Rafael Nadal, 72 and Counting…
by Sean Randall | May 2nd, 2007, 12:14 pm
  • 88 Comments

Maybe it’s me but it’s starting to feel like no one is ever going to beat Rafael Nadal on clay, ever again. Igor Andreev, you are soon to become a permanent answer to the trivia question of the last player to do it.

Nadal of course destroyed everyone in Barcelona, just a week after making a mockery of Monte Carlo field (yes, Fed included) to run his all-time best clay streak to 72.

Along the way he’s thrashed Juan Chela, Tomas Berdych, Roger Federer, Guillermo Canas, David Ferrer and a few other lesser-names, but still some good quality wins.

And what’s scary is Nadal’s only lost two sets (both to Novak Djokovic in Miami) since the start of March winning 29 of his last 31 sets. And some could make the point that the Djokovic loss was no big deal since Rafa wasn’t looking for anymore hardcourt duty with the risk of injury looming.

Again, I got nothing against Nadal, and I admire him for all that he has accomplished (Heck, I even once wrote that he had a better chance of winning Wimbledon than Federer of winning the French.) But this is starting to get ridiculous. I mean no one is even close to beating this bull! In his last 10 clay wins, just three guys – Berdych, Storice and Ferrer – have even managed to get to 5-all. That’s absurd.

So of course later today is the big Nadal-Federer exo showdown on the mixed grass/clay court in Rafa’s hometown of Mallorca. It’s an interesting concept and made even better in that both Federer and Nadal have surface streaks going – Fed 48 on grass, Nadal 72 on clay.

Surely Nike and IMG have their fingerprints on this exo, but if I’m Fed I’m not so sure I’d be fired-up to play such an event. I know Fed’s a nice guy and he’s apparently buddy-buddy with Nadal, but seeing how Nadal right now is his No. 1 chief rival and with the French just weeks away, Fed needs to be doing anything he can to get an edge on Nadal. And this isn’t it. Hanging out with Rafa in his hometown playing an exo is not going to help his French cause in anyway.

After the Monte Carlo beat-down and with his French window closing, If I’m Fed, I’m working on ways to stop hitting forehands into the Mediterranean. I’m working on adding more drop shots to my game. I’m strengthening my backhand to better handle the Nadal topspin. And I’m figuring out ways on how to take Rafa out of his comfort zone.

But then again maybe Fed’s already got that all figured out and he’s just playing possum until the French. Would be an ingenious move on Fed’s part, and he is a genius after all. Or so they say.


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88 Comments for Rafael Nadal, 72 and Counting…

MD Says:

Wait a minute

So on the one hand we have Federer dominating the tour for several years now….Grass court season, hard court season from august on right up until the end of the season and the beginning of the following season right up to the clay court season.

On the other hand, we have Nadal. We’re only two tournament victories into the clay court season and the “oh, he’s too dominant” complaining starts?

Okay…I don’t get it.

Personally, I love to see Nadal on clay and I’m not getting tired of it either.


MD Says:

Another thing that’s been annoying me:

What is it with all these ‘experts’ giving the tennis genius advice?
You think that Roger is not aware of the fact that he needs to be aggressive on clay?
You think that he isn’t aware that he needs to take Rafael out of his comfort zone?

I find this condescending towards Roger Federer as well even though I know that you mean well.

One last comment: if you’re so sick of domination, why not give advice to others to start beating Roger Federer more often?


Sean Randall Says:

MD, you may not “get it” but I do. Sorry. Nadal’s won 72 straight. If Fed or anyone else ever gets to 72 straight on any other surface I promise I will sing the exact same song, don’t worry.

Like you, I, too, am not tired of seeing Nadal on the clay, but it would be nice to see someone make a real match of it if not beat him, and Fed has to step up and be that guy if he wants to complete the Grand Slam.


claycourtrafa Says:

hey by the way nadal won the exo:) 7-5 4-6 7-6(10)


laura Says:

yeah he is awesome (nadal) fed really has to step up his game but no matter wat he does he is not beating nadal at the french open this year mark my words


laura Says:

yeah he is awesome (nadal) fed really has to step up his game but no matter wat he does he is not beating nadal at the french open this year mark my words


zola Says:

sean:
**But then again maybe Fed’s already got that all figured out and he’s just playing possum until the French***
I think this is exactly what Federer is doing.

I think he played the ex because they are probably paid a lot, it is a new concept and him and Nadal would be the ast in history to try it, and he gets more game play with Nadal. even if it is not serious and they don’t kill themselves to win, it is good no to lose the feel on the other player’s game.

Something I don’t understand is that how slow tennis-x reacts to Nadal. The guy won Barcelona on Sunday. Your article comes out on wednesday. NAdal won two tournaments back to back for three years , is on 72 match streak and doesn’t even deserve to go on the “funk” list oy yours?
I am ready to give up!


Andrew Miller Says:

This was not mentioned – but wanted to ask if Sean Randall and Tennis-X could look into the WTA Tour and eating disorders. Is the WTA proactive in helping its players? I ask because I was astounded by photos of Gisela Dulko in Budapest – she appears quite anorexic.


Agassi Fan Says:

Borg and Lendl were astounding clay courters too (remember, Lendl had to win his titles with Wilander around at his peak). How does Nadal compare to them?

It’s amazing how clay tennis has become a “different” sport since the early nineties. French champions don’t win anything else any longer (maybe an odd AUS open, a very slow hard court). Why do you think that has happened, since it wasn’t like that in the 70s/80s?


Ville_Liukko Says:

First of all his name is STORACE not “Storice”. Second, Fed played horribly in Monte Carlo and was still competitive in the match. Hell clean up his act and win RG this year guaranteed.

BTW the Battle of the Surfaces Exo, although a great idea, was a fix.

Thanks


MD Says:

This is another thing that amuses me:

sean:
**But then again maybe Fed’s already got that all figured out and he’s just playing possum until the French***
Zola:
I think this is exactly what Federer is doing.

Maybe it’s true but I’ve been hearing that since the very first time Nadal won from Federer and esp. last year during the clay court season: Federer is only waiting for RG to make his main move or do you think that he’s been playing possum since the clay court season of 2005? Monte Carlo 2006, Rome 2006, Roland Garros 2006, Monte Carlo 2007.

That’s a mighty big period leading up to Roland Garros 2007.


zola Says:

MD
I think Fed’s main goal is RG. About MC, I don’t think Fed could win and did not. I think he was not expecting too much from the first clay tournament of the year and he knew he was not stong enough to beat Nadal on clay tournament after tournament. So whatever weapon he has, he will keep it for RG.

In Shanghai he came with this backhand volleys and backhand down the line from nowhere. In Australian Open he lost to Roddick in Kooyong, then creamed him in AO final.


zola Says:

I sea the “funk” and “trunk” section is finally updated today. Great!


John Says:

It will be interesting to see how close Nadal comes to Chris Evert’s clay streak of 125.

When Chris lost to Tracy Austin, ending the streak, she then won 72 in a row.


smasham Says:

Is Rome Masters tournament final going to be best of 5 sets or was it changed to best of 3 sets this year?


Sean Randall Says:

Here’s a link to video from the match: http://files.filefront.com/The_Battle_of_Surfacesasf/;7412030;/fileinfo.html

Smasham, I believe Rome will be best of 3, same for Hamburg.

Zola, sorry for the delay. Busy with things earlier in the week so I was unable to post. I don’t handle the funk/trunk, but looks like you got your Rafa love!

Ville_Liukko, point taken. Storace it is. And surely the fix was in on today’s surface battle. As for the Monte final being competitive, that’s not how I saw it. But that’s my opinion.


John Says:

Sean says: “Igor Andreev, you are soon to become a permanent answer to the trivia question of the last player to do it.”

Can Igor do it again?

He may have his chance in Rome next week.

At the Estoril Open, this week, he nearly beat Djokovic. It went to a third set tie-break 62,46,76(5) and lasted 2 hours and 42 minutes .

Djokovic is the favorite to win this tournament and he is also currently third in the ATP Race, behind Federer who is second and Nadal who is now first!

And it can’t hurt Igor to have Maria Kirilenko as his girlfriend.


zola Says:

Sean,
I did..(Lol!).but you have to see that it looks strange when Rafa wins for two weeks, everyone is talking about him , but here in the tennis-x world, Ivo Karlovic is there for two weeks. then everyone disappears from the list. As if whoever write the funk/trunk column is determined not to write anything about Nadal!

You think todays’s result was a fix? why would any of them do that? Not that the result really matters, but even so…


Skorocel Says:

Man! Do you follow tennis or what? It is STARACE, not STORICE!


HS Says:

its ridiculous to think it was a fix.. only a fed supporter would say so to delude himself.

first of all there is no reason to do that and secondly the match was too close for a fix.. i mean couple of shots here and there and it could have gone either way.

and there is no way in hell fed is going to beat rafa this year in french O.


HJL Says:

Zola: “I think Fed’s main goal is RG.”

Of course it is. That goes without saying. It’s also Nadal’s main goal.

However, claiming that Federer is playing possum (nice expression, though) is just not credible to me, given their previous clay court history together.

Listen, I’m not saying that Federer can’t do it. Rome plays faster than Monte Carlo so he’s got a shot there. However, this “oh, he’s just playing dumb and waiting for his chance to make his big move” is just not credible anymore after having heard that for 2,5 years now.

About these exhibition things:
I’ve heard – but I don’t know if it’s true of course – that an these events, the two first sets are pretty much a fix (first set goes to that player, second to this player) and the second set is pretty much a matter of fighting it out)


yellowballspanker Says:

Agassi Fan… I’m perplexed as well about clay courters who dominate only on the dirt, but win nothing else. Muster used to get grab the #1 ranking from time to time just by winning clay tournaments, so it kind of started back then. But it’s more so now. Guga had some wins on other surfaces when he hit #1. Moya did also. And Nadal does have wins as well on hard courts. But no slams other than the red stuff.

I suspect, and Sean would know as he’s played more than most of us, that it has to do with the change in stroke technique. Stances have been getting more and more open since what, 1990 or so? And on clay, you can take the ball so late, and with such a wide open stance, that it’s going to lend itself to the muscle guys, the guys who take monsterous strokes, and can really crank up their own power. Nadal has the most open stance I’ve ever seen, he’s hitting ball behind him sometimes. Brugera had it. Muster had it. Even Guga used to really wind up. So guys who like to play like that do well on clay. But put them on a hard court, and they can’t take the ball early enough to compete with the best of the ones that do, Blake, Haas, Safin, Roddick, Murray. These hard court guys, who take the ball early, try doing it on clay, and their strokes just aren’t big enough to generate the kind of power you need to win on that surface now days. Fed’s right in the middle, he can take the ball incredibly early on hard courts, but also can generate an incredible amount of power without a gigantic windup on his swing. But his power is not at the level of the biggest dirt ballers like Moya (in his prime), Nadal or Guga (who did beat him in 03 or 04 I think). You have the Corias and the Ferreras who are not as big of hitters, but those guys in their prime played the lines, ran every single ball down, and NEVER missed. And if we’re thinking, okay, power… why can’t Roddick or Blake do anything on clay, I believe it’s because they generate their power by planting their feet firmly and taking the ball early, which you just can’t do on clay.

So that’s kind of my take. I see it as a development of the stroke technique evolution. You need a player with both Fed’s racket speed and Nadal’s power to win the G-slam. Fed’s got the better shot though.


zola Says:

HJL,
why would federer agree to lose in a fix in such a time? everyone was on his case even before that. go to his website and read the comments of his fans, they are very disappointed. I don’t think it was a fix , but I watched the match and they did not try hard at all.

Now that Fed and Nadal seem to be buddies, I am shutting my mouth about Federer. Suffice to say that to me , he did the same thing to Roddick by losing in kooyong and then beating Roddick big time in the AO final, but NAdal is no Roddick. As I said, fed has one shot , so he has to use his weapons where it matters most. I might be wrong and maybe Fed is just getting old and bored fron tennis.

yellowballspanker,
I see what you mean, but what about hard courters who never try clay?

I think the fooworks and ball bounce and therefore timing are very different on clay. so it takes time to adjust the habits going from one surface o another.


Dave Says:

I think the first 2 sets were fix, then the third set they fought for it seriously.


kamret Says:

I’m not impressed by Nadal’s 72 consecutive wins on clay. I’m much more impressed by Borg’s 4 consecutive French Open titles and 6 French Open titles within an 8-year period (1974-1981).


HJL Says:

For me, it’s quite useless to bring up with the Kooyong exhibition match. (no offence, Zola)
Roddick vs Federer, as you indicated yourself, is another dynamic than Nadal vs Federer.
Besides, these exhibition matches do not give you any info at all.

Why would Federer lose in such a fix?
Well, some of the reasons I come up with:
1. It’s played on Nadal’s home Island so in front of his own crowd.
2. I don’t think that Federer takes these sort of things that seriously.
3. These sort of events are for companies like Nike, IMG, Saatchi & Saatchi with both these players getting a nice sum of money (I read that it was about 500.000,00 per player but I don’t remember if that was € or $)

However, having watched quite a few of these tennis exhibtion things, I really do think that it works this way:
Set 1: fix – goes to player A
Set 2: fix – goes to player B
Set 3: open, let’s play for real but without taking unnecessary risks to avoid injuries

Zola wrote:
As I said, fed has one shot , so he has to use his weapons where it matters most.
–> Forget this exhibition match. It’s meaningless.
So, do you think that he’s not using all his weapons, almost like a lame duck in Monte Carlo to lull Nadal into some fake sense of invincibility just so that he can strike back hard and prove to the world who the best player on every surface is in Roland Garros.
Could you explain the 2006 clay court season for me then?


claycourtrafa Says:

i dont think fed is playing dumb he wants to win now and pile up confidence perhaps try out and experiment so that if he gets to rg final with nadal he has that one shot right threw experimentation instead of playing dumb and then a big chance his secret weapon doesnt work and it becomes a blow out


Ville_Liukko Says:

Hey claycourtrafa: ever heard of punctuation?? Thats the worst run-on sentance Ive ever heard.

Sean, thanks for the link you posted above! Very appreciated. As for Fed vs Nadal issue, i dont think Fed wants Rafa to see all he has in store yet. Why would he? The TMS events arent impotant compared to RG. Hes biding his time and waiting to bring out everything when he needs it.

Rafa, on the other hand, will continue to wear himself down trying to win every point he can, meanwhile thinking he has Fed right where he wants him, just what Fed wants…


claycourtrafa Says:

hey its just apost not a auratory competition. and i dunno wat if he has in store doesnt work wat then he is in the RG final without his sercret weapon, his hopes will be down and nadal will be on fire


Sean Randall Says:

John, Andreev certainly could do it again but I put the chances now at pretty slim because of Maria. Since he’s already got Maria Kirilenko as his girlfriend what’s the motivation now? Back when he did beat Rafa I don’t think they were dating, hence the motivation and desire. With Maria by his side surely life must be good for Igor and beating Rafa wouldn’t add a whole lot.

That aside, in my mind Andreev, Berdych, Mathieu, Djokovic, Safin and maybe Hrbaty and Nieminen match-up good with Rafa on clay. Canas would be in the mix only if Rafa’s having an off day. Maybe Gonzo if he’s hot. And of course Fed.

Zola, no doubt the battle of the surface was a fix, as most exos are. Split the first two sets and make sure Rafa wins the third, and if you can push to a breaker great. But there was no way Fed would win that match. Fun stuff nevertheless from the video. The outcome is 100% meaningless, much like the Kooyang exo in which Roddick beat Fed – we saw what happened two weeks later when they played for real.

Yellowballspanker, interesting observation regarding the open stance. With balls traveling fast now than ever players with loopier (if that’s a word) backswings figure to be at a disadvantage on faster surfaces. But in general I kind of see it the other way where the clay courters more and more are getting their teeth deeper into the non-clay tournaments. Ferrer, Ferrero, Robredo, Nadal of course have compiled decent results on the faster surfaces. And I think that has to due with the fact there’s just not as much variety in the game as there was back in the early 90s. Let’s face it, Nadal reached the finals at Wimbledon last year, and along the way he didn’t face a single true serve/volley player. Robert Kendrick, sheesh!

Meanwhile the hardcourt guys like Roddick, Blake, etc., just don’t put in the time into learning how to play, slide and move on the clay. And unfortunately for them it seems to be much easier to transition from clay to hard then from hard to clay.


John Says:

Sean,

There was a player on the Tennis Channel (don’t remember who) that said something like (and I hope I get this right) “players that grow up on clay have a huge advantage over players that have to learn later. It’s about knowing how to slide and it’s rhythm.”

IMO, it’s also accuracy. If you’ve noticed (and I’m sure you have), Nadal rarely misses a shot. Any shot near the line is either in or on the line, they are rarely out. I don’t understand this kind of accuracy.

re: Igor and Maria K.

Excellent point. I totally agree. How can life get any better?


MD Says:

Great.

Hardcourt guys get an excuse because to you, it looks harder to do the transition from hard to clay. But I’m curious, why do you think that?

Claycourt guys reach ‘decent’ results out of clay because they didn’t have decent competition elsewhere.
Never mind that Nadal beat Ljubicic (who’s good indoors) in Madrid or a good Agassi (who reached the finals of the US Open a couple of weeks later) in Montréal, Federer in Dubai 2006, never mind that he was the only one to take a set from Federer in Wimbledon 2007,…

The reason why the “claycourters” have more decent results on faster surfaces than the hardcourters on clay is the following:
Hardcourters don’t really bother to learn how to play the game on red clay properly or do you think that you can learn that by playing two tournaments a year?
Claycourters spend a lot of their schedule on hardcourts because the ATP schedule favores HC so they need to practice to get better on faster surfaces.


zarlee Says:

Mc Enroe claimed that Federer has to win Roland Garros to be the Best Of All Time aka ?the BOAT?. My first issue with this is that, to me, the idea of a sports person, regardless of what sport they play, being deemed “the BOAT” is an extremely subjective idea. Of course there would always be players that stand out way beyond the rest but because of the changing nature of sport, all sport, it?s always difficult or unfair to compare players of one era with another.

I also had to ask myself, Is there an official list of criteria for someone to be considered to be “the best of all time? Am I just oblivious to this fact? And if it does exist who the h— made it up and could he/she post this list up on the web or something so we can take a look? Or is it that I?m SO into tennis and really have no clue about the rules (kinda like the ATP Chairman aye! Lol).


Agassi fan Says:

clay courters are NOT getting more decent results on hard courts – if fact, they are doing MUCH worse since the early 90s than the way it was in the 70s and 80s.

So clay court guys are NOT getting their teeth deeper into hard court tournaments.

Who was the last clay courter to win the US Open?

Who was the last clay courter to win Wimbledon?

The only slam they have won just a couple of times is the AUS open.

Very different from when Borg, Lendl, Wilander were playing.


zola Says:

OK, so Nadal was supposed to win?
and these are meaningless for Federer?
what about the Korea exhibition where Federer won?

I can accept that the first two sets are a fix, but the outcome, I don’t think so…

If what Federer played in MC is all he has got, I have to say he has no hope for French Open. That was a disaster. That’s why I think that was not all he got.
I saw it in Shanghai vs Nadal and AO vs Roddick , but Nadal is no Roddick.


HJL Says:

I don’t think that Federer played to the best of his abilities in Monte Carlo.
I don’t think that Nadal played to the best of his abilities either, by the way.

Not every clay court plays the same. Rome plays differently. It’s faster. Federer has a bigger chance to win Rome than MC in my opinion. Rome is also the clay court Masters won by Sampras for example.

I’m certainly not saying that Federer can’t beat Nadal in a final.

However, much of this talk in the Nadal vs Federer match up seems to be about what Federer can do and it’s as if Nadal is a static player.

My question to Zola remains unanswered though. Do you think that Federer isn’t playing to the best of his abilities on purpose, keeping most of his firepower and some of his weapons hidden for RG?
If so, can you explain the entire clay court season 2006 for me?


Sean Randall Says:

John, good point. Throw in accuracy as well along with patience.

MD, on the surface transition there’s no proof I guess except that you could argue (and I do) that guys who grow up on hardcourts have a tougher go of it on clay then players who grow up on clay do on the hardcourts. Sliding, movement, patience, accuracy, fitness, etc are all ingredients to becoming a successful claycourter, and I’m sure it’s very difficult to master those qualities when you’ve spent your early life on the hardcourts. Not saying it can’t be done, but you have to put in the hours to learn the craft.

On the other hand, for a claycourter there’s not quite the learning curve for hardcourts. Maybe you need to return serve better and improve your own serve, and learn how to hit passing shots and cut down on the drop shots and mid-court floaters. But the movement, fitness, patience, accuracy still pays off on the hardcourts. Look at Guillermo Canas. Perfect example in my mind of a dirtballer who can basically play a dirtball game and win matches on hardcourts.

And as you say the schedule helps also in forcing the claycourters to play faster surfaces. So even though they may not want to they begin to learn how to play on those surfaces. Almost Darwinian in a way.

Zarlee, Mac’s more right than wrong in that if Fed never does win the French it’s going to be tough to argue him being the greatest ever. Of course if he wins 20 Slams or so maybe people will overlook his French failure, but without the French that question will always be there. I think Agassi said the same thing a few days ago, that Fed needed the French to cement his greatness.

Speaking of Agassi, Agassi Fan I see a lot of dirtballers doing pretty well on the hard stuff of late, maybe you see differently. Gonzalez at the Australian, Canas beating Fed, Chela’s been playing well, Ferrer. You could argue Davydenko as a dirtballer who reached the SF at the US Open last year. And of course Nadal, probably the first dirtballer to reach the Wimbledon final since who knows when!

So I guess in your mind Borg, Lendl and Wilander were true dirtballers? I don’t see that.

Zola, the Korean exo was not it in Spain and rather in a neutral site, so my guess is they just flipped a coin or made a pre-match agreement. But with the latest one taken place in Nadal’s hometown, the only way Fed wins is if Nadal gets injured. You don’t lose a home exo. Never. And if Fed hosted an exo in Basel I’m sure Nadal would let him win even if it was on clay.


Agassi fan Says:

I agree, many dirt ballers are doing quite well on hard courts, but no true champion of both, these days. Would love to see someone emerge as clearly the best player on clay AND another surface. Fed has mastered two (grass and hard), which is quite an achievement, but nobody who masters clay (totally) seems to be able to master any other surface totally. Lendl mastered clay and hard. Borg, strangely, mastered clay and grass, and came very close to that status on hard. Nobody since then.

Will it be Fed? Will be Nadal? Neither? Someone else?

I think it has a lot to do with how the sport has evolved, along with racquet technology.


yellowballspanker Says:

Safin could’ve done it if he wasn’t such a header… makes me crazy with his nonsense. The guy was awesome on clay.

Maybe Nadal could develop some new skills. Rafter was a late bloomer, and did great on hard courts. Rafa could learn to serve better, and he’s got the legs to come in on every serve. Yeah, the more I think about his game… give Nadal a bigger serve, or one with a ton of kick like Rafter’s, he could do it. Of course Rafter blew out his shoulder serving that hard. But hey, Nadal’s got those guns, he might last a little longer.


Agassi Fan Says:

Sore loser Sampras at it again…..

“It’s a little thinner at the top” Sampras said. “There are less great players, but a lot more good players. I remember one year in Frankfurt (former site of the Tennis Masters Cup) that I think it was me, Andre, Jim, Michael Chang, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Ivan Lendl and Michael Stich. I felt that all the players in that field were great. Now it’s all good players, but I don’t see guys who have won six to seven majors. Today, the only guys who have won more than one major are Roger, Nadal, Marat Safin and Lleyton Hewitt. I don’t know if the generation of the ‘90s was better, but maybe there were a few more special guys than there are today.”


claycourtrafa Says:

i think nadal could do well in the harcourts, dominate i dont think so bu ti think he cud pick up a few more titles, hit a few more aces, and increase his serve and volleying which he has actually done in the past year. i think he has a future.


zola Says:

There are a few playes that can beat Rafa on hard courts. Berdych, Youzhny, Blake, federer, Djoko, …they all attack his forehand and push him back. If he can improve his game to overcome this tactic, he will be dominant ob har courts too. but it will take time, as it did for Federer.

The difference is Nadal already has the clay court and 20 titles under his belt at 20. If he can improve like he has done this year and tweak his game for the hard court …and stay healthy in the process…he will be unstopable.

Don’t forgat that he has been at least to th QF of every hard court major ( except Stockholm and toronto) last year when he was supposedly in a slump. He is already much better than many top-10 hard court players.


zola Says:

Sean,
About the exo, I can get that the first two sets were fixed, but the third set , no.

Why would Federer accept to go through hell for an exo and let the media put more pressure on him after Monte Carlo final? He can just write that to his furious fans. Go check his website.

It is amazing that no one mentioned in Korea exo, that Fed’s win was fixed. Now that Nadal wins, it is becoming impossible ?

This is just an exhibition and the result doesn’t mean anything. But the reactions say a lot!


John Says:

re: “Sore loser Sampras at it again…..”

Is it me or is Pete’s logic a tad off.

The reason there are only a few guys winning majors is because Fed and Nadal are taking them away from the rest of the field.

Remove these to guys from the majors and there will be other winners and other stars.


John Says:

Typo above: “Two” not “to”


patrick Says:

If Fed was playing possum, he would have won Roland Garros by now. Let us give Rafa credit for repeating RG,Rome, and 3-peating Barcelona and MC.

Rafa will 3-peat Rome & Roland Garros. Streak lives on. As Sean said, in his last clay wins, only 3 guys can get to 5-all in a set.


Call the Waaambulance Says:

Is anybody else sick of all the Fedtard s constant whining and foot stomping that their Princess Roger is not capable of beating Nadal?

Instead of whining about it like the fanboys that you are why not give props to Nadal and thank him for giving Federer some actual competition for once?

Nadal is breaking clay records right and left. We are watching history in the making. Dry your tears and enjoy the clay genius you have the privilege of witnessing.


claycourtrafa Says:

alllright waambulance i agree, wen fed is dominating ppl complain that no one is there to challenge him, wen he actually loses they cry about it say that nadal is boring


Agassi Fan Says:

Pete saying there was all this competition when he was around is quite disingenous.

By 1993, when Pete started his reign – Lendl and Mcenroe had retired. Wilander was done. Becker and Edberg were WAY past their prime (remember, they were the sensation of the end 80s). Chang? Come on. Courier? A weaker Nadal. Agassi was his only true competition. With Brooke Shields help, he pretty much goofed off the nineties, till he hooked up with Steffi in 1999. Agassi’s prime years were 1999-2003, not the mid nineties.

So who the heck did he face? Pioline, Ivanisevic, Rafter, etc.

If you want to analyze an era of truly great competition, that was the 80s. That’s why Lendl’s achievements are so great, and underrated.

Or Agassi. The only one in the open era to master all surfaces, at least once. He reached the finals of all four slams at least twice each. Lendl is the only one to match him on finals. Now Fed will, at least on finals.


zola Says:

***Pete saying there was all this competition when he was around is quite disingenous.****

well said Agassi fan!


samps Says:

Pete’s comment is somewhat off surely. The competition that Fed has and Pete had is not very different (Except Nadal on clay till now). Fed has had Roddick and Hewitt (except for a very young Nadal on clay, again). Roddick is good and Hewitt has made a mess of himself a long time ago. Same for Nalbandian and others. Roddick for example has lost to Federer on three grand slam finals but he’s a notch lower in ability(though he’s imporved much in recent years). Sampras beat Agassi on four grand slam finals and lost on one. they are much more matched(other than french of course)
And Nadal’s game hasnt developed enough yet. I mean seriously when could agassi do anything other than play from the baseline (though he was quite incredible there)? Of course he adapted his game well to all surfaces, something which Nadal has hardly done yet but I feel will do in future.
Agassi never really had a chance on wimbledon with Pete around anyway. Other opposition like Rafter, Courier and others are similar to the ones today that federer has to face (Except on clay where its another league).
That doesent make Pete a sore loser. Its natural to feel that your times were harder. At least Pete didnt whine about things like Fed is prone to do every now and then.


Agassi Fan Says:

Pete continues to whine TILL TODAY! 5 years after he’s retired!

BTW, what does Fed “whine” about now and then, samps?

IN EVERY SINGLE interview Pete has given in the last two years, he has “whined” about less competition, undermining Fed unnnecessary. How insecure can one get!


Agassi Fan Says:

BTW, Canas is ranked 22, why does he have to go thru qualifying in Rome???


patrick Says:

Agassi Fan,
Here is my guess on why Canas got to do qualies,
there is a deadline on when all players got to enter a tourney. Deadline must have came before Canas started to rise in the rankings. Rome could have given him a wildcard but most tourneys give them to local playes who did not qualify automatically. Therefore, Canas has to qualify. Don’t worry though Canas should make the main draw. Only question there is will Canas have enough energy to make a deep run at Rome.


claycourtrafa Says:

hey how do i get the main draw


Agassi Fan Says:

Fed has a tough draw at Rome. Should be interesting.


grendel Says:

a tough draw is exactly what Fed needs – on clay. Might sharpen him up a bit. Nadal, too, is supposed to have a tough draw (Youzhny, Djokovich). But: is there such a thing as a tough draw for Nadal – on clay? Does it really make any difference who he plays?


claycourtrafa Says:

hahah too tru man


samps Says:

Hey AgassiFan, Federer whines in EVERY interview he ever gives.
Sampras has NEVER mentioned in ANY interview about his times being harder.

Ok im kidding, I just thought i d take a leaf out of Agassi Fan’s book and do what he does EVERY SINGLE time(reel of things as though they were truth, capitalise them without a semblence of a source or reference). The other day Sampras was talking about his wife kids. Did he mention Federer? No. So is that included in EVERY SINGLE time?
Its good to lie to emphasize but lets not take it too far.

About fed whining occasionally. When he lost to Canas, for ex. He appreciates Canas, yes but he claims that the outcome of the match was upto him and not upto Canas! Nonsense, I saw the match and he was well beaten! This Federer does in EVERY SINGLE match he loses!!

“I was really expecting to win, it was one of those matches I shouldn’t have lost,” said Federer.

“But he’s a great competitor. He played well both times and I just couldn’t put him away(!!!!!).

“He dug deep and played well, I was just not very happy with the way things went. I could have won but I didn’t do it.”

That m’dear is whining.


Skorocel Says:

Samps, I really don’t know what the hell were you watching? Fed led 2-0 in the 3rd set and had breakpoints to go 3-0. Then later at 5-5 on Canas’ serve he was 30-0 up, so he’s nothing but RIGHT when he said he shouldn’t have lost that match.

And as for Sampras, he whines everytime there’s a question about Fed. He always says that he’s a fan and bla bla, and then slams Fed for weak competition. I respect Pete as a sportsman, but some of his statements (especially when it comes to admit the others’ qualities) seem rather disingenunous to me.


Agassi Fan Says:

Samps,

Look up a dictionary for the word “whine”. Then read the statements you have yourself quoted. Then bury your head in shame.

Ha ha!

As one of my posts above proves (if you can refute any fact in there, please do!) – the era of tough competition was the 80s, not the 90s.

Graciousness was never Sampras’s forte.


samps Says:

Oh come on Skorocel, Sampras truly admires Federer. There’s no question of it. And if he occasionally does feel he had a harder time, that is something I believe many great players might have a tendency to think(and surely do). Though I agree he’s mistaken about this issue of Fed.
Listen to this interview. And PLEASE lets not get into EVERYTIME!!!
These are Sampras’ comments on Fed before the Rafa-Fed final at wimby last year

“Roger is pretty much unbeatable on grass, pretty much unbeatable anywhere but on clay against Nadal,” Sampras said.

“Roger will have his way with him on grass in the final. Nadal will compete well and hard against him, but I don’t see him prevailing.”
“When I look at Roger, I’m a fan of how he plays, what he’s about. And he’s fun to watch,” Sampras said.

“I don’t see anyone threatening the number one ranking. He’s too consistent and too good. He has a fear factor over everyone out there, like I did at some times but even more(WHATS THIS?).

“He’s on his way to breaking not only the number one record but the Grand Slam record. He has not only the demeanor but the ability to do it.”

First, Federer had lost to (was whupped by) Canas at Indian Wells and was being matched well in Miami and it didnt seem obvious at all who was going to win (at least not somebody Fededer had ‘figured out’) . Actually it was 0-2 and 4 breakpoints and Canas was great at them. He d saved breakpoints earlier and it was well worth it. That was probably where Fed might have thought of putting it away but its not like he handed them over. Its not just about the scorelines but also how well the opponent responds to situations.
And 0-30 at 5-5 in the light of the rest of the match, you ve got be joking.
At RG last year Fed was winning 6-1,3-0. He should have won? No…Not really.
And Fed’s attempts at spin on losses to Nadal is what i could call a whine. And he’s not stopped doing it this year. “I played bad and still matched him” after Monte carlo.
After last year’s monte carlo, not a very differnt tune that federer was playing…
“I don’t think he is better than me on clay, I would say we are even,” Federer said. “I have adapted my game in order to challenge him on that surface. Of course I did not manage to beat him at Monte Carlo, but I was very close to winning the fourth set.
Of course being even and playing a few matches means that you win some and you lose some.
Oh hang on….


samps Says:

Ah…that lovely dictionary. Then maybe you can look up “EVERY SINGLE” in the dictionary?


claycourtrafa Says:

great stuff, i think if rafa takes rome the RG hunt for fed is over. he will just colapse mentally, take the last set in montecarlo he resigned himself to the outcome, another loss like that and i dont see him doin much with rafa at RG.


grendel Says:

last year – apart from the French where to my mind, even in the first set he somehow didn’t look convincing let alone convinced – federer had some close-ish matches with nadal, and it wasn’t so absurd to suggest he was even with Nadal on clay, although plainly wrong. this year, however, he was well beaten at Monte Carlo, and apparantly resigned. I wouldn’t call his comments afterwards whining – more a champion in denial, really. He’s made it clear he regards nadal as no.1 on clay. he can’t afford to give him too much, though, not if he’s serious about trying to beat him. Top players are very rarely candid about their shortcomings in matches they have lost – consider nadal when federer beat him in Shanghai – I was close to him, he claimed, contrary to the opinions of many observers. Was nadal whining – not really; this is psychological warfare. People who are nice in defeat – like the lovely Rafter – get defeated again. Has anyone ever, at any time, seen either Venus or Serena Williams credit their defeats to the superior skill of their opponents? Never. Defeat is always due to their own unfortunate errors, niggling injury, etc. Are they just insanely bigheaded, or monumental whiners, perhaps? Not at all. They understand very well the huge role mental attitude plays in tennis success. Of course, they are uniquely gifted as well.. But in general, and compared to his peers, Federer is not a particularly whingy sort. I would say he is actually surprisingly modest, considering everything….


grendel Says:

come to think of it, Henin is even worse than Williams/Williams. In defeat, whilst careful to praise her opponent, she always cleverly leaves the impression that, even so, there were certain circumstances, rather more significant than the mere skill of the player over the net, which led to the regrettable and – let’s admit it – incomprehensible result…. When Roddick was at his best, he was rarely generous about the opponent who beat him. Now, he positively beats his breast. Somehow, he doesn’t seem anything like so formidable a force. Hewitt was always about as tight-lipped as they come about the calibre of his opponent – but that was when he was a serious contender for honours. They say he’s mellowed. ‘Nuff said?


FloridaMan Says:

I think Federer’s chances of beating Nadal on a claycourt are just as much, if not even less, than Andy Roddick beating Federer on any surface. As a shotmaking genius, Federer is simply not used to the ball coming back at him with so much power, depth and spin combined. Most tennis players usually sacrifice one out of the three. But Nadal does it all together on clay, and it will just be that much harder for Fed to ever beat him.


FloridaMan Says:

Also, I want to voice a disagreement that one of the commentators made regarding Nadal on TV. Doug Adler of the Tennis Channel said that he talked to former claycourter Alex Corretja, and discussed Nadal with him. Doug said he was “surprised” when Corretja said that he would hate to play Nadal on clay. I think “surprised” is being a bit too carried away. Corretja never had the power of Nadal on clay, and Nadal would eat most of the softer shots Corretja threw at him. So no, I would be the very least “surprised” that Corretja would hate to play Nadal.


Skorocel Says:

Nice quotes, Samps. But you know, all that Sampras said about Fed was simply a repeating of the already known facts… Unbeatable on grass and pretty much on other surfaces except clay, favourite against Nadal in SW19 final, fear factor (though maybe even bigger than Pete) – can you argue against that, Samps? Yes, he’s said Fed’s on the way to break his Nr. 1 & slam records – but still, that wouldn’t convince Pete, because when it comes to that all important final judgement (that is who’s the better of the two), Pete suddenly complains about lack of quality opposition… I can’t help myself, but to me he seems as if he’s not happy at all to admit that within a couple of years Fed’s legacy could be bigger than his own… I’m not saying Fed’s guaranteed of that (since he’s still FAR AWAY from overcoming Sampras in the history books!), but Pete should rather wait and see how the things develop in the future for Fed, and THEN make such judgements.

You’re right about Canas playing well on those breakpoints in Miami, but if I remember it correctly, right after Canas held his service, Fed played a horrible service game at 3-1, isn’t it? And that situation on Canas’ serve at 5-5 WAS IMPORTANT! Fed led 30 love, but then played 2 unbelievably poor returns (I guess both were on Canas’ 2nd serve), thus virtually handing the game to the Argentinean.

In their IW encounter, he had 2 setpoints in the 1st set, and BOTH of them were more than makable! It’s not that Canas played well on those points. Whupped? Maybe in the 2nd set, that’s true…

About those comments after last year’s MC finals, well, let’s not forget that it was only his 2nd match vs Nadal on clay!

However, I totally agree with your opinion re: this year’s post MC final comments from Fed, because now the situation is of course much more to the favor of Nadal (that’s 5 wins out of 5 matches on clay)… For me, this year’s MC finals was surely Fed’s worst performance vs Nadal on clay. “I’m in the mix”, “he’s played bad and I still matched him” – that’s a complete bullshit! Not only it could’ve easily been 6-4 and 6-2, but Fed simply wasn’t going to win that match, even if it was best of 5.


Agassi Fan Says:

What do you feel about MC and Hamburg being downgraded from Masters status? That would undermine clay tennis a lot.


samps Says:

Skorocel i agree with you. And I must admit i m ridiculously biased when Sampras is concerned. I grew up worshipping him so…
Incidentally, Fed dropped in at Sampras’ home and they played a set! Fed won it 7-5 and made some funny comments about it press(“He was very good but not good enough to beat me!”). He said there would be a possibility of an exhibition which I think is a good idea. If its grass, I figure it would be a somewhat close match though Federer would eventually win of course. Any other surface Fed would whup him surely.

And grendel, your comments are very sensible and i agree to them all.

And Agassi Fan, the downgrading of MC and Hamburg is completely ridiculous and another dumb move in a long series of dumb moves by the idiot that is de villiers. Considering Fed, Rafa and many of the top players are so vocal against (and collectively) it simply doesent make sense.
Considering his history, I expect he d downgrade them only to return them back the next year.
(round robin anyone?)


Agassi fan Says:

Sampras just said this:

“I hit the ball better today than I did in my prime because of the bigger racket,” Sampras said. “I think I can still play at a pretty high level. I can probably compete against anyone in the world today just one match, two sets.”

He’s playing on the senior tour right now.

After this, he beat Todd Martin 6-3 5-7 11-9 (tie break set). So, Sampras split sets and saved 3 match points against a guy who has not been a factor in big time tennis since September 2000 (US Open semis).

Now this is hallucination.

Does Sampras forget that he lost to Alex Corretja and george bastl on GRASS in 2002? Now 5 years later, 5 years older, not practising that much (3 days a week?) – he’ll get creamed.

After the 2000 wimbledon, he lost in 28 consecutive tournaments, before finally squeeking out the 2002 US through the luck of draw and scheduling (big time). playing a good friendly set once in a while is very different from playing 7 best of 5 sets in a grand slam, he should know that!!


Agassi fan Says:

Sampras also said this – “Ive always matched up pretty well against John (Mcenroe)”.

They are from two different eras!! Pete never played the Mcenroe that Borg played. Of course he will match up well against a semi-retired opponent 13 years older than him!

What a slimy comment.

This is what comes through EVERY time Sampras gives an interview – unnecessary arrogance.


claycourtrafa Says:

hello he did also say that he has no reason to even try to comeback and play wimbledon he may be curious and i must say so am i but i dont think he will do it


grendel Says:

Hewitt on his loss today:”I felt like I was the better player for the first two sets…I just didn’t take my chances.. I felt like I was the one that had breakpoints..perhaps serve for the second set…just couldn’t take the breakpoints when I had them..” Whining? Never! This is good old Hewitt back to form. He needs to start winning a bit though, doesn’t he – or he might start to look a little silly. Meanwhile, Federer on the excellent doubles match with Nadal and Moya: “….they (Moya and Nadal) stay back, you know,such good baseline players”. Well! Did Federer play the same match I watched? Both Moya and Nadal played a lot at the net, and Nadal in particular was a live wire there, smashing, poaching, leaping from side to side, dropping delicate volleys – the man looked like he was born at the net, prompting one of the commentators to remark that Nadal looked much more natural and fluid there than Federer. The number 1 in denial again? – having conceded the baseline to his rival, it’s painful to be outplayed in his area of expertise. Make no mistake, Nadal’s going to be a handful at Wimbledon this June. Meanwhile, Henman suspects “trouble” for Federer at the hands of Almagro tomorrow. We shall see. I really would like to see Federer win the French, but I’m beginning to understand what the supporters of Lendl must have felt as he made his increasingly doomed attempts to win Wimbledon. Poor old Lendl tried so hard, was so close, yet somehow you knew he’d never make it. Not sure if Fed is at the Lendl stage yet – but it’s looking ominous.


Agassi Fan Says:

Lendl at wimbledon – two finals. Borg at the US Open – 4 finals. They came so close. Fed has 1 french final so far, will certainly have more. There is some similarity, definitely, so far.

However, Sampras never even came close at the French – 24-13, one semi. He was not in that league


JCF Says:

“Hardcourt guys get an excuse because to you, it looks harder to do the transition from hard to clay. But I’m curious, why do you think that?”

Because it’s slower, they learn to construct a point better.


samps Says:

I caught a rerun of the Nadal/Moya doubles match with Fed/Wawrinka and it was impressive stuff from Nadal. Though it is an entirely different proposition playing singles and being at the net. But in agreement with grendel, if Rafa works hard on his net game(which he seems to have considerably talent for) it might make him a force on wimbledon.

BTW Agassi Fan, why do you keep singing the same tune? Its clear that your opinion of Sampras isnt a happy one but your opinions about him are extremely narrow.

Sampras not in Lendl’s league? Thats a meaningless statement. Lendl had 8 slams to Sampras’ 14. So lendl is not in Pete’s league. Agassi is nowhere. Borg just about is.

Does that make sense? No, not really.

You see you can criticize great players on specific aspects. But whats this “league” nonsense? Its nice discussing specific points (“more complete player”) but League?

Anyway i’m sick of this.


Agassi fan Says:

Federer just beat Almagro.

Agreed, fed needs to do more work to beat Nadal on clay. but an often overlooked fact is that Fed is a damn good clay court player, the second best today, maybe a top 10 clay courter in the open era. He has routinely beaten all the top clay courters on CLAY (except Nadal), players like robredo, ferrero, ferrer, gaudio, coria, almagro, moya, etc.

Sampras was never that good on clay. People tend to combine the two and say “Sampras never won the french, Fed has not won the French” – well, that’s true, but so is the statement that “Hyundai is a car, BMW is car”.

You have to look at all the statistics and the complete picture. Fed may or may not win the French ever, but comparing him to Sampras (as far as clay is concerned) is totally wrong.

The more apt comparison, so far, is with Lendl not winning Wimbledon, or Borg not winning the US Open.

Of course, Agassi beats them all in this department.


Sean Randall Says:

Patrick, you are right. With respect to Canas entries for Rome closed some six weeks ago when he was not in the Top 50 (or so) to gain direct acceptance into Rome.

Grendel, Fed does indeed have a tough road in Rome. But the rain I think will help him. On clay Fed hates to slide and Rome is the slickist of the clay events. Hamburg, on the other hand, is usually very slow and far less slick and where Fed has enjoyed most of his clay success. Coincidence? I think not.

FloridaMan, I think you nailed it when it comes to Fed beating Nadal on clay – about as likely as Roddick beating Fed!

Agassi Fan, until Fed wins the French he will continue to be mentioned alongside Pete as players to have never won at Roland Garros. Get over it or get used it. No one will give a rat how many other clay titles they have won or how deep they went at the French. They will be remembered for never having won it.


JCF Says:

“Now it’s all good players, but I don’t see guys who have won six to seven majors. Today, the only guys who have won more than one major are Roger, Nadal, Marat Safin and Lleyton Hewitt. ”

It is BECAUSE of all the ‘good’ players out there, that it’s hard for people to win more than one slam. That is unless they keep getting beaten by Roger Federer, which obviously can’t be the case, because only 7 guys can get the honor of losing to him in a slam.

The reason Becker, Lendl, Edberg et al were able to notch that many slams was because their competition sucked, apart from each other.


Agassi Fan Says:

Well, the more informed people still give a rat as to how close Lendl came to Wimbledon, or Borg to the US Open. So the more informed people WILL give a rat as to how different Pete and Fed were at the French, even if Fed never wins it.

As to the rest of the people, who gives a rat’s …


claycourtrafa Says:

nadal clocks up no.73 in a quick 6-4 6-3 match against Braccailli, is that how u spell it?


tom Says:

Rome:
nadal keeps winning..6.2 6.3 vs Djoko
this guy is amazing :-)


tom Says:

why dont you have anything about rome?
because roger is not playing???


claycourtrafa Says:

he rocked djokovic the one who was expected to pull off an upset haha


vamos Says:

Davydenko made a match of it. Happy now? :PPP [singing] But Rafa still won… *happydance*

And De Villiers will no doubt downgrade Monte Carlo next year, then telephone to say that it’s been retroactively upgraded to a Masters event again after James Blake unexpectedly wins it. ;)

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