Tuesday Tennis

FedererNadalMadridAFP_608x3 Don’t look now, but the impossible happened this weekend. Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal… on clay… in Nadal’s home country 6-4, 6-4!

Never mind the fact that Nadal played the longest match in masters series history the day before against Novak Djokovic, but the most important thing to do here is put this victory into perspective.

The altitude may have had as much to do with Federer’s victory as anything. The ball continued sailing on Nadal, which never happens. The ball was bouncing high, and the court was playing fast, much like a hard court, believe it or not.

Nadal has complained that this tournament doesn’t emulate Roland Garros properly, and should be swapped with Rome next year. Federer will take any victory he can get against Nadal, but especially one on the dirt.

Djokovic will also ride into Roland Garros with confidence, knowing he had three match points against Nadal. The big question is, who will this help the most? Will this make Nadal even hungrier? Will this make Federer believe he’s the best once again? Will it make Djokovic think he has a real chance to win his second major? We’ll find out in less than a week’s time.

The most important thing to look at when the draw comes out is where Djokovic lands. Does he end up in Federer’s half, or does he end up in Nadal’s? After that, we’ll look for Fernando Verdasco, Juan Martin Del Potro and Andy Murray.

Does Murray have what it takes to make the semis? A lot of that question will have to do with his draw. If he draws either Verdasco or Del Potro in the quarters, don’t expect Murray to advance. Murray is praying to the tennis gods he draws Andy Roddick in his quarter, in fact, who isn’t?! If he can’t get Roddick, Murray and the rest of the top four will also be fine with drawing Gilles Simon in the quarters. Simon has been playing very poorly as of late going 4-5 on the clay this season.

So to recap, for Federer to win, I think he needs the perfect storm to hit. He needs to draw Murray for the semis, and either Roddick or Simon in the quarters – that is very possible. He also needs Nadal to draw Verdasco or Del Potro in the quarters and Djokovic in the semis – that is also very possible. If this happens, Federer will have his best chance of all time to wrap up his career slam at the French Open.


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