Originally Posted by Nishy
I have been following men's tennis for 3 years so I don't know exactly how was Agassi's generation but I heard Agassi, Courier, Chang (sorry if these spell is not correct) did well on clay and they all won RG.
I am the same age as Agassi's group and yes, they were all very good on clay (sans Sampras
). This is the first generation we've had in a while where our European clay results are less-than-spectacular.
But I really think it's still too early to tell how the young Americans will do ("they" being Fish, Roddick, Blake, Ginepri). I don't know what's happened in the last few years that Andy's clay performance suddenly turned so poor. People blame Brad Gilbert but I don't think that's it because his results were just as bad when he was with Tarik Benhabiles. He did great at his first French Open appearance in 2001 but it's been downhill ever since.
Perhaps it has something to do with comfort zone. Andy's not in his comfort zone when he's in Europe and, for this year at least, he simply was not ready and prepared to go to Rome. He was still coming down from the high of the Davis Cup win, and he barely looked like he even wanted to be at the Houston Clay Championships, let alone get on a plane and shift gears onto the euro clay. Too much on his plate.
The way I see it: there were two big things that affected his mentality going into Rome: Davis Cup and the hotel fire. If he didn't have to contend with either, I think he would've been much more prepared for Rome.
That's why I'm feeling better about his chances at RG this year. He will have had the extra week to nurse his knee and prepare his mind and body for the clay. Providing there are no more freak accidents and fires to contend with, he should do OK in France (where he's quite popular, so the crowd won't be terribly hostile, either).
btw, Nishy, your English is perfectly good!