The @rolandgarros #FrenchOpen2020 #tennis on the men's side is as open as it has been in many years. So many variables have changed. Will this be the year that the King of Clay, @RafaelNadal, is dethroned?
The changes:
1) Change in season from late May to late September. Average temperatures for May & Sep are comparable, but this is the first time that the weather should become colder as the tournament progresses (final is Oct 4) rather than warmer. Cooler temps = less ball bounce
2) Playing at night
Many courts now have artificial lighting. Will Rafa be scheduled for high profile night matches when temperatures will be cooler? Imagine him playing @StefTsitsipas or @ThiemDomi where his ball isn't jumping up on them.
3) Indoors
If it rains and roof is closed, big servers may gain an advantage.
4) No crowds
For the non-legends of the sport, having few in attendance at the big moments in matches against legends such as Rafa & @DjokerNole might improve their chances.
5) Court maintenance
Players seemingly aren't thrilled with the condition of the courts in #ItalianOpen in Rome #Italy this week. Might the courts in Paris not be in the state to which Rafa is accustomed?
6) Matches under the belt
Rafael Nadal is like a Mercedes sedan. You can't leave it in the garage and then expect it to run well. It performs better the more you drive it. The #pandemic has limited Rafa's match play.
7) Obviously, for me, Thiem is the world's 2nd best clay court player. Can he play his best despite conditions he's never experienced before, namely the pressure of being a Grand Slam Champion and no clay court tournament preparation? nytimes.com/2020/09/14/spo…
8) You'd be unwise to count out @DjokerNole. Assuming his shoulder is healthy, my guess is his determination level will be 100%. What a clash of titans a final between him & Rafa would be!
And you'd certainly have your screws completely loose if you were to not have Rafa as a favorite to win his (check) 13th La Coupe des Mousquetaires. Beating him 3 out of 5 sets on clay? Very short is the list of people who have done that.
Nonetheless, conditions for big surprises exist this year. I've cleared my calendar to watch it all! @atptour @TennisChannel @ITF_Tennis

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