The Roland Garros is back once again for 2016 with its usual dose of excitement, spectacle and ever-present emotion for its millions of fans around the world; Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Stanislas Wawrinka, David Ferrer and fan favourite Rafael Nadal, amongst many others will once again give it their all to try to win the coveted Musketeers’ Cup. The Spanish players whose success proceeds them from the French Grand Slam will have their work cut out for them in this edition – Get ready for an epic showdown!
The 115th edition of the Roland Garros will take place between the 16 of May to the 5th of June, an event that has been followed internationally with over a century of history. Although Fernando Verdasco, Marcel Granollers, Tommy Robredo, Feliciano Lopez and female players Garbiñe Muguruza and Carla Suarez are the most distinguished amongst Spanish tennis players, it is clear who are the fan’s favourites to win the title: David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal.
David Ferrer and The Roland Garros
At 33 years of age David Ferrer has accumulated a total of 26 ATP trophies throughout his career and has won several awards, such as the Best Male Athlete Award of 2005 as chosen by the Diputación de Alicante, whilst also promoting the Valencian Open 250, a competition he has won on three separate occasions. The fact that he will be participating in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics speaks for itself; On the other hand however, according to the official Wimbledon sports page how a player that doesn’t even have a grand slam under his belt has become one of the most praised in tennis history, an anecdotal fact no matter how you look at it, has come to the attention of many fans; Ferrer is now sat at 8th position in the ATP rankings in which he had previously held 3rd place – And no, he doesn’t have any ‘major’ under his belt.
His relationship with the Roland Garros can be summarized as a frustrating dream; He has reached the quarter-finals on 4 separate occasions, but has only reached the finals once in 2013, where he faced Rafa Nadal, something which has sadly happened to him on more than one occasion in other major tournaments. Rafa Nadal in an act of excellent sportsmanship has stated “Without a doubt, he deserves more titles than he owns.”, and this year we hope justice will be served, with him breaking the curse of the ‘Grand Slam’ and why not on clay courts?
Rafael Nadal – The Tenth ‘Salad Bowl
The undisputed king of the clay courts has more than 65 ATP titles, including 14 Grand Slams, 4 Davis Cups and a gold medal from the Peking Olympic Games, an amazing career that started at the age of 16, not without its mishaps however such as in 2015, where he would suffer numerous defeats from Federer, Wawrinka and especially Djokovic, the current world champion and the Goliath of the tennis courts that everybody wants to defeat.
Apart from opening the Rafal Nadal Sports Center in 2016 in Manacor, Nadal has set his sights on the Roland Garros, a ‘major’ that last year proved to be an impossible feat due to the aforementioned defeats; This year however he proposes to confront the tournament with a stronger mentality and improved preparations. Whatever the case, it’s safe to say that the courts in the Philippe Chaterier stadium have the upmost respect for Nadal considering he has proven victorious in them on nine separate occasions – An historical record that will be hard to beat; As a result it should come as no surprise that he is considered a strong contender for the Musketeers’ Cup.
The tournament of the ‘Salad Bowl’ has had a plethora of Spanish participants in the last few decades; Carlos Moya, Albert Costa, Juan Carlos Ferrero and of course Rafa Nadal and Ferrer have dominated the competition almost uninterruptedly since 1998, and as a result have promoted the sport within Spain, especially in the Comunitat Valenciana, where regional clubs and summer Spanish camps all help to find the future stars of the sport – Who knows? Maybe we will see one of them in the future playing at the Roland Garros or other major ‘Grand Slams’.