After a week filled with polemics and surprising upsets, Djokovic, Nadal and co are happy to leave Madrid’s blue clay for the red clay of the Foro Italico in Rome.

Check out some pics and video of the draw ceremony which took place at one of Rome’s most popular tourist sites, the Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna). Attending the ceremony: former Italian players Nicola Pietrangeli, Lea Pericoli, but also Francesca Schiavone, Flavia Pennetta, Ana Ivanovic, Andy Murray and Fabio Fognini.

Nicola Pietrangeli:

Rome Masters draw ceremony: Nicola Pietrangeli

Rome Masters draw ceremony: Nicola Pietrangeli

Francesca Schiavone:

Rome Masters draw ceremony: Francesca Schiavone

Rome Masters draw ceremony: Francesca Schiavone

Flavia Pennetta:

Rome Masters draw ceremony: Flavia Pennetta

Thanks a lot to Mauro, webmaster of STE Fans, dedicated to the one and only Stefan Edberg.

Thanks to JC for sharing his pics. Read the full story on tennis-8.com.

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SC Map

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Thanks to JC for sharing his pics and anecdotes about his 2009 European tour.

On this self-guided five-city tennis journey, I flew to Spain, France and Great Britain to retrace the footsteps of the tennis legend and my personal hero – Rafael Nadal. Along the way I discover many wonderful cultures and met individuals from all walks of life, all of whom celebrating tennis.

From the Bull-fighting in Madrid, to the Picasso Museum nestled in the Gothic quarters of Barcelona; I wanted to explore Nadal’s homeland of Spain both as a traveler and as a tennis fan.

First leg of the tour: the Madrid Open

Some pics of Palacio Real, Parco del Retiro and Plaza de Toros:

JC at palacio real

Lake 3

Plaza de toros (largest in Spain)

Bullring - wide view

La Caja Magica – the Magic Box – home of the Madrid Open:

Madrid Open Front Gate

Madrid Open Center Court - Caja Magique with retractable roof (3)

JC at Mardid Open

Yellow and Red

Women’s final: Dinara Safina defeats Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-4
Women's Final changeover view

Safina and Wozniacki at Women's Final (14)

Safina and Wozniacki at Women's Final (7)

Men’s final: Roger Federer defeats Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-4 (it was the day after the thriller semifinal opposing Nadal and Djokovic)

Roger at Madrid Open

Rafael Nadal entering (4)

Practicing Serves

Read the complete story on tennis-8.com

Thanks to Rick for sharing his 2011 Indian Wells pics.

Entering the tournament:

Watching Nadal vs Del Potro:

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic practicing side by side:

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Enjoy the second part of Mike’s report about his son’s experience at the Sanchez Casal Academy.

Notes on Living in Castedellfels!

– We didn’t rent a car. Walked/Renfe/Metro everywhere and loved it! Watch your step on the sidewalks –dog crap. A Barcelona tradition?

– Best rotisserie chicken and cerdo (pork ribs): Dos Cabelleros and Rotisserie Pineda. Rober’s at Playafels for good cheap eats. Fruites Selectes Rosa in downtown for fresh fruit & veggies. Say hi to Carlos and his wife Rosa! Gailot is the high-end meat and cheese shop. Try their 3 Euro wine –it’s excellent!!! Excellent service at all these places.

– Convenience store: the Depaso gas station on Pineda is a life saver! Make their bread and pastries right there. Awesome 65 cent coffee from the Zannusi machine.

– Renfe (commuter train) can be unreliable in morning. Beware!

– Playafels at night can be over-run with rowdy tourists. Not where the locals eat and hang out. We LOVED SITGES. SPEND TIME THERE INSTEAD!

– Be prepared for more city noise at night –dogs barking, people milling around. Apartment buildings tend to have bad sound insulation. Bring a sound machine and ear plugs to get through the night.

Best Places to Eat & Buy Stuff!

You can count on the DEPASO on Ave Pineda!

Sanchez Casal Academy

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Thanks a lot to Mike, who allowed me to publish his report about his son’s experience at the Sanchez Casal Academy.
If you want to share one of your experience (encounter with a pro, your stay at a tennis academy…), please contact us.

Four Weeks at Sanchez Casal Academy
– My 14-year-old Californian son had four terrific weeks at Sanchez Casal in July 2011. We moved as a family to nearby Castelldefels for the month.
– His tennis improved a lot!
– We came mostly for the intense footwork training and because of the high quality of the players at ASC.
– We weren’t disappointed!!

Red Clay Tennis Mecca at last!
This is the sign you see right off the main road that connects Barcelona to the airport. The road is the C-31, Autovia del Castelldefels. Our heart went pitter patter with excitement when we saw it! We are finally at the place where great players are made!!!

Sanchez Casal Academy

Close up of sign
Big arrow pointing in the direction of the Academia….nice touch!

Sanchez Casal Academy

Let’s get over the highway, please
This shows the walk bridge off the main road (C-31). If you take the L95 bus from Castelldefels, you get off the bus in front of the Tryp Hotel (seen in background) and then walk over the highway to where this picture was taken (that is, the bus stop area for the bus heading southbound). ASC will drive your jugador directly to ASC each day if you want.

Sanchez Casal Academy

Tennis Camp or Camping Trip?
You think for sure you’ve made a mistake –you are out in the boonies. But you are re-assured by the large ASC sign you went by. Soon you venture down this country road.

Sanchez Casal Academy

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