Roger Federer: Madrid’s Blue Clay Feels Different Than Regular Clay; Reclaiming No. 1 Would Be A Dream
by Tom Gainey | May 6th, 2012, 11:01 am
  • 71 Comments

After a month-long break from tennis, Roger Federer said Sunday in Madrid that he’s ready for the challenge of returning to the top spot in the game. Federer, who opens with the David Nalbandian-Milos Raonic winner, is just one week shy of tying Pete Sampras’s record of 286 weeks at No. 1.

“If I do win a Grand Slam, I’ll be extremely close to world number one, so I am aware of that but again, it is easier said than done,” Federer said in a pre-tournament presser. “My focus is on my next match here on Wednesday, but it is a dream for me to try to achieve that this year again and I will try to chase it as hard as I can and see if it is possible. If not it is not a problem, I will try and win tournaments, which is a thrill in itself.”

Federer is also aware of the immediate challenge of beating Rafael Nadal on his home soil. The time away from the game helped his body.

“I was playing with some lingering injuries for a few months, so I am happy that they are now gone,” Federer said. “I feel good. I am returning to clay in Rafa’s country, on a surface in which he has been dominant for so many years. My focus now is on making sure I get through here. I am happy to be here and am really excited to be playing again. This was a longer break than usual but I needed it because I had played so much.”

And Federer addressed the topic of the week: Madrid’s surface move from traditional red to blue clay courts.

“It feels a little different than regular clay,” he said. “I’m not sure if it’s just visually or something else. It has been rainy and cooler than usual, so that makes a difference too. It’s going to be interesting to see how it’s going to play when there is hot weather.”

Federer won the Madrid title in 2009 and finished runner-up in 2010. The 30-year-old is 23-3 this year with three titles.


Also Check Out:
Rafael Nadal Is Still Mad About Madrid’s Blue Clay, But At Least His Knee Is “Perfect”
Nadal, Djokovic, Murray Give Thumbs Down On Madrid’s Blue Clay Courts
Novak Djokovic: I Was Very Close To My Grandfather, It Was A Big Loss For Me And My Family
Andy Murray’s Having Court Issues: Monte Carlo Has Bad Bounces, Madrid Has Turned Blue
Some Players Support The Blue Clay Tennis Courts In Madrid

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71 Comments for Roger Federer: Madrid’s Blue Clay Feels Different Than Regular Clay; Reclaiming No. 1 Would Be A Dream

jane Says:

He looks relaxed & happy in that little clip anyhow.


Gannu Says:

quite amazing his level of optimism…i ahve lost all hopes of him even winning a slam let alone getting back to No 1…tennis without fedex is boring ;-)


Kimmi Says:

very true gannu. this is what his fans needs to hear to support him all the way. Go rog!


Mark Says:

The man loves to dream!!!! Dream on dude!!!


Andoegar Says:

Love fed. The best simple as that. I don’t think he will get to number 1 but I do see him winning a slam. Which would be an amazing achievement in itself.


Humble Rafa Says:

There is nothing wrong in dreaming as long as you know it is only a dream. Reality is a completely different matter.


Brando Says:

@mark: the man has achieved his dreams moreso than any other active player!


Brando Says:

GLAD to see RF back- I think he’ll have a very good clay season!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Fed had an opportunity to rise to #2, which would have saved him from facing Rafa every time he goes to a title, as Nole would sometimes clean up his mess for him. Having lost that shot, its going to be gone for a while. Its more likely that Rafa will gain points in Madrid than Djokovic.
Paradoxically, Fed might have to throw his match against Nole to stop Rafa from gaining points! (the difference for Fed going from semi to finals is less than Rafa would gain going from finalist to champ).


Number99 Says:

Good luck Roger !


Brando Says:

@TV:

Fed is a PROPER champ- there is no way he would throw a match away whatsoever!

He’s a positive person- for this tourny he knows the best way to improve his ranking is to win- THATS exactly what he shall try to do!

He’s won here before, beat rafa also- so WHY NOT?


alison hodge Says:

Roger has such a fantastic positive attitude,even though hes had such a lean spell without winning a slam,its great for the sport that he still has that hunger and desire,although obviously it wont get any easier,so many new and up and coming players,still if anyone can do it Roger can,as regards the number 1 ranking i think to achieve that would just be an added bonus,hes nothing left to prove to anyone anymore.


bstevens Says:

Fed has played very well at Madrid since its inception as a clay-court event: 2009-win, 2010-finalist, 2011-semis. I suppose the conditions are similar to Hamburg where he had a lot of success.

The blue courts look intriguing. I’m sure they are just a gimmick though.


skeezer Says:

Behind the back FH? Crazy…only the Maestro! Go Fed!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Brando, I’m not at all saying he would do it. Just that it would (in likelihood) be better for him to lose than win. That’s kind of how Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder start in the Producers. With a crazy realization and the madcap adventures that follow to make it happen.


dari Says:

Skeezer- and so casually too, what a guy

Allison, I like the way you put it “lean spell” :)

Number three, number two, whatever, he’s gotta get through the draw either way. And now, after fed has done so much, I look for the more remarkable achievements. Winning another slam at his age and with the competition so stiff would be an accomplishment itself- but beating novak and rafa along the way would be outstanding- that’s how I look at it these days when I see fed at no. 3.
don’t get me wrong- I’d still be xelibrating if he won a slam with novak and nadal somehow bypassed, but going straight through them- all the sweeter

And kudos to him for being so positive. Go rog!


racquet Says:

^^Behind the back FH? Crazy…only the Maestro!

Not quite. Both Lendl and Edberg did it during a SF match at the USO in ’91.

http://tinyurl.com/73p8u5o


dari Says:

That’s still good company, racquet!


alison hodge Says:

Dari i completely agree with everything you say,hes still putting himself in contention which i find amazing,i still believe he has more slams in him yet,i dont know if ive got my wires crossed but i didnt mean any disrespect to Roger in my above post,quite the opposite in fact,ive nothing but admiration for the guy.


racquet Says:

@dari – it sure is. Edberg is one of my all-time favs.


V Blacklabel Says:

Here are our thoughts from Day 2 in Madrid featuring Wozniacki, Craybas and of course, blue clay, http://www.blacklabeltennis.com/2012/05/enter-magic-box-6-may-2012-three.html


harry Says:

@skeezer, so true! i loved watching that lazy flick behind his back :-)


skeezer Says:

racquet,

Well if you want to get technical that is not the exact same shot, Fed hit a high behind the back. Not to gloat but the Edberg/Lendl one I have done, but I have seen NO ONE hit that shot Fed hit. And for further glory, how about a Overhead winner off an opponents Overhead?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4YCFPbUrfY

Most here have seen that one and Fed is the only Top player ever to have so many twiner winners…..

BTW Bahrami has plenty of trick shots( fun to watch ) but never won Majors, in case anyone else starts posting more you tubes…….


skeezer Says:

^tweener


steve-o Says:

Come on Roger!


dari Says:

I have picked delpo to the Madrid final- congrats to him for Estoril win and hope he can recover quick!


harry Says:

@racquet
thanks, i have not seen that clip. yep, edberg’s game is easy on the eyes!


Kimmi Says:

dari – delpo to final!!! very bold but I will cheers for your bracket. I know you have fed to win. Go dari.


Kimmi Says:

*cheer*


dari Says:

Thanks for the cheers, kimmi. I treat the challenge more like a wishing well than a competition ;)


Mark @ Tennisopolis Says:

Every time I see this on the screen, I can’t help but think that they are playing on the grindings from billiard cue chalk. :-)


Dave Says:

Federer also said that his perceptions were not of the blue clay on center court… but of the practice court. The top players typically play their matches only on center court so that’s the court that really matters. There are differences in center court versus other courts in several other tourneys, e.g., Miami Masters. As well, consistent with what I explained before, Federer suggested these perceptions of differences between blue clay and red clay could simply be due to the visual aspect of the blue color as well as weather conditions. If the Madrid Open and Roland Garros experts (in charge of producing and laying the blue layer) told the truth, then the only difference between the Madrid Courts last year and this year is the different color used in the dye. The ‘clay’ is only in the top 0.1 inch (2.5 mm) layer of crushed brick grains on the limestone-based courts. Each crushed brick grain is about 1 mm.

Federer:

“I’ve played on it for two days, but not on centre court”.

“It feels a little different than regular clay. I’m not sure if it’s just visually or something else.” (AFP reports Federer as just saying: “”It feels a bit different than regular clay, maybe it’s the visual aspect”. AP reports Federer said: “It feels a bit different from regular clay. I don’t know if it is the visual or just the feel of it.”).

“It has been rainy and cooler than usual, so that makes a difference too. It’s going to be interesting to see how it’s going to play when there is hot and nice weather.”

“There is still some waiting to do and matches are quite a bit different than practices. I have to wait for my match to come around to give a proper opinion.” (According to AP, Federer said: “I haven’t had a chance to play on center-court yet, so I’ll have to wait until a proper match to give you my opinion.”)

“Does the younger generation need blue clay in order to get excited about tennis? I don’t know as I’ve not spoken to thousands and thousands of kids about it.”

“We’ll soon hear the echoes from this week from players, fans and media. A close look will be taken once this is done so that a decision can be made for the next years after this test of the blue clay.”

“I’m coming back onto clay in the home of Rafa, who has been so dominant on this surface for so many years.”

“I have a big task ahead of me. But my focus is to get through my tough draw and get on a roll again. I’m happy and excited to be playing again.”

“I had a long time off, but I needed it because I’ve played so much recently.”

“Rafa having lost so many times to Novak, it is interesting to see how (Djokovic) will react now. Both are great clay-court players.”


Dave Says:

We shouldn’t jump to conclusions when we read Federer reportedly saying “If I do win a Grand Slam, I’ll be extremely close to world number one, so I am aware of that but again, it is easier said than done.”

- It could have been just Roger’s humble response to a reporter asking him whether he could regain the number number one ranking if he wins a Slam this year. Those people who jumped to conclusions have betrayed their real attitudes towards Federer.

- We don’t know Federer actual verbatim comments as different news agencies edit the actual comments for their stories. E.g., Another news agency turned the same stuff Federer said into “I have put myself in a good position if I do win a Grand Slam for the world number one.” “I know how hard it is to win (a major championship).” Quotes of player’s comments are edited versions by the different news agencies such as AP, Reuters, AFP, etc.

In any case, it’s dubious to criticize Federer for saying what he reportedly said. A confident mindset is fundamental to the soul of any great champion, whether in business or sports (see link). Such a confident mindset is often lacking in in losers, failures and underachievers who have not tasted 1% of Federer’s success. The fact that Federer has won 22 major titles (16 Slams and 6 World Tour Finals year-end championships), including two WTFs during his “lean spell”, gives him the right to say whatever he wants about his chances. Federer is a special case. And there are examples in tennis history of players going through lean spells then winning majors again.
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/soac/2006-09-21-introduction-cover_x.htm


Michael Says:

Roger has been quite humble in his opinion and his prospects at Slams. For the last two years when he has not won a major, his performance in those big tournaments has been good but looking medicore because he has set such a high standard. That is the problem in being a GREAT player where even good achievements like reaching the finals will be considered pretty ordinary. But Roger is pursuing his lauded objective and he is doing all that is possible to win his 17th. The problem is things have become more difficult since he has to tackle two Champions on the way namely Novak and Nadal who are also hungry like Roger. Beating them back to back will be quite difficult and more so especially considering Roger’s age. May be, Roger will have his chance if one of the two fumbles early in the majors and that is quite possible.


racquet Says:

skeezer – “if you want to get technical that is not the exact same shot”

Okay, if you say so.

“And for further glory, how about a Overhead winner off an opponents Overhead?”

Yep, that was great but I’ve seen Murray do it…twice: against Isner at AO 2010 and against Soderling at WTF 2010.


Epsilon Says:

racquet:

I’ve seen the WTF one. It is amazing indeed but what was good was his anticipation and reflexes. He found a relatively weak ball within his reach so he hit it back away from Soderling. In Federer’s case, the ball was hit hard and high so he had to run after it and jump, then squeezed it through a needle hole to the left of Roddick.

So, while I find ball hitting on the rise appealing, I think Federer’s is more crafty.


Epsilon Says:

With his side/back to the court! Forgot to add.


skeezer Says:

Well am watching(TV) the Almagro/Giraldo match on center court and looks like a regular playing Clay court to me, just blue. Nice big bounce, sliding..and typically slow. Looks great. Don’t know what all the complaining is about. IF anything they should be complaining about the Model Ball Ladies as a distraction. Can I play?

BTW, anyone se the white Mercedes parked inside the stands there? Fed must be in the house….hehe.


Dave Says:

To me, the ball appears clearer on this year’s blue courts — the visual contrast on TV is better compared to previous three years on the Manolo Santana center court. I have DVR recordings of the three Federer-Nadal Madrid matches from 2009 to 2011. The 2009 final was hardest to see as it was broadcast in standard definition. The 2010 final and 2011 semifinal were both broadcast in high defintion… but the resolution and picture quality was better in 2011 than in 2010. The 2012 broadcasts are about the same picture quality as 2011, but are a step up in terms of seeing the ball as well as the attractiveness of the surface.

Let’s hear what Almagro thinks of the courts in his post-match interview, since he is playing relatively well given his lack of match practice on these courts. Serena William apparently said: “I haven’t noticed a difference between the blue and the red clay. I think it’s the same, it’s just you don’t get as dirty”. On the other hand, Azarenka complained complained that ”It is pretty slippery. The bounce is different which changes everything completely.” It’s possible that players who complain of slipperiness are affected by depth perception from not being used to playing on the bright blue clay (depth perception is more of an issue on clay courts than hard courts where footing is firmer). Players who have extra matches on the blue courts from qualifying or playing first round matches might have a slight advantage.

But one thing is certain — blue spandex attire won’t be the best for these courts.

skeezer, Federer and now Djokovic are both brand ambasadors for Mercedes, a sponsor of the Madrid Open.


Mark Says:

@skeez. Wrong! Commies were saying it looks like a fast slippery court.


Steve 27 Says:

Nadal defeat Djokovic and Federer in French Open 2006, 2007 and 2008. Last year Djokovic defeat Federer and Nadal in Us Open 2011. So, at his age, almost 31, defeat Nadal and Djokovic in their prime is practically impossible for him. I doubt it. His only chance is Nadal and Djokovic, one of them or both be defeated for another player, this is a real possibility from him to chase another major, and we know it, after 31 is virtually impossible, even if this player is called Roger Federer. So he has at maximum 6 possibilities to win another slam, after 31 the chance decreases a lot.


skeezer Says:

mark,

They will adjust to it and we will have a winner in the end regardless……who makes the best adjustment with the natural talent and skill will get through the draw. This still looks like a “Rafa” induced surface to me. Rafa should love this court.


Mark Says:

Skeez. I sure hope so.


madmax Says:

Humble Rafa Says:
There is nothing wrong in dreaming as long as you know it is only a dream. Reality is a completely different matter.

May 6th, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Ah, it’s great to see Fed back; he looks like a boy in that video clip! And I love the positivity. I think No. 1 is more than a dream. You need dreams to make them a reality; like posters have said, Fed has accomplished more than anyone else could have, even in Fed’s wildest dreams he couldn’t have dreamt he would be so successful.

I wonder if the blue clay feels more a hard court, it’s a really interesting one. Can’t wait to see him play for real. Any time Fed is playing is a real treat.

Federer, always the consummate professional. Just love it!


madmax Says:

There is no question in my mind that Federer WILL win another slam. It’s obvious.

The guy is a genius. Plus, he took 6 weeks off last year and then ended up winning one tournament after another. 5 weeks is a fair old stretch, sure, but not one that can’t be handled in the way that only Fed can.


sheila Says:

must say, as a tv viewer, it is much easier 2c tennis balls on the blue clay courts then when they play on red clay. when the sun is shining, i cant even c the tennis ball on tv. so as a tv viewer i like the blue clay, as a tennis player, obviously it seems 2bother nadal. he’ll adjust, he’ll win the tournament & i think he’ll win all clay tournaments plus wimbledon. i’m reading nadals biography & this guy is driven, doesnt like losing, & as carlos moya says in the book, he wants the superior alpha male role which is so obvious when he plays. thats y i’m a federer fan. i love the gracefulness over the machoness. both gr8 players & reading nadals biography certainly gives me a better understanding of this young man. on that note: GO ROGER


skeezer Says:

Steve 27,

Thanks for the link, although dated. Nice stats, but Fed has had a career of breaking them, so I am hopeful ;)

What surprised me was Laver and Rosewall ( I know, different era, but STILL ) had 4 Slams each after 30!


Dave Says:

Common sense should tell us to be wary of a baselball statistician like Nate Silver analyzing tennis… and whether Federer can win another Slam title.

Silver idiotically errs by treating Federer as just another statistical average among those players in their thirties, even those who have won Slams. What Silver and other nay sayers forget is that such stats can be thrown into chaos by special cases that are capable of contradicting statistical trends: as arguably the Greatest tennis Player Of All Time, Federer is the most special, exceptional case of all. Two of the three players I consider the greatest of all time based on their accomplishments — Laver and Rosewall — have won 4 Slams each after age 30. Federer of course is in that echelon with them.

Federer won about 9% of all Slams in the Open era. Silver admits that 10.3% of the 174 slams in the Open era were won by players in their 30s. Given this, if there is any player capable of winning a Slam in his 30s — it is Federer. Few great champions after the age of 30 have shown the motivation, body and ability that Federer has.

Furthermore, Federer has been — and continues to be — the most consistent player in tennis history at reaching the quarterfinalds and semifinal stages of Slams. Thus Federer consistently continues to put himself in a position to win in every Slam he enters. That’s why Federer has won the most Slams and World Tour Finals year-end championships of all players (he has won the last two WTFs… and in his hey day, he won more Slams in a 4.5 year period than any woman or man in tennis history). Roger reached the final of the French Open, his weakest surface, putting an end to Djokovic’s 43-match winning streak while Novak was at his peak (Djokovic played at a lower level in beating Nadal in the last three Slam finals).

Several former great players (who were ranked high into their 30s and/or won Slams in their thirties) believe that Federer can still win more Slams. And so do several coaches: Darren Cahill said “I saw it with my own eyes (Agassi winning Slams after age 30). If you’re looking for a guy to say Roger can’t do it, you’ve got the wrong guy. I mean, look at the history. It is possible… I thought the French Open was his least chance to win a major. After seeing [2011], you have to believe he can still win any of them.” Brad Gilbert: “People want to write the obituary. I give the guy the next three years, 12 majors in the thick of things. I mean, he’s right there.” This is wisdom that supersedes statistics by a baseball analyst and ignorant opinions by self-appointed pundits.

Why should we believe laymen who think they know better yet have not won a single tennis tournament in their own lives… not even as children?

Note: Ivan Lendl didn’t win a Slam after age 30 probably because of his chronic back injury.


skeezer Says:

Playing “The Beach Boys” in between changeovers in Madrid Spain? What is the world coming too? I like it :)


skeezer Says:

Now during changeover there playing Michael Jackson? Gotta go to Madrid, I’m all in.


Steve 27 Says:

Yes, Federer is the most special tennis player in open era, but he has to defeat two another special tennis players: Nadal could be the second greatest winning the most grand slam behind the Swiss, and Djokovic could be the second greatest in hard court grand slams behind Federer. So, if he continues failed not winning majors for another year and Nadal and Djokovic and perhaps Murray get the titles I don’t know if the Swiss will continued motivated in the tour like he said before: to compete until Rio de Janeiro 2014. The love of the sport is one thing; another is increased your days of glory. What is the pick?


jamie Says:

On another forum someone posted this long prediction according to Chinese Astrology, he had gotten this prediction from a poster who had sent him a PM, apparently someone who studied Chinese Astrology.

___________________________________

This year is full of water. Djokovic is weak metal person, metal likes to hog limelight too. Water stress metal, this year he will be incredibly stressed to produce, i doubt there is any slam left in him as the water year starts at feb 4 2012(Chinese regard first day of year start at feb 4th). Last year is strong in metal which aided his weak metal.

For federer Earth person. Federer chart is dominated by metal(talent) with a bit of fire(resource), where fire is never going to burn his metal. The fire in his chart makes him think of funny skills which sometimes lead to his errors and downfall. Water destroy fire in 2012, I think he will follow plan strictly to play against opponent weakness this year. The water also means indirect wealth, he will get a lot of money from commercials this year. He receive some earth this year too which is his self element(he don’t need it). Competitor is as strong and gonna share the wealth with him. But this earth also make his metal stronger, he will rep up performance, hit bigger etc.

For nadal is alot of fire in chart. He is earth person too. Overpowering Fire produce earth which means mental strength and hardwork, this year water stop the fire. His hardwork dropped and mental shape is poorer. However his chance is summer apr, may and june, the period when water is weakest. But he cannot overplay this year, will cause injury easier due to weak mental and stubborn nature to fight(alot of earth, self elements). Also his output is always shortlived due to weaker wood in chart, not enough to fuel fire.

To conclude i think strongly nadal and federer take up the 3 slams. If Nadal don’t take W and RG in summer, he will miss his biggest chance in most fav period, somebody new will take. Either fed or murray. Also Fed is more dangerous player for Nadal than Djokovic this year. The fire weakened in Fed’s chart don’t have adverse effects, in fact better, more focused mentally.


Joe W Says:

Have you ever thought about how Federer’s absence – or presence – affects TV ratings? As historically accomplished a player as Nadal is, and as extraordinarily talented as Novak is, and as much as I’ve heard the term “golden age of tennis” kicked around, for me there’s not as much interest in a tournament – particularly a non-slam – if Federer is not in the draw. I guess that makes me an obvious Federer fan(atic). I felt that way about Pete too and he had some pretty good company in his time. So to see if there was a similar bias to mine among the citizens, some quick research – and little analysis or conclusion – yields a couple of interesting data points:

Big Declines For Indian Wells: Coverage of the 2012 Men’s and Women’s Finals at tennis’ BNP are down 46% from last year. Coverage of the Men’s Semifinals earned are down 33% from last year. 2012 Winners: Federer/Azarenka
2011 Winners: Djokovic/Wozniacki

Wimbledon (thru 2007):
High: 1981 – 5.1 M households. Winners Evert-Lloyd/McEnroe
Low: 2006 – 1.7 M households. Winners: Mauresmo/Federer

US Open (thru 2007)
High: 1977 – 5.7 M households. Winners: Evert/Vilas
Low: 2007 – 1.7 M households. Winners: Henin/Federer

There’s been a steady decline in viewership of tennis. No tipping point to speak of, just a slow and steady decrease in viewership. Viewership is roughly 1/4 of what is was 30 years ago and the worlds population has doubled.

This viewer dwells in the peace and ease of this Golden Age. Long live Tennis!

-


King Federer Says:

Oh yes, edberg/someone else hit X shot that fed hit.

murray hit y shot that fed hit.

mr. tom dick and harry hit some other shot that fed hit.

when you see above, the only player who has shots a-z = the mighty fed.

to quote master card ” there are some shots some players can hit. for all of those shots put together, there is Roger Federer”

Roger Federer is quite simply the most scintillating and spectacular tennis shot-maker of all time. He does so with the majesty of a tiger/cheetah hunting it’s prey and with the suaveness of a one mr. Bond in movies.

Another cool thing that fed does on a routine basis = 4 aces in a row. he did that twice in 2004, once against rafa in 2007, against pete in an exho, and 4 other times in 2011. that is 8 times i can remember. I cannot think of another player who has done this on a regular basis. when you consider the present day slowed-down conditions, i wonder if even ivo or other big servers have done this.


rough Says:

tumbled on this blog while googling for “blue clay” and love the tennis messages/ debates. much better in content and much more civilised than eurosport forums. heres hoping Roger wins on the blue clay of Madrid and on the red dirt of Paris. Federer can very well become the wrld number 1 this year if he wins French Open and Wimbledon.


alison hodge Says:

Just going of topic for a second,reading Joe.Ws post above,as historically acomplished as Nadal is and as extraordinarily talented as Novak is,what i found refreshing last week was when the commontators at Barcelona used words like finesse,effortless and sublime,which are not words usually associated with Rafa,its usually words like warrior,battler and fighter,which are ok,but rather patronising as a fan,and not really such words that are giving him much credit for been the amazing tennis player that he is.


Joe W Says:

Alison, that is refreshing. Just curious, which broadcasters were calling that match and on what network?


jamie Says:

Looks like Nole won’t win any of the remaining slams this year according to Chinese Astrology.

We’ll see.


jamie Says:

Looks like Nole won’t win any of the remaining slams this year according to Chinese Astrology.

We’ll see.


alison hodge Says:

Joe.W sorry i cant actually remember off hand, i live in GB and was watching tennis on sky sports 3,it could have been Barry Mills,or Cowan,Lief Shiras or Peter Fleming,could have been any one of those.


grendel Says:

There’s no such thing as a joke draw in a Masters. But Djokovic’s draw is definitely quite a kind one. If he is struggling, that is not due to the demanding nature of the draw. For whatever reason or catalogue of reasons, he is not quite the player he was last year. Which is not to say he won’t pick up later. I daresay this year he will save himself for the slams and the Olympics.

Lubicic’s old coach was an interested spectator at the Gasquet match. Is he working with Gasquet by any chance?


Dave Says:

Steve 27: it true Federer might have to defeat those two special players. But as the GOAT, Federer is the most special player of all time, more special than other special players and therefore capable of special feats such as that (he probably has to do it just once or twice). The difference is that Federer is the most special player based on his track record of ACTUALLY accomplishing all those things. Speculation is no substitute for actual results. Nadal and Djokovic’s specialness does not increase because of what people speculate MIGHT happen in future (“Nadal could be the second greatest winning the most grand slam behind the Swiss, and Djokovic could be the second greatest in hard court grand slams behind Federer”) – as there is no guarantee these things will happen. When Borg was Nadal’s age last November, he was still expected to easily win more Slams than Roy Emerson’s record of 12 Slams at that time. No one expected his 1981 French Open to be his last Slam. Similarly, in January 2011, many expected Nadal to keep winning Slams and overtake Federer within 3 years. Yet in the last 5 Slams, Rafa won only one Slam. Thus there is a big difference between “could be” and “actually has done it”. So even if Federer wins nothing, it’s still too early to write him off. Federer seems to take a longer term view than other players and his consistent play shows that he remains motivated.


Polo Says:

Federer is number 3 in the world. He has won three tournaments already. For him to aspire for another grand slam event is not a far-fetched dream. Lesser players have won majors before, why not Federer? He is not Federer for nothing.


Steve 27 Says:

Is Murray a possible grand slam champion?


Michael Says:

Steve 27, If Murray is to win a major, he has to drastically improve his first serve percentage and his mental focus. But that is easier said than done. I do not think Murray will go on to win a major especially considering that he has to atleast beat two of the best players back-to-back.


Michael Says:

When the GOAT Roger is struggling to win a major for the past two years, how can Murray do it ?? Next to impossible.


Cathi Says:

Roger can never be discounted in ANY tournament. The man has shown his physical and mental strength throughout his career, then tack on his sublime skill and technical ability.

Rarely is Roger put under any mental strain during a tournament – Novak has a tendency to lose the plot.
Rarely is Roger put under any physical strain – Rafa pounds the crap out of his body and Roger rarely breaks sweat.

Yes he is the old man of the 3, but he is still there and able to take his chances when they are presented.

So I’d never count him out until the day he retires.


Steve 27 Says:

Michael.
I wonder if Murray had the special aura of great champions as Nadal, Djokovic or Federer: The sacred fire, Murray is a talented player perhaps more than Nadal or Djokovic, but his mental problems, his apathy, sometimes self-destruction make more and more pressure increase over time and begins to doubt his ability to achieve the ultimate goal which is none other than winning majors. So is Lendl that Scots need to overcome this uncomfortable rival who is the lack of the difficult times with the greatest capacity for suffering to achieve the proper mindset of a champion. As Sampras said about the Serbs, had it all except that stability of mind characteristic of the great champions who managed to win almost all of last year. if Djokovic could, why not be able to Murray?


jimbo Says:

Just seen that Roland Garros is changing to blue clay – LOL details here:
http://www.stevegtennis.com/blue-clay


Michael Says:

Steve27,

You are right. Murray has so much variety in his game which is his strength but ironically that is his weakness too because he gets confused in short execution and tries impossible angles. There were many commentators who were predicting rosy things for Murray when Lendl took over as coach. But, coincidental or otherwise the take over of Lendl resulted in a big dent in Murray’s consistency quotient and he is now even failing to reach the semis as he normally used to do before with ease. Ofcourse it is too early to say this, but Lendl’s entry has not strengthened Murray so far. As I said, Murray needs to drastically improve his mental focus and limit his frustrations exhibited on court which hits his game. There are players like Mcenroe who play well with more yelling and shouting but not Murray. That is not his way. Lendl has still a big role to play in this to make Murray a Championship material and from Murray’s end he needs to be patient and not change the coach but give a long haul. And with that service motion of Murray there is a fundamental problem and that needs to be changed. May be he can have a discussion with Tony Nadal and Nadal as regards to the changes he can make to improve his serve. For me, Nadal is a very consistent server and many players have to learn from him as to how he maintains this consistency match after match.

Top story: Federer, Nadal And Djokovic Have Finished Ranked In The Top 3 Six Times! [Chart]
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1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
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5 Kei Nishikori5 Ana Ivanovic
6 Andy Murray6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Tomas Berdych7 Eugenie Bouchard
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9 Marin Cilic9 Angelique Kerber
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