Here we have a player who is in the GOAT conversation against a player looking for their first Grand Slam title. It’s Novak Djokovic v Stefanos Tsitsipas for all the glory at Roland Garros A Sunday final on the red dirt of Paris without Rafa Nadal is talk of heresy, but here we are after Novak played one of the best matches of his career in defeating the 13 time French Open Champion.
Tsitsipas had his own historic semi after blowing a two set lead and ultimately defeating Zverev in a 3hr 37 minute 5 set epic. He has vowed to “leave my entire body on the court” in the final, which is what he might have to do against a red hot Novak.
Why Novak will win
Nobody can hang with Djokovic when he redlines his game for long stretches. When I say nobody I really mean it, not Roger or Rafa and certainly not Stefanos. The Serbian has the perfect mix of aggression and leg splitting defense to either dominate the rallies or hang in.
He has won six out of the last ten Slams, and likely would have won another if not for a brain explosion at last years US Open. If he plays anywhere near this redline level there will be nothing Tsitsipas can do.
Why Tsitsipas will win
The Greek star has beaten Novak before, twice in fact, so he must have some belief, even though he’s down in the head to head 2-5 and 0-3 on clay, although he pushed Djokovic to the brink in a 5 set loss in last years French semi and a few weeks ago in Rome. If Novak has a mental letdown after the monumental Rafa victory and Tsitsipas keeps his head he’ll win.
As always when Novak, Rafa or Roger are in Slam finals the historical implications are big. This is a big chance for Novak to get to 19, one shy of the other two GOAT’s. As the tennis seasons tick over lost opportunities will loom over the final tally, especially when not facing another GOAT.
These are the Slam finals Novak must win if he’s to catch and ultimately overtake the other two superstars. On court after his semi final win he said, “pressure is a privilege”, well now is the time to fully embrace it. He conquered the great Nadal on clay and in another pressure filled moment will have to deal with Tsitsipas, who is here to prove we can’t forget the next generation.
Novak will win this, but the dirt baller from Greece will push him hard. It’s Djokovic in 4 tight sets.