Rolling out the red clay for Federer?

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Roger Federer now has a clearer path to a clay court title at this week’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia aka Masters Series Roma after Rafael Nadal was taken out by former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-5, 6-1 in the second round.

David Ferrer‘s also out, as is Guillermo Canas and David Nalbandian (part of that cabal who chipped at Roger’s confidence in 2007, though these two are stronger on hardcourts). I think the only person who can currently pose a threat is Nicolas Almagro. Do y’all agree?

The longer Roger stays in the draw, though, the higher the likelihood that we’ll see more practice shirts. For now, he’s used two:

Nice yellow bandana from Nike to go with his ringer tee.

This second one has two perpendicular white lines mimicking those of a tennis court. There’s also a graphic on the back of the shirt, but I can’t find a photo that shows it off properly…

(photos via MTF)

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One Response to “Rolling out the red clay for Federer?”

  1. Joshua Says:

    If Ferrer had stayed in the draw, I think Federer would still have his work cut out for him. Ferrer is a great clay-courter and a top five player who I think can and will eventually challenge even Nadal. His early exit certainly clears the way for Federer. But don’t forget Djokovic! Djokovic doesn’t have Federer’s clay court resume — but he didn’t have Federer’s hard-court resume when he beat Roger in Australia (or Montreal for that matter.) Djokovic was also a French Open semi-finalist last year (it was at the French that his extremely fine Slam series started.) He and Federer have played twice on clay, the first time just a week ago in Monte Carlo where Djokovic retired. Their first meet up, though a few years ago, was a three-setter in Monte Carlo, where Djokovic took the second set 6-2! And consider also that Davydenko, although he retired against Federer in Esotril, is also playing fantastic tennis on both clay and hard courts and I think has at least a shot against Federer if they end up in the final together.

    Other than those two, I do think Almagro (who has had some wishy-washy results lately) is the best bet. But overall, I think this is a pretty strong clay-court R16, with a lot of potential spoilers — Stepanek, Horna, Verdasco, Robredo and Bolleli all may not exactly be at the top of my list, but they’ve all got at least an outside shot, don’t you think? And lastly: Juan Carlos Ferrerro is probably way past his prime, but I’m sure he’s got another important clay court title in him and having beaten (an admittedly injured) Nadal he may have the confidence now to get his game back on track.

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