The 2013 Season of the Clay Season

Roger Federer brings down curtain on his career with a defeat, but still dazzles alongside longtime friend and rival Rafael Nadal in what may just be the greatest season on tour since Nadal’s best-ever…

The 2013 Season of the Clay Season

Roger Federer brings down curtain on his career with a defeat, but still dazzles alongside longtime friend and rival Rafael Nadal in what may just be the greatest season on tour since Nadal’s best-ever year.

I don’t care who you are, the 2013 season of the clay season was something special. Rafael Nadal’s best year on clay since 2008, or perhaps since he’s been on tour, and not just because of the record-breaking 15 Masters Grand Slam titles. In terms of quality on the grass courts, no player was better than Nadal in 2013, and we can’t forget about Roger Federer, who had the best season since he retired after the 2001 Wimbledon final against Goran Ivanisevic.

There’s another special quality to the 2013 season of the clay season, however. Every day on clay courts, you could see how the sport was evolving, becoming more and more reliant on forehand winners, and then you could see how that came to the forehand side. The way, after Roger Federer, it was the men’s game, and the women’s game, who had to become better in order for their sport to continue to thrive. You could say that the evolution of tennis reached a peak in 2013, which is why it’s so hard to pick out one thing with a solid argument.

The first time I watched Andy Murray play at his best, on clay, I was amazed at how he was able to keep his head above the surface. I was watching him play against Stan Wawrinka, and I could tell from the beginning that Murray was going to be the better player. He was able to keep a tight grip on the ball from point A to point B, hitting some of the most incredible forehand winners of the year. In the words of John McEnroe, “Great players don’t waste a good situation.”

Murray’s game on clay was a little different from his game on grass. He seemed to be able to play more from the

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