It has begun, the start of the dirtiest part of the tennis season…the clay courts of Europe. We, as spectators, are treated to two solid months of back to back clay court tennis tournaments. Most of these tournaments showcase the skills of the European (Western and Eastern) tennis player, who grew up playing on these surfaces.
It kind of sucks to be an American tennis pro right now, it’s safe to say that there has not been a dominating American clay court player in a long time. I’m sure we all know why that is, we just don’t practice enough on it, here in the states we grow up playing on hard courts; bottom line is that we plain suck on the slippery surface. There have been moments of brilliance for Americans on the clay, John Isners’ win over Roger Federer during Davis Cup first round and his finals appearance at the US Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston, TX (loss to Argentine, Juan Monaco). The problem for the Americans, is that there was no American entered in the main draw of the first tournament of the European clay court swing; Monte Carlo – Master 1000 event. It’s quite sad really.
In any event, we can look forward to one of two men winning the remainder of the higher point valued clay court tournaments, world #1 Novak Djokovic or world #2 Rafael Nadal. Yeah, there are some really good competitive players in the field that could give either of the top two the fits, Roger Federer can’t really be counted out, though I don’t think he’ll win any of the larger tennis tournaments (Mutua Madrid Open or Internazionali BNL d’Italia). Roger could have a decent run at Roland Garros, though I’m starting to get the feeling that Djokovic is going to dominate that major.
To make my predictions, Djokovic will probably win the French Open while Nadal will get revenge in Rome and Madrid. Or, like many times before, I can predict the wrong thing entirely and another player will win…doubtful but possible.
I can only suggest that Nole and Rafa work out those shoulder muscles, since they’re probably going to have to spend plenty of time lifting their arms in celebration of a victory and the trophies they will capture.