Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Monte Carlo: Muzz’s Sticky Patch.

The Big Guns were finally out today – though not all entirely in full force.

"I wasn't very good today," said Murray, whose first-serve percentage fell as low as 32% during the second set.

"It was the first time in a few years that the court felt so small. I just could not find the court. When it's like that, it's difficult to play.

"I tried different things. I tried serve and volleying a couple of times. I tried hitting some high balls. It did not really make a whole lot of difference."

-- BBC Tennis

It’s official. Muzz is going through what in polite circles is delicately referred to as "a sticky patch”.

Kohlschreiber d. Murray 6-2, 6-1

He’d murmured something about not having “a clear head” and being "subconsciously annoyed" since that loss in the final of Oz – to which I’d, accordingly, only paid the most subconscious of attention.

Quite how out of sorts however, became excruciatingly apparent today.

First things first. Kohlschreiber in your first match of the clay court season!?? Really!?

Particularly telling however, was the lack of any apparent emotion at being bundled out of that first set 6-2 –no gnashing of teeth, none of the familiar agonised thrashing or writhing around he’s been so heavily criticised for and which has arguably dug him out of similar situations in the past.

We all saw what happened to Djokovic after he elected to tone things down – Murray’s not half as brash at the worst of times.

Gnash away I say. Anything but this nightmarish, nugatory no-show.

Nadal d. de Bakker 6-1, 6-0

Seemingly a rebuff to the concerns I raised in my last post.

I’m not intent on raining on anyone’s parade – but please it’s Thiemo de Bakker people, not Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic d. Serra 6-2 6-3

Not the easy win the score line would suggest.

Unlike Murray, Djoko did elect to berate himself out of the stupor that had threatened to settle in during the early parts of the second set – sometimes quite vociferously.

I always look to clay for an upturn in Djoko’s fortunes – especially after the spell he had last year – the only time during the entire season he actually looked the part of a top five player.

But for now, he’s still serving like this.

We’ve Todd Martin to thank for that.

Nalbandian d. Youzhny 4-6 6-3 7-6

"This is maybe the start of another career for me", he said at the start of Miami.

Nalbie continues to defy medical science with what I've now no qualms in thinking of as the best return I've ever seen from hip surgery.

Youznhy and Daveed salvaged what I was otherwise set to write off as an unimpressive days tennis.


This is Jo-Willy after putting out an embittered Nicolas Almagro in a riveting two set corker yesterday.

MUHAHAHAAHA…my thoughts exactly.

What’s probably more significant is he termed the win his “best match on clay”.

I dunno much about Jo’s own estimation of his prowess on dirt – he strikes me as an all-courter that can do damage on any surface - but it had to have been good for him to say something like that. It was.

It’s unlikely to be any more competitive than in Miami (I should say it’s far likelier to be significantly less so), but he’s in Rafa’s quarter.

Duly noted I hope.


(Photos: Getty)

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