Federer in Crucial Clash with Nadal at Wimbledon, Will His Reign Continue?
by Sean Randall | July 5th, 2008, 2:57 pm
  • 224 Comments

So you want another Roger Federer v. Rafael Nadal matchup? You got it. The two kings of tennis, Federer and Nadal meet again for the third straight time in a Wimbledon final. And in my mind this is the biggest match of their rivalry to date.

As I wrote in my Wimbledon preview, as Nadal and Novak Djokovic have been creeping ever closer to Federer, the Swiss’s tennis real estate has been shrinking. And with the US Open months away Fed needs to make a stand now before he potentially loses everything. This is it.

If Fed loses Sunday it will mark the changing of guard. Fed will still hold onto to No. 1 but it will be a matter of weeks before Rafa overtakes him and who knows when Roger gets back to the top.

I 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 discussion or shelving it.

Last year remember Nadal proved his first Wimbledon runner-up effort was no fluke by not just returning to the final in 2007 but nearly taking it. Nadal had Federer on the ropes before the Swiss rose up to take it in the end.

Now in his third straight Wimbledon Nadal comes in with a real winning mindset, especially after his destruction of Federer at the French Open and his impressive grass play since.

I broke down the both Fed’s and Rafa’s strokes just ahead of the French Open final, so I won’t go through that again. I will say on grass that Roger gets the forehand checkmark I had given to Rafa on clay. Let’s go right to the matchup.

If you are pro Roger…
Roger’s numbers on grass are astounding. Federer’s won 65 straight matches on grass, 40 in a row at Wimbledon and he’s won all 28 sets this grass season. The guy hasn’t dropped a set all tournament and he’s been serving better than ever, even better than Mr. Sampras ever did. Fed’s only been broken twice while whacking 84 aces with only four double faults. 84-4! And Fed’s putting up these numbers against decent players like Marat Safin, Lleyton Hewitt, Mario Ancic and even Robin Soderling. Based on the stats alone the argument could be made that Fed’s run to the Wimbledon final this year has been his most impressive ever.

What Fed needs to do to win…
Serve big, serve big and serve big. That’s what Fed needs to do. For Fed to get a win on grass against Nadal it all starts with his serve. The easier he holds I think the more chances he’ll take, and likely convert, on Rafa’s serve. I think if he serves poorly Rafa could very easily run away with the match. Fed also needs to attack the Nadal second serve and cut out on the first serve slice return. Mix up the pace, use the drop shot and of course the Fed slice “chip-and-dip” to bring in Rafa in and set him up for the pass. Take away Rafa’s rhythm by staying aggressive from the baseline. No long rallies!

If you are pro Rafa…
Life is good. Rafa’s won 23 straight matches now and at Wimbledon he’s lost only one set during the event. While he’s not quite as dominating on serve as Federer, he’s right up there. Rafa’s only been broken four times with 40 aces to just nine double faults against some very worthy competition. Not bad for a guy some would call a claycourter. Most importantly, though, Rafa’s won three straight over Roger including that French Open destruction which gives him a nine game win-streak over the Swiss coming into a final he was within a hair of winning a year ago.

What Rafa needs to do to win…
Get the groundies rocking, get the feet moving and get on the Federer serve early. Mentally and physically Rafa’s right there with Roger if not ahead, but in order to beat Federer on grass you’re going to have to break his serve or at least be in Roger’s service games. That means getting the serve back and working your way into dominating the rallies. Rafa needs to turn the match into a clay match. Turn Centre Court into Chartier. He virtually did it a year ago and with all the grass chewed up it’s almost looks like clay. Nadal will also have to take care of his second serve, which is arguably the weakest part of his game. But if Fed’s not attacking it then all the better for Rafa.

My pick…
Just as Rafa owns the clay I think Roger will continue to own the grass. On grass, the serve is the most important shot and way Roger’s serve has been going he gets the big edge. I know that the weight of history may not be on Fed’s side, the courts are playing slower, the momentum is with Rafa and Rafa’s been playing some of the best tennis he’s ever played, but Wimbledon is Roger’s home and as a champion and as one of the greats, I think he protects Centre Court again and gets revenge on Rafa for embarrassing him at the French. Call me absolutely crazy, but Federer in straight sets.

As for the women, congrats to Venus for her fifth Wimbledon title. There wasn’t much doubt until the match today with Serena, but I’m glad for her. And now she’s just one Slam behind little ‘sis.


Also Check Out:
Novak Djokovic: I Really Needed This Win Over Rafa
Poll: Who’ll Dominate On The Dirt? Will Nadal Resume His Reign Or Can Djokovic Breakthrough In Paris?
Novak Djokovic Has A New Coach, His Name Is Boris Becker!
Federer, Nadal Open ATP Finals Sunday
Sampras v Federer Exhibition Clash Begins Tuesday

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224 Comments for Federer in Crucial Clash with Nadal at Wimbledon, Will His Reign Continue?

Vulcan Says:

Regarding Nadal’s second serve…as Hewitt said in one of his post match interviews, Federer is not an attacking returner…he typically just looks to get the ball back in play so unless he radically changes his return game for the final that aspect is a non-issue. Furthermore Nadal is capable of directing virtually 100% of his serves to the Federer backhand (as he did at the FO).


NachoF Says:

I kinda remember Federer really attacking Nadals sencond server on last years final… I do think its key…. he knows he doesnt have the edge from the baseline so hes got to attack quickly


Vulcan Says:

Hitting an attacking return off a 100 mph hour lefty can-opener serve that is curving away from you with a one handed backhand aint easy….which is why you dont see it that often. There are a few guys with one handers who have the timing to do it (one of them was Gaston Gaudio) but even then its not a high percentage shot off the backhand.


NachoF Says:

Yeah, but Federer usually runs around them… remember the very last point of the match?


Vulcan Says:

That second serve was directed short and in the middle of the box…Federer didnt have to move very far to hit a forehand…I wouldnt say that he ran around it. Nadals serving accuracy will be important but if he serves with the precision that he did at the FO Federer wont be spanking forehands like he did on Match Point last year.


Stu Says:

Nadal still hasn’t been able to stand up to a full season. Each year he fades with the hardcourt season. If he can’t get around that Federer will remain on top for the remainder of the year. I think Nadal’s biggest risk is in getting injured and cutting his career shorter than it should be. Federer plays pretty much effortlessly but Nadal puts so much into every match that his body might just get worn down too much on the hardcourt. I don’t know how many years he can keep putting that much pressure on his knees for. It’s possible that he may need to limit his playing to mostly clay and grass within a couple of years.


MattBryan Says:

Sean Randall: If Fed loses Sunday it will mark the changing of guard. Fed will still hold onto to No. 1 but it will be a matter of weeks before Rafa overtakes him and who knows when Roger gets back to the top.

Hmm.. let’s get it clear, here comes Bob Larson who is a math wonk: … But if he (Federer) loses, then he will have 6600 points and Rafael Nadal 6055 — a gap of 545 points. Between now and the U. S. Open, Federer has the Canadian Open final to defend (350 points) and the Cincinnati title (500 points). Nadal has a title at Stuttgart (250 points), a Canadian Open semifinal (225 points), and an opening round loss at Cincinnati (5 points). So Federer has 850 points to defend, Nadal 480. And they’ll probably both play Cincinnati, the Canadian Open, and the Olympics.

Oook, so Nadal playing on the hard courts that he DOES NOT like is going to overtake Fed while the latter has a lead in safe points? Sounds like somebody smoked something today…

As for Nadal ultimately going down as the greatest.. well we’ll see and he needs to win a a major or two on anything other than clay, right? The stuff that was smoked had to be just out of this world:)


Vulcan Says:

MB, Im glad to see you yourself have cut back on whatever it was YOU were smoking during your previous post

Any discussion of Nadal as the GOAT is absurdly premature. If he crushes Federer tommorrow then maybe, just maybe the thought could be entertained for laughs…but ability and talent does not necessarily translate to accomplishment.


MattBryan Says:

I was not smoking anything Vulcan, I am just not being a sucker. Wimbledon does not care about fair play, it cares about marketing. The only feasible way for them is to make it a clay-court tournament played on grass, that is grass has to take on the qualities of clay. And (surprise surprise) Wimbledon grass has been taking on those qualities: look at the bounce of the ball, how slow and high it become, amazingly.


Jez Says:

Good luck to Rafa in the final. He was robbed of the Wimbledon title last year so I hope he wins it this year. It’s time for the boring Swiss domination to finally end and for a new exciting champion to take his place.


Spin Says:

Nadal hasn’t been able to last a full season? Yes he has. He just hasn’t played as well as he might in the second half, and it’s not as if he’s played horribly with career titles in Montreal and Madrid and a finals appearance in Paris. Yeah, he SUCKS on second-half hardcourts.


PJ Says:

I think the point is that Rafa has never had as successful a second half of the year as the first. He owns on clay and is now playing well on grass. While he has won titles in the second half of the year, he hasn’t made the finals of the US Open (only one semi) and hasn’t made the finals of the YEC yet. The consistency isn’t there, but let’s be honest, when you’re as good as he is on clay, it’s hard to live up to that on other surfaces.

And, Jez, how exactly was Nadal robbed last year? The weather? Not exactly anything you can do about that.


Gordo Says:

Jez Says:
Good luck to Rafa in the final. He was robbed of the Wimbledon title last year so I hope he wins it this year. It’s time for the boring Swiss domination to finally end and for a new exciting champion to take his place.

Uh – yeah. Jez – exactly HOW was Nadal robbed last year? And would you like to explain how Federer’s game is boring? Or maybe it’s the pirate pants that get you excited? Hmmmnnnnn.


Fedex Says:

Federer in straights? Sean, when this match ends (dont know when, given that rain is forecast tomorrow and the day-after through much of the day) – anyway when the match ends you will be a true genius or totally stupid.

Being a federer fan, i hope it is the former. Seriously, I dont know if even the fanatics on rogerfederer.com have predicted a straight sets win for Roger. You are one brave dude. Goodluck with the nadal trolls. (Incase you get very scared by them, you can inform the rf.com member about your prediction and they will send over their own trolls to take care of nadal trolls.


Vulcan Says:

Ahh Troll wars sounds like a great idea…put em all on an island and let them annihilate each other!


Tennis Fan Says:

How come Dan Martin doesn’t get to write more of the articles on x-blog? … why always Sean Randall?
Nadal has made great progress in his serve over the last year … but his style of play could unfortunately be his demise. I think there is a chance his knees aren’t going to stand up for much longer on the circuit… particularly if he decides to play the hard court part of the season. Too bad, because I enjoy his “rabbit-like” style of play. I also think its premature to speculate about Nadal’s place in Tennis history. Let’s see if he can win on more than one surface … and the longevity of his career. How will Nadal fair in the last half of the year when tennis moves to a fast surface … and slow loopers loose their magic? … Can he adapt and learn a different style like he has with his serve … or is he a clay court and “slow” grass player. Seems Federer is pretty good at them all!


Sean Randall Says:

Vulcan, Federer has to attack Rafa’s second serve. He simply cannot hang on the baseline and hope for good things to happen. He needs to be aggressive, and I think he will.

Stu, true Nadal hasn’t played a complete season, but he just turned 22 and maybe this will be the year he put it’s all together. As for his knees, what’s the problem? The “he’ll be injured prone” argument is getting old.

MattBryan, I didn’t do any math, but if Fed loses tomorrow Rafa will become No. 1 in a matter of time. The point breakdowns you give may be true, but the writings on the wall. Fed will drop and Rafa will take over and my thinking he’d do it before the U.S. Open.

FedEx, I don’t mind the trolls or the Rafa fans – he’ll I’ve been called one myself!


Vulcan Says:

Sean, he may want to but if Nadal serves 98% second serves to the backhand corner of the service box Federer simply wont be able to attack. It all comes down to whether or not Nadal serves as accurately as he did at the FO where for one of the sets he served virtually every single ball to the Federer backhand. If that happens most of what Federer will be hitting are chipped returns.


angel Says:

Come on Roger you can do it.


Tennis Fan Says:

I used to enjoy the serve & volley players like Edberg, Rafter, Becker,Ivanisevic,Philippoussis etc.

Wimbledon was meant to be a surface that favoured this style of tennis. The change of grass type and slower balls they introduced last year have turned the surface into a quasi-clay court title. Lets get those baseline players back off the base line (at Wimbledon).
Wimbledon was meant to be special … but its lost some of its panache. As the Brits might say… “Pity”.


J.Hens. Says:

I think the grass playing like clay theories are useless and claims of false hope for anyone who is a supporter of Nadal’s style of play being better than Federer’s.

Based off of this tournament, Federer clearly is comfortable on the ‘clay grass’, and he has yet to be challenged consistently, and has even shown signs of his mental strength by coming back from several games down early in this tournament. There is no reason to believe Federer is suffering or will be limited due to the conditions of the court.

I feel that this match has a chance to go any number of ways, and alot of it will be determined by momentum, the serve, and Federer’s tactics regarding his aggressive or defensive returns.

Assuming Federer serves well, he should hold his games comfortably throughout the match, and should be able to dictate the points if he is on his target. I expect Nadal to break Federer in this match, likely early on, but in 5 sets, with the mental state Federer will likely be in, it’s hard to imagine him performing poorly, or losing his service games with anywhere near the ease as he did in the French Open. Also, one can assume his confidence will be very high against Nadal in this match.

I think Federer has the shot variety, selection and style to push Nadal around the court in this match, he has been very accurate with his forehand, especially cross court, he’s also hitting the ball deeply as well, which should cause Federer to move Nadal back, and allow him to be successful with volley’s.

Also, even though Nadal’s serve has improved, and he is very accurate to the backhand of Federer, which should make it difficult for Federer to gain the advantage on Nadal’s serve. However, the likelihood of Nadal losing serve in this match to me seems much higher than the notion that Federer will struggle during his service games.

I think this match has the possibility to go 5 sets, but I feel that Federer has the ability to win this match in 4 sets, with a strong possibility that he loses the 1st. I think if Federer wins the 1st set, he has the game on this surface to penetrate Nadal’s service games, and for this match to be relatively routine for him, although it should be highly contested.

I would expect 7-5, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 to Federer.


sensationalsafin Says:

Sean Randall you are the greatest when it comes to writing tennis articles. I love what you write and I always look foward to your next article. Sometimes you are ridiculous but you biased is great. I agree. Federer in 3!


Byron Villegas Says:

I remember Federer went down with a love set to Nadal on their last meeting; Would there be a significant effect in both players confidence with this love set?


JCF Says:

MattBryan Says:

“I was not smoking anything Vulcan, I am just not being a sucker. Wimbledon does not care about fair play, it cares about marketing. The only feasible way for them is to make it a clay-court tournament played on grass, that is grass has to take on the qualities of clay. And (surprise surprise) Wimbledon grass has been taking on those qualities: look at the bounce of the ball, how slow and high it become, amazingly.”

If that is true, we should expect Nadal to romp over Fed tomorrow right? If Fed wins, what will be your excuse then?


matt Says:

Alan Mills said (in a documentary) that there has been only one change of grass: from 2000 to 2001, and it has been the same since then.

This grass is (like the former) totally different from clay (ask Davydenko, Almagro or Federer himself). The ball bounces a bit higher than before, but still clearly less than it bounces on clay or on hardcourts.

Nadal has won 3 Masters-Series on hard-courts (Indian Wells, Canadian-Open and Madrid-indoor). He has won Dubai (beating Federer in the final) and Pekín.

He reached the final in the Paris-Bercy Masters-Series indoor.

He has won Queens.

Obviously, he can play on every surface.

Davydenko plays great on clay and on hardcourts (he reached SF twice in RolandGarros, and QF another time, and SF twice in the USOPEN and QF thrice in the Australian Open), but he always loses early playing on this grass.

Btw, I think Federer will win in straight sets, maybe in four sets.

Nadal has improved a lot on grass this year, but Federer is still the best grass-court player of the world.

His game is totally suited to play on grass (as much as Nadal’s game is totally suited to play on clay).


JCF Says:

Spin Says:

“Nadal hasn’t been able to last a full season? Yes he has. He just hasn’t played as well as he might in the second half, and it’s not as if he’s played horribly with career titles in Montreal and Madrid and a finals appearance in Paris. Yeah, he SUCKS on second-half hardcourts.”

He’s won Indian Wells, Montreal, Dubai, Madrid, and been twice a finalist at Miami (he should have beat Federer in 05). Madrid and Dubai are fast hard courts. SF at AO (new and faster AO) and QF at USO.


ultimate_tennis_fan Says:

Sean, you are a typical fickle-type american. Wake me when Nadal comes within a couple of sets of winning The Grand Slam two years in a row. Or reaching the final Sunday in 12 of 13 grand slam events. Or reaching 230+ consecutive weeks at #1. etc etc etc.

There’s no appreciation for true greatness, it’s always “what have you done for me lately”? And we’ve all heard it before from you mediot (media idiots) types. Kobe Bryant was supposed to be the next Michael Jordan, blah blah blah.

I do agree this Wimbledon final is huge, stakes are very high. Personally, I’d like to see Federer win, but I really don’t have many complaints if Nadal does. Regardless, Americans are nowhere near the top of men’s tennis. And that is a real blessing.


Ra Says:

I tried to post a link, but it won’t seem to take…

By Clare Lovell Reuters – Saturday, July 5 03:25 pm

LONDON (Reuters) – Five-times former Wimbledon champion Bjorn Borg has changed his mind about who will win this year’s championship, veering towards Roger Federer instead of Rafael Nadal.

After the French Open when Nadal thrashed Federer in the final for the loss of only four games, Borg, the last man to win both tournaments in the same year, said he thought Nadal would win Wimbledon for the first time.

But after watching both men play “unbelievable tennis” to reach the semi-finals he told reporters: “Roger is playing perfect tennis.

“Before the tournament I picked Nadal just to pick someone else… Nadal has improved his game a lot since last year but if Roger is playing the way he has until the semi-finals it’s going to be tough to beat Roger,” Borg said.

Borg was speaking before Friday’s semi-finals when Federer, looking to surpass Borg’s modern-era record by winning a sixth title in a row, takes on Marat Safin and Nadal meets Rainer Schuettler.

Borg said Federer was brimming with confidence and Nadal, beaten finalist the last two years, had improved immensely on grass.

After winning the claycourt French Open, the Spaniard quickly adjusted to the slick surface by capturing the Queen’s Club title a week later.

“Nadal looked like he had been practising on grass for a month… for me it was impossible to get used to the grass that quickly,” Borg said.

In Paris, Borg said Federer had a bad match. “But this is his home field.”

If they both make the final he added: “I’m going to be there and I hope we are going to see another unbelievable final like we did last year.”

Borg said Federer and Nadal, seeded one and two, were equally hungry. Nadal to win a grand slam other than the French and Federer because he wanted to break records, not just at Wimbledon but for grand slam wins.

“Nadal has lost twice in the final and he wants to win this tournament badly. Roger wants six in a row…they push each other to perform good tennis like me and John (McEnroe) did.

“I think Roger is feeling very confident. You can see it in his face, the way he is moving on the court, the way he’s hitting the ball.”

Borg added he would not be upset to lose his own record. “If Roger should win for the sixth time I would be very happy for him. He is not only an unbelievable champion. He’s a great person.”

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)


Ra Says:

During Rafa’s interview, someone cited him as the favorite according to 70%, but at espn.com the poll has 68% picking Federer. It’s on the homepage if anyone cares to vote.


matt Says:

Sometimes I feel that many people underestimate Nadal’s performances on hardcourts.

Many people seem to consider Blake, Gasquet, Murray, Youznhy, Ljubicic,….great (or at least good) hard-court players.

Do you know how many Masters-Series on hardcourts have them won?.

NONE.

Nadal has won 3.

Did you know that in 2005 and 2006 Nadal was the second best player of the world outside of clay? (I mean, he was the second player that got more points outside of clay)

And last year he was the third (only behind Federer and Djokovic)


Dan Martin Says:

Sean the GOAT discussions are fun, but I think there is a qualitative and quantitative difference between the guys with 8 slams and the guys with more when evaluating who has the more decorated career. Connors, Lendl, & Agassi all have a lot of honors and interesting stats backing up their greatness, but Borg, Sampras, and Federer (I did all of these in chronological order to be as unbiased as possible) all seemingly obviously had better careers. Rafa has 4 slams and could easily win a lot more French Open titles. A Wimbledon crown would go a long way toward his overall standing in the pantheon. Still, I would hold off on GOAT stuff until he gets to 8 Slams (something I think he will do by the way).

I think GOAT discussions are really two different but related discussions: 1. Who had a better career? 2. Who played the nastiest game of tennis?(Who would win more often between a given two players across surfaces? – is my more sophisticated 2nd question) On the first question, I shelve Nadal for awhile. On the 2nd question, he does frighteningly well. On clay, Nadal is my #1 all time even if I try to balance string/racket technology and sport’s medicine/training across eras. Rafa is one of the toughest players of all time.

We shall see for Rafa, but how would Lendl or Wilander or … out slug him from the baseline? Of the all-time greats, I think Rafa would match-up worst against Sampras (off of clay of course) due to the Sampras serve robbing Rafa of long points to groove his strokes and wear down his opponent. Having said all of that I stick with Federer in 4 sets tomorrow – see my preview for more (shameless plug).


matt Says:

As much as love Federer’s game, the GOAT discussion is absurd.(Different players, different rackets tecnology, different string tecnology….).

You will never know how would past champions play today (with today’s racket and string tecnology) if they had been born twenty o thirty years later.

And you will never know how Federer or Nadal would have played if they had been born twenty or thirty years earlier.

The only thing you can say is player X has won more GS tournaments, player Y has been nº1 more weeks, player Z has ended more years nº1, player W has won more ATP tournaments…..(but that doesn’t mean one of them is “the best player of all times” because such thing doesn’t exist).


matt Says:

The first line should be read: “As much as I love Federer’s game…..”


Daniel Says:

You are right matt, but if the same player has all the above them we have a dilema?!


sensationalsafin Says:

Hell yeah Sampras would rock Nadal’s world!


andrea Says:

even if fed loses tomorrow – which he won’t – why is he ‘losing everything’? he claims he will play for another 8 years or so with many more titles to follow.

stop the media melodrama!

and can we officially stop the GOAT discussions?

boring and useless.


Shital Dahal Says:

Hi everybody !
I am back on time and hope to see you guys over the match tomorrow morning.
As on the past slams, I will be posting game by game. This is how I will be enjoying the match, sharing the moments. I am not promising I will be able to do this, but at least during the match, I will try not to be taking the side except highlighting the ups and downs.

By this time, pretty much all of us have reviewed, some of us more than once, Fed and Rafa’s records (slams, H2H, winning streak, aces, double faults, returns, 1st and 2nd serve % won, etc.) as well as their strengths and weaknesses. Both Fed and Rafa need no coaching from us: They both know more than we ever will what each will have to do to win this match. But tomorrow morning everything will be doubly contingent once these two players enter the court. Predictions based on the past will be tested and could be even defied.
My only hope at this point is that the match does not conclude in straight sets or 4 sets. I will enjoy most if the match is decided in the 5th set tie break, preferably going beyond 14 games.


Von Says:

Shital:

Welcome back!! I hope you had a relaxing vacation and are ready for the excitement of tomorrow’s match. I too, would like to see a 5 setter. Enjoy.


Dan Martin Says:

I do think the GOAT discussions are a bit crazy because you have to try to equalize across rackets, strings, training methods, nutritional knowledge, sports medicine advances and surface changes. how would the rankings stand if 3 of 4 slams were today played on what would today be considered gnarled grass courts? How would Lew Hoad have played against lleyton Hewitt? Well if each had the rackets/training etc. of their day, Hoad would get killed. Hoad if updated might dominate Hewitt. Who really knows? It sure don’t. Even a 5-10 year gap with the new string technology and better sports medicine makes it hard to compare. Poor Tommy Haas might have retired much earlier in a previous era due to his chronic injuries and maybe if he played 20 years from now he’d have no major injury layoffs. Pete Sampras playing an Australian Open on grass would have almost certainly won more than two titles down under. Would Jimmy Connors have played and had success in Australia after 1975 if it was on a hard court – probably. How does winning the WCT finals in Dallas compare to winning a Masters Series event Madrid?

It really is an impossible set of variables to compensate for when comparing across eras. Dealing with stress, being able to compete and being disciplined enough to train are about the only semi-constants. Even at that how does Germany playing in the 1937 Davis Cup with Hitler phoning in a pre match pep talk to Gottfried Von Cramm (who did not like Nazism) compare to David Wheaton and Brad Gilbert getting into a shoving match in the semifinals of the very lucrative inaugural (& now defunct) Grand Slam Cup?

At best we can use our imaginations and see Nadal in a previous era as a cross between Bjorn Borg (an super athlete with massive speed and top spin) and Jimmy Connors (lefty and fiery). Maybe Federer with a wooden racket was more of a genius than John McEnroe. Bobby Riggs beat some guy playing with a broom instead of a racket. What could he have done with today’s rackets and strings? All of this stuff is really just re-imagining players into different eras. It is fun, but far far from an exact science.


Ra Says:

Shital,

Welcome back. I hope you had an enjoyable vacation.


MattBryan Says:

BTW I agree that the GOAT discussion is pointless, though for me personally it will always be Laver. I guess everybody has his/her own personal favorite and it actually does not matter how many slams the guy won or how many years he stayed as No1.

As for “new exciting champion”, again I agree that it is mostly housewives’ infatuation with bulging muscles, pirate pants and handsome face… oh forgot to mention “Vamos” and fist pump:)

“Writing on the wall” seems to me absolutely different. It is Fed’s part of the season starting and I would not give Nadal many chances in it, I would rather look for Djokovich to be a real challenger.


NachoF Says:

It definitely is hard to compare players from different eras but… how can we say Nadal even has a chance of being considered the GOAT or even one of the GOAT?? I dont understand that at all… since hes been on the tour he has never even been no.1 at any point…


Shital Dahal Says:

Von and Ra,
Thank you guys. What made the whole vacation package awesome was one day I got to play tennis on rye grass.

The morning starts with rain. The match will be delayed by at least an hour.


Shital Dahal Says:

Glad that the rain has stopped long before I got impatient.


Shital Dahal Says:

Jane, Dan and Sean,
Are you guys fired up and ready to go?
Here they come, Rafa and Fed enter the court. Rafa did not like coming out first. Well, the ranking does that. He hopes to come out after Fed, which will happen only if he becomes No. 1.


Shital Green Says:

I like Fed not wearing the funny looking gentleman’s attire.


Shital Green Says:

Battle for the 1st point. Fed misses the 1st serve twice already. !st point goes to Rafa after a good rally.
Rafa hits wide, 1st unforced error in the 2nd point. It is 15-15. Rafa scrambles in the 3rd point. Fed leads 30-15. Fed plays 4th point really good and, with his first ace, holds the serve.


Shital Green Says:

Rafa serving, takes 1st point. Beautiful net play by Fed. 15-15. Fed could not return the T-line serve. 30-15. Fed throws out his backhand. It is 40-15.
I like Rafa’s 2nd serve. Rafa double faults, and it is 40-30. Nerve?
Fed throws slightly wide, another unforced error.
One game a piece.


Shital Green Says:

3rd game. Fed’s serve, takes 1st point. Rafa’s down the line forehand return earns him a point. Next point Fed plays well, but the 5th point in this game Fed throws in the net, and it is 30-40. Fed misses his on-the-body backhand return, and Rafa takes the break. Good sign for Rafa.


Shital Green Says:

4th game: Nadal’s serve. The 1st point of this game has been the most beautiful. Those short wide angles were just great. Nadal is 40-0. Rafa challenges the game point call and wins, but Fed wins the replay point on Rafa’s error. Fed plays the next point really great, the cross court backhand. 40-30. Fed is back. with his net play to deuce it. Fed plays his best to earn the next point after a very long rally. Fed has the 1st break point, but he misses forehand. Back to deuce. Good serve by Rafa, but the next point Fed’s forehand return in the corner makes it deuce again. Another forehand miss by Fed gives Rafa Ad. He misses 1st serve (3rd or 4th time already). Fed cannot return the 2nd serve, throws backhand in the net. Rafa holds.


Shital Green Says:

5th game. Easy service game for Fed. Rafa could not return a single one, maybe still recovering from the tough last game. Rafa leading 3-2 and serving.


fed is afraid Says:

go rafa, this is yours to take!!!


Shital Green Says:

6th game: Rafa takes 1st point when after a good rally Fed throws long. A ridiculous long backhand from Rafa. 15-15. Fed makes an easy backhand error from close to the net. 30-15. Fed comes to the net, but Rafa whips an ugly cross court short. Fed makes another UE. Now Rafa leads 4-2.


Kevin Says:

So far Nadal only serve one at Fed’s forehand. Good tactic. Now Fed stands one step more on his backhand.


Shital Green Says:

7th game: Fed hits a backhand cross court winner but misses the 1st serve in the next point. Rafa returns. Fed plays the next point very well on the net. 40-30. Rafa misses his backhand short angle. Fed holds at 3-4.


Shital Green Says:

8th: Rafa’s serve. Fed makes backhand error. Fed misses easy one at the net and throws long another to give Rafa 40-0, but Fed’s next net play was great. Rafa cannot get to Fed’s lob return. 40-15. Fed throw a forehand wide. Rafa leads 5-3.


Shital Green Says:

9th game. Fed serves really well next 4 points and holds his serve 2nd time in love (1st was the 5th game).


Ganesh Says:

Fed should attack him at volley more often. cut off all the angles and reduce the running time of Nadal’s speed.


Shital Green Says:

10th game: Rafa is serving for the set. Fed misses another backhand return, and Rafa misses forehand. 15-15. Fed plays next point really well from the net. 15-30. Fed throws long but challenges and loses the point. 30-30. Beautiful forehand shot from Rafa. Fed plays the next point really awesome. The best point of the match. Deuce. Fed goes to the net to level the set. Takes Ad. Rafa-Fed battle at their best in these two pints. Rafa wins the point at the end and delivers his 1st ace. 2nd set point. Fed hits unreturnable forehand cross court from one corner to another. Deuce. Fed hits a similar inside out forehand in the same corner. 2nd chance to break. Rafa misses the 1st serve. Fed had a huge chance to break here but could not. Deuce 4. Fed throws backhand wide Set point 3. Rafa lures Fed constantly into backhand and Fed misses in the net.
Rafa takes the 1st set.
My 1st laugh at Sean !


Kevin Says:

Fed got better 1st serve now. Hope that he can keep his serve game in 2nd set. Certainly not a one side match as French Final


Shital Green Says:

2nd set, 1st game: Fed serves well again to make quick 40-0 and then game. 3rd time hods in love.


Sean Randall Says:

Tough first for Roger. Rafa played too good. Roger needs to really quit chipping the return. That play is not going to work. Sneaking in, that chip/charge he did are better plays.

The conditions – windy/damp – no in Roger’s favor either. But Fed’s game did pick up toward the end of the set. Let’s see if he can stay at that level because right now he’ll need to the way Rafa’s going.


Kevin Says:

Roger jump to left to use forehannd Nadal’s 2nd servc. Come to the net, Roger.


Ra Says:

This match is insane.


Shital Green Says:

2nd set 2nd game: Rafa’s serve. Fed plays again at the net to win 1st point and hits a forehand winner. 0-30. Fed dumps 2nd serve return in the net. 15-30. Fed’s next net play is weak, and Rafa makes it 30-30. Rafa misses his forehand. Fed has another chance to break. 30-40, and does it here with his forehand. Here, Rafa beat himself by trying to overplay, confused.

2nd set 3rd game: Fed makes a few errors but holds to consolidate his break and leads 3-0. He should be winning this set.
I am ALMOST sure at this point that the match will go into the 5th set set. Both are playing their best tennis, and I am satisfied so far.

Nobody I know is around here. So I will come back at the end of the 2nd set.


Kevin Says:

Roger’s serve is back


Shital Green Says:

One quick note Fed has been serving amazing. Fed holds for the 4th time in love to lead 4-1.
If Fed wins, I will give his serve credit, but if he loses, I will say he got outplayed.
Rafa is not serving well at all, so he could be blaming his serve if he loses.


Sean Randall Says:

Roger’s serve is back but his volleys are utter garbage. Now that Rafa’s back on serve Roger’s in a real deep hole. Real deep!


Shital Green Says:

8th game 2nd set, Rafa gets a break chance on Fed’s 2nd serve. Rafa levels the match and on the way to 4-4 if he holds his own serve, which he will in all likelihood.


Shital Green Says:

Fed says not so fast. He battles well to bring it at 30-30, but Rafa serves well in the next point to lead, but he throws a forehand in the net. Deuce. Tough for Rafa to hold his serve. Misses 1st serve and misses another forehand on the wide. Fed has another break chance. Rafa serves well and Deuce 2. Fed misses an approach shot from the net, goes long at the baseline.
Finally, Rafa holds, and it is 4-4.


Kevin Says:

Nadal will win


Shital Green Says:

It is not a prediction or projection, but I would not be surprised if Rafa wins in straight sets. I wanted the match to be a 5 setter, but it looks like Fed is gonna disappoint me.


Shital Green Says:

Rafa is serving to take 2 sets lead. Fed is putting everything in. Rafa’s improved backhand slice gives him set point, but Fed plays great backhan rallies, and Rafa misses his forehand in the net. Deuce. Rafa misses 1st serve. Rafa’s forehand slice volley is blown away by the wind. And Fed has break chance. Next point, a lot of scrambling, and Fed throws forehand in the net. Deuce 2. Rafa serves well, topspin, and Fed throws long. Rafa set point 2, but misses 1st serve, but Fed wastes it in the net with his weak backhand.
Rafa takes 2 sets lead, and I am laughing at Dan this time.


conclusion of d matter Says:

It’s all nerves. if federer doesn’t steady is nerves. Rafa wins today


conclusion of d matter Says:

break points is 3/3. Federer is playing the important points poorly.


Shital Green Says:

4th game 3rd set: Fed has double break chances, and Rafa misses 1st serve but deuce by challenging long. Deuce. He serves well to take Ad and, Fed misses his backhand: it goes wide. Rafa holds at 2-2.

5th game 3rd set: Fed holds his service game easily in love, (4th or 5th time?). Like I said, I would not blame his serve for the loss, if he loses. I would say he let Rafa play baseline rallies to dictate in his own terms, meaning Fed is not playing serve & volley as much as he should.


fed is afraid Says:

go rafa, i knew you would win. roger is toast.


Shital Green Says:

6th game 3rd set, Rafa gives Fed another double break chance. Rafa saves the 1st with his 2nd serve, 30-40. Again, Rafa misses 1st serve. And again, Fed cannot return Rafa’s 2nd serve. Deuce. Rafa’s 3rd miss in the 1st serve, and this time Fed hits forehand cross court winner. to have another break chance (1 for 11 break conversion). Rafa saves to deuce it, but Fed unleashes forehand winner to have 12th break chance, 4th in this game alone. He cannot return at the baseline with his backhand. Deuce 3. Then, Rafa hits massive overhead shot to game point, and Fed trows a long.
Rafa holds. It is 3-3.


conclusion of d matter Says:

with this 3-3 hold by Nadal in nthe third set its over


Shital Green Says:

7th game 3rd set: Fed is down 0-30 and misses the 1st serve and misses at the net. 0-40. Fed saves 1st break point and 2nd break point with his well placed serve. But he misses 1st serve, but Rafa cannot return the serve. Deuce. Fed is in control with game point. A good serve helps him hold. It is 4-3.


conclusion of d matter Says:

Rafa now close to the finish line becomes nervous and allow Fed to climb out of a 0-40 hole
whats going on here


Shital Green Says:

8th game, 3rd set: Rafa is serving to hold at 4-4. Easy 1st 2 points but misses one, serves well and it is 40-15 and Fed throws up in the sky for long.
Rafa holds at 4-4.


Shital Green Says:

9th game 3rd set: Fed is winning his service points easy, but suddenly misses two, and it is 30-30. He serves well in the 5th and 6th point to hold at 5-4.


Shital Green Says:

Dark rain cloud is looming and it starts raining to interrupt the match. For how long? We don’t know.


NachoF Says:

I knew it :(…. Nadal has just been playing too good lately…. this match might not even be going to 4 sets.


Ra Says:

Again: This match is insane. Roger has won 95 points to Rafa’s 92 but has only converted 1 of 12 breakpoints, whereas Rafa has converted 3 of 7…


jane Says:

Shital – how nice to see you back; hope your vacation was a good one.

I hope Rafa can finish it in 3 after this rain delay.


Tennis Fan Says:

An interesting match … Federer in fact playing very well except for occasional brain cramps on critical break points. The tennis gods are with Nadal so far. Federer is actually leading in almost every stat except for break points won… the most important one. If anyone can come back and still pull this match out … it is Federer. Come on’ tennis gods … show him some mercy. Nadals had his share of luck … its Feds turn. We will see 5 sets yet!


Vulcan Says:

This match is a long way from over.
The rain delay is just what the doctor ordered for Roger. Hes the more experienced player and he knows Rafa is going to have time to think about what he might accomplish. All of the right ingredients for a classic choke. The question is does Nadal have the mettle (hes already shown he has the game) to sit around in the locker room and come back out to what essentially is going to be an entirely new match.


jane Says:

Tennis Fan,

Rafa is leading in first serve percentage and net approaches in addition to break point conversions. And he has half as many unforced errors.


fed is afraid Says:

roger is the one who usually chokes, not rafa.


Vulcan Says:

Regarding the tennis…when these guys play it pretty much seems to come down to a battle of how well Rafa serves to Federer’s backhand vs how well Federer can hit inside out forehands. Federer has spanked quite a few of those today and thats what he needs to be able to do to hurt Rafa who likes to camp out in his backhand corner.


Tennis Fan Says:

William’s sister’s doubles replay yet again … I’m sure this is the best tennis Wimbledon has to offer to fill the void! … go NBC …


matt Says:

Well, good match so far.

With 3-3 in the third set, 0-40 serving Federer, Nadal has felt all the pressure. He failed a backhand to the net, so 15-40. Then a great service winner, 30-40.

And then, Federer misses first serve. He hits an easy second serve, Nadal has all the time to return with his forehand, and sent it to the net.

That game must be hurting so much in Nadal’s head. It could be a turn-around moment.

And Federer knows it as well, that Nadal gets so nervious when he has to win the whole thing.


Ryan Says:

Why cant fed give nadal a taste of his own medicine and keep hitting to his backhand all the time?


Vulcan Says:

Matt I agree, Nadal squandered opportunities there…but hes shown time and time again that hes all about looking forward and not backwards.


Vulcan Says:

Ryan, two reasons for that:

1. Because Nadals backhand is lethal
2. Because he camps out in the backhand corner so he has all the time in the world to set up for it…he wouldnt be rushed


fed is afraid Says:

rafa has 2 forehands, right now, roger barely has one.


Ryan Says:

Nadal’s backhand is lethal mainly in the cross court area but fed could keep attacking nadal’s backhand all the time with his forehand & and then surprisingly go to nadal’s forehand or something like that.Its stupid to come to the net when nadal keeps passing all over the place.


Daniel Says:

I think the wind is playing a major effect here too.

In one of those 15-40 in the beggining of the third set Fed misses two consecutives second serve returns that was high on his backhand, as usual. That was really strange, he couldn’t even put the ball back in play. Nadal too is having problems with serving against the wind.
Nadal surelly deserve it but Fed deserve at least a set, his breakpoints convertions are ridiculous.


Tennis Fan Says:

Jane says “Rafa is leading in first serve percentage and net approaches in addition to break point conversions. And he has half as many unforced errors.”

Jane, true … but the reality is that Federer has breezed through most of his serve games … while Nadal has been pushed to the brink on almost every one of his serve games. Thats why Nadal has had to serve 110 times to Fed’s 77. Nadal’s 1st serve is a safe one compared to Feds which is why Fed has 9 aces to his 2. Also Feds tactic of coming into the net has been quite effective overall at putting pressure on Nadal’s serve. He has 3 times as many net points won than Nadal … and is clearly the better net player. His differential is ahead of Nadal (winners to unforced errors) which on of the key measures of whether one player has a statistical edge. No … in all fairness you would have to say that Federer has carried the play … he has far more winners … is the more aggressive of the two players and has had far more chances to break than Nadal. Its just that he hasn’t converted on those chances. A bit of that difference is Nadal stepping up on those break chances …but more than that it has been Federer not putting away many of those chances.
I think that if Fed can pull off a break on Nadal’s next service game … the outcome of the match could change. If it did … it would go down as one of the biggest comebacks in tennis history. … granted a big IF. If I were Federer I would be visualizing that comeback while waiting for Nadals next and key service game.


Shital Green Says:

Hi Jane,
It is good to be back on time. The vacation was simply great. I had a lot of fun: picnicking at Baker Beach, hiking in the Laguna Mountain, and canoing in the Lake Hodges were memorable.

Back to the match. Good news: Just heard Rafa and Fed will back be back in the court in about 20 minutes. Kinda sad that it is heading toward straight set for Rafa. Still hoping Fed makes it 5 setter, or at least 4 setter. Not sure that’s gonna happen. Good for Rafa to have 2 sets lead, though.


NachoF Says:

Federer is doing so much better when he attacks Nadal’s forehand actually….Nadal is definitely not hitting as heavy as he had throughout the whole tournament….


Ryan Says:

Its unfortunate for tennis to have someone like nadal who plays tennis in this weird fashion.His physique and power on his groundstrokes because of that physique is what is making him win matches against everyone else.Nothin else.Federer and djokovic have excellent groundstrokes,serve and net play.But there are unable to beat nadal.Why? His muscle power…….On the court nadal is an oppurtunist like a greedy dog who never gives up his bone to anyone and keeps lickin it and runs around like one after every ball.I dont care how his personality is, his tennis makes me wanna smash my tv.


matt Says:

I believe this rain delay will help Roger a lot. Nadal will start thinking about how close he is now to achieve what he wanted so badly during all his life (a Wimbledon title) and could get anxious.


Ra Says:

It’s one big tightrope act if you ask me. Anything could happen. Nadal could win in 3, 4 or 5; Federer could win in 5 (although that’d certainly be the tallest order of the possibilities). There is so little deciding this match from what I’m seeing. Roger has played some ridiculous tennis to create breakpoints, but Rafa has stepped up to defend against those breaks while Federer has tightened up on them.


Janadev Says:

I dont know if I am the only one seeing this for the first time from Nadal…

He is either hitting to Federer’s backhand or body(new tactic??) most of the times..

any comments from you guys???


fed is afraid Says:

the rain is delaying the inevitable, a rafa victory. fed fans have to keep hoping it never stops raining.


Ryan Says:

To Tennis-fan,

The first set was ok….fed lost serve initially and never got back.But the second set is ridiculous.He had a 3-0 lead and nadal wins it 6-4.Fed could have won that definitely and it was fed’s fault and not luck or anything.


matt Says:

I want Federer to win this match, but I have to give all credit to Nadal. He is the only one player that can defeat Federer on grass, and that speaks volumes about how good he is.


Tennis Fan Says:

Janadev says “I dont know if I am the only one seeing this for the first time from Nadal…

He is either hitting to Federer’s backhand or body(new tactic??) most of the times..”

No .. Janadev.. that has been Nadal’s key tactic everytime he plays Federer” … today I wouldn’t say it has been overly effective. Federer has been hitting some good strong ground strokes which have driven Nadal back and then won many of his net approaches to polish off the points. I really think this is still Federer’s match to lose … or win … if he can conjure up the mental strengh …


Kevin Says:

Nadal is the guy who focus on every point. He is too tough and will not affect by the delay. If Federer is mentally stronger, we may see more sets. Hope that his first serve coming back after the rain.


Janadev Says:

Thanks Tennis Fan… I actually thought the body stuff was a new tactic…


Vulcan Says:

Federer has not shown one sliver of trepidation.
I mean its gotta be hard after what happened at the French not to get discouraged and feel like the same thing is happening all over again. But he is playing well. His serve and forehand are on and he is aware that the scoreline is not indicative of how close this match is.


Daniel Says:

Tennis Fan.

I agree with you 100%. Even though the actual score, I still get the feeling that the match is in Fed’s hands. He needs one more good service game and he will have two oportunities to break Nadal, or they will go to a tie break where Fed will need to start making aces again.


Vulcan Says:

I disagree with the notion that this match is in Federers hands…thats going overboard IMO. Federer dodged a bullet at 3-3 in the 3rd which would of had a good chance of finishing him off.
The match is not in anybodies hands…these guys are just too evenly matched on this surface at the present juncture.


Kevin Says:

Fed is too nervous at the break point. Only good serve at breakpoint or tiebreak could help him from loss today


Tennis Fan Says:

If Federer can somehow find the mental edge to win the third set … he will be very tough to beat!


sardino Says:

Welcome back Shital! Exciting match. Hope Rafa can finish him off in three. Later.


Shital Green Says:

Players are back on the court. I saw Rafa smile. I could not read what it meant.


Sean Randall Says:

The rain delay clearly helps Fed, but it’s a longshot that it will change the outcome. Nadal could come out tight – as could Fed – but he’s more under the gun. A couple of shanks, miss hits, etc., and Fed gets the set.

Federer has been really poor on breakpoints today. Really poor. But is he getting some chances and he is serving well.


matt Says:

Have they said when does it start again?


Shital Green Says:

They’re gonna warm up before the resumption?


Sean Randall Says:

Also of interest, while Rafa has uncle Toni, just who does Fed talk to in the locker about strategy? Mirka? The locker room attendant?


Ra Says:

Whoa, did I just switch from watching online to watching on lameBC in time to see them sweeping the clay? WTF?!


Kevin Says:

Could coach talk with player at locker room?
I doubt it


Janadev Says:

Good Point Sean..May be this is when a coach can help you.. may be Fed does not need a coach to improve his game, but to improve his mental toughness.. I believe he needs a coach…


fed is afraid Says:

he talks to gwen stefani


matt Says:

If Federer wins the third set, a very new match could start then.


Shital Green Says:

10th game 3rd set, Rafa serves great, his 3rd ace of the match, 40-0 quick point. Misses the 1st serve, and Fed pounds on the 2nd. Rafa throws another sloppy backhand wide. 40-30. Now it is Deuce. This is the worst I have seen Rafa. But with an exchange of a point, back to Deuce 2. Rafa’s 5th game point, and he holds. 5-5.
Nadal gets 2nd Late Warning.


Shital Green Says:

11th game of the 3rd Set: Fed wins the 1st and 3rd easy serve points but plays the 2nd bad. 30-15. His 1st serve is called out, but challenges, and wins fo the 1st time. He wins replay with overhead shot and, with the 10th ace holds, at 6-5.


jane Says:

fed is afraid – funny comment. lol. i read somewhere that gwen’s hubby is a tennis player. so you never know.


jane Says:

looks like this is going to at least a 4th set…


Shital Green Says:

12 the game, 3rd set: Rafa is serving to go into tie break. He consistently serves well. 40-0. Rafa aces for the 4th time to hold, and it is tie break.
Fed’s TB record 7-1 in Finals.

Both hold serve: 1-2. Fed serving. Fed’s challenged point should have been his. He aces with 3-2 lead.
Rafa is serving. Fed gets a mini break with 2 forehand shots, 5-2. Like I said earlier, he should win this one. He misses 1; it is 5-3. He serves well to lead 6-3. Rafa saves 1st set point 4-6. Another good serve and it is 6-5, still a set point. Fed aces and takes the set.

Thank you, at least I get to watch the 4th set now.


Tennis Fan Says:

What pressure players …both of them. And Federer with set on the line delivers an unhitable serve. Incredible! Go Fed!


Janadev Says:

yep


Shital Green Says:

1st game 4th set, Rafa holds easily, giving away only 1 point.
2nd Game 4th set, Fed begins with an ace and another good serve and a solid cross court forehand gives him 40-0. He misses next one, 40-15 but with another similar forehand holds.
3rd game 4th set, Rafa hits an amazing backhand defense-into-offense, but Fed hits a solid forehand from way behind the court. 15-15. Rafa makes a forehand error at the end of a rally. 15-30. But he approaches the net to hit backhand flick. 30-30. Rafa hits a solid forehand in the corner, 40-30, and Fed throws wide.
Rafa holds, 2-1.


Vulcan Says:

Time and time again what separates the greats is the ability to hit aces under pressure, seemingly at will with impunity. Federer in the TB was a textbook example


Shital Green Says:

4th game 4th Set, a couple easy service points give Fed 40-0, bu Rafa hits a solid forehand to Fed’s volley. 40-15. Rafa slips in the next point and throws wide.
Fed holds, 2-2.


Shital Green Says:

5th game 4th set, Rafa misses on his drop shot, 15-15. He serves well, 30-15. Fed misses backhand return, 40-15. Another backhand passing shot to Fed’s volley wins Rafa the game, 3-2.


Shital Green Says:

6th game, 4th set, Looks like Fed wants to just hold on to his serve and win the set again in tie break.
Fed misses the 1st service points but wins the next 3 service points easily. 40-15. Now Rafa hits a forehand winner. 40-30. Fed misses his forehand in the net. Deuce. Fed misses 1st serve but serves well the 2nd and rifles a forehand winner and another good serve helps him hold, 3-3.


Shital Green Says:

7th game 4th set, Rafa misses 1st serve but serves extremely well the 2nd and wins the 1st point. A couple of good serves. 40-0. Rafa wins another game in LOVE, still far fewer than Fed’s.


Shital Green Says:

8th game 4th set, despite serving not so great, Fed wins the 1st point. A very long rally, both played great, but at the end Fed misses his backhand. 15-15. Fed misses 1st serve, but wins point in the 2nd serve. 30-15. Fed misses 2nd time serve and volley. 30-30. He serves well and hits forehand from the mid court. 40-30. He misses 1st serve but serves well the 2nd hits another forehand winner to Rafa’s forehand corner from the mid court.
He holds, 4-4.


Kevin Says:

hope Fed hold his nerve and serve to tiebreak


Von Says:

If the 4th set goes to a tie-break, Federer will most likely win it. His serve will earn him the free points. Nadal’s only chance is to break Fed.


Shital Green Says:

9th game 4th set, Rafa serves well, but misses the next point, 15-15. Misses 1st serve. With an incredible backhand angle shot from way behind the baseline, 30-15.Serves well next 2 to hold, 5-4.

10th game 4th set, Fed serves, long rally, Rafa hits a drop shot and another cross court backhand low shot, 0-30. Fed serves well. 15-30. He misses 1st serve but serves big the 2nd and steps in to hit winner, 30-30. Rafa throws forehand long. 40-30. Fed misses 1st serve but again serves big the 2nd and hits forehand winner from the mid court. It is 5-5.


Von Says:

Nadal appears to be getting tight and missing his opportunities to convert. This is not the situation in which he wants to find himself.


Shital Green Says:

11th game 4th set, Rafa’s 1st point is drop shot. Another good serve. 30-0. Rafa mistimes forehand to throw wide, and Fed makes an UE, 40-15 and then with a good serve, holds at 6-5.

12th game, Fed will do everything to push it to tie break and 5th set. Fed misses 1st point. 0-15. He misses 1st serve, but plays a great rally. 15-15. Another good serve on the T-line. 30-15. Another wide angle serve. 40-15. But Rafa drops close to the net, and Fed misses at the net. He holds, 6-6. Tie break. Looks like it is heading to the 5th set.


Kroll Says:

Bloody hell! Another tie break!


jane Says:

Von – exactly some bad misses from rafa again, much like last year. Fed seems to have had the upper hand since he came back on after the rain delay


Shital Green Says:

Rafa gets a mini break, 2-1 in the tie break and serving.


Shital Green Says:

Rafa serves twice unreturnable, 4-1.


Shital Green Says:

Rafa 2 points away from bidding farewell to Fed era.


Shital Green Says:

Rafa double faults, 5-3.


Shital Green Says:

Fed says, not yet. He is still in it. 6-5.


ATP NO Says:

Nadal is winning this thing on his heels. If he manages to pull this off, Wimbledon will truly cease to be Wimbledon.

And when the guard fully changes (and assuming that no beautiful, artistic players come up behind Federer after he retires), I doubt I’ll be watching much tennis. I’m sorry but I just don’t see how this meat and potatoes, running-around-like-a-track-star game is good for men’s tennis (as if it didn’t have enough problems already)…


Shital Green Says:

Rafa turned out to be another choker, by missing 2 points on his serve. He is serving to close out. 6-6. 1st match point. 6-7. Fed makes it 7-7 with a big serve. Fed misses 1st serve. But Nadal hits incredible forehand on the run down the line. 8-7. Another match point. Rafa is serving. But Fed makes an incredible shot. 8-8. Fed hits another winner and has set point 2. He misses 1st serve but converts the 2nd and wins the set.
And it is 5th set.
My dream is fulfilled.


Kevin Says:

Big match


Tennis Fan Says:

Forget about the Tennis gods … I think he may be himself … Fed deserves to win .. he is simply mind boggling … credit to Nadal to demanding the best from the best!!!!!!!


jane Says:

Yep, major choking by Rafa there…


Kevin Says:

Could the match complete today?


Tennis Fan Says:

Rafa ain’t choking … Federer just refuses to lose!


Ra Says:

Simply epic…


Shital Green Says:

Suddenly it is a 50-50 game. It is beautiful tennis.


Von Says:

jane:

“Von – exactly some bad misses from rafa again, much like last year. Fed seems to have had the upper hand since he came back on after the rain delay.”

When it began to rain, I thought deja vu. Reminiscent of that 2004 Roddick v. Federer Wimby match. A-Rod was winning and after the rain, well you know the rest…. The rain always seems to favor Fed.

If Rafa really wants to win this title, he had better get his head in gear or else it will be lights out until next year.


Shital Green Says:

5th Set
Both hold to win their 1st games, 1-1. Fed does it more comfortably, so my guess is Fed should have a psychological advantage from here on.


matt Says:

Nadal clearly choked with 5-2 in the 4º set tie-break, making double fault, then a backhand to the net and you could see that he just couldn’t move, he was so frightened.

This is going to be the most hurting defeat I have ever watched in tennis.

Nadal won’t recover from this choke today.


fed is afraid Says:

i give roger credit, i may have to change my name. incredible tennis by both.


Shital Green Says:

5th set 3rd game, Fed misses his forehand 2nd point unbelievably. 30-30. Serves well. 40-30. Misses 1st serve. Double fault for the 2nd time in the match. Deuce. Rafa throws long after a brief rally. Rafa slices and then hits a drop shot. Deuce 2. Fed misses 1st serve but serves well the 2nd, game point. Rafa’s weak return goes high up and Fed whacks it winner easily.
Fed holds. 2-1.


Von Says:

Nadal just missed another opportunity to convert — his legs are not moving as fast as he would like them to. Federer has the added advantage of serving first, which could prove costly for Rafa if he gets broken. It appears to me that Rafa does not have the self-belief that he can win.


Shital Green Says:

4th game 5th set. Rafa misses 1st point. But he plays pretty well drop shot in the 3rd point. 30-15. He misses 1st serve but sharp angles the 2nd. 40-15. Rafa holds with a good serve on the T-line.
2-2.

5th game, 5th set, Fed plays 2 points serve and volley well. But misses a forehand. 30-15. Starts drizzling. Rafa challenges a call. 30-30. Rafa challenges 2nd call. It is IN. Replay. Fed serves well. 40-30. Battle of the net play. Rafa wins the point. Deuce.
Match has been 2nd time interrupted due to rain.


Kevin Says:

too bad. match could not complete today


Von Says:

Rain, rain, go away, come again another day! Wimby has got to be the MOST frustrating of all the grand slams.


Kevin Says:

They build a cover and will be used next year


jane Says:

shame that theres another rain delay as the final will likely be played out tomorrow morning.


Tennis Fan Says:

Fantastic tennis .. its going to be hard to watch other matches after this one.

…Credit to both players … some of the most exciting tennis I have ever seen!

… no one deserves to lose this match.


blah Says:

Holy crap what a match. I thought Rafa had it in the tiebreaker, even after the choking away of the two serves up 5-2, on championship point in which he was serving he decided to come to the net, a bit of a puzzling decision. In that situation hard to see why he wouldn’t rather play to his strength than to his opponent’s weakness. Roger also cut down the errors from his backhand in late 4th and 5th set


Shital Green Says:

Here is something provocative for fun.
If Rafa loses today, there will be one option left for him, speak like Djoko and prepare a mental shield against Fed phobia.


Kroll Says:

It ll be nothing short of insane if the match has to be completed tomorrow. Wonder who will come out of the blocks faster when the rain comes back. I must say Fed’s comeback has been phenomenal. I think its Rafa who’s gonna win now though. But overall some truly incredible points, surely the best match I ve seen in recent times.


Vulcan Says:

Blah i think Nadal went with the right approach (no pun intended) by coming in to Federers backhand. That crosscourt forehand is Nadal’s bread and butter and he was hoping to catch Roger off guard. That passing shot was sublime stuff.


blah Says:

In my opinion this rain delay benefits Rafa. Gives him time to recover himself from the fourth set tiebreaker, he also got it to deuce instead of letting Federer win the game before the delay, so he shouldn’t be too down.


Ryan Says:

is the match going to continue tomorrow?


Ra Says:

I hope this does something to alleviate the boredom some people have expressed feeling with the Federer/Nadal rivalry dominating the top of the game for so long.


Vulcan Says:

I think the key if they have to come back out tommorrow will be Federers serve…it took him a little while but as the match progress he slowly entered the zone…whether he could come back and start knocking off aces at will is 50/50 at the beginning of the match.


blah Says:

Yes I could see that it really isn’t a wrong approach and might be one of the best strategies at time, forcing Roger to stay alive, but I expected Nadal to stay at the baseline, hit into roger’s backhand multiple times and grind out the point.

Rare to see Rafa slip up mentally and, wow, Roger coming back from two sets down and from that tiebreak after being embarassed in Roland Garros. It’s clear that these two are still the best by a good distance. If Rafa can come back from that tiebreaker and win the match, his mental toughness would just be…


Sean Randall Says:

Absolutely an epic match!

The first delay in the third set helped Roger. This delay helps Rafa who’s got to be a bit shaken after losing two matchpoints.

It’s really anyone’s game from here. Coin flip. Slight I give to Roger but you could make the arguement for Rafa.

By my clock they’ve played as late as 930 local time so if the rain stops soon they’d still have plenty of time to finish.


Shital Green Says:

Blah,
I agree with you. Why did Rafa decide to come to the net at 5-1 (4th set tie break)? How the hell could he double fault at 5-2?

Besides Rafa’s 2 choking moments, incredible tennis. Probably best ever in the entire history.
Sad that we will have to wait until tomorrow morning to see the end.


Vulcan Says:

Yeah I think he knew he was tight and recognized that the best thing would be to try to end the point as quickly as possible…his approach shot was fairly decent…but as mentioned above..that passing shot had “I refuse to lose” written all over it.


blah Says:

YES Resuming play


Shital Green Says:

Good that there is more tennis for today. Fed and Rafa are back to the court.


Janadev Says:

Nadal looks like a kid while the players are coming on to the court.. hahahaha


Shital Green Says:

5th game 5th set, Fed resumes with Ace 19 and 20 to hold, 3-2.


Shital Green Says:

6th game 5th set, Rafa settles to play well 1st 2 point but misses the 1st serve. It does not affect his 2nd serve. 40-0. Fed hits beautiful forehand shot down the line. 40-15. Rafa serves well to hold, 3-3.


Shital Green Says:

7th game 5th set, Fed holds with another easy service game in love (his 6th?).


Shital Green Says:

8th game 5th set, Rafa throws wide after a brief rally. 0-15. Serves well, 15-15. Fed misses backhand. 30-15. Fed hits a backhand winner as Rafa throws his return in the net. 30-30. Rafa misses 1st serve and Fed hits beautiful forehand. Break point for Fed. Rafa saves it with an overhead shot. Deuce. Rafa misses 1st serve again but sets up forehand inner with his 2nd.
He holds, 4-4.


Shital Green Says:

9th game 5th set, Fed takes 1st point, but the long rally gives Rafa 2nd. 15-15. Two good serves. 40-15. Fed misses forehand an easy one from the mid court. 40-30. Fed’s 2nd serve. Rafa scrambles to waste it.
Fed holds, 5-4.
Looks like it is gonna go into the 5th tie break: my ultimate dream is about to come true.


Shital Green Says:

10th game 5th set, Rafa aces in his 2nd serve. He misses a forehand pickup return. 15-15. Serves well. 30-15. Fed gets to hit a forehand in the corner. 30-30. Rafa sets up a forehand, and Fed throws long high. 40-30. Another forehand winner from Rafa. 5-5.


blah Says:

These guys are absolutely coldblooded.

I want this set to go to 22-20 or something like that.


Shital Green Says:

11th game 5th set, Fed misses the 1st point but sets up a winner in the 2nd. 15-15. Rafa hits a deep passing shot by the net. 15-30. Rafa gets a double break point. 15-40. Fed hits 27th (?) ace. Rafa misses another return in hurry. Deuce. Fed sets up another forehand and another. He holds, 6-5.


Shital Green Says:

12th game 5th set, Rafa misses 1st serve but does well in the 2nd. 15-0. Fed’s forehand goes long. 30-0. Rafa has been missing most of his serves. He misses a forehand down the line but wins the next. 40-15. Again he serves well his 2nd serve to hold, 6-6.


TD (Tam) Says:

I can’t believe it when will Roger’s luck finally run out? Rafa needs some luck for once, come on Rafa!


Shital Green Says:

13th game 5th set, Fed misses his 1st 2 points. 0-30. Fed aces. 15-30. He serves on the T-line and another 120 mph serve. 40-30. Rafa returns a winner with his forehand on the run. Deuce. Fed serves well, game point, but misses the 1st serve and throws one forehand wide. Deuce 2. Serves well, game point. He misses 1st serve, but holds with his 2nd. 7-6.


Shital Green Says:

14th game, my dream number, of the 5th set,
Rafa serving. Fed wins the 1st point. 0-15. Fed throws forehand long. 15-15. Rafa serves on Fed’s body. 30-15. He misses the 1st serve. Another rally. Fed throws forehand in the net. 40-15. Rafa misses 1st serve. A weird point for Fed: ball hits on the net and drops. Another crazy play from both sides. Rafa holds, 7-7.


blah Says:

OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY NADAL BREAKS


blah Says:

Rafael Nadal! He earned this


Shital Green Says:

15th game 5th sets, Fed serving. Rafa wins the 1st two points incredibly. Fed misses 1st serve and in the 2nd, he is able to hit a passing shot. Rafa pays an incredible shot. 15-40, but Fed serves well. 30-40. Rafa slips and misses. Fed misses. Rafa gets another break chance. Fed serves well to Deuce 2. Fed misses forehand in te net. Rafa gets 3rd break chance, and Fed throws long. Rafa breaks, 7-8, and is serving to win the match.

16th game 5th set, Rafa throws out his 1st point but he wins the next with serve and volley. 15-15. He serves and volley again. 30-15. Fed’d return could have gone out but Rafa touches. 30-30. Rafa has another Championship Point for the 3rd time. Fed saves an impossible serve. Deuce. Rafa serves well to get 4th time CP.
Congrats to Rafa.
Thank you to Fed for making it 5th set and 16th game in the final set.


Kroll Says:

Thats it!He wins!


jane Says:

VAMOS, VAMOS, VAMOS, VAMOS, VAMOS RAFA NADAL!!!

And a well fought epic from Roger.

Thanks guys for providing more drama than we could’ve asked for – JUST LOVELY THAT MATCH!


Daniel Says:

Well, wau!!!

These two are in a different leval. The oher guys will look at this and think there is nothing they can do.

Rafa deserve it for keeping his mind together. After the 4th I thought it will be over quickly since Fed was serving first. But Fed was the one figthing to keep his serve.

This just prove how hard it is to beat Fed at Slams. Off course this defeat will shake things a little more, but I don´t see this as turning point where Fed will just play poorly. He will bounce back and reclaim next year title, and I hope it is Nadal again, any other player against this two would have lost in straigth.


Shital Green Says:

Rafa is not going to celebrate this? What is he talking about? Somebody, explain to me.


Kroll Says:

Well Sean, true to form, your predictions were catastrophic. I think its reverse-clairvoyance that you posses… :). But in all fairness it would have been impossible to predict this level of quality. The level of tennis they were both playing in the fifth set till the very end was unreal and perhaps affirms Roger’s greatness and perhaps anoints Rafa’s. However, I still dont see Rafa as a potential US open champion yet. I still see Roger winning it easily.


Ra Says:

Shital,

I’m pretty sure he thought he was being asked about the royalty at that point and didn’t really understand the context of the question.

Regarding that match, I am speechless. Those two were just unreal.


viva rafa Says:

Rafa is not going to celebrate this? What is he talking about? Somebody, explain to me.

not everyone was born with english as their first…, the adrenalin makes it impossible to hear the question. so give the guy a brake!


jane Says:

Ra,

Yes, this epic is a treat for any fan of this sport, and we can only thank Rafa and Roger for that. That said, I am thrilled to see some change too, with Rafa winning Wimbledon, and number 1 truly and finally up for grabs. Hard court season will be a blast now!


sardino Says:

I think he just didn’t want to say it in front of Roger/TV…I mean Roger just got done saying it hurt and had tears in his eyes. He will celebrate. Bravo Rafa


Vulcan Says:

Well what can one say after seeing two champions duke it out like heavyweights at the very end and throw everything they have at each other. It was a great victory for Rafa…but I think I might remember the fight Federer put up more than anything else. He could of easily went away in that third set but he refused to concede resulting in the magic that followed.


Ra Says:

jane,

I can totally understand where you are coming from. I think they both played absolutely brilliantly and that Roger lost his streak to the right person in the best possible way.

I’m pleased for Rafa in many ways, not least of all because he can put the “clay court specialist” label behind him. And for anybody that’s been doubting Federer’s ability to play exceptional tennis anymore, I feel that he’s dispelled that notion today even though he didn’t come out on top in the end.


Vulcan Says:

Regarding Rafa, it was fascinating to see how he shrugged off that double fault from the tirebreaker and continued on with his campaign.
He still looked shaky at the end…serving and volleying I think he was still trying to do whatever he could to calm the butterflies. But again he did what champions do..hit big serves when they need them


jane Says:

Ra,

You’re right; Rafa has finally won a non-clay slam. That’s a great point.

And Roger showed some real heart today and I agree with Vulcan that the two of them not conceding and fighting for every point created some unforgettable magic. I am so happy I recorded it; this one is a keeper! :-)


SEAN RANDALL! WHERE IS THE SCORE??? Says:

I thought that you predicted a 4 sets win from Federer! lol Maybe you should get a new job! You are too conservative thinking as a tennis journalist.


Noone afraid of Federer nowadays! Says:

He has no power over Nadal. And he has no power over Djokovic. Players are losing respect of him, and whenever they are on court with him. They would not fear Federer like they used to.


Ellen Mooring Says:

What a torturous match to watch Sunday! My daughter and I were actually praying, we wanted Rafa to win so much. (By contrast, he is a more wholesome boy). When it was about 6-7 in the fifth, Jesus spoke to me, “It will be 7-9.” And it was! Whew! Thank you, Lord. No one who leads such a rebellious and sinful life and in such a public and brazen way should be lifted up.


fed isn't afraid Says:

ellen- are you some kind of nut? how do you know what kind of life roger federer leads off court?

Top story: A Wrist Injury Has Forced Rafael Nadal To Withdraw From Title Defenses In Canada And Cincinnati
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