“A New ‘Emperor of Clay’ Will Be Coronated to Replace Nadal.”
The New York Times made this prediction ahead of the French Open, the second major tournament of the year (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open) on Aug. 22. Rafael Nadal, the “dirt god” who has dominated Roland Garros (the venue of the French Open) for the past 18 years, will miss the French Open due to a hip injury suffered on April 18.
Nadal, who hasn’t missed a tournament in the 18 years since his debut in 2005, has won a career-high 14 titles (and 22 majors). It’s been said that Nadal is the future of the French Open. The French Open organization called it a “heartbreaking decision” and lamented Nadal’s absence.
Alcaraz is considered the next “clay shoe”. EPA=연합뉴스
As the ‘Nadal era’ comes to an end, the ‘next generation of clay’ players will be looking to win the French Open. Carlos Alcaraz (20-World No. 1-Spain), the “next Nadal,” is the No. 0 favorite to win the tournament. He won the US Open last year at the age of 19, making him the youngest world number one in men’s tennis history.
He has won four tour events this year. “The new generation is already here,” Novak Djokovic (36-3, Serbia) said on April 18. His tennis is great,” said Novak Djokovic on April 18, recognizing Alcaraz. Along with Nadal and Roger Federer (42-retired-Swiss), Djokovic is one of the men’s tennis “big three” who have dominated the world over the past two decades.
Medvedev has been performing well on clay courts recently. EPA=연합뉴스
Danil Medvedev (27-2, Russia) has been on the rise as well as Alcaraz. Medvedev won the Rome Open, a precursor to the French Open, on April 22. It was his first career clay-court title. His clay-court form has been noticeably better this season.
He also has five tour titles this year, the most of any competitor. “Until now, my ‘love’ has been hardcourt, but from now on I’ve decided to 먹튀검증 love clay,” Medvedev said after winning the Rome Open, raising expectations for the French Open.
Rudd, a former Nadal pupil. AFP
Kasper Lourdes (25, No. 4-Norway) is another player who dreams of being Nadal’s successor. He is a graduate of the Rafael Nadal Academy in Mallorca, Spain. Since 2017, he has consistently visited Nadal for advice and training.
Nadal is his role model and, like his mentor, he is strong on clay. Last year, he was runner-up to Nadal in the French Open final, proving that he can do it. His nickname is “the dirt guy.
Denmark’s newcomer Lune has been recognized by Djokovic. AFP
Also in the spotlight is Denmark’s “God” Holger Lune (20-6), who has won two straight matches against Djokovic. He beat Djokovic in the quarterfinals at the Rome Open on Aug. 18. He also beat Djokovic in the final of the Paris Masters last November.
His style of play is similar to Djokovic’s. He uses his quick feet and endurance to relentlessly harass his opponents. “I’ll have to ask him for tips in the future, he beat me twice,” Djokovic said of Lune. Lune was runner-up at the Rome Open.
The veteran Djokovic dreams of returning to the top, fending off challenges from the younger generation. AFP
The key to watching will be whether the 36-year-old Djokovic can maintain his veteran’s pride amid a field of young stars in their 20s. Djokovic has been on a downward spiral since winning the Australian Open in January. A recurring right elbow injury has prevented him from hitting his trademark powerful shots. Nevertheless, Djokovic can”t give up.
He has a goal: to win the most majors of all time. He”s tied with Nadal for first place with 22 majors. With Federer retired and Nadal out of action, the on-court war between the only “big three” – Djokovic and the younger generation – will be as intense as ever.