Federer Still Far From Beating Nadal on Clay
by Sean Randall | April 23rd, 2007, 1:33 pm

Roger Federer can’t be feeling too great about his chances of finally winning the French Open this year, not after his nemesis Rafael Nadal tuned him yesterday in the Monte Carlo final.

Federer lost the match 6-4, 6-4 in suffering his fifth straight lose to Nadal on clay, this being his worst beating. He’s also lost his last five sets to the Spaniard on clay, 14 of 19 overall.

“I think I’m absolutely in the mix with him on clay, which is how I wanted to feel. You know, it’s always disappointing to lose, but I feel like I didn’t play well and still it was close. That’s a good thing.” – Roger Federer

No, Roger, it isn’t a good thing. And despite what you say, you were never in the mix with him after blowing some early break chances in the first set. And hitting more forehands into the Mediterranean then in the court probably isn’t a good thing, either.

After yesterday’s loss it really doesn’t look like Roger’s going to beat Rafa on the red stuff anytime soon. Watching the match, whenever Rafael got in trouble he just hit crushed a forehand deep to the Fed one-hander, a strategy that usually got him back into the point. Roger still can’t do anything what that heavy topspin to his backhand. Sure, he can get the ball back and even get it deep with pace, but it doesn’t seem like he can hurt Rafa or hit a winner off it, which gives Rafa an out when he feels he needs to at least get back on even terms during the point.

Also, Fed’s insistent on trading groundies with Nadal (and other dirtballers like Canas) only helps the Spaniard’s cause. The more Fed keeps hitting medium-paced backhands back to Nadal the more Nadal gets into his rhythm, and baseliners love rhythm.

But Fed’s got a lot of pride, deservedly so, and he probably figures he can outslug Rafa from the baseline. On hardcourts and grass, he can. But on clay he can’t. He needs to mix it up more, like he did last year in the Rome final. Serve and volley, come into the net, do anything to get Rafa out of his comfort zone.

Andy Murray did just that at the Australian Open, and probably would have beaten Nadal had he been physically stronger. In that match it seemed like Murray never hit the same shot twice which gave Rafa little in the way of rhythm. Murray emptied out the play book hitting drop shots, slices, lobs, off speed shots, moon balls, etc. And it kept Rafa off-guard and guessing, and for a good time the strategy paid off.

But by sitting at the baseline and choosing to rally, Fed plays right into Nadal’s hands. And after yesterday, the way it’s probably going to shake down is if Fed’s going to win the French he’s going to need someone else to knockout Nadal because he’s not going to do it.

With the way Rafa’s playing right now it’s a pretty shortlist of guys with any chance of doing just that. Maybe Novak Djokovic, maybe Marat Safin is he catches fire, which happens once every couple of years, or maybe David Nalbandian or hell, Dr. Ivo. But it’s doubtful. So I guess I’ll be stuck with having to watch more of Rafael picking at his you know what, adjusting his water bottles on changeovers, wearing those Euro pants and taking like a half-hour between serves.

That said, I got nothing against Nadal, full credit to him, he’s definately back, but I am rooting for Fed to win the French. Maybe he still will, but after three straight Masters events without a title he’s got some work to do. And maybe it was just my internet connection or the fuzzy streaming, but was it me or did Fed have a bit of a belly going? Man, I hope not.

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135 Comments for Federer Still Far From Beating Nadal on Clay

yellowballspanker Says:

Sean, you nailed it when you said someone else needs to take out Nadal for Fed to win the French. And although that is the more likely scenario, Nadal, barring injury, is so tough on clay that is is still unlikely. Djoko doesn’t seem to move as well on clay as I suspected. Safin has the game, but needs a shrink. Nalbandian has ground himself down. Ivo… no chance. I almost think someone else needs to step up. I know I’ve said it before, but Gonzo also has the game to take Nadal on clay, and he’s become one of the fittest guys on tour, so look for him to challenge Nadal depending on the draw. Canas might be in there, but if he gets a few early five setters in him, he’ll go away.

However, if someone where to beat Nadal, he would probably give Fed a lot of trouble. There are a few players who can take Roger on clay. It’s such a tough surface for him because he takes that backhand on the rise extremely early. On hard courts, that’s a plus… on clay, no so good.

It would be great to see Fed win the French, but
he may pull a Pete. It just goes to show, like I always say, Agassi is THE man. And Nadal’s going to get even better as we approach the French. He is the Borg of this decade. If I were Fed, I would be very worried about Wimbeldon. Nadal’s serve is going to get better, his return will get better… Fed could be in trouble this year on the lawn.

Nadal’s “habbits” are very telling of his personality. He is SO focused, that everything becomes a mission. Those water bottles have to be lined up exactly. His socks must be perfectly even. His underwear has to be precisely picked. Whatever he focuses on at the moment is his world. And when that yellow ball is flying through the air, he must crush it! He’s a machine. I suspect severe OCD… and it makes him the ultimate dirt baller.

If only Guga would return for real!

zola Says:

did you watch over PC? I watched the match on tvu. in the morning it was not very bad, but very patchy in the afternoon. I wonder if it was the tennis channel or tvu.

Nadal is taking much less time and has cut down on his routine. I read that uncle Toni gave him those tasks to do to slow down his serve and make him focused and it helps.yesterday the crowd was trying to lift up Roger’s game by cheering loudly, but it didn’t affect Rafa a bit, as it didn’t in the French Open. He is very concentrated.

he also works very hard. Didn’t he immediately go to practice his serve after Berdych match to improve the 48% number? If Fed shows such dedication, strangely it is not reported.

I noticed those extra pounds around Fed’s belli in Indian Wells and also his face. He needs to be careful.

Those said, I think you are being harsh on fed. He is definitely in the mix with Rafa on clay. He didn’t drop a set coming to the finals and gave Rafa more workout than any one during last weeek did. He has been to every final of every clay tournament he attended. So to me he is #2 on clay. #1 is Rafa and I hope he maintains his health and his level of play to lift the French Open trophy for a third time.

John Says:


I saw a different match. Maybe it’s because I watched it on TV and you watched it on the internet.

From my point of view, Roger didn’t play his best and Nadal played extremely well. If my memory is correct, Roger’s plus/minus was -19 (19-38) and Nadal’s was 0 (19-19). Too many unforced errors for Roger.

On the long rallies, I thought that they pretty much broke even.

There were only 2 breaks of serve in the match. Roger had a couple of break chances but failed to convert.

I thought Roger should have had more aces.

In your favor, I thought Roger choked on the important points. Nadal didn’t.

Roger needs more time on clay.

If I’m right, Rome should be different. Last year Nadal beat Federer 6-7(0), 7-6(5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5) in 5 hours and 5 minutes.

Question: Will Rome also change to best of 3 this year?

Agassi Fan Says:

Nadal is definitely ahead of Fed on clay, no doubt. But don’t forget that Nadal is probably the 3rd or 4th best clay courter EVER (borg, lendl, maybe guga ahead of him?). Sampras was never good enough to challenge guys like Muster on clay – he even lost to Bruguera all the time (on clay). If Fed hadn’t been the 2nd best clay courter today, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

Fed is clearly the 2nd best clay courter today. Its not just Fed, there’s NOBODY who can challenge Nadal on clay today. 67 straight matches man! Sampras was never even a top 10 clay courter of his time.

So give Fed a break. Nadal is just an absolute freak of a creation on clay, and left handed, which helps him against most players, since he is used to playing right handed players, but they don’t get to play lefties often.

Though I do feel that luck will be needed for Fed to win the french.

Markus Says:

I think we have an exciting tennis this year.

We have 2 top player who will share silverwares this year, 2 record smashing players! 2 aliens ;-)

you have roger, the dominator on hard and grass, and nadal the dominator on clay and dangerous on gras and hard.

other players, are currently just sparing partner for roger and rafa

i think you should not complain too much about their abilities. i like the way it is. if roger would win everything, so what is the point guys?

no one would watch tennis…

it is an exciting movie right now with 2 from other planet

Anjali Says:

Terrific comments. Am a big fan of Fed myself, but he seemed to simply lose his nerve in the second set. From what I’ve seen these past four years of his playing, he does not do well when he’s coming from behind. Fed largely wins when he is in front, and doesn’t seem to have the will to fight back when he’s losing. That’s the critical difference here. Nadal fights for every point, Fed does ONLY when he’s winning. It’s almost illogical, but there it is! I actually read that Fed was largely working on his fitness during the break, so don’t know where all this belly-talk is coming from. I think if Fed shows the same intensity he did when he took down Nadal at the Masters’ Cup in Shanghai last year, he will win the French Open. Perhaps we should get Mats Wilander to speak once again of his lack of cojones, and goad him into action. It will be a pity if Fed doesn’t win the French Open. He clearly is still the best player around.

pakotoro pakotoro Says:

Fed had a real chance when was 3-4 and missed 3 breakpoints. Last year he missed two (or three ?) balls to win Roma.

I think a lucky Roger CAN beat Rafa.

Joseph O'Brien Says:

I have to agree that Federer certainly was no match for Rafa on sunday. Nadal played an amazing match and played so much better than Federer done. I do certainly believe that Federer can beat Nadal on clay by using different tactics and mixing up the play like was said earlier. For example the first set of the RG final last year woz a stunner from Federer. He did everything right and it certainly looked like he would go on to win, but then he decided to start trading from the baseline. I do question why he chooses to do that but it is certainly something Federer cannot afford to do with Nadal. I myself am sure that he has scoured the tapes of the Rome and RG final last year to work out tactice but he just doesnt seem to exectued them nearly enough. However saying that. I do still feel like Federer will take a masters on clay this year and the french open, i feel like he is going to come up with a few surprises. Its looking like Hamburg is his best bet as i dont think Nadal is playing that event and hopeully if he wins one he will gain the confidence back in his game which he no doubt lost over the past few weeks. Federer will always be my favourite for every tournament he plays, regardless of opponent or surface.He is the best around

JCF Says:

“Nadal’s “habbits” are very telling of his personality. He is SO focused, that everything becomes a mission. Those water bottles have to be lined up exactly. His socks must be perfectly even. His underwear has to be precisely picked. Whatever he focuses on at the moment is his world. And when that yellow ball is flying through the air, he must crush it! He’s a machine. I suspect severe OCD… and it makes him the ultimate dirt baller.”

That’s a complete reflection of Lletton Hewitt now that I think about it.

SB Says:

I think that Federer is going to have a “normal” year as a pro and maybe even lose his No-1 spot. So what? In a 15 year career, Sampras also lost his no-1 status a couple of times. But he is still remembered as the Pistol Pete. Eulogies apart, I think Federer seems to have mentally reconciled that he is going to be the second-best to Nadal on clay. That resignation was evident in the fact that Federer did not try anything at all after being down a break in the 2nd set. A champion player that he is, he should have somehow found a way to take this to a third. Even at the French Open last year, he gave Rafa some tense moments late in the 4th set..but better late than never. Now, he seems to be content that he can beat all others except Rafa on clay. So he must be hoping that Nadal somehow loses his way in the French early on, while he himself manages to reach the final. This thought of comfort is the danger zone and effectively begins the ‘slide’ which can ultimately kill competitive interest for Federer..but what the heck, he will still end up with 12 odd GS titles..It would be funny if Rafa loses in French and Federer faces a certain G. Canas in the 3rd or 4th round..that would be a interesting proposition wouldnt? But not for the Swiss fans..

Agassi Fan Says:

Canas is no Nadal.

Fed certainly has to mix it up more and try something different. Easier said than done though. NOBODY else has been able to do that anyway. Fed has been the CLOSEST to nadal on clay the last couple of years.

However, I agree with one point – Fed does sometime drop his shoulders. There’s no excuse for that. He has to view it as a boxing match and fight every point as if his life depended on it. that’s what nadal does.

nadal will last only a couple more years, but by then fed may be too old for the french. so he has to win it this year or the next.

If he doesn’t win the french this year, he should replace tony – he’s too old now anyway. Fed needs Lendl as a coach – steely nerve, strong one-handed backhand. Lendl would have beaten nadal on clay.

Mike Chan Says:

SB, Fed will NOT lose his No.1 spot this year.
Haven’t you checked the rankings?
He’s still 2,400 points ahead of Nadal! Nadal
has all these points to defend on the clay courts and even IF he successfully defends all of them, he will still have to make it to the finals of Wimbledon if he is to be within firing range of Fed’s ATP points.

And 12 GS titles? What are you talking about?
Fed’s only 25 with 10 titles. He will definitely break Pete’s record.

Hrishikesh Says:

Don’t you think this is all a bit too premature? This is Federer’s first clay court tournament (his worst surface nonetheless), makes the final without dropping a set and loses to the best clay court player around. Remember, there was every possibility of the match turning around if Federer had made something of those more than a couple breakpoints in the first set. So, I think just give the dude some time, okay. I really think you guys are stretching the issue too much. BTW Sean, its good to read that you finally agree that Federer can beat Nadal from the baseline on grass and hard courts. Last I read, before Wimbledon last year,you were giving Federer no chance at all against Rafa from the baseline-your logic being “Nadal had superior groundstrokes”. You changed your opinion this year I see. So, I guess its hard for me to accept your opinion that Federer can’t beat Nadal from the baseline.

grace Says:

Sean, Federer should have won the first set. He had break chances — he gave that set to Nadal. After that, his frustration overtook his desire. Yet he was still saving breaks on his own serve in the second set. I disagree with you. Federer played poorly and was still close. There’s nothing to dispute about that. It was there for all to see. And Nadal played great. Federer is right to be encouraged — I mean this wasn’t like a Serena beat down on Sharapova.

arturo17 Says:

I’m definitely a Federer fan, I’ve decided he’s THE ONE i want to see winning a Grand Slam. I hoped that was the year but the last events – double Canas defeat, montecarlo defeat in straight sets – turned my hopes down.
I’m on the group who think that Roger ‘suffer’ Nadal in a psycological sens, but I hoped this problem was solved after Shanghai, rather than in Wimbledon, where, in my opinion, he suffered too much considering previous matches and Nadal’s level on gras – (he almost lost to Kendricks, he had a very comfortable draw, no Gasquets, no Ancices, etc).
My hope – simply a hope – is that Roger, if he and Tony have a new strategy (which could be something very similar with the Rome’s one, or not), they will keep for themeselves until Paris.
Consider that Paris could have become an obsession, and that in the same time staying on the baseline seems to allow roger to keep the edge against other players (and not to lose Atp points, if he reach every clay tournament final).
I first was very disappointed for the defeat but afterwards I considered:
- he played a good tournament, despite the double-shock defeat in march, and a lack of real tennis playing: he said that he mainly trained his fitness, in these last months, and that he scheduled everything to ‘peak’ in Paris. His level is more likely to raise than to fall.
- Roger’s backhand seems definitely improved. Sometimes he played some winners, often he seems able to play against rafa’s forehand. I think that a normal Federer – better forehand and service – should have been very close to Rafa, even not mixing up.
- Rafa, in the same time, seemed very close to his top. We are still 40 days far from Paris final…
I’m looking forward the next tournaments, we’ll see if something is to change.

Agassi Fan Says:

Anyone wondered that clay court tennis changed completely since the advent of “power” racquets with oversized heads?

In the 70s and 80s, French champions would routinely win majors on other surfaces (Borg, Lendl, Wilander, even connors won on clay at the US open, Mcenroe was no pushover on clay, etc.).

Chang 1989 was the transformation year. Since then, tennis has really become two different sports – clay, and other surfaces. RARELY does a french champion win anything else (Agassi? Kafelnikov? – that too the AUS open, which is a very slow hard court). and RARELY does any other grand slam champion win the french. It was not like that earlier.

The reason? Modern racquets give players the easy way out – build up stamina, run fast, build up muscles to hit the ball hard, don’t need to be a superhero in the pure skill department, and the defensive strategy of less errors pays off. Since they can now hit the ball hard from 20 feel behind the baseline, they can just stay behind. Was not like that earlier.

What a pity. This leads to freaks like Nadal, who make tennis a bit boring, and reduce the role of skill in clay court tennis, increasing the role of fitness, speed, and power beyond what it should be.

This trend is going to increase, not decrease. Just like Chang showed that you can win the french with those tactics, Nadal has stepped it up a notch. He will inspire a generation of players like him. What a pity.

Nadal may win an odd AUS open, but he is never winning anything else. Especially after 2006 – players no longer fear him on hard courts. He doesn’t have a shot on grass. 2006 final at wimbledon was a freak of the draw he got. he’s not getting anywhere near the final this year.

Point is – for Fed to win the french open in this age, would be an achievement greater than anything seen in tennis before. After all, its two different sports now!

andrea Says:

The commentaries on this site are great. Thank goodness there are so many rabid tennis fans.

i agree that Roger has a chance on clay. Despite the uncharacteristic shankings and net balls we saw on Sunday, Roger held up and Rafael only had one break of serve per set. It wasn’t a demolition.

Not every match of Roger’s will be as inhumanly dominating like the Aussie Open semi against Roddick. Like he said, he needs to warm up on clay to get used to it and heck, he made the bloody final and had break points against Nadal whch no one else came close to doing.

Bring on the clay!

whajeebeez Says:

VAMOS RAFAEL the saviour of tennis! I do love it when he beats the supreme arrogance right out of that princess Roger haha! And KADs like Sean Randall are left humbled and scratching their heads in the aftermatch. Suddenly they\’re not crowing so loudly anymore about Federer\’s dominance and that can only be a good thing for tennis. :-)

John Says:

I know I’m going to get killed with this comparison.

When I watch Nadal on clay versus Serena on clay, I see two dramatically different styles.

Nadal hangs behind the baseline about 8 feet, even on second serves.

Serena is about 4 feet in front of the baseline on second serves.

Now I know their opponents are much different, but isn’t there some opponent of Nadal that can take advantage of his playing back so far?

I once saw Anna Chakvetadze return a serve with a drop shot. What an interesting shot. Total surprise.

Maybe Djokovic or someone else could beat Nadal with a ton of excellent dropshots.

Maybe someone emulating Serena’s game will beat Nadal.

It’s going to take something special to break his current streak on clay.

Agassi fan Says:

Its just fitness and racquet technology, that is making clay court tennis so boring. Wait another couple of years, when Nadal is out of puberty, he’s not winning any major after that. Fed’s last major (most likely the 2012 wimbledon) will be AFTER nadal’s last major (most likely the 2009 French). And Fed will have 3 times the number of majors Nadal has when both are retired (18-6).

sensationalsafin Says:

speaking of federer’s awesome AO semi against roddick. that and his final match against blake in shanghai last year were, as roche said, the best roger has ever played. he just played unstoppable tennis beyond anything that has ever been done before. and i mean so what if it’s straight sets. 1 break per set is actually extremely close and nadal admitted that the match was closer than the score, and the score wasn’t that far off. if federer can peak and get that spark during the french open final against nadal and play out of his mind for 3 straight sets like he did against roddick, there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll win. big if but i think it’s pretty likely.

samps Says:

A fair article but i dont think we are about to find what Federer can or cannot do this clay season(well duh). Though it surely looks unlikely. We can all talk how close he s been and what not but truth is he was Never in control except that one break chance. Regarding some of the comments, somebody mentioned this Nadal as a bad precedent for sport? Thats the worst kind of nonsense I ve ever heard. He s strong obviously but thats Not what gets him there. Success is the sum total of a lot of parameters and determination perhaps ranks just below talent. And I simply havent seen anyone more a more determined and committed tennis player than Nadal. Which means that rest assured he’s not going to simply blow away like other former clay courters. Besides he’s 20 years old and there’s no telling what he ll do in future given his drive. i certainly think he has the character to change his game sufficiently to have a shout on other surfaces. Trying to mow him down by the silly “he’s not talented enough and Shouldn’t win” is utterly inane.

Agassi Fan Says:

Nadal is 21 in 6 weeks.

Nobody is saying that he doesn’t deserve to win. He’s just made clay court tennis more boring, by taking a bit of skill out of it, and replacing it with muscle. I guess it might draw in some boxing fans now, but it has certainly turned off some tennis fans like me. Its not his fault though, he’s just a creature of evolution, given the racquet technology, it had to happen.

Why just Fed, why not question the others who are consistently losing to nadal on clay?

Why not past champions like Sampras, who lost much more often to clay courters, even weaker ones like bruguera?

As for Nadal’s tennis skills, we saw them in plenty in 2006 once the french open was done.

Nadal doesn’t win matches. He makes others lose. There’s a subtle difference, but an important one, that takes the fun out of a sport.

sensationalsafin Says:

im not gonna lie, i used to believe nadal was just really lucky and pretty low on the talent list. but im telling all you haters now that nadal is one of the most talented players ever. just because his game looks unorthodox and all doesn’t mean anything. his unbelievable determination has helped him fully exploit his talent and that’s how he consistently hits the fuggin lines dead on almost every single time he hits the ball. hes unbelievable. but so is federer. i want federer to win the french this year and the whole year slam, but after that i only want him to win the olympics. if nadal happens to win everything else, so be it. hes great, he works hard, he deserves anything and everything he wins.

Dave Says:

Nadal is very talented. He hits those amazing shots and his determination really showed. He deserves all those win. If he does win RG and everything else on clay,so be it. I don’t mind at all. But he definitely didn’t win because of muscles. Agassi Fan, so that means Fed’s skills lost to Nadal’s muscles? Get real.

Fan of Tennis Says:

I think tennis really needs Roger or someone to beat Nadal on clay otherwise this entire clay court season (like the last 2 years) is just a foregone conclusion. For people who said Roger was making tennis boring by winning everything… what do you think about Nadal on clay? He’s now at, what – 67 matches and counting? Why watch clay court events since you know who the winner will be before the tournament even begins? Wasn’t that their reasoning with Roger and why he was making tennis boring (I didn’t agree)…but my point is – if Roger was making tennis boring by winning everything…then you have to think that same way about Nadal and clay. More so with Nadal and clay since Roger did occassionally lose some on hardcourts. Nadal doesn’t lose on clay so why would you even get excited for a clay court tournament that he’s in since you already know who the winner will be?

And for alal of those people slamming Roger for losing to Nadal… I pity the other player’s fans then because what in the world do you say to them? (the Safins, the Nabaldian fans, the Davydenko fans, the Gonzalez fans, the Roddick fans, etc.)? Roger has made the finals in the last 4 clay court events he’s played in. If he’s so bad on clay – what do you consider those other players? When you look at it from that stand point – hey, Roger’s not doing too bad after all – is he!

And for the record…I still have faith that Roger can and will win the French!

Sean Randall Says:

Great insight all around, folks.

John, you bring up a great point. Realistically to beat Nadal on clay you have to take him out of what he like doing the best – playing from the back court and getting into a groove – and make him start doing things he doesn’t want to do, like playing around the net. And that’s where the drop shot comes into play. Fed rarely used that tactic, but someone like Djokovic ala what Murray did at Australia, could routinely hit that shot because he knows staying at the baseline is more than likely a losing proposition against Nadal.

Sure, Nadal has a lot of speed and is quite handy around the net, but the odds of you winning the point have to go up considerably than if you were to stay at the baseline and try to trade groundies.

And that’s true for most players, that is, making your opponent hit shots they don’t want to hit. Murray does an excellent job of that, Fed does it as well. Getting your opponent out of their “comfort zone” will give you a better look in the end.

Yellowballspanker, very true. Gonzo would certainly be in the mix against Nadal if he’s on, which is a 50/50 prop as usual. But the way Nadal’s playing right now I don’t think Gonzo has quite enough variety to pull that one out. Guga in his prime…wow.

As for Fed, if Nadal were to get knocked out early I think the tournament would be his. I can’t see anyone stopping him then. He would be beyond determined and I think the other players would recognize that and almost in some ways let the guy have it. And I think you still have to tab Fed the heavy, heavy favorite to win Wimbledon.

Zola, one thing you have to look at – and I guess I am nitpicking here – the only real solid dirtballer Fed beat was Ferrer, and Ferrer had a good look at winning that first set. Ferrero I know is tough, but I don’t see him as even a French quarterfinalist anymore. And Fed did struggle with Seppi early, while Nadal absolutely destroyed better opposition.

Joseph O’Brien, yeah, the way it sounds Nadal will pass on Hamburg, and perhaps Fed, as well. Though Fed has won there before but reports are the surface – usually less slick – is far different than that of the French, which is close to Monte Carlo. Rome is allegedly very slick clay. But so I’m told…

Hrishikesh, I’ll have to check that remark! But if I said it, then so be it. Fed’s improved that backhand making it more steady so it’s less vulnerable on the faster surfaces now against Nadal. Nadal’s groundies are still superior and more consistent, but Fed has more variety. So if I had the choice to have someone’s groundies, I guess I got to go Fed, that is unless I could have Andre’s. Or maybe even Guga!

Agassi Fan, you are way off. Nadal isn’t all muscles. Sure, he’s got ‘em. But he’s lightning fast and he’s as mentally tough as anyone. He’s not an “old school” clay courter, either, who waits for the other person to miss. Basically if you leave anything hanging in the middle of the court to Rafa, Nadal ends the point. That’s not waiting for someone to miss…

Fan of Tennis, would have to agree. I’m sure Roger would love to see someone get to Nadal. Anyone, just to inject a bit of doubt in his mind because right now Nadal’s confidence must be sky-high.

Regarding Roger’s clay success on clay, true. He’s done well, for sure. But so many of us hold such lofty standards for him that if he doesn’t win the title then it’s a letdown. There really isn’t much shame in losing to Nadal on clay, or on any other surface really, but Fed seemed to have turned the tables on his rival beating Nadal the two times prior entering Monte Carlo. But after Sunday it almost feels like Fed’s back to square one, and all the progress over the last year has been lost. We’ll see…

It's all in the timing Says:

We’ve seen Nadal burnout last year after his Wimbledon run. I think it could’ve happened to Roger too after he made the French Open final. He was extremely lucky to not have collapsed before his Wimbledon triumph.

I think Federer got to know his absolute limit physically last year and he’s making sure to get the timing right so that he peaks at the French Open this year without risking complete exhaustion at Wimbledon.

It’s all a matter of who burns out first and who achieves the peak in the finals. This year we won’t be seeing Nadal in Wimbledon final. Nadal would be so exhausted by the time he reaches Roland Garros that Federer may have it easy, if they both get to be in the finals.

arturo17 Says:

Nadal isn’t boring, he’s completely different from some ‘old school clay courters’, like Bruguera, Berasategui, and so on, who simply were waiting for your mistake. He can produce very nice winners both on attack and defense. In the same time I think that, if there’s one who deserve scoring a Grand Slam, that’s Roger, so I’m strongly rooting for him to win in june.
Even if Roger body language, and Tony’s and Mirka’s faces during monte carlo final don’t help me to believe it, I still hope he has a strategy kept for himself self. I hope that this strategy include the drop-shot. About drop shot, I’ld add: Murray, in Melbourne, not only used it to produce winners, but he often approached the net after a drop shot, to ‘close-the angles’ to his opponent and to move him out of his comfort zone. This is something that Edberg used to do efficiently, on his best clay court performances, and that Roger should absolutely do to turn a standard baseline rally in a volley vs volley (and/or lob etc) one…
Another problem. He should be more aggressive returning the service, expecially the 3/4 speed first service that Rafa usually serve to him. It’s very strange that a men who can return so well a Roddick/Ancic/Ljubicic 230 Km/h ball is not able to do a good job with such a ball… I think he should move one step ahead, and anyway he should take some risks. No matter if he made some mistakes: if he still waits, he lose the point as well and furthermore he gives even more rythm to rafa. About returning with a dropshot: I’ve seen him doing it one time against the korean (I was in Monte Carlo), the shot landed yust ahead the service line and stopped, Hyung Taik-Lee was there but unable to react to the sudden stop of the ball and returned the ball to the net. Anyway I think that one break per set on claycourt is not too much. Fed’s main problem are returning games.
About other opponents, I remember Djokovic struggling pretty well against rafa, before injury, in RG 2006: and now he has improved, and beaten Rafa once. I’ve not seen rafa-berdych, but second set seems to have been very close – with a decisive, early break. Consider that Tomas lost first set both against Robredo and Soderling before winning easily: he seemed to need a long warm-up. RG is three sets out of five instead 2 out of 3. I’ld like to see Nalbandian at his best against Nadal (no official match between the two) and even the best Gonzo.

rogertennis Says:

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rogertennis Says:

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Colleen Says:

I for one think it’s great for tennis that Roger is dominated by Nadal on clay. It’s no fun when 1 person wins everything, and Nadal reversed Fed’s 2 match winning streak against him, keeping the rivalry interesting.

I think Fed is susceptible to losing to a lesser claycourter than Nadal. Ferrero certainly let his chances slip away in Monte Carlo…a break up and a break point for a double break squandered. While Ferrero has the skillz, he probably still lacks the confidence to take down the big guns. However…who else is showing themselves to be a clay court god this year? No one yet…we’ll have to see what happens.

Agassi Fan Says:

Nadal not having a defensive game? that’s crap. See the stats. He ALWAYS wins due to less errors, not due to more winners. That’s defensive game.

Agassi Fan Says:

If stamina, muscles (power) and racquet technology do not have a big role to play in Nadal’s success on clay, then answer this question – if you give all tennis players today, just out of the blue, a wooden racquet, you think Nadal will still be as dominant on clay? A hypothetical question I agree. But he won’t be. He will lose out more than some of the other players who rely more on skill than physical abilities.

You go to be blind to undermine the role of physical ability in Nadal’s success. Again, doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve his wins. Just means its a different sport.

Skorocel Says:

Agassi Fan said: “Nadal doesn’t win matches. He makes others lose.” – PERFECT! You’re absolutely right! Are the others completely blind or what? Everytime Fed plays vs Nadal, it’s the same picture – UEs, UEs and UEs… Too many opponents’ UEs – that’s what wins Nadal those matches… You simply can’t beat this freak on clay by trading groundies from the baseline – either you’ll miss, or he’ll make you miss… I’m not saying Nadal doesn’t deserve all those clay titles, but he’s making tennis a waiting game… He’s not the one who creates – he’s just messing the game up!

Dave Says:

Right…. So all those dudes losing playing Nadal because they had so many UEs… So all this time Nadal’s making people doing errors…. Wow.

samps Says:

“A different sport.” This is getting funny now. Muscles? Next you ll be saying that a lot of fitness(like a lot of muscle) Also makes a different sport. I mean seriously, if a player is hyper fit(you runs 20 hours a day as practice) and consequently reaches all the balls but with little muscle to show for, does that make a different sport? So lets remove muscle and fitness from defining “quality of tennis” since thats the different sport. So the only way of judging skills in tennis is to have a court about 5 feet wide and for people to hit balls back and forth right? Would that be ok?
Sarcasm apart,you should understand that moving on clay is an integral part of clay court tennis which(Read:Part of the sport) nadal does rather better than everyone else. He has a great defensive game and thats a talent too my dear(Tactics hello?). Which Federer Lacks. A good defense is part of good tactics so that Is part of the game. And he has a fabulous forehand and consistently hits the line.
And the “statistic” about winners is nothing short of hilarious. Also, “he s going to be 21 soon?” as opposed to being 20? As long as ur bring funny, I have nothing against that statement.

Tchocky Says:

I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m sick and tired of Roger’s excuses. The only thing strange about this match compared to previous meetings was that it was Roger’s forehand, not backhand, that broke down. I don’t think this is a good sign for Roger.

samps Says:

Haha! Thanks dave. You have a near 70 match consecutive winning streak, two grand slams and all the masters series on clay by having less unforced errors than the opponent?
This discussion is Funnnn!

Dave Says:

I’m with you samps. This discussion does getting funny, and with the wooden racquet thing all of a sudden, haha.

Seth Says:

There is much to like about Nadal – his fighting spirit, his tenacity, his idiosyncratic strokes, his aw-shucks demeanor off court – but . . .

would someone, anyone, please hand this kid a loss on the dirt?! Anything to dent his confidence a bit on the red stuff. Please. Thank you.

Seth Says:

I guess I’m still hoping Fed can pull a rabbit out of a hat and win Roland Garros, so I sure wish someone would beat up on Rafa just a little during this clay season. Where’s Canas, Almagro? Hell, Murray can play on clay, let’s get him in there to give Nadal a real fight. How about Paul-Henri Mathieu? Headcase that he is, he gave Rafa all he could handle at last year’s French Open. Maybe Davydenko the human backboard could outlast him . . .

Just someone pound this kid with a bit of relentless artillery to the point that his confidence is dented and he’s softened up a bit for Fed to finally take him out in the RG final.

samps Says:

Seth, I wouldn’t mind Fed winning RG after beating Nadal as long as he gets utterly whupped after that on Wimbledon. You can hope for Fed winning on clay and i shall hope that he gets it in grass. since we ‘r on the “domination is boring, thread” Fed dominating on all surfaces is infinitely worse than Nadal dominating on clay.

Agassi fan Says:

check your facts guys, Nadal wins matches by making less errors, not by hitting more winners. That’s a fact.

No wonder his matches are boring.

buttpicker Says:

lol at all the delusional federer fanboys who actually believe federer could beat nadal on clay. keep dreaming! fed is simply not good enough for the raging bull. His arrogance over other players does not work with a supreme being like Nadal who refuses to choke and hand Roger wins.

Thanks to Nadal tennis is exciting again. Vamos Rafael!!!

Skorocel Says:

Dave, how would you describe a situation when your opponent constantly stands 3 m behind the baseline and returns EVERYTHING that you throw at him, until you make that error? Everytime when Nadal plays Fed on clay, he ISN’T the one who’s creating, but the one who’s MESSING the game up… 90 % of his shots are not intended to produce winners, but to make the opponent miss… It may sound funny, but that’s how it is… But I’m sure it’s better than firing 50 winners per match:-), isn’t it?

zola Says:

I am a Rafa fan, but you Fed fans can be really harsh on your man. As if this is not the guy with 10 grand slam titles and No 1 for how many years. Wasn’t it the same story last year? Maybe there is something in Rafa’s game that doesn’t let the other guy execute his game. So many players just get discouraged to play with him. He doesn’t just win, he destroys if he can. Federer has been trying to figure out Rafa’s game ( which he says is one-dimensional). At least he is trying.
I relly hope the French Open goes to Rafa, but after that Roger will take the crown back when the hard court season comes.

samps Says:

Messing it up? I have a different perspective. Federer is simply NOT good enough to hit winners past Rafa on clay. It needs a better player, which federer is not. So there.
Imagine if this were boxing. What Skorocel is saying is that one shouldn’t defend. The tactic of wearing down your opponent by good defending, before smacking his ass is Messing the match up. its a different sport according to another. sure thing pals.
If it was all about standing 3 m behind the baseline we would be having loads of 68 match winning streaks which, hold your breath fellas, we Dont… And you do understand the notion of arclength and radius right? If you stand 3 m behind ur going to have to cover a lot more ground so please lets stop this. its getting tedious now.

One more thing i ve noticed about federer fans and federer too is what sore losers they are. Federer always keeps finding ways to put down nadal. He whines about how 1-dimensional his game is, about the fact he s always close to beating him(when he’s actually been close ONCE) and this and that.
During Wimbledon he was talking about Nadal’s easy draw. sure whatever. And Nadal? “Federer is the best of all time and always the favourite”.
There’s the difference. Maybe federer will beat Nadal on clay but it wont change the fact that he s a sore loser.

Ryan Says:

No matter what y’all nadal fans say he doesn’t have any talent.What can he do other than run 20 hours a day and smash the balls harder than anybody on the tour..does he have a fantastic serve like roddick’s?
a return like roger’s,a backhand that is as good as Djokovic’s,great volleying skills like sampras. I mean what is his killer weapon?The answer is nothing.Some of y’all might say court coverage but that is just part of fitness.If your extremely fit , you can run fast you can cover the court well and be consistent with those same boring shots that he plays.He doesnt really have any shot that makes people go “WOW!!!!” And he shouts during every shot so that his opponents lose their focus, takes long breaks between serves so that his opponents lose their rhythm or in other words winning by hook or by crook. The only good thing that he has, is determination.He may win matches but for me his game is 1 dimensional.Federer , Safin,Nalbandian,Monfils,Gasquet, Djokovic , even Youzhny are much more talented than him. As for Roger beating him , it’s either of these 2 scenarios;
1)Roger has figured him out but doesnt really want nadal to know that and be prepared.So he might just go for that strategy during the french.
2)Roger is still searching for answers.
But that killer attitude that he had in shanghai against nadal was missing in monte carlo.3 aces in the first game of the match.Go Roger…..

Agassi fan Says:

If Nadal is so “skilled”, why does he lose so much on other surfaces? He is not even a top 10 player on hard courts.

He’s just a clay court freak due to fitness and racquet technology.

Fan of Tennis Says:

samps… Federer or his fans are not sore losers. Since you’re quoting… How about the stupid quote Nadal always say “Roger is the favorite”. Please! You’ve won almost 70 straight matches on clay, the last 2 French Opens, have beaten Roger in every clay court match…how in the world can you sit there and say Roger is the favorite? Just own up to it Nadal… Stop lying and speak the truth! There is no way in …. that Roger can be the favorite when both of them play on clay. Everyone always say how “humble” Nadal is…but that statement is just plain crazy. So everyone in the world knows Nadal is the favorite except himself? Please!

Skorocel Says:

Samps, I’m not a sore loser! Nadal surely DESERVES all those claycourt successes and praise, but his game is simply one-dimensional, like it or not… As Ryan says (and every tennis writer/blogger will confirm you), he’s nowhere near the likes of Safin, Nalby, or Djoker (not to mention Fed) in the talent department. His main weapons are determination and immense physical condition, which (as you may know) are one of the main facets of claycourt tennis nowadays…

You said that Fed isn’t good enough to hit winners past Rafa on clay – but WHO IS? 50 or so players tried it, but NO ONE succeeded! No wonder, when there’s a human backboard on the other side of the court…

Say what you want, the guy’s just MESSING the opponents’ game up! Most of the times, he doesn’t go for a winner unless he’s 100 % sure – even on clay! He simply MAKES THE OPPONENT MISS – you can’t deny that! Or shall I read you some stats from that FO final last year?

Fed as a sore loser? Just read some of Nadal’s comments when he loses a match… A pain in ass (we all know WHO was the real pain:-)), this injury or that injury (despite Nadal moving as if nothing had happened throughout ENTIRE match), etc. Everytime he loses, he ALWAYS mentions these things… And just as Fan of Tennis pointed out, he should’ve learned after those 5 wins over Fed WHO’s actually the favourite when these two next play on clay…

John Says:

Nadal’s playing in Barcelona now:

Here’s my guess for his opponents:

68 – R of 32: Vliegen (Nadal won 6-1, 6-2)
69 – R of 16: Johansson
70 – QF: Chela
71 – SF: Ferrer
72 – F: Canas

If this is how it plays out, might Canas be the one to break his streak?

Vamos Says:

Vamos Rafa. How anyone can say the #2 in the world is without talent is beyond comprehension. Let’s face it– anyone in the top 20 is a great player with amazing skills. It’s been a blast to read these letters, very fun….

samps Says:

Ok i’m sorry for saying that federer fans are sore losers. thats unfair and silly. But i’m not impressed about federer’s(recent that is)attitude at all. You must understand that I’ve been a Sampras fanatic for life(Since before he won That US open). And considering his game, it seems natural that I would hold Federer in similar regard. And I do think Federer is better overall(greater or not time will tell). But the Federer mania is ridiculous. Why does everyone Want him to win the Grand Slam. If he can he does! A great player is measured by the opponents he has. If Federer wins the French Open beating Nadal, now that would be an achievement because Nadal is (Whatever you attribute it to) as great a clay courter as Anyone in history(lendl, vilas,guga whoever). He’s way out of the league of brugera and company. So Dont mow him down. Even if Federer Doesent win French, He ll still be considered the greatest since Nadal was Always around.
Regarding Federer being a sore loser, I stand by it. At Indian Wells, he gets beaten by Canas and says “I should have won that!”. Wtf are you talking about dude? I saw the match and he’d been outplayed fair and square. He kept acting as though there were extraneous factors that caused the win. And he’s had it for some time, not aided by all those eulogies (which he Nearly deserves). And the biggest issue is when he’s around Nadal. He simply cant seem to accept that he should be losing to him (no doubt proceeding along the same line of reasoning as his fans). I mean if ur close to figuring him out we would find out in the next match so stop f***ing telling us the same nonsense all the time.

Regarding Nadal, he lacks talent? Thats nonsense. Its Not all fitness and pace. In fact the best measure was wimbledon. His draw was admittedly easier but what about the Federer match? I thought he played excellently with some wonderful winners.
He’s just 20(going on 21 or whatever) and we simply don’t Know what he’s going to do. In fact if you watch the last clay court season and this one you ll find that Nadal is way more attacking this season and superbly aggressive. He’s been crushing Everyone. Or Indian Wells for the matter. His game has changed for the better. What I am saying is we ve seen him do a few things over the past few years but he Has been adapting and i think he has the character and talent to prove himself on other surfaces. He might not but it seems to me that he has a pretty good chance.

And he Rarely blames injuries. He has done that occasionally and went on to miss a few titles. But he Always acknowledges the fact that he played well and got beaten by a great opponent. Something federer does too, but only when he wins. I agree his losses are rare but he’s really not charitable when he does lose. Ok that favourite tag he attaches to fed on clay is silly. And i have no clue why he does it. But i think its better than being a sore loser.

Agassi Fan Says:

If nadal has such a good game, why does he lose so often on hard courts? And why doesn’t he win matches by hitting more winners, rather than less errors?

If someone can answer these two questions……

Dave Says:

Come on guys. Federer lost to Nadal that day simply because Nadal was better. Simple as that. Anyone being no 2 in the world is of course talented. Sure he did say injuries and all at his post-match interview but not often and he did praise Djokovic and all. Federer? Every interview he stated he should have won, it was close, he could have break point bla bla… Then, if his opponents say if they fix some things then they too could win those matches. It could go on and on.
And please don’t bring Roddick up here. Re-watch their match in Indian Wells please.
Um Nadal used the same “fitness/running/messing/make opponent miss” style playing on hard, so why didn’t he win those matches. He does have WOW shots, what bout those incredible hit-dead-on-line shots, did you really watch his game. His serve, volley, drop shots are getting better. Give this 20 year old guy a break.
Ok this is getting nonsense. Can’t you just admit that Federer lost on clay rather than making lame excuses, he won and will win on all the other surfaces, you fanboys should be very happy, just leave Nadal peacefully alone on his beloved clay.

Ryan Says:

Samps….you need to know the facts.First of all Federer never said that he should have won in Indian Wells against Canas but he did say that he should have won in Miami because it was extremely close in the 3rd set tie break.Federer does give credit to his opponents even when he loses.For eg after the French open 2006 he had said that Nadal was a fighter a, a grinder and he deserved to win that title.He even said that canas played very well in Indian wells.There is so much pressure on him to win the french from the media and the fans,so obviously he has to say something like he’s figuring out nadal’s game or something like that.He can’t just say that he will never win against nadal on clay and that nadal is better than him just because their head to head record is in nadal’s favour…..because that would be as crazy as nadal saying that Federer is the favourite on clay.Plus I think it is frustrating for Federer to see raw muscle power always getting the better of him.I personally believe Federer is not arrogant.Imagine how it would be if Hewitt was in his place.

Fan of Tennis Says:

Agree with Ryan and others. People hold Roger differently than other players…and maybe since he is #1 that’s fine. But on one board a fan commenting about Nadal always saying Roger is the favorite – even on clay said that was Nadal’s way of pumping himself up to be the underdog to try and win. I say poppy-cock! How rediculous the statement would be if Roger would say “I’m not the favorite at Wimbledon – Rafa is since he hold the head-to-head record. I’m the underdog at Wimbledon”. People would then come down on Roger so hard for being ‘stupid’ or something….yet those same folks make excuses for Nadal. I think we need to hold both of them to the same degree.

Now another thing. Someone also asked why does everyone want Roger to win the grand slam? Maybe it has to do with history in the making, or maybe – just maybe – people like the guy! How many #1 players are so loved by his own tennis players ever like they do Roger? I’ve heard so many times that other players say once they are out of the tournament they are actually pulling for Roger! Amazing! Maybe he really is a good guy? You think? Your own peers know you more than just the average fan. Maybe they know something since they have voted him to win their own Sportsmanship award the last 2 years. I mean, how honored are you when you’re the one for the most part kicking everyone’s butt – yet they still like you! It’s amazing, isn’t it? Yet some “fans” think they know Roger so well they always call him arrogant, and say he’s bad for the sport. Since I have never meet him personally (and probably 9 out of 10 who post here can say the same), I’m going to base my views on not only what I see and hear, but from the players views and thoughts about Roger too.

I bet if we took a poll of the players, 9 out of 10 would be pulling for Roger to win the French this year. Now for a guy who wins just about everything else, that really say a lot about his character that the players too, are pulling for him. That’s taking nothing against Nadal, but Nadal is not in the same league as Roger with the players of the ATP. That seems weired if, as some fans say, Roger is as arrogant as they picture him to be.

Agassi Fan Says:

So many players hate nadal, everyone loves Roger. Ever figured why? They lose to federer more than they lose to nadal.

Nadal is just an unsporting, pretentious beast.

claycourtrafa Says:

well im fairly knew on the tennis scene i have been doin some research and reading all these comments as well as many other sites over the past 6 months but HELLO nadal is the no. 2 without any talent, he makes ppl miss, he may not have as many winners as fed but maybe just maybe thats why fed is no.1! and hes ruining the sport r u serious hes been on the clay scene 2 years know imagine federer won the ‘grand slam’ for 2 years and does it again for a third. wow that wud be fun. and the errors by fed in monte-carlo he thought the key to winning was to create chances, and so he went for chances that simply werent there. makes ppl miss r u serious r u forgetting the famous nadal passing shot. seriously just admit that he is a great player. vamos rafa!!!

Dave Says:

What an idiotic comment, Agassi Fan.

claycourtrafa Says:

agassi fan, which players sed they hate rafa. and unsporting pretentious beast? he does great things for the game, i mean u have the graceful gentleman that is roger federer for a no.1 and a rugged muscular man’s man for a no.2 i think that draws in a whole different category of fans.

Skorocel Says:

Claycourtrafa, check this out: http://2006.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/scores/stats/day20/1127ms.html

As you can see in Fed’s UE department, there’s some 20 UEs+ of a margin… And I can GUARANTEE you that these stats are everything but trustable, since after reviewing the whole match on tape, I’ve came to no less than 71 UEs (47 from BH and 24 from FH), with only 15 other errors from Fed being FORCED (5 FH, 10 BH). Of course that some of those errors were questionable (that is someone may call them forced, someone unforced), but that would make roughly 10 UEs plus or 10 UEs minus – at best…

Now to the winners… Well, your beloved Rafa maybe won the match, but produced 10 winners less than Roger, and this on Rafa’s MOST favourite (and Fed’s LEAST favourite) surface… Now that’s what I call messing the game up! 25 winners per 4 sets – awesome:-)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Rafa doesn’t deserve all his successes or something! Indeed, he possesses something which even Fed lacks when compared to him – and that’s that unbelievable will to win! Trust me, I’ve NEVER seen a tennis player with such dedication and self-confidence as is Rafa, NEVER! That’s fine… But please don’t tell me he is the creative player on the court (especially on clay)! He will simply suck that error out of you, ALWAYS!

Agassi Fan Says:

Can ANY rafa fan give me ONE example of a match that he won by hitting more winners, rather than less errors?


Skorocel Says:

One more thing, claycourtrafa… Do you remember last year’s final in Monte Carlo? The warm-up has just finished, both players are ready to play (well, I shouldn’t say “both”), and then your beloved Rafa “suddenly” decides to call for a trainer to give him a treatment for “blisters”… After couple of minutes of waiting, the guy’s back as if nothing had happened, but the damage is done: a 4-0 lead, and the set is over for Fed… Uhm, I bet there must’ve been some part of Rafa’s racket tape which grew in his fingers’ skin during that warm-up:-), wasn’t it?

Then comes the end of the 2nd set breaker, as Fed manages to level the match at 1 set apiece. He breaks Rafa in the very first game of the 3rd set (what a coincidence?), so once again it’s time for Rafa to check whether that tape is still on his fingers or not:-) Once again, damage is done, as he breaks back immediately! Well done, Mr. Fair Play!

Agassi Fan Says:

Nadal does this WHENEVER he is behind (unsporting tactics). You have to be blind not to see it.

John Says:

re: Roland Garros 2006 stats

When I look at those stats the number that jumps out is Nadal’s “winning % on second serve” of 65%. It was a tad short of his “winning % on first serve” of 68%.

I tried to find his Monte Carlo stats but can’t find them. From memory, I think this number was also high.

In his most recent win against Johnasson (6-1,6-4), his “winning % on second serve” was 60%.

anonymous Says:

Hrm, okay. I for one am a Rafa fan, just to get that out. But I also appreciate Roger and what he has brought to the game.

Is that too much to ask of all you people, to just like and appreciate both of them? If Rafa’s game is one-dimensional, why can’t Roger figure him out? Have you ever played on clay before? It’s one of the hardest surfaces – the ball moves slower so that there’s even MORE skill involved, deciding where you want to aim it, what stroke you want to use. It’s a surface that requires tenacity and determination and focus of mind.

I myself am horrible on clay, but Rafa is not, and Roger isn’t, either. You might say that it’s boring to watch Rafa play on clay because he wins, but wouldn’t it also be boring to watch Roger play on the other surfaces, because he wins all the time, too?

I don’t know, I guess the point of this post is just to please stop bashing either player, in particular for Nadal. It almost disgusts me when some people are saying that Rafa is an unsporting, pretentious beast when you don’t even know him personally (perhaps you do, but I sincerely doubt it). I love both of them, and I find it interesting that we live in an era where we have Federer, who might just perhaps be the greatest tennis player ever, but where we also have Nadal, who might perhaps be one of the best clay courter in some time now.

Roger and Rafa are friends, so why the emnity between the fans?

timwashu Says:

Nadal (and Canas) have such simplistic court tactics, it’s unbelievable that Fed and others have any trouble with them. Fed is all about aggressive, offensive style. He’d rather have short, decisive points than longball rallies. He loses his cool, gets impatient, then goes for the kill prematurely. So, when playing Nadal, he needs to just relax and play the Spaniard’s game of ball return.

John Says:

re: long rallies

I think if you where to plot Nadal’s winning points against Federer, you would discover that Nadal wins the greatest percentage on his first, second and third shots, and a smaller percentage on fourth and above (i.e. rallies). To me, Nadal seems to win the greatest percentage on his second shot.

He also has a high percentage on the important points.

samps Says:

ur right skorocel, and you too agassifan, i have to finally admit, nadal is a cheating thug. he uses perfomance enhancing drugs for his energy and steriods for the muscle. but the real killer, the real thing which really gets him there is ….Tape! Thats what really works. The tape itself is loaded with steriod microreceptors(using the latest in nanoscience im told) so everytime he grips the racquet, he gets a boost. so how can poor helpless fed win with all that support? But the tactics are so surreptious, so secret, nobody knows about it and nobody ever mentions it. But that makes it even more even doesen’t it. i ve also heard reports that he uses special racquets which have a mechanical spring-back facility which add to the force of the return. That b***ard!

samps Says:

funnily enough i looked at the wimbledon 2006 final statistics. since federer won the match in 4 sets, and won the first set 6=0, you would thing he would have a lot more winners(43 against 42)? turns out he has One more winner!
What? how could that be!? i mean Nadal hardly hits winners, doesent create, doesent do s**t against this wonderful creative force of nature and has just One less winner. And on grass no less. I bet nadal used all the tactics with the tape to score those winners. That b***tard!

Alan Says:

LOL, so true, samps. John, nice posts. Now, what’s the discussion here? Nadal having less winners? Or the ever disturbing tape? I’m amazed, Rafa haters always have new topics in bashing Rafa. Hm what’s next?

Jon Says:

It’s amazing people feel like they have to bash people/players they’ve probably never met and have no clue what they’re actually like in person…Nadal actually seems like a really nice guy in his interviews despite his trouble with English…he basically gushes over Federer, the guy sounds like he has a shrine to Fed in his closet or something. My point is they’re both AMAZING players, and you people need to learn to appreciate different styles.

claycourtrafa Says:

hahahahahalol nice post samps, the tape serious maybe the guy has slippery fingers or weak nuckles, steroids despite the countless drug tests he endures. come on be serious for a while plse.

Ryan Says:

I’m not sure about the rafa tape thing or whatever that skorocel said but as far as i can know it could be true.He is person who will do whatever it takes to win a match, especially on his surface.Dont mistake me for a Nadal basher.I dont know him in person.He could be a nice guy but it’s just that i dont see anything great in his playing style.He might be a second ranked player who wins a lot of matches on clay which is good for him but that doesn’t mean it has to be interesting for the viewers or for anyone who appreciates artistic tennis.As far as the winners, vs unforced errors, it just doesnt make a difference.His winners are when he smashes the ball so hard that the opponent can’t even think about getting to it and returning it.More like Superman.Pure muscle power!!!Personally i will never say “Oh It’s a great shot”…It’s a style which many people wont appreciate and that doesnt mean we are nadal bashers.We just dont like the way he plays.So nobody needs to advise people like us to appreciate his style.

claycourtrafa Says:

have u seen his running passing shots or his always on the line forhand winners for example the open court shot, i know most players cant even dream about making those so consistently

Skorocel Says:

Guys, you really seem to not understand what I meant by that “tape” thing, so once again, let’s do it from the beginning, OK?

The match is about to start, you’re ready and focused to play, and then your opponent suddenly decides to call for a trainer… Do you think that’s normal? Did you see that in tennis? Please don’t tell me Nadal REALLY needed to have that treatment – if he indeed had some problems with those supposed “blisters”, he had million opportunities to treat them BEFORE going on the court… Or do you think he aggravated them back during that 10 minutes of warm-up? Come on! His one and only purpose was to DELIBERATELY DISTURB Fed’s focus – and indeed, it worked fine! When the match finally started, Nadal quickly jumped to a 4-0 lead – and the 1st set was over for Fed.

Then again, when Fed levelled the match at 1 set apiece and broke Nadal’s service in the very first game of the 3rd set (without one single doubt the most crucial part of the match thus far), it was once again time to use that “blisters trick”… Don’t know if someone of you saw the match, but I will NEVER forget that Nadal’s look at his uncle Toni just moments after he lost that very first game – it was clear as a water what these two were planning to do… It was SOO appalling!

samps Says:

I think its best to stop posting on this thread because the stupidity(admittedly ad hominem, so my apologies) and the rabidity of the anti-Rafa gang is way too much and ridiculously illogical. So i ll sum up in my very LAST mail .
CLAIM :- Rafa doesent hit enough winners on clay but when hits nearly the same number as federer (on wimbledon) and loses, it doesent count because he uses “brutal muscle force” or some such nonsense. So basically it doesent matter what he does since you have an argument against him for anything he does. Nice consistent reasoning guys.
FACTS : – From wikipedia

David Foster Wallace has described the exceptional speed, fluidity and brute force of this forehand motion as “a great liquid whip,” while John McEnroe has referred to it as “the greatest shot in our sport” on numerous occasions. His forehand has been clocked as high as 192 km/h (120 mph)

Wait, are we talking about Nadal? No honeybunny, we r talking about Federer, who hits the ball as hard as Nadal. You see the power of a shot doesent necessarily correlate with the Visible muscle on you biceps just like intelligence doesent correlate with the size of your head(ok the analogy isnt entirely Ok). Another example is baseball – are the best pitchers the ones with the most muscle? Answer in the affirmative if ur IQ is less than 10 (below 90 is normally considered abnormal). If you still answered yes, think why Guv’nor Arnie isnt strikin’ em’ all.

2. CLAIM : –
His game is restricted to clay and he loses to loads of people on other circuits. It doesent matter that he made the Wimbledon finals beating Agassi in the process(He’s old right?) and his draw was way easier (Federer whined about it too. Oh sorry Fed doesent whine. I bet he had a good reason for saying that.). It doesent matter that Fed got the only real fight in the tourny from Nadal and he hit just one more winner in the match (back to “brutal muscle whatsis”).
What was king fed doing when he was 20 and going on 21(its like that song in Sound of Music innit ?)? Losing to everyone and their dog. Early round exits in all the Grand Slams and One masters final. Nadal has JUST 9 masters and 2 French Opens at the same age, has made the wimbledon final and a few things here and there. Nuthin’ special eh?

“All players on the circuit want Fed to win so I ll take their opinion and not yours”.
All players in the circuit wanted Fed to win when he was 20?(and going on 21 of course.thanks AgassiFan for reminding me once).
Actually no because nobody gave a shit. Did everybody want him to win when he had two Grand Slams? No again because nobody still gave a shit. What when he has 10? NOW people want him to. Do you see a thread here kids? But no, let not the facts get in the way of good bullshit eh?


Kind Fed f**ts perfume and pees honey.


Thats obviously true right? Everything he says has a Good reason and a Good justification. Hell, he s the sweetest thing since Mother Teresa.

Bye guys. this was entertaining at the very least.

Sean Randall Says:

Those that claim Nadal’s game is to wait until his opponent makes an error obviously are watching different matches than me.

To clarify:

* When you hit the ball down the line like Rafa does and your opponent cannot return it, that’s a winner.
* When you hit an absurdly angled cross-court or down-the-line backhand passing shot like Rafa does by the opponent who’s parked at the net, that’s a winner.
* When you hit a drop shot or half-volley like Rafa does and your opponent cannot get to the ball that’s a winner.
* When you crush a mid-court forehand ball into an open corner like Rafa does that does not come back, guess what, that’s also winner.

And while he may not always “out winner” his opponent (the fact he hits so few aces hurts him in that department), he still can do it, and does it.

Against Andy Roddick at Indian Wells this year: Nadal 33 winners, Roddick 22
Against Lleyton Hewitt at the French last year: Nadal 46 winners; Hewitt 30 (35/59 UE)
Against Jiri Novak at the US Open last year: Nadal 46 winners; Novak 22 (31/32 UE)
Against Andre Agassi on the grass at Wimbledon last year: Nadal 44 winners, Agassi 23; (10/18 UE)
Against Marcos Baghdatis on the grass at Wimbledon last year: Nadal 43 winners, Baghdatis 38; (16/23 UE)
And in the Wimbledon final last year, Federer had just one more winner total than Nadal, 43 to 42.

Do I need to go on?

And I’ll say Rafael Nadal probably hits more winners on clay than any prior “Clay King” before him. I think he hits more than Guga, more than Muster, than Bruguera, Wilander, etc. ever did.

Also, a lot of the errors that his opponents do make are because of the pace and depth of Rafa’s shots, and not simply because the opponent dumped an easy forehand into the net.

When you play Rafa, if you drop any ball short to his forehand the point is virtually over. And that fact puts so much pressure on his opponents to make every reply a strong reply.

Now if you want to call Rafa unsportsmanlike or his game boring, I’ll listen, but to suggest the guy is a one-trick-pony who has only achieved success by waiting for his opponents to err is completely ludicrous.

sensationalsafin Says:

i agree with sean. someone asked earlier what is nadal’s one big shot other than his fitness, it’s his forehand. sure it doesn’t look as cool or smooth as blake’s or federer’s, but he hits the sickest shots with it. angles left and right that you can’t even imagine. his on-the-run forehand is damn near better than sampras’s!! but i want federer to win the french. whether he does it at rome or hamburg i dont really care, the french is what counts. im more of a federer fan if i have to choose between the two, but i dont see any excuses for federer losing at MC. to hit so many unforced errors on ur best shot, well, thats all there is to say. lets say federer was playing well below his best and rafa was playing his best, so what? nadal was the better player and he won. but i wouldnt call it a complete blow out because nadal has just been destroying everyone but federer managed to hang with him for most of the match.

John Says:

Stats for Monte Carlo final:

Nadal, Federer

First serve %: 79%, 55%
Aces: 1, 3
Double faults: 1, 4
First serve points won: 73%, 72%
Second serve points won: 57%, 43%
Total winners: 19, 19
Unforced errors: 19, 38
Break points won: 2/8, 0/3
Total points won: 73, 59
Score: 6-4, 6-4
Match time: 1:35

My calculations:
Service points won: 70% (46/66), 59% (39/66)
Return points won: 41% (27/66), 30% (20/66)

John Says:

In Barcelona:

Nadal beat Starace 6-2, 7-5 for his 70th.

71 Ferrer
72 (most likely) Canas

These two should be his toughest opponents.

IMO, David Ferrer may be more likely than Canas to break the streak.

However, since Canas stopped Federer’s streak, he may be more motivated than Ferrer.

claycourtrafa Says:

i agree with samps, and sean, however i dont think rafa is unsoprtinghe pumps himself on HELLO its a competitive sport it brings life to the game the crowd loves it. and a boring game come on please he brings the excitement to the sport i.e the noise the emotion the musscles the unveleicable angles or on the run passing shots please lets be serious the crowd loves it and it wins matches i can only speak for myself but i think that is a pretty good combo.

John Says:


Sunday, April 29, 2007
10:00 am EST – 12:30 pm EST
Open Seat Godo, Barcelona: Final
The Tennis Channel (Live)

Skorocel Says:

Sean, I’m not saying Nadal does nothing except waiting till the opponent makes that error – that would be suicide, even on clay! But the fact is that he simply frustrates you to such extent that you’ll finally make that error… He will simply draw that error out of you no matter how hard will you try – that’s why I used that term “messing the game up”…

Someone may say that watching Fed vs Nadal play on clay is a pleasure for any tennis fan, but honestly, I HATE those matches, no matter how thrilling they may be! EVERYTIME these two meet on clay (actually, not only on clay), it’s the same picture – Nadal’s heavy topspin forehand to Fed’s backhand, and sooner or later Fed will make that error… In the FO final last year, he made around 50 of them – purely from BH! That’s automatically 50 points to Nadal… That’s automatically 50 rallies ended with an error – not particularly entertaining, or is it?

They played 30 games together in Paris (if we count that final set breaker as a “game”), so that means almost 2 points per each game to Nadal purely because of Fed’s errors… And this happens EVERYTIME they play on clay, not just in that FO final last year… That’s why I hate to watch those matches – NOT because I’m a Fed fan! I’m not saying Nadal doesn’t deserve all those wins – indeed, he FULLY deserves them! It’s just that everything Fed’s trying to create, Nadal will turn to nothing – that’s why I don’t like his style of play! You may say I’m only mentioning Nadal’s matches vs Fed, but hey, he’s the only one who REALLY came close to beating Nadal on clay during that streak (except maybe Coria in Rome 2005)!

Nadal Says:

Get out of my butt, you fans! I pick it 70 times a set, and you still in there?

smasham Says:

Suffice it to say that whenever these 2 greats square off it is scintillating stuff. I just hope Nadal isn’t overdoing it. Remember last year he wore himself out during the clay court season and then through Wimby finals. Why does he have to play doubles in Barcelona? As for Federer, he ought to approach more and force Rafa to pass or lob. The approach doesnt have to be winner—high and deep would be good and then mop up at the net. Granted he will lose some points but overall he will do better than staying back and rallying. Also mix in a few drop shots to the backhand side when Rafa is back. Rafa loves to rally and Fed can rally but eventually the depth of Rafa’s shot gets to him. Fed should roll (angle)the forehand more to get Rafa off the court. Cannot wait for the next encounter!

FEDEX777 Says:

I want to reply to samps comments which i find childish…

1)” Wait, are we talking about Nadal? No honeybunny, we r talking about Federer, who hits the ball as hard as Nadal. You see the power of a shot doesent necessarily correlate with the Visible muscle on you biceps just like intelligence doesent correlate with the size of your head(ok the analogy isnt entirely Ok). ”

Thats great news….but guess wat federer’s game is art and art is about deception.He has speed that doesnt really look like speed , power that doesnt look like power.Plus his forehand is smooth.Atleast it’s better than nadal shouting at every shot and acting like as if he’s striking the ball with a lot of force and still not being as effective with it as a federer forehand.

2)”What was king fed doing when he was 20 and going on 21(its like that song in Sound of Music innit ?)? Losing to everyone and their dog. Early round exits in all the Grand Slams and One masters final. Nadal has JUST 9 masters and 2 French Opens at the same age, has made the wimbledon final and a few things here and there. Nuthin’ special eh?”

A lot of players have won grand slams before their twenties but how many of them have come close to becoming the greatest ever?

3)”All players in the circuit wanted Fed to win when he was 20?(and going on 21 of course.thanks AgassiFan for reminding me once).
Actually no because nobody gave a shit. Did everybody want him to win when he had two Grand Slams? No again because nobody still gave a shit. What when he has 10? NOW people want him to. Do you see a thread here kids? But no, let not the facts get in the way of good bullshit eh?”

Nobody cares when you have 2 slams.Because that doesnt really indicate how great you are.Example hewitt has 2 slams,safin has 2 slams.But when you are winning match after match,slam after slam…mind you federer did twice what mats wilander did once (3 out of 4 slams) and almost came close to winning the grand slam, obviously people want him to complete the grand slam given that he is a good guy who is not cocky.

4)” Everything he says has a Good reason and a Good justification. Hell, he s the sweetest thing since Mother Teresa.”

I know you are being sarcastic but with all the charity work and everything that he does your statement is quite true.

samps Says:

ok sorry im back. FEDEX777 your comments in the context of my last post ONLY are fair but not if you consider the posts of others before that. The sarcasm isnt aimed at Federer but his defenders. I personally know that he does contribute to many charities. Thats completely unrelated. Repeat : the sarcasm is NOT aimed at federer.
He is a nice guy but he is still only human and does whine sometimes and makes silly comments. You cannot justify every comment he makes and make it look good and claim that he CANNOT make bad comments(like people seem to be claiming).Thats ALl that the Mother Teresa comment was about. And hence the sarcasm which is obviously overdone for emphasis.

I have no problem accepting that federer Has the best forehand in the game and does it with great flair. The point I was making was that Nadal has a pretty good forehand and its not Just about power.
Thats mindless trivialising and clearly false. About how Nadal looks with his forehand is completely irrelevant and a matter of opinion. Its how effective it is and how well executed it is. Everyone doesent need to look lovely in a shot.

And yes there are many players who peak early but you simply Cannot tell what they’ll achieve in future. What im saying is that you Cannot compare this kid at 20 with federer who has had a lot of time to achieve things. Maybe Nadal will go out like Chang, but How do we know? Maybe he ll set a new precedent. He s way too young to judge on FEDERER’s standards (which people here have been doing ad infinitum) and That is the only point being made.

The point about people wanting Federer to win was made because someone claimed that people want Federer to win and not Nadal and that means something significant. I am saying that it means Nothing except that he’s close to a milestone. People are not going to care till you are near a milestone. For example when Nadal was in the final of the Wimbledon, loads of people were drawing Borg comparisons and spurring him on to win. Thats how it is. I am saying people spurring on Federer to win the grand slam indicates nothing about Nadal. In fact you merely reiterated the exact same point i was making. Please understand whats written first. Perhaps I should tone down the sarcasm in future posts and keep it simple.

Actually All the points were sarcastic because people here continue to reiterate the same points without any replies to existing comments.

And Skorocel, Nadal uses that tactic on federer because it pays great dividends as federer can barely play the high bouncing topspin on his backhand(ON CLAY). If Federer tomorrow figures a vastly more “Boring” way of beating by Nadal forcing him into errors on clay, that is Exactly what he will do. And please understand that topspin on grass does NOT work well so its hardly effective. And as everyone has been quoting, Nadal had NEARLY SAME number of winners at the Wimbledon final!
BOTH had less errors in that match and that was a very entertaining one. I dont understand how you can generalize to all surfaces and why you continue to reiterate it.
And I GOT the tape comment the first time around and i think its a ridiculous amount of interpretation(hence the nonsense sarcasm). He got taped at the start of the match? This is how i see it(MY interpretation so i admit it is completely subjective) : He practices and finds that he doesent feel too good and gets himself taped. If you have a minor injury you feel it more in distress that is when ur losing. so he felt the pain more then and got himself taped. He exchanged a look? How many did he exchange in the whole match?20 30 times? and That look was significant?
This is a crazy amount of interpretation. And you ve seen it once in a game. And you jumped to a conclusion. Is that fair really?

MD Says:

“I know you are being sarcastic but with all the charity work and everything that he does your statement is quite true. ”

Are you kidding? If not, read about mother Theresa’s life before you make a comment like that.
Federer does charity? Yup.So, do many other rich, famous people.

“Nobody cares when you have 2 slams.Because that doesnt really indicate how great you are.Example hewitt has 2 slams,safin has 2 slams.”
LOL…of course people care. People who really, honestly care about tennis care.
Both Safin and Hewitt are very talented players. It’s ridiculous to only respect and appreciate players with 10 slam titles unless you’re a glory hunter instead of a tennis lover.

Why isn’t it possible to respect both players. You don’t have to like them both but they both deserve some respect.

Skorocel Says:

Samps, imagine if Nadal started playing more aggressively – that is coming more to the net, risking more with his groundies, not playing ad nauseum to the opponents’ BH (especially Fed’s), etc. Simply, what would’ve happened if he wanted to start producing MORE WINNERS? Well, not only he would’ve opened himself more for passing shots, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, his UEs would then increase – that’s why we’re never gonna see him change his tactics (with the exception of some minor adjustments, of course)… Say what you want, the vast majority of Nadal’s winning points in his matches (with some exceptions, of course) always were and will be the opponents’ errors… I understand that win is a win, but how it can be interesting to watch? Do you understand me, samps? I’m NOT a sore loser! I understand perfectly that playing 90 % of Nadal’s shots to Fed’s BH is gonna win him the match (especially on clay), but how can it be interesting to watch?

Wimbledon last year? He barely got past Kendrick, who’s everything but a decent player… The only mentionable success was his semifinal win over Baghdatis (who btw never won a match on grass prior to Wimby)… Imagine if Nadal had faced Ancic, Gasquet or, god forbid, a certain guy named Berdych… Now that would’ve been interesting:-)

As for that thing with blisters which happened prior to Monte Carlo finals – well, I’m sorry to say this, but you didn’t get it right at all, as you obviously didn’t see the match (or at least its very beginning + the warm up)… Have you ever seen a situation when the player receives a treatment for blisters? Nadal didn’t get his hand taped at all! The trainer just daubed (I guess this is the right word in English) his fingers with some liquid fixture, and that was all! So my question is: do you think you can get/aggravate a blister during those 10 minutes of warm up? Of course not! Even a tennis laicus would’ve noticed that Nadal’s one and only goal was to deliberately disturb Fed’s focus!

FEDEX777 Says:

To MD……yeah i was kiddin bout the mother teresa thing.But as for hewitt and safin if people are asked to name great players who have played tennis they might not include safin and hewitt because of their less number of grand slam titles.I mean when safin won AUS 2005 obviously it made an impact on all the tennis fans and he will always be on the talented list.I agree with that but i was mainly talking about the media and how they give importance to great players.

Agassi Fan Says:

WHENEVER he is behind, Nadal ALWAYS fakes some injury, delays the game, exchanges glances with Toni, chokes on a banana – there’s always something, ALWAYS. You have to be blind not to see it. Everyone has different ethical standards, so maybe this is all fine for some of you.

samps Says:

Skorocel, i understand Nadal’s draw was easier(except Agassi perhaps?) but what about the ultimate test : Federer! He played brilliantly against him. Please watch the match if you havent seen it.

Federer beat Berdych, Ancic and others really, really easily and in straight sets but Nadal pushed him Really hard. The second set which Nadal lost was super close (7-5 on the tiebreak) and the next Nadal won. It was a very close match except the first set when Nadal was utterly rubbish. No Nadal forehand to the backhand because federer was slicing on the backhand and it’s not an easy shot to handle on grass especially for someone as inexperienced as Nadal. It was superb open court play and Nadal was matching him shot to shot.As Everyone has repeated a million times-he had just One less winner than Fed. He was approaching the net and had a fair number of winners there. In fact Nadal won MORE points on net approaches!!! His serve was great and I think he has Great potential for improvement there.
Stats here:-

You see I wasnt convinced about Nadal TILL i saw him play federer in that final. This guy, irrespective of how he plays on clay Has talent.
See the problem with judging Nadal is that we judge him as someone who is peaking, i.e. on the same level as Federer. Thats true on clay(where he has grown up on) but on other courts he’s still a novice. He’s just starting to adapt. And not winning much but he’s doing better than Federer was at his age. I am not saying he’ll better or match or even come close to matching Federer. That the future will tell. But we simply do not know and cant tell. He’s just starting so please give him time. The next couple of years on other courts will define this guy and thats something we cannot predict.
And I didnt see the start of that match and i dont remember the injury break he took in the middle. But I watch a lot of Nadal matches and I simply havent seen any signs of lack of fair play. completely the opposite in fact. I should tell you

im not a big Nadal fan or anything. But i think he has great potential and does not need to be mowed down needlessly. You see he has similarities to Pete, not in their style of play obviously(which have almost NOTHING in common). Its how people treat him. See, when Pete was winning everything there were too many disgusting skunks calling him a bore. That would make me really really violent.
I thought his matches were superb! And we have similar accusations about Nadal and that bugs me no end, not because i am a fan but because its similar injustice. Nadal isnt as cool and composed on court but he has the same determination (actually Pete’s was greater but I wonder if people appreciate that- when you think about the 1995 davis cup or the last three us open finals or million other things) and for all his rebellious attire, is of similar character. Federer is surely different-with the silly white dinner jacket (i mean how tf is that stylish? it looks utterly foolish) and all the style which people laud and i detest. but i have no problems agreeing that he is the most complete player ever and better than pete . But i think nadal can get there.

samps Says:

sorry for a mistake. i wrote that nadal won MORE net approach points, i meant more percentage. but still its a start.

Dave Says:

So far the same topics- Nadal muscle, easy Wimbledon draw, less winners more errors, delay blister trick, etc etc… What else…

Dave Says:

To those of you have problem appreciate Nadal’s playing, don’t worry, we would never force you into liking his style. But you can’t say ‘many’ people don’t enjoy his playing, if you don’t then fine. Tennis is not just about artistic playing, there are a lot of players with different styles, so stop complaining and crticizing, he’s not playing to entertain all people and certainly not gonna change for your viewing plesure.
Wimbledon – Nadal DID take a set off Federer, unlike Fed’s ‘tougher’ draw.
Oh please, Nadal ‘delay style’ was seen in all his matches, even when he’s winning. The xchange looks with Toni occured so many countless times, whether winning or not, definitely not important.
And I can’t believe we are still having the more errors, less winners discussion.

Dave Says:

Sorry if I offended anyone, I guess.

MD Says:

Is it really necessary to degrade yourself into saying stuff like:

Then why dont you bring your own motherfuckin discussion asshole……


I don’t even get what you’re trying to say here (but maybe that’s because English isn’t my first language)
why don’t you bring your own motherfucking discussion asshole?
Does that make sense to anybody who is a native English speaker?

samps Says:

Come on dave and you too MD, some schmuck writes some nonsense just to bring about some response when he clearly cant string two words together. Thats an age old trick really. Ignore.

Nadal Says:

I am not only a beast, I am also lucky. Look at today, Canas had to play 3 hours, and play tomorrow against me. I only play 90 min. this happen to me all the time. I get lucky break all the time – draw, tired opponents, etc.

thank god I have never had to play safin or nalbandian yet – again, very lucky.

what are you going to do?

John Says:

Win #71:

Barcelona: Semi-Final

Nadal, Ferrer

First serve %: 77% (41/53), 62% (40/65)
Aces: 0, 0
Double faults: 1, 0
First serve points won: 63% (26/41), 63% (25/40)
Second serve points won: 58% (7/12), 28% (7/25)
Total winners: ??, ??
Unforced errors: ??, ??
Break points won: 55% (6/11), 67% (2/3)
Total points won: 56% (66/118), 44% (52/118)
Score: 7-5, 6-1
Match time: 1:35
Service points won: 62% (33/53), 49% (32/65)
Return points won: 51% (33/65), 38% (20/53)

Note: I couldn’t find winners and unforced errors.

John Says:

Comparing stats of Nadal/Federer to Nadal/Ferrer

Second serve points won:

Nadal 57%, Federer 43%
Nadal 58%, Ferrer 28%


Nadal 2, Federer 0
Nadal 6, Ferrer 2

samps Says:

Well “Nadal”, what about being in the finals of both the SINGLES and the DOUBLES of ATP Barcelona? Thats adding to the luck right? Or are you actually trying to make a level playing field?
That was funny! Straight set victories and Luck!indeed!
“Nadal”, do add this line in the end everytime you post : “I am an idiot who knows didlysquat about tennis or sport in general.”

FloridaMan Says:

I very much agree with Anjali’s comments about Federer’s will to fight in long, hard matches. A possible example of this is his 5-set win-loss record, which is something like 8-9. And he has lost some notable matches that went beyond 5-5 in the 5th set in the last few years, notably to Safin, Nalbandian, and Nadal in Rome of last year. And while Nadal has that intense, gritty determination the vast majority of the time, Safin and Nalbandian have also displayed it, albeit only at times, whenever they were really on. I see Canas as a similar kind of gritty, intense, determined competitor (though indeed he’s no Nadal). Canas is the kind of player that can definitely outlast Fed if the match goes the distance. So this is the kind of player that Fed has the most trouble with – players who show the intense will, guts and determination to stay with him shot for shot during matches. And no one does it today like Nadal. That’s why the chances of Federer beating Nadal on clay are basically similar to Roddick beating Federer on any surface.

Nadal Says:

I am lucky, you jealous samps?

tomorrow I will beat the heck out of a tired canas.

samps Says:

Talking about tired Canas, Nadal’s played BOTH the singles and the doubles and is in the finals of both! Just after his singles win he played doubles and reached the final. Also Canas got a walkover from Davydenko in the Q/F so its not like he’s in terrible shape.
You see, satire(or terribly pathetic attempts at it)
works slightly better when there is, just a little, truth in it. Not that it matters when one has sub-human intelligence. I guess you HAVEN’t been too lucky there mate?

Dave Says:

Samps,just ignore ‘Nadal’, he’s not worth your time.
And what in the world was Rafa thinking playing both singles and doubles AND now the final for both. Damn he’s like a machine, a great one. I’m worried he’s overdoing it, with injury and all… Hopefully he’ll be fine.
And then he got exhibition, Rome, Hamburg and last RG.
Should we get worried now?

Skorocel Says:

You know samps, it’s just about everyone else’s opinion… Everyone has their own, isn’t it? I know what you were trying to say… From what you’ve written, I understand that YOUR philosophy is to appreciate and acknowledge everyone’s success in the sport, presumably if it was achieved fairly, isn’t it? That’s fine, and I’m not gonna take anything away from YOUR opinion!

MY opinion is, however, that Nadal is FAR AWAY from being called a fair sportsman! I will NEVER change my opinion about what he did in that Monte Carlo finals, since it was clear as a water… Not to mention those waiting games before/during the matches, coaching, banana choking, etc. – it’s plain STUPID and totally UNNECESSARY! That’s just MY opinion, but it’s not just me who thinks this way… Just type Rafael Nadal in google, and look what it is written under his english wikipedia profile. Though I refrain from those comments made by Forget, no wonder they’re booing him when the guy starts “choking” with banana in the middle of a crucial game (I’ve never seen such a silly thing in tennis!). It’s no secret that lots of players on the tour have a general negative opinion about him as well (not only on the court, but also off the court)… I know, it’s possible that those are only rumours, but it gives you an indication…

Believe me, had he refrained from doing these silly things, I would’ve no problems to FULLY acknowledge him and his successes! All those vamoses, fist pumps, etc. – that’s fine, but if you don’t respect your opponent, then you shouldn’t been there standing… As you may know, Fed’s lost only few matches since he’s been the Nr. 1. Except the loses to Nadal, the most notable defeats were vs Safin at Oz, vs Nalby at the Masters Cup, and also vs Gasquet at Monte Carlo, where he blew 3 MPs. All of those loses were very very painful for any casual Fed fan, but I had no problems to digest them, since those 3 guys always treated Fed fairly! I’m not trying to say that Fed is a god or something, but if you don’t respect your opponent on the court, you simply shouldn’t be there! So much for the fair play thing…

As for Nadal’s game, well, I simply don’t like it. In sports, I’ve ALWAYS preferred the talent over the will, so I simply can’t see that much beauty on Nadal’s game as opposed to Fed’s, Gasquet’s or Safin’s, for example. But as I’ve already said, it’s just MY opinion, and you can easily disagree with me… I admit that it has something to do with the fact that I’m a Fed fan – you can’t avoid that. No matter how fair and objective you’ll try to act, if you do like a certain player, you’ll always find something negative about his opponents – I admit that. BUT I can do nothing with the fact that Fed’s lost all those matches to Nadal on clay, unless he finds a way to win… It’s up to Fed!

As for Sampras, I understand that some people found him boring – I guess mainly because of his game which was based on quick serve & volley tactics and also because of his usually poker-faced approach (that’s why lot of fans find Fed boring as well). I admit that some of Pete’s matches (especially at Wimbledon) were boring to me as well, but I have no problem to accept that the guy’s elevated the serve & volley tactics to perfection (personally, I’ve never seen a tennis player mastering those 2 shots better than Sampras). It’s just about different opinions, you know… If I had to compare Fed’s successes with those of Pete, well, even when Fed’s a more complete of a player than Pete, he’s still far away from overcoming the American in the history books (I mean mostly those 14 Slams, but most importantly, Pete’s 286 weeks on the top). He may overcome those records easily, but still, we don’t know what will happen in the years to come. Time will tell…

Dave Says:

“It’s no secret that lots of players on the tour have a general negative opinion about him as well (not only on the court, but also off the court)… I know, it’s possible that those are only rumours, but it gives you an indication…”

Really? Such as? What about off the court? Just curious…

MD Says:

“It’s no secret that lots of players on the tour have a general negative opinion about him as well (not only on the court, but also off the court)… I know, it’s possible that those are only rumours, but it gives you an indication…”

That’s odd. I heard the opposite thing. Perhaps not by everybody, but in general, he’s well liked. Not too long ago Federer commented about his fair play.

But hey, if it makes your life easier thinking that he’s disliked, be my guest.

grendel Says:

there is a simple reason for the over the top, even a bit unhinged, attacks on Nadal. It cannot be admitted, but it is so, nonetheless. Nadal is understood to be a threat, a deeply potent threat, and not just on clay (which would be annoying, but bearable). Right now, Nadal is very close to beating Federer on any surface, including grass. And whereas Federer has probably peaked, Nadal is nowhere near his best yet. The man threatens to overwhelm Federer, capture his number one spot quite soon, deny him any more grandslams, and in particular – this the really hurtful one – become himself the chief contender for overhauling Sampras’ grandslam record. The crown is sitting very uneasily on Swiss shoulders these days. Deep down, Federer fans know this, and can’t abide it. I know. I’m one of them

Agassi Fan Says:

Nadal is not reaching any grand slam final this year other than French. Anyone care to wager on it?

EVERY top player has about 5-6 years of top level tennis in them. If you start peaking early, you burn out earlier too – look at anyone from the past, even Borg.

This is Nadal’s 3rd year. Fed’s 5th. Nadal probably has 3 more (maybe less, since he has to work harder to win). Feb probably has a couple left.

As for Nadal winning 14+ slams? HA HA. EVEN if they start playing all slams on clay, he won’t last that long!!!! ha ha.

6 more weeks, and his season is over for the year, just like it was last year.

samps Says:

Agassi Fan? Are you in some alternate dimension that we must all know of?

Sampras won the US open in 1990
, and then had a long run from 1993 to 2000(last i counted that was 8 years but it could be different in your dimension) and the US open in 2002.

Borg win his first grand slam in 1974, and won ONE every year for the next 3 years and reached ONE other final during the same time. After that he won SEVEN grand slams in the next Four years.

And here is the killer :-
Agassi was in the finals of THREE grand slams in 1990 and 1991, won his first slam in 1992 and won his last in 2003. Can you still count pal? You claim to be a fan of his? So i would have thought you knew a Little about his record. Oh well one cant expect too much.

I am NOT saying Nadal would do this, but since you are basing your “facts”(“EVERY top player has about 5-6 years of top level tennis in them”) on past precedent, it seems that Nadal is well on the precedent(assuming he can be great).

So PLEASE “AgassiFan” (you see im less convinced that you ARE one, after your post), check your “facts” a little, just a teeny weensy bit so you can avoid the trouble of shoving your foot in your mouth every time you post, which you seem to be doing with surprising regularity.

samps Says:

I ll add something lest my point is missed :
There is NO precedent of HOW success is achieved in tennis (or any other sport for that matter). Different people do it differently. Some fade away quickly after peaking early(like Safin). Others peak early and do well later(like BORG). Some peak late and do well (like Federer). In fact you look at the careers of Roy Emerson, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall and you see a large spread in how success is achieved.

So STOP making random statements as though they were Maxim. And excuse us if we dont take your comments about Nadal seriously.

You see Nadal’s career is on the same path as Borg but you know what it tells about Nadal’s future career. You know what that means?
Absolutely Nothing.

Agassi Fan Says:


Look up the words “top level tennis” and peaking in the dictionary.

Sampras was not at his peak until 1993, nor after 1998. Same with all the otehr players. Just winning a slam is not peak.

So learn some English pal.

John Says:

Win #72:

Barcelona: Final

Nadal, Canas

First serve %: 75% (40/53), 57% (36/63)
Aces: 2, 5
Double faults: 0, 1
First serve points won: 83% (33/40), 69% (25/36)
Second serve points won: 62% (8/13), 56% (15/27)
Total winners: ??, ??
Unforced errors: ??, ??
Break points won: 50% (2/4), 0% (0/2)
Total points won: 55% (64/116), 45% (52/116)
Score: 6-3, 6-4
Match time: 1:41
Service points won: 77% (41/53), 63% (40/63)
Return points won: 37% (23/63), 23% (12/53)

Note: I couldn’t find winners and unforced errors.

John Says:

Comparing stats of Nadal/Federer, Nadal/Ferrer and Nadal/Canas

Second serve points won:

Nadal 57%, Federer 43%
Nadal 58%, Ferrer 28%
Nadal 62%, Canas 56%

Return points won:

Nadal 41%, Federer 30%
Nadal 51%, Ferrer 38%
Nadal 37%, Canas 23%


Nadal 2, Federer 0
Nadal 6, Ferrer 2
Nadal 2, Canas 0

Jason Says:

I don’t get it when people think it’s boring that the same guy wins all the time. I think it’s great to see someone so good that they can dominate. It takes so much talent and work to dominate, that is a rare and beautiful thing to watch. Only a few times in a lifetime is there someone that good in sport. Enjoy it. As for Rafa just waiting for people to make errors, that is not true. He plays a positioning game. He hits depth and spin on the ball and makes his opponent give up court. Then his opponent is forced to hit tough shots and make errors. That is good tennis. Fed does the same thing on other surfaces, it just happens quicker. The toughest part for other players in the GS is that it is best of 5. It is tough to beat the best in a best of 5.

whajeebeez Says:

Congratulations to Nadal on winning Barcelona his amazing 72 straight win on clay . Not surprising to see tennis-x ignore this tremendous achievement…in their world if its not all about princess Roger then its not news lol..

I guess that also means there will be No trunk/funk update this week .tennis-x is loath to put their little princess Roger in the trunk for stinking on clay vs Nadal again -rotflmao!

VAMOS RAFA!!! make tennisx squirm some more ~> :@D

Nadal Says:

Vamos my fans, how does it feel in my butt – like the taste?

zola Says:

It is amazing that Rafa has won two tournaments back to back for the third time, has beaten CAnas in the Barcelona final and still doesn’t deserve to be in your “funk” column!

claycourtrafa Says:

‘nadal’ u r an idiot

grendel Says:

About a year ago, an interviewer asked a top player what he thought of the opinion, voiced in some quarters, that Nadal was not a force outside the clay courts. The player brushed aside the comment with contempt:”they know nothing about tennis”, he said. About a year prior to that this same player, one Roger Federer, was interviewed after somehow beating Nadal in Miami – he was getting whopped until Nadal ran out of gas (you can tell this was 2 years ago, can’t you). Federer was asked when was the last time he felt totally dominated:”for the first two sets of the match just played”, he remarked wryly. Federer is generally extremely complimentary about Nadal, not out of modesty, a sense of fair play and so on, but more as of one who is acquainted with the facts, having acquired his knowledge the hard way, on the front line, and wishes them to be known. He means what he says. And when he says, as he does (unprompted) from time to time, “I know I can beat him”, that somehow is not so convincing. Spot of wishful thinking, you can’t help feeling.
But when Nadal gushes over Federer, this smacks partly of public relations (you sense good old Toni in the background here), and partly the genuine awe an ambitious youngster feels for a legend.
What they actually think of each other, as tennis opponents, is to be seen on the court. Words are slippery, deceptive, useless really, as conveyors of truth. Body posture never lies. When playing Federer, Nadal looks rampant, utterly confident in his ability to take down the Number 1, and delighted to have the opportunity to do so.And if, by some mysterious chance, he fails to do so that day, never mind, he’ll certainly do it next time. Federer looks like he’s been summoned to see the head teacher, something he has to do (apparently), but don’t expect him to like it. Worry and gloom ooze from him. And if, by some chance he actually wins, you can sense his relief, even surprise. Whew! just made it that time (wonder how…)
There’s something odd about this. For instance, Connors knew that McEnroe had more talent than him. But he also knew, that even after a thrashing, tomorrow’s another day, and he could always win then – and he often did. This spontaneous approach is denied to Federer – he seems to be weighed down by the weight of expectation, and just can’t square it with the odd story, as Andre Agassi commented, of the number one being dominated by number two. At some level, perhaps Federer really feels Nadal is his superior, and that’s kind of schizoid, isn’t it, when you’re supposed to be the greatest player of all time.
It wouldn’t surprise me if, when Nadal overtakes Federer in the rankings – sometime late this year presumably – Federer will not feel released. We’ll see a new, relaxed Federer, a genuine underdog, even written off. Then I think we’ll see the best of Federer – and a Federere/Nadal match will be something to savour.

Jason Says:

If Federer truly disliked playing Nadal, they wouldn’t be doing the grass/clay exhibition.

johnnhoj Says:

As many say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” This is true. If Federer can gather the will and the intense determination to fight for a victory over Nadal on clay, then he can pull it off. I know he’s capable of it. He had a couple of match points against Nadal last year in Rome, but he deflated to early. The point is Federer needs to put up more of a FIGHT on clay against Nadal. Perhaps what Wilander said is true. If a French Open title is that important to Federer then he’ll have to do it.
This year’s Monte Carlo final was just crap. He resigned himself to losing. I kept waiting for Federer to hit precision shots up the line to make it difficult for Rafa, but he didn’t do any of that. If Fed had consistently hit shots up the line to make Nadal repeatedly stretch out to return a ball, Fed could move up to the net for a volley or hit a winner into the far corner. Fed wanted to just outpunch Nadal with the forehand. Also, Fed didn’t chase down those dropshots. Nadal runs after every dropshot from Roger. Roger should do the same. He didn’t mix things up enough. It was clear to see.

I still believe in Federer. He’s gonna win eventually.

One other thing: can someone explain how on earth Andy Roddick is No. 3 in the world? How?

John Says:

re: “One other thing: can someone explain how on earth Andy Roddick is No. 3 in the world? How?”

I think you need to look at 4 thru 10.

Disclaimer: IMO, if Djokovic #5 keeps rolling, he will overtake Andy. Also Canas is #22 and rising. Don’t know where he will top out.

grendel Says:

Why Fed play Nadal in exhibition? No pressure, is there. Losing’s o.k., winning’s nothing special -in the strange conditions, could be a lot of fun. Plus – come on – there’s lots and lots of loot involved. The rich always like a bit more, poor dears – not just the players, but those behind the scenes. Days of innocence are long gone in all sport, tennis no exception.

claycourtrafa Says:

rafa won the exo he is the newly crowned ‘king of the sufaces’ :) 7-5 4-6 7-6(10), close match i know third set breaker 12-10 ouch! close but just an exo

John Says:

One more time:

re: “One other thing: can someone explain how on earth Andy Roddick is No. 3 in the world? How?”

betfair.com has odds for the French Open.

Current odds to win the tournament are:

Nadal 1.75 to 1
Federer 3.5 to 1
Roddick 400 to 1

claycourtrafa Says:

haha o thats good

claycourtrafa Says:

i think roddick will be lucky to make the qfs in RO i think djokovic will outdo him so long as he doesnt get a seasoned claycourters like ferrer in his draw

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