Archives for May 2012

Parents as Coaches: Mike Joyce Weighs in on Sharapova and Wozniacki

Feeling blue in Madrid

Novak and Rafa rare both blue about the blue clay.


It’s really too bad that instead of just tossing around impressionistic comments on the deepness of the color of Madrid’s blue clay that the tournament has devolved into as spitting match between the top men, tournament owner Ion Tiriac and the ATP. Because really, this week should be about how the world’s best men and women are playing in altitude on dirt and it’s not. It’s about Rafa Nadal after his shocking loss to Fernando Verdasco saying he won’t play next year if changes are not made. Nadal is one of the most popular athletes in Spain, so imagine how much that would hurt the tournament. “I think the tournament is great but that is a bad decision,” he said. “The movements are very important for me and here I cannot move, so I cannot hit the ball the way that I want.” Then Novak Djokovic joined in saying after his 7-6 6-4 win over Stanislas Wawrinka that he would not play next year either. “They are saying it’s exactly the same as the red clay which is not true because there is a big difference,” the Serb said. “You are tripping and slipping and sliding all the time and winner will be the one who doesn’t get hurt until the end of the week because a lot of players fell down. Generally it’s a new experience and the way it looks this year hopefully the last experience.” And how about Roger Federer after his win over Richard Gasquet? “We never felt comfortable on the surface, it is a tough surface and that only makes you angry even more,” the Swiss said. Fortunately, Carlos Moya, who is the assistant tournament director and just recently retired, said that they will do all they can to fix the surface which apparently has too little top dressing. Moya said that they are listening to the players and given that he and Nadal are very close personally, you have to believe him. Tiriac also said that they would take hard look at the surface. Both say they don

HIT LIST, Madrid version: Federer mutes Milos

Federer is contending with the slick surface.

Roger Federer d. Milos Raonic 4-6 7-5 7-6(4): The young Canadian had plenty of chances in the contest but went one of eight on break point opportunities. The court was playing super quick so much of the contest was about big serves, Federer’s excellent volleys and frequent net approaches, and who could hold the ball in the court when sliding crazily side to side on the slippery blue clay. That man was Federer, but serving at 4-5 in the breaker, Raonic missed a sitter forehand he had been nailing all day long and then saw Federer rip an outright forehand crosscourt return winner that was unusual on the day. Raonic might be mentally crushed, but it

From frying pan to fire of Madrid

Del Po repeated in Estoril.

Women can get lost in early rounds

One of the problems with starting an ATP Masters Series/WTA Premier combined tournament on a Saturday is that the results of the ongoing events get lost. Few of the world

Ole Madrid

Federer, in his French Open Nike attire, looks to get back in mix.


On Saturday, the heart of the clay court season will really begin to beat on some controversial blue stuff at the Madrid Masters. Here


Risky Olympic changes ahead in 2016

Sharapova wants no part of the proposed changes.

As I reported today on The Ticker on, the ITF has decided to change its qualifications rules for the 2016 Olympics. After the 2012 Games, a player must make himself or herself available to play Davis Cup or Fed Cup four times in an Olympic cycle. Currently, players only have to make themselves available for two ties in the two prior years to the Olympics. Maria Sharapova has already gone on record with her objections to the changes.

The ITF sees it differently, saying, among other things: