May 5, 2013 by Parveer Mann
As this week’s Mutua Madrid Open begins, many will notice that blue is out and red is back in. The divisive blue clay courts yielded vocal opposition and the ATP ruled that they would return to traditional red courts this year.
I assume there was a small minority who enjoyed the blue courts (especially if they were successful on it, I’m talking about you Tomas Berdych!). This week’s blog post will focus on some of those conquerors of the blue clay last year, Roger Federer and Serena Williams and their task of defending Madrid.
Federer back from layoff
The last we saw Roger Federer was in the much hyped but underwhelming Roger-Rafa XXIX. He seemed noticeably slower and possibly hurt in losing to Nadal in Indian Wells. That’s why it seems like great foresight by Federer to have taken his scheduled six week break when he did. His net loss was small compared to the possible return he may have if he can be fresh through the next two months.
“For me, it was important to take a bit of a rest – not too [long] – just enough so I’m really sort of tough to beat in the next few months,” – Roger Federer, ATP World Tour site
This week, Federer has the real advantage of easing back into action after receiving a favourable draw. We will see if that is enough time to get back to form as a possible Roger-Rafa 30 may be looming in the semi-finals.
Serena’s Back to Back?
Unlike Roger, Serena has been playing and winning on tour throughout April. She was able to defend her title in Charleston and then got in some Fed Cup action against Sweden. So there are naturally higher expectations that she will do well in Madrid this week and possibly defend her title.
But wait, how if I was to tell you that Serena has not successfully defended a WTA Premier or Grand Slam event since winning Wimbledon in 2010. This could simply be a function of her extended time off for injury in 2011 and her sporadic scheduling. Still, it will be interesting to see if she can do it this week on her least successful surface.
Highlights of Tennis Weekend
He keeps on going… we have to acknowledge the continued renaissance of Tommy Haas who won the BMW Open this week. At 35, he has some stellar results and is now positioning himself for a possible run at getting a spot in London for the ATP World Tour finals.