Andy Roddick made his 2011 clay debut quite a forgettable one. Playing in his first match in over a month, expletives aside Roddick failed to make any impression during a 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-3 loss to against qualifier Flavio Cipolla in the Madrid Tennis Masters first round.
“There was a lot of frustration,” Roddick said of losing to the 160th ranked Italian. “It wasn’t a ball-striking thing, it was just a movement thing. The part where I was terrible tonight was moving forward and winning some of those awkward points.”
Given Roddick’s questionable emphasis on keeping the ball in play, I thought he would have a decent clay season. But today Andy was making far too many errors and his volleying was awful.
“It’s difficult,” he added of playing on the dirt. “I still enjoy the challenge but it’s no secret that pretty much everything that I typically do well is nullified by the surface to some extent, so it does make it a little bit of an equalizer. Tonight that was the case.”
No, Andy, the dirt doesn’t nullify everything. Today you lit up the stat sheet with more “F Bombs” than groundstroke winners, so well done! When it comes to dropping those bombs, the surface doesn’t matter!
Roddick now has a good amount of time to kill before Rome, then on to Nice and Paris during his extended European vacation.
Roddick’s compatriots didn’t fare much better. The slumping Sam Querrey fell to Michael Llodra in straight sets while Mardy Fish was eliminated by fellow American John Isner in what else, a third set tiebreaker.
Gael Monfils was also a winner beating Ivo Karlovic as was Marcos Baghdatis who will play Rafael Nadal on Wednesday.
Tomorrow, fresh off an Estoril title Juan Martin Del Potro will have be in top form against Mikhail Youhzny. The Russian is a very tricky opponent and if Delpo is feeling any hangover from Estoril it might be a short week for the Argentine. I hope not because Nadal could await on Thursday.
Milos Raonic, who is said to be okay after injuring his back during the Estoril semifinals against Verdasco, plays Fernando’s good buddy Feliciano Lopez. If he is 100% I give the Canadian a slight edge. We’ve already seen some “no shows” from the Spaniards this week – look what happened to Nicolas Almagro yesterday (who picked him to get to the SFs?), and today Juan Carlos Ferrero was unable to put Thiemo de Bakker away. So the Spaniards, like Lopez, do face some added pressure playing at home and right now it’s getting to them. And Verdasco is also on Tuesday against Lu.
With another slow day tomorrow, Wednesday will be huge with Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray all on court in the completion of the second round.
Federer will play the Raonic-Lopez winner.
“Once you reach a good level as a tennis player or for that matter win Grand Slams or become No. 1 in the world, it really fuels you with a motivation and energy,” said Federer who is seeking a third Madrid Masters title. “Clearly wanting to get that feeling back of how it feels winning big tournaments and how it feels to be right at the top of the game [is something] that I´ve been able to do it for so long.”
In the women’s field, World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki joins seeds Sam Stosur and Francesca Schiavone in action tomorrow.
Tennis Channel has live coverage all week and tape in the evening.
MADRID TUESDAY SCHEDULE
MANOLO SANTANA start 12:00 noon
D Hantuchova (SVK) vs  S Stosur (AUS) – WTA
 C Wozniacki (DEN) vs B Jovanovski (SRB) – WTA
Not Before 4:00 PM
Y Lu (TPE) vs  F Verdasco (ESP) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
 D Ferrer (ESP) vs [Q] A Mannarino (FRA) – ATP
S Errani (ITA) vs  F Schiavone (ITA) – WTA
ARANTXA SANCHEZ VICARIO start 2:00 pm
J Del Potro (ARG) vs  M Youzhny (RUS) – ATP
M Raonic (CAN) vs F Lopez (ESP) – ATP
G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs [Q] T de Bakker (NED) – ATP
J Monaco (ARG) vs  G Monfils (FRA) – ATP
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