Federer Sacks Coach as Nadal Wins 77th Straight on Clay
by Sean Randall | May 14th, 2007, 3:29 pm

It was business as usual for Rafael Nadal Sunday in Italy, crushing his 77th straight opponent on the red clay defeating Fernando Gonzalez for his third consecutive Rome Masters title.

What has most shocking about Nadal’s title run is that this event he actually surrendered a set, nearly losing to an inspired Nikolay Davydenko who forced Nadal side-to-side before coming in to put away volleys. Nadal was too strong in the end, but Davydenko’s ability to create angles and to knock volleys put Nadal on edge. ADHEREL
Nadal is now entered to play in Hamburg, which thanks to a bye begins for him on Wednesday. But if you’re a Nadal fan living in Hamburg, don’t get your hopes too high of seeing the clay monster given that Rafa could very easily and understandably withdraw from the event. Let’s face it, Nadal’s game is clearly back in gear and his confidence sky high, so playing Hamburg, a slower, wetter surface, really wouldn’t add much to his level of play. And by playing he could suffer fatigue or even worse get injured ahead of the French. In my mind, the reward/risk ration just isn’t high enough for Nadal to play, that is unless he wanted to lose early and get the streak over with. But that’s hard to imagine.

Speaking of the streak, Nadal’s 77 straight is a record-long for any surface beating Johnny Mac’s 75 in a row indoors. What makes Rafa’s streak that much more impressive is that there are so many guys who know how to play on clay, and he’s blowing them out. Whereas on an indoor surface like carpet, McEnroe had fewer obstacles to deal with. (how many “indoor experts” were there back then? Zero??)

And let’s not forget one thing about Rafa when it comes to Roland Garros, the guy has never ever lost a match there. Never. He’s a perfect 14-0. Find me another guy who won his first 14 career matches at a Slam. Pretty incredible.

But perhaps the biggest story from yesterday was news that Roger Federer sacked Tony Roche. Is this just another sign of Federer unraveling or perhaps does he know what he’s doing? We shall see, but what’s interesting is that Roche was with him at Rome leading me to wonder had he done better at the tournament would Roche then have remained on board?

Also, seeing how Roche won the French Open and was hired in part to help Roger get over the Roland Garros hurdle, why fire the guy just weeks before the event at which you need his help the most? Puzzling, but Federer seems comfortable with his decision. Says Fed:

“It’s something that’s been inside myself for a few months. It was a decision that wasn’t easy, of course, because we’re good friends and get along very well and he’s helped me a lot over the last couple of years. (But) in the end he was a part-time coach. We only were together for 15 weeks and distances were also not so easy … I just thought the communication kind of changed and it was not going much further.”

Translation: I’ve lost four straight events, something’s got to give and I can’t get rid of Mirka. My game is getting stale and Roche doesn’t want to travel as much as I would like him too. Plus, how many titles did Roche help Lendl win at Wimbledon? Roche is jinxed when it comes to winning that missing slam, and I want none of that.

Roger, who is in Hamburg this week where he should win his third straight title there provided Nadal pulls, said he would hold off on hiring a new coach until after Wimbledon, which is probably a smart move. Hiring a new coach this close to the French could potentially further screw up his already screwed up game, something he simply cannot afford to deal with next month at Wimbledon.

Speculation is Darren Cahill will be Fed’s next guy. An Aussie like Roche, Cahill coached Andre Agassi and was said to be close to Fed’s former mentor Peter Carter.

Till then, the Fed Faithful needn’t be too worried. Remember, a coachless Federer won three of the four Slams in 2004. Of course he didn’t win the French that year either.

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73 Comments for Federer Sacks Coach as Nadal Wins 77th Straight on Clay

Agassi fan Says:

How about Muster as his new coach? A lefty, phenomenal clay courter and grinder. Plus not as outdated as Roche – come one, it was in 1966 that Tony Roche won the French (or thereabouts, its too long ago..). The game is TOO different today. Never have a coach who retired before you were born!

jack in the box Says:

oh boy hehe I am loving every minute of Federers demise.

penise Says:

Good at least he is mad. My fear is he get burned out, does a Borg and says “f*ck it,” and poretends to be lenny kravits.

citxmech Says:

I think it’s a little early to start talking about Fed’s “demise.” He’s still more than 2000 points ahead of the “unbeatable” Nadal! If he gets blown out in the first round at Wimbledon, maybe then y’all can start talking…

Agassi fan Says:

I love this discussion!! 7000 ranking points, the guy won the last slam without losing a set (first time in 27 years), lost in 4 tournaments in a row and its his demise!!

He’s certainly coming down from his stratospheric standards. Maybe from now on he will just do what Sampras used to do at his peak – win a couple of slams a year, hover around 5000 ranking points, go in and out of the no 1 ranking, lose 14-15 matches a year – that wouldn’t be too bad, eh? Wasn’t too bad for Pete.

zola Says:

thanks for this article and acknowledging Nadal. He is amazing and I hope he stays healthy and be able to improve his hard court game as well. The way he came back against Davydenko was just heroic.

I think Fed wants a more serious coach and true, he has done plenty without Roche. I would never think of a Fed demise. Every player goes through phases. he had a great run last year and he is under lots of pressure for French Open. Yes, he has lost a few matches, but I think tennis is not just about winning or losing. It is about how to deal with them. Rafa did very well during the title-less 8 months and improved his game. Fed will do the same and will come back. Wait a few months till the hard court season and he will be fine, like the way rafa needed the clay ….

John Says:

My guess on Nadal’s next opponents:

78: Hernandez
79: Andreev
80: Gonzalez
81: Davydenko
82: Federer

79 and 81 could be interesting.

John Says:

Did anyone notice that A-Rod dropped to #4?

Vamos Says:

Still no indication that Rafa’s not playing Hamburg. I really wish he would pull out, but maybe he’s bored with his domination and wants more of a challenge. :P

And yes, I did notice that Andy had dropped to #4. No big surprise; the points difference was very small.

Mburke Says:

I love it when everyone’s talking about Federers “demise” when: 1)He’s won the only grandslam played thus far in 2007, and did it without a dropping a set(as good as rafa is on clay, he still hasnt done that yet) 2) He’s only lost 4 times 3) He’s still over 2000 points ahead of Nadal on the rankings. If Nadal wants to pass him, he’d better play and win hamburg, then hope fed chokes at wimbledon and that he, nadal, wins it.

timwashu Says:

Fed: don’t worry about winning clay and just have fun. Continue winning the remaining hardcourt and grass tournaments every year, as you always do, and dismiss the clay seasons. Use them as hitting practice.

FoT Says:

Mburke… nice post. I guess a lot of folks also forgot to remember that Roger didn’t win any clay events last year either – yet he went on to win Halle, Wimbledon, Canada, US Open, etc., etc.

Like Zola said earlier, (or maybe on another post), players go through these stages. I remember a lot of ‘fans’ were saying Nadal wouldn’t be #2 longer because he hadn’t won a tournament in so many months…well, we see where he is now. So don’t be too happy predicting Roger’s downfall yet. The season has a long way to go…

penise Says:

Those who doubt Fed’s demise are wrong. Fed is Nadal’s bitch; the points don’t reflect it because Rafa had a strange hard court season let down and then got injutred. All Rafa has to do is stay healthy and avoid a hard court season let down, and he’s No. 1.

Eileen Says:

Men’s tennis is about to get very interesting. Roddick will win Wimbledon, and Rafa will end the year as #1. Impossible? We’ll see . . . . And as for Federer’s breaking Pete’s record, how many men over the age of 25 have won slams? Very few.

mia Says:

love federer~!!
roger rules the tennis courts!!
clay or grass~~
we’ll see whos laughing at the end..
rafal is not even a cm close to fed~
he is the king of tennis and as for rafa..??
he will be shining federers shoes..

autumn Says:

rafa and fed are BOTH great! very different players, but i think they each have a long happy career ahead of them….i do think if fed had not been number one so long, rafa would have been an awesome number one, and i hope he will be at some point! he and justine henin are fabulous, scrappy players – watching their determination on the court helped me recover from a serious car accident…..

samps Says:

Good Article Sean. Nadal should drop Hamburg but you perhaps forgot the fight with ATP on demoting Hamburg. Considering that he’s been so active on the issue, do you think that would be a factor in his judgement? Anyway, he’s making it harder for himself. Even in his interview after the final, he said that he was pretty tired. He was perhaps a little lucky that Gonzo was rubbish and it could have been harder for Rafa if the match had gone on. He’s not a machine as is obvious. Hopefully he doesent play doubles at Hamburg! Its pointless winning all the masters if you somehow lose RG because of tiredness.

And regarding Rafa being No. 1 by the end of the year, its extremely unlikely. Rafa is surely adapting to other surfaces and working hard at doing that. But I doubt this is the year when he starts dominating. Fed’s clay season isnt really an indication of anything yet. Just that he’s a little messed up trying to hard. Its easy to go overboard about rafa like after last year’s Wimby final but we have to be more cautious about future predictions since he’s still away from being consistent on other surfaces. The most important issue is how he deals with people other than Fed on other surface. y’know Blake, Berdych, Gonzo, and even Youzhny. You cant be number one if you keep losing to others in the top ten(and beyond) everytime.

shane gregg Says:

After reading all of these articles I have come to realize that none of you have watched tennis very long……The reason I say this is that if you go back and I mean all the way back to the days of Laver and Budge, and than all the way up through Connors, Borg, and Mcenroe…..and than move ahead to Becker, Lendle, Sampras, Agassi, Edberg, Courier, Rafter, you will see that all of these players had good years and bad years…..For instance……the man who I think will go down as the second greatest tennis player of all time is Pete Sampras…..if you were to look back at the career of Pete Sampras which started in 1989 and went up through his miraculous US Open in 2002 then you would see that even in his prime years 1994 through 1998 his best year ending win to loss ratio was 64 wins and 13 losses and a total point calculation of 5,300 points……Now, you ask me what is my point to this story….Well, my point is this…..I believe the tennis world is jumping the gun when we start talking about Roger Federer being in a crisis….After all the guy is going on his fourth year in a row of being ranked number one not just at the years end, but maintaining the ranking for the entire year for all four years…..also over the last three and a half years the guy has had the greatest win to loss ratio in the history of the sport with his most losses coming in 2004 with 6, and a record of 90 wins and 5 losses last year……also no man has ever got even close to finishing the year with 8,000 points and Roger did it……The fact that he is only 25 and already has 10 slams tells me that he will surely break Pete Sampras’s record of 14 grand slams……I also believe that Roger will win the French Open before his career is over and I believe that he will beat Nadal in the Finals of the French Open in the next three years…..Also we need to discuss the depth of the game today as compared to 10 years or even 5 years ago…..The top 100 players in the world are much stronger today than they were in the past years and this is not just coming from a former Junior College Tennis player in myself, but also many professionals and ex grandslam winners like Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi have said the same thing….Given this fact and the fact that Roger is playing at a time where the greatest clay court player in the history of our sport is playing makes it even that much more difficult, but yet that much more amazing what he has been able to do the last several years…..so we need to be a LITTLE more respectful with what we say about the greatest player in the history of our sport!

zola Says:

i agree with most of what you say:
-Nadal should certainly drop out of Hamburg. He has played 3 ATP s anyway.

-We should talk about Nadal being No 1 when his ranking point difference is less than a few hundred. Fed is now a comfortable 2000 points ahead

-yeah, every player goes through these phases, quite right. but I gurantee you if one of us was able to “watch ” Rod Laver at his time, will be too old to watch tennis now!

graham Says:

Nadal probably feels an obligation to play Hamburg to support his fellow clay courters in the battle with the ATP. How bad would he look if he missed it for the third year straight whilst at the same time lobbying for it to retain Masters Status?

It obviously doesnt fit into his traditional french open preparation but i think hes just going to have to suck it up and play.

He had 2 days rest after Rome, hes got a very easy 1st match and it will only be a 3 set final should he make it.

And im sure for someone as fit as Nadal, one weeks rest/practice for the french will be enough.

penise Says:

shane gregg

When else did the number 2 dominate number 1 like Rafa is currently doing to Fed, not just on clay but on clay and hard which is 90% of the season?

JJ Says:


Rafa owns Fed on clay 5-0, but on hard court (60% of the tennis season) they are even at 2-2.

SadSmiles Says:

I think Roger is going to win the FO. Why?
1. He is fresh – like to preserve his body -remind me of mummies-lol.He is a beast when it comes to slams. So watch out.
2.Nadal is playing non stop. Let me tell you ,rafa fans, mileage counts and he will not be same in next 2 yrs.Nadal ifyou want to defend FO you better take some rest.

SadSmilesAgain Says:

2002 26 18
Roger 2001 35 16
2007 19-4* 2000 43 13
2006 92-5 1999 41 9
2005 81-4 1998 62 18
2004 77 5 1997 58 11
2003 80 18 1996 68 10
2002 58 W 23 L 1995 84 15
2001 51 w 21 L 1994 78 11
2000 36 W 30 l 1993 85 15
99 27 W 24 l 1992 75 19
98 2 w 4 l 1991 55 18
1990 53 19
1989 18 19
1988 11 13

JCF Says:

I can’t make out any of your data SadSmilesAgain. It’s not formatted properly.

Joanne Says:

Shane Gregg; exellent comment; I totally agree.

cj Says:

what all this nonsence about a demised fed.do you know nothing about tennis.sure he can have difficult times he is a man so he must have ups and downs in life same as you and i surely.he is not out of the top ten is he?so give the guy a chance could he have done so much last year he got a little tired.do any of you remember last years masters cup against james blake do you remember?have you ever seen tennis played like that before or was it tennis?i hope the greatest humblest decent sports man ever can get back on track and give us what we are missing cause be honest who can have you in awe like that watching tennis.the skill,the grace,the movement,the shot making,the whole package tennis will never be the same without him EVER.

Seth Says:

“. . . an inspired Nikolay Davydenko who forced Nadal side-to-side before coming in to put away volleys. Nadal was too strong in the end, but Davydenko’s ability to create angles and to knock volleys put Nadal on edge.”

Roger Federer are you listening? If Davydenko has the game to do this, then surely you, arguably the most talented player to ever pick up a racket, surely do.

This is basically the strategy that Fed employed against Nadal in the 2006 Rome Final, a strategy that for all intents purposes was a successful one. The only thing that failed that day was Fed’s nerves on both match points. But the strategy itself was clearly a winning one.

Unfortunately, in the two claycourt matches against Rafa since then (the ’06 RG Final and this year’s MC Final), Fed has been tentative, with a distinct lack of “fire in the belly”. I wish someone would give Fed the Mother of all Pep Talks and say something like this:

“You have more than enough game to beat Rafael Nadal, regardless of the surface. To hell with his claycourt streak, to hell with him being the greatest claycourter of all time, to hell with his mental toughness, to hell with his defense – you can take it to him and beat him! Let him win the French five more times, you’ve only got to get him this one time and drill him off the court. Now get out there and do it!”

If Davydenko can string Rafa along side to side and then come in knock off the volley and almost win doing so, then Fed can certainly do this as long as he BELIEVES he can win, or rather, as long as he refuses to do anything but win.

John Says:

SadSmilesAgain numbers:

(My best guess.)

Roger W-L
2007 19 04
2006 92 05
2005 81 04
2004 77 05
2003 80 18
2002 58 23
2001 51 21
2000 36 30
1999 27 24
1998 02 04

Pete W-L
2002 26 18
2001 35 16
2000 43 13
1999 41 09
1998 62 18
1997 58 11
1996 68 10
1995 84 15
1994 78 11
1993 85 15
1992 75 19
1991 55 18
1990 53 19
1989 18 19
1988 11 13

John Says:

Stats for Nadal vs Davydenko, Rome, Saturday 5/12/2007

1st serve%: RN 68% (71/105) ND 74% (103/139)

1st RN serve points won: RN 44 ND 27 diff +17
2nd ND serve points won: RN 21 ND 15 diff +06
2nd RN serve points won: RN 15 ND 19 diff -04
1st ND serve points won: RN 48 ND 55 diff -07

Total points: RN 128 ND 116 diff +12
Total serves: RN 105 ND 139 diff -34

Winners: RN 34 ND 36 diff -2
Unforced errors: RN 41 ND 53 diff -12
Forced errors: RN 39 ND 41 diff -2

Break points won: RN 50% (8/16) ND 58% (7/12)
Breaks: RN 8 ND 7 diff +1

Score: RN 76, 67, 64

Time: 3:39

yellowballspanker Says:

Seth has nailed Fed’s problem without realizing it.

I think Wilander said it last year about Federer, and that is he doesn’t like to look bad out there. He has to get over that. He has to not worry about looking like he is trying his very very hardest, but still might lose. He has to play out of his comfort zone which means longer points, angles, taking the ball from the back of the court, drop shots, all the stuff you need to win on clay. it’s not pretty. Nadal’s game is downright ugly. but he wins. and Fed’s got to win ugly, or he will never win the French. it’s not a pretty surface. Guga had the superior backhand to make it look somewhat nice, but there is still a lot of grinding, blocking, and plain old chopping that went on during his run there.

Fed! Wake up! Have some fun. Stop thinking about everything, and just hit the ball. Enjoy the competition, the grind, the work, the sweat, the dirt. Get dirty! Get those perfectly clean clothes dirty. Take a few dives. The Spaniards are diving all over the place, even when they know they’re going to miss, they’re diving into the dirt. Mess up your hair, don’t shave, don’t shower, don’t brush your teeth. Let it hang out! You CAN win this event. But if you come in playing like Mr. Wimbledon… well, you’re good, but you’re no Borg.

sensationalsafin Says:

federer is making the same mistake roddick did the last few years. after getting crushed by federer 3 times in 2004, roddick basically focused his whole game around beating federer and although he had a decent 2005, it came back to bite him in the ass in 2006 where he was losing to everyone without knowing why. of course until connors helped him beat the players he should beat, which is just about everyone outside the top 10. last year nadal went 4-2 against federer, one of which was in dubai where federer owned him in the first set and went on to lose. and at wimbledon nadal gave federer a legitimate scare on federer’s very best surface against nadal’s very worst surface. and its not the same as federer troubling nadal on clay because even though clay is federer’s worst surface, he still grew up on the surface and is pretty comfortable even if his game doesnt naturally suit it. there’s no explaining what happened in indian wells and miami, he lost one because he didn’t play his best and he lost the other because he choked. i agree that he doesn’t show enough emotion. he doesn’t show any “fire in the belly” which, imo and seemingly everyone elses, hurts him. after losing at monte carlo all the pictures showed federer smiling with the runner up trophy as if though he won the fuggin thing. wtf is wrong with him?? so back to my point, he’s gotten so obsessed with beating nadal that he’s forgotten about everyone else. i have faith in federer, though, i think he’s a smarter than roddick and will figure out what he needs to start winning again and hopefully he’ll figure out how to beat nadal without sacrificing the rest of his results.

John Says:

Pete vs Roger

Here’s a more elaborate comparison.

The source data comes from Wikipedia.

T# = number of Titles
GS# = number of Grand Slam Titles

A = Australian Open
F = French Open
W = Wimbledon
U = US Open

Pete: Born 8/12/1971

Age Year W-L WL% T# GS#

30 2002 27-17 61% 01 1 U
29 2001 35-16 69% 00 0
28 2000 42-13 76% 02 1 W
27 1999 40-08 83% 05 1 W
26 1998 61-17 78% 04 1 W
25 1997 55-12 82% 08 2 AW

24 1996 65-11 86% 08 1 U
23 1995 72-16 82% 05 2 WU
22 1994 77-12 87% 10 2 AW
21 1993 85-16 84% 08 2 WU
20 1992 72-19 79% 05 0
19 1991 52-19 73% 04 0
18 1990 51-17 75% 04 1 U
17 1989 18-19 49% 00 0
16 1988 10-10 50% 00 0

Roger: Born 8/8/1981

Age Year W-L WL% T# GS#

25 2007 19-04 83% 02 1 A

24 2006 92-05 95% 12 3 AWU
23 2005 81-04 95% 11 2 WU
22 2004 74-06 93% 11 3 AWU
21 2003 78-17 82% 07 1 W
20 2002 58 22 73% 03 0
19 2001 49 21 70% 01 0
18 2000 36 30 55% 00 0
17 1999 13 17 43% 00 0
16 1998 02 03 40% 00 0

First 9 years, Age 16-24:

Note that the first 9 years are nearly the same!

PS 502-139 78%, Titles 44, GS titles 8
RF 483-125 79%, Titles 45, GS titles 9

realist Says:

i do think federer is capable of beating nadal on clay, but the reason he can’t be as successful as nikolay from the baseline is because of the backhand. nadal just pummels it when he gets in trouble and it works. notice davydenko had no problems handling the rafa forehand on the backhand side. (note: berdych also handles the kick forehand with his backhand, and height)

fed has better serve and volleys than davs, but he will always have a one handed backhand. and no matter how much you work on it, the stroke has a technical weakness up high.

Agassi Fan Says:

Fed is in a dogfight against Juan Monaco, 2-3 in the third set! He has certainly lost his fear factor totally on clay.

claycourtrafa Says:

fed won the monaco match, 6-3 2-6 6-4, soo yaa definitely not his best match.

Sean Randall Says:

I don’t have much time to write, but real quick I love the comment about Fed not wanting to get dirty. I mean, really, has anyone ever seen this guy with a beard, mustache much less any kind of facial hair. Can he even grow it? And his clothing – off court/on court – is always impeccable. Hell, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any clay/dirt on his clothing anywhere – though I must admit I’m not exactly looking for it.

That said, I would love to see Fed show up at the French sporting a beard and maybe some grungy Nike attire. Maybe a bandana on his head instead of the headband. Some jean shorts a la Agassi. And then he could wipe the red clay on his face just before the match. That would be great. Too bad it will never happen!

On to Nadal, I’m stunned that he is in fact playing Hamburg. Could it be in effort to help out the Hamburg tournament? Perhaps. Or maybe he really feels he needs more matches and wants to sustain his momentum, but remember this is the same guy who bailed on the Davis Cup for fear of over playing and re-injuring that foot of his, so why do it now? (I know it’s clay but playing on clay still puts pressure on your feet!) Doesn’t make sense, but there’s a story in there somewhere, or maybe there isn’t. Bottom line, I have to give credit to Nadal for showing up and helping the tournament. Though I’d really be surprised to see him playing on the weekend.

And just a quick note on the No. 1 situation, heading into Hamburg Nadal actually leads Federer by 104 points in the 2007 ATP Race with Djokovic #3, Gonzalez #4 and Roddick #5.

John Says:

Nadal just beat Hernandez 7-5 6-1 for #78.

Igor Andreev (the last person to beat Nadal on clay) is up next!

Ryan Pratt Says:

He is still the most dominant athlete in sports today. While he is sliding, he remains in front of Tiger Woods and players in the other major American sports leagues.

Check this out (whether you agree or not)


Agassi Fan Says:

Why is Nadal playing Hamburg? His golden chance to increase ranking points (nothing to defend here) and narrow the gap with Fed. I love the comment that he is playing to “help” the tournament!! that’s most probably not true. There’s no story there, he’s hungry, good for him.

Nadal has been pissed for a while that he is no. 2. That guy will do ANYTHING to win a match, so he will not stop short when it comes to No 1 ranking. IF and when he becomes No 1, I can still see him saying in interviews – federer is the favorite, no? totally disingenuous.

Agassi Fan Says:

BTW, Nadal’s so called “foot injury” only crops up when he losses, so that he can somehow slip in the doubt that maybe he lost due to the injury.

realist Says:

there probably is some truth in nadal ‘helping the tournament’ afterall didn’t he and some others storm out of one of those meetings about cancelling those tournaments? he’s obliged to put his money where his mouth is so to speak.

he’s risking his streak, stamina and confidence(if he didn’t win)coming into garros for what real gain? yeah winning three straight events followed by some recuperation time would have seemed the best thing.

yellowballspanker Says:

Nadal’s stronger and fitter than last year… he’s not going to get injured. And he can handle another tourny, especially given that he never loses a set. It’s like match practice for him.

Downside is risking his streak. But the Upside being incredibly match-fit for the French.

Agassi Fan Says:

there’s a week between hamburg and RG – and no five set matches here. OF COURSE Nadal is going to try and gain on federer in ranking points. Even if both make the final and he wins, he gains 150 points over Fed. And if Fed loses earlier and he doesn’t, he gains even more. Nobody in the history of tennis has been No 2 (without being no. 1) as long as he has, he must be peeved about it. Plus this is his time to make hay, since his prime season is over in one month. After that is struggle time for him.

I would love to see a fit/prime Safin or Nalbandian play Nadal on clay. Pity its never happened.

realist Says:

nadal would need to defend garros, and fed would prob have to get upset at wimbledon for nadal to have a chance to take the no.1.

but i think it might be possible around aussie open time. fed has enormous points to defend after the french, 2 grand slams plus shanghai, then defend the aussie open, basically 4 slams in a row. in form nadal can definitely improve his results at 3 of these events.

fed’s wimbledon draw to the final was sweet. yeah he beat ancic, but who do you have to pay to play bjorkman in the semis?

us open…andy ‘i’ll close the gap not by getting myself a backhand or any groundsroke precision, but by charging the net on halfcourt approaches’ roddick for the final. gimme a break.

then fed got to play 3 of his fav. bitches at shanghai(roddick, lub, blake)

point is, this year should be harder, or let’s hope so.

yellowballspanker Says:

Nothing would make Fed a better player right now in his career than for him to lose his number one ranking to Nadal. Sampras ended all those years at number one, but during the year, he would flux between 1 and 2. The pressure to get back to number one kept him working hard, improving his game, working on his quickness, adding strokes (the late development of the running forehand).

Fed has not really added a stroke to his game in some time. You could argue he has them all mastered, but that’s not the case. He could learn to hit a high backhand like Guga or Lubijic. He could develop and inside out backhand. He could get better at the net. He could improve his stamina. Fed CAN improve, he just needs some motivation to improve.

As long as he feels he can always finish the year by winning Wimby and the U.S. Open, he won’t truly feel the pressure to get better. His career needs some bumps.

nadalian Says:

I am so sick and tired of critics constantly trying to find ways of overanalyzing why nadal owns federer…he must be doing something right to constantly give him a difficult time as well as beat him,especially on clay,but on hard courts as well…gotta take your hats off to a man who’s almost unbeaten on clay 2 years in a row and has racked up a winning streak close to 80 matches…that speaks volume about his abilities,although I am certain many of you will start saying he’s just a pure clay court specialist but that argument sounds weak when we talk about how good roger federer is on grass but seems to be defeatable on other surfaces…it’s only a matter of time before federer has his lungs handed to him on all surfaces by this extraordinary talent that is rafael nadal…it’s rafa time baby….

nadalian Says:

I think roger federer is acclimatizing to the possibility that the immensely dominating nature of his game is slowly losing its effect…I am certain roger will go on to win more than 14 grand slams and probably exceed sampras by maybe 2 slams,but he will realistically consider himself luck if he can produce another season similar to 2006…his last few losses really provided a lot of insight to the tennis world that it’s very much possible to beat federer and federer himself acknowledged that he didn’t quite know what went wrong,indicating a sense of vafueness about how to bring himself out of this “slump”…I think players like nadal and gonzalez will really attempt to shred him to pieces whenever the opportunity arises and that will open the doors to many other players smoking federer over the next few years….If nadal goes on to win at hamburg and eventually at the French Open,which he should barring injuries,tiredness,or some inspired tennis from his opponents,he could be a real handful at wimbledon…in a sport like tennis and with the reputation and legacy like federer’s,a devasting defeat in which nadal destroys federer on grass could very well be a pivotal point in men’s tennis…we’ll have to wait for the end of the next 2 grand slams for this analysis to pan out,but I have a strong feeling that roger federer experience the bitter taste of defeat at the hands of rafa at wimby 2007….

alex Says:

i bet his girlfriend had something to do with the sacking coz she is also his manager

samps Says:

I would expect a Nalbandian or Safin in their ‘prime’ would still be easy fodder for Rafa on clay. This is a familiar line. After winning 78 matches on clay and whupping everyone, the question of “what if he had fought this guy in his prime”(as though a point has been made) is laughably foolish (unless you are Agassi Fan when its normal). Its not pity, its an irrelevance. And Agassi Fan, why not look up the dictionary for words ‘only’ , ‘every’ ‘time’ and then come back? Nadal usually accepts that he was well beaten when he is. The ONLY incident that happened is when gonzo beat him at the aussie open and he said that he wasnt at his best which if you actually saw tha match, was evident. After losses to djoko, youhzny etc this year, he always said the player was better and beat him. But let not the facts obstruct good rubbish eh?
And the gaining ranking points by winning one masters is utter crap. When you have 2000 points to gain, Rafa needs to dominate while Fed plays rubbish. So one hamburg masters is Nothing! I think the fight with the ATP is a fair reason alongwith being match fit for French. Also he’s played doubles at Barcelona and reached the final. In case you forget that. Thats a lot of matches.

realist Says:

i couldn’t see safin beating nadal, but a 100%fit nalbandian is a different story. he’s at least the match of federer on clay, and has an awesome backhand. seeing how nikolay almost beat nadal, and how nalbandian has easily accounted for davs on clay in the past, nalb. wouldn’t be an easy opponent for nadal at all. but there’s only one way to find out…

Agassi Fan Says:

samps, the sport we are discussing on this thread is TENNIS. Just making sure, because you don’t seem to know anything about it. Safin or Nalbandian, even today, will chew Nadal up. Wait till it happens – Nadal can’t dodge them forever.

BTW, you really like it in there, eh? In Nadal’s butt?

claycourtrafa Says:

hey nadal just rocked andreev, im sure u all know the last man to beat him on clay 6-4 6-1

Seth Says:

Fed’s rocking JC Ferrero’s world right now. Up 6-2, 4-2. That’s a hopeful sign at least. Then again, he spanked Almagro off the court in Rome and then proceeded to lose pitifully to the puffball-hitting Volandri in the next round.

Seth Says:

Fed won 2 and 3 over Ferrero, only facing one break point in the match, which he saved. Hopefully, he can gather some momentum from this.

claycourtrafa Says:

looks like we may have the world no. 1 back in contention for the season’s second grandslam

samps Says:

getting fiesty agassi fan? Now come, just because you like to live out of Agassi’s and Fed’s butt doesent mean you expect others to exist in similar circumstances. So instead of me claiming Nadal would chew up Nalbandian and Safin, ur claiming the opposite? sorry which sport were you saying Nalbandian and Safin would beat Rafa in? Figure skating? huh maybe. Not if its clay court TENNIS. And actually THEY have been dodging Nadal. Nadal’s been in the final of every clay court event since a last couple of years so he’s not dodging at all is he? y know by losing to players who are eventually whupped by rafa. so…look up ‘dodging’ in the dictionary?

And realist, i agree, it could be tricky with nalbandian in his peak though i think Rafa would prevail eventually. esp on present form.

And Fed winning well against JCF is a good sign for him. Djoko winning two matches in a day was pretty impressive too

grendel Says:

I liked fed against ferrero today, but I wasn’t convinced – yet. He feels at ease against ferrero and also against ferrer. A possible match against Djokovich should be very informative, one way or the other. b.t.w., nice to see fed slicing again, nothing like it. Apparently, though, it’s quite ineffective against nadal – which is presumably why roche got him to cut it out – on clay. Does this mean he has accepted he can’t expect to beat nadal on clay, but at least he has a good shot against everyone else? meanwhile, just got to hope somewbody else beats nadal. That’s called realism – nothing wrong with that, and shows fed understands what the score is. meanwhile, it would be great to see a fit and confident nalbandian against nadal; he wouldn’t be favourite, but it would still be an intriguing encounter, and very possibly competitive. Likewise, I look forward to the match looming between nadal and hewitt. reckon it’ll be a real match.

grendel Says:

w.r.t. safin, he could have beaten anyone on his day, fed at Wimbledon, nadal on clay. A glorious, infuriating one off. But we know what the other side of that coin was.But safin has lost some pace. even if he were to stop doing all the things youzhny says he does, it would be too late.Never again can he be the glorious, conquering champion that he could have been. Silly ass! or should we say, thank god for someone of godgiven talents who doesn’t feel he has to practice 60 hours a day and then put in ten hours in the gymn. It would be unfair, wouldn’t it, if someone like that became number one. Roll on unfairness!

nadalian Says:

“Safin or Nalbandian, even today, will chew Nadal up. Wait till it happens – Nadal can’t dodge them forever.”….

Dude,are you seriously suggesting that either of these guys could “chew” up nadal when he’s playing this well….yeah,these guys could probably beat nadal maybe some time in the future but it really wouldn’t make much of an impact when nadal’s already extended his clay court streak to about a 100 matches,would it??offcourse,they’d be known as giant slayers but beating nadal when he’s overplayed,exhausted,and simply burnt out doesn’t really qualify as being properly “chewn” up….

realist Says:

hewitt vs nadal, i think nadal would kill him, or at least i hope so. hewitt wins by defense, not making errors and letting opponents spray. nadal is better at not making errors/defense and has way better offense.

let’s face it, hewitt was sharp against davydenko, but it doesn’t mean much because nikolay had to play another match in the morning – an insane disadvantage. when the hewitt match went to 3 sets, he was always going to struggle to win.

that was bullshit – they should have let the dav/simon match play out the last set on centre court the night before, inbetween the other matches there. they knew hewitt had finished, so his potential opponent was always gonna get screwed otherwise.

realist Says:

something that came to mind about seedings. how can they continue to seed nadal 2nd at all these events when he’s the best clay courter and beats federer every time. last year they could get away with, but now? are they seriously gonna seed him 2 at the french again?!

if seedings are supposed to be different to ranking, then actually make them different, atp morons.

okay so maybe 1 and 2 seedings aren’t any different, but you can’t justify giving a rubbish clay player like roddick 3rd seed, oh yeah he’s a much better claycourter than davydenko, robredo, gonzo, djoko – might even make the 2nd rd this year!….plain stupid.

Agassi Fan Says:

Fed just beat Ferrer in 3 sets. Cleaned up his service game in the third.

Boy, I just feel for players like Ferrero and Ferrer, who are accomplished clay court specialists, but lose to Fed all the time on clay, even when he is in such a “slump”. Must be tough. Lets see if Djoke can do that to Moya.

claycourtrafa Says:

nope he cant, moya dispathced Djoke 7-6(4) 4-6 7-5, so fed and moya, althoug fed has a perfect 6-0 record with him, the way fed is playing i dunno could be a tough match

Agassi Fan Says:

Moya had a tough match, 2 hours 40 minutes. He’s almost 31 years old. So he may be a bit winded against Fed, especially if it gets to the third set.

Gonzo doesn’t seem to have Nadal’s number yet on clay. What a difference surface makes!!

Looks like a Fed-Nadal final again!

Moya! Says:

I have to disagree with you Agassi fan on that one, I’d say Moya has got a very good chance against Federer. I may be a little bit biased but Moya is a great player and Federer’s not on the best of form. Also, good to see Hewitt won, obviously he’s got no chance against Nadal but it should be an entertaining match.

Agassi Fan Says:

Lets see how it plays out. Fed is 6-0 on Moya, while Hewitt is 4-1 on Nadal. I wouldn’t count on a Moya-Hewitt final though!

Smasham Says:

Dont write off Hewitt so quickly. Rafa is the heavy favourite, but who gave Davydenko any chance against Rafa in the Rome semi-final? And he played Rafa very very close. We all would prefer, however, a Federer Nadal final.

realist Says:

i would love to see moya beat fed, but honestly, i don’t see how someone who’s only shot is a forehand can win against him. i still can’t believe he beat djoko by just belting the forehand- must have hit like 4 backhands the whole batch.

hewitt has no weapons to hurt nadal. davydenko pushed rafa because he’s an attacking baseliner who takes risks. hewitt is a defensive baseliner who does little with the ball. the only reason he barely won against the russian was because davydenko had to play 2 matches on the same day.

FoT Says:

I forgot who posted this earlier:
“Safin or Nalbandian, even today, will chew Nadal up. Wait till it happens – Nadal can’t dodge them forever.”….

Now I’m not a Nadal fan, but to say “Nadal can’t dodge them forever”? Uhm, pardon me, but who is it that’s making the finals of every clay court tournament? So who is dodging whom? If Safin and/or Nalbandian would get to a final – any final – on clay, they could meet Nadal. So I don’t see Nadal ‘dodging’ anyone…Looks like both Safin and Nalbandian are the ones not holding up their end of your scenario! lol


claycourtrafa Says:

well roger beat moya 4-6 6-4 6-2. but at the moment nadal is trailing hewitt 2-6 2-0, so he does lead by a break in the second and cud very well recover.

Agassi Fan Says:

Its Fed-Nadal tomorrow.

Hewitt really pushed Nadal. It must be a mental thing – otherwise Fed should be able to beat Nadal on clay, at least sometimes.

Pity its not best of 5 tomorrow.

Looks like Fed will again enter the French as the second best clay courter.

Tejuz Says:

well… Nadal just walloped by Fed in the hamburg finals. So points have narrowed between Fed and Nadal in the ATP Race.

Forget the points that Fed has to defend. From this point onwards, Nadal has to manage similar results if not better than Federer’s throug-out the grass and hard-court season if he wants to become No-1 and i dont really see that happening. Am pretty sure he’ll run out of gas.. just like last year… infact its he who will have to repeat his fairy-tale run at wimbledon and defend those points.

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