Isner Upsets Djokovic, Nadal Beats Federer in Cincy; Serena Stays Strong
by Staff | August 16th, 2013, 10:41 pm
  • 192 Comments

Unseeded American John Isner’s hot hardcourt summer continued on Friday at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati where he out-served world No. 1 Novak Djokovic 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-5 in quarterfinal play.


“I really feel like the crowd in both matches really, really helped me out,” said Isner of defeating Djokovic Friday, and last year at Indian Wells. “It was just so much fun to play out there. It’s one of the reasons why I work so hard to be able to be in a situation like that and to sort of enjoy it.”

Djokovic double faulted serving at 5-6 in the third to set up match point, which saw Isner complete the upset.

“In some important moments some double faults, and that’s the way it is,” Djokovic said. “These conditions here, very fast, and it’s very difficult to return. I mean, you can see he didn’t give me second serves in the third set.”

Djokovic has just one title in Monte Carlo in the last five months and he’ll fall further behind frontrunner Nadal in the year-end race for No. 1.

Isner will Saturday in the semifinals meet Juan Martin del Potro, two weeks after their meeting in the Washington final which the Argentine won in three sets. Del Potro in his quarterfinal defeated Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

“I feel like I’m a bit fresher now than I was then, as I was coming off back-to-back events at that time. But he was certainly the better player,” Isner said.

The other semifinal will see upset-maker Tomas Berdych squaring off against Rafael Nadal.

Berdych stopped reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, who complained of the quick conditions in Cincinnati, 6-3, 6-4.

“The court was lively today,” said Murray, a two-time former champ in Cincy. “It was bouncing pretty high. It was quite tough to control the ball…You have tactics for each player and sometimes executing the tactics is tough. That can be down to the way that your opponent plays. Sometimes it’s the way that he plays. Sometimes it can be the conditions. You need to make adjustments.”

Nadal in the final men’s night match Friday defeated Roger Federer in a contest meeting the expectations of the rivalry 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. Federer, who had struggled so mightily this summer with his game and his back, showed off some strong form early but couldn’t keep it up against the relentless Nadal. And the Swiss missed a chance to extend the match when Nadal’s winner on matchpoint was shown to be out on the replay, but Federer didn’t challenge.

“I’m happy with my progress along the way,” Federer said. “Could have won tonight, should have won tonight, who knows? But at the end, I think Rafa’s confidence and the way he’s playing at the moment got him through. So for me, I think it was a good step in the right direction.”

Nadal is now 21-10 against Federer and the win gives him a 7-6 edge over his rival on hardcourts. And the win keeps Rafa perfect on the cement at 13-0 this season.

“I think my movement starts to be better, more intensity,” Nadal said. “I started to put more balls inside on the return, and I started to have more times control of the ball from the baseline with my forehand, something that didn’t happen the first set and a half.

“But the match was there. It was very close. He had a good chance in the second. I think I played a good few points in important moments.”

The loss will drop Federer down to No. 7 in the Monday rankings while Nadal eyes a return to No. 2 if he wins on Sunday.

In women’s quarterfinal play, world No. 1 Serena Williams blew out Romanian Simona Halep in the first set then hung on 6-0, 6-4 to set up a meeting with defending champ Li Na, who advanced into the semis when opponent Agnieszka Radwanska pulled out of the event to attend a family funeral.

“I definitely haven’t felt good all week, so I’m surprised I’m still in the tournament to be honest,” said Serena who has never won the Cincinnati title. “The first set I thought I played really well. I was actually surprised I made some of those shots, because I really don’t remember looking at the ball. I could have sworn I was catching it late, and I was like, ‘How did that go in?’ But overall that was just a really good set for me.

“Things are here. At the end it’s not really about how you play, it’s about being able to win, whether you’re playing well or not. So far I’ve been able to be in the semifinals. So considering, it’s a good result. I obviously want to do better this week, and I’ll just have to see how it goes.

“I’m still alive, and that’s what matters.”

In the other semifinal No. 14 and former champion Jelena Jankovic, who had an equally-easy time with No. 12 Roberta Vinci 6-0, 6-4, will meet No. 2 Victoria Azarenka who was a late winner over Caroline Wozniacki.

CENTER COURT start 1:00 pm
J Isner (USA) vs [7] J Del Potro (ARG) – ATP

Not Before 2:30 PM
[4] R Nadal (ESP) vs [6] T Berdych (CZE) – ATP

Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] S Williams (USA) vs [5] N Li (CHN) – WTA
[14] J Jankovic (SRB) vs [10] C Wozniacki (DEN) or [2] V Azarenka (BLR) – WTA


Also Check Out:
Tennis-X Funk/Trunk: Murray, Rafa, Kim-tastic
Breaking Down the No. 1 Ranking Between Federer, Nadal
The Fed Ex-it
Federer King, Li Queen of Cincinnati
Serena Gags, Nadal Raises Cincinnati Titles

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192 Comments for Isner Upsets Djokovic, Nadal Beats Federer in Cincy; Serena Stays Strong

Legend Says:

If Rafa wins both Cincy and USO he will clinch the number 1 ranking after just 3 more weeks.
Cannot imagine how fast things are falling into place for Rafa.

Basically Rafa can become world number by winning the next 9 matches.


Legend Says:

* number 1


Legend Says:

Fed ranked between 5-8 is great for Rafa this USO.
If Fed draws Rafa it will be a great opportunity for Rafa to complete the FED SLAM and boost his confidence.
If Fed draws Nole or Murray, he may take one of them out clearing Rafa’s path.


Humble Rafa Says:

On the fastest hard court in the world, the Arrogant One bites the dust.

I hope his followers see the light. It’s over folks.


Legend Says:

“I hope his followers see the light. It’s over folks.”

I honestly hope Federer plays for many more years. These fedal matches are always fun and enhance Rafa’s legacy.


Hamza Says:

Great win for Rafa. Well played Fed.

Why is the comments section so empty today ?


Michael Says:

Although Roger lost, he went down fighting and that impressed me. I thought Rafa would win in straight sets considering the awesome form he is in at the moment, but it was not to be and Roger gallantly fought till the end. As Roger rightly said, Rafa’s confidence made the difference in the end. So, this should be a good motivation for Roger ahead of the US Open.


Anna Says:

Federer was determined today and played an excellent match. I think he’s ready to do some damage at the USO.


Anna Says:

Argh! Forgot to say Vamos Rafa…..we want that #1 ranking!!


Okiegal Says:

So happy Rafa won……I was worried. Love to watch those two guys play. Fed was looking sharp that first set……but Rafa finally figured things out and started returning so much better. Do you all think that ball was really in?? I taped it and watched it 3 more times and it clearly hit the line and obviously Fed thought so too. Not so sure about the hawkeye thingy…..I think it could possibly screw up on occasion. Rafa’ s smile said it all when he made that shot…..he knew it was in.

Vamos Rafa and win Cincy…..love to see him bite those trophies!!!!


Teeg Says:

Being seeded #7 shouldn’t be any different than #5 for Roger as long as Rafa is not in his quarter. If Fed draws Murray, or Novak or (ideally) Ferrer, I’m sure he will greatly like his chance of getting to another semi. Rafa is just a nightmare matchup for him, although he did answer some questions and came up with a great game plan for playing against him.


skeezer Says:

“But at the end, I think Rafa’s confidence and the way he’s playing at the moment got him through. So for me, I think it was a good step in the right direction.”

Exactly what I said in pre match comments. It was all about confidence, and Rafa’s imho was not built at FO but when he first came back with a title win at IW. Rafa is the guy to beat atm and THE fav at USO.

The good news for Fed is his confidence is coming back, and played 2 solid tough matches against Haas and Rafa, which he needs to build on. Just don’t think he can sustain his GOAT game anymore in the 5 set format of Slams though….


Nadalista Says:

Fed was on FAYA! What a beautiful match, the shot-making, the tactical acumen, the singular determination from both men………it was a duel.

As Rafa said in his presser (yes, I listen to them), if Fed continues playing like he did yesterday he will rise up in the rankings pretty fast.

Vamos Rafa! Next up……the Birdman.


Michael Says:

Regarding the Andy Vs Berdych match, well Andy always has problems with the pace of Berdych and it was no surprise that he faltered against him. But what I am shocked is the way Novak is playing. He played a horrible match against Isner to lose. His serving problems is beginning to haunt him once again and he has lost his rythmn as well as confidence. If he keeps playing in this way, he will not be No.1 for very long. I see Rafa overcoming him sooner than later.


Michael Says:

Well you can almost handover the winner’s trophy to Rafa. Next up for him is Berdych who Rafa would beat even switching over to right hand and if at all there can be a test, it can only be in the finals against Del Potro if he gets through there. But in this menacing form, I do not see the possibility of Del Potro beating him. Nevertheless it would be a competitive finals.


Debo Says:

Did anyone notice Isner’s celebration after beating Djokovic ?

He was pretending as if he is beating his chest and tearing his shirt. Djokovic has become a subject of ridicule. LMAO.


Steve 27 Says:

Vamos champion, today is time to beat the Czech. 21 and counting…


Giles Says:

Vamos Rafa! You did your fans proud. Soooooo happy!


Nativenewyorker Says:

I give Fed all due credit for coming out and playing some great tennis. He obviously had a game plan and came in prepared. He just outplayed Rafa in the first set.

This match did live up to the rivalry. It was nice to see Fed find some answers. But Rafa is great at adjusting and thinking out on the court. He is also relentless and doesn’t give up. He got his game going in that second set. I think in the third set both guys played some brilliant tennis, but the momentum from getting the break to win that second set seemed to carry over for Rafa into the final set. He got that early break and he was firing on all cylinders.

It’s good to see Fed still working and finding answers and tactics in this match. From his comments I think he is going to take some positives out of this match and build on it.

Never write off a great champion.


Steve 27 Says:

Will Berdych be allowed to live-tweet the match?


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

This is the best i have seen Roger play in some time,Roger really rolled back the years with this performance,when Rafa lost that 1st set i resigned myself to Rafa losing in straight sets,i was delighted to see Rafa turn things around and go on to win the match,i dont think you can count Rafa out,as hes such a fighter and doesnt believe theres such a thing as a lost cause,it was a fantastic match which was actually befitting of a final,such a shame it wasnt really,sorry to the Fed fans on this form i think he will be one of the tournies dark horses at the USO.


grendel Says:

That was the most enjoyable tennis since Wimbledon, in some respects of the entire year – and it takes two to tango.

In the middle of the 2nd set, I thought to myself, Federer may (with difficulty) maintain this standard and sneak through, Nadal certainly won’t drop his. In fact, Nadal raised his (imagine not considering that possibility, such is the grammar of hope), and that was effectively curtains.

I didn’t feel the tension which characterises the Nadal/Djokovic matches. Those matches are a panorama of life – with the emphasis on struggle. They are kind of exhausting to watch, whilst always enthralling of course (including the boring bits, of which there are plenty – they provide the breathing space)

But the pleasure of last night’s match, for me anyway, lay in the tennis – the sheer beauty of so much of it. Winning was important, obviously, yet losing not so devastating. In years to come, what one will remember of the Nadal/Djokovic encounters is the sheer elemental desire of one man to best another, absolutely in the Ali/Frazier mould. But a match like last night’s will linger in the mind with a nostalgic glow: so this is what humans are capable of when they enter the dance…..


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Berdych is playing really well,so even though Rafa has such a good record against him,he will have to be dialled in from the word go,as for the Isner/Delpo match i would give Delpo the slight edge,both are big servers so i would expect a tight match,im hoping for a repeat of the IW final.


Thomas Says:

@Steve27
LOL! That would be cool. I mean ever since Berdych joined twitter, I have started to like him.(Whereas I used to hate his personality) His tweets are hilarious.


Rogerisclass Says:

Oh, HR is arrogant as usual. The person haughtiest here

sorry for Roger..

Roger is a 32-year-old old player. Moreover, it worries about the injury of the back.

He this year is far from a level when the victory is won last year.

There is always Roger this year in a slump.

It is really sorry for him.


Rogerisclass Says:

It is a year too much tough for Roger.

The beginning of this year. he suffered a defeat by QF in Rotterdam.

Roger this year was continuing the too much bad play…

But Roger makes a comeback!

It certainly becomes a better year for Roger next year.

go Roger!!


rafaeli Says:

The King of Clay is showing the Emperors of hardcourt how it’s done. Can’t imagine why Novak is complaining about a fast h/c, isn’t he the King of Hardcourt?


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

I think if Rafa wins Cincy this week,it would be great as a fan to finally put to bed the notion that he is only capable of winning on the CCs,which i have to say gets rather tiresome sometimes.


madmax Says:

hippy c, you are probably right. Rafa has become so much more confident on hard courts.

Loved the match yesterday, first time I would say that I have seen Roger play the way we have been used to, as fed fans. He had a game plan and he shot some beauties!

Well done Fed! Got to say, that Rafa’s comeback is just sheer incredible, monumental belief and confidence in his game. He is awesome at the moment.

Still, feel a sense of poignancy with federer playing right now, I really do. Enjoy the matches between these two, but they will never be the same again.

I don’t expect Fed to win, I think of all those wonderful games and matches he has played over the years, and how now, they are slowing him down…he was a tad tired in his interview, his breathing was laboured. Did anyone else hear it? The positive though, is, I don’t feel he went all out in this match against rafa…saving his energy reserves, played a proper game plan yesterday, very proud of that. He actually seemed to be going somewhere with it and not reduce himself to jello against him.

Some proper stuff out there Fed, yesterday. Well done!

As for Novak, well I think he will go back to the drawing board and has plenty of time to reflect on this performance. This is what he said afterwards, same for Murray too:

I just played a very bad match overall,” said Djokovic. “Terrible match, from beginning to end.

“Except for the start of the second set I was a different player totally. I wasn’t able to capitalise on my opportunities, but that’s the way it is.”

Second seed Andy Murray followed Djokovic out, losing 6-3 6-4 to Tomas Berdych, as he fell to the Czech for the second time this season.

Murray managed 10 aces but couldn’t break on any of his four chances.

“The court was lively today. It was bouncing pretty high and it was quite tough to control the ball. I made too many errors,” said the US Open champion, who now heads to New York to work on his game in the 10 days remaining until the August 26 start.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/sport/tennis/rafael-nadal-edges-roger-federer-in-cincinnati-20130817-2s3cg.html#ixzz2cE2baBvT


Rogerisclass Says:

Nadal said that Cincy is slow than Montreal.

Really?


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Madmax nice post,it was one of those matches where i always say in that sense in that its a shame there has to be a loser,i didnt see any of the interview after the match,as i went to bed as it was 2.30 in the morning,i didnt actually see the Murray/Berd or the Novak/Isner matches either, so im just going by what everyone has said,Berd can trouble any of the top players on any given day,and likewise Isner with that big serve,im sure both Andy and Novak will be there or there abouts come the end of the USO,and even though he lost yesterday Roger has looked pretty impressive this week,im delighted with what Rafas done so far this season,so whatever he does next would be a bonus,Delpo has also been impressive of late too,TBH i think the USO could be the most open open,i would put anyone of those 5 players up there with a legitamate chance,my two cents.


Michael Says:

Well said Grendel !! Roger-Rafa rivalry is so special. Although Rafa often gets the better of Roger of late, their tussle still invites curiosity, add value and generates considerable interest. Its charm will remain unsurpassed for generations to come. That explains the greatness of these two Champions who have taken Tennis to the next level.


Ben Pronin Says:

Debi, Isner was doing the Superman celebration, not ridiculing Novak. Welcome to America.

Let’s go Berdych! Show Rafa how it’s done here in Cinch!


Fed is great Says:

Yes Ben . Lets go with Berdych.
We have no other go.


WTF Says:

“Nadal is now 21-10 against Federer and the win gives him a 7-6 edge over his rival on hardcourts.”

If you consider only outdoor hard courts, it’s even more lopsided. Though Nadal has never won on indoor hard.

“The loss will drop Federer down to No. 7 in the Monday rankings”

Ouch! When was the last time he was #7? It had to be 2003 or earlier.


Dan Martin Says:

I have my picks up for the day http://tennisabides.com – Rafa is like a cyborg – his focus and execution are such that even a slight wobble in play can lead to a player getting rolled. Should be 4 great matches today in Cincy. Federer has to draw a few positives and move forward. Ferrer is struggling so JMDP, Berdych & Federer are likely the next 3 at the USO behind Rafa, Nole & Murray


WTF Says:

Nadal needed the right people to lose, for him to have a chance at this title. He has never made the finals at Cincy before. It’s supposedly the fastest outdoor hard court Masters, although he says it’s slower than Montreal, which contradicts what Murray and Djokovic said (they both said it was difficult at Cincy because it was very fast).

He needed Murray and Djokovic to lose to someone else, because I don’t think he would have beaten either of them. He had better chances against Fed than those two, and that was who he got. Berdych and Delpo on paper are also better on the surface than Rafa is, but mentally they aren’t as tough as Murray and Djoker, so they are preferred opponents for him.

If Rafa somehow ends up winning Cincy, would that put him favorite for the US Open? No one has won that treble since Roddick in 2003, and I don’t think anyone has won the Canada-Cincy double since then either.


Ben Pronin Says:

This is the most hilariously obvious comeback I’ve ever seen. Yeah vamos Rafa! What a mockery.


Josh39485 Says:

@WTF Fed was last ranked No. 7 in November/December 2002, but I don’t think that matters to him right now. He played great yesterday (and I don’t think people expected him to win anyway). It’s steps in the right direction and as long as he does not draw Rafa in the quarters he could have a good chance at the semis or finals of the US Open. Fed would prefer to draw Ferrer most of all (then maybe Djokovic, who’s feeling a little down as well)


grendel Says:

Federer’s dropping to #7 doesn’t make any difference for the US, since 5-8 are the same. Likewise, 9-16 are the same, so Fognini, who’s #16, will be hoping del Potro beats Isner. If Isner wins, he displaces Fognini as #16 (getting 600 points).

I think it might be more interesting if #1 was drawn to meet #32, #2 to meet #31 and so on. Would make more sense of the rankings. I wonder why they do it the way they do.


Giles Says:

^^^ Ahhh, so you’re a Birdsh!t fan now. You must be really hurting your fave’s knocked out!!
#EnvyWillGetYouNowhere
#VamosRafa


James Says:

@WTF, I wanted Rafa to meet either Murray or Djokovic in Cincy but they weren’t good enough to meet him this time. It would have been nice to see the clay court specialist brush aside Murray or Djokovic on what many consider to be the fastest courts on the tour. Btw, Novak did say that Montreal was very fast. He said that after losing to Rafa in Canada.
Funny, the clay court specialist wrecking havoc in Cincy, eh?
Disagree with you re Delpo. He’s as tough as any of the big four. He just doesn’t retrieve the ball as well Nadal/Djokovic/Murray.


Giles Says:

^^^ My last post is for @Ben Pronin


Giles Says:

Vamos Rafa!!!


Teeg Says:

Interestingly enough, Tomas actually has a win over Rafa in Cincy waaaayyyy back in 05, on the back of Rafa’s win in Canada. Berdych is always going to be a tough match because of his style, it boils down to his self belief. A lot of the matches he plays against Rafa, he already looks like he’s resigned to losing midway through the first set. He has the ability, but not the mentality. But maybe this time will be different.


James Says:

Since his comeback, Rafa has beaten Del Potro, Djokovic, Berdych, Federer on HCs. The clay court specialist still unbeaten on the hard surface since his last defeat at Indian Wells in 2012. Hope we get a Murray-Nadal showdown in NY.

Does anyone know what ranking big John gets in case he fails against Delpo today? Is he back in top 20?


grendel Says:

WTF says:”If Rafa somehow ends up winning Cincy, would that put him favorite for the US Open?”

That implies that if Nadal does not win Cincy, he will not be favourite for the US. But he is favourite. Whatever happens to day and tomorrow makes no difference so far as Nadal is concerned. It makes a word of difference, of course,for the other three.


Teeg Says:

@James

By reaching the semis John is back up to 19. If he makes the final, I believe he’ll move up to 16.


James Says:

Thanks @Teeg, glad American men’s tennis is back in top 20.


grendel Says:

James – if Isner loses, he gets 360 points, which will take him to#19, 40 points behind Cilic.

I see you’re having a lot of fun with this clay court specialist stuff. It’s true there were a few who labelled Nadal a one trick pony, but this was always beyond absurd (as absurd as saying Nadal hasn’t evolved an aggressive game – someone quoted me as saying that, and you got quite cross: for the record, I never said that).

It is quite obvious that Nadal is a very great tennis player period – whose favourite surface happens to be clay. A person may have a specialism, but still be great outside this area – why not, happens all the time.


Teeg Says:

@James

Me too. Back in the mix where they belong. And John has some major scalps in his bag already, with wins over both Roger and Novak. If he can serve the way he is capable of doing he will be a huge threat for the Open. He looks hungry, but even moreso, he has the right mentality.


James Says:

“Let’s go Berdych! Show Rafa how it’s done here in Cinch!”

Yes, Ben, Berdych is an amazing player on hard court. It’s gonna be a big challenge for Rafa to defeat Berdych in Cincinnati. He’ll need to make right decisions in important moments and play his best. It will be amazing if he wins. To be in the finals of Cincinnati Masters 1000 will be amazing for Rafa.


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t understand gibberish. Envious of what? I’m sorry I forgot you guys have to tell me who it’s ok to root for. My bad.


James Says:

True @grendel, Rafa’s reminding his doubters he isn’t that bad on cement either. It’s only that the hard surface isn’t too kind to his knees. Now that he’s won Montreal and made it to the semi finals at Cincy, I hope he goes on to win the title.
I don’t remember now who it was but one of the posters here said Rafa would skip Cincy because he has no of winning the title on the fast courts. I’m sure he isn’t alone in thinking that way. Hope Rafa will prove them wrong.


Ben Pronin Says:

I’m not even going to pretend I’m not annoyed. We’re just supposed to blindly believe that Nadal is suddenly the best hard court player out there even though there were SOOO many question marks about his injury and return when this year started? I don’t think so. It’s obvious that Nadal was never really injured and took all that time off to hone his hard court game. Credit to him for being able to implement such changes but it’s utter bs. Mockery of the sport. No integrity.


James Says:

*no chance of winning


James Says:

@Teeg, Agreed. John surprised with the way he played Novak yesterday. Saw some of it today. Didn’t know his forehand could be such a weapon. If he keeps serving as well as he did against Novak, John’s gonna be tough to beat for any player. Hope he does well in NY.


Brando Says:

Berdych will be a very tough match for Rafa: 1- he beat Rafa here before 2- he beat Andy in straight sets 3- he has the game to blow anyone off court: including Rafa. IMHO: Rafa needs to play a great match in order to win. This is a challenging match and I’m sure Rafa will try his hardest to overcome it. Vamos Rafa!


Teeg Says:

@Brandon,

In the words of the great man himself “…I have to play my best if I want to have chances to win, no?” So I think he knows and respects his opponents enough to know nothing but his best will do. Berdych is a tough matchup for anyone, so this should be a thrilling contest.


Ben Pronin Says:

Who cares how tough Berdych will be for Rafa? Rafa is gonna be ridiculously tough for Berdych. He’s lost like 28 straight matches, most in straight sets, on every freaking surface. Clearly one of these guys should be really concerned about this match and it’s not Nadal.


Ben Pronin Says:

Nadal is not going to have to play his best to have chances to win. His medium game is more than enough. Berdych, on the other hand, will have to play above his best to have any chances. This humble brag nonsense needs to stop.


Brando Says:

@Teeg: it’s the ONLY way and best way to meet such challenges: focusing on your own game and looking to produce your best. Berdych deserves respect and I’m glad Rafa is showing his game the respect it deserves. It’ll be a tough match, and I hope Rafa improves on his performance from last night’s match.


Teeg Says:

Lol @ben pronin

Why so much hate…lol


metan Says:

Ben,
It is good you are honest man, show some emotions. That’s show you have quality of life .

As far as I know Rafa fans never claim Rafa is the best hard court player, but we are so excited as he can show us his fans and tennis fans, he could play on the hard courts like others. He is the best only time will tell.

All tennis Player practise so hard to improve themselves ,.if they want to become the great, it doesn’t matter in which court.

Re Rafa injury, I have no idea it is fake or real, if fake time also will tell us or you could ask him.

Come Ben, don’t take thing so seriously. ☺!


Brando Says:

Re Rafa’s injury: Simple: if you accuse someone of something then rather than mouthing off about it produce some evidence that supports your claim. Otherwise: shut up. It ONLY makes you look like a disgruntled hater who cannot handle what reality seems to serve them. Ultimately as a Rafa fan: I don’t have any care for that BS noise!


metan Says:

Ben,
Can you tell me please, why all the top players lost to non top players ie Wimbledon because all these tennis player other than top 4 could play the best tennis in their lives. Do you have any other thoughts?


Hawkeye Says:

Ben is sad right now. Don’t make fun of him. Cheer up Ben. It’s just a game.

#Tinfoil
#Vamos


Thomas Says:

Ben is right.(with regards to nadal vs berdych.) And even if nadal plays poorly and berdych plays well, you can bet that berdych will choke the match away.


metan Says:

Hawkeye,
Thanks, I am off!!!

Ben, Cheer Up, still have us open. interesting time ahead.☺❤


grendel Says:

@metan I am just trying to picture Ben marching up to Nadal and tapping him on the shoulder. Nadal swings round and glares at him:
“Yes?” he says coldly
“Tell me,” says Ben, “are your injuries fake or real?”
Nadal stares at him: “Who are you?” he asks.
“Never mind all that nonsense,” says Ben,”but if you must know I am here on behalf of metan of tennis-x – ”
Nadal suddenly looks interested:”Ah, tennis- x, used to be a Federer site, no, but my people have taken over..”
“That’s about the sum of it,” says Ben grimly, “now, kindly answer the question.”
“Is very difficult question,” replies Nadal ruminatively, “and I have tough time answering it. But I will think with passion, and maybe I have my chances to find out…”
“You mean you don’t know?” inquires Ben
“What is fake? What is real? Why is life? – hey, where you go?”
“Got a train to catch,” says Ben. “I’ll let metan know what you said”. Pauses. “Or try to. I think I got the gist of it….”


Giles Says:

Ben Pronin says “It is obvious Nadal was never really injured and took all that time off to hone his hard court game”.
Hahaha. I have a different theory. Rafa took all that time off to catch up on fishing, playing poker and partying.
Maybe the players that are in a slump right now should try that devious tactic.
Ben Pronin also accuses Rafa of having “no integrity”. Really???
#VamosKing


grendel Says:

“The court was lively today,…it was bouncing pretty high. It was quite tough to control the ball”

In the light of these comments by Murray, is it a coincidence that 3 of the semi-finalists are beanstalks whilst the other one loves a high bounce?


Teeg Says:

@grendel

If that’s the case, Rafa has a very good shot of adding to his trophy collections. We all know the conditions play a huge factor in Rafa’s matches.


josh Says:

interesting that most of the comments are about how great Federer played. Let’s face it, he played a great first set, but he doesn’t energy left to finish these matches. Just putting up a “good fight” doesn’t cut it anymore. He’s not going to get too far at the USO.


James Says:

Haters gonna hate.

Disagree that Rafa can easily beat Tomas. Berdych outplayed US Open and Wimbledon champion Murray to be in the semi finals. He must be in good form. Unlike some tennis fans, Rafa knows that if he’s not at his best he can be beaten by any other player. He’s seen enough failures, Rosol, Darcis, etc in his career to know that. The day he starts thinking he can win tournaments without giving his 100%, he should quit playing.
Fortunately, he’s not arrogant like that. Hope he goes on to win the title. Vamos!


grendel Says:

Teeg

Why so defensive? I was just struck by how Andy’s remarks seem to be borne out by the presence of these particular semi-finalists. Logically, your remark doesn’t make any sense, any way, since (it seems) the surface suits ALL 4 players. Actually, since Nadal is a master on all surfaces, fortune hasn’t weighed in on his side quite as heavily as in the case of the others (whose games are not so broadly based).


Giles Says:

@James. Rafa respects each and every one of his opponents and does take anyone or anything for granted. He knows full well that Berdy is a dangerous opponent and will not look too deep into their H2H. I am sure he will give it his all as he usually does.
#VamosRafa


grendel Says:

@James ” He’s seen enough failures, Rosol, Darcis, etc in his career to know that.”

That’s not relevant. Those were astonishing,utterly unforeseen shocks. Berdych is a quality player, a near great player, and of course Nadal will prepare methodically for him. Judging by how their matches usually go, it is hard to see a Berdych victory.

I do agree, though, that Nadal doesn’t perhaps get full credit for what he does – he has to take care of business, cannot afford complacency, always a temptation I imagine. Also, when someone consistently beats someone else, say someone very skilled, it is easy and even natural for the rest of us to downplay the effort involved. It just seems automatic, but obviously it isn’t.


Teeg Says:

@grendel

How was I being defensive? I was embracing your post about the “liveliness” of the court and how that favours Rafa. We all know Rafa prefers warm sunny conditions, and courts where the ball will bounce high. Thats when his game plan is most effective. I dont know how my statement came across as defensive or illogical. Its a fact that Rafa prefers those conditions is all I was saying.


grendel Says:

So who’s gonna win – delPo or Isner? Really looking forward to finding out, along with baked beans on toast, plus a spot of bacon. delPo is favourite, clearly, but Isner, he seems to have the force with him at the moment, doesn’t he….


grendel Says:

Teeg

ok, so this remark:” We all know the conditions play a huge factor in Rafa’s matches.” was not sarcastic. Sorry, that’s how I read it. If I was mistaken, my apologies. Tea time.


Brando Says:

Delpo v Big John on next.

I favor Delpo, but Big John is serving really well, has home crowd support and did beat HC king Nole.

Delpo is the better player but TBH post his Washington he hasn’t seemed all that convincing to me.

I think Delpo will probably win but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Big John win in 3!

Expect alot of aces!


Ben Pronin Says:

Then explain where this new game plan came from? Nadal is clearly playing the best hard court tennis of his life. He’s being more aggressive than ever. His return didn’t develop from fishing. Produce evidence of what? What we see before of is evidence!


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

As a Rafa fan its not about fake humbleness for me,ive heard it enough times about much better all his rivals are on HCs,how 1 dimensional he is,his losses to lesser player etc etc,so surely thats the reason why some Rafa fans choose not to take anything for granted,if you did and said im sooo confident about his chances against Berdych and then Delpo or Isner if he gets that far,we would all be called arrogant,sometimes your damned if you dont and damned if you do(sigh).


Hawkeye Says:

Where did Nole’s game plan come from suddenly in 2011 when he became a Gumby Wall or Fed’s when he got back to Number 1 in 2012?

Top players continually evolve their game to meet new challenges, no?

Just because Rafa’s injury prevented him from competing against the best in tournaments, doesn’t mean he was in traction watching Oprah and eating cheese doodles.

Don’t be so simplistic and cheer up man! Fed played a great match last night and lost on his own terms. He’s in good shape for the USO.

#Vamos!!!


James Says:

I think Delpo’s gonna win this but I hope Isner can pull off an upset today.

#USA


Giles Says:

Joker 2011 – it was the licorice tea, I tell you!!! Lol


Nirmal Kumar Says:

I would rate Rafa vs Berd in 2012 AO as one of the better quality matches in last 2 years. I did not see Berdych choke in that match rather than Rafa played some terrific tennis.

That’s always been the case against Berdych. Just that Rafa is a better tennis player helps him win his matches against Berdych, rather than Berdych just choking.

Today Berdych may have a chance, considering the amount of tennis Rafa has played in last 2 weeks. He might want to rest his knees before the USO. Let’s see. Match is still in his Racquet.


madmax Says:

I think we can easily forget how brilliantly federer has played over so many years, it’s easy to forget when he loses. Such a shame that people focus on the losses so much more and want to degrade what the great man has achieved.

I, for one, was heartened and proud to see Fed play the way he did yesterday – been a while – to see that passion fire up on court – in fact, last time, I would say, against Rafa, was in door hard court, London, finals, when he won the title for the 6th time – just incredible fed. He is incredible. Lest we forget this, he will be missed for a long while to come, make the most of him whilst you can.

Class act Nadal, when it comes to commenting on Fed’s play. The independent reported this:

Here you go:

“As for Nadal, he seems to be in good form and even better mood. His view of the rankings also seems to add up: “In my opinion, he [Federer] played a very bad match [on Thursday]. I saw him play then with a lot of mistakes and in this match he was on court with a different tactic, with a different level of tennis. So if he is able to play this way – and I’m sure he will be able to do it – I see his ranking as going to be higher at the end of the season.”


queen Says:

Delpo won first set!! Woot woot


Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic’s game wasn’t a different style from before. He also did it during the off season. He didn’t fake an injury for 7 months.


grendel Says:

delpo gets 1st set – but, let’s be honest, just a wee bit tedious….


madmax Says:

I saw and read Marion Bartoli’s interview and felt so sad for her, especially when she said her body could no longer take the pain. Remember, she is 28 years old, has had less success than Federer, but feel her body can no longer cope – what an agonising decision she has made. To think that she won’t get up and train hard day in, day out. She took that decision, one she clearly felt she had to make.

We forget, all of us at times, just how gruelling the tour can be, no matter how much the mind is willing, the body will just say no.

I admire Fed for keeping both mind and body going. I feel though that he can win one more slam, but have to say, “given the right circumstances” – As a fan, I can no longer ask anything of federer, other than to give it his best – certainly the match yesterday was hopeful and by no means was he a pushover, just couldn’t or didn’t have the energy to finish rafa off, had his chances – but let them go – again. Despite the fact he has openly said he loves to play the game, it is of course, his life.

Who is deny him to play the game of tennis just for the enjoyment of it – if he loses now, we expect him to lose – no expectations, no disappointments. Clearly though, his expectations remain high, so very different to Bartoli/and fed’s body must be aching, being 4 years older, and more matchees in his legs, and yet he keeps on going…!


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Grendel i agree i somehow cannot seem to summon up much enthusiasm for this match,its rather uninspiraring IMO,im hoping Delpo can win this in two,and save me the bother of having to sit through 3 sets,dullsville.


grendel Says:

well, x hippy, delpo serves for match, 2 dfaults – and Isner – who was trying his heart out you have to say, breaks back. That game at least was exciting!


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Grendel lol just as i typed that last post that happened.


grendel Says:

X hippy, did you spot del potro trying his level best to get broken again? Did everything, but one can’t help admitting, Isner is not the greatest returner in the world, and delpO’S rush to self-destruction was ably thwarted by Isner. God I do hope delpo wins the presumed tie break – another set of this is not quite my idea of heaven….


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Grendel a supposed tie break,and a probable 3rd set exactly pftt.


WTF Says:

Ben Pronin Says:

“I’m not even going to pretend I’m not annoyed. We’re just supposed to blindly believe that Nadal is suddenly the best hard court player out there even though there were SOOO many question marks about his injury and return when this year started? I don’t think so. It’s obvious that Nadal was never really injured and took all that time off to hone his hard court game. Credit to him for being able to implement such changes but it’s utter bs. Mockery of the sport. No integrity.”

What time did he take off? Between Wimbledon and Canada, there were no tournaments he needed to play. There are only 250 and 500s which most top players don’t play (plus Nadal is maxed out on points from those — Federer is an exception this year because he wanted to test out his new racket). Why would he need to invent some injury excuse to “take time off”? Typically the first tournament a top player plays after Wimbledon is Canada anyway, so he doesn’t need any excuses to take time off.


grendel Says:

well, X Hippy, you’ve got to admit that was an entertaining tiebreak. What are the ingredients of an entertaining tiebreak? Either both players play out of their socks, or both play a mixture of utter rubbish and stunning stuff. What they mustn’t do is hit unplayable serves and just carry on like that more or less to the end of time. I totally lost count how many times Isner was serving at set point, made a howler, and then delPo did something or other and on it went.

Something up with del Potro though? Never seen so many errors – and all going so smoothly before. Petchey made a good point, to be serious for a minute. DelPo would have Isner in serious trouble but absolutely refused to approach the net – how does he expect to beat the likes of Djokovic and Nadal with that attitude? Did you notice on one point he actually made a move forward and then changed his mind and scampered back – kind of pathetic. He’s got to take a chance, surely.


grendel Says:

WTF – surely Ben was referring to last year?


WTF Says:

Ben Pronin Says:

“Then explain where this new game plan came from? Nadal is clearly playing the best hard court tennis of his life. He’s being more aggressive than ever. His return didn’t develop from fishing. Produce evidence of what? What we see before of is evidence!”

Oh please… best hard court tennis of his life? He won Canada. Made the semis of Cincy. Sorry but he’s won Canada 3 times now, and he’s made the semis of Cincy a number of times.

When he was playing his best on hard courts, he won the US Open and Australian Open. Also backed those runs with runner up finishes at each of them, losing only to #1 Djokovic.

When he won the USO, he tweaked his game with a new serve he only introduced at that tournament, and he flattened out his forehand. Since then he’s gone back to his old ways.

If he ever fine tuned his hard court game, it was in 2010. Right now he’s just playing off confidence from a great season, Wimbledon notwithstanding.


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Grendel completely agree on all points,and indeed Delpo doesnt look right looks rather fatigued IMO,this match had no buisness going three sets,Delpo is definetly doing his best to eff up and loose this match now,i hope not,but nothing would surprise me TBH.


hawkeye Says:

@WTF, Ben is not one to let facts get in the way of his wishful thinking.

Fact is, Rafa has never stopped improving his game and adapting to new challenges.

#VamosRafa


Nativenewyorker Says:

Ben,

To believe what you are saying, then we also have to believe that Rafa’s doctors are complicit in this conspiracy. They would have to be faking the test results and treatment. Also Rafa wearing that kinesio tape after seeing his doctor after getting knocked out of Wimbledon, would also have to be totally fake. That’s a lot of effort to put into faking something!

I have always respected your opinion, but these latest comments have just turned me off completely. It’s beyond irresponsible for you to state here that Rafa faked an injury to take seven months off for the purpose of working on his hard court game. It also defies logic and common sense. So Rafa loses seven months out of the precious years that a tennis player has to be at his best and skips three slams. All just to secretly work on his hard court game to stage a fake comeback?

I have seen some bizarre conspiracy theories, but this one takes the cake. It’s as bad as your statement right before the 2010 USO final that Rafa was doping to get the big serve. Remember that one? What happened to the big serve? And why if a player is doping would it affect only one aspect of his game?

You really are reaching here and it’s not pretty. Bitterness is not an attractive quality. The fact that you are defending this nonsense is even more appalling.


WTF Says:

Ben Pronin Says:

“Djokovic’s game wasn’t a different style from before. He also did it during the off season. He didn’t fake an injury for 7 months.”

Wait.. so this fake injury he had for 7 months was to improve his HARD court game, when it was the clay season he made most of those finals in?


WTF Says:

REPOSTING MODIFIED VERSION DUE TO COMMENT AWAITING MODERATION…

grendel Says:

“WTF – surely Ben was referring to last year?”

I don’t know how he is staff here. You would miss out on 7 months of tennis in order to improve your game, allowing your ranking to plunge (making your draws harder when you come back) and leaving you lacking in match fitness, because you gave up points at USO, AO, 4 Masters, and World Tour Finals? Because the best way to improve your game is on a practice court with Uncle Toni, instead of in real (major) tournaments against the best players in the world, right?

Not to mention millions of dollars of prize money forgone for missing such a huge chunk of the season. The two things most important to a player is winning slams, and being #1. If those are your ambitions, you don’t go SKIPPING slams in order to achieve them.

Sean likes to cast really wild aspersions about people without evidence. I hope he doesn’t get a career in law some day.


Anna Says:

Ben – You know what is probably true. Nadal was hurt AND he practiced his hard court skills. Don’t you think that would have been a great use of his time. That’s what it looks like to me. Why do you always go to the dark place? There’s no crime in strategizing during your time off. You can even be on the court practicing skills while not even 70 or 80 percent. Also, Nadal is a supremely gifted athlete. We actually saw him add tools to his game in Montreal that we didn’t see in IW, so we know that his game is always fluid. Only you could make Rafa out to be a cheater by improving his game.


courbon Says:

Izzy in the final!WoW! Congratulations to Big John and any American on this site.That serve is really leathal…


Sean Randall Says:

WTF, I’ll bite, do tell.


Sean Randall Says:

Another Top 10 win for Big John. Impressive comeback. Hopefully Delpo didn’t injure anything – he was hardly giving any effort at times in that final set.


WTF Says:

“I have always respected your opinion, but these latest comments have just turned me off completely. It’s beyond irresponsible for you to state here that Rafa faked an injury to take seven months off for the purpose of working on his hard court game. It also defies logic and common sense. So Rafa loses seven months out of the precious years that a tennis player has to be at his best and skips three slams. All just to secretly work on his hard court game to stage a fake comeback?”

This is the part that baffles me the most. Whatever you learn from your uncle as a coach (remember, he was never a tennis player) you won’t be able to put into practice and test against a real player because you’re “injured” and not playing for 7 months. How exactly can you improve your game in this way?

A player of Rafa’s caliber has to be in the back of his mind having designs on matching or beating Federer’s slam tally or at least Pete’s, even if he would never publicly admit it. There is no chance you would skip slams if you’re able to play them and have a realistic chance at winning, if you’re still young enough to have time on your side, and only a few short of Pete’s tally which was once believed to be insurmountable.

I have no doubt that as early as age 22 (when Federer was dominating), in spite of his public humility, he had his sights set on outdoing the legacy Federer leaves behind. He would never dream of telling anyone that, but internally he had the hunger make it his ambition. In head to head, he had Fed’s number and he knew it.

There’s just no chance that someone with goals as lofty as that would skip GS titles, and a WTF which he has never won, without legitimate reason.


WTF Says:

Sean Randall Says:

“WTF, I’ll bite, do tell.”

My bad. I didn’t mean you. I meant Ben. You’re cool. You just never proof read your articles and the grammatical errors you leave are kind of embarrassing, but at least you usually back up your bold claims with some semblance of reason.


Anna Says:

Hey Grendel – Here’s another scenario. Ben asks Rafa, “Hey man, were you really hurt or were you just schemeing and practicing on hard court so you could beat Roger?”. Nadal shakes his head and walks away saying to himself “tennis has been my life for over a decade, I’m constantly working on my game one way or another hurt or not. I can’t believe this guy thinks he knows tennis.


Sean Randall Says:

WTF, hey great, thanks. Carry on.


WTF Says:

Sean.. are you ‘Staff’, or do you know who he is?


Sean Randall Says:

WTF, sometimes I am. But not for the above story (error-free, right?). Is there an issue?


Eric Says:

Ben, you sound like a raving moron, you realize, right? Look, I’m sad that Roger lost too, but what the hell else do you expect, he’s obviously never going to have a run of good results again.

But even if Rafa “faked” an injury (and all you have to do is say, oops, I’m injured, so what’s the “faking” here?) and secretly used his injured time to practice on hard courts, seriously, WHAT? He practiced on hard courts! And tried to get better! WHAT A SHAMEFUL CHEATER. Jesus, man. Get it together. It’s not like Rafa being good enough to beat Roger on hard courts is news, this isn’t 2008 anymore, man.


grendel Says:

Berdych has played commendably, but the only chance he had of getting the set was to get into the tie break – he has been nowhere on Nadal’s serve. So what happens? He breaks down when serving at 5-5. A Double fault, 1st serve goes awry, and a couple of unforced errors. Those who accuse Berdych of choking are technically correct but it’s nonsense all the same. He is under the most phenomenal pressure, is it surprising that in the end he cracks. Frankly, who wouldn’t?


WTF Says:

Sean Randall Says:

“WTF, sometimes I am. But not for the above story (error-free, right?). Is there an issue?”

No, just curious as to why he’s anonymous. Sometimes he’s really witty, most times he’s kind of harsh. I take it when he’s harsh, it’s not you?


Ben Pronin Says:

“Whatever you learn from your uncle as a coach (remember, he was never a tennis player) you won’t be able to put into practice and test against a real player because you’re “injured” and not playing for 7 months.”

What? Do you know how sports work? Your coach tells you to do something, comes up with drills, you practice practice practice, then implement them in matches. I don’t understand what you’re saying here.

Let me put try to say this without sounding like I’m attacking him. I don’t think Nadal was injured. There was no indication of it in his play last year before he stopped playing. Not while he was sweeping the clay tournaments. Not while he was losing the epic AO final and not while he was losing to Rosol. For whatever reason, and I really have no idea why, Nadal and his team decided to pull the plug on the year to work on and revamp aspects of Nadal’s game in order for him to be more formidable (actually now unstoppable) on hard courts which obviously goes nicely with his invincibility on clay. So why miss slams? Well let’s keep in mind he most probably did not fancy himself losing early at Wimbledon. Plus skipping slams doesn’t hurt the legacy as much as losing at them. So throw in the towel during the US Open. But you can’t play your first or second event back after missing half a year at a slam, so there goes Australia. Were his doctors in on the conspiracy? Players can’t miss events on a whim without being cleared. How hard do you think it is for the top guys (I’m talking top 50) to go to a personal doctor and say “hey, can you tell them I’m unfit to play”? Probably not that hard. And while we’re at it, does anyone remember what the diagnosis on Nadal’s knee was last year? I remember, without having to look it up. But I’m curious if anyone else does since it appears that everyone has completely forgotten about the “serious injury” Nadal is always carrying (yet showing 0 signs of).

So if that’s not the case, Nadal has returned from missing half the year, come back full force returning to number 1 even though, technically, he is past his peak years (27 is more or less the beginning of the descent, no matter how slow). His return game is better than ever and his serving is as big as it’s been since 2010. He’s vicious off the forehand as always, but that’s expected, but his backhand is just leagues above what it’s been. We’ve seen it this great before, but never so consistently great. For a guy who’s never been great at hitting the ball consistently on the rise he is suddenly a beast at it even though HE WAS INJURED FOR 7 MONTHS during which he supposedly DID NOT PLAY. And he’s doing this on his hard courts that are supposedly SOOOOO bad for his knees. I still can’t forget the Indian Wells final where he was running fence to fence retrieving Del Potro’s biggest bombs on a hard court. The menacing hard court. So that’s what I’m supposed to believe? Nadal just returned to a form above what he’s shown in the past after being out for 7 months? Because that’s how sports work. Magic.


Ben Pronin Says:

Eric, you don’t see that as a problem? You don’t see the idea that he could have made up the entire injury for 7 months while he was purposely missing events to practice as a problem? That’s not cheating, no, but it’s lying. And lying is no issue? Like I said, 0 integrity.


Ty Says:

So Nadal now has the chance to beet Roanic in Canada then the next week Isner in Cincinnati. How poetic.


Ty Says:

eh, beet works. oh well. i’m tired.


Giles Says:

Just give up your BS Ben Pronin. If your theory gives you solace so be it. Carry on, it’s quite entertaining in fact!
#ConspiracyTheoristAtLarge


Ben Pronin Says:

Giles, you just contradicted yourself.


Sean Randall Says:

Ben,

I’d say 99.9% Nadal was injured. He wouldn’t have missed the Olympics just to power-up for 2013. No chance.

If that was really the plan then why not pull the plug after the Olympics?

Also, I’d argue part of why Nadal’s “suddenly” been so good on hardcourts this year is because of how crappy Federer/Djokovic/Murray have been.

Remember, Murray crapped out early at IW and also Canada/Cincy. Djokovic has been floundering and Federer is, well, we know.

That leaves who to stand is his way? Del Potro? Gulbis? Berdych?

Given Djokovic’s poor play, was is that surprising Nadal beat him last week? And Novak still could have won.

Same for Federer. Fed’s been awful of late and yet he stood toe-to-toe with Rafa.

So it’s not like he’s crushing the top guys.

That said, if he totally dominates the Open then we’ll talk.


AD Tennis Says:

I think Nadal and his team have always been sneaky with their injury news.

In the beginning of the year, hardcourts were not good for knees, and now that he wins a few titles, suddenly hardcourts are good? Something does not add up.

Combine this with Nadal consistently manipulating the MTOs and time delay tactics and Uncle Toni daring the ATP with his on-court coaching and you have to agree that Ben is being reasonable that Nadal and his team have 0 integrity.

Nadal and Toni have to be more careful about what they say when someone puts a microphone in front of them. Some one should teach them 2 important english words – “No Comments”


AD Tennis Says:

@Sean Randall:

“Also, I’d argue part of why Nadal’s “suddenly” been so good on hardcourts this year is because of how crappy Federer/Djokovic/Murray have been.”

Isn’t that how it has always been with Nadal on hardcourts. At their very best, the 3 players you mention are better hardcourt players than Nadal. What is your take?


Giles Says:

Vamos Rafa! Well done!!
ONE MORE CHAMP!!


Tennis x Hippy Chic Says:

Didnt want to get in the way of all the arguing so i just decided to watch the game instead,Berdych had a string of BPs in that second set,broke Rafa but straight away got broken back,so its another final for Rafa against the big serving Isner,Berdych played really well but somehow lacks self belief when it comes to Rafa,i dont know if he will beat Isner but hes having the year of his life,just wondering though if maybe thats all due to hard work and determination and because he happens to be that good,rather than buying into some sort of conspiracy theories,just my two cents for what its worth.


nadalista Says:

Vamos Rafa! Mr. Sunday!

Fed lost, Berdych lost, Rafa won……….again, on HC. Please, spare a thought for the rabid Rafa-hater, makes grim reading, no?

Peace.


grendel Says:

Well, this time Berdych managed to make it to the tie break, but only because Nadal had gone off a bit. He played a very loose game and Berdeych, after several attempts broke for 4-2. But he was broken straight back – and then again Nadal was loose, doublefaulting and so forth but Berdych unable to take advantage – still, did make it to the tiebreak, though to no avail.

I’m not a Rafa watcher particularly, but I thought he looked and played tired for last half of 2nd set whilst Peter Fleming thought he didn’t. At any rate, that’s Isner’s only hope tomorrow.

Berdych played well, he did what he could. I have noticed that he doesn’t seem to have that lovely smooth timing against Nadal – I wonder if that’s something to do with the spin Rafa puts on the ball. But in the end, when Nadal needed to win a point, he generally did, when Berdych needed to, he tended not to. That’s the mental side of things (MMT, are you listening?)Physically, Nadal just continues to amaze, he has the best smash and the best forehand in the game – well, we know that. But I think there’s a case for saying he has the best serve now with the possible exception of Isner and Karlovic. Most of the big guys can’t keep it up (if -er -you know what I mean), sooner or later the great returners latch onto their serves. But Nadal’s serve is just horrific, heavy spin, quite hard, perfect placement – impossible to thrash (whilst think how often you see a really fast serve taken to the cleaners).

Is anyone in any doubt that Nadal is heavy favourite – heavy, not slight -to win the US Open? Murray and Djokovic are now in the weird position of being dark horses, not co-favourites. Contentious thing to say, of course, but that’s how I see it.


grendel Says:

X Hippy Chic
“Berdych played really well but somehow lacks self belief when it comes to Rafa,”

I think you’re right. It’s not completely obvious, because in the crunch, Nadal raises his game, and that tends to be too good for Berdych – that’s what I thought I saw today, anyway. And certainly Berdych was unable to produce those great 1st serves when he really needed them – clearly that’s pressure, as is going for too much.


Eric Says:

Ben, the point is that Rafa’s injury isn’t like, say, breaking your leg, where you either have it or you don’t. His injury is such that sometimes it is bad and sometimes it is good. (Kind of like Roger’s back.) Now, if you are asking, could Rafa have played events during his 7 months off tour? Well, duh. But he was staying out until — well, who knows, we’re not on his team. My guess is that the point of this long break was because he hopes his knees will hold up long enough to let him play at his top level for a while longer. Now, this also means that sometimes he plays — and plays well! — when his injury is bothering him. (Hey, kind of like Roger again! Playing those small tournaments this summer even though he could barely move.) And sometimes he doesn’t, because he has Serena’s attitude that there’s no point in playing an event if you’re not going to be able to do your darnedest to win it.

Now, I am just as sick as anyone else of how every time Rafa loses it magically turns out to be due to injury, and I agree that at times his MTOs have seemed sketchy. But overall, I have to say, I have no problem with Rafa. Your idea that it’s somehow unsportsmanlike to avoid playing when you are not at your best is entirely self-serving as a Fed fan who is just angry that Rafa keeps beating our guy, and it’s ridiculous. Of course he was practicing while he was out with his injury. Again, it’s not as if he broke his leg. He could still do things like walk! And hit balls! It’s not rocket science, or magic, or cheating.


metan Says:

@ Grendel at 12.04am

Thank you , you are so sweet I ♥ it. Hope could help @Ben smile.

Vamos Rafa, Good Win !!


Giles Says:

http://alturl.com/3m7ew
Hahaha. Tweet from Brad Gilbert!


Anna Says:

What a joke!! Nadal is now winning on hard court because all, ALL of the other top 3 players are slumping. That final last week in Montreal, Novak shoulda, coulda…., the final at IW, Delpo who just beat #1 shoulda, coulda. That’s a pathetic post Sean. The guy doesn’t make THREE finals on h/c because the other top players are slumping. But good for you for digging up that little tidbit of a Bodo blog.


Giles Says:

http://alturl.com/a6fv2
Nadal’s knee. This link may be of interest to some!!!


grendel Says:

@Anna 4.19

you’re taking it much too seriously – I was just tickled by metan’s comment, which was pretty funny if you think about it, and I couldn’t resist building on it. As it happens, I think Ben is way off the mark on this one, though he is entitled to his point of view.

WTF says:”I have no doubt that as early as age 22 (when Federer was dominating), in spite of his public humility, he had his sights set on outdoing the legacy Federer leaves behind. He would never dream of telling anyone that, but internally he had the hunger make it his ambition.”

That’s very interesting coming from a Rafa fan. I have always maintained this myself, right from when Nadal won his 1st French. There was something about this young man which suggested limitless ambition and very likely the ability to fulfil it. It is this which makes me personally find all that modesty stuff very hard to take. It just doesn’t match up with this ferocious ambition. Having said that, it is not a crime, not a sin – it is really more a trick of character which I find pretty irritating. But there’s plenty about Nadal I rather like and there’s stuff about my favourite players which I don’t like. There’s no big deal here. Only the person prone to hero worship can take genuine umbrage (as opposed to being mildly narked).


Teeg Says:

Interestingly, this will be just the second time Rafa faces off against an American in a championship match. The first time was way back in ’05 against Agassi in Montreal, which was Rafa’s 1st h/c title.


Ben Pronin Says:

I thought Sean made a good point. Maybe we should wait until Nadal blows everyone out at the US Open. It’s true, Djokovic, Federer, and Murray have not been at their best often enough whereas Nadal has been the model of consistency.

But then Anna makes the great point that it’s not really an excuse. Nadal has beaten everyone he’s played on hard courts, including Novak and Federer.

So according to Anna, Nadal is magic.

Eric, I don’t agree. I get what you’re saying, but I don’t agree. We’ve seen players carry injuries and be hampered by them. Nadal’s game starts with his ability to move. When Federe’s back is bothering him, we see his movement and serve suffer. But with Nadal, we never see it. It’s like when Djokovic would take MTOs and then, as Fed said, come back and run around like a rabbit. That’s Nadal and his injuries. I have issues with my knees after wear and tear I visibly slow down. I always look for it in Nadal and I never see it. I’ve re-watched those pre-injury matches and I don’t see it.

Of course it looks like I’m being a bitter Fed-fan, but it’s not yesterday’s loss. It’s this whole year, Nadal’s whole career. It just looks like charade after charade after charade.

When Federer lost the second set last night, I knew he’d lose the match. Why? He’s old. He simply can’t move as fast and as hard as he used to. He used to be able to battle Nadal even in losses. The reason he stands almost no chance against him now isn’t just the technical match-up, Nadal is just way too physical. And there’s nothing wrong with that from Federer’s end. But with Nadal, it’s like, what exactly is going on here? Everyone, every expert, every fan, everyone’s mom said that Nadal would end up having a relatively short career and burn out because of his ridiculously physical style. And yet Nadal shows virtually 0 signs of slowing down. His fans say “yeah Rafa, prove all the doubters wrong!” But it’s not like people said this with malice, it was based on history. You play too physical, it’s nearly impossible to keep it up. But of course we’re gonna hear the weird excuse about how his time off refreshed him. He didn’t take a sabbatical because he was mentally exhausted (or maybe he did) but because he was “injured”. You can feel better, but you don’t feel refreshed and become a wholly better player after being injured (history indicates this is possible with doping).

And even stranger is that Nadal’s knee was bothering him earlier this year, now it’s just whatever? By the way, having tape on your knee doesn’t mean anything. There’s no definitive proof that it does anything. It could help, but does not resolve the issue at all. And seriously, does anyone remember what the diagnosis on Nadal’s knee was?


mm Says:

Anna,

good point!

nadal is in a “no win” situation; always has been and always will be. as a rafafan, ask me how much i care about what these whiners who call themselves “unbiased” fans” think. most times, i refuse to dignify their stupidity with a comment. doesn’t matter what nadal says or does, they will always find something wrong with it; Ben Pronin comes to mind! i applaud rafa! he has been put down, lied on, called a liar, slandered, you name it. he has been the most personally attacked player among the top 4. in fact, i can’t recall any player in recent memory or perhaps in the history of tennis, whose character and integrity have been consistently attacked as is rafa’s, but he has taken the punches and is still taking punches and rolling right along. no one has given him anything; he has worked to get where he is and he has endured hardships along the way. his path to success hasn’t been no “crystal stair.” the greatest lesson in all of it is that God is still in charge and he is blessing rafa nadal and there isn’t one thing that anybody can do about it. so, if the blessings rafa is now enjoying upset some people, they know what to do. wishing rafa all the best in the final!


Steve 27 Says:

Pronin should be banned. His anger shows his frustration.


Steve 27 Says:

Tomorrow against Big John. Would be an ace’s festival


Teeg Says:

@Ben Pronin

Seriously?!? You sound like a broken record. OK, we get it, you don’t like Rafa. No need to write complete narratives every time. We hear ya. Time to move on.


Steve 27 Says:

teeg, is pathetic when a “fan” put his focus in a determined player and write bs because his favorites are on decline. such a pity!


Ben Pronin Says:

Last I checked, Eric and Sean aren’t Nadal fans, yet they’ve offered some counters to my claims.

Instead of telling me I’m pathetic or whatever, how about you counter my claims? And tell me what is wrong with Nadal’s knee? I’ll give you a hint, it was his left knee. What was the diagnosis?


Steve 27 Says:

What was the diagnosis?Lol

Hey Pronin, I’m Rafa, sorry I’m for not having shown the medical results of my knees, I was in Mallorca enjoying life with my girlfriend, family and friends. I see you have a special fixation on me, I wonder why. No matter, give me your email to give you in detail everything you want to know about the health of my knee, if you want, as I see your excessive concern me, I will send a private jet so that we can meet immediately. When you arrive, I’ll buy a paella, we take a beer, talk with my uncle Toni and all my staff. They’ll give you satisfy all your great questions. Greetings to my passionate fan.


grendel Says:

@Ben”When Federer lost the second set last night, I knew he’d lose the match. Why? He’s old. He simply can’t move as fast and as hard as he used to.”

I’m not sure I agree with that, or even that you do. Yesterday, you posted when the match was finished:”You lucky duck” – I remember that, thinking it quite funny and up to a small point true. There was that net chord, and also the ball which wasn’t really out. But if Nadal was lucky in a significant way, then it follows that if he hadn’t had those particular pieces of luck Federer might have broken and gone on to win. That is definitely implicit in the idea of “lucky duck”. And that contradicts this notion of Federer being doomed to defeat on account of his age.

I think I disagree with that anyway, though I’m not quite sure. Like you, I believed Federer could only win in two, and I would guess that Nadal believed that too, judging by his celebrations after winning the 2nd set. I think he knew it was over and that the 3rd set was a formality.

Actually, there is a parallel here with the Haas match. Given that Federer was starting to play well, Haas had to win in two, not because he was older, but because Federer is better. The moment Federer broke back, I knew he’d win. And I’m afraid the same is true vis a vis Fed/Nadal. Nadal is better than Federer now, whatever may or may not have been the case in the past. Because Federer is so brilliant, he can startle Nadal and even take a set off him. But as Nadal finds his range, it is only a matter of time before he starts to overwhelm Federer. And this is not unusual – you often see a brave player taking a set off one who is better than him, but then he is pulled back. I don’t think it is a matter of age.

As for Nadal’s physical durability, it is true, it is very surprising. Sometimes, we just don’t know the answers. Many people used to think Jimmy Connors wouldn’t last with his physical style – how mistaken they were. What’s wrong with a good mystery, eh?


Eric Says:

Ben, if you’re saying Rafa dopes, that’s a completely different complaint from what you started off with.

I don’t have any expertise in tennis doping. I have no idea what you would look for to see it. I will say that – whatever he looked like compared to the rest of the field 5 years ago – Rafa’s style doesn’t seem any more physical to me than plenty of other players. Not only Andy M, Djokovic, but Ferrer, Tipsarevic, Wawrinka, even, say, Haas. How are they less physical than Rafa? But no one is talking about how Wawa will never make it past 28 on tour, or whatever. It is possible that Rafa plays less physically than he used to. Maybe it’s just memory-obscuring time, but I always remember Rafa’s court-coverage heroics and unearthly ability to get anywhere on court. Now he doesn’t seem so different from anyone else in the top 40.


Ben Pronin Says:

Grendel, I don’t know. I thought it in the beginning of the match, too. Federer doesn’t go after as many shots as he used to. Maybe it is because of Nadal. His shots are vicious. But I also thought Nadal was playing pretty far back at times last night, not sure why. Federer’s forehand was firing pretty well, so maybe that’s why. But I think I can agree with you. I still think the physicality is the biggest issue. Federer can’t sustain his level because he’s not physically capable. Nadal can go forever. We often forget that the reason players get worse as they get older is because they are not as physically strong. Their skills don’t vanish. We see it on the senior tour. Look at Johnny Mac. It’s not like he can’t hit the ball or serve or anything. But these guys lose the physical ability to do it over a sustained period. It’s not like they suddenly become bad tennis players.


Fedster Says:

“What was the diagnosis?”

Delirium. Go get it treated soon.


Ben Pronin Says:

Eric, I’m not going to get into the doping thing. My complaint this time is different. It’s not a secret that I think everyone is doping.

But I’d recommend rewatching the Indian Wells final. His court coverage there was from another planet. But it’s not JUST the movement. It starts there, but the torque he puts on the ball? And the pace at which it travels? I mean c’mon. He hit a 90mph forehand against Fed last night. That’s extreme pace plus his extreme spin. Even though it looks it sometimes, the rackets aren’t wands. They’re not producing magic. It’s extremely physical.


Ben Pronin Says:

Fedster, Steve27, are you guys serious? There was even an article here on tennisx about what Nadal said is wrong with his knee. That you don’t remember is on you. You can call me whatever you want, but I’m not a Rafa fan and yet I remember. You probably conveniently forgot since it was made up and has had 0 bearing on his ability to play.


AD Tennis Says:

Karlovic does have a sense of humour! He can be the rival of humble rafa.

http://tinyurl.com/KarlovicTweetAboutNadal

Ben Pronin:

I think most of the tennis fans are very skeptical of Nadal’s injuries right now. Nadal needs to earn back their trust by getting his act together and establishing his integrity or credibility. If you check other tennis forums, tennis fans -save the rafa fanatics – seem to be of a similar opinion as yours, which I agree with.


Brando Says:

Guy’s just ignore Ben’s unsubstantiated, lacking in evidence, riddled with frustration rants against Rafa.

It’s tiresome, old news and frankly speaking: plain boring.

He’s a rabid Rafa hater. And TBH: he has a moan about him virtually at every opportune time.

Today apparently it’s because he took time off to work on his HC game. Sure.

In the clay season it was due to his boring, grinding style. Sigh.

It’s the same old nonsense: and it’s getting to a real pitiful point in time.

Just ignore it. It’s not worth it and let those who wish to engage in accusing players with ridiculous slander without ANY evidence other than their own:

1- Delirious suspicions

2- Fueled by a genuine hate for them

Join Ben in this quite idiotic rampage.

It’s sad, but that’s how it is.

Maybe they can have a pity party about it sometime, no?

For the rest who wish to enjoy the game and discuss it: just ignore the rubbish.


Fedster Says:

Eric,
His problem is different. Even I used to curse Rafa before for all those losses. But now I am at peace with Fed’s records and I understand the age factor too.
But you got to remember that Ben is a Djoker fan who is very much upset that Nadal has brushed aside his favorite from the top position who is in his prime. This was supposed to be the djokovic era, but Nadal is playing spoil sport.


AD Tennis Says:

“Fedster, Steve27, are you guys serious? There was even an article here on tennisx about what Nadal said is wrong with his knee. ”

Ben Pronin:

Peter Bodo [who most Rafa fans detest for speaking the truth] even wrote a satirical piece on Rafa’s left knee sometime earlier this year.


Ben Pronin Says:

Brando, like I said, what we’re seeing is the evidence. I don’t know what delirium has to do with anything. I also don’t see why I can’t complain about his style of play. I find it boring, that’s why I wasn’t a fan from the outset. Can’t say the same right now, though. He’s as aggressive as anyone.

Fedster, well, yes and no. I’m still a huge Federer fan, which is obviously where my hatred originated. Nowadays, it’s not so much the Novak thing. It’s everything. Nadal’s career. Charade.


Ben Pronin Says:

For the love of Laver, Hoffa’s Syndrome! Nadal has Haffa’s Syndrome in his left knee. He revealed this diagnosis during the US Open last year when he missed it, in “hopes of returning for Davis Cup,” which we know didn’t happen.

Hoffa’s syndrome. Remember this. All of the “Nadal fans”. You’re not even real fans when you don’t remember such vital information about your favorite. Now that’s pathetic.


Fedster Says:

Ok Ben. I can understand you.
Please continue posting. Hope it helps you recover.
May God bless you.
I am out….


Steve 27 Says:

Ad tennis, so you said the truth, you are not biased, come on, be serious and try to be more objective and not a worshiper of Bodo, who has his point of view but it is just that: a partial view of reality. You may learn something when you know that there are gray and not black and white as you try to simplify the matter


Nativenewyorker Says:

I promised myself that I was not going to expend my energy defending Rafa against those who character assassinate him and throw cheap shots at him every chance they get. I decided there were better things I could do with my time, like just enjoying Rafa playing great tennis now.

However, I do have a right to express my disgust and outrage at the lame arguments presented in response to what I originally wrote.

So wearing tape on one’s knee doesn’t mean anything? Rafa was wearing two kinds of tape, one for swelling and the other for support of the knee. Did he do this for show? Did he visit his doctor just for publicity? So the thinking is that this tape is for show and to fool the world. That’s why Rafa was wearing it after Wimbledon when he was back in Mallorca fishing and relaxing with his friends. I guess he must keep up the “sham” after all!

I guess Rafa would need to submit his medical records for public consumption. Oh wait, I forgot! Those can be faked, too! After all it’s part of the grand scheme of this conspiracy. So Rafa can’t win here. He’s been convicted and found guilty of having no integrity and cheating! What else is new.

We go through this every time Rafa starts winning. Some just refuse to believe that Rafa can win fair and square on hard courts. Now that Djokovic is losing and can’t get it together, what better time to trot out the old conspiracy theories about Rafa!

Sean did bring up the Olympics. Rafa was supposed to carry the flag for his country in the opening ceremony, but had to pull out. Everyone knows what it means to Rafa to play for his country. But now we are to believe that he gave up something he dearly cherishes just to keep up the phony façade.

It makes me sick to read this kind of crap. When Djokovic beat Rafa seven straight times, I felt horrible. Three straight slam finals lost. I was quite devastated, yet I didn’t feel the need to come on a tennis site and publicly hurl accusations at Djokovic. In 2011 there were many who thought Djokovic was doping or using that pod to gain an unfair advantage. I had none of it. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Then there have been the accusations that Djokovic fakes injuries. I defended him and incurred the wrath of some fellow Rafa fans.

I didn’t project my disappointment over Rafa’s losses to Djokovic into publicly inflammatory and defamatory statements. That’s not how I roll. When you put something like that out there in public for everyone to see, you can never take it back. All a tennis player has is his integrity and reputation. Once that is callously trashed, then a line has been crossed. The fact that these baseless, groundless attacks against Rafa are still being defended, says more about the person making them than Rafa.

With that said, I am done with this discussion. I said my piece and do not have any intention of continuing a pointless discussion with someone who is not being rational. This kind of hatred is just a waste of life.


AD Tennis Says:

Steve 27:

I agree on the shades of gray concept. I wish some of these people hounding Ben Pronin could see that.

Nativenewyorker and Grendel:

A small request. If you do not mind can you break your posts into smaller posts. It makes them more readable. Hope you guys don’t take it the wrong way.


Kimberly Says:

NNY—-haters will hate. Believe me i know, i support the miami Heat, the most hated te in professional sports. Enjoy rafas’s form, I know i am!


Brando Says:

‘With that said, I am done with this discussion. I said my piece and do not have any intention of continuing a pointless discussion with someone who is not being rational. This kind of hatred is just a waste of life.’:

SPOT ON NNY!

You speak for a great bunch with what you say there.

Engaging in the ridiculous mudslinging is a complete and utter waste of time.

It’s like someone once said:

You could take a donkey to the well, but you just cannot force it to drink the water itself.

Put simply:

IF you can reason with the unreasonable with logic and practicality just ignore their rubbish: it’s baseless, angst ridden and quite frankly speaking:

Jealous, envy ridden, petty BS!

Forget them.

Ignore their bile and enjoy the game: that’s more worthy of your time than what the petty bunch have to offer!


Ben Pronin Says:

Brando, please tell me, if I’m jealous of Nadal, shouldn’t I be jealous of the rest of them, too? What would it have to do with anything?

Haters gonna hate. Damn straight.


Brando Says:

‘Enjoy rafas’s form, I know i am!’:

Then that makes 2 of us who are ignoring the jealousy ridden BS from the haters and just enjoying Rafa’s form! :-)

VAMOS RAFA!


Steve 27 Says:

the fans of Federer seems nazis, there can not be a diversity, only a kind is the superior style. Be real: the world is enormous and you have to accept all kind of syles: if you dont like him, dont watch it.


Sean Randall Says:

Ben, cut the crap. It’s tired. Move on.


Legend Says:

Can you guys please cut the crap and post something about the SF matches…..please leave that m o r o n alone.
Thanks to Grendel there is something about tennis in this thread.

I would like to read about Rafa’s game please


Kimberly Says:

I’m actually a little torn. Of course i want rafa to win the title but I love John isner and so does my son. He’s such a nice guy,


Legend Says:

Thanks a lot Sean for pulling the plug.
Hope we get something to read about tennis.


Ben Pronin Says:

Alright Sean, but I’d like to point out that I’ve been personally attacked several times while I’ve only posted about Nadal.


Kimberly Says:

At least Ben supports the Heat. Kind of.


Michael Says:

Although nothing can be taken for granted, it is difficult to believe that Isner will be able to beat Nadal. In all probability it would MS No. 26 for Rafa.


skeezer Says:

Sean,
Re; Ben
Really?


Eric Says:

Ben, you’re right, and I apologize for that.

I never thought Isner would beat JMDP, let alone Djokovic, so anything is possible. Isner is from time to time a tougher customer than Raonic for sure, but… Well, we all know there’s a clear favorite, so let’s see what happens.


WTF Says:

“What? Do you know how sports work? Your coach tells you to do something, comes up with drills, you practice practice practice, then implement them in matches. I don’t understand what you’re saying here.”

What I’m saying here is because he is out with a fake injury for 7 months, whatever his coach tells him to do, he won’t be able to put into real practice against real players because he’s not playing against them… How can you implement it in matches if you’re out for 7 months?

“Let me put try to say this without sounding like I’m attacking him. I don’t think Nadal was injured. There was no indication of it in his play last year before he stopped playing. Not while he was sweeping the clay tournaments.”

Maybe he felt it in his knees in game, but it wasn’t bad enough yet that he coulnd’t play a match.. then he saw his doctor who advised he not continue or risk making the problem worse? So he instead took the time to recover? No one said the guy was on crutches, in a wheelchair or unable to work. He took precautionary time off to prevent it from ending his career. It being the hard court season would have made it even tougher on ailing knees. The alternative is… he tried to improve his hard court game by taking 7 months off the season, all 7 of those months being during the hard court season. Now that’s so much more plausible right?

If I was going to cast doubt on his injuries, I would be more inclined to say, Rafa’s hard court game is his weakest, so he took it off because he knew he wasn’t going to get big results anyway, and he’ll come back just in time for the clay season where he knows he can win lots of titles. To say that he took it off so he could improve on hard courts is like saying, I’m a pilot-in-training that’s afraid of flying, so I’m going to take a year off from flying to medititate so I can overcome my fear instead of facing it head on.

“Not while he was losing the epic AO final and not while he was losing to Rosol.”

During the epic AO final, he had no problems. It wasn’t until Wimbledon. What he felt, only he knows.

“For whatever reason, and I really have no idea why, Nadal and his team decided to pull the plug on the year to work on and revamp aspects of Nadal’s game in order for him to be more formidable (actually now unstoppable) on hard courts which obviously goes nicely with his invincibility on clay.”

That is a pretty big price for improvement on hard courts. Especially when he’s already made 4 GS finals on hard courts, winning 2 of them. One was against Federer in the final, the other against Djokovic. The two losses were against Djokovic when he was far and away the best player in the world. He also won Olympic gold on a very fast indoor hard court (against Djokovic). I would say that’s a pretty respectable record on the cement already.

“So why miss slams? Well let’s keep in mind he most probably did not fancy himself losing early at Wimbledon. Plus skipping slams doesn’t hurt the legacy as much as losing at them.”

People don’t remember losses. History doesn’t. They only remember wins. And when you miss them, you don’t win. Even players who skip non-mandatory events and Masters 1000s still play the slams, even if they don’t have a shot at it, unless they are injured and unable to. Those are what you play for. Those are the things that write history, the most important titles to win, the titles that measure greatness. Pete has 64 titles. Many have 90+, some have 100+. But it’s the slam tally of 14 that trumped those numbers, and it’s that 14 number that people used as a metric to dub him greatest of all time. At least until Federer.

“So throw in the towel during the US Open. But you can’t play your first or second event back after missing half a year at a slam, so there goes Australia.”

So why didn’t he play the lead up tournaments he normally plays going into the AO?

“Were his doctors in on the conspiracy? Players can’t miss events on a whim without being cleared. How hard do you think it is for the top guys (I’m talking top 50) to go to a personal doctor and say “hey, can you tell them I’m unfit to play”? Probably not that hard.”

Maybe, maybe not. But you don’t and can’t have proof. There’s a reason why the burden of proof is always on the prosecutor in court. You can’t prove a negative, and there’s not much Nadal can do to prove to you he was injured. If he produced a medical certificate for you from a doctor of your choice, you’d probably accuse him of bribing the doctor.

“But I’m curious if anyone else does since it appears that everyone has completely forgotten about the “serious injury” Nadal is always carrying (yet showing 0 signs of).”

Here’s the thing.. pain is felt only by the person in pain, not the spectator. And if he takes painkillers it might allow him to play.. for a bit. It would not be advised to do it for long. You’re saying he showed 0 signs of it, but can you be certain that if he continued playing instead of taking time off, that would continue to be the case? Do you even know what condition he was in during his time off? Maybe it got much worse, how could you possibly know?

“So if that’s not the case, Nadal has returned from missing half the year, come back full force returning to number 1 even though, technically, he is past his peak years (27 is more or less the beginning of the descent, no matter how slow).”

Well he was always a good player and capable of these kind of results as he has shown before. So it’s not like he’s done anything you’ve never seen him do. People make a big deal about him being undefeated on hard courts this year, but he skipped all but 3. If he played as many as Djokovic and Murray do you think he’d still have been undefeated on HC?

He is also not #1 yet, by a long shot. As far as a come back from taking an extended break goes.. that too is not unprecedented. He had an awful 2009 by his standards. He was out after losing to Soderling at the French, missed his title defences at Queens and Wimbledon. His results for the rest of the season were unremarkable after he did return, but the following season he won 3 slams. He’s not doing anything this year that he hasn’t done before. The titles he won, he has won numerous times already (including Indian Wells). Nothing unexpected here.

If he wins Cincinnati, he was helped by having a draw that allowed him to avoid danger players like Djokovic, Murray, Del Po. The guys he did play were guys he had a good record against (Federer, Berdych, Isner).

“His return game is better than ever and his serving is as big as it’s been since 2010.”

He was always one of the best returners in the world even before that. If you look at ATP stats tables, he held #1 in at least 5 of them, many on return of serve statistics. Taking time off doesn’t improve that.

“He’s vicious off the forehand as always, but that’s expected, but his backhand is just leagues above what it’s been. We’ve seen it this great before, but never so consistently great. For a guy who’s never been great at hitting the ball consistently on the rise he is suddenly a beast at it even though HE WAS INJURED FOR 7 MONTHS during which he supposedly DID NOT PLAY.”

So he worked on improving his weaker wing. This is something I expect he’d always be working on, whether he is playing or not. If I’m going to try and improve my game, I’d rather do it in real competition, not in my back yard. If I’m already out injured though, then it’s more important than ever to keep improving in order to stay relevant. Other players actively playing do continue improving you know… I’d have to keep up any way I could.

“And he’s doing this on his hard courts that are supposedly SOOOOO bad for his knees.”

It’s only been 3 events. Jeez. If he played AO, Miami, Rotterdam, Doha, and other events he normally enters, he’d need to win all of them to make it impressive. As it is, he hasn’t won anything he’s never won before (unless he wins Cincy, but again he had a favorable draw). He’s been beaten at Cincy by Murray and Djoker before, and he didn’t have to play them this time.

“I still can’t forget the Indian Wells final where he was running fence to fence retrieving Del Potro’s biggest bombs on a hard court. The menacing hard court.”

Why is that hard to fathom after having 7 months off, with enough time for R&R?

Let me remind you that he also won Indian Wells in 2007, 2009 and was runner up in 2011. And he beat plenty of big hitters and big servers there like Roddick and Gonzalez in their prime. Again, nothing new here.

“So that’s what I’m supposed to believe? Nadal just returned to a form above what he’s shown in the past after being out for 7 months? Because that’s how sports work. Magic.”

Let me see. As far as I remember, his come back tournament was a 250 title on clay (which he doesn’t normally enter), the surface most kind to him, and he did not play anyone noteworthy during that tournament, and still ended up losing in the final to Zeballos, a guy I’ve never heard of. You’d think it should be a walk in the park right? He then followed it up with another 250 on clay that he doesn’t normally enter. Won that. Then played a 500 on clay that he doesn’t normally enter. Won that too.

So there were 3 clay events he entered before Indian Wells. Could it be he used these as a springboard for a comeback, to gain some confidence and rhythm? Had he started his comeback straight at Indian Wells, would he still have won it?

He later (after IW) also played Barcelona, another event he hasn’t played in a long time.


WTF Says:

“But with Nadal, it’s like, what exactly is going on here? Everyone, every expert, every fan, everyone’s mom said that Nadal would end up having a relatively short career and burn out because of his ridiculously physical style. And yet Nadal shows virtually 0 signs of slowing down.”

So needing to take extended periods off to recover doesn’t count?

I find that Djokovic is way more physical than Nadal is. If you look at how he’s been playing the past few years, he is faster, fitter, hits harder, retrieves more balls (Nadal could not hit one past him at one stage and resorted to moonballing to try and throw him off). He basically does everything Nadal does, only better. If anyone should have a short career, wouldn’t he be one of them?

If we’re to take Nadal’s story at face value, his game being very physical, it makes sense that he’s had many knee injuries that have sidelined him for long stretches. If you’re not going to accept it at face value, you can make all kinds of conspiracy theories about him.

I want to return to an earlier point about missing slams. You say Rafa missing them was to his advantage. First I think that any guy who misses a slam because they don’t think they can win it is silly. One, it’s not the mentality of champions, which he no doubt has to have already. Two, he has a career grand slam, so writing his own chances off when he has already proven he can win them is also really silly. Great players never miss a slam unless they don’t qualify or they are physically unable to play. Great players want to add to their tally. When was the last time Federer missed a slam? I’ve followed the guy since 2002, and I know that during this time, he has never missed one, regardless of his form.

“You can feel better, but you don’t feel refreshed and become a wholly better player after being injured (history indicates this is possible with doping).”

Oh we’re back to that again are we? Screw evidence. He bribed the testers to cover it up. If you’re determined to believe one thing, no amount of reason is going to get you to believe otherwise.

“And even stranger is that Nadal’s knee was bothering him earlier this year, now it’s just whatever?”

I think the extended period between the French Open and Canada where he played only one match (Wimbledon 1R) is enough time to recover from something that’s “bothering” you? He never said the extent to which it was bothering him. It might have been only minor. It was only the media playing it up. He himself didn’t say anything.

“By the way, having tape on your knee doesn’t mean anything. There’s no definitive proof that it does anything. It could help, but does not resolve the issue at all. And seriously, does anyone remember what the diagnosis on Nadal’s knee was?”

Like I said, if you’re determined to believe something, no amount of proof is going to change your mind. That is why in the court of law, the burden of proof is always on the prosecutor.


Ben Pronin Says:

Thank you, WTF. Sean asked me to stop, plus I’m pretty tired. But thank you for not calling me a moron and actually countering my points. Really it’s all I ask.


WTF Says:

grendel says:

“That’s very interesting coming from a Rafa fan. I have always maintained this myself, right from when Nadal won his 1st French. There was something about this young man which suggested limitless ambition and very likely the ability to fulfil it. It is this which makes me personally find all that modesty stuff very hard to take. It just doesn’t match up with this ferocious ambition. Having said that, it is not a crime, not a sin – it is really more a trick of character which I find pretty irritating. But there’s plenty about Nadal I rather like and there’s stuff about my favourite players which I don’t like. There’s no big deal here. Only the person prone to hero worship can take genuine umbrage (as opposed to being mildly narked).”

Well can you imagine the backlash and ridicule he would get if as a 20 year old with a couple of FO titles, he went out and declared he wanted to win more slams than Federer? You can’t blame him for not revealing his true desires and expectations.

I do not think he will ultimately be successful, but he believed in himself, and he felt that catching Federer was not an unrealistic goal to even aspire to. I think it’s that belief and hunger that drove him to win 12. Without it, he would have written off his own chances and not even tried to get to 12. He would have been happy with 5 in a career, which is already a fantastic career.


James Says:

Wow! Wow! Some of you guys are just amazing. Right, how the hell could this clay court specialist dominate the hard courts? How could he beat Djokovic on a HC?!!

I remember Rafa beating Novak on every surface before 2011. So, it isn’t a new thing for me to see Rafa beat Djokovic on the hard surface. He wouldn’t have lost 7 times in a row to Novak if he hadn’t played timidly at times against the Serb in 2011-2012. Now that he’s once again confident against the Serb, it gets interesting again.

Re Nadal’s playing style, Roger may be a more talented tennis player but Rafa is a far better athlete. Someone like Roger wouldn’t have lasted long playing very physical game. Rafa is a different beast. I know most tennis fans are used to seeing players who’d such big time at other physically demanding sports such as football, soccer, rugby. Not Rafa. This boy could have chosen to be a soccer player and done well. Now go tell a C Ronaldo or Wayne Rooney they play very physical and won’t last long!

Oh and 27 isn’t that old. He’s younger than Michael Phelps and C Ronaldo and several other top athletes.


WTF Says:

“He hit a 90mph forehand against Fed last night.”

Ben is impressed by a 90mph forehand. I’ve seen Gael Monfils hit more than 100 mph forehands. Fernando Gonzalez, now that guy had the biggest forehand in the game.


James Says:

@WTF, Delpo hit a 120 mph winner against Djoker in their Wimbledon semi final clash.


Okiegal Says:

The general opinion of everyone is that Rafa’s physical type of play is going to ruin his knees. Have read comments that he needs to pick and choose the tournaments he plays in…….duh that is just what he did, and now he’s faked an injury??? Give me a break. I think not playing for 7 months is what he needed. The comment about him running all over the court at IW was uncalled for. Go look at that trophy presentation vid on you tube after that match….he could barely walk…..was limping bad. I guess that was all for show since he was “faking it”.


metan Says:

James,.
Are you still in Thailand? If yes , you are become like a zombie, watching Rafa in action at wee hours.


James Says:

@metan, I didn’t watch Rafa in action last night but will watch him tonight. I like Isner too as he’s the best American tennis player (male) we have today but I think I’m gonna go with Rafa. Vamos!


autoFilter Says:

“James Says: …but Rafa is a far better athlete.”

I don’t see this at all. My assessment is that they are very much on par with one another yet express their athleticism differently. Equally, from what I’ve seen of them over the past decade or so, I really can’t imagine that it’s even possible for a human being to be a “far better” athlete than either.


andrea Says:

missed the match but sounded like a good one. didn’t give fed much of a chance before hand so nice to see it went down as a mini classic.

nadal on fire. what a season.

fed will be #7? how strange is that?

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