Four Lessons We Can All Learn From Rafael Nadal
by TennisOne | October 15th, 2008, 12:07 pm
  • 236 Comments

With more willpower than many deem imaginable, Rafael Nadal has made himself the world’s best tennis player. To see him compete is to witness something extraordinary, a form of art and craft than, in its visceral qualities, is different — neither better nor worse — than longstanding number one Roger Federer. Such is the greatness of tennis that genius can take on many forms.


Yet it’s tempting for a recreational player to put Nadal on such a high pedestal that it’s easy to overlook the lessons one can learn from his game. First, let me make this clear: I’m not a fan of mimicry that simultaneously creates physical pain. Nor do I think it’s wise to imitate a world class technique or strategy unless it’s relevant to one’s own game. I don’t think, for example, that it’s worth it for people over the age of 40 who mostly play doubles to try and master Nadal’s whipping Western forehand. It’s much better at that stage to improve volleys, overheads, and compact service returns.

At the same time, no matter how you hit the ball, what your playing style is, or how old you are, there are eternal lessons to be gained from Nadal. Here are a few:

1 — Make Your Time on The Court Count

Nadal comes to his practice sessions fully ready to give his all. All that energy’s he’s bottled away from the court surfaces with a vengeance once he walks on it. He’s moving, he’s bouncing, he’s looking to do more and more to the ball — to do the things that will make him not just proficient, but better.

I shudder to think how much time I’ve wasted on the court, how many times my concentration has been indifferent, how often in doubles I let myself get sucked into the energy of the group I’m playing with. Watch Nadal practice for 10 minutes and life will never be the same.

2 — Make Your Strengths Stronger

A lot of energy is devoted to improving weaknesses. But what about making the big shot even bigger? If you’re like Nadal and have made your forehand the cornerstone of your game, have you done everything you can with it?

Nadal’s crosscourt forehand has been impressive since he turned pro, but over the last two years I’ve been dazzled by how much better his down-the-line forehand has gotten. He’s also adept at throwing in the occasional drop shot. And while I don’t expect him to ever chip-and-charge with it, it’s impressive how he’s altered his court positioning closer to the baseline to play the ball earlier.

3 — Improve Weaknesses — With A Purpose

Nadal’s backhand now is flatter, deeper, harder — in some ways even more penetrating than his forehand. He’s also learned to mix things up with a slice that stays low and can often neutralize an opponent’s power. But it’s clear that these changes were made not independently but in concert with his forehand; that is, so he can use his backhand to set up his forehand. Learning a proper and effective one-two combination – whether it’s groundstrokes, transition shots, returns, serves, volleys — is a valuable lesson.

4 — Attitude is Everything

He’s always been a high-energy, positive competitor, but now that we’ve all seen Nadal play so many more high-stakes matches over the last two years, I’m even more impressed than ever with how he conducts himself on the court. Bjorn Borg and Arthur Ashe kept poker faces, but Nadal to me is even better. Why? Because he is not merely taciturn but instead energized, appropriately excited about being in the arena — and doing so in his own timely manner.

Martina Navratilova once told me you can control two things: your toss and your attitude. Granted, Nadal pushes the limits of time between service points, he is a master at never rushing himself or letting his positive spirit let up.

Improving one’s technique is a lifelong quest. But these matters of time, toss, and attitude can be altered instantly. In that sense, it’s possible for any of us to take on much of what’s made Nadal so great.

Joel Drucker is a writer for TennisOne. See more of his work at www.TennisOne.com.


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236 Comments for Four Lessons We Can All Learn From Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal News » Blog Archive » Four Lessons We Can All Learn From Rafael Nadal Says:

[...] Check out the full story… This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 at 5:07 pm and is filed under Rafael Nadal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. « Approach Shots: Nadal, Federer embark on home stretch [...]


mem Says:

the article is precisely spot on. rafa is a most unique individual, not to mention an undeniable extraordinary athlete. his attitude is a rarity in sports where so many athletes have tasted celebrity status and as a result have become arrogant and pretentious. rafa is a role model, particularly for youngsters who are craving success in any sport. he exempifies how one can achieve greatness, but yet remain humble and ordinary. he is definitely teaching a lesson on how humility, positive attitude, patience, and hard work are key ingredients for reaching the top! great article!


MMT Says:

Great lessons and great post – I would add to this his serve, which is the most underrated part of his game.

Although 35 players on tour have served more aces than Nadal, only 3 win their serve more often.

He also has the highest second serve point percentage on tour at full 60%.

No wonder he’s #1.


angel Says:

MMT Nadal is number one because Federer has had a bad year due to his illness otherwise the spanish would sill be number 2.


Noel Says:

“…genius can take on many forms.”

Very well said! Rafa excels in areas we don’t conventionally associate genius with but he definitely is a genius in his own right and richly deserves all the praise coming his way now.


Noel Says:

“I would add to this his serve, which is the most underrated part of his game.”

Couldn’t agree more esp with his serve now becoming more and more effective on the harder surfaces also.In fact, I think his serve-as much as anything else- made the difference in the critical situations yesterday against Gulbis.I know a lot of people would probably still consider it staggering but Rafa’s serve-no doubt backed by a very good game but not always only because of it- is mighty effective in its own unique way.


andrea Says:

i do like nadal. he is this weird man-child. if only he could stop having 40 seconds and all of his tics in between every serve, i’d like his game that much more.

go roger…raking in the bucks and now the player who has won the most in his career. i wonder what it must be like to change the history books every other time you play…..


Jeff Says:

I didn’t like Nadal much at first, but over the past year he’s been growing on me. I appreciate his passion for the game.

As a player myself, he gives me hope as his success seems more based on sheer force of will, unlike Federer’s seems to come from form born from massive innate talent.


mem Says:

angel, wouldn’t you agree that its sad when a person cannot make a positive comment about a player, unless that player is roger federer!


jane Says:

Rafa’s attitude, generally unflappable ( though like all player’s he has the odd lapse), is certainly something out-of-the-ordinary. Almost every time he steps on the court, it’s “never-say-die,” so he’s in with a fighting chance in most matches he plays, even if his opponent is more naturally talented or less tired or whatever. Perhaps only when he’s injured can someone say otherwise.

And Rafa’s efforts to consistently improve are also amazing.

Those two things – a positive attitude and consistently trying improve – are admirable in anyone, not only on the tennis court.


Von Says:

“Those two things – a positive attitude and consistently trying improve – are admirable in anyone, not only on the tennis court.”

Michael Phelps comes to mind with respect to those apart from the tennis court, and let’s not forget Usain Bolt. All of these athletes have one mind-set — the will to succeed and triumph at all costs. And, on the tennis court there are many unsung heroes who we never hear about. Anyway, kudos to Nadal for his work ethic, which I’m sure will inspire many young tennis players.


TD (Tam) Says:

quote-”Such is the greatness of tennis that genius can take on many forms.”

This is the good hard truth. I was going to congratulate tennisx on their finally opening their mind to the genius of Nadal – or any player other than their personal favourite Mr R. Federer – until I saw that it was written by somebody other than a tennisx staffer, lol! oh well.

To Von our Andy Roddick won today hurrah! but he is now bald, oh dear! :o


Ezorra Says:

I heard that Nadal has walked over in double event due to lower back problem. Is he going to play single today?


hcfoo Says:

Thank you for this positive article on Nadal.

Personally, the most impressive thing about Nadal is his determination and ‘never-say-never attitude’ despite trailing behind Roger Federer for so many years as the world no. 2. No many players have the PATIENCE and consistency to do that.


jane Says:

Von,

Roddick’s got a good attitude about trying to improve continually too, as do a number of other players and athletes (such as the two Olympic stars you mentioned); it’s definitely not only Rafa.

Thanks for your further updates / analyses on the other thread. I don’t think I’ve seen much of Hansecu. I agree that Step must have an engaging personality; he’s a hoot sometimes to watch.

TD (Tam),

Well, at least it’s posted here, even if not written by the Tennis-Xers!! ;-)

PS Andy’s bald? Did I miss something?


jane Says:

Ezorra,

Do you mean Rafa pulled out of doubles, or retired? Doesn’t really seem to make sense that he’d get a “walk-over” if *he’s* the injured one.

I haven’t heard of him withdrawing; he still shows on the schedule to be playing against Gasquet tomorrow. But he did have the trainer out during the Gulbis match…


sasha Says:

this is a great article about Nadal. It is very hard – no, impossible (at least for me) to find anything written purely about the man (minus federer), and especially about his genius. And this piece is so well-written too. Very insightful, thoughtful and useful (to tennis players everywhere.) As a role model, Nadal has always been my far and away choice, and you state all of the reasons why here. Thank you.

The comments (by others) referencing roger federer are the only predictable, closed minded and irrelevant thing here.


zola Says:

Nice article by Joel Drucker. ATP has a nice fature on Rafa too( the link is from tennis.com):
http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1681730419/bclid1515735652/bctid1858976111

Rafa’s passion and will to imrove and win, are just incredible. I am glad he is finally no 1 and I hope he can stay there for a while.

I am playing the ATP racketbracket. If you have not done it, go register and play for MAdrid. It is fun. I am 1000 something amon 4000 something! Today was good as almost all my picks won.

I just saw a pic of Roddick on the net. Is he losing hair? He is cute without the hat though.
I saw a bit of Roger’s match today. He was playing very well. Serving great. Just blew past Stepaned in 30 minutes in the first set. I also caught some of Wawrinka-Kohli match. Stan is really cool, just very calm and playing his tennis. Now with Blake and Davydenko out, he might have a better chance for Shanghai.

Ezorra,
I read in rafaelnadal.com that RAfa has some pain in his backside and pulled out of doubles as a precaution.
I didn’t see the match with Gulbis (and I love them both!). I was busy the whole day and only could watch the scoreboard from time to time.Someone said that he had to take painkillers during the match. It is not good, especially with Madrid and Shanghai ahead.

I haven’t heard anything about him not playing the singles.


zola Says:

oops,
about the ATP racket bracket, you have to play it for Paris! I am still living in the past!


NachoF Says:

“MMT Nadal is number one because Federer has had a bad year due to his illness otherwise the spanish would sill be number 2.”

This is a classic example of a pathetic loser I’ve mentioned sometime back. This also disproves that “Federer-haters” are the one digging up the mono issue.


NachoF Says:

What in the world??…. that was not me!!… dude, stop using my name!!


Von Says:

TD(Tam)

Yes, good for our Andy to pull out that win today. On the other thread I was complaining that he played until 11:30 pm this evening and then has to play again tomorrow at 3:00 pm. This is so unfair. He’s the only one competing tomorrow without 24 or more hours recovery time — he’ll only get 18 hours. Those people are crazy.

I believe he got a very short haircut, more like a scraping of the head. :P He does that periodically when he’s travelling, but we never see it because of his cap. He says he should have gone capless several years ago. I suppose he likes it; I’d imagine it’s a lot cooler — maybe he’ll think better and wiser. LOL


Von Says:

jane:

You’re welcome. Andy’s not bald, he just scraped the hair off his head. LOL He does that at times coupled with growing the beard. I suppose it’s good for him, the commentators were full of praises about his personality and his game tonight. They said he had soft hands, a positive attitude and great energy despite playing so late at night. Poor baby.


Ezorra Says:

Von,

Congratulations! :) No doubt, your man played superb tennis last night. RODDICKilous performance :).


Ezorra Says:

Von;

Congratulations! :) No doubt, your man played superb tennis last night. RODDICKilous performance :)


Ezorra Says:

Zola,

Long time no see! Miss you :) Thanks for your clarification. Hopefully he wins the tournament. It’s not easy, but I don’t think it’s impossible too.

Jane;

Thanks to you too. I don’t know whether he played the game or not because what stated at the scoreboard is: – “[4] M Bhupathi (IND) / M Knowles (BAH) d C Moya (ESP) / R Nadal (ESP) W/O (Nadal – lower back)”. Sorry for the confusion.


zola Says:

Ezorra,
Thanks. You are so sweet! I have been a bit busier than usual lately.

I don’t know if Rafa can win the tournamnt! QF will be great. Anything else, a bonus!

Rafa did not play the doubles. He announced the withdrawl I think before the match. I hope the injury is not serious. well, that will definitely ruin my racket bracket! I picked Rafa to win too!

I think Fed, Nalby/DP, Djoko and Murray have a good chance for the trophy. Roddick and DP have a good chance to get their Shanghai spot.


Dr. Death Says:

There does appear to a bald spot appearing on Roddick’s head, but the hair on his head seems to be the same length as the beard on his face.

It has been six months since I have watched any tennis. Must say that his backhand has improved since I last saw him play earlier in the year.

Please watch the ball girls when Nadal or Federer play and compare them to the other ball girls.


Ezorra Says:

Yea! Nadal’s and federer’s ball girls are always hotter than other players’. “Soooo unfair” ;-)


Ezorra Says:

Yea! Nadal’s and federer’s ball girls are always hotter than other players’. “Soooo unfair” ;-)

-what an issue!


Von Says:

Ezorra:

Thanks ref. A-Rod. I suppose you heard the commentators saying his shots were “Roddiculous”. I think he played very well. I’m hopimng he’ll win today too. :P


Von Says:

Ezorra:

Why are you looking at the ball girls? Oh, I forgot you’re male. I never look at them — I wonder why? I just remembered, I’m a girl myself. Anyway, don’t oogle the girls too much you might distort your vision. LOL :D

_______________
To anyone interested here’s the link for the live streaming matches. Search for “tennis” and the sites will come up, and you can click on those matches you’d like to watch. Have phun. :P

http://www.justin.tv/jtv3868

http://www.justin.tv/


Ezorra Says:

Yes, which I think a very brilliant word to describe his performance last night. Like Dr. Death said, his backhand has improved a lot. I think his movement on the court has become more flexible too, which is very good for him. I don’t think he’ll face much problem against Monfils tonight.

Unfortunately, Berdych lost. Pretty sad but he played next to one of the best player on indoor hard-court. I suppose not to expect too much! Thank god Nadal wins.


grendel Says:

I am surprised not to have found a comment on Nalbandian’s return of serve against Berdych – who has a huge serve, and it happened to be functioning well. Nalbandian’s returning, throughout the three sets, was one of the most dazzling displays of tennis I have ever seen (never mind the other aspects, such as an incredible low angled backhand volley). To me, this man is by far the best returner in tennis when he sees fit to exert himself – and this, in an era when there are some very good returners indeed – Murray, Djokovic and Ferrer, e.g.

If Nalbandian could always play like this he would, imo, be #1. But of course, he can’t. Even in the masterful performance against Berdych, he had a small unnecessary lapse at the beginning of the second set.

Because of del Potro’s current excellent form and Nalbandian’s chronic inconsistency, not to mention the weird undercurrent washing over two fellow Argentines battling for #1 spot against Spain – not an easy match to call, though I’ll go for Nalbandian.

If Federer and Nalbandian meet, and Nalbandian plays like he did against Berdych, he will win. It was nip and tuck for Fed against Stepanek, who so nearly pulled out the second set. Fed was saved, really, by his calmness under pressure. Like Nadal’s serve, this is not enough noticed.


NachoF Says:

grendel,
“If Federer and Nalbandian meet, and Nalbandian plays like he did against Berdych, he will win.”

Who’s to say that Federer cant play any better than he did against Stepanek??… it was just one match… Federer can still play much better.


grendel Says:

Well, looks like del Pot slaughtered Nalby. Owing to how those geniuses in Madrid organised the schedule, it was impossible to watch both Murray/Cilic and the 2 Argentinians. Seems Nalby must be Nalby. The moment you start to have faith in him, he gives the old two fingers. Mind you, del Potro is one helluva player – he’s definitely in with a shot to win the whole caboodle. As are several others, all in the same half except one. Just shows that “randomness” means very little when the numbers are small. Unfortunately, doesn’t seem any other way to fairly make a draw. Probably you have to look at it in the long term – things even out.

Murray /Cilic was good viewing. Cilic sure packs a powerful punch, but he’s got to be absolutely on, nonstop, to overcome somebody as crafty as Murray – ’cause he doesn’t seem to have any touch.


gulu Says:

Dear Von, sorry for forgetin 2 congratulat u on Rod’s win! Hope he becomes more n more Roddiculous as the tournament progresses! And I m keepin my fingers crossed over Fed-Tsonga match.:-o Go Rogerr….! !


Von Says:

Oh well, Nalby’s out, along with all of the possible scenarios, and he’ll lose about 400 ranking points. Ouch that hurts. Murray is through to the QFs. We didn’t get to see a preview of the DC Argentines/Spaniards and all of the what ifs are now down to what could have been. I still hold true to what I say, the draws are manipulated. OK laugh all you want, but that’s how I feel.


Von Says:

gulu:

Thank you. Don’t worry about your Rogi, he’ll do fine. I don’t know about Our Andy though. We’ll just have to wait and see. :P


Von Says:

The following is the only link live streaming at the present time.

http://www.justin.tv/futbolestv


MMT Says:

Sasha said: “The comments (by others) referencing roger federer are the only predictable, closed minded and irrelevant thing here.”

I’m sorry, but I disagree. I don’t see any reason not to compare Nadal to Federer – after all, of the two Federer has more slams, and more years at #1. And of course, the contrasts of their games.

I’m sure if you go back and look at articles about any new #1 player in the world, they will always compare him to the previous #1. It’s normal. And they will always compare great contemporaries to one another, whether or not they are #1. And Nadal had been #2 behind Federer for so long, it’s normal that the attention is on the #1 player in the world – especially when he’s chasing down #1 of all time!

Even so, most artdicles about Federer in the last 3 years have included a mention of Nadal’s advantage over him in their head to head, and his domination of the French.

It’s normal, Sasha, not a slight to Nadal!


gulu Says:

Coz I m a Rogerholic I may hv got a few issues with Nadal,but u ppl shouldn’t think that I hate Spanis ball-girls!;-) Ball-girls hav a big part 2 play in d success of Madrid masters! :-)


MMT Says:

But let me clarify, I disagree 100% with Angel. Nadal is #1 because he has been the better player this year. No question.


zola Says:

Wow!
Nalby out. Monfils and Lopez took the first set against Roddick and Wawrinka.
let’s see what happens.

Btw, I changed my mind after watching a bit of Andy-Monfils. I think longer hair suits Andy better!


jane Says:

Yay Murray! I like Cilic, but I wanted to see Murray go through and continue his good form from the summer.

Not surprised about Nalby, because one can’t really be surprised about anything he does. He can rocket up or down at any given moment.

I see Roddick’s up a break in the second set against Monfils; this match should go three sets, but I think F-Lo takes out Stan.


Noel Says:

grendel,
I couldn’t watch the Nalby-Berdych match but I am not surprised at all about what you have to say about Nalby’s returns.In fact,I had mentioned this on a different thread a few days back.Of course,this is is true only “when he sees fit to exert himself” although I’d beg to differ on him being the best in the business in this department.Murray can be even more wonderful on HIS good days.I also wonder why you haven’t mentioned Rafa there even if you are just citing examples.Is it because of the usual “nefarious” reasons? :) The Gulbis match must have left you incredibly frustrated.

It was indeed a very close second set in the Fed-Step match and Step should have taken the breaker after being 4-2 up.Fed couldn’t have chosen a more opportune moment to win his only first return point of the set when he hit that brilliant bh.I think it was a very good quality match and Step played very well if you ignore the first three games of the match.There was a bit of an old-world feel to it and some of Step’s s&v play-esp the volleys-was excellent.

As for Fed’s calmness under pressure,I sometimes get the feeling that he appears a bit too calm/cool(by his own admission,he feels the pressure/nerves but doesn’t show it) for his own good and doesn’t always seem to show the urgency certain tough situations demand.I am not talking about just his body language here but the way he responds with his game.At times he seems a bit complacent esp in the return games.He can also avoid some of those crisis and pressure situations-esp the breaker lottery-if he can be more proactive in the earlier part of the set.


jane Says:

Oh, and Simon is still playing consistent tennis; he’s an interesting one, a bit under the radar, like a Davydenko or something.


jane Says:

There is usually a laid-back, calm, cool, unflappableness about Roger, no doubt. But Noel makes an interesting point. Rafa, too, stays pretty calm under pressure, but his intensity never drops, and he’s always ready to jump at any opportunity.

Since last year at times, I’ve noticed that Roger doesn’t always “go in for the kill” like he used in the previous few years, when he was the ultimate predator. In 05 – 06, it was like Roger always knew just when to break in a set; he would sense his opponents getting nervous or whatever, serving at 4-4 or thereabouts, and he broke them like clockwork. Or at least that is how is seemed to me.

Now that doesn’t seem to happen quite as much. This could be the result of a combination of two things: players who lack fear against Fed, who keep competing in those tense moments, Rafa being the obvious example, and Fed himself having a little less fire, being a little more “complacent” with his game perhaps? He’s achieved so much with his sheer talent and will to succeed, so it’s no wonder there’s a slight taking of the foot off the pedal, if this is indeed what it is; I am merely a spectator spectating. I realize there’s the illness factor this year, but as mentioned above, I think this was evident in 07 too.

Anyhow, Roger will still probably win the whole tournament! Or at least he has a shot, along with some others. I am looking forward to his match with Tsonga; I hope it’s good and they both play well.


jane Says:

Dr. D / Von – thanks for your replies re: Andy’s hair situation! :-)


zola Says:

Roddick won the second set. Lopez won his match and Rafa is on the court! oh man!


Noel Says:

Von,
I can’t resist stating this and hope you don’t mind my saying so.I get the feeling that you watched the same feed as I did and you must have been very pleased with the commentary team for the adjectives they used to describe Rod’s performance.I presume you held a bit of a grudge against them for being a bit too effusive in their praise of some other players.I am sure you have been mollified somewhat by what you heard yesterday. :) “Roddiculous” sounds as good as it can get and well deserved too.It was indeed a magnificent display by Rod.Robredo played pretty well but was still helpless.Looked like Rod’s Dubai form was back.Displays like these always reinforce my belief that he has a lot left in him.He sustained a very high level almost through the duration of the match and his aggression from the very first point was fantastic to watch.
I wanted to see where his level was even though it was pretty late in the night when the Fed-Step match finished.I am glad that I chose to do so.I guess the lack of locks has unlocked some new strength although I can’t quite recall when I last saw Rod on a tennis court without his cap.


jane Says:

Von – Too bad Andy lost, but he fought well until the last point; this match could’ve gone either way. Scheduling may’ve been a factor, but Monfils has been on a bit of a good-play-streak too. Probably both combined.

Murray should beat Monfils; now you can switch your allegiance to the OTHER Andy!?


gulu Says:

Roddick losing is a heartbreak indeed. I just wish he could hav won it,but now it’s too late. Now all my hopes are pinned on Roger. Pleas Fed,beat Tsonga!


gulu Says:

Of course dear Jane, Murray’ll definitely beat Monfils. Apart from Rog n Rod, Murray’s my friend n I wish him all the best.


Noel Says:

Jane,
You make some excellent points in your 11:01 am post.Rafa really has set an incredibly high benchmark in intensity and predatory tactics.He jumps on to even the slightest iota of a chance that he gets and hardly ever fails to utilize any opportunity to put his opponent under pressure.He is WAY too good at this.His mental fortitude is quite remarkable.I am amazed that he can play with such focus and intensity for pretty much the entire year and yet doesn’t get mentally drained/exhausted!!?Many players can’t retain it for the duration of even a best of three match.

It’d be a big achievement for Fed if he were to go on to win the whole thing because his path is laden with booby traps.While I have been looking forward to an encounter with Tsonga for some time,I apprehend an ‘upset’ if Tsonga plays at a high level.These best of three matches can always be counted on to provide upsets if the underdog can find good form at the start of the match.The way an in-form Nalby lost to JMDP suggests that Fed will face an incredibly tough test if he does get past Tsonga.Both Rod and Murray are in very good touch and Rafa/Nole are always tough to play against.It is Fed’s misfortune that all the in-form and/or power players have landed on his side.It’d be interesting to see how he deals with this challenge.I wonder if he has faced a tougher challenge at a masters series event before in terms of the number of in-form players in his path.


Von Says:

Noel:

I answered your post with a lengthy response and it got gobbled up, and I’m rather brain-dead to do it all over again. Can things get any worse. first A-Rod’s losing and now this.

Anyway, you don’t need to apologize at all. yes, I’ve been angry with the commentators for ignoring A-Rod and ‘gushing’ on the other players. I mentioned that to Robbie Koenig a few months ago when he picked up on some of my comments and posted to me here on Tennis.X. I didn’t believe it was actually Robbie, and told him so. However, he was gracious enough to reply to me and also invited me to post on his blog, which i will do this weekend. He says he does a write-up before and after the MS series. I missed the before, but I’ll write on the after.

Back to the matter on hand. Robbie and Jason more than made up for the past. they were genuinely effusive in their descriptions, ‘Roddiculous’. Andy did play very well, somewhat to his Dubai form and pre-Rome before he got so badly injured. I’m happy to see he’s slowly returning to that form. I’m now very angry with Mutua Madrilena for the brainless scheduling. Roddick played until 11:30 pm and they made him play with less than 16 hours recovery time. How stupid. Why couldn’t they have put him to play last again. I didn’t watch the match since there wasn’t a feed from the Tennis Channel, but I’m sure Monfils played very well, and he deserved to win. I just felt Andy wasn’t given a fair deal that’s all. What else is new — I’m just being my usual lugubrious self. Can’t you feel the lugubriosity leaping up from the page? Oh well, the Lord is merciful, i didn’t want to see the two andys square off against each other, so now i can just sit back and root for Murray. At least one of my faves is still in with a fighting chance. :P

Noel, thanks for the discussion. if my comments get gobbled up again, I don’t think i can re-write it again. here’s hoping while I click on submit …


Von Says:

jane;

Yes, now I can switch to my other fave. :P


Von Says:

gulu, mon ami. I’m hearbroken too. Who’s got a large shoulder for me to cry on. :P


jane Says:

Noel,

Well, Rafa “did it again,” to quote the oh-so-talented Britney Spears – haha!! He is a predator extraodinare!

Roger does indeed have his hands full with his draw. And it’s true the 3 set format lends itself to more upsets. But Roger seems to like a challenge, so maybe he’ll rise to it? In any case, I am happy we finally get to see Roger and Jo-Will play; I really want to see them both live up to the occasion, and have no real care who prevails. My only hope is to see some cat-and-mouse and power tennis combined.


Von Says:

jane:

“Well, Rafa “did it again,” to quote the oh-so-talented Britney Spears – haha!! He is a predator extraodinare!”

I feel very badly for Gasquet. It must be an awful feeling for a youngman to have a country’s expectations placed on his shoulders from the age of 9 years old. Sorry, but I don’t like the Britney Spears handle/parallel. I think Gasquet deserves a lot better than that. Just my opinion, and hope you don’t mind my addressing the handle bit. I remember when my son, who’s a gifted child BTW, at Richard’s age, begged me not to let his teachers/the school place him in the gifted program. His reason, he did not like to compete. I listened to him, and he remained an “A” student without being placed in the gited program. Some people can’t deal with the heavy mantle of expectations they are forced to bear. I think Gasquet’s in this category and the psychological issues have stunted his growth as a tennis player.


MMT Says:

Noel: “I am amazed that he can play with such focus and intensity for pretty much the entire year and yet doesn’t get mentally drained/exhausted!!?”

Actually, if you look at Nadal’s second half results throughout his career, they’re not nearly as good as his first half results, and this is one of the reasons he had problems challenging Roger for #1.

That being said, Jane’s comments are astute: Rafa just keeps coming at you, even when he looks like he’s in a hole. Even in Australia, where he was really getting it handed to him in the semi-final, he fought for the result, and just didn’t have it compared to Tsonga on the day.

Speaking of which, I just can’t wait for this Tsonga v Federer matchup. This is a match up I think a lot of people have been waiting for, and I’m about as giddy as a puppy with two peters.


Von Says:

MMT:

“That being said, Jane’s comments are astute: Rafa just keeps coming at you, even when he looks like he’s in a hole.”

Nadal does what we’re taught in Psychology and reinforced in marketing/business. He disarms his opponent. When we disarm our opponent regardless of whether our knees are shaking while so doing, we place them at a mental disadvantage and they become completely discombobulated. They’re taken off-guard and are thrown into a chaotic state of being. Some people are taught to do this, and for some it’s innate. But, regardless of which means we use, our objective comes to fruition. The end justifies the means.

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. -


jane Says:

Von,

The Britney thing was more of a dig at her than Gasquet, but no, I don’t mind you addressing it.

Let me clarify: I meant no disrespect to Gasquet; he’s a wonderful player to watch, and I too feel badly for him with regards to his past and present expectations. It may be this psychological element that’s held him back all these years.

I was merely pointing out, with regard to the previous comments on Rafa’s never-say-die attitude, that he showed it again in this match. Certainly I did not expect him to beat the very-talented Gasquet in straight sets, and quite dominantly in the second one – perhaps especially after that strong challenge from Gulbis and his “lower back” problem (which seems to be fine…). So my comment was in that context.

In any case, you’re response allows me to clarify my position and make sure that my respect for Gasquet’s game and talent is known. I really hope one day he gets it all together so we can watch him at his best consistently, which is SUBLIME! His recent semi-final match with JMDP was fantastic for instance. And the first set in Toronto, when he beat Rafa in that marathon tiebreaker, was, quite simple, jaw-dropping tennis. I like Richard.


zola Says:

MMT,
Tsonga retired in his previous tournament because of an injury. I don’t think he can harm Fed tonight.Del-Potro is in a great chape though and if Fed wins, that will be a great match.

phew…
Rafa won his match against GAsquet. Richard played very well, attcking Rafa and coming to the net the first set and part of the second. But I think after the first break in the second set, he just mentally gave up. Still, it is great to watch his backhand.
RAfa has some very nice shots. One was at the net when he returned a volley by GAsquet and one when he picked up a volley and returned it down the line.

The match with Lopez will be interesting. Never easy against a friend and Lopez is good on hard courts. Still, it is good that RAfa is now in the QF. One more win Rafa.

I had predicted a win for Roddick today. Unfortunately it did not happen. Murray-Monfils should be interesting. Both are interesting characters. Although it seems Murray has calmed down a bit. And what about Simon? He just keeps winning. Great job. Haven’t caught any of his matches yet.


sensationalsafin Says:

I’m not a big Monfils fan, so I’m pretty upset Roddick lost. Especially considering how well he seemed to be playing coming in.

Poor Gasquet, indeed. If only he could have put up more of a fight. This guy, I think his name is Nadal or something, sure doesn’t help Gasquet’s situation.

I really need Federer and Djokovic to win because my fantasy bracket is looking terrible.


Von Says:

Noel:

“It is Fed’s misfortune that all the in-form and/or power players have landed on his side.It’d be interesting to see how he deals with this challenge.I wonder if he has faced a tougher challenge at a masters series event before in terms of the number of in-form players in his path.”

I think the same can be said for each player on Fed’s half of the draw. On paper, it appears to be a very tough draw because of the names we see, but they are spread across the whole bottom half, but when we take just Fed’s portion of the draw from Round 2 to R16, he’s just got Stepanek, Tsonga, and if Fed gets the W against JW, then he’ll face DelPotro QFs and then Murray SFs (I think Monfils has reached his zenith in the QFs). Hence, the small picture: Stepanek, Tsonga (R16) DelPotro (QFs) and Murray SFs, and Fed’s in the Final. that’s not a bad picture at all. After all he’s an experienced/seasoned No. 2 player, who is playing against 2 lower ranked and 2 rookie top 10 players. He’ll do just fine.


Von Says:

sensatiionalsafin;

I’m upset about Roddick too, his problem is/was lack of rest/recovery. he’s been on a tight schedule, having played WTT on the weekend, hp a plane to spain, hang around all day yesterday until 10:30 pm before he could play and then play today, with only 16 hours rest. The guy’s not superman. I’d like to smack Ion Tiriac and his crew. I don’t like Madrid’s stadium anyway. Look at that smaller court, with the ugly high wall. Even the commentators were talking about its lack of ambiance. Grr. I’m glad they’re moving next year.

“This guy, I think his name is Nadal or something, sure doesn’t help Gasquet’s situation.”

For Gasquet to play against Nadal and Roddick to play against Federer and win, they need to put a bag over their faces. This way Gasquet and Roddick won’t know who they’re playing and can play without a psychological disadvantage. Oh, the mind, what a totally cruel enemy. Grrrh. :P


sensationalsafin Says:

Fed’s misfortune? No. I’m thrilled to see so many threats on Fed’s side. If he gets through then great job, if not then he’s gotta go back to the drawing board. All-in-all a very great opportunity for Federer to further disprove doubters. Should he face Djokovic or Nadal in the final (if he gets there) then he’ll be more than moderately battle tested. I’ve made the arguement before that, a lot of times, Federer gets a weak draw then faces Nadal in the final and is overwhelmed by Nadal’s never-say-die attitude. Stepanek was 1-1 against Federer this year so I think it’s safe to say he wasn’t stricken with Fedphobia in their encounter. Tsonga is a fearless fighter who, injured or not, will give Federer a run no matter what the outcome. Then he’s got JMDP. This guy has been crushing players who you’d never expect to be crushed. I still can’t believe he beat Haas 1 and 2 earlier this summer. I feel like Federer wouldn’t let that happen but the upset is sooooo likely. If he gets through JMDP, he’s got Murray. Murray knows he can beat Federer, especially best of 3. It’ll be like a fairy tale if Federer wins this title. And even if he doesn’t, you can’t really blame him because his competition is brutal and very much deserving.


sensationalsafin Says:

No matter what has happened over the years, Roddick has won 100% of his matches against Federer in 2008 :D


Von Says:

“No matter what has happened over the years, Roddick has won 100% of his matches against Federer in 2008.”

Yeah, wise-guy. is this to console me or something? Well you succeeded, I’m laughing. :D Keep up the good work and behave yourself at the dorm. No sneaking over to the other side. Have you ever watched Police Academy, the very first movie? I watched it again last week for God knows how many times. What’s the connection between Police Academy, and your dorm? Well the cadet used to sneak over to the women’s dorm at nights and if you watch the moie you’ll know what happened to him. :P I gotta tell you you’re one smart/matured young man. I used to think of you as somewhere in your mid-twenties, because your comments are exceptionally insightful and illuminating for such a youn un. I’m old enough to be your mom, (I had my son at 20) so be respectful to me, or else …. Be good, if not be careful. :P


jane Says:

Von,

You raise a very good -and objective- point about Fed’s draw; it’s indeed difficult, but one would expect him to come through given his experience!

In this Tsonga vs. Fed match, they both have strong serves, but overall, I think Fed has the better return, so I would expect Roger to come through in this match. The reverse is true with JMDP & Murray, though, as they are both excellent returners with weaker serves than Fed’s.

Murray, imo, has the best shot at an upset. JMDP is the real thing, but as you point out, he’s a rookie, so experience should prevail against him.


NachoF Says:

I think the tennis world wants a Federer – Nadal final on hard court….. be it here or at the Masters cup.


Noel Says:

MMT,
“Actually, if you look at Nadal’s second half results throughout his career, they’re not nearly as good as his first half results, and this is one of the reasons he had problems challenging Roger for #1.”

I was referring purely to the mental side of it and I have rarely seen Rafa giving up in a match.Sometimes the mind wants to but the body is not willing. Rafa’s ‘poorer’ second half has been as much due to physical fatigue/injuries and relative surface ‘weaknesses’ as anything else.Of course,it can’t be cited as excuses because he can’t have it both ways with his ‘physical’ style of play.There is always a trade off and he normally pays the price of first half success in the second half.This season,the second half can’t be called bad at all so far.
I know it is difficult to ascertain whether the relatively less successful second half was due purely to those reasons or due to mental fatigue as well.Some amount of mental fatigue is natural but Rafa seems to have a much bigger reservoir of mental strength.An analogy from Formula one is Scuhmacher versus the rest of the field.Be it at the end of a race or at at the end of a season.He used to do double the normal race length in his practice sessions!!Senna-and for that matter Fangio -was even better because the cars were not as safe during those times. Or, take fighter pilots flying for long distances at mach 3 versus those flying at mach 1 for instance.Rafa almost always gives the impression that he is mentally ready for the battle and doesn’t give up easily and is very rarely demoralized.

“… I just can’t wait for this Tsonga v Federer matchup. This is a match up I think a lot of people have been waiting for, and I’m about as giddy as a puppy with two peters.”

I am excited and apprehensive at the same time.I hope Tsonga doesn’t play at too high a level.He is perfectly capable of doing that and that would most probably mean Fed’s ouster from the tournament.The match is going on even as I type this but my cable connection seems to have snapped.I hope it comes back asap.


NachoF Says:

First set goes to Federer!


sensationalsafin Says:

Really? Fed-Nadal final? Hmmm, I honestly don’t know if Federer’s ready to step on the court to face Nadal. He might say he is but it’s hard to say. I think Federer vs Djokovic is a better hard-court match-up.

JMDP is a rookie but he hasn’t been playing like one. Pressure doesn’t seem to be a part of his life. He just plays and owns.

Thanks for the kind words, Von. I’m not that mature, though, I just really love tennis.

But seriously though, as a Federer fan I want to see him exact revenge on everyone who’s beaten him. Djokovic and Murray and Stepanek have been checked off the list until they beat him again, which is very likely. So right now the list is Fish, Nadal, Roddick, Karlovic, Blake, and Volandri. I can’t rest until Federer deals with these guys.


Daniel Says:

They were just playing great untill Tsonga makes 3 double-faults in 4-5, seems he fet the pressure.

Fed is a little slow in the running forehand side, or Tsonga’s ball is really fast, or both combined. Other than that Fed looks at his old self. Great match!


NachoF Says:

I think Federer is ready to take on Nadal on a hard court…. you’ll see…..if Nadal makes it to the final.


jane Says:

“They were just playing great untill Tsonga makes 3 double-faults in 4-5, seems he fet the pressure.”

Not sure I agree Daniel; the commentators on the feed I am watching noted how this match really hasn’t “gotten going” so far and I tend to agree. I thought there’d be more exciting rallies, but there haven’t been. Quite a few errors – more from Tsonga. Really coming down to the serving. Not that exciting. A few good rallies. Tsonga’s down love-40 so this might be the finish line for Roger.

Fed is coming to net a lot, which is notable for his future strategies.


NachoF Says:

Federer breaks… he´s up 3-1!


NachoF Says:

wow… Tsonga started jumping up and down and waving to try to distract Federer while making a shot… that’s low.


sensationalsafin Says:

I have the worst feed right now. It’s like watching a slide show of the match. Idk how the points are ending or starting or anything. This sucks!!


NachoF Says:

Im getting it on ESPN…. yay for South America!


sensationalsafin Says:

Idk why but everytime I watch the feed gets worse. Yesterday it was buffering every second and today it’s lagging like no other and there’s no sound. It’s not fair!


NachoF Says:

Federer breaks again…. 5-1


NachoF Says:

Federer beats Tsonga 6-4, 6-1….. I was expecting much more of a challenge.


sensationalsafin Says:

Tsonga was playing pretty bad and he didn’t seem into the match. Poor body language from the screen shots I saw. Federer looked like he was playing well, though. Very businesslike in his win. And he’s got a cool new outfit, too.


Daniel Says:

Jane agree in parts. They are both playing very attacking tennis, that’s why we don’t get a lot of rallies, the points are short, but high quality. It has some errors but in both parts (ony Nadal matches this scenario doesn’t happen, he just don’t miss). The probem is that Tsonga again double-faulted in break point!


zola Says:

NachoF
Tsonga beat himself by donating 3 double faults at the end of fist set. In the second set, he played one good game and then faded away. Another double fault at 4-1, gave another break to Fed.

Tsonga was just going for broke. hitting the ball as hard as possible. hit or miss! Fed was accurate and precise. There was one great point with an excellent hustle from Fed at the end of fist set. He also served well when it mattered.

Fed-Del Potro should be more interesting.

Now onto Djoko-Karlovic. Djoko should wim this match.


zola Says:

NachoF
are you following the qualifying rounds for the world cup?


Daniel Says:

See how fast the match was, while I was typing when I look back to TV it was match point already! :)

Tsonga level drop in the second set but untill 4-5 in the first they were playing like they use to.
Fed use his wisdon and finish tthings off. This is good because next match promisses: Fed X De Potro (the scenarium that Fed will be constantly tested, the new generation, but this time the REAL treats)!


sensationalsafin Says:

Can someone please give me a link to a good feed?

Federer stayed composed and did what he had to do, which wasn’t much. It’s a shame because the match had so much potential.


jane Says:

sensationalsafin,

Yes, it was a business-like win from Roger; he should be happy with that win.

I suggest you google “channelsurfing.net” and scroll down to the ATP listings; I find their feed to be great, and it’s in English so I can follow along with the commentary.


sensationalsafin Says:

jane I love you!!! Thank you so much!!!


jane Says:

Wow – that’s all I had to do to win your live sensationalsafin? You’re a push-over! Now cheer for Djoko will you? He’s going to need our help to beat the super-serving Dr.Ivo.


jane Says:

ss – live should be love in the above post. now back to live tennis. haha…


sensationalsafin Says:

He needs to keep the ball in play. Idk why he’s going for so much. Karlovic doesn’t stand a chance off the ground. Damn his serves!


zola Says:

so far so good. 3-all between Ivo and Djoko. After the first game scare, it seems Djoko is playing better and holding easier.

Seems to me Karlovic leaves very little time between his toss and the hit and that adds to the complexity of his serve.

btw, this green/black combo looks good on Djoko and I can’t believe some people in those boxes taking pics with flashlights!


andrea Says:

hmmm. not much of a fight from tsonga. too bad. i was hoping for a three set slug fest…with federer prevailing, of course. tee hee.

has anyone gone to the paris masters event and bought scalped tickets? i may be in paris during that week. all the final and semi tickets are sold out on the official site.


grendel Says:

Daniel – about those 3 DF’s from Tsonga at 4-5; Sam Smith made the point that Tsonga has been suffering from an abdominal injury, therefore is unlikely to have been doing much serving in the last week. So it is just when it gets tight that he is particularly liable to fall short. I disagree with Jane, I thought the first set was high quality, and I look forward to seeing Tsonga/Fed when Tsonga is absolutely free of injury worries. Trouble is, with his tank like build….

Noel “I’d beg to differ on him [Nalbandian]being the best in the business in this department.Murray can be even more wonderful on HIS good days.I also wonder why you haven’t mentioned Rafa there even if you are just citing examples.Is it because of the usual “nefarious” reasons? The Gulbis match must have left you incredibly frustrated.” (10:46 post). Lots of interesting points here! Yes indeed, Murray is a wonderful returner – did you see his astonishing dismantling of Karlovic’s serve in the Summer? But it’s not quite up there with Nalbandian, imo. In a way, Murray’s is better, because it’s so much more consistent – but then, this is Nalby we’re talking about, a one off hard line individualist to whom the term “consistency” is synonomous with “tedium”. He really doesn’t care, deep down, life has other attractions – and that’s his business. It’s amazing, really, with his “amateur” approach, that he has the success he does. He is a phenomenal talent, and when on song, I do believe his return is matchless. I didn’t mention Rafa for a simple reason – his return is nowhere near as good. I do dislike Rafa, it is true, though I didn’t find the Gulbis match frustrating – I expected Gulbis to win a set, and he did. He’s not ready to beat Nadal yet. But I am not prejudiced against Rafa as a player. The fashion now is to praise his serve, but I have been doing that for a long time. He is certainly the right #1, and I believe he will remain so for a good long spell. I don’t go along with those who think that next year they’ll all be lining up to overtake each other for brief tenures of #1. Some general fans believe this, and I just disagree. Some -not all – Nadal fans affect to believe this, and imo they are just aping one of the most disagreeable of Nadal’s character traits, namely a thoroughly disingenuous playing down of their hero’s prospects. Whoever takes over from Nadal will not do so soon, and will have to play out of his socks for a very long time. Nadal is a worthy #1.


zola Says:

grendel,
I agree. The first set between Fed-Tsonga was a high quality one and you are right about injury too. He just retired last week with an injury. SO I was not expecting a lot from him against Fed. But Fed played very well too. That hustle in the last game of the first set was just amazing.

About RAfa at number 1, as a fan, I don’t want to speculate. I am happy that Rafa finally got that No 1 title and did not end up being the best no 2 who never became no 1.

what I have seen on clay from RAfa is that he has been able to hold on to those titles year fater year. He doesn’t like to lose. One thing I can be sure, is that he will fight for that No 1.

Djoko-IVo seems to be heading to a tie-break.


gulu Says:

Fed’s draw in Mad masters is perfect!More so coz if Fed gets 2 final here beatin these guys,he’ll hav n impeccabl mindset n believ me,he’ll demolis whoever he faces in d final.A Madrid masters win this year’ll giv him some of his invincibility aura back


jane Says:

Djoko really blew his chances in the first set. What can you say? Karlovic held steady, and when Djoko had chances he didn’t capitalize.


zola Says:

gulu
Fed looked very good in his first set against Stepanek and both sets against Tsonga. I have him playing the final against Rafa in my “fantasy” bracket!


jane Says:

Perhaps the Tsonga v. Fed match was high quality in some regards, esp. the serving from both until Tsonga fell apart. Fed’s second serve and return of serve were consistently stronger and he was the attacker today. Tsonga wasn’t as good as I’ve seen him play before. I was expecting many more rallies between the two for some reason – exchanges of big forehands, touch volleys from both ends, etc. It just didn’t happen. Tsonga didn’t generate the same excitement he can on the court. He wasn’t as versatile as he can be. Fed, on the other hand, was extremely focused and businesslike. He was getting it done. Maybe Tsonga sensed that?

Anyhow, looks like Djoko is going down to Ivo unless he can pull it together. Sheesh. He’s been disappointing this summer in some ways – still consistently good, with some great wins here and there, and a solid number 3, for now, until Murray wins a few more. But I thought he’d at least win another hard court title after IW.


zola Says:

Jane
Djoko is playing well, but gets frustrated by Ivo’s serve. Ivo won the first set by a difference of two points!

Djoko seems to be more positive in the second set. It is not a steamroll by Ivo.Anything is possible as long as Djoko is holding his own.


jane Says:

zola,

I guess Novak’s playing pretty well, holding his own serves etc. But I just feel like he didn’t use his opportunities against Ivo in the first set, and he should’ve.

He just slipped up in this second set tiebreak now, too, so I guess that’s the match, or it could be….


zola Says:

well, Ivo took the second tie-break as well. Sorry Jane.

My Bracket has two serious blows to it now.I had Djoko and RAfa playing semis!


jane Says:

Oh well, better luck next time Novak! I’ll still be rooting for you.

I think I’d like to see Murray win the whole thing now; even though that puts him closer to over-taking Djoko at number 3, I like them both a lot, so I hope Murray wins the MS shield, his second I guess.

There are many others I’d be happy to see win, too. A win from JMDP would give him an excellent chance of getting to the Master’s Cup, which would be awesome. Even Simon, were he to win it all, would be in with a shot at the final 8.


Dr. Death Says:

Ivo beat the Joker 7-6, 7-6. An all power match. On many critical points, Djokovic seemed to be treating them like any other point. I wonder if he has read any of Gilbert’s books.

This tournament will now be VERY interesting as we start to separate the huckleberries from the contenders for Shanghai.

Gotta love the ball girls; they work so hard. Von – how could you not notice them? Jane – great to cyber-hear your voice again.


jane Says:

Hi Dr. D – great to hear from you again too. Yes, I was just thinking about Shanghai since JMDP and Simon are getting close to getting there. The top 4 are already in, so Fed, Rafa, Djoko and Murray don’t really have tons at stake, except ranking points of course!

Those ball girl-cum-models are hilarious. But can you tell me this? What’s the deal with the ones in Rafa’s and Fed’s matches? I didn’t notice…


zola Says:

Jane
Novak played a better tie-break in the second set. Honestly I thought he would win the set. He was also more positive in the second set. But Ivo came up with some good shots of his own and get back in.
Djoko also had some break points and he should have converted those. When he played aggressive, Ivo had no answer for his shots.

Remember Ivo also won Fed in Cincy ( I think). Ivo is very likeable as a person but playing against him is a nightmare.


jane Says:

Oh and thanks zola. It’s always crappy when Djoko loses, but especially when it’s by a hair, one he could’ve yanked out, had he put in a little more focus on those crucial points. Sigh.


Daniel Says:

“and a solid number 3, for now, until Murray wins a few more”

Jane, this is preciselly what I thought after the match was over, Djoko will lose some points and Murray wil gain, in Paris and Shangai both have amost nothing to defend so this could set a very interesting fight over n. 3 at beggining of 2009. At AO , Djoko will be the defending champion and Murray has 1st round to defend.

Very good prospects for the beggining of next year, specially if Fed win some titles and finish the year no more than 700 points away from Nadal (which are my hopes untill the end of Masters Cup).

Also we have Del Potro rising as the new number one of Argentine and almost sure for Shangai with his resuts.


sensationalsafin Says:

God damnit!!! Karlovic really grinds my gears. First Federer, now Djokovic. He doesn’t have any ground strokes. It’s just not fair that he beats guys who are so much better than him in every other department. He’s proving all you need is a huge serve, which is bull crap.


jane Says:

Daniel, “so this could set a very interesting fight over n. 3 at beggining of 2009. At AO , Djoko will be the defending champion and Murray has 1st round to defend.”

Yes, you’re right Daniel! Luckily I like them both, so if someone is going to overtake Djoko, let it be Murray, who is a fantastically talented tennis player, whom I love to watch as well.

You should be smiling today though; Fed won easily. Congrats on his win. I wonder if JMDP can put up any kind of challenge. In some ways his win against Nalby is no yardstick, because Nalby is Nalby: one of the best one day, mediocre the next.

Anyhow, onward and upward – guess I should do some work since I’ve watched tennis virtually all day.


jane Says:

sensationalsafin,

“God damnit!!! Karlovic really grinds my gears. ” Yes, I know what you mean about the big-so-high-kicking-can’t-touch-it serve, and how the opposition can be better in some departments and still lose. But credit to Dr. Ivo, who I thought was zoned in really well today and played a few nice shots of his own! I also think in the last year or so, there’s an evident rounding out of his game, so it’s not ONLY a serve but some decent play here and there that wins him the matches. But without that serve, I don’t know how much he could accomplish against the top guys. Guess we’ll never know either!


Bing Says:

Federer lost in a similar fashion to Dr Ivo just a couple of months ago so I don’t really blame Djokovic. It’s hard for anyone to play him.


zola Says:

Daniel,
Murray is a big threat for all the top 3. His weaknesses were his negativity on-court and his fitness and he has improved them both. He will make the life very difficult for the top 3 next year.

Jane,
On the positive side, when a player goes out early, he has less points to defend next year, Djoko has everything else secured.

btw, did you hear that the Djoko family have bought the rights to Dutch Open and will hold it in Serbia? So Serbia will have an ATP tournament very soon. I think that’s very nice.


grendel Says:

So what should Karlovic do? Retire on the grounds that he is embarrassed to be boring people with his elementary ground strokes? Although they are not always that elementary; Federer has paid tribute to Karlovic’s improved ground strokes, and for good reason. The last two matches they played, Karlovic quite often beat Fed from the back (Fed actually struggled to beat the Croat in Basle last year, so his defeat this summer was not so surprising). And Karlovic’s volleying is very respectable. He does what he can with the weapons at his disposal, and it is up to his opponent to deal with the serve as best he may. Federer was a bit feeble this summer, Murray was quite magnificent, and Nadal – at Queens – did the necessary. There might only have been “inches” in it, so to speak, but those inches were worth yards, worth miles – because they were extracted at the critical moments. That’s what you gotta do to beat a tricky opponent. Djokovic will learn, and come back all the stronger.

Now the thought of Simon at Shanghai does induce something of a tetchy yawn. He stands there at the back, this man, and just waits for the other guy to make an error. You get a naturally aggressive player like Ginepri, he is drawn in to Simon’s endless pitter-patter, and eventually it is as if he is suddenly attacked by qualms of conscience – what on earth is he doing trying to outSimon Simon, not only tactically rather unwise, Robbie might be telling himself, but goddam degrading – so he suddenly unleashes, gives the ball a mighty thump – and Simon smiles. Or – and this happened right at the end of Ginepri’s match with Simon – Ginepri comands the rally, moving Simon back and forth and eventually is rewarded with a relatively simple put away. So astonished, or perhaps relieved, is the American that he drops his guard, which hitherto has been unremittingly stern, and joyously thwacks the ball – into the net! And as a result, Simon creeps on to the next round, and Ginepri books his flight home. A sad tale.

I see on Tennis Planet, there is a poll in which 73% expect Federer to win, 17% expect Nadal. Since 3% are still registered as plumpng for Nalbandian I’m not sure how serious this poll is, but it is surely a little surprising. Nadal would love it, of course, since being underestimated is what he always aims for. In fact, this is a big opportunity for him. This is a very fast surface, so if he wins, he is going to put to bed a lot of questions concerning himself – and raise quite a few different ones, too, relating to the current #2. I don’t agree with those who say that the pressure is now off Federer. I mean it is in a sense, no longer having to protect #1 and so on. But to be beaten by Nadal on a fast hard court will be a bitter blow, make no mistake. Being beaten by Murray or del Potro won’t actually be so bad – it will be quite reasonable to interpret that as something like “well, it was his day today, ‘s how it goes”. That won’t be a convincing attitude if Nadal beats him, however. There is a great deal at stake for both men, which is why the prospect of a Nadal/Federer final is particularly enticing. May the best man win, and we all know who that is, don’t we? What, there is division in the ranks?


jane Says:

Yep I mentioned above that Karlovic has rounded his game out, so it’s not only a serve. But you’re right that inches count for miles against him. Of course he shouldn’t retire. I know you’re being facetious, but the point is this – a player has to use what s/he has to win, and that’s it. Ivo did just that today; Djoko didn’t. A couple point made the difference. I hope you’re right that Djoko “come[s] back all the stronger” for it. There have been glimmers of the Djoko who started the year with a bang, but he’s not really been able to close out key games, matches, sets, with consistency.

Simon is a bit like Davydenko to me (mentioned that above too) – a steady-eddy type. Bit of a backboard in a way, but clearly able to grind out a point by dragging out the error. He doesn’t have the same sting on his groundstrokes as Davy does, though, so I doubt he’ll ever be top 5.


zola Says:

grendel,
No one says Ivo has to retire. It is up to the other players to solve his game and many have done it already. Apart from his serve, he has good volleys and sometimes good ground strokes too. There are other “tall” players with great serves who cannot capitalize on their strengths ( like Isner). So, all credit to Ivo.

I have to watch Simon more carefully. Haven’t seen a match from him for ages. But same argument. It is up to his opponent to come up with a way to win. Might be boring to watch, but I think their desire to win perhaps takes priority over pleasing a larger spetrum of fans.


jane Says:

Speaking of polls, Tennis X’s latest one boasts 6,648 votes on which player people think will end the 2009 Season as the Number 1 player in the world:

5% think Rafa
0% think anyone else
94% think Roger.

Not much division in the ranks in this poll! (not sure why/how it adds up only to 99, but it is what it is).


jane Says:

Re: Quarter-finals. I think they’re mainly quite predictable.

1. Nadal vs. F-Lo = Nadal
2. Karolvic vs. Simon = Karlovic (I think…)
3. Murray vs. Monfils = Murray
4. Fed vs. JMDP = Federer

So semis, if I am correct (and I usually suck at predictions but what the hell – this is as close as I get to a “Fantasy Bracket”), will be as follows:

Nadal vs. Karlovic = Nadal
Federer vs. Murray = Murray (probably more likely to be Fed, but cheering on Murray anyhow)

So in the final, Nadal vs. Murray (or Fed)

If it’s Fed through to the final, I think he’ll beat Rafa; this is a fast hardcourt, after all, and Rafa has not beaten Fed on hardcourt in a very long while – since 2006 in Dubai. If it’s Murray vs. Rafa in the final, to me, it’s 50/50. He just beat Rafa on hard so he’s in with a shot to win the whole enchilada. I’d like to see that.


zola Says:

Jane
*** If it’s Murray vs. Rafa in the final, to me, it’s 50/50. He just beat Rafa on hard so he’s in with a shot to win the whole enchilada. I’d like to see that.***

oh man! I like to see Rafa win! what a day that final day will be. both in Madrid and here in this board!

If it is Rafa and Fed, my brain says Fed and my heart says Rafa! And I want to go with what my heart says!

But it is a loooooooooong road to the final. I want to see Rafa win Feli and clinch that YE no 1.The rest is a bonus.


jane Says:

zola,

“I want to see Rafa win Feli and clinch that YE no 1.The rest is a bonus.”

I agree.


sensationalsafin Says:

I don’t get Djokovic. He’s been playing good tennis, just not as great as he could be. He came onto tour knowing he’s destined for greatness, he showed everyone he’s destined for greatness, and now EVERYONE believes he’s destined for greatness, but it seems like he’s not believing it so much anymore. I mean the guy’s game is built to perfection, he’s got everything (although he could improve on the volleys). He HAD a champion’s mentality, believing he belonged out there and and proving himself right. But now he seems unsure. I think it has a lot to do with the Wimbledon final. You’d think it would be Federer who’s feeling like he got the wind knocked out of him but it’s Djokovic. He seems to be suffering the most because now he feels like in order to be apart of the Federer-Nadal legacy, he’s gotta equal if not top what they’ve provided. But he really shouldn’t feel this way. He’s got great rivalries going on with everyone in the top 4 and he’s beaten everyone plenty of times. He’s great on all surfaces. He already has a modest record with 5 straight slam semis, something Nadal can only equal should he reach the semis in Australia next year. He’s played in 2 slams finals including 1 win. He has several MS titles. Hell, his career is a few Masters away from being better than Roddick’s!! (no offense to him). It’s a shame to see him struggling because no matter how consistent he is, he really should be winning, too.


Daniel Says:

sensationa safin, I agree with you. I was having a conversation with my sister regarding Djoko just a coupe of minutes ago.

I think he thought he would already be number one by this time of the year, but the reality is different. He got candy taken away from him! :)

This moment coud be very dangerous. If he thinks: well this guys are just better then me he will no longer beat them. He failed three chances he had to reach n. 2, Nadal emerged and Fed “stayed”, he is titlest since May, all this things are creating a bad moment for him.

But As you pointed out, he has all the weapons to be there, he just need some extra belief or some wins. Nothing heals better in tennis then some big wins…just one great tourney and you are news again!


sensationalsafin Says:

I originally wanted Federer to just sweep all the year-end titles but not anymore. I want him to win Madrid. Maybe Paris, too, because he’s never won there. But I would love to see Djokovic win the TMC. Sure I want Federer to defend, but Djokovic really needs it, and TMC titles usually help a shitload. Federer won it in 03 and it was the start of his dominance. Mauresmo won it a few years ago and went on to have a great 06. Sharapova put on a great display and had a great first-half of 08. Nalbandian won it and had a good AO. Djokovic already had a great start to this year after a horrible TMC, imagine if he won it! He might completely dominate next year! I wouldn’t want that as a tennis fan but I’d love to see Djokovic as number 1. Cmon, Djoker, you can do it!!


zola Says:

SS and Daniel,
There is no question on how talented Djoko is. Reaching the semis of every grandslam is no joke. But this is a difficult year for him.The year after the breakthrough. Last year was a free ride, where he could just collect points. This year he has all the expectations on him, especially after winning AO and he has to defend a load of points to remain no 3 or even clinch no 2. Besides there are other young guns coming up that can be a threat.
I also think Djoko was happier last year. This year he seems more tense. He had some popularity incidents this year that bothered him, because he likes to be liked. But right now he seems to be handling them allright and the crowd in Mardrid were very good to him. All these plus some problems in the family I beleive, made 2008 a very tough year for Djoko.

But now, he is more experienced and has a sense of what awaits him. I think next year will be a bettee one, but he needs to keep it together emotionally and I think he will.


sensationalsafin Says:

If this was Djokovic’s “sophmore slump” then by God what a career he’s gonna have!!


mel Says:

TD,

i’m not sure about your comment about this site’s bias. i have always thought tennis-x was biased for rafa. most of sean randal’s articles are always on fed’s back.


gulu Says:

Come on Novak, beat Ivo Karlovic! Ivo,pleases


Dr. Death Says:

Jane – the model like ball girls are assigned to Nadal and to Federer matches.

I am really trying to catch up on tennis having not seen any in months. Federer looks very sharp. Rafa appears to have lost a bit of weight from when I last saw him. As to the others, they seem to be capable of great matches but cannot put it together for a great series. DelPorto needs to eat three bowls of rice a day to get his weight up. I have changed my mind concerning Murray; I think he can be #3.


Von Says:

Dr. Death:

I’m sorry but I truthfully do not look at the ball/Boss girls at Madrid. After my initial sighting of them the year that they came into being, I got turned off by what I saw. To me it’s just a parade of too-tight, skimpy outfits, and because I’m female I find it degrading to myself and other females who are not desirous of dressing in that fashion. But, to each his/her own. Maybe some males find such a display pleasing to the eyes, but I’d sincerely hope not all, then the rest of us prudes will be in big trouble. :P That said, who knows what thoughts lurk in others minds; sometimes the most dangerous are those who are the least vociferous. I know you’ll come back at me with one of your eloquent answers, hence, I’m all ears.

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks”.


gulu Says:

Really sorry 4 my last post if it has hurt anybody! I posted it whil almost at sleep thinkin dat Nole-Ivo match’s goin on.It’s a terribl shock 4 me 2 see Novak losin 2 dat Ivo.Dat guy’s just ridin on his serve to beat Fed,Nole etc!I just don’t lik Ivo!


Von Says:

gulu:

I believe Djoko lost to Dr. Ivo. I didn’t see the match; today turned out to be a bad day for me. Would you believe I’m still working and today was not supposed to be a workday for me. Which matches did you see? I noticed from the results your Rogi won — he beat Tsonga. I expected that would have happened. I’m happy for you and your Rogi. I’m taking a break at the moment, so let’s have a discussion on the balance of the tournament. :P


gulu Says:

It’s very crucial a stage in Novak’s career.Back to back losses 2 Fed,Tsonga n Ivo might hav dented his confidenc a lot.So he has 2 get wins against these guys 2 get his confidenc back.He has 2 b more determined than ever n also gotta believ in himself!


Von Says:

Some of you guys are unbelievable in your assessment of the big servers’ games. Isn’t a big serve what bails out lot of the players at times, and one which many would love to have to help them win ‘cheap’ points, whatever that is. Who says that the game has to be played grinding out every point? but that’s what some people like to see, return, return, return, until you get an eye-turn watching the endless returns, which leaves them breathless. A big serve is an art in itself. Any player can grind out a point, but not every player can achieve a great serve, much more use it as a weapon against another player. What is the one area of the players’ game they are always striving to perfect? The serve. And, what is it that starts off the game? The serve. So how could a player with a big serve be treated with such disdain for his natural talent. I’m sorry, I don’t get it, and some of you sound like sour grapes to me just because your ‘fave’ doesn’t possess a big serve. This is all nonsensical baloney to me. Sorry to step on some toes, but that’s the way I see it. A beautifully executed serve is a thing of beauty!!


Dr. Death Says:

Von – first time I saw such a display with the ball girls. Perhaps I do belong in hospital.

Sleep rock thy brain, And never come mischance between us twain!

I would expect you to quote Gertrude properly – and you did!

I saw the Djoko-Ivo match – a server’s battle, but with some good shots. The serve is indeed part of the game and the ace is to be cherished. Federer really has mastered the serve and demonstrates that it is speed PLUS placement that makes it so effective. Fed cannot serve with Ivo’s or Roddick’s speed, but he places the ball so well in the box.

Off I go to tend to some things. Hope to be back on line in a couple of days.


grendel Says:

“No one says Ivo has to retire. It is up to the other players to solve his game and many have done it already”. Zola, don’t be silly. My point was to defend Karlovic. Sensational Safin really leant into him quite unjustifiably, imo. b.t.w., it isn’t true that “many have done it already”. That is to simplify things. Karlovic, on his day, remains a potent threat to ANYONE – ask Federer, who generally used to get the better of him. On the other hand, I take your point about Simon, it occured to me I was being inconsistent as I talked about him. That’s what we are, isn’t it, inconsistent beings. Even so, Karlovic’s serve is a thing of beauty, there is nothing beautiful about Simon’s game – but I can see that it might appeal to a lover of chess, say; you do have to be patient to appreciate Simon. b.t.w., I don’t believe you for one second when you say that whilst your heart is with Nadal (you don’t say!), your brain is with Fed. What comes across is that you believe Nadal is better than Federer on every surface, and when Federer starts to become a threat, your dislike of him (generally muted) becomes quite clear – and I understand it, because I am the same – just with a different player!

I don’t get the angst over Djokovic. He is a young man with a terrific ability whose second half of the year, whilst good, has not matched up to the first. So what? Maybe next year it will be the other way round. What is certain is that he has a very bright future, with tons of success beckoning. But he’s got to earn it.

No idea who will win Fed/del Pot. I thoroughly enjoy watching del Potro, and immensely look forward to the match – and in deed to Murray/Monfils. What a feast! I know it is extremely annoying for non Nadal/Fed fans to focus on these two. There are a lot of extraordinarily interesting things going on in tennis at the moment. One of them – one – is the private battle between Federer and Nadal. It is eveident that some people still think of Federer as being the real #1, with Nadal just keeping the seat warm for him, as it were. Nadal will know this – he is a canny young man who keeps things close to his chest, but he knows the score alright. So if it happens that Nadal and Federer meet in, shall we say, 2 of Madrid, Paris and Shanghai – a lot will be settled for the forseeable future. If Nadal wins this private battle, he will have confirmed his ascendancy over Federer not just to the holders of the faith, not just to the general fan, but to the reluctant Fed fan as well. If Federer wins, it will be clear to all that he is a very potent threat indeed to regain his #1 status in 2009. It’s no good Nadal fans saying, they know he is anyway – that’s just nadalspeak, and means nothing. If Federer does emerge on top, you will hear a very different tune emrging from the Nadal camp – and it will have the ring of truth.

Meanwhile, del Potro can easily put a spoke in all this in just a few hours time….


Roddick is a donkey Says:

Wow! Great to see Monfils did the job of kicking the donkey out! Someone had to do the dirty job! Good on you Gael!

If Monfils did not, I am sure murray would have thrashed the donkey. Good to see the more talented younger generation keep the donkey from entering the top 5! good job kiddos. Keep the ass-whipping going!


gulu Says:

Roddick is a donkey, shame on you! You are such a brainless chicken!How’s it possibl?Any tennis fan would love 2 hate u.


gulu Says:

I must admit one thing here.Ivo Karlovic,d way he serves is the guy whom I’d most hate 2 see facin Federer.Fed’s return of serve is not impressiv(he should improve in this department), while Ivo has d best serve.Another thing which I hav also felt is that Fed’s most unsure of winning d match not against Nalby/Murray/Roddic/Djokovic/Nadal but Ivo.I hate Ivo not coz of any other reason,but simply due 2 I feel it’s very very difficult 4 Fed 2 break Ivo’s serve which means it Fed has more chances of being forced 2 play tiebreaks and in that situation,Ivo may come throu d tie-breakers safely by virtue of his serve and a few other firm shots of his.


Noel Says:

Von,
I don’t know how but I forgot to respond to your post yesterday.And sorry for that lengthy post getting gobbled up.
I had actually read your exchange with Robbie and did think about it during the Robredo match.I had a smile because it appeared the commentary team didn’t want to waste that wonderful opportunity given by Rod to ‘redeem’ themselves.I have visited Robbie’s blog in the past and he does bring a different perspective because he is so close to the action esp the off-court bits.

I know it was tough on Andy but we see such ‘crazy’ scheduling quite often at events with back to back matches esp when they have night matches.They could start their evening schedules much earlier.However,most players have faced it at one point or another and they just have to deal with it in a professional manner just as they have to handle tough draws.Speaking of which I agree that the draw is tough for those players also who are in Fed’s path.I had in fact said in my draw summary that it was a pity that that so many in-form players had to meet each other or the top guys so early.
Your point about Fed’s experience is valid but I am not so sure that being higher or lower-ranked means very much esp in these best of three matches when you play some hot players.I am sure Fed will prefer to play the likes of the higher-ranked but out-of-form Ferrer or even Davy instead of a hot JMDP at the moment.I also feel bad for Berdych,Tsonga and Nalby who are out whereas Lopez and Simon are in the qf.However,that is the way the cookie crumbles sometimes and one can hardly ever be satisfied with the ‘equity’ aspect of draws.


Colin Says:

Gulu, I do so wish you wouldn’t use that god-awful text-speak. Is your time really so amazingly valuable that you can’t type whole words?
Regarding Karlovic, I think there is sometimes a perception that he gets free points because he’s so tall. Just bang the serve down and that’s it. But there must be more to it. His action must be good and reliable. There have been many players who could serve opponents off the court WHEN THE SERVE WAS ON. When it wasn’t on, they could self-destruct. Ivanisovic was like that. As a Brit, I can’t resist saying that Murray seems to be one of those who has worked out Karlovic! Now he’ll probably lose to him…


grendel Says:

Murray takes first set 6-2. The skills on display from Murray are quite awesome, although Monfils has played his part in a deeply enjoyable set. However, the Frenchmna is looking – you know – puzzled, not to say, baffled, not to put to fine a point on it – mystified, you might say.

Murray is a devil. He is the ultimate cold featured spider, inviting you into his parlour – if that’s what you really want…


grendel Says:

6-2, 6-2. What I liked about Monfils, he never stopped trying, if you discount doublefault at match point. What a lovely fellow he is. He was completely dismantled by Murray, and he greeted him with a genuine smile at the net. Murray’s play was ridiculous. And now that we are seeing the steel that some people thought wasn’t there, there seems no limit to where this young man can go. If he can carry on playing like this, hard to see who can stop him.


grendel Says:

Colin – someone, can’t remember who, complained also about Sensational Safin about a year ago – SS used to use text speak. Personally, I rather like it, and I wish I had said something at the time. I wouldn’t want everyone to use it – that wouldn’t be possible, since I don’t really know how, but I do like it from time to time – I think it has its own charm.

There are many ways, you know, of communicating, and I don’t think we should try to censor those who do it differently to ourselves.


Daniel Says:

Wow, Murray really is a devil! :)

He played Monfis the way he wanted. In the second set when Monfils start coming to the net, Murray start coming to the net and even inviting Monfis to do it. He likes to win the opponent in his own game. Awesome!!!

The next match up with Fed or De Potro will be great. Revenge afetr US Open or continuing the “history” with De Potro. To me will be one of the first times I wouldn’t be very sad if Fed loses. :)


Von Says:

Oh Andy, did you do a job on Monfils!! You guys will probably find this hard to believe, but this morning around 2;30 a.m. I walked away from my computer to close my eyes, as it were on my bed, with the light on, which is not how I sleep, and I did fall asleep. Somewhere in my pre-REM stage of sleep I thought I needed to set my alarm clock for 8:00 am. US ET, but the arms of Morpheus were wrapt/tethered around me so tightly, I couldn’t. Gosh, I wish I weren’t so wordy, but to make a long story short, I happened to stir at 8:06 a.m. , turned on the TV and there was Andy Murray with Monfils at the net peior to match start. Would you say I have tennis now in my memory banks, and am working simply by rote/instinct? Or is the good Almighty just looking out for me? i’m thankful because i’ve been able to watch a beautiful match. it’s never the same feeling on replay.

To the game. It was a demolition derby exercise. Good Lord, some of Murray’s shots were absolutely RIDICULOUS. I felt very bad for Monfils, who had the sweetest look of resignation one could muster up on such an ocasion. Kudos to him for attitude. But what does one do in the face of such mastery — I suppose if you can’t beat them, then join them, which is what Monfils did. Murray sent the crowd wild and just like a Brit, he pursed his lips, put a stoic look on his face, raised his racquet, acknowledged the crowd’s ovation, and privtely enjoyed the moment. In contrast, the other Andy (Rod) would have been a regular HAM AND WOULD HAVE RAISED HIS ARMS FOR MORE. Amazing, the contrasts of the Andys, but lovable all the same. No need for me to mention the match, it was exquisite/scintillating tennis at its best.

________________
Colin:

You’re being a pedant! :P Give gulu a break — that’s his style. Even I’ve been able to understand his psuedo Morse Code, so will you.


zola Says:

I didn’t see the Murray-Monfils match today ( too early for me). But 62, 62 , is a very good result. Good for Murray.

onto Fed-DP. This one I am watching and should be interesting.


Daniel Says:

Since when Del Potro hit 5 aces in one game?! Wow!
The way Fed is playing he would already break any other guy. The lobby was fantastic!!

Excelent match so far.


jane Says:

Murray is masterful.


zola Says:

Both Fed and DP are playing excellent.DP needs to just keep it up. concentrate on his own game.one thing is evident. DP is not intimidated by Fed.


NachoF Says:

zola Says:
NachoF
are you following the qualifying rounds for the world cup?

Are you talking about football(soccer)??…. I have been following Venezuela’s path to elimination… again.


jane Says:

I like watching JMDP too; he exudes such confidence.

Fed’s serve has been very strong, and he continues to come to net when he can.

JMDP meanwhile is a punisher of second serves, and as Daniel points out, had been serving very well too, but he’s just been broken, on a double fault, so there’s the set in all likelihood?


NachoF Says:

Yes, Federer takes the first set!


gulu Says:

Colin,remember what Mac Enroe said? You can’t be serious!:-)


zola Says:

yep, Fed with the first set, but he had to fight for it. Fed is playing close to his best. All credits to DP for keeping up with him.

and DP is out of a hole in the second set.Great job. Just hold JM!


zola Says:

DP hands another break to Fed by double faulting.
fed is playing weel, but not perfect now. DP has bette chances when he comes to the net.
3-4. Fed needs two more games to win the match.


MMT Says:

I’ve got to say, I’m very impressed with Federer this week. He seems to be on his game, taking on all challengers. Stepanek put up a good fight, but failed to close, and Tsonga was a wreck. JMDP fought well too, but apparently Federer is on his game.

Should be an interesting semi-final with Murray.


Daniel Says:

Great win for Fed! He played great apart from some errors in his backhand in the beggining of second set.

Fed x Murray promisses and I think who ever wins it will lift the trophy. Nadal won’t be tested in his next two matches, which can be a disavantage for him, but he is still Nadal and win in Madrid sealing N. 1 will be very important.


zola Says:

congratulations to Fed and his fans.( also congratz to Murray fans here)

DP must be disappointed but he played well too. Fed used the slice a lot against him and that’s something he needs to work on. Also those double faults did not help his cause.
Still, a much better performace by miles than what we saw yesterday from TSonga. Perhaps it had something to do with Tsonga’s injury.

Now Murray is on fire and that should be an even better match.

NachoF
sorry for Venezuela’s elimination. Which country are you rooting for?


zola Says:

Daniel,
I think if Nadal can win today’s match and if he plays Karlovic in the semis, that would be a big test for Rafa. Playing Karlovic in that altitude won’t be easy.


jane Says:

MMT: “Should be an interesting semi-final with Murray.”

I agree; I am inclined to pick Fed based on their last match up, but Murray is playing excellent tennis too. I hope it’s a tight 3 setter!


grendel Says:

The first few games were terrific. del Potro threw everything at Federer and, when he does that, he tends to overwhelm the opponent. But Federer just took it in his stride, and waited. It became apparent that to beat Fed, del potro had a) to serve out of his skull – and he came close to doing that at the beginning and b) to depend on Fed errors. Well, he couldn’t keep the serving up, and his second serve anyway is nothing special, and Fed wasn’t making too many errors. How different from even the US Open (early rounds).

I was particularly struck by Fed’s lovely backhand slice – he has so much variety on this. For instance, in the penultimate game of first set, Fed floated a b-hand slice low over the net, it wasn’t quite a drop shot, but it was short in a killing way and induced the error. And then he floated his backhand slice high to the base line – again del Potro couldn’t deal with it, and he proceeded to doublefault to allow Federer to serve for the set. That’s pressure for you, but not the pressure of circumstance, but the pressure of magical, unpredictable play. It disorientates the opponent. Federer’s backhand drives were not nearly so successful, quite a large percentage of them landing in the net. Why? Some technical problem, presumably.

del Potro was taught a valuable lesson today. He’ll come out of it much stronger, and in my own mind, he’s far and away the best of the current bunch of youngsters – at the moment. He showed one or two nice touches at the net, and to really trouble the top 4, he’s surely going to have to do a lot more of that as he’s a bit predictable at the moment for the very best. Federer is surely close to his best, and the Fed/Murray match, as Daniel hints, should be an absolute cracker.


sensationalsafin Says:

I never said Karlovic should retire and I agree that a big serve is awesome to have and to watch. And I’d say most of my faves have a big serve when they need it. It’s just that Karlovic has NOTHING else. He’s got decent volleys and terrible ground strokes. It’s not exactly the ideal situation to have a serve knock out versatile players. Would you rather see a player hit 51 aces and lose or 51 winners and win? Karlovic shouldn’t retire, he should develop a better, more rounded game. Enough with the tiebreakers and start breaking your opponent.

Good work Federer! I’d say JMDP is a pretty good test to see where a player is at and Federer must be playing very well! Good to see and hopefully his form will continue so that he can take out Murray and win the whole thing!


Von Says:

DelPotro’s inexperience showed today. Fed, the consummate veteran, knew this and was able to capitalize on DelPotro’s poor serving, which is a dead giveaway for nervousness. I hope this loss does not produce a Fed memory chip in DelPotro’s brain. What was it we recently heard negatively about the big servers, e.g., Karlovic. I’d bet DelPotro wished he had some of karlovic’s serves and nerves today to help bail him out. Oh, those beautiful, big serves, can certainly be a boon for those blessed with the gift and artistry; they are in a clas by themselves. Good job guys, keep them big serves a comin’. Skorocel GnR. Post will ya on the tournament and share some of your thoughts publicly.

The tournament is playing out just as I have written down on my draw sheet. I’ve picked Dr. Ivo to beat Simon and Nadal to beat Lopez. Murray to beat Fed in the semis. Sorry gulu and Fed fans but Fed could prove me wrong) and Nadal to win the other SF, setting up a deja vu, Nadal/Murray battle, shades of the USO revisited, with Murray being the victor — winning the whole tournament, and oblivious to the home crowd. Come on Rover … I’ve publicly gone out on a limb, which I hardly ever do with my picks. Predictions anyone else? Amazing thing about Lopez’ form in Madrid, considering he has lost in the first round in 13 tournaments this year. I suppose the home crowd is helping him in the best way possible, but tonight it ends, but then again … one never knows does one. If it doesn’t it will be a shock attack for the Nadal fans, sorry.


zola Says:

Sean, Richard and other site managers,

I want to suggest that you have two separate coulmns. One for the news and one for the commentary.

For example right now in the middle of Madrid QF, the main page is set to news on Zurich and MAdrid, with no commenting allowed.

Surely the thread is just one click away, but having two separate threads, especially during tournaments might help the flow of discussion even when there are emerging news.


NachoF Says:

I think it is pretty clear that this is set up to be a Federer-Nadal final… one which Federer wins… Nadal will seal the deal as year-end #1 but Federer will give the astounding message that next year he will be very capable of putting up a fight and that Nadal should not get too comfortable…. you’ll all see.


jane Says:

grendel says – “I was particularly struck by Fed’s lovely backhand slice – he has so much variety on this.” Precisely, and this is why wise players, those who’ve tried to figure out how to beat Fed, go to Fed’s forehand! Even though Fed’s forehand can be wicked to say the least, it can go “off.” That backhand slice is tough to deal with when a player doesn’t know what’s coming at him. Rafa can exploit Fed’s backhands (on clay and grass esp.) because of top spin – but maybe these aren’t so much the slices. Now every player thinks they should go to Fed’s backhand. Del Porto tried to put most of his serves to that spot, and it worked for a while. But Fed seemed to handle Del Potro fine.

Del Potro could use better court positioning at times, his movement could be a touch quicker too, and he could hit his shots a bit deeper. He predictably goes cross court most of the time too, as I noticed when he played Gasquet last. But I thought his serve was great today, esp. in the first set, compared to in some of the matches I’ve seen him play.

It was enjoyable.

————————

Von, my picks are above yours – strangely I posted them last night, which I rarely do. I too would like to see Murray hoist that trophy on Sunday. Here’s hoping he does!!!! If it’s not him, I think it’ll be Fed, who’s playing very commandingly here and who has Rafa’s number on hardcourts (I’d expect Rafa to get to the final, but then again, one never knows does one?)


Von Says:

Noel;

I hesitate to write my post again. This is becoming a bad omen for me. I lie not, the same scenario happened earlier this morning. I posted at 10:09 am, and then began writing my post to you in answer to your post, which just disappeared during the last sentence out of the comments box. This has happened now on 3 different occasions. Perhaps I need to change your name when posting to you in the future. If this post gets eaten up, which you won’t see, I’m done posting to you. :P

“Von,
I don’t know how but I forgot to respond to your post yesterday.And sorry for that lengthy post getting gobbled up.”

You’re forgiven, I’m glad I’m forgettable, which means I din’t offend you. :P

“I had actually read your exchange with Robbie and did think about it during the Robredo match.I had a smile because it appeared the commentary team didn’t want to waste that wonderful opportunity given by Rod to ‘redeem’ themselves.”

You did, then you probably remember how disbelieving I was that Robbie would actually post to me. Both he and Jason redeemed themselves beautifully, which shows how sincere they are in their comments and desire to please everyone. I actually thought of my exchange with Robbie during that match, and was secretly praying he didn’t say something like ‘pleased Von”. I would have died. If you get over to his blog before I do, please let him know of my appreciation for the great commentary on A-Rod’s match. Thanks.

“I know it was tough on Andy but we see such ‘crazy’ scheduling quite often at events with back to back matches esp when they have night matches.”

Yes, it does happen, but 8 hours less recovery time is a lot. Anyway, it was an opportunity to expres my dislike for that tournament which I think is very poorly run and lacks ambiance, not to mention the crowd. Even the commentators mentioned today that it must have annoyed both Andys to be pushed over there. If you notice, most of the players after they’ve won do not even bother to stand on the court to show their appreciation to the crowd, because there’s very little acceptance and support from that crowd of the non-Spanish players. that’s one tough crowd and I loved Berdych for expressing his dislike of their behavior in his prior appearance there.

“I also feel bad for Berdych,Tsonga and Nalby who are out whereas Lopez and Simon are in the qf”

Same here. I had Lopez running true to form as he has done in his 13 first round losses this year. He sure made a liar out of me. And, sadly, because of the draw, Berdych, Tsonga and Nalby went out early. Tsonga I didn’t hold out much hope for his longevity in Madrid due to his abdominal tear. As a matter of fact, I thought he would have withdrawn. I would have liked to see either a Berdych or Nalby QF with Fed, but that was just wishful thinking on my part.

Noel, I’ll attempt to hit submit, but dare I even try.


Von Says:

jane;

I didn’t see your picks, and am glad I’m in unison with you on the winner. Dare we even hope such a scenario would occur? :D If it doesn’t I’d like to see Fed win the tournament (I didn’t say that, I’m going nuts), because he has points to defend and it will make the competition of the top 4 so much tighter. Let’s go guys, put your foot on the pedal and accelerate, not de…

———
gulu: Mon ami, I don’t like correcting others but I feel comfortable doing so with you. In the future remember this, Johnny Mc NEVER used the contracted version of cannot. He always said: “You cannot be serious”, with an emphasis on the ‘cannot’. I remember this very distinctly due to a commercial with his brother Patrick, who said “You can’t be serious” trying to immitate John, and to which John emphatically replied: “It’s ‘you cannot be serious’. I suppose John liked the emphatic touch, without the use of contractions. :P


jane Says:

I should add an addendum or qualification to this comment I made: “this is why wise players, those who’ve tried to figure out how to beat Fed, go to his forehand”

I didn’t mean to suggest that other players who don’t try and go to Fed’s forehand aren’t “wise” so let me amend that. It’s just ONE strategy that can work.

It’s clearly VERY difficult to figure out a way to beat Fed because of his variety. Players have tried myriad things: coming to net, which often means they get passed; hitting to the backhand, which can work, but not always because of the sheer variety Fed has off that side; hitting deep and varying placement of the ball – down the line shots can sometimes work well against Roger depending on movement; serve extremely well, but usually Roger can deal with that in a tiebreak – all it takes is a mini-break.

So what’s the ticket? The key to beating Roger? If we look at wins over the past year and a half or so, there is no real pattern:

Simon, when he won in Canada, hung with him and drew the errors. Murray played a bit like that, defensively, when he beat Roger in Dubai. Then there’s Canas, Nadal, they’re both great at defense. Rafa also has a lot of variety on grass, and can dominate on clay, so… Djoko hit a lot of deep winners to beat Roger at the AO, and in Canada, and Karlovic used his serve to hit winners, but then coupled that with focus and some nice volleys. Roddick used some excellent serves, focus and at least one memorable passing shot down the line in Miami. Step used s & v in Rome. I didn’t see the Blake win in Bejiing and I can’t totally recall what Fish was up to at IW – a wicked serve, obviously, but was he volleying? I can’t remember. I do recall Roger being pretty flat in that match though.

Anyhow, the question is how will anyone defeat Roger here? My thought, after watching JMDP and Tsonga, is go to the Federer forehand, come into the net, hit deep aggressive returns, and for godsake, hold onto your own serve! ;-)

Tall order I suppose. Tall…maybe Dr. Ivo is the guy? haha


Von Says:

Dr. Death:

Goodluck with the ball girls! You can have them all. Aren’t I generous.

“Sleep rock thy brain, And never come mischance between us twain!”

Morpheus embraced me ever so tightly and didn’t let go. He’s like an octopus. All I wanted to do was rest my eyes, or so I thought, and Morpheus prevailed for 6 hours.

“I would expect you to quote Gertrude properly – and you did!”

Let’s just say, I would never want to upset Gertrude, ever.

And, in keeping with Hamlet, “To sleep, perchance to dream-
ay, there’s the rub.” Morpheus won!

“The serve is indeed part of the game and the ace is to be cherished. Federer really has mastered the serve and demonstrates that it is speed PLUS placement that makes it so effective. Fed cannot serve with Ivo’s or Roddick’s speed, but he places the ball so well in the box.”

The ACE, a thing of beauty. Why fool around with the returns when one stroke of artistry will do the trick. Fed’s serve epitomizes ‘placement’.

“Off I go to tend to some things. Hope to be back on line in a couple of days.”

I see you’re back to your old habits, which never die BTW. Catch ya later. :D


gulu Says:

I don’t know what Fed’ll do this year.But I definitely think dat next year he’ll perform a lot better.N BTW, if as u ppl say,Fed’s playin somewher clos 2 his best,then rest assured of Fed winning d Madrid masters!I don’t think thou dat Fed’s anywher close 2 his best right now.I can tel Fed being close to/at his best only if I see lesser unforced errors from him and his classic forehand workin well,it’s lookin totally ineffectiv at d moment.He has not played those superb forehand shots for a long while n on d other hand he’s failin to return serve as well as he used 2 in d past.Call me idiot or whatever u want,but dat’s exactly wat I m thinkin since a long time (strictly speakin since the Hamburg masters 2008 ).


jane Says:

gulu,

Don’t be silly! What you wrote makes a lot of sense to me, but then again I am admittedly no tennis whiz. Anyhow, it does seem to me that Fed’s return of serve and forehand were both stronger at one point. I can’t pinpoint the date but I’d say as far back as 07, on hardcourt in particular.

Still, people will be hard pressed to beat him here, as he’s imposing himself very fiercely through the draw thus far!


gulu Says:

Dear Zola,first of all congrats 2 u!U must b so happy right now!Rafa has sealed d year end no.1 for himself n his countless fans. But it’s hard 2 describ my disappointment right now.Roger’s dream of puttin any fight this year’s dashed.It’s hard 2 accept dat Roger’s not d year end no.1 in 2008.But dat’s it.I m not prejudiced against ur dearest Rafa,but I m just a bit greedy!I want wins n wins n only wins 4 Fedex,I trust him n lov him more than ever b4.Sincerely hopin 4 Fed 2 tak lessons from this n come back stronger in d next year!But one thing’s 4 sure,I m very happy 4 u,ther’s no denyin it.Again many a congratulations n celebrat d occasion.3 cheers for u!!!


zola Says:

gulu dear,
thanks so much for your warm wishes.Congratulations to you too for the brilliant game by Fed.I can say he is almost back to the “mighty Fed” status.

I am not sure if Rafa has sealed the YE No 1. Some said he has to reach the semis, some said the final. will be great if he did.
But even if RAfa hadn’t reached the semis, it would have been almost impossible for Fed to become No 1 at the end of the year. He had to win everything and Rafa had to lose early in all events.There is a huge difference in points for this year.

But you should be very happy with the way Fed is playing right now. If he reaches the final ( which is at least a 50% chance) and win it( another50 % chance), and do well in Paris and Shanghai, he has a great chance to get back to No 1 in Australian Open. Sure I want Rafa to stay No 1 as long as possible, but that’s the scenario.

If they both play in the final, it will be another great treat!


jane Says:

Funny scorelines today:

1st Murray wins: 6-2, 6-2
2nd Fed wins: 6-3, 6-3
3rd Rafa wins: 6-4, 6-4 *congrats for 2008 #1!*

So what should we expect from Dr. Ivo vs. Simon? 7-6, 7-6?


gulu Says:

Jane, d thing with me these days is I m findin it hard 2 believ dat Fed’s no lookin in form 2 challeng Rafa who’s lookin most formidabl at this point of his career.It’s a fact that between two great players if one’s at meteoric rise n d other one’s on decline,the one who’s at declin may fail to win a match against the other player.For exampl when JMac was about to reach his zenith n Borg was on his way of decline,they faced each other in Wim 81(Am I right?) n Borg lost it.This is the current situation with Fed.Thou he’s not at an extremely low level,he’s not close 2 his best level either.This thought is killin me dat suppos these 2 meet in any match this year in near future,odds will b heavily in favor of Rafa n Fed’ll b under extraordinary pressur,particularly becaus sometimes back,Fed was being widely hailed as as good as the best player/players 2 hav played in tennis hist.This is addin additional pressur on hm 2 perform.The sort of pressur situation Fed’s in right now,if he faces Nadal he ‘ll be more likely in a vulnerabl position.And some ppl are constantly remindin Fed dat Rafa’s better than him.So this scenario has rattled me n I m indeed gettin sillier than ever before. I m a huge huge Fed-fan. I lov him so much that I m more concerned about his performanc than my day-2-day affairs,I m not lying about this, I swear! And finally let me tel u ,I m fully tryin 2 convinc myself about Roger’s chances at Madrid,but unfortunately,it seems all my effort 2 this effect’s goin waste.I m feelin terribly upset when I realis dat only Rafa has a good chance n Madrid and remaining masters series tournaments.Reluctantly,but surely Rafa’s my safest bet 2 win Madrid masters.


MMT Says:

“Oh, you can’t be serious man, you CANNOT be serious! That ball was on the line! Chalk flew up! It was clearly in! How can you possibly call that out? How many more are you gonna miss? Look he’s walking over, everybody in this whole stadium knows it was good, and you call it out? Explain that to me, will ya’?”

Classic. There is a BBC documentary that confirms that ball was in fact, right on the line.


jane Says:

gulu,

You’re most certainly a dedicated and caring Roger fan! I would say he has an excellent chance to win the whole thing. Both Rafa and Fed will be challenged in their next round first. Fed by Murray, and Rafa by either Karlovic or Simon. If they both make it to the final, I don’t see Rafa as the favorite because this is hardcourts. Mind you, there is no doubt Rafa has played awesomely this year, winning in Canada, winning Olympic Gold, and all on hardcourts.

I’d say we just need to wait and see how they both do in the next round and that should tell us a little more about a potential Rafa vs. Fed final. Try to get through the day-to-day stuff as best as you can gulu; after all, much as we love tennis, it’s just a game! :-)


grendel Says:

“I never said Karlovic should retire”. Of course you didn’t. I was just being – as Jane suggested – a bit facetious whilst taking to its logical conclusion the utter dismissal which you dished out to poor Karlovic. ” Karlovic shouldn’t retire, he should develop a better, more rounded game”. But that’s exactly what he has done over the last 3 or 4 years. He is a much, much more rounded player than he used to be – and at his age, it is unrealistic to expect him to get any better. As it is, he’s not as bad as people say, and he’s certainly got more (in the groundstroke department) than the “NOTHING” you attribute to him. I think he adds to the game, myself – he’s something of a one-off, and whilst I wouldn’t want to watch him too often, I’m glad he’s around; he adds to the spice. He was also part of history. At Queens, when Nadal was battling away against the good doctor, he was seen to smile at someone in the crowd. It was the kind of smile which says: look, I’m in an amazing hurricane, you wouldn’t credit it – and I’m not doing so bad, am I? Nadal is a charmer off court, it was astonishing to see him smile on.

Jane: the trouble is, Fed’s forehand was working pretty well today as well, at least I thought it was, especially that short angled forehand which he seems to do better than anyone else.


zola Says:

grendel,
no need t say I liked your comment about Rafa. If you didn’t see the match with Feli today, watch the second point here. It was just fantastic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O00yOv-hg8

and this again for you and gulu and SS and other Fed fans from yesterday’s match:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6700wGy54Hk


zola Says:

I swear this site has a “post eating monster”. I pressed “submit comment” and my comment and its two links are gone!

let’s see if this one will make it!


NachoF Says:

Zola,

Heeey! Venezuela is not eliminated yeet!… Its just that we have never been to a world cup and we are definitely not on the right track to changing that (we are more of a baseball country so watch out for us at Baseball classic!)…. Im happy about Roger though…. even though hes not Venezuelan haha


gulu Says:

Jane, much is being talked about Fed n Rafa.But I must say I hav not forgotten about Nole.He may lose a few battles,but I m sure he’ll try 2 giv his all in d slams,which r lik wars 4 a tennis player.I somehow feel dat he’ll becom no.1 in futur 4 sure.


Von Says:

MMT:

So you agree that Johnny Mc does not use the contraction of CANNOT?

“Classic. There is a BBC documentary that confirms that ball was in fact, right on the line.”

I’ve seen the above and several others on the Tennis Channel, which are shown as fillers on Sunday evenings when they’re not broadcasting tournaments. The 10 worst, and McEnroe and Nastase are top billed. Hilarious. The present day players pale in comparison to those two.


gulu Says:

Now Rafa’s lik :-)


andrea Says:

is tennis-x on holiday and not bothering to update?

it seems like andy murray is finally starting to be the consistent top player that everyone hoped he would be. i wouldn’t be surprised if he takes over novak’s spot next year (assuming he stays at #3). he seems to be better mentally and physically.

his serve deserted him at the USO against roger. let’s see what he brings to the table tomorrow.


grendel Says:

Zola – good stuff. Simon impressed again today – and incidentally, Karlovic broke Simon about 3 times, I think, so he wasn’t completely inept – but I don’t give him any chance at all against your man. Barry Cowan got it right I think – to beat Nadal, you must bring power to the arena (among other things), which is exactly what Simon lacks. Guile is his thing, but that won’t do the trick.


gulu Says:

And Roger’s lik:-l


zola Says:

grendel,
It seems Rafa has a shoulder injury ( in addition to the famozz azz! injury) and was treated for it before the match. Apparently uncle Toni didn’t want him to play and he did. I am waiting for more news.

I just watched the tie-break ( very hard to get some work done with all this tennis!). But read that Simon averted 3 match points. He did so in his previous match too. He is a fighter and won’t let Rafa go so easily.

But if Rafa can pound those forehands as he did today, he should win.

I am also excited about Murray-Fed. Murray also has an ongoing knee problem, but seemed more than OK today. So tomorrow should be a great match.


Giner Says:

“So what should we expect from Dr. Ivo vs. Simon? 7-6, 7-6?”

That’s the only possible score with this guy, though following the pattern we would expect 7-5 7-5.

The score that he beat Djoko by doesn’t surprise me. 7-6 7-6.

My prediction is that Federer will make the final. Karlovic will play Rafa in the semis.

Scenario 1 is that Rafa beats Karlovic 7-6 6-7 7-6 and then is spent when the final comes less than 24 hours later. Federer wins the title in straight sets.

Scenario 2 is that Karlovic beats Rafa, and then the final is a coin flip. It’s about time Karlovic lucks out with his tie breaks enough times in a row to win a big title like this.

Karlovic needs 2 or 3 more coin flips to win his biggest title. It probably won’t happen however.


Giner Says:

jane Says:

“Speaking of polls, Tennis X’s latest one boasts 6,648 votes on which player people think will end the 2009 Season as the Number 1 player in the world:

5% think Rafa
0% think anyone else
94% think Roger.

Not much division in the ranks in this poll! (not sure why/how it adds up only to 99, but it is what it is).”

I noticed this too. Not surprising. When I last checked (I voted Rafa) it was like 3% Rafa, 96% Roger. That’s a pretty lopsided poll. I think RF.com’s fanatics have crashed the polls on this site. Federer has never lost a poll, or won without a huge margin.

The missing 1% is due to rounding errors. For example:

5.2% Rafa
94.4% Roger
0.4% Someone else

Each of those would have been rounded down.

It’s not a realistic poll, though the sample theoretically should have been representative. It just shows how pervasive and impassioned Fed fans are on this blog. They don’t all comment, but most readers are Fed fans. So the next time someone accuses readers of this blog as being anti-Federer, just point them to each and every poll…

I would wager that if you do a poll right now of who will finish 2008 as #1, Federer would still win it even though Nadal is one match away from sealing it.


NachoF Says:

I have always wondered about that… where are all these Federer fans??… they never post anything!… I can only think of gulu, sensationalsafin, and I think, grendel… and myself.


jane Says:

grendel, “especially that short angled forehand which he seems to do better than anyone else.”

Yes – this is a shot Fed uses to great effect; he used it on clay this year (where, in Monte Carlo?), and it was awesome, but he doesn’t use it a lot; I thought he’d use it more after the positive results he had with it on clay. He did make a few forehand errors today – overhitting, going for a little too much mainly, not so much shanking, so the right kind of errors, in a way, but I still say it’s slightly vulnerable, depending…and that maybe Murray can take advantage there.

Plus, against Fed, any opponent has to be all over his second serves to get break chances.

——————————-

NachoF, there are a number of others, but I think they only post sporadically, like andrea for instance, or FoT, or Fedex, or a bunch of others whose handles elude me at the moment. Anyhow, Fed’s looking stronger now, so maybe more will post again?


Beatrice Says:

“I have always wondered about that… where are all these Federer fans??… they never post anything!… I can only think of gulu, sensationalsafin, and I think, grendel… and myself.”

Hey NachoF, I´m with you!
Tennis is my life and Roger is just everything!
I´m a super fan!


Beatrice Says:

and Sean.. we´re waiting another post from you!


Kimmi Says:

i am a Fed fun too and I like to read some comments in here.


NachoF Says:

So you guys honestly think that Roger is who is most likely to be #1 at the end of the year??… I would love it but its almost impossible


Beatrice Says:

Yeah, this is almost impossible. If he had played Stockholm, who knows?
But now I don´t think it´s possible.
But I strongly believe he´ll be number 1 in the beginning of 2009.


Kimmi Says:

I think that poll have been there for a long time, before us open or even before summer hard court. Can’t exactly remember but I think its been there for a long time. People could have started voting then. And the odds were much stronger then..


NachoF Says:

Exactly… even after Wimbledon Federer was still number one… but he kept on losing and Nadal kept on winning…. makes me so mad to think about it.


Kimmi Says:

Well NachoF, blame the mono. Ooooops bad word !


Kimmi Says:

I think tennis is getting interesting now that nadal is sure to clinch no 1. Next season will be very good tennis. federer seem to be back again and murray, djoker will make it difficult for nadal to dominate everywhere. I just hope somebody will give him the run for his money on clay but unfortunatly can’t see anyone at the moment.


NachoF Says:

The only thing thats missing in my mind for Federer to completely redeem himself is beating Nadal at least ONCE!… he has this tournament and the Masters Cup to do it!…. I hope he gets the chance


Kimmi Says:

This tournament definetly he has a chance, but first thing first..Murray.. Murray is a very tricky, crafty player. I just hope fed does it tomorrow.
Nadal lefty top spin forehand is a bad match for fed backhand but if fed is on he can do it. And he is definetly starting to get the groove back.


gulu Says:

Kimmi, u r a Fed fan.So u r my new friend too! :-) I want u 2 trust our Roger.He’s d only guy who’s capabl of beatin Rafa on clay,whether or not Rafa’s at his best on clay.Ppl may make fun of my faith on Roger,but I simply cannot go back on my conviction.I still believ dat Roger’ll win French Open beatin Rafa,it may sound illogical or unwise or even funny! N Fed’ll definitely pressuris Rafa next year n wil take one of his clay titles away from him,don’t know which one thou.But d messag which I wanna giv u is dat Fed’s gonna giv Nadal a run 4 his money on clay next year. :-) Go Roger!!!


gulu Says:

N why u guys are so disapprovin of Fed fans’ passion 4 their hero? :-()


gulu Says:

And pleas don’t call d members of RF.com as fanatics! ;-) They r just as much fanatic as d fans of his opponents are.They r not d only fans who r extremely passionat 4 Roger n r disrespectful towards other players mind u!


gulu Says:

I hav seen fans of other players too who speak lowly of Roger n r dismissiv of him. :-( So none is to b censured too much unless one totally crosses all the limits of decency! It’s a humbl request 2 all of u! Enjoy choosin ur fav guys!


zola Says:

hey Kimmi, Beatrice,…are you new on this board, if so, welcome here.

So you guys are all wishing for Fed to beat Rafa in MAdrid? and I am supposed t say nothing?!

OK, here’s the deal:
If both Rafa and Fed reach the final and fed beats Rafa, you guys buy me and other Rafa fans virtual hot chocolates to help us forget the defeat. I promise I’ll do the same and buy you virtual hot chocolates ( and brownies) if Rafa beats Fed. what say you?


gulu Says:

I m not feelin particularly relieved at d moment.From what I read from d press forecasting Fed vs Murray semi,the body language n attitude of Murray seems 2 b alarming indeed! I m being pessimistic 4 d 1st time in my life regardin Fed when I think of Fed-Murray match today.What does it mean? Oh God,may Roger beat Murray to reliev me of my tension! :-(


gulu Says:

Dear Zola,chocolate is a very petty thing when u look at what d repercussions might b in d final if it’s a Fed-Rafa final particularly!I’m ready to get u chocolates if Fed wins! :-) But if Fed loses 2 Rafa I’d myself feel as sweet as one might feel when one’s drinkin bitter-gourd juice! :-( :-| :-) …..


gulu Says:

This is for u dear Von- :-)


gulu Says:

Oh Sean,plz don’t predict a win 4 Roger in d Madrid masters coz whoever u would favour to win is no way gonna win it!However I’d b very grateful 2 u if u predict a win 4 Rafa or anyone else against Fedex! ;-)


zola Says:

gulu dear,
I just saw that Fed lost to Murray. But he had a very good week and looks healthier. I am sure he will be even better in Paris.


gulu Says:

Dear Von,congrats to u! May be Rogi saved our money from being spent by losin 2 Murray!As per d conditions laid down by u, had Fed won against Rafa in d final of Madrid masters 2008,we were 2 buy u chocolates.But we don’t need 2 worry about it anymore.But Fed forgot dat we’d hv been more happy if he had done that in d final tomoro against Rafa.Givin a choc to a frnd lik u is not that much a burden after all. :-) But Fed decided otherwise.Oops I forgot 2 congratulat u on d confirmation of Rafa’s postion as d year end no.1 of 2008! Once again congrats Zola! :-)


gulu Says:

Oops my post sent at 1:13 pm is actually addressed @ Zola but by mistake I hav typed Von’s name at the beginning.So sorry Zola n sorry Von!Plz forgiv me 4 my mistake.I m not ok right now,that’s why I m doin such stupid mistakes.Hope both of u understand it! :-(


gulu Says:

Oops my post sent at 1:13 pm is actually addressed to Zola but by mistake I hav typed Von’s name at the beginning.So sorry Zola n sorry Von!Plz forgiv me 4 my mistake.I m not ok right now,that’s why I m doin such stupid mistakes.Hope both of u understand it! :-(


gulu Says:

My God,again a mistak? I in my post sent at 1:20 pm want 2 make just one change.In the first sentenc I should hav used d word ‘inteneded’ instead of addressed.Ok? I again wanna make it clear that my post sent at 1:13 pm is intended for Zola.


gulu Says:

BTW dear Von,hav u got my congratulatory messag to u on the other thread? I hope u r happy now dat Murray won a fantastic victory against Federer!Are u smiling lik :-) ?


gulu Says:

Hello Jane,wher r u? Many many congrats for Murray’s victory! He’s hot 2 say d least!


gulu Says:

Fedexpress will again pick pace,no doubt about it in my mind.Allez Roger!


gulu Says:

Dear Zola,I m sorry.I thought Nadal went 2 d final when a stupid friend of mine said 2 me dat Rafa won d match.I can’t believ that rascal(my friend) can b so sarcastic about Nadal.I got a rude shock right now 2 know dat Nadal lost 2 Simon.I sometime before wished u thinkin that Rafa’s throu 2 final n is thus guaranteed d year end no.1,but that’s not the case. Actually I couldn’t know about Rafa’s match coz I was busy posting here and also didn’t bother 2 look at d score of d other semi betn Rafa n Simon.I was almost teary eyed when I knew Fed losin 2 Murray.Even Roger’s match I had not seen ,but was just able 2 know about d match from my friend.He said that Roger played fantastic but Murray played better.


gulu Says:

Dear Zola,I m sorry.I thought Nadal went 2 d final when a stupid friend of mine said 2 me dat Rafa won d match.I can’t believ that rascal(my friend) can b so sarcastic about Nadal.I got a rude shock right now 2 know dat Nadal lost 2 Simon.I sometime before wished u thinkin that Rafa’s throu 2 final n is thus guaranteed d year end no.1,but that’s not the case. Actually I couldn’t know about Rafa’s match coz I was busy posting here and also didn’t bother 2 look at d score of d other semi betn Rafa n Simon.I was almost teary eyed when I knew Fed losin 2 Murray.Even Roger’s match I had not seen ,but was just able 2 know about d match from my friend.He said that Roger played fantastic but Murray played better.Most of d guys out here r also saying d same thing.So I hope it was a good win indeed for Murray!However Rafa still has time 2 pursue 4 d year end no.1 n he should get it finally(I m sure he will get it).That’s all I could wish for Rafa.However always remember one thing,be a true Rafa fan,support him irrespectiv of what happens to him or how he fares in d future.Fed has given me priceless n memorabl moment in this sad life of mine,that’s why I lov Fed so much! I m sure Rafa too has given u some moments of extraordinary joy!That’s d reason why I always support Roger n that’s too d reason why u must support Rafa!Take care,I’ll post to u later.Remember that when d whole world’ll start to criticise Rafa , if God-forbidding he starts 2 play less better than his potential,even then u will find that there’ll b one friend of yours who’d defend Rafa against his haters at all cost and that friend,I m sure will b none other than me.


Von Says:

Hi gulu:

Thank you for your smiles and congratulatory good wishes. I’m so sorry your Rogi lost, but I’m smiling because one of my Andys is playing in the final, and the Brits have another hero. At least this way your Rogi’s H2H against Nadal is status quo. It could have been worse if he had lost to nadal tomorrow. It’s taken a long time for the Brits to end their tennis drought, but it’s slowly happening, and I’m so happy for them. they’re my people too! :P Maybe Murray will win the ’09 OZ, and then they can truly clelbrate their Champion. He’ll keep the good ol Union Jack a flyin’. !! :P

I wanted for either Murray or your Rogi to win the final, but I also wanted for Murray to have a USO rematch against Nadal. Anyway, this is just as good. I doubt whether Simon will have a lot left in reserves to really challenge Murray, we’ll see. My picks are a little off. I picked Karlovic to win yesterday and to lose to Nadal today, and then Nadal , who would have lost to your Rogi or my Andy tomorrow, but that didn’t happen. I also want for the race at the top to remain close, so both Nadal and Fed losing in the SF is still keeping it close. Their losses have even helped Djoko to remain closer made the difference between Murray and Djoko even closer. everybody is a winner now, because they’ve remained somewhat status quo. WOW, what a scenario next year is going to be at the OZ. I can’t wait. So dear gulu, mon ami, here’s to your Rogi coming back stronger in Bercy and the TMC, which will be a firecraclker TMC, due to the new faces that will be playing there, and hopefully, he’ll remain at No. 2 and not go lower. Tennis is becoming very exciting again, and it’s absolutely wonderful for the fans. Here’s my usual complement of smiles for you dear gulu to brighten your day and lift up your spirits because I know you must be a little upset over your Rogi’s loss. Don’t worry, be happy, and keep the faith. :P :D :) :( :o


gulu Says:

Giles Simon,all my best wishes for you man!Go n fight ot out with Murray.U hav beaten Roger means u can beat every other player.So u too try ur best!


gulu Says:

I too can’t wait to see Fed gettin his 14th slam next year.Why not start from OZ Open title itself?Go Roger go! Aus Open title, may be is waitin 4 u!


zola Says:

lovely gulu,
I posted you something a while ago and it is not here!

Anyway, don’t worry. I know you always have the best of intentions. Maybe your friend didn’t know it either. So don’t be mad at him/her.

Rafa is the year-end no 1, because Fed lost in the semis too. So, that’s a relief. I think they both have done a lot this year. They should both rest their body and get ready for 2009.

I start believeing in Simon. Rafa had 22 breakpoints and could not convert them . Unbeleivable! I hope Simon has enough in the tank for tomorrow’s match.

A win by either of them will be fine with me, although I give the edge to Murray.

Thanks also for defending Rafa. Means a lot to me. You are a great person, because you want to see all those around you happy. :)


JCF Says:

Well well.. looks like I was wrong on both my picks for the final. Neither Rafa vs Federer, and Karlovic vs Federer matchups actually materialised. Simon vs Murray. Oh well, from the scoreline both Feds and Rafa must have played well despite losing.

It would have been nice to see another great clash between the two.

My head says Murray will win the title, but since whatever I say ends up being the reverse of what actually happens, I guess Simon will win the title.


Giner Says:

The above was posted by me, Giner.

I used Internet Explorer today, and it still had his name filled in from a while ago. Normally I use Firefox and all the fields clear themselves automatically making me enter my name in every time I post.


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