Federer Ready for Madrid; Nadal, Djokovic Await
by Sean Randall | October 10th, 2008, 4:59 pm
  • 78 Comments

That Roger Federer is one curious cat, isn’t he? A week after withdrawing from Stockholm and then using statements like: “At this point, I am not sure when I will be ready to play again, but I hope to be back at some point before the end of the year.”

Well, turns out Federer’s ready to play again as early as next week – so much for taking some extra time off or any serious injury speculation.

Unless he does a last minute “Fed Bailout”, Roger has made it known that he will be playing in Monday’s Madrid Tennis Masters, and that’s good news for the tournament which will also host Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Juan Martin Del Potro, Andy Roddick and just about everyone else in the Top 40 including 2007 champ David Nalbandian and my man Gael Monfils. Remember last year it was Nalbandian ripping Fed’s heart out in the Madrid final.

Federer, by the way, is expected to arrive in Madrid Saturday, and practice later in the afternoon. Adjust your schedules accordingly.

Depending on how things go – and I haven’t done the math – but just by eyeballing I think Rafa will have the opportunity to secure the year-end No. 1 ranking at the tournament. And what a place to do it if he can, in his home country.

The tournament begins Monday with byes I believe given the top guys. The draw will be out this weekend at some point, and I’ll post further when it’s available.

As for the here and now, lots happening as players make a final push toward Shanghai. In Moscow today, Marat Safin remains king of the country after beating Nikolay Davydenko in the “best player in Russia” battle. Safin now plays Mischa Zverev in one semifinal while Fabrice Santoro faces Igor Kunitsyn in the other (Fabrice, you still retiring?).

In Stockholm, three of the top four seeds are into the semifinals, led by Nalbandian who seems to be making another late-season surge. In the semifinals, Nalbandian meets Nieminen and the surprising Kei Nishikori tests Robin Soderling in the second SF. The Kei-Man got a walkover today from Mario Ancic who withdrew due to fever.

Over in Vienna, my man Gael Monfils continues to put up good results (can he get Top 10 next year?). Today he got a great win over Fernando Gonzalez . Monfils also beat Radek Stepanek earlier, and will now meet Phil Kohlschreiber in the Phil-heavy semifinals. The other semifinal is between Phil Petzschner and Phil-iciano Lopez. And that’s my tennis Phil for the day.


Also Check Out:
Novak Djokovic: My Wrist Injury Isn’t That Bad, I Will Play Madrid!
Nadal Handed Madrid Title by Nishikori
Novak Djokovic Withdraws From Madrid Due To Right Wrist Injury
Novak Djokovic’s Physio: He Should Be Ready For Rome And The French Open
Andy Murray Withdraws From Madrid Due To A Back Injury

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78 Comments for Federer Ready for Madrid; Nadal, Djokovic Await

Tennisnakama Says:

I feel sorry for Mario Ancic who had to walk over. He has been so unlucky this year. My heart goes to him. Rest well.

Nishikori fans in Japan are thrilled for his advance to SF. Kei had been suffering from his knee pain even before his first match. He said he almost gave up the matches because of pain. Now his endurance paid off. And we can watch his SF live by streaming. This is a great effort for Swedish Broadcasting company to make live streaming available to the tennis fans in the world.


tennisontherocks Says:

In this year’s race, Rafa leads by 344 points (1265-921). The max points that Roger can gain are 400 (100+100 at Madrid/Paris, 50 at Basel and 150 at Shanghai). so if Rafa finishes Madrid with 300+ points lead over Roger, he will finish year at #1. So he needs to stay within 44 points of Roger or 66 points of Novak.

So will be wrap up #1 if:
- Rafa reaches final
- Rafa reaches semis and Roger looses in final.
- Rafa reaches quarters/Rd 16 and Roger looses before final.
- Rafa looses in second round (bye in first), but Roger falls before semis and Novak falls before finals


TD (Tam) Says:

So Roger is once again miraculously cured of mono and exhaustion?

I am getting rather tired of Roger and this endless drama about his health. It makes of mockery of players who are truly suffering from debilitating mono sickness such as Mario Ancic (who had to withdraw from a match again due to a relapse). It is obvious now that he had no intention of playing Stockholm and needed an excuse to withdraw so he pulled out the trusty mono card again. Even tennis-x has bought into Federer’s endless mono excuses.

Federer is turning into quite the fopish drama queen and I find it so unsavory.


FoT Says:

TD… Roger has paid his dues and can withdraw from whatever he wants! lol!

But I’m glad he’s playing Madrid because I miss him when he doesn’t play.

Also, I don’t care what the stats show, even a die-hard Federer fan like myself knows that Rafa is the #1 player this year. No question, no doubt. So congratulations to him and his fans.

Now saying that… I hope Roger ends the season strong and come back strong in 2009 to take the #1 ranking back! lol!


Wade Says:

Rafa is going to finish year end number 1 no matter what it may not be this tournament but probably the next(paris)! I hope he can finish it in his home city and hope Djokovic can finish at number 2! And hows Nalbandian his world number 7 and yet his 26th in the atp race near the end of the year! WTF work that one out!!! lol GO RAFA AND DAVE


Ryan Says:

Fed is not a drama queen.He has never tried to get any unnecessary attention for himself.If you dont know the meaning of a word then dont use it….He just said he needed some more rest and skipped stockholm…..wats wrong wit that? If you dont like him then you wont like anything he does…..its the same with me when it comes to nadal.


Ezorra Says:

tennisontherocks Says:
“It is obvious now that he had no intention of playing Stockholm and needed an excuse to withdraw so he pulled out the trusty mono card again.”
-totally bullshit! your accusation make me sick!

Ryan Says:
“Fed is not a drama queen.He has never tried to get any unnecessary attention for himself.”
-totally agree!


gulu Says:

TD (Tam), u really are tired! Ur fatigue may further increas if u know dat many believ dat Roger was tired. I feel u hav becom really exhausted n may b hopeless too ! Ur tiredness is makin u silly.Giv urself a break,u need it more than anyone else !


gulu Says:

Dear Ezorra, tennisontherocks isn’t alleging Roger of takin mono’s excuse 4 skippin Stockholm Open,but it’s TD
who’s out 2 prov Fed as a liar.Anyway wholeheartedly thankin u 4 supportin Ryan n other Roger fans on this issue,this site needs
ppl lik u!


sensationalsafin Says:

Uhm, Federer? Drama queen? Why can’t we all just enjoy the tennis? If Federer and Nadal make the final, wouldn’t you Nadal fans be happy to see Nadal rock Federer AGAIN? Damn you guys crazy! F*cking crazy!!!


gulu Says:

1 win is all that Fed needs 2 break Rafa’s good run against him this year.Next year’s Fed’ll surely b better in comparison 2 this year’s ! I feel Rafa needs 2 b really concerned about his futur battles with Fed if he wants not 2 blow away his H2H lead!


gulu Says:

No one other than Federer can convince me otherwise. Lov u Dearest Fed ! Vamos Roger !


Von Says:

SsnsationalS:

Our guy Marat, has a very good chance of winning Moscow. He’s in the final due to a walkover, and from the looks of things in the other SF, it could very well be Kunitsyn, he’ll face in the final. At the time of writing, Kinitsyn is leading by a break in the first set against Santoro. If Kunitsyn wins, I’ll say this is Marat’s golden opportunity to win a title in how many years ?. Kinitsyn is no match for Marat. if he’s on in the final. Please God let it happen, I want him to win so badly and then go on a tear in Madrid. GO SAFIN !!!!


Daniel Says:

Safin winning a title this year would be “the uber moment” of this season more impressive than Nadal`s RG – Wimby! :) I hope he does it!

The madrid draws are out. Very good, a lot of potential new confronts: Fed x Tsonga R16, Del Potro x Nalby R16, another Safin x Davy R32. Nadal’s draw is very strange, the two most dangerous players are in his first two matches, probably Gulbis then Gasquet (or Fish). Of course Djoko in a possible semis.

Fed’s draw is very tricky, Tsonga, Del Potro and Nalby (if he susatains this week form to next). The match-up I would like to see is Fed x Del Potro and Djoko x Safin quarters.


Von Says:

OK guys, the draw is out for Madrid. I’m sorry, but I’m not good at copying links — I tried but no can do. Fed will have his hands full with Tsonga, DelPotro, and Nalbandian in his quarter. The two Andys are in Fed’s half also. So what else is new with Roddick landing in Fed’s half of the draw? Nadal’s quarter has Wawrinka, Kiefer, Gulbis, Gasquet, Kohlschreiber, Lopez and Ferrer. Djokovic has Davydenko, Karlovic, Safin, Blake, Llodra, Andreev and Simon. That’s about all I can remember. The DC preview of DelPotro and Nalbandian is out of the question. Too bad, because I would have liked to see that scenario.


Von Says:

jane:

I know you’ll be worried about Djoko because Safin is in his quarter of the draw, however, if Safin wins tomorrow, he’ll probably be tired for Madrid, because he doesn’t get a bye. What stroke of fate pits one Andy against the other? So terrible for me to see this — they’ll meet in the QFs if they both weed through their opponents in order for that scenario to take place. Oh well, I can only hope A-Rod gets to to the QFs — he needs the race points to qualify for the TMC.


Von Says:

SS:

Tomorow’s final for Moscow is set between Marat and Kunitsyn. I pick Marat to win this one. What do you think? I think yes, yes, and yes.


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

I can’t believe I beat you to the punch. The Madrid’s draw is out, and you don’t have an article written up as yet? Anyway, please, pretty please, don’t mention Roddick in any of your possible scenarios or picks.


grendel Says:

Nalbandian beats Nieminem 6-2, 6-1 and comments:”I don’t think he played bad. I just played really good”.

Nieminem had this to say: “”If he played like this every week, he’d be a top three player. He can play as well as [Rafael] Nadal, [Roger] Federer and [Novak] Djokovic,” said Nieminen.”

It’s annoying that Nalbandian is in Federer’s half. Their matches are always good when both are on, terrific in fact. But we kind of know what to expect. We hardly ever see Nadal/Nalbandian, and when Nalbie is playing like this – well, I want to see him playing Nadal, preferably early -ish, like the quarters say. True, there could be a Nadal/Nalbandian final, not the same from my point of view.

Isn’t it strange how Nalbandian suddenly comes good this time of year? Hope he can extend his form to the Davis Cup. Expect nothing for the AO, though.


Von Says:

grendel:

“Isn’t it strange how Nalbandian suddenly comes good this time of year? Hope he can extend his form to the Davis Cup. Expect nothing for the AO, though.”

I wanted to see both Nalby and DelPotro in Nadal’s half of the draw to see a match-up preview for DC between Nalby/Nadal and DelPotro/Ferrer, but sadly, it’s not going to happen. Bummer!!!!


jane Says:

Good on Safin! I sure hope he wins a title. I see Monfils is also in the final; I like to see him win. He sure fought valiantly against Kohls today to get the final spot, so now the trophy Gael.

Von,
“I know you’ll be worried about Djoko because Safin is in his quarter of the draw,” Yeah. But in a case where I like both guys, even if I like one better, I usually try to just sit back and enjoy the tennis. It Safin beats Novak again, so beat it. Novak’s got another nemesis.

And speaking of nemeses, I see Roger has dear old Dave again, who once again surprisingly in form. What a strange man. Well, hopefully we’ll see some good shot-making between the two.

“What stroke of fate pits one Andy against the other? So terrible for me to see this — they’ll meet in the QFs ”

I advise: just enjoy it! When Djoko and Rafa play I am always rooting for Djoko, but nevertheless, even though Djoko has been losing more than winning, I love these encounters; they’re very exciting matches, usually.

Andy vs. Andy will be GREAT. I like em both, so it’s a win-win situation – a great server against an excellent returner. I hope they both get there! I agree, as I want Roddick to get to the TMC. He should as he’s 6th in the race; how’d he do last year at Madrid? And didn’t he lose out early in Paris last year, or not play? Hence he can only gain points from here on out – keep the faith!

Anyhow, I guess I should go look at the draw myself, but thanks for the update.


jane Says:

A gazillion typos in that post – sorry – woke up late today and am just getting the brain working with my first coffee – doh!


jane Says:

grendel,

“I want to see him playing Nadal, preferably early -ish, like the quarters say. True, there could be a Nadal/Nalbandian final, not the same from my point of view.”

Just wondering why you’d prefer to see this? We did see Nadal vs. Nalby last year at Madrid, in the quarters in fact, and then again in the the Paris final. So were they to meet in the quarters this year, it’d be more of the same.

However, I’d've liked to see Rafa and JMDP, as Von points out.

I’ve been wanting to see Fed and Tsonga for a long time but it’s never materialized; I expect Fed would win, but just wondering how close it would be? Plus Tsonga had that abdominal tear recently, and had to retire, so who knows if he’ll be at his best. But I hope we get to see the match up nevertheless.


Noel Says:

Jane,
Jmdp withdrew from the Vienna Open on Thursday due to a niggling toe injury on his right foot.Apparently he has been struggling with a broken nail on his right foot since the U.S. Open and suffered further inflammation in Vienna.It doesn’t appear to be anything serious and I hope he is ready for Madrid although that Nalby-JMDP section is the toughest one in the draw with Scheuttler,Berdych,Youzhny and Niemenen also in the same section.Fed has a minefield of a draw with the tricky Radek and the hot(hopefully) Tsonga in his path before he faces either of Nalby/Berdych/JMDP(all in form of late) in the qf even though Youzhny can beat all of them.Murray or Rod should advance to the sf against Fed although Monfils,Gonza and Cilic may have to say something about that.
Rafa appears to have a much easier path to the sf because he doesn’t have to face a single power player until the sf.Gulbis hasn’t been in great touch and may not get past Keifer.Rafa has managed to avoid the sort of players who really trouble him on quicker surfaces.The second section doesn’t have any player to trouble Rafa.
Nole also has a tricky first opponent in Tursonov and Karlovic is always tricky although I don’t think Soderling can’t put it past Ivo.The bottom section of Nadal’s half is tough to call esp after Marat’s recent win over Davy although I still expect Davy to come through for a qf meeeting with Nole.
All in all,a pretty bottom-heavy draw and it is a pity that some of the in-form players have to meet each other or the top players so early.


grendel Says:

“Just wondering why you’d prefer to see this? We did see Nadal vs. Nalby last year at Madrid, in the quarters in fact, and then again in the the Paris final. So were they to meet in the quarters this year, it’d be more of the same”. (Jane).

But: not NEARLY so much more of the same as Fed/Nalby. The fact is, Nadal has hardly ever played Nalbandian (last year, astonishingly, was the first time) and I want to see Nadal tested long before the final. Very few can do this, and so far as I can,it’s a straight ride through to the semis for Nadal. Oh, Gulbis may take a set off him, Gasquet might – but they won’t win. In the form he’s in at the moment, Nalbandian would be at least 50/50 against Nadal.

So I do have objective reasons for regretting the sorcerer Nadal managing to avoid Nalbie again. But, of course, – as you well know, you cunning creature you – I have more nefarious reasons at heart. I always enjoy seeing Nadal getting beaten and unfortunately, these days, I get little opportunity to indulge my secret vice…..

Von: so far as Davis Cup is concerned, there is a worry. Has Nalbandian peaked too soon? We know he doesn’t maintain form for too long – gets suddenly gripped by a desire to go fishing or something. And I am concerned about del Potro’s injury – it would be a true bummer, wouldn’t it, if he couldn’t play.


jane Says:

grendel,

you’re funny: “I always enjoy seeing Nadal getting beaten and unfortunately, these days, I get little opportunity to indulge my secret vice….”

You called me “cunning”; I guess there was a little cajoling in my post. But I did remember Rafa playing Nalby in the Qs last year so was putting out a friendly reminder.

Normally I can see, in 3 sets on hardcourts, someone upsetting Rafa, only the truth is that his draw is relatively kind here. All the challengers who can stick it to him are elsewhere. I suppose Gulbis and Fish can both get a set, or Gasquet, but win in 3, I am not sure.

Fed does have a very difficult draw, though I hope we get to see him play both JMDP and Tsonga. I think he’ll make it past both if he has to face them. Of course Nalby might oust JMDP.

Don’t know what to expect from Djoko or the Andy’s quarters, and there are definitely “upsets” looming in both sections.

Honestly can’t predict a winner for this event, which is really quite cool.


jane Says:

Noel,

“All in all,a pretty bottom-heavy draw and it is a pity that some of the in-form players have to meet each other or the top players so early.”

This is true – good summation as usual. And thanks for the update on Del Potro; for some reason I missed the pull-out from Vienna.


NachoF Says:

I cant find the draws!… anyone care to post a link please?


NachoF Says:

Nevermind I found it…. also, I just realized I dont like having to scroll down to the bottom of the draws to find Federer…. I dont like it at all.


Giner Says:

I see you guys placed Federer as #1 in the trunk for taking time off. I don’t think that was fair. He really did need the time off, and I don’t seriously believe he had a shot at winning the champions race this year anyway.

I don’t think Nadal will secure it here unless both Fed and Djoko lose early and Nadal wins the title, but I too didn’t bother looking at the numbers. He is unlikely not to finish #1, but to make it official he needs a longer lead. It is technically possible for Fed to win Paris, and some small tourneys as well as go undefeated in Shanghai while Nadal loses every match. That would take an act of God, but never say never.


Giner Says:

“tennisontherocks Says:

In this year’s race, Rafa leads by 344 points (1265-921). The max points that Roger can gain are 400 (100+100 at Madrid/Paris, 50 at Basel and 150 at Shanghai). so if Rafa finishes Madrid with 300+ points lead over Roger, he will finish year at #1. So he needs to stay within 44 points of Roger or 66 points of Novak.

So will be wrap up #1 if:
- Rafa reaches final
- Rafa reaches semis and Roger looses in final.
- Rafa reaches quarters/Rd 16 and Roger looses before final.
- Rafa looses in second round (bye in first), but Roger falls before semis and Novak falls before finals”

Oh I see. I should have read the comments first before opening my mouth. I didn’t realise the lead was that big. Thank you for doing the number crunching. I stand corrected.

This scenario brings back memories of the Cincy-Toronto double when Nadal had a chance to take the #1 from Federer. People care too much about these things. I’m already looking ahead to next year and seeing if Nadal can defend his points. I don’t have much interest in what happens for the rest of the year.


Giner Says:

Daniel Says:

“Safin winning a title this year would be “the uber moment” of this season more impressive than Nadal`s RG – Wimby! :) I hope he does it!”

Poor Safin.. He’s fallen a long way when a Kremlin title is bigger news than a RG-Wimby double. The worst thing that can happen to a sporting hero is to be pitied by his fans.


gulu Says:

Come on Roger and Rafa,give Nalby the thrashings of his life for the rest of the year!


Voicemale1 Says:

Federer himself ought to knock off all this mono babble. There’s nothing he can do about what his supporters say or write when they start with that stuff, but it’s bad when he continues to keep mentioning it 10 months after he says he was producing antibodies to it. If he had an actual case of mononucleosis it has to be the most mild case history has ever known, because he’s played in more tournaments to date in 2008 than he did in 2007. This would have been impossible with a traditional case of mononucleosis. Now, had he been using the “mono” stuff to cover up something else, such as an injury he didn’t want to disclose – that would be more believable to me.

Federer still babbling about it today is also a huge disrespect for the guys that beat him this year: Djokovic, Murray, Fish, Roddick, Nadal, Simon, Blake, Karlovic. It’s as though he’s saying had he not had mono, or had he not had to “play catch up” from whatever it’s effects were – most or all of these guys would never have beaten him. It sounds as though he thinks these guys were lucky to take him out when they did when the mono-babble comes out of his mouth.

OK – so now that he’s won the US Open, he’s all in. Let’s not hear anymore about this mono stuff. If he wins matches from here on out, fine. But if he gets beat, he gets beat. And that’s that. No more mono-babble to excuse the losses.


Dr. Death Says:

Having had a too close encounter with my nickname sake over the last few months, I am glad to see not much has changed here. Perhaps I have a little more sympathy for the sick these days, but one does have good days and bad days so I can understand Roger pulling out of Stockholm.

However, several of us predicted a great year of tennis and we have certainly had it. Andy Murray has matured as a player. Roddick does look stronger but I fear my prediction of one more great victory may not happen with the current group of competitors. Nishikori brings the Asians to the game again. DelPorto certainly looks real. The usual suspects are… the usual suspects.

Now, I know everyone will watch Madrid, but I suggest you watch the audience behind the service lines especially when Rafa serves. 18 and older huckleberries, svp.

Hope to see all you all on the site from time to time.


Ryan Says:

To Voicemale1 : Well it is true to a certain extent if we think about it.Last year nadal and djokovic could not beat fed on his surface.This year they did so when fed had mono and was trying to catch up to his previous years form.Thats a fact.


Von Says:

“Dr. Death Says:
Having had a too close encounter with my nickname sake over the last few months, I am glad to see not much has changed here.”

I’m so sorry! Hopefully your good days will be more frequent than the bad ones. I do hope you’re not playing doctor to yourself. Ben Frnaklin said of lawyers: “If a lawyer becomes his own lawyer, he has a fool for a lawyer and a jackass for a client”, this was later adapted by Abraham Lincoln. I hope you don’t apply the same parallel to yourself. :P Feel better soon, please. :D


Von Says:

grendel:
“Has Nalbandian peaked too soon? We know he doesn’t maintain form for too long – gets suddenly gripped by a desire to go fishing or something.”

The “Wondering Minstrel” comes to mind. Maybe this time he’ll join the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company enacting some of Gilbert and Sullivan’s dramas. LOL :P


Von Says:

Giner:

“Poor Safin.. He’s fallen a long way when a Kremlin title is bigger news than a RG-Wimby double. The worst thing that can happen to a sporting hero is to be pitied by his fans.”

Be nice. Just be happy for us, the Safin fans, who are content with mere morsels from the rich man’s table. We don’t ask for much now, do we? :P


django Says:

So Roger is once again miraculously cured of mono and exhaustion?

LOL TD…Looks like a miracle once again, for this week at least.


Daniel Says:

“The fact is, Nadal has hardly ever played Nalbandian ”

grendel, totally agree with this! I am still waiting for the clay clash between these two. This season they were matched-up in RG quarters but Nalby wasn’t there, lost to Chardy?!?! :)

Giner

Regarding Safin, I know I over reacted but the guy doesn’t win a title since AO 2005 and he was suppose to do what Fed and Nadal are doing!

Jane says:

“Honestly can’t predict a winner for this event, which is really quite cool.”

Me too, it’s a long time since I hadn’t this feeling. Even Nadal is not THE favorite, as he was in the summer season, he doesn’t play in a while and can be surprised.
Fed didn’t inspire me the same belief as in US Open, to me, seems like he is playing Madrid to not lose a lot of points and avoid getting to far from Nadal. Will see! Maybe he prove me wrong and win back to back tourneys, something he hasn’t done in quit a while now!!


HBK Says:

Federer probably returned from his brief hiatus to compete because he needs to recuperate some money.
When AIG collapsed, it must’ve put him in a financial tailspin.
He should have diversified his portfo-lee-OH!!!
I’m kidding, I don’t know what I’m talking about! Just speculation.
It may be the reason all the big names are playing right now.
Why does Safin continue to skip Russian Davis Cup ties when he’s most needed? Last year and again this year.


HBK Says:

oh yeah, mountain-climbing or something like that.


gulu Says:

May b Fed wouldn’t hv lost his Wim 2 Rafa or Aus Open semi 2 Nole had he not been attacked by mono! Ther r players who can beat Roger at his best.But it doesn’t mean ppl can bet dat Fed hasn’t paid a heavy price this year becaus of mono !


JJFAN Says:

Daniel wrote in part:

seems like he (Federer) is playing Madrid to not lose a lot of points and avoid getting to far from Nadal

JJFAN says:

My understanding is that first the players follow the money, favoring tournaments with the largest prize money purses. Secondly, players by association with ATP have commitments to play, subject only to injuries or a funeral leave. Thus, we get players claiming injury when they really just need a break or they had intended to lay out and evade ATP requirements. On the womens side, I see the Williams sisters appearing to game the system on a regular basis, yet always showing up firm and fit at major tournaments.

My guess is that Roger had a commitment to play in Stockholm and needed a technical way to skip it without consequence. I expect he was saving it for Madrid and preferred to go in following a win (USO) and well rested. Both contribute to his confidence and likely then his quality of play.

But what do I know?


Daniel Says:

Safin almost collapsed in the beggining of the tie break, he was leading 3-0 and suddenlly it was 3-4. He didn’t destroy his racket, just drop it and then I thought: well Safin is calmer! But then when an ace in 6-7 was challenge and turn to second serve I could already see it comming, he cursed something and when he miss a ball and lost the set, the good old Safin showed up and the racket was gone! :)

But he can still turn the match, I am hoping for!!


Daniel Says:

Wow! Safin save a game 0-40 at 5-5 a set down, with three aces in a row to close it. The match is very leveled and both are playing pretty good, looks like another tie break.


Daniel Says:

Yeah!! Safin wins the second set tie break. Uhff!!!


Daniel Says:

Sh…t! At least Safin give it a good fight, let’s see if he keep it for next week.


Von Says:

Marat, I’m about to have a nervous breakdown — how could Kunitsyn beat Marat is a mystery to me. I’m going to look at this final in a positive vein. This has been the first final Marat has gotten to in how many months or years? Hopefully, he’ll take this form with him into Madrid and repeat what he did this week. That might be a huge task/ask since his first match will be v. Davydenko, and Davy plays better when the purse is fuller. I’m somewhat disappointed but he’s showing movement on his part and that’s a positive. Someone please say that that’s a good thing.


Von Says:

Monfils lost in his final also to his opponent who has never won an ATP title. But this is also movement on Monfils’ part, so all is not for naught. Let’s see how he transposes his current form to his match next week, or will he be all tuckered out.


Von Says:

Nalby won Stockholm. Let’s hope he’ll be able to maintain this positive energy flow throughout Madrid, or at least a portion of it.


grendel Says:

Gulbis has just beaten Kiefer. So at least we know Nadal will have some sort of an opponent in Madrid.


jane Says:

Dr. D! How nice to see you back around here. Sorry to hear you’ve been having some tough times – I hope you’re on the mend. Please stick around and chat tennis with us when you can; your great sense of humor was missed!


jane Says:

Hi Von,

Bummer re: Marat! But as you say, this is “movement” on his part, and he certainly fought hard judging by the scoreline (I missed all the matches). I see Monfils also lost, but your positive attitude is rubbing off. One step forward, two steps back maybe?

As for Nalbandian, well, go figure. He’s back. Or is he? Did he ever leave? Oh who knows with him. It looks like it wasn’t a rout and that Soderling gave him at least a test, so he’s not “blowing away” the field entirely, like he seemed to last year at this time when he metamorphosed into super-tennis-star-Dave.

———————————-

“Gulbis has just beaten Kiefer. So at least we know Nadal will have some sort of an opponent in Madrid.”

Yep – Rafa will have his hands full. Gulbis likes to play the “big” matches and opponents, and he troubled Rafa on grass somewhat, so…


fernando Says:

Hi Jane

I did see the match entirely and from 6-2 to 4-2 it was the same super-tennis-star-Dave of last year. He had like 9 aces up to that point, so go figure. He lost only 3 points with his serve in the first set!

Then, when he has to hold, there came the first blip. Two unforced errors(rarely seen to that point), a pumping Soderling and the set was gone.
They held up to 3-3 in the decider, then David rememberd his first set and outplayed Soderling from the baseline,often finishing point at the net, just like he had done in the first and half sets. And Soderling played really well.

Of course, losing the concentration always matter in this sport. But for 1 1/2 sets it was the same old Nalbandian of Madrid and Paris last year.

What does it mean? Nothing. With Nalbandian anything means nothing. But one thing is for sure: he really likes playing when there’s no wind, humidity or sun in the court. I guess he’d be happy to play on vacuum. Or else being a vampire:-

No bad bounces; no need to run sweating like a pig (remember his -bad- fitness)and seeing the ball clearer than in outdoor courts, which for anticipation and cleaning ball striking -David’s game foundations- is essential. Plus, his serve has “sting” in this conditions. He can concentrate more on breaking, then.

I wouldn’t discount him for Madrid. He feels at home indoors. But his draw is terrible.


jane Says:

Hi fernando,

Thanks for the update on (super?) Dave’s match. Good point about the “indoors” (vampire?) factor; Nalby really does seem to get his big wins on this surface and under these (non)conditions. Think of his Masters Cup win over Roger, or his two titles last year – same thing every time.

As you put it, “He feels at home indoors.” We’ll see if he can negotiate his draw this week…


fernando Says:

Jane

With vampire I meant he cannot live with sunlight and loves “the night”. Draw your own conclusion here:-


Von Says:

jane:

Nalby played very well. He does tend to have some moments and/or lapses in concentration, but credit to him, he has the ability to regroup. I feel he did very well against Soderling, who is a very strong competitor. The indoor conditions favor Nalby, as fernando pointed out, whereby he doesn’t have to brave the elements of nature, which are not the ideal conditions for some players, e.g., Djokovic.

________________
grendel:

“Gulbis has just beaten Kiefer. So at least we know Nadal will have some sort of an opponent in Madrid.”

Yes, Gulbis should prove some competition for Nadal, especially indoors, where the ball cannot bounce up as high as Nadal would like it to do. Gulbis is another one that’s bothered by the elements of the outdoors, so the indoors should be his ideal conditions. But, that’s subjective to his erratic brain movement. He has a tendency to take a “mental vacation” from the job at hand for a couple of games. We’ll see what transpires. Apart from Gulbis and possibly Gasquet, Nadal could take a siesta and wake up in the QFs or possbily not until the SFs. And, dependent upon Djokovic’s performance, there is a possiblity that Nadal could face Davydenko for a rematch or Blake. That would be an interesting scenario due to the negation of Nadal’s high ball bounces.

You had expressed the concern as to whether Nalby has peaked too early. I’d say not really. It’s very good that he’s peaking now with Madrid, and then Paris in a couple of weeks down the road. I’d say he shows great promise for making this tournament an exciting one. It’s rather a shame really that he meets Fed so early in the draw, and as I mentioned previously, it’s regrettable both he and DelPotro are on Fed’s side of the draw and not Nadal/Ferrer’s. I would have really liked to see them square off against the Spaniards with a DC preview kind of scenario — one that would have really been beneficial to both sides. Oh well, it’s a bummer alright.


FoT Says:

If I’m correct, those who are blaming Roger for bringing up this mono stuff need to stop. I haven’t seen where Roger is using mono as an excuse. Now the reporters and some fans may be bringing it up, but I haven’t heard Roger use that as an excuse lately. He has repeatedly said the test show that he’s completely over it.

Now I HAVE heard Roger say that because of the lack of preparation from the mono earlier, it seems like he’s been playing ‘catch up’ on his fitness all year.

That’s the difference. No excuse of Mono, but the fitness issue has been there and I agree with him. Those who have followed Roger for years can see the little differences in his game this year. Even though he’s one year older, he was playing fantastically in November last year at the Year end and you don’t lose that much in 2 months because of age in January. But we found out that he had been and still was sick. So he has been playing ‘catch up’ all year.


Ilie Nastase Says:

Federer must play one or two tournaments to be sure that his ATP place is consolidated. I understand that there it is not only the tennis in the equation.
Federer wanted to prepare the marriage with Mirka and probably they’ve decided to use the inter-seasonal time for this.


fernando Says:

I will be blamed for this if I am wrong, but Gulbis to me has all the trappings of “another headcase for the tennis parade of unfulfilled promise”.

It’s just like he reminds me of some other tennis phenoms of yore who had one or two overdeveloped shots and not much else on the bag like Jimmy Arias or Aaron Krickstein.

Comparing the young guns he’s like the other side of the coin of Murray. Whereas the scottish has all the shots and no one as a standout; uses all the spins and paces available and is a master tactician for such a young age, Gulbis has an out-this-world smashing forehand and a pretty strong serve which otherwise lacks some variety, doesn’t know how NOT to blast EVERY ball around, refusing to think a way out of this pattern, and an inconsistent and unreliable two handed backhand (at least, compared to his strenghts).

He surely will make the top ten with that smacking, efortless forehand (an incredibly explosive and fearsome weapon, really)But you need to count on other things if you want to stay around at the very top on a consistent basis.

This sounds a lot to me like Arias and Krickstein, minus the serve. I really wish his arm won’t fall off generating such power.

I wouldn’t expect too much of him for the moment, although an ocassional big upset is out of the question.

This kind of unbalanced game takes some time to get it all together.


Ezorra Says:

Gulu Says:

“tennisontherocks isn’t alleging Roger of takin mono’s excuse 4 skippin Stockholm Open,but it’s TD who’s out 2 prov Fed as a liar.”

Realy? Gosh… to tennisontherocks, I’m so sorry! thanks Gulu… to TD (Tam).. whatever…


NachoF Says:

Mono, mono, mono, fucking mono! When will it ever end to be used as an excuse by Federer and his fans everytime someone kick his ass? Oh wait a minute, maybe someone can also blame mono for the collapse of the Lehman Brother? Pathetic losers!


gulu Says:

I am pretty satisfied with the draw which has been handed 2 Federer. Fed needs 2 bt players lik Tsonga,DelPotro n Nalby in d prelim stage as then he’d go 2 final stage fully confident n will crush whoever he faces there.
Vamos Roger !


Ezorra Says:

Someone please, where can i find the madrid draw? i’m so blur right now! i tried to search it in the official site as well as atp site but nothing there. help…


gulu Says:

NachoF’s thinking about mono viruses’ lov-making ! Pathetic indeed !


jane Says:

fernando,

You have a point about Gulbis; I had thought he’d be the next big thing, when I first saw him last year. But he’s inconsistent; he doesn’t play enough events; and from what I hear/read, he comes from a very wealthy family. So maybe he’ll never take tennis seriously enough to fully realize his potential?

It’s difficult to know or predict these things, but this season it’s certainly evolved that he’s not as consistent or hungry as his contemporary JMDP – or not even Cilic. JMDP of course has won several titles, and Cilic won in New Haven as well. Gulbis is still title-less I believe.

Time will tell.


Catherine Says:

To all those posters here claiming Fed’s mono was merely an excuse, or even non-existant:

It’s not him, nor his fans who keep mentioning this. Fed’s team vehemently denied that his Stockholm withdrawal had anything to do with it.

No, the ones who keep on digging up this old skeleton are you, the HATERS. So if there’s anyone who need to shut up about it, it’s you.


gulu Says:

Why’s there so much hype around Gulbis n Nishikori? These two may cause a few upsets,but they won’t b as consistent as Murray or Del Potro nor’ll they seriously challeng players of d highest caliber.
I’d b surprised if they win big tournaments !


MMT Says:

fernando makes some excellent points about Gulbis – I don’t see any tactical awareness from Gulbis at all. He should have closed Djokovic in Paris, and Roddick in NY, but choked because he had no plan B. I don’t see him doing much in the game at this rate.

I’m not sure what all this about Fed’s mono is coming from. I don’t believe he blamed mono for pulling out Stockholm, he merely offered it as a reason for feeling he was playing catch up on his fitness earlier in the year.

Madrid is going to be very difficult to predict, but it’s hard for me to see anyone beating Nadal these days. Nalbandian is again making himself a favorite dark horse, and if I were a betting man I might drop a few greenbacks on him, but one thing’s for sure – I wouldn’t be surprised to see Federer lose to either Stepanek or Tsonga given that this is his first action since the US Open.

I think the safest bet right now is Nadal.


gulu Says:

Catherine,u r right,well said indeed ! These Fed haters r forcing others 2 dig up d mono issue of Fed ! These ppl r time n again accusing Fed of takin mono’s
excuse in everything n u know,Fed-fans can hardly let others say silly stuff about him !


gulu Says:

MMT has actually made the safest bet even in my view. However I hope 4 Roger’s win in Madrid.


Ezorra Says:

thanks Von :)


Von Says:

“fernando makes some excellent points about Gulbis – I don’t see any tactical awareness from Gulbis at all. He should have closed Djokovic in Paris, and Roddick in NY, but choked because he had no plan B. I don’t see him doing much in the game at this rate>”

Gulbis to me, is a flash in the pan. He’s great at bashing the ball very hard and ripping outright winners, but he puts out a ton of energy in so doing, which leaves him with very little mental and physical energy to focus and complete the match. He begins fading around the middle of the second set, and if he has a patient opponent they can easily capitalize on that. In some respects he reminds me of Blake and Gonzalez. I saw him play earlier this year in the Vegas tournament, where he got beaten very easily on a windy day. He was piling up untold amounts of UFEs, not to mention how he was floundering all over the court. From what I saw of his form in Vegas, it would be safe to assume that he’s one who cannot handle the outdoor elements very well, and maybe would do better indoors.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see Federer lose to either Stepanek or Tsonga given that this is his first action since the US Open.”

He played in DC a few weeks after the USO.


Cis Says:

While Federer has shown a lot of restraint, and class this year in light of Rafa’s success, I would like to agree that his comment was not just that he was pulling out of Stockholm to take a week off, it was pulling out and not sure when he’d be ready to play again, but hopefully before the end of the year…now, that was kind of dramatic wouldn’t you say? If he just wanted a week to rest and get ready for Madrid, why didn’t he just say so…? Sounds like someone trying to make a bigger deal of his ‘break’ than was necessary…


gulu Says:

Cis, you just never know what’s in Fed’s mind,that’s why he is more special than others !

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