Novak Djokovic: Madrid’s Altitude Helps The Big Servers And Aggressive Players
by Tom Gainey | May 5th, 2013, 7:45 pm

Novak Djokovic isn’t just ranked on top of the world, he’s feeling that was as well. And why not. After slaying rival Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo last month the Serb is in perfect form as he heads toward his big goal at the French Open.

The former Madrid champion who could play Grigor Dimitrov in his first match, talked about the challenges of playing a tournament at altitude.

“There is an altitude here of 500 [to] 600 meters, which helps the servers and more aggressive players,” he said. “The ball travels through the air faster, so that can make Dimitrov very dangerous on this surface.”

He also revealed that his injured ankle is nearly back to 100% health (as if it wasn’t already?).

“It’s better every day,” Djokovic said. “I’ve been doing a lot of work from the end of Monte-Carlo tournament till now in order to obviously get ready for Madrid. It’s a very big tournament that I like to play. Hopefully on Tuesday or Wednesday, whenever I play, it’s going to be perfectly fine.”

Novak went on to admit that he felt there was a gap at the top of men’s tennis but to proceed cautiously.

“There is definitely a gap. The four players are the ones who are winning all the Grand Slams and major tournaments,” said Djokovic. “Men’s tennis is in a very high level; competition is getting stronger. But we cannot count out all the other players outside of the four. Players like Ferrer, Berdych and Tsonga. These kind of players have shown in the past that they’re able to win against the four.”

When the “Big Four” has played in the same tournament they have won that tournament the last 26 times dating back to 2010 in Rome.

Djokovic lost on the slippery blue clay last year to Janko Tipsarevic but the last time it was red in 2011 he won the title.

“The court is great, the opinions of the other players I can hear are all positive comments, so it’s great to see that,” Novak said. “It’s always positive to see a tournament doing everything to make a player feel comfortable playing on the court, and of course feeling good off the court as well.”

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Rafael Nadal Brings 10-Match Win Streak Into Madrid, Cautions He Doesn’t Know Which Rafa Will Show Up
Nadal Blames Altitude for Shoddy Play, Federer Dumps Tsonga, Gets Gasquet in Rome
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16 Comments for Novak Djokovic: Madrid’s Altitude Helps The Big Servers And Aggressive Players

jamie Says:

Djokovic is actually defending the title here. Since he won the tournament the last time it was played on red clay in 2011.

jamie Says:

Blue clay was an abherration. Tournament was fluked by Olderer. Worthless tournament. Madrid red clay is the real deal.

skeezer Says:

^ delusional proven.

thebigfour Says:

Jamie see’s Federer in his or her nightmares. It’s hilarious!!

Humble Rafa Says:

High altitude and smell of last years blue clay is not good for my knee.

Real clay is like virginity, once you lose, you can patch it, but you are still not a virgin.

harry Says:


Madrid 2012 (according to some measures) was the hardest tournament to win. You can see it with mat4’s wonderful link here:

If you sort it on the “wp(10)” column you would see that. The measure used is the expected probability that a 10-th ranked player would win that event. The next hardest in order were AO 2013, Wimby 2012, FO 2012, USO 2012… You could also sort it with the other columne; Madrid still figures in the top few. Of course there are a few issues in this estimation…

skeezer Says:

Thanks harry. Interesting stuff!;)

Michael Says:

It sounds great that Novak is oozing with confidence. He respects all players and treat them as competitors. I wish him a great tournament !!

harry Says:

@skeezer: Although by this measure you would find Barcelona 2012 to be tougher than Basel 2012 :-) ie a hypothetical 10-ranked player would have had a 10% chance to win Basel while he would have had only a 4% chance to win Barcelona… Of course one could always question if that is the right measure to define the difficulty of tournaments etc…

nadalista Says:

RT @bgtannisnation: “For the record the Red clay in Madrid seems to being playing much better then in the past or there short lived blue clay ”

Ah, thank you Rafa, your “whining” last year has borne fruit, for the benefit of all. What would tennis be without you?

skeezer Says:

^Oh c’mon. He wasn’t the only one who whined. He just has a history of it that makes it so sick. The whole world new after that tourney “blue” was gone. It also proved that players like “Fed” can play on any surface and win.


Giles Says:

No doubt about it – fed is the king of blue clay. It’s back to normality now – red clay. Question is how will fed fare on the red stuff?

nadalista Says:

^^No doubt Fed is busy lobbying behind the scenes to have an ice rink installed for next year so he can prove that he can play on any surface and win.


Giles Says:

^^^ Hahaha. Question is will his ole back hold up? Didn’t his fans say he injured his back last year skating around on the blue stuff?

Alex Says:

Give it a break already, your consistent insults and cheeky, childish comments are becoming tiresome..

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