Following a title in Istanbul Sunday, Roger Federer opens his dangerous draw in Madrid against the brash, exciting Aussie Nick Kyrgios in a must-see meeting.
Kyrgios, who I think is going to be part of the Top 10 by the end of next season, has proven he’s not afraid of the big stage, and with Roger having to adjust to the altitude and the conditions from Turkey, where he didn’t look particularly strong, is the 20-year-old primed to pull off the upset? It’s very possible.
“Roger is the greatest of all time,” said Kyrgios after beating Daniel Gimeno-Traver today. “I’m not going to do anything different to prepare. I’m just going to go out there, play my game and whatever happens, happens. If I go down, or if I win, I’m going to do it the same way as I always have.”
And that means Nick is going to go after it. That’s what makes him so good. He’s got the shots and the confidence. He just need belief in his body and better court smarts.
Federer is in the middle of a busy 3-week stretch of Istanbul-Madrid-Rome. If he goes deep this week, odds would be strong he would skip Rome. But a loss to Kyrgios would likely send Roger and co. to Italy.
Also tomorrow, struggling Rafael Nadal opens his title defense against steady American Steve Johnson. Nadal, a 2-time defending champion and 4-time winner, has got to be chomping at the bit after his worrisome start to the clay season. Johnson, though, is a pretty decent player. He’ll make Rafa work.
Another weekend winner was Andy Murray. Actually, Monday winner since his final against Phil Kohlschreiber wasn’t completed until yesterday. And guess what? They meet again Wednesday.
“I think that’s obviously tricky, because the conditions last week were very different to what they are here,” Murray said. “I think [there’s] a little bit more altitude here, but it’s been very warm, whereas last week it was very cold a lot of the days and raining.
“I practise this afternoon, and [I’m] just [going to] make the best of the time that I’ve got before my match tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll feel good tomorrow.”
Murray’s Munich win was his first ever on clay, and with Phil already getting a match under his belt today, the German could end Andy’s run.
Also today, youngsters Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov and Jack Sock all advanced. Frenchmen JW Tsonga, Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils were winners as well.
Tennis Channel has full coverage of Madrid all week.
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