ATT has had a bit of a hiatus, blame the controversial goings on in Westeros and the small matter of a certain JRPG remake trailer for that!
The other reason is that frankly, the clay season can be a bit of a foregone conclusion sometimes with Rafa ruling the men’s game particularly.
This year though, we’ve been treated to some real fluctuations in the formbook on both tours, culminating in a momentous week in Madrid, packed full of drama.
Madrid has it all
First, things kicked off with the heartwarming farewell to one of the sports hardest workers and successfull players David Ferrer who was unable to repeat his heroic Miami victory against Alexander Zverev here. The Spaniard will be the first of my Tribute Tuesday subjects, every week looking at a retired player in a bit more detail.
Federer, making his return to the clay for many a year, notched up 1200 wins with a hard fought victory over Gael Monfils. No shame in losing to Dominic Thiem in the next round however.
Then, come the business end we were again treated to real spectacle with the aforementioned Thiem who had ousted Fognini as well as Federer, finally succombing to Djokovic in the semi’s.
Novak would take the title too defeating Tsitsipas in straight sets, but this was in many ways the Greek’s moment, having defeated both Zverev and the still title-less Rafa. What a week it was on the men’s tour.
The women delivered yet again as well, all except Simona Halep of course who continues to be relentless in her inconsistencies. The Romanian again had the top spot in the rankings within her grasp, but lost in the final to Kiki Bertens who so enjoys the clay.
Belinda Bencic had another good week too, maybe a dark horse for Paris?
Winners on the dirt so far
As I mentioned above, Rafa is yet to score a trophy on the red stuff in 2019, first the eventual champ Fognini in Monte Carlo and then equally remarkably Thiem in Barcelona.
Tsitsipas himself and Pairs were other high profile winners.
On the women’s side we also have no clear front runner on the dirt. Joining Bertens in the winners roster is Kvitova (now the only player to have won several titles in 2019) and Keys.
Roll on Rome, this is an exciting part of the year.