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Breaking News: Cahill Out 03/11/2009 - 2:34 PM


by Pete Bodo

Well, it seems like it's official - Chris Clarey is reporting that the coaching relationship between Roger Federer and Darren Cahill is dead in the water. Apparently, Cahill had second thoughts about the degree-of-commitment involved, especially in terms of international travel for at least 20 weeks of the year. This is a fairly strange development and I have to wonder if there isn't more to this story than meets the eye.

For one thing, I have to assume the Cahill had a pretty good idea of where Roger Federer lived and trained long before Roger agreed to work with him (in Dubai) on a trial basis. Wouldn't this have been discussed in the first stages of this potential partnership, and certainly before Cahill actually went to an audition in Dubai?

I suppose there's an outside chance that Cahill found life in Dubai a flat-out nightmare. This wouldn't surprise me, although the immediate reaction to this observation might be:  You'd think a guy living in Las Vegas would have no problem with that kind of environment.

Sure, but. . . When i last visited Andre Agassi in Vegas(about a year ago), he went out of his way to impress on my the degree to which Vegas, as a city, has totally outgrown but still must live with the "Sin City" stereotype. Many consider it a great place to raise a family, and I'm not sure comparisons with Dubai are in any substantial way accurate.

Still, how much time would Cahill have been required to spend in Dubai?

There's also the possibility that Federer and Cahill just didn't get comfortable with each other, on court. Perhaps they didn't see eye-to-eye when it comes to strategic issues, especially Cahill's notions about what The Mighty Fed might need to do about turning around his record against Nadal. That's not necessarily the kind of discussion either man wants to get into.

And here's another thing, and one I touched on in my Gilded Cage post of yesterday: Federer is thought by many to be a control-freak. Perhaps Cahill decided that he would have to sacrifice too much of his independence and autonomy in order to be taken into the Federer cabal - said by some to be  clutch of "yes" men.  And let's face it - the omni-present Mirka, valuable as she may be to TMF, could be a formidable hurdle. Perhaps it was a mistake to have the audition in Dubai, and a part of me things Federer and Cahill should have gone off to a different location to get a feeling for each other.  A caveat: I don't know how many of Federer's inner circle were around in Dubai during the tryout.

Beyond that, I don't care how many amazing meals Cahill enjoyed in Dubai, or how great the valet-service was at the hotel. Cahill never struck me as a particularly impressionable guy (in terms of aspirations to the high life), and what opulence he experienced (and with which he found himself surrounded) might have been more off-putting than attractive. I can imagine a pretty uncomplicated Aussie dude waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night, 700-thread count cotton sheets sopping wet, and feeling as if I were being absorbed into some alternate reality that threatened to suck away my very identity.

When you're a guy with as much going on as Cahill, you have to ask yourself: Do I really want to sacrifice so many of my options (including my ability and desire to speak to whoever the hail I want, any time I want, about anything I want) just to be associated with some other guy's quest to become the GOAT?

This, I think, is a very serious and legitimate concern. Legions of people couldn't imagine anything better than carrying Federer's water, but Cahill probably isn't one of them. He has a life of his own. The degree to which that life would be compromised by working with Federer may have gnawed at him - regardless of how he feels about Federer as a person or player. But why that wouldn't have occurred to Cahill much sooner in the process is mystifying - unless he embarked on the tryout thinking, What the hail, it's an experiment. Maybe Roger will be so impressed with my skills that he's bend a little on the requirements. Or I'll be so impressed by him that I'll bend on mine.  At any rate, this visit could be valuable to me in terms of my reputation and my work as a commentator. . .

One thing is for sure: coach-player relationships have to succeed on a number of practical levels in order to be sustainable and effective. When Paul Annacone hired on with Pete Sampras, he was a married dad who had to think about his financial future. But Pete was a fellow American (living, as Annacone did, on the east coast) and, significantly, something of a lone wolf. There were none of the kinds of complications cited above. Plus, the two men had been friends through Pete's previous coach, Tim Gullikson (whom Annacone replaced when Gullikson was diagnosed with brain cancer). Bob Brett coached Boris Becker under similar terms, and the same is true for the Brad Gilbert-Andre Agassi relationship. Those partnerships made sense in a variety of ways, and didn't pull either party far out of his comfort zone.

To some degree, the decisions Federer made about where to live and train may present more formidable obstacles than we might expect, and demand of a potential coach the kinds of sacrifices and adjustments that candidates who have known significant success, and have options, may not be disposed to make. When you think about it, Federer's coaches have been either obscure (and perhaps right-guy, right-place( types, or grizzled war dogs who had done a lot of their career heavy lifting (Tony Roche and Jose Higueras). Cahill doesn't fall into either category.

Now I have another theory here, and I'm advancing it as just that:

Perhaps Roger Federer was not entirely content with either what Cahill brought to the table, or the terms under which he wanted to work (the reasons might have been anything from those cited above to a disagreement over salary, or Cahill's insistence that he not have to go through Mirka to get to Roger). Federer's inner sanctum then recognized that while being the one to pull the plug would make Federer appear to be in one in control, it would also raise potentially uncomfortable questions: Why is Federer being so stubborn? Is the guy too picky? Is he afraid to change his game, or give the highly-regarded Cahill enough control to make a difference?

Wouldn't it make far more sense to let Cahill be the one to scotch the deal?  In so doing, it takes significant pressure - and attention - off Federer's shoulders. The story now becomes, Poor Roger, Cahill turned him down! The theme generates more sympathy and no second-guessing of Federer's motives or state of mind. Spin it this way and you also save Cahill potential embarrassment, and protect him from insinuations that he somehow didn't make the grade.

In other words, everybody wins.

That narrative might not be honest, but it's painless. I'm curious to hear what Roger has to say about all this at Indian Wells.

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Posted by Spacenoxx (El Stupido aka The Moron From Majorca) 03/12/2009 at 12:47 AM

Joe ...all i say is read my moniker :-)

Posted by Angel of the Surf 03/12/2009 at 12:47 AM

Ok my post has just been gobbled up by typepad.

What does this thread have to do with Nadal and having charisma? Can we stick to the topic please :)

Posted by rg.nadal 03/12/2009 at 12:48 AM

crazyone: Don't you think Potro would be motivated to prove himself against a big gun after his debacle agaioinst Roger at AO? What better way for him to be back on track than to beat the world no.1? Right now, i would put him ahead of Murray (after Rafa, Djokovic and Roger) at IW becuase he is the fitter of the two.

Posted by Andrew 03/12/2009 at 12:49 AM

Evening, all.

Mothership still seems to be having issues. Kinda like the aftermath of a major final.

FWIW, as at 9:30pm (the last time I could access the Forum) the fans were giving it to Cahill for not working out that he had kids, and Pete for being mean to Mirka (above). Obviously, I have no idea where the discussion has gone since then.

Given Hart's spot on diagnosis of backgate, I want to see her take on all this.

Posted by Cosi 03/12/2009 at 12:53 AM

But donĀ“t get angry, you can keep on belitte Nadal until he wears a Cardigan or passes the CAE... "

Oh, I would love it if Nadal wore something like a cardigan, or a fancy Great Gatsby style jacket like Roger's at wimby,etc..or anything that suprised people or got tongues wagging, it's things like these that give Federer that extra something that makes him interesting. The very fact that you mentioned Roger's cardigan just proves my point. Many articles have been written just about Roger's cardigan and his jackets, let alone the rest... lol

Posted by Papo 03/12/2009 at 12:54 AM

AHA! Federer's true reason for skipping Davis Cup is finally revealed! From Eurosport conserning the Federer/Cahill non-deal:

Federer will continue to work with Severin Luthi, Switzerland's Davis Cup captain, on a part-time basis.

"He's the Davis Cup captain and we've been working the last one and a half years together. So nothing really changes," said Federer, who is seeded second here behind world number one Rafael Nadal of Spain. "I just continue with the great team that I have."

So now that the Swiss lost because of Federer's non-participation, Luthi will have plenty of time on his hands to devote to helping the still coachless Federer, eh? ; P

Posted by crazyone 03/12/2009 at 12:57 AM

rg.nadal, I would put Tsonga way above DelPotro. Verdasco and Murray depending on their health and (lack of) rustiness. Anyway, JMDP has yet to show to me that he can really trouble Fed or Nadal, not that there isn't a first time for everything, but yeah. We'll see.

Posted by streams 03/12/2009 at 12:57 AM

You guys are hilarious. So much spin and speculation over something that probably only about 3 people know the real story on (Federer, Mirka and Cahill). I have my theory though .... perhaps the whole past month was a 'control the message' exercise by the Fed camp to keep him in the headlines and keep us chatting about him. Perhaps, like Pete (The Gilded Cage), he gets paid by the comment on a global assessment of websites each week!

Seriously though, I agree with CL on Page 1
"I'm done with the whole coach/no coach discussion. Want to see some TENNIS!"

Posted by David 03/12/2009 at 12:58 AM

Please GOD, save Roger from his fans!!

Posted by koalakoala 03/12/2009 at 12:59 AM

Rosangel, some jokes are not funny at all. You know that. Thank for addressing Federer properly anyway.

Posted by Joe 03/12/2009 at 01:04 AM

spacenoxx, haha, sorry, I've made a mistake, maybe I read your post too fast, really my last post went to "cosi"

Posted by rg.nadal 03/12/2009 at 01:06 AM

crazyone: How could i forget Tsonga!? He has been playing great. Think Verdasco, and Davy would be rusty. Wonder how fit Nalbandian (of David Cup fame) is and there are Monfils & Radek.....

Posted by Pspace 03/12/2009 at 01:09 AM

Can we please move the discussion of Tsonga to YC? This fan would like one place with all the praise :-).

Posted by koalakoala 03/12/2009 at 01:11 AM

Mr Peter Bodo

It is interesting that you want to "remind" us what is happening in Roger's fan site. So that drama can be more intense here?

I don't think you like or dislike Federer. You are indifferent towards him. And I am afraid you won't treat the next dominant player (Nadal) any differently at the later stage of his career.

No one can blame you. Writing about tennis and tennis players is you job. It is BUSINESS. Do whatever you can to stir up, attract attention and build up your "reputation". Good luck!

Posted by Rosangel 03/12/2009 at 01:13 AM

Cosi: do feel free to confess if you are fluent in Mallorqui :)

Posted by rg.nadal 03/12/2009 at 01:14 AM

Something to aid discussion (the Rafa-Roger one especially) here:

Posted by BlueDog 03/12/2009 at 01:16 AM

I just have to chime in, Rosangel. Your reaction to the charisma debate is uncannily like a federer fan reaction.

FWIW I think Rafa has plenty of charisma. I think Fed is more compelling now that his dominance is on the wane. When Rafa hits the 3rd stage of his career he will become a less 2 dimensional figure, and he'll need even more vehement defense from his hard core fans.

Posted by Cosi 03/12/2009 at 01:17 AM

Posted by David 03/12/2009 @ 12:58 AM

Please GOD, save Roger from his fans!!"

Roger has some of the best and nicest fans in the world..there is no reason to insult Roger's fans as a group simply because you don't like or agree with their comments about Nadal or whatever subject. That's called Ad hom attacks, I believe.

Posted by Pspace 03/12/2009 at 01:18 AM

Some more quotes from Federer (I recommend the entirety for Fed fans). Here's the bit on Rafa:

"Yes, I like Rafa, we get along well," Federer says. "He is having the time of his life right now. I had a great run, but for the moment, he is the best in the world."

There is always that "for the moment" phrase. Tennis ought to be thrilled. Avis hasn't quit trying to be Hertz. The most famous No. 2 since Sarah Palin still has designs on No. 1.

When Nadal beat him in the Australian final, the Spaniard took his head-to-head record with Federer to an unthinkable 13-6 overall and five straight. Federer says of that match: "The next day, I was motivated to play him again."

Federer's next shot at a major will be on the clay at Roland Garros in Paris, where Nadal has won the last four and where Federer is perceived to be the least effective. Federer addresses that with both humility and humor.

"I don't have a problem on clay," he says. "I have a Rafa problem on clay."

Posted by Tim (God Bless America) 03/12/2009 at 01:18 AM

David, i can only imagine the hysterics if Rafa clipped a toenail or Uncle Toni got an toothache, his fans are A ok right now because he's winning, need we recall the horrible unfair claycourt schedule in 08 or the Ferrero Rome debacle? this kinda sucks would have been fun to see Rog with a real coach, and the general attitude bout Fed doesnt help, when the guy has been nothing but class his entire career ...

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 03/12/2009 at 01:22 AM

I hope what I am about to write comes through as sensibly as it sounds and feels in my head...

Mirka is clearly taking great pains to do her "job" as Roger's main support pillar. She's his gal, his main squeeze, so she must appreciate and admire and support his tennis and his efforts all the time, even when he falls very short of his own and her standards and expectations (can you say AO 2009?). She also must perform what I called out last year as perhaps her most important duty to a fault: that of gatekeeper to Roger's nner sanctum (of friends, supporters, hitting partners, coaching relationships, scheduling, training, public life, [rivate life, you name it. In my mind, this latter duty is most important now that he stands on the threshold of tying Pete Sampras grand Slam titles record and practically sealing his legendary statis as GOAt... until the next GOAT comes along, of course. I feel that Mirka must, or should, be like a bull terrier when it comes to letting people inside the gates. SHe must protect the asset (Roger) from all outside distractions, including and perhaps mostly those who constantly want to speculate about (a) his fitness, (b) his confidence, (c) his commitment, (d) his ability/inability to solve the Nadal puzzle, (d) his waning career, etc.

THat said, I was disappoite dwit her body language at the AO 2009, where she showed signs of (a) frustration, (b) disappointment, (c) annoyance, (d) concern and (e) resignation. While she is certainly human and feels those things just as we all do, watching our superhero go down in flames, she must maintain the facade, just as any great First Lady must do.

It is a most difficult role, and Mirka does it very well, all things considered. I think Nadal's relationships are much simpler. Uncle Toni seems to ask little, or expect little, of Nadal except to play frm his heart on every point and to pay his respects the game, the sponsors, and his opponent. For nadal, this must be a much easier relationship to deal with, mentally and emotionally.

If I were Roger, I think I would ak Mirka to take a leave of absence from her duties (perhaps bear a child, even), and find a strong presence to put in his corner. An Ion Tiriac sort.

- Slice

Posted by rg.nadal 03/12/2009 at 01:24 AM

Victory for tennis:

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 03/12/2009 at 01:26 AM


Where did you find this material? It's terrific!

"I don't have a problem on clay," he says. "I have a Rafa problem on clay."

What a gem from Roger. I don't know that I;ve ever heard him be so honest, yet funny, at the same time. Perhaps I was wrong about him. Maybe he DOES have a handle on it. Maybe he DOES have a plan in the works. Maybe he CAN solve the Rafa problem... on clay or on any surface in a best-of-five set Slam final.

- Slice

Posted by crazyone 03/12/2009 at 01:30 AM

hope springs eternal, doesn't it, Slice?

That's until the FO final when you see FH to BH, FH to BH, FH to BH ad nauseam....

Posted by Pspace 03/12/2009 at 01:31 AM

Slice, hehe, there's a really touching bit at the end of that article, where he talks about being past his prime. I'm guessing he did a bunch of interviews today, so we've got a lot of quotes from him. I'd start here:

Posted by BlueDog 03/12/2009 at 01:35 AM

I hope Fed is practicing his cross court attacking forehand to the water bottles!

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 03/12/2009 at 01:37 AM

Yes, crazyone, it does... ;-)) Maybe I am the crazy one for still believing in Roger, eh?

Thanks, Pspace, I can always count on you. ;-D

Posted by Amused 03/12/2009 at 01:39 AM

" I'm sorry we love him so much Pete, because I know it bugs you, we just do...and he deserves it. You can't change it either, no matter how many less than flattering theories, opinions, whatever you post about him. We'll never love Roddick like this.. or Rafa for that matter, or Djokovic, or Murray, or the next one or the next one no matter how high you build them up,especially after one of them gets a win over Fed. "

Way to go, Cosi! I came here not to read Mr.Bodo's backstabbing, just to enjoy the goods like this from you and other smart Fed fans. And I'm never disappointed :-)).

When a man wants to cry, he does not run into locker room to cry. He cries his heart out in front of the wole world, just like a real man!

When a man feels he's the king of the court, he dresses up like a real king in white blazer. Just like a silly man!

When a man wants to be no.1, he tells the whole world that he wants it. He does not pretend he is happy being no.2. Just like a proud man!

Posted by Spacenoxx (El Stupido aka The Moron From Majorca) 03/12/2009 at 01:41 AM


I think reason behind Rafa's simpler relationship is that his coach is his own uncle an almost father if you will so there is no scope for an ego clash or lack of trust. The dude is very lucky.

Also there is no female influence on him atleast as far as his sport/career is concerned which automatically makes things simpler :-)

Posted by 03/12/2009 at 01:49 AM

The "weird" thing I see is this whole exercise! My gosh, there is someone out there living their life the way they want to, trying to make decisions dealing with their professional (albeit, a high profile one) career, in a relationship with whom they choose, living where they choose, not bringing great harm to anyone, not publicly feeling the need to speculate on intimate details of another's life, trying to remain classy (in public at least) when dealing with "weird" fascination about their own life by complete and total strangers (which it appears you are to your subject matter. Should I speculate on whether that hurts your professional ego, since in your job, access to him is essential. Truth is, you could better do your job if you had access to him, especially since you write about him frequently. If you can't get a face-to-face/phone interview with your subject, you don't have a real story. Thus, you simply write stuff that doesn't really inform anyone about anything of substance! Where's the value in that? Oh well, guess that's all you have and will have, because I don't know if you'll ever get that sit down/phone interview. Although I'd love to see how you would professionally deal with actually having something to base a real story on. And hey, with comments like mine, your reaching that quota you seem to need to fulfill! But hey, you're just doing what bloggers do-inform so little, speculate so much and just play into people's "weirdness!"

Posted by kate 03/12/2009 at 01:57 AM

I agree with the above comments that rafa has a simpler relationship with his uncle. Sombody he will respect like Dad

When you mix what you call career / business with private life I think some issues is hard to deal with

Posted by Rosangel 03/12/2009 at 02:10 AM

BlueDog: except that I'm not taking my own reaction as definitive, and I'm not taking the whole thing (the googling, I mean) particularly seriously. I have always said that people's player preferences are a personal thing.

Since Cosi is setting him/herself up as an authority on someone else's charisma or lack thereof in English or other languages, I don't think it's inappropriate to be mildly humorous about his/her own language skills, of which we have no knowledge.

Posted by BlueDog 03/12/2009 at 02:21 AM

Rosangel: I didn't mean that in the "crazy unreasonable fan" sense, only in the "very ready to defend my guy from relatively minor criticism" sense. I fall easily in to the latter category.

I wasn't thinking it was inappropriate at all, and I thought the google wars were quite humorous. I guess it was just a gentle jibe, as we had had a bit of a go around the other day.

Posted by Rosangel 03/12/2009 at 02:33 AM

BlueDog: Glad you took it that way. There are a couple of things that annoy me in general - erroneous facts, and certain kinds of over-generalizations. Now, I'm not saying that I've never made either of these mistakes myself, and I'm not saying that all are as serious as others, but I quite often respond to those things. As it happens, I also corrected someone yesterday on a factual error concerning RF (i.e. he fired Roche after and not before losing to Volandri in Rome).

Posted by Sherlock 03/12/2009 at 02:38 AM

Geez, come home after being out all night, and there is some pretty wild reading material to digest. Not even sure what to say. There are some majorly angry people in this world.

Posted by rg.nadal 03/12/2009 at 02:44 AM

Sherlock, hello there..

Posted by Spacenoxx (El Stupido aka The Moron From Majorca) 03/12/2009 at 02:49 AM

Hi Sherlock, how goes it.

If you arent already aware of it, let me update you that they are proposing a new ATP rule that says unless you can speak English like its your native, you will probably not qualify for the main draw even if your ranking is good enough.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. Jelena J for Indian Wells 2009!!! 03/12/2009 at 02:50 AM

Hey all.

*looks fearfully about*

Have all the scary people gone yet?

And is there some law that says any perceived criticism of Federer must be answered by criticism of Rafa, in some kind of twisted karmic justice?

Posted by Sherlock 03/12/2009 at 02:53 AM

Hi, Rg and Spacenoxx. How are you guys? :)

Spacenoxx, LOL. I think that would be worthwhile. :)

It's late and I'm dead tired. Wish I had the day off tomorrow. :) But I wanted to read through all this stuff. Kind of wish I hadn't. Pete seems to have taken Djoko's place as Satan. Hell, even my buddy Tim thought Pete had a point in questioning things.

But it's good to know we should just take every athlete and their message at face value from now on. Whew, that makes it easy, doesn't it? :)

Posted by rg.nadal 03/12/2009 at 02:53 AM

jewell: hola. Sharapova plays her doubles match today.

Posted by rg.nadal 03/12/2009 at 02:55 AM

Sherlock: I am ok here. Happy for Vaidisova as she won her R128 match. Poor Dokic lost.:-(

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. Jelena J for Indian Wells 2009!!! 03/12/2009 at 02:59 AM

Hey rg! I hope Masha wins a few matches, just so she can get some matchplay, really.

Posted by rg.nadal 03/12/2009 at 03:01 AM

Why didn't you guys mention that Mike Bryan ain't playing? Bob partnered with another guy M. Bradaric..

Posted by Cosi 03/12/2009 at 03:01 AM

Since Cosi is setting him/herself up as an authority on someone else's charisma or lack thereof in English or other languages, I don't think it's inappropriate to be mildly humorous about his/her own language skills, of which we have no knowledge."

I never set myself up as an expert on charisma, I just gave my opinion on which player has it and which one doesn't ;-) I also never knocked Nadal's grasp of English as his second or third language language either, just wanting to clarify.

Posted by Cosi 03/12/2009 at 03:04 AM

If you arent already aware of it, let me update you that they are proposing a new ATP rule that says unless you can speak English like its your native, you will probably not qualify for the main draw even if your ranking is good enough."

and some say Fed fans are too sensitive! Fans are so funny indeed.

Posted by BlueDog 03/12/2009 at 03:05 AM

Well, I'm glad to hear you corrected on RF's behalf.

The line between fact and conjecture is often blurred around here. It gets worse when there is no tennis to watch. I'm a fan of RF and RN in that order, so I don't enjoy myopic bashing from either side. That said, there are a lot of great nuanced posts from all sides around here.

I think Fedfan sensitivity is often because his domination has ended. As a Nadal fan, one can always fall back on his latest win, and the sense that there are certainly more to come. With Fed, you have the nagging dread that it could all be said and done, and so there is a sense of wanting to protect the wounded friend. I hope that healthy Fed and Rafa continue this whole year. The biggest dread is having only ho-hum tennis to talk about.

Posted by streams 03/12/2009 at 03:08 AM

Thanks for various people who've posted links to Roger interviews / quotes. It's so refreshing and relatively simple just to listen to what Roger has to say about Roger, and when you hear Roger talk about Rafa and Rafa talk about Roger its (mostly, except that post AO interview with Roger) mutual respect..

Go R&R!!! Hope to see them in a few more match ups thru the year.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. Jelena J for Indian Wells 2009!!! 03/12/2009 at 03:10 AM

"But it's good to know we should just take every athlete and their message at face value from now on."

Hee - good point.

It's kind of the job of a journalist to ask the questions and speculate, no? As long as it's not speculation dressed up as fact - and this post is not - it's fine by me.

Posted by Sherlock 03/12/2009 at 03:12 AM

Rg, glad to hear that about Vaidisova. She needs a few W's. :)

Sad for Dokic though. I'd love to see her sustain a bit of that AO momentum. That run of hers still gives me a bit of chills. Quite an emotional story.

"I hope that healthy Fed and Rafa continue this whole year. The biggest dread is having only ho-hum tennis to talk about."

Good thoughts, BlueDog. Especially that one. I hope all the top guys stay healthy, and we get to enjoy the great tennis that will inevitably come from that.

Ok, I'm off. In the words of the great Bill Schonely (Portland Trailblazers long time radio guy, for all non BlueDog posters), good night, evvvvvvvvvverybody.

Posted by BlueDog 03/12/2009 at 03:14 AM

File under frivolous realizations:

The headline of this thread is "Breaking News: Cahill Out"; if you take the 'a' out of Cahill, you end up with the much more apropos headline:

"Breaking News: Chill Out"

and with that, I'm off to bed.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. Jelena J for Indian Wells 2009!!! 03/12/2009 at 03:15 AM

yeah, Bluedog. And as a fan of RN and RF (in that order) I know only too well how I'm likely to feel when Nadal's dominance has ended, and the stories about why and what he's doing wrong and how his little routines have trapped him in a pattern of play that isn't helping any more, and how Uncle Toni has unnatural influence, start up. ;)

But it hasn't always been easy to be a Nadal fan, either. Clay court specialist, never win anything else, prematurely burned-out, etc etc etc.

Posted by BlueDog 03/12/2009 at 03:16 AM

Good one Sherlock!, and goodnight to you.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. Jelena J for Indian Wells 2009!!! 03/12/2009 at 03:17 AM

I should make it clear that I didn't mean Pete would start all those stories up, just that they'd be there/were there.

Night, Sherlock!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. Jelena J for Indian Wells 2009!!! 03/12/2009 at 03:20 AM

And yay to the tennis and more years of fantastic and inspiring rivalries. :)

Posted by rg.nadal 03/12/2009 at 03:28 AM

jewell: yeah. Masha hopefully should play at Miami.

Sherlock: Surprised that Dokic is not able to sustain that momentum, a huge one at that.

Posted by BlueDog 03/12/2009 at 03:29 AM

Jewell, so true! Definitely hasn't been a cakewalk for Nadal fans, though it's always sweet to be in the "Told you so!" phase!

Ah, they grow up so fast...

Now really goodnight!

*steps gingerly away from laptop, in tribute to Jewell*

Posted by rg.nadal 03/12/2009 at 03:30 AM

Sherlock, good nite

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. Jelena J for Indian Wells 2009!!! 03/12/2009 at 03:31 AM

Typepad is making reading this thread very difficult.

LOL @ Chill Out, Bluedog.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. Jelena J for Indian Wells 2009!!! 03/12/2009 at 03:33 AM

*bows to Bluedog's funniness*

yeah, the "Told you so!" phase is nice. ;)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. Jelena J for Indian Wells 2009!!! 03/12/2009 at 04:02 AM

rg: that was a bad loss for Dokic. *sad face*

Posted by rg.nadal 03/12/2009 at 04:04 AM

jewell: I would love to see a Jankovic win at IW.

Posted by Or 03/12/2009 at 04:09 AM

Ohhhh, some great comments from Roger. "Rafa problem on clay" - cute!

And I'm happy he finally commented about Dubai, to say the least.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. Jelena J for Indian Wells 2009!!! 03/12/2009 at 04:20 AM

Me too, rg, me too. :)

Maybe I just have a thing for the name Jelena. ;)

Or - that's a nice comment from Roger, and I think he's right. He's great on clay by any standard - in a way it's unfortunate that he's come up against Rafa on the surface.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. Jelena J for Indian Wells 2009!!! 03/12/2009 at 04:29 AM

Must go to work, stupid stuff.

See you all later. :)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. Jelena J for Indian Wells 2009!!! 03/12/2009 at 04:34 AM

*waves to Gabriela in case she arrives here*

*really goes*

Posted by rg.nadal 03/12/2009 at 04:37 AM

tata, jewell.

Posted by gabriela valentina 03/12/2009 at 04:38 AM

Master Ace: I hope you are still around posting or reading because I have to thank you for the detailed "brief" recapping of the DC matches of last week. That was so useful and more than I had hoped to get! So nice of you to take the time!

Posted by gabriela valentina 03/12/2009 at 04:39 AM

oh jewell,we seem to be playing musical threads and to keep arriving at each other's recently vacated posts

Posted by gabriela valentina 03/12/2009 at 04:44 AM

hi there rg nadal! you and i always seem to be on at about the same time...

I can't get my teeth into all the brouhaha whipped up by the Cahill/Federer coaching controversy. That Fed may or may not want the services of any given coaching professional all just seems within the nature of the game.

Posted by rg.nadal 03/12/2009 at 04:49 AM

gabriela: hola! How are thee. Roger is free to hire whom he wants. I personally think Borg would be a good choice.

Posted by gabriela valentina 03/12/2009 at 04:53 AM

rg nadal: my feelings exactly. (re Fed's decision to have a coach or not .)
I hope everyone can move on and this is a horse that is being flogged to death.

Posted by gabriela valentina 03/12/2009 at 04:55 AM

I guess I have just missed Master Ace. I did so want him to know how grateful I was for his having taken the trouble to fill me in on the DC matches!!!

Posted by gabriela valentina 03/12/2009 at 04:56 AM

I have to go now. maybe I'll be able to post more this weekend once my house guests are gone!!!

Posted by rg.nadal 03/12/2009 at 05:02 AM

ciao, gabriela

Posted by Cosi 03/12/2009 at 05:08 AM

I think Fedfan sensitivity is often because his domination has ended. As a Nadal fan, one can always fall back on his latest win, and the sense that there are certainly more to come. With Fed, you have the nagging dread that it could all be said and done, and so there is a sense of wanting to protect the wounded friend. I hope that healthy Fed and Rafa continue this whole year. The biggest dread is having only ho-hum tennis to talk about."

I dunno, Nadal is currently in his prime, the number one player and at the height of his game and seems to me his fans can get as oversensitive about anything said about him as fans of Roger or any other player .

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 03/12/2009 at 05:08 AM

Rg Nadal Hola I was on the other site,too scared to come back here again no?

Posted by Tom Mendenhall 03/12/2009 at 05:11 AM

Ok lets see would I prefer to coach the former number 1 player in the world, sclep around from event to event and continually get criticized because Roger no longer can compete for number 1? Or would I prefer to continueas a tv star and work for ESPN? Say want I want and make a pretty good buck for a few weeks work?

Hmmm I think I'd take number 2 too.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 03/12/2009 at 05:12 AM

Cosi Hola to you,gee its called Passion.All fans are sensitive to their fav players it goes with the territory.Without passion in your life cant achieve much.Thats for sure.

As a Rafa fan when he first started on the tour.I have expierenced the highs and lows with him.

I am also very proud to be his fan.I also admire Roger very much he is a champion in every sense of the word.

Posted by rg.nadal 03/12/2009 at 05:14 AM

aussiemarg: Hola there!!! You were there in "Your CAll"? I am excited about IW. the timing is a headache. Thats why i love Europe based tournaments. Ideal for me!

Posted by rg.nadal 03/12/2009 at 05:19 AM

Pick three players each (not the top 10 seeds) on the men's and women's draw who you think would do well at Indian Wells.

Mine would be-Men: Philip Kohl, SergiyS, Keifer
Women: Vaidisova, Vesnina, Tamira Paszek

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 03/12/2009 at 05:19 AM

Rg Nadal well the time will be around 5am for me not so bad.I am a early riser.Better than 1pm in the morning lol!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 03/12/2009 at 05:20 AM

Rh Nadal I think its best if we move to your call post dont you?

Posted by tony snedker 03/12/2009 at 05:27 AM

fed fans are being delusional;

but fed has always been inferior to murray-nadal-joker;

his 13 roddick era slams lack value in this stronger era;

cry baby

Posted by Ren 03/12/2009 at 05:28 AM

Hi Marge , Jewell, RG!!!

Hah! Gosh, Roger always makes headlines!
Been reading the comments, and are we in Fedal debate again?

Posted by Ren 03/12/2009 at 05:31 AM

Pspace: I love those quotes from Fed! Thanks!

Posted by Ren 03/12/2009 at 05:32 AM

I like Safina to win RG-nadal!

Posted by Ren 03/12/2009 at 05:34 AM

I am tired mentally so I won't argue!!!!

Posted by Ren 03/12/2009 at 05:35 AM I alone in the room?

Posted by Vishwanath 03/12/2009 at 05:36 AM

Dear Pete,

Much as I love all Americans(your kind self included), I have been noting that the American Media loves to indulge in Fedbashing. Please leave the poor guy alone ! If he takes a step, you are critical. If he doesnt, you still boo him. C'mon, what's your problem ? Just because Fed brought down the curtains for your name sake at SW19 in R16 of 2001, & has a superior record against Andy(Roddick), he deserves your ridicule ? And this is not just for you but for Steve & Kamakshi Tandon as well. I remember venom spilling out of Steve's blog when he fell just short of abusing Federer on the eve of the US Open & then what happened ? Roger proved everyone wrong. I know Nadal is superior to Federer mentally but definitely Fed doesnt deserve the bad press you guys are unfairly giving him.

Take care Pete !

Posted by Ren 03/12/2009 at 05:37 AM

Ok bye for now.

Hi AA!

Posted by gabriela valentina 03/12/2009 at 06:18 AM

hello, vishwanath: I probably shouldn't allow myself to get involved in your post but I'd be dishonest if I didn't admit that I think you have a point.....or more accurately,I have caught myself being tempted to make that same analysis and come to that over-simplified conclusion many times(and in fact,the truth be told often have).

There probably is at some subcutaneous level a certain instinctive back-lash in the U.S. against the guy who dethroned the home-grown hero(Sampras). I'm sure when the day comes that some upstart ends Rafa's career that we in Spain (or at least a certin portion of the Spanish media) will have to struggle to keep up a semblance of impartiality.

But I have read too many posts from too many posters from the U.S. to let this sort of thinking cloud my judgement. I'd say that all the true tennis buffs on here genuinely dislike or like players for reasons that more often than not transcend nationality...and that goes for Pete and even Steve too. I prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Some of you have jeered at Pete, for instance, for bending over backwards to hide what some of you think is an ingrained prejudice against Federer. I'd say rather "so what?" Isn't that preferable to giving free reign to a jingoistic diatribe against Fed (no matter how sincere)? I'd say "yes,definitely". I always have to admire anyone's efforts to overcome their own worst selves. (and I am not saying that this IS the case but if this WERE the case)

I have been just as guilty as you of dismissing a lot of criticism of Federer in the U.S. as simply sour grapes but I have had to revise this (in my opinion) faulty take on the matter. You'll find many staunch admirers from the U.S. of Fed,Nadal and other players of many nationalities on here as I have also found many fellow posters who have found Sampras as boring and predictable and uninspiring as I always have and many of the most vocal of these detractors were usually from the U.S.

Posted by gabriela valentina 03/12/2009 at 06:28 AM

uh oh..that was supposed to be "free rein" and not "free REIGN" ...when will I learn not to dash off rants at lightning speed with two fingers??!!

Posted by roGER 03/12/2009 at 06:40 AM

It's actually a very brave decision - to do a try-out and admit that something isn't working...

Posted by gabriela valentina 03/12/2009 at 06:45 AM

...have been reading upstream on this page and there are two nice posts from "bluedog" and "streams" at a few minutes after 3:00AM that I completely subscribe to. They make very good reading....the sort of posts that make one happy to be part of TW!!

Posted by gabriela valentina 03/12/2009 at 06:47 AM

roGer: yes,I wonder that that aspect of the situation hasn't been noted.

I just took it for granted that this was normal procedure and am having a hard time understanding what all the fuss is about.

Posted by 03/12/2009 at 07:14 AM

rafadoc (earlier post)
please spare us the psychoanalysis of commenters/fans. rafadoc, i'm sure you are a decent individual, but some of this is simply honest, fair disagreement (occasionally expressed vituperatively) and has nothing to do with 'transference' and 'projection' in most cases (for example, do you think fans are angry at Cahill or Federer and projecting that anger onto Pete?)

Pete, in his reply to you, obviously feels vindicated by your comment.(and rosangel would see it as confirmation of the 'crazies', as she called some of the posters above). I have friends who are psychotherapists and i think a little analytical distance from people who are complete strangers to you is in order. (i personally like and enjoy the odd response unless it is truly cruel).

Your assumptions may be dead wrong, and I know quite a few therapists who have helped but also harmed people with their misjudgments (studies have shown that nearly 60 percent of diagnoses - it's not an exact science, but quite subjective -- are inaccurate. (at least that was the figure some years ago).

not trying to be argumentative but just wanted to state this point since the terms are used here (including denial) fairly often.

Posted by gabriela valentina 03/12/2009 at 07:30 AM

headless at 7:14: was your decapitation willful or involuntary?

Posted by Corrie 03/12/2009 at 07:39 AM

I read all the passionate frenzied speculations here and then I read some simple commonsense words from Fed and you think, why the vast difference? To roughly sum up what he actually said in a couple of interviews ( and he didn't even mention the Lady Macbeth in his life):

Fed said he will continue with his coach - name of Luthi. (Why should any Fed fan care about Cahill in particular and what he decides for his career/family/wife?) Said Cahill made his decision fast enough that he wasn't left wondering, what if.

Fed spoke out about Dubai's banning of Peer and said it was unacceptable in any sport and hoped Ram's reinstatement boded well. BTW, as usual, Roger has a simple reason for basing himself there, it's much hotter than Switzerland and more central for flying far distances. But I'm glad he has spoken out on issues like this.

Fed said he was aware he'd let people down over DC but it was very tough. Doctor and trainer said he could choose between continuing to play with some back pain and making it perhaps worse, or working hard on strenghtening it to keep it going OK through this year. He said he thinks longterm, he's here for the long haul, so he chose the latter. He also thought he'd played when he shouldn't have last year. He said he'd said yes to DC last year before the back pain came along. He never intends to play again when he's not completely fit.

He sees Rafa as his greatest challenge, says he's playing great at present, says he has a Rafa problem on clay, not a clay problem. Says he likes him, wants to play him again, in fact wanted to the day after AO.

I tend to agree with Cosi that all the thoughts, arguments, hate, admiration etc seem to revolve round Fed, including the massive numbers on his website, more than around Rafa. I love Rafa's persona and game but I can't think of as much to say about him beyond he's a nice, good looking kid, with a tough uncle who imbued him with certain attitudes and with a ferocious, intimidating game which may become a GOAT. Can't recall him saying much of note.

They're both great for tennis. But if the Fed hatred and unfair ignorance about his character and behaviour, that counteracts its opposite, diehard love, equals charisma, then he's got truckloads of it.

But my favourite character is Piyush, aka T Snedker, aka John, aka anon. I sing myself to sleep with his one note song.

Posted by marie j vamos rafa en 2009 ! 03/12/2009 at 07:43 AM

hi all !

first, whatever there are, fed stories matters a bit more than any other players stories because is on the verge of becoming the GOAT, so whatever happens in the next 2 years in fed's life is relevant to be investigated, even mirka's role.

re mirka, it's probably just me, but i think mirka has probably given back some of the stuff she was doing for fed to tony godsick, i mean who sells the big deals with nike ? and the exos and so on ??? i think she's the biggest asset in fed's life, she understands probably better than any other girlfriend the amount of personal commitment you need to be a pro player, and maybe a reason why she isn't pushing to get pregnant so far. she's the houseekeeper, the doorkeeper is just part of that role and she's doing the perfect job for fed in that aspect of his life, she makes him fell safe and she makes everything going smooth, and probably works a lot with godsick to arrange fed's communication.

3rd who ever said roger was an easy guy to coach ???
in the begining he had some hard time learning the lessons coachs to fullfil his potential, once he felt he learn them after winning wimby and the masters in 2003, he gets rid of lundgren, no ? not so many players are doing that kind of thing, the only ones are roddick with gilbert and murray with gilbert too.
we all acknowledge that fed has some stubborn paterns of play, or some stubborness in general, it doesn't make it any easy for a coach who needs to bring something valuable to the table, and get a positive eye from fed.
i'm sure higueras and cahill have gotten the : "i've try that, done that, ain't working against some guys like... " insert your guys name ;)
if someone knows his own game as much as possible, it's fed.
i remember back in roland garros last year spotting higueras at rafa's matches in the second week... what could higueras learn from watching rafa appart, the guy is playing the best tennis seen on clay in ages ??? sure fed wasn't aware... impossible after lossing another 2 finals on clay that year.

fed can have the arrogance of a player that knows perfectly what he needs to to to beat x and y, and i mean that in the good way, most of pros have that.
the technical aspect of coaching doesn't get in the picture as much as for someone like monfils who has some curious technique, pete is right saying it's all about building up a relationship. when it comes to find the right thing to build up a good partnership, it rarely comes down to the best skilled guy around, it's beyond that, imo.

fed right now doesn't need coaching advisory on techs or strategy, he needs trust from his coach that his game will beat everyone including rafa. because as someone pointed out earlier, fed has been losing the tight matches, his failure has been losing the key points, it's not only rafa, it's also murray, simon or karlovic in the past months.

fed has lost a tiny inch of self belief since firing roche, imo. or maybe he's lost a tiny bit of winning everything in sight like he used to. whatever he lost, it's not given he will have it back thanks to a coach as good as he could be on paper.

justine and rafa had both one of the strongest relationships with their coaches, rafa because it's a family link, justine because it was like a family link with rodriguez. and because trusting each other on what they have to do to reach their goals was the cement of their success, i just don't see fed having benefit from that kind of strong relation yet.

honestly, for me it's not that important why fed and cahill could not get along, it could be the time involved, the travel, the training camp, the money, or just the fed or cahill personalities or mirka having a critic eye on it, all in all it's a bit of everything. you don't turn down a deal on one sole matter of disagreement, it's a bit of everything.

fed is one of the most difficults guys to coach right now because of his tremendous succes with or without coaching advisory during the last 6 years.
from my point of view, maybe some coaches are a bit prententious when it comes to strategies to solve the rafa problem on clay, or or just the bh problem from fed on clay.
you just need to hear commentaries along the tv repporters from one country to another and they all know how, and no one of them has been practicing with rafa on clay, just to get the feeling of his ball... and those guys are full of themselves, too... without any gran slams in their pockets.

i was telling my sweet dear the news about cahill, and he told me no one of the big slam winners has become a successfull coach : willander has been coachin PHM, a guy with just limited options, connors did a good job on roddick, but it was his only try.
i don't see borg, vilas or lendl doing that job.

if you get marat comparison for instance, who's been trying coaches as much as girl friends in the past years, he had this memorable phrase sometime ago : you don't teach new tricks to an old dog.

well fed doesn't need to learn anything new, he needs to do better what he's been doing recently, and i'm sure that's what he expect from a new coach, not some new trick to beat rafa on clay or grass, imo.

sorry if it's long to read ;)

Posted by Antoinette (nalby for president) 03/12/2009 at 07:49 AM

gabriela valentina@6:4 pm

The fuss was about the spin that Mr. Bodo chose to put on it in his post, advancing several theories including one that Mirka may have been the problem. The fact that the debate continued even after both parties put out definative statements is a testament to the fact that people bought into the speculation and would rather believe that than the obvious simple facts. Granted a post confirming the obvious simple facts would not have elicited such a fierce debate and therefore not so many blog hits.

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