Rafael Nadal, the King of Clay, is having another extraordinary clay court season this year. He won his 52nd career clay court title and 30th ATP Masters shield by extending his undefeated streak on clay by beating Dominic Thiem of Austria 7-6(8) 6-4 to win the Madrid Mutua Open. Nadal has now won his 5th title in Madrid and his 10th(!) title in Barcelona and Monte Carlo. Interestingly, Nadal notched up a win against Novak Djokovic on his way to the final, stopping a losing streak against the former World #1 and setting their head to head at 24W-26L.
NO CHANCE OF #FEDAL AT #RG17 AS ROGER PULLS OUT OF FRENCH OPEN
2017 Australian Open champion Roger Federer has finally confirmed what many of us suspected awhile ago after he won the Sunshine Double in March: The 18-time major champion would skip the entire clay court season to focus on the summer grass and hard court seasons. In a statement released on his website on Monday May 15th, he said "I need to recognize that scheduling will be the key to my longevity moving forward. Thus, my team and I concluded today that playing just one event on clay was not in the best interest of my tennis and physical preparation for the remainder of the season."
HALEP DEFENDS MADRID TITLE BY OUTLASTING KIKI MLADENOVIC
The hottest player on tour in 2017 is Kristina "Kiki" Mladenovic, who has reached 4 tournament finals this year (winning only 1). Simona Halep was pushed to a 3rd set against Kiki in final of the Madrid Open, eventually winning the deciding set 6-2, which was the Romanian's first defense of an important title. Halep's win means that she returns to the Top 5 in the rankings, while Mladenovic will rise to World #14.
KERBER REGAINS #1 RANKING, SERENA UNLIKELY TO BE #1 AGAIN IN 2017
Angelique Kerber has regained the #1 ranking by earning enough points in Madrid to surpass the total by Serena Williams. Since Serena is not playing any tournaments for the rest of the year it seems unlikely that she will be #1 ranked again in 2017, although it is possible that if Kerber does not defend the ranking points she earned in 2016 (US Open title and Wimbledon final) that the German's total may fall below Kerber's. However, it's possible that other players such as Karolina Pliskova (who currently leads the Race to Singapore), Halep or Dominika Cibulkova could reach #1 this year.