Nadal, Djokovic Advance at Queens; Murray v. Fish Thursday
by Sean Randall | June 9th, 2010, 6:40 pm
  • 76 Comments

You have to credit Rafael Nadal. Fresh off a fifth French Open title the Spaniard kept his word by playing in the Queen’s Club tennis event in London. And today the now 24-year-old won his first match beating the not-so-mighty Marcos Daniel 6-2, 6-2 in the second round.

“I felt [I was] returning well,” said Nadal. “That’s the most difficult thing for me. I felt [I had] good returns. I was serving well in Roland Garros and I did the same here, I think.”

Nadal has now won 23 straight matches dating back to Miami plus 13 consecutive now on grass, and tomorrow he plays Denis Istomin in the third round.

“For me it is always a challenge to be here and to practice these new things: the serve, the volley, the slice, return more inside than clay,” he said. “So I enjoy doing this transition. After Wimbledon, I’m going to have time to enjoy the victory of Roland Garros and to enjoy Majorca.”

Novak Djokovic, Marin Cilic and Sam Querrey were also winners in this first grass court event of the year. Querrey had complained of tennis exhaustion a few week ago but now sounds fresh again.

“I went home for six days and didn’t pick up a racquet or anything, ” said Querrey after avenging his first round French Open loss to Robby Ginepri. “Now I’m feeling good. I had fun out there [and] I thought I played really well.

“I think I just kind of tapped out a little bit. I’m going to learn from that [and] try not to play the week before Grand Slams. I kind of know that after three weeks in a row or so, I’ve reached my max or my limit and I need to take a week off after that.”

Tomorrow looks great in London with Djokovic v. Xavier Malisse, Andy Murray v. Mardy Fish and Dudi Sela takes on Andy Roddick.

As for Nadal on grass, my feeling is he’s going to lose. Unlike the clay, which I thought he’d play well enough on to run the table, I don’t think he’ll match that feat on the grass. But as long as he’s healthy he’ll be a factor. We’ll see how the draws go.

In Halle, the Roger Federer Open, er, Gerry Weber, rolls on tomorrow. Federer gets a rematch with his early round French Open foe Alejandro Falla. Nikolay Dayvdenko is also back, he’ll face Ben Becker and Jurgen Melzer is also in Germany.

So despite the quick turnaround from the French, many of the top players are getting in their grass workouts this week.


Also Check Out:
USA Takes Over England, Fish v. Querrey Reach Queen’s Final
Querrey Dines on Fish in AEGON Queen’s Club Grass Final
Nadal, Murray Upset in Queens; Federer Having His Way in Halle
Nadal, Murray Begin Grass Season at Queen’s Club; Del Potro, Nalbandian Return
Roddick, Djokovic Tumble on the Queen’s Turf, Nadal Survives; Federer on Falla in Halle

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76 Comments for Nadal, Djokovic Advance at Queens; Murray v. Fish Thursday

Kimo Says:

Playing on grass doesn’t come naturally to Rafa as does playing on clay. However, he will still be able to go deep into to the draw until he comes up against a player who knows how to play on grass, and there aren’t that many who can.

I say he makes the semis in Queen’s, quarters at Wimbledon.


Matt Says:

Kimo, I beg to differ. Every tennis fan knows that when Nadal is fit he can make and win the finals. Before his injury he had made;

-3 consecutive Wimbledon finals- The 1st being at age 20. Please tell me how old Federer was when he made his 1st Wimbledon Final? Did Federer have to face Nadal at that time in his career? Nadal had 6 GS titles by the time it took Federer to have 1 (by age).

Nadal won the Australian Open Final where it was said that there was never more advantage in a GS final for his opponent (Federer) to win; coming off a marathon match vs Verdasco and then playing the final the very next day.

Anyway, you say Grass doesn’t come naturally for Nadal, if so, isn’t 3 consecutive Wimbledon Finals (including one win) by the age of 22 natural enough for you? Do some research.


van orten Says:

sean you’re right . it’ll depend mostly on rafa’s wimby draw. he get’s in his half roddick, murray, soederling etc. it’s gonna be tough. but maybe he gets lucky ;-)


van orten Says:

@matt
nadal won some pretty damn close matches. but that doesn’t mean he is so much better than federer ..man he could have lost both wimby 08 and australia 09. he won. hats off, but he is def. not invincible. federer has always his chances against nadal but lacks a little bit of luck. that’s it. 9:7 in the fifth nearly dark in wimbledon is not what i would call an easy win. but you write as if it was…and the age factor : different times 10 years ago. now every surface is so much slower. a big but a big advantage for a guy who produces an average of 20 winners per match in a grand slam.


Kimo Says:

Matt said:

“Anyway, you say Grass doesn’t come naturally for Nadal, if so, isn’t 3 consecutive Wimbledon Finals (including one win) by the age of 22 natural enough for you? Do some research.”

You know what? That’s it. I’m sick of Rafa fans. They jump at me for saying absolutely nothing demeaning or disrespectful towards Rafa, just for saying he might not make the Wimby final (gasp!) because he’s not a natural (mega gasp!!!!)

I’m taking the gloves off.

You and your ilk always go back to the same tedious argument that Rafa did everything at a younger age than Fed, but that only because RAFA BECAME A TENNIS PLAYER YOUNGER THAN FED DID. And yes, he will retire much younger than Fed will.

What did Roger do when he was 20 at Wimbledon you ask? I’ll tell ya. Before his 20th birthday by over a month, he beat a 7-time Wimbledon champion in the fourth round in five sets, then lost to Tim Henman the next round in a very, very tight match (three tiebreakers in that one if my memory serves me right.)

Let’s look at this another way. Fed has his first major slump in 2008, when he was 27, a 10 year pro and after 12 majors. Rafa had his slump in 2009, when he was 23, an 8 year pro, and after 6 majors.

In Roger’s slump, he only missed on slam final, AO 2008. You guy didn’t make any slam finals for a year.

Logest slam final streak in history: 10, Roger Federer.
2nd longest: 8, Roger Federer.
Your guy? 2.

Federer’s longest semifinal streak? 23.
Rafa’s longest semifinal streak? 4.

It’s streaks that determine how prodictive a player’s career is, and how accomplished he will be when he finally hangs up his racket. This is why since 2004, when Roger was only starting to become a multiple slam winner, people were saying that he will break records long before he actually broke them.

Rafa fans like the view so much from lala land that they actually think Fed’s 16 slam record is in jeopardy, because, wait for it, he’s “young”. Get real. Rafa’s not young. He just started earlier, and will be through earlier.


Kimo Says:

Sorry for the typos.


Kimo Says:

One small correction: Rafa’s longest semi streak was 5, not 4. Australian 08 to Australian 09.


Thaidiamond Says:

Great points Matt.

Fans forget the age factor and that Rafa is nearly five years younger than Roger.

In terms of individual ‘development’, that’s a pretty big difference.

If a ‘pre-prime’ Nadal could compete so successfully against Federer in his prime, now that he’s coming into his own physically, he should be much more of a force.

Also Rafa improved in each of his Wimbledon finals…a significantly better performance/result each time until he won the crown in his third appearance.

These arguments about Rafa coming up short on grass stem from the old “clay court specialist” mentality.

Well “clay courters” don’t get to three Wimbledon finals or win the Oz Open.

Thomas Muster is your classic clay specialist.

Thomas Muster clay’s run of 111–5 is the best two-year clay court record since the open era began in 1968. It was this clay run (with a little push from some lessor hard court titles) that Muster attained the World No. 1 ranking, which he held for some six weeks.

Muster was the only #1 who never got past the first round at Wimbledon.

That’s how I define “clay court specialist.”


Kimo Says:

Thaidiamond, it doesn’t stem from clay mentality. It stem’s from Roger’s best vs. Rafa’s best mentality.

In Roger’s peak, which I consider to be from Wimbledon 2005 to US Open 2008, he won all slams outside of Roland Garros.

In Rafa’s peak he only won two slams outside of Roland Garros. Sure, he also won Indian Wells, Queen’s and Toronto, but he never managed 11 titles in a single year like Roger did in ’06, which would have been more had it not been for his 4 losses in finals against Rafa that year.


Kimo Says:

Again, sorry about the typos, I meant US Open 2007.


Kimmi Says:

So, querrey beat his nemesis(?) ginepri today..good win for Sam


van orten Says:

by the way someone knows how the draw looks like in queens.. don’t find any official queens page on the net ..


mem Says:

kimo, keep your pants on! aren’t you the kettle calling the pot black! you have the nerve to accuse rafafans of gloating, when you and other fedfans invented the word “gloating.” fedfans monopolize this blog, and as soon as a rafa fan says anything in support of rafa, you freak out! what shocks me is that you guys suppose to be experts on tennis, but you have yet to learn that there is more than one route to greatness; just as there is more than one route to a destination. the history books are not closed yet, just as roger and rafa’s careers have not ended yet. funny, how a player can only get to greatness by achieving “23 semis and 16 slams.” if 23 semis and 16 slams is the only criteria, then i pity players like laver, sampras, etc. for being included in the conversation of greatness. that just goes to show how narrow-minded you are and it shows that you don’t know as much as you think you know!


Kimo Says:

Orten, here you go:

http://www.lta.org.uk/watch/AEGON-British-Tennis-Series/AEGON-Championships/

Just a tip for the future: try searching by the tournament’s sponsor’s name rather than the tournament’s venue ;)


Voicemale1 Says:

Nadal has played Wimbledon 5 times in his career. He has 3 Final appearances in those 5 attempts; he made the Final on his 3rd attempt. And 1 title. So he’s been in the Final 60% of the time he’s played Wimbledon. It took Federer 5 attempts to make the Final at Wimbledon. So you could say Nadal made his first Wimbledon almost twice as fast as Federer made his first Wimbledon Final :)


van orten Says:

nadal fans always wanna take away some of federer’s greatness. it seems that it¡s not enough for them that he has a positive record against him which is pretty impressive. but no they have to question and predict federers decline in every given ocasion. be happy nadal is a great tennis player one of the best. don’t be pissed of federer was 4 times world sportsmen of the year and has more fans than everyone else in the world. you can see it in every grand slam he is the crowds favourite..he is loved ..nadal more respected..this may hurt nadal fans.but it’s irrevelant. it’s just how it is. federer give us the ahhhh moments. noone makes more impossible shots out of his wrist like he does. nadal runs more down the ball what leaves you perplex as well.but it is just not as beautiful as federers magic. get over it. he is the matador, fed the maestro


Kimo Says:

Voicemail1, if you’re gonna put it that way, how about this:

Roger’s Win Rate at wimbledon: 91%
Rafa’s: 84.6 %

Roger’s in the final 7 times in 11 years (talk about consistency!), which is 64%.
Rafa, as you said, 60%. And since he missed it twice, it’s fair to say he missed it 2/7= 29% of the time. Roger never missed playing at SW19.

Roger’s consecutive streak on grass: 65 matches.
Rafa, 13 and counting, but you an I both know he’s not gonna get anywhere near 65 because that means he can’t lose any matches on grass for 4 years (provided he plays Queen’s all those years.)


Kimo Says:

well said, Van Orten.


mem Says:

van orten, at least try to be more original next time, and don’t bore us with repetitiveness, we have heard it all before; how great roger is, and how many awards he has won and his semis streak and how magical and beautiful he is on court for the zillionth time! so, what’s your point? are you trying to convince others or yourself?


Kimo Says:

mem, I’ll make you a deal. We’ll stop talking about how awesome Roger is if Rafa fans stop talking about the H2H.


van orten Says:

@mem i just wanna make clear. that’s possible for me to say nadal is a great player and great champion. nadal fans just don’t appreciate federer as a true great champion def. the best in the last 10 years. no, they have to point out every single time that nadal should be in federers place. because he has a winning record over him…that’s all.


mem Says:

van orten, maybe nadal fans think the same about federer fans; maybe they think that nadal is not appreciated as a true champion; have you thought of that? i think you are naive if you think you can force everyone to believe what you believe about roger. i can’t deny that roger is a great player, but, i just don’t believe he is the greatest of all time, and i never have. no disrespect intended, it’s just that in my opinion, there is no such thing as “greatest of all time.” according to documentation, he is certainly the greatest of his era thusly. i’m ok with that! the difference in you and me in regards to roger and rafa is that you need to believe that roger is the greatest; i don’t need to believe that about rafa, because i understand nothing is finalize until the end of their careers. all i want is for rafa to be the best that he can be. i’m not hung up on who is greater; time will tell that story!

kimo, you might need to direct that to those who are discussing h2h, i’m not one of them. the h2h is here to stay, just like the 23 semis and 16 slams are here to stay. no matter how much we wish one or the other stats didn’t exist, they do! sorry, i don’t have any control over what rafafans say or don’t say. you need to accept that stats will always be brought into the conversation by whomever; get use to it and move on!


Kimo Says:

mem said:

“according to documentation, he is certainly the greatest of his era thusly. i’m ok with that! ”

Thank you, sir. Now would you please tell that to the other Rafa fans who seem to struggle to realize such a simple fact.

“kimo, you might need to direct that to those who are discussing h2h, i’m not one of them. the h2h is here to stay, just like the 23 semis and 16 slams are here to stay.”

Great. Consider the topic closed.

“maybe they think that nadal is not appreciated as a true champion; have you thought of that?”

Believe me, Fed fans appreciate Rafa, even though some might not realize it. Even those who diss Rafa want to see Roger and Rafa play each other, so subconciously they appreciate Rafa, they just don’t know it.

I appreciate Rafa, but some Rafa fans want us not just to appreciate him, but also to put Rafa and Roger on equal ground, and I certainly will not do that because they aren’t. I’m sorry, but I’m just telling it like it is.


Matt Says:

Kimo said:

“You know what? That’s it. I’m sick of Rafa fans. They jump at me for saying absolutely nothing demeaning or disrespectful towards Rafa, just for saying he might not make the Wimby final (gasp!) because he’s not a natural (mega gasp!!!!)”

You know what Kimo, it looks to me like you are generalizing a bit. Would it surprise you that I love BOTH Federer AND Nadal? Maybe predicting (Guessing) where certain players will come in tournaments isn’t the best way to make conversation with tennis loving fans where opinions are vast and people (like you) have narrow minds.

“I’m taking the gloves off.

You and your ilk always go back to the same tedious argument that Rafa did everything at a younger age than Fed, but that only because RAFA BECAME A TENNIS PLAYER YOUNGER THAN FED DID. And yes, he will retire much younger than Fed will.”

This is completely false. They both played tennis from a very young age. Its just that one of them was GOOD enough to turn Pro at a younger age.

“What did Roger do when he was 20 at Wimbledon you ask? I’ll tell ya. Before his 20th birthday by over a month, he beat a 7-time Wimbledon champion in the fourth round in five sets, then lost to Tim Henman the next round in a very, very tight match (three tiebreakers in that one if my memory serves me right.)”

Fair enough. How old was this 7 time Wimbledon champion?. I’m not trying to stir the pot; but the whole age ‘issue’ that your so called tennis “Ilks” like to bring up, is the EXACT SAME issue that you just dismiss in your above post. You say Federer beats a “7 time Wimbledon Champion” in glory. Then when you talk about Nadal beating Federer in 08 you use it as an excuse “Federer’s Slump in 08″.

It is true that Federer has had a MUCH easier career than Nadal has had. Nadal in 06, 07, 08, was facing a Federer in his PRIME. How many times did Federer play Sampras?, I highly doubt it was anywhere near 21 times!?

“Let’s look at this another way. Fed has his first major slump in 2008, when he was 27, a 10 year pro and after 12 majors. Rafa had his slump in 2009, when he was 23, an 8 year pro, and after 6 majors.”

Who were Federer’s rivals before this time? How many times did they play?. Nadal has faced Federer around 21 times.

“In Roger’s slump, he only missed on slam final, AO 2008. You guy didn’t make any slam finals for a year.”

Again… “your guy”. You are so arrogant you turned this into a Nadal vs Federer argument. I never wanted it to be. All I wanted to know is, “why after making 3 consecutive Wimbledon Finals by the age of 22, do you predict that Nadal will not do the same this year?” He has proved that he can do it, and shown he can win. You are a one sided person who can not comprehent that someone (such as myself) can like BOTH FEDERER AND NADAL AT THE SAME TIME!! just because I was making points about Nadal you like to “take the gloves off” and egotistically assume these things.

This is my problem with Federer fans like you. There’s no appreciation for someone. It’s one or the other. Well I’ve got news for you buddy, get off Federer’s back and appreciate TENNIS, not just one person in it.

“Longest slam final streak in history: 10, Roger Federer.
2nd longest: 8, Roger Federer.
Your guy? 2.

Federer’s longest semifinal streak? 23.
Rafa’s longest semifinal streak? 4.”

Tennis can not be broken down into statistics like this. Some players have ‘career threatening injuries’ which sideline them for months/years, these statistics do not measure the worth/ability of the opponents at their respective times.

It IS possible to be the greatest at something in any sport and not be known for it. E.G. (fictitious)- I am a darts player. I am so good that I hit the triple 20 every single time I throw the dart. I play amazing for 1 year straight not missing the triple 20 once in this time. I go home, fall down my stairs and die; NEVER to play darts again.

I was in fact the greatest darts player to ever play the game for the small amount of time I was given. I was playing better than any person had (or likely will) ever play the game of darts.

“Rafa fans like the view so much from lala land that they actually think Fed’s 16 slam record is in jeopardy, because, wait for it, he’s “young”. Get real. Rafa’s not young. He just started earlier, and will be through earlier.”

Who said this again???
Sounds like you are saying it. Not me. You are a one sided person.


mem Says:

kimo, in all due respect, the way some of you have criticized rafa not so long ago is not what i call appreciating rafa. you were also among the critics, but you probably have amnesia now. if you are an adult you should know by now, that people are free to decide what they want to think, if their thoughts don’t coincide with yours, why would you care? it’s life, people say things you dont’ want to hear sometimes, so what, if you don’t agree, you don’t agree. it seems to me you are one who can dish out stuff, but you have a whole lot of trouble when the tables are turned! move on! it’s only tennis!


Kimo Says:

Matt, you are a plain idiot. I’ve always said I liked Rafa. Always. Yet you jumped at me for saying he won’t do well on grass.

Well I’ll say it again: He will not do well on grass. Does this make me a Rafa hater?

And I don’t see Rafa as great as Roger is. Does that make me a Rafa hater?

As with your darts example, you seem to confuse “best” with “greatest”. Being the best does not make you the greatest. Greatness means numbers, achievement, accmplishments, being remembered forever. Hey, maybe Ancic could have won 6 Wimbledons, but he was unfortunate with mono. Maybe he is better than Roger. Is he greater through. Definitely not. He doesn’t have the numbers to claim greatness.

As for the age argument, what you said is plain BS. Sampras was a 4-time defending champion when Roger beat him. He still had game. Sampras wasn’t at his best, sure, but at 19 Roger wasn’t at his best either.

It’s funny you say Rafa was “GOOD enough” to turn pro at an early age. Then please explain this to me: why does someone who could be the best clay court player ever not play RG until 2005 even though he turned pro in 2001. In fact, RG was the latest GS for Rafa in terms for when he first appeared in the main draw of a major.

Oh and btw, it’s one-dimensional or single-minded, there’s no such thing as a one sided person. There is however one-sided arguments.

—————————

@mem, take a look at all my posts and please tell me why matt started this foolish crusade.

Like I said, Rafa is not as great as Roger. That doesn’t make me a Rafa hater. I quite like Rafa. Hate his fans, though. Well, some of them at least.


Anna Says:

Kimo, I’m a Rafa fan and really all I want to know is what makes you think Rafa isn’t a natural on grass. I think Matt is right in his assessment of Rafa, although his remark about “research” was really unnecessary. But no need to over react or let yourself be hurt. You should know that not every Rafa fan is out to get you. If there’s something you know that I don’t I’d like to hear it, because I’m here to learn.


van orten Says:

i didn’t say that fed is the goat. just the best in the last 10 years. now a new decade just begun. let’s see who in ten years has the same success as fed had in the last one. rafa is young enough to acomplish that. if he will is a different story


Kimo Says:

Well thank you for your intelligent response Anna.

Here’s my case:

Rafa uses the wrong grip for grass, applies too much topspin which makes the ball bounce nice and high and slow on grass, his movement isn’t as comfortable, his serve isn’t threatening, he doesn’t volley well when he is pulled in, however he’s alright with volleying if he comes in on his own terms.

Now the fact that with all these shortcomings he still made three finals and won one of them is amazing. Truly a brilliant achievement. Still doesn’t make him a natural.

A typical Wimbledon champion has the characteristics of Roger’s game. Since 1992, only three double-handed backhanders won wimbledon: Agassi, Hewitt and Rafa.

One more thing that tells me how unnatural Rafa is on grass is how drastically his game changes from what it is on clay. He plays differently. He flattens his strokes a bit. He slices a lot more. He doesn’t do his famous open-stanced backhand passes because on grass such a move can split you in half. Roger plays the same way on clay as he does on grass, excpet he doesn’t slide, which is good on clay, fatal on grass. Also he uses the dropshot more, but on grass the ball doesn’t check as it does on clay. Other than that, everything is basically the same. Rafa goes out of his way to play a grass court game. He can pull it off, it just doesn’t look natural.


Kimo Says:

Just a small addition: because Rafa isn’t a natural, he needs some time before he adjusts to a surface he hasn’t played on in two years. Maybe he’ll surprise us, but unless the draw does him a hige favor, I don’t see how he can make the final if the likes of Roddick, Soderling, Berdych, Gasquet and Murray fall on his side of the draw.


van orten Says:

i would be the first applauding if nadal ends up with more weeks at number one and more gs titles. i just don’t think it can happen.
and i believe it’s because after all fed has a more offensive allround kind of play than rafa. i just think what federer achieved is extraordinary…it would be impressive if nadal could break that.


Anna Says:

Kimo, Thanks for your comments. I KNEW you had reasons, and I agree, for all of his weaknesses, the results are truly amazing. Since Rafa hasn’t played on grass in 2 years though, I assume your analysis is from 2 years ago as well, and being the avid Rafa watcher I am, I can tell you his game (regardless of surface) has changed alot and so may surprise you. He’s actually working on adopting a serve much like Andy Murray. It helped alot at the FO as he was able to match aces with Soderling (9 a piece). There’s a new article on this site regarding the Wimbledon grass surface and how it compares to clay. Apparently the grass as it is now will be very favorable to Rafa and everything I’ve read about Rafa’s play (transition to grass) the last 2 days has been more than positive. One thing for sure, whatever Rafa’s weaknesses were, his strengths more than made up for them because his results are the bottom line. Personally, I think he’ll do better than quarterfinals. Here’s hoping.


Matt Says:

Kimo Said:

“Matt, you are a plain idiot. I’ve always said I liked Rafa. Always. Yet you jumped at me for saying he won’t do well on grass.”

I did not jump at you for saying Rafa wont do well on grass. I jumped at you for your next post where you targeted “Rafa fans”. You placed me in this category before I said ONE THING HURTFUL TOWARDS YOU. Its pretty contradictory to target such a large group of people, then arrogantly place me in that group, and then yourself state that you ARE one as well!.

I wanted you to explain why after making the final 3 years in a row you think Rafa is not capable of doing it anymore. You didn’t answer this and still haven’t. IT WAS ALL I WANTED TO KNOW. THERE IS NO HATE IN ASKING THIS QUESTION. You decided to “take the gloves off” not me. I did not intend for this, but I think you did.

“And I don’t see Rafa as great as Roger is. Does that make me a Rafa hater?”

It was certainly enough for you to verbally attack me after merely questioning your prediction with some fun facts. Then target a whole group of people who love tennis.

“As with your darts example, you seem to confuse “best” with “greatest”. Being the best does not make you the greatest. Greatness means numbers, achievement, accmplishments, being remembered forever. Hey, maybe Ancic could have won 6 Wimbledons, but he was unfortunate with mono. Maybe he is better than Roger. Is he greater THROUGH. Definitely not. He doesn’t have the numbers to claim greatness.”

No, you don’t understand what I was saying. The darts player was playing at the greatest level of play than any person will or likely ever play. They did play darts greater than any any player ever. “Greatest of all time” is a perspective. The very notion of calling someone ‘The Greatest of all time’ is false to begin with. Someone can always do better. It is always possible. Yet the statement suggests otherwise.

My darts story was personifying the flaws in the statement. It was striving for an essence. This essence is not a perspective, the essence is the truth and the fact; and the underlying truth and fact is that the darts player WAS playing the greatest of all time in the one year period he was given (not missing the triple 20 once).

My issue with the statement is that it should be called “The greatest up until this time”, or something along those lines.

“Maybe he is better than Roger. Is he greater THROUGH. Definitely not”

Oh by the way, he cant be greater “through”. He can be greater ‘though’. It’s easy to make an error when you are typing fast isn’t it?

“As for the age argument, what you said is plain BS. Sampras was a 4-time defending champion when Roger beat him. He still had game. Sampras wasn’t at his best, sure, but at 19 Roger wasn’t at his best either.”

Sounds a bit like Nadal’s story with Federer. Except Federer was at his peak.

“It’s funny you say Rafa was “GOOD enough” to turn pro at an early age. Then please explain this to me: why does someone who could be the best clay court player ever not play RG until 2005 even though he turned pro in 2001. In fact, RG was the latest GS for Rafa in terms for when he first appeared in the main draw of a major.”

If you read any of Nadal’s first interviews it is likely you would stumble upon a few where he states that he plays better on hard courts than on clay. His potential on clay was unrealized at this time (by him or his coach). Nadal was 15 years old in 2002, this is extremely young. He won his 1st ATP match. The next year (age 16) he was ranked in the top 50 players in the world.

Nadal missed most of the clay court season, including the French Open, because of an ankle injury 2004. If it wasn’t for this injury. Who knows, maybe he could have won RG in 04.

Why don’t you explain to me why Federer was good enough to turn pro at this age but decided not to. It’s fair right. Like one of the other poster in this thread stated- “Federer entered Wimbledon 5 times before he made a final”, Nadal made 3 finals in 5 entrances. It does suggest that Nadal was better at a younger age in my opinion.

Again I’m sorry. I did not intend for this. I was just confused as to why you would react the way you did to my question. I will state again that I LOVE BOTH FEDERER AND NADAL. I thought it could be understood; but instead I was targeted as a “Rafa fan”, “ilk”, for having absolutely nothing but a slightly different (and arguably more appreciative) viewpoint of tennis and Rafael Nadal- the current world number 1 player.


skeezerweezer Says:

Kimo’s post at June 9th, 2010 at 11:31 pm.

Kimo that was a killer post. Sums up the whole ridiculous start of this thing and ends the way it should, with sound stats and facts based on your argument, and good knowledge. The way every debate should go, not “EVERY fan knows…” Do they really? Went downhill from there…:(


NachoF Says:

Kimo,

Im a Fed fan all the way…. never liked Nadal all that much.. but not because of his play but because hes just not a likable person…
still.. how can anyone say that grass doesnt come naturally to him and that you expect him to not even reach semis at Wimbledon?? HE WON the last time he played!! and he beat the BEST grass player EVER! (Federer)… before that he reached the finals(07) losing to the best ever in five sets and before that he reached the finals (06) and lost to the best ever… what exactly does Nadal f*ing have to do to make people stop saying stupid bullsh*t like that!.


Kimo Says:

Nacho, read my post at June 9th, 2010 at 11:57 pm, maybe that will answer your question.

I can cuss back, but I’m just too tired.


Ben Pronin Says:

NachoF, it’s called being a fierce competitor, having smart people (coaches) around you, and willing to make the necessary changes/sacrifices. Nadal isn’t a natural on the surface by any means. Is he great on it because he’s still supremely talented and is willing/capable of changing his game? Yes.


Huh Says:

“Voicemail says:
So you could say Nadal made his first Wimbledon almost twice as fast as Federer made his first Wimbledon Final :)”

Doesn’t matter, Roger has also reached the WIM finals more than 60% of the times he entered.(7 finals in 11 appearances). ;)


guy Says:

matt makes some good points here.

it’s true fed had weaker competition in his prime. consider how many first time finalists and streaky players he’s faced in gs finals. at least 5 went down from first time nerves alone. the rest he basically won against hewitts and roddicks.
nadal has to face fed almost every time to win a gs title, much tougher.

strange people still think he’s not much of a grass player. they’d probably put henman above him.

as for ‘fed’s best versus rafa’s best’
even the ‘greatest match of all time’ was pretty onesided, consider the score, fed winning two sets in tiebreakers, failing to impact nadal’s serve the whole match.
it could have easily been a straight sets win for nadal if fed had missed the backhand down the line on matchpoint, a shot he would miss plenty of times. good job making it, but still, it was low percentage, and the result could have easily been a comfortable victory for nadal.
and consider fed was playing his best level too. what would people say then?


JCK Says:

This is the first time I post on this site so be gentle. :-)

I just want to respond to one assertion that Federer is beloved all over the world while Nadal is merely respected. I want to post this question: “If Federer is so beloved, why did TV rating and popularity of tennis drop during the Federer era?”

Please don’t asnwer because he’s too dominant. People flocked to TV to watch Tiger Woods dominating his sports. Federer didn’t do that to tennis. True, Federer isn’t American, but that didn’t hurt Becker’s or Edberg’s popularity. The match that generated the highest rating during the Federer era was the Wimbledon Final 2008 when Federer played a Spaniard. Federer by himself simply doesn’t generate much buzz for tennis. Why is it if he’s so beloved?

I have been a tennis fan since I first learned of Borg. I quit watching tennis after Edberg retired. Federer bored me. His game bored me and I don’t like his personality either. I was lured back to tennis because of Nadal. I love his never-say-die attitude. I like his game and his personality off the court. In my opinion, Federer is respected but Nadal is more loved. But that’s just one tennis fan’s opinion. I would never claim to know what other tennis audiences think. My question is a rhetorical one since I do know that popularity of tennis dropped during the Federer prime. That seems contradicting with the assertion that Federer is beloved.


Kimo Says:

guy said:

“it could have easily been a straight sets win for nadal if fed had missed the backhand down the line on matchpoint, a shot he would miss plenty of times. good job making it,”

First of all, you’re talking about the fourth set tiebreaker, so the ship of a straight set win had already sailed by then.

Ok, you’re saying Roger beat first time finalists for many of his slams, well let me ask you this:

Roger and Rafa have been on the opposite sides of the draw for every slam since US Open 2005. Since then, Roger had to beat Baghdatis, Gonzalez, Djokovic and Murray, who were all first time finalists. The correct question shouldn’t be why Federer’s wins against them should really count since they succumbed to nerves. The question is why didn’t Rafa survive his side of the draw.

You ball.


Kimo Says:

guy said:

“it could have easily been a straight sets win for nadal if fed had missed the backhand down the line on matchpoint, a shot he would miss plenty of times. good job making it,”

First of all, you’re talking about the fourth set tiebreaker, so the ship of a straight set win had already sailed by then.

Ok, you’re saying Roger beat first time finalists for many of his slams, well let me ask you this:

Roger and Rafa have been on the opposite sides of the draw for every slam since US Open 2005. Since then, Roger had to beat Baghdatis, Gonzalez, Djokovic and Murray, who were all first time finalists. The correct question shouldn’t be why Federer’s wins against them should really count since they succumbed to nerves. The question is why didn’t Rafa survive his side of the draw.

Your ball.


Kimo Says:

Sorry for the multiple posts.


Kimo Says:

Oops, Rafa didn’t play the Australian in 2006. So I really can’t blame him for Baghdatis making the final.


Matt Says:

Thanks for your post ‘Guy’. In Wimbledon 2008 I didn’t know who to go for in the 5th set. It was such a great match I kind of wanted it to be a draw. I felt the rain delay in the 3rd set really helped Federer to recoup after being outplayed the 1st two sets. Federer made unbelievable saves on the match points. I have this final on dvd so I can watch it whenever haha.


Mindy Says:

Matt,

You stick to your guns and don’t be intimidated by the attacks. It’s to be expected. You made a perfectly reasonable post with your own facts and substance.

The fact that someone decided to overreact is not your fault. It never ceases to amaze me how Fed fans act like someone has committed a capital offense if they dare to stand up for Rafa’s game on grass. Of course, we are fools for doing so, blinded by our love for Rafa, don’t know what we are talking about, don’t support our arguments with facts and stats. You can go look up facts and stats all you like, but there are intangibles that sometimes determine who will win a slam tournament.

That is what Rafa has going for him. It’s his ace up his sleeve. It’s that will to win, the desire to improve his game and always look for ways to be better on every surface. Rafa is not the same player he was the last time he was at Wimbledon. He has a much improved serve, a more aggressive game, looks to move into the court and hit winners to close out points quickly, has vastly improved his ability to serve and volley, and has developed a really nice touch when he comes to net. He is not the guy who used to just sit back and trade shots from the baseline endlessly.

Rafa is physically and mentally in excellent shape. The win at RG was the last hurdle to getting back his confidence. He is coming into this tournament with momentum, on a great winning streak and having finally hit his stride. When it counts, when the match is on the line, never count out Rafa!

When it comes to Fed fans, Rafa always will be compared to Fed and be found wanting. Matt and Guy are just making the case for Rafa on HIS merits, not on what Fed has done. There is nothing wrong with that argument. I am fed up with hearing this incessant refrain that you must make your argument in a certain way. No one needs to be dictated to or commanded to follow one person’s idea of a coherent, compelling argument. The power to reason, to use logic and deductive reasoning and then form an opinion and belief, also using one’s knowledge of the sport of tennis, is more than enough to give merit to what someone has to say, even if that person has the temerity to have a different point of view from Fed fans.


Matt Says:

Kimo said-
“Roger and Rafa have been on the opposite sides of the draw for every slam since US Open 2005. Since then, Roger had to beat Baghdatis, Gonzalez, Djokovic and Murray, who were all first time finalists. The correct question shouldn’t be why Federer’s wins against them should really count since they succumbed to nerves. The question is why didn’t Rafa survive his side of the draw.”

Nadal was 18/19 years old in 2005. What you are asking of him is outrageous. Its almost humanly impossible. Not even Federer done this. This is why Nadal supporters talk about the age factor.

Ill turn it around for a different perspective. Imagine for a moment that Nadal is Federers age and Federer is Nadal’s age.

Nadal is 22 and has just won his 3rd straight Wimbledon title- along with 4 RG titles.

Meanwhile Federer is 17/18/19 years old respectively. He enters Wimbledon 5 times making it to the final on his 5th attempt. Imagine the type of pressure Federer is facing to make it to the Wimbledon Finals and play Nadal.

If the tables were turned like this- it is completely possible that people would be talking about Nadal as the Greatest player. This is why the age issue exists. For Nadal to face Federer through all of Federer’s prime years must be extremely tough for a young Rafa. The same can be said for a young Federer trying to win a GS- having to face an in form Nadal (of course US open for Federer would have happened).

Federer was 22 when he won 1st GS. Correct me please if wrong.
I think Nadal was 19 when he won RG. Correct me please if wrong.

The amount of time it took Federer to win 1st GS would have left Nadal with years of uncontested play (like Federer had).


Huh Says:

Sorry to all however, for not giving my twocents on the bone of contention here, which is, whether Rafa has the grass court tennis as something inherent in him. The day Rafa reached the final of 2006 WIM, I said to myself that though this guy may have won only two FOs until now, this guy has the ability and the talent to do well on grass. And Rafa next year reached not just WIM, but became the only guy since Pete to be able to stretch Fed to 5 sets; and the next year, even better, won it vs Fed. All this leads me to think that even though Rafa may not have as much talent on grass as ‘Wimbledon King’ Sampras or as Federer, but he still always had enough talent to win WIM more than one time. You may argue of course that Rafa’s not a natural ‘king of grass’ type guy, but I have always known Rafa as someone who’s pretty darn fond of playing on grass, he likes as hell to win on grass! Now it’s for you to decide whether the game of grass which he’s exhibiting is natural or not, but I can certainly say, he’s one thing in common to all the great WIM champions, that’s his absolute liking for grass; and the day Rafa won his 1st FO, he straight away expressed one of his longest cherished dreams, which happened to be winning the WIM one day. Now considering all this and his results in WIM over the past years, I would say that grass court game isn’t as much unnatural to Rafa as you think.


Huh Says:

“All this leads me to think that even though Rafa may not have as much talent on grass as ‘Wimbledon King’ Sampras or as Federer”

This much of my 5.05 am post must be read as

“All this leads me to think that even though Rafa does not have as much talent on grass as ‘Wimbledon King Sampras’ or Federer”


Huh Says:

“you can see it in every grand slam he is the crowds favourite..he is loved ..nadal more respected..this may hurt nadal fans.but it’s irrevelant. it’s just how it is. federer give us the ahhhh moments. noone makes more impossible shots out of his wrist like he does.”

Agree with Kimo that this is well said indeed by van orten. :D


Huh Says:

van orten:

Remember to be always kind to Mem as he/she has a history of nervous breakdowns and recurrent attacks of insanity.


Huh Says:

“Kimo Says:

Voicemail1, if you’re gonna put it that way, how about this:

Roger’s Win Rate at wimbledon: 91%
Rafa’s: 84.6 %

Roger’s in the final 7 times in 11 years (talk about consistency!), which is 64%.
Rafa, as you said, 60%. And since he missed it twice, it’s fair to say he missed it 2/7= 29% of the time. Roger never missed playing at SW19.

Roger’s consecutive streak on grass: 65 matches.
Rafa, 13 and counting, but you an I both know he’s not gonna get anywhere near 65 because that means he can’t lose any matches on grass for 4 years (provided he plays Queen’s all those years.)”

KIMO:

Very well said particuarly regarding the Fed-Rafa comparison, I should have seen your post before , but unfortunately I couldn’t, so posted a reply to Voicemale stating what you have very aptly pointed out even before me, i.e. Fed too has reached WIM finals 7 out of 11 times.


Huh Says:

Fed can’t be regarded as the greatest ever until he is able to stop Rafa from beating him so frequently, this is a fact.


Huh Says:

guy:

Fed’s competition during his prime is much better than that of Rafa at his prime. Roger had a handful of multiple-slam winners to contend with in order to win like Agassi(yes I say Agssi coz without Fed, he mighta added one more slam by winning US 05), Safin, Hewitt and also other slam-holders like Rod, Ferrero and others who were in their prime/near prime as well. And Kuerten too was no ordinary player and he ousted Fed from 2004 FO, which means Kuerten too was a factor at the time when Fed was just about to enter the peak? How mediocre players that Fed faced while coming up and at prime! ;)
Add to that guys like Nalbandian, who at his best can take down the best in business and Fed had to contend with him as well, even though people like you’d say he never won a slam. But while unjustly implying Rafa’s competition as superior to Fed, you guys surely forget that the so-called tougher competition of Nadal consists of only Novak (a one-slammer until now) and Murray (a non-slammer. Need we say more about Rafa’s so-called strong competiton? And you must be knowing also about Tommy Haas, don’t you, and also about how he smacked the so-called super-fierce rival Djokovic in WIM 08 and also how the supposedly worthless devoured the supposedly super-strong Murray’s dreams at WIM 09? But oh, they are just the Roddicks and Hewitts, no? Oh, BTW, isn’t it the same so-called journeymen(as some self-proclaimed brilliant people and analysts over here’d love to say) Lleyton Hewitt who pulverised the much feared JMDP at WIM last year? But hey, Roddick, Hewitt, Safin and Haas etc. are just far inferior to guys like Murray and Hewitt(in your imagnation of course!), right?! Wrong?! ;)


Huh Says:

Huh Says:

guy:

Fed’s competition during his prime is much better than that of Rafa at his prime. Roger had a handful of multiple-slam winners to contend with in order to win like Agassi(yes I say Agssi coz without Fed, he mighta added one more slam by winning US 05), Safin, Hewitt and also other slam-holders like Rod, Ferrero and others who were in their prime/near prime as well. And Kuerten too was no ordinary player and he ousted Fed from 2004 FO, which means Kuerten too was a factor at the time when Fed was just about to enter the peak? How mediocre players that Fed faced while coming up and at prime! ;)
Add to that guys like Nalbandian, who at his best can take down the best in business and Fed had to contend with him as well, even though people like you’d say he never won a slam. But while unjustly implying Rafa’s competition as superior to Fed, you guys surely forget that the so-called tougher competition of Nadal consists of only Novak (a one-slammer until now) and Murray (a non-slammer. Need we say more about Rafa’s so-called strong competiton? And you surely must be knowing about Tommy Haas, don’t you, and also about how he smacked the so-called super-fierce Djokovic in WIM 08 and also about how the supposedly worthless Roddick devoured the supposedly super-strong Murray’s dreams at WIM 09? Oh, BTW, isn’t it the same so-called journeymen(as some self-proclaimed brilliant people and analysts over here’d love to say) Lleyton Hewitt who pulverised the much feared JMDP at WIM last year? But oh, they are just the Roddicks and Hewitts, no? Roddick, Hewitt, Safin and Haas etc. are just far inferior to guys like Murray and Hewitt(in your imagnation of course!), right?! Wrong?! ;)
Only God knows how we’re gonna save ourselves from your crap. :/


Huh Says:

“strange people still think he’s not much of a grass player. they’d probably put henman above him.”

Guy:

Now you’ve taken over the job of providing comic relief to us with these kinds of jokes, no? Henman’s for sure a better grass courter than Fed in your world of comedy, I know it.


madmax Says:

Kimo,

dont apologise for your “multiple posts”. In fact I was so impressed with this one, I am going to repeat it here – it’s just brilliant!

Kimo Says:

Matt said:

“Anyway, you say Grass doesn’t come naturally for Nadal, if so, isn’t 3 consecutive Wimbledon Finals (including one win) by the age of 22 natural enough for you? Do some research.”

You know what? That’s it. I’m sick of Rafa fans. They jump at me for saying absolutely nothing demeaning or disrespectful towards Rafa, just for saying he might not make the Wimby final (gasp!) because he’s not a natural (mega gasp!!!!)

I’m taking the gloves off.

You and your ilk always go back to the same tedious argument that Rafa did everything at a younger age than Fed, but that only because RAFA BECAME A TENNIS PLAYER YOUNGER THAN FED DID. And yes, he will retire much younger than Fed will.

What did Roger do when he was 20 at Wimbledon you ask? I’ll tell ya. Before his 20th birthday by over a month, he beat a 7-time Wimbledon champion in the fourth round in five sets, then lost to Tim Henman the next round in a very, very tight match (three tiebreakers in that one if my memory serves me right.)

Let’s look at this another way. Fed has his first major slump in 2008, when he was 27, a 10 year pro and after 12 majors. Rafa had his slump in 2009, when he was 23, an 8 year pro, and after 6 majors.

In Roger’s slump, he only missed on slam final, AO 2008. You guy didn’t make any slam finals for a year.

Logest slam final streak in history: 10, Roger Federer.
2nd longest: 8, Roger Federer.
Your guy? 2.

Federer’s longest semifinal streak? 23.
Rafa’s longest semifinal streak? 4.

It’s streaks that determine how prodictive a player’s career is, and how accomplished he will be when he finally hangs up his racket. This is why since 2004, when Roger was only starting to become a multiple slam winner, people were saying that he will break records long before he actually broke them.

Rafa fans like the view so much from lala land that they actually think Fed’s 16 slam record is in jeopardy, because, wait for it, he’s “young”. Get real. Rafa’s not young. He just started earlier, and will be through earlier.

June 9th, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Mindy, these “aren’t attacks” by Kimo – why do you call everyone that disagrees with you or a rafa fan, “an attack?”.

Kimo, it was a reasoned post – well done. Enjoyed it and I think it deserved a reprint here because it was said way too early, people might miss it! A gem if ever I saw one.


kit Says:

tennis fans are so funny. when their fave player is being critisized, they feel the urge to come out and defend him, can’t resist it.

but of course it is different when things became so disrespectful,and attacking each other becomes the order of the day.

i’m a fed fan, will always love to watch him play and will always root for him, no matter what. and i don’t like rafa nadal, never been a fan of him, having said that, i never said a single word to disrespect him or belittle his achievements. i can admit that nadal is equally great.


madmax Says:

and your point Kit?

Kimo’s post was great. What’s the problem in agreeing with that?


Duro Says:

Hey, Maxi! Still alive? Gotta to give you credit for surviving. So many vultures upon you. Stay strong, girl!


Polo Says:

This Federer-Nadal debate will not be over until they are both retired from the game. I hope everybody here will still be active in this blog site. Then we can compare. By then, all speculations could be set aside then we can assess both players objectively.

In the meantime, I will continue enjoying Federer’s game. I just saw him entertaining the spectatotors by doing some funny exhibition game at the Gerry Weber Open. I don’t speak German so I could not understand what they were saying but the crowd was enjoying every moment of it. No wonder Federer is so loved by tennis fans everywhere.


Krish Says:

Guys, wonder why this debate, Fed fans always gonna keep telling everytime Fed loose they are gonna come with the same numbers again and again and again….saying, he got #no of GS and No1 for longer period etc, they are not going to give even Fed keep loosing every match here on.
On the other you cant compare Fed and Rafa, Rafa didnt enter at the same time, 4yrs gap between them, so its so stupid to compare at this time.

To Rafa Fans: so what if Fed is GOAT, this GOAT(Goat) lost to Rafa more than to anyone…laugh it off guys…:-)


Polo Says:

Krish, enjoy it while you can.


Krish Says:

BTW: I forgot to mention, I am not fan of anyone, just enjoy Tennis overall.


Polo Says:

Krish, that’s the way to enjoy tennis. Enjoy it for the love of the game. There are many things to admire in every player especially those who play at their prime and give their best to the game. Enjoy!


Kimo Says:

Polo said:

“No wonder Federer is so loved by tennis fans everywhere.”

Oh no. I said something like that two blogs ago and it unleashed hell. Don’t ever say anything good about Roger in front of some Rafa fans. It just rubs them the wrong way. They consider it an insult.

I know, I know. You didn’t mention Rafa at all. I didn’t either. I know it doesn’t make sense, but some people just aren’t sensible.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Kimo

:)


madmax Says:

duro,

you did warn me, buddy. I did reply to your post by the way, i tweeted you on bleacher – maxisurfer – as maxi had already been taken – what is it you want to tell me?


Polo Says:

Kimo, thanks for the warning. But my posts aren’t really meant for irrational people. Therefore, I couldn’t care less about their (irrational fans) retorts.


Krish Says:

Polo: Well said! thanks, and yes you are right there are many things to admire in every player.


skeezerweezer Says:

I thought Fed looked very comfortable on grass today.


Kimo Says:

I don’t get to see the Gerry Weber Open this year. My network is only covering Queen’s :(


Duro Says:

maxi, just be there and have an account. I’ll get back to you.


kakra Says:

nadal is the best now and will be the greatest in years to come. last year fed cried after beaten by nadal. i kno fed is about to cry more as the true no.1 has hit his form again. all hail nadal!!


Mindy Says:

I will never understand why some people here are so threatened by anyone who dares to have a different opinion. It doesn’t take much to get some people to “take the gloves off”, now does it? All anyone has to do is come on here and make their argument as to why they think Rafa has a great grass game and, lo and behold, they are taken to the mat for daring to think for themselves?

You can’t have a discussion if everyone agrees all the time, now can you? What on earth is wrong with thinking that Rafa excels on grass? It is because some Fed fans perceive it as an insult to him? It’s nothing of the kind. Whether or not Rafa’s grass game comes naturally or not isn’t the point! If he can adapt to this surface and learn to play well, then what is wrong with that? Must Rafa be criticized every minute on this site?

Why don’t we declare a holiday and call a truce, just for one day! Let everyone say what they want to say, let Rafa fans stand up for him and make the case for his merits as a grass court player and let Fed fans do the same, without these endless attacks! You destroy the whole purpose of a forum when you do not allow others to have their say.

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