Nadal Finally Stops Federer in Epic 5-set Wimbledon Final
by Sean Randall | July 6th, 2008, 4:40 pm
  • 191 Comments

Well that was worth it, wasn’t. Rafael Nadal trumps Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7 in an absolutely epic affair that will go down as one of the greatest matches ever. Wow.

I hate to sound cliché, but in this case everyone wins. Tennis wins. Fans win. Roger wins and of course Rafael Nadal wins as he becomes the first player since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win back-to-back Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and just the second Spaniard to win at SW19 after Manuel Santana in 1966.

Simply amazing. Two rain delays. Match points saved. Ridiculously high quality of play from both. Awesome match.

For Nadal, who the hell knows. I won’t go into his future – I’m still digesting this win! But most players having failed to convert two matchpoints in that fourth set tiebreak would have crumbled against the mighty Fed in such a situation. But Nadal still holds mentally entering the fifth. Full credit to Nadal, he’s the best right now and mentally there’s just no one near him.

For Federer, amazing that he could withstand the barrage and stay on song even in the most dire of circumstances. Down two sets, 3-all and love-40 Fed forged onward, saved the breakpoints and battled till the end. I can’t count the number of big serves the Swiss came up with when his back was against the wall but it’s was a lot.

Incredible stuff all around from two very classy champs who have again given us one for the ages. Thanks guys!


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191 Comments for Nadal Finally Stops Federer in Epic 5-set Wimbledon Final

Dave B Says:

What a match!! I could see them going on playing for another 3 hours or more locked in a match until one of them collapsed in exhaustion. Unbelievable. Both great champions.


Shital Green Says:

Sean,
Am I the only one to say this, “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.” ? (quote from my last night’s post).
Are we too partisan here to hope for the victory in 3 or 4 sets? Can we not hold back our partisanship to enjoy the match to its optimum level?

I did exactly just that. And I feel the luckiest today to be graced with the best ever Grand Slam Final. Every Grand Slam should be like this, no matter who we support.


JCF Says:

“Well that was worth it, wasn’t. Rafael Nadal trumps Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(1), 9-7″

You got that score wrong. The 4th set tie break was won (10-8). Nadal had two championship points in that tiebreak, and Federer pulled some very courageous shots that could have done him in, but being the champion he is, he made them when it counted.

Once again, what I saw was exactly what I expected to see.. Federer’s serve getting him out of many sticky situations. And I always knew that if a tiebreak was played, Federer would definately win it. Nadal had to work so hard to create opportunities on Fed’s serve, and Fed just mercilessly snuffed them out with big serves.

The match was very close, they both won about the same number of points, but the points Nadal won, he had to fight hard for. He had about half a dozen aces, Fed had over 2 dozen, and much more unreturnable serves than Rafa.

Something else I learnt is that as tough mentally as Rafa is, he showed that he’s still human. I would rate mental toughness for Rafa and Fed to be about even. What’s really telling is the courage that Fed shows when he is down break points or match points and he is unable to conjure the aces. He isn’t afraid to go for very tough shots, and he makes them.

I am very surprised Rafa didn’t cry after winning that, because Fed definately would have.


adolfo Oliveira Says:

a year ago I mentioned in one of the world’s top websitesin that RN would win Wimbledon before RF ever won Roland Garros. I also said that Rafa’s physical characteristics were much more ajusted to “fast court” than to “land”. Luckily I was right..


andrea Says:

nadal did cry but they didn’t show much of it. roger started to cry with mcenroe but he ended the interview.

so close! you gotta hand it to nadal for being such a ‘mensch’. if there was anyone else that i would have liked to have win, it’s him. broken only once! amazing.

man, that was tight. without the tie break though, some one has to blink.

yeah roger and rafa!!!


Ra Says:

Rafa did cry, JCF. He was sobbing his eyes out for awhile.

These two played so absolutely brilliantly. 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. He lost as only a true champion could.


blah Says:

Yeah, the hardest fought match and one of the best matches ever.
The most defining characteristics of these guys: their mental toughness, it’s not a coincidence that the top two players in the sport are the two mentally toughest players.
Djokovic still has a long way to go until he reach their level.


coriafan Says:

wow unbelievable, you cannot do a match analysis after that. It kinda makes us all wish we were that mentally strong during a match. Umm yeah Fed had his chances but incredible consistency and risks from Rafa. I think with his “developing” big serve he will be able to win points earlier and save his body physically in the long run. How many players can actually evolve from the typical clay courter paradigm and out do the field on grass? Truly amazing! This guy is a chameleon and can adapt to to a nuclear strike…he would be the only one standing with the cockroachaes. I think the U.S. Open may be won already…why not take this a step further and transition to the harcourts.


JCF Says:

“For Nadal, who the hell knows. I won’t go into his future – I’m still digesting this win! But most players having failed to convert two matchpoints in that third set tiebreak would have crumbled against the mighty Fed in such situation. And then the fourth set break as well, and Nadal still holds mentally. Full credit to Nadal, he’s the best right now and mentally there’s just no one near him.”

The match points came in the 4th set not 3rd. I can’t remember if it was set 3 or 4, but Rafa had 0-40 on Federer’s serve, and Fed snuffed them all out with big 1st serves.

As for mental toughness, I agree he is up there, but 5-2 in the breaker with two serves to come, he choked. He hit a very weak double fault, and you could tell it was nerves. What is really impressive however, is the way he put all that behind him in the 5th set and didn’t rue missed opportunities. That would have killed him. But he focussed on the task at hand and worked on coming back to win. The writing appeared on the wall, and everyone would have expected Nadal to be distraught and go away, having blew two CP’s. A lesser player would have given up, and be forgiven for it. Not Rafa.

“For Federer, amazing that he could withstand the barrage and stay on song even in the most dire of circumstances. Down two sets, 3-all and love-40 Fed forged onward, saved the breakpoints and battled till the end. I can’t count the number of big serves the Swiss came up with when his back was against the wall.”

Fed was also lucky for the first rain delay, which gave him a chance to regroup, because he was a couple of games away from being bundled out in straight sets. I think the second rain delay helped Rafa though.

I have to say, congratulations to Rafa. You’re only the 2nd spaniard to ever win Wimbledon, which would have sounded laughable to anyone who even thought a few years ago that he could do it. Now no one can use the excuse that Rafa can’t win on anything outside of clay. Say what you want about the pace of the court, but the fact remains that Rafa was the only man to be able to beat the one guy that no one else has been able to beat for 5 years. He is well and truly the 2nd best grass courter at the moment, and he trumps even Roddick and Hewitt who only managed to win one set each off Federer in 3 attempts.

The ungracious are going to say that the slowing of the court is what helped him win, but I’m not buying it. Why couldn’t anyone else beat Federer the last 5 years? You cannot tell me that Rafa is the only player to benefit from slow courts, and you cannot tell me that Wimbledon is as slow as Roland Garros.

Last year’s final was a heartbreaker for Rafa, and this year it is no doubt a heartbreaker for Fed. I think they’re even now (Rafa did not deserve to win it in 06).

I can only hope this rivalry will continue, and even if Rafa doesn’t win anything in the second half of the year, this is still the best season he’s ever had (not since 1980 has a player won two slams within a month, and Rafa won a tournament straight after RG in between). However, assuming he stays healthy, he is my pick for the US Open.


Sean Randall Says:

JCF, thanks for the corrections – can I blame pure shock at what i witnessed?


Vulcan Says:

I must say it was kind of tough to watch Federer after his interview with Johnny Mac…Ive never seen him so down after a loss. I think the mental struggle between himself and Nadal really took a turn when, during their match, last year…during the changeover…he was complaining about the shot spot and said “it’s killing me”…you could here the fear in his voice…fear which he has never shown before. But hes a great champion and this loss is only going to strengthen his resolve to kick Rafa’s butt at the US Open if Rafa dares to challenge him there.


Ryan Says:

Wit this victory federer can say goodbye to wimbledon from now on.Nadal will be in his head and even if fed reaches the final it’ll always be what we see in the french open.


Ryan Says:

With rafa wat he has shown is the first thing we need in men’s tennis right now is physical fitness.Everything else can be made later on.If you dont have the physique then stay home.


blah Says:

Yes, I don’t think you can use the court argument here. Did it affect them, of course, but there are certain players that are so great that they do what they shouldn’t and are not expected to do. Really shots and court and crowd, in my opinion, did not decide the outcome of the match. This was a battle of the intangibles, the will to win, the heart to comeback, their guts, their mind, their mental toughness. This was a match that happened between both players’ shoulders.

For U.S open, I still have Federer as a slight slight favorite in front of Nadal, who I have as even with Djokovic. Nadal has yet to prove himself on the hardcourts but the way this season is going, he may just take the last slam, and maybe even complete a calendar slam by next year.


Giner Says:

“As for mental toughness, I agree he is up there, but 5-2 in the breaker with two serves to come, he choked. He hit a very weak double fault, and you could tell it was nerves. What is really impressive however, is the way he put all that behind him in the 5th set and didn’t rue missed opportunities. That would have killed him. But he focussed on the task at hand and worked on coming back to win. The writing appeared on the wall, and everyone would have expected Nadal to be distraught and go away, having blew two CP’s. A lesser player would have given up, and be forgiven for it. Not Rafa.”

Looking at Nadal’s body language in the 5th set compared to Federer’s, it looked like Nadal was done. Fed was more confident and relaxed, and Nadal looked like he was pissed off, as though he didn’t care anymore and that he was willing to throw away the match because he came so close to victory and failed, like a weaker player would after squandering match points for a straight sets win. Fed looked the fresher of the two, carried the momentum, and looked the likely winner, but somehow a close game here and there on Fed’s serve reignited Rafa, and how thankful that it did!

Regardless of who was to win that match, I think both are equally deserving champions. With the key thing being that if Nadal were to have lost, the media and critics would brand him a choker, however, no one can call Fed a choker or mentally weak player in losing today. He had the mettle, and so did the other guy.. unfortunately someone had to win. Nadal should be very relieved that the 5th set had no tie breakers. It would mean that Fed would have to break his serve, and he hadn’t had good success at doing that today. If it did go to a tiebreak like at the US Open, there is no doubt in my mind that Federer would be champion for the 6th time.


blah Says:

I wasn’t really suprised at Federer or Nadal crying/tearing after the match. Who the hell wouldn’t after losing/winning a match for the ages. Both players are tired physically, and more importantly, absolutely mentally exhausted. Think of the pressure and how composed they had to be during the match, then the release afterwards when they win/lose after how much they put into the match.


blah Says:

Neither was a choker today. I don’t think either can ever be branded a choker in their lives after today, even if they do slip up in a match in the future.
Those two guys are the exact opposite of chokers.


jane Says:

Rafa is a guy who can really -sorry to use another cliche here, but it’s true – “stay in the moment”. He didn’t let those missed chances get to him, and I am sure he was well aware that he choked a few away. He shows incredible focus, just incredible. And not only that, he has to commended for his work ethic. Rafa just continues to improve, even after winning and winning and winning. He never rests on his laurels. And that’s why we can be pretty sure he’ll be bringing it to hardcourts next – vamos Rafa! Bring it on!


Daniel Says:

We will have to see how Canada and Cincy develop to put Nadal as a contender for the US Open. The way I see it the rankings will only change after US Open, since Fed and Nadal have points to defend in Canada. After that, Fed has to win Cincy or, if he wins Canada he can loose eralier in Cincy, but he has to win US open, it will be the key, along with the 4 reamining MS.

I can’t see Fed holding number one without a Slam, unless Nadal doesn’t win a Masters Series to the end of the year.

Btw anyone knows if Rafa will play stutgart next week?!


Ra Says:

blah,

“Those two guys are the exact opposite of chokers.”

Very succinctly put.


Giner Says:

“Neither was a choker today. I don’t think either can ever be branded a choker in their lives after today, even if they do slip up in a match in the future.
Those two guys are the exact opposite of chokers.”

Yes I know. But if Nadal had lost, his critics would say he had the match on his racquet (5-2 in tie break with two serves to come, plus later manufacturing two match points on his own serve). To snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is the most painful thing you can do in sport. It’s worse than being white washed. He’d be second guessing this match for a very long time — he’ll be thinking about it in his shower years later as the one that got away. Even if his fans could forgive him, could he forgive himself? A chance to make history… making it to the finish line against the best player of the last 4 years, and falling at the last hurdle.

It took sheer will to come back after that 4th set, and I go as far as saying that 99% of players out there would not have come back from that disaster. Forget the fact that it’s Roger Federer on the other side. The only players I can think of that can make this kind of (mental) recovery are Lleyton Hewitt and Roger Federer himself. Safin maybe, as he did in AO ’05, though he’s always a wildcard. And Justine Henin on the women’s side.


Vulcan Says:

Blah, i agree that Rafa didnt choke…if he backed down in the 4th or 5th after Federer made his run that wouldve been a choke but no such thing happened…the word choke seems to be being overused around here lately for some reason…perhaps because Roddick used it erroneously to describe himself getting tight on a few key points.


freakyfrites Says:

That match was just the limit of what can be expected emotionally and physically from anyone in sports (including the fans!) I guess it would have been slightly tougher if one of them had lost a limb or something and played on, but geeze, that was unbelievable.

I thought it was over for Fed in the third set – and and in the fourth! And if he’d lost it either way, he’d have been crucified in the press. This way, at least, he goes down as a hero, not a loser.

But as a Fed fan, I’m still feeling pretty low right now. WAHHHHHH!


jane Says:

I guess Borg was right in his prediction after all; he thought Rafa would win the championship, although he did voice some doubts after watching Roger play all week; Roger did have a great Wimbledon, not losing a set until the final. However, since last year, right after Wimbledon in fact, Borg was one of the few past-champs who came out and said Rafa would win it this year. Others have joined in, predicting the same, especially after Rafa won Queen’s. But it was Borg who went out on a limb first, so far as I can tell. Good call Bjorn.

This match kind of reminds me of when Mac beat Borg the first time actually: same feeling to it.


Oliver Says:

With the wind behind him now, I believe Rafa is in good stead to crack the Grand Slam that has painfully eluded Roger. This would undoubtedly seal his reputation as the best all-surface champion since Bjorn Borg, with a level of fitness to match the supreme Swede.


Vulcan Says:

Yes this going to make things very interesting indeed for the US Open. A couple of thoughts:
Will Rafa now change his schedule to focus more on hard court events? Could he be even better if he did not concede as much territory by camping out in the backhand corner ala Moya (Federer hit a boatload of forehand winners for mainly that reason)? Will he change his hardcourt game to match his adaptations on grass?


Giner Says:

JCF: “Last year’s final was a heartbreaker for Rafa, and this year it is no doubt a heartbreaker for Fed. I think they’re even now (Rafa did not deserve to win it in 06).”

Another thing they got even on is winning streaks.

Rafa had an 82 match winning streak on clay, and an unbeaten record at clay finals, and Federer was the one to snap both streaks.

Now the reverse… Fed had about 60+ matches in a row on grass, and an unbeaten record in grasscourt finals, and Nadal returned the favor.

These two are very competitive, and the game is all the better for it. Fed played an incredible match today despite losing. Coming back from 2 sets down was everything you would have expected for him to do, not so much for other players. I think Djokovic has some distance to go before closing that gap. He is close, but mentally he isn’t quite in the same league yet.


JCF Says:

“Blah, i agree that Rafa didnt choke…if he backed down in the 4th or 5th after Federer made his run that wouldve been a choke but no such thing happened…the word choke seems to be being overused around here lately for some reason…perhaps because Roddick used it erroneously to describe himself getting tight on a few key points.”

I used the word on the assumption that it is how he would have been perceived if he had LOST the match, which he didn’t do. He was devastated in surrendering the fourth set, but the only way you can avoid mental scars from such a crushing blow is to come back and win it. He steadied the ship and did just that. I would like to compare this to the AO ’05 match between Fed and Safin. In the 5th set, Fed had saved at least 6-8 match points off Safin’s serve (and these were on different service games). Had Safin lost, he would be second guessing that match for a very long time. But he came back to win it, and that is the only way you can put a choke out of your system. Nadal did just that today, and no one can call him a choker, since he did win it.


matt Says:

It has been one of the best GrandSlam finals I have ever watched.

I have no words…..

Wimbledon is again (as it was in the past) the place of the greatest battles, where the two best players of the world face each other and fight till the end.

I really thought, after Nadal’s choke in that fourth set tie-break with 5-2 up and two serves, and two match-points lost with 7-6 and 8-7, that Federer would crush him in the fifth set.

There is no way (I thought) this guy can recover from this. He must be totally broken mentally. No way he can come back to the court and play.

But he did, he kept fighting and fighting and even though he lost many more break-points during the fifth set as well, he still kept fighting to the death, and that’s why he finally won.

Federer has fought hard too, refusing to lose in straight sets and saving many break-points with aces/service winners, and saving match-points with incredible return of serve and passing-shots.

In fact Roger played great, as he has been playing in the last two tournaments. He only got broken twice in his last 11 grass-court matches (Halle and Wimbledon) and he didn’t lose a single set in those 11 previous matches on grass.

Today he played great, but Nadal is just better than any other player Federer has faced in those 11 previous matches.

I don’t know what to say, I wanted Federer to win, but somehow I don’t feel very bad because this two guys should feel good, they have played one of the best matches of tennis history. Both them should be proud.

This final will be heard of in years to come, it will be remembered as one of the best GS finals of the history.

Congratulations to them both!!!!!


Joe Prairie Says:

The respect I had lost for Roger at the ’08 French Open has been totally restored. All loses I’m sure hurt, especially if you’re a true competitor. As I tensely watched both great players and the best match ever in my lifetime, I was glad to see such a wonderfully high-level of play. When shall we be treated with such greatness once more from these two? Once more? twice more? or possibly never? Though a strong supporter of Roger, I feel great: no low point for me; this is all I have ever wanted from these two….Wimbledon has emblazoned a small excerpt from Kipling’s IF poem, on the grounds, but let us not forget the rest of the poem, too. Today, triumph and disaster are truly impostors…
“If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’” Kipling

Congrats to Roger!
Super Congrats to Rafa!!!


JCF Says:

“With the wind behind him now, I believe Rafa is in good stead to crack the Grand Slam that has painfully eluded Roger. This would undoubtedly seal his reputation as the best all-surface champion since Bjorn Borg, with a level of fitness to match the supreme Swede.”

That’s a good point actually. If you look at the guys who managed to win 3 different slams: Edberg, Connors, Lendl, Wilander, Sampras, Federer, et al… Their missing slam is either the French or Wimbledon, both having polar opposite surfaces. Nadal doesn’t have that curse anymore. Even if you look at guys who won only two, Borg is the only guy who won both the French and Wimbledon. He pulled a Borg.

Of course, winning all 4 would make this all irrelevant. Federer will want to win a French, and if he can do that, he’ll join Agassi (or maybe even Laver, though doubtful now) and prove he was a more complete player than even those other greats.


Samprazzz Says:

I agree with the above poster: neither of these players choked today. Both played amazing on huge points time after time. The only exception was Nadal’s double fault in the breaker. Talk about cool under pressure, how many times did Federer hit an ace on break point today? How many Deuce games did Rafa pull out on his own serve. Both players are exceptionally mentally tough.


Bob Lewis Says:

Wow! How could either player be a loser in that match?


TLT Says:

What an amazing match. One like that we will most likely never see again :)


Vulcan Says:

Samprazzz very true about cool under pressure…that backhand passing shot that Federer hit on match point down in the tiebreaker will be etched on my mind for years to come…I really didnt think Rafa could beat him after that shot (ie hard to get happy after that one)


Dave B Says:

What does Novack Jockitch do now?


ShayHay Says:

This match was incredible. I actually predicted that Rafa would take it in 4. Well he didn’t, but HE WON!!! I’m so excited. While Roger Federer is undoubtedly one of the most gifted players to play the game, he bores me to pieces. I rarely stay awake watching him, that is unless he’s playing Rafa. Nadal just brings an excitement to men’s tennis that I haven’t seen in a while.

However today, I gained new respect for Roger. Even after he won the third set, I believed Nadal would crush him in the fourth, but he stayed resilient and the two produced some phenomenal tennis. Fans couldn’t have asked for a better match. I believe this win will give Rafa the confidence he needs to win that Grand Slam. And it’s coming baby. VAMOS RAFA!!!


Rasheed Says:

I just have to say this, but I can´t believe that Nadal is having so much succes, he has the ugliest gameplay in tennis history, it looks so amateuristic and is awful to watch. And yes, it was a nice match, but not amazing or anything, stuff like Agassi vs Blake (US Open 2005) that is classic high quality stuff.


ShayHay Says:

Rasheed you must be on something. You cannot be a real TENNIS fan and say that Rafa’s clay court game is anything short of flawless. And his grass court game is definitely catching up as he so wonderfully proved today by taking down the grass court king.


Andrew Miller Says:

I was shocked that Nadal was able to utilize so much guile and deception during the match – by that, I mean he was able to disguise a lot of his shots. Normally, I feel that grass does not allow that – whereas, clay does. But in this instance, at least before the rains, Nadal was able to disguise where he was going on certain shots, and keep Federer guessing. However, the last few sets definitely had some wet grass, and Nadal pulling it out was remarkable. I thought Federer would win, for sure.

I think Mr. Randall is right – only one player wins in the record books, for for anyone who saw this live or on TV, everyone one.

Additionally, this kind of match had to be taken from Roger, just ripped out of his hands. I think only Nadal was capable of doing it, given his formidable playing from Miami onwards. Roger Federer DOES look sharp out there. I don’t think that many players – meaning, I don’t think anyone, can hang with him with the exception of Nadal at this point.

However, I think given that Federer has the Olympic games on his schedule in Beijing, I think there is a chance of fatigue for the US Open. Perhaps he can get over it with the first few rounds of the tournament (yep, I know, too early to say! Way too early :) we’re still in August!) But I do think that is a small factor – Beijing Olympics will create some difficulties for the players when they touch back on U.S. soil for the Open. That’s the only factor in my mind that could complicate his dominance at the Open. I don’t think Nadal will hold up all summer.


Roggie Says:

Everybody won today.
Proud of Federer, Proud of Nadal.


JCF Says:

I think Rafa was saved by the lack of a 5th set tie break. His record against Federer in tie-breaks has been woeful as of late… He lost two to him this year at wimbledon, two last year at wimbledon (and in 06 WB, they split one each), plus this year Fed won a tiebreak at hamburg.

The advantage set is a good thing, because it forces Fed to break Nadal in order to win it, and he hasn’t been good at doing that. I don’t like tie breakers. It trivializes the other guy’s effort.

I hope Djokovic lands in Fed’s half of the draw at NY. That is the match I’m salivating.


Smith Says:

I take back everything I said a few days ago about not wanting anymore Fed-Nadal finals. If all their finals in the future turn out to be this good I hope they start contesting all the Slam finals.

I knew I said I might not watch but boy oh boy I’m glad I did. Epic play from both men – I didn’t even know who to root for. If Fed doesn’t lose that 3-0 lead in the 2nd set he wins the match but Nadal was just lights out that 5th set.

Unlike last year where Nadal faded quickly in the 5th set, this year he kept to his guns and it was Federer who finally cracked. To cite another cliche, you did get the feeling that whomever lost serve first that 5th set would lose the match.

Fed was strangely calm after his loss to Rafa at the French, but he was beyond devastated at losing his Wimbledon crown. Both men cried and will probably cry more later in the privacy of their rooms/houses. The U.S. Open is all there is left for Federer to defend.

Can someone please tell me why some members of the media are putting the two finals (men’s and women’s) on the same level? I didn’t watch the women’s final but I can’t imagine it had anywhere near the drama of the men’s final.


JCF Says:

Ouch. Federer did not take this defeat well.

http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/articles/2008-07-06/200807061215381587609.html

“I thought we both played well,” he said, before beginning a litany of lethargically raised eyebrows and shrugged shoulders. “The rain didn’t help me that much – I didn’t win the match, did I? I was struggling with the wind a little bit and the light was tough but that was not an excuse. This is probably the hardest loss of my career so far.”

When asked whether it was a consolation that it was a great player like Nadal who had put an end to his 65-match winning streak, Federer’s humour became even darker. “No. Zero consolation. I didn’t learn anything new from today – certainly not about how to play him on grass. This really hurts… Losing Paris for me was nothing, losing here is a disaster.” No more, no less.

The straw that broke the camel’s back came when he was quizzed about the vast haul of points he will have to defend in the coming tournaments – far more than Nadal – if he is to remain number one in the rankings. “Write what you want,” he glowered after a sigh, a pause and a shrug. “I’m going to try to win at the Olympics and the US Open and have a good end to the season. That’s it.”


JCF Says:

“Can someone please tell me why some members of the media are putting the two finals (men’s and women’s) on the same level? I didn’t watch the women’s final but I can’t imagine it had anywhere near the drama of the men’s final.”

Agreed. I didn’t watch that final either. The rivalry between the sisters just doesn’t have the drama or excitement as watching these two play. Nadal is the only guy who holds more than a trivial winning record against Fed. Against everyone else, he brutally dominates them all in H2H. What Fed has found is that he can play the same game against everyone, and destroy them, but when he tries it against Nadal, it doesn’t work. It could be the lefty thing, but it forces Fed to have to try something new, which he may not be comfortable with. Nadal has just the right qualities – forehand, backhand, speed, tenacity to ruffle Federer in ways other players can’t. When he loses, it’s normally him that lost, and not the other guy that win. I know that sounds ungracious, but look at this year’s defeats. He lost to guys who had no business beating him.

Nadal is one of the rare guys who can bring Fed out of his comfort zone, and I think we are all priviledged to be tennis fans in an era where such a great rivalry exists. Seriously, before Nadal came, who exactly was Federer’s rival? Certainly not Roddick, who Fed is now 15-2 against (until this year, Roddick had only won one match against him). Not Safin, who Fed is now 9-2 against, or Hewitt (14-7, 12-0 since becoming #1).

The game needs Nadal (and Federer) at his best in order to remain exciting, and Djokovic too.


zero Says:

He he, Sean, you may be true when predicting the 3-0 score, but it seemed like Rafa should get the cup before the first rain delay. This match is absolutely amazing.


Jazzcomedian Says:

A truly classic match. No matter how painful, and disappointing the loss, I admire how Federer always takes it with grace. And Nadal is very classy as well. Both are exemplary in the way they compete, and the respect they show their opponents. I like how they obviously like each other and still compete fiercely. Competitive excellence without bravado or hostility–something in short supply in our professional sports these days.

I still think Federer(if healthy)can beat Nadal if they meet at the US Open because the speed of the surface will allow him to hit winners–something impossible to do against Nadal at the French Open. Federer hit 89 winners in today’s match, and the US Open surface is faster than the Wimbledon grass. I don’t think 89 winners were hit against Nadal in the whole French Open tournament. He got to everything. You’ve got to be able to hit some winners against Nadal because he just doesn’t miss.

Full credit to Nadal today.


Andrew Miller Says:

I think Federer does feel this loss pretty badly. But to me it is pretty similar to Safin beating Federer in the AO Semifinals in 2005 – Safin “took it” from Federer (as if stolen!), and Nadal had to do the same: he had to stick with Federer, game after game, over the long haul of five sets, right up to the very last point.

I did a little check about Nadal vs. Federer on the grass in tiebreaks, and it’s true, Nadal is far worse in tiebreaks vs. Federer, winning one on the lawns and losing five. So, if the set went to a tiebreak and wimbledon allowed tiebreaks, then I think Federer would hoist the trophy.

It is awful premature, in my mind, to suggest that the road ahead for Federer will be “more difficult”. Nadal truly won this match by a HAIR – not covering for Federer, but this was a nail-biter in which “everyone won” – much like Agassi-Blake at the U.S. Open in 2005. Nadal is by no means “superior to Federer” on grass, or on any surface but clay. I also feel that Nadal takes a beating on hard courts – that his durability is compromised and that he gets too few “free points” off his serve to find himself as US Open or Aussie Open champ. At least, not yet.

I also feel as if no other player but Nadal could have eeked out a win over Federer at Wimbledon (I thought Federer was still going to win after being down two sets!) Not because I don’t respect Nadal – to me Nadal is unbelievable, what a high caliber champion and person. It is because he hits so hard and because he is probably the fastest man in tennis – he and Federer share that distinction.

So: me thinks the US Open title might be Federer’s, but might not be. I wonder about the recovery time from Beijing, which will affect all of the players except Roddick and a handful of others. But, correct me if I’m wrong, Federer still looks pretty damn good out there on the courts. His game is intact. He still is a favorite to win any major he enters. That’s Sampras territory, and that will usher him past 14 wins on the grand slam board.


Tennis maniac Says:

I don’t know how to explain this.It is the best tennis match I’ve ever seen.Strength of Nadal & technique of Federer,These created a legendary fight.I don’t think that only Nadal deserves this championship.Both of them deserve this.
They are going to be the best players in the history of Tennis.


Tejuz Says:

Jane: “This match kind of reminds me of when Mac beat Borg the first time actually: same feeling to it.”

well.. Great great match.. had me awake till 6 in the morning. By the end of it.. even though i was rooting for Fed, i dint feel that bad when Nadal won it. He deserved it and he cherished it, as we could see in during the trophy ceremony. Glad to see Fed fighting back in 3rd and 4th sets.

well… this match was more like the previous Borg-McEnroe match were Borg had matchpoints in ‘the’ 4th set tie-break but lost it, but later on recomposed himself to win the 5th set. And looking at Fed, i dont see him walking away from the game nor losing more often. This year, he has lost only to No 2 and No 3 in the grandslams.. so he still has it in him to contest for the trophies on the final sunday of all the Grandslams. Rather, i would probably see him more concetrated on Grand slams than other Master’s tourneys next year.


MrEdCT Says:

It was a great match today.

I hope Rafa does not play too much during the hardcourt season. Patellar tendinitis doesn’t just “go away” and he needs to let those ligamens and tendons heal.


Barbara Says:

Am I the only one who thinks Rasheed is one large idiot. “gameplay”. Do you watch tennis? “Nice match”. It was a great, great match and anyone who doesn’t think so should be watching bowling. Mad cause your guy didn’t win?


JCF Says:

“I did a little check about Nadal vs. Federer on the grass in tiebreaks, and it’s true, Nadal is far worse in tiebreaks vs. Federer, winning one on the lawns and losing five. So, if the set went to a tiebreak and wimbledon allowed tiebreaks, then I think Federer would hoist the trophy.”

What that does say about him though, since each time they’ve played at Wimbledon they’ve had two tiebreaks, is that Nadal holds his serve well against Federer. Fed has a better serve, but despite Nadal having a weaker serve, Fed has trouble breaking him. I think Nadal fully deserved to win the 5th set though. He created much more opportunities on Fed’s serve than Fed did on Nadal’s. Nadal only faced break point in one of his serves, while Fed had a few.

Also, I think Nadal has better eyesight. It got dark in the end, and Fed complained that he couldn’t see anything… but it was dark for both of them. It was the same story in RG 05 SF, which got dark and Fed complained that he couldn’t even see the ball. This may have been a factor, but that’s too bad. Can’t do much about mother nature. She needs to piss sometimes too you know…

On the other hand, I totally understand why the All England Club was reluctant to postpone the match. That would have been a logistical nightmare, to get everyone back only for another 1 or 2 games. They were hoping it would end soon, and luckily it did. Fed was devastated, but he’ll be back.

My only question mark is, now that Nadal has achieved his dream, will he still have the hunger to come back next year and win it again? Or will he be content in pulling the near-impossible?


Barbara Says:

I think Rasheed you be big idiot. Gameplay? What is that” Nice match? It was a great, great match. Best ever. Go watch bowling cause you don’t understand tennis. Mad cause your guy lost?


Ra Says:

Giner,

while your specific characterizations of their body language out there don’t perfectly coincide with mine, I fully agree that Fed looked the fresher of the two in the 5th set. I think that bodes well for both of them at this point in the season. For Rafa because he is able to stay composed in a way he couldn’t a year ago even when visibly stretched and stressed; For Roger because although it has been a comparatively rough season for him on many levels and many of his streaks have come to an end, he in no way looked short of any of the stuff it’ll take for him to continue to meet with many successes in the future.


ShayHay Says:

Honestly I understand the Federer praise, but you guys have to blind if you can’t see that Nadal is now in Federer’s head. I mean…really in his head. He beat Federer on the one surface that he’s supposed to be invicible on. That’s huge. And I believe that if Nadal can cut down on some of the wear and tear that he faces on the hard courts, he could give Federer a serious run for his money in the Grand Slam count. Roger Federer in all of his “greatness” is still dry as toast. I’ll stand behind that statement.


simpsons Says:

What does Novack Jockitch do now?

Well Dave B.

Djokovic keeps playing. What else should he be doing? I guess he was right in saying Fed was vulnerable and Rafa proved it.


blah Says:

Anyone is vulnerable to Rafa on grass or clay. and Roger is only vulnerable to Rafa on grass, no one else can challenge him.


simpsons Says:

Roger is vulnerable to Rafa on clay and grass now. Doesn’t leave too much of anything else.


Smith Says:

I agree with ShayHay – Nadal is in Federer’s head. Federer beats anyone else on tour today despite the fact that his backhand was horribly off and his volleys were poor (why the hell was he doing all those swinging volleys?! Just madness). He just gets tense and incredibly nervous whenever he plays Nadal – doesn’t matter the surface.

This is why I want Nadal to start doing better at the U.S. Open. This is why I want a Fed-Nadal Aussie or USO final. Will the headgames extend to the other two Slams as well?

I can’t believe the number of people talking about this final. I’m watching the Yankees-Red Sox game and Jon Miller and Joe Morgan just spent 5 minutes talking about how much they loved the Fed-Nadal match today. ESPN and ESPNNews dedicated the first 10-15 minutes of their broadcast to the tennis match and discussion about it. Incredible.

Rafa winning Wimbledon over Fed is going to do real damage to Fed – I really want to see how Fed responds for the rest of the year. The hype for the USO is going to be unbelievable. I hope Fed doesn’t read any newspapers for the next few months – it will be nothing but how he’s going through a “demise.” The media are going to be pretty ruthless with him.


Andrew Miller Says:

Do you think the grass helped Nadal because it is “more” like clay (unpredictable bounces, requires extreme concentration and adaptability) and less similar to hardcourts?

In other words – does grass benefit Rafa (quick reflexes, amazing court movement, ability to adapt when needed) much like clay benefits Rafa (unpredictable surface, requires excellent court movement)? On a hard court surface, Rafa’s shots are “more predictable” and easier to read, or at least easier to read than on grass or on a clay court.

Your thoughts?


Tennis Fan Says:

Congratulations to Rafa … both players played an unforgetable match. Too bad for me because I am a Federer fan. This match will be hard to forget. Rafa’s a great player … but not as dynamic an overall player as Federer. I for one don’t believe that Rafa can make the switch to hardcourt … he is dominant on clay … and superb on slow grass. There is nothing I’ve seen from him that suggests he will dominate on hard court. So I don’t expect a slam from Rafa …even though I respect this guy … hes got real class like Federer. It something that others could learn from on the tour.


Tennis Fan Says:

… incidentally Borg’s prediction of Nadal winning was a classless act. A past champion of his pedigree shouldn’t be picking sides before a main event. Neither Rafa or Federer would have made the same mistake when they are retired.


Ra Says:

ShayHay,

who said they don’t see that Nadal is in Federer’s head? I think that much has been clear for quite some time now. As I’ve been saying for a little while now, I believe we are going to see stronger hard court showings from Nadal than we’ve been accustomed to thus far, and even if we don’t, who’s to say Nadal won’t stack up more RG titles and continue a streak of Wimbledons for long enough to equal Federer’s tally of GS victories? It may happen one way or the other, or we may have seen Nadal’s last (which doesn’t seem likely at all). I have absolutely no idea what you mean by “Federer in all of his ‘greatness’ is still dry as toast”, though. Are you saying that he’s no longer a contender for trophies? He looks to me like he can beat anybody on a given day and everybody but one on almost any day. I just hope his confidence will not be too wrecked by this loss that was in itself demonstrative of tennis genius and the will and heart of a true champion.

As I’ve been surfing around and reading through comments on various sites, I’ve noticed a truly impressive amount of post from Rafa fans talking about how they gained respect and appreciation for Roger today, and I’ve seen an equal amount of Roger fans saying the same of Rafa. I’ve also come across many posts in which the contributor states something to the effect of having thought Roger was down and out UNTIL seeing him in his loss today. All these things are extremely positive and only serve to exemplify just how truly mind-blowing and transcendent this year’s final turned out to be.


blah Says:

TennisFan

Many past champions made a prediction. and most of them predicted roger would win.


jane Says:

Smith,

You and I are on the same wavelength; if the Rafa-Fed finals continue to be like this one, and not like the FO final, then I am happy, thrilled in fact, to see more of them. But I still am very happy that it was Rafa to come through this time – no slight to Roger who fought until the end.

Tejuz,

Maybe this match was more like that epic final between Mac & Borg, when Borg prevailed for the last time. But either way, the rivalry in similar in a lot of ways. I can’t pin down Roger or Rafa to the other guy though, since Rafa’s game is more like Borg’s but he has a more exuberant personality like Mac. Roger is more reserved like Borg, but has the serve & volley capabilities of Mac, even though he doesn’t use them as much.

And I agree 100% with Simpsons – of course Novak just keeps on playing. The more top ten guys we get into the conversation for number 1, the more exciting the next year or 2 will be.

But again, kudos to Rafa and Roger for setting a new benchmark.

To whomever it was above that wonders whether Rafa will still be hungry to keep winning – You’ve got to be kidding right!? I’ve not seen anyone this hungry to continual improve and set new goals for himself. Of course he’ll want to keep winning!!

I hope, having said that, that he doesn’t play Stuggart. Rest dear Rafa – you’ve earned it!!


jane Says:

Tennis Fan,

There is an entire list at the ATP website of past champions’ predictions on this match beforehand; in my opinion, anyhow, it’s natural for the media, and for those in the tennis world, to want to hear what past champions think about such a seminal match. But I guess it could be taken the wrong way; i just see it as Borg answering a question put to him by the media, just like all of the other champs. (See ATP’s site for the other picks; most of the picked Fed but a few others picked Rafa). Johnny Mac made a call, Brad Gilbert did, too, and so. I don’t think of it as picking sides, but just as making a judgment call based on what they’ve seen from the players. I think it’s pretty standard stuff, and not “classless”, for a past champ to make a call on a slam final.


ShayHay Says:

Ra:

My statement about Rafa being in Federer’s head is in response to everyone saying that Federer could still beat Nadal on any given day, especially hard courts. I just don’t think that’s true. I believe that this victory at Wimbledon has kind of crushed that idea, because grass is Roger’s favorite surface. I did say that Rafa needs to cut down on the wear and tear that he faces on hard courts, but I think it’s clear that he has altered his game a lot to suit all surfaces and he’s the one player on tour that I see who doesn’t fear Federer in the least bit. Federer has reason to fear him, because Nadal has his number.

As for the “dry as toast” statement, you only need to read my previous comment about my preference for watching Nadal as opposed to Roger.


Debra Gardner Says:

I’m totally blind and so couldn’t watch the match in the same way as everyone else, but I thought I was going to have a heart attack it was so close. It just seemed like they were fighting for points, not for games. I knew they both would cry. Wimbledon seems to bring that out in people, win or lose and they fought like tigers and it was a miracle they didn’t need to be carried off the court. I love them both and don’t know if I can stand listening to such competitions on a regular basis, but I loved how the crowd loved it and appreciated both of them. Sometimes I wish they had twin Wimbledon trophies for people like that. They are both great champions and the fact that Rafa is what he is at twenty-two says a lot about him, his coaches, his family and those intangible things that decide a match. I wanted Rafa to win this time because I felt that Roger already had five of them and it was time to share, but I felt terrible for Roger, not that Rafa won, but that he lost. It has always amazed me about tennis where the winner and loser have to share the same locker room; one crying for joy and one end, the other one crying in disapointment at the other. At least the winning and the losing teams get there own locker rooms where they can celebrate or lick their wounds. I remember Chris Evert beating Martina Navratalova years ago and then, in the locker room sitting down beside her and comforting her for losing and they’re both crying. That’s probably a woman thing, but even women teams would have had separate locker rooms. It’s a classic match and I hope that when they put it on DVD they leave in the commentary so a person like me can still follow it.


Ra Says:

ShayHay,

OK, I think I understand now that it was a reference to him boring you. Fair enough.

I fully agree with you as far as Rafa having enough game for any surface at this point (as well as with the assertion that he needs to address whatever it is that causes him such substantial wear and tear). I still think that Roger can beat him depending on the day just about anywhere but Chartrier, but I don’t know how long that possibility will last simply due to their age differential.


ShayHay Says:

How is Borg making a prediction “classless”?

Last time I checked, a lot of past champions made predictions on this match. I don’t think that’s breaking some “tennis etiquette” rule.


Giner Says:

Ra Says:

“While your specific characterizations of their body language out there don’t perfectly coincide with mine, I fully agree that Fed looked the fresher of the two in the 5th set. I think that bodes well for both of them at this point in the season. For Rafa because he is able to stay composed in a way he couldn’t a year ago even when visibly stretched and stressed; For Roger because although it has been a comparatively rough season for him on many levels and many of his streaks have come to an end, he in no way looked short of any of the stuff it’ll take for him to continue to meet with many successes in the future.”

I thought his body language was not very positive. He clearly looked deflated having lost the 4th set, especially since he had two championship points, and tighted up at 5-2. Those championship points make a huge difference, because they would have been on his mind. Had he lost 7-0, he could have just brushed it off and said “too good”. But since he did squander it at 5-2 (when he got passed by a Fed backhand at C-point, he had an open court and could have hit it there instead of back at Fed — surely he’d be second guessing that point too?), the reality of coming so close to victory yet being foiled once again (two heartbreakers in a row at Wimbledon), becomes very palpable, and that’s really got to hurt. Fed on the other hand, just saved two championship points and levelled it at two sets apiece. If Fed was to win, he will have come back from 2-0 down and saved 2 CP’s against his biggest rival to win the final of his #1 tournament and exact revenge for RG 08. This would surely be the biggest win of his career?

The difference in body language was almost polar and for obvious reasons. It would have been Rafa’s worst defeat if he lost, and Fed’s best win if he won. It wasn’t until Fed started giving Nadal some half chances on serve that he could finally pull himself together and get the fire back. Even after coming back from the rain delay where he would have had a chance to regroup, Nadal looked like he was going to lose.

In the first four sets, Nadal was pumped every time he won points. In the first half of the 5th set, he looked very subdued when he won the points, and resigned to a probable defeat. You even saw a glimpse of the real man inside: He got angry. He normally never shows frustration or anger, but he threw his racquet (I’ve never seen that before from him) and took a swing with it at the grass..

His demeanor has always been excellent, and always positive. He doesn’t get upset when bad calls or overrules are made, or something not agreeable happens to him, or he misses easy shots. He shows only positive emotion, and never any negative, but in this 5th set he allowed small glimpses of real man inside to leak out through the cracks.

Credit also to Federer, who is another guy that’s just unflappable. Compare that to his younger self… this guy is ice cool.


simpsons Says:

I was watching the Fed box with Gayvin Rossdale and he was just going nuts whenever Fed scored. When Roger lost he was just glaring at Rafa.Nutty friends.

What a comedown, Fed’s fans are now hoping for the USO. LOL Time for others to share the wealth.


ShayHay Says:

Ra:

I think you’re right as far as the age differential goes. Roger is in excellent condition, but it’s no secret that he’ll be entering his twilight years pretty soon, and Rafa is on the brink of reaching his prime.

An interesting note is that if you look at their age and number of slams, Rafa has more than Federer had at age 22. Assuming that Nadal can breakthrough at the USO or AO and avoid injury, he could definitely give Roger a run in the Slam category.


simpsons Says:

Shayhay I think Uncle tony wants him to rest up so I don’t know how many HC he will play.


JCF Says:

Andrew Miller Says:

“Do you think the grass helped Nadal because it is “more” like clay (unpredictable bounces, requires extreme concentration and adaptability) and less similar to hardcourts?

In other words – does grass benefit Rafa (quick reflexes, amazing court movement, ability to adapt when needed) much like clay benefits Rafa (unpredictable surface, requires excellent court movement)? On a hard court surface, Rafa’s shots are “more predictable” and easier to read, or at least easier to read than on grass or on a clay court.

Your thoughts?”

I doubt it. The surfaces are not even close to the same. If grass has bad bounces like clay, then Roger Federer must be really good at handling bad bounces, given his record there. Why can’t he win RG? Obviously there has to be a big difference somewhere.

Nadal dropped 4 games at RG to Fed this year, but at Wimbledon he dropped 29 games. That is a big difference. It wasn’t that Fed played bad at RG, Rafa just played unbelievable. If there really is parity in the two surfaces, I’d have expected a much more one sided win today.

I don’t care what anyone says… Grass is still the quickest surface, and the bounce is lower than clay. Rafa also likes sliding into his shots, which he can’t do on grass.

The US Open is a slow-medium paced harccourt. It’s not faster than Wimbledon. Every player is going to have a different opinion on speed. Tim Henman is the only player I know of that makes this claim, and this was back in 04.

At the AO this year which replaced the rebound ace with a USO style hardcourt, some people said it was faster than last year, some said it was slower. Same with Wimbledon’s grass. A few years back the Aussie DC captain imported grass that he called “very fast” so they could defeat the spaniards, and Carlos Moya after practicing on it said it was “slow”.

I don’t buy the “slow” claims at Wimbledon, because I rewatched the RG and Hamburg finals this year a few days ago, and I noticed they were VERY slow. Wimbledon was a lot faster than those.


y0s3v Says:

It takes someone like Nadal to beat Federer. Yes, Fed lost this time, yes, Nadal outplayed him, but Nadal must play at incredible level just to stay with Fed. Nadal’s game is one that requires incredible physical strength, it’s a kind of game that would morelike injure its owner. Fed’s game is an entirely different way, it is smooth and it doesn’t require physical strenght as much. Fed is ageing, but his game is smooth, he will not win as many grand slams as in the past, but he will continue to win probably one a year or two at the max. Nadal’s time is ticking faster, once he gets injured he will not be able to even compete with ordinary players. Fed just needs to be patient, he will win Wimbledon again and even French. He might lose No. 1 spot but he will win again.


ShayHay Says:

simpson:

I think I would agree with Uncle Toni on this one as well. He might want to sit out a few HC tourneys and get some rest. I don’t know if he’ll be winning the USO this year, but he definitely has a legitimate shot at the Australian.


Vulcan Says:

Does anybody know where the ITF Surface Pace Ratings for the various ATP court surfaces can be found on the web?


JCF Says:

Tennis Fan Says:

“Congratulations to Rafa … both players played an unforgetable match. Too bad for me because I am a Federer fan. This match will be hard to forget. Rafa’s a great player … but not as dynamic an overall player as Federer. I for one don’t believe that Rafa can make the switch to hardcourt … he is dominant on clay … and superb on slow grass. There is nothing I’ve seen from him that suggests he will dominate on hard court. So I don’t expect a slam from Rafa …even though I respect this guy … hes got real class like Federer. It something that others could learn from on the tour.”

Clay and slow grass… If he wins the US Open, I totally expect you to add “slow concrete” to that list. You are determined to discredit his abilities. Did you know Madrid is a very fast indoor hardcourt? He won that. Paris on carpet is also one of the fastest surfaces, and he made the final, losing to Nalbandian.

What about Dubai, Indian Wells, and Toronto? Were they all slow hardcourts as well? And the two finals at Miami?

Give him some credit. He lost at the slams because he ran into some red hot players (Tsonga, Blake, Gonzalez, Youzhny). He got his revenge twice against Blake this year, and once against Tsonga, both on hard courts.

There is no reason for me to believe that after adapting his game to the grass, he cannot adapt it to the decoturf.

Wimbledon is not ‘slow-grass’. Wimbledon is the most traditionist tournament in the world (they still call the players ‘Gentlemen’ and ‘Ladies’, and they were the last slam to cave in and give equal pay, they make players dress in white, bow to the queen, and so many other senseless rituals all in the name of tradition). I am skeptical that they of all tournaments would slow down their court to kill off traditional serve and volley. The baseliners have just gotten better.


ShayHay Says:

y0s3v:

I don’t know if I totally agree with your statement, but I will say this, players like Nadal and Djokovic have cut into the whole Federer mystique, which I’m glad to see. I honestly believe that a lot of phenomenal players lose to him because they’re afraid. That’s not to say that Roger isn’t great, but if you go into a match thinking there’s no way you’re going to win, then you’ll probably loose.


Giner Says:

I agree. Even our anti-Federer troll ‘fed is afraid’ admitted he might have to change his name. I don’t think he will be supplying us with too much more trash talk after today’s performance.


Dan Martin Says:

I will try to write something reasonable later this week. All I can say is – incredible match and incredible drama. I think Roger’s approach to the ranking question raised above is a pragmatic one. He knows some big prizes remain in 2008 and that is his focus. He likely also knows #1 in the computer is almost impossible to maintain and #1 for 2008 in the eyes of the experts is already done for, but that does not make the Olympics and the U.S. Open less important.


Vulcan Says:

LMAO @ “slow concrete”
Well said JCF.


Ra Says:

Giner,

I should’ve been more specific. While I agree with pretty much everything you just said, the following is what is not congruent with my perception:

“as though he didn’t care anymore and that he was willing to throw away the match because he came so close to victory and failed”

I saw him flustered and demoralized for awhile, but at no point did I perceive him as not caring anymore. But it’s no biggie, and I wasn’t trying to argue the point with you or anything like that. I was just trying to avoid misrepresenting my own opinion in the matter.


Dan Martin Says:

Oh yes – Nadal is the man right now – he has the keys to the kingdom and deserves them! The guy hits shots no one else can hit, but they are not luck because he does it time and time again.


JCF Says:

“Johnny Mac made a call, Brad Gilbert did, too, and so. I don’t think of it as picking sides, but just as making a judgment call based on what they’ve seen from the players.”

Who was their pick Jane? I only had aussie commentary, and their commentary sucked. But Mark Woodforde and John Newcomb picked Rafa in 4, while Fred Stolle picked Federer in 5.

After the first rain delay in the 3rd set when Rafa led 2 sets to 0, and was on serve however, they all correctly predicted the match would go 5 sets, and they all changed their pick to Federer after that 4th set. With good reason I might add.

But I’m curious to know what Mac and Gilbert thought, before it started.


Vulcan Says:

Hmmm, guess I was the only person to pick Rafa in 5 then? *polishes fist*


ShayHay Says:

Johnnie Mac picked Nadal.
I believe Gilbert picked Federer


ShayHay Says:

Actually Vulcan I picked Rafa as well, but I had him winning in 4.


Smith Says:

jane:

You and I must have been psychic twins in a previous life lol. I agree, I think the FO beatdown had me in a “meh” frame of mind at another Fed-Nadal final, but I’m glad i broke my vow and watched.

I know Nadal has a contract to play in Stuttgart but this guy needs a rest! He hasn’t had a decent rest since April. I hope he limits his hardcourt prep this season to the Olympics and one other tournament – i want him fresh for the U.S. open.

simpsons:

lol – Yeah i saw that too. Federer’s parents were both clapping for Nadal but Mirka, Gavin Rossdale, and Gwen Stefani were looking glum and giving Rafa the evil eye. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mirka as animated as she was during this match.


jane Says:

JCF:

Mac picked Fed early on in the tournament, though after Rafa’s match with Murray, Mac said he wouldn’t be surprised if Rafa wins, and Gilbert picked Rafa to win from the very beginning of the tournament. in fact, Gilbert thought it’d be a Rafa-Djoko final.


Vulcan Says:

Shayhay, come to think of it I picked Nadal in 5 with the possibility of a more decisive victory (which nearly came to fruition).
And JCF you forgot Queens Club up above which is one of the fastest courts on the tour.


ShayHay Says:

That’s right jane. I had it mixed up. I remember Gilbert talking about a Nadal-Djokovic final. My husband was definitely itching to see that because he’s Serbian, but I knew it was a little too early to see Djokovic in a final at Wimbledon. He’s not at that level yet.


Robert M. Says:

I don’t give a sh|t what anyone says about Nadal’s play today. He played as well as he always does, which is consistently excellent. We knew he would play that way.

The outcome of today’s Wimbledon final was decided by Federer’s play. Not Nadal’s.

The motivated Roger Federer definitely showed up today. Unfortunately, the tennis guru Roger Federer did not.

Watching Federer hit 52 balls wide, long, or into the net was painful. Watching him squander 12 break points, some of them on 80+ mph second serves was even more painful. And watching him lose his serve TWICE IN A ROW in the second set after being up a break was downright nauseating.

The Roger Federer we all know isn’t supposed to be broken twice at ANY tournament by anybody, not even at Roland Garros! When he was broken twice in the second set today, any idiot would have known that something was wrong….i.e. that there was something preventing him from taking care of business. On any given day, Roger Federer up a break on grass SHOULD win the set. The fact that he lost it was a clear sign that he wasn’t playing well.

In fact, he has been playing like sh|t all year long (which, for Federer, is enough to beat anyone who is not Nadal or Djokovic).

That’s what makes today’s loss so difficult for me to swallow. This match was perfectly winnable for Federer, but he just didn’t have the head for it today.

Does anyone care about that? Of course not! The media praises the winner as if the victory was all his doing.


Kroll Says:

Robert M. says :
“Watching Federer hit 52 balls wide, long, or into the net was painful.”
I think if you are counting the unforced errors as being truly ‘unforced’, you are lying about watching the match or you lack understanding about tennis. And honestly why am I wasting my breath after this comment of yours.

“The Roger Federer we all know isn’t supposed to be broken twice at ANY tournament by anybody, not even at Roland Garros!”

Sigh.. Tennis is too nuanced a sport for you, my dear, you should try something easier on the mind.
I would suggest watching soaps on tv, you see nothing happens that you dont already expect. Perfect for you!


Kroll Says:

I am surprised noone is talking about individual points played in the match. My favourite was a backhand slice pass by Rafa (at 6-4 3-4), perhaps the most unexpected shot of all, but it was close to many other super points by both players. I mean Sampras-Agassi matches had loads of wow moments in terms of quality of play but this match easily trumps them all.

Also, did anyone notice that Rafa often sacrificed positional advantage for playing to Fed’s backhand and possibly even to avoid Fed’s forehand, which incidentally was consistently the best shot of the match, imho. Rafa was probably more impressive on the backhand.


Kroll Says:

Also, a lot of people seem to be indicating that Rafa is well poised to take the US open. I for one dont think that. Because both wimby and clay offer considerable support to Rafa’s top spun forehands but the USO hardcourts completely kill that. He has to be playing consistently flatter to win USO in my opinion. And he hasnt shown that he even understands he needs to do that yet. Unlike wimby he has not even come close to winning the hardcourt grand slams, where he often loses pretty badly (like Tsonga at the AO or USO to Ferrer) and its hard to say if he can make that change at all. Which makes a lot of players pretty formidable opponents as far as he is concerned. And the worst thing he can do is play at Stuttgart or something similar since that is surely the worst preparation he can ever have. He needs a long rest to ease his knees and then start fresh with a lot of changes in his game. And That titanic struggle shows that Wimby is going to be a struggle to win for Rafa for a few years to come so he has a while to go before he has a shot at true greatness.


TD (Tam) Says:

A hearty congratulations to Mr Rafa Nadal for achieving his Wimbeldon dream in such spectacular fashion. I cried when he held aloft the trophy. What a dream! Finally the changing of the guard has arrived.

Sean- “Roger wins and of course Rafael Nadal wins”

Sean, I think Roger himself would disagree with that sentiment. He himself said it was his most bitter loss.

http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/articles/2008-07-06/200807061215381587609.html

When asked whether it was a consolation that it was a great player like Nadal who had put an end to his 65-match winning streak, Federer’s humour became even darker. “No. Zero consolation. I didn’t learn anything new from today – certainly not about how to play him on grass. This really hurts… Losing Paris for me was nothing, losing here is a disaster.” No more, no less.


Giner Says:

You know… I wonder if the twilight during the presentation ceremony was symbolic of anything… the sun was setting at a pretty apt time.


TD (Tam) Says:

quote- “What does Novack Jockitch do now?”

He will probably go on to win the USOpen. I don’t think one bad loss at Wimbledon will ruin his year. He does very well on hardcourts so I think he will just regroup and come back strong for the last open.

Speaking of Novack he wasn’t entirely wrong when he said that Federer was feeling the pressure, was he?


Hypnos Says:

Kroll,

When comparing the level of play of Nadal-Federer to Sampras-Agassi, esp. the mind-blowing shots, consider the racket and string technology. With the designed flex in the frames and the new wicked Luxilon strings, today’s players have a lot more feel.

As a fan of serve-and-volley tennis, this makes me a bit depressed …


JCF Says:

Does anyone know where I can find the clip with Fed’s post match interview with McEnroe? The one people are referring to where he choked into tears? I feel really bad for the guy, but I want to see his reaction. He’s never been this miserable after a loss before, even though he’s lost plenty of finals to Rafa. I guess this one was very dear to his heart. Hard to understand, since he owns 5 already.. Borg would have just called it a day, right then and there.

Giner: And yes, the sun was definately setting on Federer’s reign as the King of Wimbledon. At least for a year. I’ve no doubt he will come back and win it again at least once or twice more. I think it’s going to be difficult to pick a favorite for next year. People like Agassifan wrote off Nadal before the french already, saying he definately wouldn’t make another Wimby final this year. Incidentally, I haven’t seen him around.


Shital Green Says:

JCF,
Ref: “There is no reason for me to believe that after adapting his game to the grass, he cannot adapt it to the decoturf.”

Rafa will adapt or one could say, looking at his semi run at AO and Master Series record, he has already adapted to the hard court, be it DecoTurf or some other. Maybe Rebound Ace was a bit compatible for his game. AO in its effort to increase consistency chose to become US Open clone, abandoning Rebound Ace, a faster surface than US Open’s Plexicushion surface. The material used in both today are provided by the same company. It is better for particularly AO where players have to play in extreme heat because it absorbs more heat. Bad side effect: With Plexicushion, shock absorption capability is reduced from 15% to 2%. What it does to the body makes the surface real hard court. For a player like Nadal whose body is a bit vulnerable to hard court shock, Ace Rebound would have been better in the long run if he could adapt to a faster surface. And Ace Rebound had the flexibility to become faster or slower, and Aussie Tennis did make it slower between 2000-2007 than it was between 1987-1999. Now AO and USO are about the same, though USO uses acrylic.
My personal opinion is that if Rafa tries too hard to excel on DecoTurf, he may risk his knee, which is like risking both clay and now grass dominance, which he cannot afford to do. And I am not sure whether he can win a Slam on hard without making a few changes to his present game and risking his body. Looking at his 2008 hard court run in the 1st half of the season, Rafa has been cautious enough not to risk anything. Maybe, it is better for him this way.
The guy is a tennis genius. I will not be surprised at all if he finds some ways other than I can think of to prove me wrong. On the right time, I will get back to you on your early pick: “However, assuming he stays healthy, he is my pick for the US Open.”

The term “fastness” is tricky. “Based on the difference between the angle in and angle out, grass is fastest by far, than the hard court and than the clay courts” (see http://www.tennisserver.com/set/set_02_09.html).

Plus, consider the ball size plus weight, which makes a huge difference. Also, consider why hard hitters do better on hard surface than on grass and clay. I would even add this Rafa’s high-bouncing topspin is a special case to figure out the puzzle.

Vulcan Says:
“Does anybody know where the ITF Surface Pace Ratings for the various ATP court surfaces can be found on the web?”

Assuming you were looking for a chart that lists all major courts with corresponding viscosity, I’m sorry I could not find it, but you may want to check tis out, particularly the Court Pace Classification section of the 76-page pdf document at the bottom of the following link, if you have not looked at it already: http://www.itftennis.com/technical/equipment/courts/class.asp


Ryan Says:

I think fed will not win another wimbledon.The story for fed will be the same as it is for the french open.He’ll keep winning against others and losing to nadal even on grass from now on.To be honest it sucks.Meanwhile nadal will be pulling the french wimbledon doubles for another 4 years which means that he will have a minimum of 13 slams.Plus if he wins US or Aus open then even more ,so nadal should be proclaimed as the greatest ever from this point onwards.
Who knows he may even pull off the grand slam.But hey tennis is all about physical strength these days.


y0s3v Says:

I am a Fed’s fan, and it’s heartbreaking to see him lose Wimbledon to Nadal. However, we as his fans must acknowledge that Fed lost yesterday. He was outmuscled and outplayed. I believe that he gave everything to win it. Fed has dominated the world of tennis for so long, he is also ageing, may be it’s time for him to start losing a few tournaments, but it doesn’t mean that he is finished. His game is smooth and fluent, he has plenty of gas to go around until 35. His game is different with the game of Nadal and of even Djokovic that trully requires so much physical strength. Their game consumes their bodies more quickly that Fed’s. Federer will probably lose no. 1 spot this year, he may never regain it again in the future, but, HE WILL WIN again once a while. He will rewrite history by being the person who won the most number of grand slams, and he will go down at least winning one French. HE WILL BE REMEMBERED as the greatest in history!


Kroll Says:

Ryan
“But hey tennis is all about physical strength these days.”

You poor fanboy, you cant believe how Fed lost and now you are Convinced that you ve found The Reason. Well I suppose when Fed clips the lines consistently its because of his talent and when Rafa does that its because of his strength right? As I said before, one of the best shots of the match was a sliced backhand pass that Rafa came up with. I guess that needs a pretty good strong arm huh?


Tejuz Says:

well.. i am not too bitter about Nadal winning the title.. cuz he deserved the title, especially after coming so close last year and also the year before. Am a lil sad cuz Fed lost.. but he did much much better than his AO and RG losses. So rather than saying Fed is on a decline.. we have to accept Rafa has upped his level significantly in last few months and totally deserves to be the No 1 this year. He lead Fed by 250 ATP race points and ahead of Djokovic by more than 300 race points. Fed atleast will not take any non-RG tournament for granted from now-onwards. But he is still in a level above other players.. including Djokovic. Yes, I agree.. Nadal is definitely in Fed’s head.

Guess.. he should start adopting more aggresive serve-volley tactics. This match, he was pretty successful when he ventured to the net. When ever he failed, it was because he was ambling to the net instead of charging (like Pete or Edberg).. so most of Nadal’s passes were dipping even before he could reach it. It would also be quite helpful against players like Djokovic etc.


Ryan Says:

To kroll:

I dont care if u agree or not but tennis these days is more physical than it ever was.With roger there is artistry flair and elegance.Whether nadal does a sliced backhand or not his physical strength has always been his advantage against his opponents.
I didnt see any great tactics from nadal other than to chase down every ball and pound on fed’s backhand.I didnt see any clipping the line shots from madal maybe 1 or 2.He has the ugliest game in tennis that I’ve ever seen apart from the sisters.Djokovic has a better game than nadal and djokovic will bring nadal down on hard courts and on clay.For all the nadal fans out there.
Nadal’s reign in the french open will also come to an end.I just cant wait to see him holding that runners up trophy in FO and to laugh out loud.He might be a good guy or watever but his tennis makes me wanna smash my tv.


Kroll Says:

Ryan

Well then smash your tv and get done with it, and rid us all of your wonderful insights.


Jerminix Says:

I feel sorry for Roger, really he is a very good player but I have to hand it to Nadal, He wans this title badly. I know Roger can come back in the US open.

This is a very good lesson for him, Theres nothing wrong with his gameply or mental toughness, its just Nadal is the better man at the end, thats tennis.


Ryan Says:

To Kroll:

I’ll say whatever I want in this blog.I dont give a damn what you or anyone else thinks.


Mike Says:

I’ve been a big Federer fan…I love the way he plays the game. But I think he needs to work on his mental toughness to consistently defeat Nadal. He needs to turn a new leaf…Nadal has changed the game on him. Now he needs to respond if he wants to remain at the top of the game. I believe he can remain at the top but it will take more effort on his part, especially mentally.

I also think that Roger has gotten a little bit self-satisfied in a way that interferes with fighting it out in every match. Nadal has that attitude and it has led to him attaining a higher level of competitiveness in every game of every match. Roger seems to want to cruise along on his talent.

I also don’t like the “RF” hats and the somewhat pretentious clothes that Roger appears in. I think he can maintain his gentlemanly attitude without some of the pretention.


TOLD YOU THAT ROGER IS NOT THAT INVINCIBLE ON GRASS! Says:

Cheating his way with titles from Halle. Playing all these crappy grass tournament for wins! He should had been in Queen’s not Halle this year.


FEDERER NO GOAT! FEDERER IS AFRAID!!! Says:

Whenever he sleeps, he is going to dream about leading his match, then Nadal comes back to destory him. He was like leading 4-1 in second set. And what he did in Monte Carlo and Hamburg. Leading 5-2, then ended up losing to Nadal. He is definitely the world number 1 choker! lol


Federer hasn't won a grand slam this year yet! Or a tennis master series title this year! Says:

Despite all you fanboys thought that he played well in the final. But he is having a really horrible year this year. He has not won a Grand Slam this year yet. Andy Murray and Djokovic would be his real threats at the US Open this year. What disgust me most this year, it was Federer failed to beat Stefanek to win at the Italian Open this year.


Colin Says:

You guys, if you want to see what strange people there are on this planet, read what somebody posted on the BBC website forum:
“I see the Fed-worshippers in the press are busy trying to spare Federer’s blushes by pretending that the so-called Men’s final was a classic when it is crystal clear to all knowledgeable observers that this was one of the poorest Wimbledon Men’s finals on record.”
Takes your breath away, doesn’t it?


Tote Tennis Pro Says:

I thought last year was good but this one is something else. What a brilliant game of tennis by both players. The rain delay didn’t help much but on my side, to have a game which could potentially become a classic (which it did!) within another classic itself (McEnroe vs. Borg) during the delay was enough to make me stay up.

To save the points in the manner Fed did in the fourth set tie-break was incredible. People say he’s on the wane but if according to this match, he is anything but. Sure enough the younger players will be on his toes, particularly Nadal and Djokovic, but it will take more to knock him off the Number 1 spot. Federer has plenty in his artillery, but to me what people take for granted is his movements on court. His footwork is second to none and he is deceptively quick. And to think he had glandular fever at the beginning of the year but worked himself into a semi and two finals, that guy is a masterclass.

As for Nadal, he has improved immensely on grass courts. It’d be interesting next year. I’ve never liked the guy but he has grown on me the past year. The only thing that still irks me is his taking a long time to serve. It gets into my head and I’m not even his opponent! ;D

I hope this loss will spur Federer on towards the Olympic Gold and the US Open title and then to go on and break Sampras’ record next year. Hopefully winning the French, something Sampras never did. He still has plenty of years ahead of him and I’m sure that victory will come one day.

Two great men, off and on-court. For that alone, they deserve my respect.

I’m gutted Federer lost but fair play to Nadal, the better man won. Congrats Rafa!


romeo m Says:

It’s simple Nadal is 22 yrs. old and Roger is 27 yrs. old; doesn’t sound like much and for you young guys you probably don’t want to be reminded that you physically begin to go downhill after your teen years. I know this from experience as an Olympic fencing candidate. Woe is me.


ferix Says:

In a post match interview last week, Nadal said “if federer can improve, i can improve a lot”. I can picture Uncle Toni ramming that thought into Nadal’s head and motivating him to work harder.

And it was a beauty. Nadal has improved tremendously on grass whereas Federer has stayed about the same on clay. I think Federer needs to come down off his pedestal and listen to a proper coach … rather than someone he can “chat to about things”.

Nadal being Wimbledon champion is well deserved. He may be the best player in the world right now, but he does not hold the keys to the tennis kingdom, as some people have said. Also, this does not make him the pick for the US Open. If you look at recent performances, either Federer or Djokovic has to be the rational pick. Nadal would barely scrape into the second group behind those two. I have not heard Nadal talk about his passion for the US Open or his efforts to improve on hard courts. He will be at the mercy of Djokovic, Murray, Monfils, Tsonga, Gasquet, Berdych, Davydenko, Blake, Ferrer, Safin, Hewitt and Roddick each of whom may individually lose to Nadal, but collectively (by this, I mean one after the other in the rounds of 3rd, R16, QF, SF) will beat him.

Tennis is currently ruled by no one and I think (after 5 years of Federer’s dominance) that’s an awesome thing.


jane Says:

On a totally unrelated note to Fed-Rafa:

I am happy to see Murray in the top ten.

I am happy to see Davydenko dropping a spot and Ferrer overtaking him.

I am happy to see Marat Safin back in the world’s top 40.

And I am happy to see Gulbis move into the top 50 – keep movin on up dude – you’ve got game!


jane Says:

ferix,

“Tennis is currently ruled by no one and I think (after 5 years of Federer’s dominance) that’s an awesome thing.”

Amen ferix, Amen!

I think the hardcourt season will be a blast because of this changing of the guard, or whatever you want to call it. (Sunset, I think Giner insightfully commented) It’s certainly nice when you can’t predict the winner, isn’t it?


Daniel Says:

Jane

“On a totally unrelated note to Fed-Rafa:

I am happy to see Murray in the top ten.

I am happy to see Davydenko dropping a spot and Ferrer overtaking him.

I am happy to see Marat Safin back in the world’s top 40.

And I am happy to see Gulbis move into the top 50 – keep movin on up dude – you’ve got game!”

Agree 100 %! I thougth the same thing this morning when I looked at the rankings.
And what will be exciting is that 20 players are competing for the last 5 spot in the Master Cup (the top 3 are already there).


ferix Says:

Yep. 2003 was a great year when Agassi, Ferrero, Federer and Roddick won slams. I can’t wait for 2009 when it could be Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and who else?

On another note, people argue Federer isn’t the GOAT because his competition was poor. But this loss to Nadal (now a Wimbledon champion who made 3 consecutive wimby finals and 4 straight FOs wins) will strangely argue for his case because his opponents are indeed very very great.

So if Feds can come back next year or in 2010 to win the FO / Wimbledon double, could there be any doubt at all about his legend?

Come on Feds, you have given us a great story so far … now we await the final chapter!


D Roy Says:

“Rasheed Says:
I just have to say this, but I can´t believe that Nadal is having so much succes, he has the ugliest gameplay in tennis history, it looks so amateuristic and is awful to watch. And yes, it was a nice match, but not amazing or anything, stuff like Agassi vs Blake (US Open 2005) that is classic high quality stuff.”

“Ryan Says:
To kroll:

I dont care …..He might be a good guy or watever but his tennis makes me wanna smash my tv.”

Are Rasheed & Ryan one and the same insane guy ?

Because the sheer magnitude of nonsense and absolute lunacy of the utter garbage uttered by them/him in the posts quoted above, prompts one to ask the logical question,’What the hell are they/he talking about ? ‘

May Lord have mercy !


Vulcan Says:

“it looks so amateuristic and is awful to watch”

Yes, thats a very astute observation. I agree that Nadal looks “amateuristic” when he hits a down the line 96 mph passing shot with so much spin in the horizontal plane that it’s maybe a foot or so inside the doubles alley so that it can curve outside of his opponents reach and then curve back into the court to land just in the back corner. I see that all the time at my local courts. And yes, his ability to hit a backhand passing shot from 8 feet behind and to the right of the intersection of the baseline and sideline with so much pace and angle on it that the volleyer cant even get a racquet on it is…again…the true mark of an amatuer. Yes even though those are shots that maybe he and a couple of other people on the planet can hit he clearly looks like a hacker. You might want to stick to watching professional wrestling were your analysis of its intricacies im sure will be spot on.


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

hahaha where’s Fed_Rafa fan now? Bet he wont be doing any trash talking again for a while. :)


Kroll Says:

Vulcan

“You might want to stick to watching professional wrestling were your analysis of its intricacies im sure will be spot on.”

I suggested soaps earlier! Which as we all know is pretty much the same as professional wrestling.

ferix

” Also, this does not make him the pick for the US Open.”

Absolutely true. As I said before, there is no chance of that happening till he decides he wants to flatten the forehand and forgo the spin on them.


trilby Says:

Jane says:
“I am happy to see Murray in the top ten.

I am happy to see Davydenko dropping a spot and Ferrer overtaking him.

I am happy to see Marat Safin back in the world’s top 40.

And I am happy to see Gulbis move into the top 50 – keep movin on up dude – you’ve got game!”

I second your thoughts all the way. Whatever happens to the Roger/Rafa rivalry, we’re in for some exciting tennis over the next couple of years. Let’s hope the TV networks can get their act together to let us enjoy it properly.


SG Says:

Unfortunately, I couldn’t see the match yesterday. But I did see the highlights. Looked like there were some truly sick points that were played. I’ll have to find it on video somewhere, or watch it on YouTube.

I did check in at around 1PM EDT and Rafa was ahead two sets and 4-5 on serve in the third at which point, there was a rain delay. Rain delays often have the affect of helping the player that is down. Roger certainly used the rain delay to full advantage and gathered himself. Rafa is usually a great front runner but the delay probably stoned his momentum. I think it likely that the match would have ended in straights without the delay. But, as with any great player, when you leave the door open, even a crack, they kick it open which seems to be what Roger did. Hats off the to guy. He didn’t disappear like he did in Paris.

One thing I didn’t like from Roger was his comment about that he may have lost due to the dark conditions. Last I checked, they were both out there playing. Other than that, it’s not hard to understand his disappointment. To expend so much physical and emotional energy and not win has to really hurt. Particularly in his own house. I do think that some of the mental pressures of being No.1 for so long have caught up to him a bit. I think it’s why he is a little testy with the press after losses.

Anyway, Roger will be back. He’ll have his chances. He is the best player in the world on the US Open DecoTurfII surface. No one has really come close to derailing him there yet. Djokovic will be hungry to rebound from his disappointing Wimbledon and he’ll want to avenge his loss to Fed from last year. All in all, this has the makings of the most intriguing hardcourt season in years. The No.1 year end ranking is up for grabs.


SG Says:

Don’t know what surface is for the Beijing Olympics, but if Fed were to have a nightmare, I’m guessing he’d be playing Rafa on red dirt in the Final.


Friend Says:

What a great match that was! I am sure for most tennis fans there were 3 winners yesterday. Rafa, Fed and the game of tennis. Fed-Rafa is officially the greatest rivalry ever in tennis. Like Brazil-Germany or Argentina – England or France-Italy in football (the global one not the fake american one). Flair Vs calculated play, offense Vs defense Ice Vs Fire. I have always admired the former teams/components but Fed-Rafa is unique (for me) because nadal is not boring like most defensive minded teams/players are. He is not the typical clay courter who will keep spinning the ball in from 10ft behind the baseline. He has an amazing tennis mind to go with it and the most under-rated part of his camp is uncle toni. This guy is a super-classy version of Richard williams. He is a great reason why Rafa can be a fierce competitor on court but a totally classy person off the court. I am just glad he will be succeeding Federer at wimbledon and not jerkovic. Hope this classy rivalry will make Chokovic learn the ideals of being classy. I hope nadal rules the tour with the same iron fist that Federer wielded and prevented the tour from being dominated by a jerk like hewitt. Rafa needs to do the same like Sampras did against agassi.

Vamos Rafa. Onto the hardcourts to kick choker’s butt all the way from toronto to shanghai. Where are all the Jerkovic fans who claimed the jerk will be the next no.1. Rafa has all but locked up the no.1


sensationalsafin Says:

As great as this match was, Federer sucks. His backhand is so bad it’s not even funny. All credit to Nadal. He will be number 1 in no time and thoroughly deserves it. Federer may not be done but his game is on the decline and is much worse than it was in the last few years. He rolls in all his backhands. He just hits them with no authority like he used to. And the forehand is a tad too sloppy. Not throughout but at the pressure points he really gets tight. Damn tough loss for Roger but god damn what a great match.


andrea Says:

There was an interesting comment by fed in in his post match interview that basically said he thought the pressure of the moment would eventually, finally get to nadal and i think that is a very telling comment.

it makes me think that he thought he was going to win cos nadal would eventually crack, which is not the mind frame you want to be in against him. i agree that these two guys are the toughest out their mentally and the most fit, but if that’s where fed’s thoughts were, i’m not surprised nadal edged out the victory. you can’t be hoping that your opponent will crack. and of all the opponents in the world that he faces, fed should know that nadal is the last person to crack.

i gotta say, if the 5th was decided in a tie break it likely would have gone fed’s way but it was so tight none the less. it really could have gone either way but nadal was definitely making inroads on feds serve in the final few games.


Colin Says:

And now somebody says “Federer sucks”. What does that make Andy Roddick, and all the other people he’s hammered over the last few years? Obviously EVERYONE sucks. So let’s close this forum, pack up the website, and all start stamp-collecting or something. Sometimes it really seems I’m listening to the conversation on a school playground.


NachoF Says:

“sensationalsafin Says:

As great as this match was, Federer sucks.”

Ok, I stopped reading after that infamous claim


Vulcan Says:

“It’s rough on me now, obviously, you know, to lose the biggest tournament in the world over maybe a bit of light,” the 26-year-old told a news conference.

This statement is a bit out of character for Federer and I think it shows just how much this loss has affected him. Complaining about the light makes about as much sense as complaining about the wind.


ChrisM Says:

From espn.com

ESPN Classic will replay Rafael Nadal’s epic five-set victory over Roger Federer in the men’s final on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.


Rasheed Says:

Ryan, wel said. It´s not like I hate Nadal or something, hell, I ain´t even a fan of Federer, but it´s really awful to watch his game which is based on ugly topspin balls, I rather watch Williams vs Williams, I think they play like men should, I like to see the true hard hitters, men´s tennis is getting uglier and uglier to watch. I also hate Djokovic btw. Agassi is the greatest player off all time, as far as I´m concerned. Federer and Nadal are boring as hell.


sardino Says:

TD: Speaking of Novack he wasn’t entirely wrong when he said that Federer was feeling the pressure, was he?

No, he did say he was vulnerable and Rafa knew it too.

JCF: The one people are referring to where he choked into tears?

I saw it. The guy was choked up and said IT HURTS.

Ferix: Tennis is currently ruled by no one and I think (after 5 years of Federer’s dominance) that’s an awesome thing.

I do too. Enough with the dominant player, we need to spread it around.

Friend: This guy is a super-classy version of Richard williams

If you think Richard Williams is classy, I feel sorry for you.

March 2008 Richard Williams
“But if you get some little white no-good trasher in America like Tracy Austin or Chris Evert, who cannot hit the ball, they (the media) will claim this is great,” he said.


sardino Says:

Nice article

Blood runs deep for Rafael Nadal

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article4276459.ece


Andrew Miller Says:

Dug this up from the ASAPsports archives

So who predicted that this result might materialize? Agassi, July 1, 2006, after losing to Nadal in his last ever Wimbledon match:

Q. Having played him [Nadal] now, what do you make of him on this surface?

ANDRE AGASSI: Well, the only thing he seems to struggle with would be his forehand return, you know. He can start slicing that a lot. Maybe only a few servers, you know, can exploit something like that.

But his movement translates to every surface. There’s no question about that. I think he’s the best mover that’s out there, you know. He just seems to really explode and anticipate and all of the above, and do a lot with the ball. So, you know, grass is a shot-making court. And if he’s making guys feel like they can’t hit winners out there on grass, that speaks to his presence out there.

You know, you leave a lot of room for a champion’s heart and mind, and he can certainly be here with high expectations.

—————————————————-

Q. You see him going all the way to the final or something like that?

ANDRE AGASSI: You know, if he has to play me over again, he’d get to the finals (smiling).

But, you know, yeah, I really thought that when I hit my quality shot, I could get him behind. He still was moving so well that even on grass he wasn’t getting behind. Then all he has to do is hit one shot that’s a little bit out of my strike zone, he takes over the point and then doesn’t let it go. This is a great way to play tennis, you know. He makes people have to do something special. And then if people decide to be patient, then he takes it to them. So you have to play a good match to beat him, or you have to be Roger, I mean, on grass.

———————————————

Q. When you walked off the court for the last time with Nadal, do you take any comfort in that it’s someone like him that, you know, maybe is a symbolic baton passing as opposed to somebody else?

ANDRE AGASSI: I don’t think I have that sort of poetic side to me really, you know. I would have been proud to shake the hand of anybody that beat me, really. Maybe a little bit more him just because of how I’ve admired him grow as a player. I’ve seen him since he’s been pretty young out there. I’ve seen him improve. I’ve admired this record that I never thought would get beaten, Vilas’ wins on clay, the way he’s gone after Roger in all their battles.

You know, there’s just a lot to respect about the guy. Then when you get out there and feel his game, you can only tip your hat to it.
—-

Q. It’s reasonable to believe that he’s going to get even better on grass as he plays more and more on it. Is it too early to think what a lot of people might have thought was unthinkable before this tournament, that he could actually challenge Roger Federer on a grass court?

ANDRE AGASSI: How do you say he couldn’t, or anybody really at that matter? I mean, listen, we all marvel at what Roger has done, there’s no question, none more than me. I watch him play and have an appreciation for it from not just the stands but also the best seat in the house, which is the other side of the net.

So I’ve admired it and all that.

But, you know, if tennis was as easy as phoning in the results, you know, I would have just called in a win today against Nadal, you know. Just doesn’t happen that way. You have to come out; you have to do it. That’s one thing that I keep speaking to in competition, you know. The competitor’s heart and mind leave a lot of room for a lot of things that we might think is crazy to happen.

————
HOW ABOUT THAT! One of Agassi’s innumerable contributions to the game, his foresight.


sensationalsafin Says:

Really? No one agrees that Federer’s backhand was terrible? He rolled in every single one except that one pass he hit in the tiebreaker. It was ridiculous. I was rooting for Federer the whole time and every single time the ball went to his backhand I got nervous wondering how he was going to miss it this time. I think it was Cash who said that Federer has a lot more variety than Nadal but he isn’t using it. Damn straight! He has every shot out there but he has been so f*cking stubborn about it. And wtf was with those top spin volleys? Was that necessary? Other than the backhand, Federer played really well, but stupid. The guy who caused people to create banners saying “Quiet, Genius at work” has been everything but genius this year. He really does need a coach.

I’ve been saying it since last year even after he raised his level to win the TMC. He’s just so stubborn and he’s not gonna be able to win by just waiting for his opponent. God damn it’s ridiculous. Hopefully he’ll step it up for the rest of the season seeing how pissed off he really is now, but if he’s gonna still be stubborn he won’t win more. Someone needs to smack him in the face and tell him to stop being an idiot.


JCF Says:

“Plus, consider the ball size plus weight, which makes a huge difference. Also, consider why hard hitters do better on hard surface than on grass and clay. I would even add this Rafa’s high-bouncing topspin is a special case to figure out the puzzle.”

I think the answer to this is: Pete Sampras, and then Roger Federer.

Roddick did well on the grass. He has 4 queen’s titles, 2 wimby finals, and a semi final.

The main reason people don’t do well on the grass is because there’s really only two tournaments in a year (if that) that players get a chance to enter. They’d be able to get more results and titles on the grass if there were more tournaments. To insert grass tournaments into the calendar though, would require pushing Wimbledon back, which isn’t likely to happen. Too much in London (and in other sports) revolves around Wimbledon being set in June/July. To change that would require a chain reaction of further changes to everything else down the line. You could insert grass tournaments after Wimbledon, but they would largely be irrelevant after the ‘main event’ is over.

There are an odd couple here and there afterward, but they don’t get much attention. Rafa should probably enter those to solidify his grass skills, and win titles while he can still take them.

Thanks for your hard court analysis by the way. Great stuff.


JCF Says:

Jerminix Says:

“I feel sorry for Roger, really he is a very good player but I have to hand it to Nadal, He wans this title badly. I know Roger can come back in the US open.”

Does a guy who already owns 5 wimbledon titles, and 7 other slams really require sympathy? Yes it’s a tough loss, but did you feel sorry for Rafa when he lost last year in 5 sets? Did you feel sorry for Tipsarevic who Fed beat 10-8 in the 5th at AO? Do you feel sorry for Hewitt who Fed double bagelled at the US Open final a few years back? Fed was an unfortunate victim on Sunday, but think about how many unfortunate victims Fed himself put in their place, that you DON’T feel sorry for.

He has 5 wimbledons already. It’s time to share the spoils. It’s not the end of the world because he failed to make it 6.

The guy also has 4 straight US Opens. That’s as many Opens as Rafa has French Opens, and Rafa is known as by far the most dominant clay courter. Fed’s hard court achievements alone match Rafa’s dominance on that one surface. Then there’s the grass…

I like Federer, but he is the least person that needs my pity. This is not the end of Fed. He will win Wimbledon again. Though things will be more interesting from here on out.


Tejuz.. Says:

agree with SensationalSafin, Fed is stubborn sometimes with his shot selection. Whenever he charged to the net, he was getting lot of success.. especially when approaching on a slice to Nadal’s backhand. Whenever he approached the net after a forehand or backhand drive, he had little time to reach close to net so as to be able to cut off Nadal’s passing shots. He somtimes was in two minds whether to really approach the net or stay back, and eventually get stranded around the service line.

I think he needs to have a aggressive game plan and stick with it.. even when some of the points are not going his way.. especially against Nadal…and especially on Clay. Trading baseline rallies with Nadal.. he is sure to lose 2/3rds of those rallies.


JCF Says:

Mike Says:

“Now he needs to respond if he wants to remain at the top of the game. I believe he can remain at the top but it will take more effort on his part, especially mentally.”

What I can see happening now is that Federer will enter more tournaments in order to defend his #1 ranking. He will win all the smaller tournaments that no one else bothers to enter. But it will mean less rest for him. Hiring a coach would help too.

“I also don’t like the “RF” hats and the somewhat pretentious clothes that Roger appears in. I think he can maintain his gentlemanly attitude without some of the pretention.”

I agree. I like the first jacket he had back in 06 I think. Since then, the outfits just didn’t look very good. Fashion fussing is for the women players. The men should just get on with the game. The RF logos on his shoes I presume are just in case he loses them (other people wear the same shoes too), at least they’ll knew which pair is his…


JCF Says:

“I have not heard Nadal talk about his passion for the US Open or his efforts to improve on hard courts. He will be at the mercy of Djokovic, Murray, Monfils, Tsonga, Gasquet, Berdych, Davydenko, Blake, Ferrer, Safin, Hewitt and Roddick each of whom may individually lose to Nadal, but collectively (by this, I mean one after the other in the rounds of 3rd, R16, QF, SF) will beat him.”

To get all of these guys in his draw is going to be improbable. This would be the worst draw you could think of, for any player. He only needs to beat a few of them, while his rival on the other end of the draw takes care of the rest. And he can only player whoever he gets, which he has no control over.

You named 13 guys who could collectively beat him. It’s a bit strange to pit one guy against 13.

P.S. I would also add Gonzalez and Baghdatis to that list.


JCF Says:

Tejuz.. Says:

“agree with SensationalSafin, Fed is stubborn sometimes with his shot selection. Whenever he charged to the net, he was getting lot of success.. especially when approaching on a slice to Nadal’s backhand. Whenever he approached the net after a forehand or backhand drive, he had little time to reach close to net so as to be able to cut off Nadal’s passing shots. He somtimes was in two minds whether to really approach the net or stay back, and eventually get stranded around the service line.

I think he needs to have a aggressive game plan and stick with it.. even when some of the points are not going his way.. especially against Nadal…and especially on Clay. Trading baseline rallies with Nadal.. he is sure to lose 2/3rds of those rallies.”

It’s like I said before… Fed’s game on Sunday would have been enough to beat most anyone. It just isn’t enough against Rafa. Rafa just seems to befuddle him. Fed has a winning game plan and he is used to playing the same game against everyone and crushing them, but when it doesn’t work against Rafa, he isn’t sure what to do.

Fed just couldn’t resist getting into baseline rallies between his backhand and Rafa’s forehand — he isn’t going to be winning those. Where Rafa has him beat is in baseline rallies, and where Fed has Rafa beat is getting free points on serve. Fed needed to come into the net more often instead of engaging in rallies. At many an occasion, he had opportunities to come in and finish off the point, but hesitated and wasted the opportunity. The is the same problem Hewitt has. Fed is superb at the net, it’s just he isn’t used to needing to go there, because his baseline game is good enough to beat most players.

Another thing he can do is draw Rafa in more often where he’s vulnerable. I saw a few occasions in the match where he accidentally gave Rafa a short ball into no-man’s land and forced Rafa to come in reluctantly, and lose the point. Fed didn’t even mean to do that, but it worked. He could hit more short slices to draw him in.. this is a tactic he uses against many other players, but not so much on Rafa for some reason. There are actually a number of things he does well against other players but for some reason doesn’t try using on Rafa.


JCF is dreaming Says:

Everytime you speak, you give me something to laugh at! Thanks! lol


Skorocel Says:

JCF said:

“The RF logos on his shoes I presume are just in case he loses them (other people wear the same shoes too), at least they’ll knew which pair is his…”

LOL :)


Andrew Miller Says:

I agree that Roger Federer’s game was not disarming enough to wrestle the match from Rafael Nadal. Both, of course, played a phenomenal, words-cant-even-describe-it, match, one for the ages.

I was surprised by how well Nadal, armed with superhuman speed, was able to anticipate and fetch Federer’s shots on the grass, whereas Federer was unable to anticipate Nadal’s shots as well as Nadal. Very small difference, VERY SMALL, but I think it added up over the course of the match.

I watched some clips of Nadal-Federer from Miami 2005 (when it was the Nasdaq – maybe it still is Nasdaq!), and though Federer got trashed in the first two sets, he had to rely less on resolve and sheer courage than the ability to better disguise his shots and play a tennis that was uncomfortable for any player to play against – including Nadal. He made the tireless Nadal, mentally tired.

In thinking about all of Federer’s victories over Nadal (yep, the few – two Wimbledons, two masters crown semifinal victories in China, one masters in Hamburg, and the Miami title in 2005) I think the Miami title’s last three sets showed what Federer could come up with.

Then again, it must be awful to tough to come up with shots when no one can see the ball! Unbelievable.

So for next time…I think if Federer wants back in on this, he has to take out Nadal from the getgo, He has to play the tennis he plays when he himself is pressed against the wall, from the early going, and not so late in the match. Then again, I don’t think a player can artificially conjure up that emotional context.

What can I say…Federer needs to practice some new tricks and had some more deception to his game. I think it’s becoming a little too readable, even if he is playing against the player with the most resolve, extreme speed, and best movement by far on tour. Dont really think Federer has another option: improvement is the name of the game!

(If Agassi can do it from age 29 to 33, Federer can do it from 27-31).


Andrew Miller Says:

Federer definitely could use a “scout” to monitor what new “shots or strategies” an opponent may be using. I don’t think Federer can “wing it” anymore in terms of “gameplans”.

For example, before thrashing Andy Roddick at the Australian Open 2007 (before which, Federer had lost in an exhibition vs. Roddick and had saved match points in their year end 2006 match in China), Federer invited Roddick to practice during the Australian Open and they played a practice set. During that set, which Roddick won and felt good about, Federer got a good look at the different shots that Roddick would likely use if they were to face off in the Aussie semifinal, but did not reveal his own full arsenal.

In other words, it was a ruse. Federer used his two “bogus” matches (an exo and a practice match) to scout Roddick, and then delivered one of his greatest masterclasses and humiliated Roddick, who, with the help of Connors, felt he was in position to “make a match of it.” Why Roddick agreed to a practice set when he was likely to play Federer later in the draw is another story – that’s giving away the keys to the house! – but what’s important is
that Federer had Roddick scouted because he was a little bothered by the possibility that he might face a game that looked a little bit different than what he was accustomed to from Roddick.

That’s the same as what’s required against Nadal. He needs someone to watch a lot of “tape” and scout his opponents for him. Then have some faith and execute against the best information he can come up with.


Skorocel Says:

Andrew Miller said:

“Then again, it must be awful to tough to come up with shots when no one can see the ball! Unbelievable.”

Andrew, as far as I know, they BOTH had to play in the SAME conditions, so these complaints are simply irrelevant. Nadal won the match fair and square…


matt Says:

I think Federer should go more to the net, specially on grass.

Even though his forehand is the best of this era, you can see that Nadal is just destroying his backhand time and time again from the baseline.

Nadal’s crosscourt forehand to Federer’s backhand is really good, always putting pressure and drawing many Federer’s errors, not to mention that sooner or later comes a down the line forehand winner from Nadal when Federer’s backhand comes short.

No matter how good your forehand is if you have to hit backhands all the time.

I know Nadal is probably the best out there making passing-shots, but Federer should come to the net more.

Maybe he should try even serve-and-volley, actually I don’t know.

Perhaps it is just that Nadal has been playing too good lately.

I’ve just read that McEnroe, Becker and Collins consider it the best tennis match of all times.

I see Nadal is already hurting from his knees…it can be a decisive factor in the american hard season.

I hope he stays healthy, I don’t like someone losing because of an injury and I just want to see what a healthy Nadal can achieve in this hard season that comes along.


ShayHay Says:

I can’t remember who said it, but someone earlier posted that it took everything Nadal had to beat Federer. I disagree wholeheartedly. If you look at the match (which I watched a repeat of last night and I have it Tivo’d), Federer gave everything he had and it still wasn’t good enough. And this was on grass, his favorite and most dominant surgace. On clay, he has to give everything he has and then some just to make it a match. Nadal has the mental and physical edge over Federer–no question.


Daniel Says:

sensationalsafin

I agree with you in parts!
His backhand return was painfull to watch. I still can’t believe that 15-40 in the second set after he was broke that he misses two second serve in his backhand. He couldn’t put the ball in play. He missed a lot of returns and people say only Fed had easy points on serve. I think if we count the amount of time he missed his backhand return Nadal had more easy points on serve.

His backand was working satisfatory to me, Nadal was a little afraid to go to Fed’s forehand and kept using the top spin, and Fed was returning the ball high too. That is the thing with Nadal, even on grass the ball stay high all the time. If we saw Fed’s other matches, the points were quick with the ball low.

Nadal knows how to play Fed and expose his deficiency, but he is the only one on tour that can execute the game plan. There lies his fortune!


matt Says:

I think that physically Federer is in great shape. He ran a lot during almost five hours and still looked fresh.

I’ve just re-watched the match and actually he hit a very high number of inside-out forehand winners and many, many service winners.

The problem is it seems that those two things were his only serious weapons, because other than that Nadal was killing him, destroying his backhand.

Actually now that I’ve watched again I see clearly that Nadal should have won in that four set tie-break, but he got so nervious and choked badly.

I agree that Roger tryed hard and gave his all, but I believe he can’t beat Nadal from the baseline. Nadal’s baseline game is just too strong and Federer just can’t control his backhand against so much spin and power of Nadal’s forehand.

I think Nadal is just a terrible match-up for Roger.

In fact, Nadal leads 2-1 in outdoor hard court:

Nadal defeated Federer 6-3,6-3 in Miami’04.
Federer defeated Nadal 2-6,6-7,7-6,6-3,6-1 in Miami’05.
Nadal defeated Federer 2-6,6-4,6-4 in Dubai’06.

Federer has defeated Nadal in the Masters-Cup SF the last two years (6-4,7-5 and 6-4,6-1), indoor hard court, but you know Nadal’s level at the end of season is low, with pains and injury in all his body.


Daniel Says:

I had a theory since last events.

After Nadal was confronted with the possibility of losing number two, his game went to sky. He won 4 titles in a row and give it all at Wimbledon (I think other great players would collapse after that 4th set). Maybe he knows his knee is only getting worst (since last year we’ve been hearding it is bad, but I don’t see how is affecting his game, not yet) and that this could be his last chance to win Wimbledon, or this could be his last chance to be number one! He may know his days are counted. Who knows?!

I only know it will be really bad for tennis if he is about to have the major injury that so many are waiting for.

But, all of this could be just the bad scenario, he could easilly achieved his prime and may acompliesh a lot in near future, starting with the hard court season coming.

Btw, I just saw he won’t play Stuttgart, which means he will loose 250 points going into Canada, making Fed maintain number untill US Opne (unless he lost first round in both MS).


SG Says:

You have to give Uncle Toni credit for some incredible foresight. Teaching Rafa to play left handed and helping Rafa construct a game that just happens to be custom tailored to irritate Fed. It’s a pretty remarkable stroke of luck. Nadal is perfectly right handed in every other endeavour. I wonder if Roger looks at this as kind of a “Terminator II” situation. If only I could go back in time and get rid of Uncle Toni.

All joking aside, Nadal possesses his own kind of genius. He has tremendous mental strength. Even after flinching in the 4th set, he kept his wits about him. A meltdown like that would have most likely derailed a lesser player. The thing about Rafa at this moment is, he has no discernible weakness. He is strong off both wings. His serve isn’t a weakness. He can fly all over the court. Fed, Nadal & Djok are the only players without a clear place where you can attack them. I cannot think of anyone other player today that is as well rounded as these guys.


SG Says:

Fed will have to share the spotlight. The dominant period is done. The other two are simply too good to be kept out of the winner’s circle for long periods. And their youth is definitely an advantage both mentally and physically.


Andrew Miller Says:

No dispute from me! Nadal DEFINITELY won the match fair and square.


jane Says:

matt,

I agree 100% that Rafa should’ve won the 4th set tiebreak but he got nervous. This is rather important because it’s not that Rafa can’t win tiebreaks against Fed – he can and he has – it’s just that the momentousness of the occasion got the better of Nadal and he served badly to let Roger back into the match. Luckily, he didn’t let that overcome him and he stayed the course for the 5th set.

Players get nervous when serving out big matches or sets; it’s common. Djokovic did it twice in his first slam final against Fed, and he learned the hard way and came back stronger at the AO.

Rafa is a very self-aware player; he knew he had to just “be there” as he put it, because he knew he should’ve finished it off and didn’t.

Over the 5 sets, I think Rafa was the better player and the deserving winner, much as it was something for Fed to come back after two sets down.

SG,

I agree with your comments; I hope you were able to see the match!


Von Says:

Skorocel Says:
JCF said:

“The RF logos on his shoes I presume are just in case he loses them (other people wear the same shoes too), at least they’ll knew which pair is his…”

LOL

Skorocel, only you could find the humour. I need to stop sending you those jokes. Funny, but he could tie his shoelaces together and hang his shoes around his neck like mothers do for their kids. :)

JCF, As I previously said, your huourous side is peaking. I like your posts BTW — you’ve got chutzpah!!


Skorocel Says:

To Andrew Miller:

No problem here :) I just didn’t like it when Fed mentioned that fading light – as if it sort of contributed to the final result. That was a bit unnecessary from him I guess…


Skorocel Says:

To Von:

You know, that’s virtually the only way how to (at least partially) forget this past month… Boy, that was brutal for Fed!


Von Says:

Skorocel:

I’m not going to get pulled into any discussion about that match — (1) I dislike post-mortems, and, (2) you know my bad luck history whenever I comment on Fed. That said, mum’s the word. You can comment for both of us though. Just so you don’t think I’m ignoring you — I got your last 4 emails, but my reply was returned due to your mailbox being full. Clean it out will ya — stop being so lazy!! :)


Daniel Says:

Well light and wind affect players differently, not every one reacts the same way. I use contact lents and when it get close to sunset I stop seeing the baseline across the court.

One other thing, I know nobody is perfect, and me being fan of Federer (more than Nadal) will sound as an excuse, but one of the things that always botterd me about Nadal was him taking long time to serve. He had one time violation and he should had other, but no judge in the world would have the courage to take a point out of him in a match where almost every point counted. He took more than 35 seconds to serve in the final game after 40-40. I started to like Nadal a lot more these last months due to his tennis, but then he do the same things again. These are the kind of things that eventually make you like a player less or more.

For me Fed have the un-necessary attire, Roddick sometimes scream with the ballboys and umpires, Nadal take forever to serve, Djoko too sometimes (and talk too much), Safin broke everything, and so on. But they are human, nobody is perfect!


Giner Says:

ferix says:

“I have not heard Nadal talk about his passion for the US Open or his efforts to improve on hard courts. He will be at the mercy of Djokovic, Murray, Monfils, Tsonga, Gasquet, Berdych, Davydenko, Blake, Ferrer, Safin, Hewitt and Roddick each of whom may individually lose to Nadal, but collectively (by this, I mean one after the other in the rounds of 3rd, R16, QF, SF) will beat him.”

That is indeed a formidable string of players. They are very much able to stop Rafa collectively, but I don’t see that as a reason that he can’t win it.

1. He will not be playing that many of them. Due to the way they are ranked and seeded, they will be sprinkled about, and will defeat each other or be defeated by someone else. Rafa would have to be extremely unlucky to face 7 of these guys.

2. What player could this collective group NOT be able to stop? These guys one after another can stop anyone, not just Rafa. But someone still has to win the title.

I think Nalbandian should be on that list as well.


JCF Says:

“I watched some clips of Nadal-Federer from Miami 2005 (when it was the Nasdaq – maybe it still is Nasdaq!), and though Federer got trashed in the first two sets, he had to rely less on resolve and sheer courage than the ability to better disguise his shots and play a tennis that was uncomfortable for any player to play against – including Nadal. He made the tireless Nadal, mentally tired.

In thinking about all of Federer’s victories over Nadal (yep, the few – two Wimbledons, two masters crown semifinal victories in China, one masters in Hamburg, and the Miami title in 2005) I think the Miami title’s last three sets showed what Federer could come up with. ”

IMO, there should be a footnote next to that match. Rafa was visibly tired by the end having played the previous day winning in a 3rd set tiebreak. Being tired in itself is not an excuse, but the thing to be mindful of is that… this was the first year the final was changed from best-of-three to best-of-five. It has since gone back to best of three. The year before that, it was best-of-three, and had it stayed that way, it would have been another rout at the hands of Nadal. Federer would not go on to win his first match against Nadal until Wimbledon 06.

I remember at this time in their history, Fed fans on his website were writing Nadal off as a one surface wonder, and beliving him incapable of playing on faster surfaces (Miami was a slow hard court they said). It must be embarassing for them now…

I actually read through the first few pages of comments on the Wimby match, and not once did they acknowledge Rafa’s effort. Every comment can pretty much be summed as “I’m sorry for you Roger, but you’re still the best. Cheer up, I know you will win it again!”


Andrew Miller Says:

JCF – no dispute from me again! Nadal was the better player, he beat Federer fair and square, much as everytime he’s beat him (12-6 now? 11-6?) and this match was by far the best they’ve played and one for history!

Can’t tell you how many people, who dont normally watch tennis or play it, told me it was the most exciting match they’ve ever played and how excited they were for Rafael Nadal. So many people at work, I was shocked!


JCF Says:

SG Says:

“You have to give Uncle Toni credit for some incredible foresight. Teaching Rafa to play left handed and helping Rafa construct a game that just happens to be custom tailored to irritate Fed. It’s a pretty remarkable stroke of luck. Nadal is perfectly right handed in every other endeavour. I wonder if Roger looks at this as kind of a “Terminator II” situation. If only I could go back in time and get rid of Uncle Toni.”

Agreed. Federer himself said that Nadal has the best of both worlds by being right handed and playing left handed. Moya and Sharapova are lefties that play right handed. Why they chose to do that is a mystery to me… they got the worst of both worlds. They have to deal with the inconveniences of many instrumments being designed for a right hander (try using a spiral notebook…), yet the miss out on the advantage of screwing other people’s game by playing left handed. Righties aren’t used to playing lefties and the adjustment isn’t easy.

Jane: “I agree 100% that Rafa should’ve won the 4th set tiebreak but he got nervous. This is rather important because it’s not that Rafa can’t win tiebreaks against Fed – he can and he has – it’s just that the momentousness of the occasion got the better of Nadal and he served badly to let Roger back into the match. Luckily, he didn’t let that overcome him and he stayed the course for the 5th set.”

I thought he should have won it in 3 sets. He had 0-40 on Federer’s serve at 3-3. If not there, then at 8-7 in the 4th set tie break, Rafa should not have come into the net. Federer hit a do or die backhand pass and made it. Incredible. It’s easy to second guess what he should have done, but I guess if he did win it in 3 or 4, we would have been robbed of a classic… no 5th set.

“Over the 5 sets, I think Rafa was the better player and the deserving winner, much as it was something for Fed to come back after two sets down.”

I agree that he was the better player, despite it being close. The points Fed won weren’t the crucial ones. Rafa needed it more, and should have felt even worse than Fed did if he lost it. Rafa held match points and a two-sets lead. It would have been devastating to lose with that. Fed had chances, and fought hard, but the match was never his to lose.

Von: “JCF, As I previously said, your huourous side is peaking. I like your posts BTW — you’ve got chutzpah!!”

Thanks Von!!

“Funny, but he could tie his shoelaces together and hang his shoes around his neck like mothers do for their kids. :)”

I’ve always found it arrogant for players to put their name on their shoes and gear, but if they’re getting paid to, then whatever…

Skorocel: “No problem here :) I just didn’t like it when Fed mentioned that fading light – as if it sort of contributed to the final result. That was a bit unnecessary from him I guess…”

My guess is that Federer’s eyesight isn’t the best. He complained about this at RG 05 against Rafa as well. And in last year’s Wimbledon final, he made a lot of hawkeye challenges and lost them, while Rafa was winning all his challenges (caught a scratch of the line and had the call overturned :D), which really incensed Fed. “This system is killing me!” His record at the AO earlier with challenges was also embarassing.

Daniel: “Well light and wind affect players differently, not every one reacts the same way. I use contact lents and when it get close to sunset I stop seeing the baseline across the court.”

Being able to handle the elements is part of the game when it comes to outdoors tennis. Some people can’t take extreme heat, others can’t handle the wind. Play indoors if it bothers you, or learn to deal with it. It isn’t fair, but neither is life.

“He had one time violation and he should had other, but no judge in the world would have the courage to take a point out of him in a match where almost every point counted. He took more than 35 seconds to serve in the final game after 40-40.”

Given the occasion, I think this is 100% understandable. If you were a breath away from making your way into history books, how long would it take you to compose yourself? The umpire has to use discretion and common sense. Djokovic got called for time violation on set point against Hewitt in AO. The umpire should have used his brain. It’s true, he did bounce the ball 500 times, but it was set point! What do you expect?

The umpire would have been shitcanned by pundits, viewers and the media for taking points off Nadal at 8-7 40-40. Use discretion and be sensitive to the occasion. If it’s a changeover and the guy is too slow getting onto the court, or if it’s 15-all, 1-1 then by all means.


jane Says:

JCF:

“Given the occasion, I think this is 100% understandable. If you were a breath away from making your way into history books, how long would it take you to compose yourself? [...] If it’s a changeover and the guy is too slow getting onto the court, or if it’s 15-all, 1-1 then by all means.”

Well said! Rules must be enforced within the context and circumstances of any given match – good umpires will use their judgement accordingly. It’s the do-or-die- rule-enforcers that are the nincompoops! Hell, in that situation I’d've given Rafa a healthy 45 seconds!


Von Says:

Umpires can cause some very bad situations to become even worse. For example, in the Roddick v. Tipsarevic match, at the end of the second set, Roddick got very angry concerning Tipsy’s grunting BEFORE Roddick served. Andy complained to the umpire, who did nothing. Consequently, this enraged Roddick so much, he blew his concentration and hit 2 forehand shots out. The umpire could have spoken to Tipsy.

In the Safin v. Lopez match, same scenario, Lopez grunted BEFORE Safin served; the umpire, Steve Ulrich, intervened and took a point from Lopez for that action. The umpire’s action kept Safin calm and he went on to win the match. Same situation, two different umpires, but it’s a case of one umpire thinking, using his judgment, and doing what was fair, instead of behaving like a robot. The other situation, the umpire was totally disinterested, and caused a bad situation to become even more inflamed. Ergo, umpires need to be more flesh and blood and not robotic in their thinking.

After the last rain delay in the final, John MCEnroe mentioned as the players were walking back on court, that he hoped Pascal Maria would use some discretion and not be exacting in the amount of time he allowed Nadal and Federer to warm up before resuming the match, because they absolutely needed some leniency. His wish was for the umpire to NOT stick to the books. These are instances of discretion being better than valor.


Noel Says:

I know I may get flogged for this but both players said that they could not see towards the closing stages of the match.In that situation the match became a bit of a lottery or a context of eyesights.Probably Rafa’s eyes were just a wee bit better or one could argue that he adapted better because his game has more margin for error.However,it was such a tight match in the end that you might as well do a toss of coin to decide a winner instead of forcing them to continue in the darkness.Considering the stage of the match, each and every point was decisive and it was very unfair to both players.I am not for a moment saying that Fed lost it because of bad light but it would have been much fairer to both had the match continued in better light the next day.I’d have said the same thing if Fed had won.It was worse than the Murray-Gasquet match.I can perfectly accept rain delays and windy conditions and how they affected both players-albeit a bit differently- but playing in the dark amounts to guesswork imho especially while returning and “engaging” in rallies.Rafa definitely adapted better to the windy conditions because his game allows him to do so whereas Fed needs more rhythm and has lesser margin for error.the first rain break definitely helped Fed-even though he was ahead in the third set- and the second one helped Rafa.
Taking the match into the next day would obviously have been very tough on the organizers and the spectators but i hate the thought of the fate of such a great match ultimately being decided by guesswork from the players.Rafa could easily have taken the match even in the brightest light but Fed would have had an equally great shot at it.It is a pity that there had to be a loser because there was hardly a difference between the two in the end.I guess this wimb was meant for Rafa and he was destined to win.I had been getting that feeling for quite a while.In fact I apprehended a much easier Rafa win given the level he reached in the queen’s final and the murray match and certainly thought this wimb was his to lose.His single-minded determination and focus on each and every point are quite scary.However,I didn’t expect Fed to lose once he won that amazing fourth set breaker and I am sure he’d have used the momentum against any other player to win the final set.I guess the second delay halted the momentum but the way Rafa responded despite serving second was hugely impressive.His tactics and overall strategy also were very good.He rightly stuck to his time-tested method of beating Fed with a safe top-spin game instead of the riskier and flatter game he displayed in the murray match.That approach would have suited Fed more. Fed appeared very confused esp when approaching the net.I just can’t comprehend why he doesn’t use his vicious back hand slice more often instead of playing top spin and making numerous unforced errors in the process.Clearly he has to go back to the drawing board and work on his game/tactics to quell the challenge of his leading rivals esp nadal.

Whatever arguments we may make,the fact remains that Rafa has achieved what is probably the toughest task in men’s tennis outside of winning the calender grand slam although Fed’s achievements at the slams in 2006 and 2007 are incredibly astonishing as well.Rafa is in the company of Laver and Borg now.Winning f.o. and wimb the same year is such a rare thing that anyone who does it has got be the player of the year irrespective of what others do at other major events.I am sure he will do much better on the hard courts this year because he has shown in the murray match that he can hit much flatter without sacrificing too much accuracy.The only question mark relates to his troublesome knees and it could threaten his chances of really coming into his own as he enters his prime.


JCF Says:

Noel Says:

“I know I may get flogged for this but both players said that they could not see towards the closing stages of the match.In that situation the match became a bit of a lottery or a context of eyesights.Probably Rafa’s eyes were just a wee bit better or one could argue that he adapted better because his game has more margin for error.However,it was such a tight match in the end that you might as well do a toss of coin to decide a winner instead of forcing them to continue in the darkness.Considering the stage of the match, each and every point was decisive and it was very unfair to both players.I am not for a moment saying that Fed lost it because of bad light but it would have been much fairer to both had the match continued in better light the next day.I’d have said the same thing if Fed had won”

Everyone concerned was well aware of the dilemma, and I think the call was, if Fed leveled it 8-8, they would postpone the match.

But Fed himself admitted it was a tough call. To get everyone to come back the next morning, for possibly 5 minutes of play would have been very difficult. A lot of people are involved in a match, and not just people on the court. So they figured, you know.. maybe this will end quick and we can be spared… and it was.

It’s sad that it happened that way, but the alternative might have been even worse.

Wimbledon should just install some lights. They are soo behind the times…

At least next year, a roof will be in place and the finals match shouldn’t last until 9pm.


Skorocel Says:

JCF said:

“Wimbledon should just install some lights. They are soo behind the times…

At least next year, a roof will be in place and the finals match shouldn’t last until 9pm.”

Well, with the roof on, they should also have some lights, shouldn’t they? :) But anyway, I can only second your thought about the Wimby people being “soo behind the times”… That last year (when they still had that free Sunday despite the numerous rain delays) was just ridiculous!


Skorocel Says:

Noel said:

“I just can’t comprehend why he doesn’t use his vicious back hand slice more often instead of playing top spin and making numerous unforced errors in the process.”

Noel, how many of those painful losses which Fed had already suffered to Nadal will it take for you to realize that this shot simply ISN’T gonna work against the Spaniard? As you may know, slice backhand (if executed by a righthanded player, that is) works best crosscourt (i.e. where the net is at its lowest) to the opponen’t BH, but unfortunately for Fed, Nadal has always that topspin FH there, ready to strike. And since he’s a born righty, it’s not gonna make that much difference if Fed tries to hit this shot to his BH either… And lastly, as you may know, the lower the bounce, the more lethal the BH slice can be, but unfortunately, the ball doesn’t bounce as low on the SW19 lawns as it once used to…


Noel Says:

Skorocel,
I agree with just about everything you say except the fact that imho Fed’s slice-which i think is very vicious on grass when he executes well-is a better option than top-spin especially when Rafa’s high-bouncing balls are not in Fed’s strike zone. Despite the fact that the bounce at sw19 is not as low as it used to be,Fed’s cross-court slice does keep very low as we saw on the few occasions he used it not only in this final but last year’s final as well.At the very least,he should mix top spin with slice while engaging in rallies from his backhand side or when he is out of position to play the top spin on his own terms.A short but low slice will also bring Rafa out of his comfort zone.I know this is not a possibility on other courts and it is very difficult even on grass against Rafa but it’d mean Rafa is forced to make winners instead of Fed gifting it away thru the inevitable unforced error after four or five backhand drives.In fact,even a deep up the line slice-admittedly the tougher one to execute-is not all that bad an option to stay in the point or as a recovery shot because it goes to Rafa’s relatively weaker fh side and may force Rafa to go to Fed’s fh side.Fed’s bh top-spin drive is a thing of beauty when he plays it on his own terms but when he can’t play it in his comfort zone,it turns ugly.Fed stubbornly keeps on engaging in top spin rallies regardless of that fact and almost always loses the point with an ue.Rafa ,on the other hand,uses his slice brilliantly to keep himself in the point by giving himself time to recover from out of position situations.


Leftykick Says:

I agree 100% with sensationalsafin.

Roger needs a new gameplan against Rafa. I coach would definitely help. He needs to learn how to convert a much higher percentage of his break points. Maybe he should have a word with Boris Becker one of the greatest break point players ever.


Leftykick Says:

I wonder what went on between Roger and Tony Roche during their time together??? During Wimbledon Rogers net approaches were more often than not forhand drives feeding the pace on which Rafa thrives.

As Noel points out a sliced approach would give him more time and make Rafa work a bit harder for the pass. I have never seen the great serve and volleyers of the past approaching the net in this way?

As good as his volleying is, he is not a McEnroe or Edberg so his approaches need to be that much better.


ShayHay Says:

You would think with a tournament as “prestigious” as Wimbledon, they would have installed some lights by now. This makes absolutely no sense to me. And for goodness sake get that roof in tact. I’m so sick of the darn delays, I want to shoot my tele.


Noel Says:

JCF,
I agree it would have been tough on everyone concerned and i wrote that in my post but it is not as if finals have not been taken to a the third monday before at wimb.They had many opportunities to suspend play earlier at 6-6 or 7-7 for instance.The light was getting worse by the minute and there was no way one could tell that someone was going to win the match soon.Who knows how long the match would have gone in more normal conditions.Fed’s serve was broken in very bad light and he could not get the break back in even worse light.I do not infer that Rafa won’t have broken or Fed’d have broken back in better light but it always makes you wonder if the proceedings on court would have been identical in better light.It disturbs me and makes me sad that poor light could have possibly been even the slightest of factors affecting the proceedings in such an incredible match.Rafa would have been equally justified in feeling a bit miffed if he had lost under these circumstances. The way these guys were playing,they deserved much better but in their eagerness to finish things off,the organizers continued way beyond than what they should have.It was extremely unfair to both of them.wimb authorities want play to continue in darkness but do not install any floodlights.They should at least start providing night vision equipment to the players:)


Noel Says:

I am sorry about the error in my post addressed to skorocel above.”Rafa’s relatively weaker fh side” should be read as “Rafa’s relatively weaker bh side”.I just wish there was an edit option on this forum.


Daniel Says:

JCF, Jane

I agree with the importance of 40-40 and a lot of players would take longer to serve, I just mentioned the “35 seconds” to show an exemple.

But during the 4th or 5th set (earlier) he should lost a point. It’s the only way he is going to learn, or respect the rule, especially because it’s not the first time. He will just keep doing this until some judge had the guts to do it.

Regarding Fed not showing the variety he can, all credits to Nadal. He is the only player that can keep Fed out of his confort zone and maintain him there, that shows how good he is cause the other players saw him do the same thing again and again and none can execute it against Fed the way Rafa do. It’s really remarkable! Next MS will be trilling since Nadal is on a 24 winning streak, and counting.


SG Says:

You kind of lose track of it in Federer’s era of dominance, but at 22, Rafa suddenly has 5 majors to his name. The guy is definitely in position to challenge the likes of Fed, Sampras and Borg atop the list of all time greats. His game is more physical and taxing than some of those other guys, but you never know what can happen if he can manage to keep his focus (…and health) for the next 5 years. I think he’ll end up at 10 or 11 majors. Very lofty air for sure. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.


SG Says:

Jane,

Still haven’t seen the match. I guess I’ll have to wait until a Wimbledon rain delay next year (…a really long one) to catch it all.

Oh well.


JCF Says:

Skorocel: “Well, with the roof on, they should also have some lights, shouldn’t they? :) But anyway, I can only second your thought about the Wimby people being “soo behind the times”… That last year (when they still had that free Sunday despite the numerous rain delays) was just ridiculous!”

Aye. Nadal’s match with Soderling lasted 5 days, and they still wouldn’t allow play on Sunday. He had to play the last 5 days straight, while Fed managed to get all his matches in and was well rested.


Tejuz.. Says:

Agree with Noel, that Fed should use the slice approach to the Rafa BackHand to come into the net against Rafa.. atleast at wimbledon and faster surface like US Open. Rafa can rip the back hand cross court if the ball sits up, but on a slice he cant generate that extra top spin with his backhand unlike his forehand. And Fed surely would have more time to reach the net on slice approach and he needs to cut the cross court passing shot, cuz 9 out of 10, thats the shot Nadal generally goes for.

Also during this match, Fed was directing his approach slice or drive down the middle, and he was quite successful, because Nadal dint get the same angle to work with his forehand or bachkand.. and result was an easy volley for Fed.


jane Says:

SG – Are you Canadian?

For some reason I seem to recall that you are. If so, how about our Nestor? In winning Wimbledon, he’s achieved the Golden Slam – all of the majors plus an Olympic Gold medal. Pretty great news; of course there’s little mention of it being doubles and all, but it’s something for us to be proud of nevertheless. Maybe Dancevic will be inspired and do some damage on hardcourts this summer…?


Nadal, Federer: What Lies Ahead? Says:

[...] show is one of the best we’ve ever had in tennis, and I think we hit a near-term, season climax with their epic at Wimbledon. So I think now feels about right for a little break from their rivalry, allowing perhaps a return [...]

Top story: Federer, Nadal Breeze In Basel; Murray, Ferrer Advance In Valencia
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