Thoughts on Nadal, Federer Greatest-Ever Streaks
by Dan Martin | June 17th, 2008, 5:25 pm
  • 50 Comments

As a tennis fan, I feel privileged to witness what Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been doing for since 2003 and 2005 respectively. I initially preferred Federer to Nadal in large part because I hit a one handed backhand. I remember in 1989 thinking how awesome Boris Becker’s run was. In 1990 I saw Sampras and thought, “He has Becker’s game and Stefan Edberg’s physique (i.e. is naturally quicker than Becker).”


Federer struck me as another guy that could be marveled at in that general line of players. Nadal’s wolverine demeanor on court has won me over. He plays as hard or harder than any player I have watched. Being a lefty and his fighting spirit might make one think of Jimmy Connors, but Nadal’s desire to win does not extend to the vulgar. I loved Jimbo, but Nadal strikes me as a nice shy kid when he is off of the court and a gladiator on the court. The history each player is making will be fully evaluated once the dust settles, but as history is being written it is nice to appreciate these two players. If Federer has to relinquish #1 to Nadal, it is obvious that the ranking will be in good hands. Each player plays the game and exhibits his personality on court in different ways, but neither player dismisses the other’s style. That gives junior players a great set of idols to emulate. As I get older, that fact makes me appreciate these two players even more.

Nadal Near #1

Rafael Nadal may not hit 3 consecutive years at #2 in the world. That much was clear entering Hamburg with Novak Djokovic making a hard charge for #2 after winning in Rome. Now, Nadal has turned Novak back 3 consecutive times. He is playing the best tennis in the world right now. Victories over Ivo Karlovic, Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic on grass prove Nadal is playing great tennis everywhere. I still think Nadal’s draw is a key to his grass court chances as a player such as Karlovic, James Blake or Mikhail Youzhny could derail him at Wimbledon. If a player can return well and open the court, Nadal is susceptible to an upset. Also, unlike the past 2 years Nadal enters Wimbledon as an almost co-favorite based on the strength of last year’s final, his demolition of Roger Federer in Paris and his win at Queen’s Club. That is a new pressure to Nadal off of the dirt. I think he will handle that pressure well as his mental toughness is amazing.

Dominating Their Past 6 Tournaments

Nadal and Federer have shown themselves to still be the top 2 after questionable hard court seasons to start the year. Nadal posted good results in the early hard court season as far as reaching deep rounds, but the one sided losses he absorbed versus Tsonga, Roddick, Djokovic and Davydenko raised some questions. Federer’s losses Down Under, in Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami also left some wondering where Roger’s best form was hiding. In Nadal’s past 6 events he has won the French Open, won two clay court Masters Series events, a minor clay court event and a grass court event. His hiccup in Rome was the only injury induced stain on the record. In Federer’s past 6 events, he has won a minor clay court event, a grass court event, been runner-up at the French Open, runner-up at two clay court Masters Series events and had his worst showing with a tight quarterfinal loss in Rome. Nadal has been the standard bearer since Miami ended, and Roger has been the second most successful player. This battle that first started to bloom in 2005 is not going away. I do think Djokovic has something to say about this power struggle, but he is going to need to find an even deeper gear to match these two players over an 11 month season.

Nadal and Paris – Success in Dimensions

The dimensions of Court Central at Roland Garros favor Nadal’s continued dominance in Paris. As a 4 time defending champion he is unlikely to be placed on a side court. Court Central has incredible breadth and depth. Nadal can stay deep and run down any attempt to drive the ball through the court as well as run forward to blunt attempts to open up the court with angles. Nadal loves to run, and Court Central is a place where Nadal never runs out of court. Federer spent the clay court season working on hitting angles in order to hurt Nadal. At Monte Carlo and Hamburg, this strategy looked promising. In Paris, it had no chance of working. Maybe someone with insane hand eye coordination can try to half-volley ground strokes like Agassi. Maybe a physical specimen can hit the ball safely down the middle and try to wear Nadal down, but neither of these strategies is remotely plausible until injuries and age take something out of Nadal.

Federer’s Sweet 16

In January Roger Federer’s remarkable all-time streak of reaching 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals came to an end. Reaching the equivalent of 2 ½ years of Grand Slam finals is an insane number. Federer continued a second streak by reaching his 16th consecutive Grand Slam semifinal on Wednesday June 4. Such a streak amounts to reaching the Final Four at 4 years of Grand Slam events. Putting those numbers into perspective in the world of sport is difficult.

Reaching the Final Four in the 64/65 team NCAA basketball tournament is difficult. Consider that 2008 NCAA champion Kansas nearly failed to reach the Final Four when facing a major underdog in Davidson. That elite 8 game came down to Davidson missing what would have been a game winning last shot. Reaching the Final Four in Grand Slam tennis is even harder as the draw is 128 and only seeds the top 32 players. Top seeded NCAA teams can generally pencil their way through the first round match up against one of the bottom 4 teams in the tournament. Therefore, reaching the Final Four normally means winning only 3 potentially competitive games versus what are ranked to be lesser teams. Tennis does not prevent #1 from facing #33 in the first round. Consider that Federer faced Richard Gasquet in the first round of Wimbledon 2006.

MLB, NBA and NHL playoffs all revolve around best of 5 or best of 7 series that benefit the favored team by preventing one Herculean performance from ending a season. The NFL does have single elimination, but to reach the AFC or NFC championship game a team has to at most win 2 single elimination games. The college bowl system requires one bowl win and some politicking to be #1.

What Federer has done is to be one of the top 4 finishers in the biggest events of tennis for 4 years despite facing a system that favors upsets more than any major team or individual sport. I think evaluating Federer’s career before it is over is somewhat foolish, but I can’t help but think this record, along with the 10 consecutive Grand Slam final mark Federer set, is more impressive than his other records.


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50 Comments for Thoughts on Nadal, Federer Greatest-Ever Streaks

Mike Says:

I too think that people might be overstating Nadal’s odds of winning Wimbledon. Though if the grass plays as slowly as it has the past few years…who knows? Could he knock off The Fed in his royal court?!


Spirit Says:

Dan,

Great post! I was thrilled to find some of my own ideas and thoughts that I spreaded across a few comments the last couple of days.

For example, Nadal entering SW19 as one of the two top favorites, for the very first time in his career. I agree, there is no such pressure that can break him, but his opponents might be motivated a little bit more. I think Federer stands a bigger chance to reach the final than Nadal (say 85%/70% or 95%/60%, depending on Novak’s draw placement), but IF THEY BOTH REACH THE FINAL, I give Nadal a slight edge over Fed this time (say 55:45). Of course, if Federer serves well throughout the match, that would somewhat reverse the odds.

Nadal is more vulnerable to getting shocked in early rounds. He has been keeping a tremendeous level of everything for the last couple of months. I wonder whether he hit the peak earlier this year (in the Queens, rather than Wimbledon)?

Let’s take a look Nadal’s his statistics in the previous two tournaments – 3 of the 12 matches he won (25%) were extremely close 5-setters (Kendrick, Soderling, Youzhny).

There is something else, that may seem not too important. This year, the Centre Court will be covered. Roofless Centre Court last year made the conditions a little bit windier than usual, which of course was a bad thing for attackers and huge servers.

However, if Nadal goes all the way and takes the crown, he will have deserved it without any doubt. We may like or dislike his playing style but he did establish himself as a clear #2 on grass in the last two years, reaching two Wimby finals and winning Queens.


Dan Martin Says:

Thanks for the comments. I think Roddick will benefit from a week of practice and the first week of match play as he admitted to not being match tough. Novak likely benefits from the week off before Wimbledon and the every other day format (weather permitting) than do Feder or Nadal as his stamina can seem questionable. Both were close in their losses to Nadal so either could give him trouble. Karlovic, Blake, Kolschriber, Youzhny, and a few others do have a better chance of beating Nadal than they do Federer on grass. Hewitt is a nasty draw as well due to his grass court experience. Should be fun to see, but I think this is an excellent chance for Nadal to grab #1, but that is a pressure too. Llodra and Mahut could give France a strong contingent and if Tsonga is healthy add another possible contender. Of course, Richard Gasquet is of yet Henri Leconte .5 (was going to call him Lectone 2.0 at one time but he has yet to earn that right). Baghdatis has great hands, a nice serve and solid forehand could the Cypriot pull a serious upset? Andy Murray could do some damage as well.


jane Says:

Spirit,

Are you sure they’ve finished the roof? I thought I read somewhere that it wasn’t done. Maybe that meant the full roof, for rain delays?


jane Says:

Dan,

You name a number of potential dark horses here, and there are others as well, including Gulbis and even Cillic, who have good serves and good games.

Roger is the favorite still and Rafa after him. The next obvious choices are Djokovic, Roddick and Murray.

But anything can happen in a GS format; upsets often do. Think back to Boris Becker winning Wimbledon unseeded, or think recently to Tsonga’s run to the AO final, taking out Murray and Rafa on his way.

Just as on the other thread we said “never say never” so we should remember here “anything is possible”. Or “everything is possible.” No one is a shoe-in for this title, I wouldn’t think.


Dan Martin Says:

Jane you are 100% correct. Gulbis is someone that could easily pull several upsets and his run last year in NY and this year in Paris ought to give him much needed experience and confidence. I simply have never been able to see him play live or on tv so I tend to forget Gulbis. When I fill out my bracket, I will make sure to have him in mind.


Ra Says:

Dan,

Thank you for an article that focuses on the positives of both of these absolute phenoms.


Ryan Says:

Federer was playing really good tennis untill the masters cup in shanghai.I mean he had the energy and the focus on the court to be on long rallies and to win points.But now he looks weary on the court.He said that he has gotten over the mono but still this is not the federer of last november.Something is missing.Sometimes he still has it for eg the match against ancic FO 2008 qf.But most of the time he looks tired and the consistency of his shots has gone out of the window.Does anyone think the mono has permanently damaged the timing of his game or is it his loss of confidence?


TD (Tam) Says:

I am getting a wee bit tired of all of the focus on tennis-x being on Federer and Nadal (and to some extent Novack). I hope somebody completely new and unexpected wins Wimbledon this year then we will have something else to talk about for once! :)


Junaid Says:

If Nadal wins Wimbeldon then he will be no 1 in world Ranking.. Please confirm this if any one knows about it…


lines Says:

i am going to bet money that if nadal makes it to the final and is healthy, he will not lose


Del Torri Says:

***
Junaid Says:
If Nadal wins Wimbeldon then he will be no 1 in world Ranking.. Please confirm this if any one knows about it…
***
I believe this will only happen if Federer loses before the quarter-finals.


Spirit Says:

Let’s take a brief look at possible Fed’s and Nadal’s 1st round opponents. They may be far from winning 7 matches in a row, but surely have a potential for making an early (1st or 2nd round) upset:

33 Kiefer, Nicolas (GER)
34 Llodra, Michael (FRA)
36 Kohlschreiber, Philipp (GER)
39 Fish, Mardy (USA)
41 Soderling, Robin (SWE)
42 Querrey, Sam (USA)
43 Ancic, Mario (CRO)
48 Gulbis, Ernests (LAT)
55 Cilic, Marin (CRO)
65 Del Potro, Juan Martin (ARG)
77 Safin, Marat (RUS)
79 Guccione, Chris (AUS)
84 Isner, John (USA)
105 Nishikori, Kei (JPN)
126 Kendrick, Robert (USA)


Von Says:

TD:

“I am getting a wee bit tired of all of the focus on tennis-x being on Federer and Nadal (and to some extent Novack). I hope somebody completely new and unexpected wins Wimbledon this year then we will have something else to talk about for once!”

I’m echoing you — it’s to the point of ad nauseam — numerous re-worked speculations. Could you imagine the posts when the draw comes out for Wimby? Then the subject will turn to whose draw is the toughest, etcetera, etcetera. Maybe we should throw caution to the wind and say our guy will win. That will be something new to talk about. :)


All_Roger Says:

Von and TD:

I don’t have a cristal ball, but I was betting a lot of money that Nadal will see an early exit being upset by an underdog.

And then, the focus on Federer and Nadal will cease – at least for a while …


Spirit Says:

@Jane

As for the roof… I think they were supposed to put a fixed temporary roof this year, until the so-much-discussed-of sliding roof is finished (it should be ready for the 2009 Championships).


Jack Says:

The Wimbledon Center court always had a roof. Unlike Roland Garros and Arthur Ashe, which are totally open. Wimbledon aways had a partial roof. Last year that was not there and CC was totally open like RG and AA. Here is a picture.

http://tinyurl.com/6cq8tr


Jack Says:

Right now CC is back to its normal “partial” roof. Next year it will have the complete sliding roof. So there will still be rain delays, but the effect of wind will be much less than last year. The wind was a factor during the QFs last year, where berdych especially was frustrated during his game with nadal. Not that the roof would have saved him or anything, but he definitely did not seem to enjoy playing in the wind.

Here is how CC will look this year and how it has looked over the years.

http://tinyurl.com/5ebkga


Dan Martin Says:

I agree that new subjects would be welcome in tennis. Still when Steffi Graf was winning 22 Slams or reaching 13 consecutive Grand Slam finals should those interested in the sport have been talking about Flach and Segueso’s doubles mettle?

As for being positive about both players, I am not against criticizing a player when warranted. However, I think on the net and sports radio it is easy to take unfounded shots at someone simply because it is so anonymous. Nadal and Federer play hard, do things the right way and have enjoyed unprecedented success. What’s not to like? You see some posters such as “Fed is afraid” or whatever and have to wonder what if anything accusing someone of cowardice does for that person. Did Fed play poorly in Paris? – sure. Did he potentially lose faith? – sure. If he was really afraind wouldn’t he just pack it in when he faced the first reasonably good clay court player and literally move to greener pastures? Federer actually trying to challenge Nadal has helped Nadal’s legacy. All 4 of his FO titles came with a late round victory over the #1 player in the world and an all-time great. Where you win matters a lot, but who you beat also matters. If everyone of Nadal’s 4 FO titles revolved around beating good clay court players such as Almagro and Puerta would his 28-0 look so amazing? 25% of those 28 French Open wins have come over Federer or Novak Djokovic. Nadal can be thankful that Fed does not just call it a day when Moya, Gonzo, Davydenko or even a talented Parisian such as Monfils comes calling at the FO. Maybe he is afraid of playing Nadal on clay (most players are) but he certainly is no gutless. That has helped Nadal’s legacy.

Fans having rooting interests is one thing, but tearing one player down when that player only impacts one’s favorite player when they step on the same court together makes less and less sense to me. Then again I rememberer reviling Ivan Lendl in favor of Becker, Connors (my two favorites at the time) and any other player who stepped on court with Lendl. In retrospect, that was totally unfair as Lendl helped the sport by advancing training methods. He also simply played deep into the draw of every major event around the globe during his prime. His Wimbledon losses to Becker (86, 88, 89) and Edberg (90) resemble Federer’s struggles vs. Nadal on clay, but Lendl certainly made Becker and Edberg prove they were better than him on grass rather than just conceding it even if his losses in 86 and 90 were pretty one sided.


jane Says:

Spirit & Jack,

Thanks for the update on the roof at center court – I knew the partial roof had been removed last year, but didn’t think they’d completed to “sliding” roof yet. At least they’ve done something to settle the wind at center court.


jane Says:

TD & Von,

Roddick, Roddick, Roddick; He’s reached the Wimby final how many times? Is he going to win it this year? How’s his back?

Is that better?! :-) Seriously, though, you two have a point; we are hearing a lot about “the big three (or two)” and that’s why I keep harping on dark horses and other potential winners (I note Djokovic in the same breath as Roddick and Murray above).

Maybe it’s good, though, that Andy is flying in under the radar? Sometimes that’s the most dangerous approach. Who’d've thunk Tsonga would get to the AO final, as I note above?

Let’s hope for at least a little unpredictability at Wimby!


Skorocel Says:

To Dan Martin:

Quite interesting article, though I would beg to differ with some things:

1. A less-sizeable centre court at FO doing any good to Nadal’s opponents? I don’t think so… Smaller or bigger – the winner would still be the same :( I’ll maybe repeat myself here for 1000th time, but how on earth can you beat a player whom you simply can’t hit a winner against (and who makes as “many” as 7 errors per a best of 3 set match)???!!! If Fed, Djoker or Almagro didn’t it, then WHO would?

2. Barcelona is NOT a minor clay-court tourney! Only the FO + MC + Rome + Hamburg are more important events on the dirt (actually, some even rate Barcelona over Hamburg)…

Anyway Dan, I thoroughly agree with your assessment of Fed’s 10 cons. GS finals & 16 cons. GS semis. If you just think that (at least) 90 % of the players from the current Top 100 would be 1000 times happy just to achieve one single of those semis or finals, it surely tells you something about what Fed has done in these last 4 or so years…


Skorocel Says:

To Spirit and Jack:

Why such a fuss about the Wimby centre court’s roof? I mean, all this talk about wind being more favourable to grinders than attackers is just ridiculous (the same for comparing all these “slow” and “quicker” types of clay, which there was cca 1 month ago)… Roof or not, the conditions will always be THE SAME FOR BOTH PLAYERS – regardless if there’s a tornado storming through London or not…


Skorocel Says:

To Von:

If I was you, I would rather stay careful :) Last time you wanted to throw that caution in the wind, A-Rod… Well, you know what happened :)


jane Says:

Skorocel,

The one thing about the roof that interests me is that eventually it will cover the court! Hence, less rain delays, and we all know how those can wreak havoc with the schedule.


Tote Tennis Pro Says:

Don’t think that the continued dominace of these two players is harming/will harm tennis at all. On the contrary, it promises to be one of the greatest rivalries in sport.

I am interested to see if Nadal can break Federers dominance on other surfaces, and of course grass is the ultimate test. Last week showed that Rafa is a class above on clay, and i think this years Wimbledon will show that Federer is still in a league of his own on that particular surface.

Still, Nadal is very young and seems to be constantly improving, whereas maybe Federer is going slightly off the boil (seems crazy to say).

The nexy few years are going to be great!


andrea Says:

we’re at that time of year again: clay season is over, nadal demolished everyone. he’s had a good run on grass, can he beat roger in the final?

post grass is where i’ll be looking. nadal has much more to worry about on hard and indoor courts. tsonga whupped him in australia and almost took it to him in indian wells. he knows that guy is dangerous. federer made him look meek in their shanghai match. heck, even davydenko straight setted him in a very uninspired match in miami.

until he can start getting the late-July to the following April results working in his favor, novak will overtake him as #2.


Skorocel Says:

To jane:

Of course it’ll be a great benefit for the players to finally have a retractable roof on the Wimby’s centre court – even though it’ll only be available for the “chosen” ones :) But to tell you the truth, I’m just tired of all that constant talk about wind, how it affects this player more and this player less, how an open court like Ashe or Chatrier can be more “windier” than Laver Arena or the SW19 centre court, etc. etc. I mean, as long as the conditions are the SAME for both players, then why to cry over it, isn’t it? Berdych maybe was a bit annoyed in that last year’s quarterfinal against Nadal, but the fact is, the conditions were the SAME for both players, and Nadal won that one fair and square, period! Anyway, hope you’re not offended by my comments…


Von Says:

Skorocel:

“But to tell you the truth, I’m just tired of all that constant talk about wind, how it affects this player more and this player less, how an open court like Ashe or Chatrier can be more “windier” than Laver Arena or the SW19 centre court, etc. etc. I mean, as long as the conditions are the SAME for both players, then why to cry over it, isn’t it?”

I agree with you that the weather conditions affects both players when it’s less than conducive to playing, and is supposed to be a great equalizer. However,in fairness to the players, this isn’t the case. We are individuals and it’s a matter of how differently each individual’s body can handle the rigors of the weather conditions. For instance, in cold weather, player A can develop windburns on his face, while player B’s face appears undisturbed by the same wind. It is a known FACT that windier conditions can and do affect some players’ serves more than others (especially big servers) and can be a huge factor in winning and/or losing. Perhaps this absolutely affected Berdych’s serving motion, and contributed much to his losing the match. Ergo, I have to disagree with you, my friend, inasmuch as I don’t want/like to, but weather conditions do wreak havoc on some players’ game, more than others. It’s also a physchological factor, viz., once a player has experienced bad weather problems which he feels contributed to losing his match, that thought remains in his mind and Pavlov’s Bell begins its brutal negative reverberation that the same scenario will happen again. We’re not all alike, that’s why you’re a boy and I’m a girl. Get it. :) Have you figured out that my post on English 101 was meant for you? :)


Spirit Says:

Skorocel,

Yeah, the wind is the same for both players for sure :), but I still think it favors defensive players, who usually have a wider error margin.

Power-hardcourt-attackers that rely on precise down-the-line winners in such circumstances either increase percent of unforced errors, or start playing more “conservative”… both outcomes are bad for them…

Also, it is harder to serve good when it’s windy. So, if you rely on a good and precise first serve, you might get into trouble. But if you use your serve just to put the ball into play, than you’re more/less OK.

Anyway, the whole discussion wasn’t meant to prove the wind has a crucial role in anything (by the way, it doesn’t), we’re just interested how the new roof will look like, especially this year, when it’s not yet 100% finished.


Rave Says:

To answer the mono question. Yes, it can affect the timing, due to the fact that mono can make you extremely fatigued, physically and mentally. It can linger and hit you suddenly, just when you think you are healthy again. Fed probably lost a lot of practice time, so he has a lot of catching up to do. It makes me sick how mean spirited and vicious many of the sports writers and media are when Fed stumbled. It makes no sense to me. Many fo the tennis players give their very best to every tennis match they play. Would make sense to me to cheer them on rather than try to take their soul away by writing such awful stuff and turning a hiccup into a feeding frenzy.


TD (Tam) Says:

Von, All_Roger, and jane, I do not want any talk of Roddick! I like him where he is now: flying under the radar unnoticed. He will fly when he’s ready and he’ll do it when nobody is looking. ;)

I cannot image how much crazier it will get when the draw the comes out (no doubt everybody will be looking to see where Djokovic is placed, he is the joker wild card) and if Nadal or Federer lose early that will not cease any talk it will just get more intense!

One thing I am certain is how surprising it is to see Rafa as a slight favorite going into Wimbledon. I know Roger’s had a lackluster year but, Rafa a favorite over Federer? Really!


Vulcan Says:

Nadal has proven himself on the fastest of Grass Courts, Queen’s Club.


Skorocel Says:

Von said:

“We’re not all alike, that’s why you’re a boy and I’m a girl. Get it. :) Have you figured out that my post on English 101 was meant for you? :)”

Yes girl, it didn’t took me a long time to realize who was the recipient of that post :) Didn’t they tell you that boys always tended to be wiser than girls? :) But seriously, I was still wondering what does that number of 101 mean (?)… I remember that in Orwell’s 1984, there was a certain “Room 101″ (in which each person saw his/her worst nightmares come true), but I’m not quite sure if it has something to do with what you’ve just said or not… Bring some torch-light into this, Amazon! :)


Von Says:

TD:

“Von, All_Roger, and jane, I do not want any talk of Roddick!”

I don’t understand what you’re saying — please elaborate. I’m not discussing Roddick as you can see. I merely agreed with you on the never ending discussions re Nadal’s success on grass and Fed’s repeat Wimby crowns, etc.


Von Says:

Skorocel:

“I remember that in Orwell’s 1984, there was a certain “Room 101″ (in which each person saw his/her worst nightmares come true), but I’m not quite sure if it has something to do with what you’ve just said or not… Bring some torch-light into this, Amazon!”

My reference to English 101 is nearly always meant as a joke when I use it. It’s the first course in English for American college students (English 101) — a kind of preparatory course, for reviewing and honing of their grammar and writing skills, which will be useful when they have to write test papers, etc., in the future.

I see you still insist on calling me that “pet” name “Amazon”. It’s OK — it just makes me think of Geronimo. :) BTW, who told you boys tended to be wiser than girls? It wasn’t that way the last time I checked? :)


Von Says:

jane:

“Maybe it’s good, though, that Andy is flying in under the radar? Sometimes that’s the most dangerous approach. Who’d’ve thunk Tsonga would get to the AO final, as I note above?

Let’s hope for at least a little unpredictability at Wimby!”

I didn’t notice your post until a few minutes ago — I didn’t mean to ignore you. Sorry. Serena was flying under the radar in the ’07 AO. I’d love to see some unpredictability happen at Wimby.

Anyone know when the draw will be out?

______________

Skorocel, i forgot to ask you about the draw — you usually have the inside news on these things. :)


jane Says:

Von,

“I didn’t notice your post until a few minutes ago — I didn’t mean to ignore you.”

I was wondering! No, just kidding. No worries.

I don’t know when the draw comes out, but a little hiatus from tennis & blogging wouldn’t be such a bad thing for me. I assume TD’s comment about “no talk of Roddick” was a joke in relation to my post to the two of you. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see on that draw.


Dan Martin Says:

I categorize any international series event as “minor” but I should perhaps rethink that classification as it leaves the 9 Masters series, 1 masters Cup and 4 slams as the only big events. I think angles would hurt Nadal on non-Court Central courts by perhaps having him run into a wall when chasing a sharp angle. Still, even on a more narrow court Nadal is the heaviest of favorites on clay so point taken. As for Dark Horses, I think anytime a generational shift in power is about to take place more unexpected things can happen. If the early 20 somethings are indeed on the cusp of taking control of the tour some mid 20 somethings or early 30′s guys might make an unexpected run due to the unpredictable nature of things. Novelty does make sports more interesting so in the sense of not wanting to live through Ground Hog Day maybe someone other than Nadal or Federer will be at least one of the finalists.


angel Says:

For Nadal to take number 1 ranking after Wimbledon Federer has to lose in first round and then Nadal has to win the tournament (Not saying impossible but…well it’s not going to happen) Nadal probably wins this thing taking out Federer in the final unless Roger serves consistently like he did in the 5th set of last year’s final.


JCF Says:

If I’m not mistaken, the bulk of Federer’s 2007 ranking points came from the second half of the year. So if his lack of big titles continues, his #1 ranking could be up for grabs on a weekly basis, if Djokovic and Nadal continue the run they’ve had in the first half of this year.

Between Nadal and Djokovic, the #2 ranking will be fought over a lot as well, assuming Federer stays #1. If Nadal loses early at wimbledon, he’s lost it, despite having defended it so many times already.

I really do think though, based on Fed’s performance this year, his #1 ranking WILL be at jeopardy more than once.


Skorocel Says:

Von said:

“BTW, who told you boys tended to be wiser than girls? It wasn’t that way the last time I checked? :) ”

Because I thought you girls were always told so :) Anyway, I still don’t quite understand why there’s that number of 101 in that English course name? Yep, boys aren’t always wiser :)


Skorocel Says:

Von said:

“Skorocel, i forgot to ask you about the draw — you usually have the inside news on these things. :) ”

So do you mean I’ll be among the first to start that neverending discussion, eh? :) No, I won’t… To tell you the truth, I’m slowly but surely getting sick of all this (especially after hearing all those complaints from the Nadal fanatics just moments after the FO draw came out)… Even though I still believe that Fed – as a No. 1 seeded player, shouldn’t be getting Djoker in his part of the draw, if he indeed gets him, I wouldn’t mind at all… Believe or not, I wouldn’t mind if he indeed gets Murray in the last 16, Nalby in the quarters, and then (after beating Djoker in the semis) Nadal in the finals! It’s just too much theorising in my opinion…


Von Says:

Skorocel:

“So do you mean I’ll be among the first to start that neverending discussion, eh? No, I won’t… To tell you the truth, I’m slowly but surely getting sick of all this (especially after hearing all those complaints from the Nadal fanatics just moments after the FO draw came out)…”

No, I didn’t mean you’d start the draw discussion. The dicussions will continue regardless of how you or I feel about them. Freedom of speech and everyone has a right to ecercise it. That said, there will be many discussions and soem will be worthy of comment. However, specultions and post mortems are not my cup of tea. Anyway, you carry on smart-ly, for both of us. OK? :) I’ll be taking notes on your topics. :)


Kevin Says:

Federer 6900 pts (1000 pts for Wimbledon 2007)
Nadal 5755 pts (700 pts for Wimbledon 2007)

Take out pts of Wim 2007

Federe 5900 pts
Nadal 5055 pts

R32 75pt, R16 150pt, Quarter 250 pt, semi 450pt
Runner up 700 pts, Champion 1000pts

If Nadal can’t win Wim, then he will not be no.1 after Wim.
If Nadal win, he will be 6055 pts
Federer need over 155 pt to keep no.1, so he must at least reach Quarter.


Kevin Says:

Centre Court
Centre Court was opened in 1922 when The All England Lawn Tennis Club moved to its current grounds at Church Road from Worple Road. The above simulation shows what Centre Court will look like for the 2009 Championships after work on building a retractable roof has been completed.

The Above is copied from Wimbledon official website


Faruq Zahran (from Malaysia) Says:

Rafael Nadal, Wimbledon champion???
by Mr. Perrotta (A senior editor at Tennis magazine. He can be reached at tperrotta@tennismagazine.com.)

Three years ago, it was unthinkable to string those four words together. Nadal lost in the second round at the All England Club in 2005 to Gilles Muller, and looked befuddled doing it. He couldn’t return Muller’s serve. He couldn’t control his forehand or adjust to the low bounces of grass. He seemed out of position, and late to the ball, at every turn.

Nadal’s transformation since then has been nothing short of miraculous. Wimbledon begins Monday and Nadal, the finalist in each of the last two years, has elevated himself from long shot to co-favorite to win the title, alongside five-time defending champion Roger Federer. At the Queen’s Club in London last week, Nadal delivered his best performance on grass, beating the two best servers in tennis — 6-foot-10-inch Ivo Karlovic and Andy Roddick — and world no. 3 Novak Djokovic in successive matches. That’s as difficult a draw he’s ever faced in any tournament, and he aced it.

Confidence, dedication, and tactics have played equal roles in Nadal’s ascent on grass. A win at the French Open always lifts Nadal’s spirits, but this year’s title in Paris has given him more confidence than ever. He didn’t lose a set the entire tournament and lost four games in the final against Federer. Compared to years past, he’s better rested, both mentally and physically. His win at Queen’s Club will only increase his belief.

As for technique and tactics, Nadal has steadily improved his game in the last three years. Even on clay, he no longer relies on defensive wizardry as he once did. He hits harder, flatter, and deeper forehands from time to time, more often on grass. Nadal’s topspin forehand gives opponents fits on clay because it bounces so high. On grass, the topspin has another use: Anyone who approaches the net has to lunge to volley a dipping passing shot. Numerous times in the Queen’s Club final, Djokovic popped up a volley and then watched the next shot sail past him.

Nadal’s game works well on grass for two other more subtle reasons. His left-handed serve is the weakest part of his game — but grass, as Andy Roddick explained last week, improves it.

“I think the thing that helps him out the most as far as surface is the grass really helps out his serve,” Roddick said. “He gets kind of the lefty hook in there. It really stays low. If you leave a return hanging, he’s very good at taking that first ball and hitting it.”

On hard courts, Nadal’s serve sits up and begs to be punished. On grass, it keeps his opponents off balance and gives Nadal room to operate.

Nadal’s footwork is perhaps the most important ingredient to his success on grass in recent years. Clay and grass are the sport’s slippery surfaces. On clay, players remain balanced by sliding to a stop. Sliding on grass, however, results in stumbles and tumbles. Unlike Djokovic, Nadal rarely loses his balance. On clay, he slides only when necessary and one rarely sees him do it on hard courts. If there’s a weakness to Djokovic’s game (besides his occasional inability to suppress frustration), it’s his body control. A coach of a top player recently described Djokovic to me as “wobbly,” a word that perfectly suited the Serb’s unbalanced movement in the Queen’s Club final. On hard courts, Djokovic can get away with that. On grass, he finds himself out of position.

The paradox of Nadal’s ever-improving grass-court game is that among the top three seeds, he remains the most vulnerable to outliers (his serve, though more effective on grass, does not produce many free points, so it’s more difficult for him to compensate for lapses in the rest of his game). The earlier part of this tournament might be the trickiest for him, yet once he’s into the quarterfinals, he’ll be very difficult to beat, perhaps more difficult than Federer and certainly Djokovic. This year, there are fewer early-round threats to Nadal. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who pummeled Nadal at the Australian Open and plays his best tennis on grass, recently had knee surgery. Radek Stepanek may miss the tournament. Tomas Berdych hasn’t played well since returning from an injury. Other powerful, go-for-broke players — the kind who trouble Nadal on fast surfaces — are slumping (Richard Gasquet, Marcos Baghdatis, Mikhail Youzhny, and Dmitry Tursunov, to name a few).

With those men either missing or hurting, Nadal should have an easier path when the draw is disclosed today (he might get so lucky as being in the opposite half of the draw as Federer and Djokovic, who could be drawn as potential semifinal opponents). Karlovic could pose a problem for Nadal, and so could a player such as Philipp Kohlschreiber, the high-wire act who lost to Federer in last Sunday’s final in Halle, Germany. James Blake has given Nadal trouble before, but he’s nowhere near as effective on grass as he is on hard courts. Robin Soderling extended Nadal to five sets at Wimbledon last year, but his mind is no match for the Spaniard’s. One could add a few hard-hitting, big-serving youngsters — Ernests Gulbis, Jeremy Chardy, Marin Cilic — to this list, but even then, it’s hardly a frightening collection of would-be upset artists.

Federer has won 59 straight matches on grass. If he wins another seven this year, he breaks Bjorn Borg’s record of five consecutive Wimbledon titles. If Nadal wins, he’ll be the first man to win the French Open and Wimbledon back to back since Borg in 1980. Once again, history is on the line at Wimbledon. This time, though, Federer might not be the one who makes it.

Mr. Perrotta is a senior editor at Tennis magazine. He can be reached at tperrotta@tennismagazine.com.


Von Says:

Another Borg Prediction:

10:24am While we wait for the ladies’ singles to commence, here’s a recent comment from Bjorn Borg: “I pick Rafael Nadal as winner and my second choice is Novak Djokovic, my third is Roger. For [Roger] to beat those guys at Wimbledon he needs to play much better than he did last summer. He knows he will have to play some unbelievable tennis to win again. This is the most open Wimbledon for years.” So Bjorg thinks Djokovic will beat Federer in the semis.


Von Says:

jane & Shital:

Djokovic is on Federer’s side of the draw. any thoughts?


Von Says:

TO ALL:

FYI: From the Wimbledon Website:

11:25am Abbey from Ireland writes: “I wonder what Djokovic feels about his luck in slams. He always gets to be in the draw of the defending champion. What do you think about the draw? Whose half is more difficult? And what do you think of Nadal’s chances against his possible 2nd round opponents, Gulbis or Isner? Can’t wait for Wimbledon to start! VAMOS RAFA!”

You would have to say that Federer will be having more restless nights than Nadal with this draw. He has Monfils, the Australian Open finalist, and former Wimbledon winner Hewitt. David Nalbandian has a couple of players in section that could cause some headaches, the likes of Ivo Karlovic and Marco Baghdatis.

11:20am The draws have been completed. We will post the full draw for each event on the website as soon as possible.”

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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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