Nadal Says No Mas, Withdraws From Wimbledon
by Sean Randall | June 19th, 2009
  • 299 Comments

Well, that changes things now doesn’t it? In case you haven’t heard the news, Rafael Nadal has officially withdrawn from Wimbledon. The World No. 1 just pulled out from the event again citing the poor health of his ailing knees.

“I’m here and I’m just not 100%. I’m better than what I was a couple of weeks ago but I don’t feel right,” Nadal said earlier today during a special press conference at Wimbledon. “To not play Wimbledon is one of the toughest decisions of my career.”

Of course a week or so ago I speculated that his knees were in fact not as bad as we were told, but I’ll again eat egg for this one, they obviously are in such bad shape that Rafa is unable to defend his title.

I have to say, I’m really, really surprised he’s not playing.

Bigger picture though, that at 23 Nadal’s knee tendinitis is already this bad is cause for alarm, even panic. If clay and grass are the most forgiving of tennis surfaces, how is the kid going to hold up on hardcourts, not just this year but for years to come?

First and foremost, you have to feel bad for Nadal who will not defend his title, will probably not finish the year No. 1, assuming Roger Federer does go on to win the title, and will likely have more knee issues ahead forcing him to miss major events like Wimbledon.

Again, one has to question the people in charge of his scheduling. If this was an ongoing issue for “some months” as Nadal said, why such a rigorous clay schedule this spring?

With Nadal out of Wimbledon and a light post-grass schedule in mid July, hopefully Rafa will find enough rest to get back near 100% health. Like him or not – and I do like him – the game and tennis is much better with him around.

As for what’s left of Wimbledon, Nadal’s departure absolutely takes some of the zest, the pop out of the event. Juan Martin Del Potro will apparently assume Nadal’s place at the top of the draw greatly lifting the spirits of one American, Andy Roddick. The other Andy, Andy Murray, must be smiling as well along with Federer who is back in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 ranking. But really Nadal’s absence and the news of his condition is disappointing on many fronts.

I’ll have a full draw breakdown this week, but it’s truly amazing how quickly the landscape of tennis changes in just a few weeks!


Also Check Out:
Rafael Nadal Withdraws from Paris Masters
Un-Fit Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Toronto
Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Paris, London ATP Finals
Del Potro Withdraws From Estoril
Nadal Withdraws from Davis Cup Final

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299 Comments for Nadal Says No Mas, Withdraws From Wimbledon

Stu Says:

Even if Nadal played he probably wouldn’t have gone very far with his current form.


sonic Says:

Me thinks a lot of people owe an apology to Nadala.

“He’ll definately play WImbledon, it’s all a rouse” was a fairly common comment recently.


jane Says:

You should “Eat Egg” Sean – chew hard on it please? Your piece last week incited all sorts of conspiracy theory. Not only is Nadal not defending his Wimbledon title, he’s almost assuredly relinquishing his number 1 ranking.

His knees have been a well-publicized problem for years, which is why I could never understand why anyone would think this was all a well-timed PR stunt.

Hope he gets better real quick.

In the meantime, I hope we see a new Wimbledon winner this year! Murray has a really good shot, I think, or maybe Roddick?


dc Says:

well. Federer lost the Wimbledon and AO to Nadal due to Mono and Back injury. Now that he is fit and fine and recently beat Nadal, i would have liked to see Federer get his crown back from Nadal. Nevertheless, Nadal’s injury is a great loss to tennis and i hope he is back in full form soon and we can see some more great Fed – Rafa matches before age catches up with Fed..


Dan Martin Says:

I think the knees had to be awful because nadal could have always told his team “I am playing and will play until someone beats me and then I won’t play again until New York.” With days off between matches and world class care, he could have done this so the knees had to be in a condition that without uninterrupted rest and therapy that surgery or permanent damage was a factor.


Voicemale1 Says:

The one who really needs to eat crow is that moron Patrick McEnroe, who bascially all but accused Nadal of exacerbating his knee condition during a teleconference with Carillo for ESPN. “Dumbfounded”, he said he was upon hearing about knee trouble. Going so far as to say he didn’t see any such knee trouble after last years US Open at the Spain-US Davis Cup tie.

It’s a tossup as to which of these idiotic brothers I despise more: Jmac or his equally idiotic pintsize version Pmac.


T-Rex Says:

I will throw one more theory into the fire…absolutely far-fetched and totally insane, but an idea none-the-less.

Nadal wants to focus on winning the US Open and completing the career Grand Slam himself…and take away the sheen from Federer’s year of winning the French.

Now, seemingly, Nadal is one of the classiest players out there and he would not deliberately do such a thing, but sports in recent years have made cynics out of us all, I cannot help but think that earlier mentioned thought at-least in one corner of my mind.

And I am prepared to eat crow if in August/September, any player not named Nadal gets crowned as US Open Champion.


jane Says:

Wow PMac said that? Why on earth would he doubt Rafa? I don’t get it, especially given that it’s been more-or-less a constant condition for Nadal since 06? It goes away, it comes back. That’s the way with most inflammatory conditions; they flare up under certain circumstances.


Dan Martin Says:

Federer will likely have some weeks at #1 between now and the U.S. Open as his Canada and Cincy results were not strong. He had a total of 237 weeks at #1 4th on the all time list with Connors at 268, Lendl 270 and Sampras 286.


Shan Says:

Well the draw is pretty open. Federer to me has the best chances based on past performance although his grass preparation this year is crap, but his draw from the start isn’t bad. Haas and Djokovic and Roddick I think are dark horses, Murray has a great shot.

Federer is in a rare position to regain the #1 ranking by year’s end. It’s anyone’s guess how motivated he’ll be to try and regain it.


steve Says:

I think Nadal always plays with some degree of pain in his knees, frankly. He’s sufficiently motivated to fight through it, except when it becomes physically impossible to do so, like now.

It’s sad that he can’t defend his title, and Wimbledon will be much less interesting without him there.


Tennis Freak Says:

Dan,
This is Rafa’s awakening, though a little late.
Rafa [in today's presser]: “I played with some problems on the knee for the last few months. I’ve been making efforts to play week after week. The truth is that sportsmen always play with pain and don’t know where the limit is, where you can get to. I think I reached that limit now [so I am cutting short of my stubborn perseverance and sheer will, which did fetch some good things for me, that I deployed to push things beyond my body could take].
“I will work very hard to comeback as soon as possible.”


the mind reels Says:

I’d like to see Federer regain the title here just as much as the next Fed fan, but people, there’s still an entire tournament to be played. Let’s not assume it’s in the bag for anybody.

I wonder if Rafa will play the year-end championships this year, which would make for an interesting end to the #1 race since he has no points to defend there.


mem Says:

it’s not sad news for me, it’s great news! i want what best for nadal because he embodies the true essence of a champion and his willingness to face the toughest challenges, fight to the finish, and graciously accept the outcome. exactly what i wanted for nadal is to take care of himself. tennis is not worth jeopardizing his physical welfare. rankings come and go, and he can’t control what people are going to say. most people don’t know what they want no way, they’re just following the majority. one day, they want nadal to play, the next day they want him out. for sure, nadal’s withdrawal has given john mcenroe, ted robinson, mary carillo, etc. a topic for discussion the next two weeks. now, they can comment endlessly on how burn out and done nadal is and how long-lasting and great federer is! God Bless You,Rafa!


osazone4real Says:

O boy Oboy this is terrible and sad.
It is really worrying on all fronts and it makes me wonder if rafa is coming to a sudden abrupt end in his career,I hope I am wrong and time proves me wrong.

Nadal is part to blame for playing all those tourneys back to back.

The sad thing is I will be disappointed if rafa quits today but I could live with it bcos i am satisfied with what he has achieved in his career BUT if we keep seeing finals like the FO final solderling played against fed…..uhmmm


Naydal Says:

I don’t buy it. The French Open loss just hurt more than he let on. It’s just a little harder to play through pain when the motivation fades a bit.


Kimo Says:

Even though ever since Rafa burst on the scene and established himself as the anti-Fed I’ve hated his guts for being the guy that always kept delaying the inevitable crowning of Roger as the most decorated tennis player ever, but I couldn’t be more sad than I am right now for his withdraw from Wimby.

Why did you do this to urself Rafa? It’s just stupid, burning yourself up like that for short-term gains.

It’s been a while since tennis greats like Johnny Mac have been predicting Rafa’s demise, so this didn’t come out of the blue and there defnintely had to be a way to prevent it from happening.

Looks like he ain’t a freak of nature after all. He’s human, one who is extremely hyper-active all the time like a 5 year old on sugar. You can’t go on like that for long.

Will Rafa ever win slams again? I think so, maybe a couple of more French Opens, but he won’t win the AO, Wimbledon or the US Open ever again.

Bummer. Rafa got burnt out after less than a year as no.1 in the world (abeit an insanely good year), which makes me admire in awe Fed’s accomplishment of 237 weeks at no.1 even more than I already did.

It’s Fed who turned out to be a freak of nature after all. Almost 28 years old, he can still go toe to toe with 20 year olds and still beat them in five setters. He goes deep in the draw at every single slam. He never missed a big tournament because of an injury, and even with mono he was still the no.2 player in the world who managed to reach two slam finals.


Rogie Says:

First of all it is a very disappointing news !!
Whoever loves tennis, is disappointed. I am a big fan of Federer but my respect for Nadal is no less.

Secondly, I demand an apology from Sean Randall for bashing Nadal when he mentioned his Knee problem.
Actually you should apologize for bashing the great champions Federer and Nadal when they were not physically in excellent condition.


Shaky Says:

Hope he comes back in time for the USO. Sucks.

If he takes off more time, I really do hope he changes his scheduling. This is an opportunity to change his style also, possibly, but that suggestion might piss off his fans.


Kimo Says:

I bet you all see this as Rafa’s wake-up call, but the problem is it’s very hard to see him change the way he plays.

If Rafa doesn’t scramble after every shot he becomes an average player. That’s why he loses convincingly when his movement is not at 100 %. From now on there will always be a part of him that prevents him from running on all cylinders, and this alone will prevent him from reaching the heights he did last year.


Kimo Says:

Shaky Said:

“This is an opportunity to change his style also, possibly, but that suggestion might piss off his fans.”

He can’t do that. You can’t just change your game after being a pro for 8 years, a game that got you to the no.1 ranking and won you six slams.


Shaky Says:

“Will Rafa ever win slams again? I think so, maybe a couple of more French Opens, but he won’t win the AO, Wimbledon or the US Open ever again.

Bummer. Rafa got burnt out after less than a year as no.1 in the world (abeit an insanely good year), which makes me admire in awe Fed’s accomplishment of 237 weeks at no.1 even more than I already did.”

You guys are too much. Isn’t it really really early to be announcing he’s dead? Is this really a career threatening condition? It’s not something he can possibly adjust his game to?


Shaky Says:

Wow it’s really that serious?

Is this how Chang went down in the 90s? He was similarly speed-dependant… I’m trying to remember back.


Kimo Says:

Shaky Said:

“Is this really a career threatening condition? It’s not something he can possibly adjust his game to?”

Yes, it is a career threatening condition.

No, he can’t change his game coz if he does he’ll never win slams again.


Dory Says:

Feeling very sorry for Rafa but that’s what happens your game is too much of a a muscular power-based game with only court coverage, lots of running and defending just to get the ball back in court. Having variety (constant variation of top spin, backhand chop, forehand slice, drop shot, lob, serve & volley, variation of length, variation of serve, variation of hitting it) in the game is so much important and is easy on the efforts you need to put in physically by running. That’s what Federer excels at, for every shot he does a great amount of variety.

I’m not finding fault in Nadal’s game but too much of running (more than what usual tennis players do) and pushing oneself to the limit to defend tbe ball and achieving what seems impossible has hurt this knees. Hope he recovers fast enough and stops pushing himself to the limit.


Kimo Says:

ON a side note, I just read on the Wimbledon website the JMDP will now replace Rafa at the top of the draw.

JMDP will probably be pissed by that, because Rafa’s draw is pretty tough.


rognadfan Says:

I don’t know why, there are so many moronic tennis followers, who can’t appreciate and respect every great player. Why would you guys need to hate Federer? Just becaue you are a rafa fan and you hear people praising him always? Along with Pmac, or any one else like him, you are also eating crow every single day, by just being prejudiced againced Fed. The REASON
All of you must be so jealous of his accomplishment and domination in tennis. Well he is the reason why Rafa was transformed into a champion, they respect each other very much. Why can’t you?

Its really unfortunate that Rafa had to pull out of wimby, but it’ll be eventually turn out to be good for him and his career.
But I don’t know why you can’t stand any praise people sing about Fed.Well he is THE greatest, you need to accept that,that’s the ultimate and bitter(if it’s, for you guys) reality okay.

So, learn to watch and follow the game of tennis while respecting every athlete. Every one of them is working his butt off to remain in the race. Even the tiniest of their accomplishments doesn’t come without sheer hard work and passion for the game.
Now that Rafa is gone, wimby won’t be much interesting but still, it will be worth watching because there are still several players better that if not as good as Rafa.


Just wondering Says:

Can somebody explain to me on which basis the reshuffle of the draw is done? Del Potro (#5 seed) taking Nadal’s place, Blake taking Del Potro’s place, Kiefer taking Blake’s place, and a qualifier taking Kiefer’s place. Seems pretty random to me!
For instance, why isn’t it Fed who gets Nadal place, and not the fifth seed?


Kimo Says:

Just wondering, I think that the no.1, 2 3 and 4 spots are unchangable. Each is firmly set into his quarter.


Dan Martin Says:

Did they do this before the 1999 U.S. Open when Pete hurts his back practicing with Guga and had to pull out of the event after the draw was set?


Colin Says:

Kimo – you’ve “hated his guts”?
Don’t be so bloody absurd!
You hate someone who rapes your sister or beats up your grandma, not a professional sportsman you’ve never met.
Sport is not life. IT IS ONLY A GAME.
Nadal said something pretty silly today. He said of his knee condition that it’s not chronic and there’s no doubt he’ll recover. Surely chronic is precisely what it is. Retirement looms.


Kimo Says:

Colin, I didn’t mean it literally.

Lighten up.


Dan Martin Says:

Watching the press conference, Nadal looks pretty dejected. It is hard to see a real warrior like him have his body betray him.


mem Says:

rognadfan, it won’t be worth watching, not for me anyway, in all due respect to other players, “boring” with a Capital B, to say the least. i know there’s is a long way to go to the final, but from what i’ve seen, who has the guts to do what it takes to challenge federer? no one, but nadal when it matters most! you can say a lot of things about nadal, but he is fearless and exciting. there is no one he fears. he has never lost a match because of fear! i love when a player had that kind of confidence in his ability. other players can beat roger, but when it comes right down to it, they do not have the belief, they choke, and then we have to listen to the same old interview, “i couldn’t beat roger because he’s is so great, and on and on and on”! why do you think rafa has attracted so many fans to tennis, because, for the most part, people who love and support tennis for the right reasons want to see the ultimate warrior facing the ultimate test! this is what distinguish the best from the rest for me! maybe, djokovic, or someone unexpectant will throw a surprise this year! i’m not holding my breath!


Kimo Says:

I agree, Dan, but it takes more than a warrior’s will to become a warrior.


steve Says:

Nadal’s great strength is his ability to run down every ball, indefatigably and instinctively, and to pound shots with such heavy spin. If those are diminished, he cannot play 100%.

He’ll still be able to play at a very high level, enough to win a couple more French Opens and possibly another Slam elsewhere, just not enough to absolutely dominate.

From this point on he must conserve his strength for important matches, which is difficult for him because he thrives mentally on playing constantly.


meg Says:

All I could think of was Kuerten and how quickly he left the game. Nadal was marvelous to watch but
there was always those taped knees and before that when much younger a serious foot problem.He is such a competitor that it had to heartbreaking to withdraw when last year’s final was one of the greatest matches I ever saw and I am pretty old.


huh Says:

Kimo, it’s quite silly on your part to assume that Rafa’d never win AO/WIM/USO again.


Dan Martin Says:

Mem,

I will agree with a lot of what you have said. In the 2006 Wimbledon final Roger waxed Rafa in the first set. It was like a pro giving a kid a lesson. What happened? Nadal promptly broke and took a 2-0 lead in the second set. Even though Roger won the 2nd and 4th sets and lost a close 3rd set, Rafa thought he was going to win the match even after losing the first set 6-0. I think a lot of players either lose in the locker room or at least lose a game or two per set by over playing against the greats. Agassi used to always say being Andre Agassi is worth 4-5 points per set. Having said that Mem, Murray just won Queens and has beaten Roger 4 or 5 straight times since the U.S. Open. Murray got to the quarters at the French which was an excellent result at this stage of his career on clay. Novak has beaten Roger twice this year and 3 of their past 5 meetings. JMDP has to know he can beat Roger. Roger was a favorite for sure even with Nadal in it. Now, he is a 5 time champ, 6 time finalist, winner of 5 Halle crowns and holder of the all time grass court winning streak who is riding a wave of momentum, so yeah he is a major factor. Still, even if Roger wins and the fan in me would love to see it, the writer in me thinks he gets seriously tested at least 1 or 2 times. Brad Gilbert in Tennis magazine’s preview said Roger was 3rd most likely to win by a large margin behind Rafa and Murray. Rafa withdrawing changes the map, but Murray is still a favorite too. On paper I think Roger is most likely to win due to him being most likely to make the final 8 or 4, but head to head vs. Murray I’d say he might be a slight dog. The thing is he is more likely than Murray to keep that Sunday appointment so overall Roger is the favorite.


huh Says:

rognadfan Says:
“I don’t know why, there are so many moronic tennis followers, who can’t appreciate and respect every great player. Why would you guys need to hate Federer? Just becaue you are a rafa fan and you hear people praising him always? Along with Pmac, or any one else like him, you are also eating crow every single day, by just being prejudiced againced Fed. The REASON
All of you must be so jealous of his accomplishment and domination in tennis. Well he is the reason why Rafa was transformed into a champion, they respect each other very much. Why can’t you?”

Absolutely correct and I feel sorry about those haters as they are obviously living a miserable life which is full of hatred and bereft of respect for the deserving ones.


Kimo Says:

huh said:

“it’s quite silly on your part to assume that Rafa’d never win AO/WIM/USO again.”

why? Rafa’s condition is chronic.


huh Says:

Kimo, Rafa’s one of the best champions and he’ll surely return, may be as early as even USO 09! Never count out champions like Rafa coz they’d surely find a way out to do what others cannot.


Dan Martin Says:

I think he will play USO unless he needs surgery.


rognadfan Says:

Mem,
That means, you never watched the game of tennis because you love this game, right! Because if you love a game, then you watch how different players play and develop. Now you are not interested in the game because your most favourite player had to pull out. That just doesn’t make sense to me, coz I can’t think that you don’t love this game. But your words above sounded like that you just love your best player.
I won’t ever say Nadal anything, or even Sodderling for that matter, coz I appreciate them . I am a big fan of rafa, for just the way he play, and moreover i am also a lefty like him, that inspires me to try his style of hitting the ball as well.

But for me Federer is the best player who ever played the game. Apparently, I think, you can’t digest that. But do you really think, deep inside you, that players say, fed is great even though he is not?
If yes, that would be insanely arrogant.
I really love his tenacity and fighter-likespirit, and for the last year and half, he has been very very tough mentally as well. Yes he is the only on who has defied federer in big occasions. But does that mean, FED is nowhere near him? or RAFA surpassed FEd in every aspect? No, No Way. Your words above makes me think that you have not even appreciated FEdf FO win or, you found an excuse on Rafa’s loss to Soderling, instead of acknowledging Soderling’s outplaying performance that day. If that’s the case, I am telling you, start watching tennis the way I mentioned above; you will find it thousand times interesting and mind blowing in many occasions. Like, in Wimbledon 2007 and 2008, AO 2008,and in many other such occasions during the tour.
Even though you watch it your way, you can still acknowledge others, in this case there is only one player, you know who. Coz as I said earlier your hero, RAFA(Who is my hero as well in many aspects of his game) dreamed every single day to be in place of FEDERER, and he dreamed because he thought FEDERER is the greatest player. Look where he is now, right where he always dreamed to be at.


rognadfan Says:

Oh, BTW Mem,
The biggest Crow eater crown among FED haters goest to Mr SEAN RANDAll. I think you know that as well. I have never seen him write even a single word of appreciation for Roger and I mentioned this couple of times to him. But he never changed, just like a dog-tail you know, put it in a tube for 12 years and still curls up.


Kimo Says:

huh said:

“may be as early as even USO 09!”

His condition is way too bad for such an early recovery. Knee tendinitis is a very serious condition, especially when fluid accumulates at the knee, because at that stage, it’s almost a certainty that this condition would flare up more often than it used to.

Such a condition makes Nadal’s game even more physically demanding on any surface, especially on the very hard Decoturf courts on which the USO is played.

I hope I’m wrong, but I’m just being objective. I don’t want to go as far as saying he’ll never win a slam again, but unfortunately that’s what it looks like at the moment.

I really hope I’m wrong.


andrea Says:

quel drag! i hope nadal gets better and that it is indeed something that is temporary. he needs to torment roger for a few more years.

:)


sonic Says:

Gilbert? Brad Gilbert? Is that the mug that has never predicted anything in his life? Incliding “Murray will become no1 before Nadal”. I’ve yet to hear a single thing out of him that came true. You really have to be a mug rate a guy that got humiliated by Rafa last year before a guy that has lost only one match in on grass in 6 years.

Did anyone even watch Queens? Murray was nothing special. Yet the Eurosport commentators can’t keep praising him enough, that mania is really amazing. They are commentating some match in Eastbourne and all off a sudden the guy says: “But didn’t Murray play well ast week”, and the other “Oh yes, amazing”.

The draw was rigged nicely so he might make the finals (probably will). I’m fairly certain someone like Soderling would have knocked him out, but as i sad, easy draw for the Scot.


Kimo Says:

sonic, draws are never rigged. They are DRAWS, which makes then random by definition.

And you’re right, Murray was good but nothig special andeven he said that he think his first slam triumph would probably be on hardcourts.

Commentators are really biased in their support for Murray, but he’s British and it’s to be expected, just like they always supported Tim Henman even though he never made to a slam final.


jane Says:

sonic, just to rain on your parade a little, Gilbert called Rafa to win Wimbledon 2008. Guess who was right?


huh Says:

andrea Says:
“quel drag! i hope nadal gets better and that it is indeed something that is temporary. he needs to torment roger for a few more years.

:)”

truly hilarious!


Kimmi Says:

“Did anyone even watch Queens? Murray was nothing special. Yet the Eurosport commentators can’t keep praising him enough, that mania is really amazing. They are commentating some match in Eastbourne and all off a sudden the guy says: “But didn’t Murray play well ast week”, and the other “Oh yes, amazing”. ”

Sonic, LOL. Some of this came out very funny.


huh Says:

I think there’s a reason why Roger/Rafa/Djokovic fans are pissed off by Murray. Is it coz they know that Murray is the real dangerman and can beat each of these three at MS/GS? And the answer might very well be…. yesss!!!!!!


margot Says:

A couple of years ago Pat Cash said he would give Rafa two years b4 his knees gave up on him. Nobody liked him for it, but seems he was right. Also talking at Queens he said it must be a lot more serious than they’re letting on. Also said rafa’s game is so dependant on speed and relentlessly chasing balls down that without that he’s “average.” Please don’t shoot the messenger! Am interested if non Rafa fanatics agree with this? Also said that Rafa’s knowledge that his speed may never be the same must really be effecting him mentally.


Kimo Says:

huh said:

“I think there’s a reason why Roger/Rafa/Djokovic fans are pissed off by Murray. Is it coz they know that Murray is the real dangerman and can beat each of these three at MS/GS? And the answer might very well be…. yesss!!!!!!”

No, not really. Murray right now is where Djokovic has been in 2007. Everyone thought he would be a real contender in 2008, but after winning the Ozzie open he never lived up to that expectation.

So with Murray, we are merely trying to put things in perspective.


margot Says:

huh: although I love what you’re saying….really think you should now get back to studying…..


mem Says:

rognadfan, nothing you say can make me change what i think, you’re just wasting your time if you think so. you can say whatever suits your fancy, but the truth is anybody who doesn’t agree with federer supporters or jump on the federer’s bandwagon is called names. case in point, when bud collins said after the french open that he still didnt’t think federer was the greatest ever yet. he was ripped apart and there were people who talked about his clothes and his age trying to diminish what he said and what have those things to do with his honest opinion. so, talk to me when you take off your blinders and you are able to intrepret information correctly, and realize that God-fearing and rational people do not believe that federer is equal to God! people like you do!


jane Says:

I’d love to see Murray win Wimbledon this year or any year. Hope he gives it his best effort. He now has JMDP in his section right? Or I guess he’d face Roddick first, in the Qs. Still I think the odds on grass will go with the Andys.


Andrew Miller Says:

I think Uncle Toni has prepared Nadal well for this moment. He has had the foresight to help him revamp parts of his game and make them more “classic” – hopefully resulting in shorter points for Rafa, moving into more of the “Federer-Sampras-Agassi” model: efficiency, effectiveness + form.

Nadal has improved, as a player, far more than any other player. That should serve him well, and I dont think he’ll mis-use the “time off”.

If anything, I would think Uncle Toni is looking at what happenned to Michael Chang, and saying, “this is not happenning to Rafa. I am not going to overplay my nephew. That is penny-wise, pound short.”

Here is another article about Rafa from NYT. I havent read it, but how can Rafa Nadal be written off?

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/21/magazine/21nadal-t.html?_r=1

Also: maybe Nadal’s absence from Wimbledon raises Federer’s spirits, but the trends of the last two years aren’t going away. People have beaten Roger – all sorts of players. They took him to fifth sets at more Grand Slams than ever before (the days of winning a Slam for Roger Federer without facing some significant challenges, are over).

dont think that Rafa’s absence in the draw does not raise the spirits of players other than Federer – as Mr. Randall mentioned, PLENTY of players now must see Wimbledon as “OPEN SEASON”.

And, of course, the X-Factor:

The Roof!

If Wimbledon is rainy this year, the Roof goes over center court. That should benefit some indoor players, significantly.


huh Says:

margot Says:
huh: although I love what you’re saying….really think you should now get back to studying…..

Yes Margot, I’m out now!


Kimmi Says:

huh, you are absolutely right. I believe once he wins his first slam, he will relax and become very dangerous. He needs that catalyst, like what happened to Roger in Wimbledon 2003


Dan Martin Says:

Murray is not an artist like Federer, a shot maker a la Safin and Djokovic, or a Grinder like Nadal. What he is is very quick, a great returner, a great thinker and has the ability to his game to what his opponent is giving him. If you get quality returns in play you always have a chance to win in tennis and Murray will be a factor for the next 5 years so long as he stays motivated. I like Murray.


Dan Martin Says:

that should read “the ability to adapt his game to what his opponent is giving him.”


Kimo Says:

Andew Miller Said:

“as Mr. Randall mentioned, PLENTY of players now must see Wimbledon as “OPEN SEASON”. ”

Just because Rafa won Wimbledon last year does not mean that Centre Court is no longer Roger’s turf. It still is, very much so, even if Nadal was 100%. No one currently on tour knows that court more than Roger.


jane Says:

margot wonders via Cash “Also said rafa’s game is so dependant on speed and relentlessly chasing balls down that without that he’s “average.” Please don’t shoot the messenger! Am interested if non Rafa fanatics agree with this? ”

margot there is merit in that comment insofar as Nadal’s game does need speed (I actually think Cash is a little harsh in his commentary at times, but many are – Wilander too). But I’ve never understood those who think there’s not a lot there beyond that! After all, you don’t win slams on ALL surfaces – clay, grass, hard – against Federer every time, by relying on speed!

Here are some other things that have made Nadal phenomenal:

1. His unorthodox buggy whip forehand

2. The amount of spin on his shots – unreal!

3. His two handed backhand which is in some ways also a forehand because of his ambidexterousness.

4. The way he has improved in SEVERAL areas, two main ones:
a) his serve – placement and speed
b) adding variety – he’s got a great backhand slice, his lobs and drop shots too.

5) his MENTAL STRENGTH – WOW! Can I say again WOW!

6) his COURAGE. Nadal will go for a winner when the entire match is on the line – remember at Madrid at 7-8 in the 3 set tiebreak against Djoko, or in the 5th set of Wimbledon serving for it at 8-7 in the 5th set? Nadal – serves and volleys! Huh?

7) Tactically – he, like Fed, Murray, and others, knows how to use the court well.

So for all these reasons, he is WAY ABOVE average. And Pat Cash is w-r-o-n-g.

margot, as you know Nadal’s not even my top fave, so I am no “fanatic” but I can recognize his talents beyond speed.


Andrew Miller Says:

I think it’s important not to overlook the changes in Rafa Nadal’s game. Sure, they’ve resulted in more losses, but arent they worth something?

Time Magazine had said this before the Australian Open began. The adjustments must have something to do with Nadal’s realization that his game has to adapt, either to outside circumstances (opponents getting better), or internal (his game breaks his body apart):

“Having proved that Nadal’s unique style can beat any player in the world, Toni has been quietly picking apart Nadal’s game, remaking it shot by shot so that the Spaniard plays not less classically but more classically. As Nadal prepares for this year’s first grand slam event, in Australia beginning Jan. 19, the top seed and his coach seem to be posing a new challenge: Can tennis’s great outsider win by embracing normal?

All athletes develop their own mix of style and technique. But Nadal’s peculiarity is quantifiable. San Francisco–based tennis researcher John Yandell has used video-capture technology to record the topspin of Nadal’s forehand. He found that Nadal’s shot rotates at an average of 3,200 times a minute. Andre Agassi, one of the game’s great shotmakers, generated 1,900 rotations per minute in his prime, and current world No. 2 Roger Federer, whose forehand is considered among the game’s best, generates 2,700. As U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe has said of Nadal, “His normal safe forehand is the toughest shot in the world.”

That forehand is the central component of a style that tennis experts call “counter-punching.” It’s one that absorbs an opponent’s attacking play with aggressive returns, and springs from Nadal and his uncle’s contrarian instincts. Nadal is naturally right-handed. But early on, Toni decided his protégé should play with his left hand to impart unusual southpaw spin. Toni then encouraged, or perhaps failed to correct, the extreme grip Nadal uses, and the unusual way he swings his racquet. To this day, instead of using the forward momentum of his body to generate pace on his forehand as the training manuals recommend, Nadal falls backward from the net on his forehand, whipping his racquet behind his head instead of across his body. This movement results in looping shots that keep an opponent heaving balls back, often on the run, in a nightmare from which only an error provides release. Rallying with Nadal, says former Top 10 player turned coach Brad Gilbert, “is an education in pain.”

But while Nadal gripes about too many matches, Toni has been reworking his nephew’s game to make it less physically demanding. In recent months, the pair have focused on increasing the velocity of Nadal’s serve in the hope of earning more aces, and improving Nadal’s net play in the hope of shortening rallies. More drastically, they have begun altering Nadal’s trademark forehand. In Paris, I spent two hours watching Nadal practice forehands with a follow-through that came around his body in the traditional manner rather than whiplashing behind his head. Toni barked complaints if his pupil unconsciously reverted to his old follow-through. At one point, unhappy with the results, Toni pointed at a promotional picture of Federer on the JumboTron above the court, a post-forehand action shot of the Swiss player with the caption hit that back if you can! See, like that!, Toni seemed to be indicating. “Federer is a wonderful player,” Toni says later, before making a gesture with his hand in imitation of a painter’s strokes. “He plays with [this],” he says, hand brushing up and down. “His spirit is so easy.”

Is his coach encouraging Nadal to mimic Federer? “No, Federer is too good,” says Toni. “Rafael must play like himself but better, [less spin], quicker points.” But how can Federer be too good when Rafael is ranked No. 1? “There is a difference between who is better and who knows more,” says Toni. “Better now is Rafael, he is No. 1 in the ranking. But who has the best game? Federer.”

Looks to me as if Toni Nadal predicted this moment. And unless Rafa Nadal dumps his coach, I’m sure that they will come up with the right answers to keep achieving big triumphs out there.

In the short term though, this is indeed a boost to all opponents. Rafa out of Wimbledon means one thing:

“Opportunity”.


Andrew Miller Says:

I think Roger Federer, as Kimo wrote, absolutely knows Centre Court inside out.

But it’s not as if other opponents are not up for the challenge! Especially since Federer, ca. 2009, is not Federer, ca. 2007. He’s not coming in with a grass court win, he’s not coming in as defending champion, etc.

Those things mean something – sure, they are slight, but other opponents need all the hope they can get, and I am sure that they look at this as OPPORTUNITY. The defending champ is out. The Roof will be over centre court – that means no more rain delays for Federer to dig himself out of a hole, should there be one.

I think Federer is unbelievable! He is the best player of all time. But it’s also, at the same time, an enormous opportunity that other opponents would be very stupid to pass up.

There is an excellent change that players will play the matches of their lives this tournament. They can certainly feel the game having changed.

How huge is this: this is the first Grand Slam that Rafael Nadal has not played in since 2004. Last year Rafa made what, all the semis and two finals, so right off the bat seven players benefit who do not have to play the defending champ and favorite to win.


Dan Martin Says:

Jane we need you writing for the site – excellent post. I have always marveled at some of the shots Nadal hits with that backhand and thought about how he can hit a sort of knuckle ball drive with it – but the idea that it is almost a sec ond forehand never occurred to me. I remember during the 06 French Final thinking why doesn’t Roger slice his backhand some and he sliced a few to Nadal over the next couple of games and that two-hander of nadal’s just teed off on winners each time.


Kimo Says:

I love your last post Andrew Miller, and it shows how Toni Nadal is probably the best tennis coach out there if not the best ever.

But come to think of it, he’s been coaching Nadal ever since Nadal picked up a tennis racquet for the first time. Why didn’t he fix up Rafa’s unorthdox style back then?


jane Says:

Dan, thanks. (Lord knows I post too much!) But credit goes to FedereR for that insight about Nadal’s backhand, I think. Fed, perhaps more than anyone, knows how talented Nadal is. Roger’d be interesting to chat with about Nadal (after he retires would be better though, because, well, there’d be no need to be reserved about anything).


Andrew Miller Says:

I think I realy really must recommend reading the new york times piece on Nadal. It’s really good.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/21/magazine/21nadal-t.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print


rogie Says:

Murray will lose to Del Potro !


skeezerweezer Says:

Jane Says:
sonic, just to rain on your parade a little, Gilbert called Rafa to win Wimbledon 2008. Guess who was right?

Hi Jane,

Don’t get me going on Gilbert, During that 2008 run (That Rafa) at Wimbledon Gilbert repeatedly said Rafa will also be GOAT. That doesn’t look to good and the moment, and to me he always seems overzealous in his analyzing, I think he is a little premature in his predictions, and not just RAFA. The only GOAT he got right was maybe the match. I have a thing for him cause he never seems to give FED enough respect. Just my opinion.
I’m out


Andrew Miller Says:

Gosh I still have to hand it to the article on Nadal. I really dont think Nadal is going away – he’ll re-emerge as a champion. Check this out!

“The coach Robert Lansdorp, who has worked with Pete Sampras and Maria Sharapova, among others, uses the informal label “reverse forehand” for Nadal’s most characteristic stroke, his searing, spinning, miserable-to-return forehand drive. The crowds around Nadal’s practice courts love to watch him up close as he repeats this stroke over and over; his racket appears to rip across the top of the tennis ball, shooting it toward the net like a twirling missile, not only brutally fast but also heavy-feeling and unpredictable on the bounce. The “reverse” part comes at the finish, which is sometimes not the traditional across-the-chest follow-through, but rather a defiant full-arm snap upward, as though Nadal were whipping a lariat over his head or delivering an Italian obscene gesture — almost the opposite, Lansdorp observes, of what coaches generally teach tennis students to do.

“It’s not that he’s the only one who hits this,” Lansdorp says. “Nadal just does it to an extreme, and he’s really mastered that reverse forehand to a great extent. He can do it from anyplace, almost to any ball, and make winners. He can hit it cross court, down the line, wherever he wants to go. And he’s probably done it since he was 10. Thank God nobody changed it and told him, ‘Hey, that is not the way to hit a forehand.’ ”

The ferocity of Nadal’s spinning forehand was quantified three years ago, in fact, when a San Francisco tennis researcher named John Yandell used a high-speed video camera and special software to count the average number of revolutions of a tennis ball hit full force by Nadal. “We’ve measured the spin rates on the forehands of quite a few of the top players, including Nadal, Federer, Sampras and Andre Agassi,” Yandell told me when I visited the apartment from which he runs his online teaching site, http://www.tennisplayer.net, where videos and explanations of many famous players’ strokes are posted. (A brief Yandell video analysis of Nadal’s stroke can be found on nytimes.com.) “The first guys we did were Sampras and Agassi. They were hitting forehands that in general were spinning about 1,800 to 1,900 revolutions per minute.” Sampras’s serve, the deadliest in tennis during his five years as the world No. 1, was so hard to return partly because it combined so much speed with so much spin, Yandell said. “One guy who played against him said to me once: ‘John, I can return to guys who serve faster than Pete. But the problem with Pete’s serve is you’re trying to return a bowling ball with a badminton racket.’ ”

Yandell chuckled. “Federer is hitting with an amazing amount of spin, too, right? Twenty-seven hundred revolutions per minute. Well, we measured one forehand Nadal hit at 4,900. His average was 3,200. Think about that for a second. It’s a little frightening to contemplate. It takes a ball about a second to travel between the players’ rackets, O.K.?” He grabbed a calculator and punched in numbers. “So a Nadal forehand would have turned over 80 times in the second it took to get to Federer’s racket. I don’t know about you, but that’s almost impossible for me to visualize.”

““If my career lasts for three more years, it lasts three more years,” he said. “I still want to improve at tennis. If it’s two years, then it’s two. If it’s five more years, perfect.” Then he’ll buy the boat, he said, but not a huge one. “A normal-sized boat,” Nadal said. “To go fishing in the sea.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/21/magazine/21nadal-t.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print

Nadal will be fine. The guy will go as hard as he can for as long as he can, and that’s that!


skeezerweezer Says:

margot Says:
A couple of years ago Pat Cash said he would give Rafa two years b4 his knees gave up on him…….

I never read that. Good find. I always felt the same as a long time tennis player Rafa’s style of play and violent running and swings would wreak havoc on his body eventually. I think he is good for the sport and think he can come back strong. However, already at 23 his has chronic knee issues? Not good. If I were him( I know, I am no Med guy or pro coach, so everyone don’t go there), I would Play the Slams and maybe a few warm up tourneys before each Slam and maybe he can continue to play at the 100% level he wants. He would then have to forego his #1 ranking.BUt who cares? His GS trophies will define his career as one of the best if that is his goal. But look at Serena? She has been quoted that #1 is nice but Slams are more important, Everyone knows if she is entered in a tourney it doesn’t matter what her ranking is, she in the player or one of the top players to beat. I’m out


skeezerweezer Says:

Andrew Miller

“Nadal will be fine. The guy will go as hard as he can for as long as he can, and that’s that!”

First, fascinating read! Thank you. Most excellent!

But regarding your final comment, How long do you think he can? I am not so sure he will be fine. Time will tell.It will be interesting to see if the human body can withstand the kind of violent strength required to hit a ball like that. Rafa is for sure in unchartered waters.


Kimo Says:

I read the article you posted Andrew. It’s great, and I guess it only confirms what most of us think about Nadal’s personality.

I remember at one match a commentator said during a change-over where Nadal’s was going on with his routine with the two bottles and shaking his legs while seated: “Is he ever still?” LOL :D

I so depressed by all th gloom and doom we’re discussing, so I’ll change the topic:

I think all what’s happening to Rafa right now is not because of his style, his physically demanding game, his personality or his mental game….

It’s because of that ridiculous pink shirt. This is the curse of the pink shirt!!! The gods of tennis frowned upon Rafa for making such an insult to the game. :))))


skeezerweezer Says:

Jane,

Regarding Rafa’s speed. I have to disagree. Many people are just looking at the strokes of these players. But without speed, which is of course tied to movement which is tied to preparation to hit the ball, you game will drop dramatically. It’s a fundamental in tennis. Most guys who have had great speed at the people level have done fairly well. I saw a short video of Rafa warming up with Murray and he was not moving well and reaching for shots, did not look normal, so I am glad for him he is out for wimby, but sad for us tennis fans we won’t see him.


steve Says:

I don’t buy it. No one’s game is that fungible, not even Nadal’s.

Every player has some core strengths, which are the heart of his game. Those you cannot alter, or you won’t play as effectively. You can make some adjustments, to get more juice out of your game, but you can’t just pick up another, totally different style and expect to become a top player.

His improvement in the other areas of his game is drastic, but it is so only in comparison to how totally lacking he was in those departments when he first came on the scene.

Sure, his serve has improved and it’s a good serve. But is it better than Roddick’s? No, and it never will be. And his net play has improved, and he plays well there. But is it better than Tsonga’s? Again, no, and it never will be. And on and on.

His heavy topspin and long rallies are integral to his style of playing the game. He wins by attrition. That’s what gives him his special edge–the ability to outlast everyone, to pound their backhands with topspin, and to hit back so reflexively from the baseline.

If he starts trying to hit flat, and shorten the rallies, it’s going to be much less natural for him. And he will lose his instinctive edge, which will make a difference at the very highest levels of the game.

It reminds me of an attempt to teach a wolf how to eat with a knife and fork. If the wolf is a clever wolf, and the teacher a good teacher, you can do it. But he’ll never be as good with a knife and fork as he was with his teeth.

Can Nadal improve enough to win a US Open? I wouldn’t count him out. But I don’t think he will be able to totally evolve and become another kind of player and go on to dominate for years and years.


RZ Says:

I think what’s hurt Nadal this year more than the past few years has been his success on the hard courts. His record after last year’s Wimbledon through this year’s Miami tournament was much better, meaning he had to play so many more matches on hard courts and indoor courts. That’s a lot more pounding on his knees than his body was used to.

I hope we see Nadal come back playing fewer events on all surfaces so that he can compete for slams. The Rafa-Roger rivalry is the best thing tennis has going for it and it can’t stop now!


Voicemale1 Says:

Anyone catch this phrase from Nadal’s press conference today? Seems nobody in the press has picked up on it. He could be out for the whole season:

“I’m 23 and I hope to have a long career AND COME BACK NEXT YEAR (upper case mine) – no one is more disappointed than me and the Wimbledon crowd must understand I tried my best.”


Kimo Says:

Voicemail1, he probably meant come back to WIMBLEDON next year.


Paul Says:

Sean has become my favorite tennis masticater, but I don’t get how he doesn’t’ put Andy Murray at the top of the heap to win Wimbledon. He’s beaten Fed what, four times in a row. I’m a total Fed fan, but the Swiss misster will need what’s gotten him his last two grand slam wins — the fatigue of opponents — to get him this one.


St4r5 Says:

Nadal paid the price now of just being able to stand next to Fed only for a short moment, this explains how good Fed is, no one can actually be with Fed for a long period of time, not mentioning being better than him which is rather impossible! Fed is GOAT.


Cindy_Brady Says:

Not shocked at all.

Nadal cares more about preparing to win the U.S. Open (a tournament he’s never reached the final at) than winning Wimbledon again. He’s concurred all three other slams and Roger Federer in each of them.

Only thing left on his plate is the U.S. Open. Seems like he’s saving himself for that.

All you doom and gloomers out there who believe Nadal’s career is suddenly in jeopardy, are in for a big surprise.

This is all a big PR rouse so Nadal will shockingly win the U.S. Open in September.


alex Says:

@ Andrew Miller
The NYT article is a great read, thanks!


Von Says:

“Now you are not interested in the game because your most favourite player had to pull out. That just doesn’t make sense to me, coz I can’t think that you don’t love this game. But your words above sounded like that you just love your best player.” rognadfan

I’ve stated similarly to some posters who watch the sport mainly due to one player, or their fave, and just a few days ago a Fed poster told me he objects to my posts because I feel that way. It is my belief that if a fan begins to watch a port mainly due to one player, then when that player retires and/or is off the tour for a long period of time, the fan will automatically lose interest, because there wasn’t any real foundation to begin with, except that his/her fave player drew him/her to the sport.

I don’t think there’s anything more pathetic than when I read some non- Nadal fans who were just begging for someone to step up and beat Nadal to end his domination. Those same fans would have been besides themselves with anger if a fan of any other player wanted the same to happen if their fave player was dominating.

“The biggest Crow eater crown among FED haters goest to Mr SEAN RANDAll. I think you know that as well. I have never seen him write even a single word of appreciation for Roger and I mentioned this couple of times to him.” rognadfan

You most probably don’t read Sean’s articles, because if you did, you’d see that Sean is one of the most pro-Federer writer around. Sean was the only writer who stated Federer had a difficult draw at the FO. Five (5) analysts stated to the contrary. I wonder who wrote about the “curious state of Nadal’s knees”? It was Sean. Last week he seemed very emphatic in his remarks intimating Nadal’s remarks were somewhat due to his FO loss, today he states he’s been speculating.

Kimo: “His condition is way too bad for such an early recovery. Knee tendinitis is a very serious condition, especially when fluid accumulates at the knee, because at that stage, it’s almost a certainty that this condition would flare up more often than it used to.”

Initially, the reports stated Nadal had bone edema which is swelling of the bone. So this goes in line with what you’re saying about the accumulation of the fluid. I know the fluid is withdrawn by a needle inserted into the knee and the excess fluid is removed. chronic tendinitis in any part of the body could cause decreased motion in the infected joint. in nadal’s case it’s his knees, hence his speed and movement will be inhibited.

I’m not a Nadal fan, but I feel very sad that this is happeneing to him and wish him a speedy recovery.
_________________
Voicemale1: I’m not surprised at Patrick McEnroe’s comments concerning Nadal’s knees, but overall I think Patrick is somewhat less critical than John. I think they’re both bigots and only like one type of people. The McEnroes didn’t like Sampras for nearly the same reason they don’t like Nadal. John is so deranged and delusional which makes his prejudices par for the course, but Patrick is somewhat of a puzzlement to me, because of the two he seems to be the more mentally stable.


skeezerweezer Says:

Cindy_Brady Says:

Nadal cares more about preparing to win the U.S. Open (a tournament he’s never reached the final at) than winning Wimbledon again. He’s concurred all three other slams and Roger Federer in each of them.

Really? Good for him. I somehow think he won’t be happy with just that. I think he’d be happier if he wins 14 GS or more. I hope his thoughts are this:

1) Get healthy. Nothing else matters. Even if that means missing the US open

2) When he is healthy, he plays less unimportant tourneys and concentrates on Slams. So he has a long playing productive career.

3)I think most of the posts up here have been pretty objective about Rafa’s injury. Most are saying that he needs to take care of himself, slow down, get well, and hope he gets back to 100%. If he doesn’t, his career WILL be in jeopardy. Why do you think he pulled from Wimby? He can’t continue to play tennis with ignoring his condition.

And finally, stop comparing him and Fed, it is a great rivalary we all want to continue to see. But if he winds up having JUST a H2H winning record against FED the history books are not gonna care.

In other words, let Nadal write is own history. I would not want my FAV go into the history books saying he one a few slams( like alot of other players have done )but was most known for having a H2H winning record against the GOAT. In the end, it’s always is gonna come down to how many slams you got. Pete holds the record, and no one mentions back when he got 14 he had some of his own nemisis H2H getting there.

Just like Golf, Jack has 18, Tiger is considered to be the best of this era, but no one is gonna crown him GOAT until he ties or breaks “the golden bear?


Von Says:

skeezer:

During the FO, Chris Fowler mentioned that Nadal let slip his future goals, and that is to go after Federer’s records, so I don’t see how Nadal would deliberately want to by-pass Wimby, losing a chance to add to his current slams tally, and placing his No. 1 ranking in jeopardy to win the USO, a slam, which in some ways, is probably beyond his reach. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that theory.


skeezerweezer Says:

Hi Von,

“Initially, the reports stated Nadal had bone edema which is swelling of the bone.” Do you know or we have any other Dr. types up here that can tell us how you get that? Is it running hard? Too much running? Twisting? Wierd I am just puzzled never heard “Swelling of the bone”.

RE: Sean,

I agree. Always read Sean’s stuff. Biggest thing I like about Sean his he’ll give you his take, and you may not like it or maybe you do, but if he wrong he takes responsibility and owns up. I’m out……..and shaaakkkkiiiinnnnggg :)


Scottish Says:

As a Fed and Nadal fan this news is tough to take. I would loved to have seen a rematch of last year’s final. I noticed some people talking how Nadal is the only exciting player to watch. Obviously you don’t watch much tennis. There’s a lot of good tennis being played these days.

I hope Fed wins it. One thing I will say is that as much as I think Nadal is in Fed’s head and has his # Fed really has been unparalleled in his level of play over the past 5 years. Part of that has come from a smart schedule. I don’t understand why people dislike Fed so much. tennis has been raised to a whole new level because of him.

Just like in Golf guys had to get better to play Tiger the same is true of Fed. So give fed a break and give Nadal a break and let’s hope we see a lot more amazing tennis fom both of them for a long time to come!!

Get better Nadal and win Wimbly for us Fed!


skeezerweezer Says:

Von,

That was somewhat what I was trying to explain to Cindy_Brady…….He is not intentionally trying to do anything but get healthy. I think he pulled out because he is really really hurt. There is only one Wimby a year and he is defending Champ. I
If he thinks he his healthy enough to compete, then go for it. But I don’t think is strategy is to take a break so he can win the US open. It might be a personal goal for him right now because he is bummed and hurt, but he just needs to concentrate on getting well and fixed!, he is only 23. He has lots of time to chase Fed around and try to get more wins and chase more titles.


St4r5 Says:

Reading from Nadal’s statement, I think he will not even be playing the coming US Open. He will take a rest until probably next year’s Australian Open, this is to give time for his knees to totally heal. He wants to have a long tennis career. This tactic is also good because next year Fed is older hence a fresh and stronger Nadal can make a case against him next year.


Von Says:

skeezer:

From what I’ve read the edema is just a furtherance of tendinitis, which is a fancy name for over-use of a specific joint, e.g., knee. The inflammation begins to accelerate and eats away at the surrounding cartilage, and it’s one of the main reasons arthroscopic surgery is performed to clean out the inlammation and suck out the bone chips. The condition is very painful no matter which way we look at it. I was told by someone who’s had the problem, that the bone chips are like needles piercing into the cartilage with each step taken. OUCH!! Can you just imagine trying to run with that problem. All I can say that Nadal probably has a high threshold for pain to put up with that condition for such a long time. I’m so sorry for the kid.

I’m a shakinnnnnnngggggggg too!!!!


Scottish Says:

Von, I agree with your assessment of the McEnroes. I also feel sad for Nadal. To me the best tennis comes from the best players playing their best. Any top player who goes out injured is a detriment to great tennis. I hope Nadal comes back quickly but it really is tough to know. No one can really say how bad it is except Nadal and his team. It’s unrealistic for any one of us to simply guess at when he might return.

As to whether or not he can change his style i say absolutely he can. He’s young, extremely gifted and he’s not #1 just cuz he can run around the court better than anyone else. He’s #1 for lots of reasons.

Has anyone considered that we might see a new #1 soon and it won’t be Nadal or Fed? I really hope it doesn’t happen but Murray could claim #1 with a few more wins. I really hope Fed can get it back. I’d love to see a Fed- Del Potro or Roddick final with Fed winning.


Von Says:

By next year AO, Murray, DelPotro and Djoko would all be peaking and an injured Nadal facing that group will not be a walk in the park for him. Time and tide waits for no man.


Scottish Says:

I hope Murray and Djoko fade away but I like Del Potro. he seems to have some character to him which I think is lacking in the other two.


Von Says:

Scottish:

I believe Nadal can definitely change his style of play by trying to shorten the points and not going after every point on his opponent’s serve. He does not need to grind out the points, but protect his own service points and try to break his opponent. All any player really needs is one break in serve per set to win. However, some of the younger guys like to break as often as they can. Sampras was very smart — he used to break his opponent’s serve, hold his own, and win. There were matches where it was obvious Pete didn’t expend much effort in even trying to return the server’s shots. That’s what I call using one’s noodle and conserving energy.

I can’t agree I want Fed to win if he’s in the final against Roddick. For me it’s Roddick all the way. However, Roddick should not even be in the conversation, so I’m not going to entertain the thought.


St4r5 Says:

Let’s face it, a low confident and slow Nadal will become prey to many lesser players, this is a problem he is trying to solve.


vared Says:

I think they’re both bigots and only like one type of people. The McEnroes didn’t like Sampras for nearly the same reason they don’t like Nadal.

Von, I never knew this, but I’ll take your word for it. On another topic: Mcenroe telling a British paper a Brit will win Wimbledon. Mcenroe is just telling the british reporters what they want to hear.Monfils was almost certainly going to take out Federer at RG? JMac is a good commentator, but it’s a good idea to take his predictions with a grain of salt.
Despite his rebellious image, he is a corporate yes man. He must have said what he said to get popular in the UK where he will show up as a commentator.


vared Says:

Well, Von it’s looking very,very good for AndyR. Now just execute. Please do it Please do it Please do it Please do it


Scottish Says:

Yeah Nadal needs to be careful he doesn’t lose to some lesser players in a row. This could really hurt his confidence. As much as some people don’t like Fed he’s been able to push his confidence to levels of dominance.

As much as I like Nadal it doesn’t say much for a fan to say that Wimbledon becomes boring now because he is out. As if he is the only reason tennis is worth watching. There’s a lot of good coming in the next two weeks and I hope to watch as much of it as I can. The fact that it’s anyone’s game now is exciting. I am not sure Fed can with the extra pressure but we’ll see.

Von, I have thought the exact same thing about Fed as you have said about Sampras. Often if Fed is up his break in a set and he gets into a love-30 game on return he simply plays out the game with “decent” effort and if he gets some good bounces and gets back to 30-30 he might fight more but if he doesn’t then he gives up on the game.

That has some pros and has some cons. The pros is that it has allowed Fed (and Sampras) to win the long 5 setters because he knows how to conserve his energy for the long haul. That is exactly what he did against Haas and DelPo at FO.


Andrew Miller Says:

Alex and Skeezerweezer: I am glad you read the NYTIMES article! I agree with you: it is amazing!

As for how long Nadal will last with the shaky knees…who knows. I think Nadal’s goals for Nadal are different. He probably would like a US Open and another Wimbledon – I imagine that Nadal wants to out-do the last Spaniard at Wimbledon or at least match him with two Wimbledons.


Von Says:

vared:

Johnnie Mac is what I call a ‘soup mouth’. He hangs his mouth wherever the soup is dripping, and he also talks from both sides of his mouth.

I can’t put into words how badly Johnnie Mac and Carillo bad mouthed Sampras in 2002. They were laughing at the guy on public TV, spewing negativity from every direction. It was so awful at times, I muted my TV. Then when Pete won, Johnnie Mac was embracing him and praising him to the ceilings. OY. Of the dominant Americans during Sampras’ era, the McEnroes liked Courier and Agassi and thought of Pete as an also ran.

Yes, the J McEnroe’s a corporate ‘yes’ man, and he’ll say whatever he thinks the public wants to hear in Britain. People like him get themselves into a spider’s web and the saying ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave’ comes back to haunt them.

Let’s leave Andy R. flying under the radar, please.

BTW, thanks for the info on the book, and I’ll try to find it in the book store.


Von Says:

Scottish:

I’ve noticed as Federer got older, say within the past 2 years, he adopted Sampras’ style of semi-tanking the opponent’s game, or maybe it was due to his friendship with Sampras, and could have gotten some pointers from Pete on how to win smart. Anyway, whatever it was, it has helped him to conserve the much needed energy to go to 5 setters — also he’s added the drop shot. The young guns could learn a lot from this strategy. Roddick does the same, but he’s bad-mouthed for not running down the balls, etc., but to me why bother, if he can win cheap points on his own serve. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. No? LOL. The end result, it’s the ‘W” that counts. Yes?


vared Says:

As for Dr. Federer’s diagnosis:

“It seems like it’s not 100 percent serious, his knee injury. … “He wasn’t taping his knees here in Paris. He seemed fine, [from] what I saw, anyway. I’ve played him so many times, I can tell when he’s in pain and when he’s not.”


vared Says:

Von and Jane, just get the book from the library or Amazon used. The book will tell you all about the protocol etc. It’s really all you need. After reading the book: the website is rheumatic.org with a good section on medical histories/testimonials.


Scottish Says:

I was reading a post over at Craig Hickman’s blog (which is not worth the time and I regretted going back there again) about Fed’s comments re: Nadal. They were taking his comments totally out of context and calling him all kinds of vulgar names. I think it must make them feel tall and mighty or something to rip him up. Anyway blinded by their own egos and ignorant out of context quotes they failed to see what was behind Fed’s comments. It was simply an observation he made about someone he respects. It wasn’t anything other than one tennis player commenting on another. I refuse to post on blogs that reduce other people (certainly far superior to them) for the sake of pumping up their own arrogance.


Scottish Says:

Von, can anyone doubt that Fed knows how to make “W’s”? LOL. Sampras sure did too. 2 of the best!!


mem Says:

i have to smile at how nadal has shocked the tennis world with his announcement. it’s funny because there are people who thought he was going to fight to the death to win wimbledon and remain #1. surprise! surprise! after everybody is done writing nadal’s obituary and funeralizing him, i’m interested to know who will be the next target? i guarantee, no matter what happens at wimbledon and for the rest of the year, nadal will be the hot topic for discussion. when you are a threat like nadal, people always worry about what you have planned even when you lose or withdraw. nadal will be getting a lot of media coverage in the future, whether he is fishing, playing golf, jet skiing, at home, or on the court!


Cindy_Brady Says:

Haven’t seen Zola in this thread yet. Can’t imagine why.

HeHe….


lap Says:

I’m still not convinced that rafa withdrew because of his ailing knee/s… something is really not right here… Note: he didn’t explicitly say that he is not competing because of his knee/s, i.e. that he will only aggravate the current injury he has (an acceptable reason for that matter) if he plays. He just said that he is not competing because he is not 100% fit and is not “ready to play to win.” Strange!

He looked and moved fine against stan during their exhibition in spite of the loss. He did not even wear straps. He also cited no advice from the medical experts that he should not compete in wimby.

Is he avoiding another defeat that could create further the damage to his psyche more than to his knees?

Also, why pullout just after the draw? Apparently, there was nothing during his second eshibition match that’s indicative of a major problem that may have caused this dramatic exit. So the decision must have been contingent on something else (decided beforehand) apart from the sheer physical condition of nadal. Did toni intend to see first how the draw will go before deciding whether rafa will be good for seven days? Nadal’s team seems to be playing other games outside the game of tennis. In case my hunch is valid, I could not believe that rafa allowed this to happen.


Lenny Says:

Damn, Sean. I wish you wouldn’t have eaten that egg voluntarily; I was looking forward to shoving your words down your throat, along with some crow :P

In all seriousness, it really sickens me that a moment a top player declares they are unwell or injured, the cynics are out in droves crying “Oscar award winning act”. The same crap was being dished out about Fed’s mono and back problems. Why are these automatically labelled “excuses”, when there’s every chance in the world they are legitimate reasons for a poor performance?

Along with Sean, many others were spouting “Oh, if his knees were so bad how come he didn’t say anything before the loss?” Well, maybe, just maaaayyybe, because he didn’t want to let on to his opponents how bad he was really feeling? Serena mentioned in an interview once that when they’re playing in the same tournament, she and Venus do not reveal their health or injury problems to each other. They’re opponents first, siblings later. If two sisters won’t tell one another they’re not feeling a 100%, WHY is it so unfathomable that Roger and Rafa would not let on how bad they were feeling until it was ok to do so? Rafa was looking a bit jaded and a fraction of a step slower for a long time before RG, in spite of all the wins. The signs were always there that something wasn’t quite right. It was not something that just appeared as a handy excuse.

Anyway.

I do hope Rafa and team finally heeds this long-visible sign that however young and strong he is, his body cannot take the punishing schedule that it’s been subjected to all these years. It would be an awful shame if the sport were to lose him after a couple of years; which is looking like a frightening possibility, now. He may not be the prettiest sight, but he is certainly one of the most exciting and fierce players out there. The hole he may leave in tennis won’t be filled anytime soon.


FoT Says:

Well first I want to give all the Nadal fans a *hug* because this is tough news to take. You never want to see your favorite (and especially the #1 player) not be able to (1) defend his Wimbledon title; and (2) not even be able to play right now.

I don’t care which player you back – this is sad news.

Nadal is in a weird situation right now in that he needs to rest to get healthy, but I know he usually likes to play lots of matches to keep match-tough. He’s almost in a catch 22, but he has to rest those kneeds.

Also, people say – “well, Nadal is only 22? 23?”…in years – yes, but he may have the knees of a 29-30 year old person, which is cause for alarm.

So to his fans – particularly Zola – hang in there. Hopefully your boy will come back strong.

Question: Normally the past Wimbledon champion opens Wimbledon up at precise the same time each year on center court. With Nadal out, who will open Wimbledon? Del Potro – who took Nadal’s place? Or Federer, who is the runner-up?


margot Says:

jane: thankx 4 replying, always njoy your blogs-never 2 long!
andrew miller: njoyed your 2 blogs v much. ooo watching rafa practising..
skeezerweezwer: agree with you re advice 2 Rafa, perhaps he could employ us…? Also feel much easier said than done to change your game
von: agree with u 2. Wow he takes a year out, that’s a heck of a time in sport, no sport waits 4 one man
Guardian newspaper interviewed two orthopaedic surgeons re Rafa…yes journalism and speculation..and they said, bearing in my mind they hadn’t examined him, thought he had “quadriceps tendinitis.” One said “amazed he has been able to go on as pain has built up.”
However, to cheer Rafa fans, think he will be able to “bounce back.” But as Todd Martin, in same article, says “his movement and strength are astounding and they always had a carry-on effect into his mental and emotional state.”


MMT Says:

Scottish: I’m a contributor at craighickman’s blog and I sure hope you come back – there are a lot of good posts and good comments – but yes there are a lot of people there who can’t stand Federer.


steve Says:

Scottish: I agree. Del Potro is less flashy than Murray and Djokovic, but insanely consistent. He’s better tactically than someone like Murray. Murray goes for the clever shot, but Del Potro always goes for the sound shot. And like Federer and Nadal, he has a pure heart and never gives up. Once he gets more experience, he’s going to be very formidable.

I was very charmed by his remark after his match with Federer, that his ambition was “to be the idol of the crowd,” as Federer was. It shows a kind of innocence that I like. I think his chances at a Grand Slam are best at the French, where he has more time to run down balls. Although he could do well at the Australian, too.


skeezerweezer Says:

Lenny,

I agree with you about hiding injuries from your opponent. For example , I was shocked that Fed had said that he was having back problems this past year and never disclosed it until much much later.

Hey it’s part of the game, these guys are competetitors and think they can win with a tweaked ankle or shoulder or whatever. Rafa even said in his interview that he has played in pain a lot and has won but doesn’t know what his limit is, and admitted he just found out. It’s all in sportsmenship. If these guys disclose their injuries prior to playing then you can’t tell me the other guy is going to test that area and try to take full advantage.


blah Says:

I pretty much agree with Steve’s post at 7:49. Nadal is simply not going to be as effective if he changes his game. The only thing he could do is to schedule better and to let those smaller tournaments, davis cup, year end masters go. He needs to find a way to make it through the entire year. A lot of rest between the AO and the FO is needed and between wimbledon and u.s. is needed. That means not being able to dominate the men’s game and to stay far ahead as the number 1 in the rankings, but he has to make that sacrifice to prolong his career. I hope to see him at the U.S. Open. We’ll find out just how severe this injury is come the summer hardcourt season.

Right now I could see him ending up somewhere around 9-10 slams. I think his team and even him would take this injury seriously now, and start to make smarter decisions about scheduling. He has lost his beloved FO and has to skip defending the wimbledon title he worked so hard to earn. This is a wake up call, and if they still don’t get the message, then Nadal has nobody to blame but himself come the day that he is forced to retired due to nagging injuries.

As for Wimbledon, Federer has to be the favorite now that Nadal is out. This last two months the path has opened up for Federer to establish himself as the widely recognized goat. Murray simply hasn’t shown enough on clay and grass. He was destroyed by Nadal last year and would’ve lost to Gasquet if it were not for Gasquet’s second to none choking ability. Federer and Nadal have established themselves and also made clear the gap between them and everyone else when it comes to wimbledon, and someone has to really step up and become a consistently great performer on grass before I think otherwise.

Djokovic is too mentally and physically unstable to do anything in the grand slams right now in my opinion, although I do think that he benefits from Nadal’s withdrawal which gives him an easier road to the semis, I am still not convinced that Del Potro belongs in the top group, but Djokovic has to be glad that Blake now replaces Del Potro’s as his possible quarterfinals opponent. Maybe at the U.S. open Del Potro could win it, but I don’t think so at the other slams (even after fo).

No other players in the field have established themselves on grass. Roddick’s game is improved from last year, but I think the slowing down of Wimbledon really hurts him. Once his biggest weapon is taken away, he really has a slim chance of beating the top guys. He needs to play aggressively, close to or inside the baseline and firing forehands away into corners to have a shot.

It’s obvious that we are not going to have same wimbledon final we had a year ago, and it will probably be somewhat of a letdown (Wimbledon is the one slam where I don’t mind seeing Federer and Nadal run into each other in the finals again and again,) so hopefully someone like Tsonga or some newcomers make this tournament interesting. Right now, Djokovic is not on his best form, Murray is not on his best surface, and with Nadal gone, Federer is eager to grasp this opportunity and to claim his place at the top. It’s not hard to predict what will happen, but then again, perhaps this slam will surprise as the last did.


Twocents Says:

Sean,

I for one do not see any big changes by Nadal’s withdraw. The real change happend the day when Soderling took out Nadal at RG:
1) Nadal had a real shot at a CYGS, at age of 23. It would have shadowed Fed’s most records, if not all. Sod smashed that. What’s Nadal’s best salvage for year 2009 — winning an USO and finish career slam, at age 0f 23. Not that a surprise withdraw from WO;
2)As a Fed fan, I don’t see any real change for Fed’s chance at WO either. They could only meet in Final. If Fed made it to final, I’d open another bottle of soemthing good and old, whether he wins or loses in final. Giving the mid-age player’s good run at RG, I just feel it’s young gun’s turn at WO. And Fed’s 20 semistreak has to end someday. If some mid-age gun can knock out Nadal at RG, some young gun can do so to Fed at WO, very likely.
3) I fully noticed Nadal was out of form in his clay court matches. But I’m amused that a withdraw from WO seems equal to his real real bad knees :-))?!, for most people. Simple mindly, I read the withdraw just a withdraw, as Nadal himself said — not 100% ready to win. No gloom and doom.

I’m 100% sure Nadal has bad knees. Who doesn’t know? But no, I don’t think you owe anyone an apology, since you made it clear it was your speculation and the issues you raised like his schedule still stand.

I wish Nadal all the best. (And I actually hope Federer withdraw too.)


Showvonick Datta Says:

I am sorry to say it, but I believe this is the price a player has to pay for fighting with one of the greatest player (Roger Federar). Nadal’s willingness give him the ability. But, the extra yard he achieved with hard work is causing him this injury (the price Nadal is paying). I am eagerly waiting for his return, and believe he will learn from Federar, about his tour plan for major tournaments. Good luck Nadal, I’ll miss watching you, get well soon.


mem Says:

lap, isn’t it fun spectulating! when have you ever known nadal to be afraid to play a tournament on any surface because he’s afraid of who’s in his half of the draw! he might be afraid of a lot of things, but fear of getting beat is not one of them. a 23-year old player who’s afraid of getting beat normally doesn’t have 6 majors and 15 masters shields. you had to dig deep to come up with that one! try again!


Twocents Says:

Should be “Simply mindedly”. Sorry.

No one is bigger than the game.


Kimo Says:

For those of you who are saying that Rafa withdrew from Wimby to have a better shot at the US Open:

Are you serious? You honestly believe that the no.1 player in the world and the defending champion of the most prestigious tournament in tennis would withdraw just to save himself for the US Open? If that’s the case then why didn’t he play Wimbledon then withdraw from either the Canada or Cincy masters events instead of Wimbledon?

Guys, he just withdrew from a SLAM, and WIMBLEDON at that!!!!

His condition is serious, and you sound insulting by trying to say he’s saving himself up. He’s spent, he can’t play. I hope he’s well by the time the US Open starts, but to think that he would be a serious contender on the surface that demands the most from his knees reflects your ignorance of his condition.

Rafa right now is where Federer was after Wimbledon last year up until the Olympics: he’s mentally beat, his confidence is shattered, he’s starting to have serious doubts about him winning a slam ever again, and add to all that something Fed didn’t have to deal with which is a serious medical condition.

Who the hell withdraws from Wimbledon for the sake of any other tournament?!


PietjeP Says:

Well, I think he can play with his knees. Yes he has some discomfort, but he appearantly played the whole clay season with them. And winning almost everything except RG.

So what does this withdraw means? Will Nadal now only play when thinks he can win? Will he only play when his health, confidence and mental ability will be 100%.

I think he should not have withdrawn. Simple as that. He is an athlete and an athlete should try to play and win as much as he can.

I’m just not sure what to think of this.


PietjeP Says:

I mean….. what if he had won those matches with Hewitt and Wawrinka. I’m 110% sure he would have played Wimbledon.

I’m sorry, but I cannot have sympathy for his decision. At least I hope he will be relieved of his knee issue for the next years. It would a shame if it changed his career….


Marco V. Says:

Hello, and I would like to say Rafa will return in some way. Not the end. Now I understand why Federer lost to Nadal as many times as he has, He was preserving himself. Federer wants to be around for a long time. Nadals style of play was going to cause problems at a point in time. I think many including Federer, knew this. I cannot believe Rafa did not. Was this the only way he could win so many clay tournaments, by torturing his body? Maybe that Rafa’s entire style was created for the central purpose to stopping Federer, and kudos uncle Toni for designing what looked to be perfect killing machine, but it was not to last, unfortunate. After all these things, Rafa hit bump and will be back.


Kathy Says:

Lap said “He looked and moved fine against stan during their exhibition in spite of the loss. He did not even wear straps. ”

Lucky you, were you there to watch the whole match?
It has been well documented that the below knee strapping only helped when the problem was affecting the tendons below the knee. The problems Rafa has now are above the knee, hence no strapping.


Kathy Says:

PietjeP Says:

Well, I think he can play with his knees. Yes he has some discomfort, but he appearantly played the whole clay season with them. And winning almost everything except RG.

So what does this withdraw means? Will Nadal now only play when thinks he can win? Will he only play when his health, confidence and mental ability will be 100%.

I think he should not have withdrawn. Simple as that. He is an athlete and an athlete should try to play and win as much as he can.

I’m just not sure what to think of this.

What an idiotic post.Is an athlete not allowed to withdraw with a genuine injury? Nadal himself said that he tried to continue and continue but that in the end you reach a limit at which you can no longer continue.
Yes he did play the whole clay season, but it was obvious to anyone with half an unbiased eye that his level was not upto his usual standard.
No one can level the charge that Nadal will only play when he thinks he can win. He has always been up to the challenge and I don’t see that changing.
Rafael Nadal is a worthy, honourable and charismatic champion. I hope and pray that he recovers and comes back even stronger.


PietjeP Says:

Kathy;

It’s not an idiotic post. It’s an opinion.
And yes an athlete is allowed with to withdraw with an injury! But Rafa is not injured. He has some discomfort. He did play 2 warm up matches now didn’t he?!

Also tell me, and please explain:
If he has had this trouble already 3 months, according to him and his staff, then why did he play all, and I repeat all, clay events? There is no explanation for that is there?

It is just a strange decision. I think he should have tried to play Wimbledon unless there is a big risk it can get worse. But I don’t think there is due to the nature of the injury.


Scottish Says:

MMT: I have no problem with anyone not liking a player but to use vulgar and abusive language is not acceptable. It’s also the attitude against some players I can’t take. Plus they disregard the actual true context of quotes and comments. There some person on there that spews out paragraph after paragraph of hot air.

I am sure now and then I’ll check it out but for now this blog is where I’ll hang around. I like the posters on here and the atmosphere seems to be better.


Scottish Says:

Marco V. You make some excellent points. And now that I think about it I heard Roger say a few time that “When” Nadal doesn’t make it to the finals he would be there to win. He obviously felt Nadal was also headed for burnout physically.

I’m also not convinced that Nadal pulled out just cuz of his knees. Sure they are not 100% but it just doesn’t fit right. Why would a guy run around in pain to win smaller clay tournaments and recklessly burn out for a GS. Something isn’t right there. From what I have seen of Uncle Toni I wouldn’t be surprised if he is behind it. If Rafa had won the FO on the same knees do you think he would be pulling out now? I highly doubt it.


Kathy Says:

PietjeP Says:

Kathy;

It’s not an idiotic post. It’s an opinion.
And yes an athlete is allowed with to withdraw with an injury! But Rafa is not injured. He has some discomfort. He did play 2 warm up matches now didn’t he?!

Also tell me, and please explain:
If he has had this trouble already 3 months, according to him and his staff, then why did he play all, and I repeat all, clay events? There is no explanation for that is there?

It is just a strange decision. I think he should have tried to play Wimbledon unless there is a big risk it can get worse. But I don’t think there is due to the nature of the injury.

Then it’s a misguided opinion. What criteria do you use to judge that he is not injured? Medical information about his condition has been well documented. You have no idea of the level of pain he is suffering. Continued exposure to the original cause will only exacerbate the situation.The so called warm up matches were actually used as tests in order to find out if his recovery over 2 weeks had been good enough to allow him to compete, the outcome of which gave him the answer, NO .
Nadal in his press conference stated that he had had problems for months. He said that sportsmen are used to playing with pain, but that eventually you reach a limit where you can no longer continue. He went on to say that it is difficult to know when or where that limit is but that he felt that he had reached a point where he could no longer continue. He is the only one who can make a call on that judgement, since he is the one suffering the pain and knowing the effects that it is having on him.
I have no reason to doubt his integrity and neither should anyone else.


PietjeP Says:

Kathy;

I’m not doubting his integrity, nor his sportsmanship. I also think he is a great champion. I’m a Fed fan and judging by your posts you are Rafa fan, so let’s get that out of the way :)

Although being a Fed fan, I would like to see Rafa complete the GS at the US Open one day. Because it’s great for the sport and he is a great athlete. So it’s not because I’m a Fed fan that I judge the way I do about his withdrawl.

Rafa has every right to do whatever he want. Hell, if he wants to retire he is allowed too. But I just doubt this decision (or explanation if you want). For good reasons too.

I just think it’s not just the injury. Maybe a little motivation/mental factor. Now he didn’t pull out of RG or any other clay tournament! Hell, he had the busiest clay court schedule of all players. And that with, according to his own quotes, already troubled knees.

Some things just don’t add up….

So appearantly he doesn’t play because maybe he’s not 100% according to his own saying. That’s a different thing then being injured, no? He did play 2 warm up matches…


Kimo Says:

Sorry PietJeP, but Kathy does have a point. You can’t just play through the pain. Pain is the body’s way of telling you you’ve got to rest or else you’ll suffer permanently. Look at Guga for instance, after his injury he was barely able to run. It’s something that he has to live with for the rest of his life.

So if Rafa does what you’re suggesting, he may have to walk with a cane by the time he’s 27. Would that make you happy?


jane Says:

Nadal is one of the most mentally strong players I’ve ever watched, not to mention one of the gritty fighters (up there w/Connors but in a different way). There is no way “a little motivation/mental factor” would contribute to his withdrawal. I cannot understand why on earth there are such conspiracy theories and doubts, given, as I have said before, that he’s had on-and-off tendonitis for years. Kathy clarified the strapping situation (the straps came off after Miami I think, which means the knee and upper knee area may’ve been affected then and just got worse as he played the clay events – it was obvious he was in pain in Madrid, calling the trainer twice in the semi.)

Nadal probably played a heavy clay schedule to try to defend his points. I am sure he has a strong element of honor, and so he honored his commitments and played accordingly.

He’s now living to regret it.

You can definitely question how wise any of that was, given his condition. Sean has fairly done so.

But to call into question his withdrawal but raising the specter of faking and lies and conspiracies seems truly unfair to Nadal, who is nothing if not a fantastic competitor.


Dan Martin Says:

I am just going to echo what Sean Randall write about tennis quickly changing. I really thought Rafa would enter Wimbledon with #1 more or less salted away for the year and 1/2 of the calendar slam in his pocket. Courier won the first two legs in 1992, but he did not enter Wimbledon as defending champion or as a guy with a 12 match grass court winning streak. I thought Rafa had a decent shot to win the first three legs of the calendar slam. Now a month later we had the shocker in the round of 16 in Paris, the Queens and Wimbledon pull out and now a free for all for #1 exists. Rafa could finish the year #1 he has a slam, 3 ms titles, a ms runner-up, and a smaller tournament. Roger and Murray seem to be strong candidates. Novak, JMDP and others could mathematically make a run a la Rafter in the summer 1998 and grab the top spot. Things are completely flipped over in just 4-5 weeks.


Fedfan Says:

Nadal has knee problems – is ANYONE seriously ut in all other slams, his best days are gone. And he REALLY needs to be at his best to win anything other than the FO. The USO is a fast hard court, its going to be tough for him, especially after a break.


Fedfan Says:

My post got edited in the middle, don’t know how!


Scottish Says:

OK Kathy and PietjeP. As a fan of both Fed and Nadal (I cheer for them both to win until the final then choose usually Fed since I’d like to see the rivalry more even), this is not a good thing for either of these guys that Nadal pulls out. Roger wants to beat Rafa and would prefer to play against him in the final. I do think it’s strange that Rafa pulled out but only he can answer his conscience and his body. I will miss him playing.

FedFan: I agree that unless Nadal plays at 100% he’s not going to win many more slams. The real question will be how much longer he can stick around IF his knees don’t fully recover. It would be a shame to have him drift away. I know this might sound strange coming from a huge Roger fan but unless he does something big the rest of this year I am not sure how much drive he will have if he sinks down the rankings. This Wimbly is HUGE for him because if Murray can pull it off then Roger drops to #3.

As it stands right now though the rest of the year could be really interesting and fun to watch who will emerge as #1 at the end. Bring on some great tennis boys!!!


mijit Says:

Lap: “He looked and moved fine against stan during their exhibition in spite of the loss”.

I agree with lap. I feel a bit disappointed too.

I was there. I saw the match. He was cool, although he converses with toni from time to time. But there was no clear indications that the knee was in bad shape, at least based on his movement.

To quote a press release:

“Wawrinka Defeats Nadal in Exhibition Match
Another loss for Rafael Nadal today on grass as he attempts to gauge his ability to defend his Wimbledon crown beginning Monday. The Spaniard went down 4-6, 7-6, 10-3 to Stanislas Wawrinka on Friday in an exhibition match at an exclusive private venue in London. Nadal seemed to be much more competitive than he was against Lleyton Hewitt earlier in the week. Still no word on whether or not he feels fit enough to play at the All England Club.”

That is why I’m skeptical too of the reasons given to justify his decision to withdraw. Im not even sure if it was really rafa who decided to withdraw?

Anyway, anyone has the right to withdraw from any tournament regardless of the reasons. Let rafa rest if he wants to and allow him to come back in better shape. Just hope he does return soon. Tennis is a lot better with him floating in the draw.


KillerC Says:

bummer, just a bummer. I agree with what someone mentioned, its almost not worth watching wimby this year.

Fed is goat of a WEAK ERA. bud collins said it himself he felt rog wasnt the greatest but up there and hes a tennis historian. rog came about when the end of the 90s era greats were retiring. nowadays Nadal was the only guy to bring a fearless attack to federer in this era. not let rog beat him mentally in the locker room b4 da match. all the others, just go “oooo rog, can i hold ur nuts? I love losing to the greatest! or I lost cause hes the greatest all time” that is what ticks me off!! Those guys should believe in themselves, change that mental block of hes the greatest to I AM the GREATEST and play hard. your there, gettin paid alot, better be diving at balls like borris becker or chasing em down like n nadals case. quirks me out for instance, when individuals like roddick, just not even attempt to go for balls, i go wtf?! ur a pro, i see highschool kids with more motivation to get balls back. hell Agassi mid 30s with bad back and all would chase balls down, Thats what makes me a nadal fan – he doesnt quit.
The rest of the pack need to man up, adapt. rog hates high balls to his backhand and uncomfortable at the net– pick on those aspects.
with out nadal there its just gonna be rog dominatin the baseline. Would love to see some1 change there approach, Serve volley one out of the 4 points and put the pressure on fed. pick on rogs shakey out wide forehand lately. otherwise its number 15 for fed this tourney.

nadal probably has a slight tear in his acl. might of had it since madrid for all we know and combined with chronic stuff. when ur not winning, you feel the pains even more. I forsee him sittin out the rest of the year. career ender? naa. Hes got too much fire inside still to not win another big one b4 25. Im a huge nadal fan yet, this year was weird for me, him going away from the sleeveless pirate look jynxed him.


Scottish Says:

It seems there are a lot of Nadal fans who are probably just on his bandwagon who are not actually tennis fans. To say that Wimbly isn’t worth watching because he isn’t playing (or any player for that matter) means you don’t appreciate the sport for what it is. Those kind of posters are best left unposted. Post your comments on a Nadal forum somewhere not a tennis forum. And if you won’t be watching Wimbly then don’t be posting here either. :-)


Dan Martin Says:

The argument about weak and strong eras is circular. If Roddick wins say Wimbledon 2004, U.S. Open 2006 and Australian Open 2007, then Roddick is a lot like Courier on paper and Roger would have only 11 slams. Roger beating Roddick makes Roddick look weak compared to a Courier, but losing to Roddick doesn’t help Roger’s cause. If Hewitt, Safin, Roddick, Juan Carlos Ferrero, David Nalbandian, Fernando Gonzalez – all guys within 2 years of Roger’s age all won more often the era would look stronger, but the reason it looks weak if Roger completely owned the group of guys he came up with in juniors and as a young pro. I think on talent Safin, Hewitt and Roddick were stronger than Chang, Courier and Stich.

One could throw this out on eras as well that Andre and Pete’s longevity benefited from how unmotivated and inconsistent the guys 4-5 years younger than them turned out to be. Kafelnikov, Moya, Enqvist, Haas, Henman, Kiefer, did not put up the sort of resistance vs. Sampras and Agassi as did Nadal to Federer (throw in Djokovic and Murray too) even if similar age gaps exist.

Finally, Bud Collins listed some players as great rivals for Pete and Andre whose career’s barely overlapped in any meaningful way with Pete and Andre’s. Making Lendl a key rival of Sampras was just garbage. Bud is a great guy but his powers of recollection or personal bias has him throwing some weak “evidence” out there.


Art Says:

In my humble opinion, Bud Collins isn’t much of a tennis historian.

More importantly, I would completely disagree that Roger has become GOAT in a WEAK ERA. It’s exactly the opposite, tennis has now become a more competitive global sport in recent years (this is why Russian women or Eastern European women dominate women’s tennis), largely because the USSR crumbled, tennis has become more lucrative money wise and simply better overall atheletes now choose to pursue tennis as profession. This is why good American tennis players like Roddick and Blake can win the big ones at all anymore. The competition has rocketed upwards.

It’s simply much harder to stay on top now, which is why you really have to applaud Roger and Rafa for getting ahead and staying ahead of the competition. I think it will be almost impossible for a 30 plus year old player to remain in the top of the game in the coming years like Connors or Agassi did in past.

A lot people think Pete’s era with Agassi, Chang, Edberg, Becker, Courier, and etc was more competitive. I disagree, I think the fact that there were so many different champions show that there was simply a bunch of really good players back then but not really great. And Pete didn’t necessarily dominate them with the exception of Wimbledon. The fact that Pete couldn’t really compete on Clay attests to this fact.

And as far Rod Laver’s era, that was simply a rich man’s of tennis for a select few people who bothered to play tennis. Rod was great, his record shows that. But is was simply an uncompetitive era of tennis.


fed is afraid Says:

i am sad for rafa, maybe now he can learn to manage his schedule better. and in advance, congrats to roger for winning his 15 slam.


Scottish Says:

Dan and Art you make some excellent points!! Trying to compare eras is very tough, especially when a dominant player or team is involved. The key to me about Roger’s dominance has been his consistency. 20 straight GS semis just can’t be ignored. While other guys didn’t step up he did. Nadal (and I love him) can say all he wants about his knees but it’s up to HIM to make sure his body is in good shape. I read an article about how he practices 4 or 5 hours a day while most of the others practice 2 hours. Sure it got him to #1 but for how long? If he can’t play until the USO then he loose some major points and he might even lose his #1 at Wimbly if Roger can pull it off. Even if Roger makes it just to the finals he will be only 315 points behind Rafa after.


Art Says:

Dan I like your thinking..finally someone (other than NBC) that recognizes that Bud Collins is simply a homer who doesn’t know what he’s talking about anymore.


Dan Martin Says:

Art your post was really good. Geopolitics and economics did make tennis a more truly global game. Andrei Chesnokov was good, Safin, Kafelnikov, Medvedev (Ukraine), Youzhny, & Mirnyi (Belerus) were all talents to impact singles and doubles who might have pursued other sports if the Iron Curtain still stood.

Throw in South America as a region now consistently producing top flight pros too. In the 1980′s Vilas was still around for awhile and Andres Gomez was a true factor, but who else? South America and Mexico got some tour stops and a nice set of satellite/futures/challenger events and developed a crop of players from Guga’s 1997 breakthrough to today. Spain did this too and that helps get some late blooming players a chance to pursue tennis without having to live and pay to travel overseas for months on end. Look at what South America has done to more fully globalize the sport – Brazil – Guga, Chile – Gonzo, Rios and Massu Argentina – Coria, Gaudio, Nalbandian, Canas, Puerta and of course JMDP. I am sure I am forgetting several strong South American players.

So if the athletes of Latin America and the former Soviet Union are more likely to play tennis than other sports then yes the talent pool is deeper today than it used to be. Art – you got me thinking – great post.


Colin Says:

A belated reply to Kimo. I love the way, whenever someone is criticised for an offensive or tasteless remark, they say “lighten up” and try to put the critic in the wrong. If you didn’t mean what you said, why say it? Are the resources of the English language so sparse that you are unable to express yourself without recourse to verbal violence?


Tennis Freak Says:

Dan,
I agree Bud Collins has his own biases, but are you (we) free of them?
Fed-Nadal could be compared more to Sampras-Edberg, at least in one respect: about 5 yrs age difference between the duo plus when Edberg beat Sampras in ’92 USO final, Sampras was closing in to become number 1, (Nadal closed in to become no. 1 in 2008 when he won Wimbledon). Can you name one who is more like Agassi after 2004?
Becker was in the middle of his career (1985-1996). Who is as good as Becker after 2000 or 2004?
You sound like Pete-Andre had only “unmotivated” Kafelnikov, Moya, Enqvist, Haas, Henman, Kiefer? Kafelnikov was more like Djokovic, in one respect: Kafe eliminated Sampras in ’96 FO semi; Djoko did the same to Fed at AO semi. Kafe defeated Agassi in ’95 FO (QF). Kafe still holds better Slam record than Djoko. In your list, Enqvist is the only guy that could be said one of the young guns (3 years younger to Sampras) belonging to Sampras-Agassi era.
Henman, Haas, and Kiefer belong to Federer era, not to Sampras’.
Do we have multiple surface talents (e.g. Courier, Bruguera, Muster, Kafe, Gomez on clay; or Becker, Stich, Krajicek, Ivanisevic, Rafter on grass) in this era, who can make it to the Slam finals more than once?
How is Courier less talented than anyone of the three you mention? To me, Courier was a superior player, with 4 slams out of 7.


mem Says:

Scottish, i’m a nadal fan and proud of it and it’s not a secret! it doesn’t bother me what is said about him, because i know why all this negative garbage is being spewed out. it’s to be expected because nadal is the most feared player in tennis today and in tennis history! KillerC is absolutely, 100% on target in his comments. yes! federer dominated in a weak era. i’ve said it many times before and it still holds true. it wasn’t until nadal came along that he had a consistent challenger. why do you think, he is so intimidated by nadal, because he’s not use to a player not being afraid of him on the court. until now, he had these other players under control. now, nadal is the reason why other players like murray, djokovic, etc. believed they could also beat federer. a lot of people blame nadal because they feel if it hadn’t been for him federer wouldn’t have anyone in particular standing in his way. a blind man can see that. so, if wimbledon is not worth watching for some people, that’s their decision. personally, i don’t think it’s worth watching and i have my reasons. so what? no one can force others to support a player that they choose not to support. nadal fan or not, everyone is entitled to his/her opinion! even, bud collins! you don’t suggest that someone don’t post on this site because he/she doesn’t say what you want to hear! is this a forum just for federer fans? it does seems that way, but, if so, i need to know, so that i can move on because what i say you can like or not, it’s totally up to you!


Kimo Says:

The Weak era argument is, for the lack of a better word, stupid. How can there be a weak era that lasts six years? It’s just not possible.

Players don’t lose to Roger because they don’t believe they can beat him, they lose because he’s a lot better.


Andrew Miller Says:

I think comparing eras is hard, because the game is different today. And, furthermore, Agassi thrived in all eras: the surface changes and string changes all benefited his game. Agassi won big tournaments at the same time that Federer became Mighty – it was only because Agassi’s body betrayed him that he could no longer continue. And besides, Agassi truly had to leave the world stage to make way for whatever future of U.S. tennis: Agassi leaves in 2006 after the back problems, pain killers and everything else guarantee a loss to Benjamin Becker, and then, Roddick makes the US Open finals. No better evidence than that.

The game was PLENTY international in my opinion, since 1990. It was not as if American pros other than John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors were dominating before Agassi and Sampras and Courier and Chang arrived on the scene – they werent. In fact, there was a lot of discussion about how dominant the Czech players were – hail, in 1986 Lendl, Sukova, Navratilova and Miloslav Mecir – that’s all four US Open finalists – were either of Czechoslovakia or U.S.-naturalized from Czechoslovakia; German players were also beginning their rise. You had Tim Mayotte, others but really, it took the new guard, trained by a new style (Bolletieri) to bring the next era of tennis to the forefront.

I agree – the reason the era looks weak is that Nadal and Federer have owned everyone else. Hewitt’s game just stopped matching up, and it’s not as though Hewitt was making major innovations – I think he got caught flat-footed and every since has been behind. Nalbandian – another Marcelo Rios in that guy (more talented than God on the tennis court, less wise). Ferrero, a guy downed by illness who, it seems, major claim to fame was that he was subbed (snubbed?) at the 2004 Davis Cup in favor of Nadal.

Seriously – what would have happenned if JC Ferrero, who had been training, were given that chance to take on Roddick on his home turf, in Spain, Davis Cup finals in 2004? Maybe it would have fueled more ambition, maybe he would have won in 5 (he was, after all, the 2003 Roland Garros champion). Ferrero himself was looking to reignite his career, hopefully helping Spain to the title. But no, as reuters reported:

“Spanish coach Jordi Arrese had other ideas, however, and dropped the bombshell at Seville’s Olympic Stadium on Thursday. “It was certainly a surprise not to be picked,” Ferrero said. “Physically I am at 100 percent and I have had three days of good training. “Obviously I am not jumping up and down with happiness, but you have to take things as they come.”

Roger did own all these players. But all these players, with the exception of Andy Roddick, did not put in the efforts to improve. (Gonzalez certainly can make the case he’s improved a great deal, but he’s pretty streaky!)

Courier was plenty talented. He was figured out because (credit to Roddick), he decided not to improve that backhand. Courier’s backhand was awful. It was not going to take forever to figure out that fact for other players. (Heck I watched a match with Courier and Jeff Tarango, himself no wunderkind, and Tarango picked on Courier’s backhand all night, but lost in a close three-setter).

I dont think the guys now are “better” than those in the past. I remember being fascinated by Muster and his ability to “waste” the tennis ball – what would have happenned if Muster weren’t destroyed in that auto accident? I bet he would have had two French Opens.

In some ways I think a lot of events conspired in Federer’s favor, and in others, Roger’s just earned it. The technology may be better, the surfaces favor parts of his game (for an amazing return of serve, there’s nothing better than a court that slightly dimishes a serve – fast courts are playing a little slower), but Roger’s earned all of his titles. All of them. He wins because he’s better.

If Safin were totally dedicated (but he’s not) maybe there would be a different story. If Hewitt were innovating (but he didnt), maybe there would be a different story. If Roddick had a backhand in the past (but he did not), maybe he would have pulled another Slam win over Roger up to this point; if Nalbandian really wanted to win Grand Slams (he clearly does not), perhaps there would also be different results.

This new era though is different. The new guard is here, they do want titles, and they smell opportunity. If they dont give up, I’m pretty sure it’s going to happen. Roger and Rafa cant own the keys to the kingdom forever.


Kimo Says:

Colin Said:

“If you didn’t mean what you said, why say it?”

I did mean it, you just didn’t get why I said it. It’s obvious I respect Rafa but there are always ppl like you who just read what they want to read because they want to make a fuss.


margot Says:

Didn’t Rafa turn pro at 16? If so, he’s been part of this so caled “weak era” for 7 years!


Dan Martin Says:

If you think Henman, Moya, Kiefer and Haas are in the Federer era then we have incommensurable starting points. Those guys with YK, Enqvist, etc. seem to fall between the two eras. You can check birth dates and tell me where they fall but if Fed and Sampras are 10 years apart I would guess that group is for the most part roughly 4-6 years younger than Pete and 4-6 years older than Federer. Roger is 27 (to be 28 in August) and Sampras is 37 to be 38 in August. Henman is 34, Haas is 31, Yevgeny is 35, Enqvist is 35, Moya is 32, Kiefer is 31 so the range is not perfect but it is close.

To me a generation would be Pete, Andre, Courier, Stich, Chang, Ivanisevic, Korda, Martin, or Federer, Safin, Hewitt, Roddick, Gaudio, Coria, Gonzo etc. I think players 2-3 years older and younger than the dominant figures make up a generation. Guys 35-40 would be in Pete’s era, guys 25-30 would be in Roger’s era and the guys in between 30-35 did not put up the resistance to Pete that Nadal has to Federer. I guess you can define eras differently but aside from that I can’t see YK having done what Rafa is doing. It seems self-evident.


mem Says:

kimo, that’s your opinion, i just told you mine! the key word is “consistent.”


Kimo Says:

Let’s just sut the door on this weak era argument. Even Pete himself said that he considered Roger to be the GOAT even before Roger won the French Open, so why are fans of Pete Sampras reluctant to do the same? I think they would admit that Pete knows a lot more about the game than they do.


Dan Martin Says:

As for bias, we are all biased. I am not a believer in objectivism. Too much historical consciousness and linguistic philosophy exists to refute the notion that any of us have a God’s eye view of things in any endeavor (politics, religion, philosophy, sports …). I have biases. I also like Bud Collins and think he has tirelessly supported the sport of tennis even by helping in any way possible at smaller events. I met the guy and he is great. I also think enough data exists to refute his notions that Lendl in particular and even Courier were great rivals to Pete. If we particularize, Lendl and Pete did play some nice matches in 1990-1991 including a very important one at the 1990 U.S. Open, but Pete won all 14 majors after August 1990 and 13 of 14 after June 1993 and Lendl won his final major in January 1990. Courier was much more of a rival to Sampras as they were/are friends, doubles partners and contemporaries. Courier similarly won his final major in January 1993 and reached his last major final in July 1993 when Pete won his 2nd of 14 majors. Courier last really threatened at a major in Sept. 1995 (U.S. Open semi upseting Chang and Muster), Sampras won 7 majors after the 1995 U.S. Open where he also beat Courier in the semis. Sampras was a threat to win big ones from from 1990-2002. It is hard for me to put Lendl whose last semifinal was at the 1991 U.S. Open and Courier whose last semifinal was the 1995 U.S. Open and say wow what a great obstacle they provided to Sampras. Courier was an obstacle from 1991-1995 and that is defensible and reasonable. Lendl … no way would I concede anything into the meat of Pete’s career.

The way we overcome some of our biases is to discuss things publicly, to pluralize our examples, particularize our examples and avoid broad claims and historicize our examples. I think when you particularize, pluralize and historicize the Sampras-Lendl story you get a brief overlap and some nice mentoring of Pete by Lendl and one key match. Sampras-Edberg we could do, but Edberg was 2-0 vs. Pete in slams (92 U.S. final and 93 Aussie semi) and Edberg won his last major in Sept. 1992 when Pete had won 1 of 14. Edberg reached his last major semifinal at Wimbledon 93 I believe. The event where Pete won his 2nd of 14 majors.


Dory Says:

Who’ll be the semifinalists? Federer, Djokovic, JMDP and Verdasco.


margot Says:

Dory: hope you’re not betting on it….


Dory Says:

Just guessing, not betting. (I like all of them and Tsonga too). Not Murray. Grown up kid speaking bad things about RF and saying “cmon” at exactly the same moment the opponent does an error. And the weak era argument is the biggest insult to Roger I think. Even Nadal or anyone else wouldn’t agree to that.


huh Says:

mem, you are just too proud of yourself and other people like you and not just that, you also overrate Rafa as a player. And you afre always bringing some fear factor into discussion while never ever emphasising on the other factors involved. By the way, while it’s obvious that a very good player like Rafa should never fear Fed or anyone else for that matter. But you are saying at the top of your voice that Fed’s intimidated of Rafa which is a huge misconception that you harbour. If Fed was afraid of Rafa, he’d have simply quit tennis a la Borg. You also seem to imply indirectly that players like Safin/Hewitt/Nalbandian were afraid of Fed but no, they weren’t. And by the way the manner in which Rafa has lost some matches is enough for everyone to realise that Rafa’s also got terrorised at certain points of his career. And the latest example of that show of fear was obvious in his match against Soderling. He was so unsettled in that match, and you, I know’d would jump on me to thrust on me that knee excuse but no, I/you have to be claerly unbiased to be able to observe where the match’s been lost due to under-performance of our fav guy or where it’s been lost due to the superior performance of the other guy. And while you’re trying to thrust on everybody your take on that match, which by the way is that Soderling won it coz of his hate for Rafa, I’d like to say that I happened to see in that match more positive emotions from Soderling than negative. For example in the 09 FO Rafa vs Soderling match, instead of hating or blasting at himself or Rafa, Soderling was with PROPER CONCENTRATION all along. Soderling did another quality stuff by keeping UNFLINCHING FAITH in his own game rather than being busy in giving attention to Rafa’s strength or movement or shotmaking or contemplating Rafa’s superiority. Apart from that, Soderling also showed the rare element of COURAGE that has never been seen before while playing Rafa at the RG. So Rafa was given the taste of his own medicine by being shown that it’s not he alone who can fight courageously, with concentration and with faith in his game on his fav turf to overcome his opponents, others can also do it to him on his favourite place. And there was hardly a moment in that match where Soderling allowed his negative emotions to overwhelm him. He was rather calm, composed and focussed in that match. The alleged hate of that day was nowhere to be seen coming from Soderling’s side. Just coz you’re a proud Rafa fan doesn’t mean anything if you can’t acknowledge anything good done by any rival of his on a given day and it gets even worse for yourself if you come up with all sorts of excuses to glorify Rafa and demonise/decry his rivals by denigrating their achievements.


vared Says:

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=427…goryid=2491545

Dr.Cahill says that Nadal’s withdrawal is mostly due to psychological reasons rather than physical.


huh Says:

mem, if you think that it was Rafa who instilled in others the belief to beat Fed, you are sadly mistaken. What Rafa did all the way from 2005-2008 beginning was beat Fed regularly on the clay courts with just a couple of wins elsewhere with Fed dominating him everywhere except on clay. If there was one player who first ever showed after Fed’s coming into prominence that Fed’s beatable on surfaces other than clay, it was Marat Safin… on the great stage in Australia in 2005, in a semifinal of the very coveted Australian open. There Safin beat the young, in-form, sublime and almost unbeatable Fed. Your dear Rafa was lucky not to be on the other side of the net at that times too often during the HC/grass matches, otherwise you’d not be left with much to be able to brazenly glorify Rafa’s courage and grit, blowing things out of proportions. And I don’t know why and how you could forget it, but I’m sure you know and haven’t forgotten about the Great Fat Killer David Nalbandian who used to dominate Fed in a way few have done on the hard courts or on indoor carpets. Have you also forgotten that Hewitt’s never allowed Fed to take a single match off him, bar their 1st meeting, until he got injured and was never the same after that. You can say that during Hewitt’s heydays Fed wasn’t the guy whom we know now but still it’d as much to do with Fed not having reached his best as it has to with Hewitt’s own form. This Hewitt guy also used to dominate Fed until he turned it around after reaching his top and Hewitt reaching his decline(both being equally important factors). And to add to it, you’re also very wrong while throwing your rhetorics like Rafa showing the way to Djoko/Murray to beat Rafa. Djoko’s too good a player himself to look upto Rafa for finding ways to defeat Fed. Djoko, if anything, did the right thing by not asking Rafa about the way to defeat Fed. And to be honest, the way in which Djokovic tore Fed to shreds in 08 AO, it was hard to believe then that it actually happened, particularly for the way in which Djoko made it happen. It was the most devastating tennis ever on display against Fed, interestingly at a stage where Fed still had the aura of invincibility and he was far from any sort of pressure then, unlike mid 2008, where defeatism and disbelief and slothness and similar other negative mental and physical factors had set in his mind and body putting him under all the pressure in the world. That’s why Djoko’s victory over Fed in 08 AO (which b.t.w. is a HC ) is more impressive and significant than Rafa’s routing of Fed in 08 FO. And it was indeed Djoko who first had the courage to publicly speak of taking the challenge to Fed, which he later also did by way of his deeds by defeating Fed. Not just that, it was Novak Djokovic who’s had the courage to tell everybody to start believing in themselves rather than remaining in awe of Roger Federer. Novak rightly commented that Fed’s beatable and proved it later too. So much audacity, yet so much honesty, no artificiality in Djoko’s conduct then and that’s why he’s to be appreciated! And may be Rafa took inspiration from Djoko’s words too to extend his dominance outside clay! If it weren’t for Novak, there’s a big/small chance that Rafa’d never might have witnessed Fed’s destruction in his fav court coz had Fed won his 13th slam in 08 AO, who knows what’d have happened? And you must be well aware of the fact as to who is one of Djoko’s idols, of course the extraordinary underachiever Marat Safin(besides Nalby)! So Safin also must have been a little bit of inspiration for Djoko to take on Fed, don’t you think? mem, winning the FO would not have alone sufficed for Rafa to be on his incredible run. And to remind you once more, in spite of what happened at 08 WIM and for whatever reason, but Djoko back then surely again reiterated his stance by saying that nobody’s unbeatable anywhere and that means Fed’s also not invincible on grass. Again it was the brave Djoko who said this during WIM 08. And do you think Djoko’d have said this had he not got the courage to face Fed on that stage? No way!!! So it proves that Rafa alone hadn’t the courage to face Fed, others before and after his entry also’d the courage to face him, though unfortunately/fortunately they weren’t able to beat Fed too often. But again how’d Rafa’ve got a 13-7 record against Fed beating him enough times if they had not squared off against each other 11 times on clay? But again, these are different stories. And just one sentence on Murray- he beat Fed in 06(THE YEAR OF HIS LIFE) and I’ve never heard of him having consulted Rafa for doing that. I guess you did not know Murray then, no? I for sure noticed him, but only just which was by no means enough to judge Murray!


huh Says:

Mostly agree with you Dan, you’re really excellent!


huh Says:

weak era argument is pure garbage stuff and I won’t even argue about it from now on!


mem Says:

huh, don’t get angry with me for stating the obvious. everyone knows that roger is a head case when it comes to rafa! i’m just not afraid to say it. i suggest you expend your energy convincing others because i already know the truth. maybe, you should be counseling roger federer about his intimidation of rafa, not me, i’m not the one scared stiff of rafa! as far as i’m concerned your comments are a lot of empty words! please, don’t waste all those words on me, it won’t do any good! you don’t need to write a sermon! anyway, roger and rafa’s records speak for themselves; therefore, i don’t have a problem with others voicing their opinions.


St4r5 Says:

Probably in the past few months Rafa got into Roger’s head a little bit, but now, it’s definetely the other way around! Rafa is scared of Roger!


sports fan Says:

Guys I have seen and been aroun tennis for along time and I watched a little bit of the exibition matches with Nadal vs Hewitt, and Nadal vs Wawrinka, and I can tell you that Rafa was not hurting that badly if at all………Wimbeldon is the SuperBowl of tennis and he wanted and should have played……I believe that Rafa is a very strong competitive tennis player, in fact maybe the most mentally strong player in tennis history, but I believe he has a great fear of losing and I believe this is 90% mental, because after Roger won the French Open I think Nadal new he was in trouble……..Also, Uncle Toni is going to screw Rafa up for good if Rafa is not careful……..My diagnosis is Rafa is mentally and physically drained after 4 years of trying to keep up with Roger and now that he has finally got the #1 ranking he does not have what it takes to hold on to it…….He should have played, and would have been fine if he had played, but I do not think he was going to beat Murray or Federer this year and that is why he quit…….Not because, and I repeat not because his knees are so horrible he could not play……..That is a bunch of bunk!


huh Says:

mem, it’s actually Rafa who’s finally proved to be a headcase who doesn’t know how to manage his schedule. He’s also extremely lucky to benefit so much from Fed playing so bad lately otherwise his empty headedness would have been exposed even earlier. Those who don’t deserve to remain at the top for long surely come down just like your Rafa Nadal. Keep dreaming of GOAThood for Rafa! And by the way, please don’t worship Rafa or you’d also start doing silly rituals(like the ones he does on-court) like him or your headcasedness would be exposed before one and all just like mad guy Rafa’s has been exposed. Now only few friends of yours like me know it. Oh my God, I forgot to mention further that the headcase Rafa due to his derangedness is also not aware of the fact that butt picking and butt fingering are not to done in public or people’d say Sheessh!!!!!!! People’d actually hate you and more and more Paris like booing would happen in the future! Actually I am not afraid of stating the truth unlike you who throw your rhetorics on everybody else but I only didn’t wanna hurt u coz it is said that we should not call an ugly, ugly or a mad, a mad. But now that I’ve realised that your epileptic fits are on a rise, I’d have to state the obvious as a responsible person so that you are given the necessary treatment, but don’t worry you don’t owe me anything, it was just my duty as a human being. When Rafa returns, I hope, though it’s a hope against hope, he’d have got rid of some of his insanities, Amen!


vared Says:

Does anyone have a word for word transcript link of Rafa’s entire news conference or a complete video link?


huh Says:

mem, my friend, no.. my words would do only good to you and that’s all I wish for. :-) I’d continue to help you in whatever possible way I can by telling you all the truth. And thank God, at least your reading ability’s ok and your insanity has not damaged it or I’d have not been able to get any response from you, thereby being pretty concerned and worried about you just the way I’m for Rafa!


huh Says:

St4r5, it’s obvious that everyone’d be concerned if his colleagues get mentally ill and Fed’s no exception and that’s why he let Rafa into his head coz he obviously likes him. After all losing some matches for the sake of making a headcase happy ain’t that bad for Fed!


huh Says:

The headcases are sometimes the mentally strongest coz they lose the sense of what’s good or bad for them and they just go after anything forgetting their own limits and the result gets somewhat similar to the title of this thread and mem’s fav tennis player’s no exception.


Kimo Says:

I’ve read that Rafa didn’t do the two-bottle ritual in his match against Wawrinka. He was drinking from only one bottle.

I think that’s a sign that he hasn’t yet recovered mentally from losing at RG, but I still believe that his knees are hurting badly. You don’t just withdraw from Wimbledon because you’re sad.


Art Says:

There were some interesting points alluded to by Huh above that I think lends support to the current era being just, if not even more, competitive than in the past. This is the MENTAL ASPECT of the game.

The men’s game is so much more competitive now, that we all recognize, particularly in the Grand Slams, that most matches hinge on a couple points. This is much different in past in the Laver and Borg eras, where generally speaking tactics didn’t matter as much in my view, even though there was much more serve and volleying involved. The player would simply stick to his style of play and if he executed well then he would be rewarded. John McEnroe, Boris Becker and even Pete Sampras were good examples of this of this. They won when they executed. The same holds true for baselines Jimmy Connors and Jim Courier.

I know I’m asking for trouble when I say but I think overall tactics, nerve and a general understanding of risk and reward is much higher in the current game, which makes it simply more entertaining for the fan to watch, particularly the casual fan.

As much as I hate to say it, Fed has failed at the French largely because he was willing to take enough risk when he needed to. Meanwhile, his nerves failed him badly at this year’s Australia Open, where he should have definitely not let this one go into 5 sets.

The bottom line is tennis is much more entertaining now because it’s so much more competitive!


Skorocel Says:

huh said:

„If there was one player who first ever showed after Fed’s coming into prominence that Fed’s beatable on surfaces other than clay, it was Marat Safin… on the great stage in Australia in 2005, in a semifinal of the very coveted Australian open. There Safin beat the young, in-form, sublime and almost unbeatable Fed.“

I don’t think so. Frankly, how many matches has Safin won against Fed since? Zero. And, how many matches has he won against Fed thus far? One more.

—————–

„What Rafa did all the way from 2005-2008 beginning was beat Fed regularly on the clay courts with just a couple of wins elsewhere with Fed dominating him everywhere except on clay.“

Dominating? Fed has only a minimum edge in their non-clay matches (5-4, to be precise), and of all these wins, only one can be described as „domination“ (Shanghai Masters semi in 2007). Others were more or less a tossup. A couple of wins? Guess you seem to forgot that 2 of those „couple of wins“ occured at SLAMS, and that’s what really hurt Fed and his legacy. The truth is, unless Fed somehow manages to redeem himself against the Spaniard, he will always remain as one BIG blemish on Fed’s career – career slam for the Swiss or not.

—————-

„Your dear Rafa was lucky not to be on the other side of the net at that times too often during the HC/grass matches, otherwise you’d not be left with much to be able to brazenly glorify Rafa’s courage and grit, blowing things out of proportions.“

What leads you to such a conclusion? Again, they’re 5-4 in non-clay matches. That’s ANYTHING BUT DOMINATION. The fact is, Nadal has a CLEAR edge in their H2H, and it’s NOT because of clay.


Skorocel Says:

St4r5: „Probably in the past few months Rafa got into Roger’s head a little bit, but now, it’s definetely the other way around! Rafa is scared of Roger!“

LOL :-)


Skorocel Says:

Kimo: „I’ve read that Rafa didn’t do the two-bottle ritual in his match against Wawrinka. He was drinking from only one bottle.
I think that’s a sign that he hasn’t yet recovered mentally from losing at RG“

Nah! If he gets rid of that idiotic habit of biting the trophies (because there wouldn’t be any for him left to bite), THEN we can talk he’s in real trouble :-)


Skorocel Says:

correction: “because there wouldn’t be any for him left to bite” should read “because there wouldn’t be any for him to bite”


Scottish Says:

mem, my point was simple. if you are only here to promote 1 guy and spout off dumb arguments as to this or that and not face reality then don’t post. if you haven’t noticed this it tennis-x.com not nadal-x.com. I really think nadal is amazing and I love Fed and have also promoted other players like DelPo etc. because I am a tennis fan. this blog doesn’t need down in the mouth depressing people just because 1 player happens to pull out.


Scottish Says:

Art you are so right. Tennis has really picked up in the last 3 or 4 years and guys like Murray, Djoko, DelPo etc. have made it exciting. I would say that Murray is as much a favourite this Wimbly as Fed. There are a bunch of other guys who can win it as well. It’s definitely no longer a 1 or 2 guy show anymore.


Kimo Says:

Skorocel Said:

“The fact is, Nadal has a CLEAR edge in their H2H, and it’s NOT because of clay.”

Oh REALLY? 9-2 on clay and you don’t think it has anything to do with their H2H?


mem Says:

St4r5, if you call winning madrid over a fatiqued nadal getting into his head, i guess you have a point. after all, it was federer who was running around saying, “i always knew if nadal was out of the tournament one day, i could win it.” referring to the french open. how’s that for getting into nadal’s head! when a player has to pray, hope, wish, beg, meditate, do in and everything humanly possible in hopes that another player is out of a tournament for him to win and everybody has to help him do it by constantly telling him how to beat nadal, how’s that for getting into nadal’s head! you guys could star in a comedy show, for sure!


mem Says:

Scottish, are you in charge of this blog? it seems to me you’re the one promoting one guy, i promote whomever i want, get some sleep, you sound tired from talking loud and saying nothing!


skeezerweezer Says:

It’s interesting how I have heard RAFA say so many times ” I will not play unless I can play 100%”. Has anyone put the shoe on the other foot with the FED? Fed had mono most of the year while Nadal was taking trophies and slams and was not 100%, but he still played on………

I’m out


Scottish Says:

mem, you obviously don’t read my posts too carefully as I have said good things about many players.


jane Says:

But that match between Safin and Federer was sublime and for a moment it may’ve given others belief – I think huh could be right that Djoko, then a junior, could’ve very well been inspired by Safin’s win against Fed. It’s certainly possible.

Speaking of Fed, I find it interesting that he does seem more vulnerable early on in the season. He’s lost at the AO a few times now, to Safin, Djoko and Rafa. He’s also not won in IW or Miami in 07, 08, or 09. He seems to start picking up form on clay, but then peaks on grass courts and at the USO, and then drops off a bit on indoor. I guess last year was a bit of an anomaly as he lost Wimbledon and at both hardcourt MS events, but generally, this is when he picks up. Ironically, Rafa seems to drop off after Wimbledon, right when Fed is getting into his best form.

It’ll be interesting to see how or if those patterns are switched up this year, given Nadal’s loss at the French and pull out here due to his knees, and the arrival of Fed’s baby coming later this summer.

If Nadal is healthy, this might be his best, even last (?) chance to go for the career slam and win at the Open.

Next year I think things might start to shift a little more.

P.S. Tsonga could be a spoiler/dark horse a SW19. I am wondering…


skeezerweezer Says:

Funny how Rafa fans claim the H2H record, especially since he won Wimby last year, but per ROger:
“I’ve already beaten, you know, Rafa here twice in finals, so I know I can, you know, beat him here. I just think it’s very disappointing that he can’t play. So H2h Rafa owns Roger on Clay, but not grass!

I’m out. Wish Rafa well


Von Says:

PietjeP Says:

“Well, I think he can play with his knees. Yes he has some discomfort, but he appearantly played the whole clay season with them. And winning almost everything except RG.

I suppose you are aware I’m not a Nadal fan, which translates to anything I say, shouldn’t be perceived that I’m being biased. With that said, I’d like to address your above quoted comment.

Why do you feel Nadal CAN play with his knees in its present state? Do you know more than his doctors who’ve instructed him to rest them? I know I had mentioned yesterday that he shouldn’t pull out, but he should try to play a couple of rounds, and see how far he can go, but that was dependent on how his knees felt after he played the exho and before he made the decision to pull out. To me, it’s obvious he felt he couldn’t play after his exho match v. Wawrinka, thus the reason why he pulled out. Considering we are not doctors, and more specifically, NOT his doctor, or Ambroise Pare’, then I think it’s ludicrous to say he CAN play. I think we should leave the medical diagnoses and/or prognosis to Nadal’s doctors.

“I think he should not have withdrawn. Simple as that. He is an athlete and an athlete should try to play and win as much as he can.
I agree that unless Nadal plays at 100% he’s not going to win many more slams.”

Well, he withdrew and that’s all there is to it. Whether we like it or not, he did what he felt was best for him. Yes, he’s an athlete, but he’s first and foremost a human being, who suffers from a chronic inflammatory knee condition, and has reached a point where he feels he can’t go on any longer in his present state. There are reasons known only to him, and those he’s given to the media with respect to his withdrawal from Wimby. As far as I can tell, 95 percent of the athletes we see competing play to win, as much as they can, and if that weren’t the case or their primary objective, then I’d have to say it would be sort of farcical for them to even enter an arena and go through the motions of competing.
___________________

KillerC: “nadal probably has a slight tear in his acl. might of had it since madrid for all we know and combined with chronic stuff. when ur not winning, you feel the pains even more. I forsee him sittin out the rest of the year. career ender? naa. Hes got too much fire inside still to not win another big one b4 25. Im a huge nadal fan yet, this year was weird for me, him going away from the sleeveless pirate look jynxed him.”

Maybe Nadal does have an ACL tear or a meniscus tear and that coupled with the tendinitis is what’s led to his decision to pull out. It makes sense to me if he indeed has a tear, why play and make it worse just to please the press/public and/or to win an additional slam. The damage to his knees from so doing could be irreversible and/or end his career. hence, in the final analysis, wouldn’t it be more advantageous and/or important to him and all concerned, to sit this one out, whip his knees into shape and settle all the nagging doubts, which are mentally draining to him as an athlete? This is a prime example of physical fitness translating to mental toughness, because how can an athlete play with a nagging injury and maintain mental toughness throughout his matches. Fear of doing more damage to the ever present problem, which will cause him to make poor decisions will consistently creep into his mind and affect his movement.

All athletes arrive at cross-roads in their careers, but it’s the decisions they make at those times that will determine how long their careers will endure. In the face of adversity the decisions we make will either make or break us as individuals, and the same goes for athletes.

I believe some fans are comparing Federer’s mono to Nadal’s knees, by saying Nadal should continue to play, just like Fed did when he had mono, and that is extremely unfair to Nadal. The two situations are completely different and cannot be compared. One is an immune system problem, and the other is a joint problem. There isn’t any pain involved in mono, but knee pain is unbearable and becomes worse with every step taken. Nadal has stated he doesn’t want to play having his concentration broken by focusing on his knees all of the time, and I can understand his reasoning. It has to be extremely distracting for an athlete to play with an injury, and this is where I can understand Nadal’s mention of not wanting to play if he’s not 100 percent fit. That’s very smart, because if Nadal were to play not 100% fit, considering his mindset, then we won’t see the nadal we’re accustomed to seeing, totally focused, instead we’ll see a player who’s on a mental walkabout. It’s not humanly possible to give 100% attention to the sport if a player’s focus is more on his injured body than on his game.


Andrew Miller Says:

I cant say anything bad about Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer. They raised tennis’ profile about a million percent since the end of Sampras-Agassi.

Tennis has now been on the cover of Sports Illustrated TWICE – last year’s cover of Nadal for the best match ever played, this year of Federer for the best player to ever play. It took a global rivalry across all surfaces and all slams (save the US Open) to restore tennis to its rightful place in popular opinion, here in the States, and that has one hundred percent to do with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Federer had to be as incredible as he is, and Rafael Nadal as competitive as he is, to restore tennis. People owe their jobs to the rivals and a favor, if you ask me!


Andrew Miller Says:

It took the best rivalry in all of sports for that to happen – everything Nadal and Federer had, for four years to restore tennis. It will take something special on the women’s side also.

Tennis is cool again, it’s more popular than it has ever been in the U.S. (in terms of numbers of players), France, Argentina – it’s just way bigger.


skeezerweezer Says:

I gotta say, Fed vs Rafa matches are the best ever. I wish they were closer in age and Rafa not injured. I have not been excited to see a rivalry in tennis since Agassi/Sampras and Borg/Mac. Here is a quiz for the posters. Why were these match ups so exciting to watch?
If you know your tennis you know why. Von, where are you, you know the answer.


Kimo Says:

skeezer, the reason I enjoy their matches the most is that they are total opposites. I can’t think of any rivalry that involved two people who are different in every aspect; their personalities as well as their tennis.


skeezerweezer Says:

Kimo,

You got it!!!!!!


Von Says:

Scottish:

“As a fan of both Fed and Nadal (I cheer for them both to win until the final then choose usually Fed since I’d like to see the rivalry more even), this is not a good thing for either of these guys that Nadal pulls out.”

I’ve never been able to correlate and understand this train of thought. Why would you want for one to win over the other to make the rivalry or in this case the H2H more even? This tells me that you like Federer more than Nadal, because if you were to like them both at the same level, it wouldn’t matter to you who won or lost, either way it would bring joy to your heart that one of your faves won and not someone else outside of the fave realm.

I find it very difficult to understand how anyone who has two faves playing against each other can enjoy the match if they prefer one more than the other to win. In your case it’s simple, you want for Fed to win so you root for him, but then there are others like jane, who says, she’ll just sit back and enjoy. I’m sorry, I don’t see that as possible, at least not for me, I can’t do that, and I suppose it’s why I find it so mind-boggling. If my fave is playing against another player I like, I’m definitely going to root for only my fave to win. On the other hand, if I’m watching a match being played by two players I just happen to like, then it doesn’t matter who wins, because either way I’d be happy at the outcome, since I don’t have a vested interest in the match overall.

Scottish: “It seems there are a lot of Nadal fans who are probably just on his bandwagon who are not actually tennis fans. To say that Wimbly isn’t worth watching because he isn’t playing (or any player for that matter) means you don’t appreciate the sport for what it is. Those kind of posters are best left unposted. Post your comments on a Nadal forum somewhere not a tennis forum. And if you won’t be watching Wimbly then don’t be posting here either. :-)”

I’ve commented a few times in the past, in response to some posters, who’ve stated they’ve lost interest in tennis or only watch tennis because of a specific player and when that player is out of the tourney, then it’s goodbye — I couldn’t understand that mindset. I also stated they can’t really be tennis fans in earnest but just in love with one player per se, and, PietjeP, reminded me of that during this week by saying he didn’t like my posts for that specific reason, and I’m OK with PietjeP not liking those posts. that said, I’m happy to know you and maybe others feel that way also, and can identify with my though processes on the subject matter. However, I’m sorry to say I can’t and/or don’t agree with you with respect to your following comments:

“Those kind of posters are best left unposted. Post your comments on a Nadal forum somewhere not a tennis forum. And if you won’t be watching Wimbly then don’t be posting here either. :-)”

You most probably won’t like my saying so, but don’t you think you’re being a bit presumptuous by telling those posters they should post somewhere else? I feel the same about some Federer posters who only show up when Fed wins, but my reason for entertaining those thoughts is that when they do show up they insult and pick a fight with the regular posters, who keep these threads going outside of GS and MS tourneys, and to me that’s unwarranted and displays somewhat of a bulldozer mentality, where we the regulars, need to step aside, which we do, and let the dominant forces have their field day.

“mem, my point was simple. if you are only here to promote 1 guy and spout off dumb arguments as to this or that and not face reality then don’t post. if you haven’t noticed this it tennis-x.com not nadal-x.com. I really think nadal is amazing and I love Fed and have also promoted other players like DelPo etc. because I am a tennis fan. this blog doesn’t need down in the mouth depressing people just because 1 player happens to pull out.”

Please note, I’m not championing ‘mem’s’ cause. Lord knows, the guy probably dislikes me, because I have in the past criticized Nadal, and I’m one at whom he’s probably throwing virtual darts and/or sticking pins right in my heart, for what he might perceive to be my anti-Nadal remarks, LOL. Anyway, be that as it may, I think he has the right, just like everyone else here, to rebutt comments, express his displeasure, anxiety and discomfort at Nadal’s present health situation. Thus, for you to tell him and/or others like him, to post somewhere else is pushing it a bit too far. this site belongs to tennis.X, and who are we to tell another they sholuldn’t post here.

Sorry, I may have stepped on your toes, but I’m gambling on the fact that you’re a brolad-minded person and would like to know how you came across in that post. Hope you don’t take it as a personal attack, because I’m not attacking your character, abolut which I don’t have a clue.
__________________
KillerC – with respect to your comment on Roddick running down balls, FYI, Roddick has a problem with his knee and has suffered with knee tendinitis for several years. He doesn’t exploit this condition and make excuses, if and when, the tendinitis flares up, but it’s noticeable when he can’t chase down too many balls, that there is probably a flare-up happening. An apologist type player, would have widely publicized this fact, and used it repeatedly whenever he loses, but Roddick accepts his losses and refrains from interjecting and/or harboring any excuses for his losses. That is a trait to be admired in any human being and he shouldn’t be condemned. He’s said a few times that his is not a running game. I don’t think many place much emphasis on those words, but they weren’t uttered for the sake of filling in space, there’s a profound meaning to them. Maybe he needs to be as verbose as i am and wear a placard around his neck with an arrow pointing down to his knee, which reads: “BAD DAY TODAY, TENDINITIS ATTACK IN FULL FORCE”. Then maybe there will be ooohs and aaaahhs, and a teapot full of sympathy. Anyone got an onion? LOL.


Tennis Freak Says:

Dan,
Let me correct my exaggeration and say this that Henman did not belong to Federer era, but he did not belong to Sampras-Agassi era, either.

I did not focus on biological-legal age when I did the math. I attached more importance to the years when a player achieved most. And I concluded that Sampras-Agassi era ended the year both were out of number 1 & 2 year-end ranking, and that year was 2000 (The same way one could say that Fed-Rafa era ended when both of them are out of number 1 & 2 year-end ranking). Kuerten had no. 1 year end ranking in 2000, and Hewitt in 2001 and 2002.
Accomplishment wise, Henman’s only Masters Series title was in 2003 (Paris). Out of his 11 titles, he had 7 of those after October 2000, i.e. 64% after Sampras-Agassi era. He reached FO semi in 2004. His 4 semi appearances at SW19 were in 98, 99, 2001 and 2002. Once again, out of the 5 Slam semi appearances, three of them, i.e. 60% were not in the Samprass-Agassi era.
I am not trying to validate anything except the position that I am taking, and that is what you are doing, too. That’s all.


Andrew Miller Says:

Why get upset with Rafa? All respect to Cahill, but I’d prefer Rafa get better than play Wimbledon and blow out his knee. He knows as well as anyone that he CANT play a match without running down every possible ball. He’d do the same at Wimbledon and blow out his knee.


Von Says:

skeezer:

“Here is a quiz for the posters. Why were these match ups so exciting to watch?
If you know your tennis you know why.”

Yes, I think I know the answer, but it doesn’t necessarily mean, (I’m kinda taking the 5th amdndment here, re ‘self-incrimintion”) it’s my answer, because they bring out the best tennis shot-making skills and also the worst in each other, but we do get to see great and entertaining matches.

“Von, where are you, you know the answer.” I’m right here, hon, reading all the good stuff, and I have some lip gloss for you, just in case you want to beat up on me. LOL. It’s strawberry tasting/smelling and luscious. Can you feel/smeel/taste it? Drum rolllllll!!!! After all of that, do you think you’d have the heart to beat up on me? Nah.


tanya patrickson nyc Says:

My lips are wet and I have a big booty Von!


Von Says:

vared:

I tried to view that link you posted but couldn’t. what did Cahill say? Thanks.


skeezerweezer Says:

Von,

” It’s strawberry tasting/smelling and luscious”

Just in time for wimby, strawberries and cream :) I ….like it! Ha! Why TY…And no, sorry, I do not have the heart to beat up on you. Now disagreeing or agreeing? I’m all in :)

Regarding the matchups I was trying to point out that the contrasting styles makes good fan tennis. Ala Sampras serve and volley, Agassi great baseliner, etc. Your answer really really compliments my point.

You were mentioning Roddick, knees, etc. I have watched a few live tourneys in the past few years, I think it started with Chang ( Uh, ok, more than a few years ), and is hard to watch and see some details on TV. But players are starting to wear regularly ankle supports, which shows in a way how much harder these guys are running and the toll it is taking on there legs. I saw Roddick wearing them for awhile in and when I saw him in person, it was like dude, you are running and stopping so hard. These guys nowadays have really turned up the heat with speed and agility. Is it do to Racket tech, or being bigger faster? I don’t know, but I am not surprised of Nadals breakdown. What DOES amaze me, is FED’s style doesn’t look like he is beating his legs into the ground like other players, and his body looks more like old school tennis physiques than the new body builder type. Go figure!

And yes, I can feel it :)


zola Says:

Sean,

******
Of course a week or so ago I speculated that his knees were in fact not as bad as we were told, but I’ll again eat egg for this one, they obviously are in such bad shape that Rafa is unable to defend his title.

*********

well,
what can I say?You judge too quickly . both in positive and negative aspects.

—————-

This was a huge lesson for Rafa. In his presser he admitted that he had made some mistakes and perhaps should not have played Madrid ! ( hello?!)He said he wanted to play in all tournaments and ignored the pain constantly. But now he has reached the limit!

OK, Barcelona+Madrid= 1250 points.
FO+Queens+Wimbledon=4250 points + possible loss of number one ranking!

Oh, I am so mad at him and his team!

Rafa said this is not a chronic condition and his doctor said he needs about a month to get back to 100%. They needed another 10-15 days. ( So he would have been OK if he had not played that stupid Madrid tournament).

Maybe a lesson now, is much better than a permanet damage a few years later.

well, now that Rafa is out, I am rooting for Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick to win the trophy. I hope Roddick’s ankle is better.

I think Murray has the highest chance among the three.

Fed comes with confidence, but he did not play his best in FO and he has a comfortable draw ( surprise!). we will see if Djoko can stop him in the semis.


skeezerweezer Says:

tanya patrickson nyc

Where did you come from? This is a tennis blog. Not an X blog. We are friends up here and just having fun kidding around and lightening it up with our Tennis talk, opinions, and friendship. Von is a great poster and great contributor to our tennis talk. Don’t scare her away and don’t get the wrong impression. You wanna talk some tennis, go ahead. But please…..behave! Thanks. I’m out.


zola Says:

FoT,
Thanks for your great post. It is tough, but I rather see him rest and come back then being out of the sport in a year or two. As I said before, it was a very stupid decision to play as many tournaments as he did. I guess he learns the hard way!

Sorry if I don’t back Fed for this title. You can imagine why. The race for number one is so tight now. But if he wins, you have my warm congratulations from now. You guys have gone through some tough times too and now seems things are coming together. Fatherhood, marriage, FO and perhaps number 15!


tanya patrickson nyc Says:

I was kidding with everybody. Sorry if I offended you I thought we were talking dirty tonight. I will stick with tennis for now on. Don’t have a cow over it.


zola Says:

Cindy-Brady,
I didn’t know you missed me that much. I promise to post more, just for you!


NachoF Says:

lol, who is tanya patrickson???? thats hilarious!!!….
back to tennis,
how can anyone say Wimbledon is not exciting anymore???
wouldnt a Fed-Roddick final be exciting?? or Fed-Djoko? or Fed-Murray??…. Nadal will certainly be missed but dont go over the top.. Wimbledon will be as exciting as ever.. I personally cant wait!// Federer’s recent victories have got me pumped!


Kimo Says:

Apparently some people have forgotten how good Federer is on grass. In my opinion Fed isn’t even close to being as good on hard or clay courts as he is on grass, and that’s saying something since he has 9 slams on other surfaces!


skeezerweezer Says:

Zola,

No worries here for you not backing Fed. You have every right to back Rafa and any other player, glad to see your insight an opinion, and it’s well known I am a Fed fan. But if Fed wasn’t around I would be rooting for Rafa. He’s a good guy with the heart of a lion. Hope he gets well soon.


zola Says:

btw, Is Gasquet banned from Wimbledon too? or is he playing? I didn’t see his name in the draw.(hope I am wrong!)

It will be a shame if he is forced to stay out of two Grand Slam tournaments, just because ATP cannot organize a meeting!


skeezerweezer Says:

tanya patrickson nyc

No prob. Sorry I was so hard on you. Thanks for the post. You DO have a pretty name. :)…and the rest?,,,, I will take you word on that :)


NachoF Says:

Gasquet’s tests came positive for cocaine twice right??… Im glad if he’s out for at least a year.


zola Says:

skeezerweezer

Ah…you are too sweet! Obviously he is the favorite now ( he would have been even if Rafa was playing).
And you and all the Fed fans have my best wishes and congratulations if he wins.


zola Says:

NachoF
when did that happen? I guess I missed it. Did they have the ATP meeting for Gasquet? has a decision been made?


skeezerweezer Says:

Zola,

Thanks :)


Von Says:

skeezer:

This is scary, you’re beginning to read my mind. I thought it would go well with Wimby too, LOL — the strawberries and cream that is, yummy!! Funny thing, I’m allergic to strawberries.


NachoF Says:

No, they havent reached a decision since this first came out.. hes still in temporary suspension but whats the difference??… he will probably get banned for a long time… of course hes gonna mis Wimbledon….. the news that his samples had cocaine came after he had already tested positive TWO times… there is no way hes not guilty…. I agree they should hurry up and make a decision… on how long is he to be suspended… I say at least one year.


skeezerweezer Says:

Von…

Oh that is not good. And your putting in on your lips? No worries, I like ala natural, it’s the best!

Re: Wimby and Strawberries and Cream. Yes, that is a dream of mine also to go there and watch and have the S&C thing, the whole experience. I get envious every year I see it one day I hope to go. Actually, the bomb would be to do FO and Wimby, I figured it would take a month. But what a month! France Cafe’s, south of france wineries, etc., the tourney ( of course ), then off to London, the grass, ok I’m dreamin. I’m out :)


Von Says:

I don’t understand: “the news that his samples had cocaine came after he had already tested positive TWO times…”. Does this mean he was tested two times in addition to the March incident? Or, just the two times with respect to the March incident? If, Gasquet was tested twice prior to March, then he’s probaably guilty, going by the preponderance of evidence presented. On the other hand, if it’s only the March testing and the evidence therefrom, that’s the measure they’re using, and the diluted quantity of the drug found in his system, then I’d say there’s some reasonable doubt.


zola Says:

NachoF,
I think he had two urine samples that were positive for cocaine and one hair sample that was negative. It means that he is not an addict or had not use it for a long time.
These tests are after he withdrew from Miami ( or IW?), so it was not to enhance his performance.

I think the first thing I would like to know is that if Cociane is performance enhancer.
The second is that did he take it deliberately or by accident.
If it is not a performance enhancer, than it is not ITF’s job to pursue it. The police has to deal with it and find out whether this was an accident or not.
I would like to assume him as innocent until I see the evidence against it.


Von Says:

skeezer:

No, I’m not putting it on my lips, I use hypo-allergenic strawberry colored lip gloss. That’s just done for emphasis the make things sound more appetizing, when I kid around with you. Get it?. LOL. If I use anything strawberry, I itch like crazy and my face looks like a strawberry.

Yes, it would be nice to do the FO, spring time, and then Wimby (take your coat and umbrella). You’ll definitely need a month at least. Don’t forget to take in the French Riviera. Better still, start with MC, then off to Paris, and then Wimby. Can I come? I promise I won’t take up much room, I’m petite.


Von Says:

Cocaine is NOT a performance enhancer, which means it doesn’t help an athlete in any form or fashion. Considering he’s a French citizen, who was tested in Miami, it’s a matter for Interpol and/or the FBI, with Miami police in the mix too. OY VEY.


skeezerweezer Says:

Von,

This is my not real e-mail address, but an alias, as this is public, but it will get to me: timsetmatch@yahoo.com. I’m out :)


huh Says:

Von Says: huh: “Margot, Thanks for your support for MMT and Fed with regards to the luck issue. Many non-Fed fans’ve this great misconception that Fed’s lucky and without it he’d have lost many matches which he could win ! Sorry people, but this logic lacks strength.”

Please tell me and/or show me how all of this pertains to me and my post to MMT? Or are you using this opportunity to vent on what you perceive to be unjust accusations toward Fed?

Maybe, I’m not comprehending correctly, but I honestly don’t see why both of you have taken my post and transposed it onto Federer’s luck. sheesh.”

Von, I’ve nothing in personal against you. The fact is I didn’t refer to you exclusively or anything is because you didn’t seem to post anything wrong with regard to Fed/anyone else upto now, but particularly regarding Fed. You may or not know this, but I’m not going to give anybody more credit than he/she deserves which includes Fed. To be truthful, I just observed that you’ve been as nearly unbiased as possible, just like me and that’s why you stand out. You’ve never spoken one bad thing about Fed that denigrates his achevements and I appreciate that, particularly as Fed is a guy whom I’m passionate about as you must have seen from my arguments with Mrs. Jane, and that’s why I’m even more happy about you. And if I feel that I need to argue with you regarding something I’d straight start it with you directly addressing you and I’ve done that also for the little time that I’ve been here since. So matter ends. But I’d surely like to know why did you ask me about I wishing for Roddick on being in the opposite side of Fed’s draw? And why did you say me that I’m venting anything against anyone? Listen, I don’t vent anything against anyone. I only reject an argument if it is, I feel, unjust. Only I know how much honest I’ve been. I’ve been dishonest in only one respect and that is with regards to lying to my parents about my girlfriend, that’s it. Nothing else than that. Waiting eagerly for your reply!


NachoF Says:

What? who cares about the police?? it is an illegal drug and should have no place in the ATP…. he says they probably slipped it in his drink or something… still, I guess he shouldnt have been at that party… one year banned from ATP, thats what I would give him.


Lenny Says:

Sigh Skeezer, can I join ya in that dream?


skeezerweezer Says:

Lenny Says:
Sigh Skeezer, can I join ya in that dream?

Yeah, I looked it all up, and if us fans were to take in a slam, the FO/Wimby thing is the most cost effective, getting your most bang for the buck and getting to eat, drink, an sight see what we don’t see in the states.:)

Maybe we could get a group to go?


huh Says:

Skorocel Says:
huh said:

„If there was one player who first ever showed after Fed’s coming into prominence that Fed’s beatable on surfaces other than clay, it was Marat Safin… on the great stage in Australia in 2005, in a semifinal of the very coveted Australian open. There Safin beat the young, in-form, sublime and almost unbeatable Fed.“

I don’t think so. Frankly, how many matches has Safin won against Fed since? Zero. And, how many matches has he won against Fed thus far? One more.

—————–

„What Rafa did all the way from 2005-2008 beginning was beat Fed regularly on the clay courts with just a couple of wins elsewhere with Fed dominating him everywhere except on clay.“

Dominating? Fed has only a minimum edge in their non-clay matches (5-4, to be precise), and of all these wins, only one can be described as „domination“ (Shanghai Masters semi in 2007). Others were more or less a tossup. A couple of wins? Guess you seem to forgot that 2 of those „couple of wins“ occured at SLAMS, and that’s what really hurt Fed and his legacy. The truth is, unless Fed somehow manages to redeem himself against the Spaniard, he will always remain as one BIG blemish on Fed’s career – career slam for the Swiss or not.

—————-

„Your dear Rafa was lucky not to be on the other side of the net at that times too often during the HC/grass matches, otherwise you’d not be left with much to be able to brazenly glorify Rafa’s courage and grit, blowing things out of proportions.“

What leads you to such a conclusion? Again, they’re 5-4 in non-clay matches. That’s ANYTHING BUT DOMINATION. The fact is, Nadal has a CLEAR edge in their H2H, and it’s NOT because of clay.”

Sorry to disappoint you Skorocel, but I’ve lot of better things to do than clarify anything I’ve spoken about Rafa. It’s my fault that I’ve said things about him. But from now onwards, let anybody think whatever they want to but I would try to ignore topics related to Rafa.


Giner Says:

“Again, one has to question the people in charge of his scheduling. If this was an ongoing issue for “some months” as Nadal said, why such a rigorous clay schedule this spring?”

It’s not his schedulers, it’s him. His style of play comes at a cost and he’s paying it. It was great while it lasted but the next phase of his career is to adapt his game to be less stressful on his legs. If that means playing more aggressive, coming in more often and not running everything down, then that’s what he’ll have to do. Whether he will be successful or not no one knows. It’s not an easy thing to do, reinventing your game half way through your career. It’s harder than changing a racquet.

Even if he never wins another slam again or he hangs up his racquets, he’ll still be known for being the man who stood up to Federer in his prime. He’s the only guy Federer has lost to in a Slam final, and it’s happened 5 times. That’s something to be proud of.

On an unrelated note, I still believe Federer has regressed this year. Yes, he won the French Open and became GOAT, but he was still playing better before than now. He got the elusive slam, but he was good enough to get it last year as well if he had the right opponents to play. He would have won the FO 5 years in a row if he didn’t draw Nadal in the final.

Fed will win Wimbledon again, and probably the US Open this year, because he’s that good. But he still hasn’t returned to his pre-mono form and probably never will. It’s kind of scary to think that Federer would have won the Grand Slam twice, and have 5 French Opens, 6 Wimbledons and 4 Aussie Opens for a total of 20 slams if not for Nadal. And no, I do not think that whoever were to substitute Nadal in all those defeats would have beaten him.

Fed def Murray for the final.


Von Says:

huh:

Thanks for your reply. With respect to your wishing for Roddick to be on the other side of Fed’s draw, I may be mistaken, but I thought you wrote that you’d like for Roddick to go deep at Wimby and for that to happen he has to be on the other side of Fed’s draw, so that he wouldn’t meet Fed early. As I said, I may be wrong. I normally have very good recall, but recently I’ve been very busy at work and there are so many threads nowadays, that’s I’ve found it difficult, even with my good imaging, to see and/or remember everything. If you didn’t say that, then I ask you to please forgive the oversight, and I’m sorry — my bad. If you did, then I’ll say thank you very much for wanting Roddick to progress in the draw and go deep. Whichever way, it’s all good.

About your venting, it seemed to me you were a bit angry on the Fed ‘luck’ topic, and you saw an opportunity to address the problem in your post. Maybe venting is not the correct word, probably stating your opinion is a better choice of words, and nothing’s wrong with that, except I didn’t think I had said anything to warrant anyone’s anger.

Don’t worry about lying, show me a person who says he doesn’t lie and, you’ll be looking at a liar. LOL. which means I’m not questioning your honesty, because you’ve not given any reason to do so. I wanted to tell you yesterday, (but I didn’t want to get into the middle of your post with jane), that I think you’re a very smart young man for your age. I’m surprised at your intelligence and the maturity of posts for one so young (I sincerely mean it), and I liked the respect you showed to jane, by calling her “Mrs. Jane”. I thought that was very sweet. Your mom should be proud of her offspring. Now be good, if not be careful, and don’t worry, be happy!


Von Says:

Giner:

Nadal’s game is built around speed, similar to Hewitt’s. It’s what sets him apart from the other players. Thus, the only thing he can change, is to let go of running down everything, and/or tanking some points. Considering he doesn’t have a serve as one of his major weapons, then he has no other choice but to excel in other areas of his game, i.e., running. It’s a vicious circle.


skeezerweezer Says:

Von,

Thanks for the link :),

The story was good but the comments beneath the article from readers were hilarious. It makes me feel proud participating on this site, it makes all us sound like we went to University of most High Tennis School…..lol


Giner Says:

Von, it wasn’t long ago that you criticised Nadal for complaining about the season being too long. You said something to the effect of, what is he worried about, with a 5000 point cushion? In one of my replies which got gobbled up by my browser, I had mentioned that a 5000 point lead is not that hard to overturn, and we are seeing it now. It didn’t take long. In a single slam, the difference can swing by as much as 4000 points if he holds a title and loses in the first round or skips it, while the guy climbing has no points but wins the title. An ATP1000 event can swing by 2000 points. A 5000 point cushion is nothing. It wasn’t that much earlier that Federer himself had that kind of lead, and he fell behind by 5000 eventually.

Even I didn’t believe it at the time, but every point mattered to him (Nadal) it seems.

I do not expect Nadal to lighten his schedule. His knee problem is chronic and this isn’t the first time it happened. He missed a few TMCs. It just so happens that this time it occurred at an inopportune time (during the two densely packed slams that he had always excelled at). In the past he got away with it by sacrificing a few insignificant tournaments. This time it was two slams. Next time he’ll bank on it happening during the quieter end of the season.

The schedule had worked for him many times in the past on clay. He won’t look at one bad result and write off all the good results produced by his scheduling. As he said after losing at the French: I played the same tournaments the last 4 years and won it, so why should I change it?

He sees this as an unfortunate accident or abberation, not something serious to be overly concerned about. Next year he’ll do the same as this year but it won’t bite him like it did this year because it didn’t in previous years.

What did him in this year was NOT his packed clay season. It was his hard court success. He has done a lot better in the early HC season this year than he did in the previous 4 years. This time he won AO, IW, and was in the final of Rotterdam. Last year he didn’t win any titles until Monte Carlo. Had he replicated his 08 results on HC this year, he probably would have won the French and not be pulling out of Wimbledon. Likewise, he would have flamed out last year at grass time if he won AO, IW, MC, Hamburg then RG.

His schedule is not unmanageable. It just wasn’t built around him winning (or reaching the finals) of every tournament he enters, and when has improved enough that he does do that, he pays the price somewhere else. No schedule is too long if you lose early in every tournament. And no schedule is going to be physically tenable if you win every tournament you play even if you only play the mandatories. The mandated ATP calendar is designed around you losing (or losing in more tournaments than you win even if you’re #1). It would be rare to see the otherwise.


Von Says:

skeezer:

You’re welcome. I like to read the comments for laughs but I won’t post there. I’d need one of those Roman type armours to deflect the arrows coming my way. LOL. I don’t visit many sites, but from the email subscriptions I have, it seems that Tennis.X, is a cut above the rest, e.g., the comments following the Nadal article.


Von Says:

Giner:

Guilty as charged. However, if you remember, I was talking about the clay season, where I thought he would have been wise to skip MC and Barcelona, since they weren’t mandatory tournaments, and I also felt he didn’t need the points. But, as you’ve mentioned, the points weren’t exactly that much of a lead, because of what has happened. If we were to turn that around, wouldn’t you say that skipping MC and Barcelona, which is hindsight, would have helped his knees, especially Barcelona? True he covered his points from the previous year, but at what expense, the FO and Wimby? To me, that’s a huge price to pay in lieu of passing on MC and Barcelona, don’t you think?


huh Says:

Yes Von, you are correct, I did not want Roddick to be on the other side of the draw. Roddick’s clearly the guy whom I want to win this Wimbledon coz I just love his explosive play, that’s all. I’ve been loving and would be loving only two guys on tour and they are Fed and Roddick. Other guys, I appreciate them but won’t be dieing for them if they fell short. But my greatest loyaly is to Fed and Roddick and forever it would also be so. Thanks!


huh Says:

Oh my God, sorry Von, I mean I wanted Roddick to be in the half of draw where Fed won’t be facing him. So yes, your memory’s absolutely good and I didn’t want Roddick in Fed’s draw. It was only a typing mistake in the previous post . I indeed don’t wanna see Roddick facing Fed at any stage except the final and that’s why I don’t want him to be on Fed’s side of the draw. What deep, I’d like, hell, I’d love to see Roddick going all the way in Wimbledon.


Giner Says:

Absolutely, hindsight is always 20/20.

If I were Nadal, I would have skipped Barcelona (and accepted whatever penalty they impose for not playing the required number of 500′s). It’s a tough decision for him to make because he’d have to let down his home fans bigtime. Monte Carlo I’m not sure I’d skip, since it’s the beginning of the clay season and is as far apart from the French Open as any clay event can be. I think it’s a bad idea making MC optional instead of Madrid. Madrid is the least relevant clay Masters out of the three, and it is situated in a spot you least want to play in if you want to be fresh for the main event. This (Madrid) will be a difficult hurdle for him to face every year from now. Previously it was Hamburg and he skipped it a few times because he’d played too much and needed an extra week before RG. Now you get suspended for skipping a Masters so he has to play, and it’s in Spain.

Again though, for any other player it’s easy but a tough call to make for Nadal since it’s in Spain and he’s the #1 player of Spain (and the world, for now). If Nadal played my way, he wouldn’t be playing any events in Spain at all, which is a bit unusual and would seem disappointing, selfish and ungrateful to his fans who supported him all the way to dethroning Federer at #1. (If he was a low ranked player, the home fans wouldn’t care if he skipped every home event). What you have to ask yourself is, Am I doing it for myself, or for my fans? If I had to choose, which is more important?

So.. If it were me, I would have skipped Madrid and accepted the suspension from Canada. I would not have bothered playing Rotterdam or Dubai (he ended up pulling out but was going to play it). This is something I recall you suggesting too. My ranking may drop as a result, but it’s better than sacrificing a slam.

I’d still have played Chennai or Doha as the sole warmup event for the AO, and Davis Cup because it’s politically incorrect for a top 10 player to skip it (but that’s the only reason).

Speaking of Davis Cup, now that Federer is GOAT and completed a career slam, does he have any more excuses for skipping DC in 2010? Is his solo career ‘complete’ enough for him to put it aside and start doing something for his country?


Mindy Says:

What on earth is wrong with some of you people? The Federer fans are so thin-skinned that even a hint of not loving him to death causes them to go into a hate-filled frenzy. Unbelievable! And then they dare to give us Rafa fans a hard time. Some of the illogic that passes for commentary on this board just boggles the mind.

For those who are writing off Rafa – sorry, but it’s just wishful thinking. He just turned 23 and has youth, strength and conditioning on his side. I think there were some bad judgement decisions with his schedule this year that led to Rafa pushing himself too far. An athlete like Rafa loves to play tennis, so he doesn’t always listen to his body and realize when enough is enough.

Some creeps here would love to think that Rafa is through, especially some of you obsessive Federer fans. You have always been among the most graceless with your comments. It’s true that Rafa has stood in the way of Roger winning everything in sight, but that’s no reason to say that he will not be back.

I still think about Rafa being the one to comfort Roger at the AO championship ceremony. Even though Roger made it all about him and took away Rafa’s moment, Rafa was enough of a kind and decent human being to put his arm around him and whisper words of encouragement. You would never see Roger do the same for Rafa. But then Rafa has nevered broken down and cried publicly. I am sure that he will be doing that in private right about now. It must have broken his heart not to be able to play Wimbledon. I sincerely hope he gets the rest and treatment he needs and comes back stronger than ever.

Also, to Roger’s fans – don’t assume that this win is a gimme for him. Grand slams are funny that way. You never know what will happen.

To Sean – If you say you like Rafa, I would hate to see what you would write about someone you DO NOT like! I think you should eat dirt, period!


Twocents Says:

Huh,

Amen to your post@5:24pm!

Back in February, I posted here saying that while Nadal got a good run in summer of 2008, Djork was the one who truely ousted Fed from his crazy slam run outside clay. And Djork got little credit for that I felt so vindicated when Fed himself said during AO2009 that Djork might have beaten him anyway even if he was not ill at AO08.

Even though Djork had a disappointing run at RG, he still should be one hot favorite at WO, imho.


Skorocel Says:

Kimo: “Oh REALLY? 9-2 on clay and you don’t think it has anything to do with their H2H?”

OK, make that “not entirely because of clay”. Anyway, as I’ve already mentioned, they’ve played 20 matches thus far, of which 11 were on clay and 9 outside of clay. So given Fed’s supposed GOAT credentials, and also, given the fact that he’s alredy beaten Nadal TWICE on clay, one would assume their H2H should be pretty similar, something like 10-10, or 11-9 in Fed’s favour. But that’s not the truth. They’re almost dead even outside of clay, and one can only wonder what would’ve happened had Nadal met Fed in the HC/grass events more often…


Skorocel Says:

skeezerweezer: „I gotta say, Fed vs Rafa matches are the best ever. I have not been excited to see a rivalry in tennis since Agassi/Sampras and Borg/Mac.“

Tough to say. Those 2 rivalries you mentioned were both mainly „a baseliner vs serve & volleyer“ type of rivalries, whereas Fed and Nadal play mostly from the baseline. I personally don’t like to watch their matches that much, since everytime these two play – whether it’s grass, clay, or hard, it’s the same story… Nadal’s FH to Fed’s BH, and sooner or later, Fed makes an error. Over and over again. Granted, Fed’s now somehow added that dropshot to his arsenal (which worked fine in that Madrid final), but still, you could only rarely see him using his seemingly bottomless arsenal of shots to full extent vs Nadal – simply because the Spaniard won’t allow him to do that, bullying that BH till death. And this in itself I find boring. Sure, their matches are worth watching because of the tension and unpredictability of the outcome (just think how many 5-setters they’ve already played!), but I don’t see anything special on them in terms of beauty, so to speak…


St4r5 Says:

I don’t understand why some people just cannot believe that Roger could get to Rafa’s head? Rafa lost to him in Madrid, his crown was taken by him (the Holy One of Tennis). Then he also knows that Roger owns 14 GS already, Wimbledon could be his too very soon, Roger’s style of play is better than his, and Rafa knows his knees are weak and could become liabilities to him, all these factors could get into Rafa’s head, Roger for sure is making a definete in road into Rafa’s.


Skorocel Says:

zola: „You guys have gone through some tough times too and now seems things are coming together. Fatherhood, marriage, FO and perhaps number 15!“

And perhaps „number 1“ as well ;-) But seriously, let’s hope it’s nothing serious for Rafa! Fed, no matter how “happy” he may be about the fact that he doesn’t have to face Rafa in the finals, knows VERY well that without the Spaniard, it’s just not the same tourney anymore…


PietjeP Says:

Von; Kathy; Kimo and many others :)

I don’t mind that you disagree with me. Please read my posts again to see the whole context.

Yes, he can play. If he couldn’t play or if there were big risks for the injury to get worse, he wouldn’t have played those EXO’s last week (or some part of the clay season I hope). His injury is different then say a broken leg or a crack in a ligament.

It just boils down to preference between us. Rafa only wants to play at 100%. What is that 100%; does it include mental/confidence as well? I mean if every tennis player pulls out because he is not 100%; would we still even get draws of 128 at the slams?

I hoped he at least would have tried it and see where it would take him. That’s all. Escpecially since he is the defending champion.

People here sometimes talk about it as if it’s a life threatening injury :)

Von? You’re a Sampras fan right? I know some things, but he played many times with some discomfort right?


Colin Says:

PietjeP, no, it may not be life-threatening, but do you really think Nadal ought to risk being considerably handicapped in his walking by the time he’s 35?
I remember Agassi saying, when he was bothered by all the back trouble, “If you saw me walking home of an evening, you’d never think I was a professional athlete in his thirties.”
I applaud Rafa’s good sense in pulling out.


Lenny Says:

Skeezer, I like the sound of that, except I’m not IN the States :) I’m in India.

To all those saying Rafa should have played, he’s not “injured” he’s just not “100%”: How does that make sense when you don’t – because it’s impossible that you could – know the extent of the problem or the pain? Would you rather he go out there and collapse on court and risk escalating the injury to career-ending proportions? Would that satisfy you? As disappointing as this withdrawal is – and I suspect it’s disappointing for TENNIS fans, not just Rafa fans – I (who count myself as BOTH a Rafa and a tennis fan) would rather he rest those knees, and find a way to be at his best as long as possible.


huh Says:

Some of you Rafa fans’re completely responsible for the beating you get from Fed fans. Don’t think that you Rafa fans’d get away unhurt if you, from your side, hurt the Fed fans by referring to Fed in some of the worst possible ways! We can hit back too.


huh Says:

Skorocel, you didn’t even read my post properly and you’re crazy about Rafa’s so-called brilliant non clay H2H vs Fed.
I said about Fed dominating him from 2005 to the beginning of 08 during which it was 5-2 in Fed’s favor.


huh Says:

Skorocel, strange to see that you seemingly have more faith in Rafa than Fed!


Tom Foober Says:

This is going to be the best Wimbledon with upsets.


jane Says:

Twocents, “he still should be one hot favorite at WO, imho.” Hmmm… I wish/hope you’re right, but I am not so sure. I just don’t think he looked too hot at Halle and he lost out in a exo match this week (against whom, I forget) so I am doubtful – to me if he makes the Qs it’ll’ve been a good run. I could see Fish beating him, or who knows, maybe Benneteau. I hope he does well. But I will wait and see.

Anyhow, a quick side question w.r.t. to this post and others: why do you always call Djokovic “Djork”? Is it meant as an insult, like he’s a dork or something? I like your posts, but I’ve always wondered why you alter his name; it seems to be the only name you do that with, so I take it you don’t think too highly of him, which is totally your prerogative of course.

Are you going to Wimbledon? Did you go to the FO final or am I thinking of someone else?


Kimo Says:

jane and Twocents:

Djokovic is yet to win a grass title in his career. Anyone who watched him play on grass knows that Djoko is never sure-footed when playing on grass (and as I’ve said before, I’ve never seen anyone else slip that many times).

The only one who has a chance of derailing Fed’s ambitions of winning his 15th slam this Wimbledon is Murray, and it’s imho a remote chance at that, because even if Murray somehow miraculously reached the final (I think Roddick will beat him), I don’t think he’ll challenge Fed. There’s no doubt Murray deserved to win Queen’s, but he didn’t come up against a real grass court player. I really wanted Roddick to give Murray a run for his money.


Gordo Says:

Well, I have been so busy in the past week I only just now read the massive thread.

Nice to see we have something to discuss other than GOAT talk.

Reading 250+ comments here makes me realize two things -

1) It’s great that a lot of people who love tennis and know a ton about the sport blog here and engage each other in interesting banter.

2) There sure are some people capable of making moronic comments in here.

Because the topic is supposed to be about Rafa’s inability to play SW19 this is what I will key on.

Why… bolded and enlarged and what the hell, change the colour to red for added emphasis… would Rafa fake being injured, as some have suggested?

To say it is just a PR move to make his winning the US Open more significant is just dumb. To say he can’t be injured because he just lost 2 exhibition matches to Lleydon and Stan is equally wrong. In fact, to suggest that there is any ulterior motive other than the man cannot play because he is in pain and doing so may aggravate his injury is just plain dumb.

If you really believe that Rafa is so capable of such duplicity why are you even a tennis fan?

I for one am hoping that Rafael Nadal is going to be healthy and back one day and I feel the world of tennis will be better when he returns.

I hope he is not the Bobby Orr of tennis – an athlete who had more tools than anyone, but over the years had a lesser toolbox.

In the meantime, unless Roddick’s ankle is bothering him, I think he may be the one to emerge in Nadal’s – now Del Potro’s – quarter. I was actually surprised Wimbledon did not seed Roddick above Del Potro initially, but because they are in the same quarter it is still okay.

Should Del Potro get past Hewitt we may see a grand QF match, should Roddick be heathy enough to win 3 matches, get past Davydenko or Berdych (probably). If that happens the winner will prove tough for Murray in the top half of the draw, should the Scot be able to focus his talent and make the semis.


Gordo Says:

Jane – I never refer to Djokovic as Djokr. I do call him the Djoker occasionally, but that is not meant as an insult – it is because he is a funny guy sometimes when he is interviewed, and he is known for being a prankster.


jane Says:

Kimo, I think I’ve already expressed my doubts quite clearly in many posts. So you don’t have to convince me. He’s also been up and down all season, so I find it difficult to predict how he’ll do at Wimbledon; he could get to the semis, quarters or he could go out in round 3. I don’t know. But I will certainly hope Djoko does well.

And If either Andy wins Wimbledon, I will drink champagne!


Gordo Says:

Sorry – I meant Djork. Who would call him that anyway?


sensationalsafin Says:

Has anyone been watching the rerun of last year’s Wimbledon final. Seeing it again without the suspense of who’s going to win, I” reiterate it was NOT the greatest match ever. Not at all. Maybe the most exciting due to the circumstances. But best? Highest quality? No way. Federer hit 2 good backhands the entire match. The whole time all he could do was smack a serve and smack a forehand. He was playing so limited. And it wasn’t due to Nadal not letting him play. Nadal play amazing, that’s for sure. But he also had moments where he’d miss by miles for no reason.


jane Says:

Gordo my question was to Twocents, re: the name-alteration, not you. Although I know you don’t like Djoko a lot or at least didn’t in the past. But whatever. Everyone has preferences and that’s what makes it fun to post and discuss, at least in part. Can you imagine how bland it would be on these boards if we all agreed or all felt the same about the players. Yawn. Much as the Rafa and Fed fans go at each other a lot, at least we get to read and discuss different points of view.


Gordo Says:

I’d like to examine Murray’s path to the final.

Round 1 – after he defeats Kendrick, then in

Round 2 he will likely face Gulbis, who is going to be a threat in a couple of years, but should not threaten the Scot here. Then, in

Round 3 he will likely have to face either Dent or Troicki. I think Gulbis will put up more of a challenge in the second round. That gets Murray into

Round 4 where he will probably face one of Wawrinka or Safin, the latter only if he is on his proper meds this week. If it is Safin he shouldn’t be a problem and if it is the Swiss he may take a set but on grass Murray should prevail and make it to

Round 5 and here there is not much to choose from. Although Simon and Gonzalez are the top seeds in this 1/8 portion of the draw, watch out for Kiefer, who performs well on grass. Any of these opponents should be easy for Murray to defeat.

So I think Murray’s path to the semis – to a likely match with either Roddick, Hewitt or Del Potro is fairly straightforward for him.

Unless the media and fan pressure and his nerves get to him. But he has toughened up mentally as well as physically in the past 2 years, and I fully expect he will make the semis, at least.


jane Says:

Murray was very complimentary of Rafa in his pre-Wimbledon Open yesterday, call Nadal his “favorite player to watch.” Here’s the link:

http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/interviews/2009-06-20/200906201245471180218.html


Gordo Says:

Jane -

I don’t dislike Djokovic. He cracks me up. I wish he’d get back on to the peak of his game because I suspect it is more than the switch to a Head Racket that is at the root of him not quite being the beast he was last year.

I do like his chances of making the semis. Who is going to stop him – Blake? IDTS. The one threat in his quarter of the draw appears to be the suddenly very hot Tommy Haas, who ND would play in the quarters. Should Novak get through however…

I don’t like his chances against Federer in a 5-setter semi-final on grass. If Fed should get bumped off before the semis I think the Djoker (there – I get to use my slang) has a chance to hoist the trophy. I would actually be rooting for him.

Just don’t let me see his mother! :)


jane Says:

Gordo, I think Fish is a threat. Djoko and Fish have played twice and while Djoko won on both occasions, they were tight. And I agree that clearly Haas would be a threat; he’s on the upper section of Djoko’s quarter, so I think the soonest they could meet would be the quarters? I agree with you that Djoko would not beat Federer over 5 sets on grass. Hardcourt, maybe. Clay, maybe. But not grass.

I think Fed’s the number 1 favorite for the title without question (were Nadal playing 100% fit, I’d say 50/50 just because of their match up and rivalry), then Murray, then Roddick. After that, there are a number of potential “dark horse” players: Tsonga, Djoko, JMDP, Haas, etc.


Edward Says:

zola, you said: “Fed comes with confidence, but he did not play his best in FO and he has a comfortable draw ( surprise!).”

—there are no easy draws. there never have been. I take “comfortable” to mean easy.

you also said: “we will see if Djoko can stop him in the semis.”

—exactly my point here. one never knows how or when a player will step up in a big way. and Djokovic has been doing well against Federer lately.
Federer has Murray, Djokovic, maybe Del Potro, maybe Lopez, maybe Kohlschreiber, maybe Soderling, maybe Karlovic, maybe Tsonga, maybe Gulbis, maybe Tipsarevic, maybe Haas, etc, to worry about or any other guy who is playing really well in the tournament.

I feel bad for you regarding Rafa. at the same time, he is to blame for putting himself in this position, beating himself up every match. this is why he couldn’t last an entire season. I am confident he will be wiser.


Edward Says:

I didn’t believe his knee problems at first. I do now.

still his fault though. if that is what it takes for him to be the best player, it does not bode well.


jane Says:

Edward, I am not saying I agree with him, but I just read Wertheim’s analysis and he called Fed’s Wimbledon draw “soft”, whatever that means. The opposite of “hard”? It’s a strange term.

Anyhow, he also picks Fed to win the championship. In fact I think nearly everyone is picking Fed to win now, given his history on grass, and perhaps a small contributer being that his main rival is out and he wouldn’t have to face him in the final.

But Murray’s got a shot I’d think, given his winning record and the likely support he’d receive. It’ll be interesting to see if Murray can get to the final here; he insists hard courts are his better surface.


jane Says:

Dimon’s predictions / analysis at Tennis talk:

http://tennistalk.com/en/blog/Ricky_Dimon/20090621/Approach_shots:_Nadal_out,_Federer_in_search_of_slam_No._15

And Bleacher reports preview / predictions:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/203000-wimbeldon-2009-mens-draw-preview-and-predictions

————

Even if we don’t put much stock into these write ups, imo they can be fun to read. So I am posting the links in case others are interested.


Colin Says:

I think, in discussing the likely result of a Federer-Murray match at Wimbledon, people are being over-logical!
The usual caveat that is brought in regarding Murray’s winning record against Fed is, “All those best-of-three victories don’t count, because Roger has the advantage in a slam.”
First of all, remember they’ve met only once in a slam, which hardly indicates a continuing trend. I think the only thing that matters about those victories is not the importance of their prestige as matches, but how they affect Murray himself. If as a result of those wins he feels confident playing Fed, their value in the opinion of the fans doesn’t matter a bit. He’s playing the match, not they.
In addition, whatever he may say, I’m sure the losses to Murray hurt Roger’s pride at least. You might say that will merely motivate him, but if he loses a rally or two and things are not quite working as he’d like (not unlikely nowadays) might he not hear a little voice whispering “Oh, hell, am I going to lose to this guy again?”


Edward Says:

jane, yes I also think that Murray has a shot at the title. I would absolutely love to see him in the final. This is where he wants to shine the brightest. The crowd insanity would blow any past Henmanocity out of the water!!! He has had success against the Wimbledon favorite, and, when it comes to this Federer factor, Djokovic should be coming in with some confidence, having gotten the better of him the last two times. He needs to stay solid. He’d probably do well just to keep the ball in play and let Federer self-destruct. BUT, this is Wimbledon. I’m starting to sound like one of these tennis writers: “could be…”, “should be…”, “we may see…”, “here’s what needs to happen…”, etc.


margot Says:

jane: hi! Off we go for another bumpy ride! Hold on tight! Here are my Wimbledon wishes a) that Andy M plays more aggressively b) that Djko gets his head together c) that Tsonga gets his act together c) that Soderling justifies his seeding (13) d) that Dimitrov shows us a glimpse of the future. Got any of your own?


margot Says:

jane: Ps see you read Tennistalk which I do too. Really like the journalists/writing on there, especially cherylmurray who has a soft spot for andymurray!!


jane Says:

I like all those “wishes” margot. I’d like to see Roddick do well here too. Personally I am hoping for an all Andy semi-final. I like JMDP, but he can wait. :)

p.s. I put a Shakespeare “strawberry” quote on the other thread.

Edward says “’m starting to sound like one of these tennis writers: “could be…”, “should be…”, “we may see…”, “here’s what needs to happen…”, etc.”

LOL – so true! But it’s fun to speculate and build things up (or play them down) before they begin to unfold in reality … tomorrow.


margot Says:

jane: lovely quote! Didn’t even know they had strawberries in Shakey’s time!
PS Don’t believe in “fate/destiny” either!
Night, Wimbles 2morrow oooooooooooooo, holding tight…………….


vared Says:

Q. You and Tiger Woods both have 14 major titles. What are the other similarities that you see between the two of you?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, success, I guess. I mean, I don’t know what else to say. I mean, like we’ve been at the top for a very long time. We’ve been when you talk about golf, you talk about Tiger; when you talk about tennis, you talk about me.


Tom Foober Says:

Colin

Two words: Patrick Rafter

Stop playing at an early age of fear of not being able to walk. It’s serious for this tennis players these days on how long you should play on the tour.


vared Says:

DR CAHILL

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=427…goryid=2491545

Darren Cahill: Well, firstly, I think everyone’s extremely disappointed he’s not going to be defending his title. I think the year that he had in the last 12-months and the match that they played between Federer and Nadal here last year, for me, was the best tennis match I’ve ever seen — we won’t get a repeat of that.

We sort of saw it coming, big surprise at the French Open, a loss to Soderling. And he’s been complaining of knee problems for quite sometime, he played a really heavy schedule going into the French Open. I think if he could have his time back, he probably wouldn’t have played Barcelona, his home tournament, or maybe even Madrid coming into the French Open; but he’s done that. He’s promised everybody that his knee problems are not chronic, it’s not career-ending, he just needs some time off. But I think to me, just a gathering from the press conference here, it seems to be a little more mental than physical and he just knows that he’s hit a wall at the moment. And with the knee problems he has he’s not getting any better.

So, I think it’s quite a lot psychological and not so much physical, to be quite honest.


vared Says:

Jane, Tignor said this but I don’t know

Djokovic may be better off than we think. He reached the final off a grass-court tune-up, and he looked pretty comfortable in practice today, snapping ground strokes off with a more penetrating topspin than I’d remembered from him. With his speed and ability to take the ball early, grass really should work for this guy.
Tignor blog


sar Says:

Jane & Von
I wrote to tenisbebe recently to see what she was up to. I told her she is missed and she wrote back the following–
i’ll be back soon – have been tied up with things. thanks for the e-mail. please tell Von & others I said “Hi”. Talk at you soon.
(tenisbebe)

I will try to be on more but am very busy lately myself.


Tom Foober Says:

Tiger Woods is in the woods sortaspeak.

Who is Ricky Barnes?

He is winning the US Open believe it or not.

Federer will text message Tiger and give him motivation because they are such good friends since signing with Gillete. They are definately the best razors in the business but the shampoo has not done anything but dry my hair out.


Bob Mc Says:

I don’t think Rafa was faking or overstating his injury. I think Rafa was just pushing hard to solidify hie #1 spot and come up against the wall as he stated. His losses just bought it to the forefront of his thoughts and he realized his health and future ability to play are more important. I am sure he will be back in full force. But this will impact his schedule and ability to regain the top spot. We will see what the future holds,. Good luck Rafa.


FoT Says:

They are just now starting the last round at the Golf US Open so it’s still anyone’s game.


Tom Foober Says:

I really need to study the draw more before I pick my upsets of the week.


Von Says:

Tom Foober:

I’ll give you an A+ if your picks pan out.


Von Says:

sar:

Thanks for passing on tenisbebe’s message. She had posted in April in response to my query concerning her absence. If you do email her again, please tell her I’m looking forward to her return.


Daniel Says:

vared, when I read that quote I thought right away: this is the “arrogant” quote from Fed that you would use (who seems to hate everything about Fed and Murray and insist in spice things against them). Now that I see it, it’s quite funny!

He may sound pretensious, but it is true. I am back in Brazil now and here is a country where nobody knows anything about tennis, it’s all socccer, all sunday in all channels. You guys have no idea of how much soccer is shown on TV here.

And when I comment with people that I play tennis the ones who seems to know something mention Federer, right away, or others with more knowedge, say: Fan of whom Fed or Nadal?!

That’s how important they are for this sport!


jane Says:

vared, thanks for the Tignor’s update; he is generally pretty supportive of Djoko as a player so I am not surprised he makes that observation.

sar, thanks for the update on tennisbebe. Hope she is well, and you too!

Daniel, don’t forget that we are expecting FULL DISCLOSURE on your Wimbledon experience — and from margot too! (And Colin, if he is going).


Daniel Says:

I’ll be arriving there Friday. Sunday I’ll be queueing all day, mean night, trying to get any monday R16 tickets! :)


vared Says:

Daniel
Arrogant or not, one thing is sure, he really, really loves himself.


Twocents Says:

Jane,

I’m sorry for mis-typing “Djok” into “Djork” without even realizing it, all the time. I assure you there’s no negative indiaction of any sorts. while I can relate better to vet players in general, I hold nothing against all upcomers — they need their time to grow up. Of the young guns, I like Djok cuz his agressive tennis and (amusing) innocences.

Why I still hold hope for Djok’s WO after his dismay FO? History: he had a good FO and bad WO in 2008. This year, he may have it the other way. He’s in Fed’s half. I’m a Fed fan. But I just don’t believe God would let Fed get his 14 & 15 in one month :-)).

I predicted Fed’ oust from Djok,La Monf, and JMDP at FO. Turned out all wrong. So I flew to RG to cheer for his final, out of guilty.

No, I’m not going to WO. My travel permit to Tibet just arrived. So I’ll be, hopefully, tracking Centre Court actions from Mountain Everest.

margot,

I like all your wishes. Enjoy the ride.


Mindy Says:

I find it fascinating how some here have already reached their own personal conclusions about the nature of Rafa’s injury and then proceed to post links to some so-called sports expert, whose comments just happen to bolster their theory.

Maybe some of these people who are writing that Rafa’s injury is more psychological than physical should become psychotherapists or shrinks. These are people who do not know Rafa or those close to him, who have not spent time with him or bothered to personally speak with him. Yet they observe him play and then decide that the problem is mental.

I refuse to even dignity the comments of those who still question the severity of Rafa’s physical injury. Some people think what they want to think, no matter what the evidence to the contrary. I believe the diagnosis that Rafa’s doctor provided to the news media.

It’s also easy to be a genius and say, after the fact, that it’s all Rafa’s fault for pushing himself to play too much. So he can’t win with some of you no matter what he does or says. Does anyone here honestly think in their right mind that Rafa deliberately set out to injure himself so badly that he would lose in the round of sixteen at the French Open and then have to withdraw from Wimbledon? It’s easy to kick someone when they are down and cheap shot them, so I expect this from some.

But I choose to focus on some of the positive comments from those here who may even be Federer fans, but still want Rafa to come back healthy once more and play great tennis. It is those of you who renew my faith in the human spirit.


Pro_B Says:

I’ve been following the ‘action’ on this site for quite a while now but this is my maiden Post so first things first- a HUGE thanks to Sean, Drew (love your work on ‘as it happens’ too), Staff et al AND all you posters for many a rollicking read! I’ve seen battles fought here in print that have gone from the proverbial sublime to the ridiculous but have seldom lacked in the sheer ENTERTAINMENT quotient and never failed to keep me updated on all that’s abuzz in the tennis world. Kudos, keep it going Guys! You really put the fun back in dysfunctional! :)
Ok, for starters, in a candid declaration of my personal loyalties, I’m a die-hard Federer fan. Having said that though, while yes I would always want Fed to come out ahead I’m ALSO a Rafa fan and have tremendous respect for him as an athlete, a competitor, a very skilled sportsman and from whatever I’ve seen or read of him, a great human being as well.
Therefore my two bits on whether Rafa’s withdrawal has more to do with mental fatigue, dented confidence and any form of psychological inability (as some of the posts here suggest) as opposed to a purely physiological one- We’ve all seen Rafa play, right? He REFUSES to go away. He is in it to win it every time and every point. I mean, to me, the single most important factor behind his success is not his tremendous athleticism and brute force but his MENTAL fortitude. Case in point (just one of many), the EPIC final at last year’s Wimby. We’ve all seen Rog is similar situations (unfortunately) recently- against berdych and haas. The difference? When Fed started to make what seemed like a highly UNLIKELY comeback, the opposition just wilted away. It was as if they were shell shocked by his sheer temerity of coming back against such odds and in both cases, the deciding set turned into a relatively tame affair. NOT the case with Rafa. He hung on right till the end. In fact, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and even say that the ONLY person who’s beaten Fed in recent times other than Rafa is pretty much Fed himself!

Anyhoo, my point being that I personally feel that giving up MENTALLY is alien to Rafa and there’s NO way that has ANYTHING to do with the withdrawal.
As for some suggestions that he’s SAVING himself for the USO? Cmonn, this ain’t a Master’s 500 or even a 1000 that he’s skipping out on! A SLAM is SLAM is a SLAM! If he coulda, he woulda!
I think for the first time in his career he’s doing the smart thing by recognizing his PHYSICAL limitations and giving his body a chance to recover before the damage becomes irreparable. And I for one hope that the said recovery is a rapid one.


Mindy Says:

I found this on another forum. It was posted by a Rafa fan. Who better than Teddy Roosevelt to say the words that sum up Rafa the best. This is also for those who have so cruelly questioned Rafa’s sincerity, honesty, commitment, dedication, courage, and desire. You should be ashamed of yourselves. This young man is a great champion and deserves better.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Theodore Roosevelt (26th US President (1901-09), 1858-1919)


Skorocel Says:

Pro_B said: “When Fed started to make what seemed like a highly UNLIKELY comeback, the opposition just wilted away. It was as if they were shell shocked by his sheer temerity of coming back against such odds and in both cases, the deciding set turned into a relatively tame affair. NOT the case with Rafa. He hung on right till the end.”

Exactly my thoughts on the 2008 Wimby final! I mean, Nadal could’ve won that one in 3 straight sets, but it’s actually the fact that he’s been able to win it after squandering that 2-sets-to-love lead which makes his win EVEN MORE worthy, and which separates him big time from all the Fed’s opponents. In other words, where the others would crack, Nadal simply won’t…


Bill Says:

Rafael Nadal has, sadly, become the undisputed king of excuse makers and grandstanders. After getting his butt whipped by Soderling, we repeatedly heard and continue to hear how his poor little knees have been hurting him for months. This statement reveals him to be a total fraud, given how many tournaments he won during those months when his knees were allegedly hurting.
Next, he leaves the Wimbledon organizers hanging in the breeze while continuing the ‘sore knees’ soap opera in the press. Those 2 “matches” with Hewitt and Wawrinka were just a sham, their sole purpose being to deprive Federer of the Number 1 seeding. Cowardly AND classless.

I have been an enormous fan of Rafa for years. Watching him play, especially against Federer, has been an absolute privilege for tennis lovers the world over. But his behaviour since the loss to Soderling has been sickening. As for his bigoted uncle Tony, the sooner Rafa dumps him, the sooner he has a chance to return to grace and form.

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