Roger Federer: Nadal Is The Player Beat At The French Open, Novak Has Never Won There
by Tom Gainey | April 25th, 2016, 10:09 am

Roger Federer was in Barcelona last week for Wilson sponsor purposes and the Swiss met the press. And the topic in Spain was the resurgence of Rafael Nadal, something Federer had no doubts about.

“Zero. Absolutely not,” Federer said to Italian press via google translation. “Maybe you journalists were upset, but we players of course were not. A guy who won nine times in Paris, nine times in Monte Carlo, who was world number one for much time does not lose his qualities.”

“Maybe we have come to expect to him to recover faster from injuries, but I cannot imagine Nadal at such a low level. To me, he is always there at the top. And on clay, he is still one of the first two or three players in the world,” Federer added

Federer also handicapped the upcoming French Open. declaring Nadal as still the man to beat.

“He is the tennis player to beat,” Federer said. “Novak’s never won in Paris. Maybe now he’s the favorite, but Nadal is Nadal. I am happy of what he showed to those, who did not believe that he could win in Monte Carlo.”

Federer, who won the French Open in 2009, doesn’t dismiss his chances at the event.

“I don’t think I have zero chance to lift the title at Roland Garros,” Federer also said. “I think if the draw is in my favor, if I’m playing well, I’ll have my chances.”

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62 Comments for Roger Federer: Nadal Is The Player Beat At The French Open, Novak Has Never Won There

montecarlo Says:

Rafael Nadal was in Barcelona last week for Wilson sponsor purposes.

It should be “Roger Federer was in Barcelona”

elina Says:

Freudian slip lol.

Humble Rafa Says:

Sounds not authentic.

gonzalowski Says:

He should have said: “I think if they put the draw in my favor again…” ;)

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Roger has sung Rafa’s praises as RG favourite every year. And he’s usually right.
I still think Novak will beat Rafa should they meet, but it’s possible Roger knows more about contemporary tennis than I do.

I don’t believe Rog can win a 5-setter on clay against either of those two, but I think I would pick him over anyone else.

chrisford1 Says:

I believe Rafa has to be favored until he fails when he is playing at his normal level…Djokovic came close to beating him in 2012 and 2013 when Rafa was at his best, Djoko was ill in 2014, and in 2015, Djokovic beat a diminished Rafa. Of course, in 2011 when Rafa was on the ropes and Uncle Toni had not started programming Rafa with answers to Nole 2.0, Federer who was zoning like Stan did in 2015, saved Rafa’s ass from Djokovic.
I’m happy to see Rafa back – records mean less to me than great rivalries and classic matches – and more of the Rafa-Nole rivalry is heaven to me, especially if Nole gets it this year….meaning the 3 Musketeer’s Cup.
You have to also handicap some other players as having a much better than zero chance of winning or making the Final. Led by Andy Murray, who finally stopped sucking on clay while often sucking on other surfaces = because he is Andy Murray and that is how he rolls…Kei. Tsonga. A young gun may score a huge upset but will not go all the way, same with Monfils and Simon. Federer still has it in him to start strong and if he can avoid 5 sets, have a big upset himself.

We will know more, obviously, after Madrid and Rome, on FO favorites – but each event is quite big in it’s own right. Lot of points and money at stake.

J-Kath Says:


Why wouldn’t he?
Roger knows a thing or two including how to remain news-worthy.

Humble Rafa Says:

Roger knows a thing or two including how to remain news-worthy.

At this point, we have to be grateful that he didn’t bring the two sets of twins into this discussion.

Pamela Says:

Humble Rafa,

It’s actually okay to comment on a post without being sarcastically nasty when it comes to Roger. I don’t comment on here very often, but I do always read the comments. You have never had a nice or kind word to say about Roger (and there are plenty of good things to say)which is fine, as it’s obvious how you feel. but, this article was about Roger saying your idol is the man to beat, nothing but kind and supportive words for Rafa, yet you still feel the need to stick it to Roger? I am going to submit this and hope you take this comment in the spirit it was meant (which is not nasty)…. let’s play nice for once

Green Lady Says:

Pamela i believe HRs posts are meant to be satirical, nobody knows who hes a fan of, as the posts never seem to make sense about anything, and hes also at times been very sarcastic about his namesake too, its all very confusing so i wouldnt take it personally ….

elina Says:

I like his comments about pet cats. Those are my favourite.

gee Says:

Well, when Nole beat your ass and sent nadal home
on every surface, at Roland garros, masters cup & wimbledon, of course, you play nice & pretend you care that Nole is ”maybe’ a favorite on ‘kiss of death’ mud.

Usually the weak era losers (Fed & Roddick) went on espn & foxsports, to tell the dwindling usa tennis fans that they were better athletes & men than Novak.
Oh well.
Delusions live forever when their owners are inferior men.

Wog Boy Says:

“Roger knows a thing or two including how to remain news-worthy.”

Good point JK, that’s exactly what he is doing since AO.

Tennisfansince1976 Says:

@chrisford1 a minor quibble. While 2013 was a very close match 2012 was not really. Rafa won sets 1 and 2 without much fuss. Then it started raining pretty hard. Play was allowed to continue. With the court and balls quite soggy the ball stopped bouncing very high. With raf’s heavy topspin producing only waist high bounces hole started ripping winners left and right and ran off I believe 8 straight games to easily win the 3rd set and take a 2-0 lead in the fourth set. Rafa was complaining bitterly that play was continuing in the steady rain as he knew those conditions neutralized his game. Finally play was called at 2-1, Novak a break up. Play resumed next day. Rafa broke back and then took the set 7-5.

Wog Boy Says:

Rafa good form came just in time to shake Nole from lethargy, since he looked pretty lethargic in the last few months, too much winning makes you lethargic, disinterested and losing the fokus.

Wog Boy Says:

Nothing to do with tennis, but Leicester Cindarella story still goes on. They need just one more win in the last three rounds to secure the title, can they do it? I hope so, it would be grossly unfair if they don’t. Can you imagine club with more than ten times smaller budget than other English giants to lift the trophy, wow!

jane Says:

wog boy, that’s an interesting perspective. so you think rafa’s resurgence is actually a good thing for novak?

Wog Boy Says:


I gave it a good thought (within my capability) and yes, I think so, Rafa in a good form is good for Nole. MC and Barcelona will make Nole (and his team) more alert, more focused and there is enough time until FO. At the end of the the day if Nole has to go down, I prefer that to be against Rafa in the top form than against Vesely..
I keep repeating (and you too) in last few months that Nole dominating next two to three years is not realistic for a quite few logical reason that I wont go in now, I’ll mention only one and that is that he is basicaly dominating since 2011 (with one hiccup) and another two to three years would make him dominating the tour basicaly nine years which is impossible and hasn’t been done before. Most of Nole fans were very cautious and realistic, for the reason, but the others keep repeating “just give him a trophy” and then Vesely came..

Looking at Rafa I think it is good Nole already won one GS this year;)

Wog Boy Says:

One more thing jane, maybe this deep of Nole’s form is planned and premeditated considering that most important and packed part of the year starts in May and will go for a next six months, just maybe? Maybe Roger is doing the same?
It looks like they (Nole’s team) didn’t even expect for Nole to Win IW and Miami (both), in Miami neither Vajda nor Becker bothered to turn up and it is close to Europe.

RZ Says:

@Jane and Wog Boy – I’ll chime in here. I think Nole plays his best when Rafa is his main rival. 2015 notwithstanding, most of Nole’s previous periods of strong play seem to have come when Rafa was at or near the top of the game.

RZ Says:

@Wog Boy – I’m an Arsenal fan but I agree that it would be wonderful to see Leceister City secure the title.

Tazman1 Says:

All the people that try to besmirch Roger at every turn do not even deserve to see him play! That goes for people that deride Rafa or Nole! Or any other of the top players! If you only could play that well!!! It disgusts me that people that can’t play at their levels are making comments that are designed to hurt and be negative about anyone! They need to get their own personal lives to a point that they can be gracious to everyone. Just had to get that out because I’m so tired of the stupid rhetoric! If they can play at the top levels, then they can talk about other players!

Wog Boy Says:


I think it is about time you get rid of Arsene Wenger.

AndyMira Says:

@RZ..i’m also a BIG Arsenal fan and nice to meet with u..

Markus Says:

I just read that Nadal has finally sued the French sports minister Bachelot for defamation.

jane Says:

thanks for your thoughts wog boy – i hope you’re right! i kind of got that vibe about IW-miami too.

rz i think novak always brings his best against his top rivals, fed and andy too. but rafa definitely tests his endurance maybe more than any other player. with fed and andy it’s different strengths/weaknesses that are tested, perhaps?

tennismonger Says:

Weak era arguments continue to be perpetuated by the weak-minded…

Humble Rafa Says:

My confidence is so high, the sky told me to stop bumping it every day.

Angel Says:

Humble Rafa can’t help it. He is just a big as*hole.

chrisford1 Says:

tennismonger Says:
Weak era arguments continue to be perpetuated by the weak-minded…

Sports 101, my friend…….
The level of competition in any sport is not constant. In pro, amateur individual athletes and teams. Therefore, strong and weak eras in a sport when the numbers and talent level of top competitors vary – is normal and natural. And you cannot compare eras well because training, equipment, medical technology, tactics and rules change over time.


PS – I find “Humble Rafa” funny and look forward to his posts. They are good-hearted.
Rafa is so unique with so many spoofable mannerisms, traits, tics, rituals – it is easy to go overboard and make it nasty. “Humble” doesn’t go there.

AndyMira Says:

Although i am a hardcore rafa fan but like CF1,i also find all HR post very funny and i sometimes laugh endlessly when read it BUT i believe his post is wrote for fun and good natured and not to meant to degrading rafa or anything..God knows we’re all need some humour here when sometimes the situations became so tense..

Wog Boy Says:

I missed this one:
He should have said: “I think if they put the draw in my favor again…” ;)

Good one..:))

anki Says:

Rafa is the favourite for all the clay titles and RG obviously by default. He is the king of clay after all and he seems confident right now,playing really well. Novak’s level has been nothing impressive for the last few months, no matter how much he won. He needs to improve his serve, stop being lethargic and stop playing in auto pilot mode if he is to win the RG. The loss Vesely hopefully must have made him realise that.

J-Kath Says:

Roger’s picture: Just come out of the shower? OR
In the kitchen making a “Swiss Bliss”? OR?

Green Lady Says:

Wogboy after Leicesters win against Swansea, i thought they needed five points from the remaining three games, to actually win the title, and you say just one win, but is that because Tottenham drew last night with WBA, im confused, i hope they do it, as i doubt they will get another chance ? ….

Apologies Federer fans for going of topic ….

Okiegal Says:

Talk of Rafa suing the French person, Fed ought to sue TX for the goofy looking pic that accompanied this thread…..but they’re famous for coming up with goofy…..I like Mickey myself…….

Okiegal Says:

J-Kath…..the massage parlor, me thinks!!👳👳👳

Wog Boy Says:


They are seven point ahead and there is three rounds to go, one win or one Tottenham loss will do it.

Green Lady Says:

Okie you reminded me of a joke i once heard which goes like this
The judge says to Mickey, well i dont think Minnie having buck teeth is serious enough grounds for divorce !
And Mickey says to the judge, i didnt say she had buck teeth, i said she was effing goofy !
insert your own expletive….

Green Lady Says:

Wogboy yeah its in their hands, i dont even like Leicester City all that much, but i just think it would be an amazing story, for an underdog team, on a shoestring budget, one win from three games doesnt sound much, it just depends on the teams both have to play, maybe another team could help Leicester out ….

J-Kath Says:

Good one Okie…..

Green Lady Says:

Hi J-Kath i have to go to work soon to get some more course work grr, means taking a tennis-x break again soon :-(( ….

roy Says:

roger giving nadal a bit of pep talk, hoping nadal denies novak the 4 slams for as long as possible. rog knows he could still potentially slip from ‘goat’ to no.2 or even no.3 depending on how novak and nadal finish their careers.

danica Says:

Roger said it right. Nothing there that’s not true.

I am more inclined to take notice of the race list than the ATP list when thinking about the form. Rafa is now #2. His current form is second only to Nole’s. He is the man to beat at the FO. I hope Nole does it and finally wins the darn thing :))

Pauly Says:

Maybe 2011 was the best ever chance for Djokovic to win Roland Garros but Roger saved Rafa’s butt Coz let’s face it Djokovic was in Rafa’s head bigtime
Rafa wasn’t playing great in Paris that year & struggled to beat Federer also
This year I feel Djokovic will struggle to win the French open
Wawrinka & Murray & Nadal can beat him
Djokovic couldn’t win last year either after Stanislav out hit him
Madrid Rome will give us more clues to who wins in Paris
Should Rafa beat Djokovic in Madrid or Rome
Rafa will be favourite for Paris
Don’t rule out Murray Wawrinka also

Giles Says:

Preach it fed, preach it.

chrisford1 Says:

OT – After the Laureus Awards, Boris convinced Nole to take some time off enjoying some sights in Berlin , along with a scheduled Peugeot photoshoot with Guga.
Part of that was hitting at a great clay court club Boris recommended. But Nole messed up and went to the OTHER big club in Berlin and decided as long as he was at the Steffi Graf Center, to scrounge up a hitting partner as a surprised club manager said of course we will somehow get you a court…He hit with two very happy club players who are shown:

Then off to Blau-Weiss tennis club (the one Boris did schedule) after one of the guys he hit with gave him a lift to his hotel.
Those lucky, lucky club players!!

Also found the perfect clay court, “in the nature” and put it up on Facebook. Not sure if it was at Blau-Weiss or Steffi Graf’s Center….but I like it too. What a great design! Looks almost overgrown Roman amphitheater like. Great place for a Rafa-Djokovic gladiator match.

Michael Says:

I feel Madrid and Rome would give us some clue as to who has the upper hand at Roland Garros. At the moment, it appears that Novak has the edge, but things can change fast even as we speak as a resurgent Rafa is exploding yet again at his favourite Clay court surface and showing us a glimpse of his greatness.

But Rolland Garros is a five setter and I feel that as the match goes longer, Novak will have an advantage over Rafa if they meet there which should be one marquee of a match.

Green Lady Says:

@5.27 Well its a damn shame the real world doesnt care about ifs, buts, wouldves, couldves, shouldves, wonder if Murray saved Federer from getting a whipping from Rafa at the USO in 2008, given how Rafa had beat Fed at the FO and W, its something we will never know ?, as credit cannot be given to someone for something that never happened ….

Dave Says:

I don’t think Madrid and Rome will give us a clue into the favorite to win the French Open. Nole has won Rome 4 times in his career and has won Monte Carlo a few times, having a successful clay seasons and it didn’t translate into a win at Roland Garros. He could lose both tournaments this year and still win the French. They just aren’t related to me. A major is so different from any best of 3 set tournament. It helps Rafa’s confidence to win the best of 3 set clay tournaments with his confidence. But honestly, I don’t see how it helps Nole in this situation. As soon as he gets to the French Open, all the pressure is on him to finally win it. If he swept the clay court season, the pressure would be on him even more. IF he doesn’t, there is not as much pressure on him to win it. He goes into Wimbledon and wins it without even playing a warm up tournament on grass. For Nole, I just don’t see how the other tournaments are related. Last year he won the Australian Open after being upset in the QF’s against Karlovic in Doha. So my point is, even if Nole wins Madrid and Rome this year, it won’t mean much going into the French Open. Once he gets to Roland Garros, everything changes. Everything starts fresh and everyone is on level terms. This is just my opinion. I’m sure others feel differently.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Dave, you’re right, but the results give us something to pontificate on. And where the warm-ups are important, I think, is more at the second tier, seeing if a Tsonga or Monfils or Raonic is hot may be more a predictor that we’ll see those normally less consistent folks go far.
We know Murray, Fed, Rafa and Novak are going far, and no one will care about Rome by the time we’re in week two.

Wog Boy Says:

Actually Dave, I don’t feel differently, for me it will be more importan to see Nole’s body language, desire, the spark in his eye than to win Madrid and Rome.

Green Lady Says:

I think you have to look at these tournies in isolation, winning one tourney is just that winning one tourney, next week, month, whatever might be completely different ….

Pauly Says:

Roland Garros is the home of Nadal
Stamina was never any serious issue for Nadal in the past until 2014 where he was lucky to win in four against Djokovic
Agree or disagree if Nadal plays well at Madrid & Rome it will boost his confidence but in Paris it’s totally different
Best of five sets & starting fresh so nothing is set in concrete yet in terms of who is favourite
Only in the rankings it can be said Djokovic must be favourite in terms of being world number 1
Time will tell … But all I want to see is epic tennis
Gladiator vs Gladiator … Nadal vs Djokovic in the final would be the best match to watch with both of them playing great
However there are others noticeably Wawrinka with his powerful ground strokes he could spoil the party
Nadal hasn’t beaten Djokovic for 2 years what a time to do in Paris

Giles Says:

Listen up guys, ” spark in eye” all important factor. 😆😁😉😄

Dave Says:

Wog Boy,

I’m with you on that one. I didn’t see any spark or fire burning in Nole in Monte Carlo. He didn’t even seem like he had anything left to fight in that match. He seemed to be going through the motions. I know when it comes to a major, he will fight until the last point and it won’t be difficult for him to get his full motivation back. As I said before, it all comes down to the draw for Nole. As long as he doesn’t have to play Nadal, Wawrinka, Murray, back to back to back, he has a good opportunity to win it this year. And as long as he doesn’t have to play Thiem in the 4th round either. That would be an absolute nightmare of a draw.

anki Says:

Would love Novak to avoid Thiem, Stan, Murray and Rafa until finals, lol. Rafa Novak final at RG will be great, with Novak winning it finally of course..;) BTW why is Boris not there with Novak much this year, his serving has been atrocious, plus his ground game has also been bit of a hit and miss.

J-Kath Says:


You got me thinking. Yes the RACE stats show what is happening now rather than what happened in the previous year.

Dave Says:


His serving was actually pretty good and steadily seemed to be improving until Indian Wells and Miami. I hope he gets that sorted out as well. His lack of aggression has been annoying at times. But that is how it goes with Nole. He doesn’t like to turn on the aggressive tennis until he is absolutely forced into it. Or it gives him a huge edge, like against Rafa. He actually makes beating Rafa look easy when he executes that game plan against him. That is one of the big differences between Nole and Andy. If Andy is forced into playing aggressive tennis he isn’t as comfortable with it and can’t seem to pull it off for long enough periods of time during big matches.

anki Says:

Yeah prior to IW and Miami, a lot of times his serve got him out of trouble. Where as he was struggling to hold his service games off late. Novak plays some of his best tennis against Rafa. Hope Novak improves his level while going into the RG.

nits Says:

There is too much pressure on Djokovic. He himself creates pressure every year by saying this is my main goal. Media also gives air to the fire. Since last three years we are seeing him crumbling under pressure. I think this year also will be the same story

Big Tex Says:

Vamos, Rafa!

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