Davis Cup Round 1 Concluded, Tour Heads to Indian Wells

The Davis Cup first round of 2009 was concluded this weekend and you can view the results here. We know Roger was not playing but his country Switzerland was up against the United States in Birmingham, Alabama. Stanislas Wawrinka won the opening match of the tie against James Blake in four sets. That was as far as the Swiss got though and they lost all the remaining matches to lose the tie 4-1. It would have been interesting to see how far the Swiss could have gotten in the competition with Roger in the team considering him and Wawrinka won the Olympic gold in doubles. But this is the best decision for Roger. Of the top four only Rafa and the Djoker was involved in the Davis Cup this weekend with Murray still out with a virus. And coincidentally Serbia was playing Spain.

So the Rafa vs Djoker match was the most anticipated match of the weekend. The tie was played on clay however and Rafa was always going to be the favorite. In the end he turned out 6-4,6-4,6-1 winner and even though I didn’t see the match I heard that Rafa wasn’t even playing very well. It just emphasizes once again how dominant Rafa is on the red clay and how much stopping he will take to win a fifth consecutive French Open title. It’s almost getting boring now, the man is just unstoppable. Unless he gets injured I just can’t see anyone even getting close to challenging him at the French Open, so that should be grand slam title number seven for the Spanish Bull. One has to admire or at least respect Rafa’s dominance and dedication.

He may not be the most elegant of players or the most beautiful to watch but in his own way he is making a huge contribution to the game. As a fan of Roger I don’t always appreciate Rafa as much as I should but I do respect him a lot and besides Roger needs Rafa to push him to greater heights. Another notable match in the Spain/Serbia tie was the rematch of the Dubai final between the Djoker and David Ferrer. Ferrer got his revenge winning pretty easily in three straight sets in the end. To me this was pretty much expected considering the form Ferrer was showing in Dubai as well as the fact that it was played on clay in Spain. Ferrer has adapted his game well to the faster surfaces but his defensive style of play is still best suited for clay courts.

That’s about as much as I have to say about the Davis Cup :D After all the first Master’s Series event of the season kicks off on Thursday in Indian Wells and what an interesting event it promises to be! Most important of all of course we have Roger making his very first appearance since the big low at the Australian Open and since hooking up with new coach Darren Cahill. Indian Wells will give us an idea where Roger is at right now mentally as well as physically. I don’t think there will be any physical problems as I am not even sure his back is giving him much problems. I am more interested in where he will be in terms of his psychology and confidence. In Australia he actually looked in very fine form accept for the slip up against Berdych and of course in the final against Rafa.

So it will be interesting to see if he can just pick up where he left off in terms of form and confidence. And should that be the case and he makes it through to meet one of the top four it would give us an idea of what him and Cahill has been working on. But hopefully we will already notice a change in the earlier rounds. It’s still early days though so I’m not gona expect him to just win the tournament. Of course that would be the best scenario but there is no substitute for match practice and in that sense he may have a deficit on the rest of the field. Hopefully we will see a rejuvinated Roger who has gotten over his loss down under and looks ready for a new era. According to the poll on my blog everyone so far thinks Roger will win the tournament!

It’s great to see everyone so optimistic but for me this tournament is mainly to see where Roger is right now. If he wins that would be a bonus. The last time Roger won a Master’s Series event was in 2007 in Cincinnati and although winning Indian Wells would be the perfect way to announce that he has started anew I’m not betting on it(I say this because the last time I said I’m not betting on the Djoker to make the final of Dubai he won the tournament!). I think from now on I would rather underestimate Roger since having a lot of faith in him hasn’t work much for me and him of late. For the rest of the top four Indian Wells will be just as important a tournament. Rafa will want to show that his injury woes is behind him and once again stamp down his authority as the number one player in the world.

Djokovic will want to show that the win in Dubai was not a once off event but a full blown return to form. He did after all win Indian Wells last year easily disposing of Rafa in the process so it would be a good place for him to make a full return to form. Murray will also want to put whatever illness have been plaguing him behind him and continue his great form of 2009 so far. And then of course there is no shortage of dangerous players outside the top four who can take the title in case they don’t show up on top form. There is Roddick, Tsonga, Del Potro, Cilic, Stepanek, Verdasco, Ferrer, Monfils, all who’ve been showing good form so far this year. Whatever the outcome of Indian Wells ’09 may be it will answer a whole lot of important questions.

Who will win Indian Wells?

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