Verdasco Chokes in Fifth Against Nadal; Williams Win Doubles at Australian Open
by Staff | January 30th, 2009, 11:09 am
  • 92 Comments

Nadal Outlasts Hot Sauce in Tiring Five-Setter in Aussie Open Semis

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal’s fitness and sometimes-painful knees will be tested in the Australian Open final against Roger Federer after the Spaniard survived a five-set encounter on Friday with countryman Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, prevailing 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(2), 6-7(1), 6-4 in the longest recorded match in Australian Open history.


“I’m feeling very happy more than tired,” Nadal told reporters. “It was one of the best matches in my career…Fernando was playing unbelievable. Today he deserved this win, too.”

Verdasco had only won one set off Nadal in their six previous meetings, but set the tone by capturing the opening set with the aid of a lucky net cord dropping over in the tiebreak. Nadal broke in the 10th game of the second set to eventually even things at one-set all.

Nadal could not hold on to a two-break lead in the third, but finally put the set away in the tiebreak. The fourth set also went to a tiebreak with Nadal seven points from the match, but Verdasco unleashed a flurry on winners to take it to a fifth and deciding set.

Serving at 4-5 in the fifth and past the five-hour mark, Verdasco was undone by nerves. Verdasco double faulted to give Nadal a 40-0 lead, then two points later double faulted on match point.

“Tennis is like this sometimes, no?” Verdasco told reporters on two of his four doubles faults in the match coming in the final game. “What can I do? I was trying the same like in all the other games in the match. But, you know, just to try a good second serve, I played two double-faults.”

Nadal won all four of his meetings with Federer last year, two in Grand Slam finals.

Always one to hold Federer on high, Nadal says the world No. 2 Swiss is the greatest player to ever take the court in Melbourne or any other venue.

“In my opinion he’s already the best in history,” Nadal said. “Always our matches are very tough.”

It will be even tougher for Nadal after the grinder against Verdasco, who says he will be rooting for his countryman.

“Is also a pity that now for Rafa for sure that he won the match that he played that long match for the final, when Roger played one day before and a much shorter match,” Verdasco said of the two semifinals. “It is really a pity. I want him to be 100% to play that final and to try to win. I lost against him. He’s a big friend. I wish him the best of luck in the final. I hope that he will win.”

Williams Wins 8th Slam Doubles at Aussie Open

Sisters Venus and Serena Williams won their eighth Grand Slam doubles title Friday at the Australian Open, defeating Slovak Daniela Hantuchova and Japan’s Ai Sugiyama 6-3, 6-3.

“It’s definitely as good as the other seven,” Venus Williams told reporters. “We complement each other on the court. We know when the other one moves what the other one needs to do to compensate for that or to add to it.”

Serena said the doubles final was the perfect warm-up for facing Russian Dinara Safina in the Aussie Open singles final.

“It definitely helps my singles,” Serena Williams said. “It improves my volleying, opening up the court, seeing the court better.”

Eight out of the sisters’ 13 career doubles titles have come at Grand Slams: 2009–Australian Open; 2008–Wimbledon, Olympics; 2003–Australian Open; 2002–Wimbledon; 2001–Australian Open; 2000–Wimbledon, Olympics; 1999–Hannover, Roland Garros, US Open; and 1998–Oklahoma City, Zurich.

The Williams sisters have only lost one career doubles final, in 1999 at San Diego.

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS

The winner of the Serena Williams and Dinara Safina final will also become No. 1. The loser No. 2…

Serena Williams has now won more prize money than any other professional female athlete…

Rafael Nadal is 37-3 career vs. left-handed players…

Nadal serving in the fourth set 3-4, 40-30 v. Verdasco is right up there among the best points you will see. The second-to-last point of the second set is also one to remember as is the first point of the fourth set tiebreak…

Melbourne’s Crown Plaza Hotel & Casino, which also is home to Roger Federer, had to be evacuated because of a power outage just prior to the Nadal-Verdasco match…

Serena Williams has 9 career Slam titles, the Safin family 2. Serena has also won 13 Grand Slam matches in a row and she’s reached the last three Slam finals…

Andy Roddick and Roger Federer finished their 3-set match in about the same time Nadal-Verdasco completed two sets…

The second game of the third set took about as long as the third set of Roger Federer-Juan Martin del Potro…

Serena Williams is 9-3 in Grand Slam finals, Dinara Safina is 0-1. Venus, who has also reached 13 Slam finals, is 7-6…

The heat wave has subsided in Melbourne as temps this weekend should be in the mid 90s. Look for the roof to be open for both finals…

Serena Williams is 34-0 at the Australian Open when she wins the first set…

Serena Williams owns 32 career titles, Dinara Safina 9…

2008 Australian Open winner Maria Sharapova will fall out of the WTA Top 10 for the first time since July 5, 2004…

The last No. 1 seed to win a women’s Slam was Justine Henin at the 2007 US Open…

On hardcourts, Serena Williams has won 8 of 9 sets against Dinara Safina…

The 5-hour, 14-minute epic played by Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco was the longest match ever at the Australian Open, and the longest match ever played by both players…

Has a Grand Slam semifinal ever finished after 1am local time?…

Fernando Verdasco hit 96 winners against Nadal. But two double faults in the final game did him in…

Rafael Nadal is 9-3 career in five-set matches…

While the U.S. still can’t get the Williams sisters to play Fed Cup, the defending champ Russians will front Australian Open semifinalist Elena Dementieva and former US Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova against China…

FEDERER NOT THE GREATEST? — Roger Federer says don’t call him the greatest player of all-time, as it is too hard to compare generations. “Probably we’ll never quite know who was the greatest of all time in tennis, and I think that’s quite intriguing as well. Of course, if somebody goes off and wins 35 Grand Slams then you made your point as a player. But still, I think it’s fantastic that they named the centre court after Rod Laver who did so much for tennis. I mean, 14 is more the new generation, the Open era. I could maybe become the greatest of that era, but never of all time. I’m very well aware of that. I think it’s an incredible opportunity to do well.”…

SORRY, DON’T SUE US — Reuters has an apology to make under duress of being sued by British player Robert Dee: “Our report on April 22, 2008, suggested that Robert Dee had not won a professional match in three years and had the worst record in professional tennis. Our report was based on the ITF and ATP definitions of their professional circuits. We accept that during the period Mr Dee won many matches in professional tournaments in Spain, including 20 matches in the previous 12 months alone, and that our story was therefore inaccurate. We apologise to Mr Dee.”…

Former Top 10er Paradorn Srichaphan is undergoing hand/wrist surgery, and the 29-year-old hopes to make a comeback by the second half of 2009…

Dinara Safina says if she beats Serena Williams in the Aussie Open final she will treat herself with a chocolate cake. No word on if Marat gets a piece or not…


Also Check Out:
Safina Chokes Again as Williams Sisters Advance to Wimbledon Final
ATP World Tour Finals TV Schedule
John McEnroe Rips Doubles, Says He’ll Take Federer/Nadal Over The Bryans Any Day!
Nadal Chokes On Blue Dirt In Stunning Loss; Federer, Djokovic Cruise; Sharapova v Serena Friday
Serena Williams: I Don’t Know If This Is The Best I’ve Ever Played

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92 Comments for Verdasco Chokes in Fifth Against Nadal; Williams Win Doubles at Australian Open

jane Says:

This is a sweet comment by Verdasco: ““Is also a pity that now for Rafa for sure that he won the match that he played that long match for the final, when Roger played one day before and a much shorter match,”. “It is really a pity. I want him to be 100% to play that final and to try to win. I lost against him. He’s a big friend. I wish him the best of luck in the final. I hope that he will win.””

At least Verdasco didn’t roll over for his friend!!

Some of Nadal’s stats in that match (according to Bob Larson):
- had 52 winners
- had 25 UEs
- offered 4 break points
- had 20 break points
- is 11-3 in 5 setters


evie Says:

What a horrible, disrespectful headline to a great match and great heart by Nando. Shame on “The Staff.”


andrea Says:

damn verdasco. so close! unbelievable that he won the third set tiebreaker 7-0.


margot Says:

I was beginning to agree with Mary that this tournament had been “disappointing” and then Verdasco steps forward. What a player! What a match! The best since Wimbledon final 2008.
Hope 2009 is a gr8 one for Fernando!


bobby Says:

Who is this `staff’.It is one of the most absurd headlines ever.It was one of the best matches ever at australian open.To describe that in such a worthless heading is really shameful.


margot Says:

P.S. Completely agree with Evie. Give the guy a break, it was his first semi in an open.


Von Says:

I think Verdasco played an excellent match. It was action packed from the first ball struck to the last. If he continues in this mode he’ll be winning titles very soon and will be a force with which to be reckoned. Great job!!


Max Says:

Jane – sounds like Verdasco is aiding his compatriot in the excuses department. Only the Spanish, boy oh boy and good grief!

Great match though.


King Roger Says:

The title is so disrespectful to both players who have given us a fantastic match. I think the guy who wrote this report is an Indian.


Kiwi Says:

Yep time to sack those those worthless morons if they can’t come with a better headline.

Hope it’s not that Sean’s guys idea, he’s so boring and inane the articles he puts out are beyond unreadable. Kind of smells of him, and if i’m right sack the twat…and maybe you can recapture the qulity you had a few years back.


jane Says:

I agree with the folks here – Verdasco deserves more credit. I watched his matches against Andy Murray and Jo Will Tsonga and they both were excellent.

Well Max, I think he has a point given that it was the longest match in AO history, and I just thought it was nice the way he was worried about Nadal’s chances. But either way, it doesn’t matter.

I am sure Nadal will bring his best effort to the final, as will Federer. And Fed’s the favorite in a hard court final anyhow.


Samprazzz Says:

Great headline. He did choke at the end. 2 double-faults when you’re serving at 4-5? What else can you call it?


Thangs Says:

Enough serena stats..horrible..
wish nadal wins on sunday


jane Says:

The news reports are gushing about this match; clips are already up on youtube. It sounds like a phenomenal match, which should be touted as such. Thankfully the replay’s on right now, so I can watch.


Ra Says:

I also agree that this headline is inappropriate and disrespectful. And, in my mind, after 5 hours and 14 minutes of blistering athleticism against the world number 1 on the biggest stage Verdasco has every reached, I can scarcely begin to consider any lapse that the combination of fatigue, nerves, desperation, and hope may have caused to be a “choke”.

andrea, I believe you are thinking of the 4th set tiebreak which he won 7-1 (still absolutely remarkable); Nadal took the 3rd set tiebreak 7-2.

King Roger, what in the world does the author’s ethnicity have to do with it? Here, I’ll answer for you since I’m already leaving a comment: Absolutely nothing.


Hypnos Says:

Samprazzz,

Can you “choke” if you’re *behind* in the score? Certainly, he was not “clutch” in his serving.

A great performance by Verdasco nonetheless, and I think the headline overemphasizes the last game. Sometimes double faults come in bunches, even when you’re not nervous …


that_matt Says:

I stayed up all night watching that match! What a great great match. **drools** If the final is that good we’d be spoiled. The headline is sort of rude, but true. Verdasco had Nadal 0-30 at 4-4 in the 5th set then played 2 miserable points in a row. Then his service game at 4-5 was a sad/choke game. I don’t really care though. Verdasco played one of the best matches with Nadal I’ve ever seen.


HARVIN Says:

Five hours,fourteen minutes….two lefties….incredible.I have a tough time taking off my tennis shoes after hitting for two hours with the boys at Plummer Park in LA.
Two questions…1)How do the men do it? 2) Why don’t the girls do it,too?


jane Says:

OMG! Over an hour into the first (yes, first) set and I am in awe. What great tennis. Fernando is the Tsonga of this year, not question, even if he didn’t make the final.


Ra Says:

On another topic, why do there seem to be so many bad calls at this tournament? I’m curious to know if that’ll be reflected in the number of correct challenges (although the variable is by no means isolated) when all is said and done. In this match, the challenges actually decided who I was rooting for when, deep into it, Verdasco had to challenge calls only to replay points and lose them abruptly. It’s especially painful to see as an end to a fierce rally that would have left the recipient of the bad call in a dominant position. It’s also awful when it happens on a solid first serve – particularly when the victim of such a call nets their next attempt.

Am I the only one who’s wondering what’s up with the line judges? I mean, come on, Fed goes 5 for 5? What are the chances unless someone out there is blind in one eye?


Ra Says:

Oh, and even more so when a match with such calls ends with a one point difference overall (193-192). One huge redeeming thing, though, is that I don’t believe either of those I mentioned actually cost anyone a game.


jane Says:

Ra,

Are you suggesting the line judges are seeing what they’d like to see perhaps? I missed the Federer vs. Roddick semi, and the bad call there, so I can’t say much on that. But I did see the “Hawkeye” glitch at a key moment when he was playing Federer.

Anyhow, I agree it seems totally unfair when players make a shot and then have to replay it due to a wrong call! Same with those serves you mention.


jane Says:

Sorry this should read “when he was playing Berdych”


that_matt Says:

the new replay system is not accurate, it’s a gimmick, and unfortunately it’s too popular to be done away with.


Debra Gardner Says:

Well, I’m proud of both players! I really hope Rafa doesn’t have to slug it out for another four hours, although I tend to rather like longer matches, but he just won’t get the time to recover for another marathon. I’m pulling for him to win it though, even though I think roger actually will. I wonder if they will do a DVD on this one, and also does anyone know if this is the longest continuously played match? I know there have been a couple of six hour matches, but they were over two days. I dislike the word “choke” and wish it hadn’t been used, even if what happened might come under that term. It just sounds disrespectful to someone who played that long before he did it..


Von Says:

Ra:

I think the umpires are not doing their jobs, and the linespeople are very inept also. it seems that the umpires feel if the players don’t like the calls they can challenge, but that’s not fair to the players.

In the Fed v. Roddick match, there were two bad calls within a couple minutes of the other on the same line, which ended up in Roddick losing a point. He was standing very close to the ball and it was called out. The umpire argued that in his opinion, Roddick could not have gotten to the ball and therefore it wasn’t necessary to replay the point. Of course this angered Roddick.

I think ATP needs to enforce more diligence by the umpires, who sit in their chairs like mummies, instead of paying attention to the match.


saara Says:

the headline made me groan–that was the best match i’ve ever seen, and the fact that it ended on a double fault was such a shame. but to say he choked? no way, dude. he rose to the occasion and played 5 amazing sets of tennis. poor call on the headline. you guys just lost a lot of credibility–i can’t trust your summaries of matches i haven’t seen now.


Jean-Luc Says:

Epic battle, definitely a classic to remember. So, hat’s off to Rafa & Nando. Otherwise, I do agree: the WORST headline to summarize an extroadinary 5 hr 15 min match. Again only three(!) double faults for Nando, so staff if I were you I will revise a lousy review.


that_matt Says:

it may be a bad headline, but it’s true. he did choke, it’s not the end of the world.

he double faulted twice in his last service game. that’s a choke.


redux Says:

Extraordinary build-up to Sunday. This appears almost scripted. Nadal reaches the final and is going to be the player standing between Federer and Grand Slam title no.14! I think this is the best scenario Federer could have asked for – possibly beating Nadal after a year-long drought to equal the all-time record.

They should both be celebrated and appreciated. They are each other’s counterparts. It’s like Lennon/McCartney, or maybe even Beatles vs Stones. Two contrasting sensibilities combined into a fruitful dialogue… sometimes. Too bad there can never be neutrality in sports spectatorship at large. Every team has it’s fanatics. Emotional investment is the root of conflict. You see it in sports, religion, politics, personal relationships, crime and justice, etc. As I sit back and watch (or not) these posters hurl bombs of mis-projected pride to no avail, I encounter page after page of proof that there will always be conflict and human suffering in the world because everybody wants to carry around the bigger d*ck, figuratively speaking (mainly) …until the inevitable human gene-modification down the road turns us into automatons, or something to that effect. Just enjoy the match and do your best not to have a heart attack.

“Big ups” to Roddick. He’s perennial!


sar Says:

Nadal is encroaching on all Fed’s territories now.The problem is that Fed is not even getting close at RG. Rafa showed Fed after a couple of years of losing to him at Wim that he could finally take it from him on grass. Now on hardcourts Nadal has come in position to take it away from Fed. Will he do it the first time? Maybe not, but it’s coming soon. I hope Rafa can pull it off now.


Kimmi Says:

“”Roger is going to have a little advantage with one day’s rest and only three sets so he’s for sure the favourite but I’m going to try my best to recover.” says Rafa

Rafa is playing mind games again !!


jane Says:

This match is SO good. Rafa just played a fantastic point at 4 all in the 4th! Fernando even had to smile. And then Fernando follows it up with another!

Kimmi I didn’t interpret that as “mind games”; it is what it is. Seems quite the truthful, really. I actually wonder why the men’s semis are spread out over two days at this slam whereas the women’s are both on the same day. I was wondering about that last year when Tsonga was done with Rafa and Djokovic was still playing against Roger the next day. In that case, they were both straight set wins, so wasn’t really brought up much. Anyhow.

I just hope the final is good. It will be hard pressed to top this semi! I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with Verdasco.


I like tennis bullies Says:

missing tennisx headline: BERDYCH CHOKES AWAY TWO SET LEAD AGAINST FEDERER…


andrea Says:

ha ha. love the berdych chokes headline. he did the same thing last year against fed….

i know that nadal played for so long but with more than a day off i don’t know if that will be such a big deal this early in the season. i still think he’ll fight in the final, although my gut says it will go to fed and won’t be as amazing as the semi.

i’m watching the n/v match now and i’m liking the lefty to lefty dynamic – seems to be throwing nadal off.


osazone4real Says:

verdasco played an amazing game 95 winners,but also rafa played great.

If rafa looses gainst fed,it should not be blamed on the extra day rest,raja has showed that he can beat a rested nada on hardcourt.for sure as a diehard rafa fan i want him to win,but my head tells me all evidence points towards raja.

I had hoped berdych takes out raja and my former favourite roddick would possibly have added one more GS but my wishes didnt come true


jane Says:

“he did the same thing last year against fed….” Yep he did choke last year too, only it was a straight set choke. This one was much worse: Berdych came out swinging and had a two set lead for crying out loud. Oh well.


Giner Says:

It’s a good thing these guys didn’t have to wait for a women’s match to finish before they could go out. They just played the longest match in AO history, and Nadal was close to going down two sets to love.

I just hope he recovers in time for a good final.

Fed vs Rafa, my dream final, which I hope to see repeated at Wimby and RG, and even USO if possible.


Giner Says:

Rafael Nadal a quirky No. 1

Leo Schlink

January 24, 2009 12:00am

RAFAEL Nadal is a social scientist’s dream. His idiosyncracies have generated almost as much discussion as his fearsome groundstrokes.

The Spaniard’s locker-room antics no longer take his peers by surprise, as they once did.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a term groundlessly used in relation to the world champion.

But from even before the first ball is hit until the last, Nadal is a moving feast of quirks.

He does kangaroo jumps in the changeroom before the match.

Once he strolls on court, there is the precision placement of two drink bottles – both containing water.

This habit continues on the changeovers.

Before the battle begins, there is usually a delay for his opponent and umpire as Nadal makes sure everything is in order.

This runs to shoelaces, racquets, wristbands, towels – and the water bottles.

Once out on court, Nadal undergoes another metamorphisis. As soon as the toss is completed to decide who is serving and choice of ends, Nadal is like a boxer.

He sprints to the baseline, bouncing on the balls of his feet – an intimidating sight.

Once the match starts, there are even more quirks.

On clay, Nadal routinely cleans the lines with his shoes.

There is the long pre-serve routine and the involuntary picking of his shorts.

There are the hunched fist pumps and cries of “Vamos” – the Spanish equivalent of Lleyton Hewitt’s “C’mon”.

Even after the match, there are more quirks.

The removal of the bandana is a tradition. And whenever Rafa wins, there is the customary biting of the trophy.


Giner Says:

‘Serving at 4-5 in the fifth and past the five-hour mark, Verdasco was undone by nerves. Verdasco double faulted to give Nadal a 40-0 lead, then two points later double faulted on match point.

“Tennis is like this sometimes, no?” Verdasco told reporters on two of his four doubles faults in the match coming in the final game. “What can I do? I was trying the same like in all the other games in the match. But, you know, just to try a good second serve, I played two double-faults.”’

This is why I’m glad Verdasco didn’t get through. As a GS final debutante, he would have been crushed in straight sets by Fed as the rest of his victims were on their first time. Plus Verdasco will have been spent after his last 3 matches.

At least Nadal has experience going into it. Fed will be pleased that Rafa had to exert himself that long and gets a day less break, but I think he should recover.

“Rafael Nadal is 37-3 career vs. left-handed players…”

True, though he is a leftie that doesn’t like playing other lefties.


Giner Says:

“Anyhow, I agree it seems totally unfair when players make a shot and then have to replay it due to a wrong call! Same with those serves you mention.”

It’s a tough job being a line judge. I certainly couldn’t do it. You don’t have much time to see the ball, and then you have to be really quick in deciding whether it touched the line slightly or not. And you can’t blink, plus you have to stand and lean forward for hours. If I was calling it, my success rate might be 25% at best.

Yeah I hate it when the point has to be replayed and the recipient of the bad call was in control, and then loses. Just as I hate when a first serve was good but is called out and replayed because it was touched, then the first serve is a fault.

What also sucks is when a second serve is called out, challenged and overturned, then they get a first serve because the point is replayed. Or even if a challenge forces a replay during a rally which began with second serve. In my opinion, they shouldn’t replay the point with a first serve.

And the thing that irks me most is when a line judge calls ‘OUT!’ and quickly follows with ‘CORRECTION!’. That’s the worst thing. They shouldn’t have called it in the first place.

This is why I think Tennis would be better served when Hawkeye calls ALL the shots and makes the linesmen redundant. That way challenges aren’t needed, calls are more accurate than the eye, no arguing with the umpire, no replays, and the game proceeds quicker.

“In the Fed v. Roddick match, there were two bad calls within a couple minutes of the other on the same line, which ended up in Roddick losing a point. He was standing very close to the ball and it was called out. The umpire argued that in his opinion, Roddick could not have gotten to the ball and therefore it wasn’t necessary to replay the point. Of course this angered Roddick.”

I saw that point. In the replay, Roddick let it go before it bounced. The umpire made the right call.

“the headline made me groan–that was the best match i’ve ever seen, and the fact that it ended on a double fault was such a shame. but to say he choked? no way, dude. he rose to the occasion and played 5 amazing sets of tennis. poor call on the headline. you guys just lost a lot of credibility–i can’t trust your summaries of matches i haven’t seen now.”

By now, if you haven’t realised yet, ‘Staff’ is a very cynical and caustic person. He or she jumps on any opportunity to deride a person for controversy. It grabs people’s attention though.

“Nadal is encroaching on all Fed’s territories now.The problem is that Fed is not even getting close at RG.”

Fed has encroached on Rafa’s territory at RG for years now. He just hasn’t managed to evict him yet.

“I actually wonder why the men’s semis are spread out over two days at this slam whereas the women’s are both on the same day. I was wondering about that last year when Tsonga was done with Rafa and Djokovic was still playing against Roger the next day. In that case, they were both straight set wins, so wasn’t really brought up much. Anyhow.”

The reason is because women’s final is on Saturday effectively reducing the 14 day event into 13 days. They can’t have a player getting 2 days rest due to shorter duration. A day of rest has to be cut off, but they want both women to get one day of rest before the final instead of just one. So one pair of semifinalists has to play back to back qtrs and semis. That pair got day 1 off instead.

I like this system better than the US Open which makes men play back to back. What if you get extended to 5 sets in your semi, and another 5 sets in the final? That’s hard to recover for.

“I just hope the final is good. It will be hard pressed to top this semi! I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with Verdasco.”

Yeah he’ll be back. I think he will have good results this year. He’s in the top 10 now.

“If rafa looses gainst fed,it should not be blamed on the extra day rest,raja has showed that he can beat a rested nada on hardcourt.”

When did he do that? The 5 setter he won, Rafa was NOT rested, and the other 2 were TMC semi finals. They haven’t played at a GS on hard.

I do wonder if the attention at hard court slams will still be on Murray and Djokovic above Nadal though. He was about as under the radar as Roddick in this AO. Fed himself said Rafa surprisingly did not get any limelight.

Anyway, this is the matchup I’ve been salivating. Finally, no.1 vs no.2 on hardcourt.


jane Says:

That’s wasn’t a choke imo; I just finished watching it. Nadal was pressuring Verdasco’s serve the entire 5th set. He had him to love-40 I think at 4-3, and then at 4-5 he had him at love 30 before the first double fault. So I’d say the doubles were pressured. It’s not like Verdasco just threw them in; he was pressured. That didn’t seem like a choke to me anyhow.

It was a great match – a classic.


Giner Says:

I want to add that I’m very surprised Verdasco managed to last that long given how much on court time he’s had. This training he had with Agassi and Gil Reyes has really paid off, and Novak Djokovic should get the guy’s number.


Giner Says:

Hey look at the stats! For Nadal, 52 winners to 25 errors (+27), and Verdasco 95 winners to 76 errors (+19). I didn’t see the entire match but this was a high quality match because usually matches are won on errors (negative differential), not winners. The ace count was low for both players (12 and 20) so those winners were from exciting rallies, not boring aces.

Only 3 DFs for Nadal and 4 for Verdasco in a 5 hour match is very impressive.

First serve percentages were also incredibly high for a 5 set match. It’s hard to maintain 55% over that long, but they were 74% and 69%.

I would love to see the entire match, but knowing the result just takes away the tension.

P.S. I think I’ve figured out why tennis-x game Verdasco the “Hot Sauce” nickname. It sounds similar to Tabasco? Yeah I’m slow, I know. It just never clicked for me.


Giner Says:

A game of inches

Friday 30 January 2009
By Tom Kelly

At 1.08am, there shouldn’t have been a loser.

With five hours and 14 minutes on the board, there shouldn’t have been a loser.

With 95 winners to his name, Fernando Verdasco shouldn’t have been a loser.

But there was; he was.

And at the end of the day, the No. 14 seed’s double fault on match point was, extraordinarily, the only thing to statistically separate the two players. Of the 385 points played in the match, Verdasco won 192 – and his opponent one more. That one.

“Tennis is like this sometimes, no?” Verdasco said after the match.

“What can I do? I was trying the same like in all the other games in the match. But … just to try a good second serve; I played two double faults.”

After playing one of the most extraordinary matches in Grand Slam history, one can only sympathise with the vanquished Spaniard.

After all, up until this tournament Verdasco’s best Grand Slam showing had been the fourth round – reached on five occasions, but never at the Australian Open.

Now he has the ignominy of being on the losing end of the longest match in Australian Open history.

“Is sad … to play one match like this and lost after five hours. But, you know, for the other side, I need to be proud for the tournament I made and the level I played today also. I think it was unbelievable match.

“You know, we both played unbelievable … in these matches, five sets, [Nadal] is the toughest player. You know, and I was there all the time, too … for sure I will have this match in my mind all my life.”

Indeed he should.

Although Verdasco had never beaten the world No.1, this was by far their most closely-contested meeting.

Perhaps the Spaniard can now take solace that he belongs in the top ranks of men’s tennis.

“I’m so proud of all the things I made today and these two, almost two weeks,” Verdasco said.

“These matches, anyway, they are so long, there are so many chances for both players, so many situations, they can change a match. So is difficult to know everything.”

We do know one thing, however; Fernando Verdasco isn’t going to disappear any time soon.

——————————

According to Verdasco’s words, the double faults in the last game were not due to nerves on Verdasco, but him taking a risk and going for a big second serve. That is NOT choking. Choking is when your muscles tighten up and your movement is impaired due to nerves, your footwork suffers or is nonexistent when you hit the ball, and you miss. That’s nerves.

Having heard FV’s side of the story, I find this article’s headline in bad taste. I just did a Google News search for ‘Verdasco Nadal’ to find reports on that match, and nowhere did I see the word ‘choke’. Nor did it appear on the AO site. Professional articles used words like ‘outlasts’ instead. T-X has fallen victim to sensationalist tendencies.


Mary Says:

Verdasco, due to a voodoo curse put on him by a scorned ex-lover(who has plenty of time to do curses since she crashed out of the AO early), chokes in fifth against Nadal.

A tendency can only be classified as sensationalist if that headline contains a sexual innuendo. (Mary Law #69)

I don’t think it is a good idea to switch over to just hawkeye. Thanks to Giner I found out that the system does not work during certain parts of the day when shadows hand overhead.
Has there been wrong calls using it?


jane Says:

Exactly Giner: “According to Verdasco’s words, the double faults in the last game were not due to nerves on Verdasco, but him taking a risk and going for a big second serve. That is NOT choking. ”

And it was the pressure that Rafa was finally able to put on his serve that forced him to take those chances with his second serves. That was no choke. I’ve seen a lot of chokes.


jane Says:

LOL Mary – I like law #69, har har. However, I still think the title is totally wrong.


Russel Says:

To say Fernando “chokes” is in very poor taste. He played his heart out. Someone has to win and someone has to lose. Please give him the respect he deserves.


that_matt Says:

According to me Verdasco choked.


Giner Says:

I forgot about that yeah.

The technology could be improved to the point that all courts are equipped with it, and the shadows are not an issue.

“Verdasco, due to a voodoo curse put on him by a scorned ex-lover(who has plenty of time to do curses since she crashed out of the AO early), chokes in fifth against Nadal.”

Who dumped whom?

“Has there been wrong calls using it?”

There might have been, it’s hard to tell without a very slow motion camera replaying it to compare to Hawkeye’s projection. We aren’t using such a replay, so we don’t know. But it is much more accurate than the human eye, and if you are to review all its calls for accuracy and then review all human made calls, its success rate will be much higher. There have also been two known instances of Hawkeye glitching, one was when a Mauresmo ball was shown to be OUT but it said IN (the point was replayed), and I forgot the other glitch.

The question I can ask back at you is, “Has there been wrong calls made by human line judges before?” and we both know the answer to that.

It’s hard to believe that this Nadal/Verdasco match lasted longer than the Roddick/El Aynaoui match that went 21-19 in the fifth. Those two held their serves very quickly I guess, and played short points due to both having big serves.


that_matt Says:

Giner, going from one system that is inaccurate (human perception) to video camera technology (still inaccurate) does not signal improvement to me. It adds problems.

The way I see it, the replay system being inaccurate gives players an extra credit chance to get a point.

Now if a ball is millimeters out and the replay system’s range of innacuracy pushes the perimeter of the ball into the court for an “In” call it means an unjustified redo or winner/ace. Players recognize this and call for the replay system just on the hope this happens.


Gordo Says:

Is committing an unforced error a “choke” ? Because if so there are a lot of chokers out there.

That 5 hour match between those 2 was the best match I have ever seen, better than Borg-McEnroe at Wimbledon and better than Rafa-Roger last year and the reason I type this is that for virtually the entire match, in any set when the score was tied 4 all either of these two great Spaniards was in a position to win each set. The unforced error – winner ratio was sick for both guys.

Tell me – when has someone hit over 90 winners and LOST?

In what I personally considered the previous best match – the Borg-McEnroe 5 set classic, each player had one bad set and you could have had a nap waiting for the following set to begin. But…that 1/2 hour tiebreaker still ranks as the greatest tiebreaker of all time.

And last summer everyone seems to forget the number of unforced errors Fed was making in the first two sets. Quite frankly – he stank. Then, like in the match against Berdych he elevated his game and Rafa got a little tight. In the end Rafa was the better player, because he was the better player during those first two sets.

But as to it being the best match ever? It was exciting, okay, but 3 people I spoke to who were in attendance at that match said the match should have been stopped, and that Rafa won because he must have had better night vision. It is one thing to expect Djokovic to be fit, but to expect someone to be able to see in the dark?????

So what to expect in a day and a half?

I think Fed is going to produce a clinic on Sunday. 4 sets maximum, and if Laver is there – it could be over in 3. Partially due to Fed wanting to tie Sampras so badly, and part of it will be Rafa just being exhausted. I remember Fed bagelling Rafa on clay in Hamburg 3 years ago after Rafa had had a killer of a semi. I think we are seeing a repete here as Fed ties Sampras for most Grand Slams. (Get it – rePETE?)

But there sure are more pretenders now, and Murray and the Djoker can drop back into that field. Big Boy Tennis is back, and there are only 2 members – Roger and Rafa. The world is right as rain.


that_matt Says:

Gordo: “Is committing an unforced error a “choke” ? Because if so there are a lot of chokers out there.”

That is of course a rhetorical question.

Interesting: Verdasco had 4 double faults in 5 sets. 2 of them came in the last game.

You put the ball in play to win a point. Rule 1.


NachoF Says:

Gordo,

You honestly think Verdasco-Nadal A0 09 semifinal is the best match EVER??…. better than the best-player-ever-Roger-Federer-against his-eternal rival-current-World-Number-one-Nadal at the Wimbledon 08 5 setter and 5 hour FINAL??– where Federer was gonna break the record for most staright Wimbledon titles ever or Rafa was gonna be the only player since Borg to win FO and Wimbledon in the same year??… seriously?


Not a Federer fan Says:

Verdasco is taking steroids i mean how the f*** does one become so big and fit in 1 freakin month in the off season its crazy and bullshit. I want to see his drug test!!!!!


Giner Says:

that_matt Says:

“Giner, going from one system that is inaccurate (human perception) to video camera technology (still inaccurate) does not signal improvement to me. It adds problems.”

Only if the level of inaccuracy is equal, which it is not. 1% inaccuracy is better than 5% for instance. Humans make mistakes. Machines make errors, not mistakes. There’s a difference. A human’s eyes might get too dry and be forced to blink or go blind. Perhaps the call was so close that the human had to pause to consider carefully what they saw. A machine doesn’t have that problem.

“The way I see it, the replay system being inaccurate gives players an extra credit chance to get a point. ”

Or reverse a call that truly was incorrect. The only reason you can’t get the same chance to get a point with line judges is that you have no way to ‘replay’ the point to see it again.

I’ve thought about modifying surfaces to add an electronic mark on the court whenever the ball makes contact (the mark goes away so the court isn’t littered with marks) so that you can easily see it and there is no inaccuracy at all. I don’t think we’re at that stage yet however, except on clay.

“Now if a ball is millimeters out and the replay system’s range of innacuracy pushes the perimeter of the ball into the court for an “In” call it means an unjustified redo or winner/ace. Players recognize this and call for the replay system just on the hope this happens.”

I don’t think you’re worse off than if you let a linesman make a very bad call (such as when a ball is right on the line and called out, or clearly out but not called). 3.6mm is hawkeye’s error margin. That is extremely tiny. If hawkeye’s call was within that margin it could be wrong, but if that were the case, then the line judge could have been just as wrong, and more often. There’s no way to say that you would have been better off with a line judge’s call. Their margin of error is wider than Hawkeye’s, and just because Hawkeye got it wrong doesn’t mean that the line judge got it right.

“And last summer everyone seems to forget the number of unforced errors Fed was making in the first two sets. Quite frankly – he stank. Then, like in the match against Berdych he elevated his game and Rafa got a little tight. In the end Rafa was the better player, because he was the better player during those first two sets.”

Which match are you actually referring to? Some context would be nice.

“But as to it being the best match ever? It was exciting, okay, but 3 people I spoke to who were in attendance at that match said the match should have been stopped, and that Rafa won because he must have had better night vision. It is one thing to expect Djokovic to be fit, but to expect someone to be able to see in the dark?????”

Again, what match are you referring to this time? Rafa’s night vision should not make any difference if you are referring to the AO semi with Verdasco. Unlike at Wimbledon and the French, AO (and USO) is played under the lights. That’s the only way you can have late night finishes.


Giner Says:

“Their margin of error is wider than Hawkeye’s, and just because Hawkeye got it wrong doesn’t mean that the line judge got it right.”

I should rephrase this as it’s obviously a contradiction.

What I meant to say is, just because hawkeye can get it wrong when it’s within 3.6mm doesn’t mean that a human eye can’t be. You’re either putting faith in a human’s eyes (who sees about 60 frames per second) or a high speed camera’s lens which can see thousands of frames per second.

When it’s that close you can never say one’s call is preferable to another’s, because you have no way of knowing which one was right, therefore it doesn’t make a difference. Your criticism is negated.

Challenging a very close ball and getting a chance to be awarded a point could be unfair if Hawkeye is wrong. But you have no way of knowing that Hawkeye is wrong, and therefore cannot know that it is unfair. If you don’t know, then how can it matter? It could have been right, it could have been wrong. Maybe over 100 challenges it comes out to be 50/50.


that_matt Says:

Giner, I don’t necessarily disagree with you on many of your interesting ideas, but you are not responding to the idea I brought up of players getting a redo point or winners/aces based on the replay system.

You’re talking about your opinion of the replay system as compared to line judges. How you see one as being more fair than the other. That’s fine. However, I was talking about the added redo or winner/ace that the replay system gives players. So if you’d like to comment on that idea or not is up to you.

Also, where I definitely disagree with your reasoning and I’m sure you will to, if we put sentiment aside, is this statement of yours: “Or reverse a call that truly was incorrect.”

That does not fly, by your very words. You say that the replay system is inaccurate. When you say a call was “truly … incorrect.” Where do you get that information? Is there a 100% way to figure out the “truly” correct call? If you know of it, I’d like to know too please!

Also, please don’t attribute those other two quotes to me about the Berdych/Federer stuff. I’m sure you didn’t mean to but it comes across that way in your reply.


that_matt Says:

Giner: “Challenging a very close ball and getting a chance to be awarded a point could be unfair if Hawkeye is wrong.”

That’s what I like to hear.

Giner: “If you don’t know, then how can it matter?” It matters that you don’t know. That you don’t know is the point. Which is why I think the replay system is a gimmick. What’s the improvement of it over human error?

As you say: “getting a chance to be awarded a point could be unfair if Hawkeye is wrong.” That situation only exists because Hawkeye exists. Great improvement over human error I must say. <– That’s sarcasm.


Daniel Says:

I am kiling myself because I coudn’t watch the end of this spectacular match. Nadal is really something, I can`t count in two hands the number of amazing shots!! Spectacular!

I am desperatlly rooting for Fed, he just can’t lose this match, will hurt him more than Wimbledon I think.
I can’t even imagine it.

P.S. One thing in Fed’s favor, the N. 1 player didn’t won any of the last 4 Slams, so…


Kimmi Says:

Whatever happens tomorrow, history will be made !
1. federer matching samprass 14
2. Nadal winnig slams in all surfaces since Andre agassi.

If Nadal become a consistence force in HC slams then he has a possibility of matching or surpassing the slam record. bandwargon anyone ??

Nadal to take every ball and serve to federer’s backhand, I hope fed backhand is ready for the onslaught.


jane Says:

That’s true Kimmi – also, I think (?) If were Rafa were to win he’d be the first Spaniard to win the Australian Open.


Tejuz Says:

well.. somehow i feel like this is a matchup similar to when Sampras won his 14th grandslam when he beat his arch rival Agassi in 4 tie-breaks at US Open 2002.


Tejuz Says:

and remember Sampras has lost his prev 2 GS finals to Hewitt and Safin… jus like fed.


NachoF Says:

I dont see how people compare this to Sampras´ last GS trophy… I feel Federer is still capable of getting many more GSs… he is still no2 in the world… and Im pretty sure when Sampras won that last GS he wasnt even top 5… it was one hell of a good-bye comeback… as weird as that might sound


sar Says:

I think Nadal will turn out to be the GOAT.


Tejuz Says:

well… NachoF.. am not saying this will be fed’s last GS trophy if he wins it. I just said, there were some similarities.. like

Both had lost their two prev finals.
Both are playing their arch rivals (though i guess Fed has played Nadal in more GS finals than Pete and Andre)
And both were/are going for their 14th GSlam

i feel it will be tough battle.. but Fed has the edge since its a night match under lights and ball doesnt bounce as high as during the day. But he should have a great serving day for sure and he’ll need some free points of them.

Either way, its great to see these two guys play each other on the greatest of stages so consistently. 3 of the last 4 finals against each other.. Fed featuring in all four. well.. Murray and Djoker still have a lottttt to achieve before their names can be taken in the same breath as these two. I am huge Fed Fan.. but i dont mind whoever wins this final as long as its a tough battle. As per tradition Nadal goes one-step further at the Au open.. so he has done that this year.. so i hope he doesnt win it here and rather win it next year.


Tejuz Says:

and yeah.. one more similarity… Both are/were playing their 18th GS final… though Fed is still 3 years younger than Pete was at that time.


NachoF Says:

Tejuz,
what do you mean by “Both had lost their two prev finals.”?… Federer won the 2008 US Open, remember?


Kroll Says:

“I’ve thought about modifying surfaces to add an electronic mark on the court whenever the ball makes contact (the mark goes away so the court isn’t littered with marks) so that you can easily see it and there is no inaccuracy at all. I don’t think we’re at that stage yet however, except on clay.”

Thats the correct approach rather than the more flawed approach that hawkye takes. I still havent seen the technical aspects of hawkye’s methodology.

“What I meant to say is, just because hawkeye can get it wrong when it’s within 3.6mm doesn’t mean that a human eye can’t be. You’re either putting faith in a human’s eyes (who sees about 60 frames per second) or a high speed camera’s lens which can see thousands of frames per second.”

I actually want to know how on earth they compute that number of “3.6 mm”. I ve checked out the hawkye sites and I cant find the procedure they use to establish this. The cricket Hawkye does a fair number of dodgy things. including predicting the swing(movement in the air) of the ball which is not yet “Technology”, just a hope. SO I don’t yet trust their claims on face value.


Kroll Says:

“Nadal is encroaching on all Fed’s territories now.The problem is that Fed is not even getting close at RG.”

Yeah but Fed is on his 14th Grand Slam so its irrelevant where Rafa is encroaching. Other than RG, Rafa does not have Fed’s “number” anywhere. Wimby was close, and irrespective of tomorrow’s result, Fed can still beat him on all surfaces. So all Fed needs is a couple of Grand Slams to cement his GOAT status. Nadal can encroach wherever he wants.


Kroll Says:

“it was one hell of a good-bye comeback”
It was amazing but Sampras was in three consecutive USO finals before winning but yeah he was well down and out at the point. Fed is in a Way stronger position. But even if Fed manages the AO tomorrow I think he’s in for a long long wait before No. 15.


Giner Says:

“You’re talking about your opinion of the replay system as compared to line judges. How you see one as being more fair than the other. That’s fine. However, I was talking about the added redo or winner/ace that the replay system gives players. So if you’d like to comment on that idea or not is up to you.”

OK, so you concede that human line judges can be wrong. Should a wrong call have to stand because there is no replay system then?

Replaying a point has nothing to do the fact that a ball’s trajectory can be replayed. If a ball was in but called out and it affects the other person’s play, then you have no option but to replay the point.

Even without Hawkeye, if an umpire overrules an OUT call (or a linesman corrects their own call), the point may still have to be replayed because the other player left it after the OUT call. That’s no different.

There’s simply no other way to do it. And if you could somehow ‘rewatch’ a call without electronic line calling, you still have the redo problem.

Also, where I definitely disagree with your reasoning and I’m sure you will to, if we put sentiment aside, is this statement of yours: “Or reverse a call that truly was incorrect.”

“That does not fly, by your very words. You say that the replay system is inaccurate. When you say a call was “truly … incorrect.” Where do you get that information? Is there a 100% way to figure out the “truly” correct call? If you know of it, I’d like to know too please!”

VERY EASY. When the ball was two feet out but somehow missed by the line judges, I think we can clearly say that it was a bad call? This happens. If you actually look at the challenges, many of the time the ball catches half the line. That is well beyond hawkeye’s 3.6mm margin of error and we can safely say that hawkeye’s call was correct.

When it is within 3.6mm we can not be sure. But quite a good number of calls lie outside that margin of error.

Matt, have you never seen a ball that landed clearly out but wasn’t called? Maybe the linesman blinked? Maybe their view was obscured by a player’s leg? Maybe the ball was just really really fast?

Humans make mistakes, machines don’t.

“Also, please don’t attribute those other two quotes to me about the Berdych/Federer stuff. I’m sure you didn’t mean to but it comes across that way in your reply.”

I’m not sure what you’re talking about, but I tend to reply to multiple people in one post, so instead of making 5 replies to 5 different people I do it all in one post usually. Sometimes I add your names to them (if I’m quoting an entire post), other times I can’t be bothered.

“As you say: “getting a chance to be awarded a point could be unfair if Hawkeye is wrong.” That situation only exists because Hawkeye exists. Great improvement over human error I must say. <– That’s sarcasm.”

I’ve explained this clearly. There will be incorrect calls made, but fewer than there would be without the system. If a point has to be redone, who cares? It’s better than letting a bad call stand. The good things Hawkeye brings far outweighs the negatives, such as the small chance it is wrong, which is smaller than the chance a human is wrong. Your complaint is completely baseless to me.

If a call is clearly in, but the linesman called it out and the player receiving left the ball because of the call, then what would you propose we do? Let the call stand? If the call is going to be overruled by the umpire it would still need to be redone. You can’t count it as a winner because the call affected the player.

How do we know a linesman’s call is bad? Because even before hawkeye, we had replay systems. If you watch a match on TV, they will show a slow motion replay, which isn’t as good as hawkeye but you can still see when calls are bad. This replay isn’t available to players or umpires and can’t be used for officiating, but we still know at home that it’s a bad call.

You are basically not anti-Hawkeye, you are anti-overruling a point. You are opposed to letting calls get overturned or points being replayed. Bad news for you, but this is the only way we can do things if we’re to have a review system. What point is there in seeing an instant replay if you can’t change the call?

“Thats the correct approach rather than the more flawed approach that hawkye takes. I still havent seen the technical aspects of hawkye’s methodology.”

The tech explanations are available on the website.

It uses data from multiple cameras triangulating to create a consistent trajectory of the flight of the ball.

“I actually want to know how on earth they compute that number of “3.6 mm”. I ve checked out the hawkye sites and I cant find the procedure they use to establish this. The cricket Hawkye does a fair number of dodgy things. including predicting the swing(movement in the air) of the ball which is not yet “Technology”, just a hope. SO I don’t yet trust their claims on face value.”

I don’t know the answer to that, but the ITF spent years testing it before they approved of its use, so they accept the claims, and perhaps to them not at face value.

“Yeah but Fed is on his 14th Grand Slam so its irrelevant where Rafa is encroaching. Other than RG, Rafa does not have Fed’s “number” anywhere. Wimby was close, and irrespective of tomorrow’s result, Fed can still beat him on all surfaces. So all Fed needs is a couple of Grand Slams to cement his GOAT status. Nadal can encroach wherever he wants.”

He’s not encroaching on total number of slams won. But he is encroaching on territory that was always Fed’s. He’s never had the same finalist opponent at the AO or the USO. He is used to beating different people for the title every year, and capitalising on their inexperience making it easy pickings for him (if I’m not mistaken, in 8 hardcourt GS finals, he has only lost a total of 2 sets). He’s used to having it easy, and if this is a trend at all, that may not continue happening.

He’s had 8 different finalists at the HC GS finals, and Nadal was never one of them. Now Nadal is challenging him there, is all.

“Fed is in a Way stronger position. But even if Fed manages the AO tomorrow I think he’s in for a long long wait before No. 15.”

I don’t. He has a good shot at winning Wimbledon, and will be by far the top favourite for USO. I think he will end up at 15 by the end of this year, and 20 before he retires.

For Fed to lose, he has to go out early (like Tipsy or Berdych threatened to do to him), because he plays his best at the end of a tournament. Unfortunately the guys who have the best chance at beating him (Nadal, Murray, Djokovic) can only meet him at the end of a tournament, where he plays his best tennis.

A lot of guys have the game to beat him, but not the self belief because he’s created such an aura. It cracked briefly last year but it looks like he may have repaired it now.


Giner Says:

“Giner, I don’t necessarily disagree with you on many of your interesting ideas, but you are not responding to the idea I brought up of players getting a redo point or winners/aces based on the replay system.”

They have to. There is no other way to do it. As long as the umpire has the ability to change a call, this is an inescapable ramification.

The only way to avoid that is to never allow a call to be changed, and therefore to accept bad calls when they are made. This can only be seen a good thing (by you) if you believe that bad calls don’t get made often.

To clarify your viewpoint more clearly, I’d like to ask a hypothetical. What if Hawkeye was proven with certainty to be 100% accurate and having no margin for error at all? Would you still oppose the system? The ‘repercussions’ of using it will still be the same — a point needing to be redone, or a winner granted.


Milo Says:

Not a Federer fan Says:

“Verdasco is taking steroids i mean how the f*** does one become so big and fit in 1 freakin month in the off season its crazy and bullshit. I want to see his drug test!!!!!”

Exactly!

I love how Mary Carillo talks about Verdasco’s training with ex-Agassi trainer Gil Reyes. She blurts out some manure: “when you work with Gil, its not just about the workout…it’s his words…he’s a gentle soul and has given Fernando inner peace.” Weeeeehehehehehehe…PLEASE!

Once again. Reyes: ex-UNLV weight coach. Weight coaches at the NCAA level must have roids on demand. You can’t even think of having your Division I football team competing at a high level without them. Reyes has latin roots. Vegas is an short drive to Mexico where steroids are easily available.

Young Andre had hand/eye like no other, but always made the same quote: “I have to get stronger.” Gil and Andre became a team, inventing some odd story about a mythical hill in Vegas where they suffer to get results. Andre magically gains 25 pounds of pure muscle. Hmmmm, last time I ran up hills in 105 degree Vegas heat, I LOST weight.

Brad Gilbert…Andre’s coach. Brad is a Bay Area guy who loved the pro sports teams. He had many friends among the athletes. This is the time of Canseco/McGwire years on the Oakland A’s, as the bash brothers created legendary careers upon the fraud of steroids. This was all well known by anyone on the inside. Hmmmm, what could a super talented hand/eye player do with a bit more strength in tennis?

Remember the US Open years when Brad and Andre spent days shirtless no matter the weather? What’s the one thing all roid users want to do? Go to strip clubs and walk around naked.

Hell, I’ll go so far to say that Andy Murray had a falling out with Gilbert on not wanting to go on the “secret sauce” program. Murray thinks he has the technique and tactics to do it right. Pretty much 90% of Brad’s coaching advice was “you’ve got to get stronger.” I mean come on, these are professional athletes, how out-of-shape can they be?

Our Governor, made his whole career on a total fraud. Does anyone think Arnold got those starring roles on his DeNiro-like acting skills? Or on the massive amounts of roids he took? How does this relate to tennis? Point of the story — cheating pays. Millions in acting dollars and enough popularity to become the Governor of the most powerful state in the U.S.. What a great example to the youth of America.

Annika Sorenstam. From soft white chubby tomboy without much power, to super-fit HGH chick. Strangely, with years of prime still left, she walks away from the sport just as the LPGA puts in a weak drug testing program for the first time. In her last tournament, she can’t stop bitching about being tested after the round.

Justine Henin. From talented small gal who could use “just a bit more firepower” to keep up with the Big MaMa’s, to a petite dynamo who can hang with the Williams sisters. As WADA comes in to test women’s tennis for the first time, she somehow decides she’s had enough.

And for all of you who blab about wanting evidence and positive tests, remember:

Barry Bonds was not exposed by baseball, but in testimony by the Feds in the criminal case against BALCO.

Marion Jones won her gold medals and tested clean, by using a chemically altered steroid that could not be tested for at the time.

Lance Armstrong only says, “I’ve NEVER tested positive.” That’s not much of a defense. Lance is clearly a cheater. How could a guy dominate a sport where 90% of the riders are doping.

I’m a pure tennis fan and hate to even bring things up, but when Nadal hits forehands (with tons of spin) faster than Rod Laver ever hit a flat serve, you have to wonder if even Darwin would believe the human species has evolved that much in 30 years.

Rafa has the famous “Beast of Barcelona” soccer star uncle. Soccer is very much like cycling in its requirements of a massive engine for constant running. EPO was used as much in soccer as it was by the cycling cheats. (Anyone who thinks cycling is the only dirty sport without honor is crazy.) In these countries, soccer is KING! So who would you want to be — just some kid from the barrio who couldn’t quite make the big-time, or a cheat who becomes the hero of his country? (The ancient historian Homer long ago said, “it is better to be the legendary athlete, than the guy who writes about his feats.” Yeah, Home…tons more p—-!) And to win the World Cup, it is the national governing body that is supplying the goods, or looking the other way, all in the name of greater glory.

You don’t get Nadal’s body from playing tennis. The off-court training required to get to his physique, would demand lifting piano’s 5 hours a day. In a sport that already is incredibly strenuous on the joints, we’re to believe he goes double-time in the gym? I think not. If he was clean, local Spanish TV would have done a story on his daily workout. Showing him sprinting up Everest…juggling Hippo’s and flapping his arms so fast he could temporarily attain flight. Yeah, he’s such a homeboy he still lives with the family on the island. For him, it’s all very convenient to keep things “in house” and hold his cards close to his vest.

Not to just pick on Raf. It was only this year that the US Olympic track championships required a blood test. So obviously the powers that be here were more than willing to let the cheats pass, and have their levels just right for glory at the Olympic games.

Sadly, experience says, when you see something unbelievable in sports these days, there’s only one thing to believe. But Fed’s clean…he looks just like a fit tennis player should, and he gets pooped at The French just like a normal human would.

Oh yeah…I like the “Simon is clean” line. But don’t forget Korda…sometimes even the 99lb. weakling wants to “get some.”


Tejuz Says:

NachoF: “what do you mean by “Both had lost their two prev finals.”?… Federer won the 2008 US Open, remember?”

My bad.. Sorry.. that was my mistake… He lost his prev two finals against Nadal. Anyway.. i have a feeling Fed’s gonna win this one in 4 sets


bobby Says:

MILO, so all people who looks strong and muscular are taking drugs according to you.Such a pity that people like you exists.I thought that Bush was the dumbest person in the world,but i found out someone who can beat him in who is the dumbest contest.


Milo Says:

Bobby, believe what you want. It’s just words on the internet. Keep your Rafa Bull poster up on your wall. These men are Gods…and you were put here on Earth to worship.


Milo Says:

Bobby, if I told you “masters of the universe” on Wall Street lie and cheat to take people’s money…would you believe such a thing could be possible??? No, you are right…these are good men that have our best interests in mind.


margot Says:

Milo, while making very serious points you made me laugh. Like your style! They can’t all be on steroids can they……even Simon….?


Kroll Says:

Milo
“You don’t get Nadal’s body from playing tennis.”

Thats the stupidest effing thing I ve ever heard. His body is Exactly the kind you have when you dont take steriods. Carlos Moya for example has more muscle on his biceps than Rafa. Steriods allows you to have massive amounts of muscle , when it looks truly unnatural like WWE stars, the Calif Gov and so on. Rafa’s body is a six month dedicated workout at most! Truth is, this is one place where personal experience is a huge factor in what you think Can be done by the human body. Personally, I climb and do a lot of martial arts (other than playing tennis and soccer) and I routinely push the limits. So I dont think Rafa’s stamina is so out of the way with a great diet and conditioning regime.

Your whole argument is based on what YOU think the human body can do without steriods. Which is more of a personal reflection IMO


bender Says:

of course, milo is he authority on who’s roiding or not, so whoever he says is roiding is of course without a doubt roiding. It is only fair to federer and other players he like if those undesirables were rid of.


jane Says:

Actually I had thought it looked like Nadal lost weight and was slimmer this tournament – maybe not 15 pounds like Roddick but it looks like Rafa has bulked down not up.


jane Says:

Mickey Rourke took steroids for his part in /The Wrestler/ – that I know for sure! :-)


bender Says:

If you guys could think for yourselves instead of listening to what others want you to believe you would see that milo is the only voice of reason left on this subject.


Mary Says:

Milo is actually right on target with what he writes. Milo, have you googled any european sites? It is some interesting stuff. Anyway, last post on the subject. The info is out there is people want it, if not, whatever.


BABaracus Says:

Not a steroid user says:

Just a few tidbits:

Look at how thick Uncle Toni and Papa Sebastien are. I doubt that Rafa is using roids. it’s genetic. He is mostly a skinny f**k anyway…especially when compared to most any American footballer. Rafa says that he lifts weights very little…it’s mostly aerobic and court work.

Look, I’m not even a Rafa fan. I couldn’t care less if he or any other athlete is on the juice. Steroid use is probably prevalent in most sports and probably enhances the product that entertains most of us.

Don’t think it’s fair?…well, life is rarely fair so quit whining.

Don’t think it sets a good example…well, stop using entertainers/athletes as role models to raise your children. Spend some time with your kids!

Don’t think that it’s healthy…well, don’t use it yourself and stay our of others’ personal health business and choices.

Oh, by the way…Come on Roger!


Ra Says:

I’m in no way enough in the know regarding tennis professionals to comment on their level of use of illegal “performance enhancers”, but I have seen enough of the effects of steroid use to say that Nadal’s body is in NOT typical of it. I also agree with Kroll that personal experience and belief about what the body is capable of comes into play here. I have seen Rafa without a shirt many times over the years, and, for what it’s worth, it took me about 6 weeks of working out to have a similar level of muscularity in my late teens through mid-twenties(I only wish it were so simple in my 30′s). Maybe I should also mention that my father and two of his brothers were athletic enough to earn full rides through college on athletic scholarships… On the other hand, I have a 28 year old friend who drinks the better part of a 6 pack on most nights, hasn’t had a regular exercise routine since wrestling for two years in high school, and still somehow has that type of body (except that neither of his arms look like Rafa’s left, but that part makes perfect sense to me). As far as endurance goes, I can’t say I’ve ever come anywhere close to what I see in Rafa, but, then again, I’ve never come close to trying to, and I certainly wasn’t coached to that end all throughout my childhood by a former professional athlete.

Fed for 14!


margot Says:

Don’t know quite where to put this post, but the subject might come up again. anyway, Paul Alexander writing for Associated Press, has an article on the new stringent drug testing they’re bringing in Jan 1st and am afraid Rafa is against it……?


Giner Says:

Milo:

“You don’t get Nadal’s body from playing tennis. The off-court training required to get to his physique, would demand lifting piano’s 5 hours a day. In a sport that already is incredibly strenuous on the joints, we’re to believe he goes double-time in the gym? I think not.”

His game requires it. He muscles the ball. He generates an enormous amount of spin that no other player does, and this is entirely through physical effort. And playing tennis isn’t supposed to give you muscles. You get muscles so that you can play tennis. Other way around.

“If he was clean, local Spanish TV would have done a story on his daily workout. Showing him sprinting up Everest…juggling Hippo’s and flapping his arms so fast he could temporarily attain flight. Yeah, he’s such a homeboy he still lives with the family on the island. For him, it’s all very convenient to keep things “in house” and hold his cards close to his vest.”

If he did that, you would be even more convinced that he’s on steroids. There’s no way to win against a finger poker who has a watertight accusation yet isn’t required or inclined to present any actual evidence of his own to support his accusation, other than subjective opinions on what a ‘clean’ athlete is capable of.

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