Nadal Blames Altitude for Shoddy Play, Federer Dumps Tsonga, Gets Gasquet in Rome
by Sean Randall | May 11th, 2011, 11:48 pm
  • 195 Comments

Rafael Nadal needs to shut his mouth and just play tennis. Nadal is among the most humble, respected, well-spoken guys on the tour but I’m tired of hearing him complain about the altitude.

First he was complaining about Madrid’s high altitude last week, now it’s Rome low altitude.

Today, three days after getting rocked by Novak Djokovic in the Madrid final, Nadal took the court in Rome still feeling that hangover, but the Spaniard escaped the always formidable clutches of one No 148 in the world Paolo Lorenzi to win 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-0 (ok, sarcasm over).

“I think there is a difference between Madrid and Rome, different conditions and the altitude and the speed of the ball and everything is completely different,” said Nadal who now plays his countryman and good friend Feliciano Lopez .

“After losing the final there makes everything more difficult and you know, you do not have time for practice and you are a little bit more tired and you arrive a little bit more sad because you lost the final and all these facts make it difficult.”

Rafa, how many times have you won Rome? 1? 2? 3? 4? 5? How was the altitude then?

And how many days between Madrid and Rome did you have to prepare? Are two days not enough to keep you from hitting forehands into Roman Coliseum and point blank overheads into the net? That’s not the altitude my man.

Speaking of the altitude, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer had little trouble making the that very same adjustment against much stiffer competition than what Nadal faced.

Djokovic won his 35th straight, 33rd of 2011, hammering Lukas Kubot 6-0, 6-3.

“It is a great way to start,” said Djokovic. “It is always great to have a straight set win and spend less time on the courts and save some energy for coming rounds.”

Djokovic now moves on to play a tough customer in Stan Wawrinka tomorrow. And I give Stan a decent shot against the Serb.

The other Swiss, Federer, played some solid tennis beating JW Tsonga 6-4, 6-2. Federer now plays another Frenchman, Richard Gasquet, in a good one tomorrow.

“I am excited to play Richard because he’s a great player and we had a good match against each other in Dubai, so I am looking forward to playing on clay,” Federer said. “I need to be very focused is and smart with a good game plan and we’ll see how it goes.”

There’s also been a rash of withdrawals this week. David Ferrer joins the casualty list as the Spanaird withdrew due to an illness. No. 8 seed Jurgen Melzer also had to retire with a back injury to Florian Mayer.

Tennis Channel will have first ball at 6am ET with Nadal against Lopez. ESPN3.com has live Rome streaming in the U.S. and perhaps parts elsewhere.

CENTRALE start 12:00 noon
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs F Lopez (ESP) – ATP
D Hantuchova (SVK) vs [2] F Schiavone (ITA) – WTA
Not Before 3:00 PM
[3] R Federer (SUI) vs [16] R Gasquet (FRA) – ATP
Not Before 7:30 PM
[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) vs Y Wickmayer (BEL) – WTA – Possible Court Change
Not Before 9:15 PM
[14] S Wawrinka (SUI) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB) – ATP

PIETRANGELI start 12:00 noon
[Q] A Medina Garrigues (ESP) vs [5] J Jankovic (SRB) – WTA
Not Before 1:30 PM
[LL] J Nieminen (FIN) vs [7] T Berdych (CZE) – ATP
P Starace (ITA) vs [4] A Murray (GBR) – ATP
Not Before 7:30 PM
[5] R Soderling (SWE) vs [9] N Almagro (ESP) – ATP
[3] V Azarenka (BLR) vs [16] A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) – WTA


Also Check Out:
Novak Djokovic: Madrid’s Altitude Helps The Big Servers And Aggressive Players
Federer Flames, Nadal Now Ill, Djokovic Streaks Along in Rome
Rafael Nadal: I’m Not Happy How I Played the Madrid Final [Video]
Federer Passes Off Davis Cup Loss, Blames Wawrinka; France Tries To Finish Off Canada
Rome Preview: Djokovic, Federer Look To Get Back On Track On Rafa’s Turf

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195 Comments for Nadal Blames Altitude for Shoddy Play, Federer Dumps Tsonga, Gets Gasquet in Rome

Lulu Iberica Says:

I guess you just needed something to write, Sean. I mean, how does one even “complain” about the altitude? It just is what it is. If you didn’t notice, he also said he was “sad” after the loss in Madrid, which is a very honest, open thing to say, and in my opinion is a much more important factor than the altitude. He has also acknowledged that Lorenzi played well, and that he did not. He’s said in multiple interviews that he needs to be more aggressive, come inside the baseline more, etc. What do you want him to say, “I just suck now”? Or maybe, “Djokovic is playing the best tennis I’ve ever seen, and I’m scared I can never beat him again, so my mental fortitude has evaporated”?


alice Says:

Rafa isn’t one to complain or make excuses. If he mentioned the conditions as affecting his play he was likely doing so in response to a question. And he also typically says when asked about conditions is that it is the same for both players. So this article appears to be looking for something to complain about Rafa …kind of mean-spirited if you ask me.


Stan Says:

hi, one more thing, Rome was always before Madrid so you can’t say that it is the same situation than in last years.


Sean Randall Says:

Lulu, true. I’m a bit snarky after the Heat win tonight (not a fan of the Heat!). So I did take out some frustration on Rafa.

Still, why bring up the altitude issue. He should just say “it’s fine” and be done with it.

Alice, the fact is when Rafa loses there is often an excuse or injury.

Tell me Alice, when was the last time Rafa lost a Grand Slam match w/o an excuse? It’s been a while.

That said, if you play tennis or do anything competitive, you often want to have a reason when you don’t succeed beyond “the other guy was better”. So tennis players like golfers, etc., internally blame things like the wind, rain, heat, etc. And that’s fine and perhaps good therapy b/c it can help you overcome the loss.

The problem comes when you start talking about those excuses in public. It just doesn’t look good.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Great article about Rafa’s scare vs Lorenzi, from Steve Tignor:

http://tennisworld.typepad.com/thewrap/index.html


Ben Pronin Says:

Pfft, Celtics are the worst. Good riddance. Heat got this championship in the baaaag.


Sean Randall Says:

Stan, yeah, I’m aware of the date change. Thanks.

Ben, yup. Now that will be a sad day when Lebron prances around with that trophy a month from now.


Lulu Iberica Says:

I don’t have a link, but apparently Rafa said it was the worst match he’s ever played on clay, and that he left his inspiration at the hotel, so I don’t think he’s trying to escape responsibility here. He did acknowledge the opponent’s good play also. Of course we all know that the altitude couldn’t possibly account for more than about 5% of his crappy play today. I’m just glad he plays early tomorrow, so by the time I wake up his match should be almost over. I can’t handle another match like the first one! I will root for Rafa in my dreams.


kriket Says:

I don’t have anything against Rafa personally even if I don’t care too much for his brute force style of play, but all this talk about altitude is just silly. I don’t know who started it but I never heard the word “altitude” used more oftenly than during Madrid. And now it transfers to Rome? Please, stop with the altitude already, whoever mentions it! The conditions are the same for every player. Soon we will be learning about Earth’s magnetic properties, air transparency and astronomical alignment of the stars on every particular tournament. Or maybe the water will be too wet?


margot Says:

Wawrinka is playing awful. I don’t think he’ll give Nole much trouble.


Lulu Iberica Says:

God, I’m obsessing — must go to bed. Anyway, one last thought — maybe Rafa isn’t despondent about the losses to Djoker. Maybe the problem is that he read Peter Bodo’s article from a few weeks ago about how everyone is bored of Nadal winning on clay, and he should just go away already! Ha! I would say that today, at least in terms of predictability, Novak played the most boring match of all!


truefan Says:

In most draws, Nadal is luckier than others. Of all people, Ferrer drops out – guess whose quarter he was in? Nadal. I have been following this for years – its eerie how often Nadal lucks out. Like at the US Open last year. Or at the Wimbledon many times.

Nadal made hay dominating a 5 year older opponent (Federer) for many years (though largely on clay – Federer still has a winning record over Nadal outside of clay). Now I would love to see Nadals face younger top players (Djokovic is only 1 year younger) once he turns 25 and then 26. Imagine Nadal having to face a 23 year old federer 3 years from now – Nadal would never win, at least outside of clay.

Sampras never had to face a 5 years younger top top player during his peak years. Nadal hasn’t faced one like that either, yet. Federer is one of the few in history who had to do that. People forget that.


truefan Says:

For all its talk – madrid has an altitude of 2000 ft. Its not that much – not like they are playing in La Paz or something! I think too much is made out of it. Many “normal” cities around the world (where most of the tennis tournaments are held) are 500 – 1000 ft above sea level anyway (e.g. Cincinnati Masters).


Kimmi Says:

what is a problem with rafa? just catch late that he didnt want to play today?


Nina Says:

Boring because he wins, Lulu? Then I must say the last 10 years have been nothing but a bore.


Kimmi Says:

OK, i need to understand this commentator. rafa not 100% today? i wish he could repeat what he said earlier..

F-Lo no chance at the moment. rafa forehands are working like a charm in this match..


gonzalowski Says:

Sean, better than ATP nº 1 “shut his mouth”, you could shut yours.
Not always Rafa complains in defeats, and if he does,is in a public way, the typical way of avoid professional-hater-people like you.
Well, pretty sure your intention was only to create controversy ;)


Spyrogyra Says:

Any updates ya’ll


Barbara Ball Says:

Sean

You must be a Fed lover and Rafa hater. How anyone can find fault with Rafa’s comments are beyond me. He was answering questions about his poor play. Want to hear excuses? Talk to Fed.


Kimberly Says:

GO HEAT BABY!!!!!

Extremely poor writing as usual and obnoxious article. Sean is probably just a bitter Celtics fans so has to take it out on darling Rafa.


Mark Anderson Says:

Sean, how many times has Nadal won Madrid? How many times at the lower clay tournaments? See a pattern here?


Skeezerweezer Says:

This is not the first time about a discussion about Rafa’s excuses, nor is Sean’s the only article about it, it is what it is.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Nina, first of all, I was kind of just being silly. Second, I said boring in terms of predictability — current Djoko vs Kubot? Of course that was going to be a blowout. Finally, yes, boring because Novak won so easily. That was my point — that Peter Bodo and many people on here say clay season is boring because Rafa wins almost everything. They should all be happy now, because between excellent Novak and subpar Rafa, it’s a much more exciting season this year!


Neutral Viewer Says:

What Nadal said about altitude didn’t sound like a complaint to me. If you were impartial, you could have told that he meant changing from high altitude to sea level (or vice versa) had affected his play a bit b/c he didn’t have much time to adjust. Usually, he seems to need more time to practice and adjust to different conditions than other players probably due to the fact that he’s not naturally lefty.

The altitude may not affect other players much. But if it does to Nadal, it’s understandable and he had the rights to voice his thought/review regarding his performance. He also gave credits to Lorenzi like he always does to all his opponents. If Nadal were the guy who blamed something else rather than himself when things didn’t go his way, I would have lost respects for him a long time ago. But he isn’t like that at all. And that’s why he’s one of the most genuine/straightforward/gracious guys in the world of sports, let alone his humility.

Btw, this is the first time I read your blog and I have to say that it’s disappointing to know that a professional writer (if you are) could be this prejudiced and ignorant. It’s ok to have preferences or find particular players boring or even dislike them. But please learn to separate your personal feelings from professional life. Be objective won’t kill anyone. It shows how mature you are and should do you good in a long run, personally and professionally.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Thanks, Neutral Viewer, that’s how I see the altitude issue also, though I do think other factors are more important in this case. As to Sean, don’t be too hard on him. He already admitted he was maybe too harsh. I find this blog more of an opinion page than an objective tennis news source, but it’s usually very fun and has intelligent comments.


Lulu Iberica Says:

I am talkative this AM! Anyway, I am pleasantly surprised to see a routine scoreline for the Rafa– Feli match. I was really expecting to find Rafa was going home. Will have to get some info on how the match went down. In any case, I agree with Kimberly that Rafa is a “darling.” 10,000 vamoses!


stu Says:

Stop calling Rafa sub-par, guys. It’s really NOT fair to Nole.


Kimberly Says:

I hope for seans sake nadal can win roland garros and the heat win the championship trophy in the same day. Or at least the same week. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?


stu Says:

I. Love. James LaRosa.

Novak fans need to take a look at this article.
http://goo.gl/74HZY


Lulu Iberica Says:

Stu, Nole is undeniably playing awesome tennis, but if you watch Rafa play anyone lately, aside from the Monfils match, he is not playing at his usual standards. By subpar, I am saying he is not playing as well as he usually does, and that isn’t taking anything away from Nole. If Rafa is playing the same as he did to win 3 slams last year, then everyone’s level last year must have been pathetic.


stu Says:

Lulu, I look at it as Rafa running into phenomenal form last year, same as maybe Nole this year (we’ll have to wait and see about that). Every player goes through peak seasons, and Rafa had one of his last year. That does not mean he is sub-par now. He has reached the finals of almost every tournament this year, and lately, loses only to Nole. I think calling Rafa’s current game sub-par is indeed taking away some credit from Nole.


tfouto Says:

That’s really amazing… Nole might be an amazing player, but its Nadal who is loosing not Nole winning? Really? Is your Love for Nadal blinding you all so much?


Daniel Says:

He is not subpar when playing Novak, he is just afraid, not going for the forehand down the line, retrieving backhands to the moon into Nole backhand and nothing was working. Djoko was returning serve with ease and he avoid going for the lines. It is that everything he does Djoko does better, except the forehand, but he is not aatcking as he should be, or made some errors trying to and revert to the old style, waiting Djoko’s level to drop.

As much as some say Nadal isn’t playing great (ok, yesterday he wasn;t but even so managed a bagel, something he didn;t the entire clay season). In fact he is, he reached the finals the last 5 events, and his level never drops drastically in a match, he is that consistant. The problem is that Djoko is just too good right now, and I can olny see him losing, in the head, if he enters RG undefeated and start realiseing he can have the greatest tennis season of all time.


Daniel Says:

Lulu,
“then everyone’s level last year must have been pathetic.”

Well, for a period it was entirelly true, during clay – Wimby.

Nadal’s accend to N. 1 was when Federer was losing to everybody (no one expect his performances after he won AO), even Hewitt in Halle, Djoko had avarage 10 DF for match and no serve, Murray.. well no coments, Roddick on a vacation, Davy injured, DelPo out of the season, so he was an oportunist, the same way fed was when Nadal was in a slump in 2009.

Imagine this Djoko against 2010 Nadal (when his serve was great and the best attacking tennis he has ever played) in US Open final. That would be quite a match.


Lulu Iberica Says:

I am not saying Nadal is losing, not Djoko winning. I am not even saying if Rafa were playing his best, he would be beating Djoko right now. All I am saying is that lately, when I, a Nadal fan who has watched him quite a bit, watch Nadal play anyone, he does not look even as good as 2009, which was his worst clay year. I’m not talking about results. Sure, he won MC and Barcelona, but he was still hitting everything short with little power on his shots. He was still hitting everything to the middle of the court. Maybe it is only fear, I cannot know what is causing it. I just know he is not playing as well as he usually does, especially on clay.

Sometimes I think people don’t even read whole comments, but see one word, like “subpar” or “altitude” and just go on a tear.


Rafael Nadal Battling a Fever Says:

[...] is a lot of debate and speculation over on this thread but maybe this is a better reason for Nadal’s tougher than expected win yesterday over Paolo [...]


Tom Gainey Says:

Rafa just told the press that he’s been sick this week in Rome:

http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2011-05-12/7022.php


Lulu Iberica Says:

Daniel, yes, I can gladly imagine 2010 USO Rafa playing right now Djoker. The thing is, Nadal is not playing like 2010 USO, but much worse in my opinion, and of course, Novak is playing much better than 2010 USO. I think 2010 USO Novak would beat today’s Rafa.


tfouto Says:

Del Potro 2009 USO would win everybody except maybe Djoko now.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Jimminy Crickets! I don’t even want to hear about an illness, because I can’t bear the response this will elicit! Rafa, you are not allowed to talk about illness or injury even if you have pneumonia and one leg amputated!


al Says:

Stu, thanks for the article link !


jane Says:

Stu, thanks for the link. :)

Must be a flu or something going around the ATP? Monfils has been ill, then Ferrer, now Rafa. Hope they all recover soon.


jane Says:

Fed is playing extremely well no? He broke Tsonga right out of the gates yesterday and now has done the same versus Gasquet. And Gasquet has been playing well on clay. Maybe Fed will win Rome?


skeezerweezer Says:

^Well Gas broke back at love, Fed looking weak, then Fed runs off some spectactular goundies and breaks back, looking awesome. Good stuff so far :)


tfouto Says:

Federer can’t get to No. 1 again as he’s too inconstant… Nadal and Djoko are way more stable up there…


Jazzcomedian Says:

I read Nadal’s comments as an observation not a complaint. And he readily admitted that Djokovic has been the better man in their three meetings this year, in his interview I read right after the Madrid final, and acknowledged that Djokovic was certain to be number one very soon. Nadal is not my favorite player. Federer is, but I give Nadal kudos for always losing with grace–seldom as that is.


van orten Says:

wow federer as always..what a bad performance in the tie – breaker ..completly unneccesary lost of focus…nothing against gasquet but he was dead federer in total control of the match ..incredible


Lenny Says:

Sean et al, you may want to look up a dictionary to find out the difference between an ‘excuse’ and a ‘reason’. It’s so easy to pluck a statement out from where it belongs, plonk it the middle of nowhere devoid of all context, and see it however you want.

Show me one, single interview or in-context statement where Rafa has said that he lost, the other guy didn’t win. Unlike some other players who are darlings of this site (and of Sean’s) he has never failed to give opponents credit.

It’s very easy to say “Why bring it up at all?”. So now he’s getting flak for simply and honestly answering a question that was posed?

You guys are acting like every time he loses he takes out a full-pg ad or puts up a billboard with his “excuse” apropos nothing. I think Rafa deserves a little more respect.


Eric Says:

This is the of horrible and shoddy lapse Federer can’t afford… throws away about 5 chances to stay or get back on track to win the second set 6-4, and then completely deflates for the rest of the set. Gasquet did play an amazing tiebreaker, though – those bh winners of his… sheesh


van orten Says:

federer is off !!!


jane Says:

Is Fed “off”? He is still playing well, serving well, etc., though Gasquet did dominate the breaker. But Fed is holding rather easily. Gasquet has made no inroads on Fed’s first serve, not bad on the second serve, but overall, Fed’s not been under any pressure on serve. Gasquet, however, is serving really well too and making less errors than usual; he is playing freely but with focus. It’s been a good match so far!


Eric Says:

Gasquet is playing unbelievable tennis today. His offense is keeping Fed pinned down and unable to muster much in response, he’s hardly making any errors, and his defense against Fed’s drop shots and net play are extraordinary. If Fed can still edge him – preferably by actually raising his level, not just outlasting him – I think he’ll go pretty deep here.


Eric Says:

Gasquet was certainly holding serve more easily than Fed in the first few games this set. Now it looks like Fed is ascendant once more. Probably just a matter of time before he breaks again.


Eric Says:

Of course, not if he keeps dumping easy balls into the net like this.


stu Says:

3rd set TB, ugh I wish I could watch. looks like Reeshie is playing to potential…


Eric Says:

Ooookay, Roger, time to stop playing along with the charade and win a point?


Eric Says:

Okay, well, if Roger couldn’t even handle rallies with Gasquet, Djokovic was always going to be too much for him. So whatever. Unbelievable choking, I’m disgusted.


stu Says:

UNBELIEVABLE. Baby Fed beats Fed!


jane Says:

Wow, what a surprise! Gasquet did *not* crack today. This is a fantastic win for him. I am really happy for him. And it’s not a bad loss for Roger, imo, in so far as Gasquet was just “on” today, more than Fed was “off”.

Way to go Reeeshard, good win. Steely resolve. Who’d've thunk it!??


Daniel Says:

FEderer had the match in control at 4-2 second set, than it was 4-4 15-40 Gasquet serving and he made bad choices. He was being passed a lot in this match, he sould try to wrong foot Gasquet more. Thsi is an example of Fed being stubborn going to Gasquet Backhand all the time, as if he felt he needed to break it.

This is a very bad loss, 2 Tiebreak, when he should be chasing Nadal and Djoko very close waiting for an opportunity.


tfouto Says:

i wonder where Roger will actually manage to go on the french? Quarters?

Maybe its time to get a bigger racquet.


jane Says:

Aww Fed’s little smile at the net handshake says it all; he knew it was a good win for Gasquet, and Fed knew he was right there too. After all, Gasquet won by a hair. Great match between two wonderful ball strikers. The serving of both was good too.


Lenny Says:

How ironic. In a thread accusing Rafa of making excuses, some Fed fans are saying Fed played badly and not giving an iota of respect and admiration for the opponent that played better and beat him.


Eric Says:

Talk about pathetic. Roger wasted about 5 effective match points in the second — and by effective match points, I mean points that would have let him serve for the match, 5-4, whether break points or just holding his own serve when up a break already. And he couldn’t do it. And then he just mosied along in the third set into another TB, where he at least put up a good effort, but just had no more answers to Gasquet’s amazing shots (fast, hard, well-positioned, ridiculous ability to turn defense into winners) than he had over the previous 15 games. Gasquet certainly played his heart out and deserved to win, if he can keep this up he’ll be back in the top 10 in no time. He’s better than Murray or Soderling when he’s really on. But Fed should still have been able to get this and I hope he goes home and does some hard thinking about how to stay focused in Paris.


van orten Says:

federer wins today playing badly as he did means – he crushes berdych in 2

gasquet won today…it is not hard to imagine that he will not stand a chance vs berdych tomorrow..

dissapointing dissapointing loss for fed..u can lose but not like that


margot Says:

If you guys were mesmerised by Fed match, you missed a treat. Andy played marvellously :) :) :)
Fritz where are you? Our man is brilliant. Really looking forward to RG now :)


Daniel Says:

The problem with Gasquet is that his game has too many flaws, he is not reliable, you can see that today, he has no chance at all against Nadal or Djoko. Fed at least you get the sense that if he wakes up in a good day, anything can happen.


van orten Says:

federer playing badly does not mean he couldnt stand a chance vs gasquet..it means giving his opponents the possibility to shine bright throughout the match..i mean fed urges them to play the match of his life…nadal makes the opponent play badly …except for the italian guy yesterday…gasquet will lose tomorrow thats obvious for me


jane Says:

Daniel, interesting that you saw it differently. I can see what you mean though. Fed was up a break in the second set after all. But I thought that game (4 all) where Gasquet faced break points that he fought them off – mind you I wasn’t paying super close attention as I have been following Murray too (who is playing very well!!). I can see how a two tiebreaker loss can seem like a bad loss on the one hand. But on the other hand, Fed served well today and Gasquet was able to break only those two times when he was behind. Otherwise he had to win the match by holding onto his own serve and forcing the tiebreaks. Anyhow, from my perspective, it was a very good match; I could really see the similarities in these two guys today, though Fed’s forehand is so much better. Very close. I had no idea who would win, even when Gasquet had 6-4 in the second tiebreak and a match point. It felt that close to me.


Eric Says:

Daniel, if Gasquet plays against Nadal or Djokovic the way he played against Fed, he has a perfectly good chance – he won’t take it, because he’s usually a bit of a choker, but maybe that’s changed too.

He made basically no meaningful unforced errors in the entire second half of the match, and his backhand is better than Nole’s. Theirs would be a great and interesting matchup to see, but I very much doubt that Richard is getting past Nadal (which would be a less favorable matchup for Gasquet, I think, since Nadal is the best player on tour at taking advantage of weakness)


stu Says:

LOL margot. his next round should be a straightforward W too. if someone HAS to stop Nole’s streak, maybe it should be Andy.


van orten Says:

i hate those players gaining a win a against the great roger and then chicken out horribly the next match…thats why i want roger to win those kind of matches..


jane Says:

stu, yes, if Nole is stopped, why not by his friend Andy – and then Gasquet and Murray can play in the final! Wouldn’t that shake up the clay season, ha ha!


Huh Says:

gasquet’s a truly class player and he played well today. no shame in losin to him, coz, to b frank gasquet’s no less than murray. and peopl do xpect murray to beat fed, dont they.


Dory Says:

I couldn’t watch the matches because my cable operator has blacked out that channel and no streaming either because my net is too slow and expensive. Was just watching the live scores. With a very deep sad sigh as a big Fed fan, I am slowly accepting his gradual and eventual decline. It’s too painful but at least I have another player in Nole to back. LOL it sounds so dramatic and overhyped but I was in decline about Fed’s declining form and now I accept it.


Eric Says:

Huh, exactly — when Gasquet is on (and he was ON when it counted today), he’s better than Murray. He plays with the same pace, defense -> offense, etc., but is IMO more versatile and doesn’t get down on himself. Of course he’s not usually on.


margot Says:

eric, please don’t lump Andy and Soderling together, and Gasquet rarely seems to come to the net. A big flaw IMHO.


Sean Randall Says:

Just imagine if Feliciano had made that overhead last week.

Fed got that set of Rafa on Saturday so he at least has that to build off of for the French Open.

Credit to Gasquet, he hit his forehand really well today and kept his nerve.


margot Says:

Eric, we’ll agree to differ on this one. IMHO Andy is one of the most versatile players on the tour. Second only to Fed…..but of course until he gets his self-belief going…


Eric Says:

margot, Andy and Soda have totally different styles, true, but they’ve been so close to each other in the rankings for the past year+ now that I guess it just flows naturally. Still, you’re right, of course. :)


Lulu Iberica Says:

Condolences, Fed fans. I was hoping for a Nadal – Federer rematch. Rafa does get lucky, doesn’t he? His path to the finals keeps getting easier. I hope I don’t regret saying that!

Hopefully we’ll get a Murray — Nole semifinal. Murray’s elbow must be better, so let’s see what he can do!


Sean Randall Says:

Lenny, Rafa’s last 4-5 losses in Grand Slam play have what in common? That’s right, there was some ailment or a personal matter.

Sorry, it’s a 100% fact. This isn’t me just guessing.


Henry Says:

To Sean and those who don’t understand why the altitude in Madrid has come up and/or why Rafa mentions it:
Some years ago Rafa and his fellow Davis Cup team members complained and fought the Spanish Federation over their decision to play the Davis Cup in Madrid. You know why? Because of the altitude!
Rafa, Roger and others have complained about the Madrid altitude since it became a clay tournament, as it was not a good preparation for Roland Garros. That’s why this year the ATP Player Council, lead by Roger, managed for Madrid and Rome to swap dates, so that players would have a better preparation for Roland Garros.
3 years ago – when Rafa won Madrid (!) – he gave an almost scientific explanation why Madrid almost plays like a hard court and how the altitude has an effect on the length and speed of the ball path
So, please, stop this ambience-making talk about Rafa trying to find excuses. He doesn’t need any excuses. When the press asks him a question, he answers. Maybe time for you and others to do their/your homework and also try a little harder not to take interviews or quotes out of their context.

And BTW Sean: Go Heat! Do you have a problem with successful athletes like LeBron and Rafa? They are top professionals at what they’re doing. You may want to try that too when you write an article.


Fritz Says:

Eric, here is the truth – when Gasquet is ON and Murray is also ON, Murray is so better that it’s not even close. Please be realistic.

And remember what I told you yesterday, Federer will end the year at #4 behind Andy. Gasquet is a good and likeable Top 20 player, nothing more.


Sean Randall Says:

Henry, hasn’t Rafa won Madrid twice? Was the altitude different in those years?


Kimberly Says:

Sean, as a Miami resident I cannot tell you how much I enjoy watching the Heat games, especially games 4 and 5 of this last series.


Henry Says:

Sean your reaction/remark has no substance and has nothing to do with the issue : Rafa won Madrid on hard…not clay in 2005. He made it to the finals on clay in 2009 and lost to Roger after a gruelling (longest 3 set match in ATP history)semi final vs Novak. He won it on clay in 2010 and despite that tried to explain to why – even though the surface is clay – the courts don’t play like clay. The issue here is that Rafa AND others have complained for years about Madrid not being a good preparation for Roland Garros because of the altitude and you, my friend, are pretending this ia something new that has surfaced…


Eric Says:

Fritz, I guess that’s why Gasquet leads their head-to-head 3-2, with both of Murray’s wins taking all five sets at a slam?


stu Says:

Yay new Nole ATP Uncovered!


Kimberly Says:

actually i heard the reason they changed the dates between rome and madrid is that players were complaining that they were playing like crap at RG because the change in conditions was so drastic.

If I recall Federer was quoted earlier this year saying the schedule change was good as it gave players more time to adjust to the very different conditions between Madrid and RG. But anything Nadal says will be interpreted by most of the writers on this site as an “excuse.”

How come no one is talking about Ferrer’s virus or Murray’s elbow or Delpos 1000 injuries as excuses?


Lenny Says:

@Henry. THANK you for being one of the few voices of reason

@Sean: Again: excuse, reason. 2 completely different things. Tsk, tsk. You really ought to know that as a writer :P He never said Madrid’s altitude was *why* he lost. He says he finds the conditions difficult, and difficult to adjust to. As Henry pointed out, he isn’t the only one. How do you read “excuse” into that?

After his loss to Ferrer at the AO, he in fact categorically told the press I do not want to talk about the injury. They kept pressing him to, he kept saying he does NOT want to use it as an excuse, does NOT want to take anything away from Ferrer. Same at the infamous FO loss. Yes I was injured BUT Soderling played amazing. You still can’t state one instance where he’s used the issues as an excuse, while I have 2 where he’s emphatically refused to do so. Stating he has a problem – in response to someone asking him about it – Is. Not. An. EXCUSE.


Sean Randall Says:

Henry, it is true Nadal has complained about the altitude before, but the fact is HE WON THE TOURNAMENT. So geez, shut the heck up about it already. I’m no expert but the altitude isn’t going to change, is it?

Or would you prefer to hear Rafa bark on and on about the altitude every time Madrid comes around?

For me, I’m tired of hearing of it. I guess your not.


Eric Says:

Fritz, actually, their head to head is 2-2. One of the Gasquet wins just a walkover. But still, it is not that hard to see that they are pretty level. They actually have similar styles and strengths, except that Murray is – okay – maybe a bit more versatile (changed my mind upon reflection) and more likely to change things up in a rally, go for his famous “junk balls” and such.

Murray obviously has an edge in terms of knowing he’s higher ranked and more consistent (well not this year, LOLZ), but I’d give the edge to Gasquet in pure tennis chops.


Eric Says:

Lenny, actually, it is an excuse. In the ideology of sportsmanship, any commentary on why an upset occurred is poor form, i.e., offering an excuse for a loss. What would count as an “excuse” in your world if “I lost because of the altitude” isn’t?

In sport, there’s no difference between explaining an upset and excusing it. And everyone offers some sort of excuses after most losses to players they know they coulda woulda shoulda beaten, but some people are more consistently unwilling to admit that they might have just been outplayed. Federer is like that sometimes; Rafa always is.


Henry Says:

Kimberly and Lenny thank you for adding some more reason.

Sean I would really advise you to read more thoroughly what I wrote and pay attention to what Kimberly and Lenny wrote. Your superficial answers/reactions show you simply don’t get it and that you haven’t bothered to do some research into the matter of altitude, bounce, speed and length of the ball path

Rafa has also won the USO but has said it was a very difficult surface for him and that also the balls they use at the USO have a different bounce. Rafa has an almost scientific approach to ball bounces, ball types, court types, altitude etc. The press corps asks, he answers. They will ask him the same this year and he will answer them again. So, if he doesn’t win this year, you for one, will again shine the excuse light on him… please, don’t!

@Kimberly: I’m in Europe right now but am a Florida boy too so I’m with you on the Heat!


Sean Randall Says:

Lenny, excuse, reason. How about just not bringing it up? Unless it’s noticeable or if you received treatment why volunteer the info.

Oh, because he had to answer honestly? Please.

My upbringing here in the U.S. is if you play you are healthy, that simple.

I think the Aussie greats use to preach the same mantra. I guess things have changed.


Eric Says:

(If Rafa can always lie and be a good sport ahead of matches – “oh, it’s going to be such a hard match, Joe Schlubb Ranked 123 is a really strong player” – why can’t he do it after losing?)


margot Says:

Hmm Eric, Roger ‘n Rafa’s h2h..;)


Eric Says:

Margot, head-to-heads obviously don’t tell everything. They provide a false sense of security – “look, I’ve got statistics!” – that has to be balanced out by actually thinking about the conditions under which the statistic was formed. Roger and Rafa have a level head-to-head off clay, which I think is a fair representation of their rivalry. They’re about level. On clay, Roger has the best meaningful record against Rafa of anyone on tour, with two more wins than 99.9% of players he’s faced, and one more than the rest.

In Murray and Gasquet’s case, I think, as I said, they’re pretty similar in level. Murray obviously has had much more success (until very recently :P) against the field, but he hasn’t had to deal with all of the same issues as Gasquet (hello, wrongful drug suspension) either.

Gasquet, I think, should be a stable top-8 player and I’ve never really understood why he can’t get there again.


madmax Says:

Hugely disappointed about Federer. What to say? Two very, VERY close tiebreakers. Of course federer is not the same player. Still a great player. I still want to watch him play, but those tie breakers. O.M.G. Just kill me.

Shocker.

Wake up! Chances of winning RG? possible not probable. Still work to be done. What the hell is Annacone doing with the man? Get a psyche on board to manage the clutch moments.

He is too inconsistent right now.

Flashes of brilliance, but remember Gasquet is an awesome player. Now he has beaten fed, I hope he goes on to win the tournament. Unlikely. But the confidence he must be feeling. Have to give credit to gasquet. After 6 long and painful years, he has beaten the fed. Not a lot of people can put that on their resume.

Deep thinking from federer. No one will back him in a tournament now. He is not walking the walk. I want to scream at the TV! Federer what are you doing? Some howlers today.

Still flove the fed.


jane Says:

Murray is, overall, mentally stronger than Gasquet, imo, besides having more variety. Murray wins some of those matches when the going gets tough (e.g. beating Fed and Nadal at Canada last summer), but Gasquet typically loses them; that’s why I found today’s win by Reeeshard impressive. Gasquet can maybe be more aggressive than Murray, at times, and when Gasquet’s serve is firing, he can play at a really high level. He can even steamroll if the serve and backhand, everything is clicking. But Gasquet’s defense isn’t near as good as Murray’s (Murray is faster, with better anticipation) and Murray has more margin for error, so he can win more matches even when not playing his best. So that, coupled with Murray’s overall tougher disposition, has helped Murray stay higher in the rankings.


Eric Says:

Jane, spot on, although Gasquet was pretty darn quick today. I hope we are seeing the start of a new Gasquet era (lol), but he’s achieved pretty remarkable things in the past without living up to them, so I am not hopeful. He’s one of those just-under-top-10-ish players I really like…


Ben Pronin Says:

How close is a 7-2 tiebreaker? I didn’t see the match but seems like this one isn’t too different from the first time Gasquet beat Fed. Super close, barely squeezes it out playing fantastic at just the right moments. I’ll hit the panic button if Federer loses before the quarters of the French. Hell, I’m writing him into the semis. He’s had some inconsistent results in Rome over the years, not really a big picture indicator for Federer, I would say.


Vvx Says:

“My upbringing here in the U.S. is if you play you are healthy, that simple. ”

Wish you were just as consistent everytime the shout of “mono” went up everytime Federer got his ass kicked in 2008/9.


Eric Says:

Ben, exactly. Fed got to the QF last year in spite of having a dreadful season. This year his season has been okay — he’s been playing very well, just coming up short to outrageously good play from others — so he should get a semi. We’ll see from there, though.

And the first tiebreaker wasn’t close at all, the points went with serve for the first 5, then Fed serving at 2-3 just fell apart and lost the four points in a row. The second was more of a back-and-forth affair; at least he got a few points on G’s serve, but gave up even more on his own.


Fumus Says:

Sean, Nadal hasn’t complained about injuries when he’s lost. He usually tries to ignore those lines of questioning and always give credit to his opponent. It’s been the press and the writers that create those story lines. Also, if he wanted to talk about his injuries, the fact is he’s been legitimately has been injured alot, but especially when he retired at the Aussie against Murray, lost at RG and then couldn’t defend Wimbledon.

Below is an article entitled “Nadal refuses to make excuses for defeat” from this years Australian Open loss. Where Nadal was yes, again clearly hampered by injury.

http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/articles/2011-01-26/201101261296046008378.html

The altitude issue at Madrid has been there for years, it’s no secret that Rafa does the conditions there and doesn’t play his best tennis there. Of all the clay courts in the season it plays the least the like RG(Monte Carlo playing the most similar).

I didn’t hear him make an excuses for the loss though. As anyone watching at home could see his shots lacked their usual sting and Djokovic was thrashing him mercilessly from sides to side on the basline. Rafa knows he was outplayed and at no point did he say altitude was the reason why he lost.

I honestly, was a little disappointed as an avid Tennis-X reader when I saw this article on your site. But then I thought to myself, why would I expect fact checking from the guy who thought Tommmy Robredo was Chris Evans?

http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2005-12-20/23.php

You really do just post whatever comes to mind don’t you?


margot Says:

Eric, I was teasing you! Gasquet is on record as saying he does not want to be a top 10 player because he doesn’t want the pressure. I’ve always thought it’s a bit of the old glass jaw with him.
Does he look as fit as some as well?
Whereas I think Andy has too much talent and hasn’t quite worked out how to use it. Of course, he may never.
Of course, I do think Gasquet is immensely talented.


Eric Says:

Yeah, I always thought the “I don’t want the pressure” thing a bit of a cop-out… I mean, how does that actually cash out in reality? You only want to win a couple of rounds at any tournament and then lose, lest you gain too many points and start feeling pressure?

I’m sure what it means is that he doesn’t care enough to put in the necessary work and effort. Which is fine by me, I just love watching him play and don’t care where he is in the rankings.


Eric Says:

It’s like the very top guys are always repeating, “I don’t care about no. 1, I just want to focus on winning matches and the ranking will come…”

Seems like it should work for Gasquet too, but I guess if you don’t want to be in the top 10, you don’t wanna be in the top 10…


Cindy Says:

Henry is right, good insight!

Sean, as an avid tennis fan and sports writer (local and B/R), your blog seems a little bitter and not as much about tennis as it was about attacking its top player’s dislike of playing at high altitude.

Whether Nadal wins or loses playing at high altitude doesn’t make any difference to your argument. Nadal has ALWAYS stated that playing clay courts at high altitude is a very challenging game for him and that’s all he says. It’s not an excuse it’s simply a reality for him win or loose.

Might I suggest you focus on statistics and less on opinion when writing about tennis players you don’t seem to enjoy? Statistics hold up to criticism, personal opinions don’t hold volition for anyone except the writer.

This information just released on the internet. Nadal had a fever, a virus, after playing Lorenzi yesterday. He felt a little better today and played Lopez. I suspect he went out to play because he didn’t want to disappoint the fans who paid good money to see good tennis. Or maybe he wants to keep playing to protect his ranking, either way they would both be good reasons to make an attempt to play through this illness if at all possible.

This virus may have some bearing on his sluggish play, I don’t know, but if anyone were to play will fighting off a virus you could bet they wouldn’t be at their best. I would advise you and any sports writer to give credit where credit is due and leave public opinion to the public.


margot Says:

Don’t think it’s that conscious actually. Think he starts winning and something in his head goes “oh crikey” and that’s it, kaput!
Anyway, we’ll see next round.


Kimberly Says:

I am very disappointed that Sean Randall has ignored all of my immature taunts about the Miami Heat.


Ben Pronin Says:

Lebron apologized to the Cavs. What’s wrong with him validating his greatness with a first ring?


Eric Says:

I hope Miami does win a ring, it will shut up all the hypocrites hating on LBJ for not sticking with a team he didn’t actually choose in the first place. (Hello, pro sports drafts are contractual obligations not choices, fans are idiots to get emotionally attached to someone who didn’t even freely choose to play for your team.) Plus Dwayne Wade is a boss.


Sean Randall Says:

Fumus, you mean Tommy Robredo and Chris Evans are two separate people? C’mon.

Kimberly, like 90% of the U.S. I find it hard to root for the Heat this year mostly b/c of Lebron! Unfortunately it looks like the one sure thing this spring will be Lebron holding up the trophy a month from now.


Kimberly Says:

Sean, I hope you are right. But Dallas is a tough opponent for anyone.


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t understand. Lebron is the best basketball player in the world. Why’s it hard to root for him?


Sean Randall Says:

Kimberly, Dallas would be the tougher matchup. Though I just don’t see how you can guard both Wade and Lebron effectively at the same time over the course of a series. It’s an absolute matchup nightmare.

Ben, two words: The Decision.


Ben Pronin Says:

Since you capitalized Decision I’m guessing you’re talking about the hour long thing ESPN did, not the decision itself. You can’t blame Lebron for that. That was entirely ESPN’s fault. Lebron was just raising money for the kids, he didn’t do anything wrong. It was ESPN that made it seem like the most important decision ever made anywhere by anyone. Most of the hour barely even featured Lebron, it was the basketball “analysts” analyzing the possible teams he could go to and then how he’ll be on the Heat.


Sean Randall Says:

Ben, it probably wasn’t Lebron’s idea but he signed off on it so he gets the Heat (no pun). And then it snowballed.

I’m sure if he could have that one hour back he would. It was just a horrific move PR-wise.

Lebron (and crew) then followed up with that Miami stage party which only added to the hate.

And I understand that during their most recent trip to Cleveland Lebron missed the opening pre-game introductions. He forget, he said. How the heck does that happen??


tfouto Says:

djoko is not good… there’s something happening with him…


stu Says:

is anyone watching djoko-wawa? some serious grinding there!

and nole seems to be feeling sick.


Ben Pronin Says:

I’m not saying Lebron is perfect but a lot of the hate towards him stems from the media consisting of selfish idiots.

Djokovic pulls out the first set after all but something does seem off with him. Wawrinka putting up a hell of a fight though, can’t really say the quality of tennis is poor by any means.


Lulu Iberica Says:

tfouto, what is going on?


Kimmi Says:

he looked very skinny to me today…wawa fighting


Kimmi Says:

he is just having a bad day but the main thing is winning when not playing well..


tfouto Says:

it seems that he’s feeling tired… after a great lob he made and close of game he was saying something to his team and with a not happy face.. maybe the same flu Nadal has? :)


jane Says:

Yeah, Nole is not “on” today and is having to win ugly. Maybe he is feeling the fever too, or just tired out. He can be forgiven. No matter what at this point. He is fighting. Come on Nole!


stu Says:

i don’t know guys..i think he’s playing really well…more UEs than usual but there have been some amazing points….wawa is really taking it to him


tfouto Says:

anyone speaks serbian? Nole is not ‘on’ but he’s not playing bad either… Seems a little more tired but quite good points…


jane Says:

Kimmi, I thought he looked thin in the ATP uncovered thing, when they were dressing him up. But he said the new gluten free diet has caused him to lose weight.


Kimmi Says:

wawa going for too much now..the batteries are running low..

i want djoko to get to the final again..just so tha we have another nole vs rafa.

everybody else not playing well..i am talking to you fed


jane Says:

Agree with you guys, not playing too badly, definitely better this second set.


Kimmi Says:

wow!


oggy Says:

@tfouto: he was telling whomever to “shut up and stop treating him like a kid”. Tho there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with him the last 4-5 games…


Kimmi Says:

long rallies..he looks tired today..


Lulu Iberica Says:

Hmmm… Based on 2nd set score, the trouble appears to have passed!


Kimmi Says:

we want some baking goods. go nole! Poor wawa though!


tfouto Says:

what a couple of shots… amazing… incredible forehand then incredible backhand… and he seems more tired than usual…


Kimmi Says:

Wawa says no bagel..good for him


Skeezerweezer Says:

Will keep saying it regardless if it’s Rafa, Fed, whoever…if your hurt, don’t play…..and if your hurt and your playing…then play to win…don’t play for an excuse.


jane Says:

Yay Nole, so glad he won again, that first set looked dicey but he found a way through.


Ben Pronin Says:

Yeah I didn’t think Djokovic was playing bad at all but he seemed tired. I left for what I thought was 5 minutes and I came back to see him serving out the match. All’s well that ends well.


tfouto Says:

maybe if he’s tired perhaps its better to quit tomorrow and rest of the FO. If its a flu, then i would say, keep playing :)


Nina Says:

Outstanding tennis from Nole in the second set. Wawra didn’t play bad at all. But Nole is indeed in a very sweet moment. That one forehand at 171 kmh was so siiiick. And after that the insane backhand. Is there anything this guy can’t do? Wow.


tfouto Says:

Anyone from Serbia that understand what Nole was saying to his team?


Nina Says:

Do you think he caught that flu? well he might be a little bit tired but his groundstrokes are insane.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Well, if Djoko can feed Wawa a breadstick when he’s feeling tired, then everyone else is in trouble!


Bre Says:

i am not sure about the first comment, but the second was something like “Shut the ,,,, up, iam not a child”.. sounded like he was really annoyed :)


Nina Says:

Apparently Nole had a little argument with his box. Not sure what it was all about but he wasn’t happy. After winning the first set he said something to someone who was yelling at him from his box “Come on, just leave me alone/ be quiet for once, fuck off, I’m no little child anymore…fuck’s sake.”

Then later they showed his box again and his mother wasn’t there anymore, really weird.


tfouto Says:

yes Djoko strokes were insane… he’s playing tennis from another planet…


Nina Says:

Apparently Nole had a little argument with his box. Not sure what it was all about but he wasn’t happy. After winning the first set he said something to someone who was yelling at him from his box “Come on, just leave me alone/ be quiet for once, I’m no little child anymore.”

Then later they showed his box again and his mother wasn’t there anymore, really weird.


jane Says:

Nina, yes, something was clearly bugging him – interesting. Were his parents even there when he won the final in Madrid? Maybe they make Nole nervous and/or angry? Anyhow, glad he won and with some serious style at the end there! :)


Fritz Says:

Apparently the first comment was: “Nothing helps, it’s over!” (courtesy of my lovely Serb girlfriend Natasha ;-)

The “I’m not a kid” comment came after winning the first set.

There you know it now why I cheer for Novak second behind Andy – she wouldn’t have it any other way…


tfouto Says:

weird… i wonder why?

Maybe her mother trying to convince him quit, because he was with a flu, or whatever…

maybe he’s was just… i dont need that extra support of confidence… get rid of extra protection i dunno… dont have a clue…

maybe he just feels better with no pressure from their parents…


tfouto Says:

“Nothing helps, it’s over!” was when he made that great lob and sit on his chair? maybe an physical issue… flu


Nina Says:

Apparently he was seen taking medication before the match, hence the comment “Nothing helps, it’s over!”. If Rafa caught the flu in Madrid it’s very possible that Nole has it too.

If that’s true in my opinion he should withdraw even if that means ending the streak (which I’m sure it would be very upsetting for him) and be rested and well for RG.


tfouto Says:

yes… the streak its nice, but its just a number… its better to rest and win the FO then playing for the record streak…


jane Says:

Ha ha Fritz “There you know it now why I cheer for Novak second behind Andy – she wouldn’t have it any other way…”

Too funny. :)


jane Says:

Agree, would prefer to see Nole win another slam (FO or slimmer chance Wimbledon) than win Rome, keep the streak, but get injured or lose early at the FO.


Kimmi Says:

wow! strange..so nole is sick too. what is happening to these players?


Kimmi Says:

maybe he will say something in his post match interview


Cindy Says:

Sean, get a life, you are a complainer just complaining against the people in your article. I bet you aren’t even an athlete and don’t have a clue what it is like. And, hey Sean, if you have not noticed, we are all different, we all handle situations different, if we were all the same then we would be like you, scary!


Ben Pronin Says:

Maybe Nadal’s waiting for Djokovic to pull out of Rome first :P


madmax Says:

Vvx Says:
“My upbringing here in the U.S. is if you play you are healthy, that simple. ”

Wish you were just as consistent everytime the shout of “mono” went up everytime Federer got his ass kicked in 2008/9.

May 12th, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Vxx,

Fed did have mono (3 years ago), so what’s your point? Why are you brining this up now?

Totally irrelevant.


Kimmi Says:

too much pressure for these players. playing while sick is no good. they must have seen what happened to rafa at the AO


Nina Says:

LOL Ben.


tfouto Says:

Maybe its Murray chance for a confindence boost…


Fritz Says:

@ 6:4 4:0 15:40, Wawrinka received a two punch combination which would scare anyone: 172 km/h forehand winner, followed by a 154 km/h backhand winner (I bet it’s among top 5 backhand winners of all times in terms of speed).

Pretty good for a sick guy.


Ben Pronin Says:

Better yet, they both reach the final. That way, we’ll have two heroes battling all types of forces out of their control. Who knew the ATP was such a popular hide out for super heroes’ alter egos?


Cindy Says:

PS: I guess when you are number 1, people expect more out of you. It is not his fault the media hounds him. He is just trying to be honest on how he feels, and you think it is an excuse? Oh, I bet you don’t have crappy days, every day is just perfect and sunny, and if it is not, I bet you just pretend it is, right? Wrong-you say I feel this or that. That is what freedom of speech is all about, and being able to own our own feelings. So quit expecting Rafa to be perfect, you are not! Is it fair to complain about someone else? NO! Unless of course you don’t have a life and that is what you do to get your kicks!


tfouto Says:

Maybe they reach both the final and they have to quit FO… and then Federer wins another FO, or Del Potro…


Ben Pronin Says:

“Djokovic won one match today and has now 34 on the season, to go with zero losses. Tacchini must be thrilled. And adidas, who chose to sign Andy Murray instead of re-signing Djokovic in late 2009, must be cursing themselves.”

From Racquet Reaction on tennis.com. Funny quote I thought I’d share.

http://blogs.tennis.com/racquet_reaction/2011/05/rome-djokovic-d-wawrinka.html


Skeezerweezer Says:

@Sean

Wow did you get a Wedgie from the Rafan girls? Lol ….


Kimmi Says:

its true ben, i was actually thinking about that the other day.

Adidas are probably thinking about signing him back with big money of course. i would not be surprised. unless tacchini have given nole a pay rise..what tacchini offered him…25 million for 10 years or something is peanuts


Ben Pronin Says:

At first I was kinda upset when I first heard that Djokovic wasn’t signed with Adidas anymore. They have some great outfits. But I love all of the Tacchini outfits he’s had. And it makes him stand out, whereas Adidas basically hands out uniforms and makes everyone where the same thing. They have a ways to go compared to Nike who manages to customize outfits for everyone.


jane Says:

Having said that doing well at the slams is more n.b. than the streak, Nole is still climbing the streak list. :) By winning 36 straight matches, including his win over Wawa today, he now holds the fifth best winning streak in the Open Era on his own at 36-0 (behind 1st Villas @ 46; 2nd Lendl @ 44; 3rd, Mac @ 42; 4th Borg/Fed tied @ 41) and he sits at second best winning streak to start a season behind Mac. Cool.


Kimmi Says:

Nole has to be careful swearing on court. serbian or english it does not matter. now that he is winning a lot, lots of people are watching his matches. I am sure he is making a lot of fans too.

I like it the fact that i don’t hear too much from his parents. that is definitely a good thing.

ben – adidas had different gear for nole. they used to mix colours nicely. I actually like what nole had more that murray’s. muzza outfits looks boring….but i still like him.


tfouto Says:

if Djoko quits tomorrow before the game, does that count as a defeat?


jane Says:

Tignor has written an article basically saying this: slams trump streaks in the big picture:

http://espn.go.com/sports/tennis/blog/_/name/tennis/id/6533067/will-pressure-streak-affect-djoker


Nina Says:

I think it’s better he loses in Rome and prepares a serious assault for RG. I mean, his form is not going down but he could be tired and that could affect his game. It’s not the same thing playing a best of 3 sets for one week than best of 5 for two weeks. He should save his energies. But who knows really, in this form i can’t see him losing unless he’s sick/injured.


skeezerweezer Says:

Hey Sean so I go over to read Tignors article about Novak on Tennis.com that jane posted(above)and there are comments saying HIS article is stupid and this and that. Who is he? The Exectutive Editor of Tennis Magazine. Guess your in the Elite of writers, congrats. Please don’t buy into posters and “feelings”….ugh.

Fact is Rafa/Fed/Novak fans whatever, Sean & co. are laughin all the way to the hit bank! Keep em comin Sean!!! I’ll be reading as usual, and takin you down or praisin the write, either way, you guys are great!!


Fritz Says:

I also read Jane’s link to “T (ignor) his writings” and was stunned with the commments of type:

“that said, I do agree that this article is extremely stupid.”, or

“this is the most absurd article ever”.

I thought I was in minority that do not like his writing, but it looks like there are more smart folks around. I said it before: Tennis X guys are way better and more enjoyable to read than Bodo or “T (ignor) his stuff”.


nitro Says:

Perhaps people have forgotten this, but Djokovic is the one who used to complain when his game wasn´t on (like one year ago when speculations circulated whether he actually had some serious illness). Like Roddick pointed out, the Serb seemed to suffer from pretty much everything from flu, fever, too warm, too cold, muscle stiffness, or simply too out of breath, using this to get a medical time-out.
It´s easy to keep calm and move on when winning, not so easy when you, like Nadal, can´t seem to beat your old rival anymore.


Sean Randall Says:

Skeezerweezer, thanks. I don’t mind the assault. Heck, I’m more than used to it.

As for Tignor, I haven’t read anything of his since it took him 37 paragraphs to explain to me why Djokovic was a better player with his new racquet. And then he lost. That was a few years ago. Ha.


M Says:

“wow! strange..so nole is sick too. what is happening to these players?”

Viruses fly fast. And these guys travel together, see each other all the time …

Happens in my office. One person goes down, then if we’re not really careful, everybody goes down.


skeezerweezer Says:

M,

Think it through. Let’s say F-lo is sick coming into a tourny for the sake of argument. He practices before the tourney with Rafa. He touches his nose, mouth or whatever they usually do and then TOUCHES the tennis ball. Rafa picks it up the same balls and serves duriong practice, and does his thing with the touching( we all know how he can do the three touch thing ). Fed practices with Rafa and then does his nose touching thing and touches the balls, ….it goes on. It’s easy to figure out how it spreads…..the “EVIL tennis ball”………now that is a conspiracy worth talking about…the tennis ball…germinator of the tennis tour……Shaaaammooonnn!!!


Harvey Says:

Sean, I read the tennis avidly, and your writing isn’t anything that I have really noticed or pay much attention to at all, so you aren’t in any position to criticise Steve Tignor. Don’t get ahead of yourself. You are a nobody, and until you become somebody, it’s wise that you aren’t so dismissive of people more accomplished than you.


Vvx Says:

Vvx Says:
“My upbringing here in the U.S. is if you play you are healthy, that simple. ”

Wish you were just as consistent everytime the shout of “mono” went up everytime Federer got his ass kicked in 2008/9.

May 12th, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Vxx,

Fed did have mono (3 years ago), so what’s your point? Why are you bringing this up now?

Totally irrelevant.

>>>>

Randall’s point (nowadays) seems to be:

“if you play you are healthy, that simple”

So I wonder why he wasn’t taking a pop at Federer back in the day when every defeat was blamed on “mono”?

A version of “mono” that must have been the mildest in history as Federer didn’t skip a single tournament because of it.

If you play, you are healthy. Simple, no?


Skeezerweezer Says:

Yawn


madmax Says:

Vxx,

I think you need to look at the difference between ‘excuses’ by certain players and a serious, debilitating condition, called glandular fever supported by a full doctor’s statement, and THEN we’re talking.

Hi skeeze :)


Skeezerweezer Says:

Hi Madmax u woke me up :-)


sar Says:

I thought about Tacchini the other day too. President of the company must be in heaven.


tennis coach Says:

Harvey if that’s the case why then you are posting on this website!


tennis coach Says:

skeeze, LOL, that’s FUNNY!

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