Robin Soderling says Rafael Nadal will still be
the favourite to win the French Open despite its switch to September
while he also believes the current tennis hiatus could help prolong the
Spaniard as well as Roger Federer's careers.
Roland Garros 2020 was initially scheduled to take place from 24 May to 7 June, but with tennis on an enforced break until 13 July, the
French Tennis Federation moved the tournament to 20 September to 4 October.
It means the clay-court Grand Slam will start only one week after the
conclusion of the US Open, which might leave a lot of players
undercooked for the red dirt.
Soderling, who was the first man to beat Nadal at Roland Garros when
he defeated the Spaniard in 2009, says Nadal will still be the player to
beat and feels the hiatus will help the 12-time French Open winner as
well as Federer.
"Of course it's going to be a completely different tournament but
Rafa on clay - it doesn't matter if it's in June or September - for me,
if he's healthy, he's still going to be the favourite," he told Sky
Sports' Raz Mirza.
"There are a couple of players who I actually feel can win the French
Open. I think Thiem and Djokovic can do really well on clay but it's
just amazing to see Rafa as the favourite again.
"I can't believe it's been 11 years since I beat him at Roland
Garros, but it just shows you how good he has been for so long. He won
his first French Open title in 2005 and he's still the favourite which
"If this break is not going to be too long, it will help Rafa and
Roger (Federer) recover. It may even help prolong their careers."
- TEAMtalk media