Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Indian Wells: Mens Preview

I might do a WTA-lite version of this.

Then again I might not.

1st Quarter

Contenders: Federer, Roddick, Baggy, Le-Sliderman

Party Poopers: Tipsy downs A-Rod, Baggy downs Fed; both in R3

Match that needs to happen: La-Monf v A-Rod R4

Good things need to happen to: David Nalbandian. A belated, injury blighted but nonetheless Davis Cup empowered return for him.

image (Photo: AP)


1) Is the guy we’ve seen practising at IW really Roger Federer?

I’m not so sure. I’m never that confident in the abilities of the imposter that sometimes shows up after an extended injury lay off, and those eyes seem a little too relaxed to me.

With Bodo adding to the confusion over his presence at this event last week, I’m waiting to be proved wrong.

2) French-Cypriot Empowerment.

Liking the look of both Baggy and La Monf at the moment. For Baggy it seems like his first injury-free spell in around three years (Yeah). Good things tend to happen when he’s moving and striking the ball this freely.

La Monf gave one of the best performances I’ve seen from him in the last twelve months in his Davis Cup Tie against Kohlschreiber last weekend. As always, I’m pretending it didn’t happen, and expecting nothing.

3) Where the heck has Andy Roddick been?

And, more to the point, what does he intend to do about it? I know that Wimbledon final sapped almost all his life force from him, but it’s been too long. Just saying.

2nd Quarter

Contenders: Muzzard, Soderling, Tsonga, Ferrer, Karlovic

Party Poopers: Ivo downs Muzzard R4, Feli downs Sod R3

Match that needs to happen: Igor ‘The Forehand’ v Muzzard in R3

Good things need to happen to: James Blake. There’s life beyond thirty, as Fererro will be all too happy to tell you about, should you be inclined to sign up to his life coaching sessions held funnily enough at Hotel Fererro.


1) Can Muzzard get through IW without offending another tournament organiser and can he divorce himself from the bloody coup seemingly underway back home?

There was talk this week of him being pressured to take part in that relegation play-off against Turkey. Cannae see it happening – though it wouldn’t hurt his image in the least.

If he keeps himself focused on the happenings on court (and keeps both feet well out his mouth), there’s no reason to suppose this can’t be a good event for him

2) Would it be too much to ask for Jo-Willy to sustain the momentum from that energising Davis Cup Tie?

As observed, both La Monf and Tsonga were splendifique last week.

I’m banking on it having had an ennobling effect on their tennis.

Energy cannot be created or destroyed and momentum really ought to be conserved. Except Jo-Willy seems willing and able to break any and all of the laws of physics.

3rd Quarter

Contenders: Rafa, Davy (still playing?), Isner, Querrey, Verdasco

Party Poopers: Isner/Querrey down Nadal R3/R4, Troicki downs Davydenko R3

Match that needs to happen: Davy v. Dasco R4 (if only to erase that horror of a match they contested in Oz)

Good things need to happen to: Mario Ancic – a piano not dropping on him doesn’t count.


1) How will Rafa’s knee hold up?

We don’t know of course. And the random nature of his withdrawal in Oz means that were he to emerge unscathed from a characteristically heavyweight performance here, we still wouldn’t know.

2) What now Ernie?

Even if he were to turn up, which I’m not yet certain of, Davy’s likely to be quite vulnerable. And I’m not that convinced with Dasco on the best of days.

All of which makes it a compelling opportunity for Ernie to make his mark, and back up that recent win in Delray Beach.

3) Time for a credible American #2 me thinks.

By which I mean someone other than Tommy Haas.

With Rafa and Davy likely to be far from their best, I can’t think of a better occasion for Querrey and Isner to make some noise.

4th Quarter

Contenders: Cilic, Djoko, Ferrero, Simon, Kohlschreiber

Party Poopers: Monaco downs Ferrero R3

Matches that need to happen: Cilic v Ferrero R4 and any match involving Kohlschreiber and a top tenner.

Good things need to happen to: Carlos Moya. Just coz I don’t expect to see this member of the thirty something club around for much longer. Another possible disciple for Life Guru Ferrero

image (Photo: AP)


1) Will Djoko evade burnout?

Dubai followed by a heroic Davic Cup outing. A fantastic run, except I’d hate to see him run out of gas where it matters most.

2) Can Cilic make an impression without playing insane amounts of tennis?

Of course every Masters event from here on in will be earmarked for Cilic to make his mark. Whether you think of him as “the next del Potro” or not.

I mean why would that not happen?

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