Nadal, Federer to Resume Rivalry at Indian Wells?
by Sean Randall | March 11th, 2009, 12:52 pm
  • 102 Comments

The other March Madness in sports is ready to begin at Indian Wells Masters as the women start play in just a few hours. Tomorrow the men’s first round opens up and over the weekend the seeds will get underway.

The draw is, as usual, absolutely stacked. Among the top guys, I think just about everyone is playing including the recently ailing Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Nikolay Davydenko and Fernando Verdasco.

The two big stories of the men’s tournament for me is the return of Federer, who when we last saw him was reduced to tears on the center court podium in Melbourne, and Murray who is apparently over his non-mono virus.

As has been reported, Federer was hitting with Darren Cahill in Dubai, and I think that will help Roger reset his game and his head. Federer has been absent with a back injury, but I have to think it was really the lingering hangover of that crushing loss to Rafa in Australia that’s kept him off the circuit. It can be tough to find the motivation to play, to practice after those types of losses, and that’s where a guy like Cahill can recharge the batteries.

How long Federer and Cahill will be working together and what their relationship will be is still fuzzy, but for now let’s see if this test run works.

Murray began the year looking like he was ready to take the tour over, but viral infection has derailed the Scot’s plans a bit. We’ll find out in a hurry it’s he’s fully recovered. With the clay season fast-approaching and with so many points to defend in the second half of the year, picking up points at IW and Miami will be a priority Murray.

Looking at the draw. Rafael Nadal is the top seed and given his Davis Cup performance and his Australian Open win, it’s hard to not make the former champ the favorite. His draw is tricky, however. The flaky California kid, Dmitry Tursunov, will likely be waiting for the Spaniard in round three, and the remerging Tomas Berdych in the fourth round. Both players I think have the game to do in Rafa, but do they have the head? Rafa’s quarterfinal opponent is a crapshoot among my man Gael Monfils, Juan Martin Del Potro and Marat Safin. Since he won LA in his last trip to Cali, I’ll ride JMDP to that spot, but cautiously.

In the second quarter, we are pretty much headed for another Andy Roddick-Novak Djokovic clash. Awesome! Radek Stepanek and David Ferrer will each have something to say about that – Stepanek figures to face Novak in the 16s and Ferrer might get Roddick also in the 16s. Mardy Fish could also get into the mix, but for now I think Novak and Andy get it on again and I like Roddick should it happen.

Moving to the bottom half, I like Jo Tsonga to come through over Marin Cilic in the third quarter. I think Tsonga’s playing as well as anyone right now and he should be able to navigate past Igor Andreev, his countryman Gilles Simon and then Cilic. Murray is in the Cilic section but I’m not yet convinced of just how fit and healthy the Scot is. If he is in fact 100%, then he’ll beat Marin. But I don’t think he is.

In the final quarter things are a bit dicey for Federer. Roger will likely have to play a couple of guys he’s lost in the last year with Ivo Karlovic in the third round and James Blake in the fourth round. But I think he’ll get through. Who’ll he’ll meet in the quarters is another crapshoot. Davydenko? Verdsaco? Richard Gasquet? Feli Lopez? Robin Soderling? Hard to choose, but I’ll go with Verdasco despite the fact he hasn’t been playing.

So that leaves my semifinals as Nadal v. Roddick, Tsonga v. Federer. And my final pick…Cahill helps Roger, but not enough. I have to go with Rafa here.


Also Check Out:
Quick Poll: Roger Federer Or Rafael Nadal, Who Wins Tonight At Indian Wells?
Poll: Roger Federer Or Novak Djokovic, Who’ll Win The Indian Wells Sunday Final?
No Roddick, But Federer-Nadal Rivalry Looks to Resume at Monte Carlo
Roddick v. Djokovic Highlight Friday Play at Indian Wells
Nadal Pulls from ATP Dubai, Focuses on Davis Cup

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102 Comments for Nadal, Federer to Resume Rivalry at Indian Wells?

Vincent Says:

I can already predict the outcome. Half of the top seeds will retire/flame out midway through the tournament, Nadal will easily beat some washed-up players/complete flakes, Federer and Djokovic will lose in the quarters, and in the final Nadal will grind out, I don’t know, Marin Cilic ? Overall, there will be perhaps fifteen minutes of interesting tennis the whole week.


Jon Taylor Says:

I am a big fed fan, but i am afraid that his days are really numbered. i just read where darren cahill turned down the oppurtunity to coach federer because roger wanted him for 20 plus weeks which is full-time, and because of his family living in Las Vegas he just did not want to spend that much time on the road. I do not blame Cahill at all for his descision specially when it comes to putting family first. Also, roger trains in dubai so cahill would have to spend extra time away from his family for training purposes plus the 20 plus weeks on the road. So now were coming to the start of the first Masters Series 1000 event in Indian Wells and Roger has not played since February 1st….I do not know for certain but I think there will be alot of motivation for Roger to play well…closing the gap on rafa for number 1, winning another big title, gaining confidence going into the clay court season and the french open…..also I am sure that there will be many resumes coming to Tony Godsick about coaching because it is obvious Roger has made up his mind that he needs a full-time coach at this point in his career…. I really hope Roger can play well and win this tournament, but not just win it, he needs to beat rafa!


vandamn Says:

Nadal has no chance. Many players are better than him in hardcourts. The way Murray has been playing lately with Nadal, there is a foregone conclusion.


Marjorie Says:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/12/sports/tennis/12federer.html?ref=sports

Link in the NY Times confirming that Cahill will not be working with Federer going forward.


I like tennis bullies Says:

now that his back is fully healed what new injury or disease will king crybaby think up when he loses to nadal again?


zoraida Says:

i think nadal can beat murray


club pro Says:

Prediction……..Federer will meet Tsonga in the semis on the bottom half and Roddick will meet Nadal in the semis on the top half…..I believe Roger will beat Tsonga in one semifinal and Rafa will beat Roddick in the other giving us a Roger vs Rafa final for the first Masters Series 1000 tournament of the year……My prediction for the finals will be Roger Federer defeating Rafael Nadal in 2 straight sets for the title……Also I believe roger Federer will hire a full-time coach in the near future…..Last but not least who is this guy who uses “I like tennis bullies” for his code name….With a name that discraceful he or she shouldn’t even be aloud to post, because it is obvious they do not know shit about the sport! Thank you very much


PietjeP Says:

Hi Sean,

I sent an email couple of weeks ago, with some interesting stats about Fed/Nadal matches…

Not sure if anyone from you has seen it? I’ve sent it to the general address.

Rgrds, Pietje


Daniel Says:

Too bad things didn’t work out between Fed and Cahill, at leats we know he is trying something new, which indicates that he is over Australia loss, I hope so!

Very exciting weeks ahead of us, can’t remember the last time all top 20 were playing a Masters series event?!

To me it looks like Nadal and Fed will get to the semis easily. Nadal has a possible Nalbandian or Berdych in his way and Fed maybe will get Karlovic (that loss last year in two tiebreaks to me is one of a kind for karlovic). All the guys in Fed’s draw are regular customer, can’t see an upset only if he is mentally damaged as he was after wimby 2008.

Djoko seems to me as if he thought he would already be n. 1 by this time and maybe he got a litle frustrated. I am not sure if he will make the semis, but if he does it I think he wil be favored over Nadal, 4 wins will boost his confidence and his hardcourt game is better than Nadal’s when on.

Murray could very well bother Fed again, but his healthy is a question mark, will see… Everybody wants a Nadal x Fed rematch, but those didn’t happen a lot outside clay masters!


Von Says:

“Certainly there will be an onslaught of résumés coming in now. But Roger’s not just looking for a coach. He’s looking for the right person to help him.” Per Tony Godsig.

He’s looking for the right person to help him — help him do what? Well, if Fed is not looking for a coach, then why did he bother retaining Cahill? Coaching is what Cahill does best, and the help Fed needs can only supposedly be gotten from a coach. Does Godsig even know what Fed wants? Sounds to me there is some miscommunication between the two – Fed and Godsig.

Maybe Cahill apprised the situation regarding Fed’s needs and opted out due to Fed’s history with coaches. I doubt whether any coach could help Fed presently due to his needs, which are hugely psychological, not to mention his pride and ego. Also, it would be very difficult and/or a challenge to coach a player of Fed’s caliber — tennis skills, coupled with his other non-tennis problems. I think Cahill is using his family as an excuse instead of stating the truth of the situation.

I don’t know why Fed discarded Lundgren, but it was Lundgren who got Fed on the roll winning everything. During Tony Roche’s tenure Fed won 4 or more GS titles, and then Tony was unceremoniously dropped due to a “breakdown in communication and picking up huge paychecks for very little work”, according to Fed.

Higueras was only an on and off coach, more off than on, but then he was dropped and we still don’t know the reason.

I’d say Cahill, after spending a few days with Fed realized that he would also become a statistic and opted out before his reputation became tarnished and an unpleasant situation developed. It’s an extremely difficult undertaking for a coach to help a player who has attained as much as Fed has done. Yes, Cahill coached Agassi but their relationship was more of Cahill being an advisor and a sounding board than a coach — a coach who said yes and agreed with everything put before him by his player. I’ve heard Cahill state that he and Agassi would sit for hours discussing strategy and Andre would emphatically lay out his plans A and B before his matches, to which Cahill would say OK. Hence, the relationship lasted, whether Agassi won or not, because if he lost then he had only himself to blame. I doubt whether that type of scenario would work for Fed given his ego. He’d certainly not want to assume the blame for any further losses and he’d definitely not want to listen to a change in strategy, as has happened with Roche and Higueras, which certainly is a recipe for the relationship becoming strained and extremely unpleasant. Ergo, in view of the foregoing hypothetical situation, I’d say Cahill is not giving the truthful reason behind his pull-out as Fed’s coach. I’d assume that it’s easy for a coach to coach a younger, un-seasoned player than for him to coach a matured, set in his ways player, especially a successful player such as Federer. Sometimes the money is not worth the emotional challenge. I think both Cahill and Federer would be unhappy.


jane Says:

Von I just read the same article and noticed this near the end, a comment by Higueras:

“You look at their matches, and what I see a little bit is that Rafa is getting better….It’s not that Roger is playing worse. I think Rafa is playing better. He’s hitting the ball through the court, hitting his slice backhand better, serving better and volleying better.”

It an interesting take coming from a guy who had just worked with Federer on a part time basis, and I think there is truth to it, although I do also think Roger has declined slightly. But Rafa has continued to improve and evolve his game and that may be the difference.


jane Says:

Sorry I hit sumbit too soon – so Von you get your very own post! : D


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

“So that leaves my semifinals as Nadal v. Roddick, Tsonga v. Federer.”

Oy Vey!!!!! Woe is Roddick! You’ve just jinxed the guy. You picked France to win DC and they lost, and your past record speaks for itself. Need I say more, but just OY VEY?

_______________

What’s wrong with “I like Tennis Bullies” as a post name. I don’t see anything wrong at all. He’s saying he prefers the more forceful type player to the softies. If umbrage should be taken, it definitely should be against the poster who posts as “Roddick is a Donkey, “Donkey” again, with the inference of Roddick being a donkey and his several variations to the Roddick name, not to mention the content which is absolutely obscene. That poster should definitely NOT be allowed to post using such a name nor indulging in that type of language, however, he has gotten away with it and continues to do so.


Von Says:

jane:

Gee, thanks!!!!


jane Says:

Von, Tennis.com picked Roddick first (I read it before Sean’s post even appeared here), so don’t worry too much! :-)

I like “I like tennis bullies” handle too.


Shan Says:

If it’s Nadal and Federer in the final again, I have to agree with you on that Sean.


Von Says:

jane:

Nevertheless, even though Tennis.com picked Andy, when Sean picks it’s more or less 90 percent the reverse. Oy Vey, again.

Roddick has never really had much success at IW, and I was hoping he’d break the curse this year, but now, especially with Mr. Randall’s prophetic skills, I have to lean toward the negative. Say it ain’t so, Sean, puhleez.


tenisbebe Says:

Well, not that anyone cares but I have Safin coming through the draw & beating Nadal in the QF’s (yes, I know, partly wishful thinking) leaving the following in the semi’s:

Safin/Roddick Tsonga/Federer


Von Says:

tenisbebe:

I care – love Safin. He’s one of my all-time faves too. I wish he’d rise up from the ashes, but I know the poor guy is just on his last lap, so to speak. It would be great to see him pull another Wimby ’08 though.


Andrew Miller Says:

Too bad with Cahill. I can’t blame Cahill.

I liked Higueras’ analyses.

That said, I have no idea what “hitting the ball through the court” means. What does that mean? I always like how it sounds, but I am not ever sure what it means.

“Hit the ball through the court”

Kind of an impossible task, given that the felt just does not “go through a court”.

Hit it flat? Get a good cut at the ball through excellent preparation and court positioning? Hit “the shot you want to hit”.

Sorry, I just have no idea what hitting a ball through the court means!


Nadal News » Blog Archive » Press round-up - March 10th Says:

[...] Nadal, Federer to Resume Rivalry at Indian Wells? Rafael Nadal is the top seed and given his Davis Cup performance and his Australian Open win, it’s hard to not make the former champ the favorite. His draw is tricky, however. The flaky California kid, Dmitry Tursunov, will likely be waiting for the Spaniard in round three, and the remerging Tomas Berdych in the fourth round. Both players I think have the game to do in Rafa, but do they have the head? [...]


tennismonger Says:

“Hit the ball through the court”

OK, I’ll whack a whack @ this…

To “hit the ball through the court” signifies, as you said Andrew, a really good cut (usually a forehand, though not necessarily) coupled with weight of shot and a flatness that gives the opponent virtually no response time.

Think Agassi, Sampras, Fed, Safin, Roddick (when he was younger & less conservative), maybe Kafelnikov & Enqvist & you get what I mean. Just a severely spanked ball on which only the quickest & most talented can even hope to touch.

Now I won’t discount the effectiveness of a monstrous Courieresque or Nadalesque forehand which is 10 ft in the air & the service line but by force of topspin plops on or near the baseline, but such a shot @ least gives a pro a split second more to make a play on the ball (as inefective as it might be). A shot “hit through the court” offers no such chance.

Which leads me to this prognostication: I say if Nadal meets Roddick in the semis @ IW, Rafa goes down…


tennismonger Says:

tennismonger Says:

OK, I’ll whack a whack @ this…

Crap! OK, I meant “take a whack @ this…”

“Friends don’t let friends drink & post…”


Giner Says:

Daniel:

“Murray could very well bother Fed again, but his healthy is a question mark, will see… Everybody wants a Nadal x Fed rematch, but those didn’t happen a lot outside clay masters!”

The two have played each other 9 times outside of clay. Fed leads 5-4, they are 3-3 on hard courts. Compare that to say, Nadal vs Roddick. They’ve met only 6 times across all surfaces, two of which were Davis Cup guaranteed meetings.

Marjorie:

“Link in the NY Times confirming that Cahill will not be working with Federer going forward.”

Ouch. That’s a big blow to Fed’s comeback campaign. If you’re going for the best coaches, you can expect them to not want to commit to a full time schedule. They have lives too unfortunately.

Von:

“I think Cahill is using his family as an excuse instead of stating the truth of the situation.”

I agree with your assessments about Fed’s needs. They are surely a factor in his decision but I think Cahill is genuine about wanting to spend time with his family. When he coached Agassi, they were both based in Vegas so it was no problem. He was able to be close to his family. If Fed’s going to practice in Dubai, that’s going to be different.

“I don’t know why Fed discarded Lundgren, but it was Lundgren who got Fed on the roll winning everything.”

I want to know this too. Currently he’s coaching a Brittish kid, Josh Goodall. (Any relation to the commentator Jason Goodall?)

“During Tony Roche’s tenure Fed won 4 or more GS titles, and then Tony was unceremoniously dropped due to a “breakdown in communication and picking up huge paychecks for very little work”, according to Fed.”

I think those 4 slams under Roche were more to his own credit than Roche’s. He would have won them anyway, with or without Roche. Interestingly he hired Roche when he was already in a class of his own and without peer. He didn’t really need help but was looking to further improve on his already impeccable game.

What I think the real reason they split was because Roche was unwilling to commit to full time for Roger (due to family reasons again). Roche did specifically say it would only be during the Slams that they’d work together because he was unwilling to travel and wanted to spend time with his family. But then when Fed fired him and Hewitt hired him, he was suddenly willing to travel full time again. He was willing to coach Hewitt full time but not Fed. I guess Hewitt also being based in Australia is an advantage.

“Higueras was only an on and off coach, more off than on, but then he was dropped and we still don’t know the reason. ”

He was hired full time by Americans, probably whilst still under casual employ from Fed. Fed was never going to keep him around full time, and Higsy probably wanted full time. Fed only wanted him to help win the French Open, nothing more nothing less. During that Wimbledon rain delay, Nadal spoke to Toni, but Fed had no coach he could consult during the break. Sure Higs was there, but he has no experience with winning on grass.

“I’d say Cahill is not giving the truthful reason behind his pull-out as Fed’s coach.”

I think Cahill is being truthful, because he’s a highly respected and sought after coach. He would have had a flood of requests (offering generous sums of money) after Agassi retired, and he hadn’t taken on any, so clearly he’s not really interested and probably isn’t struggling financially. That he took on Fed for a few days but no one else during the time says he was willing to consider it only because Fed was a different, perhaps more challenging and interesting an undertaking than a junior.

I agree about Fed’s ego making it hard to coach him. I’m not even sure what overall result he got from the two or three years of part time tutelage under Roche. To me he seems like a guy with a superiority complex. When he fails where others succeed, or when he’s criticised, he redeems himself by coming back with a vengeance. And what better way to do it than by winning 3 slams in a year? He schools his nearest ‘rival’ (like Roddick at the time). He sets very lofty goals and meets them as his way to vindicate himself for his shortcomings.

So when the results fall off, he doesn’t hire a coach because he wants even more to prove that he can do all this and then some on his own. He wants to show he can beat Nadal and return to his glory years using just his own head, and not someone else’s. That would be his way of redeeming himself for losing the top spot to Nadal.


tenisbebe Says:

Von:

Thanks for caring!! Haha. But seriously, of the top 4 Nadal is the only one w/o “issues” imo & traditionally he has done well at IW/Miami (he seems to like these 2 NA tournaments even though it interferes with the clay court season start). So not picking him was a stretch for me, we shall see…..


Giner Says:

Von Says:

“Nevertheless, even though Tennis.com picked Andy, when Sean picks it’s more or less 90 percent the reverse. Oy Vey, again.

Roddick has never really had much success at IW, and I was hoping he’d break the curse this year, but now, especially with Mr. Randall’s prophetic skills, I have to lean toward the negative. Say it ain’t so, Sean, puhleez.”

Didn’t Sean pick against Andy? If you calling Sean’s skills “prophetic” was sarcasm like I think it is, then Sean will jinx Roddick’s opponents and Roddick should come out on top, right? He will beat Rafa, so what’s the worry?


jane Says:

I thought Roddick did well at IW the year before last; wasn’t he in the semis against Rafa? Yes, I just checked – Roddick was in the semis at IW in 07, 05 and got to the quarters in 03 and 04. So his only real “off” years there were 06 (R16) and last year (R64).


Von Says:

Giner:

“I think Cahill is being truthful, because he’s a highly respected and sought after coach. He would have had a flood of requests (offering generous sums of money) after Agassi retired, and he hadn’t taken on any, so clearly he’s not really interested and probably isn’t struggling financially.”

Maybe, Cahill’s being truthful, but then again, why even bother to go to such lengths? Was it an ego thing that he felt flattered he was picked above all others? That’s the niggling doubt I have at the back of my mind, and that leads me to feel he’s not being truthful. I’m sure he must have thought about Fed’s location when he boarded the plane for that long flight to Dubai.

Ref: Other players offering him generous sums of money for coaching, I’ve not heard of anyone considering Cahill as a coach, but then again, I don’t read many articles on tennis, so I’d be the last one to know what’s happening behind the scenes.

“To me he seems like a guy with a superiority complex. When he fails where others succeed, or when he’s criticised, he redeems himself by coming back with a vengeance. And what better way to do it than by winning 3 slams in a year? He schools his nearest ‘rival’ (like Roddick at the time). He sets very lofty goals and meets them as his way to vindicate himself for his shortcomings.”

I’ve always felt that Fed has a superiority complex from some of his statements and he also enjoys “schooling” his rivals. He’s not content to win, but win every point to keep his opponents humble and smarting from the humiliation he’d inflict upon them. It’s one of the reasons I’ve always found it difficult to like him. Fed mirrors Sampras who liked to keep the young Americans and his American peers behind him in the line, to show them who’s the boss. I have always been a big Sampras fan, but I never liked that aspect of his behavior towards the other Americans. However, Sampras was unlike Fed towards his non-American opponents. He didn’t care to win every point, especially in the slams, where he wanted to conserve energy. He’d break them, hold his serve and that ensured he won the match. His motto was “keep the points short”.

“So when the results fall off, he doesn’t hire a coach because he wants even more to prove that he can do all this and then some on his own. He wants to show he can beat Nadal and return to his glory years using just his own head, and not someone else’s. That would be his way of redeeming himself for losing the top spot to Nadal.”

Very apt analysis here, Dr. Freud. Federer definitely wants to prove to everyone, he’s independent of coaches and does not really need one. He feels he’s gotten where he is under “his own steam”, and it kills him to share the limelight with another — not even his coach. I believe it’s the reason he doesn’t keep a coach around and when he does, it’s only on a part-time basis, or a workable relationship. Another example of his being the boss. It probably took a lot of humility to submit to hiring a coach. What’s the proverb; “pride goeth before a fall”? So very, very true.

“Didn’t Sean pick against Andy? If you calling Sean’s skills “prophetic” was sarcasm like I think it is, then Sean will jinx Roddick’s opponents and Roddick should come out on top, right?”

Yes, I was being a bit sarcastic saying Sean was prophetic, but we do have to admit, he does possess jinxing skills. I mean look at France, he picked them to win in DC, they struggled to win their matches and ultimately lost.

I hope he does jinx Andy’s opponents, because Andy needs the ranking points to move up. He lost 500 big ones by the Dubai debacle, even though it was stated that he was using Dubai as a PR stunt; he wouldn’t lose anything due to his win in Memphis, and further, he’d collect points from Davis Cup. Well DC was only 80 points, which fell under in the category of the “non-countable” tournaments played, and he’s now fallen to No. 7, about approx. 200 points behind DelPotro. Hence, for those who were rambling that he took the stand in Dubai just to look good, they were way off the mark.

“He will beat Rafa, so what’s the worry?”

Wanna carve that on stone? I’m happy if he gets to the QFs, but I’m not counting on him beating Nadal. Roddick doesn’t possess a running game, which is vital for anyone to beat Nadal. Murray can, but I don’t see it happening, due to his recent illness. He must be very weak and probably rusty from lack of practice. So you can don a smile, but be careful you don’t crease your cheeks from too much smiling, because I doubt if anyone will stop Nadal.


Von Says:

jane:

In ’07 Andy had to retire due to a pulled muscle somewhere up his leg/butt, then in ’08 he hardly stepped onto the court and Haas knocked him out. Of course, Haas lost the next round. That’s when I mentioned ‘Damn Tommy Haas”. He always does that.


Daniel Says:

Giner

“The two have played each other 9 times outside of clay. Fed leads 5-4, they are 3-3 on hard courts. Compare that to say, Nadal vs Roddick. They’ve met only 6 times across all surfaces, two of which were Davis Cup guaranteed meetings.”

I meant on Masters Series other than clay, only happened twice, in Miami: the first time was Nadal (in fact the firts time they ever played) and the second Fed turn two sets down to win it, Nadal seems to have a problem with Miami.


Von Says:

tenisbebe:

We shall indeed see … I happen to luv the big lug nut. He’s a “nut” alright. Ha, ha.


Von Says:

Daniel:

Miami has a very gritty court which I think interferes with Nadal’s running. The surface slows him down, but he still managed to get to the finals beating Tsonga on the way, until Davy stopped him. The gritty court also is a problem for the big servers.


Von Says:

I just read the following on another site:

Why the change in Cahill? Why the trial training? “I think he just listened to his heart and changed his decision. Cahill was interested initially but then he thought about all that was involved.”

So this was the coaching equivalent to a booty call?

The two weren’t even in the phase of detailed negotiations
It’s not like Roger got his heart broken, or anything. It was just a couple dates. . .

Is Federer looking for an alternative to Cahilll? “No,” says Godsick, “He wasn’t looking for one before. Cahill was the one who approached him and they had a great trial. That’s all. I think it’s going to stay the way it is. Roger has a great team around him. He has no pressure to change anything about it. There is no list of anything.”
Got that Cahill? Roger Federer needs a coach like a fish needs a bicycle! (But remember, Rog, there are always more fish in the sea!)

Meanwhile, I’m just hoping these two take a cue from Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer and get back together!

UPDATE: Here’s Roger’s statement from his press conference this afternoon at Indian Wells. Sounds like a chapter from He’s Just Not That Into You. Poor Rog.:

“He (Cahill) called me up after the Australian and asked me if I was still interested in working with him because we had contact in the last five years and after I decided not to play Davis Cup and Dubai [because of my bad back] he came to Dubai and worked a bit and we decided not to do it. It was test. He went back [home] and he told me it would be tough to do the travel with his kids and the weeks I required (20 weeks as opposed to Higueras’s 10) he couldn’t really do, so I never had to think and go too far and make a decision on my own. He took the decision for me.”

Federer said he doesn’t think that Cahill’s decision will affect him.

“I don’t have any technical flaws or problems working hard, maybe it’s about the little things, talking about the other players, some exercises in practice, it’s having someone else around. But I’m very happy with the coach I have here, Severin Luthi [Switzerland's Davis Cup captain], he did all of last year, 35 weeks, so for me nothing really changes, I’ll continue with the great team I have. We had a good time with Darren.“
(From tennisreporters.net)

Posted on 11 March 2009
Tags: coaching, Darren Cahill, Federer


tenisbebe Says:

Von:

Please pardon my ignorance but what is a “booty call”? I’ve never heard that expression. Can you enlighten me or is it risque?


jane Says:

Von,

Are you sure Andy retired at IW in 07? The ATP site shows Andy meeting Rafa in the semis and losing 4-6, 3-6.

I was sort of aggravated by Haas last year too, as he knocked out Roddick and (I think) Murray and then he withdrew to give Fed a walkover into the semis.


jane Says:

Daniel,

I think that IW is a better place for Rafa’s game as its drier, and his topspin works better there than in Miami, which I believe is more humid.

However, that didn’t stop Rafa from getting to the finals in Miami last year.


new world order Says:

as long as no american and no roddick wins indian wells im happy, i cannot stand that guy roddick! roddick is an obnoxious little american weed! i hope nadal can win it and federer cries again! i love the sight of federer crying after losing, great sight!
federer’s career is going downhill quicker than the american economic collapse!


new world order Says:

i will be very disappointed if nadal doesnt win the calendar year grand slam!


Sean Randall Says:

PietjeP, sorry. I don’t read the emails sent to the general address and rarely do I get them forwarded to me. But feel free to email what you sent to me at srandall AT tennis-x DOT com.

I like bullies, so you really think Fed did have a back injury? Sounds like you do!

Andrew Miller, I’ve always thought hitting through the court means hitting it flat and hard so the court can’t take hold of the ball as much. Just a guess.

Von/Giner, regarding Roddick of all my four SF picks, he’s the least likely to get there I think. Obviously Novak’s a tricky opponent but as mentioned Andy’s diminished forehand power works may be an issue this week, especially if the court is playing slow.

New world whatever, you do know there’s a period “.” button on your keyboard, don’t you? Look for it, I’m sure it’s there. And once you do find it, use it.


Von Says:

tenisbebe:

Yes, it’s risque. and, I won’t tell you. Sorry.
_____________
jane;

Then maybe it’s Miami in ’07 when he retired. I believe when Andy retired, it was against Murray, and Connors was his coach. I can see the scenery in front of me. However, the tournament details is probably mixed up. I should check stats before I write.

Yeah, that Tommy Haas and his W/Os do get to me. He did the same at Wimby too, I believe, when he was supposed to play against Fed. What a guy!
____________

NWO:

“i will be very disappointed if nadal doesnt win the calendar year grand slam!”

Poor baby, my heart bleeds for you. Please don’t cry. Do you need some tissues? I just bought 6 boxes on a BOGOF special. I’d even send them Fed-Ex to you.


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

“But feel free to email what you sent to me at srandall AT tennis-x DOT com.”

Oh WOW, you have just given license to everybody and his brother to email you. I hope you’re prepared. Ha ha.

I don’t know about IW and Andy. The desert humidity seems to seep into his game. The court is much too slow. And, considering he gets picked for night matches, which is not a good thing, then it’s double whammy. Ve shall see.

I’m patiently awaiting the return of the smileys. I’m tired os writing “ha, ha.” What is the new “eta” date?


wilbe Says:

Federer don’t need a couch.He just need to clear his head when it comes to Nadal.If u take a look at most of his games against Rafa,he lost due to unforced errors,especially on his own serve he tends to panic even on 0-30.and we all know he can serve very well.No couch can teach him anything new now;except to get over Nadal.Federer for life!!!


new world order Says:

if nadal wins the calendar year slam, he should declare himself the king and declare a new world order in world tennis!!!

go the european players!!! go croatia against the americans, put those yanky boys on clay and their balls will shrink quicker than the american economy or george bush’s approval rating!!!!!!!!!

have u noticed that roddick’s arrogance has been dented the last few years???
its because of the utter domination of nadal and federer!!! its bloody brilliant!!!

lord nadal is pure class, his mentally superior defensive tennis is the way tennis should be played! nadal is the ultimate sporting athlete!!!!
this greek guy sampras is jealous he doesnt have the talent a modern day athlete should have like king rafa!!! sampras was sooo unfit and unathletic he had a one-dimentional serve and volley game!!! he is just one of those boring nostalgic serve and volley fanboys!!!

nadal plays the way every tennis player should play tennis!

i declare king nadal as the worlds best sportsperson in world sport today!!!


new world order Says:

and to those people that believe that the courts have slowed down are conspiracy crackheads, nadal is not only the king of slow courts, but he is king of fast courts too!!! infact the court speeds are too fast, they need to slow wimbledon down so they can play from the baseline and purge these boring serve and volleyers!! i hate serve and volleyers, baseline play rules and nadal rules!

its beautiful to watch king rafa play, his stylish and elegant play is very pleasing to the eye!!! isnt rafa just awesome?? u bet he is!!!!

in a few years time, people will look back and see that the 2007 wimbledon final was a crime to tennis that rafa lost that final!!!

infact nadal should beat federer everytime they play! the fact is nadal is a better player than federer!!! sorry fedsy but ur just not good enough for king raffy!!!


Mark Nicholas Says:

New World Order:
It’s so refreshing to see guys like you in this website. I remember until very recently this site was just full of Fedtards and Nadal bashers. They tried to demean Nadal in every possible way. Now that you and a few other Nadal fans have come forward with all guns blazing, I think the discussions are much more balanced. Keep up the good work.


Ezorra Says:

new world order:

You’re sick… Get your pills now!


new world order Says:

yea what really pisses me off is when federer says nadal is the best for the ‘moment’!!! like federer owns the sport and nobody else is allowed to be number 1 apart from him and everyone else should work their arse off everyday just to lay down for him to stomp a mudhole in them!!! i dont think so federer, i hope these young guys destroy federer’s overgrown ego into pieces!! his arrogance is just filthy and he just sounds like one of those elitists!!!

nadal is king, nadal is the best, nadal hold the aussie open, french, wimbledon and olympic singles gold and the number 1 ranking by a long way and hopefully the us open soon!! federer spits in the face of rafa when he says ‘át the moment’ crap, after all the hard work rafa has done improving his game over the years and having to kiss federer’s arse for 160 weeks!!! its time federer kissed rafas arse until he retires!!!

while rafa busted his arse day in day out when he was behind federer, federer just hung out with his celebrities, drank tea with elitists, went to filthy rich dinners with mega wealthy elitists, made RF caps, RF clothes, RF perfumes, did advertisements with other billionaire sportsmen, have texting orgies with tiger woods, sampras and god knows who else, and not to mention those exhibition matches with sampras, bringing handbags to wimbledon, and every sportsman in world sport having to kiss federer’s arse at the laureus awards each year and all those absolutely ridiculous things!!!!

now that all that hard work has paid off for rafa while federer rested on his laurels, the nerve of federer to just swat aside what rafa has done and indirectly trash talk him just absolutely annoys the piss outta me mate!!!

i like nadal because he is genuinely humble bloke and down to earth still living in an apartment with all the millions he gets from sponsors and never trash talks people!!! the guy in my opinion is a bloody champion!!! and he doesnt like all these flashy crap and he doesnt have an ego and doesnt act like he is too good for everyone like federer does!!! i hope nadal eventually has more slams than federer once everything is said and done and once they are both retired because then the right person will be the better man and player!!!

to me rafael is better than federer in all aspects of life and he is the perfect role model/idol for all youngsters!!!


new world order Says:

just listen to what federer said about murray before the aussie open! just absolutely no respect for anyone thats whips him, federer loves the guys he destroys, federer’s poodles like roddick, safin, hewitt and all those guys that just lay down for federer which federer uses as a stepping stone!!! he doesnt like djokovic, and u can bet he hates nadal inside of him!!


Ezorra Says:

nwo says:

“i like nadal because he … blablabla… and never trash talks people!!!”

-nwo hates Federer because Federer trash talks people
-nwo trash talks federer

-Therefore –> nwo hates himself.

Simple, no? :)


new world order Says:

tell me what can cahill or a psychologist do for federer???

do you expect Federer to cry in a clinic screaming: “I’m so afraid of Nadal I just can’t do it”,
the psychologist: “fear not Roger you can do it, believe in yourself, you are JesusFed, just forget that it’s Nadal on the other side of the net, it is not Nadal, it is Satan, and you must triumph over evil, now hit that backhand slice with no fear and go to the net and you shall win” ,
Roger: “oh thank you so much doc I can do it now, I’m JesusFed and I will triumph over Satan, evil shall perish”.

give me a break!!! utter joke!


Voicemale1 Says:

Sean:

Here’s what Federer had to say on the subject of his back, as reported by Matt Cronin:

“The back was real bad in Basel, Paris and Shanghai at the end of last year and maybe I played too much when it was hurting already and I couldn’t really rest enough,” he said. “I had to take a tough decision as to whether I would be keep playing with a little pain or take a rest and be sure I would be able to play the next six months without a problem. I took that decision because Davis Cup was important, but I didn’t say I wanted to win it this year yet, I said I would play the first round, but then after that it would be open.

“But then I decided if I’m not even sure I want to win the Davis Cup yet, why put myself in the position and why not take a rest? My priority is to look at the long term and to play for many more years. I guess I could have played if I knew that my career would be over after Davis Cup but that’s not how I look at it. It was a tough decision and I would have loved to play in the states against the great team they have. I know I let some people down, but I felt after the US Open and the Olympics ! that the schedule was good enough so I could play Davis Cup, so I announced it, but the back problems occurred and I had to make a different decision. I know some people don’t understand, but if they listen to me, I’m sure they will.”

The same piece reports his comments on The Australian Open, with an interesting comment on Wimbledon match, saying what I thought the real crux in that match was – the first two sets, not the last one:

“Federer spoke of his loss to Nadal in Australia, when he was bullied in the fifth set and cried throughout the awards ceremony. It was as vulnerable as anyone has ever seen the 13-time Garden slam champion. ‘I thought I played a great match for four-and-a-half sets,” the 27-year-old said. “I guess I let go a little bit at the end. He looked tired and I couldn’t take advantage of it. It was tough. He’s a great player at the moment. He’s done extraordinary. The last year and a half some people thought he couldn’t play on hard courts yet, but he has proved himself on all surfaces now and I guess it all started for him when he beat me comfortably at the French Open. Maybe I was hurting with that loss a little at Wimbledon. Maybe I lost that Wimbledon match in the first two sets and not that the end.

“At the Australian, after he beat me back to back, he had all the momentum and he forgot how it feels losing and I had lost to him a couple of times before that. Put that all together a! nd it’s the final decision for him. He played great the whole tournament, even against Verdasco in the semis. I think I played great off the baseline, I just didn’t serve great and I think that cost me the match also. If I would have served better throughout the match, I think I would have played better from the baseline in the fifth because I would have had some easier points on my serve and could have taken more chances on returns, but because my serve wasn’t working throughout the match, I felt too much pressure in the end.’”


Federer Rules Says:

Thanks for the post voice male – just another reason to love federer. What a great champion and ambassador for the sport.

Tennis lucked out with Roger and Rafa as consecutive no.1s after the 2 brats hewitt and roddick turned me away from the game. I cant imagine how big Roddick’s and hewitt’s heads would have been if Roger hadn’t put them in their place. Roger sometimes crosses the line into cockiness and Rafa tries to be humble to the point of appearing dishonest or that he is pretending, but they are just minor spots on otherwise two excellently gifted athletes and humans!

May the 2 continue their rivalry for a long long time.


jane Says:

Von /Giner,

I noticed you two were speculating on the Fed/ Cahill non-deal; so was Bodo and i thought you two might like to read his take on things:

http://tennisworld.typepad.com/tennisworld/2009/03/breaking-news.html


I like tennis bullies Says:

federers ego couldnt handle cahill telling him that hes not good enough to beat rafa, so the short affair ended.

I like I like tennis bullies too, I would use I dont like tennis crybabies but I did not want to be negative.


tenisbebe Says:

Von:

I live and I learn – thanks to Wikipedia! Good one by the way……


PietjeP Says:

Hi Sean,

Just sent you the email with the file with the data regarding the Fed/Nad matches. I found it to be interesting.

Specially when discussing the rivalry…

Rgrds, Pietje


margot Says:

Sean: don’t remember Federer suffering a “crushing” whopping at the A.O.
: You say everyone wants a Nadal-Federer final? Well I don’t, it’s getting boorrrring……


Duro Says:

Jane, my only friend here… Can you, please, tell me why is on every tennis sight stated that Nole has 9240 points!? He’s got 9420! What’s wrong? Deliberately?


Duro Says:

Someone please tell me why does it say that Djokovic has 9240 ranking points? His web site says he’s got 9420! What’s correct???


jane Says:

Mirka is PREGNANT! Congrats to her and Roger. A child is an amazing life-shifter. Wow!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/12/AR2009031202184.html


jane Says:

Hi Duro,

I would go by the ATP website, since that’s the offical record; they say he has 9,240 points.


Duro Says:

But Jane, not every site! After Dubai he was 9420 points, I’m positive! No matches played since, so… DC doesn’t count, right? They must be wrong!


jane Says:

Duro, yes, DC does count, I believe? But I don’t know for how many points.


Duro Says:

Jane! It can not possibly be! DC doesn’t count!


Duro Says:

Ok, tennis experts! Now show your knowledge! How many ranking points does Novak Djoković have???


Duro Says:

Anyone?


new world order Says:

congrats to roger federer for the baby, hopefully the baby will make federer a more humble and less arrogant person!!


new world order Says:

so if the baby is a boy, then roger should make the baby boy play tennis left handed and 2 handed backhand and be a great champion just like rafa!!!


Duro Says:

Ok, it does count! I checked it myself. I can’t believe it! Last years decision! How unbelievably stupid and unnecessary…


Giner Says:

Von

““I don’t have any technical flaws or problems working hard, maybe it’s about the little things, talking about the other players, some exercises in practice, it’s having someone else around. But I’m very happy with the coach I have here, Severin Luthi [Switzerland's Davis Cup captain], he did all of last year, 35 weeks, so for me nothing really changes, I’ll continue with the great team I have. We had a good time with Darren.“”

I really don’t think he deserves Severin Luthi’s help. He’s the Davis Cup captain, and Fed is the obvious star of their team who never seems to make himself available for DC duty. If Fed’s not going to bother showing up for DC, Luthi shouldn’t doesn’t owe him any coaching services. It’s extremely rude and improper to ask for something and not give back your own part.

With Federer on the team, they would be contenders for the title, but without him, they go from clear favourites to underdogs (too much rested on Stan, and it was too big an ask for Chiudinelli to beat Blake and Roddick). If I were captain and my player didn’t take DC seriously, I wouldn’t take his career seriously either, especially if my team has been very dependent on him. He was a very loyal DC player until his solo career soared to great heights.

If he still thinks he has a lot to prove, he should stay solo. After all, it’s much more impressive to win 3 slams a year on your own, without any advice than it is to have a guy mentoring by your side 24/7, and Fed likes proving things.

By the way, great job making Federer and Cahill sound like gay lovers..

Daniel:

“I meant on Masters Series other than clay, only happened twice, in Miami: the first time was Nadal (in fact the firts time they ever played) and the second Fed turn two sets down to win it, Nadal seems to have a problem with Miami.”

Ok, point taken. Sorry for the misunderstanding. On the non clay Masters where Rafa has made the final (except Miami 05), which would be: Indian Wells, Miami 08, Madrid, Paris, Toronto, and Montreal, Roger was either not there, or didn’t make it through his half of the draw. And of course a bunch of times where Fed made the final and Rafa didn’t. It’s just bad luck that it didn’t happen in the same tournament. On at least some of those occasions, a meeting was only one match away (that year when Nalbandian cleaned up at the indoor circuit comes to mind).

At Slam level, they’ve both done their part to set up meetings. It’s something like 7 GS finals they’ve met in. Even without counting the French Open, they’ve met 4 times which is more times than anyone else has met Federer in a GS final. It’s a great rivalry with 2-2 not counting Rafa’s best slam event (FO).

Von

“Yes, it’s risque. and, I won’t tell you. Sorry.”

I had to look it up too. I’d heard the term before but never looked up what it meant. I associate ‘booty’ with pirate treasure. I think Von stole my innocence..

wilbe Says:

“Federer don’t need a couch.He just need to clear his head when it comes to Nadal.If u take a look at most of his games against Rafa,he lost due to unforced errors,especially on his own serve he tends to panic even on 0-30.and we all know he can serve very well.No couch can teach him anything new now;except to get over Nadal.Federer for life!!!”

I think Nadal deserves some credit for those unforced errors. His footspeed allows him to retrieve a lot more balls that would have been winners against most people. This in turn forces Fed to go a bit more closer to the lines and thus make more errors. It’s Nadal’s style (Hewitt used to do the same), and that’s how he does things against most players.

It’s hard to blame Fed for playing more aggressively and going for finer winners. He’s not favourite to win the point against Nadal 66% of the time if he rallies with him based on past statistics of key matches. Nadal wins the baseline rallies twice for every one that Fed wins.

In Melbourne it was Fed’s serve that let him down. I just read yesterday that he was pleased with the way he played that day. He played great, just his serve wasn’t great. He was missing too many first serves and hit doubles at bad times.

new world order Says:

“if nadal wins the calendar year slam, he should declare himself the king and declare a new world order in world tennis!!! ”

Unlike you, he doesn’t do that sort of thing. He still acknowledges Federer as being the best player right now, and the greatest of all history. Whether the modesty is real or false I can’t say. But he’s never going to declare himself King of anything.

I would like to see you and Ryan in a brawl. That would be fun.

so if the baby is a boy, then roger should make the baby boy play tennis left handed and 2 handed backhand and be a great champion just like rafa!!!

Playing left handed if you’re a righty is not a smart thing to do. It’s a very very big gamble, and they are very lucky it paid off. It isn’t advised for other people learning, because I expect 9 times out of 10 they will end up sucking and playing worse than they would if they stayed right handed. Nadal certainly would have sucked badly in the beginning playing with his off hand, and there is no guarantee that one day it would pay off and he’d be good with it. It’s a huge huge gamble to take at such a critical stage of your development. If you grow up playing left handed and it turns out not to work, your career is pretty much wasted and gone.

Nadal very well could have been in the graveyard as someone no one has heard of today if things were a little bit different. Not a smart gamble, and he’s lucky it worked for him.

Duro,

DC started awarding points in 2009 to give incentive to players who skip it in favour of their solo career. I still think it’s badly scheduled though. Players may have to fly 30+ hours for one weekend and then 30+ hours back for Indian Wells that begins a few days after the first round. I don’t know how players deal with jetlag as well as they do. It took me years to overcome mine.


Von Says:

Giner:

“I really don’t think he deserves Severin Luthi’s help. He’s the Davis Cup captain, and Fed is the obvious star of their team who never seems to make himself available for DC duty. If Fed’s not going to bother showing up for DC, Luthi shouldn’t doesn’t owe him any coaching services. It’s extremely rude and improper to ask for something and not give back your own part.”

Those are my sentiments as well, but I didn’t want to express them because I’d be verbally beaten up. I’m glad you’re saying it and not moi. There’s a bias here against women speaking up. It’s a man’s world after all, and I deal with it every day.

“By the way, great job making Federer and Cahill sound like gay lovers.”

Hey, you guys are interpreting that post so wrong. I didn’t write that stuff about the “booty call” and Jennifer Anniston, etc. It was a copy from an article I read on another site. Here’s the link:

http://www.gototennisblog.com/2009/03/11/fedhill-drama-cahill-approached-federer/

“Von

“Yes, it’s risque. and, I won’t tell you. Sorry.”

“I had to look it up too. I’d heard the term before but never looked up what it meant. I associate ‘booty’ with pirate treasure. I think Von stole my innocence..”

That wasn’t me, again it’s all there in the article. Gosh, I’m embarrassed that you’d think I wrote that stuff. I know what it meant due to my job in a male-dominant profession, but I’m not that BOLD.

“I would like to see you and Ryan in a brawl. That would be fun.”

Me too. I’ve figured out from some words used by NWO that he’s Australian. Only an Aussie uses “mate” and of course,”bloke”, can be both English or Aussie. Also his posting time coincides with the Aussie time zone. Hence, NWO is one of your pisans. Now they can fight it out.

FYI, Roddick was awarded 80 points for his DC wins, but it was a loss — it was placed in the category of “non-countable” tourneys. It’s bad news for those who are playing to collect extra points — DC points aren’t worth didly.

_____________
jane:

Thanks for that link. It seems that I’m not that off in my thinking re: Cahill’s reason for leaving Fed’s employ. I think Cahill found out about the baby and didn’t want him/her spitting up on his designer clothes. BTW, re spitting up, Fed better ensure he doesn’t hold the baby before his matches, especially when teething time rolls by. Ha, ha.


Sean Randall Says:

Pietejp, got the email, great stuff. So in their 19 meetings combined, Nadal coverts 44% of break chances, Fed 36%. That’s the difference since remarkably total points won over those 19 matches are near even (50.6% for Rafa, 49.4% for Fed). Amazing just how even it is.

Von, sorry, I’m not sure when the next update of the smileys is going down. That’s up to the Luke, the master of the domain. Not my dept.

Voicemale1, thanks for that. Roger’s right for the most part. But mentally he sounds like someone that doesn’t believe he can overcome Rafa. He says his serve wasn’t working, and that added to the pressure. Or maybe he was feeling the pressure (of Rafa) and that’s why his serve wasn’t working. I’d bet the latter.

What’s unique about this rivalry is both guys have beaten the other on the three major surfaces. A rarity it think.


Giner Says:

“FYI, Roddick was awarded 80 points for his DC wins, but it was a loss — it was placed in the category of “non-countable” tourneys. It’s bad news for those who are playing to collect extra points — DC points aren’t worth didly.”

Von, the points might accrue in future rounds (i.e. Qtrs, Semis, and final). I doubt they will have a separate entry for all rounds, all of which too small to be counted. And they can’t make each round give high enough points to be counted, or someone could have equivalent points of winning 4 titles if they win the Davis Cup.

This is the only way that makes sense to me. If it’s 80 points for every win, then it’s about 320 points for winning the title. Later rounds might be worth more than 80 points.

Sean,

“Pietejp, got the email, great stuff. So in their 19 meetings combined, Nadal coverts 44% of break chances, Fed 36%. That’s the difference since remarkably total points won over those 19 matches are near even (50.6% for Rafa, 49.4% for Fed). Amazing just how even it is.”

These figures alone are misleading. What matters more than break point conversion rate is how many games you had an opportunity to break in, and how many games you did break in.

A player could have 9 break points in one game and blow 8 of them before finally converting. In the end, it doesn’t matter that you wasted 8 BPs, you still got the break which is just as good as getting it on the first BP. So the low percentages don’t tell the whole story.

What’s better:

A. 3 games where you had a break opportunity and you broke on the first opportunity. 3/3 = 100%

B. 5 games where you had a break point opportunity. You converted in all 5 games but wasted 20 break points along the way. 5/25 = 20%

I would rather break 5 times at 20% than 3 times at 100%.

As for the total points won.. meaningless. What matters is whether you won the important points. Bringing your opponent to deuce on his serve but never breaking serve will win you more points than you would have if you never extended your opponent to 30. But in the end, you still win the same number of games.

A match is not decided by total points won. You can win fewer points than your opponent but still be the victor, as Nadal did at Melbourne this year. If you win lots of points on your opponent’s serve but don’t break, while your opponent gets very few points won on your serve but he does put enough points together to get a break now and then, he will win fewer points but still win the match.

This happens a lot in 5 set matches. Won’t happen much in straight sets. In a 5 set match the sets you won might be 7-6 or 7-5, while the sets you lose are 6-1 or 6-0. If you win the 5th set, you will win fewer total points but still win the match.


Sean Randall Says:

Giner, point taken. It’s always been my belief that in their H2H matches Rafa plays better on BPs then Fed, and the numbers prove it.

That said, given that 13-6 H2H i didn’t think the overall points would be that close. I would have guess 55/45 rather than 51/49.


new world order Says:

frauderer cannot accept that nadal owns him!!! frauderer was supposed to be the humble guy until king raffy came and took that tag away from frauderer as well!!! raffy has stripped frauderer of all his prestigious tags!!! raffy better win the calendar year slam this year or else it will be a crime to tennis!!! only raffy has the ability and talent to win all 4 in the same year!!! mugs like murray and djokovic are mugtards!!!

i want raffy to dominate the slams and remain number 1!!!! i hope raffy doesnt get complacent and hope raffy can reduce frauderer to mere dust next time they play and extend the winning record over frauderer!!!!
that way raffy can beat some respect into fraud boy!


jane Says:

As per Cahill, before the AO final, Fed had converted only 6 of 42 break points in the last four Grand Slam finals between Rafa and himself. That’s a crucial statistic. It could’ve made the difference. Rafa is much better at converting BPs and yet Roger has the better serve overall. Why is that?


Ra Says:

jane,

I’m sure it’s been said a lot before by others, but that is largely because breaks happen against ad-court serves, and the ad-court serve favors the lefty in that it opens up the angle for Nadal to serve wide to Federer’s backhand or to jam his serve into the body. Basically, breaking requires Federer to capitalize against the big mismatch that is Nadal’s high bounce action to Fed’s backhand. Often, the best Fed can do is to get that ball back in play, but in that case Nadal has usually already gained the positional advantage and thereby draws Federer into his running game.

At least I think that’s what you were asking about…


jane Says:

I guess Ra. But doesn’t it also suggest that Fed is not learning or something? In that AO final, for example, the VAST majority of Rafa’s serves were to Fed’s backhand side; I am presuming this was the pattern in each of the other 3 slam finals included in that statistic. So why wouldn’t Fed be ready, step out wide and hit a forehand winner or at least an aggressive return on Rafa’s serves, which are well placed but not extravagantly paced? When he did get aggressive on the return at the AO, he was able to create opportunities as he was able to maintain some control on Rafa’s service games, by, as you note, not getting out of position, or not merely hitting a weakish backhand return that merely got the ball into play.

And this doesn’t even address the fact that considering that Roger’s serve is generally seen as the better of the two, why is it that Rafa is able to break as often as he does (Roger’s weak service performance at the AO aside)? Is it that Rafa has studied Roger’s game more, or made more adjustments? I don’t know; I am merely speculating.

Maybe Roger needs new strategies, because one assumes that if he could change that alarming stat – converting only 6 of 42 break chances – he could change the outcome, at least some of the time!


PietjeP Says:

Sean;

You are right about Rafa on the big points. But I’m not sure if he plays an extra level or just stays his consistent self (which is still an achievement under pressure!). But I think it’s a combination of both. Rafa playing consistent/great and Roger crumbling/playing with less confidence as well. I mean; common after so many missed chances it has to be. Specially since it’s Roger, a great player and not just a top 10 player.

Hell; I even liked the clay analyses. Everybody is talking how he almost always completely destroyed Fed on clay. But until the 2008 season there was little difference in total points won (51,4 vs 48,6) yet a H2H 6-1 in Rafa’s favour. What tells me more in those matches is again BP conversion. Rafa 31 breaks from 73 breakpoints. Roger 23/81.

I remember even last year’s MC final and Hamburg final. Monte Carlo Fed goes up a double break in the first and 1 in the second set. Yet loses 7-5, 7-5 and more of the same in the Hamburg final. It’s just too easy to say Nadal plays great on the big points. What did he do before falling behind? Playing on 50%…?

From another angle; you see the same thing happening in his H2H with Murray now. Let’s forget their first 3 matches (tanking, ‘mono’ and a nervous Murray at US open final).
In their last 4 matches, which Murray all won, Fed won the opening set, yet lost all the matches in 3 sets. Sure it can happen once or twice, but 4 consecutive times?! That starts to point in another direction again…

Like what happened in his rivalry with Nadal, big chance it will happen here again with Murray. His opponent will never break mentally in a match; they know “I can always come back… I did many times before” and Fed will never play freely; because he knows he squanders abundant leads and chances. Each time it happens; the prophecy gets more self-fulfilled and the mental task gets bigger for Fed and smaller for the opponent.

Giner;

Good point; I’ve always felt the same about how to measure those things. Probably best would be if it’s converted (even after chance nr 8 in the same game) to make it 1/1 in the stats (100%) and count all other non converted chances. If you would count them per game you would get another bias; some have 5 games with 1 each and his opponent 5 games with 6 each.

Having said that…. I think in 19 matches it will probably be evened out during it’s way. In 1 or 2 matches you can get an unbalance. Probably a lot less after 19; that’s the great thing about statistics ;)

Rgrds, Pietje


PietjeP Says:

Oh Giner, I forgot; I think you are slightly wrong on the view of the statistics and on the points issue as well.

Let me get give an example with a football match. If you create more chances then your oppenents and score less goals and win less matches.

After 1 single match, sure; bad luck or whatever else.
After a whole season; not bad luck anymore. It will show you a problem.

Besides; Fed was not almost even just on the points, but on the breakpoints too. And that is not logical with so many matches 13 vs 6 and so many sets 40 vs 27 in Rafa’s favour.


redux Says:

n.w.o.,
Federer’s peers hold him in high regard, including Djokovic, and it’s not just for his tennis. He is an advocate for structuring the sport to favor the players more than the corporate interests, who are already getting their way regardless of player’s-council efforts. Just because you hate him doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy. Within the last decade, the sport has benefitted internationally because of him in a big way. There’s no denying this. I just wish I could supply the data. I’m happy to say I believe Rafa will be doing his part now as world no.1 to contribute to this. The U.S. market continues to just wait for homegrown heroes.


tenisbebe Says:

FROM THE ATP WEBSITE:
The Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

The player who, throughout the year, conducted himself at the highest level of professionalism and integrity, who competed with his fellow players with the utmost spirit of fairness and who promoted the game through his off-court activities.

Roger Federer
Ivan Ljubicic
Carlos Moya
Jarkko Nieminen

My vote goes to Carlos Moya.


jane Says:

Yeah, considering that Moya will likely leave the sport soon, I’d love to see him get it tenisbebe.


tenisbebe Says:

Jane:

Yes, this “new” injury is very worrisome, and he’s 32 yrs old as well. Doesn’t look good for a comeback. Carlos is very well respected by the players, tournament directors, tennis in general – a real class act is Carlos. And easy on the eye, I might add…:D


Von Says:

tenisbebe:

What I’d like to see ATP do is spread the awards around several players and not give the award to the same player or players all of the time. Once a player receives an award, that’s it for him — select a different player the following year.


tenisbebe Says:

Von:

Yes, that would be more meaningful but I don’t see it happening. (Unless we put you in charge of course :))


Ra Says:

jane,

Idunno. To me it suggests Fed never learned how to hit a two-handed backhand. Seriously, though, I don’t think it’s so easy to just run around it. Rafa doesn’t exactly have the fastest serve on tour, but upwards of 100 mph isn’t exactly slow in the realm of human activity. Not only that, but where is Federer supposed to run in order to return an acute angle wide ad-court serve? The stands? There may be room on some courts, but still there’s so very little time to read the serve perfect and get there. In the AO, though, to my eyes Fed’s backhand return was holding up more than well enough for him to have won, and that kind of made it all the more frustrating to watch his serve (arguably the most consistent aspect of his game) fall apart. Whether it was his back or nerves or anything else, I can’t imagine Federer wouldn’t have walked away with his 14th if is serve had even been a little bit better.

When you say “generally” do you mean that in terms of H2H or all in all? I think Rafa saves so many break points because he is a phenomenal tennis player and is an uncannily rock steady competitor. I do think that Federer can place the ball on a dime (when his serve is on), whereas Rafa may or may not be able to do the same as of recently; but from the ad-court, Rafa needs only to get a high bounce to Federer’s backhand. The exact placement isn’t as important so long as its trajectory isn’t blatantly readable before he has made contact with the ball. After he’s made contact, there’s no time left for Federer to run around it and set up anyhow. Should Federer just guess more often and attempt to run around it more regularly? Possibly, but I sure won’t presume to know the answer to that. As for studying each other’s game and making adjustments, I’m sure it benefits Rafa to have been accounting for Roger’s game since before he (Rafa) was even through puberty. Rafa’s game is just set built in a way that his strengths play against Federer’s weaknesses; Fed’s game is built such that it has generally worked against everyone with just little adjustments here and there, but against Rafa he’s seemingly forced to make significant changes to just not lose because of a backhand that is near impotent in the face of Nadal’s lefty spin (and if he can avoid losing to that, then he gets to compete with the rest of Nadal’s phenomenal game). In my personal opinion, though, I still feel that the larger part of their H2H discrepancy (in the past couple years at least) has been mental; I feel that we’ve seen Federer fail to close out matches he could’ve rolled right through against Nadal on hard, grass, and clay surfaces because of simply freaking out.

Still it’s misleading as Giner so eloquently explained. On the other hand, if the stat was 8 out of 42 (which still seems kinda lame at face value), Federer could already be a 15 GS title holder…


Ra Says:

Just to clarify, I’m not saying that Federer failed to close out on all his losses to Nadal; Credit to Nadal for straight up outplaying Federer on multiple occasions, too.


Ra Says:

Oh yeah, jane, and in reference to your presumption about Nadal’s service pattern in the other 3 slams, it doesn’t always hold true. Wasn’t it this last Wimbledon that Nadal served some ridiculous stat like 75% into Federer’s body? (I could be wrong on that, but I’m sure someone around here will correct me.) It’s not so easy to get the ball to bounce that high on all surfaces…


jane Says:

Right. My presumption didn’t take into account different serves needed for different surfaces. Maybe if we take the ad court / lefty serve out wide out of the equation and just consider the deuce court, the return question becomes more relevant. Again, on this side, at the AO, Rafa was going repeatedly to the backhand. Fed could’ve gone for more outright winners off the return. Instead he was hitting backhand returns into the middle of the court, hardly angled at times, and Rafa was able to pounce and take control of the point.

I realize it’s a unique match up thing but still.

And I am not sure it comes down to Fed’s serve being on. Because so long as Rafa holds, it goes to a tiebreak. Look at the third set at the AO – Rafa was clearly tired, making several errors, yet Roger squandered break points at 4-4 and 5-5. And then Rafa comes through and wins the tiebreak, which gave him the lead. All Rafa had to do was hold, regardless of how well Roger was or was not serving. Some have even wondered if Rafa then sat back a bit in the 4th set knowing that if it went to 5 sets, his chances were better.

Perhaps Rafa agrees with you – it’s predominately a mental thing.

It just seems like, as you note, a couple more breaks, a little more aggression off the return from Roger, and he’d have those desired wins. Oh well, easy for me to say! LOL. There’s is an intriguing rivalry, especially with the way Nadal has been able to consistently improve his game in order to compete better with him on every surface, and take number 1 as the reward. It’s good that Roger’s still fighting too. Makes it interesting, seeing the shoe on the other foot…


Ra Says:

You know, I may end up just drawing a bulls-eye on myself by saying this, but I think we’d have seen Federer put a lot more pace on many of those returns if his back hadn’t crapped out (which I believe it did). Even so, though, Roger doesn’t seem to me to be the best at reading Nadal’s spin even entirely unrelated to the single-handed backhand. And between Fed’s racquet head acceleration and Nadal’s insane spin, Federer is tentative in general because we’ve all seen what happens when he even slightly mistimes it with that combination of factors at play.

Have you looked at their tiebreak record, though? Last time I checked it was grossly uneven. Why? Well, for one thing, in a tiebreak you can earn minibreaks when your opponent is serving from the deuce court. Do you see what I’m saying?

Perhaps…

Ha. Yeah, jane, it seems… And I’m with you on all that.


jane Says:

Ra,

Rafa and Fed have played 16 tiebreaks: Federer has won 9; Rafa has won 7. Sheesh. Even in this they are splitting hairs. So I guess Rafa doesn’t need to “only hold” as it looks like a 50/50 (or 45/55) proposition when he gets to a tiebreak.

Interestingly, of 5 sets they’ve plated that went to 7-5, Nadal has won 4 of them. So for Rafa, the conversion of break points clearly matters in terms of his success. The first set of the AO final is a case in point.

Anyhoo — nice chatting with you.


Ra Says:

jane,

looks like I stand corrected, then. I could’ve sworn it was far more imbalanced, but I may have just hallucinated that or maybe the stats I had read were qualified by surface or by slam or something.

Definitely interesting…

Likewise, jane.


Steve Worthington Says:

Do you think Roger can handle losing without crying?
There’s these hilarious designs of crying tennis balls here http://www.cafepress.com/GoldParachute


Von Says:

Giner:

further to our discussion on Cahill, I’m watching Verdasco v. Belucci and Cahill is sitting in on that match as Verdasco’s coach. I suppose his new job is helping the Adidas players whenever they’re playing a non-Adidas player, similarly to what Sven Groeneveld does for the WTA players, especially in the case of Ivanovic, until she found her own coach.

According to the commentators, Adler/Koenig, Verdasco went back to Vegas after the AO to work with Cahill for 5 weeks. I still feel that Cahill’s decision was based on many factors aside from travelling. I’m speculating here by saying that the offer from Adidas most probably was in the works and the other coaching job was used as leverage to draw in Adidas to pay him more money.

You had enquired whether Josh Goodall is Jason’s son? According to Margot, josh Goodall’s father is Gary Goodall.


Giner Says:

Sean Randall Says:

“That said, given that 13-6 H2H i didn’t think the overall points would be that close. I would have guess 55/45 rather than 51/49.”

A match between good players is often decided by one point. It’s not unusual at all. The difference in total points could be less than 5, with over 100 points each.

What it does tell us is that Roger plays well when he loses, and wins his matches comfortably. OK, maybe not in Miami or Wimbledon 07, and the Hamburg match had a weird scoreline, but the other 3 were straight setters I think. Wimb 06 had a bagel set.

It is indeed true that Roger doesn’t play the break points well, and his reason offered was the dynamics of returning serve against a lefty in the Ad court. I’m not sure how big a factor that is since Nadal’s serve is not that great (he is naturally right handed after all). A guy with height and muscles like that should be hitting 200kph+ serves regularly.

jane Says:

“As per Cahill, before the AO final, Fed had converted only 6 of 42 break points in the last four Grand Slam finals between Rafa and himself. That’s a crucial statistic. It could’ve made the difference. Rafa is much better at converting BPs and yet Roger has the better serve overall. Why is that?”

He did serve quite intelligently in the AO final, trying to make it as unpredictable as possible. Fed anticipates the wide serve to the deuce court and gets a backhand. There were a couple of occasions where after a lot of second serves to Fed’s backhand (pretty much the only place he serves to), he threw one to the forehand when Fed was anticipating the backhand and stepping to cover it early. They happened during break points I think.

Another thing I noticed is that while Nadal served very few aces, they came on break points, or during crucial moments.

“And this doesn’t even address the fact that considering that Roger’s serve is generally seen as the better of the two, why is it that Rafa is able to break as often as he does (Roger’s weak service performance at the AO aside)? Is it that Rafa has studied Roger’s game more, or made more adjustments? I don’t know; I am merely speculating.”

Nadal’s serve has improved a little bit. Also his placement is quite good. Roger does have a better serve than Rafa, but then again Roddick has a better serve than Roger but always loses in aces count.

“Maybe Roger needs new strategies, because one assumes that if he could change that alarming stat – converting only 6 of 42 break chances – he could change the outcome, at least some of the time!”

In this case, you’re right. Fed did fail on a lot of opportunities. So did Rafa, but he converted a few more than Fed did. The fifth set really was the defining set. Rafa played his best tennis in the fifth set. All throughout the match he didn’t have any love service games until the fifth, when he was never challenged on serve.

6 of 42 doesn’t tell how many different games he held break points in. If it was only 6 games those 42 breaks came in, then he can’t be criticised for it. In this case it was a lot more, and Rafa just played well on those break points. Some of those points he played in saving the break points were very gutsy and could have cost him the match, but he didn’t buckle under the pressure.

Ra:

“When you say “generally” do you mean that in terms of H2H or all in all? I think Rafa saves so many break points because he is a phenomenal tennis player and is an uncannily rock steady competitor.”

This is the only explanation I can offer myself. He does play well when under pressure. A lot of players get timid on break points, especially if they don’t get a first serve. They don’t go for too much because they’re afraid of hitting an error. Nadal still goes for winners when he faces BPs.

Pietjep:

“After 1 single match, sure; bad luck or whatever else.
After a whole season; not bad luck anymore. It will show you a problem.”

It’s not that uncommon. Federer wins his sets 6-0 or 6-1 or 6-2 more often than Nadal does. When Nadal wins, it’s 6-4 or 7-5. Nadal has to work harder and his service games rarely hold to love unlike Federer’s. That’s how Federer has won so many points even though he’s down 1:2 in wins.

Fed has a better serve, and has more love service games. Nadal doesn’t have as good a serve, and he gets stretched to 30 or Deuce a lot. He ends up holding still, but Fed wins some points that turn out to be insignificant.

Points won really isn’t a good statistic to pay attention to. Games won is better.

jane:

“And I am not sure it comes down to Fed’s serve being on. Because so long as Rafa holds, it goes to a tiebreak. Look at the third set at the AO – Rafa was clearly tired, making several errors, yet Roger squandered break points at 4-4 and 5-5. And then Rafa comes through and wins the tiebreak, which gave him the lead.”

This was an aberration. Roger is normally rock solid on big points, such as tie breaks. I very much expected Fed to win the tie break but he choked. If you look at their tie break record against each other, Fed’s record is far better. In 3 Wimbledon matches they played 6 tie breaks (2 in each match) and Fed won 5 out of 6. Rafa had 2 tie break chances to win Wimbledon 07, but Fed is such a great player in tie breaks.

“All Rafa had to do was hold, regardless of how well Roger was or was not serving. Some have even wondered if Rafa then sat back a bit in the 4th set knowing that if it went to 5 sets, his chances were better.”

I have no idea what he was thinking, but he looked tired. My guess is that he tried to win the 4th set early on, but Fed had the advantage and he couldn’t pull even so he conserved his energy for the 5th. If he was fully rested, he would have tried as hard as he could to win it in 4. He would not have given up any points even if it was 40-0 on his opponent’s serve. Instead, he kept the points short and didn’t fight too hard.

I do not think he was banking on mental toughness getting him through a 5th set. After all he did lose Wimbledon 07 to Fed after holding the momentum in the 4th, and having early break points in two of Federer’s service games in the 5th but not converting. He does not underestimate Fed’s ability to get out of trouble on big points. Every player who’s up 2-1 would rather finish it in 4 than 5, especially a tired player.

“Rafa and Fed have played 16 tiebreaks: Federer has won 9; Rafa has won 7. Sheesh. Even in this they are splitting hairs. So I guess Rafa doesn’t need to “only hold” as it looks like a 50/50 (or 45/55) proposition when he gets to a tiebreak.”

Federer’s tiebreaks came in big matches, like grand slams, and the Miami 5 set final. Nadal’s were what.. clay Masters Series? As I said, 5 out of 6 for Federer at Wimbledon. In Wimb 08, Nadal should have won BOTH of those tie breaks but lost them both. At that time, Federer was still the better player on crucial points.

Von,

Thanks for clearing that up about Goodall. I was very curious about that one.

Verdasco is probably using Cahill’s services at Cahill’s convenience. i.e. he goes to Cahill rather than Cahill going to him. Their work in the off season paid off early this year, so it’s no surprise Verdasco is going back to him.

Fed wants Cahill to be his property. I’m not sure what Cahill’s stake in Adidas is, but if he’s found a way to profit from it, more power to him. I could have sworn Verdasco was wearing the same shirt as Nadal in their SF clash this year, though I might have been mistaking it for another match he played.

I vaguely remember Federer desiring Cahill back in 04 when he was still coaching Agassi. He said “I know who I want, but is he available?” In another quote before that he did reference Cahill by name, saying (paraphrasing) “I want Darren Cahill as coach,” and not long later, Darren and Gil Reyes reaffirmed their commitment to Agassi for a few more years.

When Agassi retired and Cahill was available, Fed was still working with Roche, which might have been the reason he didn’t send his job offer immediately.

Koenig I want to add is a terrible commentator. I heard him in an online feed calling a match by himself. I was less than impressed. I like Adler and Goodall though. I like Mary Carilo too if only she didn’t have an androgynous sounding voice. Her comments are great, but her voice is low, borderline masculine.


margot Says:

Jane, Ra: you’re talking about Rog’s backand against Rafa, wanted to ask about Murray’s( no I’m not obsessed but lordy, lordy it’s very exciting to have a British player in top 10!) M’s backhand is very effective against Nadal’s serve. Why? I assume a 2 hander is more powerful and M uses a kind of chipping wristy squash shot very well but I thought a 2 hander has less range because your movement is slightly restricted. Please enlighten. Ta.


PietjeP Says:

Giner;

I’m not sure where you are heading…. But I’ve checked a couple of things anyway:

- Easy sets (6-0, 6-1, 6-2) are near equal, just a little edge to Fed.
- Total games won 352 for Nadal vs 324 for Fed

To make it complete: total points are 2163/2110 and sets are 40/27 in favor of Nadal.

With a 13-6 H2H I think points percentage should be around 52/53 – 48/47. I checked briefly with the Sampras-Agassi as comparison. They go in that direction.
Why I think that is because many times you see a match heading in one direction. One player is struggling on his serve many times and gets broken; while the other player wins his relatively more easy. These guys (Fed/Nadal) are close in all stats and matches, except the H2H of 13 vs 6; hence my conclusion it is a little odd.

I’m not sure about your conclusion that Fed wins his service games much more easily. I think Nadal handles it pretty well. And in many matches I have seen, many of his service games are close.

All my conclusion was that with the very (and little odd) close total points, total break chances etc. was that Fed is close many times, yet still loses.

I think he should have won a couple of the matches he lost. He should have even won a couple more of clay court matches. Whether that is because Nadal plays great on the big points, serves to the add court, Fed has a mental block, Nadal is a lefty or whatever else; that is up for debate.

Rgrds, Pietje


jane Says:

giner says “If you look at their tie break record against each other, Fed’s record is far better.”

No it’s not – I posted their tiebreak records against one another above. Fed has won 9; Rafa has won 7. That’s not “far better”; that’s a smidgen better.


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