Thursday, June 10, 2010

The clay-to-grass conundrum

Can you believe that it was only a few days ago we were watching Grand Slam tennis on clay? Now here we are, with the first week of the grass-court season almost over. A lot of big-time players are in action at the men's events in Halle and London, and the women's stop in Birmingham. As always with everything tennis-related, I have some thoughts on the quick turnaround, particularly how it pertains to certain players. I'm glad I have this blog to share them with you! Here they are:

* I was so happy to see how Rafael Nadal took it a little easier during the clay-court season than he has in years past, especially with the health concerns he's had recently. I just hope jetting off to London to play at Queens right after winning a Major doesn't come back to bite him over the next few months.

* Speaking of the clay-court season, I think Maria Sharapova should avoid the dirt for at least the next couple of years: no Har-tru tournaments in the U.S.; no Strasbourg, where she won this year; and no French Open. Until there's absolutely no residual effects of any shoulder woes, she should save herself for the second half of the year, starting with the grass-court season.

* But you know who I think should play more during the clay-court season? Andy Roddick. Losing to Dudi Sela today at Queens was pretty bad. Maybe it's me, but I felt that his moderate success on the clay last year helped him in his incredible Wimbledon run to the finals: His strokes were a lot sharper at the big W. I hope there was no thinking in his camp this year to save himself for the grass by not playing more on clay.

* After missing the dirty days, Nikolay Davydenko has resurfaced in Halle. But he's gone again, getting knocked out of the tournament by Benjamin Becker. I don't know why Davydenko even came back right now when grass is his worst surface.

* And what's up with Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Marin Cilic? Djokovic and Cilic lost today while as of this writing, Murray's down big to Mardy Fish. Those three really didn't do anything at all on clay during the spring stretch, and it looks like their so-so form is carrying over to the turf.

Guess the clay-to-dirt move can trip up the best of 'em!

(Photo: Getty Images)