Previously held indoors, 2009 marked the first outdoor clay edition of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in what is known as the ‘Magic Box’. If we are to presume that Rafa will walk away with this one, then it’s best to focus on the rest of the field so as to keep this interesting.
I think some of the big names will find their clay feet like Wawrinka and Verdasco after rough starts and it’s clear to me now that Raonic and Dolgopolov are up for the job, so expect them to do well. Watching Kevin ‘Mr’ Anderson defeat a tough Hanescu, makes me think that he’s one to watch and Feli Lopez is massively under-rated and recahing the Serbian Open final only proves my theory.
Of course, a Nadal–Djokovic final would be the ticket.
Let’s look at some potential good 1st rounders, upsets and winners:
Defending Champion: Rafael Nadal
Top 1st Round Match: Milos Raonic vs. Feliciano ‘F-Lo’ Lopez
Dark Horse: Richard Gasquet
Wildcards: Kei Nishikori, Marcel Granollers, Pablo Andujar, Juan Carlos Ferrero
Late Withdrawals: Philip Kohlschreiber, Tommy Haas
My pick: Rafael Nadal
Thanks for reading and check back next week for more tips, news and musings!