Hmmm that might be a bit hard, Coria beat Agassi convincingly last year and is only playing better if anything. They are heading in different directions. Mind you Agassi is an all time great and can beat anyone on his day. It would take a heckuva effort to beat Coria tho, Agassi would have to hit a lot of balls and grind like crazy.
I think that the real question is, "Who can stop Coria from winning the French?"
We should start talking about possible spoilers such as Ferrero, Gonzalez, Moya, Costa, Nalbandian, Hewitt, Guga, and all the other Spaniards and Argentines that grew up on the dirt.
However, I think that any player that plays a similar style to Coria is cooked on clay against Coria, even Ferrero. I really don't feel that Andre can win the French at this stage in his career, but he has proven me wrong in the past. I think a guy with a huge serve that ends points quickly has the "potential" to upset Coria on a good serving day. Martin Verkerk did it last year at the French. Coria should be weary of guys like Ivan Lubjicic, who has had good results on clay, or any other big serving guy. The major roadblock, in my mind, to Coria hoisting that Cup on the second Sunday of the French, is one man. The man. Roger Federer. Roger is superior to every other player on the tour, on any surface. True, clay may be the equalizer that the other players need to defuse Roger's game, but even on the dirt, when Roger is focused and fit, nobody can match his level. I will be very interested to see how Roger progresses during the clay court season, and I can't wait to diagnose his form and chances of winning, going into Roland Garros.
The way I see it, the only thing that can stop Coria now is his body or his mind. An injury would put Coria out of the money, and his body has broken down many times before. Also, if he starts believing the hype that he is invincible on clay, somebody may catch him sleeping on an off-day. He may also begin to feel the pressure of being the "man to beat" on red clay. We have seen many others fold from the pressure, but Coria doesn't seem like that type of an athlete. All I do know is that whatever scenario does play out, I will be watching, analyzing, and loving every second of the action.
I think the question is definitely who can stop him. Safin, Ferrero, and Federer come to mind if they can play well, Ferrero is a little bit of a long shot considering the dissappearing act he's pulled this year. I can't wait to see Roger play on the dirt.
I think that only a player with an all-court game can give Coria problems on clay. The player would need a big serve to get cheap points because he's definitely not going to get them on Coria's unforced errors, and it'll be a lot harder to hit winners. Also, it might be necessary to come to the net if the opportunity arises just to keep him scrambling and to try to take his rhythm away. But in the end, I think that a truly awesome player will beat him unless he wins a tight match, and is then mentally burned a little bit, just like last year when he lost to Verkerk after beating Agassi in a tough match.
We'll see though. I personally don't want him to win. I'd rather see Federer or Safin do really well.
I seriously think if Andre and Guillermo play again at the French this year, it's all Andre. He owns Coria, beat him 4 and 5 and Indian Wells a few weeks back, and, in my opinion just posseses too much power off of the ground for Coria to keep up with him, especially with all these reocurring injuries. Andre won the first convincly last year, and it was his match to win...
Andre and Coria have played five times. Five of them have been on hardcourts - those Agassi won, with the one match this year being the only close one.
However, the one time they have played on clay, Coria won.
"Agassi "owns" coria," - that's what I thought before the French open quarterfinals last year. I still agree that Agassi will own Coria on any surface except clay - but on clay, I think Coria would be the favorite. He's just too fast, and moves too well - Agassi, on the other hand, is not as comfortable on the red stuff.
Coria is a grinder. It's almost ALWAYS his opponent's match to win or lose - Coria isn't going to dictate much to anybody. However, somehow, he almost always seems to make the opponent lose...
Coria is gonna win the French this year, unless he meets an in-form Federer. He'd beat Agassi again, he'd probably take Ferrero (althouhg it would be insanely close), Moya sadly he'd beat I believe (crosses fingers), all the other boys, he just takes out too easily. Unless he gets injured, he's gonna win it or unless he runs into someone in unbelieveable form. Federer, Safin, Ferrero, or a huge server like someone mentioned would be my only picks.
Tho a baseliner, Agassi's best surface has never been clay. The first grand slam tourney they expected him to win was actually his last. He won the other three first. Coria is one of the most natural clay courters one could ever wish to see. I would never count out the defending champ here, he could easily leave his mark on this tournament.