Clay Season underway

Apr 23, 2010

Andy Murray’s year not improving…

Poor Andy Murray’s year is not looking any brighter. Starting with that blaze of form at the Australian Open, the loss in the finals and the following few months seem to have knocked it all out of the Scot. At home he is garnishing criticism for not playing in the GB Davis Cup team, and out on the circuit he is being knocked out of the earliest of the early rounds. His latest disappointment was at the Monte Carlo masters. He had a bye in the first round, but was out in the second, losing 6-2 6-1 to Philip Kohlschreiber. ‘Muzza’ is going to have to pick himself up from this quickly; last year his clay season was an impressive improvement on the surface, and if he gets a bad season under his belt who knows what that’ll do to his confidence come Wimbledon.

…but Rafael Nadal’s year improving significantly

It’s been a bit of the grind the last eighteen months or so for the Majorcan. Fortunately for Rafa fans, he appears to be back to fighting fitness ready for his favourite season of the year. Those vibrant clay courts just wouldn’t be the same without him. His latest title, and first for a while, was taken at the Monte Carlo Masters, beating Fernando Verdasco 6-0 6-1.  This is the sixth consecutive time he has won his tournament. Well, some people are just greedy like that. With his form as blistering as it is at the moment, he looks on track to get his old French Open title back from Federer. Fingers crossed those old knees of his hold up. He’s taken some time out to rest at home, skipping the Barcelona tournament to allow the knees some respite. Also pulling out the tournament is Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin del Potro (can anyone remember the last time he actually played tennis?) and David Nalbandian. David Ferrer is into the semi-finals, and Fernando Verdasco is fighting to meet him, but has Ernests Gublis standing in his way. The last two tournaments have shown that Spaniards really dominate on the clay.

Update on Odesnik

The American Wayne Odesnik is still in hot water after being caught with human growth hormone in his case last month. The latest development is that Odesnik has accepted ‘voluntary provisional suspension’. This voluntary ban means he will stay out of tennis until an independent tribunal, scheduled in two months time. Technically, this being a voluntary suspension, Odesnik could decide to start playing again at everytime, but with the International Tennis Federation announcing that they ‘normally expect’ players in this situation to stay out of the game until the tribunal takes place, that looks like Odesnik’s plan. The rules surrounding this kind of case have come under scrutiny, as many players complain about Odesnik being able to play during the ban.

Nadal’s tribute to Samaranch

Rafael Nadal took time out of his rest from tennis to act as pallbearer for Juan Antonio Samaranch, the former International Olympic Committee president. Samaranch died from cardiac arrest on Wednesday, days after watching Nadal beat Verdasco in Monaco. The funeral of Samaranch, a respected figure in the sports world, was held in Barcelona on Thursday.

Wimbledon rewards now £1m

Wimbledon will now offer £1m to each of the winners of the men’s and ladies’ singles, with the All England Club revealing they could do so due to their resilience from the credit crunch. Tennis has always been seen as a very prosperous sport, with interest remaining high even throughout the recession. Tickets at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London last November were sold out on a number of nights, helping to buck the trend that says people don’t want to go out and watch sport during the recession.

- SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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