Re: MADRID 2013 Mission: Snatch That #500!!!
I'm not a fan of this tournament. I admit that Maria's success in the other 3 clay tournaments have made me biased, but I see this as the most unnecessary of the 4. And the debacle of last year's blue crap certainly didn't help my opinion of it. It's too bad this is a mandatory.
I just think cramming 4 grueling clay tournaments into a single month puts too much wear and tear on the players. Stuttgart is a perfect start to get everyone acclimated to the red clay, but without the outdoor elements. Then you take out Madrid, give the players extra rest, and they'll all be really prepared and fresh for the 2 that matter the most, Rome and RG. The surface and conditions at Rome are nearly identical to RG, so it's the perfect preparation for the French. To me, those 2 go hand-in-hand.
I thought it was a blessing in disguise that Maria ran into Serena earlier in Madrid last year. It gave Maria a couple of extra days off and saved her from exerting herself more. And I do think that helped her complete the Rome/RG double. Madrid can go away and I just hope Maria gets through it healthy and unscathed.