This weekend the second annual Serbia Open begins with qualifying rounds. It is an official stop on the ATP tour. The tourney is a minor event, as it is used by the players as a warm-up to the culmination of the clay court season, the French Open. It is squeezed between the Grand Slam French Open, and two Masters Series events, the clay court tourneys in Monte Carlo and Rome. Because of the length of the ATP season and the other events occuring simultaneously, most of the top players skip it.
I called it last year the Novak Djokovic Open and it looks to be the same this year. The field does look a bit stronger and there are a couple of players that could possibly stop Novak from defending his title. The top-ranked player after Novak is ATP #22 Tommy Robredo, who has eight clay court titles in his career. USA players John Isner and Sam Querrey will be playing. I guess those guys enjoyed Serbia for the Davis Cup and wanted to come back. There are a few other names I recognize in the draw, Ivo Karlovic, the 6-10 Croat, Frenchman Richard Gasquet, and of course, the other ranked Serbian players.
Djokovic this weekend is playing the quarterfinals in the Rome Masters series. He takes on Fernando Verdasco today. He is an emotional, inconsistent player so you never know how he will do. He is very patriotic and loves playing at home and will be tough to beat. I have a feeling however, that someone will manage to upset him and ruin the party. I hope to take the family to one of the games. We went to the finals last year but I’ll try for one of the earlier rounds this year. We shall see if Novak can do it again. I enjoyed watching big John Isner play in the Davis Cup last month and I hope he can advance far into the tourney.