Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray: Lessons from Miami

Devil in a New DressSenior Writer IMarch 31, 2012

KEY BISCAYNE, FL - MARCH 28:  Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates match point against Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia during the Sony Ericsson Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 28, 2012 in Key Biscayne, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Miami, the third big tournament of the year, will come and go and the European clay court season beckons. What have we learned?

There were people who took pride in writing off Novak Djokovic’s 2012. The common calls were that he couldn’t possibly repeat his 2011 season and that the likes of Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Roger Federer would come into their own. Well, a slam and two Masters 1000 events later, Djokovic is the most “on-track” of the big four. I expect a close match in the final against Murray, and even though it is my opinion that he will lose, he will be the best bet for best performer in the European clay court season.

Rafael Nadal’s 2012 has not lit up as much as he and his fans will have wanted. Three big tournaments into 2012 and he’s had two semi-final places and a finals appearance. Not bad if you’re fourth or fifth in the world—not great if you’re a 10-time Grand Slam winner who hasn’t won a tournament since May last year. News of the Spaniard’s knee troubles won’t do much for his confidence heading into the clay courts and beyond. However, if he is fit to play, I expect particularly big things from Nadal in the next four months.

Roger Federer will no doubt be disappointed with his loss to Andy Roddick—not simply with the loss itself, but with the fact that he lost to man who then lost to Juan Monaco, of all people. Barring an appearance in a 250 or 500 European clay tournament, Federer’s title winning exploits are more than likely over for the next few months.

Andy Murray has no business losing Miami to Novak Djokovic—and that says it all.

Finally, David Ferrer is easily the most consistent player in the world. The chief professional in my opinion.