Nadal, Federer Win; Murray Toppled Early at ATP Rome
by Staff | April 29th, 2009
  • 114 Comments

Andy Murray’s claycourt campaign, aided by new coach Alex Corretja, hit another snag on Wednesday when he was upset by Argentine qualifier Juan Monaco 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 at the Masters-Rome.


“It wasn’t my best match, but I was still very close to winning,” Murray said. “I’ve found ways of coming through when I haven’t been playing my best early in tournaments this year. On the clay, that’s something that I need to maybe try and work out a little bit more. I’m not going to be too disappointed. I would have liked to have got my sort of run going, but I’ve had a great eight months — haven’t lost early for a long time. I knew it was going to happen sometime — just got to move on and realize that I’ve been playing much better this year than I was last year on clay.”

Monaco led 4-2 in the third set before Murray fought back to 5-4 before the Argentine closed it out.

“At the beginning I think I very nervous,” Monaco told reporters. “Then the second set I started thinking to be a bit calmer. I was trying to hit the ball very hard in the first set, and that wasn’t tactic to play against Andy. Then I play calm like six, seven balls every game, every point, try to make him a little bit tired.”

Russian Nikolay Davydenko was another seeded upset, losing to Austrian Jurgen Melzer 7-5, 7-6(5). 

No. 13 seed Tommy Robredo of Spain, beating Philipp Kohlschreiber, and No. 15 seed Marin Cilic, beating Christophe Rochus in three sets, advanced to the third round. No. 23 Richard Gasquet won an all-French meeting with No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(2), 6-4, then beat Ernests Gulbis later in the day in the rain-backed-up schedule.

Barcelona runner-up David Ferrer was another first-round casualty, losing a rain-delayed three-setter to France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu.

Other winners Wednesday were No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Roger Federer, No. 6 Fernando Verdasco topping American Mardy Fish in three sets, and seeds No. 10 Stan Wawrinka, No. 12 Fernando Gonzalez winning in straights, and three-set winners No. 8 Gilles Simon and No. 5 Juan Martin Del Potro.

After defeating Ferrer, Mathieu lost to the German qualifier Zverev 6-0 in the third. No. 16 Radek Stepanek was a two-time winner on the day, outlasting Florent Serra in a long three-setter, then steamrolling Feliciano Lopez 6-2, 6-1.


Also Check Out:
Nadal Wins Title, Djokovic Ranking Drop in Rome
Andy Murray Admits: “I Swear On Court Regularly”
Roger Federer Will Play In Rome!
Marquee Clay Schedules: Where Will Nadal, Djokovic, Federer And Murray Be Playing The Next Six Weeks
Serena Williams Ousted 1st Rd in Rome After Disparaging Safina

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114 Comments for Nadal, Federer Win; Murray Toppled Early at ATP Rome

jane Says:

There will be many interesting matches tomorrow at Rome!!

1. Nadal vs. Soderling: they’ve not played since that contentious match at Wimbledon in 2007 during which Soderling pick at his pants and really got under Rafa’s skin.

2. Djokovic vs. Robredo: again, potentially bad blood, if there are any leftovers from Novak’s win at last year’s USO.

3. Federer vs. Stepanek: this is the very same tournament where Stepanek ousted Roger last year, only it’s a round earlier. It’s tough to say what will happen; will we see two guys charging the net? Stepanek played two matches today to get through so perhaps that’ll give an advantage to Federer, who played early and wasn’t really tested by Ivo.

4. Verdasco vs. Gasquet: Can Gasquet find some form and win this one? He has won all their previous meetings on clay, but Verdasco just beat him easily at IW on hard. Hmmm…

5. JMDP vs. Wawrinka – I’d give the edge to Wawrinka here as he’s really proven himself on clay, but on the other hand, JMDP plays with confidence against lower ranked players and he’ll be wanting to prove himself more so.

Sorry to not really comment on Murray’s loss, but I think the more exciting stuff is what’s to come. Murray will bounce back no problem; he’s too good not to.


sar Says:

Djokovic will want to kick butt after that Robredo outburst.


Giner Says:

Novak D seems to enjoy being an antagonist. I look forward to his rivalry with Robredo. And Roddick. And Federer. He’d be a great ATP ‘villain’ to replace Lleyton Hewitt.

At least he’s never boring. His mother is also not bad looking.


Kimmi Says:

Jane, 1 $ 2 and 4 from your list looks straight forward. The intriguing ones are Fed/stepanek and JMDP/wawrinka.

Don’t know if fed looked stable today..did not see the match, Karlovic not a person to jurge a match on. Fed win here will make things interesting going deeper in the draw. So Fed please win…

JMDP is higher ranked but wawrinka clay game has proved better so far. This is a toss up I think.

Which Gasquet will turn up..the one that was humiliated by verdasco in.. was it IW or Miami ?

murray loss here not to worry too much, another loss in Madrid should raise an alarm…..hope his team + corretja will give him some positive input ready for Madrid.


Giner Says:

Did Novak dump that olympic Javelin thrower girl for this one?

http://greattennisphotos.blogspot.com/2008/11/jelena-ristic-novak-djokovics.html?showComment=1239028740000

If so, that’s a nice exchange. The jav girl was too tarty for my liking anyway.


jane Says:

Kimmi,

“1 $ 2 and 4 from your list looks straight forward. ” As you can see from my addendums after each match up, it’s not only speculating on who will win or lose that makes the matches intriguing. :-)


jane Says:

Giner Novak denies anything ever happening with that javelin thrower; his girlfriend is (and has been for a while) Jelena, the girl in that photo, who is a student in Italy and therefore cannot travel with Novak a lot. And I agree with you that she’s cute and looks more Novak’s style.


Giner Says:

I see. So he was with Jelena even before those Beijing rumours with the jav thrower?

I’m not sure I believe his denials. Brad and Angelina denied having anything going either, then she got pregnant but insisted they didn’t get together until after he split with Jen. Then she outright admitted to being a marriage wrecker. Go figure. It doesn’t surprise me that big stars have relationships they’d rather forget about.


zola Says:

***jane Says:
There will be many interesting matches tomorrow at Rome!!***

Oh, yes, I would have liked to see Rafa-Soderling, but it is around noon my time and I am in a meeting. Perhaps I can watch Fed-Stepanek if that one is early in the morning. Why do they start the matches at 1 pm btw?
Djoko/Rpbredo, I think Djoko will win easily.
Gasquet -Verdasco is intereting. They are both so unpredictable!
JMDP/Wawrinka, another interesting match and very hard to predict.

Giner,
Jelena looks cute. I like the second from thw top the best.


Von Says:

I’m sorry Murray lost, but Monaco played very patiently in the second and third sets. Andy M. will bounce back in Madrid. I like his mindset:

“..haven’t lost early for a long time. I knew it was going to happen sometime — “. Absolutely, the unexpected always happens. I’m glad he didn’t make any excuses, but just wants to move on and look forward to “Tomorrow”:

Sun’ll come out
Tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow
There’ll be sun!

Just thinkin’ about
Tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs,
And the sorrow
‘Til there’s none!”

It’s amazing the amount of first round losses which occurred today, especially the loss of one of the so-called “clay elite” David Ferrer. Also, Feliciano Lopez continues on his downward slide. Both Ferrer’s and Lopez’ losses certainly makes Blake look good, especially since there wasn’t any bad weather today, and these guys have grown up on clay, unlike the Americans, tut, tut. Oh my, comeuppance, I love it!!

Gotta agree with Giner, I think Djoko was a naughty boy, double-dipping, is a no no. His hand prints were found in the cookie jar. Ha, ha.

Giner: “Brad and Angelina denied having anything going either, then she got pregnant but insisted they didn’t get together until after he split with Jen. Then she outright admitted to being a marriage wrecker.”

Another instance of comeuppance, Angie baby found Brad in their bed with the nanny. I bet Jen was grinning from ear to ear, and doing some cartwheels too.

I’d be very surprised if Step pulled a repeat of his last year’s performance over Fed. He hasn’t been playing well for the past 3 months and I’m assuming he must be dog tired after playing 2 matches today. He’s also 31 years old and is no longer a ‘spring’ chicken but a chicken that’s been ‘sprung’. Ha, ha. I bet if he wins tomorrow he’ll break out his worm dance.


jane Says:

zola, I think this will be Rafa’s chance for some revenge; Soderling was acting very strange during that Wimbledon match. I don’t think Robredo will be an easy match for Novak; they’ve had a lot of tight encounters. I hope he can come through.

giner, Novak definitely knew the javelin thrower and even when she watched one of his USO matches right after the Olympics, Novak told reporters she was his friend only. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.


jane Says:

Okay Von now we’re gossiping but do tell your source for this newsflash: “Angie baby found Brad in their bed with the nanny.”

I know that happened with Jude Law and his girlfriend at the time Sienna Miller, but I hadn’t heard that about Brangelina.


Von Says:

jane:

I read about Brad and the nanny on the Yahoo internet news. Angie was so furious she threw both of them out of the house, after she fired the nanny. That’ll teach him not to get too chummy with the hired help. Ha, ha. I think Hollywood is truly a make believe world or Sodom and Gomorrah.


zola Says:

Jane,
I remember that incident. I don’t know if they played after Wimbledon 07. And of all Rafa’s matches, I am to miss this one!


Leowin D. Gempes Says:

At the rate Rafa was playing he is unbeatable at Clay !!!! Its time for Novak to unseat Roger as # 2!!! For Murray he has to improve on playing at Clay if he wants to dislodge Roger from # 3 !!!!
So far the jockeying for # 2; # 3: # 4 is getting more interesting !!!!! Rafa is so safe at being # 1 !!!!!! Rafa is destined to break all TENNIS RECORDS !!!!


ludifh Says:

Is it true that if Djokovic do not win this tournament he will lost his 3rd ranking?


MMT Says:

Interesting that both 2 a day players won both their matches. Of course, the devil is in the recovery.


jane Says:

Well no problem for Novak; I am surprised it was so lopsides, but Robredo was not having a good day! Not much friendliness in that handshake at the net though.

ludifh – yes. He will lose number 3 after 91 weeks there.”

MMT – yes, and Gonzales had to play really late and then play first today! I felt badly for him; it was not a kind schedule.


MMT Says:

Oof, that was some beat down of Robredo by Djokovic. Didn’t see the handshake, but that probably has as much to do with the embarrassment of the result as any lingering animosity from the US Open. Oh well…


sar Says:

Bravo NOLE


jane Says:

I know Roger has a really great second serve, and I know he’s beating Stepanek easily right now, but still, he’s at 32% first serves in. Against a better returner, he’d be paying for it, wouldn’t he?


sensationalsafin Says:

I wouldn’t call this easily. Stepanek is really pressing. But yeah, Fed ended the first set with a 33% first serve percentage. That’s absolutely awful.


jane Says:

Luckily Step is not really firing today, neither serve nor volley are at their best, and Federer is returning very well. Step’s been able to recover only 9 of 23 second serve points.


MMT Says:

He’s going to have to serve a lot better than that against his next opponent. I tell ya, it’s not looking like all those “practices” with Meltzer has done him much good.


jane Says:

Finally a couple of great little rallies from Stepanek to get in the board in this second set.


sensationalsafin Says:

Fed’s gotta be happy with that win. Such a poor first serve percentage and still winning so dominantly means he’s playing well off the ground. Well enough to crush Stepanek, at least. It’s funny how when Fed did get a first serve in, the point was virtually over. 4 aces in that 2nd set. Not too bad. Hopefully he’ll improve his serve and when we get to the Djoker-Fed semi, we have a legit classic, not the worst 3 setter between a number 2 and 3 ever.


MMT Says:

That was a pretty terrible match in Miami wasn’t it (ducking!)


jane Says:

sensationalsafin: “and when we get to the Djoker-Fed semi, we have a legit classic,” Careful you don’t jump the gun: JMDP and Simon might have something to say about that. But if you’re right and we do get that semi, I hope it’s a good match also, so long as it doesn’t completely wear out whichever guy has to face Nadal in the final!

I have a feeling Monaco may be the one to face Rafa in the semis; he’s playing well here.


Joe O'Brien Says:

Jane: Agreed with you abaout Monaco
From what I’ve seen this week hes playing well (might even give Nadal a good match), much better than in recent months and alot of the end of last year. Hopefully he’s getting some form back.


sensationalsafin Says:

I don’t see Del Potro beating Djoker and/or Fed on clay. And as for Simon. Well, he’s losing right now. But Fed’s already gotten one revenge match under his belt, I’m sure he’s just waiting for more.


gordon Says:

To sensationalsafin:

His name is Djokovic.


MMT Says:

I’ve always felt bad for this Moncao guy, ever since he lost that point at the US Open to Djokovic when the ball came out of his pocket a second time. He almost lost the set because of it, as Djokovic had a match point in that set, which Monaco eventually won before losing the 4th rather tamely. He really moves beautifully, but I have a feeling that he won’t be able to keep up the same level he displayed against Murray. Frankly, I’ve never seen him play THAT well. Hope I’m wrong.


sensationalsafin Says:

To gordon:

Djoker is his nickname.


jane Says:

Yeah, Fed may be facing this left-handed German fella by the looks of it. Wow. They have never played. Who IS this Zverev guy? Anyone have a scoop on him?

Regarding Monaco: MMT I remember that match when the ball fell out of his pocket; shame, that. Monaco played and served great against Cilic today, so I hope he can keep up this form, and as Joe O says, give Nadal “a good match”.


sensationalsafin Says:

I hope Nadal loses.


jane Says:

sensationalsafin – don’t count on it!


Duro Says:

Jane, I told you… Have some more faith!


Duro Says:

Sar, congrats! I’m happy that you are happy!


Duro Says:

Jane, we’re on the roll!!!


I like tennis bullies Says:

“I hope Nadal loses.”
——————–

you’ll be hoping eternally


jane Says:

Hi Duro – my motto is expect the worst hope for the best, but you’re almost swinging me over to a more optimistic outlook! ;) Thanks for your upbeat attitude. Novak really kicked some butt today hey? So what do you see in the stars?


Duro Says:

Jane, I told you: See you in the finals!


jane Says:

Duro, assuming Novak passes JMDP, what about Fed?


Rome Open 2009 Says:

Semifinals
Nadal defeats Gonzalez
Federer/Zverev vs. Djokovic (to be determined)


Duro Says:

Jane, I was waiting for you asking me that. I’ll tell you in the finals, but something much much more interesting!


jane Says:

Nadal is kicking butt too – but is only serving at 53%. Soderling has no power or is not able to access it; he tried to resist Rafa’s onslaught, but as Tony Soprano might say “forget about it!!”


jane Says:

Duro – don’t leave me hanging! Sheesh, do tell.


Duro Says:

No no… Only for the friends, not in public!


jane Says:

Well where then Duro, since we don’t talk in private. :)


jane Says:

Grinding it out at the baseline is not the answer against Rafa; he’s too machine-like in the sense that he gets everything back and often with interest. It’s demoralizing for the other player. The trick is to try and shorten the points somehow. Has Rafa ever been faced with serve and volley, played more extensively throughout a match, on clay? Didn’t Fed so this once in a set at RG and actually win it with this technique of coming in?


Duro Says:

Here of course, but not before the finals!


Kimmi Says:

Two qualies, Monaco and Zverev, they did themselves proud. Beating all seeded players on their way. Now quarter final.

What will it be like if Zverev win the whole thing eeh ?? excellent play for both and congratulations.


Voicemale1 Says:

Jane:

Ask Roger Federer about “coming in” against Nadal on clay. In Monte Carlo 2006, he did that over 60 times. It got Federer 1 Set out of the four they played. In Rome that same year Federer approached over 80 times and did 100% better: he got two sets that time out of the five they played. But he still lost both matches. After that, Federer stopped “coming to the net” against Nadal on clay.

So you think beating Nadal on clay is as easy as figuring out “the trick” to doing so? Maybe you should tell the rest of the ATP Locker room what the trick is then, because this dastardly Spaniard has won 144 out of 148 matches on clay in the last four years. Oh wait…the last two guys to beat him on clay DID figure out “the trick”: Federer figured out in Hamburg of 2007 that Nadal needed to be thoroughly exhausted mentally & physically from maintaining his win-streak of 81 straight matches. And Ferrero last year figured out another “trick”: make sure Nadal has a blister on his foot the size of a quarter. Yeah, that’ll work every time :)

You say “grinding it out on the baseline” is useless against Nadal – as though his opponents go into their matches against him with that very plan. Uh, Jane..these guys are forced into doing that because of the weight & spin of the Nadal ground strokes. He’s just better from the back court than anyone out there right now. Especially on clay. Tell you what: you go out and try to volley a Nadal forehand (or even backhand) that has so much topspin on it that before you reach the service line the ball is already at your shoelaces. Or watch his passes zip right by you before you know what’s happened. Lemme know how you make out :)

Soderling was out on the court for 84 minutes tonight, and managed to win 1 single game. And that was with Nadal serving at less than 60%. Nadal saved all 5 break points against him, including one game where Soderling had 0-40 on the Nadal serve. If anyone can save all the break points they face serving at less than 60%, and actually win more points on their second serve than their first serve, than I hate to break it to you: there’s no “trick” that will work. You just have to hope someone that plays their ground game that good just, well, doesn’t. :)


Kimmi Says:

Voicemail, Did you watch the final of Monte Carlo ? The way you are talking here is like things are IMPOSSIBLE out there! If these guys will go play Nadal with your kind of attitude then ofcourse they will lose. A lot of guys are beaten even before they step out on court. Please don’t use Solderling as a gage, the guy is currently struggling to win matches on any surface.

I thought Djokovic played tactically correct against Nadal in MC, but only in the second set.
Djokovic out hit Nadal groundies and serve big. Nadal can play defensive if he is under attack and thats what he did. That way the opponent will always have a chance. But the major problem is, these guys have to play at the high level for 2 or 3 sets continuous and so far they have not been able to do this. Djokovic was not able to keep that up that day, with that perfomance I believe he could do it for two sets..

I like to believe the guys are getting closer and its only a matter of time, when that day comes we will all wonder how this was done, but it can happen !


Kimmi Says:

Sorry, you are not “Voicemail”..its “Voicemale”


Kimmi Says:

Voicemale, I just read some of Nadal interview after the match with Soldering, and was surprise to read what he said.

“I think the match was really tough, if not the result,” said Nadal. “In the beginning I was winning 4-1 but at the same time I could have been losing 4-1.

“I think I played really well. It was one of my best matches on clay this year or maybe even in my career.”

I am surpprised to see him say that this could be one of his best match in his career. Well, did not see that match but if he thinks that way then kudos to him.


Voicemale1 Says:

Kimmi Says:
“I like to believe the guys are getting closer and its only a matter of time, when that day comes we will all wonder how this was done, but it can happen !”

So, why do you “like to believe the guys are getting closer” anyway?


jane Says:

Voicemale1,

How foolish of me; I am totally embarrassed to make such an inane suggestion, but one can’t help but wonder what strategies might work; two players meet on the court, so it’s not impossible that they might come up with some strategies that work whether for a sustained period (i.e., more than one set) or whatever. I am not suggesting there is a simple answer, but when I see a challenge I am inclined to wonder how it can be overcome. I am sure all of these players have wondered what the best approach is to playing Rafa on clay and didn’t propose that they go onto the court with the plan to “grind from the baseline”; I was merely pointing out that it ain’t working so they should try to find ways around it.

As you opined, that’s easier said than done.


Kimmi Says:

I like to believe because I know how tough it is but also we have seen a glimpse of how it can be done.


Kimmi Says:

There is a rumour going around that Murray might accept a wildcard for Belgrade ?? Don’t know, anybody heard anything ?

If he does, I think it will be great. He needs more matches on clay before RG.


jane Says:

Hi Kimmi,

I am not sure where you read that, but the following article suggests that Murray’s camp feel he needs some rest and practice before Madrid; here’s the link:

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/266404.html


Kimmi Says:

Thanks Jane. From this article, it looks like he is looking for more rest and training to strengthen his legs.
I guess it was just a rumour going around in the BBC tennis Forum, don’t know the source of the romour. I like to visit there sometimes.

He is still trying to find his feet on clay, I admire his willingness to learn and searching for the different things he can do to succeed there.


Duro Says:

Watch out, people! Rafa didn’t say it without a reason. This is true, actually! If you watched the match and analyzed it carefully, there was a change in his way of winning in this match. I suppose this is why he felt it that way (that it was may be one of the best matches on clay in his career). Do you know why? Because he finally won a match by attacking! He was a protagonist, not a defender and the collector of the someone else s errors, forced or not. He was so pleased with himself and finally felt that sensational feeling of the win that depended only on himself. Never more winners, never more attacking-look play. It’s more like Fed and Nole’s style, where everything depends on them, they make or they give away.


Von Says:

Duro:

It’s easy for any player to look supreme when playing against an opponent who is struggling or has been struggling for quite a while. What has Soderling done or won recently? Nada.

Nadal also said he had played one of his best matches on clay when he beat Roddick in Madrid in DC. Hence, I suppose he wins several of “one of his best matches on clay” when he beats some of his opponents. Sometimes the players’ pressers confuse the heck out of me.


Von Says:

Voicemale!:

“Tell you what: you go out and try to volley a Nadal forehand (or even backhand) that has so much topspin on it that before you reach the service line the ball is already at your shoelaces. Or watch his passes zip right by you before you know what’s happened. Lemme know how you make out :)”

I wouldn’t want to even try because I know my arms might pop out of their sockets.


Von Says:

“Nadal can play defensive if he is under attack and thats what he did.”

I think it’s the other way around. Nadal turns defense into attack, when he’s pressured.


Duro Says:

Von, the pressers are routine. The players constantly repeat over and over the same thoughts and sentences, some of them are even from somebody’s else head. But, as for Nadal’s statement, this time I think it’s right. He did play a bit different and I think that he’s satisfied with it. His opponent wasn’t a real match up but nevertheless, it was one of his best matches on clay regarding the aspects I mentioned in my previous post. Nice to see you back, but don’t go so easily and don’t make us cry for you and say goodbyes for nothing (you came after couple of days and that made me mad, if you understand me).


Kimmi Says:

Von, what I meant was when an opponent attack Nadal consistently, he is known to retreat way behind the baseline..thats what I meant as being defensive. It has not happened often on clay but it happened.


Voicemale1 Says:

Kimmi Says:

1) “I think I played really well. It was one of my best matches on clay this year or maybe even in my career.”

-Regarding this quote, I’m not sure where you got it, but here’s how it appears on ATP’s website recapping his match, which is notably different regarding his conclusion:
“…I think I played really well. One of my best matches on clay sure this year. I don’t know of my career, but I’m playing at the very good level today, so I’m very happy.” Note that he says he DOESN’T know if it’s one of the best of his career. So I’m curious as to where you got the quote you pulled.

2) “Von, what I meant was when an opponent attack Nadal consistently, he is known to retreat way behind the baseline..thats what I meant as being defensive. It has not happened often on clay but it happened”.

-This is essentially true. However, clay courts lend themselves to big hitters being able to stay behind the baseline and rip big shots because the ball doesn’t travel through the court on clay anywhere near as quick as it does at the US Open. The play is slower and the ball is heavier. And the bounce is much higher to Nadal’s opponents, so it’s tougher for them to get a lot of juice on their ground strokes when they’re hitting their backhand (or even fore hand) up near their ears instead of their hips. Given how much work he can put on the ball, Nadal’s play behind the base line on clay not only doesn’t really hurt him, but in some cases it might even help him.

Von:

VERY Funny :) I’m sure we’d all have seared lungs after about 10 minutes of Nadal in addition to popped arms out of sockets :)


Von Says:

Duro:

I’m sorry you’re mad at me for returning after close to a week. I was very angry when I left and more hurt for being accused of ‘cheating’ (Wiki) repeatedly, which I didn’t do, but after those emotions wore off, and also reading the posts from my friends including you, I thought I’d try one more time because I was only hurting myself and empowering the opposition, hence my return. I hope you can in some way identify with my emotions and understand my change of heart.

________________
Kimmi: I understand what you’re talking about re Nadal’s defensive position and camping way behind the baseline, but what I’ve noticed on several occasions is his ability to flip the switch and turn defense into attack thereby completely disarming his opponent and throwing them into chaos. He uses the “get out of jail” card very expertly on those occasions.
_________________
Voicemale1: How about some torn rotator cuffs, a fate which I have already suffered, and I didn’t even hit one of Nadal’s top spin shots. Could you imagine the extent of the damage had I done so? I’d probably be perpetually walking around with my one arm sticking out as if it were akimbo. Ha, ha. FYI, the smiley emoticon has been disabled for several months now, and it’s why I write Ha, ha, instead.


Kimmi Says:

Voicemale:”So I’m curious as to where you got the quote you pulled ”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/8027640.stm


zola Says:

Duro,
great post at 9:08. I did not see the match unfortunately, but I read the reports and the matchcast by Eurosport. And from Rafa’s presser it seems that Soderling played really well, but RAfa perhaps did something different in this match that gave him better results. I don’t remember where I read, that one difference was that Rafa converted the break points very efficiently.

Federer and Djoko played well too. I predicted a win over Robredo, but 6-1 6-1 is a really good result. I had predicted Stepaned to win over Fed ( don’t ask me why!?) and got a hit! But seems the three of them are playing really well.

Great matches tomorrow and the best thing about it is that I can watch most of them.


Skorocel Says:

Those of you who say Soderling didn’t give Nadal a fight… Well, please watch again! The final score may indicate something different, but the fact is – the guy was RIGHT UP THERE with the Spaniard! At least in the 1st set certainly… Don’t know what match you saw, but I saw the Swede REALLY trying to take it to Nadal – which, contrary to what some of you say, is still THE way to beat the Spaniard; clay, grass, snow, water, or whatever… You could clearly see Söderling didn’t go there just to play second fiddle (just watch how agitated he was when that questionable line call occured), and indeed, many games went like 30 all, or deuce, but oh well… It’ll probably take Nadal breaking one of his legs to not win this tourney (and the FO, for that matter)…

As a Fed fan, I hate to say this, but when we compare Nadal to the rest of the field, the fact is – the guy’s only getting BETTER and BETTER… He’s currently enjoying a career best start to (any) season, winning AO, IW and MC (which is 3 out of 4 biggest tourneys so far), and that pretty much says it all… He virtually OWNS Fed on whatever surface, and as for Murray and Djoker, well… Andy maybe somehow managed to win 2 matches, but then got crushed in the IW final… The Scot was maybe hapmered by an injury in that one, but the same can be said about Nadal in their Rotterdam encounter… And as for Djoker, the guy is 4-12 against the Spaniard – which, btw, is EVEN BETTER H2H than Fed has with the Serb (not to mention the Swiss’ H2H against Murray)…

In other words, whenever there’s a score to be settled – this guy named Nadal simply rises to the occasion! Blake had a winning H2H against him – he turned that one around… Berdych had a winning H2H against him – the same happened… Tsonga literally wiped the court with him at AO – yet Nadal won their next 2 encounters (after literally escaping from the undertaker’s shovel, no less)… Nalby beat the living sh.t out of him in their first 2 matches – only to be bagelled in the 3rd set of their IW encounter (after saving 5 MPs, no less)… Söderling gave him a tough fight in Wimby 2007 (even making mock of Nadal by imitating those infamous ass-picks) – only to be crushed in their yesterday’s meeting… And the list goes on and on…


gordon Says:

To sensationalsafin:
No it is not. His nickname is Nole. What you are doing is simply a bullying act…


Duro Says:

Hip hip hurray!!!


Duro Says:

Gordon, Sensationalsafin: His nickname is Nole in Serbian language (came from Novak). In the tennis world his nickname is Djoker (came from his last name and his well known joking characteristics).


jane Says:

gordon, I’ve read many positive statements made about Novak by sensationalsafin; from what I can tell, he likes Djokovic’s game and he has often defended him.

Skorocel, you’re right about Soderling and the first set against Rafa; Soderling was in most of Rafa’s service games, but Rafa was really an “onslaught” as I wrote yesterday. Soderling couldn’t do anything, and while he tried for the first game or two of the second set, you could see him mentally collapsing, especially when he had that fit over the line call, then you knew it was over. You make a formidable case for Nadal in your post. Maybe he will win the calendar slam!?


jane Says:

Voicemale1, “Given how much work he can put on the ball, Nadal’s play behind the base line on clay not only doesn’t really hurt him, but in some cases it might even help him.”

I think this is true and have heard commentators note that the sheer size of Roland Garros’ center court actually works to Rafa’s advantage since he can track down so many balls and hit from and to ridiculous angles.


zola Says:

Skorocel
***Those of you who say Soderling didn’t give Nadal a fight… Well, please watch again! The final score may indicate something different, but the fact is – the guy was RIGHT UP THERE with the Spaniard! At least in the 1st set certainly… Don’t know what match you saw, but I saw the Swede REALLY trying to take it to Nadal – which, contrary to what some of you say, is still THE way to beat the Spaniard; clay, grass, snow, water, or whatever… You could clearly see Söderling didn’t go there just to play second fiddle (just watch how agitated he was when that questionable line call occured), and indeed, many games went like 30 all, or deuce, but oh well… It’ll probably take Nadal breaking one of his legs to not win this tourney (and the FO, for that matter)…*****

That’s excatly what Rafa said:

“I think the match was really tough, if not the result,” insisted Nadal. “In the beginning I was winning 4-1 but at the same time I could have been losing 4-1. ”
http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,8659,25412650-23216,00.html

I did not see the match, but seems Soderling really played well, but Rafa managed to play a bit better.

and about settling scores, I can’t agree more. Rafa talks on the court with his racquet.I am sure against Soderling, Rafa had some extra motivation.


zola Says:

Jane,

*** have heard commentators note that the sheer size of Roland Garros’ center court actually works to Rafa’s advantage since he can track down so many balls and hit from and to ridiculous angles.***

I think I wrote to you about this a couple days ago, when you asked why RG had a specific advantage for Rafa. Not that it really matters.


gordon Says:

I do not know who invented this word, Djoker as a nick name. But my point is Novak DOES not deserve it! Yes he tried to be funny and loved by US audience in 2007. Most of people liked what they saw, but not everyone. Slowly but effectively press has been able to spin all around and use his popularity against him. For example just listen on Mary Carrillo’s contribution and her commentary during and after the Novak’s matches! Thanks to the MUTE button I can shut her up, but we do not have a remote control everywhere. She can be heard even in men’s exchange room before the match. Unfortunately he was only 20 year old and he did not always control his temper in a best way. But in his defense he never received a tolerance like some other players.
He was attacked for his court attitude. His un-sportsmanship. His parents were also attacked for their behavior on and after AUS Open. He has been even attacked for his server preparation. This went hat far that she was forced to change his server preparation. Why nobody is not timing Nadals preparation? Why is he not forced to cut it by half? Actually I do not have a problem with Nadal and his server preparation but I do have a problem what they did to Novak in 2008. Novak had one of the best server in the game and that was been taken from him.
At the end, not in one instance Novak idicated how to properly pronounce his last name and that his fans could call him Nole
I said enough…


jane Says:

zola, yes you did write to me about this, and it reminded me of the things I’ve heard commentators say; also I can picture Rafa making those unreal “gets”! But you’re right, maybe i should’ve credited you first.


zola Says:

no Jane, not that it matters as I said. I think I am just being a bit cheeky today!


jane Says:

Hi gordon, I think that “nickname” has become fairly ingrained; i don’t know if you recall a “Deuce” article at the ATP website, but it was called something to do with this “nickname” – “The Djoker in the Pack” and there was a more recent one in Deuce called “The Djoker comes of Age.” So just to be fair to sensationalsafin, I really don’t think he meant it negatively.

As for how the press spin things, my advice to you is to try to just ignore it. :) We can see how Novak has matured and how well he is playing and adjusting, and that’s what matters.


Ra Says:

Oh, so this is the thread where all the cool kids are hanging out…


jane Says:

lol zola – cheeky is fine with me. But you do deserve credit for reminding me about that benefit. Others have pointed out the high bounce at Roland Garros – or maybe that was you too. :)


zola Says:

that was me too! :) lol!

I see Rafa is in trouble early in his match!


zola Says:

gordon,

Do you find “Djoko” offensive too?


Duro Says:

Zola, Djoko from Djokovic, Djoker from joker + D from his last name. What’s offensive about it? Atp official website wouldn’t call him that (“Djoker comes of Age”) if it was any offensive. I’m a Nole’s fan but I don’t find it offensive at all.


Skorocel Says:

To zola:

Mmm, I should also add Youzhny on that “score to be settled list” :-) Currently, it’s 7 to 4 for your man…


Von Says:

Skorocel:

Hello, mon ami. How ya doin? Youzhny is now a shadow of his former self and I’m so sorry to see him fade away so abruptly. He’s no longer the “marathon man”.


MMT Says:

Very few players have the power, consistency and stamina to beat Nadal on clay from the back. Even those with sufficient power tend to over-hit in anticipation of Nadal’s defense, so that’s a bit of fool’s gold with him.

The problem is players are so monolithic in their skill set today, that fewer still have the versatility to find other ways to attack. So they’ll try the one method they know, they get passed, and then they get scared to do it again…as if the alternative is better.

Federer never came closer to beating Nadal on clay than he did in Rome 2006. He attacked incessantly and held match points, and this is at a time when his back court game was better than it is now. Nadal may be better now but his patterns are the same on clay, when he’s attacked he retreats and retrieves with interest. The trick is not to be scared out of attacking if you get passed a couple of times.

It helps to improve your approach shots – throw in a couple of looping approaches and see what he does with them, and for god’s sake COVER THE CROSS COURT PASS! Even Nadal will have a hard time dipping it at your feet if he’s got to hit it 6 inches higher at the net.

The main thing is taking the ball on the rise because if your strike zone is on the descent it’s much harder to attack…but attack you must. Yes, easier said than done, but going toe-to-toe with him from the back seems to be very silly to me.

Here’s one more thing I’d do…I’d hit a couple of drop shots and step into the court for his return and no matter where he hits it take it out of the air and hit it as hard as you can right at him. Even if he gets out of the way and/or it goes out or in the net, he’ll have to step into the court in anticipation of the next drop shot and at least the he’s (a little) out of his comfort zone.

Just a few thoughts…


Skorocel Says:

jane said: “You make a formidable case for Nadal in your post. Maybe he will win the calendar slam!?”

Well, what about Fed winning the FO and Nadal the USO? :-) That would make 2 “complete slam winners” in one era!


Skorocel Says:

Von, I know Mischa (now I mean Youzhny) is a bit struggling these days, and boy, do I miss him! But don’t worry, he’ll be back with vengeance! He just needs to chase his “tennis demons” away, and moreover, that Miami wound on his forehead to heal:-)


gordon Says:

To Zola,

No Djoko is not offencive, that even nice…

Djoker from joker + D from his last name. What’s offensive about it?

To Djura: Will you like to be remember as Djoker? I would not. Again he already has a nick name, so why not calling him Nole? Why is that so hard?


Duro Says:

Gordon, it’s so hard and pointless to tell people what to do or say; to teach them, even harder. Nole doesn’t mean anything in their languages but in Serbian. It’s even hard to pronounce it, because Nole should have an “h” in the end to be pronounced properly (in English). So, I understand. Djoker is something that really characterizes him, it didn’t come simply from a name but from something that describes him, his nature, spirit… Might be a bit not serious, but… Don’t worry, he’ll be remembered all right, but because of tennis as same as because of his humor and other talents. For me, he is Nole. Whoever learns to love him will sure understand what you’re talking about, Gordon, and call him Nole. That way he is ours.


Duro Says:

One funny thing: Yesterday the referee said couple of times: Gioco Djoko! Great detail! I hope everybody understood the funny part of it!


jane Says:

Hi Duro “Yesterday the referee said couple of times: Gioco Djoko! ” Tell me please; how is thid funny? I don’t know Serbian but I’d love to go to Serbia one day. And I do like Nole!/ Novak/ Djoko/ Djoker!


Duro Says:

Jane, giocco means game in Italian! So, after Nole won a game, the referee said couple of times: Giocco Djoko! I was thrilled!


Duro Says:

It is pronounced the same, you know! Great detail!


jane Says:

haha – good one Duro. Thanks for the translation; I really want to learn more languages. French will be first and I’ll go from there.


Duro Says:

You are from Canada. It would be the shame if you don’t! Until tomorrow, Jane! Fed(n)ex(t)!


sensationalsafin Says:

The reason I don’t call him Nole is because that’s a nickname for his first name. I rarely use Rafa or Roger and I never use Andy. I don’t feel comfortable using first names for people I have never even met. But I also don’t feel like typing out full last names all the time and I love the nickname Djoker. What’s so offensive about it? I’m not calling him that because he always behaves like a clown. He’s naturally a funny guy and that’s why he is one of my favorite players. He’s got a great personality and a damn-near-perfect game to go with it. Or vice-versa since his game has allowed him to show us that personality. Also, I’m a huge fan of Batman and the Joker is one of the greatest villains, characters, people, etc. ever! And I’m not saying Novak Djokovic is like the Joker from Batman, but since I like both, and since joker can also mean just a funny person who does funny antic, why not call him Djoker? You’re making a big deal from absolutely nothing, gordo. I’m in no way trying to insult Djokovic.


sensationalsafin Says:

French? Really? French? Like what the frenchies speak in France? Really?


jane Says:

Yep my son is in French immersion, part of my heritage is French, so I figure it’s a natural fit, and then Spanish and Italian shouldn’t be too hard to pick up. I love Batman and the Joker too – Ledger was a wicked Joker, literally and figuratively. I use first names for the players because i blog so much I feel like I know them. haha.


sensationalsafin Says:

Yes Ledger was something else. Hollywood suffered a huge loss. Clearly one of the few really talented actors.

Anyways. I took french in high school. Sigh. Then I went to Paris. Super sigh. I hate Parisians.


zola Says:

gordon,
**No Djoko is not offencive, that even nice…***

great!

You know, if Djoker is not said as an insult, it should not be offensive. Djoko is a fun guy and who knows if he gets offended by that? He does funny things in front of thousands of people. Have you seen the recent one in Rome?

I think I would have not been offended by his Rafa imitation if he did not do the short-picking part. Apart from that, I have to say, he is very talented in picking the features specific to people. And all players imitate each other. Roddick, Agassi, even Sharapova! I just didn’t like that specific part in US Open. Anyway, now it is over.

——–
sensationalsafin, Jane
your talk about French and parisians reminded me of a book by David Sedaris :”Me talk pretty one day!”
It is a nice read.

—————
MMT
I love watching Rome 2006. I agree, federer was so close to win. he had match points and yet Rafa snatched it. Rafa came back from 1-4 in the fifth set and he was behind in the tie break. In ten seconds, federer went from having match points to having lost the match. I always thought that was one of the toughest losses Fed had against Rafa.


Von Says:

I’m like you sensationalsafin, I call them by their surnames, because I don’t know them personally, and to me using one’s first name is rather personal, according to etiquette we shouldn’t do that until they say call me “Andy” or “Roger”, et al. I usually tell people I feel comfortable with to call me, Yvonne, instead of Ms. or Mrs. Even though I love Roddick, I refer to him as such, unless the conversation is about the Andys, then I write Andy R. and Andy M.


Von Says:

skorocel:

“Von, I know Mischa (now I mean Youzhny) is a bit struggling these days, and boy, do I miss him! But don’t worry, he’ll be back with vengeance! He just needs to chase his “tennis demons” away, and moreover, that Miami wound on his forehead to heal:-)”

I miss him too, very much, and hope against hope he will again shine, however, I don’t put too much stock into my hopes because he has a severe back problem and he’s also getting older. Too bad, another of my favourites has bitten the dust.
__________________
MMMT:

I’ve seen Zverev play before on hardcourts, but I don’t remember exactly when and where. I think he played in a tourney in Moscow and another in some other distant land on the Tennis Channel no less, and I think he has a good game, which in time will make him a much more formidable opponent.

__________________
Gordon: I’m glad you approve of “Djoko” because that’s what I call him. I write that because his surname is too long and needed some shortening. Ha, ha. I took the liberty of so doing. The “Djoker” designation is somewhat of a signature name, so he’d be more easily recognizable than Djokovic in the future, I’d think. It’s similar to people calling Roddick, “A-Rod”

As an obiter dictum, some were asking about Fognini. I saw him play in Dubai in ’08, when Roddick won, and a few other MS clay tourneys in Rome as a WC, so he’s not really a new-comer but one who’s been around for a while. I was surprised how hard he pushed Murray and the huge improvement in his game prior to beating Murray on clay.


sensationalsafin Says:

Zola, I don’t know what you’re getting at.


zola Says:

Andy Roddick blogs about his wedding:

Blog: Hitched and Honeymoon
April 27, 6:06pm GMT+5 by andyroddick.com

Well a lot has happened since I blogged last ha ha…as you all may have heard Brooke and I got married last week. It was great to have so many of our family and friends make the trip and share the occasion with us. The actual ceremony was great… we had to set up a tent cause the weather was not agreeing with us, but it ended up working out, so all good…. Elton played at our reception and it was very very surreal. It was beyond awesome of him to make time for us and needless to say it was beyond amazing……

http://www.andyroddick.com/headlines/2009/04/27/blog-hitched-and-honeymoon/


zola Says:

sensational safin,

he talks about parisians too and about learning a new language in a different environment and it is pretty interesting and funny.


sensationalsafin Says:

Oh. I don’t mind the language besides the fact that the class screwed up my gpa in high school. But Parisians are some of the most smug people I’ve ever met. Them and Israelis. And Russians. Smug bastards.


gordon Says:

Hi everyone, I am glad to see that all yours comments are positive towards Novak. Thank you one more time.

Top story: Djokovic Dominates; Nadal, Federer In Action Wednesday At Monte Carlo
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