Soderling Shocks Nadal at French Open; Federer Now on the Hot Seat
by Sean Randall | May 31st, 2009, 5:34 pm
  • 266 Comments

There is a great saying in sports here in the U.S.: Everybody has a plan until they get hit. Well, today Rafael Nadal finally got hit. And Nadal was not just hit but knocked down (literally) by an unlikely opponent, Robin Soderling, on his favorite surface at his favorite tournament.

As I watch the replay on NBC (damn them!), it’s absolutely 100% unfathomable that Soderling did what he did, beating Rafa 6-2, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 earlier today in the fourth round at the French Open. The win by Soderling will surely be among the greatest upsets in the annals of tennis. (Too bad it wasn’t on live TV here in the U.S., but that’s for another blog!)

So was there anyone is the World who thought Soderling stood any chance in this one? I highly doubt it. I know I did not, not after Rafa thrashed the Swede 6-1, 6-0 just a few short weeks ago in Rome. There simply was no indication this was to come. I thought Rafa would have a rough go of it this clay court season, but I never would have expected it to end like this.

But credit to Soderling who remained as calm as I’ve ever seen him, and the 24-year-old approached the match as just any other rather than as the match of his life against the greatest dirtballer of our time. And Robin did do some rob-in, he got the job done neutralizing Nadal’s seemingly invincible powers on Court Phillipe Chatrier by serving big, going after the Spaniard when the opportunity presented itself and keeping his shots deep. Not easy, but he executed.

For Nadal, this really is the first time he’s been hit in the mouth and I’ll be very interested to see his response at Wimbledon and at the U.S. Open. Right now, I’ll stick with my initial thoughts that I had at the start of the year and predict that he’s already won his slam for the season, that being the Australian Open.

Bigger focus now will be on Roger Federer, who with Nadal now cleared out, stands just four matches from virtual immortality. The pressure has to be immense on Fed when you consider Nadal, Novak Djokovic and even David Nalbandian will be nowhere near center court at Roland Garros the final week. If there ever was his time to win in Paris this is it, and he knows it. My gut tells me he takes advantage and gets the jobs done. But let’s see how he handles arguably the biggest and most important week of tennis of his life.

As for the rest of the day’s events, another stunner was Fernando Verdasco getting brutalized by Nikolay Davydenko in straight sets. Strange result really. Andy Murray had his way with Marin Cilic and my new pick to reach the final, Fernando Gonzalez, destroyed Victor Hanescu.

For tomorrow, I love my man Gael Monfils and also Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Federer should get a gift from Tommy Haas and I’ll go with Tommy Robredo to take down Phil Kohschreiber. Crazy though, imagine Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray all losing on consecutive days at a Slam. It’s not that far fetched!

That all said, who doesn’t wish they could have been a fly on the wall in the room where Federer watched Nadal push a forehand volley just wide to give Soderling the victory. Wow. What a weekend of tennis.


Also Check Out:
Nadal vs. Soderling French Final After Fade by Berdych
Haas Shocks Djokovic for Grasscourt Halle Title
Is Robin Soderling’s 2012 Tennis Season Over?
Rafael Nadal Not Wearing a Seatbelt at Australian Open [Video]
Odesnik, Venus Advance at French Open

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266 Comments for Soderling Shocks Nadal at French Open; Federer Now on the Hot Seat

andrea Says:

sublime.

you know when so many pundits are against nadal pulling 5 in a row, somethings gotta give. but who would have guessed in the third round????

another example of someone playing our of their mind. but, the last time soderling and nadal played in a GS it was also pretty dramatic.

here’s hoping that fed can hold it together and in a year when the majority of media are flagging his decline, maybe, just maybe, he can pull out the clay court win and get in the history books again. that would be fantastic.


fed is afraid Says:

rog will choke his chance away.


Career-Slam Says:

Losing on his favorite surface on his favorite tournament, against his least-favorite opponent. Rough day for Rafa!
Looks like once again, the #2 seed will win the French Open! :-)
And if he does, please don’t say it’s because Rafa lost earlier : only those who reach the finals can (and deserve to) win a tourney…


Bob Says:

He should fire uncle Tony ASAP!!!


Skorocel Says:

“The pressure has to be immense on Fed when you consider Nadal, Novak Djokovic and even David Nalbandian will be nowhere near center court at Roland Garros the final week.”

LOL, Sean!


Skorocel Says:

As Sean said, it’ll be interesting to see how Nadal responds to this loss, i.e. will it be just a temporary blip or something more “chronic”? Frankly, when was the last time Nadal has NOT won 2 back to back tourneys on clay?


Skorocel Says:

When you think how many people proclaimed a calendar slam for Nadal in 2009, it’s kinda ironic that it’s actually the FO where he’s lost his chance…


Sean Randall Says:

Skorocel, good point. Imagine if Rafa went on to win Wimbledon and the US Open. Crazy.


jane Says:

“when was the last time Nadal has NOT won 2 back to back tourneys on clay? Last season he did not win Rome. Djoko did as both Nadal and Fed lost out early.


jane Says:

As Daniel said, if Fed wins here and Rafa wins USO they will both complete “grand slams” in the same year.


Dave B Says:

Absolutely shocking. But it’s good to know that there is real competition out there. Nadal is not infallible. Now I’ll root for Tsonga


Fedfan Says:

One one of the earlier threads (remember Giner?) I had posted that Nadal will NOT win the wimbledon or the US. Now that doesn’t seem so outrageous, right?

Oh, how we build up people based on a few results!

There’s no calendar slam happening. No chance Nadal will ever win ANY grand slam 5 times in a row. And definitely a chance that Nadal may have already peaked late last year. Yes, some players, who start early, peak early (remember Becker, or Mcenroe?)

Nadal is 23 this week. He still has a couple of years more of domination on clay, so cannot rule out 2 more FO titles. Maybe one more slam on another surface. That makes it 9. Do you still believe he will hit 14? No way.

What Federer did 2004-07 (11 slams in 4 years) was absolutely incredible. Never been done before. Will never be done again.

Now lets see if Fed can get the job done here. Its still not that easy for him. He still has very tough opponents in the semi (possibly Tsonga) or final (Gonzo/Murray/Davydenko).


steve Says:

Federer has a versatile, all-round game. He may not have the world’s best serve, or forehand (well, his probably is the world’s best), or backhand, or volleys, or lobs, or drop shots, but he plays all of them at a very high level. He can play very well from the baseline and at the net, and his offensive and defensive skills are very balanced.

So when he is overmatched by an opponent in one department, he can switch tactics and use his strengths in other departments to overcome his opponent.

Nadal has only plan A: cover every ball with his insane defense and outlast his opponent in the rallies. Plus his serve is at best solid, not great. So when he’s faced with an opponent who’s serving well, being aggressive, and denying him the opportunity to get into long rallies, he has nothing to fall back on. And that’s what we saw today.

Sure, he has improved his serve and learned how to slice and volley, but they serve mostly to supplement his main strength: his defense. He can’t use them as weapons.

Federer is now the favorite to win, but his path is very far from clear. It is incredibly difficult to achieve his level of consistency–19 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals, almost double the previous record, and 10 consecutive finals–and I hope that today’s events serve to demonstrate just how heroic a feat that is.


tennis bum Says:

Fed has pretty much destroyed most of the players left in his draw (roddick, del potro, haas) and has winning records against gonzo, monfils (not sure about tsonga?). That being said, his level of play has been spotty against lesser opponents in the early rounds thus far.Davydenko was playing out of his head today in destroying verdasco. No one has brought up the possibilty of soderling marching on??!! If he plays at today’s level, he could reach the final and give anyone a run for their money, including Fed.


Tennisfan Says:

Playing out if front may not be as easy as Federer made it look. Nadal can’t draft behind anyone anymore and staying behind after each tourney now for the publicity stuff and such all takes it toll! You have to wonder too if the wraps won’t go back on the knees shortly … given taking them off hasn’t had a good result. Having said that I like Nadal. He’s has a likeable and respectful personality and can give anyone a run for the money. In my books however I have never seen anyone play the all-court all-shot game that Federer can deliver when he’s not playing with mono.


jane Says:

Tennis bum I brought up the possibility of Soderling continuing his run on the previous thread. Fed has played Tsonga only once and it was a dominant win. However, I believe this would be a different situation given that it’s Paris and a chance at another slam final.

steve, I think you’re selling Nadal short, much too short, in your post. He can and often does play aggressively. I do agree with you, though, that his serve is a liability – but only at times and against great returners. Otherwise it’s a solid shot. His forehand is killer, his backhand is like a second forehand given the right-to-left factor. And he’s a very good volleyer and mixes up the pace quite often now. His movement and speed are excellent. He does have a tendency to concede the baseline too often, and we saw that today against Soderling, hence his balls were landing short, hence Sodering was bashing them.


mem Says:

i am so happy that it turned out this way. nadal can now give those people at roland garros and others room to breathe so that the one they want to win (roger federer) can win. rafa has never been treated like the #1 player no way. a blind man can see it! sure, soderling beat him fair and square, but as much as rafa brings to the game of tennis and as much as i love to see him play, i would love to see him in a sport (soccer maybe) that appreciates him. i know that he has many fans who supports him faithfully, but there are those who have been plotting his demise, trying relentlessly to bring him down for God knows how long and everybody pretend like they don’t know how he’s treated! just the other day, i read that he asked to play his match earlier and he was turned down, while federer has off two days to sleep, practice, watch tv, whatever! i was sick of hearing former players, commentators, etc. discuss how to beat him, anyway. what kind of sport has to constantly give tips on how to beat a player rather allowing players to compete and figure it all out and in the end the best player wins! what kind of sport had to wait and wish for the downfall of one player in order for another player to win or reign as the greatest. if this is what the sport is all about, i pity the future of tennis!


jane Says:

I’ll agree with one thing mem – I just read a Times Online article that called Nadal an “ogre” – writing “the ogre has gone” – which is an offensive word to use in describing the world number 1 to say the least. Nadal deserves WAY more respect than that, no matter who one supports. Nadal has changed and charged tennis in many ways and the game is better off for it.


Kimmi Says:

Soderling/davydenko H2H is 3-2 and soderling has won the last 2 times they play including a win on clay. So if the soderling of today turns up, he will give davy a run for his money, and it will be sweet if the giant killer reach the semi and even final here.


steve Says:

Jane–I’ve never sold him short. Nadal’s net game is solid, but not absolute top-class. He is still a far better mover from side-to-side than up-and-down. It may look more refined than it is, because his groundstrokes are so good that he only needs to come to net to put away short balls.

His core strength is his defense, movement, and groundstrokes and the serve, volleying, etc. are adjuncts to that. If he tries to move too far away from his core game, he’ll start to make more errors.

That said, although Soderling was clearly playing the best tennis of his life, I don’t think Nadal was on today.


andrea Says:

well, mem, roger was faced with the same bull%^& for years….everyone always asked players how to beat him. in fact, there was a DVD that came out called ‘facing federer’.

that’s the way tennis goes.

the media seems to be very fair in how they treat nadal so i’m not sure where you are getting your news. in fact, prior to his loss in madrid i don’t think anyone would have placed a single bet against him as the ultimate champ at the FO.

it’s a fickle world out there unfortunately.


jane Says:

andrea – did you read my post above to mem? The media – a reputable paper – just called Nadal an “ogre”! Hardly fair.


steve Says:

mem: it comes with being number one, and being so dominant on a particular surface for so long, that people are going to start talking about how you can be beaten. Simply because that becomes the only interesting topic of conversation.

Nadal is one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2009, with an article penned by no less than Serena Williams singing his praises and saying “I want to be like him”! If that’s the cruel and unforgiving treatment he’s suffering at the hands of the media, sign me up!

Nadal is a great player and a class act, and his legacy will not be diminished by this defeat.


PietjeP Says:

Before the bashing starts… let’s just respect what both Fed and Nadal brought to tennis the last couple of years.

Nadal has been an absolute beast on clay and RG. For the last 4 years he destroyed everybody on all clay events. But good things come to an end. Sometimes the talk of players winning 10 particular GS is just too easy (Nadal on RG; Fed at Wimby).

For Fed his great achievements were Wimby and the USO both 5x consecutive. Now I really hope he will win the French; but it’s easier said then done.

Wouldn’t that be great? If Nadal would win the USO and Fed the French. 2 players and 2 career slams in 1 year. Both of them are icons in the sport of tennis. And will be remembered as such.

BTW I’m a huge Fed fan; but Nadal is a remarkable athlete! Two giants they are.


Shan Says:

Well Roger, this could be the only remaining real chance you have left. Roland Garros is very physical and after the age of 28 or so the odds of winning get incredibly low, statistically speaking. There are always exceptions though and if anyone is an exception it is Roger. I’m routing for the Fed this time around because frankly I want to be able to be able to indulge in the historical significance if he does make it happen


Andrew Miller Says:

Yes, I am surprised myself by the question:

“What if Tommy Haas plays the match of his life?”


Andrew Miller Says:

that said: I think Federer diminished the Nadal aura with the Madrid win – Federer does not need to do it twice. And this tournament gave me some hope in that Federer felt that grinding out wins was “interesting”. Whenever he gets curious about his matches, I say, WATCH OUT. I think he’s at his best when he thinks his way through the tough ones, and it’s what he did when he took out Nadal in Key Biscayne the last time they faced off there, 2005, Nadal two sets up and about to knock out the dominant Federer in three.

We already know how that ended. Federer was wondering what he might do and then did it. I think he is liking Paris about now.


mem Says:

andrea, apparently you have been sleeping if you think that rafa is treated just fine or maybe you and i are not talking about the same person or sport. i’m quite familiar with the nature of tennis and we all know that the world is tough. i’m not naive, but that’s not my point! i’m certainly not asking anyone to give rafa something for nothing. roger has never been treated like a stepchild as #1 like rafa has been and everybody knows it, but i don’t expect them to admit it. i think rafa deserves to be treated better! i think he has earned it. in fact, he makes tennis and if he left the sport you would see just how much. i would say the same about anyone who works hard to give their best; to fulfill their obligations to fans, tournaments, media, sponors, etc. if he’s going to be mistreated continuously, he doesn’t need to give his all because from where i’m sitting these people don’t care anything about him, just want their tickets sold and for federer to lay claims to the greatest of all time. mark my words, in the end, wrong will never defeat right!


Kimmi Says:

I am going thru the nadal match again, very interesting statistics on the 3rd set. Nadal was serving 92% first serve and still lost the set 4-6. I think his baseline game can cover his slow serve very well but on matches where you have good returner like today looks like his 1st serve had no use.


mel Says:

it’s ok sean…take the day off…i know it feels terrible for your favorite player to lose…but it happens from time to time…


jane Says:

Every top player – except Fed – has been scheduled to play last on Lenglen: Nadal, Djokovic, Murray (twice), Roddick (with Monfils), Tsonga, Davydenko, Verdasco, etc. Is it not strange, considering it is Rafa who is number 1 AND defending champion, that this the case? Why has Roger ONLY played on Chatrier, the best and center court?


Edward Says:

jane, you’re seriously thinking that Federer has had it any easier than the other top players here? If one thing’s been proven here, it’s that there really is no such thing as an easy draw. Anybody can have an inspired day and produce an upset, if they stay on target. We’re well aware you don’t like Federer, but come on. He could still lose to somebody too.


conqueror Says:

It’s been a great year for Nadal so far, he won the AO and plenty of masters, losing today bears no sign of a career end. All I can see is that he was very tired since the final he lost to Fed, the way he beat Hewit doesn’t tell the truth of his fatigue as his earlier matches do show. during this FO Nadal looked like he did in the US Open. I expect him to bounce quickly and win both the wimbledon and the US Open.

Now I wish Fed good luck to win this eluding FO cuz he really deserves it.


Hari Says:

I agree with Steve’s comments on the limited dimensions of Nadal’s game. Nadal does indeed have few styles of play that he can execute on a bad day. Style A is obviously his Full-Defense play & Style B is aggressive counter-punching & forehand whips with great side to side movement. Remember, these are styles he can execute on ANY given day. He has significantly more variations in style when he is on fire and against “good match ups”.
Now today, he had a bad day and was against a player on fire. To top it, Soderling’s choice of style was not a good match up for him. Nadal realized early on that Style B will tilt Soderling’s winner percentages overwhelmingly against him. He tried Style A and would have succeeded against a player who wilted in the face of mounting unforced errors against high ball. Not Soderling. He had made up his mind that errors won’t matter in the scheme of things as long as he can keep Nadal 10 feet behind the baseline and continue to produce those opportunities.
This is where, in my mind, Nadal is different from Federer. Fed has multiple styles of play that he tends to stitch up depending on the match up and his “level of fire on the day”. I believe this is what has helped Fed get to 19 SF consecutively. Yes, he does lose to great players when his footwork is half a second slower or when his forehand is off. But he has kept the casualty to a minimum against lesser players in his peak years. Nadal has to revert to his core styles of play on his bad days regardless of the match up. To me, that will limit him in establishing the level of dominance that Fed has had.

Watching the match today, I am convinced on this. I was watching a few rallies in slow-mo multiple times. Nadal realized that his style A was hurting him, but as soon as he tried to step a foot closer, he was having to go a fraction back on the run to his forehand, effectively taking the sting and depth of his whip. Full-credit, of course, to Soderling whose shots maintained the penetration on slow court.


Edward Says:

Soderling was out to get Nadal today. Nadal made the mistake of publicly stating that he did not like Soderling. You can lead another player to believe in their minds that you don’t like them because of previous on-court insults, but Nadal fueled Soderling by stating the dislike publicly. A relatively obscure interview in which he stated it, but it surely reached the ears of Soderling.


vared Says:

I just read a Times Online article that called Nadal an “ogre” – writing “the ogre has gone” – which is an offensive word

Jane, Timesonline is British and they are pro Murray. They even said Murray would be number one by the end of the year. Bias.


vared Says:

Edward I think Nadal stated that Soderling was not nice in making fun of his pants tugging in public on court.


vared Says:

Sean
If Fed beats Soderling Davydenko or Gonzo will you call him the garbageman?


bob Says:

I think the key to this match was the serve Soderling’s was fantastic and Nadal’s wasn’t Robin s serve kept Nadal from getting many breaks and Rafas serve allowed Soderling to be aggressive and take control of many points. Rafa will be back but now knows the pressure of being the hunted. It makes Roger’s 4 1/2 year run at the top that much more impressive.


mem Says:

Edward, could you direct me to the interview where nadal said publicly he didn’t like soderling. i would like to read his comments!


grendel Says:

Jane, I’ve just read the Times article you refer to. Nigel Harman is a respected journalist, and he is not the sort to go in for gratuitous insult. Clearly, he was using the word “ogre” in a dramatic sense: “Indeed, with Nadal out of the way, the 12 left standing are suddenly supercharged. The ogre has gone, The French open is truly open. Opportunity knocks”. There is no sense at all in which you are meant to take the ascription literally. Often, the word “monster” (which, being more commonplace, has less bite)is used in this sense, and we understand straight away that offence is not intended. Nadal is an “ogre” because he is untouchable, he is physically unassailable, he is mentally impervious to pressure, etc, etc. This is pure metaphor, Jane. And in fact, you could regard it as a compliment – you’ve got to be very, very good, to put it mildly, before you can earn such a devastating soubriquet as “ogre”.

b.t.w., in same paper, these quotes from Nadal:
“Yeah, when you lose, always everybody starts to analyse if I’m tired,” he said. “The truth is, I won four years in a row [in Paris] playing the same.

“This year I played the same and I lost. That’s it. That’s what happened. I lost another opportunity to win a big tournament here.”
On the other thread, I questioned this tendency to attribute Nadal’s defeats to “tiredness”. It is good to see that Nadal himself is not guilty of this.
“Defeats never make you grow, but you also realise how difficult what I achieved up until today was, and this is something you need sometimes. You need a defeat to give the value to your victories.” That’s a lovely quote, and a subtle piece of thinking. I don’t know much about Nadal, but he is evidently a thoughtful man.


celeste Says:

A month or so ago, I read about the Mafia talking Federer into losing to some Italian player in return for a French Open title, the only one missing in his resume. It’s all too real now. The Mafia got to Nadal and made him a proposition to lose OR?

I also read that Nadal had security detail at the French.

Apprecuate any feedbacks/inputs.


Kimmi Says:

jane, federer played last too on Chatrier with PHM. So the issue is playing on Lenglen ? Nadal said in his interview after playing on Lenglen that every year he has played there in the 2nd round. I can’t remember if in previous years fed has played there too but I think he might have. Can’t see the big deal, maybe there was more French players that needed to play on chatrier that day? We can only speculate but I don’t see what this has to do with reasons of not liking Nadal.


celeste Says:

I meant…appreciate


TejuZ Says:

Steve said: “It is incredibly difficult to achieve his level of consistency–19 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals, almost double the previous record, and 10 consecutive finals–and I hope that today’s events serve to demonstrate just how heroic a feat that is.”

Agree with Steve here. Today’s events only shows how extra-ordinary Rogers feats have been over the last few years(including last year).. 19 consecutive semi-final appearances and still going. 10 consecutive finals (14 of the last 15 finals) .. whereby he had to avoid 5-set defeat at the hands on Berdych, Tipsy and Andreev.

I guess FO is the place where calendar slam chances get squashed even for the clay-court king himself. This has happened thrice to Fed.. and now once to Nadal.


Colin Says:

Vared, many of Nadal’s biggest fans are pleased to call him The Clay Monster. I see nothing whatever offensive in calling him The Ogre in the context it was used in this instance..
And if you dredge up that nonsense once more, about Murray being No 1 this year, I swear I’ll climb down the computer cable and strangle you! How you of all people can use the word “bias” with a straight face amazes me.
Steve, you said “when he’s faced with an opponent who’s serving well, being aggressive, and denying him the opportunity to get into long rallies, he has nothing to fall back on. And that’s what we saw today.” You’re talking as though this is a common event, but it’s not – it’s something that hasn’t happened for a very long time.


grendel Says:

Kimmi, whilst my technical knowledge of tennis is zero, I have eyes, and what I see has always led me to believe that Nadal’s serve is much more effective on grass than on clay. I may be making a gross error, but that’s how it looks to me. Federer in particular seems to really struggle with Nadal’s serve at Wimbledon. Something about the way it slides off the grass, I guess. You remember when Federer had break point in the fifth set. If he had taken it, he’d have gone on to serve for the championship. Nadal put in a safe serve – he was damn well sure he was going to get his first serve in – but it still swerved and slid and was reasonably fast. Federer has been criticised for not doing more with it – if you recall his return, whilst not exactly pop up, was nevertheless short enough for Nadal to hit it back hard – and safe again, nowhere near the lines, but tantalisingly just out of Federer’s reach, inducing true pop up return to give Nadal easy put away. End of match, championship, the whole dream – effectively. And all because of this devilishly subtle serve, one which doesn’t kill instantly, but tortures. I look forward to Wimbledon, to see how it’s behaving itself this year.


jane Says:

grendel – often I agree with you, but in this case not so much. And that’s mainly because Nadal has been called an ogre by the French press in the past; he’s never been a popular champion there. I think Harman’s choice of that word was therefore knowingly loaded; he would’ve known its source, hence the choice.

Edward – I didn’t say Fed has it easier, but that it’s odd ONLY he’d get the boon of only playing center court, whereas Rafa, the champ and number 1 is scheduled to play elsewhere. What’s UP with that? That was my only point.


Kimmi Says:

Grendel,I guess its more effective on other surfaces than clay and i think it could trickier for a one handed backhand than a 2 hander. But today, soderling was all over it.


jane Says:

What if, after Fed lost at the AO in 08 in the semis, the journalists were writing “the ogre has gone”! I don’t know if it’d be so easy to spin “ogre” as complimentary metaphor then.


grendel Says:

but jane, I’ve seen Nigel Harman on telly, he’s a sober type, honest. There’s plenty of loudmouths in the english press who care nothing for what they say, how they say it and so on – money and publicity is the only criterion. Harman is an old fashioned English gent type. I think he’d be shocked at your interpretation.


grendel Says:

come off it, jane. “the ogre has gone” is bald statement. I quoted Harman’s passage, and the usage is plainly theatrical, not “informative”.


Edward Says:

mem, the youtube clip is called: Rafael Nadal – Funny Interview Paris 2007

I’m unable to copy and paste the url. Sorry for that.

he’s asked in what looks like an online questionnaire, who he would want as a doubles partner and who he would not want. He said he wanted Federer as a doubles partner and said he did not want Soderling.

One could ask: why not?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYjjnfbg-LM


jane Says:

Please don’t tell me to “come off it.” I am entitled to an opinion and I don’t think it’s as ridiculous as you make it out to be. The French press have been accused of being racist for using this very word to describe Nadal in the past.

Now, I’ll take you word for this much – perhaps this Harman fella didn’t mean it in the same way? But perhaps he had heard it and used it hastily.

I still think it’s an unkind metaphor; ogres are ugly, cruel and disgusting. Nadal just had a huge loss. Is that a way to refer to the world’s number 1?

It doesn’t hurt to think a little more deeply about metaphor usage in the popular press anyhow. They are easily misinterpreted. Perhaps by me included; perhaps not.


jane Says:

All metaphor usage is “theatrical” by the way: if I say “he’s a chicken” or “my feet are killing me”, of course I am not meaning to be merely “informative” but I am going for dramatic effect; however, that said, any metaphor implies association between the literal reference and its figurative usage and so is therefore also informative. So when I say he’s a chicken, well, he’s skittish, like the bird itself.


Edward Says:

jane, it ultimately comes down to how well the other guy/gal is playing, not what court you’re playing on, with the exception of court two at Wimbledon, which is haunted by the jealous old spectre of Renshaw. Rafa good enough to beat players all over the place, but this time he ran into someone who was supremely focused.


vared Says:

How you of all people can use the word “bias” with a straight face amazes me.”

So what if I am biased, I am a poster here not a British paper. The Timesonline and Daily Record ARE biased. Here are the screaming headlines Colin, in case you missed them.

So instead climbing down the computer to strangle me it would be simpler for you to write a letter to those erm..”newspapers” and complain to them.

March 25, 2009
Andy Murray’s master plan to be No 1
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article5970223.ece

Andy Murray vows to become world number 1 by end of the year
Daily Record
http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/tennis-news/2009/03/25/andy-murray-vows-to-become-world-number-1-by-end-of-the-year-86908-21226291/

And as for “ogre” not being offensive, what if a Spanish or American paper called the Murray loss at AO, a loss by the “snaggletooth?”

BTW Jane agrees the term “ogre” is not fair. So Colin,how’s that, snaggletooth lover?


jane Says:

I take your point Edward but it does seem odd nonetheless.


NachoF Says:

fed is afraid,
so I guess Federer has no option…. according to you he will either choke his chances away or,if he does manage to win, there will be “an asterisk behind his name”…. thats fair.


Edward Says:

nobody should call anybody anything, it’s petty. but fat chance of that happening. It happens to Federer, Roddick, and strangely to Nadal. That’s a first. Congats to Soderling on preserving his countryman Borg’s record. Borg must really be sitting pretty right now, he’s still part of the conversation, as far as records at slams.


Dan Martin Says:

I know ignoring Fed is afraid is probably the best course of action. Still, I’d like to point out Roger Federer set out to be a tennis player at some point in his life and now he stands with 13 slams, 15 masters series titles, 4 masters cups, the all time grass court and hard court streaks, the all time grand slam final, grand slam semifinal, and grand slam quarterfinal streaks, the all-time consecutive weeks at number one, he has millions of dollars, has a gold medal in doubles, has won the Swiss Open, won in his home town a few times, … one could go on.

Whether you think he is afraid or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is he set out to be a tennis player and even if he loses every match he ever plays again 6-0, 6-0 he fulfilled that goal beyond what most of us every do in terms of living up to a goal we set out in life. On top of that he is married and has a baby on the way. Those two things may very well be more important to Roger than any victory on a court.

So I guess my question is why act like this? Like Fed don’t like Fed that is one thing, but I am sure he does not care if you think he is afraid. So why do you care so much? Why not find a better way to be a tennis fan than this?

On a side note, Nadal was gracious. He has not played his A game on clay many times this year, but he is still El Rey de Clay has Bud once said. I think Sean hit the nail on the head. This strategy can work vs. Rafa, but it is not easy to execute.


Edward Says:

Despite loss this year, Rafa still king of clay.
Despite loss last year, Federer still king of grass.


Voicemale1 Says:

What no one has mentioned yet is where exactly Soderling will go from here? Nadal went through this before, at the Australian Open in 2008 when he lost to Tsonga in the Semi Finals. The brutal nature of that straight set lost led to a huge number of conclusions by experts and bloggers alike. Most prominent among these conclusions: Nadal would never win a hard court Major; Nadal would lose his #2 Ranking to Djokovic; and his chance at #1 was pretty much gone forever. Also – Tsonga’s star was on the rise, and the sky was the limit. Needles to say, none of these conclusions so adamantly pitched by “experts” panned out at all. In fact, they all went in reverse. None of these predictions took into consideration Nadal’s commitment to improve himself – it’s as though the prognosticators were almost offended that Nadal had the audacity to prove their predictions as worthless by wanting to be a better player. And Tsonga has yet to really fulfill the promise of the 2008 AO Semi Final smashing.

So is Soderling of 2009 the new Tsonga of 2008? It was clear his handlers studied every nuance of the Nadal game to exploit every hole they could. He made Nadal play pure defense, keeping him pinned far behind the base line, knowing Nadal’s extreme grip would limit his ability to take any ball from that far back early enough to do any damage. And it worked. But this same strategy will patently fail against Davydenko, who takes the ball on the rise from the base line no matter who hits it or hard it comes to him. Soderling is in the position now of having to prove this win over Nadal isn’t a one-off. He’s about to find out what the heat of the spotlight feels like every time he swings his racquet from now on. Like it or not, everyone will be waiting to see him continue with results of this kind if he wants to be taken seriously as a long term threat. Interesting to see how he copes with it, especially since he’s not the most even-tempered soul to play the game.


mem Says:

Amen, Voicemale1! You make some interesting points!


jane Says:

I’d admire the pragmatism, work ethic and also ambition of Nadal; after his loss today he said this:

“I need to learn, and you learn more when you lose than when you win. I need to work on those points on which I wasn’t good, and from there try and do better for my next tournament.”

He’s like the consummate student! Ever willing to learn and improve.


St4r5 Says:

Nadal is done, he wasn’t able to win because he no longer has the speed that he used to have in the past. As someone ages his body is going to lose strength, with the style of play of Nadal that is so physical, I really don’t think he will even win another major. Fed is an entirely different story, he is fluent, he can play until he is very old. Fed’s fluency and grace will enable him to maintain consistency. Even when Fed’s confidence is low he is still dangerous, it is even worse when his mojo is high, I think it’s about time for Fed’s haters to start throwing “weak era” topic again! As for me it is never about weak era, it’s about Fed, so talented so gracious so genius so beautiful that the rest of tennis players look so mediocre.


vared Says:

Martina said a strange thing about Soderling. She said “Soderling has no right to be where he is today.”

Another thing she said was that Rafa played Madrid and it was probably too much and Djokovic played too much.
I kind of agree with her. Nadal should have skipped Madrid. Novak and Rafa destroyed each other in that match and that might have had a little to do with their losses. The same thing happened to Djoko and Nadal at Olympics. They both went deep, won medals and were knocked out at US Open.


vared Says:

And Tsonga has yet to really fulfill the promise of the 2008 AO Semi Final smashing.”

Voicemail, Wilander said Tsonga was the best player in the world.


jane Says:

Wow – Wilander always makes outrageous proclamations like that and it’s kind of interesting to hear them as there may be a grain of truth in there somewhere. But Tsonga needs to realize that potential. Potential means nothing otherwise; it’s just potential. Like a tornado that could happen but doesn’t.


grendel Says:

ah, but jane, you’re missing something. Harman was not offering any kind of description, by association or otherwise. He was projecting a perceived notion of Nadal – perceived, that is, by Nadal’s fellow competitors. So it was metaphor at second remove, if you see what I mean.

I think all this is unecessarily heavy. And b.t.w., Federer would not have been called an “ogre” because it doesn’t carry any resonance, his personality, style etc being what it is. The usual epithets are “chicken”,”smug prat”, “smoothie”, “bighead” “jammy” – in the sense of being unreasonably lucky, with the covert implication that corruption of some sort is involved. These are all deliberate insults thrown all the time at Federer, along with all the plaudits. They, or some of them, may or may not be justified. But Harman was not trying to be insulting even indirectly.

I don’t agree with you about “ogre” being cruel, either. More knockabout, I’d say, at least in British culture. Cruelty comes in many guises, often “respectable” ones. And should #1s, whilst we’re on the subject, get special treatment? I disagree violently with this notion in politics. Should sport be any different?

That doesn’t mean we can’t feel sympathy for the fallen great. Personally, I find myself crowing one minute, sympathising the next. All very confusing….


tennis bum Says:

Jane, et al. I agree that there is a media bias against nadal although I wouldn’t characterize it as deliberate.in my opinion fed has a broader appeal based on his game, persona, ethos, etc..its shouldn’t go with out notice that the by line in the time mag article was provided by a williams sister and not a usa atp player like roddick or even a past great.like the williams sisters, nadal’s on court persona has a narrower appeal than a graf or fed. That’s just my opinion. As the father of a girl, I would be delighted to have fed or rafa as my son-in-laws. They were both raised within strong family environments, are thoughtful, polite, intelligent, and have the motivation and drive to become #1 in their profession.what more can you ask for??!! As tennis fans, we should relish these two great players. They’ve had a stranglehold on the tour for the last four years that won’t be matched anytime soon.can’t until wimbly. Fed needs to pick his play up but I still give him 60% chance to win fo final.


FoT Says:

I want to say hang in there to all the Nadal fans. This is one loss. He’s still young and will probably come right back next year to start another streak.

To my fellow Federer fans…let’s take it ONE match at a time. We see what happened with Djokovic and Nadal. Regardless of who you’re playing or what their rank – anyone can beat anyone else on any given match. SO let’s try to cheer Roger through against his match with Haas. That’s the one we need to concentrate on.


Voicemale1 Says:

vared Says:
And Tsonga has yet to really fulfill the promise of the 2008 AO Semi Final smashing.”

“Voicemail, Wilander said Tsonga was the best player in the world.”

Wonder what Nadal, Federer, Murray and Djokovvic would have to say about that, besides a few choice expletives for Wilander LOL.
I guess Mats is still trying to keep himself relevant.


skeezerweezer Says:

Did anyone see this match? I would like to here from the same people who watched Fed “spank” Nadal in Madrid, and the whole blog was dedicated to Nadal being “Fatigued”. No one on this discussion blamed Nadal’s loss because he was fatigued. Why? Because there was no excuse. He got beat fair and square, by an attacking game like Fed did in Madrid. So I do not want to hear any whiners about Nadal’s fitness in losing matches or unfair draws. How ridiculous this all sounds now that lowly Robin beat the pants off Nadal. I think players heard the call when Fed finally mentioned in an interview “He is only human”. So is Fed, so is everyone, like I have always said, let history decide who is the GOAT and can look back and say yeah, that player was one of the greatest. Rafa is young, his greatness is still in front of him. But we will see who is the GOAT, Rafa or Fed.


Ryan Says:

I do have to agree with Jane on this. Nadal is definitely not given the full credit that he is supposed to be given for his acheivements. There are not many articles related to nadal’s greatness whereas there are a whole lot more when it comes to federer’s acheivements. Whenever he wins against federer especially in the slams he is treated more like an anomaly…mainly coz the majority of tennis fans wants to see fed win which includes many reporters in the media as well.I guess the only place where Nadal and fed are treated equally is the USA.Everwhere else the majority of crowd support is always for federer.
Maybe its a racial thing or maybe its the style of play or watever…who cares.


skeezerweezer Says:

BTW, anyone notice Rafa’s coach yelling advice DURING the match to help him? Technically, this is illegal, but I know players coaches do it. To bad though, Fed doesn’t have a coach, so know one is giving him free advice how to win during a match. Apparently he doesn’t need one to win 13 Slams, but Rafa always needs Tony sneaking in words of advice to win


skeezerweezer Says:

Also, for you Rafa fans that don’t think he is being treated fairly, always remember, if you look up the history of teenis records his name will always be there. He is #1, he Won AO, FO how many times? AND Wimbledon, HE IS a great player that will go down in history, and has a lot more left in the tank. Quit your whinin. I ‘m out


john mac Says:

Wow – Wilander always makes outrageous proclamations like that and it’s kind of interesting to hear them as there may be a grain of truth in there somewhere. But Tsonga needs to realize that potential. Potential means nothing otherwise; it’s just potential. Like a tornado that could happen but doesn’t.


calvol Says:

I agree that Rafa should have skipped Madrid. His groundies were consistantly short today, giving Soderling mid-court putaways, and his first serve didn’t bother Soderling much either. Rafa just looked like he had a dead arm. Rafa will be back, even the great Borg didn’t win more than 3-in-a-row-titles at RG. A little surprising though that he lost to a non-clay-court-specialist, whereas Borg lost to a great clay-courter (Panata).


jane Says:

grendel I see what you mean about Harman’s second remove metaphor only I see it more so how the French see him and not so much his competitors, even though that’s the context in which the writer used it.

I’ve never read Fed called any of those things you mention in the press – blogs are different entirely. Most journalists call Fed a genius and maestro and master. Not an ogre. Not even when he was eating the competition. LOL

Oh anyhow. I’ll leave it be. Language is a thing I take issue with though – can’t help it.


skeezerweezer Says:

i wish you guys would quit coming up with excuses. Rafa was “fatigued” “Played to many tourneys” “dead arm”….c’mon. give RS some due credit. He flat out played a risky balls out agressive tennis and took it to Rafa and killed him. Yes, he hit the ball short, but was that cause of Rafa or RS play? Get over it. He got simply bashed by a better player today,


Dan Martin Says:

I said something to Jon Wertheim (electronically) regarding the Australian Open draw – I said Roger and Rafa would not have traded draws to reach the final because match-ups mean something. Down under Roger beat Safin, Berdych, Del Potro, and Roddick consecutively to make the finals. Each of those 4 guys are powerful servers with size enough to handle high bounding shots. Each of those 4 have 2 handed backhands. I would favor Nadal vs. any of the 4 listed on any surface at present, but would not take the bet he beats all four consecutively. Similarly, Nadal beat Simon in the quarters and was slated to play Murray in the semis down under. Would Roger like a draw that had him needing to beat Simon and Murray back to back just to get to the final? Guys with enough defense and patience seem to have a chance vs. Roger on hard and indoor courts these days. Big strong guys can on occasion get through the Nadal defense and push him way beyond the baseline. Djokovic did it at Indian Wells last year & Tsonga did it down under last year and in each case the result was a drubbing. We know Murray and Djokovic can trouble Nadal; they are elite players.

Tsonga, Del Potro, & Cilic will likely trouble Nadal in the future. Tall guys with two handed backhands provide a different sort of obstacle for Nadal than does beating Federer. Oddly, Federer’s one handed backhand that hurts him vs. Nadal allows him to slice the ball low, take pace off of the ball and make these tall guys bend and move on diagonals that prevent them from playing ball machine tennis (i.e. pick your spot and rip away). Soderling really lined up his shots (Rafa did seem too far behind the baseline and seemed to have less depth than usual on his shots today). Still, Soderling’s ability to hit through the court pushed Rafa backwards and played a role in Rafa’s less than ideal court positioning and depth.


TejuZ Says:

No excuses this time for Nadal.. he was totally outplayed and out-hit by Soderling. Rafa tried to attack in between, but just wasnt able to. He was wrong footed so many time.. its just one of those matches.. like the one against Tsonga, Ferrer, Youzhny, Blake, Berdych, Gonzo etc These guys can really take him apart when they are on song. Anyway.. they are not consistent enough to win GS.. but he is.. and am sure he will bounce back well.


TejuZ Says:

Agree with Dan.. Match-ups between players are so different. Roddick would be more than handful against Rafa, not so much against Fed. I guess Roddick did beat Rafa last year in Dubai. Tsonga is unpredictable like Safin.. he cud blow away an opponent.. he cud beat Fed on a good day. But i doubt if he is consistent enough. His style might not suit Nadal but might suit Fed.


skeezerweezer Says:

dan martin

Very good and intelligent sound observation. My opinion add on is that, once Nadal’s game is figured out either by height to return th backhand or strategy, Rafa only plays one way. That one way is awesome, and most times unbeatable. however, everyone knows he will never serve and volley, play soft and deep or short and lob, his game , although he has traits of doing some of these things, is all about his working his game around his forhand that is so dominate. So He has no “Plan b” or “plan C”. His game will never have it. Fed Murray DJOKE have more variety of strokes and the discipline of them to play them, eg: slice topsin lob. I fellit it the beginning of the end for Rafa as guys figure out how to beat him. He is going to have a real tough time on grass, mark my words


zola Says:

FoT,
thanks a lot. Yep, it is just a match and it was bound to happen one day, but it still hurts!

jane,
thanks for all your nice posts about Rafa. The French have not liked Rafa since 2005. I watched Rafa first in 2006 FO final and he was booed during his speech because his speech was mis-translated. The French media in 2007 accused Rafa of doping. In 2005 Forget said they did not need construction workers in RG ( referring to rafa’s sleeveless) and the French press calls Rafa “the Ogre”.

Rafa was booed during the Hewitt match when asked the referee to look at a mark. And today, the crowd was all behind Soderling. My friend watching the tennis channel quoted from Navratilova that Rafa rose his head and saw no one supporting him in the crowd.

btw, can you give a link to the timesonline article? I am surprised because Rafa always blogs on timesonline and Harman respects Rafa a lot. I was just reading timesonline a few minutes ago and did not see that headline. I am hoping it would be another site.


zola Says:

Jane,
That is a very accurate observation you had of the scheduling in FO this year.

Rafa is number one, yet he was placed to play last on Lenglen and was in danger of playing the next day. Djoko was schedueled last on Lenglen and DID play on his off day. Murray was scheduled last in lenglen too. But never for Federer. He always played all his matched on center court.

no judgement. just observation.


MMT Says:

I find it fascinating that there is still so much talk about matchups, draws and Federer (with an exception for the latter for our various virtual village idiots).

Not a single poster on this blog predicted Djokovic and Nadal losing before the quarterfinals, and yet they’re gone. Personally, I would be VERY surprised if Federer could handle the pressure to even get to the final, given that Nadal has been beaten, and there are some very good players left in the draw…namely the 11 other remaining players.

I just think it’s amazing that one of the following players WILL be in the French Open final: Soderling, Davydenko, Murray or Fernando Gonzalez. In fact, if we consider the other half of the draw as well aside from Federer and Roddick, nobody has won a slam – and one or both of them will be elliminated before the semi-final.

Personally, I have no clue who’s going to win this, and I think that’s fabulous.


zola Says:

MMT

It is going to be Federer. no other way!
All the scenarios I read before FO on how Fed can win at RG included : Rafa needs to have a bad day or be ousted by someone else before the final and fed have a good draw.

It all has happened this year. He has a favorable draw. Rafa is out and so is Djoko and fed has been to the final the past three years.

Who else but Federer should win this?


TejuZ Says:

BTW .. whatever Fed has been achieving is more or less directly comparable to what Sampras achieved 10 yrs before him. Like.. Fed wins his 1st wimby in 2003, likewise Sampras in 1993 and their success have repeated almost in similar pattern.

However exactly 10 yr ago, Agassi won his French Open to complete a career grand slam. Probably this is the right time for Roger to complete his.


Ryan Says:

“But never for Federer. He always played all his matched on center court.

no judgement. just observation.”

Thats coz fed is the senior man with a lot of accomplishments and greatness compared to nadal or other wannabe great players like djokovic or murray. You have to respect ur elders kid.


Ryan Says:

“Who else but Federer should win this?”

Maybe ur saying that with the hope that fed doesnt win. Its ok….haha


TejuZ Says:

Well… Fed was playing a French Man Mathieu in 3 round.. if not, he would have probably been scheduled at Susan Langlen in the 3rd round. So.. with only 3/4 rounds gone..no need to dwell on who was scheduled where. Fed has played in Susan Langlen twice last year.. and he did say during an interview that he liked to play there. Dunno why people are making a big deal about it. Djoker and Murray are still not yet in the same league as Fed… its not like they are being shunted away on court two or three. What abt Murray… i bet all his matches will be on centre court at wimbledon. Fed is the closest to French out of the top-4 and he has been No 1 for 4-5 years now.


margot Says:

skeezerweeezer: yes I did see Tony coaching from the sidelines and thought “Aye, Aye.” That’s the trouble when any one player gets so successful in a sport, they become untouchable as far as the rules go, and that’s just plain unfair. von has made this point many times, wonder where she is cos Andy M is travelling…
edward: hooray you mentioned the great Borg, ONE man a champ on grass and clay, enough said.
vared: Tsonga is magnificent but inconsistent and also injured, let’s see how he does. Also feel to succeed now you’ve got to be able to play aggressive as well as defensive and yes……
that’s Andy Murray!! Sorry folks could not resist flinging that in.


zola Says:

Ryan,

Yes, you can say it is because it is federer and all. At least you acknowlege the advantages he is given.

I have no preference on who should win FO. But on paper, it should be Federer. He is the closest person to this title after Rafa. and his draw is open. It is only logical.

All the conditons given before is now ready. It is his title to lose.


Ryan Says:

Nadal says “It was more my fault than him playing well. I didn’t play my best tennis and for that reason I lost. It wasn’t my day.”

Now how can people say Nadal is gracious in defeat wen he makes statements like this.This is more like a statement from the arrogant williams sisters. Robin mite be a bad sport but that doesnt mean nadal has to be the same way towards him. Nadal is just as much as a whiny loser.

http://www.espnstar.com/tennis/french-open/news/detail/item277168/Nadal:-shock-loss-was-my-fault/


margot Says:

grendel: just looked up ogre in Chambers and it’s ” a frightening, ugly, cruel giant.” Hmm, am sure journalist just meant Nadal is a scary opponent but still……


blah Says:

I am definitely not used to seeing such an unpredictable French Open… for the last three years nadal and federer had somewhat of a monopoly on clay and grass, especially fo and wimbledon. Perhaps this would be a tournament where we see someone outside of the elite top 4 steal a slam. When’s the last time someone caught us by surprise? When Pete won US in 02?

Maybe Nadal’s loss was because he changed his game a bit to become a more complete player on all surfaces and as a result lost some of the clay game? Federer would never live it down if he doesn’t match pete’s record now… Djokovic and Nadal are both out, perfect chance for him to seize.

Not only will a win here push him a bit ahead of pete in goat discussions, it will also give him a great boost to hold up the trophy that has been denied to him for so long. But if Fed doesn’t win it, I am convinced now that a rested, and hungry Nadal will win wimbledon after he regroups.

If Fed doesn’t win this and then goes on to lose in wimbledon, I feel that his window would then be more than half way shut… The next month will determine his legacy, whether he would be thought of as the GOAT or just one of the greatest that couldn’t beat his main foe.

I am sure my predictions will be wrong, this tournament has been filled with surprises and shocks so far, but I have a feeling that Murray might get his first slam here, after having his slam plans postponed from when he was a favorite in AO. He can sneak into the finals now that the spotlight is focused on Nadal’s loss, Federer’s opportunity, and the upsets this year. I also think that one of the frenchmen (Monfils, Tsonga) will take out Federer and make it to face Murray. Perhaps a fan favorite frenchman might even take the trophy.

Or Federer might just seize this opportunity and blow past everybody and retake his throne for a while. This tournament has been bizarre, can’t wait for next week.


jane Says:

zola, here’s the line to that article; after chatting with grendel it’s not that I think Harman is the guilty party, as this “tag” of ogre to refer to Rafa came from the French.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article6402445.ece


zola Says:

Ryan,
if you “select” sentences from Rafa’s presser, you can construct anything you want.

Rafa is analyzing his own game while acknowledging a million times that soderling is a very good player and played very well. Isn’t it a fact that when Rafa send the balls short, the opponent can attack it easily ? and wasn’t it the case today?

let’s look at some other quotes:( the interview is posted here)

RAFAEL NADAL: No. No, no. He didn’t surprise me,because I know how he play, how dangerous he can be. Yesterday I didn’t play my best tennis. No, I didn’t attack in no one moment. I play very short, and I make him very easyto play at this level.

So when one player bad,must lose. That’s what happenedtoday. I have to accept with the samecalm when I win than when I lose. Afterfour years I lose here, and the season continue.


Q. Were you surprised that he was able to sustain the level of play that he did throughout the match? Did you expecthim, at some stage, to perhaps have a little dip, which he never really did?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, you know, when, for ‑‑ I playedvery short, you know. I play veryshort. I didn’t play great. I didn’t play with calm at no one time duringall the match.

That makes him easy toplay at this level during all the match, no? So was my fault, and more than ‑‑ well, sure, he did well. He did very well, but I didn’t ‑‑ yeah,I think I didn’t play my best tennis. And I didn’t play not my best tennis, no? I didn’t play my tennis, and for that reasonI lose. That’s it.

I congratulate him and keep working hard forthe next tournament.

——
Q. AndyMurray said to us earlier that the wind was a lot trickier. The wind was a lot more difficult thanperhaps it seemed. Is that the reasonperhaps that you were playing a little too short today in the conditions?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, no, no. The wind is there for both players, so no,no? I not going to put any excuse rightnow. I think I played short because I played short. I didn’t have my day.
———-

Q. You looked tired. Do you feelexhausted? Do you feel tired physicallyand mentally?

RAFAEL NADAL: No.

Q. You look a bit tired.

RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, I feel okay.

Q. You’re handling this with humor, but how much really did this hurt, yourfirst loss at Roland Garros, honestly?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, is not my best day today, no? I am not very happy. That’s true, no? You know, is tough always losing in a GrandSlam, especially in one Grand Slam where you have the better chance to win thanthe rest than the others.

But I did. I did very well on Wimbledon and in Australia,and semifinals last year in US Open. Ihave to be confident on myself to keepgoing, keep working.

If I lost today, it ‑‑ well, the preparationmentally, I don’t know, it wasn’t perfect, no?

So I have to work harder to be readyfor the next big events.

————
Q. Youwere so enormously strong last year in Paris. If you compare yourself, your level today andthe last years, are you mentally not that strong as in the last years, orphysically? What’s the difference?

RAFAEL NADAL: You know, guys, I lost. That’s what I can say. I lost. I didn’t play my best tennis today. I have to analyze why I lost today, but I think that the things are moresimple than if I am less strong than before, if I am less prepared mentallythan before.

I think today I didn’tplay my tennis, and I wasn’t ready to come back over a good player likeSoderling. We have to analyze that andbe ready for the next confrontations in big, important tournaments, no?

No, I think I was ready for everything. If I wasn’t ready here, I don’t know when Igonna be ready after winning a lot of tournaments and being my best at start ofthe season, no?

———-
Q. Wasit the wonderful game level of Soderling on this surface, or because you wereon a bad day or any other phenomenon, like you played in Barcelonathen in Madrid? Maybe you played too many tournaments.

RAFAEL NADAL: Stop it. Stop it. Had I played my bestlevel against Soderling, maybe the results would have been different. But he played a very good level of tennis andI didn’t play well, so the results are what they are.
I didn’t play at mybest level. I have days like this, andthis was one of those days. I hadsomeone playing very well in front of me.

….

————

I know you don’t like Rafa. but don’t try to make something out of nothing. Neither Rafa is making excuses nor his fans. Soderling played a great match and won. Rafa played bad and lost. That’s it.


jane Says:

MMT I am inclined to agree with you here; “Personally, I have no clue who’s going to win this, and I think that’s fabulous.”

Obviously, as others have mentioned, Federer is the favorite in terms of rank and past history here; however it doesn’t seem to be a 100% foregone conclusion, even though it’s perhaps the most likely one.

And yes – how surprising if any of those players were to make it to the final; I guess Murray and Gonza have been in one each, but Davy has been a perennial semifinalist, and Soderling, well, he’s a shocker.

The other side could, potentially, hold some surprises too, depending on how hungry everyone feels now. Hopefully we see some good competition in the next week.


blah Says:

It’s not as if Federer can just walk to the finals as some of you make it seem. If he and Murray switched places in the draw, then I would agree, but he might have to go through Monfils, who made it to semis and got Fed to four sets last year (with the recent events, one might have forgotten that Fed’s game has taken a sharp decline from last year,) and I would think also Tsonga, who we all know has the game to win a slam and to make the top four a top five. The crowd will be behind them and the atmosphere will be intense, as it’s looking like one of them could do what Noah did with the way that the top seeds have fallen. Of course, Fed could also get Roddick and Del Potro and then play someone other than Murray in FO, which would be his dream scenario, but as it stands right now, the bottom half is much more dangerous compared to the top half.


blah Says:

Also- this might be a bizarre view, but how much did Djokovic’s exit help Federer? If Djokovic is still in, he and Tsonga/Del Potro would have probably tired each other out in the quarter finals, and with the fatigue factor, Federer might have had an easier time.


zola Says:

oops, sorry for the very long post , but apparently there is no there way around it.

btw, as much as I don’t like Soderling, I thought this was funny from his presser:

——
Q. Itlooked as if you were sent by a special mission from Sweden by Borg to protect hisrecord. You could clarify us on thatmaybe?

ROBIN SODERLING: I’m expecting at least an SMS from him.
——-

Good night everyone.


TejuZ Says:

well Rafa dint play his best tennis, because Soderling dint allow Nadal to play his game. Its juts like how Rafa’s game matches up with Roger.. Fed cannot play his best game against Nadal because Nadal’s game doesnt allow it. So.. i think he should have given more credit to Soderling than keep saying ‘I played bad, I played short’. Even the long and deep balls were punished by Soderling.. he was amazing the way he was hitting winners left, right and centre. Rafa was clearly shaken from the get Go.. This was Rafa being out-played by a Soderling. Thi was more Soderling’s win than Rafa’s loss. Its not the same as the way Fed hit those unforced errors in 5th of the AO final and gifted the match to Nadal.


blah Says:

Another funny bit- Notice how people don’t seem to talk about a player only having plan a or plan b until they lost a match? So now Nadal only has plan A and Federer and Djokovic has a plan A and plan B and plan C even. Surely they utilized this variety to play Nadal on clay… (No I am not defending anyone, I just think that it’s ridiculous how the same assessment is applied to so many different players as soon as and only when they lose a match.)

When most players get to the top and stay there, they are often reluctant to change they way they played based on one opponent, they make very few adjustments when they are down. They try to keep playing their game, hoping that they will catch fire and their opponent will cool down. Few really switches between plan A or plan B and whatnot. Before this it was “Federer didn’t have a plan B to handle Nadal.” Look at how many beatings it took to convince the stubborn champion that he needed to do something different.

Nadal is actually one of the players willing to make adjustments in his game, look at how he started hitting flat in order to win a hardcourt slam. If we are talking about going from plan A to plan B, abandoning previous, often used and often effective strategy during a match, there are very few players that are capable of doing that and even fewer that would consider doing that. I would say Andy Murray is one of them and even he looks lost and frustrated when he is being dominated.

Anyway, as I said previously, can’t wait for the next month.


Edward Says:

The final is still a week away and people are talking about Federer already having the title. He has to beat four more players to get the trophy. We’ve seen that there is no such thing as an easy draw. Many players out there have the ability to produce an upset. Federer’s game needs to be on track for him to get there. If he’s focused and maintains control, he can do it.


Edward Says:

Federer has Murray, another rival in the draw to potentially contend with as well, should they both make it to the final. Let’s not dismiss other players’ abilities either.


steve Says:

Just for some perspective on Nadal’s achievements, for those who are ready to pounce on him:

–4 consecutive French Open titles (tied with Borg);

–only man to win French Open, Wimbledon, and Olympic gold medal in singles in the same year, and the first since Borg to complete the French Open/Wimbledon double;

–first man since Agassi to win Grand Slam titles on all surfaces (hard, grass, clay);

–81-match win streak on clay (longest Open Era win streak on a single surface in men’s tennis, and among men and women, second only to Chris Evert’s 125-match win streak on clay).

These are great accomplishments that will stand in tennis history for a long time, and he will surely add much to them before he’s done.


NachoF Says:

“Q. Wasit the wonderful game level of Soderling on this surface, or because you wereon a bad day or any other phenomenon, like you played in Barcelonathen in Madrid? Maybe you played too many tournaments.

RAFAEL NADAL: Stop it. Stop it. Had I played my bestlevel against Soderling, maybe the results would have been different. But he played a very good level of tennis andI didn’t play well, so the results are what they are.
I didn’t play at mybest level. I have days like this, andthis was one of those days. I hadsomeone playing very well in front of me.”
Thats interesting… that question was in spanish and that is NOT what Rafa responded…. he said something like… “If I play at my best level and Soderling plays at his best level… well, they say Im the best player so….”…. I cant find the video but Im almost 100% he said something like that…. heres the quote in the spanish rolandgarros site
“P. ¿Qué influyó más: la buena actuación de Soderling, el hecho de que tú no tuvieras el mejor día o algún fenómeno de saturación porque jugaste en Barcelona, en Madrid…?
R. Si yo juego a mi mejor nivel y él juega a su mejor nivel, dicen que soy mejor que él”


NachoF Says:

I dont know who but someone decided to mess with that answer to not make it sound so snarky…. the answer was definitely not that….. I wish I could find the video…. Im gonna try latin american ESPN website.


Nada Says:

Soderling deserve to win yesterday. Nadal has no answers for his forehand. i’m a littie bit sad because i thought Nadal will lose to Federer in the final. As nadal had crashed out, federer its the clear favourite now. federer had try so many years to win this tournment.like nadal say yesterday ” if one man deserve to win the tournment, it is FEDERER”. but its all in federer hands now.


grendel Says:

Zola, when i read your posts w.r.t.federer, it’s like looking at myself in the mirror. No, don’t get me wrong, we’re nothing like – except in this one respect. You see federer as an obstacle to nadal’s ultimate reputation – I do the same the other way round. Takes one to know one, you know.

This business about Federer having an easy draw from now on in. Plenty of posters, including jane, have shown that is just not true. Monfils nearly beat Federer last year in Paris, he can beat anyone with style too if the gods happen to be smiling that day. Tsonga and del potro are growing all the time (still, with a degree of trepidation, I rule out del potro – but an inspired Tsonga can blow Fed away, unlikely but not particularly unlikely), Roddick is in the form of his life and could easily upset Federer. he’s so close at the moment. Then there’s the final, supposing Fed gets there. For Gonzales, same reasoning as for Tsonga. this could be davydenko’s time – he’s looking good. And then Murray .I’m not sure if Federer can beat Murray any more – and my guess is Murray’ll be the bookies’ favourite – ’nuff said.

This leaves out the tremendous pressure Federer will be under now that nadal is out. Tejuz and others have alluded to this. He’ll know very well the scorn which’ll be directed against him should he fail to capitalise on Nadal’s departure. Finally, Zola, there is, in your posts, a kind of insidious downplaying of Fed’s achievement should he win. A kind of implied ” in the circumstances, so what?”

Zola, Zola, we understand each other – on this topic, I mean. No?


NachoF Says:

Federer loses first set…


grendel Says:

oooh, and I never mentioned Haas. Silly me. He’s just won the first set against Fed.

Pressure? What pressure?

All the pressure in the world, folks. I think we’re seeing that now.


Marcus Says:

Federer is playing like crap. This kind of play will irk the tennis gods and prevent him from winning his first French Open. He ssems to be wasting his biggest opportunity for this major.


PietjeP Says:

Well…. that’s it

Fed is going down


Daniel Says:

OMG Fed loses the serve and set. Every since I am whatching this match Haas didn’t make a single unforced error and is serving like hell!


PietjeP Says:

I cannot believe how he is playing on the big points…


grendel Says:

fed two sets down. Given the way he is playing, it will take a miracle form him to come back. Haas playing very solid, and serving like a dream.

Pressure! never rule it out.


margot Says:

Grendel: yes, how very, very silly of you 2 forget about Tommy Haas!! Now two sets up and the mighty Fed’s forehand has gone again. Tommy who???
We are living in very xciting tennis times.


PietjeP Says:

Unbelievable that Fed is down 2-0. He plays a scrappy tiebreak with many errors; that’s 1. Then the second he gets a break lead…. and squanders it too…

Watching the beginning of the third says it all… Fed is mentally broken. No way he will pull out this one.

And Haas is playing consistent too.

My god; what a drama this FO


Colin Says:

It’s going with serve in the third set. If we have another tiebreaker, I’d back Haas to win, as Fed’s mind must be scrambled. Is Mirka watching? She ought not to be, in her condition!


TejuZ Says:

:-) wow.. seems like there will be a new Grand Slam champion after all… or probabaly Roddick winning the french open.. you never know.

fed playing poor tennis during crunch situation.


grendel Says:

Federer 30-love, has an easy pass and elects to go for a fancy lob. Fancy that! Could have lost serve, somehow sneaked through. He’s taking a huge amount off his serve. Considering doubles are not an issue, why?


grendel Says:

‘nother meaningless u.e to yield the game, and Fed troops off disconsolately. Head bowed, shoulders down, misery incarnate. All the plans come to nothing.

Soderling didn’t just beat Nadal yesterday.


Daniel Says:

OMG, Fed misses a silly ball at 30-30


NachoF Says:

This is it?


Daniel Says:

Well at least he is screaming and showing some fight. Let’s see if Haas crumbles.


NachoF Says:

wow, he escaped… If they go to another tiebreak it wont be easy.


grendel Says:

Federer break point down. Lose the point and Haas is serving for the match. He goes for the inside out forehand cross court, takes nothing off it. He’s gone for this shot many times today, failing again and again. this time it goes in. Courage? Despair? Instinct?

The reprieve, then. But for how long?


NachoF Says:

Point of the match!… Federer breaks


Daniel Says:

Haas didn’t serve with the same courage and made 2 errors, something he wasn’t doing the whole set.

FEd back in the match! Let’s see if he closes out this third.


grendel Says:

Federer breaks, and is to serve for the set. That is the significance of that wonderful crashing forehand in the previous game which came right out of the blue.

And yet. Haas slipped this time. Federer, who smashed so well earlier in tourney, did a defensive one, handing iniative back to haas. he volleys over the back line. this is a game Haas lost, not federer won.

Will it matter?


Daniel Says:

Set Federer! We have a match!!!
Interesting stat that showed, Fed won 4 out of 5 matches when he lost firts 2 sets, the exception, being the Wimbledon final 2009.


NachoF Says:

Wow, Fed takes the set… its really evident the audience wants him to win the tournament… even if he doesnt deserve it, judging by his level of play throughout this tournament.


PietjeP Says:

Pfff…. what an escape in that set.
Still let’s not forget… Haas up 2-1; Fed cannot afford any mistakes


Daniel Says:

Yes grendel, Haas lost it, but this is the point, he was paying on high level all the way, eventually mentally he will show up. Haas is known for not paying great at tense moments.
Fed need an early break.


St4r5 Says:

Sh***t! This is so scary and tensed!!!


grendel Says:

Haas handed the iniative back to Fed, who is NOT playing well. Is this significant. Haas must be livid. On the other hand, he has oodles of experience, and must surely see that if fed carries on like this, he is there for the taking. But will fed carry on like this? There is hope, in a backhanded sort of way. these days, he’ll play remarkably well for a while, and then lose focus.

Perhpas it might be the other way round today? Grab at every straw you can…..


Daniel Says:

Everything is going wrong for Haas now, he misses a voley with open court to give Fed break point and than Fed return an excelent serve to break.


Daniel Says:

How is tennis, Haas was up 4-3 break point and now he lost 5 straigh games?!


Daniel Says:

What was this last point. Haas go for a risk second serve and Fed return almost a drop in the line!


grendel Says:

So, was that return by federer out of this world – or an outrageous fluke? But then, what’s a fluke? Afterv all, you’ve got to be in position

Looks, then, like 4th set is dead.

No reason to get excited, none at all.

The fifth, that’s where we’re headed, and that’s where the real stuff starts.

haas will be back. Will Fed still be there?


Daniel Says:

Haas head must be a roller-coster now!


Sean Randall Says:

Stunned to wake up and see this scoreline. Haas now falling apart, almost on cue. Very surprised he won the first two sets. Fed must be feeling that heat now that Rafa’s out!

I expect a closer fifth set!


Daniel Says:

grendel, I don’t think so. Haas needed to make at least a game to start the fifth with any confidence. Now Fed is heading for a 6-0 set, he will entre the fifht having won the last 9 games. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t see Haas regrouping in time.


Colin Says:

Even if Fed pulls this match out of the fire, I think he’ll fail to win the title. He’s supposed to be the second best clay courter in the wrold, so he shouldn’t NEED five sets to beat Haas.


Shaky Says:

That third set should have been Haas’s. Federer played horribly, I think in the end the crowd supporting him made a difference though.

This 4th set is very one-sided though. I think now Haas may already have his bags packed, mentally. What a turnaround.


St4r5 Says:

Sh***t and sh**t! Let’s pray that Fed will not lose focus in the 5th set!


grendel Says:

So, the lull is over. A rather meaningless bagle. Haas serves first, could be important. He’s gone to change, to compose himself. If he can recapture the form of the first two sets – well, it’ll be eyes closed time.


PietjeP Says:

Fed needs to keep his concentration up. Expect some fireworks from Haas. That 4th set bagel was a gift. He will be coming out guns blazing….


grendel Says:

Daniel – I wonder. And what does one really want (if one if a fed fan)? For Haas to roll over? Or for a tension ridden set going either way? Tricky one, eh?

If Fed does win, I do not count it as significant that he’s played so bad. he has a record of coming back from these sort of displays. Still, he’s got to win first.


Daniel Says:

Yeah, Haas regroup, he is serving great again!


grendel Says:

Haas’s serve is back and good. fed, on other hand, struggled somewhat to hold his serve.
Looking a teeny weeny bit ominous…


margot Says:

Colin agree. Fed has feet of clay(!!) at mo. Game needs to be a lot more special to win RG. Can hear dogs of war yapping at his ankles.


Daniel Says:

I want a roll over for the sake of my heart! :)


PietjeP Says:

Haas really upped his level. Somehow my gut tells me he will win it….


grendel Says:

oh my god, Fed 40-love up, does a stupidly casual drop shot, and then an appaling drive volley – back to beginning of year drive volleys – and then sill old Haas lets Fed back in dumping an easy backhand into the net.

Fed back to depending on Haas errors?


Shaky Says:

I’m rooting for Federer this time around, but I’d want a close set. Neither one of them has played particularly well, so I’d like to at least see some good points and no early breaks. Kind of a let down of a match tbh.


Shaky Says:

Grendel, I agree. It’s like neither player actually wants to win the match, they’re both just waiting for an error — and it’s happening fast, since neither can keep the ball in.

This is watchable when it’s really good defense and only one side doing it (pretty much every Nadal match), but when both players are playing this way AND are doing it badly it’s not really very entertaining.


youyong Says:

tommy haas doesnt seem to have the belief that he can win it.


grendel Says:

Fed breaks – but assume nothing. Federer did not earn the break, Haas showed his benevolent side. Can we count on him keeping that up? definitel can’t count on federer doing the federer stuff.


Daniel Says:

Wow, 3 straight aces. Fed is hungry!


Daniel Says:

Well grendel, now you have to give some credit to Federer, he is playing great at this moment of the match!


Shaky Says:

Yeah Federer put together about 3 good games there. To be honest he did this last match too though, played like crap and then teased us with about 3/4ths of a really good set — then he came out here and laid a major egg those first two sets (though Tommy was hitting really really well, also).

This isn’t going to fly against a Tsonga-type though. A high energy guy with some mental strength is going to pounce on him and not let up, and the rounds only get harder from here.


grendel Says:

well, federer at last plays majestically to break again. This was indeed the Federer stuff. For those who think all this bodes badly for fed later, I’m not so sure.

he may have played himself into form. That’s what I’m hoping, anyway. he’s done it this way before, so it’s as unwise to write him off as it is to assume he will win.

It’s all to play for.


Daniel Says:

If we look at the pattern in Fed’s ast 3 matches (sorry to sound pretentious but this one is already Fed):

1 – Agaisnt Acasuso Fed survive a first set and lost a second.

2 – againts Mathieu he lost the first set and won a close second set.

3 – today he lost the first two sets and amost lost a third.

Well, next match he will lose if he keep playing like this. Or he really raises his level and win a statement match as he usually do by quarters and semis in Slams.


youyong Says:

fed wins it!


youyong Says:

i think so far the players did not have the belief they could beat federer. if he continues the way he plays he may not be able to make it to the finals


Daniel Says:

Great, great win!!!

It’s amazing how he even when not playing great find ways for this wins, or opponents knows who they are paying against and feels the pressure.
Remarkable champion!


Sean Randall Says:

Federer survives. Crazy!


ferix Says:

Great comeback from Federer. Classy forehand under pressure in the 3rd set changed the complexion of the match. That’s why he is so special …

PS. I hear Tsonga mentioned a lot by fans on this forum, but people shouldn’t discount the world no. 5 and last start winner over both Nadal (on hard) and Murray (on clay). I back JMDP to go through to the semis.


Daniel Says:

Ferix I had this feeling also. Tsonga sometimes has some lapses, DelPo seems more mature and focused.


Kimo Says:

Now do you guys see why 19 consecutive semifinals and 14 out of the last 15 finals is almost an impossible achievement?!!!

What a champion. He can’t win the tournament if he continues playing like this, but if he plays like he didn the last two sets, the trophy is his.

And I don’t wanna read about him being tired after this match, it lasted less that 3 hours and ten minutes. In contrast, Djoko vs. Nadal in Madrid laster more than four hours.


grendel Says:

It’s easy to forget Federer was down and just about out. Haas was on break point in the third, and Federer gambled it all on one shot – a shot he had been consistently missing, too. He just went for it – all or nothing, simple as that. And he reaped the reward. So he’s still alive. True, on this form, Tsonga would slaughter him. And perhaps Monfils and Roddick, too.

But why do people assume he will be in this form in a couple of days?

It’s as if life is deemed to be static and everything is eternally repeated. But that is obviously nonsense.

Truth is, none of us, and I would include Federer in that, none of us have the least idea how Federer will shape up for his next match.

One thing’s certain. Federer won’t win it easy. Those days are gone. He might lose it easy, though, just like he so nearly did today. Not easy on the nerves being a Fed fan these days. Join the club, I suppose, would be most peoples’ retort.


Dan Martin Says:

How about Robredo as a sentimental pick to somehow take the crown? Top 10-15 player for years, but never really a contender for the biggest prizes. He could be a better Albert Costa or Gaston Gaudio.


Gordo Says:

An interesting note – In the round of 16 here Haas won the first two sets and then lost the next 3, the last by 6-2.

Haas and Fed have played a 5-setter once before – at the 2006 Australian Open, also in the round of 16, where it was Federer who won the first two sets before Haas came back and won the third and fourth set before Fed won the fifth set, also by 6-2.

Federer went on to win the Australian Open that year. Will he do the same this week in Paris?

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and maybe Fed needed this – to look defeat in the face and crawl back.

If he comes out again flat he may not win again. But if he comes out as he did in the last 3 sets and if the wind stays light I don’t think anyone is going to stop him.

Tick, tick, tick.

My pulse is back to normal.


Gordo Says:

Kimo Says:

“And I don’t wanna read about him being tired after this match, it lasted less that 3 hours and ten minutes. In contrast, Djoko vs. Nadal in Madrid laster more than four hours.”

You see how much time ball bouncing, arranging bottles so the labels are just so, pulling shorts out of your bum and towelling off takes? :)


Kimo Says:

Gordo, lol :)


Kimo Says:

I gotta admit, after the first two sets I thought: “OMG, did someone cast a spell on all three contenders so that we lose them in three consecutive days?”


ferix Says:

Daniel – I see that Del Potro has already broken. Long way to go still in this match, but what an incredible talent he is for his age.

Also, the following is not a shot at Nadal. But having rested for a day and watched a bit more tennis, I must say it is aesthetically alot more pleasing now that the pink shirt is out of the open. Nike really stuffed that one up.


TejuZ Says:

Del Potro in gud form… Tsonga needs to attack more here i guess.


Daniel Says:

Yes, we have to remember DelPo was the quarters in US Open 2008 and AO 2009, losing to finalist in both occasions. He is very consistant since he “come out” last year, and I think wil only go further and further. He could very well be in the semis.


jane Says:

Well thanks for supplying play-by-play commentary peeps. I slept through the Fed match only to check the scores and be a little astonished. Looks like Fed’s really having to dig. Haas is a dangerous guy but he never, never comes through mentally. He can play beautiful tennis, but he fades often times. Soderling is the same and that’s why his win yesterday was such a shocker, as he’ll often play great for a set or two or even three, but usually when the going gets tough, he gets going. But not this time eh?

I see Del Po has begun strongly but it looks like Tsonga may (?) be coming around to make a match of it in this second set. Dear Tsonga … if only…

Dan Martin – Robredo is another one who often caves in the big moments; I’d be surprised to see him win, but not unhappy. If he did it’d surely make Rafa happy, being a compatriot and all…


Daniel Says:

One thing I realize: Federer and Sharapova can complete carrer Slams in RG, sort of a redemption Slam from both. Nobody expected Masha to win here nor Federer before Nadal was out, it would be great, for both of them.!


vared Says:

Tsonga the best in the world

Click here: Wilander: Tsonga vinner finalen – Australian Open – Grand Slam Tournamen – 2008 – Australian Open – Tennis – Euros
http://www.eurosport.se/tennis/australian-open/2008/story_sto1455935.shtml

Links are broken now.
found this at another site from Jan. 08. Must be at AO. Wilander saying Tsonga is the best player in the world.

It is so over the top I hardly can believe it is actually true. It is in swedish but I will translate it to english.

Here are some of the things he says:

“He is the greatest player in the world. I have never seen anyone play better than he did”

“He has only faced great opponents all the time and played incredibly good. I believed on him even against Nadal. He played flawless and destroyed the spaniard. Every shot he made in the match was perfect”

“Tsonga played incredible tennis and read NAdal completely. At the same time it is because it is so easy to read Nadal when the balls are heavy”

“It is his 5th grand slam. He hasnt sat in the locker room listening to stories about Federer and Nadal, he is completely unafraid. He doesnt care about who they are”

Answering if this could be a onetime wonder:

“No, he is this good. I was completely stunned after the match. I have been waiting for someone who plays like this”

“He is incredibly strong on his serve. He is also a tactical player with a steady and heavy baseline game”

“He is top 3 right now. If he stays healthy for the rest of the season he will be ranked top 5 at the end of this year”

Question about his chanses against Federer:

“Tsonga has better physics, tactics and technique than Federer. Federer has history and that counts. But without history Tsonga is better. I hope he can face Federer to meassure how good he is”


jane Says:

“Not easy on the nerves being a Fed fan these days. Join the club, I suppose, would be most peoples’ retort.”

Yep, you nailed it. But isn’t this the stuff? I mean, thinking your guy is down and out and seeing him fight back? Scrape through? Or sticking by him when he’s playing like crap. Or if he loses out, you suddenly find yourself switching allegiances to cheer on someone else – because, after all, you love tennis not just that one player. To me, this is better than watching a rout, even if it’s a master school in stroke production. (To be philosophical, it’s more like life this way – not always a simple happy ending, but good, bad, ugly, fugly and beautiful.)


vared Says:

Colin, have you written the Timesonline or Daily Record yet? What have they said?


vared Says:

“In this tournament, that means a lot for me, it’s a shame/pity that its crowd never has a nice gesture with me”
Rafa

http://www.menstennisforums.com/showthread.php?t=144907


andrea Says:

a five setter against haas? i guess he’s not going to make it easy on himself….


jane Says:

I knew Del Po had a winning H2H with Tsonga, but I thought, given the crowd, Tsonga would be better.


I like tennis bullies Says:

federer’s luck in slams is unreal. I dont think there’s a luckier player alive.


MMT Says:

I can’t understand why some continue to put Fed’s wins (over Acasuso and Haas) down to the “lack of belief” of his opponents. Why shouldn’t they believe they can beat him? He lost 15 times last year, as many as the last 3 years combined, and this year he has lost 6 times at least as many as in 2004, 2005 and 2006, years in which he seemed to be unbeatable. So why on earth shouldn’t anyone believe they can beat him?

There are 3 possibilities when a player who’s up 2 sets loses. First possibility, their level drops off significantly, which can be interpreted as a choke, but can also be interpreted as they were playing way above their natural level and they just came down to earth. Second possibility is that their opponent raises their game, which can be interpreted as a miracle if he hasn’t done it before or if he lacks the pedigree, or perfectly natural if they have done it before and/or have the pedigree to do it. Third, is a combination of the two, but it’s important to note that none of these are mutually exclusive. After all, according to Nadal vis a vis his loss to Soderling, he made it easier for Soderling to play a high level because he played poorly, so if that is possible, then the opposite is possible, the leader’s level may come down BECAUSE his opponent improves his level.

The point is that a 2 sets to love comeback is a 2 sets to love comeback. Given Fed’s pedigree and the fact that he’s done this 4 times already in his career (including once against Nadal in 2005 in Miami) I think it’s safe to say that his level improved such that Haas couldn’t maintain his – the same with Acasuso.

Did Nadal play his best level against Soderling – of course not – but when your opponent is belting flat shots to the corners off both wings, it’s pretty hard to hit your own shots hard and deep, so I find Nadal’s comments about Soderling to be nothing short of sour grapes. Soderling played his socks off, and if he maintains that level I don’t see anyone in the draw beating him. Maybe that’s a tall order given Soderling’s pedigree, but it doesn’t mean that for that one match he simply out-played his opponent who happens to be Nadal.

Furthermore, this nonsense about Nadal being treated badly at the tournament organizers is absurd for many reasons. Every one in the tournament gets moved around from court to court, what’s the big deal? And if you assume that he has been getting the shaft (for which there is no objective evidence, btw) it didn’t seem to bother him in the last 4 years?

The man lost today not because his feelings were hurt by the tournament organizers, not because he had to play in a 15K seat stadium instead of a 20K seat stadium, and not because the French love Federer.

He lost because his opponent played better than him, and he and his fans should admit it and move on. I’m sure he’ll move on just fine, but his comments in the press conference were unbecoming – but then again nobody’s perfect.

It wouldn’t suprise me in the least if he uses the disappointment of RG to prepare even more thoroughly for Wimbledon and wins that, because we all know the depth of his fighting spirit and determination.

Finally, even though it’s easy to say it now because delPo is playing well against Tsonga, I can’t understand why anyone would assume anyone will win any match this year. Fed was down 1-5 in the 3rd to Acasuso and 2 sets to Haas, Nadal has lost for the first time in 4 years here, and Djokovic laid an egg against Kohlshreiber. Is there anyone left with such a great pedigree (better than the aforementioned players) that it’s safe to assume they’ll win and meet whoever in the subsequent rounds?

I would encourage everyone to sit back and enjoy the ride and not to get ahead of ourselves with predictions of anything further ahead than the next match.


jane Says:

MMT, isn’t a fourth one – or maybe this could be included in the level dropping significantly – when a player loses focus mentally or gives up mentally? That doesn’t mean not believing he can win, but just not having the mental toughness of the top guys. Only being able to sustain it for a limited amount of time.

I sense this with Tsonga, for example, in combination with a level drop, whereas, his opponent today, Del Potro, is VERY mentally tough. He’ll win slams, I am sure. Tsonga *should* win slams, but I am not sure. I like Del Po but he’s not always the most exciting playing to watch – more like steady and determined. Mind you, his matches with Murray seem to have a spark, as did his win over Rafa in Miami.


Ryan Says:

To zola : You’re right zola…. I read the full interview later on an I have to agree that he is very cool in defeat.And he did give credit to Soderling who is pathetic by the way wen it comes to being a sport.


jane Says:

“10 Biggest Upsets in Tennis History” – debatable obviously (I think Ivanisevic was due myself) but interesting for a look. Here’s the link:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/SPORT/06/01/biggest.upsets/


Giner Says:

All I can say is congrats to Soderling for one of the biggest upsets in tennis history. He had nothing to lose, so if he hit winners all over the court like no one has been able to do against Nadal, and got away with it, good on him.

It’s hard to believe that Andy Roddick got further at the French Open than Rafa this year.

This year’s French Open is probably the most unpredictable we’ve seen at a Slam in a long while. So many upsets which returns to the way things were a few years ago before the rise of Federer. At the Australian Open, 7 out of 8 top seeds made it to the QFs, and there was a lot of stability in the draw with the top 4 or 5 almost guaranteed to meet one another because they were too strong for the rest of the field.

Could this be a new era in tennis?

Q. Do you think you maybe played too many tournaments lately? How are you going to prepare for Wimbledon?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, when you lose, always everybody starts to analyze if I play too much. If I’m tired. The true, I won four years in a row playing the same. That’s the true. This year I play the same and I lost. What happen? I lost. That’s it.

Q. You looked tired. Do you feel exhausted? Do you feel tired physically and mentally?

RAFAEL NADAL: No.

Q. You look a bit tired.

RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, I feel okay.


Sean Randall Says:

Roddick’s gone further than Rafa only by day, not by round.

If Andy wins today over my man Monfils then yes. That would be incredible that Roddick (or any American) goes further than King Rafa at the French Open.


jane Says:

Tsonga putters out – Del Po remains steady and focused.


Dan Martin Says:

Vlotchkov would be a good counter argument from the top 10 upset article to those saying Fed alone has had some good draws in slams. I guess no groundswell of support for Robredo exists. Also, JMDP is in his 3rd consecutive slam quarterfinal. The big guy has been solid since the hard courts last summer. JMDP is clearly a top 10 player and can make his case for top 5 if he does a little more here.


grendel Says:

funny how some matches which, on paper, look juicy, never quite get off the ground. “Tsonga putters out” – gets it in a nutshell. del Potro is looking quietly formidable.
Now this Roddick/Monfils is looking as if it should be a right old ding-dong. Here’s hoping.


margot Says:

Well that’s Tsonga for you, either sky rockets or damp squibs. what a miserable match, unless you’re a JDP fan of course….is there one…?


Dan Martin Says:

Margot, I like both JMDP and Tsonga about equally.


Ty Says:

Ok, why in the hell does American television decide to just “tell” us about the Federer-Haas match instead of, oh you know, SHOWING the damn match? What is the point of watching tennis on television if they are going to just tell you what happened as opposed to showing?
Then they just play highlights from the rest of the matches and continue to talk, talk, talk. We don’t want to hear you talk, if we did we would listen to the matches on the radio. We tune in to watch tennis, not see your face describing what happened.
Then they go on to only show 1 single point (match point) which really was only an unreturnable serve from the Del Potro-Tsonga match which I was really looking forward to seeing. These are both top ten players and they choose to show Jankovich-Cirstea choke fest instead.
Seriously I didn’t think that thing would ever end…no one wanted to win it. Women just don’t have it, when it comes to tennis. There are only like 4 out of 2000 players who have the killer instinct necessary. Most of the time it is just hit the ball, hit the ball, hit the ball, miss. No strategy, boring.

I just don’t get it, but at least they didn’t make us watch the Serena beatdown like they usually do.


jane Says:

I don’t mind JMDP margot – I wouldn’t call him a fave, and as mentioned, I don’t always find him super exciting to watch, though he can be. But his determination is admirable and there’s no doubt he’s got talent and can attack. He needs to be a little less predictable imo – a smart player (like Fed or Djoko, who’ve never lost a set to him) will often figure out, for example, that he pretty much always goes cross court in rallies. He also hits to the middle of the court a lot. But he may improve in this tactical regard; he’s young.


Ty Says:

Oh and I love majors when they invite the players up to the booth. There are matches with great players just litering the grounds and they instead decide to talk to someone for 15-20 minutes or play some segway into the next beatdown match. The early rounds are some of the best matches and we never get to see any of them.

Show tennis, stop talking.. it’s as easy as that. Have like an hour a night to just talk about it when the matches are over that should be all you need.


margot Says:

jane ‘n Dan: don’t like the way he insulted Judy Murray, don’t like the way he chucks his towels down so some insignificant, in his opinion, ball boy has to pick them up for him, don’t like his boring one dimensional play, don’t like……I’ll stop now, you get the picture!
Ty: Jankovic out now, on beeb they just showed last few games and they were exciting, but take your point about some women’s tennis. at least serena wants to win!


margot Says:

PS Ty: Tsonga v JMDP match was not in the least exciting. You missed nowt!


Ty Says:

Wow, looks like we’re going to get ROddick-MOnfils live. A little bit of redemption if they stay with it the entire time.


Ty Says:

margot: Yeah, that may be but I still would have liked to at least get a peak at a couple games just to see how the players are playing.


Sean Randall Says:

Monfils breaks early. But according to ESPN Roddick has the “intangibles” in this one.


Ty Says:

I’m not sure what did it, but I have somewhat of a re-newed rooting interest in Roddick. Something I really never had outside of his first few years on tour.


Ty Says:

yeah, how the hell does Andy have the intangibles on clay in France against a French player?


FoT Says:

Don’t you guys know… Roddick had the ‘intangibles’ because I’m sure it was an American person giving the marks? duh!

I’m waiting to see the trolls come on and say again how ‘lucky’ Roger is because it doesn’t look like the Roddick/Monfils match will be finished today and they would have to come back and play again tomorrow. I’m sure someone will bring that out if it happens.

Me? I could care less! I’m just happy Roger got through – by “any means necessary”!


Ty Says:

Survive and advance.


FoT Says:

Well Andy just dropped his first set of the tournament (of course, he’s playing his first real test of the tournament to me too)… But let’s see – he may come back. It’s now – what – 8:30 pm? How much longer do they have? ’bout an hour’s worth of light left?


Ty Says:

Bamboozled.. lol. That was pretty good.


margot Says:

Ty: beeb NOT showing this one and it’s the one I really wanted!


MMT Says:

“MMT, isn’t a fourth one – or maybe this could be included in the level dropping significantly – when a player loses focus mentally or gives up mentally?”

To me, that’s a guy coming back down to earth, or option 1. I only make the distinction to argue that just because a player’s level come down, one shouldn’t infer that it was entirely down to him, with no impact from his opponent.


jane Says:

Roddick began more solidly than Monfils imo, but then it clicked in for Gael and he began to hit a barrage of winners to get the two breaks, one to win the first set and another to begin the second. 29 winners. Monfils is also out-acing Andy 7-3. Roddick meanwhile has reverted to playing more safely, which he shouldn’t. He needs to keep coming to net and whacking in aces. Anyhow, we’ll see if this pattern continues. Andy is very solid, whereas Monfils can go off. So it remains to be seen…


jane Says:

MMT – I agree with you. Matches, wins, losses are not mutually exclusive; it takes two to tango, as the saying goes.


Mina Says:

Thank God for live tennis in Canada – I got to watch this match live and in full. TSN has been doing an awesome job when it comes to tennis coverage. You can watch games live on TSN or flip over to TSN2 which shows the FO on a 2 hour tape delay (comes in handy if you don’t want to wake up quite so early or have errands to run).

Watching the Monfils-Roddick match live right now. Scheduled tennis coverage was supposed to end almost 1 hour ago, but they actually pre-empted their regularly schedule programming to continue showing the FO. Would NBC or ESPN ever do that? Unlikely.

Federer better take advantage of Nadal’s loss. It’s not a cakewalk by any means and he’s definitely not playing all that well so far (witness his 5-setter earlier today)…but he’s got time to up his game and generally saves his best tennis for the second week. Federer was denied a record-setting win at Wimbledon last year and Nadal was denied his this year at the FO.


Ty Says:

Clay court beatdown so far. Monfils is dicing him up.


Ty Says:

Mina: I can remember the death of tennis in America to a specific match and time. It was Federer – Roddick in Miami (coulda been IW)Roddick at this point had lost I think 12 matches in a row to Fed and was playing absolutely great in this match.

He won the first set, dropped the second and they were on serve in the third at 4-4. It was at this point that ESPN dropped coverage to go to..(wait for it) freaking bass fishing.

Roddick ended up winning and breaking his slump against Fed. The point is, ESPN hates tennis.


Mina Says:

Ty – goodness, I would have chucked something at my TV if something like that happened during that nail-biter of a match! That makes me both angry and sad.

Solid tennis coverage = the continued growth of the game in the US. Hardcore fans will always still follow tennis, but it’s the newer fans that are harder to lure to the game and then the networks keep pulling crap like this and complain that tennis ratings are down so people must not be interested in tennis anymore and they cut back on televised coverage even more. Geez!

One other thing I’m not a particular fan of with NBC/ESPN coverage – their general refusal to show any match not involving an American player or Maria Sharapova. I understand that they are catering to an American market, but I’m sure even American tennis fans would be happy seeing great matches regardless of the players’ nationalities.


MMT Says:

margot: In del Potro’s defense, he did not insult Judy Murray. He was complaining about how she and Andy were cheering his errors (which he could clearly hear in that empty stadium in Rome last year).

In fact, that entire little comedy started when MURRAY expected an apology for NOT being hit by a passing shot (which he actually nicked slightly with his RACQUET while it was EXTENDED to his right), and then proceeded to intentionally agitated del Potro by cheering his errors until the next changeover.

Then he had the nerve to continue to insist on an apology at the changeover, when del Potro sat silently focused on his game. I mean this guy is minding his own business, playing his game, and Murray (and his Mom) are intentionally (and not very sportingly) agitating him with really bad behavior.

And even then, he didn’t INSULT her, but did point out that they’re always at that game of sticking it to his opponents when his opponents are making errors.

Personally, I like del Potro (his disgraceful display at the Davis Cup last year not withstanding), so I wouldn’t want someone new to his game to get the wrong impression of him.


Colin Says:

This ogre business is plain silly. I don’t claim to know a vast amount about tennis, but I do know about the English language. Vared compares it to calling Murray a snaggletooth (thereby allowing himself another dig at Murray), but there is no comparison. “Snaggletooth” would be a personal comment about someone’s appearance, and hence unacceptable. Just in case some of you guys aren’t aware of it, let me tell you a secret – ogres aren’t real!
I bet you have no problems with the Rafanatics who refer to their man as a warrior, but warriors are real, and they kill people.
As for the Murray-Del Potro thing, the guys themselves have evidently agreed to forget it, so it’s a pity it gets dragged up every time the two play each other.


Mina Says:

Congrats to Mofils – he played very well. Proud of Roddick, too, for having made it this far at the FO, but he was in over his head.


jane Says:

Ah well, a very good run for Roddick and quite a beauty of a match from Monfils – he finishes with 62 winners including 17 aces. The net wasn’t Andy’s friend today but it was the right strategy I think.

The crowd, of course, were boisterous, and you can’t blame them since they’d love one of their own to win this tournament. That said, I don’t like when they cheer the opponent’s misses/errors. It’s fine to cheer their fave’s winners of course, but the other seems unkind if even not intentionally so.


Sean Randall Says:

Monfils too strong. He’s matches up very well against Roddick on clay. Will be interesting vs. Federer on Wednesday. I bet that match won’t be on Lenglen!


FoT Says:

Sean, the Monfils/Roddick match was not originally scheduled on Lenglen, but due to the length of the previous matches on Center court, they moved it over to Lenglen with the hopes of getting it in.

But yes…you know Roger/Monfils match will be on the main stage. I just hope Roger comes through. He’s 4-0 against Monfils so I hope he remembers that deep down inside!


Ty Says:

Hey, they’re showing Fed-Haas.. now if only they wouldn’t have analyzed it pre-match as to what Haas did wrong to lose and Fed did right to win.

I just don’t get it I guess.


jane Says:

Ty, I was just reading up on that as I missed the Fed match; here’s an interesting take from the Telegraph UK on Fed’s escape vs. Nadal’s loss:

“A couple of things were noticeably different from Nadal’s match. Nadal’s opponent never faltered, but Federer’s did. While Federer did well to raise his level, there is little doubt that he was fortunate his opponent has a history of ‘choking’ matches away, as this was the sixth time in Haas’s career that he had lost from two sets up. Also, Federer had the support of most of the 15,000 spectators in the stadium, which Nadal patently had not had against Soderling.”

The link to the article in case anyone wants to read it all:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/frenchopen/5424526/Roger-Federer-fights-back-from-the-brink.html


Ty Says:

FoT: I don’t know about you but I’m terrified as a Federer fan of his upcoming battle with Monfils. He is playing shit right now and Monfils looked like super man out there today.


FoT Says:

Ty..have faith. It’s about the match-ups. I have faith that Roger will put this one out. (at least I hope so) lol!


Ty Says:

Still can’t believe Haas won the opening set after not winning a single point on Fed’s serve. It really doesn’t seem like Fed is playing that poorly really, Haas is just playing better.


FoT Says:

Haas was playing really well but it’s how you finish the match, right!

It won’t be easy with Roger and Monfils but I just hope Roger’s experience in this and his ‘game’ will carry him through. I remember after that 5 setter at the US Open, Roger came back and played the best 2 matches of the tournament after that. I hope the same thing happens on – what Wednesday?

(I just hope I won’t have to wait all day for that match. I know it’ll be schedule last but I don’t want them playing until 9:00 pm to finish it either)


I like tennis bullies Says:

was monfils always such a douche?


vared Says:

Vared compares it to calling Murray a snaggletooth but there is no comparison. “Snaggletooth” would be a personal comment about someone’s appearance, and hence unacceptable. Just in case some of you guys aren’t aware of it, let me tell you a secret – ogres aren’t real!”

Neither are vampires, shall we call Murray Bela Lugosi? BTW Colin, did you complain to the papers about the screaming headlines yet? Or do you just threaten anonymous people on tennis boards who don’t happen to agree with you?


vared Says:

I heard there was a complaint by Roddick when Monfils was serving for the 2nd set. He said something to Monfils, anyone know?


jane Says:

All I know was that Roddick thought it was getting close to being too dark to play and so he was discussing it with the umpire at the change-over. I didn’t see an altercation between Roddick and Monfils though.


NachoF Says:

jane,
all of that is true… Soderling played better than Haas, and didnt choke…. and the french seemed like they didnt want Nadal to win the tournament again whereas pretty much the whole world seems to want Federer to win…. and yes, Fed was lucky…. but so what?? what matters is that he is through, he still has a chance….. Fed could come out and destroy the rest of his opponents…. he still has that option, Nadal doesnt…. comparing those specific two matches seems pointless now… no one will remember Federer’s match against Haas but EVERYONE will remember that Nadal got dethroned by Soderling.


vared Says:

Gonzo is sick with a virus and withdrew from doubles….looks like the ghost might have a walkover or retirement.


Sean Randall Says:

FoT, the match was always scheduled on Lenglen, check the French Open website. Why they had it there when a crap match like Stosur-Razzano was going on is baffling.

NachoF, I gather the French fans are rooting for Federer. That said, will they root for him over Monfils? Maybe.

And you are right, in 10 years should Fed go on and win the French people will remember it as the year Rafa got upset.


Dan Martin Says:

They have been playing too many matches too late at night. Courier in 1992 was able to get the umpire to call that match after he lost the 3rd set to Goran back in 1992. Too bad Roddick could not get the same treatment.


Sean Randall Says:

Gonzalez sick? Got a source?


vared Says:

Read it here:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=264792

There must be a way to check dubs schedule.


vared Says:

Fed picks Davydenko for final

Q. Onthe other side of the draw now, Andy Murray is now seeded to get through to thefinal. Do you see him getting there, anddo you see him as your biggest individual threat now?

ROGER FEDERER: Not really. I mean, sure, he has a good chance to make the finals, you know. But then at the same time, I think Davydenko hasit, you know. I mean, he’s been writtenoff a little bit. I’ve been disappointedthat I haven’t heard much about him, you know, because he’s a great player.

He was in the top 4 fora long time. He was unfortunate withsome injuries. So he couldn’t keep hisranking because of that, not because he was losing first rounds all the time. Ithink that’s why he’s actually got a great chance of going forward.

Then we have other players, too. But I think the draws are wide open on theother side right now.


Sean Randall Says:

Possible. But pulling out of doubles – which he did – doesn’t mean he’s sick or injured. Until I read an actual wire story indicating a Gonzo is sick I’ll lean toward him being okay.

And I say that because I think he beats Murray.


vared Says:

I want LaMonf and Kolya for final.


vared Says:

The rumour is virus so it’s too bad if true.


jane Says:

NachoF,

Yeah, I didn’t write the comparison just thought the article as a whole was interesting though. And it’s true: history remembers the victors. But in big upsets, those are remembered as well.

I don’t think the crowd will cheer for Fed and against Monfils however; they will want another Yannick Noah.

Dan – I agree that the scheduling has been poor at the French this year.

Shame about Gonza. I wonder if he’ll still play singles?


jane Says:

JMDP told Bud Collins once again that the clay at Roland Garros is playing fast, that players can play a similar game to on hard courts.

Also, did people know JMDP won this event as a junior?


NachoF Says:

Of course they are not gonna boo Monfils but Im sure the crowd will be very divided and still be very supportive of Fed…. but if it was Monfils against Nadal it would probably be a boo fest towards Nadal.


grendel Says:

Haas choked when he was broken in the third, overhitting a relatively straightforward volley. But the key moment was before that. At break point on Fed’s serve, Fed hit a terrific inside out forehand to save it. The significant thing here is that he had had several attempts at the same shot already, all failing, some woefully so. But when it mattered, absolutely when it mattered, he nailed it. There was nothing Haas could have done about that. As Haas said, that’s Federer for you. It does interest me, because Federer had been looking a picture of gloom. But apparently some instinct, operating at a pre-conscious level, kicks into play when the danger is mortal. How does that work – particularly since, obviously, it doesn’t always work? I suppose it’s a sort of ultimate opportunism. Very curious.


Sean Randall Says:

NachoF, yup, Monfils would have the crowd v. Nadal. My guess is the French are just sick of seeing Nadal dominate.

Grendal, I’ve seen better volleys hit by park players than some of those Haas hit today.


Von Says:

FoT: “I’m waiting to see the trolls come on and say again how ‘lucky’ Roger is because it doesn’t’t look like the Roddick/Monfils match will be finished today and they would have to come back and play again tomorrow. I’m sure someone will bring that out if it happens.”

And, what are you going to do if anyone says what you don’t want to hear? Shoot them? With what? Blanks or hot air? Who do you think have been posting ever since Federer won at Madrid? Federer’s many, many, Federer trolls, by the handful, ad nauseam! They’ve been coming out of the woodwork non-stop. You don’t have to worry, your precious Federer will be protected, by cotton balls and bubble wrapping, from all of the elements forces of nature and mankind also, so that he’ll not have to play with fading light at RG, and be able to bag what’s left of his very “tough” draw.


Von Says:

bullies: “was monfils always such a douche?”

I don’t know if he was always one, but he certainly was one today in his match v. Roddick. The FO stinks with respect to their partisan/racist deeds!


margot Says:

MMT: sorry you won’t convince me about JMDP. You can’t expect a Brit to 4get Davis Cup. Also arrogance with towels plain 2 c. Also he looks like Sylar from Heroes…….
Mina: lucky u, Beeb stopped broadcasting. Bah!!
jane: yes, above is junior champ, putting out my Andy in process, another reason 2 dislike him…yes, u can call me petty..
von: hi, lovely quote I sent about Andy R from Sam Smith, did u catch it?
Rumours about Gonzo being ill?? Don’t hope 4 that, want Andy 2 beat him fair and square, besides he needs the practise!


Von Says:

margot: Sorry, I didn’t see the quote from Sam Smith re Andy R., as I’ve only been reading the posts on a very limited basis, but thanks for thinking of Andy R. I’d like to see Davydenko, Gonzo, or Murray get to the FO finals and win. I think Davy and Gonzo are getting up there in years and should win something for all of their many years of toiling in the trenches, so to speak.

I saw your post on ‘collective nouns’, and as someone who’s been British schooled through A levels, and then American college and further, I’d say it depends on the country’s preferred usage, i.e., to use the noun as plural or singular, which means the collective noun could be used with either a singular or plural verb. In American English, a collective noun, e.g., a company, corporation, ‘media’, is usually used as singular, and referred to as: ‘is’ and ‘its’, e.g., the media ‘is’. On the other hand, for British English, collective nouns are used as plural with the verb ‘are’, e.g., the ‘media are’ and ‘their’. However, in formal writing, which can be confusing, the singular and plural forms should not be used in the same sentence. I suppose then we get into parallel construction, etc.

Hopefully, I’ve not been too confusing, but then again, the English language IS very confusing, isn’t it?.


zola Says:

grendel,

***Zola, when i read your posts w.r.t.federer, it’s like looking at myself in the mirror. No, don’t get me wrong, we’re nothing like – except in this one respect. You see federer as an obstacle to nadal’s ultimate reputation – I do the same the other way round. Takes one to know one, you know.****

You haven’t seen me, so you wouldn’t know whether we look alike or not! lol!

You may not believe me, but in no way I see Federer as an obstacle to Rafa’s achievements. It is the other way round. Federer is not my favorite player, but it is impossible not to acknowledege his status in tennis history. And Rafa, as a 17-year old came through and challeneged the mighty Federer for three years until he could take over the number one. I think that Wimbledon final would not have been called the best match ever if Federer was not on the other side. Federer is self appreciative and arrogant at times and I don’t like it. But as a tennis player he is brilliant. I think he just highlights Rafa’s achievements.

Similarly, Fed’s achievements are highlighted by his rivalry with Rafa. If he manages to win this FO, won’t it go down as a historical event , not only because of the Grand Slam, but because of the fight that Fed had to give to get it?

So, no , I want Rafa to win, but doesn’t mean I see Fed as an obstacle. I see him as the biggest challenge.

And I don’t know where you got it, but perhaps you will see in a week. If Fed wins this, its a win and I will not downplay it because he has not beaten Rafa in the final. Rafa should have won his side of the draw and should have been present in the final. Fed will play whoever is on the other side of the net.

******Zola, Zola, we understand each other – on this topic, I mean. No?*******

I sure hope so!


zola Says:

well, I meant Rafa started challenging Fed at 17, but obviously took him 5 years to get to number 1, three years as number two to possibly the greatest ever in tennis.

not too bad!


zola Says:

Ryan,
***To zola : You’re right zola…. I read the full interview later on an I have to agree that he is very cool in defeat.And he did give credit to Soderling who is pathetic by the way wen it comes to being a sport.
***

Thanks Ryan. sometimes the articles quote only parts of the interview and it can give the wrong impression.

Well, I don’t like Soderling and I didn’t want Rafa lose to him of all people! But Soderling played one hell of a match. Later I saw a clip of him crying on the French TV and I realized how big of a moment it is for him too. He has beaten the world number one and the defending champion of four years on his favorite surface. He is now in tennis history.I guess I will give him a break for now!


Katharine Says:

Win or Lose, Soderling STINKS as a person!
Let’s just hope WHOVEVER wins this title is a upstanding player AND person Let’s Go Roger…believe and you will prevail!!


The Curious Case of Nadal’s Ailing Knees Says:

[...] of trust are running some sort of interference or smokescreen. When Nadal was stunned by Soderling, I said that day that it was the first time in his career that Rafa had been punched in the mouth – and he was. [...]

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