I remember he used to say on the ATP site that it was his favorite surface.
Yes, I remember him saying that too. And I remember thinking, "Well do a bit b****y better on it then!"
I used to think along the same lines! After all, he did all his training at the Academy in Barcelona on it, so ...?
The problem with clay is that a) the bounce is lower, b) ability to slide correctly into position is important
and c) the ball moves slower after the bounce giving more time for defender to recover their position
This means that someone who puts more top spin into the ball (like Nadal) and can slide properly will have more success.
Last year Nole was able to break this trend by hitting the ball cleanly near the baseline, taking the time away from the clay courters and blasted them off court.If Andy is able to improve his sliding,
and duplicate Nole baseline hugging, clean ball striking technique, then there is no reason why he can't do well on clay this year. I look forward with eager anticipation as Andy excellent results last year shows he has come to grip with the red dirt
This really answers all 3 above posts. Andy has a problem other players do not have - his right bi-partite patella. He's said himself that this condition (and why, oh why, did something that affects only about 1% of the population have to happen to such a talented player?) is aggravated by certain movements, particularly those involved in playing on clay, and unfortunately sliding to his RH side is one of them. Therefore that is all the more reason to feel proud of what Andy has achieved, especially on clay. He got to the SF at RG last year with an injured ankle as well, so this year, with Lendl at his side plus his own perseverance on that surface, I reckon anything is possible.