Yes, it’s that time of the year where tennis is played on a proper surface and in theory there should be less brainless bashing around, but hey communism was good in theory.
Before we get into the main subject which will say more than the usual Rafael Nadal is going to come back from his deathbed and career about to end due to knee problems to slay the field during the clay season and abuse them like poor dogs in the animal shelter.
Indian Wells and Miami glad these events are over as they take too long and attempt to pass off as some kind of Slam, but they are far from it. On the other hand great for big Ljubo to win one, just hope his back is fine and the fact Roddick won Miami, that’s ok as he is now in tourist season for him on the clay and won’t be a threat until Queens.
Onto the weeks events so far we have Houston and Casablanca aka Casachallenger. It’s always difficult to read what will happen in the early events, though for the ones that win a match at these events, then play qualies in Monte Carlo and make the main draw have a big advantage as it’s normally the first outing for the main players at Monte Carlo and they can take advantage of it.
The first day of Casachallenger had good results for the most part, where Koubek and Nieminen qualified for the main draw, where they drew Robert and Ziadi respectively presenting them a good opportunity to make the second round. Peter Luczak was disappointing in his loss to Starace, more so with his overall level of play not that he lost so much. The serve wasn’t so bad, but he made too many cheap errors from the baseline at the wrong moments mixed in with some bad stuff at the net. Starace took his chances and didn’t even have to play that well to take it.
Most importantly the King Oscar Hernandez broke his drought and won a match against Paul Henri Mathieu. It was good to see the King moving quite well especially after the problems he has had with his lower back this year. There were some sexy dropshots off the forehand side and ballet like movement from the Catalan hero. Too bad he couldn’t have done this when he was up against Mathieu at RG by 2 sets to 1 and 4-2 in the 4th set, it takes a special skill to lose the ballbasher when in the lead. Will have to stay at that level to get a win against Starace next round, he has 2nd round points to defend from Monte Carlo and is playing qualies again this year.
Onto the 5th Slam that is Houston things have started well there. Slovenia’s finest well finest in a tennis sense Blaz Kavcic continued his solid start to the year by defeating Istomin the Uzbek in 3 sets. Blaz has been playing a lot of events and not sure how wise that is, but he is trying to solidify his place in the top 100 and getting the balance is far from easy as to when to play and when not to. A Mike Russell/Kavcic final would be very good for the crowd, especially since Mikey is a Houston native.
As for the rest of the clay season, as long as Nadal gets the schedule right and this would include withdrawing from Madrid, then he is still the big gun to beat at Roland Garros. Cleaning up in Monte Carlo and Barcelona is pretty much a given, as for Fedclown he will be gearing just to peak for Roland Garros as he does these days. No need to burn out playing too much before the big one, something Djokovic might need to learn.
For others it would be fantastic for some other players to step up to the plate and change the way things have been operating during the clay season. It will happen eventually as these things tend to do, but it’s not looking likely at the moment.
All questions will be answered soon enough and lets hope that I am wrong about the upcoming clay season.