Nadal Beats Murray, Meets Beckham at Wimbledon, Faces Berdych in Final
by Sean Randall | July 2nd, 2010
  • 98 Comments

Rafael Nadal is one mentally tough guy. After double faulting at 5-5 in the second tiebreak to put the second set on Andy Murray’s racquet, Nadal didn’t crumble, didn’t sulk and definitely didn’t go away. He seemed to get stronger. And in the end it was Nadal on top of Murray 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-4 to reach the Wimbledon finals for a fourth straight time.

On Sunday, Nadal will meet the big-blasting Czech Tomas Berdych who overpowered Novak Djokovic 6-3, 7-6(9), 6-3.

Both Djokovic and Murray have struggled coming into Wimbledon this year, and finally it showed against the better, more confident players.

What struck me most today was how composed Berdych was in his match and how well Nadal played. While Murray played aggressively, I felt Nadal played aggressively AND confidently on the bigger points. And that’s what did it. Incredible stuff.

Nadal now will be the heavy favorite against Berdych who will appear in his first career Grand Slam final. Nadal leads Tomas 7-3 in their head-to-head having won their last 6 meetings all in straight sets. And Nadal is playing well, especially after avenging his Australian Open loss today to Murray.

“When I play against him [Murray] I always see the match very, very difficult, because he makes the very difficult things very easy,” Nadal said. “So he has a good serve, and the movements are unbelievable from the baseline, no? He looks like he’s always at the way that you’re gonna play, so he’s very difficult. For that reason I think it’s one of the biggest victories in my career today.”

To his credit, I thought Murray played well and with the right intention. He wasn’t too defensive minded and I felt he was taking it too Rafa. But Nadal was just too strong a player on this day. I don’t think anyone could have beaten the Spaniard.

“I had chances in all of the sets,” Murray said who has yet to win a title on the year. “I haven’t seen the stats, but I would guess it was the difference of maybe five or six points in the match. Yeah, he just played better than me. But I’m disappointed because I had chances.”

But I still wonder about Murray. Today he went for his shots but still it wasn’t good enough. What Murray needs to do is maintain that mindset while getting better at it. It’s tough to be defensive one day and offensive the next and excel in both areas. Especially against the very best.

For Nadal, the guy went for it when it mattered the most. After that 5-5 double fault he crushed Murray’s next serve to immediately seize the point. That’s being mentally tough. There’s simply no letdown from Nadal in crunch time.

Afterward, Nadal met England’s football star David Beckham who was seated in the Royal Box for the match.

“I met him now just five minutes,” Nadal said. “But for me, what I admire a lot of him is when he’s on the stadium, he fight like the best of them, more than the rest.”

And fighting is something few players have ever done better than Nadal in tennis.

Nadal is now just three sets from his eighth career Grand Slam title which would tie him with past greats like Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl.

Speaking of Lendl, Berdych is trying to do something Lendl was never able to do: Win Wimbledon!

Berdych played one of his best matches I’ve seen from him, crisply and cleanly dispatching of Djokovic. Novak had won two prior meetings against Tomas, but today the resolve Berdych has found since that Federer win in Miami showed through again and again.

The big guy came up with clutch serves and he no longer donates flaky errors. And that makes him the force we saw today and on Wednesday in his stunner over Roger Federer.

“I felt, you know, quite tired since the morning, but then all of a sudden just came on court, feel great, and just win it in three sets,” Berdych said.

Berdych has long been called an underachiever, but he’s certainly well on his way to shedding that label after the results he’s had the past few months. And you have to feel happy for the guy. The talent has been evident, the execution has been lacking. And now it’s all coming together at the perfect time.

“Well, I mean, right now it’s great feeling so far,” Berdych said. “I’m just trying to be enjoying the victory of today. You know, I think I will try to do the same as I did after Roger. So, you know, today just be thinking about today’s match, and since tomorrow, just leave it on side and just get ready for the finals. I’m still not done yet here. One more to go.”

And so it is, one more match to go.


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98 Comments for Nadal Beats Murray, Meets Beckham at Wimbledon, Faces Berdych in Final

Thangs Says:

Brilliant Rafa! I have been reading all victory articles….One more solid performance would make him in elight 8 club…Vamos Rafa!

7000 points in 3 months span…Incredible!


kamret Says:

I think guys like Berdich, Soderling and Del Potro are way better than Murray and Djokovic and deserve more credit than the latter. Murray and Djokovic have been given too much attention and credit in recent years but they really haven’t achieved anything really special (except for that 1 Australian Open title from Djokovic 2.5 years ago). When I think of the top 5 players in the world, I think of Nadal, Federer, Soderling, Berdich and Del Potro. (Too bad Del Potro is injured right now but we all know what he is capable of.) These guys play with guts. Djokovic and Murray don’t. They are chockers.


Wade Says:

@Thangs
Wow can’t believe that, don’t even think the great Roger Federer has picked up that many points in such a very very short span.

It’s gonna be tough for Rafa if Berdych plays well but experience is gonna show for Rafa.

I predict Rafa in 4- Berdych gets 1st set.

VAMOS RAFA!!!!!!!!


jane Says:

Congrats to Rafa and Berdy (again).

Commiserations margot!! Not home yet but on the way. I’d say Berd has a SLIM chance versus “this” Rafa. He’s not number 1 for nothing. Take heart; one day our guys’ll win a first/second slam. For certain. I hope! Gulp! : )


contador Says:

it’s rafa in 1 or 2 tight sets, then the 3rd he’ll roll berdych.

i’ll be cheering for the bird.

GO BERDY!!!


Boomba Says:

Berdych has bigger chance than Nadal to win next match. It is sure his momentum to bring the trophy.


contador Says:

hope you are right Boomba. it would be so cool if berdy could pull off the upset.

but….

i think it would be easier for berdych to stop a speeding train than stop rafa from winning his 2nd wimbledon.


kimberly Says:

Rafa should be able to hold on to his number one ranking at least thru USO.


skeezerweezer Says:

Contador @ 7:56 pm post

I am on board with you on the 3 sets. There is some sentiment up here that Bird is playing really well since he beat Fed and Nole therefore it will be difficult for Rafa. I say hogwash. There not takin into account that Rafa is playing like a Beast right now of 2008, he IS #1 in the world for a reason, and this is Bird’s First GS Final. Bird could have already have played his best tennis. We’ll see.

I can see Bird given him a tussle after he gets settled in but by then it will be too late.


grendel Says:

” he [Berdych] no longer donates flaky errors”. That’s not quite right. He let Djokovic back in when serving for the second set, and Djokovic then started to play really good, even breathtaking tennis. Berdych held his nerve, though, which was encouraging. A work in progress, on the mental front, not the finished item yet. Got a feeling he will win a slam at some point. Not tomorrow, however, unfortunately.


contador Says:

i wonder about nole and muzza. maybe both still have some residual mental trauma after losing to federer in GS’s and see winning against an in-form rafa as a similar losing experience and just aren’t up for it.

not forgetting that nole has a GS and he has appeared at times to be a #1, potentially.

i remember novak saying something about being born at the wrong time. or maybe that was roddick. or both ??? none will beat rafa in a GS with that attitude.

i dunno. disappointing loss today for both. : (

both of them gear up mentally and physically for US Open. c’mon!

maybe soda pop can add some arsenal to his game. we’ll see.

i’m already looking past this sunday to summer hc.

delpo, how i miss you!


zola Says:

Kimberly,
why through US Open? Who is going to challenge No 1 from Rafa ?

I think if RAfa can win tomorrow, he should be safe till the end of the year as he does not have many points to defend.


contador Says:

hahaha

exactly, Skeezerweezer. take note people: rafa is more beast than in 2008.

i don’t remember him ever having such a madal look. the lip curling snarl, the “take that” you fool swagger. ; )


zola Says:

There is an article by Tim Henman on Andy Murray, saying whatever people say or do, he will not feel good. He (from experience) write how disappointing it is to lose at home.

Yet, Andy Murray was so classy in his post match conference.

I liked Andy after his 2007 AO match with Rafa. He came out and praised Rafa and said that he would learn from that defeat. Meanwhile he had played so well that Rafa had to beat him in 5 sets, risking a lower back injury.

It is hard for Murray (and Djoko too) to constantly hit againt the wall with Rafa and Federer ahead. But that is what Rafa did for 5 years. But Andy needs to stay positive and keep trying. His GS win shall come and hopefully very soon.


contador Says:

i’m watching my dvr recording of the demolition of muzza right now. as much as i can stand, anyway.

it’s enough to convince me of who wins on sunday.

berdych is powerful enough but not fast enough. berdych is faster and has more shots than soderling but i doubt the score will be much different than the FO final.


jatt Says:

skeezer,contador,

Even if you read rafas interview today, he has seen berdych entire semis and i think he knows what he has to do..3 straight sets..i guess same story as french..

i just hope berdych somehow pulls a win..”somehow”…:)


dari Says:

Couldn’t watch all of the murray/rafa match, but saw the whole berdych/djoko.
Rafa is just bangin right now.
Murray played fine, not good enough.
Those who say Berdych’s tennis is just big shots and boring, i don’t buy it. The drop shot that Djoko thought would work on a big guy didn’t work, and berd moves quite well with a little variety in shots. his defense is not bad either, and turns it around to offense with great angles and deep shots.
It will be a tough road to beat rafa, but i think it will be a closer match than the murray/rafa one today.
ON a larger note, somebody’s gotta come up as the next rival to rafa. as exciting as his tennis is, it will soon become boring if no one is challenging him in the next few years. Fed’s put in his work on that front, who will be next?
Get well, juan martin! Buen suerte, Berdy.


zola Says:

dari

Djoko, Murray, Roddick and Delpo are still here. So is Federer. Every player goes through good and bad patches. if their path crosses Rafa’s at the right time, they can have their chances.

Rafa is at this position because of all the hard work he put to improve his game. Others did too, ( like Murray, Roddick ) and now they see a reason not to stop.


dari Says:

yeah, when did rafa get that terrible lip snarl? that damn crooked smile, uggghhhh. ive got to turn off this disdain that is brewing for rafa. it never was like this before, maybe i’m just mixing this feeling with fed not dominating so much anymore and it just turns to…
i’ll just be the more positive type instead of the hater. roger federer ought to win a couple more slams.
berdych ought to pull a wild miracle and win his first grand slam sunday. it would be so strange to see someone new with the trophy!
I was thinking out loud about whom roger conquered for his six wimbledon champs after phillipousis, and by golly its just roddick and rafa.


Kimmi Says:

like all the others here i agree, its looking more and more like this wimbledon is for rafa to take home. what a perfomance today..

but still hoping for berdy to give us a good match. very impressive he is now realising his talent. people have talked about that talent since he beat roger at 2004 olympics. now at 24 things are starting to click.

Good luck for tomorrow berdy, it was unexpected great perfomance from him to beat federer and now djoko…convincingly.

Go get ‘em..


grendel Says:

Dari says:
“Those who say Berdych’s tennis is just big shots and boring, i don’t buy it. The drop shot that Djoko thought would work on a big guy didn’t work, and berd moves quite well with a little variety in shots. his defense is not bad either, and turns it around to offense with great angles and deep shots.”

Absolutely! The Bird may be Nadal’s most dangerous opponent at US, with delPo absent. Tomorrow wll be a learning experience.
Time to snore.


zola Says:

grendel

***
Absolutely! The Bird may be Nadal’s most dangerous opponent at US, with delPo absent. Tomorrow wll be a learning experience.
Time to snore.
***

and yet you criticize Rafa for saying Berdych is a difficult opponent?


Kimmi Says:

Is delpo the only player among current players who reached his first GS final and win it?

that feat is now looking more and more difficult.

oh, I think federer did it too, the moment he reached his first final at wimbledon he won it. maybe roddick as well?

just thinking loud about berdy chances tomorrow. lol


contador Says:

on the same page, jatt.

yeah, dari

the contorted face thing nadal does has not always been there. ( neither was the pants pulling tick back in 2004 from what i’ve watched of nadal on you tube ) the face thing though, it’s almost like he has some road rage going on. i can’t watch him for very long anymore. he’s not a bit “cute” on court, imo. it’s working for him, must admit.

i think rafa’s mom even commented that her son was unrecognizable to her when he steps onto the court.

rafa looks stocky, he’s so beefed up. murray can beat nadal on hc. the question is: can he beat nadal in a GS on hc.

i’m not giving up on my favorite sport. somebody will show up with a game and enough goods, fearless goods to take it to nadal and beat him. maybe not this year but for sure next year!


contador Says:

beckham is TOO good looking. they keep showing him


Kimmi Says:

contador – never give up..yes. the more he wins every tornament, you will learn to adore him :-)


contador Says:

muzza’z returns were dam good and crisp. nadal purely out muscles him.

has to be discouraging. i thought the same when watching nole.
nole has such speed, great returner and powerful groundies.

berdych had the better serve and out powered nole.

imo


contador Says:

kimmi-

who do u mean i am gonna love? hahahahaa


contador Says:

the more who wins every tournament? : O


contador Says:

in love with EG, for sure but i doubt he beats THIS nadal i am watching.

unless ernie is somewhere beefing up right now and working his butt off! submitting his mind to hypnotism on a regular basis to become a tennis junkie like rafa and roger

: ) * on my knees praying*


Kimmi Says:

i mean rafa. the more he wins every tornament, he will be the only one to watch. hence you will slowly start to loooove him :-) no?


dari Says:

I LOVE TENNIS AND TENNIS X!


zola Says:

Kimmi
***
Is delpo the only player among current players who reached his first GS final and win it?

that feat is now looking more and more difficult.
***

No. Djoko did it in AO 2008.

But Djoko had already several ATP master titles. So he was almost there. I think Berdych has one or two.


Kimmi Says:

no zola, djokovic first final way USO 2007. he lost to federer in straights. you see, not so many.


zola Says:

contador

**the contorted face thing nadal does has not always been there. ( neither was the pants pulling tick back in 2004 from what i’ve watched of nadal on you tube ) the face thing though, it’s almost like he has some road rage going on. i can’t watch him for very long anymore. he’s not a bit “cute” on court, imo. it’s working for him, must admit.***

You have to watch Rafa’s early matches. His first match with Federer in IW 2004 or his match with Moya 2003 ( I think). The pant pulling was there from the very beginning and so was his facial expressions.


zola Says:

Kimmi,
you are right!


contador Says:

LOL!

no kimmi.

i have a ton of faves but nadal isn’t one. you know me. : )

i like muzza’s backhand slice….a lot. i wish he would have won, dam that nadal is just too ….nadal.


contador Says:

really? how far do i go back to see when it started….hahahaaa

just curious, zola : )

youtube link please?

murray could beat nadal. he got too frustrated with himself. he has to go zen


zola Says:

contador,
I think you are secretly in love with Rafa! admit it!


contador Says:

he’s like jim carrey in “the mask”


contador Says:

hahahaa, yeah right,

doesn’t rafa already has enough in love with him? can’t i be off the hook, zola? pleeeeze?


contador Says:

and the british crowd needed to get drunk and wild or something, like the night crowd at the US Open….or ozzies at ozzie open any time of day, lol…..


Kimmi Says:

i think when you reach the semi and final at wimbledon the courts grip at the baseline is almost like clay. thats why rafa can move soo well.

i think i also read one of his interview admitting this.

the early matches are when he is vulnerable. we were able to see some not so great play from him earlier. right?

So, good advice to players. beat rafa before round 16 at wimbledon. after that just give him the trophy..no? me, thinking loud again.

poor muzza had to play him on the semi :-) well, i am still with muzza. USO this year he will have a shot. i have a good feeling.


MonkeyMuffins Says:

To Kimmi and Zola:

“Is delpo the only player among current players who reached his first GS final and win it?”

Don’t forget The King of Clay!

From Wikipedia:

“On his 19th birthday, Nadal defeated Federer in the 2005 French Open semifinals, being one of the only four players who defeated the top seeded (sic) that year (along with Marat Safin, Richard Gasquet and David Nalbandian). Two days later, he defeated Mariano Puerta in the final, becoming only the third male player to win the French Open on his first attempt since Mats Wilander in 1982 and Gustavo Kuerten in 1997. He also became the first teenager to win a Grand Slam singles title since Pete Sampras won the 1990 US Open at age 19.”

As for Sunday, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a nail-biting five-setter.

Go Rafa!


contador Says:

kimmi, i am watching the whole nadal semi! un-freakin-believable…it’s cos murray actually played a respectable match. murray needs to hone that first serve and stay out of the rallies!

berdy? you watching? gotta have an ace fest to win wimby. k?

zola, you are so right about 2004. now i am all nostalgic for the federer ponytail year(s) too. federer cut the ponytail in 2005, right? and started wearing tighter shirts, i think.

i know everyone has seen this vid. no pants plucking back, way back but rafa looks the same : )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JP5hzYkbU0s


TejuZ Says:

Great play by both berdych and rafa. It should be thrilling finals just like the last 3 years at wimby or even the last years USOpen. Berdych can do a delpo here by beating both rafa and roger (even Djoko) to win his 1st slam.. Similar to Delpo, he is coming from a 5-set semi-final defeat at French Open, hungry to take that big step… and also facing the No 1 player in the finals against whom he has a 5-plus match losing streak. Another similarity is both are the same height 6′ 5″… One extra adv that Berdy has is that he has beaten Nadal convincingly before quite a few times, so he knows he has the game to do it.
Its time Nadal lost a GS final to someone other than Fed. Delpo was the first player (other than Rafa)to beat Fed in a GS final.

I like his forehand, its quite smooth.. just like Fed’s and he times it so sweetly.


Anna Says:

Contador – Your off the hook. Don’t need to push Rafa on anybody. Rafa has so many looks and they’re sure not all pretty, but I love everyone of them. I think the sneer and stalking were built into his game right along with everything else. Can you imagine a boy (16-18) playing among men. Believe it or not most of those types of behaviors are no longer part of Rafa’s game, but the tugging at the shorts goes way back. When I see Rafa sneer now I laugh uproariously. All men have a little bit of boy in them. I feel like I’ve lived and breathed every ache and pain with Nadal this last year, so these last three months have been more than redeeming. If Rafa wins on Sunday (and I believe he will) it will be much more than I could have hoped for. He is a champion extraordinaire!! And Contador, even though you don’t have alot of Rafa love, your not afraid to call a spade a spade.


dari Says:

UNRELATED QUESTION:
WHAT EXACTLY do ppl mean by the new balls please generation? I’ve always wondered when ppl use that reference and now I’m reading an old interview from 2001 and its asking roger about a marketing campaign by the tour and roger says “you mean the new balls, please?” And goes on talking about Hewitt, etc. Anyway what is this? Thank you!


contador Says:

Kimmi, you are right about the court and about when rafa is most vulnerable.

nobody is going to beat nadal at the FO or wimbles once he gets to a semi.

i think muzza is really playing well, uh, compared to how he was playing after AO and all spring. muzz and nole are going to have a good hc summer. i’m not sure about either of them winning US Open. maybe. watching murray here, i think he has as good a shot at stopping nadal as anybody at US open. he’s done it before, right?

TejuZ

good point about berdych’s height advantage similar to delpo’s. berdych is taller than soda and a little shorter than delpo but that 4 or 5 inches taller than roger and rafa can be an advantage.

couldn’t agree more about nadal losing in a GS final to someone other than fed and delpo beating fed (someone other than rafa )

that would be cool.

somehow i don’t believe berdych can do a delpo on nadal though, not at wimbledon.

hope i’m wrong.

c’mon berdy!


Golf is barely a Sport Says:

Nadal’s slow play irks me. He is mentally as tough as they come, but I rarely pull for him. He may go down as the greatest grinder of all time. I can see why people like him, but I for whatever reason do not like his brand of tennis. As a person he seems quite boyish for his age and seems to be grounded.


contador Says:

oh, hi Anna.

thanks, i thought i’d be off the hook. the line is looooong for rafa love.

yep. this is rafa’s time, Anna. you get to roll around and revel in it! i’ll endure it with you in mind. : ) this time for nadal was inevitable, his return to dominance. whether i like watching rafa’s style or not, the fact is that awful looking ( my opinion only ) forehand of rafa’s is a winner. and i may not like watching rafa’s service motion but he seems to be able to throw down an ace at the right moments, when it’s really important. i have to find something i like about his game cos i love tennis, so i marvel and appreciate his speed and footwork.

i am a federer fan. their styles are quite opposite. that’s all.

meanwhile, fed is in a phase. i think he has a slam left in him, maybe two. clearly, for now, federer losing matches bothers me more than it bothers him. okay. i’m adjusting.


sheila Says:

im rooting for berdych all the way, although its pretty doubtful. first time in a gs final the nerves are gonna get to him & nadal is not a beast, hes a machine with an ongoing battery. at this point, i c know one who can challenge nadal. federer has been criticized for yrs because he loses to him, but no one else has challenged him, except for del potro. nadal will be #1 for a very long time. no disrespect to nadal, hes a great player & seems like a really nice guy, but i sure hope he doesnt win more slams than federer. obviously im a federer fan


ron Says:

Is everyone posting here around 18 y.o.?


contador Says:

okay, i’ll bite.

why do you ask, ron?


margot Says:

conty: love your posts, they’re making me laugh a lot.
Andy had his chances but didn’t take them, end of.
I think he maybe has too much admiration/ respect for Rafa.
Said elsewhere Rafa’s mindset is amazing, every point from first to last played with such intensity, never believes he’ll lose. Where does such self belief come from?
zola: thanx for kind words, your man is unique.
von: thanx to you too. I have mental vision of us both on this roller coaster clutching sea sick pills.
Rafa in 3.


margot Says:

PS the Daily Telegraph is blaming David Beckham, calling him the “albatross” of British sport. LOL


Skeezerweezer Says:

Ron,

No your just 81 yrs old, thus your mis-judgement


WTF Says:

One thing really admirable about Nadal is that he never berates himself when frustrated. When he misses a shot on a big point, even an easy put away, he’ll show a little bit of disappointment, but then shake it off quickly and (mentally) move onto the next point. He won’t reflect back on missed opportunities. Not even if he had 3 break points in a row and squandered them all with errors. He’s so focused on the one-point-at-a-time mentality that he never allows anything to bother him. Murray on the other hand shows a lot more emotion when he misses a shot on a key moment.

Nadal shows emotion too, but only positive emotion, which is actually rare among players. Normally players who wear their heart on their sleeve and fire themself up when winning a point will also get down on themself when they miss and lose points, which is just as likely to hinder their game than it helps. Nadal is either not affected by negative emotion, or he suppresses it well.

Murray is the kind of player that lets a badly played point linger and affect him long after the point is over.

If there’s something I hate about watching Nadal though, it’s the time he takes between points. He wasn’t given any time violations because I don’t think he went over his 20 seconds, however he’s consistently coming close to it, taking 18 or 19 seconds. That in itself is legal, however if he does it between every point, it really slows things down even if he never goes over the 20 seconds.

In this match, Murray actually played really well. Nadal just stepped it up on the big points. Whenever he had chances on Murray’s serve (which was rare) he always took them. When Murray had chances, he didn’t. The one game which Murray broke serve was when Nadal hit 4 unforced errors in a row to drop serve to love. That was the opening game of the third set. Murray got the best start he could have asked for, and couldn’t hold onto his lead.

When Nadal double faulted in the tie break to hand Murray 6-5 with two serves to come, he played a very courageous point to save the first one, which is also what he did every time he was under pressure. He knew the task that had to be done, and he knew it would have to be on the next point or the set would be over — get the minibreak back immediately. And that’s what he did. Instead of panicking, he just rationally assessed what needed to be done how to do it, and came up with the goods. His mind is his greatest weapon.

In the end, he delivered the goods when he most needed to, and that was the difference today. He didn’t ask many questions of Murray, but when Murray had questions for him, he always came up with the answers.

Berdych will be tough, but I think Nadal will have the advantage of experience. Berdych seems to have put behind his choking habit, however, this will be his first major final, and you’d have to think the moment will get to him eventually. Nadal, as mentally tough as he is, crumbled in the 3rd and 4th set tiebreaks in 2008 against Federer after winning the first two. I expect the same to happen to Berdych. He will be overcome by the occasion, and will lack the belief that he is about to win a grand slam title.


Cindy_Brady Says:

I hope Nadal gets plenty of time violations just like Berdych unfairly did. Wimbledon clearly didn’t want him to win. Was trying to help Djokovic. Tried everything to throw Berdys game off. Nadal plays that lame stall game too often and gets away with it. Also cheating with fake Uncle Tony coaching from the sidelines.

His ridiculously expensive watch is puke worthy. Nadal has become a pretentious princess.

I’m predicting an easy 3 set crushing of the greasy Spaniard by Birdy.


zola Says:

contador,

I have seen that video. But thanks. You are right. He is the same boy , just twice the age!

WTF
the time between the points in the GSs is25 seconds. I can understand that it might bother you, but Andy Murray his opponent said he did not care. He is being more careful and trying to respect the time. I think the umpires can enforce it. But taking the allowed time is their right. Like having the rest between the games. Rafa runs a lot and needs to catch his breath and needs to concentrate. CArillo said his opponent don’t say anything because they need to catch their breath too. Anyway, seems like Rafa is getting quicker,

I agree about the pressure of the first final. but you never know. Berdych has lots of confidence now and Rafa has to play his best.


Seth Says:

I don’t give Berdych much of a chance, but perhaps my desire to see him lose is coloring my perception of his chances. However, I do think that Rafa is simply playing far too well at the moment to lose three sets on Sunday, no matter who the opponent is.

Berdych’s power-based game is just completely unappealing to me. If he never wins a major, that’d be fine by me.


jatt Says:

Contador..

I am with you on the fact that when delpo reached the us open finals, he had blasted through the QF, SEMIS..I mean his form was just awesome when he played roger..I cant say the same for Berdych..He is also playing gr8 tennis but not sure if i can compare with that delpo..it might be a question of how badly he wants to win because delpo had that sting in his head..berdych dont know ??


tennis coach Says:

Thomas stand no chance against Rafa. Rafa is playing his best tennis. Rafa in 3 sets.


Thomas Says:

The main question in the nadal vs berdyc match is not if berdych can win,but if he can control his nerves in his first slam final. I think that experience is often overrated.There have been countless first time finalists who have won grand slams-even against more experienced opponents. (like safin,delpot etc.) Nadal has been playing well-in particular against murray and soderling. But berdych will be a tougher opponent than either. Berydch moves far better,has more effortless and pure groundstrokes,and has more variety to his game than Soderling,and has more power and weapons than Murray. IF berdych can control his nerves,I like his chances. If not,Nadal will put him away. Heres how these two match up i think.
Forehand:Even
Backhand: Nadal
Serve:Berdych
Return:Berdych
Footspeed:Nadal
Net game: Minor advantage Nadal.


madmax Says:

Too much press pressure for Andy. Again. But I have to say he played a great game yesterday. It “could” have been so different. THAT tiebreaker where he had set point. Andy would benefit from a course in assertiveness mental training, this would help him with the big points. He must be feeling crap this morning. But no “poor” Andy. He has nothing to be ashamed of. A few points here and there “would” have made all the difference. He need not feel glum. No, no. rest now and get mentally fit for the hard court season.

Rafa played an excellent match yesterday and I for one, did not think there was too much between them, save for rafa taking more advantage of the “big points”, in the first set, murray had 14 winners to rafa’s 7, and that was a similar story throughout the match, just some key big points that propelled rafa forward. Rafa’s serving was not good yesterday, very poor, though andy’s was excellent overall.

Another day for him.

Men’s final is a foregone conclusion. Though Berdych has played the tournament of his life, he doesn’t have the movement because of his huge frame, power hitting is not enough to get past rafa, as soderling found out.


Henry Says:

Kimmie:

Current players who reached their first GS final and won it, include:
Hewitt (USO), Roger (Wimbledon), Roddick (USO), Rafa (FO 2005 on his FO debut!)and Juan Martin (USO).
Safin, who only retired last year did the same at the USO.
Can’t think of any others as both Ferrero and Moya were GS finalists prior to winning their first GS title.
Except Juan Martin (for now), all the above mentioned went on to claim the World No. 1 spot.

I am a Rafa guy but Tomas looks awfully good and confident right now.


Eskay Says:

It appears that there is an evolution of the new game. We had powerful serve and volleyers in nineties and we have great players mentally tough who construct points with great weapons at their command. But this game is likely to become anachronistic with tall players coming to the fore who can hit flat bombs on both the flanks. The more powerful racquets and bigger frame of the players will send court crafters to the edges and get ultimately edged out. There is more and more evidence of Delpos, Berdys, Sods, Isners, Querreys and the likes who believe in uninhibited hitting and their height is able to make a flat shot land within the lines. If this is the harbinger of things to come, physical game will take ascendance over the art and craft.


Tanya_Harding Says:

Maybe they shouold put a height limit on who can play, or at least handicap shorter players against taller ones.

They could use an inch spread formula and go from there. The more differential in height the more games or points for the shorter player to start the match.

This could be the solution:)


grendel Says:

Zola @9.37 – I reply on other thread. But of course, it’s a general point that I was mocking. Everything is always “very difficult”. Incidentally, I read Murray’s interview – of course he said time Nadal takes doesn’t bother him. under no circumstances was he going to come across as a “sore loser”. What might Andy have to say in private, and away from the hurly burly of a huge tourney? Who knows? But it is just not sensible to take public statements at face value. In any walk of life.


yy Says:

Any takers on which is more likely? Zvonareva beating Willams or Berdych beating Nadal?


Ike Says:

@ yy Says:

Any takers on which is more likely? Zvonareva beating Willams or Berdych beating Nadal?

I think both Vera and Tomas have same probability of winning, I am not sure about that number though :)
I will be rooting for both of them.


DH Says:

@Cindy-Brady

“greasy Spaniard”? Really?

This blog is supposed to be a healthy discussion of the wonderful sport of tennis.
Just because you don’t like a particular player does not give you the right to sling insults at them….and that one bordered on racism.


contador Says:

yes, something should be done account for the giants v more average height players. i dunno.

boxing separates them out by size

basketball mixes them all together, which works for a team.

as it is, the height difference in players makes me admire the successful and short even more. davy beating delpo was great. dolgopolov leaping in the air to hit about every shot is fun watching. if 6′ or under, they have to be such incredible athletes to make it to the top ten as davy has.

thanks margot. i was enthused watching muzza v rafa. enthused that muzza really did so well. at first i thought, why watch, this is match will be all about a showcase for rafa.

but muzza showed his talent. what frustrates me about nole and muzz is that they seem to have too much respect. nole showed that last US Open semi v federer. and andy against rafa, yesterday.

i don’t know if they can get over that, even if they get to a GS final can either of them go out there, morph into a snarling ( supremely confident ) beast and beat rafa? i say rafa because he appears to be near 2008 form.

i think either could beat federer in his present slump. i can also imagine fed dropping down in the rankings, lying low, media is off of him and players start taking it for granted he can be beat and bam! sneak attack slam win federer! : )

federer won’t go entirely away. it’s my opinion, he has other things trumping his complete focus on tennis, which is the way it should be. but he loves tennis too much and loves playing ‘his’ tennis. he’ll sort it all out and find his way back to winning a slam again. he’ll be an underdog when he does.

it’s a good enough story. i think.


grendel Says:

Serena is only 5ft 7 or something – but then look at her bulk. dunno if that tells any story – probably not, Serena is such a one off in all respects.


yy Says:

Looks like Serena in straight sets.


Cindy_Brady Says:

Give em all one serve in man’s tennis. That would neutralize the giant’s advantage. Good Good – Serena on her way to winning another one. Another generic Russian bites the dust.


contador Says:

grendal-

“serena is such a one off in all respects”

well said. : )

yes, bulk appears to help


contador Says:

sorry, ( typo )

‘grendel’


contador Says:

i think serena is 5’9 or 5’10.

she looks shorter.

c;mon vera


Cindy_Brady Says:

Strong black coffee always taste better when Serena plays.


yy Says:

bimbo question. who’s that blonde cutie in Zvonareva’s box?


margot Says:

Hi conty: just seen Serena massacre Vera, your heart bleeds for her but she’ll be back hopefully winning the doubles. Completely agree Andy has far TOO much respect for Rafa- player he loves to watch the most etc etc! Just had johnny mac talking about that 5 set defeat to Borg and he said it made him come back stronger so hopefully..
grendel: Serena is 5’9″. BTW have you seen Ollie Golding play. Really like that kid, he looks like a thug. Ace! Whereas Liam Brody looks like a darling fairy child. Nooo! However, DFC hit with both Rafa and Andy. ?


grendel Says:

margot – I caught just a little bit of Ollie Golding, and was impressed. Nice set of gnashers on him.


margot Says:

grendel: a bit like Andy’s! Good sign!


sar Says:

With regards to Murray’s loss: Like Madrid on clay, where Nole played his best tennis, it just wasn’t good enough to beat Rafa. I’m afraid this is what players might be seeing for awhile.


Seth Says:

@ Eskay

“It appears that there is an evolution of the new game. We had powerful serve and volleyers in nineties and we have great players mentally tough who construct points with great weapons at their command. But this game is likely to become anachronistic with tall players coming to the fore who can hit flat bombs on both the flanks. The more powerful racquets and bigger frame of the players will send court crafters to the edges and get ultimately edged out. There is more and more evidence of Delpos, Berdys, Sods, Isners, Querreys and the likes who believe in uninhibited hitting and their height is able to make a flat shot land within the lines. If this is the harbinger of things to come, physical game will take ascendance over the art and craft.”

Yep, and this is exactly what I personally don’t want to see the game become. It’s tempting me to think there should be a height limit in professional tennis. Of course, I don’t really believe in such arbitrary regulations, but it’s enough to make me think twice about it.


jane Says:

“I think guys like Berdich, Soderling and Del Potro are way better than Murray and Djokovic and deserve more credit than the latter. Murray and Djokovic have been given too much attention and credit in recent years but they really haven’t achieved anything really special ” – kamret

Well Berdy is certainly coming into his own now, and seems poised for a break through; Delpo had his breakthrough last year; and Soderling broke through last year too. Murray and Djoko had their breakthroughs a little earlier in 2007/08.

Djoko and Murray have remained consistently in the top four or five since 2007 and 2008 respectively. Djoko is the only player to have finished the year ranked third for 3 years in a row (behind Fed/Nadal of course) since Wilander in the 80s. Certainly, both have had their ups and downs. But if you look at their slam results this year, it’s not like they are *that* bad:

Djoko = QF, QF, SF
Murray = Final, R16, SF

Compared to

Berdych: R64, SF, F
Soda: R128, F, QF
Delpo: R16, Injured

The results are actually not way better for the guys in the latter group. All of them are top ten players for a reason (well Berdych will be top ten as of Monday I assume – not sure if Delpo will drop out of the top ten Monday or not)

Delpo won a slam but unfortunately injuries derailed him. I can’t wait to see how he comes back next year as there is no doubt he is a great player. I hope he doesn’t end up injury prone, worry a little about it since he had back stuff in the past. But I think and hope he’ll be okay. He plays with so much power. Berd, Soda and him all do and thus are very exciting guys to watch – lots of winners and go for broke tennis. i like all of em.

Soda has been in two slam finals, stopped only by Fed/Nadal, so again, he has loads of potential to win a slam.

And Berd has reached his first semi and final this year, and maybe (?) could win his first slam tomorrow!!

Still, having said all that, to me the jury is still out as to these guys being way better than Djoko and Murray since their achievements are in the same realm – even less going by title count:

Delpo: 7 titles (1 slam, no masters, a few other finals)
Soda: 5 titles (no slams/masters, but nine finals [2 slams])
Berdy: 5 titles ( 1 masters, 5 other finals)

Murray: 14 titles (4 masters, also another 7 finals [2 slams])
Djoko: 17 titles ( 1 slam, 1 Masters Cup, 5 Masters, plus 11 finals [1 slam, 6 masters])

I guess, since Delpo’s, Soda’s and Berdy’s “breakthroughs” are a little later than Djoko/Murray’s, we’ll know more going forward how the five of these guys make out in terms of achievements etc. But there’s no doubt the competition is heating up in the top ten, which bodes well for tennis generally and makes it exciting as there are more contenders. And we can’t count out Fed, Rafa, Roddick either — and possibly others. Who knows, maybe one of the French players -Gasquet, Tsonga or Monfils – will catch a fire too. And Querrey and Isner have both gotten more consistent this year too.

Hard courts might be even more volatile than the first week of Wimbledon. Phew.


Nina Says:

@Jane: Exactly. :)
Don’t forget Djoko has also 6 slam semifinals. These new guys –berdych, potro, sod– yet need to prove themselves. People are just ready to jump on bandwagons too early i think.


skeezerweezer Says:

@Thomas

Forehand:Even
Backhand: Nadal
Serve:Berdych
Return:Berdych
Footspeed:Nadal
Net game: Minor advantage Nadal.

You need too add somethings;

Experience: Nadal
Strategy: Nadal
Offense: Tie
Defense: Nadal
Mental Toughness: Nadal

Projected winner: Nadal , IMO a shoo in.


skeezerweezer Says:

“yy Says:

bimbo question. who’s that blonde cutie in Zvonareva’s box?”

That was me, so what do you want to know?


Huh Says:

@ mrs. jane

great post at 5.00 pm.!


jane Says:

Thanks Nina and huh. : )

It’s sometimes easy to get down on players –maybe especially those for whom we have high expectations — when they have a slump or lose a key match, but we all know that these players work for their rankings and results all year long, year after year, so consistency and longevity are the name of the game: thus for consistency and longevity, you have Fed in a class of his own, with Rafa up close there too; you have a guy like Roddick in the top ten for nearly a decade now! Then you have guys like Murray and Djoko who’ve been pretty steady for a few years now. I think they should all get the credit for their various achievements. Not to mention all the many, many others who make this such a fantastic sport for all of us. Really – TENNIS ROCKS! : )))


zola Says:

grendel,
see that in your resentment of Nadal, you also accuse Andy Murray of lying! In your book everyone has an agenda!

But its ok. I just hope that one day you change your opinion. You seem logical enough, but very pessimistic.


grendel Says:

People lie all the time, Zola, only we don’t usually call it lying. Often lying is quite a good thing to do – saving a person’s feelings for instance. Truth telling can, sometimes, be cruel. But anyway, you know all this, everyone does.

I don’t know whether Andy Murray meant what he said or not and nor do you, since you don’t know him. What I do know is that statements issued publicly, in the context of losing an important match, should be taken with a pinch of salt.

None of this has anything to do with “resentment of Nadal”. The question of Nadal’s alleged timewasting is not negligible, in that it irritates a lot of people including some players, and even some of his own fans.

Having said that, it’s not that serious, from my point of view just very annoying, like Sharapova’s and Azarenka’s screaming.

Doubtless one should stiffen the upper lip and learn to live with it.


Duro Says:

Jane and Nina, add an Olympic medal and one doubles title to his account. Good night.


yy Says:

skeezerweezer Says:

“yy Says:

bimbo question. who’s that blonde cutie in Zvonareva’s box?”

That was me, so what do you want to know?

grendel Says:

People lie all the time, Zola, only we don’t usually call it lying. Often lying is quite a good thing to do – saving a person’s feelings for instance. Truth telling can, sometimes, be cruel. But anyway, you know all this, everyone does.

Skeezer… grendel’s unrelated post bests answers your question. lol


sar Says:

Jane, Nina, Duro great stats for our guy despite everything.

Top story: It's An All Swiss Monte Carlo Final: Roger Federer v Stan Wawrinka, Who's The Pick?
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ATP - Apr 14 WTA - Apr 14
1 Rafael Nadal1 Serena Williams
2 Novak Djokovic2 Na Li
3 Stanislas Wawrinka3 Agnieszka Radwanska
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