Davydenko Upsets Djokovic, Meets Nadal in Shanghai Final
by Sean Randall | October 17th, 2009, 3:30 pm
  • 168 Comments

Are we in for a final “Shanghai Surprise” when Rafael Nadal and Nikolay Dayvdenko meet for the title Sunday? If the week’s results offer any predictive value then we’ll probably see Davydenko turn his ankle in the warm-up, but win the match when Nadal retires mid-way through the first set with a stomach virus.

Of course let’s hope that scenario doesn’t happen, but the way the week has gone it’s safe to say to expect the unexpected, which is just what we had more of today in the semifinals.

Few gave Davydenko a chance against the streaking Novak Djokovic especially after the Serb won the opening set 6-4. But the Russian turned the tables and clawed his way back to win in a third set tiebreak 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(1) after 3:03 of play.

“The match was three hours [in duration] and decided [on a] tie-break,” said Davydenko, “Who was better?  I don’t know. He was better, but I won. He made many mistakes and also [lost] concentration.”

Said Djokovic who had won nine straight matches: “There was no problem. He played too good. I’m disappointed, because I think I played a great match.”

Meanwhile, for Nadal, no such marathon against his buddy Feliciano Lopez. After running his lefty countryman ragged from the baseline in the first set, Lopez, who woke up with an infection in his right foot, finally retired because of that same foot problem at 6-1, 3-0.

Said Rafa: “I’m in the finals, so that’s really important and really good news for me. It’s my first final after my comeback from the injuries. So it’s a very good result for me, and I’m very happy.

“Every week it’s really important for me. Every week [my] victories improve, improving my confidence, and that’s another important result in the final. So, sure, if I win tomorrow, it’s going to be [an] important change for me. I don’t know if I am in my best rhythm right now, but I saw the results, and the results are doing well, so that’s the good news.”

Lopez’s retirement was the ninth(!!) of the tournament which has to be close to some sort of record. Again, if the players are trying to collectively send the message that the season’s too long, consider it message received however it’s going to fall on deaf ears. Realistically, little can be done and there are far too many differing interests and parties involved.

And if you’re a big money event in Asia you have to be scratching your head a little bit after what transpired at the WTA stop in Beijing last week and the issue with all the retirements in Shanghai. It seems like the players just don’t want to travel that far this late in the season. Perhaps putting these events in concert with an extended Australian/Asian season may be worth investigating.

As for the Sunday, Both Nikolay and Rafa have very impressive records in finals. Davydenko comes in at 17-5 while Nadal is 36-10. Rafa also leads to head-to-head 4-2 however Davy does lead 2-1 on the hardcourts. And as I’ve said before, I think because he takes the ball early, hits the ball flat and can really dictate play with his backhand, he really matches up nicely against Nadal.

Dayvdenko is coming off consecutive three set matches while Nadal should be fresh having played just 3.5 sets in the last two days thanks to two consecutive retirements. And with a chance to finish No. 1 on the line (Rafa can close within 600 pts of Roger Federer with a win), I think Nadal finishes the job in Asia.


Also Check Out:
Tsonga, Del Potro Make Shanghai Masters Cup Debut Sunday
Federer Rebounds, Beats Down Davydenko; Roddick Rolls Gonzo at Tennis Masters Cup
Davydenko Derails Murray, Meets Djokovic in Shanghai Masters Cup Final
Roger Federer Confirms Shanghai Participation
Blake Falls as Del Potro, Simon Move Closer to Shanghai

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168 Comments for Davydenko Upsets Djokovic, Meets Nadal in Shanghai Final

Kimmi Says:

“And with a chance to finish No. 1 on the line (Rafa can close within 600 pts of Roger Federer with a win)…”

I am sure Federer knew what will happen to his # 1 ranking by not playing the Asian swing. Lets hope he has a plan to counter attack Rafa’s charge.


Giner Says:

This makes Nadal the first man to reach the finals of nine different Masters tournaments.

“Lopez’s retirement was the ninth(!!) of the tournament which has to be close to some sort of record. Again, if the players are trying to collectively send the message that the season’s too long, consider it message received however it’s going to fall on deaf ears.”

You must enjoy looking stupid by now Sean.

“Dayvdenko is coming off consecutive three set matches while Nadal should be fresh having played just 3.5 sets in the last two days thanks to two consecutive retirements. And with a chance to finish No. 1 on the line (Rafa can close within 600 pts of Roger Federer with a win), I think Nadal finishes the job in Asia.”

It certainly does look like the tennis gods have done Nadal a lot of favours in Shanghai. He’s had the kind of luck Fed gets at Slams, so it’s his to lose. However, going by your track record of predictions in this tournament, it’s looking like Davydenko will win easy. Just take the opposite of what Sean says and that can be your crystal ball.


Kimmi Says:

said Davydenko, “Who was better? I don’t know. He was better, but I won. He made many mistakes and also [lost] concentration.”
_______________________________

huh ? If you win the match Davy..it means you were better than your opponent.


sensationalsafin Says:

What about when one player wins more points that the other but still loses. Doesn’t that mean they were better but still lost?


Kimmi Says:

SS..The winner will still be better because he won important points..IMO tennis is all about winning big points.


sensationalsafin Says:

Well yeah but still. When you win a point that means you played it better than your opponent. So if you won more points that means you played more points. The big points determine who was better mentally and that’s what really counts, don’t get me wrong. But still.


been there Says:

[“The match was three hours [in duration] and decided [on a] tie-break,” said Davydenko, “Who was better? I don’t know. He was better, but I won. He made many mistakes and also [lost] concentration.”]

Seems like Davydenko understands it too….though I don’t totally agree with him in this particular match ‘coz from the stats, they do seem quite evenly matched..though Davy has more unforced errors, presumably from the 1st set. Winning big points at important moments is all that matters. Davy could have lost the first set 0-6 & still gone ahead to win 0-6, 7-6[5], 7-6[5]. Such is the cruelty of the sport. Reminds me of the Sod awakening at USO Qtrs and almost taking Fed to a 5th after being whipped in the 1st two sets.

Davy plays well, & am wishing him all the best…but I think it’s Rafa’s trophy as it is. Hopefully no retirements in the finals.


puckbandit Says:

How can a message be “received” and “fall on deaf ears” at the same time? More accurate would be “received” and “rejected’ as in: we don’t give a sh*t if the season’s too long. As long as we can get sponsors to pony up, we will keep having tournaments all over the world!

This many injuries, pre, during and post tourney, can’t be good for the game.

On a positive note, the Davy/Nola match was great. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a tiebreaker played as well. Bravo,


FedRafa Fan Says:

“Rafa can close within 600 pts of Roger Federer with a win”

How many points are Roger defending this week? I don’t recall him winning any tournaments (besides Basel last year) for him to defend major points. Rafa can gain 1000 points with a win but that is still 9945 to Roger’s 11255 — 1310 points. And Roger can potentially gain points in Paris (he reached the QF last year), defend Basel, and gain points in London (Murray knocked him out of the semis last year). So he is still in a good shape although Rafa is closing in. If Roger skips Paris then I would wager on Rafa to overtake the #1 spot especially since Rafa didn’t even participate in the TMC last year.


sensationalsafin Says:

Fed is losing 450 this week.


sar Says:

huh ? If you win the match Davy..it means you were better than your opponent.

Kimmi, as Fed once said. The better player doesn’t always win. LOL


Andrew Miller Says:

Seriously – I am shocked players retire in Shanghai. It’s one thing to retire during the brutal clay court season, but I am just surprised with the retirements on the job.

On another note: Kirilenko is no longer my favorite WTA player. It’s Flavia Panetta – because of this huge forehand!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqish-uqyM4


i am it Says:

both roger and rafa have each 700 points to defend in Shanghai (450), which replaced Madrid calendar wise and by drop date, and Paris (250).

rafa has already gained 600, and if he is lucky to win tonight, he will add 400 more plus whatever he gains in Paris.
so his hope to regain no. 1 has not completely extinguished yet, though it still appears to be an uphill battle.

if rafa somehow manages to take the fight to London final, it would gain a lot of attention.


jane Says:

Hi Sar – nice to see you!

I agree with sensationalsafin’s earlier point that sometimes there’s a really fine line in determining “a winner” in theory, though of course, someone always wins by the final score-line. But there are times it seems tough to pick the best player on the day, regardless of who wins or loses. For instance, someone can win more points, but still lose the match, as “ss” pointed out. And someone can win just by holding his nerve in a big point. Or then there’s those really, really, really close matches that are won by one or two shots in a tiebreaker; those are tough to stomach for the “loser”. Like Fed’s loss to Nadal at Rome in 06; or Roddick’s loss to Isner at the USO this year or to Fed at Wimbledon this year; or Djoko’s loss to Rafa at the Madrid semi this year; or … the list goes on and on. My point isdefinitely not that Djok deserved to win today, because from what I saw he didn’t. But that sometimes it’s a very fine line between the “W” and the “L”. But such is the case with sport; as “been there” said, it’s “cruel”. : /

—————————–

I am hoping that Rafa keeps the race for year end number 1 really tight, as it would lend a buzz to the YEC that is typically lacking. Can you imagine if Fed and Rafa met in the final to determine year-end number 1? That’d be awesome, no matter who won! So on that note, I hope he wins this title.


Giner Says:

sar Says:

“huh ? If you win the match Davy..it means you were better than your opponent.”

It means he played better in the tie break. For the rest of the match, they were about even, or maybe Djokovic played better.

Or maybe Davy really was the better player.. but then if he lost the tie break and Djok won, would he still have been the better player going into the TB?

I didn’t see the match, so it’s impossible to tell just from the stats and score. You can play a better match most of the time but just worse in a couple of games and be the loser.


rafa Says:

Nadal should seriously consider applying for a wild card entry in Valencia 500 tournament. He has only played 3 out of mandatory 4 this year, Valenica is close to his home,he is really fresh right now (with all the retirements) and it will be good preparation for Paris Masters.
Also additional 500 points (if he wins) won’t be bad at all.


jane Says:

I didn’t realize that Tsonga is still alive in the doubles at Shanghai; he’s playing with Benneteau right now – and it looks like they’ll win, presumably, the title. Good for them!


rafa fan Says:

Rafa is playing too safe, too short. He needs to be more aggressive. He needs confidence. Davedenko is hitting winner after winner.


rafa fan Says:

Come on Rafa. Step into the court. Take the ball early and hit it deep and flat. You are getting killed by Davydenko.


rafa fan Says:

Rafa needs to watch his matches. Rafa was playing inside the baseline when he was down a set and a break (2-5).


rafa fan Says:

Rafa is way far from his best. Rafa will be very disappointed since he was outplayed by a tired Davydenko. He could not take advantage of it.


rafa fan Says:

Well done Davydenko. Congrats !!!!


TomA Says:

As I expected, Davy beats Nadal in straight sets. Nadal was lucky to even get to the final. Yet to beat a top 10 player since Madrid. Last 5 losses have been in straight sets… Not worthy of #2 now, let lone #1. Murray, Djok, and Del Potro are better players these days.


lola22 Says:

lol at Sean Randall , i think he purposely picked nadal as the winner cause he knows he is a jinxer. I feel for nadal, it seems that he cant execute at the big points anymore. Somehow RG lost is definitely on nadal’s head still. until he starts believing that he can win again, he will always shocked. too bad for tennis , kid was entertaining. I dont see that confidence anymore. he doesnt believe on his game. i really hope im wrong on this one but only time wil let us know.


been there Says:

Despite being a doubting thomas, I’m very happy for Davy. Glad he proved me wrong. Big, big, congrats to him….he’s really a bunny. The man has played so much tennis in the past month, with fairly good results & I see he’s scheduled for Moscow! He is craaaze. lol. And he totally deserves this masters title especially after overcoming tough opponents through the week. :)

As for Nadal, I’m really not sure what to make of all this. I see that he hasn’t overcome a top10 player all the way back from his post-wimby comeback…so that includes from the US Open series….not that it matters whom you beat to lift a trophy. So I’m not sure if this is to do with his game, or just lack of match practise. But I should think that he’s got enough matches under his belt by now? After all, semis & finals are very good results regardless…only that with the likes of Rafa, a big W is the expected result. Not trying to create excuses…Davy’s also beaten him previously on hard-court when he’s ’100%’….just wondering ‘coz I had fully expected this to go to 3 sets even with the same winner..but not straights to Davy.

Anyway, good for Davy after putting consistently good results. Maybe this title gives him further confidence to really keep it together in the head in the upcoming tournaments. I hope he qualifies for TMC.


margot Says:

grendel: how can anyone say that Davy is a “robot”? He is an angel! I just love every aspect of his high velocity, high risk game…so different from our own dear Andy M!! It was thrilling to watch his ball striking today.
Another player with many injuries, without which he’d have won a slam for sure.


Veno Says:

Credit where credit’s due. Congrats to Davy for a deserved win. I had picked Rafa to win this one as I suspected him to be the fresher of the two. But Davydenko really played a high risk high pace game and executed well. Even though his UE count was high, he sticked to his aggressive game plan and kept going for the lines. A highly entertaining match.

Normally I don’t really care for Davy but his play was great to watch today. Also due to the contrasting styles I guess. There was not much that Rafa could do besides retrieving(he has incredible defensive skills, almost inhuman) as shown in his stats(only 4 winners)

All in all however, this final made up a little for an otherwise very disappointing debut of the Shanghai Masters 1000. I really hope that we get some more matches between fit players in Bercy.

Will be interesting to see who’ll claim the 8th spot for the YEC. Point wise Sod is at an advantage as he can add 160 net points when he wins Stockholm next week. Roddick and Davydenko seem destined to take places 6 and 7 n’est ce pas?

The year end rankings have some interesting side stories too. It’s still possible that Rafa ends up the year end number 1, however it’s a long shot.
And for number 3 it’s a 3 way race. JMDP is quite a way back however he only drops 570 pts(already dropped pts for Madrid from last year) and is able to add 3250 if he wins all 4 events he’s due to enter. Djoko and Muzzah drop 1450 and 1350 respectively(Madrid 2008 already dropped in my account)and can add 2500 pts.

The provisional standings now are as follows with the amount of points possible to add between parentheses and the World ranking as of tomorrow at the end:

1) Federer 9855 (3000) 10805
2) Nadal 8845 (2500) 9095
3) Djokovic 6500 (2500) 7950
4) Murray 6040 (2500) 7390
5) JMDP 5735 (3250) 6305


Veno Says:

correction: JMDP has 5815 pts in the provisional standing(the shifting thing again…) and Djokovic 6410


grendel Says:

Margot – words like “robot” are used by ignoramuses like me, who fail to appreciate the more technical points! I do think Davydenko is a master craftsman, quietly getting on with his profession, and when you ally to this an unfortunate tendency to wander once or twice in the course of a match (a la Henman), plus a certain hangdog look when the going gets tough, a certain resignation, defeatism even – you think, oh, I don’t really want to watch this, there will be some good tennis, but the end result is a bit predictable.

Well, all that’s changed now! Not the craftsman stuff, of course, but the defeatism. This is a man who now believes he can win against the best. It’s a marvellous late flowering. Now, at last, we can add Davydenko to the list of genuine grand slam contenders – and mean it! Can you imagine, b.t.w., what players like Davydenko and Simon would be like with a powerful serve. The mind boggles. Some of Davydenko’s first serves today were just rolled in, I don’t know whether he was trying to conserve energy.

Everyone was concerned that Davydenko would come in to the match worn out. Here is what he had to say on court afterwards (not all of it being intelligible, even with a bit of editing, Davydenko being one of these people who can speak English so fast you sometimes overlook the fact that you haven’t the slightest idea what he is talking about).

Asked if he was tired after his exertions yesterday, Davydenko said:”I was so tired in the beginning of the first set, at 4 all in the first set I was thinking I really have low chance to win but I have the same concentration in tiebreak, try to be keeping like second choice in my life, maybe I can like you know fighting and win second set”.

Davydenko is improving, isn’t he, not just on the mental side. He’s another of these players (Soderling, delPotro) who has understood that to win the big ones, you must be able to use the net effectively. And for my money, on today’s showing, he is much better than either of the two above – almost up there with Hewitt and Nalbandian in fact, two other baseliners excellent (but sparing) at the net.

As for Nadal – he must be thinking, for Chrissake bring on Federer! You’ve got to admit, he does play much more aggressively against him. Was he a touch complacent today? In his last service game of the match, he played wondrously well and sharply – he finally understood he had to. I’m not saying he could have kept that standard up all through the match. It would have been a gamble which perhaps he felt he didn’t need to take, whereas he knows he has to go all out against Federer.

Nadal’s next match with Davydenko is going to be interesting….


Veno Says:

Hmmm, and is Djokovic still going to play Basel? Then of course he has 3000 pts to gain if he wins all 15 matches…..


rafa Says:

massive choke from Nadal when he had the set point in first set. That lob was horrendous. He had the easy passing shot lined up, don’t know why on the earth he decided to hit a half hearted lob.


grendel Says:

Got match on tape, and it struck me there were a couple of points in the same game which are kind of indicative of the respective games, today, of the 2 players. Nadal is serving in first set at 1 all, 15-40 down. Davydenko hits a looping ball right onto the centre of the base line, obviously giving Nadal no angle to work with, so the Spaniard can only get it back rather ineffectively for Davy to hit his doublehanded bh nice and deep onto the line (again!), surely setting him up for a subsequent winner. But Nadal, from a very awkward position hits a wonderful low slice with enough spin on it that when Davydenko hoists it away to the other side of the court, surely to earn his break, he just overhits it by a couple of inches. It was a defensive slice, but hit with intent, thus inducing the error.

Now it’s 30-40, Davydenko’s return is nice and deep, Nadal puts back a somewhat innocuous ball, not a dolly, but the sort of nothing-ish ball which generally (with Nadal) leads to long rallies with Nadal gradually gaining the ascendancy. But Davydenko was having none of this, he simply took careful aim and smacked the ball hard and deep right onto the line (yes, again). Nadal scrambles hard, a la Rafa, to get it back, here we go again, one irritably thinks, the point effectively restarts, the slow battle for position is on – again. With Nadal, you get rallies within rallies.

However, Davydenko has other ideas. Declining to allow the ball to drop, he comes charging up without hesitation and drive volleys the ball behind Nadal for a winner and the Spaniard nowhere to be seen.

Davydenko breaks.


rafa Says:

@ grendel

Can you please put that set point for Nadal rally on youtube? I just want to watch it again to confirm what I believe.


Voicemale1 Says:

Nadal deserved to lose because Davydenko went for his shots and it paid off for him. Nikolay was able to go High Risk because Nadal was content to play far behind the base line, spin them in short and keep trying to slice to the Davydenko Forehand, which only worked about half the time. It’s like he waited for Davydenko to get tired because of the match yesterday and lose this one to him.

That said it’s not as though Davydenko played outstanding tennis to win. It was more like a two-hour Error Fest. Davydenko had 39 Unforced Errors. But he was able to back them up with 36 Winners. Nadal posted a ratio that’s rare for him: 38 Unforced Errors to only 9 Winners – he paid a stiff price for doing nothing but defense. With so much topspin and margin it’s bizarre so many unforced errors would fly off his racquet. But when you play that badly you deserve to lose. Massive kudos to Kolya for keeping his focus and mostly his legs after yesterday. He richly deserved to win.


Gordo Says:

Excellent play from the thin Russian. Good for him winning 2 solid matches in a row over Rafa and especially for his inspired play over a very tough Djokovic.

All of a sudden Rafa seems to have lost the same mojo that Roger lost last year – that advantage of being who he is and opponents step on the court with a mindset that they are going to lose.

It is a big favour Davydenko did for Roger today by denying Rafa the additional points in the race to #1. That 1010 point lead the Swiss now has over the Spaniard is more than the difference in the points they are defending for the rest of the year. (Roger has 200 from the year end Tennis Masters Cup to defend and 500 points from winning Basel last year; both men lost in the QF of Paris, so are both defending 250 points).

If Roger comes back strong and fresh and if Rafa continues his ‘not quite there yet’ play Roger has a good chance of winding up #1 at year’s end.

The draw in Paris is going to be highly anticipated, no?


grendel Says:

rafa:

you’ll have to forgive a technologially challenged buffer like me, but I don’t actually know how to put something on youtube.

This business of “unforced errors” – it’s highly subjective. I remember federer getting really irritated – whether with justification or not, I don’t know – at the ascription of loads of ue’s to him – he specifically challenged the classification.

I think Davydenko played wonderfully well, and I do believe he’s a real handful for Nadal under any circumstances. A couple of years ago on clay, he gave a Nadal in his prime by far his stiffest test in the tourney. Today, Nadal imo played pretty well but, as I suggested above, too defensively, as if he doesn’t yet quite believe Davy is the real thing. But in any case, many many “errors” from Nadal were induced. Credit were it’s due. Look forward to rematch.


i am it Says:

VM1, i agree that it was low-level tennis. you are right “Nadal deserved to lose” from the get-go.
everything was on rafa’s before the match started: fresh rafa, a tired opponent and a slow court.

the first point pretty much set the tone of the match. it was going to be played in davy’s term: rafa, pinned behind the baseline, was forced to throw a crosscourt forehand out (off the frame) after a long rally, losing the point.

the way i saw the match, rafa was bullied through out. davy should have won the 1st set 6-2 or 6-3, when he had a double break chance to go 5-2, had he not missed that passing shot (only by a inches !)
of course, davy overpowered rafa with his speed and constantly going for winners, usually deep cross-court, but there were plenty of long rallies that rafa could have taken advantage of, but he chose just to get the ball back in or was forced to throw out.

however, this i found unusual: davy winning points on his drop volleys and playing the net. he did that a couple of times at crucial moments, like when he set up and took the 1st break: it is that drop shot that gave Davy triple break point in the 3rd game of the 1st set. rafa saved two, but davy converted the third, coming to the net and bashing a winner! that’s not usual davy. he customarily sticks to his baseline habitat, no less than rafa.

once davy squandered his double break chances in the 7th game, 1st set, he allowed rafa into the match. after being broken back (4-3), davy almost had another double break point in the 9th game, had he not missed that easy smash wide. and he would not have faced the 2nd break point in the 10th game had he opted to challenge that questionable line call (the replay showed his shot clipped the baseline), which gave rafa some belief and, in effect, davy looked nervy for a minute or so, though he gathered his composure quickly (evidence: amazing backhand drop volley at the net, followed by second ace, in the 12th game, which forced to a tie breaker). from the tiebreaker on, he ran away with the match, which he had it under control from the beginning except a couple of nervy moments.

there is nothing to talk about rafa’s game in this match, except a few retrievals. did he ever hit a winner from the baseline? i can’t recall.


margot Says:

grendel @ 8.21: completely agree about Davy’s attitude and ue rate at times, this was reason I stopped watching match against Djko. However, I also remember him wiping the floor with Andy M taking the ball very very early and smacking it like he did today.
“low level tennis” methinks not, from Rafa certainly.


Voicemale1 Says:

I am it:

That’s about as excellent a synopsis as can be done on the match. Great job. What was surprising was that the score line was that tight given all the errors these two hit, especially Nadal, who was mystifyingly content to just loop his forehand from 10 feet back and wait for Davydenko to miss. If he was gonna lose it would have been better for him to lose trying to be more aggressive. It was as though he thought Davydenko would eventually collapse from exhaustion so Nadal decided to try to turn this into a Marathon. It’s to Davydenko’s enormous credit that he stayed in those rallies and was just tougher than Nadal.

Oddly enough, title wise, this is Davydenko’s 2nd- best year in his career: this was his 4th title in 2009 at age 28, and his 18th title overall. The only surface that doesn’t suit him is grass, which makes sense. The ball stays too low for him to use the other guys pace and take it on the rise to re-direct. You have to be a athlete and a shot-maker to win on grass. But he deserves a huge congratulations for winning today after his marathon yesterday.


sensationalsafin Says:

1) Seems like there’s something seriously wrong with Nadal. He hasn’t played perfect all week and he just looks uncomfortable on the court. You’d think getting to the semis of the US should be a big enough boost but maybe that JMDP loss was an even bigger set back?

2) People mention how Nadal hasn’t faced a top 10 opponent and he should’ve been fresher after 2 of his opponents retired. I know I’ve made this point for Fed in the past and now it seems to apply to Nadal, too. Besides one good win over Blake, he didn’t play any quality opponents and didn’t even play full matches. He had trouble closing out the second set against Ljubo before he retired. He comes in against a top player who’s dying to beat him and he’s not ready for the challenge. It’s not like he’s not gonna put up a fight but, like I said in my first point, he doesn’t look comfortable. He’s not confident in his game yet, especially against a quality opponent who’s not gonna let him get a groove that easily.

Good win for Davydenko. Grandel, you mentioned how you didn’t want him to get into the YEC because he’s usually just a spoiler not just a potential winner. I agree with that point so I’m hoping his wins over Djokovic and Nadal might make him a legit threat at the YEC. He’s obviously playing well and now he’s gotta have some belief. Plus, he finished runner up last year so he knows he can do well against the top 8. I think it’s way too soon to peg him as a slam contender. Murray’s won a bunch of MS and he still hasn’t won a slam. Davydenko still has to prove himself a bit. I’d like to see him win something before he retires, although it’s not like he has any reason to any time soon. Davydenko needs a big win in a slam before he can be called a contender. Kinda like Murray, no big wins in slams, only in the smaller events. But Davydenko is definitely the best player to never reach a slam final. Damn the Swiss.


i am it Says:

margot, it takes two to tango, and rafa was absent in his presence. when i said that, i had dj-simon match in mind. an error-filled match can be sometimes exciting, plus your expectation and taste, style wise, determine what you call a high-level tennis. i did not mean to say davy played a bad match. he fulfilled his share, but the other half failed to make it a great dance. i did not mean rafa’s counter-punching is always boring. it can be interesting if you do it right with exquisite acumen, but you gotta go for winners, even if sporadically.


jane Says:

Congrats to Davydenko – his 3rd MS shield.

i am it @ 11:04 am, thanks for the match summation. I guess Davy played Rafa how he played against him in Miami in 2008. I noticed in the second set against Djoko yesterday that Davy began coming into the net and winning a few points there. He did that at last year’s YEC, too, and I remember commenting then that his movement into the net was excellent.

I had hoped for a Nadal win and a tighter race to year end number 1 but it sounds like the deserving man won.


grendel Says:

rafa:

I think you are right. Davydenko was closer to the service line than to the net when Nadal lobbed. Davy was in the centre and inclining to the right, so a crosscourt pass was on.

However, justice done? at 4-2, Davy had double break point. The first one, Davy hit insideout fh to the line, straying by an inch or two – hardly “squandering”, and also, this wld count as a ue. So much for ue’s. At 30-40, Davy hits a good serve loopingly to the base line, and it’s called out. Hawkeye showed it to be in (confirming overule) – again, not a “squander”. Because although Nadal hit it back, it was a weak shot and Davy was in prime position to win the rally, break, and so serve for the set.

Davydenko did what he had to do, and it is a pity to try to diminish his victory by pointing to Nadal’s play. To a degree, Nadal was constrained by Davy. One so-called unforced error was Nadal going for a fairly outrageous winner and missing – it had to be outrageous because Davy’s defence was so good.

That said, I had myself considered Sensational Safin’s point that Nadal perhaps had it too easy in this tourney, that he was underplayed. I do think, however, that there is now enough evidence to indicate Davydenko is a tough match up for Nadal.

Yes, SS always puts down what I think of but don’t! I realised that touting Davy as a potential slam winner is perhaps premature. But he has definitely changed: mentally he is stronger (more confident, can focus for longer, though there’s still plenty of room for improvement there). And his touch around the net is, as I mentioned before, becoming notable. he has obviously, obviously worked on it.

So let’s put it this way – he’s on the road to being a slam contender.


sensationalsafin Says:

Honestly, I’m surprised at all this talk about how good Davy was at net because I remember watching him practice at the USO a year or 2 ago and he was SOOOO bad at net, it was embarrassing to watch.


fadingis Says:

nadal isn´t 100 percent but davydenko play amazing tennis all week, he really deseved it even if all the best hard court players werent there


fadingis Says:

federer needs to win basel and paris to assure the no 1 this year


sensationalsafin Says:

Who could possibly beat Federer in Basel?


Gordo Says:

Fandingus – I think winning Basel is essential, but Fed is only defending 250 points at Paris and the way Nadal is playing he will not be going far there. Fed’s chances of being No. 1 at year’s end are pretty good, imo.


jane Says:

sensationalsafin – probably no one. But I think Djoko, Tsonga and JMDP are all playing there this year, so it’s a deeper field than usual isn’t it?


grendel Says:

“at the USO a year or 2 ago he [Davydenko] was SOOOO bad at net, it was embarrassing to watch.”

Indeed. And that’s what makes his resolve to turn this deficiency around so impressive. Not just that, it indicates a degree of ambition.

Davydenko’s had enough of semis. He wants to move on.

About a couple of years ago he was putting somebody down, I think it might have been Murray. He was saying he couldn’t really take seriously a player who hadn’t yet reached a grand slam semi. I thought at the time that this was a revealing remark, though not in the way Davydenko intended. For it seemed to demonstrate a certain limit to his ambitions.

I think it is fair to say that he has strectched those limits now.


grendel Says:

jane, I beg to disagree. It is natural to think of Basel as Federer’s personal fiefdom. How dare anyone else aspire to take it over?

Nevertheless, the fact remains that Fed has had some extremely tough matches there, often by quite obscure names – there was a German and an American, for example, whose names just escape me; the German certainly won the first set. And the Finn Niemenem stretched Federer to the limit.

So certainly Djokovic, Tsonga, delPo if he’s back in the land of the tennis living, have every chance to beat him.

Hope none of them do, mind.


Kimmi Says:

Just came back and saw the results. YES..davydenko! It was easier with Rafa than Djoko. I wish I see the match..will have to buy the recording from tennistv. Rafa must hate the flat hitter..its getting tougher and tougher for him.


sensationalsafin Says:

Tsonga’s win was a fluke, Djokovic won’t be as fresh or as confident against him, and Del Po might not even play and if he does, well, he’s certainly gonna be feeling pressure.


i am it Says:

“The first one, Davy hit insideout fh to the line, straying by an inch or two.”

unless we were watching two different matches or talking about two different points, it was not an inside-out forehand (1st break point, 15-40, 2-4) because first of all davy and rafa were not playing that point backhand to backhand at that point. Davy hits a short ball, the one before the passing shot, and does not move further back around the ball to hit an inside-out; instead, his movement is forward-leaning to pass while rafa moves in toward the net.
when davy missed that opportunity, i called it squandered/ missed opportunity, and i don’t see anything wrong with that, unless you want to engage in some semantic game, in which case every word (as well as hermeneutics and semiotics) is suspect as it would not capture exactly what happens out there.

a blow-by-blow blogger reports the same at.

http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/tennis/livematch/358903.html


i am it Says:

Kimmi, do you know if i can buy a match from tennistv and email it to my friend as a Christmas gift? how does that work? any suggestion will be appreciated.


jane Says:

grendel “I beg to disagree.”

You disagree with me that “probably no one” will beat a rested Fed at his home tournament, which he has owned for the last 3 years?

That’s fine, but I stand by my guesstimation – probably no one can beat him there.

I agree with sensationalsafin – Tsonga is not likely to beat him; Djok will probably be tired and he lacks confidence when playing Fed anyhow, and JDMP is not on since his slam win.

Notice I didn’t say, without qualification, “no one”. I said “probably no one” so the odds are clearly, imo, against Fed losing at Basel. It would be surprising to me if he does. But surprises do happen and I’ve left room for that in my statement by even acknowledging that the field is deeper there than usual this year.
n


fadingis Says:

p.s the basel-paris thing is based on calculation


fadingis Says:

jane, i agree that´s the most probable thing to hapen but if delpo is who know´s, for me he´s the only one with a chance to win other than federer


fadingis Says:

*if delpo is on


sensationalsafin Says:

Since when are Shanghai and Paris 3 weeks apart?


Dan Martin Says:

Do you think Fed should seek a wild card into one of the events a week before Basel?


Kimmi Says:

“Kimmi, do you know if i can buy a match from tennistv and email it to my friend as a Christmas gift? how does that work? any suggestion will be appreciated.”

I am it: LOOOL

I can never tell if you are joking or not but the question came out very funny. Anyways…It is a great idea for an Xmas gift, especially for today’s match if your friend is a Davydenko fan.

Sure you can buy( one match is 3 $). Go to tennistv/downloads, I bought a Madrid 09 final and it has been great…but how to email a full match recording is beyond my intenet knowlegde. You can send a question to tennistv, they should be able to help you.


grendel Says:

I’ll leave the technical expertise to you. It’s what I, in my ignorance no doubt, saw as more or less inside out. You know hugely more about tennis than I do, to say the very least of it. I have never pretended to anything remotely resembling professional knowledge. My son’s coach – with whom I can talk tennis without him talking down to me – would laugh at the idea. But as I understand it, enthusiastic amateurs are allowed their say on this site and trying to drown me in professional analysis won’t work with me. What I saw was plain enough, Davy went for a winner, nearly got it, just missed.

You wrote “once davy squandered his double break chances”. You don’t have to start being sarcastic, and talk about “semiotics” and what not, nor is it accurate to level the charge “playing semantic games” at me. Just not necessary. Your phrase is loaded against Davydenko, because when you talk about someone squandering a chance, you mean he’s made a cock up. But actually, he just missed. The second break I’ve already written about, and there is a case for saying Davydenko was pretty unfortunate, and I make it. “Squander” absolutely gives a misleading impression.

jane, you sound cross, I don’t know why. Hardly a serious point I was making. But I do think Federer finds Basle quite difficult – they really, badly want him to win there, and I am convinced he feels the pressure, which is why he sometimes has struggled to win there. That bizarre giggling fit he had, d’you remember that, apart from some schoolboy sexual innuendo, I wonder whether it was partly due to the release of pressure.

b.t.w., Nalbandian is supposed to be playing there, which should be interesting. Also Blake and Berdych. Quite a field.


sensationalsafin Says:

What giggling fit and sexual innuendo? Fed’s had some epic losses in Basel but a lot of those losses came against Henman, who used to own Roger. Fed’s won Basel the past few years because he knows he’s the best and it’s his home tournament so he’s not going down without a fight. How badly do the other players really wanna fight to get a 500 win?


jane Says:

“jane, you sound cross, I don’t know why.”

LOL – that’s the thing with blogging; who knows how one comes across half the time. I was not cross in that post at all, just pointing out the nuances in my earlier statement.

Yes – remember the bizarre giggling fit and wasn’t it there he cried once? And also got a cow. Ha! Maybe it’s pressure release; I can see that. But sometimes pressure increases determination as well.


i am it Says:

SS, i did not understand the question. did you mean madrid and paris in the old schedule?

back in 2003, Basel was right after Madrid and right before Paris. there was no gap. the same schedule had been there through 2008. that means, it’s changed from this year, with 3 weeks in-between.

on a side note, fed does not seem to like Paris Masters as he escaped for 3 years, ’04-’06, walk-over in ’08, and his best results have been quarterfinals thrice, ’02-’03 and ’08, meaning he has not won more than 2 matches in each of those occasions.
on the other hand, rafa has played Paris twice, reaching final in ’07 (l. Nalby) and quarter final in ’08 (l. to Davy).


grendel Says:

woh, my bad. I inadvertantly looked at 2008 players. So, no Nalbandian. Sorry.

SS – well, if you can be bothered to find your way back to this site for October last year, at time of Basle tourney, you’ll find a you-tube link for Federer’s on court interview, in which he giggles throughout. I believe the lengths of how’s your fathers, closely examined in places of liquid evacuation, were under review.

Yes, Fed’s won – but he’s had some surprising struggles against some unlikely players, that was the only point I was making.


jane Says:

sensationalsafin, here’s the Basel interview where Fed giggles:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOMTuvnFDfE


i am it Says:

Kimmi, thanks. i was not kidding.
i did not say which match i was going to buy, but, yeah, if i had a friend who was a davy fan, that’d be nice.
anyway, i’m waiting for a reply from tennistv. i am not hoping much because in its Terms of Use, it bars from sharing the password. i may have to do it anyway if the purchase is not restricted to one IP address per purchase.


grendel Says:

jane, how d’you find it so quick? this is a proper question, I really don’t know how to find you-tube stuff quick, but there must be a way.


jane Says:

I went to youtube, and in the search I typed in “Federer + Basel + laughing”. And lo and behold – the miracles of modern technology.


grendel Says:

Obvious, isn’t it…………….grrrrrrrrr.


jane Says:

Not always: I actually tried “giggling” first and it didn’t work, so I switched to laughing. But I guess the key is to narrow your search with the “+” ‘s and you’re more likely to find what you’re looking for quickly.


Kimmi Says:

I am it: Now that I think about it, you are right about the IP address and sharing passwords. Good luck to you.

BTW, Davydenko/nadal match is not on yet for downloads..I hope is ready soon coz I am ready to watch it now.


Kimmi Says:

I am it: Just find out..tennistv have it for free, full match. Great stuff, at least I am saving my $3 dollars.


i am it Says:

grendel, it was not necessary to pound on my choice of word, “squandered,” which, i thought, corresponded to what i felt about that point davy played, so the justification on personal basis. i did not intend to play for-against game. you did not have to brutalize how i felt, by repeatedly going after word usage, without even addressing me. it may not have corresponded to your feelings or how you saw it, but it sure did mine, based on the immediately available word ATM. and then you try to justify your brutality by a flawed technical description of a shot. then you seek pity for not being professional, talk about amateurs’ rights to post on forum, etc, while i never raised these issues, even faintly.

in the next response, you feel talked down upon and seek respect, the same kind you receive from your son, while i was merely pointing out your error on objective-technical ground, and you continue to deny my right to subjective perception of the first break point in question. i don’t know what to say any more.

if i may generalize, which is risky, as your use of “cockup” suggests that you are a Brit, and some of us in the US may not see things the way you do or choose at times different descriptive words but mean the same thing as you do. maybe, it has something to do with the geographical or regional variety of the same language.

be that as it may, let’s get over it.


Giner Says:

Man I was right. Sean really is a reverse crystal ball. Just take the opposite of everything he says and you have an accurate prediction.


Von Says:

Congratulations to Kolya on a well-deserved victory. Unfortunately, Nadal’s war of attrition tactics did not work for him against Davy who went for his shots regardless of who was on the other side of the net. He did the same vs. Djokovic, thus not caving in and letting the nerves get to him. In his match vs. Djokovic match, Davy was making a lot of UEs from his FH, and he seemed to formulate a different plan in his match vs. Nadal. He, instead, went cross-court FH and down the line BH as opposed to down the line FH and this did the trick for him to keep the UEs down and pile up more winners.

Good job, Kolya, and all credit for a well-deserved win!


grendel Says:

i am it:
“you did not have to brutalize how i felt, by repeatedly going after word usage, without even addressing me.” I think the word “brutalize” is way over the top. I did not “repeatedly” go after word usage – I just thought,and think, the word “squander” to be misleading and loaded.

“you try to justify your brutality by a flawed technical description of a shot”. Nonsense. I’ll take your word for it that the technical description was flawed. But there was no question of justifying a non existant “brutality” (or even an existant one); no description, flawed or otherwise, was necessary to make my point (I included it because we amateurs rather like to try to describe strokes; clearly we do this at our peril!): for my point was very simple, Davydenko just missed, and it was a big exaggeration to say he “squandered” the point.

“you seek pity for not being professional, talk about amateurs’ rights to post on forum, etc, while i never raised these issues, even faintly.”

No, I do not seek pity, you are simply mistaken here, but you can’t be blamed for that. I’m actually rather sensitive to this issue; there are a lot of posters on this site who, like yourself, clearly have expert knowledge. I’m never quite sure what justification people like me have for posting, especially since I tend to do rather long posts. Also, twice I have been called “expert” by people who I think are probably expert themselves. You might think I revelled in that: I didn’t, I was hideously embarrassed, well aware of what certain other posters would think of this. I couldn’t even deny it, since that would draw attention to it, so I pretended it didn’t happen.

However, whilst it is true you didn’t “even faintly raise these issues”, I have the impression you were trying to drown me in knowledge – this is a well known polemical technique, often employed by experts. I may have misjudged you, but that is my impression.

” you feel talked down upon and seek respect, the same kind you receive from your son”. I do feel you were deliberately talking down, yes – see above. That is subjective. However, I did not seek “respect”, and I presume you mean my son’s coach. Whether my son respects me or not, I -er – don’t know. I think he loves me, and I think he thinks he knows more about tennis than me already,the little swine (he’s only 13), and he’s probably right.

“you continue to deny my right to subjective perception of the first break point in question.” It was both break points to begin with. Anyway, you’ve lost me here. How am I denying you? I just think you are wrong, and so I say so.

It’s all very well you saying “let’s get over it”. Why not? But you’ve made a lot of psychological judgements about me as if they are fact, which is rather rude, don’t you think?

No expert likes to be corrected by the non-expert, so I can see where your irritation lies. But the area in which I judged you to be mistaken – in the use of the word “squander” – does not require expertise, just a reasonable set of eyes.

Still, we can all get on our high horses, certainly I can. I don’t want to upset you long term. I have twice written posts in genuine admiration for what you had to say. You’re a damn classy poster, no doubt about that. But you’re human, and you can get things wrong like the rest of us.


Von Says:

SS: “Seems like there’s something seriously wrong with Nadal. He hasn’t played perfect all week and he just looks uncomfortable on the court. You’d think getting to the semis of the US should be a big enough boost but maybe that JMDP loss was an even bigger set back?”

I agree, there is something definitely wrong with Nadal — he seems apathetic. The spark, vim and vigour have gone out of his game, on an emotional level. Whatever is worrisome to him emotionally is manifesting itself physically = a seemingly loss of interest in tennis, coupled with the gladiator’s aggression and fight to win are severely and markedly diminished. His apathy is also visible in an almost extinct use of the fist-pumps. I’d say Nadal is not just hurting physically but emotionally as well.


Duro Says:

October the 19th (it is in Europe)! I’m proudly congratulating Nole’s official number 3 spot in the world! That’s the way champ!
Alleeeeez allez allez aleeeez, No3-leeee, No3-leeee… Two more to go!
Love is in the air…


Von Says:

WOW, there is justice after all, even in the cyber world. LOL. Glad to see I’m not the only one who suffers from the word dissection, insults and verbal blows. ha ha. I figured if I withdrew, then others in time, will be given a dose of what I’ve had to endure, as the whipping post. However, didn’t see it happening quite so soon. I’m glad I stopped by to read.

*******************

On another note:
sar Says:
“huh ? If you win the match Davy..it means you were better than your opponent.

“Kimmi, as Fed once said. The better player doesn’t always win. LOL”

Let’s not forget, you reminded me that Kimmi’s entitled to her opinions a while back. And, I’d say going by the above she’s expressing that entitlement, yes?

I have to agree with Kimmi, in that match, Davydenko was definitely the better player, and it’s why he won. He had more winners, and more break-points, but his nervousness was evident in his UEs. Overall, he was the better player = winner.


Duro Says:

Or do I have to wait till South African October the 19th? I guess not. Alleeeez allez allez alleeeez, No3-leeeee, No3-leeee…


sar Says:

On another note:
sar Says:
“huh ? If you win the match Davy..it means you were better than your opponent.

“Kimmi, as Fed once said. The better player doesn’t always win. LOL”

Let’s not forget, you reminded me that Kimmi’s entitled to her opinions a while back. And, I’d say going by the above she’s expressing that entitlement, yes?

———————————–
Von
How nice of you to greet me this way after my vacation.
It was a cut against Fed’s words and there was an LOL at the end in case you didn’t notice.


sar Says:

I’m proudly congratulating Nole’s official number 3 spot in the world! That’s the way champ!
———————
Duro, I’m so glad for him however short it might be! Lots of closeness in the rankings. Here’s hoping for number 2 someday. Allez allez allez to you too.


sar Says:

Hi Jane, just back from Scottsdale! 103 degrees there yesterday morning and 40′s back in Chicago. Brrrr.


Voicemale1 Says:

Von Says:

“I agree, there is something definitely wrong with Nadal — he seems apathetic.”

– - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - –

I thought about stuff like that too, wondering if being on the ATP Tour since age 16 might be starting to fry him mentally and exacerbating his injuries. Trying to see from a higher over view on his year my thought is nothing I get the sense of tells me he’s souring on the game. His career, since he began making tennis his livelihood, has been a concentration on their first 6 months of the calendar in a Stepping Stone manor. Start where you have to, all in an effort to be at peak for the Clay Season starting in April. Given his dominance there you can understand this thinking.

But this year was incredibly tough, and not necessarily so much about the injured knees. My own feeling is his parents separation destroyed his concentration. They all live together in the same apartment building in Majorca. Not only that – add in that when you start raking in the amount of money Nadal does with purses and endorsements, it usually is managed by family members (I understand Federer’s personal finances all take place under the watchful eye of his parents). After all – when you’re worth THAT MUCH, it’s probably best to have mom & dad kinda mind the bank while you’re out working. This dynamic shattered for Nadal when his parents separated. Some separations are amicable; others aren’t. We don’t know what exactly led to what happened – but any responsibilities they had for managing his fortune now likely had to be separated too..so THEY could remain separated. And when it’s your money, you gotta make sure it stays intact. Unless any of us are as wealthy as he is, none of us knows what he has to do to keep people away who see “opportunities” to divest him of his cash for their schemes. I’m thinking more than his knees, this is probably why he took so much time off during the summer. He needed to get a lot of personal things in order.

On the court, Nadal has been involved in the two most compelling matches this year; the AO SF against Verdasco and the Madrid SF against Djokovic. And I still maintain this latter match spent him physically and mentally, and did so for Djokovic too. It took both of them a long time to get back to where they were before that match. Remember, Nadal & Djokovic were basically cutting up a lot of the tour spoils between them up until that match. It’s only now that they both look to be coming around to where they were before it. And Verdasco has yet to have any play to equal what he put forth in Australia.

As for his return, Nadal’s results overall mirror what they largely have always been in the fall: more consistent than almost everybody save Federer. We hear a lot about Del Potro’s crushing of Nadal at the US Open. But what of del Potro NOW? He couldn’t get out of his first match vs. a Qualifier in Tokyo; then came to Shanghai and had to quit because of an injury (and Del Potro’s injury catalog at age 20 is starting to get pretty lengthy). Cilic? Yes, crushed Nadal in the Beijing SF. But he couldn’t even get out of his first match against Berdych in Shanghai. So after both tournaments what’s the talk about? Nadal’s supposed inferiority to two guys who haven’t been able to get out of their own way while he has results that read a SF and a Final, far better than Del Potro or Cilic have been able to accomplish two events. Nadal earns more points and more bucks than either of those who beat him when both events are looked at, and the topic is whether or not Nadal is finished because of THEM; not the inconsistencies of the wannabes. Davydenko? Yes, he’s beaten Nadal in their last three, but his career is extremely pale to Nadal’s in comparison. Nadal has won exactly twice as many titles as Davydenko (36-18) despite being 5 years younger, and 6 majors compared to Nikolay’s zero (Davydenko hasn’t even been to a Major Final at age 28).

Their match today was puzzling in one respect: Nadal doggedly held onto the way he plays his best on the slower surfaces by staying back, and slicing repeatedly, which works best on grass. Davydenko didn’t play a flawless or compelling match; he had 39 errors and had to offset those with 36 winners. It’s amazing the score was as close as 76 64 when you look at Nadal’s winners-to-errors ratio was -21. Nadal’s a smart guy. He KNOWS he has to be aggressive against Davydenko (and it’s clear he can be) if he wants to win. But he stayed with his tried & true bread and butter stuff. I have to think that was by design; other than to hone it sharp for next year I can’t think of what it could be. Regardless, he knew that strategy wasn’t going to work about halfway through the match – yet didn’t change a thing.

Every autumn we get the predictions of doom for Nadal’s career because of shellackings he got from del Potro and Cilic, in addition to his injuries. But does anyone remember how badly Nalbandian crushed Nadal in Madrid & Paris during the fall of 2007, all with Nadal’s Wimbledon-induced tendinitis requiring taped knees? And how did he respond? Becoming World #1 less than a year after those beat downs. And add to that Nadal’s revenge on Nalbandian at IW in 2009 – he saved 5 Match Points in the 2nd Set and crushed Dave 60 in the third on his way to the title.

Seems that over the years, all of us have been quick to write him off, only to watch him have the last laugh every time. Wouldn’t surprise me if he pulled that off again next year.


sensationalsafin Says:

I’ve been saying this for a while and I’ll say it again, Nadal’s gonna be back to his beastly self once the clay season comes around. He doesn’t like the hard courts and after a couple months of not playing, it’s not surprising he looks unhappy to return to his least favorite surface. I especially agree with the whole consistency thing. Agassi declares the ending of the Fedal era and everyone is buying into it even more. They’re both way too consistent. And I’ve watched Nadal’s matches in the last few weeks and he’s far from his best, which is why I’m not impressed by his results. But the rankings depend on the points accumulated from getting deep in events, so even if Del Potro and Cilic beat Nadal every other week, Nadal will gain several hundred points during the week they’re getting injured or recovering or whatever. I would love to see someone else get take over the top 2 rankings, but it ain’t gonna happen any time soon. Fed’s gotta lose early at the slams, and Nadal’s gotta start losing early in general, which he never really does. Isn’t the 4th round at the FO his worst result all year (Nadal)? That’s insanely amazing, something no one else has replicated. Even Fed’s lost earlier than the 4th round (Monte Carlo). I think Nadal is struggling, which he surely is, and there is a difference between now and 07. When he lost to Nalbandian, he looked hopeless due to Nalby’s ridiculous play, but he wasn’t the only one. But he’s looked uncomfortable whether he’s destroying his opponent or being destroyed. At least he has 2 good wins over Blake which show he can still fight. He just needs to get back to where he’s most comfortable, the clay.


Mindy Says:

Voicemale1,

I do not come here regularly anymore, but as a Rafa fan, let me say how much I appreciated your comments about people writing Rafa’s epitaph. You put it all in perspective. I was particularly appreciative that you brought up the consistency issue. Indeed! Where are Cilic and Delpo right now? Once they can win as consistently as Rafa and Fed, then I will be a believer. I am pleased that Rafa has managed to keep his #2 ranking, even with the injuries and time off. For now I am grateful to see him playing and looking healthy.

I also have wondered about the issue of his parents separating. It has to be affecting him terribly. For a young man who is so close with his family, the stress has to be unbearable. I think it may even be hampering his efforts as he tries to regain his form. It is something that can play on your mind and reappear at the most inopportune times.

But it was just refreshing to read a common sense analysis of Rafa and where he’s at right now. He’s not going anywhere. I think it’s going to take some more time before he gets his great form back, but it will happen. As far as playing so defensively against Davy, I think his lack of confidence makes him revert back to his old bad habits. I hope to see that change in the near future. I would so love to see Rafa have the last laugh next year!

I would try to come here more often, but reading Sean Randall’s blogs trashing Rafa makes me sick to my stomach. I was going to respond to his latest attack about Rafa being #1 when it comes to greed and the apparent gall of Rafa suggesting changes in the scheduling. Now Rafa is a hypocrite or worse for signing up for Abu Dhabi. Of course, Sean conveniently forgets that Rafa was out a while for not one, but two injuries. He needs the match play leading into next year.

But there is really no way to counter these kind of irrational ravings about Rafa. It’s not going to change. But it always is a good way to get the Rafa haters going here.

Anyway, I was impressed with your thoughts and wanted to let you know.


scineram Says:

We hear a lot about Del Potro’s crushing of Nadal at the US Open. But what of del Potro NOW? He couldn’t get out of his first match vs. a Qualifier in Tokyo; then came to Shanghai and had to quit because of an injury (and Del Potro’s injury catalog at age 20 is starting to get pretty lengthy). Cilic? Yes, crushed Nadal in the Beijing SF. But he couldn’t even get out of his first match against Berdych in Shanghai. So after both tournaments what’s the talk about? Nadal’s supposed inferiority to two guys who haven’t been able to get out of their own way while he has results that read a SF and a Final, far better than Del Potro or Cilic have been able to accomplish two events. Nadal earns more points and more bucks than either of those who beat him when both events are looked at, and the topic is whether or not Nadal is finished because of THEM; not the inconsistencies of the wannabes. Davydenko? Yes, he’s beaten Nadal in their last three, but his career is extremely pale to Nadal’s in comparison. Nadal has won exactly twice as many titles as Davydenko (36-18) despite being 5 years younger, and 6 majors compared to Nikolay’s zero (Davydenko hasn’t even been to a Major Final at age 28).

What a pathetic defence. More like an attempt. Just accept the facts.


Duro Says:

Sar, no no no! I have to teach you how to cheer. It’s not the same if you say: allez allez allez or alleeeez allez allez alleeeez! Try carefully for yourself. I know it more in European style, but it’s fun, believe me. And it certainly rimes: Alleeeez allez allez alleeeez, No-leeee No-leeee… Now you get it?


Vulcan Says:

While it does seem like there’s a bit of a dip in Nadal’s energy level…I’m not sure how much of this is simply do to the fact that the main problem he is having is going up against a certain type of player on hard courts. The baseline bullies are giving him fits as they always have but it just seems like there are more takers this year than ever before. If he had had a chance to assert his dominance over Federer a couple more times this year it would of quelled the doubters. Anyway, had Nadal not elected to go with a topspin lob when he had set point in the first set he probably would of won the match.


Fed is GOAT Says:

Becker was pretty much toast after he turned 23 (1991) – he had been in the top few for 6 years by then. He reached a couple of slam finals after that, won one slam, but that’s it.

Mcenroe was done in a similar way, quite suddenly, after 1984…. Courier, Wilander – even Edberg – there have been so many players who didn’t last more than 5-6 years at the top level winning slams. Of course, there are a few exceptions too – but they are few.

Its just not sustainable – age is one thing, time on tour is another – playing 80+ matches every year for 5-6 years, takes a toll. And with Nadal’s game, it takes an even greater toll.

Nadal had his glory days in the second half of 2008, early 2009. I doubt if he will ever come back to that level. And without that level, his is going to struggle against top players outside of clay. Losing to Cilic and a tired Davydenko, both in straight sets – not exactly good for him. And he can’t keep saying he is still on the comeback trail. He got 13 hard court matches under his belt (including 6 best of 5) in the North American hard court swing – that is quite enough to get back to sharpness if the layoff was just a couple of months. He is now 17-5 on hard courts since his return in August – gets him to top 10 or even top 5 status, but no higher. I think a lot of people are going to have a lot more belief playing him now…….


Fed is GOAT Says:

And ya, on his injuries – he has miraculous healing powers, we know now. He can cure knee tendinitis in less than 2 months, his muscle tears heal in 2 weeks – so he shouldn’t bring up injuries any more. He seems to heal faster than anyone I have ever heard of!


Fed is GOAT Says:

And on the inconsistencies of the “wannabes” – well, it doesn’t matter. As long as there are a handful of players who can beat you more than 50% of the time, your chances of winning a big tournament dwindle, since you will invariably have to beat a couple of them to win, especially in slams. Even if THEY are not consistent, YOU cannot win…. Djokovic, DelPo, Soderling, Cilic, now Davydenko, and of course Federer and Murray – Nadal is always going to have a tought time against them on hard courts. How many bullets is he going to dodge in slams?


Vulcan Says:

“Nadal had his glory days in the second half of 2008, early 2009. I doubt if he will ever come back to that level.”

Anybody that talks like this has a lack of appreciation for the sport in my opinion. It’s one thing to dislike a player it’s another to wish failure upon a player’s career. I especially cannot understand a Federer fan having this kind of attitude. Considering Federer/Nadal produced what is considered to be the greatest match in history it escapes me how anyone who really appreciates the sport could have this kind of attitude.


Voicemale1 Says:

Mindy Says:

“But there is really no way to counter these kind of irrational ravings about Rafa. It’s not going to change. But it always is a good way to get the Rafa haters going here.”

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

Thank you Mindy. This one line in your post made me realize what’s at the heart of the rabid attacks on Nadal on blogs the world over. They come most often from The Federer Worshippers – of which Randall is one of the biggest. The sniping aimed at Nadal from such people is basically about their H2H record, and it frosts the worshippers endlessly that Nadal leads that statistic in regard to Federer so clearly. Every time they play and Nadal wins, the reflexive sentiments of these people is to diminish Nadal and circle the wagons around Federer. That Federer has lost to Nadal in 3 of the 4 Majors doesn’t sit well with those who want to worship Federer.

It’s not just blogs. Federer worship runs rampant in the tennis press also. Just count the number of “Advice To Federer” columns written by Bodo, Tignor, Wertheim, Cronin, Tandon, et.al over the years on what they think Federer needs to start doing to stop this infernal losing to Nadal – which was undermining all of their copy on his GOAT status.

The fact is simple. In terms of technique Federer far and away is more accomplished than Nadal. His strokes are almost flawless and he can keep doing it over and over again. Even Nadal understands Federer is a better “player” than he is. Nadal just works harder, and that’s the only reason he keeps winning against Federer. Their matches are compelling because neither of them can effectively or consistently neutralize the other guys best shot: the forehand. Federer’s whole career has been a textbook example of how to dismantle an opponents weapon in the shortest time (Roddick’s Serve is the quintessential example). Federer can’t do much to negate Nadal’s Forehand. And Nadal does very little playing to Federer’s Forehand for obvious reasons: it’s a great shot, and he can get a lot more joy punishing Federer’s backhand. Their matches are often determined by the quality of the 2nd Best Shot each one has: Federer’s Serve or Nadal’s Backhand. Wimbledon 2008 was the moment when even their 2nd Best shots were working as well as their best shots. That’s why that match was what it was. It was literally mano-y-mano down to the last point.

They go onto the court knowning the window of how to contruct a point is learning how to let the other guy have his Biggest Weapon ans still arrange a setup to hit their own best shot. That’s dangerous living for both of them. And all too often it comes down to Nadal being able to relentlessly punish the Federer Backhand with his Reverse Forehand. Federer has more tealent and technique as a player. By far. The matchup is truly a bad one for him – it’s pits his weakest shot against Nadal’s best one too often. But the fact that Nadal can keep engineering the successful pattern shouldn’t diminsh the hard work he’s had to put in to make that happen.


Vulcan Says:

“But the fact that Nadal can keep engineering the successful pattern shouldn’t diminsh the hard work he’s had to put in to make that happen.”

I think it’s important to note just how difficult it is to do what Nadal does to Federer’s backhand. I watched one of their encounters where Nadal hit 100% of serves to the Federer backhand. His ability to continuously direct balls to the backhand corner of the court against Federer aggressively is something special…if it where so simple to do so effectively everyone would be doing.


sar Says:

Alleeeez allez allez alleeeez, No-leeee No-leeee… Now you get it?

Duro, yes I get it now!

PS Voicemail, your take on Nadal’s parents’ split is right on. Your whole post is excellent and thoughtful.


jane Says:

I agree with sar; Voicemale1 your post @ 11:42 yesterday was a thoughtful one and a good read. Rafa deserves more props. And I always wonder why people to continue to doubt that “he’ll be back.”


Duro Says:

That’s the way, Sar! Cheers!
Jane, maybe because he’s 30 or more…


contador Says:

utter bs about the federer nadal h2h. their h2h is what anti-feds cling to, hoping it somehow diminishes feds legend.

and- fed winning madrid on clay last year is a window into how little weight federer himself puts on h2h.

there is no disputing rafa so far, being the king of clay. but h2h is always subject to change, as long as a player is playing.

the nole-nadal h2h would look pretty dismal too but on closer inspection the 14 – 5 in favor of nadal really only favors nadal on clay, as is the case with the 13-7 h2h favoring nadal over federer. in each case it is nadal ruling the clay so far and nothing else. no real bragging rights there for nadalistas, sorry.

the one place where nadal’s h2h really is stellar ? against his own compatriots…..lol… always lucky for rafa to have a draw with 2 or more fellow spaniards! nadal fans have to be hoping verdasco gets into the yec. 0-9, nadal. teehehehe

congrats to davydenko!

i don’t doubt rafa will be back but it will be more difficult for him to rule, as he did in 2008 and early 2009. i would guess that the invincibility factor is gone for good for rafa, as it is for federer.


Daniel Says:

Voicemale 1, apart from times you attack Federer to defend Nadal in the past, your 11:01 hs post is the best insight in Fedal rivalvry you have ever wrote! I am glad I choose today to read the posts again.

Oh, to all Djoko fans, congrats on him returning to n.3!

Next year the top 4 or maybe 5 with Delpo can and most likelly will change positions a lot.
Fed will probably finish this year n. 1 with something around 11000-11500 pts and n.5 with 7000-75000. Not much of a difference with a Slam worthing 2000 pts!

Right now Nadal still has a shot at n.1 and Djoko, Murray and Delpo will fight for n. 3. And, of course, the remaining spots at YEC.


Daniel Says:

In the last five years Nadal always won one of the first two Slams. I will only buy him not being in his old self if he doesn’t win neither Ao 2010 or RG 2010, and even so, he will still enter grass season with 12 wins in a row (Queens and Wimby 2008). We all know that he doesn’t perform suberb in the last 4 monts of the season.


sensationalsafin Says:

What happens if Nadal doesn’t win one of the first 2 slams next year? For so long, there wasn’t a single person who believed Nadal could lose at RG. Now he has, which means he can, which means players will go in thinking ‘today might be my day’. Besides that, Federer is defending champion there. Also, if Cilic, Del Po, or even Soderling play Nadal at AO, I can guarantee Nadal is going to be uncomfortable. Whether he will win is a separate matter, but he will be uncomfortable. So he goes into Wimbledon without having played on grass in 2 years. That leaves the US Open, his best chance at a slam?

I think it’s ridiculous to assume Nadal is done and it’s just as ridiculous to assume he’s Superman. We don’t know what’s going to happen to him or any one else. The only thing that’s evident right now is that Nadal is not playing his best tennis, no matter what the reason, that’s the case.


Daniel Says:

SS now that you mention Federer as defending champion in RG, if Federer happens to win RG 2010, I think he will be the first to have ever win all Slams twice and defend all Grans Slam titles! Maybe he can set this as goal for 2010, along with Wimbledon, his major goal every year.


Fed is GOAT Says:

Vulcan,

making a prediction is different from wishing failure. Read my post again, carefully. I am doing the former, you are infering the latter.

I would love to hear from ONE person on this forum who really believes that Nadal’s best is ahead of him. RG, Wimby, Olympics Gold, no 1 ranking, Aus open – all within 8 months. You really think he will do better?


sensationalsafin Says:

He can’t win the Olympics next year but what if he wins AO, FO, and Wimbledon next year? Surely he’ll be number 1 and he’ll have won 3 majors in 1 year. He’s won all 3 of those before so we all know he can do it, so why not?


Vulcan Says:

Fed is GOAT Says:

“making a prediction is different from wishing failure.”

Well OK, fair enough, but you sure are preaching a lot of doom and gloom on this blog considering how young the guy is. Your comments about his injuries also seem to suggest that he is somehow being deceptive about them or faking them..which is a serious accusation. As far as Nadal and the future goes I definitely think he is capable of producing another great year. I for one would love to see some more Federer/Nadal grass court battles.


contador Says:

it’s not likely, not impossible, but not likely either federer or nadal will win 3 gs next year….LOL! but we fans dream big dreams, don’t we…

gonna be tough for either of them without that mystique of invincibility. their competitors are hungry! ( perhaps) the days of roger and rafa dominating slams is over, which, imo is a very good thing for men’s tennis.


Fed is GOAT Says:

Winning 3 slams in a year is an extremely tall order. Laver did it in 69 (all 4), then connors in 74, then wilander in 88. That’s it until Federer in 2004, 06, 07. I doubt if it happens again soon. I don’t think Federer can do it again. I don’t think Nadal can do it. I don’t see anyone else stepping up either. Its quite rare, especially if your last name is not Federer.

As for gloom and doom – not really, I am just saying that it is likely Nadal will follow the paths of (great) players like Becker, Edberg, Wilander, Mcenroe, Courier, etc – I do feel he will win a couple more French Opens, and perhaps one or two other slams, but 2010 is not going to be like 2008 for him. Its going to be tougher, also because of the newer, younger players stepping up. And Federer is still around. Perhaps by 2011 or 2012 Federer will be a non-factor in slams, but by then Nadal will be 25/26 as well.

Lets see. This time next year we will know who was more accurate in their predictions.


Fed is GOAT Says:

Nadal doesn’t have the serve or the shots to just shut someone out. If he drops even 5% in speed and stamina, he will have a tough time against top 10 players. Its already happening. what makes you think this trend will reverse as he grows older?


sensationalsafin Says:

“Nadal doesn’t have the serve or the shots to just shut someone out. If he drops even 5% in speed and stamina, he will have a tough time against top 10 players.”

Totally agree, but his current drop might not be due to age or physicality, I think it’s more mental. Once he gets back into a groove, he’ll be back to his usual speed. But once he starts slowing down, he’s gonna have a really tough time. Look at how Federer’s been affected due to a loss in speed and agility. Hell, I was watching Safin-Roddick in 04 AO and noticed how much faster Safin was. No wonder he’s so bad now. Although it’s also because he’s always surprised when the ball comes his way.


contador Says:

exactly. as tennis fans i think we are have become jaded as to the difficulty and rarity of winning 3 slams a year. the fact that federer has done it 3 times in his career is an astonishing accomplishment, as are all his ‘consecutive’ defense of grand slam wins. rafa is really another extraordinary champion, winning 4 french and his incredible 2008 feats: back to back fo, wimby, and olympic gold.

as federer says, “it’s not normal.” what he has done in his career is not even normal for the best champions.

the debate heats up about who is the best. well, we forget how amazing it is two have two champions of their caliber, relatively close in age enough to watch them compete and even be having such an argument.

they are vastly different, which adds fuel to the debate. watching their different styles, one could argue that rafa will physically burn out sooner, thus closing the age difference and eventual retirement dates. but, who knows.

i think it is safe to say for both, 2010 and beyond will not get easier and the chances for a calender slam or even 2 or 3 per year aren’t as promising as they once seemed. this is not doom and gloom. at any rate, in tennis doesn’t one players gloom announce another players best day ever? in retrospect of 2009, i imagine soderling and del potro would agree.


i am it Says:

Part (90%) of the interview with Rafa by Chinese edition of SI, in Shanghai (my lame translation but exclusive):

SI: If you stay healthy, I think you still have a chance to regain the world’s No. 1 this year. Are you gonna try to do that?

Rafa: But not only this season, though I think I still have a shot at it [for this year] if I stay healthy.

SI: So you will work hard to reclaim the world no. 1?

Rafa: No, no, that’s not my goal, my goal is to have a healthy body, and then play very good tennis.

SI: But Federer once said when he entered the stadium and the host announced, “Let us welcome the world no. 2 Roger Federer,” it made him uneasy.

Rafa: It’d not bother me if they announced, “Let us welcome the world’s 5th-ranked player Rafael Nadal.” I’d feel fortunate as long as they call my name. I did not start playing tennis to hear the host’s announcement. That’s never been significant to me.

SI: But at the conclusion of ’07 Wimbledon, you cried, as you lost the opportunity to getting closer to becoming World No. 1?
Rafa: The real reason I cried is that I lost a match. I could have won. I was close to making a break through the Slam that I always wanted to win. I was close to knocking down a very formidable opponent. I failed to do that, so I cried.

SI: Now people mention Roger’s 15 Grand Slams, and compare you only have six now. but you’re 23. don’t you think you have plenty of time to catch up with his records?

Rafa: I am happy that I now have six, and there is no doubt, I will try to add more, but I can not say for sure how many, because I know that in front of those championship has gone through a number of difficulties to obtain The. I won the first one, I do not know that I will not have a second, and now I do not know when such a victory would stop, so I can not guarantee anything. My plan now is just to maintain my health, you know that if I do not stay healthy, I can not do anything, I can not win another Grand Slam, can not become No. 1, so I have only this one goal to stay healthy, and the rest will follow if I play good tennis.

SI: Roger has won Career Slam, but you won the Olympics, so the two of you are missing only one piece from the Golden Slam. but you may be better positioned to do it, time wise, as you’ll have two opportunities before the London Olympics.

Rafa: Yes, but you know I should have done this year in the U.S. Open. I made the greatest efforts, but I still failed. It was one Slam I’ve never made to the final. It’s very difficult. A lot of things will have to fall perfectly in the right place, so tough to say.

SI: But with all these years of your training and improvement / achievement on hard court, is the U.S. Open still difficult for you?

Rafa: I began playing in 2003, on all three surfaces, grass, hard and clay. I was young and I was still developing, I was too young, only 17 years old.
Hard court in particular, I think, I started taking seriously from 2006 and made some inroads, though I was playing OK in 2005, winning couple of big matches on hard.
Perhaps you think the U.S. Open will now be very different for me. Perhaps this is the case, but I will use my career in the pursuit of the U.S. Open, but I know winning is not easy.

SI: This year you did not win Madrid because Roger played. Will his withdrawal from Shanghai help you win here?
Second, you might meet him in the Paris for the 1st time since Madrid. Are you looking forward to playing him?

Rafa: To answer the 1sr part, in fact, it will not. I still had to play my tennis.
If I get to face him in Paris, I will be happy because that means, as top 2 seeds, I have also reached the final. I will be happy to be in the final, and he’s not gonna help me reach the final. I will have to play my tennis, win matches before I get to play him in the final.

SI: During the sabbatical, how did you spend your time? Did you go fishing?

Rafa; No, I wished I could go. Summer in Mallorca is beautiful. Recuperation is a difficult process. I did not have time. If I were not injured, I was thinking of hitting the [Pataya?] beach before Bangkok. Forget about the beach, I could not even participate.

SI: During the US Open, you did not want to talk about your injury. Has anything changed since then?

Rafa: Nothing. I feel the same. I have had a good run at the US Open and since I dropped down to No. 2, I’ve been maintaining my rank [except for the 2 weeks]. I cannot ask for more, given my situation.

SI: If it were possible to delete the word “injury” from your dictionary, would you do it?

Rafa: That’s impossible. Injuries are part of the sport. When you have to train and compete at the high level all year around, there is no escape. All athletes have varying degrees of injuries. Besides this year, which happened at a wrong time, I would not call it that bad.

SI: Do you plan to change your style of play so you can avoid injury in the future?

Rafa: There has been a lot of talk about my style of play. Everyone has a different style. I don’t foresee any change coming into my style, not in the immediate future. You cannot change your style all of a sudden. Besides, I don’t see reasons for doing it, ether. Look, I have never fallen out of top 2 for 5 years now [except those 2 weeks] , thanks to my style. Some people suggested to change my style, back in 2005. You don’t pick and choose your style. It develops over time. If I could, I’d want Karlovic’s serve and Federer’s net play, but that’s not achievable.

SI: How is your relation with Tony? Is he stringent, controlling, intimidating to you?

Rafa: Yes, he was pretty bad, always controlling [laughs]. I did not like him [i hated that ass hole] when I was kid. Since I turned teenage, he calmed down.When I grew up, I understood it was all for my good.

SI: Would you make him angry a lot?

Rafa: No, I listened to him all the time [as if I had a choice]. When I was 12 or 13, if I slacked in my training or did not play seriously, he would go nuts and yell at me.

SI: So Tony told you never to break a racket?

Rafa. Yes, so I have never done that.

SI: How do you vent out your frustrations on court. Federer needed to smash his racket in Miami.

Rafa: Roger needed to do that. Only in Miami. That’s it. I control my frustrations differently. We all do it differently.

SI: There are also reports that Tony persuaded you to opt for the left-handed play. is this true?

Rafa: No, I was born a lefty. I eat and do a few other things with right hand. There is nothing wrong. But I have always been a left-handed player, from the very beginning. Tony has not decided my everything. He is not a god (laughs).

SI: So, if you had chosen to play right-handed, you think you’d have had the same success today?

Rafa: That I cannot answer. Believe me, I was born left-handed to play.

SI: Well, those past reports unduly credited your left-hand to Tony and made him the God.

Rafa: True. As a child, I used to think he could do everything. He once said, “If you play well, I’ll ask God to make rain, and we can stop playing for today.” I really believed.

SI: But in 2007, he asked you if you needed to get a new coach, but you said no.

Rafa: Yes, since it was deemed at that time I was having some difficulties, he discussed about getting me a new coach to help me in training, but I refused. I did not feel I needed to change anything. He may not be the world’s best coach, but for me he’s been good enough.


Mindy Says:

Vulcan,

Of course Fed is GOAT is implying that Rafa’s injuries are not real. What do you expect? He is merely echoing that infamous blog by Sean Randall, in which he stated that Rafa withdrew from Wimbledon due to fear of losing, not tendinitis. Then when Rafa came back, Sean did a complete aboutface and said that his knees were still a question mark and suspect. Huh? Talk about talking out of both sides of your mouth! Sean and Dan love Fed and can’t stand Rafa. The hatespeak that they write gets echoed by Fed fans who also despise Rafa because of the success he has had against their guy.

They can write Rafa off all they want, say that he will never have a year like 2008, never win another hard court grand slam, another Wimbledon, on and on ad nauseum. Wishful thinking about a 23 year old young man who is just entering the prime years of his career.

I am not here to dispute or argue that Rafa isn’t playing his best now. I have eyes, I know his game and see what’s happening. But it is dangerous to write off a champion like Rafa. Just like people were writing off Fed earlier this year after the AO. I knew better. We can see how that turned out. So go ahead, Fed fans, write your Rafa epitaphs! But be assured, that Rafa will definitely have the last word and you will be eating yours!

Voicemale1,

Thank you for allowing me a brief moment to come back here and have a reasonable and intelligent discussion about Rafa. I don’t have any illusions that things have changed, so I won’t be staying. I wonder if Sean Randall even understand the hate he creates when he calls Rafa the greediest player or questions his motives for playing Abu Dhabi. Funny, I don’t see him questioning Fed’s motives for doing so.

I am so proud of Rafa for maintaining his #2 ranking, despite having to deal with two injuries back-to-back. He is a fighter with a ferocious will to win. Fed fans can analyze his game all they want and pick it apart, but grand slams are sometimes won with the intangibles. Rafa may not have the sheer technical skill of Fed, but I love his game. I will give him all my support as he works to get back in form.


Voicemale1 Says:

At ESPN’s website Sandar Harwitt had a column about the pre-mature pronunciation of the Fedal rivalry’s demise. In it the question of Nadal’s health was raised, particularly his knees. This was what the man she consulated had to say:

“How long can Nadal’s knees hold out?

ESPN.com checked in with Dr. Lewis G. Maharam, an orthopedist who specializes in running and is the chairman of the board of governors for the International Marathon Medical Directors Association.

Although Maharam doesn’t know Nadal’s case personally, he addressed the seriousness of knee tendinitis: “With lots of conditioning and cross-training, he should be able to sustain his level for years to come. Tendinitis and knee issues are definitely reversible with proper rehab and preventive work.”

It’s important to remember tendinitis is a condition, not an injury. It’s manageable.


Von Says:

Voicemale1:

Thank you for your response to my post. I see you’ve gotten a lot of responses so I’ll be brief, as there’s no need to repeat the same information.

I’ll speak from my vantage point on what I perceive to be his psychological issues. I made reference to what I feel to be his apathetic state of mind, as I honestly believe he is suffering from some sort of emotional trauma, hence the disinterest we see manifested in his match play = apathy. The emotional issues he’s endeavouring to work through are those pertinent to his present family situation, as you’ve pointed out, and can only be resolved when he comes to terms with the situation. If you will recall there was a decided dip in Nadal’s performance after Miami, which was the same time his parents’ marital problems were revealed. This has got to be devastating and awkward for him as he’s from such a close knit family. Maybe, he’s trying to work on these issues by burying himself into his tennis, which could be a welcome respite from the tensions at home, but when one is feeling apathy very little will distract them. I’d say, unless Nadal engages the help of a good psychologist/psychiatrist and receives some counseling on how to work through these emotional problems, they will continue to linger, and will be manifested in his tennis. We see severe lapses of concentration in his game, sometimes for a whole set, as his mind begins to wonder, and then there’s a drop off in his performance, e.g., the Davy match in the second set. I’m sure Nadal knew what he needed to do to right the ship in that set, but for some reason he didn’t do it = apathy = he didn’t care.

I sincerely hope Rafa will take these matters in stride and seek some professional help before it’s too late to remedy the slide he’s facing. I know some Djokovic fans are feeling giddy and licking their chops at the prospect of him losing his ranking to Djokovic, but let’s hope he can do the right thing and remedy the situation. I’d hate to see him lose his No. 2 ranking.


Voicemale1 Says:

Fed is GOAT Says:

“Lets see. This time next year we will know who was more accurate in their predictions.”

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - –

That we will. In the mean time I’m sure you won’t mind unearthing the prophetic predictions you made in the fall of 2007 about Nadal winning the French-Wimbledon double, Olympic Gold and ascending to the World #1 Ranking the following year. You do have those predictions archived to prove to us your uncanny prowess, right?

Here’s what I predict: you will eternally underestimate Nadal about everything while constantly predicting nothing but further great things for Federer. But I don’t consider a prediction like that to be remotely Nostradamus-like.


sensationalsafin Says:

Nadal will get over it. He’s a man. Life goes on. If not sooner, then I expect to see a Raging Rafa beginning around IW time. He’s always done well there and he probably enjoys the place. Then the clay season will start and he’ll be halfway to Sampras’s mark.


sensationalsafin Says:

What is Federer gonna achieve? Not much else.


sensationalsafin Says:

By Federer standards, of course.


sensationalsafin Says:

Woah I just realized a crazy conspiracy. When Federer loses 9-7 in the 5th to the eventual champion, he wins the next year while the defending champ has to sit out with an injury.


steve Says:

“What is Federer gonna achieve? Not much else. By Federer standards, of course.”

It’s amusing how people are so eager to stuff Federer into a wheelchair and bundle him off to the old folks’ home, when he just regained the #1 ranking, made all four Slam finals, won half of them, and lost the other two in five sets.

There’s so many things Federer can still accomplish. Beating Agassi’s record number of AO titles. Beating Sampras’ record number of Wimbledon titles. Beating Sampras/Connors record number of USO titles. Taking a couple more French Opens. The Olympic gold medal in singles.

He’s won 3 of 4 Slams three times, and twice been just one match away from the Calendar Slam.

Remember, Laver did the Calendar Slam at 31. If anyone in the contemporary era is going to do it, it’s going to be Federer.

He’s still very hungry to win, and he’s a happy, fulfilled man now, with a family, a more mature perspective on life.

When he plays with joy and a light heart, he’s unbeatable. And I expect he’ll continue to provide us with great and beautiful tennis for quite a few years to come.


Mindy Says:

Voicemail1,

You are my hero! Keep fighting the good fight and posting the truth about Rafa and exposing those who only wish to continue to demean a great young champion who has accomplished so much already.

I wish I could stay and join the fight with you, but I tried before and it was a nightmare. You have a lot of courage and guts to come on here and say what you’re saying. You must know that you are outnumbered, yet you persevere. Hmmm, that reminds me of a certain Spanish tennis player who is known as a fighter and never gives up until the very last point.

You do Rafa proud! Again, many thanks for the brief, but immensely enjoyable, conversation.


Skorocel Says:

Mindy: Nightmare? There are countless other, much worse nightmares on this world than to feel saddened by the fact that someone’s belittling your favourite tennis player (who I bet doesn’t give a damn what you or anyone else apart from his family and friends is thinking about him)…


sensationalsafin Says:

“made all four Slam finals, won half of them, and lost the other two in five sets.”

And yet he’s hanging onto the number 1 ranking by a thread. His record in major finals over the last 2 years is 3-4, which looks to be a growing trend considering he finally lost a final to someone other than Nadal, which isn’t good for old man Roger.

The game is too brutal to be winning calendar slams at 31. A couple more FO’s? It took him 4 years and the alignment of the stars to win 1. What couple more? At the AO, he’s lost to 2 young guys in the last 2 years, but yeah, winning 2 more is gonna be cake. He’s played a 5 set final in the last 3 years at Wimbledon and lost 1 and barely won the last one, but yeah, winning 2 more is gonna be cake. He lost to someone other than Nadal in a slam final for the first time at the USO, winning one more is gonna be cake. He’s gonna be 32 at the 2012 Olympics. He failed to win it 3 times while he was young, how’s he gonna win it when he’s old? But it’s probably gonna be cake.


Voicemale1 Says:

Mindy:

Appreciate the sentiments. It’s not that Nadal is above any scrutiny. When he starts whining about the demands of the schedule I have no patience for it. Nobody forces him to play tennis for a living. He can walk away a rich man any time he wants to. As I’ve said – the players have the legitimate complaint that nobody (ATP/WTA) has a right to tell them where they “must” play. And we know why these organizations do it: they get money from tournament organizers who pay for the prospect of having top players show up. That said, the rules are what they are now. Opportunities exist to manage a schedule into a less demanding time frame, and he chosses not to do that. Roddick – same thing. And each of them wants the luxury of “phoning it in” during a part of the season least suitable to them (Roddick during the European clay season & Nadal during the US summer hard court swing.) They feel “forced” to have to crunch their opportunities into a shorter time span. It’s more tennis in less weeks.

I’d always wondered if it really is the calendar that’s responsible, or is it the technological developments in the last 7 years that’s done it? Even more than the racquets, slower hard courts and the polyester strings have changed how the game is played from what it was. Serve Volley (read: short points) is a thing of the past. Most of todays game consists of long, grueling baseline rallies with a lot of power, spin and angles you could never have created with wood and/or graphite racquets strung with natural gut. All that running, being stretched wide in every which direction, and high bouncing balls of todays game has to take a toll physically.

All of which makes Federer’s essentially injury-free career even more remarkable (although the back problems today are likely to flare up with a little more consistency as he gets older). He’s been superb managing his schedule to maximize his body rest time. It’s paid off very well for him, mostly because no part of the calendar intimidated him out of wanting to play.


Vulcan Says:

Mindy Says:

“He is merely echoing that infamous blog by Sean Randall, in which he stated that Rafa withdrew from Wimbledon due to fear of losing, not tendinitis.”

Mindy, because I took a break from this blog for a while I missed that article. Anybody that would suggest that Nadal avoided Wimbledon due to fear is certifiably insane. I know some of the authors on this site like to generate controversy with some of their statements but this one is absolutely ludicrous. Furthermore, as I mentioned before, anybody that wasn’t disappointed that Nadal was not able to participate puts into question their own love for the sport. They are the GREEDY ones who would rather see their player win against lesser opponents than see a great match. Nadal made it clear before he won Wimbledon that Wimbledon was his highest priority…pretty audacious for a clay court guy to even aspire to such a grandiose thing. To question his courage, after how much he showed in winning it, is despicable.


Voicemale1 Says:

sensationalsafin Says:
“What is Federer gonna achieve? Not much else.”

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

I think the one Sampras record still standing is his total of 286 Weeks as world #1, which would seem his next target. Federer does have the record of consecutive weeks at #1 at 237. But he does feel like that 286 is well within his reach.


Vulcan Says:

sensationalsafin Says:
“What is Federer gonna achieve? Not much else.”

How about:

The Calendar Year Grand Slam
Agassi’s record number of Masters Series Titles

Yes I know, the first one is highly unlikely but still with Federer you never know. I for one was rooting for him to pull this off back when the French open eluded him.


jane Says:

Voicemale1: “And each of them wants the luxury of “phoning it in” during a part of the season least suitable to them (Roddick during the European clay season & Nadal during the US summer hard court swing.) ”

Roddick did a little better on clay this year, get to the semis, was it?, in Madrid and taking a set from Fed there, and then getting the deepest he ever has at the FO, so maybe that’ll change. Maybe he’ll be more keen to play on clay.

As for Nadal, I had never thought of him as wanting to “phone in” the US summer hard court season. He’s often done well in Canada and Cincinnati, hasn’t he? Reaching the quarters/semis and winning in Canada too. I’ve heard him complain about IW and Miami before, it seems to me. How they are either too close to the beginning of clay, or too far apart, or something – I know he’s talked about it before. But again, he’s always given 100% effort at these events, regardless of commentary regarding the schedule. I always get the sense that Rafa tries hard to win, and never that he phones in – or even wants the luxury of phoning in – results. He’d just like adjustments, but I’ve never gotten the sense that he hates hard courts. Mind you a huge part of the calendar year is dedicated to hard court events so maybe that bugs him, or his knees.


Voicemale1 Says:

Jane:

The point is not that two of the most competitive guys in the game actually competed in matches they played. The point is the schedule demanded they are required to play. Rome in the spring and Canada & Cincinnati in the summer are mandatory ATP 1000 events Roddick & Nadal are required to play. If they had their choice they likely never would have played any or all of them. The point is their non-choice of what to play, not their results.


sensationalsafin Says:

I didn’t ask what else is there for Federer to achieve (there’s plenty), it’s a matter of can he really do it. He’s not winning the calendar slam any time soon. I used to root for him to do it, but at this point I wouldn’t even wanna see it because I like seeing new champions. If it were to happen, I’d be ecstatic though, don’t get me wrong. And yes I actually really hope Fed not only surpasses Agassi’s MS record but also wins every MS atleast once. Like a career MS type thing. That would be pretty awesome. But also tough since Rome and Monte Carlo and even Paris seem impossible for him to win.

And Fed’s never been injury-free. He just doesn’t play when he’s injured, which is usually during this time, so people only really notice if they follow tennis vigorously during the fall but still forget the next year when Fed starts winning everything again.


sensationalsafin Says:

Why would Nadal skip on Canada? He’s won twice there. And how else is he gonna prep for the USO? Hell he’s made the semis of Cincy twice, too, so it’s not like he doesn’t do well at those events and they’ve helped him get to 2 USO semis.


jane Says:

Voicemale1: “The point is their non-choice of what to play, not their results.”

I do get your point. I guess I was merely trying to make a sub-point or related one, which sensationalsafin said more clearly than me afterward, and that’s simply this: if they do quite well, consistently, at these events that they may choose not to play if they had that choice, why would they want to skip them? Rafa, especially, does consistently well at both USO hard court swings, spring and summer. That means many more points and sometimes titles. And if hard court success is a goal, surely these can only help him build toward that coveted USO title?

Also, as noted above, I actually don’t recalled him complaining about Canada/Cincy, but more about IW/Miami.


Skorocel Says:

sensationalsafin Says:

“What is Federer gonna achieve? Not much else.”

Well, in terms of numbers, there really isn’t that much left for him to achieve, is it? Sampras’ 286 weeks as No. 1 and 6 year-end finishes would be perhaps the lone exception, but that’s about it. The Olympics and Davis Cup really aren’t that important (in other words, in won’t change that much on his legacy, win or lose) and as for winning Wimby or USO for a record 8 or 6 times, respectively, that’s just a bonus. If I was him, I’d be rather worried about that H2H with Nadal, first and foremost, but oh well, that would be for another story…


i am it Says:

achievable:
–34 weeks to go for fed to beat sampras’ 286 weeks.

–6 times year-end no. 1 (less certain?)

—match sampras’ 7 at Wimbledon; beat Sampras and Connors’ 5 at the US Open, and tie with agassi’s 4 at AO.

possible but improbable:
—record 4 years number 1 during every week of the calendar year (currently fed and connors have record 3 years).

—beat Tilden/ Sears/ Larned’s 7 USO titles

— The Calendar Year Grand Slam (vulcun, i put yours here)

—Olympics (this can fall in-between possible and achievable)

P.S. Vulcun, you mentioned Masters Series. yes, fed will easily pass agassi’s record, but rafa will certainly own the record.


sensationalsafin Says:

Having a losing record to Nadal won’t diminsh his legacy, but he should fix his record against Nadal at the slams. If they play 10 more matches, 5 in slams, and Fed wins only but all the slam matches, their career h2h will end at 18-13 in Nadal’s favor, but 7-6 in slams in favor of Federer. I think that’d be best. Plus Fed needs to beat Simon atleast once. And I don’t know if Fed will sustain his number 1 long enough to end next year as 1. But everything is getting tougher, that’s not just a wishful thought. Although I hope he gets that number 1 weeks record, too.


Vulcan Says:

sensationalsafin Says:

Having a losing record to Nadal won’t diminsh his legacy,

This one is debatable and perhaps is mainly dependent on from whose vantage point your talking about. Amongst average folk who really don’t follow tennis that much I can see how the average Joe would wonder how it can be that the greatest player of all time could be dominated by ANYBODY. I agree that its all about domination in Slams and this is where Federer has to prove that he has Nadal’s number. I think for the masses who don’t know all the gory statistics by heart the common knowledge will always be that he was the GOAT buuuuuut there was one guy he couldn’t beat when it mattered.


Fed is GOAT Says:

Voicemale1

I am not predicting anything great for Federer either. He peaked in 2006. Just that his decline is a bit slower due to his sublime and efficient game. He will probably win a couple more slams, total, that’s it.

Just like Federer peaked in 2006, three years after winning his first major, I think Nadal peaked in 2008, three years after winning his first major. Becker peaked in 1989, at 21 years of age, so nothing unusual here. Get used to it.

2010 is going to see Federer turn 29 and Nadal turn 24. Some of the younger guys (Nadal is not in that group anymore) with fresher legs and bodies will most likely win a slam or two in 2010.

I would say the odds of Federer reaching 17 slams total in his career are about the same as Nadal reaching 10 slams total. And after that, the odds are similar. Predicting Nadal reaching 13 slams total is about as unlikely as Federer reaching 20 – very very unlikely.

Note that I am giving Nadal 2 more French titles right off the bat and then saying he is at par with Federer in terms of probability of FURTHER slams. I think that is reasonable. In the next few years, I don’t think Nadal has a better chance than Federer of winning the AO, Wimby, or the USO. And by 2012, Nadal’s ability to win the French also has got to go down significantly…..


sensationalsafin Says:

Peaked? What does “peaked” mean? Wasn’t Federer amazing in 04? And even in 05? Hell he was still great in 07!! A couple more slams? Wtf does that mean?

Vulcan, I agree with you, but it doesn’t matter what the average Joe thinks. The GOAT isn’t determined by what the average Joe thinks. And I never said anything about Federer being the GOAT. I said his legacy could be diminished. People could say he wasn’t that great and got lucky or something (like so many people say). The H2H barely diminishes his legacy right now, but it would only help if he evened it out somewhat in the next few years.

Everyone’s claiming these people are gonna win slams and those people are gonna win slams. Who exactly is going to win what slams?? And as for slams outside the FO, Federer will always be more likely to win them as opposed to Nadal. Fed’s serve will always keep him in contention even as he slows down. That’s not the same for Nadal. Nadal needs a lot of things clicking for him to even be in contention. I’M NOT TRYING TO BASH NADAL HERE. But Nadal always uses a lot of his game to do as well as he does. Federer has made so many of his titles look so easy because when he does use a lot of his game, it’s just overwhelming. When he uses less, things look hard. At Wimbledon this year, he wasn’t playing every shot perfectly, mainly his serve and his forehand and slice bh were stable throughout. He won 16-14 in the 5th. At the USO his forehand was stable, I think his slice must’ve been off because he kept hitting topspin bh, and his serve was off. Not only was it hard, but he lost in the 5th.

The odds of Federer winning 3 slams is as high as Nadal winning 4? What exactly are the odds of Federer winning 3 more slams? I’m not gonna say anything about Nadal’s slam prospects until the AO. He hasn’t been 100% in his last 3 slams so you can’t just base his chances on that. Tougher or not, it’s not like Nadal can’t push back. I like this little thing where Fed’s crappyness is gonna be almost as good as Nadal’s not-quite-crappyness-yet. I’m not against overestimating Federer, but underestimating Nadal, especially in 2009, is just ridiculous.


sensationalsafin Says:

Since we’re all making ridiculous claims here, here are my predictions for 2010 for the top 10 players:

Roger Federer: After losing in the semifinals to Andy Roddick at the AO, a depressed Federer has mediocre results until the FO. Not having won a title all year, he will be eager to defend his FO title for the first time. He will get through effortlessly until we have Fed-Sod II in the FO final. This time, Soderling will prevail in 4 sets. After bouncing back in Halle, Federer’s 24 slam semi streaks will be snapped when he falls in 5 sets in the first round at Wimbledon. Coming slamless into the US Open, Federer is forced to withdraw prior to the event due to a freak ankle injury. He will drop out of the top 10 for the first time in forever and will make it back to London by winning both MS and Basel during the fall.

Rafael Nadal: He will fall in the QFs to Murray in 3 easy sets and continue to spiral down. At the FO, he will meet Soderling for a revenge match in the semis, but will be downed in 5 sets this time after blowing a 2 sets to 1 lead. He will go on to reach the QFs of Wimbledon before falling in the 3rd round of the US Open. He will barely make it to London as he clings onto his status in the top 10.

Novak Djokovic. He will beat Andy Roddick in the finals of Australia in 5 thrilling sets after having beaten Murray in the semis after coming back from 2 sets to love down. He will go on to win the IW-Miami double then have a great clay season, beating Nadal twice at Rome and Madrid before falling in the semis to Federer in 4 sets. At Wimbledon, he will defeat Murray in the finals and Roddick in the semis, again both in 5 sets, to clinch his 2nd slam of the year and first Wimbledon title. This will get him back into the US Open final where he’ll defeat defending champ Del Potro in 4 sets and clinch the number 1 ranking.

Andy Murray: Having fallen in the semis to Djokovic at the AO, he will have a good run during the HC season and beat Nadal in Monte Carlo before making his second QF at the FO. At Wimbledon, he’ll beat first time Wimbledon semifinalist, Jo Wilfried Tsonga in 4 sets before losing to Djokovic. At the USO, he will lose to Del Potro in the semis.

Juan Martin del Potro: He’ll go down to Federer in the QFs of the AO in their revenge match, then lose to Nadal at the FO QFs, then lose to Roddick in the Wimbledon QFs, then make it back to the USO final before losing to Djokovic.

Andy Roddick: After beating Federer for the first time in a slam, he will go out in style to Djokovic. At the FO, he will improve his result to a QF appearance before losing to Federer. At Wimbledon, he will go down to Djokovic again despite fighting back from the brink. At the US Open, he will lose to Del Potro in the semis.

Nikolay Davydenko: Due to expectations, he will lose early at all the slams.

Jo Wilfried Tsonga: Will make his first Wimbledon semi but will have poor results at the other slams.

Fernando Verdsaco: After a great 09, he will have a slump in 10.

Robin Soderling: The man will reach the QFs at the AO before going one step further and winning the FO beating Nadal again and Federer in the finals. He will reach the QFs at Wimbledon and bow out in the 4th round at the USO.

Math is illogical so Verdasco and Davydenko will not make it to the YEC but everyone else will and the winner will be: Federer.


Vulcan Says:

SS, I already have a call in to my bookie and have decided to bet the ranch on your predictions.


Vulcan Says:

As far as bold predictions go I will only offer up two…Cilic and Simon will be in the top ten next year.


Fed is GOAT Says:

Would love to see who on this board thinks:

1. Federer will do better in 2010 than in 2009.
2. Nadal will do better in 2010 than in 2008.

I doubt there are any backers for the two above.

Federer has had many spectacular years – but his best year remains 2006 – you can look at almost any stat for that.

All I am saying is is extremely unlikely that:

1. Any one player will win 3 slams in 2010.
2. Federer and Nadal will win all 4 slams between them.

I think the transition at the top two is coming. At least three players (all younger) are strongly in contention to move up – Djoke, DelPo, Murray.

Does anyone feel the statements above are unreasonable?

The only thing you should bet on is Rafa winning the French in 2010. and Perhaps Fed winning wimbledon in 2010. Everything else is so much up for grabs now.

Would love for someone to point out where I am making outlandish or unrealistic predictions. Of course, they are predictions, so they could all be wrong – but a best guess is just that, a guess.


Fed is GOAT Says:

Let me state it another way –

In his first 5 years of winning slams (2005-09), Nadal has won 2 non clay slams. Do you seriously believe he is LIKELY to win more than that in his NEXT 5 years, when he is on the descent rather than on the ascent, with an onslaught of top noth younger players?

And again, I am not saying Federer is going to win much more either. He is 28+ – perhaps he will squeak thru another wimbledon, perhaps one more hard court slam. for the French he would need SUPER luck to win again. One can probably go back in history and check – when was the last time a 28+ player won multiple slams in the same year? I doubt if it has ever happened. Even single slams at that age are quite rare.


Vulcan Says:

when was the last time a 28+ player won multiple slams in the same year?

Umm, I don’t know, but then again…when was the last time a player like Roger Federer came along…answer…never…so there is no empirical data to support your argument. The same may be true of Nadal, these guys are accomplishing things nobody has ever accomplished before so looking back to the past to make future predictions is kind of pointless no? In my book a healthy Nadal is favorite to win BOTH the French Open AND Wimbledon next year.


Fed is GOAT Says:

Well, there’s always a first for everything – just that it becomes that much more unlikely if it has never happened before. Since we are making predictions here, likelihood is all that matters. For that, the past data is what you look at.

Agassi won 2 slams in 1999 – the year he turned 29. That’s it. And he was coming off of a few years away from the main tour.

So the empirical data actually supports my argument, that multiple slams for a 28+ player in a single year is highly improbable. (How does it not support my argument Vulcan?)

Check out this link:
http://www.tennis28.com/slams/agerecords_winners.html#oldest
and you will find plenty that SUPPORTs my argument.


Fed is GOAT Says:

And remember – wooden racket tennis days don’t count here – the game was not this physical then. The last 20 years are much more reflective of the game today, rather than the period before then.

I suspect the trend in the future will be towards an even steeper decline with age, given the speed with which the game is being played now, and how fit even the lower ranked players are (men’s only, of course….)


Vulcan Says:

“just that it becomes that much more unlikely if it has never happened before.”

This would be true if all tennis players were equal in ability…but they’re not…there has NEVER been a player with Federer’s ability. So there’s no way to use OTHER players historical achievements as a yardstick to measure what he MIGHT achieve…maybe one could try and extrapolate what he might achieve based on some correlation between how much better he is than anybody in history and potential accomplishments but this is not the same as citing empirical data to support an argument.


sensationalsafin Says:

Someone please explain to me how someone who hasn’t played on a surface for 2 years be the favorite to win a slam on that surface?

Nadal and Fed aren’t winning anything next year. Didn’t you guys hear? The Fedal era is over!!!


Vulcan Says:

SS, can’t explain it but that’s just my gut feeling.
It’s not like the players get a lot of time on grass anyway so being away from it is not nearly as big of a deal as other surfaces.


Andrew Miller Says:

Fed is GOAT – the data is fine, but what’s wrong with taking a look at what Agassi accomplished at 29, as a focused tennis player with plenty of competition?

French Open: Win
Wimbledon: Finals
US Open: Win
Australian 2000: Win

So…at 29 he actually won 3/4 (75 percent) of slams at that age, and made all the finals of the slams when aged 29. Certainly, in this case, 29 was the best year of his life.

I would say that exceptional ball strikers – of which Roger Federer certainly is, can do this.

Rafael Nadal – he improves too much to count him out of anything.


Andrew Miller Says:

Last, I dont think Rafael Nadal thinks too much about Shanghai, or year-end events for that matter. He’s never won the year end championships or even made the finals. He’s not like Federer in that regard – every tournament, Federer probably feels he must win it. Nadal, it’s about improvement – can he do better than last year. Here’s what he said about that – shocking, but this is Nadal’s best end of year performance in a while.

Q. In your mind, do you have an idea of when you expect to be playing at your absolute best with calm?

RAFAEL NADAL: That’s impossible to say, no? I just can say I gonna work hard to be at my best as soon as possible, and I am not seeing myself very far of that.

But I am playing hardcourts and doing well. But at the same time, I have more titles and more wins when I play on clay, so in this season is in hard, the hardcourts, and I am doing very good end of the season.

But seems like is not enough, because I didn’t play for a while during the middle of the season and seemed like I need more. But if you compare the results of the last years, semifinals of Cincinnati. This is only my second time to play semifinal in Cincinnati in my career. I played semifinals in US Open. I only did last year. The years before I never did. And I played final here. Last year I played semifinals in Madrid, if we compare, no? And two years ago I played quarterfinals and another time quarterfinals.

No, the results is I’m doing well, no? I’m doing one of the best end of the seasons in my life. But, yeah, I happy for that. I would love to have a title, but if I am still playing like this in Paris and London, it’s difficult, sure. The best players are there. But in Paris I expect to have another chance to play a good tournament, no?
And if you are there all the time semifinals, final, you gonna win. I don’t know when, but you’re gonna win.”

In other words, Nadal feels that the odds favor him. It kind of doesnt matter – the chips always fall where they may – but it’s significant that he walks away from Shanghai feeling, “good job, Nadal. You lost, but hey, this is your best result in years. Better luck next tournament.”


i am it Says:

AM, i think agassi won 5 out of 8 of his Slams in 1999 and after, which means 62.5%,
that’s still an enviable age to achieve that many.
but he is more an exception than rule.


Voicemale1 Says:

Fed is GOAT:

Shut the f*ck up already. You’re the biggest blowhard/One Trick Pony on this message board. Here’s the essence of everything you post: all aspects of Federer are fabulous (even his farts) and the rest of the tennis world (especially Nadal ’cause he keeps beating Federer) sucks. Get over yourself beaaatch. No one gives a rats ass about your self aggrandizing data, all of which is designed to let everybody know you wish YOU had give birth to Federer’s daughters. Your idolatry of this guy is THE MOST howlingly entertaining thing we read here (that is…next to Sean Randall’s similarly subtextual & patently obvious desire to engage in coitus iterruptus with “The Swiss” Mister – or is that “Swiss Master”, with the Sling, Cat O’ Nine Tails, Spiked Collar and Executioner’s Hood?? I get confused). You pompous ass.

On second thought – keep posting your Federer slobbering and all of it’s subtextual sexual innuendo. It gives the rest of us still grounded on Planet Earth some much needed comic relief.


sensationalsafin Says:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Finally!!! Thanks Voicemale1, that was overdue.

Andrew that’s a good point about Nadal, but he didn’t exactly have the toughest draw in Shanghai. And my concern regarding Nadal isn’t his results, it’s his losses. He’s been so subdued. If not for Davydenko’s nerves, the score could have been 6-2 6-3, which is similar to all of his other losses. When was the last time Nadal lose in 3 sets? Miami? When he was playing so bad and injured yet he still fought to a third set tiebreaker against Del Potro. Now Del Potro has gotten better since then so it’s not surprising he doesn’t need a 3rd set tb to beat Nadal, but against other players he doesn’t seem to be fighting as much. I seriously think he’s just really uncomfortable on the HC and it’s probably because of his injuries, he’s afraid of over doing it.


contador Says:

sounds like a rabid rafatard gone bezerk.

or, just kidding around? a frienldy tussle between frenemies?.

chill out dude. this forum is public and it is quite self centered to not keep in mind that hundreds of people read through the posts and are subjected to your vitriol and hatred.

tennis-x is enjoyable and informative reading for a tennis fan but your foul mouth only shows an emotional instability and an irrational mind at the moment, incapable of expressing an argument in anything other than a sophomoric fashion. there is a place for you waiting on the sucks forum…that’s right, if you are not already a regular poster there. your 11:37 pm post fits right into the usual fare …..just type ‘roger federer sucks forum’ into your browser. please take your childish angst elsewhere


sensationalsafin Says:

Contador, who are you? Voicemale1 has been around for a while now and FIG’s comments are getting ridiculous. Plus, if Voicemale1 leaves, who else is gonna calmly explain Nadal’s greatness. He didn’t say anything about Federer sucking.


Skorocel Says:

sensationalsafin said: „Having a losing record to Nadal won’t diminsh his legacy, but he should fix his record against Nadal at the slams.“

Agree.

„Plus Fed needs to beat Simon atleast once.“

Unless he’s something like 5-0 vs Fed, I don’t think so.

„And I don’t know if Fed will sustain his number 1 long enough to end next year as 1.“

Same here. That Sampras‘ record will probably stay.


sensationalsafin Says:

Which Sampras record? I think Fed has a good chance to get the number of weeks one. And I’d just like to see Fed beat Simon.


Fed is GOAT Says:

Voicemale1,

These posts really get your panties in a bunch, ha? Funny….. Seems like you can’t keep a dialgoue decent. Well, behave as you wish, I guess that’s who you are.

So come on now, I am sure you will spew more venom….


Fed is GOAT Says:

BTW, in case English was not your first, second or third language – what I have said on this board is that

1) Federer is way past is peak
2) It is unlikely he will win too many slams in the future, maybe just one or two more.

That sound like Fed worship to you? LOL….


Skorocel Says:

sensationalsafin: I meant Sampras’ 6 consecutive No. 1 year-end finishes. And I maintain my view that Fed shouldn’t be too much worried about Simon. The guy hasn’t achieved even 1/10 of what Murray (who’s 6-3 vs Fed) had already done, not to mention Nadal… Even Sampras had losing records against some “odd” guys here and there, so as long as it’s not 0-5 or 0-10, it’s fine in my opinion.


sensationalsafin Says:

No I mean I’d just personally like to see Federer beat Simon.

When Sampras was chasing the 6 consecutive years at number 1 record, he knew that type of thing can only be done once in a career. Federer’s not gonna be number 1 from 09-15. That’s impossible.


contador Says:

sensationalsafin, i am a simple tennis fan, have been reading this board off and on for about a month, but only posted once or twice until yesterday.

i enjoyed the exchange between you and someone else over nalbandian…uh, like a week or more ago?

yesterday i was following fed is goat, vulcan, others and you exchange thoughts about predicting slams, seemed interesting, then voicemale1 went off in such a left field way that i thought he might like the ‘so and so sucks’ forum. one does not need to think a player sucks, simply be thick ready to pop and have an unabandoned go at other irritating and irritatED fans. it’s like a beavis and butthead scream pillow.

idk the history between them and i was forming an opinion based upon comparing one offensive, crazy, post and the rational tone of another’s.

i regret adding: “please take your childish angst elsewhere.” apologies for that voicemale1. had no business saying that at all, especially not knowing the history here. but i was being serious about the sucks forum. ( okay, i admit posting there…um, a couple times….maybe ) but i won’t say why…lolzzz


Skorocel Says:

sensationalsafin said: “Federer’s not gonna be number 1 from 09-15. That’s impossible.”

Ha ha, that’s true :-) Even the most hardcore Fed fan will agree with that ;-)

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