Federer v Nadal, Berdych v Wawrinka; Australian Open SF Picks And Pans
by Sean Randall | January 23rd, 2014, 12:22 am
  • 97 Comments

The semifinals are set at the first Grand Slam of the tennis season. And if the Australian Open is the tone-setter for the rest of the season, we are in for one wild ride in 2014.

Gone is heavy favorite Novak Djokovic. Gone is 3-time finalist Andy Murray. And gone is one of my picks Juan Martin Del Potro who didn’t even make it to the first Friday!

But still standing are World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, the powerful Czech Tomas Berdych, the “Other Swiss” Stan Wawrinka and then “The Swiss” Roger Federer.

Before I get to the semifinals, a look back at yesterday.

I haven’t been a big believer in Grigor Dimitrov. Anyone who blatantly copies someone else’s game just isn’t going to go places. But yesterday even in defeat Dimitrov showed some remarkable talent. I may have to rethink his future.

At just 22 he’s already beaten Djokovic and he’s now taken a set off Nadal in all four of their meetings. Eventually he’s going to get the Spaniard. It’s coming.

Dimitrov has a sneaky-good serve, he’s quick, hits it well off both sides, has the cocky attitude, he’s got a ton of shots and he dates champions – Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams. But he’ll need to get stronger and fitter to really compete. Luckily, those are two things that are well within his control because the rest is there.

As we saw yesterday, Rafa weathered the storm then just wore Dimitrov down both physically and mentally. Dimitrov, though, really gave Nadal a good fright and had he converted that forehand to go up two sets, then who knows.

Beating Nadal in best-of-5 in among the toughest things to do in the sport, just ask Roger Federer who’s done it just twice in 10 tries at the Grand Slam level.

Speaking of Federer, the Swiss continued the momentum off that mighty impressive JW Tsonga win with a excellent victory over Andy Murray. Federer started fast and after gagging at 5-4 in the third, he hung on for one of his better wins in recent memory, maybe even better than the Tsonga victory.

Murray didn’t look quite 100% while Federer was again flying around the court like it was 2006. The bigger racquet, the better back and the Stefan Edberg impact. Whatever it is it’s working and working really, really well.

That said, will it be enough to get by Rafa?

First to tonight’s affair.

Stan Wawrinka v Tomas Berdych
Both guys come into this one running hot. Wawrinka just won maybe the biggest match of his career the other night toppling 3-time Australian Open defending champion Novak Djokovic. Berdych similarly also had a good win ousting David Ferrer in four tough sets.

The question is which of 28-year-olds has the most left in the tank after spending so much? I think it’s Stan.

Sure, it was an emotional win for Wawrinka but at the end of the match against the iron man Djokovic he was still going strong. And he’s played those kind of matches before, and has obviously lost and now learned. The guy is built like a rock and now he appears to be mentally as tough as a rock.

Berdych did beat Ferrer but it looked like he was fading a little toward the end of the match. And with Tomas I just don’t know if he has the drive or the want to be a Grand Slam champion.

PLaying under Federer all these years, Stan has to want a piece of that success. He has to be in awe of what Federer’s accomplished. With Berdych, I don’t see that interest.

In their series, it’s been all Stan of late. He’s won three straight and six of their last seven. Tomas beat him at the Australian Open in 2009 but Stan is a far better player now, adding a heavy serve and a formidable forehand to go with that lethal backhand.

Tomas, however, is no slouch. He’s got the serve, the easy strokes and he’s had big wins. Yet against Stan for some reason he can’t get it done.

So with so much going the way of Wawrinka, I’ll go…
The pick: Wawrinka in four

Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal
The big one is Friday night as the two legends of the sport battle for a 33rd time. A week ago I would have labeled this meeting as a mismatch, well in favor of Nadal. But this week Federer’s shown glimpses of his vintage past, and that’s a good sign because against Rafa he’ll need everything he’s got.

Nadal leads this series 22-10. And he’s dominated in Grand Slams winning eight of 10 and on outdoor hardcourts he’s ahead of Roger 7-2. So all the numbers, all the strategy (Rafa’s heavy topsin to Roger’s backhand), even the surface all favor Nadal.

But the new version of Federer has been nothing short of sublime thus far. He’s been moving as well as he has in years, popping his serve and under Edberg he’s been far more aggressive than in the past.

And while Federer’s been blistering, Nadal’s been suffering from blisters. Rafa comes in with a serious hand blister that’s been doing a number of his serve. And against Federer (or any top player) he’ll need that weapon.

For Roger to win he’ll have to serve extremely well and handle that spin to the backhand. Like Murray, he’ll also have to to be wise as to his net approaches. And if the roof is closed due to rain, then all the better.

For Nadal, if the blisters allow him to play his punishing, physical brand of tennis that should be enough. But if he can’t serve to his maximum level it could spell trouble if Roger is playing well.

As much as I’d like to take Roger here – with so much going for him right now I give him a very real chance to win – it’s too hard to look past the head-to-head history. Even if Roger is back to 2006 levels, he wasn’t beating Nadal then either. So…
The pick: Nadal in four

ESPN will have coverage of both matches live at 3:30am ET for you night owls.


Also Check Out:
Can Djokovic Recover To Beat Berdych? Australian Open Quarterfinal Picks And Pans
US Open Thursday Picks And Pans: Berdych v Cilic, Federer v Monfils
Djokovic Faces Wawrinka Rematch Today; Australian Open QF Picks And Pans
Federer Downs Del Potro, Djokovic Up Next; Paris SF Picks And Pans
Federer, Murray On Track For An Australian Open Semifinal Showdown, Will It Happen? Picks And Pans

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97 Comments for Federer v Nadal, Berdych v Wawrinka; Australian Open SF Picks And Pans

Patson Says:

Sean, disagree with you here. I’d say Federer in 3 or 4 AT MAX. The blister is pretty damn big. I don’t see a way Nadal’s serve being potent at all. This leaves Fed with a fantastic chance and I think mentally, Fed’s in a position to beat Nadal.

This AO seems to have Federer written over it.


nitesh Says:

i disagree against federer nadal will be able to find solutions. Its not only an on court battle one must not forget nadal also lives inside federer head.


Giles Says:

Throughout Rafa’s career his serve has never ever been a big weapon. It has never been or will ever be part of his game plan. So….


Vinod Says:

i like to dream that FED will win in 4 sets


Pogi Says:

Fed in 3 sets…
After beating the Amuzzing Spiderman, next will be Buttman


jatin Says:

Rafa is having no tape while practicing today!!


Polo Says:

I’m happy the way Federer has been playing in this Open. But if Roger could not beat him before, how can he now when Nadal’s game is even better, maybe at it’s peak? I do not have false hopes that Roger can beat Nadal. I only hope he can. As Giles implied above, Nadal’s game does not depend solely on his serve. That palm blister may not matter much. Maybe it’s not even there anymore!


Polo Says:

There a Swiss in the finals! Congratulations to Stan. Very good job so far. One more to go. Good luck.


Michael Says:

Great going by Wawrinka. He is finally realizing his potential by making his first ever finals in a major. He has now good chances of even winning the tournament. If he can beat Novak, he can definitely beat anybody. Hoping for an all Swiss final !!


gonzalowski Says:

And Sean hit it, Wawrinka in 4.
The last 36 games, they played without breaking any serve.
An historic match tomorrow, above all if Roger wins.
Maybe it will be right Nadal in 4, but congratulations to Fed anyway because he is still capable of causing worry to us, rival’s supporters.


Hippy Chic Says:

WOW,WOW JUST WOW,Congrats to Stan on his 1st ever GS final,im so impressed that he managed to back up his win against Novak,Berdych played well too but Stan was just the better player today,and i loved the reaction between Stan and Tomas at the end of the end,all smiles and a match played in good spirits.


Eric W. Says:

It may be the last time we see Nadal/Fed in the late stages of a GS. And happily, it looks like a coin toss this time. Winner: the fans!


Salleh Ahmed Says:

Eric,why last time? Does Nadal retire after this?


Polo Says:

Salleh Ahmed, the key word there is “may be”.


Salleh Ahmed Says:

yes, thats right. but then it may be everyones last time in meeting at the latter stages.


Purcell Says:

Shed a few tears for Stan…..so happy for him. For me, Stan, Fed and Andy are the most creative,interesting and exciting players with their tremendous hands and shot selection. Add Stan’s power too.
Blistergate: Interesting that Nadal has the tape off his hand for practice. A miraculous recovery is underway along with another boring beat down of Roger. Anyway congratulations to Andy for doing his best under difficult circumstances, congrats to Fed for what seems like a mini-resurgence and well done to Dimitrov. Didn’t see the match but it seems things are moving in the right direction for him.


Polo Says:

Yes, indeed. It is true for everyone but there is no pair to equal a Federer-Nadal final in a majors event which gives this possibility at the AO an utmost significance.


solomon Says:

guys, can someone update me on rafa blistered hand, is it better now, i think it will be a big difference in the match with roger, if its slightly better, he can beat roger, but if it’s not and causes him pain, i think roger will win


Nirmal kumar Says:

Wow, fantastic victory for Wawrinka. Atlast he is showing his true potential. He has such a fantastic attacking game, it’s a treat to watch him in full flow, specially his SHB.

Now that most likely he is going to face Rafa in the finals, it would be a great leveler if he can beat Rafa which his great countryman could not achieve in AO Finals. Wish him all the best for the finals.


Salleh Ahmed Says:

I wonder how will person react if roger does win in comfortable fashion. I dont say that he will.

Another injury excuse then


gonzalowski Says:

No excuses. didn’t you see the wound? 2 great champions in here, aren’t they?


Polo Says:

Do people really get bothered when somebody who loses gives an excuse? It may sound like sour grapes but that is a natural human defense mechanism to vent away a frustration. And it does not change anything. So let the loser give all the excuses he wants.


Daniel Says:

Evaluatng the tourney itself, Nadalk level decrease with everymatch. Oddly he has been remarkable in tiebreaks, winning 2 against Nishi and 2 against Dimitrov. HAd Dimitrov not missed that sitter FH on set point serving 6-5 in tiebreak things could be different. He escaped in 2 matches so far. But the thing is, a champion like him can find his range anytime and deliver, specially against Roger. But usually Nadal is like a gear getting hotter and hotter with each match when he feels super confident. Will see, he still is 10-0 on the year.
As Federer, this is the best Slam he plays in year, if not for that blip in third set (twice), he would have reach the semis without losing a set. In the last Slams he plays he always have an awful match and o far it haven’t shown. He is playing great and seems very focused.
Maybe this will be his time. Nadal seems not 100% (lucky that Fed almost never have, Nadal tend to be in his absolute best every time he faces Fed) and by the trend in their HxH (Nadal win 2 out of 3), tomorrow is encounter 33, time for Fed to make it 11-22, keeping the stats.

But it’s hard to forget what happened in the past and Nadal beat Fed in Cincy and WTF last year, which was suppose to be Fed’s turf (only place left is US Open). I will only believe when I see it, a shot Fed definitely has but a thin one and he needs an star alignement (as seems to be the case) in order to win.
Hope he keeps his run, if not Maybe Wawrinka never beat Nadal before to save best for last and surprise him inn the final. But if Nadal beats Fed, escaping again and beats Wawrinka escaping again still with blisters it will look bad for everybody else. I hope if he indeed is to win his 14 major, to do so as he won his 2 US Open, by convincingly beating Fed and Wawrinka (who are playing the best attacking game this week) and not grinding, surviving and escaping, but being aggressive as we saw last year during North America HC swing.


Giles Says:

https://twitter.com/scorpio1641/status/426185388260982784
@solomon. Rafa practised without strapping today. Just a small patch.
#GettingBetter&Better


Hippy Chic Says:

Gonzalowski yeah agree instead of bickering about a game thats not even been played,and a result thats not even happened as yet(sigh),why dont people just look forward to watching two of the worlds best ever players contesting the semi,for a chance of meeting Stan in the final,with two legends of the game tennis is always the winner when these two meet up,let the best man win,im sure there will be enough bickering after the match.


Humble Rafa Says:

Swiss on Friday, Swiss on Sunday…it’s gonna be a great week for the Humbles.

Nobody folds like Swiss cheese.


WTF Says:

Stan’s the man. I hope he does well.

I’m more of a Nadal fan and I want him to beat 14, but if Wrinka wins, I’m going to be happy for him. I can accept that.

I will actually be gutted to see him lose. He is a great player, and fully deserving of every recent success. It’s a shame he didn’t bloom earlier.

No matter who wins the AO, I think Stan is my standout player of this tournament.


WTF Says:

I remember the year Roger ascended to #1, which was 2004. That year he dropped his commitment to Davis Cup because he felt the Swiss team never stood a chance and he’d rather focus on being #1 (even though he was head and shoulders above the #2) by focusing on Indian Wells. Never mind that he didn’t win IW every year, and Nadal did win a few even when he did commit to DC.

He had to carry the team on his own and it was too much to bear. He would return some day but have to wait until someone else could lift their game and share in the burden first. He never went back, even though Wrinka proved himself years ago to be a better player than most.

If he still doesn’t believe the Swiss team has a chance (2 swiss in top 10, and they won olympic gold in doubles in 2008) and throw everything at it, I will see DC as a giant gaping hole in CV, and a statement about how much he is willing to give for his country. He uses the DC coach as his own personal coach, but is not willing to give anything back in return. He was very eager to play the Olympics however, because the glory will be more his own than Switzerland’s.

If he doesn’t commit to DC this year, I’m going to have to call him nothing short of selfish.


Brando Says:

@Giles:

Thanks for that. It’s heartening to see. Rafa said the blister does not bother but the TAPE does. And it ONLY affects his feel on serve, i.e. he feels that the racquet is slide out of his hand.

A small patch should really minimize or even eliminate such a sensation.

Either way:

1. He’s played 2 matches in this manner. So he knows he can handle it.

2. He served 73% 1st serve in v Grigor @ an average of 104 MPH. He usually operates at around 115 MPH. So it’s ONLY 10 MPH off normal at best.

3. His second serve was @ and average of 87 MPH- his average usually in 90 MPH. So close to zero difference here.

4. Rafa’s serve anyhow is about placement as opposed to pace or serving aces.

5. Fed is no Djokovic or Murray on return. He likes to knock the ball into play to start a rally: something that suits Rafa.

6. Rafa’s lefty serve naturally bothers Fed anyhow due to the angle of it.

So all in all:

That’s great to hear and I expect Rafa to be fine come Match time.

I think his real problem is:

His form and Fed’s great form, but hopefully he can step up and match Fed on Friday.


salleh ahmed Says:

Are you aware what nonesense you are talking?


Brando Says:

Huge congrats to Wawrinka!

SF at USO, SF at WTF, starts this year with a win at Chennai and he’s finalist at least at AO this year.

He also beat Muzza at the USO and Novak here- beating the big players in the biggest of matches.

That’s outstanding and it’s clear to see that he’s at his peak, is making the most of his long noted brilliant talent and is a genuinely top tier player.

Whoever faces him will not have it easy at all.


gonzalowski Says:

S. Ahmed you are a bully!


Toni Says:

Missmatch ,with the greatest ever.Hahahahaha.Funny guy


Toni Says:

Be careful how you speak about the greatest ever in sport.


Queen Says:

WTF, Fed has never been a team player. He works for himself. Loves the spotlight. That’s why he comes across as an arrogant prick but that’s just his personality. Cannot change it.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Federer definitely has a chance here none of us gave him a week ago. I don’t think anyone expected a new coach to make an immediate difference, and if anything I would have expected the new racquet to make things worse at first, but both seem to be helping.
Then there’s Rafa’s blister. If he serves like that against Fed, Fed will beat him. Sure, he’s not Rafa or Murray or Nole on return. But he’s a huge margin better than Dmitrov, and Dmitrov was into Rafa’s service game every time.
See here:
http://tennisvagabond.com/tennisblog.php


Polo Says:

gonzalowski, don’t worry about S. Ahmed. I checked back to see who he was referring to as talking nonsense. I did not find any, so maybe he was talking to himself.


RZ Says:

It all comes down to whether Roger can keep his nerve and keep “Shankerer” away. If he can manage that, he’ll win in 4 sets.


Fed18 Says:

I cant get over the 09 and 12 AO losses

how on earth he lost the first and third set in that final

he led 4-2 in the first and hat 5 break points oppurtunities, in one service game there were three on the bounce.

and reminding the 12 loss, i dont think coming to the net is a good idea. he was passed at will from rafa regardless how good the approach or the volley was.

one thing is for sure. he has to have one of his untouchabel serving days. not like 09 us open final against delpo or the matches mentioned above.


Fed18 Says:

I cant get over the 09 and 12 AO losses against nadal.how on earth he lost the first and third set in that final.he led 4-2 in the first and hat 5 break points oppurtunities, in one service game there were three on the bounce.and reminding the 12 loss, i dont think coming to the net is a good idea. he was passed at will from rafa regardless how good the approach or the volley was.one thing is for sure. he has to have one of his untouchabel serving days. not like 09 us open final against delpo or the matches mentioned above.


skeezer Says:

I only got to see the Murray/Fed match, not the Tsonga. I have to say, was very impressed with Feds handling of his new Stick. He seems very comfortable with it now. Will be an interesting year for him if he keeps this up(Keep that back healthy!). Still picking Rafa to come through here, but all in all Fed has made a great run.
In his post presser win, loved also how he recognized that Tennis is mostly about movement, and he knows how important to keep that up. Otherwise, players will run him off the court.


skeezer Says:

TV,
Hey there, read your blog, took a visit and tried to post. It was a no go. You may want to take a look. Cheers TV….


Teeg Says:

@Brando and Giles:

Exactly, both Rafa and Uncle Toni says that the blister is no problem, the only problem was with the tape and how it affected his serve. Hopefully the patch provides the solution he needs. One could see why Roger’s fans would be all excited. Rafa seemingly hindered on serve, along with Roger’s super aggressive tactics. That should mean a win for Roger, right?


Brando Says:

@Teeg:

I can understand why they may be excited.

Re Fed’s super aggressive tactic:

I have not seen a Fed match yet, but I did see highlights of him v Muzza and he did look immensely impressive. The movement, the pop on the FH and the net game: seriously was the best I have seen him play in years. Even better than he won in Wimby 12′.

He was doing what I and a lot of others thought he should do at such a stage in his career: hit the FH with authority and rush to the net. Cut out the long baseline exchanges.

Edberg seems to have hammered home that tactic to him.

He look very good and dangerous. I think he will be ultra aggressive v Rafa. He needs to be. But will he venture to the net as often?

Rafa’s passing shots are arguably the best in the business. Will Fed really take such a risk, so often v Rafa?

I’m not too sure. One things for certain:

This is the most genuinely interesting, knife edge, close match between Fedal in years.

I think NO MATCH generates as much buzz prior to it when these 2 are about to clash on a somewhat 50/50 basis.


Polo Says:

Federer almost has no choice but rush to the net as often as he can. Everybody knows what will happen if he chooses to go baseline to baseline with Nadal. A la Edberg is the only style that will give Roger a chance.


andrea Says:

after hearing stan leaving his wife and baby to re-commit to tennis a few years ago i thought he was mad. now….not so much. congrats to him. his record against fed and nadal is pretty dismal, so he’ll have his work cut out for him in the final.

fed is on a role and maybe with the bigger racquet, he finally gets a much needed win over nadal. all depends on his mental state really…..


andrea Says:

after hearing stan leaving his wife and baby to re-commit to tennis a few years ago i thought he was mad. now….not so much. congrats to him. his record against fed and nadal is pretty dismal, so he’ll have his work cut out for him in the final.

fed is on a role and maybe with the bigger racquet, he finally gets a much needed win over nadal. all depends on his mental state really…..


Nirmal kumar Says:

Lot of folks here think Roger is using new tactics etc, should go back and watch his matches in 2012. He was better than current federer. Just that people have short memory, looks like we are just comparing between 2013 and 2014. I thought 2012 was some of the best tennis Roger played in the past 4 years. Even then, Roger could not get past Nadal playing his absolute best tennis. Not sure what he could do to have a tight match with Nadal tomorrow, unless Nadal has different plans.


Salleh Ahmed Says:

nirmal, he did beat nadal at IW 2012 quite comfortably.you are the one with a short memory


Pitchaboy Says:

He is back with his back handed Fed compliments. NK should be named Debbie Downer


Giles Says:

Fed was practising with Llodra today. Lol


skeezer Says:

@SA
Lol! Yes, short circuited memory at best.


tfouto Says:

andrea,

wawrinka leaving his wife and baby was not because of the career. It was just an excuse.

Maybe they had problems before, who knows?


Jatin Says:

What a showdown, one old guy training and trying to fend his GS record of 17 off the other guy who seems destined to catch him! Only way Fed can keep his records is to continue to try and compete and hold Nadal at bay….Desperation to maintain the mountaintop vs. relentless climbing – the Hunter and the hunted!


gonzalowski Says:

Andrea, if Fed reaches the final, maybe it will be with great expense of energy for a 32 years old tenist, added to 3h 30′ with Andy, and 2 days of recovery (only?), having 3 Stan
Difficult for him, but…


Jatin Says:

@tfouto

Wawrinka shock as player leaves family for tennis
http://www.tennistalk.com/en/news/20110105/Wawrinka_shock_as_player_leaves_family_for_tennis

I think, finally his decision is playing him off. He is just a different guy from last 1 year or so.


gonzalowski Says:

Giles, yeah, didn’t know but Llodra is leftie…


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Federer cannot centre his game on rushing the net against Rafa. Rafa is too good at passing, he’s shown it time and again. Federer has to pick his moments, including serve and volley.

But of course there is an alternative to taking on Rafa in long baseline rallies, and that is what Federer has had his career’s success built around, aggressive groundstroke shot making.

Dmitrov didn’t challenge Rafa by coming to the net, he challenged him by shortening points and going for winners. That will be Federer’s game plan. The net game will be a large component of it, but not the main part.


Salleh Ahmed Says:

its an even steven match.but the idea that roger should search the net is risky. he will be bomba sized with passing shots


tfouto Says:

Jatin

That’s just not everthing. If everything was fine with his wife, he would not leave her. An excuse, IMO.


tfouto Says:

The trick for Federer to go to the net, must be wisely. Cant go up with easy balls for Nadal. He must go to the net with difficult balls for Nadal to execute…


john Says:

@jatin

Thats old news :)

Wawrinka has been back with his wife for some time now.


Okiegal Says:

Stan’s marriage was not very solid in the first place, in my way of thinking. You don’t just go get a divorce because of your career. Something very vital missing in this marriage……..love maybe? It’s not fair to judge the guy without knowing the whole story……just saying. Congratulations to him and his fans. Stan is looking great!

Hope to see a Spaniard and a Swiss in the final……we will see. Roger is looking good, I must say. Regardless of Rafa’s problem, he always fights until the bitter end. I hope his hand has healed some.

Regarding the blister…..it’s not like he got the blister on purpose so he would have an excuse in case he lost. Some posters on this forum never cease to amaze me. Lots of mean spirited people in this vast world we live in…….on both sides of the coin, meaning Rafa fans too!

VAMOS RAFA……..keeping it cool in Oklahoma, but want to feel the heat in Australia………BRING IT…..YOU DA MAN and YOU CAN DO THIS, me thinks!


Giles Says:

Geez! I thought Edberg is his coach but now I see a multitude of armchair coaches as well. Lol
Vamos Rafa!


James Says:

Federer’s aggressive net play troubled both Tsonga and Murray. It didn’t allow them the time, rhythm to play their usual game from the baseline.

Rafa needs to trap Roger on the baseline by hitting, returning deep. Make him defend as much as possible. And of course play the usual game of hitting cross court fearhand to the backhand. Open the court, go for winners. And keep pounding that “beautiful” one handed backhand of Roger’s.

Rafa will need to serve well too to put more pressure on Fed’s service game. Serve 80-90% of time to Fed’s backhand.

I like Roger, but this match is too important for my boy Rafa to lose.

Hopefully the blister won’t bother him as much as it did against Dimitrov.
Vamos Rafa!


Polo Says:

Yes, Giles, everybody here is a coach for somebody. And this is why this website makes the slams even more interesting. And yes, none of the players hear us. Good for them. :-)


James Says:

Giles, we’re just excited for the match ;)


Tennis Vagabond Says:

You guys are so naive!

You don’t think Fed and Rafa and Toni and Stefan aren’t at their computers, reading every word on Tennis X, looking for that slight edge?

You think Fed and his team don’t worry about a Tennis-X gap?


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Sorry for the double negative above. Take either one out.


Pitchaboy Says:

1. The blister will bother Rafa
2. Fed will charge the net; if he doesn’t he is done. He needs to reduce reaction time for Rafa by taking ball early
3. Fed will play on average 2 to 3 feet inside baseline to get the ball early.
4. He will win in 4 sets, possibly three if he gets first 2.


Giles Says:

Ok then. Here is some coaching advice for my man.
Rafa, just do what you usually do against fed! Maybe even better?
Vamos Champ!


Giles Says:

James. I am very excited too and understandably very nervous as well.
Vamos Rafa!


Pitchaboy Says:

And, I forgot, the roof will be closed.


skeezer Says:

^you guys are worried? LMAO. Why? All this talk about Rafa “owning” Fed from vamosheads. Now……the’re shuddering….lol.

I’m a Fed fan ( obviously ) but know reality when I see it. Rafa is still the overwhelming favorite in this match. Don’t make it bigger that it is.

#scareTpants


Polo Says:

Tennis Vagabond: Do you really think Roger and Rafa and their respective teams read every word on Tennis-X? Or do they just check who Sean Randall picks then try to make him look bad?


James Says:

Some of us Nadal fans never underestimate his opponents, regardless of how many times Rafa might have beaten them in the past. It’s not about fearing the opponent.

Like Rafa, some of us respect his opponents, and want him to give his best. Win or lose.


green900 Says:

Polo

love your comment! hahahahha


madmax Says:

WTF Says:
I remember the year Roger ascended to #1, which was 2004. That year he dropped his commitment to Davis Cup because he felt the Swiss team never stood a chance and he’d rather focus on being #1 (even though he was head and shoulders above the #2) by focusing on Indian Wells. Never mind that he didn’t win IW every year, and Nadal did win a few even when he did commit to DC.

He had to carry the team on his own and it was too much to bear. He would return some day but have to wait until someone else could lift their game and share in the burden first. He never went back, even though Wrinka proved himself years ago to be a better player than most.

If he still doesn’t believe the Swiss team has a chance (2 swiss in top 10, and they won olympic gold in doubles in 2008) and throw everything at it, I will see DC as a giant gaping hole in CV, and a statement about how much he is willing to give for his country. He uses the DC coach as his own personal coach, but is not willing to give anything back in return. He was very eager to play the Olympics however, because the glory will be more his own than Switzerland’s.

If he doesn’t commit to DC this year, I’m going to have to call him nothing short of selfish.

January 23rd, 2014 at 8:56 am

WTF, he played in the world groups, when it mattered in 2012, that was only just over a year ago. Secondly, he has a 43/14 win loss ratio, third on the list of players when it comes to playing for their country. We all know what Roger’s plans were come the olympics, and how much stress that put on his body, he made the right decision to think of himself and not over do it. It must be a dilemma for all players when it comes to davis cup, because of the tight tennis schedule. Silly dates in the calendar sometimes.

If you think that Roger is selfish, well that’s twofold. I would call it damage limitation. What is the point in expending more energy, if you are out of it, when playing a full schedule? It makes absolutely no sense. Roger has done great for his country so far, and am sure will continue to do so, if needs be.

After defeating Ecuador last year, to return to the World Group – the Swiss bounce back and forth between the World Group and the play-offs with almost monotonous regularity – Severin Luthi, the Swiss Davis Cup captain and a close friend of Federer, remarked: “We wanted to absolutely show that we can win without Roger in the team.”

http://www.daviscup.com/156561?channel=daviscupnews#eFolAPdLvrDSXCYt.99

So that’s good to know that no one holds it against Roger. They are well aware of his commitments and that’s really what matters.

Now for the match tomorrow. Hurrah! Roger has reached the same position as last year. Loses zero points. That’s a positive.

And how wonderful it would be for him to be practising now against a leftie? Would Levine be in town? Lopez still hanging around? Meltzer? Lodra to help with the practice.

Come on Roger. The stars are alligning for you this year, let’s make it happen. You have nothing to lose.

I would imagine Rafa will be super hungry and super fine for tomorrow. Blisters or no blisters. Knee pain or not. The man is a machine, but Roger, God, he is so beautiful to watch on court.

No one touches him in that department.


Giles Says:

Post Jan 23rd 2.20 pm.
If Rafa wasn’t suffering with blisters I wouldn’t express nervousness!!!


Ben Pronin Says:

Tennis is an individual sport. When was the last time Nadal played a tie outside of Spain?


gonzalowski Says:

A fact I just remembered:
Fed lost to Hewitt, a player of similar characteristics of Nadal (but far away from him) some days ago.


vinod2vin Says:

@giles I also expect rafa to do the same thing versus FED . But then only FED can beat him right :) coz FED is trying different but Nadal is not


Emily Says:

Stan and his wife got back together, but I’ve never seen her at his matches


Teeg Says:

The first set is very important for Roger. You have to feel the longer the match goes on the more it will favour Rafa. We all know Rafa has lost the first set against Roger and still come back to win the match (06 Dubai, 06 FO, 11 Madrid, 13 Cincinnati etc.) so you have to feel the first set is more important for Roger and his confidence.


James Says:

@vinod2vin, what is Federer doing different this time? Serve and volley?

@Teeg, yes the first set is very important, for Federer more than Nadal. As a Rafa fan, I hope Rafa fights hard for the 1st set and win it.


Teeg Says:

@James

I hope so too. But you know Roger always gets off to these lightening quick starts against Rafa and then Rafa somehow always manages to reel him in. Rafa has to try stay with him early on and not fall behind.


tfouto Says:

c’mon Nadal fans,

Nadal had won lots of times against Federer by now. Let our man win once… dont be selfish :)

Vamos Roger! Dá-lhe forte!!!


Teeg Says:

@tfouto

We wouldn’t be his fans if we’d wish him to lose against anyone, especially his biggest rival. No matter how many times he’s beaten that player. We’re just greedy that way.


Teeg Says:

On a side note, who thinks Del Potro will be rooting for Rafa to win the title, since that means despite his poor result he would move to a career high ranking of no.3?


Purcell Says:

Madmax: thanks for your run down on Davis Cup. I’ve tried that too but it really is a waste of breath. Anyway Allez Stan, Allez Rog. Couldn’t wish for a nicer pair to have done so well at the beginning of the year.


Polo Says:

Mentally, Nadal is tougher than anyone. Physically, he is second to none. He arguably has the best backhand (as pointed out by tennis commentators). His forehand will not take a back seat to anyone. So what does Roger have to do to win? Maybe, we Roger lovers, should follow the lead of tfouto and beg Nadal to let our man win once. Please, Nadal, give Roger this one. Don’t be selfish!!!


madmax Says:

Queen Says:
WTF, Fed has never been a team player. He works for himself. Loves the spotlight. That’s why he comes across as an arrogant prick but that’s just his personality. Cannot change it.

January 23rd, 2014 at 10:23 am

a bit like you Queen.


Nirmal kumar Says:

Salleh Ahmed Says: nirmal, he did beat nadal at IW 2012 quite comfortably.you are the one with a short memory

Not sure if AO is played for 3-sets. I thought it’s played for 5-sets. And Roger lost to Rafa in AO 2012 Semis.


Michael Says:

Nirmal,

About that 2012 match. Wasn’t it so close where the margins were less ? Just a point here and there can change the whole contour of a match. Rafa ofcourse deserves as well as lucky to win the big points. But it is not necessary that it happens always. There may be times he would be at the receiving end and therefore there is always a ray of hope.


Nirmal kumar Says:

Michael, Having seen the match more than once, I could say it was never close. First set was close, but later Roger was trying to catch up Nadal most of the match. He could have been broken in so many of his serves. But his level of tennis was very high, just as it is now.


Giles Says:

Vamos Rafa!


madmax Says:

Hey Giles!

Vamos Roger! An hour to go before kick-off I think!

Good luck and all of the best to both players.

I wonder what it must be like to be sitting in that stadium right now, air electic, fizzing with excitement and hope, only for the match, touted as a classic, to fall flat.

No expectations. Though we all have to have dreams to make them become a reality.

Edberg must be the most important man in Fed’s life right now. Just has to be.

Come on Edberg!

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