The Two Forehands
by Sean Randall | May 14th, 2006, 11:03 pm

Two forehands. That’s all Roger Federer is thinking about right now, two forehands.

Federer had two championship points in the fifth set with Rafael Nadal serving 15-40, 5-6, Sunday in Rome but missed them both. Both were makeable, both were missable. Nadal took the blow, recovered, pushed a tiebreak and took the match from the World No. 1.

Talk about a dagger right through the heart of the mighty Fed.

Federer had done everything he could. Shook off early tournament rust, managed his ground attack impeccably and played about as well as anyone has played against the Spaniard at the net, but in the end the Swiss champ came up short for a fifth time in six tries against Nadal.ADHERER

While Federer remains the best overall player in the game, Nadal is still the clear-cut man to beat on the clay. The 19-year-old’s forehand is flat-out ferocious and his will to win is second to none.

What’s truly amazing is that the Nadal is not anywhere near as talented as Federer. Nor does he have the extensive resources of the Swiss. While Federer can consult with legendary coach and former French Open champion Tony Roche, Nadal relies on the words and encouragement of a different Tony, Uncle Tony, who has somehow helped his nephew not just figure out the Fed game, but also how to get into his head.

Federer fans and Fed himself will likely and rightly point out that he had the two match points, was up 4-1 in the fifth, was effective at the net and that he is learning more and more about how to beat Nadal. Above all, that he is close. Real close.

But what about Nadal? Isn’t he learning, too? Doesn’t Rafa gain in someway from the win? Don’t you think that now Nadal will be further prepared for a full-on net-rushing Federer next time? Uncle Tony is probably sitting down right now plotting and surveying Rafa’s next move against the Swiss should they indeed meet in the French final (assuming a Hamburg final is an impossibility).

In sports, a loss is a loss is a loss, and as they say, close only counts in horseshoes. Just ask Guillermo Coria. And until Federer finally wins in this one-sided affair, and puts that forehand away, the horse I’m picking remains named Rafa. Vamos!

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14 Comments for The Two Forehands

Sunny Says:

Ha ha ha! You made me laugh there.

It’s all quite reasonable actually, but when it comes to grandslams and especially this years’ French Open, my expectations always lie with the mighty Fed. He wasn’t motivated enough to thrash Nadal, because it was only a Masters Title. You can’t say that for Nadal though, because he’s at an age where everything is of equally great importance whether it’s a Master’s title or a Grand Slam title.

Look out for Federer to shed tears while lifting the cup at Roland Garros this year! :D

Sunny Says:

Yep, no need to get confused. Those will be tears of pure happiness from Federer’s eyes… :)

BeerMe Says:

mirka was prob keeping sharp objects away from him.

Dowie Says:

As I said in a previous comment, Federer will woo the day he made the comment about Rafa’s one dimentional game. That game is playing havoc with Federer’s head. My advice say less and do more to challange Rafa. This is good for the game. It is gratifying to see a player standing up to Federer and no rolling over and die.
Hallelujah for Rafa. Long live the kingDB.

10nis-fan Says:

I love tennis and I think that it’s just amazing to watch a match between two great players as Federer and Nadal… I don’t think that, at this moment, Federer is worse than Nadal. He is a more complete player, with more experience and, as you said, more resources. But anything else is just about style, so it’s not about who is better or worse, you can like (if you like tennis you’ll probably do) both of them, and, above all, when they play together…
I am really fed up with all the fed-fans who say (everytime he loses against Nadal) that he wasn’t on his best play. Ok, maybe his lasts matches against Nadal weren’t his better ones, but don’t tell that he wasn’t on his best yesterday. Just admit that they were head to head and Nadal won, that’s all. It doesn’t mean at all that it’s over, it just means that NADAL WON FEDERER IN A GREAT MATCH!! Repeat with me, it’s quite easy…

Sunny Says:

Those who saw the match for what it was and tennis for what it is will be able to see that Federer is beyond tennis. He doesn’t just play tennis, he creates magic and his racket is his magic wand.

Remember what people were saying after he lost last year’s Master’s cup to Nalbandian and exhibited relatively poor form (for him) throughout the Aussie Open before defeating Bagdatis in the final? They were saying what you are saying now.

Federer will win the French Open and maybe go on to complete the Grand Slam this year by winning the Wimbledon and also at Flushing Meadows.

While Nadal is extraordinary among ordinary players, Federer is GOD among extraordinary players.

TennisFan Says:

I for one don’t think that saying Rafael plays a one-dimensional game is rude or malicious. I think people have always said that about Roddick and the Williamses and Sharapova and others. Having a one-dimensional game is not necessarily bad, especially if you can do it well, like Nadal does.

I think right now Nadal is in Fed’s head. Will be interesting how it all plays out, if they are to meet at Roland Garros. I think it will really help if Rog doesn’t have to play long matches like he did in Rome, prior to the final. I was expecting Nadal to give him a sound beating, especially given Nadal’s form coming in. I am a bit surprised it was so close.

JG Says:

Two names: Lleyton Hewitt & David Nalbandian. Remember when they were 7-0(?) & 5-0 over Federer? Can’t last forever. This match was lost by Federer rather than won by Nadal. Federer is the more talented, more complete, brighter player — if less determined — & he doesn’t need coaching during the match.

Fed had match points against the “King of clay” on his supposed “weak” surface. Nadal, like Hewitt & Nalbandian, is simply a hump that he will overcome. Don’t be surprised if you see him triumph at RG 2006.

Shawn Says:

I am watchin tennis for last 25 years and Federer is the most complete player I have ever seen. Keep in ming Nadal can never win on grass of US open because his game is not to win on those types to courts

mandymcdaniel Says:

Federer, the king, seems to be making more and more forced errors. He had 70+ in one match and made it through. Nadal in all his puberty is playing a cleaner game, and appears to be taking the big points when he needs them…like a true champion. Had Federer played the same type of match at Wimbleton in 2004 against Roddick (not 2005 as Roddick did not play him as well as the year before)…then Roddick would not still be a one slam wonder. Roddick seems to play those who have the match of their life against him,…and it was no different for Andy at Wimbleton. I put my money on Nadal on any clay surface against Federer or anyone…..but I’d also go as far as to say that Nadal has a good chance against Federer at Wimbleton as well…although Roddick still has a good chance if he plays on grass as well as he did in Davis Cup. Federer is due for a dry spell…and will surprise all by losing in some early rounds against players you would not expect him to lose to…..and by years end….Nadal will take over as #1…as when Federer starts to fall and lose points, Nadal will pick them up and overtake him…by the end of this year…!!!
1..Nadal, 2. Federer, 3. Roddick, 4. Nalbandian, 5. Lubi. 6. Blake, 7. Davedyn, 8. Hewitt, 9. Ginepri, 10. Aggasi

Nah-dal Says:

I think it’s all an act by Federer. He wasn’t exhausted, he certainly wasn’t disoriented. He had 2 match points. He lost them due to UNFORCED errors. I think most of his errors were unforced and deliberately perpetrated by him to artificially create a rivalry with Nadal so that people won’t call him a champion who went unchallenged and thereby underrate him when comparing him with the historic greats of tennis.

But this won’t last long. Federer will conquer Roland Garros and then those of you who continually underestimate him will have to eat your words and maybe get the indigestion you deserve so much.

Antonio Says:

Federer may be the more complete player in history…but not the best in any surface.

Wilander says that everybody thinks that the best player now is the best player ever.

By the way, one-dimensional comments are not the polite thing that we expect from Federer…

Ingrid Says:

Rafael won against Federer in the semifinals at RG last year. The only difference this year is that Federer is going to lose in the final.

will Says:

everyone just assumes they will get to the final. i predict an early round upset sounding out a collective groan of disappointment in the tennis world.

p.s. the one-dimensional fed comment isn’t a nasty comment. it’s the truth. it would be nasty for fed to falsely praise nadal for his all-around touch, versatility and impeccable and outstanding shot selection. one-dimensional isn’t necessarily a negative as long as that one-dimension is fantabulously effective as is this majorcan’s.

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