Near Flawless Federer Masters Murray To Win Fifth Dubai Title
by Sean Randall | March 3rd, 2012, 2:02 pm
  • 197 Comments

The Federer Express is not slowing down. Roger Federer may not be winning Grand Slam titles like he use to but he’s winning just about everything else. Federer today won a record fifth Dubai title and 72nd overall in his career by upending a hot-handed Andy Murray 7-5, 6-4.

I had picked Murray going into the match for a variety of reasons: Murray led the head-to-head, he just thoroughly whipped Novak Djokovic, he’s been playing great tennis, it wasn’t a Grand Slam match and outdoors Federer’s had a tough go of it the last year against the top players plus this week Roger beat a bunch of his pigeons.

But all credit to Federer who today put together a near flawless performance to get back on top of a guy in Murray who had beaten him in straight sets the last two times they had met in outdoor finals.

Aided by the slick court, Federer once again served well, though he did get broken for the first time all tournament in the second set, and I thought he did a excellent job returning serve as well as attacking Murray.

“The match was close I think in both sets,” said Federer who didn’t lose a set all week. “I just gave myself more opportunities than Andy did overall. I felt really good out there tonight. I felt calm knowing what I wanted to do. I think the surface, I used it to my advantage, which in the last year’s final I couldn’t or didn’t. I think that was a big thing tonight as well.”

Murray clawed his way to get the break back and level things, but just when it looked like he could make a match of it he just couldn’t hold on. Federer got the break back to go up 5-4 and that was that.

“I think second set he played better than me,” said Murray who drops to 14-2 on the year. “For sure I made a few too many mistakes in the second, and he was playing a lot more aggressive than in the first set. But overall it was a good week. It was perfect preparation for the stretch over in America. Got through very tough matches against top, top players, so it was good.”

I also felt that because of Federer’s aggressiveness Murray couldn’t get shake out of a defensive posture. And that hurt him.

For Murray, this has to be a letdown after big scalp yesterday over Djokovic. Murray had the upperhand in this rivalry and today he let that slip, and now the next time he plays Federer it will be that much tougher, especially in a Slam. It just has to ding his confidence every so slightly.

As for Federer, now in his elder years all Roger’s done is win title after title. Two already this season and three to finish 2011 gives him a eye-popping five since hitting 30 back in August.

“It’s great. There is no substitute to confidence,” said Federer. “I played a great tournament in Rotterdam. The end of last year was exceptional, so it’s nice to also win a tournament outdoors now. That gives me hope that I can carry it over to Indian Wells and Miami.”

And it’s worth repeating. Maybe no player in the history of tennis puts tough losses behind him like Federer. Since losing that devastating Davis Cup match to John Isner, instead of sulking Federer has won two straight titles beating Del Potro twice and now Murray.

You just have to applaud that.

Still, it’s going to be a long climb for Federer to get back to the No. 1 ranking. To do it he’ll have to beat Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Murray (again) and win multiple Majors just have any chance.

Dubai and Rotterdam are great starting points but the bigger prizes await.


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197 Comments for Near Flawless Federer Masters Murray To Win Fifth Dubai Title

Ralph Says:

Who’s in charge of the funk/trunk column around here?


Humble Rafa Says:

The headline should be:
Andy Murray Chokes Another One.

Alternative Headline:
Minor Leagues has a new King


andres Says:

Congratulations to Roger, unfortunately now we’re back to the ultra slow outdoor courts (American stretch and Clay season)so he will not win another tournament for a while


Skorocel Says:

Nice win for Roger. Now make that 72 and counting…


rogerafa Says:

” The Federer Express is not slowing down.”

It will not only slow down but probably come to a grinding halt as he moves to slower and bouncier courts. Dubai was very quick this year. IW and Miami will be very different. Roger will have to wait till Cincy to get similar speeds and the indoor season to get low bounce. Novak, Rafa and Andy will be contending for all the big prizes especially at the majors. The talk about no. 1 and a possible major win are extremely premature. The younger lads will not allow that to happen.

“Murray had the upper hand in this rivalry and today he let that slip, and now the next time he plays Federer it will be that much tougher, especially in a Slam.”

I think most of these matches are about form on the day. I think Andy will now do better in best of five. He will be much more motivated for the biggest prizes. Roger has problems focusing in the longer format and he probably gets tired as well if the match gets longer.


Skorocel Says:

@andres: How come Roger won IW thrice & Miami twice in the past? Weren’t the courts here slow as well back then? Just curious…


DC Says:

@Skorocel – @andres: How come Roger won IW thrice & Miami twice in the past? Weren’t the courts here slow as well back then? Just curious…
—————————————————-
remember, fed is the GOAT and won everything that came his way when he was young & slightly old.
Now that he’s really old, he wins only on fast surfaces where speed and reflexes matter a lot.
The peak youngsters are able to beat him on slow surfaces because of stamina related attributes.


rogerafa Says:

@Humble Rafa

Andy’s H2H is still 8-7 against the Arrogant One. It is highly unlikely he will choke against him. Maybe, he gets slightly more nervous on the really big stages but I am sure one big win will set that right.

Dubai had a very good field this year. It did not have the feel of a minor league event but you are right about the larger picture. Your humble highness and the egg lover will be contesting most of the major league finals.


trufan Says:

Federer is playing pretty well for his age. Guys, he is 30+…Look at where Sampras was in early 2002 – he hadn’t won a single title in 18 months, was ranked outside of top 10. He just lucked out at his last US open.

Federer has been regularly in contention at all majors, and has been winning masters and 500 tournaments the last two years. Has beaten Djokovic and Nadal a few times (and of course Murray, but he doesn’t count).

Of course, he is not the Fed of 2006. But Nadal is also not the Nadal of 2010. Already in decline. And certainly, Fed is not the Sampras of 2002.

I think Fed will somehow win at least one more slam, but continue playing for a few years, focusing on indoor tournaments more – and beat more of those longevity records too.


trufan Says:

BTW, 7 consecutive finals losses in 10 months to the same player? I don’t think that has ever happened before. Nadal has got to be mortally scared of playing Djokovic now, on any surface. He can’t even rely on fitness anymore – Djoke will hang with him for 6 hours if that’s what it takes!

See how playing someone your own age changes the picture, rather than beating down on someone 5 years older? Ha ha.


Dave Says:

Since after US Open, Federer has won 4,810 points versus 2,740 points by Djokovic, includes non-countable tourneys if any. Thus Federer has built up a 2,070 points gap over Djokovic since after the last US Open.

*Assuming* Djokovic is the front runner over the next 6.5 months, then Federer has to win enough points to remain within 2,000 points of whatever points Djokovic wins between Indian Wells and US Open. If Federer does that he will be No. 1 by US Open. If Fed does not do that then he will not achieve that ranking. So if Djokovic makes 8,500 points over the next 6 months, Federer has to make at least 6,500 points. I guesstimate Roger needs to win between 6,000 to 7,000 points between IW and USO to reclaim the No. 1 ranking. Of course Federer will have to beat Djokovic, Nadal and Murray multiple times as well as win 1 to 2 majors from 3 to 5 more titles over the next 6.5 months. Sure it’s tough, but given his level today it remains a plausible goal. Crafty Federer seems to be programming himself to peak for the next 5 to 7 months.

One thing is certain: Djokovic and Nadal now have more challengers (e.g., Fed, Murray, delpo, and possibly one or two others such as Tsonga, Berdych, Isner, Raonic, etc.) who can threaten them moving forward. E.g., with Lendl’s experience, it’s possible that Murray will be a much bigger threat during the clay season. It’s plausible that either Nadal or Djokovic suffers in ranking because of this.

British newspaper: “Federer won his fifth desert title, 7-5, 6-4 in a little over an hour and a half. He has not won a grand slam title in more than two years but the odds on him adding to his glittering collection of 16 are shortening by the tournament. At 30, he is in the golden autumn of his career. Since he leapfrogged Murray into third in the world late last year, he has returned to near his best – and that is a daunting prospect for his contemporaries.

It is fair to say Murray has had the crowd with him most of the week but, even through the filter of television, it seemed there were more than a few deserters when he played the perennial darling of the game.

The temptation to regard this as a minor title ought to be resisted because, even though it carries only 500 ranking points, Rafael Nadal was the only notable absentee.

Murray ought to be able to lose a final to the other “greatest player of all time” without forensic examination of his disappointments in big matches – except, with the best will in the world, that will not happen until he wins his first major.

He is getting closer and he heads for Indian Wells and Miami with a sound, improving game and an on-court demeanour that is noticeably calmer since he took on Ivan Lendl as his coach in January.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2012/mar/03/andy-murray-roger-federer

Praise for Del Potro
Friday’s meeting between Federer and Del Potro was their third this year, with the Swiss ace winning all three. But the scores at each match indicate that the Argentinian — who beat Federer to claim the 2009 US Open final — is fast catching up.
“This is where Juan Martin is going to be now — I guess seeded in the top 8 maybe by the French Open, I would assume. That’s going to be a big help for him just in terms of trying to avoid the big seeds before the quarter-finals. That’s what he did not have last year. That’s maybe also one of the reasons that he couldn’t get his ranking up higher, potentially,” he said.
“So I believe he can be up there very quickly. I mean, he’s had a tough week coming directly from Marseilles [where he won the title] and backing it up after the finals in Rotterdam, this is tough stuff. I’m impressed by his play right now.”
http://gulfnews.com/sport/tennis/federer-lauds-players-fighting-their-way-up-1.989628


grendel Says:

“Nadal has got to be mortally scared of playing Djokovic now, on any surface”.

That is a possibility. Another possibility is this: At the AO, Nadal was very competitive with Djokovic and, frankly,was within a whisker of taking the match. Djokovic showed great heart in holding on, but that superiority over Nadal, hard won over the previous months, was no longer evident. These were two equals battling away.

Nadal, like all the top players, is a man who lives for competition. It’s in his life blood. Having got so close in January, his confidence will surely have recovered. He will simply be itching to get at Djokovic.

I believe this scenario is more plausible. Of course if, during the course of the season, Djokovic again dominates Nadal, then it is hard to see any comeback for the Spaniard. But that remains to be seen. I’m really not sure about Djokovic, whilst I feel certain Nadal is up and ready to go. My money is on him to turn the tables – but this is just a hunch, about as worthless as any other hunch. (when a hunch comes off, people say: oh, what foresight you have! But actually, that’s about as sensible as saying of the person who calls “heads” correctly that he had some sort of insight into the physics of the coin). I would like to see Murray and Federer and del Potro gatecrash this particular party. I am not terribly hopeful. Another hunch.


Sean Randall Says:

Dave, for Federer to return to No. 1 he’ll have to win at least one Slam, likely two. Best case for him – apart from winning multiple majors – is he wins Wimbledon, Nadal wins French and Murray wins the US.

Djokovic already has one Slam and he if gets another he’ll likely stay No. 1 through the entire season.

And same goes for any other player – if you win two Majors you more often than not you get to No. 1.

In terms of 2012 only, Djokovic still leads Federer by almost 400 points.


Sean Randall Says:

trufan, I have to disagree. I think Djokovic’s loss yesterday gives new hope to Nadal. For now.

I think all the off court shenanigans caught up to Novak yesterday. Maybe he didn’t train/prepare as he should have for Dubai post Australia.

Maybe, just maybe, he lost some edge.

That said, the loss yesterday could motivate Novak to get back into form in time for at least Miami or even in two weeks for a possible rematch IW final against Rafa.

But I think we are starting to see some cracks in Novak’s game. He wasn’t as strong this Australian as last year, and he easily could have lost to Murray/Nadal, and Murray finally got him yest.


jane Says:

Sean you’re saying basically the same thing as grendel: you both have doubts about Nole.

Perhaps he didn’t prep for Dubai as he should have; he was skiing and doing whatever else in that month he had off. But maybe Murray just had a great match versus Nole. Murray served at an incredible 71% in their match, compared to 48% today versus Roger. That is significant. When Murray serves like that, the rest of his game can flow. Is this closer to the new norm for Murray? We’ll find out soon.

To me, it’s Murray, above all in the top four, who stands to really gain points, really up to the FO. He didn’t do well in IW/Miami last year, but Fed was in both semis, and Rafa was in finals. We already know that – because of the streak – Nole is likely to lose the most points. So Murray could very well climb over Fed – there are only 1000 points (roughly) separating them pre-Dubai.


rogerafa Says:

It is too early to make any assessment of where Novak’s game is. The fact is that he has won the biggest tournament so far. He remains the man to beat.


Sienna Says:

@Sean Randal
Fed is good odds to get to #1 for a couple of weeks. He is a ile less odds on for year end and that is where you are talking about. Fed wpould make my year in tennis gaining two weeks #1. Ok that and Wimbly… and olympic gold……… and Garros win over Nadal..


Daniel Says:

If we look by this years Race, Fed is second:

- Djoko: 2180 pts
- Federer: 1810 pts
- Nadal: 1290 pts
- Murray: 1270 pts


Daniel Says:

Actually rogerafa, when it comes to RG time, all eyes will be on Djoko and history. He will go for a fourth Slam on a row, something neither Fed nor Nadal could do it, but both had shots. If he had some success over Nadal on clay as well, defending Rome or Madrid, the hype will be sky high.

I am eagerly waiting for RG, 1, because I will be there, and 2 because Djokocan make history, and with a pretty good shot, even better than Roger, with him being in peak years and recent clays wins over Nadal. off course, he never made finals and that’s will add more drama to it.


El Flaco Says:

Matosevic has won 7 matches(3 qual, 4 draw) to get to the final in Delray Beach.


Epsilon Says:

Sienna: LOL :)

Interesting read, specially for Federer’s fans:
http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/sport-comment/dubai-enjoys-a-reminder-of-roger-federers-brilliance

Why does everybody stop at the US Open? Didn’t Federer miss Asia afterwards? He has a chance to gain there.

Humble Rafa and others (specially Humble Rafa):

Why so certain?
Things have crept slowly with HR from funny remarks to some of the most arrogant comments in this site (and even elsewhere). I’ve bookmarked this page so that I can return to it later and compare. Federer wasn’t perfect these couple of tournaments, but this is the most solid I’ve seen him play in the last couple of years. He used to slice the ball into the net incessantly and then win mostly because the other guy makes more mistakes. His trademark lapses of concentration are significantly shorter and more spaced. His movement is very good. He is confident. He does have a chance on slower courts and on clay. He’s the second clay court player out there. It was on clay that he defeated Novak and reached his only GS final in 2011 and put what I am told was the most competitive RG match against Nadal. Also, Nadal needed an excellent performance and 60 UEs from Federer to defeat him in 4 sets at the AO.

I’m not guaranteeing anything and he does have problems still, but to scoff at his chances like that is just ….
You can make the prediction you want. But don’t be so ….. certain, hiding behind a claim of rationality and realism.

Epsilon


El Flaco Says:

Things aren’t looking that bad for Nadal because who is going to beat him in a slam besides Djokovic? Nadal has handled Murray and Fed easier than Djokovic so I think Nadal is less likely to be upset by one of them.


van orten Says:

Djoker should have finished nadal in 4 sets at AO


Brando Says:

Federer deserves some respect- I agree with epsilon. After rafa, he DEFINATELY is the 2nd best clay court player out there right now. Look at his 2011 results: he beat peak nole at FO ( gave rafa a fight in the final), lost in SF to rafa a Madrid. He only messed up at MC and Rome and when one looks at his start this year I do not see that happening again. Roger, IMO, is playing his best tennis in 2 years. He seems more consistent and hungry. Good for tennis I say.


Brando Says:

Roger should have beat djokovic in SF USO 10, 11, nole should have beat rafa in Madrid 09, delpo should have won the TB……shoulda, woulda, coulda…


Brando Says:

And oh yes, rafa should have closed the deal from 4-2 up with that easy BH…..damn these should have’s!


steve-o Says:

I wouldn’t call Del Potro a “pigeon”. He always gets the best out of Federer and Federer has to play very smart tennis to beat him. And he’s very tough mentally.

IW and Miami will be slower, true. But Federer is definitely playing better than last year. His versatility gives him a good chance of beating Djokovic/Nadal even on the slow surfaces, even on clay.


steve-o Says:

Far from being encouraging for Nadal, that AO final was actually a colossal disaster. He was in an overwhelmingly strong position after winning the first set and then he let it slip through his fingers. That was a huge choke.

Consider the record: going into that AO final, Nadal had a 107-1 winning record in Grand Slam matches in which he won the first set. And he had lost only 2 five-setters in the Grand Slams. Plus Djokovic should have been feeling fatigue from his grueling semi against Murray.

Therefore, everything favored Nadal in that match. When he won the first set, that was already a virtual guarantee of victory. When in addition he took into the fifth, that was merely slamming the door shut in Djokovic’s face, and when he broke for 4-2 the outcome was sealed.

Except it didn’t go according to plan. Nadal panicked on the easiest shot of the match and missed wide. Djokovic seized his chance and Nadal reverted to his usual game, and eventually Djokovic won.

Nadal was fine physically. It was his mentality that let him down–for the first time ever in a Grand Slam.

Nadal has never truly been mentally tested, ever, until now.

He wins by physical superiority, by retrieving and counterattacking until his opponent runs out of gas. His game is so simple that he never has to take risks, or do anything very complicated.

He knows he can always outlast anyone, that no matter how skilled a shotmaker, they’ll always have less stamina and endurance than he. So he never really has any worries. Like the Energizer bunny, he just keeps going and going and going, and eventually the other guy drops. He’s always been absolutely certain that this will always happen.

Until now. Djokovic has equal stamina, but superior ball-striking ability, and it’s no longer enough for Nadal to just run and hit until Djokovic is ground down.

It’s Nadal who’s being forced to take big risks, vary his game, and go for winners from impossible positions–for the first time ever. And despite his best efforts, he’s come up short 7 times out of 7. He simply cannot sustain a high-risk, aggressive game plan for long enough to penetrate Djokovic’s defenses, not without making fatal mistakes himself.

Without having the overwhelming physical edge over his opponent, he can’t win.

If he beats Djokovic again, it will be because he has somehow gotten even stronger and faster–not because he has refined his game.

If he wins RG, he’ll remain in contention for majors for the next couple seasons. If he loses, it will affect him adversely for a long time.


grendel Says:

“I just let him beat himself in the end.”

Comment by Matosevic following his match with Gulbis.


grendel Says:

Even assuming what you say is correct, steve-o (and personally I think you downplay Nadal’s skills), it still follows that if Djokovic’s standard has dropped a little, Nadal stands to benefit if he either maintains form or even improves a little.


Kimberly Says:

Matosevic and Isner both posed for photos with colino6 at delray today so they are both high on my list.


skeezerweezer Says:

steve-o

great read there and ever so true. I might add that Novak’s game has developed ( FH…imo its all about the FH ) into a total Kryptonite game style for Rafa. I have mentioned this before, but never have I saw someone handle Rafa’s FH. Ever. Rafa dictates with that one shot, his whole game plan is around that one stroke. Also stated that once someone could develop a game that could answer that, Rafa could not develop anything to win it back. And his top dominance would end. Thus the 7 finals loss in a row.

Agreed also that Rafa may beat Novak, but it won’t be on tennis skills, but an increase in better strength, stamina, fortitude, and his “mojo”( call it confidence ), or, Nole having a bad day. But on sheer tennis skills and stroke production, Nole has the game to beat him time after time, and Rafa no way no how is gonna change his strokes anytime soon.


Brando Says:

@Steve-o:

LOL, so based on your post rafa needs a miracle, to somehow get stroner and faster within the space of 5-6 weeks in order to overcome the deficiency’s in his game that were exposed by nole? Well good luck rafa if that truly is the case.

Rafa doesn’t need a miracle- he just needs what he said consistently all along/

Nole was playing at an unbelievable level last year- far superior to everyone not just rafa himself. As rafa said, nole cannot continue to play at this level all the time as rafa himself couldn’t, nor roger for that matter also.

As soon as his level drops and rafa gains in confidence himself- then the oppurtunities to win shall present themeselves.

FACT is the gap between the 2 from the USO match and the AUS match has become closer. Further nole post AUS, in comparison to last year, just lost in straights in dubai.

Maybe another chance to win shall present itself to rafa, since let’s face it, he’s bound to win at some point isn’t he?


jane Says:

Sweet to hear Kimberly: next slam challenge, you will have to post them as the header shot so we can see. :)


skeezerweezer Says:

@Brando,

IW is key for Rafa, imho. Lets see was he has got after all this time off. ;). Talk about what ifs…..what if Rafa beats Nole in the Final at IW….his mojo will be back for sure….all you need is to just win baby, then all of the sudden the confidence is back.

@K

Now the pic with Colin and Isner next to each other I gotta see….”priceless :)”


Brando Says:

@Skeez:

Hi skeez. Yep, in agreement there. If rafa can beat nole in IW or Miami (getting to the final will be tough for both, i feel) then that could do the trick i feel.

One needs to remember that mortals play the game, not some outer universe immortals, and as good as nole was last year ( and he was brilliantly good) no one can underestimate the importance of the confidence and momentum in his success- just like that of our own in our own private lives.

He had alot of confidence, momentum along with being armed with a brilliant game (which he himself feels has not radically changed) and boom- he steamrolls rafa.

4 losses in the space of 2/3 months in finals shall bruise anyones confidence, let alone rafa’s, hence the cycle of self doubt, pity etc that rafa enegaged in for the 2nd half of last season.

You have to remember that prior to last year, rafa never truly experienced difficulty of serious proportions to his game (other than injuries of course) so this is a new challenge/ experience for him.

Nole’s asking alot of question to rafa and his game- this poster hope’s he has the answers!


jane Says:

Brando “then that could do the trick i feel.” What’s the trick? ;) BTW, seen any good films lately?


Kimberly Says:

Isner is experienced with photos. He knows he has to bend down to be pictured with a kid. But it was sweet and he put his hand on colino6 back and it took me a bit to get the camera on the iphone to work as i kept getting texts and he was sweet and patient.

Matusevic was hitting great in practice and was very excited. His coach gave him a thumbs up. I’m glad he won. He seems like a really nice guy and colin06 and him got a great photo. He did the hand on the back too.


Brando Says:

@jane: hi, it’s an expression that means ( along the line of) ‘that it could work’. As for films, have been watching alot recently- far than I probably should, but truly enjoyed them. Been watching mostly films from the past such the public enemy, White heat ( both James Cagney), scarface ( the 1932 original), l’avventura , the killers ( ava gardner … the name alone is a wonder) , married to the mob ( michelle pfeiffer- another true beauty). Mainly in a crime/ film noir/ classic titles kind of mood. How about yourself? Have you seen the artist and what did you think of the oscar winning films/ performances?


Kimberly Says:

I am not a film buff. I only watch sporting events and comedies. I recently watched Bad Teacher and thought it was a great movie.


jane Says:

Yeah, lots of noir there, Brando; have you seen “The Third Man”? It’s great. I’ve recently watched “The Last Laugh”, a german film from 1924, excellent acting and very sad/funny, also Trafic, with Jacque Tati, and Martha Marcy May Marlene, which has some astounding editing, very creepy.

I do know the saying “that could do the trick” yes, but I was trying to get you to say what you meant, specifically, by “the trick” because sayings like that, cliches, can be vague. In others words, what would a win over Nole by Rafa (at IW in this case) do for him? Do you think it would change the dynamic of their rivalry entirely and Rafa would go back to dominating, or do you mean restore his confidence, or … what?


Steve 27 Says:

Roger is done in slams. Who cares these smalls tournaments?. Yes, his fans. But the “Bigs Ones” is not for him anymore. Two years like Sampras and counting. Slamless for the rest of his career.


skeezerweezer Says:

I know I am pushing off topic…sorry but did you guys see Hugo? thought it was totally going to a predictable plot and took me into a fabulous interesting ERA and leaned something about film to boot. BTW…Borat( in the Hugo film ) was brilliant. Those who saw it know what I am talkin about….lol


Steve 27 Says:

See ya fed fans until IW and Miami. The hunt will be hunted.


skeezerweezer Says:

^ errr..typos…”learned”

Steve 27,

“Roger is done in slams. Who cares these smalls tournaments?”

Well ask your man Rafa…who plays in a ton of 500 ATP tourneys..

Or ask Murray..he played in it…or ask Nole….he played in it….

Now if your talking the 250′s well……that I may agree with you in part.


Daniel Says:

skeeze, Loved Hugo! Masterpiece from Scorcese, and what a fanatics use of 3D.


Brando Says:

@ jane: aah, you have spotted a true fault in my post- the lack of clarity in what I was expressing. Your right, I was vague in my post( just like my teachers used to tell me on ocassions in school ). what I wanted to say was that it could lead to rafa gaining confidence in his abilities to beat nole. Self belief and confidence in his game for rafa shall help his cause greatly I feel- and win over nole should give him that. As for the films you mentioned, I have never heard of the other 2 european titles that you have mentioned, but the third man- yes I have heard of it and am somewhat ashamed, as an orson Welles fan, have not seen. I hope to right that wrong soon- since I love orsons films, a true maverick in the best sense of the word.


Brando Says:

@ skeez: best ignore the troll comments… rogers got a good chance as anyone this season in ANY tourny, one feels. Most seasoned watchers shall say the same, based on his game/ form/ general demeanour so far this season. Re Hugo: I am annoyed that I did not watch it when I had the chance, but a friend who did described it in the exact same terms as you did- he said it was the best use of 3D ( better than avatar) that he has seen so far!


Angel Says:

I think Rafa wins between 2 to 3 tournaments this year only. Montecarlo, Barcelona and maybe Queens or Tokyo. No more than that, mark my words. Sorry Nadal fans.


jane Says:

Brando, nah, I was just trying to clarify for my own sake. Totally agree about confidence. Oh you should see “The Third Man”, if only for the “zither” music alone. :p Cheers!


Kimberly Says:

I think Rafa wins 5-6 tournaments this year. Montecarlo, Barcelona, Roland Garros, Madrid and one of the slow North American hardcourt events. I can promise you he won’t win queens angel, because he is not playing it.


Angel Says:

Kimberly, Roland Garros this year is going to Serbia. How is going to do Nadal when he sees Novak at the other side of the net in that final?


Kimberly Says:

Angel, he won’t like it but I believe he will win. We will see. You root for your guy, I’ll root for mine and let the best man win, if that final even pans out. Immsure there’s a few other guys with things to say about it.

Craaaaap, isner just lost.


Kimberly Says:

So much for the first set in acapulco


skeezerweezer Says:

@Brando

Scarface original in 1932? Now that I gotta see. Re; trolls..ugh! Hugo…if your a film buff…. a must see….. very well done with the techniques of modern film making but ” a good story and script ” always is the foundation of a good film. And Martin….what can I say……”good fellows”…hehe.

Angel,

I wouldn’t take rafa out of the picture yet. In fact, he is coming into a sweet spot. What is it? He is now the Hunter. As the Hunter, historically, Rafa is at his best. Even his most avid followers know this. I think he comes pumped up for IW and Miami, and more importantly he is working and planning for his clay court run and another FO. Rafa has 10 slams for a reason, and me thinks he is still very relevant. IW will be a fun tournament to see where everyone is going. Fed will be interesting to, as he has proven, even now, he is King of the fast courts, but Nole and Rafa love the slow stuff, and Fed is not as awesome on the slower surface. Can hardly wait.


racquet Says:

^^@Jane – To me, it’s Murray, above all in the top four, who stands to really gain points

Absolutely. He’s only defending 20 points up until Monte-Carlo. He stands to amass a rather nice stockpile in the next few weeks. He ‘better’ take advantage…or else!

Also good to accumulate some now as insurance against any blips while defending the approx 1500 points during the clay stretch. Actually, as he has entered Barcelona, there’s another chance to get a few extra points. You know, after last year, I’m almost looking forward to clay MORE than the upcoming HC stint. That’s a first for me.


carlo Says:

Kimberly, I am having some sort of mini-transformation again, just to give you a heads-up, so you are not too shocked later in the bracket. Here, it is: I am cheering for Rafa. ;)

Also, I’m thinking Rafa was smart to rest and stay out of Dubai.

Please tell Colin06 I’m excited for him! getting a picture with Isner had to be so cool.

Big congratulations to David Ferrer winning a 3rd Acapulco title,( 6-1, 6-2 ); Poor Verdasco.


Humble Rafa Says:

I look forward to clay court season. It starts as usual with IW and Miami. Love you guys, especially Miami where the court is so slow, you can drink a cup of coffee, come back and still hit the shot, assuming, nobody is in my head.


margot Says:

kimberly: how exciting for Colin:)
racquet @11.58: absolutely. Andy did well at RG last year and with Ivan by his side, who incidentally will be with him from MC, bring it on :)
Film buffs: saw “The Artist” very quirky, very French, very enjoyable and a bit over-rated.
skeeze: saw “Hugo” that child is so adorable! How very “un-Scorsece” though, after “The Departed” a brilliant film. “Hugo” a charming homage, yes?


tennisfan Says:

A lot has been said about Roger’s style of play but how about the mental aspect of his game. Inspite of the tough US Open and AO SF loss, he has managed to win 5 tournaments!

When everyone had their doubts on his age and ability to withstand young players, he said: I went through some tough moments as well where I was frustrated and I didn’t like it as much. But, I don’t know. I always stay positive. I’m a very positive person”

His will to fight back and achieve his goals is truly inspiring. Roger Federer & His Secret of Success? http://bit.ly/ySgH7K

If he continues to play like this, he has a very very strong shot of getting back to World No.1- his year end goal for 2012!


Mark Says:

@Angel. You should update yourself before making worthless predictions. Rafa is playing in Halle this year, not Queens!!


Michael Says:

I am extremely proud of Roger. At this age, he is able to give sleepless nights to the younger crop of players is just amazing. He outplayed Murray would be the right term to use yesterday’s match. Roger did everything well and truly deserved his victory. There were doubters of Roger who were not convinced that he would be able to beat the creamy top. But today he proved them wrong by his exploits on the Court. He now has 72 titles and it is still ticking. The next target for Roger would be Mcenroe’s 77 and I am sure he will break that very soon. Allez Roger. I truly enjoy the way you play Tennis with such grace, elegance, persona and power. You are truly unique and born for Tennis.


Michael Says:

Can Novak repeat 2011 ? I am doubtful after watching his play at the Dubai tournament. But I may be wrong. Extremely crucial will be the Indian Wells and Miami and that will decide the status of Novak.


Everyone is entitled to my opinion Says:

Sean Randall

“The Federer Express is not slowing down. Roger Federer may not be winning Grand Slam titles like he use to but he’s winning just about everything else.”

It’s funny. When Federer was winning slams but losing everything else we were told that he was only interested in slams.

Make up your minds guys.


alison hodge Says:

i think it would be highly unlikely for nole,to have another year like last year,sustaining that level would be vertually impossible,and take a super human effort,however thats not to say that he wont go on to have another great year,only time will tell,pure and simple andy was the better player in there match,and im sure would have gained alot of confidence over that win,which is great for mens tennis,having more in the mix,but for now novak is still the man to beat.


Colin Says:

Everyone is entitled… let’s say EIETMO.
You are so right. We are asked to applaud Fed’s feat in staying all those weeks at No 1, but obviously a good proportion of the points he earned, came from these so-called “meaningless” tournies. And this year, if he’s to have hopes of getting back to No 1, he’s going to need to win some more “meaningless” events.


madmax Says:

Sean Randall in main article:

Still, it’s going to be a long climb for Federer to get back to the No. 1 ranking. To do it he’ll have to beat Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Murray (again) and win multiple Majors just have any chance.

Sean, I saw your response to Dave; but how so? Hasn’t Novak got to defend all those points from last year? So he has much more to lose than Roger this year.

I don’t see any reason why Federer cannot win a slam and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Wimbledon. He has made that very clear that this year, ‘Roger’s olympic year’ he is hungrier than ever. No one is saying it isn’t going to be tough, but then no pain, no gain.

Dave, your post about what Federer has to do between now and the French Open. Can you run that one past me again in so far as he doesn’t have so many points to defend at IW or Miami. Am confused. Thanks.


alison hodge Says:

a wins a win in any tourney,and if your a fan of any particular player,obviously your gonna be delighted,however i have to say what does get on my nerves,is when when fans say after a defeat,that this tourney or that tourney,never meant that much to the player in the first place,be that as it it may,its disrespectfull to people who pay hard earned cash to watch them,and why play the tourney in the firsst place if you see it that way imo.


Kimberly Says:

Federer has lost one match since the USO if I am correct.


NachoF Says:

Federer was reaching semifinals and finals consistently last year.
IW and Miami semifinals.
Madrid final
cant remember how he did on Monte Carlo or Rome.
French Open final.

He has a bunch of points to defend and not a lot to gain.
No way he’ll pass Djokovic (or even Nadal) until after Wimbledon


Brando Says:

^^yep, that is correct. He withdrew against tsonga at Doha due to a back injury, only losing to rafa a aus open. I think people are grossly underestimating federer going into the IW/ Miami swing, and further after that, the clay court season. To only lose ONCE in close to 6 months, and that too against a 10 GS winner who had to play awesome tennis in order to win, and then be dismissed as someone with virtually no genuine hopes of winning the big prizes- seems somewhat majorly FOOLISH, I would say. Expect roger to have as a good a chance as anyone to win the big ones.


NachoF Says:

scratch Madrid final.
he reached semifinal.


NachoF Says:

We all know it’s all about matchups.
Federer cannot beat Nadal.
Nadal cannot beat Djokovic.
Murray seems to be the best suited to beat Djokovic.
Federer will almost surely beat Murray at a big event.
Federer can potentially beat Djokovic.

the best scenario for Roger to win a grand slam is for Murray to meet him in the finals and for someone to take care of Nadal before the semifinals(Soderling?, Del Potro?)


trufan Says:

Guys, Fed is 30, remember that. Nadal is 25, Djoke and Murray are 24. We’ll see how Nadal fares from now onwards, with age catching up.


Gordo Says:

So back before there was big money as prizes for the pros, Bobby Riggs would occasionally hustle rich 4.0 – 4.5 wannabes by betting he could beat them in a set with the following handicaps -

1) He would wear street clothes
2) He would carry a briefcase in his non- racquet hand during the entire set
3) He placed a chair in the middle of the service line on his side of the court. If his opponent could hit the chair during their play then Riggs would give them the point.

Riggs made more money hustling than he ever did on the circuit.

I bring this up because I’m thinking in the exo tomorrow in New York Federer should be burdened with the same handicaps. Maybe then Roddick will have a chance.


MMT Says:

I have to agree with Nacho’s first comment – it is all about matchups. Of course, I disagree with everything else he/she said.

What does Nadal have to do technically to beat Djokovic? First, he has to find a way to neutralize Djokovic’s vastly improved forehand (crosscourt especially), he has to do better putting Djokovic under pressure on his serve, and he has to find a way to hold serve more consistently.

For the forehand, his best bet it to put height and spin on his crosscourt backhands – generally they land too short in the court, and Djokovic can tee off from the baseline – he’s less effective if you can push him back, and sometimes less pace and more length is more effective.

On the return of serve, the key with the Djoker is to reduce his first serve percentage – do do that, you have to force him to react to your positioning on the return, rather than simply trying to anticipate where you’re going. Basically move around the box, and give one look at his goes into his motion and then change position as he goes to serve. It’s a long shot, but it’d the only way to disrupt a good serve.

Finally, on Rafa’s serve, he has to go back to serving bigger, end of story. It’s not just holding serve, but he needs to do it consistently with less effort. That also puts pressure on Djokovic’s serve, but most importantly saves him energy and focus for the return of serve.

Confidence will only get you so much – and even if it is of any value, it only comes from having technical solutions to the problems your opponents present. I don’t think a tennis player has ever won a match lacking technical solutions, but I guarantee a lot of players have lost a lot of matches full of confidence.

My thoughts.


MMT Says:

Fourth paragraph should read: “…- to do that, you have to force him to react to your positioning on the return, rather than simply trying to anticipate where the serve is going. Basically move around the box, and give one look before he goes into his motion, then change position as he goes to serve…”


grendel Says:

MMT

Your final paragraph is mistaken, I believe. It wasn’t a technical deficiency that was responsible for Nadal’s astonishing lapse at the AO, when leading 4-2 in the 5th set. It was clearly a mental error, though whether it was due to “panic” as steve-o suggests, or a lapse in concentration (if so – why?), impossible to say. But it was disastrous, because both players were affected by it – Nadal, who had been dominant, went temporarily into his shell, and Djokovic instantly revived. There was a swing in momentum which proved decisive.

I think when we talk about “confidence”, “mental weakness” and so on, this can be misleading. Because it sounds all embracing, and naturally a professional like yourself will be very suspicious or sceptical. But really, it seems to me, these mental factors only truly kick in at important, critical moments – at least for a really serious player (in this context, a player like Gulbis doesn’t count). In this sense, just one point can, in some circumstances (when two players are very evenly matched), effectively mean the match. Technical proficiency is here a red herring.


jane Says:

Fed lost Davis Cup matches, or one of them anyhow.


skeezerweezer Says:

MMT,

“What does Nadal have to do technically to beat Djokovic? First, he has to find a way …”

But you don’t say what he can do here techically? I mean, what way, is he capable, what is it?

“For the forehand, his best bet it to put height and spin on his crosscourt backhands”

Err ok. I believe he has tried that? Moonballing, remember? You are correct he could use more depth in his BH, but that did improve at AO compared to last year, no?

Re; ROS. This is a good technique for the recreational player but no Pro is going to buy into that disruption for long.. Sure you may get a point here and there, but these guys can serve it anywhere at this level. This method the returner sells out his position before the server srtikes it, and if he guesses wrong the server could get an easy ace. Not a good long term strategy.

Re; Serve. Agree with you here. It is a mystery where that went, that big serve he developed at 2010 USO. Speculation that he also hurt his shoulder….

I think there is very little he needs to do technique wise, its not like he is getting blown out every match. Its mostly a head case issue , and Nole is in it. That is where he nneds to work on things. Lets face it, Rafa is not going to mix it up tombeat Nole ( like Fed does ), he will never have that kind of game.

Also, its not like Novak will be always “on”. Of interesting note for Novak is can he beat Rafa when he’s having a bad day? Rafa’s game is so consistent that when he is off he stiill wins. Someone has to beatdown Rafa to win. He is amazing that way.

Thoughts back at ya


trufan Says:

Nadal can’t beat Djokovic now – he will, occasionally, but he will lose most encounters.

Nadal’s dominance over Fed can be described by two things – 5 years older player with one handed backhand. Djokovic has none of those drawbacks.

Remember, until end of 2007, when Fed was 26 years old, Nadal was only 8-6 on Fed. The “dominance” started later. Even today, the “dominance” is largely due to the 11-2 advantage he has on clay. Outside of clay, they are now 7-7, even.

So don’t look at numbers BLINDLY, you will get at the wrong inference (like Nadal can come back and dominate Djokovic again….).

Murray is a different story. He doesn’t have the game, and chokes. Again, Djokovic doesn’t have those two drawbacks.

As for Dubai, Djokovic is in the mode that Federer was at his peak – expend most energy only in slams.

I would watch out for Djoke at the FO – he will REALLY put his best out there, which could be good enough. He has history on the line – 4 consecutive slams, something that even Federer and Nadal couldn’t do, and never will.

And if NAdal doesn’t win the FO this year, he will really decline…


trufan Says:

If Federer can dominate grass this year, take the wimbledon and the Olympic gold, he can retire at peace!!


carlo Says:

But if he does that, (dominates grass, takes Wimbledon and Olympic gold) he won’t retire in peace after that, even if he could or should, trufan. He, himself, is saying 3-6 more years! He had previously said, and I’m forgetting how long ago, that he would play until after 2012 Olympics. I took that to mean through 2012. That’s was a mistake on my part.


Brando Says:

@Skeez: Completely agree with your post re 11.30.


trufan Says:

I said he CAN retire. I didn’t say he WILL.

I think he is going to go after the longevity records now. He can very well be a top 4 player another couple of years, and a top 8 players another few years after that. As long as you are top 8, you have a good chance to reach a slam QF, and then some luck can push you further. I think he will continue playing till he drops out of top 8, and can’t be at the YEC (which is indoors, his favorite surface). He could win another YEC or two, to create an unbeatable record (he already has the record at six YEC).

I think he did mention he wants to play in the Rio Olympics in 2016….

I think Federer and Nadal will retire at the same time. They will both drop out of the top 4, and then the top 8, at the same time. Nadal can’t last that long, or be competitive without his physical game…


carlo Says:

Ha! I know what you said. Thanks for expanding your thoughts on the subject. It’s exciting, and for your sake, I hope you are right.

But Dubai is Dubai and Rotterdam…

We’ll see if this Federer winning streak continues into IW and Miami very soon.


Dave Says:

The full Federer-Murray match on video, for those who haven’t watched it… or want to speculate that they are certain Murray choked and chocked the match away while others described the match as high quality.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASeFHPXGH4g


Humble Rafa Says:

What does Nadal have to do technically to beat Djokovic? First, he has to find a way …”

Technicals are 2nd. First problem is The EggLover is far into my head, Xisca is jealous.


MMT Says:

There’s always a technical solution to beating a player – any player. Nadal might not know what it is, or he just isn’t capable of executing. But one thing is certain – he is not going to beat Djokovic just by believing he can win or magically developing confidence. In sports the mental follows the physical, not the other way around. That’s a myth perpetrated by players and coaches who have run out of ideas.


skeezerweezer Says:

MMT

I must misunderstood….

“he just isn’t capable of executing….”

That is my belief from the technical side. I don’t believe he can change his strokes technically, in otherwords, bluntly, he is not going to change his strokes, and can’t. He has tried different strategies with what he has got……and patterns….although I am sure there is somewhere he could improve. I think at this point it is all on Nole’s racket and both there heads…


Dave Says:

Sean, I did implicitly agree with your well-thought scenarios and factors affecting No. 1 ranking at some point this year. Furthermore I’d add Delpo to the list of players who could win a major (likely USO) as well as upset the Big Four in any of the other majors. And 5 or 6 players like Berdych, Tsonga, Isner, Raonic, etc could be factors in the remaining slams.

In agreeing with you, I said Federer will (a) have to beat Djokovic, Nadal and Murray multiple times; (b) win 3 to 5 more titles to add to the 2 titles from Rotterdam and Dubai; (c) those titles need to include 1 to 2 majors … over the next 6.5 months from Indian Wells to US Open. If Fed wins only 1 grand slam, then he needs to buffer his points with more points from elsewhere (e.g., more titles to 5). If Fed does not achieve this then he probably won’t become number one without the unlikely scenario of mini-meltdowns to Djokovic, Nadal and/or Murray (whoever wins 1-2 majors).

As you suggested, this year Fed has won 1,810 points and Djokovic 2,180 points (i..e, Novak leads Fed by 370 points). See this link on Monday tomorrow when it is updated.
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/YTD-Singles.aspx

So yes, Novak is 370 points ahead for this year. But Fed’s logical focus is probably to try to become No. 1 by end US Open — if so, then the ranking period he is interested in is post-2011 US Open to 2012 US Open (during this period Fed has made 4,810 points versus 2,740 points by Djokovic). If fed becomes No. 1 at end of US Open, it would give him at least a few weeks as No. 1 if he does. If so, he could do a “Sampras 1998″ by adding tourneys like Beijing, Shanghai, etc to his schedule to stretch the ranking and hope the other front runners melt away like 2011. Of course if Djokovic suffers a mini-meltdown for a few tourneys from the pressure of defending the points, even better.

In 1989, Lendl ended the year as No. 1 in ATP ranking (terms of points), 79-7 win loss, 10 titles (one grand slam title and one final). But Becker was ITF and ATP player of year as he had 2 grand slams from 5 titles, even though he was second in ATP ranking, 64-8, 5 titles behind Lendl.

Madmax, hope this explains what Fed has to do between Indian Wells to US Open (beyond French Open).


Dave Says:

Murray in Dubai post match interview: “if there was more tournaments on these (faster) courts, I think he (Federer) could definitely be No. 1 in the world for the next few years. It really suits his game well. Just so many of the courts are so slow now. You know, it’s nice for us to get a change-up like here. Some of the tournaments are so slow it’s tough.” Post match interviews
http://www.asapsports.com/show_event.php?category=7&date=2012-3-3&title=DUBAI+DUTY+FREE+TENNIS+CHAMPIONSHIPS+MEN

Big Four H2H since 2009 Cincinnati Masters 1000: Djokovic leads other Big Four 18-10, Federer leads other Big Four 13-12, Nadal losing to other Big Four 13-15, Murray losing to other Big Four 7-14 (see bullets below). Note: 30 year old Federer is past his physical prime while 25 year old Nadal and 24 year old Djokovic and Murray are at their physical peak.

- Federer leads Djokovic 6-5

- Federer leads Murray 5-2

- Djokovic leads Nadal 2-10

- Djokovic leads Murray 3-2

- Nadal leads Murray 6-3

- Nadal leads Federer 5-2 , including three clay matches (5-3 if 2009 Madrid included, four clay matches :)

The obvious conclusion of where Federer really ranks is clear after factoring in the disadvantages of Federer’s ceaseless arrogance: Fed’s arrogance in allowing himself to age and fossilize; arrogance in continuing to play with the next generation of tennis players who are now in their prime; arrogance in being unwilling to resort to controversial technologies to gain an edge (e.g., oxgen machines used by Djokovic and Nadal); arrogance in continuing to play with an undersized 90 square inch racket while his opponents are playing with 100 sq inch frames; arrogance wasting his time as President of the ATP Player’s Council (since mid-2008, voted in by players); even greater arrogance in not using his power as Player’s Council president to speed up tennis court surfaces and also block Nadal’s demands to change the system to benefit players like himself; arrogance wasting his time becoming a husband to a wonderful wife and father to beautiful twin children (when he could be sowing his Swiss oats and chocolate around the world to create a dynasty of Feddies); arrogance wasting his time on significant charity activities both for his foundation and at Grand Slam tourneys whenever there is a big flood or hurricane or tsunami; arrogance wasting his time on exhibition matches; stupidity wasting his time on Davis Cup for a country that does not have a deep team necessary to win it; arrogance subjecting himself to mental anguish when he reads criticisms from tennis pundits and wannable pundits; and other acts of gross arrogance that have almost single-handedly transformed the status of Tennis in world sports that have allowed many pundits and non-players to make money off Tennis…


grendel Says:

“In sports the mental follows the physical, not the other way around”. That sounds acceptable. But Nadal had the beating of Djokovic at the AO. He appeared to have solved the problem of Maria I mean Djokovic. Then,out of the blue, he failed – mentally.

“This method the returner sells out his position before the server srtikes it, and if he guesses wrong the server could get an easy ace” (Skeezer). Well, you see this from time to time, actually. I’m not sure whether it’s the returner trying to put the server off, or more likely the returner either anticipating the direction of the serve, or guessing and taking a chance, giving himself space to give the ball a good crack. Timing is all….


skeezerweezer Says:

Dave,

“Federer will (a) have to beat Djokovic, Nadal and Murray multiple times…”

What if Djokovic, Nadal and Murray get beat by someone else early in a tourney(unlikely, but still)? Does the quoted scenario still hold water???


jane Says:

Both Fed and Djokovic, but especially Djokovic, can gain points this year post-USO. Basically Djoko has none to defend – no Asian swing, semis at Dubai, and 2 rounds at Paris and WTF. 560 points. That’s it. Granted this is about the ONLY time in the entire year Nole has a chance to gain and not defend points given his crazy-good year last year, lol! Fed has no Asian swing, but he does have 500 (Basel) + 1000 (Paris) + 1500 (WTF) – so 3000 points post-USO to defend. But these are mainly on a surface he likes/plays well on. Anyone, definitely the question of who will end this year number one is an interesting one right now.


madmax Says:

dave,

thanks. And now I get it.

trufan Says:
Guys, Fed is 30, remember that. Nadal is 25, Djoke and Murray are 24. We’ll see how Nadal fares from now onwards, with age catching up.

March 4th, 2012 at 10:05 am

trufan, have you forgotten that since October last year to present date (and I suppose I could include the FO in May 2011), Federer has BEATEN ALL OF THESE PLAYERS? Can we try to accept that at 30 years of age, he is just unbelievably fit, healthy and BETTER than the younger guys? How much more do you want him to prove?

Age is just a number and Federer proves it every time.


Daniel Says:

I am counting on DelPo to do some damage in RG this year. Remember RG09′ he was right there with Fed, and the slow clay give him more time to swing his monster forehand. I really feel he will be in the semis, stealing a place of one of the top 4.


carlo Says:

Dave, is all this simply because you were inspired to generously supply a Sunday sermon whilst the only tennis on TV was doubles and what followed was Anderson – Matosevic? If that is the case, I sort of, maybe, understand.

But really, why waste air preaching on the topic of Federer’s arrogance – it’s truly one of the anti-fed’s most subjective and weakest charges. Tackle the Fedal H2H. I want to hear that one.


Ajet Says:

Well, Nadal is going to be 26, he’s not going to outlast others for much longer time. He has to improve his aggression, that’ll better serve his purpose.

But commenting on the main issue on this thread:
CONGRATULATIONS ROGER!!!
And yeah, Andy is looking like real danger for Djoker. Every Nadal fan must hope for Andy to meet Djokr in major semis. But then again, the way Andy makes a player of the caliber and form of djokr look ordinary for larg stretches of matches, Nadal can no more tak Murray ligtly anymore either! Murray’s darth FH has definitely IMPROVED!!! And that’s very bad for Djoker the next time he meets Muzza, but also for Nadal the next time he meets Muzza! Muzza’s FH, when clicks, it’s hard to find flaws in his game, though the mind has some flaws. And contrary to what most seem to be believing, I do blieve Murray’s BH is simply better and more effortless than Djoker’s(not to mention more beautiful too). Thus, I wouldn’t want to meet Murray as opponent in slams from now onwards. Out of th top-4, fed is showing maximum constraints w.r.t his natural game, the rest are doing bettr job than him, at the moment, in big stages! And though, for all I know, Rogr can beat anyone anywhere anytime, yet I’d bet my money on djoker, nadal and murray when they meet him.

And to say something more, I think JMDP is dfinitely closing the gap with Federer, and he’ll also show some stuff against the other big guys too, soonr than later, if his WELCOME progress and improvement continues…


jane Says:

Daniel, I agree with you about Delpo and the FO.


Ajet Says:

Nobody anymore can or should take Murray for granted. I still though can’t stop wondering(happily rather; though I’m hardly surprised, strictly speaking, at a player of Murray’s immense caliber doing this to djoker) how ordinary he makes djoker look at times! That speaks volume about how ordinary he can make the rest of the top-4(of course excludng himself) look, when, his game clicks and he’s in the right frame of mind!
In that AO 12 semi, Djoker really was not looking the better player, he just survived against murrray, by a hair’s breadth margin! And the way Murray’s been playing of late, I don’t think nadal/fed fans should make reach a foregone conclusion about the result of the matches, next time their guys meet murray… no matter where!


Dave Says:

carlo: your meaningless post inspired by ego gives a clear example of what it means waste air.

skeezerweezer: “What if Djokovic, Nadal and Murray get beat by someone else early in a tourney (unlikely, but still)? Does the quoted scenario still hold water???” Good point. For example, it’s quite plausible for a hot Isner and maybe Delpo to beat Nadal even on clay this season. To a lesser extent Ferrer or Almagro. Of course Djokovic and Fed) has beaten Nadal on clay to dent his confidence a bit, and maybe Federer or Murray might surprise Rafa. It the law of large numbers — losses have to happen sometime. But Rafa is so effective and comfortable on clay that for this to happen he has to have a rare off-day, be injured/tired and his opponent play hot. Same could happen to Djokovic at Wimbledon and US Open. Or Novak could win French Open for his second major and career/consecutive grand slam, then become complacent and go into a mini slump. In your scenaro, Federer still has to try to win as much as he can to take 1 to 2 of the remaining slams and win the necessary points from the remaining tourneys this year. If Fed doesn’t win at least one slam, he’s probably not going to get to No. 1 barring an incredible group slump by Djoko, Rafa and Andy. I think Fed intended to make a run on the ranking last year but (like everyone else) overlooked Djokovic — those three early season losses to Novak kind of shook Roger’s confidence and motivation by Indian Wells.

“Murray led the head-to-head”. Murray’s 8 wins are explainable (of course, Murray definitely deserved some of those wins, but here are some mitigating factors that could have helped Murray win some of them):

- 2010 Canada to 2010 Shanghai: “Murray who had beaten him in straight sets the last two times they had met in outdoor finals.” In both 2010 Shanghai and 2010 Canada, those were Federer’s first tourneys back from vacation so he wasn’t match tough and Federer had to beat Djokovic in both semifinals to reach the final. Murray on the other hand, played Los Angeles (F, loss Sam Querrey) before Canada and also played Beijing (QF, loss to Mardy Fish) before Shanghai. Had Murray not had the benefit of being match tough before those Masters tourneys, it is possible he would have lost before the final. The same argument could, of course, be made to explain Murray’s loss at Dubai. Except I have a lot more confidence of the quicker impact of Ivan Lendl on Murray’s game versus a celebrity coach like Paul Annacone on Fed’s game. Under Annacone, Federer has had his driest spell in the grand slams.

- 2008 Madrid to 2009 Indian Wells (4 consecutive losses) happened during Federer’s recurring back injury period
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/blogs/match-tough/federers-back-needs-a-break/article1301682/

- 2008 Dubai was Federer’s first match after finding out he had mononucleosis and a dangerously enlarged spleen from playing the AO while sick with mono. Apparently Roger was unable to train and practice until a few days before Dubai. He should have skipped Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami in 2008 instead of trying to play himself into form.

- 2006 Cincinnati was reportedly speculated as a tired Federer tanking (like he did to Hrbaty at 2004 Cincinnati) as Federer had just won Toronto while going the distance in the last four matches the previous week. In 2006, Masters tourneys were 6 rounds (no bye in first round for top players), so Federer had no time to rest.


carlo Says:

aw schucks. Dave. How long do I have to wait for Dave’s Fedel H2H exposee? I so look forward to that on a slow tennis day.


carlo Says:

Btw, you know, Dave, I back you up solidly on the mono issue and can spar with the mono-is-a-scam artists all day long. Also have my own humble but brief contributions on Fedal H2H you which might even like a little bit. But my nose is bent now, so you won’t have any support from me. So there.


allezfed Says:

So, Carlo, you also have been anointed a health care provider, along with Roy. Congratulations Dr. Carlo. So, please enlighten us on your expert opinion on the mono-is-a-scam artist. It would also be good if you sight the research articles, or may be the research you were involved in with other experts to come to your conclusion. Remeber, that the research has to be validated by your peers and evidence based and not anecdotal.

I usually get back to this web site once a day, since, very often, I do have to take care of patients who have the mono-is-a scam artist.I would love to to hear back from you, Dr. Carlo, Phd, MD. and whatever other titles that you have.


carlo Says:

No, no. I may have been confusing in the wording there allezfed. I meant: I do believe Federer had mono. I would spar with someone claiming he didn’t have it. Might be trouble with expressions I think the people claiming he didn’t have it are reaching for an case against Federer – the scam artists; or, simply familiar with Mono.

No need to be so snide. But that’s your choice. :)

Federer doesn’t need defending on the subject and I don’t need to defend myself. I believe he had Mono. end of.

But I am awaiting the Fedal H2H defense.


carlo Says:

those claming Fed didn’t have mono are UNfamiliar with it.


dari Says:

Glad you and fam got some pictures with the tennis players, Kimberly.
Being a tennis fan/player in Florida must be the best!


allezfed Says:

I apologize. Sometimes I get irritated with people who are quick to deny that ROger did have mono, usually citing their own personal opinion. DId not mean to be snide.

And the H2H, I do not have any expertise in that area. My personal opinion is theat it is disengenious when the H2H becomes the focal point of discussion, instead of part of the conversation about the overall achievements of Roger. It seems it is usually used to demean the achievemant of ROger as compared with Nadal. But, whatever makes people happy, it is their perogative. The H2H is touted as the be all and end all of all converstaions.


Humble Rafa Says:

Well, Nadal is going to be 26, he’s not going to outlast others for much longer time. He has to improve his aggression, that’ll better serve his purpose.

I am your Humble Highness. I am not arrogant, so I don’t play or plan to improve my aggressiveness. Aggressivenss=Unhumble.


Angel Says:

Carlo I think you should stop expecting explanations for the Fedal H2H, because if you try to find some argument that in some way diminish Roger’s greatness then you’d be fiding an argument that would also affect Rafa’s greatness. Tennis is a Match-up sport and Rafa is just a bad Match-up for Roger, which doesn’t mean that Rafa is a better tennis player than Roger. Even the most ardent Rafa fans (who know a bit of tennis) know that Roger has a far superior technique and has dominated the sport in a level that Rafa simply hasn’t and never will, although most of them would never recognize it. Just my thoughts. Good Night.


Michael Says:

The upcoming Indian Wells and Miami will be very crucial and will decide the future No.1. Nadal will be coming after a break and hungry for success. While Roger, Novak and Murray will carry on from where they left in Dubai. This should be interesting if the Top Four can once again reach the semi-finals. All in all, interesting days ahead for Tennis Fans.


jane Says:

“will decide the future No.1. ” — Wow Michael. While I agree that Miami and IW are important Masters events I am not sure I’d go so far as to say they’d “decide the future No. 1.” Will they? Based on points or what? I’d be curious to hear further ideas with regards to that claim.


NachoF Says:

MMT,

just remember. Federer’s last GS came at AUS 10 vs Murray.

Other than that Djokovic and Nadal (and Tsonga) have taken care of Federer.

Fed’s best shot is for Murray to reach the finals and someone to take care of Nadal…and I have the feeling that that’s exactly what will happen.
Mark this message.


Dave Says:

I think Nacho F is going to be surprised by Federer’s performance in the remaining grand slams even against Djokovic and Nadal. It doesn’t matter that Fed’s last Grand Slam came against Murray in 2010.

Here carlo, these links will give you some information on the Federer-Nadal rivalry. I’m not interested about writing on it now as I’ve done it many times before.

http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2010/11/29/the-federer-nadal-rivalry-rekindled/

http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2012/01/25/mythbusters-federer-nadal-edition/

http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2012/01/26/federer-went-down-but-not-without-a-fight/

http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2011/06/03/federer-nadal-on-clay-closer-than-you-think/

Nadal’s matches make up just 2% of Federer’s total matches. It’s a match up issue compounded by a generational gap and surface impact (e.g., most matches are played on nAdal’s favourite clay, yet Federer is more dominant indoors than NAdal is dominant on clay). If we examine Federer-Nadal we should also examine Federer-Nadal domination of the field, Nadal-Djokovic, Nadal-Davydenko, Nadal-indoors, etc., etc. Tennis history has numerous examples of younger (learnable) challengers who trained to beat — and managed to beat — the older No. 1 incumbent (who had a hard time changing their game because they are more set in their ways).


margot Says:

Ajet @2.42: so nice to see you pop back again with SO many positives re Andy and really cheering me up. Thanx :)
Totally agree with people naming JMDP as a huge (;)) contender at RG. Plenty of time on clay for him to set up those big ground strokes. He’s going to be 8? which means I’m sure he’ll at least reach the quarters.


Michael Says:

Jane,

Both Novak and Nadal have huge points to defend. Early defeats in these tournaments will put them under huge pressure to defend points. On the other hand, the likes of Roger and Murray have everything to gain if they win. It is not that whoever wins Indian Wells and Miami will automatically become No.1. Only that a victory in these two mandatory Masters Tournaments will put them on a firm footing to escalate to No.1 especially if it is Roger or Murray.


jane Says:

Possibly true with Murray, Michael, as he has nothing (basically) to defend points-wise, but Federer was in the semis of both IW and Miami so he doesn’t have quite as much to gain unless he reaches finals and/or wins.


Everyone is entitled to my opinion Says:

Near flawless?

A 75 64 victory does not strike me as flawless nor a first % of 50%.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

I have to really pity all those posters who are posing in length about Roger’s chances of getting back to No1. But just to be realisitic, Roger’s chances of reaching No 1 is already lost with his SF loss in AO. The talk would have been meaningful only if Roger had won the AO.

All this raving about how Roger is 300 points behind Novak is going to cease from next week. By the end of July rest assured Roger would be atleast 1000 points behind Nadal. How much Novak can defend we don’t know, but it will be more than Roger. Same may apply to Murray and Delpo. Roger is able to get all those points, since others did not play one additional 500 tournament Roger played and Nadal did not play 2.

Roger’s trophy accumulation will come to a standstill till probably Cincy. He may have a chance in Halle, but only if Nadal decides to tank as he did in Queens last 2 years. Still Roger’s chance there is remote.

Both Nadal and Novak are nicely settling into GS + MS mode. They don’t want to spend energy on any 500 tournaments, unless it may decide their ranking at the end of the year. They are not Roger who could play (2*250 + 4*500 + 9*1000 + 4GS + WTF) and still be ready for exhibition in December. These guys play brutal tennis (is it really 100% tennis? )that they are not going to care. But on the tournament they care, then are going to emerge the best, not Roger only because of the court conditions for the next 6 months. His tennis is not made to play the way it’s being played now. It’s no shame Roger may not reach No 1 or win another Slam.

But to talk endlessly about him having a chance to reach No 1 may not prove right.


Michael Says:

Angel @ 10.29 pm

You spoke like an Angel.


alison hodge Says:

angel and michael ive said many times,i love rafa,but only an fool could not recognize,that rogers the best and most technically gifted player ever,the only thing i have ever wanted,is for rafa to be given the credit for what he has achieved,not critisism for what he hasnt.


Michael Says:

Alison,

I have never denied Rafa the credit for what he truly deserves. Facts are facts. He has dominated Roger in the H2H which is indeed a remarkable achievement. If not for Rafa, Roger would have crossed 20 majors by now. All said and done, Rafa would rank No.3 in my list of Greats.


alison hodge Says:

michael no honestly no offence was taken,i was only saying what i said as a general overall point really,and i love the last line of your post,rogers only crime was to make rafa the player he is,and i really thank him for doing that.


Everyone is entitled to my opinion Says:

Nirmal Kumar, I couldn’t agree with you more.


Dave Says:

ATP Rankings Points earned since Jan 1, 2012:
Ferrer should be No. 3 and Nadal should be No. 4. Nadal’s 1,440 points may be wrong because he got only 1,290 points from playing AO and Doha. If Nadal’s extra 150 points (1,440 – 1,290) came from last years’ Davis Cup, then why don’t David Ferrer and del Potro have extra points from David Cup (their points come from only the tourneys they played this year)??? Is the ATP trying to falsely elevate the winless Nadal to third place over the deserved Ferrer who won three tourneys?

1 Djokovic, Novak (SRB) 2,180
2 Federer, Roger (SUI) 1,820
3 Nadal, Rafael (ESP) 1,440 (AO + Doha = 1,290, so No. 4)
4 Ferrer, David (ESP) 1,360
5 Murray, Andy (GBR) 1,270
6 Del Potro, Juan Martin (ARG) 1,135
7 Raonic, Milos (CAN) 930
8 Berdych, Tomas (CZE) 920
9 Almagro, Nicolas (ESP) 670
10 Melzer, Jurgen (AUT) 647
11 Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried (FRA) 610
12 Nishikori, Kei (JPN) 490
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/YTD-Singles.aspx

“You really need to watch this kid Federer from Switzerland…the Meryl Streep of men’s tennis lurked a few points here and there from possible French Open and US Open rebirths… there came a sterling moment on Friday night in the second semi-final, the one between Federer and Juan Martín del Potro, the one Federer won 7-6, 7-6. Just about banged out of the second-set tiebreaker at 6-2 down and facing four set points, it looked as if Federer decided to dig in and bang back. He did get to 6-all. That next point might turn out unforgettable, although you’ll have to ask 10 years from now. For a 29-shot rally, this 30 year old stood in with a 23 year old for a whole bunch of searing magnificence. From corner to corner and baseline to baseline they went, Del Potro producing about five shots that seemed ample bids for the point, Federer replying until Del Potro did err. While it did not look like Federer of 2004 or 2005 – will anything, ever? – it did look like it had that added notch of confidence… make you want to continue watching this kid Federer.”
http://tinyurl.com/8926jca

I couldn’t disagree with Nirmal Kumar’s speculations more. I have to really pity all those posters with the arrogance — usually they are serial chokers on a tennis court — who rave at great speculative lengths with the imagined certainty that that arguably the most exceptional, unique and talented player in tennis history who obliterated the men’s (Conners’ 160 weeks) and women’s (Graf’s 186 weeks) records for consecutive weeks at No. 1 has definitely no chance of reaching No. 1 at this early stage of the season.

Fact remains that since after 2011 US Open, Federer (4,810 points) has built up a 2,070 points gap over Djokovic (2,740 points) and 2,930 points gap over Nadal (1,880), plus or minus non-countable tourneys if any. Thus for this one year ranking period (that started after the 2011 US Open and ends at the 2012 US Open), Federer is well ahead of Nadal and Djokovic, regardless of the Australian Open. Fed’s goal is to maintain his momentum. Federer playing Davis Cup and Rotterdam — which he has not done since 2004 and 2005 respectively — shows how serious he is about maintaining and building his momentum and confidence for the next six months. Frankly, Federer wasn’t even at 100% at Dubai, yet still won. To speculate wildly about Federer not having a chance to reach No 1 may not prove right.

To speculate “by the end of July rest assured Roger would be at least 1000 points behind Nadal… (Federer) may have a chance in Halle, but only if Nadal decides to tank” is highly questionable when Nadal has failed to win a single tournament of any sort (even 250 and 500 and Masters 1000 and GS and WTF) after last year’s French Open NINE months ago. Tsonga beat Nadal at last year’s Halle and again at the World Tour Finals, and would have probably beaten Nadal at Wimbledon last year at the level tsonga played against Federer in the semis. Nadal’s obsession with beating Djokovic will probably make him vulnerableto other players during the clay season. Any knowledgeable person (who understands the past 135 years of tennis history) would not yet rank Nadal in the top five best/greatest tennis players of all time. Rod Laver and Jack Kramer do not, and neither do I. Rafa does not yet have the overall body of work to rate him better than 6 or 7 other players in tennis history.


MMT Says:

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

@Skeezerweezer – I watched the 7th game of the 5th set of the AO final again (that game grendel referred to), and noticed something that speaks to this assumption: “…these guys can serve it anywhere at this level.”

1st point Nadal goes wide in the deuce court on 1st serve, but misses (which was a blessing because it was a terrible serve that Djokovic would have crushed). 2nd serve he goes back to his more comfortable serve closer to the T. After defending a hard crosscourt forehand with a high looping backhand, he eventually wins the point.
At 15-0 Nadal again tries to burn 1 up the T and misses. That’s the 2nd 1st serve to the forehand he’s missed. 2nd serve is his more comfortable serve wide with a combination of top and slice to the backhand, but because he takes a lot of pace off of it Djokovic eats it for breakfast.

15-15 Nadal burns a 1st serve up the T, no problems, to Djokovic’s backhand. It slices away from him with pace, and he dumps the return in the net. Thus far Nadal has missed two 1st serves to the forehand and got a service winner on his only 1st serve to the backhand. Both 2nd serves were to the backhand.

30-15 Nadal goes wide to the backhand on his 1st serve and doesn’t miss, and this one has more depth and pace and Djokovic can only hit it a solid deep return. Although on the defensive, Nadal’s in the point but makes an error to lose it – a backhand pass moving forward – it’s one of the few shots in his arsenal he doesn’t hit well.

30-30 In a carbon copy of the 1st point, again Nadal goes wide to the forehand on 1st serve and misses again – that’s the 3rd 1st serve to the forehand, and 3rd miss. 2nd serve is in the exact same spot as the 1st point, but the return is more firm, and Djokovic is in control from the beginning of the point and earns a break point.

Now, at break point, remembering that Nadal has MISSED 3 out of 3 to the forehand, Djokovic knows that if Nadal goes to his forehand again, he’ll probably miss it again, so what does he do?

He straddles the sideline and basically dares Nadal to go up the T, then when Nadal is in his service motion, takes a slight hop step to his forehand, in anticipation of the ruse working, which it does. Nadal promptly misses his 1st serve into the net…AGAIN – that’s 4 out of 4 (1st) serves to the forehand that have missed.

Now Djokovic knows the 2nd serve his going to his backhand, because Nadal has shown that he can’t hit a 1st serve to his forehand, let alone a 2nd serve, so he again straddles the sideline, but his time as Nadal goes into his service motion he stays put: why? Because he knows Nadal cannot serve to forehand on a 2nd serve – in other words Nadal has a technical limitation on his 1st and 2nd serve which he has thought about, exposed and exploited.

In the end, as if by script, Rafa goes wide with the 2nd serve, which the Djoker belts hard into Rafa’s forehand (another shot that Rafa has had problems with in the past, according to Federer anyway) and Rafa makes an error and loses the point.

A very long explanation, I know, but the point is Nadal, one of the best players in the history of the game, has a technical limitation on his serve that Djokovic identified, exposed by monkeying around on his return positioning, and exploited by executing 3 outstanding backhand returns. So, it is possible!

And if Nadal had a more solid serve to the forehand in either court, he probably wins that game at 40-15 and is up 5-2 in the final set, instead of back on serve.

Can Nadal make that change to his serve again – a technical change? Of course he can. Look at the US Open final 2010, and you’ll see his serves to the forehand in that match were outstanding, but since then his motion has changed (back) and that serve failed him here. Sure against another opponent who lacks the technical capacity to identify this weakness, expose it or execute (read Roger Federer) it’s no problem, but as someone above said, it’s all about matchups, and against this player, who has the tactical understanding and technique to take advantage, it was a big problem.

If that matchup problem is in his head, the solution is to develop a serve up the T in the ad court and out wide in the deuce court, and all the “mental stuff” disappears instantly – like an unruly rotweiler on “The Dog Whisperer”. He would be totally wasting his time concerning himself with a lot of pseudo-psychological drivel that won’t help him one iota in the match.


Ajet Says:

Though the post of nirmal kumar has some speculation, or rather calculative observation, yet I would say that his posts reflect more closeness to reality than dave’s, w.r.t. th possibilty of fed reaching no.1. I coulda supported dave a lot more in this regards if federer only had djoker to deal with, in which case, I definitely give roger a more than average chance ALWAYS to beat djoker. There’s no doubt that a federer-djoker match is still uncertain in terms of result, but too bad that nadal is still playing like he is truly only behind djoker(and not behind federer). And U definitely think that Federer, even if he avoids djoker, would almost(let me say sure!) face nadal if he ios to win a slam, and I don’t sadly think federer can beat nadal at this point of time, as is more than clear from the results of their recent encounters. It’s not like even that federer lacks the game to beat nadal, that’s not the case, but federer lacks the MENTAL FIRMNESS against Nadal, which definitely is making federer impossible to beat nadal, and give away the matches to nadal. Otherwise Federer was making nadal look quite ordinary even for enough stretches at FO 11, but federer just can’t cross the finishing line against nadal in a match anymore(except at WTF). Thus, I’d rather bet my money on nirmal kumar’s stand than on dave’s stand w.r.t. the possibilty of fed regaining No.1.! And I blame Darth Nadal for it!


Ajet Says:

And the blame that am putting on nadal in my previous post in this thread is not in the strictest sense of the term though, just in a lighter sense. :)


Ajet Says:

Nobody was, is or would ever be a greater menace to federer than nadal. It would be much easier to bet on fed reaching No.1 if nadal wasn’t playing, but as thats not the case, and it’s most likely that nadal would definitely reach a slam semi or final, no matter if djoker can reach or not, therefore I am not being able to be optimistic that federer can win big slams without some amount of luck(by avoiding nadal). That said, Murray also is not loooking to me liek he’ll lie down for fed to continue his grnd march to latter stages of slams/other tournaments, should they face each other, heck, murray’s looking hugley dangerous even for rafa! Not the time to take murray lightly than ever before!


Ajet Says:

Guys, it should be read as grand march, like and not liek, hugely and nit hugley IN MY PREVIOUS POST


Ajet Says:

Nadal’s achievements so far easily make him one of the top-5 players of all time. Nobody’s talking of talent and other intangibles, but of tangibles. And speaking of tangibles and measurable criteria of overall success and ahievements, there’s no reason why nadal shouldn’t rank as one of the top-5 most accomplished players of all time, just like federer’s the most accomplished player of all time. there may have been guys who’re probabaly more talented than even federer, but that’s not enough. federer and nadal have combined their huge talent(yes, nadal also has huge talent, he’s no ordinary player!) and tireless hardwork to secure their names among the top-5 players of all time, for sure. And when i say top-5 players, i am definitely not considerin women in this best-of-all-time thing, coz, if truth be told, womn are nowhere near men in real tennis ability. Ladies, no offense meant.


Dave Says:

Ajet, I appplaud your support of Nirmal Kumar’s speculations with your own speculations that fail the test of reality:

“I don’t sadly think federer can beat nadal at this point of time, as is more than clear from the results of their recent encounters.” Here’s the reality: Roger, Rafa, Nole, Andy: H2H Stats on their closest matches, greatest beatdowns
http://www.menstennisforums.com/showthread.php?t=193260

If Federer couldn’t and didn’t display “mental firmness” he would not have in a recent encounter handed Nadal the biggest beatdown between the Big Four Players. It’s ludicrous to presume Federer will NEVER beat Nadal given Roger’s track record: Federer beat Nadal on clay in Spain infront of his Spanish fans. Federer has not just the most major titles (22 GS and WTF), he also has the most hard court titles (50, ahead of Agassi) and best tiebreak record (ahead of Sampras) in 135 years of competitive tennis history. He also has the most grass court titles (11, ahead of Sampras) and second best win-loss percentage against top 10 players (67%, behind Borg) in modern tennis history.

Furthermore, Federer seems to be deliberately focusing on beefing up his baseline game and winning off his second serve, rather than relying on his first serve to win points (in other words, it isn’t coincidence that his first serve percentage is down). He has been working to play Djokovic, Nadal and Murray. The level Federer is playing right now, my prediction is that we’ll probably see a split in wins in matches won between Nadal and Federer from IW to the US Open.

In any case, your presumption is that Nadal is going to reach more finals and semifinals going forward. Don’t be surprised if Nadal goes in a mini slump (like he has in the past) if he has been mentally scarred by losing that AO final against a Djokovic who was not even playing his best tennis. Remember, Nadal had been training since mid October to beat Djoko at the AO, but failed to cross the finish line. Second, Nadal has become more vulnerable having lost to Djokovic (7 times) and 10 times to others over the last 14 months — this has surely given confidence to players like Delpo, Tsonga, Isner, Berdych, Raonic, Ferrer (who has beaten him twice in GS), etc to beat Rafa. Third, for the last nine months since that French Open, Nadal has failed to win a single title (and won only 3 titles last year). Did you even consider that Federer’s loss to Nadal at that FO final might have been partly due to the mental and physical effort he had to put in to stop Djokovic at his peak period last year (to end the 43 game win streak)?

Put your money on Nadal if you wish, you’re just one opinion. Nothing is certain, we”ll see where things stand at the end of the 2012 US Open.

Big Four H2H in thelast 30 months since 2009 Cincinnati Masters 1000:
- Djokovic leads other Big Four 18-10 (28 matches)
- Federer leads other Big Four 13-12 (25 matches)
- Nadal losing to other Big Four 13-15 (28 matches)
- Murray losing to other Big Four 7-14 (21 matches)

Finally, if you know your tennis history, Nadal’s achievements so far do not “easily make him one of the top-5 players of all time.”


Dave Says:

This “Mythbusters: Federer-Nadal” was published on the eve of the last Federer-Nadal match at the Australian Open (so it doesn’t include stats from that match).

“Perception: Federer is weaker mentally and physically than Nadal, and this manifests itself most when they play each other.

Reality: Federer is the most dominant player of all-time in the most pressure-filled situation tennis players can face: tiebreakers to decide sets. He has won 66% of them.

Nadal isn’t far behind at 62%, but he trails No. 2 Djokovic, 14-time major champion Pete Sampras, former No. 1 Andy Roddick and even John Isner. Isner is so high on the list in large part because his return is weak enough to get him into tiebreaks against players who aren’t ranked very high. Federer’s prowess in tiebreaks is the real deal, though: Against Top 10 players in his career, he has won a staggering 62% of tiebreaks (excluding Davis Cup matches, which haven’t yet made it into tennisabstract.com, tennis-stats guru Jeff Sackmann’s new sortable, searchable database of men’s match results). Federer won his lone tiebreaker here against Ivo Karlovic with a brilliant lob, while Nadal split a pair with Tomas Berdych, nearly dropping both but saving a set point in the second. Nadal has won 57% of career tiebreakers against Top 10 players.

Federer also is 9-9 career in tiebreaks vs. Nadal, much better than his overall record of 9-17 against his rival. That head-to-head record also obscures Federer’s greater propensity to dominate sets when they play. He’s taken seven 6-0 or 6-1 matches against Nadal, while Nadal has taken five such sets against Federer. Five of those dominant sets of Federer’s have come in the final set of the match, a sign that Nadal was fading, mentally or physically. Just two of Nadal’s wins against Federer have ended with such lopsided sets; the 9-7 classic in the fifth set of Nadal’s 2008 triumph against Federer was more the norm. Outside of their head-to-head results, Nadal has been dominated more often than Federer by other opponents, as measured by the number of times since each has ascended to the top five that he has a winning percentage on return points that is less than 75% the percentage of return points his opponent has won. Nadal has 27 such career losses to players other than Federer, while Federer has just eight such big losses, despite being five years older and playing many more matches while being ranked in the top five.

As for fitness, Nadal’s prowess in best-of-five matches with Federer is often cited as evidence of his superiority: He is 9-3 in those. But he is just 2-3 off his favored clay. Which leads us to the one perception that may be rooted in reality.”

“Federer’s 4-0 lifetime record against Nadal indoors, while dropping just one set and never being forced to a tiebreaker, is more one-sided than Nadal’s formidable lead over Federer in their clay matches.”

http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2012/01/25/mythbusters-federer-nadal-edition/


Ajet Says:

Dave:

Question is not if Federer can beat anybody or can beat djoker/muray, I know he has and he can, everyone else knows too. But the thing is federer has been losing to nadal time and time again in the big occassions, NO DENYING THAT. And that’s I don’t think due to nadal’s improved game, slow surface and all that, I think it all boils down to crossing the fishing line against nadal for federer. Federer has mental strength to just keep fighting against nadal, and not run away from competitive tennis, but even more important is that federer always fumbles against nadal while crossing the finishing line, otherwise I would have lost count of how many times he’d have beaten nadal by now. Of course, federer gave nadal a beatdown at WTF, and am glad for it. But this nadal thing keeps stopping federer from winning against him at slams since 2008!

Moreover, I NEVER SAID federer can NEVER beat nadal, but he certainly doesn’t look primed to beat nadal at this particular point of time. Of course, federer can prove me wrong. But for me, to bet on federer in a fedal match, I’d like to see fed start beating nadal from the masters at least, so that i can start believeing that federer can beat nadal also at slams, which of course matters most! Until then, I cannot not term nadal a favourite in big matches, moteover, it’s not like federer is very young either, nor is federer anywhere near his prime. It’s a testimony to his genius only that he despite lacking speed, belief and his previous form, still fights well against nadal; but sadly fighting isn’t enough, not at least more than winning!

And you’re free to disagree, but it is absolutely obvious that federer is a master at gifting away sets and matches to nadal, from seemingly unconquerable positions. He mighta even beaten nadal in FO 11 if he didn’t gift that 1st set away to rafa. And fed misses the kind of shots against nadal that he cannot even think of missing against anyone else. Federer errs in play and loses even a point which he can and shoulda surely won against nadal. That’s why to me it’s nothing else, but the lack of sufficient self-belief(to the major extent) and to a smaler extent his age, loss of reflex, loss of speed and being no more in his prime(whilst nadal is in is real prime) that makes me think that roger’s chances against rafa these days are always pretty less(though not nil).

And dave, even if you showd me no stat, and even of nadal passed fed, then even to me, fed will be the greatest player ever! you don’t need to search and present stats to me on issues on which i have no disagreement with you(as regards the supemacy of fed), but currently fed’s position is weak against nadal, that how can i ignore!

That said, it goes without saying that I serioulsly want that federer snatches some wins from nadal in slams and masters going forward, as I think fd is just too good to continuously keep losing to nadal in slams, and in HC masters since 2008!

But one point of differnece between you and me stays: as per me, nadal’s definitely one of the top-5 players of all time, due to the things he has already achieved(making the best use of his talent, but by mainly putting the hardwork), and he’s far from his end too(I think). Of course, laver and kramer know mor than me, but there are also players and pesons who think that nadal’s one of the greatest players of all time, and not just a great! Only borg, pete and fed have more slams than him, no mean feat at all! And he has also won a few davis cups(which though not highly significant, are still something) and even has an olympic gold in singles(which is of very high value in modern tennis: next IMHO only to slam and WTF).


Ajet Says:

Dsve:

I am not all the one btw who thinks fed is mentally weaker than nadal, have never ever thought that way, to be honest… It’s only that nadal has been a limitation to fed in his career, but none else really apart from nadal. Fed has relatively bad record only aginst one guy who’s 5 yars younger to him, and is himself oe fot he greatest players ever! but nadal can be beaten by many guys at slams, that’s why i never for a moment considered nadal a mentally stronger player OVERALL than fed; to me: just no way! I indeed agree with myself as with anybody else wo thinks that federe overall is much stronger mentally than nadal, and has handled much tougher situations for much longer stretches of time much better and much more easily than nadal!


Ajet Says:

sorry for the typo errors in my previous post


Dave Says:

Ajet: I’ll address your questionable speculations, facts, gaps and assumptions when I return later tonight. What you need to understand is that tennis is played between two human beings — never say never, anything can happen. Many tennis pundits predicted Federer would not win Dubai, just as they predicted Federer would lose to Nadal at the WTF, etc. etc. Probabilities and speculations are not certainties. The great Steffi Graf got dethroned by Monica Seles, was written off, yet came back. Anything can happen given multiple possibilities of scenarios.


Ajet Says:

Of course: I NEVER SAY NEVER(in any field including tennis)! :D
BTW there’s a GOOD JUSTIN BIEBER SONG too along these lines, AIN’T IT! ;)


Ajet Says:

The last post was for Dave. B-)


grendel Says:

Of that notorious point in the 5th set, MMT writes:” Although on the defensive, Nadal’s in the point but makes an error to lose it – a backhand pass moving forward – it’s one of the few shots in his arsenal he doesn’t hit well.”
That’s both tendentious and special pleading.

Tendentious, because it’s highly questionable to say Nadal was on the defensive. Djokovic had just played a fairly weak drop volley, and Nadal raced up courtto pick up the ball. He had absolutely oodles of time to deal with a pretty easy ball. Special pleading, because it is bizarre to say it’s a shot he doesn’t play well (considering how slow it was), and nor would you really call it a pass. He had the entire court open to him. As the commentator said,”I [I think]cannot believe it! he had a LOT of room up the line”.

The fact is, it was a shocking error and clearly a mental error. MMT concludes his post with this:”He would be totally wasting his time concerning himself with a lot of pseudo-psychological drivel that won’t help him one iota in the match.”

Two points. First of all, what pseudo-psychological drivel? Are we talking attempted analysis here? I don’t know anyone who has done that, so this is the typical straw man which MMT elaborately builds up and then demolishes with an air of vindication. Unfortunately, there never was such a straw man in the first place.

Everybody understands that sport is mental as well as physical. I have seen countless players interviewed, young and old, of high distinction and of average reknown, and to a man (and woman)they all testify to the huge importance of the mental. And that by the way, as you would expect, is relevant to most if not all sports, not just tennis.

Second point:”..won’t help him one iota in the match”. Well, no, psychological “drivel” won’t will it? Talk about setting up an argument on your own terms. But in fact, this is irrelevant. Nobody, so far as I know, is offering any solutions to the huge problems raised essentially by pressure. Or at least not publicly. No doubt the different players have their own approaches. So far as we spectators are concerned, we simply note that the mental aspect of the game is enormous. We are not obliged to offer solutions. No doubt we would be talking drivel then.


skeezerweezer Says:

MMT,

Apologies I missed your in depth response @ 12:54. Been traveling about. Will take time to read it in depth and your links. Late here so I will pick up your read tomorrow and respond…..gotta catch some shut eye..


Dave Says:

Ajet: The past one year should have taught open-minded people that it is possible for Federer to beat Nadal. One year ago Novak Djokovic’s H2H record againt Nadal (before 2011 Indian Wells) was worse than — and yet similar to — Federer’s current H2H against Nadal.

- Then Nadal had a 16-7 (70%) lead over Djokovic. Of Nadal’s 16 wins, 9 came on clay (56%) , 2 on grass (13%) and 5 on hard (31%). Nadal won every match on clay and grass, two surfaces that Nadal had an initial advantage over Novak (Nadal is the youngest to reach the third round of Wimbledon since Boris Becker in the mid 1980s). Djokovic won all his matches on hardcourts, where he had a slight 7-5 advantage. Nadal won 6 major matches (GS or WTF) compared to Djokovic’s 1. Djokovic-Nadal’s 23 matches occured over a period of 6 years.

- Today Nadal has a 18-9 (66%) lead today over Federer. Of Nadal’s 18 wins, 12 came on clay (67%) came on clay, 1 on grass (5%) and 5 on hard (28%). Nadal has an advantage over Federer on clay. Federer beat Nadal on every surface, winning 2 matches on clay, 2 matches on grass and 5 on hardcourts. Nadal won 8 major matches (GS or WTF) compared to Federer’s 6. Federer-Nadal’s 27 matches occured over a period of 8 years.

OK, we have factually established that things were bleaker for Djokovic than Nadal. Now let’s apply Ajet’s standards to Djokovic. To do this we have to transport ourselves back in time and pretend it is the week before 2011 Indian Wells.

According to Ajet’s logic, before 2011 Indian Wells, the thing is Djokovic has been losing to nadal time and time again in the big occassions, NO DENYING THAT. And that Ajet doesn’t think it’s due to nadal’s improved game, slow surface and all that. Ajet thinks it all boils down to Djokovic failing to cross the fishing line against nadal. Djokovic has the mental strength to just keep fighting against nadal, and not run away from competitive tennis, but even more important is that Djokovic always fumbles against nadal while crossing the finishing line, otherwise Ajet would have lost count of how many times Djokovic would have beaten nadal by now. Of course, Djokovic gave nadal a beatdown at 2009 Paris and 2008 Indian Wells, and Ajet is glad for it. But this nadal thing keeps stopping Djokovic from winning against Nadal at slams since 2006!

Moreover, AJET NEVER SAID Djokovic can NEVER beat nadal, but he certainly doesn’t look primed to beat nadal before 2011 Indian Wells. Of course, Djokovic can prove Ajet wrong. But for Ajet, to bet on Djokovic in a Djokodal match, Ajet would like to see Djokovic start beating nadal from the masters at least, so that Ajet can start believeing that Djokovic can beat nadal also at slams, which of course matters most! Until then, Ajet cannot not term Djokovic a favourite in big matches.

And you’re free to disagree, but it is absolutely obvious that Djokovic is a master at gifting away sets and matches to nadal, from seemingly unconquerable positions. He mighta even beaten nadal in 2007 Wimbledon, 2010 US Open and 2009 Madrid if he didn’t gift sets away to rafa. And Djokovic misses the kind of shots against nadal that he cannot even think of missing against anyone else. Djokovic errs in play and loses even a point which he can and shoulda surely won against nadal. That’s why to me it’s nothing else, but the lack of sufficient self-belief that makes me think that Djokovic’s chances against rafa before 2011 Indian Wells are always pretty less (though not nil).

Before 2011 Indian Wells, Djokovic ’s position is weak against nadal, that how can Ajet ignore!

That said, it goes without saying that I serioulsly want that Djokovic snatches some wins from nadal in slams and masters going forward, as I think Djokovic is just too good to continuously keep losing to nadal in slams, and in HC masters since 2006!

SO AJET, YOUR ARGUMENT FAILS THE ‘NEVER SAY NEVER’ TEST (IT’S JAMES BOND, BEFORE JUSTIN BIEBER). THINGS WERE BLEAK FOR DJOKOVIC AGAINST NADAL ONE YEAR AGO. GUESS WHAT? DJOKOVIC HAS BEATEN NADAL IN ALL 7 STRAIGHT FINALS SINCE THEN, INCLUDING THREE CONSECUTIVE GRAND SLAM FINALS. IF DJOKOVIC CAN DO IT — AND FEDERER CAN BEAT DJOKOVIC, MURRAY AND DEL POTRO IN THEIR PRIME — THEN IT IS WITHIN THE REALM OF POSSIBILITY FOR THE GREATEST PLAY IN TENNIS HISTORY TO DO EVEN 50% OF WHAT DJOKOVIC HAS DONE. IN OTHER WORDS, IT IS POSSIBLE FOR FEDRERER TO BEAT NADAL IN HIS PRIME MORE FREQUENTLY THAN HE HAS IN THE PAST.

In any case, since you admit that you never said Federer can never beat Nadal — you can’t have it both ways — therefore you agree that Federer CAN beat Nadal and you really have no way of predicting when Nadal will not lose. My position has been clear: there will probably be more Federer wins this year and some of those wins will come in significant matches. Even if Federer improves his winning percentage against Nadal to 40% or 50%, that may be enough to get him into the final or win important titles. Federer does not have to beat Nadal in 7 consecutive matches, like Djokovic did.

Another big assumption in your argument is that Nadal will continue to be a big factor this year and will reach as many semifinals and finals as he did last in the last two years. But there is no guarantee that Federer would be bumping into Nadal going forward. I predicted long ago that Nadal’s decline will come age age 26 — don’t be surprised if he is more vulnerable to defeats or goes into one or two mini-slumps. The pressure on him from several non-Big Four players, even on clay will be greater this year. One observer noted: “Federer playing like a man on a mission… Roger is handling being no. 3 like a man who wishes to once again be no. 1, and he’s going about his business the right way…I wouldn’t be surprised at all if by summer he was in the no. 2 spot, with Murray behind in no. 3. Nadal may have a decent run on clay over the spring, but will be thwarted by Djokovic and possibly Murray, while Federer continues to earn points.”


Dave Says:

Ajet: “nadal’s definitely one of the top-5 players of all time, due to the things he has already achieved(making the best use of his talent, but by mainly putting the hardwork), and he’s far from his end too(I think).”

making the best use of his talent, putting in the hard work and your speculation he is far from his end are totally irrelevant to assessing the Tennis GOAT.

let’s see what Nadal has actually achieved, just in the modern era compared to others.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATP_World_Tour_records

Ajet: “there are also players and pesons who think that nadal’s one of the greatest players of all time, and not just a great!”

How many players and pesons think that nadal’s one of the greatest players of all time? Who are they?

Ajet: “Only borg, pete and fed have more slams than him, no mean feat at all!”

This is ignorant of tennis history. Rod Laver (11) and Roy Emerson (12) have more GS titles than Nadal and were No. 1 far longer than Nadal. Bill Tilden has 10 slams and Ken Rosewall and Fred Perry have 8 slams. Don Budge 6 slams. Pancho Gonzalez 2 slams.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Grand_Slam_men%27s_singles_champions

Furthermore, most of these guys also won professional grand slam championships when they turned pro during the closed era when the Grand Slam tourneys was closed to the pros (before 1968). Rosewall (15), Pancho Gonzalez (12), Laver (8), Tilden (4), Budge (4), Perry (2). Gonzalez was considered No. 1 for 8 years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_professional_tennis_tournaments_before_the_Open_Era

Ajet: “And he has also won a few davis cups(which though not highly significant, are still something) and even has an olympic gold in singles(which is of very high value in modern tennis: next IMHO only to slam and WTF).”

Davis Cup lost its prestige and significance in the 1970s, when it was overshadowed by WTT and open era tennis. Other than McEnroe almost no other great player bothers to mention Davis Cup. Every intelligent observer knows that Nadal would never have won Davis Cup without a deep team. Nadal would never have won DC with Warinka. Nadal would not have won last year’s DC iIf not for Ferrer’s heroics in beating higher ranked US players in USA s well as beating and exhausting Delpo in final.

It’s ignorant to claim that Olympics has very high value in modern tennis. There was no tennis before 1988. The winner gets only 750 points, less than a Masters 1000. 5 of all the past 6 Olympic tennis competitions were poorly participated. Agassi was ranked No. 7 or No. 8 when he won the Olympics against the No. 67 ranked player in the final and a wild card in the semifinal. Seven of the top 10 players did not bother to participate, including Pete Sampras. That’s why no-name players (Massu, Rosset, Mecir, Kafelnikov) won the Olympic gold medal for singles in the other years. Nadal can join this group, Woo Hoo.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

“I don’t sadly think federer can beat nadal at this point of time, as is more than clear from the results of their recent encounters.” Here’s the reality: Roger, Rafa, Nole, Andy: H2H Stats on their closest matches, greatest beatdowns

–What is this related to Roger’s lack of success against Rafa. Do you think bacauser Roger has a better H2H against others, he will beat Nadal. This makes me laugh. Roger has got beaten in every slam match between these two from 2008 FO. I remember how people were going ga-ga over Roger’s form post Doha 2011. Same crap had appeared in every tennis online articles. But we saw what happened to Roger once the US Masters starts. All the cushion he built at the end of the year helps him to say at the top 4 even when he has a not so great first 6 months. I believe his current point lead now will also do the same for him. It’s going to save him from dropping in the rankings for next few months till Wimbledon.

The only questions for now is can Roger hold onto No 3 position till Wimbledon or will be slide to No 4. Though it does not make much difference being 3 or 4, but if he goes down to No 4 in the rankings, then there is a high chance he may be out of Top 4 by the end of the year. He may not be able to defend the number of points he had last year.


Ajet Says:

Dave:

Unfortunately, there’s one difference between the position of djokovic pre 2011 IW w.r.t. nadal and that of federer pre 2012 IW w.r.t. nadal; that is while djoker was goin to hit the peak at that time, but in 2012 Fed is already past his prime(although that doesn’t mean that roger federer can not beat nadal ever, but rather it’s more like nadal’s gonna beat fed lot more likely than fed is gonna beat nadal).

And to be honest, I also have been always feeling that nadal’s decline will start after he reaches 26. So here I’m in agreement with you.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Ajet: And to be honest, I also have been always feeling that nadal’s decline will start after he reaches 26

I suggest you defer it by atleast 2 years. I don’t see Rafa declining till 28. If Murray raises and starts beating him, he may lose some more matches, but I will not consider that a decline. He will still be good enough for rest of the players other than Novak or Murray.

We can consider it as a decline when he starts losing to 5-8 ranked players in a slam consistently.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Dave Says :IF DJOKOVIC CAN DO IT — AND FEDERER CAN BEAT DJOKOVIC, MURRAY AND DEL POTRO IN THEIR PRIME — THEN IT IS WITHIN THE REALM OF POSSIBILITY FOR THE GREATEST PLAY IN TENNIS HISTORY TO DO EVEN 50% OF WHAT DJOKOVIC HAS DONE. IN OTHER WORDS, IT IS POSSIBLE FOR FEDRERER TO BEAT NADAL IN HIS PRIME MORE FREQUENTLY THAN HE HAS IN THE PAST.

The only difference is Roger always had better H2H against the above mentioned players. Eventhough he has negative H2H with Murray, most of his loses had happened in bunches either when he was not healthy or out of form. But he always betters him in Majors and WTF.

But with Rafa even when Roger was at Prime, he always had negative H2H specifically on outdoors. He beat him in Wimbledon but we all know his win against him in 2007 was more of a gift from Nadal till the genius inside Roger took flight in the middle of 5th set. The only court he seems to have advantage are the Indoors which even Roger agrees.

Ofcourse it’s nothing to do with Rafa being better tennis player than Roger. Just that Roger loses the match in the locker room before the match starts.


grendel Says:

further to Nirmal Kumar – you just can’t take 2 players – say Nadal and Djokovic , extrapolate from their history together and apply conclusions to one of those two players and one other – say Nadal and Federer.Variables involved too different.


grendel Says:

Also agree with Nirmal Kumar about Nadal lasting at least another two years – if not more. People have always been ready to write Nadal off. Something about the combination of muscle and grunt prompts people to think: this just can’t go on. Fella will be worn out.

Well, I don’t know so much. The man grunts with a certain economy. Come to think of it, he does everything with a certain economy. And then the hopeful (the secret society for the elimination of Rafael Nadal) look to the injuries. But there have always been injuries. Rafa has always banged on about his knee or his back or his hand or his thigh or his left buttock or whatever, and everytime he does this, ears prick up hopefully all along the Federer front. And then it turns out that after all, the knee wasn’t so bad, the left buttock has responded to delicate massage and so forth. Collective sigh along the Federer front.

Nope, the injury business has turned out to be a frustrating cul-de-sac. Some people, seeing Nadal looking fitter and faster and fresher than ever, turn in despair to his mind. Nobody, they tell each other with confident and meaning looks, can keep that kind of focus going indefinitely. And he expends too much emotionally. Burn out beckons. And sooner or later, he’s going to get sick of those damn bottles. He’ll forget which one is which and have a nervous breakdown as he stands there glaring at them, unable to decide which to take up first.

Well, you never know…..


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Grendel – W.r.t Nadal’s injuries, I believe most of his injuries or niggles are similar to what others in the tour have on a regular basis. But Nadal is willing to talk about it more openly in the press, while others try to hide. I don’t think his injuries are going to stop him from playing peak tennis. He will have a natural decline post 28 yrs just like Roger.

Maybe it’s his Nature more than any other. I believe he is one of the very few players who would have written an autobiography while being a player. It shows he wants to show more of his personal side to the media than others.


trufan Says:

As they grow older, Federer if going to beat Nadal more than the other way around. Reason? Federer is not going to play that many clay tournaments, and wont reach the later stages to meet Nadal, so they won’t play that much on clay.

If Federer was as miserable on clay as Sampras was, Fed and Nadal would have never met on clay, and then Fed would have had a winning record against Nadal, just like Sampras had against all strong clay players of his era (Guga, Courier, even Muster). Imagine if Fed had played Guga 14 times on clay – what would have happened to his H2H??


grendel Says:

Trufan – do you believe, then, that if Federer and Nadal meet in Indian Wells and Miami and, say Wimbledon and the US – do you believe Federer is the favourite?


jane Says:

grendel – “you just can’t take 2 players – say Nadal and Djokovic , extrapolate from their history together and apply conclusions to one of those two players and one other ”

Agreed, that’s basically a false analogy.

I tend to agree with Nirmal Kumar too that Nadal won’t “decline” until around 28. I think he has a couple more years at the top in him.


alison hodge Says:

its refreshing to here posters like ajet,even as a roger fan,actually gives rafa credit for been one of the all time greats of the game,and nice also to here posters like jane and grendel who also have faith in nadals ability to still remain as a top player,instead of predicting a decline all the time,love your positivity,you have both really cheered me up,thanks guys.


MMT Says:

grendel: The pseudo-psychological drivel is logical extension of the suggestion that Nadal’s problems against Djokovic are mental. If the problems are mental, then the solutions must also be mental.

So let’s assume for a moment that Nadal does have it in his head that he can’t hold serve against Djokovic when it counts. I wouldn’t dispute that, and neither would the results. In that case, I think the solution is to increase his options on serve (like adding one to the forehand that DOESN’T miss), and improve the potency and accuracy on all serves (like the serve to the backhand that he’s forced into when his misses the serve to the forehand).

Now, he can’t get much more accurate on the serves to the backhand, but they could be more potent. And he can clearly get a hell of a lot more accurate on serves to the forehand, I mean he could go 2 for 4 instead of 0 for 4.

Of course, there is an alternative, and that is that EVEN IF his problems with Djokovic are indeed mental, the solution is still technical, and to this I would agree whole-heartedly, and our dispute ends.

Finally, I have neglected another option – he could also work on his mental game – he could simply conjure up the confidence and/or belief, that he will serve better and hold more easily. But I think that would be far less effective than to ACTUALLY DEVELOP and capitalize on that serve – and I don’t mean at 1-1, 40:15 or 2-2 30:0, but precisely when it “counts” like at 30-15 to 4-2, with a chance to consolidate his break in the fifth and final set.

So, it seems to me that no matter how you cut it, whether his problems are mental, technical or some combination of the two, I would be hard pressed to come up with a better solution to any of those scenarios than developing the technical capacity, to hold serve more reliably under duress. And by virtue of actually improving technically (rather than working on mentally believing or having the confidence or whatever is the proposed solution to his mental problems – which as yet I have not read from anyone) he will address the technical problem, which I believe is the only relevant factor, and the mental problem, which you clearly believe is an important, or as important, or the most important factor.


Ajet Says:

Dave:

If you don’t know that olympic is very very important right now, then it’s you who’re ignorant! Everybody prizes olympic gold more than you’d ever care to know! I think you’ll be among the first one to celebrate with joy if federer wins olympic this year, even though you’d not accept the olympic gold’s relevance in modern tennis just because nadal has one. Who cares if olympic wasn’t important before, I say it’s important now and that’s all that is to it! Who would not trade a MS these days to win a Olympic gold! Everyone may be, except a guy like you who would love to be stuck in the past

And you needn’t labor hard to enlighten me about laver’s 11 or emerson’s 12 slams, I knew it as much as anyone else, but the thing is all of those wins aren’t professional wins!

And moreover, anybody who’s not ignorant knows that ultimately you’re most remembered for your slams and not for other things. Fed is greatest coz he has max slams, simple as that.

And so far as stats of guys like gonzales, rosewall, tilden etc. goes(and i know pretty much how ridiculous they were in their own time), if you really bring all of those, then not just nadal but even fed looks ordinary in some respects! thus, it kinda balances out! and moreover, some of the stats which laver/rosewall/tilden/gonzales etc. have stalked up, even federer cannot compare to them, thus no problem if nadal also fails the test! And for your info, guys starting from djoker, guga, becker, jmac, agassi, and even pete and fed consider nadal easily among the greatest ever! so you are nobody to deny it! if laver thinks that nadal isn’t among the greatest ever, then that i would respect, but you calling nadal not among greats is quite arrogant, and not to mention, FUNNY!

And so far as nadal being mentioned alongside nobodys(for his winning olympic) goes, even federer would be glad to add his name to the list of those nobodys by picking up an olympic singles gold, if possible, let alone others! Moreover, guys of the stature of Roger, Rafa and Djoker are mentioning that winning olympic is one of the priorities for them this year, apart from slams; this speaks volumes about the so-called irrelevance of olympic singles gold really!


Ajet Says:

nirmal kumar, am not saying that nadal will run out of steam at 26 and suddenly stop winning, all that i’m saying is nadal’s form will decline a bit, that ‘little bit’ which mostly makes the difference between top pros winning almost everything and winning only few things. For example, fed definitely was on the decline after 26-27, but doesn’t mean he suddenly stopped wining, but he definitely started losing more and more imp matches and reaching less and less the final stages of imp tournaments. I think something similar will also happen to nadal. He also suddenly is not going to stop winning big things, but he certainly won’t scare others as much as he used to in his prime, which would mean more losses.


Sienna Says:

Giving the choice a professional player would 100% choos to win his maiden salm over his first olympic gold.
Fed last year was asked what does he want to achieve (or win) when given the choice.
He answered without any hesitation. I would like to wimbledon once more.

So his major goal is and always will be adding more slams to his total of 16. I reckon he woill however be pleased if he wins olympic singles gold this year .
We also often forget that Fed had already a gold medaille in the bank. For an atlete it doesnot matter if you win tripl jum, high jump, 100 metres dash, singles tennis gold or fierljeppen. A gold medal is a gold medal.

Only tennis wise it is considered a big trophe although less the slams, and yearend trophes

Davis Cup is just folklore.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Ajet: I understand what you mean. That’s why I said, decline should be used only when he loses to players outside Top 4 consistently in the GS. I do not see that happening atleast for next 2 years. He is perfectly fit and playing excellent tennis. He may lose to Novak or Murray in GS, but I doubt he will lose to others.


Ajet Says:

no need to re-state the obvious that slams(maiden or 17th) are more imp than olympic gold, wtf too is more imp than olympic gold, and i have already said it in a previous post. no big deal recognising this. but olympic definitely comes third and indeed is most coveted after slam and wtf IN RECENT TIMES. any doubt? then do your homework and read players’ numerous and endless press regarding it.


skeezerweezer Says:

MMT,

“Of course, there is an alternative, and that is that EVEN IF his problems with Djokovic are indeed mental, the solution is still technical, and to this I would agree whole-heartedly, and our dispute ends.”

Mine ends also.


Dave Says:

Nirmal Kumar and Ajet, I dont find your tired, repetitive and arrogant speculations based on presumptions and past history compelling, intelligent or rational enough to disqualify my realistic scenarios for Federer to regain the No. 1 ranking. You are both obsessed with the presumption that Federer has to got through Nadal to reclaim the No. I ranking — that may not be necessary — and even more obsessed in your fossilized mindsets that Federer cannot beat Nadal… even though one of you contradicts with “I’m not saying Federer can never beat Nadal”.

You can spew your speculations but what I said was very rational. Even yesterday one of Britain’s top tennis commentators applied to Murray a similar line of thought (as what I have been saying for weeks on Federer): “Since last summer’s Cincinnati Masters, Murray has played in 10 tournaments, winning five of them. If the world rankings were decided by points won since then, Murray (4,920 points) would be within touching distance of Federer (5,735) and Djokovic (5,340) and comfortably clear of Rafael Nadal (3,540)… (Murray) can make up plenty of ground over the next four weeks, starting with the Indian Wells Masters beginning on Thursday. Murray has just 20 points to defend in his next two tournaments; Djokovic, Nadal and Federer have 2,000, 1,200 and 720 respectively.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/murray-is-out-to-copy-lendls-work-ethic-7537660.html

Did the intelligent tennis analyst speculate that Murray’s path to No. 1 would be blocked by Nadal — given Murrays 5-13 losing H2H to Nadal (which is worse than Fed’s H2H with Nadal)? Nope, because not only do intelligent analysts know that’s not how champions think, and the intelligent analyst knows that greater tennis history is filled with examples of champions who have overcome such lopsided H2H to beat their nemesis.

Nirmal’s “This makes me laugh. Roger has got beaten in every slam match between these two from 2008 FO. I remember how people were going ga-ga over Roger’s form post Doha 2011″ fails the test of 135 years of competitive tennis history. SI’s Jon Wertheim reminds people with closed minded arguments like Ajet: “We can debate whether (Federer) can string together seven straight matches to get back on the majors board. But say this: Federer is playing a lot better now than Pete Sampras was in 2002, when the latter fired up one for the memory banks and won the U.S. Open.” Many idiots had prematurely written off a great champion like Sampras because he failed to win a single title in the 26 months between 2000 Wimbledon and 2002 US Open. Between January 2000 and August 2002 (before his final US Open), Sampras won only 2 titles (1 x GS, I x Masters 1000). Federer is exactly 10 years older in age than Sampras, yet between January 2010 to February 2012, the same-aged Federer has already won 11 titles (I x GS, 2 x WTF, 2 x Masters 1000, 4 x 500, 2 x 250) and is on a hot streak. During this same period, Nadal in his prime has won only 10 titles, even though 4 majors to Fed’s 3 majors (4 x GS, 4 x Masters 1000, 2 x 500). Nadal has failed to win a single title in the past 9 months since the last French Open.

History works both ways: you want to claim that something cannot be done because of Player X’s H2H history with Player B, then you have to accept the bigger picture of tennis history replete wih numerous champions who have beaten past nemesis and have risen from the ashes after being written off.

Nirmal “Do you think bacauser Roger has a better H2H against others, he will beat Nadal. This makes me laugh.” What’s really laughable is that you see the psychology of the complex human mind in such linear and predictable terms. Confidence that comes from winning can carry over and suddenly one day a switch turns on, just like it did for Djokovic in 2011 and Federer in 2003. E.g., before 2011 Indian Wells, myopic and close-minded pundits used the same bad arguments against Novak Djokovic ever overcoming Nadal

Nirmal “The only questions for now is can Roger hold onto No 3 position till Wimbledon or will be slide to No 4.” Nadal’s coach Francisco Roig publicly admitted in a March 2010 interview (“Roig believes that (Nadal) has four, maybe five years at 100 percent and then he may have to call it a day) — that’s end 2013 to end 2014. This is likely the best case scenario for Nadal’s peak productivity (it would be stupid PR to admit your guy is going into decline in 2 years, so better to double his life expectancy). Thus, it is quite pluasible that Nadal’s own team expects Nadal to start declining in 2012 or 2013, no matter what thye have already been doing. Thus my speculation that Nadal is going to decline by age 26 this year is plausible (compared to those hoping Nadal will decline at age 28, which is the upper limit expected) and so Nadal could be No. 3, 4 or 5 within the next 18 months. Given what Nadal’s false aura of invincibility has already been shattered — so the first step has happened. And Ajet, once Nadal’s decline starts, it’s likely to be much steeper than Federer’s because of Rafa’s relative dependence on his body. In tennis history, decline happned suddenly and steeply to physical players like Kuerten, Hewitt, Coria, Courier, etc, etc, etc. If that happens, Federer may actually reduce his age/physical disadvantage over Nadal.

Ajet, “Unfortunately, there’s one difference between the position of djokovic pre 2011 IW w.r.t. nadal and that of federer pre 2012 IW w.r.t. nadal; that is while djoker was goin to hit the peak at that time, but in 2012 Fed is already past his prime”. Djokovic’s success against Nadal wasn’t primarily due to him hitting his peak since he was already in his physical peak. The primary factor for Djokovic’s success was a dramatic mental change, even before he gained confidence from consistently beating Nadal. Federer may be past his physical prime in age, but (at this moment) he remains within range of prime in playing ability. What he lacked was confidence from winning regularly that he used to have in 2004 to 2007). He’s increasing his confidence — he hasn’t won 5 of 7 tourneys since his hot streak 2006 USO to 2007 Dubai — and that’s going to improve his performance in the clutch. I have a speculation (based on certain facts) on how Federer has remained relatively youthful in action and reduced his back poroblems (I’m not going to say what it is for now). If I’m right, you can throw all assumptions about Federer being past his prime into the trash can. And I reiterate — whatever djokovic has done over the past year, it is plausible for Federer to achieve even half of that against Nadal.

I don’t have the time right now to keep debunking — line after line — all the other flawed or questionable speculations and assumptions of Nirmal and Ajet. I’ll continue to do it later tonight.


Ajet Says:

Of course wise analysts like dave can only wish that for federer to be successful, he can domit going through nadal, whereas all the fools starting from jmac to sampras, henman to martina, becker to many others think otherwise! What a joke!

and only a moron would say that federer is in ashes right now, so much so that he needs to rise up to rejuvenate, whereas the logical ones would say that federer is much better doing things if nadal doesn’t come in his way! that might or might not change, but that’s what it is it right now!


Ajet Says:

and anybody who really has followed federer that federer is past his prime, mentally as well as physically and of course even form-wise! anbody who disagrees with this surely is f*****d up in his mind, especially if he claims that he is a fed fan! stop kiddin now, wil ya! I mean, sure it shows how much you know about federer if you think that federer’s confident and at prime right now because he gave away two sets leads twice away to djoker, and tsonga at slams, lost to even berdych and soderling at slams(not being able to extend them to even four sets, got whipped by nadal in 4 set in AUS, all of this in despite being in prime, eh! WTF!

sure, why not a fool would like to believe that the unbeatable federer would go through all this and everyone starting from nadal to djoker would beat him in slams!!! and even whip him in straight sets outside, oh sure sure, only a prime federer can lose like that, no? I mean just C’MON! The guy at prime from 2004-07 could be stopped nowhere except by nadal at FO and by an equaly talented safin playing majestically!


Ajet Says:

And not admitting nadal as one of the best ever is just downright idiotic, pathetic, mean and laughable!


Ajet Says:

and what’s the need for wishing so much and fighting with others giving lame and meaningless reasons as to why federer can reach no.1, let him do it if he can; if he doesn’t even do that, no harm in it, he has done morethan enough already for people like dave to be indebted to him till their last as a fan!


Ajet Says:

only a moron would say that federer is in ashes right now, so much so that he needs to rise up to rejuvenate, whereas the logical ones would say that federer still is far from being in ashes, and yet, he is much better doing things if nadal doesn’t come in his way! that might or might not change, but that’s what it is it right now!


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Dave says : Confidence that comes from winning can carry over and suddenly one day a switch turns on, just like it did for Djokovic in 2011 and Federer in 2003. E.g., before 2011 Indian Wells, myopic and close-minded pundits used the same bad arguments against Novak Djokovic ever overcoming Nadal

–I believe Roger was losing to Nadal when he was winning 90 matches against other players. I don’t think he is more confident now than when he started the year winning a slam and still losing to Nadal. So I’m not sure how come winning 500 tournament is going to give him the confidence to beat Nadal. I believe you laughed at your statement after typing. Also how funny it is to think there is going to be a switch turned on which will help Roger start winning against Nadal. How come the switch was not turned on for all these 10 years?

It’s more stupid to compare Sampras and Roger as they are different players with different style and playing different opponents and conditions.

All the intelligent analyst Dave is banking on (looks like he assumes he doesn’t have any intelligence) have been predicting Murray to win a slam from 2008 USO. How come their intelligence has not come to reality still? Maybe that’s how intelligence works. You just home someday it works. How come Murray has come to discussion when the talk is about Roger.

The realisic scenario Dave has come up with is something any novice tennis fans can predict. It’s not about the numbers, it’s about how realistic those numbers can work out to be. As Roger himself said, every Top 10 player has a chance and we can work out numbers for them to get to No1. That doesn’t show any intelligence, but a kids mentality.

I saw the draw is up and Roger has the toughest draw. He faces Raonic, DelPo, Ferrer and Nadal. Looks like another final showdown for Nadal. Nadal can easily pick another 400 points in this tournament.

Dave..Try to debunk with some intelligent analysis of you own. It’s getting tiring teaching you some reality in tennis.


Dave Says:

Nirmal Kumar, as usual you ignore context and cherry pick when you claim “But with Rafa even when Roger was at Prime, he always had negative H2H specifically on outdoors. He beat him in Wimbledon but we all know his win against him in 2007 was more of a gift from Nadal till the genius inside Roger took flight in the middle of 5th set.”

Wimbledon 2007: Federer was rusty from lack of match practice. Federer came out of the 2007 French Open with a groin injury he picked up in the quarterfinal (Federer reportedly had to fy back to Switzerland for treatment). Federer withdrew from Halle grass tourney citing fatigue. The Halle organizers, however, revealed Federer had a groin injury during the French Open (it’s likely this injury was confirmed by an ATP doctor). Federer’s old school reluctance not to whine about this injuries or leverage publicity about his injuries does not enable the media to publicize his injuries. The consequence was Federer was recuperating and unable to practice on grass the week after the French Open — while Nadal got match practice playing the London Queens Club tourney. The following week Federer showed up at Wimbledon to start playing tennis again on grass — but some of his practice sessions were disrupted by rain. The week after when Wimbledon started, rain disrupted many matches from day one. But Federer has a relatively easy draw for him on grass — only two former grand slam champs enroute to the final — and Roger had the advantage of playing early before the rains came. Federer’s natural ability on grass was allowing him to play into the tournament. However in the fourth round adouble whammy occurred — his opponent Tommy Haas withdrew and (due to rain) Federer was unable to play a match or practise much for six days in the middle of Wimbledon!. Meanwhile Nadal’s epic matches against Soderling and Youzhny were being disrupted many times by rain delays, which were understandably hated by Rafa and other players in the bottom half. However, as Jmmy Connors noted, the rain dealys helped Nadal because having to repetitively warm up and play bits and pieces of his matches gave Rafa valuable match practice several times every day during the six days that Federer was rusting away without playing much tennis. When rusty Federer finally played his quarterfinal match, he dropped his first set. Rusty Federer, lacking match practice and rhythm, went to Plan B — he played relatively conservatively and spotty tennis to get through his quarterfinal, semifinal and final matches. None of those matches saw Federer at his best.

So the 2007 Wimbledon final featured match-fit Nadal versus rusty Federer. To claim that Federer’s 7-6(7), 4-6, 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-2 was “a gift from Nadal” is ludicrous. Federer was always ahead by a set and Nadal had to resort to his medical time out mind games. The match was close but the stats show that Federer was ahead in every stat, except double faults. Federer was doing just enough to win the match. Nick Bollettieri observed: “A true champion may be shaken, but never broken… But like any great champion he endured, and then soared. Take-off arrived in a magnificent rally in the fifth set, at 3-2 to Federer with Nadal serving at break point. The Federer forehand exocet that sealed it was breathtaking – and a signal to start the engraving. Borg has been equalled. And only Sampras (14 Slams) and Emerson (12) now have more than Roger (11). Surely not for too long. Federer is the best I’ve ever seen.”
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Share/Match-Facts-Pop-Up.aspx?t=540&y=2007&r=7&p=F324

The big picture for 2007 is that Federer beat Nadal 3-2 on all surfaces (Hamburg clay, Wimbledon grass, World Tour Finals hard) and conditions (outdoor, indoor) and ended the year at the WTF crushing Nadal in less than an hour. As usual, one week after Nadal’s crushing defeat, the Nadal camp (Uncle Toni) publicized that Nadal had a career threatening injury (one week after grand slam losses to Soderling, Ferrer, etc. the Nadal team also held press conferences about Nadal’s ‘injuries’). Federer probably hoped to carry his momentum over Nadal into 2008, but Federer’s monoucleosis and back injuries affected his game, confidence and incredible ability to get into the zone and raise his game at crunchtime — until now.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

We can spin it anyway we want, but at the begining of 5th set, Nadal had break point opportunity in two of Roger’s game. He had an easy BH which he missed. No one cares how much pre or post injuries affect a player. There can be hundred excuses given for a loss.

Even Nadal took a medical timeout after he won the 4th set. I doubt he would have deliberately stopped his own momentum going to 5th set. Roger and down and Nadal should have just dusted him. Instead he took a medical timeout.

After every one of Roger’s loss against Nadal we can give lots of excuses, but to lose for such a long stretch doesn’t sound proper. Even if Roger had one victory over Nadal in GS during this time period, it would have given some hope for Roger’s fans like me. But I do not see any more hope for Roger going forward based on last 3 years history.


grendel Says:

MMT

Very considered post. w.r.t.”rather than working on mentally believing or having the confidence or whatever is the proposed solution to his mental problems – which as yet I have not read from anyone”. The reason you have not read it from anyone is that there IS no general solution, neither in life generally nor in tennis in particular. That doesn’t mean people can’t be helped – some can, if they are lucky. It seems to be horses for courses. Sometimes, just the unshakeable belief of a knowledgeable friend will help.

So I think you have a point – improve skills, and the mind will automatically gain in confidence. Only thing is, I am a little sceptical that these top players CAN improve much. Any deficiency even a skilled spectator can see, you can be absolutely sure the player himself, together with his training entourage, will be well aware of. And no doubt they will have attempted to address them.

Take Federer and Nadal. Is there anything, realistically, that Federer can do about the high kicker to his shoulder, given his one handed bh? Meanwhile, Federer often gives Nadal cheap points at critical moments – this is obviously the fear factor expressing itself. It has happened too often for there to be any doubt. Now I am sure that if some technical wizard could sort out the problems Federer has with that high bouncer, the massive confidence boost he’d gain would automatically impact on his state of mind at the critical moments. No longer would we see those distressing implosions.

So I think you are right – trouble is, the solution, at least in the case of Federer, seems out of reach.


grendel Says:

Nirmal says:”No one cares how much pre or post injuries affect a player. There can be hundred excuses given for a loss.”

Broadly speaking, this is surely right. Any effective PR team can produce a grotesquely distorted memorandum which focuses only on the tribulations of their man. Take Federer’s defeat of Nadal in Hamburg. It has been often noted that Nadal was exhausted coming into the match. Should we take account of that? Kind of depends what you are taking acount of generally, doesn’t it?

Once the excuses start to roll…….


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Grendel : Yes, sometimes certain external factors may influence a result, but over a career they average out. Roger may have lost few matches at the begining of 2008 due to Mono, Rafa few in 2009 either due to injury or family issues. But looking at their career Rafa surely had an upperhand against Roger inspite of giving injury excuses for Roger or Rafa. Same should be applied to other rivalries also.


Dave Says:

Ajet, your arguments are contradictory “Only borg, pete and fed have more slams than (Federer)” and Ajet: “And you needn’t labor hard to enlighten me about laver’s 11 or emerson’s 12 slams, I knew it as much as anyone else, but the thing is all of those wins aren’t professional wins!”

You claimed Nadal was one of the top 5 greatest players of ALL TIME (e.g, Ajet: “Nadal’s achievements so far easily make him one of the top-5 players of all time…rank as one of the top-5 most accomplished players of all time… nadal’s definitely one of the top-5 players of all time…nadal’s one of the greatest players of all time, and not just a great!”).

If you’re claiming Nadal is one of the greatest of ALL TIME then you need to compare him against the accomplishments of all tennis players — both amateur and professional — across 135 years of competitive tennis history, duh.

My March 6th 3:35 am post was necessary to enlighten you. You clearly need to learn about tennis history. Do you even know anything about Ramanathan Krishnan, Ramesh Krishnan and Vijay Amritraj? Make a prigrimage immediately to Ramanathan Krishnan and ask him to rank Nadal among the all time greats in all of tennis history — Ramanathan has beaten Laver, Emerson, Ashley Cooper, among others so he would have a good understanding.

Ajet: “Who cares if olympic wasn’t important before, I say it’s important now and that’s all that is to it!” Ok, the truth finally comes out. It’s important because YOU say it’s important.

Ajet: “If you don’t know that olympic is very very important right now, then it’s you who’re ignorant! Everybody prizes olympic gold more than you’d ever care to know!… Who would not trade a MS these days to win a Olympic gold!… but olympic definitely comes third and indeed is most coveted after slam and wtf IN RECENT TIMES. any doubt? then do your homework and read players’ numerous and endless press regarding it.” What you originally said was “olympic gold in singles… is of very high value in modern tennis: next IMHO only to slam and WTF”. The Olympics was not considered high value nor entrenched in modern tennis history — otherwise many top players would not have stayed away from the Olympics and most gold medallists would not have been mostly no name players in 5 of the 6 Olympic singles tournaments. Name me one player who would trade an MS 1000 shield for an Olympic gold medal — give us facts, not your imagination.

Olympics is definitely the most coveted? Nonsense. Both Miami and Indian Wells are considered the most prestigious tournaments on the tennis calendar outside the slams and WTF that are important to a player’s ranking and resume. Indian Wells is the best attended tennis tournament outside the four slams. Miami has been awarded ATP Tournament of the Year in 9 of the last 11 years.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/tennis/news/20120306/mixed-tournaments/

Ajet’s again trying to impress us with his speculations and psychic mind reading abilities: “I think you’ll be among the first one to celebrate with joy if federer wins olympic this year, even though you’d not accept the olympic gold’s relevance in modern tennis just because nadal has one…Who would not trade a MS these days to win a Olympic gold!” duh, I’ve never watched Olympic tennis in my life.

Ajet: “anybody who’s not ignorant knows that ultimately you’re most remembered for your slams and not for other things. Fed is greatest coz he has max slams, simple as that.” Nonsense. Grand slam titles is just one of the necessary measures, not the only measure. Besides, 60% of Nadal’s slams come from French Open clay.

- Martina Navratilova: “It’s a combination of how many grand slams have you won, how many tournaments have you won, how many years you were number one and (Federer has) got all those combinations. The body of work is phenomenal…”

- Rod Laver: “I would be honoured to even be compared to Roger. He is such an unbelievable talent, and is capable of anything. Roger could be the greatest tennis player of all time.” Player’s on Laver’s listed were not ranked according to number of grand slams. Lew Hoad (whom Laver rated best of the pre-1968 era) had only four slams, as he turned pro at a young age — and yet as a pro, he failed to win the pro majors compared to the 15 pro majors won by Ken Rosewall.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/xzx-australian-open/gallery-fn77kxzt-1226250654969?page=1

Ajet: “And so far as stats of guys like gonzales, rosewall, tilden etc. goes (and i know pretty much how ridiculous they were in their own time), if you really bring all of those, then not just nadal but even fed looks ordinary in some respects! thus, it kinda balances out! and moreover, some of the stats which laver/rosewall/tilden/gonzales etc. have stalked up, even federer cannot compare to them” Yes Nadal looks ordinary compared to some of these greats. Federer does not have to the best in every measure — e.g., Fed does not have the Calendar grand slams that Laver and Budge has, but he is the closest in history to achieving it (and in 2006 and 2007 Roger won more GS matches than Laver or Budge did in winning their CYGS as some slams did not have 7 rounds). Federer is the greatest because his overall body of work and accomplishments is greater than any other player in tennis history and he achieved in an era with greater depth of competition.

Ajet: “if laver thinks that nadal isn’t among the greatest ever, then that i would respect, but you calling nadal not among greats is quite arrogant” You calling Nadal among the top 5 greatest is arrogant because you haven’t carefully compared him to all the other greats throughout tennis history. On the other hand, I know why I don’t rate Nadal that highly: his total number of major titles is inferior to many other players in history, he has failed to dominate his field like federer/lendl/etc did, he has only got 100 weeks as No. 1, his win-loss against top ten is inferior to other greats, he has only 46 titles, he has he won 70% of his 46 titles on one surface (clay), he has failed to win any World Tour Finals titles, at his peak he was beaten 7-0 times in less than a year on all surfaces by a player from his own generation, he holds the record for losing most consecutive grand slam finals, etc, etc, etc. I could go on and on…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATP_World_Tour_records

Ajet: “Roger…mentioning that winning olympic is one of the priorities for them this year, apart from slams; this speaks volumes about the so-called irrelevance of olympic singles gold really!” Roger mentioned several priorities, not just slams and Olympics. Stop making up stuff!


MMT Says:

grendel: Now we’re talking! Can a top player change his game technically, tactically, strategically to account for a change in the game or a particular opponent?

There are many examples, including Nadal himself, and particularly his serve. Look at how he changed it for the better in 2010:

http://tpatennis.net/the-truth-behind-nadals-improved-serve-it-wasnt-just-a-grip-change/

I found the commentary as fascinating as the video. A guy I’ve never heard of (not Jose Higueras, or Paul Annacone, or Larry Stefanki) but Oscar Borras, is solicited by the Nadals to improve his serve. And even though that is the precise reason they have hired him, in the beginning you can clearly see that both of them are incredulous. Slowly but surely, Borras breaks down Nadal’s serve, and rebuilds it, and all of a sudden he’s hitting 135mph bombs at the US Open.

Now, word is that Nadal felt the shoulder problem he had later was caused by the change in his serve, and that could very well be true, but the point is a serve he’s been dumping in play since he was 5 years old, was changed for the better, long after he became the great Rafael Nadal. And he can do it again – he just has to go back to basics. Even though he’s one of the best players ever to pick up a racquet.

There are other examples of this – for example the forehand Djokovic. His forehand used to be his albatross, it was elaborately constructed and prone to childish errors under pressure – but his coach, Martin Vajda – a guy I long felt was not worth his salt proved me wrong by going back to the basics.

He realized, after studying video of Djokovic, that he had a tendency to decelerate the racquet head in pressure situations on the forehand, causing him to lose pace, spin and most importantly control and consistency. How did he fix this? He had to tighten that stroke, but still maintain racquet head speed, and to do this, he used a tool used with children who first learn the game called “ball in hand”.

A coach drops the ball from his hand at shoulder height then gets the hell out the way, and the player has to hit the ball as hard as he can, but still keep it in bounds. To do this, he has to keep the stroke very tight and efficient and force himself to accelerate the racquet head through the point of contact, and use huge amounts of topsin to do it.

By repeating this drop at a high frequency, and moving the drop spot further and further to the right (or left), he forces the player to maintain footwork, a tight stroke and racquet head speed – the 3 elements of any good groundstroke. Furthermore, by moving Djokovic to his right, he simulated a left handed player (like Nadal) using less and less pace (for example with a crosscourt slice backhand) to move Djokovic to the right to set up a backand up the line or a kill shot crosscourt forehand off a mishit or short/weak/careful/nervous reply.

In doing so, Djokovic developed the best crosscourt forehand in tennis, and along with it neutralized a tactic Nadal used against him to move him out of center and set up his favorite crosscourt forehand. 1 solution to two problems, all from treating a grandslam champion like a kid who just started playing.

Finally, Federer, who you’ve suggested is beyong help – 3 years ago he added a shot he never used before, the drop shot. That basically won him the French Open. Of course it helped that Soderling took care of Nadal, but he was down 2 sets to 0 against Haas and 2 sets to 1 against del Potro, and there was no guarantee he would win those matches. The drop shot was a key element of that.

But one thing you’ll notice with Federer is that any time he hits a drop shot, he follows it into the net, so that even if his opponent reaches it, he’s there to cut the angle down on any reply, and prevent a counter-drop shot as well. That way, it doesn’t have to be a perfect drop shot, and he’s less likely to miss it, so he can use it under pressure.

Now I’m not saying that any of these players will be able to add shots or improve their technique to the extent that they will be able to usurp Djokovic. For all we know we are at the beginning of a Pax Novakus where he will rule indefinitely and take all the games records.

But it’s possible if you focus on the right thing – technique, even if you were (at some point yourself) the best player in the world.


MMT Says:

grendel: “Is there anything, realistically, that Federer can do about the high kicker to his shoulder, given his one handed bh?”

Put that question another way – are there other players with a 1-handed backhand that have handled the high kicker to that side better than Federer? I give you two: James Blake and Nico Almagro.

At his best (2005-2006) Blake had a winning record against Nadal. One of the reasons he did was because he handled the kick serve and high forehand to that side very well. Eventually, Nadal’s overall quality prevailed on Blake, and he reversed that record. Almagro has never beaten Nadal, but I’ve seen every match they’ve played since 2008, and one thing Almagro doesn’t have a problem with is his backhand.

Now they produce their backhands differently than Federer, but it is possible for Federer to change that stroke? As possible as it was for Nadal to change his serve and Djokovic to change his forehand. I don’t know if it will happen, but I know it’s possible. He just has to go back to basics and work that shot until he can do it in his sleep. That won’t be the only problem, but it will improve other elements of his game just be virtue of not having that technical frailty as an albatross on his court positioning and tactical options.


grendel Says:

MMT

You posted that video before, and this story is indeed very interesting. (I don’t exactly see how Nadal can do it again if the shoulder problem is too acute – I did, however, think Nadal was serving faster in the AO).Whilst I think you have made some very strong points, they contain some built in limitations,imo.

Your account of Djokovic remodelling his crosscourt fh is fascinating, and it is to Djokovic’s credit that he had the humility and tenacity to learn again from first prinicples. But there is a limit to this sort of thing – Djokovic, after all, is a natural baseliner. Once he had taken the decision, you’d expect him to be able to profit from tuition. He is not a natural volleyer or mover towards the net, and he has had plenty of coaching in this respect – and it seems to have been of fairly limited value. He remains, at best, competent in this area.

w.r.tFederer, of course it is true about the drop shot, but what probably surprises most of us is why Federer never used to use it. You’d have thought he’d be an absolute natural at it. His objections seem to have been of the lofty variety – almost as if it wasn’t sportsmanlike! But Federer’s most urgent problem – w.r.t.Nadal – is surely the high kicker to the bh. If somewhere a coach could be unearthed who has an answer – this chap would soon be a millionaire!


grendel Says:

MMT – I see our posts crossed. Right, well, I think Federer should get onto the blower to Amalgro straightaway!
There is a genuine proble. Federer’s bh is undoubtedly one of the great bhs – except against Nadal. There is surely a danger in attempting to remodel it simply to take account of one player – I imagine that might be Federer’s thought process. He might not make the gains he wants, but in the meantime, lose some of the original potency. A double disaster.

However, nothing ventured, nothing gained…..


Dave Says:

Nirmal Kumar, put your money where your mouth is and prove your imaginary claim: “We can spin it anyway we want, but at the begining of 5th set, Nadal had break point opportunity in two of Roger’s game. He had an easy BH which he missed.” Here is the clip of the first four games of the 5th set. Where is the easy BH that you claim Nadal missed on a breakpoint opportunity? You think missing BH returns off Federer’s serve is easy? Federer saved three breakpoints by serving to the Nadal BH. You are imagining stuff and misleading us.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xeh6dZLSvBY

Nirmal Kumar: No one cares how much pre or post injuries affect a player.” That’s funny, cuz Nadal and Djokovic seem to care a lot, as they whine the most about their injuries and turn it into mini dramas or publicityopportunities, lol

Nirmal Kumar: “Nadal took a medical timeout after he won the 4th set. I doubt he would have deliberately stopped his own momentum going to 5th set. Roger and down and Nadal should have just dusted him. Instead he took a medical timeout.” That’s where you lack the tennis intelligence and acumen that Nadal has. Nadal probbaly realized that Federer was saving himself for the fifth set and would come hard at Rafa. Thus Nadal needed the time to plot his strategy for the next few games — it’s no coincidence that Nadal made his move on Federer’s first two service games of the fifth set.

Nirmal Kumar: “After every one of Roger’s loss against Nadal we can give lots of excuses” Hey, I just debunked your misrepresentation of Federer’s win at 2007 Wimbledon but now you’re pretending I’m making excuses for Federer’s losses. Are you serious?

Nirmal Kumar: “to lose for such a long stretch doesn’t sound proper. Even if Roger had one victory over Nadal in GS during this time period, it would have given some hope for Roger’s fans like me. But I do not see any more hope for Roger going forward based on last 3 years history.” You’re not much of a Federer fan if you lose hope so easily. You don’t have a champion’s mentality. Champions don’t dwell on past losses, they look for future opportunities to win. I have no respect for such loser attitudes and whining.

Nirmal Kumar: “Yes, sometimes certain external factors may influence a result, but over a career they average out. Roger may have lost few matches at the begining of 2008 due to Mono, Rafa few in 2009 either due to injury or family issues. But looking at their career Rafa surely had an upperhand against Roger inspite of giving injury excuses for Roger or Rafa. Same should be applied to other rivalries also.” Your argument fails the test of reality. Federer is so good he tends to reach the semifinal or final rounds of most tournaments regardless of issues. On the other hand, when Nadal has issues he tends to go into a mini-slump for months or disappears and teds to lose before he can meet Federer. E.g., during Federer’s mono and back injury period in 2008/2009 he faced Nadal 5 times (2008 Monte Carlo, 2008 Hamburg, 2008 French Open, 2008 Wimbledon, 2009 Australian Open). When Nadal had injury and family issues in 2009, Federer faced Nadal only once in 2009 Madrid and did not face Rafa again until 2010 Madrid (Shanghai was the only final Nadal reached the rest of 2009 but Federer did not play due to back injury after the US Open).


jane Says:

MMT, thank you – that was a very interesting account of Vajda’s coaching of Nole to improve the forehand. You said you used to think Vajda was not worth his “salt” – I love that you went to the root of salary (sal or salt); apparently soldiers used to be paid in salt or their money went to the purchase of salt. Your wording kind of mirrors what you’re saying about Vajda’s coaching approach – i.e., getting to the root of the thing. :)

I like this video interview with Vajda; he says some interesting things about how they worked on Nole’s backhand as well; at least it is fascinating to me, maybe it’s basic to you, with your technical acumen. But Vajda basically skips the confidence issue and goes right to the technical when the interviewer asks about how Nole started to win so much.

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


carlo Says:

Nirmal Kumar, enjoying your posts. This kind of sums it up for me:

“After every one of Roger’s loss against Nadal we can give lots of excuses, but to lose for such a long stretch doesn’t sound proper. Even if Roger had one victory over Nadal in GS during this time period, it would have given some hope for Roger’s fans like me. But I do not see any more hope for Roger going forward based on last 3 years history.”

Fedal to me is down to that in GS, even US Open if it came to it at this point.

Federer might get a win over Nadal at masters 1000 outdoors, Nirmal? Maybe? I’m not groaning to myself about the probability of the upcoming Fedal at IW like I was AO.


Dave Says:

Ajet, your comedy skills are impressive when you said “not admitting nadal as one of the best ever is just downright idiotic, pathetic, mean and laughable!” I have long ago said that Nadal is an all time great. As well, he is probably the greatest clay courter of all time or co-greatest with Borg and Max Decugis. But to claim that Nadal is one of the 5 greatest of all time — at the moment — is downright ignorant of tennis history. I know one or two stupid great players once prematurely annointed Nadal as one of the greatest (they are quiet now), but I can refute their assessments using the facts of 135 years of tennis history. I’ve not said that Nadal will never become the greatest as his career is not over, but so far he is not yet the top 5.

Since you are so smart, why don’t you prove your case: what are all the reasons for you to prematurely claim that Nadal is one of the top 5 of all time?

Ajet: “Of course wise analysts like dave can only wish that for federer to be successful, he can domit going through nadal, whereas all the fools starting from jmac to sampras, henman to martina, becker to many others think otherwise! What a joke!” What exactly did each of them say? Give me exact quotes instead of putting words into their mouth. I’ve already proved we can’t trust what you say. Let’s start with Tim Henman. What did he say? Sampras next. What did he say?

Ajet: “only a moron would say that federer is in ashes right now, so much so that he needs to rise up to rejuvenate, whereas the logical ones would say that federer is much better doing things if nadal doesn’t come in his way! that might or might not change, but that’s what it is it right now!”
First, that’s hilarious since my earlier arguments to you and nirmal were that you guys are presuming that Federer will always face Nadal — but that may not be the case since Nadal is more vulberable to defeat in earlier rounds and may go into decline. Yet, here you are, straigh-faced, pretending as if I never said it… unless you mean I’m one of the “logical ones” :)

Second, I was speaking metaphorically when i said (but trust you to miss my point because contradicts your earlier claim): “History works both ways: you want to claim that something cannot be done because of Player X’s H2H history with Player B, then you have to accept the bigger picture of tennis history replete wih numerous champions who have beaten past nemesis and have risen from the ashes after being written off.”

Ajet: “sure, why not a fool would like to believe that the unbeatable federer would go through all this and everyone starting from nadal to djoker would beat him in slams!!! and even whip him in straight sets outside, oh sure sure, only a prime federer can lose like that, no?”

Only a monumental fool would make such a statement after reading this link I gave earlier: “Roger, Rafa, Nole, Andy: H2H Stats on their closest matches, greatest beatdowns”
http://www.menstennisforums.com/showthread.php?t=193260

Ajet: “anybody who really has followed federer that federer is past his prime, mentally as well as physically and of course even form-wise! anbody who disagrees with this surely is f*****d up in his mind, especially if he claims that he is a fed fan! stop kiddin now, wil ya! I mean, sure it shows how much you know about federer”

hey, I know a person who has followed Federer more than you or I, so let’s ask him, shall we?

Just last week Roger Federer himself said “I’m still in my prime to actually have a shot at not only playing in the Olympics”.

But according to you-who-knows-it-all, Federer cannot be a Fedfan and is surely is f*****d up in his mind.

Be quiet now. Stop replying and making a serial fool of yourself.


MMT Says:

Jane: I wish I could say that I intended the historical reference to salt – but I’m not that clever – great tidbit! As for Vajda, I have to admit that I was wrong about him – he’s obviously a very good coach and knows the game. I guess I just didn’t see it for 3 years.

grendel: Here I think psychology becomes an issue, because I think you’re spot on with your analysis of why Federer wouldn’t retool it to take care of that one problem. Djokovic had this problem with the serve – it was terrible against top players, and Todd Martin tried to retool it, and it became terrible against everyone else too! Eventually he got it right. The only thing is, he might be looking 20 majors instead of 16 if it weren’t for Nadal, but you (and he) are right – there are no guarantees. Solve the Nadal problem, and there’s another one right around the corner.

But that is the beauty of the game, isn’t it?


Ajet Says:

dave:

stop dreaming, get real! (like nadal may get beaten even before he meets federer)

stop lying, get truthful! (everybody knows that pete, fed recognise nadal as one of he truly greatest of all time and sampras, as also many others, have even said at a point of time that everything going right for nadal, he can even outnumber federer in slams! thankfully djoker is stopping him right now or else he’d already be sitting with 13 slams and 8-2 record in fed at slams and fed would have alreaady been started being called the second best of his generation, let alone era!)
and as i said, i don’t have time to provide you links, judt go to google, type keywords and clear your doubts and enlighten yourself instead of spewing garbage here denying the facts!

and stop pretending as if you don’t know whether nadal has been praised and hailed by one of the greatest evers by many erudite tennis experts, successful past champions, and peers including federer who has repeatedly heaped nadal with genuine praises!

and speaking of doing comedy and being foolish, you are unmatchable in this respect, nobody comes even close!

and i have to say you are the downright winner of drama-king contest of tennis-X!
CONGRATS, LOL! ;)


MMT Says:

And Jane, thanks for the video on Martin Vajda – great insight. I’m feeling worse now for thinking so little of him before! By the way, I didn’t know he beat Henri Leconte at the French Open – that’s no small task. I love Leconte, and I loved his game, back in the day. The guy has the physique of an accountant, and plays like he learned the game on Mt. Olympus.

The interviewer, Ubaldo Scanagatta, really knows his stuff too. I saw him interview Bud Collins once, and he kept up really well, which is no small task when it comes to Bud Collins. And I almost couldn’t believe it at 2:42 in the video when he said, “…to build up confidence, you must build a better game.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.


alison hodge Says:

i came home from work at 3.00pm and could not wait to turn on my computer,and tune back into tennis x,for the next instalment of dave v ajet,just when i think one will have the last word,back comes the other one,and sorry dave but i did laugh,when ajet said drama king of tennis x.


Dave Says:

Nirmal Kumar, you have finally conceded what I said was realistic in the first place when you said “The realisic scenario Dave has come up with is something any novice tennis fans can predict…As Roger himself said, every Top 10 player has a chance and we can work out numbers for them to get to No1.” Yet your ego drove you to waste everybody’s time arguing for no reason. That’s sensless.

Nirmal : “Looks like another final showdown for Nadal. Nadal can easily pick another 400 points in this tournament… Dave..Try to debunk with some intelligent analysis of you own. It’s getting tiring teaching you some reality in tennis.” WOW! You are predicting that Nadal will win Indian Wells despite Djokovic still being in the tournament, a player who has beaten Rafa the last 7 times. And you call yours intelligent analysis? You need to apply your own standards to your speculations, lol.

Nirmal : “It’s more stupid to compare Sampras and Roger as they are different players with different style and playing different opponents and conditions.” It’s monumentally more stupid to put your speculative limitations on the greatest player of all time, and pretend that your opinion matters or is even right. Regardless, the moral of comparing Sampras and Federer has passed over your head: don’t count your lack of chickens before they hatch from their GOAT eggs, duh.

Nirmal : “I believe Roger was losing to Nadal when he was winning 90 matches against other players.” Why do you see the glass as half empty — you’re not thinking like a champion but like a serial loser. In 2006, when Federer won 90 matches against other players he beat Nadal at the two major tourneys Wimbledon and World Tour Finals. Three of Federer’s losses to Nadal were in clay tourneys that Federer had never won (and had lost to other players in the past), only one was a major clay event — so there was no guarantee Fed wouldn’t have lost those clay tourneys to other players had Nadal not played.

Nirmal’s incredible claim he can read minds: “I don’t think he is more confident now than when he started the year winning a slam and still losing to Nada.” and “looks like he assumes he doesn’t have any intelligence”

Nirmal’s even more incredible claim he can see everything oevr great distances: “I believe you laughed at your statement after typing.”

Nirmal: “Also how funny it is to think there is going to be a switch turned on which will help Roger start winning against Nadal. How come the switch was not turned on for all these 10 years?” How can we trust anything you say. They’ve benn playing for just 8 years, not 1o as you exaggerate.

If Djokovic could turn on his switch after 5 to 6 years of losing to Nadal (did they play in juniors as well?), who are you to presume that the greatest player of all time will never be able to turn on his switch against Nadal. What arrogance.

Nirmal : “All the intelligent analyst Dave is banking on… have been predicting Murray to win a slam from 2008 USO….” Put your money where your mouth is — tell us who are the so-calld analysts that I is banking on?

Nirmal : “How come Murray has come to discussion when the talk is about Roger.” That’s cuz you brought Murray into the discussion, duh.


Dave Says:

alison hodge: Tickets to the ‘Dave on top Ajet and Nirmal’ show are 10 ounces of gold for a season’s pass :)

But you can’t believe everything Ajet spews in emotional distress…

Ajet: “speaking of doing comedy and being foolish, you are unmatchable in this respect, nobody comes even close!” So you don’t think you’ve lost your credibility and are looking monumentally foolish everytime I debunk your posts? My, you lack a sense of reality, don’t you?

Ajet: “thankfully djoker is stopping him right now or else he’d already be sitting with 13 slams” You’re speculating cuz Fed was gunning to take down Nadal at 2010 Australian Open, instead Djokovic stole his thunder.

Ajet: “pete, fed recognise nadal as one of he truly greatest of all time and sampras, as also many others, have even said at a point of time that everything going right for nadal, he can even outnumber federer in slams… and stop pretending as if you don’t know whether nadal has been praised and hailed by one of the greatest evers by many erudite tennis experts, successful past champions, and peers including federer who has repeatedly heaped nadal with genuine praises!” I hope you don’t give a speech, otherwise you’d send the poor audience to sleep.

Since 2011 Wimbledon praise for Nadal’s greatness has gone silent. Tell us, great Praise Recorder, who in the last 8 months considers Nadal to be one of the 5 greatest players of all time? The only great who has ranked best players during this period has been Rod Laver — and he doesn’t put Nadal in his top 5, not even for the modern era. I can show you several pundits who have reinforced that Federer is the GOAT.

Put your money where your big mouth is: show us one credible pundit, since 2011 Wimbledon, who has rated Nadal one of the 5 greatest players of all time. Just one. Please, pleety puhleeze…

You and nirmal have failed to provide proof on every challenge from me to put your money where your mouth is… hoping we’d forget.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Dave: Unless you come up with insigtful and some meaningful comments, I cannot waste my time teaching you some logic in tennis. You will learn it slowly. Just like you hope a switch will start turning on Roger’s head, I also hope some switch turns on your head.


jane Says:

MMT, glad you liked the video and the tidbit. :) I did think the video kind of matched with your take on things, i.e., technical solution and confidence follows, or at the least they go hand in hand.


Ajet Says:

”Nirmal’s incredible claim he can read minds: “I don’t think he is more confident now than when he started the year winning a slam and still losing to Nada.””

hehehe, PEANUT SIZE-HEAD dave has not read what everybody says in sports: WITH WINNING COMES CONFIDENCE! A fool of incomparable magnitude only will say that fed of 2012 (or evn 2008-2010) would be feeling more confident about his chances than the fed of 2004-07. Can anybody actuaa;y believe it? I mean dave is by miles the best at making a joker of his own self!


Ajet Says:

dude dave:
who told you federer was gunning to take down nadal, eh? ;) good luck trying your luck at being mind-reader, hehehe ;)

or is it your usual wishful imagination running amok? Or may be it’s your latest goofing and fooling around here! It may also be lying. Your negative versatility is out-of-the world!

way to go dave! you’re the most popular fool here! hehe ;)


Ajet Says:

and btw, roger is no more good as he was even in 2008-10, let alone 2004-07.


Ajet Says:

I am still wondering how did drama-king dave know that fed was gunning to take down nadal in AUS-10. If anything, federer was looking as great in AUS-10 as he was looking in FO-2010 or in AUS-12 until he met nadal, and we all know what happened in AUS-12 or FO-11, LOL ;)
And not to mention AUS 2009 where he schooloed everybody until he unravelled against nadal in final. I also used ti think that fed is losing to nadal due to technical problems ands age, but the FO-11 changed my mind and made me aware of the fact as to how much federer chokes against nadal, when i look at fed unravelling to hand nadal the 1st set and match on a platter! Federer couldn’t have made nadal look more ordinary than he made him look in the 1st set of FO-11 until it was 5-2 in his favour, but then unfolded the realisation of lifetime before my eyes when fed just gifted away nadal the ist set! That was enough for me to understand FINALLY that it’s more about mind than game for fed w.r.t. nadal!


Ajet Says:

I mean as he was looking in FO-11 and AUS-12 in my previous post!

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