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Old 04-10-2007, 02:28 AM   #1
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Default The Road to Roland Garros (Clay court season)

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.
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Old 04-11-2007, 09:09 AM   #2
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Default Re: The Road to Roland Garros (Clay court season)

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.
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Old 04-11-2007, 04:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Road to Roland Garros (Clay court season)

GO JAMES
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: The Road to Roland Garros (Clay court season)

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Old 04-12-2007, 02:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: The Road to Roland Garros (Clay court season)

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.
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Old 04-12-2007, 09:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: The Road to Roland Garros (Clay court season)

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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.
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?
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Old 04-13-2007, 12:37 AM   #7
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Default Re: The Road to Roland Garros (Clay court season)

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.
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Old 04-13-2007, 01:59 AM   #8
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Default Re: The Road to Roland Garros (Clay court season)

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Originally Posted by Deboogle!. View Post
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.
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Old 04-13-2007, 02:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: The Road to Roland Garros (Clay court season)

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
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Old 04-13-2007, 02:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: The Road to Roland Garros (Clay court season)

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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
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
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Old 04-13-2007, 02:37 AM   #11
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Default Re: The Road to Roland Garros (Clay court season)

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.
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Old 04-13-2007, 04:10 AM   #12
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Default Re: The Road to Roland Garros (Clay court season)

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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 !!!!!
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Old 04-13-2007, 04:18 AM   #13
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Default Re: The Road to Roland Garros (Clay court season)

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
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Old 04-13-2007, 04:28 AM   #14
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Default Re: The Road to Roland Garros (Clay court season)

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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!
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Old 04-13-2007, 04:14 PM   #15
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Default Re: The Road to Roland Garros (Clay court season)

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.

Cute article from Houston

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/4711362.html
Quote:
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."
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