Rafael Nadal’s Improbable Loss is an Important Loss
by Ben Pronin | August 11th, 2011, 11:10 am
  • 249 Comments

Despite the nonstop arguments about who’s greater between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, it looks like Nadal has finally reached “Roger Federer” Status. This means that, no matter how he loses, there are at least 500,000 reasons, excuses, and explanations for why it wasn’t a big deal and it was his own fault (or not his fault at all).

Last night, Nadal lost to Ivan Dodig of Croatia 1-6 7-6(5) 7-6(5) blowing multiple leads in the second and third sets. The reality is this has happened to everyone who’s ever played tennis on any kind of regular basis. However, for the longest time it seemed like Nadal was absolutely immune to these kinds of lapses. There was the two sets to love lead he lost against Federer back in 2005 before he had even come close to a grand slam semifinal. But Nadal is one of the greatest front runners in the history of our sport. Think about how often we’re all surprised when he loses a match in which he won the first set!

But this was far worse than that. He was up a set and a break. Then he was up a break in the third set. Then he served for the match and STILL squandered it! Quite frankly, this is probably one of the most identical parallels in tennis I’ve ever seen when comparing it to 2008 when Federer blew, I believe, just as many leads to Gilles Simon in the opening round of the Roger’s Cup after the “Greatest Match of All Time.” The only noticeable difference is there were no tiebreakers in that match.

The reason Nadal and his fans tend to be so quick to jump to an injury excuse is because when Nadal is playing his best and is most healthy, he seems unbeatable. He gets to everything and returns it with extra pace, his forehand is one of the greatest of all time, his backhand has become a huge weapon (especially on faster surfaces) and he no longer spins in all of his serves. Plus his volleys are easily in the top five best volleys on tour. He’s the complete package and then some. (Sound familiar?)

Then Novak Djokovic popped up (sort of) and found ways to not only beat Nadal, but to really thump him. But that’s Djokovic, the current number one player in the world. Dodig is ranked 41. Surely there’s nothing he can do that’ll overwhelm Nadal. Big serving will only get you so far against the current Nadal, he’s been dealing with them and figuring them out for years now. But what Dodig did that most players don’t, that Djokovic has been doing, is hit through Nadal’s heaviest shots.

Usually, Nadal’s top spin really pushes players back and off the court and forces them to slicing and giving Nadal the easy put away. Djokovic, with his amazing retrieving, has enough time to get to the ball and hit through it rather than slicing, forcing Nadal to rethink his strategy during the point. Dodig was doing the same thing last night. He didn’t allow himself to be overwhelmed by the top spin and even when he was five meters behind the baseline, he would hit through the ball and maintain at least an equal amount of control in the rallies as Nadal. A great example of this would be match point where Nadal was standing on top of the baseline pummeling forehands but Dodig would not give up his ground and simply bashed the ball right back to Nadal until something came up even a little short.

Nadal fans are talking about Nadal not trusting his game and his serve and this and that but a huge problem for other players has, in fact, been trusting themselves to make those shots that would put them in an advantageous position. Djokovic trusts himself against Nadal (and everyone else) and last night Dodig trusted himself and it paid off. The big difference is that, maybe for the first time, the guy ranked 41 in the world trusted his ground strokes enough to score the most improbable win over Nadal. It really looks like Djokovic has shown everyone a strategy that can work time and time again. (Sound way too familiar)? And for that reason alone, Nadal should be very worried about this loss.


Also Check Out:
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Rafael Nadal’s Stolen Watch… It’s Been Found!
Inside Rafael Nadal’s Incredible Statistics On Clay
Rafael Nadal’s Knees Are Still Sore, He Hopes They Will Hold Up For South America [Video]
Maria Sharapova: I’ve Found 14 Ways Not To Beat Serena

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249 Comments for Rafael Nadal’s Improbable Loss is an Important Loss

Brando Says:

Ben your REALLY reading too much into this. First of all dodig is not djokovic by any stretch of the imagination. It’s true nole has beaten rafa 5 times in a row and convincingly too, but guess what? He’s only lost 1match in 8 MONTHS! Those tactics that you refer to djokovic has been using since IW this year, yet how many matches has rafa lost since then to someone other than djokovic? Just twice. To tsonga at queens, where no one, including his detractors, raised any eyebrow since everyone felt he was tired to a degree, plus of course tsonga played well. And now to dodig in his 1st match after 5 weeks off, with him losing just 2 tie breakers. Let’s not jump to conclusions to soon!


Wheeler Says:

Everyone on the ATP tour please start studying Djokovic vs Nadal matches right away to see how you can defeat Nadal.


alison hodge Says:

rep brando i agree with everything you said,it was only 2 tight tie breaks that decided the out come anyway,not to take anything from dodig who played very well,but a best of 5 sets,instead of a best of 3 sets,would have been very different. rep ben pronin if rafas in decline after making 8 straight finals im sure most of the other guys would take that,if theres only 1 guy on tour whos better than you,im sure most guys would take that as well.


Daniel Says:

I agree with you, Rafa’s game is at its weakest now. The lack of confidence is evident, his frustration not getting his way and going to his head like never before daunting him. He’s also not that young anymore, he can’t beat opponents based on sheer force alone. But I believe the espanolito is going to find a way, is going to refine his game and take it to the next level. He’s done it before. It’s make or break for Rafa, and I am rooting for him to find a way soon. Maybe not for the US open, but definitely after the year’s break. This is the golden age of tennis. I am so happy I am witnessing it.


newman Says:

did anyone see rafa’s presser?? He sounded bad…he had trouble speaking


Kimberly Says:

ridiculous article. I’m off to Disney, where dreams come true. Maybe you should join us Ben. I have a 4 year old and a 6 year old you can hang with.


Katarina Says:

Ben,every word you wrote is true and hit the target in center!My comliments,and thanks!


Humble Rafa Says:

Come on people. I was injured. Don’t you know it by now.

If I lose, I am injured. Knee, foot, etc. Better to lose to a Dodig than someone else whose name begins with the 4th letter of the alphabet.


Humble Rafa Says:

Also, my goal is to retire as the GOAT without ever defending a non-clay court title. Will start working on right away at the US open.


dari Says:

This loss and the manner of it is surprising, being up breaks in both sets, and serving for match, but for all we know at this point its a minor blip on his way to defending his us open title. WE DON’T KNOW YET.
I don’t think its that big of a deal, he was hoarse and blowing his nose in press, and on the court,.maybe a slight physical factor.
Mental capabilities maybe not back in tune.
plus UNCLE TONI WAS NOT THERE.
all will be right once “evil unc toni” (as skeeze once hilarously called him) and rafa reunite.
Or not. We will find out!
Meanwhile, roger is still in the tournament and he has a tough match tonight. Needs to right the ship mentally with Tsonga. Go rog!


alison hodge Says:

rep humble rafa same old tired boring record everytime,grow up,for goodness sake.


grendel Says:

very interesting analysis, Ben. Can I pick you up on this point?:”Plus his volleys are easily in the top five best volleys on tour.” My impression is that Nadal is a very safe volleyer – how often do you see a mistake? – and he positions himself well when he needs to. But he doesn’t strike me in the least as an aggressive volleyer. In that first tiebreak,Dodig, apart from s and v, forcefully manouevred his way to the net and controlled the rally from there. Considering how well he did it, I found it surprising that he didn’t employ these tactics more often.

This type of aggressive net play, of which Stepanek is the contemporary master, seems to me to be quite outside of Nadal’s range, and Djokovic’s too. Tantalisingly, you feel Federer is up to it, at least potentially. But he is so reluctant, and so he doesn’t get the practice he needs. You sometimes see him “experimenting” – when he feels secure in the match – but that’s the wrong mindset. He has to do it as a matter of course, just like Dodig did. But psychologically, that might be very difficult.

People have commented on Dodig’s wonderful winner on match point – but have failed to mention how nervously cautious Nadal was in that final rally. pretty surprising – generally, when he is in trouble, he likes to thump the ball.


grendel Says:

Some have resented Nadal’s loss being compared to Murray’s – after all, Nadal played very well in the first set and a half, and was not far off winning, whilst Murray seemed to just capitulate.

I feel this is wrong. I have always felt that Murray is an extremely clever touch player who has very few margins. If he is playing at his best, he’s too good for anyone. But he very rarely does play at his best. Why this should be so, I don’t pretend to know, but I would guess it has something to do with the extremely ambitious scope of his game.

When it comes off, it is extraordinary. Think of how he simply destroyed Roddick at Queens this year. I was somewhat perturbed by his postmatch comments, however. He looked a bit dazed, and tried to brush it all off as just one of those days when everything went in. Making allowances for embarrassed modesty, this still seemed to me the utterance of someone who doesn’t quite believe in himself. Now Roddick, funnily enough, made the same comment – but the motivation was utterly different. He was protecting himself by kind of implying that the level of Murray’s game had been freakish, a sort of wizardry which cannot be replicated – and therefore is barely relevant.

Murray cannot do a Lendl, as so many hope – Lendl is a Djokovic type player, not Murray. We just have to hope that those magical gifts all come together one day when it really matters. Then he’ll sail to the win. But don’t expect him to repeat it.


jane Says:

“But Nadal is one of the greatest front runners in the history of our sport”

I tend not to think of Rafa in these terms. He has always struck me as one of the greatest come-from-behind players in our sport. Whenever Rafa loses a first set, and even when he is behind in the last set, I have always thought, ‘it is not over until it’s over with Rafa.’ That’s why last night, until Dodig hit that final winner, I assumed Rafa would prevail.

That Rafa came out of the gates so hot and then, potentially, cooled off is what I found strange. Usually Rafa starts slow and finishes strong. I have often thought Nole to be someone who comes out strong and then slumps more second set, but he was the opposite yesterday too. Weird.

Another thing: this article compares Rafa’s loss to Fed’s losses in the Masters post-2008-Wimbledon loss. Well, in keeping with that, it is then worth remembering who won the USO in 2008. It is possible, isn’t it (?), that Rafa was experimenting with being more aggressive last night; hence, the blow out in the first set?

The only really odd thing about the loss, to me, is that Rafa didn’t serve it out in the third at 5-3. But Dodig deserves credit for that too.


mem Says:

poor ben,

can’t wait to write nadal’s obituary. oh my, nadal is the only top player to have lost in the second round to a player like dodig. this is not like him, he’s about to retire, the wimbledon lost has taken it’s toll, he’s done, bla, bla, bla and bla. you people are hilarious!

i wondered what would get you out of your hole. you finally got a topic you could exploit and what a surpise it’s about nadal. good for you, dude!

i must admit you are an expert in the dramatics. i’m sure your article will attract a lot of fans who thrive on insignifant babbling like this, but as far i’m concerned, i know exactly how nadal plays when he is interested in winning and i also know a player like dodig cannot beat him if he wants to win. he had plenty of opportunities! credit to dodig for capitalizing, but you can preach your doomsday sermon all you like, but this nadal fan is not in mourning. in fact, i’m very happy that nadal was smart enough to not stressed himself especially after having to be the last top player as always to wait out the rain while roger and whomever play first as usual.

he wasn’t injured and as far as i could tell he wasn’t sick, but whatever his reasons i’m happy he’s learning how to play smarter. he knows that the same things are said about him when he wins and the same things are said when he loses, so doesn’t matter, he’s criticized either way. he can’t control what doomsday writers and fans write.

in any case, this nadal fan is happy to allow you and other do the worrying for nadal, me and all his other fans. you guys seems to do it with excellence.


grendel Says:

Kvitova’s timing is woeful. She’s being blown away at the moment. Let’s hope this is just holiday fever.


jane Says:

^ Just saw that grendel. Whoa. I was watching Berdych/Ivo and flipped over to see Kvitova had lost set one 1-6.


grendel Says:

Peter Fleming expressed himself as shocked that Nadal should have played so well in the first set – following his long layoff. Argueing from this standpoint, you could say that rustiness hit in towards middle of second set. He just couldn’t keep it up. Once he’s got a few more matches under his belt, he’ll be able to sustain a high standard.

That should be the hope of the Nadalites. Personally, I still have Nadal as favourite for the US. Mostly, this is magical thinking. Nadal somehow gets his witch’s hat on when it counts – don’t see that about to change just yet. And Djokovic is due for a fall. You can’t count the Federer defeat in Paris. He’s due for a real fall, the expenditure of emotion and ever increasing rise of expectation – too much to cope with. Hope I’m mistaken.


Gregoire Gentil Says:

The most hilarious is all the comments above, especially from Nadal’s fans. lol. Best comment goes to Kimberly: very factual with good argument and analysis – though pretty funny.


jane Says:

Berdych has a big chance with the opening up of the bottom half. He looked pretty good versus Dr.Ivo. Strong serves and solid returns.


margot Says:

grendel@1.17, v. nice analysis of Andy, of course in a slam he’s got to find a way to play rather extraordinarily 5 times in a row…still I’m travelling hopefully and of course celebrating because…..Andy and Jamie have won TWO whole matches…Wheeeeeee!
Hey, and the cricket! Yabberdabberdo! :) Where’s that bloke who poured scorn last year?? Ha!


Ben Pronin Says:

Mem, lulz :)

Grendel, I know what you mean about Nadal’s (and Djokovic’s) volleying. But I remember the Edberg-like volleys Nadal was hitting at last year’s US Open and I guess that’s really engraved in my mind because he appeared to be capable of anything up at net. But obviously it’s not his natural game and so he usually hits “safe” volleys.

I was extremely impressed with Dodig’s volleying probably more than anything else last night. Usually, especially against Nadal, you get guys hitting a pop-up volley because it’s too tough when Nadal hits at you. But man was Dodig penetrating with his volleys. They were too crisp and even Nadal couldn’t claw them up from the ground.

I don’t agree about Nadal playing nervously on match point, though (everyone’s gotta be nervous at that point, honestly). In fact, I think Nadal played it the way he usually plays those points, pummeling forehands as hard as possible. But Dodig didn’t give up ground. They traded blows until one of them seized the tiniest of windows, in this case it was Dodig. As the point went on, Nadal was hitting the ball later and later because the ball was coming in so fast and he was right on the baseline (maybe the courts really are that fast) and eventually one of his shots had just enough air for Dodig to hit a line-clipper.


Tennislover Says:

“However, for the longest time it seemed like Nadal was absolutely immune to these kinds of lapses.”

That immunity never lasts forever no matter how great you are. Great players go through a period when they lose very few matches but eventually they lose their edge ever so slightly and that is enough to turn the tables(as in the Nadal-Djoker rivalry) and a slightly off day can result in the kind of loss that Nadal had yesterday. Dodig can serve very well and once you take it into a breaker, it is a bit of a lottery and the big server has an edge there. The surprising thing was Nadal’s inability to hold his own serve(41% and 51% first serves in the last two sets are unheard of)even though he broke Dodig’s serve multiple times. I didn’t watch the match but some have suggested that Nadal was experimenting a bit and trying to be very aggressive both with the serve and on the return.

“…when Nadal is playing his best and is most healthy, he seems unbeatable.”

Certainly on clay especially in a best-of-five format but the only time Nadal has really appeared “unbeatable” in a non-clay event to me was in last Year’s USO final. Even in his best seasons(2008 and 2010), Nadal lost ten or more matches. Djokovic appears much more unbeatable this year but even he has had matches in this great streak where he has looked eminently beatable.

“Plus his volleys are easily in the top five best volleys on tour.”

He is a competent volleyer and is good with the volleys he should put away but top-five is quite an exaggeration.

“Then Novak Djokovic popped up (sort of) and found ways to not only beat Nadal, but to really thump him.”

Djokovic has thumped Nadal on hard courts several times in the past. He has always had the game to trouble Nadal even on clay. It is just that he is not breaking down physically or mentally anymore. This new-found resilience(as also Nadal’s slight vulnerability this year) has allowed him to out-grind Nadal on clay.

“It really looks like Djokovic has shown everyone a strategy that can work time and time again.”

Knowing a strategy is one thing but few can execute it with any degree of consistency even if they have the ability. Secondly, how many players have the “amazing retrieving” skills of Djoker that you yourself talk about? Does anyone have his offensive return of serve or his offensive defense? Please don’t compare Dodig’s game or stategy to Djokovic’s.

I think you are reading a bit too much into the this loss and the implications it has for Nadal or his rivals. I have felt a slight loss of edge in Nadal’s game-the first time I sensed it was during the Madrid final- but only Djokovic has been able to capitalize on that in the big events. I also feel Nadal is gradually getting into the Federer mold of focusing on the biggest prizes especially the non-clay ones. Given that he is still relatively young, Nadal remains a huge contender. It will be tough if Djokovic keeps maintaining or raising his level but it will take only a slight dip in his level to turn the tables back in Nadal’s favor. In this game, tiny margins make all the difference.


jane Says:

The windy conditions could explain Kvitova’s trouble.


Ben Pronin Says:

Tennislover, why can’t I compare the strategy? Obviously not everyone can execute it, it was just interesting to watch, especially from Dodig of all players.

“I also feel Nadal is gradually getting into the Federer mold of focusing on the biggest prizes especially the non-clay ones”

Based on what?


jamie Says:

I predicted Nadal would only win 1 more slam(in 2012) and retire with 11 majors(like Borg and Laver) and some here said it was wrong. It’s not wrong. Wrong was the person who predicted he would win 14. What that Brando?


jamie Says:

BTW, Federer is done winning slams. He will retire with 16 slams.


mem Says:

ben,

no need to explain to me! i know how you can’t wait to paint nadal in a negative light anytime he loses. nadal hasn’t played in weeks, yet you are quick to suggest that his lost is the end of his career, but murray is supposingly a better hardcourt player than rafa, in fact, he won this tournament last year, but yet, it’s ok for andy to have lost badly to a lesser player like kevin anderson because he hasn’t played in weeks either or he wasn’t interested in winning this year. so don’t front with me and pretend you’re just analyzing because i am quite familiar with your prejudices against nadal, it has become your mission in tennis to put nadal down on any little thing you can find.

i know how nadal plays when he doesn’t want to lose and i know how he plays when he doesn’t mind losing. i don’t need experts to tell me that. case closed!


alison hodge Says:

rep grendel and mem,rafas been written off so many times over the years,whether he wins or looses,some will always find something negative to say about him,seems hes damned if he does and damned if he doesnt,i think he and his fans have learned to take it with a pinch of salt.


Ben Pronin Says:

Mem, lulz :)

No where did I say anything about this being the end of his career. I don’t even see anything negative I said about him. We all know he has mental cobwebs and he’s upset about losing to Djokovic and blah blah blah. I don’t care. He’ll get over it. But that doesn’t mean he’ll get over those tiny kinks in his game that could be exploited.

And I don’t know what Murray has to do with this.


jane Says:

Rafa has reached that rarefied air in which each loss is potentially drastic. I remember that with Fed, too, for the longest time. All the articles that would be penned every time he lost one match. But it seems to have cooled for Fed. Many people are becoming more accepting of the losses here and there, and so there seem to be less post-match articles about his losses. Now it shifts to Rafa? I guess when you have 10 or more slams, it makes sense that you’d draw that kind of attention.

Not sure what to think of Nole’s play today. Maybe steady but cautious is a good phrase for it. He seems a little defensive on the returns, but he may be trying to make adjustments for the swirling wind. Cilic is serving very well. But his errors do hurt him.


Brando Says:

I think NO1 has in tennis history gone through as many decline’s, obituaries, ‘the end is nigh’ than rafael nadal. He can only win on clay, he can never beat federer on grass, he can never win a hard court slam, he’ll never win a tournament outside clay after 9 months without a title, he’ll never win 3 slams in a year, no career slam etc on and on it goes.


skeezerweezer Says:

@jamie
Re: 2:34 post.
I’m good with that :). 16 sounds fine with me if thats all he gets.


Brando Says:

@ jane, I think djokovic will be fine today and for this tourney, but as soon as he loses a match or maybe doesn’t win 2 tourny’s back to back expect the ‘articles’ to arrive for him too.


Tennislover Says:

Ben- It is because I refuse to believe Dodig can realistically hope to be successful while imitating Djoker’s strategy. He just doesn’t have the Djoker’s ability unless he has miraculously acquired them all of a sudden. Admittedly, I didn’t watch last night’s match but I have seen Dodig and his retrieving skills in the past.

About Nadal’s focus, it is just a feeling I have. For instance, he brought out the big serve for the USO last year even though there was no hint of it in the masters event prior to it. Some posters have suggested that Nadal seemed to be experimenting a bit in his match against Dodig. Like last year, he had a few matches at Queens this year but he didn’t appear interested in winning the whole thing. Even during the latter part of the clay season, he seemed to be saving himself in many matches even though he played a full schedule. It could have been false bravado but Nadal’s comment about winning the most important prize i.e. the French Open after a loss to Djokovic was, to me, quite revealing.


jane Says:

Well Brando, if that’s true, you & all Rafa fans can take comfort in the fact that he’s done all that and more. I do remember similar with Fed re: losses signaling “the end.” It is just because people expect them to win all the time. But even the greats lose.

grendel, I know Nole will suffer more losses soon, obviously, but I hope he doesn’t have the “Big Fall” you hint at. What sort of fall are you talking about, just curious: a return to early 2010 form (shudders), loss of number one ranking, fall even further?

There has been little separating Cilic and Nole in this set. Commentators say Cilic has been doing better than Nole on second serve points. But a few ill timed errors from Marin and a few key returns in Cilic’s final service game give Nole the set. Sad end to the set for Cilic.


Ben Pronin Says:

Tennislover, I get where you’re coming from. I just can’t help but draw parallels between this and Federer-Simon from 08. I don’t think Dodig will torment Nadal the same way Simon torments Federer, but the way the matches played out is too similar. Federer has won 4 slams since that match with Simon so if Nadal wins only 4 more, he’s tied with Sampras, not exactly a bad result. But perhaps he will start to lose more and more matches at the Masters and that really is saying a lot for the guy who, at 25, has won more Masters than anyone in history.


jane Says:

Brando, I know. The articles will come. :) Maybe that is inevitable for the top five players. Of course almost as soon as Nole achieved number one, then the articles began: “How long can he remain number 1?” “How many slams can he win?” “Will he draw fans to the sport like Fedal have.?” etc. It is inevitable – because all these guys matter so much to the sport.


alison hodge Says:

rep jamie, have you got a crystal ball,if not how do you know what will happen in the future,whos to say he wont win 4 more slams,whos to say roger wont win any more slams,you dont know,nobody knows,wait and see.


jane Says:

Interesting, commentators saying Nole is not mixing up his second serve as much as he has this year. Which would explain why Cilic is doing better on them possibly. This match is very close, though, and Cilic is playing very well. Best I have seen from him in a long while. Serving well. Staying positive, even after errors. He has been pushing and pushing for the break in this second set. Another deuce.


Brando Says:

@ jane, I completely agree. I think because of the success that they achieve some fans/ viewers just completely forget the fact that they can still lose at some stage to a unexpected moment. Just because it happens does not mean it’s all doom and gloom for their favourite, it’s just part and parcel of the game. As history has shown with past players, what goes up must always come down. So I advice, stay for the ride and enjoy the ride:-)


mem Says:

ben,

i can see your inferencing skills are subpar, and i don’t have time to break it down every word.

anyway, did nadal say in his post match presser that he lost to dodig because he is upset from losing to novak or will that your new theory every time nadal loses in the future.

my point is where is your article on andy murray? did i miss it? did you write a doomsday article on him giving your expert opinions on why he lost so badly in the second round. if so, where can i find it.

you want to know why i referred to andy murray. i’m comparing your eagerness to point out anything negative about nadal as opposed to murray. you are quick to jump to write anything that you think will make nadal look less than, but andy is also a top player, in fact, a better hardcourt player than rafa at least on paper, who also lost in the second round but i don’t see your written interest in why he lost. don’t you claim to be fair and unbiased in your writing?

enough said, you know where i’m coming from and i know where you’re coming from. no need to take it any further.


Brando Says:

@ jane, I did see cilic- del potro last night and also felt that he is finally playing well again after a long while. I didn’t expect djokovic to find it easy against him today.


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t claim to be unbiased. How is Murray better on hard court on paper? Did I miss his 2 hard court major victories?

I’m not predicting doom and gloom. Like several other people have said here, at some point Nadal is going to lose more and more matches like these and I think that’s a fair prediction and that’s all I’m saying. Does anyone doubt that had this been best of 5 Nadal would’ve won it easily? This match is so very similar to the Isner one at the French it’s scary. Both times Nadal was coming off a tough loss to Djokovic. This time, he didn’t have a 4th and 5th set to win, though.

There are other places you can go where you can take extreme offense to anything that isn’t praising Nadal. He’s not my favorite player, that’s no secret, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a great player who just suffered a really weird loss by his own superhuman standards.

On that note, go back to reading Nadal’s mind and KNOWING when he wants to lose and doesn’t want to and whatever other nonsense you like to spew.


jane Says:

^ Definitely Brando. I didn’t see that match, but I did see a fair amount of the Umag final versus Dolgo, and Cilic looked good but for a few key errors. And if he beat Delpo in straight sets, he must be playing at a high level. Good for him. I have always liked Cilic. I was rooting for him to beat Isner at the AO this year.


jane Says:

Raonic is in the commentator’s booth for Nole’s match and he has done a fabulous job. It is always great to hear from a fellow player as their insight is so much more pointed. I guess he practiced with Nole at Wimbledon too, so he has used that to inform some of his comments today.


Brando Says:

@ jane, same here I also like cilic. He has the game to be a genuine top 10 player. If he loses today he can still look forward with a lot of positivity. Hopefully he’s turning a corner his career


steve-o Says:

Good match from Cilic, but the world’s #1 was always going to be too tall an order to tackle. However I think Cilic can take some positives from this match and continue in Cincinnati.

Re: Djokovic, the train continues to roll on. He is bearing the pressure of being the top seed very well.


grendel Says:

Had a weird experience, turning from the Kvitova/Petkovic match to Cilic/Djokovic. The ball was being hit a good deal softer, and it was kind of disorienting. After all, you’re used to this happening, but the other way round.

Ben, unfortunately, I’ve had to delete my recording of the Nadal match (running out of space on planner). But my memory is at odds with how you saw the final point (“pummeling forehands as hard as possible.”). Nadal seemed to me to be playing cautiously, presumably hoping for an opening – and suddenly Dodig, as if to say enough of this nonsense, pounced. But I daresay my eyes played me false. I wonder what anyone else thought?

jane – agree with the Fed comparison. I think it’s natural – we’re always looking to bury the King, either out of fear or its opposite (in this case), glee.

About Djokovic – none of what you suggest. I merely would have thought that there is a pressure slowly accumulating inside Djokovic’s head, and that this will act as a dose of lead in a critical situation. No reason why he shouldn’t soon recover from such a situation, however. But naturally, I could be completely underestimating Djokovic’s resilience, or his accomodation to godlike status. There are athletes, aren’t there, who don’t feel that kind of pressure, they just revel in endless success. Djokovic doesn’t strike me as that type, but I may be wrong.


Humble Rafa Says:

Djokovic=God


mem Says:

ben,

you’re the writer of the article, so i’m not interested in what several other people have said. i’m talking to you not several other people.

what’s the matter? you can’t stand on your own, you have to have several other people to go along with you. well, i know the answer to that. it’s not about heaping praise on nadal, i could care less whether you praise nadal or not; it’s about the obvious difference in the way he’s treated compared to the other top players. others know it too, but for whatever reason they’re not going to say a word, but i’m not one of them.

don’t get upset with me because i’m not fooled by your pretentious attitude. quite honestly, i don’t care what you write, but i felt like calling you out on your endless mission to criticize nadal every chance you get. i despise pretense, be who you are and people will respect you more.


Ben Pronin Says:

Do me a favor and point put something negative I said about him in this article. You obviously didn’t read it you just like criticizing me. Hypocrite. Lulz :)


steve-o Says:

This is a very significant loss. Nadal almost never loses an opening-round match. The ATP website says this is his earliest loss at a Masters event in more than three years–that was a withdrawal due to injury. The last opening-round match he lost (without injury) was in 2006, in Miami.

Rust is never an issue with Nadal. His game is so simple that he doesn’t get confused about what to do. As long as he can run and retrieve, and muscle the ball, he’s fine.

Nadal has always had a simple faith: give 100% on each and every point. That faith was always rewarded because he inevitably had more strength and stamina than his opponent. Either the opponent would tire, or get frustrated mentally at not being able to make winners. Even the great Roger Federer would give way mentally as long as Nadal simply kept returning every ball, like a brick wall.

Now Djokovic can run as long as Nadal can, and moreover, he can hit through Nadal. He was always able to do so, but before he would tire and start making mistakes. Now he can keep hitting through Nadal over best-of-five, and Nadal has no answers.

His faith is being sorely tested, and has been found wanting.

When you give your whole being to one narrow creed, to doing one particular, highly specialized thing over and over again, where do you go when it just doesn’t work anymore?

Nadal is at somewhat of a crossroads here. The essence of his game is his rigid and mechanical mentality, on being able to execute like a machine every point of every game of every set of every match of every tournament. If that starts slipping, it means serious problems for him.


Brando Says:

The djokovic train rolls on. In all honesty other than maybe federer can anyone really think of a player on tour right now who can honestly trouble djokovic? Since I can’t going through all the big names. Nadal? 5 losses in a row. Murray?has the game, but not the mind, del potro? He’s never beaten djokovic!!! What about the rest? Soderling, monfils, ferrer, berdych etc . None of them stand a genuine chance at the moment!!! Simply too good by the djoker!


mem Says:

ben,

give it a rest! you wouldn’t understand if i explained it. enough said, we both get the point.


jane Says:

There were really two key moments in Nole/Cilic. The stab return at 30 all 6-5 in the first set, to earn bp. I think Cilic was so surprised that came back, he flubbed the next shot at net. And then Nole’s hold to start the second after numerous deuces and ads for Cilic. Once Nole held, that seemed to take the wind a little out of Marin’s sails, and Nole had control.

Sharapova is not playing well. Unless she can break back here, she is out. I don’t know her opponent well but her tactic of drop-shotting Maria a lot has worked very well. Maria can move pretty well side to side, but not as well front to back, and she has lost almost all the points when she has had to try to retrieve the dropper.


jane Says:

“Someone turned the choke on” That’s what my son just said about Maria’s opponent, who had 40-love, triple match point, then served two doubles in a row, and eventually let Maria break back. But can Maria hold now? Love-30. Dramarama.


jane Says:

Voskoboeva breaks and is serving for it again. This time she wins. She beat Bartolli and Pennetta too. Zvonareva is coming back second set, but it does seem like she always has something bandaged.

Tipsy is taking it to Dodig. Probably tired from the big win late last night. They should have let him play later maybe, to be fair. Anyhow, who knows. Maybe he will have another comeback,


tennisfan Says:

i think we all are missing the point here. Great champions have always risen back in their career. Nadal is one of them. He will be back.Give him some time. If you dont believe it, I read this article where so many greats have come back to win even after the age of 30. Nadal is just 25. Patience!
Champions always come back
http://bit.ly/mUlKHO


grendel Says:

mem

I’ve always enjoyed your style, there was something about it which resonated in some mysterious way which I was unable to pinpoint. And now, it has suddenly come to me.

When I was a teenager, plunged in all kinds of angst, one writer above all spoke to me, and that was Dostoievsky. What grabbed me was his humour, and this was chiefly encapsulated in the talkings and ramblings of his characters – and they were often completely inconsequential, barely sane sometimes, but utterly compelling all the same. And always to be respected, too, in some mysterious way, however absurd. Whereas those characters who more or less made sense were of little interest. I feel some of your posts, mem, could easily find a place in a Dostoievsky novel, and this is a compliment. Skilled literary parodists, for instance, would not be able to deceive anyone should they attempt to imitate Dostoievsky.

Just for the record, I disagree with you about Ben – on the whole. Leaving aside your intuition (which is not to be sneezed at), Ben makes a very plausible case as to why the “improbable loss” is an “important loss”. This doesn’t mean he is right, he may indeed have got it wrong – but he has made an interesting case which asks for a thoughtful response. w.r.t. to the actual tennis, the heart of Ben’s argument is in the second last paragraph. I don’t know whether it is valid or not (I disagree with his interpretation of matchpoint), but at any rate, it is surely not especially controversial. Ben’s final point – that Djokovic has shown the way to beat Nadal, Dodig has picked this up and others will surely follow, well: this may or may not be true, but it seems at least a reasonable proposition.


jane Says:

Very interested to watch Fed versus Tsonga after the Wimbledon match. Roger is the fave, but you never know with Tsonga if he plays his best. Fed has to be patient and hold his own serve. Then I would think he’ll face Gasquet, against whom I like Fed’s chances. But Tsonga and Gasquet both won their last matches versus Roger, so there is a bit of doubt. I’d imagine the tournament organizers are hoping for a Nole-Fed blockbuster semi. Nole will likely have to go through Monfils to get there, unless Troicki upsets him. So it looks like the French trio could play foils to that semi happening. If it does happen, as always with Fed and Nole, I’d say 50-50. I haven’t seen enough of Fed’s form but Nole is still rusty, imo. He’d have to raise his level a lot versus Roger.


Wheeler Says:

For the nth time, Djokovic’s pigeon Troicki is going to meet him this year.


Ben Pronin Says:

Grendel, you just get me.


Brando Says:

@ jane if fed- nole happens I would say 60-40 in djokovic’s favour since forgetting everything else in this tourny he would have came through the tougher draw I feel.


skeezerweezer Says:

Yeah agree with grendel’s perception on your article. The technical part me thinks your right on, which comes later in the article. As far as an important loss? We’ll see. Regardless, the title invites Rafa fans to naturally defend, so regardless you were gonna get some blow back. For me, I like you sticking your neck out at times and creating “heat”, especially when there is logic in your madness. At the very least it creates passionate discussion. Just remember somewhere, out there, they are lurking ;).

BTW when are we all gonna have another GOAT discussion? Hee Hee Shaaammooon! J/K ;)


jane Says:

Is the gentleman sitting by Canas at Gulbis matches Ernie’s dad, or? Gulbis with the first break of the match.


alison hodge Says:

i wonder if noles year carries on the same way,if he will be in the next edition of the guiness book of records,for the best year ever for a tennis player,male or female.


mem Says:

grendel,

i appreciate your comments, but my argument is not based on ben’s opinions of whether the lost is important or not. opinions of others, including ben do not disturb me like it does most people because i understand that opinions and predictions are not guarantees. if nadal’s future success is determined by the opinions and predictions of others, then he’s in big trouble; he might as well retire now. i don’t look at sports that way, people are free to make opinions.

i don’t have a problem with you agreeing with ben neither. like i said, i was speaking to his efforts to always magnify nadal’s losses compared to the other top players. just for the record this second round lost is not a big deal to me, maybe i’m missing something. nonetheless, we can go back and forth all day and night but truth is the losses of other top players are not dissected as if they are a matter of life and death as with nadal. as far as ben’s saying this lost is an “important loss” that’s anybody’s guess. he’s entitled to his opinion, that doesn’t make it a fact. i deal in reality and actual results, not in what people predict might happen. it’s up to nadal whether the loss becomes “important” or not. that remains to be seen. we can write what we want but we don’t control how it unfolds. we will see what happens!

anyway, this may help explain where i’m coming from.


Brando Says:

@ Alison hodge don’t know about the guiness record books but at this he’s already making a high level of inroads into tennis’s record books. This is clearly the boom, peak period in djokovic’s career and as nadal said pos Wimbledon he and everyone else shall have to wait and bide their time for the inevitable bust


jane Says:

Gulbis’s serving has been impenetrable.


mat4 Says:

Hello everyone! Nice to read you.

@Jane: As I foretold you, Cilic was to tense in the critical moments of the match. But Djoko was playing better than he did against Davy.

@Ben: Interesting article. This defeat is, of course, very important, because Rafa didn’t lose in such manner in the last few years: first round, opponent ranked 40 or more, set and a break… Something is happening.

@Brando: Roger is always a bad match up for Nole. So, I wouldn’t be certain it’s 60 40, based on the current form. Djoko is far from his best.


jane Says:

Match momentum turning: Fish with a break and Monfils with a dominant tiebreak.


Brando Says:

@mat4: I take your point but then again djokovic-nadal was 7-16 at the start of the year. A bad matchup there for nole? Things change and whilst I definately see federer as djokovic’s toughest march atm I still see djokovic as the favourite especially on hard court where by the way he is 26-0 and still counting.


mat4 Says:

@Brando: I believe I watched all the Rafole matches, and, in spite of Rafa’s impressive results, I always thought it was Nole’s match to win or to lose. Usually, whenever Nole won, he was clearly superior, but he lost even, tense matches. That’s what changed this year.

Then, there was another thing: Novak was never nervous playing Rafa, and I never sensed Rafa very confident vs Nole. It could be just an impression, though, but I am very confident in my impressions. In more than one way, that’s what transpires in the last months.

But against Roger, the situation is quite different. They are usually both very nervous, and they can’t play their natural games against each other. Usually too, Roger is the more confident player, winning tight ends of sets, breakers, but, when confronting a consistent game plan focused on his weaknesses, Roger sometimes melts down, breaks apart.

Nole can’t afford to play like he did against Davy and Marin. He’s got to flatten his shots, to unleash his FH, and to pressurize Roger’s backhand. He cannot afford 11 UE per set.


mat4 Says:

Good match between LaMonf et Troicki.


jane Says:

mat4, I’ve found Nole’s forehand to be a bit shaky the last two matches; would you agree? Also commentators today said he wasn’t mixing up his second serve as well as he had been doing.

Troicki breaks; Fish holds. Coming down to the wire for la Monf and Gulbis.


mat4 Says:

@Jane:

I think he is playing with to much safety, to much spin. I am watching Monfils, same shots. Is it the influence of Rafa Nadal on modern tennis?

And yes, not only he didn’t make winners with his FH, but he also made a lot of UE.

By the end of the match he asked himself loudly why he was playing just defense, why he didn’t attack more.

Did you notice that he hasn’t make one winner with his BH down the line?


mat4 Says:

I just hate both Monfils and Troicki. Such waste! No brain tennis against no guts tennis.


mat4 Says:

Modern tennis: moonballs tennis.


jane Says:

^ yeah, that’s what I saw: he was more tentative, it reminded me a little of his loss to Berdych last year. But in the second set, he played better, some nice drop shots, some better forehands, etc. Perhaps against Cilic in that wind, playing with a little caution and spin wasn’t a bad idea, as Cilic tends to make errors eventually. But he will need to find a higher gear going forward and play a more aggressively, especially on second serve returns. He should be all over those.


jane Says:

Was hoping Gulbis would break back, even though I picked Fish.


mat4 Says:

@Jane:

On the other side, peaking to early wouldn’t be a good idea, and over the years, and that’s a big difference between Rafa and Novak, I noticed that in the early round Nole is often playing just enough to win. He was awful against Berdych in Dubai, but he played a great final.

In the meantime, Troicki confirmed he’s a chocker.

Just an idea: modern tennis = moonballs tennis.


mat4 Says:

Monfils is going to win the TB. Troicki is already crying.


jane Says:

Looks like Nole gets LaMonf next.


Brando Says:

@mat4, i take your point but the fact is djokovic had never beaten nadal outside hardcourts prior to this year, a surface where he has always been the better player, so the convincing wins on that surface are not a surprise. as for the rest, i remember at queens 2008 it was a close match and of course on clay madrid 2009, hamburg 2008 especially have been close matches of the past. what i have felt is that djokovic was always the aggressive players hence why you may have felt it was his match to lose or win, but what i feel is that recently whilst djokovic has retained that aggressive streak what he has also added is that ability to do rafa what rafa has done to others: to outlast them. i think this mental and physical improvement is what that has made the crucial difference.


mat4 Says:

Great performance from Gulbis. Although the racquet is quite resilient.


jane Says:

Fish through too. A good effort by Gulbis. Just a little short in key moments. Troicki has indeed reaffirmed his choking status, poor guy. Serving for the match, and then he loses. Oh well, it can happen to anyone., but he seems to not capitalize on leads with regularity, which makes me feel badly for him.


Dory Says:

Troicki always gets nervous and often the cause of losing is that. Wimby match against Murray=same. And yes, when get gets nervous, it looks like he’s going to burst into tears. I first remembered him as the guy with a crying expression. LOL.


mat4 Says:

@Brando:

Of course, there is a big change. I do agree, Rafa does too. Nole needed a little bit of nothing to start winning against Rafa when the going gets tough, and this year, it’s there.

But the point is that, Dubai excepted, I don’t feel that there is such change against Roger.


jane Says:

Gosh Nole is still out there in doubles; is this wise?


Dory Says:

I would advise not to read anything into how Nole’s currently playing because these top guys (the top 3) can change form dynamically depending on the opponent. Nole can perform at A+ level if he’s playing Federer or Nadal.


jane Says:

Fully agree with your Nole-Fed assessment mat4. Nole seems less sure of himself in those matches. Though he has earned enough wins, including 3 slam wins, to take some confidence in. Their matches are always very exciting, and usually dramatic.


mat4 Says:

I think they decided to lose. Enough practicing volleys!


mat4 Says:

Jane:

To quote Wilander: “You can’t argue with Roger Federer”.


jane Says:

^ Could be. Both are still alive in singles at the business end, so to speak.

So what do people think in Fed-Tsonga? Straight sets? Rout! Tight? Three sets? Dives? Errors? Shanks?


mat4 Says:

Ed McGrogan is quite a revelation for me. He is writing well, although seldom about tennis. I catch myself reading his articles, even when he says nothing.


mat4 Says:

Roger in straights. Or maybe Jo Vilain in straights. I hope Jo in straights.


Kimmi Says:

GO Rog! do it pls..


Dory Says:

Roger in straights I think.

I could not see Federer-Tsonga Wimbledon match LIVE because of Wimby’s piss poor scheduling of simultaneous quarterfinal matches. I was rather shocked Federer losing after leading 2 sets to 0 but slightly glad as that would give Nole a sure entry into the final against Rafa. Watched the recorded match later.


jane Says:

Both serving very well thus far.


Kimmi Says:

I hope fed wins but tsonga would have so much confidence after that win at wimbledon. that was a very bad loss for fed.


dari Says:

roger looking quite swift-footed tonight,especially for a 30 year old


mat4 Says:

Did you notice that Roger has all the players he lost this year in his quarter and half: JWT, Gasquet, Djoko?


dari Says:

Ok, not as much on that point


jane Says:

Didn’t Melzer beat him too?


dari Says:

Thx for pointing that out, mat4. Would be good opportunities to re-assert-
AND MAKE THAT KIND OF DROP SHOT


Kimmi Says:

bad drop shot..if those shots go in he will have a chance here..lets go rog


mat4 Says:

I believe he’s not playing, Jane.


dari Says:

Yes, he did jane but melzer is not here. He also lost to rafa too I don’t think mat4 meant ALL


mat4 Says:

It must be the screen: Jo can’t be that fat.


jane Says:

Thought the drop shot was a maybe bad choice at that moment. Jo wasn’t too far back.

This will be a serving contest by the looks of it so far. Both are so aggressive. But Fed can be more patient when he needs to be.


jane Says:

Oh maybe Melzer is injured. No I guess mat4 didn’t mean “all” literally.

Jo is rather stocky, but fat??


puckbandit Says:

One thing I noticed with Nadal last night is that his emotions and demeanor on the court reminded me of when his game went a little off during the summer his parents separated and he had the knee problems.

What Rafa has going for him is his unbelievable desire to be the best and his willingness to make whatever adjustments to his game that are needed to keep in at the top (or very near it) of the game. I don’t know if there is a professional athlete that has continuously tweaked their game, especially after attaining great success, like he has. I’m not just talking about getting “really fit” like Agassi and Murray did, but actually changing strokes and strategies. Murray should take note. Still waiting for him to change his forehand into the weapon it should be.


mat4 Says:

It is the wide screen. He looks fat.


dari Says:

did anybody else see that kinda two- handed bh return from fed. Or are my eyes bad?


dari Says:

Nice pass rog


Kimmi Says:

c’mon fed, that was a bad miss


mat4 Says:

Hopefully there is still that backhand…


jane Says:

Fed is quick to pull the trigger tonight. Very few long rallies. Of course that is to be expected with these two.


Dory Says:

Roger ought to have converted this break point at 4-3.


Kimmi Says:

those chances are very few..and federer does what? makes an error! grrrr


Kimmi Says:

mat4, why you want federer to lose?


jane Says:

^ He just went for it too quickly. He could’ve been more patient in that point.


mat4 Says:

@Kimmi:

I don’t want Fed to lose. Just want Jo to win. I like Tsonga. Kimmi, why do you want Jo to lose?


Kimmi Says:

oh, OK. I thought i read something about federer/djoko match-up that you wrote above and that if fed lose it will be easy for djoko.

i wanted to say..not to worry. I dont think this federer can beat THE NOLE!


mat4 Says:

That’s a BH!


Kimmi Says:

federer in trouble..c’mon rog.


grendel Says:

Odd watching Monfils and Gulbis matches at about same time. Because both these players take huge risks in exactly opposite directions. Gulbis’ are the more intelligible or conventional perhaps – hit hard and hit harder, go for the cute angle, drop as if catching’s gone out of fashion.

Monfils is truly bizarre. Endlessly tapping the ball, with either the intention of drawing the error or lulling his opponent into a similar doze. Once, Monfils and Troicki were exchanging balls as if it were a warm up for a warm up, Monfils won the point and Troicki raised his eyes to the heavens as if he couldn’t believe that he had just been one half of this particular double act. I do believe that the Serb felt impelled to imitate his tormenter, as if caste under a spell. Only when the rally was finished did he realise how truly absurd the tennis had been. Too late.

It was kind of interesting, even in an odd way exciting – at least it wasn’t the endless bash bash bash. But deeply puzzling. Because sometimes Monfils would hit the ball harder, but not in such a way as to trouble Troicki, so what was the point? I mean, why not hit it a lot harder since apparently he’d felt the urge to give the ball a bit of a whack. And after all, no one hits the ball harder than Monfils when he is of a mind to hit hard. He showed that in the final tiebreak, with a couple of screamers.

Even the serve was more often than not delivered at half pace. I wonder if when Monfils was a junior (and he had all that success)was he perhaps incredibly accurate, and all he had to do to win was just to keep the rally going, and eventually his opponent would succomb, either from sheer boredom or perhaps a kind of emotional exhaustion? And that’s how Monfils wants to play, he’s stuck in the groove. With coach Rasheed’s help, he attempted to get out of the groove, but it always went against the grain. And now with Rasheed gone (presumably convalescing in some asylum), all restraint is dropped and Monfils can go allout and unleash his softball repertoire.

It’s quite puzzling, because it is hard to see a coherent strategy – I mean, it’s not like Arthur Ashe deliberately denying pace to a frustrated Jimmy Connors, although there is a bit of that. But there are times when it is sheer madness to hit the ball short and soft, when even a bewitched Troicki is likely to give it a damn good thump and put it beyond even Monfils’ rubber reach. And yet this kept on happening.

One day, Monfils is going to get it altogether in a huge final. Noone will know how he did it, why he did it or whether he’ll ever do it again. But boy, it will be worth watching.


mat4 Says:

Best match so far.


Kimmi Says:

the dreaded tie break coming up.


Kimmi Says:

The consolation from fed is if that match at wimbledon was best of 3 he would have won it


grendel Says:

I gather Federer is playing now – will depart then, since can’t watch him till highlights tomorrow. Sounds like he is in trouble – why not, Tsonga is highly dangerous for him


mat4 Says:

@Kimmi:
This Fed is playing quite well, and he can beat anyone.

Then, about the H2H: JWT is leading against Djoko, and he plays quite well too.


Kimmi Says:

what a fighter serena is. that match was difficult


Kimmi Says:

OMG set point..c’mooon fed


mat4 Says:

@Grendel:

Well written.


Kimmi Says:

big serve..oh no! more big big serves.


Kimmi Says:

FOOT WORK on that shot..ah


Kimmi Says:

tie break..toss up!!!!!


jane Says:

Yeah grendel: I thought about that hypnotic element when watching Monfils. Like water drip torture, or a metronome. I keep thinking “Hit It la Monf, HIT IT!!” That brings to mind Antonioni and his film-making style, which is to hold his shots EXTREMELY long. Apparently at some screening critics have been know to holler at the screen, “cut, cut, CUT!!!”

Tiebreak?


Kimmi Says:

tsonga very aggressive..


Kimmi Says:

bad start..oh well!!


Kimmi Says:

bad to worse..hmmm!


Kimmi Says:

federer back hand returns are getting worse and worse. not consistent at all..


jane Says:

Fed gets back on track, serving at 3-5 but Tsonga with a down-the-line winner.


Dory Says:

First set is gone. :( Why doesn’t Roger play well at the most crucial points any more?


Kimmi Says:

OK, i cant see fed winning this..tsonga serves are big, federer returns are poor. It is just not working.


Super Says:

Tsonga playing great tennis right now. A deadly combination of power and precision. He’s playing like a top 5er.

If he keeps up this level, he’ll win.


mat4 Says:

Jane:

Grendel mentioned Dostoievsky in an earlier post. Just remembered a quotation: ” I agree that 2 and 2 are 4, but could you agree that sometimes, 2 and 2 are 5 is just as true?” (something like that).

Sometimes, the nonsense way of Gael’s playing is just as true. And beautiful.


jane Says:

Tsonga is super tough to break.


jane Says:

It worked today mat4, that is for sure. I do love it when he plays aggressively, though, like he can, like he did to get to the finals of Paris Masters, when he played Nole there. Or when he beat Fed there. Sometimes he has to step in and hit those screamers.

I feel like Fed’s best chance was on the bp at 40-30 with Jo serving. Jo just played a stronger TB.


van orten Says:

fed playing better than tsonga come on guys he just served pretty damn well when he had to..no shame losing to tsonga..i doubt he can keep up momentum and win the next round too..thats the difference between the top guys in the top 3 and the rest,.,at least fed showed everybody how to play when he was tsongas age,,,so


jane Says:

So long as laMonf mixes it up, hits through for a winner sometimes, then I can appreciate the metronomic rallies. I don’t want to see just ball bashing either. Just like I love Antonioni’s long takes and find them a welcome antitdote to all the jump cuts/ hand helds of today, to draw a paralllel.

Here is Fed’s chance: love-40.


van orten Says:

this should have been an easy two setter for fed…but as always feds breakpoint convertion is crazy


jane Says:

Oops one too many t’s: antidote.

Speaking of those, Fed capitalizes on his first bp.


jane Says:

I cannot believe Gasquet lost that set. He had a number of leads.


Kimmi Says:

Thank god fed has not given up like me. he is fighting..c’mon fed!

how did almagro win the first set


skeezerweezer Says:

At times Tsonga can just bully Fed, push him here and there and dictate. Sign of things to come I am afraid in these later years with Fed. Didn’t he use to do that TO everyone else?

Fed has rebounded in the 2nd so far but “haven’t we seen this before?” Go Fed!


jane Says:

Great point!! Fist from Fed, ha ha.

Arrgh have to go out in 10 mins. Will miss the end of these. Let the better men win. Am especially cheering for Gasquet. Don’t care re: Fed and Tsonga too much. Either one will be difficult for Nole, if he gets through Monfils to the semis, and if the winner of this gets through too.


Kimmi Says:

what..fed getting broken back! :(((


jane Says:

Fed back to deuce.


mat4 Says:

Nole LaMonf will be a beat down. Nole Almagro… Quite open, I think :-)


mat4 Says:

Crucial hold.


skeezerweezer Says:

Fed tied it up. He’s gonna have to play better in the third if he wants to advance. Tsonga looks pretty comfortable nowadays plying Fed….


Kimmi Says:

what is fed doing..ok, good night people.


mat4 Says:

good night, kimmi


Daniel Says:

I don’t understand why Fed keeps serving wide into Tsonga’s forehand on the deuce side?! Tsonga smack the ball all the time crosscourt and both times he break Fed served at least 2 times into that place. But Tsonga is hitting everything like crazy today.


tennisfansince76 Says:

fed gift wrapped that break for jwillie


mat4 Says:

Is this really Tsonga?


Daniel Says:

Not both times he break, but in TB Fed was serving into his forehand as well.

Tsonga is hitting too hard today, seems he is just feeling the ball!


Daniel Says:

See, again Fed served wide into Tsonga’s forehand on deuce side, why?!?!?!


Dory Says:

Even the FH quality of Fed is falling to new lows. Too many errors today.


Daniel Says:

Jesus, Tsonga is playing the best match of his carrer. No, That was agaisnt Nadal AO 2008. But his way too good today, even for his standards.


Daniel Says:

Tsonga’s forehand is ON


Daniel Says:

He is reading Fed’s serve, returning a lot of them.


van orten Says:

as i wrote before ..fed should have won it in 2!!!classical fed …hahahh tsonga now firing everything he has and getting away with it hahah next round we will see him play like a normal person again…dont know why i stayed awake..


tennisfansince76 Says:

what will Fed have for dinner tonight? bagel or breadstick?


van orten Says:

and pls dont read to much into this just compare what fed did at tsongas age…he can have that victory ..


tennisfansince76 Says:

the promoters of this tourny are not happy! 3/4 of the top seeds out before the weekend. only djoker left to carry the standard. this hasn’t happened in a long time


Daniel Says:

This is an awesome feeling on a tennis court, when everyhting you hit goes in, the ball do exactly what you want. Tsonga is in tennis nirvana, now! It doesn’t hapeen very often, specially in their level, or agaisnt Fed.


skeezerweezer Says:

^Does it matter?


Dory Says:

I have a lump in my throat. Bagel?!

This year is worse than 2008 for Roger. My only hope is US Open but a miracle must happen for that.


Daniel Says:

Well, last time they played in this court, Fed was 5-1 in the third and lost…


Gannu Says:

Federer should retire..enuff is enuff…. cant see him playing like this.. wonder how madmax is +ve abt all these losses…. He is dead..burry him… love u to death federer but U HAVE LOST THE DESIRE – ADMIT IT and DONT FOOL URSELF


Dory Says:

Now can Tsonga please choke or lose concentration like he used to in the past? Kindly oblige Tsonga.


tennisfansince76 Says:

relax Gannu. we are playing for one more major. like sampras. we will have to get lucky.


Dory Says:

Nole, time to win your fifth Masters 1000 of the year.


tennisfansince76 Says:

so it is a breadstick for dinner. too bad. Fed needs to go on a low carb diet maybe go gluten free like Nole


Daniel Says:

Damm, Fed looked tanned. Too much beach time during summer.

Now Fed has one more monkey on his back!
Great news for Djoko, a no pressure tourney after Wimby and n.1. No Fed (who beat him the last 2 times he lost a tennis match), no Nadal and the pressure of a 6 win, no Murray.. He couldn’t have ask for more!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

That was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. Historic good. Best of the year, in my opinion. I’m a big Fed fan, but to me there’s no shame in that loss. That was just out of this world tennis. Yeah, Fed made a few awful shanks in the third but does it matter? Tsonga was near perfect.


Gannu Says:

tennisfansince76

I agree… just that there are several losses in the pipeline before he gets that last one and have to live that pain through.. Seriously dont understand why champions always are in denial when they lose and cant seem to see their end coming


jamie Says:

Put a fork in roger.

His slam winning days are over.

He can only win 250s these days.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Amazing turbulence in tennis at every level right now. Fish and Almagro proving they belong in the top ten, at least for now.


Gannu Says:

Jamie…he still has one in him ;-) I strongly believe.. and that desire or hunger is there to win that last one ;-)


Tennis Vagabond Says:

I don’t think this match says anything about Roger’s decline- Tsonga was unbeatable. But it does affect Roger’s chances at a Slam, as there is now one more player that is a huge danger. When you get past a couple of those, its a long two weeks.


tennisfansince76 Says:

Gannu my friend the same character trait that causes many champions to be in denial is the very same character trait that caused them to be champions in the first place. if you are the kind of person who gets beat and then says ‘oh that other guy is just better than me” than you are probably not destined for no. 1 in the world. if however every time you got beat when you were coming up you though, “that guy just got lucky today. next time he won’t” then you may be no. 1 material if you have talent to match. of course what lofted you up on the magnificent upside of your career may come to see borderline delusional as you start to pick up speed on the downside.


tennisfansince76 Says:

and plus Raj is 30 now. history is against him. it is very rare to win a slam past 30 and then on top of that the talent level at the top of the tour is as good as i;ve seen it right now. no player over 30 has ever won a slam in the modern having to go thru several young dangerous players. it hasn’t happened. if fed does it it will be a first.


Brando Says:

WOW!!! How easy does the competition now look for djokovic going forward in the USO series? Pardon me competition? No competion at all. All his apparent rivals have major problems right now! Rafa? 5 losses in a row. Fed? Poor guy hasn’t won a single tournament in 7 MONTHS. Murray? He just cannot seem to carry the fight when it matters. Finally del potro? Never lost to him. The rest? Hasn’t lost to them in 8 MONTHS!!!


Brando Says:

One more point. Fed, Murray, del potro between themselves have just won 4 tourny’s this year, all 250 tournaments. Whilst rafa has won 3- a slam, a master series and a 500 series open, so if he’s in decline and finished considering his performance is by a country mile the best from the rest then the ATP may as well hand djokovic the US open, all remaining master series event and call an en to this calender year cause he ain’t got no competion !!


tennisfansince76 Says:

@Brando if not for Nole Nadal might be having his best year ever! remove Nole from teh scene and Nadal is probably the IW,Miami,Madrid,Rome,FO,and W champion. better than last year so far.


skeezerweezer Says:

Fed take your cute twins, lovely wife, 16 slams, and call it a day. You’ve laid down history and done enough. The bar has been set, and no one is going to reach it anytime soon.

Don’t continue to play like this and tarnish your legacy. When players can bully you around on the court and run you around silly it’s a big red flag.

Sure you went 3 sets, but imho the man could blast you around when he had too. Just like Wimby.

Time to enjoy the afterlife of your great dominance and let the fans, players and media reflect on your genius and greatness of being GOAT.

Continue to play like this, and you are making yourself mortal, and it WILL make a impact on your record career. Is this the kinda Fed you want fans to remember you by?

If this is the product of what you have created with all that time off after Wimby this fan ain’t interested. You looked slower, assuming things were gonna happen, instead of “makin it happen”. Your tank should have been full and batteries recharged, not runnin leg empty assuming points will fall your way.

Why is all of the sudden you run into players that just so happen to be playing “out of there mind” that day? Luck? An anomaly? Don’t think so. Not anymore.

Again, you have either LET a player dictate play on you, hoping, praying they make a mistake or you just can’t defend against it anymore.

Trying to have wishful thoughts that you are going to be competitive when the Olympics rolls around is futile at this point. Hang it, Give it up, or;

Get serious with some serious training. Whatever your “training” is, is not happening. You are in a game of youth and strength now, and consummate skill is only a part of the equation now.


Brando Says:

@tennisfan76: that’s precisely why this article is ridiculous in the 1st place. Rafa is having a good year except for the obvious. @ skeezerweezer: as a nadal fan, I honestly believe federer should carry on playing. Why retire? To bask in the glory of his achievements? Plenty of time for that later. One thing I admire abou federer is that he LOVES the gameore so than most and if he’s enjoying himself then he should keep on playing. He migh never win another slam or a master series, but guess what he’s still having fun, he’s at least 5 years older than his rivals and he’s still world no.3 and the only player to beat the número uno!!


jamie Says:

Might as well give djoko the USO already.


Brando Says:

PS: if federer retires tennis will become boring without him. He’s the only 1 who plays in that style which is soo fun to watch. He’s never been my fav but he’s always been different to the rest and when he goes so will alot of the good thugs about the game.


skeezerweezer Says:

@Brando

Tx for the comments..just a little jaded at this point on Feds expectations..;)


Brando Says:

@skeezerweezer: no worries, it’s completely understandable, if anything I have similar concerns for my fav:-)


jane Says:

Just got home: totally unexpected and my bracket is done and dusted. Of course I picked Fed and Gasquet, NOT Tsonga and Almagro. This tournament is a complete surprise in terms of upsets. Wow. I guess Nole better keep hoping and fighting. He is next on the upset chopping block if he isn’t careful. His record versus Jo isn’t good. Clearly, firing his coach has helped Jo.


Skeezerweezer Says:

jane

Your consolation is Nole’s still in. The rest of us are truly busted, except for K’s young ins ;).


jane Says:

Skeeze, I picked Muzza to win and Fed to be in the final, so my bracket is toast.

Commiserations re: Fed. Do you really think he should stop playing? I feel he should play at least until the Olympics next year. Why not? These losses do not tarnish everything he has done imo. And he could win another slam. He is still #3. He still beats the majority. You could count on one hand the guys who’ve beaten him this year.


jane Says:

Apparently, the odds are stacked against Nole, not only the string of upsets: no number one since Sampras in 1993 has won his debut tournament as number one.


madmax Says:

I think tactically, very disappointing Gannu – a truly poor effort by Roger in the third set against Tsonga. The question that comes to my mind is NOT that he should retire. Never. That is for Roger to decide, not for fans when he loses. It is the realisation that now, we must see Roger in a different light against players who he ‘used’ to steam roll. He doesn’t do that and their confidence (Tsonga, who has always been a brilliant player), is on a massive high. It didn’t surprise me Gannu, I just hoped that Roger would be able to ‘pull’ it off. Not happened. That is disappointing, whichever you want to look at it. And the score line? 6:1 in the final set?

The question which comes to my mind is WHAT is Annacone doing in order to assist/coach/change Roger’s mindset? I am not sure it is anything to do with his physicality. I think training wise, he is fine. It’s the tactics and the mental ‘where am I going with this shot’ which needs addressing. There used to be a time when Roger didn’t have to think about the shots he made, that has gone. Now there is talk about him HAVING to THINK MORE about the shots he makes. This is the wrestle he is dealing with.

On the other hand, strategically, it is possible that Roger did not want to risk facing Djokovic before the US Open, but I think I am making excuses for Roger here.

He should be wanting to win, having the winner’s mentality at each competition. It is all well and good saying he should retire, BUT he has frequently claimed how much he wants to win EVERY tournament. This is just not transitioning right now.

It is very sad that this is happening and I do believe that if Annacone is going to make his mark on Roger’s game and overall tennis career, then HE is the one who is doing to have to do some more work. None of this, ‘well done, you did your best’ crap.

It’s the fire that is missing. I am not sure how you can deal with that as a coach, or as a player. It’s the desire, which surely has to come from within?

Annoyed now. This is going to ruin my day, (for a while). And it’s blue sky outside.

It’s a bummer.

I was very surprised also that Gasquet blew his chances.

Montreal is turning out to be very strange indeed.

Losing to Tsonga


margot Says:

Thanx to everyone for your brilliant comments on the matches. US hard a bummer for us early bird Brits :(
Nice elegy skeeze @ 1.17 but hey your man had an awful long time in the sunshine :)
mem: alas Andy losing in the first match he plays is no longer new or news, whereas Rafa….
Wowee what a car crash this tournament has been..Andy, Rafa, Fed, Gasquet, Delboy, Monfils all falling like petals in the sun. But Nole express train holds the track and rushes headlong on…


Skeezerweezer Says:

jane

Yeah I saw your draw, but what I meant is at least your fav is still in :).

Re; Fed, errr..don’t know. Your probably right. Just frustrating cause he appears like he wants to walk the walk, but he is sitting down all the time while saying it. Don’t know if that makes sense?


madmax Says:

Those tennis fans here (federer fans) who remember when Annacone worked with Sampras, do you know how many tournaments Sampras lost? masters? 500 tournaments, etc. BEFORE he won a slam? I read somewhere it was something like 18 months?

I am just putting it out there, is this similar to Sampras’ ups and downs during the last couple of years of his career?

Since Roger has paired up with Annacone, the major achievement has been the WTF in November? I don’t think Roger should be happy with just this.

Annacone needs to give more. I don’t know whether I am being unreasonable here? (I don’t think I am? May be I am?)

It’s just annoying!


jane Says:

Skeeze, from what I read Fed had a bit of a letdown to start the third set and then Tsonga hit ‘the zone’? So if you think about it: first set = tiebreak, so Tsonga couldn’t break Fed and vice versa (though Fed did have one good chance there), Tsonga just played a riskier tiebreak; second set = advantage Fed; he pounced on a lazy moment from Tsonga to seize control and the set. I can’t comment on the third, but aside from that it was a very close match. Take heart.

Yeah it’s good Nole’s still in, but seriously, who knows for how long at this rate!? o_O


xyz Says:

do not agree at all with the article…those haters who are rejoicing at the rafa’s loss will eat their hats AGAIN….the same way that they have been since 2006…nadal will never win wimbledon,nadal will never win uso,nadal will never this and that…it’s pathetic and amusing at the same time…VAAAMOS RAFA!!


madmax Says:

there are no rafa haters here xyz, everyone has a bad day at the office, EVEN RAFA. Look at Murray and Fed.

The only stand out player right now is Novak. Hope he wins.


margot Says:

Oops Monfils still in…from Grendel’s account, I thought he and Troiki had both lost….;)


alison hodge Says:

rep xyz,could not agree more.


dari Says:

At first i said fed was looking pretty quick on the court, but that was on the forward movement- once JW started hitting out, fed was not fast enough moving laterally on so many of the points.
Still some highlight reel shots of course, but feds got plenty of those.
Like someone said above, fed fans will have to take a lot of pain while we wait for one more major.
JW played amazing.
Novak stands alone!


Kimberly Says:

Greetings from Mickey world. My boys wanted to boast that they are beating all the grievous with their brilliant picks. They are expecting to be on the leaderboard by the end of the day. I can’t believe their picks panned out.


Kimberly Says:

Grown ups nor grievous silly iPhone


madmax Says:

grievous is a good word Kimberley – the federer fans here are being very serious and dire. It is another time to feel the pain of our beloved fed.

Gannu the most. I think it is Annacone that needs to look at the game plan in a more strategic way.

Damn Roger, damn!


madmax Says:

Federer the tennis player and Federer the man.

I was wondering what had happened to Raonic recently (I knew about the injury to the hip at Wimbledon, when he slipped). I hadn’t realised how serious it had become and the length of his recovery, but how great to see the support that Raonic has from his ‘tennis family’ – Both Roger and Novak included paying him a visit. This is nice. (I’m still upset with Roger though!). When is this going to change?!

Raonic’s rehabilitation work is a six-day-a-week process, for about nine hours a day. He’s actually relocated his physical therapist from Barcelona, and has set up a table in a familiar place.

Treatment sessions are held in the basement of his parents’ house.

“I ran today for the first time, for about 10 minutes, so the progress is there, it’s positive,” he said. “It makes it that much more exciting I’m doing well. And I’m happy being at home with my father and mother and the whole family. It’s nice to be in my own bed and get a home cooked meal each night. It’s familiar territory.”

Raonic’s coach, Spaniard Galo Blanco, will arrive in Toronto on Friday and plans to intensify his practice sessions. They have tentatively planned, as of Saturday, to have two, one-hour, on-court hitting sessions daily.

“Progressively we’ll get through everything and know more after that,” Raonic said. “But the main date is seeing Dr. (Philippon) on Aug. 17 and we’ll go from there.”

Raonic spent part of Wednesday walking the grounds at Uniprix Stadium and Montreal’s Tennis Canada facility, which was his training headquarters for three years before moving to Barcelona.

He said many tour players stopped to check in and wish him well in his recovery, including Roger Federer and members of Novak Djokovic’s team.

“On tour, we’re very competitive with one another but they’re checking in and they care,” said Raonic. “It’s a good feeling.”


Duro Says:

Maxi, be careful with comas… I’m sure you meant: “Damn, Roger, damn!” not “Damn Roger, damn”. Right?


madmax Says:

Right duro. Of course you know what I mean! Sometimes I type so quick, I don’t check it. It’s not meant to be offensive at all!

I could also have said, ‘Damn!’ ‘Roger!’ ‘Damn!’

A sign of frustration. That is all!

Where have you been, dear friend?


Duro Says:

Quietly enjoying my reign… :-)


madmax Says:

Good for you.

Enjoy it Duro. Novak deserves it.


Ben Pronin Says:

Madmax, I don’t remember if you were someone who claimed Federer desperately needed a coach, but you can’t blame everything on Annacone. Annacone can’t go out and win for Federer and “give him more” as you say. He can help his approach, but if Federer gets complacent during matches it’s no one’s fault but his own. Before Annacone, Federer was a fool for not having a coach. Now he’s a fool for keeping Annacone. What’s Annacone supposed to do if Tsonga hits the zone and Federer isn’t at his best yet?

This whole tournament has been, just, I don’t know. My bracket looks like a crime scene.


Duro Says:

I watched your champ yesterday… He lost, but isn’t he a thing of beauty? Real aristocrat.

Prince of tennis for all time. And deliberately saying prince, not king, cause prince is something more beautiful. That he is a king is indisputable.

Maxi, and all fair Fed fans, skeez particularly (cause he was very mad of Roger), be aware all time of his greatness and never regret anything. He achieved what human being has never before. What else one should ask of him? Biology does its own. I only see his greatness and nothing else. Results from now on won’t change a thing. He can only add to his legacy.


jamie Says:

Apparently, the odds are stacked against Nole, not only the string of upsets: no number one since Sampras in 1993 has won his debut tournament as number one.

_______________

So, who’s gonna win Montreal if not Nole? Tsonga? Berdych? Fish? Monfls? Everything points put to a Nole win. Fed, Nadal and Murray are out….


jane Says:

Nicely put Duro. :) Sometimes shades of gray against the light reveal just how brilliant the light is/was. It stands out in relief. In a strange way Fed can seem even more great as he ages, naturally.


jane Says:

jamie, I think Tsonga is probably the biggest threat to Nole now, esp if he plays like he did last night. I just don’t think Nole has played amazingly well yet in his matches. But hopefully he can win his fifth masters and set the record for those in a season.


Duro Says:

Jane, sweet Jane… Poetic soul of yours :”Sometimes shades of gray against the light reveal just how brilliant the light is/was. It stands out in relief”.

Beautiful as always.

And, Jane, you know who the real Nole fans are, don’t you? Do not fall for it.

Cheers, ;-)


Skeezerweezer Says:

Tx Duro, jane for the nice comments. Me thinks Fed should have a night out with the other boys on tour, and leave Annacone at home. Maybe the testosterone will come back. Leave the Coach at home, along with the wife and kids.

Madmax tx for the words also. As Duro says, father time, can’t beat it.

Don’t want to leave out Tsonga, he played very well, but wouldn’t have touched a 2007 Fed. No way.

Go Nole!


nadalista Says:

Ben Pronin, were you not the guy who, not so long ago, told us all that you had lost all respect for Rafa?

How then do you find the energy and interest to write such a long blog about someone you do not have any respect for?

You are truly pathetic…………….

Can’t wait for your insightful follow-up blog about your idol’s loss to Tsonga…….don’t worry, I am not holding my breath……….

Get a life……Rafa is a 10-time GS holder. a multi millionaire, a stud and, and and………….what have you got, apart from an unhealthy Rafa obsession?


xyz Says:

madmax

i see loads of rafa haters here…maybe we see things differently..ben pronin is one of them actually…have read some of the things he has posted here…but it hardly bothers a content rafa fan…the hate is mostly amusing…i have a good laugh at the things posted here occasionaly…

saw the last set of tsonga-federer match…and federer looked like he had accepted he was losing the match…was painful to watch actually…any sane tennis fan would’nt want the fed to lose like that…tennis needs someone like him so much


nadalista Says:

mem,

Thank you for refusing to be cowed……………

The truth shall out…………


alison hodge Says:

rep nadalista and xyz,i thik your both right ben pronin and humble rafa, sure spend a heck of a lot of time obsessing over someone that they do not like,i dont understand why for the life of me,maybe they are jealous, after all rafas good looking,stinking rich,funny,and has 10 grand slams,and is one of the worlds best ever tennis players,lol hmmm now why would they be jealous of him.


scoreboard66 Says:

uh uhm, I’m a Fed fan first and foremost, and I hate to see him go down so badly, but it’s not the end of the world, as the top players all seem to be rusty. What I can’t handle is the flip flop with the Nole fans who are now trying to show us the silver lining. Who are you fooling guys? You know deep down you’re so happy Rog is out as he can beat Nole. Tsonga did the job for Nole, so he can hold up the trophy on Sunday.

BTW, where’s the brutal draw that the most active fan speaks of? In dreamland. Wasn’t it just recently being debated how many times Novak has landed in Roger’s side of the draw, so why this hypocrisy of trying to cheer up the Fed fans? I’m nauseous, but not that gullible like some who fall for this sudden turn of love for the Fed.


grendel Says:

Alison Hodge – Humble Rafa is part of a tradition in TennisX whereby a poster takes it on himself to consistently mock what he sees as the foibles of a particular great player. Nearly always, the player thus mocked has been Federer – and with a great deal more vituperation, I may add, than Humble Rafa employs. HR is actually quite gentle. I think big stars are fair game. They don’t get to where they are by being models of consistency, humility, objectivity and so on. Both Nadal and Federer, in their very different ways, tend to make excuses for their defeats. Why not subject them to a bit of laughter? Of course, if it’s badly done, point it out. Imo, HR scores some telling points, some times – sometimes not. How it goes.

Nadalista makes the point that Ben Pronin has made some strongly anti-Nadal remarks – that is true, and why should he not? Equally, why then should not Nadal fans make vigorous defences of their hero, which of course will entail throwing a few brickbats at Ben. He’s asked for it, he knows that surely. And that’s just normal rough and tumble, is it not? But the post on this thread is not critical, although clearly it is not celebratory either. So what?

Are we saying that because a memember of TennisX staff has “form” w.r.t a particular player, he must not be allowed to write about him again? Ooh, that’s a slippery slope…

I guess you could say that the post by Ben Pronin is tendentious in the sense that it is presenting a series of points of view as opposed to delivering mere reportage, and yes – that’s one aspect of journalism, and a perfectly acceptable one too. In fact any newspaper worth its salt would be unthinkable without opinion based articles of this type.

I happen to think Ben’s arguments are well thought through, though I am not entirely convinced by them. Some will disagree. They clearly provide a nice platform for generating debate. But why all this talk of “hate” and “jealousy” and so on? It’s not that all of us don’t feel these emotions from time to time – it would be inhuman not to, I suggest – but I just don’t see how they apply to Ben’s post.

Let’s put it another way. Should only lovers of Federer write posts on Federer, only lovers of Nadal write posts on Nadal and so on and so forth? Sounds pretty grim to me – not to mention tedious.


margot Says:

Hear, hear Grendel and while I’m at it let’s reserve “hate” for Stalin, Hitler, Polpot etc oh, and probably Fred West.


nadalista Says:

Don’t worry Grendel……………I for one do not wish to “censor” Mr. Pronin. He has an opinion, is entitled to it, like everybody else. What is it they say about opinions? They are like a%$#&h%*$s……..everyone has one.

Having said that, this chap (Pronin) uses the soapbox which tennis-x blog gives him to express his opinions to simply rant against Rafa. It’s provocative, predictable, obvious and of late, quite old and boring. Now, wouldn’t it be refreshing if Mr. Pronin published blogs which are just as ascebic about other tour players besides Rafa?

It’s not the anti-Rafa content that bugs me, I am a Rafa fan and there are LOTS of times Rafa irritates me believe me, it’s the way this guy Pronin presents his anti Rafa prejudices as journalistic prowess whereas it is just a cloak for: prejudice.

PLEASE………………


margot Says:

nadalista, don’t we all take journalists with a pinch of salt these days? Everyone of them is biased
in some way or other, not talking just about tennisx. The ones that pretend they aren’t, are probably the worst.
BTW I get furious because Andy, even when he sometimes DOESN’T deserve it, is forever in the “trunk” and I’ve got no comeback on that because “staff” are anonymous


Ben Pronin Says:

Nadalista, it just so happens I watched this match between Dodig and Nadal, that’s why I was able to write about the way the match played out. Besides that, I haven’t seen any other matches in this tournament. I didn’t see Murray’s loss or Federer’s loss or any of Djokovic’s wins. If I had, it’s possible I would’ve written about them. But I can’t analyze the tactics that went on in a match I didn’t see.


Lou Says:

I dont agree with your assessment Nadal had his chances to win the match! It is now battle of minds and its good he came to know it before US OPen rather than in the US Open! I visited another article which was amazing and said why it could be a boon for federer, nadal to lose in Rogers Cup.We should not lose faith in Nadal. IF we will then who will support him! Read this and might be all Nadal fans including you n me will feel good:
Roger Cup Defeats: A boon for Federer, Nadal and Murray? http://bit.ly/r4krhC
I m still cheering for fed and I believe in what


Lou Says:

I dont agree with your assessment Nadal had his chances to win the match! It is now battle of minds and its good he came to know it before US OPen rather than in the US Open! I visited another article which was amazing and said why it could be a boon for federer, nadal to lose in Rogers Cup.We should not lose faith in Nadal. IF we will then who will support him! Read this and might be all Nadal fans including you n me will feel good:
Roger Cup Defeats: A boon for Federer, Nadal and Murray? http://bit.ly/r4krhC
I m still cheering for fed/nadal and I believe in what they have to say!


grendel Says:

nadalista – I have a feeling you may have misinterpreted Ben Pronin’s post, that is: you have taken offence where no offence was intended. You talk about a “rant against Rafa”, what could you be referring to? I am at a genuine loss, but I’ll have a guess, and quote one sentence:”The reason Nadal and his fans tend to be so quick to jump to an injury excuse is because when Nadal is playing his best and is most healthy, he seems unbeatable.”

I can see how a quick reading might lead a devoted Nadal fan to suspect an insult. In fact, this is a compliment, and I’ll vouch for the correctness of the insight (and it IS an interesting insight) because I, who am very definitely not a Nadal fan, have actually felt just like that. I have tended to feel that when Nadal is at his best (most of the time) he is just about unbeatable, therefore when he loses – it must be due to injury and so on. People have assured me this is an illusion, and I am finally beginning to see they are probably right. But the point is, only a very great player could possibly generate such an illusion.

Nor is there anything else in the post which is in the least abusive, disrespectful and so on. However, there is an implicit suggestion that the Nadal aura is crumbling – just as Federer’s did, and just as Djokovic’s will in due course. I can see that this is hurtful to the Nadal fan – welcome to reality, it does hurt sometimes.

Of course, Ben might be wrong, or premature. We shall see.


alison hodge Says:

rep grendel,i dont have a problem with anybody having an opinion,after all thats the whole point of having a tennis forum,i am prbably reading too much into this,i dont know,it just seems to me that like nadalista above says,it seems to be all the time,as for humble rafa hes also entitled to say what he likes dont get me wrong,however it would be nice to hear something new constructive from time to time,instead of the same old chestnut,rafas never defended a clay court title blah,blah blah,this is my opinion.

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