Nadal Practices in Rain at Queen’s/London
| June 7th, 2010
  • 74 Comments

By David Law

Barely 24 hours since lifting his fifth Roland Garros crown at the French Open on Sunday, the new World No.1 Rafael Nadal arrived in London for the AEGON Championships on Monday, and promptly started practicing on grass, in the pouring rain.


The Spaniard was mobbed by hundreds of adoring fans when his car pulled up at The Queen’s Club. In the locker-room he was greeted with handshakes, pats on the back and even a small round of applause by the other players. Then he got ready to practice.

Moments later the weather, which had remained dry throughout the day, turned. Rain started falling, play on the Centre Court was suspended and a practice-session seemed impossible. Even the tennis nets were taken down.

Nadal wasn’t worried. He just picked up his bag and made for the practice courts. Head Groundsman, Graham Kimpton, who has worked at The Queen’s Club for more than 20 years and gets on famously with the players, was there. “You don’t want to play, do you?” Kimpton asked, bemused. Nadal smiled, and nodded.

Kimpton laughed, and immediately ordered his team to put the net back up. The rain continued, but Nadal found his rhythm within seconds, swiping violent forehands and backhands at his hitting partner.

With the light fading and the rain unrelenting, Nadal called it a day after 20 minutes, satisfied that he was ready for the doubles match he will play with partner Marc Lopez on Tuesday, and his first singles match on Wednesday.

“I am very happy to come back to this very nice club and to be back on grass, which is one of my favourite surfaces,” said Nadal afterwards. “The conditions were not easy to practice in today, and I want to thank the Tournament organisers very much for letting me — I know that it’s not the best for the court, but for me it was very important to make contact with the new surface (grass). This is always a very important tournament for me, I won it in 2008, I love to be back at this club, and I am going to try my best.”

Nadal and Lopez will face Rainer Schuettler and Janko Tipsarevic in doubles on Tuesday, and then the Spaniard will take on Marcos Daniel in singles on Tuesday.

On Monday at the AEGON Championships, Dennis Istomin, Robby Ginepri and Richard Gasquet were all winners.

On Tuesday, Alex Bogdanovic and Grigor Dimitrov will conclude a match that stands at one set all, before Gael Monfils meets Rainer Schuettler, defending champion Andy Murray takes on Ivan Navarro, and then four-time winner Andy Roddick faces Igor Kunitsyn. After that Nadal and Lopez will take to the court.

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74 Comments for Nadal Practices in Rain at Queen’s/London

tfouto Says:

Amazing… This passion from Nadal is superb…


stu Says:

Sigh Rafa. If I had just a tenth of your passion for my work, I’d be rich!


TomYew! Says:

Plagiarism from atp site. Shame on you David. No references or anything


Daniel Craig Says:

Indeed tom! Makes me wonder why my former university even dared to wrongfully accuse me of plagiarism for a term paper. Thanks for sending mixed messages America!


Magaroni Says:

um…TomYew, Daniel Craig- the ATP article IS written by David Law. He was there at Queens today- see his twitter:
http://twitter.com/DavidLawTennis/


rg.nadal (planet Rafadom) Says:

stu: It was my line! :-D

Good luck, Rafa.


zola Says:

***In the locker-room he was greeted with handshakes, pats on the back and even a small round of applause by the other players. ****

How nice!

————-
I have to ask the same question Tom asked. why this article has a name on it? Is it the name of the person who copy-pasted the article and changed the title?


ánima Says:

You guys are right. It’s a copy/paste article…

Would it not be easier to mention it and add the link? The way it is, it’s just embarrassing…


Joe Says:

its embarasing you idiots don’t know its a press release that was probably sent out to everyone. its on a couple tennis sites.


Kevin Kane Says:

My understanding is that if an article is a press release, then anyone is welcome to reproduce the article in full or in part.

The purpose of the press release is to have the release discussed, reproduced, and redistributed.

For example, companies will create press releases for new products, and the company is happy when others reproduce the release, which helps in marketing and selling the product.


I like tennis bullies Says:

tennisx still in mourning lol
notice how they never update the funk/trunk section unless their golden boy federina wins
and now nadal has rightfully taken back his world number rank
bad week for tennisx
rotf


stu Says:

Sorry rg.nadal! Didn’t realize I was stealing your line but Rafa really is that inspiring! :)


sheila Says:

to: i like tennis bullies “their golden boy federina”. y the nasty. i’m a federer fan and i never make nasty remarks about nadal. y is it necessary 2 make negative remarks like that. what does that have to do w/a persons tennis game. u don’t like federer fine, but to make cracks like that is bs and totally unnecessary. and yeah, i hope federer meets nadal in a wimbledon final and wins. nadals a great player & have the utmost respect for him. federer is a great player too although people like i like tennis bullies apparently has no respect for his accomplishments as well


skeezerweezer Says:

@I_am_Like_12_yrs_Old_and_Am_A_Tennis_Bullie,

And you wonder why you get a Rafa bashing moment from people here. Well, you can thank “bullies”.

If you would open your eyes, at the “Home” Page of Tennis X there is an article about Nadal, with a picture of him on the “Home” page as well. Look, he is smiling, has his shirt off too! :)
But your TT fans are not happy enough about that, are you?

So why come here once in a while and post meaningless stuff? Jealousy will get you know where. Everyone knows Tennis-X, #1 :).
Go back to TT.

Great Rafa fans here, take note of the above post. I know this is not you…..


margot Says:

jane, kimmi: Kim Sears is right there next to Judy watching our Andy!! Who needs “The Daily Gossip” when you’ve got me? Andy’s right knee heavily bandaged though, hope it’s only precautionary.


margot Says:

jane, kimmi: Am afraid it does not just look precautionary. Andy isgrimacing with pain and not moving very well. bummer. Serving well though.


Fot Says:

Margot… which “Andy”? Roddick or Murray?

I just finished watching Roger’s match in Halle and he looked refreshed and pretty good, winning 6-4 6-4. His serve was clicking today. I’m happy.

I think the rain is playing havoc with the schedules of all the tournaments going on this week so far.


margot Says:

FOT: It’s Andy Murray, usually I chat about him. But he said nothing in interview so perhaps it’s all in my amd Greg Rusedski’s imaginations!


margot Says:

FOT: Andy R on court now if u can get Queens.


Fot Says:

Thanks Margot. Well Murray came through so that’s good news for you. Roddick seem to be playing fine, winning the first set 6-2. So real surprises so far. Even Davydenko won his match with a 6-0 in the 2nd set today so I guess he’s back too.


Huh Says:

“skeezerweezer Says:
@I_am_Like_12_yrs_Old_and_Am_A_Tennis_Bullie,”

Lol Skeeze, you’re so funny! It really made me laugh heartily, hahaha. :D

Tennis bullies should FOAD, that’d make him feel better. ;)


Huh Says:

“And you wonder why you get a Rafa bashing moment from people here. Well, you can thank “bullies”.

Harsh truth Skeezer, but the truth. Well done to point this out. :)


Huh Says:

Tennis bullies is in this state after being denied a kiss by Rafaeli, lol! ;)


Huh Says:

Come and bash Roger and then get it back at your faves.


skeezerweezer Says:

From Halle,

Q: Are you happy to be back on grass?
FEDERER: Sure, it’s always nice. I think that any surface change actually has something nice about it. Grass is the most special one because we only play one month on it. So, every day you get a chance to play on this surface is somewhat a special day, because it’s so rare and it’s so different to the other ones. I feel it’s something you want to savour as long as you are on the surface.

Q: Did you watch the final on Sunday?
FEDERER: No, I was practicing.

Q: Were you rooting for the Swedish guy?
FEDERER: No, the better one wins. My call was that Raffa would win in straight sets, which he did. He was the best by far this year on clay from the start in Monaco, or there were even Davis Cup matches in February. He didn’t lose a set as far as I remember. So, he completely deserved the French Open as well.

Q: The past 52 weeks you won two Grand Slams and made one final and the guy, who is No. 1, won only one Grand Slam. Do you think the ranking system is fair?
FEDERER: Well, I think it’s fair but tough. You can’t always predict how long do I want to be No. 1 in the world. It’s something that comes and goes very quickly. It’s tough on the player that rankings change so quickly and so drastically sometimes. We’ve gotten accustomed to me or Raffa, but especially me, is number one in the world, it’s pretty easy to stay at the top and it’s something that comes very naturally almost. But it’s not if you look how quickly things change. I’m still the holder of two Grand Slam titles and a couple of Master’s 1000 and so forth. Then you realize it’s not that simple. It’s great for the media because they make a big huge deal out of the rankings. Because, today he’s great, like Raffa last year. Everything before the French he was incredible. One and a half month later, he doesn’t have a French or Wimbledon title anymore and people start like, will he ever come back, will he ever play tennis again after his knee problems. But all he did is miss six weeks of tennis and they make a huge deal out of it. I think whoever is No. 1 in the world deserves it because it’s a ranking over 365 days and it proves that the press was wrong. They wrote him off, saying he was not playing well. But he must have some results in the system which were finals, maybe not titles but he put himself in a position that if he was going to win big titles again, he was going to make Number 1 in the world. Hope this makes sense.


madmax Says:

thanks for that skeeze.

federer such a classy guy – the media blow things out of proportion and rafa fans think that roger doesn’t respect rafa. Tt’s bs.


skeezerweezer Says:

@madmax

Exactly. :)


Fot Says:

Very good interview. I was coming here to post it and found that skeezerweezer had beat me to it! lol! I liked the part about him not rooting aginst Rafa; and how he understands the #1 ranking race.

Good going Roger!

Out of the results today, I don’t think there were too many surprises. Lots of rain, but maybe the tournaments will get back on schedule tomorrow if the rain holds out. I’m glad Roger got his match in. He’s not scheduled to play tomorrow (good because I have a hair appointment)!


Kimmi Says:

Yeah, skeezer, thanks. great interview from the fed. great win to start the grass court season too. Keep it up Rog.

margot, i read some comments on BBC site that murray was grimacing from the knee pain. hope it is an on and off pain. I am glad he won his first match in straight. his opponent must have been playing well. The tie breaker was very close.

Good luck in the second round to both Rog and Murray.

Saw davydenko is through in Halle. Glad he is back, but i don’t think he enjoys grass courts so much…lets see how he does.


Kimmi Says:

I thought verdasco was playing queens but i see he is not in the draw..I wonder what happened?

Whatever it is, good to see him resting. He needs it.


Voicemale1 Says:

What startled me about Federer’s interview was his prediction beforehand of Nadal beating Sodering in straights.


tennislover Says:

I don’t know whether Roger is acting wiser after the event but he, more than anybody else, knows how tough Nadal is in the finals. Although I was surprised by the score, I knew that Soderling needed to reproduce the incredibly high levels that he reached against Roger this year or Nadal last year. These were once-a-year sort of performances when the opponents just could not do anything despite not playing bad at all. The signs were there in the semi final against Berdych that he was running out of gas whereas Nadal had plenty in reserve. As is the case with champions, Nadal saved his very best for the last while Soderling played his worst match of the tournament in the final. Nadal’s intensity wore Soderling down mentally earlier than I expected.

Roger was also probably the only person who predicted that Nadal’s best was yet to come when a lot of people were skeptical about his future. Many thought he won’t reach those heights again but Rafa has not only played solid and consistent tennis this year, he has again shown his ability to make the required adjustments and improvements in his game to conserve energy and to take his tennis to an even higher level. I think he can raise his game, if required, to a level even higher than what he was capable of in 2008. This will improve his chances in the second half of the season considerably.


grendel Says:

One off? Perhaps a two off is not out of order?

I agree absolutely with tennislover. I conjectured last week that Federer thought he had a shot at beating Nadal at the French before Soderling produced his bravura performance. I can’t know whether I was right, but actually I tentatively shared the assumption myself – and boy, was I wrong! Nadal would certainly have beaten Federer on the form he displayed on Sunday.

In my own head, Nadal is favourite now for Wimbledon, especially if he gets to the final and meets Federer. Of course, I would love Federer to win, but I think it has to be conceded that Nadal is currently the best player in the world, probably on grass and slow hard court as well as clay. Someone like Gasquet having an inspirational day is, imo, more likely to beat Nadal than Federer, as also is Roddick who, on a good day, might overpower Nadal.

As for the US Open, I remember Puerta’s comment just after he had been beaten by Nadal in the Spaniards’s first RG win. Puerta remarked that he had no doubt that Nadal would win Wimbledon if he wanted to badly enough. This was a tribute from one tough character to another. Puerta’s point was that Nadal had the heart, he had the skill, he simply had to acquire the knowhow for grass. He acquired it, and the rest is etc. And by the way, he still has it.

Anyway, who can doubt that Nadal and his team will approach the problem of winning the US with the same assiduity. As a matter of fact, this year looks a good bet, since his most dangerous prospective opponent, del Potro, will be absent.

Pete Sampras once remarked ruefully that he had hoped that by winning 14 slams, two more than Emerson, he had that particular record tied up for a decent spell. Who could have guessed that someone almost his contemporary would overtake him? Even stranger, then, that the usurper should himself be under threat of being usurped even more rapidly than Sampras. It seems entirely possible that by the time Federer retires, say at the age of 33, Nadal will have overtaken him on the slam count. No one can predict the future, but this scenario is at least a plausible one.

Meanwhile, that three such iconic champions should have followed each other so rapidly is surely astonishing and highly unlikely to happen again. There will be players as gifted as the great trio, some of them are playing now, but I find it hard to believe that a player who combines talent and tenacity to the degree these three have done will emerge in less than a generation. It’s just a statistical oddity that the three are near contemporaries.

Yes, a two off…


andrea Says:

where does tennis-x get their player photos from? some of them are really outdated and get rotated in at random times. do we need to see federer milking his cow repeatedly?

hopefully nadal manages his schedule better now that he has had his injury scare. tendinitis is something that re-occurs so the hard courts could create more havoc.

he comes into wimbledon with increased confidence but with more contenders to knock him out than at RG.


Fot Says:

grendel…let’s just wait to see what will happen in the future. People are so fickle. Just earlier this year I read from some saying Nadal’s career was over. Now I’m reading that he may break the 16 grand slam record. Guess we just need to wait to see what will happen. Things tend to change in a hurry! lol!


Daniel Says:

Agree with Fot! Tennis is too much of a What-have-you-done-for-me-lately?!

But in part agree with Grendel, Nadal played terrific on that final, and his resolve can sure put him on the pantheon of Fed and Sampras, but not sure about his body. In the last 4 Slams, 2 he had injury prbolems. So, wait and see…


Skeezerweezer Says:

Ok So let us look at this realistically, taking into account the plan of Unc Toni, playing less, the truthful rep of Rafa’?

Right now Rafa, age 25, holds 7 GS titles. You can only win a max of 4 GS titles per year, sorry can’t go no faster. So let’s ASSUME, Rafa lasts till 28( there is a consensus most everywhere he is done at 28 ), 3 more years. Let’s assume he wins the next 3 years, beats all comers, stays healthy, no knees issues and wins all the GS titles consecutively, a historical monumental record, in the next 3 years. that gives him 12 more titles, and equals 19, and assuming Fed is done. Finished. NO more GS titles. Rafa would own the GS title crown, 3 more than Fed. Who in there right mind on this blog thinks within any reason that is going to happen? Not that it couldn’t, but it gives perspective as to what Rafa STILL has to accomplish if he wants the GOAT of GS titles. Interesting talk, bring it, give me your take ;)

The race is on :)


Sazzy Falak Says:

Skezerweezer, Rafa is 24 y.o [Date of birth, 3 June 1986 (1986-06-03)].


margot Says:

kimmi: Navarro has a lights out first and SECOND serve, it took Andy a whole set to bring it under control, hence scoreline.
jane: where are you? Perhaps snowed under with marking, it’s that time of year.
grendel: “The AGE of Nadal” is upon us and Rafa alone reminds me of the whole army of Orcs put together! And I rather think Aragorn has decided to save himself for the big skirmishes.


Huh Says:

Nadal can surpass Roger’s GS tally by the age Roger reaches 35 only if Roger doesn’t win another slam and gets stuck at 16. But if he wins one or two more slams, Nadal IMO may not surpass him. But only time will tell. Anyway, one very interesting post by Grendel, the best part is where he talks of the statistical oddity of Pete, Fed and Rafa emerging within just one generation. I liked this part the most.

Now over to the Great Skeeze.
Thank you Great Skeeze for providing the excerpts from the Great Interview from the Great Federer. :)

Fed is giving some classic interviews these days where he talks less about himself and more about his rivals, especially Nadal, and gives him absolutely the credit that’s due. Of course, only Fed knows the most about tennis among us and is honest to the core. Hence he’s able to give the unbiased, truthful, knowledgeable, forsighted and practical opinions about guys like Nadal. It was funny and kinda wishful on the part of the non-Rafans when they were writing Rafa off for not just other slams, but even for RG!!! They were starting to doubt the probabilty of Nadal winnng even RG; now that was clearly weird on their part IMO. Nevertheless, I never doubted the return of Nadal even though I’m by no means a Nadal fan/lover/stuff. It was impossible on my part not to have faith in Nadal’s brilliance and the champion’s mettle that he has in him. And lo and behold, Nadal has come back better than ever before! I would surely say that now is the time that Nadal is playing the most aggressive tennis I’ve ever seen from him. Nadal IMO is playing better than 2008 at the moment. I am getting the feeling since the start of this year already that Nadal has become more aggressive than ever before, I’m surprised as hell coz even I’m starting to like his game a bit now, that’s obviously weird on my part, but that’s it. Of course I’d have loved to see this Nadal face the strong and almost former-like Federer that popped out of nowhere to bully his way to the AO 10 title. Since 2007 end, we’ve not seen the real dominating Federer appear and take on anyone (since then only the Fed of AO 10 comes close to the Fed of 07, and BTW Fed of 2007 < TMF of 04-06). There’s the real need of Fed coming to his near old self, like he to some extent did at AO-10, at least for one slam and clashing with this latest version aggressive Nadal, then I’m sure we can judge how much aggression Nadal has acquired, even though it’s needless to say that Nadal of 2010 FO appears more aggressive than Nadal of 2008/09, at least to me; but still it’d be quite nice if his aggression could be measured against at least the AO-10 type Fed, if not the Fed of 07 or ‘The Mighty Federer’ (04-06) (as Fed returning back to his form of 2004-06 is impossible).

————————————————-

Also agree with tennis lover, particularly regarding the following part

“Roger was also probably the only person who predicted that Nadal’s best was yet to come when a lot of people were skeptical about his future. Many thought he won’t reach those heights again but Rafa has not only played solid and consistent tennis this year, he has again shown his ability to make the required adjustments and improvements in his game to conserve energy and to take his tennis to an even higher level. I think he can raise his game, if required, to a level even higher than what he was capable of in 2008. This will improve his chances in the second half of the season considerably.”

Well said tennislover.


Skeezerweezer Says:

so, like i was sayin, rafa is 24…..lol…tx saZZY :)


zola Says:

Tennislover
great post. Roger is certainly wiser with his words towards Rafa. His interviews show much improvement compared to the ones before Paris and after Madrid. But it is great to see the respect and appreciation. Only Federer knows how much work and dedication is needed to stay in top positions. I think the respect Rafa and Roger have for one another is real and I am happy to see that.

Grendel,
great to read your nice words towards Rafa. But honestly I think Federer’s records will be safe for a long time. 23 GS semis means almost six years! phenomenal! and honestly I do not see Rafa can go anywhere near that.

Same with the GS titles. Fed may not win 3 GSs a year but I can see at least one slam per year for a few years. That will also be safe for some generations.

I want Rafa to win the US Open. Everything after that will be a bonus.

One more thing,
The press loves to bury a player who is in trouble, or give him the GOD status when he is winning. I have seen how they treated Rafa last year and Roger the year before. Djoko, Murray,…So, personally, I do not take them seriously. Those armchair analysts can go play professional tennis, if they know better than Rafa and Roger.


zola Says:

Skeezerweezer
lol! RAfa just turned 24 , five days ago!


Colinbelmont93guard-missives@yahoo.co.uk Says:

That session in the rain was all very inspiring, but was it wise? How silly would he have looked if he’d slipped, twisted a knee, and put himself out of Wimbledon?


zola Says:

colin

He did not slip! He had travelled to London the day after his RG final for the purpose of spending more time on grass and that is what he did.


madmax Says:

grendel,

I dont know how you can say that rafa is a better player than roger on grass?

They’ve met each other twice on grass in a slam final. 2007 and 2008.

Roger has made 6 of the last 7 grass slam finals and won 6 of the last 7 finals, and holds a 5:4 h2h on grass over rafa (h2h not the whole picture though).

Just interested why you think tha rafa is better than roger on grass – because the fact that rafa holds the clay record has nothing to do with the grass tournament. It is a completely different game, completely different approach.

Firstly, Roger has 6 titles at wimbledon and 5 at halle.

Rafa has one at wimbledon. (I dont know how many at queens?) 1?

There isn’t any question that rafa is the best on clay, but am sorry, roger is the best on grass. He is heading into his best tournaments of the year now, grass and hard, he excels in both.


its all abt da game Says:

max,
a fed fan ought to know better..
did you forget that fed has beaten rafa twice on grass??
once in 2006 when he actually bagelled rafa in wimbledon final??
oh and by the way, when someone(grendel, i suppose) said rafa is better than roger on grass, she meant on current form..
not overall…
on court form, even if you have difficulty in admitting it, rafa is the better player..
5:4 h2h on gras??
h2h is 2:1
speaking of overall, no doubt that roger is the best on grass


Huh Says:

On current form, Rafa looks better than Fed on any surface. This wasn’t of course the case during AO 10 during which I think Roger played like ‘The King’ that he’s and won the title.


Huh Says:

All hail the current King Rafa and also all hail the All-Time Kings who’re Laver, Borg, Pete and Federer TOO!


King of the Court Says:

I don’t think it is fair to say rafa’s better form makes him a better player on grass. Clay and grass are two different animals. This is like a whole new game now. biggest proofs = andy roddick, murray and hewitt who are non-factors on clay will be total monsters on grass. these guys did nothing on clay, and rafa would love to have seen them in his draw on clay. I do not think he will think the same on grass.

Roger on grass is the best ever to have played on grass. 7 consecutive wimbledon finals winning 6. I still think he is the top of class on grass.


madmax Says:

It’s all about, I didn’t forget, no. I referred to this stat in roger’s 6 + 5 tournys.

I should have made myself clearer, so thanks for the input.

Huh. I disagree. We’ve just finished the clay court swing, which is a long swing at that! and yes, of course rafa has done brilliantly here.

But grass is a whole different ball game.

If we are talking about hard court and slams, Apart from AO, 2009, Rafa hasn’t made it past the SF’s of USO, so how can he be better than roger on hard court? Nope. Don’t agree.

Furthermore, Roger on grass is the best ever. rafa has won one slam on grass, it doesn’t even compare. (agree K of C).

But you know, great that the press are backtracking now, after writing rafa off, they are so fickle.

And am sure that if rafa is the favourite (as the book makers/pundits/critics are saying, going into grass court season, it won’t bother roger so much, let him play under the radar, I have absolutely every faith in him, that he will be well grounded and ready to defend his title at wimbledon.

Most of them have already written federer off, so it will be interesting to see how roger reacts to this. He must surely read what they are saying (once again), about his demise.

The press are backstabbers.

They should be ashamed of themselves.


Huh Says:

IT’S OK MAXI!:P
You may be right with re: Roger-Rafa current form. But don’t worry, after all is said and done, I’d like to see Fed take on Rafa at either WIM/USO and then it’d be decided who’s the real king FOR NOW ONLY. Of course I’d be rooting for Fed, when that happens, so cheers! :P

ALLEZ ROGER!!!


Huh Says:

KOC:

Murray’s exactly not a grass monster until now.


Huh Says:

Hewitt and Rod, of course are superb grass guys (like Rafa) and less only to Roger overall.

But on a different note, it’s my opinion that Sampras is still ‘The Wimbledon King’.


Huh Says:

God forbid of course, but what’d you guys say if Rafa beats Fed again on grass this year and levels the H2H? That said, as some insightful posters have rightly pointed out, H2H doesn’t tell you the whole truth always.


its all abt da game Says:

huh,
i agree that sampras is still the wimbledon king..
i’m no history man, and hence cannot comment about pre-open era..
but among open era players, sampras is actually the best grass courter..
with borg and roger being a close 2nd..


King of the Court Says:

I think Roger beats Sampras 8times out of 10 on the 90′s wimbledon surface and 10 times out of 10 on the 2000′s wimbledon surface.

Federer is definitely the best grass courter of all time. He will overtake Sampras’ wimbledon tally for sure before he retires.


its all abt da game Says:

K of C,
with due respect to federer, i think you are overestimating his abilities..
on the grass of 90s, fed winning 8 out of 10 against sampras??
hell no!!
even becker would defeat federer 5 out of 10 on 90s grass..
the grass courts in 90s was much faster than today’s..
fed knows to serve and volley, but that is never his primary strength..
while sampras was a serve and volley machine, with much better serve than federer..
even his volleying skills were superior to federer..
fed can defeat sampras only once he gets into rallies..
once fed does that, obviously, fed could have exploited sampras’s weak backhand and could have unleashed his lethal forehand.. he just woulld have needed avoid sampras from getting into any position from hitting that devilish running forehand..
but the problem was on grass courts of 90s, S&V was the norm..
and there is no way sampras could have lost to fed in a S&V game..
fed could try as much as he wants to get a rally going, but more often than not, on those lightning fast courts, sampras would have served and volleyed out the points..
those courts were too fast to let fed get into rallies..


King of the Court Says:

Game:

I think Fed has more than enough game to serve and volley. His volleys are undercooked, but if he had to play on the faster courts of 90s, I am quite sure he would volley as well as anyone. You see his doubles game in olympics or his win over sampras in 2001. Fed has more than enough game to attack through Sampras’ weak defense.

Sampras’ huge serve which made his volleying much easier than players like rafter, edberg or henman would be dented big-time against a returner like Fed. Fed is the greatest returner of big boom-boom serves. He may not attack weaker servers like agassi, murray and hewitt do, but the bombs which need athleticism and hand-eye co-ordination, roger is in a league by himself.

Look at how the big servers do against other power baseliners and then against Roger. Big servers like roddick, soderling, berdych can make no impact on roger on even the fastest of surfaces like USopen or wimbledon. Players like sampras who have a go for broke game cannot make much impact on Rogers complete and solid game. You have to grind and counter punch like hewitt, nadal, murray, nalbandian and canas who have good records against roger have done. Even among them rafa is the only guy who can bring the heat when playing Roger at a slam.

I am not buying the argument that Sampras and becker will trouble roger on grass even in 90s. Becker beating roger 5 times out of 10? look at the 92 wimbledon quarterfinal where agassi took becker to the wood-shed. Becker wont win 5 out of 10 on the wimbledon grass of 90s even against nadal/agassi. Becker and sampras relied way too heavily on their serve.


its all abt da game Says:

Well K of C,
First of all a reference to doubles is not apt to show how good one is individually. In doubles, it is about two people. And i never said roger is a bad volleyer. but you are historically ignorant if you say roger has a better S&V game than sampras.

Secondly, in the 2001 match you refer to, the grass was slowed(it was the first year when grass was slowed.)
another thing,current performance of Fed against big servers does not matter.
We are speaking of grass of 90s, and then, that surface was much faster than any you see now.
S&V ruled then.
Now about how good Pete is..
In 99 wimbledon final,when Sampras played one of his best games on grass,he was virtually unbreakable.
His second serves,not first but second serves, were over 180 km / h and his volleys were impeccable.
Agassi, a much better returner than Federer wasn’t able to come even close to breaking that serve except once when Sampras came back from 0:40 with 5 first serves.
And the match ended with sampras defeating agassi in straight sets.
that was his power on grass.
the best returner in business had no answer to it.
finally, in 90s, bringing reference of today is invalid.
lets keep our argument to grass courts, and the fast ones at that.


grendel Says:

Three off, then. Golly.

Skeezerweezer:”So let’s ASSUME, Rafa lasts till 28( there is a consensus most everywhere he is done at 28 ), 3 more years”. Consensus among who, though? Nadal’s medical team? I am sceptical, until actual information comes out – and perhaps, in fact, there isn’t any because there can’t be any. The whole business lies in the lap of the gods, i.e. In fact, so far as I can see, Nadal’s problems with injury have been overstated – consider Haas, Nalbandian, Murray, del Potro. The first two in particular have suffered far more than Nadal, yet Haas was very dangerous only last year, and the enigma that is Nalbandian may continue to surprise and delight us all for some years.

So IF Nadal is finished by the time he is 28, clearly he will not get 16 slams. But so far as I can see, he is coming to terms with the limits his body imposes, he is likely to continue to adapt, and it may well be that – like Jimmy Connors, another energy expending player whom everyone always thought would fade early – he will go on and on.

madmax: overall, I certainly wouldn’t say Nadal is a better grasscourt player than Federer. That would be silly, the record speaks for itself. But I was talking about right now. Federer is demonstrably not as good as he was, not consistently anyway – I agree with Huh that he was terrific at the AO this year. Nadal, on the other hand, is at his peak, and although Federer of course has a chance against him on grass, my uneducated gut feeling is that today Nadal would be too strong for him on any surface. This may be wrong.

Zola: Federer’s semi-final streak is unlikely, to say the least, ever to be broken. As for whether he will win any more slams, nobody can say. Luck comes into these things quite a bit, and Federer is at an age now when he needs a bit of luck – that wasn’t true in his heyday, but I am only being realistic. The passing of time is what it is. I can see Federer winning one, two or possibly three more slams – or possibly none, no idea. Meanwhile, I wasn’t suggesting Nadal will win 16 or 17 slams, just that it is by no means out of the question. It is perhaps unlikely, but I think everyone can sense that it is a possibility – which is perhaps why emotions run so high in the respective camps.

Fot, those people who were saying Nadal’s career was over were indulging in wishful thinking. Other than that, I agree with your sentiments. None of us have the least idea what’s going to happen. Kind of fun to specualte, though.


Skeezerweezer Says:

zOLA & Grendal

Well not my most thought provoking posts when I get Rafa’s age wrong from the get go, ha!

I was just trying to think out loud what Rafa’s chances are in getting the King of GS totals.

So he his 24. There is two left this year. let’s say he gets 1 out of 2. Boom, 8 GS. Then for the next 4 years he gets 2 out of every 4. This is very realistic since the FO is a lock and he has proven he can win on other surfaces. So that puts him at 16. He has a shot, will be interesting, his health and longevity will be paramount. :)


grendel Says:

Four off.

“Agassi, a much better returner than Federer wasn’t able to come even close to breaking that serve except once when Sampras came back from 0:40 with 5 first serves.” -its all abt da game.

I don’t have a strong opinion on this one. For one thing, it is quite technical, but I do have a feeling. Sometimes Federer seems to me an extraordinary returner of serve, kind of unique – and sometimes he seems passive and inept. I find this a real puzzle. I guess the margins, where Federer is concerned, are narrow.

But I would like to report what Wilander said just the other day, when commenting on Fed/Sod. He said that it was a myth that Agassi was a great returner. What Agassi was, he said, was the greatest returner when he actually got on to the ball. His point was, that Agassi did not read his opponent’s serve – he guessed, so when he got it right, it would seem like miraculous anticipation. Federer, Wilander continued, was actually a much better returner than Agassi, and in fact was – in his opinion – the best.

This is provocative stuff, but coming from the source it does, it is surely interesting. How just it is, I don’t know.


its all abt da game Says:

Now, well, coming from wilander that is debatable.
I think it is the same wilander who called soderling favourite in a roland garros final.
it is the same guy who said this around Rg 2006, “Federer, today, unfortunately came out with no balls… you don’t find too many champions in any sport in the world without heart or balls. He might have them, but against Nadal they shrink to a very small size and it’s not once, it’s every time”
so, you would do well not to attach importance to his comments..
about return of serve, i cannot analyse it, but it is regarded in tennis circles that agassi’s return of serve is best.
And anyway he did not need much anticipation(as wilander said) to know where sampras would serve.
they have played each othet so many times by then that agassi would know well about sampras serve. and yet he lost in straights.


King of the Court Says:

Game:

The doubles reference was for Roger’s volleying skills. If you see him play doubles, you would realise he has the hands and the athleticism to pull off volleying at the highest level. He has taken a different path because of the slowing down of playing conditions.

Tell me one big server who can overwhelm roger with his serve on any surface. Like you know phillippousis blasting 46 aces against agassi in wimbledon 4th round in 2003. or johannason in 2005 australian open hitting 59 aces against AA. I think federer is a superior returner to AA and others. He can get to the serve, however quick, but very much like nadal, another champion who has super confidence in his ground game, federer will get the ball back in play and not go for winners like agassi, murray or hewitt. That mentality helps him loads against big servers on any surface, however fast. Sampras surely is one of them. So I think even in the 90s lightning fast courts, fed will be able to get through Sampras’ serve like no one. I am sure we both agree that once Roger does that, he is going to have the upperhand in the match.

Sampras will not have an easy time against Roger’s serving either. Roger’s serve game is very understated. He has banged 4aces in a row to win the game, twice as far as i can remember. 2004 toronto Vs Roddick and 2007 MC semi-final against nadal. Sampras’ would have much tougher time breaking federer, than other way round.


King of the Court Says:

Grendel:

That is a nice point wilander makes. As I said earlier, Agassi used to get aced a lot by the big-servers. He will pounce on a weak-serve much better than federer, but the big serves, his reflexes are slow compared to federer.

How many big servers can out ace federer and hit 30-40 aces against him?

Fed has this mentality of not going for broke on serve/return and that helps him a lot against every other player, but against nadal, that attitude hurts him. his serve and return are way superior to nadal, but his single handed backhand means nadal makes that up on ground strokes.

similarly agassi, hewitt and murray can do damage on the return once they get to the ball, but federer easily gets to the return more than any other player ever. That is the reason he gets aced much lesser than other players.

strangely, agassi would have been helped in his matches with sampras to have the quick reflexes of roger to get to those bombs of a serve from sampras and roger would have been helped in his matches with nadal to be more aggressive on return like agassi was against players with less-quality serves.

I cannot believe Wilander is capable of such sensible analysis! His comments against roger in 2006 utterly stupid, but looking at borg make a fool of himself everytime he is asked for opinion, you would be tempted to say it is a swedish thing to make some head-turning comments to get some mileage.


its all abt da game Says:

look, K of C.
you are saying fed is a better returner than agassi which i have doubt about..
if fed gets past sampras’s serve, he should win it mostly..
well, not that it would be easy, it would be a slugfest, but roger will win..
however, i’m not convinced that roger can get past sampras’s service on the fastest court in 90s..
I’m by no means underrating fed’s skills..
however sampras is simply superior in a s&v game..
we can say fed should be or could be a better server than sampras or better returner than agassi, but most of the tennis fraternity, who considers fed GOAT, agrees to it that sampras has the better serve and volley game.


Huh Says:

On the 90s surface Pete beats Fed 6 out of 11 times.

On post-2001 grass surface Pete gets beaten 6 out of 11 time by Fed.

But the old grass surface is the traditionally true grass surface and there Pete holds the edge, that’s my viewpoint, and gives the title of ‘The Wimbledon King’ to Pete Sampras.


aleish17 Says:

Congrats to Fed on the win in Halle!

More congratulations to Rafa for his 1st win in grass after missing the grass tourneys last year. Vamos Rafa!


Huh Says:

In terms of doing serve and volley,

Sampras > Federer.

Of course there’s a reason for that which is, Sampras needed to channel his talent towards polishing his serve and volley game in those times of his,when the courts were so ridiculously fast. Make no mistake, the points those days were finished even before thay started once a guy hit a serve, the courts that much aided the servers then instead of baseliners. The Nadal of 2008 would hardly win a Wimmbledon then, it’s pretty much realistic to say so. When I say servers, I mean guys serving in just any manner. But when you talk of the prime Sampras serving on the fastest ever Wim courts, it’s pretty much easier said than done for a Roger Federer to break him and run away with the match. Sampras has the best service in the game’s history, it had that brutal pace, unerring accuracy and perfect placement, INCOMPARABLE, all of this on the fastest Wim courts of those times means doom for the opponent.

Add to that, the talent of Sampras, there’s no way I am gonna assume that a player with as much talent as Pete Sampras would fail to hone his baseline game, if need be to compete in the present era.

Sampras needn’t strengthen his baseline game then on those lightning fast courts, none needed it historically. On the contrary, there was the need for even a supreme champion like Bjorn Borg to perfect his S&V, only then he could win 5 consecutive Wimbys. It’s not the question of just Pete, be it Laver/Borg/anybody else including Pete, they had to do S&V to win the slams other than the FO, baseline game just wasn’t that important or mandatory then, in as much the same manner as S&V losing their importance in the recent times. As the ball would travel slow these days, you get more time to return and the rallies are the natural consequence of the ball travelling slower. Thus the trend of the decrease of the importance of S&V and the increase of the importance of baseline game. Fed has sufficient talent which means IMO if needed he woulda perfected his S&V to take down his rivals, if he was a guy fromPete’s era,as that could have fetched him slams. Exactly in the same manner the enormously talented Sampras too woulda developed sufficient baseline game, if he were a guy of this era and woulda gone on winning slams. Fed and Pete are almost simlarly talented, so they each woulda done the requisite development of their respective weak points to suceed. For example, if suddenly a guy as talented as Sampras pops up to play tennis, I wouldn’t say he won’t/can’t develop his baseline game to perfection in the current context as per the recent demands of the game of tennis. Simlarly I would also hesitate to say that if a guy as talented as Fed were
born in the 90s, he wouldn’t imbibe in himself the habit/art of great S&V.


Huh Says:

Wilander has every right to his opinion as the rest of all of us and the other past legends have. The majority says Agassi was the best returner of serve in the game’s history, people could come close to him in that respect, Fed of course is a man who can do great return of serve but Agassi still is considered a better returner of serve than just about anyone else until now. I may have differed here from the majority as I never liked Agasi as a player, but the fact that he won the Wimbledon(!) in 1992, despite having an unenviable service, forces me to shut my mouth and begrudgingly concede that Agassi was better than all others in returning serve.


Von Says:

How awesome it will be to see one of my old faves, my Lindsay Davenport, one of the best/clean WTA ball strikers, IMO, playing again, even if for fun at one tourney in Stanford.

Additionally, Lindsay will be teaming up with Bob Bryan in Mixed dubs at Wimbles. I love it when I see so many old-timers, especially US players playing. Sorry, but I’m patriotic, and I enjoy seeing our players in action.

http://tennis.fanhouse.com/2010/06/08/lindsay-davenport-to-play-at-wimbledon/

Also, I see Sam Querrey is back on the path to his winning ways. I hope he doesn’t start complaining an/or becoming disgruntled, if, and when, he loses. Our Sam is a bit of a roller coaster when it comes to his mind-set. LOL.

And, I’m happy that my fave Roddick, and one of my other patriotic faves, Murray, have won their matches at Queens.

Also, both Fed and Nadal are doing well at the respective tourneys.


grendel Says:

Five off.

“Clean ball striker” is exactly right where Davenport is concerned. There was a kind of measured certainty about the way she hit the ball. Everything was so smooth and kind of stately, even though she perhaps hit the ball harder than anyone else. Since her movement, obviously, was her albatross, one has to assume she had terrific anticipation. Because, when she was playing well, she seemed so unrushed. When form deserted her, I thought she was very funny. By far the most compelling mutterer on the womens’ circuit, and up there with Haas, Kiefer and Ferrer.

Hope I can catch her at Wimbledon.

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