Nadal Whacks Federer in French Final
by Sean Randall | June 11th, 2007, 1:44 pm
  • 139 Comments

Roger Federer will have to wait another year to claim a French Open title, and the way it looks it he will probably have to wait a lot longer than that. Yesterday, Rafael Nadal beat up on Federer again for the second consecutive year in the Roland Garros finale. Nadal’s comfortable 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win was his third straight over Fed at the French Open, and the Spaniard remained perfect, 21-0, on the red dirt. Astonishing.

I know many people – myself included – pinned their hopes on Federer after what happened at Hamburg, but at the end of the day that win didn’t matter in Paris. Nadal is simply better than Federer on the French clay. It’s that crystal clear.

Federer played well early in the match, really taking it to Nadal, but the Swiss came up short, real short, on the big points. You can’t expect to win to many matches when drop a goose egg on break points in the first set going 0-for-10. Fed eventually broke through to win the second set, but just when it looked like the tide could turn Nadal got the early break in the third and the match from there was really never in doubt.

Give Nadal a lot of credit, he played better in this title run than he did in his first two. He’s improving despite his competition gaining a better understanding of just how to play him. And the kid has three French titles at the age of 21. Amazing.

Unfortunately for Fed, he simply doesn’t match up well with the Rafa at Roland Garros, where the clay is slicker and faster than Hamburg, and the match is best of five.

I was actually surprised that Roger even got a set yesterday. I really thought going in that the way Rafa was playing and the way Fed struggled with Davydenko that Nadal would have little trouble with Fed in the final. That didn’t really happen, so I do give Fed good marks for his effort.

But Nadal is an animal on the clay. In the semifinals Novak Djokovic threw everything at Rafa but nothing stuck. And that was the same for the rest of the field. Del Potro had a good chance for the first set in the first round, and Hewitt could have stolen a set, but Nadal is just too mentally tough, too physically strong on the clay surface right now. No is really close to him when he’s on.

That said, bottom line for Fed to win the French is he’s going to need someone else to knock out Nadal, because he’s not going to do it. Keep in mind a year from now Fed will be older, and you could argue he’ll be further from his peak than he is now. While on the other hand you could easily argue Rafa will only be a better player.

So where does Roger go from here? It’s tough to say. This whole season for Federer essentially centered around the French Open and his quest for the career Slam. After his losses to Canas, he could always look ahead to Roland Garros. He sacked Roche. He won Hamburg, finally beating Rafa on clay. Things looked bright. But now he’s back at square one again and staring up at Rafa in the 2007 point standings.

Fed’s already pulled out of Halle, his scheduled grass tune up, so you have to figure he’s feeling pretty down. Obviously he’s still the man to beat at Wimbledon and still the pick to finish No. 1, but if ever he’s vulnerable it’s this year.

And just like Ivan Lendl never winning Wimbledon, Bjorn Borg never winning the US Open, could part of Federer’s lasting legacy be having never won the French? “I did the same thing to Roddick in Wimbledon,” Federer said Sunday. “That’s just how it goes. Sometimes you collide and that’s what happens.”


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139 Comments for Nadal Whacks Federer in French Final

nadalian Says:

sean,once again,you’ve provided a thorough and fair analysis of the federer-nadal matchup at roland garros and I personally thought that nadal really didn’t have it that easy considering the fact that roger made way too many errors and wasn’t able to convert on so many break point opportunities….I don’t think we should read too much into this match once again in terms of what it means for nadal going into wimbledon,but the way he prepares himself mentally really indicates he’s hungry for more than just the french open so he’s going to give it his all to try and arrange a repeat of last year’s wimbledon finals….I think players like hewitt,roddick,dkokovic,gonzalez can all turn out to be real threats to federer in the wimbledon matches if theyr can get their act together and apply some serious mental pressure of federer who really has all the records and a legacy that is still a work in progress….if you remember the davydenko-federer match,federer himself admitted that he might have gotten away with some below par performance…davydenko could so easily have put away federer if his nerves didn’t betray him…anyway,still a lot of tennis to be played at wimbledon before we can hope for a nadal-federer final especially as nadal is going to be more defeatable on grass and has to be counted as the underground anywhere beyond the round of 16…


ross Says:

federer seems to be going the way Borg and Lendl did – Borg could never win at the US open (4 finals and 1 semi), Lendl could never win at Wimbledon (2 finals and 5 semis). Fed so far has 2 finals and 1 semi at the French.

However, lets put it in perspective. At least he is not like Sampras, who made just one semi. Its better to have tried and lost, than never to have had the chance to try.

There is unnecessary hype about Fed and the French Open, and unnecessary criticism of him not winning it. Just because he always comes so close. Sampras never got criticised so much since he always lost early, then everyone was just saying – oh its the french, doesn’t really matter.


penise Says:

Fed knows he gagged. Too bad.

Major burnout risk for Fed. His motivation is all negative from here on out this year – - don’t lose Wimbledon, don’t lose the Open. Not fun.


Ryan Says:

I really felt sorry for federer.He did play some patches of brilliant tennis but he didnt do it on the important points.Nadal was too strong and too fast for him.First of all in federer’s case there is too much emphasis on him winning the french to be the greatest ever.First of all there is no specific criteria for being the greatest ever.Even if there is in my opinion it should be just a combination of the number of slams and how close the guy has come on his tough surface that should count.I think he already is the greatest ever with 10 grandslams ,8 grand slam finals in a row and 3 more in his favour.Nobody has managed to win on all 4 different surfaces except agassi.When laver and budge won it, it was just grass and clay.So is Agassi the greatest ever? No…and it shows that greatest players need not win all 4 slams….


Aaron Says:

I think that we are very fortunate to be watching two of the worlds best Tennis players of out times. Federer is a complete tennis player on three of the Grand Slams surface and Nadal has mastered the Clay. When Roger plays Nadal or visa versa they bring the best of out of eachother, which is GREAT TENNIS. And I would like to make mention also that both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are Class Champions.


ross Says:

yes, the slam of laver and budge is overrated. 3 of the 4 slams were on grass then. Borg would have won several slams if the US open was on grass!

plus the sport is physically much more demanding today than 30/40 years ago. so much power due to racket techonology, requires so much more speed and stamina. fat players with a paunch sometimes used to reach the quarters and semis of slams in the 60s and 70s.

and its actually nearly 4 different surfaces now, since the AUS open is quite a bit slower than the hard courts of the US open.

BTW, why is agassi NOT the greatest ever? he has won each slam, and reached at least 2 finals on each slam (so it was not a fluke that he won each slam once).


grendel Says:

of course, this thing about winning slams is pretty arbitrary. Is anyone old enough to remember Mecir? He was nowhere near winning a slam. Yet in some ways, he was the most talented player of his day. Just like Santoro is today – a memorable player, I’ll never forget him. He just doesn’t have the tools to beat the big hitters. But in his way, he’s just as skilful and as entertaining as Federer. Then take Agassi; certainly a great player. But who was it again he beat in the French? Better to lose to Borg than to win against a robot like Vilas…But then the stats everyone refers when pointing to records don’t make these distinctions.


Giner Says:

Agassi beat Andrei Medvedev at the French final when he was down 6-1 6-2 and a rainbreak interrupted play. I don’t know what happened during or after the rain, but it obviously helped Agassi. He would have got to speak to his coach. He came back to win in 5 sets.


rjnick Says:

It really is unfair to Roger that Pete is often considered the greatest despite having not won the French, while people like John McEnroe insist Fed must win the French in order to take over that title. Even worse is that a lot of commentators were basically, we’ll he’s MERELY one of the greats. Oh yeah, what a failure.

Unlike just about everyone else though, I really wanted Rafa to win. I think he had more that he needed to prove, whereas Roger, no matter what the commentators to say, really doesn’t have to prove anything to anybody. And while nobody is writing Roger off, everyeone was all too ready to write off Rafa had he lost.

So I hope they play each other again in London and New York. And I hope Rafa wins at least one of them. Roger deserves a real rival that challenges him to be a better player year round and not just on clay. Rafa is ready for a breakthrough outside Roland Garros to be that player in both halves of the year. It will enhance both their legacies and benefit those of us lucky enough to witness the Roger-Rafa era.


rjnick Says:

Also, if I’m not mistaken, Borg played the US Open on grass, clay, and hardcourt. And while he lost on all three surfaces, I believe Jimmy Connors won it on all three.


mick Says:

Take heart Homo Sapiens. We will return. It is difficult to overcome the technologically, chemically enhanced Homo Erectus in a sport that has become a test of brute strength, grunts, gaintesses and clubbing against intelligence, skill and finesse. In time the powers that be will realise that players like Nadal don’t actually have a backhand and that the game isn’t baseball.

Meanwhile, Mark McGwire is rumoured to be the next gen. anthropologically recessed endothil, micro-half-life steroid morphed slugger, using a titanium fibre strung graphite-Superball (pat.) composite racquet, flubber coated footware and energy-transfer fatigues beneath leggings. He sounds like quite a player.

This kid McGwire has attended the higly praised ScreamingModelTennis school but there is gossip that its’ owner and McGwires’ coach had a falling out. Coach Hommer reportedly was overheard yelling “D’uh” at which point Sarapova shouted “OUT”. McGwire being exceptional bright recognized these words and received the schools outstanding Ki-ai award for his ingeuity. Even though it contains 2 syllables he decided his tournament exclamation will be “D’uh-OUT”!

It’s really a matter of “cheating” and simple physics about why Federer may never beat Nadal on clay. I have worked out 2 hours 364 for 5 years at the Y and Nadal could pound me into the ground with one hand. And, no I’m not Barney Fife. You can form your own opinions on what I infer (testing for X,Y,Z at ?ppm). Clay being a plyable surface “springs” the ball to a higher point than other tennis surfaces. From this height a player can use a full force baseball style swing and keep his line drive in court. Not only that but he is accorded better control since his complete torso is involved. His opponent can only hope to reach the ball and not even consider making a play.

It’s not really cheating or the rules wouldn’t allow a two fisted grip. I for one think this grip should be outlawed from professional tennis, but then I’d like to see wooden racquets make a come back. Faster is not always more enjoyable!

mick


zola Says:

Sean,

thanks for the article and your fair analysis. One thing that I have to say( just because you often listen) is that why do we use the term “animal”? Just because Rafa, the 21-year old kid is so good on clay? doesn’t lose to the 25-year old Federer almighty?

Rafa plays intelligent tennis. He picks his shots. He holds perfectly at important moments. He is becoming a better player, so let’s find some (non-offensive) word that describes him as the champion he is.

I agree that the conditions in HAmburg with the best of 3 suited Federer much better than the fast clay of RG. Besides it was a NAdal day. Sunny and warm that allowed the ball bounce everywhere and it was a best of 5.

We should give Federer credit for not giving up. It is almost impossible to win even a set off NAdal in RG. But fed is trying , at the expense of huge disappointments like this. I can’t imagine how he felt during the award ceremony and then reading all the criticism pouring on him, telling him to do slice, dropshot, this and that next time….

I wrote this somewhere else, but want to repeat it here. We are in an ear where the No1 has over 7500 points and No 2 has over 5200 points. when was the last time this happened?

And who can tell Fed can’t be the greatest of all times if he wins 6-7 more slams? even if not including FO? He is doing much better than Sampras and I totally agree that comparison to Laver and Budge is just irrelevant.


Tejuz Says:

well.. why cant Fed be the the greatest of all -time… just because he has probabaly the greatest clay courter to contend with during his era. Whom did Agassi lose to in his french open finals??? Gomez and courier.. and finally overcame Medvedev when he reached the age of 30. Well.. that doesnt make him the greatest. he dint have someone like Nadal who wins alomost everything thats on clay.

And Federer – Nadal matches on clay always go the distance (except for the 2 straight setters this year)

We should give credit to Federer atleast because he dint play too defensively and really took the attack to Nadal … even though it resulted in far too many un-forced errors and finally lost on his terms.

Well.. i always keep wondering why doesnt Federer try playing slice instead of top-spin to Nadal’s backhand.. because anything above waist high, Nadal just hits hit flat cross-court with his 2-fister. And when every Fed slices it to Nadal’s forehand… Nadal can really put some heavy spin of the ball and get the ball away from Federer.

Anyway.. we are witnessing a great rivalry … something which is not one-sided with Fed winning 3 of their last 5 matches(losing only on clay).. even though overall H2H favours Nadal because of his earlier wins on clay.

And its also came as a surprise when Fed said “I did the same thing to Roddick in Wimbledon,” Because that was exactly what i had feared before the finals thinking that its turing out just like Roddick’s run from 2003 to 2005… just hoping that it doesnt turn of that way for Fed …anyway … great chmapions have also lost many great matches.


Samprazzz Says:

Federer is not the greatest of all time. He has faced a weak field of players. Who were his rivals over the last few years? Hewitt, Roddick???
Sampras, Agassi, McEnroe, Becker, Edberg, Lendl, Courier- they all would have beaten Hewitt and Roddick. Plus, back then, there were players who had all kinds of different styles. Sampras was facing players like Krijek, Rafter, Agassi- all had very unique ways of playing. Now, all the players play the similar game: from the baseline.
Think of the players that Lendl had to face on a regular basis:
-Wilander
-McEnroe
-Becker
-Connors
-Edberg
-Chang
And vice-versa. They all had to face each other. Federer is great, but not the greatest. Not his fault he’s playing a weak field.


zola Says:

Samprazzz

we should have a scale or a criterion for the greatest of all times. we can’t just throw thoughts that Fed is a lesser player than sampras. you can’t say the field is weak, just because Fed or Nadal don’t let them play their games.

maybe you can take the highest ranking points of a player and normalize it according to his opponents somehow. Right now the criteria is the number of slams, ranking points and weeks at No 1 and Fed easily passes many GOAT candidates on those.


Ryan Says:

Lets put it this way….If roger wasnt playing in today’s era who would be no.1…..Rafa.And why would he be number 1? Because he is the fittest player on tour.Thats exactly what todays tennis is all about.It’s not about how well you can hit the ball but how hard you can hit the ball that matters.Or atleast thats what gives players like rafa the edge over his opponents.I guess before tennis players were athletic and now athletes are turning out to be tennis players.It’s sad to see roger getting thrashed just because he does not have a physique like Nadal’s.


Ryan Says:

Let us suppose that federer was not playing in this era.Then who would be number 1 in the world.It would be rafael nadal.And why would he be number 1 in the world?Because he is the fittest player on tour.Tennis has really become like boxing these days.The stronger you are the better.It was sad to see roger getting thrashed by nadal just because roger does not have a physique like nadal’s.The only way nadal can be beaten on clay……..
Bring out the strongest man in the world and teach him how to hit the ball as hard as he can and to serve well.
It’s funny how serena williams was saying Nadal was an animal on clay.What was serena williams all about?
She was also another animal during her days.Maybe another species.


Ryan Says:

sorry i posted twice…..I didnt my first message immediately after i posted it.


Nevermind Says:

I can’t really agree with you Samprazzzz. Is the fact that he has no rivals supposed to be a bad thing? Those players are great players, their just not good enough. I mean, put them against each other and you’ll get some amazing matches! I’m not saying that he is THE best of all time, but you only have to watch his calm behaviour and spectacular shots to see he is something special.


samps Says:

I dont think Fed’s opposition is any worse or better than any other era. But He’s beating every claycourter other than Nadal and thats a huge achievement. He’s run into the one of the best claycourters of all time and come up short. Not a big deal in my opinion. So I think he takes the title of being the greatest rather well. Also think how dominant he’s been on other surfaces.

BTW, Ryan I am afraid your knowledge of tennis is truly embarrassing, in the light of your comments. Fit Rafa might be, but the superbly top-spun forehands, the deep shots arent just about Strength. The fabulous spun forehand down the line that was well out and Flew in, during yesterday’s is proof of that.

And his serve has come a long way (He’s just 21, something we always tend to forget). Its not a flat smashed serve but an excellent kick serve. There is considerable skill involved. He has a super drop shot too. Fed’s backhands are perhaps the hardest hit on the tour(other than davy). Rafa doesent actually put that much power into his forehands. He uses it to run the opponent deep. Thats tactics in case you understand such things exist in tennis. Fed’s retrieval skills are perhaps just below Rafa’s. What price the fitness then?

And “Bring on the strongest….”
Is this some sport you invented Ryan because it sure as hell aint workin’ in tennis?


ertorque Says:

i also wonder as did Tejuz why Federer didn’t play much backhand slice. Especially in the beginning of the 1st set, Fed is almost hitting topspin at all shots thrown to his backhand; times where I feel he would have normally played the safer slice. It’s as if he’s trying to prove that he is capable of trading topspin groundstrokes with a double backhanded person (where it is generally accepted that the double-backhand is a more controlled and stable shot compared with single-handed backhand).
All in all, I think he did a good job with his top spin backhand, one of the best if not the best in today’s game.

I am also surprised that Fed claims he felt he was less ‘overwhelmed’ by Nadal in the finals last year than this year. I thought he held up better against Nadal this year than last. We all know that, had he converted just one of his numerous break points in the first set, things may have turned out differently. Yeah, I know
the match had ended and I can say whatever I want to but one can’t help wondering about this possiblity especially when Fed had so many break points in his favour.

Sure I wanted Fed to win but I also gave a 60-40 chance in favour of Nadal given the latter’s prowess on clay.
The consolation for me in Fed’s loss is his attitude and taking everthing in positive stride.

In his own words:
“I feel my window (to win FO) is definitely not getting smaller,”
“The French Open has been very good to me the last few years. And I’m confident that I can win here, and that’s the most important. If I’m going to do it, time will tell.”
“Not winning it now but later only makes victory sweeter” (or something to that effect)


Tejuz Says:

well.. its nice to see both Nadal and Federer coming out in defence of the other during thier post match conference when questions are raised about their greatness and their inablity to win on their worst surface. Even good to see Nadal’s uncle Toni applauding a breathtaking shot from Federer backhand. They really appreciate the other’s game and certainly take their losses in their stride.

I am a Fed fan.. and wud love if he wins all his matches against Nadal. But sometimes i feel these losses against Nadal keep Federer on his ground and make him seek for improvement. This loss against Nadal will only make Federer all the more hungry for his 5th wimbledon title.

Losses in consecutive finals will only make the eventual win all the more sweeter. Goran Ivanesevic lost 3 finals before lifting his 1st wimbledon. Agassi lost 2 consecutive FOs before winning 9 yrs later. Sampras’s 5th US Opne title came after he lost 2 finals (safin and hewitt) which made it all the more sweeter. Fed will have more chances at French Open than Nadal at wimbledon for sure. If Nadal faces couple of big servers on his side of the draw… am pretty sure he wouldnt reach too far. Lucky, he dint have any during his last stint at wimby.


ertorque Says:

Tejuz: Well said, well said!


Ryan Says:

Samps….maybe it is your knowledge of tennis thats pathetic.I have seen a lot of times when nadal just uses raw power on his forehand wing.So please dont give me that bulls**t that he just gives it a lot of spin.Federer could have beaten any great clay courter out there even if the guy uses a lot of spin on his forehands.He could have even beaten nadal had he not been so strong.Besides top spin does not work as well on other surfaces as it does on clay.Then how the hell did nadal reach wimbledon final last year.Dont tell me he has federer’s skills on grass as well.It’s just his raw power that gets to his opponents plus maybe he’s determined as hell.Federer can probably never beat nadal on clay.Thats because he can never be as strong as nadal.No matter how many slams nadal wins he can never be as talented as federer and if nadal turns out to be the greatest ever then it means that tennis has become a joke.


grendel Says:

To Zola: calling Nadal an animal can be either abusive or complimentary – depends on the context. When commentators like Peter Fleming call Nadal an animal, they are smiling, shaking their head at the impossibility of it all. Consider the phenomenon of Nadal. You couldn’t invent him! You couldn’t dream him up! He makes Jimmy Connors look like a fairy. And -sorry, Ryan – he is amazingly skilful, too. And, Tejuz, just what big servers did you have in mind? Roddick might beat Nadal, but I wouldn’t bet on it. I think Nadal is likely to claw his way through to the Wimbledon final, and Federer is likely, but not certain, to beat him.


Jeff Says:

8 Straight Grand Slam Finals in a row is the reason why Roger is the greatest of all time.


takeitover Says:

Nadal is a beast, his season is over, just like last year.

Give him another couple of years on clay. He has to play at 100% to win. 90%, and he loses to many, even on clay. run run run, can’t do that for too long.


samps Says:

Oh sorry! I meant the Backhand!Typo! The forehand has massive power no doubt! The backhand is often quite a defensive shot in terms of power and is hit deep.


samps Says:

Oh btw Ryan, Nadal is Not as skillful as Fed no doubt. But he is still Very skillful, more than most of the players. BTW have you seen Borg’s game? You’ll find there the vestiges of what Rafa is now. Tennis will be a joke if Rafa wins loads of slams? I disagree and find your rhetoric rather silly. If Borg can be one of the greatest, so can Rafa. And he’s Only 21! There is no way of telling what he will or wont do.

Actually what changes for Rafa is his determination. Its Both physical and mental. He makes up for that there. Roger’s flat forehands are hit with as much venom as Rafa’s. How many people hit harder than Fed both forehand and backhand other than Rafa(who’s backhand is weaker)?

And its likely that Rafa wont make the final but is it really on evidence of last year? I mean WHICH player troubled Fed in last year’s Wimby other than Rafa? More than the road to the finals, it was the final itself which was a sign.

Also, the mutual respect in the players is great to see.


Tejuz Says:

well.. big servers like Roddick, Murray, Djokovic, Berdych, Blake, Youzhny, Safin, Phillipoussis .. any of ‘em can beat Nadal on grass.. not to mention even on hard courts. These guys would love to even get a set of Federer in every alternate grass/hard matches. None of them came in the path of Nadal last year in Wimbledon.The only notable player that he beat on the way was Baghdatis who was overwhelmed by the occassion. Well.. yes, Nadal did take the attack to Federer after the first bagel set and all credit to him.. but well, Fed was on a 5 match losing streak to this guy.. and it certainly played a little bit. Since then, Fed has beaten Nadal in straight sets on 2 more occassions, hard and clay.

Even a guy like Ivo Karlovic or Mahut could beat Nadal on grass.

Fed’s opponents last year were Gasquet, Henman, Mahut, Ancic, Berdych etc.. any of them could beat Nadal on grass.

If he reaches the quarterfinals this year again, i’ll agree that he has what it takes to go all the way on grass. Lets see…

But well.. that doesnt make his achievements on clay any lesser .. hez motivated and willing to improve his game. He still has lots of years ahead of him.. but i just wonder.. like how Federer pointed out.. if Nadal tries to change his game, he might become beatable on clay as well.


funches Says:

Once again, Davydenko is getting the short shrift in a discussion. As was pointed out, Fed lost to Nadal because Nadal is better than he is on clay, but this talk about how poorly Fed played against Davydenko is garbage. Davydenko almost beat Nadal in Rome. He has serious game on clay, taking the ball earlier than anyone else and aiming for the lines. Unlike Djokovic, a tremendous talent who is not ready to win a grand slam title, Davydenko probably would have taken a set from Nadal if they had played.


Anis Khair Says:

Federer is the greatest, no matter what the commentators say. Commentators were players in their times. They could not achieve what Roger Federer has achieved. So they must not lower Roger’s superior status. They should look unbiased at the history and compare Roger with the rest. One will find that Roger is the greatest. Does not matter if he gets French open or not. Remember it is the quality of ease with which he removes others in the circuit, says how great he is. While it is easy for me to say but it is important that Roger must not look too much into French Open defeat. He now must gear up and take the other three slams which he is more than capable of doing. Good Luck Roger and thankyou for showing us the quality of tennis you produce.


Jayson Says:

I have a tough time considering Roger the “Best Ever” if there is another player on tour that has an 8-3 winning record on him. Rafa has won on the hard courts against Roger and played in the final at Wimbledon on grass. Think about it?

Tennis has always been a physical sport regardless of what era you compare. I don’t if anyone remembers Todd Nelson, but he makes Rafa look like Johnny Mac. It still takes brains to win tennis matches. Unfortunately, not to many players can do that. Even Roger has a tough time making the necessary adjustments against Rafa. How different did Roger play Davy than Rafa?

I’m going to say it and I’ll probably get hate mail. I think that Roger is farther from being considered the greatest ever.


Jason Alfrey Says:

I have a really difficult time even considering Roger the “Greatest Ever.” Rafa has an 8-3 winning record on him, has beat him on the concrete, and met up with at the Wimby Final. When is the last time you saw a Spaniard in a Wimbledon final? They are usaully unseeded and boycott the tournament. Rafa owns Fed and the kid is only 21. Sorry Anis or is it Mirka?


claycourtrafa Says:

haha lol well said jason aufrey


zola Says:

Tejuz Says:
well.. big servers like Roddick, Murray, Djokovic, Berdych, Blake, Youzhny, Safin, Phillipoussis .. any of ‘em can beat Nadal on grass.. not to mention even on hard courts.
*****

Tejuz,

was Indian Wells played on clay or was that not Roddick losing to Rafa ?

Phillipousis lost to Rafa in USopen last year.

How long since you last watched tennis?


grendel Says:

Surely Nadal beat Phillipoussis Wimbledon 2005 first round? He looked stronger than Hewitt at Queens last year until he had to withdraw through injury. Hewitt went on to win the tournament. Borg wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination a grass court player. And yet he won 5 times in a row, when grass really was grass and everyone (except Borg) did serve and volley. How did he do it? Well, apart from being an unusually good tennis player, he had this indomitable will, which primarily allowed him to concentrate for long periods. That’s what Nadal can do, and Federer can’t – which is one reason the Swiss is more popular. The ability to concentrate for very long periods in any field of activity is most unusual, and we tend to regard people who can with suspicion. Of course if someone like Berdych has a good day, he will beat Nadal – but how often is Berdych (one of my favourite players, incidentally, another Safin, in bad ways as well as good) on top form? The likelihood is Nadal will wear him down. If Roddick is on top form – and he was looking formidable against Stepaneck today – then I would back him to beat Nadal on grass, but nobody else except Fed. I would also back Roddick to beat Federer if Fed hasn’t managed to get his defeat at the French out of his system. When Fed has not been at his best, Roddick has come extremely close to beating him. b.t.w. figures, as always, can be misleading. It’s true Nadal has 8 – 3 winning record on Federer. But that is partly because Federer has been good enough to reach more claycourt finals than Nadal has been able to reach non-claycourt finals – and of course finals are the only place they can meet. Worth a little ponder that one, don’t you think, Jason Alfrey?


grendel Says:

Oh, U.S.Open was it, that Nadal beat Philly – I remember the match, but for some reason couldn’t remember when it was or even where it was. I stand corrected, Zola


Tejuz Says:

Grendel, I agree Nadal has the will and ability to concentrate for long periods. Also he has that intensity which Fed sometimes lacks or doesnt show.. which is why hez the best clay court player right now. Clay he has the time to wear down his opponents into submission… but in grass its all about Serves, service returns, slice and hitting winners rather than just counter punching. Also he isnt able to slide as he does on clay which makes his movement slower. Yest I watched his wimb finals with Fed from last year.. he was not able to move well on grass, slipped a few times and wasnt always in control of his shots.

If he had the draw that Fed has last year.. do u still bet that he would have reached the finals?? I sure wouldnt.. Someone like Ancic or Berdych wud have surely taken him down.. or even Tim Henman or gasquet.


zola Says:

grendel,

Roger is No one on every other court than clay. and would have been on clay if Rafa was not there. I try to pull away from Roger-Fara discussions. It is pointless to diminish the achievements of these champions.

Clay is a hard place to start and many clay courters did not even bother to play on hard. So , Rafa is trying and so far he has been better each year. I hope he stays healthy and then we can see how far he can go.

The mental strength and ability to concentrate, I am with you and I think Fed can do it to. Just against Rafa there is too much pressure. He gets one break and he loses it. It happened in Shanghai too. But then he pulled it together. In FO , it was harder.

On top of that there is this nonsense pressure of GOAT . As if Fed has achieved nothing if he doesn’t win the French Open. I bet if he could play with a more relaxed mind he could give Rafa more trouble on clay. Not that I want him to, but that’s what I think.


Tejuz Says:

Zola.. i am sure Nadal will win wimbledon someday… but i dont think it will be in the coming few years. He is still young and will certainly improve as long as he stays healthy and also probabaly learn to shorten his points. But i just wonder if that would make his clay court game suffer. somehow i feel… its a very difficult task to win both French and Wimbledon at the same time. Borg acheived it for many years. Fed and Nadal came to within 2 sets of ahciving it last year .. Lets see if they can match it again this year. But i feel its unlikely. Nadal was certainly looking a bit tired during the final. I feel he should have skipped Queens just like Fed skipped Halle. Even someone like Fed alomost came close to losing few times in last year’s Halle championships. No wonder he pulled out of this one.


hoha Says:

“If he had the draw that Fed has last year.. do u still bet that he would have reached the finals?? ”

if Fed had Rafa’s draw at French, would he still reach the final??


Mark Says:

I’m a 4.5-5.0 player with a 1 handed backhand. I am comfortable with both a top spin backhand or a slice depending on my opponent’s shot. I used to play exclusively on hard courts until last November. Last year during the French Open, I wondered why Federer did not use his great slice backhand more. After playing now for 7 months on Har-Tru almost exclusively, which is faster than red clay, I get it. Unless you hit the slice backhand perfectly, it just sits up for your opponent begging him to hit a winner. I play probably 70/30 top spin to slice on clay and the reverse on hard courts. Federer was hitting top spin to avoid balls sitting up for Nadal. It is not easy for a righty to hit good slices against the heavy lefty top spin that Nadal generates. If Fed floats it ever so slightly, he most likely loses the point. I thought Fed had a good strategy in this match by really working the Nadal backhand like never before, but Nadal is just better on clay. Fed will need a Nadal injury to win the French.


Tejuz Says:

hoha… comon mate.. “if Fed has Nadal’s draw at French” … well.. Fed has reached the finals of French twice already and also a semi previously.

This year he has beaten the likes of Devydenko, Robredo, Youzhny this year…

Last year – Nalbandian, Ancic, Berdych

2005 – Moya, Gonzalez, Almagro

Most of them are Clay specialists … he has also beaten the likes of Ferrero, Ferrer, Moya, Almagro time and again on clay even in other tournaments. Reached 6 finals out iof 7 clay tournaments in last 2 years and lost only to Nadal in 5 of them. So i guess u just cant question his game on clay.

I have already stated that if Nadal again reaches the quarters(if not semis) this year in wimbledon and Queens .. i agree he will be a threat on grass in future but no way the same threat that Federer is on clay. One dream run can be a fluke just like Brojkman’s run til the semi’s last year .. luck of a draw. But if Nadal does it time and again on grass… then i agree. Otherwise.. he still has a lot to prove.


Tejuz Says:

Mark.. i agree that using a slice on clay is not as effective as it is on hard or grass court. but then its always good to put in some variation in the game.. especially agaisnt Nadal just to disrupt his rythm. I believe, Fed should have used a lil bit more of slice.. along with his is top-spin backhand .. escpecially down the line to Nadal’s backhand rather than going cross court to his forehand. I know.. its tough to slice a Nadal forehand… but then if someone is capable of it.. it has to be federer.

A topspin backhand comes upto waist high for Nadal which is in striking zone with his 2-hander. But the slice stays a lil lower which would make Nadal reach for the ball and really cant hit it back flat.

Also Fed shud have exmployed some slice drop shots on Nadal’s backhand corner rather than his forehand corner…


zola Says:

Mark
what a nice insight. I am more of an observer and a casual player. so I enjoyed reading your analysis. I know in RG the topspin makes it almost impossible for Federer to hit the ball. I wondered why he wouldn’t go around it and hit a forehand. I think Nadal is just so aggressive that makes it impossible. About the slice, Rafa is very good at hitting a winner off his shoelaces. Hewitt said after his match with Rafa that on RG it will be very hard to beat Rafa because the ball “flies everywhere”.

Tejuz,
you wrote:***as long as he stays healthy and also probabaly learn to shorten his points. But i just wonder if that would make his clay court game suffer***

I think if Rafa makes a radical change for the case of grass or hard courts, his game might suffer. but the small changes that he madeduring last year, actually made his clay court game more aggressive and helped him finish points earlier. he did not give away a set in FO and won very decisively. So, I think he is learning.

Roger is doing a fantastic job at not over-playing and has been able to stay injury-free, which is very smart and part of the reason he is such a great champion. On the other hand, Rafa needs more time on grass otherwise he will be wacked at the first round in Wimbledon. Roger is a natural on grass, Rafa is not. So hopefully after Wimbledon he should take some time off.


Tejuz Says:

Zola, i agree Nadal is good at hitting winners off his shoe laces.. but thats from his forehand wing where he viciously top-spin the ball over the net. But if its low on his back hand side.. he cant create the same spin with his 2-hander and would marely try to loop the ball back in play and Fed could gain a upper-hand in the rally. Anyway.. easier said than done.. its very tough to slice a ball which is flying away from you.

Well.. Nadal certainly looks tired after the French Open final.. and the amount of effort and concentration that he puts in his matches will surely take its toll in the remainder of the season. Only the fact that, hez ahead of the race by a fair margin and a slight oppurtunity to overtake Fed for year end No-1 might motivate Nadal for the remainder of the season. But then Fed would be as motivated to deny Nadal that chance just as he was denied the French Open.

Lets see .. its a still a long season ahead.. and well Fed can always choose to play Paris Masters and other tournaments which he missed the last couple of years if hez in desperate need of points. But looks like this year is gonna be closer than the last few years and Fed might just edge ahead in the race.

or we could even see Djokovic overtake Nadal for the No 2 spot if Nadal burns out.


nadalian Says:

Samprazzz,

I am personally a huge fan of pete sampras and as amazing as the guy was,I have to wonder if he could ever elevate his game to the unbelievable standards that roger has so successfully done…sampras was an exceptional player who was basically a “creature of habit” doing his routine stuff and surely never demonstrated the capability or the unique skills federer displays..you make the argument that sampras played in an era chracterized by greater competition,but looking at federer’s game you can pretty much imagine he would have killed almost any one of those guys you mentioned in your list…agassi even said that you could be playing well and still lose a set to sampras 6-4 while with federer you could easily lose it 6-2…that statement itself speaks volumes about the true difference in quality between sampras and federer…since 2005,federer is,if I am not incorrect 199-7 against everyone else,and could it just be the cold truth that his superiority in talent has lead to him bullying all his opponents…look at what he has utterly destroyed players like roddick,hewitt,nalbandian, and pretty much everyone else he’s played barring nadal who seems to be a rarity in a field of tennis players whose overall confidence and skill level have been deeply affected by the demolition subjected by federer….these guys throw everything they have at federer and still they come up short big time barely making an impact and not even consistently managing to take a set from this guy…..critics point out federer’s struggle to win at Roland Garros,but he is so consistent and has been to the finals in back to back years and to the semi’s the year before and all 3 defeats have come against nadal…that surely indicates that barring nadal,he’s disposing of every other tennis player,clay-court specialist or not…sampras was as good as it got while federer was not in the scene,but looking at federer’s amazing records and his consistent exhibition of pure talents like no other really makes a huge statetment as the best tennis player ever…it’s not if but only a matter of time before every player and critic acknowledges that FACT….


andrea Says:

i agree with zola. i don’t know where all this talk has come from about having to win on all four surfaces to be considered the greatest of all time – particulary when they are comparing the possible federer slam to men who won all four on fewer surfaces.

this is whipped up in the press and they latch on to it and all the questions federer gets faced with is ‘are you still good even if you don’t win the french?’ (or variations on that theme). for a male player to win 10 grand slams in three years – who knows when that will happen again?

imagine your head if all you ever got asked were questions that asked you about your complete-ness and effectiveness as a player, even though you are dominating the sport, save for one tournament. at some point it has to get to you.

i think roger played the french this year with way too much loaded on his mind and it showed.

good for rafa though for his strong play and three in a row. the thing about sport is that someone has to win and someone has to lose…every time.


Tejuz Says:

Probabaly we should say it the other way round… that having beaten Federer(the 2nd best claycorter of this era and the world no 1) on all the three occassions Nadal should be considered as one of the best clay courters of all time..

But then.. just because Federer wasnt able to beat the best claycourter on his favourite surface at RG shouldnt diminish Federer’s acheivement…

12 consecutive Grandslam semis, 8 cosecutive grandslam finals … 16 finals of the 17 in 2006, 24 consecutive finals won, …….. wow… those are some amazing records.

and all that most of uslook at is that he wasnt able to overcome a guy who had a record 81 match winning streak on clay on his favoured surface.


Giner Says:

“In time the powers that be will realise that players like Nadal don’t actually have a backhand and that the game isn’t baseball.”

You’d think Federer would exploit that by hitting forehands to his backhand wouldn’t you…


Tejuz Says:

even when he was the guy who snapped that streak … in astounding fashion… a bagel set 6-0.


Giner Says:

“Lets put it this way….If roger wasnt playing in today’s era who would be no.1…..Rafa.And why would he be number 1? Because he is the fittest player on tour.”

If that were the case, then Davydenko would be #1.


Tejuz Says:

well.. Roger is the reason why i started taking interest in tennis again … after the Becker-Edberg-early Sampras era.

and Nadal-Fed rivalry is the reason why i started talking interest in clay court tennis.


Ryan Says:

Oh please!!!Giner…. Are you telling me that Davydenko is the fittest player on tour.He’s so wiry and he’s just 70 kg.He himself stated that he can’t run a lot because he will end up being even more wiry.Nadal is the fittest player on tour with 85kg and a 6 pack.And to samps…ok lets see if rafa can become the greatest player ever like borg.But he cannot be that if he keeps winning only the french.By the way in last year wimbledon, federer had a 1-6 head to head against nadal.And he probably did not even remember how he beat rafa that one time.That is why that wimbledon final appeared a lot tougher for federer than it actually was.But now their head to head is 4-8.And he knows how to beat him on other surfaces and maybe he could do it in 3 sets this time.For federer doing the slice against nadal on clay…….look no matter what the guy does he will lose to rafa on clay as long as rafa is not physically or mentally exhausted..Plain and simple.Otherwise how the hell did rafa get away with 16 out of 17 break points in their french open final.Federer is someone who gets away with break points if he is given a slightest chance.So like Wilander said there is not way federer is winning against rafa on clay no matter what he does.And please dont say hamburg because nadal was physically exhausted in that match.


samps Says:

Ryan you have a reason for everything in favour of Federer apparently. “Otherwise how the hell did rafa get away with 16 out of 17….” Deja vu in the Fed-Davy match?
Your general notions of what Fed “does normally” are irrelevant when Rafa is considered from past experience. Fed against Rafa on clay is no different from Davy against Fed. In each case one of them is mentally stronger. Fed did not save all the breakpoints against Fed, Davy fluffed many. So what u are saying is “If Davy was slightly more fitter, physically and mentally…Fed would have had it…” right? The Fed-Davy match inspite of being in straight sets was closer than the Rafa-Fed match, in my opinion.

Also, regarding Rafa’s backhand, its an excellent defensive shot and against Fed he hits it back very deep to Fed’s backhand which makes it very effective.Also he makes few errors on the backhand unlike Fed In fact everytime Fed would hit one to Rafa’s backhand he’d hit it deep to Fed’s backhand usually in the corner making it decently effective even though there isnt a lot of spin on it. He does hit quite a few crosscourt winners of it.


Tejuz Says:

Federer and Nadal’s H2H records against top 26 players

Davydenko 8-0 2-0
Djokovic 4-0 4-1
roddick 13-1(9-0) 2-1
Gonzalez 10-0 3-3
Robredo 8-0 4-0
Blake 6-0, 0-3
Murray 1-1, 0-1
Haas 8-2 (7-0), 2-0
Gasquet 5-1 , 3-0
Ljubicic 11-3, 3-1
Berdych 4-1 2-3
Youzhny 10-0, 4-3
ferrer 7-0, 4-1
hewitt 11-7(9-0), 3-4
canas 1-3, 3-0
baghdatis 4-0, 3-0
Ferrero 8-3(6-0), 5-1
Chela 4-0, 3-1
Moya 7-0, 4-2
Niemenen 7-0, 3-0
Ancic 4-1, 2-1
Safin 7-2, 0-0
Nalbandian 8-6 (8-1), 0-0


Tejuz Says:

The ones in the brackets denote the H2H since start of 2004. That explains why Fed is the best ever …


hoha Says:

who cares. everyone knows Fed is the best anyway.


Moya! Says:

Anyone think anyones got a chance at wibledon apart from Fed???
Roddick or Hewitt maybe? Or is it 100% win for Federer?


grendel Says:

Moya! Certainly Roddick or Hewitt. But, I’ve just been watching Nadal at Queens. He looks even more at home on grass than he did last year. Dunno how he does it, make the transition from clay to grass so quickly, but he does! It’ll take someone with a very cool nerve indeed to beat him.I said last year, after watching him at Queens, that he was a good outside bet to win Wimbledon. Everyone laughed. I now think he’s one of the hot favourites. I say this with no pleasure – but evidence is evidence, and cannot be denied. And I don’t think you’ll hear too many people laughing


Jeremy Says:

New poster here, so I’ll keep my first post short and simple. No one is unbeatable on any surface. Just as Federer certainly had a chance against Nadal at the French, Nadal has a chance against Federer at Wimbledon. That being said, if I had to bet my mortgage on Federer or the field, I think I’d take Federer at this point.


zola Says:

Tejuz,
you just come back to comparing Rafa and Fed and saying how great Fed is. Who is disputing that? The ranking points are there.

I am just amazed that some Fed fans can’t take the FO defeat as Fed himself does. He wants to come back and fight and tha’s why he is a champion. So is Rafa who wants to take chances in wimbledon. If Fed just said he didn’t want to play in FO or Rafa said he didn’t want hard courts, their lives would have been much easier.

I am inclined not to speculate. Let’s see results and then talk about them. I don’t care if Rafa is ever No 1 or wins wimbledon etc. I only care that he is healthy and plays well and won his first match on grass. i want to follow tennis the way he plays. point by point, match by match!


Moya! Says:

Tejuz: What’s Feds H2H against Nadal? Not too good is it?


Moya! Says:

BTW I didn’t know davis cup matches were counted


claycourtrafa Says:

tejuz nadal-murray is 1-0 not 0-1, he beat him at the Aussi Open for the first time…get ur facts straight


Jason Alfrey Says:

All these players (Pete, Roger, Nadal)are great champions with different attributes. However, I’m just having a difficult time crowning someone “The Greatest Ever” when there is another player on tour who owns him. I know there are a lot of bloggers out there, explain it to me.?


Giner Says:

“but well, Fed was on a 5 match losing streak to this guy.. and it certainly played a little bit. Since then, Fed has beaten Nadal in straight sets on 2 more occassions, hard and clay.”

Fed has NOT beaten Nadal in straight sets on clay. He did win in straights in Shanghai, but those were two very close sets.


Giner Says:

“Oh please!!!Giner…. Are you telling me that Davydenko is the fittest player on tour.He’s so wiry and he’s just 70 kg.He himself stated that he can’t run a lot because he will end up being even more wiry.”

He plays more tennis than ANY player on the tour, and never takes a week’s break. Everyone else pulls the fake injury excuses to give themself rest. If that isn’t fit, I don’t know what is.


Tejuz Says:

hmmm H2H between Fed and Nadal is
clay is 1-6 ( 8 – 18 sets)
non-clay 3-2 ( 9 – 5 sets)

so total – 17 sets – 23 sets …. which is not a huge differece really …

And since last years french open loss… their head to head record is

clay 1 – 2 (3 – 6)
non-clay 2 – 0 (5 – 1)
Total 3 – 2 (8 – 7)

so.. its not totally one-sided as it seems .. and certainly doesnt mean that Nadal owns Federer.

how about Blake, Berdych or Hewitt owning Nadal ;-) …

Coming to Hewitt.. Hewitt and Nalbandian certainly owned Federer during their intial years… but look at the way the tables have turned .. 9-0 and 8-1 to fed in their last 9 matches.

So am pretty sure… If Nadal gets better on other surfaces and reach finals consistently.. we will see Fed overturning the H2H record soon.


Tejuz Says:

btw.. just got a chance to watch the French Final again. This time was more concentrating on shot selection..

Everytime Fed sliced to Nadal’s back hand corner he won the point or gained a upper hand in the rally .. atleast 11 out of 12 points he won ‘em in the whole match. Nadal couldnt control the short slice to his back hand side or he would run around it to hit a forehand which wud leave the court wide open for Fed to hit a winner.

Wish he had done more of it…


takeitover Says:

Sampras was “owned” by so many clay courters, its not even funny. take bruguera for example. so by that reasoning, sampras was nowhere near the greatest ever.

actually he wasn’t, so no dispute there. otherwise he wouldn’t have been so miserable on clay against ordinary clay courters.

Nadal, on clay, is borg like. only on clay though. mcenroe never faced borg on clay, he is thankful for that. if mcenroe had met borg twice on clay for every non clay match, ….


grendel Says:

Tejuz, what an interesting comment. Let’s assumne your analysis is correct; d’you think Fed is aware of the situation? Do players go over videos of their matches? You wouldn’t think they had the patience. I suppose that’s what coaches are for. Since Fed hasn’t got a coach, perhaps you should send him an email……


Sean Randall Says:

Wish I had taped the final. Damn! Then i could see that slice backhand Tejuz spoke of (I’m sure I did, I can’t see to recall it, however)

After a few more days to digest, you have to wonder if it was the worst defeat of Fed’s career. That’s a strong statement I know, but it’s for sure among his worst. So bad a defeat he pulled from Halle, and who knows how it plays out it from here. If he stumbles at Wimbledon his year-end No. 1 streak could be in serious jeopardy.

As for the greatest ever, the problem is in defining one, there is no agreed upon criteria. Is most career Slams? Most years at No. 1? What about a guy who won the Career Slam, or Calendar Slam but fell short in total Slam titles? There are so many factors, but I think if Fed does win the French over Nadal he takes that mantle. Eight straight Slam finals is simply ridiculous.


Jeremy Says:

If Federer and Nadal were to both make the finals of every 08 Grand Slam, chances are pretty good that Federer would win 3, and lose at Roland Garros. I just dont understand why that isnt good enough.


takeitover Says:

jeremy is absolutely right. if fed was miserable on clay the way sampras was, this “clay rivalry” wouldn’t be there at all. then everyone would focus on his remarkable achievement.

also, if fed had been american, all you people would have proclaimed him the best ever 2 years ago.


Jason Alfrey Says:

Relax takeitover. Not that I’m saying Pete was a great dirtballer, but he did get to the FO semis in 96 beating Bruguera and Courier. Both past FO champions. He won Rome on clay in 94 against Becker and in the process took out clay court specialists. He also won Austria in 92 on the dirt. He also has some wins on great players on clay(Muster, Bruguera, Costa, Rios, Courier). I think most people posting here would agree that clay wasn’t Sampras’ preferred surface, but he wasn’t totally inept on it.


Jeremy Says:

jason, absolutely right about sampras, he was a solid player on clay court…heres a question- if all tournaments were played on clay court, where would sampras and federer be ranked amongst their generation? My guess is Sampras would be a solid top 20 player, but Federer would be #2.
On that same point comparing Fed to Nadal, if all tournaments were hardcourt tourneys, Fed would obviously be # 1, but im not so sure Nadal would be # 2.


Jason Alfrey Says:

Jeremy,

Let’s hypothesize that there were only clay courts. Given Pete does have wins on great clay players- his mind set was #2 is not good enough. So I’m going to venture and say that Pete would still be #1.


Tejuz Says:

Sean, Grendel.. u can still get the replay of the matches from the net.. and probabaly observe more carefully thsi time. Rather than assumin if my analysis is correct/incorrect why dont u confirm it.

Sean, If u dont recall any slice backhands from Fed from that final .. i dont know why u are writing these articles and blogs in the first place.

well.. Fed has come into the last few wimbledons always with somethin to prove.

2004 – he had to defend his Wimbledon, to prove that 2003 wasnt a fluke.
2005 – after losing 2 consecutive semi finals of grandslams to b’day boys, he had break that streak
2006 – after winning 26 consecutive finals, he lost 5 finals, 4 to nadal on clay… and he had Nadal trying to inavade on his turf

All these years he has prevailed and infact gone on to win the US Open as well… so i would bet against the same happening this year.


grendel Says:

so who’s your tip to win Wimbledon then, Tejuz?


Samprazzz Says:

Nadalian, an over-the-hill Agassi took Federer to 5 sets at the U.S. Open one year, and then took him to 4 sets in the Final 2 years ago. I’m not sure where you get the quote from Agassi where he said he would play well and still lose 6-2. Fed is one of the greats, but lets face it, who has he beaten? He’s beaten the likes of Roddick and Hewitt. Any of the tennis greats would have used those 2 as their punching-bags too. Federer has been playing a weak field. Agassi in his prime would have beaten Federer. Like Nadal, he would have been able to pound on Fed’s backhand. Agassi in his prime was able to use his cross-court two-handed backhand to break down his opponent’s backhand. Also, Agassi would have been able to take control on Fed’s second-serve points. Clearly, by the time Agassi got to play Federer, he was in shape, but had lost a few steps.


Sean Randall Says:

“Sean, If u dont recall any slice backhands from Fed from that final .. i dont know why u are writing these articles and blogs in the first place.”

Sorry, Tejuz, was joking. Not taking a shot at ya, buddy.

Samprazzz, would have to agree with you for the most part. Check out my post from way back: http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2006-10-25/104.php . And I will leave it at that before I get into more “hot water.”

Jeremy, Pete was marginal at best on the clay, so I would agree, if the tour was on clay he’d be lucky to be Top 10.


Kash Says:

Samprazz:

Who are the “greats” that sampras had to battle between 1993-98, when he won a chunk of his grandslams? Edberg was done by 93. Becker on his last legs. Agassi went missing for most of that period.Chang? Great? you must be surely kidding. Courier won zero slams after 92. Could you please enlighten us on these greats whom sampras had to conquer between 93 and 98. please!

If you give roddick a couple of wimbledons and Hewitt a couple of US open. Does that suddenly make this a great era? Who deprived them of those? Federer. Once the field started getting tough with the rise of safin and hewitt and other younger kids and agassi dedicating himself to tennis, sampras managed 3 slams. 99 and 00 wimbledon and 02 US open. If you want to further diminish those achievements rafter choked the 00 final. and agassi was slowed by his brutal semifinal with hewitt. (thanks to the stupid “super saturday” the US open has!)

Lets first see the greats who sampras had to deal with b/w 93 and 98. We will take it from there


grendel Says:

Deja Vu! Samprazz, look back to Agassi Fan’s postings a few weeks ago. I thought he was quite convincing on why the opposition to Sampras was not quite as you would like to see it. Surely those arguments (and the case against them, as proposed by your near namesake, Samps) do not need to be rehearsed again. A further point. If Federer is to overtake Sampras – and I think it is absurd just to assume he will – then he will need another 5 grandslams, and this will take up a very sizeable proportion of his career. What will the opposition be like? Well, for starters, there is Nadal, Djokovic and Murray – all three of whom will arguably prove to be superior to anyone Sampras faced, and possibly even to Sampras himself and even (whisper it quietly) getting close to federer. And there are others……b.t.w. Nadal just beaten by Mahut. Assume an off day, but even so, I have to eat humble pie – it seems you were correct, Tejuz


Tejuz Says:

sorry.. i misspelt it.. i wudnt bet agaisnt Fed winning the Wimbledon again. Wud bet on Roddick to reach finals if he is in the other half.

Agree with Kash about the quality of opponents, though not diminishing the achievement of Sampras .. this has been discussed time an again.

Regarding Nadal, Djokovic, Murray constantly threatening Federer.. let wait and see. Nadal has shown hez capable, but need to do well in the latter part of the year.. Djokovic and Murray still have to show that they can maintain the form they showed at the start of the year. Its a tough job maintaining it. Hewitt, Safin, Roddick have had similar runs but found it hard to maintain it. All the more credit to Federer and Nadal cuz they have dominated the field for the last 3-4 years . 12 cosecutive GS semifinals .. 8 cosecutive GS Finals .. those are records which showz how consistently Fed has been dominating for the last 3 years.

wud love to see Baghdatis do well at wimbledon.. he has a great game, but temperament matching Safin. hope this years wimbledon is a tough one.. with Fed winning in 5 sets :-) .. long time since we had a 5 set Grand slam final.


realist Says:

yeah it would be good to see a competitive wimbledon for a change. unfortunately most of the top tenners are uncomfortable on grass, so i wonder who can actually challenge fed

hewitt is prob the most accomplished grass player after fed. although roddick made those 2 finals recently he didn’t get fed on his side like hewitt those years.

roddick is an average player with an exceptional serve, but fed has little trouble with the serve so is left with just the average player to deal with.

and fed seems to whip hewitt on grass too.

haas is out, ancic out. nalbandian i would normally give a chance but he has no confidence right now. if murray made it fit, he might be a challenge.

but the last person to really play fed on grass was Oli rochus who had match points at halle last year- he hasn’t been in good form this year but maybe he could pull off a miracle?


grendel Says:

I’m not so sure about Roddick being average player (apart from serve). He’s strange. he can seem quite mediocre. But then on a good day, he can almost match Safin with his power game, plus having an excellent defence. Not an easy man to predict. Definitely can’t rule him out.
As for Baghdatis, perhaps success in Halle will give him the confidence he needs to tackle the big names. And berdych – he can certainly trouble Federer on grass if he doesn’t allow himself to be overawed. Again, success in Halle might resolve that little difficulty…


takeitover Says:

lets see if nadal again gets lucky with the wimbledon draw this year – would love to see him play roddick, if he reaches the semi. he probably won’t, mahut will get him earlier.


Giner Says:

“Let’s hypothesize that there were only clay courts. Given Pete does have wins on great clay players- his mind set was #2 is not good enough. So I’m going to venture and say that Pete would still be #1.”

Yep. And his full trophy case of French Open hardware is living proof of it.


Tejuz Says:

Dunno how the draw turns out to be.. Nadal would be seeded No 2.. so Roddick could end up in Fed’s half.. who knowz. I just hope Nadal has to face some accomplished grass-courters in his draw and if he overcomes them and reach the semis, then he certainly deserves all the praise even if he eventually loses to Fed or someone like Roddick.

I was watching last years Wimbledon finals from the tape.. Nadal was for sure pumped up in the 3rd set and very aggressive.. but overall, it was good match.. so different from the French Open finals between the same two guys. Fed is so comfortable on the grass.. he seems to cover the court better on grass than on clay. Not the same with Nadal though. His 2-fister backhand is effective but not so much his forehand.. Missed a lot.


AKA Maverick Says:

June 16th 2007

I fully accept, Federer is more of a threat to Nadal on clay court than Nadal, a threat to Federer on grass and /or, hard courts. For Nadal to threaten Federer on grass and /or, hard courts, Nadal must improve his skills. Sheer fitness will not win him slams on grass and /or, hard courts.

Most tennis players play a lot of tennis through out a year and many are fit. If it was only fitness than several in the top ten would have slam titles. Unfortunately, this is not so.

To win slam titles, apart from fitness, qualities needed are skill, match temperament, cool and collected mental status, ability to think while the game is on and realize and change game or match strategy when required, during a match. All of the above qualities are
available to Federer.

Nadal will not be able to keep his fitness at peak performance level, always. As he grows older, Nadal’s fitness level will drop, this is human physiology, in fact, I noticed at the recent French Open, that Nadal was not as fit as he was in 2005 and 2006.
If Nadal pushes to be at peak fitness level at all times than this would be a disaster in making. He will develop injuries and if these injuries become chronic than Nadal’s career will or less come to an end. Nobody who loves tennis would like to see this happen.

In order for Nadal to win Wimbledon, US Open and Australia Open, Nadal will surely have to rely on skills. The need for Nadal to develop his skill is of paramount importance, if he desires to beat Federer on grass and /or hard courts.
I get the feeling, in the way Nadal played several matches, at this years French Open, he realizes that only fitness will not get him other slam titles. Good for you Nadal.

As for now, Nadal does not have qualifications to challenge Federer’s dominance in the world of tennis.

Hope that both Federer and Nadal keep this rivalry healthy and non critical of each other, as they have done til now. It would be nice to see Federer and Nadal play few more finals. I wish Federer and Nadal good luck.


Tejuz Says:

well..i would cerinaly want this rivalry not to end pre-maturely because of injuries to either person.
Also wud love to see Baghdatis or Berdych to carry their confidence from Halle to wimbledon and try reachin the semis.. hope they dont bump into Fed before that.

As for Fed.. he wud be really tested in the intial rounds of wimbledon because he is short of match practice.. and if he bumps into someone like Mahut or Karlovic who serve big .. then it will lil tough. But then, those guys will have to do that for 3 sets or 5 sets to bet Federer which is again a very tough ask on grass.
Moreover.. Fed’s 1st serve percentage has dropped very low during the French.. and on grass that is factor too.. he will have fix that before the wimbledon.

1st week of wimbledon should be more interesting as it always is.


andrea Says:

well, first grass court tourney of the year and nadal is out by the quarterfinals…..

we’ll see what wimbledon holds. i have a sneaking suspicion that we will have a five in a row.


Giner Says:

“I fully accept, Federer is more of a threat to Nadal on clay court than Nadal, a threat to Federer on grass and /or, hard courts. For Nadal to threaten Federer on grass and /or, hard courts, Nadal must improve his skills. Sheer fitness will not win him slams on grass and /or, hard courts.”

What do you mean ‘threat’ to Fed on hard courts? I think you have forgotten that Nadal has actually BEATEN Fed on hard courts. You need to be more than just a ‘threat’ to beat him. Dubai was a fast hardcourt and Nadal beat him to win the title. This year he won in Indian Wells, so it’s not as though he’s a slouch on hard courts.


JCF Says:

“I fully accept, Federer is more of a threat to Nadal on clay court than Nadal, a threat to Federer on grass and /or, hard courts. For Nadal to threaten Federer on grass and /or, hard courts, Nadal must improve his skills. Sheer fitness will not win him slams on grass and /or, hard courts.”

Erm… Nadal has beaten Federer on hardcourts more than Roddick has. On hard courts they are 2-2. Perhaps Federer is the one that needs to improve his skills to be a ‘threat’ to Guillermo Canas on hard courts?


Tejuz Says:

if Nadal was more than a threat to Fed on hard courts.. he should be winning more than couple hard court events every year… till then he will just be a threat and nothing more.

JCF – do u mean to say.. Nadal should also improve his skills to be a ‘threat’ to Berdych, Blake, Hewitt, Djokovic on hard courts???? wow.. nice logic mate..


Tejuz Says:

if Nadal has record clay streak to his credit.. Fed has a record streaks on Grass and Hard court to his credit.


Moya! Says:

Yes but Tejuz Borg only played at wimbledon and Federer has played at Halle quite alot, if Fed really wants to prove himself better than Borg he
should win 6 wimbledons. I don’t particularly like him but I do admit that he is one of the grass court players ever but to me he’s not the best, to me the best is Borg.


AKA Maverick Says:

June 18th 2007
I know Nadal and others have beaten Federer on hard courts but to win slams Nadal has to improve his skills. He is getting better but not quite enough to beat Federer in in grass and /or hard courts slams. In my previous message I was talking about slam titles.


takeitover Says:

people forget that federer is already upto 26-9 in matches at the French open. That’s the 20th highest win percentage of ALL players EVER with 20 or more wins at the French. All time.

Federer will definitely end his career AT LEAST as a top 10 player EVER at the French. It just so happens that he is playing concurrently with possibly the second best clay courter EVER.

How many players have reached at least 2 finals of all 4 slams in the open era? only three – Lendl, Agassi, Federer. Nobody has won 3 different slam titles at least 3 times each. Nobody has EVER reached 8 consecutive slam finals or 12 consecutive slam semis. Nobody has EVER won 8 slams in 3 years (not even tiger woods in Golf). 176 weeks and running, consecutive weeks as world no 1. 92-5 year last year. 247-15 last 3 years. 34 titles in 3 years. 5 sets lost in his 4 wimbledon wins (in contrast, Borg lost 12 and Sampras 14 sets in their first 4 wimbledon wins). 24 consecutive finals won. Longest ever winning streaks on grass AND hard courts.

It can go on and on. When you put all this together, and put it in perspective, no other players will come out better than Federer, OVERALL. And he is not even done with his career yet.

So give the guy a break.


Tejuz Says:

Takeitover.. that was great to have put-together all those stats in ur mail. Thats pretty imoressive even for the greatest player ever.

some people have short memories.. cant blame them. Nadal hasnt reached a final of any tournaments in the second half of the last season.. Fed won all of ‘em which every he entered (except for cincy).. but still people consider Nadal as more than a threat to Fed. Comon. Nadal will be a threat to federer only if he reached the final of Grand-slams(RG excluded) more consistently. Gonzo or Roddick or Baghdatis are more of a threat to Fed because they atleast reach the finals and have a shot at Fed.


Ryan Says:

AKA MAVERICK is right…This is exactly what i’ve been trying to tell but every goddamn nadal fan seems to disagree.Nadal is nothing but fitness and dont tell me Davydenko is the fittest player right now.You can keep playing a lot of tennis that doesnt mean you are the fittest.Nadal vs Davydenko in fitness is about who is stronger and who is faster.And Nadal heads davydenko in both.Even djokovic had said the reason nadal stands out on clay over the other players is because he is stronger. You need skills to win slams other than the french.French is just a place for raw grinding.You dont need much skills for that.I dont think borg was a great grass court player even though he managed to win 5 wimbledon titles.He hasnt even won one hard court grand slam.Dont tell me borg didnt travel to australia otherwise he woulda won 10 slam titles there.Who the hell stopped him from going.He might be the iceman and all that on the court, but off the court he is a child molestor who made an underage girl pregnant.So forget about him being the greatest ever.I think the game of players should be given more priority than the titles they have.The quality of serves,the quality of returns, the quality of forehands , backhands should be considered for the greatest player ever….dont y’all think so?Not just the titles.As nadal has proven you can win a few titles if you are determined but that doesn’t really mean shit….


Tejuz Says:

who would u pay to watch??? even if its just a 1st round match??? Federer for sure.. just because of the way he plays his game.


Moya! Says:

I wouldn’t, I’d pay to watch a good solid match, Federer might be good to watch but you KNOW that
more than nine out of ten times fed is gonna win and I would ( maybe people don’t agree with me )
pay to watch a good match not a boring one. ( Boring to me that is other people like watching Fed win everything excluding clay and even on that he gets to the finals! )


Moya! Says:

And another point do you people care so much about stats? Wouldn’t you rather sit down and just watch players for fun?


nadalain Says:

hey samprazzz,

to quote agassi ‘there’s a zone to go with pete, no matter how well he was playing, but you could stay with him, but roger simply is unstoppable, when his on at his best, there’s no where to go’. I’ don’t remember the exact quote said of roger federer about losing a set to him 6-2,but I’ll get it for you…and seriously,I am one of pete sampras’s biggest fans,so it hurts me on a personal level when his roger federer is amassing his own legacy the way he is…and also,agassi at his prime or not,chances are federer would do to agassi what he has done to roddick and would probably have a series record like that as well…agassi would probably manage to defeat federer maybe once in 15 attempts or so…


JCF Says:

“JCF – do u mean to say.. Nadal should also improve his skills to be a ‘threat’ to Berdych, Blake, Hewitt, Djokovic on hard courts???? wow.. nice logic mate..”

Yes, as long as the list doesn’t include Federer.


AKA Maverick Says:

_June 19th 2007

Thank you Ryan

As you may know, “Great people think alike”.

Fact is fact, whether one likes it or not. Emotional responses from Nadal’s fans. I am sorry it will not work. Non emotional assessment and writing will go a long way in favor of promoting Nadal.

While I like Nadal’s tennis and he is a good player, unfortunately, he is not a great player. I wish he was but he is not and this is a historic fact.

No matter how many times one may write about Nadal being better than Federer, he is not. Accept the fact and move on.

I pray someday Nadal will be great or the greatest, and believe me I will the amongst the first to accept him as a great or the greatest player. As of this moment in time, Nadal lacks the abilities a great or greatest player should have.

I must say, Tejus, you have a fairly good understanding of Federer and Nadal’s abilities.


nadalian Says:

AKA Maverick,

It is one thing to say that federer is superior to nadal,which probably holds way more truth as opposed to vice versa,but what would nadal have to do or achieve to be accepted as a “GREAT” player…at just 21 years of age,nadal has already become a 3-time French Open Champion,and won tournaments on various surfaces and has actually achieved quite a lot more than federer at 21…nadal has exhibited that he has the potential to stand up to and consistently battle federer in an era where all other players don’t even look capable of winning a set against federer on almost any surface….please describe how many titles nadal needs to win,how many more 81+ streaks he needs to own,and how many more time he needs to defeat roger federer and the other “great” tennis players before you would consider bestowing the quality of greatness upon him???


Tejuz Says:

Nadal may not be of the same class as Federer, but i think anybody who has won 2 or more grandslams are in contention of being called a great player. It would only help if those wins are on different surfaces. Nadal has the potential to be a great player, but he would need to win a grandslam other than Roland Garros to prove it. But he will anyway end up being the best or second best clay courter ever. It will only get more difficult for Nadal to win hard court tournaments with someone like Djokovic, Murray, Baghdatis and Berdych growing in confidence..(apart from Federer for sure)


nadalian Says:

hey samprazzz,

this is the quote I was looking for: you can find it on http://www.geocities.com/hovav13/Quotes_from_Pete_and_his_Colleagues.html

Agassi Quotes: “You play a bad match against Pete, you lose 6-4, 7-5. You play a good match against Pete, you lose 6-4, 7-5. You play a good match against Federer, you lose 6-4, 7-5. You play a bad match against Federer, you lose 6-1 and 6-1.”


realist Says:

nadalian makes a good point. everyone keeps comparing nadal and federer as if they’re the same age. at nadal’s age, federer was still losing to hewitt, nalbandian etc. regularly, he was a ‘potential’ champion.

nadal has had more success even on hard courts and at wimbledon than federer had at his age.

nadal can clearly improve his serve and backhand, so it’s not like he’s going stop becoming a better player at 21.


Tejuz Says:

Some guys peak early, some guys peak late…

Nadal,Borg, Becker, Wilander, Hewitt… these are the guys who peaked early .. won most of their titles before the age of 24… but go downhill early as well

players like Sampras, Lendl, Federer, Agassi, Edberg have peaked late.. but then their peaks have lasted for a longer duration and have amassed lots of titles as well.

So comparing Nadal and Federer based on what they have accomplished at a certain age is foolish.

Federer has more than made up for what he hasnt accomplished before the age of 21. Next year Nadal turns 22, and provided he wins RG again he will have 4 Grand slams.. it will be the same as what Federer had at the age of 22. But then the climb gets steeper for Nadal… he will have to win atleast 3 GrandSlams every year to keep in touch with Federer… and i am very much sure he isnt capable of more than 1 GS every year. Thats the plain truth.

Atleast let him make Semi-finals of other Grandslams before we start picking him up as top-favourite. Till then he will just be a great Clay-courter who also happens to play well on hardf courts.


realist Says:

true, players peak at different times, but no one knows whether nadal has peaked or not yet. only time will tell. if he improves, he hasn’t peaked, if he doesn’t, he has.

but it also depends a lot of the competition, and injuries.

hewitt for example is a more complete player now than he was at number 1, but fed and nadal came into the picture, injuries came around, the game moved on etc.

i agree it will be hard for nadal to match the success federer has had during the equivalent time in their careers. the competition only gets tougher each year, and what is rarely mentioned about federer is that he’s had an INCREDIBLE run without major injury.

plenty of top guys have had years taken away with injuries and comebacks. a knee or shoulder like safin or haas would’ve skimmed at least 4 slams off of fed’s total.


Tejuz Says:

yes, i agree.. to be successful u also got keep out of injuries. Skipping Halle might be a gud thing, cuz Fed was tired and minor injury, also Rochus wud have given him a tough time.. and his grass court streak was more likely to end in a 3-set match..also more risk of major injury. 5-setters at wimbledon would give Fed more time to play himself in.

For sure Federer plays more smartly and with his style of play there is less chance of getting injured. Cant say the same about Nadal the way he plays his game currently.

we wud never know if Nadal has peaked or yet to peak.. so i guess we we will just have to wait for a few more years before we could label him as great. With the current achievements he has the potential, but he cant be called great … Just like Fed has it in him to win RG and be the greatest ever… but then we just got wait til they finish their careers. Life is ful of funny twists and turns. Nadal has just started his career, stil a long road ahead of him.


AKA Maverick Says:

June 20th 2007

It has been time and again said by more than one writer in this section of blog, and I repeat one more time. While nobody contests Nadal’s consistent achievments in clay court, but like I and several others have consistently said, for Nadal to be a great player he needs to win grand slams in hard court and grass court.

There is no way he is going to achieve this feat in the next year or so. With players like Djokovic, Davydendko,Youzhny, Murray, Berdych, Nalbadian and possibly Baghdatis, now looking to get to finals, it is a hard and uphill road for Nadal.

I hope Nadal makes it and so I can call him a great player but with the above players who are working hard and are hungry, it is not looking good for Nadal.

Remember, it is not easy for Federer to beat some of the above players too but he makes it because of consistent superior application of his talents, techniques, his mental ability and his ability to produce all round performance.

Once again, Nadal needs to win other grand slams to be called a great player. This is how it is. Winning and performing very, very well in clay courts only, is not going to give him the title of a great player


Moya! Says:

I think this is shaping up into one of the best wimbledons for along time
you’ve got Federer,Nadal,Roddick,Hewitt
then theres all the young guys,
Murray ( if he plays ) Berdych,Monfils,Djokovic,Baghdatis,Gasquet
and then theres players like Blake and Davydenko
and did anyone see Mahut at Queens. So much people are going to be dangerous this year, I’m not sure there’s such thing as an easy draw at this years Wimbledon!


claycourtrafa Says:

i certanly hope it will be nice
i will be on vacation but im gonna tape the final and watch what i can of the resct :D


Tejuz Says:

yup.. this year wimbledon should be a tightly contested one. I just hope that grasscourters, clay courters and hard courters are evenly spread out in the draw unlike last year.

Mahut was dangerours even last year. He reached the 3rd round and gave a tough fight to Federer, better than Henman or Gasquet or Berdych.


JCF Says:

“While I like Nadal’s tennis and he is a good player, unfortunately, he is not a great player. I wish he was but he is not and this is a historic fact.

No matter how many times one may write about Nadal being better than Federer, he is not. Accept the fact and move on.

I pray someday Nadal will be great or the greatest, and believe me I will the amongst the first to accept him as a great or the greatest player. As of this moment in time, Nadal lacks the abilities a great or greatest player should have. ”

No one ever said he was. It’s about him beating Federer, not winning more slams than Pete.


nadalian Says:

I agree too that this year’s wimbledon should be a very interesting one with a good blend of youth and experience,as well as claycourters and hardcourters,along with grasscourters…It would be nice to have a nadal-federer rematch,but I think nadal’s going to be have to be at his battling best especially after the round of 32..


realist Says:

interesting how they bumped djokovic to 4th seed to ‘reward’ him, but now i’m pretty sure he’s gonna be on federer’s side of the draw instead of nadal’s, which is actually worse.

whenever there’s a guy this dominant on a surface, it’s so crucial to get on the other side of the draw, i’m sure plenty of contenders would rather drop their seeding significantly just to avoid fed in their half.


Tejuz Says:

well.. i hope djokovic is on Fed’s half rather than Roddick, else it will be too hard on Roddick and too easy on Nadal if by chance he reaches the Semis.


grendel Says:

Why don’t we KNOW who Fed will meet in semis, who Nadal will meet – assuming they are still there? Surely the number one seed should meet number 4, and number 2 meet number 3. Otherwise, what is the point of the seedings -they are supposed to protect the top ones, aren’t they? I mean, for the last 16, number 1 meets number 16 and so on. For last 8, Number 1 seeded to meet number 8 – etc. Apparently, this logic breaks down for the last 4. Is that right? And if so, why? As Serena Williams said, what’s going on?


takeitover Says:

the top 2 seeds are place in opposite halfs. Then the 3 and 4 seeds are randomly placed in the two remaining semi spots. Then the 5-8 seeds are randomly placed in the remaining 4 quarters spots. And so on. That’s how the seeding is done.


grendel Says:

thanks for the info, takeitover. I assumed that there was random placing – given who played who over the years in the semis – but it didn’t, and doesn’t, make sense. Because in this situation, it can’t make any difference if you are seeded 1 or 2, if you are seeded 3 or 4, and so on. 1 and 2 have equal weights, as do 3 and 4, etc. What’s the point of that? Seed 1 should mean seed 1. seed 2 should mean seed 2. And so forth. That’s how numbers work. Except, apparently, in tennis.


Tejuz Says:

i just hope players like Berdch and Roddick are on Nadal’s half of the draw for this once. If he overomes them and reach the finals again, we can safely accept him as a legitimate contender for wimbledon for years to come.


realist Says:

federer seems to have an easy draw. at a glance it looks hard with names like safin, haas,murray, gasquet, roddick floating around. but haas and murray haven’t played for months, safin’s low. roddick winning queens doesn’t mean much, had possibly the easiest draw i’ve ever seen at that event, turso the only seed.

mahut ranked over 100 had practically won the final too, dumped an easy pass on matchpoint he would have made 9/10 times, roddick never broke serve, not exactly federer beating form.
maybe gasquet or that tsonga guy will do something special.

For nadal, i think it’s a pretty bottom heavy draw with people like berdych, hewitt, bag., nalbandian, djokovic hanging around.


Beth Says:

This is so odd – how on earth any one can say another player ‘owns’ another one? That’s ludicrous. And, Nadal is 5yrs younger than Fed – this is not going to go away – he is improving, but Fed isn’t – he’s passed that stage and is more into a maintenance mode – let’s face it as a tennis player the best years are from 23-25, it gets pretty tough out there soon after that as wear and tear really starts to bite on the body.
Let’s just wait and see what the future holds, shall we?


grendel Says:

have to disagree with you, realist. Fed’s got Roddick and Nadal hasn’t – ergo, Nadal’s the one with easy draw. That might sound extreme until you think about it carefully. There are only really three serious contenders for the crown. It’s not that, say, Berdych, hasn’t got the talent to win. But it’s very unlikely he’s got the strength of mind to take him all the way – yet. Let’s hope that changes. Hewitt will do damage, but doesn’t have the weapons to be a really serious threat. None of the others you mention are up to it for varying reasons, despite all the talent. Nope, it’s Roddick, Fed and Nadal – they’re the ones. Roddick doesn’t have the ability of Nalb, Bag, etc, but what he does have -apart from a serve which Federer has only intermittently mastered (think of Shanghai which Roddick should have won, think of Fed’s first Wimbledon final against Roddick, when he was arguably saved by the rain) – is a very strong mind. Roddick thinks he can win, and I doubt that can be said about any of the others apart from Fed and Nadal.
Whatever anyone else may say, I bet Fed’s got a frown at the moment and Nadal’s breathing a sigh of relief.


Smasham Says:

Dont think anyone can say easy/hard draw. On paper, it may be easy or hard, but it depends on how that particular player is playing that day and the confidence level. Last year “on paper” Fed’s draw looked tough, but he blew everyone away, up through the final. If we get the Fed/Roddick semi, then will Roddick have the belief that he can prevail this time? We know he has the game (serve and big forehand). But he would have to hope for a real dip in Federer’s game and confidence—-over 5 sets. In Australia, he went into that semi seemingly with confidence but was totally outplayed.


grendel Says:

Roddick, outplayed in Aussie Open. Yes, but this is grass….If Roddick gets it right on grass – and he didn’t last year – nobody can take him on with confidence, including Federer who, I repeat, very nearly lost to him in 2004.


takeitover Says:

would have loved to see nadal play roddick on grass. nadal just seems to always get lucky with the draw. djokovic is a novice on grass, no match for roddick.

well, fish might beat nadal in the first round. after all, this is not clay!


grendel Says:

didn’t Nadal play Fish on grass last year, forget if Queens or Wimbledon. But I remember him beating him easily after a tight first few games. Yes, Nadal/ Roddick on grass in a semifinal would be good to see. Unfortunately, such is Nadal’s strange luck with the draws, can only happen in final. Not good.


Moya! Says:

Theres no real spectacular matches in the first round this year is there? Anyone got any matches they hope happen apart from the obvious Fed – Nadal!


Moya! Says:

Moya – Henman should be good, I hope Moya wins but most people will be routing for Henman I spose, I’m just not that interested in someone british winning.


Jake Says:

Has anyone noticed that Nicolas Kiefer is back??


Tejuz Says:

Grendel.. Federer nearly lots to rodick on grass in 2004???? saved by Rain?? well.. 1st of all Fed was coachless at that time and roddick had gilbert to advise him during the rain delay. Roddick just came out strongly in 1st set.. but he hasnt shown he can sustain it over a period of 5 sets. And this match wasnt a nail biting 5 setter that Fed nearly lost..

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Rankings
ATP - Dec 15 WTA - Dec 15
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Kei Nishikori5 Ana Ivanovic
6 Andy Murray6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Tomas Berdych7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Milos Raonic8 Caroline Wozniacki
9 Marin Cilic9 Angelique Kerber
10 David Ferrer10 Dominika Cibulkova
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