27 Responses

  1. Mithi
    Mithi December 23, 2012 at 3:50 pm |

    Judge that Madrid match between Fer and Rafa Juan.. Judge it hard. also famous for a Rafa failSmash. because you know? BLUE CLAY.. no. that was a classic Rafa choke. unless Rafa and Nole had a Rome date planned ahead of time and left together. Nole lost on the same day?

    But the Madrid matches between Federer and Milos/Berdych were pretty awesome. Except when Berdych um.. Berdyched in the end.

    P.S. Bad weather didn’t ruin the Fedal Indian Wells Semis. Rafa not handling the wind ruined it. Yes yes. I know. Rafan blaming Rafa = bad Rafan. I shall be all Vika here and say “I don’t care.”

    I didn’t mind the lack of big 4 at Paris. After all we still had #5 in the final 🙂 and we discovered Jerzy.

    interesting Monte Carlo Rafact: in 2003, he beat Albert Costa in R2 when Costa was the defending FO champion. Yea. We all got the clue. The highlights are on Youtube! I think MC in particular just responds to Rafa’s game. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DP0b5-8DWU

    I like that Novak took the opportunity at Rogers Cup to sort of regain himself after his Olympics disappointment. As for Cincinnati, he just has bad luck with Cincy finals. 3 times now? Roger vs Mardy was quite an exciting match. worth a mention.

    Rome is my favorite tournament this year as a Rafan. For 2 reasons. Rafastats during the Berdy match. 36 winners to 10 unforced errors. And some amazingly aggressive tennis. I would have said 3 and included Semis vs Ferrer. But when Rafa got the mini break right at the end in the first set TB, it felt like Ferrer had no will left. And weirdly enough, in the final, the surface played exactly like RG. slightly faster, slightly slicker. So when Rafa won (albeit one disgusting linecall against Nole at the worst time in the first set), I genuinely hoped for the RG win. I guess, I’m glad I didn’t miss a beat seeing as soon after, Rafa took a break from tennis for a duration too long.

    I don’t talk about Miami much because, if nightmares came true, that is what the QF between Rafa and Tsonga was. NIGHTMARE. Speaking of nightmares, I wonder if Andy Murray can ever forget his 5 match points in Shanghai.

    *re-reads comment. satisfied that the Rafandom is obvious* LOL

  2. anna_tennisfan
    anna_tennisfan December 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm |

    Nole’s mask tradition in Paris isn’t random! He does it on Halloween, which tends to occur during Paris, since… that’s the way the calendar works.

    Also, this year’s edition of Indian Wells turned to Indi-Unwells with that p̶l̶a̶g̶u̶e̶ virus…

  3. jesna
    jesna December 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm |

    Thanks for a great write-up. This season’s tournaments feel like one crazy cartwheel with so many storylines, it’s hard to believe all of it happened this year – I remember thinking after the Nadal – Verdasco Madrid match that nothing would surprise me anymore – Oh ye of little faith! So thank you, tennis rollercoaster operators, for the Shanghai final and Paris, they made this Rafafan ridiculously happy – a half-fortotten emotion in 2012.

  4. Ophelia
    Ophelia December 23, 2012 at 5:45 pm |

    The Shanghai and Paris tournaments were my favorite M1000s of the year by a good distance. That said, the Paris M1000 seriously needs to be moved to a more convenient date. It’s kind of fun to have a tournament that has a reputation for producing surprise winners, but it’s not as much fun if the top seeds can’t even get any momentum/energy going and the tournament directors can’t count on a Ferrer-Janowicz combo to salvage it every time.

  5. Henk
    Henk December 23, 2012 at 6:24 pm |

    Another random thing about Cincinnati: It was there that Federer became the first person ever to win a Masters 1000 (or equivalent) tournament without dropping serve once or losing a set. File that under the category “Huh. Didn’t know that was a thing.”

    1. roberto
      roberto December 23, 2012 at 8:45 pm |

      no, it was the 1st time that the 2 top ranked guys reached the F without dropping serve..

  6. Greekster
    Greekster December 23, 2012 at 8:35 pm |

    I like the colour blue (and yes I spell it with the letter U, I am Canadian!) and hence, I enjoyed the blue clay of Madrid. Fed/Raonic, for me, was the best match of the tourney. Couldn’t stand the whining form Novak/Rafa over the blue stuff. Taking your ball and going home, when things don’t go your way, is just childish. Yes, the surface wasn’t up to snuff as they admitted to it after the tourney had ended, but they also knew why it wasn’t which means they would have had a better blue clay surface for the following year. I am thinking Rafa would still have a problem with this since the clay would still be blue. His annoying behaviour at this tourney even led me to a poetic side of me that I never knew existed which is also why I thought this was the best M1000 of the year.

    Ahem…..Clay was once red, Clay is now blue, Rafa don’t like it, boo freaking hoo. I know, I know, genius, right?

    Agree, on the Toronto event. Just horrible weather and it being an Olympic year just killed it from a scheduling point of view.

    The other Masters events didnt wow me. In fact, overall, I would say this was a down year for the Masters series of events for me. Still hold out hope, that they will cram in a M1000 on grass though.

    Enjoy the holidays everyone and all the best in the New Year!

  7. Master Ace
    Master Ace December 23, 2012 at 8:56 pm |

    1. Indian Wells – IMO, was basically Isner’s last stand to be an elite player but faded after winning over Tsonga and Simon in Monte Carlo playing Davis Cup. Federer found a way to win that first set tiebreak then basically cruised in the second set.

    2. Miami – Roddick’s upset win over a fatigued Federer, who won Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells, then faded the next day against Monaco. In the final set against Federer, Roddick swung for the fences to break Federer early in the set where Federer came to the net for unknown reasons and got passed

    3. Monte Carlo – Will 8 be enough for Nadal going to 2013?

    4. Madrid – Federer ended up being the blue clay king surviving 3 set battles against Raonic and Berdych

    5. Rome- Business as usual as Djokovic and Nadal made the final while Nadal ended up making another statement against Djokovic

    6. Toronto – Joke of a M1000 where Djokovic ended up a hero for that tournament

    7. Cincinnati – For all the talk that this tournament is tough, Federer makes it 5

    8. Shanghai – Djokovic used this title to springboard to the top

    9. Paris – Congraulations to Ferrer for finally winning a Masters and in the process became the first Spainard to win there.

  8. Jewell
    Jewell December 24, 2012 at 4:51 am |

    Toronto, Cincy and Paris all got hurt by scheduling this year in various different ways.

    To my knowledge the players were never keen on blue clay and felt that their wishes had been over-ridden by the ATP. So there was a lot of simmering resentment even before the tournament started, which may explain some of the vehemence. Both Rafa & Djokovic, as the main but not the only antis, said they would try to do their best on it. I can’t see any reason not to believe them. For all the charges of selfishness, they didn’t do themselves much good by speaking up.

    I think the complaints have had at least one positive consequence – the Madrid courts will now stay down all year, IIRC, which should improve the surface for everyone and cut out some of the uneven bounces etc that have always been a problem there.

    If you’re going to introduce something new, like blue clay, over the wishes of players, you’d better get the surface right. Not doing so is a huge own goal. I still think we’ll see blue clay again at Tiriac’s new 250 – which of course is where it should’ve been introduced in the first place.

    I saw several different explanations for the crap surface at the time, only one of which had to do with the blue colouring. Does anyone know what the final, correct explanation was?

    I also personally hated the dead blue colour, especially stuck in the bottom of the hideous Magic Box. It looked like a fish tank. I think it would look much nicer in Monte Carlo. 🙂

    1. Jewell
      Jewell December 24, 2012 at 7:14 am |

      Oh yes; almost forgot. Happy Christmas & happy holidays to all. 🙂

      1. Mithi
        Mithi December 24, 2012 at 11:45 am |

        Let me tell you the one story I heard that seems to partially make sense.

        In order to add blue dye to the clay, they had to remove Iron oxides from it to get the red color off. Because of this, the clay had reduced friction and was much looser (hence the slipperiness). Also, from what I understand, the depth of the clay was ??insufficient or something? That’s why we could hear the sound of the ball hitting the hard surface below the clay.

        I’d like to see Tiriac get it right at the 250 event before bombarding the tour with his innovation. But seriously though, kudos to the players who managed to adapt to it. In particular, Milos, Berdy, Delpo and Roger. 🙂

        1. Jewell
          Jewell December 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm |

          Well – if the first explanation is true, then something about the blue colour was to blame, and therefore, no more blue makes a lot of sense and is pretty much an obvious decision. If it was just mistakes made in the laying of the surface, then there’s no actual reason why a properly laid blue clay couldn’t work. So it would be interesting to know which explanation was right, or if both are, or if there’s a process change that Tiriac could/should make for the future, etc etc.

          The blue could’ve been so easily tested at a small tournament and allowed to grow – it would’ve had plenty of publicity, but not quite so much glare. Players and audiences would’ve got used to it gradually, small problems could’ve been ironed out, and Tiriac would’ve had a great case for introducing the blue to Madrid. I know he had a blue practice court last year, but given the player resistance, I think he needed to do more. And I’m still mildly annoyed that the players who complained have ended up taking a hell of a lot more flak than the instigator of an experiment that was both poorly introduced (and the ATP should take some of the blame for that) and poorly executed.

          Right, I will shut up about the blue clay now. 🙂

          1. marron
            marron December 25, 2012 at 2:14 am |

            Too right, Jewell. Totally agree with you, especially that last point.

            Merry Christmas, everyone!

  9. KD
    KD December 24, 2012 at 10:23 pm |

    Toronto really suffered this year…truly unfortunate. Especially since it’s the only major ATP tournament we have. I’m looking forward to 2013 when the Olympics aren’t a factor.

  10. Nadal News » Blog Archive » RafaLint: December 27th

    […] 2012 Masters 1000 Power Rankings: The Good, The Bad, and The Random – by Juan José (changeovertennis.com) […]

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