You know who we really haven't seen much of since Australia? Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Things aren't going to change, either - he just went out to Ivan Ljubicic in the second round in Madrid. But it's - well, a little strange, really. He was seeded #5 in Australia, which is, as we all know, the best of the rest position, and I thought he wore it well. He has so much promise and talent - and the way he moves at net is exquisite for such a big guy - that I was thinking that he might put up a challenge to the Fantastic Four at some point and try to turn them into the Famous Five.
But no such luck, really. Jo-W has faded badly since his quarter-final appearance at the Aussie Open, and I can't remember seeing him do anything much of anything since. Maybe he has and I blinked and missed it, but I am hoping this is not going to be the story of his career... though I'm beginning to think it is. So much talent, so much promise... a few titles, some Masters shields, a Grand Slam final... but no consistency, nothing to back it up, nothing really to show for it.
That's the story of French tennis, when it comes down to it. Look at some of their other players - Gael Monfils, who is basically talent stretched out over a lanky six-foot-something form. What has he done? Well, there was that Grand Slam semi last year... but that's not going to put your name in the record books. Same for Gasquet, who's now probably going to be remember for this whole drugs scandal than for his game and the semi he made at Wimbledon. There is a lot of talent in French tennis, but somehow one of the least talented players among them - Gilles Simon - is the one that's been playing successfully in the bigtime and keeping the results up there (not so much of late, but he managed it for a while there - and he is certainly not the equal of Tsonga, Gasquet or Monfils).
So what is it? Does France somehow manage to create these magnificent talents and then spectacularly mismanage them? Or has it just coincidentally managed to create three of the most sketchy players in the game?
Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open (Madrid)
Roger Federer def. Robin Soderling, 6-1 7-5
Andy Murray def. Simone Bolelli, 7-6 (11-9) 6-4
Fernando Verdasco def. Juan Carlos Ferrero, 6-3 6-2
Ivan Ljubicic def. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-4 7-5
Tommy Robredo def. Mardy Fish, 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2
Nikolay Davydenko def. Viktor Troicki, 6-2 6-2
Marin Cilic def. Marcel Granollers, 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-1
James Blake def. Victor Hanescu, 6-2 6-4
Andreas Seppi def. Eduardo Schwank, 7-5 6-4
Fabio Fognini def. Paul-Henri Mathieu, 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 3-0 retired
Jeremy Chardy def. Jose Acasuso, 6-3 6-2
Tomas Berdych def. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 6-0 7-6 (7-5)
Jurgen Melzer def. Albert Montanes, 4-6 7-5 6-3
Ivo Karlovic def. Julien Benneteau, 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4
Jelena Jankovic def. Daniela Hantuchova, 7-5 6-2
Caroline Wozniacki def. Varvara Lepchenko, 6-3 6-1
Amélie Mauresmo def. Zheng Jie, 6-2 7-5
Agnes Szavay def. Aravane Rezai, 2-6 7-5 6-2
Francesca Schiavone def. Petra Kvitova, 6-4 6-2
Lucie Safarova def. Anne Keothavong, 6-1 7-5
Vera Dushevina def. Roberta Vinci, 4-6 6-1 6-4