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  • Federer willing to give blue clay a chance

    4/27/12 4:54 PM | Johan Lindahl
    Federer willing to give blue clay a chance Fair-minded Roger Federer is willing to give Madrid tournament supremo Ion Tiriac the benefit of the doubt.

    The Masters 1000 event is planning to play the upcoming edition on unorthodox blue clay - another first for the innovative - some might say slightly mad - Romanian billionaire.

    "Tiriac does a lot of good for tennis, so let's see how this goes," said Federer.

    But the Swiss also warns that his tolerance for the experiment which has whipped up a firestorm on the ATP can only stretch so far.

    "I'm also all for tradition, but I understand that you have to try new things," the world No. 3 told Zurich's Tages-Anzeiger. "But the courts in Madrid must be absolutely perfect - otherwise it will be a debacle for the tournament,"

    Federer will return to the courts from a month off to rest when Madrid begins a week from Sunday at the Caja Magica. Rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal firmly oppose the blue clay plan, with Nadal the most vocal in his opposition. Federer will take it as it comes.

    "I have no idea how this will work out," said the 30-year-old. "Nadal was vehemently against it, and I supported him. He feels it is a break with a tradition to play on blue clay. What would be next? If every tournament could have its way would we next play on grey, green or red?"

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Comments


it is not important enough to lose energy over so better adapt then become a walking dinosaur like nadal is turning in. Fed stays sharp fresh and eager to create a better tennisworld. He leads the next generation as Nadal has put himself on the sideline to run away from his heritage. Maybe Novak can step up but he should try to built some bridges over hisown country. He is trying but they wont led him i feel forget what his main objective is. To put forward the glory of Serbie. I feel Novak wants to become more of a worldly person but will he get the chance to lead worlds tennis. I fear Roger will have to play jntill the next olympics to make sure tennis is in good hands.

advan , 4/28/12 11:40 AM


a 30 something fool who cannot make up his mind...supports Rafa yet at the same time supports tiriac.

phoenix , 4/28/12 12:43 PM


i'm pretty sure federer's reply to the blue clay question was that he was against it because rafa was against it and real clay tournaments should be played on red surfaces...
link to the article (in German) http://bit.ly/JE7rrg

fortylove , 4/28/12 1:24 PM


I have no problem with Nadal - Federer

Roger Federer insists he remains on good terms with Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer has attempted to cool tensions with rival Rafael Nadal, warning organisers of the Madrid Masters they have risked turning the tournament into a debacle.

The tournament will be played on blue clay for the first time, despite strong opposition from a number of top players, including Rafael Nadal.

Nadal recently quit his position as vice-president of the ATP player council in frustration at Federer's lack of support over proposed changes to the ranking system.

However, despite their conflicting views over the rankings system and the recent election of Brad Drewitt as ATP president, Federer is fully behind Nadal in opposing the new blue clay.

"I'm against it because Nadal is against it and we would have other options," Federer told Swiss journalist Rene Stauffer. "But tournament director Ion Tirias has insisted ad nauseam. In the end we said: He does a lot of good things for tennis so we let him go with this one. But it isn't good that he has such things in his hands.

"I have no idea how this will go. We were against it, Nadal even vehemently and I support him. He fears that a tradition is getting broken and that one tournament director wants to have blue clay, the other one grey, green or red one.

"I'm also for traditions but I can understand it that new things have to get tested. The clay in Madrid has to be perfect though otherwise it will be a debacle for the tournament."

While ATP player council president Federer supports Nadal in opposing the blue clay in Madrid, he insists it is not a reconciliatory effort in a bid to repair his relationship with the Spaniard, and he admitted the pair had not spent much time together.

"That has nothing to do with it," Federer said. "This topic has been talked about one year ago before our dissensions about the election of the new ATP president or the system of the world rankings."

He added: "We have seen each other not that often. He wasn't in Rotterdam and Dubai, I wasn't in Shanghai and he wasn't in Bercy. We only saw each other in London, Melbourne and briefly in Indian Wells. We have a bit more distance at the moment compared to times when we saw each other for weeks nearly daily.

"That's one of the reasons why there have occurred certain problems as we couldn't communicate that often. That shouldn't be an excuse though. But I also think it's normal that we have differences in opinion. I don't have a problem with Nadal no matter what he says or thinks."

nadline , 4/28/12 3:22 PM


Fed should be ATP chief after retirement.

holdserve , 4/28/12 4:52 PM


^^^I would agree with that if he showed any signs of looking after the interests of others and not himself.

nadline , 4/28/12 5:10 PM


Is the ATP chief supposed to look after the interests of others? Which ATP chief has done so?
He, according to Fed, has to be a businessman. Rafa, if you remember, wanted a player like Krajicek, thinking foolishly that an ATP chief is supposed to look after the interests of players.

holdserve , 4/28/12 5:26 PM


Seriously, I think Roger should get the job to run the ATP when he retires, he deserves it much more than all the posers who have never weilded a racquet in anger.

Since Rafa is the King of Clay, I think it should be up to him what colour clay courts are.

nadline , 4/28/12 5:50 PM


Seriously, I think Fed should be ATP chief and Roddick should represent the players. Both will do a good job. Roddick is tough and articulate. Federer has the credentials to command respect and the savvy to market the tournaments. He is a good businessman and a great player rolled into one and is simultaneously the ideal craved by Fed and Rafa.
Rafa should retire at 30 and become a golfer. He is already pretty good at it. When his congenital foot deformity threatened his career, he did think of becoming a golfer. As per stats, golfers reach their peak relatively late so Rafa may even become no. 1 in golf! Anything is possible for our supremely gifted Rafa!

holdserve , 4/29/12 1:49 AM


Finally. Confirmation that Rafa is playing Madrid on facebook:

'Practicing with Toni at the club of my life! Tomorrow we travel to Madrid to adapt to new conditions'.

nadline , 5/3/12 9:48 AM


Yeah I agree with holdserve's suggestion. I think Fed can be a good businessman, he's diplomatic and commands respect. Rafa is a sportsman his whole lifetime, I feel, so becoming a golfer is a good choice. I hope he really becomes one and I feel that he'll retire from tennis at 30, if his body holds up.

luckystar , 5/3/12 10:01 AM


Am not looking forward to Madrid, tbh...................anything which upsets Rafa is not good by me..............who the heck does Tiriac think he is?

rafaisthebest , 5/3/12 10:15 AM


For what it's worth, I read on vamosbrigade some comments from a few players who have tried out the blue clay. They said that it makes the balls bounce low, which would help the big servers.

I am not bringing this up as fact, just some information from players who have actually been on this blue clay. They also said that it was slippery in some places.

Madrid always makes me nervous for Rafa. I know that the high altitude and the fact that it is much more like a hard court, have never been ideal conditions for Rafa. I hope he can adapt to this crazy blue clay without any problems for his knees.

Nativenewyorker , 5/3/12 10:33 AM


I wish Rafa would skip Madrid. It is easy to say his team knows best but we saw how they handled 2009. Also how they handled Rafa's schedule when he was on the verge of making history with 4 in a row. I found it strange that instead of focusing on the goal as Nole is doing now, Rafa was traipsing all over the world. No wonder he caught a virus. Fortunately he did not meet a Gunther Parsche.

holdserve , 5/3/12 1:14 PM


^^^^^am still nursing a grudge against Uncle Toni and Benito for allowing Rafa to do that "tennis on water" exho nonsense with Fed in the Middle East on the Eve of the expected Rafa Slam. That's when he caught that fever and the rest is history.........

rafaisthebest , 5/3/12 1:24 PM


Some info on blue clay at the Madrid masters which may be of some interest. Let's hope that Santana is correct and it does play just like the red clay - we shall soon see once the tournament gets started no?

Blue clay

Former tennis pro, successful entrepreneur and owner of the Madrid Masters tournament Ion ?iriac introduced a new blue clay surface for the 2012 edition of the tournament. This controversial change has been grudgingly accepted on the players' side. Already in 2009, one of the outer courts had been made of the new material for the players to test it ahead of it's 2012 implementation. Manuel Santana, the Open's current director, has assured that aside from the color the surface keeps the same properties as the traditional red clay.[1] Although Tiriac claims that his only motivation was the improvement of the viewing of the match, both for the naked eye and on television, critics have suggested that Tiriac might have been motivated by the fact that blue happens to be the principal color of the titular sponsor of the tournament, the Spanish insurance giant Mutua Madrileña.

schatz , 5/3/12 3:21 PM


I think Rafa would have skipped Madrid but for Fed being so close behind. He knows that with draws being blatantly fixed in favor of Fed, if he (Rafa) becomes No. 3, he will be in Nole's half and then it is goodbye to slam hopes for both of them. They will bash each other to near death in the semis as they are both so strong and neither will want to give up. They should meet only in the finals.

holdserve , 5/3/12 4:32 PM


lets go Blue WooHoo!!

OnTheRise , 5/3/12 4:39 PM


holdserve, 5/3/12 4:32 PM

Okay then, I am persuaded! On on to Madrid, Rafa! The thought of Nole and Rafa bashing each other out as 1st and 3rd seed only for a certain gentleman to waltz away with a Slam at their expense gave me pause........................

rafaisthebest , 5/3/12 5:03 PM


Go Roger. Prove the haters wrong again.

HOPP!!!

bleck , 5/3/12 5:23 PM


Nando likes the Smurf courts, he says:

?Coming to Madrid is always different because of the altitude, it?s harder to control the ball, but as far as the court is concerned, in terms of mobility, I liked it a lot,? ?It?s easy to move around it and the mark the ball leaves on the surface is crystal clear. Perhaps the surface is not quite as bouncy as normal, which will make the courts slower, but that could just be a result of us having trained on an indoor court in the cold.

?I?ll have to try out an outdoor court when it?s sunny to verify that, but from today?s experience the courts seemed slower than on previous occasions and the ball seemed to lose a lot of speed when it hit the surface. It?s clear that when you hit the ball it doesn?t stop dead and in Madrid you need a few days to get used to that, but that?s more to do with the altitude than anything else. In general I liked what I saw, but I?m hoping to be able to test the courts out with some different weather conditions.?

I think Rafa should embrace it, and it if easy to move around and slower, what more could he ask for.

nadline , 5/3/12 5:50 PM


I don't see why he wouldn't give it a chance. It's pretty exciting if you ask me. Yes there are traditions, but sometimes traditions need to be broken to evolve. It makes for not only challenging conditions, but some PR. The media will cover this, and the more media exposure tennis has, the better for the sport I believe.

aegis , 5/3/12 5:59 PM


Obviously Rafa will deal with it. He is a great champion and can adapt to all surfaces. The concern I have was the low ball bounce which is not ideal for his game. But of course I have confidence that Rafa will do his best as he always does.

Go Rafa! Prove the Fedup haters wrong again!

Nativenewyorker , 5/3/12 10:15 PM


rafa with his negative attitude and always complainjng has done much harm to the game of tennis. The only thing Rafa has done is attracked some hiusewifes to his fanbase. They are the backbone of his fandom and have obviously all the time and luxuary to visit the net to bring to berd silly non tennis issues for the greater glory of the in your face vamosser

advan , 5/3/12 11:05 PM


hawkeye,

Bless you for doing the dirty work here! Sadfan has been busy spamming every single topic thread with this nonsense.

Nativenewyorker , 5/4/12 12:49 AM


I do in jest so other real tennis fan maybe smile and no have to waste time with dumb trash troll talk.

I hope no offend real fan including real fed fan, not my intent is true, no? Only dumb trollers.

Vamos Rafa, Nole, Muzzard and even Vamos punchbag, why not?

hawkeye , 5/4/12 1:08 AM


Thank you hawkeye for keeping sadfan at bay!

luckystar , 5/4/12 3:48 AM


I have some comments about the new blue clay at Madrid from Darren Cahill and some of the players. These are from vamosbrigade.

"According to Verdasco, Madrid blue clay not only has a lower bounce, and is a bit slowish, but it deadens the ball as well, i.e. it doesn't take spin that well (precisely the 3 characteristics of the indoors hard at O2 Arena)"

"Perhaps the surface now in Madrid is not quite as bouncy as normal, which will make the courts slower, but that could just be a result of us having trained on an indoor court in the cold. Some heat and sunlight might put a bit more life and bounce into the surface."


Tweets from yesterday & today.
Darren Cahill:

Quote:
Beyond the blue, the state of the courts in Madrid has always been the major issue. Some have been near unplayable, others ok at best.
...good question.. I'm not sure as Spain normally makes great clay courts. Maybe because it was a new site and it's settling in.
...uneven, holes and cracks formed when sliding. The practice courts were nearly unplayable. Also, big site with not enough courts.
Early reports are that they've improved. Maybe playing slightly different, but be it blue or red clay, that's a positive.

Novak Djokovic:

Quote:
Stepping out for the 1st time on blue clay.How it feels?Oh, very different for sure.
I believe I need some time, in fact I need a couple of days of practice on these courts to have a clear judgement on this surface and how it plays. The first impression is that the ball bounce is a bit different. Especially with the slice, the ball bounces low. It's difficult to judge, it's the first time I played on blue clay. I'm sure the guys here are doing their best to prepare these courts so that we players feel good, but I still have a lot of time before my first match.

That's all I have for now. I thought it would be interesting to know what they are saying about the new surface.

Nativenewyorker , 5/4/12 4:53 AM


it doesnot take spin and bounces low! I am liking what I read Fedfans!!!

advan , 5/4/12 7:05 AM


I wait to hear what the King of Clay says.

nadline , 5/4/12 9:04 AM


Me too!

Nativenewyorker , 5/4/12 9:30 AM


We all know what low bounces and no spin on a slow court does with the matchup between Fedal!

WTF ring a bell! Give Tiriav a nobel prize. He finally cracked the boring moonballer's game.

advan , 5/4/12 9:32 AM


It's still clay, sadfan! So Rafa will always have the advantage.

But it's okay for you to have your delusions. Hope is what Fedups need now more than ever.

Nativenewyorker , 5/4/12 11:13 AM


I hope any player who slips and injures himself/herself on that stupid smurf clay sues Tiriac to the hilt....................

rafaisthebest , 5/4/12 11:24 AM


Punchbag comment to new clay "does not match my outfit"

poor sadfan

hawkeye , 5/4/12 2:24 PM


Punchbag comment to new clay "does not match my outfit"

poor sadfan

hawkeye , 5/4/12 2:26 PM


Funny thing is, grass is also low(and uneven) bouncing and doesn't take topspin that much but Rafa still beats Fed there; likewise for the AO. Oh Madrid is not an indoor event, I believe.

luckystar , 5/4/12 2:39 PM


advan, roger has made good results in last 3 years with one title and a final and semi losing to nadal.

In normal conditions I think we could expect at least a semi or final but Roger has taken 5 weks off and he could be rusty.

Let's hope he can take the rust off as the tournament goes on.

Can't wait to watch Roger again.

bleck , 5/4/12 2:47 PM


Thank you hawkeye for dealing with advan - at least his negativity and trash talk is thrown back at him with a good bit of humour.

schatz , 5/4/12 3:00 PM


The King of Clay weighs in on Madrid:

https://twitter.com/#!/adel1609/status/198386743437828097

Some choice quotes:

?Madrid is one of the best tournaments in the world and does not need this. It is played at altitude. That makes it different already. I appreciate the idea but it should have never been allowed,? Nadal said.

?I trained on it yesterday (Thursday) afternoon and I think it?s a mistake ? not by the organisation but by the ATP,? he added.

Rafa also said the surface was more slippery than usual clay, and there are soft spots in the court.

Quoted from Rafa's KIA sponsored presser yesterday............

rafaisthebest , 5/4/12 6:04 PM


Rafa also said the blue clay favours first serve and will help Isner, Raonic and Federer.........................

rafaisthebest , 5/4/12 6:07 PM


http://www.tennis.com/articles/templates/news.aspx?articleid=17510&zon eid=4

rafaisthebest , 5/4/12 6:21 PM


nadal has the habbit od complaining if things don't go his way or don't favour him.
The courts are overal slow as hell. Does he want every single tennis torunament to fit his playstyle?!

Also don't really now if I should take his words seriously. First there was the knee injury then he won 2 tournaments in 2 weeks.
Now the conditions...

bleck , 5/4/12 6:46 PM


bleck, if you're so ignorant about Rafa's PRP treatment for his knees, I'll appreciate that you don't make any of your nonsensical comments. What's the point of doing the PRP treatement if it doesn't help with his knee conditions?? Might as well don't do it! I thought that's commonsense and yet I hear you with all your nonsense again, yet you're the one who accuse others of criticizing Fed! Brothdog where are you? Please read bleck's above comment to see for yourself bleck's true color!

FYI bleck, Rafa also did his PRP treatment for his knees in 2010 and had to miss the Bacelona tournament, yet he managed to win Rome and Madrid that year despite experiencing pain after the treatment(it's a very painful treatment, according to those who had done it, Haas for example), go update yourself about Rafa and his news, instead of coming here and posting all your nonsense about Rafa.

luckystar , 5/4/12 7:13 PM


can't wait to see how this is going to unfold. excited!

OnTheRise , 5/4/12 7:17 PM


wait a minute! did Murray just pull out?

OnTheRise , 5/4/12 7:19 PM


the small minded Rafa has again showed his narrow view of things.
It is so good that this selfish boy is not anymore part of the players counsel. It ia a good thing he is not part of tennos future. To only make choice to benefit oneself is how dumb ignorant closed minded people react. Rafa is an exponent of that view.
Again he claims of false pretences. Soft spots. The little f head should have watched the clay at the 500 tourney of monte carlo.

advan , 5/4/12 8:25 PM


Federer in Djokovic's half

RickyDimon , 5/4/12 8:33 PM


You finally admit Rafa is lucky to be blessed with such talent. Good little sadfan.

Admitting is step 1 of count- to-five step program to sanity.

Good luck sadfan and say "Vamos Rafa!!!!"

hawkeye , 5/4/12 9:08 PM


Regressing sadfan need be careful.

Even though you brain is soft like blue clay, please remember sure you no complain when Nole always in punchbag half when punchbag could beat him so if you want step 2 of 5-step recovery program, don't keep changing tune just to suit sadfan fantasy world.

Better punchbag in Nole half than Rafa. Remember punchbag number 3 now and should thank muzz for sore back to stay at 3 for little while longer.

Be strong sadfan. Do not cry sadfan tears and you will reach step two.

hawkeye , 5/4/12 9:22 PM


I am waiting for Rikkert to make his presictions probably will freak out the tards.

advan , 5/4/12 9:40 PM


No sadfan, I do not believe this to be true. They are used to Ricky not pick Federer anymore by now. They will not be upset.

hawkeye , 5/5/12 12:49 AM


hawkeye,

LOL! I don't know how you do it, but you have me laughing so hard!

I can't wait to see Ricky's predictions! Come on, where is it! Monday the tennis will start.

Nativenewyorker , 5/5/12 2:58 AM


Ricky will pick Nole over Rafa of course.

I wanna see how he'll pick Ferrer vs fed because he LOLed my comment that Ferrer couldn't beat fed on clay when he picked Ferrer over fed on HC earlier this year.

agfmilos , 5/5/12 3:29 AM


For that matter given the low bounce clay, Ricky might even go out on a limb and pick an Izzy upset over Rafa which would certainly generate some chatter.

agfmilos , 5/5/12 3:53 AM


I'm looking forward to another meeting between Rafa and Delpo on clay(though it's blue clay). I hope this clay season, Rafa will beat all the other top ten guys plus Delpo/Isner(if they're not in top ten) plus Almagro. So far this year, he has beaten Ferrer, Nole, Tipsy plus Simon on clay, more to come.

I would like to see Ferrer beating Fed for the first time in his career, but a Nole/Fed meeting on clay this year would be rather tempting too. I also wonder how bad Murray's back problem is, will he miss Rome too which is just one week away?

luckystar , 5/5/12 4:37 AM


Ferrer is too respectful of Federer. Maybe a Berdych would have had a better chance but all the dangerous huge guys are in Rafa's half. Raonic did do well in Barcelona but he is still too raw on clay. Unlike Delpotro and Isner who are both on their day capable of taking out anyone on clay.

holdserve , 5/5/12 5:02 AM


fed's got the hardest draw. It would be hard to get past a hot ferrer and then nole is nole ! rafa is gona cruise to the final i guess (nothing fixed of course but most likely) ...any draw for rafa aint tough on clay really , its just the last one or two matches that are hurdles for him usually...

its a big mistake to think slower clay like this helps rafa, NOPES ! it takes away the advantage of rafa's viciously spun forehands ! and we know the altitude here suits big servers and the surface is skiddy too....federer will benefit from the slices perhaps as novak said slices stay pretty low here....

My pick is rafa to win, he is the favorite unless proven otherwise, nole is obv a huge threat and u can never count out federer

vamosrafa , 5/5/12 5:05 AM


fed's 2nd rnd would be tricky too....and delpo is a threat too...lets see if he can meet rafa...if delpo is playing well, rafa will have a tough time overcoming him..but rafa is rafa on clay

vamosrafa , 5/5/12 5:13 AM


Fed's draw is hardest? Djokovic's is the easiest followed by Fed's. Meeting Djoko doesn't make Fed's draw hard, it makes it easier than if he had to meet Rafa. Irrespective of how Rafa matches up against Djoko, it is clear to the meanest intelligence that Fed would prefer Djoko to Rafa on clay and he has got the opponent of choice.
Berdych and Tsonga have given Fed trouble but Ferrer never has. Tipsy too is not a difficult quarterfinal opponent so Djoko has a cakewalk.

holdserve , 5/5/12 5:14 AM


yea that IS a valid point, it would have been the worst possible scenario had roger been drawn to meet rafa in the semis ! we know thats the hardest task for federer...

and yes ,berdych is also a tough match for rafa if that happens esp given the conditions at madrid ! its even easier to move on this clay ...ferrer's only problem is lack of self belief, he is a very dangerous clay courter otherwise....anyway, i expect rafa to reach the final without dropping a set , its RAFA ON CLAY

vamosrafa , 5/5/12 5:22 AM


If Ferrer can overcome his respect for Federer and play like he did against Rafa at Barcelona, he could upend Federer. Vamos David!
Rafa is likely to meet Berdych in the quarters and Del Potro or Isner in the semis. Preponderance of giants in Rafa's half coupled with a surface which favors big servers, is very suspicious.
vamosrafa, I hope you are right and Rafa wins without dropping a set. Vamos Rafa!

holdserve , 5/5/12 5:31 AM


However I have a nasty feeling that Djoko might win this one. With a draw like this and a surface which favors flat hitters, he has an edge over Rafa. I wish Rafa did not have to play this, risking exacerbating his knee problem. But I suppose he will be careful.
If he somehow gets through this without risking his fitness, he will win Rome and RG.

holdserve , 5/5/12 5:54 AM


Federer's draw is no easier than Rafa's. In top 4 seeds, i think it's only Novak who is on favorable side of the draw.

abhirf , 5/5/12 6:25 AM


According to the players, the clay is slipperyand that's worst than slow clay. I think except for Rafa, everyone else will be affected by the slippery surface. Remember FO2010, where the conditions were heavy and slippery because of the rain? Rafa and Sod survived to reach the final; players like Ferrer and Verdasco, two who were playing well during the clay season that year, fell by the wayside. When asked about it, Rafa mentioned that it might be due to the slippery conditions after the rain. Berdych and Sod survived to meet in the SF, which was a sunny day. So, the slippery surface indirectly helped the big hitters who happened to be not good movers on the surface.

luckystar , 5/5/12 6:40 AM


luckystar, what is your view of Rafa's draw?

holdserve , 5/5/12 6:49 AM


holdserve, I think it's a challenging draw for Rafa, most likely meeting Berdych and then Isner or Delpo enroute to the final (of course I'm assuming Rafa beats all those in front of him in order to meet Berdych or whoever in the QF). It's challenging because it's a slippery surface so neutralizing any good mover's advantage. It's low bouncing as well so favoring the flat hitters. Rafa will have to depend on his tactical game to beat them and I think he'll be successful against them.

luckystar , 5/5/12 7:15 AM


vamosrafa,

I appreciate how positive you are about Rafa's chances. That's great to see! My only worry is that darn blue clay. We know that Rafa isn't thrilled with it and even without it Madrid has been tough for him.

He is supposed to meet either Davy or Karlovic in his first match. He can only meet one of Isner, Tsonga or Delpo because they are in the other half. That is a good thing. Murray is out with a back injury, so he won't have to face him.

lucky,

holdserve asked the question I was going to ask. My view is that it could be a tricky first match and then it's easy until a possible matchup with Berdy in the quarterfinals. Then it's any one of Isner, Tsonga or Delpo in the semis. I think that's a decent draw.

I also have to thank you for easing my mind about the slippery conditions. I had forgotten about the heavy and rainy conditions at the 2010 FO. That's why Fed lost to Sod. His shots didn't penetrate because of the heavy rainy conditions and Sod had it easier.

Nativenewyorker , 5/5/12 7:18 AM


I don't know what Rafa thinks of the draw but before it came out, he sounded very confident claiming it is impossible for Djoko to repeat last year.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/tennis/wires/05/04/3000.ap.ten .madrid.open.nadal.1st.ld.writethru.0513/index.html

holdserve , 5/5/12 7:47 AM


Rafa's first match, if it's Karlovic, is tricky as with all giant servers, after that his draw looks good.

Rafa appears to be in good form and I hope he learns to love the court and give us some scintillating tennis.

nadline , 5/5/12 8:31 AM



Also don't really now if I should take his words seriously...........


bleck, 5/4/12 6:46 PM

Like, who are you, his audience? Talk about an inflated sense of self-importance.............

rafaisthebest , 5/5/12 10:04 AM


http://tennisworld.typepad.com/thewrap/

Tiggy's picked Novak over Rafa. I'm going with his pick this time round for the simple reason that Rafa does not like Madrid. I think his objective should be just to defend his points and conserve his energy and focus for Rome and RG........

But knowing Rafa, if he gets to the final he will play to win, everything be damned.........

rafaisthebest , 5/5/12 10:19 AM


...................and of course, should Rafa meet and lose to Nole in the final, I expect all those who said losing MC didn't count for Nole as he wasn't "there" to also say losing Madrid doesn't count for Rafa since clearly the conditions do not suit him............

rafaisthebest , 5/5/12 10:24 AM


...............one more thing, should Rafa not win Madrid, he will still be undefeated on red clay...........

rafaisthebest , 5/5/12 10:27 AM


If Nole and Fed meet at the SF, and the winner is to meet Rafa in the final, then Rafa will win. Do note that since 2009-2011, the one who did not meet and beat one of the top three guys in the SF at Madrid would go on to win the title. In 2009, Rafa beat Nole in the SF and lost to Fed in the final; in 2010 Rafa beat Fed, both need not beat Nole in the SF. In 2011, Rafa beat Fed in the SF and lost to Nole in the final. The one who gets the no.3 guy in the SF would end up losing the final. Let's see whether this continues in 2012.

luckystar , 5/5/12 10:50 AM


I hope Rafa flattens out his shots a bit for this surface and of course he does have quite a good sliced backhand too. Sometimes when he is receiving and the serve is called out, he takes a swot at the ball and it shoots past the server so fast that I sometimes think why don't you do this for real sometimes.

Realistically I hope Rafa will get used to the conditions and find a solution to the low bouncing ball. I have faith in our boy but it is hard to embrace something you don't really want, that's just human nature. He will give it his best shot as he always does and you can't ask for more than that.

schatz , 5/5/12 1:31 PM


I find it hard to believe that Roger, as President of the Player's Council, was not consulted, by the ATP, about the change to blue clay......................

rafaisthebest , 5/5/12 4:06 PM


Clay court organizers are going to have a field day now. There'll be a different colour clay on every court. I think the next one should be pink just to be fair to the girls.

nadline , 5/5/12 4:37 PM


RG is going to have a pink court. Not Center Court though.

holdserve , 5/5/12 4:54 PM


Still hoping I'll wake up and find this blue clay thing has been one bad dream...........

rafaisthebest , 5/5/12 5:06 PM


Rafa practised with Raonic today on the "blue"................getting himself ready for the big servers............

rafaisthebest , 5/5/12 6:50 PM


Good practice partner in readiness for Karlovic. I'm kind of looking forward to the blue clay.

nadline , 5/5/12 9:11 PM


schatz, 5/5/12 1:31 PM,

I really loved this post! Very optimistic.

I am pleased to hear that Rafa practiced with Raonic. He knows that it's time to get ready for the big serving guys!

Come on Rafa, you can overcome this blue clay! You are the King of normal Clay and will conquer the blue dragon!

Nativenewyorker , 5/5/12 11:18 PM


here you go - http://www.tennistalk.com/en/blog/Ricky_Dimon/20120506/Approach_Shots: _Tangled_up_in_blue_at_Madrid_Masters

RickyDimon , 5/6/12 3:13 AM



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