Nadal Tries To Get On Track, Federer Looks To Remain Hot In Rome; Williams Sisters In Action
by Staff | May 15th, 2012, 10:42 pm

The battle for the No. 2 seeding at the French Open resumes Wednesday in Rome. Roger Federer, who just won Madrid to pass Nadal, seeks to remain in form against Carlos Berlocq.

Meanwhile, Nadal’s clay court dominance was interuppted on the blue clay of Madrid last week at the hands of countryman Fernando Verdasco. In his opener, Nadal meets German Florian Mayer who upset Canadian Milos Raonic on Sunday.

“I lost him in Shanghai last year and so let me think about the first round,” said Nadal about the German. “It is stupid to think about the final now –I don’t know any tournament that starts with the final. You know – here we are in a Masters 1000 and so you have a lot of good players and every point is difficult but I will try my best since the first round and if I am able to play my best I will go to the final.”

Nadal fell to Novak Djokovic in the Rome final a year ago. And to pass Federer he’ll have to at least reach the semifinals. Winner the title outright will also assure Nadal a return to the No. 2 ranking.

Also on a packed schedule, Juan Martin Del Potro is in action in a rematch of his Madrid win over Mikhail Youzhny. Del Potro admitted today after a three set win over Michael Llodra that he’s nursing a knee injury.

The Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, headline the women along with world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.

Earlier today, defending champion Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray made impressive starts. Djokovic took out Australian teen Bernard Tomic 6-3, 6-3.

“It was a good first match,” said Djokovic. “I played against player with talent, you don’t know what to expect from him, he’s always changing his game. I’m happy about the game and the conditions, also another big crowd tonight.”

Murray had a tougher test getting pushed to the brink before prevailing 6-1, 4-6, 7-5.

“I was a little bit fortunate at the end but I went for it so,” said Murray. “Some say you make your own luck.”

Murray won the match on his 25th birthday Wednesday.

David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon and former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, who upset Gael Monfils, were also winners.

Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova and the Williams sisters were winners on the women’s side.

“It was nice to be back on red clay – it’s a lot thicker and true to Roland Garros,” Serena said after beating Galina Voskoboeva. “Galina played really well. I can see why she has started doing much better on the tour. I like her game – she tries different things and is a great fighter.”

CENTRALE start 12:00 noon
M Granollers (ESP) vs [WC] F Fognini (ITA) – ATP
[3] R Federer (SUI) vs C Berlocq (ARG) – ATP
[9] S Williams (USA) or G Voskoboeva (KAZ) vs N Petrova (RUS) – WTA – Possible Court Change

Not Before 7:30 PM
F Mayer (GER) vs [2] R Nadal (ESP) – ATP

Not Before 9:00 PM
[1] V Azarenka (BLR) vs S Peer (ISR) – WTA

SUPERTENNIS ARENA start 11:00 am
[3] A Radwanska (POL) vs P Cetkovska (CZE) – WTA
[10] J Del Potro (ARG) vs M Youzhny (RUS) – ATP
[16] R Gasquet (FRA) vs [WC] P Lorenzi (ITA) – ATP
[WC] V Williams (USA) vs E Makarova (RUS) – WTA

Not Before 7:00 PM
S Wawrinka (SUI) vs [8] J Tipsarevic (SRB) – ATP

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Williams Sisters, Loaded Field at WTA Rome
Safina Boosts No. 1 Ranking with Revenge Win at WTA Rome
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73 Comments for Nadal Tries To Get On Track, Federer Looks To Remain Hot In Rome; Williams Sisters In Action

Lulu Iberica Says:

Nice comments from Serena. I hope she can maintain her winning ways for the rest of the clay season!

Typical Rafa, “…every point is difficult, but I will try my best since the first round…”. You are adorable, Rafito! Now go play awesome clay court tennis, win Rome, and re-take #2! Vamos!

Skeezer Says:


Always read your posts. Why do I always smile when I read them? You’re a Rafa fan right?


Skeezer Says:

^meant that with respect and l-o-v-e. Rose colored glasses you don’t wear, like most of us.

Dave Says:

Tennis Magazine’s Pete Bodo calling out Nadal for his negative behavior and whining:
“I tell you truthfully that I’ve been wanting to write about Rafael Nadal for some time now. More specifically, I’ve wanted to work through why I don’t feel as sympathetic toward him as I once did. A thought that occurred to me a few days ago, during the height of the brouhaha over blue, probably holds to key to why my reaction to his opinions and complaints over the past 18 months or so has slowly but almost inexorably drifted away from the compassionate, toward the critical….

…Most of you are familiar with his dissatisfactions: The engorged calendar, the ranking system (he lobbied to have it transformed into one that was based on 24 months or results, rather than 12), his seemingly never quite right knees, the blue clay. . . Rafa isn’t the only player to complain about such things, but none of his peers at the top of the game seems to have quite as many issues, or appear to take them so personally (to the point where he quit the ATP player council, seemingly because his fellow pros just didn’t understand). And very few other players, anywhere in the rankings, are so critical of their own profession and plight (if that’s the right word) at age 25. Those all seem like warning signs…

…At one time, his youth and what I can only describe as his provincial aura were so appealing that you had to fight the urge to see him as some kind of earnest kid brother. But as he’s gotten older he’s lost a little of that innocence, along with some of his hair and that comic-bookish image promoted by the piratas and sleeveless shirts.”

Thangs Says:

/*Tennis Magazine’s Pete Bodo calling out Nadal for his negative behavior and whining*/

Nothing is always biased against him mostly..

nadalista Says:

Bodo whining about Rafa whining……….what else is new?

You know when Bodo needs a “jack-off” fix………he writes about Rafa!

Wog boy Says:

Don’t get me wrong, but I am surprised that some Fedfans (not all) spending more time here bashing Nadal and Novak (little bit less) instead of celebrating victory of their man. If Nole won Madrid I wouldn’t care less what Federer or Nadal said or did during tournament, I would be celebrating , trust me!
Rafa said what he said, Nole said what he said and they both lost:( Federer won, have a drink Fedfans, you deserved it :)

racquet Says:

@wog boy – you hit the nail on the head. I recently realized that – with a few notable exceptions – many posters here are characterized by who they hate rather than who they support.

And for the record, Pete Bodo has become a hack. He’s nothing more than a polemicist these days. There is no tennis “journalist” I respect less (except perhaps Matt Cronin).

Nirmal Kumar Says:

It’s a pity that Rafa is being in the news more for his comments rather than his tennis. I believe this is only going to motivate him for his success in next 4 months. People will forget all this nonsense by then and start talking about him being the GOAT than Roger.

If Roger goes ahead and wins a GS in next two months, I believe it would be the greatest achievement of the era. Quite an interesting time in tennis.

Dave Says:

Lol, it’s too easy to attack Pete Bodo as “biased” or a “hack” or in need of a “jack-off” fix, but it’s harder work to rationally rebut his arguments. Just as it is easy to attack a poster as a “hater’ or a ‘basher’, rather than deal with the issues. Ultimately, when push comes to shove, and the critics are forced to make an argument, their positions ultimately fail to stand the test of facts, logic or principles… as I’ve shown countless times again and again :)

nadalista Says:

Let Bodo write about ehmm….tennis, and players he LIKES, for a change………..then, maybe then he’ll be taken seriously………..

Rafa is NOT the tour, no?

His obsession with Rafa is borderline creepy……..

Polo Says:

I think what Bodo wrote was pretty accurate. It is hard to refute anything he said.

van orten Says:

relax guys it is just words..he is a journalist…

Humble Rafa Says:

I hate Bodo. I was nice to him. I let him talk to my right knee – exclusive interview, mind you. Now, he is calling me a whiner. Some people never change.

Polo Says:

HR, I thought you just whined there. Hahaha!

van orten Says:

roger controlling so far …6:3

Dave Says:

So, who likes Berlocq’s polo shirt?

What’s your favorite tennis top?

Too much wind. Court needs to be sprayed within set.

bobby Says:

Bodo is just an outdated delusioner at present.His opinions are just jokes.

van orten Says:

well at least on live stream i cannot really folloow the ball on that orange clay hahahahaha

van orten Says:

tiriac should own the italian open as well god damn it !!!!

Skeezer Says:

Fed making a move here…..

Skeezer Says:

Van orten,

Yeah the blue is very nice for the viewer compared to this.

What color is that anyway? Its not red!!

dari Says:

How does fed look, guys? Any sign of injury? And how is he playing on this traditional clay?

van orten Says:

fed is bored ..berlocq really getting on his verves

van orten Says:

orange skeezer it looks like orange to me

van orten Says:

fed at his absolute best in letting his opponent back into the match…

Skeezer Says:

Mr. Fila has turned into a pesky guy for the Fed. Broke back, now on serve. Dari its hard to tell with Fed if he is hurting or not, he hides that stuff well.

van orten Says:

berlocq should grunt less and play more tennis ..annoying fila is great skeezeer

Skeezer Says:

Fed is through, playing in front of another big crowd. First round? Wow. Looks like the guy is loved in Roma.

the mind reels Says:

I caught only the last 15 minutes or so of Federer’s match, but he seemed to be moving fine and hitting well. 3 and 4 for a first-time opponent who’s been hot on clay this spring is a good result, I’d say. Nice to get this match out of the way early today for him.

Nadal’s been (rightfully) downplaying the steamroll that he’ll likely apply to Mayer today. Curious to see how he plays.

jamie Says:

I found this on an astrology forum


1- Neptune is in quadrature to its sun. Neptune is in Piscis that highlights its qualities. Neptune is moves slow, clumsy, lack of coordination. Affect your performance as a tennis player (Neptune is now affecting). It is a planet slow, their effects are often quite long.

2- Sun progressed is opposited to Uranus natal. Nole should take care of any injury to the back, hips or muscle injury.

3-The annular eclipse of the Sun may 20 falls over your natal Sun. An eclipse darkens the point of the chart that affects. The eclipse will affect your sun, darkened his sun. The eclipse occurs one day before his birthday and two days before Roland Garros begins.

Nole won’t shine.

For me, Nole won’t win Roland Garros

ismaell Says:

is rome the clay tournament where nadal had less wins?
he must win it, or most likely federer will pass him in masters 1000 record, nadal had not won a masters 1000 in 3 years not played in clay, and the next 6 are in hard courts, so he needs to secure it before he can play montecarlo again.

Mark Says:

Nadal has won Rome 5 times, Fed O.

Dave Says:

Hard to say whether Federer’s back was hurting (causing him to hold back his serve), whether he got bored, lost his rhythm, whether he had to stop steamrolling (to get more practice time on center court), the gusting wind affected him, and/or Berlocq’s play sometimes got to him. Berlocq played about 20 clay matches this year, beat Gilles Simon (2) and Chela on clay this year, was runner up at 2012 Chile in singles and doubles, and has been at his career best ranking in recent month.

If Federer withdraws or tanks because of his back, it will possibly come against Juan Carlos Ferrero. We will probably never know how bad Federer’s back has been in his career until his book eventually comes out. Patrick Mouratoglou: “(Federer) won seven of the last 10 events he entered, a run that speaks for itself. But what can be credited for this momentum? It probably has something to do with a period of perfect health for someone who had been suffering back problems for the best part of two years. That meant he could not train as much as he needed to and it also bothered him during matches, giving off the impression he was not involved as much as should be. That’s why Roger decided at the time to hire Stéphane Vivier, a physio, on a full-time basis, in order to find a solution to his problems. The decision seems to have worked and Federer now appears to be back to his best shape, with just one exception coming in Doha last year when he withdrew from his semi-final.”

Robbie Koenig mentioned 10sballs on the race to No. 1 this year. I think the article he cited was May 13 “Daily Men Tennis News – Madrid and Rome” — but there are factual mistakes in the Race points. The data I gave in this link is more accurate (Sean Randall and Tom Gainey are welcome to use it at Tennis-x).

the mind reels Says:

@ismaell: relatively speaking, yes. In looking at Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, and RG, here are Nadal’s W/L records (excluding Madrid lest the whole world of Nadal fans yell at me):

MC: 44-1 (98% wins)
Barc: 35-1 (97% wins)
Rome: 31-2 (94% wins)
RG: 45-1 (98% wins)

So, in Rome he’s had fewer wins and more losses, though really, all of the numbers are insanely good.

jane Says:

Wog boy, I think we spent almost all of last year just being happy fans. :) Not quite as great this year, but still lots to smile about. Nole has some tough ones coming up, though, with Monaco and then Delpo (likely) and then possibly Isner or Fed. Eek, this is a difficult title to defend.

racquet, what’s your take on the Lendl effect so far? I can’t decide who I think was Muzza’s best coach so far – Gilbert? Maclagan? Lendl?

Isner’s doing well here so far.

Lulu Iberica Says:

Serena & Petrova are playing some tennis! Both of them look slimmed down & more in shape. Come on Serena!

Colin Says:

Jane, I think Lendl will have a positive effect (because Andy respects him), but it’s still early. It struck me recently that there might be a novel slant on Murry’s influences – one which is contrary to what was said by almost everyone. I refer to the Judy effect.
Endlessly people claimed she had too much say in the Murray camp and was holding him back. However… though many seemed unaware of it, she isn’t some Scottish housewife who happens to be his mother; she is a highly respected professional coach. Take a technical thing like Andy’s long-standing difficulty with first-serve consistency. As a coach, she’d surely be able to analyse the problem, wouldn’t she? Is it perhaps possible he didn’t listen to her ENOUGH? Just a thought!

jane Says:

Colin, you have a point about Judy, and the relationship could have been an obvious reason why Andy might not listen as he would to someone more removed. I was remiss in not mentioning her in my post. I do think Murray’s right about his second serve; he won more points on it yesterday than his first if I recall correctly. And that is an important improvement if it remains the case. I hope you’re right about Lendl, but the jury is still out. It is difficult to judge as of yet. Perhaps after Wimbledon and a couple more slams we’ll have a better idea.

RZ Says:

Colin, thanks for pointing out Judy’s value. I think an under-reported story is how well she did with the British Fed Cup team in her first outing. They made it to playoffs in their first jaunt with her, winning all but one match. Sadly they lost to the Swedes in the playoff and have to return to the world group, but it was clear that she had a wonderful team-building effect on them, and made some excellent tactical decisions. She also did her homework checking out the opposition. There’s an ongoing negative aura about tennis parents for good reason, but I think Judy is one of the good tennis parents.

Brando Says:

We’ll only now if the lendl experiment has worked at the end of the season IMHO.

at AO it looked very promising, especially after the SF. then bar dubai and miami, it hasn’t been pretty.

So it needs more time.

the mind reels Says:

Meanwhile, Isner lost the second set in a breaker to crowd-favorite Seppi and is now getting his blister taped up at 2-2 in the third. Interesting. If Seppi pulls this one out, I’d be impressed.

jane Says:

Seppi just won the title in Serbia and he played a good match versus Nole at Monte Carlo – definitely he’s strong on clay this season. Yeah, looks like Isner’s on the edge here … break point.

racquet Says:

jane, I think it’s too early to discern any effect from Lendl. They’ve had only approx. 40 days together. The weird thing is: I feel Andy played better at AO and Dubai than he did in IW & Miami. I think this is still a transition period.

As for best coach, Gilbert did help to raise his level but wasn’t around long enough to judge properly. In terms of results, it has to be Maclagan. However, Andy’s game hadn’t evolved much under his tenure imho. And by all accounts it seems that Miles was too passive/polite.

Brando Says:

isner should be able to fight through this- he’s striving for a worthy cause: my BRACKET :-)

the mind reels Says:

Ha, Brando. Yes, I know the feeling…

That serve bails him out of so many tight spots, but he’s getting annoyed and starting to toss the racquet and yell at the dirt. Doesn’t bode well mentally.

jane Says:

I think Maclagan was key for Andy’s fitness racquet; it was under Miles that Andy took his training to a new level and that’s what helped him to turn the corner and rise up the ranks. We’ll see if Lendl can help in other areas. I thought Tignor’s write up of yesterday’s match was strong? Did you read it? I’ll post the link here just in case you didn’t:

He suggests that when Murray tightens up mentally he reverts to old habits and plays passively; hopefully (presumably) these are patterns Ivan recognizes too.

jane Says:

Isner finally holds! Long game.

jane Says:

Love-40: looks like Isner will be packing it in again early.

Brando Says:

aaahhh….. HAD isner till the qtrs in my bracket!

I don’t think he’s looking too good for RG atm!

I think going deep in tourny’s, playing more matches, is starting to catchup with the big man!

andrea Says:

hmmm….isner out. he’s becoming streaky.

jane Says:

Brando I did too. Should have stuck with Wawa perhaps.

racquet Says:

jane, yes I did read Tignor’s write up and also thought it was very good (he’s certainly no hack ;). Your right that Andy improved his fitness under Miles but I think he had resolved to do it himself. I remember Gilbert saying after the 2007 AO match with Nadal that he told Andy that he’d have to seriously improve his fitness to keep up with the top guys.

As for Isner, it looks like all the talk about him being the biggest threat during the clay season was hype.

Brando Says:


i have wawa taking out tipsy tonight also…i am feeling somewhat nervous on that pick now.

Wawa made the final here in 2008 or 2009 (the year nole won) so i am hoping that the surface suits him more than tipsy.

REALLY need some results to go my way!

jane Says:

Brando isn’t funny how, with the brackets, every match suddenly matters in a different way – it really helps to get fans invested in the tournament as a whole as opposed to only her/his favourite’s matches. Plus it’s fun imo.

Speaking of which, Rafa is looking strong thus far.

Brando Says:

@jane: most definately it does- at least it is true for me. JUST started to watch the rafa match- some strange UE by him so far- still comfortable though.

Brando Says:

Mayer fighting credibly here in the 2nd….

the mind reels Says:

Mayer is starting to hold more comfortably now, though I’m expecting Nadal to make his move in the next Mayer service game.

Lulu Iberica Says:

It’s easy to see how Mayer beat Rafa in Shanghai — he hits some scorchers! I do not like this 2nd set. Way too many errors from Rafa!

Skeezer Says:

Its so obvious why Rafa succeeds on Clay. The Clay gives him time to take a big backswing. Take away that time and he’s totally a different player

Brando Says:

Rafa should still win 2nd set, it’s a combination of Mayer playing well on serve and rafa not making some shots atm

dari Says:

I was really trying to go against rhe wishful picking style that I normally do, and ended up picking against some of my favorites like jc fererro, stan here, etc and it is really gonna cost me!!!

Brando Says:

VAMOS RAFA! I am pleased with that match. I was thinking that maybe he’s got an easier draw than what would be good for him- BUT credit to mayer, he really made rafa work in the 2nd!

The serve was good today- and the ONLY department of concern were the UE, especially in the 2nd, BUT i think as the tourny goes on they shall disappear.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Congrats to Rafa, and good job by Mayer in that 2nd set! I’m glad Rafa was able to recover after making that awful error at the net in the final game.

Hey Skeezer, thanks for your kind words at the top of the thread. By the way, why did you drop “weezer”?

Skeezer Says:

Seriously got tired of typing the weezer part, and most everyone was dropping the end part anyways, so I went for the new look ;)

jane Says:

Brando, I saw that Wawa won and Rafa came through fine in the second set, which was definitely tighter than the first.

Mg Mg Says:

Did An Unknown Tennis Player Really Hit A 164 MPH Serve?‎

alison hodge Says:

Glad Rafa managed to come through in straight sets,all credit to Mayer for keeping it close in that 2nd set,hopefully he will get much better as the tourney progresses,just love to watch the king of clay at work,vamos Rafa,go get the title,and go get the your 7th FO title.

madmax Says:

Glad to see from Fed’s interview that he is having none of the no.2/no.3 talk. It’s pointless. If he is no.2, he could still play against rafa in the Finals and if he is no. 3, he could still play him in the semis. It makes no difference.

Other comments:
Having climbed to No 2 in the world, Federer is likely to be seeded in the opposite half of the draw to Novak Djokovic (unless Rafael Nadal overtakes him again by winning here this week). But while he might be striking the ball better than anyone, contemporary tennis has become a test of endurance as much as skill. Will he be able to grind out seven wins in a fortnight?

These days, three-set tournaments appear to be Federer’s metier. Especially those where you have to adapt to unusual conditions, for he remains the premier strategist in the game. As well as “the greatest, most beautiful player that ever lived,” as John McEnroe put it this week.

Asked about the blue clay on Wednesday afternoon, Federer replied, “I knew it was going to be a test and there was no reason to freak out about it. In the past we used to have some really crazy changes — all those different indoor surfaces. But now we have to talk about what is going to happen next year [in Madrid] because it was not the best of conditions for all people.”

Roge really seems to be focussed on RG and I really hope he goes on to collect his second title there. Loved the comments by JM.

the mind reels Says:

@madmax: could you point me to a transcript of that interview please?

jane Says:

the mind reels; it’s right above you – in the “Man in Black” thread here. :)

the mind reels Says:

@jane: aaaah, yes — duh. Thanks!

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