There is no better way to describe tennis on clay than tennis dumbed down. One of my favorite readers/commenters, blackspy, put it this way: “Clay is a surface that favours power & patience over technique, since points are won in a pretty specific way, most of the time.”
I one-upped you, comrade. Yours is a learned description and in a more transcendent part of the season, with the thump of grass or HC balls gracing the airwaves, we might turn to your more palatable expressions of how the clay affects the point.
But I prefer straight-up dumbed-down. The lesser player, made more of defense and a mess of “fitness” tends toward the depths of the draw, willing his way by outlasting, out-slugging his more skilled and frustrated opponent. This has always been the way of clay: tennis dumbed down.
I was going to preview the Madrid draw but work got in the way and the draw suddenly shit the bed, anyways, so what’s the point. Having said that, I didn’t get the chance to say Rafa got an absolute gift of a quarter. I was saying that in a worst-case scenario for the Spaniard. But with the Roger WD and Del Potro getting emotional and beating the flagging Thiem, holy shit. Rafa’s route collapsed.
People might say Nadal had Fed, Thiem and Goffin in his quarter so there’s nothing easy about that. However, pitting Fed and Thiem in a potential R16 is brutal for the world #3 and #14, essentially killing two birds with one stone: getting rid early of one of the real tests for Captain Clay. Of course, that never even came to fruition as both talents are already at home. Furthermore, Goffin seems to have really consolidated that loss to Zverev in Munich last week. I am not sold on the Belgian’s tennis. Even his run in IW was softened in my eyes in his match vs Cilic, the most over-rated USO champ in world history. Cilic looked drunk out there. I haven’t seen Goffin really impress, sorry.
So, the Spaniard’s draw was a gift with a worst-case-scenario. Now, it’s just a joke.
Speaking of jokes, how about our boy Dimitrov. This guy is a mess. He’s gone in Madrid, as well, which is, of course, not surprising but I am referring to Istanbul. Ha. Schwartzman gets the win. Schwartzman.
Tennis dumbed the hell down, folks. Schwartzman comes to us at 5’7″ and about 140 lbs. The winner here is the surface.
Estoril saw a couple of Spaniards rally their asses off in that final. Congrats to Almagro for finally notching another victory.
The point is this is the surface for everyone else. Of course, it’s still tennis and home to many many great matches, but it’s a surface for the lesser player. Tell me I’m wrong.
I guess the big question is Novak. Can he regain his form. There is not a question at the end of that sentence because I think we know he should be fine.
The headlines are simply head-shaking. Nadal is in everyone’s head. Novak says, apparently, that Rafa is the one to beat. Sure, the Fraud’s clay legacy warrants such respect, but, please, all you psychotherapists out there, what was wrong with the guy all of 2015?
You give Nadal these kinds of draws, fine. Self-fulfilling prophecy. You know I’m not buying it. I’m not buying any of this until the FO, which part of me, like I said, hopes he wins, so the tennis world can just implode.
Part of me thinks the sport is spoiled, something’s rotten. It just doesn’t feel right, and I am not talking about Rafa’s re-invented form. The tour is a mess. A 35 year-old and a suspicious Spaniard who’s form is you-never-know-wink-wink are the only challenges to the world’s #1.
Sure Federer is failing at this point. Give the guy a break. As I wrote last July, he’s on his fare-well tour (I see people using that same expression now. Lol). Last year was his fare-well tour. This year is by-all-means his last hurrah. I actually heard someone say he’s going to play 2017 to chase Conners.
To complicate that, I have heard him say he is not chasing Conners, yet who would blame him for staying afloat in this crappy men’s field. He could play top-ten until he’s 40.
Here’s how Madrid plays-out (gotta get back to calling these tournaments, which was a lot easier last year with grass and HC to contend with):
Djokovic should get his first test in the QF though I have not seen him play at all. Coric, some Spaniards (F-Lopez, Agut and Vinolas – not your top clay players btw), Ranoic or Tsonga are his obstacles to get to the SF. Nole should be fine.
Go look at the next quarter right now. Stan is a favorite? He has Kyrgios next, and the rest of the draw reads Cuevas v Monfils, Gasquet v Nishikori/Fognini. Damn. That is a beast of a draw.
Nadal has this left in his draw: Querrey, Pouille, Del-Po, Sock, Sousa and Granollers. If Sock finds the QF, I’m calling the American’s name: I have to. But that is a cream cheese quarter, folks. And if Fed and Thiem had form, they’d face-off in the R16. You’re welcome.
Reality Semi Finals:
Djokovic v Nishikori/Monfils winner? or does Stanimal show-up? or does Kyrgios have a run. . . What about the Italian Fog? Nice little bracket there, boys and girls
Murray v Nadal
I have to take Djokovic in a final v Nadal. Although I could see Nadal crapping all over the clay to get this win if he survives his Madrid rematch with Andy, Novak should restore order.
But that might be too logical. This is clay.