You have to hand it to Ion Tiriac, he sticks his thick neck out more than anyone. When it comes to Madrid, it’s a carnival of ideas. First the Magic Box arena, then the model ball girls and now blue clay. Considering it’s easier to see a yellow ball on blue, I’m all for it. I just don’t like the fact thousands of Smurfs gave their lives for it.
The players have mixed feelings but whatever color it’s played on, you can count on Nadal winning. Djokovic did not look the same player in Monte Carlo that spooked Rafa last year, while Federer does return perhaps sniffing an opportunity to gain some ranking points in his quest to reclaim the number 1 spot.
Let’s break it down:
ATP Level: 1000
Surface: Blue (!) Clay
Defending Champion: Novak Djokovic – Something to prove again this tournament.
Sleeper: Milos Raonic – Proved he can play on clay and could meet Federer 2nd round.
Slumping: Florian Mayer – A player no one wants to play to a good first round opponent for Del Po
On Fire: Gilles Simon – Hoovering up smaller events, but can he scare the bigger boys?
Veteran Watch: Juan Carlos Ferrero – Has he still got it? A couple of wins would do him good.
My pick: Rafael Nadal – He could be playing on Jello and probably adapt to win.
Did You Know? The only other Spaniard to win other than Nadal is Juan Carlos Ferrero in 2003
Thanks for reading and check back next week for more tips, news and musings!