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View Full Version : How will the TOP 4 do during the clay season?


Augustus
04-05-2010, 12:39 PM
Finally the hardcourt season is over, time to focus on the European clay courts!

The top 4 players had some disappointing results in Miami and Indian Wells, except maybe Nadal who reached the semis in both tournaments. It's been kind of refreshing, since we haven't seen many MS finals without Federer/Nadal/Djokovic/Murray the last two years. Actually the only final in 2007-2009 in which none of them played was Paris-Bercy 2008 (Tsonga-Nalbandian)!

So what's to expect from the upcoming clay season? Will we see more surprises or will the top 4 players step up again? I think the latter, and I'll try to make some predictions about all of them.

Roger Federer: Lost very early in IW/Miami, but seems to be practicing hard on the red stuff. He'll probably take a wildcard for Monte Carlo and reach the semis. If this were to happen, I expext him to skip Estoril. In Rome he's never done that well (except of course the famous final in 2006), but he should be able to reach the semis there as well. The courts in Madrid really suit his game and I wouldn't be surprised if he defends his title there. About the French I'm not sure, don't see him going out before the semis but something tells me he won't win it again.

Novak Djokovic: Djokovic hasn't played well in all 2010 and isn't exactly riding a wave of confidence. He came very close to beating Nadal on clay last year, and it will be interesting to see if he can build on that. However, the first thing he needs is some confidence in his game, especially his serve. I don't expect great things from him in Monte Carlo, but I think he'll reach make the semis in Rome. After lifting the trophy in Belgrade (he should be able to win it) , he could ride the momentum to do well in Madrid, maybe even winning it. At the French, there's a lot of points to gain for Djokovic, but everything will depend on his results in the other tournaments, and his confidence level. If he believes in himself again and finds his serve, he'll be a serious contender.

Rafael Nadal: Nadal hasn't won a single tournament for almost a year now, but played quite well in IW/Miami. In my opinion he's still the favourite in every clay tournament he enters, but he can't win them all. He's won Monte Carlo five times in row, and I don't see anyone stopping him this time. If he wins it, he might suffer a surprise loss in Barcelona, but I'm pretty sure the Spaniard will win at least one out of the first two tournaments. About the fast clay in Rome and Madrid I'm not sure, of course Nadal is a favourite there as well, but he might lose to Federer or an in-form Djokovic, maybe Del Potro/Davydenko if they are injury-free. I'm sure Nadal is going all out at the French, looking for his revenge. If he's healthy and doesn't face a God-mode Federer (who's never visited Paris before) or a completely rejuvenated Djokovic, he'll win it.

Andy Murray: Murray is in horrible form since the Australian Open and the switch to his worst surface won't make things easier. As of now, I see him losing to every decent clay-courter and would be surprised if he made a MS final. Of course everything is possible, but I expect him to go out before the quarters at the French.

What are your thoughts on this?

borg number one
04-05-2010, 12:50 PM
Very good analysis overall. How about Del Potro and Davydenko though? They may have better results than Murray and/or Djokovic during the clay season. I think we could see one of those 2 guys, Davydenko or Del Potro, in a FO SF. Yet, I agree that they are both question marks right now. Hopefully, they'll be healthy as well.

Nadal and Federer are now likely both jockeying for position. Their focus is getting the best result possible at the French Open. Everything else, rankings points, titles, etc. comes second to maximizing their result at the FO. This is all preparation for the year's big clay major, where the world will watch to see if Federer has truly taken over at the top of the Game, even on clay. I think both want the title badly, but I'd give the edge to Nadal this year. No matter what happens, if both Federer and Nadal are healthy, we may be in for some great drama at the French Open especially, setting the stage for an unforgettable Wimbledon in 2010. I can't wait.

swordtennis
04-05-2010, 01:00 PM
I am rooting 4 Murray big time. I have a "feeling" we might see him explode on the clay maybe win one of the Masters and get 2 the Semi's in Paris.
Federer will do well at Madrid and the French. Not sure he will win tho. I only have him winning 1 or 2 more majors in his career.
Djokovic is in decline. Have to take a superhuman effort f4 him to do well on the clay this year.
I have Nadal winning MC and Rome and the French.
Delpotro and Davydenko are dark horses. Delpotro if he is "juiced up" and fit he will be strong. They might be doing some forms of experiments on him down in Argentina and he will be back a "new" man.
Who knows what is going on with Potro.
;-)

forzamilan90
04-05-2010, 01:11 PM
take murray out, and those 3 be killing it

swordtennis
04-05-2010, 01:18 PM
Well judging by Djokovics history on clay I have to give him more of a chance. He should be there in most of the Semi's of all the clay events at least. His serve is horrible atm tho. ugh.

jrstrat
04-05-2010, 06:20 PM
Very good analysis overall. How about Del Potro and Davydenko though? They may have better results than Murray and/or Djokovic during the clay season. I think we could see one of those 2 guys, Davydenko or Del Potro, in a FO SF. Yet, I agree that they are both question marks right now. Hopefully, they'll be healthy as well.



Davydenko is out for a minimum of four weeks, maybe longer with a broken wrist. What is up with Del Potro? He has been out since the AO. Can't have a good clay court season if you aren't healthy.

Augustus
04-05-2010, 11:56 PM
Very good analysis overall. How about Del Potro and Davydenko though? They may have better results than Murray and/or Djokovic during the clay season. I think we could see one of those 2 guys, Davydenko or Del Potro, in a FO SF. Yet, I agree that they are both question marks right now. Hopefully, they'll be healthy as well.

Of course you´re right in saying that Del Potro and Davydenko are bigger threats than Murray on clay, but I wanted to focus on the prospects of the current top 4 players. Both Del Potro and Davydenko have been injured lately, so I guess nobody knows in what kind of form they will be. Are they actually even playing Monte Carlo?

Slazenger07
04-06-2010, 12:20 AM
I predict Nadal will win at least one clay tournament leading up to the French, then he's going to reestablish his dominance over the French Open, another F.O. title for my main man. :)

Feña14
04-06-2010, 01:57 AM
Who knows. I think Nadal is playing fairly well and expect him to do great things on clay as per usual.

Federer, Djokovic and Murray have all been out of sorts for the past few months which makes it hard to predict what they will do.

I'd back Federer and Djokovic to get their form back in time for the big clay tournaments, but this is Murray's first real loss of form and he's said in interviews that he just doesn't want to be out there playing at the moment. If that continues then there is no way he'll do any damage on the clay.

aldeayeah
04-06-2010, 03:30 AM
God-mode Federer (who's never visited Paris before)
Way to rewrite history. What about 2005, 2006, 2007? (especially the first two)

l_gonzalez
04-06-2010, 03:38 AM
^God-mode dissapeared in the finals.

rodd_fan
04-06-2010, 03:50 AM
I think if Nadal wins al least one tournament this clay season, he is favorite for the RG.If not,(even it's hard to belive) everything is possible

angiebaby
04-06-2010, 04:05 AM
Finally the hardcourt season is over, time to focus on the European clay courts!

The top 4 players had some disappointing results in Miami and Indian Wells, except maybe Nadal who reached the semis in both tournaments. It's been kind of refreshing, since we haven't seen many MS finals without Federer/Nadal/Djokovic/Murray the last two years. Actually the only final in 2007-2009 in which none of them played was Paris-Bercy 2008 (Tsonga-Nalbandian)!

So what's to expect from the upcoming clay season? Will we see more surprises or will the top 4 players step up again? I think the latter, and I'll try to make some predictions about all of them.

Roger Federer: Lost very early in IW/Miami, but seems to be practicing hard on the red stuff. He'll probably take a wildcard for Monte Carlo and reach the semis. If this were to happen, I expext him to skip Estoril. In Rome he's never done that well (except of course the famous final in 2006), but he should be able to reach the semis there as well. The courts in Madrid really suit his game and I wouldn't be surprised if he defends his title there. About the French I'm not sure, don't see him going out before the semis but something tells me he won't win it again.

Novak Djokovic: Djokovic hasn't played well in all 2010 and isn't exactly riding a wave of confidence. He came very close to beating Nadal on clay last year, and it will be interesting to see if he can build on that. However, the first thing he needs is some confidence in his game, especially his serve. I don't expect great things from him in Monte Carlo, but I think he'll reach make the semis in Rome. After lifting the trophy in Belgrade (he should be able to win it) , he could ride the momentum to do well in Madrid, maybe even winning it. At the French, there's a lot of points to gain for Djokovic, but everything will depend on his results in the other tournaments, and his confidence level. If he believes in himself again and finds his serve, he'll be a serious contender.

Rafael Nadal: Nadal hasn't won a single tournament for almost a year now, but played quite well in IW/Miami. In my opinion he's still the favourite in every clay tournament he enters, but he can't win them all. He's won Monte Carlo five times in row, and I don't see anyone stopping him this time. If he wins it, he might suffer a surprise loss in Barcelona, but I'm pretty sure the Spaniard will win at least one out of the first two tournaments. About the fast clay in Rome and Madrid I'm not sure, of course Nadal is a favourite there as well, but he might lose to Federer or an in-form Djokovic, maybe Del Potro/Davydenko if they are injury-free. I'm sure Nadal is going all out at the French, looking for his revenge. If he's healthy and doesn't face a God-mode Federer (who's never visited Paris before) or a completely rejuvenated Djokovic, he'll win it.

Andy Murray: Murray is in horrible form since the Australian Open and the switch to his worst surface won't make things easier. As of now, I see him losing to every decent clay-courter and would be surprised if he made a MS final. Of course everything is possible, but I expect him to go out before the quarters at the French.

What are your thoughts on this?


Well thought out and a fair assessment. I have similar thoughts.

I honestly can't see Murray doing any damage this clay season. His head and his game simply isn't there and I don't think he cares at this stage.

Djokovic could have a bit of a revival once he hits the dirt, and although he might do well i.e semis and perhaps a final, I can't see him lifting any trophies. But he really shouldn't be gunning for that right now, getting his game back in order should be the first priority.

Federer I have my doubts about. Of course no one can discount him because once he's on he's ON and even playing at a little below his best he could go far. But I've got a niggling feeling he'll struggle on clay this season. And by struggle I mean quarters or semis. Or as IW and Miami have shown, perhaps not even that far. He always brings it to the Slams though. Will this year be any different? Probably not. We'll see.

Nadal is obviously a favourite everytime he steps on clay. He's played well enough on HC this year to suggest that on dirt he'll be brilliant, as per usual. I can see him winning MC, Rome and I also think he'll regain the French this year. I really wish Rafa wouldn't play every tournament though, it would do his game (and his knees! )a world of good if he skipped a tournament. Fingers crossed.


Dark horses? Davydenko probably won't factor much due to his injury and a recovering Del Potro can't realistically be expected to challenge for trophies right off the bat. Maybe Soderling? (Can't believe I just typed that out. ) Roddick doesn't generally do well on clay and I can't see that changing this year. Berdych seems to be a on a roll at the moment, perhaps he'll pull together a surprise or two.

Augustus
04-06-2010, 04:16 AM
Way to rewrite history. What about 2005, 2006, 2007? (especially the first two)

Of course Federer has played well at the French before, but he never reached the level he's displayed a couple of times at the other slams (for example USO 2004 vs. Hewitt, Wimbledon 2005 vs. Roddick, AO 2007 vs. Roddick, AO 2009 vs. Del Potro). He'll need to play at this level to beat an in-form Nadal in Paris.

dmt
04-06-2010, 04:50 AM
Of course Federer has played well at the French before, but he never reached the level he's displayed a couple of times at the other slams (for example USO 2004 vs. Hewitt, Wimbledon 2005 vs. Roddick, AO 2007 vs. Roddick, AO 2009 vs. Del Potro). He'll need to play at this level to beat an in-form Nadal in Paris.

but clay is a completely different surface, just because he can have a "god mode" on hc or gc, doesnt mean it can happen on clay courts.

Augustus
04-06-2010, 07:08 AM
Dark horses? Davydenko probably won't factor much due to his injury and a recovering Del Potro can't realistically be expected to challenge for trophies right off the bat. Maybe Soderling? (Can't believe I just typed that out. ) Roddick doesn't generally do well on clay and I can't see that changing this year. Berdych seems to be a on a roll at the moment, perhaps he'll pull together a surprise or two.

I agree, can't see Davydenko doing well, maybe Del Potro can do some damage if he's healthy. He played really well at last year's FO. As for dark horses, Nicolas Almagro and Juan Carlos Ferrero are players to watch in my opinion.

but clay is a completely different surface, just because he can have a "god mode" on hc or gc, doesnt mean it can happen on clay courts.

Yeah, Federer doesn't seem to have that extra gear on clay that makes him better than everyone else. Of course he's a great clay-courter (no question about that after four FO finals), but he has to work for it.

aldeayeah
04-06-2010, 07:42 AM
^God-mode dissapeared in the finals.
Did you even see them? (by the way, in 2005 it was the semifinal)

Matt H.
04-06-2010, 07:51 AM
Djoker is down and now he's facing the pressure of defending 2 finals and a semi before RG.

I think he might crack.

Murray is toast until Wimbledon

of the 4, fed and nadal will make the deepest runs.

As for the guy asking about Delpo and Davydenko.....one has a seriously injured wrist, and the other has a BROKEN wrist.

their chances of going deep: 0.

swordtennis
04-06-2010, 07:52 AM
Federer blew his chance in 2006 at the French. That was his year. But he played a stubborn match tactically. If he S&V, hit flat approach shots, dropped volley and mixed it up after the first set he had that match. Instead he just let Nadal work his way back into it. Roger can not play the same way against Nadal even if he won the previous set playing with those tactics. Mentally he was fried after that.

Augustus
04-06-2010, 01:39 PM
Did you even see them? (by the way, in 2005 it was the semifinal)

Federer wasn't in God-mode in any of those finals, way too many unforced errors.

Spider
04-06-2010, 10:39 PM
I have a strange feeling Murray is going to do much better than what most people expect from him. Nadal is obviously the favorite at all events but I can see Murray winning Madrid or Rome or both this time. Murray can enter the final four at RG.

Federer - I am not sure how he will perform at the masters events but at RG, he will be in the final four.

Djokovic - I don't think he will perform as well as he did last year but might do better at RG this time.

Nadal - Like I said earlier, he will enter all events as the favorite and will end up winning most of them.

Nathaniel_Near
04-06-2010, 10:50 PM
I think Federer and Nadal will play a couple of semis/finals (or more) and have the best clay court stints of the top 4.

The-Champ
04-06-2010, 11:17 PM
I hope Fed and Nadal meets before the finals...in all the clay tournaments this year...

Augustus
04-07-2010, 01:38 PM
I hope Fed and Nadal meets before the finals...in all the clay tournaments this year...

Yeah, here's hoping for a Federer-Nadal match. It's about time.

Augustus
04-07-2010, 01:40 PM
Oh, and for those that don't visit the Pro Match Results Forum, all participate in the ATP Sudden Death League! :D

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=321642