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Burn Baby, Burn! 05/19/2009 - 1:39 PM

Rog by Pete Bodo

Okay, I understand that it's not all about me, all the time. But I need to write a little about me to put this whole Roger/Rafa rivalry thing in perspective. My boy Luke, who's six, was invited to a birthday party starting at 10:30 on last Sunday morning, I knew that if I took him, I'd miss the live coverage of the Madrid Masters, but I figured I could catch the highlights later. One disadvantage of my job is that any Sunday is, at least in theory, a work day for me. I've had to learn not to feel guilty about taking Sunday off.

Anyway. I took Luke to the birthday party, but not long after noon I found myself wondering how things were going in Madrid. Nadal was the favorite, of course, but in a recent post for ESPN I speculated that Madrid might present Federer with an interesting window of opportunity. Just how off-base would I end up looking? So I punched up the browser on my Blackberry and, after much navigating, I learned that Federer had won the first set, and they were even halfway thorough the second.

Interesting, I thought, wonder if he can make it hold up.

By the time we left the party and made our way home it was around 3 pm. I got right on the computer at the apartment and checked the final score. My immediate reaction upon seeing that Federer had won  was: Wow, must have been something to see. . .

Now, I've basically spent my entire adult match watching and writing about tennis matches. At this point, it takes an awful lot to make me feel like I might really have missed something, and even more to make me go out of my way at an inconvenient time to watch a tennis match. In my world, there's always another match, another player, another controversy, another icon; the down-side of a sport that rewards a player so handsomely and immediately is that the here and now quickly becomes the there and then. Meanwhile, the game inevitably coughs up the next big thing.  Think you missed a "must see" or "once in a lifetime" event?  Just wait a week for the next one.

Yet I found myself thinking, I've got to see this match. . .   And it wasn't just because I knew I'd have to write about it here.

So that's how I ended up watching Tennis Channel at 2 am on Monday morning, with a bag of chips in my lap and a cold beer. The network was re-broadcasting the Madrid final starting at 1:30 am, so I dutifully set the alarm. I bolted out of bed at 1:20 and flicked on the tube. The fact that I already knew the outcome meant nothing at all. And that's the greatest endorsement of this rivalry that I can offer: It can get you out of bed in the middle of the night, even if you already know the outcome. This Federer vs. Nadal thing is special. Even to a jaundiced eye.

It's entirely possible that one day we'll all look back on this match -  Federer against Nadal, fighting it out in the dirt inside the Magic Box, 2009 - as a career-defining moment. It could  go on to be the most critical victory of Federer's career. For Federer has introduced a big question mark in the Roland Garros narrative, and revived the idea that he may yet win the clay-court major.

if Federer wins at Roland Garros - whether his final-round victim is Nadal or someone else - Madrid will stand as the turning point: the moment when Roger Federer finally got some wind behind his sails and floated free of the shoals of self-doubt and a self-protective embrace of disappointment. We all know just how much that Roland Garros title means in the big picture; the French Open championship match could have a more profound impact on tennis history than any other major final.

A Federer win in Paris would also represent an impressive act of courage and will, for one of the more compelling (and, for Federer fans, agonizing) aspects of the Swiss champion's hunt for the game's golden fleece is that fate threw him a curve ball so wicked that even the most perverse spoilsport couldn't have dreamed it up. Fate didn't give Federer a couple of good players to beat, the way it did Pete Sampras, Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg, and others. It gave him one exceptional one - a nemesis who is especially able on the clay surface that deducts the most from Federer's game.

This challenge has been, and continues to be, as difficult as it must be unnerving. Just think about it - wouldn't Federer's life be a lot easier if he'd lost a final to a Safin here, a Hewitt there, a Roddick somewhere else? The guy hasn't lost a Grand Slam final to anyone but Rafael Nadal, to whom he's lost five. What's a genius supposed to do when someone out there can taunt, Who's your Daddy?

This state of affairs has to be as irritating as it is unusual, as demoralizing as it is unambiguous. But on Sunday, Federer shook his head to clear the cobwebs, looked around at the landscape, took a deep breath and played just the kind of match he needed against the guy who made him forget how good he truly is. Oh, I know Nadal was tired and curiously passive, I saw him fail to reach shots that are usually fodder for his topspin cannon. But that doesn't really matter - do you think it mattered to Federer? Do you think it mattered to Nadal? You all heard what he said:  . .If I'm tired it's because I played longer than I should have yesterday. . .

Translation: It's my own danged fault that I had a semi-final war.

Let's look at Federer's accomplishment on the two fronts that most count, the strategic and the tactical. On the strategic front,  Madrid could not have ended up on the ATP calendar at a better time for Federer. Given Federer's age (27), experience, and record, it's safe to say that playing the Euro-clay events was important to Federer in only one respect: the degree to which it might help him win at Roland Garros. He had little to gain by knocking himself out in the run-up events, and even that little could be negated if Nadal managed to rack up a few more Ws at The Mighty Fed's expense in the process.

Federer needed just two things out of this clay-court season: to experiment with whatever new tactics he could think up, and to get adequately comfortable to playing on red dirt under competitive conditions. That means one or two events, preferably without meeting Nadal, for it's far more important for Federer to make Nadal wonder what he's thinking than the other way around. The demise of the Hamburg tournament and the addition of Madrid was a great logistical development for Federer, even though he notched up his last win on clay over Nadal (in 2007)  at the event Madrid replaced, Hamburg.

The combination of altitude and surface speed at Madrid helped Federer a lot more than it did Nadal, who had reservations about the way the altitude would affect his preparation for the French Open, and who made it a point note that the red clay in Madrid was, at least in relative terms, extremely "fast." Looking back, I now believe that Federer probably only played Monte Carlo in order to remain in the good graces of a key sponsor, Rolex (he lost to Stan Wawrinka and seemed not too upset about it). That means he budgeted two tournaments as a run-up to Paris: Rome and Madrid. Although TMF lost to Novak Djokovic in the Rome semis, he got the matches he wanted, on a surface well-suited to his game (until Madrid, Rome was thought to have the fastest clay). He got the same - and more - in Madrid.

So, while Madrid posed an unwelcome complication for Nadal, it was a boon for Federer, enabling him to accomplish three important objectives: He tuned up his clay-court game under ideal conditions for building his confidence; he got the competitive preparation he needed and, as an unexpected bonus, he beat his rival, on his rival's home turf, to plant what doubts or fears he could in Nadal's mind. It's funny, isn't it, what a significant change a tweaking of the calendar can represent.

Strategically, Federer is in better shape going into Roland Garros than he has been since the year he took out Nadal in Hamburg. And while the clay in Paris isn't apt to be as slow as ever (slower than Rome or Madrid), Federer will be playing on it with greater confidence  - especially if the weather is hot and dry, as is sometimes the case.

The other facet of Federer's win in Madrid was the tactical - the specific things he did to beat Nadal. First off, he played with a confidence we haven't seen in some time. At the start of the match,  while the strains of Disco Inferno still echoed in the Caja Magica, (Did they really play that cheesy number  to warm up the crowd? What next, Ion Tiriac doing the frug?), Federer looked grim and distracted, the way he has so often in the past year or so. While it's nice to know that even The Mighty Fed sometimes hates to go to work, the furrowed brow and tight lips don't exactly convey or inspire confidence in what he's about to do. But by the time he hit that marvelous forehand drop shot and held comfortably for 2-all, it was clear that things might go a little differently this time.

Ultimately, Federer's win rested on a few critical and mostly subtle changes in his game, and his approach to what might be called "the Nadal Problem." Federer seemed for the first time in ages to want to attack - to take the game to Nadal and pressure him. He played right on the baseline or even inside it, looking to take Nadal's ball on the rise (Nadal mostly played from a good six or seven feet behind the baseline). Although Federer rarely took his aggressive posture to the serve-and-volley or chip-and-charge realm, he served and volleyed some, and even chipped and charged a bit.

Mostly, though, he seemed to be looking for the short ball to jump on, and Nadal obliged him. Federer's ability to attack was a function of court speed and his position on the court, but it was also a sign of confidence. Federer has always been a little reluctant to engage in problem-solving, and it's partly because doing so undermines the sense that he's a spectacular natural talent whose every move is inherently and casually elegant. But inside the magic box, he was willing to get down and dirty.

Rafa Federer also showed more variety and deception than he has in the past. He used the drop shot sagaciously, and he came up with a new solution to the ongoing problem of finding himself pinned in his own backhand corner - that was the forehand, hit down his own backhand line (inside-in?) after Nadal had already started his sprint toward his own forehand corner in anticipation of the devastating Federer inside-out shot.

This time, Federer also handled Nadal's lefty serve better, even though Nadal managed an 80 per cent first-serve conversion percentage. One of the elements that has always hurt Federer in his matches with Nadal is the Federer has never been an aggressive returner; he likes to get the ball back in play, because he knows he can take control of and dictate the terms of a rally. That's not good enough against Nadal, who will seize on any opportunity to take control of the rally, starting with his opponent's return.

Still, it was Federer's serve, not his return, that played the biggest role in the victory. Although his first-serve conversion percentage was a solid if unremarkable 63 per cent, his second serve had sting and penetration, and so much spin that one ad-court delivery pulled Nadal so far off the court that he disappeared from my screen. Mainly, Federer served with authority, and the threat that he might attack behind any serve had to be a constant source of concern for Nadal. Federer attacked the net 18 times, and won 10 of those points. That may not sound like a great statistic, but it doesn't take into account the overall effect his willingness to attack had on Nadal's comfort and shot selection. As Mike Estep once told his then-protege Martina Navratilova, "If you're not getting passed 25, 30 times, you're not coming in enough."

When you combine all these elements, you end up with a textured, nuanced game distinguished by an exquisitely controlled aggression - the only kind of aggression that might be effective against as formidable a marksman as Nadal. All along, Federer has been insisting that he doesn't need to make any major changes in order to beat Nadal, and on Sunday he showed exactly what he meant by that.

Whether he can duplicate the feat against Nadal at Roland Garros is an entirely different question, and one it would be importunate to ask unless the meeting became imminent. For different reasons, the big challenge for both men will be fighting through the field to get at each other.


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Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 01:08 PM

well most of us find that its Rafa who's disrupting the other players rhythm with his maniacal rituals, geez it would drive me nuts to see him jumping around like Rocky and then moving like a snail between points, he imposes his will on every point about time the other player does something!

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 01:11 PM

well Rafa better watch out, or history will simply show his picture in the dictionary under 'weary' and 'run down'

:)

Posted by TripleF-FedFanForever 05/20/2009 at 01:14 PM

The summary of analysis of the final should be something along these lines:

Fed was thinking of a different strategy. And executed the tactic well. Fed was not overwhelmed with the options (choice is not freedom, man said once) he has, but stuck to a game plan. Rafa being great that he is, is a one-trick pony. I.e., return shot, grunt, play higher net clearance (defensive), land shorter balls, play safe, run around, run around, stay back, run around, stay further back, run around more...unfortunately it works most of the time of late...unfortunately it didn't work (depending on whose side you take). Can Rafa think different? Is he capable of it? or up the ante with the steps indicated above? Time will tell.

Posted by Rosangel 05/20/2009 at 01:15 PM

"Rafa and Nole are still quite young and hopefully they will learn better manners from Roger, who I think is in some ways a model-figure for them."

I do hope that was meant to be funny, Tigress. Because it certainly made me smile.

BTW, ladyjulia, I distictly remember Federer having either his foot or his ankle taped during the Madrid 2006 final - thought that was an injury timeout? He fell awkwardly, I believe.

Posted by TripleF-FedFanForever 05/20/2009 at 01:16 PM

The summary of analysis of the final should be something along these lines:

Fed was thinking of a different strategy. And executed the tactic well. Fed was not overwhelmed with the options (choice is not freedom, man said once) he has, but stuck to a game plan. Rafa being great that he is, is a one-trick pony. I.e., return service short, grunt, play higher net clearance (defensive), land shorter balls, play safe, run around, run around, stay back, run around, stay further back, run around more...unfortunately it works most of the time of late...unfortunately it didn't work (depending on whose side you take). Can Rafa think different? Is he capable of it? or up the ante with the steps indicated above? Time will tell.

Posted by TripleF-FedFanForever 05/20/2009 at 01:16 PM

The summary of analysis of the final should be something along these lines:

Fed was thinking of a different strategy. And executed the tactic well. Fed was not overwhelmed with the options (choice is not freedom, man said once) he has, but stuck to a game plan. Rafa being great that he is, is a one-trick pony. I.e., return service short, grunt, play higher net clearance (defensive), land shorter balls, play safe, run around, run around, stay back, run around, stay further back, run around more...unfortunately it works most of the time of late...unfortunately it didn't work (depending on whose side you take). Can Rafa think different? Is he capable of it? or up the ante with the steps indicated above? Time will tell.

Posted by frances 05/20/2009 at 01:21 PM

lady julia-- i am not a fed fan- much more like a fed admirer but I think people actually underestimate his mental strength:P

The fact that he still believes in himself despite so many failures this past year is a test that he is a fighter.Yes- sometimes it's hard to rely on his responses because he might be saying he feels good etc etc then unexpected early losses occur but I think that's his way of encauraging himself to try to forget the losses and believe he will be victorious once day. And he did!! For sure you didn't expected that win but he did and he will continue no doubt:)

As a Rafa fan I have acknowledge that both Djoko and Murray are realy threats to Nadal...but I still fear TMF the most.

VAMOS RAFA

Posted by imjimmy 05/20/2009 at 01:21 PM

"""I should have added... Graf and anyone. She was THAT special. ;-)) ""

Thank you! And likewise.
Anyway, such a great sight to see 'fraulien forehand' back in action on SW19; she's as svelte as ever. And her forehand is still .....wow! :)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/8054672.stm

A bit of bromance b/w Murray and Agassi :)

I flove that Murray cannot hide his admiration for Rafa. And Gosh! Muzzah actually manages to look nice and graceful. Unbelievable :) What will happen next? Murray reaching the F.O final?

Posted by frances 05/20/2009 at 01:22 PM

Tim!!! can we meet up in USO this year:P

Posted by frances 05/20/2009 at 01:26 PM

ooh I think Djoko and Rafa very much like each other-- they always hug!!!


Posted by Rosangel 05/20/2009 at 01:26 PM

Tim: but even after the furore over the tears had died down, the achievement still didn't get much attention. Sure I understand why people responded to the emotion - for me it was the look on Mirka's face that said most - but that doesn't mean that the trophy ceremony wasn't bungled in a way that was frankly disrespectful to the winner, and which probably helped to cause the tears, given the way Federer reacted to being called "everybody's favourite champion", and the cheers from his fans that followed that being said. Rafa handled it beautifully, of course - his manners couldn't possibly have been better (certainly needed no lessons in what to do from anyone). Federer's handling of the situation once he regained control was all anyone could have asked of him.

I mean, if your job is to handle the presentation of a trophy to a highly worthy - and popular - new champion who's given his all in the best match of the year (vs Verdasco) and then come back in less than 48 ours and pulled out a five-setter over Roger Federer, what a stupid thing to say. It looked as though they were expecting to crown Federer, and hadn't prepared for the other eventuality that Nadal might win. I really don't think Federer himself wanted to be the focus of attention in that way at that moment.

Posted by Vie 05/20/2009 at 01:28 PM

Rosangel, whoa!

Rafa erupted into our consciousness with career-defining moments. Davis Cup Final match vs Roddick 2004, epic Rome encounter with Coria for claycourt supremacy, French Open title on his debut.

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 01:29 PM

oh Ros, i suggest closing your eyes if Fed DOES win RG somehow, that awards ceremony will be wet, wet, wet! and the cheers will be defeaning, im sure youd understand that...

Fed has shown his vulnerable side to the world, so if he turns Warrior again and does the impossible, its gonna be one WILD day at RG... we all know this is true...

I had a vision of Fed hitting some wild backhand passer on match point, after drawing Rafa in with a dropper... :)

Posted by Or 05/20/2009 at 01:32 PM

I watched the clip of Roger keeping Rafa waiting, must admit it was funny. Rafa fidddled with his bottles again and again, glanced at Roger three times, and then made his way into the net.

They didn't show Roger, but I could just picture Roger sitting there glancing in front, looking as serene as ever, probably holding himself to avoid glancing toward Rafa.

Posted by frances 05/20/2009 at 01:34 PM

Rosangel

Is is safe to say that Australia (sorry AM:P) have more Roger Fans than Rafa? Afterall Roger won there 3 times and it was Rafa's first final.

How about in Wimbledon? From the TV - it seems like there are more TMF fans but there aer growing Rafa afficionando's

I believe you did mentioned during your rafa euro tour that in Rolland Garros- Federer is more favored?

Posted by frances 05/20/2009 at 01:38 PM

Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) not cranky anymore!

I think you're purposely ignoring me:) R u watching the USO this year?

Posted by frances 05/20/2009 at 01:38 PM

Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) not cranky anymore!

I think you're purposely ignoring me:) R u watching the USO this year?

Posted by Matt Zemek 05/20/2009 at 01:38 PM

Ladyjulia:

Fed has certainly been a more distracted, and slightly (but slight changes are enough to radically affect results) less hungry player in recent months. There's no question about that.

But in earlier years, Fed fought through the kinds of things that have been knocking him off stride.

In the 2004 US Open quarters, he played through miserable wind conditions to beat Agassi--a superb wind player with compact groundstrokes--in five sets and over two days of play.

He waited out the rain to score his lucky but consequential win over Roddick in the 2004 Wimby final.

He's endured US Open night crowds to prevail against the likes of Roddick and Blake, and to cite a comparison to the Murray loss in Indian Wells (when Fed clearly lost the plot after the Scot fell down), Federer didn't flinch when Baghdatis cramped in the '06 Aussie finals. Similarly, Fed was able to take advantage when Nalbandian lost steam in the '06 French semis.

The small but real drop-off in Fed's game in recent years has been the product of a cumulative effect. The larger point, though, is that Fed is simply dealing with being a middle-aged tennis player. He's no longer the young buck on the sunshine side of his 20-something years.

This is why the next great story/narrative in men's tennis won't be Roger's later years; it will surround and envelop Rafa's climb into his mid-20s. Will Nadal, now on top and the undisputed big dog (he'll turn 23 before the French Open ends), be able to do what Fed did once the Swiss attained near-complete mastery of the sport?

That's what I'll really want to see. It should be good fun, and I pray Nadal will be healthy and durable enough to travel every road on even competitive footing.

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 01:43 PM

sorry frances busy day for me, i just chime in when Ros gets out of line you know, she's always misbehaving :)

def. gonna be terrorizing the US Open this year, turning Rafa kids into Fed kids, one by one :)

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 01:44 PM

ask brad, i understand he's a full blown Fed KAD since I bought him that a $12 US Open cocktail at the Red Star bar lol

true, right Brad?

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 01:46 PM

Matt, youre being summoned to the Fed KAD courthouse, please be there in 10 minutes...you're being charged with treason and the penalty is NOT pretty, dont be late!

Russ, Arun and I are the judge and jury... hehe

Posted by frances 05/20/2009 at 01:47 PM

Tim- I am inspred to baptize you more as a rafa fan:P -- I will be going to we need to meet up!!!!

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 01:50 PM

frances, I will be happy to listen to any and all pleas from you and all Rafa kids at the Open, the cost is a jumbo US Open cocktail, and perhaps a burger or chicken sandwich, depending on time of day (or night) ...

Ill be scheduling appointments starting in early July

:)

Posted by Rosangel 05/20/2009 at 01:52 PM

frances: I suggest that you ask one of our Australian posters about Australia. I wouldn't know.

However, at Wimbledon and among UK tennis fans in general, Rafa is incredibly popular. I was at the final last year, and I'd say that support was equal from what I could hear and see. Looks the same on all the recordings. Even when Rafa played Murray there last year, he had a lot of supporters.

I covered Queen's Club last year. Rafa got a whole week's worth of TV coverage from the BBC, and they reported receiving stacks of emails about him. At the tournament itself he was of course a huge focus of attention, but the TV coverage is important - gave UK tennis-watchers who don't have satellite coverage like me a chance to see him on one of the mainstream channels before Wimbledon. Same in other years.

As I've said before, Sky TV in the UK always ask for reader emails during tournaments, and they also report getting loads from Rafa fans during recent tournaments. People complain if his matches aren't shown - the Sky team have said so a number of times. After all, apart from all else he's won, he's been in three Wimbledon finals. Also don't underestimate how much time he spent on people's TV screens in 2007 during Wimbledon, when it wasn't just the final that was the story, but the epic rain-delayed journey for him to get there. People have seen him play several exciting five-setter here (think Kendrick 2006, Youzhny 2007 as well as the last two finals). He's definitely won many fans here.

Vie: well, sure. Rafa has had loads of "warrior moments", and they didn't all involve Federer. I was talking here in the context of rivalries.

Posted by Rosangel 05/20/2009 at 01:57 PM

As for Roland Garros (and Bercy and Monte Carlo) - yes, the Federer supporters outnumber the Rafa supporters there. Don't get the idea that the French all hate him - it's not true - but let's just say that there's an element that's not too keen on him.

Posted by frances 05/20/2009 at 01:59 PM

Tim LOL!!!! Well food is expensive there and tickets as well-- do you mind a bring home sandwich!!! Hahahahah. Ok we will revisit this topic in July then when tickets are finally up for grabs!!!THANKS

Posted by imjimmy 05/20/2009 at 02:00 PM

If the Madrid victory signifies a Fed resurgence - (and I have my reservations until he overcomes Muzz and Nole too) - then we are in for some very exciting times after RG. It will be interesting to see what kind of response Nadal comes up with to counter Fed's new game plan. Of course it might not be enough to stop Fed. But the most significant thing for me is the emergence of Andy Murray and even Djokovic. These two can hurt Federer in ways that Nadal can't. So it will be all the more difficult for Fed to defend (especially) the UsOpen (and to a lesser extent win at SW19).

Also I don't see much hope for RG 09. It's hard to construct a possible scenario that involves Nadal loosing 3 sets in the Philip Chartier. I was watching the 2005 /2006 F.O matches(yesterday) and was struck by what a lesser-player-than-now Nadal did to a Fed in his prime. The surface gives Nadal so much leverage..it's just unbelievable.

Anyway it's some kind of a pattern. Every year (before RG) there's something interesting, and we hope/expect that the the inevitable won't happen. But yet it does :)

Posted by frances 05/20/2009 at 02:04 PM

thanks Rosangel!!! much appreciated!1

I did remember in Rafa's blog last year how shock he was that he had plenty of support during his match with Murray

VAMOS

Posted by Matt Zemek 05/20/2009 at 02:06 PM

Tim,

May it please the court (ad or deuce, doesn't matter), the point behind saying that Rafa's middle twenties represent tennis's next big narrative is to emphasize the fact that Fed has already done most of the heavy lifting with respect to his legacy. While just one or (please, God!) two slams will surely affect the way he's perceived, he's already at 13 with only one man ahead of him. Given my insistence on touting his POSITIVE (just not complete) French Open record, "merely" getting to 14 would vault him ahead of Sampras by almost every reasonable measure.

Nadal could very easily eclipse Fed and Sampras when it's all said and done, but given the mileage accumulating on his tennis odometer, it's not a lock that he'll reach 14 slams (I'd bet that he WILL, but we don't know. Djokovic and Murray will be heard from on that score, too...). So, for all he's done in recent years, Rafa still awaits the years in which his measure--in the GOAT debate--will be fully taken.

That's not terrifically controversial, and it's not a disservice to Fed to say so. Roger's final climb will be (heck, it already is!) engrossing and captivating, but Rafa simply has more of his story in front of him, provided that his health holds.

Connors and Agassi maintained pretty good longevity, such that they were still cranking out a lot of titles around age 30, but in general, we won't see very many tennis players thrive when they hit the big three-oh... not the way they thrived at 22, 23, 24, 25 years of age.

So it's Rafa in the limelight. That doesn't mean Fed's push to 14 and beyond won't be filled with anything less than overwhelming anticipation. I'm thinking with an eye on an extended time window (four years or so), not just this year's set of slams.

I rest my case and trust that your honor will slam down a cool, refreshing Fedrinka before leveling a verdict.

Nadal's just a stud of the highest order. I'm not violating a Fed fan code if I acknowledge a plain reality before the members of the jury........ am I?

I'll await verdict and sentencing when I return from midday errands, which are finally calling me away from my computer.

If this thread gets closed down, you can always shift it to the YC, and I'll read your honor's judgment there.

Posted by inta 05/20/2009 at 02:08 PM

Sorry,but most interesting to watch the match on clay between NOLE and RAFA..than ROGER and RAFA anytime - lots of feeling!!!

Posted by TripleF-FedFanForever 05/20/2009 at 02:09 PM

(I was noodling the neutrals and Rafa-heads a bit).

Back to reality bit: When he took the first set 6-1 in FO (everyone knows when), Fed was walking the TMF walk. When he took the first set 6-4 this Sunday, I don't think...of course, it's a perception point, he walked like (or thinking like) the TMF of yore. He was thinking. I see this as a definitive change...for the weeks (at least 2 Sundays from now) to come. Fed knows it is not done when you take a set off Rafa. Of course, Fed knows very well that up a set, and a up a break ain't gonna cut it nowdays right!? Still, when he walked purposefully back to the chair with a 40-0 game, somehow one knows that this is the Fed who has exorcised the demons off...

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 02:10 PM

nice try Matt, but you still have to show up in court and face your accusers, cant really vouch for you at this point, still unconvinced ... lol

i suggest wearing your Fed colored Nikes and bringing a Federbear to the hearing, its those little touches that can sway a jury :)

Posted by ladyjulia 05/20/2009 at 02:10 PM

"Federer, through no fault of his own, lacks a great or near-great rival in his career other than Nadal"

Ros, I have to disagree with you there...Nadal is the greatest rival anybody could ever have.

And I think in that sense one is enough.

I meam...I didn't follow Sampras era and wasn't there for Borg-McEnroe...but Nadal is THE greatest clay court player without doubt, and is one of the greatest on other surfaces. That's a lot for a rival.

There are also reasons why there is nobody else.

I think Fed said it best at Wimby last year.."We each want a piece of the other person's world. It will be interesting to see who gives in first".

That is the point...they both ruled and dominated for 3 years until 2008, just at different kingdoms. Its king Versus King. I would prefer it remain that way.


Posted by ladyjulia 05/20/2009 at 02:11 PM

Ros, I read through that article, I believe that Fed is at that stage now where he has to prove that he is a warrior too. He has to show what he is made of (apart from his ,what Pete calls drop-dead gorgeous game)...that he has as much heart as his great rival to chase and conquer him just as Nadal chased and conquered him.

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 02:11 PM

ah, rafa and nole are overrated, they sound like two cats in heat, especially in the tiebreaker! what a duo of screaming divas!

Posted by Tfactor 05/20/2009 at 02:11 PM

we hope/expect that the the inevitable won't happen. But yet it does :)"

LOL Imjimmy, I'm pretty sure I can't be included in that 'we'

While I am not too sure that Djokovic and Murray can hurt Roger in ways Nadal already has, I do agree that it will be tough for Roger in any tournament/surface to go through two of the top four on his way to the championship.

Posted by Rosangel 05/20/2009 at 02:14 PM

BTW (the Fed KADs will hate this, but it could even be true) on my own experiences of late, I'd say that Rafa may even be growing a larger fan base here than Federer. Who's very well liked indeed, but there could be something in the fact that a lot of people here holiday in Spain, and I think like the fact that as far as Wimbledon is concerned, Rafa, like Borg, is a mould-breaker, as well as being a little exotic, but in a way that they can relate to. I'm thinking of his coming from a background of growing up on clay to conquer our tournament. A lot of claycourt types earlier didn't make much effort here - think Guga - but Rafa was never of that ilk. He's only the second Spanish champion we've had here - that's nothing like Roland Garros.

Posted by ladyjulia 05/20/2009 at 02:17 PM

Ros,

Madrid 2006 final...hmm...i haven't watched the match. But I do remember that Fed did play one match with a taped ankle, but against Nalby at 2005 TMC final.

I may be wrong, I read somewhere that Fed did not take any injury timeout during his peak...or I might have confused it with withdrawing (which does not hold after Paris 2008)..

Either way, if it is still one, i still think it says a lot about his fitness..

Posted by Rosangel 05/20/2009 at 02:18 PM

BTW, Andy Roddick is also very popular in the UK - that might also be related to his regular appearances at Queen's (and winning it) as well as being a finalist at Wimbledon.

Posted by ladyjulia 05/20/2009 at 02:31 PM

Ros at 1.26..

I can understand that "stealing the limelight moment" at AO..but look at it this way, it brought out Rafa in a way that nobody had seen on such a big stage before...i mean Rafa was class and sincerity at its best.

It was heartning to see him go and hug Roger...i mean these guys sweated it out for four and a half hours, trying to destroy each other's dreams...

It was most surprising, to see him go and hug Roger!

Yeah, why the journos concentrated on crying rather than Nadal winning is beyond me..


Posted by Nam1 05/20/2009 at 02:37 PM

Hello everyone,
First post here

I have been lurking for weeks now and finally decided to post.

Innocent question, I thought Tennis.com was a site for tennis fans but it appears to be a Roger Federer fan site most days, am I correct?
If not, I apologize.

P.S I am learning lots about tennis from all of you.

Posted by ladyjulia 05/20/2009 at 02:37 PM

Matt at 1.28..

Sorry, I meant the later years..esp. this year. I wouldn't count Roger as middle aged yet...he is 27, but he could have other issues going on that affect him.

I still believe that Roger could get his magical FH, serve and movement back. But I agree with you that this is Nadal's time for the next coupla years.

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 02:49 PM

Nam1, long lost Federer fans, like their guy, have risen from the crypt in the last few days, beleive me, its been like The Bachelor Spanish edition around here, with everyone desperately vying for the hand of Rrrrrrafa!

Posted by ladyjulia 05/20/2009 at 02:57 PM

From SI: on the time - taking...i know this has been done over, but Jon is funny:


I know everyone goes on and on about how incredible the three-set match was between Djokovic and Nadal in the Madrid semis, but really, four hours for a three-set match is ridiculous. They take way too long between points and should both be penalized for it. Rules are rules, aren't they? It would actually alter the match -- to enforce the rules and go beyond warnings to giving point penalties.
-- Allie, Toronto

• Agree, agree, agree. The major sports here in the U.S. are doing everything possible to speed up play. Meanwhile, you could watch The Ten Commandments, listen to the extended dance version of Stairway to Heaven and still have time to update your Facebook status in between Djokovic's first and second serves.

Posted by Russ 05/20/2009 at 03:01 PM

I'm pretty sure that Rafa just threw the match to give us Fed fans hope for a week before winning the French at love. No illusions in my head.

But... just to make you Rafaelitists frazzle a little...

When was the last time the men's #1 player and #1 seed won the French Open?

No pressure.

Posted by Tfactor 05/20/2009 at 03:03 PM

Good one Russ! Maybe this is indeed Roger's year :)

I hope this is not totally OT and my apologies if it has been posted before
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99EoQiLBfQE
Murray and Simon are happy to admit they don’t read. Roger reads magazines and Dan Brown seems to have his share of followers within the ATP. The funniest part is at the end when Jamie Murray speaks of Andy’s intelligence (or lack thereof) :)

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 03:09 PM

who said this of Federer winning the french:

"If he (Federer) does it, I'll be at least as happy as he will be,"

Posted by Russ 05/20/2009 at 03:11 PM

Tim: Mr. Humulity, himself, no? Or Marion Bartoli? Or Tim? Or Russ?

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 03:13 PM

why does Rafa get suck a cupcake draw in the exo? Clement?

geez :)

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 03:14 PM

lol cmon Russ!

he's France's favorite Magician!

Posted by Russ 05/20/2009 at 03:17 PM

David LaCopperfield?

Posted by ladyjulia 05/20/2009 at 03:20 PM

Tim...since when did Santoro fall in love in Federer?

Geez...we Fed fans have competition from Chris Evert, Martina, Pete, Toni Nadal and now Santoro?

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 03:26 PM

sorry julia, all of France has a crush on Fed!

im telling you, the day he wins that damn tournament, will be something to see ... weep fest!

Posted by imjimmy 05/20/2009 at 03:27 PM

""LOL Imjimmy, I'm pretty sure I can't be included in that 'we'" ""

Me neither :)

""Murray and Simon are happy to admit they don’t read ""

Tfactor: Thanks for the video! WTH is Murray's problem ..can't read..can't drive? And Fed reads magz/autobiographies only ..how boring? Thankfully there's Rafa with Isabel Allende..to restore some sanity.

Posted by Tfactor 05/20/2009 at 03:30 PM

Imjimmy,
I also found it funny how enthusiastic Verdasco was about the Da Vinci Code, he went on forever, lol

Seriously, what's your feeling though on Rafa at RG after Madrid? I can't wait for the draw to come out to see who the top four will potentially meet

Posted by imjimmy 05/20/2009 at 03:44 PM

Tfactor: lol! I love Verdasco's accent, and also his 'one of my best books..' comment.. almost like he wrote it :) Actually that's the problem with some Spanish players- it's hard in English for them. So much gets lost in translation. I ask one of my friend to translate Rafa's spanish pressers..(which are more insightful compared to his English ones)

And BTW.. Listening to Verdasco speak sooo softly, would you ever imagine he's such a beast on court?

W.r.t F.O: For Rafa's chances, I don't think the draw will really matter. If Nole lands on Rafa's side, it will be so unfortunate for Nole. I think he deserves better this time. He's still #2 on clay this year in my book.

Also we're underestimating Muzzah and Nole. I have a feeling that one of the last 2 slams in 09 will be won by someone not named Nadal or Fed.

Posted by Moderator 05/20/2009 at 03:45 PM

General chitchat about players' reading habits belongs over on today's Your Call, folks. Thanks.

Posted by Tfactor 05/20/2009 at 03:49 PM

Imjimmy,
Well for sure I'm not underestimating Nole. I would really like to see him on Fed's side and reaching the final. As for Murray, I think he needs to improve on clay (I'm sure he can) but I won't write him off either and can easily see him having a good run at RG.
Btw, Spanish is my native language and I can tell you there is much lost in translation. Understanding Rafa in Spanish and hearing him talk in English (even with a translation) are two different things.

Posted by Tfactor 05/20/2009 at 03:53 PM

Noted Moderator

Posted by Vie 05/20/2009 at 03:58 PM

Rafa met Nole in the last 3 French Opens. About time, he's not on his side of the draw, I hope.

Posted by imjimmy 05/20/2009 at 03:59 PM

""Btw, Spanish is my native language""
Wow! Lucky you ..tennistically speaking. :) **what with a Spanish World #1**

""I can tell you there is much lost in translation. Understanding Rafa in Spanish and hearing him talk in English (even with a translation) are two different things. ""

That's what I gathered. I'm glad that, being a native spanish speaker, you endorse that. Anyway I find most of Rafa's comments very astute. And he's a much better strategist than most people believe.

BTW..I meant Murray's chances after the F.O. I have no illusions of his game on clay.
He's the least likely (among the top 4) to reach the SF. I think Muzz's biggest goal right now would be to at least make it to the 2nd week at RG.

That said, it will be great if all the top 4 of them can make it to the SF.

Posted by Vie 05/20/2009 at 04:00 PM

Tfactor, do you understand Rafa in Mallorquin. That language sounds quite different from Spanish, doesn't it.

Posted by imjimmy 05/20/2009 at 04:00 PM

Moderator: Ouch! Saw your comment after posting the last message :( Sorry, and will be more careful!

Posted by Vie 05/20/2009 at 04:02 PM

I find Rafa is a very good communicator even with English.

Posted by Tfactor 05/20/2009 at 04:05 PM

Vie,
I don't understand Mallorquin fully, but I can understand the gist of it.

And I'm with you on wishing Nole is on Fed's side of the draw this time around. I'm really liking the Rafa/Nole match ups and I can see Nole gaining ground every time they play.

Posted by frances 05/20/2009 at 04:08 PM

imjimmy

"BTW..I meant Murray's chances after the F.O. I have no illusions of his game on clay.
He's the least likely (among the top 4) to reach the SF. I think Muzz's biggest goal right now would be to at least make it to the 2nd week at RG."


we never know - muzzah may surprise us...remember no once expected Fed to win Madrid- we never know

Posted by frances 05/20/2009 at 04:08 PM

imjimmy

"BTW..I meant Murray's chances after the F.O. I have no illusions of his game on clay.
He's the least likely (among the top 4) to reach the SF. I think Muzz's biggest goal right now would be to at least make it to the 2nd week at RG."


we never know - muzzah may surprise us...remember no once expected Fed to win Madrid- we never know

Posted by imjimmy 05/20/2009 at 04:10 PM

""I find Rafa is a very good communicator even with English.""
_____________________________________________

** He's a very good player..no? **

** I will have to play my best tennis to have any chance tomorrow**

** I am not gonna be the favorite..it's easier to loose than to win**

** If I am in the final, give me a paper..I sign now **

** For me it's unbelievable..it's a dream.. to win I never imagined **

** Thank you very much everybody **

** Sorry Roger **
_________________________________________________

Do some permutations and juxtapose these comments, and you have the typical Rafa presser in English :)

Posted by TripleF-FedFanForever 05/20/2009 at 04:17 PM

TFactor: Good fun with that Youtube link of yours.

For a moment though (as Tarantino's girl would say), I thought Rafa was going to say, "I can't read". And am I the only one laughing here now?

Jokes aside, c'mon, that's a stupid question. These guys turn pro when they hardly finish their teenage years. And then work out 6-7 hours a day (make it 18 for Rafa). Besides playing 90 to 100 pro matches a year (i.e., once every 3 or 4 days). And the days they don't play matches, they practice or go through their regimen. It is cruel to ask such question to these guys - especially Tennis professionals.

PS: Roddick can finish a book eh? Funny indeed. Given his ADHD like behavior, his quick responses (esp. pressers) and his nervous ticks...who would've thought! Well, it is only "Angels & Demons" but still...

PS2: This is Boston Globe's review of hilarious "Angles and Demons"...Wesley Morris is very funny when it comes to this stuff.

http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/articles/2009/05/15/unoriginal_sin/

PS: Love the way these guys (even Ebert's review is funny... http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090513/REVIEWS/905139997/1023 , but not as caustic) pan trash.

Posted by Maplesugar at work 05/20/2009 at 04:29 PM

Pete, you're da Man!

Wow!! What a piece of writing.

Posted by Kofi 05/20/2009 at 04:49 PM

Fed's victory in Madrid made me happy for him and came as no big surprise (although I still thought Nadal would win) due, basically, to the thin air. Pete's description before it happened does indeed look accurate, and kudos to him, but it will prolly lose all its premonitory aura when Federer does not make it to the French Open final (if Nole in his half) or gets washed again by Rafa in the final (otherwise).

OT: I heard Tipsarevic is an avid reader of good literature, and I'd guess a tennis player's lifestile quite allows for that if they can spend hours playing with the playstation. (Btw, far from my intention to critisize any tennis player for not reading enough or not knowing who Freud was.)

Posted by FanOla 05/20/2009 at 04:52 PM

No wonder Tipsarevic has glasses on. LOL

Posted by Mr Rick 05/20/2009 at 04:57 PM

Does Roger have a coach yet?

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian) 05/20/2009 at 05:11 PM

This is really cute so I thought I would share, I'm reading Tennis magazine and this is a quote from Roger, "Either I'm No 1 or I'm a Grand slam champion, but I'm not No.2." Roger Federer on hearing his ranking announced with his name before his matches. LOL, you tell them Roger, you're mad as hell and you're not going to take it anymore.

Posted by imjimmy 05/20/2009 at 05:25 PM

http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/news/story?id=4180348

Article on Rafa from the ESPN Website.. (Apologies it posted earlier). My favorite part:

""If you ask the people closest to Nadal for a story that explains him, they don't tell a Wimbledon story or a French Open story or even a story about women ogling him. They talk about a semifinal match in Hamburg in 2007 against Lleyton Hewitt. Nadal had lost to the Aussie previously, and after he lost the first set, Roig sent a text message to a worried group of Nadal's people. The message, in part because it preceded another Nadal comeback, has become their motto.

It read: Don't worry. He is Nadal.

Posted by Nam1 05/20/2009 at 05:36 PM

Imjimmy at 4:10,

you forgot one more thing from Rafa's presser:

"I am very khappyee!!"

:)

Posted by Kofi 05/20/2009 at 05:50 PM

Do you imagine Rafa saying "Either I'm No 1 or I'm a Grand slam champion, but I'm not No.2."?
Not only is Fed objectively No.2, but sounds like a sore one...

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 05:52 PM

my favorite Nadal story:

when he was taping that ESPN Greatest Roadtrip in Sports commercial, and he said "Find out what happen when the tennis is played in the road..."

a gem!

Posted by Mr Rick 05/20/2009 at 05:55 PM

Kofi - no kidding

See my 3:51 comment over at Tignor's "A Fresh and Glinting Edge" piece

Roger's ego is ruining his career.

Posted by ladyjulia 05/20/2009 at 06:01 PM

All MS are played one day after the other. Neither Rafa, nor Roger can expect easy matches and it is up to them to find out solutions to playing on consecutive days.

These are professional players just like everybody else who has played the MS tourneys for years.

If they lose, they lose. If they win, they win.

No journos have said that Roger will win RG. All of them said that it only makes the rivarly interesting.

I am sure Rafa has already played more matches than he usually does by this time of the year (because he is winning). Its up to him to give 100% effort no matter how tired he is. It all comes with the package of winning.

Besides, Rafa has already reached "Great player" status. Every Tom, Dick and Harry knows it will make headlines if they defeat Nadal...the added incentive of beating Nadal is not only points, money but fame. Now, that is a very big incentive to motivate players. So, he has got to be 100% no matter what day the match is played.

I remember some commentator saying that Roger had to go and win matches, no matter what...its like the sky would fall if he lost...so whether he fought with Mirka, or did not sleep enough...he had to go and win. He managed it pretty well.

Now, its Rafa's turn. If he loses...its equivalent to "the sky fell".

Posted by Kofi 05/20/2009 at 06:07 PM

Mr Rick, good post :-)

Posted by Mr Rick 05/20/2009 at 06:11 PM

thanks Kofi
hoping things will change...

Posted by Sherlock 05/20/2009 at 06:15 PM

imjimmy, thanks for the link to that ESPN Nadal article.

Keown's one of the ESPN writers I really like.

Posted by Kofi 05/20/2009 at 06:22 PM

ladyjulia:
if I know anything about Nadal's 'Weltanschauung' (philosophy of life?), he does not live it like "If he loses...its equivalent to "the sky fell". He lives every new triumph as a not-a-given / gift from life.

Which may be a reason why he seems to stand pressure well, at least until now.

Posted by kiwibee 05/20/2009 at 06:47 PM

Hi all,

I can't believe FO is upon us. Yay!

Go Roger! And Peppermint Patty! LOL

Posted by ladyjulia 05/20/2009 at 06:53 PM

Kofi...sure I read all Nadal's interviews and its early days..he does not live it like that yet...but everybody knows what winning multiple slams in a year means.

You've got to win them again or lose the ranking!

Its still early days, but in some time Nadal will be expected to win everything down the road. Its good if he can not relate to the pressure, but every time he loses, he will have to field off questions in the press room.

He hasn't reached the stage yet where he will be asked to retire from tennis just because he lost a match, but agreed Nadal does a pretty good job of fielding off questions.

But when he gains all those points, he has got to win them again otherwise he will lose his ranking...but this year, he has a pretty good lead, so his ranking is safe.

It took only 2 games in near darkness for Federer to undo whatever he did in 4 years in terms of ranking..that is to lose it. Sure, Nadal got the ranking only in August, but that's because Federer held the US Open from 2007.

But sooner or later, Nadal will have to keep up with his remarkable consistency otherwise, it will translate to losing points!

Posted by ladyjulia 05/20/2009 at 06:53 PM

Kofi...sure I read all Nadal's interviews and its early days..he does not live it like that yet...but everybody knows what winning multiple slams in a year means.

You've got to win them again or lose the ranking!

Its still early days, but in some time Nadal will be expected to win everything down the road. Its good if he can not relate to the pressure, but every time he loses, he will have to field off questions in the press room.

He hasn't reached the stage yet where he will be asked to retire from tennis just because he lost a match, but agreed Nadal does a pretty good job of fielding off questions.

But when he gains all those points, he has got to win them again otherwise he will lose his ranking...but this year, he has a pretty good lead, so his ranking is safe.

It took only 2 games in near darkness for Federer to undo whatever he did in 4 years in terms of ranking..that is to lose it. Sure, Nadal got the ranking only in August, but that's because Federer held the US Open from 2007.

But sooner or later, Nadal will have to keep up with his remarkable consistency otherwise, it will translate to losing points!

Posted by Matt Zemek 05/20/2009 at 07:28 PM

Tim:

I showed up in court.

Does your response mean I'm guilty?

Are you going to schedule another hearing after a recess?

What's my status? Tell me, your honor. What was the great offense/infraction I committed?

:-)

Posted by olive 05/20/2009 at 08:05 PM

HELP:

can some please explain this: how is a fast clay court in madrid faster than the australian open hard court? and why did people always say that the slowest clay court of hamburg was an advantage for federer?

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 08:05 PM

Matt, one second, I ahve to post this asap..

breaking news from Tracy Austin, re Rrrrrrafa!

"Nadal is never going to get tired. He’s not going to lose matches because of a lack of fitness. There is no player more fit than Nadal."

can we get an amen, tracy!

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 08:08 PM

Matt, Arun and Russ have been in closed session this afternoon, and from the look on their faces, it's not looking good...

you already know my verdict, Im sure

please wait patiently, and respect the process of law...these crimes are serious and decisions cant be rushed, you understand Im sure :)

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 08:14 PM

Matthe Zemek, you've been charged with treason against the TW State of Roger Federer and his KADs, with 12 counts of egregious and borderline over the top gushing re Rafa The Wall nadal, his prowess on the tennis court and what we've determined now to be rather questionable fitness levels...

the dates and times of said posts have been subpeonaed entered into the record, witnesses will be called... I suggest tapping into the RNKAS defense fund, pronto, this won't be pretty...

Posted by greenhopper 05/20/2009 at 08:29 PM

"When was the last time the men's #1 player and #1 seed won the French Open?"

Not too long ago. Guga Keurten in 2001.

(The #1 player and #1 seed have always been the same person at RG, unlike Wimbledon.)

Posted by Matt Zemek 05/20/2009 at 08:50 PM

Tim:

Just don't say that you weren't briefed by the CIA on my substantial love and admiration for Rafa years before, especially after the 2007 Wimby final.

Rafa, in his own way, is just as charming and impressive a champion as Fed. I'm darn lucky that the only man to beat Roger in slams is such a terrific person.

(Djokovic, thankfully, hasn't denied Fed in a slam final.)

So if you want to lock me up in a tennis gulag and remind me that NBC's embargoing of the French Open and Wimbledon is about to recommence, go ahead. I'll take the torture.

You'll still be violating the Geneva Convention... and gee, in what country is Geneva located, anyway?

"Husband and father Federer" (I loved the interview sent to us by Or--terrific stuff) would want TennisWorld to be a nation of laws, not KADs.

If a Federer KAD (as you are) does it, it might still be illegal. Fed KADs can't do the Frost-Nixon thing; neither can members of RNKAS.

I better call the United Nations ambassador to TennisWorld. Is that why you suggested I haul the Federbear into court?

And oh, one other thing: bang your gavel more softly.

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 09:17 PM

security, take Mr. Zemeck away!

said Fed KAD has publicly switched parties and is to be sent to a high altitude Swiss prison, where Federbear and a dire fate await!

Posted by Matt Zemek 05/20/2009 at 09:52 PM

Switched parties?!

I ain't no Arlen Specter.

I'm a Rafa-admiring Federista. I invented the Fedrinka beverage line. I bucked up Federer Nation during the Olympics and touted the doubles tournament after the singles loss to Blake had so many Federites in the dumps.

Remember the Associated Press article I bandied about in defense of Fed (and you) when there was a Fedal kerfuffle surrounding a Roger-Rafa semifinal in Shanghai (I believe this was 2007)?

You're acting like a jilted Republican, delusionally thinking his empire is crumbling when you're merely exhibiting frail self-confidence and not acting like an adult...

"OFFICER! RELEASE ME! THIS ISN'T FAIR!"

"OFFICER!"

"BODO! GET ME THE SOCIETY TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS!"

"I THOUGHT AMERICA WAS BETTER THAN THIS! WHAT WOULD THE FOUNDING FATHERS THINK? HAIL, WHAT WOULD WILLIAM RENSHAW THINK? THE 7-TIME WIMBY CHAMP DIDN'T HAVE KADs IN HIS DAY!"

"OFFICER!"

(voice muffled as door closes and three men take me away, kicking and screaming...)

Posted by ladyjulia 05/20/2009 at 09:59 PM

I'm a Rafa-admiring Federista. I invented the Fedrinka beverage line. I bucked up Federer Nation during the Olympics and touted the doubles tournament after the singles loss to Blake had so many Federites in the dumps.

LOL Matt!

Posted by Tim (Jaunty and Lovin it! 2009 Year of RED Rogie!) 05/20/2009 at 10:00 PM

Federbear, meet Mr. Zemek... yeah, THAT Mr. Zemak... Ill leave you to handle this 'situation' as you see fit ...

*fade to black*

Posted by talenTTennis 05/20/2009 at 10:06 PM

Congrats to Fed for beating Nadal.

But I must say things are being taken out of proportion. Federer has only beaten Nadal on clay twice and the last time he did so he won the third set 6-0. Having said that he still lost at Paris in four sets.

I also don't believe in saying "Federer has turned himself around" after beating a wearisome Nadal who played a 4 hour match the day before and while, at the same time, avoiding a match up with a fresh Nadal or Djokovic.

Federer deserved the win he got, but I don't think it would be fair to Nadal's French Open resume nor his record against Federer there to say Federer has finally come to term's with Nadal on clay.

If Nadal is fresh, healthy and determined and/or Federer has to play Djokovic in the semis, I don't see Federer holding the trophy in Paris. I give Djokovic a better chance.

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie) 05/20/2009 at 10:24 PM

I want to dig up all the Fed KADS posts after the Djoker Rafa semis, which PREDICTED FULLY the 'Rafa is tired' excuse 24 hours before it happened, its like clockwork, almost as good as bodo's madrid prediction!

we KNEW this would happen, it was inevitable!

Gee, I guess those 4 hour practice sessions day after day after day didnt quite do the trick for this phenomenal athlete, huh?

Talent, athlete's are supposed to win and perform under ALL conditions, not just perfect ones, with perfect preparation

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