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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 CL 07/04/2010 at 07:21 PM

***waves to daylilly** and seconds Liron's "stick around"!!!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 07:25 PM

CL LOL! the resemblence to Almagro

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/04/2010 at 07:34 PM

Hi aussiemarg,

well, we didn't need our "arsenal" today, did we ?

Posted by jabeau 07/04/2010 at 07:36 PM

Thank you for the wonderful post, Pete. The first two paragraphs especially are a joy to read.
I couldn't be happier for Rafael Nadal. Well done, champion!

Posted by jordn 07/04/2010 at 07:37 PM

I agree this wasn't a fantastic match, but boy was it great to see Nadal back on top of things. Berdych never really seemed to sink his teeth into the match; he doesn't strike me as an outwardly passionate player anyway, but I somehow felt a strange paucity of aggressiveness and determination on his end. I like how efficient This Rafa plays, he doesn't seem to go all out unless he absolutely has to, applying that powerful sensibility for calculated risk to his body and future matches. Berdych didn't seem to be much of a match in the rallies during the first two sets, but in the third, he started anticipating Nadal's penchant for running around his backhand to hit inside-out forehands, and staying in his own forehand corner to guide the ball up the line and get positioned for a volley or winner. It worked a few times, but then Nadal finally seemed to catch on and threw a loopier ball than normal in that direction, to throw off Tomas' drive. Berdych was, however, surprisingly quick - and with such huge reach, he did more effective counterpunching than I expected.

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

The name is NADAL....RAFA NADAL

http://i46.tinypic.com/2zpqr5v.jpg

Posted by chicklet 07/04/2010 at 07:43 PM

Haha, double 0 Rafa. Looking good in a tux.

Posted by daylily 07/04/2010 at 07:51 PM

hi, cl! thank you, i might...the playing field seems to have been leveled a bit.

he does clean up rather nicely, doesn't he?

Posted by tootoot 07/04/2010 at 07:54 PM

Glad Nadal won. How did Federer or Djokovic lose to Berdych? This guy wasn't very impressive at all...and Nadal probably played his worst match of the tournament and won in 3 sets.

Posted by Ruth 07/04/2010 at 07:56 PM

daylily: Your last comment appeared over an hour ago. that probably means that I missed you -- and missed saying to you that I miss you! :) Hope that you return soon.

Posted by M&M 07/04/2010 at 07:58 PM

What a joy to see Nadal so happy that he turns this little gleeful flip around on the grass right after he won the match. He is such an authentic and unique personality and has the spirit of youth in the belly. Always an orignal even taking a bite out of his trophy. Like taking a bite out of Life maybe. Anyway, Congratulations Rafa and his family and fans. I'm thrilled for this win. You are joy to watch Rafa.

Posted by Glenn 07/04/2010 at 07:59 PM

Hi Everybody ! Congrats to fellow Rafa fans and commies to Berdych fans.

Wimby 2010 very interesting question. I'm going to say I think Murray wins AO 2011 happens first.

I didn't spend much time at Indian Wells this year, but the little I saw of Rafa encouraged me greatly.

A friend of mine saw him as well and he said to me, "Your guy is primed." I had to agree.

I think Rafa is going to win USO, but what happens afterwards hmmm.

There is an interesting injury pattern that has happened with Rafa. Almost every 20 months his injuries become a serious issue (05,07,09).

If the pattern continues(i hope it doesn't), then the next flare up would be around late December of this year or early January.

If that does happen, next years clay court season could be his worst, but i think he would still bounce back as he has in the past and 2012 would be a great opportunity to pull off something special. Of course this is getting way ahead.

Interestingly enough, 2 nights ago i was checking out the interviews on the Wimby website. The June 26th interview of Nadal has some potentially very good news. A reporter(was it Pete?) asks Rafa if he's scared about the knees, and Rafa responds by saying he had some work done on the left knee already and that has been very successful and that at some point he'll have similar work done on the left.

I'll try to find the link.

Cheers Mates

AM- if you're still here, did you catch Sydney vs Richmond?


Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 08:00 PM

Lynne Indeed no.Still I fell off my chair with Jake I Cant Count Garner just saying lol!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 08:02 PM

My Dear Glenn Please did you have to bring That game up

I am still reeling from it

Being up 33 points and losing? I need to send Rafa there quick lol!

Posted by luckbealady 07/04/2010 at 08:03 PM

Rafa is the fastest "healer" around - he had a knee injury, arm injury, groin injury - all in the same game a week ago - and amazingly, he heals and wins Wimbledon. He is a medical marvel.

Posted by maxnyc 07/04/2010 at 08:05 PM

it's so sad the back and forth between the nadalists and the federites....they will probably go down as the two
greatest players of all time. in a head to head match at the top of their games, perhaps only Sampras could give each trouble.

nadal is the best player in tennis right now. that is inarguable. it is also inarguable that federer's record of 16 majors
is an amazing accomplishment. right now, that is the standard. the two most important slams are wimbledon and the the us open...fed has 6 and 5--11! Rafa must win a few U.S. Opens and more Wimbledon's and tie or exceed Federer
to be GOAT. Do I think he can do it? Yes.

Posted by luckbealady 07/04/2010 at 08:05 PM

Nadal is the fastest "healer" I've ever seen. He had a knee injury, a groin injury and arm injury - all in the same game about 1 week ago - and now wins Wimbledon. He is a medical marvel.

Posted by B 07/04/2010 at 08:06 PM

Congrats to Nadal and his many fans! His play was indeed very focused and no nonsense. This Fed fan greatly admires his talent, drive, ability and constant desire to improve his game. Nadal did what he needed to do to win, and didn't overexert himself. If he keeps this up, his body will hold up for a long time.

Berdych on the other hand was a major disappointment. Despite his [previous] big wins, he didn't bring it today, even though he asserted he wasn't nervous after the match. Sure, Nadal had something to do with it but the Berdman put up little resistance. He proved he's a very good player who can beat anyone on a given day, but does he have the testes to do it consistently like a Nadal or Federer? I doubt it. Time will tell.

Posted by telly12 07/04/2010 at 08:08 PM

Nadel is good, but come on, Birdich didn't give him a match. The guy looked like he had led in his pants. Nadel didn't play one of his best matches, but did what he had to to win it.

Posted by curlee 07/04/2010 at 08:09 PM

Nadal is tops in the game. I hope it continues for a while. I don't see any other players that can challenge him. I like his game and he also has a nice butt.

Posted by Glenn 07/04/2010 at 08:10 PM

Here's the link to the interview http://tiny.cc/x9tcl!


AM- i was rooting for your team but it kept getting worse and worse for them.

It was an exciting game! Are there no scrums in OZ rugby??

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 08:11 PM

Glenn Hell there should be lol!

Posted by twistandshout 07/04/2010 at 08:15 PM

I knew Nadal would win this, not very close at all. All in all it was a boring match. I like to see Nadal and Federer play. Even Djokovic would have done better. Also, why does television have to show Nadal going down his pants to "make adjustments" while he was standing behind Berdych right before both of them entered the court? I thought that wasn't right to televise that.

Posted by chicklet 07/04/2010 at 08:18 PM

maxnyc - Why are Wimby and the USO the two most important slams? I'll agree that there are quite a few players who count Wimby as the most prestigious, and while the USO is my personal favorite, I don't think you can count any of the slams as more important than the others. Even the AO is no longer the red headed stepchild of the tour.

tootoot - Berdy really did play two excellent matches against Fed and Nole. I hate that his run at Wimby is being marginalized because of his poor showing in the final. The occasion was just too big for him today. He's had a great summer, and I hope he can back up his recent results during the HC swing.

Posted by Glenn 07/04/2010 at 08:19 PM

AM-HAHAHA-good one! :)

Posted by Bothie 07/04/2010 at 08:20 PM

I'd like to congradulate all those true rafa fans for the Wimbledon victory the guy did deserve it. As for those fed haters who are quick to call fed done and state that his RG-Wimbledon double last year was a fluke because he didnt have to beat rafa(the defending champion) are all delusional. As far as I can see Rafa's wins this year have just been the same as Fed's last year because he didnt get to beat Fed( the defennding champion)so if you are to call fed's wins a fluke then why are rafa's wins different?

I have always said in tennis the best 2 in the tourny always get to the finals, whether by fluke or becoz they beat a struggling top player doesnt matter, you only play the player good enough to get to the finals and rafa did it this year while fed did it last year. Last year it was Rafa struggling (injuries and parents' devorce) and this year its Fed (injuries, focus, age, twins, family or whatever it is) but the point is they both took advantage of the situations and I dont see any reason why one's wins can be well desrved while the other's are called flukes when they are the same in nature.

And for all those who suggested that fed's dominance was in a weak era, may are also remind you that they are both playing in the same era, because in the same weak era or time frame that rafa has won 8 G.S Fed has won 12, in the period rafa required to win 8 G.S Fed won 13, but again rafa required less time to win more masters than fed in the same weak era, now you tell me how the fluke or weak era theory benefited only fed. The only real conclusion is Fed was virtually unplayable on any surface at his peak with only nadal as the only bad matchup for him (mainly on clay) whereas rafa at his peak can be vulnerable to the big hitters (mostly on hardcourts)which leaves only clay and grass as the only surfaces they are likely to meet on. So given the longer clay season and shorter grass season they met more frequently on clay where rafa dominates because it suits his physical game well.

All in all Rafa and Fed's careers are more alike than pple notice, they have both benefitted from the other's struggles and upto now they still remain the only ones who can beat the other at his best, although they rarely play each other when they are both at their best and perfectly fit. The only difference is their styles of play, focus, age and peak period therefore it comes as no surprise that rafa is peaking at a time when fed is aging.

At the moment Rafa is the best player on the tour whereas Fed is the best achievement wise. Enjoy every1.

Posted by Carol (Rafa/Spain) 07/04/2010 at 08:21 PM

Rafa is going to take a little vacation and then taking care with his knee with a famous doctor getting a treatment that is giving a great results to the soccer players and another profesional sports men. Before the clay season Rafa got some treatment and he liked the results. Now he's going through it but more intense
I hope that treatment is going to finish with his knee problems definitely and he will be ready to win the USOpen, the only GS than still he hasn't get it. And he will, he will

Posted by tarheel 07/04/2010 at 08:22 PM

I am so happy today! had to go to church, missed the last two sets, but the first one made me feel sure enough that things would go Rafa's way. Good for Rafa, makes me so proud to be a Rafa fan. He is one class act. i hate to gossip, but....Rafa's girlfriend, is she his fiance? i read something once where he referred to her as fiance, or else it was "lost in translation". His parents were sitting far apart, huh? Guess no love lost there. I am glad Rafa is healthy and happy.

Posted by Matt Zemek 07/04/2010 at 08:23 PM

DAYLILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Congrats to the boyo for slapping a big smile on your face!

Congrats to you for being able to enjoy this latest, greatest accomplishment.

On July 8, 2007, when Rafa fans were feeling the fresh sting of the 5-set loss to a Swiss guy, I posted here (and those posts are copied on page 7 of the match call thread today) about a Nadal ascendancy.

It has come to pass (crosscourt or down the line, take your pick! :-)

So glad you and other Nadal fans have been able to see a brighter day, because I full well remember how much of the Vamos Brigade was hurting that afternoon three years ago. (And how there was such cause for legitimate concern even one year ago, when Wimbledon was missed on account of some worrisome injuries.)

What a pleasure to see you here, and an even greater pleasure to know how happy you must be. You have been thought of, appreciated, and missed. Welcome back!

*Hugs*

Posted by Neveah 07/04/2010 at 08:25 PM

Just passing thru, on my way to another party and fireworks, but too tipsy to articulate anything except Rafa, you always make me so proud to be your fan and Congrats on winning your 2nd Wimby title and 8th Slam!!! You are the best and deserve to be #1!!

What a wonderful Wimby this was, my Serena and Rafa made it fantastic!!! :)

Not thinking about the Open,I'm going to continue celebrating this one for now! Cheers!! :)

Posted by beady23 07/04/2010 at 08:29 PM

I think Nadal isn't engaged yet, but I think he will eventually marry the girlfriend he has, and I hope she can pick out a better pair of underpants for him.

Posted by tarheel 07/04/2010 at 08:40 PM

beady, hahaha! that's good! but i think it's a tic, just like the way he pushes his hair back behind his ear on every point, and his hair is not even out of place since he has that headband on, or whatever you call it.

Posted by Pspace (Kimbledon) 07/04/2010 at 08:40 PM

Nice write-up, Pete. Since I bought Rafa's shoes, he has won MC, Rome, Madrid, RG, and Wimbledon. Coincidence? Yeah, probably. Anyway, congrats to Rafa and his fans. Very well deserved. Remember that the story changes very quickly in tennis. So, savour this month.

Posted by ChannelSlam 07/04/2010 at 08:44 PM

The King & Queen of Wimbledon:
http://cowbell.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83423e30253ef013485349cf5970c-pi

Posted by Billie 07/04/2010 at 08:45 PM

I love wathing Rafa play and am so glad that he won his second Wimbledon title. I believe he is the greatest tennis player ever. It seems to be a wise thing for him to be careful in how much tennis he should play. In doing so, I pray his body will stay healthy and that he will win the US Open. What a wonderful go-getter Rafa is. Vamos, Rafa!

Posted by chicklet 07/04/2010 at 08:46 PM

Pspace - I hope you're keeping those shoes in good condition. Don't want them to wear out before the USO :)

Posted by chicklet 07/04/2010 at 08:47 PM

Ooh, Serena looks nice in gold. Fitting for a Champion.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 08:48 PM

Hmmmmm Roand Garos in my eyes is still the hardest slam to win'

To win the Channel Slam is even harder methinks

Posted by Ethan 07/04/2010 at 08:48 PM

It's sad to see some Nadal haters already out when you should be in awe of this man.

He pummeled Berdych like I predicted by dealing him body blow after body blow - floated like an albatross and stung like an enraged plague of hornets.

He took one shoe in his right hand stained with the dirty, red clay from RG on the soles, and one shoe in his left hand with the soil and grass from Wimbledon and repeatedly, and forcefully slapped Soderling's VIKING FACE back and forth - each cheek getting a very generous serving of clay and grass so in the end he had red on one side and green on the other like a clown from the heavy bashings from Rafa's shoes while forcing him to sing "I wil always love you" by Whitney Houston as the British crowd exclaimed hysterically "Bloody marvellous Rafael!"

If you look closely at the match and pause it at 47 minutes, you will see all his vanquished opponents sitting in the background debating who is going to be worthy to lick his boots afterwards!

Posted by espnalanaldo 07/04/2010 at 08:48 PM

Matt,

Here is a better reality check --- 14-7! Rafa wins twice as much than roger. To me that it is a better measure who is a better player. Mano a mano, Roger is Rafa's whipping. It is that simple! Who cares if Roger has more Slams, beating who? Roddick? Hewitt, which of late he cannot even beat in grass? or Soderling, which a healthy Nadal easily pulverizes? Or, the lazy Safin?

In contrast who is Rafa beating? Consistently? the one they supposedly call "the best" - Roger. With a dismal record of 2-6 in Grand Slams against Nadal. That is hardly "GOAT."

It is QUALITY over Quantity, pal.

Reality is Rafa is simply better than Roger. But, I must accept, Roger is one lucky player. Why? Well, look, he got 2 more slams simply because Rafa was injured; no Rafa to stop him. Now, those are wins who would call meritorious. In fact, those are wins by default. Thus, the * at the French.

There.

Posted by B 07/04/2010 at 08:49 PM

Congrats to Nadal and his many fans! His play was indeed very focused and no nonsense. This Federer fan greatly admires his talent, drive and constant desire to improve his game. Nadal did what he needed to do to win, and didn't overexert himself. If he keeps this up, his body will hold up for a long time.

Berdych on the other hand was a major disappointment. Despite his [previous] big wins, he didn't bring it today, even though he asserted to McEnroe he wasn't nervous. Sure, Nadal had a lot to do with it but Berdych put up little resistance. He proved he's a very good player who can beat anyone on a given day, but does he have the testes to do it consistently like a Nadal or Federer? I doubt it. Time will tell.

Oh, and by the way, I thought Berdych came across like an arrogant jerk with his flippant Federer comment during his on-court interview. He could and should have taken the high road. He seems to have forgotten that Federer has beaten him many more times than he’s beaten Fed. He could learn some graciousness lessons from Nadal.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 08:50 PM

Also pfft to hard courts ok

Until Rafa ever wins the USO

Posted by B 07/04/2010 at 08:51 PM

Yikes! Sorry for the double post and codicil.

Posted by Christopher 07/04/2010 at 08:54 PM

Great win by Nadal, who is clearly a most deserving world #1 again.

But I have to say, boy do I miss the old days on this site, when fans of individual players focused more on their admiration for those players than taking every opportunity to degrade other players. It's a real change and seriously reduced the quality of this board. If more of us could act with the grace of the players we so adore, this would be a much better place again.

This a great time to let flow much deserved praise for Nadal. I don't see why some choose to instead focus on tearing down his rivals, Federer in particular (and yes, it's foul to do when the shoe is on the other foot as well).


Posted by beady23 07/04/2010 at 08:55 PM

what did Berdych say that was ungracious? I thought he made a good speech.

Posted by Lixi 07/04/2010 at 08:56 PM

Does anybody else feel like Nadal is holding back early in the tournament (hence the 5-setters), early in matches, even early within some sets, and only turns on the switch during critical periods? Not that I'm complaining - it bodes well for his longevity if he can win without having to go all out. I doubt he could do this on hard courts though.

Posted by Frances 07/04/2010 at 08:57 PM

Pete he deserves this no fuzz win...he's had way too many drama full finals.. it's great that he's mixing up his finals like he's mixing up well his serves etc.. lol

@ Glenn..your analysis pattern about nadal's injury timeout is interesting.. although I wouldn't necessarily make any "projected" injury timeline. As a fan I am well aware, subdued and already have this thought in the back of my mind that his knees (if not other injury) will soon flare up, but I think he is just as aware of this as well as his team and they seem to really have been attempting to proactively try to find a solution for this....

I think Nadal 2010 has been a smarter more efficient player..I am expecting him and his team to really take care of his calendar schedule because this is very important for his longevity.

enjoy your mini break rafa!!

Posted by tabbycat 07/04/2010 at 08:57 PM

Nadal typically starts slow, needs time to figure opponents out, and then steam rolls them.

Posted by Ethan 07/04/2010 at 08:58 PM

I agree Christopher, it's not good to always degrade Soderling even though he's been stepped on twice now by red and green dirty soles in consecutive Grand Slams by The Master of Disaster and was forced to sing songs in public while Nadal rode him around the court like a pony.

Posted by espnalanaldo 07/04/2010 at 08:58 PM

It is almost laughable when rabid roger fans declare that Rafa's style of play will not earn him a US Open title. If you watching very closely, Rafa is the one that is more flexible in style of play, able to transition from clay to grass. I am positive that in time he will transform his game to faster hardcourts, having been successful at Olympic and Oz hardcourts. It is Nadal who is receptive and willing to change. In contrast, Roger, thinks he is so good that his game alone will carry him. Look what happened? All the young guns are just now "seeing the light" emulating Rafa in hammering at Roger's backhand. Soderling did it. Berdych did it. Even Falla did it even though he was not able to complete the job.

It is the arrogance of Roger that will sink his star an egocentric game to the lowest level that his only escape is to ... cry to retirement.

Believe me, entertaining thoughts that roger can win another major is just wishful thinking now. Why? based on the fragility of Roger's psyche or ego, at the Oz Open he will have a hard time accepting another early exit in Toronto, much less at US OPEN.

(See my chronology of FED FLOPS I to IX from Dubai to Wimby)

FED FLOP X coming up.

Posted by tabbycat 07/04/2010 at 08:59 PM

Nadal had knee problems, however, I felt he completely faked injury during this tournament. Who can heal that fast? He had several medical injuries in the match against Petschner - what doctor does he see? I think everyone should go to that doctor.

Posted by chicklet 07/04/2010 at 09:03 PM

"Also pfft to hard courts ok
Until Rafa ever wins the USO"

AM - LOL.
The USO is awesome. You're just still bitter about Borg ;-)

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 09:05 PM

chicklet I am not a fan of Clutch tennis as you are aware

I like the thinking mans surface ok lol!

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

One thing I have learned is that true fans dont hate other players unless they feel threatened or jealous of them. So this means those rafa fans who hate fed and undermine his achievements feel rafa's career is overshadowed by that of fed's or just jealous of fed's greatness, and the same goes for all the fed fans who hate rafa, because i'm sure true tennis fans wld appreciate both players regardless of whom they support, as they are all great in their own ways.

Posted by ChannelSlam 07/04/2010 at 09:06 PM

Lovely Serena:
http://cowbell.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83423e30253ef0133f20f13e0970b-pi

A kiss (or is it a whisper?) between the champs:
http://cowbell.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83423e30253ef013485349b36970c-pi

Posted by Ethan 07/04/2010 at 09:06 PM

tabbycat - never heard of painkillers or injections?

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 09:06 PM

By the way I could never ever be bitter about Borg

He still Rocks at age 54

So happy he is not spending as much time in those Tanning Salons

Posted by espnalanaldo 07/04/2010 at 09:07 PM

Or, maybe Roger may not even enter Toronto or whatever hardcourt Open in the schedule.

Gotta lick those 9 wounds.

It is also funny that in the ESPN conversation site, there is this trio of rabid Fed Fans, (count of monte carlo, er monte fisto, 11daviking, and sybarettcrazy) who keep saying that Rafa has not won in 11 months and that Roger will take Rafa to the toolshed in Madrid, that Soderling will give RAfa a beatdown at the French and Rafa will be no match to the power of the Berdych forehand.

Now, we all know what happened. And those trio of federlings are getting fat from so much crow.

Good job, Berdych at least you did not get a bagel in straights.
Better than that other French 08 final.

Posted by espnalanaldo 07/04/2010 at 09:12 PM

B,

It wasn't flippant. It was true. It was not mission impossible. In fact, I liked the way he corrected Sue Barker saying it did happen, so it was mission accomplished. This shows now that he has reached a point of asserting himself, that indeed he is a big time contender now, no longer a talent to notice.

Posted by tabbycat 07/04/2010 at 09:13 PM

Nadal's injuries are valid "sometimes", but many people questioned whether he was really injured during the Petschner match. He always seems to be "injured" only when he is losing a match. The whole thing seemed a bit contrived to me. But great strategy on Rafa's part...he won that match and Wimbledon.

Posted by TeamNadal 07/04/2010 at 09:15 PM

oh tabbycat....here you go:

http://i49.tinypic.com/2eywgsn.jpg

Posted by tabbycat 07/04/2010 at 09:16 PM

Borg looks great - one of my favorite players.

Posted by bmars250 07/04/2010 at 09:16 PM

Oh yeah I almost forgot Fed was so lucky to win two slams without a rafa there to stop him becoz he was destroyed by Sod until his knees fell apart, and it also seems like Rafa got thes same lucky as well by winning the same two slams without fed there to stop him because his season has been plagued by injuries and illness but was still good enough to make the quarters. Wow both guys appear to be lucky.

Oh and by the way could you please explain or prove how rafa owns fed besides only on clay?

Posted by espnalanaldo 07/04/2010 at 09:17 PM

Ooops,

in an earlier post, at *:48 PM

"Now, those are wins who would call meritorious." referring to Roger wins when Rafa cannot play because of injury.

should read --- "Now, those are wins one would call hardly meritorious."

Posted by daylily 07/04/2010 at 09:19 PM

Matty-me-boy -- i went back and read the 3-year-old post of yours; if you're as accurate and intuitive a football journalist as you are tennis clairvoyant, you should be a millionaire by now.....i remember being so moved not only by this piece but by your personal missive to me afterwards....you're a wordsmith indeed, and a man of great compassion, as well.

i appreciate your kind words -- and i have thought of you and others here on tw many times since i vamoosed. there were too many automatic weapons here wearing out my flak jacket. don't know if it's the same -- i haven't been back but once since that time -- but i will pop in. i've missed you and ruth (hi chica!) and aussiemarge, cl, liron, vetmama, jenn, sherlock, and about 15 others. really had some good times!

vamos rafael!

Posted by TeamNadal 07/04/2010 at 09:20 PM

Different Surface, Same Result

http://i46.tinypic.com/9hmkgh.jpg

Posted by Carol (Rafa/Spain) 07/04/2010 at 09:21 PM

Haha TeamNadal, good answer! We don't need to say anything else

Posted by espnalanaldo 07/04/2010 at 09:24 PM

3-3 in hardcourts and 2-1 in grass is hardly "own -ing" !!!

Woopteedo, 5-4 overall, that is basically a tie.

Now, 10-2 in clay, now that is "a-whoopin'!"

And, remember please do not be like the others invoking the most stupid argument of all, --- "taking clay out of the equation"

Newsflash! Tennis is played in all surfaces. all year. "Off-clay, non-clay, what is that?" That argument does not hold any water because it is as easily invoked as "off-HC, off-grass" and what? Just lame.

Can you say Gold Olympic Medal --- in singles?

Posted by wolfie9 07/04/2010 at 09:24 PM

You mean "surfrayce"?

Posted by Glenn 07/04/2010 at 09:25 PM

Bothie-good points in your posts. I particularly love this one,"One thing I have learned is that true fans dont hate other players unless they feel threatened or jealous of them." You got that right! :)

Frances-you're right, it's good to stay grounded in the present and enjoy this win.

Posted by wolfie9 07/04/2010 at 09:25 PM

Nobody is beating Nadal, he is #1, plays like a #1 and there is no competition for him at the moment.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/04/2010 at 09:26 PM

I like Roger and I really hate to see him denigrated this way by some tennis fans. It isn't necessary.

Rafa is and always will be my favourite player and I am delighted with his win today, especially after 2009 and all the problems that he has had.

Let's not fall into the trap of knocking Roger when he is down - I'm sure that Rafa will never do that, just as Roger has never indulged in it either.

Posted by espnalanaldo 07/04/2010 at 09:26 PM

But I can say 285 weeks, one week shy of Sampras' record.

Now, that is just gotta hurt!!! One of those close but no cigar.

Posted by latino 07/04/2010 at 09:26 PM

if rafa repeats the channel slam for the next four years, he'll catch up with roger! or he could win 8 more FOs! But wow, 8 slams at 24 years of age...that is a tremendous achievement. How many did federer have at 24?

Posted by phil 07/04/2010 at 09:27 PM

I've been watching tennis for six years now.( that's 24 slams) 22 were won by #1 or #2 so what else is new?

Posted by catrice 07/04/2010 at 09:27 PM

Serena and Rafa have the best smiles in tennis, as well as the most fighting spirit. Only Roger plays the big points as well as these two. Hope they are left standing at the U.S. Open, but loved all the breakthroughs and breakouts from new and old players at Wimbledon. It was an awesome tournament.

I think Rafa is whispering ways she can win the French Open, and she will give him some U.S.Open tips.

Posted by bmars250 07/04/2010 at 09:27 PM

I almost forgot Fed has consistantly beat different challengers on every surface which is why he has been consistant whereas rafa cldnt even consistantly beat those so called fed minions or weak players, so according to you what do you suggest that says about rafa because he can only consistantly beat fed and everyone else only on clay, but once off clay he has never beaten a fully fit Fed

Posted by Fangorina 07/04/2010 at 09:28 PM

This is a really interesting article about Rafa's fitness routine and program. If it has already been posted, oh well. :)
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703571704575340960041837420.html

Posted by catrice 07/04/2010 at 09:33 PM

You know, my ex husband had similar knee problems. He fancied himself an athlete and played basketball all the time and lived at the gym. The pain really did come and go suddenly and from day to day, most times without any type of treatment. I don't think Rafa has to resort to lying about an injury. Besides, can someone explain to me how having the trainer out helps you win a match? You still have to hold serve and/or break your opponent. I don't believe in all this "momentum" stuff. Even if your opponent calls the trainer you have to have the mental fortitude to play through that and continue to play your game. Talent will overcome. How does that give anyone an advantage?
I think it is just an excuse that people use to take the attention away from the fact that they choked. There has always been some element of gamesmanship in most sports, you just deal with. Notice how when his oppenents call a trainer Rafa sprints or sits and calmly eats or something...and then gets on with it.

P.S.- the pain, of course, was always worse when I was whacking him in the knee! Maybe that explains it...I tried not to do it EVERY day.

Posted by latino 07/04/2010 at 09:35 PM

It is amazing how Rafa's serve is now considered a viable weapon in his game. Today he proved that...Berdych could not neutralize Nadal like he did Djoko. to make things worse Nadal return of serve was totally working.

Posted by Ruth 07/04/2010 at 09:36 PM

Thank you very much for those pictures, ChannelSlam. My picture of my grandson, which is set as the background on my computer, must now give way (for a week or so) to that fist picture of Serena and Rafa sporting the biggest smiles ever!:-)

Posted by Matt Zemek 07/04/2010 at 09:42 PM

Daylily:

You're a source of superabundant compassion as well. Are you still teaching up a storm? For the sake of the young'uns where you live, I hope so.

This place is so immeasurably enriched when you're here, but like others, I've made myself less of a regular because of the idiotic crossfires such as the ones happening right now. Fringe types always stirring up a bad cauldron, compared to your sublime one! ;-)

Posted by Matt Zemek 07/04/2010 at 09:50 PM

A couple worthwhile notes:

First of all, our old amigo Juan Jose passed this Spanish-language piece along via Twitter. It details what Nadal is doing to help his knees:

http://bit.ly/cucetk

Secondly, these inane Fedal wars are made even more silly by the fact that Roger and Rafa both admire and respect each other, and that - for great rivals - their relative friendship is made even more remarkable. McEnroe and Lendl they aren't.

A third tidbit to chew on as we appreciate not the dynasty of Federer or the ascendancy of Nadal (both realities of the past six years), but their shared reign over men's tennis:

Six years ago today, Federer won the 2004 Wimbledon title. Beginning with that tournament and continuing through the present day, Nadal and Federer have won 22 of the past 25 Major singles titles.

Yeah. 22 of the last 25 and 24 of the last 29. By two men and two men only.

The only 3 men other than Roger and Rafa who have won Majors since Wimbledon of 2004?

1 retired guy (Safin), 1 struggling guy (Djokovic), and one injured, sorely-missed stud from Argentina (Delpo). Roddick's been quite the warrior and Davydenko is persistent, but truly, no one else in the ATP ranks has been able to attain elite-level consistency at Majors. Soderling's been great at the Majors for 13 months, and even then, that means only 2 finals appearances at one event (the French). Berdych has put together a great year, and he's only reached one final (and lost it).

Puts in perspective how remarkable it is for two men to have won 22 of the last 25 Majors. A mind-blowing two-man reign over an entire (male division of a) sport.

It gives one pause.

Posted by imjimmy 07/04/2010 at 10:16 PM

Thanks Fangorina. That's an excellent article!

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 07/04/2010 at 10:25 PM

Thanks for the post, Pete, and thanks again for the live blogging.

Pete wrote: "Going into the match, Berdych had lost just seven service games; today he lost three, over 30 per cent of his tournament total."

Actually, IIRC, Rafa broke twice in the first set. Once at 3-3 to take a 4-3 lead, then he held serve for 5-3 and broke again for a 6-3 first set. Then Rafa broke Berdych's serve once in each of the final games of the second and third sets. So Berdych was broken four times, over 50 percent of his tournament total up to the final.

Posted by Vic 07/04/2010 at 10:43 PM

How many times has Rafa taken my breath away? Countless times--with his fiere fighting style as if tennis was going out of style, with his unrelenting drive to win every point, with his passion to go the extra mile even when he was losing. Many say that his brutal style of playing won't give him a lengthy stay in the tennis firmament, but me thinks Rafa cares not. I believe he only cares for the moment when being at one's greatest matter the most. And as the truest incarnation of a champion, he lets his guard down only after the game--acknowledging the person on the other side of the court, giving praises to his opponent's effort and never calling attention to his own superhuman performance. Long live Rafa! You are a modern-day nobility!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 10:45 PM

Oh No

Is that you Vic?????

*faints again* 2 Legend Rafa fans in 1 day is just too much for me now

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 10:46 PM

oops big pardon Vic

I misread thought it was Sic

Anyway Great post lol!

Posted by Colette (On Cloud 8) 07/04/2010 at 11:05 PM

"I think all my life I practiced with my high hundred percent of intensity in every ball in the practice."

Vintage Rafa (and look how it's paid off!)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 07/04/2010 at 11:07 PM

This MTO griping is beyond belief. First of all it WAS NOT his knee that was bothering him. He made it clear in his presser that it was a tight QUAD that he was scared would make added stress on his knee. Makes sense to me to get it worked on, particularly if you're in a really tough match.

So time to drop the MTO complaining. Amazing he'd be criticized for taking an MTO when every player does it for anything from blisters to a tummy ache.

Posted by dnrood 07/04/2010 at 11:09 PM

I feel for all the dignified Rafa and Roger fans who are able to congratulate each other when their man wins a major. I can't figure out why the fans of these two great players can't show the respect and admiration that these two players have for each other. I'm a Rafa fan and I don't pretend to think that Rafa hasn't used Roger as a role model on how to act as the man at the head of men's tennis. If there isn't a real friendship there then at the very least there is tremendous respect and camraderie, their suppossed fans should follow their example.

As for Rafa and his place in the history of the sport I submit that we let his career play out. Every fan, myself included, shouldn't be taking anything for granted with respect to the number of slams he may win, for all we know this may be the last. Certainly, using last year as an example things can change in an instant or over the course of several months.

Besides, I think we are seeing a new evolution in tennis with taller, flatter hitting go for broke tennis players along the lines of Delpo, Cilic, Berdych, Soderling, etal, who can blow up any players run to a grand slam. It will be interesting to see if there is a shift in the balance of power between these big hitting behemoths who have good mobility vs the all court players such as Roger, Rafa, Nole, and Murray.

Posted by Wimby 2010 07/04/2010 at 11:18 PM

hmm hmm, not sure if anyone is around anymore, but I have a question for you guys. Who do you think is a better player and/or had a better career so far? Delpo or Murray?

As you know these two have some bad blood between the two as Delpo was saying to Murray "you're always the same, man, you and your mum" and Murray didn't like it. I'd say Delpo is a better player, but Murray might have had a better career so far despite of not winning the slam like Delpo did. Delpo is younger than Murray, so I am sure if Delpo can avoid long term injury like he had for this year, he could end up being a better player in the end. I watched youtube highlight between Fed and Delpo at US Open and I still can't believe Delpo's laser fearhand shots. They are massive, I tell ya! It will blow Murray to pieces. However interesting that Murray usually handles Delpo when they meet each other. What your thought?

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 07/04/2010 at 11:20 PM

catrice: good point. what's it got to do with winning a match? and as PPP said, it was HIS problem that he let it effect his game. And in the next round I believe rafa's opponent had an MTO that took 10 minutes since the physio was no where near the court.

MattZ: I consider myself a tennis fan first, then a fan of certain players. It would never occur to me to say some of the things I see posted here. Why people would come here to stir the pot on behalf of their fave is beyond me. It's not like the player they're supporting is reading this blog. The is a site rule against baiting but it's rarely, if ever, employed. I think if pete and the mods decided to crack down on baiting this board could return to the intelligent engaging place I know it can be.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 11:24 PM

Well thanks hubby you just rang me like 100 hours after the game and said you watched it live from Melbourne

Like my brother rings me directly after the match from Italy?

Anyway Peter as you know is a Pete Sampras fan he liked the way Rafa was mixing his serve up and was attacking Tomas f/hand which brought up the error.He also said he is playing smarter tennis and didnt have to over exert himself during the match.Just waited for the right times to up it and break.

Colour me surprise we both agree lol!

Posted by zoey 07/04/2010 at 11:27 PM

These fan wars are beyond tiresome. Give it a rest. The players show much more respect for each other.
This link is for the Spanish portion of Rafa's presser on 07/02 after the SF win. The second questioner asks him to take the role of sport critic and comment on Federer's decline. Rafa sternly rebukes the question and states that in the past Fed has been crucified by the press and to not make the same mistake again.

http://www.livestream.com/wimbledon/video?clipId=pla_e2e17a81-4dcd-4fb5-9343-4c7f77a3bbed&utm_source=lslibrary&utm_medium=ui-thumb

Tennis is their life and they all love the game. Each one has added tremendous value to the modern game and deserve respect.

Way to go Rafa! Berdych, good job getting to the final. Best of luck. Roger, get well soon.

Posted by Eugene 07/04/2010 at 11:29 PM

So time to drop the MTO complaining. Amazing he'd be criticized for taking an MTO when every player does it for anything from blisters to a tummy ache.

Not every player, actually...
There is one, who does not do MTO, and never quit a single match.
Especially Grand Slam, and especially , when only 3 games left before getting a bagel.

Posted by chicklet 07/04/2010 at 11:31 PM

Wimby 2010 - I don't think there's any lasting bad blood between Murray and Delpo. They did have their little "You're momma" tiff (in Rome?), but at the end of the match, Muzz was consoling a tearful Delpo who had to retire because of a back injury.

As to which one is the better player? They're 21 and 22 years old. Much too early to tell.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2010 at 11:33 PM

Chicklet Word around the street is that Murray is to dump Myles and wants Darren Cahill as his coach

Like good luck Muzz lol!

Posted by chicklet 07/04/2010 at 11:37 PM

AM - I googled for some more info about Murray and Cahill. It all seems very vague right now.
consensus seems to be that no coaching changes will be made until after the USO. After that point, Myles may or may not get the axe, and Cahil may or may not be returning to coaching full time. Like I said, it's all very vague.

IMO, if the opportunity of working with Fed didn't entice Cahill to coach full time, Muzz sure as hell ain't going to be able to change his mind. But maybe a coaching change will do Murray some good.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 07/04/2010 at 11:45 PM

Chicklet I got the news last night in the middle of Rafa's match.John Newcombe was saying Myles has taken Murray as far as he can.Murrays big problem is his playing Big Points no coach can really correct that.You have to be reactive on court by yoursrlf for that.

Anyway Darren has too many eggs in the basket for me.I dont see him coaching full time

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