Tenaciously Tennis

Federer’s Loss Makes for Unsettling Clay Court Future

In light of Serena and Venus Williams’ recent loss to Jelena Jankovic, the clay court surprises keep coming with Roger Federer bowing out in the semifinals to Albert Montanes of Spain in two sets. Montanes went on to defend his title at Estoril against Portugal’s Frederico Gil, 6-2, 6-7 (4), 7-5.

While Montanes is a clay court specialist whose confidence going into the event was at a high point, Federer’s loss forms a question mark going into the rest of the clay court season. Can Federer improve on his form last year and take out a healthy Rafael Nadal at the French? So far, it isn’t looking to good for the greatest player of all time. The true test will be coming in the next few weeks with the Masters Series in Madrid, which Federer won last year against the true King of Clay, Nadal.

With a few more matches under his belt, Federer’s form should show itself. After all, he’s human like the rest of the players on the ATP tour and is prone to poor play after taking time off. In fact, with the first round bye at Estoril, Federer has only played one other match on clay, which was his second round defeat at the hands of the Latvian, Ernests Gulbis in Rome. There, he was also given a first round bye. Combined with the fact that clay is his weakest surface, although that isn’t saying much, Federer’s defeat doesn’t seem so implausible.

With Madrid his next destination, we’ll see what happens. It’ll be a true test for the defending French Open champion.


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