Murray: Rafa’s clay record is ‘ridiculous’
Originally published on: 12/04/12 10:15
Andy Murray admits that it usually takes him time to find his feet on clay, but the world No.4 expects Rafa Nadal to hit the dirt running. Murray, Nadal and Novak Djokovic are all beginning their clay-court seasons at next week’s Masters 1000 tournament in Monte-Carlo. Roger Federer is taking a break and may not reappear until next month’s Masters event in Madrid.
“Rafa probably steps on a clay court and feels comfortable straight away,” Murray said. “I’m not sure if that’s the case with Novak and Roger, but I would say that Rafa is the most natural on the clay. He’s going to go to Monte Carlo and he’ll play well, that’s for sure, because that’s his surface.”
Nadal will be aiming to win the title in Monte-Carlo for the eighth year in a row, having won all but one of his 40 matches at the tournament. The world No.2 has a similarly impressive record at the French Open, where he has won the title six times in the last seven years. “He’s lost one match in his career at the French Open,” Murray said. “It’s ridiculous. He has an unbelievable record there.”
Murray is expecting to see a contrast of styles during the clay-court season after Federer played a more attacking game last year. “He has a very different style to Rafa on the clay,” Murray said. “He was coming forward a lot, hitting a lot of drop shots on the clay last year, which he hadn’t really done in the past, so that was something he changed a bit.
“I would say Novak’s probably in between Roger and Rafa. Rafa probably plays the furthest behind the baseline and is the most consistent. Roger probably plays further inside the court than Novak. But Novak plays very close to the baseline. He plays good defence, very good offense as well. He’s probably the best returner out of the three of them.”