On this week’s Tennis Podcast, Catherine Whitaker, David Law and Matt Roberts look back on a fantastic tournament in Madrid, headlined by titles for Novak Djokovic and Kiki Bertens.
It is any coincidence that Djokovic has clicked back into top gear with Roland Garros just around the corner? How has a new framework of ambition paved the way for Bertens to win big titles and become a top-five player? And where do they both rank on the list of French Open favourites?
The clay courts of Madrid typically bear little resemblance to those at Roland Garros. The Spanish capital is at altitude which speeds up conditions and makes it difficult to draw accurate conclusions about how players will go on to perform in Paris.
However, when Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic both won their only French Open titles to date, in 2009 and 2016 respectively, the one clay-court event which they both won in the build-up was Madrid. Maria Sharapova also won there before triumphing in Paris for the second time in 2014.
With Rafael Nadal yet to hit his stride on clay this season, and with no one dominating on the women’s tour, Bertens and Djokovic will certainly have a good chance of repeating their Madrid success at Roland Garros this year. Djokovic’s last twelve months have been defined by his ability to peak at Grand Slams, while Bertens has won eight of her last nine matches against Top 5 opposition.
Elsewhere, all the other major storylines from Madrid are discussed. How did Stefanos Tsitsipas conquer his demons to beat Rafael Nadal for the first time? How did Roger Federer look on his return to clay? And is Belinda Bencic exceeding expectations on this surface?
The Tennis Podcast is produced weekly throughout the year and daily at the Grand Slam tournaments, in association with The Telegraph.
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