French Open will be full of drama

With so many different story lines headlining this tournament, the biggest may be made by a player who has not played at the French Open since 2015.

Much has changed for Roger Federer since his last match in Paris. He had surgery, changed the paint job on his racquet and even switched sponsors (from Nike to Uniqlo).

However, the biggest change for Federer since his last match on Court Philippe Chatrier is that he has won three majors — the 2017 Australian Open, 2017 Wimbledon, and the 2018 Australian Open — and had two brief stints as world No. 1 last season.

But despite all of his recent success, Federer had decided to skip the clay court seasons in 2017 and 2018, leaving many tennis fans wondering if he would play on the surface again. But he is back, although he is downplaying his chances saying he doesn’t have any expectations.

In the history of men’s tennis, no player has dominated a grand slam event the way Rafael Nadal has dominated the red clay at Roland Garros.

Nadal is a staggering 86-2 at this tournament, winning the title 11 times. But in 2015 and 2016, Rafa did not lift the La Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy as the French Open champion. In 2015, Nadal was embarrassed by Novak Djokovic, leaving many to wonder if his best days had passed him.

In 2016, Nadal had to withdraw from this tournament because of a wrist injury and whispers about Rafa’s decline became a little louder. Nadal, too, had a resurgent 2017 claiming the French and U.S. Open titles, halting his three-year major drought, and ending the year as world number one.

Nadal defended his French Open title in 2018 for his 11th crown. He will definitely be a top threat at this year’s tournament as he aims for French Open title number 12.

When the 2018 French Open began, Djokovic was not one of the heavy favorites like he had been in years past. After winning the French Open in 2016 to secure all four grand slams at once, Djokovic’s game slipped.

He struggled with injuries and a loss of confidence. He had gone eight straight majors without a win.

At Wimbledon 2018, Djokovic appeared to revert back to his old self he beat Nadal in an epic five-set match in the semifinals, then two days later to secured his fourth Wimbledon title.

The summer of Djokovic continued at the U.S. Open where he dominated to win his third U.S. Open and 14th major title and ended the season ranked number one.

In January, Djokovic was the clear favorite to win the Australian Open. He raced into the final and dispatched Nadal with ease. Djokovic won his record breaking seventh Australian Open title and his 15th career major.

At this year’s French Open, which begins today, Djokovic will look to hold all four major trophies for the second time in four years.

This year’s tournament has a chance to be epic with many major story lines taking place.

If Federer or Djokovic win this year’s French Open they will be just the third male player in tennis history to win the double career grand slam.

Will Nadal win number 12? Will Djokovic complete his second career slam? Will Federer stun the world and win his second career French Open title 10 years after winning his first?

The unpredictability of tennis and grand slams is what makes them so compelling and must-watch TV.

Casey Dodson resides in Duncansville. This is his first submission to the Voice of the Fan.

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