2010 ATP Look Ahead, Will Federer Remain Atop the Tennis World?
by Sean Randall | January 3rd, 2010, 6:56 pm
  • 231 Comments

To quickly answer the question posed in the title: Yes. In my mind Roger Federer will finish 2010 as the No. 1 ranked player. It wasn’t an easy selection, but given the landscape he’s my default pick.

At the highest of levels, Federer’s proven time and again that he’s the best by a wide margin. All told now, Roger has reached seven straight Grand Slam finals and 17 of the last 18 championship matches. That’s nothing short of incredible.

Even though Federer ended last season with just four titles in seven finals – his fewest number of finals since 2002 – Roger played his best tennis when it mattered the most, at the Slams.

In fact, Federer was just a hair from sweeping all four majors in 2009, though one could argue he was lucky to have won Wimbledon and he very nearly could have had his remarkable Slam semifinal streak snapped at the French Open by Tommy Haas.

But in both events Federer did what champions do best, he won. His French Open gave him the career Slam and Wimbledon pushed him past Pete Sampras for 15 and atop the career Slam leaderboard. Federer of course came up just short in the US Open final to Juan Martin Del Potro and suffered a crushing defeat at the start of the year to friend and rival Rafael Nadal at the Australian.

But with Nadal on the mend from a bad knee and family issues, the year was Federer’s.

That said, clearly we have seen some cracks in Federer’s game of late. And for me, at age 28 those cracks are only going get wider and deeper going forward. It’s just a question of how long he can keep together and hold off those in chase. I think he’s got 12-18 more months before he gets engulfed by the younger generation. Until then, though, he’s still the man to beat.

So why do I pick Federer for No. 1? Simple. It’s really based on the lack of anyone else stepping up on a consistent basis to take it from him.

Nadal is Fed’s chief rival, but can you really trust his knees and his health? I wish I could but I can’t.

Novak Djokovic is always hanging around and in the conversation, but the Joker hasn’t shown up to a major final since his 2008 Australian Open triumph.

Andy Murray seems to be hot-money pick to be the next new No. 1, but the Scot, like Djokovic, excels in ATP events only to fall flat in the Slams. For his career, Murray has just two Grand Slam semifinal appearances. Two! Sorry, I’ll believe it when he actually wins one.

Del Potro is the new slugger on the block, and his US Open title and his play at the London Masters definitely gives credence to his ability. But as a newly-crowned Slam winner, the expectations and pressures will be even greater. I’m not sure he’s ready to handle that load and lead the tour just yet.

Behind his rocket serve and improved consistency, Andy Roddick will be in the mix, but with the foes ahead of him it’s hard to see him making a real run at No. 1.

Nikolay Dayvdenko came on strong at the end of the year, but will the Russian’s big London Masters riches lift him toward Grand Slam greatness or will the off season spoil any momentum he had? I’ll venture to the latter.

Other players who figure to make some noise include Fernando Verdasco, who I think will back up his excellent 2009 campaign with another solid year. Robin Soderling is the only man to beat Rafael Nadal on the Paris clay, but I can’t see a repeat Top 10 performance from the Swede in 2010.

With their quartet of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, my man Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon, the French will again have to be accounted for. Add in Jeremy Chardy and France has arguably the most tennis talent of any country, but injuries, motivation and even off court issues always seem to emerge for the Frenchmen at the wrong time (Tsonga is already battling a bum wrist!).

Marin Cilic I think is one player poised for a big breakthrough in 2010. The lanky Croat is just 21 and he’s seems to really rise up for the Slams. Big serve, solid off the ground, big wingspan, doesn’t have bad losses in the majors and he’s already notched some big wins.

In the end though, I just don’t think anyone is going to be able to put together a complete campaign to knock Federer off his perch. There is of course injuries, and let’s face it, Federer’s been lucky in that regard. Every top player I can remember has battled something significant, but so far Federer’s been fairly immune to the injury bug. Maybe that finally catches up to him this year, maybe it doesn’t. On the court though, with the major records now in the rearview, he should play more freely – however he’s raised just one trophy since reaching 15.

That said, I think Federer’s Slam semifinal streak finally gets snapped this year, but the Swiss should still pocket another Wimbledon title and I think the Australian Open gives him a better chance to add to the trophy case than either the US Open or the French.

Nadal will return to his winning ways on the clay, but with number of guys possessing the skillset required to beat Rafa seemingly increasing with each year and his battles with his knees, I think he’ll have his struggles off his favored dirt. If he can stay 100% for the year, then Federer could be in trouble. But that’s a big if.

The pressure is on Murray, and while I think he could breakthrough in Australia or New York for a first Slam win, I don’t think he’ll have enough to challenge Federer for a No. 1 finish. And I think the same is true for Novak.

For me, the big obstacle (literally) for Federer may very turn out to be Del Potro. DelPo’s reached the QF or better at four of his last five Slams and it’s hard to argue that his US Open win was a fluke. It wasn’t. The big lug is here to stay. And at just 21 he already has the power, he can play well on all surfaces, he has improved his fitness and he showed his mental toughness in that fifth set in Flushing. If his body holds up and he handles the new weight of being a Slam winner, I believe he’s going to be the next new No. 1. Maybe even by mid-2010.

Regardless of what happens, times have really changed from a few years ago when the conversation in men’s tennis was just Federer and Nadal. We’ve since added Djokovic, then Murray and now add Del Potro to the mix for a very strong, very solid Fab Five. Could a player like Cilic, Tsonga or Verdasco make a surge and crack that Top 5? Possibly. But it should be a great, entertaining year of tennis, and a great way to start a new decade. Happy New Year everyone.

Here’s my projected Top 10 for ‘10:

1. Roger Federer
2. Juan Martin Del Potro
3. Rafael Nadal
4. Andy Murray
5. Novak Djokovic
6. Andy Roddick
7. Nikolay Davydenko
8. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
9. Gael Monfils
10. Marin Cilic


Also Check Out:
Roger Federer Has Now Won More Grand Slam Matches Than Anyone In Tennis History
For The First Time In Nearly Two Years, Roger Federer Ranks Ahead Of Rafael Nadal
Andy Roddick Withdraws From Toronto
Novak Djokovic Moves Ahead Of Roger Federer In 2012 ATP Rankings
US Open Notes: Federer Open Era v Pre-Open Era

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231 Comments for 2010 ATP Look Ahead, Will Federer Remain Atop the Tennis World?

huh Says:

If there’s anything really in tennis called the top five, then listen: Murray , until he lifts a slam, is not a top 5 guy, to be honest. At least, for God’s sake , have some respect for Roddick! He’s levels ahead of Murray in terms of slam performance. Many semis, 4 finals already and A WIN. I hope people understand what I’m saying.


huh Says:

If there’s anything really in tennis called the top five, then listen: Murray , until he lifts a slam, is not a top 5 guy, to be honest. At least, for God’s sake , have some respect for Roddick! He’s levels ahead of Murray in terms of slam performance. Many semis, 4 finals already and A WIN. I hope people understand what I’m saying.


huh Says:

What’s the use of winning a handful of MS until you are slamless? Peace.


sheila Says:

sean randall, i hope ur right & roger finishes #1 because, i too, believe this will probably b his last gr8 year b4 the children take over & i 2 think delpo will b #1. well fed lost 2 solderling, b it an expo tournament, but that makes me somewhat nervous. nadal having won solderling leads me 2 believe he definitely wants to fight for the #1 spot. being #1 consistently means dealing w/the pressure of winning majors consistently and that is a hard task to accomplish. murray might be able to handle it, djokovic, after winning australia, didn’t handle the pressure very well. although these youngsters r very consistent in atp masters events, slams r a different ballgame & i hope, hope, hope, roger can indeed play freely & stay @ #1 for this year anyway. i love his game & 4me, the rest of the field of men just don’t do anything 4me.


Voicemale1 Says:

Evidently Sean Randall didn’t get the memo from Ben Pronin about the futility of trying to make predictions for a year end standing list. Pronin wrote about this ad nauseam on another recent thread, flatly declaring that it was pointless at this stage to engage in such activities as prognostication of this kind. LOL..nonetheless…

It’s no surprise Randall would select Federer as YE #1 for 2010. Randal might still be predicting Federer to top YE rankings decades after he retires :). There’s no question Federer could. But given how the mathematics have to work out, the odds of this appear fairly long. To end his year at #1 again Federer will essentially have to replicate appearing in all 4 Major Finals again and win two of them – as well as hope a larger number of challengers fall off the radar again. Should he lose before the Final at any Major in 2010, the amount of points deducted could only be made up by actually winning in Masters 1000 Events proportionate to the number of Majors he would fall in before the Final. And it’s not as though he could enter into more events to make up for any losses – he played all of his requisite events last year as it was (except Dubai). Federer played 5 Setters in three Major Finals last year, losing two of them after physically & mentally collapsing in the 5th Set, going down 6-2 both times; and went to ridiculous lengths to secure the one 5 Setter he did eke out (and it was very hard work against a guy he owns in Andy Roddick). Also – he’s not coasting through the early rounds in Majors as easily as he used to. Berdych took him to 5 Sets early in Australia; Haas & Del Potro did the same at The French – as well as Acasuso & Mathieu pushing him to 4 Sets there; and both Hewitt & Soderling took a set from him at the US Open. Federer’s career speaks for itself – there’s been no other like it. But all great things wind down eventually. And the math isn’t in his favor for 2010 to stay #1. The younger guys have closed the gap on him.

As for Nadal & his knees, time will tell I suppose. But in 2007 during the fall he actually had surgery on his knees and was essentially written off after he lost to Tsonga at the Australian Open in 2008. All he managed by years end was to become #1, win two Majors and Olympic Gold. So many epitaphs get written for Nadal after the US Open and he comes back the following year as good as he was before, or maybe even better. Until that pattern dynamic changes, he should be able to replicate his success of his normally front-loaded season. He’s got all upside at The French: any match he makes in the 2nd Week there will add points to his total. And if he simply shows up and plays Queens and Wimbledon – ditto there. Missing both last year means he’ll just add points with every match he wins at either place. And the Masters of Canada too – he won there in 2008, lost in the QF last year. If he goes beyond the Quarters in 2010 (meaning he has to win more than 3 matches), it’s more points to add. He has a LOT more room for points in 2010 than Federer strictly on the math of it. He could lose in places and still pick up what he needs – which is especially nice when some of those pickups can occur at two Majors he’s already won. And when you think about the number of points Nadal lost in 2009 by losing at the FO early, then skipping Queens & Wimbledon, the fact he stayed World #2 at year’s end is stunning.

Del Potro is the best of the rest. His big test will come when he has to face the pressure of defending a Major for the first time. That pressure has been too much for a lot of great players in tennis history. Just in the Open era, Sampras, Agassi, Lendl, Wilander, Edberg, and Connors were unsuccessful. But that Forehand of his will see off many challengers in 2010 no matter where he shows up.

Unless Djokovic or Murray will step up for Major title (and the odds are longer for Murray than Djokovic), it’s hard to see them making any impression to reach #1. Interesting that Tom Perotta predicted Djokovic would make it to #1 in 2010 reasoning that his 2009 showings at the French & Wimbledon leave him room to gain points (why he thinks that is a mystery to me – especially since he predicted Nadal will win both events again in 2010). But in his career, Djokovic has yet to successfully defend one single title he’s earned from the year before. If Perotta’s prediction is to come true that will all but be required for Djokovic.


jane Says:

Sean, please check your facts: “Murray has just two Grand Slam semifinal appearances. Two! And none in 2009. ”

Was Murray not in the Wimbledon semifinals in 2009, versus the other Andy R.??


jane Says:

I agree with Voicemale1′s math; Fed has a lot to defend this year, given that he had such a stellar 2009. He has to make ALL grand slam finals and win two of them. That’s a tall order when one considers all the guys hot on his heels. Plus, as VM1 already points out, it’s not been easy for Fed to achieve the heights he did last year (.i.e., he has had to fight to the brink in 5 setters, often winning them but not always). Of course if anyone can do it, it’s probably Roger, as he has proven to us consistently. But he is a little older, and possibly a little more satiated with his 15 GS, so it’s not far-fetched to pick against him as YE number 1. Plus Rafa does have much to gain at the two European slams, the two at which he usually does well. Djoko also stands to gain at all the slams, reaching only the R16 at the French and the Qs at the AO & Wimbledon. Murray can gain at the hardcourt slams. And Delpo can pick up points at the AO and on grass. So ALL of the other top five players CAN (IF THEY DO IT) pick up points at the slams. Roddick can gain at the USO, but he’ll have to match great results at the AO and Wimbledon, not to mention his best ever run at the French.

That said, what you say about Roddick huh makes sense; he has surely proven himself time and time again!! He has been denied multiple more slam titles only by Fed at the final stages: potentially one more USO and THREE Wimbledon titles. Roddick is often under-rated!!!


Sean Randall Says:

Jane, thanks. Amended.

Voicemale1, unless two players win two Slams this year, I think two majors will be enough to secure No. 1. That’s my math. In that scenario Fed doesn’t need to reach all four finals. Two Slam wins should be enough to finish No. 1.

In 2009, had Fed reached the SFs instead of the finals at the Australian and US Opens he still would have finished No. 1. So there’s room.

The key for Fed will be because of his schedule and likely reduced focus on the Masters events, he’ll need the 2-5 guys like Novak/Murray/DelPo/Rafa to divide the remaining titles somewhat equally.

And as I wrote, if Nadal puts together an injury-free season, Fed will be in trouble. I just don’t think Nadal can do it.


Ben Pronin Says:

“The key for Fed will be because of his schedule and likely reduced focus on the Masters events, he’ll need the 2-5 guys like Novak/Murray/DelPo/Rafa to divide the remaining titles somewhat equally.”

I’d say that’s the most important thing. For the past few years, Federer and Nadal split everything. In 2008, Nadal gobbled up virtually everything. The reason Nadal still had a chance to end number 1 at the end of 09 was because he wont the most MS events. So if no one wins more than 2 MS and Federer does win 2 slams, then yeah he’s safe. But I think Federer’s age is going to be particularly obvious as 2010 moves forward.


Voicemale1 Says:

Sean:

What other players do is almost irrelevant. It’s Federer who must perform to maintain your prediction. If you’re prediction is to hold Federer will have to win two Majors again to have any hope of keeping his #1 Ranking by years end. If he doesn’t do this, his only hope would be to have 4 different guys win Majors who have rankings below the Top 5 guys while still making the Final of all 4 to keep point losses to a minimum. As dominant as the Top 5 guys have been in the last few years (regarding Federer & Nadal it’s the last 5 years) that’s a huge stretch of any logic. Further, it has to depend on Federer mainting his non-Major results from 2009 (winning 2 Masters 1000 Events) and hoping that his closest pursuers underperform there also. This would mean guys like Cilic, Verdasco, Tsonga and maybe Berdych would have to account for all of the Majors at Federer’s direct expense and shut out Del Potro, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray. This is nuts. If Federer loses in the Semis at two of the Majors, and it’s any of the other Top 5 who wins where he loses in the Semis, his YE #1 is pretty much gone, regardless of whether he wins the other two. Especially if it’s Nadal who wins Wimbledon – he will add 2,000 points while Federer would lose 800 if he’s the beaten Finalist. That result alone would be enough to reverse their ranking position. And that assumes Nadal would end up with zero points at Queens, and lose even earlier at the French Open this year than the 4th Round. Wow.

If Federer doesn’t reach two Major Finals – if he gets beat in the Semis in two of them (which is entirely possible) – he loses 2,560 (1280 x 2) if it’s the French or Wimbledon, and 960 (480 x 2) if its the AO of USO. Basically what your prediction amounts to is this: Federer will again win two Majors, Nadal will have as bad or worse a year as last year, and the other two Majors Federer doesn’t win (but he must be the beaten Finalist for him to retain his #1 by December 2010) will go to someone other than Nadal, Del Potro, Djokovic or Murray. That’s…just…crazy.


sportsfan Says:

all of you make some great points, but i think what federer is going to accomplish this years is going to blow us away…….i will not say what that something is, but i will say i believe it is going to happen…….cheers


sportsfan Says:

roger federer knows exactly what it will take to finish #1 this year, and i think he knows he can do it…….he is not counting on anybody to perform badly, but he is counting on himself having an even better year than last year if you know what i mean……he has won the french open, and now if he wins the australian open to begin this year than you better watch out because he could do the unthinkable, and i for one think he has made that his goal…….


Sean Randall Says:

Voicemale1, I think you are overanalyzing.

What I am saying is that if Federer – or any player for that matter – wins two Slams, reaches a another SF and a QF this year that he will “likely” finish No. 1.

If another player wins two Slams, then it gets much tighter.

My guess is that the four Slams will not be split between two players, but rather shared among three players. In the latter scenario, the guy winning the two majors would likely come out on top.

I’m not sure why you find that so “crazy”.


stacy Says:

here are the predictions for 2010:

AO- Federer
FO- Nadal
Sw19- Federer
UO- Djokovic

Rankings on Dec 1 2010:

1. Federer (for last time)
2. Nadal
3. Djokovic
4. Murray
5. Delpotro


sportsfan Says:

2010 predictions:

AO- Federer
FO- Federer
WI- Federer
UO- Federer

2010 rankings

1. Federer
2. Djokovic
3. Nadal
4. Delpotro
5. Murray

Note,

I am not a big fan of Federer, but I really and truly believe he is going to do this. I always said if he ever wins the French than he will believe and want to win the Calendar Slam. If he wins in Australia it is going to happen.


Voicemale1 Says:

Sean Randall Says:
Voicemale1, I think you are overanalyzing.

What I am saying is that if Federer – or any player for that matter – wins two Slams, reaches a another SF and a QF this year that he will “likely” finish No. 1.
– - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - –

Your subject of this thread posed a question you answered: “Yes”, Federer would retain the #1 ranking by years end. Mathematically I laid out how that would have to happen for HIM – not “any player”. How FEDERER must achieve what you predicted is pretty much how I laid it out. If he wins two Majors but loses in the first week of the other two, nothing he can do for the rest of the year can compensate for that, nor would he be able to keep his #1 ranking. His point loss would be too great. If that happened, it would take the four guys right behind him to fail to capitalize. In fact, all of them would have to underperfom for a whole year. Highly unlikely.

Federer has the most to lose in terms of points if he doesn’t pull off what he did last year. Those loses are as bolstering to those ranked below him as their own winning is to them. If Federer gets beat in the QF of the French Open he loses 1640 points. If Nadal wins the French Open he gains 1820. That’s my point. I don’t get how you don’t get it. You’re saying Federer has a better shot at repeating at the French than Nadal does of reaching the 2nd week of a tournament he’s won 4 times.

You have a deep wishful thinking that he will pull this off because of how much you love him. He could do it if talent was all that mattered.
You’re question you posed and answered was specifically about Federer, not anyone else. That’s why I think your prediction to hold about him being year end #1 is a long, long way from being upheld, given what has to happen to ensure it. You’re basically saying that Federer will be #1 again and Nadal, his closest pursuer and the one who has the biggest gain potential, doesn’t really have much hope of catching him. And neither do Del Potro, Murray or Djokovic.

OK. Let’s see that happen.


Sean Randall Says:

Voicemale1, mathematically a player could will all four majors and still not finish No. 1! Will it ever happen? I doubt it.

I just think a player who wins 2 slams, reaches another SF and a QF would likely finish No. 1. Mathematically, of course other guys could pass him but in general, having that resume is usually good enough. And that’s what I think Federer will have in his Slams.

Sure, Rafa will likely surpass his 2008 French result. And if I had to bet my life on a player winning one Slam I’d take Rafa at the French Open. But I think that will be the only one he wins. I don’t think he wins the Australian Open and I don’t think he wins Wimbledon or the US Open.

You see him winning the French I know, but out of curiosity what else?


Sean Randall Says:

To lay it out: I can see Federer with 2 slams. DelPo gets one plus another final and Rafa gets his French in his only Slam final.


sportsfan Says:

Roger Federer will win the Calendar Slam guys and than all this talk will be mute. I am a Nadal and Murray fan, but I know this Federer guy, and have never seen anyhting like him. I told my wife last year when Federer won the French Open that he was going to do the Slam in 2010. He wants it and knows now he can do it. Just get ready guys.


Mindy Says:

Voicemale1,

All I can say is that you are my hero for standing up and making the case for Rafa. If Sean had picked anyone other than Fed to be #1 at the end of 2010, I think the earth might have rotated off its axis!

I could not make such a detailed, painstaking argument. I have come here before to thank you for being a voice of reason. I don’t stay because of the anti-Rafa bias that is all too prevalent here. But every once in a while I check in to read some of the blogs. Your analysis was quite interesting.

Needless to say, I hope that you are right. I liked what I saw from Rafa in his match with Soderling. I don’t care if it was an exho! Any time Rafa can get a win over Soderling on hard court, is something to celebrate. I think it was important for Rafa to get this win. It will get some of the demons out of his head. The best thing is that it will reinforce Rafa’s belief that he can compete with the big guys on hard court and give him confidence as he moves forward this year.

No one can know what may or may not happen with Rafa’s knees. It’s not something that will completely go away, but I do think it can be managed if Rafa handles his schedule more wisely. Right now he looks as healthy as I have seen him in quite a while. I haven’t seen him hit some of the shots he was making against Soderling since his comeback. He is definitely getting the rhythm back and feeling it. He’s not at the level he was at the 2009 AO, but I think he’s only going to get better.

I am sick to death of all these premature epitaphs for Rafa. It’s disgusting and quite disrespectful. Time and time again, he has shown the doubters and naysayers that they were wrong. I have a saying – when it comes to Rafa, NEVER SAY NEVER! I love it when he makes the so-called experts and prognosticators eat their words.

Again, thanks for your efforts to add reason and logic to this discussion. Whether or not you are supporting Rafa, your comments are always worth reading.


Ben Pronin Says:

Since we’re all having fun here,

AO – Federer
FO – Nadal
W – Djokovic
USO – Del Potro

Sean I think you mean Nadal’s 2009 result, there is no surpassing his 08 result.

Considering Federer has finished number 1 five of the last six seasons, so I don’t see how it’s exactly “wishful” thinking to say he’ll finish number 1 again.


Ben Pronin Says:

Mindy, how is saying Federer will be number 1 somehow insulting to Nadal? Is it insulting to Federer to say Nadal will be number 1? Who is writing Nadal off?


Sean Randall Says:

Thanks Ben, rumor is it’s a new year. I need to adjust my clocks!

As for Rafa, if you read between the lines on what I wrote, the tour and the No. 1 ranking is on Rafa’s racquet. It’s up to him. Fed no longer is in control of that ranking, he needs help, help from Rafa.

If Rafa stays healthy and injury-free he’ll finish No. 1. But as I wrote I don’t think he can, so by default Fed’s the top guy.


Voicemale1 Says:

Sean Randall Says:
Voicemale1, mathematically a player could will all four majors and still not finish No. 1! Will it ever happen? I doubt it.

I just think a player who wins 2 slams, reaches another SF and a QF would likely finish No. 1. Mathematically, of course other guys could pass him but in general, having that resume is usually good enough. And that’s what I think Federer will have in his Slams.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

You’re mixing scenarios now, at least from your original post. The problem is you now (in these last two posts on the thread) treat this ranking issue as a Zero Sum Game for 2010. Ranking Points are Cumulative – a 52 Week Aggregate. If player had 2 Majors, a SF and a QF – it’s doesn’t mean anything on the face of it. Assume your scenario is Federer here. Suppose he wins Wimbledon and the US Open; SF of AO and QF of the French. If Nadal wins the French he gains 1820; Federer loses 1640. If Federer wins Wimbledon he gains Zero; if Nadal is in the Final at Wimbledon he gains 1200. Wimbledon has seen three Finalists, and only three, in six years: Federer (6), Nadal(3) and Roddick(3). So Nadal in the Wimbledon Final looks like as good thing as anything else (the grass will be too tough for Del Potro; the ball will stay way too low for his strike zone off both sides and he’ll have to bend and dig up shots rather than plow through them like he does on a hard court).

So even in this scenario of yours, the results of 2 wins a SF and a QF for FEDERER will result in a huge loss of total points. Especially if Nadal just maintins at the AO & USO getting to the Semis of each. He can go deep in each because he’s still in better shape to go 5 sets than just about anyone on the tour. That’s why I said if Federer realizes the season you laid out: two wins, a SF and a QF he loses a lot of ranking points from 2009. And he’s not that far ahead of his pursuers to skate by at #1 with that kind of a season now after the year he had last year.

And whether Federer can actually pull off winning two Majors again in 2010, given how rough his Finals were in three of them last year, is something that remains to be seen.


sportsfan Says:

Sean Randall,

How many times has Federer won 3 slams in a year? 2004, 2006, 2007 if my memory serves me correctly. It is not on Rafa’s racquet, because if Federer wins 3 of the 4 and plays well at the WTF than he will finish #1 regardless of Rafa. People are acting like just because Rafa lost in the Rd16 at the French Open, and skipped Wimbeldon he can regain the #1 ranking by making finals and semifinals. That is not the case if Federer wins 3 of the 4, and you already know what I think about that. Just because I am a fan of Nadal does not mean I will say it is all on his racquet. That is dangerous specially with Djokovic and Delptro beating him so badly lately. So I definitely think Federer will make it very hard to unseat him at the #1 position. You and everybody else knows what that guy can do when he sets his mind to it.


Ben Pronin Says:

What if Roddick makes his 4th Wimbledon final instead of Nadal?

What if Nadal is upset or injured at the US Open or Australian?

What if Federer wins all 4 slam finals in straight sets?

What if Del Potro wins Wimbledon?

What if the current top 5 all go downhill and are completely replaced?

Voicemale1, clearly you don’t have a lot of faith in Federer but what makes you so sure Nadal will only gain? He’s got loads to lose at the Australian Open and Indian Wells.


sportsfan Says:

Also, we need to take into consideration that Federer is trying to pass Sampras in one category this year and equal him in two more. He wants to stay #1 until May 31, and that will give him 287 total weeks ranked #1 which would pass the Sampras record of 286 weeks ranked #1. That means he has to stay #1 until Monday of the second week of the French Open. That is very likely should he win the Australian Open. He is also trying to win his 7th Wimbeldon which would tie Sampras for most titles by a male player. The last record he wants is to finish the year ranked #1 for the 6th time which would also tie Sampras. The reason I bring this up is because people act like just because he has become the GOAT means he is not motivated, and these are some factors in why I believe he will achieve what I said he would.


Ezorra Says:

Rafael Nadal said he is not playing Dubai next month. He also stated somewhere that playing Madrid last year was a mistake so I assume he’ll skip Madrid either. For health’s sake, I hope he will skip Barcelona as well.


Sean Randall Says:

sportsfan, if Fed meets Rafa in a Slam, I like Rafa that matchup. I think that contest has shifted in Rafa’s favor the last few years with Wimbledon in 08 and Australia in 09.

Voicemale1, this is a thread about who’ll finish 2010 No. 1. What do 2009 points have do with it? Nothing! They will all have fallen off by the end of the year, so why even bring them up? – that’s why I said you are over analyzing.

As for the points, I never said Fed will walk away with No. 1. It’s going to be be a dogfight right down to the wire in London.


Ben Pronin Says:

Ezorra, I hope Nadal stays healthy, too. As much as I hate him beating Federer, the more momentum he gains the better his forehand gets and you gotta be crazy not to enjoy the things he can do off that wing.


Voicemale1 Says:

Ben:

What do you care about what I say? Why are YOU even in this discussion? You’re the one who prattled on in the other thread about how unwise it was to make such prognostications to begin with. Yet here you are doing it. The only reason you open your yap to me is because you are more fan than author. Federer & Djokovic are your guys. We get it. You think they’ll win everything. At least you do until someone else makes a prediction otherwise – then your Mother Hen-ness starts pouring forth.

This whole point Sean made about Federer keeping his #1 ranking at the end of the year. I laid out the math. Sean’s now backpedaling by saying things he meant to say are now to be read “between the lines”. Had he thought about what it would actually take for Federer to keep his #1 ranking at the end of 2010 he might have had second thoughts about writing it.

But hey – let’s see who’s right in a year. Deal? Or do you still insist we all have to stop this predicting – unless we make you feel better by predicting nothing but more and more and more for Federer & Djokovic?


Sean Randall Says:

And point-wise:

Fed 2 slams, 1 SF, 1 1st RD (4730 points) > Rafa 1 Slam, 1 R-up, 2 SF (4640)


sportsfan Says:

Sean,

I actually think the mental edge shifted bigtime in Madrid, and I think we will see that this year. Roger is going to turn that rivalry around.


Sean Randall Says:

sportsfan, I give Roger a chance in a best-of-3 ATP match against Rafa, but in a Slam final if Rafa’s healthy I don’t think Fed beats him. Fed’s best chance is to avoid Rafa!


Ben Pronin Says:

You forgot Del Potro, I think he’ll win everything, too.

Who says I can’t be in the discussion? I honestly don’t care if Fed ends number 1. I really, really don’t. I think he’s got the best chance to do it, but I just don’t care anymore. He’s done enough, I wanna see someone else do something.

I just gave you a bunch of what if scenarios, what else do you want? You want me to admit Nadal is the greatest human being ever and he’ll definitely win everything everywhere all the time and surpass everything anyone’s ever done? No way. He won’t, isn’t, can’t, etc.

I don’t think Federer and Djokovic will win everything, I just hope Djokovic does.


Sean Randall Says:

And to add with Rafa, since losing to Fed in Madrid last year Rafa’s reached just ONE final! ONE! (He lost to Dayvdenko in Shanghai).

Rome back in early May was Rafa’s last title.

If you are a Rafa supporter that has to be worrisome.

I’ll say Fed didn’t fare much better the latter half of the year.


sportsfan Says:

Sean,

You are crazy if you think Federer will not beat Rafa in a slam final again. Trust me, it will happen. Problem is he does not get there enough to play him in the finals. Roger will beat Rafa if they play in a slam final again.


jane Says:

Although Rafa hasn’t won a title since Rome in 2009 (not counting the exo which he just won, which does matter in a way), it means little as to how he will do THIS year, in 2010.

Case in point: let’s compare Fed’s 2008 season, which by his standards was kind of crappy – he won Estoril, Halle, the USO, and Basel. But he had mono. Okay, the same goes for Nadal in 2009; his knees flared up big time, he lost matches badly and unexpectedly. In addition he struggled with the emotional drawback of his parents’ divorce.

In other words, Fed’s comparatively weak 2008 season is quite comparable to Nadal’s comparatively weak 2009.

So, if history repeats itself, Nadal should be the one having a wonderful 2010 season, given the bounce back we witnessed from Federer in 2009.

But all this is rather tough to predict.

Only the math can be a logical starting point for making predictions, assuming the players stay healthy and play to their potentials. Past history is not always the best indicator.


Ezorra Says:

Urghhh… I hate Doha’s website so much. Too fancy but less info… Like Chennai’s and Brisbane’s more…


Rick Says:

I am glad that, you are back with Sean! I thought that you lost your job to Ben! lol And you look really cute in Gypsy clothes with a crystal ball in your hands! lol Well, I also hope that Darth Federer would has the same lucks in the Grand Slam draws this year. For not needing to play the top 5 players to win his slams again. lol


Rick Says:

Sean! Why are you trying to jinx Federer’s luck in 2010? You should had picked Murray, Nadal, Del Potro or Djokovic for everything on purpose. So that Federer would wins everything! lol


Nina Says:

Call it whatever you like, but I strongly believe that this will be Djokovic’s year. He’s been around at nº3 for too long, always on the verge of becoming nº 2 or nº 1, and he will make that definitve step in 2010. He has to. He has te tennis and mindset to do it. He’s my man and I hope he doesn’t prove me wrong. I also think Nadal will be back to his previous form with time but won’t be able to stay on top of Fededer and Djoko. Delpo is a mystery to me, so far he still has to prove that he can sustain his 2009 campaign. Murray is even a deeper mystery but I think he will be in the top 5 for long. And watch for Soderling though he’s not top 5 material yet.


moi Says:

Voicemales calcultations just show that federer had a great 2009.
But everybody starts at 0 points in the race to become year end nr. 1. And even though it will be very difficult for federer to end another year as nr. 1 it is not that unlikely that he will win more points in the next 12 month than anybody else if he stays healthy.
how many he will lose reative to last year is irrelevant.


madmax Says:

SEAN,

Please can you stop saying that federer was “lucky”. You’ve said it twice in your above article. Federer has been “smart” with his schedule and yes, he did have to some five setters, but then that brings out the best (most of the time) in federer – and if he was a little tired towards the end of last year, it is probably because he was just a “little tired” after being the ONLY player to reach ALL FOUR FINALS. So give the guy a break.

The time will come when he hangs up his racquet, but that aint gonna happen any time soon, so I wish people would stop going on about it. The guy gets asked this question every interview, I am surprised he hasnt smacked anyone in the face yet.

Let him play. Let him play his style of tennis and just enjoy it, honestly, some people get so caught up in predictions about the “what ifs”. Just enjoy the present, because the future does NOT exist.


margot Says:

Rick: Gypsy Rose Randall! Nice one!
Well, G.R.R thankyou, thankyou, thankyou for not picking Andy for anything. Now I can relax!
jane: how’s u? Where’s Djko at the moment? He doesn’t seem to be playing anywhere.
madamax: Agree with you re Fed. He’s not “lucky” to have escaped injury, it is his fantastically elegant, almost balletic style that does it, nice and easy on those joints, I’d say.
Interesting mix of guys ‘n gals playing Hopman cup btw.


Voicemale1 Says:

Here’s the Major Story from 2010: Federer wlll not win any of the 4 Majors this year :)


jane Says:

margot! happty new year to ya. So are you getting coverage of Mr. Murray and Miss Robson? I wish I could see their doubles match. I guess they have to win it since she lost her match? Anyhow, not to worry about Murray’s year. He’ll do well. He’s ready, and with no distractions (other than maybe play-station, lol : ] )

Djoko is not playing until Kooyong. He’s changed things up this year like Murray. When Djoko won the AO in 2008, he didn’t play any warm up event, so I actually think just playing the exo at Kooyong is a good decision in his part.

Here’s hoping for good things in 2010 for our faves eh!?

It’s true what you say to madmax, b.t.w.; it’s amazing how Fed’s been able to stay virtually injury free, with only his back flaring up now and again since 2008. Basically he’s been able to play unhindered for most of the season, though I do suspect he’ll shorten things up in the future, even if he keeps playing into his 30s. (i.e., play less events).


C!P! Says:

2010 predictions:

AO- Del Potro def. Nadal
FO- Nadal def. A surprise player
WI- Roddick def. Nadal
UO- Federer def. Del Potro

2010 rankings

1. NADAL
2. Del Potro
3. Djokovic
4. Federer
5. Verdasco


Voicemale1 Says:

Ben Pronin Says:

“Who says I can’t be in the discussion?”

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

You know, for a would-be columnist you really ought to sharpen your reading comprehension skills. Given what they are, I’m sure that’s why you’re suitable as such for this Message Board. I didn’t say you couldn’t be in the discussion; I asked you why you were in this discussion? Do you see, and more importantly, do you UNDERSTAND, the difference? I asked a question – you interpret it and then reply to me as though I made a declarative statement. You ought to learn the difference between the those two grammar essentials if you have writing aspirations :)


madmax Says:

Voicemale1, forgive me if I am wrong, but you seem a little jealous of Ben’s elevation to article writer – give the guy a break –

Obviously you cannot be objective regarding roger federer so no comment.

Jane! Hi! Margot! Hi! great to see and talk to you again ladies – it really is! Margot I thought of you doing some really long winter walks in UK after christmas – Happy New year to the both of you, with bells on top!

Well, the new season is upon us and it is exciting already!

Here is a videolink for all roger and rafa fans showing them arriving at doha and playing on the “magic carpet” – dont forget to scroll down as there are two video clips.

http://www.gototennisblog.com/2010/01/04/video-roger-federer-and-rafael-nadal-play-in-doha/


Mats Says:

Robin Soderling will DEFINATELY be top ten 2010. I would happily see a motivation from you why he shouldn’t be top ten 2010. The only thing which could stop him is injury problems.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Pretty fair list Sean, except the omission of Soderling is, in my opinion, WAY off. This guy is not going away- he will be moving up.
I agree that Fed has probably the highest chance of ending #1. Last year I think Fed was the question mark going into the season. This year, Nadal is. No one really knows what we’ll get out of him this year, but I have to doubt he’s going to win like ’08.
Frankly, its a toss-up between those top 3 you have. Murray and Djokovic seem definitely to be at a lower tier.
I also agree that 2 GS and some solid showings elsewhere should be enough to end the year #1. Considering Fed’s semifinal streak and how few points he got last spring, I think he’s a good bet. I just don’t see Nadal winning Oz and dominating clay this year like he did in ’08. He may still be the best dirtballer in the world, but the world is coming closer.


jane Says:

Not many people are mentioning this Stakhovsky guy, to whom Youzhny just lost, but I could see him rising up the ranks this year; I believe he won two titles last year. A lot of people are mentioning Chardy, who is great, though he lost his opening match this year, but I do wonder if this Stakhovsky could be one to watch.

Tennis Vagabond says “Considering…how few points [Fed] got last spring”

Did he get “few points” last spring?

He made semis at Doha; finals at the AO; semis at both Indian Wells and Miami; semis at Rome; won Madrid; won FO; won Wimbledon!!! The ONLY place where Fed lost relatively early in the first half of last year was at Monte Carlo. So to me, he still has a fair bit of points to back up.


Fot Says:

madmax – you’re spot on with your comment at 8:13. I agree with you 100%. Thumbs-up to you.


Golf is barely a Sport Says:

Will Federer want the #1 ranking badly? I am sure matching or surpassing Sampras’ 286 weeks would be a feather in his cap. The same can be said for finishing 6 years at #1. Do those achievements mean much to him though? Weeks at #1 seems like a junk stat. Hewitt is way out in front of Boris Becker in terms of weeks at #1, but would any sane person say Hewitt had a better career? Hewitt finished 2 years at #1 and Agassi only finished 1 year at #1. Who had a better career?

Federer will try to peak at the slams and if that keeps him at #1, I am sure he will take it. If keeping #1 hurts his chances at any of the slams he will shut things down and skip an event to preserve his health. Roger has had a lot of people draft behind him and let him do all of the PR and promotional stuff that a #1 is expected to do. It may be easier for Federer to win more slams if he is ranked 2nd or 3rd as the player ranked #1 may not be able to handle the adulation very well.


mat4 Says:

2010 predictions:

AO- Djokovic
FO- Djokovic
WI- Nadal
UO- Djokovic

2010 rankings

1. Djokovic
2. Nadal
3. Murray
4. Federer
5. Roddick


mat4 Says:

I honestly think that it will be Novak’s year. He has finally made the transition with his new racquet, he has improved his forhand and I believe that he is working hard in the off-season to improve his strength and serve. He was the best player of the end of 2009, and his wins against Federer in Basel and Nadal in Paris were very convincing. Last time when he was in such shape and had so much self-belief, he won the AO.


mat4 Says:

I am also convinced that Federer’s era is over. It would already be over without the incredible encounter between Rafa and Novak in Madrid. There’s no question that Fed deserved some luck, but his 2009 results were not the consequences of his level, but of the struggles of the other top players: Rafa with his health, his family problems, Novak a change of racquet.

I almost put Roddick at the fourth place of my list: he played great most of the year, he has shown the will to change and improve, and this year could be finally the one when he’s talent, work will be rewarded.


mat4 Says:

… his talent…


madmax Says:

mat4,

here we go again – so once again – there is NO such thing as LUCK – you make your own luck. Federer is smart with his schedule. How can you blame the universe’s woes on federer? He is NOT responsible for the choices that rafa makes or any of the other “injured” players – if you are going to use this argument, then equally rafa won his tournaments because of federer having mono in 2008 – you see, it just doesnt work.

These are Top athletes, with an intelligent team behind them of strategists, nutritionists, physiotherapists, psychiatrist, and many other “ists” – ultimately the athletes themselves will make their own decisions after the advice they have been given. But to say that Federer is “over” or was “lucky” is just about the lamest argument I have heard – but I have heard it as a federer fan so many times over, I guess I should be used to it by now, it still irritates the hell out of me though, because you just chip away at everything that Federer has brought to tennis.

Here is a quote from Barry Cowan, just last week, in case you dont know who he is, he is a tennis expert, broadcasts for SKYsports:

“Federer is playing some of the best tennis we have ever seen him play” – 2009.

You know mat4, I’m bored with responding to a post like yours, because it takes away the positive energy that I feel when I see federer play, and so I’ll continue to wish him well, to play fantastic tennis, and to wish all his competitors the best of the season too, but there is no one out there, not one person, who can match federer in terms of consistency,drive,ambition, motivation and the love for the game.

Much as I enjoy watching rafa play, until he becomes a multi slam winner (and by that, I mean not only on clay, but multi on hard and grass), he still has a long way to go to match federer’s finesse and achievements. May be one day he will. But for now, It’s still federer.


Mindy Says:

Ben,

You are actually asking me how saying that Federer will be number one is insulting to Rafa? Really? It’s insulting because of the implied assumption that Rafa will not be number one. Maybe you forgot that Rafa actually had a shot at ending last year at number one if he won WTF in London. Of course, he didn’t play well at all and it didn’t happen, but it’s worth remembering. He had a shot at it, even after what was a difficult year for him, with the shocking loss in the fourth round at RG and then not even being able to play at Wimbledon. I think it’s miraculous and a real testament to what Rafa is capable of even with two successive injuries, that he finished 2009 at number two.

As I said before, you NEVER write off Rafa’s chances. Not if you know what you are talking about.

Finally, if you have spent any time at all on this site, you would know that Rafa has been written off so many times that it’s not even funny. But the thing about Rafa is that he has a way of confounding the experts. Thank God he doesn’t sit around and read this stuff. He’s too busy working on his game and getting ready for the new year.

I love Sean’s reasoning! IF Rafa stays healthy and injury free, then he will be number one, but since that’s not going to happen, according to Sean, then he loses the number one by default to Federer. Thanks for the clarification.

I, for one, am just going to sit back and watch how it all plays out.


Ben Pronin Says:

Well if you’ve ever read some of my posts under devastatingdjokovic, you’d know I’ve given Nadal a lot of credit. Sure it’s amazing he had a shot at number 1, but besides that. He’s followed the same pattern every year since 2005; big first half, weak second half. People would write him off, then he’d come back with a bang. I used to think he was done, then I realized it’s just the way it goes for him. I’m not writing him off. I believe he can recapture his 2008 form at least one more time and he’s got more than enough game to finish number 1 a few more times. So relax.


steve Says:

Federer’s style is efficient. That’s why he can play so well at an age when many players are considering retirement.

His serve allows him to shorten points and dictate play. He has excellent anticipation, so he doesn’t have to run down as many balls. He can hit every shot in the book (and quite a few that aren’t), so he always has options no matter where he is on the court.

And now he’s a happy man, with a young family, which should spur him on to play more beautiful tennis.

If he’s healthy and motivated, he could claim the calendar Slam for the first time. The question is simply how much he wants it.


steve Says:

“I think it’s miraculous and a real testament to what Rafa is capable of even with two successive injuries, that he finished 2009 at number two.”

His dominance during the clay-court season, as always, carried him through, when added to his one major. Same as it did in 2006 & 2007.

It’s not a miracle. It’s the same old pattern. He has a finite amount in the tank for any given year, he expends it by playing at high intensity, and then he gets injured. That is how he operates.


Sean Randall Says:

Roger “sounds” like he’s keen on finishing No. 1.

His words (reuters):
“I would like to stay the top player in the world … because going from number two to number one was hard work and not an easy thing to do especially with Rafa playing so well,” Federer told reporters ahead of his Qatar Open title challenge.

“That was a major accomplishment for me and I would like to stay there as long as possible and try to finish 2010 as world number one.”

The 15-times grand slam champion believes he can achieve even better results than he did last year.

“I think I can definitely, if my body allows me, win many more tournaments than I did in 2009,” said Federer ahead of Tuesday’s first-round meeting with Belgian Christophe Rochus. “I really just had to focus on the major events last year.

“I hardly played any smaller events but if I’m healthy this year I can win many more tournaments and that could also help get me more confidence, more momentum.”

Federer said a feature of his previous spell as number one was the decision he made to be selective about which tournaments he played.

“It’s important to listen to your signals,” he said. “I think that’s one thing I did really well when I became number one.

“I had all the things going for me and huge opportunities to go and chase money or tournaments around the world but I said I’m not going to do it.

“I said I’m going to look at the big picture and it’s been paying off — I’m very happy with my decisions over the years,”


MMT Says:

My pick to finish #1 this year is Nadal. Nobody else has the credentials, and I don’t see Federer doing well enough in smaller tournaments to make up for what is certainly going to be a drop off in the slams.


sportsfan Says:

In case you guys have not listened the last few days, but Federer for the first time in 2 years is starting to talk like he did from 2003-2007 when he dominated the game. He stated today that he wants to win everything this year, and finish the year ranked #1. ” I would like to regain the Australian and US Open titles this year, and defend my French Open and Wimbeldon titles. Those were quotes from Doha this morning. I am telling you guys Federer believes strongly now that he is healthy that he can win the Calendar Slam. Write him off at your own expense, but you guys are going to be blown away by this man this year.

2010 Predictions:

AO- Federer
FO- Federer
WI- Federer
UO- Federer


Skorocel Says:

sportsfan on as to why Fed can’t beat Nadal in a slam final anymore: “Problem is he (Nadal) does not get there enough to play him in the finals.“

LOL :-) 7 times isn’t enough???!!! In case you didn’t notice, they played 3 times on clay, 3 times on grass, and once on hard. In other words, they played 3 times on Nadal’s beloved clay, and 4 times on Fed’s 2 favourite surfaces – yet the end result is 5-2 in Nadal’s favor… Still not enough? ;-)


jane Says:

I found it interesting that Fed himself added this caveat to his goals: “if my body allows me”. He’s no fool; he knows time waits for no one. I read an article in the Canadian Press this morning in which Fed talked about his bad back at the beginning of last year. Just as knees can flare up from time-to-time, so can backs, so Fed will have to be cautious about trying to put too much effort into winning the smaller events; it may cost him at the slams? He certainly is talking ambitiously, though.

Here’s the link to that article:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5gNEVgbPoW9NeWRFuu0Aiuu6SSnaA


sportsfan Says:

Skorocel,

I am not here to argue on with anyone, but the bottom line is Federer has made many more slam finals than Nadal, specially in his prime when Nadal could not make it there to play him. Nadal leads 5-2 in slam finals. Nadal leads in Paris (3-0), he leads in Australia (1-0), and Federer leads at Wimbeldon (2-1). What is the big deal? I like Nadal and think he is a great player, and will not down grade him at all, but my point is that I personally believe things are going to change as we go forward if they play. Also, I believe Federer is going to win the Calendar Slam this year, and have thought that since June 7, 2009 when he won the French Open. I may be wrong, but that is my prediction. I do not appreciate the attacking style in which you wrote me, and I could put up statistics between Federer and Nadal all day that would make Nadal look like a puppy, but will not do it because I like him. Here is the only stat that matters though.

Federer= 15 slams
Nadal= 6 slams

Federer= 263 ranked weeks #1
Nadal= 46 weeks ranked #1

That’s it in a nutshell.


Skorocel Says:

sportsfan: I’m not attacking anyone. I just want to point out that, even if Nadal and Fed won’t play in a slam final again, these two have already contested MORE THAN ENOUGH of them. In other words, Fed has had his fair share of opportunities to beat Nadal in a slam final, contrary to what you seem to think. I’m not interested in those “statistics between Federer and Nadal that would make Nadal look like a puppy”. Not at all. If you had read my post carefully, you would’ve noticed that I only talked about THE SLAM FINALS which these two played in, not about anything else. I purposedly mentioned the fact that 4 of them were played on Fed’s favourite surfaces (contrary to 3 on Nadal’s favourite surface), so that you could see Fed has even enjoyed a slight advantage in those matches – yet he trails 2-5… It’s not 4-3 (as one would expect), not even 3-4! It’s 2-5.


Ezorra Says:

Crystal Ball: 10 Predictions for 2010
By Tom Perrotta (senior editor at TENNIS magazine)

1. Roger Federer doesn’t win a major title
2. Rafael Nadal wins the French Open and Wimbledon
3. Maria Sharapova wins the Australian Open
4. Justine Henin wins the French Open, but not Wimbledon
5. Novak Djokovic becomes the No. 1 player in the world
6. Venus Williams doesn’t win a major, contemplates retirement


Ezorra Says:

7. Argentina wins the Davis Cup
8. Melanie Oudin drops in the rankings9. Dinara Safina falls outside the Top 10
10. Andy Roddick becomes a father


sar Says:

2010 Predictions
AO Djokovic
FO Djokovic
WI Djokovic
US Djokovic

I think he will win one but which one?


jane Says:

sar, I sure hope you’re right, that Djoko wins at least one. But I, too, am not sure where he has his best shot: a repeat at the AO? The USO? The only person to stop him at the USO for the last 3 years has been Fed, so one would think he might have a good chance there. I know he wants to win Wimbledon, but he was slipping and sliding too much there last year. He certainly can play on clay, too, but then he’d likely have to face Nadal if it were a title match, which would be tough. Who knows, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that he gets one slam for certain.


sar Says:

Where’s Djko at the moment?

Margot, he spent New Year’s in Dubai training according to his website.


margot Says:

jane, madmax, sar: happy new year to you too.
sar: thanx
jane: our bos are being v. v. sensible re prep for A.O. as last year I think ill health/hot weather did for them both. However, what’s this about Novak doing a soap?? No!! Will only divert him if true. Also now see both Andys want a spot at Kooyong too.
madmax: wondrous Winter walks?? More like slipping inelegantly on the ice! This weather is awful isn’t it? Or do you like snow ‘n ice? And b4 you Canadians/Americans start giggling and pointing at feeble Brits and our “weather”…we are under freezing air straight from Siberia and heading for coldest Winter for 100 years, so there! I know, I know “feeble Brits.” !!


madmax Says:

Skorocel,

I would like to pick up on your following post if I may – January 4th, 2010 at 8:26 pm

We all get very defensive dont we when we support our own favourite players, but I do think that you post did come across quite strongly (words on a screen do that sometimes, right!).

There are so many great players out there right now, that no one should be written off – I mean, no one! I keep pinching myself sometimes because I am just loving watching tennis more and more, I have become a tennis junkie and I mean bigtime! it is almost an obsession – my friends think I am crazy –

I would hate to think what would happen to tennis if either Federer or Nadal didnt play anymore – to me – they are the superstars of tennis – but also, I have had growing admiration for Novak and I have always been partial to roddick – so you see, it is possible to really enjoy great tennis with lots of players without having to say “he did this, yeah, but he did that”. It’s pointless. We are lucky, my friend, extremely lucky to be able to enjoy THE BEST from these guys.

The hours they put in to train, to play competitively, (and they call that work! what a dream job!), and then even better, we get to see the rewards when they win, we feel their pain, as fans, when they lose, but, like they do, we pick ourselves up and get ready for the next tournament.

Many people wrote roger off in 2008, tennis experts, journalists, nobodies, and sometimes, when people of that magnitude (in numbers rather than in intelligence), say such things, it makes you as a human being, react in the strongest possible way, you either go down the road of giving up, having failed, OR you turn it around. Roger turned it around, BIGTIME.

So, please dont write him off, play down his achievements, or disregard the great man – because he is great, he is beautiful to watch, and for me, his fighting spirit is still there, and when roger plays rafa – I love it! I think it brings a special something to tennis – whether roger loses to him, or beats him. The same goes for rafa.

I saw the videolink yesterday of the two of them playing on the magic carpet – just great.

I have no problem praising or complimenting rafa, or novak either for that matter. BUT one thing that annoys me is when posters have to discuss h2h all the time – so what? and not only that, when people post BUT roger lost to bla bla, or rafa lost to bla bla, what does it achieve? Nothing. So, because rafa was going through a bad time last year (as roger did in 2008 (beginning), some people write off rafa, they have done the same as they did to roger.

rafa lost 8 out of his 9 tournaments last year – what does that mean? that rafa is a crap player? NO. Rafa was going through his “moment”.

Roger is a multi slam winner skorocel. That’s not just on clay, that’s hard, that’s grass, that’s bloody amazing. Rafa is multi slam winner on clay “only”. that’s bloody amazing too.

I dont really find it beneficial to keep quoting who lost what etc., I just love the both of them playing out there and fighting until either one of them wins. That’s what sport is all about, plus, you learn more from your losses, and you want to beat the guy next time.

That’s what it’s all about – respect to both players, but to my mind, Federer is the best in terms of consistency and motion.


madmax Says:

Margot, yes

bloody freezing here. I mean sub zero temperatures. “The big freeze indeed”. No. I dont like snow and ice. I much prefer a hotter climate, Abh dhabi, Doha or Dubai, even Australia, sounds very appealing right now!


jane Says:

margot – I did read about Djokovic playing a King in some mini-series, and admittedly did let out a groan. Why oh why? He needs to be king on the court, not TV! I hope he doesn’t get too distracted. He can act later, when he’s done tennis; for now, he should focus on the game and doing his best at it. Mind you, I don’t know much about the role, or how much time he’ll have to devote to it; if it’s a token appearance, then it should be fine (after all, players do ads, sponsorships, appearances all the time) but if it asks a lot of him, then I too am concerned. Sigh.

Pip pip – good luck with that Siberian front!


mat4 Says:

Madmax:

Sorry I didn’t answer your post earlier.

The question of determination has been debated since Democrite and Epicure at least in western philosophy and I certainly don’t need explanations about it.

Then, I’ve got nothing against TMF. Quite the contrary! But… He’s not working hard enough: his losses in the 5th or 3rd sets show that he’s not fit phisically. He’s a bit slower, serves worse. Usually, he compensates this with an excellent strategic understanding of the game, but he hasn’t found anything against Nadal or Djokovic.

I also think that Djokovic has changed a lot, improved his game and mind, and is ready not to win a major, but a few of them. Don’t forget that, before his long crisis, he made at least 6 semi or better in 7 GS in a row.


Skorocel Says:

Who’s writing Fed off? On the contrary, I wish him the very best, because after all, he’s still my most favourite player. I would be glad if he could overturn that H2H with Nadal, but I’m not blind to see the FACTS. And they speak for themselves: 2-6 at the slams, and 7-13 overall. You’re “annoyed when posters have to discuss H2H all the time”, but who brought the topic in first? It was you. I just reacted, since it was obvious from your post that you were overlooking the plain FACTS. Like it or not, when you look at Roger’s career overall, that H2H with Nadal is a serious blip. Only the biggest Fed fanatic with the biggest pink glasses won’t admit that.


madmax Says:

Oh dear. Skorocel. I dont have a pair of pink glasses. Honest. And it was YOU that was talking about stats, I followed that with h2h – so lets get that right for starters (no tone here by the way). I am well aware that I have been spoilt by the federer playing the way that he plays – hands up! you got me! I am also loving the fact that though he may not have had the 4 yrs 8 months of “superbness” on the atp tour, he has maintained a consistent approach to his game. He is “Mr. Consistency” in the slams – admittedly in masters, or other tournaments, they are NOW not so important to him, but still important in terms of winning a 1000 masters events from time to time.

Like I said Skor, I fully accept, that federer ONE DAY, will not be the player he once was – BUT – I am talking the present. The present to me, shows a very motivated, hungry, dedicated tennis player who constantly tells journalists that he has no intention of retiring –

I dont overlook plain FACTS, Skor (no tone here). I could argue plain FACTS with you. No one is denying that rafa is leading the h2h you refer to. You say it’s a serious blip – I dont see it this way at all. In other words, the way I look at it, if federer reaches a final and rafa doesnt, then that shouldnt count? Huh!? Dont get that at all.

The one thing I admire Skor, about fed is that he is a fighter. He fights. He STILL wants to win. And that counts for a lot in my eyes. He has matched and surpassed his own expectations. He is the best for me. AND I am pleased there is someone like rafa around to push roger to the best of bestdom, to surpass the echilons of boundaries.

If you want to talk facts isn’t it 6:4 to federer on hard and grass?

I like these conversations with you Skorocel, I really do. I could say the same about you, seeing only the facts that YOU want to see, but we believe in our own views dont we?

Time waits for no man. I know that. But you seriously cannot believe that Federer isnt still a force to contend with. He is in my view. He is still the best. Still the one to beat. I sound repetitive, it’s just what I believe and also –

your comment:
The question of determination has been debated since Democrite and Epicure at least in western philosophy and I certainly don’t need explanations about it.

Neither do I!

I am happy to have a full on, deep and meaningful conversation with you about this – send me your email address and we’ll continue this so we dont bore others – I find it hugely interesting Skorocel.


madmax Says:

thanks for replying Skorocel. I respect what you say, but I dont agree with what you say. That’s all. Peace.


madmax Says:

Skorocel,

Younis El Aynoui (morrocon) – I’d never heard of him – aged 38 – won a match today, for the first time in two years! But apparently he had been injured and NO ONE expected him to come back –

I am just saying that because i believe at 38, this guy, (you should have seen him – you may have seen him), on the court, with his 3 sons after winning, made me think awwwww. How wonderful that he had that passion to win a match, to return to the tour, to give it a shot.

I would love it (as a huge federer fan), to see federer still playing at 38! Just imagine! His 30th slam at 38! WOW!

Yeah, I am sentimental, but I respect federer, I respect nadal, I enjoy their rivalry and I would love for it to continue for many years. Rafa is a true champion, a worthy opponent, completely different styles, which is why they are so magnetic to watch.


Skorocel Says:

madmax: Sorry for confusing you with sportsfan. My mistake! Obviously, my last post was addressed to him, even though some of it also applies to you as well ;-) Anyway, I stand by what I wrote, so if you don’t like it, then too bad…

P.S. Roger leads Nadal 5-4 on grass & hard ;-)


Voicemale1 Says:

Skorocel:

I’m feeling the need to come to your defense (you don’t need it – you’re more than capable). You’re posts here are often insightful, always biting and are usually accurate (as opposed to correct) assessments. But you won’t find a lot of love on THIS message board by even remotely suggesting Nadal has any hand up over Federer. We can say this outright: regarding talent for ball striking, Federer has more such talent in one finger than Nadal will have in his whole career. But that alone is often not enough to win tennis matches.

Nadal often gets detracted here in his H2H against Federer because of the number of times they’ve met on clay. But how does that detract from Federer? He’s a 4-Time FO Finalist, one of those resulting in the Title; he’s also a 4 Time champion in the Masters Series of Hamburg. There are Clay Court Specialists who have nowhere near such a record. So the attempt to discredit Nadal against Federer on clay has always been thin ice. Now, if Federer was like Sampras on clay then the argument is a well advised one. But with Federer’s record on clay being what it is – he’s not hurt by it to the extent those who wish to elevate Federer and undercut Nadal would have the world believe, as though clay was kryptonite to Federer. It’s a huge Straw Man. Federer beats almost everybody else on clay just like he does on every other surface.

Their rivalry really does illustrate a kind of David & Goliath approach Nadal has had to adopt. As Landsdorp has explained ad infinitum: Federer has a huge disadvanatge because Nadal so expertly hits the Reverse Forehand to Federer’s backhand (and the key term here is “expertly hits). The Reverse has a different spin that a regular topspin shot – Nadal’s moves both high and away to the left coming off the court. So Federer begins his forward swing on the backhand with the ball in one place in the air and by the time he makes contact the ball has moved slightly to the left & up. That’s why he shanks so many of those. Worse for Federer is that the bizarre trajectory depends almost solely on how much Nadal comes around the outside of the ball with his Forehand at contact. The more he does, the higher the Federer Shank Probability. So Federer even has a tough time getting into a groove on his backhand because it’s coming at him differently almost every time. Since both of these guys have by far the best EXTENSION on their Forehands, Federer suffers even further in this pattern because Nadal, when he’s especially zoned on his Forehand, almost “holds” the ball on his racquet coming around the outside of it – fully extending his swing first – and THEN lifting up his follow through before the ball eventually heads into Federer’s backhand. This extension is the expertise Nadal has over others who try to get as much out of the reverse Forehand as he does. That’s Why Nadal will never change this pattern against Federer until it stops working, or until he loses the ability to hit that shot as well or as consistently as he does.

But moreover, Nadal has proven that in the tight situations, he’s just mentally tougher than Federer. When you look at the sheer number of Break Points Nadal saves against Federer in their matches, you can only conclude that at many crucial moments, Federer chokes. That’s actually more a statement about Nadal – he lets Federer know that no matter what the score in in a game or in a set, he’s going to make Federer work for every point of every game in every match. Nadal’s relentlessness forces this mental capitulation, and all too often Federer obliges, especially the longer the match goes on. Nadal knows better than anyone Federer has more talent than he does, so he’s had to find other ways to win. That’s ingenuity.

If we look at their matches which were Best of 5, we see they’ve played 11 of those to date. Nadal’s lead here is 8-3. Of these 11, three have been on grass, two on a hard court and six on clay. A lot jumps out, and let’s take the assumption here that Federer is better suited by Hard Courts and Grass over Nadal, just for the sake of argument. The two hard court Best of 5′s actually did go to five sets – and they split them (Federer in 05 Miami, Nadal in 09 Australia). The three on grass, two of those went 5 Sets (they split those two, Federer winning the other in 4 Sets). So on Federer’s best surfaces Nadal has been in a 5th set with Federer in 4 of the 5 matches. Conversely, Federer has only managed to get to a 5th set on clay with Nadal only once in six matches: Rome 2006. Federer held two Championship Points that day, squandering both with unforced errors on the Forehand, one long and one wide. Nadal has taken all of their other Best of 5 Set matches on clay in 4 Sets or less. So it’s clear Nadal is closer to Federer on his best surfaces than vice versa when their matches are in the Best of 5 format. The longer a match goes on, it’s clear Nadal is more likely to emerge the winner. Federer hasn’t beaten Nadal in a Best of 5 Set match since Wimbledon of 2007. Conversely, Nadal hasn’t beaten Federer in a Best of 3 hard court match since Dubai of 2006.

Federer gets the better of Nadal most often when the format is Best of 3, and preferably for Federer, Indoors. Federer’s two wins against Nadal on clay were in the Best of 3 format (Hamburg 07 and Madrid 09). Federer is able to blast Nadal off the court, usually a fast one, with his power. Nadal finds it tougher stay with Federer in the shorter matches.

Evert & Navratilova had a similar effect on one another. In order to emerge as the powerhouse she became Martina had to become a better player, especially mentally. Evert, once replaced as #1 by Navratilova had to become a better athlete, which she did. Evert herself called her best play in a match the day she beat Seles at the US Open in 1989 6-0 6-2, and that was the penultimate match she played in her career! So we might be able to say that to fully appreciate the depth of greatness Federer owns, it’s ironic that a good part of that can rest on what Nadal has had to do, or had to become, to deal with him.


Ben Pronin Says:

“We can say this outright: regarding talent for ball striking, Federer has more such talent in one finger than Nadal will have in his whole career. But that alone is often not enough to win tennis matches.”

Voicemale1, that’s a blatant insult to Nadal. I agree with just about everything you said but I’d say Nadal has proven that he’s extremely talented in many areas of the game. Maybe not AS talented as Federer, but pretty damn close.

Also, I don’t think Federer ALWAYS chokes on the break points. Especially not in the beginning of their rivalry. Nowadays, yeah, choking describes it best.

But everything else was spot on. Federer fans who keep trying to justify the negative h2h are wasting time. Madmax keeps bringing up all the OTHER numbers, but all those slams and finals mean nothing on a given day. Nadal doesn’t deserve to be put down like this all the time, he’s too great a champion. What if he ends his career with a positive h2h over Federer AND more slams, what are all the Fed fans gonna say then? I wasn’t gonna comment on this argument because it happens all the time and it keeps going in circles, but God damn Voicemale1 really nailed it. Next time this argument comes up, Voicemale1, just copy and paste this every time, nothing more needs to be said.


jane Says:

The break point stat is a striking one. I don’t know if any of you are interested, but I read this article on the importance of break point conversion a while back; here is the link:

http://betting.betfair.com/tennis/truths-lies-and-tennis-statist/break-points-are-they-really-that-important-200308.html

Fed’s break point conversion was pretty poor in a few of the slam finals:

FO 2007 – 1 of 17 break points converted
Wimbledon 2008 – 1 of 13 break points converted
AO 2009 – 6 of 19 break points converted


Daniel Says:

Once and a while, when Voicemale 1 puts his Federer bias aside he can deliver this awesome posts. I remember he made a similar one a while ago. Just brilliant!!

I also agree with Ben concerning Nadal, the man got talent, plenty of it.

Also agree with Skorocel, as much as I like Fed, when all is set and done, if the big difference in HeadxHead with Nadal remains wioth this 5+ match difference it will leave a bad taste on the mouth.

But I also agree with madmax, the Fed who played today was hungry to start the year with a blast!


Voicemale1 Says:

Ben Pronin Says:

“Also, I don’t think Federer ALWAYS chokes on the break points”

Again – here’s another Ben Pronin Needs A Reading Comprehension Lesson Alert. Show me where I said Federer “always” chokes on the break points? I wrote that he did so “at many crucial moments”, which is the truth. He gets most tentative at these times, almost waiting for Nadal to lose the Break Point to him.

With regard to the “blatant insult”, rather than explain at length, let’s just make this easy and say what I meant was Federer has far more in the way of technique. Nadal’s shots are almost violent coming off his racquet when he’s “on”. It is effective, to be sure. Federer’s technique on his shots is far more refined than Nadal. That’s what I meant. It was about style, not effectiveness.

Thanks for the rest.


Ben Pronin Says:

I didn’t say you said that, I was just saying.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Right now we have two all-time greats at 1 and 2.
It’s ridiculous to me how quick folks are to write either of them off. Could Nadal’s career be on the downslope because of wear and tear? Sure. But for folks to state that as fact are just throwing poop on a wall and hoping it sticks. We will see very soon, in a matter of weeks probably, what Nadal has in store.
Writing off Fed right now is even more ridiculous. At least last year when folks wrote him off he was in a slump- now he’s #1 in the world and coming off a year with 4 GS finals and 2 cups. But somehow folks can state with authority that he’s done?
Personally, I don’t believe either of these are done, although I expect that IF Nadal is worn down, his tumble will be steeper than Fed’s. On the other hand, I think the pretenders to the throne are getting more dangerous. Last year, we went in believing in a Big Four. Now we truly have a Big Five, plus Soderling, Roddick, Tsonga and Monfils all showing themselves as dangerous.
That’s a great dynamic!


madmax Says:

Ben,

Madmax keeps bringing up all the OTHER numbers, but all those slams and finals mean nothing on a given day.

Before you make accusations, READ MY POSTS CAREFULLY. NEVER am I disrespectful to Nadal. NEVER.

“Madmax” – me – defends federer when she feels that others “keep bringing up all the OTHER numbers, I am saying that rafa is great for roger and roger is great for rafa – I dont have to keep repeating or justifying myself to you.

Voicemale, I LOVED your above post – the best one I have EVER seen from you in terms of analysis of the two greats – thanks for that -


margot Says:

Gr8 post Voicemale 1, you and MMT are surely the gods of tennis knowledge.
jane: perhaps Djko has decided that being a film star is a somewhat easier life than being a tennis star? I think it MUST be!


Heather Says:

Didn’t Roger win his record breaking Wimby [#15] by breaking the big serving Roddick and then serving out.

Didn’t Roger win the record equalling RG ["14] by breaking the big serving Soderling and then serving out.

I may be wrong [seriously].

Federer will take all 4 this year and I hope to see Djoko in number 2 spot. He is growing on me.

Delpy I believe will be the next ‘true’ number 1 .

The current number 2 was at number 1 for 11 months, and won 1 slam and did not make it to the finals of any of the others he chose to play in [I may be wrong] so I question his BMT. If Federer was prepared to play the Slams with mono and a compromised back, then the the knees, abdominal injury of the number 2 do not cut it as an ‘excuse’ for the number 2 not playing Wimby.

And yes I am blatantly pro Federer and totally off topic but hey……its New Year


jane Says:

Heather, for whatever reason, Fed has always been more successful against big servers/power hitters, but counter-punchers like Rafa and Murray frustrate him. So the stats on his break point conversion (or lack thereof) versus Nadal stand out for sure. But I do think Fed’s return game overall is not quite as strong as it once was, and the YE stats from last year bear that out. Mind you, he’s also in a field of great returners at the moment, with Murray, Rafa and Djoko, even Delpo, all being really good at the return. Delpo also has a great serve, which makes him a stand out, and when Djoko’s and Murray’s serves are firing, they also have that advantage, though both could improve 2nd serves and be more consistent on the first. Rafa’s serve is incredibly consistent, but it’d be nice for him if he could hit more aces and grab some quick and “easy” points, not that hitting aces is easy!


Ben Pronin Says:

Madmax, I apologize.

Voicemale1, amongst other things, this question popped into my head last night when I was trying to sleep: If Federer can blow Nadal off the court on quick courts in a best of 3 set format, why isn’t he at least winning the first set in their slam finals? He used to win them easily (06 FO and Wimbledon), but then Nadal turned it around. Even at the Australian, why wasn’t Federer up a set or two? And at Wimbledon, why did NADAL take a 2 set lead before FEDERER had to come back? I feel like it might not simply be the format but the occasion. I mean like, Federer’s wins over Nadal are rather sporadic and he usually wins that best of 3 set match after some sort of losing streak. It’s not so much that he blows Nadal off the court but he actually executes the right game plan since he tried so many other times and failed. If the Madrid final was best of 5, would Federer have lost? It’s possible, but I more or less doubt it. What do you think?


Skorocel Says:

madmax said:

“Ben,

Madmax keeps bringing up all the OTHER numbers, but all those slams and finals mean nothing on a given day.

Before you make accusations, READ MY POSTS CAREFULLY. NEVER am I disrespectful to Nadal. NEVER.”

Seems like you’ve missed the point of Ben’s post completely… No one is saying you’re “disrespectful” to Nadal or whatever. It’s just that all those “statistics between Federer and Nadal that would make Nadal look like a puppy” are of ZERO HELP to Fed when these two meet ;-)


Voicemale1 Says:

Ben:

They have played Indoors twice (YEC of 06 & 07) and Federer won both in straights, the last one a particularly brutal beating of Nadal 64 61. When the court is super fast and no elements are around, Federer’s Serve can be too much for Nadal to cope with.

I think there’s a big difference in the Nadal of 2006 and the Nadal of today. Back then he was but 20 years old. At the French that year he played the Final as Defending Champion, and that’s huge pressure. At Wimbledon 2006, Nadal was in the Final of the tournament he always dreamed of winning, but didn’t really “believe” he could win. In fact, losing the 2007 Wimby Final might turn out to be that “Turning Point” for Nadal in his career, like other losses have been for other players. Sampras spoke of this, that losing the USO in ’92 is what made him what he is today. Federer himself talked about this also. He beat Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001, but lost his very next match. Federer said that it wasn’t until 2003 that he was “ready” to win Wimbledon. Borg predicted Nadal would upend Federer in 2008 at Wimbledon because he fully understood Nadal would go to that Final “knowing” he could have, and should have, won the year before. That’s the belief he didn’t have in 2006.

That same maturity is what we saw from him in Australia last year. If you remember, the first set was on it’s way to being a Federer rout. Roger lost his opening service game but broke right back, and then broke Nadal again to go up 4-2. And it was here that we saw the more mature Nadal who exists today. He broke Federer twice more to take the set 7-5. Who else could break Roger Federer 3 times in one set on a hard court in a Major? And it’s more than just the Backhand Attack Pattern at work, which used to be the primary objective for Rafael. Now Nadal uses it as part of the overall plan to construct the points against Federer so he gets the shot he wants to hit. Nadal today is as good, if not slightly better from the back court; he makes fewer errors of his Forehand match by match than Federer does with his; in Break Point Down situations today Nadal just has more guts than Federer, going for it rather than waiting for Federer to miss like he used to (check out the 6 break points he saved in the 09 AO Final’s 3rd Set – 4 of them were saved with stone cold Winners). Federer was kind of hapless that night. Nadal had him guarding against having to play long exchanges of Nadal Forehands-to-Federer Backhands. But Federer is severely compromised yet again, because his movement isn’t what it used to be. His dilemma is to run around the backhand to hit a forehand, but he leaves so much court open that way, and Nadal’s backhand is now MUCH better than it was 3 years ago, that it’s actually become a bigger risk for him to do it. This obligates Federer to hit a Winner if he runs around his backhand. That’s Low Percentage Tennis, and Federer knows it. Nadal has become extremely adept at forcing Federer to continually play his weaker shot much more than he wants to. The cumulative effect on Federer mentally from that is incalculable.

A good friend pointed out last night that much of the dynamic in their matches had to do with Federer’s stubbornness. When you’ve live in the rarified air he has for that long, you get the idea that you are exactly what you are: great. And why change anything when what you’ve done got you to that rarified air you are in?. It took Federer a LONG time to fully realize Nadal does in fact belong on the same court with him (it probably happened in the 2007 Wimby Final). So it took Federer a while to understand he had to change things to get the better of Nadal, and it took even longer for him to let go of the notion that having to make the changes didn’t mean there was anything wrong with his sublime tennis. It just meant that Nadal was putting in a lot of work on his own game and it was paying off. He was going to have to do the same, like it or not. And we’re the one better off for Federer coming to that realization. And the truth is, so is he.

No, I don’t think Madrid 09 would have resulted in a Federer loss at 5 Sets because I think the SF the day before was so brutal for both Nadal & Djokovic that it took them both many months to recover from it. Federer utilized some different things and they worked mostly because he wasn’t afraid of the occasional flub of trying new stuff. As long as Federer is willing to go outside the box in his matches to Nadal, he’ll be fine. His Serve is still better than Nadal and that helps a bunch. But even that has a caveat. If Federer ends up relying too much on his Serve to carry the day in his matches with Nadal he’ll be in trouble. Australia 09 showed that Federer’s Serve was getting worse and worse throughout the match because Nadal was so successful at negating Federer’s Forehand (by moving him left-right a lot & forcing him to actually play the backhand). In effect, Nadal was squeezing Federer into a smaller & smaller probability of success by the 5th Set, basically telling Federer “beat me with your backhand and serve Lights Out if you wanna win this one”. New tactics will take the pressure off of Federer having to keep serving his way out of danger.


jane Says:

” Who else could break Roger Federer 3 times in one set on a hard court in a Major?”

Perhaps only Rafa has achieved this feat! Can’t think off the top, but I know, anyhow, that both Delpo and Djokovic have broken Fed’s serve at hardcourt slam twice in one set – for Delpo it was the final set of the USO, for Djoko it was the second set at the AO in their 08 semi.


Ben Pronin Says:

Ok so Voicemale1 do you agree when I say that Nadal was simply the better player in their Australian encounter. Several people here have jumped on me saying Federer had chances and his serve let him down and this and that, but I have this match and I’ve skimmed through it several times and every point I saw made me feel like there was no way Federer could win. That he took it to 5 sets was impressive itself but the points he won he had to work SOOOOO hard. It was the hardest I’ve ever seen him work to win points and games.

I don’t think Federer didn’t believe Nadal belonged on the same court, Federer always says he knew Nadal would be great. I think it’s more like he didn’t believe Nadal was worthy enough for Federer to change his game for just this one player. But the thing is, when Nadal’s playing his best, what’s Federer supposed to do? I remember reading an article about this very matter a couple of years ago. I’m pretty sure it was after the 2008 FO final and I think it was either Bodo or the other guy from Tennis. I can’t remember exactly what was written but it was something like, on a hot day Federer is supposed to hit a short slice approach to Nadal’s forehand while running around his backhand and hitting an inside out forehand up the line and moving in off the serve while the clouds are out and ending the point with a forehand drop volley overhead winner on the line. The point was that just about everyone who knows even a little bit about tennis was trying to give Federer advice on how to beat Nadal. So honestly, what is the strategy? How IS Federer supposed to beat Nadal in a best of 5 Grand Slam final?

Jane, the first win Murray got over Federer was in straight sets where he broke Federer a total of 7 times. I’m pretty sure he broke him at least 3 times in one of the sets. Conversely, Federer broke him 5 times, but lost 7-5 6-4 back in 2006.


steve Says:

Nadal’s game is simpler, and therefore has less chance of breaking down. The foundation is the topspin forehand. It works because a) he can produce it with remarkable consistency and from many positions, b) it is naturally a high-margin, low-error shot because the topspin pulls the ball down and makes it land inside the lines, c) the spin serves to wear down his opponents over time, d) he runs down everything.

It makes life easier for him. He doesn’t have to spend so much time or mental energy on shot selection and choice of tactics. He simply gets every ball back into play, and when his opponent drops the ball short or rushes the net blindly, he hits a winner or passing shot. He can rely more on instinct, rather than having to think all the time.

His mental strength stems from a kind of insensitivity to circumstances. It’s not that he plays more aggressively on break points. He plays exactly the same on break points that he does on every point, i.e. with total intensity. When he looks at a match, he sees only a disconnected series of moments which bear no relationship to each other. Once a point is done it’s forgotten and all his concentration is on the current one. By nature he doesn’t spend any energy worrying about what was or what will be, only about the now. That means he’s not going to make mistakes or beat himself.

With Federer it is different. His game is much more complex and nuanced.

Players like Gasquet and Gulbis have as much (if not more) variety of shot than Federer, but none of them can put those shots together into winning patterns as well as Federer can. Only Murray, perhaps, is Federer’s equal in reading the game.

Only someone with a keen sense of anticipation could play the kind of tennis he plays. Without that, you’d make loads of errors going for the kinds of perfectly placed and timed shots that he goes for.

Because his game has so many moving parts and requires him to constantly think and adjust, it’s subject to occasional breakdown, much more so than Nadal’s. On the other hand, it means that the match is always on his racket, because he has enough variety of shots to overcome many different kinds of players. That is why he has made 22 consecutive Slam semifinals; he can always find a way around his opponent, no matter how different their playing style is from his.

Many times against Nadal one gets the sense that Federer is surprised by the ball coming back. He thinks “I constructed that point perfectly, I hit the winner I planned to hit, the point should be over. Why did I lose the point?” He starts distrusting his court sense and tactical acumen, and that’s why he starts making errors. His keenest weapon, his radar sense, turns against him.

Against Nadal you either have to hit not just one winner, but two or three to finish the point, or you have to hit higher-quality winners and be very aggressive. For a long time Federer would not accept the need to do this, but he now has.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Steve- that’s a great analysis, especially on the Nadal side. The flip side to that, is that Federer always has more options. Which may not matter when Nadal’s go-to is so effective. But what if Nadal’s body IS slipping, and he can’t quite play in the same manner. He doesn’t have the same back-up plans that Fed does. Just look at Fed’s consistency that you cite in making GS semis and finals. Sure, lots of moving parts- but if one breaks down, he’s got second options which are enough to beat just about everyone- but Nadal. On the other hand, if Nadal is having a misfire day- which is more likely at a GS with more matches to get through, he can’t still find a way to the finals like Fed can. That’s healthy. Now the question will be, Is Nadal’s body damaged? And will it be such to limit the game he’s been playing?


Ben Pronin Says:

Steve, I completely agree about the questioning Federer begins to do. Nadal has been getting balls back since 2005, balls that have to business coming back, and that perplexes Federer. It’s frustrating to watch because I can relate to what is happening to Federer, you do everything right only to see the ball go past you like some sort of black magic going against you.

As a Federer fan, I don’t want Nadal’s body to be the reason Federer starts beating him (IF he starts beating him). I wanna see Federer’s best beat Nadal’s best. We’ve never seen that and that’s what raises the biggest question in my mind about who really is the better player.


madmax Says:

Federer has got to be the best mover of the court right now.
Roger preserves his energy now for a number of reasons. He doesnt have to run for every point, he is a more experienced player who can shorten points which will conserve his energy. That’s smart to me.

To say that he is not the same mover is just rubbish. He plays a different strategy which is more effective.

Are any of you(Ben? Voicemale? Skorocel?) watching him play right now in Doha? He is moving like a dream – even the poor commentators are saying so (Eurosports is not as good as skysports in terms of reviewing a match) –

He is testing out his new racquent, more power, more clean, crisp shots – he is playing brilliantly, and the match today against Korolev was great. I hadnt seen Korolev before and he was no pushover.

There is so much negativity in terms of Federer “not” being the player he once was. Why do you go on about this? Past is past. Cannot change it. But federer has continued to improve and work and evolve his game. So, I disagree. I really do.

He is playing some of the best tennis he ever has during the last 12 months. And if you can remember the score line at AO, you’ll remember that rafa won the first set 7:5, roger won the next 6:3, rafa on a tiebreak for the third 7:6, roger the next 6:3, and was leading 2 games to love up in the fifth set, before the serve went wobbly. Roger was able to break rafa’s serve more than the other, but like you say, at the end of the day, rafa won the AO and it was a great four setter. the fifth set, not so good.

Roger is the best player out there in terms of variety of shot – he has it all – sometimes his serve lets him down, but he works on that. He isnt complimented enough for the way he moves around the court – he is quite brilliant – under estimated. He is the best at the overhead smash, his forehand is brilliant, his backhand – not quite as good as the forehand, but still under rated. He made some incredible shots today, and is now working with a new trainer too – Stefan (forget the surname), who is ex ATP trainer. Plus, why bother to try out a new racquet if he wasnt interested on improving his game? why work with a new trainer, if he isnt interested on improving his fitness?

Roger wants to win just as much as before, I dont doubt him, I dont have to keep questioning his motivation and his determination, like a lot of people do – they are boring, repetitive questions – He is Mr. consistency – and has been at the top of his game since 2003 – yeah, of course he has had his dips, and even now, he has had more mental lapses than before, but that wont happen when he plays a slam – he becomes a different person – Plus, in terms of 5 setters – roger is incredibly fit, motivated, and is the best in my view. He was two points away from winning the USO 09, he was ahead in the AO 09, he won wimby and FO, he has had a brilliant 09 – I think sometimes, people just want to knock the man, or bring him down – i dont understand that.

Skorocel,you said this:

It’s just that all those “statistics between Federer and Nadal that would make Nadal look like a puppy” are of ZERO HELP to Fed when these two meet ;-)

If I remember, it was YOU that kept going on about statistics all the time, and i replied to that – am not a big fan of quoting stats all the time, i would much rather look at the way roger is playing. I cant argue with stats, but I can say that h2h are not the whole picture. Neither are stats. I think blake has a better h2h than rafa, does that mean he is a better player? I dont think so, and there are others – but it bores me.

Ben,

you dont need to apologise to me.

The rafa v roger debate will always cause a stir. All I can say is they are great for each other and that’s the most important thing.

And, if we are talking about consistency, then federer is very much underrated here – and who else on the tour has been so consistent for so long?


jane Says:

steve says “His mental strength stems from a kind of insensitivity to circumstances.”

You’re kidding right?

Rafa is hyper sensitive in many ways. That he’s been described as borderline OCD indicates that. He pays careful attention to his surroundings, if crowd are moving, etc., the lines in clay matches, his water bottles, etc.. I’d say he has just an incredible ability to focus, but I don’t think “insensitivity” is correct. He is also one of the most tenacious players ever, so combine that with his focus, and he’s formidible in the “mental strength” department.

madmax says re: the AO final ” Roger was able to break rafa’s serve more than the other,” Sorry madmax but you’re wrong here — Rafa converted *7* OF 16 break points in that match (43%) and Fed converted *6* OF 19 break points (31%). I agree with you here though! “All I can say is they are great for each other and that’s the most important thing. ” : ]


steve Says:

tennis vagabond: I agree, Nadal is relatively one-dimensional. He can be hit off the court by a consistent power player (Del Potro), or flummoxed by constant changes of pace (Murray).

To his credit, he is trying to attack more and add more variety, but like I said, it’s not easy if you don’t have anticipation like Federer’s.

There’s a tacit assumption that because Nadal is so diligent and determined that he can master that style by strength of will, but I don’t think that’s true.

He can try to copy that style of play, but it will inevitably be inferior to the real thing. The harder he tries to play that way, the more it will interfere with his natural strengths: i.e., great defense and intuitive counterattack, because he’ll have to think more, go for riskier shots, and thus become susceptible to making mistakes. It just doesn’t suit him.

He’s probably good enough to beat lower-ranked players by playing “aggressively.” They don’t hit a lot of winners, their passing shots aren’t very good, and their defense is poor, so it’s relatively easy to force them off the court, come forward, and smack a winner. And they leave their opponents plenty of time to seize the upper hand in a rally.

But to beat high-level attacking players like Del Potro and Djokovic is another matter altogether, especially on a hard court. Those players make more errors, but they make up for it by consistently hitting tons of winners. They also have pretty good defense and passing shots. It’s very difficult to put them on the defensive because they have powerful groundstrokes and can dictate the pace of a rally.

To beat them at their own game, you have to be more aggressive than they are: serve well, confound them by constantly mixing up your shots, and make perfectly-placed winners on a consistent basis. Federer can do it, but it’s not easy even for him.

So it’s a bit of a dilemma for Nadal.


Voicemale1 Says:

steve Says:

“Nadal’s game is simpler, and therefore has less chance of breaking down. The foundation is the topspin forehand”

- This statement is utter nonsense. What exactly is “simpler” in this context? Everybody does what they do in their game. No one has a “complex” game. If it was truly “complex” they couldn’t execute it, period. And by the way – EVERYBODY has topspin on their shots on the tour (that’s why they almost all use Luxilon, or other Polyester Strings). Some more, some less. But everybody does. Nadal’s problems on faster courts are because of his grip.

“He (Nadal) doesn’t have to spend so much time or mental energy on shot selection and choice of tactics. He simply gets every ball back into play..”

-This statement is even more stupid than the first. Nadal expends no mental energy on shot selection? Gobbledeygook. And the last sentence is howlingly, side-splittingly dumb. Uh, doesn’t EVERYONE simply get the ball back into play when there’s a rally going on, genius??? Isn’t that the definition of a rally?

“Because his (Federer’s) game has so many moving parts and requires him to constantly think and adjust, it’s subject to occasional breakdown, much more so than Nadal’s. ”

-Uh, what exactly are the numerous “moving parts” of Federer’s game? What in the hell does this vapid, vague statement mean anyway? Against Nadal Federer tries to hit the same shot as much as he can – his Forehand. And he tries to serve Nadal off the court. And those two shots move in the same way – with power. And by the way – if Federer is winning his matches, what exactly has to “adjust” in his game? And if he is winning his matches, uh, his game’s not breaking down, is it? And when it does break down, it’s mostly because someone else on the other side of the net is breaking it down – just so you know.

“Many times against Nadal one gets the sense that Federer is surprised by the ball coming back. He thinks “I constructed that point perfectly, I hit the winner I planned to hit, the point should be over. Why did I lose the point?” He starts distrusting his court sense and tactical acumen, and that’s why he starts making errors. His keenest weapon, his radar sense, turns against him.

Against Nadal you either have to hit not just one winner, but two or three to finish the point, or you have to hit higher-quality winners and be very aggressive. For a long time Federer would not accept the need to do this, but he now has.”

-Uh..where to even begin with this nonsense. Federer long ago stopped being “surprised” by Nadal’s gets. I think he’s pretty clued in now to the idea of how tough Nadal is to beat in this way, at least he’s said it often enough in press conferences and interviews. Or do you bother to read or listen to his own commentary? And if you actually think Federer isn’t aware of how many great shots he has to hit to win points against Nadal then it’s clear you have no clue what you’re talking about. If ANYONE on earth has the understanding of how many great shots you have to hit against Nadal it’s Federer. If you were correct (an you’re clearly not) your thesis (such as it is) would make Federer look like the most stupid idiot tennis player who ever lived.

The problem with your post here is that your premise is fatally flawed: you think Nadal has no business beating Federer under any circumstances, which is plainly wrong. Nadal’s gotten better, and he has what it takes to beat Federer irrespective of what Federer does. But then again, I’d expect this kinda stuff from you, who once posted here that Chris Evert was one of the most aggressive players in history. Evert, she of the Water Torture Ground Strokes who needed a road map to get to the net, and who’s own admission had as her goal to stay out there all day on the court. The longer the better, as far as she was concerned.

But hey, what did she know about her own game as compared to what you know about her game, right Steve?? LOL


Voicemale1 Says:

steve Says:
tennis vagabond: I agree, Nadal is relatively one-dimensional. He can be hit off the court by a consistent power player (Del Potro), or flummoxed by constant changes of pace (Murray).

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

Uh…Nadal’s H2H with Murray is 7-2 in favor of Nadal, and that includes all surfaces: Hard, Grass, Clay and Indoor. So now I guess you’ll be giving us a new definiton for the word “flummoxed”..right Steve?

Nadal also leads in the H2H against Del Potro, 4-3, and that includes a Nadal win over Del Potro on a hard court last year at Indian Wells in the QF, 63 62.

And in case you’re wondering whom Andy Murray has “flummoxed” with changes of pace it’s none other than Federer. Murray leads there H2H 6-4.


Voicemale1 Says:

Steve:

After reading your stuff one question did occur to me to ask you: are you completely sober when you post here?


steve Says:

Voicemale: Wow, someone’s touchy. And you were doing so well in affecting a convincing pretense of civility and politeness, too.

“If you were correct…your thesis…would make Federer look like the most stupid idiot tennis player who ever lived.”

He’s not stupid, he’s stubborn. Very, very stubborn. And very conservative and reluctant to change a winning game plan. He’s one of those people who learns only by experiencing things for himself. “A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.”

And although he intellectually may have understood what he needed to do to beat Nadal, it’s quite another to execute that game plan in a match situation. “Sooner or later you’re going to realize, just as I did, that there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

“Against Nadal Federer tries to hit the same shot as much as he can – his Forehand. And he tries to serve Nadal off the court. And those two shots move in the same way – with power.”

Ah, no wonder.

Federer can hit flat forehands to drive his opponent off court, or topspin forehands for a short-angle winner. He can hit those soft slicey forehands to pass his opponent at the net. Or a forehand drop shot. Or a crosscourt forehand drive volley hit when the ball is high in the air.

John Yandell, the researcher who used high-speed cameras to measure the spin produced by various tennis players, classified twenty-seven distinct variations of the Federer forehand. That’s quite a few.

You labor under the mistaken belief that every shot is the same, that a forehand is a forehand and a serve a serve and that’s the end of it.

Variety makes a difference. And that’s why Federer can make 22 consecutive Slam semis (and counting). Your man doesn’t have that variety, and that’s why he spends so much time injured and works so hard.

If you want another example, look at Serena Williams and Justine Henin. Judging by power, Henin should have no chance. Serena is like Del Potro–mighty groundstrokes off both sides and great consistency. Henin is small and short. Yet Henin has won many big matches against her. She put Serena out of three of the four Grand Slams in 2007.

If it were a mere question of power, Federer would never have been as dominant as he is. It is his subtlety and variety that have made the difference for him over the years.

“you think Nadal has no business beating Federer under any circumstances, which is plainly wrong.”

Actually, you don’t know what I think because you can’t read my mind. And I never said any such thing, so you’re wrong.

“Nadal’s gotten better”

No argument there.

“and he has what it takes to beat Federer irrespective of what Federer does.”

That’s a very bold and sweeping claim, but we’ll find out won’t we? That’s why they play the matches.

After all, Federer, too, has adjusted his game. And as you say, he’s not stupid.

So chillax. Watching tennis is supposed to be fun, after all, not an occasion for raising your blood pressure.


steve Says:

“After reading your stuff one question did occur to me to ask you: are you completely sober when you post here?”

So you seriously think I’m an alkie or a drug addict? Wow.

If I actually knew you I’d be offended, but as you’re just another anonymous poster on an Internet forum, I really can’t muster up the will to care.

You’re getting very personal. I suggest you back off and take a deep breath, before you say something really really stupid.


Voicemale1 Says:

Steve:

“Variety” and “Moving Parts” are not interchangeable synonyms, just so you know. As for Yandell, I’m familiar with his site, and his analyses on The Modern Forehand as as much obfuscation as there can be to anything he details so intensely with such imagery. He came to the conclusion that today’s modern forehand has no set pattern, no set style, no set execution that’s common to everyone. In short – he has no idea how or why players hit the forehand today the way they do. But they do it in the way that works for them. Fernando Gonzalez hits a much harder forehand than Djokovic, but Djokovic wins more often. The only conclusion is that Extension is the key to hitting the shot at it’s optimum. That’s about all his gadgetry was able to tell him. I saw his series.

A varied shot doesn’t mean a complicated shot. Federer starts his forehand with a closed racquet face and keeps it almost totally closed at contact. He hist a Straight Arm Forehand every time he goes Inside Out with it. It’s actually not a very complicated or complex shot for him at all, he’s been hitting it that way for over a decade. Your point was “it” – the shot itself, breaks down out of it’s alleged complexity. Not so. It breaks down because, against Nadal, he keeps relying on it more heavily to avoid having to hit too many backhands. Every player’s level drops during a match, especially in a Best of 5. When Federer asks so much of his Forehand, it’s no surprise that the pressure of the reliance is what makes any shot give way. That’s why in any Match the Serve is the last shot to go south because it’s the only shot you have complete control over.

As for Henin – you need to get a serious clue. Nobody who watched her SF at the USO against Capriati can even remotely suggest Justine has no power. That’s just plain wrong. And other women have said as much. In fact her Forehand has as much lick on it as anyone out there now, including Serena. And her backhand? Well, she can drive through or spin it out of reach – she has either option open to her. You don’t know what you’re talking about.


Voicemale1 Says:

steve Says:

“So you seriously think I’m an alkie or a drug addict? Wow.”

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

I was actually giving you the benefit of the doubt by asking that question. Since your statements are so easy to prove ludicrous with the simplest research of facts and/or self evident witnessing (such as the Nadal-Murray flummoxing nonsense; and the Evert as Aggressive nonsense) that I concluded you had to be on another conscious plane to make such statements seriously. I’m forced to think now that you’re not in an inebriated state when you post here. You just plainly have no idea what you’re talking about.

Thanks for clearing that up for me :)


Ben Pronin Says:

“Gobbledeygook”, that’s from Willy Wonka, right? Gave me a good laugh.

Madmax, there are a lot of things people say around the tennis world that I have trouble understanding, but to underrate Federer’s consistency is beyond me. I don’t think anyone here is saying he’s inconsistent. As far as I’m concerned (along with a lot of other tennis legends) Federer is the most consistent player ever. Period. There’s no one who has ever been as consistent as him for such a long period of time. But in matches he’s sometimes less consistent than his opponent (Nadal, Murray, and Djokovic come to mind).

As for Doha, I haven’t read up on his match against Korolev but I know that he hit 47 winners and 12 aces in 15 games. That’s 59 of the 65 points he won. I don’t know if there was a typo on ESPN or something, but that’s what I read. That’s absolutely incredible. Is it possible Roche was right? Fed’s gonna peak now? Wouldn’t that be something.

Btw, anyone know the details about Fed’s new racquet? Is it still 90 sq in?


Voicemale1 Says:

steve Says:

“and he (Nadal) has what it takes to beat Federer irrespective of what Federer does.”

That’s a very bold and sweeping claim, but we’ll find out won’t we? That’s why they play the matches.”

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

Uh…Steve..just in case you didn’t know, Federer and Nadal have actually played matches already, 21 of them to be exact. Nadal has won 14 of those, Federer 7. So why, or more importantly HOW, you think Nadal having what it takes to beat Federer irrespective of Federer’s arsenal of shots is a “..bold and sweeping claim” is something I’m sure you’ll enlighten us on real soon.

Do you have a better understanding now as to why I had to ask if you were sober when you post here?


steve Says:

Voicemale: It’s not that Federer’s forehand breaks down, or any of his individual shots, really. It’s that Federer gets frustrated at Nadal’s ability to always retrieve the ball. Then he regresses and does silly things, like trying to outhit Nadal’s forehand with his backhand, which is suicidal for him. Or he starts going for too much out of some wild hope that hitting harder will solve the problem.

He stops thinking clearly, and as a result his ability to anticipate what’s coming, and to position himself to set up for his shots, suffers. He forgets his gameplan and he can’t construct the plays he usually does. It’s mental.

Madrid was one example of a match where he stuck to his gameplan, stayed aggressive, and served well. At no point was he pushing himself to make desperation shots that were beyond him.

To get a break point, he got Nadal in a rally, Federer’s forehand to Nadal’s backhand, getting Nadal moving from the sideline to the center of the court, back and forth, back and forth.

Then when Nadal had settled into a rhythm, Federer changed it up and suddenly struck a fast forehand winner. Nadal was caught out of step, moving towards the center while Federer’s shot cleaned the sideline.

For the next point, a break point, he went repeatedly with his backhand down the line to Nadal’s backhand, not going for a winner, but taking care to keep the ball deeper and closer to the baseline than he normally would.

Since Federer was covering down the line, Nadal’s only option was to go crosscourt with his backhand, which he did. It’s a high-percentage shot for him. But he netted it, because instead of counterattacking on a short ball, which he loves to do, he was trying to counterattack on a much less favorable shot.

Federer put Nadal in a disadvantageous position on those crucial points, without ever having to expose his weaknesses or go for too much. That’s how he won.

The question “can he do it in best of five” remains, but I don’t see much reason why he can’t, especially on grass and hard courts.

“Nobody who watched her SF at the USO against Capriati can even remotely suggest Justine has no power. That’s just plain wrong. And other women have said as much. In fact her Forehand has as much lick on it as anyone out there now, including Serena.”

I never said Henin had no power. She hits very hard. But few are going to argue she has as much as Serena, except you, apparently.


Andrew Miller Says:

Based on past history, Federer stays at number 1.

Based on the past four months of that history, Federer does not finish in the top 4.

I think it’s doable and I’d love for Federer to do it. I believe he won’t. It’s tough to gauge from how he’s playing, my hunch says he falls from the top spot and the post-Federer era, symbolized by the one guy not named Rafael Nadal to beat Federer in a grand slam final, emerges.

This also is poised to be the year of the big man. The big men are finally finding their range: after Richard Krajicek and Michael Stich left tennis, and Marat Safin or Mark Philipoussis felt ambivalent about the sport, I thought the big super tall era died with them: big guys werent supposed to be mobile.

But Del Potro made a believer of me. The big man era has re-emerged (Davydenko, we still love you man but you are out-numbered by big tall people and you still have a lot to prove on the four biggest stages).

However, here’s the people I want to win anyway.

====

Australian Open: Daveydenko takes them by surprise and wins the big one. In the final he beats Verdasco. The ratings are at an all time low. Baghdatis makes the semifinals for the first time at a major in many years. Federer makes the other semifinal.

French Open: Federer beats Nadal in the final for once and in the interview room says, “it was bound to happen one day.”

Wimbledon: Andy Roddick beats Federer by letting balls that would go out, go out. Federer says it’s still good to have 16 grand slam titles.

US Open: Rafael Nadal beats local boy James Blake, whose surprise run to the final ends in five sets. Rafa becomes the 2nd man in two years to hold all majors.


steve Says:

Voicemale: I told you that Evert at one time had a 20-5 winning record against Navratilova. That eventually turned around and ended up being 43-37 in Navratilova’s favor. So keep that in mind.

As for age, or all the usual canards as to Why Federer Cannot Possibly Continue Excelling at This Late Stage in His Career, so what? Federer’s a truly exceptional player, even among the most exceptional players who have ever lived. He’s not done demonstrating his greatness, not by a long shot. He’s not going to stop until he’s put a lot more distance between himself and Sampras’ record.

If Nadal could blow Federer off the court every time they met, that’s one thing. But he’s done that maybe all of once, at FO 2008. Their last three Grand Slam final matches have gone five sets. So it’s not like it’s hopeless for him.


steve Says:

I pick Federer def. Cilic for the AO title. Just because I like dark horse finalists.


Ben Pronin Says:

Their last 2 Grand Slam finals have gone 5 sets.


Kimmi Says:

madmax:”Are any of you(Ben? Voicemale? Skorocel?) watching him play right now in Doha? He is moving like a dream – even the poor commentators are saying so (Eurosports is not as good as skysports in terms of reviewing a match) ”

I have not seen the matches but I will be reluctant to jurge Federer play in Doha after performance with Rochus (ranked 86) and Korolev (ranked 53). Tomorrow he plays Gulbis who can blow hot and cold but still a win against him will not say much. For me if Federer beats Davydenko and then go on to beat his nemesis Nadal then I will say he has his A game going on.


jane Says:

I agree with you Kimmi.


Voicemale1 Says:

Steve:

Nedal blew Federer off the court in their very first Match in Miami on a hard court, in straights, 63 63.

No one ever said anything about it being “hopeless” for Federer.

Your 9:31 PM post is so dubious that its’ clear you don’t really know what you’re saying – you’re just saying what you think. Federer’s forehand and backhand certainly do break down against Nadal. And it’s because of Nadal’s Forehand attack into Federer’s backhand followed by the jerking around Nadal did to Federer in Australia moving him out of the Middle of the Court relentlessly and consistently. It’s not a case of Federer losing out of “frustration”. Nadal doesn’t just “retrieve” the ball against Federer. He executes precise shots that work well plenty of times (that’s why they call them “Winners”).

Madrid had more to do with the brutal Nadal-Djokovic 4 hour SF the day before more than anything Federer did on the court. Madrdid 09 was the first win Federer had over Nadal in almost 18 months, so your recent examples are pretty few these days. And it’s good you found “one example” of Federer being “agressive” against Nadal – but then again I guess you missed their Rome Final of 2006 when Federer came to the net 80 times, and lost that match in 5 Sets. And in Monte Carlo that same year when he came to the net almost 60 times, and lost that one in 4 Sets. So if you think Madrid 09 was a good Federer game plan of aggressive attack tennis, he’s batting 33% with it against Nadal.

You keep looking at their matches as though their essence is each match Nadal beats him it’s at root a Federer loss. Just a lot of BS is all there is to say about an assumption like that. Federer has 1 win out of 4 meetings with Nadal in the last 2 years. Maybe its time you just face the unpleasant fact that when Nadal wins over Federer, it’s because he played better than Federer that day. Period.


Voicemale1 Says:

steve Says:

“He’s (Federer’s) not stupid, he’s stubborn. Very, very stubborn. And very conservative and reluctant to change a winning game plan.”

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

Every time I comb through your posts I keep finding these little gem side-splitters of hilarity. Such as Federer being reluctant to change a winning game plan LOL LOL LOL LOL

Uh…ya know, on second thought, I think just highlighting that sentence is enough. Nothing needs to be added by me LOL


Ben Pronin Says:

Fed’s beaten Nadal 1 out of 6 meetings in the last 2 years.


Ezorra Says:

“Madrid had more to do with the brutal Nadal-Djokovic 4 hour SF the day before more than anything Federer did on the court.”

I am quite disagreeing with this one. I do agree that the match between Djokovic and Nadal played some roles in the final match outcome. However, the facts that Federer has changed his game plan by attacking more of Nadal’s backhand and coming to the net more often and slicing the ball more than usual to mess up Nadal’s game plan are hard to be ignored…


Ben Pronin Says:

Voicemale1, what about their encounter in Dubai back in 2006? Federer said that Dubai is quicker than the courts in Shanghai where the TMC was held and yet Nadal got the win there even though Federer was playing nearly perfect attacking tennis. How come Nadal wasn’t blown off the court then? (I personally believe this match really sealed the fate of their h2h, had Federer won, they would have been a fair 2-2).


madmax Says:

Hi Jane,

What I was referring to at AO, is that Fed was able to break Nadal and hold on to those breaks hence 6:3, twice.(Nadal was not so able in the first and third sets to shake off the fed, hence the score line being closer, first set 7:5, second set, tiebreaker 7:6. Am I still reading this wrong?

Steve:

Against Nadal Federer tries to hit the same shot as much as he can – his Forehand.

You make me laugh this morning.

You seem to think that federer’s game is limited? And his game is just based on the repetitive use of his forehand? Rubbish! Yes, of course his forehand is his favourite shot and the shot which is legendary to federer’s game, but dont forget the Top spin he uses is full of whip rotation on the ball, like I have never seen with anyone else, and his back hand slice, is quite perfect.

The cut that he has underneath which makes the ball spin backwards, in flight is like watching something being made out of magic.

Federer doesnt need to grind and grind the way that rafa does. Rafa has also had to change his game in order to beat federer. I think that goes unnoticed. And, federer’s backhand has much improved. (it was never that bad anyway, just weaker than his forehand).

He has been using the drop shot and the volley a lot more in his game, thinking more cleverly. Yes, he is stubborn, that is his right but actually, I think that he is not as stubborn as you might think. Otherwise, he would not have been prepared to change his game or his tactics when facing rafa. He certainly listens to others for advice, he has changed his racquet, and also brought in a new personal trainer to his team. He wouldnt do this if he was THAT stubborn.

Ben,

Federer’s new racquet is still with Wilson, (as you know), it has the same face, BUT rather than it being a 6.1 one tour racquet, he has changed to a new one tour, BLX racquet which adds feel and performance.

Watching him at Doha, it seems to me that he is hitting the ball much more confidently, more powerfully, and really, his movement is just great. I saw his trainer for the second time on court, he looks like he works for the mafia – very dark and brooding, a bit scary actually, but I reckon someone you would definitely listen to –

Federer will continue to play great this year and anyone who writes him off, does so at their risk. I cannot believe anyone would even suggest that he would not be a contender. How many more times has he got to say, he is motivated, wants to hold on to his No. 1 position, feels great, wants to win as many tournaments as he can, feels he can do this and will play his best tennis as he feels he is playing as well as he ever has.

Give the guy some credit. (he doesnt need it, mind – he knows what he has to do and as a fan, I am confident he will).

Go federer!


madmax Says:

Pierre Paganini is Federer’s official fitness coach and trainer – and arguably the longest standing member of Federer’s tennis team.

Federer met Paganini while training as a junior in the Swiss National Tennis Centre in Ecublens, near Lausanne – Paganini is also a key member of the Swiss Davis Cup team.

Since Federer’s youth, Paganini has been indispensable in maintaining the player’s deceptive strength, speed, and endurance through extensive off-season and mid-season fitness sessions.

The pair have been working together for over a decade, with neither Federer nor Paganini loosing the dedication and motivation that it takes to maintain the star’s fitness and agility.

Together they put in 100 hours of fitness training throughout the season; prior to a big tournament or in the off season they will often work for 10 hours a week, or even more.

Paganini concocts a combination of strength and endurance work, circuit training, running and a wide range of exercises, designed to practice all the movements Federer is likely to make on a tennis court.

Clearly respect is mutual between both individuals, and the success of Paganini’s work is evident though Federer’s consistency and lack of injuries in recent years.

This is a excerpt from one of federer’s fitness team – which shows the hours fed is still putting in terms of this, his 12th year on the tour.


huh Says:

Ezorra is a GREAT Nadal fan! :) Whenever Fed-bashing Rafa-fans force me to come out with some scorching criticism of Nadal, it’s Nadal fans like Ezorra who make me exercise restraint and not just that, it’s people like Ezorra who, despite my being among the biggest ever Fed fans, make me happy on seeing Nadal excited and happy on his victories and also very very sad on his losses to the lesser ones.

For EZORRA’S SAKE, I hope Nadal has a very very healthy and happy 2010 tennis year. Of course, the same for Fed too from my side. ;)

Allez or Vamos, whatever!


huh Says:

However, if Nadal again has as great or better season than his 2008, rest assured, the Rafanatics will kill you Fed fans(myself included) and the first accusation that will be levelled against us is that we’re anti-Feds. Show me all u got 2010, show me all u got!


huh Says:

“huh Says:
However, if Nadal again has as great or better season than his 2008, rest assured, the Rafanatics will kill you Fed fans(myself included) and the first accusation that will be levelled against us is that we’re anti-Feds. Show me all u got 2010, show me all u got!

January 7th, 2010 at 6:58 am”

Sorry people, typo correction needed to this post of mine. I mean to say , we Fed fans’d be alleged anti-Rafa. Oh my hands are already shaking out of fear or what? Was the typo error coz of that? ;)


madmax Says:

Hi huh! You been quiet lately, my friend! Well, I am getting used to more of the posters on this thread, but steve really made me laugh, implying that federer’s game was limited? Hence, my post above.

Anyhow, lets just get ready for the match today, federer v gulbis, havent met before – a very good player, but federer should have his wits about him. He has been playing very well so far. Both matches, 57 minutes and just over the hour respectively. Am sure Severin will have looked at Gulbis’s game, as well as federer – bring it on the fed!


Heather Says:

Hi Madmax-are you ignoring me


jane Says:

madmax, I see what you meant; Fed was able to break and then hold to take a couple of the sets. I guess that applies, but the last set is the exception, since Rafa won it 6:2. I thought you had meant that Fed had *more* breaks of serve against Rafa which was why I pointed out the correction (Rafa had 7; Fed had 6).

Either way, it was a close match until the final set, and was very exciting, as are most Fed-Nadal encounters. ; )


Heather Says:

Hi Jane,

I agree with your comment that Feds overall return game needs work-his B/P conversion is not what it was.

I havent seen his latest games but he has not been tested yet-Gulbis? I thought he was the next greatest thing but you never know. I have seen him play games that could test anyone in the top 10 [and he is cute]


jane Says:

Hi Heather, I agree. Gulbis’ smile is brilliant. As to his game, as you opine, “you never know”.


Daniel Says:

Gulbis had this game on his racket at 40-30 and send the ball wide. Now 2 DF to give the game to Fed who is playing at full cilinders, very different from last byear where he started some matches slow.


andrea Says:

nadal and fed have been the #1 and #2 player since 2004. that’s amazing.


jane Says:

No they haven’t Andrea; Nadal slipped to number 3 last year and Murray sat at number 2 for a couple of weeks anyhow.

Fed is all over Gulbis’ second serve; Gulbis, like many others, needs to strengthen that shot. It’s so important. A solid second serve and a good return game…


zinaldo Says:

Federer is really going to struggle big time this year if he doesn’t sort out his mental strength i used to think that only nadal and maybe murray could make him lose his mojo but he seems to panic now days against anyone that stands up to him and that is never good when you see the way the young players seem to have become good.

I see del potro really troubling roger this year nadal will always be nightmare for him and djokovic could at last start beating him a lot more,this year is really going to tell if roger is going to be around until he is 32 like he said .


zinaldo Says:

Federer is done and people need to get used to him losing a lot more,people now believe and that is will be a big downer for roger in his prime no one actually believed they could beat him until nadal showed up and now he is looking more and more like the overrated player he was always.

Federer has always been a mental midget who had it easy yes he was talented but no one was actually mentally strong enough to stand up to him and really show him what he is,very good tennis player but with so many flaws he wouldn’t have lasted long in any other era.


zinaldo Says:

The problem is that he has so many yes people that no one will dare saying anything to him,he could do with a trainer to help him with those mental lapses who are becoming more and common now days have cost him a lot in the past and are likely to cost him even more in the future.

To me his problem are also coming from him playing too safe now days his shots seems to have become a bit nadal like with a lot more topspin than before but his return are also a little too predictable now days the same chip the return back no guts and actually try and attack the ball a lot more.

His returning was ok when playing against rubbish returners like roddick but now they are so many better servers and he needs to be more courageous and really put pressure on his opponents at least 3 or 4 times to let them know he is meaning business

I guess it happens to all the greats and they always seem to fall down from their amazing plays but to see rafa not struggle so much like roger now seems.


Ben Pronin Says:

Madmax, I doubt Fed’s racquet is actually different, it’s just a paint job.

Interesting match against Gulbis. I started watching in the third set and it was like a small error-fest. Fed went up a break then missed everything that came his way for 2 games. Then Gulbis did the same. Hopefully Gulbis continues his good form. But Federer needs to step his game up if he wants to win this event and then the AO.


Daniel Says:

Ben Pronin, DD, SS

At least Fed start hte year winning a third set match. It will help increase that bad record he has last year, compared to the old years as you once hilighted in a very insightfull post.


Ben Pronin Says:

That’s a good point, I totally forgot about that. I don’t know what zinaldo is talking about but winning 6-4 in the third is a pretty mentally clutch win, especially considering Gulbis was serving first. The problem is just that Federer can’t afford to have the missing lapses he had. He was lucky that Gulbis also has lots of missing lapses. But that won’t cut it against the top crop.


huh Says:

People like Djokovic or Del Potro actually needn’t learn about their own capability from guys like Nadal. They did it all by themselves coz they had it in him to beat Fed. They’d the talent, that’s all, and the zeal and the mental strength too. And by the way, anyone who knows anything about the cycle of life’d automatically realise, understand and accept that winning and losing, loss and gains are part of life, that has happened not just to Fed, but to everybody else. So those giving sermons here need to know that Fed losing to someone or anyone is not IMPOSSIBLE, it has happened to mentally tough ones before and it’d happen to the mentally tough ones afterwards. And all this nonsense about mental strength needs to stop coz to become great in sports/any other sphere, neither strength nor mental toughness alone is sufficient, only the ones with the right/perfect blend of talent and toughness/grit/spirit would come triumphant. Fed contains all of these and so does Nadal, and so on and so forth. Fed has achieved so much means he’s loads of these precious champions’ stuff, it’s undeniable and can’t be taken away. Whether Nadal really has/hasn’t more of the champions’ stuff than Federer, remains to be seen. Time will tell. Until then, people like zinaldo need to write something more sensible.


jane Says:

zinaldo makes a good point about the “chip” returns anyhow; Fed needs to start going for it more on the return – get the ball deep, make the return itself more aggressive, take charge of the rally. I see both Djoko and Delpo doing this when they are executing well. I think that was one of the aspects of Djoko’s game that really shone in that match against Rafa at WTF; he attacked on the return and went for winners. If Fed repeatedly chips the ball back, especially against a player like Delpo, it’s a sitting duck, as we saw at the WTF. It allows the server to step up and take care of things.

Anyhow, as you say Ben & Daniel, Fed took care of business in the third set, but Gulbis helped him.


huh Says:

Hi Madmax, I’m back again!

And hey, so Ben Pronin is SS aka DD, wow! I like his articles that he has posted so far here, good job done Ben ! :D


huh Says:

Mrs.Jane, it’s not like only Fed has benefitted from Gulbis, Gulbis tanks against almost everyone, Gulbis has choked against Nadal too, so nothing especially stunning about that.


Daniel Says:

Today’s match I don’t think was due to Fed lapse of concentration that cost him a set. He started missing a few first serves in second set and Gulbis was putting everything in and really close to the lines. The TV showed a spot picture comparing 1st set and second set and he made a lot of aces down the T. This things are normal in a match, the momentum shift back and forwards. You can’t expect Nadal and Fed to win everything 6-2 6-1. The other players are all pros.
A normal close match where the lesser ranked player tryed to serve big and hit the lines as much as he could.


jane Says:

LOL huh – you are 100% right. Gulbis does seem to flail against many players, especially top guys, but like Daniel points out, he can also be pretty great too, hitting lines with aces and booming forehands. :] This match was par for the course.

I wonder how Davy will make out against Dr. Ivo?


sar Says:

Who is the last guy that is going to play in Kooyong? Heard Fed was holding things up trying to decide.


margot Says:

jane, kimmi: glad to read in reports from down under that Andy is doing really well.He took one set off Kohlschreiber in 17 minutes(!) and is playing more aggressively and is…wait for it..in press conferences with Laura …smiling!! What is going on??


mat4 Says:

Jane,

the chip return is a part of the Fed’s basic plan of play: when it’s well executed, the ball is very low and slow, and can’t really be attacked, there is nothing wise to do with it, and Fed uses it to open the court for a FH crosscourt (after a chip and charge) or a BH down the lign.

Basically, I think that the high rebound of the ball is the main problem for Fed against Rafa, and that same high rebound is Rafa’s weakness against players who can play their BH high and flat, like Djoko, DelPo, Davydenko…


mat4 Says:

Fed has problem against balls with a lot of topspin and a high rebound on his FH too. In their match in Basel, Djokovic played quite often a FH crosscourt with more spin, and usually won those points. When you look at the way he plays that FH, you can note that his racquet finishes over the head,and not on his left shoulder. Basically, that’s the kind of stroke Nadal plays all the time, and it lefts Fed without an efficient BH against Rafa.


huh Says:

I saw Murray and Lobson playing together and I loved every moment of it, :D. However my concentration was more on the Murray-Robson chemistry than on their german rivals. ;) :P


huh Says:

Ahh, I mean of course I was rooting for Britsh win in Hopman Cup, but apart from that ,I was also seriously looking at how Murray and Robson looked together, how was their rapport! :) To me, it was so good! :P I liked every bit of it. Murray thankfully owever looks a bit focussed on his game right now, which can only be a good thing for many of the Muzza fans like Mrs.Margot and Mrs.Jane and also for BIG admirers like me. I hope that all’s finally right in Murray’s world this year! Come On Murray, kick the butts of Rafa and Djoko at slams, kick Fed’s a little less for my sake! ;)

By the way, I don’t know why, if at all, Nole is playing imaginary king in some show!!! Don’t like it, if true.


mat4 Says:

huh:

Nole is not playing in that film. And it wasn’t an imaginary king, but a very real one.


madmax Says:

Heather!

Am not ignoring you at all!!!!! i checked my email every day and nothing from you! Also, been watching the cricket today, and we drew against SA-so we have one more test in Jo’ burg – so at worst a draw, at best, a win!

Jane – Hi xx
I actually dont think that Gulbis is cute. I think he is quite cocky and has the reddest lips I have ever seen! He is clearly a spoilt guy –

Zinaldo: Your comment:

‘Federer is done and people need to get used to him losing a lot more,people now believe and that is will be a big downer for roger in his prime no one actually believed they could beat him until nadal showed up and now he is looking more and more like the overrated player he was always’.

Are you for real?

What a disrespectful guy you are? Federer, overrated? Yeah. 15 grand slams, best player in the world, overrated. Yeah. I see what you mean – no brainer. And the slam thing is not even the most incredible stat to me. The most incredible stat to me is the 22 CONSECUTIVE semi final grand slam appearances. Yeah. Under rated. Nice one Zinaldo. I can see you are a real tennis fan. Knows his game.

Federer has continued to improve his game. He has been prepared to change. (admittedly, it has taken longer, but the guy is stubborn – ) however, he has come out of his cocoon, and been prepared to add to his team, add shots to his game, and continue to want to be number 1, to work at it. That is why your post is so ridiculously ill founded. Federer’s motivation comes from within. He doesnt need the money, so why not just kick back at home and put his feet up, go out to dinner with his wife, play with the kids. He wants to get better, he wants to improve as much as he can.

Ben,

You are wrong, am afraid.

All you need do is go see the new federer video of his racquet, it says it all – the new BLX – that’s where I got the information from, and passed it on to you. No need to apologise :)

Huh!

Federer played well. It was a good match against Gulbis, the toughest he has had this year. I am pleased he won. I dont think he would have been much bothered if he hadnt, it would have been more a reputation thing.

Federer beat Gulbis, wasnt as tidy as the other matches – but I still see this as Federer getting match practise for the AO.

Come on the fed!


Ben Pronin Says:

What video? I saw a bunch of cool Wilson videos with all the lights and stuff but nothing about specs.

I don’t care what Federer or his videos say, it’s a paint job. All the pros have paint jobs, except apparently Djokovic. You think Murray is actually using utak now? No way. These guys get custom jobs done and then paint their rackets. Why would Federer suddenly switch to an all new racket? I’ll believe it when someone shows me how they’re made.


huh Says:

“mat4 Says:
huh:

Nole is not playing in that film. And it wasn’t an imaginary king, but a very real one.”

Thanks for the info. Thank God, Nole’s concentratin on tennis!


huh Says:

madmax:

To me, strictly speaking, Fed winning AO is THE most important. I don’t care even if he loses to Rafa at Doha. I won’t be overjoyed either with Fed winning Doha beating Rafa, unless he wins the really most important thing at the season’s start, i.e. the Aus Open. I want AO for Fed, nothing less, more I can gleefully accept of course! ;)


huh Says:

As madmax says so often- Fed, Bring it on at the AO!


jane Says:

Hi mat4, I get your point, and I am not saying that Fed should abandon the chip return altogether, especially against the player it works against. However, it was quite apparent in his last match versus Del Potro, for example, that Delpo was *expecting* the chip return, and he did indeed know what to do with it. Opponents looks for patterns and ways to exploit them, if possible. Fed uses that return a lot; why not mix it up more, be more aggressive rather than chipping it back? That’s what I was trying to say. Of the top five, Fed had the weakest return game last year, so I was merely pointing out it’s an area he -and his team?- could have a look at.

BTW – I am curious as to how / where you found out that Novak is no longer in the “King” mini-series? Last I heard, both he and his younger brother were signed up for it. If you could fill me in I’d appreciate it! :]

margot! are you implying Murray and Laura are an item? Interesting. I am happy to hear he’s playing well; I’ve seen none of the matches, unfortunately. These two should definitely consider playing in mixed doubles in 2012 Olympics~!


huh Says:

Mrs.Jane, it was me talkin about Murray-Robson. ;)


huh Says:

Definitely Murray-Robson for 2012 olympics mixed doubles(if it exists in Oly)! :D


madmax Says:

Ben,

you seem to be getting really grouchy to me – what’s the matter?

I dont watch the vids with the lights flashing – what are you talking about? I checked out the technology behind the “new” racquet fed is using and from what the “experts” say – you know – the guys who actually put the racquet together – the strings are made of different material, strung tighter and gives the racquet more power.

Fine Ben if you dont want to believe it. I cant tell you anymore than what team fed have said on the wilson website. Go look yourself in future. I was only trying to help because you asked. I’ll know next time.

Huh,

I hear what you are saying buddy and I agree with you. I just love watching federer play. I enjoy all the shots he plays. He could have wound up the Gulbis match when he was 40:15 in the fifth game of the second set – and perhaps gone on to break next game, but he serves two sloppy shots, poor execution. It happens. In a way, the fact that he had to play a third set, and the way he played it, proved to me that he wants to win the match. He did.

And yes. The AO is where Fed will bring it on Huh, only 10 days to go now! But it’s great to watch the lead up tournaments.

I wonder if he will play Kooyong for match practice? or give that week a rest? will be interesting to see.


huh Says:

Mrs. Jane, at least Murray seemed serious about his tennis more than ever before, to me. I hope his hard work finally pays off , including some possible luck with work, if need be, for him to win his 1st slam!


huh Says:

Oh , my 3rd semester exams are gonna start on 21st this month, by the way!So bad! :(


Ben Pronin Says:

Madmax, I don’t mean to be grouchy towards you, I’m just saying in general I don’t believe players actually switch rackets. The experts said he switched to the k-factor. They said he switched to the ncode. They say a lot of things in order to get people to buy their rackets. But the pros get custom made rackets. Custom heads, custom weights, custom grips, etc.

As for the videos, I youtubed Fed’s new racket and I found the commercials where he’s all badass and using the racket and doing cool stuff amongst a bunch of dark flashing lights to make it look futuristic or something.

However, that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in the actual BLX that will be sold to the public. I still use the old ncodes (the 95 sq in not 90 like Fed) and I have used the kfactors which I love, so I’m wondering what’s new about the BLX. Wilson comes out with new tech every few years, unlike Head which has something new every couple of months. I’ve lost track of what’s even new anymore with their utak and microgel and flexpoint and whatnot. But I’ve always preferred Wilson to Head so I’m sure I’d like the BLX. Back when the ncodes first came out, I did try out “Fed’s” 90 sq in and it was cool to play with but a little difficult.


mat4 Says:

Jane:

About the return: I agree that he should try to change a bit his game, but what I wanted to say is that I don’t think he can. A change of return would imply a change of global strategy, and it is quite difficult for him.

Since I know you like Djoko (I read the posts on this site a few years already), you can see that since he changed his racquet, the low chip can’t hurt him any more, and he also has now a great inside out FH that puts a lot of pressure on Fed. He has changed his strategy inspired a bit by Rafa and JMDP, but Fed hasn’t changed anything.

About the film: news from the 20th of december, from Novak’s site.


jane Says:

huh, too bad your exams are during the AO! : [ I hope you still get to watch some of it. I did hear that mixed doubles is being “added” as an Olympic event – people are already buzzing about the Byran brothers and Williams sisters making US teams; Djoko and either Ivanovic or Jankovic; Murray and Robson. Could be very exciting!

mat4 – thanks for the info. I do indeed like Djoko; he’s my top fave, with Murray a very close second, and many more guys after that. Really am just addicted to tennis rather than one player – like many of us! :)


Kimmi Says:

What a close match it was. I really thought federer will lose but hoping and hoping he wins. I am glad he won. he needs more practice for the AO. Pretty tough draw he got in Doha, which will set him up well for the AO. Next Davydenko. Go Fed Go.

If Gulbis can take top players so close in matches, WHY OH WHY is ranked number 90. So much talent and so little use. I hope he break thru this year, he is definetly a top 10 material.

Margot: Thanks for Murray news in Hopman cup. I saw results with Kohl match and it looks very convincing. Can’t wait for the AO to start. Jane..Laura and Murray..NOT POSSIBLE. She is only 16? Am I right…she is still a child.


Kimmi Says:

mat4: ” He (Djokovic)has changed his strategy inspired a bit by Rafa and JMDP, but Fed hasn’t changed anything.”

Are you sure that federer has not changed anything? And how do you know this?


Ben Pronin Says:

Kimmi, I have a question about the Gulbis thing. “WHY OH WHY is ranked number 90. So much talent and so little use.” And yet you wanted Federer to win. I’m not trying to pick on you because that’s exactly how I feel. I like Gulbis and I think it’s a shame he’s not putting his talent to use, yet I don’t want him to ACTUALLY beat Federer or my other top faves like Djokovic (even though he beat him last year) and Del Potro, etc. It’s like I want him to be a top player yet not quite that high. I don’t know. Maybe you can make sense of this contradicting feeling? And it’s not special to him. There are other guys like Gasquet and Berdych and maybe even older players like Blake and Dent that a lot of people want to see do well and get upset when they falter mentally, yet they don’t REALLY want these guys to beat their faves like Nadal or Federer.


margot Says:

jane, kimmi: no, no, was not implying anything, promise, only saying that Andy seemed happy and relaxed. Laura, not 17 quite yet is playing well too. Perhaps Andy’s happy there’s another Brit taking the spotlight off him?
Though kimmi, only 5 years between them……..


margot Says:

kimmi: sorry maths out, mean 6 years.


Kimmi Says:

Ben: I agree, very contradicting, is it? But thats the way fans operate. I like Gulbis, Monfils, Soderling, verdasco, gasquet, Tsonga..the list goes on but they are not in my TOP fave list. Anytime they play anybody else not federer or Murray and maybe depotro i will automatically root for these guys, will get dissapointed if they lose. I like them and wish them the best.

If Gulbis beats my faves..very well and good. I will probably be sad but happy for Gulbis. Gulbis does not play top players every tournament, he has a chance to lift his ranking by beating a bunch of players ranked between 20 and 89. he has the talent to do that but he just can’t. WHY OH WHY !


jane Says:

6 years isn’t much, but I know what you’re saying Kimmi. There’s a maturity thing too. margot, I’m just happy that Murray’s playing well and that things are clicking between these two on the court. ;)


Kimmi Says:

“kimmi: sorry maths out, mean 6 years.”

margot: But is not possible now, she is too young now.. Murray has to wait another couple of years.

Hopman cup: I have not got to see anything in that tourney. Once in a while I go to BBC tennis and they have all the news for the British pair.

This is funny
========================================
Asked what had happened in the second set, Murray quipped: “I’m going to blame her a little bit though because she started asking me if I moisturise my hands and I think maybe she lost her concentration just a little bit

“But she’s only 15 so I’ll let her off. It was fun. She hit me on the back at one point – I don’t think I really deserved that… it was sore already because I was carrying her!”
====================================

Margot: Murray says she is 15.


Kimmi Says:

http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/news;_ylt=Akk_mlF7a2q9xadTYyn0lnI4v7YF?slug=reu-menqatar_pix&prov=reuters&type=lgns

“Last month, I had a shoulder problem, but I believe I’m back to my best. I may not serve as fast as Roger (Federer) or Robin (Soderling), but if I can serve between 190 and 200 kph, that’ll be fine.”

I did not know Nadal had a shoulder problem too. Too many injuries he had….


Heather Says:

Ben do you have an email address and would you mind me writing to you alt mine is federerfan@live.co.za.

There are some things that I prefer to discuss off line [nohing about anyone on this forum]

Thanks

Heather


Kimo Says:

As a Fed fan, I must admit that although there are several players that I like and wish them success, I never root for anyone playing against Federer. Maybe some of you will find that hypocritical, and perhaps it is, but I can’t help it.

Take Delpo for example. I really like the guy and his tennis, but when he beat Federer in the US Open final it cut through me (although no where near as badly as Nadal’s 2008 Wimbledon did, and I like Rafa too).


Heather Says:

Hi Kimo,

Me too,

I am besotted with Roger but do like Delpy and Djoko.

Murray not so sure

The current number 2-no comment. He seems to be over his injuries but I do not watch him play.

Since Rog won the FO and Wimby it does not hurt quite as much when he loses i.e. USO as long as it is not to the number 2.

Sorry but I really dont like him.

I would like to see one more slam final between Roger and the number 2 that goes to 5 sets [with no injuries etc] and that is won on skill, determination and BMT.

Roger is the GOAT but I really want to see him beat the number 2 ONCE MORE in a G/S-just for all those who keep on complaining about the number two not having been there last year at the FO and Wimby.

PS-Sods has shown what a force he is-he is flying under the radar-they all need to watch out for him


Ben Pronin Says:

Kimo, it doesn’t make you hypocritical. For me, it’s a contradicting feeling inside. Like, I’ve been saying for a while that I want Djoker and Del Potro to start winning more slams and I don’t care as much about Fed. However, chances are I’m going to instinctively root for Federer should they play at a slam. Why? I’d much rather see Djoker or Del Po hoist their 2nd trophy instead of Fed and his 16th, but during the match, that’ll all go out the window. I don’t know why, to be quite honest. Does that make me a hypocrite? I don’t think so and if it does it’s certainly unintentional, but it’s just weird.


Ben Pronin Says:

And yeah, his losses now hurt less than before he won the FO and Wimbledon last year. But I still didn’t like his losses to Benneteau and Tsonga. The former was unnecessary, the latter was just embarrassing. Against Del Potro, well, I enjoy watching Del Potro and he really went out and got his wins over Fed. The loss to Djokovic was ok, too. The Davydenko one was kinda bad, not too happy about that.


Kimmi Says:

“I’ve been saying for a while that I want Djoker and Del Potro to start winning more slams and I don’t care as much about Fed. However, chances are I’m going to instinctively root for Federer should they play at a slam”

Ben: aha…That means subconsciously you are a committed Fed fan.


Kimo Says:

Ben Pronin said:

“Kimo, it doesn’t make you hypocritical. For me, it’s a contradicting feeling inside. Like, I’ve been saying for a while that I want Djoker and Del Potro to start winning more slams and I don’t care as much about Fed.”

That’s a little different from how I feel though, because I can tell you right now without a shadow of a doubt that if Djoko or Delpo were to meet Fed at any match (in a slam or otherwise), I want Roger to win. Period. However, if they are to meet someone who already beat Roger earlier in a tournament, I’m behind them all the way. Problem with that is, Roger with his crazy consistency has made it impossible for anyone who doesn’t beat him at a slam to win a slam (Since Wimbledon 04!!!!!)

The only player that I REAAAAALLLLLY don’t want to beat Fed ever again is Murray.


huh Says:

“Kimo Says:
As a Fed fan, I must admit that although there are several players that I like and wish them success, I never root for anyone playing against Federer. Maybe some of you will find that hypocritical, and perhaps it is, but I can’t help it.”

Hi Kimo! :D That’s not hypocrisy, but the best thing. Enjoy it Kimo! :)


huh Says:

Mrs.Margot, why’re you not talking to me? Have I done anything wrong? Sorry for it, if I hurt you in any manner. Please forgive me, I can’t be fully happy to come here unless you address me. Please, talk to me, please. Last time, you wished me good luck for the exams. :P Won’t you wish me now? Please Mrs.Margot!


huh Says:

The only guy I bet I don’t want Fed to lose to is Davydenko. And then comes Nadal.


huh Says:

Well, I’m back to watch live telecast of Murray-Robson playing. It’s 3-All right now. Bye!


eragon Says:

I don’t want to predict anything, but just look at the 2009 season for RF and Nadal. Nadal had front heavy season and RF had major success at slams. SO while Roger has a chance of gaining a lot of points in the early part of the year (up to Madrid Masters), Rafa will get his chance to get points from Queens onwards…All other players, except for Del Potro have yet to show up consistent promise at the big stage. While Murray and Joker may be good in Masters and 500 tournaments, they have get to pose serious challenge at the Slams……So the 2010 season seems like a 3-way fight with advantage to Roger and Rafa……


jane Says:

eragon, Djoko was the youngest player ever to reach the semis of every slam, and he has also won one. So I’d say he’s “posed a serious challenge at the slams”. I know he didn’t have a great slam year in 2009, but that could change this year. Murray could also have a much better year at the slams – he did well at Wimbledon last year; he might do even better this year. Have to wait and see. Also, you say Fed has “a chance of gaining a lot of points in the early part of the year” but as I’ve already pointed out to another poster on this thread, Fed went deep in the early events he entered in 2009, except Monte Carlo. Here’s what he achieved last year, beginning with the AO up until Madrid:

AO – Finals
IW – semis
Miami – semis
Monte Carlo – R16
Rome – semis

So he stands to gain the most at Monte Carlo, but I think (?) he’s opted not to play there and/or is playing Estoril. At the other events he can pick up only few hundred points here and there. I suppose if he won all the events that’d be a substantial gain, but that’s a tall ask. He has decided to go back to Dubai this year so in that event he could gain 500 points if he wins it.

And then of course he has a couple of slams and masters titles to defend; one of the best times for Roger to try to pick up points this season, imo, will be during the indoor hard court season since he took time off and he lost early in Paris.

As for Rafa, you’re right that he has a lot to defend, but he can gain a lot at the two European slams. He actually did better on the fall hardcourt swing than it seems since some of his losses were tougher than expected, but he reached a lot of semis and a final too.


huh Says:

I’m back after watching Hopman Cup, where murray-robson beat andree-dementieva to reach the finals. The match was a truly exciting one, great start by Britain, great figtback by Russia to extend the match to super tie-break, Britain again came back and raised their level to clinch the match. A satisfying interview, all were graceful, be it the losers or winners, but especially by Andreev who held his head high in spite of a drubbing at Murray’s hands to not just compliment Murray highly, but also lightened the mood of the audience after the extremely tense doubles match, notwithstanding the tough loss of his own. But Andreev showed his character today, his courage and willingness to put aside the disappointment, move on, and in the process, won over me. Kudos to Andreev! And Kudos to Britain. The Murray-Robson pair is most cute! :P

Congrats to Mrs.Margot on her country’s semi win. I hope they finish off Spain and lift the trophy tomoro.


huh Says:

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/tennis-news/2010/01/04/andy-murray-i-don-t-need-a-grand-slam-to-be-success-86908-21941097/

Now, I don’t understand this attitude of Muzza. Why does he not think more positively about winning slams? :( I’m sure, Murray can win one, he’s got the talent to do that and more. I’d always back Muzza. But like Nole once talked about being unfortunate to be playing in Federer-Nadal era or something, some bad-timing stuff, Muzza’s talkin in the same language, sadly. Why not be determined? Why does Muzza think he mayn’t win a slam being in this era? If the era had something to do with slams, how come DP did it last year beating Fed & Rafa? Why the hell, if at all, Muzza thinks that he might play well and yet remain slamless? He must rather be thinking that he literally owns DP and consequently it must occur to him in the clearest possible manner that if DP can win one, he can win one too. Muzza must understand this., realise it and set his sight on winning a slam.


huh Says:

Why’re my comments awaiting moderation?


Heather Says:

To those who watched Fed playing Gulbis-we had no coverage-how was his game generally


margot Says:

Darling huh: of course I’m speaking to you and the very best for your exams…now just turn that computer off now and get on with your studying, or I shall ring your parents!
jane, kimmi. huh: yes, Laura’s only 15, turns 16 in a couple of weeks so her entry into tournaments this year is restricted to 10, I think.
Andy destroyed Andreev in 48 minutes, playing more aggressively, 2010 showing loads of promise.
still freezing here -18 somewhere last night and country at standstill! Wish I was cheering Andy on in person!


huh Says:

Thanks Mrs. Margot, I’m off to study now!


mat4 Says:

Kimmi: What could you possibly change in Fed’s game?


Daniel Says:

Mna, Nadal just won 10 straight points to go up 4-1 and serve. His backhand has so much more power than late last year. Either Fed or davydenko against him in the finals tomorrow promisses to be a great match. He is definitly in top form right now, and serving great so far.


Daniel Says:

After 16 straight points for Nadal Troicki won a point on his serve when nadal returned in the net. He is going for his forenahds full force!


Daniel Says:

Heather, Fed was playing great, at one point in the first set he played 4 games without a single Unforced error. Gulbis served too much in the second and Fed had a game with less than half first sevres where Gulbis took advantage going for return winner at almost all Fed serves, otherwise it would go to a breaker. He was trying to be agressive in the returns the whole match, as with everything else, hence more errors from Gulbis.

In the third set Fed missed break points in the openning game and then squandered a 3-2 lead and serve, but break back to finish with an ace. He played great to me, with the shot of the tourney so far, when Gulbis lobbed him and he returned a ball that had passed through him with one hand back in play and Gulbis not believing missed a drop shot.

But hte sence with Fed this days is that if the serve goes off the other parts of his game start to get off also. He missed a few forehands but nothing like those agaisnt Simon post Wimby 2008.


rafa Says:

If Nadal can play like what he has done today I can guarantee he will win all 4 slams this year without losing a single set.
He is looking scary good so far. This is as good as what Tsonga played against Nadal in AO semi 08 if not better.


Heather Says:

Thanks Daniel

Lets see what happens with Davy-I think he played the match of his life to beat Roger at WTF but as Roger himself says it all depends on how he feels on the day.

Nadal plays every match as if it is a final and you say he has his power back and he is not playing like last year. His serve is also firing. He said that he is now 100% and not injured.

So we may have a Rog/ Nadal final with no injuries [on either side] for the first time in a long time. MY NERVES :)


Heather Says:

No coverage in South Africa because of CRICKET [Mad max-lol] so off to watch livestream


Daniel Says:

What happen with Davydenko from half last year hwre he develop a killer serve?!
The last game of 1st set when Fed was 0-30 I thought he will level the set, but them Davydenko put 6 excelent firsts serve that even Fed complain in frustration. If he keeps serving like this he will trully be a contneder for Slams, something he never was in the past.


Daniel Says:

It is an excelnt match so far they are teaching us how to play tennis.


Skorocel Says:

Well, if anyone thought Fed will have a rather easy revenge over Davy today, then better watch out! That 0-30 deficit which the Russian overcame at 5-4 was without question the most crucial part of the 1st set, but whereas in their previous meetings he would usually falter in such situations, this time he didn’t… First set to Davy!


Skorocel Says:

Daniel: As crazy as it may sound, Davy had a 100 % 1st serve pct. in that 1st set (!)… Meanwhile, that backhand is really killing Fed in the 2nd game of the 2nd set. Had his chances, but simply couldn’t convert them…


jane Says:

Davydenko is also returning well. Quite the effort to hold in such a long game to start the second and then break immediately after in the next game. Wow. He is a changed player with a more consistent serve and mainly with more belief and confidence. He’s always been a consistent top ten player, but now he’s got to be considered a slam contender. I wonder if there’d be any difference in best of 5? Something tells me he wants to win a slam this year. Fed’s serve has dropped off a bit but it was in the high 60s, which is good, so amazing that Davy could still get the first set. Davy’s first serve percentage at one point was 91%! It’s dropped off too. Fed’s getting a look at a few more second serves so he can still break back…


Daniel Says:

I hate being right! When Fed missed all the break points in the beggining of second set, 0-1 Davy serving, bad I may add for the first time in the match, I told my mother: Fed will get broken in the next game. And that was it.
They both start missing a lot.


Daniel Says:

The TV showed Nadal is in the audience watching his future opponent.

Yeah Jane, Davy along with Nadal, Murray, Djoko and DelPo are the best returners in the circuit.

Pressure for now on for Davy to get hi second win, his firts serve will be detreminant, last game when Fed leveled 30-30 he took the power off to put some first serves in.


jane Says:

Daniel, I was about to post something about Nadal watching too. I don’t recealll seeing Nadal out watching too many matches like this, usually it’s Tony.

Well good hold from Roger to make Davy serve it out…. let’s see if he can do it.


Skorocel Says:

Well, so much for the 17th final between Fed and Nadal…


Daniel Says:

You know when is not your day, when you run away the backhand to hit a forehand return winner and you send out, than you prepare a perfect point position yourself inside the court to hit a backahdn winner on the paralel side to finish the point and you net. This 2 points in the last game I gave up, it was not his day.

Congrats to Davy, but I was dying for a Fedal final just to start the season. Maybe they save the best for AO 2010. I just hope Fed doesn’t enter Kooyong otherwise is bye bye AO 2010 for him.


Daniel Says:

Hope he doesn’t win Kooyong, he may still enter as long as he loses it.


jane Says:

Great win for Davy; at least it suggests that all of his wins at WTF are perhaps a turning point? The announcers I am listening to actually said it was Fed’s backhand that cost him the match. Hmmm… not sure.

Sheesh, Nadal looked sharp today too; honestly don’t know who’ll win in the final.

I expect to see a Roddcik vs. Monfils final in Brisbane (unless Step can stop la Monf, but I don’t see Berdych stopping Andy); not sure about Chennai yet, and am thinking the Brits will win the Hopman Cup.


Twocents Says:

Good win for Davy. Sweet payback, again!

Thanks for hanging there, Fed. Must cut down the UE’s.

Good match btw two of my favorites :-)).


zinaldo Says:

Federer has had it easy whereas the others were working on their games he was just sitting on his ass and now that awful backhand of his wich has always been his downfall against rafa is going to be his downfall against any top ten who doesn’t fear anymore.

But also his returns are really overrated,the same thing over and over,he is so used to chipping the ball back that he doesn’t even know how hit a topspin backhand, i am sure nadal wanted to play him as it doesn’t matter how well roger is doing as long as he has that backhand nadal will always think he has a chance.

I remember saying he had trouble moving to his right but right now roger has trouble with so many things but most importantly he seems lazy,you are 28 not 21 bend down properly to hit the balls,you never see rafa do that kinda stuff he is a hard worker and to me this year will tell if roger is going to be around much longer.

I cannot see him sticking around if he starts getting beat in the quarters or semi finals,his arrogance wouldn’t be able to take it and i wouldn’t be surprised if he was so worried about facing nadal and knowing what rafa does to his psyche and backhand maybe he didn’t want to humiliated before a major slam.

Right now favourite are rafa,del potro,davydenko,djokovic because these guys have consistency in their game something that you cannot say about roger now days,he is too cold now days for me to put him in the favourites and the hot days are very far and between and sometimes in games not mactches wich is not good enough if you want to win majors.


rafa Says:

Looks like Sean’s jinxing is working well in 2010


Rick Says:

Sean! Why did you jinx Federer again? lol Federer used to be Davydenko’s nemesis ya know? I think Roddick would also scores a win over Fed Allstop this year!


Twocents Says:

It was a very good match to enjoy: everything is even, no age gap, no tour mileage gap, etc, and both Fed and Davy played clean tennis.

And it never stops amazing me how doggy Fed could hang out there when things were not going his way.


Twocents Says:

Rick,

I think Roddick will get his payback this year too, maybe more than once. And I’ll be happy for him.

Sean,

I agree with most of your assessment except I still think you underestimate Fed’s aging/health and overblow Nadal’s health issue:
“There is of course injuries, and let’s face it, Federer’s been lucky in that regard.”

Fed has not been lucky. He has been smart and tactful with his fair share of issues.


Polo Says:

I am not surprised at all by Federer’s loss. I expect to see more of this result from him. He had his glory days and those were magnificent days. Somebody else is ready to take his place…I just can’t figure out who. Nadal? Djokovic? del Potro? Murray? Maybe, but I doubt if any of them can dominate the way Federer did. I think they will take turns although I believe that Nadal may do better than the others.


huh Says:

“Skorocel Says:
Well, so much for the 17th final between Fed and Nadal…”

Just nailed it!

Top story: 2014 N. American Hardcourt Schedules: Where Will Federer, Nadal And Djokovic Be This Summer?
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