Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - Twice as Big
Home       About Peter Bodo       Contact        RSS       Follow on Twitter Categories       Archive
Twice as Big 06/07/2008 - 6:00 PM

Later today, ESPN will publish some of my thoughts on the men's final, so I won't steal the thunder of that post, but I'll borrow my own last line: You have to be nuts to think that Federer can't win, but you have to be downright crazy to think he will win.That more or less summarizes the extraordinary situation we're facing: the top player in the world and candidate for GOAT designation is going to play a Grand Slam final in the same place for the third year in a row, and he's going to be a an obvious, perhaps prohibitive underdog (some of my dissolute British pals in the press room tell me that at the moment, Nadal is a 4-1 favorite).

But even that condition pales in comparison the simply extraordinary fact that Roger and Rafa are contesting their third consecutive singles at Roland Garros, and as the No. 1 and 2 seeds (respectively) . You can read details pertaining to that fact later, but I find it incredible that such a towering status quo has been established at Roland Garros, and by such a wildly contrasting pair of individuals. Long after the particulars - like who won - fade, we'll marvel at this (literally) unique achievement.

Around noon, Bjorn Borg held a press conference here. I couldn't resist asking the first question, before the formal start: "Bjorn, how many games do you think Vilas will get off you today?"

He laughed and replied, "I knew you were going to ask me that. . ."

Then we got down to business. I'm going to cherry pick his thoughts on today's final because the women's championship will be getting underway shortly:

On Nadal:

I mean, the way Rafael is playing, I think he's probably playing his best tennis so far, if you compare to the other three years here in Paris.  He's more confident.  I think he looks stronger, hitting the ball better, moving well. But just feeling that, you know, if you have a lot of confidence and you go out on the court, you really feel twice as big as the other guy on the other side of the net.

On Borg:

So to beat him (Nadal) tomorrow, it's going to be a tough task for Roger.  But in the other hand, it's the best I seen Roger play clay court for the last three years, too.  So, I mean, he made few changes this year.  I think he's slightly more patient when he plays.  He's slightly more aggressive.  He's using his forehand more in a different way, and I think he's feeling more comfortable and more confident on the clay when he plays.

On what he and Nadal have in common as clay-court players:

Another similarity, too, with me and Nadal is that the other players, they know they have to play the best tennis.  He has psychological a little bit advantage, because you never seen him play a bad match on clay.  I mean, I never seen it.  I'll been watching Rafa three, four years.  I didn't see one bad match compared to other players.  They can play bad, but he doesn't really play bad.  And he is very mentally strong, you know.  Because on clay, every point he plays is a match point. . .he feels like, Okay, here I'm going to go out and play the final.  He feels like or he knew that the other guy has to play the best tennis of his life to beat me.

On what Federer must do:

The final tomorrow is very important for Roger not to give any points free to Nadal.  He cannot do that.  You know, if he do that, he has to work twice a hard to win back the points. So he has to be very careful of every single point he play tomorrow against Nadal.

On Federer's chances:

But in the same time, Roger is playing the (his) best tennis now on clay, so he has a very good chance to do that tomorrow.  But, of course, when you have that confidence, tennis is about confidence.  I mean, it's such a mental game, tennis.  If you feel really confident all the time, then such a big advantage.  You feel like you can play well under pressure, you win the most important points, you win the crucial points in the match, and I think that's the way Nadal is feeling right now.

They played twice this year.  They played in Monte Carlo and Hamburg.  Roger is playing much better now compared to Monte Carlo and Hamburg.  For me, it's a big difference. Like I said, he's a bit more patient.  Maybe he's been talking about that to his coach, Higueras.  I don't know what they've been talking about.

But when you watch him play now, he play different.  It's like he feel even more comfortable on the clay, and he's waiting for the right shot to be aggressive.  Sometimes before when he played Nadal, he was sometimes too aggressive on certain position in the court, maybe where he should be more patient.

That's what his game today is, is he's being more patient.  I think it's very important against Nadal.  Then you have to wait for the right shot.  He's using his forehand much more now than he did before, too.  For him to do that, that means that he's starting to feel more confident and very comfortable doing that.

I think he knows exactly how to play Nadal tomorrow.  They play many times.  He's been losing close matches, but I think this going to be the first time for him    I think that he knows exactly what he's going to do tomorrow.  I'm not going to say that, but you probably have to see it tomorrow.

On the style Federer might persue in the final:

Well, the tactics ‑‑ I mean, Roger's been playing Nadal the last three years here now. He's been playing the same, kind of the same tactics, using the same tactics for three years now. But if you see him play now, Roger, he's not going to do that. He's going to play different tomorrow against Nadal, I'm sure. Because like I said, he's feeling more confident by doing that.

So that you will see, and that's why I say he has a very good chance to win tomorrow. Why I lost to Adriano Panatta. Adriano had a big game, and he mixed up the thing, too. Maybe similarity to maybe what Roger should have done before, too. So I think he will be more aggressive, Roger, tomorrow.

On his own failure to return in 1982 to defend his title:

Well, in my mind it was. You know, when you're not motivated and you feel like you don't enjoy it, it's very difficult, even if I had a good chance in '82. If I had continued, I think I had a good chance to win. But if you're not motivated, it's very difficult. It's another thing I want to change ‑‑ if I regret something, and if I could change it, is when I didn't play '77 here, for instance. When I played Team Tennis in
United States. I think that was the most stupid thing I did. (laughter.) We all do stupid things.

On whether or not Federer should attack more:

Roger should play all the matches he's been playing up to this point he should continue to play the way he's been doing, because he's playing different now if you compare him to French Open last year, big difference. He has to be a little bit more aggressive, and he's playing more aggressive now than before, though.  But still, at the same time, very important, he has to be patient at the same time, too.

On whether his French Open or Wimbledon records are more valuable to him:

It's difficult to compare.  I think    of course, now they're going to break my records.  Let's say to win both French and Wimbledon. . .

The assembled press laughed. It was good to see Borg in such a loquacious mood. You'll see him present the trophies on Sunday.


65
Comments
Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Posted by afwu1216 06/07/2008 at 06:02 PM

FIRST!!!

Posted by afwu1216 06/07/2008 at 06:03 PM

It's kind of funny to think this is Federer's first Grand Slam final of the year. So he may be nervous.

Posted by crazyone 06/07/2008 at 06:05 PM

Good article Pete, but I think you meant "On Federer" where you said "On Borg".

It's interesting that Borg thinks Federer has been playing differently on clay this year--I think so too, he's far more patient than he was in the past, and of course there's that famous drop shot. But the general press consensus seems to be that he's worsened this year, but hey, what do tennis journalists know anyway ;)

I'm not sure the improvement will be enough, of course--Nadal has improved greatly too. But I'll be cheering for Federer no matter what.

I don't understand how anyone can think the dominance of Federer and Nadal is boring.

Posted by embug 06/07/2008 at 06:20 PM

Maybe the 4-1 odds favor Federer, oddly enough. If everyone thinks you're going to lose, then the pressure is off theoretically. He comes in the underdog. Underdogs can hit out and go for it. The door is open for him to serve-and-volley, slice wildly and drop shot away. Nadal is playing better, no doubt. He's Rambo Rafa on the red clay of Roland Garros. However, he can be beaten; and, Roger is probably the only one who can do that one point at a time.

Posted by svelterogue 06/07/2008 at 06:24 PM

crazyone

rafa in the picture makes roger's domination less boring :) as to your point about the drop shot, dang, he sure can play that well even if he sees it as a copout shot! i hope he feels that way tomorrow while deciding to go into full warrior mode :)

pete

borg looked so hot in his presser today. france 2/3 showed snippets of what you quoted above and i thought he was spot on in his assessments of both rafa's sky-high confidence and roger's patience and use of the forehand.

Posted by Zeitgeist 06/07/2008 at 06:24 PM

is it me or there is a mistake on "MENS FINAL PREVIEW" link on the tennis.com main page?

Posted by crazyone 06/07/2008 at 06:39 PM

svelterogue: what I meant was, I think it's really neat how we're seeing these players attain historic achievements. If we had a year like 2002 where randos were winning slams (except for Sampras winning the USO of course, that was historic and a really beautiful moment), that year had a lot of fresh faces but it really wasn't exciting at all. There's eventually going to be a new winner in all of these slams, that's guaranteed. Will there ever be another guy who goes to 10 slam finals straight? Will there ever be someone gunning for his 4th straight RG and with a ridiculous record on clay like Rafael Nadal does? The same people may be winning over and over again but the difficulty of the accomplishment makes it far more "fresh" and unique to me than having different people win slams, which is not unusual at all. That's all that I'm saying.

Posted by svelterogue 06/07/2008 at 07:02 PM

gotcha loud and clear crazyone. :)

Posted by svelterogue 06/07/2008 at 07:07 PM

gotcha loud and clear crazyone. :)

Posted by Beckham 06/07/2008 at 07:09 PM

"You have to be nuts to think that Federer can't win, but you have to be downright crazy to think he will win."

Then I must be downright crazy, I acknowledge there's no evidence to back this up, everyone and anyone believes Rafa is the favourite and anyone that doesn't believe Rafa is the favourite is just insane, I even admit that Rafa is the favourite, hail it's 4-1 odds, but there is no GS on the table, the Fed is the clear underdog (I FLOVE that!)...and for the first time I believe the Fed believes he can do it...

Unfortunately, I won't get to watch the match live, have to go to church, but it's all good 'cos I'm supremely confident...3rd consecutive FO F on his WORST surface...unfreakingbelievable!!!!

Vamooooossssss Rogi!!!!

Posted by crazyone 06/07/2008 at 07:10 PM

Beckham: can't you go to a very early service or a late afternoon one? I think this is something you want to see live.

Posted by Or 06/07/2008 at 07:25 PM

Beckham - You're going to church? During the mens final?

Well, ummm, okay - Roger could use a few prayers.

Posted by jb 06/07/2008 at 07:29 PM

crazyone - nicely put in the 6:39. i agree with you, we're seeing a golden age unfolding, and I've been enjoying it for years now.

Posted by JCB 06/07/2008 at 07:30 PM

heavy top spin forhands to Roger's backhand,i feel this is the main problem for him against Nadal, he hasn't found a way to disarm this play yet and i think he has to do so in order to win, must be very frustrating some of those balls are shoulder height and almost unplayable.Because of this Fed will have to come to the net alot,serve volley aswell.To be honest don't think fed can beat Nadal on clay here i know he beat him in Hamburg but that was best of 3 don't think he really has the gas.

Posted by Mint 06/07/2008 at 07:30 PM

I must be insane as well, because I believe Roger can do it this time. There were doubts last year and the year before because he hadn't made any adjustments in his game to give himself more opportunities to win on clay. This year, however, most people with two brain cells to rub together have noticed that there is a significant difference in Roger's playing style on clay this time around. Perhaps it signifies that he's ready to take on Rafa with full confidence and do whatever it takes to beat him on this wretched surface. I guess I'm delusional because that's what it signifies to me.

Federer has been the underdog before. Remember that pivotal match with Sampras at Wimbledon? It was a tall order for a 19-year-old, up-and-coming, volatile prodigy. But he did it, in 5 excruciatingly amazing sets. Now he's a seasoned pro at 26 years of age, with a bevy of Grand Slam trophies in his cabinet, and a fully developed extraordinary talent. Can he topple another king from his throne tonight? Call me crazy but I think he will.

If he doesn't, which is all too possible considering previous outcomes, I will be very happy to swallow my words and declare myself truly out of my mind. We can't all be rational slaves to cool-headed logic. Gives the world a nice touch of variety, which, after all, puts a hint of spice in our lives. ;)

GO ROGER! You are THE MAN!

Posted by JCB 06/07/2008 at 07:35 PM

Crazy

Posted by John 06/07/2008 at 07:36 PM

Federer needs to be more aggressive. Nadal is playing to well for Federer to play passive. He's gotta try to take the match into his own hands, and if he does he will be in very good shape. protennisfan.blogspot.com A good match preview.

Posted by daylily 06/07/2008 at 08:02 PM

pete can we come over here now and post? Day 14 thread is way toooooo looonnngggg.

thanks for the recap

Posted by daylily 06/07/2008 at 08:03 PM

pete can we come over here now and post? Day 14 thread is way toooooo looonnngggg.

thanks for the recap

Posted by Alex 06/07/2008 at 08:13 PM

I agree with Brad Gilbert's point that Nadal is a step slower than he was a few years ago. Though any slight loss of speed is likely offset by his increased strength. Nadal's biggest weapon is simply the fear factor that he's built up on the clay. So the question for me is whether Federer can get past the fear factor, and see that Nadal is human. So far this season, he's been up on Nadal the two other times they've played and really seemed in control, but then just fell apart - pure mental breakdown. If he mixes it up as well as he has so far this clay season and digs in for an epic struggle the way he did in Rome 2006, Federer will definitely give Nadal more problems than all the other players, Djokovic included, who have just tried to out-hit Nadal...

I am hoping to see Federer play "Patrick Rafter throw the kitchen sink" tennis tomorrow...

Posted by Monica 06/07/2008 at 08:14 PM

Roger and Rafa are both the epitome of sportmanship which means that with these two it's always about the tennis and never about the drama. These two have made the world of tennis better for being in it and I am sad already thinking they they won't reign together for ever. A top twosome like this might be once in a lifetime like thing and I think we should enjoy it while it lasts.

Posted by jhurwi 06/07/2008 at 08:14 PM

One observation based on the Belmont Stakes today: even 1-4 favorites can lose--that's why they actually run the race (or play the match, as the case may be.

Posted by Moderator 06/07/2008 at 08:16 PM

daylily: I've put up a buffer post for general RG stuff. You can lug your cauldron and ingredients over to a more congenial location.

Posted by daylily 06/07/2008 at 08:18 PM

awww, thank you moderator! care for a sip?

Posted by 06/07/2008 at 08:19 PM

I miss Justine

Posted by Matt Zemek 06/07/2008 at 08:20 PM

Pete's ESPN post touched on this a little bit, as did a few of the opening lines of this post, but it bears amplifying:

The mere fact that Fed has been able to join Rafa here on this championship Sunday stage three years in a row (while playing Rafa four straight years, 2005 being the semis) is an amazing accomplishment. The more Fed continues to reach French finals--even if Rafa will always be there to deny him the trophy--the more he elevates his career and portfolio in a larger, more historical sense.

The wonderful and emergent reality of Roger's still-evolving career is that he wasn't much of a clay-court player when he was beginning to dominate every other surface in 2004. Even in 2005, he was better, but--and he touched on this in press conferences in Paris over the past few days--still very ignorant about how to play elite-level tennis on clay against a formidable opponent.

Four years after the genuine beginning of his dominance in the sport at large, and three years after beginning to truly learn about the finer points of clay tennis, Roger has busted his butt to become the undisputed No. 2 player on clay, and not just as a function of rankings, but finals reached. Roger's been able to consistently reach the finals in Monte Carlo, Hamburg and (now) Roland Garros, with an occasional final in Rome or Estoril thrown in.

Come next Wednesday, he'll look to build on a massive grass-court win streak, and his 56-match hardcourt streak is also a record.

If he merely reaches Sampras's record of 14 slams (without surpassing it), Roger's achievements here at Roland Garros--even without a title--give his resume added heft and stature.

Posted by Alex 06/07/2008 at 08:25 PM

Just to add to Matt's comment....

One of the most impressive feats in all of tennis has to be Lendl's 8 straight U.S. Open finals. I don't even recall which one's he won....I just remember the fact that he got to a staggering 8 finals in a row. Given the challenges that the French provides, 3 finals in a row is no small feat...especially when the person that won those three years is arguably the greatest clay court player ever...

Posted by jcb 06/07/2008 at 08:30 PM

Fed had a red carpet draw again i doubt he would make the final if Novak was in his side of the draw

Posted by twist serve 06/07/2008 at 08:32 PM

I'm not surprised Nadal is the favorite, but I am surprised that he's such an overwhelming favorite. There are real reasons (not fantasy reasons) to think Federer has a real chance:

*Federer has taken, I think, 9 sets from Nadal on clay.
*Federer has taken a couple of sets twice in the same match, so it wouldn't be totally unchartered territory if he finds himself in a fifth set tomorrow.
*He's taken lopsided sets from Nadal on clay.
*He's the one who broke Nadal's 81-match clay court winning streak.
*The one time he did beat Nadal on clay, he rallied from a set down to do it.
*The history of their head-to-head matches suggests that the fifth set would favor Federer. He's 2-1 in those matches and had a match points in the fifth set of the one he lost, on clay in Rome a couple of years ago.
*In the sets they've played against each other on clay this year, Federer has gotten up a break or even two with surprising reqularity.

Considering these things, it would not be a huge upset.

Posted by jcb 06/07/2008 at 08:35 PM

Talk it up Fed fans do you think his chances are getting better each year on? Nadal will crush him just watch.

Posted by twist serve 06/07/2008 at 08:48 PM

"Talk it up Fed fans do you think his chances are getting better each year on? Nadal will crush him just watch."

Uh, what would a crushing score look like?

Posted by jcb 06/07/2008 at 08:50 PM

Straight sets...

Posted by imjimmy 06/07/2008 at 09:00 PM

It might sound strange - but the biggest problem for Nadal tomorrow might be his own mindset. I know he's very strong mentally. But this is also the first time when he's clearly the absolute favorite to win.
I mean, If Roger wins tomorrow - that would be a big surprise!!

So the key for me is: does Rafa feel weighed down by the expectations. If you look at the previous finals - he's always had a tentative start in the finals in RG compared to the other matches. That really would be Roger's chance.

That said: I don't believe that Roger can beat Rafa if both players play their best tennis. Everyone talks about how Roger's changed his game with his new coach and how much he's improved. But people forger that Rafa hasn't peaked yet. He's a much better player.
Just finished watching the 2007 final and yesterday's Semifinal. Compare these two matches and you will see how Rafa has improved leaps and bounds in the last year:

1) His serve has improved tremendously. He has started serving bigger at the key points. Especially the one that goes wide on the deuce. That alone can make a huge difference to the whole match.
2) His net play has improved.
3) New additions to his forehand - especially the down the line forehand hit from wide out of the court that curves inward and touches the sideline. That's one of the hardest shots in the game. See that against Djoko in the semi final many times. Two notable occasions were at 5-2 40-0 in the second set when Djoko hit a deep down the line forehand and goes to the middle of the court and rafa manages to unleash a down the line FH that curls in the sideline. And then again at 5-3 in the 3rd at 15-15 wherein even Djoko shakes his head when the ball lands at the sideline.
4) A slice backhand and flatter(more power) than ever on his backhand.

Best chance for Roger is:
- The weather being gloomy ( which it might be. Yay!)
- A nervous and tentative Rafa in the early part of the match.
- Taking the first set and forcing the match to go the distance - and then having Rafa's blisters surface.

If Rafa comes firing at all cylinders and plays at the level he did against Djoko - I can't imagine Roger taking even a set.

Nadal is just playing awesome clay court tennis. Yesterday match againt Nole was an exhibition of excellence.
At 100% fitness and playing at that level, Rafa cannot be beaten at clay be anyone. Not even by TMF.

Posted by twist serve 06/07/2008 at 09:01 PM

"Straight sets..."

So would something like 7-6, 6-4, 7-6 really mean a "crushing"? When I think of someone being crushed, I think of rout. You know, when the loser gets a half-dozen games and was lucky he even got those.

Posted by twist serve 06/07/2008 at 09:08 PM

imjimmy:

I believe how Nadal performed against Djokovic is irrelavant for the final. Much like it doesn't matter how good Federer looks on clay against players not named Nadal.

Posted by Joker 06/07/2008 at 09:20 PM

"Fed had a red carpet draw again i doubt he would make the final if Novak was in his side of the draw "

I doubt if Novak would have played the full match without retiring if he did play Fed in the semis!

Posted by jcb 06/07/2008 at 09:20 PM

Yes straight sets in a final would mean crushing regardless of how many games you win. If you dont win a set you can hardly say that player was close to winning the game.

Posted by jcb 06/07/2008 at 09:21 PM

Joker how about the aus open.. oh thats right fed was sick wasnt he

Posted by imjimmy 06/07/2008 at 09:22 PM

twist serve:
I totally agree that nadal's SF against Nole is irrelevant tomorrow. Every match is on a new day.
My only point was that the Nadal at RG 2008 looks a better player than the one at RG 2007 and even in other tournaments this year. Perhaps that is because of confidence that Nadal feels at the Phillippe Chatrier. He's just peaked at the right time.

Posted by eric 06/07/2008 at 09:27 PM

As much as I'd like to see Federer finally prevail, I don't think there is any indication that he will.

Pete, you talk on behalf of Borg about the mental aspects of tennis, that Roger thinks this is his year, that he's feeling more confident this year, more patient, more lethal, more varied. I think we cycled through similar notions last year, that last year he was feeling it, that he added new tools, that it was his year, his best chance. This will likely perpetuate as long as the two are favored to meet in the finals, but unless and until Roger actually unseats Nadal convincingly, it's all speculation.

I say "convincingly" because to date, Federer's one win in Hamburg was a bit of a gimme, and I don't think Roger truly feels he can match Nadal when both are on their top games on the dirt. We shall see. I am, like everyone, even Borg or Wilander or McEnroe or Carillo, just an observer. We are spectators. But it says here that Nadal wins title number four in straight sets, another clay season passes, and Roger goes back to the drawing board. Thanks Pete, we're looking forward to reading the same press build-up next year. Maybe Roger will have implemented a left-handed forehand for the clay circuit by then.

Posted by Andrew 06/07/2008 at 09:28 PM

A small build to Matt Zemek's post above:

ATP Ranking Points gained on clay:

2008 2007 2006 2005

1. Rafael Nadal (2305/2005) 2900 2300 3230

2. Roger Federer (2000/2300) 1625 1400 1075

3. Novak Djokovic 1400 990 620 137

4. Nikolay Davydenko 745 885 1080 1205

5. David Ferrer 840 705 625 910

Sorry if the formatting doesn't give a proper table.

The brackets for Federer and Nadal for 2008 are for the possible outcomes of tomorrow's final. I'm not aware if Nadal intends to play other clay tournaments later in the year.

The list isn't meant to be exhaustive - Rosangel has done much more work than me on surface rankings.

I count all points won, whether or not they counted (eg Davydenko) to a player's ranking in the year.

A few thoughts:

* Federer has added to the tournaments, and points, in each year 2006/7/8. It's fair to say, I think, that he's now taking clay a lot more seriously than he was in the early part of his career.

* Nadal's banner year, 2005, had several South American tournaments and later smaller European clay events

* Djokovic is coming into the reckoning on clay as well as other surfaces.

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog 06/07/2008 at 09:30 PM

I would love to believe that Fed actually stands a chance. But, emotion aside, here are the facts:

Borg is right in saying that Fed is playing smarter clay court tennis this year than in past years. However, his form is the poorest it has ever been in several years, just in terms of consistency. He is unable to string together more than a couple of good shots at a time, before the inevitable shank or flubbed volley. Both good tactics and good form need to go hand-in-hand in order for Fed to have any chance at all in the final. Even against Monfils, he played extremely nervously, making a complete hash of the most routine volleys, missing sitter forehands on crucial points (remember match point at 5-4 in the 4th set?). His confidence has been shaky even against players that he has winning records against, so how is it going to hold up against Nadal, who has such a clear psychological advantage over him?

Tactics won't be enough - Fed will need to execute, and execute extremely well. He cannot afford to miss on the big points. It's a tall order for a player who is clearly struggling with his form and his confidence.

Posted by CL 06/07/2008 at 09:41 PM

Crazy for Rog...did we see the same match? Yup, Fed made a complete hash of sitter volleys, some under pressure, some not. Some on important points, some not. He also played brilliantly under pressure and MADE astounding volleys and gets. AND, most importantly, coninued to press his attack even when he WAS making "hash." I don't pretend to know what will happen tomorrow, but I don't think the 'mind game' is all in HIS mind. Anyway, nothing is for sure...just ask Big Brown's trainer. Pass the ketchup please... I like ketchup on my hash.

Posted by twist serve 06/07/2008 at 10:16 PM

Okay, I've decided to be one of the few contrarians on the planet. I'm picking Federer. It'll be three sets or maybe five sets. I'm convinced that grabbing big leads repeatedly in these sets against Nadal on clay this spring actually meant something.

Don't you wanna be able to tell your friends, family, coworkers and other posters that you saw the upset coming? Imagine how good that will feel.

Posted by Matt Zemek 06/07/2008 at 11:02 PM

JCB:

"Talk it up Fed fans"?

I don't understand how you perceive my words or the words of other select Fed fans as talking up Roger's chances tomorrow.

I've merely noted--and applauded--Roger's ability to REACH the final. You should be aware, if you've been regularly reading the Crisis Center threads, that I have Rafa winning in straights, Fed fan though I am.

I should note that "crushing" is much more a function of total points won.

If I won a match, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6, and won each of the tiebreakers by the minimum total of two points, and never broke your serve, I don't think anyone on the planet would say that I crushed you.

If somebody got under your skin, I regret that. But there's not much I can do about it other than to tell you that there are plenty of Fed fans who know that Roger's likely (not guaranteed, but likely) to get smacked around tomorrow.

Posted by federerfan 06/07/2008 at 11:31 PM

andrew : are you sure about fed's points?
i am having trouble counting his 2008 pts to 2000 or 2300??
finals in MC/Hamburg 700
Finals in RG or Win 700/1000
Rome was QF only so i think he had only 125 pts
Unsure how much pts are for estoril but cant be 375, can it?

How I wish that pattern means something tomorrow in the final...good luck to Roger....good luck to Nadal.....hope fed gets to execute what he has planned...and then see how it measures up

Posted by Andrew 06/07/2008 at 11:39 PM

federerfan: it was all mental arithmetic, so I could have it wrong.

Probably do. I think I'm 300 too high. Let's try this:

RG (700/1000): MC/Hamburg 700: Estoril/Rome 300 = 1700/2000. My bad. Thanks for the catch.

Posted by federerfan 06/07/2008 at 11:41 PM

no probs..
what caught my eye was that feds points were showing only 5 less than rafa's and then i knew one of them was incorrect :)

Posted by federerfan 06/07/2008 at 11:45 PM

JCB : Are you getting worried that by tomorrow the last match on clay will be done and you wont get a chance to talk down fed again in 2008?
Take it easy! if you can sleep without any worry about rafa's win tomorrow, then good for you!

Posted by Andrew 06/07/2008 at 11:47 PM

federerfan: Yep. I saw that as I was constructing the table, but didn't stop and write it down.

I think I'm happy with a clay season giving Nadal 5 ATP Ranking Points on clay over Federer. What say you? :-)

Posted by federerfan 06/07/2008 at 11:53 PM

There is only one explanation, in my mind, for how fed could still win despite,as many have pointed out above, fed's lapses in execution against lesser opponents than Nadal.
If all his misses (volleys, forehands etc) can be attrbuted to fed making changes to his game and that being still in progress....and if the monfils match has put the final peice of the puzzle in place....
Go Fed...for a change, you have only to gain and nothing to lose.

Posted by federerfan 06/07/2008 at 11:54 PM

andrew : oh yes, yes, yes....even if starting next year...fed doesnt win another atp point on clay....;)

Posted by federerfan 06/08/2008 at 12:00 AM

andrew : even with the corrected points, fed has done better this season than any other season....(ofcourse...2006 was a bit of an anomaly for both fed and rafa, as they skipped hamburg) and as fearsome as rafa has looked this year in paris, his tally is the lowest of all the years (yeah yeah, 2006 was 5 pts less but you know what i am saying!) ;)

Posted by Jai 06/08/2008 at 12:41 AM

Thanks for the points break-up, Andrew. Remains to be seen if Rafa will play Stuttgart this year - that could add another potential 250 points to his tally. Given the schedule this year he might skip it but he could be under pressure to play because of how close Djokovic is in the rankings.

Posted by sally 06/08/2008 at 12:43 AM

some people on these threads really seem to resent roger. and i can't figure it out. at least he has gotten to 3 RG's in a row. sampras never got to one.what roger has done has been incredible, yet the hatred seems bizarre to me. i don't get it.

Posted by Jai 06/08/2008 at 01:06 AM

sally: yes, it gets quite crazy. In tennis discussions over the past few days I've heard opinions like "Roger can't play on clay", which is even more ridiculous than saying "Rafa can't play off clay" - both of them are such stupid, sweeping statements anyway that you just want to ignore them, but there are so many people who seriously seem to think they are true.

As a Rafa KAD I don't want to see Roger win today but either way I think it should be acknowledged that he's a great clay player, certainly leagues ahead of Sampras, and if he fails to win an RG title in his career it shouldn't be put on the same level as Sampras's failure at RG.

Posted by Mia 06/08/2008 at 02:25 AM

My head says Nadal, but my heart says Federer -- and the heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.

Posted by Kif 06/08/2008 at 04:51 AM

This is what we have been waiting for for a year: It's time for Roger to get his revenge! Rafa won't have the strength win the fifth set. Come on, Roger, I need this!

Posted by aussie fed/dal fan 06/08/2008 at 05:13 AM

My head says Nadal, but my heart says Federer -- and the heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.

-----

HEAR HEAR! just wanted to pop in and say hi to you all, your comments have kept me as a reader quite amused over the last few weeks. Best form of procrastination ever.

Love both Fed and Nadal, but I'll definitely be rooting for Federer tonight. I know the odds are against him, but I'm optimistic and I'm hoping for a fairytale. So I'll have champaign ready for the moment he falls to the ground in triumph and cries his little heart out :D

ALLEZ!

Posted by manel 06/08/2008 at 06:43 AM

I think Roger will have opportunities, he always has them against Nadal and he has been playing quite well in this tournament. The key to the match will be converting these opportunities, just as last year, when he was unable to convert plenty of break chances in the first set. I think he can win in 3 or 5 sets, but he must play extremely focussed and aggressive. Slightly easier for Rafa, since this is his natural surface and can play safer tennis for success.

Posted by sic 06/08/2008 at 08:12 AM

I expect we will see more of the same: Federer will dominate early stretches of the match by playing incredibly aggressive but risky tennis. Mostly likely he will win one of the first two sets. However, Rafa's implacable steadiness in the face of the onslaught, especially on break points, will lead to increased errors by Federer, who will grow tired and frustrated - this stretch will include screaming passing shots by Rafa that knick the lines and at least 8 saved break points. By the third set a demoralized Federer will start shanking numerous backhands, his head will drop, his body language will become resigned; despite being covered in red clay, in his mind he will be rolling around on Wimbledon grass. At the same time, Rafa will not only maintain but increase his aggressive play, getting stronger as we tick into the third hour of the match. In the 4th set Rafa wins going away.

Next stop Wimbledon final!

Posted by Nishit 06/08/2008 at 09:17 AM

Nadal to win this one! I think he's been just way too strong this year. Last three years, he won comfortably, but this time it's just been complete domination. He's virtually killed his opponents. Oh, and before the tournament started, everyone thought Nadal had the tougher half of the draw. Well, how many games did he lose? 37! To reach the final! That's an average of 6-2 every set!
Anyways, to the final now. Fed will really have to step his game up to stand a chance. He needs to get lots of cheap points (read aces, serve and volley) and he mustn't be afraid of getting to the net. Djokovic showed flashes of that, and showed that if there's a chink in Nadal's claycourt armour, it's there. Nadal will want to control the rallies from the backcourt.
My prediction - Nadal wins in straight sets!
Cheers!
http://www.troopersblog.blogspot.com

Posted by london 06/08/2008 at 11:29 AM

nadal won, 6-1, 6-3, 6-0. how pathetic for federer. he sucks so much.

Posted by April 06/08/2008 at 07:16 PM

To say Roger sucks so much is stupid and rude. You obviously don't watch tennis or care about the game. It's people like you that who walk around acting like they know everything. Poor you.

Posted by Tony 06/08/2008 at 10:14 PM

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Borg is greater than Federer and Nadal because of his achievement winning the Roland Garros and Wimbledon back to back several times (three time? four?). In the women's field, the reason why Steffi Great is the GOAT among women tennis players is exactly that, winning The French and Wimbledon back to back several times.

As for the French Open 2008 Final...It was nothing short of ghastly. Federer just simply was not allowed to play his game. Despite Borg's comments about the chances of Federer winning the French this year, one thing was left out of the equation. Roger was playing beautifully on clay, but against everybody else. When it is Nadal on the other side of the court, something happens to him. Simply, that was a demolition job Nadal did to Federer. A bagel in the third set says it all...


We are no longer accepting comments for this entry.

<<  Roland Garros CC Day 14 2-eme fois Ajde Ana  >>




Wild Women of the U.S. Open
Wild Men of the U.S. Open
Roddick's Imperfect World
"It's Kind of a Dance"
Nadal's Kneeds
The Racquet Scientist: Canadian Tennis
The Long and Short of It
This blog has 3693 entries and 1646147 comments.
More
More Video
Daily Spin