Well it doesn’t look like Roger will have much time to shake off his rust after not playing any tournaments since Miami. In his first match he will play the winner of Nalbandian and Raonic, who are both showing some good form on clay. Nalbandian is in the semis of the Serbian Open and may even end up winning the event. Raonic on the other hand made semis in Barcelona after upsetting Murray, who by the way withdrew from Madrid due to a back injury. So Tsonga will be fourth seed and will be in Nadal’s half of the draw. I would have preferred that Roger is in Nadal’s half of the draw but he probably has a better chance of beating Djokovic than Nadal so he can defend his final points from last year.Roger’s first match will be a test.
He won’have time to shake rust off. Both Nalbandian and Raonic are dangerous players who can cause and upset against just about anyone. Fortunately Roger has been riding a wave of confidence and he should be able to take care of the winner. But you never know. He definitely doesn’t want to start his clay court campaign off with a loss, especially since he is only playing two events. If he wins he will face Gasquet, Bellucci, or Troicki. That’s pretty tough and if he wins there he will probably play against Ferrer, another tough customer. Roger has a 12-0 head-to-head record against Ferrer but it only means that Ferrer will probably get a win at some point. Having said that, if Roger comes through his first round I will expect him to make semis.
Then there will be a blockbuster match against Djokovic. Djokovic is also rested and ready to go. The higher altitude may just help Roger to play first strike tennis like the faster balls at the French Open helped him last year, and use his serve to better effect. Of course I want Roger to win, but if he doesn’t then at least Djokovic gets a shot at Nadal on a faster clay court. When he was still Djokovic 1.0 he almost beat Nadal in Madrid in a marathon match and you would think he has a great chance to repeat what he did last year.
Here is a video of Roger practicing on the blue clay. Do you like it?