Let the death knells start sounding again.
Rafael Nadal is out of the French Open with tendon damage in his left wrist, his serving arm, and the press has reacted with its usual lack of optimism.
As I’ve said before, I think Rafa and Roger Federer are still too competitive and invested in tennis as part of their identities to retire any time soon. Still, it’s a shame that we’ll be deprived of a potential Rafanole semifinal. But Novak Djokovic can’t afford to let down his guard. The French has proved a minefield for him. He had Rafa on the ropes in 2013 only to trip into the net in a semifinal that John McEnroe called the greatest clay court match he’d ever seen. Nole destroyed Rafa in last year’s quarterfinal only to up-ended by Stan Wawrinka in the final.
With Rafa gone in his half of the draw, it would appear that the path to the final clears for Nole. But a young gun named Dominic Thiem may have other ideas.
Next up for Thiem, 22, is Alexander Zverev, 19. The winner would’ve probably faced Rafa, who turns 30 June 3.
It’s not the end but maybe it’s the beginning of the end.