Nadal Says He Is Okay With His French Open Seeding
epa03689552 Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal returns the ball during a training session during the Madrid Open tennis tournament at the Caja Magica tennis center in Madrid, central Spain, 06 May 2013. EPA/CHEMA MOYA |
Rafael Nadal is taking his fall to the ATP fifth ranking in his stride, concentrating only his upcoming opening match at the Madrid Masters. With the pre-French Open event back to red clay after the 2012 blue experiment, the Spaniard has enough on his plate as he prepares to face a second-round starting opponent to be determined.
The former No. 1 and king of clay for the last half-decade or more has lost two of three Madrid finals, with the 800-metre altitude of the Spanish capital not entirely suited to his game. Since coming back from his seven months of knee injury idleness, the 26-year-old has won four of the six tournaments he has entered and is looking again like a major title threat for the French Open starting in just over a fortnight.
Even with Roland Garros unwilling to boost his ranking from fifth so as to avoid a possible Paris quarter-final with No. 1 Novak Djokovic, that doesn’t bother Nadal at all. “The seeded players historically have been there to protect the tournament, to protect the players, that they’re going to be fights against the best players on the first rounds.
“The players that are in front of me are there because they have been playing better than me. I haven’t played; I haven’t trained either.
“If they were not injured and I have been injured, well, with the format of the rankings that we have currently, good for them for not being injured. The problem is mine.”
Novak Djokovic has already played four matches this week--two in singles and two in doubles at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open. Rafael Nadal, also in Doha, has already played three (one in singles and two in doubles). Roger Federer, on the other hand, has not yet taken the court at the Brisbane International.
After a quarter century of questionably-successful exploits, the USTA Player Development (PD) division is, once again, making a change. Patrick McEnroe no longer sports the PD crown, and the National Board has begun the search for a successor. Having spent the last two decades watching regime after regime take the PD division’s reigns – only to drop them a few years later after effecting policies that have yet to produce a US Champion – I’m inclined to offer some thoughts...
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