Madrid: Singles draw


So, I got up early on my dang vacation so that I could post the draw and it doesn’t appear to be up yet. Grrr. For some reason, there is an article about it on Marca (Google Translation). Djokovic has withdrawn due to allergies, a cold and, most probably, playing a hell of a lot of tennis lately. Rafa and Fed are, therefore, in opposite halves. From what I can tell via the Marca article, Murray and Ferrer are in Fed’s half; Soderling and Tsonga are in Rafa’s.

Link to what I hope will eventually be the draw. I’m off to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge – cheers!

87 Responses

  1. janp says:

    Wow, Miri, re walking the Brooklyn Bridge! A fun thing to do and beautiful views of the city. Expect some great photos…

  2. Marilyn Wasserman says:

    Across the BB, I hope, not off? We’d miss ya, Miri!

    I think Djoko really is sick as well as allergic. He needs to get out of Serbia though, would at least quiet his allergies some. Anyway, his retirement from his Serbia Open will probably lead to a final between those two clay court whizzes, Americans Isner and Querry. Gotta be one of the stranger results of this year.

    Enjoy your vac, in between updates, of course.

  3. An says:

    Uuuuhm… That Google translation is giving me haedache with all its contradictions

    “Murray and Nadal avoids Fedrerer untill final” and “Murray on the Swiss side”
    “Söderling as 4th in the way off the Balearic” but “Verdasco as 6th could match with Nadal in semis”

    Ok… the last one is possible off course iff Nando def. Robin.. and the 1st should probably be ” Nadal avoids Murray or Federer untill the final”

    Lets hope the correct draw is up soon, but then again… the draw is the draw… Bring it on!

  4. Stf says:

    Draw is out and it seems to me that it could’ve been much worse. Isner or Kohlschreiber in the third round and Tsonga or Monfils in the quarters. And then either Nando or Soderling in the semis…on the other hand, Gulbis is on Fed’s quarter, possibly a rematch?

    I think it’s a pretty good draw for Rafa, till the semis anyway. It seems to me that the other half is much tougher. Doesn’t matter though, as long as Rafa is feeling alright, I’m sure he can break the Masters record. It’s his to take. Vamos Rafa!

  5. meretricula says:

    I don’t know what sort of voodoo curse Rafa has put on the #2 ranking spot, but sounds like it’s coming back into his rightful hands soon… jeez, poor Nole, though.

    • Stf says:

      If he gets the number 2 spot back, I keep saying, order will be partly restored. If he gets the number 1 spot, order will be fully restored. ;)

      • djb says:

        Despite what Rafa may tell the media, I know he wants that No. 1 ranking back. After the unfortunate way he lost it, Rafa is aching to recapture glory at the slams, and I see no reason why he can’t and why he won’t do it. The way he’s playing right now, this summer might end up being one special summer to remember. Let’s hope so!

        • Stf says:

          Yes djb, I completely agree with that. In theory, if everything goes well for Rafa and everything goes wrong for Roger, he could get back to number 1 before Wimby. Maybe I’m being way too optimistic but here’s to hoping. ;)

      • rubik says:

        Stf, your 1st comment above about order being restored for Nadal: could not have put it better in a nutshell!

        In my personal opinion, both order restorations will happen with the next couple of months, at one moment or another. When exactly does not really matter.

        As Nadal himself has said over and over again, “when the moment comes”, he’ll grab it!

        I’m also on vacation, but will surely watch all of Nadal’s matches in Madrid and will read miri’s site every evening for the next week.

        As an aside, Federer lost his SF match against Montanes (2009 champion at the ATP 2010 Estoril Masters 250 tournament) this afternoon. Montanes won 6-2, 7-5 and will play the Estoril final against the Portugese Gil tomorrow. VAMOS, Montanes!

        So the situation for Federer and Nadal has totally reversed itself now: it is Federer, who has not been doing well since his return to the ATP competition at the 2010 Indian Wells Masters 1000 who has to defend his titles in the next two “serious” ATP tournaments: the 2010 Madrid Masters 1000 and Roland Garros 2010…

        Whereas Nadal has only a finalist position to defend in Madrid and an 1/8 final spot to defend at RG 2010. And no points at all to defend at Wimbleton 2010.

        Last aside, but a beautiful one: Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez has WON her WTA final in Rome in 2 sets against Jankovic this afternoon. So two Spanish players, and two leftys, won the singles tournaments in Rome this month : Nadal and Martinez Sanchez. Bravissimo to both of them!

        VAMOS, Nadal!

        • Stf says:

          Yes, that’s true, the situation is now completely reversed. Till July, Fed has to defend 5000 points and Rafa…what, 780? After Wimby, he could very well be number 1 again. If not…he just needs to be consistent and patient. Number 1 will be his for the taking eventually.

          What are the chances Fed will defend all 5000 points? Eh, never say never but it does look like a really difficult thing to do, even if it’s Roger we’re talking about, especially with how he has been playing lately. Fed fans keep going on about how he only cares about Grand Slams anymore but they fail to remember that all these clay tournaments lead up to a GS, the one that was hardest for him to capture. Maybe Wimbledon will be the only one he’ll be able to defend but by then, he may be number 2 again.

        • Fay says:

          thanks for the update Rubik, enjoy your vacation btw!

  6. djb says:

    Yes, this could’ve been much tougher, but I think he’ll get through it without much of a problem. I do think he’ll go on to play Isner in Rd. 3 which will be tough, considering how well the big tree top is playing right now, but Isner may come in a little tired, playing for the 3rd straight week. Rafa should get back a few more of his serves, and I don’t expect this to be an extremely close match.

    Tsonga or Monfils in the quarters shouldn’t be much of a worry for Rafa. Tsonga’s game doesn’t translate all that well on clay, and even though the court will be “quick” in Madrid, I don’t think it’ll help Tsonga too much, against a red hot Rafa. Monfils isn’t 100% and he doesn’t have much confidence to go on right now, with the lack of match play. If he plays Rafa, I don’t see it being much of a problem.

    Honestly, I don’t know who he may face in the semis. It’s not a guarantee he’ll play Verdasco or Soderling, because they have tough matchups early on too. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if this section became wide open before the quarters even rolled around.

    With all this said, I think Rafa will get to the finals.

  7. Wendya says:

    Not a bad draw. Glad to see that Gulbis is in Fed’s half and not Rafa’s. Nole’s absence means that Rafa will be back to No 2 before RG no?

    • Stf says:

      If Rafa reaches the final, even if he doesn’t win, he’ll get back to number 2. If he wins, the points difference will be just wider. If Rafa loses in the semis, Nole gets to keep the number 2 spot till Roland Garros.

    • Atch2 says:

      Rafa has to defend his 600 points and Nole loses his 360 points. I think Rafa will have to win Madrid to definitely be back to no. 2 before RG.

      • Stf says:

        Don’t forget that Nole also loses 205 points from not being able to defend Belgrade…so in total, it’s over 500 points.

        • Atch2 says:

          Oh yeah. I hope you are right then :)

          • sharon says:

            I read on another board that Rafa has to win Madrid in order to get to #2. Yes, Nole loses points for not defending his title in Belgrade but he has better results in another 250 tourney (Rotterdam?) that he can use instead so he won’t go down the full 205 points.

            So Djoko is: 6970 – 250(Belgrade)- 360(Madrid) + 180(Rotterdam) = 6540

            Rafa is at 6480 and is defending 600 points at Madrid so if he makes the final but loses he’ll stay at 6480 and thus still be 60 points behind Djoko.

            Of course, WHEN Rafa wins Madrid :) he’ll gain another 400 points and be at 6880, well ahead of Djoko before RG. Rafa is defending 180 points at RG and Nole is defending 90.

            • wendya says:

              Thanks for explaining that one Sharon. What a system…it makes ya head spin!

    • jagfnz says:

      I’ll second that comment re Gulbis. AFter the Rome match, where Rafa didnt play his greatest, but Gulbis played phenomenally well, I went back and watched some clips on youtube from Glubis-Nadal in wimbledon in 2008. Glubis is an exciting player, with talent galore. A completely different style than Rafa, but one I personally like (think Del Potro or cilic but better raw talent than those guys , and both those guys have troubled rafa). Rafa Gulbis encounters are likely to be nail biting, exciting stuff for several years to come now!

      If Gulbis sticks with his training efforts and grows in the self confidence from his matches in Rome he will be one to beat in the Fed half of the Madrid draw. His likely match against Youhzny will be a great indicator of how far he will /can go.

      ok ok dont get me wrong – i am still a die hard rafa fan – he’s such an exciting player to watch, ever improving, amazing mental attitude and focus. But its also exciting to have new raw talent coming up to challenge! WHen Rafa plays roddick its a wham bam thank you mam kind fo game – just waiting for that small window to break – but as soon as a rally starts you know that rafa is going to win (ok a souple fo semi final points in indian wells to the contrary); whereas with Gulbis, its not only the serve, but the power an dprecision in his rallies not just on short balls form rafa but against some superb rafa shots

  8. Atch2 says:

    I think it’ll be a great preparation for RG if he does get to meet Soderling, Monfils, Jo, Isner or anyone that will give me some challenge, so he can build more confidence.

    Also I read that they got Soderling to help with the draw. Rafa was in the city so I wonder if it was whether they didn’t ask him or did Rafa refuse? Or neither of those reasons.

    Also I really don’t like the Madrid Open’s official website. Too busy with too many moving elements trying to be too fancy. I almost got a migraine from trying to find the word ‘Draw’ earlier.

    • CC says:

      Yes, I saw that they had asked Robin Bo Carl Söderling to help out with the draw. Isn’t that fitting? I mean, to have the *evillest of all evil* players do the draw for this *evillest of all evil* tournaments. That cannot be a coincidence, surely. I’m thinking a photo shoot with Robin; his blue, ice cold eyes staring at the blue clay, would be a great idea! ;)

      I actually quite like the website. Especially the clappy intro. It looks good. That’s all I care about.

      • Atch2 says:

        I wasn’t taking a stab at Soderling, just thought that tournaments usually get the defending champ, a former champion, the highest ranked player there or a local guy to do the draw.

    • Fay says:

      Oh I so agree with you, this website is attrocious, so over the top and too much going on, haven’t they ever heard of “less is more”???

    • aRafaelite says:

      I have permanently shitlisted the Madrid website. I’m not going to look at it again even if they post naked photos of the entire Armada. I got the draw off the ATP website instead, and there is only one outcome of this tournament.

      Even with the altitude…
      Even with odd bounces…
      Even if they decide at the last minute to dye the clay blue…
      …Rafa is going to win this.

      Disappointed to be denied a Rafole / RaFer final though.

      • Atch2 says:

        A funny tweet describing the site:
        “OH MY GAWD. Madrid website = multimedia on steroids. What the hell?”

        • aRafaelite says:

          It must be a Madrid thing. The web site reminds me of what Verdasco’s tennis USED to be like. Flashy and breathtaking one moment and a complete fail the next! But no more! Time to get with the programme Madrid… we want less flash, more substance!

  9. arwen says:

    Atch2, you couldn’t be more right, I hate that website, too. You at least found the word “draw” eventually but I couldn’t.

    • Atch2 says:

      I didn’t find it. LOL. I’m glad I can link it through miri, or atp or Rafa’s site though.

  10. Marilyn Wasserman says:

    So, looking ahead (don’t let Rafa know we do this!!) for the semi finals he could play Verdasco. Soderling, Berdych or Nalbandian or the famous Dark Horse. No wonder he doesn’t look ahead! I’m just thankful he’ll only have to play ONE of them.

    My money’s on Verdasco. He’s been playing very well, he’s had a week off, and Madrid’s his home. But I’m rotten at predictions.

    • sharon says:

      I think that’s a good bet Marilyn. I’d say Verdasco has the best shot at making the semis too. I’d only like to see Soderling make it so that Rafa could lay a whupping on him like last year in Rome and finally shut up all the people that are calling Sod some kind of clay wonder whiz.

  11. CC says:

    A draw is a draw. Somebody’s got to play somebody. One will win, one will lose. Let’s hope Rafa goes deep… In the tourney, I mean.

  12. Ch F says:

    I worry about draws less than I used to, because Rafa seems to be feeling healthy and doubts seem to fade away. There are no easy draws any more given the level of competition, so I only hope for a healthy confident Rafa who can do it all.

  13. Susanna728 says:

    Roger just lost (unexpectedly) to Montanes in the semis at Estoril.

    • Wendya says:

      Wow…I thought that Estoril was in the bag for Fed! That’s a shock!

      • djb says:

        I honestly think Wendya, that Fed is not going to successfully defend either the French or Wimbledon title this summer. Perfect opportunity for Rafa to do some serious damage before the hard courts roll back around again.

        • Atch2 says:

          But Fed is a different person in Slams.

          • ava says:

            Here’s the deal. I find it incredibly surprising that people keep saying that. His form is in the bin. Worst of all his biggest weapon the serve is nowhere to be seen. So far he’s lost all winnable matches. It would SURPRISE me if he made the finals of RG. People speak as if it’s a motivation problem. I don’t think so. Before the tournament he said something like anything less that the title would be disappointing. Now he says only Masters, Slams and WTF is important to him. I don’t think it’s a problem with motivation. He is in dismal form. I’m hoping someone calls him out on it.

            When people’s form is in the toilet they don’t usually play well in the next tournament if they have failed so spectacularly in the one before. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone like say, Nando playing lights out tennis takes Fed out before semis in RG. I can’t see him changing every aspect of his game now to be in good form for RG. I don’t think one magically recaptures form. Rafa, in fact, had been playing great tennis from the start of the season and then finally broke through. I don’t think form appears and disappears like that.

            And I’m sure Federer was playing MUCH better in the warm-ups last year. Still I thought his performance barring the finals there was the weakest we has ever seen Federer in a Slam. I hate saying this, but the reason he won was the fact that it wasn’t Rafa across the net in the finals.
            I would reserve judgement till Madrid ends but he seems to have a tough draw and I wouldn’t be surprised again if he crashes out early.

            My(very premature)prediction is that Federer doesn’t win another Slam this year. If Rafa plays well RG and W is for the taking. I hope it comes true.
            Just my humble opinion.

            • sharon says:

              Ava – well said. I agree with you. The excuses they’re making for Federer on some other boards is just wild. I’m looking forward to these next two months as I really think he’s reached the end of his semi-final string and people will finally have to look at him critically. Granted, he’s got a slam already this year but he was damn lucky that Davydenko choked and he was able to sneak through to the final. I think we Rafa fans are going to have lots to cheer about. :)

              • Stf says:

                Glad to see I am not the only one thinking that the excuses for Fed are a bit too much at this point. Sure, he’s been consistent enough in Grand Slams, still, there will be some point that he won’t be able to get away with shaky performances. Especially in RG. The next couple of months will probably see a change of guard. ;)

                • Zooni says:

                  Could not agree more, with all of you. The excuses are coming thick and fast from the the Fed fandom. I too, just think he’s struggling, plain and simple. I’ve had a feeling from the start of the year that AO would be the only slam Federer would win this year. Seemed crazy then, now it’s looking likely. We’ll see.

                  But Rafa is in the ascendancy once more, no doubt about it. I think 2010 will end up being a special year for him.

    • Karen says:

      I’m not at all worried about this tourney because Rafa’s lookin & feelin fine. Just wish I was there to feel how fine!! Really think the pressure is on everybody else in Madrid not our Rafa. VAMOS. Go get it boy.

      • Stf says:

        I do think the pressure is somewhat on Rafa because of his tremendous comeback on clay. But it’s on Roger as well. He needs to prove that last year’s Madrid and RG run didn’t happen because Rafa was injured.

  14. Rafafan says:

    Well this could be a “changing of the guard” at last. I am actually starting to believe that Rafa can get that no 1 by the end of the year at least. Djok out (I think Bronchitis but he has always had fitnsess issues – I have a feeling he is asthmatic poor guy and you can’t take anything for it). Fed well he has had (apart from the AO winning of course) the worse since. 48 unforced errors I heard. Obvsiously his heart is not in it but he has to get match play somehow. Murrary – well, I still don’t think he aggressive enough certainly not on clay. Davidenco out and Del Port. This surely must be Rafa for the taking (and FO?) but then there is a certain Gulbis. I have got visions that will be the final but heah (Rafa I we will only take one match at a time of course!)

    • Stf says:

      Gulbis is in Fed’s quarter, so that should be an interesting match, if they get to play each other. Fed says he’s not concerned with his form and that he only cares about the Masters, Grand Slams and World Tour Finals. Madrid is his chance to prove that he can play a solid match if his ranking points are at stake. I think this is going to be a great summer for Rafa. It certainly looks like it. ;)

  15. Fay says:

    Well I hate predictions, one match at a time I say, no jinxing that way right, all the best to Rafa though and may he have a good tourney.. biggest shock of the day has to be Fed, and despite what he has said about the masters and GSlams, he did say prior to Estoril that anything less than the trophy would be a disappointment, so isn’t the latter kind of contradictory? I sinks so.. As for Soderling doing the draw it is a little odd, if it was anywhere else other than Spain I could understand it but what happened to their love for their hero Rafa? very strange and most misfitting.. then again its down to the stupid organisers not the Madrid public..

  16. ava says:

    I think there is an important fact here. The Madrid courts do not play like ordinary clay courts. It’s practically hard courts with sprinkled clay. Last year they had to water it down during intervals to prevent the clay from blowing away. That coupled with the attitude gives firm advantage to the big servers. I think that’s the reason Roddick gave more trouble to Federer than Rafa. If Rafa meets Soderling I wouldn’t be surprised by a loss. I think even Isner is a potentially tough match up. I just hope Rafa serves well and does not get dragged into long matches. If he does I hope he just buckles. No need to win the battle and lose the war.

    Things will be definitely interesting. It will be tougher for him than MC/Rome.

    • Nic says:

      I agree with you. As much as I would love Rafa to win this one, it won’t bother me too much if he doesn’t. I think he has nothing to prove anymore going into RG. And if that would mean him having more practice time and rest time, I think that would also be great prep for RG. But having said all that, if he’s fit, Rafa will want to win this and we know he definitely can. I think the draw is the draw and there will be no easy matches. All the players in his half can be dangerous. But, “he is Nadal”. Vamos Rafa!!

    • CC says:

      “…and does not get dragged into long matches. If he does I hope he just buckles.”

      Hang on a minute… Do you mean “buckle” as in “give in”?! Did I read that correctly? If so, I see that suggestion as an insult, to Rafa and to any player at this level.

      If Rafa cannot play long matches, fight to win and come out at the other end, he might as well finish his careera on the spot. You either play a tourney and play it wholeheartedly or you decide not to play. I don’t think Rafa would be in Madrid this year if he didn’t feel 100%. He might lose in the third round, or go all the way and win the tourney, but Rafa buckle? No way.

      • ava says:

        I was speaking relatively. I didn’t just mean throw in the towel. I would never ask Rafa to try less than 100%. I just don’t want to see him stretch himself like he did last year in the semis. Bottom line: I do not want to see him sacrifice his body for a minor tournament like this.
        I wouldn’t say it’s an insult to reserve your 100% for Slams. The smartest players do that and they succeed. I think a prime example would be Federer winning the USO 08. It’s just smart planning. I’m not saying LOSE the battle to win the war but don’t sacrifice your reserves for the battle only to see a “lesser” player win the war.
        Eyes on the prize, is all I’m saying. It was DEFINITELY not meant to be an insult.

        • CC says:

          “I would never ask Rafa to try less than 100%.”

          By saying he should buckle, I thought that was what you just did. I must have misunderstood.

          “…but don’t sacrifice your reserves for the battle only to see a “lesser” player win the war.”

          This I don’t get either. At all. I think again you are suggesting that Rafa shouldn’t give his all.

          I am not interested in what Federer does. Rafa is Rafa and I watch and enjoy watching just because of that. To me the whole point of sport is to take part and always fight to WIN, regardless of what tourney it is. Rafa, to me, represents that better than most.

          • Stf says:

            I do think that what ava is referring to is that we don’t want a repeat of last year’s Madrid/RG/Wimbledon to happen. Rafa retired in AO because he knew he shouldn’t push himself to the limit. The way I see it, he will give his 100% anyway but now that things are looking up for him, he will be very careful not to exhaust himself before the two majors. Thus, keeping his form for those. I don’t care if he loses in Madrid, what I want to see if that he can be solid enough to get back the RG. Simple as that.

            • ava says:

              LOL I think you summed up what I feel about the matter better than my ramblings.

          • ava says:

            I don’t believe that. At this point in his career a fine line separates him from joining the greats. I enjoy his never-say-die attitude just as much as anyone. But I think it’s smart to concentrate on doing your best in the majors as they are the most important tournaments in tennis. Rafa has nothing to prove regarding his dedication or commitment. I think a player of his talent and a person of his determination and hard work deserves to be up there in the Slam tally. I don’t know if it will happen but I believe he should give himself the best shot to win Paris. And if that means compromising his performance in Madrid I don’t have a problem with that.

            It is just my opinion and seeing that you have a completely different one I think it must be safe to say that we have to agree to disagree.

            • CC says:

              Yes, we are very different then.

              To me, there is no “thin line” between Rafa and “the greats” (whoever they are), to me Rafa is a great. Not because he has already won six grand slams and 16 Masters and however many other tournaments, but because he is fantastic to watch on court, because of his attitude to the game and because he is generally a lovely person to follow.

              I would sincerely love Rafa to win more grand slams than anyone and break all kinds of records, but if he didn’t, he would still be the best ever sportsman for me. It would sadden me if he had to compromise his performances in other tournaments because his fans think he should win more slams.

              • Stf says:

                Of course, Rafa is a great, there is no doubt about that. First of all, he is a joy to watch and in clearly objective terms, he is the only one to ever really and consistently top Fed, who is considered by many the best of all. Still, it’s hardly about what fans want, even if fans wanted more slams or more masters, it all comes down to what he wants and what he feels happy with. If he wants more Slams to be number 1 or just to compete and win tournaments, it’s not our place to say what he should or shouldn’t do, compromise or not. There is no point in even discussing what the fans want for their favourite athlete.

                • CC says:

                  I don’t care about Rafa in relation to Roger Federer, which is what I think a lot of fans do. I just care about Rafa. Basta. ;)

                  • Stf says:

                    …hence the “in clearly objective terms” I mentioned. ;) It’s not what I bother with, to compare the two. I think Rafa is much more entertaining to watch anywhere, anytime. He represents everything I like in a tennis player, in terms of style of play and behaviour inside and outside the court. Nuff said.

              • ava says:

                “It would sadden me if he had to compromise his performances in other tournaments because his fans think he should win more slams.”

                It’s not just the fans. I’m sure his team as any other top players’ team would prioritize the slams. I don’t see why it’s so sad or disappointing. It doesn’t mean you don’t try your best in other tournaments but you give yourself the best shot to win a slam. Every tennis player dreams of not winning Madrid or Indian Wells but the AO, RG, W or USO. They are the big four and everyone aspires to that. It doesn’t diminish the other tournaments. All I am saying is that at the end of the day, tennis like other sports is a pursuit of excellence and the pinnacle of excellence remains the Slams.

                I truly love the person Rafa is and all that he represents. It’s what made me a fan in the first place. That fact for me is not connected with his performances. I don’t find it difficult at all to support him in whatever juncture of his career. But he is a tennis player and I think he should do what is necessary to make him career more um, for the lack of a better word “historic”. If he doesn’t win another slam or tournament my love and respect for him will not diminish one bit. I choose to dissociate the two.

                I hope I make sense. English is not my first language and I feel like I’m going around in circles.

                • CC says:

                  You make sense. My point from the start was that you suggested Rafa shouldn’t give 100% in Madrid, to save himself for RG and later Wimbledon. I disagree with that suggestion. That’s that. :)

                • sandra says:

                  I agree totally with you, Ava.

        • an says:

          But…. you talk about Rafa here…. The one with the never say die, the over my dead body attitude, off who’m and what we where so proud last week…. I don’t think he even knows the word buckle!!! Rafa is a compettitor, let him compete en we can enjoy…. and see what will happen along the way, losing, winning, opponents, Federer and rankings…. Things are looking good at the mo, but momentums can change quick. I am a positive thinker and i believe Rafa can do all thats mentioned here and more but just like him i want to take it one match at the time!

  17. Maya says:

    It’ll be interesting to hear from the players regarding the speed of the court. I’ve read that the court was fast last year because the clay was layed down within a week or two of the tournament. Now that the clay has settled it’s suppose to play more like a clay court (more like Rome than MC). Does anyone know why Tiriac
    would want a “hard” clay court? John has a great serve and when he’s on he makes the match tough. Rafa met Isner at IW in March and took the game in two. So at least he’s played him recently. Hopefully Kohlschreiber will wear John down, or vice versa.

    • an says:

      Rafa already told that, due to the altitude, the ball fly’s more and its harder to control…. and youre right thats what he said in Rome too and its what we could see in his game, No? So, intresting question how the players would compare the court to Rome indeed!

      • jimmy says:

        Rome is very different from Madrid. Rome is a classic clay court, albeit, traditionally faster than Monte Carlo (and even Paris).

        Madrid, OTOH, is almost quicker than say the slowest hardcourts, ex: IW. Not because of the surface, which is clay (even if a layer of clay on a hard base); But because of the low density of air. The ball flies longer and quicker. and the topspin is minimized. The court plays slightly like an indoor court.
        This is one of the reasons why Federer had a much easier time playing first strike tennis and (more importantly) executing against Nadal last year in Madrid. Nadal had a very tough time doing anything meaningful with Federer’s serves, which is in sharp contrast to their earlier matches on clay.

        In fact I expect the big servers and ball strikers ( Soderling, Gulbis, Roddick etc) to do better in Madrid than the traditional clay court players, who have done well so far.

        • Vic says:

          You might be right. I went to the Magic Box yesterday which is a great place to watch tennis, by the way, and I saw Nando-Karlovic and M.Fish-M.Russell. The ball seemed to fly.

          I had tickets to see Rafa today but they have changed the order of play at the last minute because there’ll be an important soccer match at the same time Nadal was supposed to be playing. It’s disgusting. The organization has no respect for the paying cutomers whatsoever.

          • miri says:

            That is frustrating, but I have a feeling that maybe someone asked to be scheduled at time that allowed him to watch the footie. Just a hunch – no evidence.

  18. Choices says:

    Don’t get me wrong, but Ion Tiriac just gives me the impression that he thinks himself above everything and has turned the Madrid Masters into his toy thing, his spectacular show more than a Masters 1000 event. Starting with the model ballgirls to the strange things that make up the official tournament website this year (which, may I ask if anyone has been able to navigate with success instead of stress?). I have had the feeling for the longest time that he is a controversial character with enough money to not give two hoots what anyone thinks or says about him, and just thinkz that this is “his” tournament to do with as he pleases.

    He also gives me the impression that what he would most like to see is Rafa being defeated in the early rounds… he was practically calling Rafa’s bluff a few weeks ago when there was speculation as to whether Rafa would be playing in Madrid.

    • djb says:

      Personally, I feel that the ATP should get on Madrid’s case. If Madrid is going to be a premier warm-up event for Roland Garros, then like Monte-Carlo and Rome, it needs to fully resemble Roland Garros. There’s nothing anyone can do about the altitude, but the most important thing are the courts and their conditioning. All the courts should be traditional clay courts, and they should absolutely, without a doubt, play like traditional clay courts, with NO gimmicks!

      All the courts should be properly maintained and kept, so they are in the best condition possible for match play. If Madrid can’t live up to the required standards for a top level event, then it needs to be either downgraded or moved back to the fall, where it should’ve stayed. I love the fans, but I disapprove of how this tournament is being run.

  19. Maya says:

    I think Rafa will fight tooth and nail for this win. How many more times will he have the opportunity to sweep the clay court season. In all of his great clay court victories over the years it hasn’t happened yet. I don’t know how many slams Rafa will end up with, but his legacy on clay will be defining. He has motivation, momentum, his rhythm and clay beneath his feet and I think he plans to win.

    • Maya says:

      Rafa would also break the record for MS1000 tournies won if he wins Madrid.

      Maybe Tiriac is trying to give a leg up to Feli & Fernando. They are the only two Spanish players who actually benefit from a “hardcourt”. There also Madrid boys.

  20. John F says:

    is there anyone out here looking for a GlubisNadal matchup? final?

    i repeat my comments from above…..on Wendya

    ll second that comment re Gulbis. AFter the Rome match, where Rafa didnt play his greatest, but Gulbis played phenomenally well, I went back and watched some clips on youtube from Glubis-Nadal in wimbledon in 2008. Glubis is an exciting player, with talent galore. A completely different style than Rafa, but one I personally like (think Del Potro or cilic but better raw talent than those guys , and both those guys have troubled rafa). Rafa Gulbis encounters are likely to be nail biting, exciting stuff for several years to come now!

    If Gulbis sticks with his training efforts and grows in the self confidence from his matches in Rome he will be one to beat in the Fed half of the Madrid draw. His likely match against Youhzny will be a great indicator of how far he will /can go.

    ok ok dont get me wrong – i am still a die hard rafa fan – he’s such an exciting player to watch, ever improving, amazing mental attitude and focus. But its also exciting to have new raw talent coming up to challenge! WHen Rafa plays roddick its a wham bam thank you mam kind fo game – just waiting for that small window to break – but as soon as a rally starts you know that rafa is going to win (ok a souple fo semi final points in indian wells to the contrary); whereas with Gulbis, its not only the serve, but the power an dprecision in his rallies not just on short balls form rafa but against some superb rafa shots

    • Ch F says:

      I don’t think he lacks confidence, if he’s short of something, that’s experience. His talent is promising, but what remains to be seen is whether his mind and heart are in it. In absolute tennis terms, if I may put it that way, his movement is also better and more effortless than that of Del Potro or Cilic and that’s really impressive for a strong player with a great serve.

  21. Maya says:

    I don’t think Gulbis will make it to the quarter finals, but if he does he’ll play Wawrinka who took him out fairly convincingly in Monte Carlo. If he beats Youzney, Roddick (who beat Rafa in Miami) and Wawrinka, then anything can happen in the semis. There’s also the possibility that Gulbis will play a defending Federer, which would be most interesting. If Gulbis had the tools in 2008 why has it taken him so long to make a statement? Even this year he hasn’t played consistantly enough to merit all the hoopla surrounding his win over Roger, but we’ll see what happens in the next few months.

  22. Susanna728 says:

    Gulbis’ problems were always in his head more than his ability. His new coach (Hernan Gumy, former coach of Marat Safin and quite a hunk himself – and I say again that Gulbis reminds me of Safin) seems to have done wonders with Ernests’ focus and stability. I think EG is more talented than Del Potro or Cilic. His serve is even bigger and more consistent, he has more versatility in his shots, he’s fast and moves as well or better for a tall guy, and he seems really smart on the court (except when he plays way too many drop shots). I’d love to see more Gulbis – Rafa matches — on the condition of course that Rafa wins them all. Sorry EG – you’re amazing but I have only one true love.

    • Maya says:

      I don’t doubt that Ernests is talented, but if he’s more talented than JMD and Marin, why isn’t he in the top 10. Juan and Marin worked themselves into the top 10 last year while there was no mention of Gulbis to be had. All three are similar in age and have been on the tour about the same number of years. I guess all that can be said about Gulbis is “wait and see”.

      • Stf says:

        I’d heard about Gulbis about two years ago, when he was only 19. I had heard that he was extremely talented and the next best thing. Same with Delpo and Cilic. I guess they were more consistent and played more solid matches all these years.

        • Ch F says:

          I hear interesting comments about his personality. Apparently his entire life is not dedicated to tennis, he trains when he feels like it and some commentators have compared him to Safin, saying he’s got incredible talent but let’s see how he’ll use it.

          • wendya says:

            Gulbis has the talent and the ability, but he also strikes me as being a bit of an arrogant waster. I don’t know why, but I don’t like him…he seems a bit of an immature smartarse. Although, I have to admit, he does have great potential… if he can be bothered to apply himself!

            • Ch F says:

              Yeah it’s always about that isn’t it? Talent alone doesn’t necessarily lead to greatness.

            • wendya says:

              Sorry if my comments about Gulbis have offended anyone… I will be interested to see how Giraldo gets on though, if he gets through to play Rafa. He played really well against Ferrero and Llodra in Rome, and has just beaten Kolschreiber, albeit in three sets.