Rome Masters Men’s Players

Rome, ITALY: Spanish second seed Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Chilean sixth seed Fernando Gonzalez (6-2, 6-2) during their final of the tennis Masters Series in Rome, 13 May 2007. Nadal defeated Gonzalez 6-2, 6-2. AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE SIMON

Rafael Nadal

In all probability the 2009 Rome Masters will again be snapped up by Nadal – arguably the finest clay court player of current times. Although he lost his title at the 2008 event, as Novak Djokovic claimed the title for the first time, Nadal had won at Foro Italico for three successive years, and all indications are that he will subdue all-comers for the 2009 title.

Winner of four consecutive French Open crowns, Nadal has never lost a match during his Roland Garros Grand Slam campaign, netting 22 straight victories on the red clay courts of Paris. He too boasts the longest winning streak on any surface, having bagged 82 wins on clay.

Nadal’s playing style is perfectly suited to clay:

  • He boasts a strong two-handed backhand
  • He uses well-angled topspin strokes with impunity
  • He is known for his high fitness levels and his speedy on-court mobility
  • He is an aggressive counter-puncher who prefers to play from the deep court

Of his 31 singles wins, 18 were contested on clay and his overall win/loss record stands at an enviable 335–77.

Novak Djokovic

Current defending champion Novak Djokovic looks a fine threat to world number one, Rafael Nadal. He also holds the title of 2008 Australian Open Champion and 2008 Tennis Masters Cup, as well as four Masters Series victories. Djokovic currently ranks number 3 in the world, and will be in full force to defend his title at the 2009 Rome Masters.

If his 2009 tennis season is anything like his smashing 2008 season, we might be seeing a lot more of this young Serb as he rakes in the top level tennis tournament titles. To date he has won 3 clay court titles and this figure is likely to increase steadily throughout the year.

Roger Federer

It would imprudent to overlook the genius of Roger Federer. Although he is more suited to grass, the former world number one has twice been runner-up at the Rome Masters, and although the only Grand Slam title to have eluded him happens to be on the clay courts at the French Open, this Rome Masters men’s player is such a versatile player that he can win any competition on any given day.

At the time of compiling this profile, Federer had held the top berth for an astonishing 237 consecutive weeks. He was knocked out of the world number one position by rival Rafael Nadal. In his celebrated career he has won 13 Grand Slam singles titles, four Tennis Masters Cups and 14 ATP Masters Series titles, but of his 57 singles wins only six have been on clay.

Although the odds are against him on clay, he is an adept volleyer and an outstanding baseliner, so it’s even money on the great Federer at the 2009 Rome Masters for you!

Fernando Gonzalez

Runner-up at the 2007 Rome Masters, Fernando Gonzalez, has the potential to win the event again in the future. Although he is still to claim the highest honours in pro tennis, the Grand Slams, he has taken on and defeated some of the finest tennis players in his relatively short career.

Gustavo Kuerten, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Marat Safin are just some of the top players who have fallen to the power of the young Chilean.

His game is well suited to clay as he is an offensive baseliner who exhibits powerful ground strokes with speed and agility. He enjoys approaching the net by chipping and charging and has a wide array of passing shots. Of his eight singles wins, five have been contested on clay.