The Road to Roland Garros (Clay court season) [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

The Road to Roland Garros (Clay court season)

Grinder
04-10-2007, 02:28 AM
James starts his clay court campaign on the har-tru of Westside Racquet Club. He plays his first match tomorrow at 7 PM EST against Davide Sanguinetti. Sanguinetti is a tough customer on medium paced surfaces, but James should be able to win this. Last year James lost first round to Anthony Dupuis. :o

MrJ
04-11-2007, 09:09 AM
Good win for James considering he had such a short time to adjust to the conditions. Amazing what a little confidence can do and he got some luck now since Horna withdrew from the draw. :D

Caren
04-11-2007, 04:59 PM
GO JAMES :woohoo:

cobalt60
04-11-2007, 11:14 PM
:banana:

MrJ
04-12-2007, 02:41 PM
So James does not play Monte Carlo as usual, does anyone know his next tournament? Unlikely as it is, I would like to see him get some red clay matches under his belt before Rome. :shrug:

Margy
04-12-2007, 09:10 PM
So James does not play Monte Carlo as usual, does anyone know his next tournament? Unlikely as it is, I would like to see him get some red clay matches under his belt before Rome. :shrug:

I just saw that also, but no reason given. Does anyone know why he isn't playing MC? I thought players were required to play the MS events unless they were injured ... is he?

Deboogle!.
04-13-2007, 12:37 AM
James spoke about why he doesn't play MC.

http://www.asapsports.com/show_conference.php?id=42176
Q. Sounds like you're not playing Monte-Carlo. How does that happen?
JAMES BLAKE: Well, for me it's something that doesn't quite fit into the schedule. It's going to be real tough to go from Houston all the way over to Monte-Carlo, then come back just for a week or two to train for Rome.
For the Americans, that tournament has never been exactly the easiest one in the schedule. I'm not going to be able to make it to that one.

Q. Any sanctions for not doing that, because it's a mandatory event?
JAMES BLAKE: Well, I think I'll get a zero pointer. I'll lose my chance to get points there. I believe there's a way that you're allowed to miss one and not get fined. This will be the one I miss.

Margy
04-13-2007, 01:59 AM
James spoke about why he doesn't play MC.

http://www.asapsports.com/show_conference.php?id=42176
Q. Sounds like you're not playing Monte-Carlo. How does that happen?
JAMES BLAKE: Well, for me it's something that doesn't quite fit into the schedule. It's going to be real tough to go from Houston all the way over to Monte-Carlo, then come back just for a week or two to train for Rome.
For the Americans, that tournament has never been exactly the easiest one in the schedule. I'm not going to be able to make it to that one.

Q. Any sanctions for not doing that, because it's a mandatory event?
JAMES BLAKE: Well, I think I'll get a zero pointer. I'll lose my chance to get points there. I believe there's a way that you're allowed to miss one and not get fined. This will be the one I miss.


Thanks Deb! I read the whole article you linked. He obviously had planned for a while to skip it since the article was from last month.

I don't quite understand his reasoning though when he says he can't do it because there's a week or two in between Monte Carlo and Rome and it's too hard to come back to the US to train then. I mean, really.... nobody would expect him to come back to the US to train. That would be senseless. He would get better preparation/training for RG by playing in the clay European events during that time. It's plain puzzling to me that he'd rather just take an automatic 0 points in a mandatory event and stay here in the US training instead of going over to get some playing time on clay. Or maybe he just needs a couple of vacation weeks ? But I guess he knows what he's doing .... I hope it works out for him.

Deboogle!.
04-13-2007, 02:05 AM
Well in his defense, it's not just him, it's all the Americans. I understand why they don't play, but I don't know if I agree with it :awww:

Margy
04-13-2007, 02:28 AM
Well in his defense, it's not just him, it's all the Americans. I understand why they don't play, but I don't know if I agree with it :awww:

Yes, I know he's not the only one. It's definitely an American issue. But I just don't understand it. It's almost like giving up before they start. I can't help but think if they went over there in the right frame of mind for the whole clay season, then they could get pretty good at it. It's like a self-fulfilling prophesy. They don't want to waste time there because they won't do well...but if they don't go over and get playing time then yes when RG rolls around they won't do well! Then, they say "See, I didn't do well so I was right not to waste any time on the earlier tournaments"... But they have coaches, etc that are obviously advising them and they all obviously understand their situations way better than I do so I guess they're making the right decision for them. But I suppose I'm with you in not understanding their logic :confused:

Deboogle!.
04-13-2007, 02:37 AM
I think they kind of have this feeling like, they've just played this very long season in the US with the indoor tourneys, Davis Cup (twice), the 2 Masters events, and they'll all play Houston (or wherever it goes next year), so by then, they've played so many weeks in a row that they're tired. And going overseas for that one event, and then going back, just to have 2 more weeks off before Rome, it just seems like a whole lot of extra stuff to do. I mean most of the other top guys took some time off right after AO, somewhere around there.

So i mean, it makes sense. They get like 2 solid weeks off after playing on clay a little bit to rest, recover from their long spring, practice a lot on clay, and prepare mentally. It really does make sense. It'd be nice if like Monte Carlo were one week later, so the guys could have a week off after the US claycourt champs, then they just stay overseas the whole time - but honestly, the US guys seem to be such homebodies, asking them to stay overseas from like late April to essentially early July after Wimbledon is a very big ask. So for these guys and with the current schedule, it pretty much makes sense for them to skip it.

Margy
04-13-2007, 04:10 AM
I think they kind of have this feeling like, they've just played this very long season in the US with the indoor tourneys, Davis Cup (twice), the 2 Masters events, and they'll all play Houston (or wherever it goes next year), so by then, they've played so many weeks in a row that they're tired. And going overseas for that one event, and then going back, just to have 2 more weeks off before Rome, it just seems like a whole lot of extra stuff to do. I mean most of the other top guys took some time off right after AO, somewhere around there.

So i mean, it makes sense. They get like 2 solid weeks off after playing on clay a little bit to rest, recover from their long spring, practice a lot on clay, and prepare mentally. It really does make sense. It'd be nice if like Monte Carlo were one week later, so the guys could have a week off after the US claycourt champs, then they just stay overseas the whole time - but honestly, the US guys seem to be such homebodies, asking them to stay overseas from like late April to essentially early July after Wimbledon is a very big ask. So for these guys and with the current schedule, it pretty much makes sense for them to skip it.

I see what you're saying about needing some time off. But, it's actually 3 weeks off (Monte Carlo then 2 weeks of multiple International Series events to choose from) which seems like a rather luxurious break to me. But as I said, they obviously can plan as they like. I'm not criticizing. Everybody has to set their own limitations on their scheduling. I guess I just wish a couple of them would dare to really give the clay a try sometime ...especially since ... drumroll .... I just got the tennis channel and might actually be able to see some tennis matches !!!!!

Deboogle!.
04-13-2007, 04:18 AM
well when you think about the fact that they will head over to Rome a few days early, I just rounded. I think it's the norm for top players to take long breaks - Fed and Nadal both took a month after Wimbledon. Fed took a month or something after the AO. When you play as much as these guys do, and you have to be mentally ready to play and go deep all the time, you have to take long breaks. When you only have a week off, you can't really step completely away from tennis that long, but if you have 2+ weeks, you can actually take a couple of days OFF off. They need that.

I really believe that part of James's "slump" was that he overplayed. his schedule for the early part of the year was far too ambitious and the only reason he even took Memphis off was b/c of his wrist tendinitis. I spoke a lot about it then, but he should've planned better. But even if he had, he would've probably gone deeper in the tourneys he did play, so he still would've needed this time off.

It's really no different than a lot of the clay guys taking their time off during the summer HC season - the difference is that the Masters tourneys are pushed later into the season and there are a couple weeks of optional tourneys first. Like I said, if MC were a week or two later, our guys would play. It's just a function of their needs and the scheduling.

Congrats on getting TTC!! Just in time for Monte Carlo. You're gonna die with the coverage of the clay masters:)

Margy
04-13-2007, 04:28 AM
Congrats on getting TTC!! Just in time for Monte Carlo. You're gonna die with the coverage of the clay masters:)

I'm really looking forward to it. I actually just found out on Thursday last week that my cable provider had added it. I was so excited, I called first thing in the morning to get it activated so I could watch DC. But they were closed for Good Friday and all I got was a recording all day. So I didn't get it added till Monday but I've watched all the DC matches on replay already. I can't wait to actually get to see real clay matches live!

tangerine_dream
04-13-2007, 04:14 PM
People need to lay off the Americans for not playing MC. Whoopteedoo if they don't? Half of the European continent skips 3/4 of the North American hardcourt season, so what's the big deal? People need time off to relax and recharge and some tournaments are badly scheduled. :shrug:

Cute article from Houston :)

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/4711362.html
With Blake, looks can be deceiving
April 13, 2007
U.S. MEN'S CLAY COURT CHAMPIONSHIPS
By DALE ROBERTSON

Usually, James Blake is an easy read. If you see him wearing a wrinkled T-shirt, he probably is between girlfriends. If he also has a healthy growth of whiskers on his chin, he is riding a hot streak on the tennis court.

Attention, women of Houston: Blake's post-match tee Thursday night hadn't been within a zip code of an iron.

Coming off a 7-6 (4), 6-1 victory over Alex Kuznetsov, Blake's five-o'clock shadow was returning, too, after a pair of victories in the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships. But the emerging beard wasn't as thick as should have been, considering he arrived here after a pair of Davis Cup wins over the weekend.

It seems he had broken with superstition and shaved Monday. Extenuating circumstances. Former President George Bush and wife Barbara invited a number of players to their Tanglewood-area home and Blake thought he needed to spruce up for the occasion.

"Showing proper respect," he said, "was more important than my little superstition."

Going forward, though, Blake hopes he looks like a House of David pitcher or a Civil War general by the time he gets to the French Open. Although he readily concedes clay is his worst surface, as it is for all American players, hope springs eternal in the human breast.

Westside's new green clay, at the very least, can be conquered. It's the stuff Americans are most familiar with — as opposed to the European red kind — and the field here is less intimidating than most. None of the A-crowd dirt-ballers are present. But the man he plays today — Argentine Juan Monaco — recently claimed his first ATP title on clay at Acapulco and is climbing in the rankings.

Monaco, the eighth seed, routed Amer Delic 6-2, 6-3 earlier to reach the quarterfinals.

"I'd like to finally get out of the quarters here," Blake said, referring to his run of losses in 2003, 2004 and 2005 before last spring's even-worse first-round tumble. "But it's going to be a very difficult matchup because he makes a ton of balls. He runs very well. And he's definitely proven he can win on clay."

Monaco, who needed only 64 minutes to dispense with Delic, whose serve he broke to start both sets, also almost won the River Oaks International on it last year, losing to Victor Hanescu in a three-set battle.

The 20-year-old Kuznetsov plays with a titanium rod in his leg — the result of a car accident in 1995. But he is a determined young player, and he went up a break early on Blake, before the second seed began moving more efficiently and found his groove.

Third-seeded Tommy Haas also was an easy winner over France's Nicolas Devilder 6-3, 6-4, and Croatian Ivo Karlovic didn't have to play at all to get past Argentina's Diego Hartfield, who went to bed Wednesday night delighted to have gotten past Sebastien Grosjean but woke up with a stiff neck.

Although Hartfield received treatment in the morning and then attempted to warm up, as soon as he tried serving he knew playing would be impossible.

"I feel sorry for him," Karlovic said, "but I am happy to be in the quarters."

Caren
04-13-2007, 04:26 PM
Yeh i don't get what the problem is about missing MC, yes he's missing out on points, but he's also not running the risk of losing points either. I would much rather he stayed in the US and practiced to try and better his game before defending the (abysmal?) points he's got from last year. We'd like to see all the players play in all the tournaments throughout the year but it's impossible. I'd prefer James to miss MC rather than any of the others.

Deboogle!.
04-13-2007, 04:47 PM
Actually MC is the one that's the closest to RG conditions-wise. I just think it would be good for the guys to get the opportunity to play against good players on clay in conditions just like RG. But they don't, so whatever.

Tangy, a lot of players skip the HC season, but they don't skip the masters events. that's the difference.

MrJ
04-14-2007, 09:08 AM
Great win for James against a top clay courter like Monaco, he will have to show the same fight against Zabaleta in the SF.

The are broadcasting the match but its on at 1am where I am, so I will be unable to see it! :mad:

GO JAMES!! :yippee:

cobalt60
04-14-2007, 11:57 AM
Nice win!!! Thanks Tangy for the article; it was cute:) Can't tell you how true it is about ironing my man's shirts when we were first going out. Time changes all that though;) :lol:
Good luck to James against Mariano who seems to have found his game this tournie. 2 nice guys slugging it out on court. :yeah:

tangerine_dream
04-14-2007, 06:42 PM
Tangy, a lot of players skip the HC season, but they don't skip the masters events. that's the difference.
Cincy is the one TMC that's most often skipped by the dirtballers.

tangerine_dream
04-14-2007, 10:42 PM
Are any of these Houston matches going to be televised anywhere in the US? :scratch:

cobalt60
04-14-2007, 10:45 PM
Tennis Channel is showing SF and F

MrJ
04-15-2007, 02:46 PM
James really needs to learn how to play in the wind, thats 3 loses already this season where he just couldn´t get to grips with the conditions. And the double fault on match point was embarrasing!! :o

Now a long wait to see him in action again. :(

cobalt60
04-15-2007, 03:16 PM
Still a good showing in my book. Does he next play Rome?

Deboogle!.
04-15-2007, 05:24 PM
It was a good showing, but the way he lost that match at the end was pretty disconcerting. Yes, Rome next.

cobalt60
04-15-2007, 08:03 PM
It was a good showing, but the way he lost that match at the end was pretty disconcerting. Yes, Rome next.

A bit embarrassing and anticlimatic but SF is still good.

MrJ
04-16-2007, 09:16 AM
This will be is schedule from Rome until the US Open.

Rome, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Roland Garros, Halle, Wimbledon, L.A., Indianapolis, Montreal, Cincinnati, New Haven and the U.S. Open

That is one crazy hardcourt schedule, once again he will be overplaying when there is no need to. :confused:

Caren
04-16-2007, 12:59 PM
Halle :confused:

Why no Queens?

Deboogle!.
04-16-2007, 02:47 PM
Halle probably offered him more $$$$$

Caren
04-16-2007, 03:34 PM
Halle probably offered him more $$$$$

:o
He has final points from Queens... i don't see him getting that far at Halle :sad:

MrJ
05-07-2007, 02:29 PM
:o
He has final points from Queens... i don't see him getting that far at Halle :sad:

Queens has a much better field than Halle this year, so its possible.

James will play Monfils in the first round of Rome. Hope he can at least win a few matches here!!

Good luck James :)

MrJ
05-08-2007, 02:11 PM
James won 7-6 6-3 against Monfils. I only saw the second set and he looked really comfortable, he just had to keep the ball in play as Monfils was making so many errors. Nice to see him get a little revenge from Roland Garros last year. :)

cobalt60
05-08-2007, 02:12 PM
:banana:

Deboogle!.
05-08-2007, 03:09 PM
I don't know why people in GM thought Monfils would win, he's been in truly horrific form all year. Anyway, nice win for James :)

Grinder
05-09-2007, 03:36 AM
Good win over Monfils in Rome. :yeah:

James should be able to beat that scumbag Massu as long as he plays half-decent. Monfils was a good preview, except that Monfils is a much stronger player with more weapons. Massu's game is all forehand and Monfils is a good preview for that, let's hope James can take him out!

MrJ
05-09-2007, 05:25 PM
Disappointing loss. Had so many chances to close out both sets but failed each time. The positive thing is that he is hitting the ball very well. It was the best I have seen him time the ball for a good while. He just kept on failing on the crucial points. :sad:

cobalt60
05-10-2007, 03:41 PM
Disappointing loss. Had so many chances to close out both sets but failed each time. The positive thing is that he is hitting the ball very well. It was the best I have seen him time the ball for a good while. He just kept on failing on the crucial points. :sad:

Thanks for the info. Haven't been able to actually watch any matches lately.

cobalt60
05-16-2007, 07:37 PM
Defeated Clement :banana:

MrJ
05-16-2007, 09:50 PM
James had been playing well on the clay in Rome as well, so glad he finally has a result to show for it!! :) Now beat Moya like you did last year!! :D

tt boy
05-17-2007, 07:45 AM
should be able to beat the old man after Moya had to play a 2.5 hour match yesterday:)

cobalt60
05-17-2007, 12:46 PM
Well he could not beat Moya. Too bad.

Pammy
05-17-2007, 06:31 PM
Yes, too bad. After the first set i had hopes that he can win, but he didn't.

cobalt60
05-17-2007, 07:05 PM
Ah but the Team of FLAKE has endured!!! They beat the 4th ranked team of Knowles and Nestor :banana:

MrJ
05-22-2007, 01:23 PM
Finally James serves out a tight match!! He played well on the crucial points for a change, saving numerous break points which is always nice to see. Hoping he can get a bit of confidence heading into Roland Garros. :)

MrJ
05-25-2007, 02:22 PM
James gets Ivo Karlovic in the first round!! Not sure what to make of it, James will be having memories of the match points he blew in San Jose. On the other hand, surely the red clay will give James help in terms of returning those bombs. Anyway, Good Luck James!! A repeat of the third round would be nice and it looks possible with the draw. :)

morytter
05-26-2007, 07:44 PM
he needs to get past karlo, even though it is not an easy one... and then probably Luczak in the second, he has just won a challenger, but except ventura, not really mentionable opponents.. R3 is tough as well, but could be worse, maybe kohlschreiber..

I think we can be reasonable and hope for R4..

jeahhh!
05-29-2007, 07:10 PM
Come on James.:rocker2:
Now would be a great time to win your first 5 setter.:unsure:

morytter
05-29-2007, 07:21 PM
critical.. down 2-1 and 5-5.. hoping to find a free stream of it..

morytter
05-29-2007, 07:24 PM
found the stream... come on Blake!!! 5-6

MrJ
05-29-2007, 07:34 PM
James choked every set, losing each time he had to serve to stay in it!! :mad: Bad loss, he has no confidence when he is down. Once again he cant take advantage of a good draw. :rolleyes:

KrisJB
05-30-2007, 07:33 AM
I watched the last set of this encounter and found that in most of Ivo's games he was really helpless as Ivo was firing on all cylinders. Nevertheless, he could not also convert chances he was given, especially when Ivo came to the net. James didn't try to slice 2nd serves of Karlovic, and was playing too much to Ivo's forehand. When he switched to Ivo's backhand he usually won that point. In the final game James should blame himself for a poor smash of Ivo defense shot and then a bad volley. THE MAIN FIELD WHICH SHALL BE IMPROVED BY BLAKE IS NOT EVEN HIS INCONSISTENCY OR RISKY TACTIC BUT HIS SERVE. He gets too few free points off it.

MrJ
05-30-2007, 02:18 PM
I watched the last set of this encounter and found that in most of Ivo's games he was really helpless as Ivo was firing on all cylinders. Nevertheless, he could not also convert chances he was given, especially when Ivo came to the net. James didn't try to slice 2nd serves of Karlovic, and was playing too much to Ivo's forehand. When he switched to Ivo's backhand he usually won that point. In the final game James should blame himself for a poor smash of Ivo defense shot and then a bad volley. THE MAIN FIELD WHICH SHALL BE IMPROVED BY BLAKE IS NOT EVEN HIS INCONSISTENCY OR RISKY TACTIC BUT HIS SERVE. He gets too few free points off it.

I agree his serve is a huge liability, when he is nervous and tight, he cant find his first serves and his second is far too attackable. I also noticed James wasn´t even hitting flat out, it seemed he was hoping for errors rather than going out playing his natural style. I was hoping for an improvement on his clay game but I think its far too late in his career now. Thankfully the hard courts are coming soon and we can at last see him fight for some titles :o