Sunday, May 26, 2013

Roland Garros 2013: My Picks

Photo via

Roland Garros (a.k.a. The French Open) begins in Paris today.  RG is the world's biggest clay court tournament, the second of four Majors on the tennis calendar.  For The Squid, a couple of changes are afoot.

Change #1: We ditched satellite television about a month ago.  For the most part, we were already watching all of our shows by DVR so streaming via Hulu or Amazon Prime works just as well.  Live sporting events were the big question mark.  Most importantly, would I still be able to watch the tennis Majors?  NBC Sports appears to be fairly accommodating.  We shall see.

Change #2: It's time to streamline my tennis posts - weekly rather than daily during Majors.  The daily posts were fun but burdensome and inflexible.  If I spend more time analyzing draws and schedules than actually watching and enjoying tennis, there's a problem.  I realize I may be the only one who really cares but The Armchair Squid began life as a tennis blog and I'd like to hold onto that element as part of the broader mission.  Increasingly, the tennis posts were feeling like a chore - time for a change.

What better way to kick off the tournament than with my picks to win the men's and women's singles titles...

My choice on the men's side is an obvious one: Rafael Nadal (3rd seed, Spain).
Photo via AceShowbiz

Nadal has played this tournament eight times and has lost a grand total of one match - a breathtaking achievement under-appreciated in the broader sports world.  Picking anyone else seems absurd.  Novak Djokovic (1st, Serbia) is the biggest threat.  Eventually, he will win RG, completing his Career Slam.  I don't think this is the year.  His results have dropped of late, whereas Rafa is peaking at the right time.  If the two meet, it will be during the semifinals.

My women's pick is more of a stretch: Agnieszka Radwanska (4th, Poland).
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Radwanska is the highest-ranked player without a Major title and RG has been kind to first-time Slam champions in recent years (Francesca Schiavone, Na Li, Ana Ivanovic).  As such, Radwanska doesn't appear too much of a stretch.  However, despite the smaller physique and tactical acumen which would generally lead one to expect otherwise, Radwanska is not at her best on clay.  In her favor, though, is the fact that the players ranked above her aren't either.  Even Serena Williams (1st, USA), world's greatest female athlete, and Maria Sharapova (2nd, Russia), defending champion, are most vulnerable on dirt.  Williams is currently in top form and should that continue, there's not a player on earth who can touch her.  Should she stumble, Radwanska might just be the one to capitalize.


  1. I'm sad that I can't see your Nadal pic, as he is a cutie! :)

    By following your blog I might be more up to date with tennis than I have been in years.

    1. You can't see him? Oh, dear. What browser are you using? I suppose it could be an international problem. I don't want to deny you the eye candy fix so try this one:

      My wife is a Nadal fan, too. There's no denying it, the Spanish lefties on tour (Nadal, Lopez, Verdasco) are very good looking men.

    2. Well, I am now looking at this post from work so not sure if that would have made a difference (I use Chrome at home and at work, but at home I have a Mac and at work a PC). I can see him now! Thanks ;)

      I'm not familiar with Verdasco, but now feel the need to familiarise myself!

    3. I changed the photo - too bad because I really liked the first one. Of course, that isn't worth much if no one can see it.

      Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim once described Verdasco as having hit the genetic jackpot. Decide for yourself:

  2. I cut the chord from cable not that long ago. There is an endless variety of programming available except for live sports, which is pretty hit and miss.

    1. What I miss most about DirecTV is that, at least during the first week of a Major, one can pick between 5 different matches. Now I must go with whatever NBC sees fit for me to watch. Boy are we saving money, though - a fair trade!

  3. Cable, direct tv and whatnot would be great if you could just pick the couple of ala carte things you want. I have been saving a lot of money and some the of supplemental things I added (netflix streaming $7 or so) is quite cheap and has a lot of movies and tv series.

    1. I absolutely agree and I think that's where TV is heading with all of the streaming options. Cable, satellite and network will have to evolve or be left behind. We've got Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. That pretty much covers everything we need at a much cheaper price. Most of the sports packages have streaming options, too.