• Nadal returns to action at BNP Paribas Open

    3/8/12 6:33 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Nadal returns to action at BNP Paribas Open For the first time since one of the greatest matches ever played, Rafael Nadal will be back on the court this week in Indian Wells. Nadal headlines the final section of the draw along with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Janko Tipsarevic.

    Rafael Nadal took all of February off, and why not? There were a few 500-point events but nothing more than that, and--most importantly--he deserved some rest after losing an epic Australian Open final to nemesis Novak Djokovic.

    Nadal is ready to return, however, for the first Masters event of 2012. The second-ranked Spaniard is seeded second at the BNP Paribas Open and has been placed in a relatively soft fourth quarter of the draw. Other top seeds in the section include Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Janko Tipsarevic, and Feliciano Lopez.

    Following a first-round bye, Nadal will go up against either Leonardo Mayer or Alejandro Falla. Nadal's nearest seed and potential third-round opponent is countryman Marcel Granollers, but Granollers may have to take on Jarkko Nieminen in his opener. Potential fourth-round opponents for Nadal include Lopez, Alexandr Dolgopolov, and Marcos Baghdatis.

    Tsonga should not have too much trouble advancing to round four. The sixth-seeded Frenchman will open with either Michael Llodra or Ernests Gulbis before a possible matchup against Radek Stepanek. Tipsarevic faces a trickier path. He will likely kick off his campaign against Bernard Tomic and a potential third-round meeting with David Nalbandian also looms large.

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I think the draw is evenly spread no one has a particularly easy draw.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 3/8/12 9:28 AM

I disagree nadline, in Federer's quarter are Raonic who's won a title this year, Ferrer who has 3 already, Melzer also with a title, Del Potro with a title... Verdasco also there, a lot of players who have momentum are in Federer's quarter.

Murray has a far easier path with Isner as his greatest threat in his quarter.
Nadal can be troubled by Tsonga, but the others don't pose any threat to him.
Djokovic got the big servers quarter with Anderson and Roddick. Berdych could also do some damage.

Bonker , 3/8/12 9:47 AM

"I think the draw is evenly spread no one has a particularly easy draw." LOL

Bonker I think the only person on the planet that believes in this is nadline.
Or maybe she was just baiting....

bleck , 3/8/12 9:54 AM

Federer at it again, clutching at straws:

"I do believe the officials could be a bit more tough on timing," he told reporters at Indian Wells. "I'm not complaining a lot, but I don?t know how you can go through a four-hour match with Rafa [Nadal] and he never gets a time violation. It?s natural that even I would go over time, but they never remind us. There are times when they could be a bit more firm. Because at the end of the day, I don?t know if fans are getting frustrated to watch five points that are going to take us five minutes."

nadline , 3/8/12 10:00 AM

Totally agree with Roger. The voice of reason.

All players take more time than the limit every now and then but to take more than double the allowed time on a regular basis should be punished.

Oh but the ATP would never do that to the stars of the game. Those are afteral the players that bring the money...

bleck , 3/8/12 10:22 AM

I'm a Nadal fan and I think thats a fair comment from Federer. To me, he is not criticising Nadal but more the lack of authority on behalf of the officials. Federer admits that he is also guilty of some time violations that go unpunished.

willmw101 , 3/8/12 11:11 AM

Ljubicic is to retire after MC.

nadline , 3/8/12 11:23 AM

The longer Nadal, or any other guy the public really get a thrill watching, is out there on court, the better for tennis!

I for one hate rapid (boring) matches involving big servers - bang bang boom point.. that's not tennis at all in my book.

lluisa , 3/8/12 11:43 AM

^^^^^ Everyone has their own preference. I like variety, some people prefer baseline rallies,...

The question is in the nineties and early 2000's the surfaces were very different and there were different types of players playing different types of tennis.

There was tennis for every taste, during the grass season you had S&V, during the clay season baseline tennis, on hardcourts a bit of both and there even was carpet which was very fast and no longer exists in the circuit.

What the ATP has been doing is homogenizing the surfaces, clay is now faster and grass and hardcourts much slower. All this led up to only one type of player the baseline player. This added with the improvement in the physical ability of the players led to the grindfests we now have on the majority of tournaments.

The wimbledon final was played from the baseline, soem even argue the FO was faster than the grass of Wimbledon.

It's no coincidence that up to Federer only Laver and Agassi had won all the 4 slams and only Agassi on different surfaces.

Now we have Roger and nadal. And djokovic is on his way.

bleck , 3/8/12 1:59 PM

There are more bleck... Budge, Laver, Emerson, Agassi, Perry, Federer and Nadal.

But back in the days, before the Open Era, most Slams were played on grass. That made it somewhat easier for Budge, Laver, Emerson and Perry.

Today the courts are very similar. That's why Federer and Nadal and now Djokovic can complete a career grand slam. Even Federer admitted it once, that the amount of succes in such a short timespan wasn't possible if all the courts were different.

Agassi has shown to be the most versatile of all... winning on 4 completely different surfaces. Grass (when it was still fast), Clay (the really slow stuff), Rebound Ace and the fast hardcourt of the USO :-)

But the courts have been slowed down and started to look similar for the crowd. With the new racket technology and the better trained athletes, tennis would look more like pingpong and matches could be all about serving bombs. In the end it's all about entertaining the crowd, because the ATP needs them to spent money on tennis.

Bonker , 3/8/12 3:19 PM

The organizers must know that the majority of people love watching the rallies why else would they make the courts slower. People were fed up of the big serves.

I don't think Federer should count himself amongst the S&V players, he is a baseliner like the rest of the top players today. If he is a true S&V player why doesn't he serve and volley like Llodra - because it won't work with the Nadals and Djokovics, he get passed all the time.

As it happens, I am about to watch the 2008 Olympic final and the players have just walked on court. The commentator called Rafa Mr carismatic, because EVERYBODY gets a thrill watching him play. If you don't believe me, get the DVD from TennisDVDWorld.

nadline , 3/8/12 3:22 PM

Totally agree with Bonker. If you watch old matches before the 80s, they really are like ping pong.

nadline , 3/8/12 3:24 PM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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