One of the commentators said that spring arrives in Monaco when Prince Albert hands Rafael Nadal the winners trophy at Monte Carlo.
Well spring arrived. It wasn't great clay court tennis - all week everyone was playing some version of hard court - but in the final Rafa started sliding more and you could almost see his mind accepting the fact that he was back on clay.
David Ferrer, who won his last meeting with Rafa in Australia, gave it all he was worth but in the end Rafa hoisted the winners trophy for the seventh straight time.
The men's tour leaves Monte Carlo and heads to the capital city of Catalonia, Barcelona as it heads toward the jewel in the crown, Roland Garros. I'm looking forward to seeing real clay court tennis going forward since by now all of the tour, as Rafa put it, will have it's clay legs.
By the way American's did win on the red dirt. Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan won the doubles. I wonder why it's often overlooked that the Bryan twins are all court players. Maybe they have something to teach those who hate playing in the dirt.
The Agony of Defeat
While the men were playing in Monte Carlo the women's tour paused to play Fed Cup. If you want to know how the United States did the above picture of Venus Williams, who traveled with the team, tells you how it went. We lost to Germany 5-0 and for the first time in Fed Cup history are relegated. We had company. France, Australia and Canada joined us at Pity Party Central. Interesting isn't it that all of the Axis members are now out of the World Group. Great Britain of course hasn't been in the World Group for quite some time.
Meanwhile the Savior of Serbia came off the bench to win a singles match her country desperately needed. With the pressure on Ana Ivanovic, who had been tapped along with up and comer Bojana Jovanovski to play singles retired during her match against the Slovak Republic's Dominika Cibulkova putting Serbia in a 1-2 hole Jelena Jankovic was called on to play the must win singles match and came through with flying colors. She then turned around and played doubles with Aleksandra Krunic giving Serbia the win it needed to win the tie.
I know there is supposed to be drama between Ana and JJ but even I was surprised that Bojana was penciled in to play two singles matches. I know that Bojana was the hero of Serbia's earlier tie but I questioned the wisdom of not relying on a top ten player. I guess Serbia's captain came to his senses and played JJ.
Meanwhile it will be the Czech Republic vs Russia in the Fed Cup final. Russia will host.
Vera Zvonareva led Russia to victory over an Italian squad missing it's star players. Both Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta stayed home but Russia's victory is still impressive. In her post match interview Vera said
"I haven't played for my country for two years and I really wanted to give this match to my team."
Congratulations to all the winners!