Poll: Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal At Indian Wells Wednesday, Who’s The Pick?
by Staff | March 14th, 2017, 11:27 pm
  • 75 Comments

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal meet for the 36th time Wednesday in the Indian Wells fourth round. It’s their earliest meeting at an event since their first collision in the third round of Miami in 2004.

Nadal leads Federer 23-12, 12-4 at Masters 1000s, 9-8 on hard courts and 1-1 at Indian Wells taking their 2013 quarterfinals after losing in the semifinals in 2012.

But Federer has won the last two winning finals at 2015 Basel and just over a month ago at the Australian Open.

Federer, though, has never beaten Nadal three straight times.

“He has the talent to do very difficult things that look easy. He’s able to take the ball very early. Serve and first shot, he creates a lot of winners with that, the two first shots,” Nadal said of Federer.

“And then he’s able to take the ball always from inside, and he’s very quick going to the net. If you play a short ball, then you know that he’s going to go inside and going to hit a winner, going to play a shot [to your] forehand or backhand, goes to the net, and you are going to be in big trouble.”

Match time is 5pm ET. 8pm ET.


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75 Comments for Poll: Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal At Indian Wells Wednesday, Who’s The Pick?

Travis Bickle Says:

Rafa in two easy sets.


Wog Boy Says:

Yes, Rafa in two.


DC Says:

Nadal is hitting a lot of short balls and fed will feast on them.
Fed has been serving well , and often his serve is an indication on his over all game.
Fed wins in 2, just like he did at Indian Wells in 2012


Van Persie Says:

Fed in 3, hope I’m wrong. Vamos Rafa!


Sivaji Says:

Rafa is not feeling well last week and Roger is fresh after early defeat in Dubai. So my pick is Roger in 2-1


steve-o Says:

If Federer serves well, stays aggressive on the backhand and takes the ball early, it’ll be straight sets for him.

C’mon Roger!


Giles Says:

Rafa is bookies’ fave, I will go with them.
Vamos Champ!


Giles Says:

IF ….. lol


Pramod Soibam Says:

Nadal will win in 2-1sets as he play well than federer


the_mind_reels Says:

If Federer wins, then I give him the strong edge. On the other hand, if Nadal wins, I think he’ll definitely win.

Who cares?! What’s great about these two is that they keep playing well. They’ve both shown a remarkable ability to do the unexpected, so we can only look at the past so much to try to make “informed” bets on what will happen.


Leo Says:

Isn’t match time 8pm eastern? 5pm west coast?


Daniel Says:

Curious to see this match tonight. Federer is highlighting about “playing freely” and this could be a tuning point for him in this match up. He knows that the bulk of his loss are clay and with the monkey out of his back with this recent AO win he maybe overocme whaterver mental block we thought he had ref Nadal.

His still playing like he did in AO and Nadal, as DC pointed out, still leaving some short shots. Courts seems a bit faster also, let´s see. Either he will play well or the play free style won´t work if he starts spraying the ball all over court. In AO we knew he cared more, here it kind of does´t have any urgency and this can return him in the end.

This questions will be answered in first set. If he wins it, he is in for the match. He was also fist pumping a lot in Johnson match, so he wanted to win there.

Give a small edge to him, 55-45%


skeezer Says:

It would be nice of course to see Fed get another win against Rafa, but there is no expectation. After that win at AO, and the way he did it has left this fans cup full🎾


Giles Says:

Rafa will hang him out to dry today ( hopeful)!


Kimberly Says:

ok all, here is a fact I believe and let me see if you guys agree with me and if this makes sense to you.

If nadal cross court forehand still had the bite it did in years past there is no question that Federer has no answer for it. However, the fact is the shot has lost its bite to some degree.

If Nadal cross court forehand is on like years past he will win because Federer has no answer. Its not like Federer has an answer all of a sudden, the reality is the shot is not as good as it used to be? Agree or Disagree?


Daniel Says:

Kimberly,

Both! That Nadal shot decreased, and seems will never be back to its best again and Federer changed his court postion and taking the ball more on the rise on his BH. Plus hitting it wil less spin.

Of course, this tactics only work on fast low bouncing courts. Nadal was able to egnerate a lot of spin agaisn Nando, but Fed was hitting heavy his first few roudns and he was returning Johnson second serve driving his BH. Nadal´s weak second serve will still be there for the taking by Federer. And with the way Fed is serving Nadal won´t be able to push Fed to his backhadn corner as much as he wants to.

In last few years, the level drop by Nadal is more showing than Federer and that may explain last 2 matches.

It would be good to asses if they play on clay again. Although I would definetly prefer if Federer never plays him o clay again:-) He shoudl only pay Madrid (suits his game more and RG). T


skeezer Says:

I think Rafa will have more success with Fed this time. Rafa has more motivation than Fed imho atm, he has something to prove since AO. Additionally, the slower court will go more to his advantage. Like you said Kimberly, Rafa will still need to hit the FH DEEPER, if he can do that, probably he’ll win.
To Feds credit, he has changed his tactics, and has a bigger racket that has helped him against Rafa’s onslaught on the BH side. Will be interesting to see how all unfolds, but if Rafa wins the 1rst, its over.


Panela Says:

Skeezer – I agree 1000%. the pressure is off Roger since winning the AO. Of course he wants to win…. but, given a choice…. the AO would be the one and he won that.. They were talking about Roger’s game against Rafa last night when he was playing Steve Johnson… Using the bigger racket has definitely improved Roger’s game and given him an answer to Rafa’s game, when he had none before…. I would love to watch Roger win again…. that means I get to see him continue to play…. but, I am not counting on it… either way, Roger got his 18th slam and he can cruise on that for awhile…. Someone said Rafa was hurt? I didn’t notice… what happened?


Kimberly Says:

bad start


Daniel Says:

Good game for Nadal to love accelerating. He had BP previous Fed game. 2-1 Fed and serve.


Daniel Says:

Fed is crushing BH cross court, his timing is impeccable taking time away from Nadal. BP to go up 4-1


Daniel Says:

Wow, what a return to break again. Similar to when he got crucial break in AO fifth set.

Think the question is answered, it has more to do with Fed changing tactics than Nadal dropping. Fed changed his grip in BH under Ljubicic, who had an excellent BH also. And is more aggressive on returns.


kjb Says:

Fed is looking on point tonight!


Daniel Says:

Third straight game e lost first point.


kjb Says:

so far..


kjb Says:

Breadstick?


Daniel Says:

5-1. But hope next game he holds more easy, he went behind all games serving so far.


FedExpress Says:

Hater in ruins 3…2…1


Daniel Says:

Serve and volley to close 6-2. Wow!! Playing amazing and surprised Nadal with his intensity.


Daniel Says:

Fed’s FH today reminds me of 2006, when everytime he had a chance mid court to use it he hit a winner, just like this last shot to break. He is using a lot of inside out FH, going to the lines today.


BBB Says:

That layoff was the best thing Federer could have done. He acts like he’s playing with house money, instead of as though he’s entitled to win, and it’s really freed up his game.


FedExpress Says:

Break up in 2nd fed

hope he doesnt do what he did vs donskey

come on fed


FedExpress Says:

2 am here and i am watching a tennis match.


Daniel Says:

FedEx, it’s worthy it. Free tennis lesson;-)


Daniel Says:

Nadal smartly changing to body serves.


FedExpress Says:

Fed should be careful drom here in. nadal wont go away easily even he is outplayed atm


Daniel Says:

4-3 nd serve, better hold and stay 1 game away, can make another push in Nadal’s serve, who will serve under pressure.

Nadal too far behind to return serve.


Daniel Says:

Good challenge


Daniel Says:

Hold! Fed winning most points from baseline rallies.


FedExpress Says:

Hoping he isnt remembering donskey.

plz fed. do it.


FedExpress Says:

2 Mps fed


Daniel Says:

15-40, double MP. Hope he wins it to close it out. Better than giving Nadal some moral


FedExpress Says:

oh man what a match


kjb Says:

That was a beatdown


FedExpress Says:

oh man what a match

congratz daniel and to all fed fans who are sleeping


Okiegal Says:

Well….Roger is gaining on him…..13-23……..


steve-o Says:

Yesss! Fantastic performance by Federer, clean, aggressive tennis from first ball to last! That’s the first time he’s beaten Nadal three times in a row.


DC Says:

And there goes Fed in 2 easy sets.
Feds been serving well and via backhands been strong.
This is his third consecutive win over Nadal.


Daniel Says:

Wow, and with a return winner he does it.

Winning easily. Could this be the new pattern on HC and fast courts for them, or today was just one of those in the zone days for Federer. I think this was one of his best matches, totally playing free, facing just 1 BP, quick match just the way he likes it.

First time ever that he gets 3 straight wins over Nadal. 13-23 HxH and now, 11-10 outside clay, 9-9 on HC and 2-1 on grass.

To me if their HxH end something like 24-16 for Nadal it would be a decent, 40% wins out of 40 matches.

If he goes deep here he will probably skip Miami and hope he only plays 2 clay tourneys, Madrid and RG. If he can avoid Nadal there the better. Play an year on his terms.

Fed x Kyrgios should be great as well. Nick seems to prove himself, or he just likes playing Djoko.


Anto Says:

Now I have a strange feeling that Nadal can never win against Fed any more (may be not in clay). Its like nadal is playing altogether a different player now and he doesn’t know what to do. The interesting thing is that one might wonder these days what would have happened to this rivalry had he changed his tactics way before.


RZ Says:

Wow, way to go Fed!


jatin Says:

Congrts to all fed fans… Fed express , madmax, skeezer and all other :)
It was one of the best display of tennis I have ever seen from fed against rafa ( along with wtf 2011). His backhands were laser like, hit 8 winners of that wing along with several amazing returns.
He has found a new way of playing rafa and it is working big time.
Match against kyrigous should be amazing.


skeezer Says:

For the H2H dreamers;
Fed has now, @35, beaten his main adversary at a Grand Slam and the “5th Slam”.
In the supposed “strong era”.
The anti fed yappers are now excused. See ya.
Its a glorious day.


Humble Rafa Says:

Skeeze..calm down. No need to go down the 5th slam route. It’s insane. There are only 4 slams. The best one is the FO, where real tennis is played. Everyone know that.

Go feed your cats.


Markus Says:

Hi, skeezer! I came here wanting to ask how your day is going but I see that you just answered it.


Markus Says:

There are only 4 slams, yet Federer has 18.


skeezer Says:

TB
“Rafa in two easy sets.”
WB
“Yes in two”.
The Church needed something to hold on to after
Nick the Notorious took their sacrament down.
As a result, apparently they were confused.
It was Fed in two……..easy sets.


skeezer Says:

HR,
Be informed, take a break from the fishies, IW Has been heralded as the 5th Slam, look it up.

@Markus
👍🎾😃


Suresh Says:

Congratulations to the Swiss Mastraeo! Amaz!ng victory.


Angel Says:

I love when Federer kicks Nadal ass. I’ll sleep like a baby now.


steve-o Says:

@Anto: I agree, the AO final was a breakthrough for Federer. For the first time ever, he quit trying to protect his backhand with his other shots and did something he had never done before: reverse his baseline patterns and use his BH as the primary offensive stroke against Nadal’s FH.

It’s like a champion skateboarder who skates regular foot, who’s forced to change to skate goofy foot for the final, most difficult course. It seemed impossible before he did it, but having done it once, he can do it again and again.

I’m not sure he could have done this earlier; the new racket is more forgiving and lets him take more risk on the backhand and take it earlier, on the bounce, and drive it cross-court to take time away from Nadal. With the old one he might not have been able to do that.

As for clay, Federer has a chance even there. It’s not really about the surface; it’s about Federer’s mentality. Now that that’s changed, he has a shot anywhere.

For a long time, Federer was like a charmed snake when he was facing Nadal. Nadal just stuck to his one strategy, which he was always sure would work, and Federer was unwilling to change up his game. Now it’s the other way around, and it’s Nadal who has to adapt.

The strength of Nadal’s game, and the source of his mental toughness, is its mechanical simplicity. He plays the same point over and over again, prolonging the rally until the opponent either drops of exhaustion, makes a mistake, or leaves the ball hanging short (so he can pound it for a winner). Having to choose from very few options means he rarely makes UEs. If he can’t extend the rallies, he has to try more complicated tactics, and that leads to more mistakes.

To beat Federer again he has to adapt his game and learn how to play short-point tennis with a lot of variety, and it’s not clear how he can do that. To beat Federer on Federer’s own turf and outplay him in a match of shotmaking, attacking tennis is a really tall order. But it’s what Nadal has to do to have a chance.


Daniel Says:

I know is getting ahead, but if Federer wins the ttle he moves to #6 and Nadal to #7. All other players close to him lost: Goffin, Tsonga, and even if Thiem makes final with victory he will stay on top.
Also Kei will move to #4 next week regardless, Raonic loses 600 pts from last year.

Fed could enter clay season as #1 in the race with victoy here even if he doesn’t play Miami. Who would have thought?! 😱

Stan losing third set to Nishioka a break down. A Lucky Loser had never reached QF in IW ever before, could be the first time.


Anto Says:

@steve-o: I think you are right about what you said about nadal. I never thought of it as a mechanical simplicity as you pointed out. But all these years I very well believed it was not his tennis excellence but rather his mental toughness that made him win this many Slams including French open I might add. No one even come close to his mental toughness in his prime, may be Djokovic come close but still not at his level I would say. Thats why I really liked him, more than any other player In fact. He won matches with his sheer will power. See I am not saying Nadal is not a talented player, he really is. But if you look at the big 4 talent wise or tennis excellence wise I would say the order will be Federer > Murray > Djokovic > Nadal. (The problem with murray I believe is that he is one with least mental toughness among the Big 4 and having lots of shots in his repertoire means he doesn’t know which one to play when consistently).

But the thing about Nadal is that he ain’t gonna give up. He is gonna try to improve a bit by bit and hopefully we might get even better matches with these two players. and with Djokovic too I hope.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Fed owns Rafa. Its just a match-up issue.

Just kidding. First, the Novak match. It was disappointing. Novak doesn’t look himself. He seemed a bit sluggish, low energy. Kyrgios really didn’t do anything special to win. I was surprised how many rally balls he hits. I thought he goes for the lines normally, but he hit the vast majority of his balls safely to the middle of the court.

Second match was breathtaking. What an amazing show. Federer’s lost a step, shanks his forehand, his serve isn’t what it was – but his backhand! Is Fed’s 2017 backhand his best ever, or at least, as good as 2004-2007? I was skeptical of Ljubicic, but he’s made some great changes to Fed’s game. Of course, the match-up isn’t what it was. They are both older, and neither has been close to #1 for a while. But specifically, I think Fed’s 3 in a row is due to a) less quality from Rafa’s FH cross-court, b) Fed’s court positioning, c) Fed’s improved BH.

It will be really interesting to see if Rafa succeeds when he doesn’t run into Fed. I though Novak had established a stranglehold on their rivalry, but right now, it looks like Rafa can take him AND Murray.


BBB Says:

TV, I don’t read too much into the Djoker match. I’m not surprised he was flat. Nick’s serving was mostly outstanding. I also like that Nick acts like a serious player when he’s up against Novak. Bodes well for Nick’s future. There’s a grown up in there.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

d) mental strength. Rafa once dominated Fed mentally. Again, neither is as ‘tough’ mentally against the field as they were in their #1 years, but Fed has gained vs Rafa. That AO match was a new dynamic. Didn’t really come into play today though, as Fed was leading throughout, and never really threatened.


skeezer Says:

It only took 68 minutes.
Somebody tell me what is happening. Is Feds BH now better than his FH? Watch his AO & IW performance and tell me I’m wrong.


Bob Lewis Says:

On backhand side, I don’t remember seeing any slices from Federer. The intent was the take away Nadal’s time and push him back as far as possible. Lots of pace and good angles. Great returns too. Nadal needs to rethink his strategy in this matchup now.


Van Persie Says:

^^

Agree, Bob. I knew that Rafa would have small chances for a win against Federer. Rafa’s playing style has to change, he is not so young and fresh anymore. Self confidence also low, when he has to face his rivals from the past.
Honestly, I would prefer Nole to play Rafa, if I had to chose between Roger, Rafa and Andy.


the_mind_reels Says:

Agree with Bob above as well. I think I saw Federer hit one, maybe two slices, and only then when pulled exceptionally wide out on the backhand side.

Most folks have covered it here already, but to me, one of the things that sticks out to me about the changes Federer has made on the backhand is the extra time and recovery he now has because he looks eager to drive the shot. Historically, he’s looked to run around the backhand, but when he can’t play the right shot on his forehand from the tramline, he’s behind in the point because of how far over he’s shuffled to play the forehand.

Now, his court positioning is better, which allows him to stay on top of the point and strike the ball confidently off his backhand.

Check out this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67KrqSIZbKM

You can see at 2 min 45 sec that he thinks about running around the backhand to hit the forehand, but then it’s like something clicks and he says nope, I’m going to keep cracking away at the backhand, and he quickly readjusts his feet to hit the BH. Obviously, it still makes sense for him to run around and hit his forehand when he has the time, and he did this almost to perfection last night.


Tennis Lover Says:

With the cleansing of Djoker demon tennis is pure now


HJF Says:

Rafa himself once said, there is nobody that can live with Federer when hes returning like that ….


vami Says:

@Tennis Hater
Do you really need to repeat your stupid line at every single thread?Roger played awesome, that deserves to be acknowledged. What’s wrong with you?


Panela Says:

As always lots of great comments…. I live here in southern california…. tennis channel was announcing all the matches and James Black, Jim Weirtham (?) (the guy from SI) and a few others all picked Rafa to win in 2 sets and a few said 3. Not one of them picked Roger. they didn’t even give him any chance to beat Rafa…. Well, us Fed fans have waited a long time to watch Roger get back to this place and now we have the new improved BH to go with it. He is like a ballet dancer.. SO much grace and poise flying across the court. Poor Rafa looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Hope that Roger finds a way to deal with Kyrios’ serve….. to all my fellow fed fans… Congrats to our boy!! Hoping this is the start of a new wave of Federer winning more and more matches… I do think winning the AO has taken a lot of pressure off the “will roger ever win another slam” discussion….. yesterday I was saying if he looses against Rafa, I am sure he would rather with the AO than this…. to my delight he kicked Rafa’s ass and looked like he was having a blast doing it


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