Andy Murray: I Haven’t Played My Best In Slam Finals, That’s Something I’ll Have To Change
by Tom Gainey | January 9th, 2012, 10:22 am
  • 193 Comments

The Age’s Linda Pearce put together an great Q&A with Andy Murray following his big title in Brisbane.

Pearce quizzed Murray on a variety of topics. On Ivan Lendl, Murray said the former great and “funny guy” is trying to get the Scot to play even harder for every point.

“We’ve spoken about things to practise, certain drills to do on the practice court, and then when I’m on the match court, just to play every point like it’s going to be my last one, and fight as hard as you can,” he said. “Give 100 per cent, and send the message to the rest of the players that each time they step on the court against you it’s going to be a very tough match.”

Murray also pointed out that Lendl was labeled a “choker” early in his career after losing his first four Slam finals, but then he turned it around going on become one of the all time greats.

And in those three finals Murray knows he faced serious competition: “When I’ve lost in the finals I’ve lost to [Roger] Federer twice, who’s one of the best players ever, and obviously [Novak] Djokovic last year went on to have probably the best year ever, so it’s not like I’ve lost to guys that I’ve been better than; I just maybe haven’t played my best in the slam finals, so that’s something that I’ll have to change when I get there next time,” he told Pearce.

Murray added that he felt he should never have finished 2011 ranked No. 4. Injuries at the end curtailed his hopes and you can tell his poor finish is still on his mind.

Murray will be the No. 4 seed when the draw is revealed on Friday.

Click here for the full interview.


Also Check Out:
Andy Roddick: I Haven’t Played My Best Since April 2009
Andy Murray: I Feed Tired Mentally, Haven’t Slept Much
Roger Federer: The One Thing I Would Change At The US Open Is The Final Weekend Schedule
Andy Murray: It’s Been Very Beneficial Having Lendl Around, I’ve Learned A Lot Already
Rafael Nadal: My Shoulder Is Much Better; Changing Racquets Is A Risk

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193 Comments for Andy Murray: I Haven’t Played My Best In Slam Finals, That’s Something I’ll Have To Change

margot Says:

Come on Andy! You can do it! Being very, very scared of what His Highness Ivan The Terrible will do if you don’t, should be motivation enough :)


AO2012 Says:

“…. following his big title in Brisbane.”

lol!!


Ajet Says:

To be honest, this is what I wanted from murray… to realize that he hasn’t played his best (not even close to his!) in any of his previous slam finals! The day he changes it, the day he really wants to win, he’LL win his 1st slam, coz a federer/nadal who has already won so many slams or even djoker, can never have that terrible hunger in them the way murray can arouse in himself, realising its need; add that to murray’s true talent(which is HUGE HUGE AND HUGER THAN MOST EXCEPT FED), his unlmited variety, his sft hand, his speed, all this makes a DEADLY comination which’s more than enough to win at least one slam this year, if not more!

C’MON MURRAY, SHOW THEM WHAT YOU GOT!!!


carlo Says:

Brisbane wasn’t a ‘big’ title for Andy but it was a good show of his form, particularly against Baghdatis. Dolgopolov’s injury made the Brisbane final a bit more lifeless than what otherwise might have been. But Andy is looking great for AO!

Lots of reason for optimism. Go Andy!


grendel Says:

An interesting interview with Andy Murray in today’s London Times. The journalist is Neil Harman.I select a few extracts:

“In many respects [the criticism he has received] has been fair,” he said. “It’s something I’ll get better at. The good thing is that it is that [his behaviour] and not something that is glaringly obvious that’s wrong in my game – that needs to improve…………You can break a racket, but if you serve an ace next point, that is what matters. In the first two rounds this week, I was angry with myself a few times, but I kept coming up with first serves. There were two break points against Muller and I hit 2 first serves back to back. So long as you have a clear head when the next point starts, that’s what matters.”

re Lendl:”It’s only been 4 days but just the way he operates is good for me. We finished the match today, he was straight to the airport, it’s “see you on Tuesday”. He understands the way it needs to work. He won’t be onto me every single minute of the day but the time we spend together will be honest, open, good fun. He’s not worried about today’s match, or the day before, or the Open, he is worried about putting in the right work, giving everything”.

It was quite an illuminating interview. At one stage, he said he was not – off court – an angry man, and he never got into fights. This was convincing. There were some aspects of the interview which in a sense wrung a few alarm bells – and yet in another sense didn’t. Didn’t in that if everything had been absolutely reasonable, any ordinary reader would have found his eyes glazing over. If Lendl is truly to have an influence on him, then one would expect some of the lessons to be rather painful, for there to be a certain amount of resistance and so on.

So Murray agrees that his behaviour needs changing , but instantly points out that his anger in the recent Brisbane tourney had done him no harm at all. He had just commented on Djokovic, remarking that he can go completely nuts, and still win. But it’s exactly this ability not to get immersed in self-recrimination, to be able to let off steam and then instantly let it go, which Djokovic is able to do and, on big occasions at least, Murray has shown he can’t do. Bringing up a small tourney like Brisbane is neither here nor there. That said, Murray has gone some way to recognizing there is a problem – and that, for the time being, may be enough. It is Lendl’s job to dispense the medicine in stages, which build upon each other.

It was noticeable, too, that Murray doesn’t accept anything in his game needs changing. This begs the obvious question of the forehand and Lendl, he of the mighty forehand, is likely, one would have thought, to have something to say about that. But, again, it’s no good charging into a sensitive subject like this. Any great craftsman is going to take some persuading that one of his major weapons is deficient. That’s where trust comes in, I guess, and that doesn’t flower overnight.


carlo Says:

Pondering the questions can give me a headache, grendel. It’s too soon to tell what will happen with Lendl.

Brisbane is yet another title and moves Murray up to #32 in Career Title Leaders – even with Goran Ivanisevic at 22 titles.

Murray is just too good not to have a couple GS titles (another Murray mantra). He’ll do it. His illustrious new coach is #2 on the Career Title list with 94.

I love this chart which breaks down titles won to surfaces, ect.

http://www.tennis28.com/titles/career.html


jane Says:

Interesting excerpts and questions grendel. I think you’re right. The fact that Murray is listening and open to change at the moment is what matters more than the actual words he uses in a press conference. In other words, his saying or implying that it’s good that the main issue isn’t with his game but rather his behaviour doesn’t necessarily mean that he doesn’t think there are aspects of his game that could be improved. He may know that. As you say, too, Lendl can introduce those things slowly and work on the relationship /trust first.

carlo – great chart. Thanks for posting it as I’d never seen it before.


Michael Says:

Murray – Roger is not one of the best players ever as you have put it. He is the “BEST EVER”.


Michael Says:

To win a major, Murray needs overall transformation in his mental attitude and must acquire fine playing sense. I think Murray played his best at 2010 Australian Open against Roger. Any other player across the net that day other than Roger and Murray would have realized his dream. But Roger was at his scintillating best and Murray could do nothing about and he was a little bit unlucky towards the end of third set. Nobody knows what would have happened if Murray had won that third set and the point is whether Roger would have maintained his level in the 4th and 5th sets. That being said, still the edge was with Roger. But gones are bygones and there is point in regretting that missed opportunity. The other two finals, Murray got whacked one by Roger at US Open and by Djokovic at Australian Open. Ofcourse Murray can still win a major. He should start believing in that. May be Lendl can feed up with confidence and instil in him a sense of purpose. His task would be easier if there is no Roger/Rafa/Novak at the other end of the net. But that is easier said than done. He should probably conquer the jinx that is haunting him.


carlo Says:

Glad you liked that page, Jane. It’s a nice little website but it took me awhile to realize clicking on the tennis balls takes you to the homepage – which is also a fun place to kill some time.

http://www.tennis28.com/slams/index.html


Skorocel Says:

Michael: “Murray – Roger is not one of the best players ever as you have put it. He is the “BEST EVER”.”

I knew that, sooner or later, that fish will bite, LOL ;-)


Michael Says:

Skorocel, There are only two players currently who can challenge Roger’s legacy – one is Nadal and the other is Novak. Nadal has been consumed by the flame of Novak and is wilting apart. Therefore, he is no longer a threat to Federer’s tally as it once looked like. He still can win some more French Opens but such accumulation will merely add the tally than give respectability. If he is acquire the status of invincibility then he should win the other majors but it is there Novak stands in his way and I am not quite sure about Nadal at the French too where Novak would be a potential threat. Next we have Novak and here I am not quite sure. Novak is a year younger than Nadal and he has already four majors under his belt. The year 2012 will be very crucial for him and if he once again repeats three slams this year then he would emerge as a potential threat to surpass the tally of Federer. But even that is a remote possibility and quite far fetched. Therefore, it is better to label Federer as THE GREATEST and assume that will stand in good stead for many more years to come.


grendel Says:

carlo – yes, intriguing chart. The sort of thing you can pull all sorts out of. For instance:
Borg at #5 in number of titles won, despite retiring at 26. You do have to wonder how many he might have won if he had really set his mind on it – this obsession with records business seems to be somewhat of a recent phenomenon. Here is Arthur Ashe on Borg:”I think Bjorn could have won the U.S. Open. I think he could have won the Grand Slam. But by the time he left, the historical challenge didn’t mean anything. He was bigger than the game. He was like Elvis or Liz Taylor or somebody.” And, just for good measure, Ilya Nastase:”We’re playing tennis, and he’s playing something else”. And incidentally, if Nadal beats Borg’s record at RG this year, it should be remembered Borg was prevented from playing one year – and also of course there’s the early retirement.

Another titbit: Peter Doohan at #338 with 1 tourney. Peter Who, I hear you asking? Well, he’s the lad who spiked Becker’s dreams in his 3rd Wimbledon, and provoked the famous remark:”It wasn’t a war out there, nobody died, I just lost a tennis match”. I saw that remark being made live, and to get the full flavour of it, you needed to see Becker’s expression. Because it has often been taken to indicate a sense of proportion, it’s only sport and so on. In fact, Becker was making the best of things with this very clever remark – he was clearly livid and damn near heartbroken, but that will not have gone down in the record books.

Item:languishing at #261, with a huge number of other players, is Olivier Rochus. But his two tourney wins were within 1 point of becoming 3 wins, at the expense of – Roger Federer! (Halle).

Other interesting 2 tourney winners – Santana, he of the silky skills and the first Spaniard to win Wimbledon; Raonic, surely at the start of a big haul; Florian Mayer, probably at the end and a player who could have achieved so much more. And look who’s also there at #261, Marian Vajda, Djokovic’s coach,big tease Darren Cahill, everybody’s and nobody’s coach – and here, sprinting up on the inside are two more chronic underachievers, Feliciano Lopez and Gulbis – just holding off a man who makes the very most of what he’s got, Tipsarevic.

And so it goes on – at 338, Wilhelm Bungert, you have to be exceedingly ancient to have heard of him. First time I’ve seen his name in decades: ever wondered how Emerson managed to get so many grand slams? Partly, because he played people like Bungert in the Wimbledon final…

And so it goes on. here’s an endless number of little stories one can extract from that chart. We’re all in your debt, Carlo


Ajet Says:

”Skorocel Says:
Michael: “Murray – Roger is not one of the best players ever as you have put it. He is the “BEST EVER”.”

I knew that, sooner or later, that fish will bite, LOL ;-)”

Me too, LOL ;)


Ajet Says:

novak currently is in not a position to challenge even nadal’s place in history, let alone federer’s! I don’t think novak’ll be able to reapeat his magic this year again. however am quite wary of nadal displacing fed from the highest spot(GS tally-wise). That said, I am not among those who think federer is the greatest player ever in history, am not too sure about it. I think we can’t compare eras and all that, and it’s really difficult to determine who’s really the best ever. Of course I feel Fed is the most complete player in history and none can play better than him on his day, however, there are too many factors which needs consideration before declaring ANY ONE PLAYER once and for all, above the rest. Although even I cannot deny that Federer, if wins, one or two more slams(i think he has still one left in him, but only one, and not more!), then within the kind of consistency he has shown over the years, the kind of aura he has had once, the game, the mental toughness of proving himself as a threat year after year after year, the second-to-absolutely-none talent, humility, pragmaticness, his passion etc., federer is nearest to finally being termed the greatest ever, though only relatively…


aliso hodge Says:

micheal out of the two men rafa and nole,i think rafa would be the one most likely to threaten rogers legacy,nole would firstly have to threaten rafas legacy,and win the next six slams and hope rafa does not win another slam,IMO I WOULD SAY THERES MORE CHANCE OF RAFA THREATENING ROGERS LEGACY THAN THERE IS OF NOLE THREATENING ROGER OR RAFAS LEGACY,UNTILL THEN I WOULD SAY THEY ARE ALL AMAZING IN THERE OWN RIGHTS,AND WE SHOULD JUST LOVE THEM FOR PLAYING AMAZING TENNIS WHOEVER WE SUPPORT.


Ajet Says:

However, my most revered humble and graceful champion of all time is Bjorn Borg, he had only belief in himslf and his supremacy, but he never ever behaved arrogant. Youngsters IMO need to look up to him to learn many great qualitites from him, like his fighting spirit, his work ethics, his colness, his humility, and last but not the least great tennis and athleticism too! Borg’s the nicest and finest champ ever. Fed though is a gifted gited player, and mostly humble, but even he appears quite arrogant at times, in comparison to borg, isn’t it.

So much, just so much difference in character, nature and behaviour between borg and mcenroe!


Ajet Says:

And by the way, handsome guys like borg and fed and strong guys like rafa make us proud to be called MEN :D


Ajet Says:

sorry btw for the spelling mistakes, the one which most immediately needs correction is ‘colness’, t’s coolnesss of borg of course, I meant!


aliso hodge Says:

SORRY ABOUT THE CAPITAL LETTERS IN MY LAST POST,IT WAS NOT DONE LIKE THAT OUT OF A TEMPER TANTRUM,I ACCIDENTLY PUSHED A BUTTON SOMEWHERE ON MY COMPUTER AND CANNOT FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET IT OFF.BY THE WAY GREAT POST AGAIN AJET.


Ajet Says:

oops, it’s coolness of borg of course, i meant ;)


Tennislover Says:

grendel- I see that you seem to have made an exception for the Lendl-Murray situation so far as the utility of coaching is concerned. Are you thinking of deserting the Frew Mcmillan camp? :-)

I myself think coaching can help even the top players. Of course, the improvements are likely to be incremental in case of top players but, in a game of tiny margins, that could make a lot of difference. Even the very best can fall into bad habits and a pair of sharp eyes can help there as well. The more important thing is to have someone who you can bounce ideas with. Tactics and strategy and the mental aspects of the game probably are the areas even a very good player can work on and develop with a good coach.

I am not sure what to make of Mr. Lendl’s entry into the Murray camp though. I’d like to think Murray needs a good sports psychologist much more than a good coach. He probably needs some inspiration and not more perspiration. He works hard enough and, despite the perennial issues, I think his game is good enough. I am nobody to question his intelligence but I have very mixed feelings regarding this latest development although it has been hailed almost universally. I just hope it works out well for Murray. He can not afford to continue to waste his enormous gifts. There is only so much time the window of opportunity remains open for.

One thing about Borg. While it is natural to speculate about what might have been, I think he was mentally absolutely drained. Something probably told him that he was no longer the top dog. Once that slight mental edge goes, it becomes very difficult especially for insanely focused players like Borg. I’d like to believe that he would have found it very difficult to win another major even though the odds on him winning one must have been pretty short before he announced his retirement. You just never know when the tap will dry up. Wilander won three majors in 1988 but nothing thereafter.

By the way, I replied to your post on the “Uh Oh, Does Roger Federer Have A Bad Back?” thread. I hope you read it.


Michael Says:

Ajet, I don’t agree with your contention that Borg was a greater Sportsperson than Federer ?? On and off Court Federer has displayed one of the finest qualities of sportsmanship though there might be some aberrations here and there. I have to say the current bunch of Tennis players have more sportsmanship spirit than yester year players say the era of Borg, Mcenroe, Connors, Lendl etc. where players behaved as if they were facing enemies on the other side and the play was just short of violence with all that shouting and yelling. Ofcourse I will leave out Borg who behaved differently but not the others. But still how many shots Borg admired of his opponents just like Novak does now-a-days. I see that as the highest quality of a true sportsperson and I put Novak on a higher pedestal than even Federer and Nadal. Federer is a great humantarian and his foundation has done yeomen services to the under privileged and have-nots. What is Borg’s contribution in this sphere of social activity ??? Absolutely nil. Even Nadal has emulated Federer in that department. I admire these players who think above Tennis than yester year players who just played for selfish reasons. Borg did not love Tennis as Federer does. He left Tennis at a young age since he was bored with the sport and the real reason was that he was not able to handle Mcenroe on court and the defeat that was inflicted on him at Wimbledon and US Open. That is definitely not the quality of a good Champion. A Champion should never leave the battle and should come back to prove himself as Federer is doing today despite some tough losses even losing matches at match points.


Michael Says:

Who asked Borg to retire at 26 ?? He didn’t retire due to injury problems, he retired because he was not able to handle Mcenroe. It is absolutely ridiculous to claim that he would have won more titles had he continued ? He did come back after two years but disappointed pretty badly losing to lesser ranked players. I am not belittling Borg in any way. I am just telling the facts as they are. I am too a great fan of Borg and I liked his style of play but it is very immature to compare him with Federer. I would put him second to Federer in the professional era just for protecting his legacy.


Everyone is entitled to my opinion Says:

Cahill was the magic bullet in Murray’s camp once, now it’s Llendl who is going to do wonders. So Llendl has advised him to play every point as if it’s his last? Where have I heard that before? Emulating Rafa, are we?


Skorocel Says:

Michael: „Federer is a great humantarian and his foundation has done yeomen services to the under privileged and have-nots. What is Borg’s contribution in this sphere of social activity ??? Absolutely nil.“

What does this have to do with Borg as a tennis player? Absolutely nil.

========

„I admire these players who think above Tennis than yester year players who just played for selfish reasons.“

Really? Where did you get this impression? I’d say that nowadays, they’re even more spoiled. Exho here, exho there, AND I’M NOT EVEN MENTIONING THE PRIZE MONEY, which, compared to yester year, has quadrupled x quadrupled x quadrupled x quadrupled x quadrupled…

========

„Borg did not love Tennis as Federer does.“

No comment…

========

„He (Borg) left Tennis at a young age since he was bored with the sport and the real reason was that he was not able to handle Mcenroe on court and the defeat that was inflicted on him at Wimbledon and US Open. That is definitely not the quality of a good Champion. A Champion should never leave the battle and should come back to prove himself as Federer is doing today despite some tough losses even losing matches at match points.“

Did Federer handle Nadal? Nope.


grendel Says:

Tennislover – yes, in your earlier post, you have the age about right; I’m glad you give a range, I decline to say at what end I am.. That bizarre story about Cowdrey is new to me, b.t.w., and slightly hard to credit – Cowdrey was very much of the old, stiff upper lip school, I always couple him in my mind with Peter May, another of the old school and even more gifted. The very great West Indian fast bowler Wes Hall used to enjoy his forrays with the bat, and when he timed the ball nicely would say with a broad beam:”Just like Peter May!”

About coaches, yes I rather shamefacedly alluded to my about turn the other day. Perhaps I am corrupted by the glamour of the Lendl aura – which is very considerable, actually. You say:”I’d like to think Murray needs a good sports psychologist much more than a good coach”.

This might be true, but it may also be the case – quite likely, in fact, if you think about it – that Murray would rather resent the attentions of such a creature, or not take him seriously anyway. So getting Lendl on board may actually be a rather clever way of sneaking a psychologist in through the back door. We shall see.

About Borg. Yes, I think the evidence is clear enough that Borg was all washed up (as Edward Robinson said to Fred McMurray in “Double Indemnity”). Michael says “he retired because he was not able to handle Mcenroe.” I must admit, I thought that at the time, but it has since become a controversial view and I doubt if anyone is in a position (apart from Borg himself)to be dogmatic about it. My real point was one of changing cultures. Borg had no interest in being #2, but there wasn’t at the time this curreent mania for amassing grand slams. If Borg had been aware of how the culture would evolve, surely he would have continued in this sense: he could very likely have won more French titles, he would have made more effort to go to Australia (so far as I know, he only played once), even if he recognized more Wimbledons were unlikely.

And b.t.w., the current fad for having charitable foundations is again just that – current. It is anachronistic to blame Borg for not joining a bandwaggon which did not then exist. Also, if very, very rich people, with far more money than they know what to do with, want to spend a tiny fraction of this loot on disadvantaged people, that is up to them. Personally, I rather like the Christian adage – let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth. I get rather tired of seeing rich people expecting to be applauded for their “good works”. Let the “good works” speak for themselves and have an end to it.


aliso hodge Says:

grendel i agree its not like these people are doing something that they cant afford to do anyway,so why do people make such a big deal about it,when its something they are choosing to do anyway,joe public that works at tescos,cant afford that luxury,so does that make him or her less of a person,just because they dont give to charities.


aliso hodge Says:

also dont get me wrong i love federer and nadal,who have done great work for there own foundations respectivly,but does than mean we should think any less of people who dont,or borg who didnt as it was not done at the time.


Dory Says:

I don’t mean to sound cruel but Andy Murray will not win a Slam as long as the big 3 are around. If he wins one, it will be his only one.


aliso hodge Says:

dory a bit of a contradiction there imo,1st you say he wont then your saying if he does hmm,and so what if he only wins one us brits will be delighted and proud of him no matter what,and even if he doesnt us brits will sit proud in the knowledge that at least he tried his best,and you cant do anymore than that whoever you are.


steve27 Says:

Comparing Borg ’s era with Federer ’s era is ridiculous, not only because Borg had 2 big rivals: Connors, and Mc Enroe, and for sure another great names, also the sport has changed a lot and of course money is 100 times – so to speak-superior. Needless to say nonsense. Furthermore, it is no coincidence that year after retiring Swedish, a teenager Wilander wins the French Open and a “mature” Connors won Wimbledon and U.S. Open final and winning in the semifinals of both tournaments to Big Mac. Needless to say nonsense. Furthermore, it is no coincidence that year after retiring the Swedish, a teenager Wilander wins the French Open and a “mature” Connors won Wimbledon and U.S. Open final and winning in the semifinals of both tournaments to Big Mac and more strange is Mc Enroe is was first and Connors was second. In addition the following year Noah won the French Open. Coincidence?. I think not. But let’s leave it. And finally, to the great players of Australia’s open them little interest. No need to “deify” to a player as good as is, and Federer not saved a human being with what it represents. Sins capitals, all I say.


Ajet Says:

Great replies by skorocel and grendel to michael.

And I am gonna add:
MICHAEL,
Don’t be so crazy as to think that borg retired because he couldn’t handle mcenroe. Borg had lost his interest, that’s all. Like Fed in his era, Borg was in his era, second to none! Who cares about mcenroe who had not even as much slams as connors, let alone borg! You’re talking as if borg was afraid of johnybrat, lol! Actually federer is the one who always chokes against nadal in biggest stages, yes, CHOKES.. and that’s why loses the matches he should have never lost, e.g. AO 09! If fed has been slightly less tight, then he mighta easily pushed nadal to five sets eve at RG 11! but he’ll never do it! It’s one thig to lose to a better layer, which is not the case however when fed meets rafa on non-clay; but to lose from winning positions like he often does is eve more ridiculous! and nadal beat the crap out of federer at miami last year too, remember??? And you still talk of borg handling mcenroe!!! hello, borg hasn’t faced johnymac even once on his favoured surface and still has 7-7 h2h and that also being 3-4 years older! what record fedboy holds against rafa on his favourite outdoor hardcourt where he has stalked up 9 slams??? A 1-5 deficit vs rafa the last time I checked, and still handled his rival better than borg, eh??!! Gimme a break!

And fed was also trying to prove his superiority at the battle-of-surfaces exo between him and nadal back in 2007! No mater how much you spin it, Fed was trying very hard to beat Rafa, but he LOST! And fed’s also losing to rafa in most of the exos on HCs, to which people keep saying as if fed was only complacent while rafa was over-trying, LOL! ;)

And so far as doing humanitarian work goes, it’s the trend of the day, every filthy rich fat@$$ does it either in the belief of going to heaven or for more publicity! It’s actually the average people in the world who’re the unsung heroes, who cannot set up foundations, yet they help the needy without any desire of recognition or reward or perks! And they do it from their hard-earned money, at the cost of their own comfort even, not like fed/nadal who would play charity matches to collect money, so difficult it’s for them to donate even a few hundred thousand $$$ from their accounts! that’s a fact! So nothing special about fed doing it! Even rafa, roddick and every tom, dick and harry does it! And that’s why I don’t buy this Fed and co. are the Believe me, everyone’s doing some sort of humanitarian work, not fed alone!

Moreover, what has this to do with how good a player fed or borg is??? Fed crazily whines when he loses sometimes, but borg did not. That’s what being a more humbled champion is all about. And don’t bring connors or johnymac into conversation as I’ve not at all mentioned them, I don’t give a rats @$$ about them in comparison to borg, they neither had the game nor the classy attitude nor the character of borg nor are they the equal or superior of borg! They’re placed below borg, both in achievement and in class! Borg was, borg is and borg will till the end of days be placed above them in tennis echeleons!


Ajet Says:

Great replies by skorocel and grendel to michael.

And I am gonna add:
MICHAEL,
Don’t be so crazy as to think that borg retired because he couldn’t handle mcenroe. Borg had lost his interest, that’s all. Like Fed in his era, Borg was in his era, second to none! Who cares about mcenroe who had not even as much slams as connors, let alone borg! You’re talking as if borg was afraid of johnybrat, lol! Actually federer is the one who always chokes against nadal in biggest stages, yes, CHOKES.. and that’s why loses the matches he should have never lost, e.g. AO 09! If fed has been slightly less tight, then he mighta easily pushed nadal to five sets eve at RG 11! but he’ll never do it! It’s one thig to lose to a better layer, which is not the case however when fed meets rafa on non-clay; but to lose from winning positions like he often does is eve more ridiculous! and nadal beat the crap out of federer at miami last year too, remember??? And you still talk of borg handling mcenroe!!! hello, borg hasn’t faced johnymac even once on his favoured surface and still has 7-7 h2h and that also being 3-4 years older! what record fedboy holds against rafa on his favourite outdoor hardcourt where he has stalked up 9 slams??? A 1-5 deficit vs rafa the last time I checked, and still handled his rival better than borg, eh??!! Gimme a break!

And fed was also trying to prove his superiority at the battle-of-surfaces exo between him and nadal back in 2007! No mater how much you spin it, Fed was trying very hard to beat Rafa, but he LOST! And fed’s also losing to rafa in most of the exos on HCs, to which people keep saying as if fed was only complacent while rafa was over-trying, LOL! ;)

And so far as doing humanitarian work goes, it’s the trend of the day, every filthy rich fat@$$ does it either in the belief of going to heaven or for more publicity! It’s actually the average people in the world who’re the unsung heroes, who cannot set up foundations, yet they help the needy without any desire of recognition or reward or perks! And they do it from their hard-earned money, at the cost of their own comfort even! Not like fed/nadal who would play charity matches to collect money, so difficult it’s for them to donate even a few hundred thousand $$$ from their accounts! that’s a fact! So nothing special about fed doing it! Even rafa, roddick and every tom, dick and harry does it! And that’s why I don’t buy this ‘Fed and co. are the only saints’ argument! Believe me, everyone’s doing some sort of humanitarian work, not fed alone!

Moreover, what has this to do with how good a player fed or borg is??? Fed crazily whines when he loses sometimes, but borg did not. That’s what being a more humbled champion is all about. And don’t bring connors or johnymac into conversation as I’ve not at all mentioned them, I don’t give a rats @$$ about them in comparison to borg, they neither had the game nor the classy attitude nor the character of borg nor are they the equal or superior of borg! They’re placed below borg, both in achievement and in class! Borg was, borg is and borg will till the end of days be placed above them in tennis echeleons!


Drake Says:

Federer and Borg are both amazing champions why do we always have to pick one above the other. They both have their own qualities why can’t we just love both, instead of bashing fed in favor of borg or vice versa.


Ajet Says:

Drake:

Thanks for putting some sanity back here. The problem here is nobody here is willing to listen if anyone says that any person other than fed or rafa is humbler or nicer champion than these two! They suddenly jump up telling how they won slams on all surfaces, how they faced more athletic guys and all that. But the point is eras don’t compare. All the great players were great in their own times, like fed is in his. So why bring others down? And I didn’t even call borg a better or more complete player than roger, or greatest ever or anything like that, just more humble and nice and classier and cool. But some won’t let you do even that and jump up bringing unrelated things in the thread to prove federer’s godliness and holiness! That’s why it goes out of hand at times really!


Drake Says:

I get that but you do kinda the same thing as the fed or nadal fans, as you attacked federer in support of borg. I personnally like federer more then borg as a player and person but I’m not going to attack borg as I think it’s all just a personal preference.


margot Says:

tennislover and grendel: a shrink came on board when Andy injured his wrist a few years ago. Andy didn’t really take to him/it.
alison @ 10.50 am., well said!


alison hodge Says:

hi margot your welcome,its in my nature to defend our guy,i cant help it i love him.


Ajet Says:

Thanks for making me realise my fault Drake. However the only thing which I said before michael’s post is that fed is arrogant at times while borg wasn’t, that’s all..


carlo Says:

grendel. I did the same – looked down the list of titleholders marveling at some names there. As you say, endless stories – many forgotten, many just starting – like Raonic with 2 or Dogopolov, 1.

The Top Ten Year End Ranking page was equally captivating:

http://www.tennis28.com/rankings/yearend_topten.html

I also look at the pages and stats wondering somewhat about weak eras vs more strong ones. But, I can’t tell one way or another.


grendel Says:

some spirited posts,Ajet – I like your style, and also the way you handle correction, not many of us are much good at that.

carlo, absolutely captivating, as you say! One point does emerge. We’ve had the same top 4 for the last 4 years, and that’s unique – whether that means the standard is higher, I am not sure. But it probably means it’s tougher for those just below to break through. Also, same top 3 for the last 5 years. And Fed and Nadal in top 4 for last 7 years. The last comparable gathering, so to speak, was 1981-84 – same top 3 for 4 years, McEnroe, Connors and Lendl.

margot – not surprised; hence the need for back door…….


carlo Says:

Saying the standard is higher or lower is still, imo, a matter of preference. I can’t find the weakness looking at top titleholders, GS, Rankings history, ect.

It’s a good website to have bookmarked when certain questions arise, grendel. There is some fun information there about GS’s: 5 set matches, age of GS appearances in qtrs, semis, finals, ect.

Has to be terribly difficult to crack the top 4, as you say. Federer has been top 10 for a decade now! Most of that time ruling in the duopoly with Nadal, of course. Murray is very consistent, isn’t he. Year-End #4 since 2008 and time for his reward.


Michael Says:

Skorocel, The fact that I brought the humantarian angle is to highlight the humanism factor in Federer. Not just Federer, but even Nadal. Nothing more and nothing less. Yesteryear players never cared other than Tennis and making big money. Whatever said and done that is a good quality which we should appreciate.

True my second point holds valid when my first point is a fact. Prize money being quadrupuled is not the players fault. It only signifies that the Game is getting more popular which is good for the Sport and the current players truly deserve every penny they earn for sure.

Did Federer handle Nadal ? Yes for sure. Federer is still handling Nadal and has not run away from the field. He recently thrashed Nadal at the World Series which you are well aware of. The lop sided H2H is more due to the fact that Nadal leads 12-2 on Clay surfaces where he is a monster but now that is also being tamed by Novak. It is 5-4 on hard courts and 2-1 on Grass in Roger’s favour still and Federer is five years older than Nadal for your information. When you point out the H2H what you have to say about Nadal’s H2H against Davydenko where the latter is leading 6-8 and he is six years older than Nadal.


Michael Says:

Ajet, First I would like to point out that I would like to take nothing away from Borg. He was a great Champion and I am a great fan of him. He was humble and earned the name ice cool. All these are facts.

Borg ran away only because of Mcenroe and there is no other reason. And you say about choke, Borg choked at Wimbledon 1981 against Mcenroe. A match he should have won leading in the second and fourth sets by a break. But yet he badly lost. Federer too choked in big moments not only against Nadal but against many other players and recently Djokovic at the US Open. He is a human afterall and he has emotions and tension. He cannot win every match for sure. I cannot birfurcate Hard courts into outdoor and indoor. But in Hard courts generally it is 5-4 in favour of Federer against Nadal.

Do you like to know why you know most about the players of today than yester years, it is technology and media revolution and the news is reaching us quicker and for all to see. We have Internets and all those stuff today which were not there during the era of Borg and therefore many of their after match interviews never reached the public.


Michael Says:

Grendal, Charitable foundations did not exist then ? If those yesteryear players had the heart they would have done philanthrophy voluntarily. Even among the current crop of players we have only very few doing that namely Federer, Nadal and Novak and remember Roger’s Foundation spend millions of dollars and not just peanut money for the under privileged. If helping others is not a sign of goodness, then what else is ?????


Michael Says:

Ajet, Yes it is seven a piece between Borg and Mcenroe. But it is 3-1 in majors in favour of Mcenroe and in Masters too Mcenroe has the edge. Borg got the better of Mcenroe only in small tournaments.


Michael Says:

Skorocel, Federer is 15-2 against Davydenko whereas Nadal is 6-8 against Davydenko ? What do you infer from this please ?????????


margot Says:

Michael: I recommend Tignor’s wonderful “High Strung” if you haven’t read it. He puts a very strong case that Borg left tennis because of Mac. Interesting because this also did for Mac very quickly afterwards. He had one more great year and that was it. He had always considered Borg to be the one player worthy to be his (Mac’s) rival! Without Borg he was lost.
BTW many, many players do “good works” with their money, both Andys for a start. It’s just that they get less publicity. However, in this instance I share grendel’s opinion that giving is a private matter. We have interesting instance in UK, Chris Martin and “Coldplay” have for years and years been very quietly raising hundreds of thousands for a London charity called “Kidscape.” Only came to light because they’ve just done a massive concert at the O2 to raise more money.


Michael Says:

Margot, Thanks for recommending that book of Tignor. I will surely try to get a copy as soon as I can.

Although Borg’s sympathziers might claim otherwise and say that he was bored of Tennis and this and that stuff, the fact is that he left Tennis purely because of Mcenroe. He just could not tolerate Mcenroe dominating him in court. The consecutive defeats at Wimbledon and US had its toll and Borg quit to disappoint the whole Tennis World which was eagerly awaiting his fight back. He did try to come back after two years but came a cropper. Now this man named Borg who was so bored of Tennis is playing it now as a veteran against erstwhile players for what – money ???? He spoilt his career with his intemperate decision by quitting at such a young age and now suddenly as a veteran he discovers his love for the sport – That is bull shit. I repeat, he quit because he could not tolerate defeats inflicted by Mcenroe repeatedly in major events.

Regarding the set part of charity, yes I agree that is individual’s personal choice. But there is no wrong in appreciating if somebody does that. Roger is not in politics and he is in Sports and as such he has no compulsion for charity. Yet, he has the heart and does that for his satisfaction and his Foundation pours millions of dollars into this noble cause. You remember immediately after the Australian Open triumph against Murray, he went to Ehiopia to mingle with the under privileged Children and he infact caught up with flu during this visit which affected his play immediately afterwards. There was no compulsion for Federer to take such a risk but still he goes because there is plenty of humaneness in him. On the other hand, you have players like Borg, Mcenroe, Lendl and Connors playing exhibitions for money even during during Davis cup events. May be I will leave out Mcenroe out of this because he made it a point not to miss the Davis Cup but yet those players only used their time to make up money during their past time. Ofcourse it is their personal decision, but yet I find a perciptible difference between the attitudes of players and in this case Federer stands shoulder and above these past champions. Not just Federer, Nadal, Novak, Andy and even Soderling are into this noble cause and I very much appreciate it. As you said some get less publicity but you should not demean their service.


Michael Says:

Those harping on the H2H of Nadal against Federer such think about his awful record against Davydenko who is nearly six years older to Nadal but yet has a 8-6 H2H advantage against him. On the other hand, Federer has 15-2 advantage against the same player similar to his age.


Michael Says:

Alison, As regards Rafa being more of a threat to Federer’s legacy than Novak, I agree with that. Yes, Rafa has good chance to overhaul Federer’s count of majors but if he does that say by amassing about 10 French Opens, then that might lose its shine. There must be a diversification of major victories to demonstrate the superiority of Rafa over Federer.


Ajet Says:

Michael:
If you compare davydenko with nadal, I rest my case.

Moreover, Borg not for once said that he left tenns coz of johnymac, hence what others say don’t matter. And btw, Borg, even if we assume for a moment that he retired from tennis coz he was afraid of macenroe, and in the fear that he couldn’t handle him, then that’s as much a failure of borg as it has been the failure of fed to rafa. Federer has a shameful record against Nadal in slams, 2-7 deficit I think. Not really better than Borg’s against Macenroe in comparison, and need I repeat that Johnymac too had the age advantage over Borg!

And btw who the hell is macenroe to not consider connors or lendl or wilander as his rivals! For truth’s sake, it was the biggest joke I ever heard coming from any Macenroe sympathiser, lol! ;) Borg himself said that he had lst interest in tennis after the wear and tear of 6-7 years, he’s enough credibility for me to believe him than anyone else!
Macenroe may tell what he likes or think whatever, but the fact is connors even showed enough fighting spirit to come back to defeat JMac after being thrashed by him in Wimbledon final, no mean task if you ask me! Lendl too has a positive H2H against Macenroe, so I dunno what people are talking about!

And I’d again repeat, everybody does charity work in some form or the other, so nothing special about fed or rafa or others doing it.


Ajet Says:

and btw Borg lost interest in tennis means in the strictly competitive sense, and not in the senoiur tour’s exo mindset sense, LOL! ;)


Skorocel Says:

Michael: „On the other hand, you have players like Borg, Mcenroe, Lendl and Connors playing exhibitions for money even during during Davis cup events.“

New York, Macao, Soul, Abu Dhabi, Basel, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca… Aside from geography, what do you think these names have in common?

=========

Ajet: „Michael: If you compare davydenko with nadal, I rest my case.“

I too ;-)

=========

Ajet: „And I’d again repeat, everybody does charity work in some form or the other, so nothing special about fed or rafa or others doing it.“

Yeah, but Federer & Rafa do it BETTER than anyone, LOL ;-) Federer, for instance, is the only player who would go to Ethiopia and mingle with the underprivileged children & flu…


Michael Says:

Ajet, It is not a question of comparison. It is just a problem of match-ups which I want to point out. See this, Davydenko has a 8-6 advantage against Nadal whereas he has 2-15 deficit against Federer. Federer on the other hand has a 9-17 deficit against Nadal while he has a postive H2H against Davydenko. So from this how can you interpret the H2H. Only in this way :

Davydenko > Nadal Davydenko Federer < Davydenko

Does this make any sense at all ? Therefore H2H is just about match-ups. Nadal’s game of heavy top spin just doesn’t suit Roger and Nadal only plays to Federer’s one handed backhand which is a disadvantage in today’s sport.

Federer was an excellent player on Clay, but his misfortune was that Nadal was a Monster on that surface whom he could not dislodge. You talked about the 7-2 H2H in majors. Of this 5 defeats are in French. And the other two, it was touch and go at Wimbledon 2008 and the Australian Open where Federer fumbled to lose a match he should have won more due to lack of confidence when he was definitely the better player. A match he should have finished in 4 sets, he lost in the 5th set. The problem was that Federer paid for his consistency on the clay surface whereas Nadal was not a consistent performer in other surfaces. Remember Nadal even failed to reach the knock-out stage of World Series finals many number of times. When Federer was at his peak in 2005,2006 and 2007 he had no opportunity to meet Nadal on other surfaces in majors when Nadal found it difficult to even reach the semi-final stage. I am sure if this had happened, the H2H would have been different to some extent and not lop sided as it appears today.


Michael Says:

I am sorry. I repeat.

Davydenko > Nadal but Davydenko but Federer < Davydenko


Michael Says:

Ajet/Scorocel, Why you cannot take Davydenko ? He is a player who has won the World series finals. He is a player with over 30 tournaments under his belt. He has reached the semi-final stage of grand slam events many times and yet you belittle him. Just ridiculous.


Michael Says:

Skorocel, I only said that Connors, Borg, Lendl etc. are notorious in playing exhibition events when their Country is playing davis cup. They had scant regard even for Nation’s call. On the other hand, you have Federer who spent time in a distant Ethiopia when he could have very well avoided it altogether. This shows his dedication for service.


Michael Says:

Ajet,

“Moreover, Borg not for once said that he left tenns coz of johnymac, hence what others say don’t matter”

Hilarious ! How do you expect Borg to say that he left Tennis because of Mcenroe ?

Hence, what others say don’t matter. It matters because Borg left Tennis after he lost the Wimbledon and US Open to Mcenroe. Nobody would have said this if Borg had left after defeating Mcenroe in 1980. But he did it after losing in the finals of 1981 – Wimbledon and US and that too in just four sets.

“Failure of Federer”. Why do you liken him to Borg ??? Federer never left Tennis and he is still playing even after those narrow defeats at the Wimbledon and Australian Open in 2008 and 2009. He converted the opportunity in 2009 at the French Open when Nadal got defeated by Soderling and his task was made more tougher by Nadal’s early departure just because it just put too much pressure on him. But still he lived up to expectations and lifted the French trophy finally. That shows his determination and valiant effort despite a string of losses to Nadal at this venue year after year. Why can’t you just understand that Federer is not running away from the battle just like Borg and is gearing up to the challenge. Even today at this age, he is giving a fright to the young blood and that is the hall mark of this man a champion in every sense of word.


Ajet Says:

I understand very much that fed has shown valour against the rest of the field, BUT NOT AGAINST HIS NEMESIS Rafael Nadal, and that matters most here when drawing compaison as to how Fed and Borg handle nadal and jmac respecively. Fed too has been losing to Nadal in slams since 2007 end. And that doesn’t do much favour’s to federer’s legacy. Of course fed has more passion and love for tennis than borg, but that doesn’t mean he has handled rafa very well since losing his own great form post-2007. And btw, I again repeat, Fed hasn’t handled rafa well even on his favourite surfces since then.

However, I’m agreeing with you on one thing that fed did lose chances to meet rafa at his peak period from 2004-07, otherwise he probably’d have had a better record IMO in compaison to now against Rafa in slams, as I definitely think Rafa’d not have defeated Federer at any non-clay slam during fed’s peak years, that I’d whole-heartedly concede.

HOWEVER, I also would state that Borg also was coming off his real peak form in 1980, and that is why Macenroe was able to beat him from thenceforward, much similar to rafa continuing to beat fed since fed came off his peak after 2007. In fact rafa IMO could push fed to 5 sets in wimbledon 07 as fed too was about to come off his peak, much in the same way as jmac was able to push borg to 5 sets in 1980 wimby!

and one more thing in borg’s favour is that he wsn’t routed even once by jmac even on his most favourite surface whereas fed was routed on nadal’s favourite surface in RG 08. So again, not much difference(only some, fed probably was more patient than borg, that’s why he picks up an occasional win against rafa) between the way fed and borg handled their arguably biggest rivals.

And Davydenko is no compare to nadal coz he’s not reached a slam final even, nor has he beaten fed/rafa and nor even perhaps murray/novak ever in a slam. He’s nothing compared to the slam-holders or even non-slammers like murray/nalbandian! Performing at the biggest stage is just too vital, which davy never did!


Ajet Says:

MICHAEL:
the last post was for you. However I just wanna add one clarification to the 1st sentence of my last post that it’s not like fed has not at all shown any courage against rafa since 2007 end, but just not enough to bring him down in the most important stages like wimby or french or ozzie open.


Michael Says:

Ajet,
“I understand very much that fed has shown valour against the rest of the field, BUT NOT AGAINST HIS NEMESIS Rafael Nadal, and that matters most here when drawing compaison as to how Fed and Borg handle nadal and jmac respecively”
Tennis is not just about Federer and Nadal. It is a field of over 1,000 professionals competing for success.

“Federer has not handled Nadal in his favourite surface well”

Well Federer’s most favourite surface is indoor hard courts and it is 4-0 in his favour. While in Grass which is Federer’s other favourite surface it is 2-1.

“Federer has been losing to Nadal in Majors since 2007.”
How many times have Federer and Nadal met in majors apart from the French ? Just 4 times – 3 at Wimbledon and 1 at Australian – It stands at 2 a piece. They just haven’t met enough apart from the French where they met about five times. What does this say ? Federer is consistent in all the courts while Nadal is not and that is the reason for this lop sided H2H.

“Getting beaten by nadal doesn’t do much to Federer’s legacy”
In the same manner if I say getting beaten by Djokovic often doesn’t do much to Nadal’s legacy. Doesn’t that hold ????

“However, I’m agreeing with you on one thing that fed did lose chances to meet rafa at his peak period from 2004-07, otherwise he probably’d have had a better record IMO in compaison to now against Rafa in slams, as I definitely think Rafa’d not have defeated Federer at any non-clay slam during fed’s peak years, that I’d whole-heartedly concede.”

If you have conceded this, then that absolutely explains the lop sided nature of this H2H and the matter is closed once for all.


grendel Says:

Michael says:”Borg ran away only because of Mcenroe and there is no other reason”.

This kind of dogmatic utterance trivializes the issue, imo. And by the way, it doesn’t matter in the least what Steve Tignor says – he is entitled to an opinion, same as Michael, same as me and so on. He is not privy to any special information.

As a matter of fact, McEnroe himself, in his autobiography, speculates on the reasons for Borg’s premature retirement. He is strongly of the opinion that Borg was burnt out. Of course he would not have adduced himself as a reason – we can all understand that, but there is no question at all but that he believed that Borg being burnt out was a huge factor. As has been pointed out many times on this site, years spent playing tennis is the important measure of where a tennis player is at, in his mind and in his legs – and Borg had been playing top quality tennis almost non-stop since he was 16. Furthermore, he had been subject to an almost insane barrage of publicity which absolutely can take a toll, as we know from the casualties of show-business. I don’t think there has been anything like it since.

Of course, Borg will have become addicted to this publicity I presume – that’s normal. That doesn’t mean it was good for him, it obviously wasn’t and in those days this phenomenon in sport at least was not so well understood as it is today.

So to give one reason for Borg’s retirement, in emphatic tones too, is in my opinion utterly mistaken. Nevertheless, the emergence of McEnroe very likely was a factor in Borg’s premature retirement, particularly given Borg’s weakened state. Generally, very big decisions in life are multi-causal in origin. And these causes are rarely independent of each other. But to talk about him “running away” and so on is just abuse. You’ve got to at least try to put yourself in the other fellow’s shoes if you are going to set yourself up in judgement over him – at least if you want to be taken seriously.

” Why can’t you just understand that Federer is not running away from the battle just like Borg and is gearing up to the challenge”. These kind of comparisons are always tempting, especially for devotees of a particular player, but they don’t work. Borg was like a pioneer – not deliberately of course – and subsequent players had the advantage of his sad example. That’s one thing. But more important is Federer himself; he is very unusually constituted on various levels, both body and mind. He has the inestimable advantage of a highly skilled support team, a fairly recent idea in tennis- this kind of thing is what makes comparisons between eras so invidious.

But most of all, Federer is a tennis junkie. That is one of the endearing things about him. It is hard to imagine anyone less likely to suffer from burnout than him. How much are we, is anyone, responsible for their defining attributes? That is perhaps unanswerable, certainly dogmatically, but I think we should be pretty careful not to make facile comparisons between people, especially when you are trying to boost someone up at the expense of somebody else.

On the business of charity. Those very rich people who engage in it are amply rewarded in terms of the respect they garner. That is an absolutely priceless commodity, and it is in effect a kind of power. What is it that makes a man? In some ways, it lies in how he is regarded by his peers and, in special cases, by the public at large. This has nothing whatever to do with “goodness”. Real sacrifice is done privately and with no ulterior motive.


Michael Says:

“Getting beaten by nadal doesn’t do much to Federer’s legacy”
In the same manner if I say getting beaten by Djokovic often doesn’t do much to Nadal’s legacy. Doesn’t that hold ???? I would also like to add that especially when Nadal and Djokovic are of the same age with a little difference of over a year.


Michael Says:

and one more thing in borg’s favour is that he wsn’t routed even once by jmac even on his most favourite surface whereas fed was routed on nadal’s favourite surface in RG 08. So again, not much difference(only some, fed probably was more patient than borg, that’s why he picks up an occasional win against rafa) between the way fed and borg handled their arguably biggest rivals.

Similarly Federer has routed Nadal in his favourite surface at the indoor hard courts of the World series finals very recently. For your information, Connors in his early years has routed Borg in many number of tournaments.


Michael Says:

Grendel, Ofcourse it is just an opinion but it is corroborated by facts.


Tennislover Says:

grendel – Excellent post regarding the Borg issue! I don’t think anyone can have much disagreement with “Generally, very big decisions in life are multi-causal in origin. And these causes are rarely independent of each other.” We tend – I am sure I am occasionally guilty on this count – to miss the nuances and try to be authoritative or emphatic even about issues we don’t know much about. That is why a measured tone is desirable. Only Borg knows why he retired. We can merely speculate about the plausible reasons and the degree of emphasis will depend on the availability of credible evidence or the strength of probability of the cited reasons. It is highly unlikely that Mcenroe was the ONLY reason behind his decision.

I also take your point about the culture of the time as compared to the media explosion these days especially since the advent of the internet. You are very well-positioned to comment on it. I was a kid at the time and can’t claim to know what exactly drove the top players then. I know for a fact that Sampras was very conscious of the slam count and his legacy and his place in the history of the game but that was the 90s. Players of the 1970s or 1980s were probably not so focused on winning the majors as the current lot. Otherwise, AO would have attracted a lot more talent.

The point about Lendl- this is for Margot as well- was that he is not a trained sports psychologist. Coaches, of course, are expected to wear many hats and one of them is that of working on the psychological aspects. Lendl can of course be expected to be of a lot of help because his issues had certain similarities to Murray’s issues today. However, much water has flown down the Thames since that injury Margot talked about. Maybe, Murray would be more amenable to the idea now given the course of events since then. Maybe a different person could well turn out to be not as difficult to work with. However, as you said, we shall see.

I also don’t like this thing about famous authors/writers/journalists being quoted as if they have somehow the final word on the matter. They probably will have much more inside information on certain matters especially if they do the research, conduct interviews and so forth. However, most of the time, they are expressing merely their opinion and I tend to disagree with such opinions very frequently.

As for the bizarre story about Cowdrey, I am almost positive that I read about it unless my memory has failed me horribly. This was apparently quite well-known. Difficult to imagine a gentleman like him doing such a thing, isn’t it? He served the game in different capacities with great distinction. I remember reading great obituaries about him when he passed away about a decade ago. That partnership of 411 is what comes to my mind when you talk of him and May together. It remained a world record for quite a while.


Ajet Says:

Michael:

Oh, now Fed’s favourite surface isn’t outdoor hardcourt anymore, eh??? Only indoors, eh??? LOL ;)
Desperate fedfans may cling to their stand that fed dominates rafa on indoors, but the fact is slams are played on outdoor hardcourts and rafa rules fed on outdoor HCs! and fed has won 9 slams on it, so anybody can see that hardcourt favours fed most! end of story!

And BTW, once Fed came off his peak, Nadal has pounded him in every of his slam final, on clay, on grass and on hard. Season ending WTF doesn’t hold a candle to slams in terms of relevance. Fed isn’t placed above others due to his indoor record, but due to his slam tally.
Moreover if you compare the roland garros final routing of fed to routing of rafa at a best-of-three WTF in round robin, then I can’t argue!

Further speaking, as I said, don’t make the mistake of assuming that 1980 or 1981 was Borg’s peak year(just like 2008-11 weren’t Fed’s). In fact it was the time when borg was coming of his peak, and was also losing his passion and interest in tennis, not giving his all anymore, on every point, and that was because he remained on top for almost 5 years. Didn’t Fed lose his ground once he came off his boil post 2007??? How many slam could he win against Rafa??? NONE! In a simliar way, also Borg began losing to jmac once he lost his steam. so where’s the difference??? And jmac was most lucky not to face borg ever in his prime on clay! Fed can’t even stop nadal from beating him on his fave outdoor hardcourts. It’s the worst feeling to actually know that fed hasn’t beaten nadal on a outdoor hardcourt since miami 2005! Thus, the fact that fed and borg were undisputed in their prime years, while disputed only after decline is true for both champions, so their situation is similar! what more i need to say!

@GRENDEL: FANTASTIC POST!


grendel Says:

Michael – what facts? We’re talking here about a decision, which is essentially a psychological matter. Facts, here, will not be easy to come by. Or, for that matter, simple to establish.

Tennislover – even in the 90′s the mania for slams was not yet absolute, I wonder if Sampras could be regarded as a pioneer in this respect? I am thinking of Agassi, he missed out on some AO’s, and he once made a wry comment concerning this late in his career. It was following one of his several AO titles, to the effect that if only he had known the importance attached to piling the numbers up w.r.t.slams, he would have contested the AO more often. I wish I could source that quote.

re Cowdrey – well, yes indeed, nowt so odd as the British upperclasses, it has to be admitted. Usually it’s in their private moments, though…..


Skorocel Says:

„I understand very much that fed has shown valour against the rest of the field, BUT NOT AGAINST HIS NEMESIS Rafael Nadal, and that matters most here when drawing compaison as to how Fed and Borg handle nadal and jmac respecively.“

Very true, Ajet!

==================

Michael: „He converted the opportunity in 2009 at the French Open when Nadal got defeated by Soderling and his task was made more tougher by Nadal’s early departure just because it just put too much pressure on him. But still he lived up to expectations and lifted the French trophy finally. That shows his determination and valiant effort despite a string of losses to Nadal at this venue year after year.“

So that means, his win at FO 2009 was 1000 times tougher than ANY win over Nadal at FO would ever be? That’s what you wanted to say? LOL :-) Please, don’t try to make a cake from a sh.t! Federer, no matter who he beat in that year in Paris, got (first and foremost) lucky as hell when Soderling rid him of Nadal. Everyone knows it. Had there been Nadal in the final, we all know what would’ve happened. 5 tries – same result, and who knows? Last year, Roger had perhaps his last chance… But you know what, Michael? Had he beat Nadal in that final, he wouldn’t have needed to win ONE SINGLE MATCH till the end of the season (and maybe till the very end of his career) in my humble opinion. Why? Because he would’ve GENUINELY PROVED HIMSELF by not only beating the hottest player of the year (Djoker) but also his eternal nemesis (Nadal) – and all this in a grandslam (not some meaningless RR match, btw) where you would LEAST expect him to do so (i.e. FO). Are you listening, Michael? PROVED HIMSELF, not just hung in there and „fought“ only to LOSE… What’s the difference between Borg fleeing Jmac & Federer not fleeing Nadal, when the later still prevails? None.

Can you imagine what would have happened had he won that FO final against Nadal last year? ALL his losses on clay against the Spaniard (except the debacle in the FO 2008 final, but that’s another story) would’ve been pretty much erased. 4 times he’d been the loser, but on his 5th try, he’d have finally prevailed. Can you imagine? Now that’s what I’d call PROVING myself. Winning a tournament when everyone’s tired and pretty much disinterested to play (aka YEC 2011) is one thing, but beating the sh.t out of your main rivals in GRANDSLAMS – the ultimate prize in tennis – that’s something different.

==================

Michael: „When Federer was at his peak in 2005,2006 and 2007 he had no opportunity to meet Nadal on other surfaces in majors when Nadal found it difficult to even reach the semi-final stage. I am sure if this had happened, the H2H would have been different to some extent and not lop sided as it appears today.“

What makes you SO SURE about that? Say, Nadal & Federer would’ve played 3 USO + 3 AO finals, right? What would be the result then? In 2006 (Federer’s very best year), Nadal beat him in Dubai (which, same as USO & AO, is outdoor hard). In 2005 (where Federer lost as many as 4 matches), the Swiss needed all his might (and some BIG help from the officials) to beat him in Miami (same environment). Year before, he got mauled 3:6 3:6 in the same tourney… All these matches were played outdoors on hard (i.e. conditions which are similar, if not the same, as AO & UO, and which should certainly suit Fed MORE than Nadal) AND when Roger was, statistically speaking, at his very best…

Btw, why do you purposely mention only Federer’s peak years? Probably because that’s the only time when you think Fed would’ve had a chance against Rafa? ;-) Or it’s because the losses which he suffered in Wimby 2008 & AO 2009 finals „doesn’t really count“ as Federer was already past his best? In my humble opinion, if someone decides to play – be it in his 20ies or 30ies, his very best or his very worst, etc. – then he’s there to play, isn’t he? So why to „automatically discard“ all what’s not gone well during that time? Be it Federer or any other sportsman…

==================

Michael: „In the same manner if I say getting beaten by Djokovic often doesn’t do much to Nadal’s legacy.“

That’s true, but what does that have to do with Federer’s poor H2H against Rafa? Mind you, Nadal’s NOT the supposed „GOAT“. Federer is. And GOAT shouldn’t have any flaws, should he?


skeezerweezer Says:

“Everybody does charity work in some form or the other, so nothing special about fed or rafa or others doing it.”

But it is special. And also for the PR of Tennis.

Charitable work for the individual is better unseen? Nope. Don’t think so. Then why are fans like us acknowledging it? Seeing this(making charitable work publicly known) regardless of what an individual may say puts a brighter light on the professional sport. This is nothing new. Happens in most all pro sports. And this is one poster who is very thankful they do.

Frankly I think it is shameful to critique the humanitarian efforts of anyone unless there is something criminal going on behind the scenes. We need to encourage and be thankful for helping those in need, and those willing to help. Are there some with alterior motives? Sure. But there are plenty of topics to look at the dark side of things that are more worthy than this.

On the topic of borg/mac/rafa/fed I digress, got to skewed for me to comment …..you all are in a zone that is out of my league ;). Blog on!


Ajet Says:

Michael:
And now that you’ve talked about how connors routed fed, I need to mention that Djokovic too has routed fed twice in A0 (08 & 11), in straight sets. How about that??


Ajet Says:

I mean connors routed borg of course…. in my previous post.


Ajet Says:

”Michael: „In the same manner if I say getting beaten by Djokovic often doesn’t do much to Nadal’s legacy.“

That’s true, but what does that have to do with Federer’s poor H2H against Rafa? Mind you, Nadal’s NOT the supposed „GOAT“. Federer is. And GOAT shouldn’t have any flaws, should he?”

VERY RIGHT SKOROCEL, and thank you for doing my job easier. I was about to answer it, but somehow missed it. glad you did answer. and i thoroughly agree with you too that the matter relates to comparison between borg and fed, not between any other x, y, or z player handling their rivals, so mentioning about nadal getting beaten by djoker is pointless here.
For fed to have credibility, HE needs to beat Nadal, not Djoker, coz connors too can’t beat jmac for borg, only borg can! ;)

excellent post by by you skorocel, every point of yours has weight behind it.

And btw, isn’t it hilarious to say that fed’s task of winning FO 09 got more difficult due to Rafa’s ouster??? It’s not just hilarious, even ironic that others can actually think like this! it’s even delusional, harshly speaking…

———————————–

”What’s the difference between Borg fleeing Jmac & Federer not fleeing Nadal, when the later still prevails? None.”

Again thanks to skorocel for mentioning this point, which i just missed in a hurry while replying to michael.


grendel Says:

skeezer

it’s a matter of perspective, I’d say. You seem to be largely thinking of public relations, and I expect you are right from that point of view. I wasn’t talking about that at all. “Goodness”, which was mentioned, plays no role there. By “ulterior motive”, I didn’t mean some hidden skullduggery, I am sure everything is perfectly legal and above board. I am merely making a point which is perfectly intelligible in all the religions and also secular psychology – “goodness” is an elusive value. People who want to be applauded – and most certainly these extremely rich sportsmen do like applause for their supposed virtue – do not deserve the applause, whilst people who deserve the applause do not want it. Their “good works” are their own reward, and a very rich reward too, I would think, but not in terms of money. Giving charity is, in a sense, a privilege for people who are grossly rich (I know that sounds odd in the American culture, where money is an idol of worship, but can’t help that)and, just because they are human, some of them feel it perhaps in a tiny way as a burden. So they are able to release a little of this burden at no essential cost to themselves – the money is piffling in terms of what they have.

Skyrocel
“What’s the difference between Borg fleeing Jmac & Federer not fleeing Nadal, when the later still prevails? None.” Now I know you are working up a reputation of being a tough no nonsense fellow, but truth still counts. The Borg fleeing JMac scenario is a crude travesty although there is probably something in it. Shades of grey are unappealing to the tough chap! But I have argued that above. And by the way, I don’t agree with your premise anyway. Even suppose Borg did flee JMac – Federer’s failing to prevail against Nadal cannot be the same thing, you have to add something: Federer has been less than valiant in his attempts to counter the Spaniard. Is that true? Well, yes, as it happens, I believe it is. But you do have to add that rider. I think you are on a bit of a crusade, but even so, what you have to say on the Federer/Nadal front is quite persuasive imo.

Having said that, I understand you are sincere, skeezer, and also on this matter you will have the majority behind you.


dusan Says:

Regarding Michael post, I absolutely agree with you.Even that I’m great fan of Novak (reminds me of McEnroe years-not many liked Mac at the time,(like Novak now) its more now, that people like him much more-unfortunately I’m that old remembering and watching Mac…) I do not think that Novak will be able to reach even Nadal ( I hope he does!)record not to mention Federers…


carlo Says:

Ajet-

As for legacy and what will be remembered, the jury will be out for likely, a couple decades after Federer and Nadal are done. Federer detractors will be motivated to keep H2H vs Nadal alive perhaps historically more than with any other rivalry in tennis; but there is the age discrepancy and other problems with H2H to which Federer protectors will point.

An example there is this once famous rivalry but now obscure H2H and thesr 2 players are the same age:

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Players/Head-To-Head.aspx?pId=B028&oId=E004


skeezerweezer Says:

grendel,

Not so sure about that majority thing. What is of more value to the human soul, to give when you have an over abundance or to give when you have very little?

We’ d better stop this nonsense or I may try convert you to views of Christ ;).


skeezerweezer Says:

That view being giving without knowing is greater…??


carlo Says:

Ajet-

Another thing: It’s true that Federer at 30 years old realistically doesn’t have too much chance to improve his H2H against Rafa. But I think it’s a lot of hype when many predict or assert Federer’s overall legacy is damaged by the Fedal H2H – it is basically over-stating the significance of a bad match-up.

Also, why stoop to something as flawed as Fedal H2H? Focus on what Nadal has. Nadal still could go on a run and win another AO, 2 more Wimbledons, 2-3 more FO’s, maybe a US Open, and equal or pass Federer. As it stands now, and especially if he gets 2 or 3 more GS, Nadal has Davis Cup(s), Olympic Gold, and enough reason his fans can claim GOAT, if that’s what they want.

Or, here’s another scenario: Djokovic may well be far from done terrorizing Nadal. Djokovic could conceivably hold #1 longer and beat him every time they meet for the next 3 years or however as long as Nadal continues to play tennis. That adds up as high as maybe 18 more times! Fedal H2H promoters will not have much of a pulpit if that happens. There is still very much of a chance that Djokovic wins 2 GS for 3 years, or 3 for 2 to equal Nadal; then, another 1 GS per year for 2-3 years after and he’s at 12-13 GS and solid GOAT contender territory by the time he’s 30 years old.


Bailey Says:

agree 100%


Bailey Says:

agree 100% with caro


grendel Says:

caro – I think in these scenarios, the battle is really between posters, with the claims they seperately make being the source of the conflict. The players themselves are in effect,on the sidelines.

Federer and Nadal are extraordinary tennis players, for all time. And they are human beings, fallible in other words. If you are looking for perfection – a pretty foolish quest imo – then I think you have to say Federer has fallen short in his rivalry with Nadal and you can’t just put it down to bad match up. His great spirit – and he does have a great spirit as he has demonstrated again and again – has sometimes trembled in the heat of battle with Nadal, and effected a kind of paralysis in him. Those who insist on denying it are, in my view, attributing almost Godlike qualities to Federer, and this does him no favours. Who can live up to that? And they merely provoke a sort of backlash of attitude in more realistic observers.

Look, you and I (speaking generally), we perhaps quail rather a lot when the going gets tough. The greatness of Federer is that he quails very little, but even he has his weaknesses, and a Nadal on song, on any surface, has probed these weaknesses, and has exposed a rare fragility of spirit more penetratingly than anyone else. There is no shame in saying this, absolutely no disrespect to Federer. I prefer my hero to be a human being, not some impossible deity.

By the way, caro, I thought your post was measured and wise. I agree, Federer’s legacy will not be damaged by the h2h with Nadal, even if my emphasis is a little different to yours. History will smile on Federer’s fallibility, on his “imperfect” record, for these are merely patches in an overall pattern which in time will serve to aggreeably humanise him. How nice to think that the great, even the very great, can occasionally be pathetic.

About Becker and Edberg, the subjects of your link. Well, in their day there was no internet, so who knows whether there was acrimony between their fans. I don’t think as much was at stake for B and E as for Fed and Nadal – or perhaps we should say for their respective fans. I do remember Becker once saying he was determined not to be beaten in an important match, especially not by HIM. There’s no doubt Becker felt the rivalry keenly, not so sure about Edberg. He always gave the impression of being quite a detached sort of chap. Had plenty of steel in him, though.


Skorocel Says:

skeezerweezer: „Frankly I think it is shameful to critique the humanitarian efforts of anyone unless there is something criminal going on behind the scenes.“

That’s true. Just as it is unreasonable to hype it ;-) Mind you, there’s nothing wrong if Federer does it. But why “use”, so to speak, this charity stuff to differentiate him even more from the rest? Differentiate in this case = make him superior. The fact is, everybody does it – whether’s Roddick, Agassi, Nadal, Djoker, etc., so why the fuss?


Skorocel Says:

grendel: I never said Borg fled McEnroe, and frankly, I don’t care if he did so or not. I was just quoting Michael, who was drawing comparisons betwen Borg vs McEnroe & Fed vs Nadal and used this word (or something to that extent) in relation to Borg’s „handling of“ McEnroe.


caro Says:

grendel, I’m not looking for perfection nor do I think calling someone the ‘greatest of all time’ is realistic. Between the two, or who will win between Federer or Nadal, of course, it’s Nadal based on their H2H; and except indoor HC, when they meet, my money is on Nadal. If Federer was the only player or test against which Nadal is measured, Nadal would be ‘greatest of this era,’ but that’s not right either, or at least – not right, yet.

Legacy is another matter, I stand by my claim that one H2H, even if it is with Nadal, wont factor big in Federer’s legacy two decades from now.

Correction to my post: Edberg is almost 3 years older. About his rivalry with Becker – 35 matches – and Edberg on the losing end 25 times is something certainly fans would have exploited had there been the internet! Becker and Edberg may not have been of the stature that Federer and Nadal are, but I’m still not convinced there aren’t differences in eras, allowing for there being stronger or weaker eras, with certain names bigger than otherwise. Perhaps this is a weak era. Looking at those top ten lists, grendel, there are only 3 GS winners in 2011 top ten vs 6 or 7 in other years as in 1986-87.


grendel Says:

well, Skyrocel, if you want to avoid being misunderstood, it’s a good idea to follow certain conventions. For example, if you are quoting somebody, you really do quote them and don’t substitute your own words, and use quotation marks too – it’s no effort, and we all will know where you are at.

Skeezer

“What is of more value to the human soul, to give when you have an over abundance or to give when you have very little?” That is an interesting question, although possibly loaded. Jesus sort of addressed that question, didn’t he, with the story of the widow’s mite? What about just giving with an open heart? Organized charity, to my mind, comes under the heading of economics and/or public relations. I daresay there is a case for it. I’m a little hazy on economics.

You might be surprised to know that I have always found much in Christian and Buddhist texts which is thought provoking and even inspiring. The idea of the supernatural doesn’t make any sense, however, outside of fantasy books. There – used sparingly – it is essential!


skeezerweezer Says:

grendel,

Not loaded. Just wanted to give you some room to comment :)

No worries, I have never “pegged” you as this or that, to me you’ve always been a pain(sic) when I try to do that.

Just when I think you are slithering you throw out a strong opinion. Keep it comin.

“Winter is coming”…..and I like it.


Michael Says:

Scorocel,

So that means, his win at FO 2009 was 1000 times tougher than ANY win over Nadal at FO would ever be? That’s what you wanted to say? LOL :-) Please, don’t try to make a cake from a sh.t!

Honestly, I would say you are making too much fuss about the H2H. When Nadal gets beaten by Soderling in four sets, how do you expect him to beat Federer at the finals when Soderling was dispatched in straight sets ? I fail to understand your logic here. May be Nadal was not well. But that is not Federer’s fault. Your hypothesis that “had Nadal been in the finals blah blah” loses its value when Federer vanquishes his demolisher. And now coming to the 2011 finals, it was a very tight match whatever way you look at it. Nadal was very lucky and that is what I would say considering that missed drop shot in the first set which would have turned the match upside down. Ofcourse it would have been dramatic had Federer beat Nadal in that finals, but that was not to be and it was not his day. Applying the same logic, I would say Nadal got very lucky because Federer beat the irrepressible Djokovic. Had he been in the finals then it would have been fair to say it was curtains to Nadal even in his favourite court.

By the way, how can you say a meaningless Round Robin match. It is preposterous. It is a World Series finals where the prize money exceeds even the Majors. It is the No2 tournament after the majors and has the most points awarded and the players are vying like hell for the semi-final slot and you say it is meaningless. I leave that inference to your best judgement.

Federer has already proved himself and therefore there is no need for him to prove anything that he is GREAT. He has already beaten Nadal in two Wimbledon finals and the third he lost by a whisker. His detractors will bring this H2H with Nadal often to belittle his status but that can never diminish his greatness.

Scorocel, Still I repeat the H2H is in Nadal’s favour only due to his histronics in Clay. In the majors apart from the French, they have met only four times and the score stands at 2 a piece and those two Nadal won were hard fought victories and here you are talking as though Nadal has demolished Federer. Doesn’t that smell too bad ??????

When Federer was at his peak in 2005,2006 and 2007 he had no opportunity to meet Nadal on other surfaces in majors when Nadal found it difficult to even reach the semi-final stage. I am sure if this had happened

What makes me so sure is the fact that Federer beat Nadal twice at Wimbledon namely in 2006 and 2007. Now here when you have even belittled the World series finals Round Robin, you are bringing in 500 point tourneys into picture. Don’t you sound so contradictory here ???? I do not want to find any excuses for Federer’s losses against Nadal but in 2008 Wimbledon and 2009 Australian Open, they were very close matches which could have gone either way. The luck was with Nadal and he won. 20 or 30, players are expected to play and I am sure if Federer gets more chances in hard courts and Grass will be able to get the better of Nadal. However his misfortune is that more often than not, he gets caught up with him in the mire of clay ??


Michael Says:

Ajet, For your information Federer has already got the better of Nadal twice at Wimbledon and you are speaking as though he never won !?


Michael Says:

Scorocel,

Are you listening, Michael? PROVED HIMSELF, not just hung in there and „fought“ only to LOSE… What’s the difference between Borg fleeing Jmac & Federer not fleeing Nadal, when the later still prevails? None

What is the difference between Borg and Federer. Very simple. Federer did not run away from the battle even after tough losses in 2008 and early 2009. He stayed there and got paid for his patience. He won the French, Wimbledon and the US was lost by a whisker and then he won the Australian Open. He also beat Nadal in the finals of the World Series and denied him glory in 2010. Borg on the other hand just ran away from the field after getting beaten by Mcenroe at Wimbledon and US. There is loads of difference here which you just do not want to see or hear.


Michael Says:

Ajet, there is a difference between routed and getting beaten in straight sets. By routed I would mean the scoreline should read 6-1,6-0,6-2 blah blah. You cannot label a match where the scoreline reads as 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 as routed. It is a very close match where the luck was with the winner as Tennis match is often decided by one or two points.


Michael Says:

Scorocel, a GOAT should not have flaws. It is not the case. a GOAT is only chosen among the best available.


mat4 Says:

I missed a great debate, with lot of good points. Hope I catch you all next time.


Michael Says:

Ajet, Nadal getting the better of Federer in outdoor hardcourts is travesty of justice. What can I say ? Only repeat Federer’s often quoted line “It happens in Tennis”.

Djokovic is 10-5 to Nadal in Hard Courts, Davydenko is 8-3 to Nadal in Hard courts whereas Nadal leads Federer 4-1 in outdoor Hard courts.

I do not think Djokovic or Davydenko are better players than Federer but still the H2H suggests otherwise. So if we come to conclusion based on that, aren’t we erring somewhere ????????


grendel Says:

“When Nadal gets beaten by Soderling in four sets, how do you expect him to beat Federer at the finals when Soderling was dispatched in straight sets ? I fail to understand your logic here”

The logic is very simple. It frequently happens that A beats B, B beats C – but A cannot beat C. This is not mathematics where, if A>B and B>C, then automatically A>C, we are dealing with human beings, who respond quite differently to different types of players. Soderling was not afraid of Nadal and he has a devastating game which always had the potential to upset an unwary Nadal. Next time Soderling faced Nadal on clay, Nadal was ready for him. But Nadal is always ready for Federer (except indoors), on clay in particular. Federer was indeed extremely lucky that he didn’t have to face Nadal in RG – but there is no shame in that. Luck is an intrinsic, and very important, part of life generally, and plays its role in tennis. Nadal, for instance, was lucky to meet Federer and not Djokovic in the last RG final. Federer himself wryly alluded to this.

“I do not want to find any excuses for Federer’s losses against Nadal but in 2008 Wimbledon and 2009 Australian Open, they were very close matches which could have gone either way”. Actually, Federer was saved by the rain at Wimbledon 2008, without it, he might well have succombed 0-3. But he still lost. I don’t think the AO was close. Federer should certainly have won it, but his collapse in the 5th set was symptomatic of his psychological travails against Nadal – he absolutely deserved to lose, and there is not the least doubt he knows it.

“He has already beaten Nadal in two Wimbledon finals and the third he lost by a whisker.” A whisker, in the case of Wimbledon, very damp and bedraggled – on this occasion, Federer very nearly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Meanwhile, the 2nd Wimby final he won against Nadal was indeed close, and could very easily have gone the other way.

“By the way, how can you say a meaningless Round Robin match. It is preposterous.” Overstated, perhaps, but the basic logic is sound. For example, Nalbandian was beaten by Federer in RR, only to turn the tables in the final. And meanwhile, we are talking here about Federer’s strongest surface, by far (these days), played at a time of the season when Nadal is traditionally at his weakest. Federer absolutely needs to be able to beat him here, and so he does, every time I believe.

“Still I repeat the H2H is in Nadal’s favour only due to his histronics in Clay.” This is absurd on more than one count. Nadal beat Federer in Miami in 2004, a mere youngster taking out the great Federer, and in 2005 he was 2 sets up before he ran out of steam – Federer himself remarked later Nadal should have won, and he was lucky to get out of it. But Federer, I find, is both more modest and more realistic about himself than his more fervent devotees are. Meanwhile, what is this nonsense about “histrionics” on clay? Clay is a real tennis surface, every bit as legitimate as grass for instance. If Djokovic continues to beat Nadal on clay, this will resound greatly to his fame, and deservedly so. Please can we have no more of this downplaying of clay – it is dishonest, trying to win an argument when other methods fail.

“Borg on the other hand just ran away from the field after getting beaten by Mcenroe at Wimbledon and US” – again, the contemptible canard. Repeat a lie often enough, and people will come to believe it. The situations of Federer and Borg were entirely different, though not on the grounds given by Michael – for anyone interested, I have already given my reasons for thinking so in a couple of posts above.

” His detractors will bring this H2H with Nadal often to belittle his status but that can never diminish his greatness.”

Federer’s detractors may do as they please, they are of no interest to me. But I believe that what could, in the eyes of some, diminish Federer’s greatness is this purblind idolatry. Federer is and was a great, great tennis player – for my money, the best, but I can see why others will think differently. That is how it goes, in all walks of life, thank God. Overall, Federer has come short against Nadal, no person with any pretence of seeking truth (rather than a favourable result) can deny this. And it doesn’t matter! I am reminded of Beckett – keep failing, fail better, or something like that.

In every genius, there is a blind spot. That’s partly what renders the genius so fascinating. Greatness is never about perfection – that’s deadness.


alison hodge Says:

@rep micheal jan 12 2.17am,i mentioned this the other day,rafa was lucky fed put the ball wide on set point the momentum of the game would have been so very different,no gaurantees these games are played over 5 sets not 1,nole would have beaten rafa if the two men had met in the fo final again no gaurantees,ifs,buts,would haves,could haves,should haves,amount to nothing in the real world,the point is they didnt end of story,and i ask the question again are nole and roger going to be given more credit for something that never even happened,or rafa less credit for something that did,sorry end of another rant


alison hodge Says:

micheal what if berdych had not choked on match point at the wft,nole would have been white washed,what if murray had not choked on match point at rome agains t nole(think it was rome anyway),or trocki choking against murray at the fo,or hasse at the uso,or fed against tsonga at wimby,or rafa against davey at doha two years ago,you get the picture its not as if rafas the only one with lady luck smiling on him,everybody has abit of luck sometimes,you earn it as all players do from time to time.


grendel Says:

“Slithering”, Skeezer?(January 11th, 2012 at 8:07 pm). Allow me to wrap you in my coils…..


jane Says:

I love that word, canard.

I see Delpo beat Baggy in Sydney. Not sure what that says about Delpo’s form. Anyone see the match by chance?

Also Tomic has been doing very well at KooYong. Tsonga, not so much. Again, it is difficult to say what this says about their form going into the AO, but I suspect Tomic will go to the QFs this year anyway.

Like the article mat4 posted suggests: the AO may hold surprises this year. In many ways it seems like the slam most likely to surprise.


alison hodge Says:

jane it would be great to have a dark horse make a run at the ao,not just the predictable big four or five,it would be great to have an open open,looking forward to it anyway,i keep looking for the draw on tv,but so far nothing as yet.


Colin Says:

Jane, you see “Delpo beat Baggy in Sydney”, eh?
What were you drinking when you saw that? Look again.
Alison, I think the draw takes place on Friday (Australia’s Friday, that is).


jane Says:

Oops, I meant it the other way round Colin. I think the issue is what I wasn’t drinking. Hadn’t yet imbibed my morning java. :) Thanks for correcting.


margot Says:

jane, as Colin says…;) Delpot looked rusty and a tad unfit to me. His serve wasn’t great either. I think Baggy won something like 77% on Del’s second serve.
Del also got very grumpy with the crowd. All Baggy’s Australian relatives were there, loudly cheering their man! At one stage he actually asked the umpire if Davis Cup rules applied and Baggy could get a point deducted. I didn’t know u could do that, at Davis Cup I mean.


jane Says:

oooh, sounds interesting margot. I think Delpo’s Achilles’ heel may be his movement/ fitness. It has never seemed to match what it was in late 2009. But if his forehand and serve are clicking, then he can get by pretty well without the best movement as he can dictate so powerfully. Haven’t seen him get too grumpy before either, though he did seem perturbed in his match against Rafa at Wimbledon. Marcos always has droves of Cypriots cheering him in Australia. Nole has played him at least once there and I remember a boisterous crowd. And of course the year he made it all the way to the final. AO and Wimbledon have always been Baggy’s best slams I think.


Ajet Says:

Michael:

connors too has not routed borg. of course he beat him handily 6-2 6-2 6-2 in uso final on HC. but then, connors at least is a far more accomplished player than guga and was also at his prime! But what about aged, declined, injury-affected guga who beat fed in 2004 in RG in similarly crushing 6-4 6-4 6-4 manner.. a period when fed was at his prime arguably(arguably, for me, in the sense that even in 2003 I think fed was playing equally well and far better than 2008, 09, 10 or 11 but the only force which stopped himm from having another smashing year was the enigmatic nalbandian at AO and USO that year)??

moreover, I don’t think I need to repeat why winning on clay is more important than winning indoors, or do I?? I think everybody knows that a slam is being played since more than 100 years on clay rather than on indoors, that’s why!! Thus, it’s even more impressive IMO that Nadal leads fed on clay, which is a slam playing surface, than fed beating nadal indoors.

BTW, you had an issue with me dismissing the importance of wtf 11 rr defeat of nadal against fed, ain’t it? Well, then let me ask you, which match has had the bigger impact on their respective careeres??? The wins that fed got against rafa in WTF 10 and WTF 11 or the RG 08 final(not to mention there are further losses of fed which can be also mentioned)??? To be honest, even after losing to fed in wtf 10 final, nadal wasn’t affected one bit and thrashed fed at miami, beat him at madrid and again at RG the following yea, thus the real effect of that loss to federer was NIL on nadal; whereas that single loss to rafa at RG 08 changed fed’s life, for once and for all! So severe was the dent in fed’s psyche that fed started nervoulsly aganst rafa in WIM and gifted him the first set! Then faced a meltdown in the second set after breakinh nadal and gave away six consecutive games to lose the second set, and eventually the final! Then this RG 08 triggered WIM 08 loss led to another similar heartbreaking loss at AO 09 and with it came the helpless tears! Why did you think fed couldn’t stop crying??? Because his legacy was seriously hurt! It was morale-breaking for fed.. And again he lost to nadal at RG 11??? So one loss at RG cumulated in three more losses at slams! In fact, I have observed that fed hasn’t ecovered to beat nadal in a slam since the loss nadal inflicted on him at Rg 08 and at WIM 08. That wim loss i itself was so devastating tht since then fed probably lost his ground against nadal even on hardcourts! That WIM loss trama I think held back fed from remaining confident and picking up his level against rafa in the decisive set of AO 09. And it’s a notworthy development. On the other hand, recently nadal flogged fed at exo, and even the wtf 11 loss to fed seems a distant memory! So myself terming the loss at wtf 10 or 11 to fed as meanngless isn’t exactly as preposterous as you may think! ;)

further speaking, it’s again pointless to cite what djoker does to rafa, coz the comparison is as to how borg and fed dealt with jmac and nadal respectively! nole beating rafa is good for nole only, not for fed. fed loses time and again to nadal and that sucks! if, from now onwards, whenever fed faces rafa in a slam, he loses, at least there’s no denying that it’ll harm fed’s legacy. Fed just cannot go on losing one after another match to nadal, who btw is not even the greatest ever, coz in that case, fed’ll lose quite some ground, and he in fact already has lost some. It wasn’t far back that despite losing to rafa in 08 in the FO nd WIM, fed was still unanimously being hailed as the greatest ever. But as soon as he lost AO to nadal, he was suddenly stopped being called as the GOAT, and from then onwards was referred to as only one of the greatest ever, and that wasn’t by me actually, but many people who started doubting fed’s title as the greatest ever! I’m just stating the obvious, that’s all!

And to add to this, believe me, it’s not all down to just age or match-up problem with fed w.r.t. rafa(though age has its role in pushing fed to backfoot in their rivalry), the thing is fed’s mental issues against nadal. I don’t think fed’s one-haded backhand is his undoing aganst nadal, fed has no real weakness from any wing, at least when he’s firing. But against nadal, he mostly gets and has mostly gotten tight and choked and lost in important matches. Losing due to mental issues is a much bigger problem than losing due to match up or any other thing IMHO, but that’s what’s fed’s problem.

Last but not the least, stats clearly suggest that Fed has always been against disadvantage against nadal, from even the very beginning, which started culminating in the form of one after another major losses at slams as soon as fed lost his form even slight in the post-2007 time and nadal improved his own by so slender a margin, yet it looks like nadal has improved just so very much; particularly looking at the results(although thankfully for a fedfan like me, djoker burst nadal’s bubble last year, and I hope the good work of the djoker against rafa continues)! And most of those losses occurred quite as much due to fed’s slight decline as also due to rafa’s marginal improvement, but fed’s doubtfulness about his own game while playing nadal was a bigger factor than those IMHO! And under these circumstances, to suggest or draw a dubious inference that borg ran away from tennis due to jmac, whereas cogent evidence in the form of a 7-7 h2h record of borg and jmac, and that too without a single match being played on bjorn borg’s favourite claycourts, suggest to the contrary, is pretty much discard-worthy! At least fed got chances to play nadal on nonclay so many times(though he still lost for good)!!

Do you know what IMHO is most unfortunate for fed in his rivalry with nadal??? It’s the fact that a nadal on song though is great, but still shouldn’t be able to stop a firing federer, but smehow he has stopped him, time and time again! At least Jmac was slightly more talented than borg, though nearly nowhere as focussed or mentally strong! But the problem with fed is he’s more talented than rafa and also equally fighter in spirit and mentally strong, but always keeps coming short aganst rafa so much so that people had even made the mistake of assuming that nadal has no mental weakness(and had mistakenly started prematurely touting him as greater than even federer!!!), but as truth often comes out, djoker dispelled this myth in a single year by making nadal look as vulnerable as anyone can be! You should thank djoker for this rather than harping on about borg leaving tennis in fear of jmac, which is totally a misleading statement!

I would go even so far as to say that had djoker not showed some guts last year, you wouldn’t be left with any basis for claiming so emphatically as to how borg fled fearing jmac or how fed is ready to die against nadal blah blah, rather you’d be singing the hymns of nadal coz he’d be already sitting with 12 slams by now!


Skorocel Says:

Michael: „Nadal was very lucky and that is what I would say considering that missed drop shot in the first set which would have turned the match upside down.“

I wouldn’t say „lucky“. It was the usual choking from Fed, seen zillion times in his matches vs Nadal, not „luck“. If someone was „lucky“ on that day, it was Fed. Nadal couldn’t have played any worse in that 1st set (as an example, he gave Fed his 1st break when he hit a supereasy FH would-be winner from the middle of the court in the middle of the net, which was certainly VERY un-Nadal-like), and virtually throughout the whole match. Yet Federer once again wasn’t able to capitalize on that…

Speaking of „luck“, btw, I’d reiterate what I’ve already said: Roger (and all his fans including me) should be 1000 times LUCKY that there’s a guy like Djokovic. Without him, there simply wouldn’t be a player who would stop Nadal from collecting another who knows how many slams, titles, weeks at No 1…

=============

Michael: „Applying the same logic, I would say Nadal got very lucky because Federer beat the irrepressible Djokovic. Had he been in the finals then it would have been fair to say it was curtains to Nadal even in his favourite court.“

That may well be true. But then again, what does Nadal have to do with this „luck“ issue? I’m not interested in Nadal. It’s Federer who we’re talking about as the GOAT, not Nadal.

===========

Michael: „By the way, how can you say a meaningless Round Robin match.“

RR match isn’t a true knockout match, first and foremost.

===========

„Federer has already proved himself and therefore there is no need for him to prove anything that he is GREAT.“

Great he indeed is. There’s no doubt about that. But is he the GOAT? Lastly I checked, you yourself said that he IS…


Skorocel Says:

Ajet: „moreover, I don’t think I need to repeat why winning on clay is more important than winning indoors, or do I?? I think everybody knows that a slam is being played since more than 100 years on clay rather than on indoors, that’s why!! Thus, it’s even more impressive IMO that Nadal leads fed on clay, which is a slam playing surface, than fed beating nadal indoors.“

Interesting view. I wouldn’t exactly say that winning on clay is „more important“ than winning indoors, but, like you already sort of suggested, when you compare its biggest events (i.e. FO vs YEC), it’s clear who’s the winner. The problem re: clay is that the vast majority of hardcore Fed fans simply don’t count the losses which he suffered to Nadal on the red dirt. Now insert your favourite reasons why they think so here…

———

Ajet to Michael re: the AO 2009 final trophy ceremony: „Why did you think fed couldn’t stop crying??? Because his legacy was seriously hurt!

Exactly. He may’ve been sad that he didn’t equal Sampras‘ slam record back then, but the TRUE reason for such outburst was the fact that he, once again, lost to Nadal in a final of a slam. A slam in which he simply couldn’t allow himself losing to the Spaniard…

———

Ajet: „That WIM loss trama I think held back fed from remaining confident and picking up his level against rafa in the decisive set of AO 09.“

It’s true that Federer blew up in that final set, but in my opinion, the match wasn’t decided here. It was the 3rd set, where fed at 4 all had something like 5 BPs, but simply couldn’t convert. Similarly to what happened at 5-3 in the 1st set of their 2011 FO final, once Nadal won that game, I knew the match was over…

———

Ajet: „further speaking, it’s again pointless to cite what djoker does to rafa, coz the comparison is as to how borg and fed dealt with jmac and nadal respectively! nole beating rafa is good for nole only, not for fed.“

The problem here is that, whenever there’s someone who (just as Michael said) „harps on“ Fed’s H2H vs Nadal, the vast majority of Fedtards will automatically consider him as a „Nadal fan“. Therefore you see them bringing up stuff like „Nadal was lucky that Federer beat Nole in FO 2011“ or „how can Nadal be the GOAT when he’s lost 6 consecutive finals vs Nole in 2011?“, etc. etc. Don’t know about you, but personally, I don’t care about Nadal. I’ve never liked his game, which is simply too calculated to catch my eye, so to speak… But that doesn’t mean I don’t see the obvious. That is, when it comes to a „Fedal“ match, he’s the better man. No „he would’ve lost to Fed in 2004-2007“ kind of argument will deny that…

———

Ajet: „thankfully for a fedfan like me, djoker burst nadal’s bubble last year, and I hope the good work of the djoker against rafa continues“

See Michael?


skeezerweezer Says:

Which match has the biggest impact in there careers?

Rafa’s first Wimby win. It proved he could be a champion on other surfaces.

Feds FO title. Looking back years from now, this title will cement his all time greatness. Funny, Sampras was being called GOAT in his time with 14 GS titles and NO FO title.

Borg was great, but never won the USO. And, which is sad, he quit. One could say he would not face Mac anymore, whereas Fed is still here vs Nadal. He hasn’t quit. Borg at a time was unbeatable, and was well know he was going to win a USO in his career, but alas, never happened.

Rafa, in Feds career, is a thorn in his career, no doubt. And I agree it is more mental than physical. But when Feds mind and confidence is right, he can and has given Rafa a spanking. Some of you post like Fed has never beaten Rafa. Most of there matches hve been very competitive. Every player has opponnets that are bad matchups for them, just look around.

I laugh when some fans go to the extreme and reason that because there fav beats your fav there fav is the better tennis player.

That said, I try to stay away nowadays from h2h wihen it comes to a tennis players career. In the end, the record books don’t care. For the most part, winning tournaments, and especially Slams, is what matters, bottom line.

Matchups are fun to talk about and interesting, but the game of tennis and its rules do not abide by it.


alison hodge Says:

great post from skeezer,whos a lover of fed the player,and not just fed the 16 time grand slam champion.


Skorocel Says:

skeezerweezer: “Funny, Sampras was being called GOAT in his time with 14 GS titles and NO FO title.”

Yeah, but that fella named Sampras didn’t choke against anyone, whereas Federer chokes big time vs Nadal, AND NOT ONLY ON CLAY. Pete may have been a sh.tty player on the red dirt, but he wasn’t afraid of anyone – and that’s still better than a guy who maybe handles all sourfaces well, yet he’s pretty much owned by his biggest rival.


bstevens Says:

Federer in Nadal’s half and Murray in Djokovic’s. Unless I am mistaken.


bstevens Says:

And the quarters look like:
Ferrer with Djokovic
Tsongo with Murray
Fish with Federer
Berdych with Nadal


Leon Says:

grendel,
Sure, among Federer’s fanbase there is a huge portion of those tending to idolize him. Nothing unusual, would be very strange if not. After all, the guy dominated the tour so long (on the modern timescale), setting lots of amazing records. As you mentioned, such or even higher rock-star popularity followed Borg, so it’s more than natural. The extreme wing of this portion consists of adherents of the stupid goat concept, ready to disintegrate anybody who ventures to suppose that this title may belong to somebody else. Their presence is natural, too – at least, it is of clear origin (Federer’s achievements, that is). A balanced fan, irrespective of which player, easily tolerates or simply ignores this.

As any “autoritarianism” inevitably generates resistance, no wonder that with the advent of Nadal a noticeable community of his admirers has emerged – it is also more than natural. The nearly perfect PR politics of his camp and the very contrast of the created images have been also very helpful in assigning Nadal at least an equal-to-goat status, far earlier than he really started to threaten Federer’s records. The most vocal wing of this party occupied the worn-out h2h argument as an ultimate proof of Nadal’s superiority. Although a bit less grounded so far, this is natural, too – and can be equally ignored. After all, if in your, grendel, eyes a genius only gains with some blind spot, there always were/are/will be many who are so happy to belittle a genius with even a tiny imperfection.

So, the situation seemed to me rather plain, moreover, over-discussed on many forums countless times (not saying about many pundits with their double standards and hot headlines) and deserved no special attention anymore. But there is an amazing branch of Federer’s fans who, instead of being grateful for all his magic and, yes, sharing the bitterness of his shortcomings, pretend him to satisfy their own requirements to that odious goat title, right as if they have a signed contract with him on this matter. I’d better refrain of defining such phenomenon, having no wish to offend anybody. Yet, it was a bit strange to see you, grendel, involved in such a rant with repeating even weaker arguments than, say, Michael. You call absurd his remark that the h2h is distorted due to 14 of 26 matches played on clay where Nadal amassed +10 while has -2 on other surfaces whereas this is an undeniable truth. The more the “better”: “Federer was saved by the rain” – in response to an innocent argument that “matches could have gone either way”. I am sorry, it’s at least ridiculous. Any full-length 5-setter could have gone either way, moreover, with 9-7 in the decider. But you prefer Wim07 for this role with 6-2 in the decider to mention…For the sake of brevity, I don’t continue to quote similar passages. I simply can’t believe that you want to be more saint than the Pope in your objectivity, but also can’t help feeling like that.

And for those who are not tired to repeat that thank Novak Nadal has not his 12 (or six titles more this year). First, it’s only “ifs”, see Alison’s reminders. Nadal lost/choked in important matches/finals not once, even to Lubicic way past the latter’s prime. Second, I do not see such a tragedy in surpassing Federer’s records by somebody somehow. Any record should eventually fall, just as anybody of us should leave this world wishing our kids to achieve more than we were able. And if you were lucky to see that in your lifetime…well, wouldn’t it be great?


Michael Says:

Grendel,
“The logic is very simple. It frequently happens that A beats B, B beats C – but A cannot beat C.

I know that in matches anything can happen and it all boils down to the form on that particular day. But, it is not fair to point out that Federer was lucky because Nadal got beaten in quarter finals. Nadal played a bad match against Soderling and lost. It was his fault that he could’nt get through to the finals. The hypothetical assumption of whether Federer would have been able to dislodge Nadal is a non-starter here because Nadal just didn’t reach the final”. Matter ends.

Actually, Federer was saved by the rain at Wimbledon 2008, without it, he might well have succombed 0-3. But he still lost. I don’t think the AO was close. Federer should certainly have won it, but his collapse in the 5th set was symptomatic of his psychological travails against Nadal – he absolutely deserved to lose, and there is not the least doubt he knows it.

The point is that Nadal won that Wimbledon at 9-7 in the fifth set. That suggests the match was very close and could have gone either way. Moreover, the mid part of the 5th set was played in absolute darkness which must have been a hindrance to both the players. But it definitely was not a perfect conditon to play.

You contradict by saying that the Australian Open finals was not close but immediately say it went to the 5th set. If a match is played for five sets, naturally it is close. According to me, the match should not have at all gone to the 5th and Federer should have won it in four. But may be you are right in saying that Roger mentally collapsed and gave up the match. I have to agree that Roger played pretty bad that match while Nadal played his usual Tennis, but still the match was tight and could have gone either way. Moreover, I have never seen Roger serving horribly as he did during that match.

Overstated, perhaps, but the basic logic is sound. For example, Nalbandian was beaten by Federer in RR, only to turn the tables in the final. And meanwhile, we are talking here about Federer’s strongest surface, by far (these days), played at a time of the season when Nadal is traditionally at his weakest. Federer absolutely needs to be able to beat him here, and so he does, every time I believe.

Round robin stage are important to reach the semi-finals. Actually there is pressure for the players to win every match so that it does not become tight later on when they come into consideration for the decider. Therefore, they are surely very important and they have the value of additional ATP Points.

This is absurd on more than one count. Nadal beat Federer in Miami in 2004, a mere youngster taking out the great Federer, and in 2005 he was 2 sets up before he ran out of steam – Federer himself remarked later Nadal should have won, and he was lucky to get out of it. But Federer, I find, is both more modest and more realistic about himself than his more fervent devotees are. Meanwhile, what is this nonsense about “histrionics” on clay? Clay is a real tennis surface, every bit as legitimate as grass for instance. If Djokovic continues to beat Nadal on clay, this will resound greatly to his fame, and deservedly so. Please can we have no more of this downplaying of clay – it is dishonest, trying to win an argument when other methods fail.

Federer being lucky at Miami. May be. Without luck you cannot win matches. But the scoreline shows that Federer won. There can be no dispute about that atleast.

I agree, Clay is a natural surface and I am not in any down playing it. But I am talking about the GREATEST player on Clay and Federer’s misfortune that although he is a great Clay court player, yet he mostly comes second best. Nadal has demolished every player on Clay and he is a monster on that surface. Only a man named Soderling tamed him at the French and recently we have Novak hogging the honours and I very much admire him. But I do honestly admit that I am sad that Roger could’nt do what Novak is doing – break the back of Nadal.

Well your last para, I very much agree with.


Ajet Says:

Leon:

It doesn’t matter to me what matters to you, may be you’re a saint who’d not mnd his all-time favourite player being overtaken by a rival, but I am human and I would hate to see fed being overtaken by nadal! I always want fed to maintin a sfafe distance over nadal in GS count, and also always want fed to be remembered as the overall greater player than rafa. And btw I enjoy whenever a guy like djoker or delpo or murray or tsonga beats nadal! May be my bad, but that’s it!


Michael Says:

“I wouldn’t say „lucky“. It was the usual choking from Fed, seen zillion times in his matches vs Nadal, not „luck“. If someone was „lucky“ on that day, it was Fed. Nadal couldn’t have played any worse in that 1st set (as an example, he gave Fed his 1st break when he hit a supereasy FH would-be winner from the middle of the court in the middle of the net, which was certainly VERY un-Nadal-like), and virtually throughout the whole match. Yet Federer once again wasn’t able to capitalize on that…”

It is easier to make comments sitting in the drawing table but difficult to enact on stage. I am very doubtful about that drop shot decision which was called out by the Umpire. We do not have the hawk eye system at the French and it was Roger’s drawback on that day. Might be in or out. It was very close. Infact I am surprised as to how Federer accepted that decision very easily.

Federer was lucky that Nadal played badly in that first set. What is the wrong in saying that Federer played really well and superb Tennis making Nadal more error prone.
Nadal missed a easy forehand and gave the break. Might be. But how many cheap points Nadal won with Federer hitting easy shots wide in their career ???? Too many for comfort.

By the way, how can you say a meaningless Round Robin match.“
I have already put forward my view on this in my post to Grendel.

Great he indeed is. There’s no doubt about that. But is he the GOAT? Lastly I checked, you yourself said that he IS…

Regarding the GOAT issue, it is subject to individual’s evaluation and interpretation and is not a title conferred on somebody. For me, Roger is the GOAT not because he is blemishless but because he is the best amongst the available. While you have your reservations about that issue in view of his H2H with Nadal which is ofcourse being blown out of proportion especially when Nadal cannot win even against Davydenko – a player who is about six years older.


Michael Says:

The previous posting was to SCOROCEL.


Michael Says:

connors too has not routed borg. of course he beat him handily 6-2 6-2 6-2 in uso final on HC. but then, connors at least is a far more accomplished player than guga and was also at his prime! But what about aged, declined, injury-affected guga who beat fed in 2004 in RG in similarly crushing 6-4 6-4 6-4 manner.. a period when fed was at his prime arguably(arguably, for me, in the sense that even in 2003 I think fed was playing equally well and far better than 2008, 09, 10 or 11 but the only force which stopped himm from having another smashing year was the enigmatic nalbandian at AO and USO that year)??

Gustavo Kuerten is not a ordinary player on Clay. He has won that title three times and is a specialist on that surface. Therefore, it is no wonder Federer lost to him since Clay is not his strongest surface and the scoreline is 6-4,4 &4 which suggests that the match is tight and decided by only a few points here and there. It is not 6-2, 2 & 0 to suggest a rout as is the case earlier.

moreover, I don’t think I need to repeat why winning on clay is more important than winning indoors, or do I?? I think everybody knows that a slam is being played since more than 100 years on clay rather than on indoors, that’s why!! Thus, it’s even more impressive IMO that Nadal leads fed on clay, which is a slam playing surface, than fed beating nadal indoors.

All surfaces are important. Clay and Grass are natural surfaces and are important. But there must be a reason why they have been replaced by hard courts in many of the tournaments including majors, World series and Masters. Instead of going back to 100 years, it is relevant to speak of today. Today, it is hard courts that rule the roast and they decide the ranking of a player. You cannot be No.1 by just winning on Clay and Grass. Therefore your argument doesn’t hold true.

you had an issue with me dismissing the importance of wtf 11 rr defeat of nadal against fed, ain’t it? Well, then let me ask you, which match has had the bigger impact on their respective careeres??? The wins that fed got against rafa in WTF 10 and WTF 11 or the RG 08 final(not to mention there

The importance of World series finals is the points accorded to it by the ATP Managers and it stands next in importance to the majors. Nadal earning psychological edge etc. have no bearing in it. It is the second most important tournament in Tennis. Nadal has just reached only one final in his entire career and that is a big black mark in his resume. Infact he has been eliminated in the round robin stages many number of times.

It is comical that you give too much importance to Abu Dhabi exhibition even more than the World series and yeah I know the reason and ie. because Nadal beat Federer there. Infact if Nadal had beat Federer at the World series you would not have been on the job of belittling the tournament and would have praised it skywards.

Regarding Federer’s legacy being hurt by Nadal due to their lop sided H2H and all that stuff, I repeat that it can’t be so especially when Nadal has been tamed by a man named Nikolay Davydenko who is about 6 years older to him and he is now getting beaten black and blue by a man named Novak Djokovic. Therefore Nadal is not the best in Tennis for he is losing to even lower ranked players. Therefore his beating Roger has little value of statistical superiority. Ofcourse Federer’s legacy would have been hurt if Nadal is the best, but he is not. We can only come to the conclusion that it is basically a match up problem more than anything else especially when Roger has a winning record on all courts against Novak Djokovic and Davydenko who have been thorn in the flesh for Nadal in his career.

it’s again pointless to cite what djoker does to rafa, coz the comparison is as to how borg and fed dealt with jmac and nadal respectively! nole beating rafa is good for nole only, not for fed. fed loses time and

There is definitely a point. Novak in a way is protecting Roger’s legacy and has proven that Nadal is brittle and ordinary stuff. That beating has given the edge back once again to Federer in the GOAT argument and blown away the H2H contested each time by Roger’s detractors.

Even today, if you browse the Wikipedia of Roger it is suggesting that he is the GREATEST which many commentators and Tennis critics agree.


Michael Says:

The above posting is for Ajet.


Michael Says:

Leon – Good post. I agree with most of your comments.


Michael Says:

Ajet, I am sorry to say this. But I am surprised to note that you are Roger’s Fan.


Michael Says:

Ajet, There is a possibility that Nadal might overtake Federer’s count of majors. But if he does that by adding 10 French Opens then it loses its value. His win must be more diversified to acquire importance. For eg. in case of Roger it is 6-5-4 &1 whereas for Nadal it is 6-2-1-1 as of now.


Michael Says:

Scorocel & Ajet,

I knew that you would pounce on my comments to Grendel regarding my comment which goes like this

“I know that in matches anything can happen and it all boils down to the form on that particular day. But, it is not fair to point out that Federer was lucky because Nadal got beaten in quarter finals. Nadal played a bad match against Soderling and lost. It was his fault that he could’nt get through to the finals. The hypothetical assumption of whether Federer would have been able to dislodge Nadal is a non-starter here because Nadal just didn’t reach the final”. Matter ends”

You will ofcourse point out the contradiction when I claimed that Roger did a favour to Nadal by eliminating Djokovic at the French 2011. Here the difference is because Novak is right now the hottest player in the planet who has already beat Nadal consecutively at Master events especially a straight set pounding on clay whereas Soderling was a journeyman till then who eliminated Nadal. My point was that it is not logical to assume that Nadal who cannot defeat even Soderling will go on to defeat Roger at the finals if he reached there whereas in the case of Novak, it is pretty different and he got beaten by a legend narrowly.


Ajet Says:

Michael:

Problem for me is not that you’re claiming fed is greates ever until now, but what I have an issue with is that your comments make it look like federer is heads and shoulders above borg! sorry to disappoint you, but fed with all his prosa and cones and borg with all his pros and cones, fed holds just slight edge over borg, not miles ahead! btw, borg and pete are the only players apart from fed and also nadal, who’re considered as among the greatest ever, in the true sense of the term.

and btw, i know guga is a great player on clay court,but even greater is connors on hardcourt in comparison! besides this, i again remind you that guga was far from his best against roger in RG 04 due to various reasons aforementioned by me, but still was completely outplaying federer, he was leaving fed bewildered throughout that match! and as you must be knowing, the scoreline doesn’t always tell the truth, tennis is game where even a lopsided match may look a lot closer while a difficult match may even appear too one-sided! And btw, it’s you who think I would revel in fed getting beaten by rafa in WTF and would praise the tourmament or rafa to unthinkable heights, but the fact is xactly opposite! I can’t remember how many times I’ve lamented rafa getting the upperhand of roger!!! And that’s why I’ve to begrudgingly accept the fact that rafa has always done outstanding against fed!

And btw, I’m sure Nadal’s crying buckets really, about his bad record with a guy like davydenko, unlike fed who gleefully accepts his bad record against Rafa! ;)


Ajet Says:

Michael:

In case you know about cricket, I might like to point out that sachin tendulkar has played over 700 innings to score his 99 centuries(ODI + Tests), whereas bradman hit his 29 centuries in just 52 tests, and here don is the undisputed greatest ever batsman! Who’s to say that do wouldn’t have scored many many more centuries if he playe anywhere close to sachin’s no. of innngs???

Though the situation is not exactly same in tennis w.r.t. fed and borg, yet, it’s noteworthy the borg has won 11 already by 25, fed had won 8 by the same time! Who’s to say that if borg played just for records as everyone starting from tennis stars to criketers are doing these days, he might have not gone lucky and won a few more??? thus, it’s acceptable to say that fed has done more than borg in general and therefore has to be placed above borg overall, and lots of the factors have played in it their parts, but that doesn’t mean fed is the only freaking thing while borg is the freaked out! borg too was as brave as fed or rafa or laver or pete or anyone else, you can’t deny that! even borg’s peers praise fed, but they never ever say that borg was a far less player than fed or anyone else for that matter, coz that’s simply not true!

counting slams or centuries desperately is today’s norm, it wasn’t present then! thus you can’t blame borg for not being too far ahead of his times, especially when it’s amply clear that neither is fed!


Bailey Says:

@ajet What about laver? You can’t forget him in a disscussion of the best of all time. Frankly imo the only ones who could have the title of GOAT are federer or laver. You could make a case for sampras but I never considered borg and nadal in the discussion as I don’t think they have the resume to compete with the others.


Ajet Says:

bradman i thnk has payed just around 80-90 innings for hs 29 centuries!


Ajet Says:

Exactly bailey, Laver too is one of them, and I also believe he was also absolutely one of the greatest ever, to hold a racquet! In fact, to tel you the truth, I’ve always wondered about the genius of past greats like laver, rosewall, gonzales, lew hoad etc. and have always thought that these old-timers too must have something great about them, otherwise people of the caliber of laver or borg would not be talking so highly and respectably of them. Though most diagree with me, but I keep thinking that who knows what these greats coukld have done if they had all the advantages of modern players and who is anybody to deny that they too might have not mesmerised us with their brilliance! That’s why I’m always cautious about calling fed as too much better than these guys, even though admittedly, nobody has ever given me more joy than federer! :)


Bailey Says:

@Ajet ‘Though most diagree with me, but I keep thinking that who knows what these greats coukld have done if they had all the advantages of modern players and who is anybody to deny that they too might have not mesmerised us with their brilliance!’

I get yor point but that’s something you will never know. The same way you could also wonder how the champions of now would have performed back then. I believe someone like federer could have fitted right in as his game is build around his extra ordinary natural gift, while I can’t imagine nadal achieving anything close to what he is now.


Michael Says:

Ajet,

“Problem for me is not that you’re claiming fed is greates ever until now, but what I have an issue with is that your comments make it look like federer is heads and shoulders above borg!

We can only talk with what is on the kitchen table. Federer holds 16 to Borg’s 11. Federer has won 5 US Open, Borg – None. Federer has won 4 Australian – Borg None. Ofcourse Borg has won 6 compared to Federer’s just 1, but still even there Federer has made many finals. In the World Series event, Federer has won a record 6 titles, Borg – Two.

Looking at this record, who is greater ??? Definitely Roger. You may argue that Borg quit at 26. He didn’t contest the Australian Open blah blah blah. But that will not carry weight because it will be just speculation which we might be indulging in.
In a nutshell, in terms of record, Federer is head and shoulders above Borg and therefore ranked well above him.

“Borg and pete are the only players apart from fed and also nadal, who’re considered as among the greatest ever, in the true sense of the term.”

Now you object to Federer being labelled the GOAT, but you are not hesitant to call Borg, Sampras and Nadal as GREATEST. Nevertheless, leaving Federer apart whom I consider as GOAT, I will definitely include Borg & Nadal in the league of all time best, but definitely not Sampras. Why ? There is a valid reason and ie. his very poor performance at Roland Garros where he has not even made one final. His only achievement there is a semi final which he lost to Sergei Brugera. He has also not won many Clay court tournaments in his career and his resume looks quite patchy. Therefore, how can we accept Sampras a GREAT player when he is not in a position to play in Clay Courts ?????

“and btw, i know guga is a great player on clay court,but even greater is connors on hardcourt in comparison! besides this, i again remind you that guga was far from his best against roger in RG 04 due”

Kuerten is incredible on Clay courts. I have seen him play there and he looked menacing. I did not have chance to look at the 04 match between Kuerten and Federer so I am not able to comment on Kuerten’s form. But, everything will boil down to the form of that player on that particular day. Federer has won 12 games in three sets and therefore it is by no means a wash out. The scoreline suggests that he has made a fight out of it. But as you say if the scoreline didn’t tell the truth, then I reserve my comments since I have not viewed that match. As a onlooker my reading is that a 6-4,4 & 4 scoreline suggests that the match is close.

I can’t remember how many times I’ve lamented rafa getting the upperhand of roger!!! And that’s why I’ve to begrudgingly accept the fact that rafa has always done outstanding against fed!

But out of the 26 times they have met so far, Nadal has the edge with 17 and out of that 17, he won 12 in clay courts. So in other courts it is just 5 compared to Federer’s 7. This is by no means a complete demolition. It only implies that Nadal was a much superior player on clay courts, but in other courts, still Federer has got the edge with 7 wins to 5. It is Federer’s misfortune that he is not Sampras or Mcenroe or Connors who are inconsistent in clay courts and therefore they had the luxury not to be beaten black & blue by clay court specialists. Whereas Federer was a regular finalist at Roland Garros and he had to face the music from the GREATEST PLAYER on clay courts. This is by no means a shame. Federer tried over and over again but he could’nt do it and ie. beat Nadal. Infact no player could do that feat. However, he won the French Open which was the most wanted trophy in his Cabinet. Earlier when critics dismissed Federer not being the GOAT they cited the absence of French trophy, now they have gone to the H2H. Therefore, it appears they are in a mission to dismiss Federer’s hogging the GOAT title.

“I’m sure Nadal’s crying buckets really, about his bad record with a guy like davydenko, unlike fed who gleefully accepts his bad record against Rafa! ;)”
Sure Nadal should cry over his H2H with Davydenko who is six years older to him. Federer on the other hand is five years older to Nadal and therefore there is no shame in his lopsided H2H with him and that too in his favourite court. Whereas in the case of Nadal, his H2H with Davydenko should make him squirm.

In case you know about cricket, I might like to point out that sachin tendulkar has played over 700 innings to score his 99 centuries(ODI + Tests), whereas bradman hit his 29 centuries in just 52 tests, and here don is the undisputed greatest ever batsman! Who’s to say that do wouldn’t have scored many many more centuries if he playe anywhere close to sachin’s no. of innngs???
So now whom are no comparing to Roger ? Borg – I am sorry it just doesn’t wash. Borg never won the US Open, the most coveted major, which is a very big hole in his resume. Despite this I still included Borg in the list of Greats because he made four finals there and was unlucky not to win it. But yet a win is a win and he never made it.

Though the situation is not exactly same in tennis w.r.t. fed and borg, yet, it’s noteworthy the borg has won 11 already by 25, fed had won 8 by the same time! Who’s to say that if borg played just for records as everyone starting from tennis stars to criketers are doing these days, he might have not gone lucky and won a few more??? thus, it’s acceptable to say that fed has done more than borg in general and therefore has to be placed above borg overall, and lots of the factors have played in it their parts, but that doesn’t mean fed is the only freaking thing while borg is the freaked out! borg too was as brave as fed or rafa or laver or pete or anyone else, you can’t deny that! even borg’s peers praise fed, but they never ever say that borg was a far less player than fed or anyone else for that matter, coz that’s simply not true!

I am sorry I know that you are playing for Borg and may be I am playing for Federer. But for a neutral analyst, it is records that are on table that counts and not mere speculation. It is not wise to compare Cricket and Tennis because atleast on the averages, Bradman has 99.99 while Tendulkar has just 60.

Ajet, I am not in any way belittling Borg or his achievements. Believe it or not, I am a great fan of Bjorn since my childhood days. I like the way he plays Tennis with ease and with grace. His style of play is very different from the rest of players and just his presence in court is enough to excite the crowd. His quickness in court is unparalled and might be Nadal will come close. I am not dismissing all these things. But I cannot accept that he is better than Federer simply due to the records that stand for each of them. Your argument that if he had played blah blah just doesn’t count because Borg was not prevented from playing Tennis like Laver or Rosewall. He quit Tennis on his own and ie a very foolish decision that he took which ultimately proved to be the difference between GREATEST and GREATNESS.

Nobody is perfect and that includes Federer. But Roger is the best amongst the available. If tomorrow somebody overturns Roger’s record then he will have the hold to the GREATEST tag.


Michael Says:

Bailey,

@ajet What about laver? You can’t forget him in a disscussion of the best of all time. Frankly imo the only ones who could have the title of GOAT are federer or laver. You could make a case for sampras but I never considered borg and nadal in the discussion as I don’t think they have the resume to compete with the others.

Laver surely is in the list of GREATS. But, there is a hitch here and it is the comparison of eras. Laver mainly played in the Amateur era although he did compete in the professional circuit and proved himself in the professional era when it was thrown open to the players. I think I agree with Lendl on this and he wanted to bifurcate the eras into two :-

Amateur era – Rod Laver
Professional era – Roger Federer


Michael Says:

Bailey,
I get yor point but that’s something you will never know. The same way you could also wonder how the champions of now would have performed back then. I believe someone like federer could have fitted right in as his game is build around his extra ordinary natural gift, while I can’t imagine nadal achieving anything close to what he is now.

I agree with you. Federer would have shined irrespective of era whereas I am not so sure about other players. Moreover, the serve and volley is lost today and the players come to the net only to shake hands. That art is literally dying and I am very sad about that.


grendel Says:

Michael says: “the scoreline is 6-4,4 &4 which suggests that the match is tight and decided by only a few points here and there” Ajet replied the score was misleading – Kuerten was simply all over Federer, leaving Fed “bewildered”. In response, Michael says:”if the scoreline didn’t tell the truth, then I reserve my comments since I have not viewed that match. As a onlooker my reading is that a 6-4,4 & 4 scoreline suggests that the match is close”.

Well, I saw the match too and imo Ajet is absolutely spot on. Kuerten was contained and within himself – I think he was carrying an injury – but Federer was literally all at sea, throughout the match too. At no stage did he look like mounting a comeback. For a Fed fan it was an incredibly frustrating performance to watch; you kept thinking, Federer is bound to make a move soon – but no. Kuerten was almost languidly authoritative – it was as if he were playing a junior and, with a sort of rough kindness, was putting him in his place.

” He quit Tennis on his own and ie a very foolish decision that he took which ultimately proved to be the difference between GREATEST and GREATNESS.”
Wrong. The man was not well, he was as clear a case as you’ll ever see of burnout – in a context, too, of years of almost Beatles style adulation (not, to put it very, very mildly, a healthy phenomenon). Comparisons are generally invidious (which is one reason why some of us regard the Goat concept as a non-starter), in this case more so than ever.

b.t.w.this business of Fed winning RG courtesy of Soderling. I think there is confusion here. Nadal was beat, fair and square – he absolutely deserved to lose, there is no question of Nadal having suffered bad luck in any shape, shade or form. But of course Nadal’s loss was Federer’s good fortune, it really is stretching language to breaking point to suggest anything else. It is very important, though, to add this rider – luck comes and luck goes, it is a good idea to take advantage of it when it is favourable, and Federer did so with some aplomb in RG that day.


Bailey Says:

@Micheal “Laver surely is in the list of GREATS. But, there is a hitch here and it is the comparison of eras. Laver mainly played in the Amateur era although he did compete in the professional circuit and proved himself in the professional era when it was thrown open to the players. I think I agree with Lendl on this and he wanted to bifurcate the eras into two :-

Amateur era – Rod Laver
Professional era – Roger Federer”

Completely agree.


grendel Says:

Leon

“You call absurd his remark that the h2h is distorted due to 14 of 26 matches played on clay where Nadal amassed +10 while has -2 on other surfaces whereas this is an undeniable truth”

Well, you definitely have a point, Leon. But let’s pursue this line of thought for a moment. Let’s take away all the clay tourneys, so minus 12 from Nadal’s tally and minus 2 from Fed’s tally. That will give h2h 7-5 in favour of Fed. But I think you’ll agree it’s only fair that if we rob Nadal of his favourite surface (and Fed’s weakest), we must do the same the other way round. This will mean subtracting 4 from Fed’s tally (The Masters Cup tournaments). Now, we have Nadal 5, Federer 3.

Is this a fair assessment? I don’t know. But in using the word “absurd” (a bit carelessly, I must admit – thankyou for pointing that out to me) I was also referring to Michael’s use of the word “histrionics” to describe his clay court wins, for this was certainly an attempt to downplay their significance – and that is a very common thing, I have found.

““Federer was saved by the rain” – in response to an innocent argument that “matches could have gone either way”. I am sorry, it’s at least ridiculous. Any full-length 5-setter could have gone either way, moreover, with 9-7 in the decider. But you prefer Wim07 for this role with 6-2 in the decider to mention”.
Well, I don’t think it was an innocent argument, and I brought in the Wimb 07 to balance it out, it’s not that I prefer it. I think you have to mention both. I dare say I was a trifle over zealous, however. Such, alas, tends to be the way in protracted arguments. And whilst I am on this issue, I’d like to thank Michael for his most recent reply, which was courteous despite provocation.

“I simply can’t believe that you want to be more saint than the Pope in your objectivity, but also can’t help feeling like that.”

You know, I would never claim anything so outlandish as to be objective. With the best will in the world, one can only approach objectivity, and I have plenty of personal axes to grind. I suspect what happens is that as one gets drawn into arguments, over time, one’s initial naive enthusiasm for a particular player becomes muddied by one’s own personal predelictions – which in turn are heavily based on life experience. I’d rather not go into detail here, but the fact is Federer has an enormous fan base. Therefore huge numbers of people share a very fragile unity in their support for a particular player – on most other matters, they think quite differently. If you post a lot, as for my sins I do, you can’t help becoming very aware of this and so, in a way, one is not rally battling on behalf of Federer or against him or in the interests of some illusory objectivity, one is – largely subconsciously I think – responding to aspects in other posters which in other contexts one abhors or at any rate dislikes.

I’m sorry if this sounds muddled or messy, but it’s a difficult thought I am trying to relay, and I am by no means clear about it myself. A final example. Take the search for balance: no doubt there will be a perfectly straightforward desire to get somewhere near it – all argument, to a degree depends upon this, otherwise nobody would have a clue what anyone else was on about. But there is something else: in one’s own life, the idea of balance may have huge personal implications, no need to elaborate, and so one extends this emotional preference, spontaneously and without thought, into arguments about, for instance, tennis.


grendel Says:

Ajet

It is interesting you brought up Bradman. He seems to me to be the sole exception to the idea that the Goat concept is incoherent (for all the reasons you mention). His batting average was simply monstrous, was it not. You know his very last test innings, he needed a very small score to reach an batting average of 100 – and he was out for a duck, possibly a golden duck, courtesy of one Eric Hollies. Bad Eric Hollies to spoil the dream!

Even here, however, you can argue against Bradman. Of course, he was long before even my time, but they do say his batting was clinical in the highest degree. He was not a “beautiful” player. Can a Goat be a Goat purely on grounds of unique, insanely unique, efficiency?

Dunno.


Ajet Says:

Michael:

I don’t know wht do you want me to accept?? If you really want me to accept that Fed is head and shoulders above Borg, then I guess you need a reality check! Nobody’s going to buy your theory!fed was lucky to win FO coz he did not face nadal, yes, LUCKIEST! Whereas unfortunately a connors or jmac on fire used to catch up with borg at uso that’s why he was denied! And don’t talk crazy like blah blah blahh particularly when you know deep inside what’s the fact! Keep denying yourself that Fed got lucky to win RG, but that doesn’t change the fact. If Borg had not an all-time great like connors or jma to face, then he too’d have won quite a few USOs!

And btw, it’s ridiculous that you even dare to suggest that wimbledon king pete sampras isn’t one of the greatest ever! May be Fedtards can buy it, but not objective people! Everybody knows how differnt the courts of wimbledon androlandgarros were plaing prior to 2001! It’s not a coincidence that even the greatest of greats haven’t succeeded to win the wim-rg double excet the legendary exceptions of brg and laver! And I don’t care what you think, but the fact is that if wim and french were as different as they previously were, there’s no way in hell that you’d see somany back to back french open-wimbledon battles between nadal and federer!

And moreover, before you makeoutrageous claims like USO is the most coveted thing in teenis,let me make clear to you:
Anybody who knows squat about tennis knows that WIMBLEDON IS THE SINGLE GREATEST CHAMPIONSHIP IN TENNIS!!! And Sampras won it 7 times!!! Clearly one of the gratest evers!!!

And as I said, it’s not my problem if you can’t get the simple thoing that nobody used to run after GS tally counts before. Times have changed. Players are crazy about numbers. Sadly, borg and co. might never have enviisaged that a certain federer’s fan would tal so lowly of them merely coz they didn’t spend sleepless nights about winning AUS!

And hey, you’re also now down to puttng things in my mouth which I never said! I stated time and again that fed’s overall the greatest, but that is itself not enough for you, for you to satsfy your ego, people need to accept that federer is heads and shoulders abve borg. But the thing is anybody knowledgeable about tennis will disagree with you here. fed is above Borg, that much only everybody’ll accept, but not your flawed logic that he’s heads and shoulders above borg!

And by the way, seeing your sticking to the year end championship numbers comparison of fed and borg, need I remind you that fed had far weaker competetition than borg??? Borg had everyone starting from connors to mcenroe to lendl and wilander to contend with, and am not even bringing up other players like vilas, nastase, arthur ashe etc etc. For your kind information, it’s a very very well accepted fact that borg had to deal with all these great players, each one of whom is a multiple slam winner, and the years when borg was playying is widely regarded among the tennis afficionados as the most competitive era in tennis, ever! In such a situation, it is hardly justified to expect borg to go on picking up year end chapionships at will!

Just because fed got lucky to pick up a few year end championships in 2003, 2004 and 2006 due to the power vaccum in tennis(owing to the fact that neither safin was completely fit in this time nor could hewitt sustain his absolute best in this time, the onl guys who coulda likely challenged fed; even nalbandian wasn’t serious about winning either; nadal also hasn’t come into his own; djoker too hardly could be recognised around this time) doesn’t mean he’s the only worthy tennis player! Only roddick was trying to put some resistance to fed courageously from 2003-05(nadal joined in 2006), although he was never (unfortunately) successful. Thus, no wonder, fed with his relatively inferior competition went on a GS-cum-YEC harvest, Borg couldn’t afford such a luxury against a far stronger competetitive field consisting of hordes of all time greats like connors, lendl, jmac, wilander and other numerous multiple slam winners! You got the point now???


Ajet Says:

”My point was that it is not logical to assume that Nadal who cannot defeat even Soderling will go on to defeat Roger at the finals”

Michael, I’m damn sure you don’t believe this! If not, then it’s called denial! I can’t help you in this regard!


Ajet Says:

And btw, why is it so difficult for you to understand that greats are always greats??? It’s not like fed alone would shine in borg’s era if he were acccustomed to then conditions; a player of borg’s caliber too would shine in fed’s era if he grew up accustomed to present condiditons!


Ajet Says:

Michael, please tell me btw where’s your problem i understanding what I wrote??? Where did I say borg, pete and nadal as the gretest??? I only said among the gretest ever! And moreover, where did I deny that so far, Fed is the greatest??? You know what, you nee a reality check You are now jumping to conclusions and preconceived even without reading me as a whole perhaps! I have alrady saud it manyntimes that fed is the greatest, but I would also never stop saying that he’s not heads and shoulders above players of the caliber of borg or pete? And think twicebefore rejecting pete as one of the all the greats, people would laugh at you!


Ajet Says:

I mean pete as one of the all-time greats, in my previous post.
in my previous post, it must also be read as ‘preconceved notions’ and not just preconceived.


Ajet Says:

”Let’s take away all the clay tourneys, so minus 12 from Nadal’s tally and minus 2 from Fed’s tally. That will give h2h 7-5 in favour of Fed. But I think you’ll agree it’s only fair that if we rob Nadal of his favourite surface (and Fed’s weakest), we must do the same the other way round. This will mean subtracting 4 from Fed’s tally (The Masters Cup tournaments). Now, we have Nadal 5, Federer 3.”

Exactly grendel!!! thanks for bringing this up! Why only take away clay, also take away indoor! i was thinking to bring this up, but kept missing in the heat of the moment, glad that you brought it! Now everybody see!!!


Michael Says:

Ajet,
Michael, please tell me btw where’s your problem i understanding what I wrote??? Where did I say borg, pete and nadal as the gretest??? I only said among the gretest ever!

I just cannot make out any difference in what you say. Greatest/among the greatest ever. What does this mean ? Somebody help me. I am pretty confused because my understanding of english says both the words you use have the same meaning.

“moreover, where did I deny that so far, Fed is the greatest”
If we had agreed on that, why are we discussing and debating now ? The point is you doubted that that label to Federer due to his lopsided H2H with Nadal. If you scroll your earlier postings you will realize what I mean ?!

And think twice before rejecting pete as one of the all time greats, people would laugh at you
I will continue to say what I think and if people laugh at me for that I do not mind. Let them laugh. But I am confident my argument will definitely stick considering that Pistol Pete didn’t make even one Rolland Garros Finals and his record there is disastrous to say the least getting often routed in the second and third round of the tournament. Such a pathetic performance does not reflect well to be listed amongst the Greats. I repeat that countless times. Never mind what you say about the surface then, now blah blah. To be labelled a Great, you should never have weakness. Sampras winning 7 Wimbledon titles does not compensate his routing at Rolland Garros. Might be for your satisfaction I would say he is King of GRASS courts although I consider Federer to be precisely that.


Michael Says:

why is it so difficult for you to understand that greats are always greats??? It’s not like fed alone would shine in borg’s era if he were acccustomed to then conditions; a player of borg’s caliber too would shine in fed’s era if he grew up accustomed to present condiditons!

Although this is pure speculation. Yet, I agree, Borg will shine in today’s era too because of the way he plays the game. It suits his style more today than when he was playing. Might be he was unlucky to be born in that era of serve and volley.


Michael Says:

Michael, I’m damn sure you don’t believe this! If not, then it’s called denial! I can’t help you in this regard!

I’ damn sure. I believe this because Nadal got beaten by Soderling a journeyman then. It is illogical to assume that a man who was bested by Soderling in four sets will go on to lift the title.


Michael Says:

I don’t know wht do you want me to accept?? If you really want me to accept that Fed is head and shoulders above Borg, then I guess you need a reality check! Nobody’s going to buy your theory!fed was lucky to win FO coz he did not face nadal, yes, LUCKIEST! Whereas unfortunately a connors or jmac on fire used to catch up with borg at uso that’s why he was denied! And don’t talk crazy like blah blah blahh particularly when you know deep inside what’s the fact! Keep denying yourself that Fed got lucky to win RG, but that doesn’t change the fact. If Borg had not an all-time great like connors or jma to face, then he too’d have won quite a few USOs!

The point is Nadal played that tournament when Federer too played. Therefore there is no point in claiming that had Nadal been in the finals then things would have been different. Nadal played very badly and got whacked in the fourth round. Matter ends there. Federer goes on to win the title beating the vanquisher of Nadal in straight sets. In this scenario, how can I imagine that had Nadal been in the finals, things would have been different blah blah. It doesn’t make sense to me at all.

Federer is definitely head and shoulders above Borg in terms of record. They speak for themeselves. If you want to deny the obvious. So be it. You live in your own World.

Frankly Tennis today is more competitive than those early years. Today the top 100 is dangerous whereas in the era of Borg, you had about 10-15 good players. That is it. The sport has become more glamorous, more money is involved and the visual Media has revolutionized this game. As a result, you have players practising very hard to prove themselves by all means. It is so competitive and it is laughable when people say Tennis today is played in a weak era when by far it is the most competitive era.

If Borg did not have Connors or Mcenroe he too would have won US Open.
Borg can even win against them. He has that game. But unfortunately something did not jell for him in that particular tournament. He was plainly unlucky to say the least. But he still made four finals there and that is a pretty decent achievement may be not to Borg’s standard but yet remarkable.

Regading Sampras, I have already explained my stand above and it will never change irrespective of provocation.

It’s not a coincidence that even the greatest of greats haven’t succeeded to win the wim-rg double excet the legendary exceptions of brg and laver! And I don’t care what you think, but the fact is that if wim and french were as different as they previously were, there’s no way in hell that you’d see somany back to back french open-wimbledon battles between nadal and federer!
Federer and Nadal have done that and Nadal has done it twice.

Wimbledon and French different then than it is now. Might be the courts have slowed down. But I think that the faster courts of Wimbledon would have helped Federer more than any other player. What you say is only applicable to a player like Nadal.

And moreover, before you makeoutrageous claims like USO is the most coveted thing in teenis,let me make clear to you:

I do not understand what is your problem ? US Open is definitely one of the majors and a coveted trophy. It is part of the Grand slam and is a must win. Ask any player about that, he will nod in agreement. Just because Borg didn’t win does not diminish its importance in any manner. True, Wimbledon is the most prestigious, yet in terms of points awarded they all hog the same limelight – 2,000.

And as I said, it’s not my problem if you can’t get the simple thoing that nobody used to run after GS tally counts before. Times have changed. Players are crazy about numbers. Sadly, borg and co. might never have enviisaged that a certain federer’s fan would tal so lowly of them merely coz they didn’t spend sleepless nights about winning AUS!
Then what those players were playing for if they did not care to win the Majors ???
I never talk lowly about Borg as you do about Federer. I only say that in terms of record, Federer has the highest and that is a solid fact.

I stated time and again that fed’s overall the greatest, but that is itself not enough for you, for you to satsfy your ego, people need to accept that federer is heads and shoulders abve borg. But the thing is anybody knowledgeable about tennis will disagree with you here. fed is above Borg, that much only everybody’ll accept, but not your flawed logic that he’s heads and shoulders above borg! The point is even after the entry of Nadal, Djokovic and Murray, Roger has won the World series thrice. That does tell something about his greatness. Moreover, most often than not he has been a winner or a runner up at that premier event. Only once he has been eliminated in the round robin stage unlike Nadal.

Okay let me correct myself if that offends you. Let me say, Federer is head above Borg. Is that OK ??

And by the way, seeing your sticking to the year end championship numbers comparison of fed and borg, need I remind you that fed had far weaker competetition than borg??? Borg had everyone starting from connors to mcenroe to lendl and wilander to contend with, and am not even bringing up other players like vilas, nastase, arthur ashe etc etc
Lendl came much later in Borg’s career. Vilas was just a clay court maniac. Nastase and Arthur Ashe – good players but are they great players ??
Federer having weaker competition – I do not buy that argument at all which is just an outburst to belittle his stature. It is as strong as it ever was. Whatever said and done, Borg has 2 compared to Roger’s 6. Matter ends.

ust because fed got lucky to pick up a few year end championships in 2003, 2004 and 2006 due to the power vaccum in tennis(owing to the fact that neither safin was completely fit in this time nor could hewitt sustain his absolute best in this time, the onl guys who coulda likely challenged fed; even nalbandian wasn’t serious about winning either; nadal also hasn’t come into his own; djoker too hardly could be recognised around this time) doesn’t mean he’s the only worthy tennis player! Only roddick was trying to put some resistance to fed courageously from 2003-05(nadal joined in 2006), although he was never (unfortunately) successful. Thus, no wonder, fed with his relatively inferior competition went on a GS-cum-YEC harvest, Borg couldn’t afford such a luxury against a far stronger competetitive field consisting of hordes of all time greats like connors, lendl, jmac, wilander and other numerous multiple slam winners! You got the point now???

You are trying every trick in the book to belittle Roger and yet you want me to believe that you are a fan of Federer. So be it. But whenever Federer wins you say that his opponents are never at their best – so on and so forth. So, if you argue in that manner with the sole aim of belittling a player, then it means that you are prejudiced.


Michael Says:

Grendel, You might be right. You watched that match and know well. Federer might be having his off day. That happens in Tennis even for Great players.

He quit Tennis on his own and ie a very foolish decision that he took which ultimately proved to be the difference between GREATEST and GREATNESS.”
Wrong. The man was not well, he was as clear a case as you’ll ever see of burnout – in a context, too, of years of almost Beatles style adulation (not, to put it very, very mildly, a healthy phenomenon). Comparisons are generally invidious (which is one reason why some of us regard the Goat concept as a non-starter), in this case more so than ever.

Well what was exactly Borg’s problem ? I saw in interviews that he was getting bored with Tennis and he wanted to enjoy life. That was his own version which was in the Press and you now brought the issue of being burnt out, being not well. What was Borg suffering from exactly ???
this business of Fed winning RG courtesy of Soderling. I think there is confusion here. Nadal was beat, fair and square – he absolutely deserved to lose, there is no question of Nadal having suffered bad luck in any shape, shade or form. But of course Nadal’s loss was Federer’s good fortune,

We are free to have our own interpretation. But it is difficult to imagine that Nadal who lost to Soderling in four sets would go on to win the finals of that tournament.


grendel Says:

“Might be he was unlucky to be born in that era of serve and volley.” This refers to Borg. Actually, he made a very good fist of doing s and v at Wimbledon. Not his natural game – no instinct at all in the McEnroe sense – but pretty serviceable, all the same.

Soderling is not a journeyman, please. He is a very fine player indeed, certainly limited by the standards of the very best – who isn’t? – but a fine aggressive baseliner all the same. After he beat Nadal, he destroyed Davydenko, forget which round.

Meanwhile:”It is illogical to assume that a man who was bested by Soderling in four sets will go on to lift the title.” This is a mistake. Logic concerns itself with the relation of statements with each other, and can be a useful tool in detecting contradictions. It is rarely applicable in human behaviour (except in the most basic sense – for instance, if a person is in London at a specific time, he cannot also be in Paris at that time) simply because human behaviour tends to be too complicated. There are far too many variables involved for logic to get any explanatory hold in the Sod/Fed/Nadal triangle. But you can use experience and common sense.

We know very well that a great player can have an off day – perhaps he is a little complacent, Nadal had recently beaten Soderling convincingly (6-1, 6-0 in Rome). So he can be unexpectedly beaten by a very good player but one not quite of the top rank. These things happen. Sampras being beaten by Kraijchek at Wimbledon, for example, I’ll never forget Sampras’ bewilderment as he tried to figure out a reason for his loss.

Top players like to conserve energy in preparation for the final stages of the tournament. One way or another, Nadal was caught on the hop. But we can say with complete confidence that if Nadal had managed to wriggle out of the Soderling match, he’d have received his wake up call. And by the time he got to the final, he would have been primed to go. Does anyone seriously imagine Federer could have beaten him in such circumstances?


jane Says:

grendel “Does anyone seriously imagine Federer could have beaten him in such circumstances?”

There was a chance that year, similar to how there was a chance this year. In 2009, Nadal and Djoko had had some great tussles on clay in Monte Carlo, Rome and Madrid, which was the epic match that wore both out, and which Rafa won by a hair. I think Rafa was probably a bit tired going into the FO that year (remember he’d fought hard to win the AO too, so he’d expended more energy early in the year than he normally does), and then there were the issues off court with his parents’ separation. He even went on to pull out of Wimbledon, which says a lot about where he was at midway through 2009. So: had Nadal gotten past Soderling, perhaps he would have been vulnerable on the clay and Roger might have had his best chance to beat him there. This year is was similar in that Nadal’s confidence had taken a hit going into the FO where he had struggled early and in patches throughout. Fed meanwhile took out Nole, was leading in the first set of the final, and it seemed like his moment to get a win versus Rafa on RG clay. But he didn’t; he really kind of blew it in that first set, and as others have said, it seemed the match was basically over at that moment. So would he have won in 2009? I’d say probably not, because it seems like Rafa is both a bad match up and in Fed’s head. But it wouldn’t have been out of the question to seriously believe he had a good shot that year had Rafa made it through – maybe his best shot.


grendel Says:

Michael – I have rooted around looking for my copy of McEnroe’s autobiography, but I cannot find it, despite crawling among the cobwebs. He gives quite a compelling account of the troubles afflicting Borg. The book is easily available from a library.I was around at the time, and I remember very well the hysteria surrounding Borg when he made public appearances. It was not remotely healthy, imo. Meanwhile, I have found this:

“Most people said Borg had burned out. He had expected to take 6 months off or so, then return back to the tour. However, the ATP told Borg that if he planned to play less than the minimum number of tournaments (something like 10 a year), he would have to enter through qualification.

Borg felt that, due to his wins at the French Open and Wimbledon, he should be exempt. That didn’t happen, and Borg didn’t return back to the tour. He tried a comeback in the early 90s, most probably due to financial reasons, but by then, he had not regularly played, and was in his mid 30s–old for a tennis player.”

Wilander, for example, confirms the above. We will never know what would have happened if the ATP had not been so purblind. Almost certainly no more success at Wimbledon, but RG?

There is no doubt that the rise of McEnroe, and no doubt the prospect of others, played a role in Borg’s retirement. It is simpleminded, though, to suppose that was the only reason. To my way of looking at things, any big event in a person’s life has to be seen in context if you want to understand what’s going on. Borg had been grinding away for 10 years – it was a far tougher experience than Federer’s, with his “beautiful game”. He wanted a break on his terms, was denied this – so he snapped. I see little or no point in making comparisons. People are different, have different compulsions and so on. Federer continues to play not because he is making some kind of sacrifice – he just likes it.


grendel Says:

you make a good case, jane, as good a case as can be made I think. But, like you, I don’t think Federer would have done it.


Ajet Says:

Michael:

It’s for you for whom tennis is all about federer, but believe me there’re peole who can see beyond that. There’s absolutely nobody who’s even slightly unbiased would go on sayin that fed’s not heads and shouldes above borg. Others can clearly see that fed’s the first among equals, that’s all, unlike you who idolises fed so much so that he cannot accept the harsh truth about fed, while at the same time lambasting a cham like borg bringing up baseless excuses while claiming it as fact, lol!

An it must be hurting you big time, no? The fact that borg had far stiffer competetition! But of course, if you’ve roger federer tinted glasses on your eyes, then it’s foolish off me to except you to see the truth!

I mean, it’s only you who would say that even the top 100 players of today are better players than all those hall of famers of borg’s time.
What more can one expect from some federer fan who has closed his eyes to the obvious! I don’t care.

And oh, as if belittling borg wasn’t enough, even sampras is being belittled now, wow, JUST WOW!!! Of course, for you nobody can be great, but just federer, I have forgotten that! Too bad that fed can’t handle Rafa while by your own admission even davydenko can! ;)

And now soderling too is a journeyman! Man, you’re scaling new lows in your arguments already with your fed frenzy!


Ajet Says:

Michael:

It’s for you for whom tennis is all about federer, but believe me there’re peole who can see beyond that. There’s absolutely nobody who’s even slightly unbiased would go on sayin that fed’s heads and shouldes above borg, NO WAY. Others can clearly see that fed’s the first among equals, that’s all, unlike you who idolises fed so much so that he cannot accept the harsh truth about fed, while at the same time lambasting a champ like borg bringing up baseless excuses while claiming it as fact, lol!

An it must be hurting you big time, no? The fact that borg had far stiffer competetition! But of course, if you’ve roger federer tinted glasses on your eyes, then it’s foolish off me to except you to see the truth!

I mean, it’s only you who would say that even the top 100 players of today are better players than all those hall of famers of borg’s time.
What more can one expect from some federer fan who has closed his eyes to the obvious! I don’t care.

And oh, as if belittling borg wasn’t enough, even sampras is being belittled now, wow, JUST WOW!!! Of course, for you nobody can be great, but just federer, I have forgotten that! Too bad that fed can’t handle Rafa while by your own admission even davydenko can! ;)

And now soderling too is a journeyman! Man, you’re scaling new lows in your arguments already with your fed frenzy!

Before going on a tirade against borg, you must know that unquestionability is not the privilege to which fed alone is entitled!

Btw, all that I started was with a simple statement that borg is the nicest, kindest, humblest champ while fed even though generally humble, has shown arrogance at times. Then, it was you who first started from talking how fed’s foundation is doing this and that, while at the same time questioning borg’s humanity; even courage in tennis against jmac! Funny you can see only that while not seeing that fed himself chokes against nadal and has become famous for his mid-match collapses. In fact, because I’m unbiased, I’m at least giving fed the credit for his talent otherwise many nadal fans and even pro-nadal analysts, tennis stars etc. have openly started talking of nadal as a better player than federer! And those guys even term nadal more talented and mentally stronger than roger, at least I’m ok enough to see that fed’s more talented than roger.


Skorocel Says:

Michael: „Gustavo Kuerten is not a ordinary player on Clay. He has won that title three times and is a specialist on that surface. Therefore, it is no wonder Federer lost to him since Clay is not his strongest surface and the scoreline is 6-4,4 &4 which suggests that the match is tight and decided by only a few points here and there. It is not 6-2, 2 & 0 to suggest a rout as is the case earlier.“

Losing to Kuerten on clay certainly isn’t a shame. However, despite the fairly „mild“ scoreline, fact is, that match in Paris was in Guga’s hands from start to finish. Federer absolutely didn’t have a chance in that one. Maybe it wasn’t as brutal as the FO 2008 final vs Nadal, but it certainly wasn’t decided by „a few points here and there“…

=======================

Michael (on Sampras‘ place in tennis history): „To be labelled a Great, you should never have weakness.“

Uhm, then what about the Greatest? ;-) Just curious…

=======================

Michael: „I did not have chance to look at the 04 match between Kuerten and Federer so I am not able to comment on Kuerten’s form.“

Then please refrain from drawing any premature conclusions. That match wasn’t even close.

=======================

Michael: „But out of the 26 times they have met so far, Nadal has the edge with 17 and out of that 17, he won 12 in clay courts.“

Here we go again. Clay or not, what the hell? Federer is the greatest, so how could he win just 2 matches out of 12? 0 matches out of 5 at FO? Just 1 single win at FO would’ve been enough to shut this clay-court argument once and for all, but he wasn’t able to even get Nadal in the 5th in Paris…

=======================

Michael: „Nadal has just reached only one final in his entire career and that is a big black mark in his resume.“

Well, if that’s a black mark, then Federer’s „courage“ in his matches vs Nadal is a black hole…

=======================

Michael: „Sure Nadal should cry over his H2H with Davydenko who is six years older to him. Federer on the other hand is five years older to Nadal and therefore there is no shame in his lopsided H2H with him and that too in his favourite court. Whereas in the case of Nadal, his H2H with Davydenko should make him squirm.“

Ask Nadal what makes him more headaches: his H2H with Davydenko or his current 0-6 losing streak to Djoker? Say, there’s a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 = negligible and 5 = more than worrying. How would he rate it? Try to be sincere here… Or let’s say, Federer would’ve had the same H2H vs Davy as has Nadal. What would bother him more? His current H2H with the Spaniard or a 6-8 record against Nikolay? LOL :-)

=======================

Michael to Ajet: „Infact if Nadal had beat Federer at the World series you would not have been on the job of belittling the tournament and would have praised it skywards.“

Why praised/neglected/whatever? Had Nadal beat Fed in YEC, it would’ve just CONFIRMED what every sane tennis fan on this planet (including Ajet) knows: Nadal is better than Federer when these two play against each other + he can beat him everywhere, even on his weakest surface.

=======================

Michael re: the FO 2009: „In this scenario, how can I imagine that had Nadal been in the finals, things would have been different blah blah. It doesn’t make sense to me at all.“

You’re right. 5-0 doesn’t make sense at all…

=======================

Michael: „Ajet, There is a possibility that Nadal might overtake Federer’s count of majors. But if he does that by adding 10 French Opens then it loses its value. His win must be more diversified to acquire importance. For eg. in case of Roger it is 6-5-4 &1 whereas for Nadal it is 6-2-1-1 as of now.“

Yeah, but in that case, Federer must also heighten his FO count, which currently stands at 1. With Nadal still playing & Djoker now as the undisputed no 1. (maybe even on clay), I’d say: good luck, Roger! ;-)

=======================

Michael to Ajet: „You are trying every trick in the book to belittle Roger and yet you want me to believe that you are a fan of Federer.“

That’s not „belittling“ – it’s simply taking those pink glasses off the eyes. Not everyone who roots for Federer has to automatically believe in everything what Roger did. Believe in this case = blindly worship every single win or neglect every single loss, without REALISTICALLY looking at the circumstances in which these happened.

=======================

Michael: „Moreover, the serve and volley is lost today and the players come to the net only to shake hands.“

Very funny but true :-(


Skorocel Says:

Ajet: „And btw, I’m sure Nadal’s crying buckets really, about his bad record with a guy like davydenko, unlike fed who gleefully accepts his bad record against Rafa! ;)“

LOL :-)

====================

Ajet to Michael: „And moreover, before you makeoutrageous claims like USO is the most coveted thing in teenis,let me make clear to you:
Anybody who knows squat about tennis knows that WIMBLEDON IS THE SINGLE GREATEST CHAMPIONSHIP IN TENNIS!!! And Sampras won it 7 times!!! Clearly one of the gratest evers!!!“

Good point. That’s a feat which even the mighty Roger hasn’t matched, and which, btw, is almost universally ignored by the Sampras‘ detractors.


grendel Says:

Skyrocel says:

“Had Nadal beat Fed in YEC, it would’ve just CONFIRMED what every sane tennis fan on this planet (including Ajet) knows: Nadal is better than Federer when these two play against each other + he can beat him everywhere, even on his weakest surface.”

Now “can” is one of these weasel words, which can cover a multitude of sins. I, for example, can beat Federer or Nadal if, say, they have both just run marathons in record time and can barely stand. I could knock out the heavyweight champion of the world if he was barely standing after running into a lorry, I could thrash a grandmaster in chess if he hadn’t slept for a week due to spending time in a North Korean jail.

Things are looking pretty bright for me, aren’t they? Now then (scratches chin) which path to glory shall I choose?

Still, we get the picture. Strictly speaking, Nadal “can” beat Federer anywhere, but the fact is he just HASN’T, has he, indoors – and generally, Federer has run him fairly ragged there. In short, it is safe to say that Federer is better than Nadal indoors. Nadal can only beat Federer there in the same sense that Federer “can” beat Nadal on clay. The latter is not impossible, it has even happened, in circumstances admittedly unfavourable to Nadal. But it “can” happen.

Skyrocel accuses his opponents of blind worship and lack of REALISM (he uses the capitals).It is a curious fact how polemicists often have a tendency to merge into the very types they abominate, so carried away are they with a kind of mirror image enthusiasm.


Leon Says:

Oh, my…Yesterday I thought my comment would be nearly the last in this extra-long thread and hardly hoped for any reply (thanks, grendel. appreciated as usual). How wrong was I. The temperature is elevated (over the top?). Umm…great…too hot to my taste, though. Before quitting (a la Borg? OK, OK, joking apart!), a couple of pathetic remarks. Sure, in vain, but nevertheless:

“fed was lucky to win FO cos he did not face nadal, yes, LUCKIEST!”
Ajet, raising the voice (uppercasing) seldom helps. Judge yourself: to win a specific slam many years in a row is a daunting task. One has to be flawless for about 30 or more best-of-five matches vs a wide spectrum of opponents for several years just in a specific time/place. With every next match, starting from even the 1st round, the probability of the streak end grows considerably, just like probability of death with every next year of a senior, alas. As far as I remember, in the open era only Federer was able to do that at a level of 5 (with the closest distance to 6 in two! slams in parallel!), others stopped at 4.
Have a clue? If to speak of luck – lucky is rather a consecutive multislam winner, if nothing else, simply having no injures or a bad day at office, etc, than a soderling or a federer. In contrast, Federer was only deservedly awarded for his persistence to reach so many FO finals (had he played Nadal in the final, he would have big chances to win – at least. As 17-9 or even 12-2 means a high enough probability to have a win after four or five losses). But Nadal, a clay juggernaut, remained a mortal. So he lost – once for 5 years, absolutely no shame on that. But he was lucky for sure to lose exactly to Soderling, not to Roger, saving the golden opportunity for some “unbiased” to speak about Federer’s “luck” ad nauseam. Indeed, grendel, it is where I do see a “contemptible canard. Repeat a lie often enough, and people will come to believe it.” Sorry, you said that, I am only citing.

“But let’s pursue this line of thought for a moment. Let’s take away all the clay tourneys, so minus 12 from Nadal’s tally and minus 2 from Fed’s tally. That will give h2h 7-5 in favour of Fed. But I think you’ll agree it’s only fair that if we rob Nadal of his favourite surface (and Fed’s weakest), we must do the same the other way round. This will mean subtracting 4 from Fed’s tally (The Masters Cup tournaments). Now, we have Nadal 5, Federer 3.
Is this a fair assessment? I don’t know.” /grendel
Here I am really at a loss. Are we doing sums in so different ways? First you take away 14! of 26! cases favorable to Nadal, and then subtract 4 only! those favorable to Federer. Then you innocently ask: fair, no? I respect you too much to answer this question.
Every “sane” tennislover (I cannot guarantee I am, for sure) agrees that not only this h2h (on which I wrote so much earlier to repeat the analysis again), but all the Nadal career, achievements and glory was rooted in clay predominantly, he isn’t called the King of clay for nothing. It is stupid to belittle either this or the classic surface as such. As well as to award it with enormous weight or belittle, say, indoor only because there is no slam on it. In the last decades clay is about a one third of total significance, and Nadal himself holds this ratio in his activity because he knows that, due to the current state-of-art, to really dominate the tour means first of all to dominate on HC. Roger did that. Rafael – not so much yet. Nobody knows the future. As for grass…Wimbledon…special glory…traditions…strawberries with cream…nice…and here I’d better stop.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Am having a good laugh reading some of this. Apparently, the ranting is so hot, I have repost the obvious?

Fed has 16 slams, and on each surface. No one, repeat, no one has the all time accomplishment. You guys act like it if it wasn’t for the almight nadal he would have never gotten them. Or if the great Borg never quit. Well, where oh where was Rafa in these 16 slams? Why couldn’t he get to the finals to beat Fed? He lost early, he got hurt, his big toe had a hang nail, whatever. Yes, it all matters. Staying healthy, having a complete game, consistency in your game, over a career. Not over a man, a surface, etc. It doesn’t matter about how much you can’t acknowledge Feds place in History. The facts are there and records until somebody breaks them.

As grendel says, REALISM in all this is lacking.


Skorocel Says:

Leon: “But Nadal, a clay juggernaut, remained a mortal. So he lost – once for 5 years, absolutely no shame on that. But he was lucky for sure to lose exactly to Soderling, not to Roger, saving the golden opportunity for some “unbiased” to speak about Federer’s “luck” ad nauseam.”

Ask Roger if he, after failing to even take Nadal into the 5th set in 5 tries in Paris, doesn’t see even the slightest bit of glittering luck on his FO 2009 trophy… What sport are you watching, man?


Skeezerweezer Says:

Skorocel

C’mon man why don’t you ask Rafa why he couldn’t beat Sod? Another injury excuse perhaps? You are harping like Fed never beat Rafa on Clay. Your constantly pointing out what Fed didn’t do, not what he has done. He is no slouch on clay most likely the best non-pure Clay courter ever.
Funny, do you remember that match Rafa/Sod? Sod played out of his mind and Rafa never appeared hurt, and he lost fair and square. Fed can’t always choose to play Rafa to prove his greatness. And in that case Rafa wasn’t good enough to get to the final. Fed was, and beat the guy who took Rafa down at the FO. Fully deserved and proved he is one of the greatest all court players ever to have success on the measly dirt.


Skorocel Says:

Skeezerweezer:

Where did I say Nadal lost to Sod because of injury? I don’t care whether he had diarrhea, haemorrhoids or BSE on that day. He took the court, which means he was ready to play, so whatever may’ve (or may’ve not) happened to him, that’s his problem, not mine…

Btw, what’s wrong with saying Federer got lucky when Nadal exited? It’s a FACT. But no, after getting beaten 4 times (now make that 5 after the 2011 final), there’s still a “high enough probability” (as per Leon) he would’ve won, isn’t it? Now that’s what I call “logical” thinking… High enough probability, LOL :-)


mat4 Says:

I am lost in this polemic. Why again?


Skeezerweezer Says:

Skorocel,

Ok, ok…got it ;)

Re ; Sod…it was more about the comments here about de-valuing Feds status due to Rafa. No doubt Rafa is a tough matchup for Fed but in the end there place in the record books will ultimately be judged against the Tennis Tournaments they won, and Slams, and not against each other.
Bringing Sod in to the equation was giving an example of how, even though Fed didn’t get a chance to play Rafa in the final of the FO, it wasn’t his fault. Lucky? There was no luck. Rafa couldn’t get to the final. Fed was not unlucky, he got to the final, waiting. Rafa couldn’t get there.


Michael Says:

Grendel,
Top players like to conserve energy in preparation for the final stages of the tournament. One way or another, Nadal was caught on the hop. But we can say with complete confidence that if Nadal had managed to wriggle out of the Soderling match, he’d have received his wake up call. And by the time he got to the final, he would have been primed to go. Does anyone seriously imagine Federer could have beaten him in such circumstances?
This is mere speculation. In the same way, I can also imagine that had Federer not beaten in the quarter finals by Berdych, he would have gone on to beat Nadal at Wimbledon 2010 or even the 2010 US Open where he got bested by Novak considering his healthy record there. That counts for nothing.

“Soderling is not a journeyman, please”
I am sorry you have mistaken me. I said Soderling was a journey man then which he truly was. He came into the limelight only after his shocking win over Nadal in the French and then shaped himself to be a top 5 player.

Meanwhile:”It is illogical to assume that a man who was bested by Soderling in four sets will go on to lift the title.” This is a mistake. Logic concerns itself with the relation of statements with each other, and can be a useful tool in detecting contradictions. It is rarely applicable in human behaviour (except in the most basic sense – for instance, if a person is in London at a specific time, he cannot also be in Paris at that time) simply because human behaviour tends to be too complicated.

In the same way your imagining that Nadal would have gone into to win the title had he not beaten by Soderling does also appear to me contradictory.


Michael Says:

Grendel,
I just wanted to know what is Borg’s exact ailment ?? What was he suffering from ? Burnt out is too generic whereas I want the specific reason ?? I have time and again in the Press that he got bored with Tennis life and wanted to enjoy life other than Tennis.

Whatever said and done, according to me, Borg took a very foolish decision. He had a very good year in 1981 coming to the finals of Wimbledon and US and yet he takes such a ridiculous decision compelled by emotion and frustration. I am sorry, he didn’t live up to the qualities of a Champion which he is.


Michael Says:

Ajet,
It’s for you for whom tennis is all about federer, but believe me there’re peole who can see beyond that. There’s absolutely nobody who’s even slightly unbiased would go on sayin that fed’s not heads and shouldes above borg. Others can clearly see that fed’s the first among equals, that’s all, unlike you who idolises fed so much so that he cannot accept the harsh truth about fed, while at the same time lambasting a cham like borg bringing up baseless excuses while claiming it as fact, lol!

No this is baseless. I like all players including Federer whom I like most. I accept I have a bias towards Federer but that is only with justification. I like Nadal too and I know how difficult it is to come to the top level of Tennis. All those players at the top hog my admiration. I do not want to play with words, and would only once again say that in terms of records set Federer is head and shoulders above Borg. It can never change because it is a solid fact. I never said anything ugly about Borg. I only said and repeat that he made a foolish decision to quit and run away from Tennis fearing Mcenroe which he should not have done. On the other hand it is you who come up with silly excuses for players losing to Federer and not I. You try to pounce upon Federer on anything and everything and try to belittle his achievements and you claim the reverse.

An it must be hurting you big time, no? The fact that borg had far stiffer competetition! But of course, if you’ve roger federer tinted glasses on your eyes, then it’s foolish off me to except you to see the truth!

Borg had far stiffer competition than Federer. It is your perception which I need not necessarily agree. In the same way a fan of Laver might argue that only his era had bigger competition than Borg. But common sense dictates that Tennis today is more competitive than ever in the past with the money and fame involved today in the sport. There are 100 good players today who can beat anybody on their day. This was not so in the past.

mean, it’s only you who would say that even the top 100 players of today are better players than all those hall of famers of borg’s time.

I will also charge you that you have closed your eyes to this solid fact due to your tinted glass of Borg in your eyes and is foolish for me to make accept the reality. I don’t care a damn.

And oh, as if belittling borg wasn’t enough, even Sampras is being belittled now, wow, JUST WOW!!! Of course, for you nobody can be great, but just federer, I have forgotten that! Too bad that fed can’t handle Rafa while by your own admission even davydenko can! ;)
I gave the justification for my leaving out Sampras from the list of Greats and it sticks well. I have more often repeated that Borg, Nadal are all in the Great list, but it seems you have forgotten all those postings and hell bent on making comments appear prejudiced just like you are doing now. Sorry it is not so. Federer can’t handle Rafa – I never said that – I only said that Rafa is a monster on clay and Federer has the edge in other surfaces even today. It stands at 7-5 apart from clay their H2H. In the same manner I can say that while Rafa cannot even handle Davydenko, he is lucky to dominate Federer just because Federer has thrashed Davydenko time and again and their H2H stands at 15-2.


Michael Says:

Ajet,

“And now soderling too is a journeyman! Man, you’re scaling new lows in your arguments already with your fed frenzy!”

Watch my posting well. I said Soderling was a journeyman then which he was definitely. He came into the limelight of Tennis only with his defeat of Nadal at Rolland Garros and coming to the finals. He then turned a new leaf and became one of the top 5 player.

That I why I repeat, you are seeing my posting with your prejudiced mindset and whatever I post, it appears to you as being wrong.


Michael Says:

Before going on a tirade against borg, you must know that unquestionability is not the privilege to which fed alone is entitled!

What is my tirade against Borg exactly ? I said he is in my list of greats. The only accusation I made which is quite valid is that he ran away from Tennis due to the beating by Mcenroe at Wimbledon and US Open. It is quite true and there is no escaping away from that how much you argue otherwise and try to silence me with your vituperative outburst.


Michael Says:

Btw, all that I started was with a simple statement that borg is the nicest, kindest, humblest champ while fed even though generally humble, has shown arrogance at times. Then, it was you who first started from talking how fed’s foundation is doing this and that, while at the same time questioning borg’s humanity; even courage in tennis against jmac! Funny you can see only that while not seeing that fed himself chokes against nadal and has become famous for his mid-match collapses. In fact, because I’m unbiased, I’m at least giving fed the credit for his talent otherwise many nadal fans and even pro-nadal analysts, tennis stars etc. have openly started talking of nadal as a better player than federer! And those guys even term nadal more talented and mentally stronger than roger, at least I’m ok enough to see that fed’s more talented than roger.

No just do not pretend. What is in your thinking you have vented out. You want to make out that Nadal is a better player just because of his H2H advantage against Federer and therefore you try every rule in the book to besmirch Federer. Thanks for Novak who silenced all you guys with his beating and pounding of Nadal and I hope it continues so that you do not raise your voice again.


Michael Says:

Skorocel,
Losing to Kuerten on clay certainly isn’t a shame. However, despite the fairly „mild“ scoreline, fact is, that match in Paris was in Guga’s hands from start to finish. Federer absolutely didn’t have a chance in that one. Maybe it wasn’t as brutal as the FO 2008 final vs Nadal, but it certainly wasn’t decided by „a few points here and there“…

Why to make a big fuss about this defeat ? Every player has his fine and off days and might be Federer was not at his very best and faced the music. There is no shame to losing to Kuerten in Clay.

Uhm, then what about the Greatest? ;-) Just curious…
It is records and the majors that you accumulate in Tennis that matters and moreover Federer has that consistency in majors to claim the GREATEST TAG which no player has. Nobody can be without any weakness and be perfect. If that is the case, there can be no GREATEST at all in any sport. This is chosen from only amongst the best and right now Federer is the best and fits that tag well and rightly deserves it.

Then please refrain from drawing any premature conclusions. That match wasn’t even close.

I said and repeat what I said. From the scoreline it appears that the match is close. I was very clear in my statement which you are now twisting and spinning it to suit your own purpose. I also added that I never saw the match and so I reserved my comments when I posted to Grendel.

Here we go again. Clay or not, what the hell? Federer is the greatest, so how could he win just 2 matches out of 12? 0 matches out of 5 at FO? Just 1 single win at FO would’ve been enough to shut this clay-court argument once and for all, but he wasn’t able to even get Nadal in the 5th in Paris…

Tennis is a complex sport with many variables. He got beaten by Nadal on Clay. Nodoubt about it. He tried over again and again to beat Nadal by reaching the finals consistently. Why can’t you praise here his consistency and fighting spirit instead of looking at the negative with a tainted glass ??? As I said and repeat, Nadal is a monster in clay courts and would have easily demolished any player in the planet in his hey days and unfortunately Federer got caught up with a specialist. Why can’t you compare this to Sampras whom you admire a lot who has not even managed to reach one final of Roland Garros ? Infact if you look at his record at Roland Garros, it will be awful not even able to reach the quarters on a consistent basis and getting beaten by lower ranked players in the 1st and 2nd rounds. You will then realize the greatness of Federer.

Well, if that’s a black mark, then Federer’s „courage“ in his matches vs Nadal is a black hole
That is your opinion. My point is 20 years from now nobody is going to remember the H2H of Federer over Nadal. Everybody will only talk about his stellar career filled with records all over the place.

Ask Nadal what makes him more headaches: his H2H with Davydenko or his current 0-6 losing streak to Djoker? Say, there’s a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 = negligible and 5 = more than worrying. How would he rate it? Try to be sincere here… Or let’s say, Federer would’ve had the same H2H vs Davy as has Nadal. What would bother him more? His current H2H with the Spaniard or a 6-8 record against Nikolay? LOL :-)

If Federer is bothered so much about the H2H factor as you are, he would have quit atleast the French Open. He knows well that he is not only playing against Nadal but against 127 other players on the circuit competing for attention. Moreover he knows well that Nadal is 5 years younger to him and there is the age factor which many of his critics ignore quite conveniently. Infact it is Nadal who must be worried about his losing streak to Novak who is of his same age.

Why praised/neglected/whatever? Had Nadal beat Fed in YEC, it would’ve just CONFIRMED what every sane tennis fan on this planet (including Ajet) knows: Nadal is better than Federer when these two play against each other + he can beat him everywhere, even on his weakest surface.

It didn’t happen and therefore futile to speculate. Might be imagining that scenario it will be comforting for people like Ajet but it didn’t happen till date. Nadal is a big failure at the World series Masters and that is what the record book speaks.

You’re right. 5-0 doesn’t make sense at all…

When you can imagine that Nadal can get the best of Federer in Indoor hard courts despite the fact that he has never beaten him there, why can’t I imagine what I say when Federer has got the better of Nadal twice on Clay and also by the startling fact that Nadal got whacked in the fourth round by a journey man named Soderling. Soderling was a journey man in Tennis and his rise to glory was only after this victory which heralded a new chapter in his career.

Yeah, but in that case, Federer must also heighten his FO count, which currently stands at 1. With Nadal still playing & Djoker now as the undisputed no 1. (maybe even on clay), I’d say: good luck, Roger! ;-)

Not necessary because he has atleast won 4 of each major other than French while Nadal has just the Roland Garros to boot. Moreover he has made 5 finals in each of the majors unlike Nadal who has made just two at US and one at Australian. Therefore there is no comparison here.

That’s not „belittling“ – it’s simply taking those pink glasses off the eyes. Not everyone who roots for Federer has to automatically believe in everything what Roger did. Believe in this case = blindly worship every single win or neglect every single loss, without REALISTICALLY looking at the circumstances in which these happened.

When you pass an accusation against me of blind worship without merit, I can also accuse you with merit of blind partisanship when you judge Federer against other Champions. You just slog time and again his H2H with Nadal to belittle him.


Michael Says:

Ajet, We can see how Nadal is mentally strong with his histronics against Novak. We have seen that six times last year.


grendel Says:

Skeezer – about “luck”. It’s everywhere, embedded in our lives at every step. Here is a quote from Daniel Kahneman, Nobel laureate and generally regarded as the greatest psychologist alive.
“A recurrent theme of this book ["Thinking, fast and slow"] is that luck plays a large role in every story of success; it is almost always easy to identify a small change in the story that would have changed a remarkable achievement into a mediocre outcome. Our story was no exception”.

So universal is the role of luck (or ill luck) in everybody’s lives that it is absolutely no shame in attributing luck to a particular tennis player. Every tennis player, like everybody else, has his share of luck. I think you’ll find that most neutrals are agreed that Federer was fortunate indeed that Soderling dispatched Nadal. There is no shame in this – how can there be? It was just the way the cookie crumbled. Federer still had to make use of his luck – and he did, triumphantly. Good on him.


grendel Says:

Michael

You are clearly a man of stamina. Oh, well. Here goes again.
Borg:” Burnt out is too generic whereas I want the specific reason “. Well, you’ll just have to be content with the generic, won’t you. The mind is a delicate mechanism, and not well understood, never mind subject to dissection and categorisation in the manner that the body has been. The concept of “burnout” is perfectly respectable, sportsmen understand very well what it means. There is a physical element to it, of course. The nature of Borg’s game – a hard, grinding one – rendered both body and mind far more subject to burnout than an economic game such as Federer’s.

“Borg took a very foolish decision”. But the “decision” was not wholly his, was it? The ATP, by their rigidity and inflexibility (I gather they have since adapted and learnt)bore some responsibility for the unfortunate consequences.

“a ridiculous decision compelled by emotion and frustration”. Well, actually, at the end of the day, emotion lies behind just about every decision. Reason tends to be in the service of emotion, not the other way round – that at any rate was the opinion of Britain’s greatest philosopher, David Hume, and I stand with him. But in any case, what gives you the right to be so judgemental? The Christians may believe in a non existant God, but they come up with some smashing stuff.”Judge not that ye be not judged”. That might sound a bit heavy, after all this is a blog. But Borg was a man in mental turmoil, and I just don’t think complacent judgements, based anyway largely on ignorance, are of any value.

Soderling: the word “journeyman” (it has nothing to do with lack of limelight) largely conjures up notions of ordinariness, mere competence – or, if you like, a donkey as opposed to a thoroughbred. At no stage has Soderling deserved this appellation. From early on, he was always understood to be an exceptional talent who could go all the way.

I’d said:”Does anyone seriously imagine Federer could have beaten him in such circumstances [i.e.meeting Nadal at RG final should he have beaten Sod]? You respond:”This is mere speculation. In the same way, I can also imagine that had Federer not beaten in the quarter finals by Berdych, he would have gone on to beat Nadal at Wimbledon 2010″.

Now, first of all, the analogy doesn’t begin to work. In most peoples’ eyes, Nadal was favourite to win Wimbledon 2010, and nor would Federer’s presence in the final have altered that perception. On the other hand, quite clearly Nadal has always been favourite at RG in a final against Federer. Second – it IS speculation, true. But it’s pretty informed speculation, isn’t it? Try asking any – ANY – of the tennis experts who, out of Soderling and Nadal, would have been Federer’s preferred opponent.


Lulu Iberica Says:

Thank you, grendel! A very reasonable post. In my mind, Fed and Rafa are now even-stevens in the matter of luck in the form of their top rival being taken out by someone else at RG. Obviously, Fed won that Roland Garros fair and square and I’m not saying he wouldn’t have beaten Rafa, but one thing I do know: Soderling did not play as well against Fed as he did against Rafa, and it strains credibility to think that Rafa would have been rattled by the moment or given less than his all in a French Open final against Fed! I’m sure Fed was happy to face Soda instead of Nadal. Just as I’m sure in 2011, Rafa was happy to face Fed instead of Novak! Now that it’s a new season I hope Rafa is able to win a slam by beating Novak himself. We will see.


jane Says:

grendel, ” There is no shame in this – how can there be? It was just the way the cookie crumbled. Federer still had to make use of his luck – and he did, triumphantly. Good on him.”

Exactly. I felt this way when Sean wrote his Djokovic as “Garbage Man” essays back in 2008. This was the year Nole had won a slam and IW, and then he went on to win in Rome, where Nadal was beaten by Ferrero and Fed by (?). He won again at the YEC when Fed was eliminated by Murray. I don’t think he was a garbage man at all. Sure, he may not have won Rome if Rafa was there or YEC if Fed was there but they can play only who’s in front, and I had thought back then he’d already proved his worth by beating Fed and Tsonga at the AO and Nadal at IW. Ah well. Fed fought through some tough matches the year he won the FO, including a rising Delpo. He deserves that title just as much as when Nadal faced Soderling in the final and won. Sometimes players get a little luck in not having to face the hot player or his nemesis, let’s say. But a win is a win is a win. At the end of the day, as you say, if someone uses his or her luck “triumphantly” – good on them!


Ajet Says:

MICHAEL:

Your posts are seriously hilarious! Good to see you calling me a pretender! This is called misrepresentation(though not deliberate), hahaha! I don’t blame for you for that. I can see your logic clearly. ;)

Rather it’s you who clearly come across as a pretentious fellow while saying you were a borg fan or when you say you like Nadal. Not that it matters: whom you like and why!

————————————————

”No just do not pretend. What is in your thinking you have vented out.”

Not even close to your venting against Borg/Nadal. And again, the more people like you accuse me of pretending, the more complemented I feel!

————————————————

”Might be imagining that scenario it will be comforting for people like Ajet but it didn’t happen till date.”

It gave me the laughing fits for the day, hahahahaha! I can’t believe you’re telling me what I think! Ok ok, may be you love imagining you know more about me and my inner thoughts than myself! ;)

———————————————–

”Nadal is a big failure at the World series Masters and that is what the record book speaks.”

Hardly matters to me!
Who cares what nadal does there ! So long as someone keeps preventing nadal from winning more than or equal slams to fed, I’d stay happy and keep smiling. :D

———————————-

Btw, thanks for reminding us all that tennis is a sport with many variables, but borg leaving tennis is due to only one variable, and that only you know! ;)

————————————–

”Ajet, We can see how Nadal is mentally strong with his histronics against Novak. We have seen that six times last year.”

Well, it’s people like you who might be thinking nadal to be the mentally strongest player in tennis history, I never thought that, EVER!!! Coz I’m not the gullible one! I and my nearer ones better know it. Who cares what you think about me w.r.t. this!

————————————–

”Moreover he knows well that Nadal is 5 years younger to him and there is the age factor which many of his critics ignore quite conveniently.”

I have also alluded to this age difference as having become a factor since 2007 end to act against federer. Nevertheless, age is not the only factor n or the biggest factor; nor even the bad match-up; but actually the ‘doubtful mindset of federer’ while playing Nadal(at least on non-clay surfaces since 2007 end). Can’t tell about others, but at least I think that Fed simply gifted rafa the AO coz of his mental fragility. Even at WIM 08, it was this mental factor which cost fed wimbledon otherwise he had ALMOST won it.

————————————————

However Michael, after all is said and done, I’ve nothing personal against you.


Ajet Says:

Tennis blogging is just so passionate! What hostility I had with Michael: nothing!! Yet in the heat of the moment I ended up terming him pretentious, gullible etc!!! Sorry man!

I better refrain from commenting on this contentious issue.


Ajet Says:

Guys, don’t you emember the incident of 2009 at RG when fed was even asked by a journalist whether he’d have preferred to meet rafa than sod in the final, and fed, HONESTLY(as he has always been, in his replies) replied NO!He said, so far as I can remember something to th tune of that he was glad not to face rafa. Though I can’t blame him as pressure on him was just too much then to win FO, and he needed some luck for getting his hand on that trophy, moreso due to his consistent efforts and hardwork. A deserved win I’d say.


Ajet Says:

Great post as usual by grendel.


Bailey Says:

@ajet I always love his honesty even though sometimes it can bring him in trouble.


Skorocel Says:

Michael re: a possible Nadal win over Fed in the FO 2009 finals: „This is mere speculation. In the same way, I can also imagine that had Federer not beaten in the quarter finals by Berdych, he would have gone on to beat Nadal at Wimbledon 2010 or even the 2010 US Open where he got bested by Novak considering his healthy record there.“

Really „fitting“ comparison. So Federer, who couldn’t even force a 5-setter against Rafa in Paris in no less than 5 tries, would’ve had, according to you, a chance to win, had these two met in the 2009 finals, but at the same time Nadal, who already beat Fed in Wimby + lost a 5-setter year before, would be doubtful, had these 2 met in the 2010 SW19 finals? Am I the only one who’s missing some logic here?

======================

„I gave the justification for my leaving out Sampras from the list of Greats and it sticks well.“

Well, mediocre on clay or not, if Sampras, according to you, isn’t among the greats, then I really don’t know who is. Man, some of your quotes are pearls! Diamonds & pearls, as Prince would say! So Sampras, who won the most coveted trophy in tennis (and no, it’s not US Open, but Wimbledon) a record 7 times, ended the year a record 6 consecutive times as No. 1, and held the No 1. ranking another record 286 weeks, isn’t even among the greats?! Unbelievable what I hear here…

======================

„Why to make a big fuss about this defeat ? Every player has his fine and off days and might be Federer was not at his very best and faced the music. There is no shame to losing to Kuerten in Clay.“

I’m not making any fuss about that Kuerten defeat. What I merely state is that it wasn’t as close as the scoreline suggests – that’s all. If you didn’t see the match (I did), then how can you judge? In tennis, the scoreline may often look even, but in reality, the match wasn’t even close (as is this case), whereas it can also be a demolition on the scoreboard, but reality may be a bit different (Nadal vs Soderling Rome 2009, for example).

======================

„As I said and repeat, Nadal is a monster in clay courts and would have easily demolished any player in the planet in his hey days and unfortunately Federer got caught up with a specialist.“

Nadal is a clay-court specialist, well fine… Then what about Federer? Lastly I checked, he GREW UP on clay. In other words, contrary to the likes of Sampras, this surface is, was, and always will be natural to him, and, like it or not, his game is also versatile enough to suit it very well. 4 FO finals + 1 FO title speak for itself I guess… Yet we’ll once again dismiss all his losses to Nadal on the red dirt, because, of course, Nadal is the greatest claycourt player ever, right? Applying this logic, I could also say that Federer is the best hardcourt & grasscourt player of all times (which may well be true) – yet for some „unknown reason“, the same Nadal (labelled by you as a „clay-court specialist“, btw) was able to beat him 5 times there (out of which 2 wins were in Slam finals)…

======================

„Nadal is a big failure at the World series Masters and that is what the record book speaks.“

OK, then what about the Olympics & Davis Cup? Nadal has both, whereas Federer none. Both these events are more or less of the same value as is the YEC, so, according to you, isn’t that a big failure on Federer’s resume as well?

======================

„When you can imagine that Nadal can get the best of Federer in Indoor hard courts despite the fact that he has never beaten him there, why can’t I imagine what I say when Federer has got the better of Nadal twice on Clay and also by the startling fact that Nadal got whacked in the fourth round by a journey man named Soderling. Soderling was a journey man in Tennis and his rise to glory was only after this victory which heralded a new chapter in his career.“

1. Soderling certainly isn’t a hall of famer, but believe or not, this same Soderling beat Federer year later in Paris and denied him equaling/breaking Sampras‘ record of 286 weeks at the No 1. spot…
2. Let me ask you this question: What would surprise you more? Federer beating Nadal at FO or Nadal beating Federer at YEC? Let’s just take all the H2H away (i.e. forget about Nadal’s 12-2 vs Fed on clay & Fed’s 4-0 vs Nadal on indoor hard), ignore even the bad matchup thing (i.e. Nadal’s lefty FH to Federer’s onehanded BH and so on) and just TAKE THEIR MENTAL TOUGHNESS (i.e. how they act in their respective matches when the going gets tough) INTO CONSIDERATION, right? Which win would be more surprising for you? Be sincere, please…


Skorocel Says:

jane: „Fed fought through some tough matches the year he won the FO, including a rising Delpo. He deserves that title just as much as when Nadal faced Soderling in the final and won.“

He certainly deserves it. It’s just unreasonable when someone DELIBERATELY makes this win look like it was a torture for Federer when in fact his biggest torturer wasn’t present in the chamber… Btw, I bet that Nadal would be „quakeing“ in his boots had he found out his opponent in the FO 2010 final would be Federer instead of Soderling, LOL ;-)


Skorocel Says:

Ajet: „Nevertheless, age is not the only factor n or the biggest factor; nor even the bad match-up; but actually the ‘doubtful mindset of federer’ while playing Nadal(at least on non-clay surfaces since 2007 end).“

Yet you frequently hear some people here saying stuff like: „If Federer plays his best, even Nadal has no chance“, LOL ;-) Nevermind that Roger is (more often than not) sh.tting in his pants when playing Rafa whereas Rafa certainly ISN’T – if Roger plays his best, he’s the winner. LOL and LOL :-)


Bailey Says:

@skoorocel ‘Ajet: „Nevertheless, age is not the only factor n or the biggest factor; nor even the bad match-up; but actually the ‘doubtful mindset of federer’ while playing Nadal(at least on non-clay surfaces since 2007 end).“ Yet you frequently hear some people here saying stuff like: „If Federer plays his best, even Nadal has no chance“, LOL ;-) Nevermind that Roger is (more often than not) sh.tting in his pants when playing Rafa whereas Rafa certainly ISN’T – if Roger plays his best, he’s the winner. LOL and LOL :-)’

I assume when people say ‘fed at his best’they don’t mean the federer that constantly chokes against nadal. They mean confident error-less player who rarely ever appears when up against rafa. If he does appear then yes I do think fed would be the winner.


grendel Says:

Michael

I disagree with almost everything you say. But you have been under a sustained barrage from 3 separate posters, and you have handled this difficult situation with considerable grace, I am bound to say.


Michael Says:

Grendel,
Well, you’ll just have to be content with the generic, won’t you. The mind is a delicate mechanism, and not well understood, never mind subject to dissection and categorisation in the manner that the body has been. The concept of “burnout” is perfectly respectable, sportsmen understand very well what it means. There is a physical element to it, of course. The nature of Borg’s game – a hard, grinding one – rendered both body and mind far more subject to burnout than an economic game such as Federer’s.

Still you have not come up with the exact ailment that troubled Borg? But was Borg referring to the burnout when he said he was tired of Tennis ?? It is a mystery which only Borg can solve by his candid statement once again to the world. But it makes no difference now. He quit when he was in his prime and denied himself all glory. He definitely had the potential to become the GREATEST but he spoiled his own career by his intemperate foolish decision is what all I can say ?!

Borg took a very foolish decision”. But the “decision” was not wholly his, was it? The ATP, by their rigidity and inflexibility (I gather they have since adapted and learnt)bore some responsibility for the unfortunate consequences

Ofcourse I too agree that the ATP should have not been too rigid with a stature like Borg. They too played their ugly role but the loser was the Tennis World which lost a potential GOAT.

The Christians may believe in a non existant God, but they come up with some smashing stuff.”Judge nt that ye be not judged”.
Finally, we seem to agree and I am happy. For your information, I am too an atheist !!

Soderling: the word “journeyman” (it has nothing to do with lack of limelight) largely conjures up notions of ordinariness, mere competence – or, if you like, a donkey as opposed to a thoroughbred. At no stage has Soderling deserved this appellation. From early on, he was always understood to be an exceptional talent who could go all the way.

He was a good talent. Nodoubt about that. But his record till then was nothing home to speak about and he was pretty inconsistent. That inconsistency had a telling effect in his ATP rankings too. But after that shocking win over Nadal, he transformed himself to be a top 5 player and from thereon his consistency level improved quite dramatically.

Now, first of all, the analogy doesn’t begin to work. In most peoples’ eyes, Nadal was favourite to win Wimbledon 2010, and nor would Federer’s presence in the final have altered that perception. On the other hand, quite clearly Nadal has always been favourite at RG in a final against Federer. Second – it IS speculation, true. But it’s pretty informed speculation, isn’t it? Try asking any – ANY – of the tennis experts who, out of Soderling and Nadal, would have been Federer’s preferred opponent.

In Tennis anything can happen. Federer was the overwhelming favourite to win Australian Open in 2005 and was hailed so by most of the commentators and critics and there were some headline news like the crown should already have been awarded to Federer and it was a waste to play the Australian Open 2005. But Federer shockingly lost to Safin in the semi-finals. That is Tennis. Therefore just being a favourite does not guarantee a win. I preface my assumption on the excellent performance of Roger at Wimbledon where he has won six times and had been in seven consecutive finals. That is a very imposing record by any means. How can we say that Nadal would have won against Roger had he been in the finals especially when he won 2008 only by a whisker and lost the other two ???? It is futile to speculate that had Nadal been in the finals, Federer would have lost because Nadal was not able to even reach the quarter finals. Might be that 2009 was the year where Federer could have even beaten Nadal had he been in the finals and finally realized his dream of beating his bete-noire in his favourite surface. Soderling may be denied Federer his righful glory and that is true to say considering Nadal was not in the best of form in that particular tournament and was very vulnerable right from the start. This is not a version by me but most commentators said about that and expressed Nadal’s vulnerability in the 2009 French.

I disagree with almost everything you say. But you have been under a sustained barrage from 3 separate posters, and you have handled this difficult situation with considerable grace, I am bound to say.

That is true and thank you for your pity. It is nothing personal and we are all fans of the game and Tennis is more important than anybody else. It is such kind of exhaustive discussion which will give us an opportunity to dissect our thinking threadbare and might be correct ourself if we are flawed. Infact I would like such discussions to surface often.


Michael Says:

Rather it’s you who clearly come across as a pretentious fellow while saying you were a borg fan or when you say you like Nadal. Not that it matters: whom you like and why!

I was a Borg fan and if you do not want to believe it. Well it is your right. I like Nadal too. Ofcourse not to the extent I like Roger or Novak. But Nadal is my favourite too. I like the Sport and I know what kind of hard work made them attain such a stature. I am playing that game and know how hard it is.

Not even close to your venting against Borg/Nadal. And again, the more people like you accuse me of pretending, the more complemented I feel!

Borg told exactly these words. “I am tired of Tennis and want to enjoy life and that is the reason for my retirement as there are things more important than Tennis”. If that is offending to you, then I can’t help it. Moreover, we cannot base our debate on mere speculation like had Borg played …… blah blah. For every Federer record, you had your own reason to discount its importance such as the low competition level, the rival was not healthy and not in good form so on and so forth. That is not fair. It is your own perception that the competition is not as intense as it was in the time of Borg. It need not necessarily be true and I had my justifications to say that the competition today is very tough than it ever was which also cannot be dismissed lightly. But honestly it is difficult to believe that you are a fan of Federer considering the doubts you raise by mere speculation. A fan of a particular player will never think in that way.
Hardly matters to me!

Who cares what nadal does there ! So long as someone keeps preventing nadal from winning more than or equal slams to fed, I’d stay happy and keep smiling. :D

It matters especially when you express your own doubts about the superiority of Federer citing the critics about his H2H with Nadal.

Btw, thanks for reminding us all that tennis is a sport with many variables, but borg leaving tennis is due to only one variable, and that only you know! ;)
I only said and repeated Borg’s own words why he left Tennis. He didn’t say that he was burned out etc. He said that he left Tennis because he was tired of the game and want to enjoy other things in life. I can only take Borg’s own words and not begin speculating about why he actually quit ??

Well, it’s people like you who might be thinking nadal to be the mentally strongest player in tennis history, I never thought that, EVER!!! Coz I’m not the gullible one! I and my nearer ones better know it. Who cares what you think about me w.r.t. this!

Well you expressed serious doubts about the mental strength of Federer against Nadal and that is the main reason I raised this. See a man who is making about 23 consecutive slam semi – finals and a 31 consecutive quarter final streak can never be accused of lacking mental strength. That will be ridiculous.
have also alluded to this age difference as having become a factor since 2007 end to act against federer. Nevertheless, age is not the only factor n or the biggest factor; nor even the bad match-up; but actually the ‘doubtful mindset of federer’ while playing Nadal(at least on non-clay surfaces since 2007 end). Can’t tell about others, but at least I think that Fed simply gifted rafa the AO coz of his mental fragility. Even at WIM 08, it was this mental factor which cost fed wimbledon otherwise he had ALMOST won it.

I accept your contention regarding that Australian Open 2009 where Federer played too badly and yet took Nadal to five sets. Despite playing so poorly, he should have won that match in four sets, but his error prone game on that day just didn’t allow him that leisure. Whether it was due to his consecutive defeats at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, one can only speculate. But in 2008 Wimbledon, Nadal played brilliant Tennis and yet Federer even though he was ordinary on that day stretched him to five sets after losing the first two sets. That is definitely not a sign of weak mental strength, I believe and it was a spectacular fight back especially when Nadal was serving for the match in the 4th set tie breaker.

Tennis blogging is just so passionate! What hostility I had with Michael: nothing!! Yet in the heat of the moment I ended up terming him pretentious, gullible etc!!! Sorry man!

I better refrain from commenting on this contentious issue.

No mention Ajith. I did not take your words seriously and I know that it was expressed in the heat of the moment. It only goes to show as to how much interest you have in this sport. I found our discussion to be quite a useful one. Please keep chatting.


Michael Says:

The above posting is to Ajith.


Michael Says:

Scorocel,
Really „fitting“ comparison. So Federer, who couldn’t even force a 5-setter against Rafa in Paris in no less than 5 tries, would’ve had, according to you, a chance to win, had these two met in the 2009 finals, but at the same time Nadal, who already beat Fed in Wimby + lost a 5-setter year before, would be doubtful, had these 2 met in the 2010 SW19 finals? Am I the only one who’s missing some logic here?

Why not ? That was the year when Nadal appeared so vulnerable to most commentators and critics who felt he was tired and slow on courts. More so, Federer beat him at the Madrid Masters in straight sets just before Roland Garros. So why the hell I cannot imagine that Federer would have bested Nadal in 2009 had he reached the finals more so by the way he played against Soderling ???? Past performance never counts in Tennis and it is all the form player possess during the day and in the way Federer demolished Soderling in the finals, I can only say that Nadal was lucky to lose to Soderling preserving his no loss record against Federer at Roland Garros.

Well, mediocre on clay or not, if Sampras, according to you, isn’t among the greats, then I really don’t know who is. Man, some of your quotes are pearls! Diamonds & pearls, as Prince would say! So Sampras, who won the most coveted trophy in tennis (and no, it’s not US Open, but Wimbledon) a record 7 times, ended the year a record 6 consecutive times as No. 1, and held the No 1. ranking another record 286 weeks, isn’t even among the greats?! Unbelievable what I hear here…

Yeah Sampras has all that achievements, but to be a GREAT player you must be an all court player. In fact I would place even Agassi ahead of Sampras who is an all court player. Sampras has a pathetic record on clay surface and his record in Roland Garros is just abysmal where he reached just one semi-final and was eliminated before the quarter final stage in most of his outings at the dirt. Why Lendl does not appear amongst the Greats ? It is because of his poor performance at the Wimbledon Grass. But atleast he made two finals there and about two semi-finals, while Sampras has none and just a semi-final to boot.

Nadal is a clay-court specialist, well fine… Then what about Federer? Lastly I checked, he GREW UP on clay. In other words, contrary to the likes of Sampras, this surface is, was, and always will be natural to him, and, like it or not, his game is also versatile enough to suit it very well. 4 FO finals + 1 FO title speak for itself I guess… Yet we’ll once again dismiss all his losses to Nadal on the red dirt, because, of course, Nadal is the greatest claycourt player ever, right? Applying this logic, I could also say that Federer is the best hardcourt & grasscourt player of all times (which may well be true) – yet for some „unknown reason“, the same Nadal (labelled by you as a „clay-court specialist“, btw) was able to beat him 5 times there (out of which 2 wins were in Slam finals)…
He might be grew up on Clay. But that doesn’t mean it is his favourite surface. Federer is basically an aggressive player and is never in the business of grinding points and his best courts are the Grass and Hard Courts. But despite the fact that his game doesn’t suit Roland Garros well, Federer has such a wonderful record there and that speaks about the GREATNESS of this Master.
Nadal beat him at Wimbledon and Australian Open. Yes. But Nadal too is an all court player and is not just a clay court wonder like say Kuerten or Brugera. Moreover, I feel Federer and Nadal did not have many opportunities to play outside Clay courts because of Nadal’s consistency quotient ? They played just four slam finals outside Roland Garros and it is 2-all. Federer lost the Wimbledon by a whisker and the Australian Open it would be better to say he threw away the match he should won in four sets. It happens in Tennis.

OK, then what about the Olympics & Davis Cup? Nadal has both, whereas Federer none. Both these events are more or less of the same value as is the YEC, so, according to you, isn’t that a big failure on Federer’s resume as well?

Davis Cup is basically a team game and everyone is aware of the strength of the Spanish contingent. Just one individual cannot make a Team win. About the Olympics, it was only recently Tennis was introduced as a sport and Nadal made best use of it last time. But it is quite a difficult one to win it because it happens only once in four years. So you are making a big issue out of this. No points are accorded for the Davis Cup by the ATP whereas the World series win gets a player about 1,500 points next to a Major.

Soderling certainly isn’t a hall of famer, but believe or not, this same Soderling beat Federer year later in Paris and denied him equaling/breaking Sampras‘ record of 286 weeks at the No 1. spot…
And I also know that was the only time he was able to beat Federer while he was able to beat Nadal thrice in his career and also give him some tough matches when Nadal escaped Wimbledon by the skin of his teeth against him. Federer is what 17-1 against Soderling and it tells about the authority of Federer.

Let me ask you this question: What would surprise you more? Federer beating Nadal at FO or Nadal beating Federer at YEC? Let’s just take all the H2H away (i.e. forget about Nadal’s 12-2 vs Fed on clay & Fed’s 4-0 vs Nadal on indoor hard), ignore even the bad matchup thing (i.e. Nadal’s lefty FH to Federer’s onehanded BH and so on) and just TAKE THEIR MENTAL TOUGHNESS (i.e. how they act in their respective matches when the going gets tough) INTO CONSIDERATION, right? Which win would be more surprising for you? Be sincere, please…

I would never be surprised by Roger especially considering the fact that he has made a 23 consecutive semi-final streak at the majors and a 31 continuous quarter final streak which is still running. If you say a person with such a imposing record lacks mental toughness, then I leave that to your own judgement.


Skorocel Says:

Michael: „Moreover, I feel Federer and Nadal did not have many opportunities to play outside Clay courts because of Nadal’s consistency quotient ? They played just four slam finals outside Roland Garros and it is 2-all.“

Ask the GOAT Federer where he was on those 2 September Monday afternoons in New York when the final of the USO 2011 & 2012 was being played (?)… Probably still thinking how fantastic of an achievement it was to take Novak into a 5th set, build a 2 sets to love lead, and allow himself 4 matchpoints…


Michael Says:

Scorocel,

Ask the GOAT Federer where he was on those 2 September Monday afternoons in New York when the final of the USO 2011 & 2012 was being played

2012 ??? I presume it is 2010 & 2011. Federer lost both the matches to Novak by a whisker. Matches he should have won he lost. Well, might be the law of averages which helped him in earlier stages has turned against him at this stage of his career. Understandable. Luck does not stay with you always. It wanders. Federer has won many close matches in his career at the Majors by luck as well as his high quality vintage Tennis. Luck has not only favoured Federer but all Great Champions in the past including Borg, Laver etc. etc. See to have a glittering career like Federer or Nadal, you need lots of luck. When you win a match that is nearly lost it depends on opponents play too. He should not play that well for you to turnaround. Both these players had them in plenty in their careers and we cannot expect that to continue forever. Luck is turning away from Federer at this moment and he lost to Novak in 2010 and 2011. But in 2011, it was he who gave the fight to Novak and not Nadal. Nadal succumbed to Novak’s brilliance at Wimbledon and US Open and was not able to even take to five sets.

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