Lead up to French Open
This year Rafa is not a nailed on favourite. I think he is a slight favourite over Novak. Rome will be an excellent pointer to levels of confidence because the conditions are more relevant to Paris. Results in Madrid are helpful on an individual basis for confidence but in my opinion not very relevant as a guide to who will win in Paris.
Novak's loss to Dimitrov is helpful to Grigor but will not affect Novak. Roger needs matches and the altitude will guarantee him that. Roger likes the conditions in Madrid so I felt that if he is to feature in Paris he had to show form here. However in his interview after losing to Nishikori he feels that Madrid is good as a stand-alone tournament and too many weeks away from Paris to be designated a lead in tournament.
Top players are brilliant at finding a way to turn everything that happens, even tough losses into something which can help them to look forward positively. After Rafa and Novak the possible winner will come from Del Potro, Berdych, Murray and Federer. Guys who can pull off a big four upset but I don't believe will win it are Dimitrov, Tsonga and Ferrer.
The ladies is wide open. Serena has struggled to put a run together for many a year so is certainly hungry for it. Little is known about Azerenka's form at present but we know she can play big tennis. Sharapova is the form player and defending champ, yet I don't see a second title for her. Dangerous floaters include Li, Errani, Ivanovic, Stosur and I will now throw in Robson as capable of upsetting anyone. Follow a player who you enjoy watching and see what happens because I certainly cannot pick a clear favourite.
TeamBath-MCTA will feature strongly on the grass this year with Samatha Murray, Lisa Whybourn, Anna Brogan (junior) and Richard Gabb. We have worked extremely hard to get these players into a position where Wimbledon is relevant to their schedules.