Federer Grabs Olympic Gold in Doubles; Djokovic Beats Blake for Singles Bronze
by Staff | August 16th, 2008, 2:43 pm
  • 105 Comments

It may not have come in his preferred event, but in his third try Roger Federer finally has his Olympic gold medal. Federer teamed with Stan Wawrinka giving Switzerland the gold in doubles after a 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3 win over the Swedish duo of Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson.

Federer had come up short in prior medal attempts at 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens, and this week his bid for singles gold fell short again on Thursday in the quarterfinals when he was upset in straight sets by James Blake. But despite the loss the 27-year-old Federer focused on the doubles event and it paid off Saturday in Beijing.

“Sort of a dream-come-true moment,” Federer said afterward. “Maybe it comes around once in a lifetime. It’s almost disbelief, to some degree.”

Novak Djokovic, who lost a grueling three-setter to Rafael Nadal in the singles semifinals yesterday, rebounded today to beat Blake 6-3, 7-6(4) and capture the bronze medal, which is the first medal of any kind for Serbia at this Olympics. Blake was beaten in the semifinals by Fernando Gonzalez of Chile.

In women’s singles play, Russia is now assured of gold having placed both Elena Dementieva and Dinara Safina in tomorrow’s final. Dementieva handled her Russian countrywoman Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 7-6(3) while Safina edged China’s Li Na 7-6(3), 7-5.

Also today in Beijing, the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus who were both upset in the singles event Thursday, kept their perfect Olympic doubles record alive by reaching the doubles final after a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Alona and Katerina Bondarenko. The Williams, who won the gold at 2000 Sydney, will face fourth-seeded Spaniards Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Pascual.

And the top American team of Bob and Mike Bryan won the bronze medal besting Frenchmen Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Singles gold medals will be on the line Sunday as Rafael Nadal meets Fernando Gonzalez in a best-of-five set final. The match will follow the Dementieva-Safina contest slated to begin at 2pm on Centre Court.

The Williams sisters will bid for gold on Court 1 at the conclusion the 2pm women’s bronze medal match between Na and Zvonareva.


Also Check Out:
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Federer, Azarenka Named Top Seeds At London Olympics
Nadal Adds Olympic Gold to His Diet
Serena Williams Greatest Ever After Olympic Singles Tennis Gold?

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105 Comments for Federer Grabs Olympic Gold in Doubles; Djokovic Beats Blake for Singles Bronze

zola Says:

Great recap. Thanks.

Fed was 19 in 2000? and 23 in 2004 . So not at his prime in any of the olympics, even in 2008. Still, giving it a try, against all odds, was a great effort. I think the mental part of putting aside the defeat and then the criticism and being able to focus to win the dounles gold medal by beating very tough opponents,…just fantastic. In 2012, he will be 31 and not the best candidate for singles, but maybe he can still win a medal in doubles.

It was also great to see Djoko win the first medal for his country.He too, was very disappointed yesterday. Still, was able to shake it off and concentrate to win. Same goes for Blake …

At the beginning of the olympics, I had my doubts. But the efforts put by all these athletes just made my week. Lots of respect to all of them. They all deserve a medal for taking one week of this busy ATP calendar, in that heat, pollution and humidity, ignoring the fatigue and jetlag, with US Opne waiting for them….to go there and give their best is just admirable.

Hope Rafa can play his best tomorrow against Gonzo. Same for Safina…good luck!


zola Says:

FoT,
I managed to watch the doubles final on the USA channel this morning. Fed was so relaxed. Him and Stan are a very good team. Fed was very animated and showed his emotions. They played just great. During the ceremony Fed was almost in tears. I am sure it meant a lot to him to win Gold here in the Olympics. Well done!
btw, I love that ritual they do after they win! They had way too much fun !


Dave B Says:

I hope this gold medal will give Roger more confidence and motivate a come back. Fact it this is a golden age of tennis with the likes of Federer and Nadal competing to be the best. Jokey is not chopped liver either.


JCF Says:

zola,

“Fed was 19 in 2000? and 23 in 2004 . So not at his prime in any of the olympics, even in 2008. Still, giving it a try, against all odds, was a great effort.”

Fed won 3 slams in 2004 and was world number 1 by a huge margin. He had almost twice the points of Andy Roddick (#2) and had two slams, 3 masters series under his belt heading into Athens. Coincidentally, that’s what Rafa had going into Beijing. Fed was well and truly in his prime in 2004.

At Beijing 2008, technically Federer is still #1, though only for another day. I will agree that he’s out of his prime now.

At least he’s banished one demon. No one can say “he never won or will not win olympic gold”. Not quite as good as winning in singles, but a gold medal in doubles has the same weight as a gold in singles at the olympics.

Unfortunately I won’t get to see Rafa’s match. The nbcolympics page won’t stream to people outside of the US. Gonzo will be tough. This is his third medal match so he’s been there before. If he plays like he did in AO 07, Rafa is done for. Gonzo has a gold and a bronze. Wouldn’t it be fitting if he took home a silver to complete his collection? ;)

Another rather worrisome stat is that in the past few Games, the medalists didn’t end up faring too well at the US Open. It would not surprise me at all if Rafa or Djokovic lost mid way or early. Disappointing, but not surprising.

My 8-ball as of now says we will have a new grand slam champion in NY. Someone will win their first career major. Though my 8-ball does have a habit of changing it’s mind a lot the closer we get to the result…


karen Says:

As a huge Fed fan I loved this. Some of his returns were vintage. Mental strength was very, very impressive after his disappointing singles loss. Very first doubles title for Wawrinka.

Have to disagree about Fed not being in his prime in 2004, he won 3/4 of the slams, Masters Cup and 3 Masters Series titles that year. I think that unexpected loss to Berdych probably hurt more than his loss to Blake since he was the prohibitive favorite.


Friend Says:

I think Zola is partly right. Federer was not at his prime for Athens 04 especially if you compare it with the form Rafa is in right now. Federer’s rise was still in its initial stages. He had lost to Henman at Rotterdam, nadal at miami, costa at monte carlo, kuerten at French open and hrbaty in cincinnati 1st round. He had his toughest non-nadal wimbledon match against Roddick in the final. Also, after the olympics he had his toughest encounter at the USopen ever – against agassi in the quarter-final. Since then, no one has takend federer to a 5th set at NY.

Compare this with Nadal who is coming off a 32 match streak that ended just before the olympics (it was so obvious Nadal was going to lose to Djokovic at Cincinnati). In that 32 matches he won 3 titles he never won before – hamburg, queens and wimbledon. and won a hardcourt tournament for the 1st time in 15 or 16months. You cannot even compare that Fed in 04 went into athens with the same confidence that Rafa has come into Beijing with.

However, in hindsight, 2004 seems Federer’s best chance yet to have won the singles gold. Unfortunately for Roger, the urgency was missing. Who can blame him for not seeing how beijing 08 was going to unfold? Ofcourse no-one should under-estimate how insanely talented berdych is. Add to that, the stealth factor. I donot remember another more significant result berdych had before that federer match. Imagine if Tsonga knocked out Nadal in the 1st round of aussie open the way he did in the semis? Can you imagine the stealth factor?

Anyway, Roger showed a champion’s heart in achieving the gold medal after that crushing loss to blake. How much this result will help him in singles though, i do not know. Time will tell.


zola Says:

JCF, Friend

I think 206 was Fed’s best year. He was just emerging at 2004. So, I am hoping this won’t be Rafa’s peak year and he can improve and get better for another 3-4 years.

I am happy for Fed to have a gold medal in his collection. The best part was that he was so relaxed and happy. I love doubles.


zola Says:

oops again!

206=2004 . :)


JCF Says:

Well yes, 2004 was not his best compared to his 2006 standards, but we are talking Federer standards here… 2004 was head and shoulders above what other players could dream of. It was his best shot at winning gold, and also his best shot at winning the French Open, though he didn’t care about it much at that time.

If he couldn’t win it by his 2004 standards, who can?

Nadal has done something big in 2008, but he hasn’t yet proven he can match even one of Fed’s great years (2004, 2006, 2007) of winning three slams. He has an outside chance in two weeks time, and I will be watching.


zola Says:

JCF
***It was his best shot at winning gold, and also his best shot at winning the French Open***

I agree, 2004 was his best shot.

Also 2004-2006 were his best shots to win FO. Rafa has done something spectecular in winning Fed in his prime. no one else has done that.

About Rafa winning 3 GSs, remember 2 of the three were on the same surface. If the GSs were played more on clay, then it would have been Rafa.

I am happy with the way he is playing and improving. If he stays healthy, he will work on his game and should be able to win a slam on hard as well. He has 5 GS and 12 MS titles among his 30, atthe age of 22 and is laready breaking records. I am sure he will achieve more if he can stay 100%.

The important thing is that he is still motivated and hungry to improve his game.


Friend Says:

Zola:

I agree 2006 was Federer’s best year. Nadal definitely has more avenues he can improve upon and that is really a scary thought. His transformation from Hamburg onwards has been nothing short of magical. He has almost zeroed in on a game plan which takes surface out of the equation. It will be interesting to see how he will fare on his relatively weaker surfaces, the hardcourts. Rafa’s ascent to No.2 as well as to No.1 have both been drastic. In 2005, the Clay King title was up for grabs and Rafa just launched himself and he has not let it go, since then. This year with Federer’s slump, No.1 and wimbledon up for the taking and Nadal just made some swift strides making it look so simple. His reign at the top is going to be even more interesting than Federer’s given that both Federer and Djokovic will be hunting him down.

JCF:

I was thinking the comparioson was betweend Federer in 2004 athens and Rafa in 2008 Beijing. Between those two, Rafa was more on top of the form wave than Fed was in 04. Definitely Federer was well placed in 04, but as I said, the urgency was not there. Also the olympic tennis did not have the importance it has today, 4yrs back. Olympic tennis has a more settled look today than before. Given that Fed was casual about RG during 2004, we can safely assume he did not give Olympics the same effort as he put in 06 RG or 07 RG or any other of his GS. During 04 Fed couldn’t have guessed the Gold Medal and FO might turn out as crucial as they are now either because he wouldn’t have seen himself with 12 GS and still chasing the dominance on 1 of the surfaces.

Nadal is currently 356 points ahead of Djokovic and 399 points in front of Federer. He is building up a federer like control over the no.1 There is a good chance he will pull out the USopen. He has been the best player on summer hardocurts and he is the form player of the moment. He has as high chances as Federer to win the US open. It is all in the draw.


Vulcan Says:

Friend Says:
Nadal is currently 356 points ahead of Djokovic and 399 points in front of Federer. He is building up a federer like control over the no.1 There is a good chance he will pull out the USopen.

LOL, Rafa is pulling out of the US Open????…you better phone Tony and let him know ASAP.


Vulcan Says:

Hehe, no but seriously…Rafa is gonna kick some ass in Flushing…hes destined to show all these “clay court specialist” WANKERS that he has the goods to kick not only Djokovics ass but anyone else who comes calling (eg Federer, Murray, Del Potro…et al)


ckr Says:

“Novak Djokovic, who lost a grueling three-setter to Rafael Nadal in the singles semifinals yesterday, rebounded today to beat Blake 6-3, 7-6(4) and capture the bronze medal, which is the first medal of any kind for Serbia at this Olympics.”

Serbia won a silver meda in 100m Butterfly (lost gold by 1/100 of a second to Micheal Phelps) on Saturday morning. So, the above sentence is not accurate.


Mary Says:

Federer looked so nice and relaxed, without looking cocky, during the match. It was nice to see them so happy after winning. Their performace art reminds me why Switzerland does not lead the world in the performance arts.


Vulcan Says:

Yeah but Id rather have a Rolex than watch performanc art


Friend Says:

Vulcan :

Could you please go back and read what I said? There is a difference between pulling out the US Open and pulling out OF the US Open.

Maybe you are not familiar with the usage, even then, the context in which I wrote that sentence should have made my intentions clear.


Vulcan Says:

Yikes, do I feel SILLY, sorry Friend, my mistake.


sensationalsafin Says:

For all the crap Federer’s been getting this year, this has to shut atleast a few people up. I mean in a way, winning a gold in doubles is more impressive than winning in singles for a singles player. Federer’s been so dominant in singles all these years and then he comes out an wins an Olympic gold in doubles! Cmon, that’s f*cking insane. I was upset about Federer losing to Blake because I wanted Fed to win a gold and now he’s done it, singles or doubles doesn’t matter. Only thing is why was Federer able to play so freely in doubles and not in singles. It’s good that he was enjoying himself so maybe he can take that into the US Open because he needs to start enjoying tennis again if he wants to win.


Federer is afraid! Says:

a junkyard scrap metal in doubles and pathetic fedophiles are quifing out o thier arse again


simba Says:

LOL, winning doubles is more impressive. If that were the case, Rog should have quit playing singles to concentrate on being No.1 double-team with Stan.

IMO, double is like practice. It is like a consolation prize for not doing well in singles.


joe Says:

Thrilled for Federer. I hope this will bring back some of the confidence he has lost this year. Im hoping he will defend his title in NY.
On his website he mentions today that he will also be more or less filly commited to Davis cup next year. I think thats interesting. Maybe hes going to change his schedual next year.


Dan Martin Says:

I think one side effect of this Gold for Fed and Stanislas is that they may try to make a few assaults on the Davis Cup. Sitzerland will not be in the world group in 2009, but maybe 2010 these two try to take the cup. Why not make a go at it?


NachoF Says:

Friend Says:
“He (Nadal) is building up a federer like control over the no.1 .”

What are you talking about??? he’s not even #1 yet and according to you he “is building up a federer like control over the no.1″??? thats just crazy… what are you basing that on?? what makes you think he is on the track to holding on to that rank for 4 years like Federer did?


FoT Says:

Simba said: IMO, double is like practice. It is like a consolation prize for not doing well in singles.

Thank god many folks don’t feel like this. What about people like the Bryan Brothers who don’t even play singles (which Roger and Stan beat by the way)… I mean, these guys are tennis playes just like the singles players. You should give them the credit they deserve. Frankly, I am just happy Roger got a medal. I would have been ok with the silver, but the gold is just fantastic. He always wanted a medal and he has one. Regardless of if it’s in singles or doubles – he will always be remembered as an Olympic gold medal winner.

And Zola…thanks for all your kind words. I remember when we first ‘hooked up’ in these forums, we didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but you have turned out to be a fantastic ‘poster-friend’ and I want to thank you for that.

Who said Nadal fans and Federer fans can’t get along! You are a living testimony that we can!

P.S. Saw your post over at Bodo’s about me pulling for Nadal in the final. Uhm… let me think about it… Tomorrow’s final will be easier for me to watch without my favorite in there. I know you guys will be on pins and needles, but I really see no problem that Rafa will have with Gonzo.


Willie Says:

simba:

“IMO, double is like practice. It is like a consolation prize for not doing well in singles.”

I think i have to agree on this with simba. Just look at who’s playing doubles? We all know that single titles got more recognition than double titles in any tournament.

One of the reasons Fed/Waw won was their service games. Have you noticed how many service winners these two top-ten players have cracked up? It’s because Johanson/Aspelin can not deal with their service. It’s the same reason why these two players have just concentrated in playing doubles…they have no future in singles!

Two top-ten players playing in doubles are just like high school bullies beating the hell out of terrified grade schoolers.


Slim Shady Says:

Whats with all these comparing a singles player wnning gold as being the same as winning a singles player winning singles gold.

It is pathetic,Federer clinging to a doubles Gold.He is a singles player for Gods sake.


Dan Martin Says:

Off topic – Usain Bolt is amazing. 9.69 seconds for 100 Meters and he started slowing down 15 meters from the finish. He’s only been running the 100 Meter dash for less than 1 year after mainly training for the 200 Meter dash.

I freely admit that most top players do not play doubles a lot due to playing against guys they grew up with in the juniors who just did not quite have it for making a living solely in singles. Still, other singles stars entered the doubles draw and did not make the medal round. It would be foolish to over blow a doubles title, but clearly Roger valued winning Gold and even performed some sort of thaumaturgy on Stanislas at the end of the matches. I guess at the end of the day would I rather be a guy with 12 GS singles titles, 4 GS singles runner-up finishes and have a gold medal in doubles or have no medal at all? The answer is self-evident.


Slim Shady Says:

Dan Martin

I love athletics also,Usain bolt is amazing like you said he slowed down, i think he could have made 9.60s and in future maybe 9.5s.
He is amazing considering he is 6ft 5.,that is tall for sprinting.I dont see them beating him in the near future


Jason Says:

Vulcan:

I’m not so sure I would describe Nadal’s recent non-clay matches with Djoke as *kicking his ass* No doubt he has the mental edge when things get tight, and he’s certainly the stronger player conditioning-wise. But I still see Novak as the guy with bigger weapons, especially with the serve and backhand. Forehand, Rafa may have the slight edge. I can see Rafa winning the Open for sure, mainly because I don’t think Djokovic is ready to be a two-Slam winner in ’08. That’s a very rare thing to win two Slams in your first Slam-winning year (only Connors and Vilas have done it in Open era) and I don’t think Novak is up to it. But I seriously doubt Nadal can just wipe Djokovic off the court on any fast surface.


YY Says:

JCF

“Another rather worrisome stat is that in the past few Games, the medalists didn’t end up faring too well at the US Open. It would not surprise me at all if Rafa or Djokovic lost mid way or early. Disappointing, but not surprising.”

Possibly in the past few Olympics, the medalists were not the top seeded/ranked players?

If any of the top 3 were to lose early it could probably be at the hands of JMDP who is red hot at the moment. Interesting to see which quarter of the draw he will get at USO.


Dan Martin Says:

Not that I mind all of the hugs and tears in the Olympics but it was fun to see Bolt with a Muhammad Ali type of confidence and just rewrite the logic of his sport. He is my favorite non-tennis playing athlete.


Shital Green Says:

Vulcan,
Ref: “he has the goods to kick not only Djokovic’s ass.”
Suddenly change of heart?
I am just kidding. Rafa does have all the weapons to win GS on hard, be it USO or AO.

Jason,
Ref: “No doubt he has the mental edge when things get tight.”
I agree.
But when things don’t get tight (to use your phrase), he can also crumble against a tough opponent.
So at Flushing, if Rafa and Djoko meet, my position is whoever wins the 1st set will have a slightly upper hand. Honestly, before the match begins, I cannot tell who will win at the end.

Jane, Von, and all others who know Grendel,

Remember Grendel, the great Federer fan, who was a regular here forever until he decided to leave one day? I see him at the Tennis Planet frequently now. We have become friends again, despite differences. He comments on my almost every post. We talk back and forth. It’s all good.


JoshDragon Says:

It’s nice to see Federer win the gold. Unfortunately, it’s far too late for him to save this season. Federer, was probably due for a let down season anyway so let’s see how he does next year.


Von Says:

Shital Green:

“Remember Grendel, the great Federer fan, who was a regular here forever until he decided to leave one day? I see him at the Tennis Planet frequently now. We have become friends again, despite differences.”

He’s always posted on Tennis Planet, but has to stay within the parameters, not like on this site. I haven’t been able to read anything over there since reading your article — too much work. I saw a post a while back from someone named ‘Vonnie’. You seem to like posting there. Enjoy it, but don’t like it too much to leave us, and that’s an order. Got it. :)


NachoF Says:

JoshDragon Says:

It’s nice to see Federer win the gold. Unfortunately, it’s far too late for him to save this season. Federer, was probably due for a let down season anyway so let’s see how he does next year.”

I doubt it will happen but if Federer wins the US and the Masters Cup I would consider this year officially saved, maybe not as good as Nadal’s but very well damn close.


freakyfrites Says:

I’d say that in the Olympics, the difference between winning the dubs and the singles is more negligible in terms of status. It has more of a Davis Cup feel, where the individual achievement comes second to the country’s. Of course Fed fans would prefer the bragging rights of having their guy win the singles gold, but this is the Olympics for God’s sake.

Roger should enjoy his Gold. It wasn’t “practice” to beat the Bryan Brothers – give these athletes some credit.

Can’t wait for tomorrow’s Gonzo v. Rafa final. They’re tied head to head, so it should be interesting. And both love playing for pride and country.


JCF Says:

“Novak Djokovic, who lost a grueling three-setter to Rafael Nadal in the singles semifinals yesterday, rebounded today to beat Blake 6-3, 7-6(4) and capture the bronze medal, which is the first medal of any kind for Serbia at this Olympics.”

Whenever I see the words “Djokovic” and “gruelling” in the same sentence, I can’t help but think, “this guy needs to improve his fitness.”

The guy on the other side of the net didn’t find it as gruelling as he did. I hear talk a lot about Djoker possibly being too tired for the next match if he gets extended in the previous match. How is it a world class player can become dependent on finishing his matches in full control? If he plays a semi-final in NY and gets extended to four or five sets, he is finished on Sunday, because there is no day off in between.

Does anyone even remember the last time he played a five setter? What is his record in 5 setters?

Federer is afraid! Says:

a junkyard scrap metal in doubles and pathetic fedophiles are quifing out o thier arse again”

Welcome back FIA. Haven’t seen you in a while. I thought after Wimbledon you had changed your name to ‘fed is not afraid’? Old habits die hard I guess.

joe Says:

“Thrilled for Federer. I hope this will bring back some of the confidence he has lost this year. Im hoping he will defend his title in NY.
On his website he mentions today that he will also be more or less filly commited to Davis cup next year. I think thats interesting. Maybe hes going to change his schedual next year.”

That’s great news. I was wondering what it would take to get him back to playing DC. With Stan being a good player now, and Fed no longer having the throne to defend, DC is no longer an impedance to him. The Swiss should be a strong enough team to challenge for the Davis Cup now, no matter what surface the ties are played on. Except against Spain on clay maybe.

Dan Martin Says:

“I think one side effect of this Gold for Fed and Stanislas is that they may try to make a few assaults on the Davis Cup. Sitzerland will not be in the world group in 2009, but maybe 2010 these two try to take the cup. Why not make a go at it?”

Switzerland can return to the world group in 2009 if they win their playoff post US Open I think. It’s hard to imagine Federer bothering if they can’t.

nachoF

“What are you talking about??? he’s not even #1 yet and according to you he “is building up a federer like control over the no.1″??? thats just crazy… what are you basing that on?? what makes you think he is on the track to holding on to that rank for 4 years like Federer did?”

I agree that he won’t be dominating for 4 years, but to say that he isn’t #1 yet is just being pedantic. In about 12 hours he will be #1 by a bigger margin than Fed was over him just a couple of weeks ago. Fed is only the nominal #1, his grip on it is about as secure as Jankovic’s.

“Possibly in the past few Olympics, the medalists were not the top seeded/ranked players?”

Yeah true, point taken. But the feat of winning the medal never converted into the confidence needed to go further. And while these guys (Nadal, Djokovic, Federer) aren’t in need of confidence it could still have a physical effect on their preparation for the big event coming. As Federer said, the Olympics makes it tough on the calendar for the players.

“If any of the top 3 were to lose early it could probably be at the hands of JMDP who is red hot at the moment. Interesting to see which quarter of the draw he will get at USO.”

JMDP is not a guy you would want to run into in a first round, but I think experience will come through if one of them meets him.


NachoF Says:

JCF Says:
“I agree that he won’t be dominating for 4 years, but to say that he isn’t #1 yet is just being pedantic. In about 12 hours he will be #1 by a bigger margin than Fed was over him just a couple of weeks ago. Fed is only the nominal #1, his grip on it is about as secure as Jankovic’s.”

I agree, Im not disputing that Nadal isnt the best right now… I was just disputing that statement about Nadal “building up a Federer like control over the n1 spot”…. I mean, he cant even start to build it up when it hasnt even officially started.


bekah Says:

The Men’s Gold Medal Doubles Match is something fans won’t forget anytime soon. Roger Federer looked pleased as Punch after winning his maiden medal at the Olympic Games Saturday, even though he won this one off his usual beaten track. Sure, the match that made the former two-time medal-less Olympian finally a thrilled champion possessed the classic Federer elements of flawless forehands, superior footwork, scrappy defense and consistent serving (and as for special bonus features, Federer also plunk down numerous volleys), but the real appeal of the match was something else entirely. This Federer was lighter-hearted, more spirited and plucky alongside his bopping twin Stanislas Wawrinka, then fans have witnessed in a long…well, ever.

Usually stoic and a man of few words on the single’s court, Federer looked quite the seasoned leader and inspired teammate, quarterbacking the younger and less experienced Warwainka through the four-set match. In a routine huddle after every point, Fed signaled cues through cupped hands in whispers, and through gestures, continued directing formations after the huddle break. He doled out encouragement loudly and frequently, even after some untimely but ultimately inconsequential falters by his teammate.

But the match also signaled something else: perhaps, a new monster (this one with two heads)? If this Olympic run is any indication, Stanislas Wawrinka might be the perfect man to enlist in Federer’s cause for a remarkable doubles run in the twilight years of his career. I’m not saying that Fed should “prime the doubles pump” prematurely and that playing more doubles is the answer to his recent single’s woes. But I also don’t believe like some critics that Federer has one foot in the grave. When the time does come, however, that his phenomenal skill is outshined by fresher feet, he may just prevail on beyond his expected tennis championship life span: in doubles. His leadership and emotional investment in the Gold Medal Match enriched it greatly for fans, and it would be a shame to never again witness his brilliance again in like scenarios.


Ryan Says:

A little off topic but when you think about it whether the better athlete is phelps or federer eventhough I’m a fed fan , I have to say its phelps.Fed just crumbles under the pressure in the french and he shares the record with borg in wimbledon…..whereas phelps beat spitz record and in is in a league of his own.He is the greatest athlete of all time…..


YY Says:

Congrats to Dementiava and the Williams on winning the gold! Women’s single is in a real sad state now though. I miss Henin!!!


jane Says:

Yes – congrats to Dementieva; I thought Safina would get the gold but Dementieva really deserved it, didn’t get nervous this time.


osazone4real Says:

It was really nice she won Gold considering she was runner up to venus in 2000 olympics


jane Says:

JCF:

You wrote: “Whenever I see the words “Djokovic” and “gruelling” in the same sentence, I can’t help but think, “this guy needs to improve his fitness.” [...] Does anyone even remember the last time he played a five setter? What is his record in 5 setters?”

Here is some information re: 5 setters for the top three in slams that I had posted back in June (pre-Wimbledon) during a discussion with Sean about Novak:

—————————————–

How many 5 setters has Roger won in a slam – against top players or otherwise?

2004 – 1 against Agassi at the USO
2005 – lost to Safin in 5 at AO, zero other 5 setters at Slams
2006 – 1 against Haas at AO
2007 – 1 against Rafa at Wimby
2008 – 1 against Tipsy

Rafa?

2005 – AO won against Youz in 5; lost against Hewitt in 5
2006 – Wimby, won against Kendrick in 5
2007 – AO won against Murray in 5; Wimby won against Soderling & Youz in 5, and lost to Roger in 5 (the only player ranked higher than him)
2008 – like Novak, Rafa has played no 5 setters in slams so far; in fact he hasn’t even played 4 sets.

So to compare 5 set slam results:
Novak has won 6 from 2005-8
Roger has won 4 from 2004-8
Rafa has won 5 from 2005-8 (now 6 with addition of wimbledon final this year)

If you want to know how many 5 setters in slams he’s [Djoko] lost, here they are:
2005: lost in 5 sets against Verdasco at USO
2006: lost in 5 sets against Ancic at Wimby
2007: lost no 5 setters
2008: played no 5 setters.

So to compare losses in 5 setters at slams:
Roger: lost 1 between 04-08 (now 2 with addition of wimbledon final this year)
Rafa: lost 2 between 05-08
Novak: lost 2 between 05-08

——————————————-

I do think Novak could work on fitness, but some guys have more natural endurance that others and I think breathing issues still affect him, so his body is deprived of oxygen and he gets tired more quickly. I actually wonder if focus isn’t another thing he could improve upon.

I think he’s more of a front-runner like Roger. When he gets the early lead he’s more settled. That said, he did come from behind against both Monfils and Rafa here, though only 3 setters.

Rafa is an exception in how he can come from behind and stay so focused.


osazone4real Says:

rafa is one set from Gold


Shital Green Says:

Gonzu played the 2nd set surprisingly well, in comparison to the 1st. He had double break chances to take the 2nd set. The first opportunity was the easiest one. Unlucky under pressure to throw the ball out. That was my “some-what-likely-to-go-4-setter” moment. He could not capitalize on it.


osazone4real Says:

This is does not feel like a final guess i have being spoiled by Nadal vs Roger and Djoko vs nadal kind of games


jor Says:

Nadal is now leading 4 games to 1 in the 3rd set, so I think Nadal will get the gold for sure


jane Says:

Superstar Rafa should be on the top podium a.s.a.p. What a year for him – French, Wimbledon, a number of MS shields, including Canada, and now the top honor in men’s tennis at the Olympics – a Gold medal in singles. What’s next?!!


osazone4real Says:

gonzo wastes another double break point
definitely starights for my man


Shital Green Says:

Osazone4real,

Ref: “This does not feel like a final. I guess I have been spoiled by Nadal vs Roger and Djoko vs Nadal kind of games.”

I agree. And I knew it. I thought for a second it would be 6-1 in the 3rd, but Gonzu hung in there for a couple of more minutes and would probably make it 3-6.


Shital Green Says:

Congratulations to Rafa for the sweet Gold in straight sets !
He not only breaks 20 year drought but also wins 1st ever Olympic for Spain.

New Ranking Points.

Nadal……6700
Federer….5930
Djokovic…5105

Imagine the gap he will open after Rafa’s USO win (or even if he were to become just a semifinalist or finalist).


YY Says:

Yes! Nadal won!


osazone4real Says:

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

RAFA HAS WON GOLDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD


Shital Green Says:

How sweet is it to for Rafa take No. 1 ranking with a Gold !


YY Says:

Imagine the gap if Federer is shocked in the first round of USO.


osazone4real Says:

Where is ZOLA burst the champagne?


osazone4real Says:

Shital

Your crystal ball seems to be very accurate nowadays


jane Says:

YAY RAFA – VAMOS. To the top of the podium, to the top of the rankings. Not bad at all.

Congrats to Nadal and Nadal fans – a great win. And like I said before, what a year!


osazone4real Says:

Jane

I have to confess you are a special tennis fan you really genuinely support more than one tennis player.I guess you are the real tennis fan.


jane Says:

osazone4real -

You’re too kind. But yeah, I like so many of the players (I loved Rafa from the first time I saw him play with SO much fire & enthusiasm) but really I just love TENNIS. Have since I was a kid.


casper Says:

vamos rafa, doesn’t matter what happens from here i’ve had the best tennis season as a fan and i’m still pinching myself (enigmatic), thanks Rafa (No. 1 fan)


jane Says:

Congrats to the Williams sisters, too, who’ve now won gold in doubles twice and say they’ll be around for the 2012 games to try for a threepeat.


simba Says:

What’s next for Nadal? USO and the Master Cup. He will smash all single year record Roger set.


simba Says:

When I compare Nadal’s career against Federer’s, I realize Nadal has more probability to be recognized as GOAT, not Federer. He is 22; Fed, 27. Yet, Nadal equaled and surpassed Roger in several categories:

Both have won six different Masters; Nadal missing Paris, Cincy and Miami; Federer missing Paris, Rome and Monte Carlo.

Nadal won Olympics Gold; Federer will never.

Nadal won big titles in 3 different surfaces. Federer won only on hard courts and grass.


Shital Green Says:

As with tropies, Rafa manages to enact the end signature ritual of bitting the medal. Kinda looked funny because of the size, nonetheles beautiful !


matt Says:

Amazing.

MonteCarlo, Barcelona, Hamburg and RolandGarros on clay.

Queens and Wimbledon on grass.

MS-Toronto on hard court and Olympics on a faster hard court.

The Race now is:

Nadal: 1175
Djokovic: 785
Federer: 721

Nadal will finish as the year-nº1 almost sure now.

Federer and Djokovic will fight for the nº2 spot.


Colin Says:

YY – you say that in the last few Olympics those who did well in the Games did badly at the USO. Someone said exactly the same thing on the British BBC website forum. Another poster pointed out that in other years the Olympics came AFTER the USO, so the statistic doesn’t exist! I haven’t checked this myself, but there it is.
Obviously Nadal has some extra mileage going into the USO this year, and even he isn’t superhuman, though he sometimes seems to be. If he is a bit tired going in, will it necessarily be Djoko who is the one to take advantage?


Jason Says:

Colin

As difficult as it’s going to be for Nadal to pull this off, I just don’t think Djokovic is ready to win two Slams in one year. You’ll note that only Connors and Vilas in 40 years of Open Era tennis have won two Slams in their first Slam-winning year. Throw in the fitness issues, which were really on display in the Cincy final, and I see Novak as a long shot for the Open.

As for the rest, Roger seems in real disarray, Murray is not yet comfortable enough playing an attacking style and his first serve percentage is too woeful. And I don’t think anyone else has any shot at all. We’ll see.


YY Says:

Colin, I was actually referring to JCF’s comment that it was worrying that the medal winners in the last few Olympics did not go on to do well in the USO. I was suggesting that the reason was likely cause the medal winners were not the top seeds/ranked players in the world. Nadal is now the only Top 5 ranked singles player to take the Olympic Gold.

Personally, I don’t think those who took part in the Olympics will be really that much affected by the schedule. They have a full week’s rest ahead. I think those who are playing consecutive US Open Series events leading to the USO have an even tougher schedule. Can you imagine how much more tired JMDP will be? _He’s playing in today’s final and also has gone the full stretch for the last few weeks AND again playing this coming week at the Pilot Pen championship?


Ryan Says:

Simba is a retard…..Ofcourse fed has won important titles on all 3 surfaces.And Fed did win the olympics gold.Whats the diff between a singles gold and a doubles gold in the olympics? Besides Fed has won hamburg on clay and beaten all established clay courters except nadal.First let Nadal win the 2 hard court slams, let him win more than 15 slams and then we could say he is better than federer.


YY Says:

Ryan

To be fair Simba did say Nadal has more PROBABILITY to be GOAT. But yes, Nadal still has a long way to go if he wants to overtake Federer. One cannot imagine him sustaining his amazing run for so long.


sar Says:

At 22 Nadal has number one rank, multiple slams and Olympic gold. What did Roger have at that age?


sar Says:

Has anyone seen a video of the Nadal, Gonzalez, Djokovic medal ceremony?


simba Says:

Ryan,

On clay, Fed won only at Hamburg. That is not a major title. Arguably, Monte Carlo and Rome are bigger. You can’t argue that Hamburg is as big a tournament on clay as the Olympic on hard court.

Nadal went into Federer’s living room and took his prized possession away. Did Federer match that? Sar made a valid point: What did Fed achieve at Nadal’s age? I think not much.


Vulcan Says:

If Nadal does win the US Open is time to start talking about him having one of the best years of all time with the exception of achieving the year Grand Slam?..even Federer 2004 is missing an Olympic Gold Medal by comparison


Vulcan Says:

Simba, Rome, Hamburg and Monte Carlo are all Masters Series events with equal sized draws and equal points and prize money.


zola Says:

osazone4real,

I am right here with the champaign! bring your glasses!

That was a fantastic match and I can’t be happier ( actually I would, if I could see the medal ceremony!)

FoT,
thanks for your nice words too. I can easily say the same things for you. I guess Rafa’s achievements are more obvious when we appreciate what Fed has already done (which were phenomenal). He set such high stadards that not many could surpass. RAfa had to work hard and become a better player as a result. now we have Fed, Rafa and and up and coming Djoko. as tennis fans we are very lucky.


zola Says:

FoT,
there is something else that I appreciate in all champions ( previously Hewitt and RAfa ) and right now about Federer. He had a bad loss in French Open, a worse one in Wimbledon and the the criticism poured. They even said he was not the real No 1. Then he lost again in Toronto, Cincy,….and the olympics…

After all his matches he was faced with brutal questions and criticism. But he did not go away. Any weaker person, could have just not show up and thus not be criticized. But Fed didn’t do that. He persistently showed up in each event and win or lose, faced the media. He lost in singles, but hung in there and won the doubles gold.

I think that’s a big part of being a champion and added to my respect for him.


Vulcan Says:

I think it can be said that Nadal has achieved more at an earlier age than Federer did…but…that may not necessarily put him in a better position to achieve more becuase…as Jimmy Arias stated during the match with Gonzo…the physicality of Nadals game means that he will have a shorter career than Federer. (Im not sure how much I agree with that prediction…take for example Guillermo Vilas who had a physical game and I believe a long and prolific career)


Ryan Says:

Sar and Simba are retards….

Sar “At 22 Nadal has number one rank, multiple slams and Olympic gold. What did Roger have at that age?”

Thats a really funny question.What did federer have at 22?Guess what he had multiple slams and no 1.Its not that federer was like nalbandian at that point.


Nadal went into Federer’s living room and took his prized possession away. Did Federer match that?”

Ofcourse he did.He beat nadal in hamburg with 6-0 in the final set in 2007.Besides look at the age.Nadal is at his peak and federer is past his peak.The younger guys will always have the advantage.Now after 3 years of waiting behind federer , nadal finally gets to number 1.It happened mainly because of fed’s downfall.


Vulcan Says:

“It happened mainly because of fed’s downfall.”

There was/is no downfall. Federer is right there.
Nadal simply took it away from him at Wimbledon fair and square (even a retard would know that)


Ryan Says:

To Vulcan…….wat do you mean that fed didnt have a downfall.Do you think the fed of 2008 is the same as the fed of 2005?


Dan Martin Says:

A couple of quick things – baseliners normally mature faster than all court players and as the last post pointed out they can also have a shorter shelf life. I hope Nadal has a long and healthy career. Still, comparing by age is not super fruitful due to differing styles of play. Nadal has become more of an all court threat through dedication so that could help his longevity.

I like Jane root for multiple players. I may annoy my fellow Fed fans by saying how much I like Djokovic, but he has a great ability on the court. Nadal is admirable in about every category by which an athlete can be judged. It is fun to see Juan Martin del Potro being reborn as a top 15 or higher player this Summer. Andy Murray is making a move. Gasquet is a maddening guy but fun to pull for when he is on his game. I was saddened watching Roddick struggle through injuries. Of course when these guys play one another my rooting interests settle in (sometimes in surprising ways), but all of these guys have perfected their craft, a sport I love, far beyond what a normal person could ever do and that has to be respected.

As for Phelps vs. any elite tennis player. What can any swimmer due to directly impede Phelps or another team’s relay? Nothing beyond maybe chopping up the water a bit. In tennis you can directly impact your opponent’s play with how you serve, how you return, how you pick on a weakness, etc. Swimming is a sport, but sports where you directly impact your opponent’s level of play and vice versa are more difficult in my opinion. Also, hard to compare 2-5 hour tennis matches with short swimming sprints and relays. Not knocking Phelps, but tennis is more like basketball, boxing (well no one is scrambling the other guys brain activity…) and any other sport where you play defense and offense.

I hope Switzerland does make it back into the world group for 2009. Davis Cup matters, but it matters more when top players commit to it. I can see Stanislas earning Roger’s trust enough to believe it won’t be 100% a one man show in attempting to win the cup.


Vulcan Says:

A downfall implies a long term downward trend… look at his year so far…SF AO, F Wimbledon, F RG, thats not bad for a “downfall”.
His continuous streak of appearing in GS SFs isnt even broken. Its too early to say if his best is not yet to come…he could still have some amazing years….if Agassi and Connors could do what they did with the latter part of their careers why not Federer.


Colin Says:

I believe the draw for the USO is on Wednesday. It’s going to be interesting. Although I’m hoping for a good run from Murray, I actually hope he gets to play Djokovic. If he could beat him again, he would start to get into Novak’s head, which would be good for the future. Of course Murray’s own head has to be considered! I hope his rather tame exit from Beijing doesn’t affect his confidence.
As for Nadal, he must run out of steam some time soon. Er – mustn’t he?


simba Says:

Ryan,

I guess your Mama did not teach you any manners. You cannot debate a point without name calling. That is really pathetic.

If you equate Fed’s Hamburg victory with Nadal’s Wimbledon, you must be insane. As I recalled throughout the clay season, Federer cannot help himself citing his lone Hamburg victory against a dog-tired Nadal (Nadal won MC and Rome the weeks before and was on a 80+ win streak) to buttress his belief that he has a good chance against Nadal on clay. His clay dream was shattered in MC and Hamburg, being shell-shocked to the point of not being able to close out a set. Going into Paris, after a few games, he knew he had no chance.

Yeah, right. Federer is going to beat Nadal on clay.


JCF Says:

Ryan Says:

“First let Nadal win the 2 hard court slams, let him win more than 15 slams and then we could say he is better than federer.”

Talk about biased. He has to win 15 to be better than Federer? 13 will not do it? Not 14? 15 would make him better than Sampras.

Colin Says:

“Obviously Nadal has some extra mileage going into the USO this year, and even he isn’t superhuman, though he sometimes seems to be. If he is a bit tired going in, will it necessarily be Djoko who is the one to take advantage?”

Djoko has played as many singles matches as Rafa in Beijing. If Rafa is a bit tired going in, Djoko will be as well. I don’t think he’ll be the one to take advantage. I’m going to go with a new champion. Someone will win their first slam in Flushing.

“As for Phelps vs. any elite tennis player. What can any swimmer due to directly impede Phelps or another team’s relay? Nothing beyond maybe chopping up the water a bit. In tennis you can directly impact your opponent’s play with how you serve, how you return, how you pick on a weakness, etc. Swimming is a sport, but sports where you directly impact your opponent’s level of play and vice versa are more difficult in my opinion. Also, hard to compare 2-5 hour tennis matches with short swimming sprints and relays. Not knocking Phelps, but tennis is more like basketball, boxing (well no one is scrambling the other guys brain activity…) and any other sport where you play defense and offense. ”

I agree that it’s difficult to compare sports, but Swimming requires much more mental toughness than tennis does. In my opinion, it’s a lot harder to be a swimmer than a tennis player. Not much separates the very best from the second best or even 8th best. It’s just a matter of tenths or hundredths of a second. So to be the very best swimmer, you’re going to have to break records and edge out a much tougher field. In Tennis, there are huge differences in class at the top. What Phelps did, considering his competition was far more impressive than what a tennis player has to do to win slams.

“Its too early to say if his best is not yet to come…he could still have some amazing years…”

Good years will come, but a player’s ‘best’ years are more likely to come at early or mid stages of their career than during the tail end. I can’t imagine him winning 3 slams per year at 28-30. After 30, at best he might win one slam every year or two, which is pretty much what Agassi did.

“Yeah, right. Federer is going to beat Nadal on clay.”

At this point, Nadal has better chances of winning a slam on hard than Fed does on clay. Fed will have to re-evaluate his schedule if he wants to make a real push for the French, and for some bad luck to go Rafa’s way. Maybe the guy will eat something bad and get food poisoning?


sar Says:

For Ryan, name-calling is for people who are immature.

Born Aug 1981 -In 2003 Fed was 22 years old and number 2 at the end of that year and had won GS Wimbledon only.
At 2004 when he was still 22 but before his 23rd birthday he won AO and Wim. He got number one after AO in 2004.

Born June 1986 Nadal has 5 GS and one Olympic gold and number one at age 22 and 2 mos.

Sooooo he achieved number one later than Rafa and had fewer slams at that age…..and no Gold.


Jason Says:

JCF

Care to predict who is going to win his first Slam? If you’re right I would think it would almost have to be Murray. I just can’t see any other non-Slammers with a chance.


Von Says:

Shital Green Says:

“Congratulations to Rafa for the sweet Gold in straight sets !”

That was indeed a great match. A well deserved victory. I thionk Blake will be happy that Gonzo lost. I’m so happy for Dementieva too. She is overdue. Good things come to those who wait.

“He not only breaks 20 year drought but also wins 1st ever Olympic for Spain.”

I may be wrong, but I think Arantxa-Sanchez-Vicario won a few medals for Spain. This is just from memory. I have not checked to veryify my information. I guess by now you know I’m not into stats, and researching tennis information, etc. I rely on my memory which at times, fail me. Anyway, check it out, and if I’m wrong my apologies, but if I’m right you owe me some kudos. OK? :) Let me know, please, and thanks.


Ryan Says:

“First let Nadal win the 2 hard court slams, let him win more than 15 slams and then we could say he is better than federer.”

Talk about biased. He has to win 15 to be better than Federer? 13 will not do it? Not 14? 15 would make him better than Sampras.”

Sure why not.Let nadal win 13 slams then we’ll call him better than federer.I dont have a problem with that.

To sar
And just coz nadal did things earlier than fed does that mean that nadal will keep doing it for the next 5 years?


sar Says:

And just coz nadal did things earlier than fed does that mean that nadal will keep doing it for the next 5 years?

Ryan,to me that just makes him a better athlete. All he needs is 2 GS for 5 years. Once he has AO and USO, with the Gold Roger hasn’t got, he is the GOAT.


Ryan Says:

To sar : Do you really think nadal can win 2 slams every year for the next 5 years continuously.Not a fukkin chance.


Ryan Says:

By the way….lets not count the chickens before they are hatched…….let nadal win the US open or AO.Then we can talk about that.


YY Says:

It’s really amusing to see such extremist fans who can only be satisfied with one “winner”. What Nadal and Federer have each achieved already guarantees them Hall of Fame inductions and both will be remembered as great tennis players. As to who will be GOAT, I guess we can only judge at the end of their respective careers. I am looking forward to their continued rivalry as well as how they will fend off the challenge of Djokovic, Murray and possibly JMDP who’s only 19 and on a 4 tournament streak.


Ezorra Says:

Ryan;
Federer has never won French open and might/would never win Olympic… how about that?

Sar;
Don’t talk something that is still not happening yet. We won’t know whether Nadal can keep the momentum until the end.

Shame on both of you! Please, stop bad mouthing other players just because you are a particular tennis player’s fan!


Ezorra Says:

Strongly agree with YY!!!


Mike gaobest Says:

It was amazing to see Federer do so well with Olympic doubles after losing his singles match – obviously he still had the desire for Olympic gold. This may be the only inspiration he needs to do well with the US Open and Masters Cup, which just could keep him #1 in the year-end race. I’m guessing that he’ll stay #2 for the rest of the year, since Nadal didn’t do too hot in Fall ’07 and really just has points from the Paris final to defend.

One thing that has disappointed me with Federer was his overall lack of Davis Cup play throughout the past years. After Switzerland blitzed England in that one DC tie, I thought that they’d try to continue to requalify for World Group.

Now that Stanislas is in the Top 10, I can’t see how Switzerland couldn’t make a huge run in DC – although I’d assume that Federer would still team with Yves Allegro in doubles.

Anyway I do think the Olympics was a fitting end for the #1/#2 rankings – one player loses #1 but still gets Olympic Gold Doubles as a consolation. And the other player starts #1 as Olympic Gold Singles. The 400 points (I hadn’t realized!) can’t hurt too much either :D

Mike


Shital Green Says:

Von,
Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario won 2 Silver and 2 Bronze medals for Spain. No Spanish man had won an Olympic medal before Rafa. Rafa’s Gold is first ever for Spain in tennis, male or female.
Kudos to you, anyway.


sar Says:

“stop bad mouthing other players”

Ezorra:

Excuse me. A question was asked by Ryan.
“What did federer have at 22?”
I gave him an answer using stats to compare Fed and Rafa. I also said based on those stats that “to me Nadal is the better athlete.” How is that bad mouthing? Puh-leeze


matt Says:

Shital,

Sergi Bruguera won 1 Silver Medal (he lost to Agassi in the final in Atlanta’96), Jordi Arrese won 1 Silver medal (lost to Rosset in the final in Barcelona’92) and Corretja and Costa won 1 Bronze medal in doubles in Sydney’00.

Nadal’s medal is the first Gold medal in tennis for Spain.


Shital Green Says:

matt,
I got it wrong this time for sure. Thanks for correcting.


Von Says:

Shital:

“Rafa’s Gold is first ever for Spain in tennis, male or female.”

Based on the above partial quote from your reply to me, you would be correct about the “First Gold”, but not the “first ever” Olympic medal. That said, if it were taken out of context, you could be 100% correct — argument won on a technicality. However, if I were to take your statement in its entirety, I’d have to give you kudos for being 50% correct. Ahh, these technicalities can certainly sway the scales, n’est ce pas? :)

Top story: Rafael Nadal: I Am Not The Favorite To Finish The Year No. 1
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