Lu Who Stuns Roddick While Federer, Nadal, Djokovic Advance at Wimbledon
by Sean Randall | June 28th, 2010, 7:25 pm

After a pretty crazy first week at Wimbledon, the start of week two today had all the ingredients for further chaos, but it wasn’t meant to be. In fact, it was a fairly boring day of tennis up until the final few swings. ADHEREL

The day began with Roger Federer pummeling Jurgen Melzer. I thought Federer would have a much tougher go of it but credit to the Swiss for elevating his game to collect consecutive straight set match wins after a very dodgy start to the fortnight.

Federer was never troubled by the lefty Melzer at all during a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 trashing of the Austrian.

“I thought I played great,” the six-time Wimbledon champ said. “Aggressive right from the start, which I think was key today because I knew Melzer was going to try ‑‑ every chance he was going to get, he was going to hit the ball and come forward as well. You want to counter that and play aggressive yourself. I was able to do that very well today.”

Federer now has a date on Wednesday with the dangerous big man Tomas Berdych who knocked out lightly-regarded Daniel Brands of Germany 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-5, 6-3.

Berdych beat Federer in their last meeting at Miami and remember Tomas had Federer DOA a few years ago at the Australian. Fed does lead the series 8-2 against the Czech but there’s no doubt Berdych is a better, more confident player these days.

No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal won his 11th straight Wimbledon match after a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 dusting of Paul-Henri Mathieu. I’ve always thought that Mathieu has the game to trouble Nadal, but the numbers suggest otherwise. Nadal has now won 10 straight matches over the Frenchman and the victory sets up a massive clash against Robin Soderling in the last eight.

“No, sure, gonna be a really tough match,” said Nadal of Soderling. “I think probably is one of the more difficult opponents that you can play on all surfaces today, but especially here. I think he’s playing with big confidence, big serve, perfect flat shots and long from the baseline. So he’s playing great. Gonna be very difficult match for me I think. Hopefully for him, too.”

Soderling was playing great up I thought until he ran into David Ferrer today. Robin won but needed five sets to do it, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, and for me that’s a little troubling. Soderling should win that in a breeze. Regardless, given Nadal’s knee issues (“Today it was better. I didn’t feel pain today, but, you know, you never know. It’s there, but wasn’t the problem today. Hopefully gonna be fine for the next day, too.”) I still like Soderling come Wednesday to pull the upset.

Of all the top players perhaps no one is playing better tennis and with more confidence than Andy Murray after the Scot crushed American Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-3, 6-4. And among the remaining eight, Murray is the only player who hasn’t dropped a set.

“I’m playing really well,” Murray said after reached his third straight Wimbledon quarterfinal. “You know, but you got to wait until the end of the tournament really to see how well you’ve been playing. You know, I need to make sure that I up my game, you know, when the matches get tougher, you know, in the tight situations. It’s important that I continue to play well and not slip up.”

Murray now meets JW Tsonga who won in four sets over his countryman Julien Benneteau.

And now to the match of the day for the men, Andy Roddick and Yen-Hsun Lu. A match that most people, myself included, thought of as a throwaway. Roddick had won all three meetings, and won them easily. And now they were playing on Roddick’s favorite grass surface. But drama here we go as Lu pulled the shock of the day upsetting Roddick 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 9-7.

Roddick won the first set and was in control. But a rare double fault crept into the second set tiebreak to help Lu level the match.

The third set again seemed trouble free for Roddick who was holding serve without much pressure. Surely Lu would crumble at some point point under the weight of Roddick’s return game. But the Taiwanese never did and Roddick stayed in a defensive posture. Lu forced another tiebreak and again Roddick donated an ill-timed double fault. Lu was now in command up two sets to one.

But Lu still could not make any impression on any Roddick service games. Luckily for the underdog Roddick had little to offer on Lu’s serve, so a third tiebreak was called for. This time it was Lu who blinked. After what looked to be an easy put away that would have put Lu up 4-1 but went Roddick’s way, things began to unravel for Lu. Roddick secured the breaker and appeared to be on his way to a five set win.

Roddick enjoyed early break chances in the fifth, but Lu to his credit kept fighting and kept the pressure on. And in the end it paid off. In the 16th game on match point a poor Roddick volley set up a clear backhand pass for Lu and 26-year-old nailed it down the line for the win.

And after nearly four and-a-half-hours Roddick, a three-time Wimbledon finalist, was out. Lu played great, but that’s a match Roddick has to win, and he knows it. Unfortunately Andy played far to passively and didn’t return well enough to get the job done on this day.

“Through three sets I was playing horrendously, I mean really, really badly,” said Roddick. “I mean, to the point where I was trying to think of how to put balls in the court. Actually, I mean, I think the fifth set was probably the best set that I played as far as hitting the ball, you know, making him struggle to actually get through service games sometimes. But when you dig yourself a hole, it’s tough to get out, when you’ve given someone confidence, when they have their feet under them a little bit more.”

Roddick has improved his consistency from the ground but as we saw again today when an aggressive player is on and hitting his mark Roddick can be beaten. Especially when the American plays so defensively.

Said Lu of his biggest career win, “Today I just take a time, serve regular, and stay with him, try to find a chance and to win the set, set by set, set by set, until end, I shaking hand and I win. Yeah, I just don’t think.”

Well, think again Yen Hsun, you are now in the quarterfinals to play Novak Djokovic. The Serb took out my pick Lleyton Hewitt 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

Djokovic got off to a strong start, but in the third set began having stomach issues – the doctor came out to treat Novak. Hewitt dug in and scraped out the third yet just when momentum began to turn against the ailing Djokovic, Novak grabbed an early break in the fourth and that was it.

Hewitt fought back again but it was too deep a hole to dig out of. Djokovic raised his game and took out the 2002 Wimbledon champ rather impressively. Credit to Novak. I didn’t think he had a win like that in him (or that he could rip his shirt like that). Not right now after the year he has had.

As for the women, the Williams sisters continued to dominate. Serena ousted Maria Sharapova in straight sets while Venus won in two over Jarmilla Groth. Neither match was easy – they each played the same number of games – but the sisters do something better than just about anyone else does at Wimbledon and that is win.

In the other showcase match, Justine Henin was up a set before a bad elbow dampened (or at least she says it did) her bid to beat countrywoman Kim Clijsters. In the end it was Clijsters scoring her third straight win this year over Henin (all in three sets) 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.

So tomorrow in the quarterfinals, Serena meets Li Na, Kaia Kanepi plays Petra Kvitova, Venus gets Tsvetana Pironkova and Clijsters test Vera Zvonareva.

You Might Like:
Roddick Thrashes Djokovic, Nadal Next at Indian Wells
Davydenko Stuns Federer; Del Potro Outlasts Soderling at ATP Finals
Italy Stuns Russia, Czechs Choke to US in Fed Cup Semis
Roddick in Rare Form Saturday in Miami vs. Chair Umpire
Feliciano Lopez Rips ATP Player Rep Justin Gimelstob on Twitter

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

146 Comments for Lu Who Stuns Roddick While Federer, Nadal, Djokovic Advance at Wimbledon

blah Says:

Lu also beat Nalbandian in 5 at AO a year ago, when people (including myself) thought Nalby was going into the tournament in rare good form (he had won doha before ao or something like that), and has a good counter punching game. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him challenge Djokovic if his serve isn’t clicking. Congrats to him and too bad for Roddick, he’s fit enough to still have many years ahead of him.

blah Says:

These are great quarterfinal match ups though, two hot big hitters against top two, and if murray plays passively tsonga’s game could trouble him.

Cindy_Brady Says:

Lu will lose in straight sets to Djokovic. I have said it.

Oh and boo hoo for Roddick fans…

Kimmi Says:

After that big win by tsonga against murray at the AO, murray won their next match in montreal last year. in straights sets. But tsonga seem to be playing better now..and murray still trying to come back from his slamp.

It was horrible the way he lost concentration after querrey broke back when murray was serving for the first set. Lucky to get thru that 0-40 hole. If he can cut those down, he is playing well.

great chance for murray to get to the semi. C’mon.

skeezerweezer Says:


You have mentioned Roddick losing too many times, repeat posts are not allowed. Red card.

blank Says:

Skeezer, ROFL! :-)

Kimmi Says:

I don’t see soda beating nadal sean. You lost your hewitt prediction, you wont get this one either. Sorry, you are now back to your jinxing ways. :-)

ckr Says:

Here are my picks from QFs

Tsonga Vs Murray —Murray. Tsonga makes too many unforced errors and I can’t see him winning against Murray. AO upset was way before current Murray evolved. I like Murray in straight sets.

Federer Vs Berdych — As much as I want Federer to loose, I don’t think it will happen. I think Fed will scrape through.

Lu Vs Djokovic — Djokovic in straight sets. Lu will be too happy to be in QFs for the first time.

Nadal Vs Soderling — Soderling in 4 sets. He has terrific game for any surface and on grass should favor him more. Last year he lost to Federer and two sets were very close. Nadal’s mid court returns will be killed by Soderling’s flat shots.

Finally, my hope is to put an end to two horse race (Fed and Nadal) in Tennis. It’s getting too boring with all Grand slams won by those two. Young guns need to step up..
Go Murry / Djoker / Soderling…

Von Says:

It’s the curse of the Graveyard court — ask Pete Sampras. I don’t understand why they put Roddick on that court.

Of course Djokovic will beat Lu because Lu will be exhausted after playing for close to 5 hours and he’s also playing doubles. The mere knowledge of beating a top 10 player will have Lu’s head swimming and he wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the match. However, he could do the unthinkable and beat the Joker. Nothing’s a given. I never tholught Roddick would lose to Lu today considering their past meetings.
Blah: I remember that match Lu played vs. Nalby, and was shocked to see Nalby struggling against him considering Nalby was better in every aspect of the sport. Upsets do happen so it’s nothing new …..

Mindy Says:


Regarding your comment on the other blog on June 27 @ 8:15 am, you don’t need to explain anything. I had my say and that’s the end of it.

At least you had the decency to follow up with me and try to explain what you did and why. I appreciate it. I am pleased that Rafa’s knee is better! I am also happy with him taking the MTO to address the issue in a timely manner. Rafa has learned that he can no longer push himself beyond the boundaries. If people must trash him, then I guess that is the price that has to be paid for him to do what is necessary to stay healthy, continue to play and remain in the sport of tennis.

I know that I will never be able to reason with some people when it comes to Rafa. However, I don’t wish to paint all Fed fans with the same brush. I felt that it was necessary to speak up on behalf of Rafa. It is disconcerting to have to see a minority of people referring some Rafa fans as “obsessed”. I will defend Rafa right to the ground when I feel he is being character assassinated or unfairly attacked. I wanted to have my voice heard, that’s all.

The other issue I want to address is this incessant generalization that Rafa always calls for MTO’s when he is losing. That is patently absurd and untrue.


I thought you were better than to throw out that type of accusation. Here are some “facts” for you to think about –

At last year’s US Open, Rafa called for at least two MTO’s in his third round match with Almagro, to treat an abdominal tear. He was never behind in that match and won in straight sets.

Again, at last year’s US Open, Rafa had to take an MTO when he aggravated his abdominal tear in his quarterfinal match with Fernando Gonzales. He had already won the first set. Play was suspended for the night due to rain when Rafa and Gonzales were in a tiebreak in the second set. When play resumed two days later, Rafa won the match in straight sets.

Finally, at last year’s US Open, Rafa was losing in straight sets to Delpo, obviously seriously hampered by the abdominal tear, yet he did not take any MTO in the match.

Before saying that Rafa “always” takes MTO’s when he is losing or that Rafa “always” does this or that, please make sure that the facts bear this out. You are talking about someone who played Rotterdam in 2009 in the finals with a knee injury that rendered him virtually forced to play on one leg. He lost. At the time, Murray paid tribute to him by saying that Rafa on one leg was better than anyone else.

In the 2009 AO final, Rafa had some problems in the third set. Despite having only one day’s rest after playing the longest semifinal match in the tournament’s history, all he did was call for the trainer to massage his right leg. He did not take any MTO. That was it for the entire match.

At Madrid in 2009, in his semifinal match with Djoko, Rafa never called any MTO, even though we now know that he was struggling with tendonitis, taking oral anti-inflammatories and infiltrations.

At Rg in 2009, in that now famous fourth round match with Sod, Rafa did not call for any MTO, even though he know that he was struggling with tendinitis and subsequently withdrew from Wimbledon.

I could go check out Rafa’s matches through the years, but as far as I am concerned, unless someone is the most rabid, venomous Rafa hater, the point has been made. I think it’s time to set this whole false issue to rest once and for all.

I notice that no one had anything to say about Mathieu taking his MTO when Rafa was just rolling over him in today’s match. Does this mean that he wasn’t using “gamesmanship” here? I heard that Nole had to take a MTO in his match with Hewitt. Is anyone here questioning his motives for doing so? Was he accused of “gamesmanship” or trying to sabotage Hewitt’s chances of winning?

I see people saying that everyone has to play by the rules. I agree. Let’s also apply the same standards and judgments to ALL players, shall we? I do not subscribe to Rafa being held to a special standard, which then allows a few disgruntled anti-Rafans to continuously repeat the same endless misrepresentations and blatant distortions and lies.

Seth Says:

Though Soderling had a tougher than expected tussle with Ferrer, I still think he’s likely to feast on Rafa’s mid-court shots and rain down the rockets on him. He’s exactly the kind of player that’s been troubling Nadal this tournament, except better than the guys who couldn’t quite pull it off. Sod in four.

Eric Says:

Seth, you are right, but I think you have to also consider that Nadal is likely going to be able to elevate his game under pressure from Soderling (whom he dismantled in Paris a few weeks ago). It will definitely be an interesting match. I hope this Robin can pull it off.

mem Says:

Mindy, amen,amen! i commend you on your boldness! your comments are to the point and absolutely spot on! great job!

skeezerweezer Says:


I know your post wasn’t directed at me but I hope you don’t mind me chimin in. I was not involved in the “gamesmenship” conversation. Speaking as a “tennis fan” and not a “fed fan” in this post may I indulge you and say this;

Your post was remarkably well done. It was a good read. Great research and fact finding was done to justify your points. Do I agree? Some points, not others. Am I grading you? No! and if I was? I know you wouldn’t care, ha! :). My point is you used words and facts to justify your position and I admire you for that.

I especially liked your last paragraph, that we “also apply the same standards and judgments to ALL players, shall we?”


Dan Martin Says:

I feel for Andy. I got choked up for Andy after last year’s final and I am a Federer guy. I was pulling for him to take the whole thing this year.

Voicemale1 Says:

The Shock – Roddick: played too safe and paid the price. Lu had a ton of spaces to hit in to all day long. Like he was waiting for him to “give it” to him. Most impressive was the sheer courage Lu showed to keep hanging in there.

The Yawn – Federer/Tsonga: has looked great in the last two rounds. But then again he should have, given that he’s faced two guys actually OLDER than him, and neither with any weapons to hurt him. Tsonga ran poor Benneteau silly, and has played quietly well through the whole event.

The Fortunate – Murray: making the most of a light draw. Querry might have had a chance on any court but this one, where the bone dry weather has sped up the court to its yesteryear speeds..and is keeping the ball extremely low. Lotsa bending down for Sam – not pretty.

The Lucky – Soderling: Ferrer had the match in his hands, frustrating The Sod to the extent he cracked a racquet losing his break lead in the 2nd. It’s the thing about The Sod. He has just one game with one gear: Go For Winners. And thats it. Sometimes it works and his results are great (2 French Finals) and sometimes it doesn’t (the 4 first-match losses this year).

The Resolute, Sort Of – Berdych/Djokovic: Tomas rescued his match with a lot of brave play when he was perilously close to losing both the 3rd AND 4th Sets. The Djoke, STILL struggling with “the heat” as we were told (yeah..the legendary blistering British Heat); but credit him for an excusing himself from the court to hurl..or..well..whatever. He gutted himself through while gutting himself in a Best of Five match … again.

The Redeemed, Sort Of: Nadal. Playing tennis like the last two five setters never happened, even though his wallet’s now $2,000 lighter – the price tag of the coaching fine (which was wholly appropriate). He took Paul Herni to “Le Woodshed”. The Nadal Return was at least two steps up from what it was in his last two matches. It was the difference in straight sets vs. four sets.

The QF’s: Berdych has many more weapons to use than Clement and Melzer combined. But a Return Game isn’t one of them. The match will turn on how well and how bravely Berdych holds his serve. And the more Tomas can blast shots hard to Federer’s Forehand, jerking him wide and leaving him with lots of rotating out of that corner and keep away from the Slice, he’ll find more openings that way. If not, Fed strolls into the SF’s.

The Djoke-Lu; Think Novak’s happy Roddick’s gone?? Yep!! After all of his dramas, maladies, kvetching, hurling, gasping and every other chronicled dilemma he’s got his best chance to get to a SF at a Major in years. And wouldn’t it be hilarious that, after all of his dreck, HE’S the one who ends up derailing Federer’s Quest For Number Seven? But Lu – wow. Can he really put up back-to-back gutsy performances????

Murray Tsonga: The first test for AM, and he’s lost to Tsonga at a Major before (Australian 2008). Tsonga has the better Serve and Forehand, Murray the Return and various junkballing techniques. If Jo-Willy has a good serving day with a too-strong Forehand, he could junkdrawer Murray’s….junk.

The Sod-Nadal: The scene of the crime that started the bad blood between these two. The real key to this match will be the Nadal Return. It can undermine the total plan of The Sod, and he’ll be left bewildered that his heat isn’t hot enough. He’ll have to blast Nadal off the court, and it’s possible. But The Sod’s not much of a mover, and especially not so compared to Nadal. It’s far more important for Soderling to win the first set than it is for Nadal. But if the new World #1 Returns Serves like he did today..well, let’s just say Nadal can do what Ferrer can do, only a fair bit better.

blank Says:


That was very interesting and insightful. Keep it coming!

dari Says:

Voicemale! Quality and Fun post. I feel like I now have a comfortable view of today’s events and the ones to come on Wednesday! Thanks for enjoyable post!
I’m rooting for Murray, love tomas, but I really want fed to put that Berd in his cage, cannot wait to see this match.
On the edge of my seat for nadal/sod, not as much for djok/lu.
Outta commission for Tuesday’s matches, going straight to Wednesday!
Goooo tennis!

Mindy Says:


I appreciate your kind words. I did forget to include one comment. I started to write my thought when I said that I did not want to paint all Fed fans with the same brush.

I think there are reasonable Fed fans here who at least respect Rafa. They don’t have to like him the way I do. I respect Fed and that will never change. There are a few people here, who are most definitely in the minority, that seem determined to continue the relentless assault on Rafa’s character. I can’t change that. I have said what I needed to say. I could have gone back further to dig up more examples about Rafa, but there comes a point when enough is enough.

I understand about the issue of taking too long between points. That is an honest criticism of Rafa. I think he is trying to play quicker and stay within the allotted time. It is something that needs to correct. Despite what some here may think, I don’t believe that Rafa is above honest criticism. He is not a God or perfect, no one is.

If some wish to believe that the knees are an excuse, a phantom injury that appears when it’s convenient, then there is nothing I can do about it. However, I have seen Rafa play too many times in pain to doubt him.

You don’t have to agree with me. I look forward to hearing your honest opinions. You can even grade me! :) I do have a sense of humor, although I haven’t displayed it here.

The one last comment I want to make is that I think the comments about Mirka Federer were completely and totally unwarranted and inappropriate. Criticize the players if you must, but for the sake of decency, leave out their wives, children and families! They do not deserve to be insulted! Mirka Federer seems to be a perfectly charming, lovely, devoted wife and mother. I say – leave her alone!

sar Says:

I heard that Nole had to take a MTO in his match with Hewitt. Is anyone here questioning his motives for doing so?

Mindy, many have questioned it. He was up 2 sets and a game when he did do it. I’m just glad he hurled and got back into it.

jane Says:

blah, OH, that’s who Lu is! I remember when Nalby was upset.

Mindy, very good post @ 10:01 with lots of sound examples to back up your points.

VM1, enjoyed your take on things, summing up the day and looking forward. Nice read.

zola Says:

Did anyone watch the Roddick -Lu match? I was following Rafa’s . So I did not see the match. I thought Lu must have played terrific. he was always ahead.

Now reading Roddick’s interview it seems it was an off day for Roddick as well. I am really sorry for him and for his fans here. I wanted him to win if it was not Rafa. He has been to the final so many times and he has been working so hard, that it is almost heartbreaking to see him go out so soon. Hopefully he will recover and will concentrate on the US Open.

I read that Djoko had to see the doctor and had a pill. So did Soderling. Both were for stomach problems I think.
I do not question their motives. Watching Djoko all these years, I think healthwise he is a bit fragile. He had problems in Serbia as well.

Rafa played better today. Partly because of PHM, who is not a big hitter. I think the match with Soderling will be very very difficult. RAfa has to concentrate really well and serve 200%!

as always, it is great to read your posts. About Rafa-Soderling, I think both players are trying to put the past behind. Hopefully that will happen.

zola Says:

great post at 10.01.

Congratulations to you for Djoko’s win. Hewitt was not an easy opponent.

Wimbledon Champ Says:

Too bad hewitt and Roddick lost. I like joker’s game better than nadal’s or muzza’s but his physical abilities make me wonder if he is training with jankovic or ivanovic. If he does not want to train with the guys atleast train with the williams sisters.

I hope someone slaps him silly to make him see some sense. He should thank his stars Roddick lost today, otherwise with another hot day on wednesday, it would be a repeat of 2009 AO all over again. He almost let this match slip like he did at AO and FO this year. Hewitt played his worst grass-court match of the season. If Hewitt was on his game like in Halle, Djokovic would have made a 3rd successive embarrassing exit.

Voicemale : really good analysis. except for joker’s match, the other 3 quarters can go either way. If joker has his runs/allergies, maybe that match will be interesting too. (if djokovic does his stupid dramatics again, it would be so annoying and irritating)

Seth Says:


Yes, Rafa dismantled Soderling in the FO final, but the surface I think makes all the difference. Rafa is nearly completely unbeatable on clay. Not so on grass, methinks.

Wimbledon Champ Says:

How cool would it be to have a Fed/joker and muzza/nadal semis?

Wimbledon proves again why it is called the World Cup of tennis. Watching tennis yesterday was like watching a full throttle action movie. the whole tournament so far has been packed with action. If there is one global event that can hold its own even against the Football World Cup, it has got to be Wimbledon. Good on the tennis players for making tennis fans proud. Great job guys.

tennisfansince76 Says:

well here we are in the quarters. despite all the turmoil from week 1 the draw held to form minus one andy roddick.

skeezerweezer Says:


As usual,

Instead of chimin in at an opportune time to pounce on someone for “something” you use it to post quality insightful stuff. Kudos to you and your IMO’s.

Seth Says:

“The Sod-Nadal: The scene of the crime that started the bad blood between these two. The real key to this match will be the Nadal Return. It can undermine the total plan of The Sod, and he’ll be left bewildered that his heat isn’t hot enough. He’ll have to blast Nadal off the court, and it’s possible. But The Sod’s not much of a mover, and especially not so compared to Nadal. It’s far more important for Soderling to win the first set than it is for Nadal. But if the new World #1 Returns Serves like he did today..well, let’s just say Nadal can do what Ferrer can do, only a fair bit better.”

Yes, Voicemale, but Ferrer hits a much flatter ball than Nadal. Nadal’s topspin bounces mid-court and straight up into Soderling’s hitting zone. On the much slower clay, Rafa’s superior movement and tactical acumen give him the major advantage. On grass, Sod will be licking his chops to tee off on those short, high-bouncing shots.

zola Says:


On grass Rafa plays more inside the baseline and targets the lines. He plays more with hos flat forehand and used the backhand and the slice a bit more.
It will be interesting to see how he will match up against Soderling. Soderling reminds me of NAlbandian, minus the angles!

Gregoire Gentil Says:

Those MTOs are ridiculous. How to know if the player really suffer or not? On a pain scale of 1 to 10, 1 of player X is perhaps 9 of player Y. For instance, 1 of Henin or Bartoli is probably 9 of Federer… You are free to replace X and Y by whom you love/hate!

What about getting a penalty of one game (on your serve especially at Wimbledon ;-)) if you take MTO. First, it would reduce the number of MTOs by 90%. Secondly, it doesn’t seem unfair to me. If a player is sick, (s)he is sick.

Wimbledon Champ Says:

nalbandian and soderling? that is the weirdest comparison i’ve heard. nalbandian cannot generate half the heat robin does. only thing they have in common is that when the mood takes them, they can beat anyone.

soderling has only plan A, while nalbandian is as smart as federer, murray or nadal on the court. nalbandian along with safin, federer, rios and gasquet are the 5 most talented players to step on a court in the last 15 years. There is nothing these guys cannot do on a tennis court. offense, defense, movement, they got it all (admittedly gasquet’s movement is not as great as the other 4….)

steve Says:

Soderling can do everything Haase and Petzschner did, but better. Whether he can beat Nadal is entirely dependent on whether he can execute over the course of five sets. It doesn’t have much to do with Nadal.

Ferrer returns better than Nadal. Federer once called him the best returner in the game, his returns are flatter and deeper. But he lacks the baseline consistency and movement of Nadal.

Nadal isn’t usually terribly aggressive on the return, he prefers to wear down his opponent over a long rally, rather than end it quickly. That’s how he rolls.

Mindy Says:


So what’s your point? I didn’t see the kind of insanity that went on here after Rafa took his MTO in his match with Petz! You would have thought that Rafa murdered someone, for heaven’s sake!

Are you saying that it can’t be gamesmanship when you are ahead? Then it’s okay? Okay, now I get it. The issue rests on the timing. If you are behind in a match, then no taking any MTO’s! Period! New rules! That’s certainly going to shake things up in the tournaments.

Here’s another “fact” – What about last year’s US Open final with Fed and Delpo? I am sure that everyone remembers the dustup that occurred when Delpo took an eternity to decide if he was going to challenge a call. Then he looked up to his box just to make sure. Finally, he decided to challenge it. However, Fed was standing there ready to serve the next point. The chair umpire allowed Delpo to challenge and all hell broke loose. That is about as mad as I have ever seen Fed and rightly so! Talk about gamesmanship! Talk about taking too much time! Talk about coaching!

What about last year’s Montreal final? Anyone remember that? Delpo ran out of gas in the third set because of the heat and humidity. Besides taking his sweet time on the changeovers, he kept calling for the trainer. I remember Murray being absolutely infuriated by it.

Want more? Let’s revisit this year’s AO, Delpo’s second round match with Blake. In the fifth set, when they had to serve it out, Delpo pulled something in his back and called for a MTO. They massaged his back and side and ribcage. Then every time before he had to serve, he had the trainer come out and massage him again. I don’t remember Blake being too pleased about it. That was when the match was on the line.

This could go on endlessly. There are some players who make an absolute joke out of the rules.

Wimbledon Champ Says:


i agree the MTOs are getting ridiculous. I would like to know how many times hewitt, roddick and Federer have taken MTOs in their career and check that up with murray, nadal, djokovic, del potro and other young guns. the atp is getting as pathetic as the WTA in this MTO drama.

i would say, allow MTO only after a set. or as you say game forfeit. I am positive these massages will reduce in number then. really what can one achieve in 3minutes, if the injury is serious enough to warrant a break. give them 10minutes and let them forfeit their service. We will see people use that service, only when it is warranted rather than abuse it.

skeezerweezer Says:

Rafa is for sure dealing with the knees issue. He is coming out now during the tourney, not after a tourney like before. It’s a fine line to be playing a tourney and say your hurt. It’s dog eats dog, and if the opponet smells blood they will attack. So when posters say excuses, excuses, although you are right in a sense, who is going to announce if they are going to play that “Just want to let my opponent know that I have Mono, or bad knee problems”? I mean, get real!

And for knowingly your playing hurst and taking MTO’s? Well, that is a valid question that the ATP needs to address.

This is really sad at his young age. If he continues on and wins Wimby, at what cost? IMO he should not be concerned about #1 ranking as it takes the grind of playing a lot of tourneys. What I would think concerns a Rafa, and his fans is health first, then his legacy and GS titles. Don’t play so many tourneys and gear towards the Slams like Fed does now. This seems to be serious stuff for him, and I wish him and his fans all the best.

IMO I did paid a lot of attention to is knee movement in his last match. When he didn’t have to run hard, his knee movement did not seem natural, stiff I may add. Am I a Dr? No! Just IMO. But when he had to move and run hard he did, at what cost? Thus the MTO?

I guess I am relating it too my back issues and competitive matches. Should I play with a bad back? no. When I am in a match however I will not go for shots unless I know it is worth the back pain to win the point, and then pay the price later. Will I do it to win? YES! Am I thinking about the long term? No! Is this a good long term strategy? NO. But it is hard to tell a competitor that. They can do it with a Chronic condition, but at what cost? Take care Rafa…….just sayin

Wimbledon Champ Says:

Steve @ 1:51

Good point about ferrer being a better returner than rafa. A lot of people claim nadal is as good a returner as federer, murray or hewitt. that is definitely not true. Nadal gets aced more and puts less serves in than the above 3. Hence his travails with players with good serve-games.

Federer is the guy who has least trouble of the above 4 against big servers. However federer strangely is conservative on his returns as opposed to his general attacking game. The reason I think is he started off in the fast playing conditions era, where most people were about the serve with a below par baseline game. once he got the ball back in play his superior baseline game gave him a better chance. unfortunately against players these days and federer’s baseline game off its peak, his conservative returns donot help him. moving ahead, i am sure he will have to be more aggressive with his returns like he did in the semi-finals and finals of Cincinnati 2009.

zola Says:

Nice post @2:08 am.
Surely it is very risky to let your opponent know you are injured or sick. I don’t think any player would want that.

Rafa said he had a special treatment on his left knee and will do the same on the right one. I don’t think he will risk his career to wim wimbledon. He did not play Wimbledon last year and retired from AO to avoid that.

Right now, seems he have the situation under control with some physio and anti inflammatories. Hopefully the knees will hold up.

About the MTO, I think a good way to avoid fake MTOs is to demand an examination by an ATP doctor right after the match and publishing the report . That way ATP can react to fake situations. But I don’t agree to let a person play 5 sets with pain and aggrevate an injury. Sometimes there are blisters that or heat stroke, …. watching players playing while having cramps is bad enough.

blah Says:

don’t forget grass is djoker’s worst surface and his serve can still disappear… almost got taken out by rochus, and had the whole roof thing help him. It would suck to lose to Melzer and Lu in Fo then Wimbledon though, he needs to stop losing to veterans/heavy underdogs

Wimbledon Champ Says:

Zola :

Have you read agassi’s Open? You still trust the ATP? I think a one game penalty will separate milk from water. Surely if you are so badly injured, one game is not a huge penalty to pay?

Blah: If djokovic loses to lu, he is dead to me :D I really dont mean that literally, but in a sports favorite dead kind of way.

skeezerweezer Says:

Thanks Zola

I agree good idea! :)

margot Says:

polo: so liked your post of yesterday at 2:11. I remember one such defining moment when a young Fed beat the mighty Sampras at Wimbledon, went on to lose to Henman(!) I seem to remember. It was such a defining moment.
voicemale1: love your posts, so knowledgeable, of course I don’t agree re Andy, “junk” indeed!
grendel: agree with you over coaching issue, it’s a no, no. Far more contentious is time issue, which is simply not dealt with.
jane: “mine” referred to nerves, not birthdays!

margot Says:

Hey Wimbledon champ: can’t remember Andy ever having an MTO.

zola Says:

Wimbledon Champ,
lol! we can have all these ideas. I don’t think the ATP would materialize any of them. But it is fun to discuss anyway.

a game is a huge penalty. why penalize someone because of a blister or pulled muscle or heat stroke? Many times a game can be the difference in the set or even the match. Look at today’s Roddick-Liu match.

And to answer your question, No, I do not trust ATP. But I can’t think that all the doctors are corrupt.

Maybe it can be more than one doctor. An independant examination. Something that people can see.

The other alternative that someome else had proposed ( sorry, don’t remember the name) was to have a trainer on the court that can attend to the players during changeovers. Much like the trainers for boxers.

what about bathroom breaks? If a player fakes injury to break the rythm of the opponent, wouldn’t it be easier if s/he just took a bathroom break? should they lose a game for that too?

guy Says:

wimbledon champ,

nadal is about on par or slightly better than ferrer and murray in returns and MUCH better than federer. go check the return stats for the last handful of years.
it’s actually a myth federer is one of the great returners. he’s barely in the top ten in some of the categories. that’s still very good, but not one of the best. nadal,murray,djoko,davyenko,ferrer, those guys have led the return stats for years.

if you need further proof that nadal is a better returner than fed, consider their matches. since fed has a much better serve than nadal, nadal has to return better than fed just to stay even. the fact that on fast courts their h2h is about even tells you all you need to know.

Huh Says:


I agree when you say Murray’s in a disadvantage due to his often passive game, that’s true and also fine with me, but you sometimes seem just too critical of Murray. I just dunno, but why Murray gets so much under your skin?

Huh Says:

Huh Says:


I can’t tell you about my disappointment right now, but I now you may be even far m ore disappointed than me! Believe me, the first person whom I though of after Rod’s defeat was you. But I was too upset to post anything about you, and was also uncontrollably angry to see the insult of Roddick and the Asians(here by racist remarks by the #####). So I thought I better stop posting for a while! Yesterday for me, is one of the forgettable days of my life. Hoping for our Rod to do better at USO than last year and someday, win a WIM title. Take care and please keep posting here. Miss you most.

Huh Says:

Skeeze, Polo, Aleish and co.:

Thanks tpo all of you for defending Rod, putting the ugly ones in their place and also for your kind words to me and insightful posts on this site.

Wimbledon Champ Says:

Guy :

I think federer did better than nadal on return of serve in 05, 06 and 07. in 2008, nadal did better and 2009, i am not sure, but federer might have done better. I think the statistics depend a lot on the general form of the player too.

murray and federer who have had a similar year, languish with similar numbers in this years RoS category. yet, at their best they are much better returners than players like montanes or verdasco who have better numbers than them.

It is a bit like saying nadal is a better player than federer because he is no.1 now. While that is true for the time-being, nadal is way down the ladder in the absolute sense.

Historically, federer has had no problem dealing big servers, actually you could make a case that he enjoys playing the big servers. not the case for nadal. big serving, big swinging guys are trouble for nadal.

as for federer and nadal, out of the top 10, 8 are right handers 2 are lefties. over the decade, name a lefty GS winner other than nadal? sounds like nadal’s lefty serve though meek, gives him a huge advantage in terms of serve-return, which right handers do not enjoy. federer every year, plays hardly 5 matches against the lefty spin, nadal plays atleast 60 right hand spin matches.

here is the question :

big serving dude on a fast court, who would you play against him? peak rafa or peak federer?. you might answer rafa, but if you conduct a poll on tennis experts, an overwhelming % will choose Roger.

Wimbledon Champ Says:


i am sure the atp is not in any hurry to make changes, but as you say fun to discuss. blisters and pulled muscle? now you have me thinking….


that is great to know. good on him. i hope djokovic learns from him or nadal and stops confusing a tennis match for a soap opera.

Huh Says:


Agree with you that Fed’s return is probably the most under-rated aspect of his game apart from his mental element. BTW, I have posted, in the previous thread, a few posts to you giving you thanks for the great courage and fighting quality you displayed to give some much-warranted verbal chastisement to the dirty-minded and foul-mouthed racist Cindy. Kudos to you for being a nice poster. And did I mention I’d always be grateful to you for defending Rod in the befitting manner from the brutish Cindy! Thank you, thank you and kudos to you! :P

Huh Says:

And one more thing that I have always thought like WIM CHAMP is that people often tend to forget that when you are really trying to rate the standard of Federer returns, you can’t and must not do it looking at the post-07 period. If at all you want to know as to how capable Fed really is, you need to consider his brilliant returning from his peak time. Fed’s returns these days are nowhere close to what they used to be from 04-07.

Huh Says:

“Finally, my hope is to put an end to two horse race (Fed and Nadal) in Tennis. It’s getting too boring with all Grand slams won by those two. Young guns need to step up..
Go Murry / Djoker / Soderling…”

Same feelings here CKR, indeed true.


Huh Says:

“I hope someone slaps him silly to make him see some sense. He should thank his stars Roddick lost today, otherwise with another hot day on wednesday, it would be a repeat of 2009 AO all over again. He almost let this match slip like he did at AO and FO this year. Hewitt played his worst grass-court match of the season. If Hewitt was on his game like in Halle, Djokovic would have made a 3rd successive embarrassing exit.”

Agree with most of what you said here WIM CHAMP, particularly the part where you said Hewitt was far from his best. It’s true.

Huh Says:

Wim Champ says:

“soderling has only plan A, while nalbandian is as smart as federer, murray or nadal on the court. nalbandian along with safin, federer, rios and gasquet are the 5 most talented players to step on a court in the last 15 years. There is nothing these guys cannot do on a tennis court. offense, defense, movement, they got it all (admittedly gasquet’s movement is not as great as the other 4….)”


Huh Says:

Mrs. Von:

I don’t think Wim Champ was referring to Roddick as some one who relies on the coach box during a match. That’s he included Rod in the category of Fed and Hewitt. I think so. Particularly coz Wim Champ is really vocal in defeding Roddick against Cindy. Seems like WIM CHAMP very much likes Roddick! :)

Huh Says:


This is what WIM CHAMP said in a previous thread:

“That Justine, nadal and most players other than federer, hewitt and maybe roddick rely too much on their box is just sad.”

I think his using “other than federer, hewitt and maybe roddick rely too much on their box” is the key! He doesn’t seem to include Rod among those who take on-court coaching during match. Would like to hear from you if I am wrong here, as Eng is definitely not my first language.

Take Care Mrs.Von. I am always waiting for your insightful and unbiased posts, I enjoy them the most.

Huh Says:



Thomas Says:

everyone who thinks that nadal has a better return of serve than Nadal is stupid. The only reason Nadals return GAME is good is becoz his baseline game is so good. But if you are talking about the return of serve,that one single shot,its one of the worst in the top 10 right now.(2nd worst after tsonga imo.)

Nims Says:

Only guys who are capable of beating Nadal in grass are the ones who have big server and volley. Ripping the court without coming to net against Nadal is suicidal. Soderling does not seem to come to net enough to beat Nadal.

Dory Says:

My prediction:
RF vs Djoker
Murray vs Nadal (yeah Soderling will lose)

RF vs Murray
Winner: I won’t say that. That’s too tough to predict.

Wimbledon Champ Says:

thanks for the nice words, huh!

Polo Says:

AS regards medical time outs, I find them incredibly infuriating and should be done away with. I have heard players say they just want to have something checked before it gets worse and sometimes, nothing is even wrong at all. Therefore, any player could just call for a MTO at any time if they “think” something is wrong. There is no way to tell if the MTO is legitimate or not. There is so much room there for gamesmanship. I don’t blame the players for using it to full advantage, fishy or otherwise, because the ATP allows it. To avoid this, MTO should no longer be allowed. If you get injured, tough luck. All you deserve is a stretcher to carry you off the court and have proper medical attention.

grendel Says:

First game Clijsters/Zvonereva – very high quality. Jankovic threw in the white towel – injury my right ear lobe – but this match will be keenly contested, beautiful tennis.

Polo Says:

I am interested in following the career of Soderling. I noticed that whoever beats Federer in a major event since he became number one(except for Nadal)suffers a terrible fate that prevents them from making further progress, e.g., del Potro’s wrist injury after the US Open and Djokovic’s sudden behavioral change after the Australian. Coincidences, of course, but something I would like to keep track of.

Polo Says:

Ladies Day at Wimbledon. Hmmm…I have a lot of time to do more productive things today. Talk to you all tomorrow.

Kimmi Says:

zvonareva is playing well, giving kim a run for her money here

Kimmi Says:

venus is broken..hmmm

grendel Says:

Eric – if I might reply to your post on other thread. I don’t think Serena Williams was criticising Federer as such over hawkeye – she was, rather wittily, drawing attention to a certain irony in Fed’s position. I can’t see what’s wrong with that.

Margot, your ability to be succinct might well go unnoticed – but I am amazed how you do it. It’s very clever in an undemonstrative kind of way.


steve Says:
Soderling can do everything Haase and Petzschner did, but better.
…except for serve and volley. Petzschner was serve and volleying a lot on 1st serve. I haven’t seen anyone do that against Nadal in recent memory except Dr Ivo. Haase was also throwing in some serve and volley to try and keep Nadal off balance similar to what Roddick did in Miami. It’s effective because a good deep return against someone on the baseline is a sitter volley for a serve and volleyer. Conversely, a nice return that drops at the serve and volleyer’s feet is actually a short ball for a server who stays at the baseline. The returner is going to make more errors if he has to alternate between different styles of return. Nadal won’t have to worry about this against the Sod. He just needs to get the return deep enough to prevent the Sod from crushing winners.


Thomas Says:
The only reason Nadals return GAME is good is becoz his baseline game is so good.

Good point. You can’t look at the % of return games that Nadal has won and deduce that he has the best return because he has one of the highest percentages. It’s the dominance of his baseline game once he gets in the point that makes him so successful. I’m not saying his return is bad. On clay I think it is one of the best.

Let’s look at % of service games won. Nadal is in 3rd place at 89% so that must mean he has the 3rd best serve in tennis right? His serve must be better than Fed, Isner, Berdych, and Querrey because his % of service games won is higher. When you watch Nadal serve you can see it is not better than any of these guys, but his ground game is the best and that is why is % of service games won is so high.

Thomas Says:

exactly. What Nadal does is simply get the ball back into play,and then go for the kill later on in the point with his forehand or backhand. Also,Nadal’s heavy topspin forehand wears opponents down,thus causing them to serve weaker as the match goes on and making it easier for him to break. Its why he struggles against big servers on faster surfaces. When he tries to get the ball back into play,it either goes out or he drpos it into the middle of the court-thus all the big server has to do is bomb a forehand to win the point. Therefore his superior baseline game doesnt count for much as the rallies are so so short when it happens-this is where nadals relatively weak return of serve gets exposed.

Kimmi Says:

Pironkova..who is this girl? good for her. never did i think she would cause an upset. ranked 82?

wow! great to see. she played smart tennis. love the Fh slice.

meanwhile kim in trouble with zvonareva. anothe upset coming?

Eskay Says:

Rafa’s return of service looks good when he plays ordinary baseliners, but not so good against serve-volleyers or big hitters. His return is consistent on forehand, clearing net by lot of margin, but not good on the backhand, slice or top spin. Muzza took full advantage of that at A.O and will do so again if they were to meet at Wimby. Roger is good returning big servers because of his anticipation and standing nearer the baseline. He depends on putting the ball back in play rather than doing something dramatic. Big servers will hit number of aces past Rafa but same serves will not get past the racquet of Roger. Roger hit almost double the aces when he played Roddick in last year’s finals.

guy Says:


roger hits more aces than roddick because roddick is such a poor returner, not because roger is a better returner than rafa.
the return stats don’t lie when you look at them over the entire season. fed fans can’t seem to accept that he isn’t the best at everything.

guy Says:

you cannot seperate returning ability from baseline play. saying rafa is only good at returning because of his groundplay is idiotic.

as a returner your job is to win the point. sometimes you’re aggressive up front, sometimes you chip it in and win the point from there.

noone does just one of the other it depends on the serve you get.

if someone has better statistics on their return games they are a better returner plain and simple.

conclusion: nadal is one of the best returners in the game. federer is not.

this argument has years worth of statistics to back it up. the opposing argument is based on people worshipping federer and wanting him to be the best. in other words, it has no basis.

Kimmi Says:

hahaha i saw this on BBC. Both Roddick and venus lost to a world No. 82. lol

Huh Says:

“Polo Says:
I am interested in following the career of Soderling. I noticed that whoever beats Federer in a major event since he became number one(except for Nadal)suffers a terrible fate that prevents them from making further progress, e.g., del Potro’s wrist injury after the US Open and Djokovic’s sudden behavioral change after the Australian. Coincidences, of course, but something I would like to keep track of.”

Polo! Please don’t freak me out! :)

grendel Says:

oh, dear, Clijsters. One of those days when she’s off in la-la land. Hope the dreams are good, anyway. But Zvonerova is a worthy semi-finalist, shld she make it. if only she had a bit more power.

Eskay Says:

Thanks for the feed back. I respect your opinion as regards return of service, but not about the fan clan – as far as I am concerned.

Kimmi Says:

zvonareva wins..she is playing the best i have seen her play for a while.

but venus defeat was crazy.

well, thats is wimbledon for you.

guy Says:

the analogy to the service game stats is flawed.

of course nadal wins a lot of service games because of his groundgame and the high stat isn’t an indication of his serve [although it often is btw]

however the serve is ONE shot. it helps you win your service points but you can overcome a weakness in it with other skills.

the return of serve is NOT ONE SHOT. it is the ability to win the point on somebody’s serve, a culmination of shots. it is not about hitting clean winners off the serve.
it is about winning the point and 90% of the time it takes a RALLY to do this.

therefore if somebody has great serve stats they either have a great serve or an average serve and great play.

but if someone has great return stats, they have a great ability to WIN POINTS WHILE RETURNING SERVE.
that is by definition a…wait for it…

great return of serve.

Thomas Says:

“the return of serve is NOT ONE SHOT. it is the ability to win the point on somebody’s serve, a culmination of shots”

i disagree. The return of serve is ONE shot. The overall ability to win the point on soembody’s serve is the return GAME.

guy Says:

2 screamers down, one to go….

if na beats serena, we might actually have some class in the women’s final this year. wouldn’t that be nice.

of course venus will say she played ‘badly’ because she made errors. they live in a fantasy land where you can play high risk all the time and never make errors. high risk style comes at a price. the williams’ never got their head around that.
they get away with it most of the time because people don’t make them play enough, or they can’t return enough serves.

i remember pironkova beat her at the oz long time ago and she had the silliest forehand i’ve ever seen back then.

Polo Says:

Huh Says. “Polo! Please don’t freak me out!”.

Huh, nobody can freak you out more that Cindy_Brady. I wonder if she has noticed that aside from you also being Wimbledon Champ, that I am you, too. And everybody in this blog is actually all you!

Anyway, in spite of all those comments by Cindy_Brady, I think she is starting to grow on me. I find her posts quite humorous. One thing she is definitely not is pretentious. And if you follow her thread, she is quite consistent. She keeps everybody’s mind sharp and snappy. Hahaha!

Wimbledon Champ Says:

” this argument has years worth of statistics to back it up. ”

years worth of statistics? federer did better than nadal on the return statistics in 05,06 and 07. nadal did better in 08.

As far as i know 3 is greater than 1 unless they teach you differently at planet rafa.

Wimbledon Champ Says:

oh yeah! Return of Serve is one shot. else you are talking about return game.

guy Says:


that’s just pedantics

and there is no way to compare the ‘one shot’ return of serve between players, unless you simply count the number of return winners which doesn’t happen enough to make it relevant.

therefore how will you ever know whether they’ve won the point with that ‘one’ return shot or the rally following it?

that’s why they give stats on the return points won. and that’s all that matters anyway.

serving power on the other hand, you can separate. you can see easily by speed,aces,unreturnables and service winners, who has the best serves. so you can distinguish between serving ability and ability to win service games.

this is impossible with returning, to distinguish between the one shot you speak of and general returning ability. there are too many variables.

grendel Says:

Li Na and Serena Williams exchanging broad smiles before coming onto court – rather unusual. Spot of tennis, chaps? Actually, it’s a match I look forward to. I saw Li Na overwhelm Sharapova in preWimby tourney, and I think she could make a match of it with Serena.

guy says:”the return of serve is NOT ONE SHOT. it is the ability to win the point on somebody’s serve, a culmination of shots. it is not about hitting clean winners off the serve.
it is about winning the point and 90% of the time it takes a RALLY to do this.”

Actually, this is not remotely so clear cut as guy thinks. Of course it is partly about “hitting clean winners off the serve”. Also, though, and more importantly (agreed) is that the great return sets up a situation which allows the returner to assume dominant role. However, it is quite possible to make an ordinary return which the server is unable to capitalise on, so the returner proceeds to win the rally. In this situation, his winning the rally owes nothing to an excellent return of serve. It’s as if there are two rallies within the rally – a not infrequent situation, especially with Nadal.

Into which of the latter two categories does Nadal mainly fall? I don’t know precisely. I do know though that for guy to just slam people who disagree with him as deluded Fed fans is not only silly, it suggests that he is labouring under the very wishful thinking he accuses others of.

And b.t.w., Federer is deceptive. Sometimes he is a great returner, sometimes he is ordinary, sometimes he is woeful. These things are just not cut and dried.

Thomas Says:

actually,you are wrong. The “one shot return”can be compared,as you can see how many balls they get back into play,and how much damage they do. Currently,Ferrer and Murray are the best returners and Agassi is the best returner ever imo.

Wimbledon Champ Says:

again, the return of serve statistics atp has does not give you the complete picture. you cannot pull the statistics today and say nadal is a better returner than murray, federer and hewitt. even nadal will laugh at you if you say that to his face.

Eskay Says:

It appears Rafa has to change grip quite a lot from forehand to backhand on return of serve, perhaps his grip is extreme western. Roger is able to do that more quickly since his grip is not that extreme. But this is just my conjecture.

Wimbledon Champ Says:

” I do know though that for guy to just slam people who disagree with him as deluded Fed fans is not only silly, it suggests that he is labouring under the very wishful thinking he accuses others of. ”

Very well said Grendel. It is very easy to just type conclusion and whatever suits you. I think if you are arguing, commonsense says that you should let the opponent tell you, you have won the argument. you just do not jump on to the dais and grab the trophy and say, i have won the argument.

dc Says:

I’m sure all of you have made excuses of being sick and skipped work.
I’m sure your female partners have made excuses of having a headache and skipped work..

So does Nadal.

He;s just like you and me and everyone else.
So if you have problem with his MTO..look in the mirror first.

guy Says:

wimbledon champ,

i’m not sure where you get your stats from but here from the atp website

nadal, 2005
“Led ATP circuit in three of four return of serve categories – points won returning first serve (37%), points won returning second serve (57%) and return games won (38%)”

i can’t find stats for 06 07 and perhaps fed did beat him but i find that doubtful considering nadal also had better return stats in 08, 09 and has better return stats this year too. we can safely assume he will complete the year with better stats, so i’d say that makes it

5,2 nadal’s way at least. probably more.

and i’d say nadal dominating the last three years satisfies my argument, which isn’t coming from planet rafa, just from rational inquiry.

guy Says:

* or 4-2 nadal’s way at least


guy Says:
you cannot seperate returning ability from baseline play. saying rafa is only good at returning because of his groundplay is idiotic.
Ha ha. Now that’s the ‘guy’ I like to read on this board. Fed and Rafa have different strengths in their return of serve that I have detailed many times on this board so I’m not going to rehash them or argue that one is better than the other. There is no stat that only measures the return of serve so you are right that it can’t be separated from baseline play at least in a statistical fashion so why would you say that his returns are the best based on a statistic that includes much more than just the return? You have a subjective opinion like the rest of us. Keep in mind that Nadal’s % of return games won will be lower by the end of the year when you have all the hard court/indoor return games factored into the percentages.

To be clear we are talking about return of serve, the 1st shot hit off of the opponents serve. Sometimes it’s unclear what is meant when someone says “return game”. Are you talking about return of serve or everything used to win a game off your opponent’s serve? There is no statistic for just the return of serve. You can only come to conclusions through observation of the player returning against different servers and on different surfaces.

One additional point I would like to make is after the return of serve you end up on the defensive more than when you are serving and I would argue that Nadal is the best defender in the game. He has the ability to overcome a substandard return better than anyone and often does.

grendel Says:

Li Na quietly outplaying Serena, who stays in the set only because of her unique serve, she’s 40-0 up and cruising towards a tie break – and then freezes. Two double faults, a nonsense volley – and the set’s over. It’s annoying when the mind plays such a dominant role in a match – you want it to be just about tennis skills, or at least I do.

guy Says:

dear grendel,

if somebody claims a player is better than another player in a certain category without facts to back it up, it is by definition wishful thinking and i will point it out, which i do by supplying evidence not by ‘slamming’ people.

if fed fans want to say fed is a more succesful hard court player than nadal or anyone else,that is an argument you can back up with facts and that’s well and good.

but if people want to claim federer is better than other players in aspects of the game he is clearly not, that its just fandom.

my point is, just because fed’s game has proved the best overall when all the pieces come together, it doesn’t mean he is the best at everything. yet that’s the kind of mythology that tends to circulate.


At least I’m not aware of any of the following statistics:

% of 1st serve returns put in play
% of 2nd serve returns put in play
# of winners hit off 1st serve returns
# of winners hit off 2nd serve returns
# of aces against

Showing stats about % of return points or games won does not measure just the return of serve.

Eskay Says:

Nadal might be the best defender but Muzza is not far behind. Of course, Nadal has added more winners to his game, is one of the best turning defence into offence. Now a days, one sees him serving more aces and also first serves much faster than he used to do about six months ago. His game appears to be improving.

mat4 Says:

Patrick Mouratoglou’s analysis of the Hewitt-Djokovic match is quite interesting. I think it will be translated tomorrow on uk eurosport (it is here:, in french).

Basically, he says that Djoko has tactically played wise: slices in the middle that Hewitt couldn’t hit the way he wanted, to open the court, and high balls with a lot of spin on Hewitt backhand, to displace the opponent. He also says that he worries about Djoko’s serve.

Sorry for my bad english.


guy Says:
my point is, just because fed’s game has proved the best overall when all the pieces come together, it doesn’t mean he is the best at everything. yet that’s the kind of mythology that tends to circulate.

guy Says:

‘There is no statistic for just the return of serve. You can only come to conclusions through observation of the player returning against different servers and on different surfaces.’

i agree and that’s why it is impossible to really make a proper analysis. it tends to come down to what people think or would like to be the case.

so it is pointless somebody saying fed has a better return stroke or nadal has a better return stroke or whatever. which stroke? the chip off a wide serve? the block from the forehand, the angle backhand, the down the line clocker from a second serve, the safe looper….etc.
all that counts is what adds up in the end.

you can only look at how well they do in return games. that’s it. that’s why i say nadal has a better return game, it adds up to more return games won.

why are people arguing this?
sure fed has a great chip return, can lace forehands on second serves etc. but in the end, when the games are counted, nadal wins more return games. why is this so hard for people to accept?

Gannu Says:

Sincerely i think wimbledon committee should simply handover the trophy to Serena now..I mean its going to be so boring.. players are struggling to take a set from her!!!! Really boring and disgusting women’s tennis… Miss the days of Graf and Monica love dthat rivalry


Ok ‘guy’ we can agree that Nadal has a better “return game” based off those stats of winning the most return points and games as long as we are not saying these stats mean he has the best return of serve.

Eric Says:

Stats just aren’t that great of a reflection of someone’s game in tennis. First serve % is the only stat that reflects solely one player’s ability — everything else is a reflection of a particular matchup in a particular match. E.g., categorizing something as a “winner” or “unforced error” is subjective and based on the opponent. The exact same shot in the same court situation might be a winner against joe shmo, but Nadal is going to get to it and return it, because that’s how he wins matches – by making absurd returns. And you can’t have great return stats if your opponent also has great serve stats. It’s a zero-sum game. Qualitative observations are more useful!

(Also, Serena serves like a man and doesn’t make many UEs, so of course she wins most of her sets.)

Tennis Ace Says:

“I would say that one theory why Federer didn’t look his old self at first was that he had a thigh injury that he’d tried to conceal but the strapping gave it away. When finally asked he said he had it since Halle. He doesn’t like to mention his injuries, so it’s never possible to know just what a factor they are. He also said he doesn’t want to take MTOs, in stark contrast to many other players.”

This is a reader’s comment from a NY Times blog by Geoff Mcdonald. Worth sharing.

margot Says:

grendel: what a very nice compliment, thanks. Actually I’m just about to be less succinct than usual but I hope you’ll forgive me as its not my own words: from Robert Kitson, today’s Guardian so apt and funny, I thought you’d enjoy this too,
“The world cup? Sorry mate didn’t know it was still on…..the first signs of Murray-mania are now discernible. When it comes to incurable optimism in the face of recurring failure the British are world class…….Are we instinctively a nation of “Waity Katies” endlessly sitting around awaiting the great leap forwards? Maybe it would be better…(to recommend) re-naming this country Regular Britain to avoid further misunderstanding……Good luck Andy and stay away from newspapers if you possibly can. Rest assured the nation is right behind you and dream on. The only thing the British hate more than abject sporting failure is poverty of the imagination.”
Makes you want to laugh and cry, doesn’t it?
Moving on, but looking back- congratulations Dan Martin, do hope you are going to name your son after the next Wimbledon champ, after all Andrew is a darling name isn’t it?….

Von Says:

“margot Says:
Hey Wimbledon champ: can’t remember Andy ever having an MTO.”

He did, margot. It was during the time he was being coached by Gilbert. His wrist got injured while playing a match, I believe on clay in Hamburg. I remember seeing him in pain and Gilbert in the stands just shaking his head as though in disgust. Andy, subsequently retired from the match and was out for a couple of months with that wrist injury.

Huh: Gotcha with respect to Wimbledon Champ. I re-read the post and realized that I missed the important words which changed the whole complexion of his post. My apologies to Wimbledon Champ – R.

Von Says:

Polo: Ahso, I gotcha re Cindy Brady. LOL.

Charlzz Says:

@VM1 Djokovic reached the semis of the US Open last year, so he has reached a semi rather recently.

sar Says:

So what’s your point?

My point is that people always make a stink about Nole’s MTOs even though he hasn’t had one in a long time. At least this time he was ahead in sets.Good to see at his presser that he doesn’t give a damn anymore about what people say. Good attitude finally. I don’t mind MTO’s BTW. It’s legal. As J McEnroe said earlier this week about Nole, “Everything he has ever done has been within the rules. If people don’t like it, change the rules.” PS, I like Rafa and if my guy doesn’t make it I hope for a Fed Nadal final.

If djokovic loses to lu, he is dead to me

Wimbledon Champ, Lu is a formidable opponent, he beat Roddick didn’t he?

margot Says:

von: cheers for that but I think it’s a bit different if you then retire from the match. Was that 2007, cos that was a disaster for Andy?
Loved Andy R’s answers in the face of idiotic questions BTW. How do they expect him to fell, grrr! Listened to an interview with Andy M and he was asked the same question about 3 times.

margot Says:

aahh, “feel” not “fell” obviously!

Voicemale1 Says:

Huh Says:
“I agree when you say Murray’s in a disadvantage due to his often passive game, that’s true and also fine with me, but you sometimes seem just too critical of Murray. I just dunno, but why Murray gets so much under your skin?”


How you deduce I have a personal animus to Murray is a mystery to me.

Is this in reference to junk balling as a description? He is a junk baller, there’s no question about that. When your game is about changing spins and speeds from shot to shot within a rally, that’s the definition of “junk balling”. Others like Michael Chang and Fabrice Santoro are the same. Accomplished for, but junkers no doubt.

Murray has a good First Serve but a really vulnerable Second Serve. He has a terrific backhand, but a backhand by and large is still primarily a defensive shot. It’s always going to be hard for Murray to win 7 Best of Five Set Matches at a Major for one reason: his Forehand is his weakest shot. It’s just too tough to keep Counterpunching your way to a Major Championship, let alone a bunch of them, when you don’t have a Forehand that you can fire up to crush everybody. Again, since Murray Came back fully from his wrist injury he’s lost in Majors to the following players who have a better Serve or Forehand (or both) since 2008: Tsonga, Almagro, Nadal, Federer, Verdasco, Gonzalez, Roddick, Cilic, Federer and Berdych. He’s always going to have to wait for a host of these guys to lose to him with a lot of errors. That’s a dicey proposition. But as a Counterpuncher, he’s going to be at the mercy of any player with one (or two) far more powerful shots than he’s got.

Not personal, just kinda true. He’s probably a real nice guy :)

margot Says:

voivemale1: he’s been working on his forehand and its much better, honest! Did you see Querry match?


What I want to know is how in the world are Chela/Schwank in the semifinals of the doubles? They just beat Llodra/Benneteau in straight sets.

Skeezerweezer Says:

@guy & Nelta,

Nice read u two :)


The schedule has been set

13:00 – Centre court:
Fed/Berdy followed by Murray/Tsonga

13:00 – Court 1
Djokovic/Lu followed by Nadal/Soderling


I thought this was interesting


When asked by The Guardian newspaper, an All England Club spokesman said: “Does serve-and-volley really exist anymore on the circuit? There has been no change in the preparation of the court or its set-up. It’s been pretty hot and the top gets baked so the ball can bounce a bit higher. There’s also been no change in the compression of the ball since 1995, when there was a 2% change. It may be a perception thing. Atmosphere can be a factor, modern racket technology can affect the ball, there are many factors that make getting into the net more difficult. So it is nothing to do with court condition.”

andrea Says:

oh man. clijsters is out? hoping for her to make it…but regardless, there will be at least one player on the women’s side to make it to a GS final this year. pretty cool to see that.

the mathiu match was not a good gauge for nadal at this stage in the tournament. a straight sets win was pretty inevitable. nadal has been challenged with the big servers and he’s got one of those next.

who knows about the knees? could be good or bad. i imagine they don’t want to talk too much about it (the nadal camp that is) because otherwise it becomes out of control. but tendinitis is something that comes back, so highly probable that more issues will occur.

re: nadal being fined. it seems that there has been an on-going issue (whether accurate or not) about this and so, i can’t really find fault if an ump decides to do something about it. nadal should consider himself lucky, because there are untold hundreds of times where he has violated the between points time rule and not been called on it.

if lu can push novak for 5 sets i think he has a real chance. novak continuously breaks down in longer GS matches. if hewitt had hung around for a fifth set, he may have won that match.

and although i’m not a fan of roddick, i can still sympathize for him. given his game play, this is a tournament that he could have won over the years. that being said, relying on a big bomber serve when your other strokes don’t measure up, will come back and bite you in the a**.

but still amazing that his serve was never broken until the final game…testament to the bombs he rains down…and total bummer that that one break ended the match for him.

Fot Says:

Wow guys! I need to stand up and give you ALL a big standing ovation! You all have really contributed some great post today! No name calling, back bickering, back-stabbing at all! Just a real good tennis discussion!!! All of you need to pat yourselves on the back! Great job!

The quote of the day that I read here:
“Thomas Says:
everyone who thinks that nadal has a better return of serve than Nadal is stupid”. lol!

Now Thomas, I think we knew what you meant to say, but I just thought that was funny – the way it was originally written!

On the matches today. I didn’t see the Venus result coming at all! Didn’t really see the Kimmy result but that wasn’t the shock of seeing Venus go out. It goes to show you that on any given day – anyone can lose. Man, that SF streak by Roger really should be in perspective now seeing how all these upsets can happen.

Tomorrow’s match – Boy, as a Federer fan I am really, really worried about Berdych. He got my attention when he beat Roger at the Athens Olympic game! And now he comes in on a winning streak against Roger! I hope Roger’s up on his toes, and game tomorrow!

On Djokovic’s match. It depends on how his health holds up. Many people are saying they are worried about Nadal, well one thing I see – Nadal seems to be able to play with pain a little better than Djokovic. When Djokovic gets sick or hurt, you just expect a retirement (sorry jane)…but it has happened a lot so if Djokovic is still having ‘phusical problems’, it might be a really ‘interesting’ match tomorrow. Of course Lu has to come down off his cloud 9 and get back ready for this match.

For the Murray match – Unless Tsonga plays like he did way back in AO when he got to the finals, then this will probably be a really comfortable match for Murray. If Tsonga is ‘on fire’, he could win it.

For the last Match: I think it depends on the serving of Soderling. If he gets a lot of ‘free points’ and control his UFEs, he will have a shot. I still wouldn’t put it past Nadal to win this match though. It’s interesting about Soderling though. Last year’s French Open, in the QF he won against Rafa and lost in the finals to Roger. This year and the French Open, in the QF he won against Roger and lost in the finals to Roger. In this Wimbledon in the QF, he’s playing Rafa. (Results…to be continued)

Von Says:

Polo: Especially for you, since it’s your main pet peeve with respect to the WTA. It appears as though you’ve got company in that regard. Remember, there’s strength in numbers, so add your little or big voice. LOL.

Since the WTA obviously won’t do anything to stem the tide of screaming by the top women, maybe you can use your clout and get your media friends to do something about it. It is so annoying that I find it unbearable to watch (listen) to their matches. Therefore, I’ve decided to boycott Venus, Serena and Maria Sharapova. I hope others will join me. Maybe if the media find their ratings drop during those matches they will at least turn down the mikes. Give me a rerun of Justine and Kim any day.
— K. Stafford, Concord, N.C.

Read more:

Fot Says:

uh..that should be “and lost in the finals to Rafa”…

Von Says:

Fot: “Wow guys! I need to stand up and give you ALL a big standing ovation! You all have really contributed some great post today! No name calling, back bickering, back-stabbing at all! Just a real good tennis discussion!!! All of you need to pat yourselves on the back! Great job!”

The mission and/or purpose of blogs/forums/topics, et al on the internet is to air one’s views whether it be bickering, back stabbing and name calling. However, the key to defelecting those posts you don’t like, is to ignore, walk away, remain quiet, and/or turn a blind eye. Having crosed eyes is very helpful. LOL.

Von Says:

I don’t think Djokovic has anything to worry about with respect to Lu. Roddick helped Djokovic out tremendously by using up Lu’s energy reserves. Added to that, Lu is/was playing doubles, and I’m assuming that at this time, he’s only running on fumes. Therefore, the Djoker will win — he’s got it made in the shade, draw and all.

Dory Says:

DAMN IT! I wanted to watch the Murray and Nadal matches live and complete. Could have done with RF’s and Djoker’s recorded matches as they will come through. Time to use the little feedback link at the bottom of the Wimbledon website hoping next year scheduling is better.

montecarlo Says:

Solely going by what happened last year-

RG R4- Soderling bt Top seed Nadal
RG Final- 2nd seeded Federer bt Soderling
Wimbledon R4 2nd seeded Federer bt Soderling
Wimbledon final 2nd seeded Federer Wins

This year is bound to be-

RG QF- Soderling bt Top seed Federer
RG Final- 2nd seeded Nadal bt Soderling
Wimbledon QF- 2nd seeded Nadal bt Soderling
Wimbledon Final- 2nd seed Nadal wins

Huh Says:

The WTA is the misfortune of the game of tennis. Shameful state of WTA is this, I feel. It’s unbelievable how ordinary tennis the girls are playing at the moment! :( :/

Not even Venus is able to beat a nobody on grass and loses in straight sets. Sigh. :(

Actually looking at the sorry state of affairs of women’s tennis, I think all the Serena haters(which I am not) or the non fans(which of course I am) must commend the effort put by Serena and her consistency at slams. Thank God, there’s at least one dominating and champion and MEGA-FIGHTER like Serena in women’s side, otherwise God knows, nobody would have bothered to give even whatever little attention is being given to lady’s tennis in the recent times! So I think I’ve no other option but to wish Serena success and luck at this WIM and the tournaments following. Serena’s the only saving grace of women, but that’s not enough, hope it improves and the shameless and useless lower ranked journeywomen learn some fighting qualities from Serena. If the other women are able to put up even 20-50% of the effort that Serena puts into each of her matches, then it’s obvious that women’s tennis can become much more interesting than it is at present.

So I am again gonna repeat what I have always advocated:
i.e., for the sake of goodness, please please and please cut down women’s salary to 50% or below!!!
But I would like to make only one exception here, that’s IMO only Serena deserves to be awarded cash like men coz she always gives her best in each match and her opponent always has to earn the win against her! Her commitment at slams is highly praiseworthy. And she even works the hardest, though she’s able to hide it under her seemingly care-free, almost over-confident and even kinda arrogant outer shell while appearing in press and in public.

And the first women in WTA who must come under the crackdown in terms of reduction of prize money in comparison to men are drama queens like Jankovic!

madmax Says:

Federer will bring his A game tomorrow. I dont know why people worry at this stage of the game.

This is the second week of wimbledon, where, as a fan, I expect roger federer to up the gears and everything should start clicking. It hinges on how well he is serving, (in part). We know his movement is better than good at this stage, in fact it’s excellent.

We know he has the variety of shots and so why shouldn’t he win in straight sets tomorrow?

Referring to this, In round 1, Roger’s first serves were at 59%, round 2, 70%, round 3, 65%. R4, he had 100% of his first serves in (in the second set).

Fed’s serve overall is averaging around 130MPH, which is pretty good, considering one of the big bombers, soderling’s fastest serve was in round 1, serving at 140MPH.

Even though it is sometimes discussed that it is all about speed, I really think that Federer is the best out there in terms of placement on serve. His opponent never knows where he is serving. He is brilliant here. He should be no different tomorrow.

C’moon Federer!

Kimmi Says:

“Fed’s serve overall is averaging around 130MPH”

madmax – fed is not averaging that. never. he can hit one or two first serves at 130mph though.

At wimbledon site, in all his matches this year, he average between 117 – 119 mph.

Actually his fastest serve is 129mph.

Obviously federer is a fav in this match but It was also so clear he would beat soderling at the FO, but he lost. So you never know, especially now berdych was able to beat him recently so he will come with some confidence that he can do it again.



Fed’s average 1st serve speed so far is (119 + 117 + 119 + 118) / 4 matches = 118.25 mph

Fed’s fastest serve so far in the tournament was 131 mph in the Bozo match, but he doesn’t crack 130 mph as consistently as Soda.


Thanks Kimmi. I didn’t see your post in time.

Kimmi Says:

thanks NELTA.

You are right, fastest was 131 not 129 as I mentioned above :-)

he needs to serve well tomorrow for sure

Duro Says:

Kimmimmissimmo! Did you get it now? I left you an answer there.

Duro Says:

Hi, Maxi.

Kimmi Says:

aaaaah durooossimmmo, I get it now.

Big mountains to climb, don’t you think? but there is a posibility. Your qtr final opponent is managable and then semi hmmmm, you have been very lucky so far, you might get lucky again and play the berdy..who knows.

But lets wait and see. I was there at the AO, you didn’t. So lets see whose fault will be at wimbledon

Duro Says:

Kimmi, there’s no small Grand Slam mountain!

I don’t need Berdy. Let it be as it has to.

Still, your chances are bigger. See you soon. Gotta get some sleeping now. Cheers.

sheila Says:

soderling doesnt have the “tennis balls” to win nadal. nadal will take him. i just hope federer is last man standing, although berdych is a really, really, really, big threat, as is djokovic. i would love 2c a murray/fedeer final w/federer winning. i can dream anyway!!!!

jane Says:

Fot, no need to add the “sorry jane” to your posts; I like Djoko warts and all, and I am fully aware of his drama and health issues. C’est la vie, and hoping they one day dissipate.

I hope all the top guys prevail tomorrow: Murray, Rafa, Fed and Nole. I think it’ll make for some spitfire tennis in the semis, and I may be home in time to watch the finals on the big screen.

Cheers all – some great posts here as always. margot, grendel is 100% correct; you are a master (or better, mistress) of succinctness. Love your posts. Keep them coming. : )

Clay Says:

I wanted to watch Roddick’s postmatch interview, but had a slightly difficlut time locating it. Looks like the Wimbledon folks might have omitted it due to Andy’s surly attitude. Anyway, finally found it here:

madmax Says:


I knew that I had checked my facts right and Fed had served 131 mph. That is a great serve and even though he may not be as consistent at serving this speed, there are few better servers out there in terms of placement. Always the Fed! Always.

Today, probably right about now (taking a break), the match will be on. Just believe Kimmi. Roger wants this and okay, so there may be a few tough moments, but I keep believing in him. He is a great champion. Hoping he goes on to win and gets into the SF’s.

Kimmi Says:

madmax – sorry :(

sar Says:

Sorry Max, I wanted Fed Nadal if my guy lost.

Top story: Djokovic Saves MPs In Thrilling 5-Set Win Over Federer In Wimbledon Final