And Then There Were Four: Rafael Nadal Seeks to Restore Order in 2010

by Dan Martin | June 3rd, 2010, 12:16 pm

Cinderella Man?

Jurgen Melzer is the oldest and shortest player in the mix and seems to have at best a Cinderella story chance at taking the crown. Melzer is left handed and this could be a bit of an equalizer against Rafael Nadal, but Melzer is the least likely to claim the crown. Rafael Nadal may not be as bellicose as Jimmy Connors, but he is every bit the killer on court that Jimbo was. This match is lopsided on paper. Perhaps Melzer can hand the chair umpire a stopwatch at the beginning of the match in hopes of unnerving Nadal and forcing Rafa to play more quickly than he would like. Still, Melzer will likely be able to smile about his semifinal finish. It is good that he can draw joy from this as he will likely not be able to enjoy a playing on Sunday. ADHEREL

Nadal versus Chaos on Tour

The 2010 season has been marked by inconsistent play from most of the 2009 season’s top players. Nikolay Davydenko and Juan Martin del Potro get a pass due to injuries. Roger Federer and Andy Murray may have drank too much Australian beer, for different reasons, after the Australian Open ended. Each man has played most of 2010 with a hangover. Andy Roddick has had a nice 2010, but he took a leave of absence during the clay court season. Novak Djokovic has been to the quarterfinals or further at each of the past four Grand Slam events, but seems to be a player in need of direction and confidence. To be fair, Fernando Verdasco, David Ferrer, Ernests Gulbis, Thomas Berdych and Marin Cilic have all had some highlights in 2010 prior to the French Open, but Verdasco was the only one of these players to finish 2009 among the top 10.

The one major exception seems to be Rafael Nadal who has been a model of consistency in 2010. Nadal played well at Qatar, the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami. Rafa has been back to his usual dominant self on clay. This leaves him poised to reclaim the #1 ranking and leave a big rankings gap for the rest of the tour to chase. Nadal can be a sheriff and restore order to a tour that has been disorderly since January.

The Open Effect?

Andre Agassi praised Thomas Berdych’s talent while questioning his maturity in describing their 2005 U.S. Open match. Marcos Baghdatis seemed to draw inspiration from Andre Agassi’s Open. Baghdatis has had improved results in 2010. Berdych has had even more dramatic growth in 2010. He has laid waste to his quarter of the draw in a manner that would make even Godzilla envious. His French Open results combined with his strong showing in Miami make Berdych a player of note once again. My take on Berdych at the close of 2009 was he was a dangerous floater, but a player who lacked the toughness needed to ever contend for tennis’ top prizes. His losses to Nadal at Wimbledon 2007, Roddick at U.S. Open 2007 and Federer at Australian Open 2009 solidified this reputation in my mind. Berdych has a chance to prove everyone wrong and be the player that drove Nadal crazy in 2006 and knocked Federer out of the Olympics in 2004.

Soderling’s Time?

Robin Soderling played ruthless power tennis in the final three sets against Roger Federer. He also held his nerve not to drop serve early in the second set and to save a set point in the third set. The confidence he needed to beat a man who eliminated him from contention at the 2009 French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open is a sign that Soderling is for real. The heavy conditions in Paris during most of this event have to remind Soderling of home. If conditions remain heavy and he finds a way past the red hot Berdych, Soderling will set up an epic rematch that he can win. Soderling winning might add some chaos to the tour, but maybe the dual monarchy that has reigned since 2005 needs to be broken before a new order can emerge.

My Pick – Soderling

My head says Nadal is the odds on favorite to win this event. I have thought this since Monte Carlo ended. However, Soderling may be able to back up last year’s results. Soderling has the tougher semifinal match, conditions may cease to be heavy and Nadal is the favorite regardless of how heavy things are. Still, my gut over rules my head and says Soderling completes a remarkable 54 week transformation from talented also ran to top 10 player to Grand Slam champion.

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74 Comments for And Then There Were Four: Rafael Nadal Seeks to Restore Order in 2010

zola Says:

ooooh Dan!
I hope you are wrong with your pick! I hope Rafa can win his SF and the final.

As you said, he has been THE consistent player all year. This is just the reward for his hard work.

Soderling played an excellent match against Federer and I don’t know if Rafa can handle his power. But I certainly hope he can find a way.

Or better, I can hope that Berdych can find a way to win Soderling tomorrow! Go Berdych!

Dan Martin Says:

I probably have Sean’s effect and Soderling will lose 6-0, 6-1, 6-0 to Berdych.

JCZ Says:

Come on Zola. Don’t you want to see Nadal and Soderling go at it on Sunday. It’d be a great show, and I bet a lot of people would tune in to see if Nadal can avenge his defeat last year. It’d be one heck of a match.

its all abt da game Says:

well, this will be like last year..
a sod gonzo sf type, where sod won, but was a spent force when final started..
this match will be a 3 hr+, minimum 4 set slugfest..
and the winner will have low chance against a fit rafa, who will finish his match against rafa in 2 hrs or thereabout….

its all abt da game Says:

*his match against melzer..

Skeezerweezer Says:

Rafa vs Melzner. Straight sets.

Dan Martin Says:

Fed went 5 sets in the semis last year as well, but I doubt Melzer draws blood on Rafa

Colin Says:

What strange people some of you are! Rafa the most consistent player? Does that include having to retire in a slam (when did he last do that?) and having to skip the Barcelona event which obviously means a lot to him? The clay season will soon be over, and those knees will be back on less forgiving surfaces. For the thousandth time – he’s a human being, not a cyborg, and he’s wearing out. In previous years we’ve got used to him being jaded by season’s end. Why should 2010 be better, or different? Time travels one way only, you know.

Dan Martin Says:

Colin true enough that Rafa is unlikely to dominate the non-clay court portion of the tour, but Rafa will likely have 5000 clay court points alone in 2010. No one else is close. Roger in years past might pick up runner-up finishes at multiple Masters series events and pick up runner-up points in Paris. 5000 already banked prior to Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the remaining big events is going to make catching him hard.

Voicemale1 Says:

Why Soderling? To have him getting by Berdych might well be a tough ask. Looking at the Soderling-Federer match it became clear that Soderling’s huge cuts off both sides, especially the Forehand, are favored on clay when slower conditions make the ball itself heavier. They were playing in actual rain, so the ball wasn’t only picking up the clay on the court, but a lot of moisture along with it. Soderling has more MPH on his shots than Federer, and you could see the advantage he was getting. Federer’s shots were landing shorter and shorter as the match went on, while the added weight of clay and water on the ball were helping to keep the Soderling shots deep, whereas on a drier faster day many of them would have flown long or wide. Which, incidentally, is what happened often to Soderling in his SF last year here against Gonzales – which also went 5 Sets. Soderling’s run here has been helped by the overcast conditions to be sure – he has enough to hit through the slow court and heavy ball. His run here has also been something of a mystery, given his clay results this season have been mediocre overall, to say the least. He got to the Final in Barcelona losing to Verdasco. That was good. But then he lost his opening match in two other clay events (in Madrid to Almagro & in Nice to Rochus); also he lost his second match in Rome to Warwrinka. So in his last three clay tournaments he’s won 1 single match. Yet he manages to blow through the top half of the draw here like nobody’s business. Go figure.

Berdych has the same serve & forehand as Gonzales, but the Czech has a better backhand. And lest we forget, Berdych also claimed the Federer scalp this year – in Miami when he stared down Match Point successfully and sent Roger home. And unlike last year and unlike his QF, Soderling was the underdog vs. both Nadal & Federer. He’ll have to carry the weight of the expectation to win in this one. Foolish to discard Berdych so easily, especially since he beat Soderling when they last met in Miami a couple of months ago.

And it’s understandable Dan would pull for Soderling (or anyone else) to win it all at Nadal’s expense, being the huge Federer fan that he is. We all know if Nadal wins it, Federer gets relegated to #2 on Monday, 1 week short of breaking the Sampras record of 286 weeks at #1. The crazy thing so far from Nadal at this event is that he hasn’t been playing his level best, yet he still hasn’t dropped a set here. It’s as though he’s learning how to play only at optimum when he has to – playing to the Death on the important points instead of every point. Such as in the two Tie Breaks against Almagro yesterday. I suspect if Soderling meets Nadal here in the Final he’s going to find a very different Nadal than he did a year ago. Instead of the hobbled Nadal in the 4th Round of last year, he’s likely to meet a very hungry Nadal this time – much like the Nadal Soderling met in Abu Dhabi this year, who sent the Swede home in straight sets. And that was on a hard court.

blah Says:

like the nadal who got beat in the yec by soderling? stop discrediting his wins.

Fot Says:

Just as Roger had a hugh lead in the rankings and Nadal and take over if he wins the French, Roger still would have a chance to catch Nadal before the end of the year to have that additional ‘week’ that he needs to break Pete’s record. I say that because historically Rafa hasn’t done that well after the US Open and surely not well at the year end. So no matter how many points Rafa accumulates during the summer, there is still a chance. Look at how 4,000+ points went away for Rafa to take over #1 and that was only in about a couple of months.

I’m not saying Roger has to finish the year #1. I just want him to get to #1 again for 2 weeks to break Pete’s record.

zola Says:

I would love to see Rafa beat Soderling in the final. But my heart may not stand the test!

Always a pleasure to read your posts. Great analysis. I too think Rafa is healthier and plays better now. But Soderling has the power and the two-handed backhand. Rafa needs to run a lot. I don’t want him to win this and get sidetracked by his knee later on.

andrea Says:

it is odd that sod (ha ha made a rhyme) hasn’t had great clay court efforts and is now on a tear again here at the FO.

i’d prefer to see him play rafa in the final…if they both make it. i think berdych would be overwhelmed by the occassion. sod lost last year and wants like stink to get another shot.

Dan Martin Says:

I compared Berdych’s run to Godzilla and called him red hot. I don’t think I am selling him short. TB could very well be in the final, and Berdych would have a chance to win if he gets there. I would be pleased to see Rafa win if it happens. I think Soderling or Berdych will have a chance, but either is the underdog versus Rafa. If I pick Rafa then my take is the same as 99% of the tennis writers out there. Maybe I am just being contrary.

I am not sure how close the points would be if Rafa wins this event, but he may very well skip Queens as his calendar to this point precludes back-to-back events minus Miami and Indian Wells’ odd scheduling. If Federer won Halle and added 500 points would he be able to break the record before Wimbledon? Anyway, I think Rafa will likely win and be a deserving #1. If Federer is stuck at 285 weeks forever so be it.

Fot Says:

Dan, someone said that even if Roger won Halle it wouldn’t change his point total because he’s already counted 2 250 tournaments? I’m not sure how that works. But like you said, if he stays at 285 then so be it. That’s still a fantastic record. It’s just that no player (other than Roger) have had the consistency throughout the year to STAY at #1. It’s hard staying at the top and I still expect the top players to change here and there. When Rafa takes over #1, I don’t think he’ll be able to stay there consistently for 3-4-5 years so there is still a chance to leaf-frog back and forth throughout the years.

Just my take.

Voicemale1 Says:

Federer has earned the #1 position, and it would be a shame if he lost it short of breaking record that looked like it would never be broken. He’s already recovered the #1 Ranking after losing it once. He could do it again. But it might not be this year, since he still has a lot of points to defend at Wimbledon, Cincinnati and the US Open. That said, his task could well be easier, now the Djokovic has pretty much exhausted his endless opportunities to get to #1; Murray would have to inherit it rather than take it; and who knows how or in what condition Del Potro will return? And Nadal always runs the risk of having some physical issue sideline him to whatever extent. Federer could regain #1 by this time next year.

funches Says:

Soderling and Djokovic did not go all-out in the lead-up clay events because they wanted to be 100 percent for Roland Garros.

It backfired on Djokovic when he blew his two-set and a break lead to Melzer – one of the strangest results in a long time since Melzer never had come back from two sets down and the Djoker never had lost a two-set lead.

It has worked perfectly for Soderling. He knew he could win the French Open after his run last year, so he saved his energy in the last month. He also ran into an an unbelievable hot Almagro in Madrid. Both of them looked like they could make a deep run in Paris during that match.

Polo Says:

Federer usually does better after the clay court season while Nadal tends to deflate. If that trend continues this year, Federer may still get the extra weeks to at least equal Sampras record at most week as number one. Federer has plenty of time to do it from the end of until the beginning of the clay season. If it does not happen, Federer still has the more important record of all, the most grand slam titles.

zola Says:


Even if Federer loses the #1 this week and stays one week short of Sampras’s record (and this has not yet happened!), he will only need a couple of weeks to break that record and that is not something impossible. I think he can do it.

montecarlo Says:

If Nadal picks up Number 1 ranking this sunday he is guaranteed sticking there till atleast Monte Carlo next year. He is defending zero titles before that and only few Runner up points.

Ben Pronin Says:

Is it really such a big deal if Sampras keeps one incredible record?

Polo Says:

No. This was something started by the media.

Polo Says:

And it Federer beats Sampras record, the media will think of another one…like most matches won, most sets won, most aces served, most first serves in, etc. etc. It will never end.

zola Says:

And it Federer beats Sampras record, the media will think of another one…like most matches won, most sets won, most aces served, most first serves in, etc. etc. It will never end.

Exactly! There is no rest for the man! The more he accomplishes the more he is expected to do!

Dari Says:

Man oh, man, am I looking forward to the T-Bird/Soderling match!
And then the next one after that!
I’m not worried one bit about the number one business right now.
This year aside, I think Roger can get two more weeks at number one before his career is over, no sweat. I just want him to assert his dominance on glass and us hardcourt again, seven wimbledon titles would be nice.

Ben Pronin Says:

I feel like these conceptions are hugely disrespecting Sampras. If not for Sampras, Federer wouldn’t even know to break half the records he’s broken. Sampras set a real precedent in seeking out these gargantuan records to break. And Sampras dedicated himself so much to the sport and it’s not like he doesn’t deserve what he owns. If Federer does break the number 1 record, then that’d be great. But if he doesn’t, that wouldn’t be too bad either.

Dari Says:

“If Federer does break the number 1 record, then that’d be great. But if he doesn’t, that wouldn’t be too bad either”
Yeah, i don’t wanna disrespect Pete, that’s for sure. I think this is prob the thought process the *players* would have, its the media and the fans who are more obsessive.
This helps me move one, won’t sweat the weeks at No. 1 no more!

Dan Martin Says:

I think if the French Open last year did not put the Sampras-Federer debate to rest then Wimbledon 2009 should have and if that did not then Australia 2010 should have and if that did not 1 or 2 weeks at #1 won’t either. 16-14 > 286-285

Dan Martin Says:

I also agree with what Ben is saying. Sampras was a beast. Attaining #1 in tennis is a tough task. They started the antecedent to the current 52 week system in 1973 I think and in that time Pete, Roger, Ivan and Jimmy spent over 21 combined years ranked #1. If you throw in Mac, Borg, Andre, Hewitt, Rafa and Edberg that takes up almost all of the weeks anyone has spent ranked #1.

Huh Says:

If you guys think Rafa can’t repeat the FO-WIM winning performance this year, then you’ve every right to think that way. What you like to think is your prerogative, none can take it away. But you should keep your thoughts to yourself, not come out and declare it with some strange kinda belief. Why do you exactly say that Rafa’s unlikely to dominate/edge others for the rest of this year? You guys can see future? Why do you think Rafa’d find it difficult to do well at WIM is beyond me! He’s won it beating Federerl so why can’t he do it again? Past experience/history and also present occurences point to Rafa’s FO victory. Though most guys here are so sure of Rafa’s fear of Sod(WTF!) or are betting on Sod defeating Rafa may be proved miserably wrong id the contrary happens, so don’t venture too much into the unknown. Wisdom says Rafa’s the prohibitive fave to win FO and I would take the least risk of betting my money on Rafa’s victory rather than on anyone else’s here. And suppose Rafa wins the FO in thumping fashion, his confidence will sky-rocket, and add to that his born talent to do well on grass courts, he can be pretty frightening at WIM and has certainly the best chance to win WIM. Fed, Rafa and Rod are still the three most dangerous on grass, mind you. And I see most of you’re calling Fed as the fave at WIM, he probably’s, but history seems not to be with him this time. I feel he’d find it very difficult to even reach the final considering he’s reached the final for 7 straight years! Fed’s chances of reaching the final for the 8th straight are bleak IMHO. All this points to only one thong and that’s Rafa having another great year like 2008 or even better. And this time there’s not even JMDP at USO, this would certainly help Rafa and he has chances in this case to even win the USO. Hence, as much as u think that Rafa’s unlikely to dominate/’prevail more than others’ in the remaining part of the year, I have to beg to differ here a little bit, if not more.

Huh Says:

“All this points to only one thong and that’s Rafa having another great year like 2008 or even better.”

Sorry guys, the above sentence of mine in my 3.59 pm post must be read as:

“All this points to only one thing and that’s Rafa might have another great year like 2008 or even better.”

Dan Martin Says:

Rafa could make a huge run. I think he has already had a pretty strong year and if he wins the clay slam of all 3 1000 events and the French Open then it is a great year before even getting to grass or hard courts.

Huh Says:


I also think so far Rafa has done really well in this year sweeping all the clay MSs and also going deep in other tournaments. Only Fed could be argued to have done better than Rafa since he’s won the AO at the beginning. But Rafa’s shown much more consistency than Fed through most part of this year, upto now. He deserves to be lauded.

Fot Says:

Huh…we all are just ‘thinking’ what might or might not happen. None of us can see what the future holds. We sure didn’t see Nadal going 10 months without a title last year/early this year! We didn’t see Roger going without a title since the AO after what he did at the AO! But we can base how we think they will do based on history. If we didn’t share our ‘beliefs’, then we wouldn’t have a ‘forum’ as we would have nothing to talk about! lol! Don’t take what we say as ‘truth’…it’s just ‘our opinion’. Just for discussion.

Zola, personally I do hope Roger breaks the record. And yes, I wouldn’t have really known what the record was until he got close to breaking it. But records are meant to be broken. When Pete retired, a lot of ‘experts’ said that 14 slam record would probably be untouchable. We see how long that lasted. It’s just something for the fans and media to do.

One thing for you Nadal fans that Roger said in his interview when asked if he would be rooting for someone to knock Nadal out so he (Roger) could get the record. He said he wouldn’t be doing that because the best player should win the title, and that the best player is Nadal.

(Now that kind of thinking isn’t what I am doing! lol)! Also I read that Roger got a standing ovation when he came to the ITF dinner last night. People were eating and when he came in unannounced (after losing earlier that day), everyone, (it wasn’t planned)… but everyone stopped eating and started standing and clapping for him. He’s a very likeable guy. Too bad a lot of other fans can’t really see it.

My predictions tomorrow:
Soderling in 3 or 4
Nadal in 3

Huh Says:


You have been providing some of the most fabulous articles for a day or two. Thank for that and Kudos!

Huh Says:

“Soderling played an excellent match against Federer and I don’t know if Rafa can handle his power. But I certainly hope he can find a way.

Or better, I can hope that Berdych can find a way to win Soderling tomorrow! Go Berdych!”

So much for Nadal’s love for challenges!

Huh Says:

“I suspect if Soderling meets Nadal here in the Final he’s going to find a very different Nadal than he did a year ago. Instead of the hobbled Nadal in the 4th Round of last year, he’s likely to meet a very hungry Nadal this time – much like the Nadal Soderling met in Abu Dhabi this year, who sent the Swede home in straight sets. And that was on a hard court.”

You said it well indeed.

dangerouspaul Says:

yeah nadal is the best nadal is unbeatable ..why playing when he is so gooddd.
and we all know that if he loses tomorrow or on sunday, it’s because he ate some bad ham and eggs in the morning..or his ankle or little finger got twisted during morning shower..but cuz he is the best and most consistent player of the universe we should all lean back and enjoy his greatness before he crashes back down to earth…shot down by a missile named soederling( only because i am eager to hear his excuses afterwards)

Huh Says:

“Polo Says:
And it Federer beats Sampras record, the media will think of another one…like most matches won, most sets won, most aces served, most first serves in, etc. etc. It will never end.”

Ya nailed it!

dangerouspaul Says:

and by the way nadal is not in the same form he was in 2008 where he won against federer in the best final could have gone either way…so the natural favourite will always be federer in wimbledon. he didn’t play badly this years french open so theres no need to question his status at wimby ..whoever wants to win this he has to take out federer not nadal. it’s a different story in RG i must admit

Huh Says:

“Ben Pronin Says:
I feel like these conceptions are hugely disrespecting Sampras. If not for Sampras, Federer wouldn’t even know to break half the records he’s broken. Sampras set a real precedent in seeking out these gargantuan records to break. And Sampras dedicated himself so much to the sport and it’s not like he doesn’t deserve what he owns. If Federer does break the number 1 record, then that’d be great. But if he doesn’t, that wouldn’t be too bad either.”

Could not agree more and it’s a shame that many people over here are ready to go to any extent to discredit the Legendary Sampras just to make Fed look better. Exactly, Sampras was sick, his records unthinkable at that time. Only after Pete set those superhuman records, was Fed able to be inspired and produce what he has done!



Huh Says:

One more thing: irrespective of what records Fed conjures up, Sampras’s place in tennis history is assured. :)

Huh Says:

2008 WIM may have been the best/close to best final in terms of emotions/things at stake, but in terms of tennis quality it was worse than even AO 09, let alone the best final ever! Fed was not able to hit more than a couple or something of decent BHs in that match, so bad was his form! And Fed vs Safin AO 05 match was certainly much better than Wim 08 in terms of shot-making and artistry.

dangerouspaul Says:

i know people who are against federer because he breaks sampras records…sampras will always be a legend and one of the best ever ..his records are being broken by a guy who deeply admires sampras and mentions him always as biggest influence along with edberg and bum bum becker. if sampras keeps this record it would only show how tough it was to achieve it and for others to break

Andrew Miller Says:

If the women’s final features Sam Stosur and F. Schiavone, certainly the men’s final could be similarly surprising.

Crazy French Open this year! Never in a million years.

Andrew Miller Says:

Or perhaps it is the return of the French Open’s true spirit…the one that saw folks like Gaston Gaudio and Iva Majoli hoist trophies!

skeezerweezer Says:


It’s true what you say about Sampras. When his career was over I thought his records wouldn’t be touched for decades. Sampras blew through the next bar…..setting a new high. Way high :)

zola Says:

I have no objection to Federer’s run at the records.It is perhaps what keeps these guys motivated. To be the best of the best. However, as a RAfa fan, I would like to see him get over all the difficulties of the past 11 months, get the FO title and be number 1.

Thanks for the quote from Roger. Here are some words from Rafa’s interview on Saturday:

Q. I have a different question for you. Everyone in tennis loves Roger, respects Roger. He is said to be the best of all time. Yet two out of every three times you play him, you win. You’ve won six of the last seven times. Who’s a better player?

RAFAEL NADAL: You like this. You are focused on the Roger thing, eh? (laughter.)
Yesterday with the clay. Today with the if somebody says I am better than Roger, I think this person don’t know nothing about tennis. That’s my answer.

Q. How so?

Q. Yeah.
RAFAEL NADAL: So you don’t know nothing about tennis.
You see the titles of him and you see the titles of me? It’s no comparison. So that’s the answer. Is difficult to compare Roger with me now, because he has 16 Grand Slams; I have 6. Masters 1000, yeah, I have more than him. But for the rest of the things the records of Roger is very, very almost impossible to improve.

I don’t think talking about he resords is a discredit to Sampras. On the contrary, it just reminds people who set the bar for excellence.

zola Says:

Andrew Miller,

If the women’s final features Sam Stosur and F. Schiavone, certainly the men’s final could be similarly surprising.

WTA is a different story to the men’s tour. It is almost boring to watch. I think having number 7 and number ??(28?) in the final is a very very remote possibility in a men’s major.

Don Mann Says:

I can’t believe there are some people who are worried about Roger not being able to break Pete’s No. 1 record. Roger is not even worried about it. He is just 28. He will win more grand slams, he will become No.1 for sure. He would rather win more slams than being at No.1. Don’t be silly.

Don Mann Says:

Everyone seems to forget how Rafa can play well on grass. If he gets past the big hitters in early rounds, he will have a pretty good chance of winning the title. Roger, Rafa and Roddick will be the favorites for Wimby.

aleish17 Says:

hi zola!

just wondering if you have the link on Nadal’s interview in your 6:50 post? I would really love to watch it. I really like watching interviews of Nadal and Federer that shows how they respect each other eventhough they are rivals in the tennis courts.

thark Says:

borg was correct in predicting that soderling is a future number 1 – not because “he can hit through the ball in wet conditions on clay” but because he is mentally in the right place. he is totally present when he plays and his self belief is increasing by the day. although his results have been inconsistent, the trend has been upward and will continue to be so. i agree that this year’s nadal is not the same as the one soderling knocked out last year, but robin has been sharpening his tools as well…

here’s hoping they face off in the final – it will be a great one no matter who wins – GO SODA!!!

KillerC Says:

Im not a big clay fan. but I’d say i agree with most of yall. it will be a sod vs rafa championship fight!

Sod can play mind games w/rafa look back @ wimby a couple of years ago.. they don’t get along i suppose, should be interesting.

If sod can keep on fire and hit the ball hard it might wear on rafa. but i see nadal really wanting to win this F.O. to make up for last yrs goofing off. Rafa champ in 4 or 5.

Roddick might make another run, I just got that feeling. it might be his year finally.
than again if they slow the courts anymore, rafa might have it again.

KillerC Says:

Alright, I noticed the sampras bashing. I gotta say shame on whoever thinks this guy is not among the greats or greatest.

for one federer bloomed when tennis was in the deadzone period, most the greats of the 90s were retiring or @ the twilight of their careers. Sampras DID have more nemesis! Your blind to think djokovic compare to the likes of a guga on clay, courier, agassi.
Rafa was still wet behind the ears 6 yrs back and still managed to hold off fed from winning french til last yr, when rafa had drama yr. b4 its all said and done, that dood might have the gs record. if he wins a USO it would cement his greatness.

Id still pick a 90’s era SAMPRAS over fed in his prime, on a quick surface or hardcourt and same racquets. Sampras has the better serve, smash and net skills.
Than again if we really wanted to get technical i’d pick laver in his prime over both of them, if they all had to play with wooden racquets. :P

Skeezerweezer Says:


Tx for the interview post . Rafa is always a class guy when interviewed. Well said Rafa! :)

Dan Martin Says:

Some guy wrote something about Federer needing Sampras to show that a great player could win more than 8 – 11 slams

skeezerweezer Says:


Who is this crazy person. How dare they write that, LOL. I thought you were giving me a link to some duche bag, not THE Dan Martin. Ha!

BTW, thanks for the link I never read that article. Well done, enjoyed it :)

Ben Pronin Says:

Holy crap that’s the article my thoughts are completely based on. I thought I read it from Bodo or something. But yeah, that’s pretty much exactly how I feel. Thanks Dan :D

thark Says:

“Becoming a legend in a sport is not a zero-sum accomplishment. Usain Bolt’s 2008 Olympics does not erase Carl Lewis’ sprinting career.”

EXACTLY – thank you dan!

tennismoger Says:

Soderling is the only guy left who can possibly take Nadal down @ RG so that’s the final that I want to see!

Amazing tournament this year!

Kimo Says:

Don Mann Said:

“Everyone seems to forget how Rafa can play well on grass. If he gets past the big hitters in early rounds, he will have a pretty good chance of winning the title. Roger, Rafa and Roddick will be the favorites for Wimby.”

No, we haven’t forgotten. But Rafa is not a natural on grass as he is on clay. Sure, when he started understanding the surface and learned how to play on it, he became terrific. But I gotta tell you, Rafa can stay away from clay matches for five years, as soon as he steps back on a clay court, he’ll still mow the field. The same can’t be said for grass. He needs more time.

Remember how after Rafa returned from injury last year at Montreal he barely seemed to remember how to serve, how to move on a hard court? Hell, Rafa didn’t win any title for 11 months so I think it’s safe to assume it took him that long to recover. Well, grass is even harder to master early on because players only get a chance to try it for one month a year.

Anyway, Queens is only a few days away. We’ll see how it goes, but I doubt I’ll be proven wrong.

Dan Martin Says:

Ben, in one case it is Martin > Bodo I guess

If we could only get a GOAT debate about tennis writers started …. I was too chicken to ask Murray a question last year at Cincy and that would keep me out of the main tour and off in the challengers even if I rebounded asking Giles Simon and John Isner a question or two

margot Says:

Dan, that’s nice!
PS Andy was very very scary and scowly was he?

Huh Says:

Hey guys ‘don’t know nothing’ = know . ;)

JUST KIDDING of course! ;)

zola Says:


for some reason none of my posts with the link are not published. You can find the link in the page. go to “news and photos”, then “interviews” and then Rafa’s interview on Saturday May 29…

zola Says:


you are very welcome.

Dan Martin Says:

The Murray interview was odd because the press room was packed and behind me were 7 or 8 reporters from the UK standing because there were no more chairs (I had a chair). Murray arrived like 30-40 minutes late for whatever reason (I can’t remember but it was not his fault someone had told his camp the wrong time or something). So everyone in the room seems to be getting more and more angry. Then an ATP official from England comes in and he starts ragging on how much he hates the Canadian and Cincinnati Masters events. The other Brits were not necessarily agreeing, but they were peeved to be standing for 30 plus minutes with no one to interview.

Anyway, when Murray arrived almost all of the questions were about his decision to drive to Cincinnati from Canada, his drivers license, the border crossing, difficulties getting car insurance on short notice etc. By this time I was kind of annoyed that none of the questions were about tennis. As a joke I wanted to ask him if he ever considered hopping a freight train instead of driving. I figured a smart a– question like that might make some of the other press people mad at me so I just kept my mouth shut. By the time he arrived and the car questions started I had forgotten whatever I was going to ask him. The best I could come up with was an image of Murray running after a freight train hopping onto an open box car and pulling out a harmonica.

jane Says:

LOL, great story about the Murray presser Dan; thanks for sharing it. Somehow I am not sure if I see Murray as the harmonica playing type, but it’s fun to imagine.

I love 5 setters too – always dramatic. They are what make the slams the slams. Looks like both Berdych and Soderling really want a spot on Sunday!

margot Says:

jane: possibly the bagpipes!

jane Says:

Of course margot; why didn’t I think of that!? LOL, Murray hopping the train between Canada and Cincy playing the bagpipes to pass the time. I heard the pipes just yesterday at a ceremony. Also, I well remember arriving at Blair castle when I was in Scotland, and the pipes welcoming.

aleish17 Says:

Thanx zola!
It was great reading that. Check out Rafa’s June 04 interview. It’s even better. Enjoy reading!
Good luck to our fave on Sunday!

Mike Swanquis Says:

Dan, wouldn’t you agree that whoever comes through tomorrow–Nadal or Soderling–they’re really just benefiting from the odds-on pre-tournament favorite Sebastien Grosjean being forced into early retirement due to the sad (and woefully underpublicized) training accident in which he tragically inhaled and got lodged in his throat his lit Gallois, badly burning his esophagus, not to mention causing him to spill his glass of champagne all over his favorite Lacoste shorts?

Rat Boy, we salute you. You and your clouds of smoke will be missed on this lily white ATP tour.

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