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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 April 2006, 10:15 GMT 11:15 UK
Quiz Sergi Bruguera
Sergi Bruguera
Sergi Bruguera is still in prime form

Former French Open champion Sergi Bruguera is taking time out from the first event on the 2006 Merrill Lynch Tour of Champions to answer your questions.

Sergi was known as one of the Kings of Clay in the 1990s, winning the French Open twice in 1993 and 1994.

With his looping, spinning ground-strokes, few players could compete with the Spaniard from the back of the court, and he is still just as fit today.

He won the Champions event in Doha last year and is looking to get off to a flying start on the road to London this year by overcoming a field that includes former Wimbledon champions Pat Cash and Richard Krajicek.

The Merrill Lynch Tour of Champions incorporates 12 events, including tournaments in Hong Kong, Barcelona and Rome before culminating at London's Royal Albert Hall (5th to 10th December 2006).

Thanks for all your questions - A selection of the best appear below.


Have you seen Andy Murray play - if so, what can he achieve in the clay-court season as he says it's his favourite surface? Is his game suited to clay?
P. Newbery, East Dulwich

I've never seen him play. I don't even know what he looks like actually. I've heard that he is very talented and has a bright future but I've never seen him play.


Given the power in today's game, do you think that any changes should be made either to balls, racquets or moving the service line or raising the net?
Imad Indari, UK

This problem has been the same for over ten years. In my opinion we need to get rid of the new bigger, longer racquets, the balls should be a little bit faster and the courts a bit slower. That would be an ideal situation.


Do you think that your fellow countryman Rafael Nadal can match or even surpass the great Bjorn Borg's record of six French Open titles? If not how many do you think he will win?
Peter Leung, UK

For sure Nadal has the capacity to win at Roland Garros again. He is young, he's unbelievably fit and he has a great game on clay. It's very difficult to beat him on that surface. But talking about Borg's record, who says that there won't be a guy in three years, who will come and play even better than Nadal? Maybe he can do it (beat the record) but six is a lot!


Do you think Roger Federer has the clay court game to win the French Open?
Stuart Heath, UK

Of course Federer can win at Roland Garros. He has shown that many times, winning Hamburg and playing in the semi-finals of the French Open against Nadal last year, losing in four sets.

I think he lost that match because he didn't really believe in himself. He has the perfect game for winning in Paris. For me he has the same chances as Nadal to win. But he has to have the same confidence, maybe he sometimes isn't as confident on clay as he is on other surfaces.


How do you think Roger Federer now compares with the Pete Sampras of around 9/10 years ago?
Joey, England

Federer is ten times better than Sampras - there is a big difference. Sampras had one of the best serves ever, his returning was ok, and he had a very good forehand.

But Federer has an even better forehand, better backhand, better returning game, and touch and feel. Their volleying is pretty even. But Sampras had the better serve, that was 90 per cent of his game. Federer has everything.


Who is the best clay-court opponent that you have played against, and why?
Michael Siva, Jamaica

Muster and Courier were my toughest opponents on clay. Muster played mostly on clay and was very tough. We were pretty similar, maybe I had a little more touch but he had a much better physical condition than me.

The matches we played were always close but he always used to win. I think his excellent physical condition was the deciding factor in our matches. I won only three of our matches while he beat me 12 times!

Courier was moving very well. On clay, moving well is everything. He had the perfect game and always believed in himself. He served very well and had a great forehand and backhand. He had everything.


Who would you pick to win the French Open this year?
Avish Nagpal, USA

Well, that's a tough question. If Federer and Nadal end up playing in the final it's really 50-50. But maybe Nadal would have a slight advantage, so I say 60-40 to him. He's already won once and is probably a little bit more confident on clay.


What do you think of the new Spanish tennis generation?
David Garcia, Ireland

The new generation has been unbelievable for a long time. We have players like Carlos Moya, Juan Carlos Ferrero, and now Nadal, who have all been at the very top.

Before them we had Alex Corretja and Albert Costa. There are also several others now playing at the top level like David Ferrer and Tommy Robredo, who are top 20 players.

Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco are also great players. Especially now a lot of kids want to imitate Nadal. I'm sure a lot more talent will come.


Are you enjoying your work at the academy? What advantages do you think young players can gain through a stay there?
Samantha, Barcelona, Spain

Yes, I'm really enjoying my role at the academy. I can go there when I want to play with the youngsters and also to prepare for my matches at the Merrill Lynch Tour of Champions.

It's really nice! The people at the academy know a lot of tennis. There is my father, myself, Fernando Luna, Tino Anda. We know how to become a good player but it's of course up to the kids whether they can do it or not.

But at least we can show them the way, that's important. By the way, you can check out my academy online.


Who would be your dream opponent, past or present, and at which location would you play this match?
Phil, England

My childhood idol was always Bjorn Borg so I would pick to play him at the French Open. But wait, that's not a very smart pick from me! It would be very tough to beat him there.


Whilst you are widely regarded as one of the best clay-courters of your generation, are you disappointed that you weren't as successful on other surfaces?

With strong clay-court players such as Nadal and Gaudio now enjoying success on hard courts, how much do you think the style and demands of the men's game have changed in the last 10 years or so?
Jonathan Eden, United Kingdom

Well life is like this, you can't have everything. I played on hard court for the first time in my life when I was 18 at the US Open. I never even practiced once on hard court before that.

And don't even mention indoors! When I was about 24 we built a hard court at my academy and I could practice there. And I improved a lot. If I was born later, I could have mixed it up and played on different surfaces.

Right now all the Spanish players can play really well on all surfaces. I didn't have the best of success on hard courts but I actually had some important results as well. I played in the final in Key Biscayne and the Masters Cup.

I managed to reach two or three indoor finals - in Milan, the semi-finals in Stuttgart and Paris indoors two times and the Masters. But I only won a title once on hard court, in Bordeaux.

There are few players with a serve and volley game today. But it's all about power today. To sum it up: less shots, less tactics and more power.

They hit as hard as they can but they do not show too many tactics. If it's enough to win, it's enough, but you don't see tactical changes in the matches nowadays.


How much fitness training do you have to do to compete effectively on the Merrill Lynch Tour? Good luck in Doha
Gareth, UK

Normally I'm in shape! I play soccer for a team in Division six in Spain. We practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays and have the matches on Sundays.

I play tennis as well of course, more regularly prior to the tournaments on the Merrill Lynch Tour. I also go to the gym and play paddle tennis.


In your opinion what do strong hard court players have to do differently on clay to be successful?
Nathan, UK

I think you have to move differently and have a different mentality if you want to be successful on clay. You have to be able to suffer much more.

On hard courts you don't need to suffer too much. You hit a good shot and then you finish the point. On clay you have to work much more. Mentally it's tough for players who aren't used to working a lot on the court.


Would you be interested in being the Spanish Davis Cup captain in the future?
Nils Sveinsson, Norway

No, not for the moment. But never say never, maybe I will change my mind. When I stopped playing tennis I didn't touch a racquet for two years saying 'I will never play tennis again'. But now I'm playing again and I'm enjoying it so you never know.


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