Hi guys it’s my off weekend again and Madrid is not far away now. Just a little more than a week now before we can finally see Roger in action again. I bet you guys have been waiting restlessly for his return. Many of you hardly seem interested in the game outside of Roger so you would have been even more restless than me. I thought Miami was watchable despite the absence of Fedal and then of course Djokovic beat Nadal at Monte Carlo which was a glorious moment. This week it’s Barcalona which I have no interest in whatsoever. Just a terrible event. So it has been a bit of a drought for tennis and Fedfans but that will be over soon once the business end of the clay court season gets under way. With Madrid a little more than a week away I thought I’d make a post looking at what we can expect from Roger in the clay court season.
One thing we can be sure of when Roger comes back is that he will be rested. He will also come back ranked #2 because Murray lost his ranking after losing to Wawrinka at Monte Carlo. So that is kind of a nice way of him to start his clay court campaign. At least he knows he won’t have to deal with Djokovic before the finals. On the other hand Nadal is still ranked 5th and can get in Roger half or even quarter of the draw. It will definitely not help Roger’s chances if that is to happen. I regretted hearing that Madrid won’t be played on blue clay again this year. I liked the look of the blue clay and of course Roger won the event last year on blue clay. But at least Madrid is played at a higher altitude and Roger always seems to have pretty good results there. The draw will be all important. If Nadal is seeded 5 which he must be then Roger will probably lose in the quarters if Nadal is in his quarter.
Nadal will most likely come off a title at Barcalona so he will have some confidence again after getting schooled by his master. Personally I am hoping he gets drawn in Djokovic’s quarter, or at least half. It would be nice to see him going out in the quarters of a clay event which is a very rare occurrence. Ideally you want Roger to have Murray or Ferrer in his half with Nadal on Djokovic’s side of the draw. Then Roger will have a good chance of making the final unless Murray 2.0 proves to be a handful in Madrid. He did not exactly shine in Monte Carlo but that doesn’t mean he cannot shine in Madrid. I’m sure he feels like he has a point to prove and he may yet be a serious force to be reckoned with on clay. Anyway I think it will be difficult for Roger to defend his title this year. If he avoids Nadal before the finals and overcomes Murray, Ferrer, or the likes of Berdych and Del Potro, a rampant Djokovic will likely be waiting in the final.
I think finals would be a good result for him. Even semis would be decent. Then it is Rome where he will have even less chance of a title. Another semi would probably be acceptable. The French Open is where things get interesting because you have the very real possibility of Nadal being in Djokovic’s half of the draw. Nadal can’t gain any points until then so it looks like he is a lock for being the 5th seed. The big question is however who will be the second seed. It looks like it will be Murray even though he played Barcelona last year and is not playing this year. He loses quarter final points there for a 500 event and slips further behind Roger in the rankings. But he did not play Madrid last year so he will gain points there for sure. He also lost in the round of 16 in Rome so he will probably gain points there too.
Roger on the other hand won Madrid and made semis in Madrid. So unless Roger defends Madrid and wins Rome he probably has no chance of remaining #2. And even then it will be hard. So probably he will be seeded 3rd in Paris. The best case scenario for him is of course if he is in neither Djokovic nor Nadal’s half of the draw. Then he has a chance of making the final and Djokovic and Nadal can tire each other out. But either way I think Roger’s chances of winning the French Open is probably behind him now. I’m just being realistic folks. I think this will be Djokovic’s year anyway. Madrid and Rome will tell us a lot but I think the fact that he beat Nadal in the Monte Carlo final is a precursor to his first French Open title and career slam. I think he deserves it anyway, even though the surfaces has become homogenic.
It is debatable whether he would have won Wimbledon on fast, low bouncing grass but he is a very versatile player and can adapt to all surfaces. I have already said before that I’m not particularly excited about the clay season for Roger. If he makes semis in all the events that would be a good effort. That won’t be easy though. And who knows he might even make a final. If he wins an event that would be a huge surprise in all honesty. I just want him to have a solid clay season and go into the grass court season with confidence. I can’t ask for more than that.
Roger’s outfit for Madrid:
What do you think? I like it a lot.