There is something about the claycourt season that never gives you a chance to catch your breath. One second you're bemoaning a certain semi final in Estoril and then suddenly the next tournament has started and half the women in it have lost before you even thought about it.
(Seriously, WTA? Henin? Sharapova? Kuznetsova? Safina? Serena taking three and a half hours? WTF?)
But Madrid is here, and cover it we must.
I don't think anyone realised at the time last year what a key tournament Madrid would turn out to be, especially for the men. It was quite unusual. Going into it, no one would have ever suspected that we would see what was probably one of the greatest three set matches ever, that it would make one man and break two others.
Because that was precisely what it did. It was Federer's win in Madrid that catapulted him forward, momentum-filled, into Roland Garros - and it was nothing but momentum and sheer willpower that got him out the scrapes he got into Acasuso and Haas and del Potro. Madrid made that man, claycourt wise.
And it was Madrid that broke Novak Djokovic, snapped him in two after that epic semi with Nadal. And Madrid broke Nadal as well, the straw that broke the raging bull's back, that finally fatigued the unfatigueable, and set him up to go into that fateful round of sixteen clash with Robin Soderling.
So will Madrid be fateful again this year? Only time will tell.
Roger: older and not quite out
6 months ago