Rafael Nadal: Six Straight Losses To Djokovic That’s Painful, But I’m Going To Work Every Day Until That Changes
by Staff | September 12th, 2011
  • 132 Comments

Q. At any time was fatigue a factor in the match today?

RAFAEL NADAL: At the fourth. But, it was a tough match. Physical, mental, everything was, yeah, I think it was a quality match. Congratulations for him. He did great.

Q. Did it put you out of your rhythm at all, the long timeout he took after the first game of the fourth set?

RAFAEL NADAL: Sorry?

Q. Did it knock you out of your rhythm when he took the long injury timeout after the first game of the fourth set after you had just won the tiebreak?

RAFAEL NADAL: We are starting the press conference in a bad way, I think. (Smiling.) Let’s talk about the match. It’s not the right moment to find excuses if he stops the match there or if I was tired. I fighted until the last point. I tried my best in every moment. I am happy with a lot of things, much happier than the previous matches against him. In another things I’m not that happy. But in general I think he did great, no? I had my chances. I really had my chases. At the beginning of the first I had two games to love. The first set was playing really the well beginning, and I lost a little bit the way how to play and lost a little bit the rhythm. Happened the same in the second set. You know, with that very, very long game, finally I had a mistake with the smash. So few tough points for me during the match. He’s doing well. He always did well in these kind of surfaces. I always had big trouble to beat him here in this surfaces in the past. It’s not an exception now, especially because he’s doing better than ever. But you know what? I go back home knowing that I am on the way. You know, I like to fight, I want to enjoy about this battle against him. Six straight loses, for sure that’s painful. But I’m going to work every day until that changes. So I have a goal, easy goal for me now. It’s going to be tough to change the situation, but the goal is easy to see. To have a goal always you know how to work every day.

Q. Were you gaining some hope when you saw his back was hurting?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. My hope always is about myself, not about the opponent.

Q. Rafa, has Novak Djokovic taken tennis to an even higher level? Please talk about this incredible year that he’s had and what that means.

RAFAEL NADAL: I already said one hundred times. I don’t know if he’s bringing tennis to another level. For sure this season he’s doing fantastic. His level is really, really high. But when one very good player stays with that confidence and winning so many matches. And the matches that he normal win and the matches that you can win, you can lose, and you keep winning, and the matches you have a big chance to lose you keep winning, the season is probably impossible to repeat. That’s why. His level for sure is fantastic. He’s doing very well mentally everything. So just accept that. Accept the challenge and work.

Q. What made Novak’s return of serve so effective tonight? What was the mental challenge for you of facing break points so many times?

RAFAEL NADAL: His return is fantastic always, not this year. Seems like this year, you know, he learned a lot of things, and in my opinion it’s not like this. He’s doing few things better, but he was fantastic player before. And second thing, my serve worked bad tonight. That’s the true. If I have to say two things about I’m not happy tonight, it’s my serve for sure the first one. Because if my serve works really well, I know I have the challenge, the mental challenge for sure. Losing six times affects in the match, and you have to know that. And I know. I was ready for that. So accept everything, to fight every ball, and that’s what I did. So I’m happy about that. But I didn’t have free points during all that games. I didn’t have not one free point in both sets. A few moments that you are tired and the few moments you really need something, I never had these free points. Last year I had; I didn’t have this year. That change a lot the match. My serve has to come back to another level.

Q. What did you like about the way you played tonight?

RAFAEL NADAL: I liked especially my mental part. In the second set, for moments in the third set, all the set, having tough moments, but keep fighting and keep trying to find solutions. The fourth, even if he was very bad from the back, I was very tired. That’s the true, no? But for the rest, I think I started to play aggressive, a little bit more inside the court, and changing a little bit the directions with the forehand. When I go inside you had more chances to change the forehand to down the line. I felt he was tired, too. But, you know, I have to take something in the first or the second set. I have to take some advantage there, and I didn’t, because it’s normal if you didn’t take advantage when you have to take advantage. After for sure I fighted a lot, I ran unbelievable in the fourth set. So during one match like this, very hard mentally and physically, you do this. You go up and down. So was a little bit normal. The first game of the fourth was really important. I had the deuce and I tried to play aggressive forehand. It was out like this. So that was a tough moment, because starting the fourth with 1 0 break I had the chance, and I felt that was at moment. But after, you know, he called the trainer I played a so so game. It was very important game to save the second, because after I came back to the place with the wind with me, it was tough game, that one.

Q. You were changing the pace, slicing the ball deep to him at the baseline. He made some unforced errors when you sliced the ball deep. Were you sensing that?

RAFAEL NADAL: I tried to play a little bit more to the middle. I tried to change a little bit the rhythms with the slice.

Q. Seemed to be effective at times.

RAFAEL NADAL: You feel? (Laughter.)

Q. I thought so. As you point out, he’s always had a great return and probably a great forehand. What do you think he’s improved this year the most in his shots that has brought him to this level? Serve or…

RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, no. I think he’s always ready to — he’s having less mistakes than before. In my opinion, that’s all. He’s enough confident in every moment to keep believing in one more ball, one more ball. So that’s why. I think his forehand is not more painful than before; his backhand is not more painful than before; he serve the same. So what I have to say is what I feel and what I told you.

Q. How do you look about Grand Slam result this year? Are you satisfied?

RAFAEL NADAL: About the Grand Slams?

Q. Yeah. You won Roland Garros but you could not win Wimbledon and the US Open.

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t feel any obligation to win the tournament. That’s the true, no? I am not that one that feels that the final is a bad result. I don’t consider myself that good, you know. I fight to be always there. I fight all the time to win every match. I appreciate the result. Final is fantastic result. Winning ten Grand Slams this year I won another one, Roland Garros. I lost six finals, but I was there. So, you know, it’s smart accept the loses with the same calm as the victories, and keep working without thinking on the past. I was in the final of Wimbledon, final of US Open. I fighted both of them, especially this one. I go back to Spain more happy today than after the Wimbledon final, because after here I think I am on the right way to try to win him. After Wimbledon I didn’t feel that. That’s it. He was good. He did really well. Last year I won three Grand Slams; this year I won one. I played three finals, and I think I played the last six, eight Grand Slams I played around semifinals. So for me is a fantastic result. It’s a dream result.

Q. That long game in the second set, I think game three, how deflating was that on your serve to not come out of that when you put the overhead in the net?

RAFAEL NADAL: I keep fighting. I fighted a lot to come back in the second. I was ready to accept the challenges and to accept the problems. The problem is, I told you, I didn’t have free points. The serve didn’t help me. I didn’t start the points with an advantage tonight with my serve. That’s a lot. So I don’t think I need an ace or a winner serve, because I think I have enough good forehand later to have the control of the point. But a lot of times I started the point in the worst position than him when I was serving. So that’s tough.


Also Check Out:
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Novak Djokovic: With This Confidence, Hopefully I Can Challenge Rafa At Roland Garros
Djokovic Beats Nadal For Third ATP Finals Title, Extends Win Streak To 22
Donald Young’s Losing Streak Hits 17 Straight Matches: “Obviously It Hasn’t Been Great” [Video]
Andy Murray: “I’m Very Revved Up” For The Australian Open!

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132 Comments for Rafael Nadal: Six Straight Losses To Djokovic That’s Painful, But I’m Going To Work Every Day Until That Changes

SG1 Says:

Best player won it all. A historic year to be sure. It was destiny of a kind. The forehand winner off Fed’s serve. Reminds me of when Becker won in ’89 with that crazy let cord against Rostagno. When you escape what Djokovic did, you just figure you’ll come up with the answers when you need to.

Rafa really battled in the third set. He is the most mentally tough athlete in sport today. This just seems like a bad match up for him right now. All that being said, he didn’t have a bad year. 1 slam win, 2 slam finals. A really good year. I’m sure he and Uncle Toni will find a couple tricks up their sleeve for next year.

Next year will be something else. I see DelPotro on the rise. I don’t think anyone is coming away with more than 1 slam next year. Can’t wait for Australia.

Wonder how much tennis Djokovic’ll play the rest of the year.


Daniel Says:

SG your comment just shown how Federer set the bar and why I think he really is the GOAT. In 2008 Fed had the same year as Nadal, 1 Slam, 2 finals and lost number one. And it was considered a disaster year, for his standards. But as we are talking Nadal, we consider a decent year, but as a future GOAT to be, it is not. HE played, 2008, 2009 and 2010 without losing s Slam final, now he lost 2. From now on, it will only get worst.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Well Rafa cannot change his strokes, the awkward strokes he has are what it is. What he can do is play more aggresive, and change tactics. His confidence and serve locations. But imo he simply cannot improve otherwise against Novak.. He does not have the sound technique fundamentals that Novak has to improve. If Rafa fans are looking for some miracle new strokes from Rafa it ain’t gonna happen.

The scary thing of Nole however is, because of his solid foundational game, he can improve. His serve can use dramatic improvement, needs to have his toss further in front. His wind up is fine technique, but it all starts with the toss.
His transition game, from service line on in to volley, also has room to improve, and has the fundamentals to do it. Yes, it is scary.


jane Says:

What a great presser from Rafa: it is so admirable that he can take the positives away. He will continue to fight and try to improve, I don’t doubt it.


Michael Says:

Skeezer, the weakest part of Djokovic is his serve. I am sure if he can improve that upon, he will be invincible. As regards Rafa, as you rightly said he is a player with limitations. He cannot turn suddenly aggressive as his game is mainly defensive. He is kind of a Wozniacki in Men’s Tennis. In this way, I am not discrediting Nadal. He plays better than Wozniacki does. But I am just highlighting his game play which is purely defensive. His two handed back hand is weaker compared to Djokovic and is very much exploiting that to his advantage. If you seen the match, Djokovic repeatedly was sending the balls to Nadal’s back hand forcing him to make errors. Nadal on the other hand could not find a weakness in Djokovic’s game as his forehand and two handed backhand are excellent. I too agree that Djokovic has major scope for improvement and it is hard to imagine what kind of a hell of player he will be based on that improvement ??


Kose Says:

I agree with you, Michael. But there are some unknowns like keeping this level, which is not easy. How can we say if Djokovic will be the same machine next year. It is a question of several loses and this confidence is gone.


Kimberly Says:

MIchael Nadal is defensive but the hallmark of his game is his ability to transition defense to offense. He needs a serve. I think his self-assessment in this press conference is pretty accurate. His awkward strokes and average backhand are good enough to beat 99% of the tour and win 10 gs, if he had a serve and some better tactics I think it would be good enough for Novak too. He won’t go away like Borg did. As Skeezer said in another post, him, Fed, Novak, Murray are all right there, and the margins are very small.

Still bitter, as kaiser is really trying to rile me up from the moment I woke up.


Skeezerweezer Says:

“Wonder how much tennis Djokovic’ll play the rest of the year.”

If i were him i would skip a few tourneys. He deserves it. More importantly he needs it, and why not? He has had to play more matches than anyone this year, and its obvious he is breakng down re; shoulder, back. Take a break Nole!
Nothing ekse to prove thsi year…


Bartram Says:

I applaud all thoughts posted. The match reminded me of Fed and Roddick at Wimbledon…Rafa had nothing else for Nole, but he kept fighting. He’ll find resolve and change before he is done.I’d like to see some of his manners rub off on the Americans.


Geez Says:

I love how some people turn everything into a discussion of whether Federer is GOAT–and how Nadal can never be. Last time I checked Federer wasn’t in this final and you’re doing him a great disservice by trying to argue for his greatness by necessarily comparing him to Nadal. Whether he is GOAT or not, time will tell, and even then some opinions will differ. But Federer doesn’t need this ridiculous commentary–his accomplishments speak for themselves. If you feel the need to slam Nadal for being a positive human being and being able to accept when he loses, or because someone else posts that his reaching three finals is a great result even though he didn’t win all of them, then I feel sorry for you. Whether Nadal will come back stronger, try to come back stronger and fail, or altogether decide that he’d rather go fishing for the rest of his life, only time will tell and all of these predictions of how it will only get worse are the grumblings of obviously bitter people. An absolutely incredible season for Djokovic. A season to be proud of for Nadal. And frankly a season with some highlights for Federer. If you can’t recognize all of that without dumping on one of these guys, that’s your loss.


newman Says:

great presser…the man is pure unadulterated CLASS…Vaaaamos RAFAAAAAAAAAAA!


newman Says:

Q. Did it knock you out of your rhythm
when he took the long injury timeout
after the first game of the fourth set
after you had just won the tiebreak?
RAFAEL NADAL: We are starting the press
conference in a bad way, I think. (Smiling.) Let’s talk about the match.
That is why I think Rafa is what he is….IDOL material…keep working hard man….your fans love so much.


margot Says:

Yes, that was such a brilliant thing to say and also shows how much Rafa’s English has improved :)


mem Says:

Geez & newman,

great comments!

i echo your thoughts! there is no player i can think of past or present with the belief, conviction, and competitiveness of rafa nadal. the courage to willingly and consistently face challenges with a deep appreciation of what he has already achieved while simultaneously believing that sooner or later whatever he struggles with, he will conquer is the mark of a great champion. he loses six times but still, he stands boldly before the world with an honesty and courage that is so moving, giving the opponent accolades due and speaking with a spirit that can’t be broken.

he was waging a fierce comeback in the match and i don’t doubt for one minute that had his serve been a little bit better and he was able to hold more times than not, he would have had every chance to come out with the victory. it didn’t happen this time, but things are definitely looking good for the future. all things considered, i’m really excited about the rest of the season and the coming year.

again, what an exempliary model of a champion is nadal; one who graciously takes the bitter with the sweet. it takes a big person and player to answer that “injury” question in the way that he did, particularly knowing what really happened.

i think someone asked the question about the “injury timeout” already knowing the answer because they all saw the match, but they were trying to coerce nadal into sounding as if he was bitter and making excuses so they could highlight another negative story. nadal was/is much too clever and wise for any of them, but that’s nadal and that’s one of the many reasons i love him as a person and a player. he is special!

be that as it may, good things always eventually come back to good humble, honest people. integrity and character are priceless; they can’t be bought, you either have them or you don’t; nadal has them both. he’s a class act and he has made his fans proud as always!

now on to the davis cup. enjoy guys!

vamos rafa!


Michael Says:

For all his victories the djoker will always lack class. He doesn’t know the meaning of the word. Rafa was the first one to pay tribute to the families of the victims of the 9/11 disaster. And then djoker made a pretentious speech on Monday dedicating his trophy to that disaster. Why didn’t he make a speech after his semi-final win like Rafa did? An after-thought me thinks. He is trying so hard to buy popularity. At least that is one area he will never succeed in against Rafa.


dari Says:

Rafa did say the exact right thing at the beginning of the interview.
Part in keeping good sporting spirit after a major final and part because going too much into it would be like pot calling kettle black.
****************
Looking forward to see how rafa competes as an older man a few years from now, if he wants to/ is able to continue playing that long.
And before both are done I want a rafa fed USO final!


alison hodge Says:

@dari i agree i too would love a fedal us open final,its the only grand slam,where the two have never faced each other,fed out to see if he could win no 17 against his great friend and rival,and rafa out to see if he could beat roger on every grand slam surface,i think it would be quite fitting to see two great friends and rivals come full circle.


stu Says:

SG1
“Wonder how much tennis Djokovic’ll play the rest of the year.”

Timing-wise (since he needs a break asap), it might make sense for him to give up Beijing, which is 2 weeks from the Davis Cup. However, he is defending championship points there, and he may not want to lose 500 points yet (maybe later, depending on how Rafa does at these tournaments). Maybe he is better off skipping Shanghai coz he is only defending 360 semifinals points, but there is a potential to _gain_ 640 at that tournament. If he can wait that long, it might be best to skip Basel. Or, skip Shanghai and try to W Basel…tough decision!


Lou Says:

Service will be key area for Nadal. It was service only that led him to win 2010 US Open and this time, his performance was very poor!
Reversal Of Roles at US Open: Djokovic & Nadal- How did it happen? http://bit.ly/npsVH1


guy from serbia Says:

@newman,
yeah man, so congratulation to Novak and respect to Rafa for taking no excuses. I am not sure if Roger would ever show as much class in a loss, I seriously doubt it. Great performance, great match.


Dan Martin Says:

Rafa looked gassed at the end of the second set. For him to come back from a break down 3 times in the 3rd and win the set, tells me he is not giving up on trying to solve this problem. This was not quite Jimmy Connors vowing to follow Borg across the globe, but I think he will keep trying.


Anna Says:

In America we have a little saying, “It’s not about whether you win or lose, but how you play the game”, or something to that effect. I’ve heard that since I was a kid, but I don’t think I ever really experienced it until I started following Nadal. Immediately after his loss, he’s right back on the horse. Full of appreciation for his opponent, and steadfast in his desire to keep working and find away. Kimberley, Geez, and Mem, great comments. Particularly liked the comment about Rafa’s awkward strokes earning him 10 slams.
Two years ago these blogs were full of posters swearing that Rafa was done. Here we are four slams later, at the tender age of 25. I think Nadal fans will have plenty to cheer for in the next few years, awkward strokes and all.


Miguel Gonzalez-Hermosillo Says:

Tennis Fans:
First and foremost let us thank these two gladiators that offered yesterday a great struggled tennis match!!!!!!! It is wonderful to be alive in this tennis era and had the chance to witness Rafa vs Roger, offering at Wimbledon an incredible tennis match. Now we all had had the chance to see the new kid in the block, forcing his place in history, converting a classic tennis rivalry into a free for all tennis war between these three great tennis players. Yesterday, at the USO I saw the greatest gladiator of all times being beaten by another incoming gladiator who is hungry for glory and only God knows what has made possible this metarmorphosis that Novak has experienced this year. Unbelievable, since his very “predictable old game” did not show much before 2011. Now, he is simply a robot from another planet playing a kind of tennis unknown to me he could produce. We all remember Novak never before was a true tested warrior. I still recal not long ago, days when he prefered to tank a match than go on fighting under the extreme heat of some world tournaments, behaviour that raised my eye brows questioning his true character!!!!!!!
Today, he is a new man and he will continue bringing good things to tennis but next year will be his true acid test. He will go trying, as Rafa experienced this year, to defend thousands of points earned and that kind of mental pressure, may make him go into tennis oblivion soon. I predict that by the end of June 2012 Rafa will be again number one tennis player in the world, this if he comes back understanding that risk pays and that to win you need to be more aggressive and seize the initiative from the hands of your opponent. You can bet he will do that !!!!!!


Swiss Maestro Says:

@Geez:

Please spare your preachings for raf@tards like simba who keep bringing fed into discussions during a rafa-novak final. I guess it is easier to jump on fed fans because you dont like federer.

If any post is irrelevant to the topic at hand, SKIP it. I am sure you will find a million posts by mem advocating that. maybe some of you rafa fans should practice that.

@Daniel : Remember fed’s quote “he created a monster”. that’s the burden roger has to carry. He has done more than an excellent job doing so. He has been the face of tennis for the last 5 or 6 years and as such there are more expectations of him. Save agassi, he is the most popular tennis player, globally speaking. Even in football crazy nations in south america/asia which I have visited, you can find lots of people who love Mr. Genius.


SG1 Says:

Daniel,

Fed didn’t really set the bar. Other than Laver’s calendar slam of 1969, it was John McEnroe who set the bar for what a great year is. His ’84 campaign was simply remarkable.

I hear what you’re saying though. That winning a slam and being in the finals of two others is somehow now a bad year because of the standard set by Fed’s domination. Well, it’s not a bad year and never has been, at least not in my opinion. I think what makes Novak’s run particularly impressive is that he’s done this while having to go through Federer, Rafa (and to a lesser extent) Murray.

This era looks a lot like the Borg, Mac, Connors, Lendl period in early 80′s. So much talent right at the top. Not easy to win 1 slam let alone 3 with that cast of characters.

For what it’s worth, I do think that Rafa will have some answers for Novak next year. People said Rafa couldn’t win on grass. He did. They said he couldn’t win on a hard court. He did. They said he would break down physically. Thus far, he really hasn’t. This guy lives to prove people wrong. I’m not saying he’ll win 2 or 3 slams next year but he’ll be a contender. I just don’t see anyone piling up majors next year.


SG1 Says:

And who’s to say Novak will be the same player in 2012 that he was in 2011. The Mac of ’85 wasn’t the Mac of ’84. The Wilander of ’89 was not the Wilander of ’88. One year can change everything. I hope Novak’s drive is still there. He has the oppotunity to complete the career slam nex year…in Rafa’s house. If Novak wants to be regarded as Fed and Rafa, he’ll have to get to a double digit slam count. Lot’s still to achieve for Djokovic. Hopefully, he sees things the same way.


SG1 Says:

Butt picking aside, Rafa is a great sportsman. He may not like Novak but he respects his game and he respects the game of tennis. I’ll Never forget when he consoled Federer in Australia. I think he genuinely felt for the guy. When he lost to Federer at Wimbledon, he never cried sour grapes. He tipped his cap to Roger and vowed to fight on. The man is classy and a lot of fun to watch. He’s proof you can entertain on a tennis court without being a boor.


Swiss Maestro Says:

SG1 @ 11:32 :

I agree with most of your post, but I think federer’s 2004-2007 though statistically inferior to mac’s 84 on winning%, score big when you look at number of titles, quality of titles. Federer’s 2006 in particular is definitely better than mac’s 84.

In 2006, fed was 92-5 making 16finals out of 17 tournaments he entered, winning 3GS and a WTF.

Novak has a better winning % than mac and has made 10 out of 11 finals and won 3GS.

I think novak will replace fed as the 2nd best year in tennis history.

I agree with your other 2 posts. Rafa is a genuinele likeable dude. He is my 3rd most favorite tennis player of the decade after the swiss maestro and juju.


Geez Says:

@Swiss Maestro:

“@Geez: Please spare your preachings for raf@tards like simba who keep bringing fed into discussions during a rafa-novak final. I guess it is easier to jump on fed fans because you dont like federer.”

Paranoia is a bad thing. Last time I checked, my post was very complimentary of Federer. Just because you happen to love Federer doesn’t mean that he has to be brought into every discussion of tennis, but if you or someone else does feel the need to bring him up, what’s totally unnecessary is to do it while putting down other players. Maybe you don’t like my preaching, but at least I preach respect.


someone Says:

lol all these nadal freaks scoffing djoker for taking a medical time out when Nadal is the prime example of taking medical time outs to disrupt his opponent’s rhythym


grendel Says:

“He’s having less mistakes than before,” Nadal said. “He’s enough confident in every moment to keep believing in one more ball, one more ball. So that’s why. I think his forehand is not more painful than before; his backhand is not more painful than before; he serve the same.”

This is an interesting and sober assessment of where Djokovic is at right now. The implication is fairly clear (and more or less spelt out elsewhere in the interview). Given that what is at stake here is the state of Djokovic’s mind rather than of his game (which was, is, and will continue to be excellent), it is a tall order to expect a repetition next year of this annus mirabilis. That is, if Nadal is correct.

It has to be said, Djokovic has continually surprised this year. Every time you thought the strain was going to get to him, he proved you wrong. Can he continue so doing?

Incidentally, it is surely that confidence Nadal was alluding to which was responsible for the startling fh return at 15-40 match point. It is true that he hit out with an almost carefree abandon, but his high level of confidence ensured that the timing was spot on. And it should be said, Federer helped him. So far as I could see, Federer pulled back on his serve – it looked like a cautious, safety-first serve (rather than, say, a cleverly placed serve – it definitely wasn’t cleverly placed). Federer was looking for Djokovic to give him the match. He had fought well and hard in the 5th, now at last double match point, surely he had earned his win. The fatal relaxation seconds before it was legitimate. Djokovic taught Federer a cruel, cruel lesson – I hope he benefits from it, and, in time, repays the compliment.


grendel Says:

Annabelle Croft remarked towards the end of the tourney that one of the reasons for Nadal being so meticulous in his voodoo style preparations just prior to the match – and the protracted nature of which mean he is often late and keeps his opponent waiting – is a certain strange lack of belief in his own ability. According to Croft, Nadal does not believe he is as talented as the other top players, and therefore feels obliged to make up for it in his strange rituals. This came as news to me, I must say, I have always been sceptical of his “modesty” – perhaps I shouldn’t have been.

Croft – who is an adoring fan of both Nadal and Federer – was discussing Nadal’s prospects (following the final) with Becker and Rusedski. She was adamant that Nadal would come back stronger than ever, that he would work out how to deal with Djokovic just as he has done before when faced with apparently intractable problems. Becker interrupted to agree that Nadal would certainly not just roll over. But he would fail, all the same, because in all departments of the game, Djokovic was just that little bit better than Nadal. In short, there was little Nadal could do. Rusedski signalled agreement.

From this perspective, the best Nadal can hope for is a let down in Djokovic’s game.


jane Says:

Judging from his comments, Nole doesn’t expect to repeat the incredible accomplishments, i.e., number of wins/losses, of this year; he’s said something to the effect of “I’ll be happy if, next year, I win half of what I have won this year.” On the other hand, he also keeps repeating that he wants to “win more majors”. As a fan, I am immensely pleased he has four slams now! Many other players I enjoy & have enjoyed watching over the years have none, one, two slams, etc. It’d be nice to see Nole win a FO and complete the set. He was the youngest guy to reach the semis of all four slams, proving he can play well on all surfaces. I know the surfaces have leveled out in recent years, but a lot of players still play clearly better/weaker on one or another surface. So it’s still a feat to win on all of them – esp. slams.


Ernest Says:

Nadal has a medicore backhand… which is why he spends so much time trying to run around his backhand and why he keeps losing to Novak…. Novak has been able to exploit this weakness and prevent him from hitting forehands to win points… and just when he gets Nadal thinking backhand he hits to the forehand with the same results… Pretty much the same strategy that Nadal uses on Roger…


grendel Says:

well, first of all, Djokovic ain’t a dork, so of course he isn’t going to blithely announce:”next year,a repeat chaps!”

However, there is no contradiction in conceding that he is not going to win so much with retaining an ambition to win as many majors as possible. Federer went down that road a long time ago, Nadal has followed him, and now Djokovic too, perhaps. You can bet winning as many slams as possible is now his main ambition. At 24, he will know that catching Federer, whilst highly unlikely, is not out of the question – particularly if he maintains his current superiority over the others.

Naturally, such an ambition would sound absurd for now, so he’ll keep it under wraps. But suppose he did win a Grand Slam next year – unlikely, but certainly conceivable. Then at the age of 25, he’d have 8 slams under his belt. Starts to look interesting….


skeezerweezer Says:

@Jane….and he is only 24…4 more majors will come around when he is 25 :)…plenty of upside if he continue his romp. I think that however is asking a bit much. If he is here to stay snagging 2 slams a year is very doable which will put him with the all time elites before he is done, barring injury and/or burnout. He will be a story to watch…


skeezerweezer Says:

^ haha grendel we must have had a mind meld whilst typing from across the sea ;)


grendel Says:

@Ernest:”Nadal has a medicore backhand… which is why he spends so much time trying to run around his backhand and why he keeps losing to Novak…. ”

But you could argue that a lot of the time, Nadal actually resists running round his bh, because he is terrified of the space this would then give Djokovic of all players – not one who would decline such a gift.

But you’re right, same strategy Nadal uses on Federer. Tragic irony? Or natural justice…..


jane Says:

grendel – your take on the down-match-points 15-40 return was similar to an article in the NY Times; the writer suggested that after watching it many times, sure there was luck, but he has made those sorts of return winners before, just not under those exceptional circumstances. I am curious – you’ve followed Fed so long – do you think he’d've gotten the better of Rafa in the final had he won the semifinal?

Also, re: Nole’s year/comments – My point wasn’t to suggest he is a dork, lol, only that, of course he’s very self-aware that this year is “impossible to repeat”, as Nadal put it. Or as SG1 put it: Jmac 85 was not Jmac 84. Or Nadal 09 wasn’t Nadal 08, etc.


Ernest Says:

@Grendel: “But you could argue that a lot of the time, Nadal actually resists running round his bh, because he is terrified of the space this would then give Djokovic of all players – not one who would decline such a gift.”

But if you watch the final he was desperate to hit a FH but most of the time Novak would not let him… and on set point in the 3rd he ran around it twice to take the set… he know he can’t win matches or points on his BH…


mem Says:

grendel,

this is so funny!

the psychology of croft, boris becker and people like them is amusing. it’s simple to understand! i suspect they are trying to throw these things out there which i believe are directed specifically to nadal in an attempt to convince him to give up, you can’t beat this guy novak. it’s called psychology! they fear that if nadal beat novak again, it will seriously affect novak’s psyche and the tables will turn. novak knows it too and that is why he did everything possible including take an injury time out to rest in order to beat nadal in the final. he fears that if nadal ever beats him again, just one time, he won’t have the edge ever again and i believe that too.

you have to understand how the mind game is played. these former players, writers, commentators, etc. are all promoting novak for one reason and one reason only, he is their last hope to protect roger’s legacy from rafa nadal and to ensure that rafa will not dominate tennis. it’s clear, the proof is before our eyes. nadal has been in nine finals this year losing only to novak. that speak volumes of what it would take to stop nadal. they don’t really care how novak does it as long as he prevents nadal from winning more slams. that’s the bottom line! they are able to manipulate novak by giving him exactly what he so deseparately desires and that is popularity and attention, acceptance and to show the world that he is better than nadal and much greater. novak will risk his health and everything else to achieve that. they know that!

experts, former players, writers, the media, they all know how to use players to their advantage. they recognize little things that most fans wouldn’t pay attention to, e.g. that novak has always been jealous of nadal; it goes way back. in 2006 or 07 i think, i recall novak retiring from a match vs nadal at the french while being down 2 sets to love. he then went in the press conference and commented that he was actually beating nadal or could beat him. weird! there are other examples, but he has always wanted to show the world that he is better than nadal; so he got his opportunity. this is his time to do it, you see how much it means to him.

no disrespect intended, but he is gullible; he is arrogant; he craves attention, so he is the perfect candidate for manipulation. it’s not complicated! they are using novak to carry out the plan. do you actually think all of a sudden, they are in love with djokovic. are you kidding me?

they saw from the uso final that nadal is a monster when he can finally get into a zone against anyone. i have no reason to doubt that had that match gone to a fifth, novak would have been out of there. novak knew it! he all but said it in his press conference when he said something like, “i wasn’t physically there at the beginning of the fourth, i wasn’t fresh,” then he took a mto.” i told everybody here almost those exact words right after the match, but as always, they wanted to tear my head off for presenting facts.

do you think these writers are going to elaborate on that the injury time out. NO! they only discuss “injury time outs” when it’s nadal taking the time out. it’s psychology! they want nadal and his fans to believe that nadal is no closer to beating novak than before, which is a total fabrication of the truth at least from what i’m sitting.

think of all the times nadal’s serve was broken and imagine if he had held most of those times, he would have actually been the one on top. speaking for myself, i have a pretty good knowledge of tennis and when you have knowledge and a mind of your own, you are less likely to be fooled by the psychology of others.

i for one can see straight through what they are trying to achieve by suggesting that nadal needs this and needs that to beat novak. novak is so not unbeatable. there are those who fear that a player like nadal is gaining too much ground and needs to be stopped. Novak has been a means to an end. that’s it!

nadal said in his presser that he is very happy going home knowing that he is moving in the right direction and i totally agree. one thing i’ve learned about him, like me, he doesn’t need a whole lot of people to believe in him in order for him to do well. that is a great attitude and despite the psychology of those who would love for nadal to give up on novak, the light is shining pretty bright for nadal, particularly for next season.


jane Says:

But why mem? Why would all of these former players, experts, writers, pundits, etc., want to prevent Rafa from over-taking Fed’s slam total? It seems to me, from listening/reading, that many of them like and admire Nadal as a champion (J-Mac loves Rafa, for e.g., and Gilbert); thus, if Rafa were getting close to overtaking the 16 slam tally, wouldn’t that, too, be another great story for tennis, just like it was when Fed surpassed Pete’s record? I’m just curious as to why you think these people are against Rafa achieving equal to or more than Fed.


grendel Says:

Ernest:
I’m sure you’re right (fraid I don’t recall the specific points you mention), but my impression was that at least sometimes Nadal didn’t run round his bh when he might have done because he feared giving Djokovic space. So perhaps he was in two minds – being beaten 6 times on the trot by same person no doubt does that to you.

jane:
my crystal ball is as fallible as the next man’s, but personally I find it hard to believe Federer can beat Nadal in a five setter. I think if he is to win another slam – and oddly enough, I give him a better chance now than I did 2 or 3 weeks ago – he is going to have to avoid Nadal. Just as Nadal is going to have to avoid Djokovic if he is to win another slam – although that’s not so certain, as Nadal is closer to Djokovic than Fed is to Nadal, if you see what I mean. A lot depends on Murray here; if he can eliminate Nadal, Federer certainly has the capacity to defeat Djokovic in a slam, and also Murray of course. Is there anyone else who can beat Nadal in a 5 setter? A hot Tsonga, a revived del Potro, the list is short isn’t it, and I’m thinking Murray might never do it.

mem: some of what you say has point, but it is wildly directed. For instance, Croft was defending Nadal against Becker. And by the way, it is absurd to suppose that Becker is somehow concerned about Djokovic’s “fragile” psyche. Becker, whilst an agreeable man (imo), is a tough cookie, and cares nothing for the fortunes of other tennis players. He is interested, however, simply as a professional observer, in the state of play – and it is his belief that whilst Nadal is a great champion with an unmatched heart, Djokovic is the better tennis player. He may be right or he may be wrong, but surely he is entitled to his opinion without being accused of devious psychological manouevring.

“think of all the times nadal’s serve was broken and imagine if he had held most of those times, he would have actually been the one on top”. But that’s highly tendentious. The fact is, he couldn’t hold serve – he wasn’t good enough on the day. Djokovic too was broken quite a bit – you might as well say, if only he hadn’t been broken those few times, his victory would have been even more overwhelming.

“these former players, writers, commentators, etc. are all promoting novak for one reason and one reason only, he is their last hope to protect roger’s legacy from rafa nadal and to ensure that rafa will not dominate tennis.” You’re on to something here, but you have selected the wrong people. By and large, it is either Federer fans (not all, of course) or people who just don’t like Nadal (and not all of them, either) who think as you suggest. I plead guilty myself, but I think it is fairly natural, actually. We’re not saints, after all. Motivation can be a dodgy one, don’t you think?


Swiss Maestro Says:

grendel :

“And it should be said, Federer helped him. So far as I could see, Federer pulled back on his serve – it looked like a cautious, safety-first serve (rather than, say, a cleverly placed serve – it definitely wasn’t cleverly placed)”

the serve at 40-30 was a 120mph + right at the body. novak still got it in. this was the more crucial return of the 2, it still gave roger his favorite inside out forehand but he caught the tape. as steve tignor on tennis.com said ” it was the kind of year, roger was having ” it was not a shot he would have missed in his prime.

when federer eventually got broken in that game, he had pressed a little too much on his 2nd serve and got broken. as you can see, fed mixed up being aggressive/holding back. federer also had won 15 of 17 points before 40/15. it could also be a very cruel timing for the law of averages to step in and ensure that federer lost more serve points than he won, from that point onwards.


mem Says:

Jane,

are you joking? do you actually think these people who have already anointed roger “the greatest ever” would want nadal, a spanish kid, with an unconventional style to equal or surpass roger?

with all due respect, you are just gullible and very easy to buy whatever people sell. you see everybody as being “good, honest, and fair” and that’s a great attribute, but it’s just not reality.

has it ever occurred to you that the “so called love” that mcenroe, gilbert, etc. display for nadal at certain times and under certain circumstances could be a tactic used when convenient to convince people like you that they want nadal to succeed when at the same time they want him stopped?

again, i see things quite differently from most. so you wouldn’t understand even if i were to explain it. i don’t mean to sound nasty, but don’t puzzle your brain wondering why i say certain things. just my opinions based perception and other things. if you agree with any of it fine, and if not, fine!


Ben Pronin Says:

Well obviously the real is everyone is out to get mem and her beloved Nadal! Even when BG tweets that Nadal is the greatest player he’s ever seen it’s all obviously a part of a sinister scheme to stop Nadal!

I agree with everything Grendel has said.


mem Says:

grendel,

i’m just presenting another side of the story based on my perspective. there is always two at least two ways of looking at a situation. i expect people to call my reasoning wild or worst. it is not as far fetched as one would think. however, you are right about one thing matches are not won on “could’ve, should’ve, ifs,” nadal couldn’t hold serve, so that’s that! however, i like his chances had he been able too. we will see how things unfold. like i said, i like his position going forward. everyone is free to their own opinion so i’m not offended by that.


Cindy Brady Says:

have nadal’s knees been broken down by some of these sinister commentators?

did they also play a part in breaking up of nadal’s parents? maybe becker slept with rafa’s mom. quite possible, he sleeps with a new woman every day.

you should write a book and get it endorsed by nadal.

Denial is not a river in Egypt. wish somebody could knock it down into some of these rafat@rds.


kriket Says:

I don’t think Nadal of 2010. is not Nadal of 2011. is essentially true. It’s just that there’s one player effectively stopped him from being “the same Nadal” from last year. He reached the finals of most of the tournaments he entered, the only difference is that this year there was no jinxed Roger Federer or Murray on the other side of the net, but his apparently archrival Novak Đoković. Had there been Federer or “the old Novak” in all those finals, Rafa could have easily repeated his 2010 success. In other words, if there wasn’t for Novak, Rafa could have easily repeated the 2010 results.
Surely, his game might not be on the exact same level as last year, but he’s nonetheless a nightmare for all the other players in the filed except for one, Novak Đoković. So that’s the main difference for Rafa between 2010. and 2011. It’s that one player came along and stopped him from repeating what he had done last year. He surely was in all the finals of all the tournaments except for AO, but now there was Novak waiting for him and denying him the victory every single time. I’m pretty sure that if Novak lost to Fed in the USO semi, Rafa would have taken the trophy once again, same way I’m sure that if Novak hadn’t lost to Fed in the FO semis, Rafa would have been denied that title too, this year.
So it’s not Rafa, it’s Novak that’s changed the outcome of the year compared to 2010.


Cindy Brady Says:

kriket, please lend a part of your brain to mem. please. she is wandering around the tennis world posting this stupid crap without even realising she is doing so without a brain.

how did they let her get out of rafaelnadal.com. these nutters need to be locked up there for eternity.


Kimberly Says:

I agree with Kriket. Very likely absent Novak Rafa would have repeated his 3 GS in 2010. Whether his level of play is the same or not, its very good. He is hitting the ball with enormous speed and power. Actually he looked the worst during the clay season to me and the best on hard…to me his level of play looked highest in Miami and the latter part of the USO.


Ben Pronin Says:

Agreed. Nadal’s closest matches against Djokovic have come on hard courts is year. Definitely shows how much Nadal has improved as a player.


skeezerweezer Says:

There are two ways of looking at things….

How about players, starting with Novak, have figured out Rafa’s game? Same thing happened with Fed, his slice BH in his heyday setup all kinds of opportunities in a match. Always thought once players figure out how to handle Rafa’s FH, Rafa will struggle. Sometimes its not what a player is lacking all of the sudden but opponets figuring out your game. That said, if Rafa brought his serve of USO10 to this match it would have caused mre trouble for Nole.


Geez Says:

Agree or disagree with mem, at least she is respectful in recognizing that others can disagree with her (in this thread, from what I can tell, I don’t follow other threads, and I don’t even agree with a bunch of what she wrote). Nor did she call other posters names or personally attack anyone here. I wish I could say the same for Cindy Brady.


Polo Says:

mem is, quite obviously, drowning in a sea of defense mechanisms that include denial, paranoia, flight of ideas, projection and reaction formation…just to name a few.


mem Says:

cindy,

i really get to you, don’t i. if i’m so insane in my thinking, why does it enrages you so much. i can certainly make my argument without resorting to levels of name calling and juvenile behavior. i understand that some people have courage to go against the grain, others do not. that’s the way it is. like i said, your kind of behavior doesn’t intimidate nor offends me.

i wouldn’t expect anything else. whatever works for you!


jane Says:

mem says “you are just gullible and very easy to buy whatever people sell.” Erm, just recently I pointed out that a person probably should not believe everything he or she reads (that doesn’t mean stop reading or that some or all of it isn’t true in some cases), so I suppose the same could be said for what the commentators say. Maybe there are conspiracies against Nadal’s success, and hence these people (commentators, writers, ex-players, etc) are all manipulating Nole as well as the information surrounding him so that Rafa will never overtake Roger.

On the other hand, that theory may be untrue and the commentators and players grendel mentions are simply offering their honest opinions on the matter.

Maybe it’s a little of both?

But there is definitely more than one way to skin a cat.


jane Says:

kriket, “So it’s not Rafa, it’s Novak that’s changed the outcome of the year compared to 2010″

You make a valid point, for sure; however, I do think Rafa’s serve most definitely is not as good as it was last year, whereas Nole’s, by contrast, is better and back to where it was circa 2007 and 2008.


Kimberly Says:

skeezer, the counter to that would be outside of two poor matches in Cincinatti and Montreal, no one else seems to have figured out Nadal’s game as he made it to 9 finals this year. The other counter is that the player that “figured him out” seems to have figured out everyone else on the tour as well and is on the way to having the best year in history. Its simple, in 2011 Djokovic is playing better than Nadal. Period the end.


Brando Says:

I agree with kimberly. Rafa has won a slam, master series, 500 point tourny, unbeaten against federer, Murray, del potro this year. Had it not been for nole he would have surpassed last years achievements. Has nole figured him out? Yes. But guess what? Nole has also figured the tour out and he’s beating nadal during what most feel could end up as the best season by any player ever. Simply put people are writing nadal’s obituaries way too soon – but there is no surprise in that regard as the same characters always seem to do so!


alison hodge Says:

nole is the worlds best player,end of story,however rafa dererves alot of credit for actually having a superb year for making nine finals,any other year that would have been enough,its just his bad luck he ran into nole in such a rich vien of form,he has either been the best or second best player,on and off for years,all in all still alot for rafa and his fans to be positive about,this year and the year ahead.


Brando Says:

Yep, rafa should finish inside top 2 for the 7th straight year. Roger did for 8. Barring nole, rafa is still miles ahead of the rest.


Brando Says:

Yep, rafa should finish inside top 2 for the 7th straight year. Roger did for 8. Barring nole, rafa is still miles ahead of the rest. That too with an awkward game, LOL!


Brando Says:

Yep, rafa should finish inside top 2 for the 7th straight year. Roger did for 8. Barring nole, rafa is still miles ahead of the rest. That too with an “awkward game”, LOL!


jane Says:

There is such consistency at the top right now. Rafa within the top two for 7 years; Fed inside the top two for 8 years, and still top 3; Nole will finish the year within the top 3 for the 5th straight year; Murray has finished in the top 4/5 for the last 4 years running and right now is number 3 in the race, having had his most consistently good results at all the slams ever this year. Admirable for all of them.

People sometimes forget that Nole/Muzza have been right there behind Fed/Rafa for 4-5 years, waiting to break through, and Nole was at #3 for 4 straight year ends. Nole won a slam in 2008 and Murray reached his first slam final in 2008. So in a way it was / is just a matter of time with them I think. I still believe Muzza will win slams, no matter what others say.


jamie Says:

Fed is done winning slams.


alison hodge Says:

agree with jane,noles crashed the fedal party,now hopefully muzza will step up and crash the rafole party,noles stelar year,should give him added motivation with any luck.


mem Says:

jane,

again, i meant no disrespect to you. i call things the way i see them.

you’re spot on in assessment that theoris may turn out to be true or untrue as with predictions. there is nothing that says a theory is a fact. that’s why i draw conclusions about things that happen in tennis based largely on my tennis knowledge, observations, perceptions, analysis, etc. of a situation. of course, i constantly read articles and the comments of others, but i figure i’m just as capable of dissecting certain situations as they are. i might not be an expert on paper, but that doesn’t exclude me from reviewing information and making sound decisions. i listen to commentary and the views of sportwriters and others. it’s called awareness or staying abreast, but i’m not obligated to believe what i hear or read regardless of who is saying it. i have a choice and so do we all.

you’re also spot on when you say there is always another possibility to consider. there again, that’s why i never solicit support for my theories, i just simply throw them out there as my perspective, it’s up to the readers to decide what he/she chooses to buy into. i certainly don’t get upset if someone doesn’t agree. for me it’s a simple, harmless, and stress-free way of doing things.


alison hodge Says:

@brando and to think alot of people say rafa lacks concistency,hmm i beg to differ.


skeezerweezer Says:

^ Rafa lack consistency? BS. The only way to get a point off Rafa is take it to him, and good luck with that. The way his stroke production was built was custom made for the “rally”.

alison…..I am agreeing with u ;)


skeezerweezer Says:

@K

Maybe I ma jumping ahead then on guys starting to figure him out. Not just Nole, but he seemed to have a tougher time in matches this year than in years past. Maybe its Rafa not playing well, maybe its the other guy. What was a guy like Isner giving him all he could handle on his “owned” surface? Or Dodig beating him unexpectantly on the hard? Just my opinion, but he seemed so invincible last year, this year guys at times are hitting through him.


skeezerweezer Says:

^ He had a GREAT year no doubt, despite that, not trying to take that away.


alison hodge Says:

thanks skeezer thats nice to know,no need to sound so surprised though,theres a 1st time for everything,lol.


grendel Says:

This idea of Kimberley and others that the only thing which has changed, where Nadal is concerned, is Djokovic is quite persuasive.

But there are certain straws in the wind which suggest it may not be quite so simple. There’s the Isner match, as Skeezer mentions – on home turf, too. Perhaps we could put the Dodig defeat down to happenstance, a bit like Volandri beating Federer. But the defeat by Fish – a substantial defeat – is more serious. Fish was a formidable opponent, an outside bet for the US Open, and Nadal will have wanted to beat him. Failing so dismally rated the raising of a few eyebrows, I suggest.

Then at the US Open, Nadal (as usual in this tourney it seems) had no challenge at all till the semi (at least that was better than last year, when he had a straight pass into the final). Both Fish and Berdych, as the form players, might have been expected to challenge him. It’s not Nadal’s fault that he had it so easy, but it does make it difficult to make a rational assessment of quite where he is at. After all, at Wimbledon, he was challenged early – by del Potro, that was a match he might well have lost, and this was still not the del Potro of 2009.

Finally, and this is the purest speculation, I wonder if other players are taking heart from Djokovic’s mastery of Nadal. It was Nadal who caused the Federer aura to take a nosedive. Most players of course still fear Federer, but there are quite a number now who are starting to fancy their chances. Even Cilic, for instance – he was there to play against Federer the other day, not simply to make up the numbers. I wonder if something like this might begin to happen with Nadal.

We’ll have a pretty good idea by this time next year, I daresay.


carlo Says:

imo US Open was a success for tennis having
Djokovic and Stosur win the Titles. How stale it would have been if Federer, Serena or Nadal had won.

If Murray, Del Potro or someone not named Federer, Nadal, or Djokovic could breakthrough next year and put some variety into who wins, the Grand Slams would be more interesting.


grendel Says:

Sorry, not Fish and Berdych as the form players, dman that freud fellow, I meant Fish and Tsonga of course.


Ben Pronin Says:

If players were starting to fancy their chances against Nadal because of Djokovic’s success against him, I bet they don’t feel that great after Monday

One of the most unbelievable things about the match is that they both wore each other out physically. Nadal may not have gotten a massage that exposed his fatigue, but that 4th set was certainly an indication. And Djokovic was certainly worn down. Basically, these 2 will die on the court before giving up. I don’t think any player has that kind of mentality besides these 2.

It was a great display of what happens when an unstoppable force meets and immovable object. And no one else really has what it takes to master the immovable object that is Nadal.

Nadal had bad losses during the summer last year before winning the USO. This year he had bad losses and reached the final. I very much buy into the idea that the difference is Djokovic.

Sure Isner pushed Nadal, but what about their last 2 sets? And despite not destroying the field the way he did in the past, he still won beating a pretty determined Federer.

It’s strange but it’s almost like Ndal is fated to be the greatest number 2 behind unparalleled dominance.


Kimberly Says:

Grendel—calling tsonga in form is risky…tsonga is hot and cold, he beat Federer and lost to Bogomolov Jr. all within a week.

Nadal has always been more beatable than Federer except on clay. In fact, to me he looks a lot better on hard than he has in the past. Right before his tear in 2010 he lost back to back to Lbjucic and Roddick.

Bottom line, On grass he got through a tough draw to make that Wimbledon final. He beat Murray three semis and one other, beat Federer three times, beat Soderling, beat Fish, beat Ferrer 2 times since AO, beat Delpo, beat Berdych. I’m sorry over and over again to everyone that everyone feels cheated that Djokovic was not at the RG final but he did take out Soderling, Murray and Fed back to back. Not exactly hackers. He isn’t exactly sucking. A little Andy Murray Syndrome?

You mention the Fish match. In CIncinatti he never performs well, has lost early on before and I will acknowlege he was out of sorts, blame it on the burnt fingers or whatever was wrong upstairs. SO the loss to Fish was not a surprise. He had a four hour match and a doubles match the day before. He was done.


grendel Says:

Ben – “I very much buy into the idea that the difference is Djokovic”.

Like I said, the case is quite persuasive. Maybe it is very persuasive. For sure, you can only argue very mildly against it.

re 3 of your points:1) yes, Djokovic was exhausted, but how much was that due to Nadal and how much to the accumulated rigours of an astonishing season? 2)”he still won beating a pretty determined Federer.” (at RG) Federer’s determination at the critical moments in that match has been questioned.

3)”I don’t think any player has that kind of mentality besides these 2″. I’m not so sure. A player like Tsonga, if it is his time, will last with anyone. He’s just not consistent in the Djokovic/Nadal manner. But that’s not really the point. Tsonga, almost by definition, is the kind of player who may snatch a slam through sheer outrageous brilliance. And he may then lose in the first round in the next slam. del Potro, imo, probably has the lasting power, the sheer doggedness of the top 2 – but alas, we don’t know if he will ever regain his best form.

I do realise I am grasping a bit at straws – reality can be kind of tiresome….


Ben Pronin Says:

No way would I put Tsonga’s mental strength anywhere near Nadal or Djokovic. Not even close. Tsonga can catch fire, but if he doesn’t have it he submits. Nadal was down and out but after winning the third set, like McEnroe said, you’d think he was the one leading based on his body language.

Nadal got everything back. Surely he exhausted the crap out of Djokovic.


jane Says:

alison @ 4:47, while there is no guarantee it’ll happen again, Murray seems to be about a year behind Nole in many of his tennis “break-throughs.” Nole turned pro in 2003; Murray in 2005. Nole broke into the top 10 and then top 3 in 2007; Murray broke into the top 10 and then top 4 in 2008. Nole won his first 2 masters events and was in his first slam final in 2007; Muzza won 2 masters events and was in his first slam final in 2008. Last year, Nole had a consistent year at all the slams; this year, Muzza has reached the semis or better at all the slams. This year Nole has had a breakout dominant season … maybe … next year Murray will too? At the least maybe 2012 will be the year he breaks his slam duck and wins one. Down-under? On grass? At the USO?

It’s impossible to know if this one-year-delayed-success pattern between these two will continue, but I thought it would be fun to note it. :)


jane Says:

Here’s one more alison: last year Nole had 18 titles and now he has 28 titles; guess how many titles Muzza currently has?? You’re right – 18. :)


grendel Says:

I don’t think that is relevant about Tsonga. Of course in general he doesn’t have the kind of steely resolve of the top two. That doesn’t mean to say that on a given occasion he cannot be just as obdurate – it all seems to depend on how he is feeling.He goes his own way. He certainly didn’t submit against Federer at Wimbledon, did he, despite being two sets down? The way he was playing on that day, maybe he would have beaten anyone.

About Nadal’s body language at end of 3rd set. All those snarls and so on. They seemed to me an attempt at self-exhortation. But they proved to be largely illusory.


Ben Pronin Says:

But the Wimbledon match wasn’t as physically demanding as Monday’s final was. Honestly I’m never going to buy into anything positive about Tsonga, I have very little respect for him.

But my point is, I think Nadal’s aura is pretty much intact except against Djokovic.


skeezerweezer Says:

^ I disagree. Look at 2010′s performance against the field & look at this year. Sure he had great results, but some matches he struggled like he has never had before. Sure its about Novak, but others aren”t watching learning? Same happen to Fed. The mentality that Rafa is not this huge unbeatable beast aura thingy is going going gone. As mem said prior to the Nole/rafa match…we’ll see. There are changes in the wind…..and Winter is coming.


grendel Says:

” Honestly I’m never going to buy into anything positive about Tsonga, I have very little respect for him.”

Surely you don’t want everyone to be like Nadal and Djokovic? God, it makes me tired just to think of it! Variety is the spice..you know how it goes. People like Monfils and Tsonga and Gasquet can be very infuriating. But then, what do they care for our needy projections? There was a journalist who once said that Federer makes you feel proud. Watching his prodigious stroke making when you happened to support him, it was almost as if you had made the strokes yourself. A strange, but rather delightful sort of illusion.

So it is easy to support a Nadal, a Djokovic, a Federer. I do myself, one of them anyway. But there is a strong element of fantasy in this kind of support. Meanwhile, lesser mortals can still delight us. Sometimes just because they are lesser, and may spring some enjoyable (or heartbreaking) surprises.

“Nadal’s aura is pretty much intact except against Djokovic”? Yes, I think that is fair. My only, hesitant, point is that you never know quite when the first impacts begin to be made against truly formidable auras. They’re going to be so slight, like the whispering which harbours a storm, that you might miss it at first.


grendel Says:

“Winter is coming” – skeeze, do you by any chance happen to read George.R.R. Martin?


Ben Pronin Says:

I still like Gasquet, having greatly lowered my expectations.

I’m not saying they should all be the same, i just don’t like Tsonga.

Skeeze, I don’t see it. The only matches that stand out are the Isner match and his first match in Rome. Besides that it’s been pretty much the same, no?


grendel Says:

Not liking someone is one thing. Loads of people I can’t abide. Not respecting that person quite another – and a bit odd, I always think. I mean, how can one know enough about him to be able to calmly say:”I just don’t respect so and so”? Positively Serena Williams, if you know what I mean…


skeezerweezer Says:

grendel,

Yes and I am hooked, in the second book only. A recommended read by you? Would appreciate your thoughts and how much of the series u have read. However, don’t want to bore others ;)


Brando Says:

Nadal’s losses to others apart from nole this year:

1- Davydenko in doha: Struggles against him on hard in the past, here he loses in the semi final. Main story though is the fever he has been struggling with all week.

2-Ferrer in AUS OPEN: Losses to ferrer in quarters. We all saw what happened in set 1. Either way this and doha loss occured pre nole.

3- Tsonga at queens: Losses in qtrs. All commentators felt it was for the best. Even tsonga mentioned he caught a ‘tired nadal’. Rafa won a set in this encounter.

4: Dodig at montreal: Round 1. Loses 2 tiebreakers. Unusual loss, was rafa caught cold or has dodig figured him out? I think the former.

5-Fish at cincy: Losses in quarters to a player who that point was only 2nd to nole in USO series, on his worst HC surface, playing with blisters. He lost at this stage last year to baghdatis.

So 5 losses to others outside nole. I would hardly say the others have figured him out at all or that his aura has dimmed. He beat federer on 3 ocassions this year, murray 4, del potro twice and has not lost to them or pretty much anyone else in a big match that matters.

ONLY NOLE has figured him out this year, but that too in a year in which he has figured out the tour! He has only lost TWICE in 9 months and 1 was a RETIREMENT! Clearly rafa has lost, as he has said, to a brilliant player in exceptional circumstances.

Best thing i feel is to be cautious and not write rafa’s obituary too soon as this story is far from over. 2012 SHALL BE MIGHTLY INTERESTING!!


grendel Says:

Absolutely recommended, skeeze. I have even got my younger son reading it – some feat since he seems to be going through a phase in which books appear to represent some impossibly alien -or perhaps parental – concept. Films, television, computers (especially computers, since they subsume just about everything else) – they be good. Books? What be they? School stuff or something.

2nd book in series is good, with some pretty bloody surprises. Old Martin seems to have taken to heart the Hobbesian maxim about the “the life of man [being] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

The third is the best, imo. Continually inventive. The fourth has a slight tendency to drag, but there’s still plenty of interest in following the main characters. The ones who don’t appear there, assuming they haven’t been bumped off, take the stage in the next and most recent volume. I enjoyed that, but it has attracted some criticism. To avoid spoilers, I won’t say what except to say that he does seem to have too many story lines going on at the same time. These can be annoyingly distracting, you keep wanting to get back to the main ones, and also it is quite hard to see how he is going to tie all the stories up, so to speak. You can’t help thinking a few more deaths would be no bad thing in this respect.

There is a definite lull in the fifth book, a bit like a ship caught in becalmed waters. This has angered some readers, but I think it’s ok – think of it as a kind of build up. You have to temper the excitement a bit, or it’s no longer exciting. I think it is building up to a terrific climax.

Of course, the gap between the 4th and 5th book – initially supposed to be a year – turned out to be about 6 years. This enraged some readers, who took to firing off splenetic emails to poor George, who didn’t understand it at all. He’s a great big bumbling sort of man, tremendously fat, 62 years old – and will he make it to write the final books, readers anxiously worry? Poor chap felt persecuted. He’s a lovely man, utterly without side, a sort of innocent, of humble origins (his dad was a long shoreman)nothing “literary” about him. I think he writes well enough, sometimes wonderfully well. Perhaps a little too fond of repetitive phrases. It is known.

I think you’ve got lots of pleasure ahead of you. God knows when the next one will be out, though. Goodnight.


skeezerweezer Says:

Thanks Brando I don’t have the time right now to look it up, it was just a memory observation, and I could be wrong. Also, it’s not so much about the losses but the tough matches he had in 2010 vs 2011, even though he won it seems guys are getting closer, no?

eg; His Clay court run this year was way tougher than previous years ( except the year of the SOD?) )


skeezerweezer Says:

grendel,

thanks so much for sharing…..really looking forward to the rest, and your sharing was just enough to make me be committed to read on!! I actually got hooked on the HBO series first then read. And although the HBO series was well done of course the books are much more enjoyable. GoodNight.


Brando Says:

@Ben:

I agree with the what you say re the isner and rome match. Truth is seasoned nadal observers will all recognise that rafa won Monte Carlo masters, Barcelona and French Open with his B game- at best.

His form throughtout the clay season- for his standard- was patchy at least, i personally would say awful. Even at the FO he struggled at times against ljubicic and andujar. Every post match conference was about how he has yet to play anywhere near his ‘actual’ level on clay.

Only from the quarters onwards did he improve and he only won those tourny’s since he is rafa nadal and its clay.

I would say he played well at miami, wimbledon and USO. He played a high level progressively i feel.


Brando Says:

@skeezerweezer:

No worries. I do agree with what you are saying in regards to rafa having tough matches, but personally i feel it was due to rafa being rattled by nole as opposed to the players who gave him a tough time.

I think nole really rattled rafa and his psyche especially post madrid and rome. Let’s face it NO ONE can really beat you on your turf and then all of a sudden there is a player who doesn’t lose to anyone, beats you when you play well and oh yeah he beats you on your own turf- that’s bad news that would rattle ANY PLAYER.

Anyhow, goodnight!


jane Says:

I don’t think Nole figured out the whole tour this year; he has been number 3 for four years in a row before this year! If he figured out anything, he figured out how to get over those last humps at tournaments. Nole made a slam final at USO in 2007 and won the AO in 2008, but then it took until the USO in 2010 -nearly THREE years- to get into another slam final as he was typically stopped by Fed or he’d have some poor match along the way. The difference this year is, at least partially, that he found the confidence to get over that hump. Nole had pllayed Rafa closely plenty of times BEFORE this year: he had even beaten him soundly! At Cincy in 2007 and
2008 he had straight set wins; he had close matches at Olympics, Hamburg, Madrid. Even Wimbledon 2007 Nole took a set as he did at USO 2010. He turned a corner by reaching another slam final last summer after *finally* beating Fed at the USO, and then winning DC. He changed some routines (diet, training), and he got his serve working pretty well. Lots came together and it wasn’t overnight as is so often publicized. Those who’ve followed him closely know that. Sure, he probably figured out some tactical things with Vadja re: Rafa. But it isn’t as drastic a metamorphosis as its made out to be.


Kimberly Says:

Just a note, Nadal’s 2010 losses
Davydenko in Doha (lost w match points)
Murray in QF at AO (retired while losing)
Ljubicic in IW
Rodick in MIami
F. Lopez in QUeens
Murray in Toronto
Bahdatis in Cincy
Garcia Lopez in Bangkok
ALMOST Troiki in Tokyo and pulled it out
Meltzer in SHainghai
Federer in WTF

Minus the six losses to Nole I think is actually stronger against the other players, especially at HC tournaments.


alison hodge Says:

well said kimberly 7.31pm wed 14th sept,i agree it does get anoying for us rafa fans,, when we are made to feel guilty,and have to keep on apologizing,for nole been denied a calendar grand slam,in fact whos to say rafa would not have beaten nole anyway,he might have done,he might not have done,who knows its irrelevant,it did not happen,and you cannot give credit to a player for something that never happened,end of story.


alison hodge Says:

jane sept 14th 7.54pm loved your post,and you never know could be a pattern developing,or a happy coincidence,either way im still very positive about muzzas chances of winning that elusive 1st grand slam now,more than ever,thanks jane,your a very wise lady.


grendel Says:

Kimberley (and Ben) – your accumulation of data is persuasive, and (speaking for myself) I was allowing desire to command thought. Without Djokovic around, Nadal would almost certainly have won 3 more slams and many more masters titles. This can’t seriously be denied (although I did my best).

Nevertheless, there seems to be a slight tendency to downplay what has happened. For even though Nadal – the great Nadal – has been playing better than ever, he has been whipped badly into second place. That is extremely significant, and the monumental nature of what Djokovic has achieved can’t easily be exaggerated.

Furthermore, certain features of this upheaval – for that is what it is – suggest themselves. Nobody foresaw the absoluteness of Djokovic’s ascendancy. Some will have guessed that he was ready to take on Nadal, but no one, not the most ardent and blinkered Nole fan would have dared to propose what actually happened. So we are reminded that the future is opaque – always.

There is no new Djokovic lurking in the wings, of course. But there could be surprises. Murray has already shown that he can take down Nadal at his best at a slam. That was some years ago; maybe he will finally do justice to his great gifts. del Potro still hasn’t been back for a full year. He is a player who needs a long, long playing period to reach his best. Perhaps he will do so in the coming year. Perhaps not, too – nobody knows. Maybe the huge talents of Tsonga and Monfils will finally bear fruit on the big stage at least once. Easy to mock them now, but a man’s life is not written in stone, it can evolve, and there have been signs with both these two enigmatic Frenchmen that they have become more willing to buckle down and do the business. Each has the ability to take down Nadal if they are able to fully harness their special gifts.

Then there is the question of Djokovic himself – will his ambition continue to burn as brightly? Hard to see why not.

The question of Federer is tantalising. He is for sure in the mix, but more from the point of view of Djokovic. It would be nice to see him playing Nadal in a semi-final at a slam – I think he’d have more chance of a win there.

So my hope is that 2012 will present plenty of surprise. The wings of time are tugging at Nadal’s shoulders whether he likes it or not. He can only, realistically, have two more years at the outside to be sure of achieveing his ambition – which will certainly be to overhaul Federer’s slam record. Even with Djokovic less dominant, this will be hard (I once thought it would be automatic).


margot Says:

jane: re your thinking about Andy….I like it..:)


mat4 Says:

Interesting interview of Marian Vajda:

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


Swiss Maestro Says:

interesting view points about rafa’s year. i tend to side with kimberly/ben. they have the data :)

that said, this year feels a lot like roger’s own 2008. so maybe if novak has some let down, rafa will right the ship next year? the good think in novak’s favor and very understated is his non-injury ability or whatever that is [ much like rogi or sampras]. while rafa has regularly missed slams due to injuries [either withdrawing or saying no mas somewhere in the middle of the tournament], novak has never withdrawn. did he ever miss a slam due to an injury?

roger has 44 slams on the trot without missing [4th behind wayne ferreira, edberg and santoro]. novak must atleast be at 22 by my estimate. nadal is on the other hand due to withdraw from a major as per previous data [ he skipped 06 ao, 09 wimbledon] that’s once in 3years. this could be another factor in the trivalry.

the biggest factor though, obviously, is mr. murray. he has made 4slam semis this year. can he build on it to do some substantial damage?


jane Says:

Thanks mat4 – good interview. The discussion about working on topspin to Nole’s backhand, so he learned to “put it down” was interesting w.r.t. to his matches with Rafa, also the serve and making his forehand more aggressive.

Hearing all that makes me wonder once again if Murray could use a coach he trusts / likes / works well with too. Just finding those little keys…


jamie Says:

Vadja >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Uncle Toni


Brando Says:

Excellent interview. I think vadja is correct. The real improvements for nole in his game have been: 1- serve, 2- forehand ( more aggressive). Beyond that the physical and mental have improved also. BUT most importantly I think he is right saying that nole can hit winners with backhand and forehand on a consistent basis but with rafa it’s the forehand. Rafa needs to get his USO 2010 serve back and also flatten out his backhand- quit running around to his forehand. If he can do those 2 things, then along with his forehand he can improve against nole.


Ben Pronin Says:

Grendel it’s funny you say that. I always felt that Djokovic had the game to dominate. Snce 07 he’s shown us that he can play on all surfaces extremely well and I felt like, if he could ever get his act together, he’d surely complete the career slam. I definitely didn’t foresee this utter dominance but it doesn’t surprise me at all the way so many others seem to be shocked.

But his head case issues made it hard to believe he’d ever achieve all of this. That’s why, every time he added to his streak or title count this year, everyone wondered whether he’d be able to keep it up. The game was certianly always there as far as I know but the mentality is what has let his game finally flourish and achieve it’s full potential.

Bodo reposted his 07 article referring to Novak as the perfect player. I can’t post the link due to certain incnveniances at the moment but it’s worth a read considering how true it is all these years later.


Brando Says:

Just took a quick look at the rankings to see that Murray is 1,215 points behind federer. Murray could finish the year as world no. 3, though he still has alot to defend. He has a 4-6 record against nole, does anyone here feel that maybe muzza can give nole a tougher time than federer going forward? I ask this since andy shall be 25 next year- peak age for tennis, while rog shall be 31.


grendel Says:

@jane: “it isn’t as drastic a metamorphosis as its made out to be.” What’s drastic is the level of success which noone foresaw, although Ben says he has long felt Djokovic had the game to dominate (I remember a Sensational Safin post about 4 years ago which spelt out lucidly just how good Djokovic was and why – wish I could remember the details) as apparently has Bodo. So I don’t think people are saying Djokovic has suddenly transformed his game. Roddick, when questioned some months ago, attributed Djokovic’s success to confidence. Nadal puts it most tellingly in the interview above:

“he’s having less mistakes than before. In my opinion, that’s all. He’s enough confident in every moment to keep believing in one more ball, one more ball. So that’s why. I think his forehand is not more painful than before; his backhand is not more painful than before; he serve the same”.

But earlier, Nadal had sounded this warning note:” But when one very good player stays with that confidence and winning so many matches. And the matches that he normal win and the matches that you can win, you can lose, and you keep winning, and the matches you have a big chance to lose you keep winning, the season is probably impossible to repeat.”

Whilst Nadal’s comment is in a way objective – he is also laying down a challenge. Remains to be seen whether he can successfully deliver it. It boils down to two things: 1) does he have the tools? for instance, most experts no longer believe Federer has the tools to beat Nadal in a 5 setter. And Boris Becker and no doubt other significant beasts of the game similarly do not feel Nadal has the equipment to take on a rampant Djokovic. But this brings up 2). In sport, as in life generally, chance, luck, serendipity call it what you will, plays an important role. This year, things, on the whole, have gone Djokovic’s way. Next year?


Michael Says:

Mem. Your comments when u say Grendel, this is so funny! Dt 14.9 is a masterpiece. You r spot on with yr analysis. I would just like to add that the Serb is desperate for attention and popularity but he will never ever match Rafa in that regard.


Ben Pronin Says:

I think it’s a little unfair for Nadal to, maybe, complain that a lot of matches happened to fall Djokovic’s way when maybe they shouldn’t have. How many absurdly close matches has Nadal won in his career? Until this year, pretty much all of them. And when you look at Federer’s 3 year period when he only lost 15 matches (still absurd, regardless of Novak’s 1 year, Federer is absolutely absurd) there were plenty that were nail biters that he could’ve lost but didn’t.

But Djokovic has also addressed this very often this year. He’s constantly repeating how at the top level, the difference is just a few points here and there. I think it took him a long time to realize this, actually, and it’s what has helped his success this year. Understanding that, if he hangs in there, there’s always a chance. Wow, amazing how these champions mimic each other. Federer mentioned this as to why he’s never retired and even though Nadal may have a retire here and there, really, how many times has this guy come back from the brink?


Skeezerweezer Says:

Ben,

Good points.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Ben,

You play Tennis, right? How many times do you feel the match is on your racket, even though it may not be. Every great competitor wants to believe they can control there win, so when they lose one, especially when it is close, its major denial syndrome. Sometimes, the other player is just better than you that day. I beleive that these 6 matches Rafa lost to Nole was simply that. Sure, they were close, a few points either way, but when a pattern develops and he is always on top….well….he got lucky 6 times in a row? Or Rafa shoulda woulda coulda 6 times in a row?

I think it is hard for these top athletes to admit (inside) that the other player had much to do with it. Sometimes me thinks interviews are just neccesary platitiudes to be kosher. After all, it takes belief in ones self that you can do it, and you don’t ever want to get a point or lose a point on someone elses racket, no?

To say the other player was better, no matter what i could do, is a defeatest statement. But then again sometimes it is really just the truth.


Skeezerweezer Says:

^and you don’t ever want to get a point or lose a point on someone elses racket, no?

Err does that make sense? Need some confirmation or correction.


Ben Pronin Says:

That makes sense. I agree mostly unless I’m playing a counter puncher aka pusher. Then it really is on my racquet because it’s up to me to come up with the goods.

I don’t think Gilles Simon ever considers a match on his racquet.


Dan Martin Says:

Ben and Skeezer – do you think the odd and even hetrodox styles of Dolgopolov and Tomic might represent the first real experimentation in how to beat the top players of the first string generation? Maybe the second generation to grow up with these strings is going to be throwing off pace slices and sling shot style strokes like it is normal when today it seems like heresy. Where do you see the luxilon arms race heading next?


Ben Pronin Says:

Until Dolgopolov and Tomic put up legitimate results, I don’t think their styles will take off.

Djokovic has Nadal-ified his game quite a bit, even though no one seems to notice. He’s added a heavy top spin forehand to his repertoire that he never used before. That super cross court forehand that he hits is something that, quite frankly, was never hit with any regularity before.

I think the future of the game is headed in an angled direction. Hitting through guys like Nadal and Djokovic is becoming impossible even on the fast courts at the US Open.

Dolgopolov is way too inconsistent for someone to emulate him. Where would you even start? He’s simply one of a kind. And Tomic is a junk baller who no one wants to mimic because he’s too easily destroyed.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Dan & Ben,

Seems as though in the big picture we are at the dominant era of backcourt play, but a hint of what is to come lies a liitle with the past and future. What? Creativity. Variety with balls. Fed still gives Nole the scariest of games with his variation, which Nole does not like. He has his wins aganst Fed, but its never easy.
Problem is, does Fed have the means to execute it all consistently anymore? Imo we will see some guys with more creativity and variety come back into play in the next few years and Pong tennis will be a thng of the past. I mean, how many times must we see a ball bounce over the net to determine a point? By someone who loses patience? Is that what this game is coming too?


Dan Martin Says:

No idea as to where it is headed. I do think a new string combination that accepts and intensifies slices so that a good approach shot barely bounces might be the only thing to bring chipping and charging back, but I do think kids growing up with these strings will do some unpredictable things. Obviously, the uber retrieving style is huge right now and during the last true tennis boom guys like Connors and Borg were slugging it out and the US Open moved from grass to green clay. Longer rallies are not a bad thing for the sport to garner casual fans it seems.


margot Says:

Dan: best, most fascinating matches are between a “slugger” and a “retriever.” Matches where players are just serving bombs at each other for ever, are SO boring. Equally rallies that go on for ever, cos neither can win a point.
Perhaps we should automatically put two these types of players against each other in draws. Now that would be something :)
PS. Of course I realise you can’t pigeon hole most players in this way.


grendel Says:

” Equally rallies that go on for ever, cos neither can win a point.” [i.e. are SO boring]. Not necessarily. As always, it depends on who is playing. There were some immensely long rallies in the recent final – most of them thrillers. In the end, if the skill is sufficiently high then, whatever the style, the result will be captivating.


skeezerweezer Says:

Players have a way of adapting tho the changes in the game i.e.; tech, surface. I believe more variety will come back into the game. Some of it has to do with how the young’s ones are taught also. IMHO, the transition game AND the tight way to attack the net, that is by attacking, not a by product of forcing a weak shot, is lost in todays game.

It is not going backward per se to the old days, rather than adapting and moving forward with the idea, how else can I win? The game has always had great backcourters who were successful, as well as some who had more of an attacking games towards the net.

On a side note, what has really been a new evolution, is the defensive game. There was hardly such a thing, and now how you can be playing defense and it an offensive shot from it.

Here is a clip for those interested with the great Boris Becker vs Stefen Edberg. You’ll see how no one attacks the net properly now compared to an Edberg, the master. Some here post that the game has changed and you can’t do this. I have always disagreed. It’s not taught properly, and it will come back someday. You’ll also notice plenty of back court passing shots and actually a pretty diverse fun game going on between the 2. Lobs, service return winners, touch shots, angles, etc.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvO5Wh33icc&feature=related


margot Says:

grendel, yes, if it resembles a chess match, I’ll agree.


grendel Says:

nice trip down memory lane, skeezer. I was just thinking that not only was Edberg a much better volleyer than Becker – what an artiste, eh, if you compare him to Becker or Sampras, say – but, on the evidence of this clip, an incomparably more skilful passer too. What a lovely follow through Edberg had on his bh slice, the last word on athletic elegance. As an old Becker man, I was left scratching my head – Becker was generally pretty competitive with Edberg, not too much evidence of that here – and then I saw that the whole clip was a sort of tribute to Edberg. Hmm. Their rivalry was real, at least in Becker’s head – he was on record as hating being beaten above all by Edberg (one could never be quite sure what the cool, slightly hangdog Edberg made of it all) – and they were so very different in style that their matches were nearly always compelling. Yes, both serve and volley men and yet utterly different.

What about those shorts, eh? Made young Becker look like a butcher’s boy with those big fat hams. Whilst Edberg resembled a world weary singer caught in his underpants.


jane Says:

Full chortle for grendel’s shorts comments: didn’t have to go back and look at pictures either as both set of gams conjured perfectly in my head. :)


TONY Says:

I do not have a comment as much as a question for Nadal. I think Nadal is a great tennis player but I wonder why he has to tug at his back side so often, especially when he is serving. Both first and second serve. Maybe changing his under garments would help. I wish Nadal continued success and a long career.


Skeezerweezer Says:

grendel, yes back then men weren’t afraid to show off there legs ….hehe. Thought Becker was Mr. cool back then to play a competitive tennis match with a tennis vest on, very suave. Now, its a mens version of ladies Skorts and a modified t shirt, go figger.

Oh by the way, (please note Mr. Nadal) they actually wore jock straps.


Kimberly Says:

wow, y’all have much more variety than me…i basically stay at the baseline, take it early, hit it flat, and keep it deep. When I get a short ball I move in and end the point (one way or the other). That about sums up my game.


grendel Says:

Not one for the old transition, eh Kimberley?


alison hodge Says:

@tony and skeezer i cannot stop laughing my head off at your posts,lol,lol,lol,honestly my sides are hurting.

Top story: Rafael Nadal: I'm Not Happy About Today, I'm Not Happy With How I Played
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