As the tennis calendar hurtles towards the all-white Wimbledon in July, all eyes on Sunday are on the French Open final. A clay surface that used to be dominated by Rafael Nadal is now being controlled by Novak Djokovic.
Up against the Brit/Scot (depending on results) Andy Murray on Sunday, you could be forgiven for not writing this one off as an easy win for the Serb, given the recent history between the pair. But there’s some stats that might change your mind..
Every time Novak seems to be hitting his top level he jumps up to another one. He stormed his way through to his fourth French Open final in the last five years. He’s lost the previous three. Last year it was to Stan Wawrinka but only after Murray took him to a last set in a thrilling semi final. He’s won 82% of his matches at Roland Garros and up until last month had Murray’s number on clay. But in Rome, Murray beat the Serb in straight sets and on a clay court. He still leads the head to head by 23 wins to 10 though.
In the last few years Murray has transformed himself into one of the best clay court players in the world. Including this year, his last five appearances at Roland Garros has seen him reach a quarter final, three semi finals and now a final. His record over the last ten games on clay surface is identical to his opponent – ten wins.
Novak struggled in the loss to Murray in Rome. He wasn’t able to keep his cool and ended up going off the boil. With the way Andy’s playing, he can’t afford to do that in the final.
Our traders have priced up Djokovic as the favourite to grab his first French Open title with Murray the outsider. If Novak doesn’t take the title this time there may be doubt starting to creep in about his ability. A fourth final loss would have to weigh on the mind.
But he should finally complete his career slam on Sunday. He’s won his last 27 Grand Slam matches. He’s had less unforced errors than Murray and this is his sixth consecutive appearance in a Grand Slam final. His last one was in Australia, against Murray and he won it in straight sets. While we don’t think it’ll be as easy for him this time, he will win the French Open and complete the slam. Back a 3-1 scoreline win at for the Djoker and for Andy Murray to be called Scottish in Monday’s papers