Business as usual for the King of Clay and the weeks round-up including Frances Tiafoe!

I’m going to start off with praise for Frances Tiafoe. I really like this geezers attitude! It doesn’t matter if he’s playing Federer in Miami or a Challenger in Sarasota, he gets on with the job at hand. You get certain players who would find that too much of a comedown and give off the perception that they were too good to be there, the 19-year-old took the title though. He was unlucky not to beat Isner at the US last year, a little bit of inexperience cost him that day. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this lad though, all the signs look good. He also seems to have a decent sense of humour. A video was brought to my attention at work concerning Tiafoe’s first round clash with Mitchell Krueger. I’ll let you watch it if you haven’t already. The American’s initial reaction is priceless and his comments at 1.57 quite honestly make him a hero!

Rafa does what Rafa does. Another Masters series triumph in Monte Carlo ramps up his chances even more for the French, not that they needed it. By all accounts, Rafa was livid with the way he let Kyle Edmund back into the match against him, in the Spaniard’s first match. Furious that he had let his opponent dictate him in that way, he missed the coveted player’s party to stay on the practice courts! It shows what a top professional he really is, others would have just gone and got smashed! It was the kick up the ass he needed and he dominated everyone else in sight. Sascha Zverev was strongly fancied to beat him next and got served up for 2 games. The impressive Diego Schwartzman, David Goffin and Albert Ramos Vinolas were all seen off in straights. That aura and bossing the baseline look was back. The signs are ominous. Ramos had a top week himself, after coming from 4-0 in the decider to beat Murray. He had little that could trouble Rafa though, who can to be fair?? On the red clay, he plays the game like an art showing great court craft, it’s simply a joy to watch. Djokovic’s quarter-final loss to David Goffin showed the Serbian is nowhere near his best still, the Belgian is very useful on clay in his defence. Lucas Pouille justified my faith in him by making the semi’s, losing to Vinolas. In all honesty, he made use of the draw and with the exception of his victory over Pablo Cuevas in the quarter’s, you would have expected him to come through his other matches unscathed. Still, a much improved week from the Frenchman.

I have to say I have absolutely no idea what was going through Ilie Nastase’s head this weekend. There is no doubt that he totally disgraced himself. The comments made about Serena’s baby are just racist and prehistoric! As someone who has interracial relationships myself, I was wild about the remarks. What a twat! His antics with Anne Keothavong prematch (trying to flirt) and then Keothavong and Konta during the match, show in fact, that he is….oh yes A MASSIVE TWAT. Being escorted out of the venue says it all. I wouldn’t put his name in the title as he doesn’t deserve the attention! Was he/is he pissed? He will have to accept a dosage from the ITF and rightly so! The Romanian’s spearheaded by Halep turned the tie in their favour come Sunday and nicked it 3-2. This is a big 6 weeks for Simona, can this kick-start her year? In the World Group Coco Vandeweghe got the job done for the American’s, she walloped Marketa Vondrousova and Katerina Siniakova in the singles. Coco then teamed up with Beth Mattek-Sands in the decisive rubber, beating Kristyna Pliskova/Siniakova. The will face the Belarusian’s in the Final as Aliaksandra Sasnovich beat both Bacsinszky and Golubic. Aryna Sabalenka took Golubic out in the fourth rubber to kill the tie. Interestingly Vika will be back for the final on home soil in November! Finally, Qiang Wang won the 125k event in Zhengzhou. Top seed Shuai Peng pulled out during the final, she has a history of injuries which is a shame as on her day she can give most players a run for her money. Wang was seeded two for the event and it went with form as the top two has little trouble in reaching the finals.

Andy Del Potro

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