Federer Feeds Nadal Third Set Breadstick to Capture ATP Finals

by Sean Randall | November 28th, 2010, 2:53 pm

If it wasn’t for a second set lapse, you could make the case that Roger Federer thoroughly whipped Rafael Nadal. But the final score of 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in favor of Federer isn’t the main story. What matters is the end result and that was a convincing win for Federer over his nemesis Nadal in the title match of the ATP World Tour Finals in London. ADHEREL

Federer clearly built off his aggressive play from his win yesterday over Novak Djokvoic. The Swiss came out in the first set in an attacking mindset and it showed as Federer was cracking his serve and smacking forehands and backhands like we haven’t seen from him in years against Rafa.

As I commented during the match, Federer made Nadal look ordinary during the first set ambush.

Rafa, though, wasn’t ready to concede.

Nadal would promptly bounce back in the second and grab a break advantage as Federer seemingly took his foot off the gas. Points started going longer, Nadal began finding the range and Federer’s flighty first set form was suddenly grounded.

As the second set closed the momentum and advantage was decidedly Nadal’s.

But in the third Federer went back to the gameplan he began with: attack, attack and attack some more. It wasn’t vintage in the final set but effective. Federer made sublime use of his cross-court angle backhand and was virtually untouched on his first serve – he won 37 of 40 first serve points for the match.

Federer broke a fading Nadal not once but twice in a runaway third set.

Break chances had always been a bugaboo (to steal P-Mac’s word) for Federer in the past against Rafa. Today, Federer was a perfect 3-for-3 on break points.

Nadal still leads the rivalry 14-8 but Federer has the 5-4 edge on hardcourts now and leads 3-0 indoors.

For Federer, collecting his fifth year-end title, 66th overall, is the perfect finish to the season. And his wins this week over rivals Andy Murray, Djokovic and now Nadal will set him up nicely for another Australian Open run. And it will give him some much-needed confidence the next time he meets Nadal. Under new coach Paul Annacone, Federer ends the season winning 21 of his last 23 matches and he had multiple matchpoints in both losses (Djokovic – US Open, Monfils – Paris).

For Nadal and his fans, no need to panic. A year ago Rafa left with a big fat goose egg both in match wins and in set wins. This time around he beats four very tough indoor foes and took a set off Federer. And today’s performance came on the heels of a 3-plus hour affair with Murray yesterday. Nadal might not cop to it, but I do think fatigue played a role.

The surface and conditions favored Federer but Nadal still was able to make a strong impression. It seems that each passing year Nadal is getting stronger on his weakest surface, and I wonder how long before he begins to dominate under the roof?

Still, what a way to finish the 2010 tournament season. Can’t wait for 2011!

“I always believed in a plan from start to finish. Like at the first match I came out and played against [David] Ferrer, I think I always stayed true to how I wanted to play. It was the same thing today. Even though I lost the second set, I’m really happy the way I stayed positive throughout the match today. I thought it was clearly a very high level. I don’t know if I could have played any better, so I’m really pleased.

“It was interesting the way he played. But I stayed offensive. I knew in the long run that could be vital, which it was at the end, so I’m very happy.”

“I always knew it was going to be an interesting match [today]. I think we obviously have a huge amount of respect for each other. I admire his game. Today was another great match, I thought, with some fantastic rallies. I know it doesn’t take anything away from his great season, because it was magnificent.”

“He played unbelievable. He was unplayable I think in this first set. I just can congratulate him for his victory and another great tournament for him. He played unbelievable during all the week without losing a set, being in the final. So his level was very high. I tried my best this afternoon, but he was better than me.”

“I feel I lost the match because I played against a very good Roger Federer on one of his favourite surfaces. When he’s playing like this, [it] is very difficult to stop him.”

“I think [it] was a very emotional season. I am very happy for everything and just [want to] say thank you very much [to] all the people that supported me when I had the difficult moments [and] when I was winning.”

“When I start the season, everything starts. I don’t think [about] if I have to defend 100,000 points or if I have to defend 1,000 points. In Australia or in Doha when I start the season, I [will] have zero points.

“[My] first goal is qualification for London next year, and after we will see. I [am] going to work to be ready and competitive to try to be in the top positions and to compete to keep winning titles.

“The goal is the same: try to play well; try to compete against everybody and try to be in the final rounds.”

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388 Comments for Federer Feeds Nadal Third Set Breadstick to Capture ATP Finals

FedEnd Says:

Congrats to Federer, his fans and most importantly FEDTARDS !!!
Federer played great tennis….and Rafa was not too far behind.
If Rafa plays at 80-90% of the form he has shown here he will definitely capture AO as he would get an advantage of 5 sets and a higher bouncing surface….things are falling into place perfectly for him.

FedEnd Says:

Congrats to Sean Randall !!!
You were in good form this tourney !!!

Betty Sharp Says:

I should warn you that this is a rant. Nothing personal against you, but I’ve just about had enough with the dual standards applied to Federer vs Nadal.

The world’s a funny place. A 29-year-old Federer beats a 24-year-old Nadal and so many people are offering up an excuse for Nadal – that he was tired. Of course he won’t “cop to it”; he doesn’t need to ‘cos that’s understood. Uncle Toni has planted it in all our heads, that Nadal is a true warrior but he suffers from injuries and his long matches take their toll. We all know the story line. And we keep hearing about his knees, among other things.

Seriously. It was best of 3, not best of 5. Nadal had just come off a vacation while Federer had been playing. And have you forgotten that Nadal’s the same man who beat Federer at AO ’09 in a 5-setter after beating Verdasco in an even more gruelling 5-setter in the SF?

Strange world indeed.

At the ripe old age of 29, Federe is reinventing himself and pushing himself to new heights (just ask Novak) right in front of our eyes and I still have to hear one single (supposedly) trained observer remark on that. All I hear is: Nadal is tired.

One more thing. If Nadal was truly tired, it was his own doing? If he was that good, why couldn’t he have taken all his RR opponents out in straights? Federer did.

Angel Says:

FedEnd you don’t fool any body, with your hipocrital congrats. Federer is the greatest and you can’t stand it. Merry cristmast and Happy new year to you stupid asshole.

Kimmi Says:

hureeey! i had to go away, i was soooo nevrous, once he lost the second set. just came back and federer won..yay! i am soooo happy for him. OMG, 6-1 in the third..how did that happen. I have to watch the recording!

So happy for federer! yay!

Tennis Vagabond Says:

What a third set! That was absolutely flawless play from Federer. I find it very hard to believe that the same people can claim Nadal was tired and Nadal will win AO because they are five setters. Errr, this does not compute. Their fitness is a wash. I don’t recall ever seeing Federer tired, nor did Nadal have any trouble chasing balls down. The issue today was shotmaking.
One thing I found very important today was that Fed had no trouble handling Nadal’s new and improved serve. He was getting first serves in play routinely. Also amazing that the bh which has failed him so often against Nadal was the weapon of choice today. It was sensational- no doubt partly due to the low bouncing service.
What a great way for Fed to add some much needed suspense to the AO!

Anna Says:

Federer played inspired tennis all week and deserved the win today. Rafa’s had an incredible year and more than made up for last year’s nightmare at the finals, so on to bigger and better things next year. Can’t wait for the AO.

Contador, I hope you broke down and watched the match :).

Betty Sharp Says:

Re my earlier comment, just one small correction. Federer took out all 3 of his RR opponents AND his SF opponent in straight sets.

steve-o Says:

Age cannot wither, nor custom stale Federer’s infinite variety.

He just keeps forging ahead into new, unexplored regions of tennis.

Adam Says:

Let’s get serious here, either one of them should be proud of themselves. They both showed great skill. Roger could not afford to let Rafa win – he would loose too many sponsorship opportunities. Let us also not forget how far Rafa has come on multiple surfaces and compared to last year amazing. Federer also finally got some sense and hired a coach to help in his twilight years of play. Heck, if you had like RF 33 million dollars in endorsements a year I would spend a few bucks to get the wrinkles out. But then again, there is the Australian Open

Twocents Says:

No worry there, Betty Sharp.

Fed played great and Nadal was tired/injured can co-exist. We see what we want to see.

And we all know that Nadal doesn’t lose unless he’s tired/injured, and Fed is never tired/injured.

What a perfect year for a 29-year old decliner:
1 slam, 1 YEC, 1 TMS, 1 500, 1 250!

Twocents Says:

Now, get that DC, Novak.

Betty Sharp Says:

Thank you, Twocents, for reminding me. I’m cool. (And if Novak gets the DC, I’ll be happy for him too.)

And, I forgot. Congratulations, Roger! Absolutely amazing play! Thank you, thank you!

Sonic Says:

Why is AO being mentioned here? What would have changed re:AO had Nadal won this one?

People seem to forget that Nadal hasn’t won a masters 1000 on hard surface – or even reached the final on one, in this, his best year. He won US Open because the stars aligned and he got a joke draw. Good for him, but that doesn’t make him an AO favorite.

We have Del Potro back, Djokovic will hopefully start playing tennis again (was horrible the entire year, the freak victory over Federer at US Open non withstanding ), Murray showed good stuff in London and there is some good talent waiting their opportunity from the background.

So congrats to Fed, this is good for his confidence, but hardly anything else.

In Australia Nadal has to again face a lot of players that can crush him. That would have not changed even had he won here. Perhaps he can have a cake walk draw again, but that hardly happens twice in a row.

I’ll take an early vote of Murray finally breaking the duck at AO 2011. Nadal will take RG and Fed Wimbledon.

US Open is either Murray’s, Del Potro’s or someone will come from nowhere.

jane Says:

Twocents, congrats on your old man’s win ;) Now my young man better win that DC!!!

ron Says:

Poor Betty.

dave Says:

Apologize for the long posts in advance…

In the two sets that Federer dominated Nadal 6-3 and 6-1, Roger won 61% of the 85 points played. Overall Federer won 57% of the 130 points played in the match. It was a decisive victory. Nadal crumbled at the end and pretty much gave up instead of fighting to the very end. This was not the first time that “mentally tough” Rafa has done this in matches he has lost. You rarely see Federer give up in this way (e.g., 2008 French Open final), as most of his final losing sets are 7-6 or 7-5.

Some excellent comments by Jordan and others. But let’s refrain from explaining away Nadal’s loss to the easy excuse of fatigue or off form. I’ve seen Nadal looking befuddled, stunned, tired in his other losses (e.g., 2007 Shanghai semifinal loss to Federer) or when he is in trouble. Nadal’s loss today was waiting to happen as he has been patchy and inconsistent at times since Wimbledon, and in most first sets he played throughout this WTF tournament.

Even a fully fresh Nadal would probably have lost to Federer playing like this on indoors, hardcourts or grass (based on how Nadal played at this year’s wimbledon). Basically Federe bullied Nadal into submission. Nadal was at a loss how to beat Federer. I feel that Federer could have played even better if he had served slightly better and if he eliminates his second set mental walkabouts.

Rafa tried his different game plans but — except at the start of the second set — none of them worked because Federer changed his playing patterns and strategy. And Nadal was thrown off by Federer’s mental toughness, continual tactical changes, and aggression — hitting clean winners against Nadal tactics that worked before (e.g., Fed’s backhand and return of serve) thus breaking Nadal’s confidence in his proven plays. If not for Federer’s old habit of going on a mental walkabout (with a sloppy service game) early in the second set instead of piling on the pressure, this match should have ended in two sets in just over an hour.

What happened to Nadal has also happened to Federer’s other WTF opponents Djokovic and Murray, and to countless other Federer opponents over the years. Federer piled on the pressure, did not give them rhythm or room to breathe, and they buckled under the pressure. At his best, Federer breaks down their game and does not allow his opponents to get into a battle, so the matches look one-sided as if his opponent is not playing well.

Top 5 players Djokovic and Soderling explained what Federer did to them:

– Djokovic after losing to Federer yesterday: “He’s hitting the ball well, especially the first balls after his serve. He was playing smart. He was coming in. He didn’t give me any time to try to get into the match…He’s really stepping in, hitting the backhands and forehands all over the court, winners. Every ball kind of listens to him. Comes in, just close to the line. It’s very hard. He doesn’t give you a lot of free points. It’s very hard to play him. He’s always on top of you, make pressure, he’s very aggressive. That’s why he’s there.”

– Soderling after losing the 2009 French Open final to Federer: “every time I played Roger, after the match I always said, I played so bad today. Now I learned that it’s not that I played bad, he makes me play bad. So that’s what’s so difficult playing against him…Roger’s game doesn’t suit my game at all. He doesn’t allow me to be aggressive. He always had me on the run today. With Rafa, it’s different. It’s easier to be aggressive, you know. In all my matches against Rafa I think I dictated the game, I dictated the play…But against Roger, for me, it’s been so far impossible to do that… Yeah, I played him, so I know. I never played anyone playing that fast. He’s a great player. He doesn’t have any weaknesses at all. He really deserves to be called the best player of all time, I think… He played too well and he didn’tlet me to be aggressive at all…He’s even more aggressive. I have to say he plays even faster. Simple as that.”

Bottom line for Federer, he dominated and crushed the top five players on tour. This should shut up the Federer doomsayers for a few weeks.

dave Says:

Regardless, Nadal should be proud of his overall performance this year, and reaching the WTF finals. He should win this title one day.

However, it was pathetic to hear the TV commentator Robbie Koenig suggesting that fatigue was a factor in today’s match (in other words Nadal lost because he was tired).

Nadal should not be fatigued for a big match like this, as he is supposed to be a super fit athlete. Regardless, in a normal 5 round tournament, the matches are played everyday from Wednesday to Sunday. In the WTF, Nadal’s first match was on Monday, and he had a day’s rest after each of his first two matches. On Friday Nadal’s third match was a had a relatively easy two setter. On Saturday, Nadal played only one 3-setter match (only 223 points). It was the first semifinal so he had an extra 5 hours to recover over Federer.

Nadal playing 223 points against Murray is no excuse. By comparison, Federer has been through worse when he played Nadal on clay. In 2006 Rome, Federer had to play six matches in a row (not five like today, as there was no bye for top players in those days). On a Friday QF, the 24 year old Federer played 229 points to beat claycourter Almagro. The next day, on Saturday SF, Federer took 229 points beat Nalbandian. The Sunday final was Federer’s sixth match in a row — Roger nearly beat Nadal on his favourite clay surface in in a five setter (353 points) lasting over 5 hours on clay!!! Federer fought all the way to the bitter end, and even had double matchpoint in the fifth set (which I now realize he squandered due to fatigue, hehe)! As well, in 2006 Toronto, Federer won the title playing four consecutive days of three set tennis.(including the final).

So fatigue should not be used as an excuse for Nadal in his prime against the aging arthritic Federer. In this WTF final it should be Federer who is fatigued, not Nadal. Young “mentally fresh” Nadal take a month long break before the WTF. Furthermore, he has played only 29 matches since Wimbledon. The old “has been” Federer has played 39 matches since Wimbledon — in the last 7 weeks alone Federer has played 5 tournaments (Shanghai, Stockholm, Basel, Paris, WTF)! Nadal played only 2 events (Shanghai and WTF). Really, wtf?

This aspect of Federer’s superior athleticism is often overlooked — just how fit he is. When Roger is not fit — e.g., due to illness or injury — that is when he tends to get into slumps since 2008.

First, let me put Nadal’s achievement in perspective. No one is disputing Nadal’s 2010 year is excellent and he has a big points buffer. Even if Fed wins 6-0 6-0, it will not change Nadal’s record of achievements this year. In tennis history, Nadal shares the “Small Slam” (three slams in a year) with ten other players. Except for Federer (3 years), the other 9 players achieved this feat only once. So that Small Slam is very difficult to achieve, and Nadal did it. Nadal did win all the important clay titles, a feat he probably shares with a few others in tennis history. E..g, Nastase in 1973 won French Open, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Gstaad, Florence, as well as the Tennis Masters Cup (WTF), Cincinnati and Paris, etc. WTF final is nice, but the greatest “dominant” players such as Federer, Sampras, Borg, McEnroe and Lendl won the WTF in their most dominant seasons, establishing the precedent in tennis history (Wilander won 3 slams by the USO, but was a lame duck by the WTF). For this 2010 year, Nadal’s achievements are measured in ranking points which gives him a large lead over everybody else, Federer included.

Regardless, you are only as good as how well you are performing in the present, not the past. The USO, Wimby and FO are already in the past, in tennis history.

This WTF final will be seen and remembered like a title fight, and the winner will resonate until the next time these two meet in a slam or WYF final. This WTF is the season-ending prestigious sub-slam featuring the world’s very best players. More significantly, it is also the first time that Federer and Nadal are meeting in a big non-clay tournament final where Nadal and Federer are both playing very well and do not have illness or injury.

If Federer crushes Nadal in this WTF final, it will cast a big shadow on Nadal’s dominance this year, since Federer won the two big titles at the start and end of the year but also the “title fight” at the end of the year. Since Wimbledon, Federer has won over 800 points more than Nadal (not including the outcome of the WTF final), played a lot more matches, has a much better win-loss ratio, won more titles, reached deeper into tournaments, played the better tennis more consistently. His play in the WTF so far has been characterized as the best, near-perfect tennis seen all year of any player.

In the same way that some pundits highlight Nadal’s H2H record over Federer’s career record of 16 Grand Slams — so too could some pundits highlight a Federer win of this prestigious battle for who is the best player of the moment as casting a big shadow on what Nadal did in the past this year. six months ago — from mid April to early July –Nadal was the undisputed hottest player alone by himself. Suddenly, there is a big elephant in the room with him, who’s beaten him.

El Flaco Says:

Where are all the jock sniffers now that the match is over?

montecarlo, guy, skorocel?

The vultures only circle when there is a carcass to feed on.

At least RearEnd had the guts to post a tongue-in-cheek congrats.

and Mem swallowed hard before typing his congrats then gagged with an excuse.

guy says“djoker is wrong, the best tennis this year was played by nadal at monte carlo where he destroyed everybody like they were juniors.”

Ha ha. Sure Nadal was playing good, but he didn’t beat a single person who was ranked in the top ten at the time. He played every game like it was the 5th set of the French. He kept fighting for every point even after handing out bagels and breadsticks.

What Federer did this week was far more impressive. He beat the #7, #5, #4, #3 and #1 players in the world only dropping a single set.

Duro Says:

Congratulation to Roger Federer and his fans. He deserved it utterly. Approaching 30 and still fantastic. Amazing. Hats down.

mem Says:


i have to admit, you’re are too funny! you should apply for an analyst/commentary job at espn, tennis channel, or sky sports. you would definitely keep the audience in stitches.

El Flaco Says:

Boris Becker mentioned the other day that the WTF/TMC is the most difficult to win from a pure tennis standpoint.

Nadal needs to win a few of these at some point in his career to enter the GOAT debate. He can win a gazillion more clay masters shields, but we already know he is the greatest player of all time on clay(or will be a year or two)

El Flaco Says:

Nice post Daniel son

Twocents Says:

Thank you, Jane.

I’m as impressed by “my” old man’s greed to win as by your young gun’s commitment to his country. I’m sure Murray and Djok will do their parts to spoil 2011 :-)).

skeezerweezer Says:

The King is STILL the King,

Notes as I was watching;

-Early in the 3rd set, it seemed clear this may go deep, as me thinks if it does, Rafa will pull it out. I don’t know…he has had such a great year, but Fed is looking good, but Rafa is looking his every bit his equal.

On serve 2-1. Rafa serving routinely here at 40-15, Fed manages to get the next point. At 40-30, Rafa has his laser sights on Fed’s BH again, but Fed’s BH today is solid, like against Murray AO 09. Fed hits a much stronger BH than Rafa expected during a rally, causing an error from the Lion, and for the first time during the match, Fed yells “C’mon!” Quickly after, Rafa was broken in the 3rd and the brilliance of Fed took off into the stratosphere. The Prince stood with his hands on his hips to receive the last point seemingly looking like to say

“Sh*t, He is still the King, but I am the Prince, and I may be the King someday, but not today.”

-Wide serve to the deuce court by Fed. What a great tool have builtup in the game plan. Rafa served 99% of his serves to Feds BH and overall it held up. Touche.

Rolling Stones member and Kevin Spacey cheerin on the Fed, cool.

What a match. What a match.

Long live the King! GOAT.

Thanks to Rafa fans Kimberly & Aliesh…without piling on “but”….. you could have….. but you didn’t……and thanks for letting us Fed fans have a moment, Rafa was all class as usual. his year cannot be denied, one of the greatest tennis years ever.

skeezerweezer Says:


spot on stuff, and not funny :)

Ben Pronin Says:

Federer could not have been tighter in the end. I still don’t get what happened with that last forehand.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

In 05-08 Federer forced Nadal to become a better player. From 07-10 Nadal forced Federer to be a better player.
This year, BOTH players clearly went back to the woodshed to retool their games and improve. After this win, I think its safe to say that Rafa will return BETTER THAN EVER. The two will be more and more separated from the pack. I think, at his best, Murray can run with these dogs at their best, but he just doesn’t have the mental toughness. At his best, I don’t believe Nole can beat Fed and Rafa at their best.
Could it be possible that 2011 will be the most dominated by Rafa and Fed yet?

Daniel Says:

Just to correct, it is Fef 66 title and he nos peada Nadal 4-3 on hard.

Daniel Says:

He now leads Nadal 4-3 on HC. Sorry!

Twocents Says:

IMHO, when it comes to Fed and Nadal, the general media double standard may be attributed to two big things: first and foremost, the huge success of Team Nadal’s overall lon term PR strategy centered on that Nadal is everything Fed is not – lefty, grinding, hardworking, humble, and warrior; secondly, the media’s meal tickets worry across the board – all ATP guys and tennis press guys have a career at stake to constantly show the world that tennis is in the greatest hand and that they know about the game better than the our agerage Joe’s. That means they have to hopp to the next big thing b4 it’s too late, otherwise they become irrelevant. It’s not their fault that they do what they could to ensure the longevity of their career: what’s safer than betting on the current leader will fall – they all fell, sooner or later. Regardless of their own preference, they must hail to the new chief and make it appear the best thing ever. When these two big forces are in sync, we Fedfans see all these comic stuffs in tennis press and sometimes feel left out in the cold.

It’s all business. There’s no conspiracy.

But, it’s the age of internet, age of two way not one way media. So, we have places like here, FB, Twitter, Youtube, etc to express, educate, and on top of all, enjoy ourselves. While Fed may get some unfair disses from press compared to Nadal, I strongly feel all other ATP players except Nadal got overlooked for their tremendous effort: Roddick playing thru multiple injuries and lately mono, Djok with his long term health issue, Murray shouldering the ridiculous pressure of an empire…

My heart goes out to all fans of non-Fedal: kudos for sticking to your guys thru high and low.

mrmilbury Says:

For me, the most amazing thing about Federer is that he knows damned well about is ‘twilight’. He knows he is not the same player of ’06,’07 but even if he has won 16 slams he has the passion and the will to improve his play. Now he needs more quick play. He has changed also his service style: lower throw, quicker movement, less aces but graters accuracy.
In one way, he his similar to Rafa but he shows, in my opinion, a love for tennis different from Nadal. Without Roger, Rafa’s attitude to become a better player on other hard surfaces could be less motivated.
Roger has won everything but he loves too much tennis. At the age of 29, with all of his victories, it is a great proof of passion and love to take a coach and try to change playstile.
Maybe not so evident like Rafa improvement, but I think that, at a psicological level, the will of Roger in this last months has shown stronger than everyone.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Did anyone else notice how SERIOUS both men were? I’ve never seen such a big match so totally devoid of emotion. These two are becoming more and more businesslike each time they play. Their focus is so high its incredible.
One would have to think, though, that this atmosphere favours Fed rather than the excitable Nadal who feeds off his own enthusiasm. Federer somehow muted the event; through force of will he controlled the mood and made it his own.
The same goes for tempo: this was one of the fastest paced matches I’ve seen Rafa play. Often Roger has allowed Rafa to dictate tempo- I think only Roddick is more committed to imposing his (fast) tempo on a match. Today, Roger seemed to beat Rafa in imposing his quick pace on the proceedings.
So, where I think Rafa has dominated before- in the intangibles of mental toughness- Roger did so today, and it showed not just in these esoteric areas but in the straightforward ones: Roger was the winner on the key points that Rafa usually dominates.

In Rafa’s defense: Rafa IS STILL predominantly a defensive genius. Offensive players can beat him with a 1 in a 100 match, the puncher’s chance that a Soderling will always have. Roger was the offensive player today, going for lines he often misses. So, although Roger won, the question HAS to be: can he do that again?

Sean Randall Says:

I’ve updated the bottom of the post with ATP quotes from both players.

I also corrected the score & Federer’s title count which is 66.

Nina Says:

I couldn’t see the final today but I watched Roger against Novak yesterday and this strucked me as the main difference between Federer and his rivals: speed and attack. He really has a super aggressive game and he comes in so fast that before you realize he’s already one set up. Soderling said it better: “I never played anyone playing that fast”.

That’s the truth really. When he’s like that no one can stop him. Luckily for his non-fans, which includes me, he can’t sustain that form for a long time and then that’s when we see FEDerror arise, the one who shanks his forehands and backhands to no end.

Fortunately, FEDerror is showing more and more these days. But in beetween we have these spells of JesusFED that are simply awesome.

mem Says:

oh skeezer, skeezer, skeezer, don’t waste so much time making indirect remarks, enjoy roger incredible victory. after all, is it that big of a surprise that roger beat rafa on an indoor hardcourt? roger had all the advantages, did you expect anything less? it’s sort of like what you guys say when nadal beats roger on clay; it’s suppose to happen! same scenario! don’t be so sentative, just enjoy!

Skeezerweezer Says:



Yes it is a big surprise to be honest. Of course was hopImg Fed would win, but as I said before the tourney Rafa was the fav, they way he proved he could play this year on anything, made thus win all that much more special .

Skeezerweezer Says:

Thanks Sean

Dan Martin Says:

Interesting point about the tempo

St4r5 Says:

This is another evidence (amongst many) that Fed is well above Nadal, Djokovic and Murray. He defeated them all!

blank Says:

Congrats to Nadal and Federer for another successful year. Others have a lot of hard work to do if they are to catch these two.


Congrats to you. Looks like you have turned a corner in terms of predictions. I am not scared anymore when you pick Federer to win. This year, you were aggressive and called the winner at times very early, even before the season started (Rafa’s clay season) and tournament started (Federer @ WTC). Well done!

blank Says:

correction to my 6:43 post:

‘WTF’ and not ‘WTC’

Kimberly Says:

Very classy comments from Nadal. And Federer as well.

skeezerweezer Says:

Some fun posts I kept from right before the match ;-)

simba Says:

We have not watched Nadal whupping Roger’s a** for a while, haven’t we. I will tune in for another Nadal’s ass whupping tomorrow.

queen says;


FedEnd Says:

Federer’s win over Nole is a christmas gift for Rafa.
Rafa’s hardcourt H2H against Federer is 4-3.

And “rick” would qualify, but his posts were too many.

All in good fun, and appreciate it from a Fed fan you Rafa extremists were so nice to Fed, especially now :)

mem Says:


i’m confused! does being the favorite guarantee a win; if that were the case, roger would never lose; by most people, he’s the favorite in every tournament regardless of what the paper says. anyway, it’s all good; great match; both guys had a remarkable week. i’m very inquistive and probing, but i understand no player can win them all. rafa surpassed my expectations for this tournament; he gained ranking points and performed fantastic on his least favorite surface and even took a set from roger. so, i’m thrilled! i have nothing to complain about. again, enjoy the victory.

Karly Says:

I am SO tired of hearing that Nadal is TIRED when he loses. He played a three hour match yesterday, that is nothing compared to what he can play in majors and still win. Don’t forget, Nadal was off the court resting for hours before ROger was yesterday, but nobody seems to mention it. that four or five extra hours of down time and rest Nadal got over the 29 year old Federer should be noted as well. Roger is usually a victim of the schedule, always scheduled to play the night match semi final with an afternoon final the next day, no excuses ever made for him. Nadal started looking “tired” as soon as he knew the match was over anyway. the fatigue excuse is not spoken, but implied by body language and continually promoted by pundits and the Nadal camp alike. It’s time Nadal’s fans in the media accepted that he does lose to Federer and not because he’s just tired.

Polo Says:

For Federer and his fans like me, that was a wonderful way to end the year. It shows you that he is still right there on top together with Nadal. Nadal clearly had a better year but Federer’s was without question, the next best. All those behind them most be wondering what they had to do to get through those two in any big tournament. It must be discouraging for them to see that Federer can still play like the Federer of old and trying to maintain that edge, while Nadal just keeps getting better. Any chance for the rest to reach number one just keeps getting harder.

skeezerweezer Says:


Thanks mem. No, it doesn’t. And yes in the past Fed has been the fav, as his ranking would state. It might be just me but OVERALL I think a player should come into a tourney as the fav according to his ranking. Look, regardless of surface ( and especially Rafa’s case, as he won on 3 different surfaces, all being GS, in one year ) the #1 ranked player pretty much historically gets the most favored draw. That is the way it works. You are privileged, and deservedly so, you earned it. When Rafa won USO he did not play anyone in the top 10 UNTIL the finals. Some say that is a bummer. BUT, Rafa had one heckava spring/summer run to overtake Fed in the rankings and deserved to get this draw, and he was still gonna play someone tough in the finals no doubt. IT’s the same way worked for Fed. So that in a novella is what I was getting at.

Now I know this format is different at YEC’s, but still to me, if I was his fan, hey,,,,,he just won the 3 out of 4 biggest titles in tennis, consecutively, in the same year, on different surfaces, so yes….in fact hell yes, this guy has proven he can win on ANYTHING, so he was the fav, and going into AO, he IS the fav. Does it mean he is going to win guarantee? No. Just my imo…..

mem Says:


i feel the same way about roger’s mono and age when he loses; so, i understand how you feel!

however, if 29 years old is over the hill, then he needs to retire; doesn’t roger get paid for playing tennis. it’s not rafa’s fault if roger is 29 and he’s 24, that doesn’t justify roger getting all the advantages/rest; this is a competition and it should be treated as such, not that it will be. is roger suppose to be exempt from playing back-back matches just because he is 29 years of age; if he’s a senior citizen, then he needs to consider retiring. you people make me sick with all your excuses about roger’s age. then, when someone comes along and point out the obvious about nadal’s fatigue, you claim rafafans are making excuses. don’t get me started because i won’t recognize a stop sign.

i’m sure if roger had played three consecutive days against three top players, one being a 3+ hours semis and lost to rafa in the final, your comments would be quite different. so, don’t even go there. it is what it is and rafa was exhausted, everyone watching could see and he had every right to be; he’s not a machine. no one is forcing you to agree!

Huh Says:






As I said, only one guy could have beaten Rafa at any point of time and at anywhere except RG n that’s our Federer. I believe in you Federer. All your true fans believ in you.

Congrats to the current king Nadal for a good tournament, losing to Fed in finals is no shame. Rafa can win it in future, he’s plenty of time for it.

But Fed is runnin outta age, so m glad he won his 5th to equal the classic record of classic Pete. Congrats to Fed on the WTF title.


Thank you so much dear aleish for your nice words. Thank you to mem also for his good words.

mem Says:


if you say so!

skeezerweezer Says:


Agreed mostly :)

But Murray “almost” beat Rafa and beat Fed earlier this year as well as Nole, so it seems ( and what would be wrong with that? ) that it may be a 4 way…but

After fully digesting Fed’s Indoor season I can see that he has ( w/Annocone ) made sincere strides to improve. Rafa actually started this trend, so I do see Nole/Murray improving also or else. Should be a great 2011….hope the “old man” can keep it up…oh how I wish he was the same age of these guys…would like to see him play a lot longer….

Nina Says:

Federer’s win over Rafa doesn’t take anything from Nadal’s magnificent year. He has been the best all season and deserves the n#1 spot. In my opinion he’s still the favorite for most tournaments that he enters. Period.

Nina Says:


You’re so greedy. Wishing that Fed was the same age than ‘our’ guys. How greedy. ;)

steve-o Says:

To add to Twocents’ point:

Nadal is portrayed as a very familiar character: everybody’s goofy, likable kid brother. People respond well to such common tropes; they are comfortable and not too challenging or difficult to grasp. His image is therefore much more easily marketed.

It’s actually a lot more difficult to market Federer. His straightforward and blunt manner, his emotional openness, and other complexities don’t fit easily into any mass-media stereotype and therefore can’t be readily packaged for consumption. You can’t distill him into a soundbite.

The advertising campaigns built around him are almost always built around his excellence as a tennis player, rather than some simplified caricature of him, because he doesn’t fit into any box that people are already familiar with.

He’s not truly in sync with the profit imperatives of the corporate machine that is professional tennis. He’s an anachronism, a gentleman in the old-school sense of the word. Not for him the glib, macho manner that seems to be the norm for most male athletes.

That someone like that could do so well, even thrive despite these corporate pressures to be profitable and marketable at all costs, is a testament to very special qualities. Somehow he is able to be himself, rather than some image imposed on him by PR handlers, and still be accepted and loved for it.

Huh Says:

Oh God, congrats also to my fellow Fed fans Ben, Polo, Kimo etc. on our guy’s win!


To win a slam this year you had to beat both Fed and Rafa. Murray beat Rafa at AO lost to Fed in final. Soda beat Fed at FO lost to Rafa in final. Berdy beat Fed at Wimby lost to Rafa in final. Djoko beat Fed at USO lost to Rafa in final.

The WTF this year was no different. Murray would have been scorched by Fed if he had made it past Nadal. Fed played great against Djoko, but I don’t think Djoko felt too good about having to beat Fed on Sat then turn around and beat Rafa on Sunday.

It has to be tough for Djoko, Murray and Soda to know that they will probably have to beat 2 of the greatest players of all time in the same tournament to win a slam.

Stefani Germanotta Says:

Huge Fed fan here and happy for the win. But I agree with Ben Pronin that Fed was very tight at the end, despite holding three match points at 40-0. He shanked match point, right?

Betty Sharp Says:

Federer made Nadal feel tired.

skeezerweezer Says:


No worries. Your “guy” is my 2nd Fav, so I will have him to cheer on when Fed is gone :), just not too soon.

Joe W Says:

Voicemail1 – excellent pre-match analysis yesterday and spot on prediction. It was great to see Federer work through the unique challenges that Rafa’s game present and make it through. This should be a tremendous boost for Roger’s confidence heading into the off season.

Tennis Vagabond: yes both of these men are indeed becoming very workman like. It reminds me of Borg vs McEnroe. For all of his antics, McEnroe had a different persona when he was playing Borg. There was a mutual respect between the two as there is with Roger and Rafa. Although I don’t believe its a “friendship” as bandied about by the various TV commentators. There’s an edge there.

Speaking of commentators, I enjoyed Lief Shiras and Jimmy Arias’ tournament coverage and commentary on the Tennis Channel this week. Jimmy offers glib but interesting insight and manages to stay very objective. On the US east coast, ESPN broadcast the final live and so I had to listen to Patrick McEnroe predictably jump from one bus to the other. Good grief.

I don’t think we’ve yet seen the full dividend of Annocone’s influence on Roger yet. And with a full two months before the AO it will be interesting to see what new wrinkles he adds to his game.

For 2011, I’m going over that once again Roger/Rafa will continue their stranglehold on the GS titlese, with Rafa doing the heavy lifting as he did this year. Once again, the rest of the field will have their work cut out for them.

Should be a great season.

Polo Says:

Skeez, indeed, it is possible to include Nole and Murray in that circle. But how many people have beaten both Federer and Nadal in a major? Only del Potro and look what happened to his wrist! It is a formidable task beating those 2 in a major.

skeezerweezer Says:



if you say so!”

It’s hard to win you over in any discussion, isn’t it? If your mind is set, it is set…

C’mon its’ cool tell me how you really feel :)

skeezerweezer Says:


Yes, you’re right. VERY tough task beating both of those in the same tourney. Someone should bring out the stats for that. How often as that happened? Not too many I would surmise……

Polo Says:

Huh, don’t worry, I know I was among the ” N ALL OTHERS.”

That was the most satisfying match I have seen this year since the Australian Open final. It felt like Santa just dropped me an early Christmas present.

andrea Says:

wow. that was one of the cleanest matches i’ve seen fed play against nadal.

outstanding. kind of bogus on that last point – is it in or isn’t it? – but the roar from fed afterwards was priceless…and a much needed shot of emotion. he had been strangely flat all week i thought…seemed very pre-occupied.

congrats to nadal for improving his record at this year end event. obviously a disappointment for him and his team.

but i have to say, he’s really gotta come up with a better strategy than constantly pounding fed’s backhand. that works like stink on clay, but i felt that he wasn’t even considering any other plays tonight. everything was going to the fed backhand. bo-ring.

so, of course, how delightful it was to watch roger come up with countless astounding backhand returns that nadal couldn’t even get a racquet on. i felt it was just desserts.

finally can get some rest. see ya’ll in 2011.

skeezerweezer Says:


Thanks, yes, Fed wins! :-)

dunbar Says:


The three back to back matches argument doesn’t work. The first of the three was Berdych – tight first set, culminating in Nadal losing it (his mind, I mean). Now that’s important, because Nadal channelled the energy from his bizarre outburst into his subsequent play. Berdych, however, completely lost his focus, and faded away oh so meekly. This was not a tiring match for any normally fit man, let alone a super athlete like Nadal. You could even argue that it was an effective training session.

Now the semi with Murray was certainly draining, mentally and emotionally as well as physically. Federer’s semi was rather easy. But winning a tournament means just that – winning a series of matches over a few days, it’s not just a question of the final. If, therefore, Federer was fresher than Nadal in the final, which he probably was, then he EARNED that extra freshness by being good enough not to get involved in an exhausting semi. Fatigue, therefore, whilst probably real enough, is not an excuse. If Nadal was unable to run for some balls he normally goes for due to some kind of fatigue – and Peter Fleming, for instance, thought that, I don’t know enough about Nadal’s game to be sure -then this shows a limitation on Nadal’s part which was exposed and punished. This is the sense in which he was indeed beaten fair and square and no buts.

However, I think the question of fatigue may be a real one in a different sense. At the AO, assuming he gets to the final, he will have had a full day off for recuperation. You can certainly expect him, therefore, to display more energy. And therefore to be a much more dangerous opponent.

Also, if Voicemale1 and others are correct, the higher bouncing surface will again facilitate the relentless attack on Fed’s bh. Like others, I delighted in Fed’s bh today, especially in the first set, and I sincerely hope that the Federer team work hard, after the holiday, on the high bouncing ball to Fed’s shoulder. Surely a player as great as Federer can find some sort of answer, not complete of course, but enough of one to make a substantial difference.

One extra point. Federer’s return of Nadal’s serve was not as consistently aggressive as was his return of Djokovic’s serve, which was a real eye opener. And Murray, too, normally such a good returner, often seemed to be tied up by Nadal’s serve, even the second. To mere onlookers like me, the Nadal serve can look, if not innocuous, nothing too special. But it obviously is – I assume it must have the most tremendous amount of spin and swerve on it?

dunbar Says:

Andrea says:”he had been strangely flat all week i thought…seemed very pre-occupied.” Yes, he wanted to win. And believed he would. Flat? In a bubble, I’d say. And yes, that roar was funny, because it was delayed. Was the ball in, was it out? Anxious peering, is it – is it – is it…Yes, it is! Excellent! Time for a good roar. Bubble burst at last. Ah, that feels good!

Lulu Iberica Says:

Congratulations to Federer, all his fans, and to Annacone, who’s obviously doing a great job! The old King is not dead, and the rivalry continues. I didn’t get to watch the match, just periodically checked scores on my iPhone. When I saw the first set score, I felt sick. Then, I saw the second set score, and thought surely Rafa must be on a roll and was going to take the match. When I saw 6-1 third set score, I could not believe my eyes. I won’t pretend to be happy — I am sorely disappointed, especially that Nadal got so thoroughly whipped in that last set. Roger must have been incredible! I hope Raf can get it together for AO, and at least give Fed a good fight if it comes to that. DISCLAIMER: This is in NO WAY an excuse, but I do think Rafa was tired, as playing on hardcourts always takes a heavy toll on him. Whether it’s mental, physical, or both, I think he gets too fatigued playing on the hard stuff to ever be as dominant as Fed has been. And as a fan, I don’t want him to kill himself trying, either. I guess my dream is that Rafa could get one CYGS (though not likely) and then resume winning Wimbledon and Roland Garros only for several years. Well, he does need to win the YECs at least once, too, though that’s going to be a tough fight. Anyway, good job to all the top 4, Djoker please win DC, Rafa practice for AO, and Fed, take a well deserved rest.

Twocents Says:


“Somehow he is able to be himself, rather than some image imposed on him by PR handlers, and still be accepted and loved for it.”

Right on! Maybe the machoist in me or something else, I found this Fed in decline attracts me even more than back when he won everything in sight. The volunerabilities, the greed, and the defiance Fed had been showing since 2008 exposed his human side and endeared him greatly to fans like me.

Fot Says:

Well this Federer fan is SOOOOOOOOOOO happy! What a great way to end the tennis season for me. I’m proud of how Roger ended the year.

Congrats to Nadal and his fans because he had a fantastic year as well.

On the ‘tired’ issue. One thing that is maybe overlooked. When I listen to the tennis commentators, when Nadal is in a long match many of them say something like “Nadal grinds down and wears down the other players in a long match”. Uhm…with his style, do you think he grinds and wears himself down too? Just a thought.

And to finish that… How can you be the ‘fittest player on tour’, yet you’re always tired?

In any case…I am not letting anything spoil my fun with this match. I just wish Nadal and Roger could play MORE matches on indoor carpet as Roger leads this H2H 3-0!

Huh Says:

In the opinion of some, Nadal was tired and in the opinion of some others, he was not. It’s not the end of the world if opinions differ.

skeezerweezer Says:


But he wasn’t “tired”, “injured”, or had a bad hair day. :) 2/3 is a cake walk at 24, one match a day. If you have every played competitive tennis, you know what I am talking about. This excuse is the weakest by far….

Lulu Iberica Says:

Well, on the tired issue, I think he does get tired on hardcourts, but it’s not an excuse, it’s an essential flaw/weakness. Maybe it can be corrected and maybe it can’t. Fot, yes, I agree that Rafa’s playing style does wear down both his opponents and himself, but he seems to handle the wear better on clay. Of course, maybe I’m wrong, and Raf is always fresh as a daisy. I didn’t see the match, but to me what tells the difference is his movement. When he is not sprinting around like a crazed rabbit, I feel a sense of dread. Anyway, in this particular case, it seems Fed would have beaten him even if Rafa had been completely rested.

Colleen Says:

I don’t think Nadal was that tired. Playing 3 matches in 3 days is not a big deal, most players play 5 consecutive days (or more) to win an event. He is also coming off a long break whereas Roger has played a lot of matches in the previous 6 weeks.

I believe Roger will reach 60 mil in prize money this week and has played his 917th match. Next up is Boris Becker @ 927.

Good post Steve O.

Polo Says:

I am not letting any comment disturb me. Federer won the tournament beating his nemesis and two other guys that make up the rest of the best four tennis players in the past couple of years. I am happy. Very happy.

Catherine Says:

Fantastic result for Roger, what a way to end this 2011 season!!!

Finally, good, aggressive tactics got him through. To be honest, I thought he’d fold after Rafa got that second set, but to my surprise… he didn’t, just straightened his back, continued with his job, which lead to… him feeding Rafa a breadstick.

Rafa, on the other side of the fence, has nothing to be ashamed of. I agree that he wasn’t at his best in this final, apart from that 2nd set, but HEY, doesn’t that kind of thing happen to ALL players out there, in the course of duty? This time it wasn’t Roger that folded, but rather Rafa, especially in that 3rd set, where he didn’t even bother to challenge Roger’s MP, though I know for sure that many folks thought it was out. He realized he was fighting a lost case. S**t happens… even to Rafa, once in a while, just like it does to Roger.

Fantastic match, great finalists, and so good to finally see a Fedal Final again – it’s been too long.

Roger was the better player here, so, if I’m allowed to just say ONE thing here: cut the crap with Rafa being injured/tired, every time he loses. It’s getting old, and let me tell you this: the exact same thing happens to some 999 other ATP players as well. He’s not Hercules, forgodsakes!!!

CONGRATS to Roger, awesome job, and may it be the start of him building up confidence to indeed be able to challenge that #1 ATP spot in 2011 again. Congrats to Rafa just the same, for an awesome showing at this tournament. He didn’t win one single set last year, remember… and now, he made it to the final. It’s only a matter of time before he’ll be able to grab that trophy just the same.

Sean Randall Says:

To expand on the “tired” topic, since I mentioned it my post I’ll elaborate.

In that first set I don’t care what condition Nadal was in, he wasn’t going to beat Federer the way the Swiss was playing. So it’s not an issue. Frankly I think he was 100 fine in the first two sets.

I will say again that maybe Rafa felt some fatigue toward the end of the match and perhaps there wasn’t enough in the reserves to mount a serious comeback when he got down.

Honestly, had Nadal rolled Murray yesterday I doubt things would have been much different today. Maybe Rafa gets a few more games, that’s it. Fed simply had his number.

As for Nadal’s fitness, many of you brought up the Aussie open. Remember in Melbourne after his 5-hour SF win, Nadal had about 42 hours off. to recoup.

Today, Rafa had about 24 hours to recover from a 3-hour match.

So which is the tougher recovery? I don’t know.

Catherine Says:

^^ oopsie, of course I meant Roger’s 2010 season.

Catherine Says:

I just have to laugh at certain fans always believing that their fav is made of sugar candy, coming up with excuses whenever he loses…(this of course, going BOTH ways!) – come on there, it’s part of the game, folks. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Noone is invincible, whatever the regular pundits are yapping about it all.

mike Says:

to me Nadal was tired, there was some balls he clearly leaving that he would normally get to

but the thing is, he is tired because of his style of play and what it takes for him to reach finals, that is why Federer IS the goat… when do you ever remember him looking tired in a Final.

Lynd Says:


Who’s fault is it that Nadal is tired? Did Novak get the same excuse for losing the US final after battling Roger for 5 sets and in the late 2nd semi? No, the media just blared: Amazing Nadal wins Career Slam. Or when Roger played both grueling late night matches against Djokovic and played Murray the final the next day. The line was Murray was too good on the day – not that Roger was tired.
Today one of the headlines says: Federer Defeats Exhausted Nadal.
This is getting pathetic. The media has toed the Nadal PR line that he only loses when he is tired and injured. I don’t know what needs to be done to correct this skewed perception.
The flip side of this tired and injured excuse is that Nadal’s camp is admitting he has no game if he is lacking power behind his shots. He is perpetuating an image that is all about brute force and bullying.

Catherine Says:

@ mike, I agree, Rafa DID miss quite a few balls that he’d surely have bagged at being at his best of form.
But it shouldn’t been put forward as an excuse as to why he’s lost this final – as you don’t do, rightfully so. I appreciate that!

Catherine Says:

@ Lynd: “Today one of the headlines says: Federer Defeats Exhausted Nadal.
This is getting pathetic. The media has toed the Nadal PR line that he only loses when he is tired and injured. I don’t know what needs to be done to correct this skewed perception.”

Yeah, unfortunately so, but I think it’s rather the MEDIA dishing up that tired old story time after time again, than Rafa’s camp – let alone, Rafa himself.

It seems to be a ‘cheap’ way for the media to ‘explain’ so-called unexpected losses.

You know what, once there will come a time when Rafa hits 25+ years of age as well – and going into the inevitable decline. I truly ask myself about what kind of excuses the media will come up with at THAT time. I’d say, they’d better prepare themselves well.

jane Says:

margot! margot!! To move on from all the Fedal stuff, I started looking at tennis gossip, you know, the stuff about Boris Becker’s facelift and younger wife who wants many more children (after she “reclaims” her figure), and I stumbled upon this quote:

And there’s a chance he could be signed up to coach British hopeful Andy Murray ahead of Wimbledon next year.
Murray, who is looking for a new coach, said in an interview recently: ‘There are a lot of guys out there, and he’s one of the best who ever played.
‘He’s someone I would not write off. There are a lot of past players who could definitely help.’

Sounds like it’s only a “chance” but kind of an interesting one perhaps. Anyhow maybe you’d already seen it, or not since it was in the Daily Mail, which I know you loathe. But anyhow, there it is. Something to ponder.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1333488/Boris-Becker-admits-having-facelift-maintain-fresh-faced-look.html#ixzz16dj8jPZH

mike Says:

@ Catherine, absolutely.. even Nadal at his best wasnt gonna win that. its not a coincidence he hasnt won an Indoor title since 2005, in his home country, compared to Roger who is an indoor beast.

remember this: in 2006 Rome, Fed played back to back days beating Almagro in 2.5 hours, Nalbandian in 3 hours and then after 5 hours in Final v Rafa has 2 mps, this is what i mean about him. somehow you just cant imagine Nadal having that left in the tank. Federer’s stamina and fact he’s never retired from a match never gets anywhere near the credit he deserves.

in 41 career matches at Masters Cup Roger has lost only 7 times and never in straight sets.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Why do people blame Rafa or his camp for what headline writers say? I have never seen Rafa make excuses and his camp is extraordinarily private. Very rarely Tony does make excuses for Rafa but- very rarely.
Rafa is a class act and its not his fault if the media or some fans want to create a defensive storyline.
I do want to second the voices here on the achievement of one of the Big Four rolling the other three members (plus #5!). Has anything like this been achieved before?
Roger played out of his head this week. But he played some stellar tennis at USO leading up to his very lacklustre semifinal effort. So let’s look forward to Oz and finding out if Fed can really stand up to Nadal in 2011.

Lynd Says:


Well, the Media might be dishing that same old tired rag but the Nadal camp certainly started and stoked it. After the Soderling loss, on the FO final day itself they camp out with a presser that Nadal was injured and came up with a weekly update on the condition of his injuries. That’s why I said the Media has bought this angle hook, line and sinker.

Catherine Says:

^^ folks, somehow I just don’t feel like it’s fair to blame Nadal himself for coming up with the ‘tired & injured’-garbage all the time.

It’s the media that do so – and unfortunately, some of his overzealous ‘excuse-itis’-infected fans as well.

Of course, there have been disputable claims from his team in the past, but doesn’t the same thing apply to about any other player as well? Federer himself yapped about having some kind of injury after he lost to Berdych at Wimbledon this year, so it’s certainly not only Nadal (and camp) who do/insinuate as such.

I dislike it, from whichever player/player team it comes. Unfortunately, the media vultures jump at it whenever they can, fully dropping their clear vision about how things truly developped at any case possible – for the mere reason of digging up even more dirt.

Rafa showed himself a very sportive loser today, giving all credits to Roger. I think that THAT’s the only thing that truly counts.

skeezerweezer Says:

As I mentioned in a previous post, at 24, give or take some years, you cannot be “tired” after only playing one 2/3 match a day. Just ask any ATP touring pro. If it was unfair, do you think they would change the rules? Players are in agreement here. Has there been a “history” of complaints? Media hype here, nothing further from the truth.

Now, part of the”game” is stamina, fitness, skills, etc. If you cannot take your opponent down in straights is it your next opponents fault? Trash stuff here, and I for one am never buying it. You play, no excuses. If you plan on having an excuse, don’t play.

It is all about sour grapes and jealousy here, next are we all gonna say Fed was “lucky” to win? LMAO….

Catherine Says:

Nadal himself, in his post-match presser, after losing:

“I’m not going to say I lost the match because I was tired. What I’m going to say and what I feel is I lost the match because I played against a very good Roger Federer in one of his favorite surfaces. And when he’s playing like this, it’s very difficult to stop him, no?”

That’s as classy as can be.

skeezerweezer Says:


Agreed, Rafa never even hinted such a thing….that is because he is a class act….some of his fans? err……

mem Says:

Sean Randall,

had nadal had an equal playing field things might not had been different, but you can’t guarantee that, can you? i would have loved to find out for myself whether it made a difference.

you excel at manipulating words, but had it been roger in nadal’s place, you would have been the first writer to publish an article complaining about the unfair advantage nadal got over roger with the scheduling. your words sounds good, but empty!

Twocents Says:

It was TMC 2005 Shanghai, Safin (injury), Hewitt (maternity), Roddick (injury)had withdrawn, the talk of the town was to see the new no.2 Nadal facing off Fed. After watching Fed’s opening match against Nalbadian, Toni Nadal anounced Nadal withdrawing from the TMC. Agassi withdrew on the same day (after losing his 1st match). That put the unprecedented 5 out of top 8 out of TMC. It was also the 1st time Toni talked about the career-threatening knee issue of Nadal. Nadal also withdrew from the next AO.

Ever since, Nadal has been running on those fraigile knees.

Sean Randall Says:

mem, I dare you look back through my posts and find an instance where I was worried about Federer’s fitness level after a long match?

Fact is, Federer is able to recover much better than Nadal. That can be attributable to many things, but it is a fact.

Had the roles been reversed yesterday – Federer beat Murray in 3 hours and Nadal crushed Djokovic – I would have likely never mentioned a lengthy semifinal as a worry for Federer.

Nadal, OTOH, has had a more of a history of struggling after tough matches so it was well worth repeating in my preview and wrap up.

With his knee issues, it’s a pity that anytime Nadal plays a long, tough match – especially on hardcourt – we (or many of us) automatically are put on injury alert for his next match. That’s just an unfortunate reality.

Lynd Says:


There it is. QED. Why a lenghthy semi only a factor for Nadal but no one else, especially Fed (who gives up 5-8 years against younger guys and plays later matches).

If some people believe that Nadal’s team has not controlled the message on the state of his game, that, I think, is quite naive.

Skeezerweezer Says:

Fact is Fed , @ 29, did fine against a fit field of players he faced 5 years or more head start in youth. The facts will remain, Fed at 29, won the YEC fair and square, against the worlds top players, a hellava feat in any year, at any age. Rafa has class in his quotes as I expected disputing the “tired” stuff head on, but some of his fans are too blinded by the sexiness of Rafa to know the difference. This is getting funny :)

ron Says:

what are you crazy people gonna do when federer retires and nadal passes him up?

put away the cheetos and raisinettes and go take a walk or something.

funches Says:


Didn’t Federer get waxed by Murray in a tournament after the U.S. Open? I’m too lazy to look it up right now, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t imagine it. The stat about Fed saving match points in his last two losses was wrong (unless I’ve gone mad).

mem Says:


i’m not interested in who is able to recover quicker, i’m interested in nadal getting a fair shake and then whatever happens, happens!

you don’t have to worry about roger’s fitness level because he;s the one who gets the benefits of the scheduling/rest breaks between matches every time. i don’t need to check the archives, i’m quite familiar with your style. you might need to to re-read my post; i said, “had it been roger” and i say again, had it been roger in nadal’s place you would have been the first to write an article expressing your displeasure and pointing out the unfairness and you know it.

dc Says:

@ron Says:

what are you crazy people gonna do when federer retires and nadal passes him up?

put away the cheetos and raisinettes and go take a walk or something.

Why are you so sure that Fed will retire before Nadal. ?

sar Says:

Jane, would Murray even want Boris since he recently said insulting things about AM regarding his mother?? I sure wouldn’t.

dc Says:

it is unfortunate that you bring up topics like “Nadal is unable to recover after tough matches”, “knee issues” etc.
Every player has their limitations and their strengths and these are not elaborated or bought into discussion after every defeat they suffer.

When Nadal has himself mentioned in the presser that he was not tired, why do you believe that he was tired? Is Nadal lying – if yes, how do you know that?

Sean Randall Says:

Funches, correct. Murray did blast him! Ergo, I’ve gone mad.

mem, unless I’m delirious at this late hour I believe Nadal had more rest time ahead of the final than Federer, correct? If so wouldn’t that benefit Rafa?

At the US Open, Nadal was also first on for the semifinal, Federer second. Again, Rafa would have received the extra rest but b/c of the rain it didn’t matter much in the end.

So to your second point, when have I ever said that Federer got an unfair shake with the tournament schedule?

And did Nadal get screwed with the London schedule this weekend? No.

Ben Pronin Says:

I like what Skeezer said about how if the rules are so unfair, then the ATP would probably look into changing them. And even the media doesn’t really complain about this particular topic. I mean we always hear about how ridiculous the US Open semi and final scheduling are, but nothing about the Masters being overbearing.

That said, Federer really impressed this week. Beating everyone in the top 5 (outside of himself) in dominating fashion. Remember how he said he still thinks he can dominate anyone? Well he certainly proved it, didn’t he? If nothing else, he reminded me why I became such a huge fan in the first place, he’s just fantastic to watch.

I’m kind of wondering what kind of implications this will have for the future? Honestly, I don’t think it’s the biggest deal. Nadal is still the best player in the world and he will probably be for the better part of next year barring injury. But this reminds of 03 when Federer also dominated at the YEC beating all of his rivals and then going on to have one of the greatest careers of all time. Obviously Federer isn’t going to embark on a new super dominant campaign, but still. Just based on the way the matches played out, would anyone have ever guessed that Nadal and Murray have had Federer’s number more often than not? It was nice to see, from a Fed fan’s perspective, to say the least.

But enough about that, onto Davis Cup! (That’s right, the year stiiiiiiiiiill isn’t over :D).

Sean Randall Says:

dc, when did I say “Nadal is unable to recover after tough matches”?

As for his presser, did Nadal say he was having knee trouble with his knees the day he lost to Soderling? Nope.

Did Federer blame mono the day he lost to Djokovic at the Australian? Nope.

Did Roddick reveal any illness or ailments when he lost to Lu at Wimbledon this year? Nope.

Point is, some players won’t “tell all”. Often, it is only later that they talk about the injuries, etc.

Put yourself in Uncle Toni’s shoes right now. What is he telling Rafa? “Rafa, great week, you won 4 matches against 4 very tough opponents. You fought hard and well against your arch rival Federer today, but came up short. Given your draining match yesterday, that’s a heck of an effort to come back 24 hours later and get a set. Had you been 100% fit you would have steamrolled Roger.”

Coach-speak Translation: Rafa, you lost b/c you were tired. That’s the only reason. Don’t lose your confidence against Roger. Remember, you are unbeatable. The only two times he’s beaten you since 2008 you were coming off three-set wins the day before.

Again, that’s not my opinion I’m just guessing what Uncle Toni may have said to Rafa after the match today. And if he did say something like that to Rafa there’s nothing wrong with it.

madmax Says:

mem Says:

i feel the same way about roger’s mono and age when he loses; so, i understand how you feel!

however, if 29 years old is over the hill, then he needs to retire; doesn’t roger get paid for playing tennis. it’s not rafa’s fault if roger is 29 and he’s 24, that doesn’t justify roger getting all the advantages/rest; this is a competition and it should be treated as such, not that it will be. is roger suppose to be exempt from playing back-back matches just because he is 29 years of age; if he’s a senior citizen, then he needs to consider retiring. you people make me sick with all your excuses about roger’s age. then, when someone comes along and point out the obvious about nadal’s fatigue, you claim rafafans are making excuses. don’t get me started because i won’t recognize a stop sign.

i’m sure if roger had played three consecutive days against three top players, one being a 3+ hours semis and lost to rafa in the final, your comments would be quite different. so, don’t even go there. it is what it is and rafa was exhausted, everyone watching could see and he had every right to be; he’s not a machine. no one is forcing you to agree!

November 28th, 2010 at 7:46 pm

mem, here’s a ‘memo’ for you. you are such a sore loser. and in case you hadn’t realised, the freshest out there would have been nadal. Why? because he had 5 WEEKS OFF before he played at WTF. He rested MORE than any other player. On the other hand, roger played stockholm, basel, won 2 back to back titles, then because of his utter and complete GENIUS, was able to play clean, crisp tennis (amazing), against TOP TEN PLAYERS! It’s not his fault that rafa played 3, 3 setters – it shows that Federer was able to get the job done more quickly and should be credited for that.

No more excuses mem. Sounds sour.

Skeezerweezer Says:

So thankful I recorded this in glOrious HD, this fan will be watching this over and over till the AO11 :-). Still on a high, so proud of the Fed at 29, amazed me with the improvement in his game. This is one Fed fan that had doubts, but I have no problem eating my words. Talk is talk, but 2010 Year End Masters Champ is Roger Federer. How many masters titles is that? Keep those record titles comin, Fedex is back!


dc Says:

1 – your post at 1148pm did mention about Nadal having a high probability o struggling after tough matches, indicating that this loss could be attributed to exhaustion. Below is the excerpt
Sean Randall Says:

Nadal, OTOH, has had a more of a history of struggling after tough matches so it was well worth repeating in my preview and wrap up.

November 28th, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Based on your assumption that Nadal probably lost because he was probably tired; would it be fair to assume that Murray, Fed etc have lost to Nadal because of various reasons other than tennis skills.
Everyone doesn’t come in their best form to work every day, but they put in their best effort. I’m sure Fed does not play his very best every time he steps into the court and there could be various factors contributing to such behavior.

– What makes Nadal so special that his bad day at work is because of exhaustion and not any of the other factors which make Fed have a bad day on the court?
– Are you aware of the factors which make other players not play their best tennis every time they step on the court and whenever Nadal win’s, do you attribute Nadal’s win to these factors rather than Nadals tennis skill?

I would say Fed was playing wonderful tennis today and he did not let Nadal step up his game, except from a brief duration during the second step.

mem Says:


yes he got screwed this weekend! i don’t expect you to admit it. nadal started out in the first set letting balls go; balls that he usually attempts to retrieve; he did it just to preserve energy; it was obvious from the get-go; i knew then his chances weren’t good. check out the replay. he kept fighting as always!

whether he would have won with a day off or not is not my argument. my point is, he should be given an equal opportunity at these tournaments; when a player is #1 he should get the treatment that’s due a #1 player; i’m not naive, i know that will never, ever happened, but for the sake of argument, i thought the #1 player’s group was suppose to play the first day of the tournament; last year, 2009 WTF, roger was the #1 seed, his group played first on opening sunday; this year, roger is the #2 seed, his group played first last sunday. do you call that fairness? how do you explain it?

so you see my argument is not about nadal losing, it’s about the inequality directed toward him as opposed to roger. that said, i accept the fact that whether nadal is #1 or #2 on paper, in reality, the privileges go to roger. it’s being going on so long until everybody accepts it as the way it suppose to be.
anyway, this is not the first time nadal got screwed, and i’m sure this won’t be the last time.

mem Says:


go to sleep or go change roger’s twins diapers or something. you should know by now, you’re not going to change my thinking! i’ll let you know when i have the urge to ask you a question.

Skeezerweezer Says:

How about how Fed handled Rafa’s new improved big serve?

funches Says:

I know I can be a ripper at times, disappearing for a long time from the outer board and then reappearing to criticize, but I can’t help it.

The Federer nuts and the Rafa nuts need to shut the hell up. You guys embarrass tennis fans everywhere with your idiotic, clueless, paranoid, delusional, sicko dislike and distrust about any criticism of your favorite player and praise of your least favorite player.

Seriously, you need psychological help. You are pitiful, sad, pathetic human beings.

guy Says:

federer played very well, but nadal served poorly. in fact the 1st serve was terrible. 1 ace in 3sets indoors and that was on a second serve federer guessed wrong on.
that’s poor serving by any standards on an indoor court.
it’s safe to say nadal’s serve has gone back to meat and potatoes stuff after the usopen, which explains his poor results indoors. i’ve been watching the speeds this tournament and for some reason he’s reverted back.

he won more points on his second serve in this match and at least for portions of the murray match this was the case also. that’s old nadal.
his play besides the serve was fine as you can see by the high second serve % points won, 10% more than federer in fact.
but without a first serve indoors against federer you won’t have much chance.

guy Says:

so to answer your question skeezer, federer didn’t handle nadal’s ‘new serve’ he handled a pretty mediocre serve which gave nadal very few free points.
i expect nadal to remedy this problem for next year, but we’ll see.

Skeezerweezer Says:


Maybe the new serve he learned unknowingly caused his shoulder issues, thus like you say he reverted back to the old one?

Lynd Says:

Sean just demonstrated my point about the Media internalizing the Nadal meme of losing due to tiredness and injuries without even being cognizant of it.

To say that the Nadal camp has nothing to do with it is quite naive. As recent as the Paris Masters, they issued a press release that Nadal is withdrawing from the tournament due to a “shoulder injury”, the media accepted it no questions asked. Brilliant strategy – Nadal wins in London: he is a conquering wounded hero, indeed. If he lost: well, we wanted to win but not with this injury or tiredness, perhaps.

I think the Media should think twice about any injury news coming from the Nadal camp. For real career threatening injuries they should look at Del Potro and Davydenko (both 09 finalists who didnt make it to this years WTF). Both had surgeries – something that Nadal didn’t have these last 2 years when his team ramped up the Injury message.

dunbar Says:

guy says:” federer didn’t handle nadal’s ‘new serve’ he handled a pretty mediocre serve which gave nadal very few free points.”

That was exactly my impression. At the US Open, the speed of Nadal’s serve – from time to time – was very noticeable. I looked for that, and didn’t see it in this tourney.

Nevertheless, in my post at 8.50 p.m., I noted that Federer did not handle Nadal’s serve with anything like the carefree abandon he gave to Djokovic’s serve. Murray, too, a great returner normally, had great difficulty in taming the Nadal serve. So if Nadal got no free points, that’s only true in the sense of saving energy. In effect, he did get free points. Because neither Federer nor Murray ever seemed able to tee off on Nadal’s serve. Once or twice, no doubt – but.

Once Nadal served, generally speaking he was in control of the point. My question then (unanswered) and now is: although this back to unrestructured serve LOOKS nothing special, that is illusory, it obviously is extremely difficult to do any damage to it. I am assuming the spin and swerve on the ball is absolutely exceptional – unique even? It would be interesting to hear from somebody who understands these things.

margot Says:

Two cents@5.59: u r a scholar and a gentleman sir, and I salute u!
tennisvagabond@ 6.02.I noticed the speed of the match too. But also against Berdych, was there and saw Rafa coming out of the blocks at change overs b4 Big Bird, who seems to stroll around the court as if he is at some Buckingham Palace Garden Party!
jane@10.48: moving on from Fedal, oh yes please! However, agree with Sar, Boris has been extraordinarily rude about Andy’s mum and it’s very unlikely Andy could forgive that, remember Delboy incident? Rumours are that he will work with Cahill while he is in the States. To be honest all I think he needs to hire is a Sports Psych! And me and tennisvagabond to shout “Don’t you dare do those drop shots against Rafa EVER again!” Against Sod., yes, Rafa no!

aleish17 Says:

To Sean and commentators:

Why’d you even bother mentioning that Nadal was TIRED and FATIGUED? Look what you did??? Some of the over-sensitive Fedfans are now out to trash Nadal. Nadal did not even mentioned in his post-match interview that he was tired. He even commended Fed and mentioned that Fed was the better player in their match.

Fed won fair and square. Nadal lost but there’s no need to feel sorry or find an excuse for that. Even the great champions had their fair share of triumphs and defeats. That is why Federer and Nadal has their share of wins and losses this year.

Sheeeesh!!! What’s with all this bickering?

Pleasant thoughts to everyone! =)

Eskay Says:

Moods swing so wildly on the outcome of one match. Just after one lost match, obituaries start being written for Roger or his being GOAT established after one win. Rafa’s lack/abundance of mental/physical strength gets proved. Extrapolations and interpolations are made instantly. Historical facts and statistics are selectively used to prove one’s own conclusions. However, it appears that Rafa is more concerned about his comparisons with Roger than vice versa. Roger appears to have Laver as his chief rival/idol. Others are all concerned about the Rafa-Roger duopoly and their wait for one of them abandoning his cherished goal appears becoming eternal. Time appears to be passing Andy Murray. He should not get reduced to a zero slam wonder. There have been changes in the top ten, but top four have remained there barring temporary displacement. There are fights for the top two between the top two, with Nadal likely to falter due to huge points defence liability. Federer has lesser points to defend. There is no young Turk visible at the moment. 2011 is unlikely to produce stunning results.

steve-o Says:

Nadal said he was tired after beating Murray:


Q. How do you feel physically and how do you think you’ll be for tomorrow’s match?

RAFAEL NADAL: I repeat what I say always. I don’t know what going to happen tomorrow, how I going to feel. You can imagine, right now I am very tired. That’s the true.

That’s presumably why the media thinks he was tired in the final against Federer.

Now why would you admit to being tired when you have a title match against your most dangerous opponent? It’s showing weakness.

Surely he could have brushed aside the question with “I’ll do everything I can to prepare for tomorrow,” or some such generic non-answer.

But Nadal chose to say explicitly that he was tired. Of course the media simply ran with the quote, and it became “Nadal was tired in the final.”

As Lynd said, Nadal and his team work the refs. They know that the media is always looking for sensationalism and a dramatic story, and they put out certain suggestive statements and remarks that the media will take up and concoct into a narrative that serves their player’s needs.

They themselves are never so blatant say these things straight out; they know the media can be relied upon to their job for them, once given a nudge in the right direction.

Far more than any other top player today, Nadal’s team controls the spin and messaging around their man. There are professional politicians who could learn a thing or two from Nadal’s PR people.

dunbar Says:

Eskay – I’ve noticed that, it is hilarious (but human nature apparently) how people draw all kinds of wild conclusions from ONE (albeit dramatically situated) match.

aleish17 – great post, as usual.

margot – even if Becker hadn’t etc (and in any case, Murray could always come back at him with the waitress, the cupboard and the eager Becker member story and then the slate would be clean), these huge name players form the most unlikely prospects as coaches. Their minds, bodies too come to think of it, are simply elsewhere. They’ve done their stuff, and are not about to repeat it all on behalf of someone else. Incidentally, I came in on the backend of a conversation Boris was having with someone who asked him, now that business was detaining him in England for a bit, was he get any tennis in? “But who could I play with?” lamented Boris. Ah, the travails of the rich, famous and able – they are different from those of thine and mine are they not (to adapt good old Scott F).
re Murray and the drop – disagree. Berdych – Berdych! – did a successful drop against Nadal. Federer did one yesterday – only one, but it was always going to work because Nadal was out of position. Murray is an excellent dropper – he just needs to keep a very cool head when he does it.

margot Says:

dunbar: am picking you up on this one, I think Andy did one successful drop against Rafa and about 3 (?) that pooped in the net. One of which cost him a vital game. As long as Andy is doing them out of strength, as against Sod, OK. But out of weakness, as against Rafa, no way. Andy over uses that shot, especially when he has a mental lapse, tired, run out of ideas etc. I remember a horrible match at Wimbledon when he used and used it and I thought he’d grown out of that. Apparently not. Also think Roger is a far better executer and player of drop.
Agree re Boris, that would never happen. It’s going to be difficult because Andy’s stated priority is someone whom he likes and fits into the team. However, I don’t think he needs to rush, Dani seems to be all he needs at the mo., and is clearly a very good tactician.

dunbar Says:

margot, absolutely agree with you on all counts with one minor deviation. of course the drops against rafa were horrible – he does have a tendency to overuse (Gilbert vainly tried to curb this, if you remember), the problem is mental therefore, not a question of skill. You don’t often see Rafa drop, but when he does it usually succeeds – he has coolly (and instantaneously of course) assessed the situation and proceeded to execute. If Murray is unable to do this, in the sense that one drink is never enough for the alcoholic, then you’re right, he should abandon the shot. But that’s a bit drastic, baby with bathwater sort of thing. Why not, instead, address the problem in his head – which, incidentally, would have the excellent effect of strengthening his competitive mind generally, something he seems to be badly in need of – so that he can then apply his unique physical skills appropriately? Few, if anyone (maybe Fed) have better hands than Murray.

of course, about coach. Some think that whole issue (in general) is greatly overplayed – Frew Macmillan, for instance.

Ben Pronin Says:

Mem, my understanding with the WTF schedule is that they want Murray to play first. It just happened that Federer was in Murray’s group the last 2 years and so the benefit that went to Murray also went to Federer by mere coincidence. I could be wrong, of course, but I’m fairly certain that had Nadal been in Murray’s group, he would not have played 3 straight days.

bijuterii Says:

They are both irresistible, but the best appears to be Federer this time! I think that if the match would take place outside, Nadal would have been the winner.

Sean Randall Says:

mem, so you are saying the Nadal got screwed b/c he didn’t play that first Sunday? Murray was in the other group and as Ben pointed out I’m sure the tournament wanted him to play first.

Plus, Nadal returning from a shoulder issue, wouldn’t an extra day provide with some additional recovery time?

Again, Nadal did get more recovery time ahead of the final then Federer did. And honestly, I don’t see the big deal of playing three straight days of tennis (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), do you?

Point is, I’ve never been suspect of the WTF schedule EVER. Why? There’s simply no injustice. It’s fair!

Skeezerweezer Says:


Nice post @ 5;56am :-)


guy Says:
federer played very well, but nadal served poorly. in fact the 1st serve was terrible. 1 ace in 3sets indoors and that was on a second serve federer guessed wrong on.
that’s poor serving by any standards on an indoor court.
it’s safe to say nadal’s serve has gone back to meat and potatoes stuff after the usopen, which explains his poor results indoors. i’ve been watching the speeds this tournament and for some reason he’s reverted back.

At the USO Rafa never faced anyone that attacked his 2nd serve so he didn’t have to make an adjustment. It made sense to go for bigger serves with a lower percentage in the 60s. Historically Rafa kept his 1st serve % in the mid 70s. Also as I mentioned during the USO everyone was serving 5 mph faster because of the balls so you aren’t going to see Rafa serve up 135 mph bombs until next year at the USO.

Watch the 1st few games of the Melzer match in Shanghai. He executed a blitzkrieg on Rafa’s 2nd serve. Rafa being the smart player that he is went for higher % 1st serves to prevent Melzer from hurting him on the 2nd serve. The trade off is you aren’t going to see as many aces on the stat sheet. To the casual tennis fan it might look like poor serving, but it was a strategy forced upon him by Melzer’s aggressive play.

Now watch Rafa’s 1st few service games against Fed in London. Fed was running around Rafa’s 2nd serve and smacking forehands. The funny thing is he was missing them, but Rafa got the message. He decided to limit Fed’s opportunities to attack on 2nd serve. It wasn’t an accident that Rafa served 77% on 1st serves.

One other note is Rafa is never going to ace Fed as much as he does other players like Roddick for example because Fed is better at getting his racquet on the return that just about everyone. Fed’s skill in this regard has diminished somewhat, but that’s another discussion.

One other note about the match is Fed didn’t ace Rafa that much either. 7 aces in 3 sets on an indoor hard court is low for Fed. He served more aces(9) in fewer service games against Rafa on clay in Madrid!

Gordo Says:

All you guys are going on and on about the “was Rafa tired” or did Fed REALLY beat him?

Please understand that when Rafa wins, no matter what misfortune – bad scheduling, long matches the previous day, injuries, a death in the family, illness – his opponent has encountered it is irrelevant. The truth is Rafa is a tennis God and should never lose, so it is Rafa simply being Rafa. It is written.

But the 10 times Rafa lost this year has NOTHING to do with Nadal’s opponent being better on the day. Oh no, there are a variety of excuses and reasons that can be applied to justify why the odds are stacked against Rafa by a consortium of the ATP, the Mafia and henchmen that Federer has hired.

Silly me – I never knew any of this before reading the wise bloggers in here.

Nims Says:

Federer did not have many aces against Nadal, because he was serving very smartly, doing slice serve rather than the middle. Mostly federer aces in the mid court, but it was not required against Nadal since his slice serve was doing enough damage on the return. Also till end of ’07, Federer was considered the greatest returner in tennis head of Agassi by Mats Wilander and many others, because it’s much easier to Ace against Agassi and Nadal, but it’s almost impossible to ace against Federer. His reflex return did not work for most part of 08 (due to mono and the back issue as an after effect of it) and 09 (due to lung infection and other minor health issues)

Skeezerweezer Says:


Yes that “cutter” out wide to the deuce court on Rafa was a beautiful thing.

Regarding the Fed excuses for returning good and not returning good, I don’t agree there. Players got better and Fed didn’t commit hard enough to improve like he has recently.

dunbar Says:


Very illuminating post, thanks. I wonder if you could address my question above, what is it about Rafa’s serve (the unreconstructed one, let us say) which makes it so much more difficult to attack than, say Djokovic’s. Fededer’s returning of Djokovic the other day was a sight to behold, but he couldn’t do that at all with Rafa. And I don’t think he made that many inroads on Rafa’s second (my impression is that, leaving aside questions of spin and swerve, Rafa is a master of placement – much as Federer is, and yet quite differently in some way you can’t put your finger on). Only goes to show what a very distinctive talent Melzer is – definitely an underachiever.

You mention Fed’s low ace count against Rafa – I’m fraid I haven’t looked, but I got distinctly that impression against Djokovic too.

Do you think, then, that Federer too has decided to take some pace off his first? If this is true, you have the curious case of a player who has opted for more caution where the serve is concerned but more aggression w.r.t. general play.

dc Says:

Nadal in his best year is 70-10. 10 Losses in his best year; this is 2 – 3 times more than the no of losses for any other tennis great (McEnroe, Fed, Pete etc).Also Nadal played less matches – only 70 compared to the 90+ for Fed and McEnroe.

There is lot of scope for Nadal to improve and i urge Nadal fans & Sean to discuss how he can better match the records setup by Fed, Borg, Pete, McEnroe etc instead of making excuses for his losses.

Twocents Says:


“Now why would you admit to being tired when you have a title match against your most dangerous opponent? It’s showing weakness.”

Becuz he’s Nadal, not Fed. “I’ll do everything I can to prepare for tomorrow,” is Fed’s PR line. Fed the crybaby rarely shows weakness unless he’s out of a tournament (not even that if the tournament is b4 a slam or a TMC). It sounds goofy and silly, but very enchanting to this Texan, even though I hardly believe him any more.

Nims Says:

We always claim players got better. But look at what Federer had done to the same players in this tournament, when he is healthy and played well. Also look at his returns against Djokovic and also against Soderling. Even against Nadal, one of the reasons he broke him in the third set is because of his excellent deep returns, where Nadal had to go behind the baseline, hence could not attack federer even in the second serve returns. If federer can keep his health well, he will go down as the greatest returner in the game.

Nims Says:

Also Fed’s returns are much better of First serve than second serve, since he loves pace. Great example is the cross court backhand return winner against Nadal’s first serve in the last service game.

Twocents Says:


Had Murray been born in Switzerland like Fed, he might have collected minimum 2 or 3 slams already. I see many similarities btw the two guys: tremendously talented, very true to themselves, very proud, very decent…

Both Becker and Jmac changed their profession from tennis to comedy the day Jmac became Boris’s coach. Jmac himself admitted the farce he worked with Boris: “Boris you need go hit on the court!” “John, I got to be in Germany tomorrow for something really important.”

Becker was my man. But, nope, he would be a poor coach for Murray the good kid, even without his recent big mouth. Funny, it even sounded familiar with Jmac offering to coach Fed two years ago.

jane Says:

margot, oh yes, right: forgot about the “mama’s boy” comment. That would deter for sure. Maybe all he needs is sports psych, and working with Darren here and there; some players get on fine without coach, although Fed’s proof of what a good coach can do to improve a player’s tactics. Murray did do some great early work with Maclagan; I still think if he could find the right guy, a steady on-going coach would be good.


Regarding returns: I think they could add a stat or two to the ATP match facts category; for example, I’d love to see a stat for aces against. Sometimes players get back serves that could be aces against other players and then the assumption is that so-and-so didn’t serve well; however, it may be because of the returning that it looks like the other player didn’t serve well. It would just be nice to know. Even double faults against would be an interesting stat.

Just checked Year end stats; Nole was tops for most return games won, followed by a few clay courters (Chela, Ferrer, Ferrero) then Murray and Nadal. Roddick was first for most service games won, followed by Rafa, Isner, Fed, Berd and Sod.

I hope Nole as well as Murray (he was top ten for first serve points won, but his first serve percentage isn’t up there)can get their serve firing consistently next year. Since they both return so well, if they could make their serves consistent, it would be a huge help in getting wins over the big two.

Lulu Iberica Says:

Ok, clearly some sore losers on here. As a Rafa fan, I just want to say clearly Fed was head and shoulders above everyone else, including Rafa, throughout the entire tournament. The scheduling was not unfair. Federer thumped my man fair and square. Whether Raf was tired or not is no excuse, because: 1. He’s younger than Rog 2. He’s supposed to be so “fit” 3. if he had dominated his earlier opponents the way Roger did, he wouldn’t have been tired at all 4. we’ve seen Rafa overcome real fatigue before, such as AO 2009. Furthermore, Roger is still clearly the best on indoor hard, and if he can maintain this form, maybe he’s still the best on all hard courts. As for Rafa always being the favorite and all that, I personally hate being disappointed, and would rather underestimate his chances of success, whereas some people seem to prefer being overconfident. (I despise overconfidence in all of life.) So, I expect Rafa to dominate clay season, win RG, and it’s getting to where I expect him to win Wimbledon, but I never expect him to dominate on hardcourts. I think it’s less than even odds that he ever will, and I’m not a gambler.

jane Says:

I want to say one more thing about Murray and Nole (hey, someone has to talk about them!) – congrats to both for once again staying ranked YE #3 and 4. Nole has been #3 at the end of the year for 4 years in a row now. I wonder if that’s been the case before for another player ever? Usually there is more shifting at the top, so I would think it’s unusual. Also, Murray has finished in #4 for three years running now, ever since he broke into the top ten in 2008. These two have been extremely consistent behind the dynamic duo (Batman and Robin?). They (Joker & Riddler?) are (hopefully) bound to break through soon, either one or both. Kudos to both for continually trying to overturn the duopoly. Both made slam finals this year too (and both made the semis on grass), and neither did in 2009. So it’s a step in the right direction for them at the big events

mem Says:

since you all seem to know so much about tennis, why don’t one of you answer why roger scheduling/order of play was the same last year and this year; both times he ends up getting the day off.

i noticed you guys can discuss this other crap but you seem to not want to know the truth.

know what i think, i think you guys are so afraid of him losing to nadal until you don’t care how he wins,(fair or unfair) as long as he wins you can turn your heads and pretend he is this greatest of all time player who makes history on his merit. roger knows better, but he doesn’t care either. he knows it’s not his turn all the time to go before nadal, but all he cares about is winning, same as his fans.

that’s your “food for thought’ for the holidays!

Kimberly Says:

Just read an article on bleacher report predicting Rafa to take down 2 to 3 slams, roger 1, maybe one for murray or nole and zero for anyone else. Basically another FEDAL year.

I predict Rafa 2, Roger 1, Murray 1. This pains me to say because anyone with a heart wants to see Roddick get that Wimbledon trophy and after 2009 I was positive he would. This spring I was pretty sure he would do it and Fed wasn’t playing so hot in IW and Miami, Roddick beat Rafa in Miami etc. But one fears that door is closing.

Here is Kimberly’s 2011 Top 5 Favories


Roland Garros
Almagro (yes i know crazy)


US Open

Usual Suspects for most, went on a limb for almagro but he kind of seemed like the second best clay courter for the latter part of the year.


dunbar Says:

Very illuminating post, thanks. I wonder if you could address my question above, what is it about Rafa’s serve (the unreconstructed one, let us say) which makes it so much more difficult to attack than, say Djokovic’s. Fededer’s returning of Djokovic the other day was a sight to behold, but he couldn’t do that at all with Rafa.

We are talking about 2nd serve. Nobody really attacks on the 1st serve return. Sure players hit winners off of the 1st serve return once in a while, but it’s not a strategy.

It’s the lefty spin and the varied location, but for a two handed backhand like Murray or Nalbandian it’s not a problem at all. Notice how many 2nd serves Rafa was hitting to Murray’s forehand on Saturday. He did the same thing to Nalbandian in IW this year. You won’t see Rafa hitting more than 2 or 3 2nd serves to Fed’s forehand in an entire match. The reason it’s not a problem for a 2 handed backhand is you can make split second adjustments with your swing when you have 2 hands on the racquet. This is also why players with 2 handed backhands can hit excellent topspin lobs. You start with a normal swing and at the very last moment you shorten the stroke and flick the racquet upwards. It’s extremely difficult to hit a topsin lob with a one handed backhand. You almost never see it.

It’s more difficult dealing with lefty spin on the serve when you have a one-handed backhand because once you start the swing you can’t alter the path of the racquet with as much control because there is only one hand on the racquet. So if Fed decides he is going to take a big backhand cut off Rafa’s 2nd serve the ball has to be exactly where he expects it to be.

Fed can have the same problem with right handers to a lesser degree if they mix up their serve well. In Cincy Fed was trying to be aggressive off of Fish’s 2nd serve, but he was missing quite a few. In his post match comments Fed mentioned how good Fish was at mixing up his 2nd serve using different speeds, spins and location.

In Australia this year Murray took a page out of Rafa’s book and went for a higher % of serves against Isner. He served 72% 1st serves! I remember after Murray’s 1st few service games the commentators were wondering if something was wrong with Murray’s arm. Where were the 134 MPH bombs? They didn’t understand that was done on purpose to prevent Isner from attacking Murray’s 2nd serve which his coach felt was the only way Isner could hurt Murray. The strategy worked as he wasn’t broken the entire match.

dari Says:

I missed the live match because of some social obligations, but crazy me put my feddy bear in my purse and went about life. I checked scores exactly three times and saw 6-3, 3-6, and finally 6-1!!!!!
I am very pleased with the way roger played this week and hope the confidence he gets from beating all the top guys helps him in the coming season. Really happy for him. So happy i just spent the rest of the day partying with friends and never managed to come over to tennis x and send congratulations! Yay, roger!

margot Says:

Two Cents:.. sigh…how u cheer me up, thanx :)
jane: yes, let’s keep talking about Andy and Nole and let’s indeed give them some praise for being 3 and 4 two years running, and Nole even longer! Being behind two of the all time greats must be so disheartening, but it seems to me they’ve kept the good fight and their spirit, in spite of many disappointments.
re serves, as far as Andy is concerned I wish he’d take a leaf out of Fed’s book and take off some speed and go for pinpoint placement and blooming getting first serves in!!!!! I did think Fed’s serve was very impressive this tournament. Right into that far corner and getting him so many free points.
re Andy’s coach, its got to be so right, my heart’s in my mouth. The next 3 years are when Andy is at the peak of his game, couldn’t bear it if his chances get screwed up with a coach that doesn’t work out :(

Anon Says:

“Anyway, this is not the first time nadal got screwed, and i’m sure this won’t be the last time.”

“know what i think, i think you guys are so afraid of him losing to nadal until you don’t care how he wins,(fair or unfair) as long as he wins you can turn your heads and pretend he is this greatest of all time player who makes history on his merit. roger knows better, but he doesn’t care either.”

The more mem sulks after a Nadal loss, especially to Federer, the more hilarious her posts become.

There are wonderful stories of the Federers’ hosting the Nadal family, and yesterday of the Nadal family congratulating Federer, and Federer giving a hug to Nadal’s mother.

While the rest of the world celebrates a well-deserved win with true joy, regardless of who the player might be, there are those who sulk and sulk, and ramble on about how their player got cheated because of, what was that again, unfair scheduling? While the rest of us acknowledge the greatness of two of the classiest champions with a grateful toast, there are those that are convinced that one of them is really an unworthy pretender, and that the rest of the world does not know it or want to accept.

Keep them coming, mem. Your posts are delightful because it tells us a lot more about you that the champion you are always trying to dethrone.

dari Says:

Mem! You are making yourself look like a pathetic sore loser, get over it. andy Murray, Scot and brit is scheduled in LONDON so that he has a day off in the event that he makes the final. If anyone has preferenial treatment, its him, and roger just happened to be in the same group as murray for the past two years. There is your answer.

Now move on, we just finished a fabulous season where Rafa nadal won close to everything. I hardly doubt any of the players are complaining about wtf scheduling, neither should you! You’re making yourself look bad, complaining in the face of Rafa”s PHENOMENAL season and rogers superb play this week.
CONGRATS to all the guys this season and I can’t wait for a fabulous 2011!

margot Says:

NELTA: ah, just read yours, so you’re saying Andy can serve more slowly and then he gets his first serve percentage. Why, I wonder, doesn’t he start to do that more often, when his “bombs” aren’t working. I am in despair about Andy’s serve. When it’s below 50%, he loses QED. Doesn’t he notice?!!

Nina Says:

Margot, Jane

I’m there with you, let’s talk anout Nole and Murray, they deserve some respect and praise for being the consistent #3 and #4. They’ve been at the top for almost as long as the dynamic duo. Isn’t that an achievement in itself? Both were so close to win a slam this year, Murray in AO and Nole in US, but clearly the task of beating the world’s best two players in a row was too much to handle. Let’s hope next year they make the break thru.

And let’s not forget, the season ain’t over yet. Hope Nole wins DC, it will give him a big boost of confidence for next year.

As for Fedal. I see in the next months spells of Federer dominating with spells of Nadal dominating, just like the past two years. I think Roger will benefit enourmously from Annacone’s coaching (it seems to have helped already).

Hopefully Murray will also find a new coach that helps him achieve his goals. I’d wish the same for Nole but that’s unlikely to happen, he seems very comfortable with Vajda. I sometimes believe Nole should step out more often of his comfort zone.

As for the WTF finals, Federer was simply stellar, he’s playing so well right now that is scary. Just when pundits were ready to write him off – again. Those are the ones that don’t have a clue about tennis. He has a long way to go still, luckily for all tennis fans.

max Says:

MEM…you have only two brain cells and one of them is an inhibitor one.

mem Says:


i’m thrilled to provide the humor and i see you guys enjoy it; that’s good, but are you trying to evade the question?

it’s simple, just answer the question and prove me wrong. why is that so hard?

dave Says:

mem, if you keep laughing, I’ll have to charge you for the comedy :)

In terms of dominance and highest-quality tennis, Federer’s performance throughout this WTF is probably the best end-to-end performance in any indoor, hardcourt or grass tournament this year. Some former players said it was the best tennis they have seen this year.

Federer’s performance level and dominance was at least one level above anything done at other tournaments this year dominated by the winner: the US Open (Nadal), Wimbledon (Nadal), Shanghai (Murray) and Beijing (Djokovic). Only Nadal’s performance in one or two clay tournaments — where rafa played against weaker opponents — might possibly rival what Federer did. Roger made 5 of the world’s top 7 players look ordinary in one big tournament. Federer beat the world No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 and No. 7 in straight sets.

If not for his walkabout early in the second set — Roger probably would have whipped Nadal in straight sets like what he did at 2007 Shanghai WTF semifinal. As the ESPN commentators suggested, it was Federer’s concentration lapse and passivity in the second set that allowed Nadal into the match briefly, until Federer started playing aggressively and slammed the door shut again. Just like in his match against Djokovic, once Federer shifted gears his opponents were left in the dust. This was what a confident Federer used to do to his opponents from 2004 to 2006. That level of supreme confidence, calmness and playing in the zone is back again.

Nadal’s loss to Federer is very significant, though defensive and disingenuous Rafa fans and writers would try to convince you otherwise. Winning this prestigious WTF final resonates because it was like a heavyweight title fight with both players at their best and having no excuses (injuries or illness, etc). If there was any doubt that Federer is the GOAT, he made those critics look stupid. Federer dominated all the top five players in their prime, Nadal included. Federer also showed that he was the superior shotmaker, all-round player, tactician and athlete all in one match, leaving Nadal’s apologists to claim he was fatigued (puhleeze, Federer played Nadal in Rome 2006 under far worse conditions of fatigue from his previous matches). What’s scary is that Federer looks like he still has capacity to improve. These next few months will be very interesting, if Federer remains healthy and motivated.

For the forthcoming Australian Open, it is clear that Federer is the player to beat. Not only does Federer have the greatest record and experience in winning five-set Grand Slams, he seems to be fitter than Nadal whom his fans claim cannot handle even a tough three setter against Murray. Given the problems Nadal had in beating Murray (a match he could have easily lost) and initially against Djokovic (until he had contact lens problems and became the “one-eyed djoker” as Sean said) — as well as Nadal’s past struggles at AO 2008, 2009, 2010 (e.g., five setters against Verdasco and Federer in winning the 2009 AO) — it would not suprise me if Nadal loses in the QF or SF of this coming AO.Nadal has consistently been inconsistent after Wimbledon, playing both well and unconvincingly (Rafa lost 5 matches in half a season, which is what Federer lost in an entire season in 2004, 2005, 2006). Why? The confidence boost that Nadal gets from winning in the clay season starts to fade as the months pass. Some Nadal fans will claim that Nadal did not play his best tennis at the WTF, but the truth is he has not played any better since Wimbledon (even at the US Open). He has been consistently inconsistent, and was lucky to get some of his wins.

In some ways this latest WTF victory looks as much of a watershed as Federer’s 2007 WTF victory over Nadal (see link). At 2007 WTF, it looked like Federer had solved Nadal (Federer’s 3-2 over Nadal that year included wins on clay, grass and hardcourt) — but then Roger suffered mononucleosis illness, back injuries and lung infection that set him back and contributed to Federer losing 6 of their next 7 finals (5 of those played on Nadal’s favourite clay). What is never considered is that when Federer is not at his best, he is still great enough to find a way to reach finals to play Nadal. But when Nadal had his own injury and confidence problems — and was unable to play his best — Rafa lacked the greatness to reach enough finals to give Federer the opportunity to get his revenge. When Federer was peaking at certain periods since 2008, Nadal was nowhere to be found. That is why almost all of Federer’s losses to Nadal since 2008 really do not reflect their true rivalry, while this latest WTF match does. Remember, it was played between Nadal in his prime and an old Federer written off as a has-been.

For the 2010 season Federer has the unique record of winning one title from every tournament level: Grand Slam, WTF, Masters 1000, ATP 500, ATP 250.

Since Wimbledon, Federer has been the most consistent player of all top players. Arguably he has been the most dominant and best player on hardcourts. He has won over 1,300 more ranking points than Nadal in this period. Federer is the oldest player, yet he played the most matches (39 compared to Nadal’s 29), Roger’s 35-4 won-loss record is the best in both wins and losses (vs Nadal’s 24-5). Federer also has 4 titles, 2 finals and 2 semifinals from his 8 tournaments. He had 7 matchpoints in his two semifinal losses. He achieved all this without blowing his top or resorting to gamesmanship or cheating with oncourt coaching. And he did it while adapting to a new coach (a process that often affects a player’s performance negatively in the short term), serving as ATP World Tour Council President from 2008 to 2012, having a family with kids, and being bashed by incompetent critics who know nothing about the tennis he plays (even Mats Wilander once said he wanted to play in Federer’s shoes for a day to understand what it feels like).

Federer beat Nadal in his prime fair and square in the prestigious sub-slam final, which the world’s greatest players like Federer, Sampras, Lendl, Borg took seriously and won. All those critics who keep dangling their H2H record — mostly played on clay in lesser events — have to accept this result.

Throughout this event, Nadal has been disingenuous to remind everyone that indoor hardcourts was not his best surface but was one of Federer’s favourite surfaces. Yes Rafa, it’s the surface — now we know why Federer has lost to you on your favourite clay and why Roger has not won more French Open finals, lol. The slow WTF surface already helps Nadal’s game (Nadal likely chickened out of Paris because of its faster surface). But Nadal cannot expect tennis surfaces to fit his game. A great player has to develop his game to fit and adapt to the surface and conditions, not the other way around. Nadal won Madrid indoor hardcourts in 2005 or 2006, so there is no reason he cannot win on this surface. Nadal has been on the ATP tour since 2002 so has had time to practice and develop his game for this surface (just like Federer did for all surfaces including clay: Federer was the world’s second best claycourter for three or four years — and the best claycourter in 2009 with wins in the French Open and over Nadal in Madrid — so it was not the clay surface that prevented him from winning multiple French Opens).

Sean Randall Says:

mem, sorry I fail to see any unfairness. Sure, Rafa had to play three straight days to win the title, but so what. That’s standard at just about every ATP-level tournament. And remember Federer still had 5-6 hours less recovery time for the final than Rafa did. If anyone had a gripe it’s Roger/Novak for the late start of the second Saturday semifinal.

So for me it’s a non-issue.

And last year mem, how did having that Friday day off help Roger?

Kimberly Says:

dave, now this is getting silly. I was willing to acknowlege the defeat with grace but now im getting annoyed. You are giving overimportance to this match. At the risk of being called a sore loser lets face the facts:

1. Indoor IS Nadal’s worst surface. Had the tournament been played on clay do you actually think the result would be the same. Time to join delusional anonymous if you do.

2. Nadal had a tough match the day before. Of course he shouldn’t have. Had he played better it would have been even playing ground. But read Federer’s interview where he states that the reason he lost the USO semifinal was because he was thinking ahead to his match with nadal, and that nadal had had such an easy run to the final. Not all players arrive at a final in the same manner and/or in the same condition and that is the nature of the game. When Fed beat Nadal in Madrid and Hamburg 07 Nadal was exhausted. If you think otherwise then see above comments re delusional anonymous.

3. Fed is a better hardcourt player than Rafa in the past and probably at the moment. Give it time and within a year I would probably call them even as Fed is likely to go down and Rafa up.

4. Best of 3 is to Feds advantage not Rafas. Feds mindset will be quite different if he knows he needs to keep up that level for longer.

5. I give Fed about a zero chance to beat Rafa at Roland Garros, Rafa’s best surface but I give Rafa about a 50% chance to beat Fed on any of the other surfaces. Disagree?

So where you get that this match shows Fed will begin to dominate Rafa I have no idea. Maybe wishful thinking.

Kimberly Says:

Sean, Roger DID gripe about having to play the second semi at USO, read his interview posted on this very site today!

mem Says:


i’m not interested in whether you see unfairness or not; i don’t expect you to see it, i have my reasons for wanting to know.
you didn’t answer the question. i asked you why roger scheduling was the same last year and this year regardless of his ranking. i just want to be familiar with the rules for future purposes.

i don’t need you explain the recovery time or whether or not the Friday off helped. it’s up to the players to decide whether it helped. just explain how it is that the scheduling was the same both years or direct me where to find the information. i’m always interested in rules so that i’ll know what i’m talking about before i speak. that’s all i want to know. if you can’t answer just say you can’t. then, i’ll move on as you suggest.

tennisfansince76 Says:

awesome match. Loved that Fed was able to play a good match against Nadal. congrats to Nadal on a stupendous year. running the table at the FO, W and USO is a magnificent achievement. i did not think Nadal looked tired at any pt. in fact when Raj was executing his strategy the pts were short. Raj did not allow Nadal to grind as much as he would have liked. i can’t say this was a Fedal classic as for the first two sets both guys w/ the exception of two loose games were too solid on their serves. to me a match like AO 2009 was much more artful because both guys got more consistent traction on the other guys service games. I was also glad to see Raj cash in his BP chances w/ minimal drama. notes from the second set. all players have comfort zones and Raj reverted to his in the second set. but the way he likes to play and the way he has to play against Nadal are two separate things. he must play first strike tennis against Nadal. if i were his coach my mantra to him would “no mid court shoulder high balls down the middle againstr Nadal”. on any shot from Nadal if there is something to hit then hit it. minimize rally balls. also a note to Roger: “don’t telegraph when you are going run around Nadal’s 2nd serve. he is perfectly happy to go to the empty area. time your moves for when he is tossing or hitting the ball.” it was telling that Jmac said during the match that Raj hates to miss returns. Raj likes to make a high % of returns in play. that is fine against a lot of players but against Nadal he must be willing to play higher risk/reward tennis from the return on.

tennisfansince76 Says:

also i’ve always though Fed should pull his slice BH down the line more. i think that sometime she gets a little predictable w/ it. and especially i have observed that Fed’s slice BH is much more effective against the Nadal BH than FH. but yesterday i was reminded several times that this tactic is more easily said than done. Raj did indeed go down the line w/ his slice BH several times. and i think every time Nadal was able to use his peerless speed and footwork to slide all the way over the the double alley and hit a FH instead.

skeezerweezer Says:


Couldn’t help but not join in, as this has not been brought up…..


Roger and Rafa ( currently Pres & VP, respectively ) head the ATP Player council, which can and does deliver advisory decisions to the ATP Board of Directors, which govern the tour.

Don’t think for a moment these guys on tour wouldn’t be changin the rules on scheduling if at ANY point it wasn’t “fair”. They have the power and give a voice and demand it at any time.

Do you think the players had no say in shortening the season? That the idea didn’t come from them? Me thinks it came from them…

Anon Says:

“i’m thrilled to provide the humor and i see you guys enjoy it; that’s good, but are you trying to evade the question?

“it’s simple, just answer the question and prove me wrong. why is that so hard?”

mem, what is there to prove? Why don’t you call ATP directly and ask them, if you are so convinced that Nadal was unfairly scheduled, because nothing we can ever say will satisfy you. Look, in your mind Federer is a “pretender” to greatness, and since you are entitled to your opinion, be my guest. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about your self-proclaimed sense of right or wrong, but here’s one piece of advice that you will most likely toss out the window anyway. You seem to carry a lot of hate in you, which unfortunately makes you see people you don’t like as connivers or conspirators. Get over it. Or else, you will keep on demanding answers to questions that only you see to have.

mem Says:


i take it that you don’t the answer! i didn’t so!

mem Says:


i take it that you don’t know the answer! i didn’t think so!

dari Says:

Mem, a couple people including myself, have given you an answer to your question.
can we get a new trunk/funk please? It should be rather entertaining this time of year!

skeezerweezer Says:

Wow. Well…that was fun. Can hardly wait to see the next battle up here for the charity fundraiser matches they will do ( see below ) in less than a month. Hope the Fedal fans will “feel the L O V E ” no matter what the outcome as these matches are for fun. Lets just hope they both are “tired” from all of this, and enjoy there time together, I am sure they will ;-)


dari Says:

I’ve watched the finals match a couple times now, some lovely tennis from fed, especially the backward, but did anybody mention that SCARY fall in the second set?! If I would have watched the match live, I would have lost my mind at that moment. Just glad he was ok!

Sean Randall Says:

mem, There is no set Sunday schedule, it’s up to the tournament and in this case seeing how the event is in London they understandably want to start the event with a bang and that means playing Andy Murray first, which is what they have done the last two years.

I’m sure if the event was held in Spain Rafa would open the tournament. Until then or until Rafa lands in Murray’s group I guess you will be calling foul.

Therefore, I suggest you contact the ATP and voice your concern if you haven’t done so already. Good luck!

Anon Says:

Mem,you are so convinced that you are so right about whatever your question is. So why bother asking anyone else? Go ahead and continue to believe in your own self-righteousness.
Nobody needs to prove you right or wrong because you will only believe what you want to believe anyway. You seem to have created a make-believe world where the only occupant is you.

dari Says:

That is supposed to say backhand, not backward!



A few points about Murray’s serve

He has the lowest 1st serve % this year of anyone in the top 10 at 54%. Most players are at 60% or above except for Berdych who is at 56%. Part of the issue is technical. His grip on the serve is rotated slightly in the forehand direction which gives you more power on the flat serve, but there is not as much of a downward angle when the racquet strikes the ball. He is taller than Roddick, but the trajectory of his ball after he serves it is lower than Roddick. There is not as much of a margin for error on Murray’s serve. So the bottom line is he can’t serve 135 mph 1st serves and except that he will serve 65%. It might happen once a year if he is in the zone.

Andy needs to throw in a few body serves each match in the 125 mph range rather than 132 and up. When you go for an ace you can miss wide, long or in the net. You can’t miss a body serve wide. Nadal utilizes the body serve more than anyone.

Andy can also throw in a few “aggressive 2nd serves” on his 1st serve. Fish did this against Fed in Cincy. On his 1st serve he hit a kick serve out wide to Fed’s backhand that landed short in the court. Fed was excepting a hard flat serve and he flailed at the ball completely missing.

His 2nd serve is improving. He even made some comments about it in Shanghai how he was hitting his 2nd serve with more kick on occasion.

I didn’t see the Fed/Murray match in the RR so I don’t know exactly how much can be attributed to a low 1st serve %. His serve % was low against Nadal, but he only faced 5 break points getting broken once in roughly 15 service games so that’s very good. Murray should have closed out the tiebreak being up 4-1.

Nina Says:

In the middle of all this excitement over Fedal I’m happy to point out that Barça just endorsed five goals to Real Madrid. I’m sure Rafa won’t be happy about this for obvious reasons, but this made my day. lol

Now, you can go on…

someone Says:

mem is such a sore loser. Stop your whining and accept the loss already, u stupid cry baby!

dunbar Says:

“i take it that you don’t know the answer! i didn’t think so!” – but mem, dari told you, and now Sean has; Murray, as the local, gets to play on Sunday, and Nadal not in Murray’s group. Happened 2 years running. No conspiracy.

tennisfansince76:”note to Roger: “don’t telegraph when you are going run around Nadal’s 2nd serve. he is perfectly happy to go to the empty area” – yeah, there was a classic instance of that in the match; Fed looked gravely displeased, as if someone had taken rather a liberty…

dave:”The slow WTF surface already helps Nadal’s game” -I think you’ll find that’s questionable. I wonder if it’s like on clay – Nadal is known to prefer the fast clay to the slow (as in hamburg). But anyway,”For the forthcoming Australian Open, it is clear that Federer is the player to beat.” What, then, do you think of the argument of Voicemail1 and others (stated before the final) that the low bounce at O2 was unhelpful to Nadal in the sense of being able to generate the high bounce which Federer (and others!) have always found so troublesome on their bhs? (As an example of this, when Nadal recently beat Monfils the Frenchman, despite his height and having a doublehanded bh, really struggled with the highkicking ball to his bh).One has to say, Voicemail1’s prediction was spot on, and Fed’s bh for most of the time worked a dream, and you had the feeling Nadal was nonplussed. These conditions will not obtain at the AO – so if we have another Fedal final, it is not at all clear that Fed will be the man to beat.

NELTA: ” Nobody really attacks on the 1st serve return.” ah, well, maybe not winners, but you can certainly hit the first serve hard and fast right to the other service line. Federer was doing that a lot against Djokovic, not at all against Nadal on either first or 2nd. “Notice how many 2nd serves Rafa was hitting to Murray’s forehand on Saturday… .. You won’t see Rafa hitting more than 2 or 3 2nd serves to Fed’s forehand in an entire match” Shamefully, I didn’t notice! But I DID notice that Murray was struggling just as much with Nadal’s serve as Federer. Clearly, this “unspectacular” serve is in its way formidable.
” It’s extremely difficult to hit a topsin lob with a one handed backhand. You almost never see it.” I’m sure you’re right. Even so, I saw Federer doing just that sometime this season – I wish I could remember where. It was such an awesome looking stroke – no doubt for the reasons you adduce (one can instinctively sense, sometimes, a reality one doesn’t have the knowledge to analyse).

“Nadal utilizes the body serve more than anyone.” Yes, I’ve been noticing that this tournament. You wonder why other players don’t do it more often. Nothing seems to more successfully tie up the opponent.

scineram Says:

Yes, mem is the Sergio Ramos of this blog.

scineram Says:

Not at all clear Rog or Rafa will make OZ final, discount 126 players at your own peril.

dari Says:

In other happy news, the art of tennis portraits raised 125,000$ for charity. that’s quite nice. andy roddick’s painting fetched the most at 33,000$!!!!!

Nina Says:


Yeah, I read that! Here’s the excerpt on the ATP…

Late money for Andy Roddick’s Art Of Tennis self-portrait pushed the winning bid to $33,100. Portraits by Rafael Nadal ($26,500) and Novak Djokovic ($22,103) also brought big money for charity on the final day of the auction of artworks by all eight singles players who competed at the 2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Roger Federer’ self-portrait raised $27,300, taking the total amount raised by the auction to US$127,755.

Sadly, Murray’s only sold for $7,301. Weird, don’t you think? Given that he’s British and the event took place in London and that he’s #4? Puzzling.

Onto other things, I found these quotes by Fed regarding the 2011 season interesting…

“I think we can really look forward to another classic season in men’s tennis,” the Swiss star told CNN.

“I start with a lot of pressure, having to defend the Australian Open. Rafa doesn’t have that, he’s going in with pressure trying to win his fourth [grand slam] in a row, so I think there’s a lot at stake.”

“To beat all my closest rivals Murray, Djokovic and Rafa in this tournament has been fantastic. We’ve had a couple of breakthroughs, with [Tomas] Berdych and [Robin] Soderling again proving his point. Djokovic and Murray both had another great season.”




Fed did hit a great backhand topspin lob this year. I can’t remember what match it was either.

Here is a good one against Ferrer which is a little easier because of his height


jane Says:

I bet you Elton John bought Andy R’s! No, I don’t know, but I do know Andy has some celeb friends, and Elton played at his wedding, so maybe someone special got his?

Anyhow that’s awesome those portraits raised so much cash for charity. Love it!

jane Says:

I read somewhere (maybe at the ATP?) that Fed was raised playing on indoor hardcourts, but I am sure I have read at other times (here?) that he grew up playing on clay a lot. Anyhow, it seems hard courts are the best surface for him now. I’ll be interested to see how he does at Wimbledon next year.

Nina, yes, let’s do keep chattering about Nole and Murray; they deserve their kudos too. ;) I am keeping my fingers crossed for DC win, and as you say I have my doubts Nole will break with Vajda, but I hope he considers at least working with someone on his serve. I heard he was working with someone specific during the USO on his serve in particular. At least he is not double faulting in the double digits per match anymore!!!

Fot Says:

I’m just laughing at some of these post – particularly from mem. I believe about 5 or 6 people actually answered her/his question and he/she still comes back with ‘no one has answered the question’? Relax – it was just a tennis match! lol! Nadal has beaten our man to death 14 times and when he finally wins one, some (not all), but some of his fans are trying to discredit it from the scheduling to everything! lol!

Well, talk all you want – Roger still won the match and against Nadal (particularly against Nadal) – I will take whatever win we can get however we can get it! lol!

dave Says:

Kimberly silly, don’t be annoyingly silly.

This match is very important for both players. Tennis Magazine’s Peter Bodo called the WTF a blue chip event and said that “a defensive Nadalite could easily make light of the importance of the YEC.” It is the prestigious event in tennis after the Grand slams. Bottom line this is the first time since Nov 2007 that both players are facing each other when they are playing well and have no illness/injury excuses. It is a heavyweight title figh. Federer won, Nadal was whipped.

(1) It’s a totally weak and irrelevant excuse to say “indoor is Nadal’s worst surface” and “if it was played on clay Nadal would beat Federer”.

There are five big blue-chip tournaments in tennis, and the surface is specific to each of them. The top players — and especially the great players — are expected to compete competently and win on each of these surfaces. The pundits have been rabidly saying that Nadal is now an all surface player who is the top hardcourt player, blah, blah and blah. Maybe, that spiked roof over the hardcourt is thereal problem :)

Federer has been showing up at clay finals, often when he is not 100%, and getting beaten on Nadal’s favourite surface. Clay is only 25% of the tournamnets playerd by Roger and Rafa, while hardcourts aer 70%.

It is time that Nadal shows up on other surfaces where the majority of tennis is played to face Federer when he is 100%. Actually Federer is not really 100% since he is not in his prime — while Nadal is 100% and in his prime — so it is an embarrassing loss for rafa.

I can bet you that Nadal had been practicing since Shanghai on an indoor surface similar to the WTF. After all he let slip that he is starting practice next Monday for the Australian, after his sponsorhip duties are over.

(2) Kimberly: “But read Federer’s interview where he states that the reason he lost the USO semifinal was because he was thinking ahead to his match with nadal, and that nadal had had such an easy run to the final.”

That’s nonsense. Federer said no such thing. You do not know what you are talking about. Federer actually he is used to it, no excuses: “Yeah, I mean, it happens all the time. Every other week when you make a final, you either see who’s won before you or you go ahead and try to make it there. It’s not something I’ve never had to deal with.”

Federer does not use fatigue as an excuse, even if he does not like playing the second semifinal.

Stop whining about Nadal being exhausted in WTF 2010 and Hamburg 2007 and Madrid 2009. It’s pathetic and shows that Nadal is an inferior and wimpy athlete. It’s an expected part of tennis competition. It evens out in the long run as Federer has also had his share of even tougher matches the day before playing Nadal. But Federer does not whine or use it as an excuse. Let me repeat: 2006 Rome, 24-year old Federer played 6 matches in a row day after day. This included a tough quarterfinal on Friday and tough semifinal on Saturday, EACH match had more points than Nadal-Murray. Then Sunday he plays FIVE SETS exceeding FIVE HOURS against Nadal on his favourite clay surface. Federer fights like the tough athlete and great warrior until the bitter end of the fifth set, he does not crumble like Nadal in the third set.

If Federer played the same match against Murray that Nadal did, you can bet that Federer would not be using fatigue as an excuse.

It is you who are ultimately deluded in your fangirl love for Nadal. Fitness is expected of the great players. If Nadal does not have the necessary fitness to play three days in a row of matches like he did against Murray, he is not fit and is an inferior athlete in that regard.

In 2006, Federer won Toronto playing four days in a row of three setters (in those days they played 6 matches, no first round bye).

(3) The vast majority (70%) of tennis tournaments for the top men are played on hardcourts. It’s Nadal’s problem if he hasn’t developed the best hardcourt game possible by his prime. At 25, Born Borg had 30 clay titles, but he also had 22 carpet titles. Whenever Nadal loses there is always some excuse like he is a school kid going through grade school. When Federer loses, no excuses are accepted and he is bashed up as mentally weak, on the decline or whatever.

When Nadal loses, his lack of competence on hardcourt becomes an issue. Yet hypocritical Nadal fans or commentators do not qualify that Nadal’s winning H2H over Federer is because most matches are on clay, or that Nadal is a better clay court player, or that only 25% of tournaments for top guys are played on clay.

Within a year, Federer’s hardcourt game may be better than today. Remember Andre Agassi?

(4) Best of 3 sets is Nadal’s advantage. It’s ridiculous that “best of 3 is Fed’s advantage”. Federer is the greatest master of winning five-set Grand Slams in tennis history (no player in history won so many Grand Slams in short a short span). Federer is far more experienced than Nadal in winning 5-set Grand Slams. A healthy Federer should know how to beat Nadal in a 5 set match, if he can already do it in a 3 set match. If anything, Nadal is better at winning 3-set Masters titles than Federer is. It seems that Federer is fitter than Nadal so a 5 setter is an advantage to Federer. Don’t listen to John McEnroe, he is a monumental idiot, who knew that Nadal would be beaten by Federer so he started the myth of Nadal being better in 5 sets to give Nadal an excuse for losing.

Besides, Nadal already crumbled mentally, physically and playing in the third set. The fourth set would probably be 6-0 in 18 minutes. Nadal was spared the embarrassment of a five set match.

(5) Seeing what happened at the WTF final — and given that Federer has five months to improve further — do not be surprised if Federer beats Nadal at the next French Open. It’s still unlikely, but now more possible than ever before. Federer’s backhand has improved significantly (he just has to learn to hit like that from a higher point), he is running around his backhand returns, and his forehand and tactics are more aggressive. Federer might be able to blow through Nadal in the right weather conditions. Federer has already beaten Nadal on clay in Hamburg and Madrid using his old style that plays into Nadal’s hand. His new aggressive tactics will make the next FO match between the two more interesting. The pressure that Nadal is now feeling from Federer will make him try harder to win the AO and other events in Spring, which may wear out his body by the clay season. In May 2009, Nadal had much more of a ranking points buffer than he has today, yet 5 weeks later he lost his No. 1 ranking.

In conclusion, fact the facts: Nadal is not as unbeatable as you think he is. It’s sad to see irrational attempts to downplay this loss for Nadal. It’s like Rafa really must not be a great player, if he needs so many excuses.

Catherine Says:

@ Mem: Thanks for all the comedy! I always love it when some flopper manages to give me a good laugh.

@ Lulu Iberia: You sound like a genuine, open-minded, FAIR fan of Rafa’s. He’d be proud of you, reading your comments. So am I!

@dave: on the whole I agree with your comments, just not on the major thing: ALL players give excuses for their losses all the time – and if not the players themselves, it’s their teams that do so. That includes Federer, whose comments after his Wimbly semifinal-loss weren’t all too classy towards the winner, either.

And at times… it’s just true. I don’t condone the “tired”-excuses at all, as we’re dealing with pro athletes here, but that doesn’t mean that players aren’t allowed to have their slip-of-the-toungue once in a while. Rafa does it. Roger too. And guess what, same goes for all the other 998 ATP players as well. The real problem is the MEDIA exaggerating/hyping it up every time, as that idiot headline “Federer beats EXHAUSTED Nadal” shows.
‘Tired?’ ok, why not. He’s human. I don’t like it too much, but I guess it played its role. ‘Exhausted?’ please spare me that bullcrap, dear media pundits!

Kimberly Says:

Dave SAYS: That’s nonsense. Federer said no such thing

please read feds comments, on this very website regarding the semi-final loss at USO.

Q. A question about the semifinal match with Novak. How would you compare this semifinal to the US Open semifinal? Was Novak really playing much better then or did you start playing better in Basel and here?
ROGER FEDERER: Possibly. Maybe I learned my mistakes in New York. But as I mentioned once before, I thought it was quite tricky mentally to prepare for that kind of a tough match knowing it was best-of-five sets and Rafa had an easy run through to the finals, that he was going to be completely fresh on Sunday. I didn’t know rain was going to come on Sunday. I didn’t plan with that. Maybe that’s why the second and fourth sets kind of were over in a hurry. That’s one thing that’s never going to happen to me again. You live and you learn.
I thought Novak played a great match. I could have won, should have won. I ended up losing because Novak played great. That’s the way I lost some matches this season. It’s been unfortunate at times. But I always believed that I still had a good season, which I did. I proved it again today, so I’m very happy.

Fed winning the French Open v. Rafa. At this stage as he continues to deteriorate with age I imagine he will lose to any decent clay courter, Ferrer, Verdasco, Montanes etc.

Sorry fellow tennisxers but Dave is going to turn me into Fedend.

Kimberly Says:

by the way Dave, the YEC really gave Davydenko the boost last year, huh?

dunbar Says:

“Rafa looks the stronger physically, fresher even. Roger looks tired” – comment from Tennis Planet thread, posted during 2nd set.

Catherine Says:

@ Kimberly: I agree with you that Dave’s statement about Rog winning the WTF ‘giving him a boost to have a chance at winning RG in 2011’ is indeed far-fetched. But the comparison with Davydenko fails, as it was Denko’s severe wrist-injury that was the major factor that put a spike in the wheels for the entirety of his career in 2010. Who knows what might have happend if that dreadful injury didn’t occur?

All the more, it shows that you cannot ever claim ‘Player X will have a great upcoming season’, as we just don’t know what might happen to any players’ health in the future.
Therefore my wish: may all of them come back in 2011 in good health – and stay in good health as well. And of course, that includes Davydenko and DelPotro, as they’ve been thoroughly missed all the past year!

dunbar Says:

NELTA: thanks for that You Tube bh lob from Federer. I have this sort of vision in the corner of my mind that the lob we may both be thinking of was a much more difficult one, with Federer facing away from the net, and turning around as he lobbed the full extent of the court. It’s all a bit cobwebby, though.

dunbar Says:

Catherine – Davydenko seems to be back, but he’s no spring chicken. Del Potro – you’ve got to worry, will he EVER be back in full flight? These big fellas, when they incur a serious injury, seem so much more vulnerable..

Did anyone get the feeling when Federer was broken in the second set – uh-oh, here we go again, and that for a while Federer was displaying that haunted, “what am I supposed to do” look which so often suffuses his countenance, like a big worrying question mark? The backhand, too, for a while seemed to revert to the old pained push, as if he was being unfairly picked upon. Seemed to coincide with the serve dropping in quality.
He picked up again, of course, in the 3rd – but right at the beginning, Nadal had his chance, which he didn’t take. Imo, at the AO Nadal will be much, much more focused, plus of course he will have the advantage of the higher bounce. I’m not ruling out Federer (or anyone else, as one poster rightly pointed out), but this idea that he is now favourite is quite unjustified imo.
I sincerely hope the Federer team aren’t so complacent, but are working hard on Fed’s game.
Good night.

Catherine Says:

@ dunbar –

“Catherine – Davydenko seems to be back, but he’s no spring chicken. Del Potro – you’ve got to worry, will he EVER be back in full flight? These big fellas, when they incur a serious injury, seem so much more vulnerable..”

I fully share your worries…
Davydenko was so awesome at the tail end of last year, I really thought he’d be making it BIG in 2011. So sad to see him being bothered by ‘something’ in Rotterdam (I was there!), and to hear that he’d been playing with a broken wrist for a couple of weeks already! Yep, he’s no youngster anymore, and that makes me even sadder. It might well be that he’ll fade to never return again – damn!
As for DelPotro – fully agree, once again. Even the more as I’ve been reading that he seems to be suffering some mental nastiness as well, which I fully understand – how harsh must it be, to win a GS title at a very young age, and then get to suffer such an awful injury? Even the more as he’s still so young, and apparently is a very gentle, sensitive young man.
I so hope both of them will be able to beat their adversities in 2011.

“Did anyone get the feeling when Federer was broken in the second set – uh-oh, here we go again, …”

Oh YES, I was!!! I really thought it was going to end up as the well-know repetition of ‘taking set #1 in style, getting the brainfart break in #2, and succumbing all the way in #3’. We’ve seen that plenty of times the past year…
So happy that this time, Roger didn’t at all seemed to be bothered about losing that second set, but just kept it going, winning the 3rd in great style. I guess that THAT is the main reason for my happiness, knowing that somehow, he’s managed to overcome his ‘2nd set loss’-spook.

“He picked up again, of course, in the 3rd – but right at the beginning, Nadal had his chance, which he didn’t take. Imo, at the AO Nadal will be much, much more focused, plus of course he will have the advantage of the higher bounce. I’m not ruling out Federer (or anyone else, as one poster rightly pointed out), but this idea that he is now favourite is quite unjustified imo.
I sincerely hope the Federer team aren’t so complacent, but are working hard on Fed’s game.
Good night.”

I cannot agree with you more. Spot-on!
Good night yourself, too! :-)

Catherine Says:

Oops, meant ‘2010’ regarding Davydenko – of course!

Ben Pronin Says:

This is outrageous. Legitimately outrageous. You’d think this one win over Nadal has suddenly made their h2h 14-14 or something. It’s still 14-8 people. This applies to fans of both players. Jeez. Excuses from Nadal fans, ridiculous exaggerations from Federer fans. It was one bloody match! Let’s put things in perspective a little.

Federer won playing fantastic tennis. Truly great stuff. As someone who loves to watch old videos of Sampras and Becker, the way Federer played was flat out awesome to watch. And to be so successful against 4 of the best retrievers in the game. Anyways…

Mem, playing 3 set matches 3 days in a row is simply not an excuse no matter how you spin it. Juniors play 4 matches in 2 days to win tournaments. But there are also byes, so sometimes one finalist has played only 2 matches while the other 3. And they often play the semi and final on the same day. If 12 year olds can handle that, then best tennis player on the planet shouldn’t have a problem with his schedule. A more plausible excuse is just how grueling his semi against Murray was. Had Murray won and lost to Fed, the same excuse could be used, he played an extreme semifinal the day before. But to bring up the 3rd day, cmoooon. It’s a non-issue.

And as for Federer being the man to beat at the AO? I’m at a loss of words in finding a response to this. Just, I just don’t know what to say. In the most simple way, it’s false.

With all the surface blending it seems people forgot that the surfaces are still different. It’s just a simple observation to point out that Nadal’s game is amplified on clay and Federer’s on hard, particularly indoor hard. Each one has had great success on that surface and a victory on their preferred surface isn’t a great indicator of what the results will be on the other surface. Nadal’s got some wins over Fed on hard and Fed over Rafa on clay, they’re great champions it’s bound to happen. But, there’s still a distinction between the 2 on each surface. Except grass, not too sure what to think about that anymore.

Dan Martin Says:

Nadal is still the clear cut #1. I agree with Ben. My only thought on this as a possible game changer is that Fed has for most of the rivalry been the #1 guy looking over his shoulders at an uber talented guy who can beat him. Fed is not at an age to make a serious assault on Nadal in every event, but he might play a bit freer from pressure given that he is the underdog vs. Nadal and that he has lived with the bad h2h for so long that another loss may not be as daunting as it was in say 2007 or 2008. I think Nadal is still #1 by a long ways. I do think if #2 has self-belief a #2 has maybe the easier task facing #1 than the other way around as a loss by #2 is not viewed as shocking. By #1 being in a tougher spot than #2, I mean a dominating #1 the manner of what Nadal is doing now, not a few weeks at the top a la Rios, Muster, Moya and Rafter.

Catherine Says:

@ Ben – as I said already, drawing any conclusions from the outcome of this WTF as to regards on ‘who will be the man to beat in 2011’ are indeed very far-fetched.

Kimberly’s nodd towards how it went with Davydenko after his amazing end-of-2009 season should already be enough for all to realize that one. just. can’t. tell.

Very unexpected things might happen. Maybe a player like Berdych is on his way back to deal a severe blow (I’d like to say that I saw some signs of that), maybe fav players end up getting sick and/or injured… it could all happen.

We just don’t know.

Daniel Says:

Kimberly Says:
by the way Dave, the YEC really gave Davydenko the boost last year, huh?

Yes Kimberly, it did. He beat Roger in the semis in Doha and Nadal in the final after losing first set 6-0 and saving match points. The problem was that it didn’t last long! :)

I even remember Ben calling Davydenko the best player in the world before AO. He entered the quarter agaisnt Roger almost favorite since he beaten him twice in a row.

Fot Says:

Ben, you don’t think Federer is the man to beat at the AO? He is the defending champ and won 2010 (supposedly one of his worse years), without dropping a set in the final…so? I know Nadal has to also be a favorite, but I wouldn’t count Roger out either, especially at the AO. he’s won that title 4 times already. Just saying….

Daniel Says:

Plus, Nadal didn’t have to face Davy or Del Potro who were hammering him in previous meeting for an entire season.
That was the luck of the century, and a huge boost in confidance. These two had the perfect game to beat him on hard, DelPo even on clay (It remians to be seen – same with nalbandian), since he is a better version of Soderling.

Fot Says:

And Davydenko did take his mo into the next year. He, unfortunately, got injured and all that went down the drain.

Dan Martin Says:

Early AO line would be
1. Nadal
2. Fed
3. Novak and Murray
5. ???

A big ? for me will be what sort of form is JMDP in – it does not look promising from his few matches back in the fall, but if he does play into form he is obviously dangerous.

Ben Pronin Says:

Fot, in no way am I discounting Federer. But he’s not “the guy to beat”. He’s one of the guys, but not THE guy. That distinct honor belongs to Nadal no matter how you look at it. As everyone’s been saying, WTF may have gone to Federer but 2010 is still Nadal’s. Considering he’s dropped a total of 5 sets in winning 3 straight slams, he’s got to be the favorite at all of them until he loses.

Davydenko suffered a severe injury. He started 2010 where he left off in 2009. But do we really need to compare Federer to Davydenko?

Kimberly Says:

If my davydenko example does not suffice How about Novak’s 2008 win then. If i recall he was defending champion in austrailia after and then retired in the quarters verse roddick. I’m just replying to dave saying Feds win in a turning point in the rivalry where fed will now begin to dominate and should be considered the number one player.

Daniel, delpo beat nadal on clay? Have they ever even played on clay and if so what was the result. Delpo couldn’t even beat fed on clay, I would wait and see with him. Right nownhe needs to focus on beating Oliver rocs not Rafael nadal.

As I said, I am turning into Rick and fed end. My apologies to my fed fan friends.

Ben Pronin Says:

Kimberly, in my WTF preview I talked about how Davydenko and Djokovic winning the WTF were particular anomalies. That the win didn’t translate into great success shouldn’t really matter. As much as I love Djokovic, you can’t compare him to Federer either, (hopefully) yet.

“I’m just replying to dave saying Feds win in a turning point in the rivalry where fed will now begin to dominate and should be considered the number one player.”

As for that, like I said I’m speechless. It’s just a ridiculous over-exaggeration. It’s not even an exaggeration, it’s just false. I feel you on becoming like Rick and Fedend, sometimes these Fed fans really push you to the edge. And I’m a Fed fan myself.

Kimberly Says:

Thank you Ben for your comments. Some sanity.

I will control myself from waking up in the middle ofnthe night and posting a series of of crazy anti fed comments and mirk cracks. I actually don’t mind the guy. He played awesome, totally outplayed rafa. I just think the importance being placed on it is wishful thanking and completely delusional.

Daniel Says:

No Kimberly, DelPo never beat Nadal on clay, and if they have ever met was in DelPo first years on tour. But it was a match everybody was expecting, if he could be a match to Nadal on clay, since he pushed Fed to five and his recent results against Rafa. My fear it will be what happended to Nalby, we never get to see him play Nadal on clay in his best years, or ever!

Daniel Says:

Well, Ben go see your earlier post in this year, before you claim anybody is exagerating. You were putting Davy in heaven just after YEC 09 and Doha 10′, like he was sure to beat Fed in AO. I have a great memory if you don’t.
Now it’s easy to say it was an anomaly.

Tennis was, is and will ever be a “what have you done for me latelly”, and latelly Fed is playing the best tennis in the world (since mid September), even Nadal holding 3 Slams.

Nadal is the clear Number 1 and totally deserve that accolade, he work hard to get there, it’s how the system works (rankings). Fed used to be #1 even when he was not playing great.

Denying the fact either is living in la, la, land. This is the basic point in all Dave`s argument, even with him been to pro-Fed.

Ben Pronin Says:

Well 2010 started with Davydenko playing unbelievable tennis. Sure he saved match points against Nadal, but he also absolutely thumped Federer in the semifinal in Doha. And he almost proved me right when he raced to a 6-2 3-1 lead against Fed in the AO QF. And after that match, he was no longer the best player in the world. Did I say he was sure to beat Fed, though? I don’t remember that.

2009 also wasn’t firmly dominated by one player. Federer may have been number 1, but I honestly don’t recall a single tournament in 09 where Federer played as well as he just played at the WTF. 2010 was all Nadal.

Anyways, the point is, the h2h is just 8-14. Federer got 1 win, not 7. Let’s relax before we claim he’s going to turn the whole tennis world upside down (or right side up) and dominate everyone again, including Nadal. If I’m wrong, well, I’ll be damned.

skeezerweezer Says:

Ben & Dan,

Totally agree on the 9:11 and 9:19 posts…


As usual , the voice of “common sense” from a Rafa fan, you would make him proud, and me thinks he thinks more like you than you might think. If you really listen, I mean listen to the guy, he is a class act. Just because I may not like the “style” of play doesn’t mean I don’t like the guy, and his achievements this year are undeniable. I think the Fed fans would just like a “day” of glory of his win, but the excuses started, and the rest is history…….

Anon Says:

Thought I would share this article about the greatness of Federer and Nadal. Very insightful and objective, without reflecting any bias for either of the two greats.

Required reading especially for the likes of mem. who of course is never wrong about anything that undermines Federer’s greatness.


dc Says:

Nadal is 70-10 this year.i.e 1 loss in every 7 matches. Fed in 2006 was 92-5 (1 loss in every 18 matches).
Even though this is Nadals best year, he is still far from the best years of Fed, MnEnroe and the other tennis greats.
McEnroe was 90-3 or something ( 1 loss in every 30 matches).

Even at 70-10 he Nadal is tired at the end of the year (as per his fans).Nadal has some serious playing & winning due in 2011 in order to dominate the way Fed, Sampras, McEnroe did during their best years.

skeezerweezer Says:


Re: Kimberly

Me likes most of the stuff you post but take it easy on the posters like Kimberly, please. She imo is one of the best posters here, even though she is a Rafa fan. Its not easy when your fav loses to the rival. We have been there right? More than 13 times. So just saying if you read through her posts she is pretty fair all around and gives Fed props too. Just saying…she is really one of the good gals :-)

skeezerweezer Says:


You read Wall Street Journal? Impressive ;-)

Ben Pronin Says:

“She imo is one of the best posters here, even though she is a Rafa fan.”

Hahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahha. Does being a fan of a particular play determine how good of a poster someone is?

Kimberly Says:

Skeezer, thank you.

Anon. Nice article, not sure I agree with everything but the to get printed in the wall street journal it has to be mildly factual.

My fire has been extinguished so my fed is old etc comments have lost their appeal so I will restate congrats to his fans on what a great tournament to beatnthentop five players.

skeezerweezer Says:


Particular play? Sorry don’t get it…..??

dari Says:

Ask and you shall receive! Thanks funk/trunk guys!

Skeezerweezer Says:


Hilarious, well spun, and spot on! LOL

Thanks dari for pushing that….fun read :)

Fed & Nadal fan Says:

“He (nadal) won US Open because the stars aligned and he got a joke draw”
> Yes!

“When Rafa won USO he did not play anyone in the top 10 UNTIL the finals”
> Yes!!

@El Flaco
“He beat the #7, #5, #4, #3 and #1 players in the world only dropping a single set.”
> Yes!!!

“Why are you so sure that Fed will retire before Nadal?”
> Ouch! but hope that doesn’t happen. We lose the greatest tennis rivalry in recent times.

“You guys embarrass tennis fans everywhere with your idiotic, clueless, paranoid, delusional, sicko dislike and distrust about any criticism of your favorite player and praise of your least favorite player.”
>…but its why the message boards are so much fun! nadal & fed is so nice to each other, its up to us fans to add the “hate” in the rivalry! :)

Lastly, I think that Nadal’s a good chap & worthy successor to Fed (when he retires). Its the media that is playing the ‘Nadal only lose when he’s tired/injured’ crap. Or maybe some of the nadal fans out there… Its an awesome 2010 for Nadal despite his recent loss. Lets see if nadal keep up this pace & style of play until he’s 29 yrs old.

AO, here we come.

legolasthehansy Says:

Absolutely spot on pre-match analysis by Voicemail1

Congrats to Fed on the win and Nadal for his incredible season. Can’t wait for 2011.

Michael Says:

Thankfully Federer won the WTF. If only he had lost to Nadal, then the Critics would have pounced upon him and questioned his greatness, if not done already. Silincing his critics and doubters, Federer won convincingly against a player who was a thorn in his flesh. Although the match went to three sets, Federer’s domination in the match was complete and Nadal simply had no clue to Federer’s range of shots. It is also to be said that Federer was not at his best level in the finals. That Nadal is in his mind has been demonstribly proven. His first serve ratio deserted him and so too the aces that emanate all too often. Despite these, he still demolished Nadal in a convincing fashion. That goes to prove as to how superior he is in this indoor surface. This win will give him a lot of confidence going into 2011 and against Nadal in particular. I would rate Federer as favourite going into Wimbledon and US Open and the man to beat.

margot Says:

NELTA@4.31: thanx 4 answering my question re Andy’s serve so comprehensively. Still doesn’t explain why he can’t change down when the “bombs” aren’t working. Surely this would be an area for a coach to work on?
kimberly@@8.21:I know u were v. cross girl, but your last comment re Dave did make me laugh :)
Ben Pronin@9.18: your first paragraph is spot on and why a fan like me was longing for an Andy-Nole final.

Michael Says:

Andy Murray will perhaps have his best chances to win a grand slam in 2013. Perhaps by then, Federer would have faded away due to age and Nadal will not be a regular in slam finals. But still I do not see him winning more than a handful despite all his talent and prowess as he lacks consistency. His game is noway inferior to Federer or Nadal, but yet he gets thrown away due to lack of consistency which is the hall mark of greatness. Even during their off days, Federer and Nadal will somehow find a way to win. This is not the case with Murray who loses his focus often. Infact I will be surprised if he wins more than two majors in his entire career.

Nims Says:

Does any one know what is the points gained n WTF. Is it 2000 points if the winner did not have any loss in RR.

Michael Says:

Nims, Federer has gained 1,500 points for his undefeated run at the WTF.

dunbar Says:

“he took momentum away from Federer who took a few steps back behind the baseline and looked like Federer usually looks like against Rafa, scared and preoccupied with thinking about the end result instead of staying in the present”

This (by Wilander) was from tfouto’s link (thanks, tfouto). That’s exactly the impression I got from watching the second set. Of course, Federer came back, but I didn’t myself see the 3rd as a repetition of the 1st. The first was Federer blowing Nadal away- we have seen that often, including on clay, but it just never lasts. Invariably, Nadal claws his way back – and then the doubts start to surface in the minds of Federer (and of his tortured fans, e.g.me).

It was creditable that Fed regathered himself, but imo Nadal was blown. Of course, if you say that these days, you are instantly accused of any number of crimes, but actually, it is quite simple: either you are right, or you are wrong. Of course, may be I’ve got it wrong. But that’s how it seemed to me, anyway. In the first set, Nadal had that obstinate look on his face, as if he knew it was just a question of riding the storm. And so it proved. However,once Rafa missed his opportunity at the start of the 3rd, he looked as if he realised this was not to be his day. Fair enough, eh? Remember when Fed was blown off court in the RG final? Contrary to the abiding memory of most, the match was closely fought for a set and a half – and then Fed essentially packed it in. It was not to be his day. I think that’s why he wasn’t too upset, and he went into Wimbledon with great confidence (gave Halle a miss, slight injury).

I suspect Nadal will feel much the same. This loss will not affect him in the slightest for the AO – and meanwhile (horror) he now has some new data on Fed’s evolving bh….b.t.w., bringing up the “fatigue” issue as I have done is absolutely NOT an excuse. Nadal was clearly feeling the aftermath of the Murray match, and if he couldn’t handle that – he couldn’t – that’s a black mark against him. You simply have to be able to deal with a couple of tough matches in a row to win at O2, and not to be able to do so is a weakness which should be acknowledged.

Just about the silliest thing Federer could do would be to attach excessive importance to this win. It IS important, especially for that elusive but oh so important factor:confidence. But the second set showed very clearly the work which needs to be done. I was very re-assured by the interview Paul Annacone gave after the match. His reaction was cool and measured (whilst being pleased for Federer, now he can enjoy his holidays and so on). He clearly understands the huge amount of work Federer needs to do to have a realistic shot at beating Nadal at the AO. Since a lot of this work is mental, you do wonder what the approach can be – but if anyone can help Federer here, I suspect the utterly undelusional Annacone can.

Meanwhile, Wilander asked if there was anyone who had the kind of single-handed backhand that could have tamed Nadal’s highkicker (which we shall see again, at the AO, folks). Kuerten came up – that was kind of obvious, how interesting it would have been to see him play Nadal on clay. Becker and Muster were suggested. How about Federer 2011? We can always hope!

dave Says:

Dunbar, let me repeat: Federer is the man to beat at the coming Australian Open. Nadal would be my number 2 pick.

There is a simple test to assess Nadal:.
– How many Australian Opens titles and finals has Nadal achieved in his entire life? Just one.
– How many hardcourt tournaments has Nadal won this entire year? Just two (USO and Tokyo). He lost 5 of his 7 tournaments, and it have easily been 6 losses. [In Tokyo semifinals, his No. 54 ranked opponent had two match points on Nadal, so Rafa was a bit lucky. Tokyo is a faster surface than WTF, but Nadal’s final against Monfils was played with the roof open. Monfils whined that he had warmed up with the roof closed, so who knows if Gael could have repeated his Doha 2009 victory over then No. 1 Rafa].

Federer is the hottest player on hardcourts and at the moment, given his awesome performances at WTF and general performance since Wimbledon. There is a case for saying that while Nadal had the best season (that is in the past) and now Federer has been the best player after Wimbledon (after all he won over 1,300 ranking points more than Nadal during this period).
– Federer has won five hardcourt titles this year, including a slam (AO) and subslam (WTF). 4 titles came after Wimbledon.
– Federer has won four Australian Open titles, which is second most in tennis history. Federer obviously knows more than Nadal how to win this championship. His last title was on this current Plexicushion surface against a hot Andy Murray who had thrashed the defending champion Nadal.
– Federer is the grandmaster of winning 5 set Grand Slams. No man in the history of tennis won so many slams within such a short span of time (no woman has won 16 slams within 6.75 years either). No man in tennis history knows how to win slams as well as Federer.

If Nadal’s topspin was so effective on the AO surface, why has he not been more dominant on it??? This current Plexicushion Prestige surface was used since the 2008 Australian Open, so let’s compare how both players have fared on it:
– Federer reached the 2008 semifinal while playing with active mononucleosis viral disease; reached the 2009 final losing only 2 sets; and won his the 2010 title losing only 2 sets. Federer rolled over Murray who had rolled over Nadal.
– Nadal has had inconsistent results on this plexicushion surface. In 2008, Nadal was blown away by Tsonga 6-2, 6-3, 6-2. In 2009, he survived two five setters to win the AO. In 2010, Nadal dropped two sets to Kohlschreiber and Karlovic, before he was thrashed by Murray (Nadal dubiously retired just three games from defeat). Rafa admitted he practiced since December 2009 to prepare for this AO 2010.

Next, about the WTF court surface.

At the WTF Federer’s backhand “worked like a dream” because his strategy was to use it as a killshot to upset Nadal’s Plan A (pound the bh of his opponents with high topspin). Think of what David Nalbandian did against Nadal in Paris 2007 — Federer at times was like a Nalbandian clone with his bh (of course, Roger’s game was more than that — so he keep Nadal guessing and clueless as his old game plans against Federer did not work). I suspect even on a high bouncing court, Federer would have tried to use his bh to end points earlier, as a deliberate strategy against Nadal. Federer probably worked hard on his bh since summer for a potential meeting with Nadal. Federer has made more spectacular bh shots in various tournaments.

I was referring to court speed only: Nadal would probably prefer playing on a slower surface (e.g., Indian Wells) rather than on a faster surface (e.g., Cincinnati) where he could get blown away by a big hitter. In terms of bounce, of course Nadal probably prefers a surface with a higher bounce, so he can pound opponents with his topspin made extra spinny with his new strings. So Nadal’s perfect court would be relatively slow, higher bouncing, and easier on his legs and style of movement. I’m think it’s not that Nadal prefers fast clay or slow clay as much as surface and weather conditions that allow his top spin balls to bounce high and spin wildly.

The WTF’s O2 arena equally dampened the impact of both Nadal’s and Federer’s topspin against their opponents. Against other players, Federer’s brand of heavy topspin also benefits from a higher-bouncing court, that’s why he has the second best recent record at Roland Garros, and reached more semifinals in a row than even Nadal.

Gosh Nadal can’t be that great of a player if he needs every court to fit only one aspect of his game (high bouncing topspin). Even at age 24, Federer had already developed a more versatile game to adapt and succeed on a wider variety of surfaces.

Ben Pronin Says:

Nadal just completed the career slam at 24… how much more versatile do you want him to be?

Kimberly Says:

I know us Nadal fans are famous for making excuses but Fed Fans check out Dave’s comments above. He is making excuses for Nadals entire career and completely glorifying Fed, failing to mention his thrashing by Murray in Shang Hai and ridiculous loss to Monfils in Paris.

And Dave, of course best of 3 benefits Fed. He is old. He needs to finish early to catch the early bird speacial and go to bed.

Transformation of somewhat objective poster to Rafatard complete, I admit.

Colin Says:

I’ll insert a sour note here: if I ruled the world, Federer would be compulsarily retired NOW! Here’s the reason. Whenever he loses in “minor” tournaments, we are hastily told it’s because he doesn’t really value the event, and is reserving his best for the Slams (or maybe now the WTF would be included). Not just TV viewers , but the people who pay for tickets at the various tournaments, are entitled to assume that all the players will be trying their best to win their matches, so they are being cheated.
Obviously, great players late in their careers have to manage their schedule and pace themselves. Maybe they simply cannot give their all every time out. So, if and when they reach this point, they should retire. When I take over (about next Thursday) that’s what will happen.
I may make an exception for low ranked players, who need to carry on and earn all the money they can, but players like Fed and Rafa already have all the loot they need for life. I might consider an alternative scheme: Fed will be barred from all events except those that really matter to him.
So keep watching the skies. There will probably be some spectacular astronomical event to announce my ascension to the world throne.

dc Says:

Ben Pronin Says:

Nadal just completed the career slam at 24… how much more versatile do you want him to be?
His win loss ratio of 71-10 in his best year.He needs to do a lot more to achieve what Fed did in 2006 (92-5) or the other greats who have managed 80+ plus win with 3-5 losses.

His 71-10 record is something he needs to fix.
Losing 1 in every 7 matches is not something which a tennis champion does in his best year.

Ben Pronin Says:

I’m very guilty of accusing Federer of not caring about smaller events, but I don’t know how true that is. His early losses in the first half of the year could be attributed to poor play. Especially if you consider his recent run, where he played 5 tournaments, won 3, and 2 of them were not even Masters events. So he cares, I think obviously, but all players go through lulls. Maybe losing early at Wimbledon flipped the switch in his head and made him realize he needs to, sort of, go back to the basics and build his game up through various tournaments. In 09 he seemed to peak just in time, but that didn’t work out too well this year.

tfouto Says:

As a Fed fan i have to say, that the 71-10 doesn’t matter to Nadal if he can win 3 GS in a year. I wont mind if Federer keep doing this tracking on next 3-4 years. I would be delightful.

Federer dont loose on small-medium events because he wants to, or he’s just totally uncare of. I have seen him loosing in Estoril live, and he would not play if it was just because he wants to loose. Its not that easy to win every time with everybody even when you are the most successfully player ever on the game.

Ben Pronin Says:

Dc, apparently it is. That’s what you’re going to pick on? His W/L record for the year? How about his W/L record in slams this year, a nice little 25-1. Or how about the fact that he completely dominated on clay, going undefeated and winning every single important clay title this year. Not great enough? His W/L record somehow diminishes that?

Sampras never had a year where he lost less than 10 matches. What Federer did was unprecedented, it’s not the norm even for dominant number 1s. Only McEnroe had a record like Federer’s, and he did it only once. This ratio isn’t broken, it doesn’t need a “fix”. If Federer would have won the calendar slam but lost 15 times outside of the slams, would something need to be fixed? Jesus crackers.

dunbar Says:

Dave – I think the chief difference between your approach and mine is that you set great store by historical precedence whilst I don’t – on the whole, though it has its place and of course great interest.

Reason: 1)Nadal is an evolving player, so what was once true may no longer be so.
2)the grand slam spree of Federer was over some time ago. What we can hope for now is a slam squeezed out here, another, with a bit of luck, there. The past, in this sense, does not offer a lot of clues.

WTF: I disagreed with your original assumption that Fed went walk about in the 2nd set, or rather, I disagree with the implications. Because it is not some kind of charming lapse, it is a real, persistent and deeply damaging weakness. I said in two of my posts above that Federer had that bewildered look he so often does against Nadal for a while, and his backhand temporarily reverted to the old weak push. Nadal was in with a real chance in the 3rd, but he blew it straight away, and then he just faded. I do believe the Murray match took it out of him and I repeat, this is not an excuse – on the contrary, it is a weakness of Nadal’s and he was properly punished for it.

The significance of it, however, is that such a weakness cannot repeat at the AO simply because they have a full day’s rest. Surely that is important.

Now what about the AO? Yes, Tsonga destroyed Nadal. He hasn’t been able to repeat this performance, though, much to my disappointment for one. Nadal learns, that’s the key. The following year, he won. You say he survived two 5 setters as if that qualifies his achievement. You could, however, look at it in a different way – it shows how difficult he is to beat over 5 sets. I watched the Verdasco match, a great, great one – I always had the feeling Nadal was going to win though, much as I did in the terrific Murray match the other day. And since then, Nadal has improved.

” In 2010, Nadal dropped two sets to Kohlschreiber and Karlovic, before he was thrashed by Murray (Nadal dubiously retired just three games from defeat).” What’s wrong with dropping 2 sets to dangerous players? Meanwhile, I don’t agree Murray thrashed Nadal. He certainly deserved to win, but as I remember it, Nadal was looking threatening when he retired – that was my sense of it, anyway, you can disagree. I don’t think there was anything dubious about it. It looks like he made the right decision, for of course we all know what he went on to achieve that year. Meanwhile, del Potro won a grand slam playing with a terrible injury – he may have wrecked his career. Sometimes, caution is the sensible option.

In the end, Federer has not, in my view, answered the doubts most people have that he is able to deal with Nadal in a grandslam, particularly a g/slam final which is the only place they can meet for the time being. If he beats Nadal in the final (yes, I know, the final might be Murray v. Djokovic, etc, this is just hypothesis), those doubts will go a long way to being cleared up. But why anticipate?

dc Says:

@ Ben (November 30th, 2010 at 11:07 am)

Dc, apparently it is. That’s what you’re going to pick on? His W/L record for the year?
1 -Ben, i didn’t know you were the official decision maker for what stats’s can be or not be used to make conclusions about a players performance.

Many people have made claims about Nadal’s invincibility & utter dominance this year, however 71-10 does not prove that.

Though there is no doubt that his other achievements this year have propelled him in a exclusive league.

dave Says:

Almost every news article I scanned qualified Federer’s victory with Nadal’s supposed fatigue from the Murray match. True, the problem is the media. They were probably rationalizing how the player — that the media sold us as the new king of tennis — could have lost so badly.

Now imagine every news article qualifying Nadal’s thrashing of Federer at the 2008 French Open with Roger’s mononucleosis. This did not happen (even though in both matches, at WTF and FO, the loser gave up near the end, I think).

All players do give excuses for their losses, though some do it more often and with more guile than others. Top players with publicists have played the media game long enough to know the effect of their answers on the news. Every pro-athlete would naturally be fatigued from a match the day before, but there should be no excuses if Federer has played Nadal under much worse fatigue conditions.

The press jumped on and sensationalized Federer’s comments after losing to Berdych at Wimbledon. But we should read Fed’s actual interview below and put it in context. First, Federer very rarely makes excuses for any loss compared to other top players (anyone is welcome to show us the evidence to the contrary). Second, Federer first praised Berdych even though the first question gave him an opportunity to speak about his injury. Third, Federer has seen how the news media just accepts and publicizes Nadal’s injury excuses without cynicism. Fourth, if Federer had retired because he hurt so bad (he has never retired from an active match in his career), he would have been asked and had to answer such questions without penalty of criticism. Fifth, given his track record of playing with injury, he deserves the benefit of doubt — more than almost any other player except James Blake — when he does talk about his injuries.

Ben Pronin Says:

I’m not but, “Losing 1 in every 7 matches is not something which a tennis champion does in his best year.”

Again, apparently it is. Nadal is a tennis champion, one of the greatest at that, and this was his best year by far. Therefore, by the transitive property, losing 1 in every 7 matches IS something a tennis champion does in his best year.

Twocents Says:


“I think that’s why he wasn’t too upset, and he went into Wimbledon with great confidence (gave Halle a miss, slight injury).”

Fed won Halle08. He withdrew Halle07 citing a hamstring injury (which explained his drastic recessed in mobility in the 4th set of FO07 final).

Annacone has done a great job, no doubt. But let’s not forget Fed had lung infection in February. That had a big impact on his 1st half 2010 performance. Just like in 2008 when he had mono.

All in all, illness and injuries are big parts of aging. Fed is on his way down. There’s no way back. It’s just a matter of how he manages to cheat with times :-)).

Nina Says:

It’s completely laughable and ridiculous that even to this day some still try to diminish Nadal’s achievements. Deal with it already. That coming from a non-Nadal fan.

Polo Says:


I agree completely with everything you said. That is also how I would assess Federer’s and Nadal’s games at this point in time. I am ecstatic with the Federer win but like you, I still have doubts. This was just a single match that Federer won. It does not, all of a sudden, make him a shoo-in to beat Nadal in the next major, or in their next match, for that matter. Nadal makes me nervous for Federer whenever they meet. Federer of late seems to come and go during a match. A first set win by him is often followed by a second set letdown. Just like what happened this last time. I can feel that Nadal would not let that happen again. Nadal is getting better and tougher with each match. He learns fast and applies that in subsequent matches. I hope I am wrong because I would like to see Federer win a couple more majors.

dunbar Says:

Two Cents – oh, I really must check me facts. Thanks for the correction.

jane Says:

Nadal’s year was stellar, amazing, fantastic. The way he absolutely dominated on clay, winning everything, all events he entered, and then he still won Wimbledon AND the USO? Crazy good! And he hardly dropped any sets on the way to those three slam titles. Plus he peaked for the right events, which is the sign of a champion, imo. He also completed the career slam this year, just a year after Roger did so, and when he is only 24 years old. Why even question his mettle or his tennis?

Fed is a tennis genius and his records speak for themselves. There is no reason to knock Nadal for Fed’s sake. Fed doesn’t need it.

As to who is the favorite at the AO, who can know? Of course people will have opinions and arguments: Fed, no Nadal, no Fed, no Nadal, no Fed …. ad infinitum. But in the end, it could be a surprise. That slam seems to produce the most surprise winners, perhaps because it is early in the year. I, personally, am hoping for a surprise.

Let what they have BOTH achieved speak for itself. Really.

dc Says:

Ben Pronin Says:

I’m not but, “Losing 1 in every 7 matches is not something which a tennis champion does in his best year.”

Again, apparently it is. Nadal is a tennis champion, one of the greatest at that, and this was his best year by far. Therefore, by the transitive property, losing 1 in every 7 matches IS something a tennis champion does in his best year.
well, you are entitled to your opinion as i am to mine. I & many other tennis Fans have higher standards which Fed, McEnroe have been able to achieve and Nadal still has to.

This was Nadal’s best year, many champs have done much much better in their best years than Nadal has done in his Best year.

Twocents Says:

You are welcome, dunbar.

Fed went into WO 06, 07, 08 with big disappointment at FO. It’s amazing that he was able to put himself together right away and went out fighting. You wonder what if WO was ahead of FO? Maybe he landed his FO earlier? Oh well…

Twocents Says:

Then I realized Roddick’s bad luck: he might have won his WO had Fed lost FO last year…

Enough of Whatif’s. My apology.

dave Says:

Kimberly: “But read Federer’s interview where he states that the reason he lost the USO semifinal was because he was thinking ahead to his match with nadal, and that nadal had had such an easy run to the final.”
Kimberly: “Dave SAYS: That’s nonsense. Federer said no such thing. please read feds comments, on this very website regarding the semi-final loss at USO.”

Yes I already know Fed’s comments from there and other interviews. Your mind is creating answers you want to hear from the info you read.

Let me repeat: “That’s nonsense. Federer said no such thing. You do not know what you are talking about.” Bottom line Federer said: “I thought Novak played a great match. I could have won, should have won. I ended up losing because Novak played great.”

Federer NEVER SAID “that the reason he lost the USO semifinal was because he was thinking ahead to his match with nadal, and that nadal had had such an easy run to the final”. All Federer said was: “Maybe that’s why the second and fourth sets kind of were over in a hurry.”

Kimberly: “Fed winning the French Open v. Rafa. At this stage as he continues to deteriorate with age I imagine he will lose to any decent clay courter, Ferrer, Verdasco, Montanes etc. Sorry fellow tennisxers but Dave is going to turn me into Fedend.”

Hmmm, maybe you already are a Fedend, whatever that is.

Stop twisting my words. I did not say that Feder WILL win the French Open. I said that the possibility has increased: “given that Federer has five months to improve further — do not be surprised if Federer beats Nadal at the next French Open. It’s still unlikely, but now more possible than ever before.” For the reasons why, you can read my full comments again in my post above.

You are living 6 months in the past if you think Ferrer, Verdasco or Montanes are likely to beat Federer today. Federer today is a different player than he was duing the Spring hardcourt, clay and grass seasons. Remember that Roger suffered a severe lung infection during his Australian Open break, after visiting Africa on a charity mission and then going on vacation. When Federer was unable to train properly after the AO, the level of his play slipped just like it did in 2008. Federer today is different because he is well train, has match practice and is confident again. I think Montanes, Ferrer and Verdasco will tell you the are unlikely to beat Federer on clay.

It amazes me that posters continue to think in absolutes and in a linear manner. When you think in that limited way, of course Nadal will keep winning everything until age 47 :) This is tennis, anything can happen. Soderling or Djokovic could win the French Open next year, not just Federer.

dave Says:

Kimberly: “by the way Dave, the YEC really gave Davydenko the boost last year, huh?”

Yup it did.

Davdenko beat both Federer and Nadal to win Doha. Davydenko recovered from a bagel first set and saved two match points to beat Rafael Nadal 0-6, 7-6(8), 6-4. Nadal had practiced the entire December to prepare for a successful start to 2010, but the boost that Davydenko got from winning the WTF made him mentally tougher than Nadal that even a 6-0 first set and two matchpoints was not enough for the Spaniard beat the boosted Russian. It took the mentally-tougher-than-WTFboost-Federer to subdue the boosted Davydenko at the Australian Open. The boosted Nikolay then turned his sights on the remaining three Grand Slams, vowing to win those three majors and crush whoever stood in his way. Then disaster struck while playing the Rotterdam semifinals against Soderling in early February. The Russian fell on his left wrist during a and struggled in Dubai and Indian wells. His wrist injury was diagnosed as a broken bone (like Federer, tough players like Russians play through pain) and was in plaster cast for a month. He returned to the tour in Halle but struggled ever since. Morale of the story: no boost can overcome a broken bone.

Kimberly: “If my davydenko example does not suffice How about Novak’s 2008 win then. If i recall he was defending champion in austrailia after and then retired in the quarters verse roddick. I’m just replying to dave saying Feds win in a turning point in the rivalry where fed will now begin to dominate and should be considered the number one player.”

Before I answer, let me clarify first: are you comparing Djokovic to Roger Federer? If ss, you need to get caught up, before you answer yes.

Kimberly: “I’m just replying to dave saying Feds win in a turning point in the rivalry where fed will now begin to dominate and should be considered the number one player.”

Let me be clear. Nadal had the best season and is the undisputed No. 1 ranked player of 2010. Now that was based on past results. Remember the great Mats Wilander became the No. 1 player after winning three grand slams in 1988 (when he beat No. 1 Lendl at the US Open finals). Foolish people ridiculously thought that was the end for Lendl, but four months later Lendl regained his No. 1 ranking. Anything is possible in tennis, and tennis history is filled with examples.

I repeat: there is a strong case for saying that now Federer has been the best player since Wimbledon, based on immediate past results. After all, since Wimbledon Federer won over 1,300 ranking points more than Nadal during this period, has a better win-loss record (35-4 to 24-5), more titles (4 to 2), better performances within every tournament he played (4 titles, 2 finals, 2 semifinals vs 2 titles, 1 final, 2 SF, QF, R16), and recently crushing 5 of the top 7 players in tennis (except himself). At the very least, Federer should be the favourite for the Spring hardcourt season. Will he dominate for certain? No one knows, but he is the best player of the moment.

Nims Says:

As long as people don’t claim as unbeatable and goat, his record of 71-10 makes sense. It’s common for great players to have this record. But it’s absolute nonsense to say Nadal was unbeatable and had the greatest year with this kind of win-loss record.

Twocents Says:


You are only allowed to say Fed did not have career slam at 24, got it?

Nims Says:

Also it should be understood that even this record looks this good because of Nadal’s incredible clay court season.

@Dave, any clue what would be Rafa’s win-loss record outside clay in ’10.

Nims Says:


Federer took 6yrs from the time he won his first slam to achieve career slam. Also federer was in the finals for 4 yrs. Nadal took 5 yrs to achieve career slam from the time he won his first grand slam. So what’s the big difference.

Also till he achieved career slam, federer was the second best clay court player. But Nadal can never lay that claim yet even after winning the career slam. He is only one of the contenders in hard court slam.

jane Says:

I think Fed and J-Mac’s world domination years were very rare. Into the stratosphere. I don’t know if it’s possible or even necessary to try to hold Nadal to those standards or compare him in that sense. Maybe Nadal has more vulnerabilities than Fed at his top form, since we know Nadal has often had recurrent injuries. But I don’t think 71-10 record necessarily detracts from Nadal’s year or what he has accomplished; it was still an incredible year, no? ;)

I like what Fed and Nadal both say about comparing their achievements – that it’s almost best and most logical to wait until they both retire.

I do feel like Nadal has vulnerabilities that Fed doesn’t in his game and injury-wise. However, he compensates for those. Maybe Nadal, thus far in their rivalry, has been a better compensater? Nadal is so incredibly tough physically and mentally, and he competes so hard, and improves so much, and that’s why he’s been able to lift himself to the top.

It will be interesting to see what happens next year, given Fed’s increased efforts with his coach; he seems rejuvenated to me, very relaxed but also focused and eager. Something about his white socks at WTF made me think of the Fed who never broke a sweat. :)

But we also know Nadal will work hard and come back strong. He will be gunning for that AO title I suspect. And when Nadal guns for things he often gets them. The 5 set format may level things out at bit for Rafa. I agree with this point, which I think dunbar made above.

Anyhow, should probably extricate myself from this since I am a Nole-Murray fan.

skeezerweezer Says:

Breaking news! Breaking News!

Skeezer here reporting for WTF! Network……

“Fed is Arrogant”

After extensive research, findings have proved true that the Maestro is, yes indeed, arrogant. hidden evidence found exclusively by the WTF! team found a lost video showing the truth. Exclusively, for Tennis X fans, it can be viewed here, courtesy of talkSPORT magazine:


Reporting from the depths of the Tennis Planet, Skeezer


jane Says:

Nims, fair point about their career slams; there is little to separate them vis-a-vis how long each took to get one or how amazing each achievement was, in itself, regardless of comparing. It’ll be interesting to see how long each of their careers last. They are both amazing champions; Nadal still has a lot to accomplish and Fed may have more to say too. It seems like it if he wants to play until 2016 Olympics now. And while Nadal may never scale the heights of achievements that Fed did and has, he’s still a pretty awesome champion no matter what. 9 slams is great. He’s still hungry too. Meanwhile, I just want Nole to get a second and Murray a first! :/

madmax Says:


stay calm. you are always objective here. but I can say to you that federer did NOT say what you quoted here:
“But read Federer’s interview where he states that the reason he lost the USO semifinal was because he was thinking ahead to his match with nadal ————-

this is what he said:

“Maybe that’s why the second and fourth sets kind of were over in a hurry.”

and this is taken directly from the USO interview kimberley.
and is completely different to what you quoted.

I dont know why it is that these excuses always come up when nadal loses – that he is tired, injured. If nadal doesn’t make excuses than why do you? I never regard you or put you into this category, so hopefully this is just a bad day for you.

But try not to misquote him kimberley. It’s unfair.

And if rafa was ‘exhausted’ after murray. Then

1) he should have wrapped it up in straights.
2) how do you account for the fact that rafa had 5 weeks off prior to coming into the tournament more than any other player. Remember Fed played back to back tournaments with one week inbetween rest before playing in WTF!

dc Says:

@ jane
I do feel like Nadal has vulnerabilities that Fed doesn’t in his game and injury-wise. However, he compensates for those. Maybe Nadal, thus far in their rivalry, has been a better compensater? Nadal is so incredibly tough physically and mentally, and he competes so hard, and improves so much, and that’s why he’s been able to lift himself to the top.
I always thought Nadal was physically tough but most of the Nadal fans have convinced me that this is not true.All his fans say that he gets tired after a long match and cannot play after that. They even said that after wtf 2010.

Below is an excerpt from what Sean mentioned in one of his posts”
Sean Randall Says:
Nadal, OTOH, has had a more of a history of struggling after tough matches so it was well worth repeating in my preview and wrap up.

Not to mention, the numerous ‘Nadal is tired’ excuse that comes up on various posts, news articles whenever Nadal is about to play a big match or looses a big match.

I think he just shows toughness (physique, running a lot etc), but that does not mean anything if you are not up for your job the next day.

Peter D Says:

Federer did as much as admitted that he lost the Djoko match at the USO because he was too preoccupied with the final next day. This is what he said:

“But as I mentioned once before, I thought it was quite tricky mentally to prepare for that kind of a tough match knowing it was best-of-five sets and Rafa had an easy run through to the finals, that he was going to be completely fresh on Sunday. I didn’t know rain was going to come on Sunday. I didn’t plan with that. Maybe that’s why the second and fourth sets kind of were over in a hurry. That’s one thing that’s never going to happen to me again.”

This is pretty clear. Had he known in advance about the rain delay, he might have won, this is what he says.

skeezerweezer Says:

too preoccupied?

Peter D Says:

“too preoccupied?”

Yeah, like thinking all the time: “what good is to win against Djoko here if tomorrow Rafa is going to beat me.”

RSP Says:

This argument regarding the schedule being unfair to Nadal is hilarious. Lets for a moment consider what would have been said if the schedule was reversed (keeping the groups and results same):

26th Fed beats Sod 7-6 6-3
27th (first match): Fed beats Djoko 6-1 6-4
27th (second match): Nadal beats Murray 7-6 3-6 7-6
28th Fed beats Nadal 6-3 3-6 6-1

Since Fed won his matches comfortably, there would be no talk of his playing 3 matches consecutively. But all hell would break lose because nadal got the second semifinal (and hence less time for the final..fatigue…etc etc). So it seems that, *either way*, nadal would have been the victim of unfair scheduling!

Kimberly Says:

Madmax, I was referring to the quote that Peter d just restated from Feds WTF interview not the USO interview. Everything is subject to interpretation but to me it seems clear he is indicating thatnthenwas mentally distracted from finishing the task at hand because rafa had an easy road to the finals and hen would have to play him in less than 24 hrs.

I never said nadal was exhausted. Maybe he was maybe he wasn’t. Doesn’t rally matter as fed played amazing. Nadal should have taken care of Murray easier and he wouldn’t have been exhausted, if he even was. He lost the match. Period. I don’t expect a repeat performance but thats my right as his fan.

dave Says:

Rafa’s win-loss outside clay is 49-10 (remove the 22 straight matches he won in the four clay tournaments from 71-10).

Nadal’s ranking has always been heavily dependent on the clay season. If he has a major setback during the clay season his ranking collapses. That is what happened in June/July 2009, when Nadal lost a 4,500 point lead over Federer. Today, Nadal’s lead is about 3,300 points.

This year, Nadal won only 2 titles (4 finals) from 11 hardcourt tournaments. Also, won 1 title from 2 grass tournaments. There many players in ATP history who have a better hardcourt-grass record. In 2006, Federer made 16 of 17 finals (winning 12 titles).

Nadal’s 71-10 does not compare with the win-loss percentage that certain players like Federer, Lendl, McEnroe, etc have achieved. This is one measure of dominance over the field of competitors and should be in a basket of criteria to measure the GOAT.

You are absolutely right to say that “it’s absolute nonsense to say Nadal was unbeatable and had the greatest year with this kind of win-loss record.” A look at Nadal’s losses shows he lost to more lower-ranked players and had worse final set scores than Federer did this year.

Regardless, Nadal’s 71-10 is excellent, as long as no one brings up the GOAT talk. This win-loss percentage is similar to Pete Sampras 1995 and 1997 seasons. It’s better than the seasons of most No 1s in ATP history. Mats Wilander won 3 slams to become No.1 in 1988 with only a 53-11 record.

In the big picture of the open era, Nadal had a great year, but not the greatest. The 3 slams, 7 titles and 71-10 win-loss record is not the greatest year. Players like Federer (2006, 2007, 2004), Laver (1968, grand slam) and Jimmy Connors (1974, 15 titles) had a better overall year than Nadal. And arguably a few others like Lendl, Sampras, Borg, etc. might have had better years, even though they won two 2 slams.

In the bigger picture of entire tennis history — which is what the GOAT is assessed against — there are others with 3 slams and a better year than Nadal. Remember we are just talking about how good Nadal’s 2010 season really is.

madmax Says:

Kimberley, absolutely.

but what I am saying is that you have never come across to me as a fan who makes excuses for rafa.

He is a champion in his own right. He has to win the Sportsman of the year award 2010 for what he has achieved.

But really, to come up with a list of excuses about scheduling and what fed said or didn’t say -about playing rafa has finally been put to bed when fed played him and beat him in the final on sunday.

Rafa was seen practising for an hour before the match – it was reported on sky and shown to the public too – Rafa eats his energy bars, does his pscyhe out before the match was seen running up and down the corridors prior to going on court, jumps up and down before the start of the match, wins the second set in forceful style, but loses the third, to federer who was awesome against him.

That’s the truth of it.

Federer had the best game plan ever against rafa and it worked.

Why start making excuses now? you never have before.

just sayin’ kimberley. that’s all.

mem Says:


just got around to checking your response. thanks! you answered my question quite clearly. it’s whomever they want to play first; no surprise! hope i didn’t inconvenience you with the unexpected; i preferred to consult an expert like you for confirmation; i knew you would know. don’t want to pass along the wrong info. again, thanks for responding and for the suggestion.

dunbar Says:

mem – when you say “no surprise!”, do you mean no surprise that they wanted Murray to play first?

Kimberly Says:

Madmax, whether rafa was or was not tired was irrelevant and fed was essentially unplayable. I am more than wiling to give fed that.

My gripe with Dave is how he is overplaying this win intona turning point upwards in feds career and the over importance he assigns to it.

The early bird special comment was an attempt at humor/provocation and I am sorely disappointed no one bit.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

The early bird comment was funny.

mem Says:


no i did not mean that! i meant no surprise that whatever group roger is in will play first so that the day off will fall to him. that’s the no surprise i’m referring to; however, the match is over; it’s done! i don’t expect anything different next year. i have common sense enough to know that there should be rules for every aspect competition. i’m not stupid regardless of posters who don’t like the fact that i just don’t roll over and accept whatever i’m told or whatever is written before my eyes. ask me how much i care! in any case, it is what it is!

mytennis Says:

DAVE, If Dave thinks that winning on clay is not actual tennis,then Nadal fans can claim that winning on indoors are even worse.Federer`s WTF win counts for nothing.Federer after playing 12 years have only 9 clay tournament wins.Pathetic result for a player who claims to be complete.

madmax Says:


we’re fine. i respect your opinion, just dont like the excuses.

mytennis Says:

DAVE, If Dave thinks that winning on clay is not actual tennis,then Nadal fans can claim that winning on indoors are even worse.Federer`s WTF win counts for nothing.Federer after playing 12 years have only 9 clay tournament wins.Pathetic result for a player who claims to be complete.

November 30th, 2010 at 4:41 pm

mytennis – seriously. There is nothing ‘pathetic’ about Federer’s game. And hey, when you look at the following stats, I do believe they require a bit more analysis that just the word ‘pathetic’.

A bit tired tonight, so this is just the first instalment.

Nadal’s shaky history on hard courts is the best argument against using the two players’ head-to-head record to judge their rivalry. Nadal has won 14 of their 22 meetings, but 12 of those meetings came on clay, where Nadal won 10 times.

Federer is 2-1 on grass and 4-3 on hard courts. (Federer’s all-surface excellence at the peak of his career may best be encapsulated by his reaching the final of an astonishing 17 consecutive tournaments through Toronto in 2006.)

During Nadal’s reign on clay, Federer has been the second-best player on the surface, reaching 11 of the 31 finals reached by Nadal.

*****Federer’s two wins in those 11 finals may seem skimpy — until you consider that Nadal is a perfect 21-0 in clay finals against players other than Federer.*******

How can you call this pathetic mytennis?

Nadal’s improvement on grass and hard courts makes him a far better overall player than he once was, yet may also paradoxically diminish his head-to-head edge over Federer —

dave Says:

mytennis: “DAVE, If Dave thinks that winning on clay is not actual tennis, then Nadal fans can claim that winning on indoors are even worse. Federer`s WTF win counts for nothing. Federer after playing 12 years have only 9 clay tournament wins. Pathetic result for a player who claims to be complete.”

First, calm down. What are you smoking? Prove to us that I said or thought that “clay is not actual tennis.” If you cannot prove this then you have proven that Nadal fans make stuff up.

Second, how can winning indoors be worse? Tennis has been played indoors since early in its history centuries ago, probably before clay. Besides, Bjorn Borg won 22 titles on carpet alone.

“Federer`s WTF win counts for nothing”. LMAO. Are you serious? Go read my posts above. The top eight players are fighting for the prestigious year-end championship — the fifth most important tennis tournament — Federer crushes 5 of the top 7 players, then whips Nadal in the final when both players are playing well and not injured/ill. And you say it counts for nothing? Again, lmao.

Federer has one of the most well-rounded resumes in tennis history. Clay makes up only 25% of tournaments. 14% of Federer’s 66 titles are clay, and Federer is widely considered by experts as one of the top five clay courters of the open era. What’s more pathetioc is that 68% of Nadal’s 43 titles are clay after 8 years on tour.

In tennis history, Nadal has only the third most number of French championships. Federer has the second most number in each of the other three slams: wimbledon, USO and AO.

mytennis Says:

Dave,posting some nobody`s article does not make your claims look better.You are the one always looking for excuses for Federer`s poor head to head records and defeats against Nadal.Federer also does not need your ridiculous excuses.If you want to have some tennis insight, there are really good tennis writers like Jon Wertheim ,Steve Tignor,Pete Bodo and Bud Collins .Dave,go through their articles rather than posting some nobody`s article.It only shows your affinity.

Nina Says:

About what Federer said or hinted about his loss in USO semis against Novak, he can say what he wants but one thing is certain and I dare anyone of you here to state the contrary: Nole won that match because he was simply superior to Roger that day, he outplayed him in most rallies and he won those match points with massive forehands anc a lot of courage. Federer couldn’t have done anything to prevent that.

Djokovic was playing out of his mind, probably the best tennis I’ve seen him play. And when he’s like that he certainly can beat Federer and Nadal both.

To refresh your memory:

dunbar Says:

ah, just checking, mem. I am struggling to understand the implications of your comment. You accept Sean’s (and dari’s) point of information, namely that the organizers wanted Murray to play first. Why, then, no surprise that this means that Fed also plays first? Either the organizers are lying, and just pretending they want Murray to play first, and this is simply a despicable (and easy to see through) trick to get Fed to play first. Or there is some form of supernatural intervention? Or – well, never mind.

I agree mem, you absolutely shouldn’t roll over, and your comments are always worth listening to. Plus your style is unique and attractive. Sometimes, though, one can just be mistaken…..

skeezerweezer Says:


To intervene here a sec your provocation to Dave is only going to make him come up with more valid stuff. Look at the research in numbers he has already posted….just sayin….and Dave never said “clay is not actual tennis”. You have your opinion it’s all good. Blog on.

mytennis Says:

Pathetic is Federer`s record of 68% win on hard courts where most of the tournaments are played,after playing 12 years on tour!.Such an unbalanced record.If we take away hard court slam victories from Federer,he will only have 7 grand slams!!.He is definitely a HARD COURT SPECIALIST.

skeezerweezer Says:


Thoroughly agree the Nole won that fair and square. He played outstanding tennis against Fed at USO..some of the best stuff I ever saw from him. He was the better man that day and Fed knows it.

skeezerweezer Says:


“Pathetic is Federer`s record of 68% win on hard courts where most of the tournaments are played,after playing 12 years on tour!.Such an unbalanced record.If we take away hard court slam victories from Federer,he will only have 7 grand slams!!.He is definitely a HARD COURT SPECIALIST.

uh…er……and 6 Wimbledons?

dave Says:

Kimberly: “My gripe with Dave is how he is overplaying this win intona turning point upwards in feds career and the over importance he assigns to it. The early bird special comment was an attempt at humor/provocation and I am sorely disappointed no one bit.”

Kinmmy dear, having gripes is not good for you. This remedy might help :)

I tell you what, why don’t we chat again at the end of Miami? By then the entire Spring hardcourt season will have ended. Nadal won only two titles from 11 hardcourt tournamnets last year. Maybe he will do better, no?

As far as Federer is concerned, he probably wants to win the No. 1 ranking back by the US Open, so he would end the year as No. 1. He wants at least another 15 weeks so his consecutive weeks No. 1 exceeds 300. If Federer wins it back before USO, that is gravy.

It is not impossible, as it is possible Nadal will grind himself down trying to do well during the Spring hardcourts (e.g., trying to win the AO) that his clay season suffers again. Unlike other players, Nadal has to redline his body (play beyond his body’s physical capacity) to win many matches.

I haven’t answered some posts above (e.g., dunbar, kimberly, etc.), I’ll try to get to it late tonight when I have time. Bye bye and have fun. Remember, it’s only a tennis chat, both Nadal and Federer are filthy rich because of people like us, so no need to take anything too seriously :)

mytennis Says:

Skeezer,7 is much better than 1!.(6 wimbledons).I actually am a fan of Federer too.But some outrageous claims cannot be countered by being modest.

Nina Says:

This is a must see, hilarious. :)
Hitler reacts to Murray losing…

Kimberly Says:

Madmax says: Nadal’s improvement on grass and hard courts makes him a far better overall player than he once was, yet may also paradoxically diminish his head-to-head edge over Federer —

This is one of the more astute, intelligent comments I have seen, and I am willing to acknowledge it as true.

One thing Fed fans have always said was that the head to head was so lopsided because so many meetings were on clay because Nadal failed to make the final in hardcourt events (he started making them in grass by 06). Case in point world tour final, 3 years ago Nadal probably wouldn’t have played Fed in the final there.

Now more likely with his improvement on his less prefered surfaces he may be destined to meet Fed in non clay finals and diminish his head to head lead. I think this is quite true. One year ago I would have put Nadal as the 10th best hardcourt player maybe, now I would put him as 2. So as an overall player he is much improved, but his lead in the H2H might diminish.

If I were Nadal, I wouldn’t care about this. I’d take the points from the final appearances and congratulate myself for being there and trying my best. Just like Fed did with the FO finals. I think Fed thinks he will likely lose to Rafa when he shows up at a clay court final, but he gets there, to give himself the chance and has gotten two wins.

Nice post.

Leon Says:

Thanks, Dave, for the link to Perry’s article. Then I went to SI and had a good laugh. It is an “exemplary” article, indeed! What a title. What a resume. What a guy is that someone Bruce Jenkins. A writer, yes.
Very good example.

Thomas Says:

Wow,here is an excellent article.

It would be a real shame if he can’t play in Australia because of this.

dunbar Says:

That IS interesting Thomas. Actually, it could be -in a sense – good news. Some people have feared Dimitrov is too placid. Apparently not. So if he can channel that kind of anger into his tennis, maybe it will lead to a breakthrough.

The point being, mem, sorry I should have said this before, that you have to assume the players are alloted into groups randomly. Only if that is not the case can your objection hold water.

Kimberley: two points. The Fed/Nadal h2h would certainly have been dramatically different if either 1) Nadal had been a better hard court player earlier on in his career or 2)Federer had been a worse claycourt player. Nadal improving in his hardcourt skills as of now, however, is of questionable benefit to Federer – but we’ll see.

2nd point. The question of whether or not Nadal was fatigued is by no means irrelevant (Kimberley, 4.23). I’ve already posted that imo he was certainly fatigued, whether emotionally or physically or a combination, I don’t know. This is NOT an excuse, Nadal had no business being fatigued and he was justly punished for it. But the significance of this is that such fatigue is improbable at the AO, where there is plenty of time for rest. In other words, at a tournament like WTF, fatigue can be a significant factor in a way that it is less likely to be at a slam. Whoever is going to beat Nadal there will find it more difficult on that ground alone. Which doesn’t mean he isn’t beatable, of course.

b.t.w., Federer, too, was arguably defeated by fatigue at the Masters Cup. guy has argued that Nalbandian beat him fair and square on the grounds that he double bagelled a top tenner prior to the final. He also beat Nalbandian in the round robin, convincingly if I remember. However, 1)the top tenner was Gaudio, a notoriously inconsistent and even weak competitor (with a great bh!) and 2)In the final, Fed took the first two sets before succombing. It’s perfectly reasonable to suppose that by then he had run out of gas – he had, after all, accepted entry at the last moment due to an ankle injury, and he can’t possibly have been fully fit. This doesn’t mean Nalbandian didn’t deserve his victory. But fatigue can play a role – it’s just one of those things, why get excited about it?

Kimberly Says:

tennis vagabond–thank you. I was very depressed no one acknowledged the early bird special comment.

mem Says:


i’m not aware that the organizers wanted murray to play first and even if i were, it wouldn’t change my views because i simply don’t buy it. to your point about sean’s comments, of course, i accept what sean has said; he’s entitled to his opinion; i respect that; i have no desire to change him, but that doesn’t mean i agree!

competition is based on rules and rules apply to all competitors; without rules, competition loses its integrity. i place great emphasis on balance and equality given to all participants. that way, no questions asked, no excuses made, everybody involved would have had the same opportunity (particularly with rest breaks)to win or lose. then,all things being equal, if nadal goes 3+ hours that’s his problem, not roger’s. i don’t appreciate when one player gets the benefit of a rest break to recover and the other doesn’t. a day off may or may not impact the match, but the player and his fans should be given the opportunity to find out.

my argument has never been about nadal losing; why would it? with the kind of year nadal has had why would i be bothered by a lost on his weakest surface, an indoor hardcourt where he made it to the final and beat four top players along the way. fantastic results! but certain posters has turned into their usual accusation about a rafafan being a “sore loser.” what they think doesn’t mean a whole lot to me.

to be honest, i didn’t expect nadal to win against novak or roger after his semifinal, but i’m always hopeful and i don’t give up until the match is over because no one knows for sure who will win or lose before the match is played.

i think the media, sportwriters, etc has long promoted this notion/myth that nadal “never gets tired.” fans have bought into it and therefore, they use it whenever he is fatigued as grounds to argue that he shouldnt’ have been tired because he’s the fittest on the tour. he might be fit, but he is also human. murray is pretty fit, but do they apply the same standards to him; No! they use it against nadal only. one reason is because nadal fights through many things to win; his will to win is so great until people attribute his success rate to this myth. nothing could be farther from the truth. in a lot of his matches, nadal’s will triumphs over his physical condition. people sort of overlook the human being aspect of it, but i understand it’s just the myth about nadal that has been passed around in the world of tennis. it’s takes only common sense to know that the human body is designed to take on so much, when overloaded, it produces a negative reaction.

anyway, my argument was solely about nadal being given the same opportunity as roger and then, win or lose, he had equal chances. painting me as a “sore loser” and a “party pooper” is expected. fans usually do that when they don’t want someone presenting another side of an argument. i don’t mind it! when you stand up for something, you have to be prepared to take the heat. so, no problem there! that said, my position remains the same.

jane Says:

Nina!!! Thank you for posting that; you made me smile. I was climbing the furniture at that point in the match, doing somersaults, and that was watching after the fact because I couldn’t watch it live. Ha! Nole just laid. it. on. the. line. in those two points and I walked away such a proud fan! I hope he can reproduce some of that for DC and next year at the slams. I love when he find his inner warrior and his best tennis at the same time; it’s a joy to watch. Thanks again!

Nina Says:


You’re welcome. I’m still in awe at those shots, and it wasn’t just one or two lucky shots… He hitted like 6 or 7 impressive winners to win the set and the match. if only he could play like that all the time. I think I’ve never seen Nole play so freely and carefree… maybe it’s all he needs.

PS. I can’t watch his matches live either. Takes the fun out of it I guess, but my heart can’t take it. I’m the female version of this guy, lol: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_np08RTGq4

dunbar Says:

but mem, Sean wasn’t expressing an opinion (to which you say he was entitled), he was relaying a fact. Why “don’t you buy it?” You are funny, mem. Are you actually questionning that the organisers wanted to get the show on the road with Andy Murray? What if they were to write to you and say:”Dear mem, yes we have to admit that we deliberately started the tournament with Andy Murray. We understand that this has caused grave offence in some quarters and we regret this. Nevertheless we stand, resolutely, by our decision. Yours Sincerely, etc.” Would you accept that?
I don’t know how the players are alloted to groups – I suggested random selection earlier, but that may be wrong, perhaps it is according to ranking, I don’t know.But this doesn’t affect the argument.

The only way you can be right, mem, is for the organizers, once they have decided to start with Murray, to have deliberately put Federer into his group and Nadal in the other. Do you really believe this? Don’t you think this would have created a bit of a stir?

You have raised a certain anomaly in the way the tournament is scheduled – which hadn’t occured to me, I must say. But it really isn’t a conspiracy against Nadal.

mem Says:


actually, i’ve stated over and over what i believe and my position remains the same. what fact did sean convey? sean gave no proof; he basically gave an assumption. i interpreted that he meant the organizers “understandably” would want andy to play first, since he’s a hometown boy. it sounds to me like sean made a reasonable assumption, which is different from a fact. as fans, are we suppose to assume that’s the case. like i said, the match is over, done; no need to pursue it any further; we are all free to form our own opinions!

skeezerweezer Says:


You keep saying YOUR position but what is the official position by the ATP? You had the answer by some who took earnest in in trying to answer, but it sounds like you need an official answer by the ATP.

Sean told you to go “phone home” to the ATP governing body, where you’ll get your “official” answer. I don’t know why you are peppering everyone when you know very well where the “ultimate” answer is. So why don’t you go there and ask them, quit whining here, and get your answer and post it here in all it’s glory for everyone to see. This stuff has went way beyond the gazillion posts it should have. Talk about a mole hill that should have stayed a mole hill…..Geez…..

There is no reasoning, opinion, or conspiracy here. There is a fact of the matter if you pursue it with the ATP. I am sure the ATP has a SOP on this, and will answer you…call them…e-mail them…mail them…..fax them….wire them….but the most sure way to reach them would be by……………………………… ..FEDEX:)

Please…I am in love…..don’t spoil it.

Anon Says:

Skeezerweezer, if you ask me, don’t waste your time. There are far better things to do in the world. Life is too short to be caught up in other people’s pettiness.

Nims Says:

Some comment on the above postings

a) Clay is a relevant surface and any vicroty in clay should be treated same as other surface. But when it comes to Nadal, there has been lot of claim that he has become all surface player and not a clay specialist. Even his results does show that. But one thing needs to be clearly understood is that he is a great clay courter (probably greatest..will be known in next 3-4 yrs), but a good (not great, just one in the field) other court player including grass.

b) If French open would have been played after wimbledon, it’s quite likely that Nadal would have never won wimbledon. But I agree it’s hypothetical and no fact to back it up. But most of his victories in wimbledon is not because of his superior tennis, but because of his superior confidence coming back after winning French open. He had the confidence to make adjustment in the baseline at wimbledon. But if Frech open was played after wimbledon, it is more likely that Nadal would not have made that adjustment, since it could drastically impact his clay season.

c) People claim Nadal made a great progress in WTF this year because he had reached final for the first time. But the reason why he made the final is because he did not meet Federer in the semis. In his prior two WTF (06 & 07) he had to meet Federer in semis. I understand the reason why he did not meet Fed because he was the winner in the group. But he did not win his RR matches convincingly, to claim he is superior to his peers in his group. Claim that Nadal has become better in indoor is still rubbish. He is the same player as he was in 06 and 07.

d) Federer was not able to solve Nadal’s problem in clay because clay court matches are played in a particular block every year. It’s not played throughout the year like Hard court. So chances of player improving in Hard court is much higher than in clay. Inspite of having chance to play thoughout the year in HC and improve, Nadal has not made considerable improvement as he should have made. Maybe in the future he can correct it. Then we can claim he is a great player in HC. We have to wait till it happens.

Anon Says:

This from a post by Alexis on Tennis.com, which I am sharing only to show that these two guys are class acts. If only insufferable trolls on both sides of the aisle will learn from them…

“First time I’ve been here in a while, but wanted to comment on the World Tour Finals. It was a great event and a good showing for both Fed and Nadal. Obviously Nadal making the final after not winning a set last year was great for him. And Federer winning this important title for the 5th time (tying Sampras and Lendl) is wonderful for him.

I’m over-the-moon for Roger beating all his closest rivals. He’s had a fantastic run since Wimbledon and it bodes well for 2011.

As for Fed and Nadal – great respect shown by both them and their families all week: Mirka and Roger’s mother stayed behind after Fed’s match to clap for Rafa when he was presented his #1 trophy and SE award. When Roger left the court and saw Rafa in the tunnel waiting to go out in the arena to receive his two awards, Roger hugged Rafa and congratulated him. After the final as Roger made his way to his room, Rafa’s mother and sister hugged Roger and congratulated him in the hallway.

Despite the animosity between many Roger and Rafa fans, it is clear that there is no such animosity between the two of them or their camps.

I salute both Roger and Rafa. Good job, guys.”

jane Says:

Ha ha Nina, hilarious. I am standing up like that half the time during matches. Usually I watch live but that day, of the Nole-Fed semi, we had a neighbourhood function that I could not miss so I had to watch scores on my phone; even then I was freaking out. I assumed when Nole was servng at 15-40, 4-5 that Fed would prevail. But nope. Not that day. Normally, when I am watching live and the match is tense I have to do something else so I don’t go insane, lol, which in my case is usually cleaning. My house is spotless after tight ones with my faves involved. That guy smoking and screaming at his TV in the video. LOL. I empathize.

mem Says:


i was responding to dunbar’s comment to me!

however, i’m honored to have attracted so much attention over a topic that most of you guys claim has no merit. very interesting! now that we all understand each other, how about we move on!

margot Says:

dunbar: doubt if they’re allocated randomly, if yes, then, theoretically, 1,2,3 and 4 could’ve been in the same group, which is plainly not on. Am still puzzled why 1, 3, 5 and 7 were not in same group.
Decisions often seem to be made without transparency and logic.

Huh Says:

Well, I m not glad to bring it up but why you guys are just lookin at one side of the coin and constantly bringin up only the 70-10 win-loss stat of Rafa for this year? Why are you not bringin up his AMAZING CONSECUTIVE FO-WIM-USO victory thing??? This even Fed hasn’t done: to win clay,gras n hard slam in a row in a year; wat to speak of othrs like Mc Enroe??!!

Nina Says:


Have you seen this? HILARIOUS!

Hitler reacts to Murray losing…

dunbar Says:

mem, “however, i’m honored to have attracted so much attention over a topic that most of you guys claim has no merit. very interesting!” I don’t think it’s the topic that’s interesting, there’s a certain human interest story here, namely:is it possible to budge mem once she has put her foot down? It seems not. You have held on to your position with great spirit, and I can’t help admiring you for this. You were also right about Sean’s entries – I scrolled back, and it was indeed opinion and not fact as such that he was supplying.
Nevertheless, when we don’t have the actual evidence at our command, all we can do is use common sense. It is absolutely common sense that British organizers should want to put the show on the road with Andy Murray. And it absolutely goes against all known dictates of common sense to suggest that a bunch of suited bureaucrats would deliberately have conspired to give Federer an easier schedule than Nadal. mem, you’ve shown great guts in the face of some unpleasant abuse – don’t spoil it by being merely stubborn!

margot – yes, it’s mysterious. Can’t just be random, as you say. I agree with your point – 1,3,5 and 2,4,6 were in same group – just 7 and 8 interchanged. There are various possibilities. For instance, 1 and 2 are allocated to head the groups. Then 3 and 4 are randomly allocated to each of the groups, as are 5 & 6, and 7 & 8. This could easily have produced the result we had. Recall that random selection is frequently partial.

dari Says:

I actually looked into the process of the wtf draw the other day, they place #1 and#2 in separate groups. Then they put 3/4 in a hat and draw out a name. First one drawn goes to A, second to B. They continue with 5/6, 7/8, each duo in their own mini draw. They’ve got it figured out!

dari Says:

So, yes, Dunbar, your hunch is correct


There was nothing esoteric or conspiratorial about the WTF draw selection. It was done live in front of the media and TV cameras. There is an element of structure and randomness. Dari explained the process above.

There’s a possibility Fed and Rafa could meet in the Doha final in about 5 weeks which I’m sure would whip up another frenzy about who the favorite is to win the AO.


I believe this is the only 250 tournament that they both play in. Most of the other top ranked players don’t play here so that increases the chances they both make it to the final. I would guess the reason they both play here is because it is perfectly placed as a tune up to the AO and the tournament probably gives them a giant petro appearance fee.

One other note is I’m not sure if they are both playing in Abu Dhabi, but that is an exhibition tournament so it doesn’t count in my book.

margot Says:

NELTA: “structure and randomness” yikes my brain hurts already!
dari: cheers 4 that.

dunbar Says:

“structure” in selecting two players (1 and 2)to head separate groups, “randomness” in the sense dari and I pointed out. Nothing to hurt the brain there, margot.

Nina Says:

Very interesting stats that make me somehow suspicious…

Murray’s landing (2007-2010) in GS
2008 AO – Rafa’s half
2008 FO – Rafa’s half
2008 WB – Rafa’s quarter
2008 US – Rafa’s half
2009 AO – Rafa’s half
2009 FO – Rafa’s half
2009 WB – Rafa’s half (Rafa withdrew after the draw was made)
2009 US – Rafa’s half
2010 AO – Rafa’s quarter
2010 FO – Roger’s half
2010 WB – Rafa’s half
2010 US – Rafa’s half

Djokovic’s landing (2006-2010) in GS

2006 AO – Roger’s quarter (Rafa DNP)
2006 FO – Rafa’s quarter
2006 WB – DNP
2006 US – Rafa’s half
2007 AO – Roger’s 4th round
2007 FO – Rafa’s half
2007 WB – Rafa’s half
2007 US – Rafa’s half
2008 AO – Roger’s half
2008 FO – Rafa’s half
2008 WB – Roger’s half
2008 US – Roger’s half
2009 AO – Roger’s half
2009 FO – Rafa’s half
2009 WB – Roger’s half (Rafa withdrew after the draw was made)
2009 US – Roger’s half
2010 AO – Roger’s half
2010 FO – Rafa’s half
2010 WB – Roger’s half
2010 US – Roger’s half

jane Says:

Wow Nina – Amazing how many times Murray’s been in Rafa’s section, just amazing. And since 2008 for Nole it’s been almost all Roger, except at the FO! Too bad how Djoko tended to fall in Rafa’s half at the FO, and the one time he didn’t, in 09, he blew it, as he’d been playing so well on clay, beating everyone but Rafa, and Rafa was knocked out early by Soda. Had Nole not been flat against Khols he might’ve gotten through, maybe (??) even winning it.

Good lord, i am not saying there’s a conspiracy, but it does look oddly consistent doesn’t it? I know they put 1 and 2 on opposite sides and then draw the seeds from there, but it’s basically every single time for THREE YEARS that Murray has landed on Rafa’s half of the draw?!

Reminds me of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead,” with the coin flip in the opening act. LOL.

margot Says:

dunbar: tut, tut, if I say my brain hurts, then yes, my brain hurts.
jane: love that play, almost more than original…sshh…
nina: goodness, that’s odd and couldn’t come up randomly like that, could it?

Ben Pronin Says:

It’s like the draw makers are too lazy to mix it up. At Masters events, particularly back-to-back events like Miami-IW and Canada-Cincy, the draws are almost identical. It’s kind of annoying.

jane Says:

margot, and the film with Gary Oldman and Tim Roth! Disclaimer: pure speculations follow – if Murray landed on Fed’s side for once, he might have a good shot at winning a slam. Maybe playing Fed in a semi instead of a final would take some of the pressure off, Murray could play more freely and break through (he does have a good record over Fed after all) and take that confidence and momentum into a final versus (presumably) Rafa, against whom Murray always keeps it close, particularly on hard courts. Well I’ll keep my fingers crossed for that scenario, just to see if it comes true.

dunbar Says:

margot – actually, brains don’t hurt…b.t.w., you did initially address me, which is why I made my post.

purcell Says:

Hello to all Tennisexers. ( Careful how you read this.)
Not posted here for some time because:
A. Had very nasty accident on tennis court.
B. Been to 02.
C. Had to have operation to replace eyeballs, having been distracted from this site by eye-poppingly pompous contributions on the once excellent Bleacher Report–hope no trouble ensues from mentioning another site.

Anyway, huge congratulations to Fed, his family, his team, his fans and me, his biggest (glamorous) granny fan. What a pleasure to witness a 29 year old, athletically inferior (does JMac understand what the term means?), declining Fed make mincemeat of these golden or weak era boys (depending on your p of v). To witness Fed play for the first time reinforced everything I’ve read and watched relating to this man. As exquisite and bothersome as the snowy blanket covering our country. Fifty thing to do before you die. Anyway, to continue….wipes drool from corner of mouth…..

The WTF was even better than last year in terms of organisation and atmosphere and I hope it continues in London beyond 2013. It went a little off the radar when in the Far East although it was to some degree instrumental in bringing tennis to a wider audience Michael Chang et al notwithstanding. Let’s hope the present Euro-centricity of tennis doesn’t prevent that trend continuing. Conversely, the ATP, TV channels, media and LTA need to continue working hard to stamp this event on the public consciousness. BBC coverage was a disgrace.

Betty: you are fully entitled to your rant: I agree with what you say and also think that the media are some commentators continue to display a colourful array of double standards. Nadal and his team are more careful.

Twocents: thanks for your usual balanced contributions.

Madmax: enjoy, enjoy……..

Mytennis: it’s not your tennis.

Conspiracy? Oh not again.

AO: Yeah, it’s an exciting prospect particularly in view of recent events but let’s try to stop fretting over it already. Relax everyone. That’s what the players are doing in their own sweet way. Thanks to the two Andys, Rafa. Fed, Sod, Byrd, Feru, Nole and all the other excellent gentlemen for playing their little hearts out and icing the already rich fruit cake of our lives.
To our worldwide community: To be sung in G or F major: We wish you a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year.

jane Says:

Staff, Ben, whomever: will we get a Davis Cup preview?? It starts the day after tomorrow …

Anon Says:

Nina, Jane…I am truly surprised you are looking at the stats and raising eyebrows. Don’t even go there. It is beneath the two of you. The rules at the slams and other major tournaments vary. Drawing names from a hat is only one way. I believe at some tournaments, the 1st seed plays the 4th seed, while the 2nd seed plays the 3rd seed. This is fairly normal. So again, there is no suspicion or controversy.

“You have held on to your position with great spirit, and I can’t help admiring you for this.”
Dunbar, holding your position is admirable only if the intent is noble. With mem, there is nothing noble. What she wants to do is scream ler lungs out about the so-called preferential treatment for Federer. Believe me, if it had been anyone else beating Nadal in the final, mem would have absolutely no issue with the scheduling. She is just upset that her poster boy got mauled by someone she just cannot stand.

margot Says:

dunbar: r u one of those people who needs to have the last word, perchance?
Purcell: how delightful to c u again, I 2 was at O2 and enjoyed it muchly. Yes, global warming sure is gr8. ;)
Anon: is it conspiracy or cock up then?

jane Says:

Anon: “The rules at the slams and other major tournaments vary. ”

Really? I didn’t know this. I assumed that for all slams, the powers-that-be put one and two seeds on opposite halves and then drew names for the remainder. I realize Wimbledon makes its own seedings based on grass performance, but I had assumed the draw itself was performed in the same manner. Still, it is amazing that Murray for three years has basically *always* (11 times out of possible 12) been on Rafa’s side.

mem Says:


what’s the matter? you’re not afraid for someone to review the stats, are you?

quote of the day: mem is mad because her poster boy nadal got “mauled” by arguably the greatest player ever, over whom nadal holds a 5-2 h2h edge in slam finals. oh yeah, that makes me very mad! apparently, we didn’t watch the same match.

Anon, Anon, can’t nobody accuse you of not being funny! not only are you funny, but you are consistently funny. in fact, you’re in a class all by yourself. let me know when you join reality.

dunbar Says:

Anon – I admire mem for her (generally speaking) good humour when the whole pack are after her. I personally would find something like that very difficult to deal with. On the downside, she is obstinate and finds it hard to concede she is wrong – but then, it IS difficult, isn’t it? You dig a hole, boy is it hard to get out of…

re Murray being in Rafa’s half so often. Think of tossing a coin. There are 2 possibilities, head or tail (Fed or Rafa). If you toss the coin 10 times, there are 2 to the power 10 possible permutations (i.e. 1,024). Each arrangement is incredibly unlikely in itself, but they are all equally likely (or unlikely) and obviously one of them has to obtain. Say you have 4 tosses (easier to envisage). So there are 2 to the 4 arrangements, i.e 2 times 2 times 2 times 2, or 16. All are equally likely (or unlikely), the actual probability being 1 in 16. One of the arrangements is 4 heads, or HHHH (Fed, Fed, Fed, Fed). But you might have had, e.g., HTTH (Fed, Rafa, Rafa, Fed)or THTH or HTTT or HTHH and so on. There is a tendency, because it is so visually striking (I am guessing) to particularly notice the HHHH or TTTT as if they are special, and you think to yourself, wow, fancy that! Whereas actually, these possibilities are no more special – from a mathematical point of view – than any other arrangement. I think myself that “probablility” is fairly counter-intuitive – hence the tendency to suspect foul play when you get striking patterns.

margot – last word to you. (figure that out…)

Peter D Says:

Dunbar, while you are right that probability of each outcome like HHHH is the same as any other (say, HTHT) , what you miss is that HHHH is not a “typical sequence”; this is a term from information theory and just means that it is not a sequence you meet often (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typical_set for a more technical discussion.); while those outcomes with more or less equal numbers of H’s and T’s are “typical”. So, the right way to look at it is that seeing an outcome with more or less equal number of H’s and T’s (but not any particular outcome of such kind!) is more probable than seeing an outcome where the number of H’s is much greater than the number of T’s.

jane Says:

dunbar ” Think of tossing a coin” I already did, in my allusion to “R&G are dead”. And of course that scene riffs precisely on the “law of probability”, chance, and/or supernatural influence. And Peter D makes a good point; it is, I still maintain, surprising.

Peter D Says:

The intuitive feeling that something is not right with seeing Murray almost always end up in Rafa’s part is correct. This can almost never be a result of a fair coin toss. However, maybe the coin is not fair precisely because numbers 4 and 3 are not assigned randomly but, as Anon, suggests, 4 goes with 1 and 3 goes with 2 or something like this? We can test this hypothesis by looking at the rules of the draw (these should be public, shouldn’t they?) and the rankings of Djoko and Murray at the time. If this hypothesis is wrong, then it does look awfully suspicious.

jane Says:

Also, to add to your point, Peter D, Fed and Rafa have switched places between being ranked 1 & 2, and Murray has been up to #2, as has Nole, for at least one slam during that 2008-2010, 3 year time frame. I think Murray might’ve been #5 for one of the slams too. So, if indeed the draws are more specific about the placing of seeds beyond first and second seeds, then you’re right, it doesn’t look at all as surprising.

Catherine Says:

For your information, the ‘#1 goes against #4, #2 goes against #3’-‘rule’ has been abandonned for quite a while now. As far as I know, at ALL tournaments.

Look up the theory of ‘independent chances’, and you’ll find out that there isn’t anything fishy going on so far. However, I fear there will always be people still believing in Conspiracy Theories. “Uncle Toni rigging the draw”, and likewise.

jane Says:

Catherine, so do you know how they proceed with the draw at slams? Is it 1 and 2 on opposite sides, and then picking out of a “hat” for the remainder? Anon says the rules “vary” at the slams and I truly wasn’t aware of that.

BTW, I specifically said above “i am not saying it’s a conspiracy theory”. And I don’t think it is. When I saw those stats laid out, I just thought to myself “wow, what are the odds?!” of Murray being on Rafa’s side so consistently for 3 years running. To me it is just surprising, you know? You wouldn’t expect that. Or at least I wouldn’t.

But when one takes into account the shifting between the players’ rankings it might account for some of the oddness.

Anon Says:

My quote. “She is just upset that her poster boy got mauled by someone she just cannot stand.”

Your paraphrasing of my quote without acknowledging you are paraphrasing:
mem is mad because her “poster boy nadal got “mauled” by arguably the greatest player ever, over whom nadal holds a 5-2 h2h edge in slam finals.”

Please do me a favor. At least have the decency to not add your interpretation of what you think I said. Enough said.

Anon Says:

“However, I fear there will always be people still believing in Conspiracy Theories. “Uncle Toni rigging the draw”, and likewise.”

Catherine, mem will totally freak out when she reads this. Her claim all along is that Federer’ team is doing the rigging so that he gets an unfair advantage every time.

dunbar Says:

Peter D – yes, it is true the analogy is not exact since since the draw is not entirely random. But when you say: “So, the right way to look at it is that seeing an outcome with more or less equal number of H’s and T’s (but not any particular outcome of such kind!) is more probable than seeing an outcome where the number of H’s is much greater than the number of T’s.”
you are not actually disagreeing with me, so far as I can see.

Of course that is true and it in no way invalidates my point. There is only one path for 4 heads, whilst for two heads there are 6 paths. It is natural that if you give a cursory glance at all the various possibilities, you are inclined to conflate those routes where heads and tails are mixed, and to be struck by the solitary configuration of the 4 heads. So obviously, getting 4 heads is much more improbable than getting two heads (which is 3 eighths – or 4 out of 16 for ease of comparison). So what? All I am saying is, in the end, one particular path has to be taken, and it has just the same likelihood as any other.
So I disagree with you that “The intuitive feeling that something is not right with seeing Murray almost always end up in Rafa’s part is correct”. As the years pile on, it becomes more and more improbable, but never quite impossible. As it stands, the chances of Murray landing again in Rafa’s half are (assuming randomness)exactly 1 half, since probability has no memory.

As Catherine says, there is quite certainly nothing fishy going on.

dunbar Says:

” As the years pile on, it becomes more and more improbable, but never quite impossible.” (me). Actually, strictly speaking, that is incorrect, since the probability is always a half. But looking back in retrospect it will certainly look more and more bizarre.

dari Says:

Fans of roger will enjoy this Olympics-oriented interview if you have not seen it yet. Watch out, roger may be playing even in 2016!!!!!

Swiss Maestro Says:

at all majors,

1 and 2 are placed on opposite sides and then you draw 3 and 4 randomly to be placed in either half.

what you should be looking at is not whether is murray is in rafa/fed’s half but how many times has number 4 fallen in 1st half and how many times in 2nd half.

even without all this, even if no.4 lands in the 1st half, like 20times in a row, it is surprising but nothing to crow about because it is just 1 in a million occurence. i am sure things with even much lesser probability than that have occured.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

6 1/2 weeks to go fellas.
Don’t waste it minding conspiracy nutters.

Catherine Says:

If I have been unclear in my post, the draw procedure nowadays is like this: #1 and #2 draw the #3 and #4 AT RANDOM. There’s no ‘rule’ whatsoever (*anymore*, I think I remember that it was like that back in the 1980’s or so) that #1 ‘should’ get #4 or likewise, #2 gets #3.

It’s all a matter of chances, and even if they are 50% (which they are, of course), that still doesn’t mean that it’s ‘impossible’ that that #1 draws #4 ten-times-in-a-row, or #2 #3. Or any other permutation.
Like I said… independent chances!

Catherine Says:

@ Jane:

“Catherine, so do you know how they proceed with the draw at slams? Is it 1 and 2 on opposite sides, and then picking out of a “hat” for the remainder? Anon says the rules “vary” at the slams and I truly wasn’t aware of that.”

Okay, for clarification: at the AO, RG, and USO, it’s indeed #1 and #2 on opposite sides, and picking the #3 and #4 for them to possibly play at the semis out of a hat.

For Wimbledon it’s a bit different, but only as to the factor for the initial seedings in all: they don’t just blindly follow the ATP rankings, but take into account the players’ results on GRASS in the past two years by a special weighing formula, of which I’ve lost the details for now, but I’m sure someone over here might well be able to give those.

That’s why Fed was seeded as being the #1 player for Wimbledon this year. No ‘conspiracy’ or whatever – due to his results in the past, both in Wimbledon and in Halle, he rightfully got that #1 seeding in Wimbledon this year. It will be no different for Rafa this year, if he does well in Queens, considering his good results at the grass season this year.

However, as soon as the Wimbledon PTB have settled upon THEIR seedings, the procedure is the same – #1 and #2 get ‘their’ #3 and #4 at random, and the same goes for the rest of the folks, i.e., #5,6,7,8 are placed randomly among the draw for the QFs, etc. accordingly, the rest of the draws are done.

Peter D Says:

“what you should be looking at is not whether is murray is in rafa/fed’s half but how many times has number 4 fallen in 1st half and how many times in 2nd half.”

This could be relevant depending on the hypotesis one is testing. If our conspiracy hypothesis is that Murray is always placed with Nadal regardless of his ranking by the nefarious ATP schemers, then his ranking is irrelevant. If, on the other hand, the hypothesis is that Murray has been placed in Nadal’s draw only since becoming a threat to Federer, which, I think coincides, more or less, with him becoming no. 4, then I guess we need to look in the timeframe of only two years (??).
Then, while seeing a draw where he draws Nadal 7 out 8 times is 10 times less likely that him drawing Nadal 4 out of 8 times, these numbers are nothing out of the ordinary.
So, the fun game is to come with a conspiracy theory that is the most consistent with the observation of the draws :)

Catherine Says:

People seem to be thinking over here, that in case the draw is random for #3 and #4 to be placed on sides of #1 and #2, respectively, the outcome should be 50% eventually.

That shows a complete misunderstanding of the theory of independent chances in permutation science. It’s only like that when the numbers of them playing should reach around 1000 (and still in that case it could be lopsided).
This is not how it works when there’s only some 10-20 meeting a year of those guys, folks…

Ah, maths. and science. Too difficult for many, I suppose…

Catherine Says:

In all, those draw discussions are so stupid, as in 95% of the time, folks seem to get their panties in a fix, just to see Player X being in the same side of the draw of Player Y. What’s been forgotten very often, is that both Player X and Player Y have to survive quite a few matches before even getting to play each other – and most often, the lower ranked – very underrated players! – have quite a say in the matter as well!

Who would have thought that players like Nadal could actually lose to one Jurgen Melzer, for instance? Or Federer losing to Albert Montanes?

It happens.
And that’s why all those silly initial discussions about draws are totally irrelevant. All players just have to beat anyone who appears on the other side of the net, whoever it is – it’s as easy as that.

dunbar Says:

“which is 3 eighths – or 4 out of 16 for ease of comparison).” Obviously I meant 6 out of 16.

“even without all this, even if no.4 lands in the 1st half, like 20times in a row, it is surprising but nothing to crow about because it is just 1 in a million occurence. i am sure things with even much lesser probability than that have occured.”

Absolutely. Winnin the national lottery is so improbable as to be effectively imposible for you and me. Nevertheless, someone wins it. It has even been won twice by the same person. What were the chances of chemicals coming together in the good old primordial swamp to create the first self-replicating molecule? Nobody knows, of course, but uncounted millions to one against.

dari – I read another interview in which he declined to rule out 2016. Paul Annacone remarked recently on how TIRED Sampras was in his last year, and what a huge and concentrated effort it had been to gain his last slam in New York. He said the tiredness was largely emotional, and that Federer was nowhere near that state of mind. On the other hand, you never know when it will kick in.

The thing about Federer, however, is that he is a tennis junkie. He absolutely loves it and the life surrounding it, including travel. Sampras and Lendl were both so sick of tennis that neither touched a racket for some years after retiring. Can’t see Federer ever being like that – for him, it’s fun, and that makes him dangerous, because he can continually renew himself without the usual accompanying exhaustion – that would be my guess.

Of course, if he starts getting beaten on a really regular basis, tennis might lose some of its charms in his eyes….

dunbar Says:

The theoretical probability is certainly 50%. But that’s not the same as relative frequency. Anyone can test for himself by tossing a coin a huge number of times and graphing the results. It’ll take quite a while for outcome to match theory, though it will, always, eventually.
What about the US Open, Catherine, when we were all hoping to see Nadal/Murray? Actually, I’ve always thought people are much too quick to draw conclusions about what’s a good and what’s a bad draw for the reasons you say. I’ve often noticed that the person with the allegedly good draw turns out to have a more difficult one than his rival’s theoretically bad draw. There was a bizarre case in Holland, I think, 2 or 3 years ago, when Nadal had an extraordinarily tricky draw. But one by one, all the difficult opponents got knocked out before he could meet them.

3.48 a.m. beddibyes, I think.

Catherine Says:


“I’ve often noticed that the person with the allegedly good draw turns out to have a more difficult one than his rival’s theoretically bad draw. There was a bizarre case in Holland, I think, 2 or 3 years ago, when Nadal had an extraordinarily tricky draw. But one by one, all the difficult opponents got knocked out before he could meet them.”

That’s my point exactly. :-)
I was there, at that particular tournament.

Still, the opposite of that happens just the same. A so-called ‘easy’ draw, and guess what happens? Some no-name player taking out the highly favourite because that no-name player had a very, very good day.
It happens. It doesn’t mean that it was a ‘fix’, as some like to make believe.

Catherine Says:

^^ Seppi, I mean, for this particular occasion. ;-)

Anon Says:

My last post on the subject. Pray tell me why we are discussing this at all? Grand slam tournaments have been going on for decades and seedings/play schedules have rarely been a subject for heated debate, especially as a point of controversy.

Did we ever discuss schedule-fixing as a serious issue in the days of Laver, Connors, Borg, Sampras, McEnroe or Agassi. So, why now? Just because some seriously flawed individual here thinks her favorite player got cheated out of a fair schedule and that Federer always gets an unfair advantage?

C’mon, be serious. If match-scheduling was really a serious issue, don’t you think it would have been addressed ad nauseum by past and present players in an open and transparent manner, and with lawyers and tournament organizers? Don’t we have legal rules and regulations for every tournament to make sure there are no improprieties?

Again, schedule-fixing was never a big issue when Connors or Borg or Sampras was king? The only reason this is being discussed now, and I repeat, the only reason is that that someone stupid enough had to bring it up because her man lost a finals last week.

Let’s drop this nonsensical discussion once and for all and move on. I cannot think of any other champion more harshly scrutinized by his detractors than Federer.

Skeezerweezer Says:


True, let’s not forget Fed gave Rafa the breadstick in the final set to win the WTF which included the top 8 players in the WORLD. Like the article said….

Go Fed!

Nina Says:

I don’t think anybody here said anything about the draws being rigged. You people are making a lot of assumptions. We were just surprised by how lopsided the draws have been.

@Anon… no need to insult anyone.

Anon Says:

Nina, I did not mean to insult anyone, and I truly apologize if I did. I was just making a point. Why this sudden discussion about the lopsided draws? I am sure if you look back, there must have been numerous lopsided or “suspicious” draws in the days of Connors, Borg, McEnroe, Sampras and Agassi. Did anyone ever talk about how McEnroe always seemed to played Connors in the semi, or how Agassi might have played three or four straight days and got the short end of the stick versus Sampras ?

Whatever the draw or the play schedule, we just accepted it, and any thought of impropriety did not even cross our mind. That’s the way it should be. There are times when one player might end up playing on consecutive days a bit more than another player, but to accuse the other player of impropriety is absurd, which is how this whole discussion started in the first place.

Kimberly Says:

Any chance of a Davis Cup preview? I understand that people are relishing the feed the breadstick title after a less than stellar year for fed, but come on, time to move on.

Skeezerweezer Says:

Guess its time for a new article to comment on,,,,,,

Nina Says:

Day 2:
Ziki/Viktor vs Llodra/Clement

Nole vs Monfils
Janko vs Simon

Great! I love the pairings!
Troicky maybe deserved to play singles but given Tipsy’s record in DC I find the choice right.

Now, Nole, let’s win your two matches please!!! I’d be devastated if he’d somehow failed because it’s so important to him. This could give him a big boost of confidence for next season. AJDE!

jane Says:

Nina where’s day 1? : ) Yes, very nervous for the DC matches; it would be nice to at least have a thread to comment on them!

fan4tennis Says:

I think we all recognize someone from both sides in this article…

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer: They Seem Friendly But Their Fans Are Not

ByVijaylakshmi Shetty
(Correspondent) on December 1, 2010

The Nadal-Federer rivalry is the most talked about rivalry in tennis history with the head to head statistic being a popular topic of discussion. An unusual feature of this rivalry is that while the champions seem friendly with each other, their fans are at daggers drawn.
Some of the Federer fans seem to hate Nadal, some accuse him of cheating and state it as a certainty that his career will be brought to an end soon because of his knees. Some even go to the extent of speculating on the possibility of his dying in an accident!

Most of the Nadal fans do not hate Federer but prefer their idol. The only criticism they level against Federer is his admiration for himself and his seeming lack of grace sometimes in acknowledging his rivals’ strengths.
When Roger Federer was dominating the tennis world, he seemed to dominate his opponents effortlessly and completely. He steamrollered the other players and crushed them so completely that when he praised Fish because he took a set off him at Wimbledon 2003, it was seen as a compliment not just by Federer but also by his millions of adoring fans. Who knows, even Fish might have seen it as a compliment.
With Nadal however, the domination is of a different kind. With him, we have to go through emotional rollercoasters while he endeavors to get the better of his opponents in his epic battles.

The two champions also have a different approach to their victories. Federer, possibly because he could crush his opponents, is absorbed in his victory and has little or no sympathy for the vanquished. He is loathe to share credit for his victories with anyone, not even his coaches, as seen in his almost casual reference to Annacone after his WTF victory. When he wins, he says it is because he is hugely talented. When he loses, it is because he did not play well.
Nadal, on the other hand, having fought every point, knows he could well have been on the losing side and so feels the pain of the player he finally brought to his knees.
So, with their contrasting styles of play and approach to victory and defeat, it is not surprising that they have attracted different types of fans.
The Federer style attracts two types of fans: those who admire totalitarianism (a style which brooks no opposition) and those who admire effortless grace and beauty in tennis.
The first type hates Nadal because he punctured their idol’s invincibility. Had he been as ruthless as Federer in his elimination of his opponents, they might have switched loyalties to him but they cannot admire him because he is too human. He struggles. His victories are not effortless. He is so obviously not a God.

In short, this type of Federer fan is the sort that is attracted to an all-powerful God who can crush his challengers like an elephant crushes ants. As Federer is a God to this fan, any criticism of him is seen as blasphemy and there is no mercy shown to dissenters.
Usually, instead of countering “unwelcome” opinions or facts, the “totalitarian” fan prefers to attack the person who stated the opinion or presented the facts. The “offending” person is vilified as a hater and accused of being “sick in mind.”
Even reminders of Federer’s age and predictions of impact this could have on his performance are dismissed as “garbage” and this type of fan fully expects Federer to continue to dominate the tennis world forever.
However, the other type of Federer fan is attracted by the beauty of Federer’s style and appreciation of his genius rather than by his dominance or ruthless crushing of the opponents. These fans constitute the tolerant part of his fan base—while they prefer Federer, they do not hate Nadal. They also see their idol as a human. They accept some criticism of him and are generally prepared to listen to reason instead of joining the “totalitarian” mob in its blood lust for the “dissenters.” While this reasonable type may constitute the majority or at least half of the fan base, it is not as vocal as the totalitarian group.
The Nadal style attracts those who are admirers of the human spirit: the constant endeavor to overcome obstacles and to accept new challenges.
The Nadal fans do not hate Federer. Many of them, in fact, are admirers of Federer for his undoubted genius and fluid grace, but they have given their hearts to Nadal.
Nadal fans are attracted by their hero’s display of his emotions as he battles, his struggles against his injuries, his modesty, his empathetic compassion for those he defeats and above all by his champion’s heart.
They are more tolerant of dissent and endeavor to convince rather than bulldoze others into acceptance of their views.
If there had been only the “beauty and genius” fans of Federer to contend with, the fans of the two rivals would probably have got along as well as the champions themselves. But the “totalitarian” fan, with his penchant for steamrollering all opposition has introduced vitriol into what should have been friendly debates.

Huh Says:

well, a very one-sided article by vijayalaksmi setty.

Nina Says:

LOL at the article, genious.

“The two champions also have a different approach to their victories. Federer, possibly because he could crush his opponents, is absorbed in his victory and has little or no sympathy for the vanquished. He is loathe to share credit for his victories with anyone, not even his coaches, as seen in his almost casual reference to Annacone after his WTF victory. When he wins, he says it is because he is hugely talented. When he loses, it is because he did not play well.”

This is loathe about Federer.

Nina Says:

I meant ‘this is what I loathe about Federer”. Why don’t we have Edit buttons here? they are necessary.

fan4tennis Says:

I think both sides are guilty of what the author says are the two types of fed fans. Nadal fans are guilty of it too. The whole point is to realize that and reread the TITLE of the article. That’s why I prefaced it by saying we all could recognize someone from BOTH sides in that article. As the saying goes, first step in changing your behavior is to recognize that you do it in the first place.

fan4tennis Says:

BTW, that post of the article is no longer than many other posts here.

skeezerweezer Says:


thanks for that ;)

jane Says:

Why no DC thread? Anyhow, here’s the full schedule: the Frenchies have decided on Simon after all, and the Serbians have gone with Tipsy, as Nina noted above.

Davis Cup World Group Finals: SERBIA vs. FRANCE

Serbia: Novak Djokovic (3), Viktor Troicki (30), Janko Tipsarevic (49), Nenad Zimonjic (4th in doubles rankings).

France: Gael Monfils (12), Michael Llodra (23), Gilles Simon (42), Arnaud Clement (78).

Place: Belgrade, Serbia
Stadium: Belgrade Arena (Capacity: 15,200)
Surface: Hard (RuKortHardTournament MF)
Date: 03 December – 05 December 2010

Schedule of Play:


14.00 CET Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) vs. Gael Monfils (FRA)
followed by Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Gilles Simon (FRA)


15.00 CET Nenad Zimonjic / Viktor Troicki (SRB) vs. Michael Llodra / Arnaud Clement (FRA)


13.00 CET Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Gael Monfils (FRA)
followed by Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) vs. Gilles Simon (FRA)

Team captains have the right to change the players until an hour before the match.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

FOR NOLE FANS: Huge article in the NYT today, check the website…

mem Says:


why don’t you point out to me when and where did i accuse roger’s team of anything. roger’s team doesn’t plan the scheduling, do they? maybe you know something i don’t.

your problem is you jump into discussion without any knowledge of what’s going on.

yes! it’s no secret that i believe in most instances scheduling/draws/order of play are planned to help increase roger’s chances of winning, yes, i said it and yes, i believe it; rafa has always gotten the short end of privileges whether he is #1 or #2. everybody knows that, they pretend otherwise, but they know it. that’s nothing new! i’m not blind, nor am i ignorant! you don’t have to like it, but at least know what you’re talking about before you make a loud noise. as far as i’m concerned you are just a follower of the majority! a bag of hot air. why don’t you take of you and i’ll take care of me and for the trillionth time, you are not going to change my beliefs. i suggest you find a way to live with it!

jane Says:

Hey thanks Tennis Vagabond; I get the NYT’s everyday via email but sometimes I don’t get around to checking it! Cheers for pointing that out.

Nina Says:


Here’s the link to it:

Excellent article, it pointed out things I didn’t even know about Nole and I’m an encyclopedia, believe me.

Nina Says:

Jane, Margot

Do you follow Andy’s tweets? I loved this one…

From his dog’s account Maggie May:
Helping to build a snowman… ended in disaster.

Isn’t he cute? Hmmm I’m such a fan girl…

sar Says:

Excellent NY Times article.

I guess they decided to put in Simon vs. Llodra because of the slow courts. I’ll be watching.

jane Says:

Nina, awww, adorable picture of Murray! I don’t follow the tweets so thanks for posting that. I do check MurraysWorld and post the odd comment there. Also, sar & Nina, agree very much about the article; it was informative! sar, will check those links out later; must run now!

sar Says:

Dimitrov in trouble for pushing an umpire?

sar Says:

Nadal and Djokovic will play an exhibition game March 21 in Bogota
By Agencia EFE – 5 hours ago
Bogotá, December 2 (EFE) .- The world number one tennis player, Rafael Nadal in Spanish, said through a video that will be in Colombia on March 21, 2011, the day will play an exhibition game against the number three Serbia’s Novak Djokovic.

Nina Says:


Wow, thank you. Awesome.

jane Says:

Interesting links sar, and also cool that Nole and Rafa will play an exhibition too. I think that Dimintrov incident was discussed here a couple of days ago, suggestions that he may not be able to play in the AO or something, were he to make it in via quallies.

I sure wish we could have some kind of thread to discuss DC. But I suppose we can carry on here, or wherever.

jane Says:

Here are TennisTalk’s previews of the first two Davis Cup matches:


jane Says:

Also, here’s a link to the Davis Cup website for following scores anyhow; as well, for all their smack talk there’s a great picture of Tipsy and La Monf shaking hands.


Very excited for these finals! :)

tennisfansince76 Says:

one last thought on the wtf finals. it is a shame, IMO, that the match has been shortened to 2/3 sets. I know it is a long season but it is the last match so I think the players should be able to squeeze a couple more sets out to close out the season. the only thing better than Nadal vs Fed in a 2/3 set match is Fedal in a 3/5 set match.

Catherine Says:

@ fan4tennis:

Vijaylakshmi Shetty’s article suggests as much as that only Federer has the kind of ‘totalitarian’, nasty fans who ‘hate’ his rival.

“The Nadal fans do not hate Federer. ”

Translation = All of them are angels and never say anything negative about Fed!

Yeah, sure…
Perhaps time for Mr. Shitty to seek out on their activities on certain tennis forums a bit more. Talking about turning a blind eye!
The thruth is that BOTH players, unfortunately, have this kind of ‘totalitarian’ fans.

Sorry, it had me pissed off.
It’s better to discuss the upcoming DC final over here for now!

dari Says:

I have watched more more Davis cup this year than ever. very excited for the matches staring tomorrow am! Will be certainly cheering for SERBIJA!

skeezerweezer Says:

Shout out to Nole fans…..Davis cup feed on Fromsport? Go Nole!!!!!

jane Says:

I’ll be checking all the usual suspects for a feed skeezer, including fromsport, atdhe, justin, wherever; I am sure we’ll find it. And yeah, go Tipsy and Nole! I like the Frenchies, actually, but they have 9 (!!) Davis Cups and Serbia have 0, plus a team with less depth. Their hearts and tennis will have to pull them through! :)

Skeezerweezer Says:


:) Yhanks! Looks like a really good match up between the two(countries). Too bad though no dis respect to the doubles players but wouldn’t it be cool to see Nole & Monfils play doubs?

jane Says:

“wouldn’t it be cool to see Nole & Monfils play doubs?” – lol skeezer, I think there’d be a lot of sliding & stretching! Both like to hang back at the baseline, so who’d play up? They’d both be running around, crashing into each other at the baseline.

Now, you wanna talk Murray and Nole? That’d be my dream team. :)

Swiss Maestro Says:

There is a set of nadal fans that shitty missed. these are hewitt/roddick/safin fans who got tired of their favs getting their @$$ whipped by the Swiss maestro that they jumped on to the rafa wagon. these guys are rafa fans not because they like rafa but because they hate fed. you will find such supporters for nole and muzza too. and also sampras fans who became rafa fans because fed was breaking all sampras records and they thought rafa will stop fed from crossing 14. too bad for them he could not.

margot Says:

Nina: gr8 picture of Andy and Maggie! Thanx:)
Andy is just off to the Bahamas, if he can leave the country as airports have been shut. Maggie will miss him :(
jane: that amazing dog has her own twitter ;)
And hooray re new blog on live tennis, at last :)

Jeaninho Says:

Nadal is the “sum of injuries, held together by bones and skin”…LOL

jane Says:

margot when you said Murray was off to the Bahamas I had assumer for holiday, but I see he’s playing a charity event there, and probably soaking in the sun and a little R&R too.

margot Says:

jane: hi second post 2 u! Yes, Andy’s playing in a charity do but he and Kim go to the Bahamas a lot, guess it’s on the way to Miami. BTW On other post I wrote “Murrat” instead of Murray! Bit of a Freudian slip…;)

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