It’s Nadal v Djokovic In The French Open Final, Who’ll Make History And Who’s The Pick?
by Sean Randall | June 9th, 2012, 1:28 pm
  • 124 Comments

Following two weeks of slugging and sloshing, the best two tennis players in the world, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, fittingly resume there rivalry on the only Slam championship stage they have yet to meet on: The French Open final.

Unbelievably, Rafa and Novak are appearing in their fourth straight final together! And after losing those first three Nadal absolutely has to be out for blood and on Sunday and I think he gets it.

But Djokovic is living a charmed life. Some might say there’s a destiny thing happening. The Serb overcame a two-set hole to Andreas Seppi last Sunday, the pulled off another great escape saving four matchpoints against JW Tsonga. And since being one misstep away on that very ledge, Djokovic has responded winning five straight sets including a whipping yesterday over Roger Federer.

Speaking of whipping, it’s been a long time since someone has looked as good as Nadal has this week on the dirt. The Spaniard has only lost serve once (ONCE!) and really he hasn’t come close to dropping a set. After destroying his friend, countryman and a player who is arguably the third or fourth best claycourter in the world, David Ferrer, Rafa says he’s peaking.

And that’s bad news for Novak because he’s next for Nadal.

Not only is Nadal looking to get back in the Slam win column after losing to last three – a win puts him just 5 from Federer, but his Royal Clayness is also playing at the height of his powers. Meanwhile, Djokovic may be riding that “house money” wave, but his game is no where near where it was a year ago when he rocked Rafa in consecutive Masters finals.

But karma, destiny, immortality or whatever you want to call it trumps almost everything. I said the biggest problems for Djokovic winning the French Open would be a) beating Nadal; and, b) handling the pressure of finishing the “Djoker Slam”.

For me saving those matchpoints will go a long, long way to easing the pressure. But can it help him beat Nadal? No.

Looking at the the keys to the match. For Nadal it’s getting past the mental block of those losses to Novak in the last three Slam finals, maintain that high ridiculous level and continue serving well – Novak can really take advantage of Rafa’s second serve.

For Novak, he’s got to embrace the challenge (winning the Djoker Slam by beating Nadal on Chatrier), tighten up that game to 2011 form, serve well, come out quick and not fear Nadal.

Bottom line here is Nadal is playing great. Djokovic simply isn’t.

That said, Novak has a great game to match up with Nadal. He’s got the rock-solid, laser backhand to neutralize the Rafa’s forehand-to-backhand money shot – in fact he probably prefers that exchange. Because of an elite return game Novak also has the ability to chomp on Rafa’s second serve allowing him to dictate the point early and perhaps force Nadal, who’s been serving great, to ease up on his first delivery. Additionally, Novak can play defense with anyone and his flexibility gives him the power to strike from almost anywhere at anytime.

I also think Novak has the ability and the game to beat Rafa regardless of how well Nadal’s playing – that’s right, I feel 2011 Novak would beat Rafa tomorrow. I just don’t think Novak right now with the way he’s been playing up to this point has that unshakable, almost indestructible belief that he had last year or even in January at Australia. He’s just not playing at that level.

Novak is aware he’s never beaten Nadal at the French Open, losing all eight sets. And based what I saw Friday I just don’t see how Novak is going to get one Sunday. As much as I’d like to see a good, suspenseful match – no, not one that goes six hours like Australia – unfortunately I think Rafa’s going to win this pretty easily.

Yet, if somehow Djokovic finds that form in the overnight – gets into one of the eggs? – or manages to get inside Rafa’s head quickly or forces it to five sets, he can win. Otherwise, I think it goes like Rome and Monte Carlo.

Rafa twice denied Roger the “Federer Slam” on Chatrier and he’ll do the same to Djokovic tomorrow. Seventh heaven awaits for Nadal.
The pick: Nadal in three

And a late congratulations to Maria Sharapova for winning her own career Grand Slam. Will will see a second this weekend?


Also Check Out:
Poll: Novak Djokovic Or Rafael Nadal, Who’ll Win Their French Open Semifinal Showdown?
Poll: Rafael Nadal Or Novak Djokovic, Who’s Your Early Favorite To Win The French Open?
Poll: Who’s More Likely To Finish 2014 No. 1, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic?
Who’s That Running? Who’s That Stripping? Why It’s Rafael Nadal! [Video]
Poll: Who’ll Dominate On The Dirt? Will Nadal Resume His Reign Or Can Djokovic Breakthrough In Paris?

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124 Comments for It’s Nadal v Djokovic In The French Open Final, Who’ll Make History And Who’s The Pick?

sar Says:

He’s playing with house money. Nole has a chance.


senthil Says:

Everyone said simliar comments last year when Nadal and Djoker entered the Clay session, especially Rome masters. Djoker had lots of reason to lose.

1. No-one can beat Nadal on Red clay.
2. Tried and played lots of tennis.
3. Even Murray took him for 3 sets, even served for the match.

And what happened – Djoker won in staright sets 6-4 6-4.

If Djoker takes first set, Nadal will go away. First set will determine the outcome.


Brando Says:

the PICKS on by the BIG 2 on tennis.com:

Peter Bodo, Senior Writer: Nadal

The way Nadal has dominated this French Open makes it hard to envision a win by Djokovic. Nole’s struggles in two of his last three matches suggest he’ll have less fuel in his tank than Rafa.

Stephen Tignor, Senior Writer: Nadal

He’s playing the way he did in 2008, when he blew Roger Federer out in the final. He has won each of the last two times he faced Djokovic on clay and will ultimately make it three in a row.


Voicemale1 Says:

“Bottom line here is Nadal is playing great. Djokovic simply isn’t.”

True enough, born out by numbers. The most stunning stat: Djokovic has dropped his Serve 16 times through the Semi Finals. He lost it once each to Kavcic and Devilder, 6 times to Seppi, and 4 times each to Tsonga and Federer. The flip side of that (which is equally stunning) is that he’s reach the Final despite all of those broken Serve games, which speaks to his determination. Regardless, this isn’t the kind of statistical data you want going into a Major Final. Nadal has been the polar opposite regarding the Serve: he lost it once in his opening match to Bolelli, and hasn’t dropped his Serve since. He’s not even faced a Set Point against him in 6 matches. He’s truly scary good right now.

Djokovic does have that “Rafa, I own you in Major Finals 3-1″ mojo going on. And in a tight, close match that counts for a lot; it could even make the difference. The question is – given how each of them has played this event – will Djokovic be close enough for the psychological mojo to enter into it? In Monte Carlo and Rome, Djokovic didn’t get a set from Nadal. And in the Monte Carlo Final, Djokovic failed to hold his Serve in the entire 2nd Set. But..he’s till in this tournament despite all the stats against him. The numbers say this Final comes down to the Serve for each guy – can Djokovic hold his better than he has, or will Nadal lose his more than he has? Given what’s happened so far, this match statistically is on Nadal’s racquet. It’s his Final to lose.


jane Says:

I am holding onto a shred of hope too sar.

But I don’t think Nadal will go away no matter what, much as I’d love to see Nole win. The odds are greatly stacked against him.

Hope Nole can get a set and Sean is wrong about 3 sets. But that’s how Rafa beat Soda in 2010 and Fed in 2008 – 1,2,3. In addition, Nole hasn’t won a set off Rafa on clay this year, though he maybe should’ve had the first set at Rome. Their winners/errors in the semis were really close.

Basically, Nole will have to shoot for the moon to beat Rafa here. Or look for that wormhole conty mentions. Rafa’s retrieving abilities, particularly on this court, where he has seemingly endless space to run, are second to none. He moves so well on clay. Even the corners won’t guarantee a winner, angles, coming to net, etc: all these things that have been mentioned before as options for opponents.

No matter what I hope it’s a good final.


Brando Says:

I think it’s a 55-45 match in rafa’s favour, NO DOUBT both will try their best.

i do not think it shall be a 3 set win like sean, and the statement that EITHER one will walk away after losing the first set, especially, quite frankly is RIDICULOUS.

it’s REALLY HARD TO PREDICT this one between these 2 giants but what i am CERTAIN ABOUT is that this is definately djokovic’s toughest test in the last 18 months.

he’s facing an inform rafa at RG- it doesn’t get much tougher than that in tennis these days. So he’ll have to play his ABSOLUTE BEST in order to win.

Is he playing his best right now? NO- and because of that i find it hard to believe that under the pressure of a djoker slam he’ll turn his game around to bring his absolute best suddenly after his recent performance. That too against rafa at RG makes it doubly difficult to expect it.

As for rafa, YOU JUST KNOW he’s going to pour everything into this match as he knows its importance- biggest thing is he’s ready- and he’s faced similar scenario’s before in RG finals 2006, 2007.


senthil Says:

Djoker needs just one set to get the belief against nadal. If nadal loses one set, belief against Djoker will go away.


Brando Says:

‘ If nadal loses one set, belief against Djoker will go away.’

UTTER NONSENSE- NIETHER will wilt away in the face of the other, especially not rafa.

people need to get over 2011- as brilliant as novak was it’s consigned to history now.

Yes he beat rafa 0-6- convicningly too- but it’s history. BOTH players acknwoledge this.

its 2012 now- rafa lost to him at AO, BUT did he wilt? NO. read novak’s presser post the FO SF – he even acknowledges that rafa had his chances in that won- that it was a matter of a few points.

Rafa, as we know, won the last 2.

EITHER WAY, rafa can lose on sunday, just like novak can BUT NEITHER will crumble after the loss of a set.

it’s PRETTY IGNORANT to suggest it, let alone insist it.


IsnerFan Says:

Nadal is the Terminator in Paris. He can’t be reasoned with. Can’t be bargained with. He doesn’t feel emotion.

Isner led 2-1 last year. Nadal didn’t care.

Djokovic will be lucky to win 2 sets tomorrow.


senthil Says:

@Brando

What changed in 2012?? Nothing. This time, courts are pretty slow in French open. No-one nadal’s draw had pushed him (no big hitters like Tsonga or Del potro or even Bedrych). This is Nadal’s first test. I still believe, it will be straight sets win for Nadal or Djoker will win.


Mila Says:

Off topic, but were is Dave with his super-long posts explaining how Federer is better than everyone.

It looks to me he’s been in hiding somewhere for the last couple of days.

Dave, please come back from your hole and tell us in 200 or so sentences how Federer is the best. Please…


Brando Says:

@senthil:

IF you believe that EITHER, especially rafa, will wilt away on sunday in a RG final- then good luck with that.


senthil Says:

@Brando

I am sure that Nadal will not go away without a fight. But I am trying to say that it is like 2008 Wimbledon Final – 6 time French open champion facing an opponent who can beat him on his own courtyard.


Brando Says:

@Senthil:

the ONLY reason i responded to your post was because you initially wrote this:

‘ If nadal loses one set, belief against Djoker will go away.’

now tell me if im wrong, BUT DOESN’T that imply that rafa would wilt against djoker if he were to lose a set?

i mean correct me if im wrong, it surely doesn’t suggest that rafa would fight if he were to lose a set?

LOL, QUIT BS and just say it plain- you think novak shall win.

i mean YOUR 1ST POST said as much:

‘If Djoker takes first set, Nadal will go away.’

so QUIT BACKTRACKING and stick with what you say- its better that way!


Mark Says:

Roland Garros is Rafa’s castle. No intruders allowed. He will keep winning here until he wants to call it a day!!


Mila Says:

Off topic again, sorry.
Where is Dave with his super-long posts explaining how Federer is better than everyone.

It looks to me he’s been in hiding somewhere for the last couple of days.

Dave, please come back from your hole and explain us in 200 or so sentences how Federer is the best. Please…


jane Says:

Congrats to Nestor and Mirnyi! Nestor grabbing yet another slam title. The man just keeps going! I don’t even know his grand slam title count anymore.


jane Says:

Mila, Dave recently posted some thoughts on Fed’s presser thread.


senthil Says:

@Brando

Yes, I got exaggerated “Rafa will go away”. Sorry for that. We will get the answers tomorrow for our questions.


Mila Says:

Thanks jane!

Wow, I went there to see and Dave did not dissapoint. The post is up to his standards in terms of length (~200-300 sentences) as well as in terms of bullsh*t, starting with:
“Federer’s loss is blessing in disguise”

Dave, please post more frequently, you entertain us all!


Brando Says:

@Senthil:

THANK YOU.

IMHO, like i said its 55-45 in rafa’s favour- BUT of course a novak win is possible and certainly no surprise.

let’s face it, he’s pulled a rabbit out of the hat on a number of ocassions that we kind of expect him to do the unexpected now.

Nonetheless, should be a good match- MAY the best man win, and certainly in less than 4 hours please!


Brando Says:

@Mila:

LOL, i was kind of surprised by that line in dave’s post myself!

BUT to be honest and fair to dave, recently he’s given credit to the others, and who knows what can happen in the future.

IMHO though, losing the last 8 SETS IN A ROW (10 if we include the pre season exho match) is not helpful, shall we say, to helping roger’s cause in future meetings between the 2.


Mark Says:

Jamie. Where are you?


senthil Says:

I am Hardcore Federer Fan, Until yesterday i dont want Djoker or Rafa to win RG.

Simple reason, I dont want Rafa to get near Federer record. Simply Djoker gets Grand Slam (non-calendar), then that puts above Federer achievements :).
As Fed fan, i like to see fed wins both of them and wins a one more slam.
I am getting a feeling now, that federer cannot beat Rafa and Djoker to win a slam.

Also Rafa wins RG, then sure he will win Wimbledon. Surely break Fed’s 16 Grand slam. I dont want that to happen, hence supporting the Djoker to acheive non-calendar slam (like Don budge winning a Grand slam – but will not never be called “Greatest Ever”).


Brando Says:

CHANGE OF TOPIC:

the queens draw has been announced, and novak has WITHDRAWN.

Andy murray is no.1 and Jo tsonga is no. 2. heres the draw:

http://www.lta.org.uk/MediaVault/Tournaments/AEGON-Championships/2012/MDS.pdf

Quick thoughts:

- should be a murray v tsonga final- IF that happens it shall be awesome!

- GOOD DECISION by novak to skip this also- he didn’t need a warmup last year, so he’ll be fine for wimby.

wonder if rafa or fed shall skip halle……..


Casa de Rafa Says:

Get ready for the Nole Slam. Nadal will SLAM Novak into the red dirt and that’s no Djoke!


jane Says:

Brando, thanks for the information. Maybe since Nole gains some points by making the final, he figured he wouldn’t fight for the 250 points? And as you say, his prep last year worked well. Plus there is the Olympics this year too.


jane Says:

Murray/Tsonga would be great indeed; they played last year in the finals and I believe it was a competitive 3 setter if memory serves. Both are great on grass!


stu Says:

My 2 cents – I do think Nole can win this. He is battle-tested and will be ready. Rafa’s draw was easier, so it’s unfair to compare the number of times they have been broken (although Nole had no business losing serve to some of his opponents). Nole’s game has been improving over the course of the tournament. A comparison of their semi stats:

Nole: 27 winners, 17 UEs, 101 total points won
Rafa: 26 winners, 16 UEs, 83 total points won

Fed is considered a better clay court player than Ferrer, so one could argue that Nole’s numbers are probably better.

As someone on Bodo’s racquet reaction pointed out, Nole is due an excellent performance, and Rafa a sub-par one in this tournament. I’m hoping Nole’s been saving it for the final!

Of course, no surprise whatsoever if the King of Clay wins #7.


madmax Says:

Oh Mila, stop your cockiness please.

Federer IS the greatest UNTIL someone else can beat the slam count. Clearly. Can you count?

Mila, why does rafa say this all the time?

He said: ‘I don’t feel I’m the great favourite, as he said, because I’m going to play against the No 1. You can keep the word favourite if you want.

D’uh.

But it would be a major surprise if there was the same outcome here, for Nadal has looked supreme, losing only 35 games on his way to the final and destroying David Ferrer 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in the last four.

Roger Federer described Nadal as the ‘overwhelming favourite’, but the man himself believes it is a closer call than that.

He said: ‘I don’t feel I’m the great favourite, as he said, because I’m going to play against the No 1. You can keep the word favourite if you want.

‘You cannot be relaxed against the number one player in the world. Yesterday’s match just gives me confidence. It confirms that I am playing well. I have played well almost every day. That’s the most important thing for me.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-2156837/French-Open-2012-Rafael-Nadal-rejects-Roger-Federers-favourite-tag-history-beckons.html#ixzz1xKWG6zlw


Brando Says:

@Jane:

no worries. i agree, i think its an excellent decision- he doesnt need the points, doesn’t need the trophy either so only thing is grass prep.

he won wimby w/o it last year- so he’s shown he can do w/o it.

IMHO, i think if all the top 4 skipped queens / halle they would still get to 2nd week at wimby, by then they would be sharp enough for it.


Rick Says:

Told you guys that Federina is hopeless on clay. And some Fedthugs thought he would makes the final. And for Sean, your reviews are good these days!


Humble Rafa Says:

Some people waste their time analyzing crap. Your Humble Highness=2012 FO Champion


jane Says:

Brando, I think Nole played a few exos pre-Wimbledon last year, which worked well enough. And by the time he played Tsonga in the semis he looked really strong in time for the finals, though he was shakier in earlier rounds versus Baggy and Tomic. Anyhow, it’s his decision and I don’t think it’s a bad one overall.


Brando Says:

@madmax:

what’s wrong with wrong to deny he is the favourite?

the guy was 0-7 against novak pre MC, so he would be a bit silly to start calling himself a favourite against novak anytime soon.

either way, all this tslk about who is the favourite is always pointless and silly- as once the contest starts it all about the tennis itself.

whoever plays the best tennis on suday will win- rafa recognises the fact that novak can play well enough to win, hence he’s right to reject the silly talk of favourite.

media needs to place the favourite in order to buildup the match, players don’t.


Brando Says:

@jane:

yes, i think this year’s wimby will be the TOUGHEST slam of the lot. NO ONE will have an easy draw.

whoever gets fed or murray for SF will have it tough, thyen what about the qtrs?

BAR say ferrer or tipsy tsonga and berdy are VERY DANGEROUS players.

then there’s the dangerous floaters- Delpo, raonic, isner, karlovic, gasquet, tomic even.

NO ONE would want any of these guys in week 1.

wimby looks very tough to me.


skeezer Says:

Unlike FO, Wimby’s style allows the big hitters to prosper. I don’t think any of the top 3 are going to be a shoo in to the final. Better Tennis is coming, yea!!!!


jane Says:

I agree, Wimbledon will be more open this year. I could see upsets happening in week one. Who knows?


skeezer Says:

stu,

Love your belief & spirit. Wish duro, sar, wog boy would come out and comment also. Its been a Rafa trash talkng fest here and its fresh to see some that believe he can pull this off( FYI;I chose Nole to win from the beginning in my Bracket, hehe )


jane Says:

stu, nice to see you hear; thanks for the stats! :)


jane Says:

oops here, not hear. But nice to hear you here too.


stu Says:

thanks skeeze :). i like the new shortened nick!


stu Says:

jane, not enough Nole fans on here, considering what he’s playing for tomorrow! can’t wait for the final!


Mark Says:

Bookies offering Nadal 2/7 Djoker 5/2. They know best.


skeezer Says:

^then bet your house and all your lifes belongings. They know best.


Mark Says:

Squeeezer. Am not a gambling man!!


skeezer Says:

Off topic but on;

Did anyone take notice Johnny Mac is still winning Slams? ( ok, its the over 45s, but hey, he’s 53!!

http://espn.go.com/tennis/story/_/id/8016963/2012-french-open-mcenroe-brothers-team-win-45-legends-competition


Mark Says:

Yeh maybe MR. SHUT UP will win his next slam when he is 53. Only 22 years to go!!


Humble Rafa Says:

All you Arrotards, make sure you support me tomorrow. Otherwise, your GOAT will have to deal with the next “Rod Laver”. Just saying.


mat4 Says:

Skeez:

One Nole fan more here. And Nole will win tomorrow. In three, most probably, with a tie-break in the third.


jane Says:

Good article from Tignor: he picked Rafa in 4.

http://blogs.tennis.com/thewrap/2012/06/history-making.html


mat4 Says:

jane:

ST didn’t want to jinx Novak.


mat4 Says:

All the picks, the press remind me of the atmosphere in 2008, before the Wimbledon final.


jane Says:

mat4, :) But I think Steve is a Rafa fan first and Nole fan second, or am I mistaken? He definitely admires both and loves when they play each other too.


mat4 Says:

Anyway, his jinx doesn’t work when he picks Nole.


mat4 Says:

In 2008, when Rafa played at his best on clay, he lost a set against Djokovic in Hamburg, and it was his most difficult match in the semi of Roland Garros.

In the meantime, Nole has improved a lot. If he brings his A game, and there is 50% of chances he will, Rafa will have problems, especially if he loses the first set.

Rafa is a great champion, and he will certainly fight in this match, but he showed in the previous encounters that, when he is under pressure, he is very happy to defend and play safe.

Nole certainly hits that backhand down the line a hundred times every day in practice, so he should be able to play it more often. If this shot starts clicking, he shall have a good chance.


mat4 Says:

Finally, it doesn’t matter: Nole has done enough already. Everything from now on is just bonus. Though, a very pleasant bonus.


sar Says:

Great stats Stu.

I think Nole believes he CAN win which is good. He’s not waving the white flag. I think he has a shot at doing so even though Rafa is the overwhelming favorite. If Nole can win the first set he has a chance. I don’t think he can come back after losing two sets against Rafa for sure.


Nina Says:

The odds are stacked against Nole. Winning tomorrow on Nadal’s turf on his unbeatable surface would probably be the biggest achievement in tennis. Something even the greatest of all time, Federer, couldn’t do in his day. Beating an in-form Rafa in the final of RG is the biggest challenge a player can face. I believe that Nole has a small chance, but still a chance.

He knows he’s playing for history and some things seem to indicate that he’s got to fulfill destiny:

1) The first time Nole and Masha played a final of a grand slam (AO 08), they both won it. Maria has done her part of the deal. She has won RG for the first time and completed the career slam. Nole could be next tomorrow.

2) Laver, the man Djoker is hoping to emulate, saved a match point in the quarterfinals to win his career slam.

3) Everytime Nole beats Tsonga in a grand slam, he ends up winning it.

I’ve always been a huge believer in destiny. For Rafa another win at RG wouldn’t mean much. But for Nole this would be huge, historic, legendary. And those things sometimes weight too much and make things unpredictable.

My conclusion: if Nole plays tomorrow without fear and goes for broke like he did against Tsonga saving 4 MPs and Federer in the third set, he has a good chance to win tomorrow. But he has to be a mental giant and play like 2011. Only then he will beat Rafa. The odds are against him and Nadal is the overwhelming favorite. But I believe in Nole’s slogan: the greater the challenge the more glory in overcoming it. Tomorrow could be that day. It can’t happen soon enough.


skeezer Says:

Nina,

I actually think there was more pressure on Nole last year, and it showed, he lost to Fed after an incredible run. This year imo less pressure. He lost last year, he doesn’t want that to happen again. He has been eying this tourney and said so public after AO. He will show up, and give it his best shot. Mentally, I think he is looking good. Form wise? We’ll see……


jane Says:

“I had a lot of doubts in last couple of years if I could really overcome the big challenge of the two strongest players in our sport, the most dominant players in our sport,” said Djokovic. “I’ve matured. I got stronger over the years. It’s because of them, as well. They made me a better player. This is the beauty of today’s tennis in this moment. We make each other better players and better persons on and off the court. So it’s nice to see that.”


Eric Says:

Rafa, or I’ll eat my shoes, Herzog-style.


Wog boy Says:

Skezeer,

I am here, cheering my man from the bottom of my heart and even more if that is possible, but without prediction. I did say something about tonight’s match (Sydney time) on Nole’s thread, something like Rafa being at the top of his game and Novak not being at the top of his game, not yet:) something similar what you just said. I am reading carefuly your comments in the last couple of weeks and I lave them, I hope you are right, you are knowLedgeable person when it come to tennis, i don’t know about other things.
I am finding really hard to watch Nole, I don’t know if it comes with ages or what, it is big ask for my heart so when it is tense, and it always is with Nole, I walk on the veranda and watch TV through the window and keep pacing up and down veranda, that how bad it is:) I am nervous wreck during and after match, thanks God for plum brandy (slivovitz).
My wife thinks I am not going to last much longer so she made sure that I signed new WILL not long ago:)


Brando Says:

guys we can say, predict all we want, BUT rarely do numbers lie.

for example, rafa was 0-7 to novak. NOW as a rafa fan i, or anyone, could come up with reasons such rafa was unlucky at MI, AO, mentally he wasn’t there at wimby etc until i go blue in the face. And they maybe plausible reasons to argue against the 0-7, which when taken on face value just suggest 1 thing only: the superiority of one over another.

the numbers don’t lie: novak was PLAIN BETTER than rafa on those ocassions.

EQUALLY TRUE though is rafa’s 98% CAREER WIN RATIO on clay, his 51-1 at RG, his 1 loss followed by him skipping wimby in 2009 due to knee injury.

all this taken into account makes it reasonable to suggest that:

IF rafa plays his best, his chances look really good- REGARDLESS of who is across the net and what they can do.

IMHO, novak shall ONLY win IF 2 conditions are met:

1- he’s at his ABSOLUTE BEST- anything less just will not due. the SHEER FACT that he beat rafa twice on clay is often mentioned here- BUT the context is not. he beat rafa during AN UNBEATEN STREAK- that matters.

2- rafa to have an OFF DAY- as the above mentioned facts show, IF rafa is at his best then his chances look mightly good.

so in summary, novak needs both these conditions in place in order to win. my feeling is that HE WILL raise his game, BUT i cannot see him bringing 2011 form just like that after his recent performances.

In 2011 would he really lose 2 sets to seppi? be outplayed by tsonga on clay? NO.

form is not a LIGHT SWITCH that can be turned on and off as a player wants to do so- ask federer based on his friday performance, he’ll tell you it doesn’t work like that.

Secondly, rafa is playing CLOSE TO HIS VERY BEST on clay- his performances, the facts etc support this viewpoint.

All in all, im CERTAIN the best man will win. who will it be: could be EITHER one. no REAL rafa fan will say novak is a gimme opponent, whilst no WORTHY novak fan will feel rafa will crumble easily.

SHOULD BE GOOD…


Brando Says:

‘ But he has to be a mental giant and play like 2011. Only then he will beat Rafa.’

that SUMS IT UP BETTER THAN ANYONE has in what i have read, and written myself.

tough to do IMO- being mentally solid under the pressure of a once in a lifetime oppurtunity (in any walk of life) and then suddenly reproducing form which has been absent for over 9 months!

that too is form which was the BEST BY ANYONE IN OVER 25 YEARS (check the stats, they back up that believe for the first 6 months of novak in 2011).

very tough to do- BUT like i said its all speculation for the time being.


vox777 Says:

Idemoooooo Nole!!!


Brando Says:

@ WOG BOY:

‘My wife thinks I am not going to last much longer so she made sure that I signed new WILL not long ago:)’

LOL- i love how you support novak!

you and jane are my 2 FAV non-rafa fans- wish you supported rafa.

REGARDLESS of what happens in the match, your guy has achieved plenty already- and he shall do so in the future.

Enjoy the match and keep well.


vox777 Says:

I hope Nole wins today! And completes his revolution :). Alea iacta est!


mat4 Says:

The French press is already celebrating Rafa’s victory. But I’ve found two interesting articles for Nole fans among the British newspapers:

In The Telegraph, you have Courier’s take, but Simon Briggs:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/frenchopen/9321672/French-Open-2012-Rafael-Nadal-and-Novak-Djokovic-set-for-epic-of-margins.html

Kevin Mitchell thinks that Nole will make the surprise:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jun/09/french-open-rafael-nadal-novak-djokovic?newsfeed=true


Wog boy Says:

Brando,

Thanks, same to you.


mat4 Says:

No link to avoid moderation:

There is an excellent article on ESPN about Novak by Howard Bryant.


skeezer Says:

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2012/0608/Spain-s-biggest-hurdle-to-a-bank-recovery-public-distrust

Rafa lives in Spain right? And I assume he is a very good patriot, Vamos and all. He pays taxes, etc to Spain? This win should help Spain repay the debt it will owe to the rest of the European nations…….one day? I am sure the whole Spanish nation is behind each and every win. Vamos for the monies Rafael Nadal!


Wog boy Says:

I just saw moving video about 98 years old lady, Nole fan, who made it to Paris and was allowed to see Nole and wish him luck after his match with Federer. It was on Serbian TV, I hope some of the posters here would be able to post a link, even if you don’t understand language you will be moved, trust me.


Kimberly Says:

MIAMI HEAT BACK IN THE FINAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Wog boy Says:

Kimberly ,

That is 2 out of three, you are not si greedy, you don’t need third one, do you?


skeezer Says:

Roddick says Wimby may be his last:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-2156970/Andy-Roddick-admits-2012-Wimbledon.html

other interesting did bit quotes from AR in the interview….

“Thirteen years as a professional makes Roddick one of the longest survivors on the circuit. Injuries have taken a toll over the past 18 months and Roddick accepts that his days, while not numbered, are running out.”

‘Of the guys I started with, it’s only Roger [Federer] left now,’ said Roddick, 30 in August. ‘We were in the top 10 for so long, and everyone else’s body has been banged up.”

‘I can’t do what Rafa [Nadal] does with his racket, I can’t do what Roger does with his racket. I guess I have to believe my coach, Larry Stefanki, when he says I can’t run through walls any more. We’re trying to find the fine line and work against nature a little bit.’

Also if you click the link, check out the photo of the hottest tennis couple in the world…….dude…Decker is hot hot hot…..!!!

My message to Roddick:

Dude, retire and take Decker to the Bahamas for a month…then come back and be a commentator for the game. Your wit and humor will make Johnny Mac look ashamed in the Booth!


King Federer Says:

It is sad that joker fans like Mila dont have much to say about their favorite when he is on the cusp of an historic achievement.

I guess because novak has won 0 sets of 11 sets played in 4 best out of 5 matches against rafa on clay.

It is weird, but there was more talk about Roger slam in 2006 and 2007 – maybe because Roger is a more popular player than nole, maybe because rafa has gotten even better on clay. for a guy who has won 7 out of his last 9 against, novak is sure under the radar.

for all you may know it could be tsonga playing nadal. maybe even that would have generated more buzz. As some one said, irrespective of all the good matches and an even match-up (both are same age and nole has the 2hander to counter rafa), nole-rafa doesn’t generate enough news and buzz. sad!

i remember federer and nadal ranked 2 and 3 in the forbes’ celebrity listing. i dont even know if nole made the top 100. i checked till 30 and he sure wasn’t in the top 30. even going for a nole slam, this guy got booed when he walked out against federer the other day. i guess some people can only win matches and not the hearts of the fans!

i guess these kind of things force nolef@rts like mila to talk about Roger and not nole with such a big final on! let’s hope nole somehow gets lucky and rafa plays a bad match. there is no other way nole is winning today!

inspite of djokovic having a 2hander backhand, this match is on rafa’s racquet. if he plays like 2008 rafa, forget it – another year for nole in the shadows of FEDAL, irrespective of what he achieves!


King Federer Says:

skeezer – that is a great article about andy. I like how he extends his support to the other andy. unfortunately, these two come from lands with super-big tournaments like wimbledon and US open, not with tournaments where the local guy himself retires and makes fools out of his own fans (serbian open! and for good measure he p00ped on their faces twice in davis cup too! some kind of way to treat your fans, huh?)

on another note, djokovic has been booed in new york and paris. has any number one been booed in more slams than that? i know tennis stars deserved their boos in the 80s (mcenroe!), but i cannot even imagine federer being booed anywhere. i mean rafa was booed in paris, but he doesn’t try to kiss french people’s bu77s like djokovic does. why is this dude hated so much inspite of trying to kiss people’s @$$ so much?


Nirmal Kumar Says:

I would be surprised if Rafa beats Novak today. I understand it’s not a popular prediction, but Novak is just peaking at the right moment. Not sure it’s coming thru luckily for his or he just planned it like this.

For Rafa, the problem is he did not face a tough match yet. He has not lost a set. It may be an ideal scenario if he dominates Novak, but if things get tight, maybe Rafa is not prepared in this tournament.

Serve obviously is key for Novak and CC BH. I believe that’s the shot which made the difference last year along with his improvement on FH. If he can fire that CC BH with depth, Nadal is in deep trouble. Novak is such a weak volleyer, but still he needs to change up and come to the net after his attacking shots. Sometimes throw in S & V like he did at Wimbledon while serving for the match.

The match is on Novak’s racquet. This match is his to lose. If he loses, he needs to blame himself, not Nadal.


King Federer Says:

sorry to other nole fans, but if dumb@$$es like mila hadn’t tried to drag federer and his fans when he is not even involved in this match, we gonna p00p on nole’s achievements too.


skeezer Says:

KF,

Thanks for pointing Andy Murray in that article, I meant to mention that but didn’t. Murray fans should take a look at it, interesting insight by AR!!!


King Federer Says:

rafa hd not faced a tough match in monte carlo/rome either, but nole didn’t even have a rat’s @$$ of a chance in those 2, right?

even fed had won sets off rafa coming in to each of those 4 finals (in 2006 rome and monte carlo, 2007 hamburg, 2008 hamburg, 2011 madrid!)

nole has zilch to show for the last 12 months against rafa on clay.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

KF, yeah, but Novak did not have the kind if wins he had against Tsonga at Rome.

Rome was pretty close for a 2-setter. Those who saw the match knew Novak should have won the 1st set. It was not a blowout like MC.

So looking back, Novak make good strides at Rome compared to MC. I see him making another good stride today to make a match out of it. Let’s see.


WTF Says:

If Nole beats Rafa at the French Open, in my opinion Nadal can no longer be considered the best clay courter in the world. He will still be considered the winningest clay courter, or even the “greatest” clay courter of all time, just as Roger Federer is the greatest PLAYER of all time. But as of 2012 he would no longer be considered the best player on this surface. As a matter of fact, Novak Djokovic would be considered the best player on the world on any and every surface.

That is of course if Nole wins. I’m going to stick with it being 50/50.

Rafa said in his interview that he still has doubts because Nole recently beat him a lot of times (8 times in 8 finals I think it was). I would argue that this doubt will never leave him, no matter what.


Michael Says:

The edge is definitely with Nadal. It will be a classic if Novak is able to find his form, but that is a question mark ? Even if he does, beating Nadal is not going to be easy.


WTF Says:

I am going to go with Nole to win Wimbledon, London Olympics and US Open this year. Not exactly going out on a limb, but he’s my pick (would you seriously bet against him?).

If he wins the French Open that would make it a calendar grand slam bringing him to a total of 8. That still would not make him the GOAT, but in four years time, who knows. He’s only 25.

The only unknown is this french open final. Both have the game to beat the other. It all comes down to the mental game, and at the moment Nole has a decisive advantage there. Sure, there’s a lot on the line for Nole but he’s proven he’s no choker. Nadal has the problem of Nole being in his head, and losing three GS finals in a row to him, with the last one being handed to him on a plate until he dropped it.

All the pressure will be on Nole, but he will handle it because he and everyone else already calls Rafa the favorite. Publicly he is not expected to win, though privately he knows he has a chance. He won’t let the pressure get to him, because he’s confident he can find himself in the same position next year playing for the Djoker Slam.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

WTF, do you think Rafa should be called Greatest player on Grass because he beat Roger at Wimbledon? I understand the significance of this win if it happens, but to call him the greatest after being beaten by Rafa 3 times before in FO would be crazy.


Wog boy Says:

Nole lost 5 finals, then won 7, then lost two so they are on 7 each now, methinks. Amazing is that they played 14 finals.
I guess they got to know each other pretty well:)


King Federer Says:

Nirmal kumar:

Djokovic actually beat tsonga much more handily in rome. he is coming into this match on poorer form than he did @ rome.

who knows rafa might get some “injury” he is prone to and novak might turn the tables, but with the information we have for the past 3 months, it points at nothing other than a straight sets rafa victory.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

KF, yeah. but that’s what makes him more dangerous. he knows he can come back from any situation now. People gave him very little chance at AO after beating Murray in a 5 hr semis.

When the top 2 rivals meet, sometimes you just throw away the form and look at their matchups. Roger was playing the best quality tennis in 2009 AO. Rafa just scrapped through his semis. we all knew what happened in the finals.

When it comes to Rafa,Roger and Nole the form is not too critical. They can get their form anytime during their tournament.

Novak knows a certain pattern of beating Rafa. Not that he is going to beat him 100%, but he has 50 : 50 chance.


King Federer Says:

” I am going to go with Nole to win Wimbledon, London Olympics and US Open this year. Not exactly going out on a limb, but he’s my pick (would you seriously bet against him?). ”

I am not sure of novak’s chances at wimbledon and usopen. he has a lesser winning % on grass than even roddick and murray.

usopen, he has a much better chance, but even then he required 5 sets to get past an older, over-the-hill fed and just limped over nadal in the final – not exactly stuff that assures you that it can be repeated again and again like federer did from 2004-08.

if he wins the novak slam, it might give him a chance to leap frog rafa in the GOAT race if he can come to within a slam or 2 of nadal, all the more so if he ends with a positive H2H ( after all, novak and rafa are more of the same generation tennis wise, (1year apart) than federer and rafa (5years apart)

i think rafa will get to 14 slams and pull clear of novak who might end with 10slams at best. it gets clearer by the day that Fed, rafa and novak will stay true to the rankings they spent most time at. fed @ 1, rafa @ 2 and novak @ 3.


King Federer Says:

but federer was already beaten @ AO in 2008 and in 2005. he was nowhere as dominant as rafa @ roland garros.

the closest comparison is Federer @ wimbledon. it took even rafa 3 tries to get that crown from fed. or fed @ uso and novak needed 4 tries to overcome the greatest USO champ of all time.

i am quite confident this final is 95-5 in favor of rafa!

tsonga/fed that novak faced dont have clay as their best surface. rafa is so good on clay, that this is like jumping over the everest after you have jumped over a sky scraper!


Nirmal Kumar Says:

that this is like jumping over the everest after you have jumped over a sky scraper!

Exactly what I heard at last year before Wimbledon finals.

Let’s see.


Mark Says:

Hey guys. Nole is not going to play against Seppi or Tsonga or Fed, he is going to play against NADAL the King of Clay so bear that in mind when you offer lame arguments for Nole to win. Rafa wants this title just as much as Nole does if not more. This is Nadal 2012 not Nadal 2011!!!


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Not sure if Novak would be considered in history as nemesis to Rafa, just like Rafa did to Roger.

Rafa stopped Roger winning his 6th consecutive wimbledon to break Borg’s record. Beased on the pattern between these three, probably Novak should beat Rafa to stop him from beating Borg’s record on clay. If it happens, these 3 guys are making a nice pattern among themselves by stopping others from creating records.


Sienna Says:

Rafa will get his slam today. Novak has nothing on him. Roger had so many chance to make it a match. Last year Federer peaked at Garros and now he has tried to peak at Wimbly. Just prior to Garros he worked on his fitness and there is always a period where that work would settle in. It will settle for the weeks to come. With Nadal winning today the race for # 1 after Wimbly/ Olympics is still a three horse race.
Fed needs to work on his serveI feel:-(

I hope Dave will give us the insight and provide us with the stats.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

he is going to play against NADAL the King of Clay so bear that in mind when you offer lame arguments for Nole to win.

Mark, I understand your optimism. Though I give Novak a edge in this match (may be he goes down too badly too, I don’t know).

But for the sake of Rafa’s career, I want Rafa to win. Everytime Rafa is broken down in his career, he has taken refuge in clay. He was able to tide the wave of Roger, by beating him at FO. But I can’t imagine how Rafa’s career would proceed if he is to be beaten by Novak at FO.


Sienna Says:

Besides Rafa winning the french open? How is that going to add to his alltime great stature? Not much I think.
He needs a non clay slam. Preferably a US Open along with this clay slam to put him safely in the second group of all time players just behind Laver/TMF/Sampras
With 12 slam he is almost touching Sampras but he needs a few more #1 weeks and another slam.
So him winning today doesnot mean that much.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Sienna..excellent comment. What Rafa does a FO is the least important thing when it comes to stats and records. Afterall it’s just an exhibition tournament.


Dave Says:

Mila, I didn’t realize you were such a fan of mine. My apologies, as I was busy elsewhere, bringing the light to the professional writer of a highly-reputed literary magazine read by half a million people.

Anyways, next time maybe your idol gets to play Federer in a wheelchair. Looks like even if Federer has a hip injury, your idol can still drop serve three times in a set :)

Until Wimbledon and the US Open, let’s reminisce your idol admitting the truth (about being lucky) on court immediately after one of their matches…

Mary Joe Fernandez: “can you describe what was you were thinking on first matchpoint before you blasted that forehand return?”
Novak Djokovic: “Sigh, if it comes in, it comes in. IT’S A RISKY (shot?). Last year very similar situation — he was two matchpoints up. I was hitting a forehand as hard as I can. YOU’RE GAMBLING. If it’s out you lost. If it’s in you maybe have a chance. I WAS LUCKY TODAY.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4aaDYCZ0iA

Of course this was before your idol stopped admitting he was lucky (even Nadal and Murray said basically the same thing) and then embellished his story to leave out he was lucky… and before your idol and his expensive publicity consultant turned his ‘lucky moment’ into a video titled “Novak Djokovic, On His SemiFinal, Flushing Meadows 2011″.


Roger Federer Fan Says:

Dave,

Please count me in too.
I am also a big fan of yours. You can outlast anyone in the world (even Rafa and duracell) with your loooooooong posts.
Keep it up. You are my most favorite entertainer in this site.


Dave Says:

Sienna: “Besides Rafa winning the french open? How is that going to add to his alltime great stature? Not much I think. He needs a non clay slam….to put him safely in the second group of all time players just behind Laver/TMF/Sampras
With 12 slam he is almost touching Sampras”

Good point. 20 years into the future, objective tennis historians and analysts will realize that Rafa’s 6 of 10 (or 7 of 11) slams on clay shows he was an all-time great tennis player who won mostly on European red clay courts in an era where all different court surfaces were relatively homogenized and standardized close to the pace and bounce of European red clay courts — compared to every other era in tennis history (e.g., Borg’s) where the non-clay surfaces were significantly different from the red clay courts (yet Borg still won on other surfaces, even indoors).

Those tennis historians and analysts with brains will ask how can a player be considered among the greatest… when he gets most of his titles from a minority surface in both his own schedule and the entire tennis season’s tournament schedule. 35 (71.4%) of Nadal’s 49 titles came on clay. Yet clay forms a relatively small percentage (a) of Nadal’s tournament schedule as well as (b) of the entire tournament schedule. Nadal plays only four clay events (23.5% to 22.2%) of the 17 to 18 ATP tournament he plays in recent seasons. Of the 68 ATP and Grand Slam tournaments this year, only 24 (35.3%) are clay court events. Yet we have here a great player who does not win much on other surfaces (while even Borg won over 20 indoor titles).

I have to disagree that 12 slams is enough to put Rafa in the next level behind Federer, Laver or Rosewall. As the link shows, Laver, Ken Rosewall and other players probably would have won more slams had they been able to compete for grand slam titles as pros before the open era began in 1968. And several players have been No. 1 much longer than Nadal has been. How can a player be among the greatest if he fails to dominate the No. 1 ranking in his generation more than other players did in their generations? Most pundits who claim that Nadal is the greatest…. insult several all-time great tennis players in other eras whose records are better than Nadal based on their dominance of their era’s major titles and top ranking.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_professional_tennis_tournaments_before_the_Open_Era#Professional_Major_Champions

Frankly I prefer Rafa as a person more than Djokovic. But what Djokovic has done over the past 1.5 years shows more true dominance than what Nadal has done, even if Novak loses the final tomorrow. Yet, as great as Djokovic’s run has been so far, let’s not forget that he basically took it easy in the fourth quarter 2011 to recharge his batteries. When Federer was going for his second attempt at four straight slams in 2007 French Open, he still showed up to win four titles after 2006 US Open (including World Tour Finals or TMC).


Michael Says:

Dave,

All said and done, even today with this record, I consider Nadal a better player than Sampras because he has won on all courts whereas Sampras was a novice on Clay. That said, Nadal has miles to go to catch up with the likes of Roger, Laver etc. who have proved their mettle on all surfaces. Out of 47 tournament wins of Nadal, I presume nearly 36 would be from Clay surface and that tells something about why he is called the GOAT of Clay.


madmax Says:

Mila Says:
Thanks jane!

Wow, I went there to see and Dave did not dissapoint. The post is up to his standards in terms of length (~200-300 sentences) as well as in terms of bullsh*t, starting with:
“Federer’s loss is blessing in disguise”

Dave, please post more frequently, you entertain us all!

June 9th, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Dave, I LOVE YOUR POSTS. I love reading about the facts; I don’t know where you find the time to put it all together, but wanted to say thank you. I do think though that Mila has a thing for you Dave, she always responds to your posts, so you obviously have a way with words that tickles her senses!

Brando Says:
@madmax:

what’s wrong with wrong to deny he is the favourite?

Brando, are you serious? Rafa says this about ALL of his tournaments and how can anyone NOT say that he is the favourite here? This is Novak’s first RG final, his first, this is Rafa’s 7th and he isn’t the favourite? If he wasn’t the favourite, there would be something wrong.

You cannot compare the 7 finals that Novak has over rafa, come on Brando! Be realistic! This is the FIRST RG FINAL of Novak’s career!

I will be supporting Novak because he is my second favourite player and his style of tennis is much more attractive to me.


Mark Says:

@ madmax. You never cease to amaze with your nonsensical comments “and his style of tennis is much more attractive to me” do you mean his antics on court feigning fatigue one minute and running like a rabbit the next? He pulls that stunt against every single player when he is down on the scoreboard. Talk about gamesmanship, he is the master. So that’s the style that appeals to you??


Achilles Says:

Dave is an amazing and indefatigable spin doctor. He can always find a way to make Federer’s string of recent failures in majors sound like a better achievement than those who beat him. I am a fan, too.


jamie Says:

The psychic predicts Nadal will win.


madmax Says:

Mark Says:
@ madmax. You never cease to amaze with your nonsensical comments “and his style of tennis is much more attractive to me” do you mean his antics on court feigning fatigue one minute and running like a rabbit the next? He pulls that stunt against every single player when he is down on the scoreboard. Talk about gamesmanship, he is the master. So that’s the style that appeals to you??

June 10th, 2012 at 5:59 am

Mark, please don’t get me started on gamesmanship. Everyone knows who takes the longest to bounce a ball before serving and between points, seriously. Let’s count the seconds today. Oh, and a clue. It isn’t novak. Just in case you were confused. I am also concerned by your intense hatred for all tennis players Mark. Is there anything in your life that you are happy with. I have posted a link here to try and help you through this. :)

What a voice Mark! What a smile! Try it some time!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2VCwBzGdPM


roy Says:

‘Unlike FO, Wimby’s style allows the big hitters to prosper’

wrong. it allows big servers to prosper, often including one dimensional players.

clay demands complete games from players. grass does not. it used to, but not after modern racquets.

ask yourself why federer has made so many finals on grass and clay, but roddick can only succeed on one of these surfaces. and roddick is a baseliner, unlike a sampras who’s rushing style created the problems on clay more so than lack of tools.


skeezer Says:

roy,

Don’t get me started. Have you even sniffed the courts of Clay? The very easiest to hit a ball and keep it in play. You have all day to swing at the ball compared to grass. A faster court requires more effcient reflexes and shotmaking. You’re joking, right?


madmax Says:

I love it when Roy posts here. They all come out then.

Match begins soon. Build up time.


skeezer Says:

Dave,

Stellar post @4:13 am. Roger Federer Fan needs to keep a copy at bedside for his nightly reads. ;)


Dave Says:

madmax and skeezer, thanks and welcome for your kind thought, . And don’t forget my 3:03 am post: “The Greatest Men’s Tennis Player of All Time Is at the French Open: But who is he?” That Tennis Genie’s rebuttals are worth reading as well, ahem.
http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/06/the-greatest-mens-tennis-player-of-all-time-is-at-the-french-open/258262/

skeezer, I doubt Roger Federer Fan has a bedside in Mordor, nor does he sleep.

****

madmax: “I do think though that Mila has a thing for you Dave, she always responds to your posts, so you obviously have a way with words that tickles her senses!” Lol, this is a problem for me because I have a Serbian friend named Smila and I like the actress Milla Jovovich (okay, part Serbian) — but Mila’s advances have put negative thoughts in my head about them.

****

Michael: Whenever Nadal wins a seventh French Open, he becomes the undisputed GOAT of Clay, no question in my mind. Had today’s surfaces not been homigenized, I would have already considered Nadal the Clay GOAT. Personally I dislike the ‘King of Clay’ rubbish which Muster, Wilander, Kuerten, etc. were all called.

Why I consider Sampras’s recird superior to Nadal is first because Sampras did what the greatest players are supposed to do — dominate their field: Sampras was the No. 1 player for 6 straight years and 286 total weeks. Nadal is nowhere near this achievement. Sampras did win three clay titles: 1994 Rome Masters, 1992 Kitzbühel and 1998 Atlanta (on Har-Tru?). So Sampras won more titles (64) on all courts — including five year-end ATP Tour World Championship titles held indoor — whereas Nadal has only one indoor title (Madrid, Spain 2005). Though Sampras failed to win the French Open (one semifinal, three quarterfinals), we should consider that during the Sampras era, all four slam surfaces were very different — French Open from Wimbledon, even US Open’s Deco Turf II from Australian Open’s Rebound Ace surface. When Nadal won his Australian Open on Plexicushion and US Open on DecoTurf II, the difference between the two surfaces were not as great. As well, Wimbledon was much slower, more consistent and higher bouncing when Nadal won it than when Sampras won it. In fact, Jason Goodall has proven — using Hawkeye data — that the 2008 Wimbledon courts were slower than even the 2003 Wimbledon courts. Furthermore, the French Open courts were apparently slightly slower during the 1990s. Thus it was much harder for Sampras to win all four Slams in his era than it is for Nadal in this era.

****

Achilles: You should add ‘Heel’ to your name. Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is by providing us actual fcats to back up your big claim that “I can always find a way to make Federer’s string of recent failures in majors sound like a better achievement than those who beat him” so I can at least live up to your reputation as a spin doctor?


WTF Says:

Nirmal Kumar Says:

“WTF, do you think Rafa should be called Greatest player on Grass because he beat Roger at Wimbledon? I understand the significance of this win if it happens, but to call him the greatest after being beaten by Rafa 3 times before in FO would be crazy.”

I don’t think you read my text properly. I never called Novak the “greatest” player on clay if he beats Nadal. Greatest means winning the most titles.

If Novak beats Rafa, I would call him the “best” clay courter in the world right now. But not the “greatest”. “Greatest” means winning the most titles. He hasn’t done that and probably never will. That will always belong to Rafa.


WTF Says:

By the way, the “greatest” grass court player is still Pete, not Roger. I think Roger is a better player than Pete and would beat Pete on any surface including grass, but 7 Wimbledons is more than 6.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

WTF, Yes, I agree. Looks like I have misread your text. Novak would be the best player if he wins the FO.

As for Pete, yeah, I would take him in grass compared to Roger. IMO, Pete’s game is more tailor made for Grass compared to any others.


Sienna Says:

Yes indeed 7 is more then 6.
So in the end we are stuck with the numbers and so to decide the GOAT debat it is done….


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Numbers are pretty confusing in the end.

On Clay 6 > 1
On Grass 7 > 6
Year end No 1 6 > 5
Total Weeks at No 1 < (1 week)

There seems to be many numbers against the proclaimed GOAT.


Sienna Says:

but really Nadals claim for all time greatness is not defined by winning a 7th or 8th clay slam. We know already he can do that trick. To become a true legend of the game he needs to ad a non clay and more time in first plave. Well the second follow probably the first if things work out that way.

As it stands Nadal is a great claycourt player.


Sienna Says:

it is very easy 16 > 14 en 2 slams > 1 week. there can be no doubt.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

LMAO,

Rafa – Clay GOAT
Sampras – Grass GOAT
Roger – ?? (Which surface) maybe HC.

So looks like Roger is not a GOAT in 2 of the 3 surfaces played.

SMH.

Top story: Serena Williams And Simona Halep Clash For The WTA Finals Title
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Rankings
ATP - Oct 20 WTA - Oct 20
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 David Ferrer5 Na Li
6 Tomas Berdych6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Kei Nishikori7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Marin Cilic8 Ana Ivanovic
9 Milos Raonic9 Caroline Wozniacki
10 Andy Murray10 Angelique Kerber
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