The King of Clay has spoken and he will not play on blue clay again.
Rafael Nadal is refusing to play in Madrid again on the new blue clay which players have said is markedly different and more slippery than natural clay. The fact that Madrid is now talking about changing the colour of the ball will only irritate Nadal more.
Overnight Nadal fell to his compatriot and close friend Fernando Verdasco in a third round match that he twice had the opportunity to serve out after gaining a 5-2 lead in the third set. Read more
There is something about the Indian Wells-Miami hard court swing that seems to consistently destroy Rafa Nadal’s troubled knees. Today Rafa announced that he would not continue with the tournament by withdrawing from his semifinal match against Andy Murray.
There are two ways you can look at this latest set back:
1) It’s about self preservation.
Nadal’s been having trouble with his knees since the Australian Open (and years before that). His right knee locked up and he could barely move it when he stood up from a chair.
He stood up from a chair.
He wasn’t sprinting, twisting or changing directions he was just standing up after sitting down. To say this is unusual is an understatement. Since then, despite six weeks of training and rehab, Rafa hasn’t been right. Read more
Posted in Andy Murray, Australian Open, Barcelona, Cincinnati Masters, Davis Cup, Indian Wells, Injury, Lleyton Hewitt, Madrid, Media, Miami, Monte Carlo, Physio Perspective, Rafael Maymo, Rafael Nadal, Rogers Cup, Roland Garros, Rome, Wimbledon
Andy Murray was two points away from exacting revenge for his Australian Open final thumping by Novak Djokovic. He was two points from ending the Serbians 2011 unbeaten streak. He was two points away from playing his first final since the AO but instead Djokovic clawed his way back to force a tie break in his third set against Murray before securing a spot in his seventh consecutive final in 2011. The final will be Djokovic’s fourth against Rafael Nadal in almost as many weeks, having beaten the Spaniard last weekend in Madrid to claim his sixth title for the year. Read more
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
Victoria Azarenka has been in great form winning two singles titles, one doubles title, and including Madrid, she has made one final and a quarterfinal. Vika was the favourite coming into her match against 18th seed Petra Kvitova today but it was Kvitova who won her first clay title and moved inside the top ten with her 7-6, 6-4 win. Read more
The unstoppable Novak Djokovic has beaten Rafael Nadal in a third consecutive Masters 1000 final. This time it was on Nadal’s home turf on clay in Madrid. If Novak was going to beat Nadal on clay, and there hasn’t really been any indication that Rafa is in the form he was last year on the red dirt, it was going to be in Madrid where the altitude effects his game. Djokovic played some unbelievable tennis to beat Nadal 7-5, 6-4. Read more
Thomaz Bellucci has had the most successful tournament of his career. Somehow he beat Andy Murray without me even noticing – which is more a comment on how I feel about Murray lately than Bellucci. After beating Murray, Bellucci then beat Tomas Berdych in straight sets and has, overnight, given Novak Djokovic a run for his money.
Ultimately it was Novak Djokovic who had the legs, fire power and experience to come out with the 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 win. Read more
Rafael Nadal has once again defeated former world number one Roger Federer in Madrid, beating the Swiss Maestro 5-7, 6-1, 6-3. Nadal, with the home crowd behind him in Madrid, will now face Novak Djokovic in the final and attempt to halt his endless progress.
The match started on a sad note, Rafa wiping a tear or two from his eyes, after a minutes silence to commemorate the life of Spanish golfing legend Seve Ballesteros. Seve died early in the morning on the day of the semi final after battling a brain tumor for some time. The emotional world number one said, “It’s a terrible day for Spain and the world. We lost a great champion, probably the greatest in the history of Spain.” Read more
There’s something about Madrid that seems to keep getting Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to square off. It seems only appropriate that one of the greatest rivalries in tennis plays out again on the world number one’s home turf. After a ruthless Rafa beat Michael Llodra handily 6-2, 6-2 in their quarterfinal match Federer overcame the sometimes brilliant Robin Soderling 7-6, 6-4 to complete the dream semi final. Read more