Roger Federer: I Can Hardly Wait Until The Olympics Start [Video]
by Tom Gainey | July 20th, 2012, 9:50 am
  • 147 Comments

World No. 1 Roger Federer sat down with sponsor Credit Suisse for this extended interview earlier this week during his vacation. Following his incredible seventh Wimbledon title, a record breaking 287 weeks at No. 1 and the upcoming London Olympics, there’s plenty to talk about with Federer.

“A week later I actually still have the feeling being on a high,” Federer said. “And have all these great memories. At the same time reaching No. 1 is a job that lass throughout the year. That everything would lineup so fantastically that after Wimbledon I could be no. 1 I would never have imagined.”

With the crammed schedule this summer short time in between Wimbledon and the Olympics, Federer isn’t worried about not being in shape.

“At some point we all get a little nervous and are glad things are starting up again,” Federer said. “I can hardly wait until the Olympics start. For that reason a week of vacation is exactly right so that I can get over the euphoria of Wimbledon and start training and give everything so that I’m able to get top again and ready to hopefully win an Olympic medal for Switzerland.”

Federer also elaborated on his back troubles he suffered during Wimbledon.

“I didn’t know I would experience such back problems against Malisse,” Federer said. “That did actually give me a scare. I knew that I just got through the match. I still had had three more to go. The back pains in the first set were certainly the biggest problem, but despite that when I continued and saw that it was getting better I realized that it was simply a muscle problem that was being aggravated by the cold wind.

“That can simply happen. Then it was clear to me that it wasn’t so bad.”

Federer reflected on his win over Andy Murray in the Wimbledon final two weekends ago.

“That match was so important for both of us,” Federer said. “At the end I was just a big more aggressive as I have perhaps quite often been in this situation.

“I told myself you have to attack his second serve, play close to the net, and decide the outcome with my racquet and not leave it up to him,” he added. “And that’s exactly what happened in the end. It was the right decision.”

Here’s the 20-minute interview:


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147 Comments for Roger Federer: I Can Hardly Wait Until The Olympics Start [Video]

Humble Rafa Says:

This is like a bachelor party just after the funeral is over.

Dear Staff,

Do you really need to do this? The Arrotards will falling over themselves.


Respect for All Players Says:

Humble Rafa,

Do you know the term “sour grapes?” Well, you just defined it with your comment. This is Roger’s time right now. Rafa has had his time as well, and may again. Nadal has always been respectful toward Federer. Perhaps you might follow his example…


Fot Says:

Yes we do NEED this. We Federer fans have had to put up with a lot in the last couple of years. Let us enjoy this ‘high’ that we’re riding on with Roger winning Wimbledon and reaching the #1 status again. Nothing last forever…but we will enjoy this while it last!


subo Says:

why nadal is not at the olympics would have to take drug test and he would fail that is the the story


Mark Says:

@Subo. Can you speak English please!


Humble Rafa Says:

Nothing irritates me more than the people that bring up drug tests. I have passed every one. Shut up and go back to your grand mother.


andres Says:

Mark,

Don’t take it agaisnt Subo because he doesn’t express so well in English (as a matter of fact me neither) , but you can take it against him for making a stupid comment


Brando Says:

@Mark:

Ignore the haters, it ain’t worth it!


Daniel Says:

Injury excuses are always grey areas. No ofense but specially wiht Nadal.

The bad thing is, the Olympics needed him and he will be missed. Less one superstar in the event and many was very excited on the prospect of the topd 4 clashing each other on grass.

But the real bad thing could be if Nadal’s condition is more serious than some thought. At 26 yld and 2 motnhs he is not getting younger and this is an age almost all tennis players decline, even Fed had a dip after 26. Big hurdle for Nadal and his fans and next months we will no better.


Brando Says:

@Daniel:

‘Big hurdle for Nadal and his fans and next months’

Not really, especially for this fan. rafa’s done more than enough in the game already, so im cool even IF he were to retire tomorrow.

he has NOTHING to prove in my opinion. He’s considered a great of the game already at age 26, so he cannot ask for more than that.

But YES, the olympics will miss him big time!


Humble Rafa Says:

My partner in injury, Mr. Monfils has also withdrawn from the Olympics.


mem Says:

Daniel,

if you ask me, i’ll say, you guys seems to worry more about nadal than his fans do. regarding him being 30 in a few years, there’s no need to worry about that; we all get older, that include athletes too. do you know anyone who has control over his/her age? i don’t! it’s the natural order of progression.

the future will speak for itself. none of us know for certain what we will be doing in the next few years. all we can do is plan and there is no guarantee that our plans will unfold the way we expect them too.

bottom line is, i guess nadal and his team will do what they need to do, while others speculate about what will happen to nadal. i’m sure we will all find out in time!


alison Says:

There is a couple of posters that only turn up occasionally,to tell us all of their disdain for Rafa,one is Subo the other is a poster named Someone,and i have often wondered if they are actually the same person,as their posts are very similar,neither ever talk about tennis,or who they actually do like,dont get me wrong i know everyones entitled to an opinion,but i just find their posts pretty pointless and void of any substance.


steve-o Says:

Great interview. He does seem to be more articulate in Swiss German than in English. He gave a cogent analysis of his whole Wimbledon tournament, and what he saw as the key to each of his matches, especially the semis and final.

He reveals that when he was serving for the match, he deliberately went twice to Djokovic’s forehand to test whether Djokovic would be able to repeat the shot he made on match point at the US Open last year. Federer’s assessment that it was a once-in-a-lifetime shot was proved correct, because he couldn’t.

It was disappointing that the translator spoke in a monotone. Subtitles would have been better than dubbing, so that we could hear Federer speak in his native tongue.

Also, I’d like to know where that interview was held. It was a beautiful seaside venue.

There’s going to be a lot of great tennis in London. Looking forward to it!


Skeezer Says:

Go Rog! #1 @ 31, shaaammmmoon!!


dari Says:

wow, lots of cool nuggets in that interview. fed playing games on the match points with djokovic [what a little shit head :) and i mean that lovingly ], and his being “realistic” about what he can do these days at thirty (RG semi comes to mind?!!), some interesting thoughts i did not know. thanks for posting it

Long Live King Rog


dari Says:

I heard he was on vacation in Sardinia, steve-o

and yes, he was much more articulate, which i already thought he was very clear in english, but listening about very specific shots precisely was very cool


Kimmi Says:

Love roger!! good luck at the olympics.


steve-o Says:

Thanks, dari!


Lisa Says:

With Nadal gone, ‘Olympic Dream’ for Federer is most definate….IMO


Agnostic Says:

Rafa has every chance of equalling/surpassing some of Roger’s records, despite his injuries, if he schedules his tournaments correctly and keeps following the advice of his doctors/training staff to reduce the wear and tear on his body – just look at Andre Agassi’s career. I look forward to the next time he and federer/djokovic meet to play; to see the epitome of skill in one of the best sports around. It’s unbelievable to watch and leaves the rest of us mortals gobsmacked, and that’s why we follow the game, isn’t it?

A totally unrelated side note @Humble Rafa 2.56pm: So did Marion Jones until she confessed.


Tennis & Coffee Says:

Am a great fan of FedEx but I have enjoyed Rafa’s game/matches many times. End of the day it is the love for the sports that matters. I was one of the luckiest ones to watch FedEx-Sampras Wimbie QF! I remember calling my wife and telling her “hey this guy from Swiss plays awesome – unbelievable!” From then onwards we were Rogered! 2004 – we watched Rafa @ OZ Open – a new brand of tennis & excitement! Since then Rafa & Roger rivalry has brought so many memorable matches! What really amazes me of FedEx is his versatility – he has game A, B, C, D…..to suit a baseliner, a South Paw, a Serve & Volleyer, a big server….I think this is his variety with ease makes it a pleasure to watch! Anyway it is a shame that Rafa is not there to defend his gold medal. I would still say that the 3-setter contest @ olympics is wide open as an Isner or Raonic or Berdych or TSonga or Gulbis can run away with the .match in 2 straight sets against Roger or DJoko or Murray!


tennisfansince76 Says:

@Agnostic due respect i don’t think so. they have totally different styles. made his opponents run a lot more than he did. Rafa is like a boxer who gives out a lot of punishment but must take a lot as well. in order to be 100% Rafa he must be able to play defense all out and all day. that puts a lot of stress on his body. the moment he cannot do that he will slip.

it will be too bad. i don’t root for him. i prefer Fed but he has spiced tennis up these last several years. the trivalry has been a golden age of tennis but it can’t last forever.


Michael Says:

What is so special about Roger winning this year’s Wimbledon is he did this despite his back pain and age. That is something extraordinary and unparalleled & speaks volumes about his tenacity and will. A man who has so achieved so much and yet his desire to win.

Nobody gave Roger even a slim chance that he would become World No.1 yet again. But he has done that also and in the process eclipsed the record of Sampras.

Now the next feat for Roger would be breaking John Mcenroe’s record for the number of tournament wins which or sure he will do it soon and then he has the Lendl and Connors record. I think he can break Lendl, but the feat of Connors would be too difficult even for Roger to surpass.


Michael Says:

Brando,

Not really, especially for this fan. rafa’s done more than enough in the game already, so im cool even IF he were to retire tomorrow.

he has NOTHING to prove in my opinion. He’s considered a great of the game already at age 26, so he cannot ask for more than that.

When even for 11 slam wins you say this for Nadal, what about Roger who has 17, 288 weeks as No.1, 6 WTF titles and 75 titles ??


Chris Ford Says:

Agree with Steve-O’s remarks. Speaking his native language – I saw a ramp up in the level of Fed’s articulateness and willingness to get deeper into analysis while just seeming totally confident and spontaneous.
He wasn’t speaking boilerplate, predictable things that he sometimes lapses into in English language interviews. You can be fluent..but still want to keep it simple in an acquired language so you don’t end up in trouble.

I thought Federer was pretty bright before this, but that interview confirmed it.


Agnostic Says:

@tennisfan76:

Good point – I guess the point I was trying to make was that Andre played like Nadal in the early stages of his career (i.e. a very physical baseline game)and as a result, suffered injuries throughout the latter stages of his career but was still able to play on.
What I should have included in that post was that the reason Andre was able to extend his career was because of Brad Gilbert – he changed Andre’s game into something more tactical.
This is where I 100% agree with you: If Nadal keeps playing like he does and does not make a change to the physicality of his game, he will have a hard time playing into his late 20s/early 30s – we all know that Rafa is not that keen on change (due to his routines/water bottles/etc – it was even a huge concession for him to add weight to his racquet after being demolished by Djokovic in 2011).
Happy to be proved wrong on all accounts and discuss differing opinions on the physical/tactical ratio of Nadal and Agassi’s games if they’re out there.
Side note – I’m surprised we hear more about Nadal’s knees than his left shoulder – that thing should have been reconstructed a crapload of times by now considering how much effort and topsin he places on the ball!


Agnostic Says:

P.s. great interview by Fed


Mark Says:

Am pleased to see Benneteau has replaced Mon Fils. Here’s hoping he is in Fed’s side of the draw and that this time he can finish what he started in Wimbledon. If not for the fact he was injured, who knows. Anyhow this is a 3 set format at the Olympics and Fed’s goose might be cooked. Also there is good weather forecast for the olympics for at least a week, so NO ROOF!


John Says:

@Mark

jajaja..(same old rubbish).

I suppose going by that logic Nadal would of bageld Rosol had he not been injured(as you claim).


Mark Says:

^^ Shushhhhhhhh!!^


John Says:

Lmao

That’s the best you can do.


Sienna Says:

Roger Federer is at 31 again the standard in mens tennis.
Nadals spirit has been broken and djoker cant follow on the fast courts.


alison Says:

Michael @21st July 12.40am,Roger has 17 Grand Slams and is the worlds greatest ever player case closed,but Rafa fans face never ending reminders that hes in decline,will not be playing till hes 30 like Roger,so crap on every surface except for clay,blah,blah,the list goes on,so if it all ended for him now,i think his fans are entitled to feel happy with his lot, after all what else are we expected to do?


metan Says:

@sienna,
Who told you Rafa spirit was broken, ? His Spirit NEVER BROKEN, only his knees, but they can be healed. Watch out


Sienna Says:

Lastre year his passion was gone he has pushed himself one more time helas it failed because Fed outnumbered him. He is know again resigned because he has not got a chance of winning.
Nadal has used this strategie the last time Fed outnumbered and outshun him.

This time it will not be overturned.


skeezer Says:

What guy says “Shushhhhhhhh!!”?
Answer: girl
Marcie


Nudel Says:

Hmmm JMDP and the Argentinian government don’t seem to get along.

http://www.economist.com/node/21559384


Mark Says:

The picture I posted at 3.56 am applies to squeeeeeezie as well.


SmoledMan Says:

Such elegance and class.


jane Says:

There ARE actual tennis matches and tournaments happening now…it would be nice to have somewhere to discuss those and escape the ongoing Fedal wars.


Dave Says:

steve-o: “I’d like to know where that interview was held. It was a beautiful seaside venue.”
Roger and Mirka don’t look too happy the paparazzi followed them in the Emerald Coast of northern Sardinia. Yeah, the translator’s voice was wrong for the job (now imagine if James Earl Jones did it, lol).
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2172446/Roger-Federer-wife-Mirka-wind-Wimbledon-luxury-boat-trip.html


Dave Says:

Not sure if the Feds stayed on one of the main island resorts — lots of celebrities, business executives, the rich and famous — or one of the beautiful private island villas like this one…
http://www.meridianainmo.com/english/property/ref/R172-00194


alison Says:

I agree with Jane,the ongoing Fedal wars are getting boring,after all we are supposed to be hear to talk tennis,im hoping as a Brit we have a good run at the olympics,hopefully Andy will be really fired up,with this been on home soil,maybe more so after what happened at Wimlbedon,go Andy its your turn to grab an honour.


Ben Pronin Says:

Roddick vs Isner in Atlanta. Should be a good match and could propel the winner to a really good summer.


jjj Says:

A real dare from the champion!. After losing to Novak last year at US Open SF with that uncanny FH return from novak at match point.. Can you believe Federer toyed with Novak at Wimbledon SF this year deliberately serving at his FH again to challenge him to return the way he did at US open, that too while serving for the match!!!…Wow simply amazing.. Would not have known unless Roger had mentioned it… U A real champion Roger.. !!


jane Says:

So Ben, can you start a thread for non-Federer or Nadal posts? In other words, about tennis matches/tourneys ongoing? There are also quallies starting for the LA tournament. Besides Roddick vs Isner, it’s interesting that Tipsy is in his second final in as many weeks, beating Monaco for a title last week and with a chance to beat Bellucci for another title tomorrow. Monaco has reached his second final and will play Haas for the title. Plus Muller reached the final in Alanta, a bit surprise methinks.


tennisfansince76 Says:

@Agnostic again due respect but i don’t think Agassi and Nadal ever had similar games. Agassi was always a stand inside the baseline take the ball early off both wings flat ball striker who made his opponents run run run. Gilbert didn’t really make any changes in Agassi’s game per se. its more that under his influence Agassi played more tactical percentage tennis. when he was young he was I like a lot of young players ) a flamethrower. he did not give much thought to how to play the percentages. and as all of us tennis fans on this site know tennis is a percentage game. all top players are percentage players. Agassi was not 100% committed until 1999. but he always played the same game. his father trined hm to hit the ball on the rise by making him hit against a ferocious ball machine when he was a young boy. he hated that thing.
Nadal on the other hand has always relied on defense. granted he has tweaked his game and become more offensive ( his 4 non clay slams are a testament to that). but his game is what it is. i don’t think any top player ever has cmpletely remade their game. they may tweak and adjust but that is all. look at some youtube of earlier Nadal. there isn’t that much difference. he hits big top off both side. he is aggressive when he gets the chance and he defends like a demon. nowadays he serves a bit harder ( biggest diff IMHO and flattens out a few more balls ) he runs around his BH alot so that means he must cover alot of ground and make those hard stops. his game is to make it a physical war and grind his opponent down. however to do that he must also absorb punishment. again he is like a boxer who trades body blows hoping that his opponent will soften in the later rounds and before he does.
if he no longer plays like that he will no longer be as good. he may still win a lot of matches but against the top top players he would in my estimation lose a lot more.
also there is the psychological factor to consider. almost all top players are very attached to their style of play and strokes. has any top player ever totally revamped his game? i don’t think so. they might build on their foundation but they know what has buttered their toast. w/ Rafa i have observed that when he is feeling uncertain he almost always drifts back behind the baseline and starts playing defense. this allows him to get his rhythm and feel. it also allows him to get hit off the court sometimes. and needless to say it requires him to log alot of hard miles.
that is my analysis of the situation.


Kimberly Says:

My last post on the Fedal topic but this is just getting too annoying.

Face the Cold Hard Facts:

Roger has not beaten Rafa in a grandslam since 2007 and they have played at least once a year since then with the exception of 2010.

2008-FO and Wimbledon Both Rafa
2009 AO Rafa
2010 No Play
2011 FO Rafa
2012 AO Rafa

8-2 on the most important stage. And not a win in over 5 years. You can hem and haw about World Tour finals etc etc etc, all there matches are clay etc etc etc but the facts are the facts. Story over.

So I don’t think Rafa is overly worried about Roger or what he’s doing. He should be more worried about a guy he has actually lost to 3 times on the biggest stage in the last 12 months.


jane Says:

Kimberly, their match up in best of 5 has been tough for Fed hey? His record must be better in best of three though. It reminds me (slightly) of Fed and Murray in best of 5; those have all gone Fed’s way thus far, yet Andy has a really good record versus Fed in best of 3. Go figure.

All Fed’s slam wins post-2007 have come when he didn’t have to face Rafa, as you posted, though he has faced Murray a few times and Nole in two semis:

2008 US Open: semi Nole / final Murray
2009 Roland Garros: semi Delpo / final Soda
2009 Wimbledon: semi Haas / final Roddick
2010 Australian Open: semi Tsonga / final Murray
2012 Wimbledon: semi Nole / final Murray

It’ll be interesting to see Fed and Rafa face off at the USO, perhaps in the semi-final like at the AO. They are obviously due for a meet up at the USO. Maybe this year? I have a feeling that Rafa will land on Nole’s side there, though.

When is the draw for the Olympics btw? Anyone know?


Dave Says:

Around the 10th minute of the interview Federer reveals that he played ‘mind games’ with Djokovic to see if he could repeat his ‘lucky shot’ from the 2011 US Open final at matchpoint. At 15-15 Federer hit a second serve that was near the same spot that Djokovic had hit his ‘lucky’ US Open return — again Djokovic hit a cross-court return but this one had less sting and angle on it. At 30-30, Federer hit two first serves to the Djokovic forehand, but both serves were slightly better placed than what he had hit at 15-15 or at the 2011 US Open (Djokovic returned the first first serve down the line but it was called out… this was replayed after a Hawkeye challenge… then Djokovic returned the replayed first serve toward the middle of the court but it was way out). Remember this was the match game where there was added pressure from two incidents that went against Roger: (a) Djokovic’s drop shot that clipped the net to level the game to 15-15 and (b) Djokovic successfully challenged the out call on his forehand return down the line return at 30-30. A lesser player might have been shaken up by two incidents going against him while serving for the match.

Federer’s insight into his thinking confirms what some people who have watched Federer for along time already know: unlike most players, Federer match strategy is based on a series of contradictions… and here are two such contradictions: At one level Federer plays a large part of his big matches relatively conservatively, e.g., chip returns back deep to the court, reduce unforced errors on critical points of games and sets, defend against what opponents throw at him until he can turn the match around, etc. On the other hand, at key moments throughout a match, Roger has the confidence to put pressure on his opponent’s strengths to break down their confidence in their best shots — and once they lose confidence in their best shots, the rest of their game tends to break down. That’s why, when Fed is playing well, he tends to go after his opponent’s favorite shots — and by the end of the match it looks as if the opponent is having a bad day and/or the opponent was overawed by playing against the Mighty Fed. Very few great players in history have the completeness of game to do what Fed does to his opponents — and this is something most analysts miss because they themselves lack the ability to pull it off and cannot think outside their box to consider what Federer is doing. [Of course, when Federer is in a slump or having an off day and/or his opponnets a hot day, his over-confidence in his game can work against him when he stubbornly keeps using the same tactics even though he is not executing as well].


Mark Says:

@ Jane. Olympics draw out on Friday.


alireza Says:

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOve ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOGER !!!


jane Says:

^ Thanks for that update.


Alok Says:

for those wanting to discuss non-Fedal stuff, there is a thread for the on-going matches, written since 7/18/2012, check it out..

http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2012-07-18/10302.php


Kimberly Says:

Alok, there are no comments!


Alok Says:

@Kimberly: You can start the ball rolling by adding your comments.. Haas is in the final in germany. he beat Cilic.

Mueller is in the final in Atlanta, he beat soeda.


Mark Says:

@ Jane. Sorry, just re-checked. Draw out on Thursday 26


jane Says:

No worries Mark; am very intrigued to see the draw for the OGs.

Thanks to Alok for pointing out that thread from three days ago. Must’ve missed it. It would still be nice to have a fresh one with updates, but I guess if there are no comments maybe staff cannot be bothered. Ha ha. Oh well…


SG1 Says:

Dave,

It’s not some kind of brain surgery thing to break down someone’s strength. I’m sure that players other than Federer do this. If you have the tools, as Federer clearly does, going to your opponents strength makes sense. Attacking an opponent’s strength usually opens up the court to their weaker side. Granted, at the pro level, it’s not an easy thing to do, but other players have employed this strategy.

Sampras used to employ an interesting strategy. He would leave a lot of court open on the forehand side and dare his opponents to go after the forehand.

I don’t consider there to be a ton of strategy in a tennis match. There is some, but it’s not brain surgery. Whatever strategies there are have been already been developed.

It’s more important to understand an opponents tendencies and their weaknesses (and strengths). The amazing thing about tennis professionals, especially theb upper echelon ones, is that their games are so good that they can actually execute a strategy while countering a strategy tailor made to defeat them.


SG1 Says:

Tommy Haas…pretty amazing that he’s still a threat to win tournaments. If not for Federer and to a smaller degree Sampras, Tommy may have won a slam or two. Haas may be the tennis equivalent of Colin Montgomerie in golf. Best Player to Have Never Won a Major. Though Haas seems like a nicer guy than Montgomerie.


tennisfansince76 Says:

huh looks like rain in atlanta. roddick and Isner taking a break


tennisfansince76 Says:

hah a non fedal comment!


Kimmi Says:

haas vs monaco final, hope haas wins it. would be 2 tournament wins in germany this year.


Kimberly Says:

im rooting for haas simply because hes way hotter than monaco


Lisa Says:

The best way to destroy Federer’s ‘Olympic Dreams’ is in (Quarters or Semis)….

If Roger reaches the Olympic Final….He will win the ‘Gold’…..

Why?

His been wanting this trophy his ‘whole career’….That itself….that itself can be a ‘terrifying prospect’ for any opponent who faces him….


steve-o Says:

Roddick breaks.


jane Says:

Roddick should beat Muller no problem in the final; he beat him easily in Miami this year.

Monaco vs. Haas in hotness? Hmmm, they’re both rather likeable, though in different ways. Tommy is the more typically good looking; he almost has a kind of cartoon-like hunkiness, with that jawline etc. LOL.

And then there’s Tipsy vs Bellucci, which could be interesting – until last year Tipsy hadn’t won a tour-level title I don’t think, and now he could get two in a row.


Dan Martin Says:

http://tennisabides.com/2012/07/21/olympic-tennis-review-1992-the-women-delivered-the-men-did-not/ – I started a series reviewing each tennis from each Olympic games from 1988 – 2008 to lead up to the 2012 games


Dave Says:

My Roger-Rafa future scenarios: In their future grand slam meetings, Federer will likely achieve a 60% to 80% overall winning percentage against Nadal by end 2013 US Open. I’m throwing away the results of the last five Federer-Nadal grand slam meetings since 2008 French Open, because I believe there will be a shift.

Since post 2011 US Open, Federer has been winning at an amazing 91.3% for a 63-6 record (by comparison, Djokovic was 70-6 in 2011 season). Federer has finally caught the wave and is surfing on this consistency and confidence. He won’t win every match and his back and unexpected injuries (e.g., hip during clay season) will be a limiting factor that leads to unexpected losses, but he will fancy his chances against his top rivals over the next six months at least. Federer has been performing at his best level of consistency since his 2005-2006 years (I had already said this after he won 2012 Indian Wells).

When Federer was at his peak consistency and dominance, he began to get traction against Nadal. Between 2006 Wimbledon and 2007 World Tour Finals Federer had a 5-2 winning record on all surfaces against Nadal, including 4-1 in the 5 biggest tourneys (i.e., including their 2006 and 2007 WTF and Wimbledon). Federer ended 2007 crushing Nadal at the WTF, and it looked like Federer had solved Nadal.

Three of the five Federer-Nadal grand slam meetings since 2008 could have easily ended up being won by Federer but for a few points in each match. Federer’s momentum against Nadal was reversed in early 2008 by a bout of mononucleosis and recurring back injury that compromised his game and fitness. During this dark period Federer lost 2008 FO, 2008 Wimbledon (Federer had 13 breakpoints, same as Nadal, and lost only 5 points more than Nadal in 413 total points) and 2009 AO (Federer had 19 breakpoints, more than Nadal, and won 1 point more than Nadal in 347 total points). Federer played the 2011 French Open final with a groin injury (Federer had 15 breakpoints, same as Nadal, and was actually slightly ahead in total points won at the beginning of the fourth set). Have to wait for Fed’s authorized biography to understand why Federer played so up and down in their 2012 Australian Open match (which was sandwiched between Fed’s two convincing wins over Nadal at WTF and Indian Wells). We do know that Federer’s back injury at 2012 Doha was so severe than he had to withdraw from a match for only the second time in his career, so perhaps his back wa sacting up. Oh yes, I remember now — Nadal, then ATP vice-president, was playing dirty politics by publicly putting down Federer and trying to stoke a player strike [Nadal unprofessionally revealed his views to the media, saying that Federer "burn the rest" and this led to headlines such as British newspaper Telegraph: "Rafael Nadal claims Roger Federer cares more about his image than fellow professionals. The illusion of harmony at the top of men’s tennis was shattered when Rafael Nadal tore into his long-time rival, Roger Federer, for caring more about his own image as a “gentleman” than the long-term interests of the game."]. As ATP Player Council president, Federer was no doubt highly distracted having to deal with these fires, and he looked moody while playing against Nadal. That Nadal plays dirty politics was suggested recently by Ivan Ljubicic, former Player Council president [Google: "Rafael continues to hinder me"].

From Fed’s perspective, he would not see it as 2-8 on the biggest stage. He probably sees it as 6-8 on the biggest since he considers the World Tour Finals like an Indoor Slam — where Rafa has managed to win only one set in four WTF matches — and surely he puts a big asterisk on the 5 clay slam matches he played against Nadal. As a winner, Federer probably sees himself as having a 6-3 lead over Nadal on any non-clay big match they play.

Federer was probably looking forward to facing Nadal at this Wimbledon finals — instead of Murray — to redress what happened in 2008 Wimbledon and 2012 Australain Open. Federer probably was the most disappointed player when Nadal pulled out of the Olympics. Having convincingly beat Nadal at Indian Wells and World Tour Finals, he knows he can beat Nadal in a non-clay slam. Next time around he will be ready for Nadal’s gamesmanship and dirty politics. Though Federer might be vulnerable to Nadal at Toronto, depending in hoiw deep Roge goes in Olympic singles and doubles.

Federer’s Wimbledon title and return to No.1 have contradicted stuck-in-the-box analysts who unwisely extrapolated Federer’s performance in his previous 9 grand slam tournaments despite evidence in tennis history of great players who won slams again after a lull. the warnings of people like me fell on deaf ears. Similarly we can discount Federer’s 8-2 slam record against Nadal and 0-5 in last 5 years. A player like Federer can defy such extrapolations.

In 1958, newly-signed pro 23-year old Lew Hoad won 18 of the first 27 matches against the world’s top player 30-year old Pancho Gonzales. Had their matches ended 18-9 H2H, tennis history would have forever potrayed Hoad as dominating Gonzales. It cetainly seemed that Hoad he was about to displace Gonzales as the best in the world. Gonzales, however, made changes to his backhand and strategy, and then won 42 of the next 60 matches against Hoad to finished their one-on-one tour by a margin of 51-36 for Gonzales by the end of the year.

The Federer-Nadal story is not over. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. Federer’s game right now is more than ready to deal with Nadal on hardcourts. What Roger needs is luck to meet Nadal at the US Open.


Dave Says:

SG1: which other current players have employed this strategy anywhere close to the consistency and frequency that Federer used it to dominate other players since his prime? For no one else has this been such a core strategy. Some players use it as a short term tactical strategy, e.g., Murray tried to hit to Fed’s forehand to get to his backhand. On the other hand, Federer incessantly does it (as well using his variety) to break down the opponent’s strength in order to disrupt their game. After the Djokovic-Federer match, Mats Wilander asked Federer about a long fantastic rally in the middle of the third set he had against Novak and suggested all the TV commentators were in unison wondering why Federer didn’t hit his final forehand cross court for a clear winner instead of his down the line shot that landed at least a foot out. And Federer just replied it was the right play. Roger was going after Djokovic’s backhand to break it down and set up his changing patterns of play against Novak, but none of the commentators from McEnroe to Wilander could understand this. By the fourth set Fed’s high risk strategy paid dividends.

The very best players — like any high performer — have strategies which aim to deal with the opponent’s tendencies, weaknesses, strengths, etc., even if they don’t articulate their strategy well (why would they reveal their strategy to the competition anys. They also have brain computers that try to implement and execute strategies in real time. Even fewer have the ability and variety of game to change to their strategy to Plan B or Plan C and execute successfully.


Thomas Says:

jamie,has your psychic predicted who will win the olympics yet? :P


Kimberly Says:

@ Dave re 6:03 post. Dave you know I respect you and I hope you consider this a friendly discussion as I do so I will make several responses to your post.

Dave: Three of the five Federer-Nadal grand slam meetings since 2008 could have easily ended up being won by Federer but for a few points in each match.

This is true to some degree, but most of these matches seem to go Rafas way. He just plays better in the most important moments. A match between two such great players are always decided on small margins.

Dave: and surely he puts a big asterisk on the 5 clay slam matches he played against Nadal.

But why should he? It is a legitimate grand slam surface. But since you mention it I will tell you that Federer has very little belief against Nadal on clay. In 2009, Federer in his post victory interview, said comments to the effect “i knew one day he wouldn’t be in the final and I would win” and “you guys (the press) might miss him but I don’t.” Also Federer suggests in his comments post AO 12 that Rafa plays better against him than everyone else because he is able to draw from his success on clay.

Dave: Federer was probably looking forward to facing Nadal at this Wimbledon finals

Maybe, maybe not. I think he would rather avoid him all together. For USO he would hope to draw Murray and let Djokovic take out Rafa for him. Then play Djoko, a better hardcourt player for sure but a more favorable match up for Federer. He said in 2010 part of the reason he felt he blew match points at USO was he was thinking ahead to his match v. Rafa. Because Rafa has won so many times, even if many of them are clay, I think he prefers not to play him. And clay? I think Federer would prefer a root canal than to play Nadal on Chartier ever again.

No shame on that. When Nadal was asked after RG12 if he was glad he got to reverse the trend against Djokovic he said, “no would have prefered to play someone easier for sure” lol

It will be interesting if Fedal is drawn for the semi at the US Open and both make it there. I think it would be 50-50 depending on their form of course, if Fed is exhausted from too much tennis, or Rafa knees are buckling then one would have a clear advantage.

At the GS I would say
AO favors Rafa (results show 2-0)
FO favors Rafa (results show 5-0)
Wimb. favors Fed (results show 2-1)
USO pretty even but we don’t really know cause they never played. SO I hope they get to play there.

Dave: Federer was no doubt highly distracted having to deal with these fires, and he looked moody while playing against Nadal

Come on! Give Roger more credit than that. If he let himself get distracted by that nonsense enough to lose a grand semifinal than he deserves to lose it! Djokovic uses that stuff as motivation, remember when Roddick made a joke about his sixteen injuries at USO because of his MTOS in one of his matches and Novak came out super fired up? Maybe a club player would be bothered by this garbage but this is a 17 time grand slam champion.

Dave: The Federer-Nadal story is not over. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. Federer’s game right now is more than ready to deal with Nadal on hardcourts. What Roger needs is luck to meet Nadal at the US Open.

I agree with you to some point, but in Australia he was on a five month win streak and the match was same old thing. So we will see what happens. Hopefully they will play a lot more times so we can continue these lovely conversations for a long long time!


Brando Says:

@Kimberly:

there is NO POINT trying to convince most fed fans otherwise.

it’s hard for them to admit, but BOTTOMLINE IS:

in the individual sport tennis, their beloved individual federer struggles greatly against the evil that is known as rafael nadal, on the biggest stage of this said sport- Grand Slams!

the numbers are there to back up this notion!

Arguing that clay doesn’t count- well it is what it is: a DESPERATE arguement!

In fact i’ll ask a simple question:

IF rafa makes the USO final, who would he want to face given the choice- novak or fed? Now despite being 1-1 v novak at USO, i am CERTAIN he would choose 5 times champion, current world no.1 – FED.

Same question for fed: who would he want to face in the USO final- rafa or nole? IMO, despite losing back to back USO matches with MP against the better hardcourt player out of the 2 (rafa/ nole) i am gain CERTAIN he would want to face NOLE.

I have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AGAINST FED (he’s kind of growing on me more now than ever), but this is just something that is quite obvious and blatant to pretty much all EXCEPT the one’s who want to ignore it!

Fed, to his great credit, has admitted the problems rafa presents to him!

‘But in Australia he was on a five month win streak and the match was same old thing. So we will see what happens.’

COMPLETELY AGREE, as a nadal fan, i hope it is a GS final that they meet in next- would be awesome if that were to happen!


Thomas Says:

I personally don’t think its likely that fed would beat nadal in a slam final like dave says. However, IF it were to occur, my guess is it would occur at the US Open or perhaps at wimbledon(if the roof gets closed, then federer’s chances go up two fold) Of course, if federer had the choice of playing nole or rafa in the USO final, he would surely choose nole.(inspite of the fact that nole IS better on hardcourts than nadal IMO)


Ben Pronin Says:

Dave is delusional. Can’t accept that Nadal has and always will have Federer’s number.


dc Says:

@Ben Pronin Says:

Dave is delusional. Can’t accept that Nadal has and always will have Federer’s number.
—————————————————
Fed has bagled Nadal on all 3 surfaces (Hamburg 07, Wimby 06 and WTF 2011).Nadal still hasnt been able to do this to Fed.

Fed has won many tournaments on Nadal’s fav surface and beaten Nadal to win the tournament.

Nadal is still to win an Indoor tournament where Fed has played, leave along coming even close to beating Fed.

When i look at other aspects such as those mentioned above, i think Fed has Nadals number. Nadal has simply escaped from facing Fed when Fed was at his best.

You are just looking at h2h to come to the conclusion on who has who’s number.This is absolutely one dimensional thinking on your part.

People from younger generations finally end up with a better h2h against players from previous generation. There is nothing wrong with that.
Nadal has a bad h2h against many and by the time he ends his career, many more people would have
his number.

If Nadal truly had Feds number, Nadal would have been number 1 from 2005 onwards. But he wasn’t.


Thomas Says:

“Dave is delusional. Can’t accept that Nadal has and always will have Federer’s number”

But didn’t lots of people say that to dave last year when he said that federer had a good chance at getting to number 1 again?


Brando Says:

‘ i think Fed has Nadals number’

LMAO!


Ben Pronin Says:

Dc, simply put, no. Having someone’s number is a pretty basic concept in sports. It doesn’t make someone completely beatable. Sampras had Agassi’s number in the big matches. Federer has Roddick’s number. Djokovic had Nadal’s number. Nadal has Murray’s number. That Federer has a perfect record against Ferrer is an exception, not a norm.

The matches that Federer has easily beaten Nadal are one thing. But what about the matches where Federer blew significant leads? That means Nadal is in his head and Nadal, more often than not, knows what to do to get under Federer’s skin during their matches. Ie, he has his number.

How can a guy who’s 2-8 in big matches be the one who has the number? That doesn’t make sense. Why is age no factor in Federer beating Djokovic and Murray back-to-back in order to win Wimbledon but it’s important to look at when he loses to Nadal at the Australian Open? No, that’s a dumb double standard. Federer keeps proving age isn’t a huge issue for him, not in the grand scheme of things. His problem with Nadal isn’t age. It’s mental.


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t know Thomas, did they?


Brando Says:

@Thomas:

AN EXCELLENT POST!

You summed up the scenario perfectly.

IF (and of course he can) fed were to beat rafa then it would be, like you said, at either USO or at wimby WITH the roof closed.

At wimby, WITHOUT the roof, i would fancy rafa strongly for the win.

I mean, andy murray won the 1st set and arguably should have won set 2 in the final- both W/O the roof!

And BOTTOMLINE, wimby is an outdoor event, so IF muzza could give fed a run for his money in outdoor conditions, i like rafa’s chances to go even further.

Actually, he did in 2008.


Brando Says:

@Ben Pronin:

‘No, that’s a dumb double standard. Federer keeps proving age isn’t a huge issue for him, not in the grand scheme of things. His problem with Nadal isn’t age. It’s mental.’

THANK YOU BEN! It’s nice, and refreshing, to see a fed fan be VERY HONEST and truthful about this small matter.

Simply put, fans should call a spade a spade- REGARDLESS if the truth goes against their fav!

Well said ben!


courbon Says:

@Jane:At last US Open ,they puted number 1 & 3 in the same side of the draw, so as long Djokovic and Federer stay nomber 2 and 1 (or oposite )they should not face each other until final (if comes to that…)


Brando Says:

@Courbon:

I AGREE with jane. I see a rafa- nole SF being a STRONG possibility- close to certain in my mind.

Seed 2 has faced seed 3 most of the time at USO recently.


dc Says:

@Ben Pronin Says:

Dc, simply put, no. Having someone’s number is a pretty basic concept in sports

—————————————————
if numbers is all that matters then Fed was number 1 for 287 weeks. A number 1 position in sports means that Fed has the number of the entire field, which included Nadal.
It was Nadals capability to escape from Facing fed at times unfavorable for him, that caused the h2h to tilt to Nadals favor.

If you want to look at just numbers, you would also say Soldering had Nadals number on clay (in 2009)and Rosol has his number on grass.

Unfortunately, numbers don’t tell the entire story,even in sports.That’s why we speak in words and not numbers and we continue discussions on blogs, on television channels. If you so strongly believe that numbers were the absolute truth, you should never bring forth any non-numerical opinion going forward.


Brando Says:

‘It was Nadals capability to escape from Facing fed at times unfavorable for him, that caused the h2h to tilt to Nadals favor.’

WOW- THAT EXPLAINS EVERYTHING!

I love this rational explanation for the h2h- so rafa’s ABILITY TO ESCAPE from facing fed, at unfavourable times of course, is WHY the h2h is lopsided. GOT IT!

Obviously it has NOTHING to do with rafa facing fed 28 DIFFERENT TIMES and getting the better of him the majority of time!

Enough times that most people, including fed, feel that MAYBE rafa is the one who up’s his game and performs the better out of the 2 when they meet.


dc Says:

@Brando-
1.Again, remind me who found blue clay unplayable and escaped from the tournament?

Hint – This players slipped more times at Wimby this year than at Madrid in the first two rounds, however did not complain about he slipperiness of grass.


courbon Says:

@Brando.I thought last year was 1&3,2&4 but I might be wrong…It would be nice to see for a change, Djokovic/Murray on one side and Fed/Nadal on other…
I was in London for a week,just came back home and checked the blog- And I can see the war still continues (Fed vs Nad )…Can’t wait for new tournament to start (Olympics ) because its looks like that between the tournaments, this blog becames a HATE blog (depending on side off course).I can not be bothered to explain to Fed haters, that Federrer is the greatest player ever and then to Nadal heaters, that Nadal is great player and best clay court player ever…nobody listens and spitfulnes continues(my man Nole is off the radar at the moment so I do not have to read about those insults also..)…anyway,talk to you in a week or so.Hi to Jane, Allison,Wog Boy, Skeezer and other normal fans…


alison Says:

Courbon great post,i hope Nole does well at the olys,and been a Brit our Andy too,especially our Andy too,Noles had his fair share of agro on this forum,so enjoy the P and Q hes getting ATM,however long it lasts lol.


Brando Says:

@Courbon:

LOL, no worries!

Imagine how it will be around here once fed and rafa retire.

the silence will be deafening, lol!


Dave Says:

Ben Pronin: “Dave is delusional. Can’t accept that Nadal has and always will have Federer’s number.”
Stop making ridicuolous hard predictions for the future that has multiple possibilities. And you are factually wrong given that Federer has won 9 matches and had opportunities to take several other matches (e.g., 2006 Rome). It just shows you are stuck in your box, just inflexible in your thinking.

What’s delusional and ignorant is you claiming this nonsense even though Federer has decisively beaten Nadal in 2 of 3 recent matches they have played since Federer has been on this streak. According to you this should not have happened. Indeed, since Federer recovered from his dark phase of monucleosis and recurring back injuries (between 2008 Australian Open and 2009 Rome), the Federer-Nadal H2H has been only 4-5 since 2009 Madrid till today. Although Federer decisively beat Nadal in all four matches he won against Nadal (the 2011 WTF match was the most one-sided career beatdown between the four top players), the same was not true of Nadal’s victories over Federer — three to four of Nadal’s five victories over Federer were relatively close and Federer had opportunities to win those matches.

Anyone thinking objectively would realize that there are too many relatively close matches for the law of averages not to eventually swing Federer’s way… just as I said months ago that the law of averages would likely swing Roger’s way in his quest to regain the No.1 ranking. You should learn to listen to me now because your tired old ways of thinking are not going to explain what’s probably going to happen over the next year or so just as your predictions failed to explain what happened recently.

You should also listen to dc’s 12:15 pm comment and Thomas’s 12:18 pm comment.

As well, you should suck in this recent match of Federer-Nadal. Indian Wells is Nadal’s favorite hardcourt surface in trems of titles and matches won (Sergiy Stakhovsky claimed that IW was resurfaced this year to be even slower and higher bouncing). Yet Federer, despite suffering the flu and looking lackluster in his first three rounds, suddenly looked very focused and motivated against Nadal… even though Rafa dubiously resorted to taking a toilet break within the set as Federer was about to close out the match.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XclgoAIq_9I


Dave Says:

And Ben Pronin, don’t stop there. Suck in this match as well. And then re-evaluate your fossilized thinking. It’s not too late.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjwaygk40LM


jane Says:

Hi courbon – did you see the picture of Nole and Maria – very cute. ^_^ Looking forward to the OGs too.


Skorocel Says:

Dave: “the 2011 WTF match was the most one-sided career beatdown between the four top players”

Yeah, and the FO 2008 final was the closest final in the open era. Even closer than the Wimby 2008 or AO 2009 finals! LOL and LOL ;-)

Dave: “even though Federer has decisively beaten Nadal in 2 of 3 recent matches they have played since Federer has been on this streak”

What’s the use of it when Federer lost the most important one? Reached the semis without losing a set, thrashing JMDP, Tomic, Karlovic en route & then once again came up short when it really mattered… AO semifinal > IW semifinal > YEC RR match. Always. Is it really that hard to understand?


Skorocel Says:

Ben Pronin: “Why is age no factor in Federer beating Djokovic and Murray back-to-back in order to win Wimbledon but it’s important to look at when he loses to Nadal at the Australian Open?”

Are you listening, Dave?


Lisa Says:

Federer may be the favourate at the 2012 Olympics….

But after some evaluation….I honestly think ‘Djokovic’ will come out the victor with ‘Gold’…..

Djokovic would most definately have that extra firepower….it also helps because it’s the best of (3-sets)

However, I’d love Murray to hang in there as the X-factor….


dc Says:

@Skorcel

What’s the use of it when Federer lost the most important one? Reached the semis without losing a set, thrashing JMDP, Tomic, Karlovic en route & then once again came up short when it really mattered… AO semifinal > IW semifinal > YEC RR match. Always. Is it really that hard to understand?
———————————————-

Any whats the use of having a positive h2h against a player, when
-you are not the #1,
-not winning as many tournamnet as the other player,
-the other player has bagled you an all surfaces
- you are yet to beat the other player on his fav surface (Indoors), whereas he has beaten you multiple times on yours(Clay)
-you get beaten by world #100′s in a grand slam
-everytime you become #1, the other player from a bygone generation who is now supposed to retire, comes and snatches the ranking back from you.
-and you are unable to win a tournament outside clay for 2 years

Tell me o Skorocel, what is the user of such a h2h.

And then if h2h is such an important aspect to you, you should worship Rosol who in your own definition now owns Nadal.


Polo Says:

Ben Pronin Says: “…Nadal has and always will have Federer’s number.”

I disagree. Nadal does not have and will probably never have Federer’s number. Federer has 17, Nadal only has 11 and is now having more problem with his knees.


Ben Pronin Says:

Dc, I know your post is towards Skorocel, but just to clarify, I don’t think Federer’s h2h against Nadal takes away from his greatness. But it exists. And there’s no point in making dozens of excuses for it, especially now. Before, maybe. But Federer’s greatness is beyond firmly established at this point. At least for me. So I don’t care to make excuses for this h2h. It is what it is.

A win is a win. Whether it’s 5 tough sets or 2 easy ones. Federer beat Nadal in 3 sets in the WTF final in 2010 but it was still a pretty dominant performance on Fed’s part and he won it so who cares that he lost a set?

At the end of the day, though, Nadal has something like 7 slams at Federer’s expense. Federer only has 2 at Nadal’s. And as good as Federer has been playing recently, and as good as he was playing in 2009, and 2011, he still lost all the big matches to Nadal, on several surfaces. There’s really no excuse for this. Federer has maybe the dumbest mental block I’ve ever seen in a sport against Nadal but it’s there and no amount of excuses are going to get rid of it. In fact, if Federer actually thinks like you guys do, then that is probably why he still has these problems.


dc Says:

A h2h is an irrelevant attribute, that’s why we have a ranking system, which reflects the performance of players against all their peers.

You don’t play against only one player, there is an entire field of thousand of players against whom you would need to defend.

A relatively lower ranking of a player indicates that he is not good a player as the higher ranked player – period.
Player never play to achieve a positive h2h against others. Their main goal is to win the tournament and get a higher rank – in both aspects Fed wins against Nadal hands down .

Against Nadal , Fed performs 200% better in terms of getting # 1 ranking and 60% better in terms of winning slams.


Lisa Says:

Nadal is Not GOAT….Federer himself also said he is Not the GOAT….

Maybe after both retires, then we’ll truly know…..

However, Federer has never beaten Nadal at ‘Any Slam Tournment Since 2008′….

At Slams, when it really mattered, Nadal has been the victor…..since 2008….

Even Federer himself admitted, sayinng “Clay, Grass and Hard Court is not a problem for me, Nadal is”

They both great players….#respect


Kelly Says:

I don’t get why nadal fans are so obsessed with the h2h. I mean it’s clear that fed has a match up and mental (biggest problem imo) issue against nadal but it really only becomes important if they were to meet, to look who has a greater chance to win. Not to asses their greatness. I’m sure if most players had to choose what they rather wanted a winning h2h against the GOAT or have the resume of fed with 17 slam, they would choose the latter easily.

Ps I was kinda dissapointed fed didn’t get to play nadal in wimbledon or the olypics as I truly believed he had a great shot at beating him. Eventhough nadal won the last match on grass fed is still 2-1 on that surface, so he was def in with a big chance, especially if it became indoor.


skeezer Says:

^not true. As of today, Fed is GOAT. This has been posted before. So everyone is suppose to wait unti Rafa’s career is over? Hogwash. When Rafa’s 31 and almost done then u can determine where he is at. Feds peers both past and present along with the culmination of the great minds of tennis historians have placed Fed where is 17 Slams and #1 all time belong, at the very top.

Trying to create peace among tennis fans(mainly rafafanatics) on Feds GOATness is flat out just wrong.

Ben,

You are gutless. Me thinks youare still holding onto Samprasdom.

So, in your mind, Fed has to beat Nadal. Why? Tennis is not played through H2H to win titles. What has more importance, 17 Slams or a losing record against 1 man. And its t like he hasn’t beaten the guy on the big stage.You mentioned big stage, what better big stage to lose to Nole in 7 finals in a row and the last 2/3 GS? And this is the guy you say Fed beat? Who beats who beats who, everyone beats everyone at times, but to consistently come out with the title, is actualy beleive ornot the objective ofthe Tennis game. You talk like its Boxing….or Darts…..not the game of Tennis.

Fed is not perfection but that does not in any way diminish his accomplishment in tennis. Look at the way, who has less blemishes than Fed? When you start deducting against the field the is only one man standing. Roger Federer.


Ben Pronin Says:

Skeezer, I said it doesn’t matter. As far as greatness goes, Federer is greater than Nadal. But you can’t just ignore their historic rivalry because it looks bad on Federer. I’m not calling this a blemish on his records, but it’s still a knock on him for consistently failing to beat Nadal at the biggest stages.

Point is, it doesn’t take away from Federer’s accomplishments, but people need to stop making excuses for it. If h2h were so irrelevant, no one would care when Federer and Nadal played each other. No one would care about Agassi-Sampras, McEnroe-Borg, Navratilova-Evert, Seles-Graf, etc. Rivalries are a huge part of tennis. It’s unfortunate the greatest player is on the losing end of one of the great rivalries but that’s just how sports are sometimes. Everyone needs to get over it.


Brando Says:

‘Everyone needs to get over it.’

Ain’t that the TRUTH!


dc Says:

Nadal fans are obsessed by h2h because that’s what they consider Nadals single biggest achievement, more than 7 FO’s and a career GS.


skeezer Says:

Ben,

Never made excuses for Feds losses to Nadal. Must have been someone else. It’s a bad match up, that is all. Same as other players, Like Rafa who is a bad matchup with Nole.

But it does not define them except for anti Feds who want to make it so.


nadalista Says:

“…………what better big stage to lose to Nole in 7 finals in a row and the last 2/3 GS?…….”

Hahahaha! So Nole was the Avenger……..poor souls…

OMG, Nole……..you need to get back to beating on Rafa, it is important…….no slacking now.


Dave Says:

Hi Kimberly: Of course the respect is mutual and it’s a friendly and lovely discussion.

Kimberly: “most of these matches seem to go Rafas way. He just plays better in the most important moments.”

That’s true but when you consider (a) it’s just 4-5 in the past 39 months (over 3 years), (b) Federer’s 4 wins were relatively decisive while (c) Rafa’s 5 wins included 3 to 4 closer matches decided by narrower margins… the possibility these narrow margins will eventually swing Fed’s way is likely. After all, same thing happened with Nadal-Djokovic: before 2011 Indian Wells, Nadal just played better in the important moments against Djokovic more often than not until, suddenly, for 7 straight matches Rafa did not. So if it happened to Nadal before, it can happen again. Some months ago I referred to this as the law of averages. In the link, Carl Bialik recently wrote in different terms about this phenomenon, and what he said can apply to Federer-Nadal as well.
http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2012/07/09/2012-wimbledon-roger-federer-close-andy-murray/

*****

Kimberly: “Rafa plays better against him than everyone else because he is able to draw from his success on clay.”

It’s probably true that Nadal plays better against Roger because he gets a huge confidence boost from beating him in most of their clay matches (which began to comprise at least half of their H2H meetings since 2006/2007). As well because clay gives him a H2H lead, Rafa can afford to play with less pressure in their non-clay matches while Federer has more pressure to make the best use of less non-clay opportunities.

Possibly another big reason Rafa plays better against Roger is that Uncle Toni and Rafa pinned a big target on Federer’s Back since 2004: Nadal’s priority was to beat Federer and so he trained to beat Federer. Not only was Federer the No.1 player, he was also the most complete player in tennis history — by beating Federer and learning from Federer’s game, it would not only help Nadal become a better player it would help Nadal beat almost every other type of player out there. And beating Federer feeds Nadal’s confidence.

However, Nadal-Federer haven’t played on clay since 2011 FO. This has possibly changed the dynamic between them the next 8 to 9 months of hardcourt tournaments. This has been the longest that they haven’t played a clay match since their first clay match in 2005. This can only be good for Federer. This is the first time that Roger has not played a clay match against Rafa in a season since 2005, the first time that they have played three straight non-clay matches in their rivary, and first time where Roger is at his most consistent performance level since early 2007 (and now he has the game to beat Nadal).

*****

Kimberly: “But why should he? It is a legitimate grand slam surface.”

Publicly Federer would totally agree that it’s a legitimate slam surface and every one of Rafa’s clay victories are 100% legitimate. However privately, to himself, Federer would want to remove his losses from his consciousness. Winners/champions tend to program their minds to block out failures and reframe what happened in terms that are most positive for themselves. So whenever Federer plays Nadal in a big non-clay match, he would likely remove all five French Open matches from his mind… and just remember all his non-clay Slam and WTF matches that give him a 6-3 lead over Nadal. Federer knows that if he was Sampras, McEnroe or Becker he would not have a losing record against NAdal because he simply won’t be reaching many clay finals.

Nadal, on the other hand, probably visualizes himself with a 5-0 record over Federer as if he is playing Roger on clay, even if the match is played on hardcourts.

*****

Kimberly: “But since you mention it I will tell you that Federer has very little belief against Nadal on clay. In 2009, Federer in his post victory interview, said comments to the effect “i knew one day he wouldn’t be in the final and I would win” and “you guys (the press) might miss him but I don’t.” ”

If Federer had very little belief against Nadal on clay he would not have beaten Nadal in straight sets in 2009 Madrid final in front of his cheering home country Spanish fans, after Rafa benefitted from a second round walkover. And Federer wouldn’t have been able to beat Nadal at the 2007 Hamburg final either.

I don’t think Federer ever said he did not miss Nadal. He was actually joking about not missing Andre Agassi who presented the trophy: “Of course I’d like to thank Andre for being here. It means the world to me. We’ve had some great matches over the years. For you to be here, the last man to win all four grand slams… now I know what it really feels like. You’re a hell of a guy and I wish you all the best for your private life. It’s a pity you’re not playing any more but I don’t miss you.”

In his post-match interview Roger did say: “I knew the day Rafa won’t be in the finals, I will be there and I will win. I always knew and that I believed in it. That’s exactly what happened. It’s funny. I didn’t hope for it, but I believed in it.” Now let’s understand why Federer said this, what was the context? The reason Federer said this was not because he had no belief against Nadal on clay. Roger said it to rebut the question he was asked “Q. McEnroe never won here, and Edberg never won here and Pete never won here. Are you aware there were a lot people thinking you sort of fit into that category and it would have been shame if you didn’t do it?” In other words, Federer told the press that it was unlikely that he would end up like other great players who failed to win the French Open because ultimately he was too good of a clay court player not to win and, in the worst case scenario, Nadal was never going to be in every final (but by implication Roger would still make the final).

- Federer: “Well, I always tended to disagree with those (views that he would end up being a great player who never wins the French Open). I had the feeling I gave myself too many opportunities over the years at the French Open. I think Pete (1996) was maybe once in the semis. Other players (McEnroe 1984, Edberg 1989) were maybe once inthe finals. I was in the final three times, one semis before, and I was able to win Hamburg four times and be in the finals of Monaco and Rome, of all those tournaments.” It’s impressive that Federer knew the FO records of Sampras, McEnroe and Edberg, three random players mentioned out of the blue.

- Federer: “I always had faith in my chance here (at French Open)… I knew that I had the chance here in Roland Garros, because I’m too good a player not to have a chance at the end.”

Federer might have also followed up on his remarks to the press following the 2007 French Open final, when Roger was asked whether he felt Nadal was undefeatable at Roland Garros. Federer replied logically and realistically that: he felt he can beat Nadal on any surface (which he has done), he was the one player most capable of beating Nadal at Roland Garros (even Djokovic in 2012 did not do any better than Federer) and, in any case, he didn’t think Nadal would be in every final in future (which happened). Federer: “No, not at all. I know I can win. So I’m not going to walk on the court thinking he is undefeatable. Maybe he’s undefeatable for the others, but I also knew if somebody was capable of winning against him in this tournament, that was me. And I’m the only one who managed to win one set against him. But, unfortunately, I couldn’t win today… Well, I need to keep on working, and I don’t think Rafael is going to play the coming ten finals here, nor me, by the way. But, at least, I need to work more. I know that I can beat him on any surface, any tournament. I’m not afraid when I know I’m going to play him, and that’s important.”

*****

Kimberly: “I think he would rather avoid him (Nadal) all together. For USO he would hope to draw Murray and let Djokovic take out Rafa for him. Then play Djoko, a better hardcourt player for sure but a more favorable match up for Federer. He said in 2010 part of the reason he felt he blew match points at USO was he was thinking ahead to his match v. Rafa. Because Rafa has won so many times, even if many of them are clay, I think he prefers not to play him.”

Nah, Federer reaaaally wants Rafa at the US Open. He said at the USO presser after losing to Djokovic: “I would have loved to play against him (Nadal) here. I mean, I did my hard yards the last six years making it to the finals, and he was unfortunately never there. That’s obviously disappointing. And now one point away from this happening, obviously it’s a bit of disappointment. But just being there and losing, that wouldn’t have been nice either. Now we’ll never know how it would have gone, but if I would have made it to the finals I would have obviously wanted to win.”

Btw, Federer did not say in 2010 that part of the reason he felt he blew match points at USO was he was thinking ahead to his match v. Rafa. What Federer actually said was that, during his match with Djokovic, he was distracted thinking about the disadvantage of a shorter recovery time after playing a longer second match on Saturday. This is what Federer actually said during the 2010 Shanghai Masters after beating Djokovic in straight sets (the week after Novak had won Beijing Open without dropping a set): “I think the biggest problem for me back in New York was obviously missing match points. But that goes without saying. I think I had too much of my mind focusing maybe already on the upcoming match I had to play the next day if I were to win. I think just mentally, it wasn’t just Rafa who won that match before us, I just think the short recovery time made it hard on both of us to focus on what we really had to do. I think I maybe let a game here or there go a bit too quick and next thing you know, it’s the second or fourth set went by in a hurry. That at the end came back to haunt me. I think that was the biggest problem for me. Overall I still think it was a good match. I could have won, should have won. Obviously, that was the disappointing part. Who knows, maybe we’ll get to change the Saturday/Sunday format at the US Open. We’ll see.”

*****

Kimberly: “And clay? I think Federer would prefer a root canal than to play Nadal on Chartier ever again.”

Lol. I did say last week that Federer would probably give the French Open at least one or two more serious runs (2013 and/or 2014). I would not put it past Federer reaching one more FO final or even winning the FO again, based on tha fact that Federer appeared to be the best overall performer at the 2011 FO, even though Nadal got the title. In 2012, the combination of his hip injury, cold illness, and grass season priorities negated any hope of him making a run this year.

But make no mistake, a healthy Federer will still be a threat at French Open for another two years. And I think Federer would love to win a few more clay titles while he is still physically capable of doing so. For Federer to beat Nadal at Roland Garros, it would help him to play more clay court tournaments: play two the South/Central American tournaments in February (Sao Paulo / Buenos Aires and Acapulco), skip Indian Wells and/or Miami to rest and train on clay, then play Morocco, Monte Carlo, Estoril/Munich, Madrid, Rome… then he’ll be primed and ready for Roland Garros.

Every year Nadal gets a head start on Federer because he plays more clay tournaments and matches than Federer does so Rafa’s game peaks by the French Open. If Roger turns the tables on Nadal by getting a headstart on Rafa, I think Nadal will be giving him body bumps, knee tendinitis excuses, medical time outs and toilet breaks just before crtiical games :)

*****

Kimberly: “At the GS I would say: AO favors Rafa (results show 2-0), FO favors Rafa (results show 5-0), Wimb. favors Fed (results show 2-1), USO pretty even but we don’t really know cause they never played. SO I hope they get to play there.”

On the assumption they meet once in each of the next five grand slam events between 2012 US Open and 2013 US Open, my scenario gives Federer a 3-2 (60%) or 4-1 (80%) winning slam record over Nadal:
- 2012 and 2013 US Open: 2-0 Federer
- 2013 AO: Federer or Nadal
- 2013 FO: Nadal (however if Fed follows my plan for him to win FO, then Fed wins)
- 2013 Wimbledon: Federer

*****

Dave: Federer was no doubt highly distracted having to deal with these fires, and he looked moody while playing against Nadal

Kimberly: “Come on! Give Roger more credit than that. If he let himself get distracted by that nonsense enough to lose a grand semifinal than he deserves to lose it! Djokovic uses that stuff as motivation, remember when Roddick made a joke about his sixteen injuries at USO…”

And yet you earlier claimed that Federer blew match points at 2010 USO because he was thinking ahead to his match with Rafa. Sorry, can’t have it both ways :)

Federer admitted he was distracted during matches. He said he was distracted during the 2010 USO thinking about the short recovery times. He said he was distracted during the 2009 FO final thinking about what happens if he won the match: “But it was very hard mentally for me to staywithin the match during the match, because my mind was always wondering, whatif? What if I win this tournament? What does that mean? What will I possibly say? I don’t know.”

Fed’s only human. He can get distracted. There is no comparison between a player making fun of you (you don’t have to do anything except beat him and answer a press question) and a player starting political fires and instigating a player strike which causes a lot of non-tennis activity to put out the flames and manage the situation. No doubt Federer was not just speaking with other player council members he was also speaking a lot with several influential tennis players as well as the grand slam organizers and speaking to the press in trying to find a solution. That’s a whole lot of distraction from focussing on tennis abnd the root of it was Nadal’s politicking. Djokovic was playing for himself, Federer was president of the 2,000 strong Player Council. No comparison.

*****

Kimberly: “in Australia he was on a five month win streak and the match was same old thing.”

I refer you back to Nadal’s dirty politics, otherwise it’s possible the match might have had a different outcome. It’s not easy when you feel betrayed by a friend to then play him. By Indian Wells, Federer had learned from his mistake, and Federer summoned a level of tennis that was one to two levels higher than he played in any other round, including the final.

*****

Kimberly: “Hopefully they will play a lot more times so we can continue these lovely conversations for a long long time!”

yes, and these conversations are lovely :)


Dave Says:

Skorocel: “Yeah, and the FO 2008 final was the closest final in the open era. Even closer than the Wimby 2008 or AO 2009 finals! LOL and LOL ;-)”

You must be laughing alone because intelligent people who read my July 22nd, 2012 at 6:03 am post know I addressed your point already: “Between 2006 Wimbledon and 2007 World Tour Finals Federer had a 5-2 winning record on all surfaces against Nadal, including 4-1 in the 5 biggest tourneys (i.e., including their 2006 and 2007 WTF and Wimbledon)…. Federer’s momentum against Nadal was reversed in early 2008 by a bout of mononucleosis and recurring back injury that compromised his game and fitness. During this dark period Federer lost 2008 FO, 2008 Wimbledon (Federer had 13 breakpoints, same as Nadal, and lost only 5 points more than Nadal in 413 total points) and 2009 AO (Federer had 19 breakpoints, more than Nadal, and won 1 point more than Nadal in 347 total points).”

Federer’s 2011 WTF beatdown of a healthy Nadal was more lopsided than Nadal’s 2008 FO beatdown of Federer whose game and fitness was compromised by a bout of mononucleosis in early 2008. Suffering mononucleosis is like a death knell for performance athletes, and I don’t know of any other athlete who managed to return to a major final in their sport within five months of suffering mono. What Federer did just by reaching another grand slam final was more miraculous that winning a slam. As Federer admitted in the French Open presser: “I had to work harder to come back to my usual level after I had this disease. It was a bit difficult for me at the beginning of this year. This is probably why I lacked practice… So you need to put more effort to reach this level, and this is what I had to do. So it’s a great satisfaction for me too, that I reached a final.”

S.I.’s S.L. Price: “Strangely enough 2008 might have been Federer’s greatest year — better than his 92-5 run in ’06, better than the three years in which he won nine majors –because he battled his body from start to finish. A bout of mononucleosis in late 2007 had enlarged his spleen, ravaged his powers of recovery and ruined his off-season training; from the ’08 Australian Open on, he played a step slow, which threw off his timing and sent his confidence tumbling. Yet Federer still made the Australian Open semifinals and the French Open final, labored back from two sets down to lose the longest Wimbledon final ever by the slimmest of margins, and won the U.S. Open — Hall of Fame stuff for anyone else. “Federer was ill all season long, and the story was completely missed,” Courier says. “He hid it from everybody because it’s his responsibility to not show weakness, and he played through it because of his commitment to the tour. Which was a mistake. Mario Ancic [the Croatian once ranked No. 7] missed more than six months on the tour with a mono bout; it’s a serious illness for a high-level performance athlete. Roger needed to get off the tour and get healthy again.” Last October (2008), Federer conceded at last, retiring from a tournament for the first time in 763 matches because of lower back pain. It has continued to bother him, but history won’t care.”

*****

Skorocel: “What’s the use of it when Federer lost the most important one?”

The trouble with you is that you always think too short term. Federer is going to take his Indian Wells and WTF victories over Nadal and use it as the basis for future meetings. From Federer’s perspective, in the context of his 23 big titles (17 slams and 6 YEC), losing an AO match to Nadal did not give Federer a sleepless night. Federer already knows that at Nadal’s age, he has more slam titles, more YEC titles, and was much longer at No.1. What was more upsetting to Federer was the sour taste in his mouth from being betrayed by his friend the Player Council vice-president Nadal, who was busy starting political fires, backstabbing PC president Federer in the news media and instigating a player strike after the AO draw came that showed Federer in Nadal’s half. It just showed Federer how desperate Nadal was to resort to dirty politics. Next time he plays Nadal he is going to be ready for worse games that Rafa might play, and Federer will be more motivated to beat Nadal.

*****

Skorocel: ‘ “Ben Pronin: “Why is age no factor in Federer beating Djokovic and Murray back-to-back in order to win Wimbledon but it’s important to look at when he loses to Nadal at the Australian Open?” Are you listening, Dave?’

No. What is your point? Your quote is just mumbo-jumbo taken out of context. You need to provide some context, instead of just mindlessly copy and pasting someone else’s thoughts.


Skorocel Says:

There’s no secret that Federer’s lost to mononucleosis a couple of times, most notably in 2008 at AO, FO & Wimbledon. He’s also had a losing battle with an opponent called “bad back” at AO 2009. Three years later, it was a betrayal from his friend which cost him the title here…

But believe or not, he’s also won against mononucleosis! Most notably in 2008 at AO, FO & Wimbledon, where he was like 17:3 vs this feared opponent. Bad back he also bested – especially at AO 2009 (6:1 was the final score), and he also beat the same friend who once betrayed him (the score since betrayal now being 1:1).

Amazing that a player as dangerous as mononucleosis, bad back, or betrayal from a friend is, can beat him only in a slam final or semi…


Skorocel Says:

dc: „you are yet to beat the other player on his fav surface (Indoors), whereas he has beaten you multiple times on yours(Clay)“

Really? So Federer’s fav surface is now indoors? I thought it was grass or hardcourt, wasn’t it? Oh I know, Nadal’s already beaten him on grass & hard, so those two surfaces are no longer relevant when it comes to Roger’s fav surface, isn’t it? The truth, dc, is: Who cares if Nadal hasn’t beaten Fed on indoor hard – a non-slam surface? Yeah, Federer did beat him in Hamburg 07 & Madrid 09. The problem is: Nadal not only avenged those defeats the very next year, he’s also beaten Fed (in 5 tries out of 5) when it mattered the most on clay: in Paris.

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

skeezer: „You mentioned big stage, what better big stage to lose to Nole in 7 finals in a row and the last 2/3 GS?“

Again, why do you have to bring up Nadal’s H2H with Djoker here? He’s NOT the greatest. Federer „IS“. And btw, Nadal’s still leads Djoker 18-14. Yeah, I know… Clay, clay, clay… But you know what? Nadal’s at least managed to get a revenge on Djoker for those 2 clay losses in 2011, and it was a BIG revenge. Federer, instead of avenging that painful Wimby 2008 loss, got once again beaten at AO 2009 & 2012…


the DA Says:

@ Ben Pronin
“but it’s still a knock on him for consistently failing to beat Nadal at the biggest stages.”

Absolutely. Fed hasn’t beaten Nadal at a GS for almost 6 years now. I’m sure Fed wants to improve that aspect of the H2H before it’s too late.


Michael Says:

The reason for the lop sided H2H of Roger with Nadal in majors is because they did not get enough opportunities to meet outside Rolland Garros. Roger was a consistent performer there in his peak while Nadal hardly made hardcourt slam finals. Infact many would be surprised that the first final Nadal reached at the US Open was only in 2010. Apart from that he made five finals at Wimbledon and two Australian Open finals. Of these, I have to take out the 2011 semi final defeat of Roger because it was not his peak period. He was 30 and Nadal was 25. So, taking out Clay, it is 2 all favouring neither. If this is so, what is such hue and cry being made about Roger’s inability to face Nadal at majors ? At French Open, it is evident that Nadal is super human and so far he has been defeated only by that guy called Soderling, but in other Courts, Roger has had the measure of him. Even the losses of Roger to Nadal at 2008 Wimbledon and 2009 Australian were five setters which could have gone either way.


Polo Says:

Everybody has his own Waterloo. It may be a blemish but it does not diminish ones greatness. Nadal is Federer’s.


Sienna Says:

He he so now itis not enough fed isturning the h2h as we speak he should turn it in slam matches .
Tell mesomething how is that possible if nada looses in second rounders and doesnot show his face after the wimbly assault?


MMT Says:

Ben Pronin says: “…His problem with Nadal isn’t age. It’s mental.”

While I agree that it’s silly to discuss the age difference between Federer and anybody, I don’t agree that Federer’s problem with Nadal is mental. Everyone knows what Nadal’s MO against Federer is – and in my view, while their games have changed over the years, neither Nadal nor Federer have significantly changed their technique or tactics against each other, hence the result that Nadal has won a majority of their matches.

In my opinion there are no shortcuts in tennis – you either have the game to consistently beat someone, or you don’t. Just because Federer has a great record against just about everyone else, doesn’t mean that he necessarily has the game to consistently beat one particular player. Other players have had other “bette noires” – Sampras had trouble beating Richard Krajicek. In Federer’s case, his bette noire happens to have 11 majors.

The point is, in my opinion, this is rarely down to a “mental” block of any kinds. If there is a mental issue, it’s the result of a technical problem, and not vice versa.


Ben Pronin Says:

MMT, I agree with most of what you said. Their matches have played out in a similar fashion throughout the years, for the most part. But I rewatched their AO match from this year a few weeks back and watching the weird shots and mistakes Federer makes at every single pivotal moment during the match makes it clear as day that it’s mental. Just watch the third set tiebreaker. Or the break points in the fourth set. This is why I get upset. None of those pivotal points were won by Nadal, they were lost by Federer doing the dumbest thing he could think of. And it’s unfortunate and that’s the knock against Federer, for me. He has a weird mental block against Nadal where when the going gets tough, he puts his tail between his legs and retreats immediately.

Sienna, Federer isn’t even close to turning anything around. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Dave, are you a champion? No, stop pestering everyone with your inaccurate insights into the mind of a champion. If Federer was really blocking those clay matches from his mind he wouldn’t be going from leading a set 5-2 to losing it 5-7.


madmax Says:

It is a great shame that rafa is suffering once again from his knee problem which will stop him from going to the olympics.

I wonder whether it would have just been better to be there for the experience, and not to worry about winning a medal, just the experience of playing there, in London?

A very tough time for his fans, and for his team.

I know how I would feel if it was Roger. So here is to 2016 for rafa. It is not impossible.

Lisa Says:
With Nadal gone, ‘Olympic Dream’ for Federer is most definate….IMO

July 20th, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Lisa, the most stupid comment made on this thread.

What about novak? Murray? Tsonga? Seriously, you think it’s going to be easy for Roger? He will fight like he always does and clearly Rafa was not a threat at wimbledon judging by his knee problems.

And you think that Rafa could have beaten him on grass the way Roger has been playing?

It’s a very open olympics this year. Rafa was the favourite prior to going into Wimbledon, alongside Novak.

It wasn’t Roger, because every single journalist just concentrated on his age – like they always do. Obviously with wimbledon, Murray is always the favourite.

Andy has every chance of winning wimbledon, alongside Fed and Novak.


madmax Says:

Sienna, Federer isn’t even close to turning anything around. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Ben?

He has turned things around, for the last 9 months actually.


courbon Says:

@Allison:I’m not Brit but just left Britain after 19years (for France-enemies!) so kind of Brit…support Britain in lots of ways and sometimes I talk like a ‘giza’( when working with builders-And no-I do not have 20 cups of tea and calling at every passing women on the street!).Definetelly would be glad for Andy to win…he is missing that 2,3% to be champion.I’m going back this sunnday for three weeks for work and I’ll be able to go first day at Wimby (last year went to see nadal in the first round and game was OK but it was more intertaining watching girls around me breathing heavy every time Nadal turned in our direction…).Anyway, good luck for your favorite (Andy?)


Ben Pronin Says:

He hasn’t turned his h2h against Nadal around which is what every is harping on.


courbon Says:

@Jane:Yes, you are right.Maria is actually much more charming now then 3,4 years ago (relaxed,taking of that East European hardeness that girls from East Europe often cary…).And Nole can look to some people arogant or unpleasant but I know somebody working in his camp and apparently he is very nice guy (girlfrend also but Dad and Uncle not so….).Here go, some inside gossip…


Brando Says:

@Madmax:

Excellent post by a firm federer fan- i appreciate your kind words for rafa.

You are a good poster- you back for fav fervently YET you are never condescending towards his rival or the competition.

You give them their due’s fairly.

A very fair, passionate fan- i like and enjoy your posts for sure.

Good luck to your fav at the olympics.

And i do agree that it isn’t a done deal either, fed winning, just because rafa is out since andy, nole, tsonga is very tough competition in a best of 3 on grass.


Kimberly Says:

@ Dave–I enjoyed reading your well thought out response to my post. I do agree with many of your points, especially the one on how Federer sees the “big stage H2H” and how Nadal sees it. I also agree it is entirely possible that Nadal’s early game was created with a target on Federer’s back, and now it seems he has probably spent the last year training on how to beat Djokovic right? Could that affect how he plays Federer? Or can he always resort to old reliable(at least on slower courts) the high bouncing ball to the backhand regardless of the focus of his training?

I have a lot more to say but need to go out and show property. I really am enjoying this discussion with you. It is nice when you can disagree and enjoy it without resulting to school yard tactics (although i was always good at school yard fighhts too!)


El Flaco Says:

Muller, Gulbis and Haas are 3 very dangerous floaters if they are all in the Olympics. They can beat anyone at the beginning of a tournament when there isn’t as much pressure and the seeds are trying to work their way into tournament form. Haas could go deeper if he gets a decent draw. He had to play Kohlschreiber in the 1st round at Wimby which was unfortunate because they were both playing very well on grass at the time. Haas played a lot of tennis last week and had several body parts taped up for the final so we will see if he can stay healthy.


Mark Says:

@El Flaco. Just looked at the entry list for Olympics. Muller will be playing but not Gulbis or Tommy Haas.


jane Says:

courbon, it’s cool that you know someone with the inside scoop! Lucky you – and you are going to the Olympics too? Did I read that correctly? If you do, have a blast. Give us a firsthand report on the atmosphere.


Lisa Says:

@Madmax

Apparently, you didnt read my following post….


MMT Says:

Ben Pronin: “…watching the weird shots and mistakes Federer makes at every single pivotal moment during the match makes it clear as day that it’s mental. Just watch the third set tiebreaker.”

Let’s take it point by point.

0-0: That missed backhand volley was the result of coming in off a HIGH backhand up the line (a shot which he ALWAYS lands short) and having to cover the cross court pass, thus he was too deep to finish the point with his first volley and was dead long before he got to net. Had he sliced it deep or flattened it out he may have had a chance, but as I mentioned, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen him take HIGH backhand approach and hit it deep, flat and up the line.

0-1: Federer goes inside/in on the forehand (which is not nearly as effective as his inside/out forehand which is flatter) and it also lands very short – another common mistake he gets away with against most players because they lack the running cross-court reply on that side, but Nadal’s cross-court backhand is one of the best in the game, and Federer’s reply is rife for the drop shot, which Nadal hits well from inside the baseline.

1-2: Federer hits a solid backhand return, but his next two backhands land short (as usual) to Nadal’s forehand, which he easily pulls wider and wider with his next to succesive shots. Federer tries to go up the line on the 3rd backhand to break the pattern, but he has problems with that shot up high, and it’s even harder to hit up the line. Djokovic eats that for lunch because he takes it higher and changes direction a lot better than Federer on the backhand.

1-3: From a high backhand to up the line from Nadal, although it lands short, Federer still has trouble stepping into the court and this time going crosscourt – that’s because his best backhands are at waist level – here it’s up around his shoulder at the same height at the previous backhand…and he shanks it.

1-4: Federer is passed off a shallow crosscourt forehand – it’s important to note that unlike the forehand up the line which he hits flat, this one he comes over to keep it in the court, and is easily passed with Nadal’s crosscourt backhand, which I’ve already indicated is one of the best in the game. Federer has a flat forehand up the line and inside out, but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen him hit a flat forehand crosscourt, particular as an approach – it always has top if it’s shallow. Furthermore, this return is mishit and hits the center service line – very hard to deal with. Finally, the previous approach to the backhand elicited a backhand up the line – which Federer leans to cover, but Nadal trips him up and goes cross court.

1-5: Federer’s wide serve in the deuce is too deep and – here you can say he choked a little, because he normally spots that serve well against Nadal. Also, the flat forehand up the line is hard to get up and down at the highest part of the net, but this is normally his best approach shot – it’s worth noting it’s his best approach because he’s usually hitting a right hander’s backhand on this and typically doesn’t have to be as precise, but Nadal has a great running forehand and passed him with this exact shot to set up match point in the 4th set of the Wimbledon Final in 2008, so I’m sure he was thinking about that when trying to reduce his margin on that shot.

1-6: Federer hits a solid deep return which pushes Nadal back – from this Nadal hits a slow cross court forehand which lands at the service line – although the point of contact is HIGH, Nadal’s shot is so short he can easily step in and go cross court (his best backhand by far) over the lowest part for a winner. It’s important to note here that the quality of Federer’s return forces Nadal back and elicits a weak reply, versus in a neutral rally where Nadal can step into the shot and pull him wide or force him to roll it back over.

2-6: Off a short backhand up the line from Nadal, Federer hits a hard backhand up the line – but it’s important to note that Nadal’s shot, unlike at 0-0 in the tiebreak, lands INSIDE the service line. With this difference from Nadal, Federer can easily hit his backhand at waist height with power and depth, which he does, eliciting an error from Nadal, but the key is Nadal’s shot BEFORE the approach why here Federer appears to have no problem with a backhand approach up the line.

3:6 Federer hits (almost) the same shallow cross court forehand as at 1:4, off a backhand return from Nadal that, but this one Nadal hits flush on the strings and no where near a service line – and lands inside the service court. Federer could probably hit this shot with his eyes closed, and it doesn’t matter who’s on the other side of the net because the return is short, weak and a straight forward trajectory

5:6 is a great one two combination from Nadal – a solid wide serve in the ad court (which is his favorite serve) and since Federer’s backhand return is not aggressive (as Djokovic’s for example) he does little to prevent Nadal running around it. That’s nothing new – and while Federer has improved his backhand return, it’s still just an improvement over his chip return, and not nearly the weapon that it would have to be to counter that serve from Nadal.

I think putting things down to Nadal being “in his head” is taking the easy way out, to be honest. In a round about way it’s say, “Federer has the game to consistently beat Nadal, but because of his mental block he can’t execute”. But that, in my opinion, doesn’t do much in the way of analysis. If I were Federer, and a coach started telling me things about mentally approaching Nadal, I’d fire him immediately, because there are shots he doesn’t have that he needs to consistently beat Nadal that would need to be added to his game.

It is possible that he doesn’t want to re-engineer his backhand just for Nadal, given that he may, or may not even have to face him (which he hasn’t had to in any of his major wins since 2007), but that means he’ll always have the same problems against him, and they are not mental – they are technical.


courbon Says:

@jane:One of my client is taking me first day so thats cool.I’v been to Wimbledon last year and I did like the place-good atmosphere, weell organized…Watching on tv is actually better to see everything on the court, but is quite nice experience.Apart from Wimbledon, I will stay away from the rest of Olympics ( in my fav area Portobello Road and around)’cause traffic is already bad now.Enjoy Olympics yourself, all the best


madmax Says:

Brando,

I feel the same about your posts. I know we are on different sides, but you are a great read on a grey Monday afternoon.

Lisa, I can’t be bothered to read yours. Sorry. I don’t mean to be rude. I just can’t keep up with you. You swing one way, then another depending on who disagrees with you.

Stand your ground. It would be easier that way.

I just don’t happen to agree with you a lot of the time.

July 22nd, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Dave, your above post reeks of good sense and intelligent posting – as always – keep up the great work.

And as for Ben. He doesn’t surprise me anymore. I wish I just had time to post here, many long, lengthy discussions we had about head to head, Ben and I.

So, just in a nut shell. Many times Ben you said Head to Head is one part of the equation.

You change your mind depending on who irritates you at the time. How about the head to head being looked at a little more closely…like when Federer has reached a final and Rafa hasn’t? Like when Federer has actually reached a final, but lost to Rafa (invariably at the FO, but who hasn’t?). Never is Fed given credit for this.

Let’s look at that for a change, shall we Ben?

And the last 9 months of Federer playing so well, he has now regained No. 1 position, even though the margin is a small one.

Please don’t think that the head to head is the only thing that counts. May be in your world. Not mine.

There really is so much more to these two (Rafa and Roger)than you write about.


skeezer Says:

nadalista,

C’mon. Avenger? Really? Every top player seems to have their kryptonite in this era including Rafa. His has lost 7 consecutive finals in a row against 1 guy, and finally just broke through the ice winning the last final. Not a happy feat. Fed has his matchup problems also with Rafa, but has done well against him as of late (winning IW, one of the slowest HC on tour).

So knowing that, who has the best record against all players? Just saying…..


Borg Says:

Federer might win the Gold courtesy Rafael’s absence.


Mark Says:

@ Borg. There are many players in the Olympics who are capable of spanking Fed’s bottom. It is a best of 3 format leading up to the final. Come on boys start spanking!!


Borg Says:

Mark-That is why I said Federer might win and not that he will win. I know there are many players there who can spank his bottom. But Iam very sad that my man is not participating and still aghast to see many Fed fanatics invent frivolous reasons for Rafael withdrawal including doping. If Rafael is at his best none can touch him. But he is fighting against his own body a battle which he may or may not succeed. Irrespective of everything Rafael has proven himself that he is the best. I do not want to say he is the Goat because I do not believe in Goat. I know the Goat has already been tamed by the Bull.


Mark Says:

@ Borg. Agree. There are too many Rafa haters out there. One word comes to mind ENVY!!


skeezer Says:

borg,

Fed may or may not win the Gold in singles. But if he does he will have earned it, not cause some rafa head thinks it will because of rafa’s expense. Your dreamin’.


Kimberly Says:

skeezer, he didn’t just break through the ice winning the last final he broke through the ice winning the last THREE finals. If you only want to count grand slams so be it, but then it works both ways.


Kimberly Says:

Team USA started slow but still ended up handing Spain their asses. Pau Gasol bitter saying 1992 team would beat this team by 10 pts minimum on a bad day. Way to speak highly of the level of the very league you play in and make millions of dollars in.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Kimberly, agree it doesn’t look good on Gasol, but isn’t it true? do you really think any team could stand up to Magic, Michael and Bird, along with Ewing, Barkely, Pippen, Malone, Stockton?
Magic > Lebron
Michael > Kobe
Bird > Durant


Polo Says:

Mark Says: “…there are too many Rafa haters out there. One word comes to mind ENVY!!”

This is not true. Most of the bloggers here are fair and have the utmost respect for Nadal. This also holds true for the majority of the Nadal fans who are respectful of Roger. There are only a few who spew out vile comments against those who like somebody other than their idol. One word comes to mind ENVY!!!


Sienna Says:

H2H between Rafa and Fed is over a very long period of time.
It hardly reflects there current strengths and position in the tennis world.
Rafa’s decline is kicking in big time especially on the fast court.
After his return he will have difficulty in trying to get back on par with the elite club .
Roger on the other hand is being the best player in the world .He once again is the standard in mens tennis.
He is turning the H2h as we speak winning 2 out of the last 3.


Humble Roger Says:

Djokovic klcks Nadal in 7 finals all

Top story: Djokovic v Murray Halloween Friday In Paris; Raonic, Ferrer Fighting For Final London Berth
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