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Speak, Warrior 07/14/2009 - 4:56 PM

86262095 by Pete Bodo

Well, we had that conference call with Pete Sampras a few hours ago.Pete made himself available on behalf of the upcoming Los Angeles Tennis Open (title sponsor: Farmer's Insurance Group), where he'll be honored, as well as play an exhibition match against Marat Safin.

Most of you remember that the Sampras-Safin U.S. Open final of 2000 was a match of astonishingly high quality - at least from Safin's end of the court, although truth be told it wasn't as if Sampras, the no. 4 seed, was off his game. We didn't actually get to see enough of his game to come to any conclusions about that.

Safin, who was seeded 6 and on his early-career upward arc, simply bludgeoned Sampras off his theoretical home court in what remains a high-water mark for power tennis. It was a 4-3-3 whitewash, and Sampras himself was so impressed that he couldn't be bothered to work out what he might have done differently, or even indulge in a little bit of that hateur to which a stung champion is entitled. Jimmy Connors would have snarled words to this effect: Yeah? Let's see if this Commie with the head shaped like a can of dog food can back it up for a few years, and then get back to me about how great he is. . .

Sampras, to his credit, just shrugged it off with the proverbial hat tip: The guy played great, give him all the credit. He's got a big future in this game.

Watching that match led many journalists (and other pundits) to a Jon Landau moment. Landau almost single-handedly launched Bruce Springsteen's career when, after seeing the E-Street band perform, he wrote a blathering rave review containing those now immortal words: "I have seen rock and roll's future and its name is Bruce Springsteen." 

Well, Safin turned out not to be tennis's equivalent of Springsteen (although it would have been an appropriate analogy in many ways if he had). What we ended up with instead was tennis's equivalent to the Beatles in Roger Federer, and the more I think about the parallel the more it apt it seems. Let's stretch the analogy to the breaking point: in tennis we have the Beatles vs. Rolling Stones reprised in the Federer vs. Rafael Nadal rivalry. Almost everyone in the baby boomer generation fell into either the Beatles or Rolling Stones camp, although if you were insufficiently fanatical you got to enjoy both. Being more than adequately fanatical, I was a Stones man myself, and wrote the Beatles off for good after that much ballyhooed White Album.

So naturally, Pete was asked about the Federer-Nadal rivalry - specifically, if he felt that Roger could be considered the Greatest of All Time if he can't establish superiority over his career rival (as Sampras did in his rivaly with Andre Agassi). You'll see from Pete's answer that he was slightly flummoxed, but one of his outstanding qualities always was his determination to honest, even if it meant delivering his opinion or thoughts through clenched teeth.

"I do understand the argument as far as being the best ever. You have to be the man of your generation.  He (Roger) has come up short against Nadal. I can see the point. It's hard to answer that. I don't know how to answer it.You know, it's not done yet.  Roger's career isn't done yet. He's going to play Nadal a number of times over the next number of years, and he has to beat him. He has to beat him in the finals of majors. To be considered the greatest ever, he certainly in my book is (already that). But he has to figure this kid out.  He has to beat him.  He's lost to him a number of times. You know, you got to be the man of your generation. He certainly is the man of his generation; he just has to figure out Nadal."

Pushed to elaborate vis a vis his own experience wih Agassi, Pete added: 

"Well, God, you're giving it some thought, huh (laughter)? It would have bothered me if I had a losing record against Andre in majors. It wouldn't have sat well with me. Did it mean I was the greatest or not the greatest? I don't know. It's the debate of greatest of all time. We so badly want to pin it on someone.  With the numbers you have to give it to Roger.  His record against Nadal, okay, you might not give it to him. 

"I mean, if I was 7-15 against Andre and I was done, it's hard to say I was the player of my generation - just because he got the best of me. Like I said, the story's not over yet. We have another probably three, four years of these two guys competing against each other. If anything, I think Nadal is going to be hungrier now, seeing Roger getting back to No. 1. It's hard to give you a definitive answer when it's not done yet. I think Roger knows he's got to figure out this kid.  It's a tough, tough matchup.  Nadal is one of the few guys that believes in himself that he's better than Roger."

You may remember that in his Wimbledon press conference, Rod Laver took the position that in one match, on grass, he would pick Sampras over Federer. Laver wasn't the only one who took that tack. Just a few weeks ago, John McEnroe told me, "Watching these guys today, I keep thinking that if Sampras walked out there, he’d still drive these guys bananas. In my opinion he’s still the greatest fast court-player who ever lived. Where Roger is the greatest, period."

I asked Sampras about that, too. He said:

"Well, I think one thing Roger doesn't see on grass the last number of years is really a true serve-and- volleyer, someone that's willing to come in and put the pressure on and make him pass, make him return these big serves. I don't think anyone really scares him. I think my game would make Roger a little bit more uncomfortable. I would obviously come in on both serves and put the pressure on his backhand, sort of go from there. . . I would sort of dictate the play.  But, you know, he'd be a tough guy to break, especially when he's hitting 50 aces like he did (in the recent Wimbledon final).  It would have been a great matchup.

"If I would beat him?  If I felt my best on grass, I did feel unbeatable, especially in the mid '90s.  I was a tough guy to break, played well from the back court to have chances, and I moved well enough. It's a flattering comment.  Do I think I could have beaten Roger in my prime?  Sure. I don't think anyone could beat me in my prime on grass. I felt as Roger does now - he feels unbeatable."

In terms of this discussion, Sampras also made an interesting observation about Andy Roddick, appended to his evaluation of how much Roddick seems to have improved: "(Andy's) backhand driveup the line is better and he's slicing a little better.  His transition game has gotten better.  As you saw on that set point, 6 5, he's still a little uncomfortable, but he's getting better at it. (But) I was sitting up there watching, (thinking) just serve-and-volley one time on your second serve because all Roger does is chip it. Put something in his head."

This is to me an endlessly interesting if unresolvable discussion, and it's what tennis players talk about when they gather to jaw about the players and game of today. But let's wrap it up with a bit about Safin, the player whose personality is as big as his talent, probably to his long-term detriment as a player. Surprisingly, the two men (Sampras and Safin) were friends - at least to the degree that anyone as soulful as Safin could be friends with someone as coldly realistic as Sampras. Sampras explained:

"Marat and I always got along very well when we were playing. He's a really nice guy, great player, showed what he could do especially at the US Open the one year, he tuned me up pretty good. He's an expressive guy on the court, shows emotion. Off the court, he's a happy-go-lucky guy. I was pretty reserved when I was playing, to myself.  For whatever reason, he and I seemed to get on really well.  We practiced quite a bit together. 

"You know, he's a champion. He got to No. 1. He won a major, I think two majors.  It's sad to see him go because I think he brought a lot to the sport. Haven't sort of kept in contact with him.  But certainly when I see him, we'll talk about some of our matches.  When Paul (Annacone) was coaching (Tim) Henman, Marat would ask Paul, How is Pete doing?  He was always just a personable guy, really nice guy, and someone that I've always gotten along really well with."

One day, Federer will be talking about guys -  Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, maybe even Nadal - just like this, just like the tired warrior that he will no doubt have become.


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Comments
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Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/14/2009 at 07:00 PM

Told you all that Grant is Rock King of Wit!!!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 07:01 PM

Tim Dont despair we have been on a siesta break lol!

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 07:01 PM

Pspace, I think it's that memorable FO run that won Chang enough votes. Guess being on the DC-winning US teams helped, 2.

Posted by crazyone 07/14/2009 at 07:02 PM

I think the fact that 9 out of 13 of Nadal's wins over Federer on clay is very relevant to assessing Nadal vis-a-vis Federer. What I think Fed fans get testy about is how that relates to Federer vis-a-vis Sampras.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 07:03 PM

NP Please Emma is young

Cut out the rolling business.

Posted by Ray T. 07/14/2009 at 07:03 PM

Yup, Sampras didn't have a Nadal and only reached one semi-final at Roland Garros his entire career. What really matters is one's H2H against ALL the other players combined, and those so-called "rivalries" are nothing but a gimmick to increase ticket sales and TV audiences...by the way Mr. Bodo, "hateur" is not a word, lol !

Posted by mcakron 07/14/2009 at 07:04 PM

Rosangel@6:59 -- well stated.

Posted by Mr. X 07/14/2009 at 07:05 PM

Tim,
I would agree that this is Fed's year, as the ranking show, but when has Fed won 3 Slams 3 consecutive years?
NP,
I see your point about Safin and Hewitt. What was the H2H against Pete's nemesis Wayne Ferreira?:)
Marat sure deserves a place in the HoF. And a big title "King of Headcases" over his photo.
And by the way, if anyone tries to place Nadal in the GOAT discussion, that would be simply hilarious. And that comes from a Nadal fan.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 07:05 PM

I have already concurred with Rosangel earlier

Lets wait and see when a player retires.

Also I am happy that Rafa is going to play and fingers crossed that all is well now.

I appreciate what the both bring to the tennis court

They have different styles of play which is variety in the game.

Posted by L.Rubin 07/14/2009 at 07:05 PM

Why don't we entertain ourselves by predicting the outcome of a real Rafa fans vs. TMF fans war. Which side would win? I suspect that NP would try to knock out Triple Fed with a Norton Anthology, and that Tim would counter by chasing Rafadoc and AM with one of those atrocious Federbears.

Posted by Mike 07/14/2009 at 07:06 PM

I will not allow Fedal Wars to stop me from looking forward to Rafa's first tourney back ...

For me, Fed with his head on straight ... and both he and Rafa healthy = more cowbell. ;)

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 07:06 PM

AM, if there were indeed a rolling business I'd already be a part-owner.

Posted by Pspace 07/14/2009 at 07:06 PM

""how that relates to Federer vis-a-vis Sampras.""

I thought it was about Laver and Federer? Sampras is in the rear view mirror...oops..can't see him anymore ;-).

Posted by VC 07/14/2009 at 07:07 PM

"I assume it's a reasonably big hall?"

Pspace : That made me chuckle. I can visualize a bunch of one-and two-time-Slammers jostling the likes of Laver, Borg, Sampras etc. in that hall... :-)

Posted by Grant 07/14/2009 at 07:07 PM

"I think the fact that 9 out of 13 of Nadal's wins over Federer on clay is very relevant to assessing Nadal vis-a-vis Federer. What I think Fed fans get testy about is how that relates to Federer vis-a-vis Sampras."

Ding, we have a winner.

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 07:08 PM

Mr. X, 7-6. In favor of Pete. Ha!

Posted by rudy3 (proud Rafaelite since 2005) 07/14/2009 at 07:08 PM

I love the Stones, as well, Gimme Shelter, great song!

Posted by ladyjulia 07/14/2009 at 07:08 PM

Mr. X

I would not be surprised if Nadal was brought into the GOAT discussion..as a legitimate future candidate. He is after all only 23 and has 6 GS.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 07:08 PM

L.Rubin LOL!!!

Posted by Emma (insertwittymantrahere) 07/14/2009 at 07:08 PM

Am, you are such a sweetheart, thanks for trying to preserve my innocence. I'm a Uni student, so it's prob a bit late, but the sentiment is very much appreciated.

NP, I agree with you about Safin and Hewitt.

Posted by ladyjulia 07/14/2009 at 07:09 PM

Pspace...LOL!

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 07:09 PM

Liron, this may shock you, but I'm here mostly for the entertainment. Fedal wars in and of themselves don't interest me much.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 07:09 PM

Rudy 3 I also love Gimme Shelter wow!

Posted by ladyjulia 07/14/2009 at 07:10 PM

Who invented this GOAT thing anyway?

I mean since which year did people start considering players for GOAThood?

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 07/14/2009 at 07:10 PM

what Im sayin is good luck to Rafa, winning 3 Slams in 3 straight years, to catch Fed by 2012...that also means, of course, Fed wins NONE until then, or of course, he moves ahead again...

the mama lions better worry more abour how Rafa can stay fit and compete 12 months a year than what Fed is doing ...

Posted by ladyjulia 07/14/2009 at 07:10 PM

NP...we will start charging you soon.

Nothing comes for free.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 07:10 PM

Coming to think about it I would rather have Tim chase me around Central Park at least I know where i could hide lol!

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 07:11 PM

BTW, Mr. X, Pete (either one) did not in any way insinuate that Nadal's in the GOAT discussion. That's just the KADs blathering as usual.

Posted by VC 07/14/2009 at 07:11 PM

About the S&V effectiveness as a tactic, I finally found some conclusive evidence that the courts have been slowed down:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soJ_FVnijAw&feature=PlayList&p=950807068B86DD4B&index=28

Posted by Goldilocks 07/14/2009 at 07:11 PM

"As a fan I'll just hope to enjoy watching "my guy" play, and appreciate him for what he brings to tennis."

You and me both, Rosangel. After French Open -09, I´ve learned my lesson.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/14/2009 at 07:12 PM

The Stones were far better than the Beatles. I've seen both live.

Posted by Emma (insertwittymantrahere) 07/14/2009 at 07:12 PM

L.Rubin, well played, Sir, Well.Played.

Posted by mcakron 07/14/2009 at 07:12 PM

NP/Pspace -- I wanna say Chang played in two other Slam finals. I was far from a fan, and I think his inclusion was sketchy, but it's not like we don't see this in other sports HoFs as well.

Btw, if you wanna a good chuckle, read this. Still one of the best personal essays I've read about tennis in the last few years.

http://www.slate.com/id/2194929

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 07/14/2009 at 07:12 PM

well when Nadal passes McEnroe, Wilander, Becker and Edberg in Slams, we can talk...then he still has to catch Laver, Borg, etc. and you know who at the top of the heap :)

Good luck Rafa!

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 07:12 PM

Emma, good 4 U.

ladyjulia, charge me for what? Breathing?

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 07:13 PM

I have special Holy Water from Lourdes for Rafa's knees

If he makes it to the AO next year to defend his title there

I will present it to him in person.

Posted by Mike 07/14/2009 at 07:15 PM

Ros ... my comparison is less clay to all other surfaces, and more 2005 to 2008 vs. 2008 till now. Rafa has owned Fed the last year or so, and that's about it. Let's see if he can continue that now that he's getting back on the horse, and Fed seems both healthy and mentally strong.

NP ... just using it to show how off general statements can be. The 7 or 8 guys that have better H2H over Pete caught up at the end of his career, for the most part ... and I know that. ;)

Posted by ladyjulia 07/14/2009 at 07:15 PM

If Chang won a lone GS and reached two other finals, I want Micheal Stich also to be in the HOF.

Posted by greenhopper 07/14/2009 at 07:15 PM

"but his observations are always fascinating "

Wait, what now? I thought he was better seen than heard.

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 07:15 PM

mcakron, didn't mean to say Chang wasn't a worthy inductee. He gets props for sheer consistency over the years. And yah, that Slate piece was worth a few good chuckles.

Posted by Emma (insertwittymantrahere) 07/14/2009 at 07:16 PM

O/T- Am, isn't Lourdes the most beautiful place you've ever seen? The midnight procession is so breathtaking.

Rosia: "As a fan I'll just hope to enjoy watching "my guy" play, and appreciate him for what he brings to tennis."

Thanks for putting my thoughts much more eloquently than I ever could have.

Posted by L.Rubin 07/14/2009 at 07:16 PM

NP,

Yes, but these lame-ass tiffs are a generous and reliable source of entertainment.

Tim,

Who are the mama lions? Are they the Rafa KADs' answer to TMF's Federales?

Posted by L.Rubin 07/14/2009 at 07:18 PM

Emma,

Thanks much, but I'm a woman! :)

--Liron

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 07:19 PM

"Who invented this GOAT thing anyway?"

ladyjulia, apparently it was Sampras who started it all. I learn new things every day.

Mike, Pete was actually down 2-6 against Krajicek at one point, but eventually improved it to 4-6. Richard was prolly the only one who did have Pete's #.

Posted by Emma (insertwittymantrahere) 07/14/2009 at 07:20 PM

L.Rubin, my apologies! :)

Posted by ladyjulia 07/14/2009 at 07:21 PM

"apparently it was Sampras who started it all. I learn new things every day."

NP...thanks...but how? I mean he talked about it?

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 07:21 PM

Rubin I just fell off my chair laughing

Sorry Emma I thought you knew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 07/14/2009 at 07:22 PM

The Silence of the Mama Lions...

I like it...

the mama lions are the ones who stand on rocks above TW, looking for those who dare say a negative word about Rafa, and then pounce with sharpened teeth and

:)

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 07:23 PM

ladyjulia, afraid Stich will have a harder time getting inducted than Chang. Loads of talent, but suffers in the consistency and longevity depts.

Liron, so R U saying I should be charged?

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 07:24 PM

ladyjulia, I was being sarcastic.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 07:24 PM

Thanks Tim for reminding me I need to go to the dentist my check up is over due lol!

Posted by Mr. X 07/14/2009 at 07:24 PM

NP,
I certainly wasnt talking about either one of the Petes. I know they wouldnt go there. And by the way, that's a great H2H to have against your archnemesis. Maybe Pistol Pete is the GOAT after all:)
ladyjulia,
I'm completely against arguing who could be in the future GOAT discussion, as it's all speculation, particularly in a case as special as Nadal's.

Wait, was i called a "mama lion"? Something is clearly wrong there:)

Posted by rudy3 (proud Rafaelite since 2005) 07/14/2009 at 07:24 PM

"Who are the mama lions? Are they the Rafa KADs' answer to TMF's Federales?"

Gotta be the RNKAS. Yeah RNKAS!!!!!!!!!!! Lets have a margarita to celebrate the Rafa Bandwagon has been taken to the garage for some major tuneup.

Our man is going to play again!!!!!

And according to pictures posted, he is shucking the Balistic shoes and going back to the Cages.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 07/14/2009 at 07:24 PM

Spin it anyway you want to spin it, 13-7 is 13-7.

Furthermore, Rafa was compiling a winning record against Federer while Rafa was 18 years old to 22 years old. Rafa wasn't even in his prime while he was beating down Federer.

Toss in that that Rafa has managed to win an Olympic Gold medal in singles (sometnhing Federer has never done) and been on two Davis Cup winning teams (Federer hasn't even made a finals--altho he might have made one if he hadn't let Hewitt come back on him from two sets and a break down).

If Federer is the GOAT, then Rafa is the GOATMASTER.

Beginning and end of story except for those who haven't got a clue.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 07:26 PM

Mr X Are you now aware what a Mama Loin is? lol!

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 07/14/2009 at 07:27 PM

manuelsantana, speaking of someone who doesn't have a clue :)

15 Slams to 6...this is not a difficult scenario

Posted by Grant 07/14/2009 at 07:27 PM

Obviously the things that Rafa has done that Roger doesn't are the ones that matter. If you don't get that you don't have a clue.

Posted by ladyjulia 07/14/2009 at 07:27 PM

oh ok...NP...seems like I am exceptionally dense today ...:-)

Posted by Emma (insertwittymantrahere) 07/14/2009 at 07:28 PM

LOL Am, nah. I swear I'm amazed I don't fall over more often, I'm so dim. I'm also two years away from my teaching degree, so God help Ireland's future students.
Ah, to be a plank. Glad my stupidity provided some light relief though, Am.

Posted by mcakron 07/14/2009 at 07:28 PM

LadyJulia -- well, you do bring up an interesting point. I wonder if Chang would have been inducted with his record if he had not been an American and therefore received the coverage that came with it. But I guess the whole idea of the word "fame" is part of the equation. For better or worse.

Anyway, here's hoping your guy Stich gets in some day.

Posted by Syd 07/14/2009 at 07:29 PM

Tim, lol @ & 7:32

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/14/2009 at 07:29 PM

Manuel: Hear, hear!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 07:30 PM

Emma Dont worry I though Avid was a guy until she told me she wore heels LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by L.Rubin 07/14/2009 at 07:30 PM

NP,

Charged with what, dear?

Catch y'all later, and thanks for the laughs.

--Liron

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 07:30 PM

In all seriousness, Mr. X, Ferreira wasn't the nonentity he's often made out to be. A former top 10 player, with 15 ATP titles (2 MS) and a good serve and a huge FH. Pete actually picked Wayne's FH, along with that of Becker or Agassi, as one of the shots with which he'd equip his imaginary best composite player. Curious that Pete left out Courier's FH, BTW.

Posted by MrsSanta 07/14/2009 at 07:31 PM

Pspace lots of upstanding people with impeccable judgement dislike Safin.

Where do those of us who hate both the Stones and the Beatles fit into this here GOAT debate? Hopefully on the sidelines waiting to for the perfect moment to hit the participants with a 2 by 4 upside the head.

Posted by Mike 07/14/2009 at 07:32 PM

"Beginning and end of story except for those who haven't got a clue."

... and those that have and are entitled to their own opinions.

Posted by ladyjulia 07/14/2009 at 07:32 PM

mcakron...thanks :-)

Maybe I will write a letter to the tennis HOF president.

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 07/14/2009 at 07:32 PM

no one cares about age or who did what first, except some mama lions, the GOAT is about statistics, records, etc.

rafa cant even dream of 21 straight Slam semis, can he? Fed has every record in the book, he even has five straight French Open semis, which Rafa doesn't have ...

Rafas career is great for his age, but he gets his butt kicked in every category that matters historically

u cant win this game ms

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 07:33 PM

NP, ladyjulia.

Liron, you'd better ask ladyjulia. She said TW should charge me for something. Anyway later.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 07/14/2009 at 07:34 PM

15-6 means little when one has is several years older and has entered several more majors.

Spin away all you want but the numbers don't change.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/14/2009 at 07:36 PM

Tim,

Nobody kicks Rafa's butt.

Time for the Rafa's Express again.

Posted by Grant 07/14/2009 at 07:36 PM

"Pspace lots of upstanding people with impeccable judgement dislike Safin."

Lies! Only shiftless hoodlums and opium-crazed wastrels dislike him.

"Hopefully on the sidelines waiting to for the perfect moment to hit the participants with a 2 by 4 upside the head."

Might I suggest 'all day, every day' as the perfect moment?

Posted by Emma (insertwittymantrahere) 07/14/2009 at 07:36 PM

STOP WITH THE FEDAL WAR NONSENSE.

Let's all make a date to do this after Rafa and Roger have both retired. Until then, the exercise is totally pointless.

Sorry for caps, but gah.

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 07/14/2009 at 07:37 PM

the only reason Rafa has the clout he does is his efforts on clay and overall against Federer, the rest of his career and results is rather non existent, he's made his entire name off of Federer, because Federer is in literally every Slam final for five years..

Posted by rafadoc 07/14/2009 at 07:37 PM

Wow...this took a direct turn south. Whodu thunk?

Rudy3-Coincidentally, I just put on my RNKAS t-shirt. :) ( I noticed he is going back to the Cages too-the Balistics were shorts lived, no?)

Posted by rudy3 (proud Rafaelite since 2005) 07/14/2009 at 07:38 PM

Is it possible that Pete's post today was not mean't to spark a Fedal War?

Its so tired. Geez!!!!!! Fed has 15 slams, and Freak of Nature statistics. Rafa has the lead in their H2H rivalry.

The End. Nothing new. Its so boring.

Posted by imjimmy 07/14/2009 at 07:38 PM

""What really matters is one's H2H against ALL the other players combined, ""

That and how good the other players "are" really. It basically comes down to whether you think Federer faced any other 'great' player except Nadal.

IMV Roger's contemporaries Roddick-Hewitt-Safin would be loosing to Sampras-Agassi ; Becker-Edberg-Jmac ; Borg-Connors-Newcombe ; Laver-Rosewall. Basically whatever era you look at they wouldn't be on the top. Not great players IMO.

As for the others (Ferrero, Nalbandian, Davydenko, Haas, Ferrer, Gonzales, Blake) they couldn't even get out of their own way, much less reach/beat Federer. Statistically these guys were not even making QF's consistently.

So yeah let's see how the h2h works out when the 2 great players(Fed, Nadal) of this decade are done.

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 07/14/2009 at 07:39 PM

hmmm...Soderling kicked Rafa's butt as I recall... Nalbie, Fed a few times, Djoker, Youzney, Tsonga, oh the butt kicking is there for those who care to see it...

Posted by TripleF-FedFanForever(Fed's Second Reich - We are in it!) 07/14/2009 at 07:39 PM

ladyjulia:
GOAT discussion was officiated both 2 Petes - the tennis player and the tennis writer who (ghost) wrote his book. I immensely respect both, but I think GOAT became a legit topic because of Pete (pick your take).

Posted by Grant 07/14/2009 at 07:39 PM

"15-6 means little when one has is several years older and has entered several more majors.

Spin away all you want but the numbers don't change."

Are you talking to yourself, or just blissfully unaware of how perfectly your second sentence answered your first?

Posted by manuelsantanafan 07/14/2009 at 07:40 PM

Tim:

"the only reason Rafa has the clout he does is his efforts on clay and overall against Federer, the rest of his career and results is rather non existent, he's made his entire name off of Federer. . . ."

Tim, here's a hint. Ridiculous statements like the above do not advance your credibility.

Posted by ladyjulia 07/14/2009 at 07:40 PM

Every Fed KAD and Rafa KAD here is entertaining NP...he (or she) must be feeling like Zaphod Beeblebrox when he was put in the total perspective vortex.

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 07/14/2009 at 07:40 PM

hey i didnt bring it up, it IS absurd, they both have great careers, Fed's is unparalleled, Rafa's is fairly young ... Feddies would never say a word unless they read some nutty posts

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 07:41 PM

Yeah I third that

Hey can I say that

What the heck I just did.

Posted by Mr. X 07/14/2009 at 07:41 PM

NP,
I know, every player who has had such a decent career deserves some recognition. It's just that his name always comes to my mind when the Sampras hour starts, dont really know why.
Well, apart from the fact that i was never Pete's biggest fan. (How could i, with you and imjimmy around?:)

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 07:41 PM

MSF, gotta say you may be overestimating Olympic gold medals. I've been saying for some time that the Olympics are no more difficult to win than most regular MS events. I certainly consider Miami more important than the Os. But good point on how Rafa's pre-prime form often goes unnoticed in the Fedal wars.

Posted by Benny 07/14/2009 at 07:42 PM

So if Roddick would have served and volleyed even a little on his 2nd serve, i can't understand what would have been different.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 07:42 PM

Touche Tim

Though our boy lets his racquet do the talking.

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 07/14/2009 at 07:42 PM

why ridiculous Julia?

he's beaten Fed in every Slam except one, its a big deal, he's gotten his clout beacuse of beating Fed, no?

what am i missing?

by the way im not claiming any credibility, lol ..just opinions i happen to believe firmly...

Posted by Grant 07/14/2009 at 07:42 PM

"the only reason Rafa has the clout he does is his efforts on clay and overall against Federer, the rest of his career and results is rather non existent, he's made his entire name off of Federer, because Federer is in literally every Slam final for five years.."

I suspect that if Federer weren't around, Nadal would still have a lot of clout. Channel slams tend to get noticed. Unless you're saying Nadal would be losing those finals against other people, which is a bit. . . odd.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/14/2009 at 07:43 PM

Soderling won that match at the anonymous GS because he was playing an injured player. The others have all had payback.

Posted by BlueDog 07/14/2009 at 07:43 PM

So NP-

If Rog is the Beatles and Rafa is the Stones, then Pete S is... Culture Club!?!?

Alright, the joke's old and unfair, but I couldn't resist.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 07/14/2009 at 07:44 PM

Grant:

"Are you talking to yourself, or just blissfully unaware of how perfectly your second sentence answered your first?"

Apparently you want to enter a competition with Tim to determine who can spout the most nonsense.

Best of luck.

Posted by joe_can_bike 07/14/2009 at 07:45 PM

*Whistling past the Jets/Sharks rumble of 2*

Name that rivalry: they have split their 7 matches, 3-4. A player won the first 4 and then lost the next 3. All but one of their matches has been straight sets.....

Djokovic vs. Murray.

Posted by rudy3 (proud Rafaelite since 2005) 07/14/2009 at 07:45 PM

"Feddies would never say a word unless they read some nutty posts"

thats not even credible. Oh look, Wheel of Fortune is on...I'm out, and will return when the party thins out a little.

Posted by charles 07/14/2009 at 07:45 PM

Here's a new stat for you:
Youth always has the advantage.
I compared the match records (head to head) of every winner of a major (AFWU) singles title against every other major (singles) winner in the Open era, (head to head info from ATP website):
NONE of the 6-major winners who had complete careers in the open era (I didn't compare other players) had a better record against players younger than himself than against players older than himself:

For example, Lendl's record against GS (major) titlists (anyone who won at least one singles major - comparing all professional matches the two players played) older than himself was 108 matches won, 48 matches lost, or 69%. Lendl's record against younger opponents was 91 wins, 61 losses, or 60%. Thus his record against older opponents is better than against younger opponents. This is true for all players who won at least 6 majors and played their complete career in the open era. Here's the list, first the winning % against older GS winners and then against younger:
Connors 70% 50%
Borg 72% 64%
McEnroe 68% 46%
Lendl 69% 60%
Wilander 61% 47%
Edberg 58% 48%
Becker 71% 56%
Agassi 65% 57%
Sampras 66% 63%
Federer 73% 64%

Federer's career is of course, still unfolding, so the numbers may change, but the trend seems irrevocable. There is only one GS winner younger than Nadal (Djokovic) so there is a serious lack of data to compare Nadal's numbers.

My point is this, Federer's losing record against Nadal is no indication that Fed is not the GOAT (I'm not saying Fed is the goat, just that the losing record means squat).

Posted by mcakron 07/14/2009 at 07:45 PM

Grant@7:39 -- very, very slick.

Oh well, it's days like these that make me long for the Mole Wars.

Posted by ladyjulia 07/14/2009 at 07:46 PM

Tim...it wasn't me...

It was MSF...

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 07:46 PM

ladyjulia, so R U saying I should be charged for something I didn't request because I somehow benefit from it? How socialist!

Mr. X, anytime.

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