It’ll be No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the Roland Garros men’s final, as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray face each other in the French championship match for the first time. History is on the line for either man, and the TTI crew makes our picks for the last singles match of the 2016 French Open.
Even though my heart is saying Djokovic, I’ve got to stick with my head (and my pre-tournament pick) and go with Murray. Murray dragged himself through most of the tournament before putting on a masterclass in damp, heavy tennis to knock out defending champion Stan Wawrinka. Djokovic has probably been in better form throughout the tournament, but I think the pressure will get to him throughout patches of the match.
Murray has already exceeded his best result here and should be able to play with far less mental weight than his Serbian opponent.
Jeff’s Pick: Murray in five sets
Much like with yesterday’s women’s finals picks, I will be trusting on my six pack feeling — #humblebrag.
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have probably spent similar amounts of mental and physical energy in the second week of Roland Garros. While the Brit has been elevated to new “King Of Clay” (#ALLEGEDLY) after his success in Rome, this time he will be facing Djokovic on a level-playing field; this is not a slight to Murray himself, but the Brit sauntered into the finals of the most recent clay Masters 1000 of 2016 — while Djokovic was on edge throughout the entire week in Italy and was pushed to the brink by Kei Nishikori in the semifinals, looking erratic throughout the entire course of the BNL Internazionali d’Italia.
Now, after Madrid and Rome, Murray and Djokovic will meet for the third successive final — and I expect things to go the way of the World No. 1 again. I expect the No. 2 seed to pose a veritable challenge to Djokovic for at least two and a half sets, but ultimately the World No. 1 will be able to complete the first Djoko-Slam! (Is that going to be a thing……?)
Oh well, at least it’s the final match of this rainy mess of a tournament. Good riddance, Roland Garros 2016.
René’s Pick: Djokovic in four sets
I went from extremely confident Novak Djokovic would win this tournament, to not-so confident, to not-at-all confident, to confident once again.
Djokovic should thank his opponent Andy Murray for taking out last year’s spoiler in Stan Wawrinka — to me, a hot Wawrinka was the only one capable of stopping the World No. 1 from completing his career Grand Slam. I do think Murray’s win in the Rome final is worth some confidence points coming into Sunday’s championship — but in the end, I remain unconvinced he can beat his rival over five sets on this surface.
But hey, I’ll give him a set.
Sam’s Pick: Djokovic in four sets
This match will go down as the biggest ATP match of the year. Novak Djokovic will either complete the career Grand Slam (and the Nole-Slam) and will be in prime position to be the first man in the Open Era to win all four slams in the same year — or he will be the runner-up in the French Open final for the fourth time in his career. For Andy Murray, it would be a monumental victory — one that could spur him on to winning Wimbledon next month and many titles down the road.
Murray won their last match in Rome, but Djokovic has dominated the rivalry ever since Murray beat him in the 2013 Wimbledon final. Murray will not expect to have it as easy as he did in Rome and Djokovic surely won’t expect to dominate the Brit as he has in so many of their previous matches.
I think we’re in for an extremely competitive match, but I just don’t think Murray has what it takes physically and mentally to take out Djokovic on a slow court over five sets. Originally, I was going with Djokovic in four sets, but I’ve changed my mind and believe we are going all the way tomorrow.
Nick’s Pick: Djokovic in five sets
Despite seemingly taking the scenic route to get there, we’ve again arrived at No. 1 vs. No. 2 in an ATP Grand Slam final. Both Djokovic and Murray showed a pretty decent level of tennis in their semifinal victories — notwithstanding the one set that Stan Wawrinka managed to snatch off the No. 2 seed. The pair’s two meetings on clay this year are at opposite ends of the spectrum, with the World No. 1 winning a grinding three-setter in Madrid only for Murray to rebound over a weary Djokovic in Rome in straight sets.
We might’ve predicted this matchup in the final — but we certainly can’t predict the environment in which it’ll take place. With the way this tournament has gone, why not ramp it up and end the fortnight in style — and by style, of course I mean utter chaos.
(My apologies to Stefan Fransson and his buddies in the referees’ office — it gets better.)
We’re due for some kind of ridiculousness — remember the “Great-But-Not-Really-Great-Two-Day Final of 2012”? — and considering how the forecast is shaping up in Paris tomorrow, something tells me we’ll be getting it in buckets.
Give me five sets, yelling, rain, booing crowds, the works — I am here for it.
(Let me show myself out.)
Vika’s Pick: Djokovic in five sets…..and 2.7 days
Who will raise the Coupe des Mousquetaires? Sound off in the comments!