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


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 Charlie 07/05/2010 at 12:13 PM

real sort of empty feeling now Wimbles is over... what will I do with my 'life' until the US open?

Posted by chicklet 07/05/2010 at 12:15 PM

CL and ladyjulia, I really believe that TMF is going to make an appearance at the USO. Don't banish him to the scrap heap just yet.

Posted by CL 07/05/2010 at 12:15 PM

Ruth - Oh, I have recognized a FEW! But you are right, it is mostly trolls and/or drive by types. It seems an all too human and predictable dynamic; even some of the bestest of us can't seem to resist piling on at least a bit when our guy is up and the other guy is down. Some rise above it. Not many.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/05/2010 at 12:15 PM


I absolutely agree with your post. The regular poster you refer to is the grinch and, of course, there are always the trolls about. I no longer post here during Rafa's matches and it much more pleasant because of that.

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 12:16 PM


All that is Fred, no? Certainly not TMF? That's why I told her to take out the rest and leave the part that controls TMF.

But yeah...he needs a new ain't as bad as Agassi.

Posted by sisu 07/05/2010 at 12:17 PM

CL - “I do have to admit, I luv the irony of TByrd talking about his aches and pains in is loss to Rafa...somehow, when anyone else does it, it is just part of the deal. When Fed mentions an injury he is pilloried.” - +1

CL, you’ve fought the good fight and to no avail it seems. ;( Funny though, I think there may be others who see the differences and kind of shrug them away since we know the depth and breath of Roger’s greatness. At least that’s what I do. It takes a lot to bring someone of his stature down and every nuance of impropriety is jumped upon with glee with the opportunity to write yet another unbalanced view of a Champion.

I want you to know I love your spirit !!

Thank you TeamNadal.

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 12:18 PM


An appearance is not enough. TMF comes for a shot, and then its Fred all the rest of the way...titles are not won that way,no?

I mean if Fred starts winning titles, then the tour is in a really bad shape.

Posted by I hate it when I am at a grunting concert and they start playing tennis 07/05/2010 at 12:18 PM

What's going on with Djoker?

He plays Davis cup this week (he's the only one in top 5 and other than Davy D. and Verdsco who both lost early at Wimby and French, he's the only one in top 10 playing) AND he is committed to play in LA for Farmers Classic (a 250 event) during the last week this month before playing the masters on the 2nd week next month.

Why so loaded, eh? Once again Djoker pretending to be Davy D. like last year and see what happened to him at slams. Appearance fee is all good and all, but now he's a dead-tired horse by US Open. We can safely say that Djoker won't win a slam this year.

Posted by chicklet 07/05/2010 at 12:25 PM

DC I can understand, but a 250 level tournament? Why Nole, why?

You're right, if he continues to schedule like this, he's fast on his way to becoming "Nole the Obscure"

Posted by Master Ace 07/05/2010 at 12:29 PM

Think Novak will have 2 weeks before LA then after LA, he will have a week before the Canada/Cincinnati swing so I think this is wise for him.

Posted by Charlie 07/05/2010 at 12:30 PM

'Nole the Obscure' is great, and sort of sums it up: he who in a moment of doubt, set forth on a journey, man.

Maybe he's decided to dominate the 250 circuit?

Posted by CPM 07/05/2010 at 12:36 PM

I guess my only question is ...

If we're breaking down Fed for parts, can Rafa get his hair?

Posted by wilson75 07/05/2010 at 12:36 PM

charlie & chicklet: It probably means that Novak is playing either dropping Basel or Beijing from his schedule.

Posted by thebigapple 07/05/2010 at 12:39 PM

TMF? Only fleeting appearances these days. An minute or two from the old geezer. I think we have to content ourselves with that.

Anyway, we should still be celebrating Rafa's win. Leave our remembrance of things past re Fed until next week.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 07/05/2010 at 12:39 PM

Ruth: just saw your post and well, you know I agree with you, right? Did you see MattZemek's post last night about how nice TW used to be? I replied that I didn't think pete and the mods utilize the "no baiting" site rule nearly enough. In fact they seem to ignore it. I just don't understand that. Why have a rule and then not use it? And I'm not suggesting we become a saccharin sweet place where there is no spirited debate. But we can achieve that without taking pot shots at players and fans of players. When is pete going to realize he's losing alot of great posters because of this?

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 12:40 PM


You already have 14-7 and 8 slams and all time leader for MS titles.

Don't be greedy :-)

Posted by CL 07/05/2010 at 12:40 PM

sisu - many thanks :-)

Lady j- oh, I dunno...if it is 'A' Fed, well that guy can, and always has been able to beat almost every other player on tour..Rafa expceted of course...that takes FF TMF. An in form Ent might also be an exception. True that anything LESS than 'A' Fed will lose to the top guys though.

I hate (Sorry but your nic is just to long. I tried to make an anacronym(sp) out of it and that is STILL too long.) anyway, the question of "What's going on with Djoker?' is almost as long running as a soap opera, has as many plots and sub plots...and remains unanswered. Possible unanswerable.

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 12:40 PM


You already have 14-7 and 8 slams and all time leader for MS titles.

Don't be greedy :-)

Posted by Mike 07/05/2010 at 12:43 PM

Ruth @ 12:08 = 2 thumbs up. I only scroll for trolls and those that feel that when you raise one up, you have to put down the other ... the latter sometimes getting my goat enough to bait we into responding, but I am human. ;)

Posted by thebigapple 07/05/2010 at 12:43 PM

Rafa can only get Fed's hair if he uses it for a mousthace and a beard.

What he has on top his head now becomes a messy tangle by the end of each match. He would just make a bigger greasier tangle if he had more hair where is balding spot now lies.

So yes, only if used in a new place.

Posted by Mike 07/05/2010 at 12:44 PM

That's 'me', not 'we'. Fat fingers .. :P

Posted by thebigapple 07/05/2010 at 12:44 PM

Who will voulunter to extract the hair from Fed?

You will have to get by Mirka....and her rather large purse.

Posted by Pranav 07/05/2010 at 12:46 PM

Idon't get it;why are the analysts and esp Rafa fans just pouncing on Roger's upsets in the past few poor their memories are;although Rafa is a champion in his own right and must take a bow for a stellar comeback,I somehow dislike his physical,brutish game;Roger's finesse and class are so soothing, he's just incomparable; and as for the better tennis player,Roger is the one,hands down; Nadal may be the best warrior ever,but he is second to Roger in terms of being the greatest player of this generation(or anyone,for that matter.....)

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 12:46 PM


You are going for little. I wouldn't exchange Fed's hair until Rafa plays right-handed for the rest of his life.

That would be a fair exchange.

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 12:47 PM


You are going for little. I wouldn't exchange Fed's hair until Rafa plays right-handed for the rest of his life.

That would be a fair exchange.

Posted by Ruth 07/05/2010 at 12:47 PM

"Well, it's kinda hard to know how good Delpo will be when he comes back."

True dat, Grant. That's the horrible thing about wrist problems for tennis players, and especially for hard-hitting tennis players like young Delpo. Sadly, Chanda Rubin, one of my WTA five faves (who has yet to retre officially), can tell Delpo quite a bit about wrist imjuries and wrist surgeries. But I will continue to hope and pray for the the best for the gentle giant and his aching wrists.

I hope that no one is suggesting that "only Federer" is "pilloried" for mentioning injury or illness -- not after the millions and millions (I exaggerate, of course) of complaints we've had about Rafa's knee/quad comments or Djokovic's ear/nose/throat comments or...let me stop. :-)

Posted by ack 07/05/2010 at 12:50 PM

Still feeling great about Rafa's win yesterday!

Congratulations to Nadal and all of his fans. The last half of 2009 was rough on all of us but somehow we knew Rafa would be back! Here's to Rafa and his well-deserved vacation with lots of fishing, golfing and partying on (and off) the beach.

And thanks for a fabulous clay and grass season. Let's hope "hard" (as Rafa calls it) isn't that hard on our boy and his fragile knees this year. Looking forward to Toronto, Cincinnati and NYC! Vamos!

Posted by Charlie 07/05/2010 at 12:50 PM

has there ever been a bearded top player?

(and damn right I'm talking more Z-Z TOP and Gandalf than designer stubble or soul patch)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 07/05/2010 at 12:52 PM

CPM: i love rafa's hair! He's getting thinner on top but he still has plenty. Such a shame because all his uncles and dad have full heads of hair. The question is how bald will he get eventually? Start planting seedlings now, rafa!

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 07/05/2010 at 12:54 PM

So did everyone catch rafa's "adjustment" right before he and berdy walked out on court yesterday? That was a first. Hand right down the front of his shorts.

Posted by zolarafa (Hail TMR, the mighty Rafa!) 07/05/2010 at 12:54 PM


Now after 8 GS titles at the mere age of 24, two eurosweeps , a sweep of all clay tournaments this summer, the longest streak on a surface for men and a fantastic record of 14-7 against perhaps the greatest player of all times, can we call Rafa TMR? (The mighty Rafa?)

Posted by zolarafa (Hail TMR, the mighty Rafa!) 07/05/2010 at 12:55 PM

I forgot the record 18 ATP MS titles!

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 12:56 PM

I think Rafa should get his own unique name....thinking of what it should be..

Posted by thebigapple 07/05/2010 at 12:57 PM

LadyJ, I fully agree with these terms.

Posted by neilintoronto 07/05/2010 at 12:58 PM

awww as a bald dude, i love that Rafa has ANY hair, tangly, thinning, bat nesty or not. Besides he's got a great face for a shaved head, and i volunteer my services if and when he decides to pull a full Agassi.

I was reading last night's comments and i just wanted to say, that i don't think Rafa is yet top 5 of all time material yet, simply because he's not got a U.S. Open and therefore the career slam under his belt.

Although the Gold Medal at the Olympics helps.

Least surprising result this fortnight... Caro "Lobs to Live" Wozniaki getting only 3 games off of Kvitova. That girl's expiry date has come and gone when everybody who's ever held a racquet can hit through her. She can play as many tournaments as JJ, but has not nearly the firepower.

Bummed that Kim took out Justine, then lost, but that's life as a Kim fan.

Posted by I hate it when I am at a grunting concert and they start playing tennis 07/05/2010 at 12:58 PM

Why all the tennis greats have to go bald on us? Why, why?

Case A: Agassi (process completed)

Case B: Sampras (final process)

Case C: Rafa (work in process)

Case D: Fed (there's rumor going on that his forehead hairline is slowly receding; there was a whole debate on this during last year's world tour final photo shoot)

Case etc: with maybe exception of Borg (oh!), all the real greats are going bald on us, why? Even Lendl and Laver are a bit baldy. Johnny Mac not bald, but he's in not in Fed & sampras great league with 7 slams. Even pretenders like Roddick is in a full rage balding process (don't start with Blake, ha ha).

If Fed's balding rumor is true, then there must be something on those slam trophies that slowly penetrates champs' skin every time they touch! Rafa is not doing himself favor by keep biting on them, AHA HA HA HA! Maybe Borg escaped since he quit early at 26 while he was ahead? Oh the conspiracy!

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 01:01 PM

LOL on the balding you have a shorter name we can address?

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 07/05/2010 at 01:01 PM

It should probably have something to do with a bull, no? His foundation uses a bull's horns in its logo. He's already the King of Clay.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 07/05/2010 at 01:01 PM

Is toro bull is spanish? El Toro?

Posted by Mike 07/05/2010 at 01:02 PM

IMHO, Rafa has to get to the final of the USO and win it to be fully appreciated.

The 14-7 (10-2 on clay), the 8 Majors (4 on clay), and the 18 Masters (12 on clay) are still heavily tilted to Rafa's fave surface. He has made Major in roads on grass, and won the AO once, but the USO has been his Achilles heel. If he wins that, he'll shut a lot of people up ... especially if Fed is healthy and he's able to beat him in the final.

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 01:02 PM

Annie...yeah...something that personifies him.

Maybe Rafa fans will come up with better names.

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 01:03 PM

I meant Rafa fans will be able to come up with better names than me.

Posted by thebigapple 07/05/2010 at 01:03 PM


Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 01:04 PM


let Rafa fans choose the name for their player, no?

Posted by thebigapple 07/05/2010 at 01:04 PM

LadyJ...I was so tempted to help come up with names for Rafa.

I had to physically restrain myself. Grab my typing fingers...

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 01:05 PM


Borg never won the USO if i remember correctly. Still he is mentioned in the conversation of greats.

So, why is Rafa discriminated against?

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 01:06 PM


if Fed keeps on losing the way he is...we might have to come up with more suitable save your energy for that. Fred may not be sufficient in the future.

Posted by thebigapple 07/05/2010 at 01:08 PM

Yes, we may be busy soon working on something for Fed. Soon TMF will seem so ...2007.

Posted by wilson75 07/05/2010 at 01:09 PM

I hate: Add Murray to the list of pretenders, you can't miss his growing bald patch.

Posted by neilintoronto 07/05/2010 at 01:09 PM

I tried triple G for Rafa, but it didn't take (Golden Glorious Glutes)

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 01:10 PM


Ernie can be kept out of the balding conversation for a while.

Posted by Mike 07/05/2010 at 01:10 PM

I'm assuming because Borg did so much in such a short period of time, then bowed out. And I do believe his slam wins were more balanced, surface wise ... no?

Rafa has been so ridiculously good on clay, that his other surface achievements wind up lesser in comparison. If he could balance it out a little more, it would make a big difference, IMHO.

Posted by Mike 07/05/2010 at 01:12 PM

Also ... Borg's career has long ended. Rafa still has time to get himself into the rarefied air. ;)

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 01:13 PM


I see ur point.

Did Borg dominate the smaller events on clay like Rafa did?

Posted by neilintoronto 07/05/2010 at 01:14 PM

Mike, i'm not certain, but i think Borg only ever won on Grass and Clay Slam wise

Posted by Mike 07/05/2010 at 01:15 PM

That I don't know, LJ ... and, as a Rafa Fan myself ... I mean no disrespect.

Posted by Master Ace 07/05/2010 at 01:15 PM

Guess the biggest US stories will be Rafael quest for the Career Slam followed by will Roger be healed from his back and leg issues. After USO, do anyone believe Roger will shut it down for 2010 if back and leg are still an issue for him?

Posted by Grant 07/05/2010 at 01:16 PM

"I hope that no one is suggesting that "only Federer" is "pilloried" for mentioning injury or illness -- not after the millions and millions (I exaggerate, of course) of complaints we've had about Rafa's knee/quad comments"

Not too many of those in the press, especially of the pearl-clutching, monocle shattering "how could he launch such an assault on sportsmanship, egad" variety Fed got.

Of course, we still do have to read about Rafa's evil match time outs constantly, due to a poster I will not name but only refer to as "A Special Someone" and hope that the acronym takes off.

"or Djokovic's ear/nose/throat comments or...let me stop. :-)"

Yeah, Nole took grief from all over on those, unfairly it looks like.

Posted by chicklet 07/05/2010 at 01:16 PM

Mike - Borg had 5 Wimbledons and 6 French Opens. Rafa has 5 French Opens, 2 Wimbledons, and 1 Australian Open.
Rafa is not ready to be compared to Borg yet, but 5 clay slams, 2 on grass, and 1 on HC seems pretty balanced to me. I will grant you that he has been much more dominant on clay compared to any other surface.

Posted by Master Ace 07/05/2010 at 01:16 PM

Correct on Bjorn(6 French Open and 5 Wimbledon which consist of 3 Channel Slams)

Posted by beth 07/05/2010 at 01:16 PM

to Ruth at 12:08 - you are so right , and thank you for that observation
you are true wise and classy woman !

loving the photos from the champions ball
Rafa looks adorable in his tux , Serena looks lovely in her cocktail dress
and they both look amazingly happy !

now for that one girl with the super white feet / tennis sock tan
can we say - self tanner ? I knew you could

Posted by neilintoronto 07/05/2010 at 01:17 PM

Borg does have 11 over all, plus at least one us open final to his credit. So Rafa has a little ways to go yet.

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 01:17 PM


Somehow I feel Borg winning 5 Wimbys (consecutive) makes a lot of difference in that conversation.

He was the only person to do it at that time. Maybe that's why even though he never won USO or AO he is still counted in that conversation of great players.

Posted by neilintoronto 07/05/2010 at 01:18 PM

Thanks MA, i knew you'd steer me right ifin i ran off the road :)

Posted by beth 07/05/2010 at 01:19 PM

as for balding champions - let us not forget that Andy Roddick's hair is also thinning at the top of his head
He may very well be bald up there before Sampras

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 01:20 PM

"Yeah, Nole took grief from all over on those, unfairly it looks like. "


I am not even a fan of Nole..but even Roddick and Fed were too unsympathetic,IMO.

Posted by neilintoronto 07/05/2010 at 01:21 PM

If i were to hazard a guess to the balding conspiracy, i'd say being outside in the sun, and increasing pollution, plus genentics = baldy baldness. I had a convertable in high school 'nuff said :)

Posted by neilintoronto 07/05/2010 at 01:22 PM

But wait, Marat AND Lleyton are doing very well in the hair wars...another wrinkle.

Posted by Mike 07/05/2010 at 01:25 PM

Hmmm ... did Borg enter all the USO and AO tourneys during his time? Strange that was never able to win either even once.

Posted by spacenoxx 07/05/2010 at 01:25 PM

I say our Rafito still needs atleast 3 more slams to be even compared to Borg overall. He may beat Borg as the clay GOAT after winning another FO. But to be considered better than Borg overall, he has to do better than 11 slams IMO.

For now I would just like to enjoy what our guy does and be happy. With 8 slams, he is already among the greats (say top 10/20 players ever to play Tennis) which is nothing to sniff at :-)

Posted by neilintoronto 07/05/2010 at 01:27 PM

76, 78, 80 and 81 Borg was the us open finalist

Posted by Ruth 07/05/2010 at 01:29 PM

Annie: I'll have to look for that Nadal "adjustment" when I watch the whole match on TC tonight. Sounds like a genuine adjustment as opposed to the the nervous habitual pants- pulling which I wish he could give up.

Re: your comments about the baiting, I really don't see why some of these folk, especially the one that I referred to (love Lynne's Grinch name for him), aren't called to the bar more often by the TW mods. It's funny...about 3 or 4 years ago, in my only edited/censored experience at TW (or on any blog), I got cited for saying that a poster's nasty (borderline racist) comment said more about him than it did about the player he was criticizing. It was seen as a personal attack by me on the poster who'd made the nasty remark. I was shocked -- shocked, I tell you! :-)

Meanwhile, recently, a poster was told by a TW mod to "move along" (MYOB!) when she dared to suggest that something be done about the perpetually baiting poster whom I referred to earlier today. I felt bad for the poster who had dared to criticize; and sadly, she seems to have joined the ranks of those who don't comment here anymore. Ah, well.

Mike: I totally sympathize with your "human" giving in to responding to certain comments. After all, it took me almost 50 years to learn not to do that regularly. My poor mother tried in vain to make me; but I insisted that, as long as people knew I'd heard what they said, I was obliged to respond every single time if I considered what they said obnoxious or inappropriate or wrong or whatever. :-)

Posted by andrea 07/05/2010 at 01:29 PM

the time for comparing roger and nadal has come and gone. roger is 29 next month and nadal is only 24 - light years difference in terms of a tennis player. we expect nadal to be in his prime and he performs like he is. on the other hand, you'd expect a down tick in fed's game, and not surprisingly, there is one. sure, he's a fighter and i believe has a couple slams left in him but as the months go on, he's not really going to get faster or better.

i know nadal really wants to win the US Open but i secretly hope that he gets denied that for a couple more years, like roger was denied the French for so many years. don't ask me why. in my own mind, it feels fair. call me crazy.

dissapointed in the lack of drama of both finals this year. anticlimactic given how the rest of the 2 weeks shaped up.

but congrats to rafa and serena for their dominant wins. the rankings don't lie.

Posted by Grant 07/05/2010 at 01:29 PM

"I had a convertable in high school 'nuff said :)"

so hair loss is caused by karmic retribution?

Posted by chicklet 07/05/2010 at 01:30 PM

neilintoronto - I was just going to mention Safin and Hewitt. I think JCF's hairline is also in decent shape.

Moya on the other hand...

Posted by spacenoxx 07/05/2010 at 01:30 PM

Also, its like in chess world championship for the GOAT candidacy, Roger is sitting way up there as the reigning champion and our guy has to beat so many contenders to be able to actually challenge Roger.

Till Rafito wins few more slams, its too early for that discussion and like our guy, lets just think of the point being played instead of thinking next game, set or match :-)

Posted by Charlie 07/05/2010 at 01:31 PM

are you suggesting Fed wasn't in the top 5 of all time before 2009 French Open ?

Posted by neilintoronto 07/05/2010 at 01:32 PM

Now now Grant, i bought that car all by my lonesome, so i don't think Karma was involved. Not for the car anyways :P

Chicklet, LOL in Moya's case, he's going bald for cheating on Dulko...

Posted by neilintoronto 07/05/2010 at 01:33 PM

Not at all Charlie, i specifically was talking about why i didn't think Rafa should be in the top 5 greatest yet. I'm not one of those Fed bashers.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 07/05/2010 at 01:34 PM

Hey everyone. :)

I leave for a day and find you people are formulating all kinds of nefarious designs on Rafa's hair? Not fair! ;-)

*waves madly at neil*

Posted by spacenoxx 07/05/2010 at 01:36 PM

At this point lets just be glad that Rafito is back on track and if you really want to have a feel good factor, you can always go back to the H2H between the 2 guys and be smug about it :-)

Posted by neilintoronto 07/05/2010 at 01:36 PM

Jewell!!!! *hugs*, not just his, but many a thinning grand slam champ :D.

Posted by Charlie 07/05/2010 at 01:37 PM

but if the career slam is the clincher, then that is what you're suggesting!

(I love both Rafa and Fed)

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 01:37 PM


I don't think Tim addresses any poster by name...but he is surely free to criticize Rafa (the player)...and I doubt if that is against site rules.

Similarly, posters here who were criticizing Roger are free to do within the site rules. We can't expect every single fan to accept how great Roger is or Rafa is. Domination is frankly boring if you are not a fan...and Roger and Rafa are both guilty of the same thing - domination for inordinate amounts of time.

Sure, count me in the group who wonders why someone who is not a fan of Rafa is watching the final in the first place( as a Fed KAD I didn't watch because I knew I would not enjoy it)..and if they are watching it, then they shouldn't complain about it.

Posted by chicklet 07/05/2010 at 01:38 PM

Moya dated Dulko? Was this before or after Flavia?

Posted by AB 07/05/2010 at 01:40 PM

Hair, one of the most vulnerable spots for men. I think Marat and Lleyton, et al would trade their luxuriant scalps for more GSs in a shaved minute.

Posted by neilintoronto 07/05/2010 at 01:40 PM

I think it would help in Rafa's case, certainly for me, if i'd want to consider him greater than Agassi, who has the career slam. Roger's sheer number of slams/records automatically set him up as the top dog so far.

Posted by neilintoronto 07/05/2010 at 01:41 PM

chicklet, maybe it was Flavs and not Gisela, though i'm pretty sure he's dated both of them, I just remember the story of whover it was, catching him red handed.

Posted by CL 07/05/2010 at 01:42 PM

"I hope that no one is suggesting that "only Federer" is "pilloried" for mentioning injury or illness -- not after the millions and millions (I exaggerate, of course) of complaints we've had about Rafa's knee/quad comments"

Not too many of those in the press, especially of the pearl-clutching, monocle shattering "how could he launch such an assault on sportsmanship, egad" variety Fed got."

EGGSactly- What happens here is just part of the to and fro of cyber space...but in the sports writing press, Fed as 'sore loser' had gained a certain traction that others who have mentioned aches and pains have not. Esp. nasty article in the Telegraph. Of course, apparently by a golf writer so what can you expect and also its the Telegraph, so what can you expect?. But I will cease, as this horse is already starting to become dead. Hmm...come to that, can we beat a dead A Special Someone?

neil in toronto - BIG hi! So glad to see you here again.

In the baldness sweepstakes, I think Fed is going to end up looking pretty much exactly like his Dad, (yes I know baldness gene comes from Mom, but still), with his hairline receding and then stopping its march backwards. Eventually, a nice snowy white cap.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 07/05/2010 at 01:45 PM

Borg not winning the USO was a huge disappointment to him. He made several finals if iirc. I will check on that. And I didn't realize that Lendl never won a wimby although he tried mightily training on grass for weeks beforehand. So that's why I think winning a career slam is so huge. Rafa has won a slam on all three surfaces which is very nice. And being the bull that he is, he will get that USO title. I'm pretty confident about that.

On the balding issue, Sampras has plugs. So he'd be quite bald if not for intervention. And Randy and Andre have typical male pattern baldness. Mac has thinning hair on top.
But boy, does Borg look great for 55 or whatever age he is! nicely done sir!

Ruth: it's at the very beginning of the coverage so try not to miss it. It's while they're waiting at the doors.

Posted by AB 07/05/2010 at 01:46 PM

Borg Slam Finals: Total 16 over 8 seasons: W11-L5 (15/16 to Top 5 Players)

WON: 11 (1x - #1 / 3x - #2 / 1x - #3 / 2x - #4 / 3x - #5 / 1x - #11)

FO: 74-(#3) def Orantes (#4), 75- (#1) def Vilas (#4), 78-(#1) def Vilas (#2), 79-(#1) def Pecci (#11), 80-(#1) def Gerulaitis (#5), 81-(#1) def Lendl (#5)
Wimbledon: 76-(#4) def Nastase (#3), 77-(#2) def Connors (#1), 78-(#1) def Connors (#2), 79-(#1) def Tanner (#5), 80-(#1) def McEnroe (#2)

LOST: 5 (3x - #2 / 2x- #1)

Wimbledon: 81-(#1) lost to McEnroe (#2)
USO: 76-(#2) lost to Connors (#1), 78-(#1) lost to Connors (#2), 80-(#1) lost to McEnroe (#2), 81-(#2) lost to McEnroe (#1)

Sampras Slam Finals: Total: 18 over 12 seasons W14-L4 (11/18 Top 5 Players)

Federer Slam Finals: Total 20 over 8 seasons: W15-L5 (12/20 Top 5 Players)

Nadal Slam Finals: Total: 10 over 6 seasons W8-L2 (7/10 Top 5 Players)

The amazing run that Borg had included his wins over the Top 3s in his era. However, (and I posted about this before) he quite while ahead, ala (or paving the way for) Justine.

Talk about quirky. Sorry AM. I have to subtract points from him for not sticking around to try to find a way to win hard court slams.

Posted by neilintoronto 07/05/2010 at 01:47 PM

hey CL!! i figured it was safer to dive into the water, now that the tournament is actually over :).

Speaking of sun and pollution, i'm off to walk the dog in 33 degree heat, with 100 per cent humidity AND a pollution advisory....thanks Toronto Summers :)

Catch ya'll later :)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 07/05/2010 at 01:47 PM

LOL, neil. Don't care about them. ;-)

Channel Slam: Thank you very much for the pictures!

Posted by wilson75 07/05/2010 at 01:48 PM

neilintoronto: I thought Gisela dated Gonzo?

Posted by ChannelSlam 07/05/2010 at 01:51 PM

Reading back, I found some comments here pretty funny. In particular, I liked NeilinToronto's 'pull a full Agassi' and LadyJulia's wanting to exchange Fed's hair for Nadal playing right-handed :)

I think Mr. Nadal needs to win a couple GS more before he gets a brand new name, no?
But if Mr. Federer is indeed balding, he can become the Mighty Balding Fed (TMBF), yes?

Posted by AB 07/05/2010 at 01:51 PM

quite = quit

Argh. I shouldn't criticize Borg while AM is offline.

*wave* to Annie.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 07/05/2010 at 01:53 PM

Borg was a finalist at the USopen four times: 76 (on clay), 78, 80, 81

also, someone emailed me that Rafa's website says his next tournment is Cinncinati. Does that mean he's skipping Toronto?

Neil: No one is going to best TMF (unless rafa goes on a tear for the next few years), but think about it, Borg is considered one of the all-tiime greats and that is without a slam on hard. So where does that put Rafa who has slams on all surfraces?

Posted by neilintoronto 07/05/2010 at 01:55 PM

LOL Channel Slam, and to be clear, by "pulling a full Agassi" i do mean shaving his head, not sewing a blonde frosted tipped beaver onto the top of it :)

Posted by manuelsantanafan 07/05/2010 at 01:56 PM

Factors to consider in Borg's CV:

Four U.S. Opens finals, as Neil has noted;

The fact that he forewent several opportunities to win majors--he skipped at least one Roland Garros because of WTT and several more due to his premature retirement, as well as several AOs;

The fact that he was much more successful on indoor courts than has been Rafa, so far.

Posted by ladyjulia 07/05/2010 at 01:57 PM


What about five consecutive Wimbys?

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