Federer Gets Easy French Open Draw; Nadal, Djokovic in Same Half
by Sean Randall | May 23rd, 2008, 8:20 am
  • 115 Comments

The French Open draws are finally out. I won’t go into my picks just yet, but I will say it looks good for the top players Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Federer opens against Sam Querrey while Rafa gets a qualifier. Djokovic has to deal with Denis Gremelmeyr.

The big question mark going into the draw was in which half the No. 3 ranked Djokovic would land. Turns out the Serb’s in the Nadal half, so good news for Federer who really won’t play anyone of interest until the later stages of his section where he could run into guys like Juan Monaco, Igor Andreev or Stan Wawrinka. In the semifinals it will likely be either Nikolay Davydenko or David Ferrer. So Fed’s gotta be happy.

By comparison Nadal’s road is much tougher with Jarkko Niemenin, Fernando Verdasco and then possibly David Nalbandian or Nico Almagro.

Novak’s road also has a few potential bumps with Canas and Moya maybe, but I think in all the top 3 will take what they were given, especially Federer.

I should also say there are some pretty interesting opening rounders. In draw order: Ancic v. Seppi; Wawrinka v. Kohlscreiber; Clement v. Monfils; Robredo v. Coria; Bagdhatis v. Bolelli; Kuerten v. Mathieu; Young v. Ginepri; and, Nieminen v. Kiefer.


Click here for the full draw.


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115 Comments for Federer Gets Easy French Open Draw; Nadal, Djokovic in Same Half

ChrisM Says:

This is a cake draw for Federer… if he botches this run to the final, he’ll probably have to skip Halle for some psyche reconstruction ahead of Wimbledon.


jane Says:

Federer fans should be happy with the draw; Rafa’s not so much.

I see Baggy and Hewitt are both back – and even Dancevic.


Shital Green Says:

Is Federer really the safest once again in the draw? Montanes, Ancic, Karlovic, Seppi, Monaco, Starace, or Cilic can surprise him before the quarter.

Denis GREMELMAYR, a lefty, plays well on clay. He defeated Almagro at Barcelona quarter final last month and, before that, made it to semi at Estoril. Djoko, who has never played this guy, won’t have easy time with him in the opening round. Besides the usual, Djoko should be cautious about Marcel GRANOLLERS, if he makes it there, who won Houston this year by taking down Blake in the final. Baghdatis, who made it to R16 last year here, could prove to be a real challenge for Djoko in the quarter.

Jane, your countryman, Dancevic will try every bit to go beyond the 1st round against the qualifier, though he does not have a strong clay court record. If he does, he will meet Djoko, and we will get a chance to fight, and I am mentally prepared to lose. Eve if Dancevic is beatable, you are not.

In the opening round, Nadal has a complete unknown at this point. Qualifiers are always the most dangerous to be apprehensive about if you have not met before. Zola will have reasons to complain, with Nalby and Djoko on Nadal’s side of the draw, but before the quarter he does not have to be concerned about anybody, maybe except Verdasco. So up until that point, he will be taking out pretty much every one in straight sets and will be saving energy for big matches.


MikeK Says:

Federer is a really lucky man for his draw. If you had to pick the worst draw possible, what would it be?

Mine would be:
Kuerten Round 128 (Sentimental value)
Safin 64 (Aus Open)
Stepanek 32 (Rome)
Canas 16 (Nemesis)
Nalbandian Qtr (Nemesis)
Djokovic SF (Real #2 on clay)
Nadal F (Good luck, how is that backhand? Take the ball on rise for 3 out 5 sets against Nadal?)

Instead he should have a cakewalk to the final. Now we have Federer and Nadal, with probably a beat up Nadal by heavy blows by Djokovic. Nadal prevails, but Federer can phone in the victory with Davystinko against Federer. (0-12)

Who wants to phone in my draw, instead?


jane Says:

Shital Green,

“Eve if Dancevic is beatable, you are not.” Thanks for that. Actually if Dancevic were to meet Djokovic, I’d cheer for Djoko. Just because he’s from my country does not mean I’ll rally behind him, though I do like his game on hard courts. Not sure I’ve ever seen him play on clay.

Yes, Djoko has a tough opening rounder – Gremelmeyr pushed Roger at Estoril.

As for Roger’s draw, yes, there are threats, as there are everywhere throughout, but of those names you list above, I can see anyone taking out Fed, unless maybe Ancic if he charges? Karlovic can push Fed to tiebreaks maybe, especially because his serve may have even more bounce at RG, but he doesn’t seem to come out on top in many of those. On second look, Fed also has Andreev, who has done well at RG in past years I think (?).

It seems Rafa just faces some tougher clay players – and Nalby is there looming.

But until it’s played out it’s really tough to say. When I made my initial comment it was based on that fact that Roger won’t have to face Nalbandian, Djokovic, Canas, Murray, Almagro – people who’ve troubled him. I see no one who’s won against him in his quarter – except Gonza. There are a few on the lower half.

I wonder how Tsonga will do here, or Gasquet? Be interesting to see.


ChrisM Says:

“Is Federer really the safest once again in the draw? Montanes, Ancic, Karlovic, Seppi, Monaco, Starace, or Cilic can surprise him before the quarter.”

Surprise him with a Tonya Harding sneak attack, maybe… not with their tennis.


jane Says:

typo: “I can see anyone” should be “can’t”


jane Says:

Bodo says Nadal should be ranked no.1 at the French Open; I am inclined to agree.

Here are his words:

“This is somewhat unrelated, but Nadal should be the top seed at Roland Garros — that much is self-evident. The guy has won three French Open titles in a row. What more could you ask? And if you believe in the theory of seedings, he’s earned the right to get Nikolay Davydenko instead of Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. Or look at it in this, counterintuitive way: By the logic of seedings, Federer has earned the right to play the No. 2 player in the world, Nadal, in the final. But Djokovic may have something to say about that.

Somehow, I don’t see Federer filing a protest. “


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

what a surprise another rigged cupcake draw for Federer


tennisguy Says:

Jane … a raw is random in how it pits the seeds. All tournaments these days use computer generated random draws. The only guarantee is that the top 2 seeds will not meet before the finals. Seeding Rafa 1 does not guarantee that he would not have Djokovic in his half of the draw. Think of the Australian Open this year, where Fed the number one seed had Djokovic in his half.

That being said, I do believe that the random draw is a mistake.


zola Says:

Rafa’s draw is the toughest.
I think they should just give Federer a bye to the final.

Djoko might have a tough openning. nothing he cant handle, but then he can watch movies till his semi with hopefully Rafa.

We will see. One match at a time! Come on Rafa! stary healthy!


Tenoch Says:

Whats all this talk about Federer and Nadal!! the real king of Clay is back, Guillermo Coria will go all the way!!!


zola Says:

Sean,
I forgot to write that this was another “timely” post. Thanks a lot.


Shital Green Says:

Let me add some fun to Bodo’s opinion of seeding Nadal as No.1 at RG. Although it has some merit, his consecutive wins in the last 3 years cannot be the logical criteria. If ITF and ATP agree to revamp the current system, it may work better: Let’s say they agreed to have 5-6 matches on each surface leading to a slam and players would be seeded according to the points they earn. It would be called Seeding by Surface Race Points. This system would have to add 3-4 international series and at least 2 Masters Series to Grass. Actually, I like this idea. Thanks, Jane.


noel Says:

novak has the easiest quarter with no one in a position to challenge him on current form.canas and moya have excellent clay court credentials but have done nothing in this season to make them even an iota of a threat to novak.he really is in just about the best possible situation.
nadal certainly won’t have it easy from the third round onwards with keifer,verdasco,almagro and nalby likely to provide some test although i can’t see anyone beating him.
fed would be happy to avoid novak in the sf but his path to the final is not all that easy because montanes,seppi,monaco,wawrinka are all in good form on clay.i don’t like the fact that so many excellent clay court players like davydenko,ferrer,robredo,ferrero etc are in the same quarter.i have no doubt that the sf opponent of fed-most likely davy or ferrer- will provide a very stern test to fed and fed’s place in the final is not a certainty by any stretch.while a fed-nadal final with a nadal win appears likely,i get the feeling that novak would just be fresh enough-due to the easy draw- to outlast rafa in the sf this year and then fed in the final.rafa is not in his best shape and will certainly be very tired by the time he reaches the sf.of course,a fresh and injury-free nadal is just about invincible on clay.


Daniel Says:

Well, Fed’s draw is actually easier if we see it as long run, but his first matches will be harder than Nadal’s.

The problem for Nadal begans in the quarters where he will have to face Nalbandian (finally), than Djoko in the semis and, most likely, Fed in the final. Boy, if he wins this one he would be with no doubt the King of clay!


jane Says:

I think Djokovic’s game matches up better against Fed on clay, and so, if by some miracle Djoko beats Rafa, Fed has a good shot at the title.

If Rafa gets through all of his challenges, however, he gets to tie Borg. And deservedly so.


grendel Says:

Daniel, a Nalby/Nadal quarter is an enticing prospect, potentially, match of the tournament. And Nadal will be there, waiting.

But will Nalbandian?


jane Says:

tennisguy,

Yes, I am aware of how the draws work, and Bodo gives a good breakdown of that in his article too.

But you say “That being said, I do believe that the random draw is a mistake.”

So what is the alternative? Shital Green proposed an interesting theory above that would shake things up a lot in terms of “protecting rankings” and allowing for more flux. I like it.

Or go back to the old way Bodo discusses in his “luck of the draw” article This was in the 70s & 80s, when the top 16 seeds were given specific, secured spots?


zola Says:

Shital
***Let’s say they agreed to have 5-6 matches on each surface leading to a slam and players would be seeded according to the points they earn. It would be called Seeding by Surface Race Points. This system would have to add 3-4 international series and at least 2 Masters Series to Grass. Actually, I like this idea. Thanks, Jane.***

I like this idea. Then if the players want a better place in the GS draw, they have to paticipate and “earn” that place. I think this will be a better motivation for participation in master series than fines and ranking point punishments. I don’t know about Disneyman, but to me it is a great idea.


zola Says:

Jane,
thanks for Bodo’s article. It is interesting. I wish the did the draw the old way.


Moya! Says:

Noel: How can you call Robredo an excellent clay court player? He got into the top ten a couple of years ago for winning a hamburg with no fed,nadal,nalby etc and stayed there for years. He has always been a complete bore with no spark at all. He does exactly the same thing every single match and the only thing that has made him an average player ( with incredible luck in the ranking system ) is 20 hours a day practice.

I really hope Moya gives his very best in this years french as it could be his last. He is a wonderful player and it would be sad to see him go out in a early round. He can get to the last 16 but he has hardly any chance against Djokovic unfortunately.
By the way just want to say that Nadal should watch out for Verdasco if hes playing well.


jane Says:

Yes, the more I think about it, the more I like Shital’s fun idea too. It makes sense in that it would heat up MS competition, it would make players earn their spots and not rest on their laurels, it would add more grass events to the tour, and so forth.


MMT Says:

Years ago seedings used to be a combination of ranking and results on the surface and at the event – however, Wimbledon had a problem because clay court specialists were often skipping with the excuse that the seeding was unfair, so they changed to this comical approach of concocting the draw.

I think the old system made sense, but unfortunately today there would be too many complaints about the potential for bias and manipulation of the draw. I think they should keep it based on ranking, but make it logical 1v16, 1v8, 1v4, 1v2, from round of 16 to the final. That way, you can’t claim the draw is “rigged” as is the lame excuse of so many protagonist/antagonist seems to benefit from or lose out on the draw.

Keep it simple, stupid.


zola Says:

Actually a little more spin on Shital’s idea.

The draw should be there by numbers.The places already assigned. but the rankings should be determined by the surface race as Shital proposed.

1 -4 each have their quarters with numbers in them and places for wildcards and qualifiers already assigned.say No 1-4 play a qualifier in the first round. Each quater gets a wild card and seeds are places accoding to their rankings.

then the seed by surface begins. whoever gets the highest points during that period ( 2 master series, 2 international series) gets the spot for No 1 seed, the same for the rest.

So, we would not know before the master series on a particlular surface who the potential seeds are, but we would know where the no 1 would be. Then people have to fight for their spots or for avoiding a potential spot. This will be the best motivation for players to take part in MS and tournaments.

I think that will make tennis more exciting.


andrea Says:

djokovic got ousted in the first round of miami (technically second round due to the bye) so the same thing can happen here, although it might not be in the first round. i can’t say the same for nadal or fed. i think the best of 5 sets will prove to be djokovic’s downfall.

i think a possible fed/tsonga match up would be interesting. gasquet is no threat, despite his amazing come back against roddick last year at wimbledon, he’s fizzled.


jane Says:

andrea,

” i think the best of 5 sets will prove to be djokovic’s downfall.”

Do you mean on clay specifically?

Because remember that Djokovic’s record in GS events is darn good: last year – semis at RG and Wimbie, final at USO; this year won AO. So to say best of 5 will be his downfall seems a little cheeky.

Also, ANY player can go out in the first round; remember too that your man Fed lost in the first round at Dubai. It often depends who they meet. Murray troubles Fed. Djoko faced a hot and unknown player at Miami. He faces a potential threat here too, with Gremelmyre – we all know he troubled Fed in the semis at Estoril, dominating in one set, pushing in another. But in best of 5 I think Djoko has a better shot than in a best of 3, when it’s over so quickly.


Skorocel Says:

Daniel said:

“The problem for Nadal begans in the quarters where he will have to face Nalbandian (finally), than Djoko in the semis and, most likely, Fed in the final. Boy, if he wins this one he would be with no doubt the King of clay!”

Well, Rafa’s the undisputed King of Clay already for 3 and 1/2 years, but well, if he indeed beats all those guys en route to the title this year, now that would be something! Anyway, I’m literally dying to see that 1/4 final between him and Nalby!


Louise Says:

I don’t think Federer’s quarter is a cakewalk at all. There’s Ancic in the 3rd round, Monaco or Karlovic (tiebreaks that can go either way, yes?) in the 4th, either Wawrinka, Volandri, Gonzo or Gasquet in the QF, then Davydenko or Ferrer in the semis. It’s Djoko’s quarter that’s the easiest, an almost guaranty that he will be in the semis.


Voicemale1 Says:

The worst part for Federer is his choke in Hamburg last week. He’s not playing well this year as it is, but after squandering healthy leads in both Monte Carlo & Hamburg, even more players will feel like they have a chance against him. His own Quarter has 1 potential land mine: Gonzalez. Yeah he’s unpredictable & ill-tempered. But Gonzo plays very well on clay, and when his forehand is cranking he can beat anyone. And he did beat Federer on a hard court six months ago in Shanghai. Even beyond that, should Federer get to the Semis that last guy he wants to see there is Davydenko, who had him on the ropes in last years French Semi before Kolya choked that match away. But with Federer below his lofty standard, Davydenko, having won in Miami this year, he might not fold so tamely this time.

Nadal’s Quarter looks like any Spanish National Championship you can find, with six Spaniards already in it. Nadal has a great record against them, and I agree with others that say Nalbandian’s game on clay matches up much better with Federer than Nadal. I’m not convinced Nalbandian will make it to Nadal, as Almagro looms in the 3rd Round for him. I thought this was a really good Quarter for Nadal to have.

The Davydenko Quarter has 4 guys in it that have won a Major!! Will be a rough one for Kolya, since Ferrer awaits as a potential QF match-up.

The Djokovic Quarter is also extra tricky for him. Not only with his opening match, but there are a lot of guys in his section he’s never played before. And also a lot of guys that he has an even record against that play very well on clay, like Moya & Mathieu. It’s not that Djokovic is in substantial danger of losing early (although it’s possible), but there are a lot of guys here that can force him into a lot of long matches, such as the one against Patience last year (who’s in his Quarter again). Djokovic isn’t the most robust of players physically, and the last thing Djokovic wants is a lot of long 4-set matches to get to a Semi with Nadal.


zola Says:

well,
if Fed wants to be the GOAT, I prefe HIM to take out all the big ones ( Nalby, Djoko) enroute to his title.

no cakewalk? OK pancakewalk.
This is just a ticket to the final to Federer.


noel Says:

couldn’t agree more jane’s response to andrea.best of three can become a lottery sometimes and can get over very fast.best of five allows one a lot of time to make a comeback and the overall quality of the better player shows.it really separates the men from the boys.that is why one sees so few surprises when it comes to winning the slams or reaching the finals.novak reached sf at wimb/french last year despite being totally exhausted.this year,he has been very smart with his schedule and has become a better player as well.he makes sure that he doesn’t spend too much time on court against lesser players and therefore is fresher for the final stages of a tournament.the first set he lost in oz open was in the final.i think he is in much better shape physically this year and remains the only truly serious contender-apart from fed of course- for all the slams.he has the game to win on any surface.i don’t find any weakness in his game.his serve and backhand-esp the up the line one- are better than fed’s and he matches quite well in the other areas as well.i also feel that fed has stopped improving while novak can still improve and the level he could potentially reach is mind-boggling.in his prime,he probably would be a more effective player than fed although i can’t imagine anyone emulating fed in terms of the sheer beauty of his game.alas,it appears as if fed’s days as the no.1 player are numbered and novak should take over some time this year.only a big decline in novak’s form or an injury will allow fed to retain his year end no.1 rank.it’d be interesting to see how fed responds to this challenge.


sensationalsafin Says:

I do not agree at all that Djokovic is the real number 2 on clay. If Federer wasn’t a choke he would have had 2 clay MS this year. And about Federer fans being happy that he has an easy draw, yeah right! I couldn’t be more pissed. Hasn’t anyone ever noticed that when Federer gets easy draws he winds up losing more often than not. Not to just anybody, though, I mean to Djokovic or Nadal in the finals. Playing some random 50th ranked player who is just happy to be on center court and then playing number 2 or 3 who want to rip Fed’s head off, that’s a ridiculous jump that Federer has struggled with a lot in the past.


Daniel Says:

grendel

As Nalby didn’t provide nothing good so far, I think he will be ready in RG, just the way he likes it, a sudden increase in his level of play taking the tour by surprise. He always did good there, at least the last years, and as he is confident against Nadal (remember last years finals Master Series) and has an easy draw too, I think (hope) he will be prepared!

Skorocel

Yes, Rafa already is the king of clay of his generation, but a win against those players for a fourth croud when they are getting close (Fed and Djoko at least won a set and lead for a while) would make this tournament a whole more special, proving he can win it under pressure too.


zola Says:

***I do not agree at all that Djokovic is the real number 2 on clay****

when did that happen? me neither!
yes Djoko has 1 MS on clay. Fed has at least 4 and has beein a finalist at least another 4 times and been a finalist in RG twice.

no way Djoko is the No 2 on clay!


Moya! Says:

Now that it’s open season for having a go at Federer – can’t grumble, I suppose, he’s had a good run- even so, it might be nice to hear a dissenting voice. Here is Andy Roddick, in recent conversation with Peter Bodo:

“Nothing has changed this year as far as what Roger can do with a racket in his hand,” Andy said, when I asked if he felt that Federer is more vulnerable now than in the past. “If you have the theoretical big point to play and one guy to play it, you want the racket in his hand. And I know from experience that having to talk about a ‘slump’, or being asked if you’re ‘struggling’ every single day takes its toll. It’s impossible not to start thinking about that stuff.

“If Roger didn’t have to hear or be asked about struggling, I don’t think he’d give the idea a second thought. I honestly believe that. But how tough is it if you’re playing a Masters Series final and, when you lose, people ask ‘what’s wrong?’ It’s quite a monster he’s created for himself. Look, he gets to the semfinal of a Slam and loses to the guy who wins the tournament and people are talking about it with, almost with. . . disgust. I don’t think Pete Sampras ever had to deal with that. Wimbledon was different, but Pete could lose to someone in Paris, or Melbourne, and nobody said much. Roger, the guy’s won four or five Masters titles on clay, he gets it every time he loses a match. Roger is unlike anything we’ve ever seen in men’s tennis.”

Meanwhile, one has to laugh at complaints at the draw coming from Nadalian quarters. This is a guy who frequently gets it handed to him on a plate. Consider Wimbledon, 2006, AO this year. Meanwhile, is Federer’s draw so easy? He had an immense struggle with Karlovic only recently. Gasquet is in hell at the moment – who knows when he’ll emerge. Maybe next week. I reckon Warwinka is dangerous, and difficult anyway for Fed for obvious reasons. Gonzales may be swept aside. Then again, maybe he’ll sweep Federer aside! He gave Fed a lot of trouble on clay couple of years ago. And then if Fed makes it to the semis and Davydenko is there – well, it is just foolish to pretend Davydenko is not now a very genuine and potent threat.

Meanwhile, who’s Nadal got? Seriously, who? Sorry, who was that, didn’t catch his name? Oh, I see – who he? Nalbandian in the quarters – yes, that’s real (at last!), if he gets there. Personally, I’d bet on Almalgro beating Nalbandian, whilst Almalgro will just do the Spanish curtsey to Nadal. So the likelihood is, Nadal will face NOBODY until the semis. But will that be Djokovic? Probably, but a Djokovic in what condition? Plenty of people in his draw to wear him down and present Nadal with a very tasty little dish indeed – just like at Wimbie last year.

So it’s perfectly possible that Nadal has a light little stroll into the final. That is one scenario.

There are others. But we keep hearing them. Nice to keep a sense of perspective…..


grendel Says:

sorry, the above was me. Moya! is my naughty son, who didn’t change the bloody whatnot.


jane Says:

Not sure who said Djoko is the no. 2 on clay, but I have to agree that he’s not – much as I hope for him to be some day. Fed is still a threat; he came really close to winning in Hamburg as did Djoko. But there are a number of clay specialists who I don’t think Djoko has beaten on this surface – like Ferrer, for instance. We’ll know more about Djoko’s clay game after RG. I wouldn’t count Roger out with a shot at winning this thing if he faces a fatigued, even possibly injured, Rafa, or maybe Djoko.

sensationalsafin, you present an interesting – and contrary – theory, that an easier draw can work against a player. But which is worse – being exhausted from hours on the court fighting through tough contenders, or not having faced a real challenge? I am not sure. That’s probably open to debate. I’d love to hear what the players think about it, but I am guessing they’d rather have the cakewalk ;-) Do you think if Fed could’ve chosen to play through all of those days of rain delay, every single day, & not have a walkover, etc, at Wimbie last year he would’ve? I doubt it.


grendel Says:

See, told you. The orthodoxy reasserts itself. Don’t believe a word of it!


jane Says:

There are those who can challenge Federer, but I’d say more so after the quarters – Davydenko, Ferrer, Tsonga (maybe? he likes the ‘big show’), Stepanek and Hewitt. Prior to the quarters, the only real possible threats are Gonza (which I said above) and Gasquet (depending – a new coach can work wonders so it wouldn’t be unheard of for him to rise phoenix-like out of his own ashes; I for one would like to see it.)

But to say Rafa’s draw is a stroll seems rather devil’s advocate-ish of you grendel – he’s got Kiefer, Verdasco, Youzhny (a nemesis), Murray, Almagro, Nalbandian, Djokovic, Mathieu & Berdych (another possible nemesis) all in his half – doesn’t seem like a walk in the park to me.

It all depends, really, on how the draw plays out. I still like Shital Green’s surface meritocracy method to the draws; it’d be a fun experiment anyhow.


jane Says:

I’m hardly orthodox grendel – I am being realistic. I realize it’s a matter of perspective; yours is one, mine is another. But I’ve looked at the draws with some objectivity.

I agree Rafa had a good draw at the AO, for example. He didn’t play Tsonga the right way but Tsonga was on fire too. That was Rafa’s chance to get to the final, especially after Roddick got knocked out. But I also think Roger had an easy time of it last year at Wimbledon. And this year, Djoko got lucky breaks to win Rome – it happens to the best of them.

As for this RG draw, they all have potential stumbling bocks; Roger’s will come later on, imo. In any case, he has to make his way through, like anyone else.


grendel Says:

Youzhny not a nemesis on clay. Murray was just effortlessly brushed aside by Nadal only the other day. Almagro is great, but doesn’t for one second think he can challenge Nadal (or, on past performance, federer). Mathieu has the guns to extend Nadal, but not the mind – he’s Nadal’s bunny, I’m afraid. Berdych used to trouble Nadal, and still could (though not on clay), but he won’t. Mind again. People always go on about forehands etc. Jesus, at this level, it’s largely about the goddam mind. Who’s left – ah, Nalbandian, yes, I’ve already agreed he’s for real, but he has to beat Almagro first, and he won’t do that unless he really decides to bring his pail to dinner. Verdasco – now he could be the best player in the world, he really is something. But come on, he’s a fucking head case, we all know that. Plays like a dream and drives you to distraction. Kiefer – like him, he’s a perverse nutter and very enjoyable – but: yesterday’s man. As for Djokovic, I’ve already suggested one possible scenario where he trails in exhausted a la Wimbie, nicely wrapped up for Nadal to dispatch to the self-pity room. That might not happen – of course. My only point was – it might!


andrea Says:

at the AO open this year, if ferrer would have won the third set i doubt novak would have won that match – he was struggling to close out that set to begin with…lots of breathing troubles. at the us open last year he was also struggling against ferrer in the semis, getting medical treatment etc.

we all know he’s one of the worst for retirements, medical time outs etc.

even if he makes it deep into the second week, what are the chances of another retirement? he’s still too inconsistent…..


grendel Says:

My last comment is awaiting moderation, whatever that means. So dunno if my take on Nadal’s lot is on view. Sure, Federer had a good draw at Wimbie, and haven’t we been told all about it, again and again. For some reason, Nadal tends to escape this scrutiny. Meanwhile, amidst the banter, I was trying to smuggle in a serious point. You just never know, with competition. In one tourney this year, can’t remember which one it was actually, Nadal – for once – had a very tough draw. But one way or another, they all fell by the wayside, and he ended up having nobody – though he still managed to lose. Two years ago at Wimbie, Federer had, on paper, a difficult draw. But he dealt easily with the tricky ones, and was given a real battle by Mahut, who was pretty much unknown in those days. You just can’t tell, that’s my real point, such as it is. So Nadal fans, stop whinging – things are better than they look!


jane Says:

“You just never know, with competition.”

True. It tough to tell until it plays out – early round upsets often occur which change the whole shake down. Look at Murray getting knocked out by Tsgona at the AO – and then the guys builds momentum and confidence and makes it all the way to the finals. Same could happen here- not with him likely since I’ve read he’s pulled out of Cassablanca with that reoccuring knee issue – but there are others who could break through and make their mark.


Dr. Death Says:

“Victory is reserved for those willing to pay the price”

“Victory belongs to the most persevering.”


Dan Martin Says:

Rafa having Nalbandian and Djokovic before the final is not a good draw.


Agassifan Says:

nalbandian has THRASHED nadal on the two occasions that they have met, albeit on hard indoor courts. Nadal could manage only 7 games in two matches! If they meet again at the French, its going to be a draining QF for nadal, which he might even lose. Then to fac djokovic in the semis – if these two matches happen, nadal is losing to Fed in the final, if Fed goes that far.

And nadal’s wimbledon days are done. He had HUGE luck the last two years not being eliminated in the early rounds, or players getting injured or retiring against him. Its not going to happen this year.

Becker peaked in 1989, age 21, and was pretty much finished by 1993, age 25, same with a lot of other top players, so its especially likely that a players like nadal, with his immensely physical game, will be done in another couple of years.

Djokovic will probably last much longer. Though he will never win as many slams as federer, he just cannot persevere that much. he will win 4-6 slams though, maybe a couple more.


Daniel Says:

Agassifan, I think the same way, it’s much more easy for Fed to get to another RG final than Nadal at Wimbledon. Last year he was the luckiest of all. He almost lost to Soderling, Youzhny was crushing him before geting injured and Djoko won a set hardly moving.

Nadal did well in the lasts Wimbledon because he gets momentum after the clay season where he wins everything. The same way the competition improve agaisnt Fed, it also did against Nadal, so this year, I think, he won’t even be in the semis in Wimby. But he still is two time former runner-up and somebody will have to prove what I’m sayng.

But, once again, time will tell. It’s becoming a cliche already!


Von Says:

jane:

“But I’ve looked at the draws with some objectivity.”

This is where you need to be cogitative. You are pondering “Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?” Trod softly, defty and carefully, dear Pollyanna. :)


Agassifan Says:

Sam querry, Dr. Ivo, roddick (if healthy), djokovic, youzhny, blake, berdych – any numberof players could beat nadal on grass.

Has there been ANY player who has reached 3 or more finals in all 4 slams? I doubt it. Lendl reached two wimbledon finals, agassi too. Fed has 3 or more in all except french, 2 at the french.

If fed reaches the final in the french this time, he would have made 3 or more on all slams. And mind you, on different surfaces – I am not a big “LAVER IS GOAT” proponent, since he played 3 of the 4 slams on grass, and there were probably only 10 players on the circuit in his time who could beat him, ever. Today even the 100th ranked player can beat the top ranked player if he is having a good day.


Agassifan Says:

I checked – LAver and Rosewall are the only ones to have 3 or more finals in all 4 slams. But then, 3 were on grass, so its not as difficult as it is today.

Borg had 4 finals or more in the 3 tournaments he used to play – I wish he had played the AUS open regularly (he just went there once in 1973), since he would have racked up a few more slams, since it was on grass, his favorite.

Lendl and Agassi have 2 or more in all 4 slams on different surfaces.

So Fed reaching the final of the french this year will also be something special – nobody has 3 or more slam finals on 4 different surfaces.


sensationalsafin Says:

Hell if Federer wins the French this year I’m gonna say that’s as special as it gets… well, the Olympic Gold would probably make it even more special.

Even though the clay has restored order this year, it’s still been all around unpredictable. Rome was way weird. Monte Carlo was normal. But Hamburg had a surprise semifinalist. Who knows what’ll happen at the French. It might be Davydenko vs Nalbandian in the final or something. Wouldn’t that be something.


MC Says:

Federer couldn’t have asked for a better draw. He will make the final.

Djokovic and Nadal should clash in the other semi, though if Nalbandian plays at his top level he has the game to beat Nadal in the quarters.

So i’m picking a Federer vs Djokovic/Nalbandian final, which Fed will win!


Skorocel Says:

“Hell if Federer wins the French this year I’m gonna say that’s as special as it gets… well, the Olympic Gold would probably make it even more special.”

The Olympics are not important. Who cares about them? Even Fed has voiced some doubts about his participation in Beijing, and (even though he most probably did so because of fear from being too much exhausted/playing in that allegedly “polluted” air in China) I’m not wondering… All Fed has to do is to win that damn Paris title at least once – and that’s about it…


Steven Balusik Says:

I have seen a few draws like this lately where they place the #2 and #3 seed in one side of the draw. To me, it seems like #1 and #3 should be on one side and #2 and #4 should be on the other side of the draw. The way it is now seems unfair to the #2 seed. It would be really tough for Nadal if he were constantly pitted against Djokovic on hard court. Luckily for Rafa it is clay.


Ryan Says:

This is ofcourse another wonderful oppurtunity for Federer to win this thing n settle the GOAT debate once and for all.But there is a huge difference between can win,should have won and WON.He could think about the amount of pressure he can say goodbye to if he wins this.This is the slam for him.If he wins this then he can just unload, play like 2006 and beat the crap out of everyone else for the remaining season.


Von Says:

Skorocel:

“All Fed has to do is to win that damn Paris title at least once – and that’s about it…”

And what happens after that? :)


Voicemale1 Says:

It’ll be a lot easier for Nadal to win Wimbledon than for Federer to win the French. Wimbledon today is nothing like what it was in the Sampras days, when all you needed to win there was a Big Serve and then knock off a volley. The grass was much shorter then, so it was basically a dirt patch by the 2nd week, making the ball essentially die on the court and never come up most of the time. They also used a smaller tennis ball back the too. The court back then was all about Big Serving. Consider this: Sampras never lost a final at Wimbledon, whereas he lost plenty of Finals and other matches at places like the US Open & The Australian Open (because the truer bounce gave his opponents much better looks at his shots). Dnd Ivanisevic never made another Final at any other Major except Wimbledon, where he reached 4 of them. The days are long gone (thankfully) when The Big Serve ruled Wimbledon.

With longer grass and a larger ball, a guy like Nadal is helped enormously. The grass today rewards one thing now more than ever: athleticism. Nadal gets as far as he does there because of his extraordinary movement. That’s the problem big hitters face against him today – they can’t “hit through” him consistently enough on grass like they can on a fast hard court because Nadal’s footwork gets him into position much more often than not, enabling him to deal with their shots much more effectively. And from the back court, none of the guys mentioned as his potential pitfalls are gonna be able to live with him in a rally. And Nadal’s lefty slice serve carries these guys out of position much more than they would like. Go back an look at his serve stats for the last two years there. That lefty serve of his almost never gets broken at Wimbledon, and it will continue to get him far there as long as he can still hook it the way he does.

Federer’s problem at the French is that he’s not a grinder – he’s an aggressive back court power player. He himself summed up playing on clay with the wisdom only someone like him has: he said that on clay, “… your serve won’t save you”. Exactly right. On the faster surfaces it can help a lot when the rest of the game isn’t working, or if you don’t have much game beyond your serve. But on clay you’re forced to have to play points with a lot of patience, defense, and fitness – the stock-in-trade of a grinder. Federer’s not moving all that well these days, for whatever the reason. Clay is a surface that demands peak fitness just to contend at the top level, especially in a Best of 5 format. And given his mediocre year up to now, a lot of guys will feel like they can take him down on clay. The loss to Stepanek in Rome was troubling. But more troubling were both of his chokes to Nadal this year. The rest of the players know a choke when they see one, and once they see it – that’s like blood in the water to the sharks. From strictly a physical standpoint, Federer is gonna lose the attributes needs to win the French more quickly than Nadal will lose the attributes he already has to win Wimbledon.


grendel Says:

“Nadal’s lefty slice serve carries these guys out of position much more than they would like. Go back an look at his serve stats for the last two years there. That lefty serve of his almost never gets broken at Wimbledon, and it will continue to get him far there as long as he can still hook it the way he does.” Well, I haven’t checked the stats – I leave that for those more industrious – but this certainly confirms my impression. It’s strange how this is not more common knowledge. It’s almost as if people think: well, Nadal is a claycourter, he clearly doesn’t have a riproaring serve, ergo: the serve can’t be all that effective on grass. But the eyes don’t deceive. And it’s not, also, as if the left slice serve is all that special, as left slice serves go – look at Pattie Schnyder’s for a real gem of the genre. Still, Nadal is an excellent student of the game, and no doubt he can improve it. But his serve down the T induces the passive response, allowing Nadal to assume control of the rally, and there’s generally only one winner then.

I know nothing about the subtleties of the different grasses, so I just assume that the Wimbledon grass is very tolerant indeed of Nadal’s heavy spin.

It’s for this reason, I beg to differ from fellow Fed fans. I do believe Nadal will be a potent force at Wimbie this year – regardless, frankly, of his draw.


jane Says:

gendel, you give a potential scenario for Nadal’s draw, but a similar scenario can be posed for Roger’s: for example, those threats you mention? Karlovic has never beaten Federer; sure there is a first time for everything, but the last time they met Karlovic couldn’t even take a set, how’s he supposed to take 3? Gasquet? He doesn’t have the mind to take it to Fed (or many) over the course of 5 sets. And he’s beaten Fed once – in 2005. Wawrinka? Come on; he’s never beaten Fed and I can’t see him taking out his country man and spoiling his GOAT quest. Gonza? He’s been struggling most of this year, and he’s beaten Fed only once in 11 tries, in a best of 3 set format, on indoor hard, when he was in the zone. Davydenko? He is maybe, maybe a threat but he melts against Fed; he’s never beaten him in 12 tires, even when he’s pushed Roger. So what if all three sets were tight in their RG match last year; in the end, Davy didn’t win one of them. That’s the pattern.

My point in this exercise is that I can do the same thing to Roger’s draw that you did to Rafa’s. It’s a matter of perspective, how one interprets the facts and what s/he sees in front of them.

I will repeat: Fed has a few threats lurking, particularly later on, but his draw is pretty good, all things considered.

Rafa’s draw isn’t horrible, but I think with both Nalby and Djoko on the horizon he’s got a tougher road to the final.

I agree with what someone above said – 1 & 3 and 2 &4 should be placed opposite one another. It’s seems to make logical sense.


jane Says:

Von,

“This is where you need to be cogitative. You are pondering “Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?” Trod softly, defty and carefully, dear Pollyanna. ”

Are you suggesting I am not being objective? Not sure how to interpret this line, though the smiley face suggests you’re maybe joking? I am not trying to fall on anyone’s sword, a la Dido on Aeneas’s but am simply trying to point out that while the way we look at draws is colored by perspective, there *are* some objective realities there. :-)


ChrisM Says:

“1 & 3 and 2 &4 should be placed opposite one another. It’s seems to make logical sense”

I don’t see how. When seeds were placed it was always 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3 — just as it would be 1 vs 16 and 2 vs 15, and so on.

Now that (some) seeds are drawn it’s 50/50 for the semifinal pairings, but logic would suggest that seedings, if placed, should always protect the highest-seeded player first.

We have several problems here. First, the seeds are not always placed anymore, so the actual number a player gets next to their name doesn’t mean as much as it used to mean, in terms of protection from and for other players.

Another huge problem is the seeding-by-surface at Wimbledon (rendered a lot less meaningful by the random drawing of seed placements) and the lack of seeding-by-surface at Roland Garros — but, with random seedings, a #1 seeded Nadal wouldn’t be any less likely to avoid Djokovic in the semis, unless we have a return to placing seeds throughout the draw by numbered correlation.


Fed-Rafa Says:

“I agree with what someone above said – 1 & 3 and 2 &4 should be placed opposite one another. It’s seems to make logical sense.”

Why should 1 face 3 and 2 face 4? If there is a choice of players, 1 should always get the easiest, because they have earned the right to have easy draws by being no.1 By your logic, 1 should play no.2 in the 1st round and not no.128 (in a fair draw that is)

All said and done, everyone has their share of easy draws. There is a reason why it is called the luck of the draw. Unless you have definite proof the draw has been rigged, no point harping about it.


Daniel Says:

Jane, I desagree regarding number 1, 2, 3 and 4. As number one if you have to face another top four, should be n. 4, as it is. It’s the bonus of being number one, and as mathematical aproaches if you sum 1 abd 4, 2 and 3, you got the same result. That’s why I thougth the draws should be not random, but by rankings specifically, 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, 4-5 in the quarter, this way is more fair, because you know who you will play accordingly with your rankings.


grendel Says:

Jane – your point is quite unnecessary. First of all, I was being just a little bit knockabout, you know. Nadal fans tend to have a struggle with reality when it comes to draws! But of course it is easy to unpick the quality of Fed’s opposition – that is really not the point. People have already done that. The general assumption is: Fed has an easy draw. I was suggesting: perhaps it is not QUITE so simple. Nothing more.

This business of objectivity amongst fans. I’ve been looking over a messageboard relating to Manchester United’s recent defeat of Chelsea in the Champions League. This of course has (delightfully) caused much anguish in the souls of Chelsea fans. Who deserved to win? (It went to the absolute wire). There are good arguments to be made on both sides, but no Chelsea fan spoke up for Man U, and vica versa. This is a tribal business. Where is truth? In tennis, it’s not quite like that – but closer than you might think – for all of us, however much we may claim to be above it all. That’s my take.


TD (Tam) Says:

Moya! thanks for posting Roddick’s classy comments about Federer. It certainly proves what an arrogant boor he really is. ;)

I agree with Bodo and wish the French would adopt Wimbledon’s style of seeding, playing on clay is a specialist surface and so the specialists should be ranked accordingly. Nadal has earned the right to have a somewhat easier draw. I am disappointed that Djokovic won’t be in Federer’s half. Roger of course gets another free meal ticket to the final. It is so unfair to Rafael.


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Von Says:

jane:

“Are you suggesting I am not being objective? Not sure how to interpret this line, though the smiley face suggests you’re maybe joking? I am not trying to fall on anyone’s sword, a la Dido on Aeneas’s but am simply trying to point out that while the way we look at draws is colored by perspective, there *are* some objective realities there.”

Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned anything, and my answer to you now will place me in a position that’s deja vu, which I was trying to avoid.

You are being absolutely objective, but the reality here is that your objectivity is NOT what some want to deal with. Hence, my comment about the sword. You’re slowly falling on the sword unintentionally, and are another victim of the subtle sarcasm, and at times, oft blatant and delusional thinking of others. There’s a head game being played here, but you’re not the guilty party — you’re merely a medium through which those who have deep, pent-up and underlying venom can now funnel that to all of whom it encompasses. My statement was that of being in a position to view the situation before me, and be the instrument in the proverbial addage of to be “forewarned is to be forearmed.”

In view of my foregoing utterances, I’ll probably be pulled into the spider’s web and be hugely compensated with undeserved tongue lashing. However, dear Pollyanna, this one’s on me. :) “You pay a great deal too dear for what’s given freely”. :)


Von Says:

TD:

“It certainly proves what an arrogant boor he really is.”

You’ve read my mind. When I read that quote, I thought how very classy of Andy — albeit, Federer has not been generous in his comments towards Roddick in the past. Nevertheless, Roddick who is slaughtered for just sneezing or breathing, is the one who stepped up, very eloquently and graciously, and silenced the critics. Is there any doubt as to why he is our favorite player? Here’s a smile from Andy to you, through me, for being one of his best fans. :)

“Nadal has earned the right to have a somewhat easier draw. I am disappointed that Djokovic won’t be in Federer’s half. Roger of course gets another free meal ticket to the final. It is so unfair to Rafael.”

Aeons or eons ago, on one occasion when I threw caution to the wind and spoke up about Federer’s easy draws, I was told he earned the right, by all and sundry. I believe Nadal has earned the right to a fairer draw, and Djokovic should have been in Federer’s side of the draw. However, there are some who would argue that mine is a superfluous argument. Who said life was fair.


Skorocel Says:

To Von:

If Fed indeed wins the whole tourney, then he can hang up his racquet for good… Just kidding :) But seriously, even though he may say “I wouldn’t trade even 10 FOs for even one SW19 triumph” (or something to this extent), he knows very well that FO will remain the most important goal for him till he finally hangs up that racquet for good… Some fans may point out he hasn’t won the Davis Cup or Olympics, but I wouldn’t mind, since these events are not important for me at all… He can win 30 MS tourneys, 10 TMCs, finish the year 10 times as a No. 1 player, spend a total of 500 weeks on the top spot – but still, that wouldn’t be enough for him to become the GOAT if he doesn’t win in Paris at least once. That’s at least my view…

Someone here mentioned that a possible win in Paris would quite possibly have “set him free”, and he would once again become the Roger of 2006… Well, tough to say, but what I’m 100 % sure of is that a win in Paris (against Nadal in the final, of course) would surely be a career defining moment for him. A win which would certainly release a tremendous amount of pressure off his shoulders… Yes, you can once again point out that it’s unnecessary for him to think about all these goals, records, et al, but to be honest, who wouldn’t have thought about them in his place? I mean, WHAT’s there left for him (in terms of motivation) at this stage of his career? Not that much in my opinion…

Anyway, tough to say what would happen if he really wins the whole thing… He may indeed once again start unloading, or he may just somehow squeeze out those remaining 2 slams, and quietly retire within 2-3 years, each time arriving in Paris just to “show up” (which would maybe be a shame, but still quite understandable)…

Anyway, I personally like the challenge which Nadal (and the possibility of winning that elusive trophy in Paris) represents for him in the FO final… This is THE MATCH that keeps him motivated, that keeps him hungry, and he knows that… If there hadn’t been Nadal, the guy would most probably have 3 FOs under his belt, but what’s most important, he would thus have virtually nothing to play for in the present time (better said, virtually nothing which would keep him hungry enough), so I wouldn’t mind if he had to wait another 1-2 years to finally lift that Paris trophy… Can he pull out an Agassi? Time will tell, but one thing is for sure – the quest for his 1st title in Paris goes through Rafael Nadal – most probably the greatest clay-court player ever, and it’s only up to Fed to rise to the occasion…


Fed-Rafa Says:

The french should definitely have surface seedings. Not to do a favor to Rafa (who I am sure will win the RG if he is 100% irrespective of the draw). The surface seeding will eliminate these bogus american seed blow-outs in the 1st round of the FO. I mean it is quite miserable to see roddick and blake come in with this top 10 seedings when even their moms know they are going to be beaten in the 1st round by some accomplished and hard-working clay-courter.

In a fair seeding system Blake and roddick will not be in the top 16 seeds at RG. Their results in the past 3-4yrs donot justify any seeding below 16.Same applies for the spaniards and other clay courters at Wimbledon. Though Wimbledon kind of bowed to the clay courters by slowing down their courts. Sometime around 2001, things between the clay-courters and Wimbledon simmered to the point where the top clay-courters were going to boycott the tournament. I hope someone who is aware of this can throw some more light on that issue.


TD (Tam) Says:

Von:

“When I read that quote, I thought how very classy of Andy — albeit, Federer has not been generous in his comments towards Roddick in the past.”

Von I knew you would get it. To be honest I cannot recall a time when Federer has ever had anything as classy to say about any opponent, all I hear from him are excuses for his losses or else he’s too busy patting himself on the back for being a tennis ballet genius. Did either Federer or Nadal come to Roddick’s defense when he was going through that horrid slump a year ago? I don’t think so. :(


Dr. Death Says:

An easy draw provides rest for the lucky player. But it does not provide the competition that sharpens one’s game to the level of winning the championship. So Roger may be rested into the second week, but not at the razor’s edge.

Nadal will be sharpened and honed by the draw. I see nothing wrong with the draw. The glory of blowing away the competitors is worth more than an easy road to the semis or the final.

perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim


Skorocel Says:

To Von:

As to whether Djoker should be in Fed’s half or not, I would say not. Just as someone here already mentioned, the highest seeded player which the No. 1 should have in his/her side of the draw would logically be the No. 4, whereas the No. 2 (as a LESSER positioned player) should always have the No. 3 in his/her side of the draw – simple as that…

Re: the actual FO draw, I have to say it’s once again pretty good for Fed (just as it was last year). He has “only” Davy and Ferrer as the highest seeded guys in his part of the draw – but I’m not worried about them at all (especially about Ferrer), since they still have 0 wins against the Swiss… There are some potential threats (I mean especially Karlovic, or indeed your countryman Sam Querrey in the 1st round), but overall, it’s a good draw for my man :) I would be curious to see Fed play Tsonga (who was originally slated to meet the Swiss in 3rd or 4th round, if I remember it correctly), but for some unknown reason, he had to play that “4th Masters Series tournament on clay” in Casablanca – only to get injured again…

As for Nadal, he shouldn’t have any problems in the early stages, but things can get a bit tough for him in the quarters, where he (hopefully) finally meets that guy named David Nalbandian… Djoker’s maybe in his side of the draw, but I’m still not quite sure whether he can (at least) repeat his semifinal result from the previous year – firstly because clay is still his weakest surface (despite winning Rome and reaching the semis in both MC and Hamburg this year), and secondly because of his neverending health issues, which can once again resurface in these best of 5 set matches…


jane Says:

Skorocel -”Anyway, I personally like the challenge which Nadal (and the possibility of winning that elusive trophy in Paris) represents for him in the FO final… This is THE MATCH that keeps him motivated, that keeps him hungry, and he knows that”

Seems like a good attitude for a Fed-fan. While we know Roger has raised the bar and pushed some players to play better, we shouldn’t overlook the reality that Rafa has done the same for Roger too – pushed him on clay, specifically, but even on grass, mainly last year.

Von -

“However, dear Pollyanna, this one’s on me.”

Could you please skip the Pollyanna handle? I hate it, having been a cynical-Joy-Division-listening-Goth in my teens, it’s like the worst thing you could call me. ;-) That’s Voicemale’s handle for me because I cheer on 4 or 5 guys rather than 1 and try be positive (in reality, though, not blog world: truth is I am a glass half empty kind of gal). I haven’t worn braids since I was 7 and my dimples are much less pronounced, though I do keep my brunette lockes long. ;-)

Anyhow, I don’t mind the odd sword fight &/or mind game. I keeps me young and on my feet. I actually do have opinions, favorites, etc, but I try to fight fair.

Dr. Death -

“The glory of blowing away the competitors is worth more than an easy road to the semis or the final.”

I agree.


jane Says:

My thinking on the 2 vs. 4 and 1 vs. 3 draw doesn’t go along with the idea that the best player should be “protected” (why would he need to be if he is the best?) but that it seems logical as it is more balanced competition-wise. It could follow through accordingly for the top 16: i.e., 6 vs. 8; 5 vs. 7 and so forth. Either that, or go back to surface seeding, based on achievements on the surface, and try something like Shital Green suggested lo those many posts ago.


Von Says:

Dr. Death:

“perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim.”

Will there be a prescription for the pain? A panacea or a placebo perhaps? :) perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim


Von Says:

jane:

“Could you please skip the Pollyanna handle? I hate it, having been a cynical-Joy-Division-listening-Goth in my teens, it’s like the worst thing you could call me.”

Sincere apologies — since blogging does not allow for intonation and inflection in our comments, I can only assume that I have grossly offended you by your use of the word ‘hate’, and for this I’m genuinely sorry. However, I thought you liked it since I’ve seen a few instances in which you have referred to yourself as having a “pollyannaish” type of outlook on certain issues. I can assure you, it won’t happen again. No offense meant.

“truth is I am a glass half empty kind of gal). I haven’t worn braids since I was 7 and my dimples are much less pronounced, though I do keep my brunette lockes long.”

I’m a half-full glass kind of person. Hello, to another brunette with long tresses. :) For some unknown reason, I’ve always pictured you as a brunette. Amazing these images we conjure up in our mind’s eye.

Keep on fighting and staying young — I suppose it’s the adrenalin rush which sends the blood up to our cheeks that keeps us young. That being the case, I’d say GO FOR IT. :)


Dr. Death Says:

Von – Winning is the panacea!

Would there be any pain felt in the feet or legs of a nameless hero who hoists the head of another superstar on to his racquet handle with the blood, sweat and ego of the opponent dripping onto the kevlar grip?

ooorrraahhhh! (therapy time!)


jane Says:

Oh no Von – my word hate wasn’t meant to severely. I guess it’s a loaded word durrr. I meant it tongue-in-cheek with reference to my goth-phase. LOL. No harm done.

Funny, I pictured you dirty blonde and petite, hammering away at your keyboard! Keep smiling. :-)


Von Says:

TD:

“Von I knew you would get it. …. for being a tennis “ballet” (emphasis added) genius.”

Swan Lake always comes to mind or Tiny Tim’s “tiptoe through the tulips” when I see him on the opposite side of the net against an opponent who has difficulty winning as much as a paltry game against the Fed. It’s funny, and I/we are going to be tarred and feathered in a few heartbeats. I’m counting on you to save my feathers. :) Do you think we could learn to be two good gals? I think we are now past hopeless. :)

“Did either Federer or Nadal come to Roddick’s defense when he was going through that horrid slump a year ago? I don’t think so.”

NADA.


Von Says:

Dr. Death:

“Would there be any pain felt in the feet or legs of a nameless hero who hoists the head of another superstar on to his racquet handle with the blood, sweat and ego of the opponent dripping onto the kevlar grip?”

I’d say he’d definitely be feeling no pain. Similarly, to Dylan Thomas’ euphoria, or was it past euphoric heights, after he downed those 18 straight shots of his favourite brew. Now run along to therapy, or walk/crawl if you are entertaining any thoughts of following in Dylan Thomas’ footsteps. :)


Von Says:

jane:

“Funny, I pictured you dirty blonde and petite, hammering away at your keyboard! Keep smiling.”

Now there’s a thought — I can try the dirty blonde look for a change.

“My thinking on the 2 vs. 4 and 1 vs. 3 draw doesn’t go along with the idea that the best player should be “protected” (why would he need to be if he is the best?) but that it seems logical as it is more balanced competition-wise.”

Another one of my pet peeves. I don’t understand the logic of the higher ranked players getting easy competition until the QFs — it’s unfair. The way the draws are set up, unless something unforeseen happens in the early rounds, the top seeds are almost always assured of a spot in the QFs and the lower ranked players will remain lower ranked until doomsday. It’s like the saying, the ‘rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. Who said life was fair. Was it you? :)


zola Says:

wow! lots of comments. Haven’t read them all.

On the draw, again, I love Shital’s idea. Please Shital, write and send it to ATP.
Von can take care of the legal matters !

I really think the draw should be based on numbers and has to be fixed for each and every grand slam. The players should know if they are no X, they will play no Y in the first round .
That way, it will be up to the players to push their rankings so that they do or do not face Y.

this random computer-generated draw looks lame to me.

Anyway, Jane, are you excited? less than 12 hours to the start of RG and Djoko plays today.

Von,
Peter Bodo has an article on Roddick on tennis.com. Apparently Andy felt he played very good on clay this year and is disappointed that he can’t participate.

and Tsonga is OUT!

Guga and PHM play tomorrow as well.


Skorocel Says:

jane said:

“My thinking on the 2 vs. 4 and 1 vs. 3 draw doesn’t go along with the idea that the best player should be “protected” (why would he need to be if he is the best?) but that it seems logical as it is more balanced competition-wise.”

There you go :) WHY does Rafa need Djoker to be on the other side of the draw, when (if Rafa’s healthy) the odds for the Serb to beat the Spaniard on clay are still like 1:100? WHY does he need to be the No. 1 seed on RG when he’s lost like 2 matches on clay in these last 3-4 years? The most likely scenario is that he’ll once again crush them all, so a No. 1 seeding instead of No. 2 won’t make that much difference either… Seedings according to surface is a joke in my opinion… I mean, if they were to do this on a regular basis, then the Entry ranking system would become pointless, isn’t it?

Once again, I have no doubts who’ll win if Rafa indeed meets Djoker in the semis… Of course, you (as a Djoker fan) may think otherwise, but I still haven’t seen that much from the Serb to convince me he can do it… He played perhaps the clay-court match of his life in that Hamburg semifinal, but still he could win as “much” as 2 games in that deciding set (even though in reality, it was certainly a bit closer than what the score indicates)… Of course, from a Fed fan’s point of view, I should rather root for Djoker to reach the finals, but still, I would rather see a repeat of last year’s final (provided Fed gets there, of course)… I want Fed to earn it in the hardest possible way – i.e. beating Nadal in the finals! How hard can some fans be on their favourite players, isn’t it? :)


fed is afraid Says:

TD-you are wrong about roger not taking up for andy during his slump. i can’t remember the tournament, i think it was us open, he said that american press was too hard on andy and that andy would prove all his naysayers wrong and would come back strong, andy actually went to roger to thank him for his kind words. look it up-it happened.


Von Says:

Skorocel:

“Yes, you can once again point out that it’s unnecessary for him to think about all these goals, records, et al, but to be honest, who wouldn’t have thought about them in his place? I mean, WHAT’s there left for him (in terms of motivation) at this stage of his career? Not that much in my opinion…”

Well, he’s stated on several occasions, and most recently, when Henin retired, that he just couldn’t envision his life without tennis — he loves it so much. That being the case, there’s your answer, and you’ll see your Fed playing for at least 6 or more years — until he’s close to 35. Guess what, you’ll be getting older too. Oh my, what an awful thought! :)

“so I wouldn’t mind if he had to wait another 1-2 years to finally lift that Paris trophy… Can he pull out an Agassi?”

Whaddaya say? Remember who you’re talking to, Von. Could you possibly handle waiting 2 more years, watching Nadal or someone else beat up on Federer, with the elusive FO still out of reach? I don’t think so — you’ll lose it for sure. :)

“Re: the actual FO draw, I have to say it’s once again pretty good for Fed (just as it was last year).”

I’d say it’s very good for him. Too good. As I posted previously, this is one of my pet peeves, which I absolutely think is unfair and makes no sense to me. I feel, the same as jane, if you’re the No. 1 player, then you should be tested early in the tournament, not until the QFs. By the time the QFs roll around, the other player probably had to fight off tough competition to get there; he’s battle fatigued, how could he put up a good fight and beat Fed, who had it easy? More like mission impossible, don’t you think?

For example, what are Querrey’s chances of advancing past Fed? Zero. Poor kid, he travels all the way to Paris to get knocked out in the first round. I’d say, he would be better off, just changing planes and return to the US. Next, as you pointed out, Ferrer and Davy; same scenario. I suppose you can tell I’m getting heated up here, so I might as well stop.

RE: Nadal: “As for Nadal, he shouldn’t have any problems in the early stages, but things can get a bit tough for him in the quarters, where he (hopefully) finally meets that guy named David Nalbandian…”

I know you like Nalbandian and you’re most probably secretly hoping that he gets into the zone and beats Nadal; however, if he doesn’t and Nadal meets Djokovic, Nadal could have a good fight on his hands. Djoko does well in the slams because of the days off, as opposed to the masters where he has to play everyday. So this is something you have to watch out for. If hypothetically, Djoko beats Nadal, and Fed gets to the final, there could be a Djoko/Fed final, and once again that FO trophy could be elusive for Fed. Do you think you can handle it? I think you would be in agony, but only time will tell ….. :) Don’t worry, be happy. :)

Are the matches being broadcasted on EuroSport in Slovakia? If yes, enjoy!! :)


Fed-Rafa Says:

“Of course, from a Fed fan’s point of view, I should rather root for Djoker to reach the finals”

From a federer fan perspective A djokovic-nadal final is a win-win situation.

Djokovic wins – Federer’s Chance of a FO title improve drastically.

Nadal wins : Federer gets 50 race points closer to Djokovic (assuming he makes the final)

Jane:

By your logic, why protect no.2 from no.1 and place them on opposite sides of the draw? Lets make them play tomorrow and get done with the darn thing. Unfortunately, your logic makes no sense economically. The longer the top dogs are in the draw, the more interested the casual viewer will be in the tournament.

Von:

The poor will remain poor until they can actually prove it and beat the “rich” player. I donot think it is a coincidence that it is always the losing players’ fans that complain about the draw. (except some Rafa lunatics, who always whine : about the yearly schedule, the hard courts or the wimbledon scheduling instead of accepting that Rafa might just be playing the game in the toughest possible (inefficient?) way – play a point to eternity!)


Agassifan Says:

If Fed arrives in Paris “just to show up” – then what do you have to say for all the other players? A semi and 2 finals in the last 3 years is not “just showing up”. But for Nadal, he would have had 3 french titles by now. Twice he has been a couple of points and one slam away from a grand slam!

That said, the seedings should be surface based, like at wimbledon.


I like Nole Says:

Novak on his health:

“I’m a little, sensitive, tiny guy,” he smiled. “Unfortunately every time I come back from a long trip and experience a change of climate my body reacts. Everybody’s different. Some people are more sensitive and I get sick pretty often, so I’m surprised when I’m healthy. No, I’m joking. I just have to be very careful about everything I do in between tournaments because I really want to be 100 per cent ready for every tournament I play.”
Independent


deedee Says:

I’m not a doctor, but….I thought he might have exercise induced asthma but as I read this, I think he may have something else too. I recall reading that Jacques Cousteau used to have a thing called Neurasthenia or as it’s called today, Dysautonomia. He was sensitive to temperature change, altitude changes and was sickly his whole life. “Cousteau was a sickly child, who the doctors told not to participate in any strenuous activity, he learned to swim and soon developed a passionate love for the sea.”

My daughter has this and I read about Cousteau while researching her diagnosis. There are forums on dysautonomia. You don’t die from this but everyday life is harder and you have to pace yourself. This may be what Novak has and he probably knows his limits by now.


jane Says:

Fed=Rafa

“By your logic, why protect no.2 from no.1 and place them on opposite sides of the draw? Lets make them play tomorrow and get done with the darn thing. Unfortunately, your logic makes no sense economically. The longer the top dogs are in the draw, the more interested the casual viewer will be in the tournament.”

Ummm — I think you need to re-read my post. I am simply saying pace the competition — put 1 against 3, 2 against 4, 5 against 7, 6 against 8.

It’s not rocket science!

It’s simple logic based on equal distribution rather than protect the best.

Nor did I say 1 and 2 should not be placed on opposite sides of the draw.

Don’t twist what I say to suit your rancor; please just read it and think about it. Doesn’t it actually make sense? Seem fairer than 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3. Hmmmm….

No offense; that’s just my opinion.

Cheers.


jane Says:

Skorocel,

“WHY does he need to be the No. 1 seed on RG when he’s lost like 2 matches on clay in these last 3-4 years? ”

Because, put simply, if the system pits 1 against 4 then Rafa deserves to play 4 on clay, not Roger. And if it’s on grass, then it’s the other way around. And if it’s on hardcourts well then you have to put Andy Roddick up there too. It just seems to make more sense to make the seedings more equitable based on surface results.

This doesn’t stand anyhow, since RG is following current form of putting 1 & 2 opposite one another and winging it from there, with computers and random draws.

In any case, if we were to go back to an older system or a surface meritocracy, Roger would be well seeded and well protected regardless since his results, up until maybe this year, are best or second best at the least. So no worries for Fed fans there.

And keep in mind that while I am a Djoko fan, I am also a Nadal, Roddick, Murray, Safin, etc., fan. In other words, I like a lot of players and want to see a variety of winners in professional tennis. But you know that already.:-)


jane Says:

Zola,

“Anyway, Jane, are you excited? less than 12 hours to the start of RG and Djoko plays today.”

Very: but also nervous for Djoko as he has a tough opener.

Here’s hoping for the best.


jane Says:

Von,

“Who said life was fair. Was it you?”

Lord no, but I can keep lamenting the fact that it’s not! :-)


Fed-Rafa Says:

Jane:

I wish what you said was Rocket Science. Atleast rocket science is based on sound logic and reasoning.

Your desire to change the seeding seems to be clouded by your

a) hate for federer and/or

b) fear for djokovic getting crushed into a pulp on the red-clay by Nadal in the semi-final.

Either way, continue with your propaganda that the draw is unfair.


grendel Says:

Well, when I posted Andy Roddick’s generous tribute to Federer, I might have realised this would prove the occasion for small minded rancour among some – some, note – Roddick fans. When an act of generosity generates mere spite, a nasty smell is left in the air.

And to fed is afraid: you are right, I recall Federer’s words of commiseration. But don’t expect mere facts to carry any weight in these quarters.


zola Says:

hi everyone

tennis channel website shows 4 courts live. check this link:

http://video.tennischannel.com/schedule.jsp

I think in Europe http://www.eurosport.com does the same thing.


Von Says:

“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose”. -


Von Says:

Help!!! I’m about to be tarred and feathered!!!! Or is it report/evaluation time again?????? Check this out folks, February 25th, thread on Roddick. His head was on the guillotine, just a few nano-seconds more and he would have been a dead bully/thug.

This barfly is annoying — anyone got a fly swatter?


Dr. Death Says:

Oh, one of my favorites:

“An evil soul, producing holy witness,
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart”

And let us not forget, it is close to alpaufzug in Switzerland. Will Roger be distracted by the care needed for his cows?


Von Says:

Dr. Death:

Dedicated to you!!

O! call not me to justify the wrong
That thy unkindness lays upon my heart;
Wound me not with thine eye, but with thy
tongue:
Use power with power, and slay me not by art.


Agassifan Says:

Jane,

if 1 play 3 and 2 plays 4, then 1 has no advantage over 2. that is nonsensical, right? 1 SHOULD have an advantage over 2, that is the whole point of seeding!

The extreme form of what you are saying is – no seeding at all. Which is nonsensical. Hence 1 playing 3 and 2 playing 4 is also nonsensical, though much less so, and for the exact same reason.


Skorocel Says:

To Von:

To be honest, I don’t trust that Fed’s quote (I mean the one about playing till 35) at all… I can see him attending the London 2012 Olympics (where the tennis tournament should be played on the Wimbledon lawns), but that’s about it… 35? The guy must be joking!

About waiting those another 1-2 years, well, I maybe put it wrongly… I just wanted to say that, IF SOMEONE HAD TOLD ME he would need to wait another 1-2 years for that Paris trophy, I wouldn’t mind :) Of course I would be disappointed if he’s once again to lose it against Nadal (or anybody else, for that matter) this year… There’s no reason to fool you, since you know very well how I felt after that MC final one month ago, don’t you? Anyway, I just pray that, IF these two once again meet in the finals, it won’t be a close match in which Fed once again leaves the court as the loser… If Nadal’s to beat him 6:2, 6:2, 6:2 – that would be OK, but please, no more Rome 2006 finals! :)

Just looking back at the FO draw and the whole discussion re: the seeding process, well, as I’ve already stated, (IF the seeded players were always to be determined according to the Entry ranking, that is) the No. 1 should play the No. 4, whereas No. 2 should play the No. 3 player, but to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t mind if Djoker was in Fed’s half at all – simply because I believe that Fed would beat the Serb had these two met in the semis… Actually, I’m a bit sad the guy’s in the opposite side of the draw, since (in case Fed wins the whole thing, of course) all those Fed naysayers (are you among them? :) ) would then go on to say he had it easy… But then again, we can talk here about the draw ad nauseum, but the things can turn out that neither Djoker, nor Fed/Nadal will reach the semis/finals (a rare situation, but still possible)… Just as someone here stated cca 20-30 threads ago: “Draws are like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get…until you get it.” :)

Re: that possible 1/4 final match between Nalby and Nadal, no, I don’t want to see Nalby beating the Spaniard… If it happens, then fine, but (as I’ve already stated) I want Fed beating Nadal in the finals, so an eventuall loss to Nalby would spoil the plan… Of course, the history wouldn’t ask if Fed beat Nadal or Djokovic or anyone else in the final (in case that happens, of course), but still, you could just envision what an achievement it would be had Fed beat (a healthy) Nadal in the finals… A guy who thus far inflicted 8 losses upon the Swiss on clay (3 of which were at RG)…

Anyway, re: that possible encounter between Nadal and Nalby, I just want to see that match for one obvious reason – simply because I am more than curious HOW these two will play against each other on Nadal’s most favourite surface – that’s all I want… As I’ve already stated million times, I consider that Nalby’s double-handed BH as the best among active players – and you know, against Nadal on clay, you have to have a very solid BH (most preferably a double-handed one) if you are to handle that crazy FH topspin from the Spaniard…

P.S. Yes, the Eurosport channel is going to broadcast the whole tourney live here in Europe, so as you can see, we’re pretty much in for a marathon tennis fortnight :)


grendel Says:

“I consider that Nalby’s double-handed BH as the best among active players” – the best, certainly. A thing of great power and beauty, with killing and totally unexpected angles being generated from the base line with apparent ease. Safin could do that once.


grendel Says:

As Gore Vidal likes to remind Christian apologists from time to time, the scriptures are drenched in blood. The devil, we may confidently assume, – not to mention his acolytes – is very happy with them.


jane Says:

Fed-Rafa,

Wrong on both a & b – I don’t hate Fed; he’s not my fave but I don’t hate him. I really feel he could win it this year and that’s fine with me. But I’d love to see Rafa and Djoko play a good match, Rafa win and then tie Borg – cool with me. No “propaganda” LOL!!


Tejuz Says:

Djoker is having a tough opener agains Grem’yer.. almost choked the third set.. but managed to squeak through. Dont seem like he would be fit enough to beat Nadal in semis after all(if he reaches there)

Fed could pull off an Agassi here.. Agassi lost his first 2 RG finals 90 and 91.. and won it after trailing 0-2 sets in 99. Fed certainly showed he could out-rally and beat Nadal for about an hour..whereas earlier he would not have been able to pull do that in 07 or 08. He might just go in this time with nothing to lose.. compared to 06 and 07 where he was going for a Roger SLAM. This time there arent too many questions asked about that?? rather its more about his decline.. so he will have a point to prove as well.

Btw.. Nalbandian was timing the ball pretty sweetly today. he could pose a threat to Nadal. His backhand is great.. his forehand also looks very smooth. His game looks much more compact and beautiful than say.. Djoker.


jane Says:

Agassifan – since 1 would still be on the opposite half of 2 he’d still be protected from him. they’d both have to make their way through the competition. I don’t find my view extreme or certainly didn’t mean it to be. I actually thought it seemed fairer. Who knew people would be so rankled by it – not moi.


jane Says:

Tejuz,

“joker is having a tough opener agains Grem’yer.. almost choked the third set.. but managed to squeak through. Dont seem like he would be fit enough to beat Nadal in semis after all(if he reaches there)”

Yes, he is. I thought he might since Fed also had a tough time with him at Estoril, losing the first set 2:6 and getting the same score as Djoko in the second 7:5. It’s tough to say what this means for the rest of the tournament, but you’re right that Nalbandian looked good; was his competition as strong, do you think?


jane Says:

Skorocel,

“you could just envision what an achievement it would be had Fed beat (a healthy) Nadal in the finals… A guy who thus far inflicted 8 losses upon the Swiss on clay (3 of which were at RG)…”

Maybe Roger would like to win the French any old way, but I suspect he’d like to win it the way you describe – and not for revenge but because he respects Rafa’s game so much on clay.


Mike gaobest Says:

I’m not so thrilled to see Djokovic/Nadal in the same half, only because I think there is a world of difference between Djokovic (3) and Davydenko (4). That said, Davydenko beat Nadal earlier this year and could have a good mental edge. Meanwhile Nadal has already avenged recent losses to Djokovic.

The draw feels very same-old, with Federer looking to have an easy path to the finals, but we’ve probably said that in every GS of the past few years, especially Wimbledon (and the dream SF facing the winner of Bjorkman/Stepanek)! Let’s face it, since 2006 it seemed like the Top 2 were miles ahead of everyone else, now it’s the Top 3 ahead of everyone. At least 2005 had a Hewitt/Safin AO final and the “alternate” Nalbandian beating Federer at the Masters Cup, temporarily interrupting Federer’s streak there.

What would be really thrilling would be if Nalbandian repeats his Madrid (or was it Paris) smackdown, beating Nadal in the QFs, Djokovic in the SFs, and Federer in the Final. Has anyone taken out #1-3 in winning a GS, surely not since when this happened in the two Masters last year, and we were all so excited about this.

Let’s see what happens…


Von Says:

Skorocel:

“I can see him attending the London 2012 Olympics (where the tennis tournament should be played on the Wimbledon lawns), but that’s about it… 35? The guy must be joking!”

One never knows, does one — perhaps he could pull it off, however, if we were to go by the norm, it would be a little too far fetched, that is, playing until 35. I’ll leave you in charge of keeping track with the developments and Fed’s progress until he’s 35. :)

“I just pray that, IF these two once again meet in the finals, it won’t be a close match in which Fed once again leaves the court as the loser… If Nadal’s to beat him 6:2, 6:2, 6:2 – that would be OK, but please, no more Rome 2006 finals!”

Why don’t you want to see a closer match? A close match is good for the viewers. Just picture yourself sitting on the edge of your chair, biting your nails, pacing up and down (like an expectant father), just wishing and praying that it will be Fed this time who’ll emerge victorius; I’d say, that will be worth it, don’t you think? Healthy for your nervous system — you’ll probably completely lose, but hey, that’s tennis. :)

“I wouldn’t mind if Djoker was in Fed’s half at all – simply because I believe that Fed would beat the Serb had these two met in the semis… Actually, I’m a bit sad the guy’s in the opposite side of the draw, since (in case Fed wins the whole thing, of course) all those Fed naysayers (are you among them?”

I don’t know about Fed beating Djoko — I actually think Djoko can really take it to Fed, BUT, Djoko’s not too strong, and if it’s a 5-setter, then in all likelihood, Fed will win. I know that’s what your scheming mind is thinking.

Am I a Fed naysayer? Whaddaya trying to do to me, get my feathers plucked or singed? :) I believe you know by now, that I really don’t care if Fed wins the FO beating anyone else other than Nadal. If that’s the way the draw unfolds then, it will be Fed’s time, and who can argue with destiny?

About the draws being a box of chocolates — I hope it’s Godiva chocolates, this way at least you know you’re getting good quality, from the first bite. :)

“Re: that possible 1/4 final match between Nalby and Nadal, no, I don’t want to see Nalby beating the Spaniard… If it happens, then fine, but (as I’ve already stated) I want Fed beating Nadal in the finals,..”

I think if Nalby gets to the QFs and mets Nadal there, and this is also dependent on which Nalby shows up — a fit Nalby, or an exhausted one; or one that’s with the program or one that’s out to lunch. All of these variables will come into play. The tennis could be good, and I wouldn’t mind who wins, because they’re both good. However, if Nalby wins, then he could lose in the Semis to Djoker and then, guess what, it could be a Djoko/Fed final, and as I’ve stated above, Fed most probably will win. So then you’ll get your wish — no nail biting, etc.

I think Nalby has one of the sweetest 2HBH’s around. He’s very versatile and Nadal can’t manipuate him into making errors as he does with Fed. I’ve stated this before, but I truly feel that if Fed had a 2HBH, he would have been a lot more effective against Nadal on clay; unfortunately, that’s not the situation and he’ll have to find solutions to counteract the assault Nadal places on his BH with his FH topspin. Easier said than done. Don’t you think?

Fortunately, we’re receiving great TV coverage on the FO. Between The Tennis Channel and ESPN, there’s so much coverage that for once I can’t complain. I’m happy for you that Eurosport is also transmitting live coverage. Enjoy!! :)


Skorocel Says:

To Von:

Believe or not, but I’ve acted like that “expectant father” already during that Rome 2006 final – and this, believe or not, after BETTING cca 2000 SKK (around 100 USD) on Nadal prior to the match!!! Talk about a heresy, isn’t it? But seriously, even though I’m not a bet maniac at all (had only cca 20-30 bets in my whole life), I just couldn’t resist the temptation back then… You know, had Fed won, I would be happy, but had he lost, I would at least multiply my state budget a little :) I’ve done the same also prior to the MC & Wimby 2006 finals (in both cases betting on Nadal), but as you may know, it was only a Pyrrhic victory, since Fed could “at least” retain his SW19 reign after suffering all those losses on clay…

Of course I would be happy if this year’s FO final was a top-quality match (which I personally think is rather an exception if Nadal and Fed meet each other on clay), but believe me, you really wouldn’t want to see me back home when watching that Rome 2006 final! If Fed is to beat him 12-10 in the 5th, then so be it, but please, no more of those heartbreakers!

Nalby or Djoker in the finals? No, I still want Rafa to play Fed on Sunday the 8th, but anyway, if it’s not Fed who wins the whole thing, then I’ll certainly wish the title to the Argentine – no doubt about that! If the guy’s on, he’s simply a joy to watch! Too bad he’s been such an underachiever! But well, it’s still not that late for him to turn the things around a bit, is it?

Obviously, you don’t need to watch all the Fed vs Nadal matches on clay to realize that that Fed’s one-handed BH is one helluva big disadvantage compared to the likes of Nalby or Djoker, but what’s once done, can’t be undone, and the fact is – Fed can’t change his BH from one-handed to a double-hander amidst of his career…

P.S. Godiva chocolates? Never heard about them. Ya know, I’m not that much into these sweets – especially now… Gotta cut down a bit :)

P.P.S. Are the TTC and ESPN both showing the FO in your country? You know, it’s a bit weird for me, since (as far as I know) they were usually trying to outbid each other in order to earn the rights to show such a big event in the past, or am I wrong on this one? You know, I’m not so sure about the grandslams, but I guess some fan once mentioned here that the ESPN sometimes outbid the TTC for one of those smaller tournaments, but didn’t even bother to show the actual matches at all…

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