Ernests Gulbis Goes to Sweden and Apparently Get’s Busted for Prostitution
by Sean Randall | October 21st, 2009, 2:13 pm

Just when we hit another lull in the tennis calendar we have a couple idiot players involved in a sex scandal to help us pass the time. ADHEREL

Now I’m all for players hitting the town and trying to “get some” when they are at an event. After all, they are youthful star athletes in the prime of their career and their sex drive is bound to be sky high, but if you are going to go out on the hunt you better know what you are doing and who you are doing it with. Better to be safe than, well you know the rest.

Unfortunately not all the players follow such a code as evidenced this week. News out of Sweden broke that had ATP player Ernests Gulbis accused of attempting to pay a prostitute for sex at the Stockholm event.

Reports suggest the monetary transaction was never actually too place, but Gulbis spent the Sunday night in the pokie before his release following further interrogation on Monday. A second player yet unnamed was also implicated.

This from Tom Tebbutt at the Toronto Globe and Mail:

“Ernests, 21, may have had other things on his mind after reportedly being arrested on Sunday night, and then spending time in jail before being released on Monday morning, for attempted solicitation of a prostitute. In Sweden, strangely enough, the criminal burden is on the person soliciting sex, not the prostitute offering the service.”

“Gulbis and a friend were apparently caught as they entered a Stockholm hotel in the company of prostitutes and eventually, according to Swedish press accounts, he copped a plea and was fined 2,500 Swedish Kronor ($382 Canadian).”

“An ATP official confirmed that Gulbis did not do any media after his loss on Wednesday to Lopez, and declined the single request for an interview.”

Getting busted for trying to get with some prostitutes is never a good way to finish out a season, and that goes for any player in any sport.

And Ernests if it was you (and you haven’t denied it), just because you have a lot of money doesn’t mean you should be spending that dough picking up ho’s! Instead of chasing why not put that cash to some good use, like paying some coaches (maybe Brad Gilbert) to get your game straight and your head/mind out of your you know what. That is unless you are really that dead set on remaining one of the great underachievers of this generation. With your game, your talent – and we’ve all seen moments where you do shine – you should not be sliding down to No. 93 in the computer rankings and staring at a losing 2009 record especially after another loss today. But on the other hand we now know what you’ve been busy doing instead of practicing.

I do actually like Ernests and he seems like nice, good-hearted kid. I just hope he “wakes up” one day but time is quickly running out. As for the other player, you are now on alert.

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155 Comments for Ernests Gulbis Goes to Sweden and Apparently Get’s Busted for Prostitution

MMT Says:

Oh boy….I really hope this is the last we hear of this stuff. Is this really anyone’s business but Gulbis’?

jhc Says:

ok, on to more important things. i’ve been trying to look at how the year-end rankings might pan out. let’s look at the top 4 and what they’re going to drop in the coming months.

federer 10805 — 500-basel/250-paris/200-masters cup
nadal 9095 — 250-paris
djoker 7950 — 150-paris/1300-masters cup
murray 7390 — 500-petersburg/250-paris/600-masters cup

so if they lose all their points they’ll be

federer 9855
nadal 8845
djoker 6500
murray 6040

i think we can safely write off djoker and murray from reaching the top spot, though either one could end at number 3, depending on their own and the others’ performance.

that leaves nadal, who’s 1010 points behind federer. i haven’t been able to figure out which tournaments nadal will play, but let’s say paris (where they’re both been lousy the few times played). fed can go deep at basel, and they could both go the whole way in london, even though its on hard court. but federer probably won’t play so amazingly badly that he’ll nadal get too many more than him.

essentially, i’d say it’s pretty much a wrap for fed for the year. however, this is a pretty sketchy analysis (at best), so i’d love to hear what others think.


i am it Says:

as i speak, rafa is in the stadium, watching real madrid vs. ac milan.

Veno Says:

I agree MMT,

A young man screws up, hardly shocking news and it’s made into such a big deal. Ernests hopefully learns a lesson and is more discrete about it in the future. But what do I know, I’m Dutch and everyone knows our policy on prostitution lol.

Btw lol@Sean: First you burn Gulbis to the bone in your article and then at the end you say that you like him….I’m confused ;-)

And ehhhhhm, i am it: what’s with mentioning Rafa is watching the Champions league match against Milan in Santiago Bernabeu?

I thought the topic is tennis and Gulbis particularly.
Maybe it’s me and I’m getting rusty.

On another note, did anyone see Marat beating Kolya? He played some old school power tennis to beat Davydenko(took it in the third to 2) but Davydenko looked fatigued and not really interested on court.

contador Says:

picking valencia as having the most potential for great tennis. tsonga, soderking, verdasco, kolya are all very close to qualifying for YEC…competition amongst them should make for great match-ups. and murray is scheduled to be there too, along with roddick- we’ll see…

basel – has fed, nole, delPo, gonzo ( gonzo, on his fansite says he still hopes to qualify)

nadal and cilic are not scheduled to return until paris.

nadal could be in-form by paris…and one never knows how fed will be; thinking about his ue’s and double faults in the us open final. i’d say the game is on between them for #1!

game is also on between murray and nole for #3. hoping murray’s wrist is good. both should be motivated.

i’d say the least pressure is on delPo and roddick. each have stated injuries, though their rankings look safe enough.

all analysis at this point is sketchy, jhc. but it’s fun to speculate.
maybe someone knows why rafa is not playing until paris. is it because there aren’t points for him to pick up in a 500 tournament? fed will have to come out playing lousy and rafa would need to be at his ao09 best, but it’s not impossible at all for swapping of #1 & #2.

i am it Says:

what does gulbis’ almost-sleeping with a hooker have to do with tennis, if any at all?

sean answers the question: to help us pass the time.
i finished passing time with this topic in another thread.

why did i mention rafa’s watching soccer? to pass time and to arouse your adrenaline. Lol.
but why is the question of censure here? is it personal restriction, certainly not institutional? and i mostly talk about my vacation, work, sleep, women, alcohol, other posters, other habits, etc. i also post on tennis. i don’t see anything wrong with that. i think the topic is anything you want to post. this forum has no rule. or, am i misreading you? where are you going with your question?

Kimmi Says:

“nadal and cilic are not scheduled to return until paris. ”

I am suprised why Cilic is not playing. Especially after losing in the 1st round of Shanghai. Why ? he has a good chance to qualify for YEC..but I guess he is giving it up ?

As for Nadal, I would take it easy after coming back from 2 serious injuries….maybe that is what he is doing ? As for him maximizing 500 points tourney ? i don’t think so. He only played 3-Rotterdam, Barcelona and Beijing (unless he got a 0 pointer in Dubai)..maximum I think is 5.

Voicemale1 Says:

It would HIGHLY unlikely Federer would lose the #1 Ranking this year. And even if he did, with 2 Majors won and as the beaten Finalist in the other two it doesn’t matter in this case what the rankings say. He’s the only guy who’s put together a truly #1 Season.

i am it Says:

Kimmi, 4 is max, and rafa’s monte carlo counts as the 4th. so, the decision to not play any more 500 makes sense.

sar Says:

Poor Ernests. I really like you but you should be smarter about these things!

Kimmi Says:

I am it. Yes I forgot Monte carlo counts as a 500. And Max is 4 not 5. Thanks.

contador Says:

thanks for clearing up my question abt rafa, i am it.

idk why cilic is not playing, doubt he is ‘giving up’ and have not heard of and injury. guessing he is maxed out on 250’s. but i am unclear why he’s not entering basel or valencia.

stranger things happened in 2009. no one predicted fed’s success and rafa’s downturn. if fed comes out fit, focused, rested no one will take #1 from him in the next 2 months. but…we’ll see.

as for ernests, i’m pretending nothing happened and i hope he can move on.

Kimmi Says:

“did anyone see Marat beating Kolya? He played some old school power tennis to beat Davydenko(took it in the third to 2) but Davydenko looked fatigued and not really interested on court.”

Congrats to Marat. A good player would know how to take advantage of the situation and he did a great job…although from the score line, davydenko seem to have played well enough..he gave a good fight.
Anyways, Davydenko should concentrate on recharging his batteries and give his all in Valencia and Paris to give himself a chance to qualify for YEC.

i am it Says:

to answer why Cilic is not trying hard for the 8th spot, see his 500 series points:
Beijing F 300
Davis Cup – 170
Dubai Q 90
Monte Carlo R32 45

now, let’s read how Davis Cup points work:
“Points allocated are as part of the 500 point category. Davis Cup does not count towards a player’s commitment to the 500 category. The points accumulated in the four ties within the previous 52 weeks can become part of a player’s 500 category if:

1. Player has not more than three 500 results within the previous 52 weeks and Davis Cup result(s) is better than lowest best other.
2. Player has four 500 results within the previous 52 weeks and Davis Cup result(s) is better than the lowest 500. Also, 500 0-pointers cannot be replaced.

Cilic has 2205 pts, and the nearest 2 contenders for the 8th spot, gonzu and sod, have 3030 and 2830, respectively. Because Sod has not maxed out in 250 series, he will gain points if he reaches final or wins the Stockholm title. Cilic does not have the same luxury: he has maxed out in 250 series. He could have chosen to play either Valencia or Basel, but to gain any points would require him to do better than quarter final, in a field all top ten players are competing, except rafa.
consider these questions:(1) would cilic get more than his DC 170 points? (2) would that help him get any closer to other contenders, esp. Verdasco, Soderling, and Gonzalez, who have better shot? (4) considering what happened in Shanghai after the final run in Beijing, should he rest, take cautious approach, and prepare for the bigger occasion, paris, which will play the deciding role?
you should be able to deduce the answer.

Kimmi Says:

i am it. thanks for looking up some good info about is what I think he should do…

(1) would cilic get more than his DC 170 points?

He could. He did very well in Beijing even with a tough field, especially after demolishing Nadal, I am sure he got some valuable confidence. Just wondering,could he replace his Monte Carlo points instead..only 45 ? If he can, he could only need to do better than R16. Anyways, I think he has a good chance in Valencia. He just beat Murray in USO and he also beat davydenko in Beijing. With a good draw there.. anything can happen.

(2) would that help him get any closer to other contenders, esp. Verdasco, Soderling, and Gonzalez, who have better shot?

Yes, it would definately put him closer. The other guys are probably in a similar situation, have already played 4 500..they probably all need to get deeper to earn some valuable points. It won’t be easy for them too.

(4) considering what happened in Shanghai after the final run in Beijing, should he rest, take cautious approach, and prepare for the bigger occasion, paris, which will play the deciding role?

The match he lost against Berdych in Shanghai was very close, it could have gone either way. berdych is a tough customer when he is will always be tough playing him..

Anyways, since we don’t know what kind of draw he gets in Paris, it may or may not work for is a gamble. But playing both valencia/basel and Paris would give him a better chance to pick some valuable points.

IMO he should play in Valencia. Hope he gets the last minute wild card.

jane Says:

Sean, your title makes it sound like Gulbis was turning tricks on the side. LOL. I’ll read the article now, but just had to comment on that as it made me laugh. Ernests ain’t so earnest after all, he he.

sar Says:

Jane, he sort of reminded me of the boy next door. Just goes to show you….

Andrew Miller Says:

Nice job Ernest!

Giner Says:

i am it Says:

“Kimmi, 4 is max, and rafa’s monte carlo counts as the 4th. so, the decision to not play any more 500 makes sense.”

Monte Carlo can count as either a 1000 or a 500. Right now it’s under 1000 for him. You have to play four 500’s with MC being able to count as one of those. He’s fulfilled that requirement so he’s not playing any more 500’s. However, if you are playing the 500’s for rankings points and not just to meet requirements, then you can play four 500’s in addition to MC, which will then count as an extra 1000.

He can play another 500 and still get points for it if he wants to, but he’s complained about the season being too long and doesn’t look like the chase for #1 is worth risking his chances for the rest of the season. He probably wants to play London this time.

Giner Says:

Prostitution is not illegal in every country. I don’t see why it ought to be at all. If both parties consent, then it’s a victimless crime. The kid ought to be able to do as he pleases, as long as he doesn’t infringe upon anyone else’s rights.

My opinion as a libertarian.

alex Says:

“…But on the other hand we now KNOW what you’ve been busy doing instead of practicing.”

For all we know, it might be his ONCE slipped of judgment and you had already made it sounds like he was a Ho’addict. Good going. Sensational article.

sensationalsafin Says:

For the love of God, Giner, don’t express your political views in a tennis blog.

Vulcan Says:

Federer must either not care about hanging on to the year end #1 or else he really doesn’t think Nadal is going do much in Paris and London based on this Yahoo news clipping:

However, rumors out of Switzerland have suggested that Federer is considering keeping a low profile until January in order to be fully fresh and ready for 2010.

It would be a controversial move if Federer decided to skip the Tour finals, and one that would likely bring sanctions from the ATP unless he could prove he was injured. Rafael Nadal, then atop the rankings, pulled out last year

contador Says:

i read that news clip too, vulcan. hard to imagine federer either a) does not care about holding onto #1 , or b) is underestimating rafa

if he was fit to play, he would defend his rank and be on the tour. something is up, we’ll just have to wait until he decides to say.

right now it’s what it is, a rumor. his fans will be sad, if it’s turns out true.

Vulcan Says:

Yep, and the worst part is it will be yet another lost opportunity to see the coveted Federer v Nadal hardcourt match. I can’t believe Federer doesn’t want another shot at Nadal after he was left sobbing on the podium in Australia. This doesn’t mention anything about Basel and Paris but if he is going to skip the rest of the year then Nadal has an excellent shot of taking back numero uno.

Will P Says:

Well you know what Agassi said about having sex the night before a big match…having sex isn’t the problem, it’s spending all night out looking for it. I guess Gublis decided to cut to the chase.

contador Says:

oh…make no mistake about it, vulcan, fed wants another shot at rafa, to be sure. fed’s signature serve went downhill after the soderling match at the us open. he was dumping nearly all his first serves into net in the final. his brilliant shot-making got him the win against nole, with a little help from nole giving in, in the end. he had that final on his racquet and could not close. delPo gets credit for hanging in and getting the win but i’d hardly say it was juan’s best performance.

i remember in 2003 after winning wimbledon federer, back in the day when federer was more open with the press, said he did not know if his back was going to make it through the tournament, he was in that much discomfort.

as i watched the highlights of davis cup, fed was still dumping first serves into net. he won his matches but….it was not great.

i believe if is ‘all better’ mirka will pack up the babies and the federer’s will roll. if he has to postpone and miss basel, paris and the yec? that’s a concern.

on a happier note……baggy is playing great in stockholm! maybe he’s back?

sensationalsafin Says:

What??? Federer skipping everything??? He’s bound to lose the number 1 ranking that way. First Federer and Nadal achieve the number 1 ranking by dominating and now they’re giving it away to each other by skipping events. Wtf!?

contador Says:

sensationalsafin, chill a little, there. vulcan and i happend to read the same yahoo news clipping. the clpping talked briefly about a “rumors out of switzerland.” i’l only believe it when the statement is from the man himself.

that’s the “rumor” and i hope it is not true.

wow, was watching highlights of safin v kolya. nice to see a big crowd there and safin playing as only he can, when his head is in gear!

Voicemale1 Says:

IF, and that’s a big IF, Federer decides to call it a season – so what? He’s #1 regardless of what Nadal does, even if Rafael manages to recapture the official ranking. Federer’s year of Two Majors and Two Major Finals beats anything anyone else has done, period. No matter what the rankings say.

It could be as simple as decision as a desire to spend time with his two daughters, who sorta got short-shrifted while he was out making history this summer :). He may want to make it up to them. If anything will play on Federer’s motivation for the rest of his career, it will be his kids. Not so much at the big events. But he might not have the same burning desire to be at full concentration for his 2nd Round Matches in places like Indian Wells, Miami or any other place he’s won a bunch of times already.

i am it Says:

if the rumor turns out to be true,

(1) at the end of the year, fed will be left with 9855.

if rafa reaches the Paris finals, he’ll have 8845+600= 9445

(ii) if rafa wins Paris title, he”l have 8845-1000= 9845, which is 11 points short from no. 1.
rafa will reclaim the year-end no. 1 with 1 RR match win at London.

but, considering it is near certain that he will keep the no. 1 if he just appears in those 3 events, i don’t think fed will just stay home through Jan and allow rafa to regain the no. 1, even if fed is dead sure that AO > Basel+Paris+ YEC, i.e. year-end no. 1.
i don’t think he is that calculative. even if he is, the outcome is not certain, so why take an necessary risk?

Giner, there is no such thing as EXTRA point in ATP ranking system. Only 18 (plus YEC) events count.
you say, “However, if you are playing the 500’s for rankings points and not just to meet requirements, then you can play four 500’s in addition to MC, which will then count as an extra 1000.”

Sorry, pal, if you already have 9 entries in the 1000 categories, you can only add three to the 500 category.

then, you say, rafa “can play another 500 and still get points for it if he wants to.”

yes, rafa could, but to earn ANY point, he’d have to reach the final or win the title in Basel or Valencia.

Keep in mind, he has DC points and has already decided to play the DC final, from which he is almost certain to gain some points (220).

so, the decision to not play another 500 series makes sense for the above reasons. above all, he needs to stay healthy for the YEC.

i would say it was/is more reasonable to play another 250 series, as he has one more spot left unfulfilled in the 250 category.

i would say, since he’s AO to defend, it was more a prudent decision, a preventive measure, toward the end of the season to not add another tournament in the schedule and to not aggravate or be inflicted by another injury. he has been doing this for a number of years. so, he’ keeping it that way.

sensationalsafin Says:

Voicemale1, the records don’t go by who had the best year, they go by the calculated total. Why do I get the feeling you just want Nadal to get that 2nd straight year as number 1. Why was there so much controversy over the Safina-Serena ranking? Because being considered number 1 still isn’t the same as actually having your name next to the number 1 ranking.

There’s no way Federer would be so uncaring about his ranking.

Fed is GOAT Says:

Oh Goodlord Voicemale1 – you doing Fed worship??? this is what you said just a few posts above:

“IF, and that’s a big IF, Federer decides to call it a season – so what? He’s #1 regardless of what Nadal does, even if Rafael manages to recapture the official ranking. Federer’s year of Two Majors and Two Major Finals beats anything anyone else has done, period. No matter what the rankings say.”

And then all the abusive and foul language accusing others of being Fed worshipper?

Wow, that hypocrisy as clearly as you will ever see.

Getting back to year end ranking…..

Fed the old man will be well rested and healed, which he needs, for Basel. He will have a couple of easy players in the earlier rounds, so hopefully he can get back to some sharpness by the QF/semis in Basel, and then be prepared for Paris.

It seems very unlikely that Nadal will accumulate 1020 more points than Federer in the rest of the year playing on hard courts, especially when Federer is playing an additional 500 points tournament… and there’s only 2500 other points up for grabs (Paris and London YEC).

Fed is GOAT Says:

Basel is Fed’s hometown tournament – he will certainly play there – no travel, no disruption.

Then Paris is a short flight, same time zone, just one week. He probably will go there, having rested all of october. And of course he will show up in London – he showed up in 2005, injured. Then he showed up in 2008, injured. If he is healthy, and its london, not Shanghai (so no jet lag), he will definitely go there. He still gets over a months break before the tune ups for the AO. And of course, I am sure he does care about the ranking, at least somewhat, especially when it is so much within his grasp. Had he won the USO, he would have had an extra 800 points – then he may have skipped something…

Fed is GOAT Says:

By the way, speculative as it may be, I do believe Fed will give 2010 another full shot (not miss too much, almost like 2009). He is still not too far down from his peak, and still has a legitimate shot at every non clay tournament, and daughters are too young to be much trouble – perhaps 2011 onwards, if he passes the 286 weeks at no 1, he might just skip more tournaments (especially non slams outside of Europe), and just focus on slams… he would be hitting 30 then anyway….

i am it Says:

fed skipping YEC has not happened since he was first qualified to play in 2002. for 7 years, regardless of what the margin’s enormity was or if he was ailing, he played in every one of them.
so, i doubt he will escape London.

and i agree with SS that at the end nothing matters except the number, and in the long run, history judges you based on those numbers that you accumulate, though in the immediate future it may not look like rafa deservedly ended the year with no. 1.

Vulcan Says:

“especially when Federer is playing an additional 500 points tournament”

Yes, but correct me if i’m wrong but Federer is defending 500 points at Basel isn’t he? So therefore he can’t gain any ground there?

i am it Says:

vulcun, you are right, in a sense, but by winning basel, fed will prevent from losing ground, which at the end of the year, is equivalent to gaining ground. it is just a matter of interpretation how you want to see it.

Vulcan Says:

IAI, yes I guess the main thing is that Federer is defending more points than Nadal at this stage so if he doesn’t show up he’s gonna be back to being introduced as the Number 2 player in the world in Australia me thinks. (Those 220 points for Davis Cup could make a difference also)

sensationalsafin Says:

Especially non clay events? FIG what kind of Fed fan are you? Fed’s been the second best clay courter for a number of years and he won the FO this year. The young guns still have trouble on clay. Fed’s chances at beating the young guys are better on clay than on hard, where anyone can be blown off the court on any given day.

Voicemale1 isn’t showing Fed worship. He just wants to calm everyone down because he wants Nadal to end number 1 for the second year in a row.

There’s no such thing as being too far down from your peak. Johnny Mac peaked in 84 and never won another slam after that. Was he so far away from his peak in 85? 86? 87? Fed’s just a great player peaking or not and he’s gonna be a factor all the time, but if he’s ending next year as number 1, then the rest of the tour is really gonna need to pick it up.

On a side note, I was watching highlights from the Agassi-Fed 05 USO final. Federer used to go for a lot more winners and hit the lines very often. He hit winners at will from anywhere. He doesn’t go for the lines as much nowadays. He plays more conservatively and when he gets on a roll, he can’t keep up even throughout a match. He’ll have a great set then drop down. In 05 (and 04 and 06) he was on a different plane. Nadal really is an anomaly. I feel like he was created to beat Federer. How he got so many wins over him during his best years is beyond me. At this point, it doesn’t even matter if Fed can turn their h2h around, the damage has been done when it counted most. Forget 08 Wimbledon and 09 Australia. Before their first match in 06, Federer had 7 slams to Nadal’s 1 (Nadal doesn’t even have 7 right now), yet Nadal beat Federer 4 times outta 6. The most unexplainable win was Dubai. but even in Monte Carlo and Rome and at the French. They were all close matches where Federer showed how amazing he was but still lost. How the $&@# does that work?

Vulcan Says:

Just for laughs I programmed a Random Scenario generator in Visual Basic. It basically generates random results for Federer and Nadal through the remaining tournaments…this of course assuming Federer plays the remaining 3 events…its interesting to notice how many scenarios result in Nadal becoming #1. When I get a chance I’ll upload it to rapidshare and post a link on here in case anybody wants to try it out.

Voicemale1 Says:

Fed Is GOAT:

You’re not only thin skinned – you’re kinda dim too. I’m not “worshipping” Federer here – just recognizing what is. He earned it. I’m able to recognize it.

Unlike you..who can’t say anything good about almost anyone except him; in fact you denegrate anyone who beats him. Just so you know: THAT qualifies as worship

Voicemale1 Says:

sensationalsafin Says:

“Voicemale1 isn’t showing Fed worship. He just wants to calm everyone down because he wants Nadal to end number 1 for the second year in a row.”

— – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Iunderstand why you say this. But it’s not true in this case. Nadal doesn’t deserve to be #1 when Federer wins two Majors, is the beaten finalist in the other two and wins two ATP 1000 events (Madrid & Cincinnati). That’s a season that has #1 written all over it. So regardless of what Nadal achieves in the next few weeks, he’d only achieve it IF Federer stays off the court (much like the way Murray briefly ascended to #2 – because Nadal sat out Queens & Wimbledon, both of which he won last year). And everyone will know it.

JoshDragon Says:

I agree, with MMT. I hope this issue dies.

Although, I will say that if I was a touring pro, I wouldn’t be going out looking for hookers. My head would be 100% in the game almost all of the time.

sensationalsafin Says:

Yeah but couldn’t you say Federer also got to number 1 because Nadal sat out those events?

JoshDragon Says:

SensationalSafin: I completely agree with you, I love the way Roger used to play. In fact, one of the first match I ever saw was the Wimbledon 2005 finals and Roger, was so unbelievable in that match, it was unreal watching him. I remember thinking at the time, “Nobody can beat this guy.”

Today Roger, is too conservative, with his playing style and he rarely plays his best at any of the non-major tournaments.

sensationalsafin Says:

Ok, as much as I love the guy, his h2h against Nadal is a diminishing aspect of his legacy. It’s not so much that he has a losing record, that’s just a couple of numbers, it’s that he never overcame the challenge that is/was Nadal. He had plenty of chances especially during his own prime, but he failed to at just about every turn.

contador Says:

sensationalsafin, look at the federer- nadal h2h again. rafa is tied with fed on hard court and it’s fed leading nadal on grass 2-1. on clay, it’s true, rafa is ahead of all others, so far, but the whole story is yet to be written.

federer could have beat rafa more during fed’s best years, had rafa been able to get through his side of the draw on hard courts to even face roger. but..rog can only beat who is across the net.

fed happened to face nadal on clay more during rafa’s best years. rafa’s legend is not written yet, bur a good guess is he will known as the best ever on clay.

11 times they met on clay- fed owns 2 ; 6 times they met on hard court = 3-3; 3 times on grass 2-1 federer. and to break it down further we could examine the sets, games and stats, factoring in who was at what percentage of 100% fitness. and yada yada yada. point is: to hold up the head to head is a false indicator, except on clay. it can be safely said that rafa owns his #1 there and not only over federer but everyone else.

it was looking promising last spring for roger to gain some ground back on clay when he beat nadal in madrid. although one can argue that nadal was tired, the altitude was wrong for him, and his knees were not 100%; which are all valid points but the w went to federer.

at least federer has won 2 matches on clay; nole is 0-9 down to nadal on clay. yes, i think it is safe to put federer as #2 on clay, since he also made it through to get a FO win.

put rafa down as number 2 on hard court with nole, each have one slam but nole is up on rafa on hard, ( i forget how much)

and grass well, until rafa wins 5 more wimbledons and 5 us opens, plus 2 more australian opens. roger is the king of this generation on grass and hard court.

for the time being at least watching each play, it’s hard to deny that neither are at their ‘best’ .

and the story to be continued…

Voicemale1 Says:

sensationalsafin Says:

“Yeah but couldn’t you say Federer also got to number 1 because Nadal sat out those events?”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Nadal didn’t sit out The French – he lost in the 4th Round. He did sit out Wimbledon. But even with that, Roddick pushed Federer to the brink as it was. You can bet a fair bit of money that Federer never would have believed Roddick would have teken him to a 5th Set to begin with. Let alone have Roddick own 4 chances to go up 2 Sets to none. Further, Federer most likely never dreamed he’d be in a 5th Set with Andy at 8-all; 9-all, 12-all and 14-all and STILL not have the match put away.

Even without Nadal, Federer was pushed to the brink by Roddick at Wimbledon, and let’s not forget – by Haas at The French.

It would have been tougher for sure had Nadal been in them. But given what Federer went through to win each one the question of how much tougher it would have been is debateable. It was pretty tough as it was.

Fed is GOAT Says:

Ha ha, Voicemale1 on his/her usual insults train. Can’t keep a civil dialogue… Makes you more macho I guess – or is it too much testosterone, that you just can’t stop hurling abuses? Well, go ahead, lets hear some more. I know you want to do it. I am pretty sure you will!

Fed is GOAT Says:

Also, Voicemale1:

your claim is “Unlike you..who can’t say anything good about almost anyone except him; in fact you denegrate anyone who beats him”

Can you point to my statements that substantiate your allegation? Or are you just full of, you know what?

i am it Says:

Less than an hour ago, federer posted this on facebook:
“I have been back practicing and training now for some time and all is going well. I feel much better. I am looking forward to playing my hometown tournament in Basel . I have also had a chance to spend some amazing time with my family. Myla and Ch…arlene are doing great. After training yesterday, Mirka and I took them for a walk along Lake Zurich. I am always excited to be back in Switzerland!”

Kimmi Says:

i am it: thanks. Fed probably heard the rumor and wanted to put things straight. It just did not make sense for him pulling out for the rest of the season. Can’t wait to see him play again in Basel.

Nancy Says:

First of all, what Gulbis does off the courts should not necessarily be our business (I do agree that he is spending money that could be spent improving his already wonderful game.) This guy has talent and he needs a coach to focus on his good and bad points.
Federer, in my mind has never really proven himself this year. I know he won the FO and Wimb. but I really don’t think that it was an amazing feat. Roddick was good but Roddick was Roddick. Soderling was a “non-entity”. Nadal was injured when he lost in all tournaments after Madrid so posting wins over him was immaterial. Nadal is back. He has improved in every tournament since returning and I think he could win in London.
I truly think next year will be his year to retake the #1 spot. I know he needs to rethink his game and I believe that Uncle Tony has plans for that. He has been healthy recently and has noticeably not put a lot of strain on his knees.
I will definitely put my money on Rafa for 2010.
I think Roger comes up with too many excuses (and some, I know are truly legit – like twin daughters)but I think his time in the #1 spot is coming to an end.

Kimmi Says:

“Nadal was injured when he lost in all tournaments after Madrid so posting wins over him was immaterial”

What about when he wins, was he also injured?coz he won quite a few matches after Madrid..or was the injury only coming up when he loses ?

sensationalsafin Says:

Ok, well, Federer beat Nadal in Madrid. On clay. In straight sets. Which shocked just about everybody.

Federer had a lot, a lot, a lot of pressure in the FO. Nadal was out and it was literally his for the taking. But he still had to play the matches and none of them were easy. He even had a scare from an on court intruder. He proved himself there because he came through when he opportunity presented itself. He could have easily faltered and said he just wasn’t meant to win the French.

At Wimbledon, he played great tennis just like he always does at Wimbledon. In the final, he came against a guy who couldn’t possibly add any more reasons to be motivated (beat Fed, win a second slam, beat Fed in a slam, win Wimbledon, etc). Yet Fed proved he’s a tank by outlasting the challenger. He played well during the summer winning Cincy by beating Murray and Djokovic rather easily and then lost to Del Po in the final, which I don’t consider that bad of a loss. He reclaimed the number 1 ranking when he had the chance and broke the slam record. None of it was easy. He had to play and win 14 matches to do it.

i am it Says:

Kimmi, your cutie pie Cilic is playing Vienna. He heard you !
Monfils, stepanek, Kohls, J-Loez, Sela, and Almagro are in the draw, among others.

and at Grand Prix Lyon, Tsonga, simon, Wawa, PHM, Benneteau, Monaco are playing.

both start Monday.

i am it Says:

in fact, dePo withdrew from Vienna, and they found a prompt replacement in Cilic.

Skorocel Says:

“He even had a scare from an on court intruder.”

LOL :-) Poor Roger! How could he have won that one? Winning a grandslam final after being touched by a streaker certainly deserves some special honor, doesn’t it? :-) You gotta be kidding here, sensationalsafin! If Agassi did it (in the AO 2000 final against Kafelnikov, where one such idiot rushed the court as well), then why is it suddenly “so special” when Federer does it? Probably because he got touched while Agassi didn’t… LOL and LOL :-)

sensationalsafin Says:

I didn’t know it happened to Agassi but I wouldn’t really say that makes it less significant. I think at any time for any player when someone runs on to the court it’s a pretty scary experience. Especially since the guy did in fact touch Federer which adds to the fright. Knowing what happened to Seles all those years ago, imagine playing a match where someone randomly jumps in front of you. Do you have nerves of steel, Skorocel? Not afraid of anything or anyone type of deal? Maybe it doesn’t add to the FO triumph itself, but it’s gotta be a nerve wracking experience for anyone.

Vulcan Says:

“I think Roger comes up with too many excuses ”

As classy a guy as Federer is this is true in regards to feeling the pinch against Nadal…particularly his comments immediately after the Wimbledon Final where he pointed out that it was getting dark…that loss was such a heartbreaker for him that he couldn’t resist invoking that excuse which was pretty lame given that both players had to deal with the darkness.

Cindy_Brady Says:

I thought this thread was about Gulbis and his lust for Hos?

Anyways, good luck to you Ernest. See you on the next episode of Cops during a prostitution sting. It’s about the most exciting thing you’ve done lately anyways. Any press is good press, I guess.

On the Federer front,

Federer doesn’t have to win any more tournaments this year. Just be respectable and go deep. He will be #1.

His focus should be on recapturing the Australian title that he gave away to Nadal last year. 16 sounds better than 15 and is twice as many as Connors, Lendl, and Agassi.

JoshDragon Says:

Contador: When Nadal, first arrived on tour he was viewed as a promising young player but also as a clay court specialist. He surprised most experts by winning non-clay titles and beating Roger 6 of the first 7 times that they played. 2004-06 were some of Roger’s best years and Rafa was really the only guy who stood out as Roger’s equal during that time period.

Because Roger has such a large number of grand slams, he is considered by most people to be the GOAT. So certain aspects of his record, like his losing head-to-head will be scrutinized by most tennis historians.

i am it Says:

Soderling is on the march to the 8th spot. if he wins Stockholm title, which is likely, he will be within 65 points from Verdasco.
fast forward, if sod just does as well as verdasco at Valencia and Paris, sod will secure the final London birth, by just 5 points.
my Swedish friend is looking good.

Fed is Goat Says:

If Federer makes the final in Basel, Semi in Paris, and Semi in London, I think he will collect about a 1000 points. With a 1000 point lead over Nadal already, Nadal would have to either Win paris and make final in London, or the other way around, to overtake him. Quite unlikely that Federer will outperform Nadal by a 1000 points on hard courts in just a couple of tournaments…

Fed is Goat Says:

I would like to see Tsonga in London. Looks unlikely, but he is fun to watch…

contador Says:

well josh dragon, scrutiny is not unbiased. i was buying into that head to head line for a long time. then realized looking at other head to heads: what this really says is federer and nadal have met the most times on clay and how many of those meetings were at roland garos? we already give nadal the title, king of clay, perhaps best ever on clay, however….

3-3 on hard court ( one of those is the aussie open ), only one, and lets face it, if the nadalistas are going to discount federer’s latest win over nadal in madrid due to rafa’s knees, the altitude, and what’s the other one? i forget….on yes, fatigue, after playing nole,(all legitimate reasons, btw) then it is obvious that in the 5th set at the aussie open, roger might have as well retired. he was not going to say publicly that his back was out right after the match in a press conference, but that is exactly what happened. federer has been having back problems since 2003, if you recall his 2003 post wimbledon win statements. nadal has battled knee injury. is there a player out there who trains as hard and has the will and ability to reach the top without injury?

the fittest, most prepared, and best on the day, in each match, won. that’s tennis and the way it should be. nonetheless, 3-3 on hard court is not indicative of any kind of domination.

and on grass all instances were at a wimbledon final
federer leads 2-1

again no domination. the ‘edge’ goes to federer

clay? nadal is king…9-2

so, when i read these blogs where a rafa fanboy or fangirl says: “the head to head speaks for itself,” i just laugh, as i know they are judging from a bias. even the most respectable writers, if you delve a little more into their writing, good chance you find they are a diehard sampras or agassi fan. that’s why the GOAT notion is inflammatory. objective data, the head to head numbers need to be examined in the nadal-federer case. they show clearly one thing: nadal dominates on clay. however, since both are still playing, h2h can change. maybe rafa ends up proving he is better on grass and hard court. until he does, i consider the source when reading the claim that rafa dominates federer on all surfaces. particularly in question, is the fact in their most recent meeting federer won …..on clay, and in madrid. federer went on to win the french, which may make a case for roger, in this era, second to rafa on clay.

and nole is in a similar situation re: his head to head with nadal.

the edge goes to nole on hard court

nole and rafa have not met enough times to determine domination on grass 1-0 rafa

and…..on clay again, rafa nadal is l 9-0 , if i remember correctly.

rafa king of clay is what the numbers speak,

sensationalsafin Says:

But why did Federer lose ALL the matches on clay? He had 2 match points in Rome in 06. He owned in the first set of their first RG final. He had 16 break points in their second RG final. He was up 4-0 in the second set of their 08 Monte Carlo final (he may have still lost in 3 but still). He was up 5-1 40-15 on his serve in their Hamburg final in 08. Sure there were matches where Nadal was simply better. (08 RG, 07 MC, 05 RG, 06 MC). If I’m missing any it’s because I forgot. But there were too many matches Federer should have won. He should’ve won Dubai. He should’ve even won Australia. He coulda taken the 3rd set after having break points but double faulted on set point in the tie breaker!!

It’s not just the clay. Federer has faultered against Nadal a lot. He had chances to win 08 Wimbledon. He was up 4-2 in the second set before losing the next 4 games. That’s 2 times he got broken in a row. He had chances to break in the 5th set. He was serving ahead the whole time for Pete’s sake!! It’s not about the surface or about the actual numbers, it’s about the matches themselves.

contador Says:

it is about the surface in a huge way!

try another h2h nadal v nole

h2h says 14-5 nadal

without looking further, you could say rafa rules but it would be far from true.

rafa 9-0 on clay
nole 5-3 on hard court ; nole won the most recent encounter
nadal 1-0 on grass

surface matters. but at least federer has won twice!

9-2 nadal on clay
3-3 on hard court
2-1 federer on grass

if someone simply takes the total head to head as gospel on either federer or nole against nadal, gets out their credit card and does not take into consideration the surface and an injury report, and goes to their fave betting site and plunks down the cash. it’s not smart.

however, on clay one should pick nadal to win, bearing in mind it is against federer, better make sure nadal is 100% healthy.

same goes in reverse for picking winner on grass or hard court.
on grass ask who is at their best if both are, pick federer.

and it remains to be seen on hard court. i think it depends on the surface of the hard court and again, who is more fit and injury free.

what is clear from the head to head is that nadal and nole have met more times on clay than any other surfacce.
and nadal and federer have met more times on clay than any other surface.
hence, the lop-sided numbers 14-5 and 13-6, respectively.

the 3-2 edge nole edge on hard court is encouraging for a nole fan

yet, there is no disputing rafa owns the clay. so far….

contador Says:

oops, i short-changed federer a win. 13-7

11 times on clay
6 times on hard
3 on grass

and nadal being king of clay; clay court specialist…..

it is hardly accurate to judge, unless they meet more times on hard court and grass

Voicemale1 Says:


Miguel Seabra, Tournament Director of the clay tournament in Portugal weighed in on the Nadal-Federer clay rivalry in the late spring of 2007, just after the French Open. A player himself on the tour back in the day Seabra took a look at just the statistics on all the Federer – Nadal clay matches. He concluded only 1 of the stats really mattered, and you alluded to it. Seabra said when you look at the sheer number of Break Points Nadal saves against Federer, it’s clear that against Nadal on clay Federer chokes. And he wrote this well before two of the bigger chokes Federer had against Nadal: Monte Carlo 08 and Hamburg 08 – the latter of which will go down as Federer’s biggest choke in his career. I’ve watched the First Set of that Hamburg Final 20 times and just can’t fathom how Federer had 5-1 Set Point and lost the set 7-5. It was truly painful to watch him play that match.

Every player gags. Every one of them. Nadal did against Blake in the 06 Shanghai Masters, leading 4-0 in the 2nd Set that night and watched Blake win the next 6 games and send him home. Federer is at his worst against Nadal on clay because the dynamic that keeps beating him works it’s best: Nadal’s Forehand into his Backhand. Federer ends up having to over rely on his Forehand so much that the pressure to keep executing it successfully gets to him more often than not. Federer never has to face this from any other player. But against Nadal, especially on clay, it’s understandable to see why he gets tight.

contador Says:

well, if that choking theory was completely true federer would not have won last madrid, even with nadal not playing at 100%.

federer had improved his clay court game too. i don’t buy the choking theory that really took flight in 2008, federer’s worst was during the first half of that season.

i hope to see more encounters and if they are BOTH healthy, i pick nadal on clay, federer on grass, and federer on hard.

i picked nadal to win the aussie 09. was not buying the idea that nadal would lose due to fatigue after playing verdasco.

federer had a couple great performances but had a couple close calls. i always watch his serve and backhand to determine how fit he is.

sensationalsafin Says:

That’s exactly what I’m saying. And it doesn’t make sense. He chokes because he feels pressure on his forehand? I never understood why Federer doesn’t go for less off the backhand wing instead of trying to hit it back with more pace. Why doesn’t he slice it down when it’s 10 miles in the air. Sure, it’s not gonna work every time but it couldn’t hurt.

I was watching the Fed-Nalby 06 Rome semi, the match right before Fed would go on to blow 2 match points in an epic 5 setter in the final against Rafa. This was the first meeting between the 2 since Nalby rallied to beat Fed in Shanghai. And Nalby came out really confident and broke early. Unfortunately for him, he a series of errors would lose him the break and the first set. In the second set, he got the early break and hung onto it. Everyone made a big deal when Fed broke his racquet in Miami but Nalby was driving Fed nuts in this match, too. Fed slammed his racquet after missing badly on a forehand on set point. He got broken early in the third only to go up a break until they got on even terms and went into the tiebreaker. Nalby double faulted after getting the early mini break and then lost the tb 7-5. The commentators were saying how Nalbandian was kicking his serve wide to Federer’s backhand on the ad side the entire match. And they said he’d keep doing it as long as possible since Fed had no answers the entire time. (Stupidly, the double fault Nalby hit was aimed at Fed’s forehand, which bewildered the commentators). So it’s nearing the end and Nalby is serving at 4-5. He hits a kick serve out wide (as expected) and comes in. Then Federer hits a shot that reminds everyone why he’s number 1 in the world, a cross court backhand pass that’s angled just enough to be out of Nalby’s reach. Federer got really pumped and celebrated by kicking the ground? as he walked over to return the next serve.

So something I noticed during this match was that Federer really wasn’t that good of a clay courter and the reason he was number 2 on clay that year was because of his confidence in those pressure situations and that whole thing where he always believes he is destined to win or whatever. Yet it almost never worked against Nadal. Especially on clay.

Voicemale1, you mention Nadal’s choke against Blake. That’s easily comparable to Fed’s choke in MC. Nadal and Blake both had their opponent’s numbers at the time but their opponents seemed to find some inspiration and started playing great. As soon as their levels dropped, Nadal and Blake finished the job. That’s understandable. But Nadal didn’t follow up his choke against Blake by choking at 5-1 40-15 in their next match. Federer did. When Fed got rocked at RG that year, as pissed as I was I thought to myself “at least he just sucked the whole time instead of giving everyone false hope.”

Nadal was the first and still is the only one that is capable of hitting 99.9% of all shots to Federer’s backhand. But like, if Federer can win 1 set with smart tennis, if he can win 2 sets with smart tennis, why can’t he win 3? Is it not smart enough tennis? Picking the right times to come in to net? Picking the right times to open up the court with the forehand? Is Blake’s backhand so much better than Federer’s that while Fed was getting whipped by Nadal, Blake was owning him? What about Gonzalez, who beat Nadal at the AO in 07. His backhand is so much better than Fed’s, too? Fed’s got so much variety, why the hell hasn’t he been able to overcome Nadal? Honestly, despite the chokes and the closeness of most of their matches in 08, it doesn’t bother me that much that Nadal won them all since it really was the year of Nadal and he played incredible tennis. But in 06 and 07, it just doesn’t make sense. There’s just no excuse.

Voicemale1 Says:

contador Says:
well, if that choking theory was completely true federer would not have won last madrid, even with nadal not playing at 100%.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Ya think Nadal’s 4-hour Semi Final against Djokovic the day before that match you speak about might have had just a teentsey bit of influence on the outcome? Just sayni’.

sensationalsafin Says:

Voicemale1, I really don’t think you can use that tired excuse for Nadal. Especially not on clay. No. Nadal is known to be the fittest, strongest, fastest,… most beast-like player around. He can’t be CONSIDERED the greatest competitor one day then a human who’s tired the next. Pick one and stick to it. He’s a fighter, and considering how many matches Fed had lost to Nadal, I’m surprised he didn’t choke. Nadal had chances to go up, too, maybe he was too tired there. But I remember reading how the difference in that match was that Fed did what he needed to do to win the big points. Despite Nadal’s fatigue, no one gave Fed a chance to win. Sean said something like “long term: no, short term: definitely no”. I really wanna see their next encounter to know the significance of that Madrid win. Federer did use a new strategy, so he’s gotta be credited with that. But we’ll see what happens from here on out.

contador Says:

no, i still picked nadal and surprise, i lost. i was considering: nadal being younger and having pulled off the verdasco win with the back to back federer win at the aussie, rafa being the superstar he is on clay, plus the head to head on clay, in sum added up to a nadal win on clay, even if he was not 100%.

i forgot the altitude…

…and that federer was fitter at that time in 2009 than the clay season in 2008. 2008- the most losses he has ever sustained from not only nadal but murray and nole and others were in the first half of 2008 and just when his endurance was back he won the us open. his serve was on and his forehand was not spraying like it did during the 2 weeks at wimbledon. but a grand slam win takes its toll. he won but his old back injury was aggravated. he rested it but it was not ‘all better’ when he came back last fall, which is a concern as he comes back on tour for basel. federer is older and he is bound to need more time out, if he is going to be able to play at the same high level he was during 2004-2007.

likewise, rafa’s knees will always be a concern. he was running great in shanghai but he was still guarded and tentative on serve and some groundstrokes. he was not ‘on’ like he was at the ao last year.

nadal fans start wetting themselves about federer choking in 2008 when he was really recovering his fitness after mono. as i said before: the latest madrid win is a window into what federer himself thinks of the h2h.

contador Says:


I love the federer v nalby matches!! oh, if nalby comes back and can be close to his old form, ao will be all the more fun!

i would fall down happy if he won a slam!

Kimmi Says:

“Kimmi, your cutie pie Cilic is playing Vienna. He heard you !”

I am it, thanks for the update. Isn’t Vienna a 250 series. I thought he maxed out on 250s…anyways good to see Cilic fighting to the end. I hope he plays valencia or basel too.

I am starting to worry about delpo. He pulls out again..hope his injury is not serious.

“Soderling is on the march to the 8th spot. if he wins Stockholm title, which is likely, he will be within 65 points from Verdasco.”

Your buddy Sod is looking G-o-o-d, I hope he wins stockholm, and I agree it looks very likely. Verdasco is slowing down a little, I want him to fight for it also, it is his golden chance..C’mon Verdasco.

Skorocel Says:

sensationalsafin: Federer was an OVERWHELMING favourite to beat Söderling in that FO final, thus I don’t see any reason why to put any additional emphasis on that win… Or are we also gonna mention that light drizzle, which was falling throughout the entire match? LOL :-) How tough it must’ve been for Roger to win in such terrible conditions, isn’t it? LOL :-)

To me, it’s just hilarious to mention these things, you know… He was like 10-0 vs the Swede prior to this match, and even though some of those encounters were pretty close, it was still 10-0. That there was some idiot stroking him on the court doesn’t make any difference…

Cindy_Brady Says:


Federer just can’t slice the backhand to Nadal the majority of the time. He tried that. It failed. Nadal is too quick and his shots are too high % for that to be effective very long.

Nadal sees pace off the ball and immediately transitions defense into offense. Starts bludgeoning Federer’s backhand with shoulder high top spin shots until Fed’s completely out of position.

Federer’s best when he takes it to Nadal. Has confidence in his shots and is offensive minded. Put Nadal on his heels and force him to come up with the goods. He may miss but the alternative is far worse. Better to go down firing than to hope the other guy misses and good things happen. Great players force the issue and make it happen.

Fortune smiles on the brave.

Voicemale1 Says:

contador Says:

“nadal fans start wetting themselves about federer choking in 2008 when he was really recovering his fitness after mono. as i said before: the latest madrid win is a window into what federer himself thinks of the h2h.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

This is the kind of BS from the Federer fans that reeks of excuse-making from the Federer fan base. There was no “recovering of fitness” due to “mono”. This is total BS. It might be plausible if Federer was losing early in tournaments, like first or second rounds on a regular basis all year.Or even if he had to withdraw from tournaments because he was sick (like EVERY OTHER player who comes down with it does). It would have at least tried to show he was in fact ill. But notice the Federer idolizers always trot out the Mono canard at pitch when he loses to Nadal. So we’re to believe from these people that Federer’s fitness was just grand, not hindering him a bit in all of the early round matches he won during 2008, like in IW, Monte Carlo, Hamburg, The French Open, Wimbledon, etc. It’s only in the matches he loses in the later rounds where this alleged “recovering of fitness” from “mono” kicked in a deprived him of THOSE triumphs. Bullsh*t.

The simple truth is Federer was having nothing but a confidence crisis up until the US Open of 2008. Ever since Tipsarevic nearly took him out in Round Three of the 08 Australian, that 5th Set 10-8 nightmare, Federer’s nerves looked shaky. After that match (and this is more proof the “mono” was BS – he trounced Berdych & Blake in customary fashion in his subsequent matches after Janko), every guy on the tour saw how to expose him regularly: attack his Forehand wide to keep him running constantly to that side; make him “defend”, rather than leave him free to attack, on his best shot. That’s exactly what Djokovic did in the 08 AO Semi – attack the Forehand to open the backhand. Worked like a dream. At that time Federer was still carrying that aura of being “The Federer” and wasn’t used to people exploiting his strength that way. It took him a while to get used to it. That’s what the Dirty Little Secret was of 2008. Guys took a page from the Nalbandian book on playing Federer: make him defensive on his Forehand by forcing him out of the Middle of the Court regularly. The “mono” BS was just a way to try to save public face for all the losses to the other guys like Djokovic, Murray and others who’d figured it out.

Voicemale1 Says:

Cindy_Brady Says:

“Federer just can’t slice the backhand to Nadal the majority of the time. He tried that. It failed. Nadal is too quick and his shots are too high % for that to be effective very long.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

That’s true. And more simply – Federer’s Slice always goes into Nadal’s strength – The Forehand, and that’s probably the main reason Federer’s is reluctant to use it. Against Right Hander Federer’s Slice is lethal because not only is his timing & accuracy so great, it goes into their backhands. And it’s even more effective against a two-handed backhand because they guy has to dig up the shot with both hands on the left side of his body and force it back over the net. It takes that extra half-second for them to recover back for the Forehand pass that inevitably comes from Federer, almost always for a winner.

Cindy_Brady Says:


Crazy as it might sound, maybe Federer’s best option against Nadal may be to do the opposite he does against right hand players. Draw Nadal in by utilizing a short viscous sliced “forehand”. Get a weak reply and pass him that way. Don’t know if Federer has that shot in his arsenal, though. It would have to stay low and be consistent. Not float and be a sitting duck.

It would certainly give Nadal something more to think about than camping out in the back court running side to side defending waiting for Federer to miss. Also, Federer’s new found willingness to use the drop shot of both wings would help too.

Just a thought.

jane Says:

i am it – too bad Soderling’s elbow is injured; that’ll certainly halt his campaign to make the final 8 this year. So Baggy gets a walk-over to the final – when was the last time Marco’s was in a final!? He does look considerably thinner, so maybe he’s taking training and tennis seriously now; he does not need another injury. I think he plays Rochus for the title.

jane Says:

In the Djok/Fed semi, Djok actually switch to the strategy VM1 describes at some point in the second set, I believe. And then he started *cruising. In the first set, it was much closer. But Djok seemed to know he needed a different plan and made the adjustments. (Sure be nice to see more of that from him)

As for Madrid, I don’t think it’s unrealistic to say Nadal was tired after a 4 hour (+) match. Two people play a match, so why must the following be mutually exclusive: to say a player is the best competitor on clay, and to say he can be tired. These guys are all human. And Nadal was having his knees looked at during that Djok match too.

Fed used a different strategy in that match, utilizing the drop shot, going for it on his returns rather than floating them back, etc. He deserved to win. BUT why can’t someone also note that Nadal wasn’t moving as well as normal, that he did seem a bit tired. He’d won every clay event he’d entered up to that point. O don’t see how it’s an excuse, and it’s no different that saying Fed was sweating a lot in his 08 AO matches, that whatever had affected him to skip Kooyong was still affecting him then. Both players can be discussed realistically, both winner and loser, without calling things “excuses”. I guess it’s a fine line between acknowledging the facts and excusing the loss, though.

i am it Says:

thanks, j. i wa waiting and waiting and wondering why the match does not start. well, he is not gonna gain anything out of the semi final run. hope the injury is not serious and does well at the next two.
i am watching Lisicki-Peer, and it’s been quite a fun to watch.

Fed is Goat Says:

Nadal is 5 years younger than Federer. At the end of 2007 (federer was 26, Nadal was 21), Federer was still holding his own against Nadal (6-8 H2H). That’s pretty darn close to even.

Since then, obviously, Federer has deteriorated with age, and Nadal has picked up as he hit his prime years (22-23). Since then, the H2H has been 1-5. Hence the total is 7-13.

So two things are important to note:

1. As contador also said, its STILL a clay domination, 9-2 – Fed leads on other surfaces 5-4.

2. The overall domination really started in 2008. Before that, Fed had reached 6-8 H2H against Nadal. The 5 years (half a generation in tennis terms) has to matter.

Of course, if you look at it just superficially, its 7-13.

My prediction would be that going forward, Federer and Nadal will pretty much split the matches they play. Nadal is over his peak as well.

Fed is Goat Says:

Other than Agassi, every single male player (who was ever a world No 1) has declined steeply somewhere after turning 24-26 (in the open era). The peak years of every one (other than Agassi) were somewhere between 21-25.

And Agassi had a couple of years off, so his body really had time to recover.

So what do you expect from a 27/28 year old player having to play another top player 5 years younger, on the other players clearly favorite surface (and his own worst surface)? It’s a very unusual confluence of several factors that has created this scenario.

Can you tell me another occasion when a top player (by top I mean someone with at least 4-5 slams) had to face another top player 5 years younger, consistently over and over again? Borg had a somewhat similar situation with Mcenroe, and we know how it turned out in 1981, and he quit. 2008 was Federer’s equivalent of Borg’s 1981. The difference? Federer came back in 2009 and won a couple more….

Voicemale1, now come on, I know you want to use abusive language again………

Giner Says:

Voicemale1 Says:

“IF, and that’s a big IF, Federer decides to call it a season – so what? He’s #1 regardless of what Nadal does, even if Rafael manages to recapture the official ranking. Federer’s year of Two Majors and Two Major Finals beats anything anyone else has done, period. No matter what the rankings say.”

This is like that Serena Williams / Dinara Safina debacle. Slams trump all. If we use a system like this, there’s no point even playing other tournaments if number of slams alone decides the real #1. May as well cancel the rest of the tour.

There’s more to tennis than just slams.

sensationalsafin Says:

“Voicemale1 isn’t showing Fed worship. He just wants to calm everyone down because he wants Nadal to end number 1 for the second year in a row.”

That’s an interesting, if not cynical way to read into his comments. I’m not seeing it. I don’t think he’s a blind Rafa fan, or he wouldn’t say something like that. I’m not, and I still disagree with him. You say he only says that because he wants Rafa to be #1 for 2nd straight year. But if he said the opposite — that Rafa would be the true #1 if he overtook him in the rankings by year’s end — then wouldn’t that make this even more so? So I guess he can’t shed that biased hope for Rafa’s #1 can he?

contador Says:

“sensationalsafin, look at the federer- nadal h2h again. rafa is tied with fed on hard court and it’s fed leading nadal on grass 2-1. on clay, it’s true, rafa is ahead of all others, so far, but the whole story is yet to be written.

federer could have beat rafa more during fed’s best years, had rafa been able to get through his side of the draw on hard courts to even face roger. but..rog can only beat who is across the net. ”

That works both ways. An even head to head (5-4, odd number so as even as it can get) implies that they’re roughly equal when playing each other. I don’t find it warranted to assume that had they played more times Fed would have had a better record. If he was the superior player at playing one another, then the record would never have been 5-4 in the first place. It would be more like 7-2 or 6-3. I don’t think Fed would have pulled ahead by much had they played 20 times.

There’s no mistaking that overall Fed is a better hard court and grass court player. A spanner is only thrown into the works when they play *each other*. Fed has an issue with Rafa for some reason that some lesser players don’t.

“fed happened to face nadal on clay more during rafa’s best years. rafa’s legend is not written yet, bur a good guess is he will known as the best ever on clay.”

It’s common practice that because Rafa is the best clay court player, all clay court results and losses to him are discounted and dismissed as irrelevant. I’m not sure why. I don’t understand this. If we use the same reasoning, then Federer with 5 US Opens, 3 Australian Opens and 6 Wimbledons is clearly the King of HC and King of Grass. So if we dismiss clay losses to Nadal because Nadal is King of Clay and that everyone else would have lost to him just the same, then wouldn’t we have to dismiss Nadal’s 5 losses as the same and inevitable? Any other player would have lost those matches to Fed as well, right? But he didn’t. Discounting the French Open, their record is 2-2 in Slam finals. You either apply it both ways or not at all.

What we can conclude from the records is that Rafa is better at playing Roger on clay than Roger is at playing Rafa outside of clay.

2-1 at Wimbledon could easily have been 1-2 or 3-0 Fed given how close two of those matches were and Fed’s uncanny ability to win double tie breaks at Wimbledon.

The argument that Roger would dominate him off clay if he had more opportunities is conjecture and one that I don’t buy, simply because the current results don’t reflect that. And if he did, then those clay losses to Nadal would be just as legit as Nadal’s HC/Grass losses to Fed.

“at least federer has won 2 matches on clay; nole is 0-9 down to nadal on clay. yes, i think it is safe to put federer as #2 on clay, since he also made it through to get a FO win.”

Fed is more accomplished than Nole on clay, but if they met each other on clay more often I’d pick Nole to have more clay wins than Fed.

“if someone simply takes the total head to head as gospel on either federer or nole against nadal, gets out their credit card and does not take into consideration the surface and an injury report, and goes to their fave betting site and plunks down the cash. it’s not smart.”

I think it’s a fair way to look at it, because while Rafa is head and shoulders above the rest of the players on clay court, Federer is similarly head and shoulders above everyone else on HC and Grass, so it’s a legitimate comparison.

“however, on clay one should pick nadal to win, bearing in mind it is against federer, better make sure nadal is 100% healthy.”

With 14 slams on HC and Grass combined should we not in the same way automatically pick Federer to win on those surfaces? Yet the 5-4 H2H says this this is not the case. Why is this so?

“same goes in reverse for picking winner on grass or hard court. on grass ask who is at their best if both are, pick federer.”

Except this isn’t what turned out is it? We ought to expect a record like 9-2 to Fed on HC/Grass but we don’t see it and I don’t for a second buy that we would if they played more often. If Fed had something to prove on those surfaces, he hasn’t done it, and in 9 matches he should have by now.

“yet, there is no disputing rafa owns the clay. so far….”

In my mind, there’s no disputing that Fed owns every other surface with 14 slams on them. Double standards.

“and nadal being king of clay; clay court specialist…..

it is hardly accurate to judge, unless they meet more times on hard court and grass”

It is very accurate to judge for the same reasons as you judged clay. On clay they’ve played 11 times, and on HC/Grass combined they’ve played 9 times. That is only 2 more than HC/Grass. It’s as fair a judgement as any.

Here’s how I simplify it. Federer is a Greater player than Nadal outside of clay. He just has a weakness when playing Nadal. He won 5 times but that number should have been more, and his losses should have been less. You can dismiss his losses on clay to Nadal because Nadal is a Greater clay court player, but how do you account for his losses on HC/Grass? You didn’t.

And there is absolutely no way you can say Nadal is the undisputed King of Clay without also accepting that Fed is the undisputed king of Grass and HC, if not an even greater King (14 Slams or even 1/3 of that is greater than 4 FO’s). At Wimbledon alone he has more wins than Rafa has at the French. The same is true of the US Open. Is he not an even greater player on those surfaces than Nadal is on clay?

What can you say in the event that Nadal wins the next hard court clash? That would give Fed a negative record 3-4 on even hard court.. Go on, really. A guy with 8 HC slams having a losing record to a guy with 1 HC slam? Unfathomable, right?


“So we’re to believe from these people that Federer’s fitness was just grand, not hindering him a bit in all of the early round matches he won during 2008, like in IW, Monte Carlo, Hamburg, The French Open, Wimbledon, etc. It’s only in the matches he loses in the later rounds where this alleged “recovering of fitness” from “mono” kicked in a deprived him of THOSE triumphs. Bullsh*t.”

It’s like this: Federer is so great a player than even with Mono he can come awfully close to beating Rafa. Had he been without mono, he would have creamed him. That Wimbledon final would have been a straight sets rout for Federer. It’s only because he’s so good already that mono didn’t completely kill him. Had any other player caught the virus they wouldn’t even manage a set against Rafa.

At least that’s how I think it goes.

contador Says:

wrong voicemale1.

the body takes a huge hit when recovering from mono. weight loss, extreme fatigue, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, recurrent fevers, nausea and vomiting are the prestenting symptoms. the weight loss, which includes muscle wasting, and fatigue would naturally effect fed’s endurance for months after the initial phase. after the virus has its way with the host in the initial acute stages, it can recur for months after, until the host builds back the immune system and strength again. the virus actually remains and in weaker and more debilitated it can recur long after the initial infection, example , ancic.

point is: mono is no common cold or flu. federer’s endurance, meaning his ability to last through match after match and carry on into especially a 5 setter was obviously comprimised by the illness.

you would have a much better knowledge and speak with a totally different tone if nadal came down with mono. think, just imagine it, if you can.

federer is a case of sheer will power and strength to keep playing and do as well as he did in the winter through his rehabilitation and recovery phase in 2008. for federer fans we had to watch him play not only a step slow but for the first time, the deadly forehand was spraying!! it was quite un-federeresque. but it was his choice to play through and take the losses as he regained what ground he physically had lost.

meanwhile, he was not the fittest or the best in many matches and tournaments. by the us open, his speed was still not all the way back and no one was picking fed to win. the hype was all about nadal and murray. but federer’s serve was what he brought to his game in a big way. it was a major factor getting him through andreev, nole, to the final where he finished off murray in 3 sets. had the final extended to 5 sets, i am not altogether certain federer would have prevailed.

as i previously said, a grand slam win takes it’s toll. we forget that these events are indeed marathons. the finalist and winner must be the fittest athletes on the planet! rafa had won the french, wimbledon, and taken the gold in the olympics! though most of us expected rafa to win another major in 2008, it hardly should be any surprise that he did get to the us open final and missed the masters cup event in shanghai.

for federer the marathon path to the us open win meant aggravating the old back injury. but federer being federer, he took a break but played on, winning basel but the rest of his results were compromised.

rafa’s abdominal tear is part of a ‘domino effect’ as a result of the rest required to heal his knees. it is nearly impossible to keep the previous level of fitness immediately after an illness or injury.

the fact is, had federer stayed out sick in 2008, his h2h would look a lot better against not only rafa but others. however, playing while compromised physically, in hindsight, was brilliant, in that he did as well as he did, remained near the top, while if he stayed home, it might have been harder to come all the way back. federer knows federer better than anyone.

the hit psychologically and emotionally had to be wimbledon. there is no denying the fact of it. but the choking and the extreme to which nadal fans and the general media celebrate the idea of federer ‘choking’ is nonsense. if it were true, he would have fallen out of the #2 spot, and choked when facing nole and murray at the us open.

federer brushes off such losses better than anyone in the business, as witnessed by his desire to face nadal and test himself. in the marathon which was the path to the aussie final, federer should have shrunk away from facing rafa, if that h2h is as threatening to him as many relish believing. in the end that day, rafa was the fittest and best. sadly for federer, he did not have what was left to serve well and win the fifth set. but he never shies away from an opportunity to go up against nadal, which especially on clay should be the case, if the choking theory were correct. in true champion fashion, he won on clay, in madrid, against nadal.

federer has nothing to prove. he is 2-1 in front of nadal on grass and tied with nadal on hard court. the fact is, rafa has not been fit enough in the early days of september, the past few years, to contest the 5 time winner for the fast hard court championship. not roger’s fault. but it is good reason to not take the head to head as 13-7 nadal but understand the truth. 11 times of 20 they met on rafa’s preferred surface.

nadal is yet to figure out how to win the us open. and if he does, are we to say it’s not to be honored, if he does not face the 5 time champion, federer there? i think not. neither are the feats of federer’s 14th and 15th grand slam diminished by rafa not being fit to play,

Dan Martin Says:

How does a story about Gulbis and working girls turn into the latest Roger-Rafa debate?

Voicemale1 Says:


A long winded refutation by you that says basically nothing. You say a body takes a hit “recovering” from mono. But what about when you actually have it? Isn’t that supposed to be worse? Seems Federer wasn’t knocked out enough to withdraw from any event during his supposed illness. So you try to talk out of both sides of your mouth. You say his “recovery” was compromising his play. But yet actually having it doesn’t force him to withdraw from any event. So how does the body know enough and “recover” enough to win all his early round matches when he plays but not his later ones that he loses? And, if your theory on such is true..why didn’t such exhaustion in any later rounds become cumulative? Why such consistency in that he can breeze through 4 matches in, say, Hamburg or Monte Carlo, but then get stricken by “mono recovery fatigue” only in the Final? Seems a little “convenient”, dontcha think?.

His problems had nothing to do with mono, because his mono was essentially a myth. Go ask Ancic, Henin, Isner – all of whom REALLY had it and were off the tour for no other reason that physically they couldn’t play. Federer found himself on the ropes because guys were having more success against him tactically. Nadal didn’t change tactics against Federer: he continued to punish the backhand with great success. It was the right handers like Murray, Djokovic, Simon (guys with reliable 2-handed backhands) started firing their backhands down the line to Federer’s Forehand with great success, keeping him out of the Middle of the Court where he used to rule without peer. They beat him employing better & smarter tactics, not because he was “recovering”. Murray said as much when he beat Federer at IW this year. He said in his post match that Federer was playing low percentage shots and if you keep doing that, well, you’ll lose. So..are you gonna say Federer was still in “recovery” in March of 2009?

And lastly – where you get off thinking the “true” indication of Federer against Nadal on clay is 2009 Madrid, as though none of the other matches ever happened, is just sheer nonsense.

Dan Martin Says:

Trekies have nothing on a segment of tennis fans

Voicemale1 Says:

And, if your theory on such is true..why didn’t such exhaustion in any later rounds become cumulative?

That is..cumulative from tournament to tournament. Seems he was always fine early in one tournament after being to unrecovered from the Final of the pervious one.

Again – he wasn’t used to having to Defend his Forehand, which is what a lot of guys started forcing him to do. He’s better at doing it now after having gone through it. That’s what really bugged him through 2008.

contador Says:

oh brother, voicemale1, since you don’t actually read my posts nor do you have an ability to ‘think’ beyond your own bias, i won’t waste my time with you. you know nothing about mono, how it’s course runs, the various ways it plays out in individuals based on immune response and one’s fitness going into the illness.

but as i said: no doubt you would be far more informed if rafa came down with mono……lol…..

Skorocel Says:

Giner: „It’s common practice that because Rafa is the best clay court player, all clay court results and losses to him are discounted and dismissed as irrelevant.“

They would have been discounted had Roger beat him just once at the FO. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t. On the contrary, Nadal beat him at Wimby…


„That works both ways. An even head to head (5-4, odd number so as even as it can get) implies that they’re roughly equal when playing each other. I don’t find it warranted to assume that had they played more times Fed would have had a better record. If he was the superior player at playing one another, then the record would never have been 5-4 in the first place. It would be more like 7-2 or 6-3. I don’t think Fed would have pulled ahead by much had they played 20 times.“

Amen to that!


„It is very accurate to judge for the same reasons as you judged clay. On clay they’ve played 11 times, and on HC/Grass combined they’ve played 9 times. That is only 2 more than HC/Grass. It’s as fair a judgement as any.“


Skorocel Says:

Fed is Goat on the H2H between Nadal and Fed: „Of course, if you look at it just superficially, its 7-13.“

It ain’t „superficially“ or whatever. It’s just as it is – 7:13.

Kimmi Says:

Aaaaarg Soderling ! what a bummer…hope its not too serious. verdasco has a good chance now going to valencia and Paris. Very close..very close. while verdasco nursing foot injury and Soderling elbow injury, who will be the last one standing ? Your guess is as good as mine, maybe it will be Cilic ?

sensationalsafin Says:

Giner, everything you said in your post essentially proves my initial statement, Federer has never been able to overcome the challenge that is Rafael Nadal. Even if you do disregard the clay matches, Federer has lost too many matches off of clay. There’s no point in me going further with this because you explained it all perfectly and hit every point and detail. Kudos.

As for the mono thing. Voicemale1, unless we see the actual documentation, there’s no telling what Federer was sick with. But he did pull out of Kooyong that year and it may have still been bugging him for the next few months. Fed’s most unexplainable loss, perhaps in his entire career, was the one to Fish. How the hell did he get blown out so badly? Losing to Djokovic, Murray, even Roddick is one thing, but Fish? He lost to Djokovic because Djokovic was playing amazing tennis and he was just drooling all over the court for the winner’s trophy (from round 1 until the final). He lost to Murray because Murray’s game just generally bugs Federer, nothing odd there. He lost to Fish because there was some sort of strange alignment in the planets. As for his loss to Roddick. I’d like to go into that by saying that was real proof of how much the Tipsarevic match affected him. In his match against Tipsy, he had set points or at least plenty of chances to take the first and third sets, both of which he lost. I mentioned how confident Federer was in 06 when he would always come through in those pressure situations when things got tight at the end, but against Tipsy, he kept faltering. He had plenty of chances to beat Roddick in Miami, but he faltered when it counted then threw in a string of very anti-Federeresque points. Not just errors but seemingly lack of good judgment. Before I even mention the Nadal matches, he also lost to Stepanek in 2 tiebreakers in Rome, more signs of his shaken confidence in tight situations. And his chokes against Nadal have nothing to do with fitness. It’s not like at 5-1 40-15 Federer suddenly got tired because of mono and gave away 6 straight games then somehow won the second set. He choked. Plain and simple. Why? Probably because, besides his issue with a lot of other players, he already had an issue when facing Nadal. It only takes one choke to start a pattern. Look at both his losses to Simon. Both matches are almost exactly the same. Up a set and a break then lose. How can that NOT affect someone’s mentality? This is basically addressed to both Voicemale1 and Contador.

Skorocel, to clear things up, I’m not saying Federer got unlucky or something in having to face Soderling, I’m just saying overall Fed had plenty of pressure. If anything, thank God he faced Soderling, someone he’s never lost to in over 10 matches.

jane Says:

It’s certainly possible Fed had confidence issues going into 2008, but if you look at that season not separately but in conjunction with 2007, there were plenty of signs even in 2007 that Fed was declining, barring mono, flu or whatever. After all, he lost at IW and Miami in 07 rather surprisingly to Canas, then he was pushed to the brink by Rafa at Wimbledon, then Djoko conquered him in Canada, and pushed him in the final but choked on his chances to take the first two sets, and then Nalbandian beat him twice indoors.

Moreover, there is no reason to underwrite the way Tipsy pushed Fed at the AO in 2008 – Tipsy was playing AWESOMELY! So was Stepanek at Rome, in the way he simply and relentlessly attacked. When Step can execute his game, he is dangerous. Finally, Fish didn’t just walk into the semifinals at IW; he played some swash-buckling, attacking tennis to get there, and then to take a set from Djoko in that final. There is no need to deny these guys their earned wins over Federer. Federer – like every other player – IS BEATABLE on the day.

In 2009, Fed started in a sort of slump and then went on a tear. Same with Djok – he started meekly on hard courts and then seemed to hit his stride on clay. That’s simply normal, that players go through peaks and valleys over the course of a season or their career. What Fed did on hard/grass courts in 04-06, and what Rafa did on clay from 05-09 is exceptional and should not be expected.

Maybe Fed has simply leveled off, still at the top but not as invincible; his “aura” is definitely depleted. As for Nadal, next season will tell us more, once he’s back to full speed we’ll see if he can scale the heights of 08 again or if he will have leveled off somewhat too. I don’t see either guy disappearing from the top echelons, but I could see someone other than Rafa winning the French and someone other than Fed winning Wimbledon.

jane Says:

Fish, at IW in 2008, before beating Fed, had taken out Mayer, Andreev, Davydenko, Hewitt, and Nalbandian. Not too shabby. His win over Fed was not a fluke. Or certainly should not be “excused” or denied.

jane Says:

Also, regarding Roddick’s win at Miami 2008, Roddick’s pretty much always been able to play Fed closely, very closely in fact; one match was bound to go his way sooner or later, and Roddick was playing well and feeling confident at that time. He had just beaten Nadal and Djoko on his way to the Dubai 08 title and he had just gotten engaged. He earned that win – still remember the down the line passing shot with which he broke Fed in the third set.

sensationalsafin Says:

I never said Roddick didn’t deserve his win, I just said Federer had his chances.

And I never said Fish didn’t deserve his win, it was just so shocking. Not just the win but the way he won it. You can say Fish played great tennis and all but Federer was never in the match. He walked when he had to run and ran when he had to sprint. The intriguing thing about the match isn’t what Fish did to win but what Federer did to lose. I can’t think of any other match where Federer didn’t even attempt to push. He just laid down and encouraged Fish to stomp all over him. Fed’s loss to Nadal at the FO 08 was a lot worse and a lot more humiliating but with that match, Federer pushed at times. He got blown away because he was off and Nadal was super on but that it wasn’t the same against Fish. Until Federer explains that loss to me in person, I will forever say that was an imposter who played on that day.

Also, it’s not like I said Tipsy played bad or something, just that Federer failed to take the chances he had in the first and third sets.

As for 07, don’t forget his loss to Volandri. What happened there? Just as perplexing as his loss to Fish. Djokovic is a great player so it’s not startling that he lost to him in Montreal. I watched Canas play and he was playing extremely well and hardly missing. His game is like Simon’s, so it’s not surprising Fed lost to him. Although Fed’s gotten his revenge a few times since those losses. Federer also lost to Gonzo at the TMC for his first RR loss there. Nalbandian was going through a super hot streak and beat everyone, including Fed and Nadal TWICE. But his loss to Gonzo was an interesting loss in that Gonzo was the one to play clutch at the very end. Fed’s got an interesting career, what can I say? From 04-06, he won 99% of the matches that came down to the brink, (excluding the Nadal matches). In 07, he started lossing some of those. In 08 and 09, he’s lost even more of those. 09 was the year of Federer not just losing close matches but falling apart in the final set. It just doesn’t make sense to me. How does he go from never faltering at the finish line to always faltering?

JoshDragon Says:

Contador: Roger’s head to head against Nadal on non-clay surfaces is 5-4 and in nearly all of the matches that Nadal has lost, he managed to push Roger to the limit. That’s pretty good for a guy who was originally considered to be a clay court specialist.

Not to mention Rafa wasn’t even in his prime when they met the first 3 times.

jane Says:

sensationalsafin: “I will forever say that was an imposter who played on that day.”

Ha ha – must’ve been Capgras syndrome.

” How does he go from never faltering at the finish line to always faltering?”

Age, most likely. He’s a step slower, so matches can go longer, so he tires more easily, and he becomes more vulnerable.

Plus, people don’t see him as being “totally” unbeatable anymore.

Rafa and Nalbandian never did and kudos to both for that; Djoko didn’t used to see him that way but kowtows more now for whatever reason.

But the fact is, Fed’s just not at his peak anymore, as others have opined. He’s a notch or two down, but obviously still one of the very very best on any given Sunday.

contador Says:

i am not denying anyone their win on the day. nadal fans throw up the injury card as if it belongs to rafa only. they all have bad days at the office and many times are playing when not at their fittest.

federer is generally thought to have made winning look easy during his peak years, but if you take a look at what he went through to win, say for example ao 06, you’ll find he very nearly lost to haas. every march especially to a slam final is going to cost physically.

in 2008 it is on record that federer tested positive for mono and had mono, it’s not an excuse. anyone knowing the illness would understand the obvious impact on a players ability to train and be ready to play at their highest level. did he bring it on by his rigorous schedule, pushing himself as nadal did in injuring his knees 2008-09? it’s a good guess.

these illness and injury facts do not diminish anyone’s win. this is a contest of who is fittest, best prepared and plays the best on the day. but one should not ignore the facts and jump or rush to a gleeful and false conclusion that the reason either federer or nadal loses during the time period they are recovering is due to choking or on a fast track in decline. they both may be past their prime, i think it’s fair to say, however i would not eliminate either from finding their form again and making it to the final in any event.

one players injury or illness again, does not detract from any opponents win.

but….when looking over a head to head and picking a winner for an upcoming event, it’s smart to ask yourself what was up, why did so and so win or lose? one would be mistaken to look at a head to head as murray-federer and conclude, federer chokes and loses to murray or federer chokes and loses to nadal. obviously surface has to be considered along with any known information about health. it’s not accurate to take a h2h at face value. even andy roddick’s h2h against federer could change, since both are still playing.

and certainly nole’s h2h against rafa should not be taken at face value. nole has the edge on hard court. but on clay nole is yet to win a match in 9 attempts. though nole has been close to winning and all it might take is for nole to meet rafa again and rafa not be at 100% and nole will win. does that win not count? i think not.

i picked soderling to win in stockholm- seemed to make sense looking at the draw. but, either i missed the news of his arm injury or soderling camp was not talking before today. many times injury, jet lag, what have you, is unclear until after the fact.

maybe ollie rochus wins…. wakes up having his best day ever and baggy has an off day. go ollie!

the best match should be youzhny and tipsy.

and yay ernie is playing tomorrow in st petersburg–way to get back at it gulbis!

Fed is Goat Says:


Mcenroe won 7 slams. Wilander won 7 slams. That’s equal. So they were equally good players. That’s a superficial inference. Got it?

The details underlying the numbers are important.

Its 7-13. Of course it is. But why is is 7-13, and what does it indicate? What is the inference from it? that needs some details.

Another example. Fed is 16-7 on Hewitt. Dominating, but not decimating. But lets see the details. Fed has won the last 14. Now with this additional information, you draw a slightly different inference – Hewitt dominated federer early on, but federer has decimated him the last 6 years.

Got it?

sensationalsafin Says:

FIG, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Jane, good answers, but age isn’t fully sufficient. When it’s 5-5 in the third set of a match, it’s not like Federer suddenly realizes “Oh crap, I’m old, I’ll lose now even though I’ve played well up until this point.” Considering he’s won 2 matches after coming back from 2 sets to love down just this year, you can’t tell me he’s too old and tired to win a 3 set match.

Contador, how did he lose his lead over Tsonga in Montreal? Lemme guess, he was recovering? His 5 setter from Wimbledon finally took its toll? That’s ****ing stupid. Federer showed how ridiculously fit he was during the French. The guy is tank. And when he’s playing well, he’s not gonna suddenly remember he’s old and lose. And let’s hot forget, he’s not THAT old. I can understand fatigue setting in even at 5-0 40-0 in the second set. The thing is, when you watch Federer lose these leads, he doesn’t look tired, he just looks bad. I’m not saying every single match Fed’s lost to Nadal was a choke. But when you’re up 5-1 40-15 on YOUR serve, and you go on to lose the next 6 straight games, wtf does mono have to do with that? Not enough indication? Let’s look at that first set point. Federer hits a good serve, comes in, then misses an easy volley by maybe a foot or so. I don’t wanna hear that Nadal put something extra on ball or this or that. Federer had an easy volley he should’ve made. Anyone wanna argue that Roddick was tired when he missed that volley in the second set tb at Wimbledon? Because there wasn’t that much wind, he choked. He can tell us and himself whatever he wants, he choked. Just like Federer did a number of times against Nadal. It’s not mono or fitness related, it’s mental related.

jane Says:

sensationalsafin “it’s not like Federer suddenly realizes “Oh crap, I’m old, I’ll lose now even though I’ve played well up until this point.” ” LOL – sure, it need not be ONLY age; I am merely saying that is ONE factor but surely there are multiple reason – age, loss of utter “aura” of invincibility, increased knowledge in players of varied ways to poke and push at Fed’s game/armor (from using more Hawkeye challenges, to attacking forehand or backhand, to moving him from side to side and not letting him “rule” from center court, as VM1 already noted, etc). Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor could it be destroyed in one day; it took myriad factors and years to dismantle that empire. And so it is with Fed; his rule is slowly coming to a end. So be it. He can be kind forever.

jane Says:

Oops “he can’t be kind forever” should be” he can’t be KING forever”. But sheesh – he can’t be kind forever either! LOL. Who can?

margot Says:

The most astonishing thing for me is that Gulbis has to pay….
Dan Martin: if the artcle had been about the best..oh I dunno…… cream? the Roger/Rafa arguement would still rage and rage, and I guess will still be going in 5 years time.

Skorocel Says:

Fed is Goat:

If you had looked into that H2H between Fed and Nadal more detailely (as you so loudly proclaim), you would, IN THE FIRST PLACE, find out, that these two have thus far played 11 matches on clay and 9 on hard/grass. That’s as close to a draw as it gets – yet, for some reason, their H2H doesn’t reflect that…

And I don’t buy those “5 years of age difference” or “had they played more often during Fed’s peak years” kind of excuses either… As you may know, from 2004 to 2006, Fed was at his very peak, yet he was like 3-6 vs Nadal. All of those 3 wins he managed on hard or grass, whilst failing to beat Nadal on clay just once in 4 tries, whereas Nadal got his 6 wins 4 times on clay, BUT ALSO 2 times on hard. And don’t tell me Fed was sick in Miami 2004! Before this year’s AO final, Nadal, from the physical point of view, was at a CLEAR disadvantage (after playing that marathon 5-hour semi vs Verdasco). What was even worse for him, the final itself went to 5 sets, but his opponent, instead of capitalizing on this, completely broke down in that 5th set…

Fed is Goat Says:

Skorocel, your statement “yet, for some reason, their H2H doesn’t reflect that…” appears to show that you don’t understand the reason why their H2H doesn’t reflect the fact that they played 45% of their matches outside of clay.

Let me explain the reason.

1. Nadal is a better clay court player than federer. That gave him the huge advantage of 9-2 in their H2H. I don’t think ANYONE can dispute that Nadal is a better clay courter.

2. Nadal has been able to catch up to Federer (almost) in H2H outside of clay (5-4) to Federer. Again, until end of 2007, Federer was 5-2 on Nadal outside of clay, and yes, he was sick in Miami and played just because he hardly withdraws from matches (and might have thought what’s the harm in going and playing against an unknown 17 year old – not knowing that it was a stronger player than he might have anticipated). Now, due to the age advantage, Nadal almost caught up to 4-5 outside of clay.

Add the two – and you can get the full picture. Nadal leads Federer in H2H because of his clay prowess ONLY.

Tennis is not a transitive sport, perhaps you would know that. if A beats B, and B beats C, it doesn’t mean A will beat C. Every player has some bad matchups. Federer playing Nadal on clay is one of them. Its just that Federer was good enough on clay to reach almost every final, so he ended up playing Nadal so often on clay.

Had Federer been as miserable as Sampras was on clay, he would have never faced Nadal on clay, and then their H2H would have been 5-4 in Federer’s favor, and we would have never discussed it so much!

Fed is Goat Says:

BTW, in a recent interview, Sampras said “Nadal is an animal”, refering to his physical prowess. Check it out, its true.

And he is right.

So Nadal playing after a day’s rest means he is good to go, even if he has played 5.10 against Verdasco on friday at the AO. If you have noticed, Nadal’s matches are anyway played at such a slow pace, since he takes so much time between points (and picking butt). Nadal’s matches are 25-30% longer just due to his delay tactics. If it was someone else, it would have been a 4 hour match or so – and then, its not USO where you play the next day.

With Nadal’s “animal” fitness (don’t blame me for this wording, its Sampras’s words!), a days rest gets you to top shape, especially at the very start of the season.

Long Live the King Says:

@Skorocel :

“11 matches on clay and 9 on hard/grass. That’s as close to a draw as it gets ”

Rafa has played 17 tournaments this year. Out of which 5 tournaments are on clay. The rest are non-clay.

So, all things being the same the ratio of clay to non clay tournaments is 5:12. So if Roger and Rafa play 11 times on clay, they should play atleast 26 times on non-clay tournaments. The reason they did not is because rafa was not holding to his end of the deal on hardcourts getting thrashed by gonzo, tsonga, blake, youzhny – you name them. It ensured that whenever Rafa met Roger in a non-clay tournament, it was when he was playing at his very best. Whereas Roger makes those finals in non-clay, irrespective of his level of play especially 2004-07. So more often than not when Rafa and Roger meet in non-clay tournaments, Rafa is at his very best. You could say most of those 9 non-clay encounters were played on rafa’s terms rather than on Roger’s terms.

you think roger could not have thrashed Rafa at AO like tsonga or gonzo did? or like Delpotro, blake and youzhny did at USO? or like djokovic did at cincinnati? think again coz Rafa won exactly 0 sets out of 4 sets the two played in shanghai. with the last one being a thrashing where rafa won 5games in 2sets.

sensationalsafin Says:

FIG, why do you have to attack Sampras?

Skorocel, from what I remember, Federer had the flu or something heading into Miami in 04. The thing is, he seemed to right that ship by beating Nadal the next year in the final after coming back from 2 sets to love down.

Nadal was playing his best when he faced Fed outside of clay and that’s why he won? Fine, therefore Nadal is a better player on any surface than Federer. Watch 06 Dubai. Federer was playing amazing in the first set. Boom, he lost. Watch the AO this year, Federer had some great patches until it was crunch time, where he fell apart every time. You keep talking about fitness and mono and injuries and this and that and all these factors. The fact of the matter is that Nadal is better than Federer. The sooner you accept that the easier your tennis fan life will become.

sensationalsafin Says:

Why exactly can’t Federer thrash Rafa the way others can? Because Nadal is better.

How about this, let’s pretend that both players were 100% fit and 100% at their best in every single encounter, from Nadal’s win in Paris to Federer’s win in Madrid. Now then, why is it that Nadal has more wins? Regardless of surface, Federer’s best was enough to beat Nadal in 05-07ish. From that point, Nadal became too good everywhere, so his best should beat Federer’s best. So what’s with this lopsided h2h that has Federer losing more matches than winning in his peak year? Nadal has always won the big points when it mattered most. In Dubai, I know that Federer had won 6 more points overall, but then how or why did he lose? He won several more points in Rome, still lost. I’ve mentioned it before how the real difference in their Madrid match was that, for the first time in a long time, Federer won the big points. People say Nadal fights for every point but he picks it up quite a bit for the big points. And Federer’s never been able to do the same. Only at the 07 Wimbledon final I really saw Federer pick his game up when he needed to. But in so many other matches, he let or couldn’t stop Nadal from taking over. It wasn’t always a choke, but it’s a sign of mental weakness. Or it’s a sign that Nadal is just better.

contador Says:

surface does matter and nadal is the clay court king. but last time they met fedeerer was better and wiped nadal in straights, in madrid, on clay..

the excuses nadal fans give we all know. yet, they fail to grant federer a similarly fair excuse as in not enough endurance in 2008.

a win is a win. the best player on the day. rafa shoulda given a w/o, if he thought he was going to lose to roger in madrid. he did not believe he would lose. surprise.

federer doesn’t shrink away from a challenge.

get over it sensationalsafin. you have been brainwashed by the nonsense of the h2h and choking theory.

the broader one looks at the h2h of not only federer but nole against nadal, the more nadal fans have to fantasize about. in reality surface does matter and….

it’s even an error to clump surfaces like grass and hard court together. actually, hard court could be separated into groups too. and also times of year. nadal can’t figure out how to play and be fit enough in september during his best years to even challenge federer at the us open.

the choking and mental weakness theories are overblown, desperate arguments they cling to for happines….lol…..

federer can’t simply have a bad day? be fatigued? pain in the back, arm leg, too sore? give him a break! can’t he lose like anyone else without over-dramatizing it? these kooky rafans are desperate for federer to fail. don’t make so much of it.

yay! ernie won!! go gulbis!!

Gordo Says:

So at the tennis talk website you can find this article about how a rested Fed is looking forward to the rest of the year beginning in Basel.'s_set_for_tennis_return_in_Basel

Meanwhile Tennis-X focuses on Gulbis looking to pay for Nookie.

Well – at the top of the page it does say “Dysfunctional Tennis Blogging at its Finest.”

Glad to see the site is living up to its name. :lol

sensationalsafin Says:

Federer has not just winning records but embarrassing records over 99% of the tour. 19-2 against Roddick? 14-8 against Hewitt? Cmon, Federer’s ridiculous. But he happens to have a lot of bad days against Nadal. Really? They happen to be bad days? I used to believe that, until reality hit me. Why do we have to worry about Djokovic’s record against Nadal? Djokovic has destroyed Nadal on hard courts several times. Federer has one convincing win over Nadal. So Djokovic has yet to beat Nadal on clay. Ok. But isn’t Federer better than Djokovic? Why do you keep talking about Nadal being the clay king? What is Federer, the hard court prince? While Nadal has the longest clay court streak, Federer has the longest hard court AND grass court streak. Federer was the undisputed king of hard and grass during his reign. Yet Nadal took him out on hard courts after Federer bagged his first hard court major. He took him out on hard courts after Federer bagged his 4th hard court major. He took him out after Federer had bagged his 8th hard court major. 8 HARD COURT MAJORS vs 4 CLAY COURT MAJORS. What makes Nadal a greater king of clay than Federer a king of hard? What about grass? Nadal took Federer out after Federer had 5 grass court majors. 5 grass slams vs 4 clay slams. What makes Nadal a greater king of clay than Federer a king of grass? It never has and never will make me happy that Federer chokes against Nadal. It sucks. It’s annoying. It’s frustrating. I want to see Federer destroy Nadal. But he can’t. What bad day was Federer having in Hamburg in 08? He was so bad that he was up 5-1 40-15? He was so bad that he still managed to take the second set? That’s how bad of a day he was having? What about 06 Dubai? He was having a bad day while he was completely picking apart Nadal’s game in the first set? What about 06 Rome? Was he having a bad day when he had 2 match points in the fifth and an easy-for-Fed inside out forehand that he narrowly missed? All bad days, right? He was too tired to make the forehand, right? Here’s how surface matters: if it’s clay, Fed stands no chance, if it’s grass or hard, Federer can put up a fight.

Fed is Goat Says:

Sensational Safin,

Yes, you are right, Nadal is a better player than Federer. Of course, 6 slams is better than 15, right?

contador Says:

love saying nadal is the clay king…lol…and it’s true isn’t it?

yes, i would say federer’s record on grass makes him the best in this era, king of grass, regardless of nadal’s win in 2008.

all streaks come to an end sometime. and federer is the reigning king in this era on fast hard courts…..5 us opens, regardless of delpo winning 2009.

one slam win for delpo does not take away federer’s dominance in the event. consecutive streak was already a superhuman feat.

maybe rafa goes on to win 4 more wimbledons. maybe delpo goes on to win the us open 4 more times. records can always be broken.

it’s sad that you have such unrealistic expectations for federer, sensationalsafin.

he is not going to win every time. and he’s not even going to lose apparently as you wish him to…….you are being funny, right?

silly fans we are. federer achieves the extraordinary in his sport and it’s not enough. federer did enough during his peak years to hold number 1 for consecutive weeks longer than anyone. he did it not winning every match, but it’s not enough for you?. i think what he did is already superhuman.

can’t you be satisfied? LOL!

look, federer did battle a bad back, ankle injury….the usual pains, fatigue…and a bout with mono, perhaps from wearing himself down over those marathons from really 2003, when he ascended through 2007.

he is unlike anyone…..but that’s not enough for you?

when nadal reaches the heights to which federer has, then i will admit nadal is better. for now he is overall, 2nd best in this era on all surfaces not clay. on clay he is king ;-)

but…..i think we have seen nadal’s best streak. i’d never count him out for being in a grand slam final but if he gets there will he have enough fitness to win should he meet a younger fitter player? maybe once a year he wins a slam.

we really are a crazy lot to expect roger and rafa to keep on winning like they have. clearly, they both have vulnerabilities and in the eyes of their peers they are no longer invincible.

go delPo ( but i doubt he gets on a slam streak in 2010)

go nole! he’s due!

and murray looking for his first slam.

nalbandian will be back….yay!

would love to see haas finally win a slam…or tsonga….davy?

rafa is no longer invincible and neither is federer.

but….federer always stands a chance, if healthy, on any surface and rafa always stands a chance, if healthy, on clay, grass, slow hard court. less of a chance at us open…..muahahahahha

prove me wrong, rafa!

sensationalsafin Says:

You’re missing my point. Federer doesn’t have to win every match against anyone, or even Nadal. He doesn’t even need a winning record over Nadal. What he needs is not one but a few BIG wins over Nadal. He’s never really had that. He’s 2-6 against Nadal in slams. I don’t care that he’s 5-7 everywhere else. Look at that. 5-7!! That’s not bad at all. That’s better than 2-6 against Murray (outside slams, remember). But when it matters most, when both players are trying to define history, Federer falters more often than not, against Nadal that is. He’s got a winning record over Djokovic, Safin, and Del Potro, the only 3 other guys who have beaten him in slams since 04 (excluding Kuerten since the 2 didn’t play enough to really define a rivalry of any kind). But against Nadal? 2-6 in slams. 5-7 elsewhere, 2-6 in slams. If he was 4-4, that’d be great, even 3-5. But no, 2-6. Before 08, Nadal’s best year, 2-3. Still a losing record. You can blame the surface, but I blame the player.

sensationalsafin Says:

FIG, stop contradicting yourself. You mentioned how Wilander and McEnroe having 7 slams a piece doesn’t make them equal players. Why should Nadal having 6 slams vs Fed’s 15 make him worse? Especially considering Fed’s beaten Nadal only TWICE out of 15. Nadal has beaten Federer 6/6 times to win slams. That says a lot more than just the numbers. What happened to analyzing and not being superficial?

Gordo Says:

Gee sensationalsafin,

Maybe the problem is that tennis is not boxing, where the champ gets to wait and pick his challengers. If this were the case then Nadal would have beaten Fed and would have had the crown until somone else beat him.

In boxing the head to head is important, because in the title fight it is one boxer against another.

In tennis in a major it is one winner emerging out of 128 players. IMO, whoever does it consistantly is over the course of their career considered to be the best tennis player of his era.

To say that Nadal is better than Fed because he has a winning record in the head to head is somewhat ill thought out.

But we all know this story has yet to play itself out.

One year from the end of the 2010 US Open we will have 4 more slams played and the picture may be a bit clearer. Then again, Roger Federer and Rafa may never play each other again.

Only time will tell.

But you Fed bashers will, no matter how many streaks Fed has, no matter how many Slams he wins and no matter how many records he piles up will only concede (grudgingly) that Fed is better than Nadal ONLY if he catches and passes him in their head to head.

How perfect a world must look through blinders.

contador Says:

he had 2 massive wins over nadal at wimbledon and lost is a very close match when not at his best.

a win is a win, nonetheless, but give him a break!

he won twice on clay….the last encounter on record is federer over nadal 2009 in madrid…..that’s huge! i don’t care if nadal fans insist rafa was too tired, or the altitude adversly affects him, or his knees were on the fritz. a win is a win and if nadal was not fit he could have given a w/o

nadal has beaten roger on nadal’s preferred surface to win roland garos because federer was great enough to get to the final to even go up against nadal!!!

the same cannot be said for nadal on fast hard court! you are forgetting the 4th slam of the year. nadal has not been fit enough or prepared enough to even meet federer at flushing meadows so federer could whip his famous arse!!

i am not blaming the surface but you really are ignoring the obvious…..there are clay court specialists and those not able to even get close to nadal on clay who have won other gs finals: hewitt, safin, roddick….if you look as the who’s who of french open winners….there is clearly those who specialize in the dirt. and nadal is the best of them.

you can’t say federer falters more times than nadal and be serious….you been drinking that rafan koolaid?

you think it’s going to be easy for nadal to win the us open? nadal has already faltered in failing to defend roland garos, if you want to look at it that way. and failed to defend wimbledon. and the only grand slam he owns more than once is on clay. he only managed to hold #1….what, less than a year?

sensationalsafin Says:

Wtf??? I’m a Fed basher? When did this happen? I don’t think Nadal is a better player overall. I think Federer is legitimately the best player of all time when it comes to simply playing the game. But I think Nadal is tougher mentally and has too much game for Fed a lot of the time. I think the best way to put it is that Federer is the most accomplished player when compared to any era, but Nadal is the best player in this era.

sensationalsafin Says:

I never said anything about Nadal being tired in Madrid. I could care less. Like you said, a win is a win. I’m not giving Nadal any excuses for his losses and I’m not giving Federer any excuses for his losses. I don’t care if Nadal was playing with his right hand the same as I don’t care if Federer was playing with his left.

But here’s the thing, you’re right, Nadal is at fault for not making it far enough to face Federer. But what if he had? There’s absolutely 0 indication that if Nadal and Federer played more often on hard, then their h2h would be less lopsided. They are 3-3 on hard, 2-2 in non clay slams. They are even when they are not on clay. Nadal is better when they are on clay. Let’s take clay out of the equation completely. Let’s say they play each other 20 times all on hard or grass. What’s their h2h going to be? Based on their history, 10-10.

Gordo Says:

Yeah, and if my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle.

Two comments earlier, seperated by one sentence –

“I think Federer is legitimately the best player of all time when it comes to simply playing the game.”


“…Nadal is the best player in this era.”


contador Says:

dearest sensationalsafin:

nada has a huge gap in his resume against federer. nadal had been at his best from 2005-2008 and failed to make it to the us open final in those years when he had the opportunity. during those rafa best years federer was able to get to the clay grand slam and endured a 2005 semi final loss to nadal right? if i recall? 2006 federer made the fo final and lost to nadal 2007 same result. 2008, a total shalacking by nadal but guess what? even in federer’s worst year thus far, federer made it clear to the clay court gs final.

federer comes back and beats nadal on the grass at wimbledon in 2006 and 2007. federer should have choked in 2006 and 2007, if rafa’s spell over roger was all it’s cracked up to be!

in 2008, it was fed’s worst year and rafa’s best.. rafa should have made it to the final of the us open that year if he is so superior. fact is, he’s not.

federer did not win olympic singles gold. imo, federer was tired and give a hero a break already! perhaps rafa did too much in 2008 and lost an opportunity to win the us open. we will never know. all we know is what is on record.

so far, rafa has a big zero, when it comes to us open. really wish he would have made it to contest the win against federer in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008…..cos i believe the head to head would read way different! 13-11….which still gives rafa the edge on clay but rafa was not good enough on hard court, nor was he fit enough or prepared to even go up against federer at faderer’s best. and federer would have won at least 3 of those and likely 4.

but that is all speculative. nole was good enough in 2007. murray was good enough in 2008. i forget who was in 2005 and 2006 but it sure was not the king of clay for the era.

look at who won wimbledon in 2005, 2006, 2007. rafa was there 2 of those years and lost. he nearly lost in 2008. and you know my theory by now about that loss.

but…nadal got the w, barely.

it’s laughable to thinkk anyone but federer in this era so far, is best. if you go by who is your favorite–that is another story.

nadal could not even hold #1 for half the time. he may hold it again but does he have a realistic shot at the duration fed held it with djoko, murray and delpo pressing?

we can only guess at what would be. given the chance in the years they had it……rafa was not there but on clay for the most part, 3 times on grass and once on slow hard court after federer’s peak. be fair.

contador Says:

duro- lol!!

contador Says:

oops, i meant gordo not duro……lol!

Skorocel Says:

„But here’s the thing, you’re right, Nadal is at fault for not making it far enough to face Federer. But what if he had? There’s absolutely 0 indication that if Nadal and Federer played more often on hard, then their h2h would be less lopsided. They are 3-3 on hard, 2-2 in non clay slams. They are even when they are not on clay. Nadal is better when they are on clay. Let’s take clay out of the equation completely. Let’s say they play each other 20 times all on hard or grass. What’s their h2h going to be? Based on their history, 10-10.“

Completely agree, sensationalsafin!

Fed is Goat Says:


My comment was a sarcastic one, you didn’t get it?

Gordo Says:

But Skorocel,

why exactly is the H2H not numerous on non-clay Slams between Rafa and Fed?

Because Nadal was not good enough to make it to the final enough times.

Let’s examine the Nadal era, since he was ranked number 2 at the Grand Slam, non-clay events (since July 25, 2005). Forget before that because the Fed bashers would argue about the age difference. Well if Rafa is good enough to be ranked #2 in the world he can be in discussion for big boy tennis –


USO2005 / CHAMPION / R32
AUS2006 / CHAMPION / Did not play
USO2007 / CHAMPION / R16

Let’s look at the unarguable fact that speaks louder than anything else, and this includes ALL Grand Slam’s including on the red clay of Roland Garros –



Do we really need to argue this any further?

Joanne Says:

Wow – I was almost buying that the 2 were equal until I saw that last stat by Gordo. It’s not even close. Federer is obviously the better of the two the way the game is played at a tournament level. So what if Nadal’s record against Federer is close at the other three tournaments? You judge a winner by consistency and Federer is consitantly the guy you have to beat to win a slam. Nadal is not even 1/2 of that! Wow.

sensationalsafin Says:

Caps doesn’t strengthen your argument. I think everyone is completely overlooking why originally brought this up. Nadal’s results are clearly inferior to Federer’s. There’s no argument there, it’s a numerical fact. WHY HAS FEDERER STRUGGLED WITH THIS GUY SO MUCH? WHY HAS HE FAILED TO OVERCOME THIS CHALLENGE. He’s turned his h2h’s around against everyone who used to destroy him; Henman, Hewitt, Nalbandian, etc. Murray just recently started troubling Federer. But Federer and Nadal have played each other a RECORD NUMBER OF TIMES IN ONE YEAR, A RECORD NUMBER OF TIMES IN SLAMS. That’s more than enough matches to figure out an opponent. Yet Federer hasn’t done it. out of the 13 matches Nadal has won, 10 of those were streaks. He’s beaten Federer 5 times in a row TWICE. Federer’s longest streak against Nadal is 2, also TWICE. You keep talking about clay and hard and this and that. Nadal beat Federer on clay, grass, and hard in consecutive matches. So Federer is more consistent? Better yet, better at getting through matches even when he’s not playing well? Sure. But all that goes through the window when Nadal and Federer play each other. Federer can’t have an excuse for every loss he suffered to Nadal and we can’t assume that he’d have a winning record if the 2 played more often on hard and/or grass.

Fed is Goat Says:

Davydenko just said this about federer versus Nadal:

“Essentially Davydenko emphasised that Nadal, great player and competitor that he is, is emimently beatable whereas the Swiss is often untouchable”

Agassi said something similar about Federer versus Sampras – something like there’s no place to go with Federer, while Sampras was playable once you returned his serve.

Anyone on this board know more about tennis or about these players than Agassi or Davydenko?

If not, then their opinion is more reliable than anyone on this forum.

Of course, everyone can have whatever views they want – doesn’t mean they are right!

Anyone here have the credibility to dispute Davydenko or Agassi, about tennis and these players??????????

sensationalsafin Says:

I’m not even slightly surprised that Davydenko said that Nadal is beatable whereas Federer is untouchable. Davydenko is 3-4 against Nadal and like 0-12 against Federer.

And Agassi did not move much in his last few years so whenever he hit a shot to Federer, Federer could almost easily hit a winner. When Agassi played Sampras, Agassi was still moving very well so he could obviously do something once he returned the ball.

contador Says:

for crying out loud, sensationalsafin. really. if you can’t accept the fact that surface does matter, we are stuck here.

even at that, federer is no shrinking violet on clay, he made it to face rafa in 2005 at rolland garos semi, lost, came back in 2006, got to final, 2007, got to final 2008, got to final.

again, in those years nadal did not get to final at the next slam, which is wimbles in 2005 and on the heels of a defeat against nadal in 2006 and 2007 in the FO, roger did not wilt or falter or choke he beat rafa right after being defeated by rafa. in 2008 roger did not choke at wimbles but ran out of gas, his worst year aginst rafa’s best year. hardly a choke, mate!

in the same time period rafa’s most winning years 2005-2008, rafa was simply not good enough to make it to contest roger on fast hard court. big, big big hole in rafa’s resume!

from 2005-2008, at least federer made it to contest rafa on rafa’s special surface at the FO; and that is why there is the discrepancy between no. of clay court rafa wins to no. of hard fast court wins in their h2h.

federer is not the one making excuses ever. it is his fans who know his difficult year in 2008 and the return of back problems in late 2008 , early 2009.

nadal has his fittness issues late season and chronic knee injury and now abdominal injury issues.

those are the breaks. no one can play at their level without something ailing, injured.

if you can’t accept the huge elephant here, which is nadal’s lack of rising to the occasion in 2005-2008 in his best years to contest federer on hard court, pardon me but i think it is a bit of denial. surface matters and is an inescapable fact.

otherwise sampras would have won a french and on and on… …there are so many examples of those who can win 2 of the 4 grand slams or just a slam on the clay or all slams but the clay. it is such a well known fact about the difficulty of winning all 4 slams;it is all about the surfaces.

i give up on convincing you….lol….you are stuck on the hype rafans have been pushing : the choking theory, the h2h theory, probably the “not good enough competition theory”

the last one being another can of worms yet to be opened tonight…..i’ll pass..

basically rafans are desperate. nothing to be done about that until rafa wins some us opens or hangs onto number 1 longer than part of a year.

which is something to consider, sensationalsafin.

during 2005-2008, rafa was #2 in his best years. think if he had been good enough in 2005, 2006, 2007 to win the us open or something other than a gs on clay. he would have challenged federer for #1. but he could not.

by the time rafa had his best year, 2008, he burnt himself out for hanging on to #1 for even an entire year. he had help from roger getting to #1 too. roger’s own body broke down just enough to help rafa get an extra slam and take the #1.

and….i think you are just flat out wrong about federer not being able to beat nadal. sounds like your mind is totally closed to the reality of surfaces. nadal has not been good enough to even contest federer enough times in the hard court slams during rafa and rogers best years. thus the deficit in h2h,

federer was good enough and man enough to keep going at rafa and the FO year after year. he would brush off the loss with his characteristic mental toughness, turn around and win wimbles and the us open, though not winning some of the lesser hard court tournaments. brillant management, discipline, knowing when to rest, not perfect but better than any other chaampion in his era.

it’s not federer’s fault rafa did in his knees. not rafa’s fault federer’s immune system tanked and he got mono.

or maybe they could blame each other…lol..

federer outlasted nadal in the big picture and won the FO in 2009. will rafa be able to do the same and win a us open?

probably not. unless he can take a pass on winning a marathon slam or two, prepare for it and be more fit heading into late summer.

contador Says:

Gordo, i am impressed. your 8:10 pm post

could spell out more clearly, thanks.

however to fully understand, one must grasp how the surface makes a difference in tennis.

contador Says:

geez..i better

meant : Gordo, you could not have spelled it out more clearly than you have in your 8:10 pm post

i’m done for tonight.

sensationalsafin Says:

I actually think I made a pretty good argument as to why people are wrong when they say Federer had weak competition.

Federer didn’t run out of gas at Wimbledon in 08. I know people will jump all over me, but that last forehand he barely missed could easily have been because of bad lighting. I also don’t think that match was the greatest match ever because Federer wasn’t playing his very best, which Nadal was. Also, I never said Federer chokes every match he plays against Nadal. But he has choked a few. Except for maybe a set, Federer was never in control of any of the matches they played at RG, therefore there was no where he could choke, he simply lost to the better player. But when he blows 5-1 leads and match points and other things, what is that? Was he fatigued in 06 Dubai and Rome? Did he have mono and back problems? Nadal is beyond far from being one of the greatest hard court players. He’s done enough to bag a few big ones, but that’s about it. The problem is that he’s bagged his biggest hard court title by beating Federer. Wtf is the h2h theory? I’m not going by the h2h, I’m not going by any theories. I simply rewatched some of their matches on hard courts, Dubai and the AO this year. At the AO, Federer couldn’t get a first serve in to save his life. At Dubai, Federer played awesome, some of his best stuff, but lost. Dubai, unlike the AO, is a super fast hard court. Federer was the 2 or 3 time defending champ. Nadal had 1 clay slam to his name. I’m not talking about their h2h or their clay matches here, I’m talking about a fast hard court match they played in which Federer won more points but still lost overall. Why? Because he lost the big points. Why did he lose the big points? Please, Contador, tell me why Federer lost that match in Dubai.

You’re right, surface does matter, a lot. But, if I remember correctly, Nadal won the French-Wimbledon double BEFORE Federer. Oh and wait what’s this? He won on ALL 3 SURFACES BEFORE FEDERER. And on top of that, HE BEAT FEDERER ON ALL 3 SURFACES. Best year, worst year, what difference does it make? Oh but you say it does, so why did Federer lose to Nadal on a fast hard court during Federer’s VERY best year?

contador Says:

crikey! i was going to bed. but had to check.

i feel your angst about wimbles 2008. but you know my thoughts on that one: federer pure and simple, was not at his best in 2008 and rafa was.

and that fifth set at the ao o9? federer’s serve went. as a federer serve lover, i think i have caught on to how he serves when his back is out. watch his toss and watch the arch in his back. he could not serve, he did not choke.

a win is a win though. rafa got it. but sensationalsafin the australian is not like winning an end of season fast hard court. true, rafa has won 3 of the four but federer has done that a record breaking, mind-blowing 3 calendar years: 04, 06, 07!!

rafa has 1 grass, 1 slow hard court, and the rest clay, the only year he has managed to be fit enough to win more than 1 gs was 2008, his best year,

he has yet to create a plan for sparing his body and winning more than 1 slam a year without injuring knees or something.

i’m sure team rafa must be thinking of this fact if i am!

could be a problem winning on his worst surface–fast hard court, last slam of the year.

and it is not roger’s fault rafa did not make it to the FO final this year! i was looking forward to it. federer had more confidence having just beat rafa on clay in a 1000 series in madrid.

lol….i did not see their match in dubai but was it 2008? federer does not get to win every match in any year. it is impossible to be the fittest in every single match!

but i do know why he lost to del po at the us open. just like the ao09 fed was not the best that day, his first serves were going into net, the toss was too low, bending the knees but the back was stiff. and usually when the first serve is that comprimised, i notice his backhand is off too.

the problem in 2008 was more about endurance and being a step slow, thus his forehand was mishit and spraying, missing his mark. as witnessed during the fortnight at wimbles 08.

lol…the h2h theory is just that….what rafans like to throw up and say, “the h2h speaks for itself.”

hahaha….what it speaks is they play more on clay, and rafa is not good enough to meet roger at the us open.

there are 4 slams and the most difficult one for nadal will be us open, just as the most difficult one for federer was the FO.

cheers ss… brains are fried and i’m getting up early to see if i can stream some tennis!

this is all fun stuff. thanks

sensationalsafin Says:

I never said the h2h speaks for itself. The scores and numbers don’t tell half the story. I’m talking about the matches themselves. I’ve seen just about every match the 2 have played and that’s what I’m commenting on. The tennis, not the numbers.

About Fed’s serve and back. I don’t know if it’s always the back but when Fed’s serve isn’t clicking, it’s visible that there’s something odd about his motion. It loses it’s natural fluidity.

Also, I never said anything about Nadal winning the US Open. If he does it, then kudos to him but I think it’s getting tougher and tougher. Then again, who really though Fed was gonna win the French in 09 after failing the 4 previous years?

Long Live the King Says:


“I think Federer is legitimately the best player of all time when it comes to simply playing the game. But I think Nadal is tougher mentally and has too much game for Fed a lot of the time. ”

That’s a fair assessment of things, though it does not make nadal automatically the best player of his era because of how tennis tournaments are structured.

Between 2004-2007, Roger-Rafa head to head was 6-8 and of those 14, 7 were on clay, with rafa 6-1 and 7 were on non-clay with Roger holding a 5-2 record. However, as I pointed out in my earlier post, roger and rafa play around 19 tournaments a yr with 5 of them being on clay, so all things being same, for 7 matches played on clay, Roger and Rafa should have met atleast 19 times on non-clay during that period. Now, extending the 5-2 non-clay record, in 19 matches Roger should have won about 14 matches to Rafa’s 5. With this in mind, the Roger-Rafa H2H should have been 15-11 in Roger’s favor if Rafa was as good on non-clay as Roger was on clay.

And it really makes a difference that Rafa is 5 and a half yrs younger than Roger. It was one of the main reasons that Rafa was able to run away with the H2H in 2008 and make the 8-6 record 13-6 picking up a wimbledon and AO win during the process as well. If Rafa was same age or 5 yrs older than Roger would that have been possible? Another example is, can we make roger and sampras play now and take their H2H and slam sampras with it? (now let’s listen to you preach that 10yrs a lot of difference but not 5yrs!)

Also, even the 2-6 slams record you point out is 2-2 outside of clay, with Rafa getting those 2 wins, after an obvious dip in Roger’s play and a spike in Rafa’s play. What would happen if Roger and Rafa played 10 matches with Roger being the 2006 Roger and Rafa being the 2008 rafa at each of the 4 slams? We can only speculate.

Skorocel Says:

sensationalsafin: „At Dubai, Federer played awesome, some of his best stuff, but lost. Dubai, unlike the AO, is a super fast hard court. Federer was the 2 or 3 time defending champ. Nadal had 1 clay slam to his name.“

And remember Miami 2004! Nadal was a COMPLETE rookie at that time (virtually on any surface), without even one single tournament title to his name, yet he handed Federer one of his worst defeats since becoming the No 1… What was that? A sunstroke? LOL :-)

Skorocel Says:

contador said: „what it speaks is they play more on clay, and rafa is not good enough to meet roger at the us open.“

OK, but what if Nadal eventually beats Federer at the USO, and thus becomes the first player to defeat the supposed GOAT in EACH of the 4 grandslams?! What would you say then? Bad back? Age difference? LOL :-)

„and that fifth set at the ao o9? federer’s serve went. as a federer serve lover, i think i have caught on to how he serves when his back is out. watch his toss and watch the arch in his back. he could not serve, he did not choke.“

LOL :-) I guess you should stick to cycling, mate!

Fed is Goat Says:

Nadal is 17-5 on hard courts, no titles, some pretty humiliating defeats, since the hard court season started.

Now, if he is such a great player, why the continuously miserable performance (by his standards)? He has often said over the last few weeks that he is perfectly fit. Then why did he lose in straights to Cilic, and then in straights to a tired Davydenko, someone Federer has a 12-0 record against?

Why exactly has he always had a miserable end to the year, and no year end championship (not even a final!). Why? If he is such a great hard court player, why is he so miserable after wimbledon, every single year? And why no US open final till now?

And BTW, why are 80% of his titles still on clay?

Now let the excuses begin, from the Nadal side….

Fed is Goat Says:

And BTW, as for Nadal’s supposed davis cup record – first, its not that great. Second, its again a clay thing – not much action on hard courts.

Yes, he is one of the greatest clay courters ever. But that’s it…..

As for wimbledon, it has slowed down so much over the last 10 years (different grass, heavier balls), that is plays slower than a clay court. So he has had some success there.

sensationalsafin Says:

…He lost to players who played really well and were able to dictate play without getting into really long and grueling rallies.

80% of his titles are on clay because he is the greatest clay courter of all time and he’s a lot better on clay than other surfaces.

I never said he was a super great hard court player, my point is that he’s NOT a super great hard court player whereas Federer IS a super great hard court player yet Nadal can still beat Federer on hard courts.

What excuses need to be made here? Cilic played well, Davydenko played well, Del Potro and Djokovic played well. Are you talking about just the summer hard court season because does have Australian Open and Indian Wells titles from this year. And if you can’t accept that Nadal is still pretty far from his best, then you’re not a real tennis fan. I’d be lying if I said I’m not glad at the number of losses Nadal has been dealt recently but it’s not like he was playing his best tennis and still lost. He’s far from top form.

And why do you have to attack his Davis Cup record? He could have 5 wins to Federer’s 500 but it’d still be better since he’s been on the winning team at least once (2004, beat Roddick and Fish?). Who cares if it’s a clay thing? Davis Cup is Davis Cup. Roddick’s got some good wins on clay in DC. Sampras won DC on clay. Listen, stop nitpicking Nadal just because he’s beaten Federer a few too many times. Give credit where credit is due.

Long Live the King makes a good point. Even though the 2 are currently 2-2 in non clay slams, Federer was 2-0 before 08. Ignoring the mono and back excuses for Federer, there’s no denying that Nadal was a lot better in 08 than previous years. If you assume Federer was equal in the 07 and 08 Wimbledon finals, that’s perfectly fine but no one can say Nadal was equal. He was clearly much better in 08 overall, including at Wimbledon.

Federer had won Wimbledon 6 of the last 7 years and was in the final the one time he didn’t win. If Wimbledon has been slowed down for 10 years now, that means Fed’s been winning on slow Wimbledon. He also beat Nadal twice at Wimbledon. How is Wimbledon being slowed down an argument for Nadal and not for Fed?

You can’t be JUST a great clay courter and win Wimbledon AND the Austrlian Open. Those are 3 different surfaces no matter how similar. And according to you, surface matters, therefore Nadal is one of the greatest players overall.

All champions have trouble facing a new name. Sampras always said he had a lot of trouble playing people for the first time. So Nadal was young and ambitious and got a good win over Federer when they first played. Fine. So did Gasquet and Berdych. Since then, how many times have either of them beaten Federer? Whereas Nadal has practically made Federer his b*tch. Maybe now that Federer’s older, age matters. But Federer and Nadal played 11 times in 06 and 07. Nadal was 6-5 in those years. 1-4 outside clay. Not too bad considering the circumstances. But if he could win one match on clay and have match points in another, there’s no reason he couldn’t have won more matches on clay. And Federer wasn’t old. He was in his peak years (25, 26). Nadal being younger didn’t give him some sort of incredible edge.

i am it Says:

i don’t usually get into fed-rafa comparison because i think primarily it is pointless to assess one player by comparing his losses or wins against another player. Why?

(1) it ignores the depth of field. you don’t play tennis to beat one guy but to win tournaments with 32-128 men draws. you have to beat 5-7 of the best players in each event on a consistent basis.

(2) Head to head comparison stinks with pre-Open Era when there would be almost exclusively 2-Men tours of 100 matches or so, often played on single surface, Indoor, thus it was easier to decide the pro GOAT based on wins and losses at the end of their careers.

Now recall what happened to the so-called professionals, those so attuned to play 2-Men H2H tours, when they entered 1st Open Era Us Open of 1968, which had the record depth of 148 players. All of the professional players tumbled before the quarters ( Seed No. 1 Rod Laver, Seed No. 2 Tony Roche, and Roy Emerson in the 4th Rd; Poncho Gonzalez and Newcombe in the quarters) except Rosewall who lost in the semi to a Dutch amateur Tom Okker, the best result). And who won the title? Arthur Ashe, who, as an amateur, had been attuned to the depth of field.

(3) you are denying the new dynamics of Open Era.
what does this mean? A champion is decided on the basis of a player’s record against the entire field, i.e. his wins against best of the best in a given week and tournament, in 52-week calendar year that is comprised of 66 tournaments, out of which you play 18 against 32-128 best players of the world.

(4) you are denying the fact that tennis is evolving every day into all hard court (2 Grand Slams, 6 out of 8 mandatory Masters, 6 out of 9 500-series, and YEC, are played on hard/ Indoor).
Weight wise, that carries more than 65%.

(5) you are reducing tennis to 2-Men show business, which it is not.

(6) Head to head record does not earn any extra points toward ranking or title, except in imaginary math, which is as unresolvable as the GOAT.

(7) it has been so repetitive that there is nothing new info to add, almost redundantly affixed to one’s preferences. i like recycling, but the discussion lacks reconfiguration and re-dramatization, thus tasteless to me. sorry !

i am it Says:

For info on head-to-head Pro Tours, visit

If you like, it’s worth re-visiting the 1st Open Era ’68 US Open and try to get a glimpse into the depth of field vs. 2-Men Pro Tours.

i am it Says:

A snapshot of Pro Tour, particularly The Tilden Group, The Vines Group, and Japan Tour.

Jack Kramer’s h2h Pro Tours.

Vulcan Says:

i am it Says:

Keep in mind, he has DC points and has already decided to play the DC final, from which he is almost certain to gain some points (220).

IAI, can you explain how you came up with 220 potential points on the line for Nadal with Davis Cup?…according to the Davis Cup website each match is 75 points for a total of 150 possible.
Is the 220 based on Nadal playing doubles also?
The reason I ask is because this figure appears to make a huge impact in Nadal’s chances for regaining No.1.

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