Once again, fans of the Federer V Nadal rivalry will be chomping at the bit as the two have once again been drawn for a possible finals meet. The last time they played was against each other was in the Madrid finals 1 year ago. The withdrawal of world number 2, Novak Djokovic, makes this possible as it pushes Rafa up to being the number two seed at the tournament.
With just 490 points separating Novak and Rafa currently, the withdrawal means that Novak will lose 360 points, meaning that a title for Nadal in Madrid will see him easily pass the Serbian in the rankings.
Rafa will most likely face Andreas Seppi in the second round after receiving a first round bye. The Spanish number one is optimistic for his chances in Madrid after last year where he looked extremely jaded by the time he reached the finals with his dodgy knees. “This year I am arriving in different physical condition than last year. Last year I played when my knee was bad, but I always want to play here whenever possible.”
Rafa should have a fairly easy path to the semi’s with names like Isner, Kohlschreiber, Seppi and Tsonga to get through before he could potentially meet Verdasco, Soderling or Berdych in the semi’s.
What stands in Rafa’s way of a title in Madrid is the altitude. The altitude changes the effect Rafa’s incredible spin has on the ball, making it less effective and making the man on the other side of the net not feel the same bite. “You do notice it and it makes Madrid different. The ball flies more and it brings with it less control in your play.”
Djokovic continues to struggle with his allergies and fatigue after withdrawing from his own tournament, The Serbian Open, the other day. Djokovic also apparently has a fever.