French Open Might be a Real Fitness Test
by Sean Randall | May 28th, 2007, 1:54 pm
  • 56 Comments

If the forecasters are right and it keeps raining in Paris, the winner at the end of the French Open  might night be not be best clay courters but rather the fittest. The more it rains the more likely players will be playing back-to-back five setters, meaning unfit guys will be falling by the wayside rather quickly.

So how will that impact our two stars, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Fortunately for Fed he has a pretty friendly draw, and for Nadal, a meeting with Hewitt or Niemenin could loom, but I think he should be okay.

Bottom line, all this rain should benefit them both, as long as the rain doesn’t force the semifinals and finals to be player on consecutive days.

On the flip side, a young kid like Novak Djokovic who has had past struggles with fitness could be in trouble having to play back-to-back five setters, or playing three such matches in four days. Same goes for his young peers Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet.

Hopefully none of that will come into play and the sun will shine. But if it doesn’t be sure not to pin your hopes too high on a charge who can’t fight the fatigue.


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56 Comments for French Open Might be a Real Fitness Test

Tennis fan Says:

What about the women? I guess the same applies to Henin, Williams, et al.

I think mental toughness plays as important a role as physical toughness in such conditions.


kamret Says:

You talked about the most vulnerable players in such conditions (Djokovic, Gasquet, and Monfils). But how about the most dangerous ones in such conditions? I’d say Davydenko, Ferrer, Robredo, and Canas. They could go further than expected. Also, look out for Paul-Henri Mathieu this time. He has an easy draw and could cause some upsets and go far.


schtrumpf Says:

Everything seems to be going the Fed’s way. From a ridiculously easy draw to the weather slowing down the court, the stars are aligned for him to finally conquer the missing Slam. Having skipped (albeit involuntarily) quite a few clay court matches this season, he is also better rested than Rafa. Barring a miracle, FO is over. Time for Nadal to set his sights on Wimbledon.


andrea Says:

i would love for roger to win this. not only will all this ridiculous pressure and expectation and banter about his status as one of the greats (when he clearly already will be considered one of them) end, but cranky old mats wilander can finally shut the heck up with all of his ill timed prophecies. (too numerous to mention).


Giner Says:

What’s this about Federer prefering slower wet clay? I thought he liked faster surfaces like grass? How is making the court slower going to benefit him? Clay has always been his weakest surface (but by no means weak compared to other players).


schtrumpf Says:

The slow damp clay, paradoxically, always served Federer well – consider his track record in Hamburg, the dampest and coldest of all clay TMS. It is not as slippery, and perhaps it adds to confidence by helping his footwork.


ross Says:

that’s correct, back to back five setters can be a problem. Especially semi on sat and final on sunday can be a disaster. I am surprised why the US Open does that by design – its so stupid, and makes the finals a farce sometimes. Remember 2002, when sampras faced schalken and agassi got softened by hewitt, then sampras beat a tired agassi 18 hours later.


realist Says:

these tournaments need to get some goddamn covers. how hard is it to put up some makeshift canvas on the first 4 or so courts?

what happens if it keeps raining, we gonna have 2nd round matches in the 2nd week?


Alora Ann Preuss Says:

Nadal having rested and studied closly various matches he has played that we close or challenging in the recent past on clay will play better teenis than anyone can remember seeing in the history of tennis and will win the French Open.


Alora Ann Preuss Says:

Nadal having rested and studied closly various matches he has played that were close or challenging in the recent past on clay will play better tennis than anyone can remember seeing in the history of tennis and will win the French Open.


Skorocel Says:

Guys, you’re really funny… At this point, it’s still unclear whether Fed will even make the finals (not to mention whether he wins the whole tourney – in which case he would most probably have to beat Nadal in the finals), but you’re already searching for excuses… Wet clay, low bounce, Nadal tired, Fed rested, etc. I wonder what would you say had Nadal beat Fed in that Hamburg final (?)… Probably something a la “he’s never gonna beat him on clay, an eternal mental block, a tremendous blow to Fed’s confidence prior to FO,” etc. etc. – isn’t it? But now that Fed has won the match, you’re searching for all those stupid excuses – wet clay, low bounce, Nadal tired, Fed rested, temperature around 15 degrees, etc. Reading your comments, it seems to me as if an outcome of any tennis match would have entirely depended on weather… Silly!


samps Says:

Skorcocel, what happens when “excuses” are real reasons? This Is Fed’s best chance of winning French because he has the baby draw among all the quarters. Surely you cant doubt that?

Second if you have a easy draw and its raining its even better because its cumulative since consecutive hard matches drain even more out of you.

Though I dont think the wet clay is a consideration. The Fed-Nadal match on Hamburg was on a very dry surface. Nadal lost because : –

a) He was foolish to play at Hamburg after playing 3 tourneys (and singles and doubles in two of them) and

b)Fed played better against him than he has ever played.

In any case, I dont think the fitness issue will matter in French Open if we’r talking about a Fed Nadal final(if it happens). Since his SF opponent should be a difficult one (Hopefully Nikolai or Canas) Nadal would be only marginally more tired which shouldnt matter.


Skorocel Says:

Samps, thank you for appreciating Fed’s effort in that Hamburg final:-) It truly reminds me of those Sampras’ comments about Fed: “No one can touch him, he will break all my records, I’m a fan, and bla bla, BUT you know, I had a better opposition.” Same about that Hamburg final: “Fed played the best match vs Nadal on clay, BUT still, Nadal was simply tired.” Nice appreciation, I must say… I wonder what would’ve been your thoughts had Fed beat him in that Monte Carlo final 1 month ago? Probably something a la “Nadal wasn’t ready yet, it’s only the first tourney on clay, this win doesn’t mean anything,” etc. – isn’t it?

Anyway, I must completely agree with you re: the draw, as Fed should have no problems reaching the semi, whereas Nadal’s already got Del Potro in the 1st round, who moments ago almost stole a set from him (they’re still playing I guess)… Then it’s either Hewitt or Nieminen in the last 16 (the Finn almost beat him in Barcelona a year ago, if you remember), and then either Blake or that “bad person” Berdych:-) But still, Fed could face Volandri in the quarters and Canas in the semis, which btw would be a dream come true for me, since I want Fed to avenge those recent losses… But the bottom line is – Fed’s got the easier draw, I agree…

P.S. When you’re replying on someone’s comment, please check his/her name rather carefully, OK? I know, everyone’s doing typos (is that the right word in English?), but you know, if you’re a fair person, you should at least apologize to the recipient…


claycourtrafa Says:

nadal beat del potro 7-5 6-3 6-2. relatively easy, although i saw the match and i think nadal is saving his energy cause he was doin just enough if u know wat i mean. so i think for the first 3 or 4 rounds u wont really being seeing anything special from him but after that he shud kick it into high gear.


Seth Says:

I couldn’t be more pleased that Roddick got tuned by Igor Andreev in the first round. Clay makes Roddick look even more clueless than usual on a tennis court.


Skorocel Says:

Having said that Nadal’s part of the draw is tougher than Fed’s, well, Blake’s already out and Berdych was trailing 2 sets to love to Garcia Lopez when their match was suspended due to darkness… So the only potential threat for Nadal in reaching the semis remains Hewitt (or perhaps Moya?), assumed he progresses as far as to meet the Spaniard…


John Says:

First round USA loses:

Russell
Delic
Gimelstob
Querrey
Spadea
Roddick
Blake
Kendrick

Note: Ginepri’s first round match was suspended at one set each.

That’s everybody.


John Says:

My guess:

Federer’s path:

Russell (done 64,62,64)
Ascione
Starace
Youzhny
Safin
Davydenko
Nadal

Nadal’s path:

del Potro (done 75,63,62)
Gabashvili
Montanes
Hewitt
Moya
Andreev
Federer


samps Says:

Skorocel, if Nadal had lost in Monte Carlo, I d have said “Fed’s figured him out now!Sigh…”. Which is exactly what I shall say if he beats Rafa at RG. NO excuses. But if you ve seen my comments before hamburg on other posts on this site, I kept insisting that Hamburg was a foolish idea and that Rafa was just playing to honour his support for it to continue as Masters.
You see there are excuses and there are excuses.
This is not one. Just after Nadal beat Gonzo in the final of Rome, my comment was that he seemed tired and gonzo was rubbish.Thats why it was easy for Rafa and not because he ‘crushed’ gonzo and that he Shouldnt play hamburg. Of course you would now say, “You just made an excuse before rather than after the match”, as is your wont, but thats stupid.
And please dont presume someone has lost a set before he actually does. That was a nice gaffe :).
OH and sorry about your name.
Also Berdych is as good as gone and ditto for blake which hopefully eases the draw for Rafa. There is Dr. Ivo of course but it shouldn’e matter.

Incidentally, I continue to insist that the draw matters more for Fed than Rafa (being the dominant clay court player). It gives Fed a better chance but I dont think this should make a huge difference to Rafa (in terms of getting tired and all). Though he looked somewhat unconvincing (not tired) against del Potro.


Samprazzz Says:

Safin is a wildcard here. If he’s hot, he can beat Federer. Davydenko is going to be tough for Fed too. Nadal made a big mistake playing Hamburg. I guess he couldn’t resist adding another few hundred thousand Euros to his bank account- however, now he’s got to be still feeling worn out. I don’t like his chances to repeat. With his style of play, he uses up alot of energy.


Samprazzz Says:

Samps, I agree with you that Nadal looked tired in Rome. Actually, to me, he looked tired during the semifinal match against Davydenko the day before he beat Gonzo. I was positive that he would skip Hamburg. I couldn’t believe my eyes when he actually showed up. And to lose 6-2,6-0 in the final 2 sets on clay is a total collapse for him, physically- even if his opponent was Federer. I don’t think 1 week is enough recuperation time.


claycourtrafa Says:

well it is gonna a fitness test cause federer is back on court today. if safin is playin good he can trouble fed, i saw his first round and it looked pretty good to me. also davydenko well i dunno maybe he can do some damage we all saw how he did against rafa. as for nadal ya his opponents are pretty much all out i mean andreev is a possible semifinal thats no threat there is hewitt but thats it really. karlovic served 22 ACES


claycourtrafa Says:

well it is gonna a fitness test cause federer is back on court today. if safin is playin good he can trouble fed, i saw his first round and it looked pretty good to me. also davydenko well i dunno maybe he can do some damage we all saw how he did against rafa. as for nadal ya his opponents are pretty much all out i mean andreev is a possible semifinal thats no threat there is hewitt but thats it really. karlovic served 22 ACES


claycourtrafa Says:

well it is gonna a fitness test cause federer is back on court today. if safin is playin good he can trouble fed, i saw his first round and it looked pretty good to me. also davydenko well i dunno maybe he can do some damage we all saw how he did against rafa. as for nadal ya his opponents are pretty much all out i mean andreev is a possible semifinal thats no threat there is hewitt but thats it really. karlovic served 22 ACES in his match that is insane


FOT Says:

Well, you guys can leave Safin out of the mix since he’s OUT of the tournament! lol!


zola Says:

Blake and Roddick never looked so ridiculus. They look like two kids who have been partying the night before the final. They couldn’t care less about the clay season. How many clay tournaments did they play before FO? and the excuse? we can’t go stay in Europe or 6 weeks.

They come to the press conference and say” we don’t know what went wrong!”
hello! what about “you had no preparation?” How about “more clay court play? ”

I couldn’t be happier for this humiliation. Well deserved Roddick and Blake.


zola Says:

Fed’s draw is very easy. I don’t know half of the guys playing him. I guess they could have goven him a bye to the finals . but! if Monfils plays well, they might meet in semis, but Fed in a semi, will kill Monfils.

RAfa’s part has Hewitt and Dr Ivo. I don’t want a Hewitt-Rafa semi. It will make Rafa tired and will donate the final to Federer. It is not fair.

Rafa didn’t play his best with Del-Potro, but won and that’s enough. He should learn to conserve his energy. And Del-Potro is just adorable ( and so is Monfils).

I loved Pazcek today against Justin. Great player. also Venus’s opponent ( too difficult of a name to remember). Maybe wone’s game is getting more interesting.


Giner Says:

I’m hoping for a Federer vs Canas semi. That should prove interesting.


Skorocel Says:

“I don’t want a Hewitt-Rafa semi. It will make Rafa tired and will donate the final to Federer. It is not fair.”

It is indeed fair, Zola. It’s up to Nadal to finish that match as quick as possible… On the other hand, Fed can easily meet his “nemesis” Canas in the semis. Oh, I should say “a tired Canas”:-), shouldn’t I?

P.S. If Nadal plays Hewitt, it will be in the last 16, not in the semis.


samps Says:

Yes Rafa plays Hewitt(if at all) in the fourth round. In the Semis, its probably Djoko that he plays while Nikolai(or Canas) plays Fed. I say it again, I dont see Rafa getting tired for the Final whatever happens. Besides he’s the dominant RG champ and the onus is on him to beat the odds which i believe he will. Of course its good for Fed that he has an easy draw but the semis seem equally hard.

Its similar to Wimby. I d hope that Rafa gets the easier draw and reaches the final though Fed battles a harder draw because he’s the champ there. If ur the dominant player on a surface the expectation is that you are more equipped to handle the odds, as you must. And it seems unlikely that Monfils will reach the semis.

Also Skorocel, stop with the silly attempts at sarcasm by the qualifier, “tired”. As I said before, if Fed had beaten Rafa in Monte Carlo or if he does in RG there is NO issue of tiredness.
Regarding Hamburg EVERYONE was saying that Rafa should skip it (before the tourney) including many on this site (Sean Randall mentioned the same in some article). So his being tired was more expected than not.

I am sure you whined about Fed being tired(which he was) when he lost to Murray on hardcourts last season. Or did you accept the “fact” that Murray gave him a massive whupping?
So stop with the damned hypocrisy.


Skorocel Says:

Samps, please explain me one thing… If you believe Nadal was SOO tired in that Hamburg final, then how on earth can he recover for the RG?! Do you think 7 days of rest is good enough for him to handle 7 best of 5 sets matches? As you or someone else said, already in that Rome semi against Davydenko (which was PRIOR to Hamburg) he seemed rather tired, so I just can’t see any logic in this one, especially because NOW he has EVEN MORE matches in his legs as he had prior to Rome (not to mention Hamburg)… How can you think he can recover for the RG?! Please, don’t tell me that thing about “being the dominant player on the particular surface”… I don’t buy that!

If I remember it correctly, after playing MC and Barcelona (where he literally destroyed all the opposition, straightsetting everyone in sight), Nadal had the same 7 days of rest till Rome as he had between Hamburg and RG, but still, he was allegedly tired in that semi vs Davydenko. OK, I understand he played both MC and Barcelona in consecutive weeks, but last year, he had EXACTLY the same schedule before the Rome (actually even harder, since he played a couple of 3 setters + needed 6 matches to win in MC + there was also a best of 5 final both in MC and Barcelona), yet he had no problems returning Fed’s forehand bullets after standing 5 hours on the court in that Rome final… So how come he was tired in this year’s semi vs Davydenko? Can you explain me this?

As I’ve already said in my comment after the Hamburg final, I DO believe Nadal was more tired than Fed in that match – you can’t deny that… BUT still, he shouldn’t eat a bagel in that final set, especially after winning all 5 previous matches vs the Swiss on clay… Let’s be honest, did you expect Fed to end that Nadal’s streak in such a way? A bagel?

But hey, if Nadal’s really that tired, then what? Clay is his most favourite surface, he’s obviously enjoying all these matches, so it’s only logical he will play as many clay tournaments as he can… Well, he has to (in order to defend all those points from last year). Yes, he probably may have skipped either Barcelona or Hamburg in order to be more rested before the RG (in which case he would still have a very good chance to defend all his clay points from the pre-RG tourneys), but he’s decided to play them all… Do you think it’s Fed’s fault? Even on clay, Nadal surely works harder for his wins than Fed, but that’s not Fed’s fault… Not at all!

As for that Fed’s loss to Murray in Cincy, I don’t care – to be honest. I’ve only seen the last 5 or so games of the match, so I can’t judge if he was that tired or not… I only remember his previous match vs Srichaphan, where he got a bit lucky as the Thai choked in the important moments… Maybe it was a tanking, since I do believe he could’ve won that tourney if he really wanted to (if Roddick did the Montreal & Cincy “double” 3 years ago, then why Fed can’t do it?). I guess Fed was mainly looking at the big picture – that is being physically 100 % before the US…


samps Says:

Hello? He played the doubles(he reached the final) and won the singles at Barcelona. Which was stupid as it stands but had a purpose(i ll explain). And he could have won Rome whatever happened. He looked tired there yes but he would have I believe beaten Fed whatever come. Hamburg is JUST after Rome and an entirely different proposition. So do I think he’ll be rested after a week for RG? I would say Yes. Fed sees the big picture? And Nadal doesent? You Fed Fanboys!

The reason Nadal says he wants to play as much doubles as he can is because he wants to improve his volleying(which is incidentally way better than last year). Fed claimed after losing to Nadal in doubles “Its hard to beat those guys when they play so much from the baseline”. I fell out of my chair laughing when i read that. I saw that match and Rafa was volleying superbly throughout and hardly playing “from the baseline”.

And ur right, Nadal should NEVER have played Hamburg. I am certain he did since he was obligated to show support against the stupid ATP. What Fed’s fault? This is getting ridiculous. Nobody’s blaming him.

And talking about the Bagel, maybe Rafa was looking at the “big picture”. He was rubbish in the whole match even if he took a set off Fed in the first. Ok thats sarcasm(as i think he was just tired). Talking about excuses, is “the big picture” a stronger “excuse” in your perspective than “being tired”? I think its the worst possible excuse. Clearly you disagree.


claycourtrafa Says:

he had 9 days rest since he didnt play till teusday, i think that is sufficient.


Seth Says:

I’m hoping Vliegen is a hero and takes out Canas. That guy could end up a spoiler if he gets on a run here. And his style is just . . . ugh. Tedium is the word that comes to mind. Who wants to watch Guillermo Canas run every damn ball down and creampuff it back until his opponent dies of boredom?


schtrumpf Says:

Nadal’s playing in Hamburg will cost him the FO title. He will live to regret the “political statement” or point-chasing or whatever reason he picked for this suicide mission. In the first two matches his game looks like crap, while Federer is sharp as a tack. I don’t think Rafa will even make it to the finals, but if somehow he does, Fed will pulverize him. It’s over for Nadal.


Skorocel Says:

Perfectly said, Seth! Though personally, I do want Fed play Canas in the semis (so he can avenge those losses early in the spring), you really couldn’t have assessed his game better… Same as Nadal – everything you’re trying to create, he turns to nothing!


Sean Randall Says:

I don’t see Vliegen beating Canas today. And oddly, I almost think on a slow, wet clay Fed would take out Canas in the semifinal.

As for today, Jankovic looks good enough to get thru to the semis. And if Justin gets knocked out before them Jelena would be my pick to take her first Slam.

My man Monfils is also looking alot better than he was a month ago, thanks to his new coach and former Andy ROddick mentor Tarik Benhabiles. He can beat and lose to just about anybody of course, Nalbandian included.

Also, if Hewitt can get past Jarkko he will set up a great matchup with Nadal, which I think is winable for the Australian. I still would take Nadal, but it wouldn’t stun me. Though I think Jarkko could get Llyeton first.

Djoko’s draw looks good for a SF run, as does Fed’s. And I’ll lightly lean to Davydenko meeting the World No. 1 in the semifinals – not a good matchup for Fed should it happen.


Seth Says:

Skorocel, I don’t mind Nadal’s game at all. Despite the fact that both he and Canas play excellent defense, I would say Nadal is more of a lethal counterpuching type, while ol’ Willy is a tedious grinder.

And I was considering this yesterday, why I like Nadal’s game and can’t stand the way Canas plays. I think it comes down to this: a counterpuncher like Rafa is still, ultimately, an aggressive player. But rather than generating all of his own power, he prefers to neutralize the power of a more aggressive opponent, scramble hard, and counterpunch at opportune moments. The point is, Nadal stills ends up dictating play more often than not.

Canas, a grinder in the truest sense of the word, never seeks to dictate play. He is content to let his opponent blast would-be winner after would-be winner, scramble, get to the ball just in the nick of time, float it back, and repeat until his opponent finally misses out of frustration or a lack of consistency. As the match wears on, tedious point after tedious point, Canas’ opponents become desperate to end the points more quickly, go for lower and lower percentage shots, and consequently make a boatload of unforced errors. I’m not saying that it takes no skill to do what Canas does; he is supremely skilled at this type of grinding play. But from the standpoint of aesthetics and entertainment value, Canas is deathly dull to watch. And it would be a shame to have such a stultifying spectacle make it to the later rounds of a Grand Slam, even if it is played on slow red clay.


Seth Says:

Sean, I think it’s possible that Nicky Davydenko could trouble Fed, even end up pulling off the upset, but looking at their head to head, I doubt this would happen. Once Fed beats a particular opponent a few times in a row and has their number, he seems to just keep heaping misery on the poor guy.


John Says:

I was just looking at Roland Garros fastest serve stats.

Roger Federer 216kph 134mph
Venus Williams 206kph 128mph
Serena Williams 198kph 123mph
Rafael Nadal 198kph 123mph


realist Says:

even though fed has always beaten davydenko, it’s really always been on hard court where the difference basically comes down to serve. on clay davy or nalbandian could take out fed if they got that far.

even though the williams serve fast, they hit the ball completely flat on the 1st. fed and nadal use more spin and placement even on their fastest serves.


Derek Says:

I really need to pay an extra 5 bucks to get the tennis channel back. There’s no point on me commenting until I’ve watched some of what’s going on.

Those are some interesting serve speed stats …


Derek Says:

and yeah, the kick serve definitely plays the main role in accounting for nadal vs. williams’ serve speed. But, good for the girls … still impressive!


Seth Says:

While there is some justifiable cause for concern at the possibility of Fed facing Davydenko, I think the two greatest threats to him winning the title are named Rafael Nadal (obviously, though I’m fairly convinced Fed would beat him this year) and Guillermo Canas. Canas could be the spoiler, simply because he has the ability to bore Fed to death, make him impatient, and cause him to end up with a boatload of unforced errors. Pretty much what he did to Fed in the two matches earlier this year.

Davydenko may manage to take a set off of him, but I feel Fed would handle him with relative ease.


realist Says:

i agree with u seth that canas could be a major threat to federer, although i kind of consider dav/nalb/canas sort of equal threats.

nalb and canas probab. little more mentally because they have wins against fed, but dav has been in better form lately…the problem is that they might wear eachother out getting to the semi.
canas age and nalbandians injuries mean they might have trouble recovering after a presumably tough quarterfinal match before hand.


grendel Says:

I gather (from Annabelle Croft of eurosport) that Federer won’t speak to Wilander – this, because of the Swede’s trenchant remarks following last year’s final: namely, that to win the French Open, you must show – among other things – both balls and heart. And Fed showed neither. Wilander’s comments seemed to me spot on. federer’s attitude is childish and does his reputation no good at all. But there is a more sinister aspect to this. Other commentators will take note of the “banishment” of Wilander, and will, correspondingly, be more careful in their criticisms. Truth is the loser here, and tennis fans generally, who may be denied it. I write, by the way, as a Fed fan. For me, he is by far the most glorious tennis player to watch that I have ever seen – some of the comments about his skills in these blogs, by Realist and people like that, are just fatuous, period, and don’t deserve a response. But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be vigorously criticsed if he deserves it, and boy, doesn’t he deserve it on this occasion. However, one good thing may come of it. Should Federer reach the final – win or lose, we can be sure of one thing; he’ll fight like hell. He can’t afford not to. He’s got something to prove. And I hope that after the match, when he will have redeemed himself – not by winning but by giving it his all – I hope he will have the grace to speak to Wilander.


Seth Says:

I agree with the truth of Wilander’s remarks; Federer did basically wilt in last year’s final against Nadal, showing no “fire in the belly” that’s so critical to defeating an opponent like Nadal. However, accurate as Wilander’s comments might’ve been, he was crude in his choice of words, boorish in his attitude, and quite obviously drunk.

If Federer is honest with himself, he’d have to agree with the truth of Wilander’s assessment of his loss to Rafa that day, no balls, as Mats indelicately put it. However, after such a painful loss, I can understand Federer objecting to the Wilander’s rude presentation of the truth, one that bordered on downright nastiness.


realist Says:

grendel – exactly what ‘comments about federer’s skills’ have i made that are fatuous? or did you just like using that word? maybe you should get some facts to back up your accusations. i’ve never said federer lacks skills in any department.


grendel Says:

Seth – Wilander’s wording may have been crude – I don’t know about nasty – but it was effective, wasn’t it? I mean if he had made some sober comment to the effect that Federer displayed an unfortunate lack of determination, etc, etc – who would have noticed? Certainly not Federer. As it is, Wilander’s colourful language has clearly got under Fed’s skin, not least because it came from a man who knew exactly what it took to win R.G. If you look at Federer now, he has an air of steely purpose about him. This may not be enough to defeat Nadal, or even Cannas or Davydenko on clay (with apologies to Robredo, but he’s a fill in, isn’t he?), but at least his own defeat, if it comes, will be an honourable one – and for that, he will, perhaps, have Wilander at least partly to thank.


Ecublens Says:

Wilander is so well known for his countless erroneous predictions and dumb comments that I have no problem with Roge ingoring him…


Ecublens Says:

…and it’s sure that Mats needed badly “both balls and heart” to win a major, given it’s tennis skills… For Roge it’s a different story.


Ecublens Says:

“ingoring him” -> “ignoring him”
“it’s tennis skills” -> “his tennis skills”

Sorry for that, my english skills definitely need to be improved ;)


Seth Says:

Yes, you can almost see the gears in ol’ Mats’ head turning:

“If I say [insert outrageous commment or ridiculous prediction here] then I’ll make the news!”


grendel Says:

So Wilander’s predictions are comical, eh? Guess who he’s plumped for this year to win R.G.? You’ve got it, and it’s not Nadal. It’s – yes, it is, it really is…. Definitely eccentric, I’d say, based on the evidence so far….


Ecublens Says:

Grendel,

Yes, I have seen the latest prediction about Fed’s victory… And I sure hope it happens !

I guess that even random predictions can sometimes be true :)

I used to support Mats when he played, just been a little bit disappointed by his analysis since then, not only about Roge.

A good point for him: he looks very fit and a lot younger now that 15 years ago ! I want the recipe ;)


Tejuz Says:

well .. Fed is playin well, but we see lots of shanks of his forehand this year on clay…

Maybe its got to do with his new racquet, Wilson (K) factor 90 sq in. Its got a small head… and probably when you go for extreme top-spin on clay, there are times when you shank some. I have bought the same racquet during Au Open.. extremely heavy compared to other ones. But i get good control over my shots and serves when i hit them flatter … but i end up shanking balls when i go for extreme top-spins. I know.. Fed would know better. But i guess that might be one of the reasons why he shanks so many of his forehands these days.

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