Roger Rocks Uninspired Rafa
by Abe Kuijl | May 21st, 2007, 9:56 am

Before I get to the topic we’re all eager to discuss, let me just start by quickly introducing myself to you as’s new blog writer. Let’s start with my name, Abe Kuijl. Right now you’re probably thinking, how the bleep do you pronounce that last name? Well, I’m Dutch and here in The Netherlands, the ‘ij’ is the same as ‘y’. In English, pronouncing it as ‘Coil’ comes close. If you’re thinking, ‘hey, that name rings a bell’, you could be right. I I covered the WTA event of Antwerp and the ATP tournament in Rotterdam earlier this year for Also, if you speak Dutch, you might know me from my Grand Slam blogs and weekly column posts at, Belgium’s biggest tennis website. If you’re interested in my work, check out my blog at . It’s basically an archive of all I’ve written over the past year.

Anyway, I will be adding to the X-blog, which Sean Randall and Lynn Berenbaum have made famous to the world. Now, let’s get to business.

He’s done it. After five previous losses on clay against Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer ended the Spaniard’s winning streak on dirt on Sunday by thumping his rival 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the Hamburg Masters Series final.

Speculation had begun whether or not Federer was past his prime. Two losses against Guillermo Canas in the American spring circuit were dismissed by the No.1 as ‘incidents’. Being straight-setted by Rafael Nadal in the Monte Carlo final was ‘expected’. However, there were no excuses for the great Swiss’ loss against inspired Italian Filippo Volandri in the third round of the Rome Masters Series one week ago. Just when you started to believe Federer was slipping, the man from Obervil shows you why he is one of the all-time greats of the sport.

His win over Nadal on clay is a milestone in Federer’s career, but there was no doubt that if Rafa was ever going to lose on his favorite surface against his rival, it would be on this day in Hamburg. I am not throwing in the ‘playing conditions’ argument here. There was no wet clay – it had been sunny and dry the past couple of days in Hamburg -, the balls bounced up high like on any other clay court, so, if anything, the conditions favored Nadal and not his opponent. However, you could tell by looking at the King of Clay that he wasn’t feeling a hundred percent out there.

Both players hadn’t played their best tennis over the week. Federer could have easily gone down in his first appearance against dirtballer Juan Monaco, but the Argentine failed to pounce on a horrendous performance by his opponent, wasting five break points in the third set to go up a break. Then there was David Ferrer, who took the Swiss to a decisive set, before Carlos Moya did the same in the semi’s. In between, Federer played one good match against Juan Carlos Ferrero in the third round.

Nadal on the other hand, wasn’t playing up to par either. Lleyton Hewitt was very close to beating him in the semi-finals, blowing a one set lead and two break points at 5-6 in the final set to take the match to a deciding tiebreak. Rafa survived, but when you’re coming off a Masters Series win in Rome, the last thing you want is spend two and a half hours on court with Lleyton Hewitt before heading into a final.

In the first set of the championship match, both Federer and Nadal were erratic. It was probably the worst set the two of them have ever played against each other, but still Nadal was looking good to keep his winning streak intact after going up 6-2. The big turnaround came in the third game of the second set. Nadal went up 15-40 on the Federer serve, but when he failed to convert one of the break points and lost the game, Federer pumped himself up – when was the last time we’ve seen him do that against Nadal? – and started to dominate play.

Nadal was hitting way too short, but it was from this point on that Federer really started attacking these halfcourt balls and putting constant pressure on the physically drained Nadal. Whereas the Spaniard normally has no problem hitting his heavy top spin shots deep near the baseline, he couldn’t get it done this Sunday.

What was more shocking to see, was the fact that Nadal actually showed less emotion than Federer. Sporadicly, Rafa would hit a great winner, but there never was an outburst of joy we normally get to see. There was simply no energy left.

Federer started to look more and more inspired, even pumping his fist now and then. He was taming the bull, but ended up humiliating it, when the scoreboard showed 6-0 in the final set.

So what have we learned from this match. First of all, Nadal’s physique has its limits and the man can be beaten on clay. But a tougher question to ask is, did Nadal lose the final, or did Federer win it? Yes, Federer played well, but only after he realised in the second set that Nadal was playing way below his normal level and this was his golden opportunity to score a win over his rival on his beloved surface. In the first set, the Mallorcan wasn’t playing great tennis at all, but it still seemed as if Federer didn’t believe he could win.

It’s not an easy pick, but I’ll say Federer won it, by stepping up in the second set when he faced double break point at 1-1, never looking back after that crucial hold. However, do I believe that he will go on to win Roland Garros? Not really. Although it is hard to judge how this win will effect both Federer and Nadal mentally heading into the French. Still, when Nadal is playing his best on dirt, there is only one King of Clay.

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94 Comments for Roger Rocks Uninspired Rafa

Agassi fan Says:

Nadal has lost to Fed 3 of the last 4 times, on 3 different surfaces. Seems like Nadal’s choke hold on fed is over. clay still favors Nadal over Fed, but don’t count on it all the time!

TenFan Says:

If you can write off this win for fed because nadal wasn’t playing well, was hitting a lot of errors, or looked uninspired, then you can write off just about most of the wins Nadal had against fed too; cause all that stuff you just said about nadal could apply to fed in most of the matches he has against nadal.

Fed is always not as aggresive as he should be, hitting way too many errors, and can you say he wasn’t ‘uninspired’ in monte carlo this year? he definitely looked ‘uninspired’ at the french last year…

dave Says:

pretty uneventful match really, but it does make the French Open a bit more exciting this year. To be honest, tennis is starting to get boring so something like this might spark some interest.

bignose Says:

Dear author, did you see Federer playing his best on dirt?

For anyone to be playing best on any match is not a given thing.

So stop being so naive dear.

(ana/para)lysis Says:

Anything can be analysed to death, but facts are facts…

Nadal was indeed fatigued. His fatigue took its toll last year after Wimbledon. Expect it to happen from now onwards this year.

Federer has shown he can win coming from a set down in this tournament in several matches.

Federer is the favorite for the French Open, at least as much as Nadal, now.

All signs point to a Federer sweep at the slams this year.

Jason Says:

Sports writers are really some of the laziest people. The same themes keep popping up in regards to Federer and Nadal. If Federer loses a few, then Rafa is about to be the best. Whoa, hold on, Fed wins a few, now Rafa is a chump. As always, the favorite one is when Federer loses, he has just “decided” not to play his best. Of course, maybe I’m the lazy one for continuing to read it.

Kent Mans Says:

Fed, his own self, gave away the secret of his success yesterday. After years of shotmaking, making it up as he went and getting away with it, he changed all that early in the second set. In his own words, he decided to “dictate play”. Aha! A game plan! A paradigm shift! A move from tactics to strategy! Followed shortly by a resounding bagel.

“Dictate play” could be disastrous news for many an opponent in the next years.

Seth Says:

“If you can write off this win for fed because nadal wasn’t playing well, was hitting a lot of errors, or looked uninspired, then you can write off just about most of the wins Nadal had against fed too; cause all that stuff you just said about nadal could apply to fed in most of the matches he has against nadal.”

TenFan has it exactly right here. Predictably, the pundits have begun their attempts to water down the significance of Fed’s first clay win over Rafa. “Nadal was fatigued. Nadal was playing sub-par, etc.” The same excuses could be made for Fed in several of his losses in this rivalry (Rome ’06 and the two blown matchpoints, anyone? How about their first meeting at the TMS Miami in ’04, where Fed lost, but was suffering from sunstroke). The fact is, a win is a win. If you’re waiting for both players to be at their “best” before pronouncing a victory legitimate for either one, then I’m afraid we might as well discount any result from any meeting between the two.

The fact is, this was a match of thrilling significance for several reasons.

One, and most obviously for Federer, this was his breakthrough claycourt win over the man who has kept him from (probably) winning the last two French Opens, the man who has tormented him on the surface for two years. This gives Fed a huge confidence boost going into Roland Garros, specifically because he now knows it is possible for him to beat Rafa on the Spaniard’s beloved home turf.

Two, this win puts the brakes on all the talk of Fed’s recent slump. His confidence is not only boosted specifically against Nadal on clay, but his overall self-belief has probably gone a long way toward recovery against anyone, on any surface. I doubt we will see inexplicable losses to guys like Volandri again for a while.

Three, all kudos to both men; to Rafa for an absolutely astonishing streak that in all likelihood will never be broken. He deserves every accolade he gets for the ferocity of his game on the dirt, and for his (nearly) indomitable will to fight like mad for every single point. And to Fed, congratulations are in order for being the man to finally snap such a streak. How excellent that it wasn’t Hewitt or Davydenko or anyone else that accomplished such a feat. It is fitting that these two men are making history together, each including the other in the incredible records that they set and break. This match was the latest chapter in their increasingly dramatic rivalry, similar in scope to the French Open and Wimbledon finals they contested against each other last year, each man winning on his preferred surface. Now the drama has taken an interesting new twist with Fed’s victory over Rafa on the dirt.

Alfredo Nieto Says:

Bad writing,
You can put this argument in just about all of the matches that Nadal and Federer had played. Regardless of the match outcome.
It is almost like doing commentary on last years Roland Garros final. It was Roger who broke down under pressure. (Unfortunately)
The truth is that Roger broke him down this time, mentally and physically.
Alfredo Nieto.

C May Says:

Let’s just see if Fed makes it to the finals of the French Open lol. I know Rafa will.

penise Says:

I was thrilled Fed won but you have to admit Rafa was not himself. Author has a point.

Seth Says:

And Fed hasn’t “been himself” in many of his losses to Nadal, by that logic.

Abe Kuijl Says:

There’s a difference in Federer’s case as opposed to Nadal’s.

When Federer lost to Nadal in those other encounters on clay, he was feeling as fit as in any other match, he was ready to go. Nadal’s appearance yesterday was uncharacteristic. It was obvious he was worn out.

Remember the Federer – Murray match from last year?

Joseph O'Brien Says:

I think its a terrible thing to keep saying that Rafa wasnt playin his best and that he lost the match as opposed to Federer winning it. Nonsense. Federer played a fantastic second and third set and serving Rafa a 6-0 set was how I expected Federer to finally beat Rafa on clay, by a big margain. Congratulations to Federer and I hope to see him and Rafa do well at the French this year.

Agassi fan Says:

Lets see how the RG draw plays out. It can have a huge impact on who goes how far – remember Wimbledon last year?

achilles190 Says:

I never thought that Nadal was tired or gave up……….What I did notice was that federer was making Rafael pay fr short balls and second serves……Usually he shanks these opportunities…..

I did however notice an unsure look about Nadal as I saw with his match with Lleyton Hewitt and Daveydenko……However defensiveness and rallying were not going to reverse the trend………Roger Federer played with such controlled agression that Rafael would have had to be more aggressive or make a lot of inhuman gets………

In the third set Rafael could have taken advantage of short balls generated from some of Federers returns or the first shot after the return of serve……. but truly Federer kept good depth on mmost of his shots…..and read the plays very well

achilles190 Says:

I think that there are a few spoilers to a Fed Nadal final at Roland Garros……

I believe that Hewitt and Daveydenko believe that they are capable of giving Nadal a test if not beating him.

I believe that Canas , Moya , believe they can trouble Federer////

Murray could paly spoiler to either depending on his fitness and health

MOre importantly and more interesting is that Federer and Nadal believe that they can be beatne by each other on clay….

achilles190 Says:

It is truly unfair and unfounded to say that Rafael was uninspired………

Firstly to win the first set 6-2 and the start and end of the second set defy this……….Uninspired people do not volley and hit drop shots like Nadal did yeasterday………..

I still cannot believe that he was bagelled on clay……..but I think that Federer and Hewitt took Nadal out of his comfort zone……

Normaly against Federer he can count on errors from the backhand after 4-5 looping topsing shots to the backhand and 2 errors on backhand returns of serve errors per Nadal ‘ s service games…

penise Says:

“unfounded”? Prior to Hamburg it was assumed Rafa would pull

Skorocel Says:

It’s true that Nadal wasn’t physically 100 % in this match, but as someone here posted – a win is a win! Imagine Fed losing this match (god forbid, after blowing that 5-0 lead in the final set!)… I really doubt he would’ve recovered from such a defeat + the forthcoming FO winner would be a foregone conclusion.

But by winning this match, Fed now has AN EVIDENCE he CAN beat the guy on clay, which without a doubt makes the forthcoming FO that much interesting! Say what you want, he played almost his clay-court best in those last 2 sets! And btw, a bagel is a bagel!

I’m a big Fed fan, but for me it’s still really premature to say whether he can beat Nadal when it matters the most – that’s on June 10th (not to mention if he’s finally weathered that supposed “slump”)… The role of an underdog maybe helped him now, but on that particular day, it will be Fed who’s gonna be under pressure. But surely, after seeing Nadal yesterday running from side to side like a rabbit under Fed’s fire, it can only help Roger’s case… It’s up to Fed to make the most of this seeing!

jsnj Says:

Nadal said he was feeling fine physically, but a little tired mentally. And that’s how it appeared to me. He wasn’t slow at all and I believe he would’ve beaten most players other than Federer in that match. What I did notice was what another poster pointed out on here, that Federer’s backhand was better than I’ve ever seen it against Nadal. Usually if Federer is ahead of Nadal in a match, Nadal then employs hitting higher and heavier to that side in hopes of breaking it down or getting a weak reply. That didn’t work this time since Fed’s backhand was solid as a rock and would quite often open up the court for him then to come in or spank a winner up the line. Federer’s backhand was also forceful on the return which started him ahead in most points. Nadal had no other game plan to go to. It’ll be interesting to see what happens at the French.

rjnick Says:

The odds still favor Nadal to win the French. That doesn’t take anything away from from Fed’s win, but I think in the end, the win did more to help Fed than it did to hurt Rafa. Roger I think will have more belief now that he can beat Rafa on clay — but I don’t think Rafa suddenly feels that Roger now has his number on clay either.

And with the streak gone, and a loss to Roger already notched up, Rafa now has less to lose at the French than Roger. More people now suddenly think that the one win means Fed will win the French. And while he’s beaten Nadal, he still has never won at Roland Garros, which Rafa has. So if they’re in the final and it’s crunch time, I think Rafa still has the edge.

tbarile Says:

The French Open – best of five – will tell the tale.

Most importantly, WE HAVE A TENNIS SEASON worth watching! Yes! (Do the women still play tennis?)

Agassi fan Says:

I wish women’s tennis was best of 5 sets too – now that they are getting equal money, why not pony up for equal work.

barb Says:


Abe, you need someone to edit your copy. The above is misspelled. It should be: sporadically.

Fan of Tennis Says:

This victory did do a lot for Roger. It gave him the confidence back! Remember (if you read the press releases) he said he wasn’t himself “mentally” in Rome because of the coaching incident–that this had been bothering him for months! What that meant to a lot of fans was that “Roger was declining”, “Roger was in a slump”, etc. etc.

When Roger ‘cleared his mind’, and decided to make the coaching change, it was like a fresh start again. The same thing happened back in 2004 when he decided to let Peter go. He said “Once I won the AO, I felt that everything was going to be ok without a coach”. Now that he’s won Hamburg, at least he can feel that “everything is going to be ok” again.

Did the win hurt Nadal? I don’t think so. After all, you don’t win 81 matches in a row to let 1 match bring your confidence down. However, in the long run – (1) Roger played in 3 clay court events this year and made the finals in 2; and – (2)you gotta think that Nadal knows in the back of his mind that in the last 4 matches he and Roger has played against each other (that counted – not the exhibitions), he (Nadal) has lost 3 of them. Confidence or no confidence….that’s just a fact that Nadal can’t ignore.

I also think that by beating Nadal on clay gave Roger a hugh belief. But as Roger said himself – at the FO everything starts back over at ground zero. I just hope that both of them get to the French Open Final. Anything less from either of them would be a dissappointment.

ben Says:

wow! is this website still up? sorry buddy but this may be the proof that it needs to finally close the coffin door.

Asswipe44 Says:

Abe, this is one of the most sensible posts I have read on this website. Thanks for that. I totally agree with you, looking at the highlights, that Rafa was just drained. Federer is a hella good player, but he still won’t be able to beat Rafa consistently on this surface. Nobody can say that after one match, Roger “has his number”. That’s like saying Agassi had Sampras’ number after beating him in an Australian Open. Sampras still dominated him in the head-to-head. I am, obviously, 100% behind Rafa and love what he does on the court. If you watch his matches when he’s fully rested and ready to go, he truly is a bull and nobody can touch him. He’s going to need to rest a little bit, that’s all.

billy Says:

I found the ‘bagel’ in the 3rd set to be very inspiring.

He, he, Nadal looked like a ‘smoked salmon’ on court.

Nadal is arguably the greatest clay court player in the history of tennis. If Nadal weren’t around, Federer would have WON everything Nadal has and be considered a god.

As it stands, Federer is the greatest tennis player in history and one of the greatest ever on clay (capable of beating Nadal).

Tejuz Says:

well.. bagel is a bagel.. and am sure Nadal wouldnt have wanted that to happen even if he was uninspired. Nadal was fighting for every point. He just couldnt attack Federer because he was always on a run. Fed was attacking Nadal’s forehand a lot.. More than he ever did before in his earlier matches. I guess he must have learnt something from the Hewitt game. Pity that hewitt doesnt have a big enuf weapon to hurt Nadal consistently whereas Fed has quite a few.

When pushed wide to the forehand, Nadal cant really do much with it except baloon the ball back in the centre of the court and Fed was taking advantage of this by stepping in early and pushing him wider.

I guess it was more a change of tactics tactics which did Nadal. It dindnt help Fed in 1st set because he wasnt putting his first serves in and committed un forced error, but you cud see his intent there. It just paid off in the 2nd and 3rd set (certainly helped by his improved serving ofcourse).

Now Fed knows how to beat Nadal on Clay. He just has to be consistent when they meet next time.

And Fed has never lot sets so badly as Nadal. In their head to head encounters, count the number of 6-0, 6-1 sets that both have amassed. Fed has lost more close sets.

Tennista Says:

I would be intersted in knowing what was the temperature in all H2H matches between Fed and Rafa. Any correlation between hot days and final result of matches?

Elle Says:

Did Roger give Rafa a bread stick last year in the 1st set of the French Open Final? Who cares?

Mr. Roger “Bagel Giver” is sweet indeed!!!

zola Says:

It is great to see anew face here. can I say welcome?

I like your analysis. This is what many thought. I don’t know why Rafa went to HAmbug, but he wasn’t 100% from the very beginning. If you look at his press conference after Hewitt match, he is practically sleeping on that desk. He needs to know his limits. But I believe in the bigger scheme of things, losing the streak and getting rid of an extra source ofpressure may not be bad for Rafa.

Besides, now the table has turned and Federer is definitely one of the favorites and can’t play underdog anymore.

I agree that it will not be this easy in RG.

Thanks and keep writing!

Jimbo Says:

Well, I was sure that Rafa would pull out of Hamburg, after winning so many matches prior to that, but he stuck around, and after the draining SF match with Lleyton, he ran out of mental toughness. I thought things were looking good when he won the first set and looked to go up an early break in the second, but then Federer’s skill increased while Rafa’s balls went shorter and shorter, ‘but a win is a win’, as you fools say.

Even though Rafa’s streak is now sadly broken, it could’ve been worse, he could’ve lost to Federer in the Rome final in 2006, which would’ve ended his streak at 52, and then with Davydenko in Rome last week, which would’ve ended his streak at 75, and other matches like that.

But still, 81 is awesome, hope he can get another good streak going in the future, he’s still only 20, you know, when Federer was 20, he’d only won 1 title (Milan). So Rafa’s had a good start to his career, and things can only get better, besides, he’s still ahead in the ATP Race, and Win/Loss record for the year, and titles for the year, and stuff, so it’s all good.
So, I still think Rafa can win the French Open this year again, and then hopefully return the favour to Federer by snapping his grass streak at Wimbledon. If Federer won the French Open, that would be too devastating for words, and if he won Wimbledon and the US Open on top of that (in which he’d finally get the Calendar Slam), I’d be haunted for the rest of my life!

Die Federer!

Over and out

Rafae Nadal Says:

Yes, Jimbo, you’re very correct in your analysis.
Sorry to all my fans that I couldn’t win yesterday, but I still make lots of finals this year, no?
I was on a bad run for a while, no? not winning any tournament for 8 months, but I win 4 titles this year, and make 1 final, so I’m very happy with the way I been playing lately. Of course I’m sad about my streak being broken, no? but i lost to the best player in the world, and i cant stay sad for that

Thank you to all my fans

Rafael Nadal

Tejuz Says:

:-) while you guys wonder why Nadal played Hamburg … for sure he thought this was the best time for him to increase his lead in the ATP Race and pressure Federer for his Number 1 ranking. Obviously Nadal wouldnt be content with his No 2 ranking, especially after being there for 90 weeks consecutively

Anyway.. as much as Fed has to defend.. Nadal still has to defend his French Open and Wimbledon points. And he has to match Federer on hard-courts to actaully get to No-1. Am sure this much of tennis is going to affect him surely. If not physically then mentally.

Anyway.. fingers crossed… lets wait for French to go underway.

Rogael_Nadarer_The_BEST_there_IS Says:

I think Roger’s victory over Rafa was a function of two things.
1) Roger Raising his Game
2) Rafa playing under par.

…and same can be said about all of Rafa’s victories against Roger on Clay.

So I HOPE that both of them play to their potential @ the french.
It is going to be a helluva Finale.

And the “LUCKIER” one will win.

Ring Worm Says:

Nadal was clearly not himself, but this does bode well for the French…

Help bring tennis back to the people:

Rafael Nadal Says:

Tejuz, what you say is very true, I play Hamburg this year because I was feeling good for it, the past two years I was a bit tired, and also I play Hamburg to try and maintain my lead in the ATP Race, no? I now 74 points ahead of Federer, I think. But Federer played very, very well in the final, i was not playing bad, just a bit mentally tired, full credit to him.
Of course I would like to be Number 1, but is very difficult, no? even with all my recent wins I still 2000 points trailing him. So, maybe I try to keep on playing like this, and hopefully i have a better 2nd half of the season, unlike last year in which after wimbledon i did not reach another final to Indian Wells in March this year.

So, i arrive in Paris on friday, and i feeling very confident for the title, much more confidence than last year, my first few rounds last year i play very bad. But i feel great, so we see what happens

P.s. you may have noticed i spelt my name wrong in my last comment, i typing fast.

Rafael Nadal

Agassi Fan Says:

Jimbo, you are going to be haunted for life!
This is lovely, to see Nadal fans so disturbed and defensive!! Come on – last year Nadal’s season was over AFTER the french. Maybe its BEFORE the french this time!

Nadal will be 21 in a couple of weeks. Physically, its only downhill from here. Look at Hingis.

Rafael Nadal Says:

I feeling very fatigued now. Want to win easy in Roland Garros, but everyone making tough for me. Last year too feeling like this. Maybe I should change my style, no? What you think?

kamret Says:

Yeah, right, Agassi Fan! Borg went downhill after turning 21. And so did Mats Wilander and Becker and Edberg. What are you talking about, man? They all had multiple titles in their teens, including a few GS titles, and they all started winning even more after turning 21. So, if you think Nadal is going downhill after turning 21 (just because Hingis did), then you are living in your own world, dude!

HJL Says:


I’ve been reading your blog in Dutch on that Belgian site and it’s very nice to see you here as one of the bloggers!
Dankjewel voor deze bijdrage!

Nothing much to add really since I agree with your assessment that Rafael Nadal did not look 100% and he didn’t look sharp during the entire German event.

Don’t know about the topspin working well in Hamburg, though. I read comments from other players who said that the topspin doesn’t really work all that well on the Hamburg clay. Of course, it’s clay so it still jumps up well but it’s just not that effective there apparently.

Jimbo Says:

Ahhh, you cock Agassi Fan! Don’t be so negative, there’s still a good chance of Rafa winning the French Open (and my future of being haunted diminished). Pretty unlikely that he’ll crumble after Wimbledon like he did last year, he’s in good shape. So have faith, bro, believe in Rafa, surely there’s much more glory to come in his future years.

Try and imagine the pain that Rafa fans would’ve gone through when he lost to Federer, especially being bageled after he’d won the first set.

Keep it real bro.

Rafael Nadal Says:

Hey ‘Rafael Nadal’ from post:May 22nd, 2007 at 8:23 am, don’t make fun of me, what i said was truthful in posts: May 22nd, 2007 at 2:44 am + May 22nd, 2007 at 6:30 am.
I go to practice now, i want to have good preparation for the French Open, no?

Rafael Nadal (the real one!)

Novak Says:

Yeah, good work kamret! You sure showed that ‘Agassi Fan’ loser, he’s just spillin verbal diarrhoea all over the blog, like i mean, can’t we have some sensible people writing about their comments on the actual match?
Anyway, Nadal is a great player to say the least, I really enjoy our matches (particularly that one in Miami this year, lol :-)


zarlee Says:

Jason Says:
Sports writers are really some of the laziest people. The same themes keep popping up in regards to Federer and Nadal. If Federer loses a few, then Rafa is about to be the best. Whoa, hold on, Fed wins a few, now Rafa is a chump. As always, the favorite one is when Federer loses, he has just “decided” not to play his best. Of course, maybe I’m the lazy one for continuing to read it.


Have to agree with you Jason. I am both a Nadal Fed fan or I should say we…(chech out out blog it’ll explain it). Federer definately earned his win he stepped up after the first set played extremely well and dominated Nadal. Was Nadal tired? Probably Hey that streak was even getting me weary! But all credit is due for Fed he totally desevered the win

FOT Says:

Hey, one thing I’ve noticed is that some fans say Nadal is tired of being #2 and needs to play and get lots of points in the upcoming tournaments after Wimbledon where he has almost no points to defend.

My point: If Nadal was mentally and a little physically tired during Hamburg, don’t you think his style of game will not let him keep us this type of playing at a high level all year? How then, (if Roger is only half-way defending his points) can Nadal move up this year to #1?

I think for Nadal to get to #1 two things has to happen:

1. HE (Nadal) – will have to play a lot of tournaments and go deep or win just about all he plays in to close the gap. Sure, he didn’t win one after the French last year, but a lot of his fans said he was drained and tired. Those fans who say he can do it this year just remember that the tournaments will be played on faster and harder courts – which takes a toll on your body (and feet) and you know Nadal has problems with his feet on hard court. So, do you think he will be able to stay healthy and play in a lot of tournaments after the French?

2. Roger will have to come down some. We know last year after the French, Roger practically won everything in site, and the only tournament that he basically can gain points in now is Cincy! He will just be ‘defending’ points the rest of the way. So if Nadal wants to make a move, this would be the time. But again, Nadal has to play much better than he did last year too and he did get to a lot of QF and SF so he has some points to defend.

I just hope (as a Federer fan) – Roger wins the grand slams. If he then loses at some of the ‘smaller tournaments’ – so be it! I want to see history made this year (yes, I’m a selfish Federer fan! lol)… But I was not into tennis in 1969 or whatever the year Laver last won the grand slam for men. I want to witness one in my lifetime of watching tennis. I hope it happens this year.

Agassi fan Says:

Kamret – becker’s peak year was 1989, when he was 21. Some players, especially the ones who peak early, do start to fade early too. So check your facts.

You Nadal fans seem to have your panties in a bunch over this loss!!

Nadal’s game takes more out of his body than any other player. So his shelf life is going to be shorter. And its a fact that physically, the body is at its peak between 18 and 21. Given how much Nadal has to rely on playing a physical game, he is not going to be winning majors later in his career.

So get out of his butt, he is picking you all the time anyway!!

Rafael Nadal Says:

I taking rest now for one more day. Uncle Tony said ok, good. I need recover too, no? Felt same after Wimbledon last year. Don’t feel good in body. Feel mental fatigue. But family here, so all good, no? I watch 300 movie today and feel good. :)


Novak Says:

I am hoping to meet Nadal/Federer at Roland Garros and defeat them so bad that they retire instantly and hand me the crown. I’m the new king of the world and I’m gonna whip anyone who says different. Sometimes I give grace points in my matches and even lose them occassionally just because I hate to see the other guy commit suicide out of his getting beaten by me repeatedly.

But Nadal and Federer deserve no sympathy and they’re gonna know that the DJ in town is there to help them to lay down their tennis racquets fast.

I’m the greatest and I’m gonna win everthing.

P.S.- If I don’t win something remember that I did it deliberately out of pity for the other guy.

Novak, the DJ.

Butters Says:

One thing you dicks haven’t said; Rafael Nadal has never lost a best of five set match on clay, 27/27 matches he has won in the best of five format on clay, according to my calculations (Which are generally pretty reliable).

14-0 at the French Open,
6-0 in Davis Cup matches
2-0 in Rome,
2-0 in Monte-Carlo,
2-0 in Barcelona,
1-0 in Stuttgart,

So, pretty encouraging news for his fans, may he reign again at the French Open again this year!
Just coz he lost one match on clay, it doesn’t mean Federer’s always going to get him, or that he’s lost his skill.

So, lets all hope that Federer gets an injury soon, and has a bit of a break.


Raphael Nadal Says:

I ok now. :)

I like best of 3 sets over best of 5, less tiring, no? This year in Australia too, I win if best of 3, maybe, no? French, clay, best of 5, very fatigue, no? Best of 5, I win if only one match entire tournament, but 7, difficult, no? Say vamos rafa! to give energy.


Butters Says:

Oh, and another thing to ad to that post, out of those 27 best-of-five matches he’s played, only two of them have gone to 5 sets. Both in the Rome final, 2005 vs Coria; 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(6), and 2006 vs Federer; 6-7, 7-6(5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5) (saved 2 MP).

2-0 in Five Set matches
11-0 in Four Set matches
14-0 in Three Set matches

I’m done

Tejuz Says:

Nadal has won Roland Garros everytime he was riding a unbeaten streak without drooping a match on clay. This time its different and he has lost(thoroughly beaten) a final to his chief rival. This last match will surely play in their mind the next time they face each other.

Nadal was always left guessing whether Fed would go for his backhand or forehand.. most of the time wrong footed. And also having been beaten by the same person in 3 of their last 4 matches certainly doesnt help. Except for their Monte-carlo finals.. Fed has beaten Nadal convincingly.

Anyway… he is just 75 points ahead of Fed til date even after having an unbelievable clay court season and Federer being in a ‘Slump’. Well. Fed will catch up with him at wimbledon … and from then on they go toe-to-toe. It wud have been different had he won Hamburg and Fed lost in 1st round.

Sorry Nadal fans… he wont be No 1 again this year.

Mirka Says:

Of course Nadal isn’t going to become No 1 this year. Federer will be around to prevent that for many years to come. He’s just too good. Nadal will be lucky to win the French Open, but after that, Federer will crush everyone who stands in his way from winning more tournaments. I’d say by the end of the year he’ll win 11 titles. He’s my man.


Kournikov Says:

I love Nadal!

Tony Roche Says:

I want to coach Nadal and help him win Wimbledon.

Brad Gilbert Says:

I’m coaching Murray to win Wimbledon. Fortunately, his injury will keep him fresh this year to make a serious attempt.

Maria Sharapova Says:

I’m really excited about the French Open, I hope Nadal wins, I really miss his wang.

Rafael Nadal Says:

I go fishing today. :) Tomorrow golf. :)

After retire, I go professional golf.

claycourtrafa Says:

haha great stuff, bu tu guys r forgetting federer fed nadal a bagel he is not gonna be worried about practising his game this week to get he better of him in the french, whereas nadal who just lost and was off par will now practise practise practise until hes filled all the holes and rock everyones mind at the french. also this proves to all those who thot fed was playing possum, u were all WRONG sux eh? o well now fed lost his element of surprise and nadal will be in top shape for the french to start up another streak.

Jimbo Says:

Good stuff ‘claycourtrafa’, further positivity about nadal’s chances at the French has been instilled in my mind as a result of your wise comments. I really hope he wins it again, and I hope Federer fails miserably.

Simba Says:

Good stuff “Jimbo”. We need all the positivity we get since Nadal seems so weak. It was so sad to see him get beaten by such a score, bagel even! :( I hope he atleast gets to the semifinals in Roland Garros. It would be really bad to see him go out in teh intial rounds. :(

Paris Hilton Says:

I love Nadal. I have his poster on the wall in my cell. [kisses] mmm…

Britney Spears Says:

I love Nadal. I want to marry him and be stepfather to my children. [smooch!]

rjnick Says:

“However, in the long run – (1) Roger played in 3 clay court events this year and made the finals in 2″

And Rafa played 4 clay court events and WON 3 of them — and made the final in the other one. Roger lost early in Rome, Rafa played to the end. It’s not entirely ridiculous to assume that Rafa was more drained by the end of last week than Roger.

Either way, Rafa knows how to win Roland Garros — Roger has not yet crossed that hurdle. And with the “Roger Slam” on the line, there is now even less pressure on Nadal than Roger. So I think it’s still advantage Rafa. Roger has more belief — but Rafa has no less than he did before (which is still a lot more than anyone else out there, including Fed).

Andrew Miller Says:

I think the author – Abe – is right. Anyone will take a match against Moya over one with Hewitt: I just think back to Pete Sampras’ good fortune of playing against Sjeng Schalken in the “early match” of the 2002 US OPEN semifinals instead of Andre Agassi’s matchup with Lleyton Hewitt; you could almost hear Sampras’ relief, even over the din of New York City’s airplanes, in getting to play someone whose number he clearly knew and who he always beat in New York, rather than the pesky Aussie who had a 4-0 win streak vs. Sampras (though Hewitt was 5-4 vs. Sampras, the last four times Hewitt had won 9 sets and Sampras? 1 set.)

And Nadal? Why did he play Hamburg anyway? Federer might be able to take comfort in his win at Hamburg, being less than his best and beating his nemesis on a tournament he was the back-to-back defending champion at, but let’s get real here: Federer was in familiar territory, sort of like Wimbledon, where he no doubt feels at home. He has major threats on clay. They will come at him again at the French. I think Federer is ready for them, but I think, they are also ready for him.

andrea Says:

Where did all these postings come from with bloggers posing as real tennis players/coaches, celebs? it’s a fan site; leave it for the fans! You’re just more clutter that we have to wade through.

Dr. Death Says:

They think they are wits but they are only half right. Well said, Andrea.

TakeItOver Says:

Why are people even giving Nadal’s run last wimbledon a second thought. Just have a look at the opponents he played on the way to the final. Extremely LUCKY draw.
1st round- Bogdanovic ranked 135
2nd round- Kendrick was the only player with a big serve and he nearly beat Nadal. Ranked 237
3rd round- Agassi was on his last legs
4th round- Labadze ranked 166
In the quaters he played Nieminen who is essentially another baseliner like Nadal.
In the semis he played Bagdatis who I think was playing in his 1st major grass tournament.
And I suppose everyone knows about the final episode.

Sampras Says:

Nadal’s chances of winning wimbledon are same as my chances were at the French – Just that I never got a lucky enough draw to reach the final. I was 0 for 13, he will probably end up with 0 for 10 (he will retire early – injuries).

Jimbo Says:

Hey ‘TakeItOver’, stop being so critical, be positive, I’m sure he would’ve made it to the final of wimbledon even if he didn’t have such a lucky draw. So have hope for him when he plays Wimbledon this year.


samps Says:

Agassi Fan! It must be fun wetting yourself allover huh? Wetting the whole block and everyone in it more like. Stop with your stupid “look at history” sermons. They are enough examples for and against the argument. There is NO precedent. Not that ur going to get this. Probably rehash the same shit under some other discussion. Sigh…

Fed played very well in the tournament overall and deserved the win. And it ll do wonders for his confidence. It does little for Rafa though. Playing all pre-RG tourneys and both singles and doubles in 2 of them can be a little demanding.
The first set was indeed rubbish and Fed could have won in straight sets, Rafa was that off. He could have lost against Hewitt, he was off there too. Just that Hewitt cant really beat him. It should be different in the French though the Fed-Rafa match (if it happens) will be close(though Rafa should win), not because Fed has Rafa’s number or something equally silly, but his greater self-confidence. Fed’s “rise” on clay should perhaps be taken in the same context as his “slump”(which incidentally i considered the possibility of).

claycourtrafa Says:

i think samps is rite, he is ussualy good at these things anyways

claycourtrafa Says:

although if history tells anything nadal will win wimby, eventually

Simba Says:

Oh I don’t know! I just hope Nadal isn’t a flash in the pan. :(

It’s scary how he lost his form last year and the signs now are eerily like those. I just hope he doesn’t go out in the firt rounds in Roland Garros and Wimbledon. I won’t even think about Flushing Meadows right now. :(

Looks like so many guys got his number even on clay: Davydenko, Hewitt and now Federer!!!

Waa :(

johnnhoj Says:

If Nadal was tired, then that sucks for him (same goes for Fed when he loses). Nadal was playing Federer in the final and should have been prepared for it, but for whatever reason broke down, and, like any opponent would, Federer punished him for it. Rafa could have fought harder, but give credit to Fed for not letting Rafa back into the match. This is gonna be a big confidence boost for Federer, regardless of who is the favorite at any tournament. I expect Fed will be making it much more difficult for Rafa from now on.

Haschel Says:

Hey guys, check out the French Open draw which will be drawn live on at 11:30am Paris time. By doing this, you will be able to get an idea of who Rog & Raf sill have to annihilate in order to get to the final.
Btw, in my IST Yr 10 Half-Yearly exams, I beat everyone by getting a good 76/80 (95%). So you can all applaud.


Csky Says:

The cryptonite of those who would like to have Nadal and/or Federer to have the status of invincibility, is the wish to have a Superman.

Now that we all can see that they are not, but ordinary people that are more skilled at tennis than others (like I am more skilled at filling the dish-washer than others), we start seeking for reasons. And when we finally found a reason, true or not, we regard it a reason as good as any other.

Yesterday I had a bad day. I filled the dish-washer with only 55% of it’s capacity. I think I finish filling it. My wife filled it to 100%. She’s a Supergirl.

nadal Says:

I AM LUCKY BASTARD, no. look, I again easy draw, no. he he.

PARIS, May 25 (Reuters) – World number one Roger Federer faces a tough task in his bid to win the French Open for the first time.

The Swiss, dreaming of capturing the only grand slam title to have eluded him, was drawn on Friday in the same half as several dangerous opponents, including former champion Juan Carlos Ferrero.

He could also run into Tommy Robredo, Marat Safin, Ivan Ljubicic, Nikolay Davydenko, David Nalbandian, Guillermo Canas and Fernando Gonzalez.

Twice defending champion Rafael Nadal, the world number two, was handed a far easier draw for the claycourt tournament starting on Sunday at Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal Says:

Roger and me both tough draws, no? I have Hewitt in quater finals and he have Safin. Equal tough, no?

Reuters say me easy, AFP say he easy:

“Federer enjoys early luck of French Open draw
Fri 25 May, 12:49 PM

PARIS (AFP) – Roger Federer won the opening skirmishes of his French Open battle with double defending champion Rafael Nadal on Friday when the world number one was handed the easier of early round draws…”

I hope we both go finals and give good fight. What you think?

nadal Says:

i think i got very lucky break no.main one is davydenko, i was scared shit to play him again best of 5, 6 hours in the semi and then play federer

nadal Says:

now sampras try to come back, what a idiot no. he lose 30 times before lucky win in 2002 us open, becaus hewitt tire agassi, no and he play schalken.

now if sampras come back i whip his ass, no. fed bagel me, i bagel sampras, he never play tennis again no. sampras scared now of losing record, no.

Giner Says:

“Why are people even giving Nadal’s run last wimbledon a second thought. Just have a look at the opponents he played on the way to the final in 2002. Extremely LUCKY draw.”

Yeah, well look at the draw Lleyton Hewitt got when he WON the title…


Bjorkman, Jonas (SWE)
Carraz, Gregory (FRA)
Knowle, Julian (AUT)
Youzhny, Mikhail (RUS)
Schalken, Sjeng (NED)
Henman, Tim (GBR)
Nalbandian, David (ARG)

Does anyone begrudge him of this title? Look at who he played. The only respectable name was Henman. Hewitt had his number though. Was unbeaten against Henman until last year. He’s something like 8-1. So how in the hell does he manage to fluke a finals opponent against some unheralded 20 year old clay specialist playing in his first ever grass court tournament?

Because his opponent also fluked an easy draw. That’s the only way Hewitt can get such an easy finals opponent. Let’s look at Nalbandian’s draw to the final.


Sanchez, David (ESP)
Mathieu, Paul-Henri (FRA)
Bastl, George (SUI)
Arthurs, Wayne (AUS)
Lapentti, Nicolas (ECU)
Malisse, Xavier (BEL)

The only player here who knew anything about grass play was Arthurs.

In 2001, he got lucky at the US open also.

He caused big controversy in the Blake match, and against Roddick, Roddick was on serve at 4-5 (serving to stay in the match) in the 5th set and got robbed with two awful line calls in a row, then exploded. In the finals, he was gifted an opponent in Sampras, who was already on his last legs.

Let’s look now at his run to the 2004 US open finals where he didn’t run into a single player in the top 25 until Federer in the final.

Ferreira, Wayne (RSA)
Arazi, Hicham (MAR)
Lopez, Feliciano (ESP)
Beck, Karol (SVK)
Haas, Tommy (GER)
Johansson, Joachim (SWE)
Federer, Roger (SUI)

He was in fact on a 16 match winning streak at the time, except none of the people he met were in the top 25 during that streak. And when he finally runs into a real player, he gets double bagelled. That ended up being Federer’s easiest US open match in his run, even though it was a final. It’s also Federer’s most impressive win in any grand slam match. He has never double bagelled anyone else in a slam.

Hewitt is a guy who gets EXTREMELY lucky draws in the big tournaments, except when Federer is involved. Why does anyone think twice about his slam titles given the luck he’s had? You can’t begrudge anything from Rafa without looking at Hewitt’s luck.

Case closed. Hewitt is a fluke. But why doesn’t anyone take anything away from his successes?

JCF Says:

“The Swiss, dreaming of capturing the only grand slam title to have eluded him, was drawn on Friday in the same half as several dangerous opponents, including former champion Juan Carlos Ferrero.

He could also run into Tommy Robredo, Marat Safin, Ivan Ljubicic, Nikolay Davydenko, David Nalbandian, Guillermo Canas and Fernando Gonzalez.”

Lol, if he runs into Canas, it’s over. Forget about even playing Nadal. He won’t make it to the final.

takeitover Says:

hewitt is lucky too. just like nadal. hewitt is done, he was done in early 20s, sme way nadal will be done in 2-3 years. strage thing – nadal can’t even beat hewitt on hard courts. so there, that defines nadal’s place with hewitt.

nadal is just a clay freak. his season is done in 2 weeks.

also, one of hewitt’s opponents at wimbleson, george bastl, beat sampras at wimbly in 2002. that puts sampras in place too. lol, he is dreaming of playing again!! get out your butter and jam, because he will be taost.

Coria Says:

Look ‘takeitover’, Nadal hasn’t played Hewitt on a hardcourt since the 2005 Aus Open when he was an 18yr old ranked 56, playing Hewitt who was #3 at the time. And even then it was a 5 set battle that Nadal nearly one. So eat that you dickweed. Nadal will have no mercy next time they play on a hardcourt.

samps Says:

“that defines nadal’s place as hewitt”. Actually Nadal’s career parallels Borg’s till now. Two grand slams in two years to start with and finalist in another slam. Oh wait Rafa has an 81 match winning streak too. Did Hewitt have one dear? Apparantely not.
That federer comment is utter nonsense. The Only player of note is Robredo in the quarters! Everyone else mentioned he meets in the semis. Federer has the easiest draw in the four quarters and its therefore his BEST chance of EVER winning French. He beat a tired Rafa in Hamburg but French should be somewhat different.

takeitover Says:

you guys so rude, abusive. your mother don’t teach you manners? did someone steal your lunch money at school? or you have small, you know what.

i just post my views here, not attack you. shame on you, behaving like small children, worse thenthat actually.

i am going to different forum – not going to visit this stupid rant anymore.

FloridaMan Says:

I think Nadal will win the French Open, for sure. He will not play the way he did in Hamburg, where he made more easy unforced errors than he did in many matches he plays combined.When he plays his best, no one, not even Fed, can beat him on clay. He played far from his best in Hamburg, that’s why Fed beat him. I doubt he will do that in the finals of the French.

FloridaMan Says:

I don’t think Hewitt is a fluke. I think that with his game, being a 2-time grand slam champion is all he really deserves. Neither him nor Michael Chang really had big weapons, but unlike Mats Wilander, they were playing at a time when big weapons are very commonplace. That’s why I think Chang and Hewitt are deserved of maybe 1 or 2 grand slams at best. As for the 2 slams that Hewitt won, I definitely think his 2001 U.S. Open triumph was by far the better of the two. That’s because Hewitt had to play 4 top 20 players to get win it, all who were very good on hard courts. Those 4 opponents were Haas, Roddick, Kafelnikov and Sampras, the latter two who were in the top 10 and Hewitt didn’t lose a set. So Hewitt certainly deserves credit for his triumphs. But like Roddick, I don’t see Hewitt winning another Slam for the rest of his days. That’s because I think a player is only as good as the number of Slams he wins, unless unlucky circumstances prevent him or her from doing so.

samps Says:

Good comment that about Hewitt FloridaMan. It seems unlikely that he’s going to have another slam under his belt.
And takeitover, cool it and stop being so sensitive. Ad hominem remarks are inevitable especially when people feel strongly about your remarks. As long as the tennis dominates the discussion it should be ok.

“your mother dont teach you manners?”
Original that is.

Jimbo Says:

Good work Rafa! Fucked Moya up good! Djokovic next, going to be a battle, i reckon 4 tight sets.

Looking good for the title anyway, agree?

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