Game On! Federer-Nadal Resume Their Rivalry Thursday Night At Indian Wells; QF Picks And Pans
by Sean Randall | March 14th, 2013, 2:14 am

We are through with the appetizers, the undercard, the opening acts, it’s on to the big show, and what a way to kick off the the last four days at Indian Wells with Roger Federer v. Rafael Nadal, round 29 tonight! Before I get there, some notes on the week.

Things so far have surprisingly gone as forecasted. The big names have just about all advanced but each has had their share of struggles and issues. Novak Djokovic hasn’t been as sharp as we would expect (he still has Sam Querrey later).

Federer was very crisp in his first two matches (really first six sets!), but possibly some back concerns could linger, more on that below.

In his first hardcourt event in about a year, Nadal has looked like a guy playing his first hardcourt event in about year. Rafa has played well, but he’s not at the level we’ve seen from him in the past.

Andy Murray has quietly sneaked through, shaking off a opening set loss and some poor results the last few years to return to the quarterfinals where he’ll face Juan Martin Del Potro Friday in a good one. Del Potro meanwhile is playing some ball!

Tomas Berdych has continued his decent 2013 form, and he’s on Thursday against a fellow big man, Kevin Anderson. He might be playing the best of anyone right now.

The dissapointments: The American men – John Isner can’t get a break, Ryan Harrison lacks that big weapon and Sam Querrey, who is the new No. 1 in the U.S., mentally can’t compete with the big boys (pre-Djokovic).

Janko Tipsarevic collapsed (not litterally, but he could only manage two games against Ernests Gulbis) and Top 20 veterans Juan Monaco and Fernando Verdasco have combined to win four matches through 2.5 months of the season!

Now on to the Thursday quarterfinals.

Tomas Berydch v. Kevin Anderson
Berdych is a guy who recently has been beating the guys he should beat, and now he’s occasionally beating those ranked above him, as well. At 27, maybe this is the best tennis he’s ever played. And through four matches this week he hasn’t dropped a single set. That after a final run in Dubai where he beat Federer before losing to Djokovic.

Today, he gets the big serving 6-foot-8 Anderson who’s in the midst of one his best events after stunning David Ferrer and then beating Gilles Simon yesterday. And he’s remarkably pulling this off shortly after undergoing elbow surgery. Anderson has the serve and he’s pretty decent off the ground as well. But helped by his size, Berdych has blunted that power game beating Anderson in all five of their prior meetings, all coming since the start of last year.

Anderson took him to five on the Roland Garros clay, but on hardcourts Berdych has won eight of nine sets. And with the way Tomas has been playing it’s hard to pick a heavy underdog against the Czech right now.
The pick: Berdych in two

Roger Federer v. Rafael Nadal
As I said, it’s round 29 and this time it’s with a record-breaking 28 Slam titles between the two on the court! It’s also the second straight year these two legends meet at Indian Wells. Nadal holds the big lead 18-10, dominating Federer on the clay. But on hardcourts Federer has the 6-5 edge including that win last year when the weather was less than ideal.

On outdoor hardcourts, though, it’s Nadal up 5-2. That’s right, 5-2. And that should give Federer fans a lot of concern.

Tonight, though, the circumstances are much different then last year’s meeting. The rain/wind we had should be gone. But because they are playing at night it will be much cooler than the conditions Federer played in Wednesday when he beat Stan in the heat of the day. Warmer temperatures usually keep back spams at bay, colder conditions can inflame. Hopefully it won’t be an issue – just look for Roger to wear an undershirt!

Nadal also isn’t at his top strength. He really hasn’t beaten anyone of note at the tournament only playing two matches. Gulbis has been hot but mentally Ernests isn’t there as we saw in the end tonight. Ernie, however, did push Rafa. He played him strong, made Nadal work and now Rafa will have to quickly recover and return on hardcourts in 24 hours, and that’s something that’s bothered Nadal in the past – playing tough matches on hardcourts in consecutive days.

As for their matches Wednesday, Federer looked great until that stunning hiccup when serving for it at 5-4. Then he got lucky because had he been playing someone like Nadal or Novak or Murray, he wouldn’t have won. Stan had the break in the third but couldn’t mentally keep it together against his Swiss running mate.

“Today it was extremely close again. Okay, I should [have] maybe closed it out in the second set, but he did well to stay in it,” Federer said. “At the end, I don’t know what [got] me through. Maybe it’s the experience or maybe [I was] a bit more calm in those moments. I’m not sure. Today I think I was a little lucky to come through it in the end.”

Nadal won in similar fashion. Gulbis started forcefully taking the first set then Rafa dug in, breaking a fizzling Gulbis down to take the second. Surprisingly, Gulbis held firm in the third coming tantalizingly close to pulling the upset late in the set, but like Wawrinka, for all the fury and fire, between the ears Gulbis just doesn’t have the goods to close it out.

So both are coming off shaky performances.

We know the matchups front and back (Roger needs to serve well, Rafa needs to get the heavy topspin to the Fed backhand, etc), but now for some extra factors to consider.

This court: Because the Indian Wells court is slower than say the US Open, and it takes to Nadal’s spin I think this court surface helps Rafa.

The match time: The cooler night time conditions, though, does take some of the spin away. But because of Roger’s back injury I feel the night start slightly helps Rafa.

The no day of rest: I’ll give that edge to Roger. Again, I don’t think Nadal likes playing tough matches on back-to-back days on hardcourts, especially with what he’s gone through the last seven months. And who knows who those damn knees will feel after the first real hardcourt battle in a year.

Indian Wells history: I lean here to the four-time champion Roger. Rafa though has won it twice and been at least to the semifinals the last seven years!

Streakers: Federer has won 8 straight matches at Indian Wells. Nadal has won his last 12 I think. But all but two of those were on clay, so I give the edge to Federer. Plus Roger has been close in his losses this year – taking Murray to five, extending Del Potro in Marseille and holding matchpoints against Berdych in Dubai, all on the concrete.

The need: For Rafa, the expectations aren’t there this week. Many didn’t even think he’d be playing Indian Wells while for Roger, this is his last hardcourt event until Canada. It’s a win a he needs more, so edge to Federer. But because he’s playing Fed, Rafa will rise up.

In the end, I just can’t get over the fact that Nadal has hardly played on hardcourts. So I think the rust will show through and I do wonder about his recovery from the Gulbis match – he’ll need his knees against Roger. Last year I picked Nadal in this matchup (and lost!). This time solely because of Rafa’s inactivity and state of his knees I’m going Federer.
The pick: Federer in three

The madness begins at 10pm ET live on the Tennis Channel (which has coverage all day). It’s must-see TV.

(It’s late so I’ll add quotes and more to this post tomorrow morning plus Novak’s result.)


STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
[4] A Kerber (GER) vs [7] S Stosur (AUS) – WTA

Not Before 1:00 PM
[6] T Berdych (CZE) vs K Anderson (RSA) – ATP

Not Before 3:00 PM
[1] V Azarenka (BLR) vs [8] C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA
S Hsieh (TPE) / S Peng (CHN) vs [3] N Petrova (RUS) / K Srebotnik (SLO) – WTA

Not Before 7:00 PM
[5] R Nadal (ESP) vs [2] R Federer (SUI) – ATP
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs S Gonzalez (MEX) / S Lipsky (USA) – ATP

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Roger Federer’s Updated GOAT Resume
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Federer v. Murray; Nadal v. Djokovic Seeded for Indian Wells SF
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101 Comments for Game On! Federer-Nadal Resume Their Rivalry Thursday Night At Indian Wells; QF Picks And Pans

Steve 27 Says:

Even I am a Nadal fan, with this poor return of serve, Federer would be the winner, of course the Swiss will have to play much better than yesterday.

Brando Says:

Rafa fan: favor Fed for this one. It’s a good tourny for Rafa so far- he needs matches and he’ll get another one with this encounter. And of the highest calibre- ONLY Nole or Andy can claim to be at Feds level today, so Rafa will thankfully face extremely high class opposition. I hope Rafa puts up a strong challenge in this one and is competitive in this latest contest. Ultimately: it’s a FEDAL- the game is always a winner in this one!:-)

nadalista Says:

Agree with Sean’s pick: Fed for sure.

Fed’s take on playing Rafa tonight:

‘Obviously playing Rafa, it’s a classic. We have played, you know, so many times,’ he said. ‘We know each other really well on and off the court. We know what to expect, both of us. I mean, we are both a bit suspect going into this, I guess, so it’s an interesting match-up, especially this early in the tournament.

‘It’s not like a first round, but in the past this match used to be a final, now it’s a quarter-final, so obviously it’s a bit of bad luck of the draw for both of us.

‘At the same time, it’s very exciting always playing each other, doesn’t matter what stage.’

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nadalista Says:

RT @Ringham7:

“It will be well after midnight when Djokovic & Querrey take the court. NEW RULE, please, ATP. Playing past 2.00 am is ridiculous. ”

Now, there’s a sensible rule WORTH putting into force, ATP.

Wog boy Says:

My English is not perfect but good enough to see Fed fans favoring Rafa (on the other thread) and Rafa fans favoring Roger! Is the world coming to an end;)

Andrew Tennis Says:

The edge has got to go to rafa here.

slow conditions, 5 years younger, lefty advantage. Infact these are the reasons nadal has dominated the H2H with the most talented tennis player to walk on this planet.

The good thing for Federer is rafa’s knees. Still, that advantage has been mellowed a little by his own back spasms.

You see today Gulbis hits 3 or 4 winners every rally and nadal gets them back. You can do this in IW/miami or AO. maybe even toronto/montreal. The night conditions only make conditions even slower. Federer’s best chance against these defensive young players is a day match when it is hot and the balls are flying. Unfortunately, given that these are the prime-time matches. That ain’t happening.

Federer’s best shot at this stage of his career will be on the faster courts [wimbledon - would have been even more pro-fed if conditions weren't slowed, cincinnati, uso, and indoors - rafa has won 1 in 9 sets on indoors against fed]

All said, it’s going to be federer’s serve and
forehand against rafa’s plan A – target backhand.

As always, my support for the genius aggressive shot-maker against the defensive ball-fetching fighter.

Margot Says:

@Wog Boy
Lol. It’s the “anti-jinx” effect, I assume, or even the “Andy Murray syndrome” wherein his long-suffering fans always favour his opponents…very infectious that one….;)

Nirmal Kumar Says:

I’m not sure if this rivalry is interesting anymore. Rafa seems to win all the big matches. It’s hard to see Rafa not winning this one, after having the momemtum of beating Gulbis. It was a perfectly setup match for Rafa. Though he did not play great, his game should be enough to take Roger.

Only good thing for Roger would be the timing of Rafa’s match. It was a long one in the evening. It depends on how Rafa recovers his knees for the next match. If it’s good enough, it should be a straight forward one.

Did these two guys ever play a 3 set classic yet?

nadalista Says:

Not responding to anyone in particular but I was pleasantly surprised Rafa eked out that win against Gulbis. He is not yet at 100%, and this is why I do not give him a chance, yet, against good players.

This will be Rafa’s THIRD match on hard courts FGS!

Until Rafa is firing on all cylinders, I will always consider him the under-dog! I believe him when he says he is working on getting to 100% come Monte Carlo.

Depending on how Fed’s back holds up, match is his to lose.

Vamos Rafa!!

courbon Says:

@ Wog Boy-I’m sure we will get Jamies prediction when the worlds is coming to the end, so we will no in advance

Brando Says:

@Courbon: ROFL re Jamie!

courbon Says:

Hi Brando, how you doing.You must be excited about tomorrows match.I think Nadal will win this one-just a hintch…too many unpredictables to predict-Rafas form, Federers back

courbon Says:

This is Novaks new thing-One set has to be bagel and then he wonders off somwhere….

Andrew Tennis Says:

Trivia Question:

In the history of tennis, all the H2Hs with 25+ matches are dominated by the younger player, except one.

Name that rivalry!

Andrew Tennis Says:

Actually, make that 2 rivalries.

courbon Says:

@ Andrew;No clue.Which one is?

gannu Says:

Andrew Its Federer vs. Djokovic…they have played more matches than 25 and Fed has a posituve record if i am not wrong

courbon Says:

Yes gannu, you a right-just remembered.
Novak just won match in fairly short match-next Tsonga….

Wog boy Says:

I thought this was deja vu from Paris masters but luckily Nole finished it in TB. What is wrong with him, is he going walkabout after first second. Somebody tell him this is not an exo, this is best of three.

Wog boy Says:

“after first second” should say “after first set”

Andrew Tennis Says:

You are right gannu.

the 2nd one is rafa-djokovic.

Ofcourse djokovic could still reverse the 2 by the end of his and roger/rafa’s career. [easier with roger as the age gap is bigger - 6years]

Sirius Says:

i think i’m seeing excuses from both sides. he he he

i’ll be quiet until i see their performance on court. hopefully a good match living upto the expectations

good luck fed!

jatin Says:

@Nirmal Kumar
Are you really a fed fan as you claim to be ?
If yes ,haven’t you remember that Wtf match where fed blasted nadal or the last year’s indian wells semifinal ?
Why are you so negative and critical about fed ?

van orten Says:

ahhahahhah all of the sudden nadal has to recover quickly !! after playing a fast match vs ball crushing gulbis!!!???? and now fed is the favourite?? but isnt he too old and he too played a 3 setter…isnt nadal 5 years younger…yeah i get it his knees and his grinding style blah blah

just hope fed finishes him off in style!!!

jatin Says:

@van orten
Its always his “knees” . Haven’t seen any player who really likes to talk about his injuries all the time and seems like to enjoy the attention.
We all know what the excuse will be if roger beat rafa tomorrow.

nadalista Says:

As a Rafan, have never been this tranquil in a looooong time! Such a nice feeling………

*reaches for a single G & T, on the rocks, with a slice of lemon*

Wog boy Says:

Nole said that he was pretty pissed off that he had to wait almost until midnight to play his match but he is happy with a win. Well Nole, you are not so lucky to sleep with the owner of tournament … I mean to sleep in his house as a special guest as we have been acknowleged few times on this forum, though I don’t see how that makes Rafa better than any other player. If some young player sleeps in “Formula One Hotels” (cheap as a chips hotels) does that makes him less worthy? If you ask me I would call that conflict of interest, knowing that the owner can do everything to suit his favorite, scheduling, surface etc. does anybody know if any other owner of tournament hosts Federer or Djokovic or Murray at his home since it looks like that is prestige thing.

alison Says:

Wogboy i dont know the answer to your question,but you do have a point:)

Brando Says:

@Wog Boy:

Whilst i AGREE with Nole or the sentiment that his match being played so late is very crappy scheduling i have to disagree with the notion of favoritism.

The TRUTH of the matter is that whilst Nole is number 1- which you rather be than anything else- he is still way, way behind FEDERER, NADAL in terms of box office appeal.

Quite simply put: they just are THE major draw in terms of attracting interest in the game.

Tennis tournaments ultimately are a BUSINESS and Fed and Rafa’s BOX OFFICE APPEAL > ANYONE ELSE!

These 2 just automatically get preference scheduling that would potentially GENERATE the highest number of attendance at the stadium, TV audience etc.


Because THEY are the biggest names in the game with the strongest market value and established fan base.

Because of this not only in IW but other tourny’s do fed and rafa get preferential treatment.

They are the money men and tennis royalty.

It’s as SIMPLE as that.

And it’s ALWAYS been like this. The BIGGEST NAMES always get preferential treatment- and this is not just in tennis.

The reason why Nole was scheduled late was:

1- Fed and Rafa were ALWAYS going to get the prime time slot because of the above mentioned reasons

2- Due to matches going on for a long time nole sadly had to wait a greater length of time in order to play

3- Appeal of match: Fed v Wawa, Rafa v Gulbis appeals more so as a contest than Nole v Querrey. The drama that unfolded in Fed and Rafa’s match just backed up the expectation of those matches!


Nole was NOT mistreated here or nor did he get slighted by the organiser’s.

He was victim, if at all, of obvious reasons:

1- Fed and Rafa are the bigger draw. He KNOWS that and it’s not just in IW that they get preference. He knows and understands that.

2- Matches going on for a long time= delay in his match.

I completely UNDERSTAND why nole may have been peeved at this instance, but ultimately: IT IS WHAT IT IS- and i think Nole understands and accepts this!

alison Says:

I only saw the 1st set of Rafas match,and left it at that as i had to get up for work,i didnt expect a Rafa W so was pleasantly surprised,EG played really well,and by the scoreline it was what people predicted a tight even contest,as regards to the Fed match he didnt play brilliantly either,but thankfully he and Rafa found a way through,hope we get a fantastic match befitting of the great rivalry,although i dont know how much bearing Rafas knees or Rogers back will have on things,time will tell,but like everyones saying i think Roger will win this one,as Rafa still has some way to go to get back to his best,i think its a fantastic tourney in itself that he made it this far,on his 1st tourney back on a HC,also have to say i agree with Skeezer on the other thread,in that it was great to see Rafa getting on with things between points too.

steve-o Says:

C’mon Roger! I really have no idea what to expect from him. He could come up with a genius match or he could keep on at the same level he’s shown so far. In the latter case it won’t be pretty.

He hasn’t served great and he’s not moving with the absolute confidence he needs to hit his spots and time his groundstrokes.

His game depends more on precision and timing, there is a smaller margin for error. Nadal’s game is much simpler, all he needs to do is run down balls and keep pounding Federer’s backhand with spin. So edge to Nadal, who has never failed to make the semifinals at IW for seven years.

Humble Rafa Says:

If the Arrogant One’s ranking keeps dropping like it’s about to, we will meet in the first or second round soon.

Wog boy Says:


You missed my point, why is it important for us to know where Rafa sleeps and does that makes him better than the others and is there conflict of interest and how the other players feel when they know how close are Rafa and the owner of the tournament?

Second, there is a thing called rescheduling, like when it is raining or whatever. You tell the people on the stadium that they can use the same tickets and come back tomorrow, like they fo sll over the world unless they have a roof. Don’t tell me that it is OK to start the match at midnight.
I am qiute aware about Rafa and Rogers appeal snd I said that myself few times that Nole knows that himself same as us Nole’s fans and that we don’t have a problrm with that but there is a problem when you make #1 in the world and the best player on the planet to play at midnight for the cleaners, with all due respect for their job, and the people who suffer from insomnia.

Brando Says:

@Wog Boy:

-’why is it important for us to know where Rafa sleeps and does that makes him better than the others’:

Of course not! NO ONE is claiming that he is for such a reason, lol!

Where rafa sleeps doesn’t get him bonus points in terms of respect lol!

- ‘is there conflict of interest and how the other players feel when they know how close are Rafa and the owner of the tournament?’:

Conflict of Interest? All we are doing is speculating if there is any. Do we even know what influence Ellison has in the running of the tourny? Not as far as i know- so for now, all we are doing is speculating.

Players feeling re Rafa/ Ellison? I doubt they are care or pay any attention to it. Besides- what are they going to do? Revolt? LOL- it’s NOT rafa’s fault that Ellison is his fanboy!

-’but there is a problem when you make #1 in the world and the best player on the planet to play at midnight for the cleaners, with all due respect for their job, and the people who suffer from insomnia.’:


IMHO, the fault re Nole’s match is NOT rafa’s, or even Ellison’s- it’s the ORGANIZER’S!

They should have been proactive and re scheduled Nole’s match on a different court- then there wouldn’t be ANY real issue, at least not from Nole’s side.

Wog boy Says:

^^Money Makes The World Go Round;)

Time to go to bed, I cannot wait to see Fedal and I am fan of neither of them.

Sirius Says:

@ wog boy,

i get ur 1st point. that annoyed me a bit when i saw THOSE types of posts …. but u know, there will be some who’ll always post anything about their guy.

don’t get shocked if u see someday on tennis x,
“look, mr. X’s “po*p”! that’s my man! can any other make that color? hell, no! C’mon, X”
and the tiny url will be right under or over that :)

just kidding, things won’t get that far ( i hope so) ;)

Giles Says:

Wog boy. “knowing that the owner can do everything to suit his favourite, scheduling, surface etc” I wasn’t aware that the surface in IW had been changed. Have they been playing on clay?? Rafa was a guest in Ellison’s home last year as well. I don’t believe I heard you complain. # RafaIsPopular

Brando Says:

@Wog Boy:

LOL, good night.

That seems so strange to say when it is daytime here in the UK with the sun out for a very, very rare change!


Brando Says:


Hi, just saw your past. I’m fine, hope the same is with yourself. :-)

Re Fedal: I agree about it being 50/50 possibly for various sound reasons but for me Fed has the edge due to his match sharpness on HC.

Yes he had a tough match v Wawa, but he won. Rafa wasn’t cruising exactly v Gulbis either.

His back issue? Last time he had such a problem he won a small tourny…. WIMBLEDON!

LOL, i think Fed has the edge in this one IMO- but Rafa could challenge him strongly here, at least i hope he does so.

Giles Says:
Wog boy. This was ok then???

nadalista Says:

Quite revealing that some people are upset by Rafa’s tournament nocturnal habitat than by constant references to his nether region.

alison Says:

^I stayed up till 3.00am this morning,and only saw the 1st set of the Nadal/Gulbis match,before having to get up for work,so i dont see how Rafa is getting any favoritism^.

alison Says:

Novak beat Sam in straight sets.

alison Says:

Oopsie sorry forgot the time difference between here and America lol.

nadalista Says:

@Nirmal Kumar, I hope Fed’s back is not so impaired that it compromises his service motion because that is an important part of his weaponry in his match-up with Rafa. I want Rafa to get a good work-out. That’s the only way he is gonna know how far he is from the Top 3.

Oh btw, Fedal will ALWAYS be magical even if one of them hobbles on court on crutches because you KNOW there will be no quarter given by either player.

Andrew Tennis Says:

I like how rafa fans want to join along with Federer and snub djokovic in popularity stakes. The truth is, Djokovic is closer to Nadal’s popularity than nadal is to federer’s. That is the undeniable truth.

The reason Nole had to play late at night was because each of the preceding matches before nole’s went 3 sets. It was actually nole who got the prime-time slot [which on a weekday like yesterday is the night match]. This was because he was playing an american player in Query and american tournaments cater to american audience.

Federer and Nadal were given afternoon slots, which is definitely NOT prime slots.

It is sometimes better to not post if you do not know the right information than make up stuff.

Ben Pronin Says:

Nadalista, was their Miami match in 2011 magic? I don’t think so. Plenty of quarters given by Federer in that one.

Federer isn’t a good measure for Nadal to apply to Murray and Djokovic. Especially Djokovic. The dynamics and match ups are way too different. Nadal always plays better against Federer than anyone else, the match up affords him that much. So even if he cruises past Federer tonight (at this point nothing would surprise me) that doesn’t mean he’ll fare well against Djokovic (or Murray, kinda).

gabsvamos Says:


I have been trying to ignore your ignorant comments but had to now just throw some numbers at you re the popularity of RF, RN and ND. Roger and Rafa easily the 2 top in popularity and Nole far far below either. Roger is more popular than Rafa but only by a little way (he started his professional career 5 years before Rafa).

Federer – 12.5M
Nadal – 11.5M
Djokovic – 2.7M

Sponsorship earnings (2012):
Federer – US$45M
Nadal – US$25M
Djokovic – US$9M

Federer – not app as he is not on twitter
Nadal – 3.9M
Djokovic – 1.6M

The only real undeniable truth is that your opinion is completely unfounded in facts, just steeped in your blinding obsession with your favorite player.

jane Says:

There have definitely been some Rafa/Fed matches that were magical and some that were not; most of their WTF matches have been fairly straightforward wins by Fed, as IW was last year. And then Rafa’s FO 2008 and Miami 2011 were easy wins for him. I guess you could call their 2012 AO match magical though the 4th set was 6-1, but to me the last *really* exciting match between them was at AO 2009.

Brando Says:


Ignore Andrew- he doesn’t even merit a response with his idiocy.

When Nole fans can acknowledge the obvious reality, heck any partial observer who isn’t even a tennis fan can gauge this reality, what’t the point then of arguing about it to an blatantly ignorant poster?

It’s of no use.

Ignore him, and let him see the world through his rose tinted glasses!

alison Says:

^Nice post,yeah leaving out Federer as hes the most popular case closed,and i do like Nole dont get me wrong, but to try and belittle Rafa in the popularity stakes,when there is simply no evidence to back up this theory is just a cheap shot,based only on a fans biased opinions.^

alison Says:

My post was to Gabsvamos.

jane Says:

A while back Rafa and Fed were both competing over who would reach 10 mil first on FB or something; I remember the ATP site had a thing about it. There is no doubt that worldwide they are most popular. Their long held monopoly at the top of the game from basically 2005-2010 is a huge part of that I am sure; they would have made tons of fans, and especially between 2006-2009 when they were regularly meeting at the slam in finals, and then in 2010 for Rafa when he had such a stellar year.

Gordo Says:

People love to make stuff up to have an excuse in case their guy lays an egg.

Oh wahhhh – Djokovic’s match started after Nadal’s therefore the fix is in?

C’mon!!! It’s Nadal and Federer who have to play the following day, while Nole gets a full day’s rest, which means lots of time to stand in front of a mirror and practice ripping off his shirt.

Ask any player what they would rather do – play 2 tough matches on consecutive nights or enjoy a bagel set, go for a walkabout before reeling in the second set and then get a full day off and I’ll bet anyone would take the latter.

Djokovic’s draw has been the easiest of any of the top 4, yet it’s gripe, gripe, gripe. Perhaps his PR people know it’s in his nature to insult, and he can no longer berate and insult the fans as he used to, so he delusionally continues to tilt his racquet at imaginary targets. And some of you buy it and go “Oh poor Nole! He is number one but is being treated like garbage.”

Oh please!

skeezer Says:


No to disagree so much, cause Rafa is extremely popular, obviously. But…

If you are popularity TODAY, yes Rafa is right up there in the league with Fed. But career wise? Mmmm..

-Take in mind Fed’s popularity transcends Facebook and Twitter, and he was around well before the social media craze(this is where giles comes in and says Fed fans are geezers, lol ). They are important figures, but not everyone lives in the social media world like giles.
-Comparing just 2012 Sponsorship earnings? How about over there respective career? Its not close,

madmax Says:

Brando Says:
Rafa fan: favor Fed for this one. It’s a good tourny for Rafa so far- he needs matches and he’ll get another one with this encounter. And of the highest calibre- ONLY Nole or Andy can claim to be at Feds level today, so Rafa will thankfully face extremely high class opposition. I hope Rafa puts up a strong challenge in this one and is competitive in this latest contest. Ultimately: it’s a FEDAL- the game is always a winner in this one!:-)

March 14th, 2013 at 2:45 am

Brando, it’s always a classic when these two play. I don’t get so worried these days about Rafa’s knees, he is well enough to play and therefore has a great chance of winning. He is a power house. We all know that.

Same goes for Fed. Hope that fed can continue the positive momentum. No excuses should come from any fed fan either, about fed’s back. He has played through worse. Bound to take some knocking after the amount of matches he has played. He just doesn’t go on about it the way that rafa has about his knees. But all is fair in love and war. Doesn’t matter about the fact that rafa hasn’t played on a hard court in my view. He has had plenty of tennis practice, plenty of swing and has won a few titles too this year, doesn’t matter that they are regarded as insignificant. A win is a win and this will have given rafa confidence. His reaction after the gulbis match shows his confidence, his joy at winning against someone who had the bottle to say he thought he could beat rafa. More hot air from Gulbis.

Annacone has looked edgy in the coach box in my view. If anyone else has seen this, please say so. He usually doesn’t fidget so much. May be he is showing more nerves than normal. But I expect a good match from both, a nervy one at the start. I hope that Fed starts quickly and gets it over with quickly, but I think that rafa will have something to say about that!

Rafa always downplays his chances. We all know that.

jane Says:

I’d say Murray’s and Nole’s draws have been fairly equal up to now in how they played out.

Hope Nole is sleeping as opposed to ripping his shirts! ;)

Gordo, just curious at to who’s gripe gripe griping?

For me, I was disappointed mainly because finally there’s an event in my timezone and I still couldn’t stay up late enough to see Nole’s match. :(

Oh well, next round.

Sirius Says:


the 4th set of AO 2012 sf between fed n rafa was 6-4, not 6-1 (fed had break points at 4-5, had he converted, who knows, another 5 set epic we could’ve seen)

btw, their FO 2011 final match had a 6-1 score

Sirius Says:

^in the 4th set

Michael Says:

Roger has another handicap now to encounter – The Sean Jinx. Last year Nadal couldn’t handle it. I hope this year would prove to be different. However with the mediocre and pedesterian way Roger is playing in this tournament doesn’t inspire me with confidence that he will be able to beat the top five players. Moreover, he has physical problems too to worry about. All these things stitched together might give an edge to Nadal. Still, if Roger plays brilliantly he still can outsmart Rafa. Now-a-days you can expect anything from Roger – a genius at work as well as looking very jaded and out of touch. If it is the former, Roger will win comfortably. If it is the latter, Nadal would win in three tough sets.

jane Says:

Oh, sorry Sirius, I guess I am mixing those two up. I remember the AO 2012 being a tight contest. But I guess it’s the 5 set thrillers between them that stick in my mind: Rome 06, Wimbledon 07 and 08, AO 09. I don’t think they’ve ever played a 5 setter at Roland Garros have they? Too bad; that would have been interesting to see. I think one year they ended with a 4th set tiebreaker and that’s the closest we got.

jane Says:

Michael, so far, oddly, the Sean jinx has not applied to Nole. Sean’s predictions for a Nole win are almost always right! I was hesitant to speak of it until now, for fear that I might jinx it.

Perhaps it backfires on Sean? He’s not Nole’s biggest fan, as he himself has admitted, so he picks him hoping he’ll lose but it backfires? That’s one theory I’ve mulled over.

Sorry Sean – just couldn’t resist! :) Your posts on Nole have been totally fair for a long time now.

Sirius Says:

Rafa has been pushed to a 5 setter at RG only once and that was by Big John. Its his playground and he doesn’t let anyone play with him too long :)

Selfish kid imo ;)

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Jatin, facts speak for themselves, whether you are a fan or not. You mentioned WTF(RR) match and IW semis, but between these two matches there was a AO semifinal, which NAdal one. That’s the one which matters and he won it.

Last year at IW, Roger came with a big momentum. He won Rotterdam and Dubai and his form was excellent. But this year it’s not that way. It would be a big surprise if Nadal does not take out Roger in 2 sets. I doubt it would go to 3 sets. But we never know.

Sirius Says:

@ NK,
It’s been almost a year since I’ve started reading the articles and comments of this blog, though i’ve started commenting only this year. I’ve never seen u predicting a win for Federer against novak, rafa, murray, berdych, delpotro, tsonga no matter what form fed’s showing.

MMT Says:

I don’t think either player is at their best right now, thus I don’t see anything to upset the general dynamic of their rivarly, which up to now has been advantage Nadal.

As for the Djokovic playing late thing, there is only one thing that matters with scheduling, and that’s money. And the money in tennis follows Federer first and Nadal second – end of story. If they were both ranked outside the top 10, they’d still play before Djokovic, because they attract the casual tennis fan more than the rest of the tour combined.

As a matter of fact it’s a shame for those two that the era of the touring professionals is long gone because they would have made a boat load more money if they could have fashioned a tour around themselves.

juljo724 Says:

This match will be exciting, indeed!!

Fed’s back or Rafa’s knees….doesn’t matter. No excuses for either one. As was said many a time, if you’re that hurt, then don’t play, period! No excuses about someone’s age or where one slept that night. No excuses about the draw.

Tonight, it’s all about the tennis and whoever wins will be the better player tonight. Everyone has off nights, and the players often say, ‘he was just better than me on that day.’

Giles Says:

skeezer. “this is where giles comes in and says fed fans are geezers, lol”
Hmmm let me see now. I referred to one fed fan as a geezer, I believe it was Andrew Tennis , but if you want to lump yourself in that category, by all means be my guest. After all geezer rhymes with skeezer. Lol

Fleischer Says:

Rafa is the better player and clear favorite to beat Federer tonight.

Obviously rankings don’t tell the truth at the moment.

Ben Pronin Says:

Even though you guys wanna ignore what Andrew said because he said blah blah blah… he was right about Djokovic getting prime time last night.

Since when is 7:30pm start time not the prime slot? It’s just that all of the other matches went long that he started late. And with varying time zones, that seems even later.

Enough justifying “Nadal and Federer are money blah blah blah.” Who cares? They don’t always get prime time, regardless. Number 1 player vs (gonna be) number 1 American? That’s prime for prime time.

Nadal vs Gulbis? Federer vs Wawrinka? These were not and never will be prime time matches (given the fact that they were 4th round matches).

But by all means let’s keep going in circles about popularity. Interesting, though, that Djokovic is like a God in Serbia, Nadal is not very well liked by casual Spaniards, and I’m guessing the Swiss are pretty neutral towards Federer.

Humble Rafa Says:

Rivalry…ha ha ha

RZ Says:

Bad back vs. bad knees…tough to make a pick!

rogerafa Says:

@ “Humble” Rafa

“Rivalry…ha ha ha”

You do not sound very “humble” but you are right in that it can be called a rivalry only on outdoor non-clay surfaces. There is utter domination on clay and indoor hard.

Ruth Says:

We are talking about two gentlemen here who are the best tennis has to offer, thus their popularity with the fans, sponsors, etc. I admit that Djokovich has made great strides in this area, but for me, Rafa and Roger are the guys. I will for sure be rooting for Rafa tonight, but knowing that should he lose, at least he is losing to Roger, and we will retain a viable opponent for Djokovich either way.

Nirmal Kumar Says:


If you look at Roger’s record against the guys you have listed, you could see that Roger has lost more matches to them than he had won against them. Except Tsonga, I believe other guys you had mentioned would beat Roger more often going forward.

Rick Says:

Rafa would wins, because Sean picked Federina. He put on a curse on Roger. LOL

Rick Says:

Fed hasn’t won a tournament since Cincy.

jane Says:

“Since when is 7:30pm start time not the prime slot? It’s just that all of the other matches went long that he started late”

Very true – Nole/Sam were scheduled for primetime – the number 1 versus an American. Fed was scheduled during the day, when a lot of people were still at work, and Rafa was scheduled thereafter. So actually the scheduling was just fine, except that because every match went 3 sets, Nole and Sam had to play a midnight special. I guess the second set was quite tense and exciting in some people’s opinion. I didn’t get to see it, alas.

van orten Says:

fed has no chance!!!

new rafa is not wasting time on time wasting anymore so he is even more focused though his knees could prevent him from moving properly during the match !!

feds back is fine he is just old!!

courbon Says:

@ Gordo: Its in Novaks nature to insult? Where do you get that? You know the guy? No, you don,t.
So maybe YOU stop insulting the guy that you don’t know (and you would not have a guts to do in his face, because he would eat you for breakfast, tough boy) and stop writing garbage…

Andrew Tennis Says:

Ben Pronin:

That is what I was pointing out. An idiot just comes and tells us Fed and Rafa were on prime-time, without even a clue when prime-time is. Other morns go by what he said because, well they have to support everything another rafa fan says.

If rafa fans are going to snub djokovic because rafa is more popular, then federer fans have the right to snub rafa too, because by any measure federer is a much bigger icon than rafa.

Here are numbers no rafa fan will ever talk about.

9 ATP fan favorite awards in a row. 0 to rafa in that time.

4 laureus sportsman award to 1 for rafa.

consistently higher ranked than rafa in endorsements and most influential athletes rankings and such.

jamie Says:

Hopefully Red Roger wins.

Nadal has no business beating a guy with 9 HC slams and 6 WTF on HC. Just no.

If Nadal wins, Red Roger should retire for his fans.

Giles Says:

Neil Harman of the Times :
” Terrible day for the WTA. No singles matches at all. We are going to have to look more seriously at hard courts and the damage they inflict”
Good man Neil. Give it the best possible coverage in your prestigious newspaper!!

Wog boy Says:

Just for the record,
Novak ended up #6 on Bloomberg sportofolio list just after #5 Federer, Nadal is #22, that is the list of the most powerful athletes on and off the field and takes into account everything including FB, tweeter etc.
Keep up good work No1e, You are da man!

jamie Says:

@ Wog boy

Larry Ellison might be “doing” Nadal but that will not be enough for him to actually win the tournament! LOL. Nole doesn’t need to bang tournament owners to win big titles on HC.

Alok Says:

Gordo Says:
People love to make stuff up to have an excuse in case their guy lays an egg.

Oh wahhhh – Djokovic’s match started after Nadal’s therefore the fix is in?

C’mon!!! It’s Nadal and Federer who have to play the following day, while Nole gets a full day’s rest, which means lots of time to stand in front of a mirror and practice ripping off his shirt.

Ask any player what they would rather do – play 2 tough matches on consecutive nights or enjoy a bagel set, go for a walkabout before reeling in the second set and then get a full day off and I’ll bet anyone would take the latter.

Gordo, well said.

There has been this griping, griping and griping, always, from a few with regard to the schedule. Some have gone so far as to count and compare the number of times Fed plays on Center Court and the amount of night matches he’s scheduled as opposed to their faves’ scheduled “hot sun” day, night and CC matches. The crux of the matter is that Fed should not be given any consideration whatsoever, and must be relegated to play on the other court. And, if he is given night matches, it must be the last night match.

However, regardless of the time old Rog plays, and on which court, it has produced many, many complaints, from a certain sector of fans. I think the schedulers are damned if they do and damned it they don’t.

What I find to be ludicrous when the complaints start, there is suddenly concern for the fave’s opponent who is very subtly woven into the mix as though those complaining really and truly care about the opponent’s well-being. The fact is, it’s the fave the concern is all about, but we don’t want to make things seem so obvious do we?

For last night, I think the schedulers did the right thing, let the guys who have to play today, play earlier, and those who have a day off play the late match. It’s only fair, if things are looked at objectively instead of subjectively, with respect to the fave player.

People talk of moving the matches to other courts, well, talk is cheap and some things are easier said than done. It’s a nightmare for the schedulers to reschedule some matches, because the paying fans are not happy about that kind of situation. Who would have thought that there would have been somany 3 setters, thus causing the late night match starts? The players and some fans need to just suck it up instead of whining.

When other players, including Fed have to play very late night going into the early morning, very few care about that, nor is there mention of it. they see it as OK, and/or par for the course. I believe the last match began last night somewhere around 12:00 am EST, which is not that late, considering that at the AO a lot of night matches are begun very late night or early am. I think Hewitt and Baggy had one of those late night matches, which ended around 4:00 AO time.Aren’t those players human also?

Sharapova, because she’s the WTA cash cow, is more times scheduled to play on CC and at prime time, hence the male player has to wait until her screaming session is over, and most times it’s Fed. I believe Sharapova gets to play more night and prime time matches than Aza and Serena, and on CC.

Fed has always stated, and did so recently at the AO, that he does not care to play at night, but being the crowd fave that he is, he has to accept that it’s what the paying fans and the TV audience wants to see. Playing at night throws off his schedule and he’s eating breakfast at lunch time, plus the whole day is wasted. He had to endure that a lot of times at the AO, USO and some smaller tournaments, e.g., Basel.

Giles Says:

^^^ Which gutter do you belong to? # Shameless

Giles Says:

My last comment was for @jamie

Alok Says:

RZ Says:
Bad back vs. bad knees…tough to make a pick!

March 14th, 2013 at 1:30 pm

LOL, it’s oldman with bad back vs. 5 years younger man with suspect knees.

alison Says:


gilbert Says:

Alok von-Scoretracker… alot of twists @6:13!!!! lolz…

alison Says:

@ March 14th 5.07pm,Is a tennis forum the right place for comments like that,wheres the moderation?

Wog boy Says:

Some people just cannot take it, can they? Scheduling wasn’t the problem, nobody complains about scheduling (read my post again), the problem was that scheduling fell appart due to circumstances and in that case every tournament has plan B in place and that is rescheduling that is quite common thing, if you didn’t know, all over the world. It is plain stupid to say that spectators wouldn’t be happy with scheduling, how many of them decided to stay for Nole/Sam match since they knew they have to watch Maria first. If they were given choice of watching one match on one court at the other one on the other at the same time they would have stayed, or to come next day and use the same tickets to watch Nole/Sam, this way they just packed up and went home. Checked how many of them staed to watch the match, only people with sleeping disorder and cleaners. They should simply have the rule that match cannot start after 11pm, how anybody can even suggest that it quite ok for match to star after or at midnight and yet claim he/she is objective tennis fan?
I am going and watching tennis tournaments Sudney/Melbourne and no person with a ticket is happy to stay after midnight, they all more happy to come next day as it happened few time in Sydney or watch it on the other court, as it happened few times in Melbourne. Talking from personal experience, so I can back up every single word I wrote with facts.

Wog boy Says:

Should say “…spectators wouldn be happy with REscheduling…”

Wog boy Says:

Sorry, quite a few typos but I am sure you understand my post.

Alok Says:

@LOL, gilbert, thanks for the new monikers. I am not those posters, but I’ll take them, since you’re so generous to me. What’s your real moniker gilbert?, and why are you hinding? behind another moniker to make such a gutless accusation.

Alok Says:

@ 7:06pm, you referring to me as being stupid?

FYI, I didn’t read any of your posts on this thread, just a few other posters comments and Gordos’ post. If you have something to say to me then address me, but don’t use this “some people”.

Wog boy Says:

Simply because it was “some people” not “one”, you are only one of them and I am glad you recognized yourself.

BTW, you didn’t read any of my posts but you read this one … hmmm should I trust you?

Alok Says:

I don’t care whether you trust me or not, as you are not someone who’s close to me in real life, albeit you’ve told me I have non-tennis reasons for not liking another djokovic fan and djokovic. I don’t know either of them, so what other reason would I have?. Do I even know you or them? NO.

I asked the question if you were referring to me because your post came right after my comments, and felt you were addressing me as I talked about scheduling. We’ve had this kind of thing happen before and I explaned to you that I don’t refresh before I write. FYI, I was responding to Gordo’s post in my comments and never saw anything written by you. So believe what you want to believe.

Wog boy Says:

I do read all the posts, that is the only way to find out other posters opinion whether I like them or not. That reminds me of one young priest at one celebration when I was young long time ago, since it was communism priest were not really popular and we, as young and stupid, started to teas him with all dort of questions about religion and existence of God, but he blew us away with his smart and calm answers. We had to recognize that we were defeated by this young and clever priest and asked him how does he know all those things about Marxism&Leninism and his answer was “In order to defeat your oponents you have to get to know them,” and he walked away. I learned one of life lessons then, thanks to this young and bright priest.

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