Nadal Punishes Federer for Fourth French Open
by Sean Randall | June 8th, 2008, 2:55 pm
  • 309 Comments

In the early part of the movie “Troy”, Brad Pitt as Achilles strikes down a giant with his sword, and then yells out at the stunned opposing army, “Is there no one else?” That scene reminds me of just how good Rafael Nadal is on clay. And especially so after he just struck down Roger Federer once again in convincing, if not humiliating, fashion 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 to win his fourth straight Roland Garros and all but etch his name as the greatest of clay court player ever.

Instead of the gracious victory speech and the congratulatory processions that followed, I’d rather have seen Nadal make like Achilles, rip the microphone and shout out to the crowd and worldwide TV audience, “Is there no one else? IS THERE NO ONE ELSE?” Because at the moment there is no one else. There simply is no one capable of beating Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros. Roger Federer simply isn’t guy. He failed for a fourth straight year today. Novak Djokovic tried and he too, failed, having yet to accumulate a single set in three meetings. So who is going to beat him? Anyone? If there someone, I have not seen him.

Let’s face it, the writing has been on the wall all event, so Nadal winning this title and remaining perfect at Roland Garros (now 28-0) isn’t a great surprise. His ultimate destruction of Federer, however, is. I don’t know the numbers but this has to be Federer’s worst loss in any final – has he ever won fewer than four games in any title bout? – or in any Slam match for that matter. Off the top of my head I can’t think of one, but it’s the first time Fed’s been fed a bagel this decade (see Byron Black’s effort at Queen’s in 1999).

On the bright side for Federer supporters, at least the match was quick and really never in doubt and the clay season is over. I’ve said it before that tennis is such a match-up sport, and Federer just doesn’t match up well with Nadal on clay at all. It’s not Federer’s fault. His game, arguably one of the greatest and most versatile we’ve ever seen, is simply not built to attack and withstand what Nadal brings to the table on a clay court.

Roger’s loopy, spinny shots head right in to the Nadal strike zone. Roger weakness, the high backhand, meshes perfectly with Rafa’s strength, the heavy topspin forehand. Plus, supreme clay patience is just not Roger’s game.

If I had to construct a player to beat Rafa on clay I’d take Novak’s backand, Roddick’s serve, Fed’s forehand and Ferrer’s patience. There’s a lot more to it, but for Fed against Rafa it starts with the backhand.

Today, Roger tried a lot of different shots and came into the net a fair bit, but end result is he wasn’t even close. He didn’t play a perfect match and look how far he came up short. Had he played perfectly I’m not sure it would have made much difference the way Rafa’s been going of late.

I actually thought Roger was cracking the ball well at the start of the first set (first few games), especially his forehand which looked crisp, but then Rafa kicked it into to a higher gear and the usual stuff followed. Once Rafa grabbed that first set it was all but over.

Federer did settle down in the second set. He raised his play breaking Nadal after going down 2-0 to level things. The Swiss had further break chances – missed a drop volley there which would have given him a break – but Nadal is just so strong on the big points, and once Rafa earned the final break of the set to go up 5-3 it looked like Fed’s spirit had been broken. It was quick curtains from there. Rafa didn’t lose another game, baking a bagel for the mighty Fed in the third set to run away with it.

Turn out the lights. The party is over. Rafa’s the greatest on clay.

Given the historic significance, this match was and will be the most important of the year in my mind. Sure there’s the Wimbledon and US Open finals – and Roger may yet tie Pete Sampras at the US Open – plus the Olympics and potential future clashes for No. 1, but this French Open final has more meaning in the big picture. There’s more at stake here then anywhere else for Roger. He win’s and he’s the greatest. That simple. Of course it didn’t turn out the way Roger and his fans wanted.

So where does Roger go from here? Unless Rafa hits the skids or gets injured, a future French title is just not looking likely anytime soon for Fed. The dreaded “window of opportunity” is indeed slowly closing. It doesn’t help that he’s getting older – Rog will be 27 at this time next year – while guys like Djokovic as well as Nadal are only getting better, and the Swiss simply isn’t going to get a better draw to the final than the one he had this year.

In some ways it’s almost like a case of bad luck. How many Wimbledons would Andy Roddick have won if not for Fed? Fed’s now in the same predicament at the French with Rafa, except he’s trying to make history. And, who knows, it may scar Fed’s legacy in end if he never does get past Nadal and win the French. How can someone be the greatest if he’s not even close to beating a single guy on one of the most important surfaces at one of the biggest events?

The loss also has to be incredibly deflating for Fed. He’s over his mono. He played well this clay season. He got the coach. He’s added some new shots. Yet he still came up far, far short. And that cannot help his mindset going forward at Wimbledon, where even today Bjorn Borg picks Nadal to win over Fed! I still like Roger The W for now, but this loss is going to be tough to swallow so I’ll be interested to see just how he handles it a month from now. In the meantime, you really just have to tip your hat and be awe of just how damn good Rafa is. There really is no one else even close to his level at Roland Garros. No one.


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309 Comments for Nadal Punishes Federer for Fourth French Open

jane Says:

Sean,

In response to this comment of yours ” I don’t know the numbers but this has to be Federer’s worst loss in any final – has he ever won fewer than four games in any title bout? – or in any Slam match for that matter…” I read the follow statistics in an ESPN article a minute ago, so I’ve posted them for your reference. Pretty astounding win by Rafa – no doubt.

Love the Troy / “Is there anyone else” analogy b.t.w. — so true. Rafa is utterly heroic on the clay.

Per ESPN – “You have to go back 31 years here at Roland Garros, when Guillermo Vilas dropped a 6-0, 6-3, 6-0 bomb on Brian Gottfried (the name says it all), to find a beatdown this bad.

Put another way, Nadal won 18 of 22 games against the player many think will go down as the best in history. It was the fewest number of games won by a No. 1 seed in any Grand Slam final in the four decades of the Open era. Federer had 11 service games and won only three.”


coriafan Says:

I am confident Coria will take down Rafa next French Open.


Christopher Says:

So much doom and gloom. Agassi won the French at the age of 29. Federer still has time to win it. Andres Gomez also won the French late in his career after losing to Lendl for years. Every year is different. Eventually Nadal will lose. It’s just a matter of time. He may get injured or someone may catch him on an off day. No one is invincible.

Federer will right the ship at Wimbledon.


Christopher Says:

coriafan Says:
I am confident Coria will take down Rafa next French Open.
————————————————-

LOL. Keep Dreaming!


TD (Tam) Says:

I have a feeling Roger’s time at Wimbledon comes to an end this year.Roger’s confidence is at an all-time low, he should give Jimmy Connors a call, he worked wonders for Roddick when he was suffering through a slump of his own and had no confidence. Those were dark days for Roddick fans. I hope they are well behind us now.


Agassifan Says:

“How can someone be the greatest if he’s not even close to beating a single guy on one of the most important surfaces at one of the biggest events?”

Sean, then by your argument, Sampras can never be even close to the greatest, since he had tons of nemeses on clay, not just one. Roger is no 2 on clay, how can that be worse than being no 20 or 30 on clay in your time, as Sampras was?

Come on, 3 french finals in a row, tell me, how many players in the open era have done that? Most french champions haven’t.

Fed played really sloppy today, but give him credit for his incredible achievement of 3 french finals in a row.


Joshua Says:

The final was a bit shocking, wasn’t it? I was confident Nadal would win, but 6-1 6-3 6-0 definitely puts Almagro’s 6-1 6-1 6-1 pasting in perspective (at least he wasn’t bageled!) In fact, the only two people Nadal played who won fewer games than Federer were Verdasco and Almagro. All three of those matches could, theoretically, have been close. Djokovic did the best with twelve games, a very respectable total. Only Djokovic and Bellucci pushed Nadal in any set, but even Niemenin and Devilder did better than Federer.

Things are definitely starting to fall apart in the Federer Camp.


Christopher Says:

Agassifan,

I’m with you here. Sampras never even made it to one French final let alone 3 in a row. Roger has won 5 Wimbledons in a row and 4 U.S. Opens in row. Federer’s incredible consistantsy makes him #1. Rafa still hasn’t proved squat at the U.S Open or the Austrailian open.


simba Says:

This drubbing will do to Federer what Federer’s 2004 US Open Final beatdown did to Hewitt. Hewitt began a gradual decline in 2005. He reached AO Final, SF in US and Wimbledon in 2005. He never got past QF of any Slams after that.


zaid Says:

Sean u forget the most important factor in the player that u think he can beat Nadal

Serve : Roddick

Forehand: Federer

Backhand : Djokovic

Patience : Ferrer

the thing you forgot is the

Heart : Lleyton Hewitt


Joker Says:

Sean:

Your logic that Fed cant be the GOAT because he lost 4 times in a row at FO to nadal has no sense. It is not like Fe has lost these 4 times to belucci or devilder. Rafa is the greatest claycourter of all time. I dont think even borg at his very best would have stopped rafa from this rampage. Could you please tell me a few past greats who would have stopped Nadal in any of these 4 RG tournaments, please? Kuerten is the only player i can think of.

Are you telling me Federer does not make it to the top-10 clay courters of all time? 3FO finals and a semi and a quarter, 2 rome finals, 4 hamburg wins and a final, 3 MC finals. He is a great clay-court player and an unmatched (as of now) player on grass and hard-courts. Fed is the greatest player ever to have played the game up until this point. But for the Greatest clay-courter of all time, he would easily have had a couple of RGs not 2 mention a couple of Roger Slams as well.


Joker Says:

Zaid:

You have completed the list. Hewitt- what a player. He is the most mentally tough player of this decade (ahead of federer and nadal).

Sean:

Your argument that Djokovic is the best bet to beat Nadal at RG has been proven, statistically, for this year. He was the closest to win a set this year from Nadal. Good call!


Skorocel Says:

To Joker:

Hewitt ahead of Federer and (what’s even more ridiculous) Nadal in terms of mental toughness? Huh? That was one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a long time! NOBODY beats Nadal in this department, not even Federer! Lleyton was one helluva fighter – no doubt about that, but he’s not even close to what Nadal brings to the court…


Sastry Says:

It is certainly disappointing to see Federer lose the match so badly. Hopefully, he will have his day as a champion in Paris one day in future. But, right now, he should forget Paris and go full throttle at Wimbledon. Hopefully, he meets Nadal again in final there and gives a fitting response back. Go, Roger.


grendel Says:

“This drubbing will do to Federer what Federer’s 2004 US Open Final beatdown did to Hewitt”. I wouldn’t put it like that. Federer was somewhat fortunate to reach the final this week. He has not been himself since Shanghai, and I don’t think he’s going to win anything this year. My bet for Wimbie is Nadal, with Djokovic in with a good shout. Also, a little behind him, Roddick and Federer, nobody else.

I always thought – and said -that this idea that Fed would automatically overtake Sampras was foolish, and sort of disrespectful, too, to all the players, including Federer himself. It does not come lightly, to win a grand slam.

Is Federer finished, then, a la Hewitt? Too early to say. I wouldn’t put it past him to come back next year, and to win a slam. Not three, though.

Meanwhile, I think it is pretty infantile, this gloating over the travails of a man who has given such unalloyed pleasure to so many. But smallmindedness is ever with us.


noel Says:

couldn’t agree more with agassifan although i do believe that a win at roland garros will settle all questions about fed being the goat.there will always be a question mark and lack of unanimity if fed were to finish without winning the french open.i believe fed is way ahead of sampras and is right up there with laver and borg.reaching three straight fo finals is no mean achievement.rafa is probably the goat on clay and i don’t think even the mighty borg would stand a chance of beating him.kuerten would do much worse.i say this due to the fact that rafa is a leftie and one needs a super double-handed backhand and a variety of other skills to even compete with rafa.having said that i do think that djoker has time on his side to refine his game in order to challenge rafa on clay.he has a big serve,very good return,a good backhand(esp the one up the line)and,crucially, the belief that he can beat rafa.he showed in the third set in that sf that he could punish rafa if rafa’s level went down a bit.
i feel very sorry for fed because he was humiliated in the final and i wonder if he will get another chance to win the fo.rafa appears to be entering the prime of his career and djoker could be joining him very soon.fed’s game has stagnated while his main rivals,esp djoker, are improving.it’d be a real pity if fed were to fade away quietly because i can’t think of any other player who makes modern power tennis appear so beautiful.i just can not imagine anyone lifting my senses the way fed does when he is in full flight.


JCF Says:

Well, you’ve vindicated yourself this time Sean.

Gosh, Jose Higueras must be even redder faced than I am. I at least expected Fed to make it competitive, winning 4-6 games per set, and taking one set. But he ended up winning only one game more than Verdasco and Almagro. When was the last time someone bagelled Federer? I don’t think it has happened since he won his first Wimbledon in 03.

I was definately NOT expecting a rout.

Higueras probably expected Fed to win the match, not just keep it competitive. If I’m embarassed, I can’t imagine him. Fed has gotten worse not better. In the 4 attempts on Nadal, this was the worst.

If Fed didn’t play Estoril this year, he’d have 0 titles to his name for 2008. He only went to that easy tournament (he never enters Estoril normally) to get the monkey off his back. The second half of the year will be interesting. Fed and Djokovic both have a lot of pts to defend, while Nadal doesn’t have much apart from Wimbledon. Fed really has to pick up his form, because if he continues going title-less, he’s going to lose the #1 ranking either to Nadal or Djokovic. I never thought that would happen since his margin is always so clear that he could get upset a few times early and still be safe.


nik Says:

Firstly, I think the GOAT comparison is skewed, you cannot compare players from different eras and circumstances. No doubt that Nadal is one of the best clay players ever alongside Borg and Vilas. And there is no doubt that Fed is one of the best to have played on grass. That said, Fed won 11 grand slams in a space of 3.5 yrs which means that he was way ahead of his peers (which he was, he mauled everyone else in the top 10) or that there was no one at his level to compete against him. Fed arguably hit his prime a couple of yrs ago and still has 5 yrs of tennis left in him. Nadal and Djokovic have not reached their prime yet but they both seem capable of going toe-to-toe with him. Sampras accumulated his 14 GS titles against different generations after 13 yrs on tour while Fed won his 12 from mid 2003-07 agasint more or less the same bunch (Agassi and Hewitt were probably the only other multi-slam winners in the fray). Is it just me or doesent anyone else think that Federer was a bit fortunate in terms of timing? He’s only 26 but I cant imagine him winning 11 slams(or even close) in the next 4 yrs with players like Nadal and Djokovic. That said, I think Federer has plenty of yrs ahead of him and will win at least 3-5 more slams by the time he retires. Its just that now finally he will have to earn them. I do hope he wins the French at least once, otherwise he’d be on the best clay courters not to have won it.


fed is afraid Says:

when is federer going to refund the crowd’s money? he didn’t even come to play. what a pitiful performance. at least the GOAT talk is now dead.


Christopher Says:

Hmmm,

The best players never to have won the French Open. All are multiple Slam winners.

1)Roger Federer
2)Pete Sampras
3)Jimmy Connors
4)John McEnroe
5)Boris Becker
6)Stefan Edberg
7)Leyton Hewitt


JCF Says:

“having said that i do think that djoker has time on his side to refine his game in order to challenge rafa on clay.”

Rafa is only 2 years older than Djoker you know… From the math it sounds like Djoker will have to wait till age 28 to beat him.


JCF Says:

“Are you telling me Federer does not make it to the top-10 clay courters of all time? 3FO finals and a semi and a quarter, 2 rome finals, 4 hamburg wins and a final, 3 MC finals. He is a great clay-court player and an unmatched (as of now) player on grass and hard-courts. Fed is the greatest player ever to have played the game up until this point. But for the Greatest clay-courter of all time, he would easily have had a couple of RGs not 2 mention a couple of Roger Slams as well.”

IMO, you can’t even be in the discussion for greatest clay courters of all time without winning RG at least once. You either win it or you don’t. A final gets your name on the cup no more than a first round defeat. Making 5 finals is still inferior to winning it once, when all is said and done.

There’s a difference between ‘skill’ and ‘achievement’.

If the list was Top 10 Skilled clay courters of all time, then Fed would be on the list. If it’s for greatness or achievement, he’s out of the discussion. The top two spots will be between Borg and Nadal, followed by Kuerten.

I still think Fed will be the overall GOAT. He can achieve this without ever winning RG, as long as people currently consider Pete the GOAT. (I don’t). Roger is a better player than Pete, easily, and I think he will exceed 7 wimbledon titles, so he shouldn’t feel too bad about this loss.


JCF Says:

“Sampras accumulated his 14 GS titles against different generations after 13 yrs on tour while Fed won his 12 from mid 2003-07 agasint more or less the same bunch (Agassi and Hewitt were probably the only other multi-slam winners in the fray). Is it just me or doesent anyone else think that Federer was a bit fortunate in terms of timing?”

No way. The reason there aren’t multiple slam winners is because Fed was just too good, he didn’t give anyone a chance (except Nadal). If he played during the time of Edberg, Becker, Agassi, (basically Sampras’s peers), they would not be multi slam winners either, and people will again be using the ‘lack of depth’ excuse. The reason it seems his competition is sub-par, is because he’s too good, not because they are actually sub-par.

“The best players never to have won the French Open. All are multiple Slam winners.

1)Roger Federer
2)Pete Sampras
3)Jimmy Connors
4)John McEnroe
5)Boris Becker
6)Stefan Edberg
7)Leyton Hewitt”

I’m surprised Hewitt is on that list. If he can be on it, so should Safin.

You could also do a list of guys who never won wimbledon, and Wilander, Llendl would be on it.


Christopher Says:

fed is afraid

“when is federer going to refund the crowd’s money? he didn’t even come to play. what a pitiful performance. at least the GOAT talk is now dead.”

________________________________________________
At least he reached the finals the last 3 years in a row. Who else has accomplished that in tennis open history? Hmmm? It’s a very short list.

Borg
Nadal
Lendl
Federer

I don’t see Sampras on that list.

Federer is either #1 or #2 on any surface on the planet. Statistics bare that out. That’s what makes him the GOAT.


jane Says:

JCF – “I was definately NOT expecting a rout.”

Me neither – even though Roger’s not been at his best this year, I thought this might be his best chance to win it; I did have a few reasons to think this:
1.) He came so close at MC & Hamburg.
2.) He hired a coach, with clay prowess.
3.) He seemed keen to try new strategies and used both the drop shot and net play a lot this tournament to suggest he was ready to really give it a fight this final.

That’s why I am still so surprised at the lop-sided result. I can see, as we all can, that Rafa is an utter terminator on the clay, but I really thought Roger would put up more of a fight / challenge.

Is it me or did others think he didn’t fight that hard, like he did, for instance, in the Wimbledon final last year?

Only for that patch in the second set did I sense he was in it, and after he was broken he did what so many others have done against him in the past, he kind of went away. Maybe he just knew after that break in the second that there was no hope.

The closest parallel I can think of to today’s scenario is the 2007 Australian Open semi-final between Roddick and Roger. Remember all the hype leading up to that? Andy had played a tight final at the USO in 2006, he’d come close to beating Roger at the Masters at the end of that year, and then he’d beaten him in the lead up exhibition tournament to the AO, and of course, he’d hired on that famous coach. What happened? Andy was beaten in a rather humiliating fashion.

Of course Fed’s fans can take from this what they want, but guess what Andy did this year?

He beat Roger.

To quote Novak again, “everything is possible”; one day Roger will beat Rafa on clay – maybe not at the FO. But you never know.


Christopher Says:

JCF,

I agree about Safin. I forgot about him. Maybe because he’s become such an under achiever over the last couple years.

Your right about Wilander and Lendl at Wimbledon. I’d also throw in Courier and Vilas. Vilas actually won 2 Ozzy opens on grass. He could play on the stuff.


jane Says:

Another parallel between the AO 07 and the FO 08 is that Roger & Rafa both won their titles without losing a set. Novak came awfully close to that at the AO this year too.

3 great guys at the top, really.


mjölk Says:

Lol, Why is Coria not on that list?

1. McEnroe (1984, the most dominant season of any player. McEnroe won the first two sets against Lendl easily, but lost the last three 6-4 7-5 7-5. He went on to defeat Connors at wimbledon 6-1 6-1 6-3)

2. Coria (Leads 2-0 against Gaudio, having several match points and loses)

3. Edberg (Plays a beautiful serve and volley tournament up until the final where he meets a 17-year old Chang. Takes him to five sets, but should have won the fourth, when he was leading 2-1)

4. Federer (Reaches three finals, but never really close to winning it)

5. Connors (Had beaten Borg at the US Open on clay, i forget what year, then he was forbidden from competing at the French, a perfect time to take the title)

Thats pretty much those who deserve a title but never got one.


Mike Says:

Hi everyone, after being reading this blogue for months this is my first post.

As a Federer supporter, it´s dificult to keep heart during the clay court season, specially after the pounding Federer took at the hands of Nadal in yesterdays French Open final.

In the finals of Hamburg and Monte Carlo, he also lost to Nadal (much closer matches that were highly frustrating and nerve-racking to watch, because of all the lost opportunities) and, even worse, in Rome, after Nadal was injured and defeated, he blew an incredible chance to win the title by loosing to Stepanek in the quarters after having set point.

I once read somewhere that, on average, a tennis player spends around four years playing his very best. What makes a tennis player a legend is not playing incredibly well for one or two years (Hewitt, Safin, Rafter, Courier, etc) but being able to extend his career longer than those four years (Connors, Sampras, Agassi, Borg, etc)

Federer took 4 years to “warm up” (1999 to 2003), has had an amazing 4 years at very top of his game (2004 to 2007) and now seems slowly to be winding down. I’m really sad to say this, after all he is still only 26 years old, but at this particular moment he doesn’t look like Superman anymore, he seems like a “normal” tennis player, still a top 3 player, but without the aura of invincability of the last 4 years.

From now on, he will have to fight daily for every win and, unlike Nadal on clay, everyone else will step into court with him having the belief they could beat him and, sooner or later, they will.

Also, his number 1 ranking will be up for grabs on a weekly basis from now on, because he had a virtually perfect second half of 2007 and, unless he is able to repeat that, he won’t be able to maintain the top spot when the american hard court season begins (and if all goes horribly wrong at Wimbledon, an unthinkable tought last year, he could fall down to number 2 or 3 by the end of the tournament).

Maybe he will bounce back like in 2007, after his losses to Canas and Nadal, but that would take someone with a superhuman mental toughness to just put behind him what happened in the last two months and believe in himself again just as if it never occured…

If it doesn’t happen, then this is like watching the end of an era, which had to come at some point, but sadly for him and us all his fans, is arriving much sooner than we expected…

By the way, after last years Australian Open I organized a blog (http://federer-records.blogspot.com/)to help myself and anyone interested in keeping track of all the records Federer was accumulating. The text in the comment is the same i posted on the blog just now.

At this point I’m considering organizing one for Nadal too… I can only stand in awe at his performences every time he steps on a clay court…


TD (Tam) Says:

fed is afraid Says: “at least the GOAT talk is now dead.”

I disagree, the Goat talk will start up again when Wimbledon and the USOpen roll around, those are Roger’s best chances of tying Sampras’ record.


no comment Says:

FEDERER …….. is the greatest!! no question there I’m afraid. Pete Sampras and others beat great champions in tight battles, Federer has beaten great champions easily except Nadal at the french, my opinion is there are many great players (the last 5 years) that will simply not have the great records they deserve because of Federer, example: Andy Roddick for me could have been (still might) a 5-7 slam winner if not for FEDERER. there are others!


Joker Says:

“IMO, you can’t even be in the discussion for greatest clay courters of all time without winning RG at least once. You either win it or you don’t. A final gets your name on the cup no more than a first round defeat. Making 5 finals is still inferior to winning it once, when all is said and done.”

JCF, who did federer lose to in those 3 Finals? Nadal. Do you seriously think anyone other than nadal would have beaten federer in those 3 finals among the present crop. Remember fed is 12-0 in non-nadal GS finals. Look at the players he has lost to FO since 2004 – kuerten and nadal a 3 time FO and 4time (surely more) champion. How could you equate those losses to someone who lose to, say mark phillippousis or richard krajicek in the 1st round?

Even the atp gives 700 for a final and 1000 for a win. If final and 1st round were the same why not give the same prize money and points. Call me foolish, but I think there is a difference in having lost to nadal thrice in a final as opposed to beating martin verkerk and winning a FO.

Another way to look at it. Take nadal out of the equation. Who has the most clay court achievements in this decade. Not ferrero, not gaudio, not costa, not kuerten, not coria, not moya, not ferrer – It is federer and it is not even close. You think federer would have lost to verkerk or coria or gaudio in a final? Not in a 1000 yrs.

Who would have stopped the Roger slam in 06 and 07 if not Nadal?


no comment Says:

one more thing …..I do fear that Federer may do a Borg (when Mcenroe arrived) and just retire once he has one more slam! maybe this year….I really hope I’m wrong and would have no problem in him going the path of Agassi and retiring as an elder statesman with 20-30 slam titles! including 2+ french one against Nadal at his peak! well enything is possible? Maybe Federer was using this as a practice match to test some ideas for next year! hmmmm I could be wrong then again ??


Agassifan Says:

Fed is in the top 10 on clay in the open era – but for nadal, he would have 4 french titles and 5 more masters titles on clay (more than lendl or wilander or guga). Nadal may even be better than Borg on clay, maybe the best clay courter ever, so Fed losing only to him on clay is nothing extra ordinary.

Again, Sampras, becker etc don’t even come close to fed on clay. 3 french finals, in a row – that’s something.


Parag Deb Says:

As far as clay court is concerned ,it is virtually impossible for federer to win the french open until nadal is playing tennis .
federed might won few more grand slams in future and topple pete sampras all time record of 15 grandslams,its difficult to emulate the form he has now in future


andrea Says:

OUCH! so much for the dream final…turned into a nightmare for federer.

poor broadcasters scrambling to suddenly fill the other 3 hours they had blocked off for this ‘blockbuster’ final. over in two!

a bagel is pretty bad news for roger but against the stupidly clay-dominant nadal, maybe not so bad. we were debating whether nadal was actually getting better (what an insanse idea) and the writing is obviously on the wall.

too many errors yet again from fed. bit of a letdown. but the stunned silence that enveloped everyone from the crowd, commentators and even nadal’s quiet realization that he won his fourth straight final, pretty much said it all.

did i say OUCH?


Sean Randall Says:

Joshua, maybe Belluci is the guy. I read he beat Berdych on clay en route to yet another Challenger title. The guy actually gave Rafa a tougher match than Fed did. I look forward to bigger things from him in the future…

Zaid, as I wrote “there’s more to it.” But if I continued I would not have included Hewitt’s heart. Fed’s heart is just fine. Nadal’s No. 1 though.

Joker/Agassifan, I am just speculating that if these beatings administered by Rafa at the French Open continue that it will harm Roger’s legacy. If Roger’s so great why can’t he beat Rafa on clay? Maybe Rafa’s the real GOAT? Hell, he’s a third of the way to Federer in terms of Slams and he just turned 22. Who knows. We’ve seen Roger’s best – a few years ago – question becomes when will see Rafa’s best, and just how much damage will he do when he reaches that peak.

Grendel, true, Federer is not finished. It would be a great mistake to start shoveling dirt on this guy after one loss. The 18-20 Slam range however is looking rather lofty right about now though. But I do think he’ll bounce back a collect 4-5 more Slams when all is said and done.

And getting back to the GOAT talk, again, just imagine Rafa winning Wimbledon, then winning the French against next year. That would give him SIX slams by age 23. With five years of good tennis left ahead of him and with Roger/Roddick in decline thus opening the door wider for future Wimbledon, Australian and US Open titles, could Rafa be in fact the guy who becomes the greatest? Just a thought. While we are all looking at Roger in awe of his achievements, maybe the real GOAT is playing right before our eyes and we don’t even recognize it. Not out of the crazy realm of possibility.


Shital Green Says:

Jane,
Yes, ESPN has it right about the lowest games allowed record, as far as Roland Garros goes. Vilas allowed Gottfried only 3 games in 1977. But the following year in 1978, Borg def. Villas almost the same way (6-1, 6-1, 6-3).
At US Open in 1974, Connors def. Rosewall, allowing only 2 games. This is the lowest record of all times, though there are two more in pre-Open era, but you will have to go back to Wimbledon 1936 and 1881.
In our time, Roger’s is the worst. A little better than this one was Agassi’s defeat of Schuttler, allowing only 5 games at Aussie 2003.


Daniel Says:

Mike, welcome!

Although this days are hard to keep faith in Fed, I still don´t see anyone beating him in Wimbledon or US Open other than Djokovic (I also don’t believe Nadal would make a third final at Wimby). It´s very hard to win 3 sets out of Fed in a best of 5, the only ones who made it in last years were Kuerten (RG 2004), Safin (AO 2005), Djoko (AO 2008) and Nadal (RG 2005/06/07/08), all the most gifted players in the last decade. See how hard it is! And when he loses is in semis which is an excelent result that any other ranked below 4 would kill for it.

Fed will regroup himself in two weeks (after Halle) and this lost, even being the ugliest he had in 5 years, won´t cause a lot of mental damage since he entered the court already 80% defeated.


sensationalsafin Says:

“won´t cause a lot of mental damage since he entered the court already 80% defeated.”

Even though no Federer or tennis fan wants to admit this, it’s too true. Last year Federer was devastated after his loss. He wouldn’t even give Bud Collins the traditional post match interview. He just stormed off the court and went into hiding until Wimbledon pretty much. This year he looked like he didn’t even care in his interview. I mean he looked pretty bummed out with the runner-up plate in his hands but I don’t think this loss is gonna destroy him.

The hard court season was pretty bad. The clay court season got better. Following this trend the grass court season should be great. And it’s Federer’s surface. Everyone talks about Nadal and how great he is on clay. Don’t forget Federer has dominated the grass for longer than he’s even been number 1 for. When Federer starts losing on grass, then he should retire. But if he wins Wimbledon, then order will really be restored. You gotta have faith in someone who’s won 12 grand slams.

About Nadal being the eventual GOAT. No chance. He’s improved on clay but he’s still got a ways to go on the fast surfaces. And hard courts blow so his body won’t be able to handle it. And once Roddick and Federer are gone, then I’m pretty sure Djokovic will be racking up the fast-surface tournaments.


Shital Green Says:

As I am a futurist of some sort, I am inclined to agree with Sean’s assessment: “[M]aybe the real GOAT [Rafa] is playing right before our eyes and we don’t even recognize it.” If Bjorn Borg is right, and I think he is, Rafa will win a couple of Wimbledon, beginning with this year to become a new No. 1, finally.
From a futurist perspective, it is illogical to be regressive, i.e. recall the past to cover up the present. Fed lost, lost miserably with one of the worst scores ever, at a time when he was claiming to have been ready more than ever. Plain and simple. His being GOAT or not or his record of the past is not going to make up this loss in the present. Let’s accept the defeat gracefully and let Rafa enjoy his victory.


jane Says:

Sean, (I posted this point once but it disappears – please delete doubles if it shows up again)

In response to this point:

“could Rafa be in fact the guy who becomes the greatest? Just a thought. While we are all looking at Roger in awe of his achievements, maybe the real GOAT is playing right before our eyes and we don’t even recognize it. Not out of the crazy realm of possibility”

This is a very salient thought.

While Roger’s loss was shock Rafa’s win was historical.

Most of the posts on this thread, however, are about Roger. Maybe we should be discussing Rafa’s future after that win. It was something else. And he speaks of himself now in measures of perfection; that says something about how determined he is. He is only improving. On hardcourt this year, his efforts at IW & Miami were balanced out or close to his efforts last year, and he went deeper at the AO than he ever has. On clay, he was better, in taking Hamburg and not losing a set at RG – we know why he lost Rome.

What’s next for Rafa? That’s what I want to see.


I have clay in my piratas Says:

What’s next for Rafa? That’s what I want to see.

Knee injuries, ankle injuries, getting whipped by anyone with decent game on a hard-court.

The honeymoon has ended for Nadal and his dirty fans.


Ryan Says:

I believe that fed is slowly declining no matter how sad that may sound.Wimbledon is up for grabs and fed better watch out.Its not as simple as serve and volley on grass anymore.By the way this time around if djok gets his chance against nadal in wimby then nadal is finished.Thats 4 sho.


mirolove Says:

YES NADAL WON THE FRENCH OPEN AND HE IS SO CALLED AS THE KING OF CLAY..BUT REMEMBER…FEDERER IS THE KING OF GRASS..REMEMEBER THAT…GO FEDERER GO…CRUEZI!


jane Says:

Ryan,

I’d be thrilled if Djoko won Wimbledon. I agree that it’s up for grabs. We’ll see tho.


JCF Says:

I just watched the highlights, and Nadal’s reaction after winning match point was very subdued, which was unusual. All he did was raise both arms in the air briefly, then march toward the net to embrace Federer. He normally rolls onto the ground and gets clay all over him, or at least gets on his knees, and leaves the other person waiting a bit. This time he was sensitive to Roger’s loss, knowing that the drubbing would have hurt enough without rubbing it in further. He is a class act.

If the match was close though, he would have let out that feeling of relief by prostrating himself I am sure. He was just trying not to hurt Roger’s feelings.

Good on him for that.


Von Says:

This may raise the ire of many to say that Federer was indeed lucky to even be a finalist at this year’s FO. As most will agree he has had the easiest draw as compared to many Nos.1 in the past. He barely eeked out wins from unseeded opponents until the QFs. Additionally, his matches against Gonzalez and Monfils were not in the stellar performance category either.

Beginning with Federer’s first match against Sam Querrey, it was apparent that Federer was not playing the way he should if he indeed wanted to win the trophy. I made mention of this and my comment met the response that we’re in for the ‘long haul, not a short sprint’, by one who is always eager to cast aspersions on whatever is written by me regarding Federer, regardless of the objectivity of my statements. The subsequent matches Federer played showed small improvements, but nothing drastic — not drastic enough improvement to win the trophy. Had Monfils not played so loose a match he most probably would have won his SFs match.

What does one make of all of this? Simply put, due to such an easy, uncompetitive draw, Fed was not really tested and could not hone/sharpen his skills which left him vulnerable at the finals. There was a lot of talk concerning the draw being lopsided. That lopsided/too easy draw worked to his disadvantage and deprived Federer the much needed competition to be on even keel with Nadal or to enable him to put up a good defense on his behalf.

There was mention by a poster prior to the FO to the effect that if Federer were to win the FO, it would be sickening to listen to the media, read the news articles, and blogs, etc. This is so true. He lost, and instead of there being some glory for Nadal in all of the commentaries, news articles and blogs, it’s atill this great deliberation of how good Federer really is, the couldas, shouldas, wouldas, whch detracts from Nadal’s triumph. There’s one poster who’s talking about not much respect given for Federer’s greatness, blah, blah, by what he terms ‘infantile and smallmindedness for a man going through travails’. Federer ‘haters”, etc. Put a sock on it! It should be borne in mind that we are ALL entitled to our opinions. What respect is ever given by most of Federer fans for those winning or losing against Federer. For the winners, there’s always an excuse, as to why Federer lost, and for the losers, the sick taunts, and unkindness would be alright if it were only small-mindededness but in those cases tantamount to gleeful cruelty in the worst proportions. The comments today are 8 of every 10 bemoaning Federer’s loss Federer, Federer, and Federer.

Nadal was less jubilant in winning the FO this year as in previous years. The partisan froggy crowd ensured they detracted from his joy. Why leave his heart out on the court for them? They don’t deserve it. The same was true for Hamburg, however, at Hamburg, it was noted by some Fed fans that Nadal didn’t display a showing of happiness at winning the title due to some niggling guilt, which the mind readers perceived was due to his call for a trainer. Will there ever be any kind of fairness to any player who beats Federer on these threads? I’ll say not!!

CONGRATULATIONS TO NADAL ON A WELL-EARNED AND DESERVING VICTORY!!


Giner Says:

I also like Nadal’s answer when he was asked “the way you’ve been playing, do you feel like number 1?”

He said “No. I don’t feel like number 1. I feel like number… 2. Closer to number 3 than number 1. Federer is number one definately.”

I applaud his modesty too.


Ryan Says:

To all the hardcore bloggers VON,SHITAL GREEN,JANE,SENSATIONAL SAFIN,GRENDEL,AGASSIFAN,SKOROCEL

Nadal is the man right now.He’s a guy who believes in the saying “ACTIONS speak louder than words”.Fed and djok yaps a lot but does not do as much.Djok was like I’m not going on the court to play well against nadal.I’m going on the court to win. Sure. He did win by a very comfortable margin as the score shows…..As for federer “This is my year…this is my chance…I’m the one taking the risks blah blah” He’s right.This is his year TO LOSE TO NADAL IN THE WORST WAY POSSIBLE.
I agree with anyone out there who says that tough draws are essential for the big seeds for the confidence and skills that they get out of winning.Otherwise they’ll get it whipped when they face some real guys.So I think federer should be given a really tough draw in wimbledon and us open.Otherwise he might lose there as well.What do y’all think?


JCF Says:

A commentator made an interesting point: Federer’s #1 rival had always been Nadal, but now the two of them have another guy breathing down both their necks — Djokovic. This time Fed was lucky that Djokovic landed in Nadal’s half, and Fed only had to deal with one of them. Soon he’s going to start having to deal with two of them. It’s going to be a lot harder for him now. I totally expect one of them (if not both) to make a semi final at Wimbledon. And this is where the #2 rank could change hands… If Nadal plays Djokovic again, it will be a battle for #2… again. And Federer could start playing Nadal in the Semis from here on out. Even on clay!

It’s entirely plausible that he won’t make the finals of RG next year, because he’ll draw Nadal in the semis, and then have to play Djokovic in the finals if he wins.


jane Says:

This article – “Federer lacked pop against thoroughbred Nadal” – says Federer might be only number 3 in the world right now. But what I liked best in it is what he has to say about throwing around labels like “greatest”.

He spends most of the article discussing Rafa’s accomplishments, for example:

“Consider this fact: Nadal’s fourth French Open title came when he was 34 days older than Federer’s age in 2003 when Federer captured his first Grand Slam title by winning Wimbledon.”


jane Says:

Ryan – likely a tougher draw is better, but you never know how a draw will play out, with upsets and the like.

JCF – Roger and Rafa can only benefit from having Djoko in the mix – especially Rafa. Because Djoko makes them raise their games more, add different elements for dealing with him, not just each other. I can see how they’re both hitting deeper, going down the line more, ripping returns. These are trademark Djokoisms. More competition is better and the players get better. I think.


JCF Says:

“JCF, who did federer lose to in those 3 Finals? Nadal. Do you seriously think anyone other than nadal would have beaten federer in those 3 finals among the present crop. Remember fed is 12-0 in non-nadal GS finals. Look at the players he has lost to FO since 2004 – kuerten and nadal a 3 time FO and 4time (surely more) champion. How could you equate those losses to someone who lose to, say mark phillippousis or richard krajicek in the 1st round?

Even the atp gives 700 for a final and 1000 for a win. If final and 1st round were the same why not give the same prize money and points. Call me foolish, but I think there is a difference in having lost to nadal thrice in a final as opposed to beating martin verkerk and winning a FO.

Another way to look at it. Take nadal out of the equation. Who has the most clay court achievements in this decade. Not ferrero, not gaudio, not costa, not kuerten, not coria, not moya, not ferrer – It is federer and it is not even close. You think federer would have lost to verkerk or coria or gaudio in a final? Not in a 1000 yrs.

Who would have stopped the Roger slam in 06 and 07 if not Nadal?”

That wasn’t the point. If you read on, I did say that Federer was one of the “best” clay courters of all time, but not one of the “greatest”. “Greatest” has subjective meaning, but it has something to do with the silverware you collected. Pete Sampras is still regarded as the current “greatest” of all time, solely because he won more majors than any one else. Pete in my opinion however, is far from the “best” player of all time. Laver had 13 slams I think? And he was banned from competition for a few years. If he wasn’t, he’d have surpassed 14 easily. Borg had 11 slams and he retired at 25 (his comeback was a joke), plus he never bothered going to Australia. If Borg had a better work ethic and didn’t just retire after McEnroe beat him at Wimbledon, he too would easily surpass 14 slams. And what else did these two guys have over Pete? They won grand slams on clay… even in the same year as winning Wimbledon. And they did this multiple times. It still doesn’t change the fact that Sampras is regarded as the GOAT, until Federer surpasses 14 slams (which I think he will).

If we’re going by that definition, then Federer is not one of the greatest clay courters of all time. However I wouldn’t argue that he is one of the best.

It’s a matter of semantics.


Joker Says:

Sean:

You make an interesting case for nadal. In one way nadal-rolandgarros relation is like sampras-wimbledon. The main base for Sampras’ 14 were the 7 at W. Nadal could quite possibly achieve similar results. Time will answer that.

Right now, however it is federer’s record we are looking at and how could you hold him not being able to beat the greatest clay-courter of all time against his achievements? It is like saying becker was not an all-time great on grass because he could never beat sampras at wimbledon once sampras started his Wimbledon run.If nadal was a late bloomer like sampras and won his 1st RG when he was 21 federer would have sealed the GOAT argument with 2 Roger slams and 14slams already.

Who do you think is the no.2 clay-court player in the past 4yrs after nadal? Is it a stretch to imagine that player being the no.1 clay courter of his generation if nadal was not there? Where would you put roger with 2RGs and 14 slams (the scenario if nadal did not exist)?


Joker Says:

JCF:

I got your point! We are on the same page now, if not on the same line.

Also, your point regarding fed having to play nadal in the semis is one I, have wondered about. To me, nadal is just a tougher match-up for Fed than djokovic at this point. Hence nadal not losing the no.2 ranking is as much in federer’s interest as it is in nadal’s if not more. For the last few years, youzhny, blake and co have been taking out nadal and fed would handle any other player on tour with aplomb. If nadal and Federer are not no.2 and no.1 fed will most likely have to deal with nadal himself.

Anyways, right now nadal is in more danger of losing his no.2 ranking more than federer losing his no.1 (fed has 1000+ points over nadal with 3 fewer tournaments played than nadal) It is a testament to Feds domination that he has had his worst 6 month span and he is still so well ahead of the no.2. Feds borrowed time has ended and any further slips will result in his giving up that coveted no.1 position.


MMT Says:

“Fed’s heart is just fine. Nadal’s No. 1 though.” What exactly is the basis for this assessement? 5-set wins? Personal problems? Comeback wins? Or just a pure preference for Nadal?

“Joker/Agassifan, I am just speculating that if these beatings administered by Rafa at the French Open continue that it will harm Roger’s legacy.”

Does it harm Sampras’ legacy that he never even reached a final at RG? Does it hurt Laver’s legacy that 8 of his 11 slams came in 2 years? Or that one of them came against amateurs? Does it hurt Borg’s legacy that he never won the US Open, even when it was on clay?

You’re really grasping at straws on that one.

“If Roger’s so great why can’t he beat Rafa on clay?”

This too makes little sense…he can’t beat Rafa on clay, because Rafa’s better than him on clay. Every player has players they have trouble with: Laver had Gonzales, Gonzales had Hoad, Borg had McEnroe and Federer has Nadal. This has no bearing on their overall greatness, as measured by something objective like years at #1 and grand slams won.

“Hell, he’s a third of the way to Federer in terms of Slams and he just turned 22.”

This one I find the most outlandish…Borg was 25 and had 11 slams when he just quit. McEnroe won 2 slams and 82 matches in 1984 – never won another slam after that. Becker was 23 when he won 2 slams in 1 year and went on to win two more over the next 7…both at the AO.

Predictions of how many slams a player will win based on their age are about as reliable as the metrobus in Washington, DC. Just as quickly as it appeared to go south for all the greats when it eventually did, the same can/will happen to Fed, Rafa, the Djoker, anyone.

Let’s at least wait until Nadal reaches double digit slams before we entertain this notion, at the risk of sounding a little high on the delight at Nadal’s comprehensive victory today.

And can anyone explain why if Federer’s dominance everywhere but against Nadal on clay, is down to the weakness of contemporaries, why isn’t that also the case for Nadal’s dominance on clay? They are playing the same players, aren’t they?

Finally, let’s stop this argument that, “if it weren’t for [enter nemesis here], [enter favorite player here] would certainly have won more [enter bogey-tournament here].

Who’s to say that if Federer hadn’t lost to Nadal in 07 and 08, he wouldn’t have lost to Djokovic instead?

We’ll simply never know, and we should leave it at that – the great thing about tennis is you either win, or you don’t win – no penalty shoot-outs, no sudden death over-times, etc. You either win or you don’t.

Nada did, and Fed and 126 other players didn’t.


Von Says:

Ryan:

“So I think federer should be given a really tough draw in wimbledon and us open.Otherwise he might lose there as well.What do y’all think?”

I’ve been vociferous in the past regarding Federer’s easy draws, and have met with very fierce opposition. My feeling is one that if a player is the No. 1 player, then a tough draw should not matter. He’s No. 1 and should, or can beat any other player — that’s why he’s No. 1. This nonsense whereby the No. 1 player draws qualifiers and unseeded players until the QFs is ridiculous and unfair to the other players. Why should the top seeded players have it easy until the QFs, as opposed to the rest of the field who have to put out an overwhelming amount of energy and time on the court, beat insurmountble odds, and, if those lower ranked players are lucky to get to the QFs, be utterly drained from exhaustion only to lose to one of the higher ranked players who’ve had it easy? It defies all logic to me and speaking from my coign of vantage, grossly unfair. Some say the top seed deserves easy draws because they’ve earned it. Poppycock! I want to see them sweat, scramble and fight it out, to emerge the victor, and then they can feel within their hearts that it was a job well done, and a trophy well deserved. This easy draw stuff is bereft of logic, and this system only ensures that the top seeds will remain the top seeds. The lower ranked players have very few possibilities of getting out of their lower ranked positions. Shake em up guys!

Additionally, I agree with Shital, that the carrying over of points system from calendar year to calendar year should be outmoded. The slate should be wiped clean at the end of the season and a new one begun at the beginning of the next season. That would give us a truer picture of who’s doing what — it shouldn’t be that the top seeds can have a bad year and be bailed out by the excess points carried over from previous years, thus retaining their ranking.


jane Says:

“Additionally, I agree with Shital, that the carrying over of points system from calendar year to calendar year should be outmoded.”

I’ve never understood the point of this rolling ranking system. I agree: a clean slate each year.

Because with the system as it is, why is there even a “race” – at one time I thought it was to decide who goes to the Masters Cup. But it’s not; I believe that goes by the “rankings.”

Has it always been a rolling ranking system like this; does anyone know why it is? Or also what purpose the race serves? Who cares if you’re called “year end no 1″ when you still don’t get to be no 1.


Mike Says:

I was stunned to see such a rout – especially the bagel. I thought that Federer looked great with the serve and volley, it was so fun to see it! And every time Nadal was on fire, I just assumed that Federer would turn things around, even at 5-1 in the first set and 5-3 in the second set.

I’m thrilled beyond pieces that Nadal won, because their relationship is so connected – Nadal may never be #1 because of Federer, and Federer may never win Roland Garros because of Nadal. I still can’t see how Federer can’t be GOAT – he’s so dominant and even if he hasn’t won RO, he’s at least made 3 straight finals. All the other great players who failed to win a specific major usually barely made it to the finals, except Lendl and his multiple Wimbledon finals.

I love the idea that Federer hasn’t achieved the one feat that Agassi achieved, but even still… of course, if Federer doesn’t make it to the FO final again, then both he and Agassi share 3 FO finals, except of course Agassi won one :D

But what got me really excited (as a bonus) was Borg’s presence and the McEnroe interview, where they talked about playing seniors doubles at RO in 2009. Whether or not it happens is another story, but when Borg said he’d play “only with you, John,” I got so teary-eyed. It would be so sweet if Borg played doubles at a Grand Slam and not just on the senior doubles circuit.

It’s great that tennis history was achieved (or at least replicated today), no matter who won. It’s almost as sweet as when the finalists have never before won a GS title.

Mike


Von Says:

jane:

“Has it always been a rolling ranking system like this; does anyone know why it is? Or also what purpose the race serves? Who cares if you’re called “year end no 1″ when you still don’t get to be no 1.”

From as far back as I can remember it’s been that way. At the end of the year the race and ranking points become melded, ergo the year end ranking is a true indicator as to who’s No. 1, but if it weren’t for the rolling over of the points, and the institutiion of a new slate, we probably could have a new No. 1 each year. I don’t think any other sport has this rolling over of points aside from tennis. I suppose if there weren’t a roll over of points at the beginning of the year then the AO seeding would be a problem.


Lenny Says:

“MMT Says:

Does it harm Sampras’ legacy that he never even reached a final at RG? Does it hurt Laver’s legacy that 8 of his 11 slams came in 2 years? Or that one of them came against amateurs? Does it hurt Borg’s legacy that he never won the US Open, even when it was on clay?

You’re really grasping at straws on that one.”

Could NOT agree with you MORE. The notion that a player – ANY player – is out of the running for GOAT, or has a somewhat tarnished legacy, JUST because he hasn’t won all four slams, is simply LUDICROUS. By that skewed logic, are you guys saying that only players who HAVE won all four can be considered for the title of GOAT??

HOW MANY (male) players have done that?? A measly FIVE. Perry, Budge, Laver, Emerson, Agassi. HOW may have won all four slams since they’ve been played on four different surfaces? ONE. Agassi! How many of these 5 can SERIOUSLY be in the running for GOAT??


Spirit Says:

What a sad day for me, witnessing the greatest tennis virtuoso I have ever seen, suffering such a humiliating loss!

Credits to Nadal, he deserved this title 100%, he’s a great guy, big sportsman, and also a real tennis legend at the tender age of 22, but still really modest and humble.

I don’t agree with Borg that Nadal has more chance to take Wimbledon crown than Federer. This is true, but ONLY if they both reach the final, because the latest demolition gave Nadal such a huge psychological momentum over Fed. But… I wouldn’t bet my money Nadal will reach the final in the first place. His two biggest problems as I see it will be the first week of the tournament, and a possible semifinal clash with Djokovic.

Against such a competitive and attacking player like Djokovic (don’t forget his huge serve), against Novak’s all round and versatile game, without any major weakness, grass (although slower) will not let Nadal make his opponent hit the line 5 times before winning a point – one time will do the trick.


D Roy Says:

Just One Thought after reading all the threads above and I am posting for the first time here :-

“andrea Says:
OUCH! so much for the dream final…turned into a nightmare for federer.

poor broadcasters scrambling to suddenly fill the other 3 hours they had blocked off for this ‘blockbuster’ final. over in two!

a bagel is pretty bad news for roger but against the stupidly clay-dominant nadal, maybe not so bad. we were debating whether nadal was actually getting better (what an insanse idea) and the writing is obviously on the wall.

too many errors yet again from fed. bit of a letdown. but the stunned silence that enveloped everyone from the crowd, commentators and even nadal’s quiet realization that he won his fourth straight final, pretty much said it all.

did i say OUCH?”

The above represents just one of the sample of the unbelievably unsportsman-like reactions of the Fed-fans to the total rout of Fed by Nadal
in RG final 2008.

Not only, there is not even one iota of appreciation for the supreme & historical achievement of Nadal in any of the uniformly biased threads of Fed-fans, but also, unbelievably, they have to resort to personal denigration & stoop to the level sickening name-calling of Nadal, to vent-out their ire.

PITY FOR TENNIS IN PARTICULAR & SPORTS IN GENERAL!!


tturley Says:

The only way Fed ever beats Rafa at RG is when he learns a two-hand backhand and hits the weights and gains 10 pounds of muscle. Fed has no answer for Rafa’s heavy topspin forehand, and he needs more strength to create opportunities on clay, where you have to create your own power. Unfortunately for Fed, Rafa is just entering his prime, he is even stronger, with a better backhand and serve than last year, and will probably be just as good for the next 3-4 years (barring catastrophic injury).

I think the only guy in his prime that could beat Rafa is Nastasie, whohad the variety of shots and fiery competitiveness to challenge Rafa.


Von Says:

D Roy:

“Not only, there is not even one iota of appreciation for the supreme & historical achievement of Nadal in any of the uniformly biased threads of Fed-fans, but also, unbelievably, they have to resort to personal denigration & stoop to the level sickening name-calling of Nadal, to vent-out their ire.”

PITY FOR TENNIS IN PARTICULAR & SPORTS IN GENERAL!!”

I can assure you if the victory was the other way around we would have read the saccharin flowing comments as to Federer’s greatness, skills, et al. These would have been been stated and re-stated ad nauseam. The redundancy would be stifling. Additionally, if ONE non-Fed fan were to give their opinion as to their objectivity and what actually transpired that person would be branded as small-minded and infantile. Free speech is not accorded a non-Fed fan on these threads. We are bullied into submission of non-utterances, by the use of sarcasm and editorials.

Smallmindedness is when a fan of the loser cannot rise above their disappointment and be big enough to congratulate the victor. I’m by no means a Nadal fan, but I admire this youngman’s drive, tenacity and talent. He is deserving of his victory. VAMOS RAFA!!


noel Says:

Jane:
The ranking system-although far from being perfect- has been ,by and large,pretty good at representing the relative strength of players and as von says,avoids certain absurd situations esp at the start of the year.for instance,fed and novak didn’t play any official atp tournament before the oz open and llodra,murray and youzhny won the season’s first three tournaments with tursunov and kohlschreiber winning in the second week.i am sure none of these players could have justifiably been among the top five seeds at the oz open.similarly,rafa dominates the clay season but the rankings would be distorted if he were ranked number one primarily on account of his dominance on a single surface.the atp introduced the race recently to avoid some of the confusion and to show who the best player has been so far in a calender year.even then one could argue that novak has been the best this season even though rafa has more race points.as the season progresses the race and rankings system start to converge and the latest performances become more and more relevant.they become identical at the end of the season because ranking points are nothing but race points multiplied by a factor of five based on performances in the ‘eligible’ number of tournaments.a period of one year is probably just about right for it reflects a players’ skills on all the surfaces and therefore is more representative of overall quality. the problem with the rolling system arises when there is no single dominant player like fed or pete.muster,rios,moya, etc. held the top rank for brief periods.rios,as talented as he was,never even won a slam.i remember there being a huge uproar regarding the system and people were asking if someone should become a top-ranked player without winning a slam.this limitation will always come to the fore when there are more evenly-matched players or a single clay expert dominates the clay season while his rivals distribute the hard court spoils more evenly.still,i’d say the rolling system has stood the test of time and generally the players also agree that it is a fair system.some ‘complaints’,primarily from the fans’viewpoints, have been redressed by the introduction of the race.


grendel Says:

“There’s one poster who’s talking about not much respect given for Federer’s greatness, blah, blah, by what he terms ‘infantile and smallmindedness for a man going through travails’. Federer haters, etc -put a sock on it”.

Poor Von always has trouble with the truth, with facts generally, even when they are laid out clearly before her. I have already adequately documented this (Von’s response was not to challenge it, but to sarcastically allude to attempted character analysis – actually, I had tossed a couple of adjectives her way, “spoilt” and “indulged”; nothing too controversial there, I think).

I didn’t, of course, talk about respect for Federer’s greatness – I talked about the pleasure he has given to so many, a very different matter indeed. That emphatically does not mean that you a) don’t give Nadal credit and b)don’t acknowledge Fed’s decline. That Von is a Federer hater is in not the slightest doubt; she came screaming onto this site with accusations of what a devious liar Federer is, and I have documented plenty more of this sort. For her, of all people, to talk about being “objective” is beyond even laughable. Only yesterday, she was caught in a stupid error – about why Fed missed Halle last year – and on the basis of this error, made a snide little conjecture. Smallminded indeed.

Von writes: “Beginning with Federer’s first match against Sam Querrey, it was apparent that Federer was not playing the way he should if he indeed wanted to win the trophy. I made mention of this and my comment met the response that we’re in for the ‘long haul, not a short sprint’, by one who is always eager to cast aspersions on whatever is written by me regarding Federer, regardless of the objectivity of my statements”. This, in fact, is what I wrote:”Federer was lacklustre, to say the least, in first round, as Von pointed out.But it is a marathon not a sprint as the cliche goes – so judgemnent suspended”. I would have thought most people would infer from this that broadly, I was in agreement with Von – but that I wished to enter a small caveat (as it happens, not one I had much confidence in).

I am all for genuine criticisms of Federer, plenty have been made, and I agree with many of them – this, too, is easy to document. What I resist absolutely is pretence at critical detachment, when it is plain for all to see that Von – for whatever reason, something to do with American players – is animated by a deep dislike of Federer (to put it as mildly as I can); hence the miserable little baby snipes (“tiny tim”, etc), and the undisguised relish, when Federer gets a whopping. I can’t prove it, but I would bet that what animated Von far more than Nadal’s utter brilliance was Federer’s humiliation (a deserved humiliation, by the way – but that’s already been gone into endlessly). Naturally, she will deny it. I leave posters to judge – just consider her general tone.

Don’t get me wrong, none of us are saints, and a certain degree of gloating is only natural. With Von, though, it is a cumulative thing, she really has the knives out though, being a clever woman, she disguises it sometimes. So long as this humbug is on display, I will oppose it.

Meanwhile, to one of the posters above, I said a year ago on this site that I thought Nadal might be the one to overhaul Sampras’s record. I was met with a certain degree of derision, but I think it seems more plausible now, health permitting. He seems to be about favourite for Wimbledon, and his hard court record is improving. Who knows? But it’s an interesting thought.


Kevin Says:

Could Roger win Wimbledon?

If he could not improve his serve and approach shot, most likely he would lose it.

Unlike Pete or Ivan, Roger’s second serve only could play save. Moreover his approach shot is not as great as Pete or Boris. More pity, he played the approach worse now.

As Rafa played more double now, his approach shot and response improved. Obvuiously you could see improvement at Rafa and Novak’s game, but Roger even could not keep his standard. From now on, there will be one-side game at clay final, but a very close game at other surface


PJ Says:

It’s funny. As a huge Federer fan, it really sucked watching that match yesterday. No one likes to see their favorite player get destroyed like that, especially when he’s number 1 in the world, and it’s a slam final. I think, though, for as bad as Roger was beaten, I would’ve been more upset if it was close. Despite all of the errors Roger made, cleaning up his game probably wouldn’t have changed much. A few of the sets may have been closer, but that’s about it. Rafa was winning yesterday, no doubt about it. No one was going to stop him. Obviously, I wish the scoreline was better, but Nadal was just too good this entire tournament. Had it gone 4 or 5 sets and Roger looked like he had a chance, I would’ve gotten my hopes up, and probably been more disappointed when he wound up losing. This is just one of those times a player and the fans have to just shrug their shoulders and say there’s really not much else that could’ve been done. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re a fan of Rafa or Roger; you can’t not be impressed with what happened yesterday.

Wimbledon should be interesting. Based solely on grass court play, Roger is still the favorite. However, it may come down to a mental game, and you don’t know where he’s at. Even when he didn’t win either of the first two slams a few years ago, there was still the feeling he would win Wimbledon and the US Open. Nadal was really only making strides on the clay at that time. Now, he has Nadal, Djokovic, and there are some other players who should make waves on grass this year. Like Rafa on clay (but probably not as much; at least not like this year), beating Roger 3 sets on grass is difficult. I think it’s very important for Roger’s psyche that wins it again this year. I’m certainly not anywhere near ready to write Roger off. Even on his bad days, he’s going to beat most other players. It’s the last few matches in the slams that are becoming critical. I don’t doubt that he’s going to win at least 3 more slams to break the record. Will one of them ever be Roland Garros? I don’t know.


ChrisM Says:

“At the end of the year the race and ranking points become melded”

No, they don’t… race points are 1/5th of ranking points, and consider tour-level events only. Scroll down the final race and the final rankings page at the very end of the year and you will see differences.


noel Says:

ChrisM:
while you are right that race considers tour-level events only,the difference between race and ranking points(five times the race points) is merely to make them distinct from each other and for all practical purposes-certainly for an overwhelming majority of top players-they are ‘identical’ by the end of the year.it could be one/two/three/any times the race points for all i care.surely von doesn’t mean that the numbers are exactly equal.the import of his/her point is that the resultant rankings based on those numbers will increasingly reflect the calender year performances and the race leader will be the ranking leader by the end of the season and quite obviously so because the rolling system would have excluded all the previous 52-weeks points at the end of the season and reflect only the current season’s points.some players will have different race and rankings points i.e. not exactly five times the race or 1/5th the ranking points if they have played non-tour events like the challengers.one can get ranking points at these events but no race points.


Von Says:

“Only yesterday, she was caught in a stupid error – about why Fed missed Halle last year – and on the basis of this error, made a snide little conjecture. Smallminded indeed.”

As per Saroyan: “Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”


noel Says:

i m sorry for having written about the exclusion of “previous 52-weeks points”.it should be read as the previous season’s points.


Agassifan Says:

Laver and Emerson are the only other players, other than Fed, to reach 3 finals in all 3 slams. But three of the four were on grass then…… and the AUS open was hardly well contested. Emerson reached most of his playing against amateurs.

Just goes to show how incredibly difficult it is to do well on 4 different surfaces.

Agassi is the only one to have won on all 4 surfaces.

Let Nadal prove himself on other surfaces, then we will talk.


hector Says:

At Federer’s website, his fans have serious trouble admitting Rafa’s clay court brilliance. It is to the point of being PATHETIC.

A few days earlier, they called 3-game performance of Almagro disgraceful and wanted to investigate; yet, they are dead silent now. They keep sounding stupid statements like “Federer has the game to beat Nadal; If only Federer could play his best, he would beat Nadal’s best.” It is really sick.


marius Says:

i think that as long as federer will be scared of nadal he will never beat him on clay, especially at rolland garros, i don’t know it must have something to do with the court as the bounces are higher there and nadal can exploit his inept backhand of his,people come here and say federer is a great champion but is he really ? who has played who you could say is a real challenge,roddick mister serve,davydenko weak in the head,blake can’t beat even if roger was asleep,federer as always been found wanting when players have refused to back down ex (safina ustralian open 2005,nalbandian on a nunmber of occasions as actually beaten federer being behind the score proof just how weak mentally roger is,and don’t give me this nonsense about 12 grand slams, 3 to 4 of this those have been against mentally flawed opponents, for the 1st time in his career he is presented with a challenge and he can’t surmont it,saying things like if nadal didn’t make the finals i would maybe win, the sign of the fear he has for nadal,i wonder how he will feel when nadal,takes his wimbledon crown aswell,the guy is pathetic, i mean can’t he employ a lefty for the all of the season or at best the all time that he is at the french, so he will know what to do to an extent against rafa,


grendel Says:

Although a Fed fan, I’ve never gone on his website – or any other player’s. These kind of propaganda sites are of no interest to me, but even so: I imagine none of them constitute the height of objectivity. Surely that is not their function.
I posted the night before the final that Federer seemed subdued in his interview – in no sense did one feel here was a man looking forward to a great occasion. Great as Nadal played, and this should be celebrated, I do think Fed let himself down. Of course he couldn’t have won. But he could have tried a bit harder. The manner of his loss may come to haunt him. I understand (from John Lloyd) that the players are all defending him, but one thing is for sure: a lot of them are now going to feel they have a chance against him on grass.

I sincerely hope he prevails. But I look forward to some doughty battles. And I believe Nadal will win – I’ve been a believer in his serve, especially on grass, since last year. And now, he is just so much more formidable in every way.


zinaldo Says:

he certainly has the game but does have the belive that he can win i doubt,he clearly has got a plan a but soon has it starts missing and failling he always seems to panick going to net with his pathetics approach shots of a 300th raned player in the world, only if nalbandian had federer stamina and physical abiilities he would certainely give nadal a bit more trouble roger could ever do,i also want to see tsonga vs nadal at wimbledon and hopefully next at the french coz that guy is fearless, and those give rafa so much respect,federer is going to have to earn his slams from now on, we are truly gonna see just how mentally touch he is coz all i can see is a scared rabbit who seems lost and the opponents now believe they can beat him the aura his gone roger, now it is time for roger the fighter to show himself, ain’t no more davydenko,roddick, for you to fool us


hector Says:

I don’t think any player could beat Nadal, period. Federer in his best day could not beat Nadal at 80%. As Fed pointed out in his interviews, it seems like Nadal having two FH’s. I struggled to understand this a bit, but he is saying Nadal’s BH is just as strong as his FH. If you add his extraordinary movement on clay, he can get to any ball and unleash lethal FH. That is a devastating combination. Have I mentioned he plays any point like match point.

I watched the match in HDTV; they showed some camera angles at court ends. You will really appreciate how brilliant some of Nadal’s winners are.

I am done making excuses for Roger on clay. Nadal is simply genius on that surface. I don’t care what form Roger will bring, he will bring A+++ game and sustain for 2+ sets, he will eventually succumb to Nadal in RG. The only thing that stopped Nadal is injury.

By the way, I think Novak has better chance to defeat Nadal than Federer because of his steady 2-handed BH. Fed’s BH usually are flutters falling in mid-court. Nadal’s movement allows him to run around and hammer his precise FH and puts Fed on his back foot right away. Roger cannot hit DTL BH with consistency, it often finds the net.


matt Says:

Federer is not as good as Nadal on clay.

And that is not Federer’s fault.

He tried. He has been trying his best to beat Nadal in RG. He looked for help in Higueras person, and he has done all he can to win RG.

I am proud of him, because he actually try everything to win RG (and I can’t say the same of Sampras, for example).

The thing is that Nadal is better than Federer on clay and that is not Federer’s fault.

When he retire from tennis, he will be able to say: “I tried my best and I couldn’t beat that guy at RG during those years” and that’s okay.

Nadal, on the other hand, is trying his best to win Wimbledon and, though he was so close last year, he hasn’t won it yet.

Nadal says he wants to win Wimbledon so badly (which is great, given he is spaniard and there have been great spaniards players who didn’t care about Wimbledon, like Bruguera) and all he can do is to give his all and keep trying.

I think we are all very fortunate to have these great champions right now.

These two players appreciate the history of the game and respect each other a lot.

They want to win badly, even in their worst surface.

As I said, that is something I can not say about Sampras. He was extremly talented, but (in my opinion) he never tryied seriosly in Paris.

Maybe, because of his illness (thalasemia) he knew he could never win it battling for hours and running every point.

Whatever it may be, he never tried seriosly (in my opinion).

But now, we have these two great champions and Djoko as well, all of them trying to improve all the time and it is a joy for all of us.

Btw, I pick Federer to win Wimbledon. The last match he lost on grass was six years ago.

I don’t see Nadal reaching the final again ( 3 WB finals in a row is too much for him, I believe).

Maybe Djoko get to the final and then…who knows…

Well, first we have to look at the draw. Among the last 5 GS, Djoko was in Nadal’s half in four of them.

Will it happen again in WB?


Agassifan Says:

I am a big fed fan, but clearly, fed played a horrible match. However, on clay, nadal is better than Fed, so if they both bring their “A” game (100%), nadal will always win. Fed can only beat nadal on clay if nadal plays less than 100% and Fed 100%.

But that’s true for any other player on this planet, not just for Federer!

Clearly, in the presence of Nadal, only Borg, Lendl, and Guga had a chance to win the French. None of the other french champions would have beaten nadal on clay. Its a tough break for every good clay court player right now – that for a couple of more years, they won’t win the french. It affects Fed particularly more, since he is on the threshold of history.

However, if fed keeps on reaching the finals, he will win it one day….

And the big difference between nadal and Borg? Borg was equally dominant on grass, which nadal is not. He got tons of lucky breaks the last two wimbledons. I would love to see him play sam querry, karlovic, roddick, and djokovic at Queens this week (all possible).


sensationalsafin Says:

Federer is not that mentally weak. How many shit days and comebacks did he have in his prime? He still has a winning record over Nalbandian, Safin, and most players who have stood up to him. Hell he’s 2-2 against Djokovic in their last 4 meetings. He’s still beaten Nadal more than any other player has. Nadal is not going to win Wimbledon. If it’s not gonna be Federer then it’s gonna be Djokovic, there’s no doubt about that.

I used to think Federer’s best on clay could beat Nadal. And 2 or 3 years ago that was probably true. But Nadal is just better than him. He’s better than everyone. Federer used to be better than everyone on hardcourts and no one could touch him. That’s how Nadal is on clay. He’s just better than everyone. It’s really the most amazing thing to see in a professional sport. This is why Federer has to be given credit for his former dominance over 4 years. Atleast in the pros everyone is basically at the same level, in the same league, with it all coming down to the particular day. Federer was talking about that before the match but Nadal proved that there is no particular day against Nadal, every day on clay is Nadal’s day, no matter who the opponent. If there was a level beyond the pros then Federer was certainly there for some time and now Nadal’s there on clay. It’s just remarkable.

I don’t think Federer will ever win the French at this point, but in tennis anything can happen really. But for now I think we should all relax. Nadal’s great, can’t take nothing away, and Federer sucks, can’t really disprove that. It’s grass season. Federer’s season. It’s finally the time of the year where Federer will show everyone where his career is headed. I’ll put money he’s upset at Halle. But I’m not sure about Wimbledon yet. He does have the ability to serve his way out of matches. And this is grass, the ball stays so low compared to the clay, and Fderer loves that. I hope we see all his ridiculous shots because he does them best on grass.


jane Says:

Thanks to those of you -especially noel- for replying to my ranking question; I still don’t really get it, but can understand the AO situation you described, which does seem to make sense. I am glad, even if it isn’t incredibly relevant, that the ATP added “the race” because as a fan it’s good to be able to see how players are doing on the year.


jane Says:

Yes, sensationalsafin sums up clay competition well:

“…Nadal is just better than [Federer]. He’s better than everyone.”

That’s the bottomline. Rafa is supreme on clay, the sovereign.

Of course, there is grass, hard courts, and indoor carpet still to come, and I am excited to find out how the rest of the year unfolds.


JS Says:

I just don’t get how Fed is not already the greatest ever. No player has ever been as consistent as Fed. Throughout 2005-2007, no other player in history comes close to the number of matches won. You could never say that Sampras was the second best clay court player, not even close. Yet Federer has proven time and again that he is. How many other players made the quarters, semis and finals in grand slams that Federer has made? Is doesn’t make any sense to me what the debate is about…


aarontennis Says:

Here is my list of contenders to challenge Rafa on clay next year:

1. Rainer Schuttler – The guy has had a fantastic year so far and was a former top 10 player. I think he has another 8-10 years in his career and will push the newbies

2. Joachim Johansson – Guy has a massive serve and has a little better movement than Rafa on clay

3. Jonas Bjorkman – Probably one of the best of this generation…will continue to bring huge clay results.

4. Alex Bogomolov Jr. – guy has a wicked game and will be a clay giant within the next 15 years.

5. Simon Larose – We are hoping for a comeback. He was one of the best clay court players in his small hometown. He may be a threat!

Rafa will definitely get dethroned next year and one of the above goliaths will be interviewing with Johnny Mac. Look….Rafa is too fragile and intimidated to keep these wins up forever. I do think he will win on the Futures Circuit though.

Just my two cents


jane Says:

But is greatest ever determined by dominance in shortest amount of time? Or being best on all surfaces, or winning the 4 Grand Slams, or the number of titles one has one, or the number of semis one has player, or …

Too many variables.

What follows is from an article I read y’day and I am inclined to agree; talking about GOAT only adds to the pressure on Roger’s shoulders. It’d be better to say “if he wins the French he’ll have the Grand Slam” and be the first since Agassi, or “he’ll be closer to tying Sampras’ record of slam titles.” But tossing around “greatest” is somewhat arbitrary because it can always change, making the addendum “of all time” obsolete anyhow.

————————————————-

“Nadal, at 22 years old, is almost certainly a better and more complete player today than Federer was five years ago. In another five years, Nadal realistically could be chasing the career Grand Slam record. Just toss in another three or four French titles, and a few Grand Slam successes on grass or hard courts.

Who would have thought that Andre Agassi would have become a career Grand Slammer?

And also remember a fellow named Bjorn Borg. He was only 20 years old when he won his first of five straight Wimbledons in 1976, but he also retired from the game at age 25 with 11 Grand Slam titles. If Borg had played a few more years, he might have put the Grand Slam record out of reach.

Even if Federer or Nadal happen to equal or surpass Pete Sampras’ 14 career Grand Slam titles, it will mean only that they are great players, two more in a long line of greats.

It’s unfortunate that the broadcast media placed such great pressure on Federer so early in his career by calling him the greatest or possibly the greatest player ever.

History has too many intangibles to toss around such labels. The broadcasters really did Federer a disservice.”


SG Says:

Federer is not the second best claycourt player in the world. Djokovic is. The fact that Djok didn’t make the final is only an issue of seeding. I’m not even sure he was the 2nd best claycourter last year.

But, fret not. The grass will quickly instill Fed with confidence that he has been lacking up until now. No long points. No backhands to hit from above his eyeballs.


SG Says:

Hi Jane,

Read your last post. Players are keenly aware of their place in history. Sampras knew how many majors he needed to win to overtake Emerson. Roger knows what he wants to do in reference to Sampras’ record. The true greats want to re-establish the greatness bar. I don’t think the media has done any disservice to Federer. Federer is a media darling.

Federer isn’t allowing the media to define his place in history. At leat he bettter not be. If he’s so worried about what the press thinks, he has much bigger problems than Nadal & Djokovic. The media has always built people up so they could tear them down. I’m pretty sure Federer is aware of this. When you win you’re great, when you’re great and you lose, people want to know why.

The media has embraced Federer. He’s received a free ride in situations where others would not have. Athletes play for a place in history. Tiger knows where Jack is. Federer knows where Pete is. You play to win. There hasn’t been anymore pressure put on Federer than on any other premier athlete. The media even swarms around a horse because it may have a chance at the Triple Crown. Do you think the horse knows it’s going for the TC? Do you think it cares? You have to take the media with a grain of salt. One day they’ll be your best friend, the next day your mortal enemy.


Agassifan Says:

Found this nice article – am posting excerpts – is Fed already the best clay courter never to win the French? His CLAY resume is much better than the so called top clay courters like Coria and Ferrer.
————————————–
“Yet just how sorry should we feel for the world No1? Among the greats of the modern era, only Andre Agassi has achieved a career grand slam. Neither Pete Sampras nor John McEnroe could win at Roland Garros, the latter despite holding a two-set, 4-2 lead in the 1984 final. Bjorn Borg failed to prosper at the US Open despite contesting four finals. And Ivan Lendl, who once vowed to persevere at Wimbledon “until I win or die”, twice fell at the final hurdle in SW19.

At no stage would anyone have described Lendl as the world’s second-best grass court player. Nor would they have applied that description to Sampras and McEnroe on clay, or – more contentiously – Borg on cement. Yet Federer, who has contested three finals in a row at Roland Garros and also reached the last four in 2005, is second only to Nadal as the world’s premier clay court exponent.

Granted, it’s not an accolade that will mean much to the Swiss, particularly with the wounds from yesterday’s mauling still fresh. But given the specialist nature of the surface and the ferociously competitive nature of the men’s game – not to mention the fact that Federer’s aggressive style is better suited to faster surfaces – the scale of the achievement should not be underestimated.

Many Spanish and South American players maintain elevated rankings by plying their trade on the red stuff virtually all year round. Typical of the breed is Albert Montañés, the Spaniard who took a set off Federer in the second round at Roland Garros. On seeing that Federer was extended to four sets by a player ranked 69 places below him a casual observer might conclude that he is not what he once was. Yet Montañés knows his way around a clay court.

Following the Australian Open, when most of the world’s elite were in the United States playing on hard courts, Montañés was slavishly patrolling the baseline at clay-court events in Costa Do Sauipe, Buenos Aires and Acapulco. He hardly excelled himself, but the experience stood him in good stead: Montañés went on to win Monza and reached the last eight in Barcelona and Hamburg.

That Federer has consistently navigated a route past opponents like Montañés, men almost permanently attuned to a surface that is so alien to his own attacking instincts, is a tribute to the completeness of his game. Sampras, whose record of 14 grand slam titles is the benchmark against which Federer’s standing in the game will ultimately be measured, contested the final of 18 majors; not one was in Paris. Seen in context, Federer’s achievement in reaching three successive finals is hardly less impressive than his haul of five consecutive Wimbledons.

Nadal’s flawless performance yesterday was a work of art to rank alongside McEnroe’s 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 demolition of Jimmy Connors in the 1984 Wimbledon final, and it is an immense misfortune for Federer – and a huge boon for the sport – that he must try to make good the only gap on his grand slam CV against probably the greatest clay-courter in history.

Such is Nadal’s pre-eminence at Roland Garros that Federer, 26, may well never join Fred Perry, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Don Budge and Andre Agassi as the only men to have completed a career grand slam. Should he fail, however, he will surely go down in history as the Parisian equivalent of Ken Rosewall, the Australian widely regarded as the best player never to win Wimbledon.”
—————————————-


SG Says:

I thought Borg made some interesting commentary about Fed after the match. He didn’t believe that Federer was patient enough in the baseline rallies. Borg was a great champion, but as an analyst, I’m not so sure he’s on the ball. You must play tennis to the tune of your own nature. For Federer, the problem is both mindset and game. Federer likes to hit flashy baseline winners. He doesn’t have the mindset of staying out there for 5 or 6 hours to grind out a win against a giy that won’t give anyting away. And, his game is more aggressive so it will naturally be more error prone. He cannot resist the opportunity to go for the brilliant angle or the flashy pass. This is who the man is. Against Nadal, whose mental strength is perhaps without compare in tennis history, his game falls short. Partcularly on clay.


Agassifan Says:

Borg also predicted that this final will be “very close”. So much for his predictions.

Patience is not going to get it done against nadal. djokovic showed how to play him in the third set. you hafve to attack relentlessly, and hope that your “A” game shows up! Nobody can hang with nadal in long rallies on clay.

Its also the modern racquet technology. If you suddenly gave all the players of today a wooden racquet, nadal may not come out as the best clay courter anymore.


britgal Says:

Please, enough crying over spilt milk. The fact of the matter is that there was absolutely nothing the talented Federer could do. Why? Because Nadal is BETTER THAN HIM on clay. Roger threw everything he had at him, used every weapon in his cache, and yet Nadal always had an answer for it.

It’s about time the media stopped mourning and asking “What can Federer do to beat Rafa?” because the answer is the one that’s been staring Roger in the face for the past four years: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. He’s tried it all and nothing worked.

It is high time to let go of this impossible dream of Roger winning Roland Garros. Acknowledge Nadal’s true superiority over the greatest player in tennis history, he deserves this respect and more.

:: Borg also predicted that this final will be “very close”. So much for his predictions. ::

We all thought this. But nobody predicted a complete demolition.


sensationalsafin Says:

Yeah if not for the racquet Nadal wouldn’t be able to get all those scoop shots.


Christopher Says:

sensationalsafin,

“Yeah if not for the racquet Nadal wouldn’t be able to get all those scoop shots back.”

Nadal’s speed, desire to run down every shot relentlessly, and his 100 % work ethic is what sets him apart. Federer and the rest of the clay court playing world also have the same access to this racket technowledgy. It’s not the racket. It’s the man wielding it.


ernie Says:

Nobody gets it. Federer played a stupid match the same way again and again. You cannot let a guy return serve 10 feet behind the baseline. Underhand dink serves. Get in his head. Bring the dude to the net, then finish him off. Its that simple if you work the stategy. He should have been practicing the dink serve for months.He knew what he was going to get into. He had no stategy but tried to out hit Nadal. How stupid is this. Federers game is finesse. So why didnt he use it.
He didnt use his slice at all to cut and draw Nadal in. Huge stupidity. Nadal can easily be beat bringing him into the net.
Where was the SLICE!!!! You have to work the cat and mouse game. Johnny Mac would figure this out. Federer is stubborn.


Spirit Says:

Just as I’ve already written in one of my previous posts, I wouldn’t bet Nadal will reach the Wimby final this year, but no doubt he will give his best. I don’t think anyone believes Nadal can beat both Fed and Djoko there (if Djoko’s in his part of the draw). Last year Djoko could barely move (it was so obvious), but still took a set off Nadal. What if Rafa meets Gulbis in the first or second round?

I also agree that losing this way could be better for Federer, than if the match had gone to 5 sets with Nadal eventually taking the title. That would have left Fed demoralised and empty, but this way he accepted his fate after 61 63, and during the third set, he was already in Halle in his mind.

We find the result 61 63 60 humiliating for Fed, even if the greatest clay courter ever is on the other side of the net. That’s just an evidence about how great Fed is. If it is humiliating to take only 4 games off the claycourt God, how humiliating is this:

26 36 26 against Donga, Conga, Tsonga… whata…
06 16 (!!!) against Youzhny
36 26 against Djoko

… and we’re talking 2008 only.


Christopher Says:

Spirit,

I agree. Too much is being read into this one match. The fact is Federer, unlike 126 other players, has reached the RG Final 3 years in a row. Federer’s game, for whatever reason, doesn’t match up well with Nadal’s on clay. Federer could easily turn the table and dispose of Nadal in straight sets at Wimbledon if they meet. Lopsided scores happen all the time. Even to the best as you pointed out. Federer will probably use this as a motivating tool to win Wimbledon for the 6th year in a row. All this did was intensify the Nadal/Federer rivalry that much more!


Agassifan Says:

I agree with Ernie. Fed showed little variety in tactics, especially his serve. He is stubborn that way.


Mike gaobest Says:

During the post-match interview Federer mentioned about being down two sets, love-4, and realizing he wouldn’t win. I wonder if he could have still felt inspired to try to win. If Lendl had that same attitude in the ’84 final against McEnroe (although being down 2-4 and not 0-4), then McEnroe would have made his own history. I was a bit disappointed to read that.

Mike


NK Says:

Grendel,
I agree with you that Von is anything but objective when it comes to Federer, and her so-called displays of objectivity are anything but.

Case in point: Von berated Federer for lack of class or decency a few weeks ago for shouting at Djoko’s parents and asking them to “shut up.” If only she had bothered to watch the actual clip, she would have found out the following: 1. Fed did not shout. 2. Fed did not say “shut ip.” He said, “Be quiet,” which was a neither insulting nor impolite. 3. We learned later that Fed had in fact conceded a point to Djoko against the umpire’s call and was responding to un-called-for taunting from the Djoko bench.

Jane, on the other hand, is truly objective. She may not like Fed, but when she says good things about him, which she does, she does not say it in a back-handed sort of way. Which Von does all the time.

Enough on that. What is truly sad, as I watch reactions to the Fed’s shocking loss at the FO, is the utter lack of sympathy or empathy from the media and Fed nay-sayers to his health struggles since January. Except for one or two reporters, nobody has taken the trouble to appreciate and digest the enormity the effects of mononucleosis, which has already completely sidelined two up-and-coming players, Ancic and Vaidisova.

While everyone is shouting about the “demise” or the “beginning of the end of Federer,” has anyone bothered to acknowledge openly that Federer’s mono situation might be the single biggest reason for his sluggishness and lack of intensity on the court. In fact, I sincerely believe this is the biggest reason for the so-called slump.

And yet, there is Federer, displaying class and maturity every step of the way. Not once has he used mono as an excuse for any of his defeats this year. He has never ever taken an injury time out or defaulted in a match while losing or winning. Heck, he has never called for medical help on court ever.

While the media has been working overtime on the slump theories, Federer has been calm and composed, not reacting or over-reacting to the “King is dead” stories. His graciousness after every defeat should serve as a model for so many of his contemporaries (hear, Serena).

God only knows how he must be hurting inside. After all, it’s never easy to be subjected to so much speculation of the negative kind. But he carries on, bravely and unmindful of the barbs and insults thrown his way…always smiling…always a picture of composure. What a class act!

I shudder to think of the very real possibility that Federer may well be on the decline, not because his competitors have “caught up,” but because mononucleosis, once it is in the system, never leaves the body.

What a pity indeed that the genius that is Federer could be sidelined forever with a disease that he may not be able to control.
I feel not just for Federer, but for Ancic and Vaidisova as well.


SG Says:

Federer’s reluctance to change his strategy is an unfortunate side effect of not playing a variety of players. He is basically permitted to play the same way day in and day out against everyone but Nadal. Players stay back and try to outhit arguably the best basline attacker of all time. Doesn’t matter if it’s Youzhny or Gonzalez or Roddick or Davydenko. Fed is not used to using another tactic because no one forces him to. When he is finally confronted with having to change tactics, he is unable to because he never has to.

It is the same frustration I feel when I watch others lose to Federer time after time without changing a thing in their game. Never change a winning game. Always change a losing one. In a sense, Fed is a victim of his own success. The monotone games he faces day and day out don’t help in the long run.


SG Says:

NK,

Many a player has had to confront physical turmoil. Tomas Muster had his knee crushed in a freak accident. Sampras played with a chronic blood disorder that sapped his energy. As someone who has had to deal with such an illness, I can definitely concur that it isn’t easy. And I’m defintley not a finely tuned athlete. Ben Hogan rebounded from a devastating car crash to dominate the sport. This despite an injury to one his eyes that was never really discussed all that much. Roger Federer is in good health. He never looked out of breath yesterday. Just completely befuddled and confused. 3 years of coming in second to the same guy will do that. Federer just can’t come to grips with the fact that his beatiful game comes up short against one of the ugliest games of all time. What he fails to see (…or doesn’t want to see) is that it is also one of most potent. Nadal’s title of “The Mallorcan Minotaur” is well deserved. He is one tough SOB.


Skorocel Says:

sensationalsafin said:

“When Federer starts losing on grass, then he should retire.”

It seems to me that, by your logic, he better retire already now :)


jane Says:

SG,

Don’t you think Fed will have to adjust against Novak too? Maybe not on clay, but certainly on hardcourts and maybe (as we’ll perhaps soon find out) on grass? I know they’ve not played a lot and Novak has beat him only twice, but it seems to me that Djoko is someone who’ll be able to push Roger to make some changes – or not.


Skorocel Says:

To JCF:

I too noticed how unsually calm was that Nadal’s celebration once the match endeed… But then again, I can’t see any reason for him to jump or fall on the ground in any exuberant joy when both he and Fed knew that the match was over (at the very latest) once that 2nd set ended, and moreover, because the whole match being SOOO lopsided… But anyway, even if Fed probably didn’t care about anything after such a beating, still, it was a class act from the Spaniard to not do any “additional damage” to the Swiss…


Skorocel Says:

JCF said (about a possible SW19 meeting between Djoker and Nadal):

“If Nadal plays Djokovic again, it will be a battle for #2… again. And Federer could start playing Nadal in the Semis from here on out. Even on clay!”

As far as the clay goes, it doesn’t matter at all… If Nadal stays injury free, he will most likely reach (at least) a final on every single clay-court tournament out there, so Fed would still have to face him anyway… It can be a factor on other surfaces, but not even a bit on clay…


Skorocel Says:

MMT said:

“Predictions of how many slams a player will win based on their age are about as reliable as the metrobus in Washington, DC.”

Well, I maybe don’t know how reliable that metrobus in Washington, DC is :) , but anyway, I share your thoughts on this as well… Everywhere you just hear all this nonsense about how many Slams Nadal’s already got compared to Fed at his age, but hey, what about waiting a bit till they’re both retired and then make a final judgement? Rafa could very well end up with double digits, or he may perhaps not win a single Slam anymore (a very unlikely scenario, but still possible)… The same thing can of course easily happen to Fed as well…


Skorocel Says:

hector said:

“As Fed pointed out in his interviews, it seems like Nadal having two FH’s.”

Just FYI, Nadal is a born right-hander :)


JCF Says:

“Does it harm Sampras’ legacy that he never even reached a final at RG? Does it hurt Laver’s legacy that 8 of his 11 slams came in 2 years? Or that one of them came against amateurs? Does it hurt Borg’s legacy that he never won the US Open, even when it was on clay?”

Certainly. Imagine if he won RG twice and ended with 16 slams. That’s head and shoulders above what he actually achieved (14 slams, no french) right?

Without the french, he is still GOAT (for now), but he would have been even greater had he won the french. So yes, it did hurt his legacy compared to what it could have been.


JCF Says:

“Finally, let’s stop this argument that, “if it weren’t for [enter nemesis here], [enter favorite player here] would certainly have won more [enter bogey-tournament here].

Who’s to say that if Federer hadn’t lost to Nadal in 07 and 08, he wouldn’t have lost to Djokovic instead? ”

That is true actually, however, I still think he would have beat Djokovic. And I definately think he would have beat Puerta in 05. Djokovic just lacks the stamina to get the job done. He retired to Nadal one or twice at the french due to fatigue, and again at Wimbledon. He even retired to Fed at Monte Carlo this year. The guy is good but he still lacks credibility. I think he would have retired to Fed in a final. It’s hard to take a pro athelete (#3, closing in on #2 in the world) that can’t handle 3 or 4 sets of tennis seriously.


Skorocel Says:

hector / Agassifan said:

“I don’t care what form Roger will bring, he will bring A+++ game and sustain for 2+ sets, he will eventually succumb to Nadal in RG.”

“However, on clay, nadal is better than Fed, so if they both bring their “A” game (100%), nadal will always win. Fed can only beat nadal on clay if nadal plays less than 100% and Fed 100%.”

So much true. Lots of people still believe that Fed’s A+++ game will beat Nadal’s A+++ game on clay, but that’s a total nonsense! I’m maybe a big Fed fan, but I’m not that blind to realize that Fed’s A+++ game VS Nadal’s A+++ game on clay = a win for Nadal…

They’re also wondering that Fed, for some unknown reason, still isn’t capable of bringing his A+++ game when playing Nadal on clay, but why? It’s not like they played 2 or 3 matches on the dirt, is it? So far, they’ve met no less than 10 times, and in 9 of those matches, Fed left the court as the loser… Need I say more? To be honest, if we don’t count that Sunday’s shellacking, that’s AS MUCH as Fed can produce vs the Spaniard on clay – simple as that… He just can’t get any better than this – simply because Nadal’s game won’t let him to do better… In the Rome 2006 final, Fed was perhaps as best as he can be vs Nadal on clay, but as we may know, he still lost that one as well… There’s no doubt he can perform much better vs Nadal on clay than how he did on Sunday, but still, there’ll be always a certain limit for the Swiss when playing the Spaniard on this surface – and it’s more than evident that this “limit” is simply below all what Nadal can produce on the dirt…


Giner Says:

“Additionally, I agree with Shital, that the carrying over of points system from calendar year to calendar year should be outmoded. The slate should be wiped clean at the end of the season and a new one begun at the beginning of the next season. That would give us a truer picture of who’s doing what — it shouldn’t be that the top seeds can have a bad year and be bailed out by the excess points carried over from previous years, thus retaining their ranking.”

It’s hard to start off such a season because in the beginning everyone will have zero. How do you seed the players? How do you rank them?


grendel Says:

” Federer just can’t come to grips with the fact that his beatiful game comes up short against one of the ugliest games of all time. What he fails to see (…or doesn’t want to see) is that it is also one of most potent”. (SG). The words “beautiful” and “ugly” are used here in a purely polemical sense, although what is perhaps original is that their usual significance is inverted. But I disagree anyway; Nadal’s game can be strangely beautiful at times, and Federer’s game, because it depends on finesse as someone said earlier, can look almost hideous if it’s off.

As for Federer failing to see, etc, the evidence goes the other way. He knows only too well that Nadal is his superior on clay, and he came onto the court a beaten man, before a ball was played. It doesn’t seem to me that there is much he can do about it, in any case. Federer is not going to beat Nadal at RG, ever. All the endless advice he gets strikes me as rather comical.

On grass, it’s another matter. I’ll be surprised if Fed wins it this year, but at least we can be sure of one thing – if he is to go down, he’ll go down fighting. At least, I think so! If Borg is telling the truth, he didn’t fight in his return battle with McEnroe at Wimbie – something in him just didn’t care. I don’t think Fed’s at that stage.


Skorocel Says:

jane said:

“Who cares if you’re called “year end no 1″ when you still don’t get to be no 1.”

The points in the Race and Entry rankings always become identical at the end of the year – except for the fact that the Race points represents only 1/5 of the Entry points, of course. That means, the player who wins the Race will also end the year as the No. 1 guy in Entry ranking. So if the final Race standings in 2008 will be the same as they’re now, Nadal would then be the year end No. 1 player in Entry, Djoker the No. 2, and Fed No 3 – simple as that… Maybe I’m wrong on this one, but that’s at least what I know :)


NK Says:

SG,
I was making a general comment about Fed’s health condition and his struggles this year. I agree with you that his problems against Nadal have much more to do with tactical errors than his health.

I also agree that a lot of players in all of sport have had to deal with poor health and/or injury. My main gripe is that the endless talk of Federer’s slump and decline of dominance makes little or no reference at all to mono which surely compromises a player’s ability to play at the highest level.

Just imagine if Samporas had come down with mono in his prime and had suffered a sudden loss of form and ability. I bet there would have been an endless barrage of media stories on the disease –60 minutes, Larry King Live, 20/20…we would have had experts on TV and radio talking about the disease and the media would have gone all out to reinforce effects of the disease with every Sampras loss.

What do we have here instead. Not a mention of his health struggles while the “experts” go on and on about how the competition has caught up and forced their will on his game.

In fairness, Nadal and Djoko’s tennis has improved tremendously and I do acknowledge that. But the fact that Federer plays brilliantly only in patches these days, and goes through inexplicable and sudden lapses of form and focus are mainly a result of the disease. He looked sluggish and showed little or no intensity in yesterday’s match.

Look at Ancic and Vaidisova? They showed such promise just a year ago. Vaidisove in particular troubled Justine and was hailed as the next big champion. Today, both are struggling, like Federer. It is to Federer’s credit that his inconsistent play is still good enough to beat everyone except Nadal on clay.


Jackson Smith Says:

The end of Federer?

http://thetennisguysays.googlepages.com/

I don’t know about that. As everyone has said, he is the greatest to ever play the game. If anyone can bounce back it will be him.


MMT Says:

SG:

“He didn’t believe that Federer was patient enough in the baseline rallies. Borg was a great champion, but as an analyst, I’m not so sure he’s on the ball.”

Analysis and predictions are completely different things – predictions are pure conjecture, analysis is based on observation of the match. While Borg got it wrong in his prediction, his analysis was, in my opinion, spot on. Unforced errors are a tell-tale sign of impatience and not constructing points, and this is precisely what happened here. I also can’t understand why he insists on coming over the backhand against Nadal. I would slice it until the guy digs a hole in the ground with his frame hitting up.

But at the end of the day Federer had neither the execution, the tactics, or the patience to construct points against Nadal, and so he was obliterated.


Skorocel Says:

Agassifan said:

“That Federer has consistently navigated a route past opponents like Montañés, men almost permanently attuned to a surface that is so alien to his own attacking instincts, is a tribute to the completeness of his game.”

Absolutely! And remember, this is only Montanes… What about Coria, Moya, Gaudio, Ferrer, or say Almagro? Some of them are indeed FO champions, but Fed’s beaten them all, without even losing a single match… What would those guys give to have such a “bad” record on clay as Fed has?

But then again, it all comes down to that all-important question: will he be the GOAT without that FO title or not? Personally, I think he won’t… That’s just my opinion, but who knows? Maybe if he reaches another 2 FO finals, I’ll make me change my mind a bit…


MMT Says:

Oh and Jane, the rolling rankings are as they are for one reason: MONEY.

Seedings are designed to keep the best players from playing each other in the early rounds, lest we wind up with some players with no public interest contesting the in the second week – whose going to watch that, and more importantly, what sponsors are going to pay millions for a potential final between Fernando Gonzales and Ernst Gulbis if they happen to have earned some points at crap tournament leading up to the main events?

Seedings reflect rankings, so rankings roll so that the players with the most star power and interest, avoid playing each other until the final rounds, which peaks interest, attendance, television ratings and ad revenue EVEN IF those players don’t get the results from one week to the next.

Sad but true.


Von Says:

NK:

“Grendel,
I agree with you that Von is anything but objective when it comes to Federer, and her so-called displays of objectivity are anything but.”

You can agree with grendel as much as you want. I wouldn’t expect anything else coming from you. I’m not here for a popularity contest. I’ve borne innumerable, unjustified assassination character report card evaluations coupled with insults fron grendel. Have you seen any such editorials from me on grendel’s unfairness or his character — a few sentences maybe, except when he insists on writing his thesis and really pushes me, then I retaliate. However, his character assassinations pertaining to me, are for the most part, unprovoked. He is a bully and a coward, whose propulsion feul is “hatred”. A bully, whose main objective is to silence anyone, whom he feels is not pro-Federer, and has the guts to speak up. A coward, because he does not openly confront me or others, but uses sarcasm inserting bits and pieces of statements used by me or another as a disguise for his rants. He is someone who knows what it means to hate; is unrelentless when he dislikes another, and will use his word gamesmanship to achieve his desired result, because he knows that there are many of the Fed fans, the slavihsly fanatical group, who will join forces with him, viz. YOU and a few who know who they are.

For you to agree with him is obvious, you’re a slavishly fanatical Federer fan. Why don’t you look at the Roddick threads and you’ll see what “hate” really means, or lack of objectivity from this guy, grendel. (For the record just because a person dislikes another does not mean they “hate” that person. Isn’t there a medium — dislike for instance?) Because I dislike Federer’s behavior, and I’m not the only one, there are quite a few others who openly state their dislike for him, but my assassinator grendel, has chosen to single me out as his target, and perform his duties as my judge and jury. He goes through this phase every month. This is old news to me. Those hormonal fluctutions — I need to calendar these monthly cycles/dates.

“Case in point: Von berated Federer for lack of class or decency a few weeks ago for shouting at Djoko’s parents and asking them to “shut up.” If only she had bothered to watch the actual clip, she would have found out the following: 1. Fed did not shout. 2. Fed did not say “shut u(i)p (sic).””

Is this all you can come up with regarding my lack of objectivity and dislike for Federer? A genuine incident? You’re grasping at straws here. With regard to Federer’s hissing at Djoko’s parents to “shut up’ or “be quiet”, whichever way you look at it, he WAS being disrespectful. Both words have nearly the same meaning — to close one’s mouth — do not utter a sound. Rationalize this as much as you want — several others have remarked on his unbecoming behavior. You are being very lame here looking for something to reinforce your argument against me. Who the hell is Federer to tell another player’s parents “be quiet”? This is why I dislike him. He walks around with that smugness that he’s some sort of god and can do no wrong — celebrity entitlement – 12 GS winner, entitlement. His worshippers overlook this, but at the same time, they are aghast at Djokovic’s and Roddick’s behavior. Wimby ’07 was a classic example of his ‘nibs’ godlike behavior. Yesterday on NBC, when they were filling in time, they showed part of the Wimby ’07 match and Federer’s words were audible, berating the umpire, not to mention his body language concerning Hawkeye. The commentators mentioned it also.

Roddick and Djokovic have been cited for bullying umpires, et al. grendel was one of the biggest critics, leaving no stone unturned, but on the other hand, he selectively covers up or overlooks Federer’s behavior. Was Federer any better? He even tried to intinidate Nadal on the Hawkeye calls. Why? Because he felt he was losing. What about the two-year-old tantrums he pulled in his match against Hidalgo-Ramirez? He intimidated the poor guy (who would have won) had it not been for the fact that Federer made the poor guy so nervous. However, this was so selectively ignored by his fans.

“And yet, there is Federer, displaying class and maturity every step of the way. Not once has he used mono as an excuse for any of his defeats this year. He has never ever taken an injury time out or defaulted in a match while losing or winning. Heck, he has never called for medical help on court ever”

No one has said to Federer, ‘you need to continue to play with mono’. He has chosen to do so. Should he be commended for so doing? NO. It’s stupidity. What is he trying to prove? That he’s some glorified martyr. Oh yes, “I’m not going to be like Ancic, I’m tough, I’ll show them I can win even with mono.” Get real, this is all just PR stuff. Some, such as yourself, are taken in with this stunt, and that’s what it is, a stunt, others are more practical — I say, you’re sick, stay in bed. He knows why he’s not taking any medical timeouts, because the first statement from the doctors will be, “you can’t play if you have mono”. There’s been so many grey areas on this mono stuff, only Federer knows the real story.

Ancic, and now Vaidisova have stayed out of competition because of mono. I spoke up about Nadal playing with his blistered feet that he should stay in bed, rest them, and then play. Was that wrong? NO. What happened? He insisted on playing and lost — consequence he almost lost his No. 2 ranking. Was that smart? No.

NK: So I’m not objective, and I’m not fairminded. You and grendel are the epitome of fairmindedness. Does it make you feel better for me to say I “hate” Federer? Sorry to disappoint you, I don’t “hate” anyone. That’s grendel’s characteristic trait, if it wasn’t he would not be consistenly keping a running chronological file on me — which he pulls out every month and rakes up past occurrences to reinforce his arguments. One would think this guy has better things with which to fill up his brain cells than this pre-occupation with me and how to best influence everyone else as to how terrible a person I am beating up on ‘poor little Federer’.

Have fun with your rants. I know from experience grendel always has to have the last word,– thus, I’ll be expecting a dissertation very soon from him and the rest of the anti-Von group. You can do the same. As I’ve stated previously, I’m not here for a popularity contest, and I’m not going to sugarcoat my statements. I’m not going to say I dislike him and then give a sugar-coated version, but I won’t. I could stop posting, but then who would you, grendel and the other slavisly fanatical, unobjective Fed fans have to pick on? However, my stubborness would not allow me to stop posting — I’m that proverbial thorn in grendel’s side and the others like him. This is fun to observe one man’s obsession with a woman, not another man, who is allegedly ‘infantile’. Methinks the guy’s in love with me. :)


Skorocel Says:

MMT said:

“I also can’t understand why he insists on coming over the backhand against Nadal. I would slice it until the guy digs a hole in the ground with his frame hitting up.”

Fed’s BH slice is a TOTALLY useless shot against Nadal on clay… It may be a formidable weapon on faster surfaces (where the ball bounces quite low), but not on clay, not to mention against Nadal (who has absolutely no problems to run most of these slices around like a rabbit and then pounce with his 5000 rpm forehand)…


jane Says:

Skorocel says “but hey, what about waiting a bit till they’re both retired and then make a final judgement?”

I agree 100% – that’s why it’s a little difficult to make claims about “greatest of all time.”

“Greatest currently playing the game” – fine.
“Most titles won” – fine.
“Player with most Slams” – fine.

But GOATs don’t exist, unless you mean the ones that make milk and cheese.;-)

There are too many variables in comparing eras, technologies, careers, intangibles, to claim someone is the GOAT.


MMT Says:

Skorocel:

I disagree with you on the slice on clay – struck properly the slice can be very effective on clay, and it can’t be any worse than the avalanche of errors he committed trying to hit topspin… but I digress…

I’m very curious – do you have to win the FO specifically to be the GOAT, or ALL 4 slams? (Obviously the latter is inclusive of the first, but the question is whether it is specifically the FO that you have to win, or the French and ALL 3 of the other slams?)

I ask because both would exclude Sampras, the latter Borg, and leave only Laver, Perry, Agassi, Emerson and Budge. Personally, of this list, only Laver would even be considered on my personal GOAT short list. But Laver was regularly beaten Gonzales, so I have a hard time putting him ahead of Pancho.

Personally for me it’s between Gonzales and Sampras.


Skorocel Says:

To MMT:

Of course, I meant that missing FO as a part of the whole “package”. In other words, if we had to name someone as the GOAT, he/she would definitely need to win all 4 events – that’s at least how I see it…


Skorocel Says:

To MMT:

As for that slice on clay, well, I maybe put it wrongly… Of course you can use it to good effect on the dirt (even if not that effectively as on other, faster surfaces), but what I meant is that this shot is simply of no use against Nadal… In most of the cases, he’ll have all the time in the world to run around it and pounce with his FH, or, even though you’ll hit it to his BH, he will still have no problems to literally rip it like a golf ball for a screaming winner or a very hard to return shot… Don’t you remember how many times he’s already done this to Fed in their matches on the dirt? Remember, the guy’s a natural right-hander, and therefore plays even his BH as if it was (at least virtually) a FH… Because of this, he’s hit many of these BHs literally from the ground level, which looks totally insane in my opinion… As you may know, the slice usually works best to the opponent’s BH (preferably crosscourt, where the net is lower), but since Nadal plays both of his shots as if it was a FH, it’s virtually useless… Maybe not on hard/grass court, but surely on clay… I’m maybe wrong on this one, but anyway, that’s how I see it…


Von Says:

noel:

“..Surely von doesn’t mean that the numbers are exactly equal.the import of his/her point is that the resultant rankings based on those numbers will increasingly reflect the calender year performances and the race leader will be the ranking leader by the end of the season and quite obviously so because the rolling system would have excluded all the previous 52-weeks points at the end of the season.”

thank you for expanding on my ranking points explanation. I appreciate it.


andrea Says:

well, it’s time for nadal to put up for the rest of the year….fading into the wallpaper like the last two years won’t help.

i read all of these posts with a grain of salt since this time of year has fervently been all about nadal for the past four years (and understandably so).

federer will have to decline at some point – maybe this is the start. it sure looks like it. but that will make future victories that much sweeter.

i’m almost preferring this stage now where it’s not a given that fed makes it to the final, despite him being my favorite player. the stakes are higher. yes, i love it when he wins, but now he has to fight for it.


Skorocel Says:

Agassifan said:

“Patience is not going to get it done against nadal. djokovic showed how to play him in the third set. you hafve to attack relentlessly, and hope that your “A” game shows up!”

Forget about it! If Nadal’s healthy, there’s currently no one who can beat him on clay – simple as that… Even if his opponent brings his AAAAA+++++ game with him, it’s not gonna happen… You can pound that ball as hard as you can, take as many risks as possible, but still, he’ll return at least 90 % of your shots back, and sooner or later, he’ll suck that error out of you… You may have some brighter patches (like Fed had in MC and Hamburg), but sooner or later, the errors will creep in, and the final result will always remain the same… To play Nadal on clay is like to fight windmills – i.e. totally useless… The guy’s so focused and determined for every single point – it’s simply unbelievable! You can just watch and admire…


Ryan Says:

NK said
” He looked sluggish and showed little or no intensity in yesterday’s match.

Look at Ancic and Vaidisova? They showed such promise just a year ago. Vaidisove in particular troubled Justine and was hailed as the next big champion. Today, both are struggling, like Federer. It is to Federer’s credit that his inconsistent play is still good enough to beat everyone except Nadal on clay.”

My question is couldn’t it be both.I understand this year he had mono and he is slumping.But what about last year.Lets forget about the canas beatings and the volandri and even nalbandian(because he always troubles fed).But he struggled against djokovic in montreal and the us open final.No excuses this time.Fed could have beaten djok if fed had the 2005 or 2006 form.He didnt have mono back then.I think fed is declining mono or not.You cant expect someone to play tennis at the same level they used to play 3 or 4 years ago.Thats impossible.Not only that,didnt he say that he is medically cleared and stuff like that.He is over the disease or something.Fed is declining but probably mono(if he still has it) is making it worse.Its sad but its the truth.


Skorocel Says:

SG said:

“Federer’s reluctance to change his strategy is an unfortunate side effect of not playing a variety of players.”

You may have some point in this one, but really, do you think it would’ve hepled him in that Sunday’s final? Or better said, would it make a difference? NO is the answer! He may have won 2-3 more games, but still, it would’ve been a loss – and a brutal one, no less… And that’s what’s important for Fed… Or do you think that, after all those losses which he suffered to Nadal on clay, Fed would be “satisfied” from once again being on the loser’s end? The truth is, he had to win only once (exactly here), but unfortunately, wasn’t able to do that even once out of 4 tries… Whether that Sunday’s beating will leave some consequences on his mindset when he next faces Nadal remains to be seen, but still, at least it wasn’t a 5 set thriller with Fed once again emerging as the looser… That would be the same (if not worse) for Fed I guess… It may indeed hurt him in his next matches vs the Spaniard, but you just can’t deny that, from the historical significance, all that mattered for Fed on Sunday was the final result – no matter how good or cruel it was…


Ryan Says:

Another point is that nadal should really be appreciated as a class act.Imagine if it was djokovic who had this scoreline agsinst fed.He woulda spat on the court looking at fed.And his parents will come up wit all sorts of comments like the king is not only dead but my son buried him in his grave.Fed is lucky to have nadal as his rival.Someone who respects fed 4 wat he has acheived .Nadal could have been pissed off watever fed was saying that he was 1 dimensional and this is his year and his chance and stuff like that.With comparisons to borg, nadal coulda easily held his head high and as sean put it spat the dialogue in troy but he didnt do it. Nadal never talks big.He knows he’ll never be supported by the partisan racist crowd of france and germany except for a handful of latinos. He coulda been even pissed of wit the crowd like djok was in AO giving cocky head nods.But still he didnt do all that stuff.Nadal is a REAL CLASS ACT.


rjnick Says:

I don’t think there really is such a thing as GOAT. If you say it has to be all surfaces, you immediately eliminate players like Borg, Sampras, Connors, and McEnroe. If you say, well then it’s by number of Slams, then you have players like Sampras, who won 14 — but won half of them at one Slam.

You have other factors — in the ’70s and ’80s, most of the top players skipped Australia because it was held right before Christmas. In the Rod Laver-era, 3 of the 4 slams were played on one surface. Who knows how many slams Laver might have won had he played in 1963-1967 — on the other hand would he have won the slam in 1962 if players like Rosewall had been permitted to play? And what might someone like Rosewall have done — so many players played for only a few years and then went pro. What would Laver or Borg had done with the hi-tech racquest players use today?

GOAT requires an even playing field, and the history of tennis does not allow for it. Some people would say that Bill Tilden was one of the greatest ever — but pretty much anyone who saw him play is gone. And his matches don’t exist for repeated playings during rain delays. Then again, who was his competition? Who was his Nadal? Were Tilden, Laver, or Budge great simply because everyone else was mediocre? How do you measure that?

McEnroe said it best on Sunday — at worst, Roger is “one of the greatest who ever played the game”. I think Rafa is too. History is on the line whenever they play together. They enchance each other’s legacy — for good (the tennis they have to play to beat other) and for bad (Roger may never win Roland Garros, Rafa may never be number 1).

The records they’ve racked up ensure that if they retired tomorrow, they would both be in the Hall of Fame as soon as they are eligible. And I think the GOAT debate or GOAT on clay debate often distracts from everything that they’ve both accomplished. So while it’s fun to debate GOAT, in the end, it really doesn’t have much practical meaning.


fed is afraid Says:

thanks for that link, jackson smith. great article.

rafa is the greatest!!


jane Says:

rjnick -

Your sentiments on the “GOAT” debate (if that’s what it is) are mine as well – “not much practical meaning” is a concise way to put it. This notion of a “Greatest of ALL TIME” player is not, in the end, measurable, as there are too many variables, and thus there’s no end to the debate, as this thread is quickly showing.

Meanwhile, the players have begun playing on the grass.

Safin and Hewitt are both through at Queens; Berdych and Kohls are through at Halle. Some of the top guys are in action tomorrow.

A couple of interesting matches at Queens: Isner vs. Anderson & Lopez vs. Mahut.


sensationalsafin Says:

Did Federer lose a match on grass in the last 6 years? I don’t think so. So there’s no reason for him to retire yet. I still think we are watching the Roger Federer show and if they meet in Wimbledon, I smell revenge. Federer’s going to want Nadal’s blood. Nadal showed the whole world that Federer is not even close to him on clay. I think Federer’s going to want to do the same on grass. I could be wrong. Nadal might win. But we’ll see. Wimbledon remains Federer’s domain.


matt Says:

There is no GOAT.

It is only a human desire of classifying things.

You can not compare players from different eras because the rackets tecnology has changed, the string tecnology has changed, the surfaces have changed, the balls have changed, the style of playing has changed, the opponents are different,….

There is more. The Open Era started in RG’68. Prior to that professional players were not allowed to play the GS.

When Rod Laver won his first 6 GS (years ’60, ’61 and ’62), the best players of that time (Pancho Gonzales, Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall, and several more) were not allowed to play.

Laver himself said he coudn’t have won any of those if Pancho and Hoad were playing in that moment (Laver admits he improved a lot when he turned professional and had to play against the best players of the world).

But Laver went professional from ’63 on, and later he became the best player for a while even among the professional ones.

Pancho Gonzales was undisputably the best player from the mid fifties to the first sixties. But he could only won two GS because he turned professional quite young.

(On the other hand, all 12 GS of Roy Emerson were against amateur players)

Moreover, every player is a player of his era, and would have played probably different (different style) if he were born in another era with different opponents, different racket/string tecnology….

So for me, there is no GOAT.

You can only say that (for example):

Jimmy Connors is the player who won most tournaments in the Open Era: 109

Bjorn Borg is the player who won most RG titles: 6

Pete Sampras is the player who won most GS titles: 14

Pete Sampras is the player who ended most years at nº1: 6 (since the ATP classification started in 1973)

Pete Sampras is the player who stayed more weeks in the nº1: 286.

Roger Federer is the player that has stayed more consecutive weeks in the nº1: 227 and counting.

Roger Federer is the only player that has won 4 straight USOPEN in the Open Era.

Pete Sampras is the player who won most WB titles in the Open Era: 7

Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl are the players that won most Year-End-Masters: 5

Rod Laver is the only player that has won all four GS in the same year in the Open Era.

And so on….

There is no one GOAT. There are many great players from different eras: Bill Tilden, Ellsworth Vines, Fred Perry, Donald Budge, Jack Kramer, Pancho Gonzales, Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall, Rod Laver, John Newcombe, ( we could count as well Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, Ilie Nastase…), Jimmy Connors, Guillermo Vilas, Björn Borg, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal…..

People usually pick as “the GOAT” one among Tilden, Budge, Kramer, Gonzales, Laver, Borg, Sampras and Federer.

For me, there isn’t one GOAT, it is just a desire of humans to classify things.


Giner Says:

“It’s finally the time of the year where Federer will show everyone where his career is headed. I’ll put money he’s upset at Halle.”

Who’s going to upset him? All the good players went to Queen’s. I’m tempted to think Fed goes to Halle instead of Queens to ensure an easy title run without having to play anyone noteworthy, but he probably would have beat them all anyway.


Giner Says:

“Patience is not going to get it done against nadal. djokovic showed how to play him in the third set. you hafve to attack relentlessly, and hope that your “A” game shows up! Nobody can hang with nadal in long rallies on clay.”

I wonder why it is Nadal can do what he does but others can’t? Is Nadal not hitting errors? How is he able to do that and what stops other people from doing it? Is he not going for winners? Or is he just a remarkably accurate shot?


NK Says:

Von,
I don’t get on these boards as often as you, and I don’t have a file on Grendel or his character assasinations.I was merely responding to one of his posts, which I caught quite randomly. The post you read was my first in several weeks.

You and I have chosen to disagree about Federer. As much as you accuse me of being slavishly pro-Federer, I believe you almost never give him full credit for anything he does, except in a backhanded sort of way. If he wins, you will grudgingly admit that he played well, but in the same breath you have to add that the other player was sluggish or somehow slow, or worse, Federer’s draw was too easy.

Regarding the so-called shouting incident, there you go again…without full grasp of the facts.
“Who the hell is Federer to tell another player’s parents “be quiet”? This is why I dislike him.”

As I stated in my post, Federer was responding to uncalled-for taunting by Djoko’s parents, who shouted at him for claiming a point when in fact he had just conceded it against the umpire’s call.
If you are being objective about it, you would have a thing or two to say about Djoko’s parents, but you don’t. And again, if you took the time to see the video, which I did, and realized who was taunting him for conceding a point, you would not be so high-handed about it.

“No one has said to Federer, ‘you need to continue to play with mono’. He has chosen to do so. Should he be commended for so doing? NO. It’s stupidity. What is he trying to prove? That he’s some glorified martyr. Oh yes, “I’m not going to be like Ancic, I’m tough, I’ll show them I can win even with mono.” Get real, this is all just PR stuff.”

So what if Federer chose to continue playing. There you go again assuming in that typical accusatory tone of yours that Federer is out to prove he is a martyr, and show he is better than Ancic. Did Federer actually tell you that that was his intent? No, but you’d much rather assume that, right?

That’s the difference between you and Jane. Where Jane would have just accepted his desire to continue playing without reading an ulterior motive to it, you have to assert your dislike and accuse him of showing off and doing PR. Can’t you just accept the fact that perhaps he just loves to play, just as Michael Jordan did when he had the flu before Game 7 of the championship finals. Ancic and he are very close friends, and I don’t believe Federer needs to do the one-upmanship act with him or anybody else.

Ironically, you write glowingly about Nadal’s decision to continue playing with blisters. Interesting that you don’t accuse him of PR…of deliberately showing off and telling Ferrer that he (nadal) is made of sterner stuff.

You accuse me of gasping at straws; yet, sadly, you do the same thing yourself…repeatedly pointing out the so-called ungentlemanly conduct of Federer at last year’s Wimbledon. I genuinely thought Djoko’s impersonation act at the USO was funny, until he did Nadal, which I thought was in real bad taste. How did you think Nadal must have felt. You did not seem to mind, but when Federer expressed his displeasure not at someone but at an inanimate object (Hawkeye), which he has openly been against from the beginning, you are aghast at his “ghastly” behavior.

Come off it, Von. I have no problem with your not liking Federer, but please don’t claim you are objective. You have a long long way to go.

If you notice, I rarely talk about other players in my thread at all, let alone in an accusatory manner. Because I don’t like to see people with biased eyes and see ulterior motives where none exists.

AS I said before, Federer won awards this year for best sportsmanship and most popular champion from his peers…competitors like Roddick, Hewitt, Ferrer and others that know him far better than you or me. That to me says a lot more about Federer classiness than the nay-sayers on these boards.


JCF Says:

ernie Says:

“Nobody gets it. Federer played a stupid match the same way again and again. You cannot let a guy return serve 10 feet behind the baseline. Underhand dink serves. Get in his head. Bring the dude to the net, then finish him off. Its that simple if you work the stategy. He should have been practicing the dink serve for months.He knew what he was going to get into. He had no stategy but tried to out hit Nadal. How stupid is this. Federers game is finesse. So why didnt he use it.
He didnt use his slice at all to cut and draw Nadal in. Huge stupidity. Nadal can easily be beat bringing him into the net.
Where was the SLICE!!!! You have to work the cat and mouse game. Johnny Mac would figure this out. Federer is stubborn.”

Armchair critics have it so easy. You have the advantage of hindsight. You get to analyze the match after it happened, and don’t have to deal with the pressure. You don’t have to worry about the possibility your tactics are wrong and you end up looking stupid. Or not being able to execute the plan you theorized. You can say what you like. No one knows you, and if you’re wrong, no one cares or will remember. You don’t even have to back your words. You’re just some guy behind a screen.

Try putting yourself out there and seeing how easy it is. Out there, you have to deal with embarassment and failure (if you lack the confidence to do what you think you have to do) and 20,000 pairs of eyes watching you.

It’s very easy for you to talk. You don’t actually have to DO anything. You have nothing at stake. He does, and if he’s wrong, he pays for it. Give the guy a break.


JCF Says:

“I also agree that a lot of players in all of sport have had to deal with poor health and/or injury. My main gripe is that the endless talk of Federer’s slump and decline of dominance makes little or no reference at all to mono which surely compromises a player’s ability to play at the highest level.”

Fed himself said he was over it, and back to 100%.

“Look at Ancic and Vaidisova? They showed such promise just a year ago. Vaidisove in particular troubled Justine and was hailed as the next big champion. Today, both are struggling, like Federer. It is to Federer’s credit that his inconsistent play is still good enough to beat everyone except Nadal on clay.”

Neither Ancic nor Vaidisova are 12-time GS champions. They aren’t even 1-time GS champs yet. Not as much is expected of them. For Fed, this isn’t something he is used to. That is why it comes as much more of a shock. He’s been #1 since 2004, and by a huge margin. Now, the only title he’s won in half a season is Estoril, some little tournament he’s never entered, with no depth of field. Think how much more embarassing it would be by his standards if he didn’t play that tournament. 0 titles by June. Unfathomable!


Giner Says:

“Ancic, and now Vaidisova have stayed out of competition because of mono. I spoke up about Nadal playing with his blistered feet that he should stay in bed, rest them, and then play. Was that wrong? NO. What happened? He insisted on playing and lost — consequence he almost lost his No. 2 ranking. Was that smart? No.”

If Nadal didn’t play, he still would have lost the same ranking points or more. It wouldn’t have made a difference. The only thing he lost from this is a winning streak. I think if he knew he’d lose to Ferrero, he wouldn’t have bothered.

If Nadal wants to keep his #2 (I think he will lose it at Wimbledon but will regain it) he only needs to hang in there a bit longer. Djokovic has a LOT of points to defend in the second half of the year. As does Federer. Nadal does not. It’s an opportunity for him to gain more points actually, with respect to his peers.


MMT Says:

Let me try to work through Matt’s (very) long list:

I think you would at least have to be the best player of your era, so that eliminates Perry, Hoad, Newcombe, Ashe, Smith, Nastase, Connors, Vilas, McEnroe, Wilander, Edberg, Becker and Courier, Agassi and Nadal. Two of these players haven’t even been ranked #1, so their inclusion is in my view preposterous…every other player on this list has finished the year ranked #1 at least once…but I digress…

That leaves Tilden, Vines, Budge, Kramer, Gonzales, Laver, Rosewall, Borg, Sampras and Federer.

Now this list is manageable:

Let’s start with Tilden, Vines and Budge as pre-war GOATs…of these Tilden was ranked #1 a staggering 7 years, compared with 5 for Budge and Vines 4 times. Perhaps Vines was the most naturally gifted of them all, but this is a sport so results matter – Vines is out.

Budge very much dominated Tilden when they played (although Tilden was much older) and he did win the grand slam.

Tilden was ranked #1 more often, and had considerably better longevity – it’s true many of Budge’s years were taken up with the war, but longevity and the grand totals count, we wouldn’t keep records if they didn’t.

Of this era, my vote goes to TILDEN for years at #1, grand slams and longevity.

Next up are Kramer, Gonzales, Rosewall and Laver. For me, Rosewall was always right up there with the best, and maybe #1 a few times, but no periods of dominance over any of his contemporaries – he’s out.

That leaves Kramer, Gonzales and Laver. Between Gonzales and Kramer, that’s a doozy. Kramer won more as an amateur, but Gonzales was ranked #1 more often and had far superior longevity. In this one, I give the edge to Gonzales, but only a slight one. As for Laver, he was just beaten too often by Gonzales for me to consider him better. His amateur slam is historically shaky, although it’s hard to argue with his professional slam and his longevity. He was ranked #1 as often as Gonzales, but in head to head, Gonzales was better than Laver – he beat him more often, particularly early on, and even after Laver won the grand slam he lost 10K winner take all 5-setter to Gonzales at MSG in 1970, when Laver was 32 and Gonzales 41.

For me the edge goes to GONZALES

The period from 1970-1975 has no dominant player – only a smattering of claimants. From 1976-1981, I think it’s clear the dominant player was Borg. Although he never won the US Open, he had winning record against everyone (he was 7 and 7 with McEnroe) and he won 40% of the slams he entered and 90% of his GS matches. That’s pretty damn dominant, not to mention the versatility of winning on clay and grass.

Perhaps he specialized in “extreme surfaces”, but his overall record was dominant, so I go with BORG over all his contemporaries.

Again another period from 1980-1990 had a lot of claimants, but nobody ranked #1 more than 3 years, so for my money, this period has no genuine GOAT candidates.

From then on we enter the eras of Sampras and Federer. I would say Sampras has better totals in GS, and more years at #1 – both were equally futile on clay, although Federer reached some RG finals, that and a nickel get you a nice hot cup of jack squat. I can’t put anyone who played against Sampras at his level – not even close, and since then only Federer compares, I would say post 1990 the title goes to SAMPRAS.

So we’re left with TILDEN, GONZALES, BORG and SAMPRAS….

To be continued…I’m knackered


Von Says:

NK:

“Von,
I don’t get on these boards as often as you, and I don’t have a file on Grendel or his character assasinations.I was merely responding to one of his posts, which I caught quite randomly.”

Then maybe, NK, you shouldn’t have said anything. Maybe you should do some research on grendel’s history and modus operandi before joining him. He is a vacillator. He relishes in sarcasm, putting out his baitand discrediting people, especially me and mostly women. Depending on his “mood”, (this is just a figure of speech — I can’t see his behavior, hence I can’t tell his mood) he’ll condemn Fed, and then in the next breath he’ll praise him. This confuses me. I do my very best to keep out of this man’s face; however, he derives some sadistic joy in seeking me out. He has a propensity/penchant for going back into the past and rehashing the same things over and over and over – a chronology — this is tantmount to harassment. The record is broken and the DVD is worn out with deep ridges. Anyway, since you’re keeping tabs, keep an open eye and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Have you seen any other poster just go after anyone else the way he does, repeatedly? He’s offended by anything and everything I say. He still talks about my original post, even though I was just agreeing with another poster’s comments. If a Nadal fan sticks up for Nadal he’ll put them down. I have a background in psychology, and one of the ways in which one can exalt his or herself is to tear another down. grendel zeroes in on my remarks to do that. It’s a hobby for him, but he can’t take his own medicine — he’s a bully and a coward.

“I believe you almost never give him full credit for anything he does, except in a backhanded sort of way. If he wins, you will grudgingly admit that he played well, but in the same breath you have to add that the other player was sluggish or somehow slow, or worse, Federer’s draw was too easy.”

I write what I see, the same as several posters — why single me out? Could you in all honesty say that his FO draw wasn’t easy? Sean stated that observation along with several reporters and the commentators during the SF and Final. Would you say Monfils played at his maximum best? I don’t.

Federer finds excuses for his losses and does the same backhanded complimentary stuff. Do you remember Andy Murray’s Dubai win? Fed’s statement provoked the ire of even the British press. What about Stepanek’s win in Rome?

When the draw came out there were a lot of arguments from jane, Zola, grendel, etc., about the draw being unfair, ad nauseam. I said nothing. I knew if I spoke up, I’d take the heat for everyone from grendel.

You should have read my posts after the ’08 AO where I stuck up for Federer because of Djokovic’s and his parents remarks – most of Fed’s fans didn’t — I did. There weren’t complaints then about my not liking Federer. I opened a can of worms and learnt from it — the whole Djoko fan base was about to dissect myself and 3 other posters for our comments on Djoko’s behavior. Regardless of what you state, I am fairminded, however, many are not. Some gang up to obtain kudos; grendel is one of those — he needs as many kudos as he can get and people in his corner.

Do not compare me to jane. jane and grendel have had heated disagreements concerning remarks made by jane about Federer a long, long time before I began posting, and they were pretty intense arguments. They now seem to have a better, superficial rapport — I suppose experience is the best teacher. At times, however just a few weeks back, grendel was off on one of his tirades concerning jane’s remarks, mentioning those remarks were unnecessary. That takes a lot of nerve for one poster to say to the the other that their remarks are “unnecessary”.

“I genuinely thought Djoko’s impersonation act at the USO was funny, until he did Nadal, which I thought was in real bad taste. How did you think Nadal must have felt. You did not seem to mind, but when Federer expressed his displeasure not at someone but at an inanimate object (Hawkeye), which he has openly been against from the beginning, you are aghast at his “ghastly” behavior.”

To begin with I am NEITHER a fan of Federer, Nadal nor Djokovic. I did NOT see Djoko’s impersonation of Nadal, hence no comment.

Djoko’s impersonation may have been hurtful to Nadal, but don’t you think Federer’s mention that Nadal’s game is one-dimensional could have probably hurt Nnadal even more — they’re supposedly friends? Maybe this is why Nadal plays the way the does against Fed — passive aggressive.

Hawkeye, even though inanimate, did not warrant Federer’s behavior. He cursed, albeit some of his selective hearing fans claim they didn’t hear him. His behavior was outrageous — Center Court at Wimby no less. The ONLY reason I mentioned Fed’s behavior with Hawkeye and toward the Umpire (which you have ignored) concerns those who had ridiculed Roddick’s behavior at San Jose toward the umpire, especially grendel. My reason: If Federer can do so, why not Roddick. Why should Fed get a free pass and not Roddick? grendel criticized Rodick ad nauseam; he set his teeth into that subject and was unrelentless. A few weeks ago when Roddick defended Fed, grendel thought Rodick was just classy. Vacillating again.

“Ironically, you write glowingly about Nadal’s decision to continue playing with blisters. Interesting that you don’t accuse him of PR…of deliberately showing off and telling Ferrer that he (nadal) is made of sterner stuff.”

Please find any post where I glowingly commented about Nadal’s desire to play with blisters. I stated Nadal should NOT have played with his blistered feet and nearly got my head lopped off. I’m of the firm opinion that any player who has a physical problem should stay in bed. I can’t comment on Nadal’s remarks to Ferrer — I never heard or read anything.

“That’s the difference between you and Jane. Where Jane would have just accepted his desire to continue playing without reading an ulterior motive to it, you have to assert your dislike and accuse him of showing off and doing PR.”

Again this comparison to jane. I like jane, but are jane’s comments the benchmark I should use when posting? jane agreed with my remarks on Nadal’s decison to play with blisters as being unwise and he should stay in bed.

“Come off it, Von. I have no problem with your not liking Federer, but please don’t claim you are objective. You have a long long way to go.”

I am a lot more objective than those who claim to be that way. i’m not a vacillator. I stick to what i say. Maybe, I have a long way to go but I doubt that you’re the person to say this. You selectively see and hear what you choose. Why don’t you pick on the posters who are bisecting and dissecting Federer’s match play in the finals. I’m sure that you’d have a lot of materiel to analyze; or is it easier to do so with me because you have another in your corner?

As a reminder, these threads are for posters to air their thoughts and interpretations of what they read and/or see — they are entitled to their opinions — that Freedom of Speech Amendment thing.


jane Says:

Von,

” but are jane’s comments the benchmark I should use when posting?”

Please no! LOL. I am but a small fish in a big pond; I am about to swim for the coral reef. Or am off to greener ponds (remember, grass now…& Andy’s back is all better.)


Shital Green Says:

Von.
This is the fiery Von I had been missing for a while. Yes, it was long due. You came out on right time. When I read your poetic response to grendel, I thought you resigned: “Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”
I was going to defend your position, but for some reasons I changed my mind. Thanks NK for bringing out the passionate Von. You go, girl. You can count on me next time.


Von Says:

Shital:

Thanks ever so much for your very, very kind words and for your support. I’m very grateful.

I realized that I had gotten into a rut — one gets tired of being beaten up into submission, which is the modus operandi on this threads by SOME of these posters. The ganging up and the constant looking over my shoulder is what has been the cause of my acquiescent behavior. However, even that didn’t work. The arrows were still coming and now from several, different directions. These people are crafty — they use blackmail; pitting one poster against the other — consciously or subconsciously manipulatng another’s remarks as a benchmark for my comments. ENOUGH of that nonsense. What happened to my mind — but I should have considered the source.

With you in mind, and your being a scholar in philosophy, I dedicate the folllowing to you from the thoughts/words of that famous man, Albert Einstein on Freedom of Spirit.:

“The development of science and of the creative activities of the spirit in general requires still another kind of freedom, which may be characterised as inward freedom. It is this freedom of spirit which consists in the independence of thought from the restrictions of authoritarian and social prejudices as well as from unphilosophical routinizing and habit in general. This inward freedom is an infrequent gift of nature and a worthy objective for the individual.

“Only if outward and inner freedom are constantly and consciously pursued is there a possibility of spiritual development and perfection and thus of improving man’s outward and inner life. (Einstein, 1954)”

From the foregoing, I’d say I have been compromising my ‘Freedom of Spirit’ for a tad too long — it now needs to be released.

I’m counting on you to remind me of this when I stumble, and/or regress. :)


Von Says:

jane:

“Please no! LOL. I am but a small fish in a big pond; I am about to swim for the coral reef. Or am off to greener ponds (remember, grass now…& Andy’s back is all better.)”

Your benchmark is an excellent one to be emulated — however, we are all deserving of our own individuality and should not be the proverbial “cookie cutter” poster, especially when there’s a comparison thrown into the mix. :)

I saw a clip today of Andy being interviewd on the court at Stella Artois. He stated he began practising a day ago. I hope he can defend his title — a very tough field at Queens — my money’s on him, what little I have. :)


Hypnos Says:

MMT,

Nice analysis — I always thought Gonzalez didn’t get his due. Perhaps because he was such a prickly character, and played off the radar on the embryonic pro circuit.

At the risk of hurting your credibility before this audience, Bud Collins came up with a similar list.


Von Says:

MMT:

Excuse my butting into your analyis and Hypnos’ comments. However, in your defense, if I can jog your thoughts down memory lane, it was around the time of the Sampras/Federer match at Madison Square Garden in New York City, wherein we both had a dicussion on the GOAT topic and your list was in place at that time. Ergo, I’d say old Bud should be held accountable for picking your brain — plagiary? :)

A few days ago I was being facetious stating in my remarks to Shital Green that I’ll have a stamp made up to prove the aithenticity of my comments/words. Perhaps you can use one such stamp — they’re cheaper by the dozen. :)


NK Says:

Von,
My last post on this. Rest assured I am not joining Grendel or anyone else. I have no knowledge of what he said in his posts since I log on to this site not that often and don’t read the posts thorougly. I am against character asasinations, and you should know this. You might recall I spoke out harshly against someone who insulted you a few months ago.

You and I have don’t see eye to eye on Federer, but my comments are neither vicious nor vindictive. So please take in that spirit. All I can say is that you are unduly harsh on Federer and like to inject your opinion as fact (example: Federer wanting to play through mono as a PR stint). That’s your bias coming through, not fact. You could say the same thing about Nadal playing with his blisters, but you single Federer out. There was absolutely no need to comment on the PR stuff, so why inject an opinion and not apply it uniformly to others as well.

I try to stick to facts and separate them from personal opinion. That’s why I don’t like to comment negatively on other players. My rule while commenting on others is to give them the benefit of the doubt if facts don’t exist.


Von Says:

NK:

Yes, you did speak out against an unjust attack on me several months ago, for which I was grateful and thanked you.

“You could say the same thing about Nadal playing with his blisters, but you single Federer out.”

I spoke out on Nadal’s blisters and his comments regarding the clay season — to the point that I felt he was being unreasonable about the clay season scheduling and playing in Barcelona — I saw it as greed. Needless to say, I got clobbered. The blisters, I’ve lready given my nswer.

The PR stuff regarding Federer concerned his agent’s, Tony Godsig’s comments. Nothing was clear. It seemed as though they were hidng something. These thoughts were also reflected in the articles written by Tennis.X reporters — that’s where I got some of my information. Because of my legal background, I’m very careful to desist from casting unfounded aspersions on another’s character. There was a huge amount of disparity surrounding Fed’s mono. His agent claimed he was fine and practising and Fed claimed the same. However, the reports, after he lost at Dubai claimed he had mono and only became aware of it 2 weeks prior to Dubai, and began practising just the week prior to the tournament. In light of this, you have to admit that very little rang true.

I hope this clarifies my stand on the PR stunt, Nadal’s blisters and any other outstanding isues. Perhaps you might find this difficult to understand, but I don’t in the least bit ‘hate’ Federer as you or some might think. There are some personality flaws which he possesses that I dislike, but that dislike is not in any way associated to hate. Hate is a very strong and dangerous emotion. Thank you for your explanation and time.


grendel Says:

It is difficult to respond to Von, because among other things, she writes pages and pages, it just goes on and on, an endlessly long mish mash of very little except vituperation. I’ll try and be brief. Character assassination: I have used some epithets- “spoilt ” and “indulged”. I infer this from the manner in which she writes, but I have not elaborated. This tends to happen when you trade insults. Meanwhile, she has called me just about every name under the sun – a couple of which, I have shared with her. We have both called each other “coward and bully”. My initial criticisms of Von were fairly mildly phrased – but I was instantly met with a veritable onslaught. That tends to raise the temperature. There is plenty of rewriting of history here.

But mainly,Von, I have exposed your lamentable distortion of facts, which you have made no attempt to reply to. And you have done it again today. “grendel criticized Rodick ad nauseam; he set his teeth into that subject and was unrelentless. A few weeks ago when Roddick defended Fed, grendel thought Rodick was just classy. Vacillating again.” Not true, I criticised Roddick on one thread and one thread alone. I don’t, and never have done, see people in black and white – not even you Von, of whom I can see good things, but because of the nature of the quarrels I get into with you, they are not likely to come up. To me, it is perfectly reasonable to sharply criticise people, and later to praise them if it seems warranted(as a matter of fact, even as I was criticising Roddick’s attacks on umpires, I was praising his form,which seemed to me excellent; he shortly went on to win Dubai). Roddick in particular is an intriguing fellow, a rich mix indeed.

” He’s offended by anything and everything I say” – and yet, as I pointed out, I recently quoted you approvingly; you still managed to take umbrage, to think I was having a go. It may seem strange, but I was, and indeed am, as sick of all this as you, and I was hoping to draw a line. But I don’t think that is possible. For instance:”he will use his word gamesmanship to achieve his desired result, because he knows that there are many of the Fed fans, the slavihsly fanatical group, who will join forces with him, viz. YOU and a few who know who they are.” This is so utterly wrong and misconceived, that one would despair of any possible understanding. I NEVER join forces with other people, and as a matter of fact, I was dismayed when NK posted, because I realised this would draw you out, and we’d have to go through all this again. You, on the other hand, do have allies, predictable allies, but that’s ok, I’m not bothered by that. Don’t assume people have the same motivations.

The reason, despite myself for it does actually distress me in a way, which probably surprises you, the reason I tend to go after you is that I do indeed get enraged by the way you endlessly – in my eyes – slur Federer. It really does seem to me like a drip drip drip and – like a fool – I fall for it very time. Partly, this is because you yourself are intimidating, Von, I wonder if you realise that. When someone criticises you, even mildly, you tend to react quite violently. Most people (I am guessing) are probably reluctant to take you on, and so I have felt it incumbent upon me to do so myself.

Honest criticism of Federer I like, and am interested in. I actually detest “slavish devotion” to anyone, including to Federer. But since you have erected a bogeyman of me in your head, you will find this hard to believe or even understand.

Nevertheless, I have been indisciplined, and also immature. In this world, you have to learn to accept that there are those very different from yourself, so different, that mutual comprehension is probably impossible. Therefore, you don’t batter your head against that particular rock. This is a lesson I have signally failed to learn, and I think there must be a price. I know I have said this more than once before, so why believe me, nevertheless, I shan’t be coming onto this site again – even to look. Especially not to look, actually, since I daresay then I’d weaken, and get into a barney with somebody or other. No, those days are over for me. Meanwhile, I hope Nishikouri does well at Queens.


Ryan Says:

I dont see any reason you guys Von, Grendel,NK should be fighting amongst yourselves.I thought this blog is about federer’s defeat against nadal on clay.In the end there is some weird logic for everyone to support whoever we like.We cant influence someone else to support our favourite stars coz its not gonna happen.I’m a fed fan,Von is a roddick fan….etc.If someone is happy that nadal won or fed lost or watever it doesnt matter.Thats up to them and its their life and their wish.There is no point in fighting over that.


sensationalsafin Says:

I agree with Ryan. Why the hell has this blog become grendel and NK vs Von? So Von doesn’t like Federer and finds ways to undermine his wins. I undermine players who beat him all the time. Hell the only reason I hate Nadal is because he beats Federer all the time (well I don’t hate him anymore because it’s just too hard and I’ve accepted Federer sucks). So Von has a different opinion. Why is that a bad thing? She atleast helps me look at things with a better perspective at times because I’m pretty biased for Federer. What’s the point of blogging and commenting if everyone is on the same side?

Von, if you think Federer is a shmuck then so be it. You can think whatever you want. I disagree, I think Federer is a great guy. But what would be the point in discussing anything if we just agreed on everything? Let’s get back to Federer and his losing ways.

Federer sucks.


Christopher Says:

Why is Daveydenko playing a red court clay event in Poland on the eve of Wimbledon? He’s ranked 4th and at least should give some effort to winning on grass. I can’t stand Daveydenko!


jane Says:

It’s true – there definitely should be room for all types and all views on this TENNIS blog, and there is no need to let that get personal. It’s hard sometimes, because we get, as ryan aptly puts it, “weirdly” attached to particular players, and we feel the need to defend them. As I do with Djokovic for some unknown reason. But if people hate him or see his behaviour as assinine [Hi Glenn - ;-)] or his hair as porcupine-like [Hi Andrea - ;-)] as tough as it is for me to swallow, they’re entitled to their opinions. And I am entitled to defend Djokovic too – but to try not to get personal in the process. And if I do, it’s important to recognize it, apologize, and move on.

This is a democracy after all – Oi!


jane Says:

Christopher,

Much agreed – while I can appreciate Davy’s talent and consistency, he’s a weird chap and somewhat calculating I suspect, so I wish he’d wither away out of the top ten and that some other players would crash the party. Awful of me – but honest.


Christopher Says:

I hate it when Djokovic beats on his chest like Tarzan. He looks retarded doing it. He and his parents are disrespectful to the sport. Nadal and Federer both have class. Djokovic has little to none.


jane Says:

Djokovic didn’t start the Tarzan chest bashing; that was Baggy. Novak stole it from him.

Class is overrated. ;-)


Christopher Says:

Jane,

That may be true about baggy but Djokovic’s chest beating along with his stalling tatics (bouncing the ball 500 times before an important point)is obnoxious. I don’t see Federer or Nadal using those types of tatics to gain an edge.


Agassifan Says:

MMT said a little while above:

“From then on we enter the eras of Sampras and Federer. I would say Sampras has better totals in GS, and more years at #1 – both were equally futile on clay, although Federer reached some RG finals, that and a nickel get you a nice hot cup of jack squat.”

BOTH WERE EQUALLY FUTILE ON CLAY? Where have you been MMT, and, more importantly, what have you been smoking???

There’s not even a comparison between Fed and Sampras on clay. 3 french finals in a row – and what did sampras manage? 1 miserable semi in 13 tries, 24-13 match record. Fed is at least trying his level best to try and win the FO – like playing Estoril, hiring Roche and then Higueras. Sampras didn’t even try that hard. Because he just didn’t have the all round game to win on clay.

I think you have been having your cups of Jack squats a bit too much.


Christopher Says:

If it were not for Nadal Federer may be the one with 4 French Open wins in a row. You can’t say this of Sampras. Federer beats everyone and I mean everyone on clay except Nadal. Nadal beats everyone on clay. Sampras can’t hold Federer’s jock strap on clay but Federer can also play on hard courts and grass courts. He’s only won 5 Wimbledon’s in a row and 4 U.S. Opens in a row. Infact he’s pulled off the Wimbledon – U.S Open combo 4 straight year while still doing well at the French and Austrailian. Sampras never came close to that. Federer also has a stellar master’s series record. It’s far better than Sampras’s.

Sampras’s only saving grace for being the GOAT is his 14 grand slam wins which will soon be in jeopardy of being eclipsed. I can’t wait!


Agassifan Says:

Again, of ALL the players thought of as bein gpossible GOATs (Laver, Borg, etc.), Sampras’s case is the weakest, if you really analyze the details and all thenumbers, not just blindly look at one number. NONE of the top players in the open era was as one-dimensional as Sampras was. NOBODY was as miserable on any one surface as sampras was on clay.

Connors won the US open on clay. Borg reached 4 US finals. Mcenroe almost won the french final in 1984. Lendl reached 2 wimbledon finals and 5 (yes 5) semis. Edberg reached a french final. Heck, evne BEcker had 3 french semis.

What does Sampras have? One french semi in 13 attempts.

NOBODY else was so miserable in any one of the slams as sampras was at the French.

Federer has consitently been the no 2 player on clay for the last 4 years. And he has been no 2 on clay just because the no 1 happens to be probably greater than even borg was on clay.

My guy, Agassi, of course, won all the 4 majors on 4 different surfaces. In fact, he reached each major final at least twice, including 3 french finals.

So don’t ignore the other numbers and just focus on one….


Joker Says:

I am with AgassiFan and Christopher. Federer was as futile as Sampras on clay? You are not even close to making sense. That is like saying Federer is in the same league as Santoro on clay (who by the way leads Sampras 3-1 on clay including a 6-1, 6-1 drubbing at Monte-carlo).

At this point Federer is the GOAT(or BOAT, to suit JCF. BOAT = Best of….) As Sean predicts Nadal or more realistically Djokovic might overtake Federer in that race 10yrs later. Maybe not. Who knows. Right now, it has got to be Federer, he has put up such lopsided numbers at a time when sport is at its most cut-throat. Imagine the chaos before Federer took over or the pandemonium of the last 6 months when Fed’s form took a tumble. You cant call that lack of competition. Fed just beat it to pulp for 4 good years.


jane Says:

Christopher,

“his stalling tatics (bouncing the ball 500 times before an important point)is obnoxious. I don’t see Federer or Nadal using those types of tatics to gain an edge.”

The key words here are “I don’t see”; obviously Rafa, whom I like, is notoriously slow between points and was warned during the final of the French, to refresh your memory.

All players have their idiosyncracies, Djoko, Rafa and Fed included. What we like, we like; what we don’t, we don’t. Some might say Roger plays with his hair too much; my son, who is seven, asked me why Roger “twirls his racquet so much”. My answer was “that’s just him”, much like Rafa’s picking and bottle arranging, and Djoko’s bouncing.

Thank goodness they all have their quirks and individualities: boring if they all acted the same.


Ravi Says:

Has anyone considered the Mono Fed was hit with earlier in the year. That energy sapping virus can interfere with your ability to practice aggressively and intensely, which the other players have been able to do in the first half of the year. Was it Justne Henin who had this virus for 2 years and another soccer player who was sidelined for a year. Fed, has continued to play even when he was losing without using Mono as his excuse. He keeps playing despite the mean and vicious press he has been getting from the press and media and Fed bashers. Fed, on the other hand is trying to stay positve and he is still being bashed for trying to stay positive. So, give the guy a break. Kudos to him for not hanging his head down, but picking himself up, dusting himself off and going on to the next tournament. Kudos to all the athletes out there that keep coming back despite losing again and again. I am sick of mean people, mean press, mean commentators who feel they have to overanalyze everything an think they are right and are self righteous.


Hypnos Says:

Comparing Sampras and Federer is a fool’s errand — I’m not sure I feel qualified. That said, while acknowledging Federer’s dominance the last 4 years, I can offer two points in Pete’s favor:

Agassi has been politic about his opinion on this question; he did take sets off of Federer in Grand Slam matches late in his career. By my count, he is 3-6 against Sampras in Grand Slam matches during both their primes (and 2-4 in year-end championships).

Also, Sampras did achieve 3 QF appearances at the French before his lone SF run in 1996. Twice he lost to the eventual champ. Not great, but not chopped liver.

Anyway, every great champ brings something new to the table. In an absolute sense, Federer probably is better than Sampras, just as Sampras was probably better than Lendl and company. However, each player is necessarily judged in his own era, and we’ll see how many GS titles Federer ends up with, and whether a French is among them.


Agassifan Says:

Hypnos,

Again, just judging by one parameter (GS titles) is being too myopic. You just can’t ignore ALL the other accomplishments of ANY athlete.

If you consider EVERYTHING, Fed does come out ahead of Sampras, already. That’s a fact. Face it.

And don’t start peddling QF appearances now!!! Really, 3 QF versus 3 finals?? Its not even a fight. And there was no Nadal in Sampras’s time. Bruguera, Muster, Moya – Fed would have beaten them handily.

THe most qualified person to comment on this is Agassi, who has played both Fed and Sampras at THEIR primes. His opinion is clear – Fed is better, he has said this repeatedly.


Hypnos Says:

“Again, just judging by one parameter (GS titles) is being too myopic. You just can’t ignore ALL the other accomplishments of ANY athlete.”

*shrug* it’s subjective. I’m sure somebody out there can make the case for Connors, Lendl or Gonzalez.

If you care about variety, in Sampras’ era clay played much slower than the other surfaces, so I don’t think his difficulties are as significant. If anything, it elevates Edberg, Becker, Courier and Agassi, which in turn elevates Sampras.

“If you consider EVERYTHING, Fed does come out ahead of Sampras, already. That’s a fact. Face it.”

Here’s everything. Looks pretty even — Federer is ahead on clay (see above), and Sampras is ahead on carpet and 5-setters.

“THe most qualified person to comment on this is Agassi, who has played both Fed and Sampras at THEIR primes. His opinion is clear – Fed is better, he has said this repeatedly.”

If I recall correctly, (paraphrasing) Federer is more complete, but you could lose to Sampras just as easily.

Sounds fair to me.

If you have a quote where he says explicitly that Fed is better, that would be interesting.

***

Anyway, this is quite academic. I may prefer Bach to Mozart, but I would never call Mozart inferior.


Shital Green Says:

Grendel, NK, Von, Jane, Sensationalsafin,

One has to begin from somewhere. Instead of injecting my take on Von-Grendel-NK Trojan War from the double egg, let me do it in medias res. Let me frame my position with an acknowledgment of Sensationalsafin for his aphorism: “But what would be the point in discussing anything if we just agreed on everything?” And, of course, the sweet Miss benchmark (no sarcasm intended) cannot be overlooked: “This is a democracy after all – Oi!”

I have been long wondering, “Why do I blog about tennis? Don’t I have family and friends to talk about tennis at workplace and elsewhere? Could it be that they are not as enthusiastic about tennis as the posters here? What am I trying to achieve if I defend a player or go berserk against another? Is this how I am programming myself to fill the ‘lack,’ in Lacanian sense, to get closer to my imagined ‘Real’? And, in the process, am I creating another ‘lack’ within myself? Despite I try to dissuade myself from it, how/ why am I pushed into personal attacks, going as far as bruising others’ egos and get mine bruised in return? Is this the price one has to pay, like side effects of every medication? Am I just being prey to Freudian totemism or to Carl Jung’s archetype of aggression? Am I simply playing verbal ‘tennis,’ re-playing the players’ ‘aggressivity’ of the court on this virtual space? Finally, is there a way to minimize aggressive confrontation, yet still respectfully disagreeing with the alterity, the difference of opinion?” It is likely that most of us do not raise these questions, but they look relevant to me.

Now, let me get into some theoretical excursion, once again agreeing with Sensationalsafin and Jane about disagreement and democracy. At the outset, let me say this grendel’s position has been close to Hegel’s dialectic synthesis and Jurgen Habermas’ consensualism that orient toward mutual understanding under the guise of doing greater service but failing to account for differences at the ontic level except in his own terms, i.e. in his own hegemonic/ontological reconfiguration and translation of the difference, thus injustice to differences. Following Chantal Mouffe and Earnesto Laclau, both political philosophers currently residing in England, I take the position of radical democracy or agnostic democracy as opposed to liberal democracy to question the self-validating consensualism, esp. its core principle of assimilating differences, and to denude its false promise of enlightenment at the cost of abandoning heterogeneity, differences of opinion. Not long ago, Jean-Francois Lyotard, in his Differand, concludes it is not possible to resolve a conflict between two parties equitably, meaning without doing some injustice to one side “for a lack of rule of judgment applicable to both arguments.” Thus, it is untenable for grendel and NK to make case that they are objective and Von is subjective without willing subscription to their field and mode of observation. It is not just that we have a differing narrative vantage point. It is a war between one party claiming to be at 360 degree and making the the other appear to be at 0 degree, then calling the former objective and the latter subjective without realizing that they meet at the same place, if we believe in geometry. Even here, before establishing who is what and from what position, one is assuming a transcendent position, free from subject-ivity or subject’s activity, which would be the absence of human subject from the field of discourse in question. To put it differently, the paradox here, in the language of Spencer-Brown, a British mathematician, is we begin observation by marking an “inside” (Gestalt theory could be helpful here if you have some knowledge of psychology). Within this “inside,” we create an outside, meaning objectivity is that “outside,” transcendent position, within the “inside” that the observer incepted immanently. To de-paradoxify, all you will need to do is follow the way we fold back a Möbius strip. Therefore, the question of objectivity is more a matter of objectification , through subjects’ participation in the process, meaning how an observer or group of observers process the bare datum at hand. When the same datum is processed by using different methods or from two different perspectives (e.g. Fed’s or Djoko’s gestures), there could only be differends, i.e. irresolvable conflicts. If both are relatively plausible arguments, though only in their respective fields, I don’t see why we should get into futile task of eradicating or undermining another’s observation, which is constructed out of a different set of rules. At the end, Grendel and NK, Von, or anybody including me, cannot make a claim that there is a transcendent position unless we choose to ostracize and silence our differences.

To conclude, the point of disagreement, to repeat Sensationalsafin, is to give continuity to our struggle for individuality in the midst of impossibility and to perpetuate a dialog without having to surrender to the so-called transcendent, objective, and hegemonic order. And I interpreted Jane’s “Oi!” with reference to democracy as agnostic or ant-agonistic democracy that has been dear to me for some time. We all try to validate what we have embraced or ego-tized, even if it were for a fleeting moment, and my rambling is no exception to that. We all are narcissists of some weird sort, but we have to recognize that within that Narcissism, we have Von, Grendel, NK, Jane, and myriad others, each waiting to be activated at different opportune times. Then, the final question is, if I am aggressive toward Von or Grendel, am I being aggressive toward the Von or the Grendel in me? If we raise this question every time right before we pen down the 1st word, we should be in a position to avoid re-playing players’ “aggressivity” of the court and minimize our “aggressivity” against a fellow poster, but sadly we slip sometimes, only to later regret: Have we ever been human, in the sense of achieving complete humanity?


Christopher Says:

Jane, Oh Please!

Federer’s racket twirling isn’t a distraction. Has any of the players complained about it? Hmmm? Djokovic bounces the ball so many times to throw the returner off and play head games. Many players have complained about it. Nadal does play slow but when he’s ready to serve – he serves! He doesn’t try trickery to win a point. He plays slow because his points are generally long and physical. Also, Djokovic fakes physical ailments during matches. He’s a bit of a drama queen. Federer and Nadal have no need to use such tryfulling tatics.


Hypnos Says:

Ah, here’s the Agassi quote in the press conference after losing the 4-set 2005 US Open final.

I guess he felt that at age 35 he was playing as well as ever. Since then, I don’t think he’s ventured an opinion.


jane Says:

Shital Green,

Thanks for your theoretical onslaught! I meant “oi” in the punk sense, of course.


jane Says:

Christophner,

Well, that’s your take. I disagree. And I never said the twirling was trickery; I merely mentioned that my son noticed it. I don’t accuse any of these players of trivckery. I merely mentioned it’s a Fedism, much like the bouncing is a Djokoism.

I am not out to insult anyone.


jane Says:

This is from Bonnie Ford’s post-French Open article at ESPN, wherein she captures a conversation about Fed’s performance in the final.

————————————————–
Outside the television compound on the grounds of Roland Garros, two tennis fans vented about the match. They had more credibility than most. Three-time French Open winner Mats Wilander of Sweden and two-time finalist Alex Corretja of Spain, both commentators now, embraced and started to chat.

Corretja: We knew that could happen.

Wilander: But we hoped that when you’ve won 12 Grand Slams, you would give him a little bit of body language, so that maybe Rafa thinks that Roger thinks he has a chance.

Corretja: Yes, yes, yes.

Wilander: What’s happening to all of them against Rafa? The only battle you can battle with him is in the mind. His tennis is too good. Show me a little fire.

Corretja: He gave up. Just ridiculous.

Wilander: I mean, show me some emotion. I don’t want to waste my day watching a guy who’s that good a player …

Corretja: Me too. I feel like he’s probably the greatest, and now I feel like, I can’t give you this.

Wilander: Exactly how I feel. I mean, you have to get emotionally involved. Otherwise, you’re doing the wrong thing, you have the wrong job. I mean I understand the tactics, the tactics were OK. He was trying to hit the forehand early. He executed horribly.

Corretja: Still, for me — it’s 15-0 in the first game. He misses the first two forehands like this (holds hand close to ground). So flat, no thinking already, on the second point.

Wilander: How many let cords did he have? It’s not bad luck.

Corretja: My [broadcast] partner said it was bad luck. I said no, it was bad playing.


matt Says:

In my opinion, what counts more is what a player achieved during his career, but not if I liked his style of play. (I loved Gerulaitis style, and didn’t like Borg style, but…who cares?, Borg was greater than Gerulaitis becuase of his achievements).

Sampras won 14 GS, 5 Year-End-Masters, he ended 6 straight years in the nº1, and stayed 286 weeks in the nº1.

Those achievements are amazing.

Federer has won 12 GS, 4 Year-End-Masters, has ended 4 straight years in the nº1, and has stayed 227 consecutive weeks in the nº1 (and counting…)

He is approaching those fantastic Sampras records and will probably surpass some (if not all) of them.

He wants it badly, and that is what keeps him motivated.

The most exciting thing is that now that he is so close, there is a new guy (Djoko) who is as good as him on hardcourts, so from this moment on it is not going to be easy for Roger to surpass some of those Sampras records.

In fact, I believe he will surpass Sampras’s 14 GS record and probably Sampras’s and Lendl’s 5 Year-End-Masters record as well, but maybe he will not surpass Sampras’s 6 year-end nº1 record or Sampras’s 286 week nº1 record.

What do you think?


fed is afraid Says:

roger will not win another slam, he is done. now that 2 guys are really pushing him, unlike the cupcakes he has faced in the past, roger can’t respond. he was never really challenged in the past, untill nadal came up, and roger is terrified of rafa. rafa is a thousand times more mentally tough than federer and it shows in every match they play. rafa wins wimbledon and joker wins us open.


Christopher Says:

fed is afraid,

Are you always this dumb?

I suppose Roger wasn’t mentally tough in the past 2 Wimbledons where he defeated Rafa in both finals. I suppose Agassi was a cupcake final in the U.S. Open a couple of years ago. I suppose Roddick was a cupcake final for Fed 2 Years in a row at Wimbledon.

You really should think before you post. Good Grief!


fed is afraid Says:

roger almost lost last year and would have if nadal hadn’t gotten injured, and had to play 7 straight days. agassi was an old man by that point and retired the next year. and roddick and his game or lack thereof speaks for itself. and andy was on the verge of winning one of those wimbledons until it started raining, and then his momentum was lost.
why do you resort to a personal attack?


matt Says:

Nadal winning WB…? I don’t think so at all.

Too much for him. He got to the final the last two years, which is actually impressive, but his game is not suited for the grass courts.

His serve is poor, his volley is a joke, his return is not good enough, and his habit of playing from 5 metres behind the baseline…is not going to help him on grass.

However his passing-shots are formidable, he is quick and his groundstrokes are powerful and reliable and the most important thing: He somehow believe he can win it.

Indeed, only Federer has defeated him at WB in the last two years (and they were in the final and they weren’t easy victories for Fed at all).

Somehow I can’t see him winning WB right now. (If he actually wins it, I’ll go down on my knees and will acknowledge his greatness)

I think Federer will win again and Djokovic will be his most dangerous opponent.


Von Says:

TO:

Shital Green, jane, Ryan, and Sensationalsafin:

Today was not my typical day. It began with a flurry of arguments and/or criticisms, but there was hope in the form of a very timely and illuminating post from Shital Green in the early a.m., when things seemed most grim, reminding me that I’ve let something very tangible in my character slip away and/or become nullified — fire and freedom of spirit. (Shital, I dedicated Einstein’s take on “Freedom of Spirit” to you in my post at 3:45 a.m. today.) In addititon to the above, you have demonstrated the meaning of friendship which transcends physical eye to eye contact, albeit very important, but has shown that this can also emanate even from behind our keyboards. Thank you Shital — you’re upliftment and a true stalwart personified.

jane, in her usually sweet, yet very to the point in demeanor and expressive selflessness, has shown me support, loyalty, and encouragement. You’re always on the spot and at the right moment to shed some rays of sunshine on many trying and indelicate circumstances. Thank you jane — you’re one in a thousand and someone I’d like to sit, talk with and/or laugh — I think we both love to laugh and see humor in many things.

Ryan — ever so bellicose, a rough diamond, and worth many polished and finely cut stones, a nuts and bolts kind of guy, and one who has the knack to state it as he sees it — truthful, objective and bereft of pretense. Thank you Ryan, for your support, putting things into perspective and this thread back on track, where I’ve managed to screw it up.

And last, but not least, Sensationalsafin, who has always been illuminating, fair and insightful. You can call a spade a spade, without the use of finesse or pretense, and can breakdown the situation with the use of one of your indelicate words. Viz., A schmuck is a schmuck! Are you sure you’re not Jewish? Thank you SS for your loyalty and unvarnished sincerity.

To all of you a big “thank you” and I dedicate the following, which I feel is appropos to this situation and this day. There’s beauty even in ashes!

SCREEN FRIENDS
by Miasartiff

I’ve had one of those days
you know what I mean
so I sit back and relax
and turn on my screen.

I’ll talk to all my friends
who know just what to say
to make my stresses go
and my troubles fade away.

My friends you’re always there for me
whenever I feel blue
and though we’ve never met before
I know our friendships are true.

And although we haven’t been friends for long
in this short time it seems
we shared so many things already
our hopes, our fears, our dreams.

We come from different walks of life
but we share a common bond
and it’s time to say that of all of you
I’ve grown so very fond.

So thank you friends for being there
whenever I’ve needed you
I know you’re always there for me
and you know I’m there for you.

VON

So what are you all sitting around staring at your screens for, let’s get back to what were here to do and that’s shoot the breeze on Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, bisecting and dissecting them unmercifully. :)


jane Says:

Shital Green,

“one is assuming a transcendent position, free from subject-ivity or subject’s activity, which would be the absence of human subject from the field of discourse in question.”

Although you’re referring to us bloggers in this passage, the idea can be applied to the players as well. When we desire (or expect) one player to behave as another one does, it’s a futile position from both the longing blogger’s perspective (there’s that Lacanian ‘lack’ again, forever perpetuating desire) and from the player’s perspective. Djokovic may never have “class” to some (because of a “subject’s activities” and/or “subjectivity”) just like Fed will always be “afraid” for others.

There is no transcendent one. There can be, of course, occasional overlaps in the heterogeneity.

But isn’t that what makes tennis and/or blogging so great? We’d have nothing to talk about and a real void if there were a clear “blogger’s” and / or “player’s” position.

You and I see eye-to-eye my friend. On some things. ;-)

Maybe we should start a blog on punk democracy?


jane Says:

Von,

You’re too kind – thanks for the little ditty. I like to laugh AND argue. That’s in part why we’re here. Oh – and TENNIS. :-)


I have clay in my piratas Says:

When it comes to grass and hardcourts, Rafa is like the village misstress – everyone has screwed him badly.

He is a mental wuss outside of clay. His fans will keep complaining about wimbledon even after a million years. Get over it. If rafa was mentally strong enough to beat soderling in 3 sets he wouldn’t have had to play 7days in a row. Soderling stood upto him and rafa barely squeaked through. What a choke job. He was getting beaten like a drum by youzhny before youzhny’s back gave up! – but we are told it is nadal’s mental toughness that broke youzhny’s back! yeah right!

In the semis Djokovic on 1 foot was banging nadal into submission but Djokovic (who was the real victim of the scheduling last year) had to retire after 3 physically tortorous matches in consecutive days literally killed him. Rafa’s knee injuries and fatigue seem to appear only on hardcourts and grass. Rafa is a real sissy. Djokovic/Federer/Roddick will thrash him all over the courts the rest of the year.


JCF Says:

Agassifan Says:

“Again, of ALL the players thought of as bein gpossible GOATs (Laver, Borg, etc.), Sampras’s case is the weakest, if you really analyze the details and all thenumbers, not just blindly look at one number. NONE of the top players in the open era was as one-dimensional as Sampras was. NOBODY was as miserable on any one surface as sampras was on clay. ”

I absolutely agree with you here. Sampras had a really good serve, but he definately was one-dimensional. He wasn’t the best player of all time. He just happens to have won the most slams of any guy, because his game was well suited to the faster surfaces.

His game is really quite predictable. Big first serve, move in and volley. He’ll serve-volley on every first serve, every second serve, and chip charge on all his return games. He had a great first serve, and an even better second serve. But that doesn’t get the job done on clay.

Federer has more variety, and in many ways, even Agassi was a more complete player than Sampras.


JCF Says:

“Again, just judging by one parameter (GS titles) is being too myopic. You just can’t ignore ALL the other accomplishments of ANY athlete.

If you consider EVERYTHING, Fed does come out ahead of Sampras, already. That’s a fact. Face it.”

I do agree that Fed is a better player than Sampras (those exhibition matches were Fed allowed it to be close, or lost were matchfixed out of respect for Pete), but “great” is an arbitrary word. The problem is that there is no set of objective criteria for factoring in all of these achievements and qualities/skills. So people just use the word the way it’s been used and say Pete is the greatest because he has 14 slams (and 6 years of #1, though you can argue that Fed had a much longer unbroken streak at #1). There really is no other point in Pete’s favor than the sheer number of slams won.

Worse is they undermine Roger’s achievements by criticizing the competition. Andre Agassi played through both generations (Pete and Federer both in their prime) and conceded in the end that Roger was the better player. He said something like, against Pete, if you’re having a good day, you’ll win 5 and 5, if you’re having a bad day, you’ll lose 5 and 5. Against Roger, if you’re having a good day, you’ll win 5 and 5, but if you’re having a bad day, it will be 1 and 1. It wasn’t easy for him to say it due to Pete’s sacrosanct status, but he had to admit that Fed was a better player.

I truly believe that today’s generation, as slam-starved as it is, is stronger than Pete’s generation. Hewitt when he was at his peak would beat any Becker, Edberg or Lendl. I’d even argue the same for Andy Roddick. Hell, I’d pick Hewitt over Sampras because he’s got such a good return of serve, volley, speed, and tenacity. Why haven’t Hewitt or Roddick piled up on the slams? Well there’s that one guy: Mr Roger standing in their way. If Federer played in the past few decades at his peak, Becker et al would all probably be slamless. And Federer would win the French Open.

Speaking of Becker, I find him even more one dimensional than Pete. This guy had over 40 titles, none on clay (Pete at least had one), and couldn’t do anything outside of serve-volley. He never stood a chance on the red stuff.


Shital Green Says:

Thank you, Von, for the sweet words: “Shital, I dedicated Einstein’s take on ‘Freedom of Spirit’ to you in my post at 3:45 a.m. today.” Also, thank you for the song. We will not compromise “Freedom of Spirit.”
For a good laugh, check out “The Von” on youtube, if you don’t mind disliking it. This is a secret, so don’t mention it afterwards unless you want to embarrass me.
Jane, “You and I see eye-to-eye my friend. On some things” because you have read most of the same stuff as I have. In Ernst Haeckel’s biological terminology, our ontogeny largely follows the same route as our phylogeny; one caveat to this is although we are operationally closed, we are structurally open to respond to the environment differently.
And those moments of crisscrossing paths with others are truly rejuvenating, thanks to heterogeneity’s finitude ! They reaffirm life and its worthiness.


JCF Says:

“In the semis Djokovic on 1 foot was banging nadal into submission but Djokovic (who was the real victim of the scheduling last year) had to retire after 3 physically tortorous matches in consecutive days literally killed him.”

Dude, I think you’re mis-using the word “literally”. If it literally killed him, we should have seen his funeral by now.


Hypnos Says:

To JCF I would ask,

If Slams, #1 and year-end championships are not a suitable criteria for being the “best,” what is?

You play the game as it is — the surfaces, the opponents. Sampras dominated his era, and Federer is dominating his.

I would say in the present age the surfaces have gotten slower and more consistent to clay, and racket and string technology favor baseline shotmakers.

Also, I don’t understand how serve-and-volleying means someone is more one-dimensional than camping out at the baseline with occasional forays to the net, as is the current vogue. If you serve-and-volley, you still have to play a return game. And, I think Sampras, Edberg and Becker were more well-rounded than, say, a Rusedski.

Personally, I find serve-and-volley more interesting because it *does* mean you’re playing all over the court. Certainly, Sampras’ era had a nice mix of serve-and-volleyers (him, Edberg, Becker, Rafter) and baseliners (Courier, Chang, Agassi, and later Hewitt and Safin).


jane Says:

Shital – re: “The Von” – how very carnivalesque; there’s a real lowbrow _Trainspotting_ homage crossing paths with the highbrow superhero-shapeshifer dream.


sensationalsafin Says:

You guys use words that are way too big for me so I really don’t know how to respond. But yes I am Jewish.


JCF Says:

“To JCF I would ask,

If Slams, #1 and year-end championships are not a suitable criteria for being the “best,” what is?”

You also have to consider what the player is capable of. Do they have weakneses? A particular surface they suck at? How good were their peers? Someone who dominated the game 3 decades ago might not do so well today. What about the surfaces they played on? What would Laver have been like on concrete or rebound ace?

Federer is capable of winning on every surface. Pete was not. I think that is a point in Roger’s favor, that isn’t written in the numbers (like weeks held at #1 or number of non-RG slams won).

I know that Federer at his best routinely pulls off ridiculous shots that you never would have seen or read about in the book, the kind of shots Sampras could only dream of hitting. I saw him flick a ball off his shoestrings at Wimbledon from the baseline and he passed Andy Roddick with it. The scary thing is, he didn’t even look surprised that he did that. He invents a lot of shots, and just when you think you’ve seen everything, he shows you one or two new things in each big match. Another match he played where he showed some really amazing stuff was against some japanese guy (I forget his name) at the AO in 2005.

Then there are other streaks the player may accumulate. I think he had won 24 finals in a row – the previous record was 12.

Number of titles won in a year. He’s won 11 or 12 in a season before, with 3 slams, 4 Masters Series. Sampras couldn’t touch that.

Scoreline of matches. Federer routs a majority of his opponents. In the American hardcourt season in 2004, Hewitt was on a roll. Something like 16 matches winning streak with 2 titles and a final. He then made it to the USO final and faced Federer. Federer very quickly put him in his place. 6-0 7-6 6-0. It had been 120 years since a guy was double bagelled at a USO final. We are talking about a guy who had won the title before (against Pete) and had been #1 in the world for 2 years. A guy who is as dogged and as tenacious as anyone. And he was blown away! The scoreline doesn’t even tell everything. You have to look at the amazing stats of the match. These kind of displays you never see from Federer.

Number of slams you win doesn’t tell you how good you are. It doesn’t take into account enough other factors.

As others have pointed out, if not for the misfortune of playing in Rafa’s era, Fed could have achieved the calendar grand slam twice in a row and become UNDISPUTEDLY the greatest of all time. Not since Laver has a guy contested 28 GS matches in a year, and he did it twice.

“I would say in the present age the surfaces have gotten slower and more consistent to clay, and racket and string technology favor baseline shotmakers.”

The slowing of the court as well as racquet technology puts greater emphasis on fitness and endurance, something I doubt a guy like Laver could keep up with the way he was moving. Would Pete be able to handle it? Hmm..

This also increases the chances of injury. Nadal and Federer deserve a lot of credit for being able to avoid major injuries this well.

“Also, I don’t understand how serve-and-volleying means someone is more one-dimensional than camping out at the baseline with occasional forays to the net, as is the current vogue. If you serve-and-volley, you still have to play a return game. And, I think Sampras, Edberg and Becker were more well-rounded than, say, a Rusedski.”

Federer can stay back, or come forward. He is adept at both and has options. He also has every shot in the book and then some (some that are not in the book). A commentator once said that he has so many shots that selecting his shots can be difficult for him because he has too many options.

Serve – Sampras was better
Forehand – Federer was better
Backhand – Federer
Volley – Not sure, maybe Federer
Movement – Federer
Backcourt game – Federer
Clay game – Federer

My opinion.

Yes I think shot for shot, Federer is a better and more complete player than anyone. That’s why 14 slams doesn’t tell the whole story. It will be irrelevant anyway when Federer wins his 15th, which I think is very likely. If next year he goes back to winning 2 or 3 slams, then we can safely write off 2008 as a mono outlier. Sampras won his 14th slam at 31. Fed still has 5 years to win 3 slams to beat it. It’s pretty hard to bet against that.


JCF Says:

I forgot to add, Return of Serve definately is advantage Federer.

This guy always out-aces big servers like Roddick and Philippoussis, not because he has a better serve, but because his return is much better than theirs.


Go~ran Says:

These blogs are serious business o_0

Anyhow, Nadal is a beast on clay. A bull. Jesus Christ. I would kill for a Nadal Borg match only if it were possible.
To write off Federer at this point would be foolish in my opinion. The guy’s only 26. I still have my money on him to win one of the next two slams, if not both. With the continued improvement of Nadal an Djokovic however, this second half and next year will be really interesting. (I still have him breaking Pete’s record)
Nadal, if he doesn’t get hit with injuries (which is a big if because I don’t know how long he can continue to grind matches out and how his body will hold up) would be a monster on clay the next few years. I don’t see anyone challenging him in Roland Garros for next 3 years. I would predict that he gets close to double digit slams or more before his career is over. He still has to prove himself on hardcourts however to really make a run for number one. I don’t think anyone can argue against the fact that he has clay locked down.
Throw in Djokovic and this gets more interesting. He would probably overtake Federer on Hardcourts in the near future and his performance at wimbledon will also be a telling sign of the future. It should be fun to see him and Rafa, both who will peak(and maybe are peaking) battle it out for the next few years and see if anyone would take over as the dominant player after Fed gives up that spot.
If Nadal makes it to the finals again in wimbledon, I don’t think his prescence on grass can be dismissed anymore, (as many people were calling his last two appearaces flukes)
The #1 ranking is also up for grabs now.
To sum it up the 2nd half would be very, very interesting.


Hypnos Says:

JCF,

The problem with this line of argument is that it can be turned around just as easily. Perhaps Sampras’ era had finer competition which prevented his bageling people regularly (he did occasionally); just as Federer has Nadal to foil him at the French, Sampras had Agassi who possibly took some Australian Opens from him.

Similarly, the quality of play was not obvious because the rackets/strings were less forgiving and the courts faster. For some sick shots by Sampras, search on Youtube: you’ll see him go behind-the-back, around the net, and facing away from the court, in addition to his surfeit of beautiful half-volleys. All with that old 95 sq. in. racket.

This all said, I agree the Federer is a more complete player — better backhand, backcourt defense/consistency and stamina. However, I would rate them even on movement (Federer has better baseline footwork, but Sampras was wicked fast), and give Sampras the edge on serve, volley, transition game and forehand (certainly running forehand).

As for my completely subjective eyeball test, indeed Federer and Sampras play differently, but 1997 Sampras compares well to 2007 Federer. In addition, Sampras’ thumpings of Agassi at the 1999 Wimbledon and ATP Championships finals are as dominant as any one of Federer’s single match performances.

Finally, I agree that Federer is young yet, and I hope he isn’t burning out like Borg. I hope he breaks the record (or snags a French), and then I’ll be happy to call him The Man — but not before then.


Go~ran Says:

Why should Pete and Laver be judged by how they would do today and Federer not be judged by how he would’ve done in the past.
Who’s to say Federer would’ve played as well on those faster surface against the serve&volleyers? Tennis isn’t about who’s better shot for shot, it’s about who wins the match(es). There is no way to tell who is the g.o.a.t because there are too many variables. By the way, my opinion, Sampras was better at serve, and volleying than Federer, and also you are underrating Sampras’s forehand. In the end it’s not about who has a more versatile game and whether they’re one dimensional or not (if you can play only baseline or only s$v and win then who gives a damn), the important thing is winning. And unless you have a way to get those players in their prime, and even then it won’t work because who’s to say what should be the right circumstances. Players can only be compared to their time, the era they played in.


Go~ran Says:

Hypnos, just pointing out to you, Sampras used an 85 sq in racquet strung at 75 lbs o.0. Freakish.


Leroy Says:

Logic says Roger Federer is better than Pete Sampras. They played one time and Federer beat Sampras at Wimbledon on Pete’s best surface. Nadal is the best clay courter of all time. Even the great Borg wouldn’t stand a chance.

Probably the 2 greatest tennis players of all time are playing right now (Federer and Nadal). Enjoy it while it lasts.


Go~ran Says:

Wimbledon is also Federer’s best surface. And Federer didn’t play Pete in his prime. If Federer or Pete played in each other’s era, both in their primes, but that won’t happen, and is only an if. How can you make a definitive statement about who’s the best player in all eras just using ifs or opinions.


Von Says:

sensationalsafin Says:

“You guys use words that are way too big for me so I really don’t know how to respond. But yes I am Jewish.”

Don’t worry about the big words — just write your way. I thought you were Jewish by some of the words you use — I know many Jewish words having lived in New York and worked with many Jewish lawyers. Dont schlepp around unnecessary fifty cent words in your brain (that’s what my MOM calls the big words). We’re Mishpacha on this site. One word I could never find is “facacked”. Is that the correct spelling? Anyway, thanks. :)

Mishpacha’s


fed is afraid Says:

roger’s lame play at the french even ruined nadal’s happiness at his victory. i’m sure rafa would have wanted to earn the victory instead of having it handed to him by a opponent who was defeated before he ever stepped on the court. rafa felt so bad for roger it tempered his own celebration. next year do the seeding better so roger doesn’t get to the final and let someone who has some spine and fight in them get there.


Jonno Says:

Nadal has yet to meet Nalbandian on clay who has hammered him in previous meetings and frankly would have probably won at Roland Garros in 2006 were it not for injury. He is the `someone else` – the only player to thrash Nadal – in both their encounters at big meets. Do I not have a strong point people?


matt Says:

Beautiful or ugly is subjective.

Saying that stroke is better or worse is subjective.

Winning or losing is objective.

If a think a player’s game is ugly and I believe his strokes are poor, but that player wins more importants tournaments than the rest of his era, then I have to admit he is better (no matter how he plays).

For example:

If Nadal wins WB this year and finish the year at the nº1 position, then Nadal would be the best player of the world this season (and no matters if I like it or not, and no matters if I think his serve is sub-par or his volley is a joke).

You can not compare players from different eras (neither from the same era) saying that stroke is better or worse.

The only thing you can compare is the big tournaments they won, the years they finish nº1 and so on.

And for me, that’s fair for players from the same era (for example, no doubt that Sampras was greater than Agassi: 14 GS to 8 GS, 6 year-end-nº1 to 1 year-end-nº1, 5 year-end-Masters to 1 year-end-Masters, 286 week-nº1 to 101 week-nº1), but it is not fair for players from different eras.

Talking about the “best of all time” is absurd.

Maybe you could talk about “the one who won more GS, or more tournaments, or stayed nº1 more than the rest, or whatever”, but that doesn’t make him the best of all time.

For me, the only fair thing is to talk about who was the “best” (or more accomplished) player of each period of time.


matt Says:

Nadal’s biggest problem is his body.

On hardcourts his knees suffer a lot.(And he has problems in his feet as well).

For his knees and feet, clay and grass are much better.

In the last two years, after WB, he suffer a lot with his knees and feet.

In 2005, even though he was not as good as he is now, he won hardcourt Canadian Masters-Series (defeated Agassi in the final) and hardcourt-indoor Madrid Masters-Series (defeated Ljubicic in the final) and then his body broke down.

I agree with someone who said that Nadal is not winning a Slam on hardcourt, because he should win seven best-of-five-sets matches in 14 days, and sooner or later his body breaks down.

His performance in best-of-three-sets hardcourts Masters-Series is so good:

Indian Wells: won it last year and SF this year and two years ago.

Miami: runner-up twice.

Canadian Open: won it once and SF last year.

Cincinnatti: only QF.

Madrid: won it once.

Paris-Bercy: runner-up.

Last year his uncle said Nadal’s body problems were serious, chronic and could only get worse playing on hardcourts.

I feel sorry for Nadal, he is a great guy, fighter and champion, but his body will let him down on hardcourts GS.


Von Says:

Roddick Fans:

Andy won his second round match today against Ginepri at Stella Artois (Queens).


Agassifan Says:

Sean,

Are you erasing my posts? What a pity.


sensationalsafin Says:

It’s not Nadal’s fault his knees and body break down on the hard courts. Hard courts are bad for anyone’s body. Look at Safin. It’s a shame but something needs to be done about the hard courts. They damage everyone, not just Nadal. I don’t know how Federer has avoided injury for so long.


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

Will you be writing an article on the Stella Artois (Queens) Champuionships? Please advise. Thanks.


Nadalisoverrated Says:

Borg would have beat Nadal in his prime. Nadal has to use a special engineered racket that has a sweet spot all over it. Borg used a tiny wooden Donnay racket. Borg won Wimbledon and the French back to back 3 years in a row. No ones done that even once since Borg. Borg could play on hard courts too. He made it to several US Open finals. Borg never even tried to play the AO. Nadal hasn’t come close to winning the US open. Borg entered 28 grand slam tournaments in his career. He won 11 of them and made it to 17 finals. Had he not retired early Borg would have the grand slam singles record. Borg’s winning % is remarkable. People forget how fit and talented Borg really was. I suppose it’s the out of site out of mind thing. Borg is the real king of clay. Rafael Nadal is an imposter.


noel Says:

Jonno:
you have probably answered your own question by saying that “Nadal has yet to meet Nalbandian on clay”.That surface really is the key and where the best of the best have been found clueless against him for four years.he was badly tired or injured the two times he lost to fed and ferrero.A fresh and fit nadal appears invincible on clay.Nalby did have a very good f.o. in 2006 but a place in the final was not certain by any means and a victory in the final against nadal even less so.nalby certainly has an x-factor about his game on his day but as enigmatic as he is,he’d,in all probability, be thrashed by rafa on clay.of course,we will know for sure only if we actually see them play on clay.


jane Says:

To call Rafa an imposter is rather funny considering his record on clay. That’s SOME imposter!

Von -

I saw Andy won; I guess Robby fought him for one set and then Andy dominated.

I wish there was some coverage of this tournament… (I mean on TV, but a blog for some grass talk would be nice too).


jane Says:

Gonza vs Safin on grass at Queens: wish I could be watching this match. Couple of powerful players.


Daniel Says:

Matt

“Maybe you could talk about “the one who won more GS, or more tournaments, or stayed nº1 more than the rest, or whatever”, but that doesn’t make him the best of all time.”

What if the same player has all this records together?!

Off course, I think it will be impossible for a player have 6 FO (Borg), 7 Wimbledon (Sampras), 6 US Open (Tilden) and 6 AO (Roy Emmerson) or 109 titles (Jimmy Connors). This whole GOAT point is because Federer is close to a lot of the “important records”, and he can finish with more than 7 Wimbledons and 6 US open and above all Pete Sampras records, the incognite will be the French. At least one will be essential to make him the more complete player ever (the GOAT thing vary from person to person).


Daniel Says:

Different then clay, Fed’s serve is great. He conceded only one point in 5 games so far in his match agaist Berrer.

Jane, I wish that too, on forehands the ball must be so fast that we can hardly see it.


Amy Says:

Amy,

Fed looked awesome today as he demolished Berrer. He’s on his grass court game. Fed’s going to win Wimbledon for sure! Nadal and Djokovic better watch out. Federer now has something to prove to the tennis world again. Maybe Feds beating down at the FO was a good thing. He’s hungry for another title and to show he’s #1.


Von Says:

jane:

I posted to Sean about a blog for the Queens Championship. I hope Andy can defend his title. A lot of sharp players at this one. Would it be asking too much for some TV coverage? :) An impossible task — but I can dream can’t I? :) Rafa has a good draw. He beat Bjorkman easily. Nishikori lso won.


jane Says:

Hi Daniel,

Yes, Fed’s serve gets him some easy points on grass.

By contrast, first serve % is one of Novak’s weaknesses; he’s got a great serve when it’s on, but he needs to get more first serves in, be more consistent in this area. For instance, he should be done this first (second) round match at Queens but he was broken back in the second set and is currently in a TB.

His return game is excellent, and he does save a lot of break points with clutch serves when he needs them. But if he got more first serves in, he’d avoid facing break points in the first place!


jane Says:

Von,

I am not too impressed with my huckleberry losing his break in the second set! He’d better sharpen up here, speaking of sharp players. ;-)

Nadal smoked through his first round.


jane Says:

Oh and Von – last year I caught a lot of Queens highlights on youtube. Most of Andy’s match against Mahut last year was posted. So that’s one way to see a bit of coverage without spending our money!


jane Says:

For those who are interested but may not know, Sampras’ new book _A Champion’s Mind_ just came out.


Von Says:

jane:

“Oh and Von – last year I caught a lot of Queens highlights on youtube. Most of Andy’s match against Mahut last year was posted.”

I saw that match on TV. So your huckleberry is showing some faintheartedness, eh? Andy lost the firts set tie-break but smoked out Ginepri in the 2nd and 3rd sets. Your huckleberry will do just fine. :)


matt Says:

After his first French Open title (in 1974) until he was Nadal’s age, Borg lost on clay against:

Jimmy Connors (Indianapolis’74, score: 7-5, 3-6, 4-6)

Ilie Nastase (Madrid’74, score:4-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 4-6)

Manuel Orantes (Barcelona’74, score: 1-6, 5-7, 2-6)

Raul Ramirez (Tehran’74, score: 0-6, 1-6)

John Lloyd (Montecarlo’75, score: 0-6, 7-5, 4-6)

Raul Ramirez (Roma’75, score: 4-6, 3-6)

Tomas Koch (Bastad’75, score: 2-6, 3-6)

Jimmy Connors (USOPEN’75, score: 5-7, 5-7, 5-7)

Adriano Panatta (Madrid’75, score: 5-7, 0-6, 2-6)

Wojtek Fibak (Montecarlo’76, score: 6-7, 4-6)

Adriano Panatta (RolandGarros’76, score: 3-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-7)

Jimmy Connors (USOPEN’76, score: 4-6, 6-3, 6-7, 4-6)

Nadal, since his first RolandGarros title, (three years ago) has lost only two matches on clay (and has won more then 110).

Btw, Raul Ramírez, John LLoyd and Adriano Panatta not only defeated Borg, they bageled Borg on clay.

Borg was great, no doubt about it, but he lost badly many times with lesser players, even on clay.

One great thing about Borg is that he knew he could not play at 100% all the year.

He choose to peak during the summer, to be at 100% during FO, WB and USOPEN.

That’s why he only played the Australian Open once.


SG Says:

jane Says:
SG,

Don’t you think Fed will have to adjust against Novak too? Maybe not on clay, but certainly on hardcourts and maybe (as we’ll perhaps soon find out) on grass? I know they’ve not played a lot and Novak has beat him only twice, but it seems to me that Djoko is someone who’ll be able to push Roger to make some changes – or not.

—————————-

Novak certainly does bring a different set of challenges into play. He is a surprsingly effective server. I’m not really sure how Fed can change his game to adapt to this.

But, what I think really separates Novak from others that play Fed is the flat & penetrating nature of his shots and that he can take a well hit cross court shot and hit it with pace up the line. This really takes Fed out of his comfort zone. Fed loves to weave web and then trap you in it. Novak wants to blow the points open before the web has been spun. And he has both the game and the nerve to do it. I do think that Fed will have to start sharing the spotlight a little more now with Novak & Nadal.

I do think that Fed will likely own Wimbledon for another couple of years. Wimbledon rewards every aspect of Federer’s game. Especially in this era where you can stay back and win.


Nadalisoverrated Says:

Matt,

You left out Borg’s record during his prime which was between 1978-1981 where he won 4 straight French Opens. By the way, tennis had more depth and better players than it does now. The players of today profit from better technology and conditioning. By pure tennis standards, the players in the 70s were better. They had to be. Borg had to create crazy angles with a wood racket. I can imagine how he would do today with his talent and the rackets that Nadal gets to use. Please Borg was so much better!


SG Says:

grendel Says:
” Federer just can’t come to grips with the fact that his beatiful game comes up short against one of the ugliest games of all time. What he fails to see (…or doesn’t want to see) is that it is also one of most potent”. (SG). The words “beautiful” and “ugly” are used here in a purely polemical sense, although what is perhaps original is that their usual significance is inverted. But I disagree anyway; Nadal’s game can be strangely beautiful at times, and Federer’s game, because it depends on finesse as someone said earlier, can look almost hideous if it’s off.

—————————————

There is very little that separates the top 3 layers in the world in terms of skill level. They can all hit a tennis ball with profound intent. It is my opinion that Federer looks at his skills and his game cannot understand why he cannot beat Nadal. To imply that Nadal’s game is as visually appealing as Federer’s is to basically deny certain inexorable truths. Quite often people say, “Why is she going out with him? He is ugly.” It is human nature.

Federer plays the game in a very textbook and elegant manner. No radical grips. He hits a one handed backhand. He is silky smooth from both sides. He can hit just about any shot from anywhere and make it look effortless. He moves around the court with ease. With all of his talent and his game, he cannot beat Rafa on clay. And Rafa doesn’t really possess any of these qualities. Rafa’s game is hardly textbook. I’m certain that on some level, Federer is puzzled by how someone so unorthodox can beat his classic game so consistently. It defies logic to him.


noel Says:

Jane:
I am sorry if i was not convincing or clearer about the rankings vs race argument in my reply.i’d like to know what is it that you still don’t get.the most crucial point going in favour of the rolling system is that it always reflects a year worth of performances and that implies that it includes the performances on all the various surfaces by the concerned player if he has been injury-free and has entered all the ‘eligible’ events.the ‘mandatory events’(the four slams and the nine ams tournaments)themselves cover the entire gamut i.e. hard(with all the variants),clay,grass,carpet and the indoor/outdoor events.there are five other “countable” events like the IS/IS gold events.an additional 19th event i.e.the tennis masters cup is also an eligible rankings event but only for the eight race leaders/tmc qualifiers at the end of the season.
since the season calender and the sequence of events every year is pretty consistent from one year to another,the 52-week rolling system always represents an entire “season” as a whole although for almost the entire calender or current year,it reflects a bifurcated “season” comprising at least some ranking points from last season.it is only at the end of the season that the rankings truly reflect only the current calender season’s performances as the 52-week entry/rolling cycle sheds the last remaining points of the previous season.it is clear that current year performances-as reflected by race-become more and more influential in the rankings as the season progresses but may not show a truly representative picture even after a good part of the season is over.for instance,rafa and novak have been the best two players this season.however,rafa’s favourite part of the season is over while fed’s is about to begin.a lot of tennis is yet to be played and as you said,
“Of course, there is grass, hard courts, and indoor carpet still to come, and I am excited to find out how the rest of the year unfolds.”
this probably implies that you will yourself come to a definitive judgment later and not just due to rafa’s clay supremacy or novak’s brilliance so far.that would be eminently fair as well. if fed continues to falter,which appears like going by the trend so far,either of them is close enough to dethrone fed.normally rafa does well till wimb and then drops down a bit in the rest of the year.this year promises to be different although i still think novak’s game is better suited to position him as the likely year-end number one.again we must not forget how badly he faltered in the last indoor season although he has been much smarter with his schedule this year.as you can see,the race has definite limitations.the rolling system can be useful as late as wimb or even later and certainly extremely useful in the initial parts because it helps determine rational entry and seedings-and certainly avoids absurd situations- in various events unless a player suffers a sudden and horrible collapse in form.
the problem is that the ams or gold series events don’t have-and quite understandably- the same visibility as the slams.ditto for some players like davy and ferrer as compared to fed,rafa and novak.for a lot of people,the season gets over after the u.s. open but the indoor season is an integral part of the tour and a very important one.remember nalby winning madrid and bercy last year?he is still reaping the benefits of those two performances and imho deserves to be ranked/seeded eighth despite being 14th in the race because he has beaten the best players not too far back.the system places a premium on good and consistent performances at the big events and a one year period really reflects the all-round qualities of a player.one can always have players like ivanisevic(wimb 2001) making a complete mockery of the rankings and the seedings but generally the top events very rarely see shock winners.


MMT Says:

Nadalisoverrated – while I disagree with your screen name (I don’t think he is overrated by anyone other than his most ardent fans), I would have to agree with the sentiment that basically people have short memories when it comes to Borg. This man was, by his record, at least twice the player Nadal is – Nadal has a long way to reach his stature.

Borg was an extraordinary athlete and tennis player, and I feel the obsession with Nadal right now is the result of his dominant performance at RG: over time, unless he matches Borg’s record of six at RG, and can win any one of the other grand slams, he won’t be in his category.

For god’s sake, let’s remember that he hasn’t even ever been ranked #1!


jane Says:

noel,

Sincere thanks for your post.

This point that you make:

“it is only at the end of the season that the rankings truly reflect only the current calender season’s performances as the 52-week entry/rolling cycle sheds the last remaining points of the previous season.it is clear that current year performances-as reflected by race-become more and more influential in the rankings as the season progresses but may not show a truly representative picture even after a good part of the season is over.”

clarified what I didn’t really get, but which others had tried to explain – the merging of the two – race & rankings – at the end of the season.

But your word “shed” somehow illuminated it for me. So again, thanks for taking the time to explain it.


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

Was anybody else laughing as hard as I did watching Federer get his ass handed to him on a silver platter in the finall? I know I did. :D


Skorocel Says:

JCF said about Fed:

“He invents a lot of shots, and just when you think you’ve seen everything, he shows you one or two new things in each big match.”

Well, that’s why we – Fed fans (btw, are you among them? :) ) are rooting for the guy :)

Anyway, when speaking about those ridiculous shots, I’ve just recently seen some highlights from that SW19 2003 final against Philippoussis (which I so far haven’t had the chance to see), and there was one particular rally where Fed hit a baseline drive volley passing winner of his one-handed backhand (!)… You may also remember that Shanghai TMC 2006 final against Blake, where Fed hit that one amazing backhand half-volley winner down the line – from the baseline, no less…

The guy certainly defies the laws of the game with his amazing shotmaking, but unfortunately for him, sports (especially in these days) isn’t always about beauty – as his H2H vs Nadal indicates… The Spaniard may have one of the ugliest games ever, but against Fed, it’s more than effective… So effective, that Fed already has more than enough of those FO runner-up waiters to bring a fresh and tasty breakfast to Mirka’s bed each morning :)


noel Says:

Jane,
You are most welcome!I am really glad that your doubt has been clarified:)


Skorocel Says:

matt said:

“In fact, I believe he will surpass Sampras’s 14 GS record and probably Sampras’s and Lendl’s 5 Year-End-Masters record as well, but maybe he will not surpass Sampras’s 6 year-end nº1 record or Sampras’s 286 week nº1 record.

What do you think?”

Well, 2 years ago, I would say he will break those 14 GSs of Sampras for sure, but now I’m not that certain anymore… He may or may not achieve it, but anyway, what’s true is that Fed has literally dominated the 2nd half of the season in these past 4 years – and the 2nd half of the season is just about to begin, isn’t it? Let’s see what happens once the SW19 and USO are over…

As for those Year-End-Masters, in my opinion they’re not that important as those Sampras’s 286 weeks at the No. 1 spot or 6 year-end No. 1 finishes, respectively… It’s still more than high of a mountain to climb for Fed to break these 2 Pete’s records, but I guess he can do it (even though the latter of these records will most probably stay untouched)… Anyway, as I’ve already said, better wait till the 2nd half of the season is over, and then we can make some conclusions…


noel Says:

while i have been a big fed fan,i do appreciate the talent of rafa and novak.in fact,i think novak appears most likely to succeed fed if fed is unable to dominate the rest of the year.although rafa’s recent improvements are quite impressive,i always get the feeling that his career will not last very long as the likelihood of an injury is very real.it would be a shame if it does happen because rafa’s best non-clay tennis is yet to be seen. certainly,his very physical style won’t allow him to play at an extremely high level throughout a season.
novak has been extremely impressive this year and appears to be the only player-apart from fed-to have the game to contend seriously at all the slams.my mind boggles to think about the level his game might potentially reach when he improves and matures as a player.
still,i wonder if we will ever see the shots of pure genius from either of these two players.fed has sometimes left us in a daze by the sheer virtuosity of his performances. Skorocel has pointed out two shots.i remember both those shots quite vividly.in fact that tmc final against blake had a flurry of wonderful shots by fed and blake’s reaction to some of them said it all.a similar performance from fed followed in the 2007 a.o. semi-final against andy.a back-hand flick up the line-played ridiculously nonchalantly-in reply to an andy missile was the pick among the numerous wonderful winners in a sensational performance.
I just hope and pray that fed remains fit and motivated for a few more years so that we can witness some more of his magic.fed,rafa and novak competing at a very high level against each other promises a veritable feast/bonanza for a tennis lover.


fed is afraid Says:

I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies-yes i quite enjoyed it, but i would have liked to have seen a real competitor across the net from rafa, not the weak kneed scared pussy cat federer.


Amy Says:

fed is afraid,

WOW, You are really stupid!


fed is afraid Says:

calling me names doesn’t change the fact that federer is the most mentally weak number 1 that has ever been. someone finally steps up to challenge him and he falls to pieces. he can’t handle it, he is scared to death to have to play rafa and if he plays him in wimbledon final rafa will kick his butt.

i don’t especially like novak, but he isn’t afraid of anyone and will be a worthy competitor to nadal, something federer isn’t.


Ryan Says:

To Skorocel:
“So effective, that Fed already has more than enough of those FO runner-up waiters to bring a fresh and tasty breakfast to Mirka’s bed each morning”
Thats funny man….really funny.

By the way fed is more talented than novak and thats a fact.But I have a few doubts.Where does fed’s artistry come from.Is it that all technically sound players are artistic? Is it that when some people move around the court we feel as if its artistic? Or is it because the player is a natural athlete?Or is a feeling that we get when geniouses step on the court.Or is it the one handed backhand that makes tennis artistic? I think novak’s groundstrokes are technically sound especially his backhand.But I’ve never felt that he is artistic.Eventhough some of marat safin’s groundstrokes are out of this world.If you watched his match wit baghdatis at the AO you’ll realise that even marat has artistry and he is a natural athelete like fed.Anyway I think that if novak had fed’s game he woulda beaten nadal by now.This guy has killer instinct.The first set was competitive.He came from 3-0 down in the final set and atleast he managed to have 2 set points against nadal.That itself is a feat.


Tejuz.. Says:

Agree with Ryan.. I never felt Djoker as Artistic. He has great shots.. especially his backhand down the line. But somehow.. his extreme western grip doesnt make him look artistic.. especially on his forehand side. Even his volleys doesnt look natural even though they are effective. His feet movement, even if they are fast.. doesnt look very graceful around the net. I find Bagdatis or a Berdych more artistic.


jane Says:

Berdych artistic? Not so much.

But I agree that Baggy and Safin are or can be.

Personally I think Djoko is “artistic” in his movement, which is more graceful than many a player, and in his shots down the line – those are artful. But I am biased towards Djoko & his game, admittedly.


Von Says:

Gasquet and Tsonga are artistic, when their heads and arms are coordinated and working in sync. Gasquet is also quite graceful. There’s no denying that artistry and gracefulness are pleasing to the eye, but all in all, I prefer the power players and the ball bashers. Fernando Gonzalez’ forehand just blows my mind when I see him driving the ball through the court with so much speed and ferocity. I’ll sacrifice artistry to watch Gonzo’s forehand winners. And, what about Roddick’s awesome serve and his crushing forehand — the power from his serve is exciting to watch coupled with his crushing forehand. Yes, give me the ball bashers and power servers; keep the artistry. In the final analysis the powerful serves and crushing forehands more times than not is what produces the winners.


Tejuz.. Says:

well.. Artistry doesnt mean shots are less powerful. Fed’s (or Safin or Baggy) forehand is powerful but they also look beautiful. Somehow its got more to do with the grip and feet movement.

On the women’s side.. i find Graf very graceful.. now its Ivanovic.. (also Henin to an extent).. but i dont find Mouresmo’s game that beautiful even if she has a single-fisted backahnd. Her forehand shots look very awkward, service motion isn’t smooth.

Give me a beautiful game anytime than just power bashers..they make the tennis more fun to watch.


Ryan Says:

Wanting to know why some call djok the king of hard courts I saw the AO 08 semi again and what I found there was that djok does to fed what nadal does to fed on a clay court.Fed’s normal shots cant disrupt djok’s defence and then fed makes some stupid mistakes.

Basically make fed hit amazing shots in almost all rallies .Its the same strategy which canas or nalbandian uses to win against fed.There were a handful of winners from djok here and there but djok didnt outplay fed by any stretch like tsonga did to nadal.He won mainly because of his serve and fed’s stupid mistakes which he coulda avoided.Ok some of them were induced by djok but all the others could have been avoided by fed if he had played well.But he had mono so its alright.

The main reason djok dominates on hard courts is because the opponents have a tough time with djok’s serve because it does the damage and djok is an excellent returner and grinds so the opponents dont get cheap points.Thats the main reason I can think of.Everything else comes after that.I personally feel that fed is or maybe was much better than djok on hard courts.

In the 3rd set fed stepped it up but djok saved himself a lot of times like fed did in the us open final.Anyway wat i dont understand is that fed can return roddick’s serve which is supposed to be the best but has a tough time returning djok’s serve.I dont get it.Or is it that djok has learnt the same ball toss trick from sampras and fed?


Von Says:

I agree artistry does not mean shots are less powerful, however, it appears that the artistic players, until their artistic strokes have been perfectd, except for Federer who excels in a that category, concentrate too much on their artistic shot execution which renders their shots less powerful. The confidence in executing their shots to make them powerful is hindered.

Agreed that Graf was graceful, but I also think Mauresmo possesses a certain amount of gracefulness and finesse in her shot making. She is the best serve and volleyer now left in the women’s game.

I don’t in the lesat bit see Ivanovic as graceful. She has a good serve and powerful forehand, but she appears clumsy to me, in her movement — her knees look as though they are glued together, which makes her leg movement clumsy. She’s just a power forehand hitter/server without finesse. Graf, on the other hand, moved like a gazelle — absolutely flawless in her leg movement. She was a joy to watch. I don’t experience the same pleasure when watching Ivanovic and she’s now overdoing it with the fist pumps. Every shot – a fist pump; save it for the big points. Anyway, this is just speaking from my observation. I’m not very smart nor experienced a viewer to critique the players’ movements, but for me it’s just a matter of what gives me enjoyment, and I enjoy watching the force that emanates from some of the power hitters.


Von Says:

Ryan: **** “Anyway wat i dont understand is that fed can return roddick’s serve which is supposed to be the best but has a tough time returning djok’s serve.” ****

Fed has more success returning and blocking Roddick’s serve because he can read Roddick’s ball toss. The last match they played, Roddick mixed up his serve a lot, and the end result — Roddick won the match.

“Or is it that djok has learnt the same ball toss trick from sampras and fed?”

That’s your answer. Djoko has learnt to disguise his ball toss thus making it unreadable for Fed. If Rodick can continue to mix up his ball toss, making it difficult for Fed to read, then we’ll see Roddick winning more matches aginst Fed. What a pity the electric bulb did not light up in Roddick’s head 15 matches earlier.


Ryan Says:

“What a pity the electric bulb did not light up in Roddick’s head 15 matches earlier.” Thats funny Von…..i guess we are right.Djok is a smart ass.


Ryan Says:

I think roddick really learnt a lot from that semi final in ao 08.I could see him not only serving with a lotta variety but trying to do wat djok had done in that semi.trying to stay wit fed from the baseline,attacking his forhand etc……dont tell me djok is the guy everyone is looking upto now in the circuit on how to beat fed.


Von Says:

“dont tell me djok is the guy everyone is looking upto now in the circuit on how to beat fed.”

Ryan —- And, behold, a new hero/deliverer is born!!! How long will he reign? :)


Von Says:

Quens is packed with terrific matches today — sadly there isn’t any TV coverage, or tennis thread too.

Sean, we desperately need a thread for Queens, but then I suppose you’ll have to write one for Halle too. Hence, no can do.


Jack Says:

Amy:

Spot on! Fed is afraid is the same person as the i love sissies . No one replies to their posts ever (wonder why?) so he is trying to reply to his own posts.

On the internet, they are most commonly referred to as trolls. The only reason of existence for such people is to rile other posters. Why? Maybe his wife ran away with his best friend, maybe his mom is sleeping with his brother. Who knows what miserable things make them lead such pathetic lives?

Offer a prayer for such troubled souls and ignore their posts. There are a lot of really wise posters on this blog. Enjoy their posts. Great posts about the GOAT in tennis. It is a very interesting and thought provoking topic. So many variables and so many factors to take into account. Keep up the interesting posts, guys!


Von Says:

jane:

Do you know of any links for the Stella Artois matches?


Skorocel Says:

Von said about Ivanovic/Graf:

“She’s just a power forehand hitter/server without finesse. Graf, on the other hand, moved like a gazelle — absolutely flawless in her leg movement. She was a joy to watch.”

So very true! Ivanovic may be one of the prettiest players ever to hold the No. 1 ranking, but her game is nothing but a pure mindless baseline bashing… Graf, on the other hand, was a true champion (not to say Ana isn’t, but she’ll never be up to Steffi’s qualities), with her legendary forehand being perhaps the most lethal shot in the history of women’s tennis. Her sliced onehander was a very formidable weapon as well, and her movement around the court… Well, can’t even compare that to Ivanovic {even though Ana with her 180+ cms would logically have some disadvantage here)… The Serb is damn pretty – that’s true, but Steffi had a certain charisma which Ana is simply lacking…


jane Says:

Von,

No I don’t know of any links, unfortunately, and my live scoreboard is not working for some reason – I see Andy is through ,which is good, but I’d like to know what’s going on!

BTW I also agree with you that Graf was the queen and I’ve never liked women’s tennis as much since her departure; I also agree Ivanovic is not “graceful” in the Graf sense. She needs to work on rounding out her game. But at least she’s determined. I think the the fist-pump thing with her is to psych herself up because she clearly gets nervous in big points, but now that she’s won a slam, maybe those pumps will settle down?!


jane Says:

Ryan & Von – yep, you’re right about Djoko – he always admired Sampras’ serve and sought, on some level, maybe the ball toss disguise, to emulate it. Djoko is a smart player and I think he has an excellent coach – very steady and full of good tactical advice.

Ryan, Djoko hit some amazing returns in the semi against Roger; he keeps Roger off balance and on the run (you’re right, sort of like Rafa on clay) and Djoko has excellent court positioning on hard courts, pushing the players back. Roger doesn’t have a chance to construct points like he wants to.

I think all these top guys – Roger, Rafa, Andy, Novak – learn from each other each time they play.


Shital Green Says:

Good morning Jane and Von,
Murray slips, in an attempt to get to Gulbis’ volley, but hurts his thump. He loses point, now a break down at 5-6. A trainer is called. Back to the court. Gulbis’ serve. Murray plays well and has a break point, 30-40, but again tries to slide and falls. It is 40-40. With one volley and one service winner, Gulbis takes the 1st set.


jane Says:

Yay – my scoreboard is up again (ridiculous how little tennis I need to be impressed); thanks for the update on the Murray vs. Gilbus match Shital – how are you watching this? Online?

It looks like Murray’s grabbing the upper hand in this second set as he’s consolidated a break, but you never know with Murray; it’s always a bit of a roller-coaster with him. He needs to be more consistent.

I think Murray needs ONE coach, too, with whom he has a steady relationship, because this “team” coaching doesn’t seem to be working so far this year. Murray has a lot of potential; I’d hate to see him buried under British expectations.


Shital Green Says:

In the 3rd game of the 2nd set, Murray gets a double break chance and is able to convert by dropping over the net with his backhand, but is facing double break himself in the 4th game but is able to deuce it and then win the game to lead 4-1. Gulbis’ serve. Murray deuces and then takes Ad in the 6th game. Gulbis hits an ace to deuce it. Murray gets another break chance but only to plunder it and retrieve it quickly. He wins this one to take 5-1 lead. The 7th game, he wins with style, losing only one point. Murray is back in his zone, racing to wrap the set.


jane Says:

Can Murray continue “in the zone” and take out Ernests?

Meanwhile Gasquet & Ancic are neck and neck, with Gasquet eeking out the first set tiebreak 7-5.

All of these 4 guys could be factors at Wimbledon.


Shital Green Says:

Jane, I am listening to a radio station and keeping my eye on the score board.
So far from what I hear, looks like Murray is gonna beat Gulbis.


Shital Green Says:

Sadly, Murray fell again. This time it could be his groin.


Shital Green Says:

As he was trying to return a ball, Murray hurt himself while stretching one side and then quickly trying to stretch to the other side. But now he is back on court. It is 1-1. He should be fine.


Shital Green Says:

Gulbis is trying to take advantage of the situation. Murray is doing alright, still a little better than the 1st set but not anywhere near how he played the 2nd. Let’s see what happens.


Shital Green Says:

Murray takes a break, leads 5-4, and is serving to win the match. This is great.


Shital Green Says:

Murray races to 40-0 and forces Gulbis a wide forehand. He wins the match impressively. Some good sign for the Scott: He will be doing real damage to some at Wimbledon. In the mean time, the next match with Roddick will be interesting to watch.
Gasquet looks in his immaculate form. He will be playing Djoko in the semi if both get there.


Von Says:

Skorocel:

“Her sliced onehander was a very formidable weapon as well, and her movement around the court… Well, can’t even compare that to Ivanovic {even though Ana with her 180+ cms would logically have some disadvantage here)… The Serb is damn pretty – that’s true, but Steffi had a certain charisma which Ana is simply lacking…”

Yes, yes, and yes, Graf’s sliced one-hander was indeed formidable. Ivnovic, i don’t think, will ever attain such a shot in her arsenal. Ana is pretty, but have you ever seen Wozniacki all dressed up? WOW, and I mean WOW, a beauty. I know you have an eye for the Russian and Polish women — check out Wozniacki. :) Nadal dates her on and off even though he has a girlfriend, that says something for Wozniacki’s beauty, etc. Steffi was not a great beauty, but I agree she had a certain charisma which has not been equalled by none of the other women players. Mauresmo has a similar charism. BTW where’s my email? I guess the mail pigeon is caught in a tidal wave over the Atlantic. :) Be good, if not be ….. :)


Von Says:

jane:

I enquired about the links because my scorecard was down for about an hour or more. I missed Andy’s match — I suppose Fish got tired of being beaten by Andy too many times of late, thus after losing the firsr set, he called it quits. It’s good in one way for Andy; he’ll get to rest his back, but bad, because he’s not getting enough match play after being out for a month. He meets Murray in the QF. Your guy should be playing right about now. Hopefully, Tipsy is not in too good a form, or else it will be a long match.

“BTW I also agree with you that Graf was the queen and I’ve never liked women’s tennis as much since her departure; I also agree Ivanovic is not “graceful” in the Graf sense.”

When Graf retired, I turned my allegiance to Mauresmo, who’s a great player. She’s awesome at the net. serve and volley. Unfortunately for her, the injuries have been too many within the past 2 years and has worn her out. The women’s game has a handful of good players, e.g., Dementieva, Safina, etc., but it’ll never be the same as the Graf /Seles era. What a shame.


Amy Says:

Jack,

Oops, my bad!

I should have known better! The posts were so dumb. It had to be a troll.

Everyone else in here posts very intelligently and thoughtfully. I may not agree with everyone’s opinions but I respect the way they present them. In the future, I won’t respond to obvious troll posts. Now I feel stupid!


jane Says:

Von,

Thank goodness the scoreboard is back up. I never warmed to Mauresmo because of her mental shakiness. I can appreciate her all court game but she’s so up and down that I gave up on her.

Nishikori’s been hanging with Nadal, but Rafa just got the break and if he holds goes up 5-3.

Yes, Gasquet will be a challenge for anyone on grass; Djoko is 2-1 against him, but they’ve never met on grass. Could go either way, I’d say.

Andy will have a tough one with Murray given that Murray will have crowd support and have had a tough match today with Gulbis. But again, this match could go either way. They’ve not met on grass since that infamous match at Wimbie 06. Roddick will want to shed that.


Von Says:

Hi Shital:

Good morning to you too! You’re the smart one — finding a radio station. What station is that? I often wished I could find one whenevee I have to listen to some of those overbearing commentators.

So, Murray stumbled and fell a couple of times but still managed to pull off the win? He meets Roddick in the QFs — I needn’t tell you for whom I will be rooting. :)

Djoko has a tough one with his buddy Tipsy. Hopefully he makes it through to the QFs. I’ll send Djoko some good vibes just for you and jane. Keep giving us the up-to-date date commentaries. Here’s a smile to brighten your day. :) . :)


Von Says:

jane:

Yes, I’m sure Roddick will want to vindicate himself for that ’06 loss to Murray at Wimby and then his loss to Gasquet in ’07. I think his loss to Gasquet hurt Roddick more than the ’06 to Murray. I’ll just have to hope for the best.

Mauresmo is sort of mentally weak, but not nearly as bad as Hantuchova. What happened to Daniela? She’s been MIA for a while now.


jane Says:

It’s true Von: since the AO, and her good result there, I haven’t heard much about Hantuchova. Wonder what’s up?

Wow – Rafa’s hit 8 aces and Nishikori has hit only 1, and yet he is hanging with Rafa. I’d like to see why it is Rafa hasn’t been able to break his serve.

I presume they’ll put Djoko & Tipsy on after this match. It must be getting late there though. Tpisy is a fighter; he did well on grass last year, got to either the Qs or round of 16 at Wimbledon last year. So Djoko may have his hands full.

But I’ll echo your wise words: “I’ll just have to hope for the best.” :-)


jane Says:

Wow! Nishikori pushes Rafa to a third set. Last year Rafa lost in the Qs to Mahut, so be interesting to see if he can get through this match and at least equal last years results.

Last year Djoko lost in R16, where he’s at now, so he could stand to gain some points if he gets further.


fed is afraid Says:

say whatever you want about me; it doesn’t change the fact that federer is a mental midget.


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

Has anybody seen Fed-Rafa lately? Did he decide to take a sabbatical after his artistic genius ballet tennis hero got humiliated in one of the most lopsided grand slam finals ever? lol


Shital Green Says:

Von,
It was on BBC 5 Live, but it is not airing any more.


Von Says:

Shital:

“Von,
It was on BBC 5 Live, but it is not airing any more.”

Do you hail from England? I was under the impression that you lived in the good old US of A.


Von Says:

jane:

Djoko’s match is on now. I see Rafa won his match in 3 sets. The Nos. 1 and 3 seeds are through to the QFs. Let’s hope Djoko makes it, 1, 2, and 3. Gasquet and Nalbandian won also. I suppose Nalby is heating up for Wimby.


Von Says:

jane:

Djoko got broken in his first game. What’s wrong with the huckleberry? I guess his mom didn’t make his pancakes today.


Shital Green Says:

Looks like Djoko will lose this match. Sad to see his sluggish game. Well, he will have more time to practice for Wimby.


mental weaklings cant beat nadal Says:

i bet all the fed lovers were crying a river of tears after the french. the flood gates are really gonna open when nadal raises the champs trophy at wimbledon. feds finished. i hope his fat girl friend got a deal on kleenex. he’s gonna need it. ha ha!!!


Von Says:

Shital:

He broke back in the 2nd set — they’re now on serve. He could turn the match around if he wins this set.

The Bryans lost. They are now having too many early rounds losses. Not a good showing for Wimby.


Shital Green Says:

Von,
Yeah, the US of A, Sacha Cohen’s Kazakhstan. I am from Houston, Texas, a 2 1/2 hrs. away from where Roddick lives. I have seen him a couple of times, from very close distance. Now I live in Lubbock, West Texas. Soon I will be moving out to the East coast.
I was able to tune into the radio from Soapcast. Sadly, it does not show URL.

And the huckleberry is back, wins the set 6-1. What rebirth from of the phoenix from the ashes !


Shital Green Says:

Correction: “from” after “rebirth” is to be crossed out.


Shital Green Says:

And the huckleberry breaks in the 1st game of the 3rd set. This is so sweet.


Von Says:

Shital:

I told you Djoko could turn the match around. He’s had some wheaties.

When you say East Coast what do you mean? East Texas. I had this crazy thought a couple of years ago to move to Dallas, but in Florida the houses weren’t selling so I stayed. I’m still hoping to move next year to the Dallas/Irvine//Flower Mound area.


Shital Green Says:

Anywhere across West Virginia will do, but I don’t know where my job will end up landing me.

Welcome to the desert ! I will be visiting home at least every Thanksgiving and Christmas.


Skorocel Says:

To Von:

Wozniacki? Yes, she’s certainly some cutie to watch, but still sort of a “sweet baby-faced teenager” in my opinion :) Is she really dating Nadal (or better said, vice-versa) :) ? Our “new star” Dominika Cibulkova is dating Gael Monfils, btw…

As for Steffi, she simply had that aura around herself (which, since Henin’s retirement, I somehow miss among the players in the current Top 10), and (despite her rather workmanlike approach to the sport) even knew how to amuse the crowd at times… Just see this hilarious video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYxlKbe0WZY&mode=related&search= Who couldn’t lover her? :)

Hantuchova, btw, is having some (pretty serious) heel injury, which forced her to skip the FO.

P.S. Did you write an email to me? The last one which I got was entitled “Hello stranger” :) (sent on June the 7th) and it arrived (once again) all in yellow :)

P.P.S. Djoker’s lost the 1st set to Tipsy by 2:6, but quickly won the 2nd 6:1, and is now leading 3:2 in the 3rd (with a break of Tipsy’s serve already in the bag)… I would be glad to see the match, but Eurosport only showed the Nishikori vs Nadal match today (at least from what I saw)…


Shital Green Says:

After the initial hick up, Jane’s huckleberry chugs off the whole Tipsy. Smile ! It will take a lot to bong Hewitt in the quarters, though.


Shital Green Says:

error: “hick up” = hiccurp = hiccup + burp


Von Says:

Skorocel:

Yes, Wozniacki is dating Nadal or is it vice versa. She’s cute for her age — more pretty than Ana.

I was going to ask you about Dominika Cibulkova who is dating Gael Monfils. I suppose it’s big news in Slovakia and the Czecch Republic. She’s cute also.

Steffi had that aura about her. That’s what captured Agassi’s heart. She was a very hard worker but a very private and sweet person outside of tennis.

Yes, I sent that June 7th email. It came out in yellow again? I’ll try sending it again and see what happens. Sorry. Please let me know how it came out.

Tomorow the Tennis Channel will show all 4 QFS matches. I’ll be stuck to the TV all day. What about you, is Eurosport showing the QFs tomorrow? Djoker probably won the 3rd set also. I know jane and Shital will be happy. Did they show Fed’s mtches in Halle? OK, catch ya later. :)


jane Says:

Shital – I think I have indigestion! But yes, huckleberry’ll have his hands more full with Hewitt.

Hiccup…

He’d better eat some plain white rice before that match.


Von Says:

jane:

“He’d better eat some plain white rice before that match”

I thought something was happenening to you — you were very quiet.

How about if if he spreads some of the rice on his knees. :)


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

“i hope his fat girl friend got a deal on kleenex. he’s gonna need it. ha ha!!!”
————–

why would she stock up on kleenex she cant eat it


jane Says:

Von,

“Djoko got broken in his first game. What’s wrong with the huckleberry? I guess his mom didn’t make his pancakes today.”

LOL – Or he put to much syrup on them. But as you say, he must’ve had some Wheaties too – he came through, in the end. :-)


jane Says:

Von,

“I thought something was happenening to you — you were very quiet. ”

I wasn’t quiet actually; I was teaching in real time -Renaissance stuff, “sprezzatura”, etc. (that Henry VIII – whatajerk!)- so had to “miss” (i.e., not follow on the scoreboard) during huckleberry’s match. I came back from class to see he’d won through, so all’s well that end’s well.


mental weaklings cant beat nadal Says:

I love to see the look of distress in fed’s fat girlfriend when nadal’s kicking his afraid ass all over RG. I bet she’ll be porking out with strawberries and cream when fed gets his ass kicked by djok or Nadal. fatties eat more when they are nervous. I’ll be she’ll order the biggy size version. Ha ha!


fed is afraid Says:

jack-i am not the same person as i like tennis bullies or mental weaklings. the site’s moderator can check my ip number to verify that.


jane Says:

Just to make it 300…

Von, turns out the Andys might not play tomorrow; apparently Murray may’ve sprained his right thumb during the Gulbis match. He says he’s waiting until morning to see how it feels and make the decision whether to play or not – doesn’t want to risk further injury before SW19 probably.

Your Andy may just get a walk-over to the semis – which could be good and/or bad, depending.


Ryan Says:

To fed is afraid: You could use a proxy and then post in here.You’re not fooling anyone dickhead……..


fed is afraid Says:

believe what you want, my conscience is clear.


Amy Says:

Federer looked great today. Does anyone think bagdhatis will beat him tomm?

BTW – fed is afraid – You are a very disturbed person. Seek help.


fed is afraid Says:

amy- why? cause i don’t think roger is “all that”? whatever, life goes on, doesn’t it? roger goes on, doesn’t he?


Von Says:

jane:

“Your Andy may just get a walk-over to the semis – which could be good and/or bad, depending.”

We’ll take it. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth and walk away from it.


Amy Says:

Nadal is in trouble.

Does Karlovic have the 2nd best serve in tennis behind Roddick? He seems like a one trick pony with a huge serve. Feds had troubles with him in the past. Seems like most of his sets go to the tie breaker. If Karlovic had more baseline game he would probably be top 5 in the world. That serve is nasty!


Federer in Crucial Clash with Nadal at Wimbledon, Will His Reign Continue? Says:

[...] know many of you scoffed when I wrote a while back that when all is said and done maybe Nadal will ultimately go down as the greatest, not Federer. Sounds crazy but the outcome of this final will go along way to furthering that [...]


Wow Says:

Nadal Is Achilles! He has earned the right to claim Wimbledon! Roger is amazing but the day has come when a man who fights the hardest takes it all with heart! NADAL!!!!!!!!!!!! He is the new #1 and deserves it! Just like Federer deserved it in his time. Watch out tennis world Achilles is back! Federer isn’t done…but he has to step it up to compete with this phenomenon..this is the true road to greatness.


Nadal, Federer: What Lies Ahead? Says:

[...] for Rafa? Wow. Gilbert may be ahead of himself a bit there, but I get where he’s coming from. As I said following the French Open, while many of us are looking at Roger as perhaps the greatest, maybe all along it’s been Rafa [...]

Top story: Andy Murray Reportedly Engaged To Girlfriend Kim Sears, Makes Coaching Changes
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Rankings
ATP - Nov 24 WTA - Nov 24
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Kei Nishikori5 Ana Ivanovic
6 Andy Murray6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Tomas Berdych7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Milos Raonic8 Caroline Wozniacki
9 Marin Cilic9 Angelique Kerber
10 David Ferrer10 Dominika Cibulkova
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