It’s May 1 And Nadal Is Undefeated On Hardcourts, Djokovic Undefeated On Clay, Anything Else?
by Sean Randall | May 1st, 2013, 9:58 pm
  • 20 Comments

Four months into the 2013 ATP season and things and would you believe Rafael Nadal is undefeated on the hardcourts while Novak Djokovic perfect on clay? What would the odds have been at the start of the year? And those aren’t the only anomalies in what has been a quite unpredictable year to date.

Roger Federer has yet to reach a final. Lukos Rosol has more titles than countryman Tomas Berdych. Thirty-four year-old Tommy Haas is at his highest ranking (14) since the start of 2008. America’s lone trophy thus far has come on clay. Japan has a higher ranked player than the U.S. does! And the player known as a “cow on ice”, Maria Sharapova, apparently can no longer be beaten on clay.

So what’s happening?? Well… Tennis!

But really, it’s still status quo at the top. Looking at the rankings it’s the same old names ruling the show: Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Nadal who’s just behind David Ferrer.

A closer examination of the Race standings (2013 points only) reveals Djokovic, Rafa and Murray bunched in a 3-way battle for the year-end top spot. And with the events coming up I expect that race to be even tighter by the end of Wimbledon.

Obviously Nadal will be favored on the clay then I maybe give a slight edge to Murray on the grass. And after each, of course, is Novak who might even sneak through and win in Paris.

And there doesn’t seem to be any real threat to this trio coming through the ranks. Juan Martin Del Potro teases hope, only to fall ill. JW Tsonga has improved under new coach Roger Rasheed, but it’s unlikely he’s ever going to be a regular the last weekend of Majors.

Berdych, Ferrer or Richard Gasquet? I think Ferrer’s hit his peak. Like Del Potro, Berdych is a bit of tease and while his body doesn’t fail him his brain does. Gasquet’s had a promising start but fizzled in Monte Carlo complaining of this injury or that.

This season has marked the emergence of some journeymen doing good. Rosol is finally living to his upset win over Rafa by collecting his first title this past weekend. Heck, he might even be seeded at the French and perhaps Wimbledon. Flamboyant Italian Fabio Fognini is enjoying his best year as is big serving South African Kevin Anderson. And like Haas, Tommy Robredo and Jarkko Nieminen have found that elusive Fountain of Youth at age 31.

As for the youngsters. Milos Raonic has the brightest future, except the big Canadian seems to have hit a ceiling. Milos has been a solid member of the Top 30 since the start of last year, but we are still waiting for that big breakthrough win. With his firepower it should come, it has to come, right? But when???

Grigor Dimitrov nearly had his big win last month against Nadal in Monte Carlo. But while mimicking a legend’s game like Federer is admirable and righteous, it also comes with an incredible degree of difficulty and I just don’t think in the long run Grigor (or anyone except the Maestro himself) can pull it off.

Bernard Tomic seems to be back in reverse. The smooth swinging Aussie does his best work in Australia, then fades away. And it’s happening again. After an awful start to the year, Ryan Harrison just won a Challenger over the weekend to get his ranking back around 80. 80! The volatile Jerzy Janowicz is certainly tall and powerful, but what’s he done since Paris last November?

Behind this group there isn’t much. Jiri Vesely is the only teen in the Top 200. Or maybe it’s Pablo Carreno-Busta is the next bust out star?

Who knows.

Four months in with seven still to go. It should be a fun and turbulent ride, even on the clay, for our favorite racketeers. So buckle up.

Did I mention Nicolas Almagro currently leads the tour in aces by a wide margin?


Also Check Out:
Here’s What Novak Djokovic Has To Do To Finish 2013 No. 1
Serena Rips Up Azarenka At WTA Championships, Lifts Sharapova’s No. 1 Hopes
Lukas Rosol Seeded At The French Open?
Aussie Open Notes: Women Marathons, Roddick and Clijsters Undefeated
Year-End Review – Everything Hard: Djokovic Made of Stone

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20 Comments for It’s May 1 And Nadal Is Undefeated On Hardcourts, Djokovic Undefeated On Clay, Anything Else?

jamie Says:

“And after each, of course, is Novak who might even sneak through and win in Paris.”

Uh, oh. I smell jinx.


Nix Says:

Sean Randall, who the heck are you? I have not read a funnier, wittier, more original, inspired and interesting writing about tennis in a loooong time! And it’s not like I’ve been living under a rock when it comes to tennis, trust me.
Seriously, I have barely ever seen that somebody’s researched a certain topic at such length and scope. No wonder you’ve built up on it with such concentrated raciness. Keep it up and keep it coming!


roy Says:

“As for the youngsters. Milos Raonic has the brightest future, except the big Canadian seems to have hit a ceiling.”

that’s because he can’t play outside of his serve. he doesn’t even win return games at roddick percentages, around 20%, and that wouldn’t even be enough to push well into the top ten these days.
berdych and delpo are the same height and win far more return games and did from early age too i believe. that’s because they’re better tennis players, even if their serves aren’t as big.
i think it’s unlikely raonic will develop into a good returner and unlikely he will be do anything remarkable at GS level.

dimitrov is likely better than federer was at the same age. but the game is tougher now. also, any body who decided to copy federer but included federer’s one weakness and the weakness that probably cost him multiple french opens, the ONE HANDED BACKHAND, is an idiot. or at least his coach is.
if you were smart you would copy federer’s serve and forehand, transition game, then add a nalbandian [etc.] twohander with slice option.

out of all the youngsters nishikori looks the best. he returns over 30% which is first class and his serve will improve. he is very well rounded.
people need to stop thinking in terms of one dimensional FIREPOWER and swooning over massive serves and groundstroke lashes. true firepower is enough power with accuracy and the ability to consistently execute throughout a match, from a variety of positions on court etc.
compare raonic’s ground game with berdych and frankly it’s a joke. compare it with nishikori and likewise.


Michael Says:

As much as we hear about the quality of players today and the intense competition which seems a mirage, it is apparent there is a big vacuum of quality players in the field today. Leave apart the top four and you have only Del Potro to be a real threat while the rest seem insignificant and inconsistent to cope up with the pressure of today’s competitive Tennis World. Roger too is probably reaching the end of his career and he may have to decide soon as to when to take a call to gracefully retire. I think he might give another two years at most in regular competitive Tennis. After him, it will only be the trio or I would say even duo (Novak and Rafa) to rule with Murray being the third best. As a keen Tennis enthusiast it is frightening to see this lack of competition. I hope talents like Rosol, Gulbis, Raonic, and Tomic will soon start firing all cylinders and race to the top.


Wog boy Says:

Michael,

I think that there is no much hope in those four soon start firing. It is more likely that some new player(s) will come through the ranks than these start firing.
Rosol almost 27, bit late for big results.
Gulbis, spoiled brat, result here and there but no majors.
Tomic, Sean said what I said few times, local boy who likes home turf and all attention. Pitty since he has got talent.
Raonic, since I had a chance to watch him against Federer live at AO I realize that he is limited player, Federer exposed all those limits, BH, movement, courtpositioning. For a difference of Gulbis and Tomic he is down to earth young man who can and will try to improve. Can he do it? I don’t know, there is a lot of work to be done if his body is ready.
I still think that Delpo is there for major title and Tsonga is an outside chance, depends of the frame of his mind.
I think we have to stick with Nole, Rafa, Andy and Roger (1-2 years) for another couple of years, meanwhile some young guns might turn up as usually happens.


Michael Says:

Wog Boy,

Is Rosol 27 ? I am a bit surprised ? I thought he was around 25.

As you said, the young generation doesn’t seem to inspire much confidence although we vouch for it. You rightly evaluated each of the player and it does appear they do not even have outside chance to win tournaments leave alone a major. We must all eagerly await that young sensation who will upset the applecart of the current duo namely Novak and Rafa. Nobody is on the horizon at the moment but as you said they may rise from nowhere as it has happened in the past. But imagine if no one rises, then it will lead us to that Post Sampras era when Tennis was listless.


Colin Says:

Michael, in the post-Federer scenario you describe, I think the duo would more likely be Nole and Andy, not because Murray is inherently better than Rafa, but because the Spaniard’s body will fail him eventually. He won’t be starting every season with the benefit of six months rest!


Humble Rafa Says:

Is Rosol 27 ? I am a bit surprised ? I thought he was around 25.

He got older by 2 years the day he beat me. It is called coming of age.


Steve 27 Says:

For the most complete is Dimitrov, Raonic can improve because of his mentality and Tomic have to change his attitude and coaching to achieve his true potential.


Giles Says:

http://alturl.com/2idk9
Nadal has the superior record against top 10 opponents!
#VamosRafa


skeezer Says:

^So?


Humble Rafa Says:

For the most complete is Dimitrov, Raonic can improve because of his mentality and Tomic have to change his attitude and coaching to achieve his true potential.

If all those mental midgets can fix their problems, I should magically get a new knee and be injury free for life.


Kimberly Says:

@skeezer—big night, can Golden State close it out at home. They better. On another note the Celtics seem to believe they are going to win the series. You know the seed of doubt is planted in New York’s mind now. If New York doesn’t win game 6 I believe they will in fact lose the series.


miguelito Says:

“As much as we hear about the quality of players today and the intense competition which seems a mirage, it is apparent there is a big vacuum of quality players in the field today. Leave apart the top four and you have only Del Potro to be a real threat while the rest seem insignificant and inconsistent to cope up with the pressure of today’s competitive Tennis World”
===============================
so
“there is a big vacuum of quality players in the field today”
and
“to cope up with the pressure of today’s competitive Tennis World”
talk about divided mind, or bipolar???

how can this be the most competitive era of tennis if the top players are miles away better the rest of the field???
even in federer era, when he dominates all the field, you can see nadal in the same federer level on clay, and many players can beat nadal out of clay, so it was far better competitive.
since 2010 theres is only nadal, djokovic and in a step below federer and murray, but everyone else can NOT challenge them, much less beat them.
lets get real, today tennis its less competitive than federer/nadal years.
today we speak of del potro, tsonga, berdych, raonic, and its a gold era tennis you say, lol, 2 of them only raised when the field shrinked.
today tennis is only djokovic, just like in federer time, the BIG diference, its in federer time there were other top quality players, even graand slam winners who give a battle, even nadal was and will be a wall to federer, many players rise and challenge federer at finals, young djokovic included, now djokovic its alone, noone can touch him, there is no young blond rising, the entire field its several steps below djokovic, nadal, murray and federer dont want to face djokovic and trow the match just like in federer times, so… what competitive tennis? wheres the so called gold era? at least in federer time there was a top 1, top 5, top 10 , and the rest… now its top 1, top 4, and the rest.
in today tennis we can skip matches until semis or even final and not lose quality tennis.
golden era? yeah right, more like pyrit era!


Kimberly Says:

I think Wawrinka gave Djokovic a very good challenge. Haas, Del Potro both beat him. I don’t think anyone thinks Novak is unbeatable like maybe they did against Federer in 2006-2007. Moreover, he has three other legitimate slam contenders in Federer, Murray and Rafa. Berdych and Tsonga have beaten these guys in slams. They are not unbeatable. The first round matches in grand slams are typically duds because the draw is so large but in most of the masters the matches are tough out the gates. By the 4th round of slams there are usually very competitive matches.

But being a hardcore tennis fan, sometimes I find the real gems of a grand slam occur in the 4th round or QF and don’t even feature a top 4 player. Almagro/Ferrer at AO was a great match and its just a recent example.


Wog boy Says:

^^ Or Federer/Tsonga, you are right, that is why I decided long time ago to buy tickets for AO QF instead for SF or F. That makes my staying in Melbourne longer (more costly) but it is worth it, you see the best male and female players in QF.


skeezer Says:

warriors are not the better team right now. they have ronight to prove they are.
never thoight the Celcs would ever be in the playoffs this year, but here they are givin the Knicks all rhey can handle.

wog boy,

so right, the QF’s is the best value for a fan, usually great tennis here. but if the big 4 make the semis?? mmmmm


Michael Says:

Colin,

Somehow I cannot place Andy on par with the likes of Novak and Rafa. They are a little bit superior, how much – I cannot tell ? But mentally they are much better than Andy. Moreover, they have the capacity to play on all courts unlike Andy who is a novice on Clay courts. So, Andy will always be three unless may be Rafa is bothered by his physical issues. I do not think Andy can beat a healthy Rafa. He may beat Novak, but not Rafa against whom his H2H is rather lop sided.


the DA Says:

^ Nole used to have a lopsided H2H against Nadal. Just sayin’.


nadalista Says:

“To stave off boredom just before an ATP draw, Sean Randall must write a pointless thread”

(tennis-x blog Rule Book)

Top story: Djokovic v Murray Halloween Friday In Paris; Raonic, Ferrer Fighting For Final London Berth
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Rankings
ATP - Oct 27 WTA - Oct 27
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Tomas Berdych5 Ana Ivanovic
6 David Ferrer6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Kei Nishikori7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Andy Murray8 Caroline Wozniacki
9 Marin Cilic9 Na Li
10 Milos Raonic10 Angelique Kerber
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