Fed said something the other week about how he hadn't committed to Monte Carlo 'yet.' I can see him doing so, if it's just him and Rafa then he could get 600 points out of it if he doesn't mug it up.
Nah, I dont think Federer will and should play MC. First of all the surface does him no favours. Its true clay at its worst, Fed wont do crap there. Secondly, he has played so much tennis already this year, at his age it would be senseless to play basically the whole of February and March, and then take to court on clay mid april. Thirdly, I am sure Fed wants to be fit and strong during the Wimbledon-0lympics stretch, overplaying on clay at this stage of his career wont help. Fed doesnt need to overplay on clay anyway. Rome and Madrid will be enough going to RG.
Madrid: Andy, Novak, Fed, (Rafa: he's made comments suggesting Madrid's not confirmed i.e. will depend on how the season has gone uptil then)
Rome: All 4
How Nadal does in Miami, MC & Barca will influence his Madrid choice - he doesn't like the altitude and it's blue clay this year which he seems to be against too. May take a break. As for Fed overtaking Rafa it's a definite possibility now but then again Rafa should do better on clay and should really do better in Miami - he was better overall this week than Fed, discounting yesterday's match in which the conditions were not what you would expect in Miami.... Roland Garros is still quite a while away though it's true that Rafa's defending titles or finals while Fed can gain.
I doubt Nadal will sit out of Madrid. Okay, I have heard he is unhappy with the blue clay and all, but Madrid's high altitude makes its clay Federer's best. Federer has a shot at the title, even with Nadal in the draw, without him Federer and Djokovic are almost equal favorites on that sort of clay.
Especially if Fed wins IW and puts up a decent run in Miami, and Nadal doesnt take Miami title, sitting out of Madrid will be a retarded decision. Last thing he wants is Fed getting to number 2 and be given luck of the Paris draw in RG (I of course sincerely hope so