Could Rafa have won 2016 French Open?

pedro94

Rookie
Yesterday I was rewatching 2016 FO Final highlights, incredible tennis from both Novak and Andy. I remember being so happy for Novak to finally win the title after 3 lost finals (it would be a travesty if he didn't manage to get the career grand slam).

That being said.. if Rafa didn't injure his wrist, would he have a chance at the title? He had an extreme drop in form in 2015 and 2016, however I remember his form slowly picking up halfway through 2016, with titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. However he then lost to Murray in Madrid and Djokovic in Rome. Though we all know that even if Rafa wins bugger all during the clay season he always brings his A-game to FO.

How was Rafa's level of play at the FO the first 2 rounds that he played? Would he have gone far if his wrist was fine? He'd have to play Granollers, Thiem, Goffin and then Djokovic in the SF. Thiem was still too young and I doubt he'd pose a threat to Rafa if he was healthy, even if his form wasn't great. However Djokovic in the SF would be a tough ask. Was he good enough at that tournament (barring the wrist injury) to beat Djokovic in his current form? What would be the implications had he won the title and Djokovic never won FO until now?
 

ibbi

Legend
He played fine his first two rounds, but he was not playing strong competition. He was rubbish in 2016, and he would have been found out eventually, not only because of his poor form, his lame game, and shot confidence, but because the weather at Roland Garros in 2016 was horrendous. It was like mother nature finally decided it was going to give Novak the pitch perfect conditions he needed to be something close to unbeatable at that tournament.

That said, Nadal would have done well to even make it to a match up with Djokovic in those conditions the way he did the year before. Granollers might have been well past his best, but he's no slouch on a clay court, Thiem might have been a few years from his best, but he still loves it on the clay, and Goffin is one of the better clay courters around.

Just look at the way a much better Nadal struggled with the likes of Bolelli and Schwartzman during 2018's run, and tell me with a straight face that crappy 2016 Nadal was going to win Roland Garros when the whole tournament was played in those kinds of conditions.
 

Sport

G.O.A.T.
He was rubbish in 2016,
No, he wasn't, he improved a lot in the 2016 clay season compared to 2015. He won Montecarlo and Barcelona in 2016, more than what he won in the 2019 clay season before RG. Nadal faced Djokovic in Rome 2016. It was a very close match. Nadal was leading 4-2 in the first set and serving to be 5-2, but then Nole was able to come back and end up winnig 7-5. In the second set, Nadal was 5-4 and serving, and choked 5 set points with his own serve! If he pushed Novak to the limits in Rome, he sure had a chance to win RG. Don't forget Nadal is a better RG player than Rome player. Nadal has won 12 RG titles, compared to 9 Rome titles. He is more dominant at RG than at Rome.

Crucially, Nadal losing to Djokovic in Masters 1000 matches previous to RG is not an indicative that he will lose at RG. Nadal lost to Djokovic in Montecarlo 2013 and defeated him in RG 2013. Nadal lost to Djokovic in Rome 2014 and defeated him in RG 2014.

In sum, was Nadal the absolute favorite to win RG 2016 like he was in 2017? No. Was he playing so bad as in 2015? Nope, either.

Would have Nadal won RG 2016 if he hadn't been injured? No one knows. Untestable, therefore irrelevant. But only a Nadal hater would say "Nadal had no chance to win RG 2016 if healthy". Nadal is 12/12 in RG finals and semifinals and has a 98% winning percentage in the tournament. To suggest "he had no chance" is ridiculous.
 
Last edited:
No, he wasn't, he improved a lot compared to 2015. He won Montecarlo and Barcelona in 2016, more than what he won in the 2019 clay season before RG. Nadal faced Djokovic in Rome 2016. It was a very close match. Nadal was leading 4-2 in the first set and serving to be 5-2, but then Nole was able to come back and end up winnig 7-5. In the second set, Nadal was 5-4 and serving, and choked 5 set points with his own serve! if he pushed Novak to the absolute limits in Rome, he sure had a chance to win RG. Don't forget Nadal is a better RG player than Rome player. Nadal has won 12 RG titles, compared to 9 Rome titles. He is more dominant at RG than at Rome.

Crucially, Nadal losing to Djokovic in Masters 1000 matches previous to RG, is not an indicative that he will lose at RG. Nadal lost to Djokovic in Montecarlo 2013 and defeated him in RG 2013. Nadal lost to Djokovic in Rome 2014 and defeated him in RG 2014.

In sum, was Nadal the absolute favorite to win RG 2016 like he was in 2017? No. Was he playing so bad as in 2015? Nope, either.

Would have Nadal won RG 2016 if he hadn't been injured? No one knows. Untestable, therefore irrelevant. But only a Nadal hater would say "Nadal had no chance to win RG 2016 if healthy". Nadal is 12/12 in RG finals and semifinals and has a 98% winning percentage in the tournament. To suggest "he had no chance" is ridiculous.
In your wall of text, you ignored the most important information from the poster you qouted:

The weather that year was heavy.

Djokovic won 8 straight games against Nadal in 2012 in such conditions.

Let me repeat : 8 straight games against Nadal in his 2nd or 3rd best clay form in AN FREAKING RG FINAL.

Diego Schwartzman pushed Nadal to the brink in 2018 in such conditions and we are talking about Novak at his best or second best form at RG.


Imagine a better Novak in similar conditions against a way worse Rafa.

Now ask yourself what would happen then?


Before going rage mode actually read what people are saying.
 

Sport

G.O.A.T.
In your wall of text, you ignored the most important information from the poster you qouted:

The weather that year was heavy.

Djokovic won 8 straight games against Nadal in 2012 in such conditions.

Let me repeat : 8 straight games against Nadal in his 2nd or 3rd best clay form in AN FREAKING RG FINAL.

Imagine a better Novak in similar conditions against a way worse Rafa.

Now ask yourself what would happen then?


Before going rage mode actually read what people are saying.
In your wall of response, you ignore that Nadal won the RG 2012 final, so your point makes no sense. The whole RG 2012 final was played in cloudy conditions, yet Nadal won in 4. And contraty to what you said, Djokovic was not playing better in RG 2016 than in RG 2012, in fact he played better in 2012. He just faced easier opposition in the 2016 final.
 
Last edited:

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
A certain poster would take offence to this
Yeah, I stopped reading at this moment. It is obvious OP is just a Djokovic fanboy. If he really thinks Murray totally collapsing after the first set is incredible tennis then I feel sorry for him. He never saw good tennis in his life.
 

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
In your wall of response, you ignore that Nadal won the RG 2012 final, so your point makes no sense. The whole RG 2012 final was played in cloudy conditions, yet Nadal won in 4. And contraty to what you said, Djokovic was not playing better in RG 2016 than in RG 2012, in fact he played better in 2012. He just faced easier opposition in the 2016 final.
Totally agree. Djokovic fans are overrating his 2016 form just because he won RG that year. Give 2012 Djokovic (or 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2019) to face 2016 Murray in RG final and he wins it in 3-4 sets every time.
 

vex

Hall of Fame
Of course? It’s the king of clay. Djoker would have had a chance. He was playing fantastic, he might have even deserved to be the favorite. But... you betting against the King?
 

Enceladus

Legend
No, he wasn't, he improved a lot in the 2016 clay season compared to 2015. He won Montecarlo and Barcelona in 2016, more than what he won in the 2019 clay season before RG. Nadal faced Djokovic in Rome 2016. It was a very close match. Nadal was leading 4-2 in the first set and serving to be 5-2, but then Nole was able to come back and end up winnig 7-5. In the second set, Nadal was 5-4 and serving, and choked 5 set points with his own serve! If he pushed Novak to the limits in Rome, he sure had a chance to win RG. Don't forget Nadal is a better RG player than Rome player. Nadal has won 12 RG titles, compared to 9 Rome titles. He is more dominant at RG than at Rome.

Crucially, Nadal losing to Djokovic in Masters 1000 matches previous to RG is not an indicative that he will lose at RG. Nadal lost to Djokovic in Montecarlo 2013 and defeated him in RG 2013. Nadal lost to Djokovic in Rome 2014 and defeated him in RG 2014.

In sum, was Nadal the absolute favorite to win RG 2016 like he was in 2017? No. Was he playing so bad as in 2015? Nope, either.

Would have Nadal won RG 2016 if he hadn't been injured? No one knows. Untestable, therefore irrelevant. But only a Nadal hater would say "Nadal had no chance to win RG 2016 if healthy". Nadal is 12/12 in RG finals and semifinals and has a 98% winning percentage in the tournament. To suggest "he had no chance" is ridiculous.
Djoker's form in Rome 2016 was a subpar. In the match against Bellucci, Djoker received the bagel in the first set, and also struggled with Nishikori. Nole played much better at the 2016 RG.

Nadal would have had a chance in their hypothetical match at RG 2016, of course, but Djoker would be a favorite, with more/stronger momentum.
 

DSH

G.O.A.T.
Djokovic of 2016 was inferior than his version of 2015 and au contraire, Nadal was in a much better shape that time than the horrifying vision of Spaniard from the previous year; Having said all this, I think that if that confrontation had occurred in the semifinals, it would have been at least 50/50 and the great beneficiary would have been Murray who could have faced an exhausted rival in the grand final.
 

The Guru

Hall of Fame
Totally agree. Djokovic fans are overrating his 2016 form just because he won RG that year. Give 2012 Djokovic (or 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2019) to face 2016 Murray in RG final and he wins it in 3-4 sets every time.
I don't know about that. I definitely agree that peak clayovic is 11-13 but Murray would have his chances against 08 15 and 19 Djoker. Let's not forget that in 15 Murray took him 5.
 

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
I don't know about that. I definitely agree that peak clayovic is 11-13 but Murray would have his chances against 08 15 and 19 Djoker. Let's not forget that in 15 Murray took him 5.
Murray totally collapsed after the first set of RG 2016 final and it had nothing to do with his opponent. He simply stopped fighting. I don't think there is a version of Djokovic who can lose to that Murray. And I'm not sure why you mention their 2015 semifinal, it was never a close match. Djokovic should have won it 6-3 6-3 6-3 or something like that. But he got a bit tight. Still, he was never close to losing and the last set was NID.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DSH
Top