Apologies for the lack of DelPo updates. I’d been busy with non-tennis-stuff lately, and hadn’t had the time to update. I’m back on course now!
DelPo’s scheduled to play the Mary Cohr exhibition warm-up to Roland Garros. However, it’s been reported that he may skip the first day of the exho on Wednesday, if his knee is still aching. This only adds to the concern that he may not be at full gear, come Roland Garros. He is defending R3 points from last year.
Madrid, where DelPo’s knee problem first reared its head
Last week, DelPo lost in rather tepid fashion to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Rome. Therefore, he misses the cutoff for a top 8 seeding at Roland Garros, which means he could potentially play a top 8 player in R4. All in all, these past couple of weeks have been somewhat disappointing, as DelPo had two very makeable chances to be a top 8 seed—the match against Berdy in Madrid was winnable, as was the match against Tsonga in Rome (Against Tsonga! On clay! Oh, I still reel from the humiliation of that loss!)
However, the issues with DelPo’s scheduling came into full focus during Rome. While clay may be softer on the joints for some players, it also has a tendency to draw out injuries due to the grinding. Just as it was last year, DelPo had an injury flare up on clay. His left knee is the issue this year. In his match against Tsonga, he seemed to be removed from the action taking place on court. He’s now receiving treatment on his knee. He picked up the injury in Madrid, although I wouldn’t hop too easily to the conclusion that it was the blue clay that injured him—for DelPo, it just seems to be clay in general.
Playing Davis Cup, then Estoril, Madrid and Rome (and going far at each tournament, excepting Rome) clearly took its toll on his health. It will be curious to see how he schedules his clay season in 2013, because I feel like he’s reached a point in his career where he could drop smaller tournys like Estoril (although that would be sad, because I have an irrational affection for Estoril). In any case, I feel like he could take the leap and divert more focus to the Masters/Slams.
In first world tennis news, Rafa defeated Novak in the Rome final (which was delayed a day, due to the rain). This is not to imply that DelPo is second-world. If anything, DelPo is like a fast-emerging BRIC country.
Anyway, Rafa takes back his no. 2 ranking and will be the 2nd seed for his beloved Roland Garros. It’s a major accomplishment and it certainly adds to the build-up ahead of Roland Garros. With his win, Rafa also overtook Bjorn Borg in all-time clay court victories. He’s one-upped Fed in overall Masters titles (21 to 20).
Has Rafa set the stage for winning his 7th Coupe de Mousquetaires trophy in two weeks? What to make of Novak? Lately, Novak’s been missing the extra 2% he had last year—it’s good enough to beat a somewhat tired Fed, but not Rafa on clay. Is Novak saving an extra gear for Roland Garros? Does he even have an extra gear in store? He sounded awfully cranky in his post-loss presser. Can Fed pull off a surprise, or are expectations set too high after he’s won 2 Masters this year at the grand age of 30? What is going on with Muzz? I’ve forgotten Muzz even plays tennis. Will some brash upstart I’m totally not on board with make a surprise run? Or will DelPo or Berdy or say, Tsonga be a threat? (I figure if Tsonga’s going to beat DelPo on clay, he may as well defeat other players too—it’s called utilitarian misery—everyone gets a share).
The qualifying rounds for Roland Garros start today and main draw play starts in five days. The draw will be made this Friday. It’s time to get rested before the sleepless nights and frantic cheerleading!**
**Fans should take lessons from Mirka Federer on how to cheer for their player. At the Fed-Ferrero match in Rome, Nico was cheering valiantly for Ferrero. He was a nervous wreck as he watched Ferrero Meanwhile, Mirka was cool as a cucumber and giving free lessons on “How to (Calmly) Cheer Like a Boss.” Observe (GIF courtesy of@triplebagel!!)
Which style of fan are you—a Mirka or a Nico? I think I need more years of experience before I could be a Mirka-type cheerleader. I am most definitely a nail-biter/wall smacker/palm gripper when I watch tennis matches That makes me a Nico!