The biggest surprise Madrid has thrown up in my opinion is the attitude of both Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic. They have acted like children, very immature. Before the tournament started they had already made up their minds, they were not going to like blue clay and so anything no matter what it was, was going to cause them a massive amount of grief. And guess what it has.
The thing I find most strange is the court is just as bad as last year when it was red, everyone complained constantly about the surface. It was the worst clay surface imaginable and all the same excuses were used, it is not a regular clay court, it isn’t bedded properly, it is slippery and uneven, but it was red. This didn’t stop Rafa and Novak making the final did it.
To me it seems like deja vu for different reasons, but quite possibly similar outcome. In 09, Djokovic and Nadal played that famous 4hr epic in the semis of the Madrid Open, it basically ended both their seasons and Federer went on to win the French for the first time, then Wimbledon taking him passed Sampras slam record.
Federer is going to be the biggest winner now in Madrid; he has adapted to the blue clay and made no fuss about it. His style of play, gliding across the court like a ballerina and not like a steam train means it has not affected him. And when he wins on Sunday he will be world number 2.
This will become more important if when we get to the French Open in a few weeks’ time, if Nadal and Djokovic are drawn on the same side. Nadal will have to play Djokovic in the semis, and with Nadal’s record against the Serb in Slam events recently, I would expect Novak to win. This plays right into Federer’s hands, as he would prefer to avoid Nadal altogether, especially on clay.
If Federer doesn’t play Nadal in France expect him to win the French Open, then on present form I expect him to win Wimbledon as well. This would be hard to imagine after the US Open last year and would be one of the greatest comebacks ever.
Of course it is still early days but anything could and still might happen, but if it does happen we can look to a bit of immature petulance by the top two players, for helping it to happen and of course the greatness of Roger Federer.