I must be the only person out there who predicts such a conclusion. But I am saying it now, that my prediction for the mens’ winner this year is for Roger Federer to lift the crown. Why am I predicting this? For a number of reasons:
Firstly, Federer has not failed to reach the Quarterfinals since 2004. He has been a finalist 4 times, losing each time to Rafael Nadal. And of course he won back in 2009. This level of consistency on clay is one of Federer’s most underrated achievements. Because people notice that he has only won the title once they must think that he is not very good on the surface. In fact he has reached the French final as many times as the Australian (Open) final. The only reason he hasn’t won it more is because of the GOAT Clay Court player i.e. Rafael Nadal. Which coincidentally brings me onto my second point.
Nadal has been handed possibly the toughest draw of the big guns at the Open. Nicolas Almagro, David Ferrer and Stan Wawrinka are all on his side of the draw. We all have seen Nadal wobble on his favourite surface this year, and so any of these opponents could trip him up. And if they don’t do it there will either be Federer or Djokovic waiting in the final to do so.
The biggest hurdle for Federer will be Djokovic in the semi-final, as right now he is the best player in the world (forget the no. 2 ranking). In their last match at Monte Carlo though, Federer beat him in straights. In the previous match Djokovic bested him in a third set tie-break. So this match could go either way. But I am picking Federer to win it, as he will have an extra bit of motivation after the arrival of his second set of twins, and will be seeking to avenge his early exit in Rome.
I am picking Federer to meet with Wawrinka in the final, and even though the younger Swiss won their last encounter, Federer still is 13-1 against him. Fed is more confident on the big stage (despite Wawrinkas Aussie Open and Masters title), and is the more competent player on clay.
Lastly, Federer’s relatively easy draw will only help his 32-year old legs. Having a hard draw would not have done him any good and it is lucky he didn’t draw one. He is predicted to face with Thomas Berdych in the Quarters, or possibly John Isner. Although I personally like both these players, they have weaknesses. Berdych is I think a bit weak mentally, while Isner is obviously weak on the return. After an easy run with Qualifiers in the earlier stages, this will all leave Federer mentally and physically fresh for his clash with Djokovic in the Semis. And after beating Wawrinka in the final, we will see Federer lifting his most unexpected second Roland Garros title.