Nadal, Federer, Top Seeds Continue to Coast in Monte Carlo; Murray Booed
by Sean Randall | April 14th, 2011, 10:33 pm

So far this clay red clay season, the main guys at the top are in terrific if not terrifying form. Today in third round play at the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters, Rafael Nadal easily took care of Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-4 while Roger Federer went an extra going needing 6-3, 6-4 verdict to beat Marin Cilic.

“I’m very happy how I played today,” said Nadal after collecting his 34th straight win at Monte Carlo. “I think I played much better than yesterday, easier. In general, I think [it] was a very positive victory against a very difficult opponent.”

Nadal now moves on to match against Ivan Ljubicic, who pulled a minor upset beating Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-2.

“He’s a very experienced player,” Nadal said of Ljubicic. “He played well against Berdych. [I] saw him play in the locker room. It’s going to be a really difficult match tomorrow. I have to play like today if I want to have chances, and that’s what I’m going to try.”

Really difficult? I don’t think so Rafa. Ljubicic did beat the lefty the last time they played at Indian Wells last year, but Nadal should cruise tomorrow.

Another lefty, Jurgen Melzer, will have the spotlight Friday as he takes on Federer. Melzer who once reached the French Open semifinals (yeah, it was last year but it seems much longer ago), has never taken a set of the Swiss in three matches and the way Federer’s playing an upset appears unlikely.

“Today was another solid performance, which I’m very happy about,” said Federer after his win over Cilic. “He actually played a solid match except one game in the end of the first set where he made some mistakes unfortunately. Fortunate for me. But I think we were both really solid until that point on the serve. And in the second set, I was able to have one good return game, which was able to surprise him with a few quick returns. I took advantage of that there.”

With two wins, it’s already been a big week for Andy Murray. The Scot who went two months without a victory, scored his second in Monte Carlo defeating an injured Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-3. It was a tough, long first set until Simon twisted his ankle. Murray promptly seized control and the match was effectively over.

“I wasn’t bothered at all [about playing an injured player],” said Murray. “I was doing what I had to do to win the match as quickly and efficiently as possible. It worked. So I know every single player on the tour would have done exactly the same thing.”

The Scot elicited some boos from the crowd for dropshotting the hobbled Simon, but I agree with Murray, you are there to win the match at call costs and he did just that. Simon also agreed with the tactic.

Murray now meets qualifier Federico Gil who upset my man Gael Monfils 7-6, 6-2. The two played some incredible, long, physical points and if Gil can play that way against Murray he’s got a very real shot. Gil and Murray have never played and i really give the guy from Portugal a good chance, but I’ll stick with Murray and his renewed confidence, although Murray usually doesn’t fare well post-controversy (post booing in this case).

“We played a little bit in the juniors around the same time,” Murray said of Gil. “He’s a couple of years older than me. Then when I was over training in Spain, we were playing some futures tournaments together. I practiced with him a few times. I watched his match today, as much as I could. Obviously, clay court is his best surface. It will be a tough match, but definitely think I can win.”

In the early quarterfinal, David Ferrer, who dusted Milos Raonic 6-1, 6-3 will play Viktor Troicki. The way Ferrer has been rolling I’m looking forward to a match between him and Federer on Saturday.

It’s another early start Friday in Monte Carlo. With matches beginning at 10:30am and over by 5pm local time, Monte Carlo has to be one of the earliest finishing “big” tournaments on the calendar! Tennis Channel has all the coverage, if you are in the U.S. set your alarms early or you’ll miss all the coverage.


COURT CENTRAL start 10:30 am
[11] V Troicki (SRB) vs [4] D Ferrer (ESP)

Not Before 11:30 AM
[7] J Melzer (AUT) vs [2] R Federer (SUI)

Not Before 1:30 PM
[1] R Nadal (ESP) vs I Ljubicic (CRO)
[3] [WC] A Murray (GBR) vs [Q] F Gil (POR)

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Andy Murray Is Back After Elbow Issue, Hopes To Play Monte Carlo
Rafael Nadal v Stan Wawrinka, Roger Federer v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga In Friday Monte Carlo QF Play
Short On Confidence, Rafael Nadal Begins Clay Campaign In Monte Carlo [Video]

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73 Comments for Nadal, Federer, Top Seeds Continue to Coast in Monte Carlo; Murray Booed

goat galz Says:

Fed is about to pull out a can of whoop-azz. Melz won’t know what hit him.

Go Fed

jane Says:

puckbandit, where are you? Go Canucks go! And Murray may just get to a semifinal. :) He may even taunt the crowd more. Egads. :) dramarama. Love tennis.

p.s. See “The Fighter” – if only for Christian Bale’s performance: it’s stellar.

Kimmi Says:

hmmmm ferrer giving rafa like score. watch out people, he could win the whole thing.

Kimmi Says:

melzer playing well..federer broken. hmmm, tough match for fed this is…

Kimmi Says:

aaargh! poor returns from fed..

Kimmi Says:

three break points went begging..too bad

dari Says:

Allez, Rog!

Kimmi Says:

melzer hitting harder and its working at the mo

wake up rog

madmax Says:

shocker roge! This is going to a 3 setter if the mighty fed wants a semi final against ferrer, who is waiting patiently, resting up.

Federer. come on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

madmax Says:

break points again. Federer’s downfall. Federer needs to get some confidence ticking.

Does he want to win this match?

dave Says:

Federer had won his two matches on Monte Carlo clay about 45 mins faster than Rafa, but just dropped his first set to World No. 9 Melzer (who beat both Djokovic and David Ferrer in last year’s French Open as well as Verdasco in Madrid). Federer’s draw has been filled with high-ranked players, no worse than the No. 32-ranked Kohlschreiber.

Regardless of what happens today, no other player has been as consistent in reaching the final rounds. Federer is attempting to reach the semifinals for the 14th tournament in a row (every event since last Wimbledon).

If Federer reaches the quarterfinals in his next tournament (Rome), he would have reached at least the quarterfinal round of every tournament he has played over an entire year since Estoril last year (20 events in a row).

Among the top five players, probably the most inconsistent player in this period has been Andy Murray.

Gannu Says:

good i am not watching matches.. tired of seeing fedex lose… every damn tournament…

Gannu Says:

now federer gets whipped by a shady player like melzer in staright sets.. wonder what the federer defenders have to say abt his decline… I have lost hopes and i still strongly believe he should retire gracefully… I am getting damn frustrated…FEDEXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Melzer is dominating Fed with his drop shot, never seen that done to Fed before.

Skeezerweezer Says:

Windstorm. 7 BPs. Ugh. Congrats to JM.

Colin Says:

Ho, ho, flaming ho!
I’m not laughing at Federer having lost in straight sets. It’s always sad to see the decline of a great player. I’m laughing at the deluded fans who think he remains the untouchable genius on a tennis court. They are, as the phrase goes, in denial.
By the way, Gannu, what do you mean when you call Melzer “shady”?

Daniel Says:

Urghh, so many chances, 7 BP and a lot of 15-30 games and nothing.

Melzer hit stong and steady, and some wicked serve sometimes. Congrats for his first win over Fed.

Well better shot Fed in Madrid where he was in the finals the last 2 editions of the clay event.

In the last BP he had with a inside out forehand which he missed by little showed that he wasn’t confiant enough, plus conditions were pretty bad today with the twister wind.

queen Says:

Well, I guess Def is not coasting any more lol
Long way to No 1 Fed, Loooooong way

dari Says:

Maybe it was the twister, maybe its the fact that its still pretty early, but I kinda don’t care. Why was fed hitting so weak? Oh well, Points in the bank, on to Madrid.
Congrats to J. Melzer, yeah and what’s the shady business?

Skeezerweezer Says:

^well think if another lefty played Fed today….more ugh :(.

Daniel Says:

Third straigh match that Nadal broke his opponent in the first game!

madmax Says:

(Reuters) – A completely out-of-sorts Roger Federer lost 6-4 6-4 to Austria’s Juergen Melzer in blustery conditions at the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals on Friday.

The Swiss, who has never won on the Monaco clay, had looked imperious in his previous two matches but never got going against the seventh seed on the breezy shores of the Mediterranean.

Melzer broke for 3-2 in the first set when second seed Federer netted the first of a number of easy forehands and the Austrian then immediately saved a break point on his own serve before taking the set and similarly sealing the second.

Federer, who last won a tournament in Doha in early January, had looked on course for a possible final with world number one and defending champion Rafa Nadal but his build-up to next month’s French Open has now suffered a surprise blow.

well, let’s leave nadal out of the following but here are some statistics in terms of fed’s consistency over left handers:

In fact, though he has lost 15 times to Nadal, he hasn’t lost to any other lefthanded player since Franco Squillari beat him in January of 2003. (Add to that the loss to Meltzer today).

Federer against all righthanded players: 687-154 or 81.7% wins.

Federer against all lefthanded players: 77-25 or 75.5% wins

Federer against lefthanded players, excluding Nadal: 69-10 or 87.3%.

It’s still not bad guys, but god. what a shocker today.

Watching the match, he really just was not there.

Seriously. No ‘come on’s’. A shadow of he fighting fed.

Gannu, from a fellow federer fan, you need to grow up and enjoy federer playing whilst you still have the change.

He isn’t a safe bet anymore, I agree, but then times have to change. you just have to go along with the change otherwise you will become seriously depressed each time he loses.

dave Says:

It is silly to expect any player to win every match. Even worse, it is pompous and deluded to demand that Federer retire simply because one has unreasonable expectations or an agenda against any player.

Anyone who is sick of seeing Federer lose should apply the same standards to Djokovic and Nadal. Nadal won only 7 of his last 30 tournaments. Djokovic won only 2 of 19 tournaments in 2010. Are we also going to demand that Nadal and Djokovic retire whenever they go through those patches?

Federer won 5 of his last 14 tournaments. He reached the quarterfinal or better in every event since Estoril, almost one year ago. neither Nadal nor Djokovic have been as consistent.

So let’s laugh at those opportunistic people who show up and try so hard to make a mountain out of a molehill to put down Federer and Federer fans.

The clay season is young. Federer also lost to another buddy (Wawrinka) at Monte Carlo in 2009, after he showed up to get some practice on clay. There is no shame in losing to his good friend ranked No. 9 in the world (who has beaten top clay courters like Djokovic, Ferrer, Almagro and Verdasco).

queen Says:

I hope Fed will not retire any time soon. I like to watch him lose a few more tournaments.

van orten Says:

havent heard of melzer this year!!! good that there is federer giving him the opportunity to be back in focus….u just dont see federer wanting to win a match like this anymore..

van orten Says:

there is no player around who has wasted so many breakchances in the last 5 years!!!!

madmax Says:

I’m sure that will happen queen as also there will be some wins. Will you stick around for the wins as well?


great post. I hope gannu reads it and understands what you are trying to say.

Also, apart from anything else JERGEN MELTZER IS OLDER THAN ROGER FEDERER! Yes, and he beat the mighty fed! So age has NOTHING to do with it! It’s all in the mind.

queen Says:

game, set, match Nadal

madmax Says:

van orten, you are right. The facts this year are that fed has had 41 opportunities to break back and his conversion rate has been 40% which is really, really poor.

It’s the mindset. Just completely gone. no matter what he says, it seems to be his focus is not on the masters – or may be i am being too harsh.

dave’s post puts things back into perspective for me though.

Go roger!

Gannu Says:


I dont understand how can you see him lose like this… he is losing to all players to wom he has never lost.. he will now lose to kohlschriber, almagro, ferrer etc and countless other players and do you think we should ENJOY that.. come on madmax… you can ut i cant…

The worst is federer limping his way to finish…I am not a fair weather fan,.. but i just cant see both him as well as his fans live in utter denial…some nut case pointed out murray’s record this year as an example and said look murray has done far worse..

come on give me a break.. this is fedex whom we are talking abt 16 Gslams, 237 weeks etc… What is murray’s crednetials in front of him…

Fedex will be judged by very high standards.. and to lose in straight sets to Melzer is jut a sure shot of a decline.. face it…

We will have to live with it,.,..Thats why I PRAY THAT FEDEX WINS A GSLAM AND RETIRES IMMEDIATELY…Otherwise we will have to endure many such tortorous events in our life

Disgusted.. today i am really frsutrated and have lost all hopes…

jane Says:

Fed busted my bracket for the first time; I had him in the finals. He has been a reliable pick so far. Honestly thought Ferrer might be a threat to him, but I am a little surprised about Melzer. But Jurgen is a very good player, and he had that big win over Nole on clay, now one on Fed. Or…Maybe Mirka & Fed celebrated too much? ;)

jane Says:

Go Murray! I think he is going to give Rafa a match in the semis!?

jane Says:

Personally, I do not think Fed should retire for losing in the QFs – or even first round! He should play until he feels like he wants to stop. That is it, it is his career, and while he has given his fans much joy, what matters more is that he is still enjoying tennis. He should play for as long as he wants.

margot Says:

jane, dari kimmi, Fritz and all who love Andy almost as much as I do… : In an interview in my newspaper of choice, Andy revealed he was extremely upset that Corretja didn’t go to the AO.with him. This all come to a head round about Indian Wells, where Andy said he really didn’t want to be. Also said he felt terrible because he “really liked Alex.” Does explain why his form took such a plunge.
But, more interesting and exciting for his fans, is that David Haye, a world heavyweight boxer, whom Andy admires, is giving Andy advice on how to win! Oh yay :) Just what we’ve all been hoping for :)
Fritz: you surely don’t take prisoners! Gr8 to have you in Andy’s corner, to use a boxing analogy :). Andy loves boxing btw, oh well, no-one’s perfect ;)

Polo Says:

Federer can’t seem to adjust his game anymore. He is not aging well…like for example, Agassi…and oh! yes, Melzer.

margot Says:

Oh hi jane, our posts crossing each other over the universe again :)

madmax Says:

Margot, just heard that as well. David Haye is TEXTING Andy everyday to give him the old boxer’s mentality, keep him in with a fighting chance!

It is good to see him so positive after such an awful hard court swing.

Go Andy!


read dave’s post here:

dave Says:
It is silly to expect any player to win every match. Even worse, it is pompous and deluded to demand that Federer retire simply because one has unreasonable expectations or an agenda against any player.

Anyone who is sick of seeing Federer lose should apply the same standards to Djokovic and Nadal. Nadal won only 7 of his last 30 tournaments. Djokovic won only 2 of 19 tournaments in 2010. Are we also going to demand that Nadal and Djokovic retire whenever they go through those patches?

Federer won 5 of his last 14 tournaments. He reached the quarterfinal or better in every event since Estoril, almost one year ago. neither Nadal nor Djokovic have been as consistent.

So let’s laugh at those opportunistic people who show up and try so hard to make a mountain out of a molehill to put down Federer and Federer fans.

The clay season is young. Federer also lost to another buddy (Wawrinka) at Monte Carlo in 2009, after he showed up to get some practice on clay. There is no shame in losing to his good friend ranked No. 9 in the world (who has beaten top clay courters like Djokovic, Ferrer, Almagro and Verdasco).

April 15th, 2011 at 8:35 am


I am not in denial. I have accepted. It is the only way to move forward with federer these days. He loses more than before, but he has still had a great season so far in 2011. Just look at the facts.

What he has to do though is to improve two main things in his game.

1. his self-belief at critical points – He had 7 break point chances and he didn’t clinch one of them. That seems to me to be a serious mental folding. I don’t know why this happens. Perhaps someone else can comment on this? He just doesn’t capitalise on his chances the way he used to.

I agree with you gannu, players like meltzer (who are great plaeyrs by the way), he would beat hands down. But that was then and this is now.

Federer is far from over Gannu. The way you paint him, it’s as if he is the worst player on tour. He has displayed the most consistency on tour, it is just that you have been used to his wins. And I’m sorry gannu, but you are a fairweather fan if you just support him for his wins.

Think about Margot and Jane. The times they have had to go through with Andy and Novak, losing time and again to federer and other players, they didn’t desert them and now, they are enjoying the fruits of their players’ self-belief and hard work. It’s sport.

It sucks sometimes but other times, it’s wonderful.

Just enjoy the game gannu and dont be so hard on yourself OR dont watch any of fed’s games again. You are going to send yourself mad otherwise.

madmax Says:

2. He needs to reinvent his forehand, which more often than not goes into the net – why does this happen? Is he rushing this shot? Is it his eyesight? Is he panicking. I just don’t know. This shot was (and still is at times), his bread and butter shot.

Not any more.

If he can work on these two areas (says the expert ! :)), then am certain his game will improve.

I’ll never give up on the fed.

C’mon Roge! On to Madrid – winner in 2009, let’s make it winner 2011.

madmax Says:


Andy is playing great right now.

Such belief.

About time.

Ben Pronin Says:

Federer’s loss to Melzer is just as significant as Nadal’s loss to Melzer last year in Shanghai(?), aka it’s not significant at all. This is Federer’s best result at his first clay tournament of the year in the past 3 years (lost to Wawrinka in third round in 09 and second round to Gulbis in Rome last year). He’s not playing his very best but he’s still fine. He’ll build some momentum, probably make the final in Madrid or Rome, and then pull out all the stops to win a second French Open. If Melzer even beats Federer again, then there’s a serious problem.

jane Says:

Hi margot! A boxer’s mentality = woot! Self-belief is key, but so is having reliable people in your corner. Good then that he ditched cursey Alex. Have you seen “the Fighter”? Very good film overall. One crazy family!

madmax Says:


have you got sun stroke?

It’s just that usually your comments are the polar opposite about federer.

It’s good to read and when you put it like that…should help gannu feel better about life.

Gannu Says:

Well I am indeed with Fed all the times…;-) I dont really mean what i say at times coz its all the anger that comes out.. i again will wake upto watch a fed’s match… so lets hope our man goes all the way and wins french and wimby this year ;-)

I am much better now…After all it was anywyas tooo much to expect .. at some point age begins to catch up…

Anyways good luck to andy.. good to see some spice in his shots!…And i am happy to know that he has maintained that level of optimism and rekindled his desire to do well.. guess he can atleast put up a fight against rafa on clay which is no mean a task if he does…

Ben Pronin Says:

Haven’t seen Murray hit that down-the-line backhand so well in a while. He looks very relaxed, just going for his shots and playing his game. If he can push Nadal that’d be a pretty huge statement. Needs to get himself back into the conversation in a big way.

margot Says:

Ben: I agree re Andy’s backhand down the line. Gr8 to see it back!
Madmax: yay, my boy’s playing good :)
jane: whoopee :) :) :)
guys, u just leave that hair alone ! I love the wild man look! Reminds me of teenage- no- fear Andy!
He’s looking better on clay than I’ve seen too eg a lovely slide to a drop shot then a little flick of the wrist and a beautifully angled return. Oh bliss!

Ben Pronin Says:

Pretty excited for Murray-Nadal. Last time they played in MC, Nadal said Murray has what it takes to be a future French Open champ. And the last time they played anywhere they produced an instant classic. Murray has absolutely nothing to lose, Nadal may or may not feel the pressure, so we could be in for a real treat.

jane Says:

^ Ditto Ben – very excited for this semi! :)

funches Says:

Federer did not move well at all today. One time Melzer hit a drop shot that landed by the service line and Fed did not even move for it. He also looked like an old man when Melzer played behind him.

It’s more confidence than age, though. Fed has none in tight matches at the moment. He really had a chance to win only one of the seven break points, either missing the return or hitting a weak reply that Melzer pounced on for the others. Really, that was a 6-2, 6-2 match if Melzer had been a tad more steady.

margot Says:

And the French crowd didn’t boo him today! Hah!

goat galz Says:

He’s still the GOAT and no player with a fluke win is going to change that.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Melzer looked pretty awesome from what I shot. Kill shots at will, good movement, wicked dropper and solid at net. Fed looked ok, but he didn’t have the pep on the ball to really hurt.

Fed’s B game now loses to other top tenners A games. And Fed is throwing in more B games than he used to.

I still think he’ll be the 2nd or 3rd best this clay season.

dari Says:

Are we at an Andy and Rafa semi already? Wow! Hope its a great match. happy for Andy doing well this tourney.
it will be good for roger to go home and get rest and training. he has played the most or second most matches of the top guys. actually with MC he may have played more than novak, dunno. anyway, love Rog.
Margot- have you a link for that interview? He always did express how much he liked and respected Alex, that is too bad he wasnt at AO.

goat galz Says:

Murray didn’t beat Nadal today. He won against a qualifier, repeat, A QUALIFIER. Let’s see what Haye tells him to do against clay monster.

dari Says:

Missed Andy match, will have to watch on replay and see what evrybody is talking about!

skeezerweezer Says:


That is what I saw too. Played in windstorms myself. You have to work extra hard on your movement or you’re toast. Fed either couldn’t or woundn’t, who knows. His lack confidence is evident. As a loyal Fed fan I just thought it was pathetic performance. In 2 sets, with 7 chances to break on your raqcuet and you can’t convert 1?

It solidifies my own opinoin that he is not practicing hard enough or not working hard enough on his game off court.

I know he is the greatest and has 16 slams and all that but as someone said earlier he himself has set the bar very high with his career domination. Gone is the way of he can just go out and win on his tennis skills, imho he needs to put in the “hard yards” if he is gonna make another stab at greatness before he goes riding off into the tennis sunset. Just tough love from a Fed fan….

Melzner brough his “A” game, and his droppers were spot on, but I didn’t think he played unbelievable, he had plenty of UE’s himself. Kudos again to him for a big win.

Congrats to Rafa and Murray, looks like a showdown in Monte Carlo!

margot Says:

dari: Have searched, sorry it doesn’t seem to be on line. Was in “The Guardian” this week.

Kimberly Says:

to fed fans in particular Gannu:

during WImby I was very upset at Rafa’s performance v. Petzchner and Haase as was another Rafa fan and a fed fan on this website i believe, or maybe another, advised to be grateful he is still in the tournament and still playing tennis and that we had the opportunity to watch him. I have never forgotten this.

I know Feds not still in this tournament but as his fan (which i am not) one should appreciate he still is playing good tennis. When he brings it his level is sublime. Perahps there is some loss of interest/concentration/motivation. Its a masters, not a GS. Its not earthshaking, Fed underperformed in the early masters last year. As he said at AO, in six months we will see what’s up.

Both Fed and Rafa have been written out to the pastures before, when they hang up their rackets only then will we know its over.

If Fed wins 2 masters, 1 500 and 1 GS wouldn’t that be enough enjoyment to see? The guy can’t completely dominate the sport for ten years.

As to the age, I am guilty of making “fed is old” comments myself but then isn’t Roddick, Meltzer, lbjuicic old too?

I already see some people at my tennis club, fed fans starting to drift to the djokovic bandwagon. I guess the question is are you a fan of the player or the winner.

I poses an interseting point. I was a huge Safin fan but by 2007 I started replacing him with Nadal. I would still have loved Safin to win, and when he made a decent run in Wimby 08 I was quite happy, but I still was a harder supporter of Rafa. Had Safin continued to perform would I have become a Rafa fan? No idea, as it didn’t happen.

dari Says:

No prob, Jane, thanks for looking. I got the gist and the gist is nice .
Like skeeze said, I hope roger makes good use of this time off now, some real practice and training would do him good and a good hard look at what the heck he oa doing out there. And somebody needs to slap him about those break points.

Ben Pronin Says:

Safin’s the best.

Boris Becker says that a tennis player’s age should be measured in dog years. Melzer, for example, had done virtually nothing noteworthy in his career until last year’s break through. He’s old in real years but he hasn’t really squeezed out his best tennis. Federer, on the other hand, has done everything he could possibly do. He’s had off months, but he’s still riding on winning at least 1 slam each year since 2003! Tennis-wise, Federer is much much older than Melzer.

dari Says:

Jurgen does seem young to me, must be that tennis/dog years thing you’re talking about, Ben.

Little Wing Says:

Let’s not underestimate Murray. He’s playing very well at the moment, he’s moving well and hitting is backhand and forehand very well. I just don’t think it’s a given Rafa will win, I think Rafa will be nervous tomorrow, he’s got more to lose and he knows how dangerous and talented Murray is. Murray matches up very well with Rafa and he likes to play Rafa whereas I don’t think Rafa likes to play him. Murray’s going to try and attack Rafa’s 2nd serve and Rafa’s probably gonna go after Murray’s forehand, Rafa’s forehand to Murray’s backhand is not as effective although if he can keep it deep he can push Murray back. Also Murray’s 1st serve percentage hasn’t been that great so Rafa should have opportunities to go after the 2nd. It always seems to come down to who’s more the aggressor at the crucial moments.

Polo Says:

Goodbye Federer. Hello Djokovic. Hello Murray. Nothing against Nadal but I can’t seem to warm up to him. Maybe because he beat my ex-favorite too much and prevented him from winning a calendar year grand slam. Goodbye to that dream. Goodbye even to the lesser dream of seeing him win even just one more major.

dari Says:

Just opened the paper and nole has a full page color spread in the wall street journal.
It’s nice when tennis gets the royal treatment in the paper

margot Says:

dari: but I have found a nice little interview where Andy talks about David Haye on :

billyboy512 Says:

When should Roger make the graceful exit? He obviously will NOT win another major.

Skeezerweezer Says:

Fed is VERY capable of winning another Slam but…….

grendel Says:

Ben – absolutely spot on! And the thing to bear in mind is, there’s nothing a player can do about it.

Colin said the other day that Murray’s game suited clay. I’ve always thought this, and been a bit surprised at how ordinary his clay court record is. It puts me a bit in mind of Hewitt. After Hewitt had given Nadal a real battle at Roland Garros, he was asked why he did not have generally better results on clay. The Aussie scratched his head, as if agreeing this was indeed a puzzle. But he pointed out that in the end, it was about practice – he just hadn’t played that much on clay.

In fact, it seems to me that there is more incentive for great claycourters – like Nadal – to adapt their game to other surfaces than the other way round. If you’re not brought up on the clay, it’s perhaps a bit of a slog to immerse yourself thoroughly in learning claycourt technique. Whereas a claycourter, if he is ambitious, absolutely must learn how to play on other surfaces.

Incidentally, people often bring up Murray’s sojourn in Spain, as if he learnt his tennis there. Not true, he spent 6 months there. Good to see him coming back – and so much for all this coaching hullabaloo. For great players like Federer, Murray, Sampras and so on, the impact of a coach is likely to be marginal at best. I recall Sampras being asked what difference Annacone had made to his game. He proceeded to outdo Hewitt in the head scratching department, and eventually came up with some banal comment to the effect that Annacone had helped him to keep things in perspective, or some such flummery….

Ben Pronin Says:

I’ve also always been confused by Hewitt’s lack of success on clay. I always though clay benefited counter punchers…

Regarding Sampras and Annacone, wasn’t it just that? Annacone didn’t really add anything to Sampras’s complete game, just sort of kept his mentality in check. That’s why Federer hired him, to reignite his confidence. And I think that’s what Murray needs, someone to remind him of what he’s capable of so that, should he lose a big match, he doesn’t go into supreme-mope mode and completely lose faith in his game.

Compare Federer and Murray, two often-coachless players, to the other 2 top 4 guys, Nadal and Djokovic. Both of them have career long coaches with someone else occasionally weighing in. Both are very successful with their natural games, and their coaches know enough to be able to help them work on their weakness (coincidentally both Nadal and Djokovic weren’t the greatest volleyers when they started). You don’t see them rotating coaches trying to find a new approach to the game or anything, except that awful Todd Martin stint.

Fritz Says:

Nadal-Murray is a final before the final. Whoever wins that match will win the tournament.

I hope it’s Andy. Also having a strong feeling that Djokovic will be cheering for Andy.

goat galz Says:

When the Goat retires I’m going with the Lungman.

Kimmi Says:

just checked the ranking, i didn’t know muzza already moved above soderling this monday after miami results. he is pulling away again..

Is it possible for muzza to beat nadal tomorrow? no one is giving him a chance right?

dari Says:

Who’s the Lungman, gals?

grendel Says:

“coincidentally both Nadal and Djokovic weren’t the greatest volleyers when they started)” And now they are both excellent volleyers. But the reason they have become excellent volleyers is because they have great natural ability, not because they have great coaches. It will have been completely obvious to both of them that their huge ambitions were unlikely to be realised if they didn’t develop that undernourished side of their game.

Djokovic hired the Aussie Mark Woodforde to help him with his volleying. I have no idea whether that worked well, it hardly matters. Anyone halfway proficient will have had some degree of success with such an able pupil. For people as gifted as Federer, Murray, Djokovic et al, the primary function of a coach it seems to me is to be a good nurse. On matters of honing techniques etc, such players will find help where they need it, that will not be a problem – except possibly psychologically (stubborness, etc). That’s where nurse comes in.

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