Sports

Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem – Draw Improves at 2016 French Open

Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem – Draw Improves at 2016 French Open

Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem - Draw Improves at 2016 French Open tennis images

There was plenty of tennis played at the 2016 French Open on Friday. Among others Kei Nishikori advanced, Andy Murray advanced, Milos Raonic advanced, and Richard Gasquet advanced. However, the biggest news of the day came on the side of the draw where there was no action: Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the French Open with a wrist injury. The Spaniard told the media on Friday that he was in pain in the last round and that the results of a recent MRI “are not positive.”

His withdrawal advances Marcel Granollers to the fourth round without having to fight for it. It’s not the first French Open 4th-round appearance for ‘Granola bars’ as he made the second week at the clay-court Slam in both 2012 and 2014. But there certainly appear to be other players beside him who stand to benefit from Nadal’s wrist injury.

2016-roland-garros-round-4-draw-sans-rafael-nadal

Namely, Dominic Thiem now has a fantastic look at the semifinals of the 2016 French Open. With a draw through Alexander Zverev, who Thiem beat just last week, Granollers, and then no one more proven than a questionable Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the young Austrian has to be looking at this year’s French as his chance to put himself into a big match on tour. Thus far he has excelled at the smaller events but has not yet won a fourth-round match in a major, let alone a quarterfinal.

His ambitions have to be to do that now and Thiem, if he plays to his potential, should be the player that faces Novak Djokovic in the semifinal round. The Serbian himself now has his teeth more than half way into the final as most felt that the top half of the draw was between he and the Spaniard.

For Nadal, you can’t help but wonder if the injury advances a retirement date. After winning Monte-Carlo a handful of weeks ago and them following it up with a title in Barcelona, Nadal certainly looked more than physically able to win at the French Open too. Furthermore, the Spaniard did not have difficult opposition in the opening two rounds of Roland Garros with just Sam Groth and Facundo Bagnis opposing. Based on the scoring lines in those two wins, it did not appear as though Nadal was the least bit bothered: he won 36 games in the two matches with just 9 dropped.

That he has picked up a wrist injury after what has to be called unchallenging wins suggests strongly to me that his days as a Grand-Slam contender are nearing a conclusion. He hasn’t seen the semifinals of any major since winning the 2014 French Open, and many of his losses have come against non-contenders for the title. With Wimbledon about a month away, it sure is difficult to have much faith in the Spaniard at all. With Nadal and Roger Federer both on the sidelines at the biggest time of year, it is really starting to look like an era of change is coming within the Top 5 on the men’s tour.

Sports
@GrandSlambert77

Shane is a sports writer with a big interest in tennis, but he's also a noted writer about travel and fiction. Plus he can handle long walks in the cold Canadian tundra!

More in Sports

Connor McDavid, Russell Westbrook   MVP Candidates in Different Contexts 2017 images

Connor McDavid, Russell Westbrook – MVP Candidates in Different Contexts

Shane LambertApril 29, 2017
2017 NFL Draft Top 5 picks pull in major reactions images

2017 NFL Draft: Top 5 picks pull in major reactions

Chris MauriceApril 28, 2017
eric weddle ravens strongest team in history now

Eric Weddle makes some big Ravens claims

Chris MauriceApril 27, 2017
patriots winning draft ways nfl

Patriots prove to have winning NFL draft formula

Luka AlarioApril 27, 2017
adrian peterson lining up with mark ingram for new orleans saints 2017

Adrian Peterson joins forces with Mark Ingram for Saints

Chris MauriceApril 27, 2017
tj ward pushing for another broncos super bowl win

T.J. Ward still hopeful for Broncos Super Bowl win

Chris MauriceApril 26, 2017
adam siler knicks fan fighter

James Dolan on his own with New York Knicks fan fight

Chris MauriceApril 26, 2017
Maria Sharapova Was Suspended in a Man's World 2017 images

Maria Sharapova Was Suspended in a Man’s World

Shane LambertApril 25, 2017
jabrill peppers sees draft stock drop after positive drug test 2017 images

Jabrill Peppers sees draft stock drop after positive drug test

Chris MauriceApril 25, 2017

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

You will only receive one per day. You'll also get a free THE WALKING DEAD graphic novel with your subscription