ATP Masters 1000Mutua Madrid OpenRoger Federer

Madrid Open Draw – No Real Surprises

The Madrid Draw is out and surprise surprise Federer and Nadal ended up in the same half as pretty much the whole world expected. Fortunately they're not in the same Quarter like we saw in Indian Wells this time their seeded to meet each other in the Semi Finals which I think makes it more interesting.

Obviously it seems that the powers that be wanted another Djokovic / Nadal final though so no real surprises that they're kept apart. The only other big news is that Juan Martin Del Potro has withdrawn with a viral infection. Is this guy ever healthy?

Let's take a look at the draw and if you want to see a full copy of it you can view the .pdf here.

First Quarter – Djokovic doesn't have it easy

Djokovic Madrid

After schooling Nadal in Monte Carlo I make Djokovic the favourite for winning in Madrid but looking at the draw he won't have it easy.

First up he'll likely have to get past Grigor Dimitrov, the Bulgarian has impressed me of late against and it looks like he's getting close to pulling off a big big victory. He's also come out to the press this week and said he wants the Federer comparison to go, that is a smart move from him as it shows he wants his own on court identity and not to be a cheap imitation. I'm starting to expect some big things from him but whether it will be in Madrid I'm not sure.

The next match doesn't get easier for Djokovic either as he will probably meet Stanislas Wawrinka; Wawrinka took him to the wire at the Australian Open and has been in good form of late crushing Murray in Monte Carlo. I doubt Wawrinka has the mindset to beat Djokovic though so whilst it might be a tough 3 setter I think Novak will come through.

After that it will probably a Tsonga Quarter Final followed by a Murray semi final. I think Djokovic can win those ones comfortably, perhaps even more so than his first rounds. Tsonga might be a threat if the balls are flying but he's far too inconsistent. Murray is an unknown quantity on this surface.

Second Quarter – Can Murray deliver?

Murray Clay Courts

I'd say Murray has it slightly easier than Djokovic but I don't think you can count out Bellucci from causing an upset, he's a dangerous lefty and loves the clay courts. I think Madrid will also favour his game as he does hit big shots, if the ball is flying at altitude then Murray will need to play well and defend well to come through.

I think if Murray gets past Bellucci then he will make the Quarters quite easily where he is seeded to play Berdych. Berdych is very unpredictable lately and seems to be choking matches even more than usual. He nearly lost to Davydenko in Barcelona before coming unstuck against clay court verteran Tommy Robredo.

If those two meet in the quarters I'll pick Murray. I thought he might have a good performance on clay at some point during the season, maybe Madrid is the place.

Third Quarter – Nadal's French Open quest begins

Nadal Madrid

After losing Monte Carlo Nadal bounced back with a win in Barcelona, albeit against relatively weak opposition so I think Madrid is where his real quest for the French begins.

He has a relatively easy draw with a match against Benoit Paire in the first round. Paire gave him trouble in Barcelona for a set but faded, I don't think he will be able to cause Nadal any problems here though. After that he gets to face his slave Almagro who has zero chance of causing an upset.

The quarter final is seeded to be against Ferrer, this could be interesting but Ferrer has struggled since losing to Murray in Miami, that match it out of him big time in fact he kind of broke him a little mentally. He is in the semi final at the Portugal Open and could go onto win it so will get some confidence from that. However he usually bends over for Nadal just like Almagro in important matches anyway so I can't see it being any different here.

Another cake walk semi for Nadal.

Fourth Quarter – Return of the GOAT

Federer Madrid Win 2012

Finally, the quarter you have all being waiting for! This is very hard to predict mainly because Federer hasn't played in like 8 weeks or something crazy. First up for him is either Stepanek or Tomic. I think he will play Stepanek actually as the Madrid courts can reward an aggressive player like him.

That will be a nice test actually as Stepanek always comes to play and you have to be alert from the get go otherwise he can catch you off guard. He is also an all court player so Roger will be able to test out a variety of different shots and get some feel into his game.

I saw some fans worried about Tomic but I don't have any concerns with him really, he only plays well in Australia and isn't great on clay so even Rusterer should beat him comfortably. In fact if Roger loses to Tomic, I will stick my neck out and say he won't win another match on clay this season.

After that a match with Nishikori looks to be on the cards, Kei is a very talented player but I don't think he's the type of guy that can cause Roger too many problems. Historically players who give Roger trouble are either insane grinders / consistent or they have a big big weapon that when it catches fire can cause him difficulty. Nishikori is neither of those so again it should be a test, but a good one with plenty of good rallies.

Should he make the Quarter Finals it's seeded to be Gasquet but Cilic or Isner could also figure. I think it's most likely to be Gasquet on current form, he's beaten Federer on clay before but again he has no out and out weapons other than a great backhand. After a long break Gasquet is just the kind of opponent you want as he will test you but isn't a mentally tough player.

From there it's either Ferrer / Nadal in the semi finals and of course then either Djoker or Murray in the final.

What to Expect From Federer?

I think this tournament is impossible to predict, Fed has been out of action for what feels like forever so only he has an idea of his form and how well he's playing. Indian Wells ended badly so that's the only real indicator we have but it was almost 2 months ago now.

I personally think he will make the semi finals but that's nothing more than guesswork as he could easily lose in the second round. We'll have more idea one he's played a couple of matches.

I think it's important he gets back to winning ways after a few tough losses post Australian Open as you feel he almost needs to kickstart his season again. But regardless it will be just good to see him play.

I'm glad that Federer and Nadal aren't seeded to meet in the Quarters again though. I actually like Roger's chances more if they meet in the semi final, it means one more match to tune up his game and increase the confidence levels should they meet. He's beaten Nadal in Madrid before so that definitely counts for something.

Dark Horses?

  • Raonic
  • Robredo
  • Granollers who might actually play Federer
  • Seppi

What are your predictions? Do you have a lot of expectation or just looking forward to seeing the GOAT back in action?


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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  1. Glad that Roger is back, its a good draw but tough to predict since he was away for almost 8 weeks. The long break will do him wonders for him. I am sure he will make it at least to the semis.

  2. About time! Can’t wait to see him back in action. I’ve got high hopes. I reckon he will have been practicing hard on clay and he knows its important to reannounce himself on tour after being out for so long. Allez!

    1. Hope so man. Hopefully the back issues are a thing of the past. Least the temperatures are rising now so the cold won’t factor.

  3. Yup, gonna be nice seeing him back!! hopes he fares well, I predict semis, and based on the way he’s playing I’ll update πŸ˜‰ But I honestly can’t back him up against Nadal, especially the way he has been playing lately… I know there’s the back and all, but I can’t say it fires me up –‘

    1. Agreed. A three match tune-up, against players who aren’t exactly grinders, will not be enough to dismantle Nadal who has played nearly all of his matches on dirt. He will be out there, full blooded, and full of angst. The hatred he has for Federer is what really drives him in those matches and given recent developments, it’s only going to get worse. A straight sets (7-5, 6-4) win for Nadal if he meets Roger in the SF.

      1. Disclaimer: The courts will have been relaid this year, from blue to red. So, the characteristics of the surface still remains to be seen. If it tends to be faster than usual, all bets are off πŸ™‚

      2. That’s an easy way out!! I’ll let you know before the semi what the bets are πŸ˜› (if he makes it there of course)

    2. Apparently the courts are playing fast.

      I wouldn’t write him off against Nadal in Madrid though, he has beaten him there before in 2009 and remember the build up to that? Burned in Miami, lost to Stan in Monte Carlo. Previous form is not always the best indicator with Fed.

      1. That’s the thing about him that makes him so frustratingly exciting to watch, it’s been discussed at length on previous threads – you watch him stumble his way through a draw then he just tears up a match you expected him to lose and you wonder why you ever doubted him. Here’s hoping for something similar next week!

  4. A Fedal SF and meet-up #30 looms! I am going out bold and saying a Djokovic-Federer Final with Djokovic winning it all. I think Fed will beat Rafa in the SF if he doesn’t lose early. He’s all but guaranteed to loose #2 ranking, but just seeing Federer play is all that matters! I like his chances here better than Rome due to altitude and that these courts are quick. I still think Rafa for both Rome and French Open. Ah, the 2 1/2 month wait is over πŸ™‚

    The French Open has announced that the rankings will determine seeding and they won’t give Rafa a buffer and won’t boost him to #1/#2. What are your thoughts about that? If Fed’s #3 at FO, it’s impossible to get #5 seeded for QF? I know Rafa will be on opposite side of draw from Djoker. Still waiting for that Federer-Djokovic GS Final!

    1. Why can’t Nadal be in Fed’s quarter in they are seeded 3 and 5? I thought the only real rule (apart from all the fixed draws…) that number 1 and 2 are in opposite draws?

      and if Fed is “drawn” in Djoker’s quarter, could that be something to hope for? better djoker than Dull huh?

    2. It’s pretty certain that Roger enters FO as the number #3 seed and Rafa has #5. Most Federer fans are expecting them to be in the same half so when draw day comes it won’t be a surprise.

      1. yeah, there are two ways to have them in opposite draws for sure:
        -the official one: they’re seeded 1 and 2
        -the non official but very real one…: Fed is in the same draw as Djoker πŸ˜›

  5. Yes, I agree, it will be nice to see Roger playing again. To quote Roger, you don’t always have to win if you love playing the game of tennis. He is just so wonderful to watch on the court.

  6. Just like all true Roger fans, i cant wait to see the GOAT come back and just simply be on court again. Man a life these two months were long!! Will be a very intresting watch to see how Fed comes back. Win or lose Federer has done more to cement his legacy!! ( preferably win ) . Simply the best!!!!!

  7. Can.not.wait. Really. It’s been long enough. I’m going into this tourney with lowered expectations, for now just being happy that he’s back on court again. Wasn’t too disappointed about the draw. Think it’s doable. Even Nadal in the semis, if Rog is on fire. Nadal isn’t a 100% yet, so you never know how that goes… But maybe I’m wrong. I’m not worried about Tomic either. I think it’s more likely it’ll be Stepanek he’ll play tbh. Tomic’s lost a lot of 1st and 2nd rounds lately and hasn’t been doing well at all… Interesting is that he played doubles with Raonic but that all got changed and Raonic teamed up with Dimitrov recently… And speaking about the latter, I’m so glad you see it too Jonathan… I expect great things from him as well… I already loved his play, but it was MC where he really surprised me in the way he had matured (on and off court!) and was much more patient in constructing the points, less eager, everything… It was just bΓ©tter… Not sure either if it’ll happen already in Madrid, but there is still time πŸ™‚

    But back to Roger. I’m a bit worried about Gasquet tbh, but that’s more because I can’t “read” this man at all and he gets on my nerves, more than I think Fed can’t handle it…
    In general, I have a feeling he really might surprise us all out there on court. He might be a little rusty cause he doesn’t have any rhythm, but he has practiced a lot with varioust types of players (left-handers a few times) so I think he is very well-prepared. Let’s hope I’m right πŸ˜‰ Allez!

    1. Hey Natasja,

      I think the draw is doable too, some potentially exciting matches.

      I wouldn’t worry about Gasquet though, he can be dangerous but I don’t think he has the artillery to beat Fed.


  8. OlΓ‘ Jon!

    I leave my Federer abstinence syndrome away to say that the 2013 draw is as hard as last year and despite the smurf clay, do you all remember the final result? i”m very confident, we can do the SF without any doubt.
    I’ve been in this tournament in 2009 (yes, the wonderful 2009) and I tell everyone if you have the opportunity to go to Madrid, do it! La Caja Magica is amazing! And thanks God, Madrid courts are not slow as Monte Carlo and Rome.
    Hala & Allez, Rogi!

    1. Bonjour!

      Ah lucky you, were you there for the final??

      It looks like a cool venue, almost like a giant box. Hopefully 09 gets repeated.


  9. Hola! Finally. Wow 7 weeks goes…slow without Roger. But it’s now more exciting to have the GOAT return I guess.

    I think if Djokovic’s form is anything like it was towards the business end of Monte Carlo, his draw isn’t much of a factor. It’s another rigged draw so no surprises that Nadal and Djokovic are on opposite sides, I will be expecting a similar draw in Rome then I guess and Paris as the FO announced that seedings will be reflect the rankings, Nadal shouldn’t get special treatment which is fair but they will meddle with the draw either way to make sure Novak and Rafa are on opposite sides so they probably need to redefine their definition of fair.

    Now Roger. Well he’s got a good quarter and some reasonable tests with his quarter. Can’t say much on him at the moment. We should expect some rust in the first two rounds at least. Until we see his form up until the quarters, can’t say which way Fedal XXX will go, but right now it’s looking like another Djokovic/Nadal show down. If Novak wins again, I’m guessing his position as FO favourite is cemented. Hoping Roger can do something this week but a semi-run is pleasing given his up and down form so far.

    Either way, can’t wait till Roger gets on court, either way it looks to be a good one. One match at a time, Allez Maestro!

    P.s Jonathan I think this fact was rather interesting given the stakes:
    Ever since 2009, on the men’s side, the person who has won Madrid has gone on to win Wimbledon. Hmmm, now if history tells us anything by that I’m really hoping Roger starts rolling this week all the way to the title!

  10. Also if Dimitrov wants to shed the Baby fed tagline, he should probably get a new Facebook photo…

  11. For everything that has been said, just hope the Fed comes out blazing. Otherwise he might get
    ‘dumped’ before the semis. πŸ™ And for the joker?, he just got lucky at MC. Lets wait and see
    who gets schooled this time. πŸ™‚ Vammooss!

    1. I don’t know… Don’t think there was much luck involved in Nadal’s match at MC. Maybe before due to his injury, but seemed to me like he thumped Nadal pretty thouroughly. and the surface at Madrid is faster, which would benefit Nole?

    2. Come on Batman, anyone who watched Monte Carlo knows Djoker schooled Nadal there. He is his master.

      Faster surface definitely benefits Djokovic.

  12. For once, i hope the Fed thrashes the Djoker… πŸ™‚ Besides he’s the defending champion by the way.

  13. Iv just read Federers interview. His back problem is good and he feels better which is a real good sign. He seems real upbeat and eager to come back. Also he said that he feels he is going to be tough to beat. All positive signs and all the right words. Come on Roger!!!!

  14. Jonathan, if you do not eliminate Batman from this blog, then as much as I love commenting here, I am leaving. This is a Roger Federer blog, not a general tennis blog. I certainly do not like someone with an antagonistic point of view trolling around. What the heck is, “I’ll reserve my answer to your comment after Rome and RG” supposed to mean? That he is waiting for a result to return and make some snide and sarcastic comments on this blog? No, Sir, we don’t need any of that. He can go to YouTube and other blogs and thrive with the scum out here. Batman is simply on this blog for sadistic pleasure. This blog, I assumed, is for fairly like minded people who disagree with each other politely.

    Again, just let me know what you’re planning on doing.

    1. Ah, give it a little break πŸ™‚ I agree he’s defo not my favourite commenter, but we’renot gonna start banning people are we? juste give it a rest and ignore it.

      1. It’s a disease. If it’s not cured now, it will spread. Before you know it, this blog will be troll heaven. It will become just like any other blog.

        Trolls like him are the precise reason I do not comment…at all…on any other blogs, sports or otherwise. The only reason I’m here is because of my love for the sport, and the great man.

        The solution is simple, we kill the Batman. If not, I swear, I will destroy this guy, I will chastise him so bad, that Jonathan will be forced to ban either me, or the Batman.

    2. Sid, first of all, you are not going anywhere. Yes, I have spoken !!! After Jonathan, I look the most forward to your comments. Especially when you reply to my comments.

      About Batman, he is not that bad. And see it like this. He is paying Jonathan a compliment.
      Maybe there are not that many good sites on the web for him to comment and he thinks Jonathan’s site is good to comment. Really, is it a compliment to Jonathan and all of us who leave comments also. Maybe he likes our comments too.

      Seriously, I have been commenting on this site since december 2012 and I too have looked at other sites.
      But when you are done looking, the sites you like are Jonathan’s (and Ru-an’s site).

      So be happy for all of us. And Batman can say bad things about Roger. We do not always like what Roger does too. But as long as he does not threaten Roger (or us) or call Roger very bad names, he is oke.
      Would like to tell him to stop the grammar thing though. Not all of us have masters in English !!!

      And Sid, see it like this. We are Roger fans…….. he is a Rafa fan. Yes, even Rafa has diehard fans.

      But Sid, the main important thing is that…………. my hero is back……… after two TOO long months.
      And I MISSED HIM SO MUCH !!!

      And Sid…………. you are really not going anywhere !!!


  15. Like everyone else, I am very excited to see Roger back on court! It’s been a LONG 8 weeks. That said, I have to admit I’m a little hesitant to commit to a prediction on how he’ll perform. The extended break doesn’t concern me as much as the “back” issues he’d been having. We know he practiced and prepared and that part will pay off and I expect him to be able to shake off (if any) accumulated rust. But I’m still a bit bothered by the back issue. (Maybe I’m overreacting?) If it has healed nicely, then I’m not worried at all and can see him going deep in Madrid. I even think he has good chances against Nadal there…as long as he really is healthy. Good point, Jonathan, the warmer weather should help! Nonetheless, I’ll be watching with a little guarded enthusiasm and hope to get some reassurance once he makes it through his first match! πŸ˜‰ I kind of hope it’ll be vs. Stepanek because, as you mentioned, his style can keep Roger on his toes and at least his game has some variety making for a potentially more entertaining matchup than some. C’mon Roger! πŸ˜€

    1. Hey Wendy,

      Well he said in his pre tournament presser the back is fine and it took him a while to get over but now he’s back ready to roll.

      And it is against Stepanek as Tomic lost as predicted. Also his Dad assaulted someone by all accounts? lol. Drama follows Tomic.



  16. I do not see anybody beating djokovic here. I expect a nadal- djokovic final. Fed should do well but don’t think he can best nadal but u never know. I predict djokovic- murray nadal- federer semis. Of course don’t know how we’ll murray can do on clay

      1. Jonathan, what do you mean with ‘Roger sounded quite bullish’?
        Is that a good thing or a bad thing? A compliment?

      2. Yes it’s a good thing, means he is feeling confident about his chances and feels his game is in good shape ahead of this long stretch of tennis.

  17. Hi Jonathan, that picture of Roger where he is wearing blue and holding the Madrid trophy, is one of my most favourite pictures of him !!! He looks so cool and handsome !!! Had to comment that.

  18. Jonathan, should we be worried for the rest of the clayseason and the rest of the total season?
    This is the second time Rafa is in Roger’s draw !!! Why? On hardcourt and on clay?
    Will this mean that he will be in Roger’s draw in Rome and RG as well?

    1. Nah, the draws are beyond the players control! I guarantee he will be in Nadal’s half at the FO. But its not big deal, happens at every slam.

  19. People, lets give it up for Stan the Man !!! Wow, he is becoming dangerous !!!
    Do hope he does not play Roger the way he played Ferrer.

    Oh and what about our Goat’s comment to the press about not saying things to the press like he (Brenwald) does!!!
    Really, Roger is so….. terrific !!!

      1. Alvi, sorry, I am really not good with internet. Only know how to look things and videos up and how to leave comments. Don’t know how to link stuff, sorry.
        Don’t laugh, but I don’t even know how you tweet something or how you post something on Facebook. Not all of Roger’s fan are computernerds !!!

  20. I guess the ranking will not affect the seeding in Rome. Last year, Roger actually sealed back world no.2 from Nadal but still he was seeded no.3 in Rome the next week. Luckily, at least Roger could face Djokovic in the final of these two tournaments.

    Nadal is becoming slightly slower and sluggish now. His forehand is not that reliable. He makes more uncharacteristic mistakes than usual. It is possible for Roger to beat him in any kind of surfaces given that he is healthy and in form.

    1. Hope you’re right Pollux. But too early to write Nadal off I feel. I think only the Djoker has his card marked as of right now. Interesting to see how Murray fairs too.

      Almost certain we will see a Fedal match sometime soon though.


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