The Monday Slice: Don't write off Roger

It took him nearly two years, but Roger Federer's first victory over Rafael Nadal in a tournament final since Wimbledon 2007 could be the catalyst the world No. 2 needs.

Federer's confidence against Nadal has looked shot in recent times as the young Spaniard has established himself as the dominant force in the game. This year's Australian Open final, when Federer melted down spectacularly in the fifth set, was the most striking evidence of the mental grip Nadal held over his biggest rival.

However, Federer's 6-4, 6-4 victory in the final of the Mutua Madrilena Open on Sunday may serve as the driving force he needs to be competitive with Nadal when it really matters.

Even though Nadal looked worn out following his epic semifinal win over Novak Djokovic, Federer will take great heart from having beaten the 22-year-old on his favorite surface, clay, and in his home country.

Nadal is still an overwhelming favorite for the French Open and rightly so, but Federer has shown it is too early to write him off.

Drop shot

The Dubai Tennis Championships was fined a record $300,000 for the refusal of the United Arab Emirates government to grant a visa to Israeli player Shahar Peer.
The UAE's short-sighted actions put Dubai's status as a future destination for big events in doubt and this move will hopefully ensure there is no repeat of these shameful scenes next year.

Clean winner

Wimbledon could not have hoped for a better way to launch its new Centre Court roof. No sooner had the roof closed ahead of an exhibition mixed doubles match between Tim Henman-Kim Clijsters and Andre Agassi-Steffi Graf than the traditional London weather kicked in with a heavy rainstorm. The roof not only looks spectacular, but will cut down on the interminable and frustrating rain delays that have often clogged up the Wimbledon schedule.

Use your frequent flier miles

The Polish capital of Warsaw provides the pick of this week's action as the French Open draws closer. Maria Sharapova's return to singles play is a highlight as the women's tour stops off at this picturesque and historical city.

This week's predictions

ARAG World Team Championships, Dusseldorf: Sweden
Interwetten Austrian Open, Kitzbuehel: Martin Vassallo Arguello
Warsaw Open, Warsaw: Zheng Jie
Internationaux de Strasbourg, Strasbourg: Shuai Peng

Last week's results:

Mutua Madrilena Open, Madrid (men): Roger Federer
Mutua Madrilena Open, Madrid (women): Dinara Safina

What to Read Next