Federer Hopes to Find Form Again in Madrid; Serena Works Overtime
by Sean Randall | May 10th, 2010, 10:34 pm
  • 108 Comments

Things pick up nicely Tuesday at the Madrid Tennis Masters. In action are Roger Federer, Fernando Verdsaco and David Nalbandian who plays Tomas Berdych.

All eyes will of course be on Federer. The Swiss is still the World No. 1 but has been playing Top 50 type of tennis following his Australian Open crown.

Federer’s five total wins since Melbourne are nearly balanced by four losses. But I think he’s going to add to that loss number a week from now. Fortunately for Federer and his fans I don’t think that loss will come on Tuesday to Benjamin Becker (he can’t lose to Benjamin Becker, could he??). It will come soon enough, however.

If you are anti-Federer you have to be feeling good. Roger has been playing sloppy, uninspired tennis of late and all signs are (again) pointing to an early exit in Madrid and another one in Paris in two weeks.

If you are among the Federer faithful, your charge has pulled this act before. A year ago he was struggling during the spring piling up poor performances at Indian Wells and Miami, but then found that fire with his Madrid title and course corrected his way through to Slam wins in Paris and Wimbledon.

Could it happen again? It could. Federer can’t play much worse that he is right now so maybe it’s only up from here. But it’s a real longshot.

For me, it comes down to just how interested and motivated Federer is at the non-Slam tournaments. He talks like he’s interested but his walk indicates something completely different.

And my guess is he won’t lose too much sleep when he does lose in Madrid. That’s just what it’s become. But I have to say he’s taking this “focus on the Slams” attitude to higher level by sleepwalking his way through the ATP events. We’ll again see if he can pay it off in Paris.

Also tomorrow Ernests Gulbis, who could meet Federer on Friday, takes on the guy who beat Roger and went on to win Estoril, Albert Montanes. I like the Latvian to win that one. Faster courts, altitude and Montanes is coming from a wet, slow Estoril court. The Spaniard’s in form and in his home country, but that puts the pressure on him. So I think Ernests gets through.

Nalbandian and Berdych is also another good match. Berdcyh was hot during the US hardcourts but has cooled off on the clay. I think Nalbandian could sneak out a win there.

The women’s event has had quite the shakeup already. Perhaps a sign of the times, the tournament suffered losses by Dinara Safina, Victoria Azarenka today to go along with losses by Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova on Sunday.

But the Williams sisters both scraped through today. While Venus won in straight sets over Vera Zvonareva, Serena played an epic saving a matchpoint in her win over another Vera, Vera Dushevina, 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 7-6(5) in the longest match of her career at 3 hours, 26 minutes. For a women’s match that is a very long time and I wouldn’t be surprised if that match took its toll down the road on Serena, similar to how that Djokovic-Nadal slugfest depleted both guys a year ago.

MANOLO SANTANA start 12:00
P Schnyder (SUI) vs [9] A Radwanska (POL) – WTA
Not Before 13:30
[8] S Stosur (AUS) vs M Martinez Sanchez (ESP) – WTA
Not Before 16:00
[1] R Federer (SUI) vs B Becker (GER) – ATP
Not Before 20:00
[6] F Verdasco (ESP) vs I Karlovic (CRO) – ATP
[WC] D Nalbandian (ARG) vs [11] T Berdych (CZE) – ATP

ARANTXA SANCHEZ VICARIO start 11:00 am
F Fognini (ITA) vs P Petzschner (GER) – ATP
Not Before 14:00
E Gulbis (LAT) vs A Montanes (ESP) – ATP
[WC] M Granollers (ESP) vs [15] S Wawrinka (SUI) – ATP
[10] M Youzhny (RUS) vs L Lacko (SVK) – ATP
[3] D Safina (RUS) or [Q] K Zakopalova (CZE) vs A Rezai (FRA) – WTA


Also Check Out:
Roddick Turns to Movies
Safina Wins 2nd Straight Title at WTA Madrid
Haas Wins, Safin Out; Tuesday Schedule at ATP Madrid
Serena Williams: I’m A Big Sloane Stephens Fan, I’ll Always Be Rooting For Her
Andy Murray Withdraws From Madrid Due To A Back Injury

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108 Comments for Federer Hopes to Find Form Again in Madrid; Serena Works Overtime

pigirl1 Says:

Fed can’t lose early in Madrid again…I say he reaches semis, then loses, allowing Nadal to win the event and get his no.2 seeding for French =]


blank Says:

As I’ve been saying for a while, it will take drubbing from Nadal for the Fed to wake up. Only a loss to Nadal will hurt him enough and shake him out of this doom spell.

But unfortunately, Fed has to reach the finals in order for that to happen. I can’t find one good reason this year to believe that may happen here. But as a Fed fan, I will remain hopeful (On ATP challenge I picked him to reach the final, hope he doesn’t take my points down along with his)


skeezerweezer Says:

Sean,

“For me, it comes down to just how interested and motivated Federer is at the non-Slam tournaments. He talks like he’s interested but his walk indicates something completely different. ”

Great insight. Not going to tag that and said I have been saying that but you read the posters too, most of us are in union on that. Ok, so maybe I am? After all, I am ranked “1A”. LOL.

Hope Fed proves us fans wrong but I can’t believe some people saying he is playing possum. Hope he finds his fear and fast:)

Even more interesting to me in your article is the William sisters. Love em or hate em when they are in the draw the other women know right away who is the favorite and who they fear. I think when they are done and out of tennis we will look back and say “wow’, will we ever see that kind of tennis from women or ” it started with the Williams power and heart tennis? ”

Have they been arrogant ( Serena )? Yes? said bad things and that wrong time? Yes. Controversial? yes.

All I can say from the guys point of view is: remember Johnny Mac? Connors?

History will treat the Williams sisters kindly, there records are the proof.

Thanks for the interesting matchups, may I indulge and add one I want to see? Dr. Ivo vs Hot sauce. Baseliner mucho grand lefty vs “I hit big serve, I crush you with it, but I have no groundstrokes.” :)

Should be fun if Ivo can serve great on the Clay, but if he is not serving well, Hot sauce will make him look like an amateur……


blank Says:

skeezer – Will you be out in the field this week to do some flash news reporting? :-)


bstevens Says:

The most worrying thing about Federer’s problems is the way he is losing. He lost two tight matches in Indian Wells and Miami, but how do you make 50 unforced errors in a 2 set match vs Montanes? Here’s hoping Federer finds his game in time for the French. Lets not forget that it was in Madrid where Roger began his memorable winning streak and turned the 2009 season around.


Fed-Up Says:

for fed fans a translation from spanish of an interview roger gave to el pais a few weeks ago:

http://www.elpais.com/articulo/depor…pepidep_14/Tes

Just after the interview, Roger Federer (Switzerland, 1981) talks with two fans and jokes with the improvised photographer in pidgin Spanish: “¡Muy deprisas!” The number one has calluses in his right palm. He sports tanned forearms. He talks long and always falls back on the same name: Rafael Nadal. They clashed for the last time one year ago, with the Swiss coming out on top, in the final of the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open (this year’s edition will be taking place until 16 May; he has requested to have his first match on Wednesday). Federer is now a different man. He’s already won Roland Garros. He’s already recovered Wimbledon. And he’s already the player with the most majors (16). However, statistics alone can’t capture the essentials of Federer as we saw him in the sunny day of the interview, conducted days ago in Rome: a man who speaks of his tears as easily as of his illnesses, who’s married but has no ring, and close enough to talk about how many days it takes to recognize a child as one’s own.

Q: The “number one”, who’s also a father, suddenly falls ill with a lung infection, as happened to you after the Australian Open. What happened?

A: The girls did not feel well when we returned from Australia. Their first six months had been fantastic: they spent them flying around the world. Then we went back to a colder climate, they caught an ear infection and their baby teeth started sprouting. They screamed for the whole night! Perhaps they had the virus too. It hit us all hard. The first to catch the infection was Mirka, she spent three days in the hospital. Then I started to feel sick. I stopped training and things got worse and worse. I went to get checked and they saw my lungs were infected too. I had to go a couple of times to the hospital, because I felt terrible. Now I feel good.

Q: Did it have anything to do with the mono of two years ago?

A: No. This time I wasn’t so worried. I just waited for the results of the lung examination, hoping it wasn’t something really bad. That disease has three stages: first bronchitis, then infection, then embolism. I was in the second stage. Health comes before tournaments. I did not worry much as with the mono. Mentally, it was easier.

Q: After your illness you’ve had poor results. That has never happened to you in a Slam.

A: A normal tournament is a sprint. A Slam is a marathon. You prepare differently.

Q: Now you’ve become a father. What have you discovered about youself?

A: That I’m not a such a bad father. I was a little nervous, like in my driver’s license test. I always thought I would be a terrible driver. I was scared. Now, I like to drive, just like I like being a parent. I was too worried. One thing I discovered about myself? That you can love your kids more than anything in this world. At first it feels strange: suddenly, you give two children a name and assume that you have to love them endlessly. But at first you don’t even know them! So it feels strange during the first week. Then you realize it’s the best thing in the world.

Q: What about the wedding ring?

A: I don’t have one! I’ll wear it when I retire. Mirka understood. What mattered was that she had a lovely ring!

Q: You cried after losing to Nadal in the final of Australia 2009 and, that same year, after winning Roland Garros against Robin Soderling.

A: It’s nice to bring people with me and my emotions. I prefer that to doing it alone. Now those moments are documented, I can go back to them. It was lucky for me that those feelings came out under the public eye. It’s not something I can control. Maybe I could hide under a towel… but there are no towels in the trophy ceremony! That wouldn’t look pretty (laughs). There was a time when I cried a lot. There were reasons behind it. Now, I’m glad it happened under the public eye.

Q: “I feel more of a man,” you said after winning your first Roland Garros in your fourth consecutive final.

A: Why hasn’t clay been as easy for me as the other surfaces? Why haven’t I been as dominant? It’s because on the other surfaces I can play my game without thinking. Everything happens naturally: I can go from defense to attack when and how I want. On clay you don’t need a volley or a serve. You just need legs, an incredible forehand and backhand, and to run after every ball. I’m not trying to take anything from Rafa: he has been successful in other surfaces as well. But on clay you can get away, you can be competitive even with a very incomplete game. I’m not saying it’s so simple, but it’s too easy. I’ve had to learn to control my aggression. I love to end points quickly, with a couple of shots. On clay, you can do it 50% of the time, but if you take too many risks you’re gifting the other 50%. I learned to play from way behind the baseline and to use angles. It was a lesson in geometry. On clay you can play well and lose. What you have to do is to play smart.

Q: Would a second title at Roland Garros, this time beating Nadal, have a different taste?

A: Obviously. No slam will taste the same as my first Roland Garros. It’s the one I was looking for, the big one I was chasing after, the title for which I prepared almost secretly. I trained in the pre-season in February in order to be ready to play the semifinals of Roland Garros in May. I always knew I could do it, but to actually do it, to go all the way to the end, is an incredibly satisfactory experience. I always expected to get it by beating Rafa, but you can’t choose who’s on the other side of the net. We two still have long careers ahead. I hope we have more opportunities to play in the Philippe Chatrier.

Q: You speak as if the future were set.

A: When Agassi gave me the trophy at Roland Garros, he said, “You deserve it. It’s fate.” I thought: “It’s true.” I felt the same. After having given so much of myself for so many years in Paris… Look, no matter what people say, I never thought my problem was clay. My problem was Rafa. The guy is unbelievable. There are some people who don’t want to believe it, but that’s the truth, unfortunately for a whole great generation of clay courters. So for me, it was as if fate was calling me. Being able to handle the pressure, being able to believe I could win each year, even though Rafa would then come and crush my dreams, was the key, my greatest strength. You can lose heart in but a moment. The instant of defeat hits you extremely hard. But I have always believed I could improve. So I believe in destiny.

Q: And Wimbledon 2009? You broke Sampras’ record of 14 majors in front of him.

A: The perfect script with a Hollywood happy ending. It was special for one thing above everything else: I was coming back from a tough defeat against Rafa the year before. And I said, “Man, I was so close back then, now I’m bound to be lucky.” And it happened.


topspin Says:

His problem was Rafa!

I love it


dc Says:

Fed lost 4 times to Nadal and didn’t accept defeat. He knew it that one day he would win. Win he did. The mark of a true champion.

He’s probably the only player who has lost a slam final 4 consecutive times to win it the fifth time.

To get not demotivated by the consecutive losses, to still try to , and then do it is what makes Fed a champ.


janadev Says:

DC

I think it’s three consecutive times, it was semis in 2005…

In that way I give more credit to Rafa for winning Wimbly by defeating Federer


Kevin Says:

serena shouldv’e lost…just with her physical power, she wins everything..no talent at all..i dont like her attitude at all..


janadev Says:

bcoz I didnt see Fed defeating Rafa at FO last year if Rafa would have reached FO finals


skeezerweezer Says:

blank,

You Betcha! Will be reporting from Madrid, and FO, WTF! Network has given me the exclusive. Starting from the controversial “Hot tub” players party in Madrid( yes, Skeeze was taking quotes from “inside” the Hot tub ) that no one knows about last night….OMG and WTF?…stay tuned……..keep the children at home for this one…

Skeeze out…


Ezorra Says:

Sorry janadev. I see otherwise. IMO, Nadal’s performance in last year’s FO was horrible and he didn’t look confidence at all… I would say if Nadal was in the FO final last year, he’ll BE defeated by Federer…

This year, I believe he’ll win FO. Don’t know about Madrid though!

Vamos Rafa!


Nick Says:

In Estoril, the second seeded player after Federer was 34th seed Montanes who beat Federer in match in straight sets. I have not seen a ATP tournament in my life lacking so much depth and Federer gets KO’ed out yet again ! Would not surprise me the least if he gets knocked out tomorrow in the first match in Madrid. 48 unforced errors in 2 sets is nothing new for Federer, he is his own worst enemy. His erratic plays are becoming ever more common. He now needs to pull a rabbit out hat like last year to reverse this. Since Aussie Open he has skipped 2 tournaments and out in early rounds of other 3 capping his worst performance in this period ever.


skeezerweezer Says:

Ezorra,

Your comments make sense going into the FO so far. Rafa is playing better as the tourneys progress, and Fed is not. Being a Fed fan, as much as I would like to pick him, betting on him at his point I would not. I pick Rafa with my head, and Fed with my heart. On factual paper, it’s a no brainer who is playing better and who is well prepared. But Fed is Fed, and I won’t count him out until the tennis season is over…..

So? game on! :)


skeezerweezer Says:

“janadev Says:

bcoz I didnt see Fed defeating Rafa at FO last year if Rafa would have reached FO finals”

IF? Fed could not choose who he played in the final. It was Rafa’s job to get there, he didn’t. Sosa pop crushed em. Don’t take away Fed’s achievement, he cannot choose who he is gonna play in the finals. HE won it it, fair and square. If your judging, judge Rafa for not making it to the finals so he could play Fed….I am soooo tired of the wast “Ifs”…..sorry :(


skeezerweezer Says:

“topspin Says:

His problem was Rafa!

I love it”

Ok, so sorry topspin but I will take some liberty and say “Sorry, Fed has 16 record GS titles, do you think his problem in getting them was Rafa?”

Rafa was a thorn in Fed getting more record breaking records, no doubt, but it still didn’t stop him from getting them. So let’s put the shoe on the other foot shall we?

What is holding back the great Rafa from GOAT? Answer: FED


guy Says:

yes roger it was fate nadal would get injured so you could win the french. it’s your destiny to win by default. the universe had it all planned for you, just you. ah, the modesty of the man.


Janadev Says:

skeezer,

I am not saying that its Fed’s fault that Nadal couldnt make the FO final..

What I was trying to say is that Nadal made it closer and closer to Fed at Wimbly for 3 years and was well ahead of Federer on Clay for those three years..

in that way I give more credit to Rafa..


Janadev Says:

Ezzora,

Do you think Fed’s performance inlast year’s French was convincing??

If it’s not the Federer’s aura in his opponenets made him to reach Final and won the whole thing..


Ezorra Says:

“Do you think Fed’s performance inlast year’s French was convincing??”

No, but he played better than Nadal last year. In fact, he defeated the guy who had beaten Nadal in 4th round in straight set 6-1, 7-6, 6-4.


Janadev Says:

There you are :-)


Huh Says:

guy:

Have you ever heard one of the best quotes of tennis-x? Let me say it. It is:
“If my aunt had balls , she’d be my uncle!”

Now, go figure. ;)


Huh Says:

I agree with Ezorra however and choose Rafa for FO with my head.


Huh Says:

BTW, I much hope that Fed’ll perform at last decently, if not win the Madrid.


Naderer Says:

Right now the most important thing is for Fed to win the French open and be the first player to defend all 4 grand slams, win wimbledon and tie Sampras’ record of 7 titles and surpass him wrt most weeks as number one……the abovementioned will give rise to a very interesting scenario at the US Open………

Fed could be playin for a calender slam and Nadal will be playin for his career slam….

I hope they meet at the Final…twould be the greatest match in the History of tennis and this will happen….mark my words…


Janadev Says:

Naderer:

What you said above is perfect for Federer.. He can make it happen if you see his past…

But I personally would like to see Nadal regaining both FO and Wimbly and Winning USO by beating Fed to make Perfect CAREER FED BEATING SLAM :)))

with all due respect to Fedex..


rsp Says:

Btw, does anybody know which the longest match in women’s tennis was? Serena’s is bound to be in the top 10, right? Sad Dushevina couldnt finish it off…i am hoping for a dementieva or jankovic victory.


madmax Says:

guy Says:
yes roger it was fate nadal would get injured so you could win the french. it’s your destiny to win by default. the universe had it all planned for you, just you. ah, the modesty of the man.

May 11th, 2010 at 2:39 am

Guy,

your post just reeks of jealousy. Why can’t you accept what skeezer said? Fed doesn’t control he plays the other side of the net. He played and won fair and square. It is fitting that he beat the guy who beat rafa = serrrr derrrrr linggggg. Why does everyone keep saying this?

And Huh:

If my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle!

Hilarious!

I know exactly what you mean! Guy just proved it! It’s a no brainer.

c’moon the fed!

To Fed-Up’s post above.

Thank you for posting the interview! It was a great read!


contador Says:

GOOOOO GULBIS

phew! ernie took the first set! 7-5

great comeback to win the set.

woot! 2-0 gulbis in the 2nd

gulbis threw his racquet too many times in the first set and took too much time….a violation and a warning….LOL

fun stuff, ernie

now gulbis is unstoppable…..won 7 games in a row and beginning to fire the aces : )


contador Says:

hi madmax-

on my way to work but just had to vent that “GO GULBIS”

i was checking the scores while getting ready this morning and thought “oh brother” ernie was being the old ernie.

but he came back! won’t be able to watch the end of this one or the federer match.

go feddy!

now montanes calls for an MTO

cheers!


contador Says:

hahahahaaa

the trainers came and took montanes off court for the MTO and they showed ernie sitting there giggling and shaking his head.

love that EG.


contador Says:

i wasn’t meaning to laugh at montanes injury, just that gulbis can’t contain himself whether it’s racquet throwing, cursing himself or what.

sorry for montanes.


Huh Says:

Hi Dear Maxi:

But actually Gordo must be given the credit for that quote, I just am recitin it here and have learnt it from him. :) ;)

BTW, WHERE ARE YOU GORDO?


skeezerweezer Says:

huh,

“If my aunt had balls , she’d be my uncle!”

“Classic”! LOL, you made my morning :)


skeezerweezer Says:

To all,

Congrats to you all for a civil, IMO discussion! Have a great day!

Skeeze


Ben Pronin Says:

This whole “Federer beat Soderling who beat Nadal so Federer deserved it” argument is absolute nonsense. What if Soderling had gone out to Davydenko in the quarters? And then Davy goes out to Gonzo in the semis. Then Fed beats Gonzo. Would we be saying “well Federer beat the guy who beat the guy who beat the guy who beat Nadal”? Tennis is a game of match-ups. Back in the day, Blake had a good record against Nadal but a poor one against Federer whereas Federer had a poor record against Nadal. This is tennis, if player x beats player y and player y beats player z, that is in no way a precursor on the outcome when x and z play.


jane Says:

Looks like Becker might be made to bear the pain of Fed’s recent struggles. J.K. ; ) Fed’s started quite well. Beckers getting only 45% firsts in a.t.m. though.


Kimo Says:

Maybe I’m just kidding myself, but I think Roger is playing like a man with a plan today.


InMyOpinion Says:

Federer is playing so badly, he is dragging Becker down to his level.


NELTA Says:

Janadev Says:
Ezzora,

Do you think Fed’s performance inlast year’s French was convincing??
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – — – - – - -
What kind of question is that? What does convincing mean in a slam? Straight sets in 6 matches? You have to beat so many top ten players? You can’t have bad match? All that matters is that you are the champion. There are no asterisks when you win a slam.


jane Says:

Once Becker (somewhat) found his first serves (he’s at 63% now), the second set has been tighter contest, but Fed’s still playing pretty well – 70% first serves, 7 aces, not bad at all. Although Becker did just fight off two match points.

Fed’s been up and down in terms of starting matches: sometimes he starts well (as in this match or versus Gulbis) but other times he starts slow and it seems to take him a while to get warmed up (as in the Clement match and Montanes loss). Can’t see a consistent pattern in his match play right now.

The “fear factor” definitely seems to have abated somewhat now.


Kimo Says:

Well done, Rog. Although I must admit, after he missed the first match point I was having Berdych/Baghdatis flashbacks :D


jane Says:

Becker managed to fight off 3 match points, but in the end Fed was too strong for him.


Stefani Germanotta Says:

Not bad from Fed today against B. Becker. Hope he can play his way into form in Madrid and into the French Open.


jane Says:

Lots of aces in these matches so far – Sam is up to 15 in his match. Fed had 8 and Becker 9. Think this clay definitely rewards the big servers.


skeezerweezer Says:

I agree…Not a bad start for the Fed. His UE’s had to be waaay down. Anyone have that stat? I liked the way he was striking the ball for the most part today( except the easy dump put away FH at his first match point, ugh! ) Have seen Becker play better also, but all in all a good start for Fed….:)

On another note, are you sure there playing on Clay? The ball seems to be bouncing through the court not up like a typical Clay…..so many service winners


Kimo Says:

Skeezer, Fed has 35 Winners to 17 UEs. That ratio waaaaaayyyy better than it has been recently :)


skeezerweezer Says:

Ben,

I like your x’ and y’s and z’s, but where is the xoxoxo? Where is the love man?


skeezerweezer Says:

Kimo,

Thanks, I’d say that is a good start!


janadev Says:

NELTA,

That question is to Ezzora who says that Fed could have beaten Nadal if he would have reached last year FO final..

Federer just beat his opponents, not in a dominating fashion…which did not convince me that he could have beaten Nadal in finals..

In other words last year Fed was not in intimidating form during FO.. but most of his opponents were intimidated because he is ROGER FEDERER


madmax Says:

Ben,

you know I love you Ben, but honestly. Stop with the x, y, z ration. Flashbacks of a verrrryyyy bad maths teacher, making me feel kinda wobbly -

then I read skeeze’s post and I feel sooooo much better.

Jane, I agree with you. Have match on record to watch it all back again and pay a bit more attention to the movement, and see if fed has a cunning plan……mmwwwwhahhahahahah!!!

Well done Federer!

Now, 6:2 in the first set – check.
What is it with these tie breakers though? Does he love ‘em or something?

Really…I can do WITHOUT the tiebreakers fed!

NELTA,

7 matches. Not 6.

A good start for fed, but not the best I have seen in an opening round.


margot Says:

conty: ernie has a hair cut and looks just like a Botticelli angel….all together now AAAAHHHHH.
Do u like Lackso, he looks a bit like ernie. Plays rather well too. Doing too well against my bouncer.
OMG Granollers serves just like I do ie rubbish!


madmax Says:

*ratio* !!! NOT *ration*. My fingers are doing the walking right now, sorry.


Kimo Says:

margot, I was thinking the same thing about Lacko too. He’s like the new Gulbis, or the old Gulbis I should say :D


NELTA Says:

Ben Pronin Says:
This whole “Federer beat Soderling who beat Nadal so Federer deserved it” argument is absolute nonsense.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -
On the other thread I said “Fed did his part and took out the guy who knocked out Rafa”. I wasn’t implying Fed “deserved” to win because he beat someone who had previously beaten Rafa or if Fed had played someone else in the final it wouldn’t count as much. If it was someone else in the final I would have said “Fed did his part and took out…”

I agree with your post in regards to matchups and it is something I have explained in several threads here over the past few months.

Funny thing about the whole ‘I beat player A and you beat player B so that makes me better than player B’ is that there is a technical name for it. It’s called an indirect win and was a part of the USTA junior rankings system in the 80s when I was playing. It’s probably still in use today because a typical junior might play in 5 national tournaments per year and win a total of 10 matches. A point system based on how many rounds you win results in too many players with a similar ranking so indirect wins was used as well.


NELTA Says:

I watched the 1st set Fed/Becker and wasn’t that impressed with the way Fed played. As someone mentioned Becker was playing poorly too. His forehand just doesn’t have the zip that it needs. At least twice in that 1st set Fed had short forehands that he hit conservative approach shots on and Becker ripped 2 passing shots. Normally, Fed would have hit winners on those forehands or forced a weak reply.

I don’t have data to back this up, but it looks like Fed is hitting fewer forehands(more backhands) than he used to. With the lack of confidence he isn’t making that extra effort running around backhands.


margot Says:

kimmi: we’ll have to call him OG (old Gulbis).If playing well NOG.


Raven Says:

Crazy talk again about Fed winning RG because Rafa was injured. Fed won fair and sqaure. He worked hard for it, refused to lose, even with all the pressure on him. And I agree, fed can only beat the player opposite him. Rafa was not there.

It is always heartbreaking when Fed loses uncharacteristically. But, as long as Fed never gives up I will always cheer for him. That is what makes a champion. When you are down and out, you always keep trying despite the avalanche of negativity that is thrown his way. He is a great rebounder.

Go Roger Go.


Skeezerweezer Says:

NELTA,

Fed also had 35 winners. I agree he doesn’t look TOTALLY confident in his FH money shot yet, but….he looked a heckava lot better than some of his previous matches since AO. I am hoping he has started something to build on :)


NELTA Says:

I just got so screwed in the draw challenge. I picked Berdych over Nalbandian, but Berdych just pulled out with an injury I presume. He was replaced by Michael Russell as a lucky loser. Now my challenge draw has Russell winning the next 2 rounds.


dangerouspaul Says:

1) its roger federer you are talking here about
2) nadal is strong and confident..but the federer bashing in this comments and articles released on this site..might just project the knowledge that federer is capable of anything( playin bad and playing peRFect)—even beating nadal in madrid and paris…
3) nadal on sand never plays bad or good..he plays the same ever and ever again..he an only be beaten if someone comes and hits 60 winners and only 40 unforced errors..hitting him out of the court so to speak..so when someone like gulbis or soederling hit and hit and making the big points they have a shot ..it is not because nadal is playing poorly..it is because the opponent hit him out of the stadium..nadal fans and nadal himself never recognize that..
4) nadal will sleepwalk into the semis and if he loses this week its because he played bad and the altitude and the mosquito who didn’t let him sleep all night
5) federer will have a tough week..and by reaching the final finally some of u pseudo experts will understand that tennis is a very cruel sport with lots of talented players..u win or u lose and ur out..federer won so much over the last 3 years and he lost a lot..so who cares.it is just tennis..


skeezerweezer Says:

dangerouspaul,

1) Yes
2) Come again?
3) You mean Clay right? I’ve played on sand…er….artificial turf with sand thrown on top, and it’s NOT Clay.
4)”….the mosquito who didn’t let him sleep all night”…LMAO now that was funny!
5) Didn’t get that one either? But, yes, we do have a lot of pseudo experts up here :)


Skorocel Says:

35 winners to just 17 UEs? Isn’t that a typo? ;-)


skeezerweezer Says:

@Skorocel,

LMAO….I got that :)


TGiT Says:

“With the lack of confidence he isn’t making that extra effort running around backhands.”

You don’t know that.


Lion Says:

Sorry ben,

tennis is NOT about match-ups. It is about beating the other guy across the net on that particular day. If it is about match-ups, why dont you just move players who have the better H2H into the next round? why actually make them play?

Soda boy popped nadal’s @ss at the French last year. That is a fact. as much a fact as roger beat soda in the final. Why the need to diminish what Roger achieved.

@Janadev:

straight sets win sounds more convincing to me than winning 9-7 in the 5th set.

madrid surface looks like rafatards have to have their knees and divorce excuses ready! oops! i guess his parents cant divorce again, can they? maybe you can use tiger woods’ divorce as an excuse? wouldn’t sound anymore ridiculous than the excuses you give to discredit the beating sodaboy dealt to nadal :)


contador Says:

margot-

LOL! *ernie a botticelli angel* he might look like one when he smiles but did you see the match?

I did. it was early my time-6 a.m.

EG is was no angel on court! he was entertaining though. the first set bouncing racquets and cursing in what i imagine is latvian. he got a violation for the racquet act and a warning for making montanes wait between his serves. the warning and violation just made him play better and he started serving and over-powering montanes. montanes pulled a groin in the process.

monatnes came out from the MTO a wounded man, but soldiered on limping through the 2nd set and not retiring.

i don’t think ernie realized montanes was really injured. when they walked albert off court for the mto. our *botticelli angel* sat there looking up to his box giggling and shaking his head.

i did the same thing NELTA. my picks are demolished for after tomorrow. probably. isner facing giraldo, berdych out, querrey losing…..and watching livescore, crossing fingers that nando can dissect the ivo serve like federer and gulbis can. ( gulbis seemed locked into where ivo was serving in the final at del ray. awsome.)

i don’t really know much about luka lacko. score looks like youz had trouble starting off. youz v erno will kill me! i don’t think ernie can beat youzy. ernie accomplished his goal to get seeded for FO beating montanes. the angel may bail out.

YAY! really happy day! roger federer won a match on clay! also, more picking gurus than one seem to think federer is going to the final, even many seem to having winning?

wishing a good day for the 2 andy’s tomorrow.

missing novak djokovic

back to the office.

cheers tennis people!


contador Says:

what bad luck for nando to get karlovic!

if verdasco goes out i will never, ever bracket pick again.

vamos hot sauce!


contador Says:

verdasco slipped through the first tie break gauntlet. vamos

margot-

“AHHHHHHHHHH” for the “botticelli angel” : )

it’s a good tongue in cheek nick for erno.

he plays youz at 6 am, my time again. there better be a decent stream too.

no sleep for a tennis junkie. ( my serve is also “rubbish” )

but, i am tiger woods with my golf clubs. hehehee


contador Says:

i didn’t mean to interrupt the conversation skeezerweezer.

just replying to margot


NELTA Says:

TGiT Says:
“With the lack of confidence he isn’t making that extra effort running around backhands.”

You don’t know that.

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

Its an observation I’ve made watching his recent matches and comparing it with matches from the beginning of this year and last year.

You should see Fed several times in a match brushing up against the singles(or even doubles) sideline when he runs around his backhand. That comes from confidence unless you think old age just kicked in after the AO and he isn’t quick enough to do it anymore.


Dan Martin Says:

I think Federer has to net 1330 points between now and the end of the French Open to tie & break Sampras 286 total weeks at #1 record if Nadal wins in Paris and Madrid. Federer picked up 90 points today so he is at 1240 away. He still needs 1 more match here and a FO runner up to be safe from being overtaken prior to the grass court season. Even if Federer is runner-up here, he’d need 730 points in Paris and the semifinalists get 720 so … he basically needs to do well in Paris if Nadal wins out on clay.


TGiT Says:

or he could be working on his backhand, simply because he needs to work on his backhand even if he could run around for the forehand.

We don’t know why….


Ben Pronin Says:

dangerouspaul,

Nadal always plays the same on clay? So he didn’t do anything differently at the 08 French that saw him dismantle every single on of his opponents? They were just all playing really, really bad, right?


Ben Pronin Says:

Well Federer’s footwork has been shoddy as of late so that’s a pretty explanation for why he wouldn’t risk running around his backhand too much.


jane Says:

Hi Dan Martin – Sampras’ weeks at number 1 were not consecutive correct? Thus, presumably it doesn’t matter if Fed drops from number 1 before he ties/passes Pete, and then regains it later to finish the record breaking. In other words, it’s not as though this is Fed’s “last chance” to get that record the way I understand it; am I right? (p.s. is baby #2 here yet??).


NELTA Says:

Exactly Ben. He still runs around it, but not to the same degree he has in the past. It’s not worth the risk because he is struggling with the more routine forehands. You have to nail the double axle before moving on to the triple axle. I watched the 09 Madrid semi and final on TC last week and there would be points where Delpo or Rafa couldn’t find Fed’s backhand.

TGit – that’s what practice is for


skeezerweezer Says:

Murray found Fed’s BH A LOT in the final of AO, and Fed’s BH that match was magnificent. Best I ever seen him play with the BH, didn’t need to run around and hit is FH…..But that was then and this is now lol


montecarlo Says:

I think Berdych and Nalbandian have both withdrawn. So does that mean we will have two lucky losers playing against each other? Can anybody confirm this news?


madmax Says:

Dan Martin/Ben Pronin.

Fed was moving beautifully today on court. Those slice volleys were brilliant. Oh My God, when I see Federer play like that, I fall in love all over again.

His balance and movement today was so much better and his serve was clicking. You cannot take that away from him.

He was running for the balls. the silliest shot ever was at 6:5 40:30 to the mighty fed, and he hit it into the net. Arghhhhhhhhh.

But, he was interviewed after the match, and he laughed at the point. Said he had a “worry”…”Oh No” feeling, but he giggled. It was nice he felt he could pull it all together.

A solid start from the Fed.

Go Roger!!!
Becker also played really well in the second set with some magnificent shots.


TGiT Says:

and if you remember in Madrid 09 there were also great down the line backhands as well when the opportunity was there. He ran around his backhand last year and pummled the ball deep to Nadal’s backhand and got plenty of winners and errors from that side of Nadal. He took Nadal off his game by pocketing him in the corner.

I think at this point from the recent matches I watch he is working on his backhand timing. I think the phrase “confidence” is too strong as to why. Let’s say he is getting kinks worked out.


Linda Says:

Today’s match was a joke. I was surprised at how badly Becker played. The unforced errors, were ugly, particularly the gifts which handed Federer an early break. When a player is vulnerable & lacking confidence, make them play, don’t gift them free points!


NELTA Says:

Skeez,

Fed will almost always hit more backhands than forehands in a match because opponents hit to his weaker side. There will still be balls that he can run around and take control of the point with an inside out forehand instead of maintaining a neutral rally with the backhand. He did that vs Murray. Right now he is only doing it for what I would call routine inside out forehands where he can move to his left, settle his feet and then hit. Remember those forehands where he is still moving to his left while hitting an inside out forehand?

Watching this highlight of the 09 Madrid final I counted 6 forehands that Fed hit where his body broke the plain of the singles sideline and the highlight is just a fraction of the match. The 4th point of the 1st game he ran around Rafa’s 2nd serve and hit a forehand from the double’s alley. On one of them he hit the forehand outside of the doubles alley! You have to watch closely because some of the points it’s hard to see Fed in the shadow.

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

If I am available to watch Fed’s match vs. Wawrinka I will count how many times his body breaks the plain of the singles sideline when he runs around the backhand.

OT: Now the APT draw challenge has Fish vs Russell. They are playing right now. Well at least I have a better chance of winning. A few hours ago the draw said Nalbandian vs. Russell(replaced Berdych). Apparently Nalby hasn’t fully recovered from his injury.


Ben Pronin Says:

Skeezer, regarding Murray and Fed in the AO, I completely agree. Fed’s backhand was what stood out most to me in that final. Everyone said Murray did this and didn’t do that but Federer was so strong from both wings that day, what was going to do?

TGiT, you’re probably right, too. I mean Fed’s footwork has been off lately so it wouldn’t make sense for him to run around a lot. But his backhand has been pretty bad, too. If he wants to win Madrid and the FO, he’ll need his backhand clicking. And beyond that, he needs his backhand to be strong at Wimbledon (although I don’t think that’d be an issue anyway).

I don’t think Federer hits slice volleys.


Skorocel Says:

dangerouspaul: I agree that Nadal plays the same on clay. It’s either 6-0 or 6-1…


Ben Pronin Says:

NELTA, thanks for the link. It looks like Nadal was pretty tired in that match.


dangerouspaul Says:

nadal winnin 6:0 6:1 doesnt mean he played his best ever!!! it is just impossible to beat him because he only produces like what 2-3 unforced errors per set???…unhuman..gotta give the credit to nadal for that..but if someone can push him long enough then nadal begins to misshit 5 more balls per set..against gulbis he had around 18 unforced errors??and people said he didnt play his best.???he played very good but was pushed by a good player..thats it ..so here is the final conclusion::::

u need balls and luck to beat nadal on clay…


The Real Dan Martin Says:

Does that other Dean Martin guy even write anymore for tennis-x? Come on either write something or hang it up. No Henin style comebacks.


NELTA Says:

Ben Pronin Says:
NELTA, thanks for the link. It looks like Nadal was pretty tired in that match.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
LOL. You’re joking right?

Certain people said Rafa was tired or didn’t play well yada yada yada. Fed only had 2 break points in that match(1 per set), but he won both of them. If you’re a Nadal fan you have to take comfort in the fact that Nadal’s inability to win the big points vs Fed is pretty rare, happening only at a few 1000 events and 2 Wimbys. Look back at some of the epic Fedal matches like the 09 AO and the 09 Wimby and you will see Fed had tons of break chances in each set, like 18 break points total in each of those matches and could only win maybe 2. Rafa gets only a few chances and bang, he gets the break. That’s what is frustrating to Fed fans. All those chances and he couldn’t do it.


Ben Pronin Says:

I’d rather Federer be 7-13 against Rafa rather than 6-14. And tactically Fed played really well, but it wasn’t his best match either. Nadal was more tired than we’re used to, but when he got the chance to hit a forehand it turned into a winner almost immediately (at least in those highlights).

It’s a shame Federer has such a poor break point conversion rate against Nadal. FO 07 he had like 16 chances and only converted on one. And in their 09 AO, Fed actually won more points despite losing the fifth set 2-6. I was pretty surprised to find that out. But if you look at their h2h, something like 5 of their matches where Nadal won, Federer won more points. You’d think losing a set 6-2 wouldn’t have the same result but it did.


Ben Pronin Says:

I was off by 1, Federer had 17 bp’s in 07.

If tennis was based on point accumulation, Federer and Nadal would be 10-10. Dubai 06, Rome 06, and AO 09, Federer won more points than Nadal did. Amazing. Just goes to show.


NELTA Says:

I didn’t see any tiredness in Madrid. Nadal did look a little tired in the Hamburg final where he lost to Fed I think it was 6-1 in the 3rd. I remember him in the 3rd set putting his hands on his knees when he was preparing for the return of serve which is bad body language to be giving off to your opponent. Nadal also looked tired/injured in that loss to Murray last year in Rotterdam.


Kimmi Says:

Contador…I don’t know what to say..but I am very happy with my bracket so far.Its G-O-O-D WOOT! Just a little hick-up with Querrey…what the…? must be the hangover from serbia.

I am only 3 points away from the leader so far…I outdid my Rome perfomance by a mile. Vamos!

Now, for my faves.

Federer..well done, just keep it up please .
Hot sauce..WOOT! ( I was worried, he had a bad record with Dr Ivo, vamos!)
Murray..Good luck and fingers and toes crossed

What is up with both nalbandian and berdych ? has it ever happened before both players who were suppose to play together withdraw from the tournament?


Skeezerweezer Says:

Nadal, tired? Running and being more physical is how he beats down people. Heck, he runs to the baseline after changeovers, or I forget did he quit doing that ?. I think you might be mis reading his body language. Why does he look tired only win he loses? He looked “defeated” rather than tired IMO in that match.


Ben Pronin Says:

I didn’t say he looks tired only when he loses. He just looked like he was about to keel over during some of the points. Maybe I am misreading it, but his body language lacked sting. Usually he’s intimidating on the court, no matter who, what, when, where, or how he’s playing.


NELTA Says:

You may be right Skeez. It could have been more of a sign that he was giving in to the will of his opponent on that particular day rather than just a physical tiredness. I think you bring up a good point that there is not always a clear distinction between the mental and the physical. They blend together.


funches Says:

Nadal definitely has given up mentally when he lost several times, whether he was tired or not. The biggest myth about him is that he fights to the last point every time.

In every one of his U.S. Open losses, he was a dispirited, defeated player by the beginning of the final set.


NELTA Says:

The rerun of the Fed/Becker match is on right now. At 4-1 40:30 Becker serving, Fed ran around his backhand and was in the doubles alley to hit what I thought would be an aggressive inside out forehand, but he dumped a drop shot in the net.

Murray’s camp was watching the match. The commentators were making jokes about scouting ahead of a potential semifinal vs Murray. My guess is that Murray had to do interviews or an ATP appearance so Mclagan and company decided to watch a little tennis. I don’t think Murray or Fed is looking that far ahead. They really need to focus one match at a time. One interesting tidbit is that Fed and Murray have never played each other on clay or grass. So now that I said this maybe they will soon meet each other on the dirt.


Andrew Miller Says:

Federer’s play during the AO 2010 final made me think that Federer was playing a new style, kind of like Michael Jordan when Jordan honed new kinds of shots to compensate for a loss in movement. Federer seemed to make Murray pay for any mis-step, for taking one step in the wrong direction and “wrong footing” him. Rather than “overwhelming” Murray, Federer displayed a court sense that was just unbelievable – as if Federer knew that he couldnt do certain things anymore and made up for it with sheer knowledge of court geometry.

I’m not saying Federer is “slow” but he is a tad “slower” than he was at 23,24,25. I just think it was one of the smartest tennis matches I’ve ever seen. Rather than waiting for an opponent to “blow it” as Djokovic did at the US Open final in 2007,

Federer, in a tip to tennis wisdom and experience, exploited his own superior knowledge of the tennis court.

After seeing that, I thought: this guy truly is the greatest of all time.

I don’t doubt he can put on a display at Roland Garros. But, I’m just not seeing the same interest in problem solving in Federer – how he saw things others didn’t see. Seems to me he’s a little less interested and more impatient.

I bet the three out of five will favor him at Roland Garros. After all he has not lost there early since 2004. But this is the worst clay season Federer’s seen since that point.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Andrew,

Most excellent post @ May 11th, 2010 at 11:00 pm. Enjoyed the read….thanks :)


Skeezerweezer Says:

NELTA,

Just so you know I don’t disagree about your IMO on Fed. I have said many times that the most important thing in Feds game is “movement”. If he is moving well, he has the ability to run around that FH, jump on it and pound it, etc…”float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. Don’t forget movement AND anticipation go hand in hand, I together make a deadly combo.

Although I would amend my IMO slightly that his confidence is obviously important too. We forget he is human too and has is moments of dealing with that. But when both are clicking, like at AO, it doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the net…does it?


skeezerweezer Says:

NELTA @ May 11th, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Thanks for the link :)


madmax Says:

Ben,

“I don’t think Federer hits slice volleys”.

This is what you said above, earlier:

Just saying that federer DID hit two sliced volleys in the match against Becker yesterday. commentators said so!, and i saw it with my own eyes! So there!! :) Go watch the match again.

It was a beautiful shot by Fed. They said was one of the best shots of the match.

Linda,

you must be the only one here that thought Becker played poorly. Agreed the first set was a wash out for him, but the second set, he was hanging tough with Federer all the way, and the broadcasters over here mentioned that some of his shots were “Magnificient”, and they were.

Becker played really well yesterday.


Ben Pronin Says:

Madmax, I watched the highlights of the match. A couple of things:

1) I’m amazed at how little Madrid resembles a clay court. There is minimal sliding and a ton of aces. Oh and it’s red so I guess that counts for something (although Tiriac does want to make it blue).

2) From what I saw, both Federer and Becker played pretty well. I think Federer was able to apply more pressure in the first set than the second. I didn’t see the whole match so I don’t know why.

3) Sick lob by Federer. Sick drop-shot-slice return in the tiebreaker. The drop shot was working great throughout. He was moving very well compared to his last couple of matches.

4) There were two shots that I saw that could’ve been slice volleys and Becker hit passing shots off both. Fed hit some drop volleys and normal volleys that were effective.


Daniel Says:

Federer did slice volleys yesterday, go see the whole match again. In fact he was going for it too much, missed a few.

Oh, what about that crazy shot that almost went in that made Becker smile?! Becker hit a passing shot, Fed got to it with his forehand and tryed to slice volley it. The ball went up, touched the court and returned (crazy back spin), but it was out by inches. Becker run like a normal drop but and when he realize the spin of the ball (which was out), he laugh. I think Fed payed a very smart match, specialy serve. His second serves were excelent, making Becker vanish from the video several times. A ot of variaty, that’s why he didn’t face a single breack point the entire match.


Huh Says:

“u need balls and luck to beat nadal on clay…”

completely agree dangerouspaul.


madmax Says:

Hi Ben,

so you agree that fed DID make some slice volleys then?!!! So you contradicted yourself above Ben? :)

and yes,

your second post:
3) Sick lob by Federer. Sick drop-shot-slice return in the tiebreaker. The drop shot was working great throughout. He was moving very well compared to his last couple of matches.

check.

4) There were two shots that I saw that could’ve been slice volleys and Becker hit passing shots off both. Fed hit some drop volleys and normal volleys that were effective.

check.

Federer played well, and “sick” is the right word! also, very, very, “sweet” Ben. I love it when Fed plays like this. His movement was tons better yesterday.

Have a nice evening Ben.
work to do.

been watching the baggy v ferrer match! It’s brilliant. I think Baggy is underrated on clay.

Ferrer is just a terrier. He NEVER gives up!

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