Nadal Turns Away Djokovic in Magical 3-Set Epic in Madrid
by Sean Randall | May 16th, 2009, 3:30 pm
  • 123 Comments

Wow. Standing ovation.

Arguably the best rivalry in tennis right now may have just produced arguably the best 3-setter ever played in the sport. After witnessing 4-hours, 2-minutes of Rafael Nadal fending and fighting off Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(9) in the Madrid Tennis Masters, it’s hard to make a case otherwise. Did that just really happen? It did.

Nadal is simply super human. He really is. To withstand matchpoint after matchpoint with the weight of the stadium, the nation and his native fans on his shoulders and his ailing knees was just too damn good.

Whether you are a Rafa fan or not, you have to salute the guy. Just think in the last year alone what he’s given us. His epic Wimbledon title, a memorable masterpiece at the Australian Open triumph and now this. Astonishing.

Add in his Rome 5-setter over Federer and a nail-bitter over Coria, it’s clear the guy is building up an incredible resume of some of the greatest matches ever played. And hell, I probably left out a couple. But what’s most remarkable is he wins just about all them all. Mind boggling.

For Novak, I rip on him a lot, but today he showed a heck of a lot of heart, fight and guts. That’s the Novak I want to see and I hope I will see more of in the future. He has no shame in losing today. None. He did nothing wrong, just bad luck in the end. I just hope this will serve as a sort of launching pad for the Serb toward bigger and better things.

Back to Nadal, just give him the French trophy now. The top guys should all withdraw and concentrate on the grass and hardcourts where they have a chance. Just look at how hard, how well Novak had to play just to win ONE set. ONE!! In Paris, someone will have to win THREE. After today how can any player think he can beat Rafa on clay best-of-5? Impossible.

Now…For those still with some energy left after that one (I am not among that group!), the undercard of Roger Federer v. Juan Martin del Potro is kicking off. I’m sure both players watched the end of the Nadal-Djokovic match, and seeing Nadal win I wonder who really wants a piece of that tomorrow?

Nadal may very well be feeling the fatigue, but do you really want to challenge him on championship Sunday? Good luck.

Not to get cliché and melancholy, but this one of those “tennis wins” kind of days. Thanks Rafa for another one.


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Maria Sharapova Acknowledges Getting Caught Kissing Boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov
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Marquee Clay Schedules: Where Will Nadal, Djokovic, Federer And Murray Be Playing The Next Six Weeks

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123 Comments for Nadal Turns Away Djokovic in Magical 3-Set Epic in Madrid

Sean Connery Says:

Nishely shaid sean


steve Says:

I am not a Nadal fan, but tennis would be far, far poorer without him around to keep things interesting.


Bojan Says:

All credits to Nadal. He is not human!!!
For Novak… I was shaking at the end. But suppose that’s how it should be.
What I’m worried about right now that this is the same match like the one last year in Hamburg… Nadal won it, and from that moment Novak dropped his level a lot. I hope this won’t be the case.
Novak was unlucky today, but Nadal was so strong. It’s the hardest loss ever for Novak fans, but we should support Novak now more than ever. I just hope this won’t affect him too much. Oh, Nole…


zola Says:

Sean, great writing and great timing too.

This reminds me of the Chennai semi with Moya ( who was in the magic box today) . The next day rafa lost really bad to Youzhny. I hope tomorrow he can play decently.
fed has no trouble in winning DP right now. So he will go to tomorrow’s final very fresh.

Bojan,
I think Djoko should be very proud of himself and only take positives from this match. He keeps knocking at Rafa’s door every clay final and semi final and with this determination anything is possible.


Sar Says:

Each time they meet, Novak is getting closer and closer to solving the Nadal puzzle. As far as I am concerned, this was the final. I won’t be watching tomorrow.


Zexxy Says:

My first comment ever, but I felt compelled to leave it here. Here it is:

Novak Dj. will win the French Open 2009.

Based purely on my observation that something positive has happened with him mentally. And that was the only thing he needed to become a true champion.

I’ll come back here in about three weeks time to either admit I was wrong or (more likely) enjoy the compliments on my predictive abilities.


Daniel Says:

Fed finished with 67% first serves in, which is very good due his late form.
He has to cut some errors in the forehand if he wants a chance against Nadal. Even though his tired, he is by far the clear favorite.

Fed will always be a bad match-up for Del Potro as Nadal is for Fed, today Fed had more than 5 drop winners, not to count the ones Del Potro touch the ball but Fed won the point.


steve Says:

Djokovic has no reason to be ashamed; he can hold his head high. He played his very best, and that’s all you can ask for. The next match is always a totally new match, so he can look forward with confidence.

As for whether he will lose confidence like in ’08, I think he’s in a different situation from last year, when he was dealing with the pressure of expectations after winning his first Grand Slam. He seems to learned some lessons about how to handle himself mentally, so I have no doubts he will continue to do well.


PietjeP Says:

Like I said before; things can go 2 ways from here:

- Novak gets the positive out of this; he is able to beat Nadal on clay
- Novak feels “ahh, no matter what I do, he still wins”; if so Novak, go talk with Fed; he has that mental issue

Let’s hope the first, it will be provide some great tennis in the coming months!

Tenniswise there wasn’t any difference today (what are we talking about; 1 or 2 points?!)


Al Says:

So disappointed to see Nole lose. But he gave it everything he had. One could not ask for anything more than that. I enjoyed every moment of this match. Nadal is amazing. It is like he has ice water running through his veins.

The Del Potro/Federer match was a let down to say the least after the 1st semi-final. Too bad. Federer did look good playing today. Del Potro looked like a klunky giant. He really need to work on his movement around the court. He was more inspired in his match with Andy “I’ll just stay back here and get the ball back” Murray.

I think Nadal will be fine for tomorrow.

I dearly hope Nole and Nadal are on the opposite side of the draw for the FO. Does anyone know when the draws come out for the French?


Sar Says:

I dearly hope Nole and Nadal are on the opposite side of the draw

He is always in Rafa’s half.


zola Says:

me three!
I want Djoko on the opposite side of the draw on Fed’s side!


Peg Says:

VAMOS RAFA!!!!

What a match!!!! I was with RAFA all the way, but hats off to Novak as he played a heck of a match.

Now I’m looking for a RAFA/FEDERER final tomorrow!


Von Says:

Sar: Djoko will bounce between Nadal and Federer, and the same goes for Murray. Unlike Roddick who’s more or less always in Fed’s half regardless of what number he’s ranked. I sometimes feel that Fed requisitions Andy. However, I must say that on the last two occasions Andy played against Fed the matches have been closer and if Andy didn’t become so nervous, he probabaly would have beaten Fed. I’m hoping for the day when that will happen. Dream, dream, dream. ha, ha.


Dave B Says:

What a classic match! I am loath to give Djockboy credit but he was amazing. I do not think he could hold up against Nadal in a five set final in Paris. Nadal is relentless and brilliant. The only way to beat him in Paris is to leave your tennis racket behind and bring your Colt 45. He’s a genius. Other thoughts: Andy Murray was a huge disappointment and Del Potro a pleasant surprise. I thought the best match was Juan Monaco v. Verdasco.


Sar Says:

I know it’s supposed to be random but the last 4-5 times Djok has been in Nadals half.


Sar Says:

the last 4-5 times for RG.. i meant to say.


Tennisboy Says:

Couple of facts: 245 points in total. Novak won 5 more (125 to Nadal’s 120), Novak made 37 winers to Nadal’s 31; Novak made 43 UE to Nadal’s 50; Novak won 2 break points out of 8 to Nadal’s 1 out of 2! I rest my case.


the_bull Says:

Dave B: I don’t know what were you watching, but match Monaco vs. Verdasco wasn’t the best match in Madrid. Maybe you should watch again Rafa’s match against Novak. You might change your mind.
All credits to Novak and Rafa (in this moment the best tennis players). They were amazing.


Tennisboy Says:

Oh, and I forgot Novak’s 6 aces to Nadal’s 3.


losmi Says:

Watching Djokovic-Nadal match has truly been a rewarding experience. The last 30 minutes of the match I couldn’t even sit still, I was walking around the room, having very emotional reactions throughout ( I’m from Serbia, so you can guess who I was rooting for ;). I’m proud of the way Novak handled himself on the court, he played an amazing match, and he should have absolutely no regrets here, he did everything within his power to win, it just so happened that on this particular occasion it wasn’t enough. A bit more luck for him (especially in the second set tie-break), and he might have won it. In the 3rd set breaker he kept his composure and played quite, quite well, but a few brilliant shots from Nadal, and… Well, you’ve all seen it, too. Congratz to both of them, this truly was one of those matches where you really hate to see anybody leave the court a loser. And, since they’re almost the same age, my guess is we’ll be seeing more of these epics in years to come.

And last, but not least – CAN ANYBODY GIVE ME THE LINK TO THEIR POST GAME COMMENTS, I can’t seem to find it? Furthermore, is there a site that provides post game interviews for most o these major tournaments? Where do you people look for those?

Thanks in advance.


the_bull Says:

Sar: For the last 3 times Novak has been in Nadals half, not 4 or 5… Once he lost in QF and twice in SF. I also hope that this time will be different, but I don’t think Nole can beat Rafa.


Billy D Says:

Does anyone know the status of Nadal’s knee and leg? I know he’s been playing great, so he’s probablly not that injured. But nobody updates us on the status of his knees. It’d be a shame if he wouldn’t be 100% for the French, Wimbledon and the rest of the summer.

Anyone know his status?


zola Says:

Tennisboy,
thanks a lot for the stats. It is amazing how well Djoko played for the whole 4 hours. Nothing wrong with what he did.

losmi
hugs to you and all Djoko fans. I love Rafa but even so, it was hard to see Djoko lose after he played so well. He lost a tennis match, but gained so much respect from the fans and players.

The Madrid website is just hopeless and useless. and ASAP does not publish the madrid interviews. The only chance is to see a two minute or so interview on the tennis tv.
here is Rafa’s:
http://www.tennistv.com/page/TennisTV/TournamentInterviews/MadridMen/0,,11444~1659818,00.html

they don’t have one for Djoko yet.

Billy D
In that interview Rafa says he had pain and he got the time out and took some anti-inflammatory.
It was above his knee so I hope it is not too bad. Who knows. It will indeed be a shame if he cannot be 100% for the next two months.


the_bull Says:

losmi: Try on the official site of ATP 1000 Madrid.
http://www.madrid-open.com/site/news# Or you could go here: http://www.tennis.com/news/news.aspx?id=173660


zola Says:

losmi

for interview videos look here:
http://www.tennistv.com/page/TennisTV/TournamentInterviews/MadridMen/0,,11444~1659818,00.html

they usually have the interview videos for free after matches

for transcripts look at
http://www.asapsports.com/

they have transcipts for recent events. You can choose tennis and bookmark Novak’s page.


zola Says:

although they don’t seem to have Madrid for some annoying reason!


Giner Says:

Sar Says:

“I know it’s supposed to be random but the last 4-5 times Djok has been in Nadals half.”

Unless it’s 1 vs 2, it’s always going to be a coin flip. Sometimes it looks skewed in one direction, but have you ever flipped 5 heads in a row? I have. It happens.

My Aunt has 6 sons and no daughters. The odds of that are (1/2)^6 = 1/64 or 0.015625. Improbable, but it happens.

Sar Says:

“the last 4-5 times for RG.. i meant to say.”

That in itself skews the results, because you’re only counting RG as though RG was special. It is not. When you count the results from other tournaments as well, you’ll find it’s more or less 50/50. In USO 07, AO 08, Wimb 08, USO 08, AO 09 he was on Fed’s half. That’s 5 of the last 6 slams he was on Fed’s half of the draw, and we’re only counting slams. Obviously in the last 2 1000′s Novak was on Fed’s half again.


Giner Says:

Correction: In USO 07, Novak was on Nadal’s side of the draw. But it is still 4 of the last 5 that he was in Fed’s half.


Giner Says:

Tennisboy Says:

“Couple of facts: 245 points in total. Novak won 5 more (125 to Nadal’s 120), Novak made 37 winers to Nadal’s 31; Novak made 43 UE to Nadal’s 50; Novak won 2 break points out of 8 to Nadal’s 1 out of 2! I rest my case.”

Tennis has a strange scoring system doesn’t it? I think there’s more drama this way. If they go by a running tally of points won like in other sports, one player can run away with it early and mathematically become unassailable earlier on, or at least build enough of a lead that all the drama and suspense is gone. You don’t know who’s going to win when it’s 6-1 6-7 2-2, but if it was 96-67 like in Basketball, the writing is on the wall.

It’s a good system. It gives you a chance to get back on an even keel if you win a set, no matter how badly you were pasted in the first set.


Tennisboy Says:

Giner,

That wasn’t my point…


Kimmi Says:

Very good match and very big effort from both players, but especially Novak.

I thought Nadal was rewarded in this match because he went for his shots on big points. The 2 match points that Novak had, Nadal save them with incredible winners, winners that could easily be unforced Errors if not measured properly. I heard the commentators kept saying “Fortune favors the brave”, and that is what Rafa was “the brave” one.

On both occasion you could see Novak was playing deep but safe. I am sure he would have learnt from that. The way to beat Nadal is to go for it, especially when you have a match point – big FH or BH – It’s not like he was going to lose a match if he misses the shot , the worst thing that could have happened is make UE and you go back to even again.

I think Federer is also guilty of doing the same thing when he has breakpoints and manage to return the serve, he plays too safe. That is why his BP conversion rate with Nadal is abysmal.


Tennisboy Says:

Giner, About your aunt, It has to do with your uncle actually and it’s not (1/2)*6 (in his case) but (1/1)*6! The science won’t admit it ever, but some men have only the “Y” chromosomes and vice versa.


zola Says:

some post-match comments by Rafa and Djoko: (from eurosport.com)

Nadal was thrilled to have pulled out the battling victory.

“I love these matches,” he said. “It’s really special to play with the atmosphere here and fighting all the time.

“You have to play very, very well to beat Djokovic in that situation and that’s what I was doing at the end.”

The Spaniard also paid tribute to his opponent’s efforts and wished him luck for the French Open starting later this month.

“He’s probably feeling down now but when he analyses the match in the cold light of day he’ll take positives out of it and see he was very close to beating me,” he said.

“It will definitely give him confidence for Roland Garros and he’s been having a spectacular clay season.

“He’s a great player, he always has been. It seems to me he’s getting better with every game.”

A shattered-looking Djokovic, meanwhile, could not hide his disappointment at having come so near only to fall at the final hurdle.

“It happened too often so I’m very disappointed that I can play this well and still not win a match,” he said.

“I don’t think you need my comments. You could see everything. A couple of points decided the winner.

“Next time I’ll probably take two rackets on the match point and try to hit with both of them. It’s frustrating that when you play so well you can’t win.”


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Match of the year! (except maybe Verdasco-Nadal Oz semis).

Sean, great write-up, but I disagree with one thing: this match won’t deflate Rog, it will show him and Murray that Rafa is beatable on clay by one of their peers.
Djoke lost the match, but he won a LOT today.

WOW.


jane Says:

Thanks for all the links to the post-match interviews people. Djokovic, I hope, will realize he could’ve won that match with an ace or one more good winner. It was no more than a cigarette paper separating these two today and Novak HAS to know he can do it.

Sar – I am hoping and praying that for ONCE at Roland Garros Djoko is NOT on Rafa’s half, because frankly, today should have been the final. I cannot imagine Fed-Nadal surpassing this tomorrow – perhaps but not likely. Similarly, last year at the French, the Djoko vs. Rafa semi, even though only 3 sets, was much more exciting than the Fed-Rafa final blow out. So I think it would be good for the event if the two best clay-courters this season were to meet in the final, even if Rafa will likely win. :)


jane Says:

Bojan, losmi – cheers, I hear ya! Djoko is likely crushed, as was I, but he should know how many people were blown away by today’s match. I was elated as much as disappointed by the excellent tennis. He and Rafa have given us a keeper.


jane Says:

Djoko should follow Rafa’s lead in this regard: it took three WImbledon finals before Rafa beat Fed in that epic last year. And Rafa kept working and tweaking his game until he did it. Djoko just needs to keep working, and not give up. He just has to keep believing as well. He doesn’t need two racquets. He can win matches quite readily with one!


Tennisboy Says:

Novak was better today. As simple as that. Every statistical element proves it. Won 5 points more in total than Nadal! More winners, more aces, less UE, 4 times more of break opportunities, converted 2/8 comparing to Nadal’s 1/2, 3 match points… But he lost…


losmi Says:

@ zola & the_bull: Thanks, guys, I never knew of this asapsports.com site, it could prove useful in the future.

@ jane: Nice to see such devoted fans of Nole outside Serbia. I guess great tennis skills, personality and sportsmanship are appreciated everywhere. And I hope Novak gets to read this piece of wisdom: “Djoko should follow Rafa’s lead in this regard: it took three WImbledon finals before Rafa beat Fed in that epic last year.”


Tennisman Says:

RAfa was better today playing the most important points. As simple as that. So he won.


andrea Says:

noavk’s game seems to match up better with nadal than fed’s.

that being said, fed is the only one to have bageled (!!!) nadal on clay, which is a feat unto itself. here’s to another scorcher tomorrow.


zola Says:

losmi,
no problem.
Indeed you should go to the tennis section of asapsports.com and press on D, find Djoko’s page and you will see most of his press conferences since 2004. ( I know they have it for Rafa so I assume they have them for other players as well.)


Henry Says:

Congrats to fans in both camps. As mentioned by Sean and tennis writers on other sites, tennis was the biggest winner today. Both players couldn’t have exhibited tennis in a better light than today. Rafa graciously mentioned that Novak could also have won today and that it’s a great pity there can’t be a draw in tennis.

Novak will definitely be among the top contenders to block Rafa’s road to the finals and eternal fame (if he becomes the first man to win Roland Garros for a fifth straight time).

However, some very important points to consider:

Madrid has never been Rafa’s favorite clay city. He already mentioned prior to the tournament that, because of the altitude and the thin air, he cannot play your “usual gravel game”, the ball gets a strange bounce and its hard to control a bal with spin in thinner air, plus the thinner air will not take spin as well. That’s why he did not consider himself a favourite at the Madrid tournament. This was not just something he said because of pressure or to be smart and downplay his status as a favorite. Remember the Spanish Davis Cup team was very upset last year when the Spanish Federation decided to play against the US in Madrid. They figured the altitude would give the US a possible advantage (Querrey, f.ex took a set of Rafa) and the team afterward refused promotion for their federation.

Anyway, all I’m trying to say is that if some of you think that, after today’s match, Nadal seems ‘more beatable’ on clay, think again. You cannot compare the Madrid clay tournament to Roland Garros. Apart from the fact that Paris is Rafa’s home court, there’s no thin air and the air resistance and lower altitude (around 540 meters lower than Madrid)are to his advantage and complement his game.


fed is afraid Says:

number 6 in a row beatdown tomorrow!! i can’t wait. fed would have been better off losing today rather than face another annihilation from rafa.


NachoF Says:

Who honestly has any feeling that Federer will stand a chance tomorrow??…Im just sick to my stomach when I think about the beating hes gonna get.


fed is afraid Says:

roger is toast, he should just default before the match and save himself the embarrassment.


Dan Martin Says:

some posts on the earlier article mentioned that Novak will be broken mentally as Federer was after Rome 2006. I think a few differences exist that make it unclear if Novak leaves with confidence or is broken a bit by today’s loss. First it was not a 5 setter (6 or 7 hours if it had been). Second, in 2006 Roger was #1 in the world and kept losing to the same guy. Novak is #4 in the world and Rafa is #1. Losing repeatedly to someone ranked ahead of you can make a close loss seem like progress. Close losses when #1 can be unnerving. Finally, Rafa in 2006 had won 1 GS title and now he’s won 6. Everyone knows Rafa is not an up and comer he is the man. The standard bearer. Novak coming so close to that standard might be a hopeful result.

Then again losing after having match points on clay vs. Rafa could lead to a fear of never having that shot again. Think about Roddick being close to Roger at Wimbledon 2004 only to lose in straight sets at the 2 meetings vs. Roger that came after Wimbledon 2004. Or Roddick after nearly beating Roger at the 06 Masters Cup getting shellacked at the 07 Aussie Open. Sometimes coming close can leave a bitter pill. Also, expectations can unrealistically rise after close loss for the loser. So in the next meeting the winner of the prior close match has less white noise of people talking up your chances of this might be the time. The more simple the preparation the better and if these two link up at RG expect Novak to get a lot of hype.


MJ Says:

I salute both champions. Rafa was simply superb, while Nole fought like a true champion. The match could’ve gone either way. Congrats to Rafa, and ajde Nole!!!


zola Says:

NachoF
**Who honestly has any feeling that Federer will stand a chance tomorrow??…Im just sick to my stomach when I think about the beating hes gonna get.***

Honestly , I do.
I really want Rafa to win tomorrow, but I think he may not be able to recover from todays match in time for tomorrow. Chennai 08 comes to my mind. I don’t want that to happen again.

Dan
I agree that it is completely different to get close and lose to number 1 or lose to a number 2 all the times. Rafa has an incredible record on clay and no one has come closer to him than Djoko today. That should only motivate him

Today I was thinking that if Rafa lost to Djoko, it would be the first legitimate loss on clay for Rafa. He was very tired in Hamburg and could not move because of blisters in Rome 08. But today he was relatively healthy and had a week of rest before the tournament ( and Djoko did not).

If I was Djoko’s coach I could not have been prouder. I think he will read the press and will shake off the disappointment because of all the praise he will get. Whereas with Fed, he was always criticized by not being able to defeat the number two. It is totally different as you mentioned.

And I think Djoko and Roddick have different personalities. Especially this year Djoko has changed a lot.


max Says:

fed now knows nadal is beatable on clay n is gonna give him a beatdown to show who is the real number 1.


Dan Martin Says:

My suspicion is that Djokovic grows from this match. I also think Djokovic having a two handed backhand gives him a glimmer of hope Roger lacks on clay vs. Rafa.


Samprazzz Says:

I’m still picking Fed to win the French. Fed’s got a new strategy, I think to beat Nadal: the drop-shot. He’s been practicing it alot in his other matches- bring Nadal to the net. Nadal might have burned himself out with his heavy clay-court season.
Congrats to Nadal. He’s the best player of all time in terms of mental toughness, and determination. He’s my all-time favorite player to watch. I hope he wins the French again.


Strider Says:

It was a fantastic match, one that Djokovic lost by a couple of points. Big props to the guy really, it could of gone either way, and he showed why he’s up there in the top four today. The Great Wall of Rafa has been showing some chinks lately though, and I really, really, hate that he has a built in excuse thingie happening with his knees for when some bricks come tumbling down. If Roger is going to have a hand in it—it’ll be tomorrow. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but if it does, I’ve got a bottle of champagne on ice.


zola Says:

well,
I think Fed has Murray and Djoko to deal with as well as Rafa. And he knows he is beatable on clay. He is one of the few guys who has done it and besides no one in really “unbeatable”. But knowing that did not prevent a bagel in FO final 08 for Fed.

Dan,
I always thought if I was Fed, I would have practiced with a double-handed backhand. Djoko has great ground strokes, but does not have Fed’s variety ( Yet!).

Samprazz
Rafa is my all-time favorite to watch too. I loved Rafter and Sampras but tennis became much more exciting to watch for me after Rafa.


Sar Says:

Thanks for all the links and stats, guys.


Von Says:

Giner: “It’s a good system. It gives you a chance to get back on an even keel if you win a set, no matter how badly you were pasted in the first set.”

Aditionally, I don’t understand why people place so much emphasis on first serve percentage etc. Many times players win matches serving at very low first serve percentage, but the key is when they win the points off the serve and not how many percentage shots they win. For example, a player could be serving a low percentage and probably only get two aces in the game, but it’s when he got the aces and how beneficial it was to the game at the moment of hitting them. Fish beat Fed serving a ridiculous 38%, but Fish won on the points that mattered. There are times we see more winners and stil a player loses, again, it’s when he got the winners that matters. The stats can be a barometer of a player playing very well, but it’s also not the true barometer and one that should not be followed so closely. Neither should there be so much emphasis on first serve percent. Nadal sometimes has less winners than his opponent, lower serve percentage and still wins. Go figure.


Sean Connery Says:

roger is toast, he should just default before the match and save himself the embarrassment.

hahahaha


TD (Tam) Says:

I’m done with Federer + Nadal finals, Roger just can’t cut it, their matches have gotten stale.

I do hope Dokovic is on the other side of Nadal’s draw so they can meet in the French Open final.

I will not be watching the final tomorrow because I just dont care (nadal wins again).


Von Says:

Henry: “Madrid has never been Rafa’s favorite clay city. He already mentioned prior to the tournament that, because of the altitude and the thin air, he cannot play your “usual gravel game”, the ball gets a strange bounce and its hard to control a ball with spin in thinner air, plus the thinner air will not take spin as well.”

Yes, he did mention that Madrid was a question mark due to the altitude. Also, as you mentioned, the Spanish DC team did create a ruckus because they thought Madrid played like a fast court and their principal concern was Roddick’s fast arm. If you remember, Querrey won a set from Nadal, I mean how likely is that on say RG or even Hamburg?

I’d like to proffer a few more comments, but I don’t want them to be misinterpreted by the Djokovic fans as being a joy killer, but considering I’m NOT a Nadal fan, my comments are unbiased.

I feel Djoko played well because of several reasons: (1) Madrid is a lightning fast clay court and the way the clay is compacted and dried out, it plays like a fast hard-court, which enhances Djokovic’s hard-court skills and nullifies Nadal’s clay court prowess. It’s one of the reason’s I feel Fed could win. (2) Due to Nadal playing so far back behind the baseline, helped Djokovic’s drop shots to be effective. Nadal couldn’t chase them down. This also helped Fed v. Roddick. Had both Djoko and Fed been playing on a Nadal type clay court, the outcome of the drop-shots could have been a negative one for both of them. If you will notice, Nadal didn’t use the drop use much throughout the tournament, and his statements with respect to Madrid ring true. He stated he found it difficult to control the ball at times, and it showed in his numerous FH shanks. And (3) even though Djoko did so well, I don’t think he should be lulled into a false sense of security from this match, that he can beat Nadal at RG, because it will be a different surface from Madrid and the court’s speed will be a huge factor, not to mention the feeling under-foot. Madrid is like running on a hard-court.

Overall, I think Madrid sucks. The whole la caja magica is a huge mess. The courts seem to be housed within a building with an opening in the roof. I don’t think that a clay should be in an enclosed building because clay is a natural, outdoor substance and needs to breathe, just like humans. Using clay indoors is what’s responsible for the bad bounces and the loose, sandy appearance of the clay — the ugly dried out appearance.

Maybe Djoko feels he came close, but he should take into account the many problems with Madrid and not let himself be fooled he can beat Nadal on clay, because he’ll be in for a shock attack. Madrid has proved, which we all know, that Djoko can beat Nadal on a hard-court, but I don’t think it’s the barometer for a regular clay court with Djoko and Nadal on the other side of the net. Had yesterday been played at Hamburg, Nadal would have run away with the match. Additionally, there’s a message Djoko could take from Madrid for the futre, and that is, if Djoko wasn’t able to beat Nadal at Madrid, even though he came close, but no cigar, will he be able to beat Nadal on hard-court? It seems to me that Nadal has become a huge hard-court player, considering Madrid is playing like a hard-court. Look at how fast the non-clay court players are able to run down a ball, as opposed to Hamburg and RG.

Another salient point that should be mentioned, and it’s the fact that Djoko is not as powerful in his arm strength as Nadal. I probably saw a different match some might think, but did anyone else notice how much energy Djoko had to put into his returns? It wasn’t easy for him and he was really struggling to return Nadal’s shots. Some of Djoko’s returns had him being pulled up from the ground a few inches in order to hit them — he was staggering. On some occasions I saw him struggling to keep his feet in place after those difficult returns.

Please understand everyone that I in no way want to diminish Djoko’s great match today, but some things need to be placed in perspective, and we need to be realistic.


jane Says:

Hi Dan Martin,

So nice to hear you back around here, and I hope your little one is growing and crawling around with a racquet. My nephew, now in the WHL, used to crawl around with a mini hockey stick. So cute.

Anyhow, you said “My suspicion is that Djokovic grows from this match.” And I hope you are right. This is clearly the closest he’s gotten; he was a hairsbreath from winning, and I see him as being a learner, open to improvement. Rafa is one who’s always been an improver, one who rises to a challenge and overcomes it. I hope Djoko can follow his lead and use it to even get some wins against Rafa himself. We’ll see.

Look forward to your piece.


jane Says:

Von I am not sure about your Hamburg comment: last year, Djoko lost to Rafa at Hamburg 5-7, 6-2, 2-6. And in my opinion, and also judging by this year’s clay court results, Djokovic has improved on clay. He was close to winning in Hamburg last year (was actually ahead in the first set, and ran away with the second) but he became demoralized after getting broken in the third. Today, even with losing his break lead, and with cramping, he didn’t become demoralize.

I think it was a stellar result.

But I do agree that Rafa will be a challenge even on hardcourts to ALL of the good hard courters. He’s number 1 for a reason. He won IW. He got to the semis at the USO. He won Olympic gold. There is no doubt he’s the best player in the world right now. He’s got to slam titles to defend though, and he must be tiring a little. So it’ll be interesting to see how he does the rest of the season. So far, he’s handling the pressure well.


jane Says:

to s.b “two”


Von Says:

jane: “Von I am not sure about your Hamburg comment: last year, Djoko lost to Rafa at Hamburg 5-7, 6-2, 2-6.”

As I mentioned, these were just my observations, and I’m only pointing out what I saw. If you will notice, from the Hamburg scores, there weren’t any tie-breaks, and Nadal was very much in control, as opposed to today, where he was shanking and not able to get up to the drop shots, because I felt Madrid appeared to look like a hardcourt, and one which plays to Djoko’s advantage. As I said, i don’t in any way want to take away from Djoko’s match today — he played great, but I’m wondering if the surface of Madrid was different, and it did not play as fast, would we have seen a different match? Also, I don’t want to see Djoko being lulled into a false sense of security from that match. I’m trying to be impartial, and i really shouldn’t be in the discussion, considering neither guy is my fave. However, as a tennis supporter, I’m just stating my observations.


Steve Says:

I think somebody mentioned that maybe Nadal will be too tired and may be vulnerable to Federer Tomorrow. I thought that at the AO this year when Nadal was taken to five sets in that marathon match with Verdasco, then he beat Federer in five, I didn’t think it would be possible, somehow Nadal does the impossible.

As for Djokovic, he’s a very tough match up for Nadal when playing his best tennis, Nadal on serve can’t exclusively attack the backhand side like he usually does because Djokovic can return so aggressively from that side, so he has to mix it up, and that can lead to losing his rhythm, and we saw a lot of that Today, Nadal hanging on by the skin of his teeth, avoiding destruction only through his super human mental strength, and that says a lot because Djokovic was relentless in his game, and right with Nadal in mental toughness.

I think that the commentators mentioned of Nadal that it isn’t winning that drives him, but the sheer joy of competing, knowing you gave it everything, if Djokovic can take that attitude from this match, he will continue to play like this, and the results will almost certainly follow.


jane Says:

Von “i really shouldn’t be in the discussion, considering neither guy is my fave. ”

Of course this makes no difference whatsoever; it’s great to have a more neutral perspective. Anyhow, I don’t think Djoko will be lulled into anything. I believe, based on the comments I’ve read, that he was pretty crushed. I also think his team will steer him in the right direction. I am not under the impression that Djoko can beat Nadal at Roland Garros over 5 sets, not this year for sure, but I do believe this was an outstanding match we all saw today, very fun to watch no matter who one supports.

I also think I’d rather see a Djoko vs. Nadal RG final as opposed to a washout like the Fed-Nadal French final last year, but I guess we’ll see tomorrow if Fed has some new strategies. Even then it won’t be a great gage because as you’ve pointed out, RG is a difference surface and court than Madrid. Moreover, we will see a weary Nadal tomorrow I expect, and his knee was being taped today, twice during the match. So if Fed wins, I don’t think we can expect him to suddenly win the French Open – unless it’s not Rafa he faces in the finals, but even then, who knows? Nothing is written in stone, or clay.


Von Says:

Steve:

“I think that the commentators mentioned of Nadal that it isn’t winning that drives him, but the sheer joy of competing, knowing you gave it everything, if Djokovic can take that attitude from this match, he will continue to play like this, and the results will almost certainly follow.”

I heard them say that too. Maybe, he’s the type who absolutely enjoys what he does, and relishes playing point by point. The bigger the challenge, the more he tries to meet it head-on. He’s the reverse of the present Federer, who appears to want to be any place other than on the court when it’s not a GS he’s playing in.


Von Says:

jane:

“I also think I’d rather see a Djoko vs. Nadal RG final as opposed to a washout like the Fed-Nadal French final last year, but I guess we’ll see tomorrow if Fed has some new strategies.

Same here. When I watch a match that’s minus my faves, I want to see one that’s captivating like today’s match. The unpredictability factor loomed big time. Fed’s new strategy is really going after the server’s second serve. Roddick did that as well, and it’s the reason why he was able to push Federer so hard.

“Even then it won’t be a great gage because as you’ve pointed out, RG is a difference surface and court than Madrid. Moreover, we will see a weary Nadal tomorrow I expect, and his knee was being taped today, twice during the match. So if Fed wins, I don’t think we can expect him to suddenly win the French Open – unless it’s not Rafa he faces in the finals, but even then, who knows? Nothing is written in stone, or clay.”

Another point I’d like to make, and it concerns Madrid again. Just watch how well all of the hard-court players did at Madrid. I mean look at Roddick, who played with so many negatives coming in and yet, he was able to push Fed. I wonder what would have happened if Andy had been more match-grooved. I also think andy should feel positive with respect to his performance. Hence, why wouldn’t Djoko have played great, considering he’s a guy who is match-grooved and a clay player? People should bear in mind that Djoko has been playing on clay all of his tennis life, so we should expect him to push the other top 2. Fed also grew up on clay and it’s the reason why he was considered the No. 2. on clay.


jane Says:

I wonder if Fed wins tomorrow if it might be a kind of Pyrrhic victory in the sense that it will give him a false sense of confidence heading into Roland Garros. Or maybe Fed will be wise enough and able to weigh in all of the variables of the victory, the surface, the altitude, Nadal’s 4 hour (plus) semi, Nadal’s knee, etc. Be interesting to see how tomorrow’s final turns out, but again I have company coming so may have to miss it.

I think partly why Roddick did well on clay is his improved fitness this year. Mind you, he is not as bad on clay as some say. He played a great match against Ferrer in DC last year, and he got to the Rome semis last year. So he can play some good tennis on clay. And at the French Open, he can pick up extra points this year, since he didn’t play in it last year.


Von Says:

I hope if Fed wins that he doesn’t get fooled into thinking it will be a piece of cake for him at RG. Who knows Nadal could play like he did today on purpose tomorrow, trying to lull Fed into thinking that he (Nadal) is tired, not up to snuff, etc. What matters is that despite it all, Nadal won, and played the points well, when it mattered to get the ‘W’. Maybe, he’s setting up Fed for the kill, ha, ha. Who knows what gamesmanship these guys are employing, but as an unbiased observer, it’s fun to watch, and I’m really enjoying it all. It’s so nice to watch a match without becoming emotionally involved. I always tape the matches of my faves, and if they win, I watch again, a second time, to enjoy it then, because the initial viewing is always very tension filled and I lose some of the enjoyment.


zola Says:

TD (Tam)
***I’m done with Federer + Nadal finals, Roger just can’t cut it, their matches have gotten stale.***

well, the AO final was a good one, going to five sets. But I am not sure tomorrow will be a good match.Federer is playing much better and with more confidence. Seems he has thid dropshot weapon that he wants to try on Rafa.
Rafa will probably feel like a log tomorrow morning. I am not sure how he is going to recover for the match. I keep having flashes of Chennai 08 when he lost to Youzhny after playing a 4-hour match with Moya. So a win for Fed is very probable. But the highlight of the tournament was the semi between Rafa and Djoko.
But I like your prediction and I hope it comes true, however realistically impossible.

Steve,
the AO semi and the final had about 48 hours of rest time in between. Rafa will have less than 24 h to recover for tomorrow.


Milo Says:

Voicemale1,

Your issue with the grip is just semantics. Even with a one-hand backhand, you can phrase the grips in the exact terms as a forehand. You could hold it with an actual eastern forehand grip and have a really crappy backhand (or use that and flip it over with an elbow leading push like Franciose Durr). You could use McEnroe’s continental style. You could hold it between a continental and an eastern backhand grip and enjoy hitting knee-high balls. You could have Roger’s eastern and want to hit at waist-high, or you could crank it a notch stronger and love to whack it at shoulder high with what could be phrased a semi-western. All this basically a statement of where your grip would feel most comfortable hitting the ball. Now I’ve never seen it, but I guess you could even try the equivalent of a western one-hand backhand grip…though you’d have to immediately drive one-handed to the emergency room to save your dying elbow. I’ve got tons of tennis instruction books often speaking of Kramer’s or Lendl’s “EASTERN” backhand grip (i.e. a grip that wants to hit the ball naturally at waist high…just like the eastern forehand).

Call Lansdorp a genius if you like, but having watched him teach and viewed the best players he’s produced, it’s obvious that his thing isn’t really about Einstein tactics and creativity. His players employ boring tactics and very little spur-of-the-moment strategy. He loves to teach deep driving groundstrokes hit from a strong forward position on the baseline. To say he has some great understanding of artistic, deceptive, court aware tennis is flat out wrong. I’ve never seen a smart heads-up Lansdorp player. Never an ounce of McEnroe or Rios magic. Since he always wanted his players controlling the point, they all were terrible at reading and reacting when put on the defense.

Look at his best students?

Tracy Austin — Little Tracy, a deep steady backboard with zero imagination and court sense. Tracy would even moonball with Chris to the point where the oldest members in the crowd would beggin to die of old age (or hope to die to end the misery).

Lindsey Davenport — High tech deep corner first-strike bashing, with the fight and passion of a “Peace Cow.” Lansdorp made her a champion with her ballistic ball-striking. All her points played out in the same pattern. Did she have any sense to read the opponent like Hingis or Murray? NO! Did she have any clever plays? NO! Was she the most boring player ever? Yes. I’ve got blow-up Swedish stewardess dolls that bring more imagination to the table.

Maria Sharapova — Do you want me to go on? Mindless basher who has to control the rally from shot number one or she’s lost. Nice career, but in trying to over-swing since you were eight years old, it has a way of blowing out one’s shoulder. Great idea for her to copy Nadal’s awkward forehand follow-through against Lansdorp’s better judgment. Try teaching that to the Yankees pitching staff and they’d have you arrested. And again, Britney Spears finger-painting in Kindergarten showed more flair than any shot sequence Maria ever thought up. Or more likely never taught by the one-dimensional Lansdorp style.

Pete Sampras — Lansdorp as the groundstroke legend was one of many coaches for Pete, so he’s not that relevant to Pete’s overall style. But that said, Pete was a beautiful swinger of the racket, yet employed very basic, almost mundane patterns.

Tell me who taught Mecir, McEnroe, Rios, Hingis, Murray, how to play, then you have someone who is “in the know.”


Milo Says:

PietJep,

I go along with that. Fed at Hamburg a few years ago worked some patterns that looked like he could milk into the future — but strangely he left them in his next few Nadal encounters.

Never underestimate the power of even a crappy slice lefty serve on grass. The low hop and score so favors a southpaw. A righty only gets two game winning scores in the deuce box, where he can slice the ball wide (40-15, 15-40). And he’s usually playing another righty, so it is less damaging going to the returner’s forehand. In the ad box, the lefty can swing a righty off the court and force him to hit a backhand on SIX game winning scores (40-love, love-40, 40-30, 30-40, Ad-in, Ad-out). When players are separated by very little, this adds up to a lot.


Von Says:

Milo: Thank you for not bashing Sampras.


Milo Says:

Von,

Hey, no problem…I only want to be a “hater” 99% of the time.


PietjeP Says:

Von;

It is interesting the different approach to losses to one another. Say the impossible should happen and Fed wins RG over Rafa in a final, I think there will be no negatives for Rafa, by fans and media. But should Fed falter once again to Rafa in a Wimbledon final; the negatives will come out again.

Now for their early meetings, that was understandable, but Rafa is a world class player, so nowadays it’s a little odd. Different approach and different pressure. And yes Rafa has been a master at playing the underdog card… he’s a smart guy :)

Now I didn’t mean that if they played more on other surfaces Fed would have a lopsided H2H with Rafa, but I think he would have had a slight edge. Doesn’t even matter at all. All I meant was meeting so frequently on clay, contributed to their H2H development and the fear Roger has for Rafa. You cannot block the losses out of your mind, although they were on a specific surface.

I liked the article in SI; Roger feels he shouldn’t change anything when facing Rafa; because he feels he is the better player… Well Duh! Tennis is more then just striking the ball with a beautiful technique. Untill Roger realises he should change his game plan and mindset, I expect the same bad results to follow up.


Milo Says:

I might add, I do believe Lansdorp is the greatest coach of the last 25 years in terms of teaching a “pure hit” groundstroke.

That said, we must remember to not give too much credit to the so-called great coaches. Anyone with solid perception can analyze things well. Uncle Tony is not Socrates…he just has a nuclear bull fighter. Bollitierri in his prime was probably only a 3.5 player — he just knew how to bring talent together. Why are so many agent weasels hanging around the AAU games trying to coach a 14 year-old Michael Jordan? Because anyone can look good coaching a supreme talent. The art of coaching is in grooming a talent in the critical early style development years.

Teaching unique, novel and effective styles is really the downfall of American tennis of late. Churning out basic whambo factory models will only work if you put that basic style on a superior chassis (see Williams sisters).

What I truly love in tennis is when a new player shows with a distinct, yet successful style. Those are the best moments in sports. That’s why I wasn’t that impressed when I first saw the Williams sisters. A style we’ve seen before merely on bigger more powerful athletes. When I first heard of Leyton Hewitt coming on the scene, I went to see him play on an outside court at Indian Wells. Yuk, another letdown…merely a counterpuncher grinder with a huge heart. We’ve heard that tune before. Where have all the artists gone???


Milo Says:

Late second set versus Novak, Nadal hits a running forehand all arm, no torso rotation, with topspin at 163 km/h (101 mph). What’s that all about? Don’t worry, I won’t go there again. Give me a bite out of that sandwich and I’ll teach those Madrid ballgirl models the meaning of the word RESPECT!


PietjeP Says:

Hmm; what worries me more now is reading some sound bites from Novak. I sincerely hope he is taking the positives out of this match. Although he didn’t win he should now know that Nadal is beatable on clay.

But from what I read now, he is more down the road of “damn it’s impossible to beat this guy, no matter how good I play”. Let’s hope it sinks in a little bit.


Skorocel Says:

Dave B: “The only way to beat him in Paris is to leave your tennis racket behind and bring your Colt 45.”

I suppose even then he’ll dodge the bullets :-)


Skorocel Says:

Al: “I dearly hope Nole and Nadal are on the opposite side of the draw for the FO.”

Doesn’t matter. He’ll win again. After yesterday’s match, one really has to wonder what Nole and co. are supposed to do to beat this Spanish ubersoldier (?)… The answer is: they can do NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING. You have a matchpoint, and the guy just fires a winner as if it was the easiest thing to do… That’s just too good.


Skorocel Says:

One has to feel for Djoker… It’s just painful to watch him dig for almost 4 hours only to see him losing again… Better to lose 0-6 twice than in such a way!


Skorocel Says:

Von: I don’t think there’s any point in dividing the clay-courts into Madrid, Rome, Hamburg, RG, etc. After all, it’s still a clay-court, and Nadal is winning everywhere… BOOORING!

P.S. Do you know of some decent live streaming? Those idiots at Galaxie Sport are once again showing that stupid kick ‘n run league (aka Premiersh.t), ya know…


Paul Says:

Was there really suspense in that match? It looked to me like the only question was how long it would take Nadal to come back.

Tennis would be more interesting if there were more chance of an upset, as it is in the NFL.


Tennisboy Says:

Paul,
On this thread a couple of very intelligent people posted their comments. Don’t deteriorate that level with your shallow post. Come out with something cleverer.


Von Says:

Skorocel:

Hello, mon ami, you can find live streaming at ATDHE.net @ 10:00 am today in US esatern time, which is approximately 4:00 pm Slovakian time. Here’s another link: @ http://www.justin.tv/tennisxxx and also: http://nadal-vs-federer.notlong.com/
OR, you can always hop a plane to my house and watch for free. Ha, ha. Enjoy the match.

“One has to feel for Djoker… It’s just painful to watch him dig for almost 4 hours only to see him losing again… Better to lose 0-6 twice than in such a way!”

Did you feel for A-Rod when Fed took the TMC after Roddick had match points, and what about all the other times when my little guy sufered at the hands of “The Federer” per Safin? I’m sure you were cheering and clapping with joy. LOL. Maybe Djoko should talk to Roddick but he mudied those waters, or else they could have had a good cry on each other’s shoulders.


fed is afraid Says:

will rog cry again when he is defeated?


Tennisboy Says:

Djoko has won 4 times against each of them, Nadal, Federer and Murray and he’s still 21. There will be plenty of these victories ahead of him. No comparison there and crying on anyone’s shoulder.


fed is afraid Says:

it’s almost time for 6 in a row!!
go rafa!!


Henry Says:

Von: thanks for commenting and adding on to my input regarding the fact that Madrid does not play as a ‘normal’ clay court, just as the ‘green’ clay in the USA has nothing to do with ‘real’ clay courts. Rafa rules in Roland Garros.

Skocorel said:”I don’t think there’s a point in diving clay-courts into Madrid, Rome, Hamburg, RG etc. After all, it’s still clay-court and Nadal is winning everywhere…boooring!”

Please, Skocorel, read my earlier post: First of all there is a true/real difference between the different courts and if even the top clay players such as Rafa make a distinction between the courts, why shouldn’t we. There is a huge difference between Madrid and any other clay courts. Madrid does not play like a clay court (Rafa’s and all the Spanish clay courters’ words, not mine) with the added difference that – due to the air resistance and altitude hard-hitting players are at an added disadvantage as in thinner air a ball decelerates more. Also calculations have shown that for ex. a cross court ball which lands exactly in the corner on the line in Paris 25 meters away from the stroke position, would land at 27 meters in Madrid. In other words the exact same ball hit at the exact same speed from the exact same stroke position lands long by 2 meters and wide by a couple of feet. That’s a lot of adjusting all players have to do in Madrid. That’s why Rafa has mentioned several times – PRIOR to the Madrid tournament – that Madrid is not so great for RG preparation and also was against playing Davis Cup in Madrid.

Rafa and other clay courts have also mentioned the clay in Hamburg is totally different from RG, especially when they close the roof. He said that after he had won Hamburg, but the year before Roger beat him there.

And why on earth do you find it “boooring” Rafa wins. I think everybody on this thread agrees that yesterday’s match between Novak and Rafa was far from boring.

To all of you that have already dismissed Roger as a winner today. I, for a fact, would love to see Rafa win this one and write a new chapter in the history books of tennis. However, Rafa’s topspin FH, usually pounding on Roger’s BH, will have much less effect in Madrid and Roger’s serve seems to be pretty solid looking at the number of aces he’s hit. Of course, there’s the mental factor but, like yesterday, it can go both ways later today and why don’t we all just wait and see and first of all enjoy…and hope Rafa is not too handicapped after a grinding match against Verdasco and the 4 hour struggle yesterday.

There’s one thing Rafa’s fellow players should worry about though: Even a tiered or not in perfect form playing Rafa still wins, or almost wins most of his matches. Just three examples: He was far from his best in Monte Carlo throughout the tournament, but won – even Uncle Tony mentioned he had to focus more and re-work his strokes, in Rome he was getting closer to his clay rythm but was still far from it, but won and at the Sony Ericsson Open Key Biscayne, where he never managed to adjust properly but still won ‘ugly’ against an in-form Wawrinka and then stranded against Del Potro in the quarters by a small margin.


Henry Says:

Tennisboy: what is it you’re trying to say?

Djokovic is only one year younger than Rafa. He will be 22 five days from now. Rafa at 21 had won 4 GS titels with a 5th and 6th coming right after his 22nd birthday and a H2H in his favor against all the players you mentioned incl. Novak. As you surely must know his H2H vs Rafa, after yesterday, is 4-14. Pretty significant difference wouldn’t you say


Kimmi Says:

For those who are using TennisTV, does the vedio go into slow motion sometimes ? the commenting is in par with play but the vedio is way behind ? I had that problem on yesterday men matches and now I have the same with woman matches.


Von Says:

PietjeP:

“It is interesting the different approach to losses to one another. Say the impossible should happen and Fed wins RG over Rafa in a final, I think there will be no negatives for Rafa, by fans and media. But should Fed falter once again to Rafa in a Wimbledon final; the negatives will come out again.”

That’s the media for you — one day hero, next day goat (the horned animal). They can be very cruel and change in a flash. I think the expectations of the tennis world and sports in general, is that a player once he has been placed in their minds in the ‘invincible’ category, one who cannot lose, then he has to consistently show good results. Sometimes, not even good results are enough, they want astronomical results. Unfortunately, Federer was in the ‘invincible’ category, and now that he has fallen off the radar so to speak, the same media and some of his fans, are turning against him. We are a ‘gimme’ society with fans who have a bottomless pit mentality, one which cannot ever have enough of a good thing. Federer filled those needs for a four (4) year period, but now that he can’t or hasn’t for this year thus far in their minds, it’s the reason why we’re seeing such ugly statements.

If I might add, Federer has a good resume this year, but minus any titles. For any other player, his are remarkable results, however, considering the foregoing, it sadly isn’t in the minds of the sports world. Wins are acceptable, but losses are not. If, and when Federer wins his first title this year, that will appease them for a while, but when he loses again, the media will raise its ugly head and we’ll see the negativism once again. It’s too bad, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. To quote Federer, he created a monster. I think he got caught up in the web of adoration and it’s now backfiring on him. It’s a very heady feeling and one which is dangerous for any athlete.

Nadal has been able to dodge the bullets of negativism due to his lack of English speaking skills, and by playing down everything, and as a result, there will always be a hush if and when he loses. He ensures that the media/sports world is of the mind-set that he could lose at any given time, and as a result he is able to lower their expectations and release the pressure. Furthermore, Nadal did not totally dominate for four (4) years on all surfaces, because he showed deficiencies on the hard-courts and grass, hence, fans and the media have come to accept and expect the ebbs and flows of Nadal’s sporadic wins = winning some and losing some. On the other hand, if Nadal were to lose at RG, then we’d probably see some huge negativism, because that’s his forte and I don’t think the media will be very forgiving. Maybe, it won’t be as much as we saw when Fed lost Wimby, but believe me it will happen, now that he’s the No.1 player, and as the No. 1 player, he’s expected to deliver. Sadly for Fed, who has been winning everything in sight, on three surfaces no less, the press will have several opportunitiesto slam him, as opposed to Nadal who only has one loss to contend with. People have come to expect the impossible where more and more is the order of the day, and any losses are unheard of or become unacceptable. The monster was created by Fed, and it’s something he’ll have to live with until he retires.

“I liked the article in SI; Roger feels he shouldn’t change anything when facing Rafa; because he feels he is the better player… Well Duh! Tennis is more then just striking the ball with a beautiful technique. Until Roger realises he should change his game plan and mindset, I expect the same bad results to follow up.”

I still haven’t read that article. Unfortunately, Fed is in a state of denial. The game has evolved tremendously, due to Federer raising the bar, and now all are following in his footsteps and catching up with him. His is a case of narcissism personified — I’m in love with myself, in Fed’s case, his game. He feels he’s invincible and perfect. He’s “The Federer” or “The Mighty Federer” and why should he change that which has earned him all of the accolades, stripes, and glory status, would you, only if there’s an open mind. Sadly for Federer, sports evolve at an accelerated pace, and what once worked to perfection, has now become flawed. He could do one of two things: Try to plug up the holes in his game and evolve with the rest of the field, or continue with his present form, and hope for the best. The recipe is simple, but is the chef willing to add the necessary ingredients to make the meal a tasty one, whereby it becomes once again a treat, more palatable and wins the Blue Ribbon prize, or is he content to remain stagnant and let his opponents take from him what is his for the taking? Only time will tell, and only Roger Federer has the answers. Oh Federer, vanity is thy name ….

I don’t think Federer can change his lopsided H2H on clay v. Nadal, unless Nadal just drops out of the race, but he could turn around the other losses, e.g., Wimby and the AO. However, that’s dependent upon whether the younger guys are going to allow him to do so. Federer is now caught in a triangle, with Nadal at the apex, Fed at the base, and Murray, Djokovic on either side. Can he rise to the challenge? We’ll see in the coming six (6) months that’s for sure.


Von Says:

Milo: “Hey, no problem…I only want to be a “hater” 99% of the time.”

LOL, just ensure my two guys and myself, are not in the huge one percent of the not ‘hated’. That shouldn’t be too hard to do. Ha, ha.


Kimmi Says:

“…and hope Rafa is not too handicapped after a grinding match against Verdasco and the 4 hour struggle yesterday.”

Henry, it was Novak yesterday, but I understand what you mean. In the AO rafa had even more hours on court the day before and he still went on to beat Roger.

I am afraid it does not look good for Roger but as you mentioned we have to wait and see.


Kimmi Says:

Congratulation Safina. She is on the roll, final and back to back wins on clay, just like the doctor ordered. Now, if she wins the french, she will silence her doubters.


Henry Says:

Hey Kimmie,
No I did mean Verdasco. He played an almost really tough match against Fernando the day before yesterday and then the 4 hr match yesterday


Von Says:

Milo: correction: “are not” in the huge one percent of the not ‘hated’, should be “are in”. I wonder if that’s a Freudian slip? Ha, ha.


Tennisboy Says:

Henry, my mistake for not explaining to which poster i referred to. It was a part of the Von’s post at 8:37. Now you get it?


Henry Says:

Kimmie, sorry after “almost” in my 9.55 post the words “2-hour” were eaten in the tranmission/ It hsould state: He played an almost 2-hour really though match…


Henry Says:

Yep, Tennisboy got it now. thanks for explaining


Kimmi Says:

Yeah now I see Henry, my mistake. But rafa is the strong cookie. He continues to amaze how he keep doing that.


Von Says:

Henry:

“Von: thanks for commenting and adding on to my input regarding the fact that Madrid does not play as a ‘normal’ clay court, just as the ‘green’ clay in the USA has nothing to do with ‘real’ clay courts. Rafa rules in Roland Garros.”

You’re welcome, and it’s nice to see you back again. That’s how I see it with respect to the surface finish as opposed to the other MS clay courts and RG. I do try to be unbiased when I comment on that sort of situation, and considering neither player is my fave, why shouldn’t I? Ha, ha.

If I might add, I think Madrid is a very dangerous court and the tournament owners should do something about it. Too many players have fallen and many were sliding. I saw Roddick sliding and became unsteady on his feet after they watered the court between the second and third sets and was hoping he’d get out of there, because it’s a similar problem he had at Rome, and was laid up for two months.

“He played an almost really tough match against Fernando the day before yesterday and then the 4 hr match yesterday.”

That’s what I thought you meant, both the Verdasco and Djokovic matches. He did have a tough one with Verdasco and then the Djoko match was the icing on the cake. I believe Nadal is one who likes to feel the pressure of the challenge, even though he says differently. It’s similar to those who works best by the light of their burning bridges.


PietjeP Says:

Great reply Von, I agree with you mostly.

On clay I think it’s too late now to change his H2H with Rafa. He should have pulled a couple of matches to him in 06/07, where he had the chances. Right now I don’t see him ever beating Rafa again on clay. (well, again… for a 2nd time :)) But I’ll guess we will see in a couple of minutes…

BTW here is the link to the article. Quite nice, with some quotes of coaches and ex-players:
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/sl_price/05/14/federer.nadal/index.html

Let’s hope the following months will provide us with some great tennis between the top 4 guys. Except on clay, everybody can beat everybody on a given day. And that makes it as exciting as can be.


fed is afraid Says:

here comes number 6 in a row beatdown. woo hoo!!!!


Dan Martin Says:

I think at RG if they want a handicapping system – Rafa should have to make some clay bowls during the change overs or something. Until someone beats him in Paris, he is as heavy of a favorite as the sport has seen in a major. That is saying something given that Pete won 7 out of 8 Wimbledon titles and Roger had a 5 title streak at Wimbledon and has a 5 title streak at the U.S. Open. Still, I think the taller players with two fisted backhands take away some of what was effective for Rafa vs. Federer between 05-08. Djokovic along with maybe Murray, Cilic, Del Potro etc. pose a different type of obstacle than hammering high bounding shots into a 1 handed backhand on clay. A player with Guga’s height might have had some success vs. Rafa off of the backhand wing, but Fed at 6’1″ is suffering the fate of many one handed players on clay against a competitor who has steel inside of him.


Can Roger Federer Beat Rafael Nadal Today in Madrid? Says:

[...] Nadal Turns Away Djokovic in Magical 3-Set Epic in Madrid [...]


Von Says:

Tennisboy:

“Henry, my mistake for not explaining to which poster i referred to. It was a part of the Von’s post at 8:37. Now you get it?”

My comments were said in jest to my friend Skorocel, and it’s the reason I wrote “LOL”, we ususally jest a lot despite the fact that he’s a Fed fan and I’m a Roddick fan, and I’m sure he knows I was kidding around, because I like to do that at times — my sense of humour. Here’s my comment:

“Did you feel for A-Rod when Fed took the TMC after Roddick had match points, and what about all the other times when my little guy sufered at the hands of “The Federer” per Safin? I’m sure you were cheering and clapping with joy. LOL. Maybe Djoko should talk to Roddick but he mudied those waters, or else they could have had a good cry on each other’s shoulders.”

It’s all a matter of interpretation and no need to read the resume, I’m aware of it.


Von Says:

PietjeP Says:

“Great reply Von, I agree with you mostly.

“On clay I think it’s too late now to change his H2H with Rafa. He should have pulled a couple of matches to him in 06/07, where he had the chances. Right now I don’t see him ever beating Rafa again on clay. (well, again… for a 2nd time :)) But I’ll guess we will see in a couple of minutes…”

Thanks. Yes, it could probably be too late for Fed on clay v. Nadal. I agree Fed should have won some of his ’06 matches especially ’06 Rome when he was up 5-1 and let Nadal back into the match, and we all know what happened. When that sort of scenario plays out, it becomes psychological and short of amnesia or hitting the opponent on the head, I doubt it can be removed. I saw this happen to Roddick and now it’s a foregone conclusion in my mind that Andy will lose to Fed regardless of the situation. Sadly, some things are not meant to be.

BTW, thanks for the article. I’ll print it out and save it. Oh my what am I doing here I need to watch the match. Thankfully I’m recording it. Bye and nice chatting with you.


Henry Says:

Von: You’re absolutely right about the media who are mostly jumping on the band wagon when a player is winning and drop him the minute he or she starts losing some matches. They’re also usually too late in seeing emerging players and then write about players as if they came falling form the moon form one day to the other, just because they only focus on the present crop of top players.

However, I definitely do not agree with the comparision you are making between what Federer has achieved as opposed to Rafa. There’s a five year difference between the two, so a true comparison cannot be made until one of them has decided to retire from the sport. As it stands now in terms of Masters titles, GS titles overal tournament titles and rankings, Nadal bloomed way earlier than Roger both as a teen and now in this twenties. At 21 Roger had one GS, had suffered first and early round exits at every single slam, prior to winning Wimbledon, whereas Rafa at that age already won 3 Roland Garros titles, made it to two Wimbledon finals, US Open quarter final and an AUS Open quarter and semi. Acutally the year prior to his first Wimbledon crown Roger exited in the first round, so let’s give it time.

Just to illustrate:
Roger at 22: Number of titles 19
Rafa at 22: Number of titles 36

Roger’s Ranking at 16: 679
Rafa’s ranking at 16: 75
Roger’s ranking at 17: 106
Rafa’s ranking at 17: no. 49
Roger’s ranking at 22: no. 1
Rafa’s ranking at 22: no. 1


PietjeP Says:

Fed gets the first break of serve and can serve out the set. No worries for the Nadal camp though… he might give it straight back to him

I’ve seen it before :)

Is it the quality of my stream or is the match a little flat?


Henry Says:

Pietje P try tvunetworks.com


PietjeP Says:

Well well. Fed actually won the first set.

Although I’m a Fed (and Djoko) fan, it looks to be more due to Nadal lacking fire… which is totally understandable after that epic match yesterday.


Von Says:

Henry:

The media is of the mindset “what have you done lately”. Additionally, they only have short-term memory, where yesterday is soon forgotten and they are already looking forward to tomorrow, sometimes by-passing today and the present. It’s one of the reasons we see so much hype and speculation, and I have to tell you that many of the writers have crystal balls and engage in astral walking nightly, where they become aligned with the stars and can prophesy the future. LOL.

Yes there’s a 5 year difference between Federer and Nadal and their accomplishments at the same age. I thought about that when replying to Tennisboy on his resume read-out. When making comparisons of the players’ achievements we have to also take into consideration when they turned pro and for how many years they’ve been at the pro status. For example, Nadal turned pro close to 9 years ago, and Fed turned pro 11 years ago. Hence, Nadal at age 22, has been on the tour for 8 to 9 nine years, while Fed at age 22 was on the tour for 5 years. That’s a huge difference. One thing I’d like to mention also, that it took Nadal 8 years on tour to achieve the No. 1 ranking, while Fed arrived at the no. 1 status after being on tour for 5 years.

Tennisboy mentioned Djokovic and made an attempt to compare Djoko with Roddick, however, it would be worthwhile to point out that considering Djokovic turned pro in 2003, and only 3 years separate them in the pros, Roddick has won achieved the No. 1 ranking at 21,and had beaten several of his peers on numerous occasions at 21. A player can only beat the competition he had at the time, so comparing roddick’s H2H with Djoko’s peers is not a solid argument.

In view of the foregoing, it’s a bit difficult to compare players because we need to look at the competition then and now. I know fans are saying that the present top 4 are better than the past, but it’s subjective and a matter of opinion. In each era the competition changes and players and technology evolve, so it’s somewhat difficult to do comparisons. The past players were thought to be super terific in their time. My feeling on the whole situation, why not enjoy what’s happening now and not try to make comparisons, and it’s the reason I think the GOAT argument is moot.


PietjeP Says:

thanks Henry… unfortunately it doesn’t work. Tooooo damn slow :(


Von Says:

PietjeP:

Try ATDHE.net @ 10:00am http://www.livesport2.50webs.com/


Henry Says:

Hey Von: Thanks for the welcome back. Been traveling a lot and also saw a lot of live tennis…but I missed the ‘bickering’ on this blog… lol… just kidding (on my way to Paris and RG next week)

All Im trying to say is that Roger didn’t become the dominating Roger from one day to the other. He suffered no less than 3 first round exits at RG and the same on the grass of Wimbledon, the surface he today is considered one of the masters He actually exited in round 1 in 2002 the year prior to winning Wimbledon. Rafa has improved his game on every single surface, dominated on clay from early on and has slowly but surely developed into an all court player too.


Von Says:

Henry:

You’re welcome! Some life you’ve got there! I mean your travelling around and watching so much live tennis, WOW, it sure beats my 10 hour per day job any time. Any room for me in your suitcase? Ha, ha. I promise I’ll hold my breath until we get to RG. LOL.

“Rafa has improved his game on every single surface, dominated on clay from early on and has slowly but surely developed into an all court player too.”

I agree with the above, and I think he will continue to accumulate more titles on other surfaces as well as clay. He’ll have one heck of a resume when he’s done competing.

Ref: The bickering, it’s fun at times. I think the real problem lies with some who are unable to articulate and then quite a bit is a comprehension problem, but those are the problems with the written word, isn’t it? Also, on a blog we meet people from all walks of life with whom we probably would not interact at any time.

Henry, bon voyage to you and enjoy the tennis at RG for both of us. Give us reports as your time permits in beautiful Paris, will ya.


Henry Says:

Thanks Von, will do..and could always make room, but as you know they restricted the weight per suitcase … (not implying you’re overweight or anything…lol)

and with regard to this blog – even though I seldomly react to anything, I do follow it regularly and must say the comments, except for some by the usual suspects, have become more and more positive towards others and other fan camps and more and more interesting. I’m also glad to note that hardly anyone wastes their energy on rude and negative people which was not the case in the past.

Tennis Rocks !


Von Says:

Henry:

I’m a petite gal so no fear of too much weight, that is if the suitcase is empty. LOL.

Feel free to stop by more often and give us your insightful views.

Tennis sure rocks. Tah, tah.


Giner Says:

Tennisboy Says:

“Giner, About your aunt, It has to do with your uncle actually and it’s not (1/2)*6 (in his case) but (1/1)*6! The science won’t admit it ever, but some men have only the “Y” chromosomes and vice versa.”

Nonsense. (1/1)*6 or ^6 would equal 1. That means 100% probability of every child conceived being male. Obviously you screwed up somewhere.

Male and female are 50/50. Possible chromosome pairings are XX, XY, XY, and XX. Both of those XY’s are males. That’s a 50% chance, and every child you have is a further 50% chance. The chance of having a female or a male 6 times in a row are like flipping 6 tails in a row.

If science doesn’t accept that a man can have 2 Y chromosomes, then neither will I. You saying so isn’t good enough. How do they even get 2 Y’s? That would mean they had to have received a Y from their mother, which is impossible. If their mother had a Y then they would have been male, and a father. What deformities would a child with 2 Y chromosomes have? I shudder at the thought.


The Curious Case of Nadal’s Ailing Knees Says:

[...] and even in Paris two weeks ago appeared to be moving just fine. I recall some concern during his epic tussle with Novak Djokovic in Madrid where he had some treatment on his knee from a trainer, but did he ever call for on-court [...]

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