Nadal On Track for Fifth French Open
by Sean Randall | May 28th, 2009, 6:11 pm

Two rounds down, five more to go at the second Grand Slam of the year, the French Open. So what do we know? Well, we now know that when the sun is out and the red clay court is baking the players hit more aces. And when it’s cool and wet, well, they don’t. But really, so what! It’s clay. ADHEREL

What we do know is that even though Rafael Nadal hasn’t played his best tennis he still is the most intimidating player on clay despite the human pink/yellow highlighter ensemble.

We know that Roger Federer is still very vulnerable as today we saw him on the brink of elimination against Jose Acasuso. Had Jose kept his head when up 5-2 (was it) in the third set, who knows what might have happened – my guess is Fed would still have won in five against the tiring Acasuso.

We know that the French youngsters came to play this week. Are those guys passionate or what? My man Gael Monfils hasn’t dropped a single set despite his ailing knee (or alleged ailing knee). Jo-Wilfried Tsonga plays with some serious firepower and emotion that one day those traits and more will lead him to French Open title. And while he may never reach the heights of his aforementioned predecessors, Josselin Ouanna plays a brand of tennis that’s a joy to watch. And let’s not forget Jeremy Chardy and Gilles Simon who are still alive.

We know Novak Djokovic will have to play at least one set Friday and three more on Saturday. With rising temperatures might things get interesting for the Serb?

We know Andy Roddick was given a gift of a draw, and we know he’ll make the best of it if only for a few more rounds. Corollary: the Americans really do suck on clay.

We know that in women’s tennis the majority lower ranked players are simply not mentally tough enough to knock out the upper echelon when given the chance. Ask Nadia Petrova, Lucie Safarova, Sera Errani and Klara Zakopalova.

We know that it’s too bad Justine Henin retired when she did because the Belgian could still win a handful of French Opens.

We know the British were not meant to play on clay, and that Fernando Gonzalez will likely put an end to Andy Murray in the quarterfinals.

We know that Marat Safin and Fabrice Santoro will be missed.

We know that Fernando Verdasco is going to play Nadal again in a quarterfinals – what would that be, nine straight quarterfinals in a row for Verdasco? If not for Nadal, Verdasco would be a Top 5 player this year and maybe have a spot in the final Sunday at Roland Garros.

We know that those of us in the U.S. are lucky to have not one but two channels – ESPN and the Tennis Channel – covering the French Open. Whether you like the commentary or not, at least it’s on!

And we know with the Top 10 seeds still alive in both draws we are in for a great finish to the clay court season. Allez.

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61 Comments for Nadal On Track for Fifth French Open

Michael gaobest Says:

I’m rooting for Nadal as usual, but maybe RFed’s escape against Acasuso will give him the encouragement he needs to buckle down and win Roland Garros. I want Nadal to 5-peat and for RFed to never win RG (so that it’ll be his Sampras-like asterisk)… but sometimes a champion needs a serious scare to win a Grand Slam.

I’ll never forget Becker’s escape against Derrick Rostagno in the 1989 US Open 2nd round… which I feel gave him the push to get serious and then win that championship against Lendl.


Kimo Says:

I wouldn’t read too much into Fed’s match with Acasuso. Why? Because sometimes you come into a match thinking you own the opposition, and that’s probably true, but they can surprise you sometimes if they’re having a good day.

Let’s face it guys:
Who of us thought Andreev could push the Fed to five sets in the USO?
Or Berdych to go up two sets agianst Fed this year at Australia?

You can’t be expect Fed to be as dominating on clay as Nadal, but that doesn’t mean he can’t win. His backhand isn’t made for clay, but a true champion finds ways to overcome his weaknesses.

Acasuso played at the top of his level, but there wasn’t a moment when I thought he could pull it off. He definitely came in with a plan and executed it well (torturing Fed’s backhand), but he just wasn’t able to keep this up for more than a set and a half. Also conditions were soooooo slooooooowwwwwwww today. If conditions continue to be like that, Fed doesn’t stand a chance should he reach the final(I still strongly believe he’ll beat Djoko).

zola Says:

I LOVE Monfils, but honedtly I think he will never reach a slam final because he will injur himself before that. I don’t know if you watched his match today. he dived in the air at one point to save an impossible point. He is so entertaining to watch, but he will only win a slam or a MS title if ATP forbids jumping and acrobatrics on court!

Tsonga is on fire and so is the French crowd. It is hard to speculate what will happen if one of these guys reaches the final.

zola Says:

***We know Andy Roddick was given a gift of a draw,****

you really think Gicquel and Monfils are very easy opponents for Roddick?

zola Says:

this is what I am talking about!

naresh Says:

The way Federer played today, it seems like he’s gonna tire himself out by the time he get’s to the semi’s. His matches are not gonna get any easier from now on. Next up for him is Paul Henri Mathieu.. this guys been in good nick, hasn’t lost a set in his first 2 matches and has looked pretty solid.. he even beat Murray in a warm up match just b4 FO started, so he’s not gonna be a push over. Add the fact that he’s French and will have the crowd support, Fed’s gonna have his hands full.. My guess is Fed will get through to the Semi’s for sure, but he’ll be pretty beat up by then.

jane Says:

naresh, Mathieu and Fed have not played since 2006; they’ve played once on all surfaces with Fed winning all three, and the closest set being on clay. But I don’t think Mathieu will challenge Fed too much because Fed feeds off power hitters like him, and like Acasuso, Mathieu is not known as the mentally toughest guy around. So I don’t think Fed should have much trouble in that match; at the most Mathieu might take a set or something.

sheila Says:

almost had heart attack watching federer play acasuso today. i’ve watched federer 4 several years now and it seems his forehand isn’t as sharp as it used 2b. i watch all these other players and they seem so aggressive and roger seems so passive. even roddick looks like he’s gotten so pop back on his forehand. i love roger and would love 2c him pull off a win @ roland garros, but after watching him 2day against acasuso i dont chim even getting 2 semis. pls let me b wrong as i would love 2c roger get 2 the finals and win nadal(nice 2 fanticize). i am concerned because if roger gets thru matthieu, he would either have 2 play monfils or roddick and those 2 look sharper than him. all i know is watching roger try 2 ty sampras’ record is stressing the hell out of me and his ongoing vulnerabilities r putting doubts in my head that he will end up w/13 slam wins only. its obvious nadal will surpass both sampras and federer unless his body starts seriously breaking down. what is going on w/federer. y is his forehand so vulnerable. is it lack of confidence, age, nadal, djokovic, murray, et al, or maybe it is all of the above. it sucks if he doesn’t ty sampras.

Kimo Says:


His forehand didn’t look as powerful today because the court was very slow. By the time the ball bounces, most of the sting is already gone. His forhand has always been like that on clay.

and come on, you say you have been watching Fed for several years, do u really think Roddick can beat him, AND ON CLAY? A snowball has a more realistic chance in hell than Roddick against Fed on clay.

TejuZ Says:

Fed’s forehand isnt as sharp as it used to be a couple of years ago. Especially when he ran around the back hand and hammered his forehand down the line.. it used to hit the line and opponent was in no position to reach it. Nowadays, its either way inside the court or out of it.. and it lacks pace as well. Dunno if its got to do with his confidence or his movement and court positioning.

Voicemale1 Says:


Federer’s tough matches in Majors began in Autralia of 2008, when Tipsarevic took him to 5 Sets. And that was when Federer was coming off his peak year in 2007, concluding with routing just about everyone in the YEC two months earlier. Since then, he’s struggled at almost every Major: French 08 – three 4 Setter against guys outside the Top 25; US Open vs. Andreev went 5, and 4 Sets against Djokovic in the Semis; Australia 09, five sets to Berdych and Nadal. Acasuso today spent long periods of the match playing Federer exactly like Nadal does: he hit his forehand inside out to Federer’s backhand with loads of topspin. It was working very well. You can bet other coaches were writing all that down, too.

The point is, as he gets older, his route through the Majors will get longer and tougher. This is not unusual, nor is it inimical to just Federer. It happens to every player everywhere all the time, past present and future. The fact is Federer’s movement isn’t as sharp as it was. Combine that with more guys today who have learned to do what only Nalbandian used to be able to do: they make Federer run from side to side all day long and you get what we’ve seen at the Majors for the last 15 months from him – harder work earlier in the tournament. The days of Federer winning three of the four Majors in the calendar year are gone. He’s going to win tournaments again (like Madrid), and over a couple of years he might get past the Sampras 14, probably concentrating on getting another couple of Wimbledon’s. Which is smart because he’s only got one or two real threats there. But another match like today at some point later in the draw wouldn’t be surprising at all.

zola Says:

Mark my words. Federer will tie and pass Sampras’s record.Don’t worry so much.
No one stays at the top forever.It is just natural for the players to slow down after some time. I think fed will start concentrating on majors and then you will see the results!
but pls let Rafa win FO this year!

Fedfan Says:

Lets see how he plays against Mathieu – Mathieu almost beat Nadal at the french two years ago (remember when Nadal choked on a “banana”!).

Murray has the easiest route to the semis.

I still think Fed will make it to the final here.

Fedfan Says:

Nadal’s next 4 opponents could be (first is already decided) – hewitt, ferrer, verdasco, murray. not too easy. He may have to work quite hard to reach the finals.

Fed’s likely opponents – mathieu, haas, monfils, potro/tsonga/djokovic. except haas, all our tough on clay in france.

they both have a lot of tests on the way.

Acasuso played the match of his life, and was a bit unlucky, but could only win one set, at 7-5. Except for Nadal, nobody else will really have the upper hand mentally against Fed.

Fed should listen to Mcenroe a little bit. He can never beat nadal from behind the baseline on clay. He has to adopt a mixture of Agassi/Guga tactics with some approaches to the net – Agassi always played ON the baseline, cutting off the angles. Guga took the backhand on the up (one-handed). Of course it is tough, but he has to step inside to take the backhand against nadal, rather than let it bounce up and spin. And hog the net. From 20 feet behind, nadal just loops the ball up in the air (with a lot of spin), almost like a moonball. If someone can consistently come to the net to cut it off, he will be forced to hit lower percentage shots. Federer came to the net 84 times in Rome 2006. that’s what he needs to do. Of course, easier said than done.

Nadal is mentally very strong, but even he can get tired sometimes. Remember his match against Ferrer at the US Open a couple of years ago?

I would certainly love to know what Nadal eats for energy, stamina, muscles…..

Kimo Says:


The examples I cited were from majors where such long matches didn’t seem to have a physical toll on Fed. He plays a very relaxed style of tennis, not as physically demanding as Nadal’s. He may play more sets than Nadal, but Fed’s sets are shorter. Over ther course of the last six years, I’ve never seen Fed lose a match because he ran out of gas. His movement maybe a tiny bit off, but he’s still in shape. He doesn’t get tired. Nadal on the other hand does get tired, and when he’s tired he can barely move and he gets steam-rolled (like Chennai 08 when he was almost double bagled by Youzhny after a four hour epic with Moya).


You’re saying “pls let Rafa win FO this year!”?

Rafa is the reason Federer doesn’t have four French titles, why he wasn’t able to get his 6th straight Wimbledon, why his grass court streak is back to zero, why he lost the australian title this year, why he is no longer number one, and why people are starting to question if Federer deserves to be the GOAT.

Believe me, nothing would be more ironic than if Federer managed to miraculously snatch the French from Rafa. I mean just when everybody thinks Federer is past his prime (he probably is) and Nadal’s time has come (after three long years as no. 2), and when defeating Nadal at any major seems an impossibility, and BANG, Fed takes the French.

I think it would be poetic justice.

zola Says:


***Believe me, nothing would be more ironic than if Federer managed to miraculously snatch the French from Rafa. ***

let it happen next year! Wouldn’t it be great if Rafa can break Borg’s record?

zola Says:

***I would certainly love to know what Nadal eats for energy, stamina, muscles…..***

Pasta with shrimps and mushrooms!

TD (Tam) Says:

Sean quote- “We know Andy Roddick was given a gift of a draw, and we know he’ll make the best of it if only for a few more rounds. Corollary: the Americans really do suck on clay.”

Roddick has been gifted easy draws before and still lost in the first or second round, so I think his straight set wins into the third round are worth celebrating instead of dismissing.

Federer has not faced any decent opposition either but you act like he’s Atlas incarnate when he wins due to an opponent’s injury. The double standards around here are ridiculous.

When Roger plays the first decent claycourter (which we know will be Dokovic in the semis, because he was gifted a cakewalk draw… yet again) he will lose. so there! :p

Kimo Says:


“let it happen next year! Wouldn’t it be great if Rafa can break Borg’s record?”

why didn’t Rafa wait till Fed breaks Borg’s record?!!!!!

Kimo Says:

TD said:

“Federer has not faced any decent opposition”

Obviously you haven’t seen today’s match.

Fedfan Says:

past with shrimps and mushroom is not going to do it, unless you mean something else by “mushroom”.

I was talking about the supplements he takes. Would be nice to have the list. Athletes are always trying out new things – things that have not yet been banned. The difference between a clean and a not-so-clean athlete? state-of-the-art versus older supplements.

sar Says:

Does anyone have Direct TV French open mix?
What channel is Suzanne Lenglen court on?

jane Says:

Well said TD “I think [Roddick’s] straight set wins into the third round are worth celebrating instead of dismissing.”

jane Says:

Fedfan says “Remember his match against Ferrer at the US Open a couple of years ago?”

I do remember and I don’t think this is a great example of Rafa’s fatigue, because he was injured from the get-go in that USO. He had had laser treatment on his knees, special treatments, just so he could play the slam, but he was hobbled. It was tough to watch him play in that condition.

There are better examples, imo, of when Rafa seemed tired.

Andrew Miller Says:

Eh good match for the Fedster. You got to win the match to get to the next round. Acasuso has always been solid – he is like Sampras without the never say die in him.

Fedfan Says:


can you post the other examples of Rafa being tired? the Youzhny match in Chennai comes to mind. He may also have been a bit tired in the Madrid match against Federer.

Rafa can’t afford to be tired – though he rarely is.

Andrew Miller Says:

Hey and if Roddick’s draw is less formidable and Roddick makes it through, where I come from we call that “earned luck”.

If he does what he’s supposed to and makes it through, a quarterfinal is still a quarterfinal. And I would like nothing better than to see Roddick or Federer with the winner’s trophy at the end of Roland Garros.

No offense to the main man Rafa, but I would not mind seeing a new champ on the dirt. There was one last year at Wimbledon…why not this year on the red stuff. And if it’s playing quickly…I think that could be great for some challengers.

Andrew Miller Says:

As for Rafa physically tired…I dont think it’s happenning. The bigger challenge is to tire him out mentally – mess up his system for adapting to the match. If Rafa is tired mentally, the physical part cant hold up.

So someone’s got to mess with his anticipation on the court by throwing some different looks at him, luring him into some traps. That to me is the only chance out there.

jane Says:


Frankly I think Rafa was a bit tired at Miami this year; he’d won the AO and IW, been to finals at Rotterdam and played a couple events before the AO. I also think he was somewhat tired when he lost at Madrid in 2007. But I am not trying to make excuses for him or his loss. He was pretty wiped at the USO last year, I think. He’d won Toronto, semis Cincy and then won gold in China and we know hard court more than any court takes its toll on Rafa and his joints.

These are just guesses, or how it seemed when I saw him play, like he couldn’t give it his all. But I don’t know obviously – no insider information. :)

jane Says:

That s/b Hamburg 2007, not Madrid.

zola Says:

do you know the state-of-the arts supplements that Fed takes?

I remember after the wimbledon final last year an LA magazine made the same accusations about both Rafa and Fed, because they did not seem “tired” after the 5-hour match!
Well, if someone practices as hard as Rafa does for 2-3 hours a day or like Fed does, hours in the heat of Dubai, they can certainly endure a 5-hour match in a GS final. The recovery is another story and that usually catches up with them. Not only Rafa, but Fed ( Rome 06, AO 08), Murray (US Open 08).. . and perhaps more.

Quite true about Rafa in US OPen. It was not fatigue. It was knee injury. Rafa was coming to the matches after having daily laser treatments and after he lost to Ferrer he was out with injury for about 2 months.

debrah Says:

FAFA FAN Remember he is still only a man, it makes me laugh when a game or 2 is lost to well at least to a 5yr #1 player ,thats bound to be natural,and to happen from time to time,BUT rafa has something deep in him thats seems to get it when he wants it , all his talents come into play (amd don’t forget the variables + conditions each time a game is played and make big judgements as the points overall speak to this LOUD and clear THATS HOW U know u are watching a superior player cause he’s beat the guy that was #1 for 5 yrs consider this….????tx DEbrah

zola Says:

from Rafa’s blog on timesonline:

Well, tomorrow more competition for me and a great match for the fans. I play Lleyton Hewitt who by the way I like a lot as a person. I have had the chance to know him these years I have been playing and he has always been very nice to me, and I am very thankful. Maybe the only exception is when we played golf last year in Miami and he literally killed me… Since them we haven’t played again and I am really looking forward to that. But seriously now, tomorrow it will be a great match, I am sure, and I am really excited about this one.


Fedfan Says:


I would certainly like to know everyone’s supplements. Nadal’s just seem the most effective though – he runs much more than other players in the same amount of playing time, and has muscles bigger than most boxers or wrestlers. His 5 setter against Fed in the AO, after over 5 hours with verdasco less than 48 hours earlier – that’s an amazing recovery – and he looked fresher than ever in the 5th set. Now those are the supplements that I would like to know about.

zola Says:

I really think Tsonga has bigger muscles than Rafa. Rafa has a more developed left bicep because he uses it more.

I think they all perhaps take vitamins and supplements. But it also depends on the body. About Rafa I know that he has an athletic family. Also his coach uncle Toni made him play in tough conditions, bad balls, wind, etc.,

I think playing on clay needs more endurance. Look at Ferrer or verdasco…they can run for hours. Same for Fed. he is incredibly fit. He did not seem tired after the AO final or the Wimbledon final. I guess they get more exhausted mentally than physically.

steve Says:

Tall guys can more easily counter Nadal’s heavy topspin, because the high-bouncing balls land in their strike zone and they can just step inside the baseline and cream the ball. This happened against Del Potro in Miami, and also with Querry at the US Open. (I don’t think Querrey would have won a set without the height advantage).

If you’re not tall, that strategy won’t work, but flat, acutely angled shots wide to his forehand also give him trouble.

But on clay flat shots aren’t as effective, so you have to do something different.

Nadal thrives on ritual and predictability, he lives to play rally after rally after rally until his opponents are ground down. Take that rhythm away from him and he’ll be out of his comfort zone.

Easier said than done, of course, because to do that you need to serve perfectly, make him come forward with short slices, come in to net whenever possible, and be aggressive in ending the rallies. Maybe even throw in the famous Michael Chang underhanded serve. Whatever works to keep him guessing and make him think.

One thing’s for certain: you’re never going to defeat him by trying to outhit him from the baseline. Djokovic played the best tennis of his life for four hours and got nowhere despite holding match points, so what does that say about that strategy?

Nadal is the best at his particular kind of game, and no one can possibly play it better than he can, so you simply have to play a different kind of game.

Fedfan Says:

Or just wait for a couple more years. Everyone slows down with age – when Nadal slows down even half a step, he will just vanish, since his game depends so much more on fitness and movement than others. Physically, players peak at 21-22, so even Nadal is past his physical peak.

Sampras was the opposite. Due to his serve-volley game, even at 31, he squeezed out a US Open (albeit with a lot of luck and help from organizers!). Nadal is not winning any slams at 31 years of age. Or even at 28.

Giner Says:

“We know that it’s too bad Justine Henin retired when she did because the Belgian could still win a handful of French Opens.”

This has perplexed me to no end. Not only is she capable of winning more French Opens, but also other slams, including Wimbledon eventually.

She lost her desire, which is truly a shame. She is the Borg of women’s tennis. She would not come anywhere near the 25 slams needed to tie Margaret Court, but I could easily see her with double digits. If she had Federer’s mindset and ambition, she wouldn’t be satisfied with any less than 15 before retiring.

If she ever comes back, she will suck for a few years winning only a small title here and there, and then give up again. This story isn’t new.

She has the best backhand I’ve ever seen, and the mental toughness to overcome more imposing opponents even from the brink of defeat on many occasions — the mark of a champion.

How a player with so much potential knowing that even further to her advantage the rest of the field is weak, can decide to just squander it all is unbelievable.

Giner Says:

zola (quoting Rafa):

“Maybe the only exception is when we played golf last year in Miami and he literally killed me…”

I hate when people misuse the word ‘literally’. It’s one of the biggest peeves of mine, along with ‘which begs the question.’

No he did not literally kill you. If he did, you could not be writing this, and he would either be in jail or on death row.

I know Rafa didn’t write that and the translator is the one to blame, but the improper of terms is being spread like a meme and the media is guilty of perpetuating it by also getting it wrong.

steve Says:

I don’t think Nadal will “vanish”–he’s much too good a player for that–but he’ll certainly become more beatable. He has a great chance of pulling off five straight French Opens, but any more than that is highly unlikely. (Still I have no doubts he’ll end up breaking Borg’s record for total number of French Opens).

I wouldn’t underestimate Nadal’s ability to get winning tennis out of an increasingly fragile body even after he’s past his physical prime. His force of will is amazing. But the price for pushing himself so far beyond his limits is that is that he will wreck his body by his mid-twenties. Burn brightly, burn briefly.

In any case, I doubt Federer is willing to wait a couple years for a better chance. The clock is ticking for him, too, if he wants to surpass Sampras. And who’s to say his chances might not be worse in a year or two? He could get injured, or something else might happen that would force him to take time off. Best to seize the day right now.

Finally he’s got his champion’s pride. It’s a much greater victory to beat a peak-form or near peak-form Nadal than one hobbled by age and infirmity. To use an example: if someone beat Lleyton Hewitt in 2003, that was a huge deal. But if someone does it now, it’s much less significant.

Consider the stakes if Federer wins this one: he ties Sampras’ Slam record and wins the career Grand Slam. If he wins it’s almost certain he’ll be number one again within the year, and he’ll have a chance to break Sampras’ record at Wimbledon, which would be very fitting. And he overcomes his greatest rival–a man five years younger than he is!–on that rival’s favorite surface, foiling Nadal’s bid to break Borg’s record as Nadal foiled his. And it would be very sweet because the media’s not expecting him to do it.

The question is whether he can execute his game plan with a clear head against Nadal, which, in my opinion, has been his only real problem in the last few times they met up until Madrid.

The Madrid meeting was very positive in that regard, because he was calm and focused, not nervous or hesitant like he was at Wimbledon and the AO. That seems to me more important than any specific tactics he may use (though he’s really honed his volleys and dropshots!)

So I feel he has a chance this time, though of course Nadal is still the heavy favorite.

margot Says:

ooops there goes Venus!
steve: toatally agree with you re Rafa on all accounts. To me, although he has made huge improvements, his game is limited because it’s so dependant on physical power and the fitness of a marathon runner. When that starts to go, he’ll be beatable. Also, I think someone on this blog said he’s middle aged in tennis terms, he’s been pounding that body for ever. Meanwhile, don’t play to his strengths, keep him guessing and avoid those baseline rallies cos you’re gonna lose.
PS Do hope Andy M is reading this, if he gets that far, which is a mighty if………

zola Says:


Have more confidence in Federer.

You are right that Rafa may not play in his 30s. It is OK. because what he has accomplished at 22 cannot be matched even by Federer.

I would love to see them both play as long as they can. Certainly would love to see Fed’s son witness his dad win a major ( that’s what Fed wants).

One problem is that the media is not very kind to the champions when they are not at their best. Look at the treatment Federer got after losing AO. So if they choose to stay longer and battle it out as long as they can, it will be great, but if they decide to quit like Henin did at the top of their game, I understand that too.

zola Says:

I read somewhere ( I think it was an interview with eurosport) that Henin is very happy in her retirement and does not think of coming back.

and there is another one here:

Skorocel Says:

Fedfan said: „Federer came to the net 84 times in Rome 2006. that’s what he needs to do. Of course, easier said than done.“

Indeed it is. After all, he lost that one as well, didn’t he?


„I would certainly love to know what Nadal eats for energy, stamina, muscles…..“

LOL! You can bet you’re not the only one who would want to know this :-)


„Or just wait for a couple more years. Everyone slows down with age – when Nadal slows down even half a step, he will just vanish, since his game depends so much more on fitness and movement than others.“

Or just wait till his colleague Verdasco asks him to give him all the remaining “mushrooms” which are still at disposal, so he can thus concentrate more on pasta ;-) LOL!

NachoF Says:

Wow, Tipsarevic really spoiled that lead.

Skorocel Says:

zola: „let it happen next year! Wouldn’t it be great if Rafa can break Borg’s record?“

Nah! Rafa was the one who prevented Fed from winning that 6th consecutive Wimby title, so let’s make it 50:50 ;-)

Me Says:

“Nadal-Federer FRENCH FINAL
Would you bet against it? Four in a row? Yeah? No you wouldn’t.”

Yeah, maybe you should look at your own poll results. *eyeroll*

andrea Says:

andy gave fed some food for thought the last time they played on clay, but he will never beat fed in a best of 5 format.

Colin Says:

Giner – I’m so pleased to see that I’m not the only person in the world who’s annoyed by the endless misuse of the term “begs the question”. On UK radio, at least one cricket commentator who went to a very expensive school, is one of the majority who think it means “poses the following question…”
Then again, Giner old bean, you just used “media” as if it were singular.

jane Says:

” but he will never beat fed in a best of 5 format.” Never say never.

Milo Says:

Nadal, Verdasco, Robredo and Ferrer were awoken early in the morning for drug tests. D. Wayne Lucas…I mean Uncle Toni was reported as “not happy.”

The Spanish Bull in his Friday night gay bar bait outfit is so close to being exposed. Verdasco’s “# 2’s” probably Plooop out with syringes stuck to them as well

Kimo Says:

Fed would beat Roddick in straight sets.

tim Says:

Fed has a chance to beat Rafa this year, because he’s learning new CC tactics– the drop shot and short slice with forays to the net. Aca played out of his mind for a set or two, but came back down to Earth. Fed will be in shape to challenge in week 2, and will best the Joker in 4. If Fed can get the first set against Rafa, we will have a match.

Naresh Says:

The way Nadal played against Hewitt, I don’t think the rest stand a chance against him.. He’s just getting better and better with every match and at the same time keeping the matches as short as possible, so he can save his energy, while the rest are being pushed a lot more in their matches. The only guy who looks like he can give the Spaniard a run for his money is Djokovic, who’s playing well and smart, saving his energy for the later rounds. I’m a Federer fan, but for me at the FO it’s about supporting the guy who I feel can challenge the 4yr reigning champion, cause let’s face it, beating Nadal at RG is the biggest challenge in Tennis right now.. by far !

Andrew Miller Says:

Then again, Federer is enjoying beating clay demons this year. He is enjoying the battle. I think if that’s the case…

I am just going to be honest: I want Federer or Roddick to win Roland Garros.

grendel Says:

Frew Macmillan – my hero among commentators – likes to claim he foresaw Federer’s imminent decline before anybody else, and he has recently suggested that at some point soon, Nadal will be beaten on the big stage. He means when he is still young, and he includes Roland Garros as a possible venue. His reasoning does not follow the usual line, that Nadal’s style of play is wearing him out (a nonsensical line, I’ve always thought, for the short term; no idea about the long). He means that the sheer pressure of expectation will get to Nadal sooner than people think, and will cause him to lose form when few could have foreseen it. Certainly the Nadal camp are vividly aware of this danger, which accounts for Nadal’s endless downplaying of his prospects. (For example, that Murray has a good chance to be #1 this year, and only yesterday, if he played well against Hewitt, he had “good chances” – that’s barely even understatement).

Nadal’s pretend modesty used to anger me, but I see now it is a sensible precaution. Even so, I can’t help being sceptical of Macmillan’s suggestion. Nadal is an unusual beast, and I do see him breaking all the records, if only because he seems positively stimulated by a challenge, wherever it may come from.

Giner Says:

Colin: “Then again, Giner old bean, you just used “media” as if it were singular.”

Hey, I never said I was perfect.. To use ‘the media’ as singular (and other similar examples) is a mistake. I don’t always do it. But to use ‘which begs the question’ in place of ‘which raises the question’ is a misunderstanding, not a mistake. It’s incorrect usage that the media are guilty of doing themselves, further spreading the misuse. Some day it might even appear in the dictionary with its popular usage.

margot Says:

Colin: isn’t media a collective noun? jane is needed!

cul Says:

Djokovic will straight set Fed and enter finals where he’ll face Nadal. Prediction: Nadal = 2009 RG RUNNERS UP !!!! Ha ha ha

tennis_fan Says:

I stand corrected. Maybe a long analysis write-up was in order. Wow, anything can happen…

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