Hey all, the Madrid Open Draw has just taken place at La Caja Mágica and after leaving it pretty late to announce his participation Federer is in there as the third seed.
Madrid was always likely to figure in his schedule but after losing to Tsonga in Monte Carlo the Swiss said he'd see how he felt before confirming and from what I gather he's been practising in Switzerland (presumably on indoor clay as it's still snowing in most of Europe) mixed in with a few sponsor commitments. The good news is doesn't look like there were any issues with his knee after 3 matches at the Country Club and a practice block so he clearly feels fit enough to compete in Madrid. You can see his projected opponents below:
Federer's Projected Opponents
- Round 1: Bye
- Round 2: Nicholas Mahut / Joao Sousa
- Round 3: Dominic Thiem
- Quarter Final: Rafael Nadal
- Semi Final: Andy Murray
- Final: Novak Djokovic
Thoughts on the Draw
Madrid has historically been a pretty good tournament for Roger but since he last won there in 2012 he hasn't been past the third round; skipping it once and losing to Nishikori and Kyrgios on his other appearances.
This time around the draw looks pretty tricky starting with either Nicholas Mahut or Joao Sousa in the first round. Mahut has no real business on clay so I imagine Sousa will be his second round opponent. Sousa has given quite a few of the top guys a tough time in matches I've seen, including Federer in Halle, so he's no pushover early doors. Sousa will prefer the balls coming through the air quick too in Madrid as he's a bit of a flashy shotmaker which means it could be an interesting match.
Round 3 could then be against Dominic Thiem who has an impressive win against Nadal on clay on his resume. The Austrian is still playing in Munich as it stands, facing Zverev later today in the semi finals, so I'm not sure how he will fair in Madrid. I imagine he'll defeat Del Potro pretty easily as he isn't at the races yet but Paire or Sock are his 2nd round opponents and both like this surface. I'll go with Sock as Federer's third round opponent and I like Fed's chances in that matchup as he finds Sock's weaknesses too readily.
Should Roger make the Quarter Finals then it's pretty likely Nadal would be the man on the other side of the net. Nadal's had a bit of a resurgence on the clay winning both Monte Carlo and Barcelona in impressive style. It's still a bit early to say he's the force he once was but his confidence is going to be way higher than it's been in recent months. Fed of course has one of his rare wins on clay against Nadal in Madrid but you'd be hard pushed to make him favourite in this one.
Into the semis and the seeded opponent is the defending Champion Murray who has a pretty nice draw. A few guys in there capable of causing the upset like Dimitrov, Simon and Berdych but you'd fancy Murray to have enough to see them off.
The final is then of course projected to be against Djokovic. Nishikori and Wawrinka are also in that half so it's not nailed on he'll make it. Kei's made the final in Madrid before so he's probably the one to watch.
What do you guys think of the draw? Let me know in the comments.