Sign up and join our subleague! It’s called tennisdiary.com. We send weekly email updates to all subleague members before the submission deadline.
The deadline for picking your team this week is Sunday, August 5, 10am EST, 4pm CET.
Rear View Mirror – a look at last week’s pick
I’ve still got a chance to win Sopot with Tommy Robredo. I predicted that Nikolay Davydenko would break out of his slump. He did get out of the first round for the first time in his last four tournaments but even I could not have predicted that he’d become embroiled in a gambling controversy.
Gamblers on the British online site Betfair.com laid $7 million on Davydenko to lose his match against Martin Vassallo-Arguello AFTER Davydenko had already won the first set 6-2. You can read more about it here.
I’m all the way up to number 18 in the standings due to good U.S. Open picks but this week things could go topsy turvy because we have the Masters Series event at Montreal and the first prize is $400, 000. Masters Series events are second only to the slams in prize money.
Montreal (hard court, $400, 000)
First the no-brainers: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Nadal won this event in 2005 and he won the Masters hard court event in Indian Wells. Andy Roddick has also won this tournament and falls in to the category of no-brainer. We need eight players for our team, two from each quarter, so let’s see who the other five players will be.
Roger Federer’s Quarter
Andy Murray is the wild card because he hasn’t played since the middle of May when he hurt his wrist in Hamburg. It probably doesn’t matter because he’d meet Federer in the third round and that saves us a tough decision. Murray did beat Federer at Cincinnati last year but it’s hard to believe Murray’s in shape to do it again.
The top 23 players in the world are here and that’s why only Lleyton Hewitt, Juan Carlos Ferrero, James Blake or Tommy Robredo will make it to the quarterfinals. None of them has gone past the quarterfinals so we’re left with a tough decision because we need one more player from this quarter.
I’m going to forget about Blake because he’s had average hard court results this year. Robredo has been a bit more consistent than Ferrero and Hewitt on hard courts so I’m going with him.
Fernando Gonzalez’ Quarter
Mikhail Youzhny could easily lose to Hyung-Taik Lee so I’m picking Jarrko Nieminen as one of the players from this section. At least he got to the quarterfinals last year.
This is a crappy quarter because it’s full of clay court players and inconsistent players. Fernando Gonzalez is the only one who’s had good results here. He got to the semifinals last year but he’s had miserable hard court results except for the Australian Open and he lost in the first round two weeks ago in Los Angeles, of all places.
Haas is fighting against Radek Stepanek and Gonzalez to get to the quarterfinals and this is the toughest decision in the draw. Neither Haas nor Stepanek have good results here (clearly this is the theme this week) but Haas steps up in bigger tournaments so I’m dropping the inconsistent Gonzalez and playing wait and see on Stepanek.
Novak Djokovic’s Quarter
Roddick has to get past Tomas Berdych to get to the quarterfinals and Berdych beat Nadal here last year. But Roddick has played two hard court events already and he’s had a win and two finals here so I’m sticking with him.
Djokovic doesn’t have much competition in his section so he should meet Roddick in the quarterfinals.
Rafael Nadal’s Quarter
Richard Gasquet doesn’t have a lot of competition in his section either and he reached the final last year so he should be able to get to the quarterfinals and he has a good shot at beating Nadal. They played in a challenger back in 2003 for their only hard court meeting and Gasquet won it.
Mario Ancic is back after recovering from mononucleosis but this is his first tournament since February. The only person who could threaten Nadal before he gets to Gasquet is Guillermo Canas. Canas won this tournament but it was long ago in 2002.
Here’s my team: Federer, Robredo, Nieminen, Haas, Roddick, Djokovic, Gasquet, and Nadal.