After a tough Davis Cup weekend where Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic and France emerged as winners and semi-finalists, we’re ready for perhaps the most exciting “season” in tennis – the red dirt.
There’s something magical about the spring and clay court tennis. Add that together with classic tennis grounds like Monte Carlo, Rome and Roland Garros, and you have the best feeling in tennis.
Looking ahead, we have the usual list of title contenders, well, it’s actually a very short list consisting of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Yes, it’s hard to see how anyone else would be able to break this amazing “duo”. Federer accepted a wild card for Monte Carlo and is a better clay court player than some people take him for, but going up against Djokovic and Nadal when they’re in form is a tough feat even for him.
There are other players that can threaten the two, especially big hitters like Gulbis or Almagro or up-and-comers like Dimitrov, Nishikori and Dolgopolov, but it’s difficult to see the finals in the upcoming major tournaments being anything else than a Djokovic vs Nadal affair.
But don’t let this boring prediction (there’s nothing boring about the Djokovic Nadal rivalry!) detract you from watching the beautiful clay season. It has already started in Houston where Verdasco takes on clay-demon Nicolas Almagro in today’s final and there’s also a less interesting tournament in Capablanca where Garcia-Lopez takes on Granollers (did someone say Spaniards?). Start by watching these finals as an appetizer for Monte Carlo Masters, which starts tomorrow.