Category Archives: Clay courts

Nadal’s Doctor Preaches Moderation

Rafael Nadal’s personal doctor, Dr Angel Ruiz Cotorro, has warned the Spaniard that he needs to slowly return to play and be more selective about when and on what surfaces he plays.

“What you have to do in this case is select tournaments properly, enter the circuit progressively.

On clay, movements are less aggressive because of the possibility to skid, which helps the tendon to suffer less. A quick surface is more aggressive than any Read more »

The Curious Case Of Nadal’s Knees Revealed

Over the last few days there has been plenty of speculation about the state of Rafael Nadal’s knees since he withdrew from the US Open. Quotes from his PR agent denied an injury and state he simply wasn’t fit. Other stories indicated he should be fit for Davis Cup in September, while others revealed a more worrying story (apparently from Uncle Toni) that they were trying to manage Rafa’s knees conservatively to avoid surgery.

It has long been my view, and many other peoples, that Nadal needed an extended break to not only lengthen his career but to preserve the long term health of his knees. It appears that is finally what is happening. Read more »

Roland Garros Draw Analysis – Can Nadal Do It Again?

This years men’s Roland Garros draw has the potential to produce a great tournament with some really interesting match ups if the seeds perform. The fluctuating recent form of the top male players doesn’t give me much hope of this happening but lets look at the draw anyway.

The really interesting first round matches are: Read more »

Roddick Bombs Out On Clay

Andy Roddick has really been struggling to find any consistent decent form over the last two years. He was dealt a bad draw in Rome, being scheduled to face Gilles Simon in the first round today after a first round knock out in Madrid.

In their first round match Roddick was shown up on his least favourite surface as Gilles easily won 6-3, 6-3. It was clear that Roddick had only one game plan, his normal big serving sometimes volleying and attempt to hit through the court, which just didn’t work against a great scrambler like Gilles who moves more naturally on clay. Read more »

Nadal Under Pressue In Madrid

Any tennis player enjoys the crowd support when playing at home. Rafael Nadal, gold child of Spain, is no different and receives huge support when in Spain. I remember traveling in a taxi in Madrid and having a 20 minute conversation with the driver about his love for Rafa. To say the world number one is popular is an understatement. To say he’s not under huge pressure now is also an understatement. Read more »

Roddick Doesn’t Impress On Return To Clay

Fresh off a house move and a second anniversary break spent with wife Brooklyn Decker, Andy Roddick has made his return to the European clay courts he barely stepped on last year. Last season Roddick, currently ranked 12,  struggled with form and illness only played Roland Garros in this section of the season.

In their first round match Roddick came up against Flavio Cipolla who won the match 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 in 3 hours, 2 minutes. The American’s huge serve was uncharacteristically broken four times during the course of the match. Read more »

Nadal Looking For Ways To Stay At The Top

Rafael Nadal is still talking to media about the overwhelming task ahead of him. In the next few weeks Rafa has to defend Madrid (1000), Rome (1000), Roland Garros (2000) and Wimbledon (2000). That’s a whopping 4000 points on clay, and he’s using Barcelona to try and add some points that will give him some breathing room in the event he is unable to repeat the epic clay court run he had last season.

Nadal is all too aware that this is the best chance to defend a huge number of points that will keep him in the number one spot at the end of the year – which has clearly become his goal. As he stated to the media he is well aware that the in form Novak Djokovic has only 540 points to defend, having skipped Madrid due to allergy problems last season. Read more »

>Curse Of The French Open: Stosur And Schiavone Bomb At Wimbledon


The two most successful players from the women’s side at the French Open, Sam Stosur and Francesca Schiavone, have bombed out of Wimbledon in their first round matches.

Despite seemingly transitioning well on to grass after a respectable showing at Eastbourne, Stosur was no match for her opponent losing 6-4, 6-4 to Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi. Stosur lost on day two of play. Stosur attributed the loss to both her opponents play, her own poor form and to the fact she was playing on her least favourite surface. “Maybe it was the grass, maybe it wasn’t but you can’t change the surface you are on at Wimbledon. I knew I was going out to play on that surface, it is not an excuse. You have got to prepare yourself to do it every day. I tried my best, I just didn’t win… Looking at the whole picture I have got to be very happy with what I have achieved over the last few weeks and I will go home pretty happy. I want to kick on from where I was before the last two weeks. I’m really looking forward to the US summer, I am on surfaces that I really like to play.”

Just a day earlier Schiavone also fell, albeit after more of a battle, against Vera Dushevina in a match that lasted almost 3 hours with a 6-7, 7-5, 6-1 scoreline. Vera commented after the match that Francesca is a different player on grass. “Francesca is champion at Roland Garros, but there’s a lot of difference between clay and grass. I was the junior champion of Wimbledon and I know how to play on the grass. It’s much harder to play her on clay than grass. Now I really want to win more matches here and stay for the second week.”

The faulty PA system on Schiavone’s court randomly released the scoreline of the Davydenko/Anderson match and after 10 minutes of interruptions, Schiavone refused to continue play until the issue was resolved.

Schiavone had also lost in the first round of Eastbourne.

>A Case Of Sour Grapes For Federer?

>After talking all week about how an incomplete game can win on clay, and how much easier it is to win on clay, world number 1 Roger Federer, who only won Roland Garros last year for the first time, has been defeated on clay by Rafael Nadal again in Madrid. The win takes Nadal to 14-7 in the head to head against Federer, 17 of those matches have been finals. Since their very first match against each other in 2004, they have either played semi’s or finals against each other – a truly remarkable record. “The most important thing is winning at home; winning in Madrid is a dream. After that, I think about the ranking. Against this opponent, it’s always going to be difficult.”

Federer, however, holds out hope that he will defend his title at Roland Garros, suggesting that the French Open is the only tournament that actually matters (I’m sure the Masters tournament directors are delighted). “The clay court season will not be judged here but in Paris. We will see what happens in three weeks. I feel I’m ready for Paris.If we win all the tournaments like Rafa now and then go out in the first round of the French, everything will be questioned… I felt a major improvement in my game compared to last week when I came here from Estoril. It’s been a wonderful event for me. I’m sorry I couldn’t defend the title. Rafa’s had an incredible clay season, he was supreme today.”

I don’t know what you think, but it sounds a little bit like Rog has a case of sour grapes to me. He also quipped about not having had to play a left hander for a while, whereas Rafa plays right handers regularly.

I like Nadal’s come back in regards to the French Open being the decider for the clay court season. “Well, that’s a respectable opinion that I don’t share and not because I have won the three leading up to it, which some might think, but because I think it is unfair to think the whole clay season is decided by one tournament.”

Possibly a little unfair to judge the clay court season in such a way after bombing out in Rome, Roger.

“I’m not too disappointed. I’m number one in the world, defending champion at Roland Garros.” 

>Serena Williams Bombs In Madrid


Just days after winning the longest match of her career, Serena Williams has bombed out of the Madrid Masters tournament. Nadia Petrova took advantage of a sub-par Williams, winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.  While her 41 errors was significantly better than her efforts on Tuesday, Williams expressed her hostility directly at the tournament in her post match interview.

“I wasn’t moving my fastest but all I could do was try and do the best. I don’t know. I definitely wasn’t at my best. This isn’t a player—favourite tournament, just to be honest. None of the players are really gung—ho about playing here.” 

Madrid was originally an October hard court tournament but was jammed into the clay court schedule last year.

The controversy comes just days after Williams said “I’m not Justine” after raising her hand against Jelena Jankovic in Rome to signal she wasn’t ready for play – referring to an incident a few years ago at Roland Garros that occurred between Justine and Serena.