Hi guys! It was nice to read your comments even though Roger was not playing in Madrid and I only made two posts. I appreciate your participation in my blog and your support, even though things were so hectic in April for me and then Roger withdrawing from Madrid. I was disappointed when Roger withdrew from Madrid so I was happy to hear that he will play Rome. It looked like he was practicing hard in Zurich when he went there for the birth of his second set of twins, so I thought the possibility that he would play was pretty good. But I did not want to make another draw post before I was sure he would play. But before I get to the Rome draw let me say a few things about what transpired in Madrid. I watched a little tennis here and there but sort of lost interest when Berdych beat Dimitrov and then bent over as usual for Nadal.
It felt like a conspiracy for Nadal to win the title given his cakewalk draw. And as if that wasn’t enough he was getting routined by Nishikori in the final, trailing 6-2 and 4-2 before Nishikori got injured. I always think people go overboard when they say how much luck Nadal has, because he makes his own luck. But I can’t help but feel that Nadal was extremely lucky here, and that maybe those people have been right all along. I mean he was desperate for confidence coming into Madrid after losing to Ferrer and Almagro in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. But then like clockwork the top players withdraw or lost early, and Nadal’s draw opened up. Then in the final he gets outplayed by the better player who then gets injured. WTF?! Either Nadal really is incredibly lucky or there is some conspiracy going on here.
Credit to Nadal for hanging in there and once again finding a way, even though it was because of his opponent’s injury. Credit to uncle Toni as well for admitting that Nadal got lucky and that he was losing. Nadal is mentally maybe the toughest player in history. But I must say I did not appreciate his reaction at 3-4 in the second set when he broke back. It was clear that Nishikori got injured and then Nadal started fist pumping like it was all due to his own play. This is why I don’t like Nadal and why he will never be as liked and respected the way Roger is. I think what he did shows poor character. And of course at the end he bit the trophy again. It just leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Nishikori is such a classy guy and yet Nadal showed him no respect. As I said before, Nadal will be Nadal.
Getting back to the Rome draw, Roger’s draw looks good to make at least semis, but of course Tsonga and Raonic can’t be underestimated. Roger plays Chardy in his first match, and then the winner of Rosol and Dodig after Rosol eliminated 13th seed Fognini. Then it looks like Raonic or Tsonga for Roger, and in the semis Djokovic or Ferrer. Djokovic has been out with a wrist injury since Roger beat him in Monte Carlo, so who knows how he will do. Ferrer would certainly be a tough opponent in the quarters for him. In the top half you basically have the same situation as in Madrid. Nadal should easily make semis, and then it depends who he faces there. Hopefully this time it is Stan. Stan has been up and down since he won the Australian Open. Since he was down in Madrid hopefully he will be up again in Rome.
Nadal can’t be allowed another cakewalk to a Masters Series title. The title in Madrid would have already helped with his crushed confidence. It is time in Rome for him to get properly challenged once again, or the advantage the top players held with Nadal’s shaken confidence will slip away, and he will become the favorite for the French Open once again. The last thing I want to see is for him to win the French Open after what happened at the Australian Open. That would all but erase the damage which was done to him in Melbourne. Something similar happened to Roger in 2009 in Melbourne and he came back to win the channel slam. If that happens with Nadal Roger can pretty much kiss his slam record goodbye, so Djokovic and Stan really needs to step it up in Rome. So must Roger. And there will be no Nishikori in Rome…
Madrid final highlights: