Federer, Nadal Lead All Top 20 at Shanghai Tennis Masters
by Sean Randall | October 9th, 2010, 12:44 pm

The 2010 Shanghai draw features all Top 20 ATP players, and that includes World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray. ADHEREL

Nadal and Federer, who missed Shanghai last year, landed on separate halves with the Spaniard drawing Andy Murray in his section and Roger aligned with Djokovic.

Nadal’s quarter run will take him through either Stan Wawrinka or Gilles Simon in his second round, then Jurgen Melzer or Mardy Fish in the third followed either defending champion Nikolay Davydenko or Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals.

The slumping Murray has what appears to be a comfortable path. The Scot will likely open against Radek Stepanek, then run into Nicolas Almagro with a quarterfinal date against JW Tsonga, Mikhail Youhzny or Feliciano Lopez.

In Federer’s section, the Swiss will have to deal with John Isner in the second round, then the struggling Marin Cilic with Robin Soderling in the quarterfinals. The Swede, however, must get through either Andrei Golubev or Janko Tipsarevic at the start then David Ferrer.

Djokovic drew arguably the toughest quarter. The World No. 2 could open against Ivan Ljubicic before meeting Gael Monfils in the third round. In the quarters it could be Tomas Berdych or Andy Roddick. These days it does seem that Roddick is always in the Serb’s section!

Among the many interesting first round collisions are Simon v. Wawrinka, Verdasco v. Thiemo de Bakker, Tsonga v. Lopez, Llodra v. Ferrer, Kohlschreiber v. Roddick and Gulbis v. Gasquet.

The quarterfinals by seed are: 1 Nadal v. 6 Davydenko, 4 Murray v. 8 Youhzny, 5 Soderling v. 3 Federer, 7 Berdych v. 2 Djokovic.

The semifinals by seed are: 1 Nadal v. 4 Murray, 3 Federer v. 2 Djokovic.

Among the notable absentees are Juan Martin Del Potro, David Nalbandian and Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Some early thoughts are that Murray should reach the semifinals. I also think that Djokovic, despite a tough draw, also gets through. Nadal could have some problems in his first match against Simon or Wawrinka, then further issues if Davydenko does meet him in the quarters. The Federer section is also tough to call, but with the Soderling’s form slipping a little bit I think Roger gets out of a tricky quarter.

As for a prediction, right now I’m leaning with Murray and Djokovic getting to the final. And maybe I’ll go with Novak to take home the crown.

The Tennis Channel will have wall-to-wall coverage of Shanghai starting Sunday night/early Monday morning.

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233 Comments for Federer, Nadal Lead All Top 20 at Shanghai Tennis Masters

i am it Says:

Are you copying Federer verbatim, “As for a prediction, right now I’m leaning with Murray and Djokovic getting to the final”?

Not going to happen simply because you predicted.

Fot Says:

I just hope to see Roger win some matches. I have missed seeing him play tennis. As for Murray – heck, I wouldn’t pick him for anything right now because it seems like his confidence is almost at a zero right now and his attitude on court matches it.

As for Djokovic, Nadal, Ljubicic, Ferrer, Monfils – those guys went deep this week (or are still playing), so I don’t know what they will half left for next week. But then again, with Roger haven’t played since the US Open – I don’t know how ‘match-in-tune’ he’ll be.

I must say that Nadal is having an outstanding year but the thing I don’t like about tennis is that in order to keep all your ports, you have to back-up what you’ve done the previous year OR add more points from other tournaments the next year. With Rafa playing a lot of tournaments lately (next week will be 3 in a row, right?) – and with him winning 3 slams and all the major clay court tournaments – and with the possibility that he’ll win the year-end cup this year (especially with him not winning a match last year) – boy, that’s a lot of points to have to defend next year.

I felt that way many years when Roger dominated. I was so happy that he won all those tournaments and slams and year end – then I thought – gee, he’s going to have a heck of a time doing this again the next year. I remember that one year when he reached the final of something like 17 of 19 tournaments. It was great during the year, but anything less than that the next year – well, we lost points.

Maybe tennis needs to do like golf. Have a 2-year point swing. Not a one-year. That’s why someone like Tiger (who did diddley squat) is still ranked #1 in golf. The golf announcer said they count the previous 2 years worth of results in golf instead of just a one-year result like tennis. At least you would have 2 years to defend your points before they fall off.

Oh, and since Nadal nor Roger even played this event last year – that’s more points that will be added to them (if they win rounds).

Seriously – if I were Nadal, once I had #1 locked up, I would have taken off the rest of the year except for those events that you have to play in (Master’s and Master cup)! I mean, what are these points going to do other than make you have to repeat them next year? And 3 hard court tournaments in 3 weeks? Guess he knows what he’s doing.

Oh well – those are just my thoughts. I’m just happy that Roger is playing this event! Now I hope he doesn’t go out in his first match so I can see him more! lol!

dari Says:

Shoot! It came up on me quick I gotta get to the draw challenge ASAP! V

Tim Says:

nadal is a big hypocrite. he complains about the schedule and hard courts but he is playin 3 weeks in a row on hard courts and this is the schedule he made not da atp telling him that he has to play 3 weeks in a row.

mem Says:


i agree!
having to defend points the next year is the drawback in winning tournaments! but i look at this way, you can’t worry about the next year, it’ll care of itself. the smart thing for a player to do is to capitalize on all his opportunities to win as many titles as he can, even if you can’t defend them all the next time. it’s a chance worth taking! titles help to determine a player’s position in history. the bright side is even if a player fail to defend some points, he gets to keep the titles he’s already won!

Ben Pronin Says:

Nadal reached the finals of Shanghai last year and the semis of Paris. Pretty good chunk of points he’s gotta defend there. But he has a LOT to gain at YEC.

Gordo Says:

That is one tough draw for Nadal.

Sean – I question your love for Murray reaching the finals here, especially right now when he himself is in a bit of a slump.

Nice to see all the top guys playing one tournament.

sar Says:

IMO Novak has the worst draw with so many good players. It’s starting to seem like deja vu. It’s always Novak, Roddick and Fed lately.

Ben Pronin Says:

Maybe it’s because all top 20 are playing, but I feel like everyone has a tough draw. Federer can play Isner, Cilic, and Soderling before reaching the semis. Roddick has Kohlschreiber in the very first round. And then he can play Berdych and Djokovic. Murray has Baghdatis, Querrey, and Stepanek, guys who could easily falter but have well suited games to beat Murray. Simon has been playing well and could exhaust Nadal. Fish and Davydenko have the type of game to take Rafa out of his comfort zone. I don’t know. If this wasn’t the fall season, I’d say we’re in for a great event.

grendel Says:

Djokovic has Luby – who’s playing well, so a rough start, but after that it should be playing sailing – Gulbis, for instance, who’s still playing at being a pro; he seems a bit dim, it doesn’t seem to have occured to him that he can still party when he’s 30 but by then it’ll be too late for top flight tennis – and Monfils, if still in, will be in extreme fatigue. And then Roddick. Are those two bound by umbilical cord?

Mind, Roddick has to get past Kohlschreiber 1st round, nasty one. After that, only a sleepy Berdych to worry him till the Serb. Federer has Isner and possibly Cilic. Nice bit of variety for him. Ferrer looms, I suspect, as Sod not liking Ferrer much these days. And then the big ‘un. Djokovic was supposed to have said that Fed plays mind games with his opponents – and you see what he means. Djokovic totally outplayed Federer at the US Open – yet Fed was within an ace of squeaking through. I like it. All sorts of ways of scraping thru and just missing. Assuming they meet, what can we expect? This time, Federer needs,imo, to be a lot more convincing; not to win, necessarily, but at least to look as if he might have deserved to win. That’s the pressure he’s put on himself after that bravura talk.

Murray is an enigma and could in theory easily be beaten in any round. But then again, the whole enigma thing works both ways – or it wouldn’t be enigma. Nadal has it tough as Gordo says. If he and Davydenko meet, Davydenko’s form will be almost as much under scrutiny as Murray’s. After that brief late flaring, is he winding down?

Kimberly Says:

In my opinion Djoko has the worst draw as he does in theory at least every tournament. The guy gets Roddick every single time. His luck has been that the brutal opponents haven’t shown.

Wimby he was supposed to have Hewitt, Roddick, Fed, Nadal. (Roddick and Fed no showed and he lost to Berdy)

USO he was supposed to have Hot Fish (who showed up cold),Roddick (Monfils showed up in Court Hester outfit instead), Fed, Nadal.

RG he was supposed to have Ferrer and Nadal. The Prince and King of Clay.

And Roddick every time, who kind of owns him as of late. When Roddick has shown up Novak has lost. Didn’t see the Monfils match so I don’t know about Andy’s form but he said he was happy with it in his interview. If Andy shows up in form I think Novak very possibly goes out. But Andy has no show potential. I am struggling with this pick in the brackets but leaning towards taking Novak all the way actually.

grendel Says:

” If Andy shows up in form I think Novak very possibly goes out”

Not this time, I don’t think. Djokovic seems to be in prime form. Of course, there is the little matter of the fatigue inducing Ferrer.

Fatigue, lack of form and so on apart, Djokovic and Roddick seem pretty evenly matched. If I was a betting man – used to be actually, but got tired of giving all my money away, what’s the point of saving for months and then blowing the lot in a night’s card playing – ahem, as I was saying when so rudely interrupted by an ejaculation of memory, if etc, then if I was told neither of the two players were particularly in form, but I knew nothing else, I’d go for Roddick. At least you could be sure he’d tough it out. On the other hand, if they were both hitting the ball well, I’d back Djokovic. The reason for that is, his status as #2 does not tell a lie.

Von Says:

grendel: Re the draw and Djokovic always drawing roddick and Fed, well, isn’t that the same scenario for Roddick with respect to Fed and Djokovic??

I don’t see that being a problem for the Joker as he’s ranked No. 2 and is 5 years younger than Roddick. When Roddick was younger and ranked in the top 4, I never saw his draw as difficult, except for Federer, as he usually beat the opponents he’s supposed to beat, but we can’t say the same about Djokovic, can we? I don’t get it when some posters feel the need to stress that Djokovic’s draw is difficult, considering he’s the No. 2 player, and the No. 2 player is supposed to beat those ranked lower than him. Nadal is a prime example of how a No. 2 player is supposed to play vs. lower ranked opponents.

contador Says:


just got home, went straight to look at the shanghai bracket and…

I cannot pick! have you ever had that happen?


Kimberly Says:

do you mean the site won’t let you pick or you are paralyzed.

I don’t love my draw picks.
the very first match i went to pick simon v. wawrinka have never played and couldnt begin to guess.

Right now i have nole beating rafa in the final but not sure. Rafa will be on week 3 of tennis. Nole has a tough draw and has to play roddick who usually beats him but could be a no show.

I took murray out to fetching Feli. With my luck murray will win the tourney.

Kimberly Says:

meanwhile FSU football is screwing up a great lead v. University of Miami and I am non-functional. I stayed up all night watching Nadals match, don’t have much hope for him tonight nut have football woes on top of it. Can’t take back to back rollercoasters.

contador Says:

i am a absolutely stumped, kimberly.

sorry about FSU – but take heart about rafa. i fell asleep last night and missed the close call with troiki. rafa won’t lose this final – er, i guess he would if he a knee was tweaked. in that case, wouldn’t you want him to ease back? he’ll have to conserve something for the upcoming bigger tournaments.

i can’t say his draw looks easy in shanghai.

contador Says:

yeah. i mean, i have my bracket right here but i keep changing and it’s still blank.

speaking of blank, where is blank?! blank, c’mon!

i had djoko beating nadal in the final too. then i took nadal out to wawa thinking simon would be tired and lose to wawa, nadal would win tonight and certainly need to go out early in shanghai, conserving for paris, and WTF.

then i took djoko out to federer, similarly guessing about him after a likely win tonight.

then i put berdych in the final just for kicks and it looked better, lol…aaaaack! going nuts.

Kimberly Says:

FSU pulled it out!

Now ive got Murray going out to youzney

No idea what to do with fed. Or andy roddick

Not good draws for our young up and comers either….dolgo,isthmian etc

And I took Ernie out to gasket first round.

contador Says:

yes, i took ernie out to gas-k initially and my heart screams no!

a little conflict going on with myself here facing some reality : )

gas-k it is. and yeah, i had muzza going out to youz but switched it.

notice there are some good qualifiers, kimberly. what to do? are they going to be filled into their spots in the main draw before time is up?

contador Says:

grendel a betting man?

c’mon, get in the atp shanghai bracket challenge game! doesn’t cost anything and it’s fun.

i don’t know about these guys in shanghai. how many just want the season over? how many really care about the WTF?

are davy, roddick, soda really motivated? it’s tough to know. any thoughts?

contador Says:

what to think of verdasco, hm. he’s a potential bracket killer.

nadal and monfils stream is going to start…

grendel Says:

I think Kimmi mentioned Tennisform for streaming so, after a princely 3 hours sleep, a loud alarm and a groggy head I’ve just gone on Tennisform, noticed Nadal’s broken already – but only score! No livestream despite what it says. Could someone please tell me what I’m supposed to click on to actually see the match?

sar Says:

Grendel, it’s here, after the commercial, http://www.fromsport.com/v-0/6/160/v-76103.html

sar Says:

I pick Novak to win! But I also picked him for USO.
Is anyone staying up to watch Novak/Ferrer? I need sleep but…..

contador Says:

i’ll try to stay up to watch nole v ferrer. i think nole will win tonight but not sure about him going on to win shanghai.

Daniel Says:

Nadal hardly missed any ball tonight. If he keeps winning matches this fast he will have a long career. He is playing way closer to the baseline and Monfils, who doesn’t think on court is predictable for Rafa. Troicki at least had a game plan (go to Nadal backhand all the time and serve big, big, big)!

grendel Says:

Thankyou, Sar. Came in at 5-1, Nadal just won set. Looks like I’ve watched the wrong match (Troicki). This seems to be an exhibition. Still, what an exhibition.

sar Says:

I’ll try too but not sure I can make it. Will tape it in case I pass out.
Even if he doesn’t win Shanghai at least if he defends tonight it will be great for him.

Daniel Says:

One detail: Nadal is playing (winning some cash for a change) as much as he can. He is n.1 and he gets huge appearance fees in this small tourneys. He knows from now on it would be mountain down, He is in the peak of his careers, that Gaussian curve. Plus, we know he is fully helathy when he is playing tourney after tourney. Hwen he feels good, he just play.

grendel Says:

Well, Nadal’s serve again spectacular, but that forehand is just out of this world. Remember Agassi standing at the back, moving his opponent around – Nadasl is doing same only 10 times more lethally so far as I can see

contador Says:

i have djoko going out to federer now in my bracket. i keep changing it but i think i’m down to 10 more minutes to and the challenge game closes!

this is terrible…

i have no idea this time.

going to pick murray now for shanghai. :o

Ben Pronin Says:

So Nadal has a semi and a soon-to-be win in 2 straight weeks. Next week should be significantly tougher being a Masters but Nadal should still be expected to go deep. So that’s 3 straight weeks of roughly 15 matches on hard courts. Is this what Nadal and his camp call a smarter schedule?

Daniel Says:

Late return

ADTHE.net will also have Djokos match later.

Follow the link:


contador Says:

monfils has relaxed some. it’s more of a match now.

i have nadal losing in the quarters in shanghai. ( based on a smarter schedule guess )

grendel Says:

Nadal is doing to Monfils’ doublebackhander what he does to Fed’s single bh – pretty awesome. But Monfils seems to be playing into Nadal’s hands. Remember how we used to criticise Nadal for standing right back. Well, not today, and Monfils is right back – always on defence. Nadal is now definitely a great fast hard court player. Still, good getoutr by Monfils from 0-30 down. Some nice sneaking in and adroit at net.

grendel Says:

Monfils trying to be more agressive. Not easy

grendel Says:

great serving by Monfils. He’s got a real trying hard look on – none of that showmanship.

Daniel Says:


“Remember how we used to criticise Nadal for standing right back.”

He develop an instinct (just like Fed) where he is hitting the ball on the rize, adding his crazy spin, changing directions and keeping the ball deep, the whole Agassi like combo.

Daniel Says:

Well Agassin didn’t have the crazy spin!:)

Daniel Says:

What’s wrong with Monfils soap foot?! He just loves touching the court doesn’t he?

Sean Randall Says:

…And the showman returns!

Daniel Says:

Monfils doesn’t know how to hit a backhand slice, nor even a forehand slice as the last point showed.

margot Says:

Nadal’s impressive though isn’t he, power, accuracy, speed, match intelligence, phew, he is now the whole package on hard.

contador Says:

he’s so entertaining! monfils yay.

Daniel Says:

Nadal made afull of himself. Monfils asked him if the serve was good and Nadal said it was out. aMonfils challenged and it was in, Akward moment.

grendel Says:

Nadal puts finger up immediately to say serve out. Monfils challenges anyway, serve in. Wry look from Nadal. Repeat next serve – but this time. Nadal concedes. Monfils in trouble, but served his way out. One thing strikes me, Monfils will hit a big, but not humongiously big fh, and Nadal niot just get it back, but bacj diffcult – so already he has iniative. Monfils has the weapons – no doubt, but he hasn’t quite understood he’s got to give it everything against the Spaniard. Too many years of passive counterattack. I’m of the belief, though, that Monfils can change this.

grendel Says:

Nadal breaks, will serve for match. Monfils did an inexplicable shot – iniative with serve, and just does some nothing thing into net. Next – net chord. Then laast shot, not sure whether miracle play from nadal or fluke. Anyway, that’s it.

Daniel Says:

What the f… was this slice return?! Nadal wins 3 strange points: one short retunr which Monfils missed oddly; a forehand touched the net and hurt Monfiols and now this slice passing retunr.
Stars aligned for him..

Daniel Says:

Congrats Nadal for his 43rd title, and finally winning an ATP hard court title (Grand Slams doesn’t count, weird to say this!:)).

If he focus on London YEC we can still have an exciting final of the year. Not having a race for n.1 kind of takes some sparkle off the season.

margot Says:

Humph!! Not worth getting up early 4 that one was it grendel? However, I believe you live “up North” where day and night has now merged so suppose doesn’t matter so much for you ;)
I think next final will hopefully be much more exciting. See u then, back to bed for me:)

grendel Says:

don’t think, Sean, that was showman – it was outstanding volley from Nadal and Monfils was doing his level best to get it – questionable whether he should, I suppose, in terms of injury. I enjoyed that set. Nadal awesome, but Monfils wasn’t out of it. If he keps working at it, he can start to trouble anyone.

Daniel – thanks for link. One Sar gave me suddenly stopped working, no idea why, and then I saw yours! Yes, I thought of Agassi – but as you say, Agassi plus spin. What a combo!

grendel Says:

Margot, I only really caught second set – but I enjoyed that. Wish it cld have gone on longer. Well, Yorkshire’s not north Scotland, you know. Still pitch black…(but I realise for you Southerners, anywhere north of Watford Gap is getting close to Siberia….)
Daniel, how many hours from now is Djoko match? I put it like that so I can just add onto now (6.46 a.m in England).

grendel Says:

oh, last thpought before attempt to grab a bit of shuteye – did anyone else think Monfils’ headband looked like protectiveheadband – so he looked like a boxer?

Sean Randall Says:

grendel, I was referring the point (3-all I believe) when Nadal had a smash and Monfils went running at him and lept in the air.

Name a legendary tennis player that would do that? None. Monfils has the game but mentally he just doesn’t seem interested/committed to put the work in both mentally and physically to became a great player. That exhibition during that point was, however entertaining, sad proof…

Huh Says:


Cool down! ;)

montecarlo Says:

Nadal’s backhand was slightly better today. It was pathetic against troicki. He had no confidence with two hander yesterday.

Its so scary to think that Nadal won USO and now this tournament hitting his backhand only like 30% of what he was hitting in 2008.

One good thing about Monfils is he gets lots of balls back and matches against him are best possible practice session for Nadal. Now Nadal will walk out of this tournament relatively fresh, having little more confidence in his backhand and registering his best Return of Serve performance of 2010. Monfils 1st serve was 90% but after a long long time Nadal had a good returning game today.

Also another plus for Nadal is that he has already defended his last years Shanghai final points as a result of Thailand and Japan so he can even think about tanking at Shanghai now to get some rest.

Huh Says:



I have never thought of Rafa as better than Fed, quite d contrary rather; so no question of being jealous about either Rafa or least of all, you!
So again, calm down. :D

Vulcan Says:

A solid win for Nadal on a FAST hardcourt.

Thomas Says:

Nice win for Nadal over the clown la monf. Real shame monfils is a nutcase mentally..

mat4 Says:

@montecarlo: I think that Rafa’s backhand was the key factor at the USO. I hit it flat and deep, and his slice was excellent.

LaMonf has all the element needed for greatness, except brain. And it is not gonna change. Pity.

mem Says:


i read your comments a couple days ago about your
“transformation” from a narrow-minded fan to an open-minded fan. judging from your recent comments about us ” jealous nadal worshippers”, i can see that the “change” was short-lived and you’re are officially back to who you really are.

just thought i’ll remind you! it’s all good!

grendel Says:

I missed the incident Sean alludes to. But in general, my feeling was that Monfils had more of a serious face on. Look at it this way, he’s always been an entertainer/exhibitionist. You can bet Rasheed is trying to change that, and Monfils presumably accepts this, or he wldn’t continue with him. But how do you change deeply ingrained habits? Not easy. And definitely not all at once. I gave up cigarettes at least ten times before I cracked it – as the saying went, giving ciggies up is easy, do it all the time. Yep, my feeling is Monfils is beginning to realise he can live with the really big boys and even beat them. but he’s got to radically alter that attitude. Don’t think it’s impossible, but patience, patience.

guy Says:

sean says
‘Monfils has the game but mentally he just doesn’t seem interested/committed to put the work in both mentally and physically to became a great player. That exhibition during that point was, however entertaining, sad proof…’

i agree totally. and that’s why monfils will always have fans but he will never inspire fans/juniors like nadal does.

margot Says:

Wow! Djko out of the staring blocks very quickly and goes 3-0! Wow again!

margot Says:

Djko now helping to dry the court :) :) Don’t yer just love him??
Rain delay again after 16 minutes in. 3-1

Catherine Says:

If anything, I hope I will never again hear Nadal complaining about the HC scheduling…

Skeezerweezer Says:

Congrats to Rafa. Chronic knee issues of the past are miraculously gone, zippo, nada. That is some recovery this year with 3 slams, and all this HC play. Vamos Rafa!

grendel Says:

“monfils will always have fans but he will never inspire fans/juniors like nadal does.”

maybe. but what if Monfils manages to transform his attitude to get the best out of his tennis?That will be heroic – you’re starting from such an unpromising base, proof: most people reading this will shake their heads, no chance they’ll say. Sometimes, though, heavy odds are defeated. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, ’cause he’s a terrific talent Monfils, why give up on him? i believe poor Coria’s coach gave up on him – Coria just wouldn’t put in the work, but the evidence suggests Monfils would like to harness his native ability and is beginning to understand it needs a helping hand from – him.

margot – this tennis streaming stuff is driving me nuts. Thank God Shanghai’s on proper telly. Sometimes, one must temporise with the devil, you know (Murdoch). In any case, you can hardly call skysports a money spinner – I think it’s a genuine public service. Money comes from elsewhere. Wicked old world.

Kimmi Says:

bracket challenge people. yesterday i came back home and realise have only 2 hrs left, omg panic…is was a big rush to get it done, but i did..phew

lets see how it goes. .

rain rain and more rain in beijing..

Kimberly Says:

kimmi-9 am 0 for 2 so far. Should have picked Dolgo. I always mess up with Almagro.

So is this final delayed another day. Its got to be late there yes? And WTA final supposed to play too?

Kimberly Says:

Congrats to Nadal on first 500 title of the year.

margot Says:

grendel: can’t let u get away with that comment. Sky has stolen British sport! U can’t watch rugby/cricket Ashes etc now unless u subscribe to Murdoch’s coffers. We won’t, so have tennistv which suits.
Wait for Sky to steal Wimbledon, u heard it here first…:(

margot Says:

conty: just read back and see you’ve picked Andy M! Yikes girl, he’s my favourite player but I wouldn’t pick him to win the egg and spoon at the local junior school at the mo.
Besides, Sean’s jinxed him already ;)

contador Says:

yeah. when i came home last night i thought i had 8 hrs to pick – the bracket challenge had said when it opened, “closes sunday morning ET.”

turned out by “morning” they meant 1 am! by the time i got serious i had 45 minutes left!

i messed up nadal’s draw miserably! i was not intending to pick him to win shanghai but had him going out in quarterfinal not early to WAWA! it was not intentional to leave him losing to wawa and wawa going so deep. at one point i had a wawa – federer final just for fun. i guess i corrected the bottom half and hit ok / save but did not do the same when i changed my picks for nadal. oh well.

wawa can be a tough opponent for nadal but that wasn’t a serious pick. i have been caught changing and not hitting “save” before but never this bad. the end.

Skeezerweezer Says:


Lol on your 11:10am post :).

contador Says:


if you read my post -11:14 am, it is a true story. i screwed up.

i actually meant to have andy murray winning in a murray federer final a la toronto. but each time i fill in a bracket, i like to make a “dream” bracket, look at it, then change it back to something more likely to succeed. an all swiss final is nuts! federer winning is what i have. federer winning isn’t out of the question but i was thinking, it’s muzza’s time to step on the gas- like what happened after LA last summer.

i got caught with half of my pants down. they locked the brackets about 7 hours before i thought they would.

sheila Says:

nadals going 2win. there is absolutely no other player who can challenge him

grendel Says:

well, at least if Sky steal Wimbledon that will be the end of Andrew Castle (every horror story has its upside – besides, if Murdoch weren’t there, who would people have to gnash their teeth at? can’t tell me nowt about that, ’cause I used to be one of ’em; eventually, I stopped caring; whoever had the coffers, an’ there were plenty from all over, it weren’t me).

contador Says:

i would say: it’s time for nadal to give it a rest and not “pig out” every tournament.

his doctor advised him to be smart about the schedule, the knees, and not jeopardize other body parts. i was picking against him based on compliance. it’s not about picking against him per se. i think he can win anything atm. scheduling is his main opponent.

seems for someone like nadal, pulling from a tourny might be easier than trying not to go all out in one.

Huh Says:


It’s all good here as well. :D
And don’t worry, Rafa’s not stressing over Fed, it’s another thing that Toni Nadal makes Nadal see the video of Fed and learn things from Fed as much as he can. Not that it takes anything away from Nadal. Nadal’s already become so great by now(and he’s gonna becom even greater!) that you or me doing thousand bickering beween ourselves won’t change a thing about him. So all you need to do is to forget that you alone are a Nadal fan, others too are. I myself have always been a Nadal admirer though not a fan, you not believing won’t change it, as I always admire the greatests n their respective fields, be it in game or music or football! So instead of accusing me of calling you a Nadal worshipper at this point(which I did not in the previous blog, I rather saw the Fed-hating Rafa worshippers in guy and Fedend), you should ask me about my intention or perception with regards something, if you want to. I won’t hack you to death, if you do so. Till then, keep your cool and enjoy Nadal’s good times instead of focusin your energy on making me Mr.Congeniality de Tennis-X. Have a good day and may both of our guys shine!

Huh Says:




zola Says:

Highlights of Tokyo final with Monfils’s jump a the net at 2:46. I don’t know what he was attemting to do. To hit a tweener at the net?


The semi against Troicki was a much better match. Troicki had a game plan and executed it perfectly. As Rafa said himself, he was lucky to win it.

The final was entertaining, but just that.

****Congrats Nadal for his 43rd title, and finally winning an ATP hard court title (Grand Slams doesn’t count, weird to say this!:)).****

You probably mean for this year because Rafa has many hard court titles. (Dubai, Madrid, Toronto, IW,…)

Vulcan Says:

I think he was attempting to have a little fun and maybe make the crowd laugh…the point was lost anyway so it was a perfect time to do it.

zola Says:

As far as the schedule goes, I too think it is crazy to play three week back to back. I think part of it is commitments and part to get ready for the YEC. Rafa builds up momentum by playing and winning matches.


Rafa does not need to defend all these points next year. Just as many as necessary to keep him in the top positions. He will remain number 1, even of he loses all his matched from now to the end of the year. SO I am not concerned.I think he is trying to have a good season.

zola Says:

he did something like that in the US OPen ( I think in the match against Djoko) , attempting to hit a tweener!

he also tried to dive ( on a hard court) and injured his elbow. You had to see the look on Roger Rasheed’s face!

Vulcan Says:

Zola, yeah I remember the one at USO…on that one he basically pissed the point away. He can definitely do some wacky stuff on the court but I have to admit that I always look forward to watching his matches…he likes to have fun and its contagious..the guy has explosive speed and when he’s on (think back to the first set of his USO match against Nadal) he is absolutely lethal.

mem Says:


it’s a pity monfils is throwing away his talent and blowing opportunities to win titles and to boost his ranking. he’s not getting any younger and i fear that when all is said and done, he will struggle with regret. he believes in having fun and playing to the crowd and that’s fine, but it’s not good for the concentration. it can negatively affect the mentality, particularly, decision-making and focus during matches. i would love to see him do better, but it doesn’t appear that he is willing to do what is necessary! too bad!

contador Says:

well, margot and grendel- i am not trying to “curry” any favor with the brits here by picking murray…

it did feel crazy picking him but when there isn’t any money involved, only a bracket challenge and no hope of winning a prize, i say what the heck. i’m tired of nadal winning at this point. djoko might very well win back to back beijing and shanghai…

and i forgot to save the pick anyway so i have federer and murray in the final and federer winning not murray.


that’s my poor bracket. makes it even more fun when the qualifiers are unknown.

just when i stop picking dolgo he wins a match, i see. and i can’t stop picking cilic. i keep hoping he comes to life.

please get in the tennisxfan group for paris!

margot Says:

conty: grendel doesn’t particularly like Andy and I love your wacky posts whatever :) think Djko is de man at de mo. BTW
Yes, remind me to “do” Paris, USOpen was fun, though impossibility for me of not going with heart means I am rubbish ;)

contador Says:


you will like the atp 1000 bracket website. it’s more contador-friendly than the tennischannel one where i inadvertently had 3 martian brackets by simply trying to join kimberli125’s group.

and one of my brackets had murray winning. i should not pick murray.

gas-k over gulbis . i hope i am wrong!

Skeezerweezer Says:


WTF? U pickin Gas k over wild thing ? Your not betting with your heart?? That just wrong :) Lol….

Skeezerweezer Says:


You devoted a while post to another player for once. Kudos to you. You CAN talk tennis :)

contador Says:


you are on my blacklist. :/ i see you did not get your butt in the game in time…

so i picked federer for you anyway – unintentionally.

blank got in but i don’t see dari. c’mon!

and what are you doing laughing at me for picking muzza? he’s gonna win shanghai. have a look at my bracket. revenge for wawa and well, supposedly another masters win over dear federer. meanwhile federer gets one over nole in the process for the us open. it’s a good story… ; )

all hinges on one thing. nadal goes out to wawa or even less likely, melzer, davy or verdasco! LOL..

contador Says:

hey, i thought grendel was a murray fan. i read him as “leaning” that way. once?

as for happy bandwagons – i will try to jump on a dimitrov stream this week. he’s in the rennes, france challenger.

go grigor!

blank Says:

Hi contador,

So it’s back to the brackets. Let the games begin! Oh…well, I am late. It already started.

zola Says:

all you said and perhaps more could be seen on Roger Rasheed’s face. I think he doesn’t know how to control Monfils’s energy. Monfils is fast and athletic and has great shots. He is very charismatic and very likable. He has given Roger and Rafa some difficult matches in the past.

grendel Says:


my younger son, who takes violent likes and dislikes to players – he absolutely adored Moya when he was only 8 or 9, and for a long time couldn’t forgive Verkerk, not so much for beating Moya at RG (though that was certainly a big black mark) but because after winning a point Verkerk suddenly started roaring and squared right up to Moya, shaking his fisted arm like one demented. It was only after me and his elder brother repeatedly pointed out the sublime comic potentialities in Verkerk that the lad forgave him – took about two years. Verkerk just faded from sight, after reaching RG final (Ferrero beat him). Pity. Anyway, young Jack took an instant and huge dislike to Murray, I was never quite sure why (he hated Federer, but that was because Fed beat all his favourite players), his hatred for Murray – when he comes on telly, he more or less has to leave the room – has always been visceral and barely intelligible. I’ve tried arguing him out of it, without success.

This seems to have rubbed off on me a bit, not that I hate Murray, but I am cool to him. Whereas when he first started out, I used to watch his progress with great eagerness – here at last was a Brit who could play, and furthermore, had a very interesting game. I likened him to Mecir in my mind, and I always liked Mecir.

You see, whereas sons are generally influenced by their fathers, other way round with me. I have no backbone, whereas Jack is about as stubborn as it is possible to be (just like Murray…)

Tell you who I do like – Dimitrov. So I hope you’ll keep us all posted as to how he gets on the next challenger.

contador Says:

hi blank!

i am looking at your bracket. that’s one smart looking one. i see you didn’t go with dolgo either. kimmi and kaiser got it right, strange enough.

and i see you have a weakness for picking cilic too.

i think chardy will beat baghdatis. wish we could have seen where the qualifiers were slotted. oh well.

matches start in shanghai at 4 am my time. wrong time for me.

good luck to your picks!

blank Says:

Thanks contador.

I have a weakness for picking Federer and Cilic, no matter how many times they fail me :-)

Good luck to your picks too!

mem Says:


i surprised myself! i do that sometimes. being a nadal fan doesn’t make me spiteful toward other players. i’m able to do both; support nadal and wish others players well in the process. i understand this is just a competition with its’ ups and downs. every player is worthy of respect and merits recognition if he earns it. i enjoy watching many players, i just don’t feel an overpowering need to announce it to the world everyday. you guys do enough of that for everybody! that’s your thing, not mine! make no mistake, nadal is and will always be the greatest player i’ve ever seen; sorry, if that’s boring and not to your taste! anyway, you didn’t disappoint, i knew you would jump at the chance to point that out to me! i can count on you to be observant, you did good!

Kimberly Says:

i however, am 0 for 2 so far. Not happy.

And wondering why I didn’t pick Nadal to win (i took him out to novak in the final)? Hello. You can’t have a bigger Rafa fan, if there is ever a time to pick him to win tourneys its now. But I wanted to do well and my gut said Novak was the pick.

Grendel, I’m not fond of Murray but my husband feels similar to your son about both Andys (i kind of like the american one).

contador Says:


been watching pro cycling ( can’t believe it’s on ! ). was trying to hear what the TDF commentators/experts had to say about the latest on contador.

sometimes i have a tennisx page up on my laptop ( while otherwise distracted ) so long before i “submit” comment that i miss posts. or lately i fall asleep and miss posts.

i don’t remember ververk and mecir – have to look them up.

but i like the story about your son. i didn’t like murray’s on court demeanor when i first noticed him but with all the media pressure he has to endure, i have a soft spot for him, and hope he finds his GS form and wins a GS. if roddick cannot get his form back to make a bid for wimbledon, i hope murray wins it in 2011. what a huge celebration in the UK!

my father watched tennis but i couldn’t be bothered to watch it. (would rather play) my dad pointed out federer in 2002. dad died that year but had said federer was one to watch. i watched wimbledon the next year and have been hooked on federer and watching tennis ever since.

nadal is the only one i have trouble watching. he bugs me in so many ways. this is his time in tennis and have to remind myself how incredible his achievements. many nadal fans do not make it easier to like him but there are some of them who post here and out of respect for them, keep me from elaborating on why i don’t like him.

i think tom gainey promised the dimitrov updates from rennes. i’ll remind him if we don’t get one!

blank – go federer and cilic!

jane Says:

Hey y’all. Hope everyone’s brackets are shaping up. Haven’t had a chance to do one or even look at the draw. Very happy Nole made the final in Bejing; hope he wins! Also congrats to Rafa and his fans for his Tokyo win; he’s on a roll!! I guess Troicki made a good match of the semis but I missed it.
margot- special “hello” back to you since I’ve not “seen” you of late. Fingers crossed for Andy M; checked his site last week and he says he’s taking his time on the coach thing. Makes sense not to rush in. Good for him.

Kimberly Says:

When does novaks match start. Everyone please excuse my many spelling errors in days to come. Got a new iPad.

Any news on cycling contador

Von Says:


Just read your post. Thanks for your thoughtfulness — it’s appreciated.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing that can be done about the Roddick bashing from those you designated as the “self-styled moral police” — it seems that some enjoy that sort of stuff, or else it would have been stopped. I come into the bashing as it seems that whatever Roddick gets, I’m at the receiving end of it also, in a worse way, e.g., character assassination, if I dare speak up in his defense. Have you ever wondered why there aren’t any vocal Roddick fans around? The answer is simple — they all left, as no one wants to read this kind of degradation of their fave on a continuous basis. It blows my mind re those who claim they like Andy, but stoop to call him names, e.g., jerk, nasty, et al. and, it’s not like their faves are perfect.

Enjoy, Shanghai, if your schedule permits the time to watch the matches. I don’t hold much hope for Roddick as he’s got a tough opener with Kohls and his draw as a whole. The mono doesn’t help either. He looked absolutely exhausted at the end of his match vs. Monfils, and I think he ran out of energy during the middle of the tiebreak, which he should have won as he was leading.

Take care Huh, and here’s hoping for better days for both of our faves.

zola Says:

The Beijing final starts at 11:45 am local time. I think around midnight ET.

Mindy Says:


I am not sure exactly what your point is about Rafa playing in three straight hardcourt tournaments. Might I remind you that two of them are mandatory? I would have preferred to see Rafa skip Bangkok, but he was clear about his desire to keep his promise and show up now that he is health enough to do so.

In one post, you mentioned that Rafa has a “good chunk” of points to defend, given that he reached the semis last year in the China Open and the finals at Shanghai. He has already successfully defended and exceeded his points by winning at Tokyo and making the semis at Bangkok. He only has 600 points to defend at Shanghai. If he gets through to the finals or wins, that would be another great win to add to an incredible year for him. If he doesn’t make it and loses some of his points, then what’s the big deal? He has an enormous lead in points. Rafa is the one player who is not actually playing for anything when it comes to ranking or points.

I am of the belief that Rafa is feeling it now and wants to play. This is his time. He is fit and healthy, playing outstanding tennis on the fastest hardcourts, the ones that have been his undoing in the past.

Rafa has already demonstrated that he is capable of being smarter with his schedule. In case you forgot, Rafa came to Toronto and Cincy not anywhere near peak form. He had to take a few weeks off for the knee treatments and couldn’t even practice. He essentially had to play himself into form in the USO, which he successfully managed to do. It’s not like he has been killing himself playing on hardcourts for months.

What is important to me is HOW he is playing on these fast hardcourts. His game is much more efficient, thanks in large part to that big serve. He isn’t out on court for hours in every single match, grinding it out from the baseline. He has fundamentally changed his game and is no longer playing clay court tennis on hardcourts. Since you and others have been complaining endlessly about that in the past, I would think that you might give him some credit for being able to adapt to an entirely different approach on hardcourt.

However, then I forget to whom I am speaking. I don’t think that you need to try to stoke the flames and passions of the anti-Rafans on this site. After Shanghai, Rafa will be taking time off to rest in preparation for the year-end tournaments. For now, why don’t you get off his back!

zola Says:

Great post.

I don’t get the fuss about Rafa defending points either. I don’t remember anyone worrying about Federer defending points in his time!

Rafa was declared the year end number 1 after US Open. Therefore he doesn’t need to defend any of his points in Shanghai. I think he is playing to build momentum for the YEC in London.

Ben Pronin Says:

I was just pointing out Nadal has points to defend. I haven’t done any math regarding the points he just earned. It makes zero difference considering he’s already clinched the number 1 ranking. It was just an observation.

As for the schedule. Where has he proven he can be smarter? By playing Toronto and Cincy? What exactly did that prove? When was the last time he played something besides those two leading into the US Open?

Also, all he has to do is prove it once and he’s free to make stupid decisions again? I’m surprised that fans of his aren’t more concerned. He’s “feeling it”? That’s why it’s ok? What if he gets injured again? He’s playing to build fatigue for the YEC in London.

steve-o Says:

“He has fundamentally changed his game and is no longer playing clay court tennis on hardcourts.”

The difference is he’s hitting with even more spin and keeping the ball closer to the baseline. There’s no “different approach” or “fundamental change.” The change is in quantity, not quality.

He needs the speed to run down every ball, because he doesn’t have the natural court sense needed to anticipate where the ball heads next, and he needs power to muscle through the ball and consistently hit such heavy spin from such defensive positions. The serve, too, is a question of power. If there is a slight dip in either power or speed, then he has problems, as he had at the end of last year.

Mindy has it totally wrong: he IS playing clay court tennis on hardcourts. Just clay-court tennis with far, far more power behind it than any previous player has ever done.

The thing I don’t get is: the Nadal fans claim that winning is the only thing that matters. Then they insist that other people think of Nadal in a certain way.

But by their own stated values, isn’t what others think completely superfluous? Isn’t the trophy all that matters?

Everyone here gives Nadal credit for winning three straight majors and the career Slam, which is an amazing accomplishment–so what if others don’t agree on these questions of aesthetics or style? What Nadal does wins matches–isn’t that all that counts with his fans?

There’s something else eating those like Mindy, some inchoate feeling that people are jealously withholding from Nadal some additional degree of legitimacy beyond that obtained by winning titles. But that’s all the legitimacy he, or anyone else, has any right to expect.

And like I said, the Nadal fans explicitly deny that there is any other kind of legitimacy besides the kind obtained by winning. So why are they demanding something that, by their own principles, doesn’t even exist?

Mindy Says:


Please give me a break! You could care less about Rafa. You can’t stand him, even accused him of doping, for heaven’s sake! Now suddenly you are showing concern for his precious knees?

Let’s see here. Rafa skipped Barcelona and adopted a one week on, one week off approach leading up to RG. Then Rafa took more time off after Wimbledon, getting more treatments for his knees.

What would you have him do – go into the USO without ANY preparation in a warmup tournament at all? He got to the semis in Toronto, that’s four matches. Then he got to the quarters in Cincy, that’s three matches. It wasn’t enough to even get him into peak form for the USO, but Rafa being Rafa, he was able to survive the early rounds and manage to peak in the second week.

He is NOT making stupid decisions! If you want to give an opinion, then you should find a better way of saying it. However, again I must remember to whom I am speaking. Your dislike of Rafa has been well documented.

Rafa gets to decide when/if he plays. He works with his doctor and team and then they work out the schedule. If Rafa wants to play, then let him play!

You can try to ridicule the way I put it, but the simple fact is that it’s the truth! Yes, he is feeling his game right now. He has the rare opportunity to actually play in the fall season. Normally, he is too beat up or the knees are worn out. He has something he wants to accomplish. So let him do it!


I agree with you about getting ready for YEC. As opposed to Ben, we actually know that Rafa needs to play enough to be in good form. He is a rhythm and timing player and long layoffs will cost him. He is trying to juggle his needs as a player with the needs of his knees.

He is taking a rest after Shanghai. However, I am confident that Ben will continue to find new reasons to trash Rafa. It’s what he does.

Ben Pronin Says:

Interesting, steve-o. I’m no sure what I can say about the credit Nadal gets and whatnot, but I agree about the way he’s been playing. I wouldn’t say he lacks any court sense, though. It’s not like he guesses where to run, he just happens to run after everything. He won the US Open, no, he dominated at the US Open playing clay court tennis. I haven’t seen any of his recent matches but I’d expect he isn’t playing any different, maybe worse or better, but not different.

Kimberly Says:

Mindy, sola,Ben

Other than troiki nadals matches were pretty short and sweet. But frankly I am stunned that he is playing three weeks in a row. But I think he’s eager to use the new serve some more and he seems to be enjoying himself. However, I have concerns and for once i wouldn’t be gutted if his run in shanghai wasn’t that deep. He doesn’t need the points. He really does not have anything of any significance until April. I’m sure he can gain points by April even to take someressure off defending.

If he stays healthy, Indian wells is a good tourney for him, slow harcourt, I’m surebhe can improve on zero points at WTF, only qf at ao and then played no tourneys between iw and ao.

Mindy Says:


I see that the bad feelings haven’t subsided since our last confrontation. You are free to say what you like, however, do not pretend to think or speak for me. I am more than capable of doing that for myself, thank you very much.!

So now we have heard from our house expert here on the state of Rafa’s game on hardcourts! Since when did you become such an expert on all things Rafa? Your innate bias and dislike for him makes you incapable of objectively judging how he is playing.

What gets me is how people like you have been whining for years about Rafa just being a grinder, waiting for his opponent to make the first mistake, blah, blah, blah. Now that he isn’t doing it anymore, you are still singing the same tune, with some minor changes.

I am not fond of others psychoanalyzing me or deciding if I have some kind of inchaote feeling about Rafa. You are pretending to know what I think and who I am and, to be perfectly honest, you don’t have a clue!

You are making a straw man argument. You are also telling Rafa fans, in particular me, what is and is not important to us. If your comment that winning is all that matters wasn’t so utterly laughable, it would be more than insulting!

Rafa fans have watched their player being written off earlier this year because his knees were supposedly gone, he was washed up, done, would never win again! Yet now we have you here to tell us that the only thing that matters is winning. I think you are a spiteful Fed fan who is ready to go off the deep end because you can’t handle the fact that Rafa has made history with these wins. He didn’t JUST win three slams, he managed to accomplish what Rod Laver did forty one years ago, only he did it on three surfaces. If it was easy, then somebody would already have done it!

You spew out poison and character assassinate Rafa fans out of pure ignorance. Do not presume to speak for me. If I want someone to speak on my behalf, the last person I would choose is you.

It’s interesting that you talk about winning being the only thing, as the Rafa fans have been expressing their concerns about him playing in back-to-back tournaments. The knee issue is always in the back of our minds, but you would never understand that.

Ben now has company with another Rafa hater going off on another illogical rant. To make such ridiculous and absurd statements about Rafa fans and pretend that it is the truth, is hubris and arrogance of the highest order.

Kimberly Says:

New iPad, horrendous typing sorry, I meant zola

sar Says:

Nole starting out good!

Ben Pronin Says:

I can dislike Nadal all I want, it doesn’t change the fact that I still follow him.

“He has the rare opportunity to actually play in the fall season.”

Rare? He played 4 events in the fall last year, only 1 less than he’s scheduled to play last year. Yeah, he really missed out.

Two things:
1) As a matter of fact, I am concerned about Nadal’s knees and health. He’s the undisputed number 1 in the world. Federer forced Nadal to absolutely dominate to get the number 1 ranking. I would like Nadal, and I expect him, to force the next number 1 to do the same. If Nadal was losing points because of skipped events, then a default and undeserving player could become number 1. Both Murray and Djokovic got to number 2 because of Nadal’s injuries. Neither one fully deserved the ranking. Although I do believe that Djokovic has earned it back legitimately, he had it for a long time without ever validating himself.

2) Why aren’t you more concerned? You DO like Nadal. Is it more valuable to you, as a fan, for Nadal to win Tokyo and make the semi of Bangkok or to remain fresh and win a Masters or 2 and the WTF? I personally don’t care what Nadal wins, I just want him to show up at the events that really matter so that no one can say “He wouldn’t have won if Nadal was there.”

Mindy Says:


Of course you are going to join forces with the Rafa haters like steve-o. So Rafa is playing clay court tennis and still managed to win the USO? Yes, by all means, let’s forget about that serve, you know, the one that let Rafa boom sixteen aces to help him survive against Troicki. Yes, definitely an example of the same old clay court tennis.

Then we can completely ignore Rafa’s superb net game and great volleying. Just ask John McEnroe! Oh, I’m sorry, he doesn’t know what he is talking about. He is only of the truly great serve and volleyers in tennis history! He thinks Rafa’s volleying at net is outstanding. I guess we are just supposed to bow to the superior wisdom of Ben and steve-o, who apparently are far superior in their wisdom and must tell the rest of us what to think.

You guys kill me! It’s the same old song, never changes, just hit repeat over and over. I assume that none of the commentators who have noted how Rafa is more willing to move forward into the court to be more aggressive and go for winners,, are also fools who know nothing.

Thanks for telling us all what to think about Rafa’s game. People like you think that no one else has the ability to observe, think and make their own conclusions.

Mindy Says:


You know better than to try and shame me as a Rafa fan. So if I am not willing to attack Rafa for playing in these tournaments, then I don’t care about his knees?

When I think of the grief that I experienced watching Rafa go through so much agony and pain, I honestly don’t think that I can respond in a polite way to the implications of what you are saying. It’s really offensive and totally unwarranted. You make it really ugly sometimes and that’s unfortunate. To even try and argue that I don’t care as long as Rafa wins, is really stooping lower than I thought possible.

I have had discussions with Rafa fans about the issue of him playing these three tournaments. I have my concerns, but will not be baited into attacking Rafa for playing now.

How nice to know that you want Rafa to stay healthy so that a deserving number one can succeed him! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry reading something like that.

This discussion is taking its usual ugly turn. This is what happens when I come here to say what I think. We are not going to agree or see eye-to-eye and there is no reason for me to have to read about what kind of uncaring, callous Rafa fan I am for not trashing Rafa in his decision to play these tournaments.

I am sure there will be equally tasteless responses, but I have had enough of this nonsense.

Kimberly and zola,

It has been nice chatting with you about Rafa as he prepares for the YEC. I am with you in hoping that he takes good care of himself and is ready to go in the 2011 AO. I will leave it to you to hold down the fort for Rafa fans.

Take care!:)

Kimberly Says:

Actually mindy I believe it was 18 aces verse troicki. And Ben, if you watched his match or read any informed commentary you would see he is playing hard court tennis. And yes I agree I wish nadal was fresh going into shanghai he’s not so lets hope for the best and enjoy the matches he plays. He very well could still win the tournament. But I think he’s exhausted. Hopefully he will get a late start.

Thomas Says:

Nadal didnt play “clay court tennis” to win the US open. Nadal has turned his innate clay court skills into an effective hard court game plan. He has been hooking his forehand and remaining intense while he enters the net, Nadal has minimized his opponent’s options by playing equally as well from the back and forecourt.

Everyones been talking about Nadal’s increased serve speed, but what has been left out of the conversation has been his deep return of serve, and his aggressive footwork. He has improved on both the length of his returns, and the steps that he’s taken between his shots. He definitely played hard court tennis to win the USO.

Kimberly Says:

And Ben, fed didn’t even play shaing hai last year and lost eraly in Paris to benneteau and has barelyn shown up mentally to the majority of masters events this year. So what if rafa shows up a little tired to one masters event??

For the record I am not thrilled rafa chose to playbthree consecutive weeks on the fastest surface possible. But done is done. I’m sure he got lucrative appearance fees and felt he owed them their moneys worth. After all, the way to keep getting appearance fees is to perform well at the events you are paid to play. And if you watched the matches the points were relatively short, he’s holding serve really easily. So maybe not too tough on his body. Like mindy said in another thread, I don’t think hes physically sufferingnjust a little mentally fatigued.

zola Says:

Mindy, Kimberly,
As if we had not read Ben’s accusations against Rafa time and time again. He has not written one nice post about Rafa and now suddenly he is “concerned” about Rafa’s health! On top of that every Rafa fan here should feel guilty that s/he is not as concerned about Rafa as Mr. Pronin is!
Give me a break indeed!

playing qualifiers in Bangkok or Tokyo is not much different than hitting with a junior or another player in practice. As Kimberly says Rafa’s matches have not been very long ( except for Troicki).

Whether Rafa wins by force and power and magically wins 9 GS and 18 Ms titles without being able to anticipate and read the opponent’s game, is something that tennis experts such as Johnny Mac and Sampras and Agassi might disagree. Steve-O can write his opinion of course and that might make him feel better, but does not change the fact that Rafa is now the undisputed number one and has achieved heights that many will only dream of.

Ben Pronin Says:

“How nice to know that you want Rafa to stay healthy so that a deserving number one can succeed him! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry reading something like that.”

Is Nadal going to be number 1 forever? Whether it’s next year or 5 years from now, I stand by my statement. The ranking should be earned. You’ll never hear me say Nadal didn’t earn his current ranking and his current place in history. Wouldn’t you want his successor to dethrone Nadal in a fitting way? It’ll be hard to top the “greatest match of all time”, but still.

So you’re concerned, ok. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks playing 3 consecutive hard court events isn’t an ideal situation for a guy with chronic knee tendinitis. I just don’t want to hear how smart Nadal has gotten with his schedule when this clearly isn’t the smartest option he could’ve gone with, no matter what the motives behind it.

Kimberley, regarding Federer, I don’t know what to tell you. I’m not going to look it up right now but I’d like to see his percentage of making it past the quarters this year. Maybe 60% or a little higher, but not by much. And considering that he barely plays at all, I honestly rarely see him play. Even during the US Open, I only missed one Nadal match but I only saw 2 of Federer’s. I don’t know. Fun fact: Last time Nadal failed to reach the quarterfinals of an event was 09 Roland Garros. That has to be a record.

guy Says:

so rafa is playing ‘clay tennis’ on hard court, just hitting with spin and grinding? whether that’s even clay court tennis is another story, but the criticism it seems is that nadal cannot play ‘fast court’ tennis, aggressive tennis? right?
let’s test that.
here are the winner comparisons from the usopen
nadal 32 istomin 30
nadal 20 simon 17
nadal 30 lopez 27
nadal 23 younzhny 21
nadal 18 verdasco 25
nadal 49 djoker 45

the only player who hit more winners was verdasco and that’s mostly because it was a windy day and nadal played safer. nadal bettered every other player for winners.

how about wimbledon, where nadal won playing his clay court tennis

nadal 29 berdych 27

including serve of course.
berdych also hit 8 more aces, normal for his height difference and when you subtract the aces
you get

nadal 23 berdych 14

so what now, nadal can’t play hardcourt tennis because he doesn’t net rush? because his winners come from a non wilson racquet?

give it up, haters, you have no argument. nadal evolved.

sar Says:

Congrats Nole on your 18th title.

Kimberly Says:

Congrats to nole on winning bejiing.

Too bad for ferrer. Hopefully he will keep playing well on qualify for WTF.

someone Says:


let’s face it, Nadal doesn’t deserve any of his wins at all. He’s a bloody cheat, always wasting time beyond the time-limit, but he still gets away with it. He should be stripped of all his titles

steve-o Says:

Let’s look at Nadal’s unforced error count:

v. Gabashvili: 29 to 38
v. Istomin: 25 to 40
v. Simon: 32 to 41
v. Lopez: 14 to 41
v. Simon: 19 to 33
v. Djokovic: 31 to 47.

Certainly, he had a few more winners than his opponents. But true to form, the key was consistency–he always had many fewer errors than his opponents.

We see a quite different pattern with Del Potro’s USO run in 2009:

v. Monaco: winners 28 to 15, UE 25 to 46
v. Melzer: winners 38 to 35, UE 36 to 38
v. Kollerer: winners 56 to 20, UE 44 to 28
v. Ferrero: winners 44 to 21, UE 33 to 25
v. Cilic: winners 27 to 29, UE 24 to 53
v. Nadal: winners 33 to 19, UE 28 to 27
v. Federer: winners 57 to 56, UE 60 to 62.

The difference in UE is often fairly close (sometimes even in his opponent’s favor), unlike with Nadal. In three matches (Kollerer, Ferrero, Nadal) Del Potro had more UE than his opponent but made up for it with winners. In many cases he has far more winners than his opponent, again unlike Nadal. This kind of up and down performance is what you would expect from someone who plays a more aggressive style–sometimes more errors, sometimes fewer errors.

So Nadal as always plays safe, ultra-consistent tennis. Maybe he can squeeze a couple more winners now than he could before, and that made the difference. But his greatest strength–low error rate–remains the key to his game.

steve-o Says:

Oh, I left out Youzhny: Nadal had 19 UE, Youzhny 33.

steve-o Says:

Argh. Nadal’s UE table should be:

v. Gabashvili: 29 to 38
v. Istomin: 25 to 40
v. Simon: 32 to 41
v. Lopez: 14 to 41
v. Verdasco: 16 to 41
v. Youzhny: 19 to 33
v. Djokovic: 31 to 47.

Kimberly Says:

Nice comments from Murray Re Rafa from ATP site:

The 23 year old was also full praise for World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who he lost to in the Wimbledon semi-finals.

“I think he’s a great player. He’s great for tennis. This year has been his best year on the tour. I don’t know if he would agree with that, [but] from the other players’ point of view, it’s been incredibly impressive. There’s not a whole lot else to say about him. He’s obviously one of the best ever.”


GRRRRR Verdasco, my bracket breaker every tournament lost to De Bakker.

Rafa is in China on the practice courts according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Skeezerweezer Says:


“Rafa is the one player who is not actually playing for anything when it comes to ranking or points.”

This is impossible, no? And very difficult!
How do you know this? Can you please post any quotes from him or Unc Toni? I seemed to have missed Rafa’s point of view on this.

Ben Pronin Says:

So because Nadal hit more winners he’s not playing clay court tennis? As if though on clay he’s just playing it completely safe but on hard court he becomes completely different? I’m not going to look at the numbers to determine how Nadal plays. The numbers can tell me how well he plays, but they say nothing about his style.

Vulcan Says:

Two paragraphs of stats to say what could be said in one obvious sentence: “Nadal has a different style of play from Del Potro”. Am I to understand that Del Potro is the quintessential hard court player and Nadal is not? Fine, so be it. I doubt very seriously Nadal is interested in dominating only on hard courts, or for that matter only on any single surface…I suspect his goal is to be as well rounded a player as possible and enjoy success on EVERY surface…which he has done.

I fail to see what point you are trying to make with your constantly quipping that Nadal fans only care about winning. First you are wrong, and again seem to like to make sweeping generalizations with absolutely no supporting evidence. Extrapolating you personal opinion and submitting it as if its universal truth is not very compelling.

I have no clue what point you are trying to make by this suggestion anyway…is Federer somehow a greater player than Nadal because his game is more elegant? Is that what Federer fans care about more and the thing that makes them superior to Nadal fans?

Skeezerweezer Says:


It actually is a compliment of the highest regard if true “Nadal plays clay court tennis” on HC.

Who else has won GS titles on HC playing “clay court” tennis. An amazing accomplishment if true, no?

I am not jumping into the fray of if he is or not, just sayin if your a Rafa fan I would ride rhat statement, not criticize it, no?

grendel Says:

I think Ben is wrong about Mindy’s “feeling” remark.Which amounts to the fact that Nadal is feeling good and wants to play. That’s admirable in my book. The further point Mindy makes about a long lay off hurting his game, I’m not convinced of. Depends how long, of course.

However, I am quite sure that Ben has been misunderstood in other respects, probably because he took the very contentious move of suspecting Nadal on drugs, which kind of damns him even before he even opens his mouth in some eyes.

I’ve been reading Ben’s posts for a long time now, and I haven’t the slightest doubt that his overarching passion is for tennis itself. Of course he has his favourites and his prejudices – like all of us. But he is far, far more objective on the game of tennis than the vast majority of posters, because it is always tennis the honour of which he wishes – maybe wrongheadedly sometimes – he wishes to uphold. Therefore, I don’t have the slightest difficulty in believing that even though he doesn’t like Nadal, he wants Nadal to play at his best. Partly because (I suspect) he is able to detach himself sufficiently from his prejudices to be able to appreciate the sheer glory of Nadal’s best – and that is an honourable achievement of Ben’s which not too many are capable of – and partly for the reasons he says. I would add to those: when Federer regained #1, it wasn’t convincing. Nobody seriously thinks that a fit Nadal would not have retained top ranking. So a fit Nadal is imperative for the good of tennis – and that (imo – I stand to be corrected, but only by Ben) is what Ben wants. This doesn’t, of couirse, mean Ben understands the best way for Nadal to keep healthy. Why should he? He’s not a doctor. Nor are any of us, but that doesn’t stop us spouting forth. Part of the fun.

I think, too, Steve-o has been responded to in a completely emotional way. Calling him a “hater” is just silly, not only is he obviously not, I notice that the people, from whatever quarter, who go in for that particular namecalling are no mean practioners themselves. I think the trouble with Steve-o’s psychologising is that it is much too general. Nadal fans are absolutely as varied as Federer fans, Sampras fans, and so on. Absolutely no conclusion can be drawn about “them”. Some of Steve-o’s points, however, are certainly valid w.r.t. to some individuals.

On the tennis side, I disagree with Steve-o, not that I am pretending that matters, but I do think Nadal has been winning on fast hard by sufficiently convincing margins that it is strange to think of him as not now being a successful hard court player. Afetr all, what is the criterion for quality? Winning well is a pretty strong one I’d have thought, even if the manner is unorthodox. That said, Steve-o made some interesting points, produced some relevant figures, and it just won’t do to try and laugh him out of court. He’s made a serious contribution, and it requires a serious, adult response. Nadal fans have, up to press, failed to take this on board.

Vulcan Says:

Yes Skeezerweezer,

You are correct again as always…and yes we can all see how you are moronically saying “no” after every sentence.

Evolving and learning to play a different style earns more of my respect than winning without evolving does. Unless of course you are suggesting that winning is everything…noooo thats not possible. The difficulty in evolving is the reason why Lendl couldnt win at Wimbledon and Sampras couldnt win at RG…and being well rounded is the reason why Laver is considered one of the greatest, no?

Vulcan Says:

Simon going down in flames

grendel Says:

“The difficulty in evolving is the reason why Lendl couldnt win at Wimbledon “. I beg to differ. Lendl went to enormous lengths to accomodate grass to his game – at a time when grass was much more difficult, too – and anyone who saw him demolish Becker in the final at Queens can have no doubt that Lendl had become a great grasscourter. The trouble is, when he played Cash in the final – his second Wimbie final in a row, remember – he froze, badly. Presumably his desire was so intense (he had even elected to drop RG to further his all consuming ambition)he just choked, so badly. Poor man, he wasn’t there, his ghost was.

Ben Pronin Says:

Skeezer, I understand why Nadal fans want to convince others that Nadal plays hard court tennis. There’s a negative connotation that goes along with “clay court tennis on a hard court.” The point Nadal fans are trying to make is that Nadal has an all around game that is able to suit all surfaces, not just a clay court game that happens to work on hard and grass.

The thing is, as hard as he tries, Nadal will never become Sampras, or even Federer, on grass and hard courts. But he is Nadal and that, very clearly, is more than enough. Nadal plays his own brand of tennis that is rooted in a clay court game. When I see him play, anywhere, I see those roots. That doesn’t make it a bad thing because he still has made significant adjustments on all surfaces, including clay, to become better, more aggressive, and more dominant overall. But the very core of Nadal’s game will always be clay court tennis, ie. make your opponent play that one extra ball. There’s nothing wrong with that, not by a long shot. As someone who was rooting for Djokovic in the US Open final it was obviously frustrating to see Nadal get so many balls back in play time and time again. Does that somehow mean he didn’t do other things like be as aggressive as possible when he got the chance or serve big when he had to? No.

Like Sampras and Federer before him, Nadal is changing the requirements of what it takes to be a slam champion. Not so much changing it as adding to what Federer had started. Not only do you need a complete game, but you need impenetrable defense. This game plan used to apply almost exclusively to clay courts. But not anymore.

Boo hoo, Nadal plays a clay court game on hard courts.

Vulcan Says:

If Lendl went to such “enormous” lengths as you put it why did he continue to play a baseline hardcourt game at Wimbledon and hardly ever come in or serve and volley at a time when the courts were fast?

His “enormous” lengths apparently were not sufficient because he never won there.

Skeezerweezer Says:

All great posts guys,

Vulcan the impossibles and no’s were thrown in for humor, not to be offensive. I know you could take it, otherwise I wouldn’t have posted it :).

Skeezerweezer Says:


Should we add Agassi also? Did Agassi play a different game when on grass? He seems to be always forgotten, won on 3 different surfaces, back in the day when they were very different than today with a grind out baseline game.

grendel Says:

Lendl did come in quite a bit – and his volleying was stiff and awkward. No doubt that inhibited him, brought out the doubts and so on. The man was a mess. I repeat, anyone who watched him against Becker at Queens – where his serve and volleying was crisp, destructive and utterly conclusive – can be in no doubt that that Lendl had learnt what to do on grass. But, as has been said many times, tennis is a mental as well as a physical game, and it is in the mental department that Lendl failed.

Vulcan Says:


Please don’t take offense…but you come across as a bit of Troll..again no offense intended.

grendel Says:

Skeezer, I don’t think so. No doubt Agassi adapted his grass game in subtle ways undetectable by the likes of me, but primarily he played a hard court game. He was just very good, wasn’t he! Generally speaking, though, the genuine grass courters – Rafter, Sampras – beat him. He always seemed to beat Becker – but imo that was a Becker past his best.

Kimberly Says:

Ben-you made a comment during the USO final that its telling when a guy wins the USO playing clau court tennis.

Telling of what? I meant to ask you this at the time you said it. Are you saying the other players quality is not there and thats why a guy can win USO playing clay court tennis. I know you don’t think that, I’ve heard you say tennis is at its highest level and most demanding ever now. So what did you mean? Or were you just in a bad modod and meant nothing?

Skeezerweezer Says:


Well I have to take offense to that, and there was no humor in what you posted. I didn’t expect you to start name calling, desperate measures. Your pointed ears are growing.

I have been around here for posting regularly since 2009, you haven’t. I am Chief coorespondant for WTF! Network and have reported many of news smashing reports first known hp here at tennis x. You’ll have to spend some quality time reading the archived blogs to back up your false accusations.

Vulcan Says:

I’ve been posting here since 2008…longer than you…and sorry but (from what I’ve seen) you still come across as a troll…such is life.

skeezerweezer Says:

I will take the higher ground here and say…….Thanks for the compliment :). After all, it is the logical thing to do Spock.

skeezerweezer Says:


….primarily he played a hard court game.

Exactly! My mistake was in trying say that Agassi played a one court style and accomplished that style on all surfaces, same as Rrrrraaffaa!

Fedend Says:

I am really enjoying the desperation level of the Fedtards here. The retards here are trying to “prove” statistically something against Nadal based on his less UEs.

skeezerweezer Says:

At least Steve-o and guy try to justify is argument with facts/stats……what do you bring? Fedtard and retards?


Fedend Says:

Tennis is at its lowest level ever. A boring one dimensional clay court slugger wins slams on hardcourts and grass, that too beating a 15 time non-clay GS champion on his favorite surfaces (may be he was lucky to have won everything due to lack of competition).

Some new player should come out on top and revive the quality of tennis played. Lets hope that a truly high quality player dominates tennis which has never happened in the past decade.

montecarlo Says:

Just want to make few points-

Nadal doesn’t play clay court tennis. Nadal plays Nadal style of tennis and that’s unique. No one ever played like him. You watch Federer and you can feel Sampras written all over him but when you watch Nadal you can’t compare him to anybody else.

Nadal playing 3 weeks in a row is foolish but good thing for him is he is doing this well before YEC while Federer is scheduled to play 3 tournaments in 4 weeks right before YEC, that’s more foolish.

And @ Skeez


“Rafa is the one player who is not actually playing for anything when it comes to ranking or points.”

This is impossible, no? And very difficult!
How do you know this? Can you please post any quotes from him or Unc Toni? I seemed to have missed Rafa’s point of view on this.”

Lemme reply to this in mindy’s place.

You missed Rafa’s famous line from his best ever interview at USOpen?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, because I always thought I always can keep improving. That’s why I am playing, to keep improving and to feel myself better player than before. I go to practice every day not to practice; I go to practice every day to try to learn something and to keep improving my level.

Fedend Says:

To be frank I dont really include you in that elite club of Fedtards.
Its not an attack on you. You are one of the very few who did not write off Rafa even during AO2010 (which was his lowest point in his career).

Though you attack the fans those who dont worship Federer here, I havent see you trash talking Rafa the player.

Fedend Says:

Ben Pronin,

Rafa has yet to get access to the PED which will transform his claycourt game into hardcourt game. Till then we have live with it.

Only a couple of months back he got access to the PED which can improve the serve speed by 20mph. In June 2008 he got access to the PED to improve his grass court game with which he beat Federer, same way he got something in Jan 2009 with which he beat Federer at AO hardcourt.

Somewhere in a Spanish island a group biomedical specialists are still working on developing the PED to transform Rafa’s hardcourt game. Dont worry they will find it soon.

Huh Says:

“Nadal doesn’t play clay court tennis. Nadal plays Nadal style of tennis and that’s unique. No one ever played like him. You watch Federer and you can feel Sampras written all over him but when you watch Nadal you can’t compare him to anybody else.”

Kinda true except that Nadal too has some undeniable resemblance with Borg. But that said, Fed’s tennis may be the most special, classic and exquisite ever; but Nadal too has a truly unothodox, kinda most unique, energetic and stylish playing style in history! Each a blessing to tennis.

skeezerweezer Says:


Thanks for the quote. I am not sure of the context he is speaking in but I’ll take it since you did the research to dig it out. Thanks!


I would like to say I have NEVER trashed talked Rafa, but can’t remember if I NEVER have either. I am sure the Rafa extremists can find something on me, other than a “Troll”, which those that know me know I am not.

However, I have also praised the guy on numerous occasions. There is no denying he is a great tennis champion. A humble guy with the heart of a Lion, and has dramatically improved his style of game to become a historic tennis figure for all time. He very well may be the GOAT, only time will tell.

I have my fav in Fed, and am proud to be a fan of his, for I have enjoyed his “style” and “variety” and “shotmaking skills”, the very best I have ever seen, and still IMO think he is the current GOAT.

So I am an ardent defender and admirer of the mans game as Rafa fans are of Rafa, for the things they enjoy about him.

It’s all good :), no?

Huh Says:

Nadal’s playing is stylish, in fact, to me, very very stylish. It’s a joy to watch Rafa Nadal flexing his muscles, for every health freak(of which I happen to be one). How I wish I was strong as Rafa! Rafa’s biceps and triceps are great! :D

Huh Says:


I join you in celebrating the greatness of my most fave tennis player ever, i.e. second-to-none Mr. Roger Federer!!! :D

Moreover, as it actually is, different strokes for different folks is the law of nature. For the ‘Mem’s of the world, the best ever is Nadal; for the ‘Huh’s of the world, the best ever are Fed and Laver both; for the Skeezes of the world, the best ever is Fed! Life goes on! :D :D :D

Fedend Says:


I also believe Federer is still the GOAT by a good margin and there is a good chance that he remains so forever. Rafa is yet to earn that. He has a chance, but we dont know.

But the funny part is, even though Federer is still the GOAT, some of the Fedtards are getting desperate to protect his legacy and there by making a fool out of themselves.

Its perfectly fine to worship your favorites. Its perfectly fine to say that Federer is your most favorite player even if Rafa wins 25 slams and you can say you dont like Rafa’s style. But it gets really funny when people feel insecure and try to protect his legacy by making statements like “Rafa is on PEDs”, “Rafa is a one dimensional player”, “Rafa is not playing pure tennis”, etc.

Rafa says Federer is the GOAT. But these Fedtards will be happy only when Rafa bends on his Knees infront of Federer and starts losing out of fear of the sight of Federer across the net.

The very fact that Rafa has met his huge challenge of finding a way to win slams during the era of “Federer the GOAT” irks the Fedtards to no end. Rafa being the potential GOAT adds much more acidity in their intestines.

Anyway its great fun to see such insane posts from these retards. Keep them coming.
I am still missing some of those people in that elite club, most notably the club president “superman”. He went into hiding ever since Rafa won his USO final.
I sincerely request those to come back and provide more entertainment here.

steve-o Says:

@Vulcan: my point is, contrary to what those like Mindy insist, Nadal has not fundamentally reconstructed his game. He has made small additions to an existing foundation, not learned a new style.

Quantity, not quality, is the heart of Nadal’s tennis: more spin, more speed, more power. And repetition of the same over five sets without any mental lapses. What he does on hard courts is a souped-up version of what he does on clay courts. He stays closer to the baseline, puts the ball closer to the baseline, and serves bigger. But the hallmark of his game remains consistency and low error rate.

To get the ball so deep with so much spin while often hitting from a defensive position requires something special–namely, enormous speed and power. No wonder then no one has done it before. That makes Nadal unique, because he can win anywhere playing that way. Karlovic once quipped, in response to a criticism that he was all serve, that if he could win matches with that one shot alone, he had to be a genius. Something similar applies to Nadal.

It is different from a more standard hard-court player like Del Potro, who takes more risks and goes for lower-margin shots, resulting in many more errors, but also many more winners. (Del Potro is in many ways also a unique case, because he hits so flat, but that’s a matter for another time.)

That is all I meant.

I don’t know what it’s worth to those like Mindy to claim that the leopard has changed its spots. Maybe they secretly have an inferiority complex about the grueling, physical way Nadal plays, which is why they cite McEnroe’s random, off-the-the-top-of-his-head commenting as proof that his game really is as varied and nuanced as that of a certain man from Basel. But she told me not to psychoanalyze her, so you’ll have to ask her if you want to know :)

Fedend Says:

Federer’s game looks obviously looks attractive compared to Rafa’s game.
But Rafa’s game is much more fine tuned and has better weapons to win on all surfaces. I dont want to write my biased reasons for that.
But objectively speaking Federer completed the career slam at 27 after a huge struggle. But Rafa has completed it at 24. That really proves who has the better weapons to win on all the courts.

Kimberly Says:

Fedend—lol to your post at Ben Pronin re PEDs. However, I think Ben actually suspects over a majority of the atp and wta tour, not just Nadal. I think he would probably even concede that there is a chance in his mind that his fav, Fed could be using.

Fedend Says:

Those who still “believe” Rafa is all about power and endurance should take a look at this video:


He has such a great feel for the tennis ball in his racket. He is an artist. He has very strong wrists which is also very very flexible.

But obviously the Fedtards here know about Rafa. Its not the knowledge they lack. The only problem is their difficulty in acknowledging that Rafa is indeed a special talent because of their blind loyalty towards Federer.

Fedend Says:

But everyone knows that he brought up that issue only when Rafa became unbeatable.

He never brought up this when Federer was dominating during 2004-2007 or when Safin appeared to have everything what it takes to dominate world tennis.

steve-o Says:

And that video proves, what, exactly? That he’s got good hand-eye coordination? Hardly a shock that an elite athlete would have that.

It also shows that his racket is strung very loosely (in order to maximize the spin imparted), making it easier to catch the ball like that.

steve-o Says:

BTW, here’s a video explaining how to catch the ball on your racket:


Doesn’t take a Grand Slam champ to do it.

skeezerweezer Says:

Yeah gotta agree with Steve-o on that catch ball thing, even I can do that, and I am who?

I will tell you what is special, try and google the RPM’s he creates on his FH, he is in the stratosphere on that!

grendel Says:

monte carlo says:”You watch Federer and you can feel Sampras written all over him” Well, I for one find that a quite bizarre comment. They share certain attributes – for instance, a panther like presence, movement having a languid, stealthy quality about it despite the speed. But you can’t call that influence. It’s in the genes, man. Same with the serve, though I’d say Fed had much more variety, whilst Sampras was just more lethal. One handed bh’s don’t make them similar. Both had great fh’s – and both very much their own. So on.

Steve-o @11.52

” He needs the speed to run down every ball, because he doesn’t have the natural court sense needed to anticipate where the ball heads next,”
As a matter of fact, when I was watching Nadal against Monfils yesterday, I was reflecting just how hard it must be to play Nadal, even for such an incredibly skilful player as Monfils, because Nadal ALWAYS seemed to know where he was going. So I can’t agree with you there, Steve-o.

Also, is quantity necessarily opposed to quality? Again referring to yesterday’s match, if Monfils hit a pretty severe but not killer fh (as he CAN do better than anyone but rarely does for some reason)often Nadal was there (anticipation) and from a very awkward position would transform defence into attack, and have poor old Monfils on the back foot again. Speed spin and power – yes, but that measure of accuracy, that’s quality, man. Just like when delPo does those huge flat shots painting the lines – that’s quality too (apologies to margot, but I insist).

I agree developing a big serve, whilst of course essential, is hardly the preserve of hardcourters (Almagro, Verdasco when he can be bothered, back in time a bit – Verkerk, Kuerten…). But it’s not true that Nadal is stuck on the base line; he has become very adroit at manoeuvring his way to the net when he needs to (think of Verdasco – eternally stuck on the base line, waiting to deliver his huge fh’s; but that’s his only play, in a way, all eggs in one basket). Like it or not, Nadal is now an accomplished net player.

Now obviously, Nadal hasn’t totally revamped his game. That would mean he’d become somebody else, which would be a little strange. So how I would see it, Steve-o, is that he has brought the best of his clay game onto the hard whilst developing other skills. What you want to call this game is, in the end, a semantic question. What is surely not in doubt is that for the time being, he is the best player in the world on fast hard.

I do think there is something valid in Steve-o’s position, though. Nadal is definitely more vulnerable on fast hard than on clay and grass (this fact has been obscured by the fact he had noone to test him at the US until Djokovic),and that’s just another way of saying he is not so superior on hard fast as the other surfaces.And whereas I find it hard to see past him for the next 3 slams, I would be surprised if he won the US again.

Fedend Says:

This is one my favorite collections:

One can think about a very few shots anyone can play which you dont find in this video. Its a package of all possible tennis shots performed by the beast.

Just have a look at 7:05…..mindboggling.

Fedend Says:

Skeeze, I just shared that video to say that he is not all about baseline bashing with power.

skeezerweezer Says:


No prob I got your overall point, it was my way of encouraging you to put up better stuff, and you did :)

Fedend Says:

“And whereas I find it hard to see past him for the next 3 slams, I would be surprised if he won the US again.”

I wont give much of a chance for Rafa in AO2011 and I would also not say that he wont win USO again.

If he can win AO or Wimby, he will also be able to win USO. From now on his chances of winning any slam is more or less same.

And I agree with one of the comments here about Rafa being a hypocrite that he complains about too much hardcourt tournaments and keeps playing for straight weeks of hardcourt tennis which are not mandatory.

So I am not so optimistic about Rafa being injury free next year. I will be surprised if we wins more than one next year. But given his new serve and game I would not say USO will be harder for him to win compared to other slams.

Mindy Says:


I wish you would spare me your lectures. I have a long way to go before I would qualify as a hater. When you read posts from me taking cheap shots at Fed, the overwhelming favorite on this site, or at any othe player for that matter, then you can try to put me in the category of a hater.

If you think it’s okay to make an accusation that Rafa is using drugs on the eve of the USO final, or that it’s coincidental in any way, shape or form, then that’s unfortunate. You defend Ben for his passion for tennis and state that he is not a hater, same for steve-o. Yet Ben made the most serious accusation one can make against a player without one single iota of FACT or substance! We all know how fond Skeezer is of everyone here using FACTS and STATS to back up their arguments. So you are okay with that? I am not.

I get to use the word hater when I feel it is appropriate. That’s my right. What steve-o is doing is basically taking his own beliefs and feelings and putting them on me. He doesn’t know what I am about, who I am and doesn’t get to think or speak for me. It’s some of the Fed fans who are obsessed with him winning at all costs all the time. Rafa got in his way and that is why they hate him and his fans. There is something called “hatespeak” on this site. It involves personal insults, egregious ones at that.

To have to read Ben’s comment or even steve-o’s, to the effect that I don’t care about Rafa, as long as he wins, is just plain sickening. I guess that now I should root for Rafa to lose! What about Sean’s blog after Rafa lost to G-Lo at Bangkok? He was shocked, shocked to see Rafa lose that match! Then he went on to admonish Rafa for not winning more on hardcourts. So which is it, folks? Either Rafa isn’t winning enough or he isn’t playing enough! It’s six of one and half a dozen of another.

Yes, steve-o, amateur psychologist! It’s definitely an inferiority complex! Would you please stop transferring your own personality traits to me? You do not know anything about me as a person, so please try to keep your remarks about the usual Rafa bashing and venomous hatred.

I assume that Grendel is okay with this kind of silly and presumptuous psychobabble. I also dislike the clear implication on your part that I am guilty of being a hater. That’s beyond insulting. Considering the slime that is being thrown at me by the likes of steve-o, the stuff that Skeezer has deemed FACT, I have quite a ways to go before I earn that title. Not all Fed fans are like steve-o, blinded by their own prejudice and bias. Some are able to give Rafa his due. There is power and safety in numbers here. I can keep on trying to defend Rafa and myself, but it’s to no avail.

Rafa’s game will always be insulted by a select few here. It’s what they do. It makes them feel better to say that he won the USO playing clay court tennis on hardcourt, as though that somehow makes his win less valid. It’s pathetic and sad.


Did you read my sentence that you quoted? I guess not. Why don’t you try again and maybe you will understand what I was saying. It’s not that complicated. I specifically addressed the issue of rankings or points. It is fact and the simple truth that Rafa doesn’t not need to defend his #1 ranking and that he has an insurmountable lead in points. Are you arguing against this reality? I would hope not. Thanks for the quote from Rafa, but unlike you, I really do know my player.

You can’t win for losing here as a Rafa fan. If I say that Rafa may be feeling it and wants to play because he is healthy now and on his game, then I must endure the insults of Ben yet again. If I point out the FACT that Rafa doesn’t have do defend his ranking or points, then that is ridiculed. It comes from all sides here, which is why you don’t see too many Rafa fans here.

Mindy Says:

Oh, one more thing on an entirely different note. Congratulations to Nole fans for his win in the China Open. It’s very nice to see him playing well again. Well done!

Kimberly Says:

Mindy, I do think it was unfair that you alone were singled out by Steve-o and others when several other Rafa fans, myself included, were saying the same thing as you.

I will say it one more time, Rafa is playing hard court tennis. He can adapt his game for different surfaces and plays in a different manner at Wimby, HC and Clay Courts. If one were to watch the different matches at the last three GS you will see his game differs with each surface. Of course some of the fundamentals are the same. To say he is not a harcourt player is ludicrous when he has 2 HC grand slams. Other than Fed is there an active player with more?

I will say again I am not thrilled with three weeks in a row. But perhaps Rafa is fine physically but does seem fatigued mentally. You are talking about a player that has spent less than 1 week at home since late July. I am thrilled that I have had so many chances to watch him, but yes, concerned that his enthusiam could have poor consequences on his health. I hope not. But Fed has 5 more tournaments this year and Rafa only three. The rest of the guys have 4 too.

Ben’s timing in introducing the PEDS on the eve of the US Open final was in poor taste and I believe his logic behind suspicion of Rafa is fundamentally flawed. However, in subsequent conversations with him it seems he is suspicious of the sport in general and many many players. He says there is one woman who is so obviously doping that if she is not, no one ever has in any sport. He didn’t name names but I have my guess on who this is, and I tend to agree if it is the same person. I won’t name names either. I do agree that many more tennis players are using than we know. But I choose not to think about it too much and enjoy the sport as we see it. what are my alternatives.

Huh Says:

My personal opinion about Nadal and Fed is that both these guys are about exceptional quality in terms of talent and determination. I don’t think Nadal won the USO playing clay court tennis (no offense towards steve-o intended here, just differing). I think Nadal played GREAT aggressive tennis to win USO. He was hitting much flatter than ever before and add to that his really improved serve, which I would term ‘lethal’ at this stage, it’s the reason he won USO. Nadal is no more chasing balls, he’s dictating play as per his own terms, Nadal has done well by adopting such an aggressive approach of late. Good for him.

jane Says:

Thanks Mindy – yes, it’s a relief to see Nole coming into some solid form again. It’s tough for all of us when our faves drop in level for whatever reasons – health, injury, technique, tactics, even personal or professional issues – but it’s heartening to see them fight back from that adversity, whatever it may’ve been, and regain some of their better, or even best, level/abilities. It shows why they are or have been champs.

Skeezerweezer Says:

Hi huh , forgot to say that earlier:)

How about this. Rafa’s game style was born on clay but developed and improved to conquer all surfaces, no?

Huh Says:

How I wish Fed regains some of his old form and Rafa in his current best form may run into each other in a slam, soon!

Huh Says:

Hi Skeeze, so nice to chat with you again! :D

However I would not say about Rafa as a ‘born to play on clay’ guy, the guy’s decimated the field in USO, won 2 WIMs(both in dominating fashion) and AO. So how can one use the ‘clay-guy’ thing anymore? I certainly would not.

Whatever, but looking forward to more from you. Have a good day/evening/night, dependin on where u are! ;)

Kimberly Says:

skeezer-i can go with the born on clay but evolved.

Huh-I would like to see some more FEDAL GS matches as well.

skeezerweezer Says:


There is some truth I know have said about the stats and facts thing. I just like to show appreciation for the poster cause it takes a bigger effort to dig out the info rather than just post ( that’s me a lot, however, just post ).

However, I realize that just having an opinion here and letting your mind fly a bit is the funnest part of posting. We can discuss who we like or dislike what we like or dislike and discuss a point of view, as long as someone doesn’t attack someone personally. When someone feels that they can’t do that is when I won’t be here.

Heck you and grendel hold the records for novella posts, but I read them :)

Imagine what it would be like if we were all in a room facing each other talking the same stuff. You think we would say the same things? Don’t say you would, your not being honest and either would I.

If you think it is bad here try going to a Football or Baseball blog site. Talk about hatespeak, Whoa!

They say humor solves the saltiest wounds, and about right now I could use a dose.


Vulcan Says:

steve-o Says:

Quantity, not quality, is the heart of Nadal’s tennis

You definitely got a chuckle out of me on that one.

As a huge Federer fan myself I would never take the position that I’ve ever seen anyone play the type of game he plays at the level he does…back before there was Federer I was a big Henri Leconte fan because I just loved to watch the artistry of his game….Federer takes that type of game to an unprecedented level…which is one of the reasons why he is the GOAT (I should know, I was responsible for originally inserting the 5 references in his Wikipedia article that cite him as such)

But back to your statement above…you seem to not be able to compare the two players without injecting a bit of smug condescension into your statements. You are confusing variety with quality. Being able to hit 10 good shots with 90% proficiency is no better or worse from a quality standpoint then being able to hit 15 great shots with 70% proficiency. Nadal has fewer simpler shots that he hits more proficiently and Federer has more effective shots that he hits with less proficiency. I would say that both players are all about BOTH quantity and quality. They just put out different forms of each.

Mindy Says:


Thanks so much for the support! I wanted to come back here last night, but just wasn’t up to it.

I think you should hear it from me and not anyone else, regarding what I think and feel about Rafa. I don’t like to share everything that I may be thinking, because I don’t feel that this is a safe place for me as a Rafa fan. However, your support has made me want to tell you the absolute truth from my heart.

I have had really mixed feelings about Rafa playing three back-to-back hardcourt tournaments. Part of me thinks that he doesn’t need to risk it right now, given his huge lead in points, having secured the #1 ranking for the year and being healthy. I really wish that he would have skipped Bangkok. I know his reasons, but Rafa can’t always make everyone happy and accommodate every tournament.

There is also a part of me that somehow understands Rafa’s love for tennis. He wants to play and wants to win. All you had to do was look at his reaction at the end of the semifinal match with Troicki, to see what it meant to him. This is what he lives for. He loves the fight, the harder the better. We worry about his precious knees. I also was touched to see his reaction when he won the final. Just seeing that one in a million smile as he held that trophy, made me realize that he wanted this very much. It does mean a lot to him.

I have learned to try to let go of things over which I have no control. Rafa is playing in these tournaments and there is nothing I can do about it. Therefore, I am trying to be as calm and optimistic as possible. That doesn’t mean that I like the fact that he’s doing it.

The one thing I want you to know above all else is that the most important thing for me is that Rafa stay healthy. Winning is just the icing on the cake right now. I want Rafa to get to the end of this year still healthy and fit. I don’t talk about my fears about the knees, not here. However, I will say that it is always in the back of my mind. I don’t think that people who aren’t Rafa fans will ever understand that. I can’t think about it all the time or I would go crazy. It’s just something that I live with all the time.

You are a voice of reason here amidst some of the madness. I sincerely hope that you are right about Ben. It would make me feel a lot better. I will be okay with whatever happens in Shanghai. If Rafa goes out early, then he has more time to rest. If he goes deep or wins, good for him. The only thing that I want is for him to be okay. So whatever some may say as they presume to speak on my behalf, just know that these are the thoughts in my mind and heart.


So nice to see you here! Thanks for your kind and generous words about Rafa. You know that I have a lot of respect for Fed and always will. It’s good to see him back playing again. Everyone’s back and we should be treated to some brilliant tennis.


I am happy for Nole’s fans that he seems to have found his game once more. I have had issues with him, however I do try to keep an open mind. He showed me some gutsy, brilliant tennis in the USO. He seems to have found his game and that’s nice to see. He always had the talent, but somehow it seemed to get lost at times. I am also happy for his fans, who have to suffer when they watch their favorite player struggling. It’s never easy.


Yes, you know how I love to take my little digs at you. It’s not meant to be disrespectful. It’s my way of teasing you, as you sometimes do to me. We may disagree, but I think you are one of the good guys. Yes, I do write long posts. It’s really not a contest between grendel and myself, although it may seem that way. I don’t post as much, so maybe when I do it’s just that I have a lot to say.

Your points are well taken! If we were in a room together, I don’t think we would say the same things that we do here! I think it would be very boring if we all agreed on everything. I just hope that somehow we can do it without letting it get too personal or ugly. I can be a pitbull when it comes to defending Rafa. I also like to occasionally talk about other players. I love to watch as much tennis as possible and appreciate the high quality that other players can produce. I welcome the chance to chat about the other players, what kind of form they are in, their mental and physical fitness, confidence, shots, everything.

I haven’t been able to show my humor here. I only do it where I feel comfortable. You can be quite funny yourself. Also, there is some real wisdom in the things you say.

Now that my latest novella is done, I will just say – here’s to an exciting tournament and here’s looking at seeing all of the top players in actions once again! :)

Mindy Says:

Sorry, but even after my latest novella, I did forget to say one important thing.

To those Fed fans who have defended Rafa and who have been able to give him credit for what he has accomplished and how he has played, I say a heartfelt and sincere thank you.

That’s why I try not to lump all Fed fans together. I have stayed true to my promise not to ever cheap shot Fed or any other player. I try my best to keep any critical remarks about the tennis and not the player. I am not perfect, but that is what I strive to do.

My respect for Fed and his historic and considerable achievements in this sport, is sincere and unqualified. He has set the bar high and hopefully, Rafa can be a worthy successor to someone who has done so much to inspire him.

Kimberly Says:

Mindy–I feel the same way about Rafa’s three consecutive hardcourt matches. He has that fighting spirit too that I don’t think he is capable of going half hearted into any tournament. I think Rafa would fight tooth and nail in a 250. But my husband feels that has changed now that he is batting in the big league with the heavy hitters (Sampras, Fed, McEnroe, Borg, Aggassi etc.)

My husband and I have always had different favs. He liked Sampras, I loved Agassi. He loves Fed, I love Rafa. The difference with Agassi/Sampras, Rafa/Roger is he actively dislikes Rafa. He admires and respects him thinks he has a fantastic game but has his opinions that I have to respect as to why he dislikes him: the largest being he feels rafa attempts to intimidate opponents with excessive fist pumping, gamesmanship. I disagree but we agree to disagree.

As my husband played he knows a lot more about tennis than I do and I mentioned the “Rafa winning US Open with Clay Court Tennis” argument and I thought his response was quite intelligent. That traditional clay court tennis of the former era does not exist. That the hybrid style of tennis, starting with Agassi and carrying on is becoming the norm. He says its not a coincidence that two players completed grand slams in consecutive years. The players are becoming multi-surface as is the style of the game.

Lets take Djokovic. He could win all four.
Del Potro (not sure about grass0
Take Berdych, maybe not champion material but he can compete on all three surfaces.
Soderling can compete an all 3.
Maybe eventually Murray. and many more.

Of course each player has their best and worst surface and some more extreme than others.
Davydenko, great on hard and clay, can’t play grass
Roddick, great on hard and grass, can’t play clay.

And obviously you wouldn’t pick Ferrer to beat Murray on hard or grass but you would on clay.

But he says overall true clay court tennis is a thing of the past. And if you want to call someone serving 135mph, hitting with ridiculous spin so it bounces over your opponents head, and moving with lightening speed clay court tennis be my guest. But that style is good enough to win on any surface.

grendel Says:

Mindy says:”Grendel,

I wish you would spare me your lectures. I have a long way to go before I would qualify as a hater”

Actually, Mindy, I was not referring to you, and didn’t know, or couldn’t recall that you had used the word “hater”. In this instance, I was responding to guy. I rather like guy, as it happens, and enjoy his posts by and large, but he does come across as hating Federer. That’s not necessarily so bad, most of us can and do hate from time to time – but it might not be the best vantage point from which to accuse others of being “haters”.

“If you think it’s okay to make an accusation that Rafa is using drugs on the eve of the USO final,” – but I didn’t say that. And leaving aside Kimberley’s point, I took issue with Ben in another post. I deliberately avoided the issue of morality – the whole business of drugs is a)incredibly complicated not to say convoluted and b)fraught with emotive content, so I judged it better to keep morality out. My point to Ben was that it was extremely implausible that Nadal took drugs, simply on the grounds that the benefits obtainable were pretty small beer compared to the catastrophe that would ensue should he be exposed. On these grounds alone, it does not make sense to allege that Nadal took drugs. Poor judgement by Ben here, imo. But Ben is absolutely NOT a hater. I have seen people really lay into him (and this includes the time when he was an ordinary poster, namely Sensational Safin, and he has always been astonishingly composed in his response – as someone who tends to go a bit nuts when attacked, I really appreciate this aspect of him. Nor does steve-o come across remotely as a “hater”. There’s plenty of posters who do, you know, directing their hatred generally to other posters, and steve-o is certainly not one of them. He does come across as disliking Nadal, however, or at any rate, disliking his game. I don’t think that’s a sin, if it is I would guess over 90% of us posting here are guilty of it (disliking some player or other, I mean). The main disadvantage to disliking a player’s game is that you are unlikely to be just about it, and I don’t think steve-o is just about Nadal’s game – though I think he has interesting things to say, and isn’t that what this site is supposed to be about? We can argue, can’t we?

As for the “psychobabble” business, I may have been mistaken, but I did not take steve-o to be referring to you, but to be making a general point – and on this ground, I criticised him, since it doesn’t make sense to attribute to a group of people, whose only point in common is their attachment to a particular player, a whole series of mind sets. Meanwhile, there are quite a number of Nadal fans – not you, Mindy – who make a point of mocking Fed fans for their alleged psychological flaws; and they do it again and again, too, it becomes quite tedious. Possibly steve-o felt provoked? I don’t know. In any case, some of what he says is just common sense, just as some of the insults which flow from some of the Nadal fans do actually carry resonance w.r.t. some Fed fans. Oh, what a complicated world, eh?

I am not sure, by the way, that you are justified in stating that this is a predominantly Federer fan site. It certainly used to be, no doubt about that. My impression is that the number of Nadal fans is growing quite rapidly (as you would expect) and they are getting pretty vociferous on this site. Perhaps someone might do a count…

Meanwhile, Mindy, whilst it is true you do very long posts, you’re nowhere near as bad as me – I just can’t seem to stop. Verbal diarrohea, no doubt about it. Help. What are the remedies?

Thomas Says:

I dont seriously understand why people are complaining about the statement nadal played clay court tennis on a hard court to win the USO. The fact is,nadals game still has clay court roots. HE has simply made a few tweaks to make his game more effective on hard courts. The fact is,Agassi played hard court tennis to win the french and make 3 finals. So its certainly not impossible to win slams on a surface without playing that style of tennis.

Vulcan Says:


The reason people take exception is because Nadal is not just being looked upon as A great…some people are beginning to wonder if he might be THE greatest…hes a long way from compiling the resume but its a topic for speculation. The ability to excel on different surfaces is one of the facets of that debate. He may be a more well rounded player than even Federer is and if so he may have a shot at the calendar slam. THAT is why people like to debate how well he is able to adapt to the various surfaces.

jane Says:

Kimberly, very interesting post at 7:21 pm; thanks to your husband for relaying his thoughts – they seem to make sense to this armchair enthusiast (I may’ve swiped that term from grendel, but I know he won’t mind. :))

Von Says:

Roddick CAN play on clay, it’s just not his favourite surface. There’s a distinct difference between CAN’T play on a surface and/or don’t like to play on it. Heck, he’s won several 5 set DC matches playing clay. He took Ferrer to 5 sets, had match points, except he got distracted by the crowd becoming diszruptive each time he was about to serve in their Spain DC match.

Von Says:

Thomas: “I dont seriously understand why people are complaining about the statement nadal played clay court tennis on a hard court to win the USO. The fact is,nadals game still has clay court roots. HE has simply made a few tweaks to make his game more effective on hard courts.”

Agreed. I don’t understand the big hoopla about that being the case, as it’s true, but I guess some don’t like to hear the truth. It’s not as though Nadal’s been an initially great HC player, he wasn’t, but as you stated, he’s made some tweaks to his game, to be able to compete effectively on HC. I think his fans should be happy about it, instead of becoming angry when it’s stated as simple fact. IMO, it’s commendable.

Vulcan Says:

Dont forget St. Poelten…yep Roddick has actually won on slow european clay (not to mention his Houston titles). Why he refuses to even show up for Monte Carlo I don’t fathom.

Von Says:

Vulcan: “The reason people take exception is because Nadal is not just being looked upon as A great…some people are beginning to wonder if he might be THE greatest…hes a long way from compiling the resume but its a topic for speculation.”

I think you’ve got it right with respect to Nadal not being looked upon as a great. Well, considering the talk about he’s only 24, and his career is far from being over, then I don’t understand how Nadal could be looked upon as a great, as his career is still on-going, and he could be playing for several more years.

There’s the argument when Fed and Nadal are being compared, Nadal fans state that the tennis world needs to wait until the end of their respective careeers then make the comparisons. Now, that’s exactly what some are doing, umbrage is taken. There seems to be some confusion as to what some of the Nadal fans want to hear. Be that as it may, the feeling that he’s not as yet a great will be shared by many, or maybe a few, but it will be a thought process that is on-going in the minds of a lot of tennis fans, and will be decided when his career is ove r of he tops Fed’s records.

Von Says:

Vulcan: He’s got two lead feet. I say this facetiously. He got to SF in rome and hurt his back/shoulder, which kept him out for months, and there have been some injureis here and there, which i think have caused him to become more concern for his wel-being. it’s somewhat of a situation of why do it, if it’s not mandatory in MC, and risk being in jured.

I personally would rather he didn’t play, instead of so doing, and become injured, thus causing him to lose time for the more important tournaments. By important tournaments, I mean what’s of importance to him.

He also won Houston, but I suppose that doesn’t count.

Von Says:

Vulcan: OUCH, I didn’t read your whole sentence, you did mention Houston. My head is bowed …… LOL.

I think now that roddick has stopped playing DC, we’ll see a different schedule in place for the clay season.

Kimberly Says:

Von, Roddick is a top five favorite to win on hard court and probably a top three favorite to win on grass court slams. On clay I wouldn’t even think Vegas odds would have him in the top ten. He has never gone past the fourth round. He has multiple hardcourt masters yet no clay. He won queens a ton of times and is a four time wimbledon finalist. One would never pick someone like monotones or ferrer or even rally verdasco to beat Roddick on any surface other than clay. I’m not saying he’s awful but he cannot compare to his game on other surfaces. Realistically I would give him under a five percent chance of winning at Roland garros. But who knows, the same was said about rafa at USO I’m sure.

Mindy Says:


Oh, where to start? I think you make many reasonable points and have tried to be fair when it comes to Rafa. I will agree with you about steve-o being too biased against Rafa to give any kind of reasonable assessment of his game. I try not to use the word “hater” loosely here. I agree that there are some people who come on here for the express and sole purpose of insulting other posters in the most personal and cruel manner possible. I would NOT include steve-o in that category.

I am not fond of people trying to play these silly mind games and pretending that they know what is going on in other people’s minds. I have heard it twice now from steve-o about my so-called inferiority complex or insecurity or whatever. I won’t characterize that per se as hatespeak, however, I think it’s unnecessary. I say what I say because that’s what I think and feel.

I understand that someone like steve-o is entitled to say what he feels. We will have to agree to disagree and it won’t be the first time and probably not the last time, I fear. He has said that he doesn’t like Rafa’s game. Fine. There are players whose game I don’t particularly like. You notice that I wasn’t the one who used the term “Fedtard” towards anyone. Nor do I like the use of the term “Rafatard”. If you feel that saying steve-o is a not a hater, just someone who can’t stand Rafa, that may well be true. I am just not comfortable with the fact that he makes it personal and presumes to speak for me and tell everyone what I believe.

It’s interesting how some here decide when and how others should get upset, yet are quick to jump all over anyone who dares to criticize their favorite. note: Grendel – I am NOT referring to you!) If I take exception to people saying that Rafa is playing clay court tennis on hardcourt, guess what? I have the right to say it and stand up for him and what I believe to be true about his game. He has done much more than just tweaked his game and it’s insulting to suggest otherwise. I can at least express my disagreement with those comments.

Yes, we are both verbose. That is quite true. It’s interesting that you do not see this site as predominantly pro-Fed with few Rafa fans. I hope that more people who are fans of many different players come here to have their voices heard. That’s what it’s supposed to be all about.

Kimberly Says:

Contador, kimmi, blank, finches etc…looks like us draw challengers r stuck with a forced pick of gimeno traver in lieu of fish. Inthink in took fish out to meltzer though so will ply cost one round!

Ben Pronin Says:

So, I feel like this conversation really went by me. I’ve been in class all day so I was able to read what you guys were writing but couldn’t reply. At this point I could write a book of replies but I’m just going to try to keep everything brief.

Kimberly, you’re awesome.

I think Grendel is one of the few people who was posting here before I was and he’s got me down fairly well. I’m an emotional personal in all aspects of life, especially tennis. On the court I channel Safin pretty well, and when I watch tennis it’s not much different. I’ve made it clear that I’m not going to mention names regarding PEDs anymore, but I believe no one is above suspicion. No one. At least I try to be more subtle nowadays. A few years ago I would’ve sounded a lot worse. I said some ill-timed things and I’m actually glad you guys remember it. But I’ll be the first to admit I was in the wrong.

As for Nadal, he isn’t my favorite player, not by a long shot. I’m not enjoying his current reign. It’s boring and it pisses me off because my favorites can’t win anything. But when I say he plays clay court tennis, I’m not trying to insult him. Grendel and others have pretty much cleared up what I would say; clay court tennis is very different from what it was even 10 years ago, Nadal started out playing clay court tennis and has almost single-handedly revolutionized it.

Nadal has pushed himself hard to improve on grass and hard courts. And what was the result besides winning on those surfaces? He became even more dominant on clay. The last 2 French Open’s he won he didn’t even drop a set. I don’t know what showing me his winners vs his opponent’s winners at the US Open really proves. The guy plays aggressive tennis every where all the time. It’s just a matter of tactical adjustments he makes.

No one is saying Nadal isn’t talented, isn’t extraordinary talented, isn’t one of the most talented and greatest player’s to ever play the game. He is. Undoubtedly. Whether I like it or not, it’s a fact. His 9 slams, career golden slam, they’re facts. But that doesn’t somehow mean that his root style isn’t of clay court mentality: make your opponent play one extra ball. Only Nadal makes it 5 extra balls. And he does it better than anyone ever has.

Like I said, it was just incredibly frustrating for me, as a fan of Djokovic’s, to watch Nadal getting everything back time and time again. Obviously for Nadal fans it was great. Does that somehow mean Nadal didn’t step in and hit winners when he had the chance? No. Does Nadal currently posses the best or at least top 3 volleys in the game? Amazingly, yes.

I can’t wait for this to be spun into something negative.

steve-o Says:

@Mindy: For someone who complains so much about others “psychoanalyzing” you, you sure engage in plenty of amateur psychoanalysis yourself:

“He doesn’t know what I am about, who I am and doesn’t get to think or speak for me. It’s some of the Fed fans who are obsessed with him winning at all costs all the time. Rafa got in his way and that is why they hate him and his fans.”

You spin a whole narrative which you have neatly fit me into, without the slightest bit of evidence. So please spare me.

If I was wrong about the “winning being the only thing,” I apologize. I will note, however, zola’s comment:

“Steve-O can write his opinion of course and that might make him feel better, but does not change the fact that Rafa is now the undisputed number one and has achieved heights that many will only dream of.”

which seems to precisely confirm my argument. For what else is she saying but that winning is the only thing that matters?

Nadal is winning right now. Everyone loves a winner, so of course people will say all sorts of flowery and exaggerated things in praise of him and his game. I’m sure someone has said that he can grow wings and fly. That doesn’t mean I have to take what they say at face value. So when you claim certain virtues for his game which I don’t think it has, I will say so.

You clearly identify with Nadal and suffer when you hear anything you consider critical of him. But what can I say? I’m not going to sugarcoat things and deny what I see with my own eyes. The salient features of his game remain power and speed. That’s the biggest innovation he has brought–hitting with such spin and power that he can nail winners from way back, and counterpunch even the most cleanly-struck shots with immense strength. That’s the key to his game.

My remarks don’t mean Nadal didn’t work hard to win his victories, nor do they mean he didn’t earn them. For the record, I will say he did work hard and he did earn them.

skeezerweezer Says:

“I’m sure someone has said that he can grow wings and fly”

Steve-o I was hoping for some humor in someones post today and I found it, lol. Thanks!

Vulcan Says:

Von Says:

Vulcan: OUCH, I didn’t read your whole sentence, you did mention Houston. My head is bowed …… LOL.

No worries :) and T minus 1 hour for Kohlschreiber.

Mindy Says:


You started the psychobabble, so I just shot it right back at you. You have made your argument and I respect your right to have your own point of view. You see what you see and I see what I see. I love Rafa’s game, have enjoyed watching him evolve and develop into a player who is now capable of winning on all surfaces. If we discussed Fed’s game I have a feeling we might both see that very differently, too. So be it.

Darn, just as I was about to say that Rafa DID grow wings and was able to fly! Yes, I agree with Skeezer that a bit of humor is badly needed right now.

mem Says:

Ben Pronin.

it seems to me you, steve, and a couple of others are the ones concerned about whether nadal is playing hardcourt tennis or not. explain to me why it matters so much! he won the usopen and he won tokyo! so, if he played claycourt tennis to win, great, fantastic, that says a whole lot about his special ability to take a style and do anything he wants with it. so what’s your problem?

i’ll tell you, your problem is, you need to grow up! you are too immature! to think someone put a pen in your hand and encourage you to write about sports and you can’t even separate tennis from your contempt for nadal.

this “claycourt/hardcourt” babble you and steve got going is trivial, insignificant, and downright ignorant. if he won playing claycourt, grasscourt, sugarcourt, glasscourt,or any other kind of court, it is very impressive and an incredible feat.

as far as i’m concerned, i don’t care if he won by playing tennis on a rooftop with a baseball bat. he won!

it has always bothered you that nadal won’t go away! people like you think this tour belongs to roger federer and every player should bow to him and wait until he retires before they reap the fruits of their labor. you need to come out of darkness into the light and smell reality!

if your constant hammering on how nadal didn’t do this or didn’t do that or can’t do this or can’t do that helps you accept nadal’s success, then go for it! i understand how bitterness affects people! but someone should tell you and steve that there is no set way to play tennis; players develop their games and styles to suit them, not us! if we like it, then we watch, if we don’t like it, then we don’t watch! simple as that!

someone Says:

mem and Mindy,

How would you feel if in the future, the ATP decide to strip Rafa of all his titles because they have finally discovered that he was cheating in all his matches – i.e time wasting and coaching from uncle Toni?

Ben Pronin Says:

Mem, you get an A-. You spun what I said into something negative pretty well but it could’ve had a little more oomph. Although kudos on telling me I need to grow up.

“people like you think this tour belongs to roger federer and every player should bow to him and wait until he retires before they reap the fruits of their labor.”


I explained my personal problem with Nadal’s game. It’s simply frustrating to watch him knock the spirit and legs out of my favorites time and time again. That’s my only problem. I don’t have an actual problem with Nadal for playing the style that he does. It doesn’t appeal to me as much as Federer’s but that doesn’t mean it’s not, well, more effective. One match that always comes to mind is the 09 AO final. I’ve rewatched it several times and Nadal looked unbeatable. He couldn’t miss. And he was playing up on the baseline the whole time go for flat backhands and super forehands. I always thought it was amazing that Federer even got a set.

Don’t forget that this is a blog. I’m not some super sports journalist. I’m allowed to have opions and bias. As for this discussion, despite that negativity and attacks that came with it, it’s interesting. Nadal fans, for the most part, are convinced he’s playing hard court tennis. I’m trying to prove that his game is still based on the same clay court principles they always have been. We’re discussing tennis, what’s wrong with that?

Kimberly Says:

And the most asanine comment of the day award goes to “someone”.

Skeezerweezer Says:

Well I guess this discussion is about wrapped up. Yes another fine day at the dysfunctional tennis blog!

Always “Tennis talk with Tabasco”

grendel Says:


I’m fairly certain Ferrer beat Roddick on hard court (in the US) a couple of years or so ago.

Ben says:”Nadal has pushed himself hard to improve on grass and hard courts. And what was the result besides winning on those surfaces? He became even more dominant on clay.”

That is an extremely pertinent point, it seems to me, and shows just how special Nadal is. Some years ago, Mats Wilander suggested that Nadal’s evident ambition to do well on surfaces other than clay might be successful, but might have the effect of damaging his clay court game. For this, apparently, was exactly what happened to Wilander himself when, after winning 3 French, he tried to expand his horizons.

I can’t help thinking that this argument about Nadal’s new playing style has generated a lot of heat to no purpose. It could be an interesting academic argument, but why all the emotion? Serious people are not trying to play down Nadal’s achievements – least of all Ben, that seems to me quite obvious.

Vulcan Says:

Um hello,

Why all the emotion?
Were you sleeping during the last 20 years or what?
Clay court players, particularly those from Spanish speaking countries who were deemed as “clay court specialists”, have long been dismissed as one dimensional and unable to compete on the faster court surfaces. You act as if Wimbledon and grass aren’t regarded as the Officer’s HQ of the game and clay isn’t regarded as the trenches. You bet your ass there is emotion. Nadal winning Wimbledon was a cataclysmic development. His further success on faster court surfaces continues to shift the paradigm. There were plenty of emotional comments coming from all the crybaby naysayers prior to Nadal’s Wimbledon victory but I don’t recall the myriad of comments wondering “why all the emotion” at that time.

Fedend Says:


“mem and Mindy,

How would you feel if in the future, the ATP decide to strip Rafa of all his titles because they have finally discovered that he was cheating in all his matches – i.e time wasting and coaching from uncle Toni?”

Yes it would feel bad, but not as bad as it would be when WADA gets to know the truth that Federer was making all those consecutive streaks and wins only with the help of PEDs.

grendel Says:

Vulcan – that’s not what I was talking about. As I see it, it’s a question of semantics. Nobody actually disagrees that Nadal is playing phenomenally well.

Skeezerweezer Says:

Looks like Birdy gave Robredo a beatdown in Shanghai…Anyone see that match?

grendel Says:

yeah, saw some. Berdych just too powerful for Robredo in first (what i saw). a few things occured to me. 1, Berdych is very reliant on power, and if the other chap keeps getting it back, it’s puzzle time for Berdych, all he can do is hit harder, till eventually he misses. 2,when Berdych hits it nicely, there are few better sights – he’s the opposite of delPotro, who launches himself into the bloody thing, every nerve, muscle and bone straining and groaning to propel him forward with the express purpose of delivering pain and punishment to the ball. A strange noise, as if emanating form the bowels of the earth, is expunged from somewhere in delpo’s mighty frame as contact is made. Berdych, on the other hand, strokes the ball like cream – and he ends up having a near similar effect.

3) Robredo’s game is very competent and he seemed to live with Berdych, but just kept falling short. In the end, he lacks any kind of telling shot – these days, if you’re to get anywhere, you must have something. 4) Robredo actually nearly came back in first set. 4-0 was on the brink of being 4-1 instead of 5-0. Berdych had grown complacent, assumed set was his, Robredo nearly took advantage. You’d think at this level they’d know about that, wouldn’t you, that you simply mustn’t let up and so on. If you’re opponent’s on the ground, kick him in the balls, it’s the only way. Yet very few know to do that. 5) in second set, went with serve to 2 all, Robredo seemed to be understanding Berdych, and Berdych is always at a loss when someone understands him, and indeed, Robredo broke Berdych. Didn’t look too happy. Had some sort of foot trouble. Anyway, I pushed off to do some washing up, it had piled up you know. When I came back, the damn match was over. That means Berdych must have broken twice. Perhaps the Robredo foot?

Skeezerweezer Says:


Thanks for the summary.

Hey when you get a chance can you decipher what Rafa was trying to say in his interview.? You seem to be proficient in the language of the English. Thanks!

grendel Says:

by question of semantics, I meant: so and so says: Nadal plays claycourt tennis on hard, but he does it so well he still wins. Such and another replies: not at all, he plays hard court tennis on hard, and wins. Not, on the face of it, a debate you’d think would ignite the passions. And yet it has done.

Who is right? Does the distinction even make sense? (it sounds like it does, but the more you think about it, the more you might be inclined to wonder). Suppose you were to ask the top twenty players, do you think they’d all come down on one side, thereby, perhaps, settling the matter? I rather doubt it. And do you think they would get emotional? Absolutely not.

Emotion comes into it when people choose to see certain insinusations smuggled into the original assertion. Somehow, this question, which could be seen as neutral, a mere query into matters of style or even nomenclature, has somehow devolved into yet another argy-bargy between Federer and Nadal fans.

Once it does that, immediately we get the name calling. That will continue no doubt. These arguments about the relative merits of Jackson and Johnson always seem to stir the blood, at almost any level of society. Nippers do it in the kindergarten, old age pensioners are at it in nursing homes, youngsters enact it in the streets, scholars do it on the campus, politicos do it in their unread and unreadable magazines, and bloggers do it on tennis x. Such is the way of things.

But: on the question of whether Nadal is a claycourter excelling on hard, or a hardcourter mastering the hard, some might think that mem’s words have a certain piquancy:”this “claycourt/hardcourt” babble ……is trivial, insignificant, and downright ignorant. if he won playing claycourt, grasscourt, sugarcourt, glasscourt,or any other kind of court, it is very impressive and an incredible feat.”

The emotion engendered is, in my view, about something else altogether. It’s just another excuse to get jackson and Johnson in to the ring again. Personally, I’m bored.

mem Says:


how about we cross that bridge when we get there? is that ok with you? i;m sure you will let me know when we get there!

Vulcan Says:

Tell you what Grendel, why don’t you let me offer some final words on this subject and spare you having to come up with another 5 paragraph response so that we can move on to something else.

“Emotion comes into it when people choose to see certain insinusations smuggled into the original assertion.”

That is correct. Certain people insist on injecting condescension (an emotion) into the debate. It is this condescension that people find offensive and triggers an emotional response.
I don’t think this debate has anything to do with Nadal vs Federer. This site seems to be obsessed with creating a division between the fanbase of the two players. Very simply it has to do with recognizing the achievement and the difficulty associated with ADAPTING to a surface which is not the surface that could be described as ones “native” surface. It’s analogous to learning a new language…and although one can travel to Rome and order a Pizza in English and SUCCESSFULLY make them self understood…it commands more respect if you can do it in Italian. I’m sure you’ll agree that the failure of certain people to learn and ADAPT a new language and assimilate into a culture can be an emotional hot topic indeed.(enough said)

“But: on the question of whether Nadal is a claycourter excelling on hard, or a hardcourter mastering the hard”

Dude, you don’t seem like a bad guy but this comes across as a bit of a strawman. Nobody ever suggested that Nadal was a “hardcourter”. The argument was very simply that he is a tennis player who has learned, adapted, and improved his game to excel on a different surface…an achievement which deserves recognition which is separate and distinct from the recognition earned from winning on that surface without effecting this change.

grendel Says:

I’ll try and stick to 2 paras, Vulcan. Or maybe one long one. “This site seems to be obsessed with creating a division between the fanbase of the two players”. Yes, and you especially in your most recent posts. Look back, and see what you had to say about Fed fans crybabies etc. The point is, whether Fedfans are crybabies or not -what’s it got to do with this particular argument?

“Very simply it has to do with recognizing the achievement and the difficulty associated with ADAPTING to a surface which is not the surface that could be described as ones “native” surface.” No, that’s where we disagree – but not in the way you think. I absolutely agree that Nadal’s mastery of the different surfaces is a monumental one, with few precedents (Lendl was one of them, by the way). But I don’t agree that this particular argument was about that. It was, in my eyes, an argument which in principle could cast no aspersion on Nadal either way. It was simply a matter of how you chose to interpret his modified style. Really, this should be emotion free for everyone, and the fact that it wasn’t indicates huge levels of confusion amongst all of us as to who was talking about what. b.t.w., why not call Nadal a hardcourter if that is what he becomes when he plays on hard courts. A claycourter on clay, and so on. Was Borg a grass court player? Obviously not initially, but did he become one? There is acute division on this question.

Perhaps these questions are unreal. I don’t know.

Vulcan Says:


I see that my request was denied…so round and round we go.

Grendel, do not infer that I was ever referring to Federer fans when I alluded to “crybaby naysayers”.
The last fire I would ever want to feed on this site is the one which increases the division between the two fan bases…if I am doing it please reference it, bookmark it, send it to me in triplicate, put it in neon, etc, etc, etc.

About Nadal over Wawrinka:

I thought he looked more fresh than I would of expected. Perhaps with Fish gone and Davydenko and Murray not looking as threatening he sees a straight path to the Semis. He has made statements about his desire to make it to London and finish the season with more of an oomph than ever before so it will be interesting to see if he can back up what he has said.

mem Says:


spot on!

your last paragraph is exactly the point i was trying to make earlier. you explained it better than me. i’ve never even heard nadal fans suggest he was this “great, great” hardcourter nor do i think they focus on him being the best hardcourter around. my understanding is/was that they were just pointing out his improvements and applauding his success on hardcourts and rightly so. as always, it was taken out of context by the usual suspects to imply something negative!in fact, i was stunned to hear ben suggest that nadal fans think he’s playing hardcourt tennis. i’m wondering, what fans? i didn’t think commending a player for doing well on a surface was equivalent to him being a hardcourt specialist. some people are not happy unless they find something to chew on!

on this site, if a nadal fan congratulate nadal for anything or says something positive about him, some people call it gloating, so, i say, whatever makes them happy! i should know by now to expect certain things from certain posters. in any case, i particularly echo your last paragraph!

skeezerweezer Says:

And Fed beats the Giant, nice win Fed!

Vulcan Says:

I’m getting prepared to be let down again in my eternal quest for the coveted Federer/Nadal hard court rematch…I’m really starting to get concerned that if we do see it soon it’s going to be in the form of an exhibition or something.

grendel Says:


“Grendel, do not infer that I was ever referring to Federer fans when I alluded to “crybaby naysayers”.

My mistake, then. Apologies. I do think, though, that a lot of us were – quite innocently – talking at cross purposes.

I thought Nadal looked tired, and Federer fresh today. So if they do meet in the final, there’s going to be more riding on it for Federer (this really looks like his opportunity) than for Nadal, who could pardonably be expected to coast a bit, insofar as Nadal ever coasts.

Vulcan Says:


Thanks for your vote of confidence. I don’t think either of us seek to overstate Nadal’s achievements.
I have no problem with people failing to acknowledge his achievements or even criticizing his lack of achievement in a particular area. I am however touchy about people refuting his achievements or attempting to diminish there importance. Nadal is already starting to draw criticism from some people for being too understated and not as “matter of fact” as Federer is. Well here’s an interesting news clipping that I’m sure some people will find shocking coming from Nadal:

“Ten months ago it seemed like I was never going to be another time the same (due to the knees). Now it seems I’m going to be one of the greatest.”

Hardly the words of someone who is trying to dodge attention and pressure.

I think Federer too started out erring on the side of humility…and as time progressed and he sensed he was given collective permission to do it he gradually began to acknowledge his own achievements.

mem Says:



i’m not one to a make mountains out of every moldhill, but i will definitely point it out (occasionally) when others do it. sometimes i consider the source and don’t waste my time responding. i understand that fans don’t always have boastful intent when they speak well of their favorite players; they are not always gloating; more often than not, they are proud and happy when their player does something special and they are expressing their joy. my point is, it’s futile to make something negative out of everything. it makes sense to leave some comments as they are, no need to add to them or subtract, just leave them be. that would reduce a lot of the hostility that usually resonates on this blog.

Mindy Says:


“That is correct. Certain people insist on injecting condescension (an emotion) into the debate. It is this condescension that people find offensive and triggers an emotional response.
I don’t think this debate has anything to do with Nadal vs Federer.This site seems to be obsessed with creating a division between the fanbase of the two players.”

I wanted to quote this because I think you have summed up this whole intense brouhaha quite succinctly. Yes, it is condescension and patronizing that will trigger emotion almost every single time. It happens becaue the person to whom it is directed rightly feels that they are not being respected, heard and dignified.

I think the last sentence in the quoted paragraph, sums up what I have been trying to say perfectly. Sometimes the instigators are the bloggers who write for this site themselves. It doesn’t take much to ignite the flames.

It is incredibly condescending to have someone presume to explain your particular favorite player to you. It’s also just plain annoying! If I want someone to explain the relative strengths of Rafa’s game, then I will ask. Otherwise, I certainly don’t need to be informed as though I were a child.

At this point, I have decided that people will think what they will think. I see how Rafa has adapted his game to hardcourt and am more than proud of it. He had the foresight and understanding to realize that there were changes he would make that would allow him to have more success on hardcourt. He incorporated those changes and wasn’t afraid to let his game evolve. That is the sign of not only a great player, but a darn smart one as well!

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