Nadal, Federer Lead 7 of Top 8 as ATP Season Begins
by Sean Randall | January 3rd, 2009, 12:14 pm

It’s a pretty impressive opening week on the ATP circuit with seven of the Top 8 players all lacing it up. In Doha, World No. 1 Rafael Nadal joins No. 2 Roger Federer, No. 4 Andy Murray and No. 8 Andy Roddick in the best event of the week. ADHEREL

Nadal opens his official 2009 campaign against Fabrice Santoro who I thought had retired. Nadal could meet my man Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals, then run into Roddick in the semifinals. Federer’s drawn to meet Murray in his semifinal. Both have comfortable draws I would say.

And for what it’s worth, Murray just won the Abu Dhabi exo title over Nadal earlier today. The Scot also beat Federer in the semifinals Friday in a third-set tiebreak. Read into it as you wish.

For a first year event Brisbane is loaded with No. 3 Novak Djokovic and No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Novak, who’s just a few points from No. 2 Federer, has a tough draw in front of him with Ernests Gulbis right out of the gate, then Mathieu, Berdych and possibly Verdasco in the semifinals. That’s a tough way to begin the New Year.

Chennai features No. 5 Nikolay Davydenko as its top seed with Stan Wawrinka No. 2.

The lone player Top 8 player absent from the ATP events is Gilles Simon who is playing in the Hopman Cup which also features James Blake, Marat Safin and Lleyton Hewitt.

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21 Comments for Nadal, Federer Lead 7 of Top 8 as ATP Season Begins

jane Says:

Well…I am reading into it. Yes, it’s only an exo; yes, it’s the beginning of the year. However, Murray has now shown that he can beat the top three guys – Nadal, Federer and Djokovic – *consistently.* That means a lot going forward. I agree with what grendel wrote on the other thread; Murray will soon be a “monster,” and with that, I suspect, number 1. It won’t happen this season I don’t think, but it’ll happen if he stays on course. He seems to have it all in order just now, and he’s so multitalented. I don’t think any of the top three will want to see Murray’s name in their section of the draw forthwith!

Daniel Says:

Agreed Jane! Murray won his last two matches against Nadal (1 exo), last three against Fed (1 exo) and last two agaisnt Djoko. Pretty impressive! But the monster will only rise after he wins a Slam.

mem Says:

all credit to andy. both players played great! maybe i’m misinterpreting the the meaning of consistency, but i didn’t know that beating a player two out seven times was called consistency. if that is the case, there are several players beating nadal consistently, i.e. djokovic has beaten nadal several times. in fact, nadal was on the brink of losing his #2 status to djokovic early on. in my mind, consistency is federer and nadal being at the top for the past few years, but anything can happen. we will see! that’s why tennis is so exciting!

mem Says:

all credit to andy! both players played great! however, i don’t agree that beating a player two out seven times can be called consistency. if that is the case, then several guys are consistent against nadal; i.e. djokovic has beaten nadal more than twice on hardcourts. in fact, nadal was on the brink of losing his #2 ranking to djokovic early on. in my mind, consistency is federer and nadal being at the top for the past few years. in my opinion, i don’t think consistency is a good description until a player proves that he can withstand the expectations and pressure of competing at the top week after week, and winning the major tournaments. the season is young! anything can happen! we will see!

jane Says:

Mem, you have a point. Maybe the word I should have used was “consecutively” instead consistently. What I meant to point out is that Murray has beat all of these guys in the past 6 months more than once so it suggests a certain kind of consistency, if only in the level of his own game.

Daniel, I agree. Once Murray wins a slam then we can see him as a true contender for the throne.

Kimmi Says:

Jane, daniel. Murray will win a Slam, its coming. He has to start somewhere and this is what he is doing. He is already shown that he can play well on big stages eg nadal US open. He has also won master series titles and I belive its a matter of when rather than if.

Australian Tennis Player Says:

Anyone who watched the match between nadal and Murray yesterday will know that both men wanted to win, and both put 100% effort into it. Therefore its a complete misnomer to simply reject the victory as it was in an exhibition match.

Murray now has great victories over the other ‘big 3’, and whereas last season i thought it was just British media bias that was calling it a ‘big 4’, i now believe its fair to say that this is correct.

Murray, Nadal, Federer and Djokovic are all capable of beating each other (and on pretty much any surface too), which is sure to make for a great season. I don’t know if Murray will win a Slam, because at the moment Nadal seems to have the physical edge needed for a long tournanmt, but i wouldn’t put it past him.


You mention Djokovic facing Gulbis. This guy Gulbis has to be the most overrated at the moment. It seems so many are impressed with him, but he never wins…two QF in all of 2008. He will be impressive for one set and then get blown out, you watch. Same as last time and the time before that. If he does “break through”, some major things will have improved in his game and mental approach. Mostly he just sprays stylishly hit balls all over the stadium.

gulu Says:

Hi JJFan, totally agree with you regarding Gulbis, unnecessary hype around that guy ! He seen can hit some good shots, that’s all !
Forget about Gulbis beating Nole, if it somehow happens, that’d be just an upset & nothing more, for me at least .

NachoF Says:

So… it begins….Murray is definitely looking strong this year.. I still think Federer will beat him in the big tournaments though… so my thinking is:for Fed to win the French this year, his best hope is that Murray lands on Rafa’s side and beats him so then Fed can beat Murray in the finals….. Im getting a little ahead though.

Dave Says:

Murray is playing great, but I watched large portions of his match with Federer. Neither played great in THAT match, and Federer in particular looked like he was phoning it in. In the tiebreak alone he made 3 horrible forehand errors. He also seemed to be rushing the net a lot. I don’t know if he is trying out new things, just not trying that hard, or is particularly rusty, but that wasn’t his best by far. Andy wasn’t playing his best either, but Fed was way off his usual standard. So, I don’t think too much can be read into the result, except that Andy will take some confidence (a win is a win).

jane Says:

Federer’s forehand errors were present last year at some crucial moments and in some crucial matches (like in the 5th set of the Wimbledon final, for example), so I wouldn’t make too light of Federer’s forehand issues. The timing on that shot was going off as early as 2007, and his forehand, while wicked when working, let him down too much in 2008.

IMO, he should use his sharply angled, short crosscourt forehand more often. That one, when clicking, opens up the court while pulling his opponent nearer to the net and nearly off the court, allowing Roger to set up good passing shots down the line.

andrea Says:

happy ’09 to all the tennis fans out there.

did not get to watch any of the exo matches but sounds like how ’08 ended is morphing into a sign of the times for ’09.

i’m dissapointed to read fed’s quote about how ‘winning the big titles’ is where it’s at for him now. i guess i knew it would come to this but i hope it doens’t transltae into a cavalier attitude for any tournament he enters that isn’t a grand slam.

when i look back to last year, that 5 setter against gasquet at wimbledon really lit the fire under andy. he’s had a great 6 months since then.

sar Says:

Does anyone know the TV schedule in the US for Brisbane and Doha.

Sean Randall Says:

sar, from my listings the Tennis Channel will air the Brisbane final(s?) next weekend. No luck on Doha.

sar Says:

just found live streaming here

jane Says:

Thanks sar – happy new year to you!

D Roy Says:


Wishing “HAPPY NEW YEAR” to all, with family.

Opened Tennis X forum first time today in the New Year.Hence, it’s great to see all back in the thick of action.

Hoping for an exciting 2009 season ahead.


gulu Says:

Welcome back Roy ! :-)

gulu Says:

Hey NachOf , glad that you are back in business ! Fed’s gonna have a better year than he had in 2008, I surely won’t distrust him !

Srdjan Says:

Murray is now like Djokovic 2 years before
Everyone said that he will become monster but he didn’t…
He done his best and he is tired last and this season and that can be seen in his match
Murray wont be leader i guarantee…
At lest 2 season…

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