Greg Rusedski has told The Tennis Space that Rafael Nadal would have been “completely destroyed” if he had lost the French Open final to Novak Djokovic. Rusedski said that Nadal’s victory sets up Wimbledon very nicely, and that he would be surprised if it is not Nadal and Djokovic in the final at the All England Club. “There’s a gap between those two and Federer, and that gap is widening.”
Rusedski on what Nadal’s victory means before Wimbledon: “It makes everything exciting, As had Nadal lost that, Djokovic would have held all four slams, and Nadal’s confidence would have been completely destroyed. He was really nervous in that match. It was the first time that you saw him look so excited during his celebrations. He was excited about the seven French Open titles, but it was also relief and joy because he wasn’t sure that he was going to win. All the other finals, he was really positive. Never before had we seen Rafa lose eight games in a row on clay. That just doesn’t happen. Nadal’s not the favourite for Wimbledon. But I think there will be a rematch with Nadal and Djokovic in the final at Wimbledon.
“Tsonga and Berdych are outsiders, and Federer is going to have his say but the courts are a lot slower than they used to be, and Murray is going to have his say, too, but those two guys, Nadal and Djokovic, are on a collision course. They’ve got a rivalry now which means that they’ve separated themselves from the pack. There could be an upset, but each one will desperately want to beat the other at Wimbledon. Djokovic will want to say, ‘well, he beat me on his favourite surface, clay, but he doesn’t beat me anywhere else’.”
Rusedski on how the gap between the top two and Federer is widening: “There is a gap, and it’s widening. There’s the top two, and then Federer, and then there’s a gap again with Murray. Then there’s Tsonga and Berdych. It’s all about Nadal and Djokovic now. When you play in four major finals in a row, of course there’s a gap.”
Rusedski on how players will approach this extended grass-court season, to include Wimbledon and the Olympics: “The players will be focused on trying to win Wimbledon. So they will focus on this one month, and then they’ll separate that and focus again on the Olympics. They won’t see it as one long grass-court season, but as two seasons.”
Rusedski on Andy Murray’s back problem: “I’m not concerned at all. I don’t think it will be an issue at all. You can’t play the tennis that he played in Paris if you have a bad back. Everybody has a niggle, everybody has aches and pains, especially as you get older. Everybody’s dealing with something and Andy’s learning how to not show those things. Anybody who is on court is dealing with pain.”