Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Look ahead at the European Clay-Court Swing

Update (23/04)
David (still ranked #49 this week) will receive a wildcard for the Madrid Masters (source).

That is to say a look at the tournaments on clay that David is going to play ahead of Roland Garros. Four years have gone by since the last time he was able to play a full clay-court swing. But already back then, in 2008, David's hip injury was troubling him. After that, hip surgery in 2009, a hamstring injury suffered at Monte Carlo in 2010, and the double surgery last year never allowed David to play more than a handful of matches during this part of the season - if he was able to play at all.
This year, however, there's reason to be optimistic about David's chances of playing the European clay-court swing and finishing it at Roland Garros. And in the meantime, there's been another addition to his schedule. The week before Roland Garros, David will take part in the Masters Guinot Mary Cohr exhibition at the Paris Country Club in Malmaison (May 23-25), an event for which there's been coverage in the past.
At the moment, there's still no news from David.
But here's a look at the tournaments where we'll get to see him in the coming weeks:

Serbia Open, Belgrade (April 30 - May 6)


UpdateII (25/04): Novak Djokovic has pulled out of Belgrade for personal reasons.
For David, this means he's the fourth seed and he'll get a bye in the first round.

It'll be David's first appearance at this still fairly new event (first held in 2009) but to the venue he's been before. Last September, the official dinner for the Davis Cup semifinal took place at the Tennis Center Novak, home of the Serbia Open. Occasionally nicknamed the "Nole Open" as Djokovic's family not only owns the venue but also the tournament itself. Held during the same week as Estoril and Munich, Belgrade usually has a weaker field than the other two events (except for Novak Djokovic). And after pausing for three weeks, and in need of matches as well as ranking points, that's probably the reason David has decided to kick off this year's clay-court swing at Belgrade.
Apart from singles, David will also play doubles at this event, together with Edu Schwank.
On the entry list: Pablo Andujar, Andreas Seppi, Jarkko Nieminen, Lukasz Kubot
The draw will take place next Friday, at 7pm local.

Mutua Madrid Open, Masters 1000 Madrid (May 7-13)

(tournament website)

The last time David played the Madrid Masters, back in the autumn of 2008, it was still an indoor tournament. In 2009, however, tournament owner Ion Tiriac transformed Madrid into a clay-court event, held at the futuristic Caja Magica. At the expense of Hamburg - and also at the expense of what used to be David's best Masters event (two semifinals, a final and the title he won in 2007). The clay-court version of Madrid still is unchartered territory for David, having missed all previous editions due to injury. But this time, playing at the Caja Magica will be something new for everybody, not just for David: This year's edition of Madrid will take place on blue clay. A decision that was made in spite of rather than together with the players. So the question is going to be, who will do best, dealing with these new conditions.
Edit: As mentioned in the update above, David will receive a wildcard for Madrid.

Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Masters 1000 Rome (May 14- 20)

(BNL per il tennis/FB)

The Rome Masters is the only one out of these three events that David has played before and that hasn't completely changed since the last time he did. Since then, the centre court at the Foro Italico has undergone extensive renovation and rebuilding - but that's as far as the changes go. For David, it's going to be the seventh appearance at Rome, a tournament where he's had very mixed results in the past. Ranging from early exits (four times, including 2008) to reaching the semifinal in 2006, where his run ended with a third-set tiebreak defeat against Roger Federer, and finishing as runner-up in 2004, after losing to Carlos Moya in the final.
In other words, and judging by his past results, at Rome pretty much anything seems to be possible for David, from a first-round exit to going deep.
At the moment, David is three withdrawals away from making the main draw. He might still receive a wildcard but if not (and not enough players pull out) he'll have to play qualies.


  1. I read in the wiki that he was the 5th seed in Belgrade, maybe i read bad,or the wiki is wrong.

  2. You're right. He'll be seeded. I guess I mixed it up because only the Top4 seeds get byes and he'll be #5.

  3. we should consider that Ljubicic Soderling Benneteau and Monaco won't play these tournaments so good possibilities for him to enter

  4. Söderling and Ljubicic are no longer on the list, Pico's injury isn't as bad as they thought at first so he might be back in time for Rome or even Madrid. But yeah, Benneteau is out, that's true. I'll update the "withdrawals needed" count.

  5. Really? Pico's injury isnt that bad?, well that is very good.

  6. Yeah, I'm glad about that too.

    In other injury news, Chela has pulled out of Barcelona due to problems with his Achilles tendon.

  7. I hope David won't get a bye because he will need some praxis before playing in next rounds

  8. Djokovic won't play Belgrade.

  9. Thanks for the tip. Not nice for Nole but good news for David.

  10. Good news for David that Nole won't play Belgrade, I'm not surprised by his decision, his needs to rest emotionally.

    I really hope David will make the most of his draw in Belgrade, and win a couple of matches.

    And yaaay a wildcard for Madrid, the kind of gift we don't refuse hehe :)