It’s the second last TMS event of the year in Madrid and hopefully there will be some fan reports, as we know this is the best way to appreciate any event.
As for Madrid, there is always some form of controversy, and this one is no different, the whole models as ballgirls is one such caper, that irritates people. Then again with the mafia don Ion Tiriac in charge, this means controversy isn’t far away. This is the kind of man, who if he shook your hand, then you would check to make sure your fingers were there.
This years controversy is the non-awarding of a wildcard to Juan Carlos Ferrero, the former world number 1 and in fact the first Spanish player to achieve this and he won the title in 2003. Ferrero had been out with injury and he was just outside the Entry List, with the ever popular Moya getting a wildcard from Marca, there were still 3 wildcards available. Marat Safin got a one in Rome and of course Tiriac had to do a deal to get him one there, therefore an Italian had to get one at his event. Ferrero was pissed off that he wasn’t awarded a wildcard and he has some justification for that. The other side to this is that, when one became available due to a withdrawal, he chose not to take it. One could say, it’s good that he stood up for himself and saw the offer as an empty one, or the other side to that, is that he should have taken the wildcard and win some matches to show up Tiriac. The irony is that Safin has withdrawn from the event.
Onto the event now, well they had 2 Stupid Sunday matches and Thunder Lips thumped Monaco and will play Federer, it would be great for the event, if both he and Nadal lost in the 1st round. Then the Latvian Gulbis defeated Kiefer and will play Nadal. Rafa got his number 1 presentation at his home event, but he definitely got a testing first rounder. Gulbis has a lot of talent, but erratic. The altitude in Madrid is negligible really, the way some people talk about it, they make it’s like playing tennis at Base Camp on Mt.Everest.
Some interesting qualifiers, very surprising that Granollers qualified in the process defeating Ljubicic, who really struggled since coming back from a back problem. Gineprick has done well in Madrid before and will fancy his chances against Llodra. Stevie Darcis will like his chances against “Fisker med Mardy Fish”.
Tonight the “South Tyrolean stud” Andreas Seppi will be playing Boredo. Seppi hasn’t had a great start to the indoor season, two losses in straight sets, but with Andy, one can’t tell when he can play well. He has done well against Boredo in the past and won their last match at the Olympics, hope he can something positive from that and take out the win here and then play Roddick in the next round, who has never done well in Madrid.
Igor Andreev is playing Simple Simon as well today. Simon hasn’t done much in the big events this year apart from in Canada. He won their only match in Sopot last year. It will be interesting to see what tactics Andreev uses, he really should use his serve to open the court up and hit behind Simon, because Gilles has excellent anticipation and covers most shots in the open court and has a good 2 hander down the line, which can expose Andreev when he is in the Calderon stadium trying to hit off forehands.
The Nalbandian/Berdych/del Potro section of the draw is by far the most interesting section. It would be good if Berdych wins tonight and not play a dumb match like he is very capable of doing in losing Schuettler. It would be good to see a rematch of the Nalle and Berdman Madrid match again, especially as it was the one where Nalle down a set and 4-0 and he wins, then the big indoor run happened after that. This is where he was the only guy to beat both Federer and Nadal in successive events. As for Nalle, he won in Stockholm, but his main goal is Davis Cup for this season, this series of matches in this section should give him a good test.
Not sure who will win this event, though someone else besides Federer and Nadal would be good.
P.S The Berdych write up will be done next week, as there is a lot of info to write.