Soderling, Rafter Win Titles; Tennis-X Notes
by Staff | November 14th, 2010, 3:50 pm

Soderling Stops Homecrowd Favorite Monfils for Paris-indoor Title

The pounding groundstrokes of Robin Soderling and three five-setters during the week were too much for home-crowd favorite Gael “Force” Monfils, who fell to the Swede 6-1, 7-6(1) in the final of the Paris-indoor on Sunday. It was the first Masters-level title for Soderling, and his second title of the year.
“I don’t have a very good record in finals, and especially here in Paris,” said Soderling, who admitted he couldn’t sleep the previous night due to nerves. “I lost two finals at Roland Garros. Of course it’s great to reach the final in a Grand Slam and also in a Masters 1000, but I think a final is that one match you really want to win.”

The 26-year-old Soderling stopped a sluggish Monfils, who defeated Roger Federer in a three-set semifinal. “I’m in a learning process. Every time I get to a final like this something goes wrong, and this time it was the preparation. I had to rush too much,” Monfils said. “And also, at one stage in the match I tried to change my plan. I should maybe not have done that and keep with simple things…Yesterday I used up a lot of energy, and today I wasn’t able to find the extra stamina that I would have needed to be more competitive.”

Rafter Stomps McEnroe for Seniors Sydney Title

Pat Rafter won the inaugural Champions Downunder senior event in Sydney with a convincing 6-2, 6-2 victory over John McEnroe in the final on Sunday. McEnroe was coming off a long 7-6, 7-6 win the night prior against Mats Wilander.

“I really wanted to win this tournament at home in Australia so I couldn’t afford to let him back in the match, I had to stay focused and close it out,” said Rafter. In the 3rd/4th place playoff, South African Airways Rankings No. 1 Thomas Enqvist defeated Pat Cash 6-3, 7-5.


MR. WRONG — Fanhouse tennis writer Greg Couch on how to “fix” tennis: “Most sports fans don’t know this, but the tennis season is still going on. The year finishes with an important sounding tour championship, but no champ is decided. In women’s tennis, the year-end No. 1 is Caroline Wozniacki, even though she hasn’t won a major and hasn’t beaten many top players. And everyone knows she’s not the best. Luckily, the Answer Man — that would be me — is here to fix tennis. One easy move can make tennis way more interesting, especially this time of the year. So here’s to hoping tennis’ governing bodies are reading. Make the ATP World Tour finals and the WTA Championships decide the year-end No. 1. Whoever wins is the world champ.” — That’s brilliant “Answer Man.” So last year Nikolay Davydenko should have been crowned the best player over Rafael Nadal just because he won the year-end championship, where everyone is exhausted from a long year? And in 2005 it should have been David Nalbandian just because he beat an injured Roger Federer in the final? Wrong answer Answer Man.

The ATP World Tour has reportedly cut a deal with major networks to broadcast the ATP stops in Miami and Indian Wells on ESPN2, ABC, and possibly other networks in 2011. Over the past two years the ATP has had a deal to broadcast the events with the regional FOX Sports, which saw disastrous coverage including stations swapping out the tennis broadcasts for fishing, and cutting off matches before their conclusions…Stefan Edberg on his life these days: “Tennis is just a small part of my life. This is my third [Champions Series] event this year. I didn’t really play for 10 or 12 years. I was playing a match or two. I started playing some tournaments in 2008; I played two events, then I played six or seven last year. I haven’t been playing a lot. I’ve got business at home. I work there with rental property and I’m part-owner of a finance company, so I have quite a lot of work at home, I’ve got two very active kids, too, so that takes time. When I’m at home, I’m so busy so tennis I try to play two, three times a week just to get away. You have to try to keep the fitness and the game going.”…Marat Safin on the coaching/managing/whatever-the-hell he is doing these days with juniors: “I follow the Russian guys and also I’m taking care of a few Russian juniors. For me it’s interesting to take care of them. I’m trying to help them out, to bring them to the Top 100 because we need some good juniors. So maybe in a year or two, I could go to the tournaments and I can see my players. I’m just helping them. I’m managing them, to help them so they choose the right way because we don’t have many Russian juniors and they don’t really have a lot of experience. They call me every time. They ask me what should I do, where should I go, the schedule to practice. Sometimes I hit with them. I don’t do it as a job, I do it because I feel like they need some help and they want to be helped, which is the most important thing.”…American Taylor Dent announced his retirement. Dent won four career titles, three of them in 2003, reached a career-high No. 21, and underwent back surgery three times in 2006 and 2007…Czech Martin Damm, who won the 2006 US Open with Leander Paes, has officially retired and is coaching “next” American Ryan “The Racquet Thrower” HarrisonAndy Murray says the off-season should be extended to three months following the US Open. Yes Andy, the ATP will get right on that.

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115 Comments for Soderling, Rafter Win Titles; Tennis-X Notes

bstevens Says:

It’s a shame Monfils couldn’t win the title. I guess its pretty hard to win a tourny having to beat three top 5 players. Congrats to the Sod on his biggest career title. Should give him confidence heading into London.

Eric Says:

There’s nothing wrong with the tennis tour. Or the length of the season. The ranking system rewards actually playing well all year long instead of just at a couple of tournaments. Also, I’m not so sure “everyone knows” Wozniacki isn’t the best. If she’s not, I’m not sure who is – Vera? puh-leaze! Serena? Not anymore, sugar. Clijsters? Maybe, but…

jane Says:

Murray 3 months is not likely to happen but nothing wrong with aiming high. I suppose the 6 week break is more likely to pass with the ATP.

Sad about Dent finally hanging it up, but he’s had some high points, even after all that surgery. Thanks for the memories.

Answer man’s idea would certainly shake things up and make the YEC exciting! Maybe implementing a yearly race instead of rolling ranking system is slightly more feasible. But even that is highly unlikely.

Thomas Says:

Nice win for Soderling,he basically overpowered Gael effortlessly. He now moves up to No 4. Btw,can Murray get back to no 4 by the end of they year,and what does he have to do at the WTFs?

Eric Says:

Thomas, if Murray does any better than Soderling at the WTF (basically you get 200 points for each win in the RR, 400 for a SF win, and 500 for winning the whole thing, so 1500 total possible) he gets the no. 4 spot back. I think the point difference between then is only going to be 20 points (if I remember right) so even just winning one more match in the RR would be good enough.

jane Says:

Soda, Nole and Murray are all defending 400 points at the YEC; so an early loss or a further run will decide the ranking.

Still not clear if Nole will get any for DC finals/title. Kimmi says no and she seems to know the rules better than I, so that means #3, 4, and 5 will be decided / secured at O2.

Von Says:

I’m so sad Monfils ran out of gas and Soderling got the trophy. It’s an humongous task to win 3 tight 3 setters and still have enough left in the tank for a final. It’s one of the reasons I feel the draw is favorable to the top 4 as they don’t have to meet the tougher opponents from the first round as opposed to the lower ranked players who have it difficult right from the beginning. I’ll never understand the kind of logic used for the draws, which IMO just enables the higher ranked players to keep their ranking in tact. I’m sure if the draws weren’t so one-sided in favour of the top 4, we’d see them losing earlier before they get to the QF, SF, stage. Anyway, c’est la vie.

Von Says:

Today, the Esurance tournament is being played on the Tennis Channel. I only mention this because I know most people watch the Tennis Channel here in the US, but I saw something super funny and out of the ordinary from Pat Cash. The ball landed on his racquet and he just gingerly walked/skipped a few steps to the net cord, with the ball still on the racquet, and dumped it over the cord, for the win. Not once did he hit the ball. LOOL. I wonder if that’s allowed in the ATP tourneys with the pros.

bstevens Says:

With Soderling seeded #4 at London, does that mean that either Fed or Nadal’s round robin group could have both Murray and Djokovic. If so, that would be the group of death.

Fot Says:

bstevens -I was thinking that same thing. Worse case senario (as a Fed fan) would be to have a group of – say (Roger, Murray, Djokovic, and whoever…) but having both Murray and Djokovic in one group is not cool! But that’s what he gets for dropping down to #5 in the ranking.

Kimmi Says:

jane – i am it posted some scenarios of the ranking between murray and djoko at WTF few days ago. He also said his davis cup points would replace his lowest 500 results which could be from monte carlo or basel (he won in beijing and Dubai). Not exactly sure how many davis cup points he will get if he wins all his singles rubber.

maybe i am it can help again!

Von Says:

Well, there’s not much at stake for Murray dropping out of the top 4 today, he can make it up at the WTF. It’s the year-end ranking that really matters, and if Andy wins a couple of matches at the WTF, he’ll end the year as the No. 4 player.

For all the big hoopla that’s made of the WTF, the amount of points awarded is in reality quite meager. I suppose it’s the prestige of being in the top 8 that’s the main attraction for the players.

jane Says:

Kimmi, thanks – will search out i am it’s post; he’s always an expert with the math! Him, Gordo, NELTA; they are our resident staticians.

i am it Says:

I thought I answered that question to you, Jane in the post I did stat on Murray and Djoko’s ranking that Djoko will add maximum 505 points from DC, but it will replace another 500 event, in his case lowest Basel 300, so he will gain only 205 at the end if he wins the DC by playing 2 singles rubbers.
Interestingly, Soda may have a shot to end the year not only as No. 4 but No. 3. I will the math in a bit, if Danial or Gordo some other does not happen to volunteer before me.

guy Says:

>year ends
the response was just as stupid as the idea it should decide the no.1

federer double bagelled a top tenner in shanghai that year, he wasn’t injured. nalbandian won on his own merit i’m afraid.

davydenko beat nadal,federer and delpotro to take the year ends. dismissing that achievement by claiming everyone except the russian was ‘tired’ is absurd.

i am it Says:

bstevens Says:

“With Soderling seeded #4 at London, does that mean that either Fed or Nadal’s round robin group could have both Murray and Djokovic. If so, that would be the group of death.”

Exactly. That’s definitely one good possibility, No, it won’t “be the group of death,” imo. Actually, I’d like to see that happen…

jane Says:

Yes, thanks i am it; I guess I missed the DC part of your post, or forgot it in all the semifinal excitement, but some of it stuck, i.e., how many points each had to defend etc. I really appreciate your help. : ) I hope Murray and Nole end 3 & 4 but whatever will be, will be, fair and square. Soda is playing well and this win will either propel him to greater things at YEC or he may have a wee let down. We’ll find out soon enough. Delpo and Davy were the revelations at last year’s YEC; it’ll be interesting to see who it this year. It’s a good field, lots of variety. Nice to see Berdych get there for his first time I think.

i am it Says:

Current “Race Points” (year-to-date ranking points):
No. 3 Djoko——-5635
No. 4 Soderling—5380
No. 5 Murray——5360

Soderling can end the year No. 3 if he can add 255 points or more, for which he needs to win the semi (400 points) and Djoko and Murray fail to do better than last year, i.e. 2 RR wins.

Marc Says:

“dismissing that achievement by claiming everyone except the russian was ‘tired’ is absurd.”

Why? Davydenko had an average W/L record that year, never going too deep into tournaments, despite his usual high number of tournaments played. Consequently, he played fewer matches than other top players, ergo, he was physically and mentally fresher then they were. So, he won at the YEC.

steve-o Says:

Congrats to Soderling. I guess beating three top-five players in a row was too tall an order for Monfils.

Still I am sure the Frenchman will be back next year with a chance to get third-time lucky.

Eric Says:

marc, he only played about 5 fewer matches than Federer, Nadal, or Murray, and more than some others (e.g., Soderling), and his win record (77%) was better than Sampras’ average for the years in top ten but not at no. 1 (so 1990-92 and 99-2001) even though Pete’s average ranking was like no. 4.5 or something in those years.

Marc Says:

Furthermore, the same reasoning applies to the Paris Masters winner – it is almost always someone who did not play that many matches and win that many tournaments during the year.

Top dogs come more spent, so players like Nalbandian, Tsonga or Soderling tend to win there instead.

Eric Says:

“Furthermore, the same reasoning applies to the Paris Masters winner – it is almost always someone who did not play that many matches and win that many tournaments during the year.”

That must be why such schlubby players as Agassi, Sampras, Safin, and Djokovic have most of the titles of the past 15 or 20 years.

contador Says:

sorry to have missed the final. disappointing that monfils couldn’t win …but i watched some youtube of the match and ceremony.

very happy for mr. dimples and his entire box. what a beautiful fiance! life is looking good for soda really. i hope he can win a slam – love to see him accomplish that at AO or FO but i kinda think the competition is going to make it next to impossible. he’d need some sort of twist of fate.

robin going into the tour finals on a high will help make the competition more interesting. very happy ferrer and roddick will be there too. berdych…no comment.

jane Says:

Yes, conty, Ferrer and Roddick are both excellent competitors and with Rod having been injured last year, it’s nice to see him playing this. Should be a fine competition this year.

contador Says:

and yeah, have to agree with “staff” writer. the year end tour final should NOT decide who was the best of the year. the best record this year was rafa’s no matter who wins in london.

but rafa will likely win london too. he’s had time off for treatment and rest.

safin : ) helping kids in russia, love it!

please “help” EG too while you’re at it, marat.

Eric Says:

Can you see Roddick beating any of the top 5? Soderling, maybe, but he’s just proved he can beat Andy when it counts… Ferrer has a good record against him too. Let’s be honest, on the evidence of form and results, Roddick and Berdych are going to be the bitch boys of the WTF.

contador Says:

yes, Jane. happy for soda moving up in the ranks but i am not excited to have the “order” disturbed and the idea of murray and nole both in federer’s group!! very cruel.

and not that i don’t like berdych but…there is some fiesty chemistry between federer and birdman which always makes me nervous. i don’t like to see federer losing to him. :/

contador Says:

yeah eric, i can see roddick doing well in london and maybe winning over federer or nadal.

but…i have not been great at picking anything but the early rounds. i am terrible at predicting ultimate winners, in fact!

Eric Says:


jane Says:

I think Roddick can surprise us at any moment; I’d never count him or Ferrer, or Berdy out. They are all there for a reason.

conty, please “help” EG too while you’re at it, marat. – LOL, Indeed, although Marat may not be the kind of help Ernests needs. These two, there might be something dangerously kindred there. : )

Eric Says:

(whoops, ignore previous post)

well, fair enough… I guess if Federer is at about 50% Roddick might have a chance. Can’t really see it happening though.

Nadal losing doesn’t seem likely either (even though his record against Roddick is not nearly as good as Federer’s) just because he is well-rested and showed amazing hard court form at the USO. I guess he might not be able to duplicate it, though, and then it would be a different story.

Anyway, we will see what happens. :) the only player I would give Roddick more than 25% odds against though is Berdych. Well maybe Ferrer also – 35 or 40% there.

contador Says:


ya never know. tennis is tought to predict, i find.

roddick’s form i thought was showing improvement in paris…

berdych, not so much. but i won’t underestimate the bird when federer is across the net. there is some bad juju there…

ferrer is on a roll. he sinks his teeth into a match and doesn’t let go. but it is tough to imagine him beating nadal…or federer.

contador Says:

not that the top 2 players need me making any excuses for them but i’ll just say it: federer is you know, in decline, right? and nadal has had shoulder trouble from that rocket serving. ; )

actually i can think of excuses for all of them…we’ll just have to see who comes out the fittest.

i was certain soda would have to retire after he called the trainer during his first match in paris. and he won! what do i know…

Eric Says:

yeah, exactly. Obviously they are all very tough competitors – they are the top 8, after all! With Ferrer and Berdy it all depends on whether they are playing merely well or superlatively so. If the latter, anything could happen. The question is whether the better/more consistent players will let them find their very best form…

Kimberly Says:

Eric, othernthan federer roddicknhas a great chance against everyone else fed is obviously a bad matchup fornhim as rafa is for fed as delpo is for rafa.

But roddick soda matches all always tight. Its a very small margin as robin said himself. Roddick typically dominates djokovic (bad match up for Novak) has had success against rafa including in 2010 with rafa playing well, beat berdych during berdys hot streak (which appears to have gone cold) is a more powerful player than ferrer and has beaten Murray with Murray in top form.

So I think he has a lot to add to the world tour final. I agree with contador, berdych is the one I could take a pass on. Whom inwouldnrather see I cant say though, maybe tsonga but he’s out injured.

contador Says:

jane, i imagine they are drinking buddies..

you are reading my mind now. kinda scary good you were at your bracket picking, too.

contador Says:

lol, i was trying to think of who would be a better fit in the top 8 than berdych and really…considering the others, berdych i have to say derseves it.

i mean verdasco really is a disaster the past months.

but hot sauce will be there just in case. he that hotel room.

Von Says:

“Roddick and Berdych are going to be the bitch boys of the WTF.”

No kidding. The last time roddick met Murray was a Wimby and what happeneend. and, how many times this year he’s beaten the djoker.

And, pray tell me, what’s a *bitch boy*? sheesh.

Sampras, a Schubbly player? LOL

Kimberly Says:

Lol contador I was thinking the same about verdascos performance and his hotel room. If it was on clay verdasco and almagro maybe, meltzer? No, berdych earned his spot. Certainly not gulbis. Maybe berdych will find his form. I have a veery nervous feeling though that Fernando may get his spot after all. Ussually someone withdraws. I just hope it’s not my guy.

Murray couldn’t do it to his home crowd. The most likely to withdraw in my book right now are rafa and Novak. Rafa because he doesn’t need to be there, already number one, saving himself for 2011 GS tourneys and Novak for Davis cup prep.

Von Says:

Oh BTW, roddick beat Soderling twice this year, vs. soderling’s one time, which is an indoor court his specialty. And, let’s not forget he beat nadal at IW this year. So why would Roddick be anyone’s bitch, may I ask. I take umbrage to that phrase/word. Would you like for anyone to say Fed’s Nadal’sbitch? Of course not, so why the slur for Roddick? Some of the stuff you Fed fans come out with is mind-boggling, but you’re privileged, as no one, other myself will say anything on Roddick’s behaklf. now, if it was a nadal fan saying the same about Fed, all hell will break loose. sheesh..

Von Says:

I am it: ‘Soderling can end the year No. 3 if he can add 255 points or more, for which he needs to win the semi (400 points) and Djoko and Murray fail to do better than last year, i.e. 2 RR wins.”

Next year he’d better put up his best performance to defend about 4,000 plus points he racked up this year. Winning is hard, but it’s the defending that’s even harder to show consistency and hold onto the previous’s year’s ranking. Next year, we’ll see how much mettle he has.

contador Says:

gulbis in the top 8? getting myself a ticket and going to wherever if that day comes, kimberly!

yeah…i’m getting that “feeling” abt federer needing the rest. unfortunately i don’t think federer has the “feeling.” he will play.

imagine it’s good for rafa if hot sauce does replaces someone, kimberly.

murray was having trouble with his wrist and i could go on abt the others having some excuse. all but ferrer. he’s an ironman.

Kimberly Says:

Basically since the dramatic quarterfinal in 2008 at USO I think roddick has basically dominated djokovic. I’m not sure djokernhas won since. I think Andy is a very bad match up for Novak but until Paris Novak was in great form so tough to call. I picked Novak to beat roddick in Paris but neither showed for the semi. Didn’t see the roddick soda match really but robin said the margin was very small, as it was in cinch when roddick won.

My picks without seeing thendraw, rafa, fed, roddick, soda
Rafa soderling final. Rafa wins. Granted part of this is my wish.

contador Says:

“replace” not “replaces” and other spelling is atrocious too.

sheesh jane? i need to proof read and not type lying in bed with laptop. very sloppy, sorry.

jane Says:

contador, I wouldn’t doubt it if Safin and Gulbis have had a “talk” or two. As for the bracket, call it beginner’s luck. I’ll maybe try next year and see how it goes in the long run. Certainly fun. Gives the tournament a totally different vibe, imo.

Eric Says:

Clearly my low opinion of Roddick is a bit biased because I don’t really like him… But on the purely analytical level, I think his results and form in the second half of the season speak for themselves. Sure he might squeak out some wins, but (except against Berdych) it would certainly qualify as a noteworthy upset, and not just because he’s the lowest ranked participant. Djokovic is certainly due to get a win against him, as that H2H is a bit unbalanced…

i am it Says:

Follow-up to my last post:

If Serbia wins Davis Cup (DC) w/ Djoko’s 2 Rubber wins, his DC points will add to his ranking points (after London/ Belgrade).
So, if that happens, Djoko will have a better margin. Sod will have to win all 3 RRs and semi or 2 RR and final, to steal No. 3 from Djoko.

bobby Says:

Greg couch definitely might be on some medication while he wrote that article.I think that appropriate name for him would be clown man for bringing up such a joke of a delusion.

montecarlo Says:

Nadal is-

14-7 against Federer
15-7 against Djokovic
5-2 against Soderling
8-4 against Murray
8-3 against Berdych
11-3 against Ferrer
5-3 against Roddick
11-0 against Verdasco
8-4 against Youzhny

Most dominant World No. 1 against remaining top 10 in the open era?

Daniel Says:


If you did this when DelPo and Davy were top 10 it would look a little bit different.

By the way, Nadal has only one record agaisnt a player which never beat him (Verdasco). Fed had Blake, Ferrer, Davydenko, Robredo, Ljubicic at one time all in top 10 with NO, I mean 0 wins agaisnt him. That’s the most dominant world n. 1 against top 10. Better, we can calculate number of wins/loss at the end of the years. It would take time to see the equivalent headxhead.

Nadal may have no player with positive record agaisnt him, but Federer dominance was bigger.

Daniel Says:

DelPo and Davy were the two player which bothered Nadal the most on hard, and they were sidelined due to injury. Nadal last hard court win agaisnt Davydenko was the first match they played in 2006. And Delpo won last 3.
Djoko also give Nadal a lot of trouble on hard courts, but as you mention in the pass, which was an excelent point: Djoko only beat Nadal in straight sets, if the match gets complicated, he loses.

Ben Pronin Says:

1) Del Potro and Davydenko still have losing records to Nadal.

2) Ljubicic has at least 3 wins over Federer, Blake has 1, and Davydenko has 2.

Nice try.

montecarlo Says:

@Daniel, I somewhat agree with you coz now Davy leads H2H against 5-4 but he isn’t top 10 anymore.

Also Federer always had negative H2H against atleast two of his main rivals in top 10. First there were Hewitt and Nalbandian. He managed to change that later but by that time Murray and Nadal arrived on the scene. So it was like atleast 2 top 10 players always had the edge against Federer.

contador Says:

and yet, h2h really doesn’t impress me at face value. unless an h2h has enough total matches played and a 0 win record as verdasco has against nadal. verdasco’s chances anywhere at anytime indeed appear bleak facing nadal.

looking at the prospects this tour final from h2h perspective:

for example, based on nadal’s recent hc win over nole in the us open and the fact nadal has taken time of to rest and get treatment and in general adjusted his schedule a bit, i would think nadal has a good chance over nole at the tour final. in the past nadal has not been in the best form this time of year. i’d bet he is doing all he can to change that atm.

certainly a 5-3 winning record does not reflect total domination, i can hope. roddick won their last meeting on hc. and i doubt soderling who beat rafa last year in london feels totally hopeless against nadal. all their other meetings have been on clay or grass – 5-2 nadal.

would have to agree with berdych having issues beating nadal on any surface or venue. let me add ferrer to that. since he has not beaten nadal since 2007. but the good news for ferrer is that when he did beat nadal it was on hc and at a tour final.

then when you break it down to surfaces it’s even less impressive on hc in the cases of djokovic and federer.

and look at someone like murray with an 8-4 record against nadal. murray has won his 2 meetings with nadal on hc this year. so i don’t call that total domination at all. ( well, nadal retired at ao but murray was beating him )

on clay, yes. total and utter domination for nadal.

but not total and utter domination for nadal this time of year and on hc…yet. may very well become that,

montecarlo Says:


My post had nothing to do with WTF. I wasn’t saying Nadal was favorite to win WTF. I was tallking about domination in general. Nadal may lose all his matches @ WTF but still he will maintain the +ve H2H against the top 10.

andyr Says:

if nadal is fully fit and refreshed then he probably is the favorite as none of the other guys are in the greatest of form.

however it will probaby be soderling that wins – he seems to raise his game when everyone else is thinking about a month off from the game!


Ben Pronin Says:
1) Del Potro and Davydenko still have losing records to Nadal.


Davy has a winning record(5-4) against Nadal

Fot Says:

Soderling wins Paris
This is the week everything gets shuffled around a bit. A lot of points goes onto the rankings from Paris and even more falls off with Paris from last year plus the ATP Finals points. On the up side, Robin Soderling took the title in Paris and only lost 400 points for his two round robin wins so is this week’s Mover of the Week. He gets 1 spot in the rankings and passes Andy Murray to #4 by 20 points. Michael Llodra reached the semifinals and rises 11 spots to #23.
On the down side
Novak Djokovic was the defending champion in Paris. The lost in the round of 16 this year plus lost 400 additional points from his ATP Finals wins last year. So he is our Loser of the Week, dropping 1310 points but remaining at #3. Hardest hit in the rankings, though, was Nikolay Davydenko who won the ATP Finals last year. He loses 1210 points but plummets 11 spots all the way down to #22.

Finals field set
Now the 8 man field is set for the ATP Finals in London. The singles field is: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Robin Soderling, Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer, and Andy Roddick.

Fot Says:

On the H2H: What amazes he is that only Nadal and Federer is over .500…the rest are under .500. So for those people who said Roger played in a ‘weak era’…is this still a ‘weak era’? lol!


What’s also interesting Fot is that Fed and Nadal have the same career winning % amongst the WTF qualifiers this year according to your stats.

Nadal – 66 wins / 95 matches = 69%
Fed – 77 wins / 111 matches = 69%

andyr Says:

thanks for that Nelta-brightened up my day to be remined of the terrible h2h record of roddick against fed!
and ferrer-i wonder what odds you would get if they have to play in the group stages in london!!

montecarlo Says:

OMG Federer is 44-3 against Ferrer, Soderling and Roddick combined. Talking about real bunnies. :D

contador Says:

ooh, loved the little chart Fot. thanks for that gem of a link.

at this moment in time, sure MC. i have to agree, nadal is #1 and looking like the most dominant player.

it’s a moment of greatness where his h2h looks pristine. but the longer he plays the danger is the h2h might not hold up over maybe a couple of the younger players you cite. true, chances of federer and older players on the list like ferrer changing their lopsided h2h’s are not good.

i’m kinda thinking more about the tour final now and hoping, just hoping, it will at least be competitive and not completely a monopoly by nadal.

andyr Says:

does everyone think rafa is going to be completely fit? will the recovery time have left him raring to go?

contador Says:

yes. i think rafa will be ready and win his 1st WTF.

Fot Says:

andyr, I think Nadal will probably be in the best condition of any of the other players at the Year End! The rest have been playing and probably have some little knicks and knacks…but Nadal will be fresh.

i am it Says:

H2H and Winning % among Qualifiers would be more relevant if we factor in the surface, plus each player’s form going into the YEC. Even then surprises abound; exceptions often become the norm. One thing is almost certain that you have to be a good Indoor player, e.g. Federer or Soderling, to have a shot at the title. So, yes, I see Sod will have his chances this year again like he did last year.

Rafa is my 3rd pick from the bottom after Ferrer and Berdych. When the draw came out, he was my 4th pick for the USO and he proved my world wrong. When most pundits were doubting about his Grass skill, we know he has mastered it. So he has the track record of invading a new territory every time he has set his eyes on, and the Green-Beret type of covert prep. that is going on in Majorca could be for a serious purpose of taking over the Indoor. So, yeah, Conty, you have a point.

kimberly Says:

I will sacrifice a win at wtf for austrailian open rafa slam.

montecarlo Says:

I don’t think that Nadal will be fit for WTF. Shoulder injuries are far worse than Knee injury. The reason for USO victory was new improved faster serve and I doubt he will be able to put in same effort right after a shoulder injury.

Even if physically he is ok mentally he won’t be the same. Also he will be rusty. We all know Rafa needs lots of matches to get into a groom. I doubt he will be match ready. It may work out in slams because first 2-3 rounds are easy there and one can gain match fitness but with only elite players playing here there are no easy matches.

From what I saw of Federer @ Paris he seems to be playing really well, Soderling looked good but IMO he is still a question mark against Federer.

Nadal can beat Roddick, Berdych and Ferrer so a lot depends on where Murray drops in the draw. If Nadal’s group is like Nadal, Soderling, Berdych, Ferrer I think Nadal can make it to semifinals as no. 2 where Federer will make the H2H 8-14. I think Federer and Murray will qualify from other group with Federer beating Soderling in the final.

So in short the favorites are-

Fot Says:

My thing is heck, if you’re the #1 player in the world (by far), have won just about everything in the world this year (by far)…then you should be the favorite going into the year end. Period.

Skeezerweezer Says:


Absolutely. That is why they rank players….


Shoulder worse than knees? If you can’t run, heck walk for that matter, you can’t play. Shoulder? Maybe you can’t serve but you can run and hit…..serve underhand…you can play…just sayin….whatever though….silly discussion, no?

Vulcan Says:

The spotlight is definitely on Rafa for O2.
He made it clear earlier in the year that USO was his next major objective (apparently ahead of even Wimbledon) and he followed through. He has now made it clear that WTF is his priority. He has not shunned the pressure of stating his objectives candidly and letting the chips fall as they will. Because of a lack of a best of 5 format I think he will have serious problems dominating but hopefully he can at least stay in the mix…much of it comes down to how well his serve is firing.

Kimberly Says:

COntador says: i’m kinda thinking more about the tour final now and hoping, just hoping, it will at least be competitive and not completely a monopoly by nadal
I of course, hope for the complete monopoly but not sure it will happen!

Vulcan Says:

then you should be the favorite going into the year end. Period.

Not necessarily. There was a time when Federer was the overwhelming entry system points leader going into The French Open but he was not considered the favorite. All comes down to the surface and until they start to rotate surfaces at WTF players that shun clay and focus on hard courts will have the edge. Also if you are injured it does tend to factor into things (unless of course you are a pathological liar whose life goal is to unnecessarily deceive people about your intentions about pulling out of tennis tournaments even though it brings you little or no benefit).

Fot Says:

I still say Rafa is the favorite going in. What’s the big deal? It seems like some of Rafa’s fans are afraid of putting him as the favorite? He has DOMINATED this year. By far… so I don’t see why he can’t be the favorite going into the event? *scratches head*? It still doesn’t mean the favorite won’t win or will win. Just that right now, of all the players left – he’s the favorite to win it. Just MY opinion.

Vulcan Says:

Fot, no big deal and no fear…just trying to assess the situation as objectively as possible. As a Rafa fan I would love this to be a clay court event with best of 5 set matches so there would be assurances that last years routing wont be a repeat…but there are several factors that come into play:

1. Players do well were they have done well in the past and radically changing this pattern takes alot of inertia.

2. Nadal hasn’t exactly had the dream leadup to O2 during the indoor season.

3. The draw is chock full of great hard court players…since nobody has posted Nadal’s hard court H2H against the other players in the draw here it is:

Soderling 0-1
Murray 4-4
Berdych 3-3
Ferrer 3-2 (Ferrer retired in one of these)
Djokovic 4-7
Roddick 2-3
Federer 3-3

So the only person Nadal has a winning hard court record against is “clay court specialist” Ferrer (and it took a retirement to get it)

We’ll see what happens…this isn’t preemptive damage control it’s just assessing the situation…if Nadal is healthy and he does poorly it will really have a bearing on 2011 and Federer’s belief that he can retake #1.

contador Says:

“serve underhand” lol…skeeze

nadal is the favorite. he just proved what he can do by winning us open. and he’s a got the game plan going on, for sure, i am it. i’m bracing for the WTF and AO win from nadal.

Kimberly, i think you’ll get to see your hopes and dreams come true. those who are not a fan of federer had to endure his run at the top. i was in tennis heaven – loved it!

when i was thinking nadal might not have such a good chance at winning us open and late season hc events it was a year ago and i was not aware how well he’d respond to prp for his knees. obviously he’s benefitted. could be wrong but i am guessing he’s on top of the shoulder problem already too. not inferring he’s getting the same treatment as he has for the knees. just saying you got to trust his doctors by now. nadal has been prepared to execute when it’s most important to him = cleaning up during clay season, 3 slams and guessing he’ll end the year with a WTF.

he then has time before AO to recover again, if he has to.

happy tennis times for nadal fans.

i am it Says:

Thanks for some stat work there and plausible argument.
“this isn’t preemptive damage control.” Of course, not, and I am saying this as someone who is not particularly fond of Nadal’s core style in general (I am merely a Rafa under-enthusiast.)
Preemption works mostly in politics, just saying.

dimwitted recluse Says:

Ben says:”Ljubicic has at least 3 wins over Federer, Blake has 1, and Davydenko has 2.Nice try” But Daniel’s point was that those players, plus Robredo and Ferrer, at “one time all in top 10 with NO, I mean 0 wins agaisnt him. That’s the most dominant world n. 1 against top 10”. If correct (which it certainly is re Davy and Blake, have to take Daniel’s word for it re Luby), this simply means the wins against Federer occured later, when they were no longer in the top 10.

Skeezer, possibly MC meant that shoulder injuries take longer to heal than knee injuries. Speaking for myself – and if I don’t share the tennis skills of Nadal and co, I do share their anatomy, possibly more relevant – I’ve had a knee injury since I was a child. It flares up occasionally, but on the whole I never notice it. The shoulder injuries – both, now, surgery on one of ’em recently, was too embarrased to mention the other, free treatment and all that – never heal. Not properly. It doesn’t matter, of course, unless you are a professional sportsman.

But if Nadal really does have a proper shoulder injury, rotator cuff like Sharapova had say, he’s in trouble. It does not respond to physio – at least, they tell you it can, but that’s obviously bollocks. There’s a limit to how much people will complain. Wild horses wouldn’t drag me back to the hospital – I’m grateful for significant improvement from surgery, and accept that I’ll always tend to get a sharp pain when stretching upwards. It just doesn’t matter – unless you happen to be a tennis player. Still, perhaps Nadal only suffered some minor twinge. But when does a minor twinge evolve into something a bit more menacing?

Ben Pronin Says:

Ljubicic’s wins over Federer came long before Federer was number 1. So by the time he got to the top 10 he had wins.

Fot Says:

Yep, Ljubicic beat Roger in 2001, 2002, and 2003. Roger didn’t become #1 until 2004.

Blake beat Roger in 2008 at the Olympics. Roger was ‘in deline’ (as people said) then! lol!

Davydenko beat Roger in 2009 and 2010 when Nadal was #1, I believe.

skeezerweezer Says:


Sorry to hear about your injuries, alas.. I have had the same..but all from the tennis court abuse. Thank you Hard Courts! Managed not to get in serious trouble but enough to keep me off the court now and then. Yes, I do have friends in the game who have had shoulder, knee, wrists and backs ( from Tennis ). Strangely, back and wrists have been the most career ending…..which makes me think of Delpo, hope he makes it back :(.

Rafa’s injuries; he should be capable of overcoming. He is still young, and if he listens to his body he should have a long career. I thought he and his camp kinda “got it” with the prepared assault on USO and limiting his on court time coming back from the tendinitis, but like most every fan my jaw dropped when after USO he played like what 3 tourneys in a row on the hard stuff? WHY?

Now, I know it can be a two edged sword because you have to stay “match tough” and staying away to long will lesson the edge of that, but me thinks they have to look very hard and smart at the tour schedule if he wants a long successful tennis career. But who am I to know what is best for the guy, I’m just skeezer…..

Nina Says:

So if Nadal loses shamefully like he did last year, which I doubt, will it be attributed to his shoulder injury? I hope nobody pulls that lame excuse anymore.
I think Fed, Djoko, Murray and Sod have more chances at winning WTF than Nadal, actually. USO or not USO, Nadal is still a little bit inferior to them on hard courts. Of course he can prove me wrong next week.

Daniel Says:

Ben, My bad regarding Ljub.

But Blake, Ferrer, Davi and Robredo for sure were in top 10 in 2006-2007 and they combined had zero wins over Fed. And the HxH somebody already mention, Davy is 5-4 versus Nadal.

skeezerweezer Says:

Those h2h things just make interesting fodder talk. Not Historical records and achievements. If that is all that mattered then we would judge players on that. Sampras, Laver ultimately was not remembered with there h2h competition, but there GS titles and other records AGAINST THE FIELD IN ITS ENTIRETY.

This gets tiresome as Tennis you cannot choose at any given time who your opponent is. They may have a greater H2H against you but they cannot get to the finals to win the tournament as much as you can so WTF? Who’s fault is that?

IF ( hate that word )….., So someone wants to be # 1 in the world, and they call up Rafa, beat him 9 out of 10 times, but never win a tournament or very few. Meantime, Rafa wins 9 slams. Who is greater?

dimwitted recluse Says:

Skeezer – wise words. My “injuries” are negligible, b.t.w.,(because they do not affect my lifestyle and no longer hurt) whilst yours must be infuriating, since they will get in the way, from time to time, of your enjoyment in playing tennis.
It occurs to me that Nadal does have a problem, apart from the difficulty of managing the “two edged sword” thing as you call it. Presumably, it is not a co-incidence that the shoulder injury has accompanied the sudden access of a fast serve. The latter is such a tremendous weapon, such an unexpected boon in mid-career, that he will be most reluctant to abandon it. But the alternative could be career threatening. At the very least, then, Nadal and team may be faced with an extremely difficult choice to make.
Unless they just decide to muddle on and hope for the best.

dimwitted recluse Says:

Skeezer, I think what you say about h2h’s carries more resonance the further back you go in time. For instance, what was Laver’s h2h against his chief rivals (let’s ignore Emerson, whom I think he generally beat)? But I mean, players of comparable stature, if of slightly different generation – say, Hoad, Rosewall, Gonzalez? Don’t know, and don’t especially care, and whilst I could look it up, I feel no impulse to do so. And of course, this is even more true the further back you go.

But we do instinctively, I think, attach importance to the fact that Sampras generally beat Agassi in the big ones. I mean, if Agassi had had a superior h2h against Sampras – which among other things, might have meant he’d have been somewhat closer to him on the grand slam count – this would, I think, have impacted on how we graded Sampras’ greatness. We might even have regarded Agassi as Sampras’ equal.

Say, in the end, Nadal ends up with 4 slams less than Federer. Will this be balanced by his greatly superior h2h? No? What about 3 less? Still no? 2 less…? you get the picture. Whilst you can overplay the significance of h2h for all kinds of reasons, not least the different generations factor, you just can’t eliminate it altogether in assessing the relative merits of 2 greats. It is very subjective, though, as in a way are all attempts at grading the great in any sport. Who was greater, Joe Louis or Muhammed Ali, and so on?

Maybe, these just aren’t sensible questions, and are prompted more by a primitive need for hero worship (of which I partake, b.t.w.)than by a cool and neutral search for knowledge. Perhaps knowledge doesn’t lend itself to this sort of quest.

jojostruys Says:

dimwitted recluse,

so who is the better if both players successfully end up their career with 16 slams?

skeezerweezer Says:


Most excellent post and objective reasoning you bring up. Who could forget the Agassi/Sampras comparisan at the time. But as time fades, the records stand. Still, I cannot disagree with your thoughts, either. Thanks :)

Jatt Says:

I think London finals its all going to be rafa.. He has very carefully planned for this event by smart scheduling and he knows this one is a big one for him to win (kind of 5th and final slam of the year)
I wish fed proves me wrong :)

Von Says:

“jojostruys Says:
so who is the better if both players successfully end up their career with 16 slams?”

I guess the other nit-picking stuff of weeks at No. 1, how many 250/500 tourneys they both won, prize money, even though prize money is not a good barometer due to the yearly increases. For instance, Sampras’ prize money most probably would have been equal to Fed’s, had it not been for the small purses the tournaments offered in his day. And, Nadal and the younger guys are surpassing the older players in that department due to the same increases that are presently in force.

In sum, it is not possible to compare the players’ achievements due to constant changes in surfaces, racquet/string technology, et al, even hawkeye. Yes, hawkeye has decided a lot of matches nowadays as opposed to past eras whereby players lost matches due to bad calls. Roddick’s match vs. Hewitt at the USO is a primary example of how a match can be lost due to a bad call.

IMO, there will never be a GOAT, but there are many who will proffer several arguments in an endeavour to get around it, because of their need to see a specific player’s name in neon lights. The GOAT designation provides some kind of satiety to a bewildered fan’s need for affirmation that his/her player is the very best, one and only, above all others. it ain’/t gonna happen people, so get over it.

Von Says:

skeezerweezer Says:

“Most excellent post and objective reasoning you bring up …”

LOL, skeezer, you need to make a macro out of that sentence and just hit alt after every Fed fan’s post. You’re the very best of the Fed fan cheering section. All that’s missing are the pom pom girls/cheerleaders. LOOL.

Von Says:

I think there will be many upsets at the WTF, similar to last year. Who would have thought that the winner would have been Davydenko? No one even mentioned him as a possible semi-finalist much more a winner. I think history will repeat itself and the winner will come from the under-dog group.

Kimberly Says:

I know this is a tennis blog but accept my apologies for digressing. A shout out to Ben who must be in heaven watching the eagles game, eagles scored 35 pts in first quarter. Michael Vick threw over two hundred yards. Comparable to montecarlo final or french open 2008. Wow.

Leon Says:

in addition to your absolutely solid remarks @7.49 pm, may I add some of mine made earlier on Tennisplanet, ,
comment #3 (it’s too long to be copied here).
I usually love D.W. writings and share his viewpoints. But as for such an ill topic as h2h between Federer and Nadal, it looks to me as an (unintentional) attempt to fog a simple fact (the true H2H expressed in the titles and points from tourneys they BOTH WERE IN the draw is so much shifted in Federer’s favour that it arleady can never gain an opposite sign) with some rather unclear or premature considerations, even more shaky than the h2h meaning itself. I have absolutely nothing against interesting and deep perceptions, feelings, you name it – unless and until they don’t overshadow the core truth (honestly, I am not such a purist, rather otherwise, but let’s suppose I am…)

Kimberly Says:

Serena v. Capriati will also be remembered as one of the worst called matches ever. Serena seems to have gotten over itmthough as I have seen Marianna alves (I believe that is the imps name) chairing her matches again.

Kimberly Says:

I meant ump not imp!

Skeezerweezer Says:


Care to expatiate what you said in your 9:30 post?


I read your very well thought out post on the other site. Well done. You are right in further extracting my point of view on the matter. I was wanting to actually post it’s entirety here but felt that should be your place. Great read!

Pom poms out…..

Von Says:

skeezer: From my observations, and I don’t blame you, I think you’re very effusive in handing out compliments to your fellow Fed posters for their posts, regardless of whether they’re biased in their statements, or not. As I stated, I don’t blame you for so doing, as there should be a united front presented on behalf of Fed, considering how divided the site is, but sometimes, I feel that some Fed fans are way off the mark and their comments are skewed, yet you seem to effusively hand out praise and/or positive reinforcement to them.

I’ve seen posts where one Fed fan in particular is fond of lambasting some posters, indulging in name calling, and exaggeration/lying, for no valid reason whatsoever, except that she dislikes their comments, and you condone it by saying *excellent post* or something along those lines. It’s only an observation and just saying, you know …… but it’s so very obvious. I think if we are to genuinely compliment people for their excellent posts, well, there are many great posts on the opposition’s side which seem to go unnoticed. Further, I don’t think that if a Fed fan is chewing out a non-Fed fan for speaking what they perceive to be the truth, that they should be abused for their comments. when that occurs, I don’t see you speaking out on the injustices at those times.

I don’t know if you wanted clarification on the *macro*, but just in case you didn’t understand the term, it’s a wordprocessing shortcut that is used for phrases that we use frequently and we can access it by hitting the alt + a key or whatever letter it’s stored under as opposed to typing it over and over again.

Ben Pronin Says:

You got that right, Kimberly :D
This is just amazing.

killerc Says:

I gotta say, HELLYEAH for the s/v final down under. JohnnyMac is one of my tennis inspirations(Rafter ain’t too shabby himself). A character, something a lot of the modern game is missing- that and Variation! It was good seeing LLodra tear it up this week though with attack tennis.

Murray is right, cut back the season. Throw in the Asian swing in between the Aussie open and clay or put it right after USO. Cut out some of the clay tourneys and others. Make the Yr end in early October. Gives Some rest time and allows players to train for January.

Skeezerweezer Says:


WOw. Well thank you for clarifying just wanted to confirm what I thought you meant, now I know…

margot Says:

jane, kimmi: brilliant web chat with Andy and Jonathan Ross. U can catch it on “” or”” Andy is relaxed and funny -so gr8 2 hear.
Actually..anyone who thinks Andy is a dour, sullen Scot, ought to watch/listen as well.

dimwitted recluse Says:

jojostruys -“so who is the better if both players successfully end up their career with 16 slams?”

A good question in that it is a feasible scenario. Clearly, Nadal fans would point to the h2h to resolve the issue, and you couldn’t blame them. If the boot was on the other foot, Fed fans would do the same. The question is: what would neutrals think? All I can suggest is, it is unlikely there would be unanimity. Sorry to be a bit of a wet blanket.

Leo, I read your post on Tennis Planet, and it was a good piece of research,backed up by solid argument. (what has happened to TP, b.t.w. is he finished, will he resume?). In my post above, I expressed my own ambivalent feelings about h2h’s IN GENERAL. But I do think it is eccentric, or counter-intuitive, to ignore them altogether.

dimwitted recluse Says:

I’ll take a leaf out of Kimberley’s book, and post a link on a sport other than tennis. But since it is about a player (a formidable one as it happens) who is struggling desperately with an injury which remains impervious to treatment, it might be of interest here. Tennis players, after all, are known to fight through pain – and there must sometimes come that tipping point,in tennis as in football, when courage becomes self-defeating.,19528,12040_6510671,00.html

Leon Says:

Tennisplanet has moved to
for some reasons. Now it is a bit less convenient but nevertheless OK.
Very respectfully, L.


The groups are out



dimwitted recluse Says:

B the tougher group


Perfect draw for Roddick. I’m not saying he will advance, but it definitely improves his chances. He has a winning record against everyone in his group except for Nadal. He has a losing record against everyone in the B group.

dimwitted recluse Says:

Thankyou, Leon (sorry to mispell your name earlier). It’s kind of pretty, but the print is small.

Leon Says:

You are welcome, D.W. Actually, no mispelling – that was my old nick about 2 years ago when I took a break in posting till recent month.
And yes, for me also the print is too small. Hope it will change.
B looks tougher even on paper, but it’s impossible to predict anything. Top 8, after all, and we never know inside info (how is Rafael actually, etc). What seems real is that this TMC might have some special significance, no?

Leon Says:

Oh, my! Just saw I used a wrong abbreviation of yours, D.R.! So sorry (too fast ageing of mine?…)

Vulcan Says:

Nina Says:

I think Fed, Djoko, Murray and Sod have more chances at winning WTF than Nadal, actually. USO or not USO, Nadal is still a little bit inferior to them on hard courts. Of course he can prove me wrong next week.

I agree. As good of a hard court player as he has become he is still learning and vulnerable to those guys hitting through him off of the backhand side (except for Federer). Also, his mental/physical toughness is not as much of a factor at O2 due to the round robin and best of 3 format…one thing is for sure…as the reigning #1 with alot to prove he is really going to be on the hot seat.

dimwitted recluse Says:

jojostruys -”so who is the better if both players successfully end up their career with 16 slams?”

A good question in that it is a feasible scenario. Clearly, Nadal fans would point to the h2h to resolve the issue, and you couldn’t blame them.

I’m not sure that that would be the first thing to look at. The success on different surfaces might be the deciding factor and IMO would be a no brainer if Nadal wins the calendar slam.

jane Says:

Will check it out margot, thanks.

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