Nalbandian Foils Federer to Cap Incredible Week in Madrid

by Sean Randall | October 21st, 2007, 12:23 pm

So who had David Nalbandian winning the Madrid title at the start of the week? Not me, that’s for sure. I doubt anyone did! And if they did, they lied. ADHEREL

Nalbandian, who has spent the better part of the last two years on the back of a milk carton, came from nowhere to win the Madrid Tennis Masters title, beating the top three players – No. 3 Novak Djokovic, No. 2 Rafael Nadal and today, World No. 1 Roger Federer in three sets.

Full credit to Nalbandian for playing excellent tennis despite getting blown away by Federer in the first set 61. Nalbandian regrouped and cruised winning the last two sets 63, 63, breaking Federer for a second time in the third set to clinch the title.

David of course does know a thing or two about beating and troubling The Fed, having now defeated the Swiss in seven of 15 career meetings.
And when he’s playing well and he’s interested as he was today, Nalbandian is one of the elite players in my mind. His strokes/serve may not have the greatest of power and he doesn’t have the slimmest of physiques, but his two-handed backhand is among the best, and his intelligence, guile, court sense and ball striking top caliber.

Then again, like with Marat Safin, Nalbandian’s A-game rarely shows up. So why he rose up to such heights this week is anyone’s guess. Ball girl models? I heard the player food was a thumbs up.

This is the same Nalbandian was down a set and 4-1 to Thomas Berdych in the second round earlier in the week and the same guy who had just one quarterfinal appearance in his 15 previous events. Pretty remarkable.

I like watching Nalbandian play so I hope this win can light a spark and get back to playing Top 10 tennis.

As for Federer, looks like he has a little more work to do to secure the year-end No. 1 position. He’ll play Basel next week and then maybe Paris.

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82 Comments for Nalbandian Foils Federer to Cap Incredible Week in Madrid

Tennis fan Says:

[conspiracy theory]
I think this is an attempt by Federer to help Davydenko get off the hook and clear Tennis’ name from allegations of match-fixing. He was winning, wasn’t he and so was Davydenko…
[/conspiracy theory]

’tis good to see Federer losing to a variety of players instead of just one or two. Yep, he’s human, has a navel and sometimes shows vanity. But, what a great man he is!

sensationalsafin Says:

haha thats a funny theory. cant say im as upset as usual, although i hate nalbandian. to be honest its the same kind of feeling i had when djokovic beat federer earlier. i think as long as federer holds a winning record at the end of the day i dont care THAT much if he loses. and to be honest, of all the attempted hype of nadal vs fed and fed vs djokovic, imo nalbandian and federer have the most remarkable rivalry. only problem is that nalbandian is too up and down, but its a good win for him and hopefully he can get back to the top. as for this match though, the only credit i give to nalbandian is the very first break in the second set. after that federer was really beating himself. 38 unforced errors and how many on the forehand side? 19!!! half of his errors were on his forehand side. good nalbandian against a shitty federer and nalbandian will always come out on top. credit to him for not folding but still, federer sucked today, i was very dissappointed with his quality of play. it didnt just drop in the third set, it plumetted.

SG Says:

Needless to say it, but this loss will once again spur on the Fed bashers who want to imply that Federer is on the verge of slipping into oblivion (…which isn’t going to happen) while the Fed fanatics will effectively dismiss Nalbandian’s effort and simply attribute the loss to Federer having a “bad” day.

SG Says:

I’m guessing that Ivanisevic won quite a few matches with more than 38 unforced errors. That being said, a less error prone Federer is a bigger handful. I was looking at the Madrid Masters on Wikipedia. Why was the tournament changed from best of 5 to best of 3 sets?

sensationalsafin Says:

the thing is with federer is that he is slipping. the only time all year hes been able to really step it up when the pressure was on was at wimbledon. against djokovic and nalbandian he was pretty much down and out. and it seems when he tries stepping it up he misses too much. but like i said nalbandian hung in there the whole time, it was amazing how little he was missing, but federer couldnt hit a winner at all in the end. it was not fun to watch cuz a lot of the points ended in errors.

dodobird Says:

“As for Federer, looks like he has a little more work to do to secure the year-end No. 1 position.”

Fanboy Sean’s dumbest comment yet. What kind of supermath can you come up with to show us that Federer’s world number one ranking is in doubt from now until December? He secured it months ago.

sensationalsafin Says:

actually thats not true. read the atp articles, it says that chances are federer will be number 1 but in some sort of miracle, nadal could overtake him.

grendel Says:

I posted a comment on the Fed/Nalbandian match on the other thread, and since then I’ve had a couple of thoughts.

Fed said after the match: “After the first set, I had no easy points and never felt I had much of a chance. I tried to hang in but he was too tough today”. Surprisingly strong language, particularly given that Fed has been in pretty good nick of late – including in the first set. Why the sudden collapse, for that’s what it began to look like?

Possibly Federer was a tad complacent. I’ve never really bought into this theory that, after all those losses, Fed had finally worked out Nalbandian’s game (a theory unconvincingly propounded by Fed himself). He struggled against him in the French last year, and on a couple of other occasions Nalbandian has been dangerous for a set and a half. The difference today is he kept it up for longer. The fact is, when Nalbandian is on, he is always better than Federer from the base line. There is a curious paradox here. Nalbandian is a hopelessly inconsistent player – but when he is on song, he is extraordinarily consistent; he has a way of stroking the ball to the corners, time after time, and often from nowhere, in a way reminiscent of Safin at his best. This is one classy player. And when Nalbandian’s serve – so often the albatross of his game – is working, as it sure was in the third set, he looks unbeatable.

That’s not to say, of course, that Federer cannot beat a hot Nalbandian. Of course he can. But he’s got to be prepared, and cannot just slug it out from the base line, any more than he can with Nadal. I greatly look forward to their next encounter, and just hope Nalbandian doesn’t have one of his typical relapses. If he doesn’t, it could be a really great match. This one wasn’t – too one sided. Bizarre!

b.t.w., whilst one is getting a little weary of SG’s gratuitous little reference to Fed Fanatics (the only fanatics I can see at the moment are the people who go on and on about fed fanatics), I agree with him about the downplaying of the tournament. A big tournament final should have 5 sets. I know the arguments against it – tired finalists will drop out of next tournament, but they don’t wash. If necessary, reschedule – but don’t deprive spectators of the proper dramatic setting – a great 5 setter is as different from a 3 setter as is a snack from a full three course meal.

alexandros Says:

Nalbandian is just one of the few players that has been able to beat roger early in his career, he plays against him with the memory of losing to him 5 times in a row, I have no doubt that those thoughts came back today, david just killed him, period…!

Bo Says:

I think Ivanisevic was able to win all those matches, where he had more than 40 unforced errors, because his serve was clicking when it needed to. Today, Fed’s 1st serve was a joke. Also, I think that he did’t truly believe that David can maintain such a high level of play in the 3rd set. I know I didn’t, I was expecting David to choke any second in the 3rd set when he 1st took a break. I was very happy for him, but didn’t think it’s gonna happen Until it was all over. It’s a shame that he won’t make it to Shangai to stir it up a bit more, specially now that he is full of confidence…

grendel Says:

b.t.w., Sensational Safin, I don’t agree that “federer was really beating himself” – and nor does Federer. Rightly, he gave credit to Nalbandian. I think Fed was just stunned by the quality of Nalbandian’s play, and when there was no letdown, panicked somewhat. Those unforced errors were, in a sense, forced. We are reminded that Federer is a human being, not a machine, who just does stuff so that we can all purr with pleasure. How boring that would be. But Federer is a great player, and it will be tremendously interesting to see how he sets about solving this new problem. It wouldn’t be, would it, if it was just automatic.

grendel Says:

Bo: there was a serenity about Nalbandian today. Despite his record of choking, not for one instant, once we’d got into the third set and he’d broken early, did I think he would today. And didn’t you get the feeling that Federer didn’t either? There seemed to be something inevitable about Nalbandian’s win, and I had the feeling Fed thought so too. Another day……

Samprazzz Says:

It looked alot like the first two sets of the U.S. open final between Fed and Dchokovic, except Dchokovic “choked” at the end of those two sets, whereas Nalbandian was able to keep it up. Both employed the same strategy against Fed, to my mind:
-they both attacked Fed’s second serve
-they both were able to keep the ball deep and well placed, knowing that Fed will not rally for long, and eventually will try to hit a low-percentage winner from the baseline.
Tough to execute. Dchokovic couldn’t keep it up, whereas Nalbadian did today. I think that Fed was just waiting for the dip in Nalbadian’s game that never came, and that’s why Fed didn’t change his tactics.

funches Says:

Fed had a bad day.

funches Says:

ATP events no longer are allowed to have five sets, a concession the tour made to keep players from bagging out of the next event because of exhaustion, as happened to the German Open with Fed and Nadal last year.

Masters Series tournaments that already had set up five-set finals with TV contracts were exempted for one year, but that ends next year. Unless the rules change, there will never be another best-of-five ATP final.

Joanne Says:

Fed said he was taken by suprise.I dont think he was expecting Nalbandian to play that well.Also whenever he adds a new member to his training group it throws him off.He seemed to be disrtacted on and off all week.He just didnt seem to have his mind on the job.Also when he plays guys who beat him when he was a junior I think he is more vulnerable.His strategy for once was not well chosen;I bet he has a harder time thinking clearly.
I do think the pressure of constamtly needing to win (meet expectations)is affecting his play.

sensationalsafin Says:

those unforced errors werent forced. look just cuz federer said nalbandian played well and blah blah blah doesnt mean thats exactly what went down. every god damn player on tour says the exact same thing in their interviews after losing. “i played well but not that well and he totally deserved the win”. bull shit. im not saying nalbandian didnt deserve to win, he most definetly did which is why he won. cuz federer played like crap. everytime i see federer lose like this i think to myself how federer is always on the extreme side of the spectrum; hes either amazing or terrible. next you’re gonna tell me volandri played divine tennis to beat federer in rome. lets take the grand slams out of the equation for a second. federer is a mere 3-3 in finals. hes only defended dubai but has picked up some new titles. hes fallen in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounds of 3 different tournaments that he had amazing results in previous years. im finally starting to believe that hes past his prime. that doesnt mean hes gonna start sucking, but i think that while he has a 6-4 record in finals this year, next year it could easily be 4-6. u talk about him solving his latest puzzle, thats not gonna happen. hes not gonna pull an agassi and double peak. hes only gonna become more and more vulnerable. the only thing thatll save him is if he starts hitting with more pace and really just improving his serve so that he doesnt have to constantly worry about nalbandian, djokovic, and nadal breaking him. it is possible that the pressure has finally gotten to him, but i dont think its the pressure of winning specifically. there has been no federer magic all year, which leads me to believe its gone. i dont think hes gonna be able to come out with some sort of new amazing strategy or something thatll defeat all of his opponents. think about it, everyones saying that nalbandian was just better today. he was outplaying him in all areas. even he admits it. and its 100% true. and it was true in the US open final before chokovic reared his ugly head. and it was 100% true when federer employed the perfect tactic in the french open final only to be rolled over by an good but not amazing nadal. his most impressive win of the year is without a doubt the wimbledon final. i think he used up what little was left of his federer magic in that match. i say that becuz nadal was also destroying him but somehow federer won, 6-2 in the fifth no less. amazing how he started the year on such a high note with his great australian open run, but thats as spectacular as it got for TMF.

Tejuz Says:

Nalbandian did play great and looked in total control. He seemed destined to win this final after his wins against Nadal and Djokovic.

Fed clearly looked uncomfortable, even when he won the 1st set 6-1. Obviously their past H2H record did have some bearing in this. Nalbandian had always given him trouble before and he was like his boogeyman. He is certainly one of the very few people who makes Fed uncomfortable.. the others are Safin and Nadal (Hewitt used to be one).

But i feel happy for Nalbandian. This should really boost his confidence again and bring him back to top-5. He certainly deserves atleast one Grand-slam. Hope it comes in 2008… (and hofefully after fed breaks Sampras record)

Struppi Says:

Fed is one Class, he can not Eat everithing!
Great respect for ROGER

Tejuz Says:

well.. sensationalsafin.. dunno if you watched all the matches at Madrid. Fed played unbelievable againt Canas. That was magic.. especially the 1st set. Dont forget he is on another streak of reaching finals in consecutive tournaments.. its 7 consecutive finals starting from Hamburg. He is still a long way from his record of 17 consecutivefinals.. but its still a streak better than most.

Fed certainly looked uncomfortable againt Nalbandian.. and its always the case whenever they play.. be it 2005 master’s cup matches (both were close) or French Open or Rome semi. Most of those unforced errors were ‘forced’ because Nalbandian was making Fed run side-2-side his angles were great.. which just made fed want to go for that little bit extra on him shots. Clearly Nalbandian knows how to beat Fed and he also know he has to be very consistent to do it… and yesterday he was just that in the last 2 sets..His backhand was very consistent and he was hitting those amazing down-the-line winners.

The final points tally was 78-78.. but then Nalabndian won the important points and Fed wasted lot of break-point oppurtinities.. something which he did even in his earlier matches.

Jason Alfrey Says:

Hi Pete,

Hey Pete,
I do have the answer.

zola Says:

I was happy to see Nalbandian win for different reasons.
Him taking out Djoko and Fed, made me feel that Rafa’s loss was not that bad. Of course Rafa only won 3 games, but he lost to a super-player Nalbandian.
second, Nalbandian was so happy and joyful that I wanted him to win. this win meant a lot to him. I can’t believe he never won an ATP master series before.
third, he took 150 points off Federer. I know 2000 is not too different to 1850 , but it is something!

I don’t think Fed will lose his No 1 any time soon. He is very far from the rest of the field. about 1900-1900 points diff with Rafa. The question is will Djoker catch up with Rafa and I hope not.

and fed is not slipping. he has more losses than last year, but you can’t expect one to perform like that year after year. I will say he is slipping when he loses a GS final or No 1 status and that they is yet to come!

sensationalsafin Says:

like i said, not including the slams and this has been a pretty bad year for federer compared to his last 3 years, not just last year. if u think about it he has had an average number 1 year. his ranking is in moderate danger, hes lost to several different players. and hes even had a few straight set losses. when murray straight setted roger last year it was huge news, this year its happened 3 times. and when djokovic stops choking dont expect him not to snuff federer in a grand slam final. and to be honest, i would be surprised if nalbandian carried this form next year. hes always been known to be an amazing talent but very inconsistent. hes had a great week but we wont know if this is a REAL sign of things to come until around march during the masters events. destroying an opponent is not what i mean by magic. in so many of federer’s matches prior to this year, he would find a way to come back against a super opponent while he was playing bad. he cant win on bad days anymore. just look at his 2005 TMC run. he was playing terrible and managed to get to the finals undefeated. and even against nalbandian he went up 2 sets. even in the 5th set he came within 2 points of winning the whole thing before nalbandian negated the magic. he came back against a raging nadal in the miami final. hes always known how to dig deep despite what wilander says. but he isnt able to dig deep enough anymore becuz he is reverting to his more vulnerable style of play where players who come out ready to beat him will beat him.

grendel Says:

I think Tejuz puts the case for the “unforced” errors really being forced very well – unanswerably, in fact. And as for Fed’s interview just being the standard blah blah blah stuff, that’s obviously nonsense – just read it, for God’s sake. Federer was very sombre indeed about himself – quite uncharacteristic.

Fed won’t solve the latest puzzle? Well, on reflection, that was a bit glib of me. Nalbandian (the good Nalbandian – remember good Ivanesevich/bad Ivanesevic?) will always be a formidable opponent, but my feeling is Federer will be ready next time. I’m not meaning he’ll win, just that he’ll put up a proper battle. I did think yesterday he was paying the price for complacency.

Fed will no longer be able to dig deep? The picture seems to be this. Federer starts off weak, gathers in strength, peaks, then starts to tail off – like a parabola (the trajectory of a thrown ball), with the axis of symmetry going through the top (his peak). That just seems too neat, and not at all realistic. Of course the others are getting closer to him, and inevitably he will get beaten more often. But as one player amongst others (I refer to the elite), I’d still say he’s going to be a pretty good bet for a win, from time to time, for quite some time to come.

I expect to see plenty of good digging….And plenty more inspired performances, too. Impossible expectations breed implausible disaster scenarios.

andrea Says:

I also wan’t surprised that nalbandian won – look at the momentum djokovic got in montreal beating andy and nadal – he was pumped for the final. same thing in madrid. something to be said for the change in mental attitude when you start winning.

i love how journalists quote that roger is ‘slipping’ in finals. yes, he only made it to 10 finals this year…oh my…that certainly is slipping. who cares if he doesn’t win them all? 2006 was a stellar year and no one can expect that to be repeated every year.

grendel Says:

sorry to post again so soon – but just remembered something in Sensational Safin’s post.”next youre gonna tell me Volandri played divine tennis to beat federer in Rome”. No, I’m not. Fed was off in a dream – Roche and so on. But Nalbandian did play divine. He’s played divine against Fed before, too. At no stage in Fed’s career would he have found it easy to beat a Nalbandian in form. Incidentally, how was Fed playing terrible in 2005 TMC? Double bagelling of Gaudio, e.g.? On other hand, he was very fortunate against Nalbandian to be 2 sets to love up – score definitely didn’t reflect run of play. True, he came back from 0 – 4 in 5th set – but that was partly Nalbandian choking. Fed himself choked serving for match, 30-love. Lost.

Are things really so VERY different?

sensationalsafin Says:

why must everything be compared to his superb 2006? what about 2004 when he didnt lose a single final? and in 2005 the only final he lost was to nalbandian while he was injured. and the only finals he lost last year were to nadal. and i thought i was a fed fanatic. im sure federer will still put on many more unbelievable performances, but they are gonna be more and more rare. how can you expect him to reproduce his unstoppable tennis where he cant be beat? hes already peaked, now he needs to focus on playing more consistent. nalbandian was just toying with him yesterday. just look at the set point in the second set when nalbandian won it. federer gave everything he had cuz he wanted to stay in the set and he scrambled for every ball but it still wasnt enough to stop nalbandian from smacking a winner. the fact that so many of you are saying that nalbandian’s win seemed inevitable further proves that federer is losing his grip. for federer to lose in 4 outta 10 finals is a huge deal!! this is roger federer we’re talking about. its still great that he made 10 finals but last year he won 12 finals and this year hes won only half as many. whenever he wins a final everyone says how tough roger is on the final sunday. but hes not as tough as he once was (not just 2006 but 2004 and 2005 included). the fact that he felt hopeless after the first set tells you a lot too. when has federer ever really felt hopeless against an opponent, especially after dominating him in the first set? nothing would make me happier if federer comes out next year and dominates like he did in the past, but i dont see that happening.

andrea Says:

2006 was roger at his statistical peak – 92-5 and won 12 titles….nothing like that in all the other years…even in 2004 he never played as much. 2004 he was 74-6 and only won 11 titles.

Ryan Says:

Nalbandian is the classic underacheiver who many times makes matches appear more tougher than it actually is.
He likes to crash the party once in a blue moon and I dont think people should take him seriously.After the TM cup 2005 his fans including myself expected him to win a slam in 2006.That never happened.He is just similar to Safin.Even though he is a genius he doesnt have that fire to win every time he steps on the court.

Contrary to what many of you all say I’d still say that Fed is not slipping and is playing quite like the way he used to play all these years.Look at the shots he made during this madrid masters.It’s still there.Nothing has gone from him.The magic of that 5th set was shown in wimbledon.In the US open he looked jaded but he could have been exhausted after Cincinatti. Think about it from Fed’s point of view at this time of his career.

Goals left:
1)Beat Pete Sampras record for GS titles.
2)Win that French.

He has said recently that its all boiling down to the slams.In the end thats what people give you the most credit for.

Agassi ——17 masters titles.
Connors——108 titles.

Nobody considers these guys to be the greatest ever.
He is playing these tournaments just to keep that number 1 position and the fire to win it is dying. So he doesnt take these tournaments as seriously as he used to before and could even be bored.For example in Montreal this year.Could this be the attitude he has adopted after visiting Sampras earlier this year?

John (1) Says:

Comparing just “top 10” 2007 opponents:

Federer, 13W 3L, 13/16=81%
Haas, 7W 3L, 7/10=70%
Nadal, 9W 5L, 9/14=64%
Djokovic, 6W 7L, 6/13=46%
Ferrer, 5W 6L, 5/11=45%
Gonzalez, 3W 4L, 3/7=43%
Roddick, 3W 5L, 3/8=38%
Gasquet, 3W 5L, 3/8=38%
Blake, 2W 4L, 2/6=33%
Davydenko, 2W 7L, 2/7=29%

Henin, 17W 1L, 17/18=94%
Ivanovic, 12W 4L, 12/16=75%
Serena, 7W 4L, 7/11=64%
Venus, 8W 6L, 8/14=57%
Kuznetsova, 6W 6L, 6/12=50%
Sharapova, 3W 3L, 3/6=50%
Jankovic, 7W 10L, 7/17=41%
Chakvetadze, 4W 8L, 4/12=33%

JSpin Says:

“Bored” – I think that is THE key word.

The early Fed, in the “owned by Nalbandian” era, put up spurts of absolute brilliance that made it possible for people to say that he was an unbelievable talent that somehow was just not getting it all done for the win.

It seemed to me then that Roger just was not able to keep himself at a top level of interest across enough of the match to win consistently and go deeper into tournaments. He was unimaginably amazing for a short run and then back to daydreaming.

It was as if he took a few moments to show himself, the fans and -especially- his opponent just how amazing he really was. At times it almost seemed like just doing this was as good as a win in his mind. Why bother worrying about winning when he could simply call up his game on demand to beat anyone when he wanted to. His interest just seemed to float in and out during the course of a match. The more interest he had and showed, the further he got.

The spectacular Fed that showed up over the past few years got control of his interest level and held onto it longer during matches and tournaments. He matured; it started to matter whether he won or not.

He might have always been completely convinced that he was the best player period, but not winning kept that belief in his mind alone and did not create many other believers. He had the mastery of all the shots; but it wasn’t until he got mastery of his mind that the awesome one emerged.

While he really improved on the mind dimension, you could still see that it did require effort –even when he was at his most spectacular. Consider matches in which he crushed his opponent in the first set and then struggled in the second -more often than not still winning, but he was not the same player as in that first set.

Of course it is extremely hard to keep up that level of concentration; but, there have been plenty of occasions where the difference could be quite extreme from one set to the next. That US Open vs. Hewitt? There are plenty of other examples.

And those times, when Fed’s mind was totally on…those are the magic ones for all time (Fed vs. Roddick Wimbledon semi 2003?).

I think that Roger is simply a bit weary. If he might have once been satisfied just to occasionally summon his best for a moment; he has now made it clear to everyone that he is supremely capable. But that slog is a tough one year in year out.

What does he have left to prove; breaking Pete’s record, winning the French, all four majors in the same year, what else? So, what’s the big deal in losing the final in Madrid this year to Nalbandian who’s also occasionally capable but hardly even seen on the elite radar in recent times.

Roger creamed Nalbandian in the first set, just for old times sake; and then spent the rest of the match thinking perhaps about Shanghai or Melbourne down the road. Who knows what is really going on between his ears, but that’s what it seems like. Awww shucks, what the heck’s a title between friends in the long run…

Roger still has the goods, but he’s not putting his skills and his mind so completely together as he managed to do in the past few years. Is he going away? Nah, he just needs to play some fun matches with Pete and then go deep water fishing with Tiger for a couple of weeks to reset things.

It’s going to keep getting tougher for him to keep it all humming together from match to match and tournament to tournament. But, I’d say it’s still not much of a stretch to see him getting past Pete and perhaps even taking at least one French open before he completely moves on to daydreaming all the time.

See you at the ’08 French Open

grendel Says:

First of all, Federer didn’t dominate Nalbandian in the first set. When I was watching it, I actually said, when the score was 4-1, to my sons – who can’t stand federer, we have some right old ding-dongs, I can tell you – that if Federer was to break and then hold (or other way round, can’t remember), he’d win set 6 – 1, a complete travesty considering the run of play(eager nods of confirmation from my sons). Of course exactly that happened. Scorelines in tennis are often misleading. (Consider the fact that apparently Federer and Nalbandian scored exactly the same numbert of points in the match – a bizarre statistic, really). I guess Nalbandian was more dominant over Fed than in some of his earlier victories, but I don’t think in a hugely noticeable way. And, frankly, he’s looked pretty helpless against Nadal once or twice.

I dislike the complacency of some ardent Fed fans (whilst counting myself just as much a fan as they are), and am driven to combat them. Even so, I don’t really believe things are that bad. Project ahead to 3 years. Fed to win one grand slam that year? I’d bet on it, if not that year, then the next. We Fed fans have been spoilt by success. Imagine thinking winning only one grand slam in a year (ONLY!) is a failure. No, there’s going to be plenty of heartache along the road for the anti Fed brigade. He has said he wants to stick around till he’s 35, health permitting. He may not do an Agassi – how about a Sampras, sneaking one here, one there…..

sensationalsafin Says:

“Nah, he just needs to play some fun matches with Pete and then go deep water fishing with Tiger for a couple of weeks to reset things”

really? thats the answer to all his problems? please tell me you’re joking. the answer to his problems are actually the exact opposite of that. notice how he started the year on such a high note and after his little commercials with tiger and practice match with sampras he’s loosened his grip on the tennis world a bit. not that much but clearly theres a difference. i agree about the whole daydreaming thing. this is something blake is a pro at, completely going away during matches. and it seems like federer’s caught blake’s bug. federer’s still had a fantastic year, but not federer fantastic. its not what we’ve come to expect, losing in 4/10 finals. and idk why you’re all so positive hes gonna win the french. hes lost the final twice. both times he was playing the right way and dominated for atleast a set of the match, but still came out on the losing end, claiming only ONE set each time. seriously he’d need to face someone like ferrer or another player that he pretty much owns. but beating pete’s record should be in the bag. hes only 27, so basically all he needs to do is win atleast 1 slam in each of the next 3 years. but i think he’ll win 2 in the next 2 years. AO and Wimbledon next year.

funches Says:

Fed will absolutely, positively win at least two slams next year. And if he can hire someone to take a lead pipe to Nadal’s knee, he will win Roland Garros, too.

JSpin Says:

Okay, I was just riffing on the upcoming Federer-Sampras exhibition matches. Maybe some fun tennis will loosen Roger up a bit; but a detour to spend some time on his projects in South Africa or couple of good weeks in Dubai with Mirka should definitely help…

But I digress. I’m simply suggesting that getting to decompress will help Fed’s ability to focus more completely and will probably also rekindle a deeper drive to win. Hopefully that will happen before Melbourne.

Fed at the French…? I don’t have data, but my impression is that he’s faded away -in terms of focus- in matches against Rafa and tended to go for a finishing shot too aggressively (desperately?) too early.

His forehand in particular seemed to break down -especially going down the line, he hit the net tape over and over again. Again, just my impression -admittedly error prone.

Rafa by comparison just hunkered down, kept his head in the game and stayed determined to win as he always seems to do. He just does not seem to get lost in his own head.

Yep, I’m a Fed fan; but, that doesn’t mean I’m not a fan of anyone else. Though perhaps for a different balance of reasons, I’m also a Rafa fan among others. Ultimately, I’m a tennis fan -period.

If Fed is going to win the French, he is going to have to be completely “in the moment” throughout -not just for a set. But I think he is capable, and, though clearly a huge mountain to climb, has the goods to beat Rafa at Roland-Garros if he keeps his head in the game.

At the end of the day, the pure skill level is not such a huge difference between top pro players; the mental fortitude is what seems to be the winning edge more often than not.

sensationalsafin Says:

on a somewhat side note, does it seem like theres a pattern with players who tend to lose focus more often than others. gasquet, berdych, federer, safin, nalbandian are all known to phase out of a match at random times. whereas nadal, hewitt, and roddick are players who are known for their keen focus and tendancy to stay in matches no matter the outcome at the end. i no some ppl are gonna argue that roddick is a player who usually goes away in matches he’s losing, but does he really? roddick always comes out focused and ready to play and usually only goes away against federer. but heres my point, the players who lose focus are usually regarded as the most naturally talented players whereas the more focused players are the ones who have to do extra work to perfect their strokes or serves or whatever. for example, when federer plays out of this world tennis, it doesnt seem like hes focusing so much as hes just in another world where he cant miss a shot. nadal played the best grass court match of his life in the wimbledon final but you could see in every single point and shot how intense he was. u dont have to agree with me or anything i was just stating an observation i made.

grendel Says:

interesting point. You can apply this argument at a slightly lower level. Henman was renowned as a player who wandered during his matches – and he was definitely a natural, at a relatively minor level. Ferrer and Robredo come nicely into your second category.

What about past players? Becker with Fed etc, Agassi with Nadal etc.

And Sampras? That’s a tricky one. I’d say his focus was exceptional. Can one really argue he wasn’t naturally talented?

Also, players can switch. Murray is a natural who wanders. But I just have this feeling he might in time be able to bridge the gap…

grendel Says:

Davydenko – he’s an exception. The “Russian tennisplaying machine”as Tommy Haas memorably called him obviously belongs to the extra work category. But he is known, in demanding matches, to go walkabout at some stage.
Also – Nalbandian. He’s inconsistent in between matches, goes off for long periods. But when he’s on, he keeps his focus well throughout the match, the latest one being no exception.

sensationalsafin Says:

well henman might not have been the greatest player but he was one of the most talented net players. davydenko is a hardcore focuser. if by demanding matches you mean matches involving federer, many players go on walkabouts when things seem hopeless. even nadal went on walkabouts in the last sets of both wimbledon finals (ill never forget that shank of an overhead last year). we all see how nalbandian fits the wandering category. murray also wanders but he shows it with all his tantrums. cuz when he’s not pissed he’s usually playing well and in control of his head and his opponent. but when he goes away he starts playing bad and starts getting pissed. as seemingly natural it is to compare nadal and agassi, this isnt one of those things i would compare them in. agassi has always been known as one of the most natural ball strikers. as great as nadal is, hes great in a very different way from the usual unbelievably talented hitter way. when agassi was young, he was very known for leaving his matches and sometimes never coming back. during the end of his career he was definetly a lot more focused just becuz he knew that he couldnt afford to wander about. as for becker, you tell me. honestly i havent seen enough of his matches to make a fair judgement on him.

johnnhoj Says:

Nalbandian! The original nemesis returns!(?)

There is the possibility that Federer is keeping ranking points in mind. For 2008, if he wins the Masters Series tournaments he lost this year and plays the smaller ones he skipped, then he’ll get a mega-boost in his ranking, further solidifying his number 1 stranglehold, provided he picks up a respectable number of MS shields and doesn’t mess up on any of the Slams.
He shouldn’t have much of a problem staying hungry if he still cares about getting what he’s still missing. He needs to regroup, refresh his mind and go into 2008 with a clean slate (with an added focus on winning the Gold Medal in Beijing). He’s more than proven himself already, but for the sake of smashing records, I hope he keeps winning.

My only complaint: all Masters Series FINALS should be best-of-five.

sensationalsafin Says:

“My only complaint: all Masters Series FINALS should be best-of-five.”

I AGREE!!! It’s an outrage!!! not to say it doesnt make sense, especially considering how close together these tournaments are. but there will be no excuse to take away the best of five for the masters cup. literally, no excuse, there are no tournaments that the organizers have to worry about tired players skipping. the thing is, with all the changes in 2009, a tennis fan would hope that they would reschedule all the tournaments so that the masters can have best of five and not worry as much about tired players. i think that makes sense. there have been so many great matches in masters finals, its damn dissappointing to take them away. federer and nadal’s arguably best match was played in a masters series final. anyways, nalbandian lost to wawrinka in straight sets. thats what i call avenging your country, lol. but nalbandian is probably tired but a good win for wawrinka no doubt. funny, i just found out wawrinka beat him in basel with the exact same score (only the tiebreaker was 9-7 last year and 7-5 this year). kinda funny i must say.

johnnhoj Says:

Nalbandian’s such an excellent player when he’s focused. His relative consistency in sets 2 and 3 of the Madrid final surprised me, when I think back on the ass-kicking he received from Federer last year in the Madrid semis. As talented and capable as Nalbandian is, he needs to stop eating profiteroles.

…or maybe Hewitt’s the original nemesis. Fed remarked on how he used to fear playing guys like Nalbandian.

sensationalsafin Says:

i was thinking about nalbandian and federer’s latest match and i think i need to say this before i forget. federer said that when he used to play nalbandian he couldnt figure him out. in the first 5 attempts, he’d come out sometimes capture the first set, think that he’s finally figured out the trick, then get rolled over. obviously it seemed like federer figured him out winning 9 outta 8 matches but the last one looked like old times. federer played well on the big points to get a 6-1 first set and then, as he even said, he had no chance after that. i mean yeah this is roger federer, next time they play he will probably be more ready and hungry for revenge. but still, i think thats something that shouldnt be overlooked.

John (1) Says:

Two upsets:

Nalbandian (to Wawrinka)

and Roddick (to Santoro).

andrea Says:

nalbandian getting ousted in basel reminds me of djokovic getting ousted by moya in cincinnati after completing his feat of beating the top players.

if anyone gets the chance to read the roger federer biography (which is much more wortwhile purchase than the dreck and sad pick up lines that vince spadea churned into a useless book) he did struggle against nalbandian when they first started playing. nalbandian did reference that history may have been a factor in the match and i totally agree.

roger is tough mentally but if he comes up against nadal in particular (who has a win/loss ratio in his favor) he can get flustered and i think it’s the record against him that does this.

likewise, when nalbandian started coming back in set #2, the monsters reared their ugly head.

plus a load of unforced errors….

sensationalsafin Says:

is federer’s biography sold in barnes and noble? the thing against nalbandian though is that he STILL has a winning record over him, so it shouldn’t be that much of a factor. and as much as i wanna argue that when he steps on the court he’s not thinking about the record he’s just focused on the task ahead of him, i can’t. federer has been praising and pretty much praying to play nadal ever since wimbledon. i think he really enjoyed winning such an epic encounter and wants to do it more often. but it definetly has a lot to do with his losing record becuz he obviously wants to reverse it. against nalbandian he should focus on extending his winning record but nalbandian played too well and maybe federer did in fact get flustered.

Tejuz Says:

Well.. One thing to notice .. Fed loses to Nalbandian when they play each other in a final and Fed has the upper hand early on in the matches.

He lost the US Open junior finals to Nalbandian..
later they met each other on 2 more occassion (MC and the MS) and he lost both of them.

Guess.. fed has a better chance against Nalbandian only when he meets him before the finals.. especially the semis.

Skorocel Says:

sensationalsafin and johnnhoj – I totally agree with you re: the Masters Series final’s modus! Nowadays it’s only 5 matches insteead of 6, best of 3 sets final instead of best of 5… How can you call it a “Masters Series tournament”? That’s ridiculous! I’m not saying it would have helped Fed to win that Sunday’s final – indeed, the rules were the same for both Fed and Nalby, and the better player won, but this is ridiculous!

sensationalsafin Says:

thats true but i think if it was a 5 set final we could have easily seen a 5th set between federer and nalbandian. in a 5 set match federer would have bounced back in the 4th even if he wouldve ended up losing in the 5th. it wouldve been a hell of a lot more interesting either way.

John (1) Says:

More upsets:

Korlovic def Blake

Tsonga def Gasquet

zola Says:

I am in favor of best of 5’s for finals. men and women.

Sean Randall Says:

I would love to see a return to the best-of-five format for Masters Series finals. I think someday we’ll get that. But for the time being the top players complain it’s too much tennis when ya have to play back-to-back events. So to keep them happy and to keep them playing I guess the change had to be made.

I think the Masters Cup final is still best-of-five. I hope.

grendel Says:

So it’s players power, Sean! Nevertheless, assume the players are being reasonable – and in the light of all the injuries everybody seems to be getting all the time, perhaps they are – it is ultimately down to whoever is responsible for the scheduling. One suspects a good deal of politics and money stuff here, all going on behind the scenes.

We live in an instant society which supposedly demands instant pleasures. Yet in cricket, although the one day game is popular and has its place, the prestige – and the true drama, as opposed to instant excitement – lies in the long 5 day games. And the interesting thing is, the public goes for it. They appreciate that the 5 day Test Match is the real thing, where they can get to see what their heroes are really made of.

I have no knowledge, but my guess would be that tennis fans, in general, are no different. They know and appreciate that the 5 setter is the true test. Pity they cannot make their views (assuming this is correct) widely known to the powers that be.

Sean Randall Says:

I would also add that TV plays a roll. It always does.

This from Indian Wells chief Charlie Pasarell in 2002.
Q. The switch of the final to two of three sets, is that strictly TV?
CHARLIE PASARELL: Television driven.

However I do think that if Federer, Nadal, Roddick, etc., stood up and demanded the Masters finals be best-of-five I think a few of the Masters events/Tour would oblige.

Seraphim Says:

Sean/Richard and whoever else runs this sight, please don’t stop. You guys always find a way to crack my sh*t up when I need it. The trunk/funk and now this article………….bless your bleeding hearts. LMAO

I want more, and if you know like I know you’ll do as I say because I help pay your bills.

And whats up with the Notes, Barbs and Quotes updates. If I’m going to bookmark and give traffic to this bitch, I WANT UPDATES.

Love Seraphim.

grendel Says:

But Fed, Nadal and co won’t, will they, so long as the scheduling stays as it is.

Why should that change?

Realistically, it’s got to be made worthwhile for whoever’s hauling in the sheckles.

The crowds will roll up to the 5 day cricket test matches, so a good decision coincides with commercial sense.

But, 3 sets, 5 sets, makes no odds – you can’t fit more people in. You just can’t see the tennis properly. In the brave new world of half a century on, everyone’ll be wearing special contact lenses that will make it look as if you’re by the courtside even though you’re in a football size stadium. More loot. The people will demand, etc.

But now? The pressure is on, especially from the “emerging” tennis playing nations in Asia, to have more tournaments. That’s bad news.

What about rotating tournaments? How about divisions? Anybody got any ideas?

I don’t see television as being a problem outside America. Sky Sports, eg, devotes 10 or more hours a day to the Masters tourneys. From their point of view, a 5 set final – only match of day – would be preferable. Unless the viwers objected.

In which case, might as well give up, and resign ourselves to one set tennis. May be only just round the corner…..

Skorocel Says:

Interesting, though, that the Indian Wells & Miami tournaments stayed with the 6 matches + best of 5 set final modus… I know those tourneys are both extented to 10 days (as opposed to the rest of the Masters Series), but still, one would think American TV companies would prefer a best of 3 set final, isn’t it?

Sean Randall Says:

Grendel, I can’t speak for Europe or for other countries but here in the U.S. with tennis being near the bottom of sporting interests major networks probably don’t want to televise a full best-of-five non-Slam final.

For a network like CBS, a Miami five-setter between Djokovic/Canas would have been five sets too many. (Hell, it was probably three sets too many as it was!)

If the final was between Federer/Roddick or Federer/Nadal, maybe CBS wouldn’t mind best-of-five, but what are the chances they get that final, or one with two Americans in it?

The days of McEnroe v. Connors, Agassi v. Sampras, are long over.

Plus, under the best-of-five format you could have the uncertainty of a four/five hour match, which eats into a big part of a network’s TV schedule.

With best-of-three your on-air window is unlikely to go beyond three hours, and more often under two, making it easier to “package”, which is what’s happening to cricket (by the sounds of it).

If I remember correctly most of, if not all, of the Miami event was once best-of-five. However the players said “too much tennis” and the tour cut it back.

I agree that best-of-five is better value for the fans in attendance and maybe TVs in Europe don’t mind, but here in the U.S. unless you get two big name stars or two marquee Americans it doesn’t work as well anymore.

And your right, tournament scheduling is important. If Madrid/Paris, Rome/Hamburg were set up like the 10+ days events of IW/Miami then I see no reason why the Madrid/Paris finals could not go back to best-of-five. I think the players would support such a change, and if TV got on board, presto, back to best-of-five.

However, what would happen to events like Lyon, Basel and St. Pete? Where would they go in the calender if Madrid/Paris became 10 days stops? That’s where it gets prickly.

jane Says:


Love everything about your October 22nd 7:44 pm post.

I agree that while Fed will not win as much in the future, he’s not going anywhere soon. He’ll still be in the top mix, even when he loses his 1st place standing. He wants to play until 2012 at least, so he can play in the Olympics. He also, obviously, wants the French, and I can’t see him giving up on that dream too easily. Especially not to go off into retirement and permanently daydream (daynightmare?) about never getting it.

The good thing, imo, is that competition for the number one, two, three spots is heating up, even if Roger is still heads above the rest. I’d like to think that the slams will be even more hotly contested next year. More chances for others to take them. I like that Murray is fired up; I hope he can play his best next year. Nadal v. Murray, though straight sets, was fun to watch.

Anyhow, my 2 cents.

grendel Says:

Jane, have a look at this:

Even though it’s in German, or Swiss German, doesn’t really matter.It’s Federer as perhaps you’ve never seen him before. I think it’s infectious myself.

grendel Says:

p.s. Zola will know where I got that from. I think it’s fascinating to watch the faces in the crowd – lots of varying degree of mirth. The interviewer is Hans Gunhardt (something like that – ex Swiss player).

Skorocel Says:

grendel, it was Heinz Günthardt – a former Swiss player and longtime coach of Steffi Graf, who interviewed Roger after the match. Too bad I can’t understand that much of Swiss German… I’ve never seen Fed so hilarious during an interview!

agassifan Says:

Heinz Günthardt – I remember him playing in a major match, I know it’s not much to go by but does anyone know anything about his playing career?

grendel Says:

Skorocel: here is that Fed interview again on You Tube, this time with subtitles – courtesy of FoT, on another message board.

SG Says:

Federer wins three slams in a year and he’s not having a “Federer” type year? Who writes this stuff? His press agent? IMG??? There are a handful of male players in the history of the sport to win 3 slams in a year. Implying that this has been an un-Federer like year is calling Tiger Woods a lousy golfer. What a bunch of ego massaging hogwash. Seeing as the guy has never won more than 3 majors in a year, how is duplicating the feat a bad year? He lost in a few finals? So what. He defended every major victory from the previous year and got to the FO final. By all means, give me his “bad” year. I’ll take it. Ah hell, I’ll sacrifice myself take the bad year he’s just had for the next 10 years.

SG Says:

I think fed will win 17 majors though I don’t think he’ll win in Paris (unless you take into account that lead pipe to the Nadal leg scenario). 6 US, 7 Wim, 4 Aussies.

grendel Says:

Sorry if I’m being a bit dim, SG, but I’m not clear as to precisely whose ego is being massaged. Or how, for that matter. Please elucidate.

sensationalsafin Says:

what part of “for anyone else this year would have been fantastic” dont u understand? grand slams arent the only titles on tour. last year he won 12 titles, only 3 of them were slams. that means he won 9 other titles. this year he won 4 other titles. not only that but hes had more losses than ever in the last 4 years, but since its only 7 i guess its not saying that much. but hes also had some pretty miserable losses. no french open? idk. i mean im never counting nadal out again after what happened this year. 8 month title drought and then he dominates the tour from march to june. so i wouldnt be surprised the least bit if that happened again next year after such a lousy second half this year. but still, i think some day federer will capture the clay title. agassi did it late in his career, y cant federer? federer’s only gonna capture one more AO? idk, id give him 2 more. 6 US’s and 7 Wimbledon’s seems pretty accurate, but i think federer might be eager to get an 8th wimbledon to have one more edge on sampras

Sean Randall Says:

Well, folks. Looks like Roger Federer has 1.5 million reasons to play Paris, can you blame him?

From the ATP: “As well as securing the end of season No. 1 slot, Federer is also in line to secure a $1.5m payout from the ATP Masters Series Bonus Pool. The $3 million ATP Masters Series Bonus Pool pays $1.5m, $750,000, $500,000 and $250,000 respectively to the world’s top four players in the year-end ATP Race standings (released after Tennis Masters Cup) provided they have played eight of the season’s nine ATP Masters Series tournaments, including Madrid and Paris.”

And his thoughts on how he’ll do:”Paris is a tough event. I have an incredibly tough draw, I hope I can get through the first one and find my form, get used to the new conditions.”

Doesn’t exactly sound like he’s going to stick around Paris very long, does it?

sensationalsafin Says:

by stick around do you mean play there in the future or lose early? cuz if hes saying hes gonna lose early then thats just ridiculous. considering how many records hes broken and titles hes won, im sure he wouldnt mind adding to his resume.

grendel Says:

Since SG won’t answer my (reasonable) question – presumably on the grounds that it is too obvious, let me try answering myself. It’s “ego massaging hogwash” because, well now, let me see, what could it possibly be? Oh, I know! The idea is – are you listening, folks, this is a good ‘un – Federer or his press agent or his entourage or the whole sorry phenomenon which constitutes the Fed Fan Fanatic Brigade (FFF, you know – you do all know about that, don’t you?) well, these people(if you can call them people, brainwashed zombies might be better) reckon that Federer is so good, is so out of this world amazingly amazing, that merely in some way to repeat LAST YEAR’S admittedly stratospheric success is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Federer being, do we have the appropriate hush, Federer, more god than man really (you know it, I know it, even that satanic crew his detractors know it) Federer needs to do better to do justice to his holy gifts. He needs, among other things, to win 5 grand slams in the calendar year. It is not immediately clear how he can do this, but we of FFF are confident he will find a way.

I think this may be what SG meant. But there’s a problem. The most vocal opponents of the theory that Fed has had a let down this year are, in fact, Fed fans. That at least is my impression.

Sean Randall Says:

sensationalsafin, I actually think Karlovic is in a perfect spot to knock out Fed tomorrow, and think he’s going to pull off the upset.

SG Says:

grendel…take a deep breath (maybe two)…that’s it…calm down now. ahhh, that probably didn’t work and I quite frankly I don’t care. 3 slam wins and an FO final appearance constitute a year worthy of even Federer’s talents. The guy isn’t getting any younger. He’s putting out his best stuff when it matters the most. Another title in Madrid or wherever isn’t something anyone’s going to remember. Tennis is major-centric. Every pro will tell you that they aim to peak at the majors. And Fed brings brings his best ball to those events. Being No.1 has to have huge stress and expectations. Fed does have a body, a heart and a pulse right? As good as he is, he is subject to wearing down. If he wears himself out at the Podunk Indoor Championships, he’s not doing himself any justice when it comes to winning majors. He’s conserving energy. He wants the major champioship record, he wants to win in Paris, he wants to win The Slam. Maybe he’s recognizing that this isn’t going to happenfor him if he’s emptying his bucket in Madrid. So maybe this “bad year” all of you keep harping on about is nothing more than a tactic to keep him sharp when it matters. Maybe he just can’t do any better and still be at his best at the majors. Seems logical to me.

Of course Fed could just be a deitic force that is showing compassion to his fellows competitors by throwing in a loss here and there. If that’s what you’d all like to believe than so be it.

SG Says:

grendel…what was your question?

Skorocel Says:

Thanks for that video, grendel! Seems like someone told him a good joke before that interview:-)

grendel Says:

Crossed wires here, SG. Very reasonable what you say. It’s that first bit in your earlier post that’s in question – the “ego massaging hogwash”. It not being obvious what you had in mind, I attempted to – er – have a guess.

“So maybe this “bad year” all of you keep harping on about is nothing more than a tactic to keep him sharp when it matters”. But there is division in the ranks here, SG. Your enemy is not a monolith. Some even agree with you. Personally, I’m not quite sure. I don’t think Fed has been quite as convincing – in his wins (apart from A.O. of course) – as last year, and I should have thought this trend would continue. It’s called the revenge of time. Plus the chasing pack continues to improve. However, I may be being premature – hope so.

Skorocel: there was some double entendre on the question of “size” – that usually elicits a few guffaws. It was Federer who initiated it, too,which is why perhaps he couldn’t stop giggling: sort of out of character with his prevailing image (clean cut, etc) and I suspect he felt a sort of relief. Bit of a burden for an essentially ordinary person (who happens to have a divine gift) to be put on this pedestal even outside the game of tennis. I thought the expression on Fed’s sister’s face was hilarious: I expect this is all quite extraordinarily funny, and I am extremely pleased that you are all having such a good time, but um, what exactly is it that you find so amusing?

SG Says:

Fed will have a very nice next few years. I see him winning 5 majors over the next 3 years. I think that if he runs into a hot Karlovic on grass, he may be derailed somewhere in the next three years at Wimbledon.

He has a really nice game for the AO and US Open. These two tournaments really reward shotmakers with a lot of variety. Wimbledon and the FO are only marginally different these days in terms of how players approach them. They stay back and wear out the baseline. I actually think Fed’s US Open championships are his most impressive. There are a lot of good hardcourters out there who can bring the heat. And while I don’t think this year’s US Open was Fed’s best, he did win the title.

But grendel, as you said, father time is relentless. tennis is a sport that favors the young. you can’t keep a bunch of hungry young guys down forever.

SG Says:

and when it’s all said and done, fed will be called the GOAT. the guy is still in his prime and will pass Sampras’ major total very shortly. only the ghost of laver will hang over him. but even that ghost will can exorcised by the fact that laver won three of the four slams on grass, his best surfaces, whereas Fed has won on three reasonably different surfaces and he has been very competetive on clay as well.

SG Says:

too bad mcenroe didn’t play australia more when it was on grass. he may have had 10 or 11 majors and definitely would have been in all the GOAT talk with the brilliance of his shotmaking.

Skorocel Says:

SG, I fully agree with you re: the Laver’s grandslam! Everyone talks how helluva achievement it was, but 3x grass + 1x clay vs 1x grass, 1x clay and 2x hard is something different I guess…

naresh Says:

hey i think lavers achievement is really something special. most slam winners in the modern day, have been able to win on hard also, if they won on grass. the difficult thing is winning on grass as well as clay, because of the differnce in bounce and speed{although in lavers time, speed was not that much of a concern}. if hard courts were around in lavers time, he’d have a few of those as well, believe me !

SG Says:

i agree that laver’s achievement is singular and incredible. didn’t mean to take anything away from it. but those aussies from the 60’s on grass. they were tough.

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