The Madrid Masters has started and there are mixed reports about the blue clay. So far, there haven’t been any serious injuries or surprise results, so let’s hope the new surface doesn’t cause harm to anyone:
- Following his win in Estoril, DelPo had to depart quickly for Madrid. He reportedly left Estoril wearing his match clothes, in a rush to catch his flight. He soon re-emerged in Madrid, preparing for practice on the blue clay. DelPo’s R1 opponent is the no. 24-ranked Florian Mayer, the talented and streaky German player. Mayer has had inconsistent results, following his injury at the AO this year. He lost in R2 at Bucharest, where he had won his first title last year. Still, if ever there were a time for Mayer to pull a surprise, I feel like it would be on blue clay. Hopefully, DelPo can work past the quick turnaround from his title win in Estoril.
- Before DelPo-Mayer, Nalby will play his R1 match against Milos Raonic. Due to his history of injuries, which clay courts aggravate, Nalby has not been able to play Madrid since 2008. I think it’s better to take the position that it’s fortunate to see Nalby play on clay this year, rather than regurgitate the oft-exaggerated narrative that “he’s such an underachiever, therefore if he loses to Raonic it will just be further evidence of his underachievement, and Raonic is such a blooming flower in contrast, etc.” Nalby’s 30-years old — I’d just like to see him play a healthy season. We’ll see what happens.
- On a different note, Hartlepool football fans have a tradition where fans show up to the stadium dressed as Smurfs. These photos are from the past weekend:
Somehow, I don’t think this idea would take off among spectators at the Madrid Masters, given the acrimony surrounding the blue clay. Still, food for thought!
Maybe next year?
- Speaking of football, Rafa attended a presentation for the exho match that will take place in July at the Real Madrid stadium. He then knocked around a ball with some of the RM players—Xabi Alonso has nice touch (I think what he did there was an overhead lob):