Federer v Nadal Wimbledon: The Day After
by Dan Martin | July 7th, 2008, 6:42 pm
  • 122 Comments

“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same”
from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” are inscribed at Wimbledon.


I am not sure other words can really describe the quality of the 2008 men’s final. The nerve each man possessed to execute shots that no one else in the world can hit was amazing. It is one thing to hit those shots when crushing someone in an early round match in a smaller tournament; it is another to do it on the final Sunday at Wimbledon when your opponent is just waiting for an opening or a let down. Sure, Federer struggled to protect his 2nd set lead and Nadal struggled to close out the 4th set, but the other guy had a lot to do with that reality. Both men walked further into immortality yesterday. Beyond the replays of the match that will undoubtedly be played for years to come, each man helped tennis transcend itself. The shots both hit expand the horizon of what is possible on a tennis court for the next generation of players.

NBC Revamp Needed:

John McEnroe and Ted Robinson’s commenting was not good in my opinion. Tastes may differ, but I would prefer a different announcing team in the future. McEnroe has great passion for announcing, but I think he needs a partner who can prevent him from going off into strange tangents, being too negative or reliving his glory days. It would be great if NBC overhauled its entire approach to covering Wimbledon and the French Open.

Roger Federer Still Has Life:

It has been popular to predict Federer’s demise. If Federer wants to do so he can remain a relevant factor on the tour for several more years. Those comparing yesterday’s loss to Federer’s 2001 victory over Sampras forget that Pete Sampras was nearly 31 and not nearly 27 when that loss occurred. Pete would be the first to tell you that Roger does not suffer from an energy sapping and recovery stalling form of anemia. Sampras’ anemia adds even more glow to his accomplishments, but if one does not have anemia one should benefit from a stamina and longevity perspective. Mats Wilander beat Ivan Lendl in 5 tight sets to win the 1988 U.S. Open and wrestle the #1 ranking away from Lendl. Ivan won the 1989 Australian Open. Pete Sampras gutted out a 4 set victory over Andre Agassi to take the 2002 U.S. Open title. Andre then won the 2003 Australian Open. Sampras watched Agassi win the 1994 U.S. Open, lost to Agassi in the 1995 Australian Open final, then lost in the 1st round of the 1995 French Open. Down and out right? Pete then won the 1995 Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles. This does not mean Roger will simply sweep to the 2008 U.S. Open title, but it does mean many champions have lost tough matches and gone on to rebound and win big titles after the fact. If Roger keeps reaching late rounds at Grand Slams, he can win his share of big events.

If I had Roger’s ear I would tell him 3 things:

1. The worst thing you imagined could happen has happened. You are still here and are still relevant.

2. You will always be relevant. Just look at how Borg, McEnroe and Vilas (among others) are treated at these events.

3. Losing cannot hurt your legacy, but winning can help it. Any win just adds to the historical haul. There are big prizes to be won in 2008 and beyond. Go play to win.

Nadal at the Top

Rafa Nadal is the top player in tennis today. He will hold this distinction through at least January 2009. His tenure as the standard bearer for tennis will have its own style and that is a good thing. New pressures come with being the man, but Nadal ought to handle this pretty well. I hope he continues to attack rather than feeling the pressure to defend prestige and ranking points. I said in my championship preview that Federer is my all-time favorite tennis player. That is still true, but I also have high hopes that Nadal will carry the banner of the sport proudly.

Lessons from the Match

It is possible to attack and play cleanly. Rafa has great net clearance on his shots and his top spin keeps many shots from ever going long. Yet, the velocity and spin he produces causes these generally error free techniques to also have a serious offensive component. The bounce after a Nadal shot is difficult for anyone to handle. Many unforced errors are forced by the almost table tennis like spin and trajectory he gets on the ball.

Fighting and self-confidence can carry a player back from the brink or hold off a stiff challenge. Both of these men believed they were going to win and played through difficult situations.

Nadal is Talented

Nadal’s racket head speed is ridiculous. A post on this site mentioned how fitness is the only thing that matters in tennis today. That really sells Rafa short. He is quick, strong and tireless, but he also has the racket head speed to control shots and even hit winners on what are normally considered to be non-winning court positions. Nadal can dictate play, but he also makes his opponent hit more than one winner to end a point when he is on the defensive. Throw in his uncanny ability to hit winners when anyone else on tour would be just fighting to stay in the point, and Nadal has a recipe for undermining confidence and creating indecision. This aspect of Nadal’s arsenal does require conditioning, but it also takes great coordination.

The Topic of Sports Talk Radio

Driving home from work I heard commentators on both ESPN and FOX Sports Radio raving about the engrossing quality of the match. This is good for tennis in every possible way. Tennis means something to the casual U.S. sports fan today even if no U.S. born players were in the final match. Imagine that.

It is worth repeating

“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same”
from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” are inscribed at Wimbledon.


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122 Comments for Federer v Nadal Wimbledon: The Day After

JCF Says:

Has anyone tried watching the matches on the wimbledon website? It seems you can download them for free, but have to pay if you want it streamed. Does anyone know who commentates on the official wimbledon match videos?


Andrew Miller Says:

I was also surprised by the casual fan interest in the Wimbledon final between Nadal and Federer this year. Two colleagues at work who do not play tennis (both are golfers) watched THE WHOLE MATCH and said it was the best tennis match they had ever seen. I have seen too many to pick a favorite match, but the fact that they cared about the match and the result, just blew me away. They are casual fans who didnt know who Justin Henin was, but they loved seeing Nadal pull the match out at the very very end with no light. I read that the viewership for the match was SUPER HIGH around the world. That is nothing but good for tennis.

The sport is far from dead, and we have the Nadal-Federer rivalry to thank for that!


Alain Says:

The “3 things if I had Roger Federer’s ear” points may be well intentioned, but it comes across as smugly patronizing. What’s the basis for the assumption that Federer thinks he’s no longer relevant?

As of this moment Federer’s probably the favourite to win the US Open, and also to make the finals of all the 2009 Slams. Simply because he’s no longer the automatic favourite to win 3 of them doesn’t by any stretch make him irrelevant.

p.s. Everyone, please join me in a campaign to henceforth ridicule all users of that ponderous Kipling quote. It was a dull cliche already in my grandfather’s day.


maria Says:

GREAT ARTICLE BY DAN MARTIN. I LIKE BOTH FEDEX AND NADAL FOR THEIR GAME – HOWEVER I DO LIKE FEDEX MORE. I FEEL THAT THE COMMENTATORS FORECAST OF THE MATCH WAS ONE SIDED AND NATURALLY DESTRUCTIVE TO THE OTHER. SURELY FEDERER WAS NOT THEIR FAVORITE AND THIS IS DAMAGING TO THE PLAYER. LET THE CROWD AND THE RESULT OF THE GAME SPEAK FOR ITSELF. YES NBC NEEDS A REVAMP.


Maverick Says:

By playing Wimbledon that way he did, Federer has proven to those who wrote him off. 2 set down, to a very difficult adversary. Coming back to win 3rd and 4th sets, with the psychological pressure of losing Wimbledon title and maybe number one ATP ranking, on the back of his mind, is beyond comprehension.

Federer played the 5th set equally well. Making winners from all around the court and the display of shots, at a time of immense pressure, surely says that Federer is a great champion and will be a great champion.

History will always see Federer as a great champion whether we like it or not. Federer will look ahead and play many more memorable matches, proving that he is a force to reckon with

Federer is number two in Clay court. He is still number one in Grass court,unless someone consistently beats him on grass court,which I do not see happening. He is number one on hard court. Federer has good credentials, better than others.
So in all fairness writing off Federer is unfair and uncalled for.


jane Says:

I would tell Roger to get a coach – not someone who helps him “on clay” or someone who just helps at “the slams” or even someone (read: Mirka) who runs the rest of his life – a real coach. Roger could use a coach to help him sharpen his backhand, tighten his forehand and get back that half step. It’s not only mental with him. His serve is still awesome as is his general conditioning (i.e., stamina) but even Fed could benefit from a coach and mentor.

You can bet that Uncle Toni helps Rafa immensely, just like Djoko’s coach helps him; those two have excellent people in their camps. Look at Murray too; he may’ve found the right team now too. The importance of a good coach & team, even for an immensely talented player, cannot be underestimated, imho.


Tim Says:

Great read. My comments:
Champions that had to go through adversity make History. This is Roger’s destiny now. Where does he go from here? Does he rise through the ashes of the Rafa factor beat down the last two majors and figure out a way to beat him and thus get his record grand slams or does Rafa solidify his eventual #1 position?
The US open will be very interesting. I hope Roger ( as a fan ) changes his game physicaly an mentally to meet the challenge as all great Champions have had to do to make their mark on history

Tim


Joel Says:

JCF, you can download the matches, but you almost must purchase them to view them. Wimbledon wraps DRM around the downloads.

It’s all pretty silly. I find myself wondering how much of their bandwidth is wasted on delighted fans who end up being tricked and deleting the download.


freakyfrites Says:

Hi! Thanks for this article – it put yesterday’s final in perspective – especially the info about the slams Pete won later in his career. As a Fed fan, this helps me get out of my gloom and doom state.

But did Pete Sampras ever have a single adversary as tough as Rafa? Man, with Nadal’s record on clay, the way he destroyed Fed in the FO final, nearly won in straights yesterday, etc. how can he not be unbeatable (a la 2005 Fed) for the foreseeable future? Talk about intimidating! I guess the hard court season will reveal some of his weaknesses, but if you dominate clay like he does, and can beat Roger Federer in the Wimby final, who cares if you “only” win one or two Masters Series on hard courts all year? It’s seriously freaking me out!

I’d say this year will be what it will be, but Roger should start next year with a coach, to help straight away with training and strategy (I think his mono messed up this important “off-season” portion of the year for him this time around.) Adding a coach mid season like he did with Jose, just adds too much new information and pressure for all concerned. Roger seems to second guess himself too much when he plays Rafa, and he needs a coach to work on a solid game plan so he stop self-coaching on court and enter the sublime autopilot mode we’re used to seeing. You don’t have time to think when you play Rafa.


NachoF Says:

wow, the truthfulness of this article makes me sad….. the Federer era has really come to an end :(


Dan Martin Says:

Thanks for all of the good vibes. Alain, I am not sure what coverage and lead up to this event you watched/read, but a lot of the stuff I read was really painting the picture that this was Federer’s Waterloo or … Greg Garber finished his prediction at ESPN.com with “The King is Dead, Long Live the King.” Patrick McEnroe was saying the key question is not if Nadal can beat Federer, but if Federer can beat Nadal. Prior to the match John McEnroe was saying that Federer may never get to this situation again (a la Borg after the 1981 Wimbledon). The pre-match eulogy was constant in some circles for 1-2 weeks. (Jon Wertheim at SI was a notable exception on this point.)

So my response is “not so fast.” From 1998-2000 Sampras, Agassi, Kuerten, Kafelnikov, Rios, Rafter and Moya all held the #1 ranking for at least a few weeks. In 2003, Hewitt, Agassi, JC Ferrero and Andy Roddick all held the #1 ranking even if at the end of Masters Cup 2003 it was obvious Federer would soon be #1. Wilander, Lendl, Edberg and Becker from 1988-1991 played catch with the #1 ranking. In 1992, Courier entered the fray with Edberg. 1993, Sampras took over from Courier, but by early 1995 Agassi was #1 but Sampras recaptured it only to see Agassi and Muster hold the ranking for parts of 1996 before retaking the throne. Federer still has big prizes to win, and he can still be #1 despite the melodrama leading into yesterday’s final.

As for Kipling, it is on the grounds at Wimbledon as the players leave the lounge and enter the court. If they had a quote from Yoda inscribed there, it would be relevant to Wimbledon because it is part of the event. The fact that it has some aesthetic value is a plus. If one finds the poem to be trite, take it up with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. It is part of the grounds, and it fit yesterday’s occasion.

As for a coach, I think Federer should strongly consider this. Listening to Andre Agassi break down his next match at the 2004 U.S. Open makes me think Cahill or someone of that ilk may be a great hire (my guess is Agassi is too busy to do more than consult).


angel Says:

NachoF you must be able to see the future or something like that, how is that Federer era has come to an end?… you wish Federer is still young and he will win many more grand slams especially hardcourts slams where Nadal doesn’t play his best, he will probably lose his number one spot to Nadal at the end of the year but come on Federer has been number one for such a long time, there is not doubt in my mind that if he’d lose it he can recover it again. Instead trying to finish Federer carrera you should be glad that we live in a era of such high level of play like it’s never been seen before.


kamret Says:

Your article would have been perfect if only you didn’t include that part criticizing McEnroe’s commenting. People around the world beg to hear McEnroe’s comments ANYTIME and most people don’t think they are negative. Just because you were not impressed by his comments doesn’t mean that the whole world shares your opinion. I’d bet you are en extreme minority in this department.


Dan Martin Says:

Kamret, first thanks for the near perfection status. I like both of the McEnroe brothers and think they are great ambassadors for the sport. I just think Ted Robinson is the wrong partner for John McEnroe. Robinson leaves a vacuum for McEnroe to fill, and I think a stronger partner would help. I am not wanting a return to Carillo, Enberg, McEnroe either. Johnny Mac and someone new would be my preference.


Smith Says:

Excellent article Mr. Martin.

Even though the rankings don’t reflect it, Rafa really is the #1 player in the world right now – it’s only a matter of time before it’s “official.”

I know Federer is probably devastated right now and probably wants to crawl in a hole somewhere and cry it out, but this loss might actually be a positive for him in the long run. If this loss doesn’t force him to improve himself and learn some new tactics in playing Nadal, then he will consistently be on the losing end of this rivalry.
I know Federer has done well in the past without a full-time coach, but I think it might be time for him to hire one. It will be interesting to see Federer’s mindset heading into the U.S. Open.

If it’s a Fed-Rafa final in the U.S. Open the excitement will be off the charts. I badly want these two to be in the finals come that final Sunday in NYC.

As for the media, this match is all anyone is talking about – people at work who don’t like tennis, talk radio, etc. The match led the topic of discussion on ESPN’s Around The Horn (which has never happened before) and took over the first THREE segments of Pardon The Interruption. Even people like Dick Vitale are weighing in on the match! I can’t recall a time in the last 10 years or so where tennis is the #1 topic on ALL the sports shows.

Also, the men’s final beat the women’s final in the ratings. The men’s final overall averaged a 4.5 rating but was as high as 6.5 in the fifth set(comparable to Agassi-Fed at the U.S. Open, the last time a tennis match scored that high in American TV ratings). The fact that people stayed with the match during the entire 7 1/2 hours of broadcasting (and with the rain delays) is a testament as to the quality of the match. The women’s final was a 3.4 rating.


Smith Says:

It’s weird because I like Ted Robinson and John McEnroe commentating at the U.S. Open but I don’t like them together at the French Open and Wimbledon.

I wonder who they could put Mac with, however. He seems to like Robinson (it was Mac who refused to commentate with Bud Collins and was partially responsible for getting Collins out of the booth at NBC), I get the feeling Mac probably gets to choose who he commentates with.


NachoF Says:

I dont care… I might still be in shock but I cant help feeling this way… the fact that Nadal is gonna be no.1 makes me sick to my stomach.


mary Says:

Tim: “Champions that had to go through adversity make History.” Best thing I heard since this match.

I’m not trying to take away from Nadal by any means, but there are two separate things happening in men’s tennis.

You have Nadal who owns the clay and not plays a great game on grass. I’m afraid that if he does not win another title until next clay season, which is what happened this year, he’s going to get unfairly dumped on.
You have Federer who is chasing history, unlike the other players.

The quote from Tim’s article is why Nadal’s win is important, but why, in many articles and , Federer is the main topic. In the US, we appreciate those who win daily, but we love those who get knocked down and fight then win again.
Ali, Agassi, even Jordan from when people were asking why can’t he get the Bulls to the championship game.

Also, I noticed that many think Fed needs to remember he is an athlete first and not “international man of tennis.” He looks like a fool with the costumes. Tennis is not figure skating. The attention of the media to this year’s get up was the media telling him the same thing.
He needs to put on shorts, top, sweatjacket, and unadorned Nikes. Stop with the celeb guests in the box. Don’t go to fashion week. And, while I could write paragraphs about the evilness of Wintour, I will spare you.
Nothing wrong with knowing celebs, even if they are your BFF, they don’t belong in the box.


Hypnos Says:

Someone needs to get Agassi into the booth. He has the showman chops to do the play-by-play, and wonderful teaching ability has he showed when he guest-commentated the Federer-Roddick US Open match.

But I doubt he could partner with Johnny mac.


Hurley Says:

A line from Rudyard Kipling’s poem If was the last thing the players saw before they entered Centre Court, yet it is another stanza that so aptly summed up this final:

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’


andrea Says:

i will wait until the end of the year before i toss my hat into the ring to declare who will be #1, or the best of 2008 or anything else of that ilk.

nadal has been playing outstanding tennis for sure this year; the best of all the top players. but until he backs it up with the second half of the year results, i remain unconvinced. (but i’m standing by, waiting to be convinced….).

post wimbledon last year, it was almost 8 months before he was in another final and actually won. it’s these results that have kept him at #2. now the gap between him and roger is narrower so the chance for the #1 ranking to change hands is totally possible.

we have to wait and see. his body seems to take a beating on the hard courts though so if he’s off with sore knees now….


JCF Says:

I think Fed needs to call Lundgren and get him back, or try and court Darren Cahill.

And Fed needs to take a leaf out of Roddick, Hewitt, or even Nadal’s book and learn how to deal with a tough loss. Those guys are so great at accepting defeat, they just take it on the chin and don’t get devastated by it. Yes, Nadal did cry, but he at least could contain it in front of others. And he didn’t turn up moody to the press conference.

He dealt with the AO ’05 loss to Safin with such grace. He spoke about what a great match it was and what a pleasure it was just to be a part of it, and that was 10-8 or 9-7 in the 5th as well, and Fed had match point, as well as saved about 6 match points himself before finally succumbing to the inevitable. That should have been no less a crushing defeat as this one, but the reaction was so different…

He also handled his FO defeats quite well. This one was something different. Look at how Roddick reacted in losing to Fed at Wimbledon finals… He sets such a great example, as well as Hewitt at USO ’04. If there was any disappointment, they sure hid it well.


JCF Says:

Joel Says:

“JCF, you can download the matches, but you almost must purchase them to view them. Wimbledon wraps DRM around the downloads.

It’s all pretty silly. I find myself wondering how much of their bandwidth is wasted on delighted fans who end up being tricked and deleting the download.”

Thanks for the heads up Joel. I almost fell for it. :(


Skorocel Says:

Joel said:

“It’s all pretty silly. I find myself wondering how much of their bandwidth is wasted on delighted fans who end up being tricked and deleting the download.”

You can bet that I was among those “delighted” fans as well… Just can’t understand why they’re doing all this?! Idiots!


Shital Green Says:

Fed needs a couch, but it won’t be easy for him to find one. After Peter Carter, the one Fed truly respected as a couch, died in August 2002, he lost everything about coach-thing. Throughout 2004, the year of his impressive rise, he never had a coach. In 2005, he hired Tony Roche, only to release him without intimate professional courtesy (right before a Slam was hurtful). Fed’s relationships with any coach has not been the same since then. Coaching Federer is not an easy job: It cannot be easy to tell him what to fix in his game. He acknowledged that, “I think it’s very hard for coaches to work with me. They’ll no doubt have a good CV afterwards, but at the same time they’re under a lot of pressure.”
I was surprised why José Higueras, who did not need a richer CV, accepted to be hired as a part time coach except to be associated with Fed’s history. If you are Fed’s coach, your freedom of speech could also be curtailed. Fed knows that too, “If I had bad results then people would say it was because of the coach. It could easily backfire on him. It’s a big challenge, which is why Jose doesn’t want to do any press interviews. I think that’s the best approach.” Is it Jose not wanting or is he suggested not to? How many future coaches of Fed’s can afford to be hired as part-time, with meager pay, observe silence, and be told “you-are-no-more” right before a Grand Slam?

Another note:

Rafa makes the right decision to withdraw from Stuttgart. It’s amazing how responsible he is. He “traveled to the Weissenhof tennis center to tell the promoters personally of his withdrawal as the clay-court event’s defending champion and star attraction.

“This was the least I can do. I’m disappointed that I can’t play,” Nadal said. “My doctor said I need a few days off. I will have a checkup and treatment and won’t return to the court until I am 100 percent fit” (AP).

He deserves some rest.


Shital Green Says:

JCF,

If I were Peter Lundgren, I would not come back to coach Fed. It was more painful for Lundgren than Roche when Fed decided to let go of him. When Lundgren was initially hired, it was because Carter would not travel with Fed. In course of those 7 years relationship (not coaching), they became very close friends, but Fed decided one day to end it unilaterally without any apparent reason. Though shaken, Lundgren at the time did not react in any manner to show how hurtful it was: “”This is what happens with the kind of relationship we had, we were so close. We did everything together. We ate together, we went out together, we even played PlayStation together. Now it’s good for him to carry on with something else and I’m happy to be doing something else.”


JCF Says:

Shital,

“Throughout 2004, the year of his impressive rise, he never had a coach.”

I thought 2004 was his best season out of the last 4 fantastic seasons, and I was even more so impressed by the fact that he did it solo.

However, the game has changed since then, and his opponents have gotten better. Nadal was a non-factor in 2004. This year alone, he denied Federer of 4 titles (two slams, and two masters series). This would have been unthinkable in 2004. What a difference that makes. The time for complacency is over. He needs a full time coach, and not some guy he can call every new and then for advice. Roche was half hearted. His deal was he’d only work with him during the slams because he didn’t want to travel. Now that he’s with Hewitt, he’s willing to travel. I’d feel pretty hurt by that, personally.

Some coach is better than none. Even Gilbert who should be looking for work right about now.

Nadal is not his only problem right now. He has Djokovic to contend with too. In 2004, he had no rivals. 2005-2006, he had one rival. Now he has two (and both have good coaches). He cannot continue to pretend nothing has changed, or the game will pass him by.

Fed hired Higueras to help him win RG. I think Pete hired him too for that same reason, but it didn’t work and ended up hurting him at Wimbledon also because they tinkered too much with his game (he lost that year), and he needed some time to undo what Higueras did. At least he’s only a part time coach.


Skorocel Says:

andrea said:

“i will wait until the end of the year before i toss my hat into the ring to declare who will be #1, or the best of 2008 or anything else of that ilk.”

andrea, the year end No. 1 is already a foregone conclusion after yesterday’s match… Fed has loads of points to defend till November, whereas Nadal almost zero – simple as that… It could be that the Spaniard may once again screw up the 2nd half of the season, but in all likelihood, he will only do better :{ But to be honest, even if he’s not the No. 1 player on paper yet, he’s already there in my opinion… Everyone who beats Fed on his home turf and manages to win both SW19 and RG in the same year can be rightfully named the world’s best player – that’s at least my view…

As for Fed, with SW19 and the year end No. 1 already out of question, there are only 2 things of importance for him in the remainder of the season: the Olympics and (most importantly) the USO. All the other tournaments will be just a bonus…


Shital Green Says:

Time line of Federer’s Coaches :

’89 – ’91 -………. Seppli Kacovsky
’92 – ‘ 94…………Peter Carter
’97 – ’98………….Peter Carter
’99 – ’03………….Peter Lundgren
’05 – May 12, 2007…Tony Roche
2008 April- present…José Higueras


JCF Says:

“andrea, the year end No. 1 is already a foregone conclusion after yesterday’s match… Fed has loads of points to defend till November, whereas Nadal almost zero – simple as that… It could be that the Spaniard may once again screw up the 2nd half of the season, but in all likelihood, he will only do better :{ But to be honest, even if he’s not the No. 1 player on paper yet, he’s already there in my opinion… Everyone who beats Fed on his home turf and manages to win both SW19 and RG in the same year can be rightfully named the world’s best player – that’s at least my view…”

Forgetting 2008 race for a moment, even if Nadal has a crappy second half, Fed still has a monumental amount of points to defend. One AMS final, one AMS title, and US Open title. If Fed doesn’t defend his US Open title he is screwed. Nadal has almost zero to defend, and I’m sure he’s going to have a crack at the Us summer this time.

There are so many ways for the gap to be closed. Nadal can still overtake his ranking with a bad season. Fed has to defend his points and that is going to be harder to do this year than it was last year. The game has moved on since then.

Here’s the points they each have to defend with Fed first then Nadal.

US Open: 1000 vs 150
Cincinatti: 500 vs 5
Canada: 350 vs 225
Basel: 250 vs 0
Madrid: 350 vs 125
Paris: 75 vs 350
Shanghai: 650 vs 200

There are plenty of opportunities to close the gap, with the US Open being a big one. Nadal is about 770 pts apart now, and he earns big if he gets past the 4th round. The only place where he has more points to defend than Fed is Paris. Ironically, it could be Djokovic or someone else that helps Nadal out by stopping Federer and giving him the #1 rank, because if that happens, then Nadal doesn’t even need to do anything except match his relatively poor performances from last year.


gm Says:

“…You have Nadal who owns the clay and not plays a great game on grass…”

Mary, you must be kidding me. Nadal has OVER-proved that he can be very very good in a grass court.

I’m a big nadal fan, since i’m Spanish and i love his game, determination, manners and kindness. But i think some journalists are selling off federer too soon. It’s normal that he loses some grand slams, specially with nowadays competitivines, his past dominance wasn’t normal.
i think we should give roger the credit he deserves.

As for the US OPEN, Nadal will do a geat tournament if healthy. But there are a few more players that strike me Like djokovic, roddick (if he is at his 100%) etc. I Think we should also look out for Gulbis, he is a promising young player. He did grat at the RG and on WIMBY he lost against the final champ


How much damaged did to Federer? Says:

He has already been beaten like 9 times this year. And how he was beaten at the Grand Slams. I am pretty sure, it gonna hurts his confidence. Especially how he was beaten at the Australian and the French. Such humiliations. And it would be horrible tough for him of how he is beaten at Wimbledon.


Federer's demons Says:

They are going to haunt him for awhile. Especially if he is in a match with Nadal. Even when he is in the lead. Federer would always think about having Nadal to comeback beating him. The word fate would comes to Federer’s mind, whenever he is trying to serve out for the set, when he is playing Nadal.


Federer's demons Says:

He also has to deal with superstition as well for winning his 13th Grand Slam. Luck is what he needs? Well, he would needs luck to win another Grand Slam. If he has a good draws, like not having to play Murray, Djokovic, Nadal, Nalbandian. Then he might wins another slam.


Skorocel Says:

to gm:

Mary obviously meant “now”, not “not” :) Just a typo I guess…


gm Says:

Skorocel, you’re are right :)
sorry for the misunderstanding.


Federer's French Open Bid Says:

People have simply forgot that, he has to win the French Open to be the best player ever! Or if he would ever beats Sampras’ record for having the most grand slam?


Dan Martin Says:

All good points – Jim courier said something to the effect that most tennis players like tennis precisely because they do not have a coach in their ear all the time so coaching tennis is difficult. Courier thought tennis players are difficult to coach because they love the individual nature of the sport. There are few Bill Parcell, Rick Pitino, Bobby Knight-type tennis coaches. (Federer with Bobby Knight would be an interesting Saturday Night Live sketch).

I think one of Roger’s biggest issue with Nadal is indecisiveness, and he said something about that in one of the post match interviews. This makes sense as Nadal can hit winners when he looks dead in a point. Nadal is also a master at extending points with quality shots rather than just throwing up a weak lob and running for cover. Speed, determination, and the wicked spin he hits should indeed make anyone indecisive. Agassi would throw Becker off because Boris would get passed so easily on the return or off of a good volley and it just took him out of his game. Becker at Wimbledon 1995 seemed to be resigned to getting burned some of the time and still attacking the net and he won the match. Federer may need to just say to himself “on every break point I am chipping the backhand return to his backhand and coming into net” or “every break point I get I am just going to swing for a winner” or … and just simplify the response and know exactly what he is going to do. He also would need to know that shot patterns that work 9 out of 10 times versus everyone else may not work as often vs. Nadal but 4 out of 10 is better than 1 of 13. Picking a response is likely a good first step, but it is no panacea. Knowing ahead of time that in this situation I am going to do X may help him execute and it can be intimidating to the other guy to know he has to prove he can hit a certain difficult shot every time he gets behind. I am not sure it would intimidate Nadal but simplifying the return game may help with execution. Federer is gifted with many options but indecision versus Nadal is brutal.

I do think losses can rock a player’s self-confidence including Federer, but he also gets to be the hunter rather than the hunted. Nadal skipping Stuutgart kind of hurts because Federer may enter the U.S. Open seeded #1. Trying to get to the top is generally considered easier than staying there. If Federer gets some confidence back by January 2009 (something I think he will do – heck a gold or even silver medal may renew some of his confidence in August 2008*), he will be hunting Nadal and Djokovic up through Monte Carlo as he will have relatively few points to defend compared to years past.

Anyway off to work.

* I am not a fan of tennis being an Olympic sport, but adding a medal to your and your home nation is a really nice personal accomplishment.


Shital Green Says:

Andrea / JCF,

Don’t miss out the Olympic points for ATP Ranking :

Gold Medal – 400
Silver Medal – 280
Bronze Medal – 205
Loser 3rd/4th – 155
Quarterfinals – 100
Round of 16 – 50
Round of 32 – 25
1st Round – 1

Let me add this from ATP’s analysis: “Should Federer and Nadal perform as well as each other this year in Toronto and Cincinnati (e.g. they each make the semifinals at both tournaments) then Federer’s lead on August 18 will be cut to 150 points.

That razor-thin margin is the equivalent of the points difference between winning an ATP Masters Series title (500 points) and finishing runner-up (350). So the performances of Nadal and Federer at the ATP Masters Series tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati will likely determine who holds No. 1 during the Olympics (which will award points) and heading into the US Open.

If the No. 1 ranking has not changed hands before the US Open, Federer will again be under intense pressure. He has 1000 points to defend after winning his fourth consecutive title in New York last year. In contrast, Nadal has just 150 points to defend after losing in the round of 16 last year.”


isla Says:

I agree with the comment from Mary “Fed needs to remember he is an athlete first and not “international man of tennis”. He looks like a fool with the costumes”.
It’s bad enough that female players (most of them) have that problem worrying about how they look more than how they play. But the No. 1 male player dressing up to play the most important Grand slam of his career! Can’t wait to see what kind of costume Fed will have for US Open!

Instead of a coach, Fed had celebrities in his box! What for? the woman looked bored to tears and the man acted obnoxious, pumping arms excessively long after each Fed’s winning points. Guess he wanted to make sure that TV focus on him.

As Mary said above “Nothing wrong with knowing celebs, even if they are your BFF, they don’t belong in the box.”


rjnick Says:

I think the Fed Era is over only in the sense that his era of total domination has come to an end. I don’t think we’ll see him winning 3 Slams in one year again or 4 Masters events. And at least, right now, it looks as if his consecutive streak at #1 may come to a close. But that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t eventually get back to #1. And I still don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t believe he won’t break Sampras’ record of 14 Slams — the last 3 will be hardest and will probably be won over a couple of years.

If Roger is THE greatest player to have ever played the game, then Rafa is certainly one of the greatest — he’s making a case to be up there with the likes of Borg and Agassi. He needed this win. He needed to prove he could win a Slam outside Paris. And he doesn’t want to be remembered as the “best player to never have been ranked #1″.

Rafa strikes me as the type to burn bright, but fast, and while I don’t think his time is running out, I do think that his window of opportunity won’t be as long as it will be for Roger or even Djokovic. He’s 22 and already needing to tape up knees and fingers — and it’s the overriding reason he falters every year after Wimbledon like clockwork.

And that’s a shame. Because anyone who loves Roger or Rafa really ought to appreciate that one enhances the greatness of the other. And when people look back on this era, this final, they will see two of the very best to have ever played the game pushing each other to the beyond the limits of their talents in ways I bet even they didn’t think they were capable of.

Because of the way he’s had to fight off Nadal, Federer is an even greater player than he ever otherwise would have been. And because of the way he’s pushed Federer, Nadal has proven that he’s equally worthy of greatness in his own right.


rjnick Says:

Also, on the rankings — according to the ATP site, because Canada/Cincinnati are being held earlier this year than in 2007, rankings from this year AND last year will actually count for a few weeks in August because all 4 tournaments will fall within a 52-week period. That means that the earliest anything can happen would probably be Beijing (free points for both players), but more likely in New York — where Fed and Djokovic have far more points to defend than Rafa.


jane Says:

I re-watched the 5th set of that final; Fed whacked a lot of forehands into the net. His timing seems to be off on that shot. He was also, after the rain delay, kind of nervous and irritable. Right before he got broken, he was complaining about the flashbulbs/ cameras. So I think he lost his focus there. Rafa stayed really focused at the end there; I suppose he knew this is it – can’t lose more championship points!

Yep, Fed could use a coach and maybe he could be a little less stubborn. Someone said above that the younger up and comers are all in “learning” mode, including Rafa & Djoko, who can still improve, as well as guys like Roddick & Safin, who are still working on their games. So why can’t Fed adopt that attitude? I don’t understand it. But it’s his choice. When he went it alone in 04 he was at his peak, or at least coming into it, so maybe it worked for him. But now that he’s no longer quite there, a coach could help.

As many have pointed out, he’s got a lot to defend on hard courts and there are perhaps even more threats there – because not only will Rafa be looking to do better, but Djoko will be hungry and wanting to defend his points, and others like Murray will want some wins too. Roger better get ready, and a coach could help. I don’t think he’ll get one though…


jane Says:

Those were mainly forehands down the line that went into the net, the ones he tried to run around sometimes. His “off” forehand, as some call it, was working for him though.


Vulcan Says:

From what I remember of the match his inside out forehand was firing on all cylinders…and it had to be because that was the only way he could really hurt Nadal.


Vulcan Says:

Regarding improvement, there has to be room for it first. There was clearly room for improvement in terms of variety in Nadal’s serve…he didnt have the hard flat serve. I dont think there is any room for improvement in the Roddick serve…hes already the best and hits every possible serve. Im not sure what else he could improve on other than his volley.


Dan Martin Says:

From the interviews, I think Federer is focused on 3 things remaining in the year: The Olympics, The U.S. Open and the Masters Cup. Each offers opportunities as he could win a medal, could win a 5th consecutive U.S. Open (5 titles ties him with Connors and Sampras for the most in the Open Era) and could win a 5th year end title to tie Sampras and Lendl. I think if he does 1 of those things he can head into 2009 where he has fewer points to defend prior to Monte Carlo and be the hunter again. If he does 2 or 3 of those things, he can really have binded up his wounds and achieved some cool stuff. 5 Consecutive U.S. Open titles would be really impressive though difficult to achieve. If he does none of the 3, he will head into 2009 in a poor mood/mindset. The ranking is likely not as high of a concern as he broke the consecutive week mark long ago and likely put the record out of reach by adding at least 72 weeks to the old record. He also has a good chance of eventually setting the all time weeks at #1 record even just by playing hot potato with the ranking over the next 2 years or so.


Vulcan Says:

Of those 3 objectives probably the Masters Cup is the one that is the most clearly attainable for Federer. Anything can happen at the Olympics were players display superhuman abilities when motivated by national pride. He has a good shot at winning the US Open but there is a greater chance for an upset there and if he runs into Nadal again look out (assuming Nadal could survive the earlier rounds). Shanghai would be the easiest because Federer seems to come into the end of the year with plenty of energy also


gm Says:

The problem for FED in the olympics is that he is not motivated by national pride. An example of this is that he doesn’t play davis cup matches,
because he is more focused in his individual career.Whereas others players take it very seriously.
The olympics are just another personal achievement for him. As vulcan said other will be EXTRA motivated.


ShayHay Says:

Federer domination is over and I couldn’t be happier. I’m so glad to see the young guns make legitimate bids for number 1. It’s refreshing, because as amazing as Federer is, the sport was getting very boring with only him winning slams. I mean for a period there we started every year claiming that this would be the year of Federer’s Grand Slam. Frankly I was getting tired of it. It’s no secret that I’ve never really been a fan of the Swede, but I admire his ability. My national pride always wanted to see an Andy Roddick or James Blake realize their full potential, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. But I’m glad that there are players like Rafa, Novak, or even Marat to cheer for because they have amazing game and they bring excitement to a sport that was fast losing its sizzle.


andrea Says:

nadal will also lose his points for not defending stuttgart so that puts him around 800 points lower than fed after next week.

i agree that there are a ton of points to defend for fed, which may look insurmountable, but looking at his level of play in the past 3 weeks, i’d say he’s back on track and a high favorite for the hard court season. djokovic also has a greater chance on hard courts than nadal, which i think most people here would agree with.

nadal seems to have found his groove and is playing at an insanely high level, but he also went down in straight sets to davydenko (!) in miami. (i’ll forgive chennai due to his semi match being over 4+ hours). we’ll see if he can carry momentum onwards.

i like it that the race for #1 is close now. makes it interesting on a match by match basis.


mary Says:

gm, Skorocel:It was a typo!

ShayHay:
“It’s no secret that I’ve never really been a fan of the Swede, but I admire his ability.”

Is that some anti-Borg freudian slip? I’m down with that.

Federer has participated in Swiss Davis Cup. I don’t think there is a national pride issue with him. Aren’t the trainers that travel with him trainers or coaches from the Swiss Davis Cup team?

I cannot stand Djokovic, no lie. You don’t think that he has had his a@@ handed to him since the AO?


ShayHay Says:

mary

Dang that was a typo. I forgot that Federer was from Switzerland. My apologies to Sweden- lol!!


Shital Green Says:

Andrea says:
“i like it that the race for #1 is close now. makes it interesting on a match by match basis.”

Yeah, the closer, the better. As you know many of us here have been talking about this for over a year now. Tennis is becoming more interesting to watch match by match, which has been lacking for the past couple of years.
To be precise, as JCF did the math, it is 770 that separates Fed from Rafa after Stuttgart. Although Djoko is a bit behind now with the early loss at SW19, he should be able to close the gap by the end of the year if he performs better. It may not happen soon, but I would like to see a couple of other players in the fight for top 3, which will spice up the excitement further.


Fedex Says:

In a matter of hours, Roger and Rafa doused all the fire surrounding Djokovic. Marat beating the crap out of Djokovic was one of the high points of Wimbledon that did not involve Roger or Rafa. As a federer fan, the final should have been very tough for me, but with a classy player like Nadal, it is no problem at all. The tennis champions get classier by the day. Sampras, Federer and hopefully Rafa. It will be awesome if Federer and Rafa can knock Djokovic on the hardcourts till his arrogant head comes to a more tolerable size.

Come on Roger and Rafa, make it 3 slams in a row!


Ra Says:

I’m confused. Rafa has 6055 points and will drop 250 next week by not defending Stuttgart. His total will then be 5805. Federer has 6600 and is not defending any points until Canada. Through my math, that means that Federer will have a 795 point lead over Rafa going into Canada. Is there something I’m not accounting for that leads others to call it a 770 point lead?


matt Says:

Yes, his fifth best result outside MS and GS, which will be Rotterdam with 25 points.


Shital Green Says:

Ra,
You are missing 25 points that Rafa will get from the 6th tournament, Rotterdam, which will fill the vacuum created by Stuttgart, which was counted as 5th.


Von Says:

shayHay:

“My national pride always wanted to see an Andy Roddick or James Blake realize their full potential, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.”

I’m with you here. I always root for the Americans and would have liked very much to see them advance further at Wimby. Andy usualy makes it to the QFs and beyond, but this year it was very disappointing. He was sadly lacking in match play going into Queens and then Wimby. Blake, however, didn’t really have much of an excuse losing to Schuettler — sometimes I just don’t understand James’ mind set. Lets’ hope they both can do better in the US open series and the US Open., if not, they’ll both be out of the Top 10. Sadly, I had higher aspirations for our Andy — I can’t even switch to another Aerican hero in the younger set — we’ve got none. Sam’s an iffy proposition.


hiding behind our keyboards Says:

Federer said after his 2008 Australian Open loss, and I paraphrase: “I feel like I’ve created a monster.”

He has to a degree, since there’s this feeling of utter devastation from many when Fed fails to capture some big titles after having dominated at such an unprecedented rate and at such a high level within a five-year period. The comedown was an inevitability. This year has shaped up so far to be like Sampras’s 1996 season, with Fed’s second-half performance yet to be completed.
What’s improtant for him now is to improve his level, which right now is not what it used to be. If he can focus again on what got him all those titles to begin with, he can still be a dominant force in the sport. He could still come back and win the Wimbledon title next year and a couple more after that. If he’s having a crappy season by his previous standards, he needs to understand that these things happen to all the great champions. He knows if he’s good enough to continue or not. He needs to push forward and do what he needs to do, whether it’s hiring a full-time coach and/or improving his physical conditioning.
This is not the end unless he decides it is. These types of losses normally make you hungry to come back and win again and again. Part of his legacy as a tennis great will be his determination to rise up after being down.


Leftykick Says:

I am a Federer fan but in a way I am glad that he lost. He has been losing ground now for over a year and I have not seen much improvement in his game. Hopefully now he will see sense and get a full time coach.

Talk about tennis becming boring what about Nadal at the French? If someone does not step up soon he will win that for another 4 years! The biggest shame here was that Coria (the last king of clay) lost his way. He was the only one that could give Rafa a game on clay.


JCF Says:

rjnick:

“Rafa strikes me as the type to burn bright, but fast, and while I don’t think his time is running out, I do think that his window of opportunity won’t be as long as it will be for Roger or even Djokovic. He’s 22 and already needing to tape up knees and fingers — and it’s the overriding reason he falters every year after Wimbledon like clockwork.”

This is true… Rafa does commit everything to the first half of the season, leaving little left for the second half. However, the Australian Open shouldn’t be beyond his reach if the US is. He starts out fresh after the season break, and should be fit enough and healthy enough to handle the hard courts this early into a season.

What he’s got to do is plan his schedule more intelligently. Don’t bother with the small tournaments (except before AO), and just focus on the Masters series and slams.

Nadal should not set his sights on becoming #1. His goal should be winning big titles, and then do whatever it takes to be best prepared for them. If he succeeds there, then the #1 ranking will come naturally. I’m more interested in seeing how Federer reacts to the coming crisis. We all know Fed cares very much about his #1 ranking. Will he start playing more tournaments?

And IMO, the olympics is overrated. Only 80 race points makes it worth less than a Masters Series. Nadal should skip it and try to win Cincinatti instead.


JCF Says:

gm Says:

“The problem for FED in the olympics is that he is not motivated by national pride. An example of this is that he doesn’t play davis cup matches,
because he is more focused in his individual career.Whereas others players take it very seriously.
The olympics are just another personal achievement for him. As vulcan said other will be EXTRA motivated.”

I totally agree with this. He is NOT a patriotic person. He sees playing for his country a personal achievement rather than something he’s doing for them. Like you said, his reason for abandoning Davis Cup was in order to maintain his #1 ranking (which he had a huge buffer on at the time anyway). Before he was #1, he was very committed to DC.

Another thing is Gstaad. He used to go there every year, because it was his hometown. Even though it was inconviently placed (a week after Wimbledon), he went anyway. He made the finals a few times, but didn’t win it until 04 or 05. After he won it once, he stopped bothering. Mission accomplished. He wasn’t doing it for his country, he just wanted a piece of silverware for the cabinet. He got what he wanted and moved on.

He hasn’t won a gold medal yet, and he will be playing for the medal, not the pride. I don’t think he’ll care as much for 2012 if he wins it this year.


Cassio Says:

Sean: you are great. keep up with the good work!
wimblendon final was the best macth ever!


JCF Says:

“Federer has participated in Swiss Davis Cup. I don’t think there is a national pride issue with him. Aren’t the trainers that travel with him trainers or coaches from the Swiss Davis Cup team?”

That stopped when he became #1. He announced that year that he will not play 1st rounds at DC because he wanted to focus on Indian Wells and Miami to protect his ranking. Of course, the Swiss never made it past 1st round without him, so it meant he wouldn’t have to play any further rounds anyway, except relegation ties. Now that Switzerland is out of the world group, I wonder what Fed’s commitment will be then?

“I cannot stand Djokovic, no lie. You don’t think that he has had his a@@ handed to him since the AO?”

While he may be #3 in the 2008 race, I would rather have his season than Federer’s. He has two masters series titles and a grand slam. Fed has a lot of finals but no big prizes.

Mary Carillo commented that this is unfamiliar territory for Fed. Half a year has gone and he has two small, competition-starved titles to show for. Normally by this time he’d have two majors and two or three masters series to his name.

Finishing runner up in every big tournament won’t get your name on the plaque any more than losing in the first round will. His pride has to be hurt. Even more so now with Djokovic taunting him and writing him off at every turn.


JCF Says:

“To be precise, as JCF did the math, it is 770 that separates Fed from Rafa after Stuttgart. Although Djoko is a bit behind now with the early loss at SW19, he should be able to close the gap by the end of the year if he performs better. It may not happen soon, but I would like to see a couple of other players in the fight for top 3, which will spice up the excitement further.”

Federer can NOT be liking the fact that the media (including the ATP itself) is breaking down points and talking about what Nadal has to do to unseat him… and how easy it is. I like the headline “King of Clay dethrones King of Grass”.

Stuttgart is worth 250 points, which Nadal will lose, but he will get 25 points back for Rotterdam which wasn’t being counted previously because it was his 6th non-slam and non-AMS tournament (they only count your best 5).

I think Rafa made the right choice to withdraw. He’s played too much tennis the last 2 months, and it’s not worth jeapordizing his hardcourt season over a measily 250 pts in the race for #1. Nadal probably doesn’t care that much about the rank.. it’s only the media that’s talking it up. Nadal’s top goal is likely the US Open.


jane Says:

JCF:

I agree that it’d be wise for Rafa to try to win a hardcourt MS instead of the Olympics, but unlike Fed, Rafa IS clearly patriotic. He specifically referred to Spain a number of times post-match at Wimbledon, not to mention draping himself with the flag and making the deliberate trip to the royal box to see Spanish royalty. He will not skip the Olympics.

At least he withdrew from Stuggart.


rjnick Says:

According to the ATP site, Roger vs Rafa made the cover of Sports Illustrated, out tomorrow.

McEnroe was right — if this doesn’t help this sport in America, I don’t know what will. (Except maybe the same match in New York).


Carmel O'Brien Mulreany Says:

I am a Rafa fan since firstI saw him play,I was never really into Roger’s tennis,I found the inevitabiliy of his game plan and wins rather boring,give me passion anyday maybe that is why I like Marat Safin. I always like people to be a little flawed and not too perfect, showing the human side,I do not think we know the private Roger when I heard him scream yesterday I was pleased,I think he needs to loosen up a bit.His outside demeanour is exemplary he behaves like a gentleman I feel perhaps he bottles up his anger,but I have been a bit worried sbout him healthwise,I hope he has a good checkup I do not think he looks well and maybe there is an underlying medical condition like anaemia whether it was the lighting I thought he looked a little jaundiced ,I hope he gets back his so natural talent soon.He and Rafa played a great game I was sitting on the edge of my seat.Congrats to both of them,
Carmel Ireland


mary Says:

The SI cover is a shot of both of them
http://www.atptennis.com/1/en/2008news/nadal_si.asp

It is sad that, despite all his wins, Fed never made the cover by himself. I know, for the most part, the slams come during prime time US sports. People watched this match because it was later on a Sunday afternoon when nothing else was on.
I don’t think it is going to translate, necessarily, into big ratings later on.


mary Says:

I just wanted to pop back in to post this: I have lurked here for over three years, but I just decided to start posting. This is one of the few sites where this match and our opinions about each player is not full of fan girl rants.

I have not had to scroll through epic poems that speak of a tennis match on the same level as men dying on a battlefield.
Nobody is crying when they think of Fed’s loss. I swear out that right after the match people donned a hair shirt, smeared themelves in ashes and raged at the heavens.

Lastly, thank you for reading my entire posts. I posted something similar at another site and had my rear end handed to me. Apparently Federer is the tennis version of Clay Aiken.

Lastly, thank you for having well-thought out opinions on both players.


Calin Says:

I was really sad to see federrer loose, I was hoping untill the last ball that he would come back and win. Oh well I guess there is always next year and hopefully he’ll have better luck. One of the reasons he lost is that he came in the 1st and second set scared. You could see it on his shots that he wasn’t sure about anything. There are some videos on http://www.thebesttennisplayer.com you can surely see how he kind of woke up in the 3rd set, but the 1-2 sets he was sleepwalking.


Dan Martin Says:

I think Federer has some degree of national pride. For two years he won Basel and bought Pizza for the ball girls and boys because he was a ball boy at the event as a child. Whether or not it is patriotism, it is a nice thing to do. Patriotism is a funny thing as certain types of it are virtuous and healthy and other types are harmful. That however seems like a topic for a column over at politico.com or realclearpolitics.com

I am glad we have an SI cover for the two of them. Mary thanks for posting, and I hope you post again. I agree that a tennis match is fun and exciting. It can even be historical. Tennis is not life and death.


Shital Green Says:

JCF,
Ref: “I totally agree with this. He is NOT a patriotic person. He sees playing for his country a personal achievement…”
“That stopped when he became #1. He announced that year that he will not play 1st rounds at DC because he wanted to focus on Indian Wells and Miami to protect his ranking…”

You would have been great help for me in September 2007.

If you care to check out the intensity of the argument I had with a couple of posters, here is the link:
http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2007-09-20/302.php


Shital Green Says:

Dan,
I thought you were conservative. But you have the ability to reconcile your pro-establishment position in tennis with your recommendation of left-leaning politico and RealClearPolitics !


lines Says:

HI. I wanted to agree with your statement that Rafael Nadal has “great coordination.” Sometimes he barely looks at the ball when he strikes those dazzling forehand passing shots from the dead run. On occasion, you can see him stare down his opponent mid-chase and then smack the hell out the ball using the corner of his eye. UNIMAGINABLE COORDINATION in his nervous system.


sardino Says:

Shayhay: Federer domination is over and I couldn’t be happier

AMEN

JCF:While he may be #3 in the 2008 race, I would rather have his season than Federer’s. He has two masters series titles and a grand slam. Fed has a lot of finals but no big prizes.

Great reply, even Fed would have to agree

JCF:Even more so now with Djokovic taunting him and writing him off at every turn.

I don’t know if Novak will be doing much of that anymore. He doesn’t need to say Fed is vulnerable anymore, does he?


Djokovic is a moron Says:

Are people still talking about quitovic? I thought Roger and Rafa pissed on his grave on sunday with that classic of a match?

More sorrow on the way for joker fans courtesy Roger, Rafa and Marat!


Dan Martin Says:

Shital,

Pro-establishment or anti-establishment that is the question. I am not sure what the tennis establishment is. I have been critical of the USTA’s approach to growing the sport in a lot of my writings at my previous tennis web gig. I did intern for Mike Ward (a 1 term congressional rep from Louisville) in my sophomore year at Georgetown in 1994-1995. So I do follow politics – Alexis de Tocqueville is my favorite political thinker. I wrote chapter 6 in the book Religious Diversity and the American Experience: A Theological Approach (2007 Continuum Books) for my low paying day job of teaching theology.

Anyway, Shital is one of my favorite regulars on this site. I am not sure if that brief biographical sketch makes me pro or anti-establishment (one of my favorite films is Cool Hand Luke so probably anti-establishment in general), but if you want to buy the book it could help the sales numbers and cure insomnia all at once.


AlwaysFedFan Says:

First of all, enough of the patriotic BS.. Was Sampras “patriotic” – waving the American flag? Agassi? What about Roddick and Blake? Roddick is not even playing Olympics to focus on the US Open. I am sure they are as patriotic as most of us. Also as far as I see Fed is not overly emotive person, who wears emotions (and flag) on the sleeve.

Secondly, about the match, yes, it was, may be, the greatest one I have seen. The quality even in the first two sets which Fed lost was amazing, let alone in the remaining sets. Just that Fed somehow didn’t play the imp. (break)points – his as well as Nadal’s – well in first 2 sets, possibly due to a bit of nervousness or a bit of lazy inconsistency or both.. Although full credit to Nadal as well for putting up superlative show throughout.

Overall, except in the final two games, I think Fed actually hit more spectacular and aggressive shots overall – with of course, issues above and a bit of general incosistency (52 errors) – while Nadal was consistently brilliant counterpuncher and also played superb shots throughout, .

Finally I still believe Fed is the GOAT, no matter what happens going forward.. simply because no one else can do what he can do with one hand. I mean, many of the shots that he hit with one-handed backhand were simply breathtaking… If only all the players were playing with one hand, Fed would have won 3 Grand Slams by now and may be more. This is not simply a matter of ifs and buts.. Obviously Fed’s weakest link is the backhand – well, because that’s how it’s supposed to be. After all, everyone – most so Nadal – knows mostly to attack his not-so-accurate and less powerful backhand. See, to beat Fed, you need a perfect opponent, someone who:

- has mastery over forehand and backhand both, preferably because he was TAUGHT to hit forehand with weaker hand so that backhand is much more powerful than normal. It’s like Fed said “It’s like having two forehands”.
- is superfast on his feet. He can get into hitting position quickly and hit his powerful firehands and backhands in almost any position.
- imparts crazy spin on the ball doing so, so that it’s just hard to return some of the balls for normal players even at lower speeds.
- is consistent day in, day out
- is among the hardest workers out there,
- last but not the least, may be the toughest fighter, physically and mentally.

EVEN THEN, this super-opponent wins Wimbledon after 3 tries after 5 hours in a match which could have almost gone the other way.

Such is the genius of that one hand (and two feet)…


It's funny to see this Federer's ad with Tiger Woods Says:

Roger said in the ad that, “Yesterday is history!” It is so funny it was being played after he was beaten at Wimbledon!


Alex Says:

“AlwaysFedFan Says:
simply because no one else can do what he can do with one hand. I mean, many of the shots that he hit with one-handed backhand were simply breathtaking… ”

Very funny point of view you got there, so single handed backhand should be valued higher than double handled ones? IMO Single handed backhand and double handed backhand each has their own pros and cons, it also depends on individual’s strength, build, and preference, it’s not a matter of ‘oh I can do it with only one hand’

“If only all the players were playing with one hand, Fed would have won 3 Grand Slams by now and may be more.”"

By your logic, if Federer use double handed backhand, he also would have won 3 Grand Slams by now and may be more? Then why didn’t he?


Tejuz.. Says:

JCF says : “I totally agree with this. He(Federer) is NOT a patriotic person. Like you said, his reason for abandoning Davis Cup was in order to maintain his #1 ranking”

well.. how often has Nadal played for Davis cup after he became No 2. Djoker.. i dont even want to talk about him… he retired midway in the Davis Cup to hand over the tie to Russia. How many times have Agassi and Sampras played for Davis Cup during their primes??


Nadal/Federer rivalry! MY ARSE! Says:

What rivalry? Nadal is beating the craps out of Federer. And he is leading 12-6. Whenever Federer meets Nadal again in the final. He would just be there to get beaten by Nadal.


gm Says:

fed’s era it’s over, but he’s not over at all. he displayed great game at wimbledon. He lost to a player that is having his MOMENTUM.

The biggest problem for Federer is effort. If Fed dominates the match no one can beat him. (except nadal), but if he doesn’t….which i think he won’t in the future…he runs into trouble. Simply because he is not used to running aroud like nadal.

Nadal has done something that most of “the greatest tennis players ever” failed to do. Win wimbledon a RG. Some failed at RG some failed at Wimby. He has done the toughest thing.
If he wins an AO or a USO he should be consider as one of the best in history and he has already proved that he can be very good on a hard court. He has won Indian Wells, F in paris, SF in AO ’07, He has won the Madrid master series.
If we take into consideration his wins and the improvement of his game. I state that he is more than an average player in a hard court (as some people say or did say).


ShayHay Says:

Von

The USTA is in trouble. No question. As much as it hurts me to say this, I think Roddick and Blake’s times have passed. If they were to win a Grand Slam, it would be by some sort of fluke. I just don’t see either one of them having what it takes in today’s field to win a Slam. And I love James Blake, but sometimes he just makes me want to scream. He has the tools, but just doesn’t seem to have the concentration. I mean he’s had his moments, but they have been few and far between. There are only a few young guns on the American side and hopefully, they will realize the opportunity in front of them and take advantage. Isner, Donald,and Querrey have a huge void to fill. I just hope they can do it.


Never Fear Says:

GM you are totally right. Sampras’ reign lasted more or less from 1993-1997 with an interlude from Agassi. In 1997 Pete won 10 titles and 2 slams. Never again would he dominate like that, but Pete did win big prizes between 1998-2002.


Shital Green Says:

Dan,
Thanks for letting me know more about you.
I wrote in my life time only one paper that touched on theosophy, placing Bertrand Russell’s Principia Mathematica’s theory of types in Judeo-Christian tradition, and sketching Rg. Veda’s paradox about origin of life, Hegel’s dialectic, Zen tradition (Nagarjuna’s Maadhyamika), and Phyrro’s skepticism coming from the Naked Sadhu of the East, and reading Derrida’s post-onto-theologial stance in Acts of Religion, as a reconfiguration of Rg.Veda-Zen’s accounting of the “excluded middle” that Russell avoided.

What makes you more likable in this blog is you express your liking for a player without showing any disrespect for others. Plus, I am grateful to your writing that interweaves ideas from other sources like Whitehead and Kipling, whose The Man Who Would Be King was in the course I taught for a couple of semesters.
Keep up the spirit.


Fedex Says:

Davis Cup/ Olympics is really a matter of personal choice. Like most things in tennis or any other sport or for that matter anything we do in life, it is a matter of doing a SWOT analysis. Fed does his and he doesnt find his chances of winning a davis cup as being great. Nadal, Roddick and Djokovic do theirs and they find they have a great shot at the title. Nadal has the entire spannish armada with him. Roddick has one of the all time best doubles team with him. Djokovic has a fiest competitor in tipsarevic and a get doubles player in zimonjic or whatever that dude’s name is.

Over the last 20 years Davis cup has been the ground for young players to get some international competition exposure (Which Federer made use of and played as much if not more than any other player) and washed up middle-aged or old players who see davis cup as a way to salvage their career or year (lubicic, hrbaty, moya, safin, hewitt, and to some extent roddick too). Thank God Fed has not reached that stage yet. He did say that once he eases his assualt on the men’s tour he will make davis cup priority (which i hope will be never!) For now he needs to make the Slams and masters and no.1 ranking his priority – something every sane top player like sampras/agassi/nadal have done or are doing. Nadal sat out very wisely of the crucial davis cup tie against US in US last year. There were rumours that he did not want to play roddick/blake on hardcourts before the all important clay season. I am sure there were people who complained that was unpatriotic. Really though it doesnt matter. Davis cup would not be in the top 5 goals of most young tennis players. That would be the 4 slams and no.1. I would even say olympics makes more sense as a goal than davis cup.

As much as davis cup brings about the positives of having a team play, it also brings in the negatives. There are hardly a couple of team sports I like as I hate it that can be insanely unfair that a brilliant player can still end up with more losses than a bunch of mediocre players. Look at the Big 3 in basketball. Brilliant players all of them had to wait so many years before being crowned the best.

Last but not the least, patriotism is as much of a virtue/vice as religion is. I can make a list of how many ills are associated with it. I donot agree that it is patriotism that contributes most to exciting matches in Davis cup. It is rather the home court advantage. You see even in atp tour competitions how mediocre players do compete exceedingly well against a top performer. More than patriotism it is the feeling of comfort in “my territory” ( a very basic animal instinct) and with a lot of jingoistic people backing the underdog at full throttle.

We saw that with that japanese player in japan against federer ( it is a must watch for any tennis fan, along with their other famoust match in australian open 05). Some of the most insane shotmaking federer and unbelievable volleying from suzuki (i think thats his name). Same goes for henman at wimbledon. He is one of my all time favorite sportsmen for the way he was able to lift his game to great heights at wimbledon. I disagree with that crazy witch sue mott that henman never used the crowd. The thing is he did, he just did not overdo it as obscenely as murray did. Henman was an overachiever for what he did, murray with all his talent would be an underachiever if he doesnt win at least a couple of wimbledons. The way he gets cold after a great match (baghdatis after beating a-rod and nadal after beating gasquet) suggests he may be better served going the henman/suzuki way. May be not. either way it is not about patriotism (murray is scottish for god’s sake!) it is just plain old territory instincts of an animal. Some people love it like hewitt/a-rod/henman/nadal, other people like gasquet may not and some other people like fed might be inbetween those two extremes. Fed does like crowd getting into a match whether for himself (obviously he would like it more like any sane player) but he doesnt mind if they try to root for the underdog as well. he loves his matches with agassi in the states and henman in britain…


Shital Green Says:

Tejuz,
Remember we went over this Fed-Davis Cup thing forever last year? And you were one of them to join Tony and others to come after me.
That discussion was fruitful, except that we were not quite civil with each other back then. I don’t want to do it again. Now I will go with Dan this time and avoid the issue of patriotism from further discussion.


I love the Game Says:

Testing


I love the Game Says:

Regards whether Fed is Patriotic or not is quite easy to answer.

Clearly Davis Cup is a Team issue and I can clearly understand his frustration because he cant do it alone. So basically if he skips davis cups matches it is clear that he does that bcos he feels he cant really change the outcome and I for one think that is good for his country so that younger people could be motivated to feel his void of not playing.

And who dear accuses my Warroir Rafa of not be patroitic that person is probably not watching the same tennis as us


Von Says:

San Martin:

It’s been obvious to me that your articles are written with a certain amount of genuine gentleness, respect and caring for all. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, until I saw your post to Shital concerning your chosen profession, and then it all fell into place. As a Christian, I think of myself as being in this world but NOT of this world and it’s refreshing to see that there are others whose thinking reflect similar thought patterns. Keep on track and not get side-tracked. seek ye first …


Von Says:

Sorry Dan, typo — I misspelled your first name.


Fedex Says:

“Has Swiss team ever won Davis Cup? No, why? Precisely because of egocentrism, which only seeks for and limits itself to personal aggrandizements. ”

>>>> Shital, Please make enough space for the last 2 letters in your name. Your posts in that link you gave are full of shit. Wildly grabbing at straws and make baseless comments like the above. I am glad wiser people like Tony, Teju, Grendle and FoT put in your place.

That quote from Federer about Djokovic running like a rabbit for time-outs is so true. So far this year he retired in davis cup, monte-carlo and just seemed like one set away from a time out in his 3 wins against ferrer, hewitt and federer at the australian open. He eventually took the long over-due time out after he lost the 1st set to Tsonga. He definitely abuses the injury time-outs.

Hope he can learn from Rafa and Rog to be a professional and classy competitor. May they both rule the tennis world for long!


AlwaysFedFan Says:

“…so single handed backhand should be valued higher than double handled ones? IMO Single handed backhand and double handed backhand each has their own pros and cons, it also depends on individual’s strength, build, and preference, it’s not a matter of ‘oh I can do it with only one hand’”

- Yeah, I think single-handed backhand is more difficult to hit esp now because of the newer rackets that allow much bigger sweet spots allowing for the kind of power hitting that was not possible in earlier eras. How many of the top 10/20 players now have single-handed backhand? May be 1/2 – Blake & Youzhny. Even serve-and-volley players like Ancic hit with two-handed backhands.Yeah, it’s a big advantage, esp because you can still play slice backhands etc with one hand.

“By your logic, if Federer use double handed backhand, he also would have won 3 Grand Slams by now and may be more? Then why didn’t he?”

If Fed was to use 2-handed backhand he would not have won 3 GS but at least 1-2. This is because Nadal’s natural right-handedness still gives him more edge in backhand. But I think Fed would have definitely defeated Nadal a lot of more times at least in earlier years.

Why Fed didnt choose to do so ? Well I don’t know, of course.. But one guess could be that he always wanted to play like his heroes – and No. 1 players on Grass – Becker and Sampras. Also when you are growing up you just go with one style – not anticipating that you will be No 1 and 2-handed backhand wud be an issue. Also in 90′s, when Fed grew up, 1-handed backhand was definitely okay for faster courts alongwith the kind of rackets then.


Shital Green Says:

Fedex,
I have the right not to engage in conversation with your level of thinking. I don’t deign to go where you are. You could avoid my posts: When I post, I don’t address your kind of readership. You’d better off if you choose your own abusive kind for response.
Please don’t mention my name in your post.


Ra Says:

Shital,

Thank you much for the clarification. I figured there must be something sneaky going on there…


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

Trunk front page

“Rafael Nadal
1st man to win French + Wimbledon in same year, and No. 1 rank to come this year almost guaranteed. Send a chunk of your check back to the All England Club for making the lawns bounce like claycourts.”

LOL. The tennis-x team sure are a bitter lot. :D


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

NachoF Says:
wow, the truthfulness of this article makes me sad….. the Federer era has really come to an end
————————

hurrah!


Tejuz.. Says:

Shital Green Says: “Tejuz, Remember we went over this Fed-Davis Cup thing forever last year? And you were one of them to join Tony and others to come after me.”

Glad that you posted that link from our last discussion, so we dont really have to post back and forth on this one. But i do maintain that in my opinion, Nadal or Djoker or any other top 10 player is no MORE patriotic than Roger. Atleast Roger is giving a chance for up and coming Swiss players to play more international matches in Davis Cup. And ofcourse his own Swiss Davis Cup team mates do not feel that way about Roger, most of them are in his box cheering for him during grand slams.


chris Says:

Love the Kipling quote–for tennis, for life.
Thanks.


JCF Says:

Tejuz: “well.. how often has Nadal played for Davis cup after he became No 2. Djoker.. i dont even want to talk about him… he retired midway in the Davis Cup to hand over the tie to Russia. How many times have Agassi and Sampras played for Davis Cup during their primes??”

He did bail on a few rounds, but… Spain has a lot more depth in their players than Switzerland, so when their top players can’t make it, they’ve got others more than capable of filling their shoes. Switzerland on the other hand, only had Federer. He carried the team. They needed him. Until now, anyway. Stan is a top 20 player now. Still, Stan isn’t capable of carrying the Swiss team alone.

Fed used to have to win both his singles and the doubles match in order to get through a tie. When he stopped playing, there was nobody left, and Switzerland would lose 5-0.

Nadal was on the team when Spain won the DC in 2004 by the way. I’m not sure how many times he’s played since, but he has played. He’s not on every tie, but like I said… the team isn’t dependent on him.


JCF Says:

gm:

“Nadal has done something that most of “the greatest tennis players ever” failed to do. Win wimbledon a RG. Some failed at RG some failed at Wimby. He has done the toughest thing.
If he wins an AO or a USO he should be consider as one of the best in history and he has already proved that he can be very good on a hard court. He has won Indian Wells, F in paris, SF in AO ‘07, He has won the Madrid master series.
If we take into consideration his wins and the improvement of his game. I state that he is more than an average player in a hard court (as some people say or did say).”

One thing Nadal’s critics who say he hasn’t proven himself on hardcourts fail to mention is that he is a more accomplished player on hard courts than the typical names they pull: Blake, Berdych, Murray, Youzhny, Gonzalez, Ljubicic, Ferrer, Ancic, Baghdatis, Monfils, Gasquet, and all those other big hitters who are poised to upset Nadal on hardcourts. How many hardcourt masters series have these guys won? None. Nadal has 3 different titles (Indian Wells, Toronto, Madrid), and 2 finals at Miami.

If he can’t win a slam on hard, then neither can these guys. No one outside of Federer, Roddick, Djoko, and Hewitt could then… And Safin if his head is screwed on right.


JCF Says:

Shital Green Says: “Tejuz, Remember we went over this Fed-Davis Cup thing forever last year? And you were one of them to join Tony and others to come after me.”

I don’t intend to ignite Fed’s patriotism discussions at this moment, but I will say this… Fed in 2004 said the reason for skipping 1st round of DC is due to bad scheduling. Understood. He wanted to focus on Indian Wells and Miami, that was his reason.

I would like to say, that reason was proven bunk last year by Nadal. Fed skipped DC, and failed to win either IW or Miami. Nadal played DC 1st round, and went on to win IW, and got deep into Miami before losing to Djokovic. So if his reason for skipping DC is that it would help him win IW and Miami, it obviously didn’t work. The reverse happened for Nadal and Djokovic. Not buying it.

Now that Stan is a much improved player, Federer should go back to playing DC. They have a real chance now, since they aren’t completely dependent on Fed anymore.


jane Says:

Nadal played Davis Cup earlier this year, I think? Maybe even doubles as well as singles?

As for hardcourts – had Nadal not run into Tsonga in the semis at this year’s AO, he would’ve been in the final, and who knows who would’ve won between Novak and Rafa. Maybe still Novak, as he has beaten Rafa on hard this year already. But the point is, it was the other AO finalist who took Rafa out. The winner, Novak, took Rafa out at IW. And in Miami he was in the finals. So don’t count Rafa out on hardcourts people, especially with the confidence and momentum he’s gained in the last month and a half, in addition to the extra rest he’s allowing himself right now. Fit and healthy, he’s got to be considered a threat.


jane Says:

JCF,

“No one outside of Federer, Roddick, Djoko, and Hewitt could then… And Safin if his head is screwed on right.”

Perhaps I am going way out on a limb but I think Murray and Gulbis are capable players on hard courts too.


Daniel Says:

“had Nadal not run into Tsonga in the semis at this year’s AO, he would’ve been in the final, and who knows who would’ve won between Novak and Rafa”

Well, if Djoko was in Nadal’s draw, Fed would have been in the final and I think he would beat either Djoko or Nadal in it. Until now he hasn’t lost in a hard Grand Slam final, so….


Tejuz.. Says:

JCF,

I am not questioning anybody’s commitment to Davis Cup..

In 2005, 2006, and 2007 Fed has played the maximum number of matches on the men’s tour, so obviously he would skip Davis Cup matches to catch some rest. Lets see if Nadal or even Djokovic plays Davis Cup after playing so many matches in a season.


Skorocel Says:

Tejuz said:

“But i do maintain that in my opinion, Nadal or Djoker or any other top 10 player is no MORE patriotic than Roger.”

Well, maybe not as patriotic as A-Rod, but CERTAINLY not inferior to Nadal and Djoker… But then again, the DC had always had a somewhat special significance for the Americans, so it’s only logical Andy would play… I’m not saying the other countries aren’t interested in winning the DC, but remember, 20-30 years ago, it was mainly the US and Australia who were fighting for the win (actually, if I remember it correctly, these two countries have amassed the most DC wins of all)…


Ezorra Says:

Guys… out of the topic a little bit… I’ve question for you to think… Will Nadal perform great on hard court as how he did in the past 4/5 months or will he screwed up?

Through my personal observation, I believe that Nadal has advanced his game nearly 30 to 40% since AO and what is amazing is, he still developing his game. Today, his serve and backhand is better, his forehand is more accurate and he has turned himself from being a great defensive player to a very great defensive player and great offensive player too…

2ndly, the key success for Nadal on hard court will be his serve…

However, I also believe that some opponents (like djokovic, blake, berdych, youzhny bla…bla…) will still cause a major problem to him. Whether he manages to win USO, it stills a big question mark, but to me, there is no doubt that Nadal will perform better than the previous years, due to the development that he had shown in his game throughout this period.


Fedex Says:

“I would like to say, that reason was proven bunk last year by Nadal. Fed skipped DC, and failed to win either IW or Miami. Nadal played DC 1st round, and went on to win IW, and got deep into Miami before losing to Djokovic.”

Nadal has had more injuries in his career than Roger has had in a career almost 5yrs longer than Nadal’s. As much as I like Rafa, no-one will be looking as the man with the ability to schedule himself perfectly. As of now Nadal is a sprinter who logs in insane miles in the 3 months from may-july and turns up cold for the rest of the season. I hope he will fix it this year and be in the mix during all the hardcourt tournaments.

Roger schedules himself brilliantly. Obviously he cant save himself from pathogen induced diseases, but physical injuries, I have not seen another guy other than maybe agassi who understands his body better than federer!


Tejuz Says:

Nadal has had a great season til now.. But even if he wins the US Open and the year end Master’s Cup it will be on par with Fed’s 2004 season but below Fed’s 2006 and 2007 season. And certainly dont think Nadal can keep this form up year after year. What Fed has done til now is out of this world and nobody can match it even for a year, let alone 3 or 4 years in a row. Nadal’s game matches up well against Federer, but not against most of the other top 10ers..unlike Federer.. who has every other player’s number (except maybe Nalbandian who probabaly has thrashed Nadal everytime they have met). I dont believe he struggles against Djokovic’s game… still need to see Djoker win more matches against Fed or Nadal.


I love the Game Says:

Federer dominated tennis not because he is a magician it simply boils down to the fact there were no worthy opponents out there.

Thank God for Djoko joining Nadal to prove that the other players were crap.
Otherwise tennis would be very boring


Skorocel Says:

To JCF and Shital Green:

You guys are just laughable (especially Shital)… Fed not a true patriot? The truth is, he’s played MORE DC matches than (at least) half of all the OE greats + represented Switzerland TWICE at the Olympics (of which the Athens Olympics were during his prime year), and will most probably attend the Beijing and London games (where the tennis tournament should be played on the SW19 lawns) as well… Still not enough for you? Hm, then just ask Pete if he played those…

Shital, I still remember that funny but absolutely senseless discussion re: Fed’s participation in DC matches which you came up with in 2007… You brought up literally dozens of various stats, repeated and defended them ad nauseum, compared Fed to this and that player, but proved absolutely NOTHING… Simply put – a downright Sisyphean task…

I know you’re an anti-Fed, which is all fine, but a bit of objectivity wouldn’t do any harm I guess… Look at Nadal or Djoker – their patriotism ISN’T even a notch higher than Fed’s, so what’s your point?

Yes, you may argue that Nadal won the DC in 2004, beating A-Rod before 25 000 spectators in Sevilla… That’s true, but that was still BEFORE he became the high-profile player he’s now… Also, don’t forget that Nadal (as someone here already said) can rely on the help of his teammates a LOT MORE than Fed (even though his buddy Stan certainly improved his game in 2008)… The same can easily be said about Argentina (Nalby, Canas, Chela, Monaco), France (Tsonga, Gasquet), not to mention Russia (Davy, Safin, Youzhny, Andreev, or Tursunov)… Those countries simply have much more balanced teams than the Swiss (where it is all about Fed)…

To tell you the truth, the Swiss media (and fans in general) were only HAPPY and THANKFUL when Fed, despite constantly being hunted by the rest of the pack & defending all those points on the ATP Tour, decided to play those relegation matches back in 2006 and 2007… They were perfectly aware of the fact that without him, they would’ve been in Euro-African zone pretty quickly…

But anyway, do you really think the Swiss were all that upset about Fed skipping some of their DC matches? I don’t think so… Just try to ask even one reasonably thinking Swiss tennis fan what would he/she wish for Fed to win – a Slam or the DC? I’m more than convinced that, with some exceptions, they’d all mention the former, simply because they all know very well that by winning a Slam or mantaining his No. 1 ranking, he’ll do MUCH MORE to promote his country in the outside world than if he were to win the DC…

I’ve mentioned Pete, who in his prime too was playing the DC only sporadically (not to mention the Olympics), but can I blame him for that? Of course not! He was only smart to skip these events – simply because they’re both only second-rated when compared to Slams! It’s maybe a pitty, but that’s how it is… I just can’t understand why they’re coming up with such idiotic ideas as is that recent decision to award ranking points for playing the DC?! The top players (led by Nadal) are constantly criticizing the packed ATP calendar, and now they should also play the DC?! What a silly idea!


Shital Green Says:

Skorocel,
First off, we are neither in a court of law or in a scientific lab to PROVE anything here. Your proof is your opinion for me; my proof is my opinion for you. We only express opinions here, though we like to give an illusion of objectivity occasionally.

Error 1: Last year I did not compare Fed with Nadal or Djoko. I compared Fed with other No. 1 players of the past in reference to DC winning records. In retrospect, for several reasons, I should not have done that either.
Error 2: I did not bring up the issue of patriotism this year.
Realizing that now, I outrightly rejected the issue of patriotism above when others brought it up. I went with Dan’s suggestion: This is not the right place to talk about who loves his country how much. It is useless to demand somebody to behave in a certain manner or ask to play certain tournaments that you think is best for his country. Besides, I find it unfruitful to compare players from different eras to measure their success with the sole aim to put them in a hierarchical order.

Call me Sisyphus or whatever, I will never be lured into the non-issue of patriotism that I mistakenly got into last year. I already said above that it is meaningless to talk about patriotism alongside tennis.

Why are you bringing this up now? I am surprised you still think that that is my unchanging position even after I rejected the non-issue in my post above.

Error 4:
As a regular, do me a favor and don’t label me “anti-Federer,” which would mean I would be looking negatively everything he does, including his facial expression, which I don’t do, and trash talking in hillbilly/ghetto language. I am not a hater. You have been here long enough to know that I have appreciated him when it is due. For example, look at my 30+ posts in the morning of the SW19 final and afterward, and you will see how much I appreciated that match. Even my post like Fed won’t find a coach easily cannot be taken negatively if you are not a blindly partisan because Fed has said the same thing on an occasion or two. It does not have to be Fed; if a player gives me a Grand Slam final like FO 2008, I will express my disappointment (once again, Fed himself called it “disappointing”). Probably, you will, too.


Skorocel Says:

To Shital Green:

First off all, I’m acknowledging that you’ve admitted your mistake… I’m not here to take any of your views away from you, but anyway, my personal opinion is that writing all those players’ stats and then comparing them ad infinitum with those of Fed is just pointless – simply because the Swiss is NOT any less patriotic than most of the Open Era greats (if we measure this alleged “patriotism” by the number of DC matches played and Olympics attended, that is)… Yes, JMac and a couple of others were exceptionally devoted players – I can admit that… You can’t deny these facts, BUT still, what you must take into consideration is the physical level of tennis nowadays and 20-25 years ago… In JMac’s days, the players like Lendl, Connors, or indeed he himself didn’t have any problems to play around 25 tourneys + at least 2 DC ties per year, whilst now the top players (with some notable exceptions like Davy) are averaging at least some 5-7 tourneys less… Anyway, I won’t be commenting on this “patriotism issue” anymore…

As for Nadal & Djoker, I’ve never said you were comparing them with Fed… I just mentioned these two because they’re equally or even more successful as the Swiss (I mean in 2008, of course) + playing roughly the same (if not higher) amount of matches per year, but they simply aren’t any different than Fed as far as this “patriotism issue” is concerned (at least when we think of Fed’s playing activity in the current respective age of Nadal & Djoker, of course)…

Lastly, I admit that labelling someone like you as “anti-Fed” is somewhat strong… To tell you the truth, I was indeed hesitating whether to write that word or not, but my emotions somewhat got better of me, so please excuse me for that…


Amr Says:

I am a big fan of Roger and I have followed his matches closely over the last 4 years.
He is a great champ. In my humble opinion I think there are parts of his game that could use some real sharpening and this can only be done by an excellent coach

1- Although his nerves are quite good, they are not the same as what they used to be 2 years ago.

2 – His forehand is one of the the best if not the best in the game when it works. However lat ely he has had to many unforced errors for his kind of caliber with shots going long, outside or short. He needs to control that a little more.

3 – His backhand style is beautiful but this is his worst weakness. Against Rafas high spinning shots his backhand was just too weak and too short for a return and it has gotten perhaps weaker over time. Maybe this is due to a drop in his confidence level. Rafa recognised this weakness right from the beginning of the match and kept hammering his backhand forever. The result was an astounding number of errors from federer.I remember in 2006 federer would just rip a backhand straight passing shot that was mostly not returned when he was faced with that. I no longer see him do that.

4 – Roger’s return of serve has gotten loose over time and I saw him time and time again against Rafa returning or mis returning easy second serves.

Now after loosing wimbeldon, Roger should realise that some pressure has been taken off cause he lost something which he held on so dearly for so long. Now is time to bounce back and go back to that fiery Roger I saw back in 2006 who took more chances and had more solid forehands and backhands.

I still think he is the best player on the court today despite his loss of wimbeldon.


Skorocel Says:

To amr:

Fed’s one-handed BH versus Nadal’s topspin FH will ALWAYS be a major disadvantage for the Swiss… The truth is, he’s never come (and never will) to terms with this shot… It’s just a bad matchup for him…


Xu Wang Says:

Rafa’s great is that he beat the best Roger. When Roger won his first Wimbledon champion, there are no good player. Aggssi and Peter are old that time, so Roger took world No.1 just as it happens, not much surpring when we got a new king. However, Rafa Nadal is still growing and becomming more and more strong, don’t you mension how strong he is mentally. Now he can beat the best Roger and win the champion, of course the match is unblievable. Look at the double fault when he got the match point,,,wow,,,he was nervous too. But these two are reverly, next year Roger will come back..


Tejuz Says:

Xu Wang.. i dont think Fed played the best match. His backhand was more of a liability through out the match. His serves and inside out forehands were outstanding though. But yeah, Rafa is great .. because he had to beat Fed for all his GS titles.


TennisMasta Says:

These match stats are quite revealing.

Match Summary
—————–
Federer Vs Nadal
1st Serve % 128 of 195 = 66 % 159 of 218 = 73 %
Aces 25 6
Double Faults 2 3
Unforced Errors 52 27
Winning % on 1st Serve 93 of 128 = 73 % 110 of 159 = 69 %
Winning % on 2nd Serve 38 of 67 = 57 % 35 of 59 = 59 %
Receiving Points Won 73 of 218 = 33 % 64 of 195 = 33 %
Break Point Conversions 1 of 13 = 8 % 4 of 13 = 31 %
Net Approaches 42 of 75 = 56 % 22 of 31 = 71 %
Total Points Won 204 209
Fastest Serve 129 MPH 120 MPH
Average 1st Serve Speed 117 MPH 112 MPH
Average 2nd Serve Speed 100 MPH 93 MPH

First, Both faced 13 break points each. Based on the YTD averages they should have saved 67% of them. That’s exactly what Roger did. He saved 9 breakpoints and got broken 4 times. Whereas, Nadal managed to escape an unsual 13 breakpoints and got broken only once. Imagine how many times
he would be this lucky when faced with 14 breakpoints?

What if Rafa was broken about 67% of the time. Clearly Roger would have won in straight sets.

Second, Roger made 52 errors to Rafa’s 27 (almost twice). Granted Roger makes more errors, but this is still too many for him. What if he only made, say 40 errors? Chances are he would have won the match.

The untold story of the match is this. Roger enters Wimbledon with several uncharacteristically poor performances, makes twice the unforced errors, Rafa escapes out of all but one of his 14 breakpoints, and still Roger only very narrowly looses the longest match in Wimbledon history, 9-7 in the fifth set.

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ATP - Sep 15 WTA - Sep 15
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Simona Halep
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6 Milos Raonic6 Na Li
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