• Rome recovery required by leading seeds

    5/12/13 1:36 PM | Johan Lindahl
    Rome recovery required by leading seeds Big names will have to make up for poor results in Madrid by playing well at Rome. At least that's the theoretical scenario for Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray all of whom have little to show for their brief visits to Madrid.

    Only Murray, set to replace Federer on second in the ATP list behind Djokovic, lasted until the quarter-finals, with the Serb and the Swiss exiting in the early going. Holder Federer was ambushed in the third round by Japan's Kei Nishikori while Djokovic, the world's top player, exited a round earlier at the hands of Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.

    Federer's strategy of taking seven weeks off to rest some physical niggles and train backfired as he went down in his second match back. As a result, he remains the only player in the current top 10 not to have played a final this season; he and Tomas Berdych are the lone members of the elite without titles in 2013.

    Federer has never lifted the trophy in Rome, where Rafael Nadal (six titles) and Djokovic (two) have hogged the honours for the last eight editions.

    Djokovic confessed to ankle pain from his injury suffered last month in Davis Cup. Though he won Monte Carlo at the expense of Nadal and then did not play for a fortnight, the Serb said that his fitness still needs work. "The only positive thing that I look into, is that I didn't injury my ankle worse before Rome and Paris," he said in defeat.

    Djokovic hopes to remedy his lack of Madrid preparation by the time he begins in the second round in Italy. He can also look for more respect from sympathetic Italian fans than he got in Madrid, where he was jeered relentlessly by the Spaniards.

    Murray may send an SOS to coach Ivan Lendl in the US for some extra clay tutoring after his Madrid loss, with the Scot heading to Rome in hopes of surpassing his 2011 semi-final, which he lost to Djokovic.

    Murray expects no particular extra trouble from the back problems which traditionally arise for him on clay. "I'm a bit sore at the beginning of the matches, and then once I warm up, I start to feel a little bit better."

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Maybe they will 'tank' Rome too?

Shireling , 5/12/13 9:49 PM

it needs to be said that Novak was 'jeered relentlessly by the Spaniards' when breaking Dimitrov's serve (and rythm) after his MTO. I doubt the Italians will act any different if the same thing happens again.

Shireling , 5/12/13 9:56 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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