Federer v Nadal, Williams v Williams in Wimbledon Finals
by Staff | July 4th, 2008, 10:17 pm
  • 28 Comments

For the third straight year, world No. 1 Roger Federer and No. 2 Rafael Nadal will face each other in the Wimbledon final, but this year the threat of Nadal claiming his first All England Club title looms large.


In the Friday semifinals Federer was on top of his game with a 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-4 win over former No. 1 Marat Safin. Nadal, on the other hand, was in awe-inspiring form against the unseeded Rainer Schuettler, never allowing the German into the match in a 6-1, 7-6, 6-4 romp.

Federer says that while Nadal’s progress on grass has been impressive, he remains the man to beat on fast courts.

“The fact was that Rafa beat me so easily in Paris and went on to win at Queen’s,” Federer said. “He has been playing fantastically but don’t write me off too quickly because this is my part of the season, Wimbledon and the US Open…I don’t think it matters really a lot if I’m the favorite or not. I’m on an incredible winning streak on grass. First somebody has to be able to break that before we start talking differently.”

Safin’s greatest chance against Federer came in the second-set tiebreak before the Russian collapsed in a series of unforced errors.

Nadal is not beyond belief in his ability to derail the Federer Express.

“I believe I can win, but I also know he’s the favorite,” Nadal said.

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Roger Federer is in his 16th career Slam final. He’s 12-3 in them. Rafael Nadal is into his 7th. He’s 4-2…

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have played 17 times prior with Nadal winning 11. This will already be their 6th meeting in a Slam final with Nadal leading 3-2…

Roger Federer has won 40 straight matches at Wimbledon (1 shy of Borg’s record), 65 straight on grass…

Rafael Nadal has won 23 consecutive matches including 33 of his last 34…

Roger Federer has not dropped a set. Rafael Nadal has only dropped one set, and only four sets this year in Slam play…

Venus and Serena have not dropped a set in singles or in doubles…

Serena is in her first Grand Slam final since her 2007 Australian Open title. For Venus it her first final of the year…

For Serena and Venus, it’s their 7th final in a Slam and 9th overall…

Serena has beaten Venus 5 of six in Slam finals, 6 of 8 overall in finals…

A Williams sister will have won Wimbledon in seven of the last nine years…

According to DPA: “The German tennis federation DTB has new hope to reach an out-of-court settlement with the men’s tennis body ATP about the future of the Hamburg Masters, DTB boss Georg van Waldenfels said on Wednesday. Von Waldenfels told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa he met over two days with the newly-formed ATP leadership ahead of a court hearing in Delaware set for July 21. Citing a long-term contract, the DTB is suing the ATP which wants to scrap the Hamburg Masters in a new 2009 calendar. The ATP says it can make changes as part a complete tournament calendar overhaul. “We want to look into every chance for a settlement,” said von Waldenfels.”…

The WTA Tour is reportedly having difficulty convincing Sony Ericsson to remain on as title sponsor after its contract ends on 2010. Lately chief executive Miles Flint has left the company, along with Dee Dutta who was the major WTA liaison and global head of marketing. That’s OK, just opens up the door for the Tennis-X WTA Tour. We will low-ball any bidder. We will own you…

From The Guardian: “The anti-trust action faced by the Association of Tennis Professionals is seen as a threat to the organisation’s future financial viability. But even if there is an award in favour of the Hamburg Open, the complainant, sources say the ATP has an insurance policy that would mitigate
damages. It is also protected by rules stipulating that if members — such as the Hamburg Open tournament — bring matters to court and lose, it is they who must pay the legal fees.”…

ESPN’s U.S. Wimbledon audience was up 24% over last year for the first week of Wimbledon. “We’ve had a near perfect start to our sixth Wimbledon, with live action and beautiful pictures during the first week, plus Serena and Venus, Roger and Rafael, and then the epic Murray comeback on Monday,” said Len DeLuca, ESPN senior vice president, programming and acquisitions. “Tennis is hot on ESPN2 and ESPN360.com.” — But is it hot on the tennis re-run channel, NBC?…

From Georgina Chang, the host presenter for Star Sports’ tennis magazine show Ace on ESPN Star: “I can’t believe there wasn’t even one person at Nike USA who had the guts to speak out and advise Serena Williams against wearing her new white trench coat, which she described as delectable. I thought it made her look like a chubby toddler dressed up for a rainy day by her overindulgent mother.
Serena loves her new coat though, and said emphatically, “It’s definitely not athletic attire. But it’s ladylike, and I’m very ladylike.” A radio presenter I work regularly with would vehemently disagree. She believes Serena is actually a man who likes to wear skirts, and I’m sure many people would concur with her.” — Meee-OW!…

Rankings-wise, this year’s Olympic tennis field is the strongest ever…


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28 Comments for Federer v Nadal, Williams v Williams in Wimbledon Finals

JCF Says:

“The fact was that Rafa beat me so easily in Paris and went on to win at Queen’s,” Federer said. “He has been playing fantastically but don’t write me off too quickly because this is my part of the season, Wimbledon and the US Open…I don’t think it matters really a lot if I’m the favorite or not. I’m on an incredible winning streak on grass. First somebody has to be able to break that before we start talking differently.”

I know he’s feeling confident, and gives all credit to (and does underestimate) his opponent, but if he doesn’t win, this comment could come back to haunt him. I expect tennis-x to immortalize this quote into the big collection of amusing quotes, should he lose.


Voicemale1 Says:

Remembering a couple of things from the 2007 Final between them should help shed light on this one. First, what gets most reported is Nadal’s brutal schedule on the way to the title match last year, he having suffered most of all from the weather’s effects on scheduling. But what gets overlooked was Federer’s absolute cakewalk schedule to last years Final. Not only was Federer’s match schedule virtually uninterrupted, Haas withdrawing from their 4th Round clash meant Roger was off for 5 whole days of play – basically a week’s vacation in the middle of a Slam, while Nadal played a match every single day for the last 7 days of the tournament. Second, Federer himself said afterward that Nadal basically had the better of him from the base line all match long; his serve saved him. Despite the contrast of how their fortnight’s schedules unfolded, Federer was STILL pressed to a 5th Set, barely getting his 5th Title.

Way different circumstances this year. Not the least of which is that Federer is playing, overall, slightly worse than a year ago, and Nadal is playing much better. Federer choked against Nadal in Monte Carlo – especially when losing the double-break lead in the 2nd Set. And it got worse. In Hamburg, that wasn’t a choke – that was a Federer nervous breakdown. And those two results are why we saw the thumping in the French Open Final. If these two have a milestone or turning point in their rivalry, then Hamburg 2008 could go down as the moment – the moment where Nadal seized the mental edge over Federer, since he lost to Roger on that very court the year before.

If Federer believes that last year Nadal was better from the back court at Wimbledon, then given that Nadal is in much better form these days it’d be suicide for Roger to try to out-hit Rafa from the baseline. Which leaves coming into the fore court as Federer’s only real option And that also means he can afford almost no mistakes with his serving. He won’t be able to come in with success if his serve won’t set up the trip to the net. That’s a very narrow needle to thread, especially since Nadal has proved so adept at regularly passing Federer when he is at the net. Nadal will then need to keep great length on his shots, especially the Return, and resist getting trapped with Federer’s short slices into No Man’s Land. The more Nadal keeps Federer back, the greater his chances to succeed. And he’ll likely plan on keeping Federer on the move as much as he can – because the real story of Federer in 2008 is that he’s lost a Half Step, and that Half Step is where his greatness lay.

Sampras had said that the 1995 US Open Final he had with Andre was literally THE biggest tennis match in the 5-6 years that preceded it. And no wonder: each had won a Grand Slam that year, and the ’95 Open was a Winner-Take-All event about which of them really was the best tennis player in the world. The 2008 Wimbledon Final has the same depth to it, and maybe more. If Federer wins this match, he can stifle the whispers and murmurs of his descent from the mountaintop for the foreseeable future. If he loses this match, then there’s no telling where his confidence will be. This has been Federer’s tournament, so losing this for him means the aura of his invincibility is truly over.

Based strictly on current form, Wimbledon 2008 belongs to Rafa Nadal – and he gets it done in 4 Sets on Sunday.


Daniel Says:

Yes, but the sense of “current form” changes entirelly in one match. If Nadal plays the final the way he played today, he won’t win a set. Fed didn’t play great too, but he faced a much better opponent than Nadal and his victory was more convincing.

To me it all lies in Fed’s hands, or mind! His A game on grass is way better than this current form of Nadal.


Morgan Freeman Says:

Nadal will abuse Federer backhand again .


Kevin Says:

If Federer could keep his serve against Safin in the Final, then he gets a better chance. I agree that he will come to the net more often this year. If he could win the First Set, he will win the match, as he seems has confidence problem this year. I think his back hand is okay on grass, as the speed on grass is much faster than clay, so Nadal would not have so much time to play the ball in such good angle as in French. Anyway Fed might not get winner on his backhand.

Sure the Wim Final will not be one side game as French. After watching the semi, I will bet on Fed.


juju Says:

if federer constantly attacks nadals 2nd serve as he did in last year’s final in the first set and the end of the fifth and if he serves well he can win it in 3.


MattBryan Says:

Everybody is talking about how much Nadal improved and how much Federer is less confident than last year, but the main factor is overlooked – it is continually slowing surface thanks to Wimbledon committee. It is not Nadal playing that great on this surface, it is this surface being slower than Aussie Open while it used to be faster than US Open.


MattBryan Says:

I want to clarify: I am not against Nadal winning Wimbledon, quite opposite I am for it – he is a great champion and he deserves to win the tournament we is so eager to win, but I am for Nadal winning Wimby, not Wimby committee winning it for Nadal. I guess if Nadal wins this year next year they will try to adapt surface to Murray, to make the first British champion in gazillion years and it is all quite disgusting.


Ra Says:

JCF,

In respones to what you had asked on the other thread:

Federer has served 84 aces while Nadal has served 40, but there are abundant statistics available at

http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/scores/extrastats/index.html

I hope that helps your cause.

Von,

Thank you. Happy 4th of July to you as well.


Kroll Says:

Matt
We ve been down this road before and not everyone feels that the surface has slowed down that much(Fed being a case in the point). Besides slowing down the surface means longer rallies as opposed to faster serve and volley points. I am not saying I like one more than the other (I actually love serve and volley tennis on fast courts) but if the Wimby officials feel the need to change a few things so be it. Its idiotic to think that they would tweak the surface to support one player, assuming that makes any sense at all. This is not a menu for crying out loud.


Tote Tennis Pro Says:

I think Nadal has a much better chance of beating Federer in the final this year simply because of the less amount of time he’s had to spend on court. Last year he was involved in two 5 set epics against Youzhny and Soderling, with the latter lasting 5 days if I recall. And in some way he was lucky Djokovic retired, because at 1 set all, that had the potential to be another 5 setter which would have really have knackered him out.

Rafa has changed his game slightly to enable him to win points more quickly and it has really helped him stay away from long tough matches.

If he ever develops the kind of serve that he strength should allow him to. He could really dominate on all surfaces.

Until that happens though, i can’t look past Fed for this one!


Nicholas Langman Says:

Nadal will win Wimbledon 2008 by defeating Federer in 4 sets.

I think Federer should stop trying to copy Nadal with clothing and merchandise. Rafael is far too talented, unique and younger than Federer. He has shown the world that he can defeat Federer 3 times in approx. 3 months. Federer should paint the “5″ logo on his shoe in silver for next year…

N


JCF Says:

MattBryan Says:

“I want to clarify: I am not against Nadal winning Wimbledon, quite opposite I am for it – he is a great champion and he deserves to win the tournament we is so eager to win, but I am for Nadal winning Wimby, not Wimby committee winning it for Nadal. I guess if Nadal wins this year next year they will try to adapt surface to Murray, to make the first British champion in gazillion years and it is all quite disgusting.”

Why the hell would the Wimbledon committee help Nadal win? Why would they pick him of all players? If they’re going to help anyone, shouldn’t Henman have been first in line? He was always complaining about it being too slow and that he’d have better chances at the US Open than here. And wouldn’t Murray be next in line BEFORE Nadal?

The simple fact is, Nadal and other spaniards have learnt to play on it.

A few years ago (2005 I think), I watched Australia host Argentina in Davis Cup. They imported the fastest grass they could get in order to disadvantage their opponents as much as they could (grass happens to be the best surface for the Aussies also, so it was a double bonus). Guess what? Argentina won. Nalbandian beat Hewitt in straight sets, and big serving Wayne Arthurs in straights as well. Even in doubles he won in straights. You can NOT tell me that the aussies slowed down the grass to give their opponents an advantage.

A couple of years before that, the Aussies pulled the same thing against Spain. They did end up winning, but it was awfully close. Moya won his only match (which was against Philippousis). Ferrero pushed both Hewitt and Philippoussis to 5 sets. Flip cheated imo – he was down and out after the 4th, and got some miracle turnaround medical treatment off court, winning 6-0 in the 5th. And Ferrero was robbed of the first set with a bad call on set point (on serve). Against Hewitt, he was a tie-break away from winning in 4 sets.

As early as 2003, the spaniards were capable of playing on the fastest grass the aussies could find! This is Davis Cup here, not some ATP tournament. Don’t tell me the hosts tried to advantage their opponents by picking a slow grass court.


JCF Says:

Ra,

Thanks for the stats. 40 aces in 6 matches is pretty low. I think out of that top 20 list, that is the lowest average of aces per match of any player. Federer serves twice as many, so he is still going to have an advantage on the pressure points. Nadal couldn’t conjure any big serves to save him when it mattered. Fed saved plenty of break points with his serve. So again, as last year, Nadal will have to work harder to win than Fed will. Or he could win the tie breakers…

Based on last year’s performance, he could match it with Federer shot for shot (Fed didn’t play all that great), except for the serve. That was what’s let him down. He’s improved it a little bit, but he’s still overall at a disadvantage.


Kroll Says:

JCF
I wonder if the ace count is a sufficient measure since Rafa doesn’t have a lot of speed its harder anyway to have many aces. But he has a tremendous kick serve that is extremely hard to return i.e forced errors on the return of serve. I wonder if delving into the statistics a little deeper might help. But Fed’s free points if take into account forced return of serve errors might be huge in count. Its hard to say really.


jane Says:

Kroll has a good point – more than just ace count matters with the serve. Sure a serve may be returnable, but it can cause errors or weak returns, depending, for instance, on the placement, which in turn allows the server to dictate, whether from the baseline, or following the serve into net.

But, it’s true that Roger’s been able to serve himself out of tight spots and win easy points, and that does count for a lot.


MattBryan Says:

Well, folks, if claycourt specialists learned to play on fast courts how come none of them ever happens to be in the US Open final? Never ever. Another proof – look at Roddick: he does not care about RG, he does not care about Queens now, he does not care about Wimbledon and Olympics. Why? Because he knows the only fast court major left are US Open and Aussie Open. That is where he has a real chance of winning.


MattBryan Says:

And there is a clear reason why Wimby officials want Nadal to win: It will make Wimby much more popular in a whole new segment like Spain and Latin America. On the other hand grass season will become an extension of clay court season.


Vulcan Says:

Roddick doesnt care about Wimbledon??? Wimby officials want Nadal to win??? hmmm I guess I missed that edition of the Globe (or Enquirer)


Vulcan Says:

I will reiterate what Jane and Kroll are saying..the Ace statistic is not enough to convey how effective someones serve is…there should be another stat which is “forced error on the serve” or “unreturnable serve”. Much of Roddick’s effectiveness is not from hitting aces but rather from hitting unreturnable serves.


Ra Says:

Kroll and jane,

Rafa’s serve isn’t much slower than Federer’s these days. By match their top speeds, average first serve speeds and average second serve speeds aren’t far removed. Federer has been winning a higher percentage of points off of his first and second serves overall (although I’m pretty sure yesterday was the opposite). Roger’s serve has been near flawless over the past two weeks, and has had all the positive attributes that jane has suggested a serve can have. And his aces have by far been earned by placement rather than speed. If he can serve as he has been on Sunday, it’ll make an upset a taller order for Nadal than it already is.

On the other hand, if Nadal can pull of his wide, slice serve to Federer’s backhand with regularity (and if the grass doesn’t mitigate the spin and bounce too much), Rafa can get some “free” points for sure. He can only do that from the ad court, though…


Vulcan Says:

Kroll Says:
JCF
But he has a tremendous kick serve that is extremely hard to return i.e forced errors on the return of serve.

Nadal doesnt have a kick serve or if he has one he rarely uses it. He primarily hits heavy slice. I dont think he would want to hit one against Federer anyway as it would be bouncing back the other way right into Federer’s forehand.


Vulcan Says:

MattBryan Says:
Well, folks, if claycourt specialists learned to play on fast courts how come none of them ever happens to be in the US Open final? Never ever.

Please refrain from pulling “facts” out of your ass: Juan Carlos Ferrero 2003 US Open Finalist


Kroll Says:

MattBryan

You are one funny guy! Enough said…

Vulcan

My mistake, I implied both the sliced and the topspun serves and you are right he uses the slice dominantly, but he does have a very good topspin serve, he seems to use it on key points for the body serve. I almost pulled a “MattBryan” here, so to speak :).

Also, it seems to me that Ferrer’s game is as suited to hardcourts as clay, a far-cry from Rafa’s own game, I must add.


JCF Says:

Kroll Says:

“JCF
I wonder if the ace count is a sufficient measure since Rafa doesn’t have a lot of speed its harder anyway to have many aces. But he has a tremendous kick serve that is extremely hard to return i.e forced errors on the return of serve. I wonder if delving into the statistics a little deeper might help. But Fed’s free points if take into account forced return of serve errors might be huge in count. Its hard to say really.”

That’s a fair point. But I was expecting the proportion of aces to service winners would be similar in any case for both players, and thus a non-factor. But you do make a good point in that Nadal’s serve is not as fast.


JCF Says:

“I will reiterate what Jane and Kroll are saying..the Ace statistic is not enough to convey how effective someones serve is…there should be another stat which is “forced error on the serve” or “unreturnable serve”. Much of Roddick’s effectiveness is not from hitting aces but rather from hitting unreturnable serves.”

I can’t see why Nadal would serve a lot of unreturnable serves but not aces and Federer would serve lots of aces but no unreturnable serves. Sure, Nadal will serve some unreturnables not counted in the statistics, but Federer no doubt would serve even MORE.


JCF Says:

MattBryan Says:

“And there is a clear reason why Wimby officials want Nadal to win: It will make Wimby much more popular in a whole new segment like Spain and Latin America. On the other hand grass season will become an extension of clay court season.”

OK, since Nadal is first in line to win it, if he wins it, does that mean the Wimby committee will speed up the grass the following year? And if he never wins it in his career, will it remain slow until he retires?


Vulcan Says:

Kroll, I stand corrected regarding the amount of kick Nadal hits to Federer. Unless its the wind playing havoc with the ball, today Nadal does seem to use it quite a bit for the body serve as you mentioned. Overall Nadal is having a decent serving day but I dont think hes displaying the precision he showed at the French (but again that could be due to his compensating for the wind).

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Rankings
ATP - Jul 28 WTA - Jul 28
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Na Li
3 Roger Federer3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Tomas Berdych5 Agnieszka Radwanska
6 David Ferrer6 Maria Sharapova
7 Milos Raonic7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Juan Martin Del Potro8 Angelique Kerber
9 Grigor Dimitrov9 Jelena Jankovic
10 Andy Murray10 Victoria Azarenka
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