First off, last week I wrote : Nadal will win again in Barcelona next week, unless David Ferrer can play his best for two sets in the final.
Ferrer played well in the second set, Nadal won in three. Not bragging, just saying. He makes it so easy though. As long as he is healthy, he’ll keep winning on clay, in Rome this week, Hamburg next week and in Paris in June. He has never lost more than one set in a match at Roland-Garros.
Andy Roddick made his 2008 debut on clay this morning in Rome, with an easy win over his friend Mardy Fish. Roger Federer and Nadal have already played two tournaments on the red dirt. The French Open has never been Roddick’s priority. He is 4-7 lifetime there.
Federer could face David Ferrer in the quarterfinals, Novak Djokovic or David Nalbandian in the semis and Nadal in the final. That’s one heavy bracket.
This was true until Wednesday when Ferrer, Nalbandian and Nadal lost to Radek Stepanek -- one big upset --, Nicolas Almagro and Juan Carlos Ferrero --another very big upset--.
It may not be an excuse, let's call it an explanation, Nadal was hampered by massive blisters under his right foot. He received treatment at 1-4 in the second set and went on to lose the final games.
Almagro has been playing very well on clay this year. He beat Nalbandian in the final in Acapulco, Mexico, in March.
A few months ago, I wrote Parity, Stupidity which you can still read here.
The men play a Masters Series event in Rome, Italy this week. They will be in Hamburg, Germany, next week, for another clay court Masters Series tournament, the last of three this year. The Masters Series are the ATP Tour top tier events.
The women play a Tier I event in Berlin, Germany, this week and will be in Rome netx week, for another Tier I tournament. The Tier I classification is the highest on the WTA Tour.
Only the Grand Slam events, which are run by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), rank higher in the world of tennis.
The total purse for each of the two Masters Series events is nearly US$ 3,520,000 (€2,270,000). While on the women’s side the total prize money for each of the two events is US$1,340,000.
I don’t know if the difference is justified. I haven’t talked to the organizers or the sponsors or the Tours about it. My point is that we are far from the parity much heralded by the WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott.
The only joint tournament which men and women don’t play the same week that offers equal prize money is the “The Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships” in the United Arab Emirates.