Federer Flames, Nadal Now Ill, Djokovic Streaks Along in Rome
by Sean Randall | May 12th, 2011, 8:55 pm
  • 126 Comments

Imagine if Feliciano Lopez could have put away that bunny overhead he had last week against Roger Federer in third third set tiebreak. Fortunately for the Swiss he missed, otherwise this clay season lead-up to the French Open would have been a complete bust.

Federer’s French Open prep ended early today to the capable and talented hands of Richard Gasquet who was able to do what Lopez couldn’t, remain cool enough and calm enough to deliver the final blow in a third set breaker against Federer. Gasquet prevailed with a terrific 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(4) win over Federer in the Rome fourth round.

Federer’s final pre-French clay tally: six wins, three losses and no finals. But there’s no panic from Roger who says he will be “fine”.

“I had multiple chances [to win],” said Federer who has just once title on the year. “That is how it goes. Sometimes it is unfortunate because I was playing well and then it didn’t happen at all any more so it was a disappointing end to the match. But it will not affect my preparation and work for the French Open, I will be fine. I definitely think I should not have lost this match and that is kind of annoying.”

I thought Federer (and Gasquet who really hit his forehand better than ever) played well but in the tiebreaker it wasn’t Gasquet who cracked but oddly Federer. And that’s often a mental issue which is much tougher to correct than say a bad forehand.

Gasquet now meets Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals tomorrow.

“I did a very good match for sure and as you can imagine I am very happy to beat Roger,” said Gasquet after his second career clay win over Roger. “This does not happen so many times so I have to enjoy it. His forehand is very fast and the court today is very fast and very difficult conditions, but I tried to play good as I had nothing to lose and this is very important. I cannot play my game with a lot of pressure.”

As for the players Federer looks up at in the rankings, Novak Djokovic continues to look unbeatable. Against a worthy Stan Wawrinka, Djokovic gave the Swiss very little to work with in a 6-4, 6-1 win.

Wawrinka pounded groundstrokes from all directions but the Serb with his incredible movement and cofidence just sat perched on the baseline and rifled them back at the Swiss with even more pace. Some of the points at the end of the first set were remarkable.

Djokovic and his 36 match win streak will be supremely tested i tomorrow against the dangerous Robin Soderling. The Swede ended Rafael Nadal’s run at the French two years ago and he has the firepower, the attitude and the brass the do it again.

With Nadal struggling a little and really no one else with a good shot at an in-form Djokovic, Soderling may be the last hope of ending the Serb’s streak in Rome. If Novak wants to let it go and rest up for Paris this would be the match.

As for Nadal, first it was altitude and now it’s sickness. After a shaky opener yesterday, Nadal played better thumping his buddy Lopez today and afterward he said he’s been a bit under the weather of late.

“I had a fever this morning but I feel better now,” said Nadal. “Certainly I didn’t really understand why yesterday I felt slow and without energy and I understand now better today. That is that and I am here to fight and to try my best like I have always done. I am ready for everything.”

In the quarters tomorrow Rafa will meet Marin Cilic. Nadal should get through but Cilic with his height and sturdy backhand should match up well with Rafa but the Croat hasn’t had a big win in a while. And with a win Nadal would salt away the No. 1 ranking through the French Open.

Also tomorrow, Andy Murray has quietly overcome an elbow injury to reach the quarters against Florian Mayer.

Murray and Mayer will start the Tennis Channel coverage at 6am ET, noon local.

FRIDAY ROME SCHEDULE

CENTRALE start 12:00 noon
F Mayer (GER) vs [4] A Murray (GBR) – ATP
Not Before 2:00 PM
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs M Cilic (CRO) – ATP
Not Before 3:00 PM
[6] S Stosur (AUS) vs [2] F Schiavone (ITA) – WTA
Not Before 7:30 PM
[3] V Azarenka (BLR) or [16] A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs [7] M Sharapova (RUS) – WTA
Not Before 9:15 PM
[5] R Soderling (SWE) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB) – ATP

PIETRANGELI start 12:00 noon
G Arn (HUN) vs [4] N Li (CHN) – WTA
Not Before 2:00 PM
[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [5] J Jankovic (SRB) – WTA
Not Before 3:30 PM
[16] R Gasquet (FRA) vs [7] T Berdych (CZE) – ATP


Also Check Out:
Serena Sizzles, Venus Flames and Ana’s Back in Rome
Longest Winning Streaks in Men’s Tennis – Open Era
Streaks That Ended After Rafael Nadal Lost To David Ferrer Today In Monte Carlo [Chart]
Novak Djokovic’s Physio: He Should Be Ready For Rome And The French Open
Nadal Wins Title, Djokovic Ranking Drop in Rome

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126 Comments for Federer Flames, Nadal Now Ill, Djokovic Streaks Along in Rome

jane Says:

“just sat perched on the baseline” – Love when he does this. :)


billyboy512 Says:

the tone here is getting uglier and more transparent by the day. The public relations for “anyone-but-Nadal” is gross.

You what P.R. stands for? Peee-yeeew.


Kimberly Says:

Sean is starting his own streak of poorly written anti nadal articles. We are on two, can we get to thirty five? I say yes!


Ben Pronin Says:

I saw the tital and thought “What the hell does Nadal 3 mean?”

Berdych vs Gasquet – Battle of the What-Could-Have-Beens. I’m shocked they’ve only played four times, tied 2-2 with Berdych winning the most recent matches. Half-decent gauge for both these guys.

I’m sure Soderling can trouble Djokovic but the reality is he matches up pretty poorly to him. He’s also still in questionable form and he doesn’t play a brand of tennis that would wear Djokovic down, but if he’s tired enough Soderling could do just enough to blow him off the court. But he’d have to do it quickly, just ask Tomaz Bellucci.

I’d be shocked if Cilic bothered Nadal at all. Ill or not, Cilic plays journeyman tennis nowadays.


jane Says:

Kimberly, lol.

Ben, what’s a tital? :)


Skeezerweezer Says:

@BB
Yeah it’s all a conspiracy against you and your fav….Tennis X ia not putting words in Rafa’ s mouth…. Geez. Meanwhile Rafa is still winning.. his opponets are not. You need to look at the dictionary for description of PR….Which you, I and tennis x is not.


Ben Pronin Says:

Wow, brain fart. Title*


M Says:

@Ben – Rafa and Marin played at the AO; I’d like to see Rafa do better. I’m not sure he was 100% pleased with his play in that match; it was just before the fateful quarters with Ferru.

@Kimberly –

“I say yes!”

I sure hope not.


patzin Says:

Rafa Now Ill – not roman # 3. Sorry Rafa is still having effects of illness. Thought Roger could pull out the match, but he let up and Richard G. became determined. Good match I thought. Nole played strong, but didn’t look well to me, either. What illness is going around? D. Ferrer w/d due to illness.


billyboy512 Says:

public relations
plural noun [also treated as sing. ]
the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person.

Spot on, skeezerweezer.


jane Says:

Murray really played fantastically, what I saw of him today – finishing at the net/aggression to go with his excellent defense.


jane Says:

patzin: Monfils, Nishikori, Ferrer, Nadal all potentially have/had the same virus. Hope Nole doesn’t have it. : /


Ben Pronin Says:

Tignor says if Djokovic doesn’t win the French, then the streak won’t be that important. That’s fair, but if Djokovic goes on to win Wimbledon and/or the US Open, a French Open loss isn’t going to be the worst thing to ever happen to him.


Kimberly Says:

Well I guess the heat will be playing the bulls. Can they shut down Derrick rose? yes!


jane Says:

^ Agree Ben. I thought Tignor was a bit “doomsday” in that article. Kind of saying Nole is damned if he loses (suggesting all his confidence and/or aura would fly out the window) but also damned if he keeps winning – UNLESS he wins the FO. Sheesh. Seemed kind of drastic. I mean, I agree with him to some degree that people remember slams wins over winning streaks. But Nole’s streak stands, even if he loses tomorrow. And as you say, even if he loses at the FO, there are other slams. He can keep kicking at the can, like everyone else.


Kimmi Says:

I have been looking for dkoko post match interview..is he also Ill?


jane Says:

p.s. ^ And that’s coming from a pessimist, so Tignor must’ve been really doomsdayish. Either that or I have found my inner Tigger.


Kimmi Says:

dkoko..hmmmm not bad!


Super Says:

Plenty of good matches scheduled. Sharapova/Azarenka should be a screamer!

The matches played today were excellent. Gasquet worked the court beautifully, playing aggressively and very consistently. His shots had a lot of depth and good placement. When he changes gears and smashes the ball it’s marvelous to watch. He’s going to be a threat at RG. Roger played a good match but lacked consistent aggression today.

Djokovich vs Wawrinka was also great. At one point they exchanged a 36-shot rally, and that was for me the best tennis point played all year! Fabulous stuff; Wawrinka doesn’t get enough credit for his claycourt prowess.

Soderling might have a shot if he is serves well under pressure and manages to get a set. If the match goes the distance, perhaps Djokovich will feel some fatigue and the Swede will grab a win. It’s highly unlikely, but it should make for an entertaining match.


Ben Pronin Says:

The reality is that winning streaks are often quickly forgotten until some comes close to breaking the record again. Federer’s streaks are fantastic, and yet no one talks about that for obvious reasons. Maybe someone told Djokovic that so he doesn’t really care about it, he just focuses on the actual winning of his matches.

What if he WERE to win the French, then lose in the first round of Wimbledon, thus snapping his streak that way? I’d rather he lose in the final of the French and win Wimbledon, thus having a smaller streak. I don’t know. It’s hard not to make a lot of the streak and at the same time we shouldn’t. It really is a double-edged sword for everyone.


jane Says:

Kimmi, have seen only the on-court video interview at the ATP site. I haven’t seen any quotes. Maybe there was no post-match presser? It was quite late, the match, so maybe not? I don’t know. Do they have to give them? Is it required?


Kimmi Says:

the problem is he gets obsessed about winning..his fans get obsessed about him winning.

Like rafa at the AO. he was so obsessed about the rafa slam..in the end things just didn’t work.

I don’t think fed has the ability to play great tennis at the crunch time. so many times he is faulted in close matches. except the F-Lo match ofcourse :) hope he proves me wrong but I don’t give him a big chance at the french. So i say go nole..winning streak or not. go kick some butt.


skeezerweezer Says:

@BB

Why thank you :).

Remember PR is someone that is HIRED by the party, to represent them. Tennis X, you, and I are not. We are not someone or something who is hired to spread the best light on a celebrity/athlete.

Here, as in other places, we are fans and sportswriters with opinions of a player(s) and the game, as well as reporting the news as it is found. Writing articles and reporting the news are two different animals, although in todays “News” it can be a gray area, as we all have found. Sometimes posters get confused with that…..


Kimmi Says:

I think in big tournaments like this they must give interview jane. but if there is nothing that means he is OK.
I am expecting more baking goods tomorrow..tough but possible..so go nole!

I think i can watch a little bit of muzza match before going to work. tricky mayer ! Opportunity for muzza to give djoko his revenge.


Kimberly Says:

Great news for me, sharapova and azarenka both in quarterfinals.

Bad news for me they play each other so one has to lose. Of course I’m rooting for Maria but I think Vika will take it.


Dory Says:

Yes people remember streaks less but Tignor is somewhat discrediting Novak’s unbelievable streak. It covers 6 titles!! 3 Masters 1000s, 1 Slam, 1 500 and 1 250! In 2011!!

Tomorrow should be very interesting. Dare I say I won’t be surprised should Mayer win against Murray. Cilic against Nadal should be good but I think Nadal will come through. Gasquet will win against Berdych and Djokoer of course will advance. Just my stupid baseless predictions LOL.


jane Says:

Geez Dory when you put it like this :) it makes me smile: “It covers 6 titles!! 3 Masters 1000s, 1 Slam, 1 500 and 1 250! In 2011!!”


Eric Says:

More than the anti-Rafa, I think what’s pretty despicable about Sean’s writing is his constant advocacy of withdrawing from tournaments just to “rest up” for future tournaments. It’s like every article now.

Sean, what don’t you understand about the following concepts:

1) Masters events are mandatory. You can’t withdraw without a valid medical reason. (Sure, you can always make one up, but Djokovic isn’t a POS.)

2) Being rested isn’t like a power bar charging up in a video game.
There’s a lot more to preparing for sustained physical exertion than just not running around for a few hours, and pro tennis players have teams of people traveling with them to make sure they’re ready for events.


Eric Says:

Also, no one cares about streaks. They make cool stats, but I’m sure Nole would gladly trade his 25 matches since the AO if it guaranteed him another slam in Paris. Also, is it really any more impressive to win 40 matches and then lose one, than to win 20 matches, lose one, and win another 20? I don’t think so. It makes it even stupider when you confine it to just within one year… people made a lot of noise about Rafa winning 3 slams in a row in 2010, but forgive me for not finding that more impressive than winning 3 in a row some in 2007 and some in 2008… or whatever. Bottom line, worrying about streaks is stupid and they don’t tell you anything about actual skill, they’re just a statistical anomaly. Cool and that’s it. If Djoko loses the rest of his matches this year it will still be a %$(&*@ing bad season.


Eric Says:

(OF course, streaks are important for the player in question — confidence is EVERYTHING at the top of the tennis world.)


Skeezerweezer Says:

Eric,

Understood about requirements, but if you think the power players in the game can’t withdraw from required tournaments you are naive. 2 things govern most things. Power and money. A top player has the power and the money. Getting a doc to write a medical reason is duck soup. This is not an uncommon practice on the tour, used more in the past era’s than current though….


Ben Pronin Says:

“2) Being rested isn’t like a power bar charging up in a video game.”

My whole world has just been flipped upside down.

Btw, Eric, I completely agree with what you said @12:36. The fact is that Djokovic has won a lot of big titles this year, and that’s the great part. If he had lost in, say Dubai, but still won all those Masters and the AO, everyone would still probably be just as impressed. The streak is a bonus for everyone to discuss. But there’s also no denying the confidence his winning streak has given him. So often it just looks like he doesn’t know how to lose anymore. Like the way Federer sometimes snatches defeat from the jaws of victory (his latest defeat would be a great example of this) Djokovic probably couldn’t find a way to lose if he wanted to. I really thought Wawrinka had a great shot today, that first set was as tight as could be. But then you look at the whole score and it looks like a blow out, which it really wasn’t until the second set.

If and when Djokovic loses, I don’t think it’ll dent his confidence all that bad the way some people are speculating. Even if it’s the French Open final. He seems to have really found his inner zen when it comes to tennis.


Eric Says:

Right – players withdraw all the time, especially ahead of time. But usually they have a valid medical reason, even if it’s only preventive. As far as we know, the closest thing Djokovic has to a valid reason is “I feel kind of tired.” He COULD withdraw, of course — but he never would, because it would be extremely bad form given that it’s obvious he’s in fine tennis form, and, probably more importantly, it would snap his streak. Even if he doesn’t care that much about the streak (and he shouldn’t), he’s not going to withdraw just because he MIGHT be tired later.

Of course, if there is something actually wrong that might be aggravated by playing, he should withdraw (as Del Potro did last week), but that’s obviously not the case.

Withdrawing to charge up his magical video game-style “energy bar” is idiotic, and so is Sean for consistently writing as if this is a realistic thing.


Eric Says:

Sorry if I sound combative… I’ve barely slept for like three days (finishing up the last week of my grad school courses –> tennis-x as excellent procrastination tool, but on little sleep…)


Ben Pronin Says:

Ok if resting isn’t like charging up my magical energy bar then how the hell do I get back to 100% HP?

One thing, though. A fever is one thing, but if Nadal has the flu, and perhaps even Djokovic, then withdrawing would be necessary for their French Open preparations. Playing a clay court Masters event isn’t exactly the best way to replenish their respective energy bars!


Eric Says:

The flu would be an excellent reason to withdraw, although quite unfortunate. But Djoko hasn’t said anything about having the flu.

You guys actually raise a really good point, though. Everyone on tour is constantly traveling to a new part of the world where they stay in hotels, in close quarters with everyone else and all sorts of germs… you’d think it would be like a high school powwow. Why don’t they get sick CONSTANTLY?


truefan Says:

nadal ill? he’s just making excuses for a potential loss. He will come out and play like crazy. If someone has fever in the morning, no way can they come out and beat a Lopez on clay 4 and 2. Either he is not human, or just lying.


Gannu Says:

great article on Feddy bear..

As the tennis season thickens toward Paris and Wimbledon and New York, it might behove Roger Federer to hire a joke writer.
That person could write lines for him to spruce up the press conferences that went dour as Federer’s ranking tumbled to No 3.
That person might help him point out in some facetious way that among the 6,917,682,934 people reported to be residing on Earth as of midday yesterday, in tennis Federer ranked ahead of 6,917,682,931 while behind only two.
He might observe that this should be a cause for merriment, and the only reason people view the No 3 as wanting is that Federer spent such a considerable chunk of their lives residing at No 1, plus another chunk of time at No 2.
You have to be some kind of incredible for people to swoon when you plummet all the way to No 3, but having Federer slide so decisively behind the surging No 2 Novak Djokovic has thrown off people’s equilibrium and depressed at least several press conferences.
It all hit rock-bottom in Miami in early April when Federer fielded a thoughtful question about latter years by answering: “Biggest hassle is being asked all the time these questions.”
After so much ambassadorship through the years, it foretold a future with unfitting pockets of grumpiness.
In between the testy, “I don’t know how many times I need to answer until I just say I’m not going to answer it anymore,” and the huffy, “Up to you how many times I will have to answer the question until I’m sick and tired of it,” and the defiant, “But I know that I can do more things in the game,” and the tetchy, “I don’t feel like I’m 35 like you guys make me sound I am,” the whole scene had become insufficiently lighthearted.
The questions themselves, you could view as absurd – or, not.
In that first sense, they do merit cringes and could bore the skin off an iguana, for here is a most predictable phase.
Federer has reached age 29. Sliding to No 3 hardly constitutes news and might even qualify as exceeding expectations.
Even after proving so majestic for so long, Federer did not expect to hold on to Nos 1 or even 2 until his 70s or even well into his 30s.
Why question somebody about the emphatically natural?
The particular question in Miami reflected this ethic as it carefully noted the twilight period of Pete Sampras, who held down the No 17 ranking when he went and won the 2002 US Open after “failing” to win the previous eight grand slams. It would not be crazy to reckon that by necessity Federer would don that career arc, his future major titles coming every now and then in occasional bursts amid general ageing.
Yet in Federer’s fussiness lay the value of the questions, for even in their general lack of originality, they have wound up teaching something, yielding glimpses of a champion’s thinking, and of Federer himself.
Most people would surmise that holding down No 1 for 285 weeks of life and winning 16 major titles would soften the sting of fading from such heights. But champions’ brains do not work that way, and if they did it might be a hindrance.
These organs always resonate the word “more” even when more seems an awful lot. In this vein we might even pity them were it not for their bank balances.
And in Federer’s particular case, while his rule always rated gorgeously autocratic on the court and multi-lingually diplomatic off, the hints piled up through the years that he came to adore his throne.
The tasteful white jackets at Wimbledon. The not-tasteful jacket after the 15th slam title, showing “15″ and churned out from a shoe company’s ample Department of Tackiness. The gentle but odd chastising of alleged doubters in New York in 2008. The admirable tears in Australia after the five-set loss to Rafael Nadal in the 2009 final.
It has been such a celestial run that it could be hard to have it cease even while normal to have it cease.
In 2011, the No 1 Nadal still holds three of the four slam trophies while the No 2 Djokovic, 32-0 this year, unmistakably aims to topple Nadal. From just beneath that ruckus this week in Rome, Federer branded it “important” – and even likely if he can win another grand slam – that he return to No 1.
In that uphill struggle and its attending questions will come the ache for some levity, especially the self-deprecating kind. He could always begin by deadpanning to an inquirer that at No 3, his feels as if his life has been such a failure.


Ben Pronin Says:

They’re healthy and fit people with strong immune systems. As a results I’m guessing they generally just don’t get sick that often. Plus it’s not like they’re all crammed in a small room. The only place they’d come to contact with each other besides the court is the locker room, and I don’t think a ton of them are in there at once.


madmax Says:

Gannu,

I read that too and it made me smile.

Don’t be down for too long.


cherry Says:

With the way that Djokovic is playing, I think he deserves to have the number 1 ranking! He is simply amazing! http://www.tennisround.com


Kimmi Says:

Mayer with a good start. murray down 2 breaks..this is looking to be a tough match for muzza


Kimmi Says:

this match is going fast..muzza better wake up


grendel Says:

Mayer – such a master of deception.


Kimmi Says:

OMG! mayer breaks muzza 3 times in first set. 6-1.

OK, i am hoping muzza to turn it around. mayer is a tricky player but c’mon muzza..


Kimmi Says:

what a lob from mayer for that set point – awesome


grendel Says:

tremendous rally by 2 players of guile practising their craft – earns Murray his break.


Kimmi Says:

wow! mayer break back with a slice pass, good to see. muzza in trouble


Kimmi Says:

ha-ha mayer so casual hitting that smash. he is saving lots and lots of break point. murray has another one here

he breaks.

murray pumping himself!


Polo Says:

I am watching on tennis channel and I saw Murray break in the second set and has not been broken back yet. Is this a delayed telecast?


Kimmi Says:

there has been three break so far in the second set polo.

Murray looks to hold here


Polo Says:

Kimmi, Tennis Channel has it only on the 4th game of the 2nd set, one break by Murray.


Kimmi Says:

mayer gone off the boil..murray with the second set. exactly same score. 6-1


grendel Says:

Mayer long shot his bolt. Still, it was fun whilst it lasted. Unusual player, Mayer. Part of you wonders what he might have achieved with more ambition and drive. Apparently, he is a very, very quiet man. But then again, his type of game reflects his curiously aloof personality.


Kimmi Says:

muzza turn it around superb. mayer could not find the court later as the match goes on but muzza was hitting the ball hard. great BH down the line and some FH too.

revenge to the djoker. all i am hoping is the winner should be able to challenge nadal..


Colin Says:

Cherry, I think the next time I read someone saying so-and-so “deserves” a ranking, I’m going to smash my damn computer. Why can you not grasp the simple fact? Ranking is not an opinion or a value judgement; it is only an indication of how many points the player has accumulated. If Nole “deserved” No 1 he’d BE No 1
JEEZ!…


The fighter Says:

Colin totally agree with you…. Same is the case in WTA….what is with this he/she deserves it? Sick of itt!!!!!


The fighter Says:

Btw, Rafa playing well and go keep your no. 1 ranking!!!!


The fighter Says:

Serve well


Rick Says:

I was ROFL at Federer’s comment for being number 1 the other day. haha, he gave me the satisfaction!


Lulu Iberica Says:

Rafa looking better! C’mon, finish him off and get some rest!


Polo Says:

I went back to read that Federer interview. It sounded more like historical fiction the second time around. Very doubtful about his chances at the French. He has become the favorite top ranking punching bag for the other players.


grendel Says:

Polo, Fed said this after losing to Gasquet:”I should never have lost this match. He knows how close he came to losing. I had multiple chances but I couldn’t make the difference.” I didn’t see the match, but at the very least it is obvious that this is a partial interpretation of what happened. I daresay if Federer had won, Gasquet could have said much the same, except he is not that sort of guy. The point is, people like Federer – and Nadal, or any other great champion – – are not about truth. As the British sprinter Linford Christie said (with a wide grin):” Great champions can always find an excuse for their losses”. The day Federer stops making outrageous claims, that will be the day we know he is sated.


Lulu Iberica Says:

grendel, great points there. I tend to strongly dislike overconfidence, but then, I am a pessimist, somewhat of a wimp, and an underachiever, so no one should take advice from me! I think it’s a long shot that Fed will regain #1, but his is a better attitude than Rafa saying his #1 is already gone.

Realistically, Rafa probably will lose the #1 at some point this year, but he has achieved the improbable before! I think (hope?) he was just in a low moment when he made those comments. Anyway, it would be wonderful to see the top guys all playing their best and battling for #1 (with Rafa edging them out, of course.) ;)


madmax Says:

grendel Says:
Polo, Fed said this after losing to Gasquet:”I should never have lost this match. He knows how close he came to losing. I had multiple chances but I couldn’t make the difference.” I didn’t see the match, but at the very least it is obvious that this is a partial interpretation of what happened. I daresay if Federer had won, Gasquet could have said much the same, except he is not that sort of guy. The point is, people like Federer – and Nadal, or any other great champion – - are not about truth. As the British sprinter Linford Christie said (with a wide grin):” Great champions can always find an excuse for their losses”. The day Federer stops making outrageous claims, that will be the day we know he is sated.

May 13th, 2011 at 10:33 am

Sorry grendel and others – way off here in terms of a champion’s mindset in my humble opinion.

Roger is a champion. He has trained to think of himself in the best way possible. You forget that English is not his first language, subtle nuances and the like (as many people have said on other sites), Federer was spot on. He should have won. It was a tie breaker for heaven’s sake. It wasn’t a blow out. It could have gone either way. He credited Gasquet, but he is very hard on himself, ‘should have won’. He knows that. I just hope he does something about it.

Nothing wrong with fed’s interview extract here at all. Good on him for having that fighting spirit. He’s honest and he’s direct. He doesn’t mess about with flowery language. I like that. I think sometimes his words are taken out of context because that is what people want to believe of him. That’s their problem.

All federer has to do is understand where he went wrong and what he is going to do about it to put it right.

You wouldn’t expect an athlete to come all out and say they played crap and the other player was superlative.

David Hayes just gave an interview about his forthcoming fight with the heavy weight current champion in July. You should hear/read what he says..’ {sic] ‘He doesn’t stand a chance. I’m gonna knock him out’. I wouldn’t expect anything less from a great fighter like Hayes, he never puts doubt in his own mind that he could lose.

I don’t expect Federer to be any different. He is true to himself. If people want a softly softly approach, they won’t get it so should stop looking for it.

Honesty.Self belief.Commitment.


madmax Says:

can anyone post the full interview from Federer?

Tom?


Kimberly Says:

to me rafa has never seemed fully confortable in his role as number one, maybe because he was so confortable in his role as #2 challenger to the great Roger Federer. And he has and had so much respect for Federer. I think it would be a different dynamic if Djoko takes one but I think Rafa would still relish the role of hunter.


jane Says:

Is this the new Gasquet? I really thought Berdych would win, but it looks like Reeeshard will back up his win over Fed!

I think Murray has an excellent shot at the finals here too, and based on Monte Carlo, he could give Rafa a run for his money.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Madmax, I don’t see what you are arguing about, except the idea that Roger’s claims are “outrageous,” per grendel. For myself, I already said Roger’s strong self-belief is better than conceding defeat. I personally hate disappointment and being shown-up, so I don’t like to make strong statements about my own or my fave athletes’ likelihood of success. I don’t expect a “softly softly” approach from Federer, and that is one reason he is not my favorite. I like the “I will do my best, work hard, and anything is possible” way of thinking/speaking. All just personal preference.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Darn! Was hoping for a Berdy win, as he does not worry me at all when he meets Rafa. We’ll see what Richard brings tomorrow. Now, Soda needs to soften up Djoker a bit for future rounds.

On the women’s side, Go Maria!


madmax Says:

lulu, you don’t have to see what I am talking about, it wasn’t adressed to you, and I wasn’t annoyed when I responded! (ahhh emails, can be so misinterpreted!). It was vxx’s post I was responding to in view of what he/she said earlier.

Don’t particularly give a damn what you think to be honest. Who cares? Glad you love your rafa and so you should! The strong statements (you see it that way from fed), I see it as a great champion who wants to continue to fight and until federer is ready to leave tennis, I love him for it.


jane Says:

Kudos to Gasquet! Hurts my bracket but am happy for him.

Soda and Nole will be interesting too…


jane Says:

Lulu, agree – go Maria go!


madmax Says:

Oh Lulu in case you hadn’t realised, this is what happens here at TX. We argue, we enjoy it, we move on. If everyone agreed, how boring would that be!


Lulu Iberica Says:

Whoa! Bryan bros upset by Roddick/Fish. And Isner/Querry into semis. At least American men are playing good doubles on clay. Maybe this will help with singles results in the future.


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t see where Madmax disagreed with Grendel.

I’d like to point out that Federer’s claim that he can still reach the number 1 ranking seems to be coming from a realistic point of view. He’s well aware that with Djokovic coming up and winning some of the big titles, the points are being split up between him and Nadal. Like Federer said, if he wins one of the next few slams, he could be within reach of number 1 since a)he’d gain a ton of a points which would inevitably mean b)Nadal loses a lot of points. Federer has been putting himself in good positions to win the big titles and should he win a few, tons of points will be earned.

No where did he say “I’m believe I’m going to reach number 1 by dominating the tour again the way I used to or the way Djokovic and Nadal have done in the last year or so.”


Kimberly Says:

ugghg, sharpova gets broken, many double faults already. azarenka not playing all that either, rela opportunity for maria to move forward and establish herself as a contender.

Last time I checked Azarenka not Woz as the Vegas favorite for RG.

Nadal still the favorite with Vegas for RG with nole second at 2.5 to 1 and Roger 3rd.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Of course we don’t have to agree, but no need to be unneccessarily confrontational. “Don’t particulary give a damn,” “Who cares?” “…in case you hadn’t realised…” Ok, now I know you can be somewhat mean and argumentative, and I’m “moving on.”


Lulu Iberica Says:

^^^ addressed to madmax


jane Says:

Anyone know why Azarenka retired? I missed it.


grendel Says:

Gasquet said after beating Federer: “I tried to play good as I had nothing to lose and this is very important. I cannot play my game with a lot of pressure.” He’s kind of a darling, Gasquet. Now he really does speak the truth about himself, pressure is exactly what he can’t handle. Who can forget his match against Murray at Wimbledon? He was simply all over Murray – until the crunch. Then he just faded away. The crowd was roaring the Brit on like mad, but it was all a make believe drama. Gasquet was probably reciting French poetry to himself as he went through the motions (as one does), to complete the obsequies.

The question is, what will it take for Gasquet to feel pressure in this tourney? He said after the Berdych win (ooh, wish I’d seen it):”For sure it will be tough for me, but I want to be there; it is a very big match for me. I am not the favourite of the match tomorrow and I have nothing to lose and I just want to enjoy another match against Rafa.” Hmmm, I feel a mite sceptical. Trouble is, he DOES have something to lose now.


Kimberly Says:

no idea why Vika retired?

She seems to retire a lot, yes?

Woz is a nightmare for Sharpova’s error ridden performances. Lets hope she can clean up her act and win!


Lulu Iberica Says:

Kimberly, I read elsewhere that Vika injured her elbow. You are right about Maria and Woz. I would like to see a Sharapova — Li Na final, but Woz & Li would be fine too, especially if it’s a repeat of their AO match!


madmax Says:

Lulu, now you are getting personal. So I am going to ignore you. You don’t know me so to call me mean is way off centre.

Ben, thanks.

I found the interview from federer for those of you who continually say that federer never gives credit. It’s just boring now.

As is usually the way after a defeat – something which a few years ago was a rare event but which is occurring a little more regularity these days – Roger Federer was philosophical, paying tribute to Richard Gasquet, who beat him 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-4(4) and maintaining that he was still on course for a good showing at the forthcoming French Open.

“I had multiple chances,” said the no.3 seed . “In the second set at 4-4, I really thought (I was going to win). Sometimes it’s unfortunate because I was playing well and then it didn’t happen at all any more so it was a disappointing end to the match. It was tough to play, the court was slippery and Richard started to play better as the match went on, in particular his serve. It was tough and I never thought I was going to win the tie-breaks and it was not fun to play that way.”

Whenever Federer – a man who occupied the world no.1 slot for 285 weeks – suffers a loss, people tend to look for the reasons why, but for the Swiss, the explanation is simple. “Look, there is something that you have to understand – Richard is a very good player, so please do not be surprised if he plays good tennis. That is what you are supposed to do. I played him in the semis in Wimbledon, the finals in Hamburg and the finals of Toronto and I think he does not need to prove his point that he can play tennis. It makes it seem as if he has no forehand and this is the first time he has. I don’t think that is how it was and I don’t know if you have been living under a rock or not but I think he has been playing really well for many years. Clay is his surface and he is a good enough player that if you do not play very well, then he beats you. He is very talented and he cuts his errors to the minimum.”

“If I was sitting here an hour ago I would have been very happy because I would have won the match in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3 and everyone would have been more relaxed,” Federer concluded. “It was not a whole lot of fun to play that way but it will not affect my preparation and work for the French Open. I will be fine. I definitely think I should not have lost this match and that is annoying but I am definitely happy to have two, three or four days off to feel physically and mentally fresh for the French Open. I am feeling great now and I’ll practise when I get to Paris and that is the plan. So it is in the same the last few years and that at this time I will get a couple more days of which is not bad.”


Duro Says:

I’m begging Novak if he wins to skip the next match and rest.

We, his fans, know the reasons.

With it I rest my case.


Ben Pronin Says:

Pattern of Djokovic’s matches: tough first set that he wins with what appears to be a regular scoreline, followed by a runaway second set.

Soderling went to the locker room to get medical attention. Djokovic is drop shotting the crap out of him. Looks like an impeding bagel.

Whatever is wrong with Djokovic definitely can’t that serious if he’s destroying top notch opponents like this.


tfouto Says:

wow… djoko is on fire now…

Duro, why skip now on SF?


jane Says:

Oh my god, though, Nole is perfect right now!! Wow, he could bagel Soderling. Two time FO finalist. Good god Nole!!! You are freaking me out!


Lulu Iberica Says:

Ok, Murray, I am pinning my hopes on you to give Novak an actual test before the final! Wish I could be watching this right now!


jane Says:

Of course, Soda has an injury. But Nole’s lobs and drop shots were great, too.


Daniel Says:

Everybory is playing Tennis, Djoko is playing another sport!


Ben Pronin Says:

Winner winner chicken dinner. Talk about a momentum enhancer. Soderling left down 0-3 in the second and came back to win 0 points.


tfouto Says:

If Djoko wins FO i would say it has everything to win the Grand Slam year…

I am not saying he will win or his the favourite, just if he wins…

And yes its to early to speak of winning 4 GS but if he keeps playing like this through the entire year…


Skeezerweezer Says:

@Daniel

Lol yeah he is not playing tennis right now he is toying with it.


Dory Says:

z O M G! Novak bagels Soderling!!!! I’m quite shocked (and pleased).


Duro Says:

tfouto,

Murray would do the job for him and Novak could rest meanwhile ;-).

Honestly, I think every word I said, but please don’t ask me why. Something must stay “inter nos” (his fans).

Cheers and keep on going. I like your posts.


tfouto Says:

Murray-Djoko should be a great game if Murray plays without pression… He’s playing really well despite the first set today.

Murray has all the game, it just lacks the mental part.


tfouto Says:

Duro,

I am an huge Federer fan, but i am enjoying seeing Djoko playing (winning) really bad. So i dont understand you completly as i am not a 100% Djoko fan.

But I think that 2 more days over a week wont make much a difference… If he skipped Rome and get 2 weeks that would be a different story, but between 8-10 days…

Actually besides the mental part, Murray should improve the consistency of his serve…


madmax Says:

Here’s the second part of fed’s interview which I have just found:

“There is something that you have to understand, Richard is a very good player,” he snapped. “So please don’t be surprised if he plays good tennis. That is what he is supposed to do.

“I played him in the semis in Wimbledon, the finals in Hamburg and the finals of Toronto and I think he does not need to prove his point that he can play tennis.

“(You) make it seem as if he has no forehand and this is the first time he has won a match.

“I don’t think that’s how it was and I don’t know if you’ve been living under a rock or not but I think he has been playing really well for many years.

“At his level, if you are not in the top 10 all the time and go up and down and obviously there are high expectations from France because he was so talented.

“I mean if you refer to the match in Monaco — I don’t care — it has been five or six years and it was a completely different match and he was such a young player and it was an amazing victory.

“I think he also celebrated that more than he will celebrate this one because he expected a victory more than back then.”

As for Gasquet, he said he wasn’t going to get too carried away by his win, but that it does stand him in good stead ahead of Roland Garros.

“Now I’m going to get knocked out in the first round and everyone will say I’m rubbish,” he joked.

“I’m better equipped to manage this situation now, I try not to ask myself too many questions.

“I’ve had some very, very good times and some very, very difficult ones.

“I was held up as a genius and then treated like a … I won’t say the word but I try to take it all as it comes.

“But there’s no doubt it’s good to go to Roland Garros having beaten Federer.”


Ben Pronin Says:

Murray vs Djokovic????? Woooooh exciting!!!


Duro Says:

tfouto,

It doesn’t have to do much with those two days necessarily…

You’re Fed fan, and that’s why I said that some things should stay among Nole’s fans only.

Cheers and thanks.


Nina Says:

I’m sorry to tell you Duro, as a Nole fan, that I don’t understand you either. :(

Are you implying that he should tank to avoid losing against Rafa in the final, therefore keeping the edge over him in case they meet in RG again? Hmmm…


Duro Says:

Well, few do lately… :-)

I must be too exhausted of all these wins, what else…

Good night, all.


Kimmi Says:

i just want another nole vs rafa and nole winning.

Muzza please dont make nole too tired…


Nina Says:

I’m with you Kimmi. :)))

But all that winning may take its toll on Nole in the most inappropriate moment, don’t you think? I hope I’m wrong.


Kimmi Says:

ah, they are kidding..look at the schedule of play. nadal vs gasquet starts at 2pm..djoko vs murray starts at 8pm…


tfouto Says:

why do they want to favor Nadal? Nadal is not even italian…


sar Says:

are there transcripts of Nole interviews this week anyplace?


Kimmi Says:

well yes Nina, but we should stop thinking about when he will lose. he is winning right now and that is what matter. he said he wants to keep the streak going as long as he can…i say go for it.

I want to see if rafa loses to nole again..what can he do? I mean, this has been his surface..the king for years and years and years… Go nole! i think right now he is the only guy that has a shot. and nole want rafa so much. he believes he can win against rafa..anywhere!

If murray wins tomorrow good for him but i fear he will fold against rafa.


kriket Says:

I’m guessing Djoko-Muz will be a route, Novak winning of course. Though I haven’t seen Murray’s matches I’m guessing the mental test will be too much for Muz. But anything’s possible.
Djoko needs time to get into his rhythm, which is the 1st set. Everytime he lost the set this season, it was the first set, as far as I can remember. After that he becomes the ubeatable beast that he is right now. Notice how he always seems tired and slow in the beginning but at the same time pulls off the best play on the tour at the moment.
If Murray doesn’t take the first set, I’m guessing straight sets win for Novak. Don’t usually like to make predictions but now I dare :)


Lulu Iberica Says:

I’ll be shocked if Murray beats Djoko. If he does do it somehow, I would again be very surprised for him to beat Rafa (if Rafa makes it to the final.) Murray showed at MC that he can challenge Rafa, but I think Raf would die out there on the court to prevent yet another guy from winning on his turf.


Nina Says:

@kriket… he lost the first set to Nadal twice and still won the match. :)


grendel Says:

madmax

There is perhaps a misunderstanding – easy enough, we all tend to secondguess each other on these blogs. I’ve always noted that Federer is complimentary about other players. From a cynical point of view, he couldn’t be anything else. For where would be the virtue in his having whacked a bunch of deadbeats?

But seriously, the man is a real tennis junkie. As such, he is bound to have a lively and unusually well-informed appreciation of the differing skills of his friends, contemporaries, rivals and colleagues. Furthermore, he comes across as a genuinely pleasant man who, other things being equal, is as likely to be as generous in his evaluation of other players as anybody else.

But: other things are not always equal. He is a man with a champion’s mentality. Whether that is desireable or not, I couldn’t say, but undoubtedly he is. This means, so long at least as he retains his ambition, he has to inhabit a certain bubble.

So he has a curious balancing act to maintain (if he is to remain effective). On the one hand, he has to be ruthlessly honest with himself, about the state of his play, his particular weaknesses, ongoing ones or ones newly emerged. On the other hand he has to believe, in the face of all the evidence, that he is still the best, at least potentially, and making allowances for certain unatural streaks which after all have a built in time limit…

That is really what the great Lynford Christie meant, b.t.w., when he talked about great champions always having an excuse ready, in their own minds at least. So if you say Federer is honest, in the sense of being candid, I will go along with that. It is one of his more endearing characteristics. He is candid in the sense that he doesn’t try to disguise the irrational belief system which all champions must hold to, but not all are open about.


jamie Says:

Who do you think will retire with more slams, Nadal or Nole.


Kimmi Says:

Djokovic is 35-0 this year. nadal is 35-5 this year. This means dkokovic has played 35 matches and nadal played 40 matches so far. so why people are saying djokovic is tired but not nadal..while nadal is the one with more matches? don’t get it! I think both must be tired..


Eric Says:

There’s no way Rafa is going to lose to Djokovic again the next time they play. It’s just not going to happen. He won’t catch up to him in slam count, either.


Kimberly Says:

I am a rafa fan but I think djokovic looks absolutely unbeatable. On any surface, anywhere. Hope I am wrong.


sar Says:

Nice words from Roddick about Nole–

Roddick was effusive about Novak Djokovic’s startlingly decisive straight-set victory over Nadal in Madrid on Sunday.

“You can use any superlative you like about Novak right now, and they would be true,” he said. “His head is in a perfect place, and, obviously, he has tremendous confidence.”


Eric Says:

Kimberly, Djokovic is certainly playing extraordinary tennis, but I disagree that he looks “unbeatable.” The fact is, Djokovic and Rafa are both such good players that their matches are decided by a few points here and there. Nole has had the edge so far, but on the slower (“real”) clay of Rome, I think the advantage goes back to Rafa, the King of Spin.

Plus, unless I have no read on Rafa’s character at all, he’s going to be heading into that final (assuming he gets past Gasquet — and actually I think that will be almost as tough a challenge as Nole, unless of course Gasquet chickens out) with his “determined as a bull to win” mentality – that’s what gets him past opponents who are playing as well as or better than him, and it’s what’s going to help him elevate his level in the final.

But that’s all exactly what I thought last week in Madrid, and Djokovic still got the win. So maybe all bets are off. The fact is, we don’t know yet how extensive Novak’s new level of tennis is. If he wins, it would be beyond extraordinary – truly unreal.

If I were a betting man, my money would be on Rafa, though.


skeezerweezer Says:

^ and keep in mind the famous Roddick/Novak tussle at USO a few years back? Say what you will about AR, he defends the mens tour like no other. That is why when he retires me hopes it dives into the commentator role.

RE: Novak the magnificent….

It is probably to early to bring Nole into the Slam count scenario, but it is mentioned so…

Nole has 2 Slams @24? So, although an unbelievable year that already is rivaling Rafa’s ’10 run, in a different way, but it is too early. IMHO if he takes FO, or finals, and goes deep into Wimby and wins USO ( on current form he should win that one )we can then look back and give a fair evalution of his mark on tennis history. What is a detriment to Nole is that he is already 24 and now peaking? There are only 4 slams per year, meaning, if he averaged from here on out 2 slams a year till 29, puts him at 12 slams? no?

Point is, well, there it is. Go figger…Chaos theory, per Malcom and MC….

Another if; Nole however, at this moment, could be riding history. IF he continues to run the table and win Rome, win FO ( Possible ), win Wimby ( the toughest task ), and then back to his domination of HC run into USO ( Possible ) he would make history like no other….so I don’t blame him nor judge if he goes for broke every match here on out until it stops, he has a chance to make history….why freakin not?

And what is more interesting is Rafa fans should be hoping for Novaks demise, as it could have a double edge sword. Ultimately, Rafa is control of this. He has to go back to beating Nole consisitently and making it to finals. As mentioned, Nole could take a lot of points, kinda split the point ranking totals in a general way that may help Fed take a last gasp at # 1 to break Pistol Petes record. This is all leadin up to I hope a very interesting dramatic time at the USO in Sept.


jane Says:

Technically, Nole is not yet 24. His birthday is May 22nd. :) Murray’s birthday is the 15th, so he is one week older than Nole. So Nole has 2 slams at 23. Not too shabby. I would be thrilled for both if they could retire with 5 or so slams each. I definitely would like to see Nole get one Wimbledon since he says that is his dream. Murray says his favourite slam is the USO so I want him to get that one.


kriket Says:

@Nina, that’s exactly what I was talking about. And don’t forget Federer, also took the first set (I think) and that was it :) Same with Ferrer in Madrid if I remember correctly. Of course, wins over Nadal after losing the 1st set are the most indicative, since Nadal is the toughest opponent at the moment or at least he’s considered to be the toughest, but that’s more due to the old glory than current results. I’m not saying Nadal isn’t tough, I’m just saying that maybe he’s not that tough for Novak amymore. We’ll see how it plays out, of course, and to our great satisfaction.
Now, regarding Novak’s chances on wining as many slams as possible. I think it’s way too prematured to speculate on that. After all I don’t think he has pretentions to be GOAT. It would be too pretentious, therefore he tries to take it one match at a time, and so should we.
@grendel – great insight, I totally agree with you. You said all there is to it.
@Eric, if you were a betting man… but you aren’t, so you wouldn’t really put your money where your mouth is, can you? :)
@skeezerweezer – you say Rafa is in control of his wins (or losses). Sorry, it didn’t look that way in their last three matches, quite the opposite. Novak was in control of the game, and it was all his to win or lose. Nadal couldn’t help it no matter how hard he tried.


Eric Says:

@kriket
Nope, I tend to like to spend my money on things like rent and food. (I’m a student.)


Lulu Iberica Says:

Skeezer, yes, I as a Rafa fan am hoping for Novak’s demise! Not due to anything terrible, just a slight lowering in his form, uptick in Rafa’s, whatever. I get what you’re saying about Fed maybe being able to sneak in there, but unless Rafa and Nole get sidelined, Rog is going to have to start beating them again, at least occassionally, to get to #1. I don’t care too much either way if Roger briefly takes #1 and breaks Pete’s record, though I do hope Rafa can be year end #1. Mostly I just want him to win FO and Wimby. Any other achievements are icing. No FO and no Wimby = dismal year.


madmax Says:

morning grendel,

No need to worry. I enjoy reading your erudite posts.

When I said ‘humble opinion’, it was a counter argument to this comment from you:

‘The day Federer stops making outrageous claims, that will be the day we know he is sated’.

May 13th, 2011 at 10:33 am

This is proof of words being taken out of context. Fed is in pressers pretty much every day (during tournaments), says one things, means another, interpreted another way. You see?

You and I are proof of that.

The outrageous claims – I don’t think what he says are that outrageous due to the fact that he doesn’t have mother tongue English. Easily, so easily taken out of context.

I love federer’s honestly, mixed with humour and a certain depracation of his tennis (you see it more and more), and then a subtle dig at media hype. He is the master of disguise sometimes isn’t he? (Tennis first then speech second).

The tweener shot against gasquet, I’m surprised no one mentioned that – Justin gimo said, ‘god given talent’. He is still amazing, playing amazing.

I respect other players grendel, I just don’t enjoy watching them as much. You know that.

As for novak, well I think he is amazing right now. I really do and I am happy for all novak fans. Something has switched in his mentality. He still maintains that darling humour off the court, but on court he is completely focused and I enjoy novak’s style of tennis. duro and jane will tell you that. So I am happy for him. He deserves the kudos he is getting.


graham Says:

The first sentence of this piece shows a complete lack of understanding of Federer’s psyche.

If Fed had ended up losing vs Lopez last week he would have been more motivated this week and hence wouldnt have played a careless last 2 sets vs Gasquet. Its clear he was in tank mode and virtually lost on purpose.

It doesnt mean he now has any chance of beating either of the top 2 at RG but he knew that there was nothing to gain at this tournament by progressing for a few more matches then getting beaten by Rafa again. Far better from his point of view to recuperate at home for a few days before having a go at the French. It will still take a great match to beat him there.

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