Click image to enlarge
In many ways, the clay court season is a new beginning to the tennis season. For whoever have failed to make an impression in 2017 it is not too late. The bulk of the tennis season still remains and although Federer dominated the first few months of 2017 there is still plenty of time for someone else to dominate. Especially since Federer will be missing three Masters events during the clay court season.
In Monte Carlo, the top four seeds are also the top four favorites for the French Open. Djokovic and Nadal fell in the same half which means Murray and Wawrinka are drawn to play in the semis.
Nadal got Zverev in his section of the draw which can get tricky but Djokovic got recent Indian Wells semi-finalist Busta in his section and Thiem or Goffin in the quarters. He seems to be getting one tough draw after the other these days but it’s time he started winning too.
I hope we get a Djokovic vs Nadal semi-final in the bottom half but both have work to do before they get there.
- The Clay Court Season: Djokovic’s Resurrection?
Since Wimbledon last year, Djokovic had his worst results since 2007 I think. During that 9-month period, he won the Canada Masters and Doha and made the US Open final and the World Tour Finals final.
Some players would love to have those results but given what Djokovic achieved in the 2-year period before that, it was a steep fall. Some people predicted this could happen. And they were right.
But given how successful he was during that 2-year period, it is not that surprising either. It was probably the most successful stretch in tennis history where Djokovic won 6/8 grand slams, 2/2 World Tour Finals, and 10/18 Masters.
Eventually, it was going to take a toll. But despite much talk of Djokovic’s poor form, I don’t think he has been poor in 2017. He started well with the title in Doha where he defeated Murray in the final but then had that shock loss to Istomin in Australia, a couple of tough draws in Acapulco and Indian Wells, and the injury in Maimi.
I think he has played well but failed to string wins together and get back into the winning habit. Eventually, he has to come good again and the clay court season is as good a time as any for that to happen.
There are never any guarantees, but with a Davis Cup victory behind him, no Federer to worry about until Paris, and a slow surface, it is a good opportunity for him to kickstart his season. 2017 is far from a lost cause for Djokovic.
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) April 14, 2017
There is currently a lot of hype surrounding Nadal who has shown some signs of improvement in 2017 and although he has won no titles in 2017 yet, many people think he is going to take the clay court season by storm.
Maybe he will. Or maybe he won’t. A meeting in Monte Carlo between him and Djokovic can certainly be a preview of what is to come during the clay court season. Djokovic currently owns Nadal having not lost a set against the Spaniard in their last seven meetings.
Maybe if they meet on clay Nadal will finally get his revenge. Or maybe a match with Nadal is just what Djokovic needs right now to bring out his best tennis again. We will just have to see. Nadal can certainly win a 10th French Open this year.
I definitely won’t dismiss that possibility after what Federer has achieved so far this year. 2017 may be the return of Fedal. But I feel like Djokovic also started 2017 well after he undoubtedly slumped in the second half of 2016. And I think he just may be on the brink of something good himself.
Murray is another player who will be looking to get his season kickstarted on clay after he’s had a disappointing season as number one so far. Last year he certainly proved himself on clay. And then there is Stan whose record on clay speaks for itself.
Let’s get this party started!