Sampras: Nadal Can Pass Federer in Total Slams
by Sean Randall | September 23rd, 2010, 5:02 pm

In a conference call today to promote his March match against rival Andre Agassi, tennis great Pete Sampras said that Rafael Nadal could eclipse Roger Federer’s 16 career Slam mark. ADHEREL

Said Sampras, “If he’s smart with his schedule and the fact that he has so many at such a young age, he could very well do it.”

Sampras, who won 14 Slams, still says the 29-year-old Federer remains a factor.

“He’s (Federer) a strong favorite for every major he plays. He had two match points against Djokovic. … He could very well have been in the final. He’s playing fine, I don’t see any big decline. Other guys are playing better. The next two or three years is a challenging time.”

As for who’s the best (GOAT!), Pete tiptoed around the question.

“Everyone wants to name the one guy,” he said. “The way I look at all sports, especially tennis, is that each generation has their own guy.

“Rafa’s definitely up there,” he added. “You gotta put him in the top three or four and it’s not over yet. He’s in the middle of his career.”

So Pete clearly doesn’t make Rafa out to be the best (Top 3 or 4) right now, but he gives the Spaniard a shot especially at his age.

Interesting comments from the guy.

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88 Comments for Sampras: Nadal Can Pass Federer in Total Slams

Twocents Says:

“Everyone wants to name the one guy,” he said. “The way I look at all sports, especially tennis, is that each generation has their own guy.”

This is why I just couldn’t buy all that GOAT hype. Each to his own.

dari Says:

Pete knows best!
The thing is, rafa and rog are so high up on the list AND in the same generation. Makes it tough and at the same time a fantastic thing for a roger fan like me.

Voicemale1 Says:

Sampras is clearly talking out of both sides of his mouth. According to the AP interview they quote him as saying he believes Nadal could well overtake Federer, but he also predicts Federer will win a few more Majors. Those two statements cannot possibly be true at the same time in the same respect. If he believes Federer will in fact win “a few more Majors” and have his total reach 18 or 19, does he honestly think Nadal will be at 19 or 20 to beat that? Someone ought to ask Sampras to clarify that. If that is in fact what he said (this IS the Associated Press after all – context dropping is their forte).

junaid Says:

Sampras said in response to the on-going greatest of all-time debate: “It’s hard to answer. Each decade has their guy. I think now we have Rafa who’s had done everything in the game. He’s won all the majors, he’s won the Olympics, and he has a winning record against Roger. You could very well put him on the top of the list, but it’s so argumentative. There’s no clear best player of all-time.“

hmm sampras put nadal on top of Federer …wowww

junaid Says:

Sampras said about nadal
“It’s a huge goal, it’s a lot of majors and it’s a lot of work. Quite honestly, I don’t think he needs to. He’s won all the majors, he’s won the Olympics and he’s dominated his main rival in Roger. I don’t think his goal is 16 or 17 or 18. I think he’s just going to try to improve as a tennis player and if it happens great. He could do it but if you look at what’s ahead it’s a lot of work and he’s got to work so hard for every match he plays, but he’s a beast.”

guy Says:

i think nadal’s real goal is to get some more hard court slams, balance out his resume and get some year end masters. but i think he expects djoker and murray to step up and make it very difficult at GS’s. they may or may not. but if nadal chips away the numbers will start adding up and you never know, he might close in on that record. i think one thing is for certain, he’ll have an incredible masters series collection by the end of his career.
this era is tougher than federer’s however and it’s going to be much harder to get the same GS number.

grendel Says:

“this era is tougher than federer’s however and it’s going to be much harder to get the same GS number”

Saying something over and over again doesn’t make it truer. Either it is true or it is not true. Leaving aside the obvious fact that Federer’s and Nadal’s generations overlap – so there is no simple dichotomy – the arguments have been pushed, on either side, over and over again. By definition, they cannot be resolved, since it boils down either to mere opinion or, even worse, prejudice.

So why not let it go. If Nadal ends up winning more slams than Federer – and my own (worthless) feeling is that he will – good luck to him. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t, and don’t then let’s have any mealy-mouthed whines about his competition being too tough. I doubt if such whines will come from Nadal himself.

Polo Says:

I agree, agree, agree with Grendel.

One can’t choose his competition. Every era has different its own set of players. And as is true in all sports, each new era has a better capacity to improve over the previous one and it does happen. New technology, new scientific findings regarding training, nutrition, etc, etc, etc.

sar Says:

Congrats to Bob Bryan’s on his engagement to Michelle Alvarez and Jamie Murray on his upcoming marriage to his Colombian fiancee, Alejandra.

zola Says:

I don’t like GOAT debates.
If RAfa wins more slams than Federer, we will talk. Until then, it is all speculations.

Even if he does not win any more slams, he is one of the greatest.

kimberly Says:

Zola-agreed. The goat debates are one facet of tennis I just can’t seem to care about!

grendel Says:

“If RAfa wins more slams than Federer, we will talk. Until then, it is all speculations.”

Talk about what? That implies that you DO believe in the GOAT idea, but don’t want to address it until Nadal is enthroned.

“Even if he does not win any more slams, he is one of the greatest.” Obviously. And if he wins 20 more slams, “he is one of the greatest” will remain the appropriate tribute – unless you secretly believe in GOAT talk. You have to make your mind up.

SG Says:

I’m a big Sampras fan. Notwithstanding his and everyone else’s right to free speech, Pete needs to stop talking now.

I don’t see the point of his comments. Rafa is a whopping 8 majors from breaking Fed’s record. 8 majors is a great career in and of itself. Just ask Connors and Agassi. And as someone (I think Grendel) said, who’s to say Roger doesn’t win 2 or 3 more slams.

Pete should probably keep his opinion to himslef until Rafa gets to 16 or 17 majors.

When Rafa gets to 15, the speculaiton

zola Says:

I think you will find a fault in anything I write. so go on…no comments from me.

RAJ Says:

Firstly I am a HUGE Roger Federer fan, he is the complete package for the game as its ambassador. He is refined he is stylish, and he is a great player.

However to be really considered the GOAT, we need to look at consistency over a career, and who was the compeition when these guys won majors. Pete Sampras has stated that he was never as consistent as Roger.

Roger has been to 22 or 23 SF straight spots at the majors. No one has beat that and no-one will any time soon. However when he won Wimbledon last time,2009, it was the 1st time he beat IVAN LENDL’s record of 19 GS Finals ! That was a record of consistency.

When Connors, Mcenroe, Sampras, Agassi and even Roger won many of their finals, they were playing poor competition much of their time. Like Connors beating an aging Rosewall, and Mcenroe beating Chris Lewis. In this light Roger hasnt fared well against people like Nadal. He has beat the likes of Baghdatis and Philopoussis. It was LENDL who had really tough compeition against Borg, Becker,Edberg, Mcenroe etc. Yet no-one talks about him being GOAT.

If its merely a number, then its Roger, and I dont think that Nadal can beat that as his game wont allow it. he will get to 14 or 15, but Roger will get 17/18.

But if it is true consistency over their peers then Lendl, Federer, Laver and even Borg (who could have done more)are the realy compeititors for the GOAT.

Please search for a write up called The Father Of Modern Tennis, and you will see why.

Good Luck to Roger AND Rafa, for being GREAT Ambassadors to the sport, and not arrogant brats like their pre-decessors ! May they be GOAT 1 and GOAT 2 forever !

However Lendl must be considered there too !

RAJ Says:

PS to follow up :

Ivan Lendl reached 19 grand slam signals finals, more than any other male player in the open era, (until Federer 2009) he won 8 of them, but a closer look will reveal the fact that he lost 10 of those finals to 5 of the greatest champions in the open era, Borg, Connors, McEnroe, Willander and Becker. Pete Sampras, has a total of 14 grand slams, 7 of them were against players who not only were never number one, but players who never won a single grand slam tournament, of the remaining 7, four of them were against Andre Agassi. How many slams would Ivan Lendl have won if he had faced players of that caliber? Of the 19 Grand Slam finals, Ivan faced, players who were multiple slam winners and former number ones, 15 times.

The debate coninues.

SG Says:

Lendl was a choker at the beginning of his career so it’s hard to say how many more slams he would have won 10 years later. He didn’t really commit to preparing himself mentally and physically until the end of 1983. By that point, he’d lost 4 or 5 slam finals in a row.

The above being said, I’ll agree that Lendl did (to his own misfortune), play in the most competetive era in men’s tennis. I suspect that if he had played at any other time, he’d have amassed at least 11 major titles. He might have even come away with a Wimbledon title.

I didn’t like Lendl much back when he was in his prime. As time as passed, I’ve grown to appreciate how great he was. I think I disliked him initially because he didn’t appear to enjoy what he was doing. I couldn’t understand it.

SG Says:

I think Lendl would have done very well for himself in today’s game. Attacking players were his nemesis. Even Borg, with no more than an average net game, would come into net on him with great success.

With all of today’s players choosing to stay back, I suspect that Lendl would win just as much now (if not more) than he did back in his prime. Baseliners never bothered Lendl. With today’s racket technology Lendl could shorten up his strokes a bit and be incredibly effective.

contador Says:

long live the goat debate!

grendel Says:


sorry if I offended you – but I did think you were trying to sneak GOAT in thru the back door. And listen – this is all a game. None of us are entirely honest or consistent in this racket. It’s natural to want your geezer to be the best ever, even if you hold the view that doesn’t make sense. For the record, my belief is that when Nadal hangs his racket up, he will have become as great a legend as anyone in the history of the sport.

SG – no, weren’t me who said Fed might win 2 or 3 more slams. I wish! I guess he MIGHT get one more, if he has a bit of luck in who he meets at the latter end of the tourney. Very much agree with you about Lendl. I was really rooting for first Becker, and then Cash to beat him at Wimbledon – now, I wish he’d managed to get a Wimbie title. It doesn’t make sense to say he deserved to – after all, he failed for a reason, and I don’t think it was because he couldn’t handle the grass, I think it was because he wanted it too much, and he tightened desperately. The Lendl who lost to Cash was a shadow of the player who had thrashed Becker at Queens only 3 weeks previously. Clearly, to earn a champion’s status, you’ve got to be in control of your mind as well as your body, and here Lendl failed. Still, a pity.

Raj – Federer was definitely fortunate with Baghdatis, since he should have played Nalbandian, who then would have been formidable indeed. But I dispute the idea, commonly touted, that Philippoussis was easy. Philly was a cavalier who was probably more interested in surfing in dangerous waters than playing tennis. And he suffered continually from terrible injury, worse than anyone, really. But: he was one of those players who could beat anyone on his day. Cash remarked of him that he had never seen anyone so talented with a tennis racket. When Sampras was at the height of his powers, especially on grass, Philippoussis took him apart in the first set at Wimbledon – and then had to retire thru injury. When Philly beat Agassi, on his way to the final with Fed, Agassi remarked gruffly, in response to a query of whether he hadn’t taken the big Aussie sufficiently seriously, that he understood perfectly well how lethal Philly could be. He was absolutely a legitimate opponent for Federer, a natural grass court player – certainly far, far more dangerous than was Berdych for Nadal this summer – and Federer handled him with amazing skill. Don’t downplay it, that’s incorrect.

Monalysa Says:

Even im a HUGE Rafa fan, I have no probelm with Federer being called the GOAT. But my major problem is, how do I explain to my kids that someone we consider to be the GOAT has a miserable losing record against his main nemesis, Rafa!!!

Could someone please tell me how to explain this to my kid without seeming……..well……….idiotic!!

Polo Says:

Monalysa, maybe you can start by telling your kid that there never was a real GOAT, that he only existed in a place called Camelot.

contador Says:

or that goats are nice er, sometimes not-so- nice farm animals : )


RAJ Says:

I truly admired Philopoussis when he whipped Sampras at the Australian, and he was good enough to get to GS finals, but when I say he was he wasnt good enough, I mean that you can hardly call him a GREAT. You wouldnt even say that about Cash, who actually won a GS. So whilst I want Federer to be the GOAT, at this moment I believe that in terms of consistency it is between him and Lendl (and maybe Nadal) for maintaining the standard. People criticise Federer for not beating Nadal when it counts, and that the French was easy because Nadal wasnt there. BUT he had to come back against Del Potro & Haas in brilliant fashion. To win with the monkey on his back and with added pressure of Nadal NOT being there was great. The question thereofre ‘would he have won if Nadal hadnt lost?’ Well Nadal should have showed up. Same with the US 2010, Fed should have showed up to beat Nadal. The game isnt just about how well you can serve (as Roddick well knows.) It is truly about everything, Style, Ability, Mental & Physical Toughness, and most of all Supreme Self Confidence. And you maybe right Lendl suffered from the lack of confidence, and choked. Maybe Federer ‘choked’ in the greatest match ever 2008. But remember Nadal had to beat Federer over 5 sets (aside FO) in Aus and Wimbledon. So overall I would say that the difference between Fed & Nadal is that Nadal wins.
Butbetween each guy and HISTORY, then Fed and Lendl have the upper hand.

grendel Says:

It’s true Philippoussis can’t be considered a great player because of his lack of consistency. But my point really was that sometimes a player who is not generally regarded as elite can, on his day, be as dangerous as any of the elite players. Think of Kraijchek beating a peak Sampras at Wimbie – that wasn’t a fluke; Kraijchek played out of his socks. He wasn’t an elite player, however, because he was unable to consistently reproduce that sort of form.

sar Says:

Didn’t Serena pull out of a tourney due to her foot?

Ok guys. Should I go for a run or get a pedicure?? I’m thinking run…..

Hypnos Says:


Your counting of Sampras’ GS final opponents is incorrect:

Only 3 of his finals were against non-GS winners. Cedric Pioline and Todd Martin have never won GS titles, though they had the misfortune of both preferring fast courts and peaking at the same time as Sampras. Chang and Moya won their French Opens.

What impresses about Sampras is that he defeated his fast-court rivals in GS finals: Becker, Ivanisevic, Rafter and, of course, Agassi.

tennislover Says:


The “GOAT” debate is primarily about accomplishments of the concerned players during their careers and neither Nadal nor Federer have even finished their careers yet. Nadal, like Federer, will be judged on the more important criteria to become the “GOAT”. His superior H2H surely adds some bells and whistles but the core still will be his title count at the bigger events. Most experts make slam count the single most important criterion. However, a lot of fans bring in criteria which will show their own favorite player in better light compared to the other contenders. H2Hs do say certain things about a rivalry and in their rivalry, Nadal has clearly been the more successful player and it IS a blemish on Federer’s legacy. However, there are certain players or styles who your game matches up well against and there are certain others who your game does not match well against. That is why you use the term nemesis. Murray is 7-5 against Federer but that does not make him the “GOAT”. Hrbaty is 3-1 against Nadal and 2-1 against Federer. Does his superior H2H against both the current “GOAT” and the future “GOAT” make him the ultimate “GOAT”? Many people have probably not even heard of him. Hoad could rip Pancho Gonzalez apart on a good day but Pancho is regarded the “greater” player…….

The point is that tennis is not about handling just one opponent and there is a context too. You play a variety of opponents with different styles, strengths and weaknesses on different courts in different conditions. It is a great challenge to overcome and do it consistently for a long period of time. Grass and clay are considered to be somewhat specialist surfaces even today whereas the hard courts are the most competitive because they afford players of all styles a much fairer chance. It is extremely difficult to be very dominant on this surface.I know these arguments are probably not going to work for your kids at this age but I hope they don’t sound too idiotic :)

Federer’s unprecedented domination of the game during 2004-07 appears almost unreal and he is still a threat even when he is well past his prime. I don’t buy the weak competition argument at all. It insults both Federer and Nadal and quite a few other players as well. Nadal himself became world number two in mid-2005 but it took a brilliant year in 2008 for him to ultimately dethrone Federer. If Federer won because of weak competition, the implication is he isn’t that great a player and, therefore, Nadal’s superior H2H loses much of its sheen. Can one similarly argue that Nadal is dominant today because of weak competition? After all, his three opponents in slam finals this year could win only one set between them. Andy Roddick, the so called weak player and a true contemporary of Federer, beat Nadal in a Masters final this year whereas, arguably, his younger opponents have largely disappointed.

However, the reality is that Nadal is simply playing brilliantly and making even good players look ordinary. Murray played pretty well against Nadal in the Wimby semi final but Nadal was just too good. Djoko played extremely well during certain stretches in the USO final but Nadal still beat him rather comfortably on his least favorite and Djoko’s favorite surface.

Tennis has almost always been a pretty competitive sport but there have always been certain periods where one player just somehow consistently maintained an edge over the rest of the field for a long time and everything came together for him to become a dominant force. Federer did it for a few years and Nadal is doing it this year. He may or may not pass Federer but what we are seeing is an extraordinary athlete of incredible will and determination and records almost appear to be beside the point now. To me, the question is: how much better can Nadal get? I am absolutely fascinated by the level his game can potentially reach. This prospect is indeed quite staggering given the scary levels he has already reached. Similarly, although in a very different sense, Federer’s uniquely beautiful tennis should be appreciated and enjoyed till it lasts instead of concentrating so much on his records. He is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of talent and I suspect, his gifts will be appreciated much more when he leaves the tour.

margot Says:

tennislover @11.55: brilliant, agree, agree. Rafa is from Mars, Fed from Venus. GOAT arguments are premature and irrelevant. They are both astonishing, but different.

Anna Says:

When Nadal wins a tournament, hardcore, puffy eyed Fed fans say, “So what, he’s not the GOAT”. Should Nadal ever surpass Federer in slams these same people will recant the GOAT theory so fast heads will spin.

Janadev Says:

Bangkok draw is out… it looks like Delpo and Nadal are going to meet in Quarters…

Nadal’s path to title: Qualifier–>Delpo–>Gulbis–>Veardasco

fern Says:

Yes, Sampras, we can all have 20/20 vision, now that Rafa has won everything, it’s not that clever to come up with the ‘Rafa can surpass Federer’ prediction, even a baby can do that after seeing the print of the nail.

If I were Sampras I would stop pronouncing on these subjects, as he doesn’t seen to know any more than anyonel else, and just second guesses what’s already happened. Wasn’t it Sampras who said Rafa would never win Wimbledon? Why should anyone listen to him now?

Hypnos Says:


Relax. Some journalist asked him the question in his conference call, and he just said what’s on his mind with the latest data.

That being said, I think Andre Agassi would have had a more interesting response if asked the same question.

grendel Says:

Very interesting post, Tennislover, thanks for an enjoyable read.
“To me, the question is: how much better can Nadal get? I am absolutely fascinated by the level his game can potentially reach”. I believe you’re a Nadal fan, I am absolutely not, and yet I can’t help agreeing with you in one part of my mind. The guy sure is a phenomenon, and one does want to see the limits. Also, of course, how the others respond. Can Djoko and Murray and delPo raise their game to meet him – or will it take someone completely new? For there will be someone there, alright, sharpening his sword, tuning his mind and generally preparing himself to sweep aside the master. The better Nadal gets, the more prestigious will it be to dethrone him, the more will the fires of ambition be kindled. Just think what a spur Federer must have been for Nadal.

b.t.w. ” Hoad could rip Pancho Gonzalez apart on a good day but Pancho is regarded the “greater” player” – not by Pancho, apparently, who regarded Hoad as the best he’d seen. Of course, it could be that he was taking for granted that he himself was actually the best, but meanwhile, so far as the rest of the field was concerned…..

Anna Says:

Andre was asked that question just a few weeks ago and his answer was slams alone do not equal a GOAT. He felt you had to look at the big picture and mentioned things like DC, Olympics, overall tournaments won, records broke, etc.

zola Says:

no problem.

I don’t believe in GOAT discussions because I don’t know how to compare Rafa and Roger with Laver and even Sampras. I think we have discussed this in length before.

I can compare Rafa with Roger and yes, I like Rafa better. I also hope for him to win as many slams as he can and break all the records. But even then I don’t know if he would be the GOAT or not. So many things have changed since 1960s.

So, no, I am not sneking in the GOAT from the backdoor!I think GOAT discussions are endless and boring.

fern Says:

I tend to agree with Andre; but I don’t believe there can ever be a GOAT, because TIME is infinitive, so until TIME ends, no one can be the best of all TIME. The best in an era, yes, but not by the spurious criteria laid down by commentators like McEnroe and Mats Wilander, there’s got to be real guidelines set out.

If everyone knew what the criteria was then there would be no argument when someone is declared the best in a decade, say, because everyone would be able to see the evidence. So much debate has been had on the subject of GOAT, because everyone has a different criteria by wih they judge players.

madmax Says:

There will never be anyone who plays the game of tennis like federer – no matter how many tournaments rafa wins, it’s a matter of opinion and style.

But there are plenty of people out there who regard Federer – now – as the greatest player to ever pick up a racquet, connors, borg, lendl, mcenroe, lava, sampras,and his peers, nadal, murray, djokovic,soderling,melzer, nalbandian, roddick – you name it – they all say it –

Anna, we all know you don’t like federer, so stop repeating it all the time, the tears – so what? federer fans know how emotional he is and do you know what – WE LOVE IT! you know, similar to when nadal cried at each and every one of his slams this year – the emotion – it’s pretty darn wonderful to see to be honest.

so the only heads that roll when people give the accolades to federer, are people like you and guy, who can’t believe – how dare they – say federer is the best.

and h2h. please. try and bring something new to the table. go and check out the h2h of rafa v blake and 3 or 4 others that have better h2h’s. does that make them better players? what’s your argument here I would be interested to know?

It is astonishing and laughable to see the delighted jeers of the naysayers, and see how the world’s opinion swivels 360 degrees – 6 months ago, federer was over. He reaches the SF of the USO and he is Roger. Over and out.

Federer’s said before he would play until at least the Olympics at Wimbledon in 2012 the gold is the only thing that eluded him (though I believe doubles gold is still mighty awesome) and so I think for the next 2-3 years, he will continue to play tennis, honing his game,listening to annacone, figuring out how to peak for the slams to beat the big guns. It’s just great that federer has been at the top of men’s tennis for so long – we are talking an astonishing 7+ years. This should be celebrated not diminished.

He will always be the greatest for many of the federer fans – the real federer fans – who don’t get deterred or downhearted when he doesn’t win every tournament.

As proven against Soderling he can blow them off court, as proven against Djoko and Del Potro and Berdych in previous opens, he can be beaten but cast your minds back to a year ago when Del Potro outlasted the great man in the fifth set and the world was stunned and everyone was talking about the end of an era and the naysayers were jeering and he duly went onto to win the Australian Open in some style.

He will retire either after the Olympics or at the US Open in 2012, that could give him seven or eight more slams. He could win Wimbledon, maybe two, maybe another Aussie Open, and maybe another US Open… I’d bet on him winning another Slam, probably two, possibly three, who knows? even four. It’s all hypothetical. And it’s not cast in stone that sooner rather than later, delpotro, 2 years younger than nadal, will start recapturing some of the talent he had at his fingertips in 2009, given time and practice and give nadal a run for his money – I hope so –

On thing that can’t be argued with is that FEDERER has been the GOAT of consistency. Consistency – yes – no other matches him for that.

Not even rafa.

Fed has the career Grand Slam along now with rafa – yes – , and has won each of the non-clay slams at least four times: 6 Wimbledons, 5 US Opens and 4 Aussie Opens in addition to 3 more finals apearances for a total of 18 overall GS finals on tennis’s most competitive surfaces; Nadal on the other hand has 5.

Fed’s 18 to Rafa’s 5 is a no-brainer.

As for Nadal’s 18 Masters series shields, 13 of them are on clay – the least competitive surface.

Of Federer’s 16, 11 of them came on hard courts, to repeat the most competitive surface.

Between 2004 and 2006, Federer dominated hard court tennis like no ever has or likely ever will. If you like Nadal, then so be it but enough of the nonsense.

Take away clay – where he won 5 of his 8 slams –
and what can be argued here? you said it.

In 2004 and 2005, Federer won 11 titles each; the highest ever in a single year. He won 81 of the 85 matches he played in 2005 (a win-loss percentage of 95.3%).

In 2006, he broke that record by winning 12 titles, including three Grand Slams, becoming the first player in the open era (since 1968) to win at least 10 titles for three straight years.

Between 2004 and 2006, he won 247 matches and lost just 15 (94.3% wins), with Nadal being the only player to beat him more than once during that stretch.

With this in mind, Federer has got to be the best of all time – consistency – no argument.

tennislover Says:

Grendel and Margot,

Thanks for the kind words! I am glad you liked it. Let me use this opportunity to say that I really like both of you. I think your posts are very fair and honest. Margot, as Grendel said sometimes back, your ability to express so much with so few words is indeed very impressive. BTW, don’t worry too much about Murray’s state. I saw him enjoying an EPL match soon after his USO exit and he appeared rather cheerful. I had addressed a post to you about him during the USO some time after that Wawa loss. I wonder if you read it.

Grendel, you are one of the reasons I visit this blog. I always look forward to reading your take on various issues and topics. Your posts are almost always thought-provoking and your writing style is quite unique. Your posts have sometimes forced me to rethink my own notions about certain issues and made me look at things from a different perspective.

As for my favorite player, I am not surprised you think I am a Nadal fan because I have written a lot of pro-Nadal posts especially when a lot of people were underestimating him for Wimby and the USO. I wrote them because I really thought some posters were being unfair to him. I wish I were a Nadal fan because I’d be in a very happy place now but these things, as you very well know, can not always be explained easily or even logically. I am not a Nadal fan but I really admire what he has achieved in tennis at such a young age. There are certain things I still don’t like about him but I like his tennis much more now compared to the way he used to play earlier. I am glad that he he is a much more attacking player and, therefore, I watch a lot more of his matches now. He has improved so much and added so much variety to his game that he can produce some spectacular stuff of his own and he is increasingly getting comfortable with this new style. One really can’t point out a weakness which can be exploited by others. Even Federer had a weakness against the high-bouncing balls to his single-handed backhand which was exploited to the hilt by Nadal and, later, by many others. Now, if Nadal is not satisfied even with THIS level and improves his net play or other aspects of his game even further, one really wonders if he will lose many matches from this point onwards. I get the feeling that we are in for some Federer-like domination of the tour from Nadal and he could potentially even outdo him because he is almost invincible on clay. The possibilities are mind-boggling to say the least! All of a sudden, the calender slam doesn’t look all that far-fetched.

His relative lack of offense led some big-hitting players to fancy their chances against him but I don’t think that is the case anymore. I wonder how many players stand a realistic chance of beating THIS Nadal especially in a best-of-five format. Maybe an in-form Murray or Roddick or Delpo. In a best-of-three, I’d include Djoko too. I doubt if there is any youngster ready to make the break-through in the next two or three years to challenge an incredibly formidable player like Nadal. Delpo was the kind of player who could have really been the perfect challenger because he was mentally tough as well. Huge serve, good return and big and accurate groundies on both wings and the ability to keep it up for long periods. Now, there is a question mark about his pre-injury level itself let alone any improvements in his game. As you said the other day, “Nadalites” are in for some really good times.

Btw, my comment regarding Pancho being the “greater” player was meant to reflect the historians’ opinion based on his consistency and much better career. Pancho himself thought that Hoad was the better player and I believe it was genuine admiration since he was such a proud player. We go back again to consistency versus sheer ability to reach great heights on a given day. Hoad could reach great heights on certain days but Pancho was much more consistent over a longer period of time.

Anna Says:

There is so little to take from your posts that I just don’t read them anymore. Actually, I get a few lines into them and realize it’s just more gobbledegook. They’re like a bad song that keeps playing over and over again. It’s posts like yours that make me think I don’t like Federer either, until I watch him play or listen to a presser and I realize I do like him and that HE actually has nothing to do with those fans who present half-witted arguements on his behalf.

madmax Says:

yeah sure anna,

like you say such interesting stuff about federer – that is worthy of little comment.

by all means debate, but you can’t argue with fact. I quote a lot of facts above, whereas you tend to veer towards the emotional – head spinning/heads will roll routine. Speak for yourself in future and not for all federer fans.

Many of us respect rafa, we just dont have to trash federer to do it – the way you do.

Do you actually analyse what you say? I think not.

stats aren’t gobbledegook anna, they are what they are. whether you like them or not.

half-witted? your posts contain no facts just pure emotion.

madmax Says:

jon weirtheim has a point –

you might want to read it Anna? then again, you probably won’t.

Fedend Says:

Since when clay became the least competetive surface ?
I guess its a case of sour grapes.

I can very well understand why you and other Fedfans are so fond of DelPotro. He is your only hope now.

I guess are in for a tough time for atleast next 3 or 4 years.

Fedend Says:

I can understand why Fedfans give so much importance for the style, grace, delight with his game and movements. But I would prefer watching my 2 yr old son with his plastic rackets, he is much more gracefull, attractive, stylish and brings me much more joy watching him.
But to compete on a tennis court against the best players in the world, one needs to be like the spanish bull who has consistently taken down ALL his rivals on ALL the surfaces.

margot Says:

tennislover: cheers for compliment :) BTW am a big fan of writing style of James Ellroy. Also thanks 4 kind words re Andy. However, for me he’s had a desperately wobbly year. But must travel hopefully..

montecarlo Says:

don’t worry, grapes will continue to get sourer for you with every passing year.


I guess you copy pasted most of that stuff in that long post of yours? It looks a lot outdated. You forgot that Nadal has overturned his H2H against almost everyone now. He now got very positive H2H against People like Blake and Berdych.

You forgot Nadal now has 9 slams(and not 8 as you mentioned) and 4 of them on Non clay surfaces. May be he is catching up so fast that you can’t even count the numbers? LOL. He got atleast two slams on each surface. Federer got only 1 on clay, right?

I can’t understand why you people always think that clay is least competitive? Coz Nadal is so good on that surface that there is no competition left? LOL

You know out of 16 Federer got 9 slams on Hard courts thats 56.25 % slams on Hard courts. So you mean to say that Federer is one dimensional? Interesting. LOL

While out of 9 Nadal got 5 slams on clay so thats only 55.5 % of slams and I can assure you that % is only going down in the coming years.

One thing that I agree though is Federer will win atleast 2 more slams and will get to atleast 18 slams. But I don’t think even 18 is a safe number now. As I have been saying over the years, Nadal doesn’t need to beat Federer’s number. Infact he has nothing to prove against Federer now. 14-7 (and getting better) has already closed that chapter. He needed a good number of Non clay slams though and he is well on his way with two this year. As of now he is the only player in history who has clearly dominated all his major rivals (read djokovic 15-7, federer 14-7 & murray 8-4). This guy doesn’t have a nemesis while Federer always had a Nemesis.

Rafa is the goat Says:

Rafa will pass roger record
He is going to win all 4 grand slams is 2011
and he will pass rogers record in 2013
respect for Roger
But if Pete say he can do it
than he can do it
VAMOS RAFA!!!!!!!!

zola Says:

It is interesting to see some people say that clay is less competitive. Based on what criteria? What is easier to do on clay? point construction? winning just by serves?

It is the other way round. Many players can play on hard courts but are not able to play on clay. because the footwork and timing is completely different. You can’t win just by serving well.

The USTA has decided to build more clay courts because they see the Spanish players who grew up on clay can play very well on hard courts whereas those who grew up playing on hard courts have a very hard time adjusting their game to clay. Just look at the number of American and Spanish players in the QF of this year’s US Open or even in the top 100.

If you look at all the top players, they have learned tennis on clay. Two good examples are Federer and Murray.

grendel Says:

Tennislover – so I’ve managed to pull the wool over your eyes, too? I feel just a bit abashed…About Delpo, we can’t rule out that he’ll come back as good as before with the prospect of becoming even better. Murray was weak when coming back from a long wrist injury, but in time, he got it together – in his Murray-ish way.

“I doubt if there is any youngster ready to make the break-through in the next two or three years to challenge an incredibly formidable player like Nadal” Not from nowhere, of course. But there may be some youngster who is right now serving his apprenticeship and in a couple of years will be ready to step up and issue his challenge. It’s always a surprise whem these people emerge, an agreeable one, of course. I remember all the great things being said about del Potro, but somehow he never seemed to quite break through, and you thought dismally: another one to consign to the bucket. And then, just as you’d forgotten all about him, he went on an insane tear, and it became obvious that this was somebody very special. Nor did he disappoint.

Madmax – I reckon the pleasure of reading posts is that there are all kinds of different styles, dispositions and so on on display. You have an infectious enthusiasm which is a delight. It’s kind of po faced to take you to task. I perhaps wouldn’t go to you for objectivity, but you wouldn’t be the charmer you are if you were objective. Up with prejudice! (providing it’s not cruel, and you ain’t that).

Anna Says:

Grendel – I definitely agree with the infectious part of your response to Max. But really, you prefer prejudice to objectivity, because it’s your objectivity that I’ve been so fond of. I suppose I’m one of the “Po face” posters to rattle Max’s cage, but since I have no idea what that means I’ll just soldier on.

contador Says:

whoa- let’s insert a little realism into this thread. nadal is benefitting from timely prp treatments. otherwise, it would have taken him a lot longer to get his form back in 2009 and go into 2010 capable of improving upon his form and tennis. but there is reason for caution ( not a laughing matter and i am not throwing this in to celebrate )

isn’t nadal’s doctor right? don’t get too greedy nadal fans. his health comes first, right? an elephant in the room here being ignored.

and it’s good advice to all of the players. fans forget what the cost is to a body getting to all those GS trophies and staying at #1. look at poor delpo – out for almost a year over getting himself ONE. nevermind the cost of 9 or 16 and attaining #1 and remaining there!

for those who dis federer – your memories are pretty bad imo. and i think he made it APPEAR easy but as a federer fan i see the toll it has taken. like a nadal fan notices every little detail about him – or anyone does about their favorites.

as for the davis cup this year , i say so what. i’m sure his own countrymen give him a break. he has done enough, really. pfff!

i don’t believe in the goat debate. “greatest ever of all time” is a highly personal and passionately subjective preference. even if there was a checklist or criterion for it i would question it and the objectivity of whoever made it up.

grendel Says:

Anna – objectivity is indispensable, of course. But you don’t want everyone like that on a blog – a bit of genial eccentricity can lighten the atmosphere….

Anna Says:

Regaurding Rafa & Rogers h2h. As another poster pointed out Rafa is now ahead of Blake. I believe on Dominik Hrbaty has a positive h2h against Rafa. Hrbaty and Nadal competed with each other 4 times in a little over a year’s time when Rafa was 17-18 and Hrbaty 25-26. Hrbaty won 3/1. If you numbers/statistics, a year of anything is not long enough to draw many conclusions. Rafa probably had a negative h2h against quite a few players at that time, but they stuck around long enough for him to reverse that. Federer and Nadal started playing at about the same time, but 6-7 years later, after 21 match ups, the h2h is 2 to 1 in favor of Nadal. Those numbers ARE relevant in terms of statistics and they will definitely play a part in the discussion in who was the better player in their era. Since Fed will be playing for 2-3 more years, I fully expect that the h2h will only get better for Rafa, as he will be playing in his prime for 3-4 years, whereas Roger will not. Maxi, can you say “Lion King”?
It’s the circle of life. Roger knows this, but he too will soldier on.

contador Says:

oh brother

Anna Says:

I love genial eccentricty, again, that’s how I see you. I suppose I have a tendency to overreact to people who overreact. I’ve also seen little prejudices fanned into full blown propaganda scandals, which I admit have made me just a little bitter from time to time.

Nadal fans have had Rafa’s knees forced down their throat for well over a year. The threat was he would never come back just a year or so, so that he has not only come back, but come back to win 3 majors does seem incredible, and if ever there was a time to celebrate it is now. I’ve read everything I could get my hands on re Rafa’s knees because I’ve had both personal and professional involvement regarding stem cell/prp and various other types of therapy for patients struggling with diseases/conditions from cancer to tendenitis. There have been a few statements made by Rafa’s Dr’s that I’ve paid particular interest to. 1.) Rafa’s tendenitis was not chronic as they once thought. 2.) The therapy has been successful. 3.) He will be able to play (his tennis)for 5 or more years (yes, they need to watch the knees). Bottom line is, this therapy can be given on an as needed basis. This is Rafa’s own blood and stem cells being injected into his body, not something chemical or foreign, and it’s available to any player who suffers from such a condition. I think this is a very good thing indeed.

Anna Says:

Do you have a different opinion regaurding h2h?

contador Says:

what i thought was interesting was rafa’s doctor mentioning the need for rafa to pace himself ( also noted the doctor took credit for rafa sitting out of barca this year ) and his concern for tendonitis in other areas- achilles – in particular.

i certainly do not mean to shove rafa’s knees down your throat. but rafa does go full gas in practice as well as tournaments. and i think it’s just common sense that comes to mind when i read predictions which may or may not come true, depending a whole lot on how rafa manages his schedule and what happens to his body.

this is your time to celebrate ( again ) i get that very clearly.

i simply err on the side or caution not only when it comes to rafa but also federer and others where a realistic longevity of their bodies holding up is concerned. it’s a style i have that hasn’t made me too popular with other fed fans at times as well.

pretty much i think they both deserve to give it a rest and often, for the reason i mention in my previous post having to do with how much it requires to get ONE slam let alone 9 or 16 and attain world #1 and remain there to break records.

yeah- i have different opinions on h2h’s. i probably don’t give them the weight others do, as i generally think h2h’s at face value do not tell the whole story. i look at h2h’s but go more on recent activity / form / other variables when picking.

my success at picking is improving…..LOL i am damn good in the early rounds! i just got the ultimate winner wrong on hc pretty much in every hc tournament.

Anna Says:

I think Rafa sat out Barca because he’d just received his first round of injections. Most Drs. request some level of commitment from patients before performing these therapies. Success is large on their agenda as well, especially with a patient such as Rafa. In Rafa’s case he drug a slew of machines around the world last summer/fall to rehab the knees, and although there’s no acknowledgement by Rafa or his team, he seems to be carrying much less weight these days than he did a few years ago. I’m hoping that as time goes on he will not only watch his schedule, but be willing to pay attention to his knees and drop a tournament should the need arise, instead of trying to play through the pain. If he can’t do this then he will definitely pay the price. Personally, I think Rafa is a smart guy and wants to play as long as he can. He’ll do what he needs to do to adjust. It benefits everybody on his team for him to be healthy for the long haul.

On the other hand, Rafa and Roger are champions of the highest quality and there are certain sacrifices that champions make to win and be at the top of their game. I think that’s the nature of most sports. My guess is, if you go back and ask say Joe Montana (American football) if he would rather have his 4 superbowl rings, or a completely heathy back, even in retrospect, he would say the 4 rings. It takes courage to put themselves on the line, but that really is what’s required.

re h2h. I honestly don’t give them alot of weight either unless there are big numbers over several years. Then MAYBE we can be right more often than not. But Rogers winning h2h (13-1)over Soderling is still a gimmee in my eyes. Maybe in a year or two that could change, but I’m not counting on it.

grendel Says:

Well, Anna, let’s try a bit of the old objectivity stuff concerning the Fed/Nadal h2h (incidentally, objectivity, imo, is always an aspiration – however hard you try, you never quite get there).

“the h2h is 2 to 1 in favor of Nadal. Those numbers ARE relevant in terms of statistics and they will definitely play a part in the discussion in who was the better player in their era.” I go with Contador that:”h2h’s at face value do not tell the whole story.”

It’s been pointed out often enough before, but – since, as you say,with Fed in decline the story will only get worse for him – it might be worth repeating. Remember, Federer was good enough to meet Nadal in the final on his favourite surface a number of times, whereas Nadal was not good enough to meet Fed on hard very often. This heavily slanted the h2h in Nadal’s favour. When you think about it, it is bizarre that Federer should be penalised for being too good (though not quite good enough) on a particular surface. It’s this sort of thing which should alert one to how very, very wary one has to be with statistics of any kind. Statisticians, of course, have long known this, and that is why they are so cautious in drawing conclusions of any sort without rigorous testing.

That said, Anna, h2h’s are not worthless as data, they do tell a story which is worth teasing out. Without doubt Nadal has the edge over Federer, and history will record that – only it’s not quite as conclusive as a casual reference to stats might suggest.

grendel Says:

Anna – just seen your recent post. Now in fact I think Federer’s h2h with Soderling, which you quote, is grossly misleading. A lot of those matches were incredibly close and seemed, in the end, to depend for their resolution on factors having little to do with tennis. So it was no surprise to me in the slightest when Soderling finally broke his duck – and did it in some style, too. But if you’d looked at the h2h alone, nothing could have prepared you for the result.

Anna Says:

Absolutely, statistics are only a part of the story and I didn’t say that they would be conclusive in determining who may or may not be the better player, I only stated that they are worth some merit. It goes without saying that there were probably a number of reasons or variables that played into Roger and Robins h2h and still, if you were asked to pick a winner based on those numbers which one would you pick? Sorry Grendel, that stat tells me that Roger is the superior player regardless of who had a sore pinkie, or an ingrown thumb nail over those years. I don’t see what surface has to do with it. If Rafa could only be a complete player by winning on h/c you’d have to say the same is true for Roger on clay. If ATP stats are correct it shows Rafa beating Roger 6 times on h/c (his favorite surface) and Roger beating Rafa twice on clay. Perhaps you could explain to me the importance of the surfaces. By the way, I don’t expect Sod to break his duck in re to Roger for another 6-7 years.

grendel Says:

“Perhaps you could explain to me the importance of the surfaces”. I think it was NELTA who put it best. He pointed out, for instance, that if Sampras had been a little bit better on clay, he would have reached far enough in the tourney to meet Kuerten, who would likely have beaten him. So we have the apparently paradoxical fact that Sampras’ h2h with Kuerten (2-1, all on hard) would likely have been worse if he had been a better clay courter.

It is this logic (following NELTA)I was referring to w.r.t. Fed/Nadal. At one stage, I believe it was 8-6 to Nadal; suppose Federer hadn’t been good enough to get to any claycourt finals. Then Fed would have had the superior h2h. Which is curious. Furthermore, given the fact that Federer is now well past his prime and has been for some time, that particular supposition carries a certain piquancy.

So, to repeat – Nadal with the edge, yes, but nowhere near so conclusively as the h2h suggests.

Anna Says:

Ahh yes, I see it. But if we start factoring surface into the equation, don’t we also have to consider other factors such as age. Where Roger is being punished for being to good, it seems that Rafa perhaps would be punished for being to young. Or could they be offset? Yes I do understand there are complications, but honestly it’s not life or death, these are just tennis numbers were crunching, but they are a slice of the pie. I think if Roger does play 3-4 more years the h/c situation will remedy itself. Both players will have had the opportunity to play the other in their prime.

contador Says:

sometimes a h2h really says next to nothing. obviously says nothing if the players have faced each other but it has been awhile and one has improved, one injured, one on the decline, or someone is on a preferred surface, better in wind and so on…

other times as with soderling (bad in wind ) but has improved while federer is past his prime – yet federer will still be a tough match for soderling, even if soderling is at his new best. federer simply is capable of out-serving soderling on a good day and has more dimension than mr. dimples. but i have a tough time picking for certain now. soderling can over-power federer. if federer is physically having a vulnerable day. the h2h is not the solid indicator it was. pretty much a similar thing goes with a berdych match-up and others. gulbis beat federer in rome but fed turned the table immediately, was ready for him and beat him in madrid.

but lets look at verdasco – nadal again. verdasco is toast even with a compromised nadal but particularly toast with rafa in form. their h2h rings true. on any surface and under any circumstance, i pick nadal to win. i’d bank on it. the same holds true with any spaniard. feli’s win on a lead up grass tourny was as close to a muligan as rafa ever gives. it’s not nadal’s fault that so many of his team mates are top tennis players. ferrer, verdasco, almagro, ferrero, even montanes or feli can be tough for each other and anyone in their draw – except rafa. for rafa it is a bonus to have them around. it is what it is, atm. whether that dominance over his fellow countrymen changes, i dunno. maybe a younger talented spaniard without the awe, respect and fear will come along and change things. but i don’t see one. and check out all their h2h’s with rafa.

nadal would really have to be suffering something or be mentally “elsewhere” for him to lose to another spanish player.

i pick rafa to win bangkok fairly handily. his best competition there is delpo and i don’t see how delpo can be ‘match – ready’ for an in-form rafa. ( the question is can anyone take a set off rafa?)

prove me wrong fernando verdasco! shock me, gulbis. at least make a match of it if you get to play nadal.

i agree with grendel that rafa wants the competition – he thrives on it. federer used to be able to give it to him. but i’d have to mostly agree that the h2h is likely to become more lop-sided in favor of rafa. but that might not be the case. it depends. federer won’t shrink away from a chance and, who knows? federer could collide with nadal when nadal is slightly vulnerable as he was in madrid 09.

it’s my opinion that federer was always at a natural disadvantage to nadal on clay and the majority of their matches have been on that surface. their meetings when ranked world #1 (federer) and #2 (nadal) put them in place to meet. federer kept his dates to face nadal on clay, mindless of what his h2h was going to look like over time.

however during that same period, nadal was not good enough yet to get to a us open final or AO final to meet federer. if nadal had been there in 2004 – 2007, i believe federer would have beaten him as federer did in their masters cup meetings and their h2h would be more even.

federer on the decline, post 2007, is still tough to beat but when looking at their h2h, the timing relative to where each is in their careers has to be considered. for those rafa fans who like to say that federer is on the down slope, you can’t have it both ways and tout the h2h as a true measure when the story is actually about one great player in decline and the other mostly in his prime.

shoot. i didn’t really want to write about h2h’s but Anna, you got me thinking about it –

could be an interesting time in tennis this fall. i hope rafa has some competition – maybe murray and nole?

where’s roddick, nalby and baghdatis?

tennislover Says:


I guess it won’t surprise anyone why you are a big fan of James Ellroy. Must have had some influence on the way you write :)What was it the Bard said about brevity being the soul…..

I am optimistic that Andy will do well in the rest of the season. He has normally done well in the last stretch. I am sure Andy himself is very disappointed after such a promising start in Australia. It was unfortunate for him that Federer produced one of his finest performances in the final and I guess Andy hadn’t expected that. Such losses can really hurt when you go into a final feeling pretty confident of winning it and letting a lot of people know about it too.

His loss to Nadal at Wimby was another instance of a player raising his game so much after having a wobbly first week that he must have been left ruing his wretched luck. He had a great tournament in Canada and I thought he was ready to excel at the USO. That loss to Stan was shocking even though he has always troubled Andy and can play extremely well on a given day. His body language was disappointing although I did get the feeling that he wasn’t feeling well. His passive play didn’t help either. Sometimes you have to fight your way through such matches even when the last place you want to be at is a tennis court. Djokovic did it in the Troicki match and reaped the rewards.

It really is frustrating to see Andy not doing justice to his great talent. He loses his focus way too often for a top flight player and struggles to find the right balance between attack and defense. I think he puts himself under a lot of pressure especially at the slams and I am sure the intense media pressure doesn’t help despite his denials. I get the feeling that he will win quite a few slams once he gets his first one. I desperately hope he can take some cues from the Nadal camp and fix the glitches that are preventing him from truly realizing his undoubted potential. It is about time he lifted his game a notch.

Archer Says:

All this talk of GOAT when as some one above said, time is infinite and therefore there can be no GOAT,
How we move on to a different debate- that of the GUN.
Yep, the Greatest Until Now!!
So who is the GUN?

zola Says:


I agree that it was brave of Federer to appear in the clay finals, knowing there was a big possibility to lose to Rafa. But! he did not go there to lose, he was playing to win and yet he did not. Year after year we read that he had figured out Rafa and knows what to do , etc., and it did not happen. we all knew it was the high bounce to the backhand. Why is it a “natural disadvantage”? Same way that Rafa developed a flat forehand, Federer could have tried a double handed backhand. Djoko is more dangerous for Rafa on clay and he doesn’t have many of fed’s great shots. Federer was convinced his game is good to beat Rafa and it was not. So do not blame Rafa for Federer’s losses on clay.

***however during that same period, nadal was not good enough yet to get to a us open final or AO final to meet federer. if nadal had been there in 2004 – 2007, i believe federer would have beaten him as federer did in their masters cup meetings and their h2h would be more even.***

I disagree. If Rafa could have reached a final, there would always be a 50% chance for him to win. There is no guarantee that Rafa could have lost 7 US Open finals to Federer! In 2008 and 2009 Federer was still playing very well and he still lost to Rafa on grass and hard courts.

contador Says:

you have a good point. rafa could have had a chance to win in that time period of federer’s peak. he certainly ( rafa ) did beat roger on hc. but my opinion is based on federer’s performances during his peak in major events – including their matches at masters cup and wimbledon.

: ) it’s my version of the story, zola. doesn’t make it true.

i just see it that way. but really when i wrote “oh brother” further above, it was a gut reaction to the h2h and goat debates and knew my brain was headed there…..reluctantly.

it’s really more fun imo to think about dimitrov or the upcoming match-ups in both bangkok and malaysia.

curious to see how many of my favorites will do. old faves like kolya and newer ones like dolgo.

and very happy simon won metz today. he sounds like a great family guy!

tennislover Says:


I guess you are referring to the “honest and fair” bit when you talk about pulling the wool. While I agree that it is much more difficult to ascertain honesty, fairness is not all that tough to judge. I understand that we all have our prejudices, inconsistencies, contradictions and double standards and sometimes we are not even aware of them. The only way to judge a poster on a place like a blog is a track record of reasonably plausible and rational/logical arguments…….No need to feel abashed and certainly not about what I feel with respect to the quality of your insight, reportage and observations even though I may not always agree with what you say:)

I didn’t mean to say anything definitive about Delpo’s prospects one way or the other. He could well come back as the same Delpo and improve further. I also think Delpo puts a lot more strain on his wrists as compared to Murray because of the way he hits the ball. In any case, I do somehow get the feeling that Nadal will sort him out too.

As for the young prospect, we haven’t really heard of anybody recently. Dimitrov has been in the conversation for quite a while but he has modeled himself after Federer and that style is not likely to be effective against Nadal. I thought Harrison looked very impressive at the USO. He appears to have all the bases covered in terms of a sound foundation for an all-round game. I hope he can take it to the next level but that is where a lot of these guys get stuck and, at best, go the Monfils/Berdych/Gasquet way in terms of results. The thing about the likes of Federer, Nadal, Djoko, Murray and Del Potro was that they were touted as future number ones at a very young age and, except for Federer, who kept on frustrating the pundits for five years, they achieved some substantial results pretty early in their pro careers. Can’t say the same about any young player at the moment although I don’t claim to know much about the junior ranks. I’d love to be surprised and see some outstanding young talent emerge and realize their potential.

contador Says:

oh yeah. at a disadvantage to rafa’s clay game. it seems rafa was born to play on clay. his footwork on the surface, his speed, his spin…he was master of that surface from before he was born….lol…i dunno.

and federer says he can’t hit a double handed back hand. i believe him – i certainly can’t hit one but it feels great when i connect with my own one handed back hand. i just suck viciously at serving- i feel dementieva’s pain and others on the wta! hehe

maybe federer could have done more but my guess is he was less focused on adapting his game to beat nadal and more just playing his own tennis. hindsight is perfect vision – maybe he would do something different. i kinda doubt it. fed’s pretty fantastic as he is.

yep i don’t think federer ever gave a thought “mindless” about the consequence of having his h2h with rafa held against him. he just motors on….he said when he won the FO that he knew one day he would win it – he just kept putting himself in that place.

nadal will do the same. if he wants to break a record or go for somethingl having to do with tennis, he’ll press on to get it.

that tenacity is what i look for in the younger players. i think delpo might have it. we’ll see. i am just saying because of the way he beat federer to get his GS. delpo admitted months later that he did it with his wrist hurting. really, it does take going into a pain box and coming out a winner, no doubt.

zola Says:

I think it is the nature of the human being to want “more”. When people talk about Federer, seems like they forget that he has won 16, (SIXTEEN!!!) GS titles among so many others. When many players struggle all their career to win just one or two. What he has done is pretty amazing.

I can imagine that all the GOAT discussions and comparisons can be a bit too much, especially when your favorite is not in his best shape.But in reality it does not add or deduct anything from what Federer or Rafa have done.

I tried to say in the above post that really it should not matter to the Fed fans what others say about Federer, because they will always do that no matter what. So enjoy the fact that he is still around and motivated to improve and win more.

I didn’t know Delpo played with his wrist hurting. There you have a champion!

montecarlo Says:

“however during that same period, nadal was not good enough yet to get to a us open final or AO final to meet federer. if nadal had been there in 2004 – 2007, i believe federer would have beaten him as federer did in their masters cup meetings and their h2h would be more even.”

This is such a big joke. Similar case can be made about this year. If Federer was good enough this year he could have reached the finals of remaining two clay masters and F.O., Wimbledon and USOpen where Nadal would have beaten him and H2H would have been 19-7 in Nadal’s favour.

As you said it wasn’t Federer’s fault that Nadal was not reaching HC finals. Similarly its not Nadal’s fault that Federer isn’t able to reach GS finals now. It all evens out man, When Federer peaked and Nadal was young and improving, Nadal was still much better than him on one surface and almost equal on other surfaces. Now I really hope that Federer can keep his side intact and remains competitive on atleast one out of 3 surfaces. I know he can do it. He will win two more slams for sure and make it to 18 but mark my works that H2H will worsen on every surface. He will still beat Nadal on occasions but it will be more like 1 out of every 4 times unlike current 1 out of every 3 times.

Federer is and will remain the Greatest Grand Slam player of All time. He cares only about himself and his Grand Slam Numbers. I know you like that mentality but thanks I will any day take Rafael Nadal’s mentality to play your best whether its a GS Final, A davis cup match, olympics, a Masters, a 250 event first round or even a practice session.

zola Says:

*** i just suck viciously at serving- i feel dementieva’s pain and others on the wta! hehe****

well, I am glad I am not the only one! I broke my opponent’s serve three times but lost my match! Pretty amazing !

margot Says:

tennislover: “it really is frustrating to see Andy not doing justice to his gr8 talent.” Amen to that my friend.
jane: Ed Milliband got it- wheeee!! :) Son of Ralf.

grendel Says:


not exactly, although I certainly take your point about the difficulties of being fair. There’s a radio program called Private Passions in which Michael Berkeley – a composer – talks for an hour to various people (who are generally not musicians) about their musical choices, which he also plays. These people generally have little or no technical knowledge, but they are passionate about music, and Berkeley cleverly draws them out to express what it is that they love about the music in question, and because he is absolutely unpatronising and doesn’t bully them with his knowledge, the result can be a very interesting conversation.

I feel a bit like that here, especially if praised by people who know a great deal about the mechanics of tennis. However, I do think simply by virtue of watching a lot of tennis over the years, one way and another you pick up a fair bit – and furthermore, I do believe that if your interest is high, you can enjoy the display of expertise in most fields just as much as the experts (an exception, say, is something like physics which is impenetrable to someone who isn’t acquainted with the maths).

But the flip side of this is that some things are just beyond the essentially non-playing observer. For instance, I have watched my son struggling to change his service action under the guidance of an incredibly patient coach, who only occasionally yells in frustration, and I understand how subtly complex are the bodily movements. I for one can’t visualise them in memory – I would have to perform them over and over again myself to have any chance of keeping the memory intact; people are amazingly different in this respect, and I suspect that to have the kind of kinesthetic memory involved is largely a matter of talent, it’s terribly difficult to acquire – some people (bastards) seem to pick it up straight away.

So when Zola, for example, says she likes to watch the improvements in players, I can give a qualified agreement. But the fact remains that many improvements, which are not especially dramatic, must be pretty hard to discern if you are not intimately acquainted with the game. And some improvements are kind of illusory. This year, for example, Federer has been smashing pretty effectively, he tends not to put the ball away first time like a lot of players, but places it sufficiently well for that not to matter. But a year or so ago, he was really struggling with the smash, and as for the drive volley…Has he learnt a new technique? Doesn’t seem likely, with something so basic. So what’s going on?

Still, some things are a question of logic, and we can all exercise that.So when montecarlo says:” This is such a big joke. Similar case can be made about this year. If Federer was good enough this year he could have reached the finals of remaining two clay masters and F.O., Wimbledon and USOpen where Nadal would have beaten him and H2H would have been 19-7 in Nadal’s favour.”, this is probably true – but irrelevant, I submit. Because an equivalence is being made between Nadal being “young and improving” and Federer in “decline”. That’s just crude. “It all evens out man”. Neat – but crude. Because where are the measurements? There aren’t any, nor can there be. On the other hand, it is common sense that if two players are roughly equal in ability (whatever that means – how do you compare, quantatively, very different styles?)the one who is 5 years younger is likely, overall, to have the advantage. Tennis is a young man’s game, and the twenty year old Nadal might be thought to have a lot more going for him than the 29 year old Federer.

Meanwhile, even a statement like: ” Nadal was still much better than him on one surface and almost equal on other surfaces.” is questionable. In their great match in Rome, which Federer should have won, Federer looked more talented on clay than Nadal – but as ever, Nadal’s mind was superior. And there were times on the hard when Federer looked hugely superior to Nadal, with Nadal hanging on by the skin of his uber-competitive teeth. No easy conclusions can be drawn here.

“He cares only about himself and his Grand Slam Numbers.” Asked him, have you? Priviliged to special insight? Those of us who are not will note this: the priorities of most players, all perhaps, change as the years slip by. For instance, Federer used to care a lot more for small tourneys, now he is pacing himself – as already we see Nadal beginning to. And so on. As for practice, it is just crazy to imagine that Federer has not worked incredibly hard over the years. There are no short cuts for anyone determined to stay on top for an extended period.

Tran Says:

Why Sampras could have given his fair observation about Nadal’s shot at overtaking Federer’s 16-GS mark, he (And anyone who loves tennis the way it supposes to be: artful, fun, intelligent, …) despises at that thought.

I am not against Nadal as a person but as a tennis player. With him being blah-blah-ed about by news-makers as a perfect type, we will sadly see more and more fly-swatters, moon-ballers, dog-ish retrievers in the future. A despicable future for tennis :-((

zola Says:

You can like any player you want but your liking of a style does not give you the right to insult a player.
Rafa has been praised for his shots, volley, serve, overhead, backhand, forehand by all players. McEnroe says he is the best volleyer.
So insulting Rafa by you doesn’t make him a lesser player, but says a great deal about you. I see that as sour grapes.


interesting analogy about the “Private Passions” program and tennis. I think one reason that tennis or sports in general are so popular is that normal people can relate to it and can express opinion without being an expert. You cannot do that in medicine, law or science.

So fans become a very important part in sports because those are the ones who buy tickets and magazines and TV channels etc. I think we do not need to be professional players to discuss tennis, because what we write is mostly opinion. Although I enjoy reading more technical views such as those by Voicemale 1 , Gordo and now tennis lover.

contador Says:

monte carlo-

you take my words out of context. and it leaves out much and distorts the bottom line of my opinion- but that’s fine, not your fault. i opened myself up to it. i have only myself to thank for getting drawn into h2h or the goat debate

my bad. i was outta time and energy on the subject before i started typing about it last night.

as to roger and rafa, their styles in tennis are so different that it creates a chasm impossible to bridge when the h2h or goat thing comes up.

the best we can do for now is come the totally banal conclusion that we agree to disagree, with all due respect.

and move on…

all in good fun. it’s tennis.

zola Says:

The best we can do is to enjoy this exceptional era. Two greats of tennis at the same time. 2 career GSs in two years! 25 out of the past 30 GS titles, 35 master series titles together….records broken or set one after another…

Even if you are the fan of one, you cannot ignore the other one. Both RAfa and Fed are amazing and I hope for both of them to remain on tour as long as possible.

contador Says:

and geeeez , i missed your last paragraph….montecarlo

you presume to know me? my love of federer’s tennis has nothing to do with a slam total. confusing me with someone else?

second, do you have to get mean about federer? “…he cares only about himself…” you don’t know that. and since you did get nasty there, i’m in a crappy mood and would love to respond in kind but there are too many rafa fans i respect on this forum to do so.

Kimberly Says:

contador–understand taking the high road! I’m a real estate agent and a buyer was one and a half hours late on friday to see a 3m dollar prop. Felt like handing them their ***. Smiled and started giving details of the home.

Everyone–I guess I don’t get whats to fight about. Fed’s awesome. Rafa’s awesome. Can’t they both be awesome even if we prefer one’s playing style or haircut or smile or whatever it is to the other. I’m married to a fed fan and I am diehard Rafa. It’s not something we would ever fight about!!! And my husband isn’t just a fed fan, he would just about root for any player over Rafa with the exception of Roddick (who I actually like, and Murray).

tennislover Says:


I agree that one doesn’t have to be an expert in the technical/mechanical side of it to appreciate the game and make observations. I have myself never touched a tennis racquet and I can not understand, for instance, the technical bits of a service motion and the associated body movements, weight transfer blah blah blah. That is for the coaches and the players. As you said, watching, reading and listening can , over time, make you pick up a fair bit.

Your point about improvements is well taken too. Nadal’s brilliant serving is a dramatic improvement in terms of speed but Federer’s feeling that he got some of his movement back(of course it went away just as quickly) at the AO wouldn’t have been so easily discerned had it not come from the horse’s mouth as it were. His smashes in 2008 were awful but one could see that he had worked on it when he hardly missed a smash in 2009 even when he was way behind the baseline or when the ball was very high. I do know that they do specific drills for movement. Similarly a good technique and lots of practice probably solved the smash issues.

I also agree that the H2H between Nadal and Federer is not as simple as it is made out to be. Federer has had some remarkable spells of tennis against Nadal even on clay. Although not strictly comparable or relevant, one can say the same about the H2h of Davydenko, Roddick, Soderling, Berdych etc against Federer. These guys are nowhere as bad as the H2h would suggest but somehow ended up losing most of their matches against Federer. Sure, Nadal has been very effective against Federer so far as success in the end is concerned but it would be unfair to jump to conclusions about the “better” player overall based on this rivalry alone. Tennis, as I said earlier, involves a wide variety of players/conditions/surfaces……..

I also think it is a young man’s game and it is unfair to compare the challenge posed by a young, upcoming, fresher and hungrier star on the rise to one posed by a player who has about 900 matches in his legs, two kids and who probably is reasonably focused or motivated only at the slams.

So you like Ed because of who his father was or because you prefer him to David? I suspect there’s not much difference between the brothers and I don’t think Ed will distance himself too much from New Labour.

grendel Says:

Zola writes:
” I think one reason that tennis or sports in general are so popular is that normal people can relate to it and can express opinion without being an expert.”

That’s a very good point. Also, the remit is HUGE. What do people get out of watching tennis? (not playing – you can play tennis, enjoy it and be very good at it, and be utterly uninterested in it as a spectacle; I’ve met people like this).

There’s some stupid woman called Alison Graham who has a weekly article in the Radio Times (enormous circulation) and writes all kinds of other tendentious crap in it. One of the things she wrote in it recently was about the sheer boredom induced by watching people endlessly exchanging a small ball over a net – this was her take on tennis. She made it sound like people digging a ditch, filling it in again, digging it back over, filling it and just repeating the process over and over, with never an end in sight. A sort of nightmare of banality.

Whereas in fact, tennis speaks to so much in the human condition. Probably the first thing that strikes you – say you’d never seen tennis before – is the parade of athletic skills before you; physical co-ordination in a variety of contexts; a quickness of eye which can strain credulity, and a precision of placement at a distance which seems to defy physics itself.

However, the novice would look on all this perhaps with wonder, but a certain detachment, too, like watching clever acrobatics. Amazing, certainly, but after a while it gets a bit repetitious doesn’t it, time to move on. But if the novice is patient, he will absorb the fact that there is something going on which you don’t get in a circus, where the thrills are kind of cold and detached from human drama. Because it is drama in the end which hooks the viewer.

When people feel bored by a tennis match, my bet is that this is generally due to the lack of drama, not the poor quality of tennis. Actually, the tennis can be abysmal and still be very exciting.

Everyone loves stories, just not the same ones, and I reckon a tennis match can be like a story. So you’re excited in the anticipation of it, and when it finally starts, you are keenly sensitive to the rhythms. The first few games, with the players sizing each other up, can be like an overture or an introduction, and it’s all generally quite quiet, but you don’t mind that, because that’s all part of the build up process. And then if it’s a good match – a good story – it has several distinct acts, which seem like little islands of their own and yet are crucially interconnected, but in ways which are not quite understood. There can be lulls, false climaxes, anti-climaxes even before the pace suddenly returns and you are shocked out of some distraction you’d somehow fallen into (making a cup of tea, perhaps). The real climax beckons, it’s meaning is not quite certain (if the story is a particularly good one), and you can hardly bear to live through it. You fancy sneaking a look at the back of the book to put you out of your intolerable suspense – and you can even do that these days, in a manner of speaking, by taping the match and fastforwarding. Still, if you watch it live, you are condemned to suffer. You are actually choosing to put yourself through this purgatory. Enjoyment is an odd way to describe what you are feeling, but there’s no doubt that the adrenalin is flowing like nobody’s business – cheaper than whisky and without the hangover. Still, you might argue: what’s a headache compared to having to stomach your hero’s loss?

So tennis – arguably much more than team sports – allows you to identify with another individual. Quite why one should want to do this is one of life’s mysteries, but you only have to look at these blogs to see how ferociously and compulsively large numbers of people (who may have nothing else in common) do it all the time. I suppose it’s a way of vicarious living, of feeling somebody else’s triumph as your own. It’s strange, really, because however much you are aware of the essential absurdity of this kind of transference of feeling, it doesn’t make the slightest difference to how you feel.

Of course, it can get out of hand. If you’re not careful, it can start to take you over. But that’s only to say that some people are vulnerable to these kind of psychodramas. Perhaps they should be x-rated. Perhaps some people should just not be allowed to watch sport, especially tennis, it should be left to those who enjoy leaving reality for a while, suspending sanity even, but are quite capable of shaking themselves back into daily existence with a little shrug and a smile. Can you imagine policing such a thing – in all seriousness, I can envisage something like that happening in 50 years or so.

It’s powerful stuff, no doubt about it. So it can damage as well as elevate. Any worthwhile activity contains an element of risk. Meanwhile, those who say, in response to furious agitation on the blogs and so forth – look, it’s only tennis – are missing the point.

It isn’t only tennis. That’s its power.

drzack64 Says:

no doubt that Lendl is one of the greatest in tennis history. It’s too bad that he squared up against the no 1 then players like Connors, Borg,Mcenroe, Becker & Wilander in the final of the grand slams.He played in 19 finals & won only 8 slams (42%)in relative to Federer’s victory 16 out of 21(76%) & Nadal’s present record of 9 out 11 (82%).
It seems that the main criteria of being the greatest is based on the player’s ability to win more grand slams than anyone else.By right the best barometer to determine who is the greatest player of all time is to combine the number of titles won and grand slam achievement in their entire career.

In this aspect, both Connors and Lendl won more titles than anyone else in tennis history. Connors with 102 titles with his career extended until he retired at the age of 39 and Lendl with a massive haul of 94 titles and forced to retire at the age of 34.
Lendl won US, Aussie, French Titles and just ran short of being twice runner up at Wimbledon.
At the moment based on the slam titles & atp titles amased , Lendl & Connors are the top two.
Let’s see whether Federer and Nadal could get near to them.
Statiscally speaking, Nadal looks more menacing and the potential one to break Roger’s slam record and Connors’ most atp titles held in tennis history.

margot Says:

tennislover: David tainted by Iraq war. Ed not. :) Already said, on Andrew Marr show Sunday am., “era of New Labour” is over. :) Early, early but seems a thoroughly decent man. :)

margot Says:

PS grendel: and these blogs are themselves an almost endless source of fascination..leave alone the tennis…;)

grendel Says:

Number of titles as such (Connors) is, whilst gobsmacking of course, not that relevant in terms of comparison. Lots of little tourneys.

margot: cake and eat it? Ed was Brown’s man, and whilst Brown tried to be Mr.Facing Both Ways, in the end he was forced to back Blair (or accept the consequences in terms of his ambitions). In this respect, David more honest. David – geeky. Ed – smarmy?

grendel Says:


since posting the above, I learnt to my surprise that Ed Miliband didn’t enter parliament till 2005. Therefor I was mistaken, and his opposition to the Iraq war could well have been genuine, probably was, in fact. As for the “smarmy” suggestion, I remember seeing him interviewed on Newsnight 2 or 3 years ago, and that’s exactly how he came across to me then. However, obviously we have seen a lot of him recently, and I have to admit he looks rather likeable. Nevertheless, that teddy bear image must be deceptive. He has, in effect, ruined his brother’s life, and that must have taken considerable steel. There wasn’t much in it in the end, and commentators seem to think that what swung it for Ed was his persistence in renouncing the Blair/Brown era. It was perfectly open to David to have done the same, but something stuck in his craw. A certain honesty, perhaps. But to win, you have to be prepared, on occasion, to be ruthless – so maybe Ed, in the end, will prove a more formidable opponent to Cameron than David.

Apologies to tennisx posters for being so off topic – but this is an old thread, and hardly anyone will read it.

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