Brits on the clay – What to expect on the Road to Roland Garros

 

By Ros Satar

  • The clay court season is starting up (we are not sure we count that grey-green stuff in Charleston) – so what can we expect on the surface from the Top Brits?
  • Stats from TennisAbstract
TERRE BATTUE – Forget that stuff in Charleston, with the Aegon GB teams getting their shoes dirty in both Davis Cup & Fed Cup, what can we expect on the Brits on the clay.

 

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Andy Murray – 2016: 18-3 (86%)

To those who boldly dismiss Andy Murray’s need to kick into high gear only over the grass and summer/autumn hard court seasons, they need to think again. Murray’s momentum for the World No. 1 spot surely started here.

Starting with the Monte Carlo semi-finals, he had to relinquish his Madrid Masters title to Novak Djokovic before snapping up the Rome title for the first time, topping it all off with his first appearance in the Roland Garros final.

The news that he is training at the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy in readiness for the resulting hits and giggles for Roger Federer’s charity was surprisingly positive after the a lacklustre hard-court spring once more in Indian Wells and skipping Miami. Murray has been training in Monte Carlo, so looks hopeful to get his season start on the Riviera. With Djokovic back in Davis Cup action, he will need to stay on top of these points.

 

Dan Evans – 2016: 0-0

Yes you read that right. The last time Dan Evans was on the dirt before a loss and a win in the Davis Cup quarter-final against France was three years ago, at the Roland Garros qualifiers. He admitted he was still learning even with the dead rubber shenanigans but how much will he have taken on board going into his first tour event?

Over his entire career he is actually 16-10 (62%) and wait for it  – he has an ITF Futures title on the stuff. But as he told reporters at the Davis Cup tie – it is not his favourite surface and he is waiting for his Eureka moment.

 

Kyle Edmund – 2016: 12-4 (75%)

Actually Kyle Edmund is not half bad on the stuff – his record has been good on clay, and in his opening rubber in the Davis Cup quarter-final he made the first two sets very competitive against Lucas Pouille and could well have turned the tide around.

Expect him to maybe make up some ground on Evans who still is just a few positions ahead of him in the rankings.

 

Aljaz Bedene – 2016: 12-8 (60%)

In terms of the dirt, Aljaz Bedene is actually our third best male on clay, and after the terrible disappointment of his legal wrangles with the ITF over his eligibility to play for his nation, he really seems to be working his way back up – perhaps he also has a chance to get himself back up the rankings, having been the former British No. 2 and a consistent fixture in and around the Top 50.

 

Johanna Konta – 2016: 2-4 (33%)

Johanna Konta is not quite as bad as Evans in this respect but there is no doubt she is firmly in the “not my favourite surface’ camp although they both acknowledge that they have to try and be competitive no matter what the surface,

In Konta’s favour, she has had some results on clay and actually is a far more respectable 52-36 and indeed at the lower tiers of the tour she picked up three titles, but we are going back to 2010 now.

Konta will not be in Stuttgart but will be getting her shoes dirty as she leads the Aegon GB team in the Fed Cup World Group II Play-off in Constanta in Romania before being scheduled for the WTA Premier Mandatory in Madrid and Rome.

She can hardly do any worse in Madrid than her debut last year, where she had to retire against Caroline Garcia, and she fell in the third round of Rome. So not too many points to defend, and a chance to at least pick up some points in the lead up to the grass where no doubt her game is far better suited.

 

Heather Watson – 2016: 5-4 (56%)

Last year Heather Watson was the best on the dirt by virtue of picking up her one main draw win at the French Open. However due to the downturn in her fortunes, and her subsequent drop down the rankings she finds herself as an alternate in Istanbul, following her stint for the Fed Cup team in the World Group II Play-off next weekend in Romania.

She will have just missed the cut-off for main draw acceptance into the French Open but will pick up a seeding in qualifying.

 

Naomi Broady – 2016: 2-4 (33%)

Last year was equally not great for Naomi Broady who managed just two main draw appearances (Prague and Roland Garros) bowing out of both, with a couple of wins picked up in Madrid and Rome qualifying.

Coming off a first round blip in WTA Biel, Broady has had success at times on the lower tiers of the tour, but that has yet to translate at a WTA tour level.

 

Tara Moore – 2016: 9-5 (64%)

All of Tara Moore’s success on the clay have been on the lower levels of the tour, with just one loss in tour level qualifying. In all likelihood with her ranking, she will be playing out the lower levels again in the run up to the grass court season.

 

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