8 Things I Think I Thought About Rafael Nadal And The French Open
by Sean Randall | June 10th, 2014, 5:34 pm

The clay season ends with a familiar man atop the tennis world: Rafael Nadal. After a spring of upsets and unpredictability, the last weekend of the 2014 French Open was status quo with two former champions and second pre-tournament favorites repeating, Nadal and Maria Sharapova.

Here are some thoughts on what we saw.

1. All Hail Rafael Nadal Nadal
This was to be the year of Nadal’s downfall, at least that’s what I thought. And for much of the season that’s what it looked like. Missing the footwork, the forehand firepower and his confidence, Nadal finally looked human entering the French Open. But boy did that that change in a hurry.

Nadal won his jaw-dropping ninth French Open losing just TWO sets. And he did it punishing three of his main rivals David Ferrer, Andy Murray and Sunday Novak Djokovic in succession to close it out.

There’s little else to say but the guy is the greatest of all time on clay. It’s not even close.

Ferrer and Murray both basically threw in the towel while Djokovic was throwing up! Just imagine if this was Nadal from 2008? Geez, someone would have died.

And henceforth regardless of his form going into the event, as long as Nadal’s in the draw it’s simple a fool’s game to bet against him. Lesson learned.

2. Was That Djokovic’s Best Chance?
If I’m Novak Djokovic I’m thinking what else do I have to do to beat Rafael Nadal in Paris? I had won four straight over the guy (8 of 9 sets) as Rafa’s dealing with confidence issues, hired Boris Becker, won the first set and I still wasn’t close to winning. In fact, I had a better chance LAST YEAR than Sunday.

Now sure there was some sort of sickness issue, but to me Djokovic showed no signs of poor health when he got broken to lose the second set. Only thereafter did the “illness” surface and with good reason. I would have vomited too if I had just realized the career Slam was over for this year.

Novak mounted a late charge but Nadal just refuses to lose. And looking into Djokovic’s buggy eyes, I don’t think he believes he can beat Rafa on that Chatrier court. I just don’t see it. He was there in the second set but you sensed he knew he couldn’t maintain the advantage.

More troubling for Djokovic is the fact that he’s now lost four of his last five Grand Slam finals. For someone with his game and talent and dominance in Masters events that’s a disturbing trend. And with a family on the way, it begs the question, is the fire for tennis slowly burning out for Novak?

It will be very, very interesting to see how he recovers from this most recent loss.

3. Maria’s Might
If I had one match for my life I’d take Rafael Nadal first. But if I had to choose only a woman I’d go with Maria Sharapova. You may not appreciate her sonically or artistically, but you have to respect her fighting spirit. The Russian just does not give up nor does she give in. En route to her second French Open Maria won her last four matches in three sets, losing the first in three of them. According to what I think I heard on the TV, that means she’s won an incredible 20 straight three set matches on clay.

It’s a little apples to oranges, but imagine a men’s player winning 15-20 straight 5-set matches on any one surface. Amazing.

For someone has everyone – fame, fortune and looks – it’s remarkable she still wants it so badly. Full credit to her.

The one caveat I do have with Maria is the glaring fact that she won both her Frenchs without beating Serena. But that’s not her fault, is it?

4. Simona Slams?
One crystal clear takeaway I had from the French was the feeling that Simona Halep will win not one but multiple Grand Slam titles. With Serena and Li Na closing in on 33, Maria possibly looking ahead to making “little Marias or littel Grigors”, Victoria Azarenka always injured, Halep could really dominate the scene in a few years.

At just 22, she has very Justine Henin- or Nikolay Davydenko-like game with her compact and efficient groundstrokes. Her slight build leaves her susceptible to getting overpowered by the Serenas and Marias, but I think she’ll be a force on any surface. And if none of the power players like Sloane Stephens, Genie Bouchard, Garbine Muguruza, Madison Keys, etc., fully blossom, then it wouldn’t surprise me if she becomes No. 1 someday.

5. The Future Is Now
Speaking of Halep, it was clear from the French Open that the new wave of talent is fainlly ready to make a push. The 24 and under club for the men have many promising stars like Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic, Dominic Thiem, Jiri Vesely, Jerzy Janowicz, Pablo Carrena Busta, Nick Kyrgios and on and on. There’s a lot of talent in that group and just throwing darts at least one if not multiple will sit atop the rankings one day.

For the women, I mentioned above their future is also good. The American presence of Stephens and Keys will help the sport in this country and this new crop I think will fare much better than the languishing Kvitova/Azarenka/Kerber/Wozniacki/Lisicki generation.

6. The French Flameout
Looking at the current landscape of men’s tennis, Yannick Noah has to be feeling pretty good about his title of being the last Frenchman to win Roland Garros (or any Slam) because it looks like he’s going to be keeping that for a long, long time.

With JW Tsonga, Gael Monfils, Gilles Simon and Richard Gasquet, this has to be one of the most talented foursomes ever produced by a single country in one generation. Yet what do they have to show for it? ONE Grand Slam final and it doesn’t look like that number is going any higher.

Especially not after the efforts in Paris where Tsonga played well up before he flat-out didn’t show for his rematch with Djokovic. Monfils had a nice, theatrical run until his humiliating collapse to Murray. Gasquet barely put up a fight against Fernando Verdasco.

At least Simon can hold his head a little high, he pushed Milos Raonic to the edge in a five-set loss.

But really these guys should be much, much better than that. And they just aren’t. Too bad.

7. Andy And Amelie
The big pre-final news on Sunday was the official announcement that Andy Murray had hired Amelie Mauresmo as his new coach. I don’t really care much for the male-female coaching angle (who cares? Murray’s mother’s always coached him growing up), what I do care about how she’ll handle his on-court demeanor and X’s and O’s. And honestly I don’t see the fit here.

Murray needs a disciplinarian like Ivan Lendl who won’t take crap from the Scot (we’ve seen Andy countless number of times scream at his box, almost blaming them for his poor play, but not with Lendl!). Is Mauresmo that woman who can that that heat or prevent it? I don’t know.

And I’m not sold on Mauresmo’s game meshing with Murray’s. Andy has to be offensive to win. Lendl taught him that. Will Mauresmo continue to pound the same game plan? Or will she mix it out? Murray has so many shots, so many options – at times too many I think – Mauresmo will have to find the right ones and the right occasions. With such an array of shots, it makes coaching him that much tougher.

8. Ernests Goes To The Top 10
Now that Ernests is finally in the Top 10, he’s a true marked man. Beating him will now be a big deal, a big achievement for many. And I’m honestly stunned to have to say that because I never thought he make it that far. But to his credit he has.

At just 25 – more than three years young than say Stan Wawrinka – he’s got a lot of career matches left in which to do some serious damage. And I think with that incredible power game if he can keep his head on right he’s going to keep climbing the ranks.

What’s scary is this kid doesn’t really have a ceiling.

But will the success get to him or does he really, truly want more as he says? We’ll see.

Haflway through the busiest stretch on the tennis calendar, we’ll also see more great tennis coming up with the start of the 4-week grass season this week. Enjoy it.

You Might Like:
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Rafael Nadal: Adding Three More Grams On Top Of My Racquet Helps My Serve, Lets Me Hit Longer
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Nadal, Djokovic Advance at Queens; Murray v. Fish Thursday
French Open Won’t Seed Rafael Nadal Higher

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37 Comments for 8 Things I Think I Thought About Rafael Nadal And The French Open

Gorgeous George Says:

If Roger had won Roland Garros giving him his second career grand slam, I would have had to call him the GOAT.

Easy come, easy go.

Tennislover Says:

“Ferrer and Murray both basically threw in the title while Djokovic was throwing up! Just imagine if this was Nadal from 2008? Geez, someone would have died.”

I am sure you meant the towel and not the title. :)
I agree about the 2008 Raf. He posed a way tougher challenge physically then than he does now although he has become a more rounded player and is capable of doing much more than relentless grinding on clay.

the DA Says:

“we’ve seen Andy countless number of times scream at his box, almost blaming them for his poor play, but not with Lendl!). Is Mauresmo that woman who can that that heat or prevent it?”

What a weird thing to focus on. You must not have noticed that he has hardly screamed at his box since Lendl left. Why should he suddenly start again and for it to be an issue for Mauresmo to deal with? During the last couple of months I’ve heard almost every commentator say they’re puzzled by the lack of outbursts and his smiles – albeit sarcastic.

IMHO the frustration and screaming increased exponentially with each failure to win his first slam. Lendl reigned it in and it helped to get the first. I think he’s chilled considerably since winning Wimbledon.

And Mauresmo had a very offensive mindset. Look at the highlights of her wins against Sharapova & Henin at Wimbledon as well as her win against Serena at USO 2006. Not that it matters – we can never know the successful alchemy of a player/coach relationship. How come a journeyman like Cahill has been so successful?

Wait and see. It’s initially for the grass season.

Rafa better than Roger Says:

And to Cahill, Gilbert and other pro roger tennis writers, hoping djok will do what roger can’t, just to protect that very reachable 17!!!

Too bad, eggs on your faces!!!

Rafa , I believd wS really gunning for the calendar Slam but when his back acted up to hand a flukey win to Stan, he basically went into depression- wouldn’t anybody, but is where Nadal is above all the rest, including roger-the tenacity to perseverse against all odds, especially when writers exhalting the loser Djok instead.

As I said before, Nadal may just surprise us by winning the next 3, to shut up all pro- rogerlings once and for all.
By then, as I said before Nadal’s record is more of excellent quality than mere 17 quality – a double career slam, upending roger in just every meaningful record.

Vamos Rafa.
Nice try, Djok.

WTF Says:

Mauresmo was not a mentally tough player. She was someone who made finals and lost then cried over wasted opportunities. Very emotional.

I don’t know if she’s the best person to coach him.

Why did he drop Llendl? Does anyone know? The guy helped him win his first and only 2 slams right?

Honfleuraise Says:

Correction WTF:

Andy did not ‘drop’ Lendl. it was Lendl’s decision to leave.

I guess he felt he had fulfilled the brief which was to take Andy to the next level in his career (i.e. 2 Majors and an Olympic Gold) and he wanted to move on to other projects.

I admit I don’t understand the rationale for choosing Mauresmo. The appointment is initially for trial period for Wimbledon. It remains to be seen if she becomes a fixed presence on the Murray team.

SnotNosedKid Says:

Djoker’s runner-up Parisian tea tray collection is catching up fast to Federer’s.

Coach’s Grand Slam Count Update:
Ivan Lendl: 2
Boris Becker: 0
Stefan Edberg: 0
Uncle Toni: 14

gonzalowski Says:

Nice reading.
Snotnosed kid :))

“But if I had to choose only a woman, …” :) I like this.

squirrel_0209 Says:

Congrats Nadal! big achievement indeed, he really is a great player, in the same league as Federer and Sampras.

Interesting read : http://www.oregonlive.com/the-spin-of-the-ball/index.ssf/2014/06/rafael_nadal_once_again_proves.html

Sivaji Says:

The analysis of Sean always good. I fond of reading his analysis. But i didn’t understand why he picked Novak over Nadal day before their final and Today’s too much praise. Winning RF doesn’t mean he is back,lot of play left this year.

metan Says:

For all Andy Fans . I have some questions : a) What kind of quality Amelia has that made Andy chose her in his team.? b) Is this for long term or short term ?

Colin Says:

When Murray is “screaming at his box”, he is actually carrying on a sort of conversation with them,not blaming them for anything. As for “screaming”, he can hardly make his comments at low volume, because they wouldn’t hear him.

Many players have lots to say on court, notably Nole and Tsonga, but like pretty well any other human activity, when Andy does it it’s bad. The only thing I would like him to change is his language. Maybe he’ll be less likely to swear with Mauresmo on the team, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

As a symptom of the paranoia I feel on his behalf, notice that when his partnership with Lendl ended, many people automatically assumed Andy had ended it.

Michael Says:


Regarding selection of Amelie as Coach for Andy, I think too much outcry has been made that this is a wrong selection on the basis of gender. Anyone who watched Amelie play would never say she was a female player. She had all the characteristics of a male – both personality wise as well as play wise. She was more easier to be related to a male player than a female player. Now, Andy who already had this Mother as coach when he was a junior is more comfortable with women and I think what he has in mind is to make best use of his variety which is his main forte. There aren’t many coaches who understand that way of play. He thinks Amelie can be of much help in this department by virtue of her experience and he thinks she can source her with critical inputs to tone up his variety. If you ask me whether it is for short term or long term ? Well one cannot say ? For instance, Lendl was a success for Andy and yet he severed. So, Amelie’s fate will depend upon a host of factors including Andy’s success and financial terms.

lylenubbins Says:

Nice post, tennis-x.

Colin Says:

6-4, 6-4: pretty good first match for Andy. Decent first serve percentage, moving well and looking relaxed. Matthieu never seemed likely to cause an upset, but he showed some good skills and provided a valuable test.

Stepanek next, who is certainly no pushover.

Oh, and the weather seems set fair for the rest of the week, though predicting the British weather is as tricky as predisting tennis results.

RZ Says:

RE: “Why Mauresmo?” think about it this way – Mauresmo’s tenure as a tennis player was in a lot of ways similar to Andy’s. She had to contend with a core of strong players (Serena, Venus, Sharapova, Henin, Clijsters, Hingis, Davenport), had her chances early on in her career but didn’t come through, and then later started to win majors. Isn’t this similar to Andy’s story?

calmdownplease Says:

Good solid match Today.
Showed some of Andy’s superior variety.
Grass is such an elegant surface.
The Amelie coach thing is done, lets simply see how it plays out.

Daniel Says:


You Nadal fans have to realize that “tenacity” won’t win him matches when he is older. You guys sound like he will be winning year in year out just because he is a fighter, has the best mental fortitude, etc…. Eventually age will catch up with him and he is already 28 and won 4 majors after 26 already. 5 majors after that age is the maximum with the exception being Federer who won 6. No player have ever one more than 6 before so if Nadal is to tie Federer he will have to win 3 more. Federer always had a less prone to injury body and Nadal had his share already and have a lot of mileage on his body.

That’s why I pointed out in the beginning of the year that this year could determine the future GOAT debate, had Nadal won AO, things would look different now and if he is too pass Federer he needs to win one of the next 3 majors. If he doesn’t win majors outside RG it may take him to long. Nobody knows the future but I think if he doesn’t win one more major this year his window will close.

You also have to remember that he has negative records in 2 Slams finals 1-2 in AO and 2-3 in Wimbledon. Oddly US Open is his second best Slam with a 2-1 record in finals and having reached at lest semis last 4 times he played: semis 08′, did not play 09′, Won 10′, final 11′, did not play 12′ and Won 13′. Wimbledon he has to reach second week to had a good showing again so he is no guarantee in either of this Slams as he is in RG.

Anyways, this is his time and his fans to celebrate, most deserving, but things change real quick in tennis. For example if he loses before semis in Wimbledon and Djoko wins the title, Djoko will be back to #1 with another Wimbledon crown entering US Open as favorite. If Fed somehow wins Wimbledon 17 turns 18 and basically nullify RG. A lot is on stake this next 3 months with 2 majors and how Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray will behave.

2 majors which all 4 of them have won before and are eager to take, all have shots and are most even between them with some slight edges to one another. Fed have beaten all 3 on grass and 2 o US Open. Nadal beat all 3 on grass and 2 on SU Open but have lost there to Murray and veer played Fed. Djoko never beat Murray nor Fed on grass but beat Nadal. ON SU OPen beat and lost to both Fed and Nadal but never beat Muuray.

Can’t see anyone out of this 4 winning next 2 majors. AO always was the unpredicted Slam where a few upsets happen in the past, RG is Rafa domain but this last 2 it’s a dog fight.

Giles Says:

If this, if that, if the other!! Geez! Nothing stays the same, there is always change, that’s nothing new especially in the tennis world. I, as a Rafa fan. will take what’s on offer. First I am enjoying Rafa’s NINTH FO title, his FOURTEENTH GS.
Vamos Champ!

andrea Says:

novak has always had a lot of emotion on court and he gets down quite easily….to the point where it affects his game. then he often finds a second wind and blazes through a bunch of points. he can take out nadal in 2 sets at masters if wins first set and stays positive. but he can wobble over 5 mentally.

everyone can wobble over 5 sets, so i’m not saying he is the only one, but his highs and lows are very obvious and pronounced.

and since FO is the only GS he has never won, mentally the stakes are higher.

both he and roger have excellent clay court games – they have unfortunately been in the era of the best clay court player to date, so not much they can do.

Colin Says:

Daniel, as you say, tenacity can’t overcome the effects of age. I was thinking the same thing today, watching the match at Queen’s between Lopez and Lleyton Hewitt.

Hewitt has tenacity if ever anyone did. In his prime, his fierce will to win was on a par with Nadal’s, though his game was less penetrating.

Lopez is a very good player with an excellent serve, but not one of the greats. Today he topped Hewitt in straight sets – because the Aussie’s body is carrying an accumulation of years and wear and tear.

Daniel Says:

Indeed Colin Hewitt is an excellent example. He was the predecessor of Nadal is some ways as he was doing the transition between Sampras years, with some Agassi elements and his grinding and retrieving skills. In his good and young years he was a machine, now with age, a decent player.

I only wonder how Nadal will behave in his late years. Fed is sustaining it well enough for me waiting his opportunities. I don’t think that Nadal with the way he players, the mental exhaustion that must be like to play every point as much point and with the amount of success he achieved will get used to being in top 10-20 having the Lopez of the world beating him.

Not that I think he will retire pretty soon, but I think once he gets a step slower and realizes he is fading, he won’t stand the tour long.

Fed had a 9 Major without winning one hiatus (won AO 10′ – RG 10′ to RG 12′ – won Wimby 12′) and now is in another hiatus of 8 majors since Wimbledon 12′. If he doesn’t win neither of the 2 remaining he will enter next year with 10 33 of age.
He said he wants to play Rio in 2016 when he will be 34 almost 35. After that he may play Wimby and call it a day.

But with Nadal I sense he won’t play until 34-35. He will definitely play Rio as will be on clay, but after, who knows… He will be 30 and very few won Slams after 30.
This guys when they achieve tis much success it would be hard to find motivation to play just to play. Hewitt knows he won’t win any more majors but even so keeps playing. Actually most players outside top 20 knows there chance is basically 0. Even some top 10-20. But the players with talent and level of Real Big 4 with 2+ Slams have high standards. But once you are top 10 everything can go, Maybe they all will have a Sampras Slams in them or maybe that was just a one off. Will see…

James Says:

Nadal is a far better player than Hewitt ever was, with more spin and power on his shots. Nadal’s movement isn’t as highly impressive as it used to be but his forehand has become a bigger weapon. His forehand down the line in French Open final was lethal. He blasted as many as 27 forehand winners in that 4 set victory.

I don’t expect him to win Slams in his 30s but to think he’d end up like Hewitt is ridiculous. Rafa Nadal will always be difficult to beat for as long as he’s competing.

Voicemale1 Says:

“If I’m Novak Djokovic I’m thinking what else do I have to do to beat Rafael Nadal in Paris? I had won four straight over the guy (8 of 9 sets) as Rafa’s dealing with confidence issues, hired Boris Becker, won the first set and I still wasn’t close to winning. In fact, I had a better chance LAST YEAR than Sunday.”

The error in judging Nadal’s pre RG form – when you get down to it – was assuming his lack of his customary scorched earth destruction of all opposition in the lead up events on clay was the equivalent of his “beginning of the end”. The truth is closer to the idea of better management of his body because of his age. He played all the events on clay; he just didn’t win them. But got better each week. The signal he was back to his best at RG came early. Nadal handed out 3 Bagels and 4 Breadsticks during the tournament, including 1 Bagel and 2 Breadsticks to two members of the Top 10. He took a page from elder Sampras: manage yourself in the warm-ups, get your game honed, and when the Big One comes, you’ll be ready.

Since there isn’t much margin between Djokovic and Nadal to begin with, the Best of Five proves more beneficial to Nadal because his form rarely dips during the course of the match. And Nadal’s FH (especially on clay) just doesn’t break down. When Nadal goes FH to FH with Djokovic, Nadal will win more of those exchanges. Djokovic – at root – is a grinder like Nadal but without that Be All End All Kill Shot. The reason Federer and Nadal have 31 Slams between them, and Djokovic/Murray have 8 between them is because Fedal have their FH’s. That’s the difference. When the form drops in a Best of Five (and it does for every player_, Fedal have been able to crank up the devastation level on those FH’s to get them through the dips & rough patches. Djokovic and Murray lack that kind of Bail Shot, so they have to rely on Defending a bit more, which is harder to do when you face someone who has the big weapon. Djokovic can defend a bit better than Murray, which is why he’s been a bit more successful overall. If you look over Murray’s losses in Majors over the years, he normally falls to a guy who is “on” and has that one big Kill Shot (usually FH, but also Serve).

Djokovic is just going to be susceptible to Nadal at RG as long as Nadal is in the form he showed this year. Since Nadal defends as well as Djokovic anyway, it’s harder for Djokovic to hit him off the court on clay. He has a tough enough time doing it in Best of Five on hard courts, but can be successful there. On clay it’s just harder to come up with the Winners he needs. Nadal in truth was playing below his best in the first two sets, having given up a very un-Nadal like 20 unforced errors. He gutted out the 2nd while not playing like he did in the two matches before, but by the 3rd Set he cut the unforced errors to the more Nadal-like level of 5, and the result was a 6-2 Nadal set. Djokovic’s strengths – BH, Defense, 1st Serve, – don’t maximize his X’s & 0’s in a Best of Five on clay against Nadal when Nadal’s FH is capable far too often of swinging the direction of the rally to his advantage, especially on the points that truly matter. And Djokovic is openly aware of it too. It’s the 2nd time he’s made the RG Final to face Nadal – and both times he handed the Nadal the title with a choking Double Fault on Championship Point. Djokovic will get the French Open when Nadal gets knocked out by some crazy big hitter having an In The Zone day like Soderling. But there are reason’s Nadal is 66-1 at RG, and now 6-0 against Djokovic there. And it really has to do with just how good Nadal is under the conditions optimal to him. RG is not anyone’s to win as long as Nadal is in form. Rather, it’s his to lose.

jonathan Says:

Two career majors vs 14?

Apples and oranges, or more like watermelon and raisin.

skeezer Says:

You defined and explained it all well. I do still think Novak can beat Rafa @RG. Its not like Novak isn’t competitive or can’t/hasn’t handled him in Clay. But he has to be in perfect condition and in sublime form. Whereas Nadal doesn’t have to be.

Daniel Says:

Voicmela1 agree with a few parts.

On Chatrier seems Nadal has more time do defend or Djokovic wasn’t hit the BH cross court hard enough or Nadal spin didn’t allow him to. But you have to note that 3 weeks prior in Rome which is as close as RG you get Nadal wasn’t hitting that FH DTL as he was. Djoko was punishing him with BH, both cross court and DTL, shots that disappear last Sunday. Nadal could be playing not to his standards in some levels, but his FH DTL was impressive and Djoko was not playing as well as he could. Him playing his C+ game and he able to bring Nadal to 4 and almost force breaker in 2 sets, winning the first. He also had more UE from BH side than he did in his last matches with Nadal.
The analysis you make seems that Novak’s level had nothing to do with it.

The way I see it, until that 30-0 4-5 fourth set everybody was on a cliff hanger: sun have long gone, Djokovic was playing better. Had just leveled the match at 4-4, had a deuce game in Nadal’s last service game where Nadal was able to hold and was on his way to tying 5-5. Suddenly he lost 4 straight points including that bizarre DF on MP with audience interfering. HAd he holded that game no one knows what would happen. By the way Nadal was stretching down and looking more spent than Novak at that point, who knows?!!?

Now is easy to point what happen, and I also agree that Nadal was better for the most of the match, but it was close and a few points decided.

For example, third set first Nadal game, Djoko was 30-30 and he had a clear winner with NAdal in the other corner stopped, he hit a BH DTL wide by 1 inch. 40-30 Nadal. Had that ball landed in, BP. He was losing several shots in Nadal’s game and although he was broken, if he managed to break Nadal as much as he thought he would or with the chances he had he would have more shots. Nadal was just winning the important points, the mental battle.

And all games Djokovic was broken after second set he was up, 30-0 or 40-15, both games in 4 set and 2 in third set. Second set he lost 15-40 but apart from it he was in a winning position.

Merits to Nadal as well was the body serve to avoid angle. Dkokovi could return deep enough and Nadal was able to hit a good second shot if not a winner

calmdownplease Says:

`The reason Federer and Nadal have 31 Slams between them, and Djokovic/Murray have 8 between them is because Fedal have their FH’s`

You make quite a lot sense with your post but not all is well with it.
The above is not the reason Fedal have more majors.
A different tennis era for one, and clay court dominance for the other are the more immediate reasons.
Their paths to slam success have obviously been very different with individual influences at play.
Furthermore, Fed’s best of 5 set record is truly terrible (131st on career)for a great player, and I think it has been more his serve that has got him out of tricky situations than his FH.
That his 5 set record is so bad, I think is (to be fair) due to the fact that he is from another generation with a more offensive playing style developed on faster surfaces that were more prevalent in his formative years(although he has better defense than any of those players from the 90’s had).
Ie he was made for a quick resolution of a match not some long haul marathon.
Djokovic has also been more successful in majors than Andy because he has been more mature. It really is not to do with him defending a `bit better`.
Are Novak and Andy more defensive players than Nadal?
At the end of the day Nadal was not as dominant on the clay this year, that’s a fact. And had Novak played to his best, he would definitely have had a shot.
I don’t buy it that Rafa was `unbeatable` this year and at an unbelievable level etc, had it gone to five and wasn’t gifted to Nadal on a DF (your words)I think he would have been in all sorts of trouble, FH or not. And I predict the strains will only grow now.
Will it be enough for Novak to take RG at a similar level to this year, most probably not. Although i just hope it is a better match from both of them and may the best man win.

Voicemale1 Says:


“Now is easy to point what happen, and I also agree that Nadal was better for the most of the match, but it was close and a few points decided.”

And that’s why Nadal won – he was better for most of the match. The differences between them are small, true. But that’s what makes the difference between two players who play as well as they do: their matches (especially a Best of Five) comes down to just a few points here or there. That’s not new. And in light of what we saw through RG, what was clear is that Nadal was back to his better self than he was in any of the warm-up events. And Nadal was simply playing better than he was in Rome. What really changed in the Final was Nadal’s FH came alive in the middle of Set 2 in both directions, and that’s what Djokovic was having issues with. The stats guy at ATP site revealed that:

“Rafael Nadal’s masterful counter-tactic of bombarding Novak Djokovic’s forehand took time to develop but ultimately carried him to a historic ninth Roland Garros title on Sunday…… It took Nadal almost two full sets to sink his teeth into the match, but once he gained conviction in his forehand tactic there was nothing a tiring Djokovic could do to stop it.”

Once it comes down to Nadal’s FH on clay in a Best of Five set match, it’s basically all over bar the shouting. That shot just is better than anything out there on a clay court, more so at RG than anywhere else. And honestly, there have been similar post mortems to yours for Djokovic over the last three years. Each year we read that his attempts to do “x” either failed or weren’t good enough. But the fact that we keep reading about an analysis of Djokovic losses means that he keeps losing for a reason. Despite them being closely matched, Nadal always finds something better.

Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer 4:43 pm…….Agree totally with that comment.

There’s a movie called “There’s Something About Mary”……..well there’s something about Rafa and Roland Garros….don’t know just what it is, but he seems to be invincible at that particular arena. Nine trophies…….now that’s something!!

Voicemale1 Says:

@ calmdwonplease:

“Furthermore, Fed’s best of 5 set record is truly terrible (131st on career)for a great player, and I think it has been more his serve that has got him out of tricky situations than his FH.”

Federer’s 5 Set record is irrelevant to his haul of Major titles, since he was able to win most of them without having to get to a 5th set. He was that far superior to those he had to face. Federer has been to 24 Major Finals, and won 17. Of the 7 he lost, 6 of them have been to Nadal. The other was Del Potro. The only reason Federer doesn’t have even more Majors to his name is because of Nadal, and of the 6 losses in Finals to Nadal – 4 of them were at RG. And even more compelling, Federer has been to the Final of every Major at least 5 times. This is simply astonishing. And that remarkable achievement will NEVER be approached by Murray or Djokovic. Period. And probably not even Nadal, although he’s relatively close to it with 9 French, 5 Wimbledon, and 3 each at US and AO.

metan Says:

Michael, thanks for your feed back, it seems that they had made a good start at queen. 😄 and @ Daniel agree with your post at 11.42am.

jonathan Says:

“Each year we read that his attempts to do “x” either failed or weren’t good enough”

Along with many wishful predictions.

Polo Says:

Federer has a poor 5-set match record because getting Federer into a fifth set usually means that the other guy is playing extremely well and Federer has an off day. The only time that axiom does not hold true is when he plays Nadal.

calmdownplease Says:

`The reason Federer and Nadal have 31 Slams between them, and Djokovic/Murray have 8 between them is because Fedal have their FH’s. That’s the difference. When the form drops in a Best of Five (and it does for every player_, Fedal have been able to crank up the devastation level on those FH’s to get them through the dips & rough patches..`

Maybe I misunderstood, you but you make it sound like Fed had more staying power in a 5 setter due to his FH, if thats the case then I disagreed for the reason stated.

`The only reason Federer doesn’t have even more Majors to his name is because of Nadal, and of the 6 losses in Finals to Nadal – 4 of them were at RG..`

Well duh, that’s hardly a blistering insight is it?
Federer was, by far, the dominant player of his era.
And without Nadal who was his only real competition he would have won even more slams etc
Novak and Andy have peaked in an era with more depth & competition esp in that it also includes Fedal.
You say it’s really to do with their FH’s, I disagreed (although it’s still a workable point that is a reason, just not THE reason).
I’m not interested in blabbing on for the millionth time about Rogers 17 slams but if we must one has to look at the context at least ie when those slams were won, against whom & so on to have a less superficial debate on the matter.
Rather than yet more fanboy blah blah.

Voicemale1 Says:

@ calmdownplease:

You’re an idiot. So just shut up. Thanks.

calmdownplease Says:

No voicemale I wont,
In fact now I’m really not going to :)

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