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In Broad Daylight 07/04/2010 - 2:59 PM

102617231 

by Pete Bodo

This time, it required no passing shots fired like small cannons into the deepening gloaming. No desperate second serves that traveled the razor's edge separating those two celebrated Wimbletwins, Triumph and Disaster. No brooding confrontations between fear and courage, both marinated in sweet perspiration that kept them slippery, grasped one moment, gone the next. No flashbulbs bursting like newborn planets in the twilight, and no scaling of the dusty green wall above which the stunned interested parties sat, awaiting the moment: The embrace.

If Rafael Nadal's first singles victory at Wimbledon, in 2008, remains an epic engraved forever on the soul of tournament and those who love it, his second one today was a clinical, almost antiseptic act of reaffirmation. Why go through all that again? Today, Nadal demolished Tomas Berdych, a lanky and late-blooming threat, unstable as acetone peroxide, who was unable to rally the kind of commanding, power-based tennis that had carried him to the final over the fortnight.

Nadal won it, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4, as Berdych's nerves, game, or both failed him at inconvenient times. Thus Nadal became the first man since Bjorn Borg to complete the Channel Slam (back-to-back wins at Roland Garros and Wimbledon) more than once in the Open era. It wasn't very long ago that Borg's accomplishment seemed untouchable, not just because of Borg's game but—in theory—because of essential transformations in the game itself. Now, Nadal and Roger Federer have each done it. As Nadal said in his presser, "It didn't happen since Borg (1980), and now it happened for the past three years. How crazy is life?"

But let's get back to those critical moments in the match. With his punishing serve and quick-strike groundstrokes, Berdych is capable of holding serve until the cows, or John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, come home. But Nadal broke Berdych twice in the first set, and in the second set Nadal broke Berdych in what arguably was the most critical game of the match: the 13th. Had Berdych held there, the set would have gone to the tiebreaker and, against a guy like Berdych, that's always a crapshoot. Nadal also broke Berdych in what would be the final game of the match to clinch it 6-4.

You could argue that Berdych's greatest miscalculation was his stubborn refusal to go to a Plan B when Plan A (engaging Nadal in stock baseline-based play) clearly failed. But in each of the last two sets, Berdych matched Nadal, hold for hold, until deep into the set. So in the end, you can just as easily put down his loss to a failure of nerve. He failed to play the big points well. Berdych was 0 for 5 in break points, compared to Nadal's 4 for 6. If someone had told you before the match that there would be no tiebreakers, you would have known it would hardly be worth watching. Going into the match, Berdych had lost just seven service games; today he lost four, nearly 50 per cent of his tournament total.

But Nadal was broken just eight times in this tournament, a statistic that points to his serving efficiency as well as his generally high level of execution. After all, Nadal's 54 aces is barely half the number served up at Wimbledon by his final opponent (111). Berdych finished second on the ace list (behind John Isner, who served all of his in one match); Nadal finished tied for 22nd.

Still, as Toni Nadal, Rafa’s uncle and coach, told us about his nephew's general level of play: "It was as good as 2008. Maybe better, because he improve some things, like his serve."

Nadal's well-placed lefty slice, less effective for its pop than for its shrewd placement, has made his life easier on grass. But he wins on the surface for the same reason as the former player he most resembles, Borg. It's all about the legs. As he said, "I think I have very good thing for player here on grass—movement. I move well on the court, and that's a very important part of the game."

No secrets there. Berdych begged to differ and put it simply: "His biggest weapon is his left hand. It's not many players like that. It's really tough, you know, to find the right rhythm."

102617131And it's that much tougher when the most basic strength of your opponent exposes your most basic weakness. In this case, the quickness of Nadal matched with the relatively poor movement of Berdych. As the match wore on, Berdych's defense looked weaker and weaker; by the late stages, he was pushing feeble sliced backhands which, when they did make it over the net, were easy pickings for the swift Nadal.

How did he get so fast? "I think all my life I practiced with my high hundred percent of intensity in every ball in the practice. That's why today I am faster, no? Probably now I'm not practicing with the same intensity like when I was a kid. When I was a kid, I practiced—believe me—like crazy."

This appetite, even for a cradle-to-grave tennis pro, is slightly unusual, and it points to a more fundamental attribute that may be the wellspring of Nadal's style as well as his degree of success. That's his passion for the game, which is manifested in both subtle and obvious ways.

We all know that tennis players are coy, proud individuals. They claim never to read anything written about them, but you can catch them at the newsstand with an armload of papers. Once they're out of a tournament, they profess no interest in watching the grand finale. But I'll bet they sit there, doing sit-ups, tuned in to the broadcast, growling: That coulda been me.

When Nadal was asked the other day if he had watched last year's final between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick, he said, "I watched at home, on the sofa. Just enjoying the beautiful match. Was a very emotional match. I liked the tennis, so I enjoyed the match."

How often have you heard players, instead of transported fans, call tennis "beautiful?"

Of course, you don't get to be Rafael Nadal by enjoying the moment when you're actually playing out there; you get to be Nadal by living in it and most of all surviving it—even if you get the job done while the sun is still high and the shadows short, while spectators are appreciating every point instead of living—or dying —a little bit with each one.

Today was easy, although Nadal would be the last to tell you so. Don't you think he earned it?


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Posted by TeamNadal 07/04/2010 at 03:02 PM

RAFA RULES!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Pierre 07/04/2010 at 03:12 PM

"So in the end, you can just as easily put down his loss to a failure of nerve."

Maybe, or was it a failure of guts? Berdych seemed content to be out there and go through the motions. Where was the competitive spirit? Where was the passion?

How about going down fighting? Not that he would have won that way, but at least put some effort into it. I am glad the Queen wisely chose to miss this one, I doubt she would have been amused.

Posted by surinamer 07/04/2010 at 03:14 PM

Berdych has a winner's smile.

Posted by sally 07/04/2010 at 03:15 PM

i used to dislike rafa intensely cause he always beat
my fav. but the more i watch him, the more i appreciate
his mental toughness and how he never gives up.
he is one of the all time greats.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/04/2010 at 03:16 PM

Pete,

This is my favourite post ever. Thank you for all your posts from Wimbledon and I wish you a safe journey home.

I didn't have great hopes of him winning this tournament because of his poor showing at
Queens and his form wasn't wonderful in his first few matches in SW19 either. So I am doubly surprised and pleased with this win today.

I would also like to see Berdy maintain some good form in future and hope that he will take away the positives because there are plenty for him.

Posted by Nadal THE GREAT 07/04/2010 at 03:18 PM

Great writing!

Posted by Sofia 07/04/2010 at 03:21 PM

Yeah. He deserved it (:

Posted by TeamNadal 07/04/2010 at 03:27 PM

GORG...

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/06kE1crbmS7lE/1000x.jpg

Posted by Nishith 07/04/2010 at 03:31 PM

Good post,Pete.
I liked the fact that you didn't go for needless exaggerations and kept it matter-of-fact.
The final did lack bite,though.
The Nadal-Murray match was quite high on quality.
Whether you are a fan or not, you have to take a bow at his mental fortitude.
And the humility of the man. What do you say about it!
To be a superstar and to be this humble, thats really unheard of.
And he doesn't fake his humility.
One may or may not like his game or his fashion sense for that matter, but he is a genuinely good human being, how can anyone grudge that.
If I were one-tenth as famous as him and had half his humility, I would be a a super star in my eyes.
The guy is a class act, period.

Posted by marron 07/04/2010 at 03:36 PM

Hi Pete,

Very nice piece, once again.

As to your question at the end, a resounding 'yes' from me.

Have a safe trip back to the US.

Posted by Jim 07/04/2010 at 03:41 PM

This win is another tribute to Rafa's greatness and mental toughness. Especially after the rough 2009 with injury and parent's divorce. Great to see him bounce back this year. Its great to see that he remains humble and well grounded. Great example of sportsmanship that lacks in pro sports these days.

Posted by tennis master 07/04/2010 at 03:42 PM

Federer has almost always lost to Nadal; and is sure to lose to a healthy nadal .
Federer is lacking in power.
And federer appears weak against nadal, soderling, del potro, berdych;
Federe is not the best player of today’s time.
Sure, federer has won his slams 16 slams in the weak era of roddick, davydenko, Gonzales, Hewitt, safin, etc.
Don’t call federer the GOAT when he is clearly inferior to nadal;

Posted by Pete 07/04/2010 at 03:49 PM

Well, everyone, I don't have it in me to write a farewell post, so this will have to do. Thanks for reading, thanks for keeping it (relatively) collegial around here. No post tomorrow, but I'll be around Tuesday. . . happy trails!

Posted by 70's tennis fan 07/04/2010 at 03:50 PM

Great post Pete, and a great day! I was there..and the right man won!

Fantastic atmosphere at Wimbledon..credit must go to the 'committee' for maintaining such tradition and sheer class whilst also moving with the times. A hard balancing act but they manage so well year after year.

Have a safe trip back Pete, and thanks for all the wonderful reportd 'from the ground'

Posted by Andrew Miller 07/04/2010 at 03:50 PM

What a feat by Nadal. I concur with Mr. Bodo re: Berdych's big points, but also believe in his nerves. Thought Berdych was more nervous than Nadal (seemed a bit tight), and Nadal's nervousness was something that a Federer, not a Berdych, could exploit in a slam final. Also, Nadal ran Berdych ragged, not vice versa. If he were like Del Potro, who overwhelmed and intimidated Federer in the USOpen fifth set, maybe there would have been real chances (momentum).

I thought Berdych was a bit tight. All that said, Nadal truly the champion. No doubt. The difference between Nadal and Andy Roddick is that Nadal improves more than Roddick. Roddick improves incredibly, but Nadal improves even more.

Posted by zolarafa 07/04/2010 at 03:51 PM

Thanks a lot Pete for this very nice piece.

Congratulations to Rafa and all Rafa fans here. Also to Tomas and his fans. He had two great tournaments. Semis in FO, final in Wimbledon and perhaps he will win the next!

I too, think RAfa's best match was against Murray followed by his match against Soderling. Perhaps Tomas was nervous or RAfa played so well that did not allow Tomas to play his game , or a combination of both.

How great that Rafa watched last year'sfinal. He was also watching Isner-Mahut match and wrote about it in his facebook page.

Thanks Pete for the coverage and prompt reports from Wimbledon and have a safe trip back home.

Posted by Game Lover 07/04/2010 at 03:51 PM

Yes, Rafa deserved it.

Both him and Roger are artists in their own rights, probably Fed even more so, while Rafa works harder....
I think that he didn't have to go all out today (probably no more then 80%) and I hope that his body will hold for the future. It can't be easy for someone who likes to train and play so hard to be forced to take 2-3 weeks off now and there; I think that afterwards he's out of shape a bit (Tennis shape), that's the price he'll have to pay from now on probably.
I do like the changing in his game, attacking more, hitting with more power (not only with top spin), will be missing Roger.
Both of them are endangered by the giants like Delpo, Soderlinge, Beerdich...Even Nole and Murray are pressed by those guys and we are like to have the top 4 as representative of the more classical, artistic tennis!

Enjoy your own tennis!
WTG Rafa!

Posted by Game Lover 07/04/2010 at 03:52 PM

Yes, Rafa deserved it.

Both him and Roger are artists in their own rights, probably Fed even more so, while Rafa works harder....
I think that he didn't have to go all out today (probably no more then 80%) and I hope that his body will hold for the future. It can't be easy for someone who likes to train and play so hard to be forced to take 2-3 weeks off now and there; I think that afterwards he's out of shape a bit (Tennis shape), that's the price he'll have to pay from now on probably.
I do like the changing in his game, attacking more, hitting with more power (not only with top spin), will be missing Roger.
Both of them are endangered by the giants like Delpo, Soderlinge, Beerdich...Even Nole and Murray are pressed by those guys and we are like to have the top 4 as representative of the more classical, artistic tennis!

Enjoy your own tennis!
WTG Rafa!

Posted by tennis master 07/04/2010 at 04:02 PM

end of federer

Posted by espnalanaldo 07/04/2010 at 04:05 PM

Congratulations, Rafa!!!

That is now a double euro clay-grass double! One that Roger cannot do, except when you were injured. Roger's double it not noteworthy because it something of a win by default.

So, now pace yourself, RAFA, to achieve the career slam this August at US Open. By then, you would be the, I think, youngest to achieve a career Slam, earlier than Laver or Agassi or, oh, I forgot Roger. Ok, getting ahead of myself. Regardless, the display of tenacity by Nadal from last year's adversities and physical setback into GS 8 is just phenomeNADAL!!!

No, contrary to rogerlings', and other press pundits' hankering to undermine Rafa, "big boys (6'3" or up) do not rule" in Rafa's world. Nadal just showed us that Soderling, Murray, or Berdych are no match to his versatility. It is not just booming serves or flat forehands and brute force, it is a lot to do with placement and timing. Nadal is the king of defending break points and capitalizing on big game, set and match points.

Berdych was zero for how many chances to break? Just like Roger, no prayer whatsoever. The "big boys" can defeat Roger, but not Rafa, now that he is just maturing to an all out baseline to serve and volley player. Just scary, how he was able to do the transition so effectively!

Congrats, again and kudos to that unique, somersault, hip-thrust celebratory signature move!!! Very entertaining. Use it again at USO!

Posted by espnalanaldo 07/04/2010 at 04:18 PM

Yes, indeed eight is halfway's roger's Slam. The 24-27 age span is where the haul of Slams rises geometrically. It is not inconceivable for Rafa to dominate three of those four years at four/3 slams a year. Even, on a conservative side of 9 more will put Rafa at 17!!! vs 16 of roger.

But what I want to see happen is not the quantity but the quality --- as in Calendar Slam!!!

And when that happens, hopefully in 2012. to make it a Golden Calendar Slam, Roger will just be another player that Rafa has a dominating head to head.

And if on the off chance that Rafa just gets 12, with the 14-7 head to head Rafa, it is a no brainer, who is a better player.

Good luck, Rafa and thanks for all the entertaining, (vs. boring) tennis you enthralled us, since your winning the French Open on your FIRST try!

Oh, by the way, if the rogerlings and fed die hards think that Roger will win another Slam, try again, because I think, based on his boo hoo crying at OZ Open, he will retire instead of seeing his ranking plummet to #6 or #9 by the year's end.

Posted by Wimby 2010 07/04/2010 at 04:18 PM

Here is a question for you guys:

which one is most likely happen the earliest and latest (or least likely happen depends on how you see it)

1. Djoker wins 2nd slam
2. Delpo wins 2nd slam
3. Murray wins 1st slam
4. Roddick wins 2nd slam
5. Rafa wins 10th slam
6. someone else wins his 1st slam

Posted by sally 07/04/2010 at 04:23 PM

if my memory serves, roger won the last oz open, and it was murray that was
boo hoo crying.

Posted by Wimby 2010 07/04/2010 at 04:24 PM

Fed do to list:

1. wins Davis cup with Stan the man
2. reaches final on all 10 ATP 1000 master series events (he just needs to do it at Paris indoor). He also need to do it at Shanghai, but technically he already it by winning Madrid indoor event.
3. wins all 10 ATP 1000 master series. Missing Monte Carlo, Rome, and Paris indoor.
4. wins Olympic singles gold at 2012 London

That's it. They are doable and the easiest will #2 and the hardest will be #3.

Posted by Mike 07/04/2010 at 04:27 PM

Is Tennis Master and espnalanaldo one in the same? Can't tell ...

Posted by espnalanaldo 07/04/2010 at 04:31 PM

sally,

It must be killing you to forget 2009 Oz Open.

and 14-7.

Posted by chris m 07/04/2010 at 04:31 PM

Really beautifully written. Thanks, Pete, for the sharp journalism. Umm, Chris Chase, can you take some notes?

Posted by Matt 07/04/2010 at 04:34 PM

To all you Federer bashers out there, here's a reality check...Federer has sixteen slams, double Rafa's total. Federer was ranked number one for over two hundred weeks consecutively, not counting the past year, while Nadal has held that ranking for less than 52 weeks. And let's not forget, Federer has the career slam while Nadal has been unable to make it past the semis of the USO. To recap, Rafa has a long way to go before he equals or, more unlikely, surpasses Federer. As we've all seen these past two years, tennis is very changeable and you never know what surprises the future holds.

Posted by Anto 07/04/2010 at 04:35 PM

It´s good that Rafa gave up the Davis Cup tie against France. Three times a winner of it, they probably cost him one GS or two, bringing him to exhaustion in such long seasons in the past years. With that approach, I see him lifting the trophy in ... Queens (the NY area where the US Open is held) at the end of the summer. Long live the King.

Posted by Kevin @ Dublin 07/04/2010 at 04:35 PM

The last two days' finals were very disappointing. Such one sided affairs. There were far better matches over the last two weeks than these. If Serena "improves" her serve much more she will turn into the female equivalent of Pete Sampras with nothing much but aces. Sampras put me off watching mens finals for years until variety returned to tennis with the likes of Hewitt, Federer, Roddick, Nadal and Murray. If the womens finals become this, they are just going to be boring. There hasn't been a three-set US Open WS final since 1995 and a French one since 2001! On the men's side, the final today was just like yesterdays' first time finalist loosing their nerve/confidence, by missing opportunities and being put under very severe pressure by a many times champion.

Tennis is lost if it's all about league tables and having "notches" on players bags and shoes. The quality of the match is about the competition between opponents and not trying to get a match over as quickly as possible to grab the trophy for the photo-call. The womens final at Roland Garros and the mens in Melbourne were far better than this years Wimbledon.

Safina, Clijsters, Henin, Sharapova, Federer, Roddick, and Hewitt, please stick around a bit longer. The sport needs good competition for good finals.

Posted by Mardy 07/04/2010 at 04:38 PM

Mike - maybe not the same person but same immaturity!

In any case, great win for Nadal, and great possibilities for him in the future. I hope he lives up to his potential, and hope to see a little bit more of the great Fed this hard court season.

Posted by Mike 07/04/2010 at 04:38 PM

Matt, don't waste your finger tips posting facts ... haters only remember what they want to remember. It's Rafa's Day ... which means that it's automatically Bash Fed Day for the factually challenged.

Posted by Wimby 2010 07/04/2010 at 04:39 PM

Rafa to do list:

1. win US open
2. win more majors
3. reach Cincinnati 1000 master final to reach all 10 ATP master series (he even reached both Shanghai and Madrid indoor)
4. Win all ATP 1000 Master series. Missing Miami (finalist twice), Cincinnati (SF twice), and Paris Indoor (finalist once)

somewhat similar to my "Fed to do list" ha ha

Posted by Mike 07/04/2010 at 04:40 PM

Word, Mardy .. ;)

Posted by Jenn 07/04/2010 at 04:41 PM

Thanks for your coverage Pete, and safe travels. Of course today was not 2008, or even 2008 or 2009. That's what people wanted and got a bit grumpy around here when the match started taking on that sense of the inevitable. But it takes nothing away from what Rafa accomplished. Indeed, it only highlights it in my mind. He got through what was a very tough draw for him and played some spectacular tennis along the way (particularly against Sod and Murray, both formidable opponents). With 2 Wimbledon titles and finals, Rafa is 26-2 in the past 4 Wimbys. Incredible stuff from a clay courter, no??

Congratulations to Rafa and his fans today. I'm thrilled for this win.

Posted by sally 07/04/2010 at 04:42 PM

LOL-i'm usually the one harping on the h2h with rafa.
and it's not a positive for roger.

Posted by Jdmagnet 07/04/2010 at 04:46 PM

Rafa's game is tuning up to be unmatchable! Rafa Rules...Vamos!

Posted by Wimby 2010 07/04/2010 at 04:46 PM

Mistake correction: NOT "10", but "9" ATP 1000 Master series

I really want either Fed or Rafa to become 1st to win all ATP 1000 Master series. Why is it so darn hard that even TMF and Rafa can't do it? Both reached 8 of 9 master series final and both won 6 of 9. Agassi won 7 of 9. They are so close, you know.

Fed just needs to focus on Paris Indoor since he always loses before QF there and then the early clay masters (MC and Rome).

Rafa, well, it's more complicated since they are spread out; he just needs to put his focus on the 2nd of the 2 mater swing since he always tends to win 1st one (i.e. IW, Canada, and Madrid). He should saves energy and put more effort on the 2nd one (Miami, Cinci, and Paris indoor).

Posted by DontAceMe 07/04/2010 at 05:00 PM

Pete you wrote "In the second set, Nadal broke Berdych in what arguably was the most critical game of the match: the 13th."

Nadal won the second set 7-5. When was the 13th game played?

Posted by Mr.X (Live, from Minionland!) 07/04/2010 at 05:05 PM

Hi everyone.
Pete is right, this wasnt the otherwordly final of 2008, or even 2007 and 2009, but that's what made those special. And it was good for me. After last night, i really couldnt take more nerve-wracking stuff. I think Rafa won this one in an easier way for us Spaniards, who just needed today to relax.
I havent watched any of Berd this tournament, but i'm pretty sure he had to play better to beat Fed, although a letdown probably should have been expected in his first Slam final. He isnt the best returner in the world, and that allowed Rafa to keep holding easily (most times, he did play a stupid game in the first of the second set, but he managed to survive that one- that was a big lost chance for Berd, IMO). Rafa's serve truly impressed me more the other day against Muzz. Today, he seemed to be just waiting for the moment in every set, holding serve till Tomas would get slightly nervous, miss some 1st serves, and he would find an opening. And he took great advantage of it every time.
The best stat to show how effective Rafa's serve is on grass is this one: in his last 2 matches, he lost serve once.

Posted by leigh 07/04/2010 at 05:05 PM

Thanks for the post, Pete.
Yes, Rafa deserved a relatively easy final after having to win 3 FO finals against Fed.
And going 5 sets against Fed at the AO and at the '08 Wimbledon.
Fed has had quite a few easy finals to reach that 16th GS.
('04 USOpen against Hewitt was 6-0, 7-6, 6-0
2008 US was 6-2, 7-6, 6-2 against Murray. easy Wimbledon in '06 against Roddick to name a few.)
I do love Berdych, and hope after the SF at the FO, and this final, he can play his next final with the
confidence he has, and will be gaining. Also wish Nadal perfect health for his career, and many more Slams.

Posted by Izu 07/04/2010 at 05:05 PM

Way to go Nadal!
Yes Pete, Nadal deserved to win the tournament, by a long shot.
Finally, no one can say that Nadal is simply the king of clay.
Yes he is without a doubt the best clay-court player that ever lived on planet earth, but he is now also ranked as one of the all-time greats of tennis (clay, grass, hard, you name it), all of this at 24!
At this pace and with his ever-improving skills and determination, he would (also without a doubt) be the GOAT by 28 ;-)
Best of all, his humility, hardwork, and good-nature is second to none in any sport, not just tennis.
Now let's all sit back, relax, and enjoy the Rafa era! The party only just started... :-)

Posted by SK 07/04/2010 at 05:07 PM

Pete,
Why Rafa was broken in court 1 very often than center court?
Does it mean anything?It is to me.It will be nice if you comment on the changing nature of grass court during an event unlike clay/hard.
Thanks

Posted by Izu 07/04/2010 at 05:09 PM

Way to go Nadal!
Yes Pete, Nadal deserved to win the tournament, by a long shot.
Finally, no one can say that Nadal is simply the king of clay.
Yes he is without a doubt the best clay-court player that ever lived on planet earth, but he is now also ranked as one of the all-time greats of tennis (clay, grass, hard, you name it), all of this at 24!
At this pace and with his ever-improving skills and determination, he would (also without a doubt) be the GOAT by 28 ;-)
Best of all, his humility, hardwork, and good-nature is second to none in any sport, not just tennis.
Now let's all sit back, relax, and enjoy the Rafa era! The party only just started... :-)

Posted by Daniel 07/04/2010 at 05:11 PM

Great performance for Nadal. If he stays healthy (a big if), Federer's reign as the greatest player of all time will be pretty short lived.

To respond to the Wimby 2010 question, I don't see Roddick winning another. All the others on there are younger than he is, and I think all of them are at least as likely to win a major (in Nadal's case, two). I guess I'm not sure who will fulfill #6 (maybe Berdych or Soderling?), but I'm not optimistic about Roddick's chances.

Posted by chicklet 07/04/2010 at 05:17 PM

Mr X - I told you San Iker would return after he shaved.

Posted by Mr.X (Live, from Minionland!) 07/04/2010 at 05:19 PM

Let's wait till we start proclaiming Nadal as the next GOAT, or even saying he will be in the discussion. So far, he's not even close to the top players in history (away from clay), and with his injury count, you can never know. And you know what, as far as i'm concerned, he doesnt need to. You can be a great tennis player, one of the legends of the game, without having to put yourself in the GOAT discussion.
And probably, being put in a GOAT conversation he doesnt belong to at the moment wouldnt be a good thing for Nadal. We tend to get way ahead of ourselves these days. Remember, last year, Nadal was being billed to win the Grand Slam, when he had only won the AO!
At this moment, his goal is being healthy when the USO starts, to be able to be a contender.

Posted by leigh 07/04/2010 at 05:23 PM

I think the ranking, seedings, and draw will be interesting at tournaments this summer and fall; especially at the
US Open. Nadal will be ranked #1. Not sure how the Open will do the seeding, but if they do it according to rankings,
Federer could be seeded #3, which might mean he will have more difficult matches earlier, something
that hasn't really happened since 2003. (a ranking of #3.)

Posted by Mike 07/04/2010 at 05:28 PM

I agree 100%, Mr. X. Problem is, there will always be those that can't be happy simply celebrating their fave's win without putting down their main rival in the same sentence. They suck all the positive feelings out of the room, IMHO.

Posted by leigh 07/04/2010 at 05:29 PM

I agree with you, Mr.X.
I don't think Nadal needs to be put in the GOAT category at this time in his career.
Here is hoping that he stays healthy and has a long career.
His team seems to be doing some adjusting of his game with a more aggressive style of play,
better serving, etc. It will be interesting to see how they manage his schedule for the rest of the year.

Posted by TB 07/04/2010 at 05:31 PM

Its posters like "tennis master" that make me not want to even read these posts. Nadal is great, Fed is great. Im not even going to waste energy talking apart "tennis masters" logic, because if it’s not obvious to people than they are probably lacking in some cognitive faculty themselves. Ive always been a huge fed fan, but i also really like Nadal and think his game is awesome to watch, not to mention he is absurdly humble. Nadal is amazing for sure!

Posted by wilson75 07/04/2010 at 05:33 PM

leigh: I think Rafa had an easier time winning the RG 08 finals he only lost 4 games.

Posted by leigh 07/04/2010 at 05:35 PM

wilson75 - That is true. His opponent was a mentally tougher and more experienced opponent, though.
(Maybe even the greatest player of all time. :)

Posted by Mike 07/04/2010 at 05:37 PM

Like I said ...

Posted by wilson75 07/04/2010 at 05:37 PM

"Federer could be seeded #3, which might mean he will have more difficult matches earlier, something that hasn't really happened since 2003. (a ranking of #3.)"

leigh: I was thinking he would probably get some easier draws at the slams now, considering the all cupcake draws Djokovic got while seeded no.3

Posted by Mr.X (Live, from Minionland!) 07/04/2010 at 05:38 PM

Just heard an interview with Nadal on Spanish radio.
He was on his way to the champions dinner. Not much of notice. He worked very hard to come back after last year. He still wants to improve and that's what drives him to practice every day. He didnt see himself terribly superior today, and he felt it was complicated till he won the 2nd set. He felt safe with his serve, which gave him calm, but he felt a little more nervous than usual.
When he's gonna serve and someone yells "I love you, Rafa", he laughs inside. (?)
Then, they briefly connected him with Manolo Santana, and they had a nice exchange, as usual. Monolo praised him enormously, of course.

Posted by wilson75 07/04/2010 at 05:39 PM

leigh: I don't think Federer was mentally strong in that match hence the score line.

Posted by jb (chocolate FTW) 07/04/2010 at 05:40 PM

leigh - actually - the first 4 players all get their own quarter, and have the same chance of meeting more difficult players.

its when you get lower than 4 that you don't have your own quarter and that you are in danger of hitting one of the top 4 players. then its a crap shoot who you hit.

but somehow if Fed were to drop to 5, I'm still not sure any player will be that sanguine about hitting him in the quarters of a slam... :)

Posted by dnrood 07/04/2010 at 05:40 PM

No doubt this was a bit of a downer final compared to 2007.2008, and 2009 but the better player won today. There were very few memorable shots except for a couple by Rafa, but it was very effecient and clinical as Pete said. Maybe its a tribute to the changes Rafa has been able to make in his game, and I dare say if he can win more easy matches like this he could help his health issues. One thing I wouldn't do is short change Rafa's ability to change his game to become a force at the USO. He was ripping the back hand most of this tournament, it is no longer the weak sister to his forehand. He also has become an above average volleyer by today's standard. So, optimitic about Rafa's chances at the USO, although as of now it will always be the hardest major for him to win.

Posted by leigh 07/04/2010 at 05:43 PM

It will be interesting to see the draws. :)
So many difficult players in the 22 - 25 age category.
I hope Del-Po becomes healthy soon. Is he out of the US Open this year? I think I heard he has
already made this decision.

Posted by Kim (Swiss in Brisbane) 07/04/2010 at 05:47 PM

Congrats Rafa and to his fans. Just WOW!

Posted by wilson75 07/04/2010 at 05:52 PM

leigh: Del Potro will not be defending USO. He's hoping to come back for Paris but I wont be surprised if he decides to give up on this year and comeback next year.

Posted by I hate it when I am at a grunting concert and they start playing tennis 07/04/2010 at 05:53 PM

Hmm, it's awfully quite here today. I suppose maybe now that Wimby is over and it's July 4th. Anyway, I hope Fed and Rafa don't end up in the same half at US open. Ideally I want Murray and Fed on the same half since Murray can't seem to compete against Fed in slam final. Maybe it'll be more competitive if they meet on SF.

Posted by leigh 07/04/2010 at 05:56 PM

jb - thanks for the insights on seedings - Makes sense that it would mainly have an effect on the #5 guy and beyond.


wilson75- I was just saying the 'mental toughness' because he had been in that situation of a GS final
many times. Maybe he felt a lot of pressure that day because he wanted a French title so badly. ?


Posted by CL 07/04/2010 at 05:56 PM

Hey Mr. X - are you still around???!!

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 07/04/2010 at 05:56 PM

Mr.X: as usual, I agree. I thrilled he's got 8 slams! That puts him in the discussion as one of the all-time greats. Two channel slams is fantastic too and I think he has his best chance ever at the USOpen this year (unfortunately, with poor Delpo still injured).

Wimby2010's 4:18 list is a fun one to contemplate.

Because Delpo is still injured, I don't see a second slam for him for awhile.
Muzz and Nole both have a chance for a HC slam - about equal.
Frankly, I see Rafa winning slam #9 in Flushing Meadows in September.
Then the 2011 AO will be very much up for grabs amongst these four guys. I think Nole's general health is more precarious than Rafa's at the moment. But these four players are the only real contenders for slams right now.

Posted by I hate it when I am at a grunting concert and they start playing tennis 07/04/2010 at 05:57 PM

Oh, Delpo, what a wasted year. He pushed too hard at AO and then tried to avoid surgery; it all backfired on him. He would be below 50 I suppose if he comes back later this year. Or if he comes back next year, watch out for AO open. Some unlucky seeded bastard will get him either first round or second. Ohhh, who could that be? Fed or Rafa? Djoker or Murray? Oh, the suspense.. Watch out for Delpo laser fearhand machine!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 05:58 PM

Thanks Pete, Also loved that fact you were online and blogging live during the game.

Rafa to me has been playing smarter tennis than 08.His serve has been a feature during Wimbledon.Also his 2nd serve very underestimated as well.I loved the tactics of his b/hand slice which brought Tomas undone and brought errors as well.Hey I had already played the match tactically in my mind many times.Rafa has a great tennis mind.

To think he is only 1 Channel Slam behind Borg as well.Most tennis experts agree its the hardest thing to accomplish.

Rafa I will never underestimate you.After 2005 when I witnessed your first GS title I knew then you were destined for much bigger things.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 07/04/2010 at 06:00 PM

And I absolutely love the pic at the top of the post. with rafa's blown up pretty face..

And I completely forgot to mention Roddick. He has an outside chance at one of the HC slams but it would take luck and the draw opening up for him the right way. But I think Rafa's game is peaking right now and Roddick and Roger are getting older. Roddick beat Rafa in Miami iin a brilliant match. He would need to be able to do that in 3outof5 to beat him in a slam and that will be near impossible to do .

Posted by leigh 07/04/2010 at 06:00 PM

Sorry to hear Del-Potro will not be defending.
I heard he had wrist surgery in New York.
What else is going on? Is he able to practice some?
Maybe just able to do conditioning work.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 06:03 PM

Neil I received your email

Love you back too ok

Vamos Rafa! talk to you soon

Posted by wilson75 07/04/2010 at 06:04 PM

leigh: Federer was probably at his weakest mentally during that match because he having trouble with his game. I don't think going into that match he was confident that he would win because he was struggling.

Posted by chicklet 07/04/2010 at 06:05 PM

Wimby2010's list:

Hmmm, this is tricky. I'd say
1. This is not on the list, but Fed will win another slam next year, maybe even US10
2. Someone else wins a first. A new contender has to come along.
3. Murray wins 1st
4. I think Rafa will win the FO next year but I'm not sure if he'll get two.
5. Delpo wins 2nd. It will happen, but the injury will delay it for a while.
6. Djoker or Roddick win a 2nd. I just don't know about these two.

Posted by wilson75 07/04/2010 at 06:06 PM

leigh: Since Del Potro announced that he was going to have surgery and wont defend USO, there hasn't been any news.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 06:10 PM

Pete By the way I did post online to you that The Gong was at Wimbledon celebrating.I know you two were close.She is just the same hasnt changed a bit well ok we have all aged to some degree.She is a credit to the game and still works tirelessly back here in Australia with junior tennis.

Posted by wilson75 07/04/2010 at 06:11 PM

Annie: It's unfortunate that Roddick was unable to make to final this year, considering he would've had to face Federer in the SF but I think Rafa would've beaten him in the final.

Posted by Mr.X (Live, from Minionland!) 07/04/2010 at 06:12 PM

CL,
Still here. Nice to "see" you, as always.

Annie,
You're forgetting someone in your list of Slam contenders for the upcoming Slams. Remember, dont count him out too soon.

I agree that if Delpo is healthy at the AO next year, some seeded guy will be terribly unlucky. Specially if he comes back around Paris, and has already had some tournaments to check his wrist and regain some form.

Posted by leigh 07/04/2010 at 06:15 PM

wilson75: I went back to look at Fed's '08 year leading up to that final.
I see he lost to Nole at the AO in the SF.
Lost on clay to Nadal twice; final at Hamburg and MonteCarlo. Lost to Stepanek in Q in Rome.
Beat Davydenko in final at EStoril.
So, I guess I will concede that according to Fed's standards, he might have thought he was struggling with his
game.:)

Posted by wilson75 07/04/2010 at 06:18 PM

leigh: the funny thing is although he was struggling he had better results overall in '08 than this year.

Posted by leigh 07/04/2010 at 06:19 PM

Going to watch some baseball.
Thanks for everyone's comments.
I always learn something here.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 06:22 PM

Mr X I have just one word for you

Blondes Do Work ok

Even though you know my thoughts on Blondes in general.

Loved the fact Rafa's mum was sitting besides you know who.

Posted by Wimby 2010 07/04/2010 at 06:23 PM

Hmm, I only got 2 answers so far for my question at 04:18 PM. Why so few takers, eh?

Reasonable and very through answer, chicklet at 06:05 PM. That's how it should be done.

good answers, Daniel at 05:11 PM and Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) at 05:56 PM.

BTW, I also wrote Fed & Rafa to do list at 04:24 PM and 04:39 PM. What do U think? I know these guys do not care about Masters series as much as slams, but I really want either or both Fed and Rafa to win all 9 ATP Master series. Why is it so hard (at 04:46 PM)? Darn it.

Posted by Ozone 07/04/2010 at 06:28 PM

After accusing Federer of making excuses for the loss to him, Berdych says this, in the news item, after his loss to Rafa:

http://www.tennis.com/articles/templates/news.aspx?articleid=6407&zoneid=4

Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych has ruled himself out of the Czech Republic’s Davis Cup quarterfinal against Chile because of an abdominal muscle injury.

“If I have a problem, it’s this muscle,” Berdych told Czech public radio on Sunday just hours after losing the Wimbledon final to Rafael Nadal 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.

“The windy conditions (in the match) contributed to it,” Berdych said.

Now, is it better if the injury or weather excuse is made the day after (like Berdych here) or a few tournaments down the line (like Rafa did with his loss to Roddick in Miami, at the Wimby press conf), instead of mentioning it right after the match?

It is also clear that Fed lies about his injuries (that may really be there), before the games, to not give away any weakness to opponents...

These people (Fed, Nadal, Berdych) are ALL the SAME...nothing different about each one in this aspect. Just different forms of execution, thats all.

Posted by Mr.X (Live, from Minionland!) 07/04/2010 at 06:32 PM

AM,
But "she" was there, and Raf won still. And she was there for the Murray match, too. Maybe you can lift the ban now?
By the way, i've shifted to brunettes at the moment, for reasons that dont really matter at this point.

Wimby 2010,
I know why it's hard for Rafa to win all Masters. He lacks the second in the combo of 2 Masters of HCs (in all cases). Miami (after IW), Cincy (after Canada), and Paris (2nd indoor). The main reason, i think, is that he usually starts strong in his first tournament on HCs, but does worst in the second. Reasons for this could be physical, or explained by the fact that he adpats faster than others, who later catch up with him.

Posted by daylily 07/04/2010 at 06:35 PM

hi pete and company--
haven't been here in a year or two but timing is everything....no, today's match may not have been the glorious battle of '08, but why waste unnecessary effort when such is not required? rafa's game was where it needed to be to accomplish his business, that of affirming that he is, indeed, a wimbledon champion. lest we forget so soon, rafa may not have beat roger, but only because he didn't NEED to; berdych had preempted the honors on that one.
very few of the same lot here who i used to "know," but a shout-out to those of you who remember me and my single-minded dedication to promoting the wonderful, fabulous, endearing, beautiful, sweet human being named rafael nadal -- who also happens to be the number one mens' tennis player in the world and deservedly so. all things must change.
and no one will ever forget wimbledon '08.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 06:36 PM

Mr X Your most wonderful mother must be a Brunette bless her by the way

Indeed us Brunettes Rule with most things

Hmmm lets enjoy this victory.USO a bit far away.

Even Rafa said so in his intereview after winning Wimbledon when he was posed the same question lol!

Posted by VMK 07/04/2010 at 06:37 PM

Till the cows or John Isner and Mahut come home!! Wa hahahahahahahahah

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 06:37 PM

Miss Bubbles aka Daylily is that reaaly you?

Okay

*faints"

So wonderful to see you here

You have just made my whole day and then some.

Posted by L.Rubin 07/04/2010 at 06:38 PM

Hey, daylily!

A blast from the past . . .

--Liron

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 06:39 PM

L.Rubin Pass me some Oxygen quick

The Famous Miss Bubbles

Are my Chanel Special Pearl Edition reading glasses playing tricks on me?

Posted by Wimby 2010 07/04/2010 at 06:40 PM

Mr.X, that's what I thought (and said at 04:46 PM). I think Rafa just can't take it easy with those first of the two masters and focus on the 2nd. No, he has to try 100% on every tourney and usually dead tired by the QF of the 2nd masters. The only time he reached final or later stages of the 2nd ones are usually when he gets beaten early at the 1st. For example after being smoked by Nalby at madrid, he reached Paris final (only to be smoked again by Nalby). Same for reaching Miami final before being smoked by Davy D. I think he lost early by Djoker or something at IW.

Posted by Mr.X (Live, from Minionland!) 07/04/2010 at 06:42 PM

Not my mother, AM, but i do think brunettes rule at the moment:)

I agree. No need to think farther right now. Just enjoy the victory. Nadal will take a break for a month, and i'm thinking of doing the same (with the exception of DC next weekend, of course)

Posted by daylily 07/04/2010 at 06:43 PM


no, am, it's the one and only. you'd have died laughing at all the czechered things that went into bubbles' hungry mouth today -- nixon's handwritten notes for his chequers speech, chex mix, a canceled check.....LOL....the vb crew are quite inventive. it's lovely to see you again, as it is the thoughtful ms. rubin.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 06:45 PM

Mr X Great victory for Spain in last nights GP as well

With Lorenzo and Pedrosa finnishing 1 and 2

Well I have my Tour to look forward to

Contador lets see if he can win for a 2nd time again

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 06:47 PM

Dalily No the pleasure is all mine

Vamos Rafa! may I say for the millionith time!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 06:52 PM

Where the hell is Sherlock

Asleep most probably

He too will be thrilled

Miss Daylily aka The Famous Miss Bubbles has made a apperence here at TW

Posted by L.Rubin 07/04/2010 at 06:59 PM

AM,

Yep. He will be thriled. Daylily is one of TW's elders, and her lengthy absence was noted with alarm by quite a few.

Daylily,

Stick around, why don't you?

--Liron

Posted by Charlie 07/04/2010 at 07:13 PM

Really happy for Rafa, amazing times and so glad he's back, large and in charge. Tour missed him big time last year. I hope he goes and wins the US open... hmm, but then it would be nice for Delpo to come back and do well... but then again Rog will need some uplifting... oh hmmm, Murray, because a slam needs to open it's arms and put him out of his misery. Decision, decisions...

Posted by adicecream 07/04/2010 at 07:16 PM

Nice to see daylily. I miss all those who were here when I first started as an overawed lurker and have now disappeared.

Posted by CL 07/04/2010 at 07:20 PM

Mr. X - hope you are still here. I can't tell you how OFTEN I think of you these days! Because...

Did the American restaurant chain called IHOP, (International House of Pancakes) make the hop across the pond to your neck of the woods? They are a chain that serves truly gut busting portions of about everything that is bad for you. Recently, in an attempt, apparently, to get their customers to stop actually exploding from over-eating, they have introduce smaller versions of their meals, called...wait for it...MINIONS!!!! ;-)))))))))))))) They have been running a ton of ads on TV here featuring little cartoon 'minions'** and every time I see them I think of you...which, believe me is better than thinking of them!!!

** I swear, one looks just like Almagro. ;-)))

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