Marquee Clay Schedules: Where Will Nadal, Djokovic, Federer And Murray Be Playing The Next Six Weeks

by Sean Randall | April 2nd, 2013, 10:06 am

The women have already started their Road to Roland Garros this week with two events in Charleston and Mexico. But the men have a few more days to prepare for the onset of grinding clay season which begins in earnest next Monday in Houston and Casablanca.

The real fun, though, is in two weeks in Monte Carlo when King of Clay Rafael Nadal returns to his cherished European dirt to battle Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, David Ferrer and others.

Nadal, who skipped Miami to rest up for the clay, has to be feeling very good about where his game is. He’s 17-1 on the season and after some early doubts he’s again the undisputed heavy favorite to win an eighth French Open. And as of now, I don’t think anyone is going to stop that from happening.

Djokovic, meanwhile, has hit the skids of late. He’s losing matches he shouldn’t be and the bad patches are coming in bunches now. One match he’s playing great, the next he’s flat. And unfortunately for the Serb, there’s little let up in his schedule. After a busy last month – Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami – he now jets back across the U.S. for Davis Cup this week in Idaho before finally returning to Europe where he’ll have about a week before his first match on red clay.

Miami champ Andy Murray didn’t inspire with his title on Sunday, but a win is a win. He’ll have a week off before joining Rafa and Novak in Monte Carlo. Clay is not his best surface but we’ve seen him before play well on the red stuff.

And what of Roger Federer? The Swiss has been laying low, hopefully getting his back right for his May return in Madrid. Now at 31 and with Nadal and Djokovic in the way, unless Madrid turns back to blue it’s tough to see him adding to his trophy count next month.

With that, here’s where some of the top guys will be playing this spring before the start of the French Open on May 26.

Nadal(4): Apr 14 – Monte Carlo, Apr 22 – Barcelona, May 5 – Madrid, May 12 – Rome
Djokovic (3): Apr 14 – Monte Carlo, May 5 – Madrid, May 12 – Rome
Murray (3): Apr 14 – Monte Carlo, May 5 – Madrid, May 12 – Rome
Federer (2): May 5 – Madrid, May 12 – Rome
Ferrer (4): Apr 14 – Monte Carlo, Apr 22 – Barcelona, May 5 – Madrid, May 12 – Rome
Del Potro (3): Apr 29 – Estoril, May 5 – Madrid, May 12 – Rome

By Week:
Apr 1 (Davis Cup)
Djokovic (hardcourt)

Apr 8 (Houston, Casablanca)
Almagro, Isner, Haas, Monaco (Houston)
Anderson, Paire (Casablanca)

Apr 15 (Monte Carlo)

Apr 22 (Barcelona, Bucharest)
Nadal, Ferrer, Berdych, Gasquet, Raonic, Almagro (Barcelona)
Simon, Seppi (Bucharest)

Apr 29 (Munich, Estoril)
Del Potro, Monaco, Wawrinka, Seppi (Estoril)
Tipsarevic, Cilic, Haas (Munich)

May 5 (Madrid)
Del Potro

May 12 (Rome)
Del Potro

May 19 (Dusseldorf, Nice)
Tipsarevic, Almagro (Dusseldorf)
Berdych, Isner, Simon (Nice)

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64 Comments for Marquee Clay Schedules: Where Will Nadal, Djokovic, Federer And Murray Be Playing The Next Six Weeks

the DA Says:

Delpo just got a wild card into Monte Carlo. Interesting.

Brando Says:

@the DA: that is very, very interesting. He’ll be trouble on clay for sure. He’s my wild card pick for the big events on the red stuff.

the DA Says:

@brando – yes, dangerous floater. I’m kind of surprised because he wanted a little rest for his wrist. Nevertheless, this is almost a full blooded Masters event now – only Fed missing. There should be several must-see matches from the outset.

Djokowins Says:

This claycourt season is going to be really difficult for Novak for two reasons:
Rafa is back to his best.
Rafa is ranked 5 and will remain there atleast till FO.

Novak will find it extremely difficult to even defend his finalist points. He may end up facing Rafa is QFs and SFs. Bad news for Nole.

skeezer Says:


Thank for putting this schedule together, it helps..

skeezer Says:


Am looking forward to seeing how Nole defends. He is #1 after all, he should welcome it!

Brando Says:

@the DA:

His wrist must be fine considering he has signed up for MC.

Alot of must see matches for sure.

Aside from Rafa (of course) i am curious to see how Muzza and Delpo play in MC- i think both could progress greatly on clay this year IMO.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Exciting stuff! Novak will right himself on clay where his physicality will move him automatically to a higher level than anyone not named Rafa.
Federer will be in there- I would say there are fewer players who can challenge him on clay than hardcourt, an incredible thought for possibly the best hardcourt player ever.

Ben Pronin Says:

Nadal’s ranking affects the other guys even more than Djokovic. At least we know Djokovic has a chance against Nadal. The other guys? Not even close.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

If someone beats both Rafa and Novak on clay to win a tournament, we applaud them.

the DA Says:

@brando – “i am curious to see how Muzza and Delpo play in MC- i think both could progress greatly on clay this year IMO.”

Me too. I expected Muzza to do better last year after he showed such promise in 2011 (taking a set off Nadal at MC & nearly beating Nole in the Rome SF).Delpo was still on the recovery road this time last year so he’s the literal wildcard this season. Hope they both play well.

Humble Rafa Says:

Finally, I get the honor! My name first on every schedule. How refreshing.

Colin Says:

@ Ben Pronin
Once again you are choosing to ignore the occasion when Murray had an injection 20 minutes before play started, came on court with an arm full of cortisone, and after losing the first set, won the second. At the end of that second set he was positively bossing Rafa, luring him to the net and passing him with perfect topspin lobs. In the third set the cortisone started to wear off and, as Andy said, he panicked.
If he’d been fit I think Murray might well have won that match.

As for Sean Randal,I wish he’d stop flinging asterisks at Murray’s victories. When Rafa prevails by sheer grit and a determination not to be beaten, we are – very properly – expected to applaud him. When Andy does it, it’s merely “not inspiring”.
Murray wasn’t the only one struggling in the conditions, losing serve, and making errors. So was the super-fit, ever reliable Ferrer.

Ben Pronin Says:

I remember that match. I don’t agree. Only because Murray choked so hard against Djokovic in Rome. He most definitely would’ve choked against Nadal that day.

I’m not saying he’s not capable, but he hasn’t done it. Beating Rafa on clay… I mean c’mon, it’s nearly impossible. It has only been done like 19 times ever.

Adam Says:

You probably don’t know me. I’m British, huge fan of Muzzard.
With Andy’s ascent to no.2 – thought I’d do a few calculations as he genuinely thinks he can win the French. Its a long shot but thats the attitude you’ve got to have.
Calculared the big 4’s rankings after you take off 2012 rankings from MC, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona and Roland Garros. These points will all drop of by end of the Clay season in May anyway.
Whoops, haven’t done it for Rafa as he can’t challenge for the ranks till about US.
Federer 6590 pts as he has 2080 pts to defend.
Murray 8030 pts as only has 720 pts to defend.
Djokovic 9790 pts as he has 2580 pts to defend – (finals at Rome, MC and RG)
So in real terms at the start of the clay season the gap between AM & ND is only 1760 pts. There is a small chance Murray could be no.1 by May. It a toughy but it is possible.

Wog boy Says:

While everybody else is already pacticing for clay Nole is still on the HC. By the time he hits Europe he will have only one week for practice for MC, hoe really can anyone give him any chance for MC not even to win but to defend final. He should withdraw.
I think Novak has a good chance to stay #1 until after USO, than he has to defend over 3500!
Andy is losing 700 points for olimpyc gold, methinks.

the DA Says:

^ he loses 750 points on August 5th. Roger loses 450.

Daniel Says:


If Murray is to be Number 1, the moment is preciselly after clay season.
with Nadal ranked low, eventually he will face Djoko before finals in one of the 3 Mastesr (law of averages) and that can cost Novak some points. But it works both ways for Murray. Basically who ever (Murray or Djoko) is able to sneak a win and maybe a masters from Nadal will be in front. Nad it all will depend on RG draw. Exemple: if Djoko and Nadla are drw in the same half, somebody will lose points and for Murrya and Fed, there may be a spot to go to RG final and win points. Draw will play a decisive factor in Murray possible ascend to #1 after RG. Because once Wimby stars, unless he wins it, chances will be bad for him as he will lose Olympics points and defends a lot (together with Djoko) in the end of the year.

Nadal never fares well at the end, so he has to make his 5k+ points duirng clay grass and Fed, oddily doesn’t defend a lot in the end of the year, but turning 32, will he still be able to compete till London? Last year he proves yes and played a tough final with Djoko where some considered he should have won it and he had his chances.
The next 8 weeks will be intense: possible RG #8 for Nadal (plus the impact of retunring from 7 months out and win a Slma in his first Slam back); possible Wimby #8 for Fed and cement grass kingdom; possible #1 for Murray; Will Djoko win RG and complete career Slam, third in 5 years; if so, will Djoko win the Grand Slam this year?

This may be the last season with a full competitve Federer for Slam top 4. He already reduce his slop and if Nadal plays the way he did in IW, top will be packed. Of course Fed will always have his chances once he reaches quarters and semis, but what I mean is #2 competitive as he may return to it before RG.

So, this stretch will be (or not) the most anticipated and expected in a long time. Hope they are all playing top form, free from injuries, relatives incident, mental burnout and all this side things that affect real play. May the best man (on that day) wins!:)

Adam Says:

Thanks Daniel. I only said it was a possibility. Not too likely. Will be interesting to see how he does on clay with Lendl. Last year was too soon in their relationship for Lendl to have an impact on Andy on Clay/ But Ivan should have. He was an elite clay courter – behind only Borg and Nadal I’d say.

Wog boy Says:

the DA,

Thanks, I don’t think Roger cares any more about #1 as long as he can stay top 4 and with his game he is pretty safe in top 4. I think he is after few more titles and to enjoy the game.
Andy and Rafa have a good shot at #1, methinks.

Adam Says:

I hate the homo-erotic pictures that Sean and his colleagues put up of Rafa and Fed

Humble Rafa Says:

If Murray is to be Number 1,
Please…Mental Midgets like Mr. Lady Forehand don’t deserve to be number 1. May be after 5 slams.

jane Says:

Interesting article about how slow IW and Miami were playing this year… almost like clay:

“Is elite tennis now just a case of last man standing?” – By Simon Reed

“Tennis has become steadily more gladiatorial and it is losing a lot of quality because of the ‘last man standing’ nature of the matches at the highest level.
Many of the ATP finals are about one player outlasting another, and the concept of pure tennis does not come into it, sadly. It is a great shame that players have to concentrate all of their efforts on simply surviving physically.
A classic example was at the Miami Masters when the final between Andy Murray and David Ferrer simply came down to conditioning and the two players taking themselves to their limits in terms of fitness.
I am a Murray fan, but it was not great tennis: it was an error-strewn contest decided by the Brit’s astonishing levels of fitness and strength; it was a difficult match to watch with two players giving absolutely everything in tough conditions.
Novak Djokovic and Murray are the top two players in the world right now because they are fitter than anyone else and can outlast their opponents under all sorts of difficult situations and in testing match after testing match.
Rafael Nadal has relied upon his superior intensity and fitness levels for a long time at the top of the game, and his strength and power continues to see him thrive despite a spate of long-term injury problems.
But is this all we want from the game that we love? Do we just want to see marathon finals decided by one player outlasting another?
I am far from the biggest purist, but I sometimes despair when I see this survival tennis becoming such a theme in the modern game.
The last couple of tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami have left me increasingly concerned for the future of the sport, with American TV networks even cutting away from matches because of their seemingly endless plodding.
There has to be a solution, however, and I believe that it is to quicken up the courts – to shorten the rallies and to restore the game to be focusing primarily upon shot-making and not purely on fitness levels.
The sport is fast becoming a question of ultra fit players slogging it out on desperately slow courts, and the benchmark of a so-called good match is how long it lasted. This has to change, because spectators and TV networks are fast losing interest.
The courts at Indian Wells and Miami were shockingly slow, and this is becoming an issue across the board. Even at Wimbledon, the courts are slower by the year and that is not conducive to pure, attacking tennis.
No one wants to see consistently defensive play from the top players, and the issue of fitness should be a secondary aspect behind the quality of the shots that are produced at the top level. After all, why do we watch tennis if it is not to admire the play of the best in the world?
The talent is being taken away from the tennis, and incredibly gifted shot-makers are being crushed due to them not having enough strength or stamina – we will never again see a young player burst onto the scene in an exciting way because of how difficult it is to compete physically. An immensely talented player such as Grigor Dimitrov has not had a sniff of a Grand Slam, whereas in other eras perhaps he could have stunned the world.
The players have to put so much into matches that it is impossible for them to maintain such a high intensity throughout the season – this means that there are always going to be very serious blips in form and drops in quality. It has to be a real concern.
Tennis at the very highest level has totally changed, even in the last five years, and it is far too attritional now. We want to see the very best of the top players, and the courts and the approach has to change, because the game is only going in one direction.”

jane Says:

But how do we reconcile the fact that more 30 something players are succeeding and playing longer than ever if it’s an attritional game. Wouldn’t that mean the older players would succeed less? Or is it down to bodily maturity and increased fitness?

courbon Says:

@ Wog Boy: I have feeling that Nole may report ‘injury’ after DC and pull out of MC…That would be sensible to do.

Sean Randall Says:

Colin, that final was uninspiring. It was by just about all accounts bad tennis. Even Murray agreed.

Sprinkled in between almost 100 errors, they did have some good points. But otherwise it wasn’t a very good match. Maybe you saw a classic performance from Murray, I didn’t.

Jane, that’s the second such story I’ve seen (both from British papers – the other from the Guardian today, filled with hyperbole) suggesting the Miami final was an epic battle of attrition, that the sport has become too tough. Really? Should we just play 8-game pro sets now? Sheesh.

The match was just 2:45 in low 80 degree temperatures. And I’m guessing the struggles both guys were having were also mental. No Roger/Rafa/Novak will do that do you, hence the multitude of errors, service breaks and missed opportunities.

Murray always looks like he’s about to collapse. In a rare occurrence, Ferrer was cramping, but like I said I’m quite certain the moment had a lot to do with that.

And after, neither guy need an IV. And in fact Murray went the beach to celebrate. Poor guy.

As for Simon’s argument that courts need to sped up to allow talent to flourish. Hilarious. Like that would help Grigor? Wrong. It would help the big servers.

Ok, rant over.

jane Says:

Ha ha, Sean; yeah, I thought it sort of contradicted the fact that the older guys were doing so well in Miami, too. If it’s all about wars of attrition, how come the old guys did so well?

Anyhow, meant to post earlier that I appreciated you pooling all the top dudes’ schedules like that for us; it’s nice to see those at a glance so we know who is planning to play where and when.

tootsie Says:

I’m so tired of the whining about slow courts. Murray was playing badly in the first set and surely that wasn’t a problem with his conditioning – it was a problem that he couldn’t make his shots. Can’t blame his ineptitude on the court surface.

And Indian Wells was a great final. It’s insulting to Delpo and Nadal to have it compared to Miami. Between the two of them I think they had only 36 errors or something like that and it was chock full of wonderful shots and rallies.

Margot Says:

Hey Adam, hello :) Good to have another Andy fan on here. Hope u stick around.
“would’ve choked” just supposition
It was not only hot and humid but very windy at Miami. In the first set it was clear Andy was struggling to adjust his length.
Also, as Roddick pointed out, the conditions made the ball so slow, even smashes were coming back.
Don’t have too many expectations of clay, so hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

Michael Says:

This is Rafa’s territory and he is expected to dominate. I do not see any threat to his reign considering the murderous form he revealed in Indian Wells. The only challenge might come from Novak, but unfortunately he is not in the best of form and that might not be enough to quell Rafa. So a 9th Monte Carlo and a 8th Rolland Garros trophy looks to decorate Nadal’s cabinet soon.

Colin Says:

@ Ben Pronin: Murray “choked “against Nole in Madrid, did he? In other words he was serving for the match but the Serb broke and won. Well then, what was the great Federer doing when he served for the match in the USO final?

@ Sean Randall: When did I say Murray’s was a classic performance? I was merely suggesting that a clash of wills can be inspiring in itself. As for Ferrer’s cramp, we all know the mind can do things to the body, but – cramp?

@ Tootsie: If when you talk of “whining” you are referring to things said on the forum, that’s reasonable, but how about Roddick? Do you reckon you have a more expert eye than he?

@ all those applauding Rafa’s great start to the season: yes, of course he’s playing well. The man’s just had half a season’s rest, for goodness sake! Just look at his history of physical problems dating right back to his teens, and you’ll realise he could break down at any time. Let’s hope he doesn’t, but let’s also be realistic.

rafaeli Says:

Agree with Sean at 12.32 AM

rafaeli Says:

Colin Says:

“@ all those applauding Rafa’s great start to the season: yes, of course he’s playing well. The man’s just had half a season’s rest, for goodness sake! Just look at his history of physical problems dating right back to his teens, and you’ll realise he could break down at any time. Let’s hope he doesn’t, but let’s also be realistic”

What do you want us to be realistic about, that Rafa is not playing well. Whatever the reason, he is playing well and if you think he took 7 months’ on purpose, maybe you could recommend it to Nole and Andy and of course Roger.

Ben Pronin Says:

Murray choked in Rome. You want to compare that epic choke to Federer? Djokovic hit a crazy return against Fed that rattled him. Then he proceeded to lay and egg. Murray, on the other hand, double faulted twice and made some god awful errors. Then he proceeded to lay an egg, although he did manage to push it to a tiebreaker where he played like a clown.

Sean, c’mon, how many big finals have we seen in the last few months where the loser wilted physically? US Open, Shanghai, Australian Open, Indian Wells, and now in Miami BOTH were wilting. This is what we’ve come down to. It’s not about how good at tennis you are, it’s about how fit you are. As important as fitness is, it shouldn’t be the number 1 factor. It’s a real shame.

RZ Says:

^ Interesting point by Ben abuot the loser wilting physically. I’d bet that iron man Ivan Lendl agrees, seeing as Murray skipped all tournaments between the Australian Open and Indian Wells to work on his fitness, after spending the off-season working on his fitness.

ferix Says:

Ben Pronin Says:

“@ This is what we’ve come down to. It’s not about how good at tennis you are, it’s about how fit you are.”

This argument assumes the fitter guy beat the better tennis player, which I agree is a shame.

But you then went on to list US Open, Shanghai and Aus Open as examples – finals played by the same players with different results.

We then look at Indian Wells – I think even Del Potro will admit the better tennis player won on that day.

Finally Miami – both Ferrer and Murray are grinders but clearly Murray is more talented.

So overall, despite the fitness issues, the better tennis player usually wins. There’s no “shame” in this outcome.

Ben Pronin Says:

It’s not about who won or lots, it’s how each match ended. The loser was physically wilting each time.

So Djokovic and Murray go back and forth tiring each other out? That’s cool.

There’s not point in going into specifics because biases are gonna creep up all over the place.

I don’t think there is a shame in the outcome. I think there is a shame in the means.

Adam Says:

Hi Margot.
Yeah, don’t know why Andy M isn’t more popular. He’s a really top guy, and he plays some spectacular shots. He may make it to no.1 by end of year. i DON’T REALLY GET Jane’s extended rant. I find these long long matches a lot of fun to watch. All the top players are multi-millionaires. Make them work for their money. Long intense matchs suit Andy Murray. I really don’t know how he does it. He’s got a split knee cap. How is he so fit? Isn’t that what looks like finishing Monfils’s career. See he’s outside top 100 now.

Sean Randall Says:

Ben, what’s wrong with players being tired at the end of long matches? They should be!

I will also add that didn’t Delpo play three straight days. While Murray had a full day off to rest on Saturday before the Sunday final.

The only reason this has come up is b/c Ferrer was cramping. And we’ve never seen that from him (at least not that I recall). And as I said, I’m guessing some of those cramps had to do with him mentally breaking down so close to the biggest title of his career. When you break a guy three times in the final set and still don’t win, you’d cramp too, and not just in the head.

As for Murray, like I said, the guy ALWAYS looks tired and exhausted and often in critical pain.

So no, I really don’t see the recent finals on the tour affected by fitness much. Not really. The better guy has been winning, and if he’s also fitter then so be it.

Ben Pronin Says:

Being tired at the end of a match and wilting away are two different things. Look at how often these final sets practically become formalities. Miami is an exception here, too. Both guys kept trying to fight through the fatigue. But all the other finals, one or two breaks for the winner, relatively little resistance from the loser.

So you’d rather watch a match point where the loser just says “aw screw it” because they’re too tired or a match point where the winner hits a scorcher? I don’t know think that sounds right.

I’m just trying to say this whole physicality thing is getting too extreme. At some point the players will have even more problems than they already have. And it’s not like there’s a shortage of injuries and retirements as it is.

ken Says:

“biggest title of his career”–I don’t think that Miami is a bigger title than Paris. I would guess that only Americans “feel” that IW and Miami are more important than other Masters events. The only Masters that isn’t equal to the rest is MC since it became non-mandatory.

thark Says:

The issue isn’t whether the courts are too slow. The issue is that the surfaces are becoming too similar. Real fans want to see a tennis calendar where different players have the advantage at different times. If players can ALWAYS win by grinding it out the sport will be missing out on some incredible tennis by guys that don’t (or can’t) play in that style. So no, they shouldn’t quicken all of the courts, but they should leave the natural variety in the surfaces. The flip side of that is that they need to spread the tournaments more evenly across surfaces. Hard courts dominate and the grass season is so short you might miss it if you have to go pee. It’s true that Rafa’s style of play has been murder on his body, but he’s not wrong when he says that the disproportionate hard court focus is hurting the players’ longevity.

jane Says:

Adam, that’s an article by Simon Reed that I posted (not my “extended rant”); I decided to post it here just to see what people thought about it. It’s an interesting topic, and as you can see from my post following it, it seems to be almost contradicted by the fact that more “older” players are doing better than ever before now, which would seem odd if it’s all about fitness and “outlasting” opponents.

Interestingly, Andy recently pointed out that some serve & volley players actually had truncated careers due to injury. So which style actually puts more stress on the body? – it makes one wonder.

Nole is my favourite player, and Andy is second, so clearly I do like extended rallies. I appreciate how a lot of “clay specialists” can really “work” a point just as much as I love a classic serve and volley on grass. I can see the concern that the players might wear themselves out I guess. Some of the Nole / Rafa matches have made me tired just watching! But I would hope to see variety in tennis – a mix of different styles. And perhaps what is needed is variety in the surfaces; many have expressed concern that this no longer exists to the degree to which it used to.

skeezer Says:

^Don’t think it has to do with the “style of play”=injuries ( i.e.; S&V ) but the monogamous speeds of the court surfaces. There is no doubt the court speeds on all surfaces have slowed. It is a fact that as a result the points are extended, rallies obviously longer. The FO was heralded as a test of not only skill ( eh, not that much ) but stamina and fitness. The other surfaces back in the day were not heralded as such. Now, we have a HC in Miami that is causing one of the fittest known players to cramp in a 3 set format tournament? WTF?

Its way past due they wake up and go back to the variety of playing surfaces that made the top player “A complete player for all surfaces”. It simply does not exist anymore, and if they insist on what they are doing, why make the surfaces different materials at all?

Jon Says:

I’m just looking forward to clay!! Thanks for the wrap-up of where players will be :)

Steve 27 Says:

My question is : Are the surfaces slowed

Steve 27 Says:

down since 2007 or is the same speed? Why this pseudo critics are so whiners?

Wog boy Says:

There is artical worth reading about court surfaces and court speeds posted by Johnathan Moss on 26th december, 2012 on “Perfect Tennis.” You can agree or not with him but I think he has got a case.
Just google:
Tennis Court Surfaces and Court Sppeds- PeRFfect Tennis

P.S. It is interesting see how he proves that Wimbledon changed speed and mor importantly bounce, you can also find court speeds of all GS, Masters and 500 ones. Not a bad reading.

alison Says:

Personally i hope Rafa skips Barcelona,i think MC,Madrid,Rome is enough CC practice ahead of RG,i just fear that playing too much might see the old injury problems arise,i only hope this does not come back to bite him,i was pleased he did the sensible thing by skipping Miami,i hope common sense prevails this year,and hes more sensible with the shedual,only trying to peak for the majors,i dont care about the ranking i only care about his health.

ferix Says:

Wimbledon slowed the court speed so that finals are more likely to be contested by 1 or 2 of Nadal, Djokovic and Murray. They think such finals will be more interesting than, say, Berdych vs Tsonga. Commerce rules; it’s a fact of life. As these 3 stars will be around for the next 4-5 years, nothing is going to change in the near future.

Michael Says:


I think Nadal and his Team are not worried about overworking on Clay since they feel that the surface suits Nadal quite well and particularly it is not a strain to his body. So, where Nadal needs to pay attention is in the Hard court season where he should took care not to over expose as the surface can be brutal on his physique. I think Nadal and his Team are wise after having been twice bitten and will manage his schedule adroitly this time. Finally, Nadal must be very happy that he has ardent die-hard fans like you who consider him like a family member more than a player. Although, I abhor hero worship yet I feel that some of the Tennis players deserve such accolades for their strenuous efforts.

Michael Says:

I am not sure if the surfaces have slowed or it has got to do more with Tennis racquets, balls and the defensive skills and atheleticism of the players ??

Ben Pronin Says:

Wog Boy, pretty great article. I agree with the solution: have an outside body predetermine the speeds so that the tournaments can’t change them every year (ie slow them down every year).

Also amazing to see that Wimbledon is the second slowest slam!

With regards to the video of Federer’s serve. I watched with the audio off so I don’t know if anything was said, and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but it doesn’t look like it accounts for spin. Just because the speed is the same doesn’t mean the rpm is the same. Especially since we know how much Federer’s serve improved/evolved from 03 to 08, that 126 mph serve in 08 can easily have more spin on it than the 03 serve, thus it would result in a higher bounce and a slower take off speed.

alison Says:

Michael thankyou and i hope your right,i have never been one of those arrogant hero worshippers whom expects their own favorites to win everything,my only hope is to see not only Rafa,but one and all remain fit throughout the season,and like you say i hope Rafas more sensible when the season hits the HC events,however no offence but i have to clarify,although i do wish everybody well,my interest in Rafa,Roger,Novak,Andy etc only stems as far as a tennis court and thats it,their own personal and private lives and what they do off a tennis court isnt really of much interest to me,the rich and famous lives are poles apart from mine,sorry just saying.

Wog boy Says:

Ben Pronin Says:

“… thus it would result in a higher bounce and a slower take off speed.”

Are you sure your sound was off;) because that is exactly what he said and what was shown on the diagram after both served (balls) bounced, and he said also that that gives baseline players more time to react and works to their advantage, understandably.

I agree with you, I think article was very well written, from all angles.

skeezer Says:

“There are currently 186 approved tennis balls on the ITF list.”


grisham Says:

Ben, don’t even argue with that fuddy duddy, Colin.

Adam Says:

Oki-doki Jane.
Sorry, didn’t mean to upset you.
I see you point now.

MMT Says:

I agree with the author – it is not so interesting to see these battles of attrition for me either – I didn’t watch the Miami final because I thought it would be unbearable.

I think they should speed up the courts or the balls or something, and stop trying to pretend they’re trying to do these players a favor by trying to figure out a way to proclaim it’s for their own good. Let’s just be honest – some of these matches are becoming snooze fests. At least with the “wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am” snoozers they were over relatively quickly.

I also haven’t seen anything that would lead me to believe that slower courts are THE REASON careers are longer. It could be any number of things that have nothing to do with the heavy balls and sand in the compounds.

Haas is a bad example – he could be 29 instead of 35 for all the injuries he’s had – same with Mardy Fish. For all we know they could all be juiced – we hate consider that, but that’s possible. It could also be better fitness techniques, etc, bt Federer is really the exception of a lot of miles and a lot of years, I can’t think of anyone (other than Davydenko) who’s old and has played a lot of matches.

gilbert Says:

^ Hewitt, Ferrer, Benneteau, Llodra, etc. Mind you they haven’t gone as consistently deep as Fed of course, but they are all still playing and sometimes doing really well. I think it may have to do with better fitness, but I suppose technology might play a role too?

Ben Pronin Says:

Hewitt – really can’t do more than one great match per tournament, if that. And in the past few years, on the off chance he’s had a good tournament, he’s right back on the operating table as soon as it’s over.

Ferrer – well, yeah. But he also sucked until 2007.

Benneteau and Llodra – these guys have been doubles players throughout most of their careers. If anything would spare you from accumulating a lot of miles on your legs it’s playing doubles almost exclusively. Far less physical. So when they do play singles they’re 1) great attackers and 2) fairly fresh. But they’re not really doing anything great on any kind of consistent basis.

M Says:

@Colin — from one who’s done it, “rest” and “rehab” are *not* the same thing.

“Delpo just got a wild card into Monte Carlo. Interesting.”

@theDA – seriously? No April Fool?

Michael Says:

I would say the fact that Roger is still No.3 is itself a miracle of sorts. At this age, at this rank, in a so-called tough era !???

alison Says:

Michael exactly theres not many past players that can say that,i doubt there will be many in the future who will look back and say that either.

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