major stat, I mean, every single one of them.

– Grand Slam: 20/20/19 Fed / Nadal / Djoko
– Weeks as #1: Djoko / Fed
– Year end #1: Djoko / Sampras (soon to be Djoko)
– 4 Slams in a row: Djoko
– 2nd Career Slam: Djoko
– CareerSmam: Fed / Nadal / Djoko
– Total Masters: Djoko tied Nadal
– Masters sweep: Djoko
– Olympics Single: Nadal
– HxH: Djoko leads both

See how his hame appear alone or second (total Slam) in every major Stat. Only Olympics out and thatbis the most debatable of all.

Hard to argue agaisnt.

Wog Boy Says:

Congratulations Новак Ђоковић, well deserved, it was worth staying awake until 4am.

Wog Boy Says:

Giles on life support.

Graham Says:

Play by the rules and adhere to the correct in game sportsmanship and etiquette and he’d undoubtedly be the goat.
Djokovic has won so many GS because the rules are not enforced.

FedExpress Says:

Unless one doesnt win 21GS i dont see the debate.

Giles Says:

All said and done the ultimate challenge for the faker is beating Rafa in a French Open FINAL! That will never ever happen. How many times has the GOAT ( FEDERER) tried and failed? Too many times.
Joker ‘s GP must be prescribing super Peds for him!
So the Faker won. He must be up to his eyeballs in Peds!!
Graham. I agree with you.

Okiegal Says:

Rafa Nadal King of Clay now and forever! 3 losses at Roland Garros, wow just wow!! VAMOS!!

The young guns just too slow on the draw for the old cowboys!
🤠 Roger 20
🤠 Rafa 20
🤠 Joker 19

Amazing, simply amazing!

kriket Says:

FedExpress you seem to be forgetting that Roger won those last two slams only due to Novak being injured and out of the game. Had he not been out, Roger would have NEVER win those two slams and the tally would be the other way around right now. It would be Novak 21-22, Roger still at 18.
So send Novak a thank you note for his injury.😉

Daniel Says:

“Unless one doesnt win 21GS i dont see the debate.”

So if Nadal wins RG 2022 and has 21 even with all his inferior records in #1 stats and his Grand Slam tally totally loopsided towards RG 14-7 you would consider him GOAT?!

I won’t, cant consider his resume berter than Federer and Djoko as it is and more RG won’t make a difference for him. Just the Grand Slam total.

As it is now, Djoko to me and a vast majority, is already better than both with ALL his stats. 2nd Career Slam and Holding 4 at once is way, way better than having 1 less Slams than both.

Daniel Says:

The 19th Slam is the least achievement of today, I think you are not realizing what it is to have 2, TWO Career Slams, only him and Laver in the fu$&@ing history of this sports in more than 100 years.

We all have to take a bow to him.

Wog Boy Says:

This is Nole’s 7th GS after turning 30.

FedExpress Says:

I say we can state the debate when he has 20 GS. Not before that.

Even Fed has stand alone records for example 5 consecutive Wimb and USO. Minimum 5 GS titles at AO, Wimb, USO. In 3 seasons he won 3 GS. Reached in 2006,2007 and 2009 all GS finals

When all three careers are finished we can talk.

FedExpress Says:

Kriket, why did he play the GS then if he was injured in 2017 and early 2018? He won 2 GS in 2018 as far as i remember. If he wins he is untouchable if he loses he is injured lol

J-Kath Says:

Congrats to NOLE – I’m pleased that he won – especially as we are approaching final good-byes to the “older stars” in the next couple of years.

Meanwhile, here comes Wimbledon. Queens starts tomorrow and our wee Scottish Andy Murray is trying out his “condition” at both of these venues. Let’s hope his body responds to the level he needs to progress at both tournaments.

Alison Hodge Says:

Oh who cares let’s just enjoy the era of having the best the players ever to play the game….

BTW congrats to Novak and fans, fantastic achievement, enjoy….

Alison hodge Says:

Hope you’re all well, and covid free, GODESS Blessings ❤️

Brent Says:

Laver GOAT

Miloš Says:

Tsitsipas such a sore loser, press conference was beneath every level.

Madmax Says:

kriket Says:
FedExpress you seem to be forgetting that Roger won those last two slams only due to Novak being injured and out of the game. Had he not been out, Roger would have NEVER win those two slams and the tally would be the other way around right now. It would be Novak 21-22, Roger still at 18.
So send Novak a thank you note for his injury.😉

June 13th, 2021 at 2:32 pm

Kriket, really. Try to stop challenging the successes of others, because otherwise you could be in for a very long night, and unnecessarily too.

The amazing Novak won the FO today. 2 sets down, he did it and it is not the first time he has been in this position. His mental toughness today was beyond measure.

Well done Novak. Brilliant play today.

skeezer Says:

I saw that presser don’t know what you mean. Seemed a pretty normal presser to me from a guy who lost a GS final. He did mention after the 2 sets he won Djoker took a break and returned a different player. Whatever he did during that break I want it.

kriket Says:

Madmax, I only mentioned it because he questions Novak’s success relative to Federer’s because Fed’s got more slams, so I pointed at the fact that he only won those slams because Novak was injured and out of the game. One might claim that he’d still win those slams with Novak in the game, but that’s complately unrealistic.

skeezer Says:

Just like how Djoker got Slams while Rafa and Fed were injured and/or out, and made most of his headway in the latter part of Fedals careers. We all can talk circles around each other when it comes to topics like this. Fact is they all are very close to being equal when all said and done. And unless Djoker makes some unbelievably great run the next two years they will end their respective careers that way.

Bob Lewis Says:

Life’s been tough for more than a year,
COVID-19 brought its share of fear.
One thing’s remained so very clear,
Nole’s the best, let’s have a beer.
Roland Garros belongs to France,
The sport of tennis left us in a trance.
Some 90’s babies tried their bests,
Time to regroup at their nests.
Roger played to tune his game,
Staying healthy was his aim.
Rafa tried to defend this throne,
But Novak was simply in a zone.
Rog and Raf have all the glam,
But Nole won career double slam.
Halfway to the feat of Laver,
The Serb’s quest is what we shall savour.
Shouldn’t opponents switch to poker?
‘Cause no one beats a healthy Djoker!

Miloš Says:

Yes skeezer I was thinking about that comment. First I didn’t like during the game Tsitsipas has a handful of wrong out calls when he called umpire to come down. On court interview was nice, and then the insinuation about PEDs

Wog Boy Says:

Yeah, sore loser definitely.
Didn’t he take long bathroom brake after losing first set to Isner and came back braking Isner multiply times?

jane Says:

hi nole fans,
just wanted to give my warmest regards to you (hi wog boy :)) and to say…”GOAT!” ;)
hope everyone is well and this stupid pandemic ends soon.

Observer Says:

@Giles you faded away quickly. Hate is a bad business and karma is always proven to be a b****.

Congrats to Novak on the seismic success. He is cruising toward the Goathood unstoppably.

Wog Boy Says:

Good Lord, jane, the best Nole fan, you must be the angel 👼 Nole was talking about, so glad to hear from you after soooo long.
Yeah, agree, Nole is the best ever, numbers don’t lie, they keep moving goal posts but it doesn’t work.
Daniel, who is Federer fan, though does have soft spot for Nole, said it all.
Stay safe my friend🥂

Giles Says:

“ Whatever he did during that break I want it”. Yep, me too. Only he knows what mischief he got up to He took his bag with him! The bagful of tricks.! The players shouldn’t be allowed to take their bags when on toilet breaks. His dates were probably laced with “ the good stuff”! He’s a cheater and faker through and through !
He should be investigated for sure.
He should never be a candidate for Goathood until the authorities are satisfied that he is and has been playing this game by the rules!

Giles Says:
Oye Milos. Know your facts first before criticising!

skeezer Says:

Sorry news indeed and unfortunate :(

Miloš Says:

Gilles my criticism was very targeted. I guess your reasoning is that tragic events in your life give you a free pass to give unfounded slanders.

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