Nadal’s clay-court empire beginning to crumble after Rome loss

It sounds like a ridiculous notion, but the man who has won nine of the last 10 French Open titles may miss out on the top four seeding spots at Roland Garros in 2015.

Rafael Nadal, aka the undisputed King of Clay, has dropped to number seven in the world after losing to Stan Wawrinka in the quarter finals of the Italian Open.

The defeat was Nadal’s second clay tournament failure in quick succession after Andy Murray dispatched the Spaniard in the final of the Madrid Masters last week.

Having had to come back from yet more injuries this season, it begs the question of whether Nadal’s stranglehold over the men’s game on his favourite surface is now beginning to wane.

Although the left-hander has won the last five French Open titles and nine of the last ten, organisers at Roland Garros have already alluded to the fact Nadal’s seeding would not be adjusted if his form wasn’t good enough to automatically get into the top four slots.

This would mean the very real possibility of facing one of the top four seeds before the quarter-finals have even been reached.

With 2/5 Italian Open favourite and world number one Novak Djokovic enjoying a perfect record of eight straight wins on clay this season, the Serb’s chances of completing the career Slam in Paris look even better now.

Djokovic is the strong 4/5 market leader to win the forthcoming French Open, with Nadal next in the betting at 11/4.

Meanwhile, they’ll be plenty of punters willing to back Murray at 8/1 after the Brit’s most impressive return on the dirt in his career early in 2015.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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