Federer, Nalbandian in Tantalizing Quarterfinal Showdown in Monte Carlo
by Sean Randall | April 24th, 2008, 3:55 pm

The good news for Roger Federer is that he’s now a perfect 7-0 on the red clay this year. The bad news is that he hasn’t beaten anyone of significance and his next opponent in Monte Carlo just happens to be an in-form David Nalbandian.

If there is another nemesis outside of Rafael Nadal for Federer it’s Nalbandian. Last fall, David ripped Roger not once but twice indoors at Madrid and Paris to level their series head-to-head 8-8, which Roger had dominated of late until those October meetings.

Now we get along-awaiting rematch between the two, and this time on the dirt where Nalbandian has looked good, especially so after his 6-1, 6-0 destruction of Tommy Robredo.

While David’s busy ripping the hearts of his opponents, Federer’s been teetering. After shaky wins in Estoril and a poor opener against Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo in which he had to overcome a 5-1 third set hole, Federer finally found good footing on the clay today against the erratic youngster Gael Monfils. A good win yes, a good clay win, um, not really.

Provided he completes the match, Nalbandian will be a true measure of just where we stand with Federer and what we are to expect of the Swiss this clay season, and perhaps even for the rest of year.

The numbers don’t lie, Federer has yet to win a complete match over a Top 10 player this year – and no Pete Sampras doesn’t count – and with his aura in the toilet he desperately needs to send a message that he’s still the guy to beat. And that he’s over his mono or whatever it is that has prompted him to start losing to Americans, start dropping sets to qualifiers and start needing lifelines to get wins over guys with hyphens in their name. Fed needs to get back on the road to greatness, this is his chance.

That all said, I think Nalbandian gets him here just like he did last fall. And I base that on the results. Again, if Federer’s struggling with players like Gremelmayr, Hidalgo, Rochus on clay, what’s an elite dirtballer like Nalbandian going to do to him? Not to mention Nalbandian has his number anyway.

Now if Roger does in fact lose but he keeps the match tight and respectful, I think there’s still some hope for Fed this clay season. If he wins, he definitely sends that message. But if he gets blown away then I think Federer’s in real, real trouble. Like kiss-the-year-end-No. 1-goodbye type of trouble. But heck, how many times have I been wrong before? A lot.

As for the rest of the quarterfinal Monte Carlo Tennis Masters matches, it’s a shame Nadal and David Ferrer have to meet so early. I know many of you think Rafa will not be able to replicate his past clay form, but I think he will and then some. And so far so good for Rafa in blow-out wins over Ancic and Ferrero. And I think he’ll take care of Ferrer as well and ultimately take this title.

Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Andreev is a tough one to call. I’ll stick with the hot guy, Davydenko, who’s been impossible to beat with the new racquet.

And look at Sam Querrey. The kid’s proving Americans with big serves who stumble around on the clay can still win after wins over Moya, Seppi and Richard Gasquet today. I’m a big Sam fan (how can you not like someone who once hit a record ten consecutive aces) and someday I think he’ll be Top 10 (magic ATP formula: big serve + American + lots of low-quality U.S. events = Top 10) but he’s probably going to get overmatched by Novak Djokovic. No shame in that, Sam, at least you made the trip unlike every other American. Then again you did miss out on a Mardy Fish bachelor party in Vegas, which isn’t such a bad thing either. Guess Sam’s already got his priorities in order. Or maybe he doesn’t.

Should be a great day of tennis, just wish it wasn’t on TV so damn early!

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112 Comments for Federer, Nalbandian in Tantalizing Quarterfinal Showdown in Monte Carlo

JT Says:

Yep, Fed’s next match against Nalbandian will be a good test. Let’s hope he doesn’t embarrass himself out there.

jane Says:

You’re timing is impeccable Sean.

I hope your predictions are too. Or are we going to see Federer vs. Querrey & Andreev vs. Ferrer in the semi-finals?

Well, stranger things have happened. It could be that you get everything right and the semis will be Nalbandian vs. Djokovic & Davydenko vs. Nadal.

What to call from there? Nalbandian winning the first clay MS title?

It’s not unthinkable is it?

jane Says:

“your timing,” not “you’re timing” (my your/you’re’s and to/too/two’s are escaping me of late – doh)

andrea Says:

the last time nalbandian beat federer on clay was 2002 so should prove to be interesting. i feel roger will up his play and take the match.

sensationalsafin Says:

My hatred for Nalbandian is about to reignite…

Agassifan Says:

Its a test for both fed and nadal. djokovic has it easy though – I don’t think sam can beat him on clay.

would be just the ideal recipe for fed to beat nalbandian, then djokovic, and then nadal – would drive all his demons away. I could have believed that in 2006, but now, it seems like wishful thinking……

Gargoyles Says:

Sean do you actually believe this crap you write? Fed’s “aura in the toilet”? I’ll admit he is hardly the nearly invincible player the last few years, but seriously…”in the toilet”? Are you writing this crap just to get a rise out of people? Do you actually play tennis? Do you really have a clue about any of this stuff? Your lack of accuracy with your predictions seems to indicate that you are just the worst kind of online tabloid “journalist”. I hope I am not exaggerating just to make a point!!!???

pete Says:

Nalbandian–an “elite dirtballer”. What is this comment based on? Two titles in Estoril and one(or is it two) in Basil. One final in Rome? Common! Mr. D is a superb player on any surface, but he is erratic. On the basis of “the results” Federer is a much more accomplished “dirtballer”. Having said that, Mr. D has more than a fair chance of whipping the number 1 with ease, if…a big if with Nalbandian…he comes out playing rather than wondering about his next meal or evening’s companion through the match. I’d like to see him win.

Von Says:

Sean Randall:

OK you’ve done it again. A very fair, analytical, ‘calls them as you sees them’ article, but I just hope you are prepared for the bullets, and I don’t mean those you create with the ‘alt’ key on your keyboard. Here’s to some pitiful comments. :)

“No shame in that, Sam, at least you made the trip unlike everyone other American.”

How about being a little less harsh on the Americans. They had to play Davis Cup the weekend prior to the MC tourney. But kudos to Sam, who is one of my fave all-American guys, for making the trip and getting to the QFs. That Vegas win should bolster his confidence, plus his big serve to give him some sort of hope against Djoko. He beat Anderson, who was dynamic in Vegas, so Djoko watch out, here comes Sam, whoo-hoo!!!

Sam Querrey Says:

You spelled my name funny. I kinda like it tho

pete Says:

Funny spelling, but the other guy’s name spelled correctly or not is also funny. However, he will win. Sorry Sam…or is it Mr. Prey?

sensationalsafin Says:

For once I don’t think Sean said anything that is hard to believe in this article. Federer’s aura is gone. How many 3 setters has he played in the last 2 weeks? Sure he’s number 1, but no one fears him the way they used to. They used to be afraid he’d blitz them should they “accidentally” win a point against him. Now everyone knows they have a chance to win.

Nalbandian may not be one of the greatest clay courters, but he’s certainly one of the best right now. Top 3 for sure when he’s playing well, like right now.

Yeah it is wishful thinking to want Federer to beat Nalbandian, Djokovic, and then Nadal. Again something I would just love to see more than anything but I will be very disappointed when I won’t, and I won’t. Nalbandian will beat Federer tomorrow. Hopefully Federer can keep it close. But I honestly doubt it. Federer is going to get thrashed.

Von, I wanna respond to something you said to me in the other blog. You said something along the lines of me still looking at Federer like he was before and right now he’s very different. Is it really my fault, though? I mean the only time I’ve seen Federer play this year was at the AO. It’s not my fault I haven’t seen his shit play as of late. It’s the fuggin coverage, or lack of.

pete Says:

Why care if “Federer’s aura is gone”. It was bound to be gone after 4 years of completely dominating the sport. Now he is one of the beat players, maybe the best of them. Tennis is more interesting. I believe that Federer can beat Nadal and Djokovic (as hr did only 6 months ago) and that they can beat him. It is also clear that Nadal and Djokovic and Federer can be beat by other members of the tour.
This is good and alot of fun.

Agassifan Says:

Fed has lost only 4 matches this year so far, in spite of the illness and everything. If he ends the year losing 10-12 matches (total), not more, he would have had a very good year, and would probably have won another 4-6 titles, with hopefully one or two slams included, most probably ending the year no 1. That’s pretty much comparable to the best years of Sampras. So what’s the problem?

Von Says:


“Von, I wanna respond to something you said to me in the other blog. You said something along the lines of me still looking at Federer like he was before and right now he’s very different. Is it really my fault, though? I mean the only time I’ve seen Federer play this year was at the AO. It’s not my fault I haven’t seen his shit play as of late. It’s the fuggin coverage, or lack of.”

We have to stop meeting like this. :) Seriously though, I believe you live in the US, from your posts — get the Tennis Channel. It’s about $8 per month tops, but that’s if you have a TV package with a cable company. You might want to consider this because they show at least 6 matches per day, live, in their entirety, and then re-broadcast them beginning at 7:00 pm each evening. You’ll Federer matched uninterruped. Give it some serious thought, because the Tennis Channel has the broadcasting rights fcr all the clay tourneys, plus the French Open. Their commentators are par excellence and very fair. None of the ESPN gossip line. You can get the TC within 24 hours of calling your cable company, and then you can discntinue it after Wimby. Sum total about 2-3 months coverage fcr about $20 tops. A very good deal indeed. Additionally, they broadcast the classic matches of yesteryear pertinent to the upcoming tournaments, and they are a treat to watch.

I mentioned on the other thread that I feel the USTA could be more instrumental and have an active voice about the limited, pathetic tennis coverage here in the US. What are they doing to help the situation, nada? I’m sure they’ve read and or heard the complaints and painful cries of the US tennis population, but so far all we’ve gotten is a big resounding didly.


Pete: **** “Why care if “Federer’s aura is gone”. It was bound to be gone after 4 years of completely dominating the sport.”

Maybe you’ve come to termsz with Fed’s decline, but unfortunately, the majority of his fan base is in denial and refuse to let go of that once dazzling aura. Denial. I think it’sz great for tennis. Gone are the done deal, assured wins, instead, there’s intrigue and suspense. I love mysteries and suspense thrillers. :) Who know, your worst fears might materialize, when you’ll see Roddick beat Fed to win a grandslam. You do remember saying Andy can only win ‘small’ tournaments, don’t you. Who knows a big surprise might be in store for you. :)

pete Says:

Decline? How stupid. For four years the guy has been making the entire tour work harder. They are all better, fitter.Federer? A year older. A little slower. Four years of razzle dazzle. Think about that. This has nothing to do with decline, whatever that meaningless word means. It has to do with change. Hopefully, Federer will win a few more majors before his light winks out. But the light, as with all great athletes, will, at some moment, go dark.

Von Says:

“Sean ….Are you writing this crap just to get a rise out of people? Do you actually play tennis? Do you really have a clue about any of this stuff?”

I consider myself to be a very controversial poster — one who does not cow-tow to the majority. In other words, I’m not a crowd/people pleaser, thus, I’m going to say, that I find the comments by some posters in response to the reporters’ articles, to be borderline abusive and without merit. Additionally, it appears that some of you seem to have some hidden angst and are using your posts to vent. This reflects very badly on YOU, NOT on the reporters. Please people, let’s just appreciate the FACT that we have articles and subjects, on which we can comment. How about if we show some appreciation and leave the angst and abuse on the sidewalk.

pete Says:

Von–you are a pompous twit. Lighten up. I guess that is abusive.

Von Says:

“Think about that. This has nothing to do with decline, whatever that meaningless word means.”

Guess, I’m stupid, and meaningless. But, my interpretation of an athlete losing his spark, aura, whatever word you want to attach to it, is still decline. Or, shall I say ‘losing it’. If you’re less of the person and/or standard you once were, then you declined. Btw, no need for the name calling. It’s hell when the shoe is on the other foot — e.g., you were so effusive about how bad Roddick’s game is, and now you can’t even deal with the word ‘decline’, when it pertains to Fed. A tough dose of reality to swallow. WOW!!

Von Says:


“Von–you are a pompous twit. Lighten up. I guess that is abusive.’

Thank you and touche’. Communication lines closed. Btw you’re the one who should lighten up. To become so disjointed over a word says a lot. GO FOR IT!!

sensationalsafin Says:

I have the Tennis Channel but not in my room. And by the time I get home I’m too tired to sit in the living room and watch it. On the weekend I will, definitely. But on the weekdays I have school and then tennis practice and once I get home I spend some time here, of course, and then I sleep (and eat).

NachoF Says:

The aura is certainly gone. But we cant be sure hes not gonna come back to his old self. If you believe he actually got mono and glandular fever or whatever, than maybe he can get back in shape and defend his points. Whatever happens tomorrow should not be used to predict if he’ll be able to finish the year as #1.

grendle Says:

God, you gotta laugh, all the endless crap about Federer – and, yes, he wearily admits, a lot of it from me. I can be a pompous cunt, sometimes. I know, I know. Please forgive me. We all have our crosses to bear. But it is a strange thing, this compulsion some people have, to go on and on and on and on and on and on and on throwing their little bits of venom at Federer. I mean, a bit from time to time, sure, why not. Everyone needs to be drenched in muck from time to time. Cleanses the soul. But over and over again. Rum. And the strange thing about it all is that Federer is, in so many ways, such an ordinary geezer. I gather – correct me if I’m wrong – that he’s popular among his fellow players. That tells you a lot about him. Much more than anything us shitholes have to say.

Meanwhile, whiling away the time, it just occured to me that Federer goes in against Nalbandian expected to lose. Still, suppose he somehow wins. Then, assuming it’s Djokovic, he’s expected to lose that. But suppose he’s an awkward bugger again, and goes and wins that one. Then it’s His Rafaship. Well, children , we know where the money is on that one, don’t we. When did this last happen? That Federer was actually expected to lose virtually every bloody match he’s scheduled to play?

Interesting times, interesting times.

NachoF Says:

grendle Says:

“When did this last happen? That Federer was actually expected to lose virtually every bloody match he’s scheduled to play?

Interesting times, interesting times. ”

Do yo really expect him to win tomorrow??… please, I didnt even expect him to win today. Its simple, just look at how hes playing, then look at how the guys you mentioned are playing, and come to a conclusion.

Von Says:


“But on the weekdays I have school and then tennis practice and once I get home I spend some time here, of course, and then I sleep (and eat).”

I have the DVR from the cable company. The best extra $10 per month investment. But, my oh my, you’re a busy little bee, (a bumble bee) aren’t you! :) I remember those days of school, sitting on the NYC subway, trying to study, with people hanging over me talking at the top of their lungs; lunch time in the Law Library studying, and sneaking a few minutes in between for aome personal time. It gets better — just hang in there and see it through. It’s worth every minute of the time invested. Keep on trucking!! :)

sensationalsafin Says:

Ok so I’m watching the Federer-Monfils match right now and they just finished the first set.

My analysis:
1) I hate clay
2) What an uneventful match
3) Monfils is playing poorly, many UEs. He plays a grinding game but Federer is outgrinding him in every rally. But that is a good thing for Federer. This match is boring to me because I’m not seeing anything amazing from either player, especially Federer. But maybe it’s good that Federer’s just working on his consistency rather than pulling the trigger so soon as everyone claims he’s been doing. Mediocre match, good win for Federer no matter what anyone says.
4) I really, really hate clay.

Von Says:

“This match is boring to me because I’m not seeing anything amazing from either player, especially Federer.”

Well, now you can assess the situation more fully and understand what I’ve been saying about previous times.

All of the matches were boring today, with the exception of the Gasquet v. Querry match. Ferrero was good in the first set against Nadal, but Nadal wore him out in the ‘work the point to death scenario’, and got the break. Second set — a real blitz. End of match. Winner – Nadal.

You hate clay — then join the American athletes. Roddick calls it cryptonite. His least favorite surface. Check your listing on the TC for tomorrow. I believe they begin rebroadcasting at 5:00 p.m. I just set the DVR to record the series and like a faithful little worker it complies. Enjoy !! :)

sensationalsafin Says:

Ok I have more to say now. I don’t feel like watching the end of the match, especially since I know how it ends. Here it goes:

Definitely not Monfils’ best day, but he played some very nice points. Overall, though, I think Federer played well. He was consistent, he wasn’t going for many line shots, and he was pushing Monfils all over the court with heavy topspin. Probably the most clay-court-specialist-like play I’ve ever seen from Federer, honestly. What I liked most was that Federer was doing what he does best, mixing things up. He was hitting all types of shots to everywhere on the court. He was serving not amazing but very well. Moving the ball around, mixing the spin, and most importantly coming in behind a lot of good serves. And he volleyed very well. He played a good match. But the way I see it, Nalbandian’s game is perfect and he’s gonna crush Federer tomorrow no matter how consistent Federer can play.

Von Says:

But the way I see it, Nalbandian’s game is perfect and he’s gonna crush Federer tomorrow no matter how consistent Federer can play.

Keep an open mind. Nalby can be very unpredictable. One never knows what he’s going to do. He could surprise you, or your guy could come through. Until then ..

Sean Randall Says:

Jane, Querrey is out. Ferrer is out. Federer could beat Nalbandian and Andreev has a chance against Davydenko. I don’t like Ferrer’s or Sam’s chances. Stranger things have happened, and yes Nalbandian could walk away with this title, though I would favor Nadal to beat him if it comes to that.

Gargoyles, thanks for the compliment – tabloid journalist! I’ll take it. And of course I believe what I write, that’s why I write it.

Pete, so Nalbandian is not an elite dirtballer in your book? Care to name me five guys better on the clay right now? I can’t. Hence he’s elite in my mind. Sure you can argue he’s among the elite on the other surfaces, but that doesn’t change things on the clay. Now I haven’t checked but I think Dave leads all players in clay wins this season and I venture to guess that he’s among the top three in that department – behind Nadal and Federer – in overall clay match victories the last four years. But that’s just a guess. Dave being among the best on clay really isn’t.

Von, bullets, is that all? I’m ready.

Sam Querrey, nice catch. From now on I’ll just stick with calling you Sam. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten your last name 100% correct anyway. Hope you are not still online – it must be late in Monte Carlo – but if you are send me over some of the Mardy Fish bachelor party pics if you got em. And good luck against Djoko.

NachoF, if Roger gets hammered tomorrow he’ll be lucky to win any slams this year and he can kiss No. 1 good bye. That said, I do think Roger will keep it close and play well. The only think that would surprise me would be a one-sided affair either way.

Sensationalsafin, Monfils is one of my favs, but on clay, with his lack of consistency he plays right into Federer. On hard court or grass he’d have a better chance, just not on clay against the Fed. I think he’d have a better chance against Rafa believe it or not.

Dr. Death Says:

Not a completely wasted day on the courts. This was a good tournament to see what Murray is made on. Guess he won’t get an OBE this year.

Indeed, tomorrow will be fun. Bring on the heat.

angel Says:

I really think all you Federer haters and trash talkers (Von the biggest one) will eat your words tomorrow. Federer will win in straights.

Von Says:

Dr. Death:

“Guess he won’t get an OBE this year.” ***** Bummer, he won’t be on the birthday list, nor get an opportunity to wear his white gloves and sash. That’s too bad, old chap. :) I need some sleep from all of the early morning matches. But, tomorrow it should be worth it.

Von Says:


I love you too, along with the rest of the Fed fans who just love me, and would like to see me choke to death. Guessz what, it ain’t gonna happen, szo stop fantasizing. Pray, tell me when did I ever predict that Fed would lose anything? You need to control that wild imagination of yours — it’s hazardous to your health. ‘Hate’ is a word that does not exist in my vocabulary. If you can understand this, it’s a very corrosive emotion, a bad artery clogger. Sweet dreams.

Joker Says:

“When did this last happen? That Federer was actually expected to lose virtually every bloody match he’s scheduled to play?”

* About an year ago in Hamburg, after he failed to win 4 Masters in a row. Federer responded by taking out the entire spannish armada – ferrero, ferrer, moya and nadal.

About 6months ago at the masters in Shanghai. After having been beaten twice by Nalbandian and once by gonzo and looking totally lost against davydenko. Fed blitzed a-rod and nadal under an hr each in the next two matches and beat ferrer who was playing top 3 tennis during the indoor season (along with nalbandian and federer himself). In that brilliant patch fed beat a-rod, nadal and ferrer losing on an average 2.5 games per set.

The point is Fed spent the whole of last year silencing people who were a little too soon to rejoice his decline. This time around the voices have got louder (there is definitely some good reason for that) but if Federer does the unthinkable again, which he is entirely capable of, and beats nalbandian, joker and nadal to win this masters, it will be a tight slap in the face for such critics.

From my experience, the advantage such people have is that sooner or later they will get it right, due to the inevitabilities of life, but to anyone fortunate enough to see this whole charade, it is part of the fun of the unpredictability of sport. At the aus open no one could have predicted the struggle Fed has had to go through thus far. Similarly there is no way anyone can predict with any amount of seriousness what fate awaits fed based on 1 match tomorrow.

One can only hope – that either he wins or that he loses. People who do the latter need to take a good look at themselves and find some player whose win they can hope for.

Von: Before you advise fed fans to come out of denial, how about you face the hard facts about american tennis and their behaving like sissies by avoiding the clay season. How can you praise the initiator for keeping things real about Federer, when he says “that his aura is in the toilet” and in the very next line ask him to be less harsh on american players who avoid the clay like highschool bullies who shiver in their pants when they meet the real men.

You dont have to praise federer but rejoicing at sean’s mockery of him, only to beg for mercy for the american players reeks of double standards!

Gargoyles Says:

Sean, if you actually believe Federer’s aura is in the toilet then I truly am concerned about your knowledge of the game. As I said, I think he is not as invincible as he has been over the last few years, but if you think guys are eager to play him because they have confidence in this so-called slump, you are just plain wrong. Do some of them think they have a better chance…sure…but I cannot think of anyone who goes out there thinking they have a sure win because his aura is in the toilet [well maybe the Djokester...but he always thought that way]. Listen to anyone who has played him during the slump…they all think of him as still being the number 1 player. My point was that I think you truly exaggerated the situation.

jane Says:

I find it next to impossible to predict these matches.

Federer could surely beat Naldandian, who’s not the most consistent of players.

Ferrer has a pretty good record against Rafa, albeit mainly on hard courts.

Querrey’s on a roll, his confidence high, and aceing his way on the clay.

And Andreev has a good shot against Davydenko if he plays tomorrow like he did today.

The odds probably favour the top four players – Fed, Rafa, Djoko, and Davy – to come through (what a great couple of semis that would be). But the odds haven’t been working so good this season.

Von Says:

“About 6 months ago at the masters in Shanghai. After having been beaten twice by Nalbandian and once by gonzo and looking totally lost against davydenko.”

I was hoping someone would remember that Shanghai tourney where Fed played sloppy against Davydenko. Not one of his fans remembered, save you. At least I know I wasn’t dreaming. One of Fed’s fans posted recently to that effect, regarding my statement that Fed fans selectively remember only the wonderful victories, not the abysmal ones. I’ve paid my price for even venturing to comment. Absolute irrational thinking. I’m not confronted, just relegated to read between the lines of sarcasm and judgmental abuse. This way its safe.

“You dont have to praise federer but rejoicing at sean’s mockery of him, only to beg for mercy for the american players reeks of double standards!”

First of all, it is a known fact that Sean is a huge Fed fan, and even some of the Fed fans stated that it was a fair article. Anyway, You have absolutely no idea the amount of criticisms and crude statements the Americans have been exposed to on these threads. Numerous threads have been devoted to A-Rod, the Americans’ tennis, etc. The biggest and most frequent customers were the Fed fans, who could not wait to sink their teeth into them, and would not let go. It was harvest time. What I’ve said pales, and really pales, in comparison to the hatred and sick expressions used. Consequently, please don’t lecture me — you’ve no idea of what you’re speaking. Just sit back and wait for an A-Rod/American thread and you’ll see the sparks flying. The double standards emanate from some of the Fed fans, big time. It’s OK to tear down another player, but hands off the ‘man’ – Fed. He’s not a god to me, and I’ll speak when I choose. Just like I have to deal with the bad about A-Rod, so should you deal with the remarks about Fed. The only difference in my remarks v. their’sz is that I base mine on FACT, they base their’s on just raw pleasure, devoid of fact or subtance, of demeaning another.

My reference to the Americans was done partly in jest but there was some truth in the fact that they played Davis Cup just prior to MC. Unfortunately, on these threads there isn’t any idea of what one really means, — e.g., inflection, and intonation, are lacking. Just an exchange of words and it’s all baszed on interpretation and in the tone the reader applies to what he/she is reading. One writer mentioned, when reading my comments, that I raise my voice. How can that be deduced — there’s nothing here but just words. It’s just how that person was reading my comments and interpreting them.

Back to the americans – If they were to go to MC it would have been a difficult situation. One week in MC, either come back to the US, or wait around until May 5, for Rome. It’s OK for the Europeans, that’s their neck of the woods, but the Americans have to log a lot of miles. It’s unfair to call them ‘sissies’ just for that. Can I hazard a guess that you live in the US?

NachoF Says:

Oh my God!! That was intense!

Y Says:

Thanks for having helped Federer to win, Sean!

jane Says:

Well, there you go! Fed is back to is winning ways, and against his nemesis no less.

Not quite as tantalizing as I’d've thought; other than a tight 1st set, Fed had Nalby’s number (and serve).

You’re 50/50 so far Sean – not bad at all.

jane Says:

Fed’s forehand was back in form today – as was his serve. The scream at the end suggests he’s pumped too. The rest of the players left in the field here will be taking note.

PJ Says:

I kind of get the aura comments. It’s like when Serena was dominating, winning the Serena slam. When you’re so dominant, you win a lot of matches before they even start. Regardless of the reasons for Federer losing some matches he would’ve probably won in the past, when players see him lose, it has to give them confidence. I think most of the players feel more confident playing him now than a year or two ago. The unbeatable aura is no longer there. However, he’s still Federer. He’s not just going to roll over.

He just beat Nalbandian. I missed the first set, but he looked good in the last two. I wouldn’t be concerned about how many 3-setters he has to play (unless it takes a toll on him physically). I believe it was 2 years ago in Halle that Federer won, but played 3 sets in nearly all of those matches.

And, I have to say I’m impressed with Querrey. It is nice to see an American playing well outside of green clay. I’ll be interested to see if it’s a lucky run for him or if he really can string together consistently good results on clay.

As for American men on the red clay, I’m not annoyed that they’re not as good, but by the fact that they don’t seem to want to improve all that much. I look at someone like Maria Sharapova. She is nowhere near a clay specialist. She knows it, but wants to play as much as she can on that surface to try and improve. I don’t necessarily see that with the likes of Blake and Roddick. I definitely get that there’s more clay specialists on the men’s side, but the clay season is a big part of the schedule. It’s not like grass, which is basically a month. I’m not expecting them to be challenging for Roland Garros titles anytime soon, but they’re not going to improve unless they play more.

Von Says:

Nalby seemed flat footed to me — not like his match with Robredo. He did his usual, he went away in the second set and could not regain his rhythm in the 3rd. It’s always the same question, which Nalby will show up. A hit or a miss. Today, should settle the question about Fed’s mono. He seems back to his usual standard of play and health.

deb Says:

I understand Roddick intends to play Rome, Hamburg and the World Team Championships in Dusseldorf pre Roland Garros. One event less than Nadal (MC, Barcelona, Rome, Hamburg) and Federer (Estoril, MC, Rome, Hamburg).

jane Says:


” I look at someone like Maria Sharapova. She is nowhere near a clay specialist. She knows it, but wants to play as much as she can on that surface to try and improve.”

That’s right. And she’s won through to the quarters and semis with her efforts, last year with her shoulder injury too.

I realize the clay field in men’s is much deeper with specialists though. But Sam is showing that it’s possible to take your game to clay with some modifications.

Von Says:


“I understand Roddick intends to play Rome, Hamburg and the World Team Championships in Dusseldorf pre Roland Garros. One event less than Nadal (MC, Barcelona, Rome, Hamburg) and Federer (Estoril, MC, Rome, Hamburg).”

Good for Andy — I suppose he’s not the “sissy” they speak of after all. It would have been approx. 7+ weeks if he had played in MC away from home. That’s a long time, but as you know how much he’s disliked so anything to kick up some derogatory remarks. What a bunch!! Some of the athletes complain about the schedule, but yet, they don’t want to miss a tournment. It’s just greed. They have a choice, don’t play. If they play and get injured, then that’s their problem, and they shouldn’t blame it on the schedule.

PJ Says:

Good for Andy playing that much on clay. I was expecting him to maybe play one of those events (outside maybe the team championships).

andrea Says:

sorry nalbandian….guess it’s hard to go all the way back to 2002 to remember what you did to beat fed. 6 years is a long time.

tasty. i hope fed plays porcupine head (novak) next. not looking good for ferrer right now…

grendle Says:

At 5-4, Mark Petchey (Andy Muray’s old coach)called out “the best 9 games of tennis this year without a doubt”. And the standard continued, too, up to about 2-2 in second set. Federer and Nalbandian were magnificent – some pretty mealy-mouthed comments so far, I notice, could it be because things didn’t go according to the correct script? – they are both great, great players. Nalbandian deservedly edged the first set, and by no means disgraced himself in the next two. To draw comparisons from the Robredo match is ludicrous. This was high quality tennis from Federer, which is simply in a different universe to anything Robredo can produce. But the point is, Nalbandian was more or less living with it, and almost until the end, you did think he could come back.

I do maintain Nalbandian is, having quite different strengths, Federer’s equal as a player.In the end, he lacked Federer’s intensity -and, oddly enough, was not as fit. So what does this say about Federer’s glandular fever? There are those who first of all, pretend that it didn’t exist, and then concede that perhaps it did, but that Federer is irresponsible in continuing to play at the expense of his health, and anyway it’s all just excuses. I’ve noticed that the people who go on about it the most – can’t seem to leave it alone – are those keen to discredit Federer in some way.

Personally, I think Sean had it right in that we just don’t know what the score was, when the illness finally subsided and so on. I daresay most of us have made mistakes on this topic; for example, I said he looked tired after the match with Hidalgo, but there was no sign of that today. Clearly, I was wrong – in emphasis, anyway.I think the heated atmosphere (they’re still worrying and giggling away about it on another thread, would you believe it) in which this whole sorry business has been conducted has not been conducive to objective comment.

Meanwhile, back to the tennis. It was nice to see Federere’s drive volleys coming off on a couple of occasions – they’ve been disastrous of late. Also, some excellent drop shots from both men – Andy Murray, please note. And although Nalbandian is the master of the long drive to the corners, often from impossible situations, creating the position from which to direct some lovely angled winners, Federer didn’t exactly match him in this department, but he did keep a much, much better length than he’s kept all year. Both players – terrific, unreal defence. And Fed’s serve not coming much to his rescue for once.

One final point: I wish Nalbie had been in the other half – I’d love to see him against Nadal on clay. You may say, what about the next tourney – ah, but where will Nalbie be then. I do think Nalbandian has a much better chance of upsetting Nadal on clay than has Fed, regardless of today’s result.

jane Says:

Rafa – wow! Not much of a “blockbuster” quarterfinal so far. This guy’s got clay in his veins.

jane Says:


“they’re still worrying and giggling away about it on another thread, would you believe it”

OMG – if you want to make an insult, can you not make it directly? Clearly “they” is Von & I. Sheesh – these indirect jabs are very wimpy. And the smug tone of your post is not becoming either.

I fully admit I’d've rather seen Nalby win. But I also think Fed showed gumption to win today so kudos to him!

A sincere congratulations to Fed fans because he looked much more like his old self today.

jane Says:

“I think the heated atmosphere…in which this whole sorry business has been conducted has not been conducive to objective comment.”

But aren’t you just stoking it grendle? Aren’t you culpable? Are you so, very, very objective? Let’s face it: we all have our favorites and our subjective opinions and there’s nothing wrong with that. Personally, I thought Fed did use his serve to bail himself out at times, but you’re right – not as much as he did at the AO at times. His second serve was better today and well protected too.

Most people around here have been getting along just fine, with the odd jab here and there. But it’s not like it used to be, with the many ganging up on the few, or the flurry of condescending remarks and an “us vs them” (or “they”) mentality.

Can we not keep it that way? I’m a pacifist overall, much as I love the competition in tennis.

MMT Says:


“I do maintain Nalbandian is, having quite different strengths, Federer’s equal as a player.”

What??!! Am I reading this correctly? Nalbandian is Federer’s equal? What in the world is this based on? Because he beat him twice last fall? He beat everyone last fall, so it wasn’t specific to Federer. And aside from a single victory over Fed in the 2006 Masters Cup final, Fed won something like 8 of the 9 meetings before that. Now’s he’s beaten him on clay.

And please don’t give me the clay court argument because over the last 3 years the best player on clay has been Rafa Nadal, but the second best player on clay has been Roger Federer – full stop.

Maybe this was part of a larger point, but I just found this contention so distracting!

jane Says:

Much as I like Novak, if he is to win against Sam today, I don’t think he can beat Roger on clay – especially a pumped up Roger.

Well, Ferrer certainly came back in the second set, but Rafa just evened it from love – 40.

Daniel Says:


I too want to see that Nadal-Nalby match on clay and I am preaching about it since last year.

Well, we`ll have three more shots to see it. Rome, Hamuburgo or RG. But I reaaly wanted to see it before RG. I wanted to see Nadal tested against Davy (probably happening this tourney), Djokovic and Nalbandian. Could be one of each in the next masters. And not forgetting against Fed! :)

Daniel Says:

Jane, agree with you too!

What made Djoko win AO was that he was faster then Fed, he was returning really god, and giving no rhytm to Fed. This time is on clay and Fed is on kind of a row rigth now!

sensationalsafin Says:

Federer and Djokovic played only one match on clay and Djokovic stretched Federer to 3 sets before he was even “Djokovic”. Still I don’t think that has anything to do with tomorrow’s match, which, if it is against Djokovic, will be very exciting. Tough to call, too, because Djokovic could be in Federer’s head somewhat but Federer’s clay court game is better than Djokovic’s, imo.

Onto the win. Wow! I don’t wanna hear any excuses about why Nalbandian lost. It’s not Federer’s fault if he went away in the second set and couldn’t regain his rhythm. I thought Federer would lose because Nalbandian brings his very best against Federer just about every time. So credit to Federer for hanging tough after a tight first set. He could’ve easily gone away and become the passive vagina he’s been as of late. But he did it. I think these 2 have the best rivalry in the game as of right now, their H2H does a great job of proving it. Now Federer’s 9-8 and thoroughly deserves it.

Should Federer reach the final against Nadal, he will still lose. When it comes to clay, the match is never going to be about how great Federer is or how sloppy he plays, it’s all about Nadal. He’s f*cking unstoppable on the surface. He came out this week and has rocked everyone’s world so far. His toughest challenge came in the second set against Ferrer in which he came out on top, obviously. But I wanna see Federer crush Djokovic for now.

Nalbandian isn’t really Federer’s equal in skill, but it’s easy to say he’s just as talented. But they are not equal in any other way. Federer has the heart of a champion. Nalbandian doesn’t even have the heart of a tennis player.

jane Says:


It looks like you’ll get one wish, since Rafa will be playing Davy in the semis.

If Djokovic gets through, it’ll be 1,2,3 & 4 in the semis – I wonder when that last happened?

Is order restored in the court?

jane Says:


“He could’ve easily gone away and become the passive vagina he’s been as of late. ”

This language is utterly offensive. Full stop.

sensationalsafin Says:

I’m sorry but I really don’t see any other way of describing some of the things I’ve seen from Federer. The way he played against Fish… he didn’t even try.

jane Says:

Well there are plenty of better metaphors (and less offensive ones) for passivity.

Let’s see: how about “passive cow” or “passive resistance” or “passive aggressive” or “passive leadership” or…

The possibilities are endless without using blatantly sexist language. You’re smarter than that.

sensationalsafin Says:

I’ll just say he’s been a passive fool.

jane Says:

Wow, Sam sure made Novak work for that break & 1st set – holy crow.

I love that Sam just hopped on a plane by himself and came out to play. I love, too, that he booked his return flight for Monday when he saw he was playing Moya, but has had to change it repeatedly. And his laid-back-California-surfer-dude-aw-shucks-attitude is totally appealing in gladiator-like clay battles.

jane Says:

But that break totally broke Sam’s spirit and buoyed Novak’s inner (or is it outer?) gladiator.

The fact that the top 4 in the world are the last 4 standing in this torunament makes me think that the spot at the top of men’s tennis really is unstable. Up until now, I didn’t really believe it. Yet, I don’t think the position will be consolidated or decided during the clay season for some reason, that is, unless Novak or Roger were to win the French. Something tells me grass and the end of the year hardcourt tournaments will be the clinchers.

But I suck worse at predictions than Sean so who knows…

jane Says:

And speaking of calls — RIGHT ON Sean – you got 3/4 of them right!! Great work.

rogers twin sister Says:

Handing Sean Randall yet another slice of humble pie with a side of crow. Please, PLEASE keep saying Fed will lose!

Grendle: Henin has faced the same ridiculous raising of the bar. At the 2007 USO, it was, “She’ll never beat Serena. OK, so she beat Serena, but she’ll never beat Venus. OK, so she beat Venus, but nobody whoever beat the sisters in a row ever went on to win the tournament. OK, so she won the tournie.”

Von Says:


Since two days ago you’ve just been itching to start your sick garbage again haven’t you with you jabs? Guess what, you’re the mealy mouthed pathetic jerk that has nothing else to do. Your propulsion fuel is hatred. You can’t stand it that people get along just peacefully without the jargon you write, and without your nonsensical, moronical two cents worth. A bunch of trite shit, if I might add. Just shut the hell up. You’re an idiot and a poor excuse for an older, middle-aged, man, or maybe a bloody grandfather. What do you do, go the nearest pub, get sauced up and then write the crap you love to write. It’s just an editorial on shit, not tennis. You’ve got so much angst tin you andx you use this thread to vent it. You pick on the women. What’s the matter, you don’t like women — I’m not surprised. Do us both a favor, if you have nothing to good to say, then shut the hell up. If you want to address something I write, then direct a post to me, but cut out the coward act. Because you’re a c oward, you bully people into submission. GET A GRIP, IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN. It’s people like you who are the worse kind. You get your claws or hooks into something and won’t let go.

Two days ago, Skorocel made an innocent reference that Fed was pushed by Hidalgo #137 in the world. Well, you just seized upon it, and took off in a tangent about his remark, which was is unnecessary. Just who died and left you god of the written word, which you can’t even express in simple language. You then moved on to my comments and took a few jabs at me. I wote a post in general about those judgmental and sarcastic references, since you did not direct your post to me. And, further, you’re so pitiful and gutless, that you use that medium in which to vent.

Since, I can no longer hold in my anger, I will address the drivel you wrote coming from Frew McMillan on finite thinking, cognition and concentration. First, having a degree in psychology, I can tell you, McMillan does not know what the hell he’s talking about and you’re an even bigger fool for mentioning it, twice. There isn’t anything as ridiculous as a ‘finite’ amount of concentration. Let me enlighten you, and then you can take my information and write it somewhere else. (You’ve done this on several occasions, I wrte something, and days later, hello grendle comes up with a new idea with authoritative language.) It’s as follows:

We’re all born with neurotransmitters, which under stress, can be burnt out. These neurotransmitters control our mood, thinking and other neural functions. If, and when, they do burn out, we lose our ability to think rationally, (which I think is happening in your case) concentrate and function in a normal manner. Strokes can develop, drpression and dementia, e.g., alzheimers. It has been recently discovered that chronic fatigue is a result of the neurotransmitter, serotonin, being burnt out. However, all is not lost. We have the ability to replace very slowly these burnt out neurotransmitters, but it can be a long, arduous process. This is what most probably is Federer’s problem, a combination of neurotransmitter burnout, which has manifested itself into chronic fatigue and further coupled with a compromised immune system, — mono.

I’ve said this to you before, and I’m saying this again, you have a mental problem, it’s called jealousy. You can’t stand it when others get along with each other. That ugly monster, jealousy, raises its wicked head, and you begin to lash out at everyone in the most gutless manner of sarcasm coupled with judgmentalism. You are welcome to do this, but just don’t use my statements as your base. You won’t believe this, but I’m a wonderful human being. I love people and like to spread joy, which I try to do on these threads. I like for pople to co-exist, (whle you’re busy tearing them down) in a harmonious manner. Some can’t appreciate my humor or kindness, but that’s their loss. I’m big enough to overlook any wrongs or statements made in anger. I say what I have to say and then all’s fcrgotten. Please do us both a favor, write your senseless shit, but, and a big but, stay the hell away from me. Got it.

rogers twin sister Says:

oohhhhh smells like a good, old-fashioned witch burning is in session.

Von: Go home…if you have one, that is.

deb Says:

Re earlier comments on Americans playing clay – Blake’s just added Barcelona to his schedule. Davydenko has withdrawn for reasons that clearly don’t stop him playing Monte Carlo.

It’s strange to me that there seems to be sympathy for Nadal’s comments that the clay schedule this year is too crowded but no sympathy for players who choose not to over-play for ranking points.

Also (Von – I’m getting into these long posts!!) nobody questions Gonzalez, Canas or Baghdatis for not playing Monte Carlo. I’m giving Berdych a pass as he rolled an ankle in DC.

Von Says:

You should knows where I live. I have to step over you outside of my home patio, when I leave for work, everyday. Did you have a good night? It looks so, since you’re picking on Sean and now you’re brewing your withces brew. Btw, when are you going to talk about tennis? How about buying a book on the subject. I’ve yet to see one post from you on the game of tennis. You’re excess baggage. Remember to get up early, so that I don’t have to step over you again.

jane Says:

Von – you go girl. I mean stay. Well, you know what I mean ;-)

rogers twin sister – why don’t you for once, just once, say something constructive? You come onto this board from time-to-time to take a swipe, usually at Von or Sean, and then you disappear. Of course you agree with grendle. Are you sure you’re not rogers twin brother? maybe you’re a drag king? maybe you, too, have a mountain growing out of a mole hill on your cheek?

Oh shit. Now I’ve gotten mean. This is very unlike me.

Witch-burning was horrific and really should not be joked about lightly; it was genocide of women, innocent women, who were burned alive. Burned alive.

I’m going back to discussing tennis; that’s why I’m here.

Von Says:

“Also (Von – I’m getting into these long posts!!) nobody questions Gonzalez, Canas or Baghdatis for not playing Monte Carlo. I’m giving Berdych a pass as he rolled an ankle in DC.”

Bravo, for you!! I agree that they selectively question the Americans and pull them out on the carpet, but the others get a free pass.

As for the players who want to overplay, I’ve mentioned before, they’re just greedy. If it’s one thing that can be said about the Americans, is the FACT that they are not greedy. They pace themselves, and for that they’re condemned. At least, they don’t make commnets criticizing the schedule. They do what a normal individual would do, and that is accept it and work around it. There are more than one ways to skin a cat. I refrained from commenting about the schedule because there was too much anger by a few, but these are my views.

Davy is a conniver. He tanked Estoril to play in MC and now he pulled out of Barcelona, so he can be fit for Rome. The cash register is working overtime. GREED.

Von Says:


Thanks for the support and I like the spunk too.

“Oh shit. Now I’ve gotten mean. This is very unlike me.”

Believe me, that was out of character for me to curse, but gosh darn it, I’m sick of the nonsense. They are worse than two adolescent teenagers. With 2 yearold tantrums. They need to grow up. One or maybe both women haters. The sister is a man, I’m sure of it. The hatred is corroding their arteries and preventing logical thought. Jealousy is the worst of all traits. They can’t stand it that we find something funny to lighten up the mood, or that other posters find our posts worthwhile. They are both GLOOM and DOOM, and MISERABLE.

NachoF Says:

Anyways, Im very happy for Roger, he really looked like his old self (not the BEST he has played, but still what you would expect from Roger on a normal day)…. I honestly dont understand why everyone keeps saying Nalbandian was the only that had a chance at beating Nadal… arent you forgetting who broke the 80 something streak Nadal had on clay last year…. in fact, since *insert some specific date I dont remember exactly* , Nadal is 95-1 on clay. Federer is the only one that could beat him.

jane Says:

Wow NachoF,

95-1 is quite the stat huh? Whomeve, beats Rafa on clay will have to be commended when the time comes. I guess numeros 1, 3 & 4 are all longing for a shot at him anyway!

NachoF Says:

Yeah, and supposedly at Hamburg is where Nadal is most vulnerable…. something to do with the ball not bouncing as much on that type of clay.

Von Says:


“maybe you, too, have a mountain growing out of a mole hill on your cheek?”

In my anger and haste I did not fully appreciate the wit here. The carbuncle is a mole hill or a warlock’s/witch’s brew storing itself in the cheek. :) :) I’m, cracking up laughing here. You’re funny. Out of this nonsense there’s humor. Go for it!!!.

MMT Says:

My point exactly, Nacho F.

MMT Says:

Nacho F:

“I honestly dont understand why everyone keeps saying Nalbandian was the only that had a chance at beating Nadal… arent you forgetting who broke the 80 something streak Nadal had on clay last year…”

This was what I was referring to – basically I think Nalbandian’s previous domination of Federer, and his recent victories last fall have given those that can’t stand Federer’s dominance a new hope, which for my money is a mirage.

The real deals are Nadal and Djokovic, obviously more Nadal. Hamburg is his kryptonite because it’s the last clay tournament before RG, and he’s usually spent.

Von Says:

jane & NachoF:

“Yeah, and supposedly at Hamburg is where Nadal is most vulnerable…. something to do with the ball not bouncing as much on that type of clay.”

I think it’s a combination of the surface/clay in Hamburg not matching up to his stlye of play and then, probably some residual tiredness from Barcelona. He should skip Barcelona, this way he’ll have more time to practice in Hamburg and get accustomed to the court there. But, Barcelona is a nationality bound tournament.

Von Says:


Read my post at 1:52 pm. Our minds were in sync at 1:51 pm. I stated nearly the same thing. Isn’t this scary?

NachoF Says:

Nadal has to keep those points from Barcelona if he wants a chance to catch Federer as #1. Hes already like 1000 points behind cause Federer won Estoril, so just not going to Barcelona would hurt his chances deeply…. I just remembered he also got to the Wimbledon final last year…forget it, Djokovic has a much higher chance at passing Roger than Nadal… at least for now

Von Says:

“Djokovic has a much higher chance at passing Roger than Nadal… at least for now.”

I think Djoko will be the one, if at all, to be No. 1, this year. Unfortunately, (sorry Nadal fans) Rafa is burning himself out and later on in the year this will be more visible. The way I see it, what’s the big hurry. If it’s to happen it will, if not, what’s the big deal. He’s young and has many more years to get to the No. 1 position. It’s better to get the points in small increments and remain in good health, than have it all at once, and then suffer with poor health. Not a good prescription for longevity in the sport.

jane Says:


“Nalbandian’s previous domination of Federer, and his recent victories last fall have given those that can’t stand Federer’s dominance a new hope, which for my money is a mirage.”

Well I think there are two things going on here that I’d like to respond to.

First, most of Nalby’s successes against Roger have been on hardcourts or carpet, so his winning here on clay was less likely to happen than had it been on one of those surfaces. However, given that Roger has been struggling this year, and Nalbandian did win a claycourt title and get to the final of another this year, I don’t think it was TOO much of a stretch to think that Nalby had a decent chance today.

Second, I’ve always said Roger is not my favorite, and admittedly one of the reasons was his utter dominance of the sport. But do you think his dominance still stands? You write like you do. Certainly he’s had more losses than what is usual *for him* this year (because we have to admit that his is a different standard altogether), but do you think he’ll reassert himself the rest of the season? Just wondering.

Agassifan Says:

davydenko has got to be wiped out after his nearly 3 hour match today – so any chances he had against nadal are gone now, it will be an easy straight sets for nadal, so he is in the final now.

fed had a tougher match than djokovic, but it will be a close match tomorrow. my hope is that fed wins and puts djokovic in his place (which is no 3 right now).

Dr. Death Says:

Sorry to have missed all of this. I have to heal the well and bury the sick.

The “c” word used somewhere above?

Witch burning – a very tasty item. Usually it was the innocents who got burned.

Tennis? Ah yes, we now see the pix of this current clay season. Dont expect the final four to change too much in any tournament between now and the end of Paris. Let us leave one spot open for that athlete who rises to the occasion.

With only limited highlights available to me, Nadal looks superb.

Von Says:


“Rafa – wow! Not much of a “blockbuster” quarterfinal so far. This guy’s got clay in his veins.”

You might find this funny. One of the commentators said, in his dry, Brit humor, that Rafa ‘sprinles clay on his cereal.’ LOL. :)

Skorocel Says:

To Von:

Did you noticed that Nadal also plays doubles in MC? Kinda weird if we think of those recent complaints, isn’t it?

Are you able to watch the matches? Here in Slovakia we have that Galaxie Sport channel (which, as I’ve already told you, televises all 9 MS tourneys + the TMC in Shanghai), but I just can’t help myself – sometimes it’s almost impossible for me to see the actual ball in play :) I mean, if it’s overcast, it’s OK, but as soon as the sun starts shining, I have to literally look through microscope to notice something… Did you encounter the same problems as well?

I’m very happy for Fed today – not only because it was a win against Nalby (who coincidentally is only Fed’s 1st Top 10 “victim” this year – if we don’t count the Estoril final vs Davydenko, of course), but most importantly because it was CLEARLY his best performance so far this year… He maybe lost that 1st set, but that could’ve gone either way (if I remember, the Swiss was leading 5-4 and 30-0 on the Argentine’s serve, before Nalby finally turned the things around)…

I must say that the final score in the last 2 sets is indeed somewhat cruel for Nalby, as the guy really played some absolutely amazing shots today! But I wouldn’t exactly said he’s faded away in the 2nd half of the match… With Nalby, it’s always aa question of heart – if he’s winning, he can beat everybody, but if he’s losing, he often tends to sort of give-up…. That’s at least how I see it…

Anyway, did you see the match in its entirety? Overall, I think the quality of play today was excellent from both sides – really a treat to watch! Those angles which Nalby hit at times – simply stunning! Fed was fighting like a lion (despite sweating already after a couple of first games), and his once formidable FH was, at last, working! Now add his excellent BH (which he only rarely missed today) + some beautifully executed dropshots – and you have a reason to celebrate if you’re a Fed fan :) I maybe still have some question marks re: his movement, but anyway, the next match vs the Djoker will tell us more… The Serb was somewhat struggling in the 1st set against Querrey today, but literally rolled over the American in the 2nd… Btw, credits to Sam for keeping that US flag flying high in MC, don’t you think? A “new” Todd Martin? We’ll see…

As for Nadal vs Ferrer, it could’ve easily been a 3-setter had Ferrer not choked. If I remember it correctly, the guy led 3-0 and 40-15 on his serve in that 2nd set, then later at 5-4 had 3 setpoints (on his own serve), and then in the penultimate game (where Nadal broke him), he led 40-15, and later also missed a super-easy FH smash at deuce… That was all Nadal needed to turn that set around – and he indeed did!

Skorocel Says:

Yay, that 1st paragraph should read: “Did you notice…”, of course.

PJ Says:

So, was that second set in the Ferrer/Nadal match encouraging or disheartening for the other players? I mean, what do you have to do to win a set off this guy on clay? Ferrer was first up 2 breaks. Then, at 5-4, he had 40-love on his serve, 3 set points. He still couldn’t close it out.

jane Says:


Well Ferrer is strong on clay, so to the others who are more-than-capable on clay, I’d say the second set was encouraging. Still, even if Ferrer had not choked, I believe Rafa would’ve pulled it out in 3 sets.

jane Says:


“With Nalby, it’s always aa question of heart” – I agree. Although he has been known to come from behind and fight hard, it seems to depend on the day.

But Federer outplayed him today.

Von Says:


“..but I just can’t help myself – sometimes it’s almost impossible for me to see the actual ball in play…”

I’ve been meaning to ask that same question, about anyone seeing the ball in play. I thought it was my TV or my eyes, but when I watch the other stations, everything is perfect. Not being aBle to see the ball, made it difficult for me to see the precise shots, except if he shanked a forehand, or the BH was misfiring, etc. I saw the drop shots, but couldn’t tell if he was hitting top spins, or anything else. Because of that problem, the viewing was not very enjoyable.

I have the Tennis Channel (Pete Sampras is a part owner) and I’ve been able to see all of the important matches, live everyday, since the tourney began. About 6 matches per day, in their entirety, except for some commercial interruptions. They then re-broadcast again at 7:00 pm in the evening.

Fed looked like his former self. His game was brilliant. I know you’re happy. :) One thing that I don’t understand though, and both Monfils and Nalbandian did it, is why would they choose to receive, when they won the coin toss? I think it’s stupid and it makes it more diffficult to stay on track once you lose your serve; because to begin with, you’re always serving one game behind. It doesn’t make sense to me. I can understand it if they were bad servers, but both Nalby and Monfils have good serves. As I said, I don’t understand their thinking.

Yes, it was good that Sam got to the QFs and represented the US. He’ll pick up some much needed ranking points — as you know when they are close to the 100 mark, 125 points can help thier ranking in a huge way. It’ll be easier to get into the main draw. Blake will be playing Barcelona and Roddick Rome, Hamburg and Dusseldorf. I sincerely hope Andy keeps his schedule. He needs those much needed ranking points, you know.

In a way, it was good that Nalby lost, he’s close on Roddick’s heels in ranking points. I’m being selfish but, it’s difficult not to be so.

Ferrer now has a psychological problem – Nadal phobia. Well, Ferrer’s not a great player, his game needs a lot more dimensions, but that running around and grinding, just gives me a head spin. And, Nadal runs even faster and has a somewhat better game, so it’s kind of impossible to beat him.

Well, tomorrow we’re in for some treats and suspense. Davy pulled out of Barcelona. I don’t believe anything coming from that guy. He’s just plain GREEDY. The cash register is just ringing in his head and he sees the $ bills all of the time. I once heard a commentator say that Davy and his brother remarked that he has to play every week because it’s a business. If he doesn’t play (work) he doesn’t get paid. They called it his ‘job’. I’m sorry but I can’t see that logic. I call it GREED. He already looks like a skeleton, he’ll be just a sack of bones soon.


“So, was that second set in the Ferrer/Nadal match encouraging or disheartening for the other players? I mean, what do you have to do to win a set off this guy on clay?”

I’d say it will be a huge turn-off for the other guys. It’s a humungous task. To win over Nadal on clay, they have to sprinkle clay on their cereal. That’s what the commentator said that he thinks Nadal does. :) LOL.

deb Says:

Back again to the bashing of American tennis players, I wonder if people here really know how Americans are viewed in the rest of the world. The most famous American sportsmen, after Tiger Woods, are probably Mike Tyson and OJ Simpson.

What have James Blake and Andy Roddick done that’s so terrible?

America isn’t the world’s favorite country anymore and to have a couple of international sportsmen who don’t end up in court should be something to celebrate. My very English view of American sport is that the baseball players are on steroids, betting on illegal dog fights is a common pastime and winning at any price means that sports stars can, possibly, get away with serious crimes.

For me Roddick is the saving grace for America – he admits Federer is a more talented tennis player but retains a sense of perspective and humor that I honestly believe Federer wouldn’t manage if it was the other way around.

Daniel Says:


Is not that we don`t believe Fed can`t beat Nadal, it`s more because Nalbandian and Nadal never met on clay, and the other two times they met (last year Madrid and Paris) Nalbandian win pretty easy.

grendle Says:

Well, I have read Von “I try my very best not to attack anyone’s character” ‘s little letter of bile a couple of times in an effort to find something of substance, but have failed to do so. There’s a pretentious little thing on psychology which is of no interest. A degree in psychology is not quite .the cachet she imagines. Forgive me if I’m not impressed. Frew Macmillan, of course, was thinking tentatively, even metaphorically. I don’t mind all the accusations and insults, which basically suggest I am barely fit to live – but: they come from Von, so that’s alright. But I do resent the charge that I was having a go at Skyrocel about #137 business. Several people, not just on this site, attacked Federer for nearly succumbing to such a lowly ranked player, and I utterly disagreed with this argument. I did not have Skyrocel in mind. I actually rather like Skyrocel, although I don’t think he likes me – but that’s alright, I can live with that.

Nevertheless, it is true that Von has angered me, and some of this is self-serving. Ego always does come into these things up to a point. I do intensely dislike her attitude to Federer which I find exceptionally dishonest. I’ll indicate what I mean in a minute. But there is something else. The endless llittle drips of poison which Von pushes onto Federer obviously enrage many people. Some try and engage her in rational argument – NK for instance. For his sins, he was visited by a veritable verbal tirade, but no attempt whatever to get to grips with his reasoning. But more often, a poster will register his/her indignation, maybe not very coherently, and Von instantly drowns them either in snapping malice, or condescension, or sometimes a weird mixture of both. It is bullying of the very worst sort., it is very, very nasty stuff, because it is directed at people who cannot easily defend themselves. I find it quite loathsome and I admit, candidly, that it enrages me. I do not imagine that I am liked on this site, and I can understand that. I come from a hell that an indulged, spoilt creature like Von could not even begin to imagine, and on the whole, this does not tend to make for a nice person. I have seen and lived in the pits, and I carry within me a burning sense of injustice – maybe my only merit. I hate it when I see a clever, articulate person like Von, who also has absolutely no sense whatever of discretion or embarrassment, loading off against the defenceless. Not me – I can defend myself, when I can be bothered. I hate it, and I will not stand silent.

I’ll say what I mean vis a vis Federer. Von has said”I do not have any interest in Federer and I do not mention him first in any posts. I merely reply to other people’s posts on him”. Fairly risible, hein? There’s no need to quote anything recent, it’s too fresh. But this is how Von announced herself in her first post::”Federer is a liar, and I have always felt a very skilful one at that….I get so steamed up about this man and his phoney behaviour and lies.” As for Federer fans:”I am so sick of the fact that the only whiners, complainers and validation seekers, are the Federer fans”. She has veered wildly in her estimation of Federer’s ability, but once – I don’t have the quote to hand, but if I absolutely must, I can hunt it down – she even disputed that Federer was particularly gifted, was just someone who worked very, very hard to get where he was. Well, that at least has the merit of originality, I suppose.

Von has often stated that she is concerned with “ fact”. Here are some instances of her concern. When she was taking me to the cleaners a little while ago, she instanced one Lulu as someone I had offended. In fact, Lulu had thanked me for my defence of Safin. “I have seen your posts on Tennis Planet on many other topics and they are all along the same trend. It is all about Federer and his wonderful mastery of the game”. This is so far from being the case as to amount to a lie. But bizarrely, she then quotes at length from a post in which I was actually defending Djokovic from an over ardent Federer fan, apparently on the grounds that I was being judgemental. I gather that Von is some kind of lawyer – well, on this evidence, I’d be a bit worried to have her defending me. But she’s like a lawyer, or at least the Hollywood conception of one, in this: she’ll go to any lengths to win an argument, ruthlessly ignoring evidence, reason or anything else, except as it suits her purpose. And her purpose is not the truth. She just is anxious to put the boot in, and put it in hard. I suppose it is this which accounts for this peculiar business of trawling around websites looking for dirt on me.

She is a poor loser. I wrote “I daresay if the Americans put their minds to it, they could dominate tennis, too. But they don’t see any need to, Americans generally seem pretty relaxed about this. I wonder why you are not, Von?” Von misunderstood this, – she thought I was referring to American tennis players, whilst in fact I was referring to the American public – and launched into her usual diatribe vein: “ This is one of my favourites, you really outdid yourself….You have got to be kidding. This is ludicrous. I have seen and read it all”, etc, etc, and – believe me – etc. Even after I put her right, and I had to do it twice such was her obtuseness on this occasion, she refused to acknowledge her error – which actually, was a pardonable one in itself. It was Von’s graceless ploughing on that was really objectionable.

A lot of the anti Federer stuff – which, I repeat, goes on in a drip drip form endlessly and pretty skilfully in its way, and upsets people exactly as it is meant to do – stems from her super American patriotism. She is British in origin, and when I made the point that it is often the converts who make the most noise – think of former communists, Christians, atheists, smokers even, and so on – she loftily dismissed my ignorance of the role of immigration in American society. Well, I don’t claim to know a lot, but my sister emigrated to America at about the same age as Von, and she has been an American citizen for a long time now. She is a loyal citizen and is grateful to her new country – but she doesn’t overdo it, understanding that there is something absurd and not quite natural about that. Most of the Americans on all these websites, and so far as I can see a large majority of the posters are American, are relaxed and tolerant in their tennis attitudes. Not Von.

That Von has made friends on this site is not in question. Naturally she attributes my opposition to her to come only from malign motives. I understand myself very well, a great deal better than Von understands herself, and I know, and I do not begrudge the fact, that I will not be popular here. But when I see the thoughtlessly cruel put downs she makes on people who have been offended by her, and the way she never once questions her own motives and what she can do to others, I am just sickened. This is a person who can be smiling nice, and I daresay very good company. The same person can also be a deeply unpleasant bully. But, as Hamlet said in disgust, and it was a sort of disgust of despair, “Let Hercules himself do what he may, the cats will mew and the dogs will have their day”.

jane Says:

“For me Roddick… admits Federer is a more talented tennis player but retains a sense of perspective and humor that I honestly believe Federer wouldn’t manage if it was the other way around.”

Deb, well put.

Von Says:


Thank you ever so much for that beautiful summation of my character. A very spoilt brat and a bully, mea culpa. Please tell me though, haven’t you done this about three (3) prior times? Deja Vu. I will not put forward a defense because I absolutely feel that it would be stupidity on my part to do so. I’m drained from these punctuated battles of yours and/or assessments. I’m thankful that my job evaluation is much more objective and full of praises. Anyway, thsnks for the update, and I suppose I can expect another in about 6 weeks, or thereabouts. I’ve had three (3) during the five (5) months I have been poting. I mentioned in a prior post, that I’ve been posting here for six (6) months, but it’s actually five (5). This on-going war with you has made it seem like six (6) years.

Sorry, but I don’t have a character summation for you. I won’t even attempt to do so. I wish you well. Please continue with the psych analysis. Thank you.

Von Says:


“For me Roddick is the saving grace for America – he admits Federer is a more talented tennis player but retains a sense of perspective and humor that I honestly believe Federer wouldn’t manage if it was the other way around.”

Very nice summation on Roddick and American sports figures. You’re right that Federer would not be as complimentary about Roddick’s game, vis-a-vis, at Wimby, Fed was asked before Roddick’s match with Gasquet, whom would he prefer to play, and Federer mentioned: “One has a serve, and the other has a game.” Talk about a put down, and is there any wonder why I dislike this man. He also didn’t have gracious comments about Ramirez-Hidalgo, either, albeit, he won the match.

Those who criticize Blake, Roddick and the other American players, do so, because they don’t have anything better to do. I’m sure if they tried they would find something good to comment, but that may involve some more thought.

NachoF Says:

Roddick doesnt retain ay sense of perspective and humor about it… he doesnt like Federer at all… at times he has even said “Im so sick of him”, trying to be funny but failing completely

deb Says:

NachoF if that’s the way you feel it’s fine. I don’t agree but I think you want an argument and I don’t think your worth aguing with.

Dr. Death Says:

Perhaps he does?

Never read about such a comment. Lost in Translation perhaps?

PJ Says:

I am American, and get annoyed with the American players. Part of it is not their fault. At times, I have gotten tired of watching them play over and over (always featured on television coverage, which makes sense), and having to deal with Patrick McEnroe.

As for Roddick, I don’t necessarily always like his attitude. The blow-ups, tantrums, and bullying on court annoy men. I’m not complaining that it’s unfair or anything, I just don’t like it. Some people think it adds to the sport, which, to a degree, it does. It is good to have different personalities on tour, but Andy’s just rubs me the wrong way at times.

And, Von, I have differing views than you on certain things, but I respect what you have to say. Saying that, though, I don’t think it’s necessarily right to say that people that bash the Americans have nothing better to do. While there may be times that it is simply them being bashed for being Americans, I don’t think that is always the case. Whether it’s positive or negative, the American men are doing something that is newsworthy. Recently, it has been negative. Blake has been losing finals to guys people think he should beat, and Roddick has had some on-court confrontations recently.

And, hey, if Roddick, Blake, or another American can pull off some wins like Querrey has, I’ll totally give him credit. I (unfortunately) had to when he beat Federer.

Von Says:


I have seen that section of film you speak of where Roddick said “Im sick of him.” It was at a charity exhibition that Roddick had for his foundation. He was asked to do impersonations of Sharapova and some other players. One person shouted out from the audience, “do Federer”, and Andy said, just waving his hand with a big smile on his face, “I’m just sick of him.” It was said in jest and the audience roared with laughter.


I undertsand about the blowups from Roddick. I personally don’t like blowups, but in some cases, the umpires can be very unreasonable, and Roddick loses his temper. Most of the players get angry at the umps from time to time. Unfortunately when Andy does it, it makes big headlines. However, I’m not condoning it.

My reference to the bashing of Americans is mainly due to some people’s attitude where there’s the stereotyping that all Americans are ‘ugly.” That’s what really rubs me the wrong way, and unfortunately, at times the American players are bashed unjustifiably, because of that stereotyping. For example, I posted some comments made by Federer regarding playing in Davis Cup and was verbally abused, because the poster felt I was American. He mentioned that all Americans were hilarious and asses. To me, that’s taking it too far. The comments and generalizations were unwarranted. It’s almost as if you’re an American then you must be bad, and that blows my mind.

NachoF Says:

I understand you guys are americans and want to make Roddick look good and humble… but the truth is you’d make a much better case arguing the same thing about Blake… Roddick has just always been a very bad loser and has always tried to hide his nasty (couldnt find a better word, sorry, english isnt my first language) comments with comedy… remember the press conference after losing to federer in australia 07?

Skorocel Says:

To sensationalsafin:

Passive vagina? LOL, that was the best possible “compliment” to Roger I’ve ever heard :) But seriously, the guy was slow and passive like hell in that IW semi – that’s true… I’ve maybe seen him quite disinterested in couple of matches here and there, but that wasn’t even remotely close to what I saw on that particular day…

Skorocel Says:

To PJ:

You’re right that it takes a Herculean effort to win even a set off Nadal on clay, but still, I think Ferrer had a chance yesterday – had he not choked… He led 3-0 and 40-15 on his serve, then had 3 consecutive setpoints (again, on his serve) at 5-4, 40-0, and then 2 BPs at 5-5, if I remember it correctly… Anyway, even though Nadal makes you fight for almost every single point, it’s exactly THESE points where he is at his most dangerous (i.e. when he’s trailing)… I still vividly recall that memorable Rome 2006 final, where at 1-4 in the 5th, Nadal won the very first point of that 6th game and was jumping in joy like he’s won the whole match…

The other thing, of course, is, that if you’re 5 all and deuce, and you go for a fancy smash off the bat (just like Ferrer did yesterday) instead of letting the ball bounce, and it in the end goes wide, then that’s all what Nadal needs to regain the momentum… You simply CAN’T afford to lose such points if you want to have (at least) a chance vs Nadal on clay… That’s a suicide! It somehow reminded me of that Hantuchova vs Ivanovic AO semi, where at 4 all in the 3rd (the very first point of that game, Hantuchova serving), the Slovak decided for a fancy FH drive-volley instead of letting the ball bounce, and in the end it landed behind the baseline… A couple of points later, she netted an easy FH volley – and that was it for my countrywoman… The point is, you always have to stay calm in such situations and not let your emotions get better of you! Tough to say what would’ve happened had Ferrer let that ball bounce, but you know – if you miss such a chance, then that’s all what Nadal needs to get back into the match/set…

Skorocel Says:

grendle said on Von:

“But when I see the thoughtlessly cruel put downs she makes on people who have been offended by her, and the way she never once questions her own motives and what she can do to others, I am just sickened.”

Believe or not, but she CAN admit her own faults! For example, cca 4 months ago, I too have received one quite heated reply from her, but afterwards, she had no problems to admit it was unnecessary from her – even though she certainly had some reasons to write such a reply…

Btw, I don’t see any reason for disliking you… After all, you’re a Fed fan (which I’m too), and I do quite enjoy your posts – even though some of them are quite hard to understand for a non-English speaker like me…

Skorocel Says:

To Von:

As for Monfils’s and Nalby’s decision to receive instead of serve, I don’t see any particular difference in it… It’s maybe an advantage in the deciding set (especially in a GS match, where, except for the USO, there isn’t any tiebreak in the 5th set), but I don’t consider it that important in the beginning of the match… You know, someone’s gotta serve first :)

Sometimes it’s actually a disadvantage to serve first – especially if you win the previous set and your opponent is more than eager to get back into the match… That’s what actually (almost) happened yesterday, when Fed had to fight really hard to win that very first game of the 3rd (after winning the 2nd set quite convincingly)…

Monfils definitely has some dynamite in that serve (even though I have to say I haven’t seen that many matches from him thus far), but Nalby? I’ve always thought of his serve as his main weakness. Surely, he can serve good at times, but his service motion always seemed somewhat “primitive” (or simple) to me, and he also often tended (and still tends) to produce a couple of double faults here and there (some of them coming in a very inappropriate moment – just like yesterday)…

As for Davy’s decision to skip Barcelona – well, it’s his problem, isn’t it? I wouldn’t call it a “greed”, since it’s only logical he would want to be fit for Rome/Hamburg (which are, after all, bigger, mandatory tourneys)… He may have finished that Estoril final, but who knows? Maybe that temptation to visit a nearby betting agency once again got better of him :) But seriously, he may seem to you as if he’s there just to “work” – but frankly, can you blame him? He’s one of the most “unpopular” No. 3s in the history of the sport, doesn’t attract sponsors and media attention at all (ehm, with one notable exception which happened last year in Poland), isn’t that famous even in his homecountry of Russia (at least from what I know), etc. etc., so it’s only logical he would view the whole thing as nothing but his profession. Frankly, who wouldn’t? Do you really think other players aren’t “greedy”? Everyone has some greed in them – whether it’s Fed, Nadal, A-Rod or Sampras. Or do you think the local organisers in Dubai didn’t offer A-Rod (who so far hasn’t played there even once) some under-the-table money? Of course they did, and of course he accepted it! Who wouldn’t? It’s maybe sad, but that’s how it goes in this life… Bag as much money as possible and don’t pay any attention/respect to others – that’s what life is about…

Speaking of that Davy’s supposed “greediness”, it somehow reminded me of his countryman Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who too seemed to play literally in every single tournament which there was at disposal. You know, the guy had his own plane (which, btw, Fed does have as well), gained some weight after his retirement, played poker, golf – simply, you could easily view him as a sort of “hedonist” who really knew how to spent his hard-earned money… But as I’ve already said – that’s what life is all about, isn’t it?

Re: that Davy’s “betting incident” in Poland last year, well, tough to say… Who knows? He may or may not be innocent, but you know, if a player of his calibre wins the 1st set in a match against a total nobody (in a tourney where he’s the main favourite, no less), and then there are suddenly all those wagers appearing, then there really must be something on it, don’t you think? So the question in this case wouldn’t be whether he’s innocent or not, but whether it was purely his own “greediness” which was responsible to do such thing, or whether he was forced to do so (quite possibly by the Russian/Ukrainian mafia)? You know, it’s easy to say “I would never have done such thing”, etc., but if someone would tell you: “Either you’ll do it, or we’ll kill your mother/wife/whoever”, then you would certainly think twice… I’m maybe way off on this one, but that’s how I see it…

In my opinion, the only reasonable solution would be to simply BAN any betting on tennis matches, period! The people in ATP have so far acted as if they didn’t know about anything, but the fact is, match fixing is a common thing in almost every single sport you can bet on… For example, my hometown’s soccer club’s president (who was a former referee) has gained tremendous money just by allowing a particular team some “fabricated” penalty kicks here and there… It’s maybe sad, but that’s the way it goes…

Skorocel Says:

To Von:

Btw, speaking about that Barcelona tourney, I’ve just noticed that the Galaxie Sport channel is going to broadcast it – even though “only” the closing stages (i.e. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)… Will the Tennis Channel broadcast the tourney in the US as well?

Nadal, Federer Says:

[...] confidence he gained in Monte Carlo will translate into another strong performance in Rome. While I slogged Fed early on the clay, I’m slowing coming around to him on this surface. As Guerry rightly pointed out, in the last [...]

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