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Final Thoughts 11/28/2010 - 5:59 PM

Hp 

by Hannah Wilks, TW Contributing Writer

On the protracted journey to North Greenwich this morning (London transport is laboring under major engineering works and facing a tube strike), almost every conversation I overhear is a discussion of Federer and Nadal. It makes me so pleased that on a weekend when the first Ashes test is underway, England have taken on South Africa at Twickenham, and the usual round of high-profile Premiership football clashes are on—Spurs v Liverpool being today's hot ticket—tennis can still fill the O2 arena.

It also makes me feel slightly ashamed of myself for not being more excited. As far as I'm concerned, the greatest rivalry in sport—as I understand we're now obligated to call it—reached its zenith at Wimbledon 2008 when Rafa carved out the heart of Roger's empire and more or less devoured it, and since then it's basically been one-way traffic. Rafa is the best player in the world right now, Roger has had one of the greatest careers; these things seem obvious to me. They don't even play each other that much—twice in 2009, and this their second meeting in 2010—meaning that their rivalry is mainly played out in records and statistics, and on their behalf in forums and blogs across the internet by their fans.

If I'm not excited though, I'm clearly the only one. The crowd applauds politely during the doubles final, a straight-sets victory for Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic; the trophy ceremony resembles a game of musical chairs as all four players acknowledge the end of old partnerships and the forming of new ones. It's good fun, but it's not what everyone's come for today.

Never has the O2 arena been so full of flags, Swiss and Spanish, and signs, some painstakingly-sewn and impressive, others scribbled in felt tip on what looks like scrap paper. The reach of the Federer signs is impressively global: 'Lugano Greets King Roger!', and more bafflingly, 'Namibia Loves Roger.' The Nadal supporters' signs read 'VAMOS RAFA' or simply 'RAFA!!!!', as if the man needs no introduction, just punctuation. It's a breathtakingly international crowd, too; in the past few days I've met people—not journalists, just fans—who have come from all over the world to be here. For every estuary voice which howls 'come on, Rog!', there's an 'allez Rafa!' or an authentic 'vamos!'

I've heard enough serious discussion of the crushing psychological blow that one opponent can inflict on the other by making him wait at the beginning of the match to note down how events turn out. This time, Federer manages to stay seated, visibly twiddling his thumbs, until after Nadal has got up to join him at net for the coin toss. It's either a minor miracle or a bold statement of dominance, but Nadal strikes back immediately by being substantially late in rising for play. In the chair, Mohammed Layani is already holding his head in both hands, like the mother of two squabbling siblings on a long car journey.

By the time the first three games have been played, it's obvious that we're not going to see any huge tactical surprises; nobody's come up with a masterstroke since the last time they played. Federer is going all-out aggressive, ending points quickly wherever possible; Nadal is trying to break down Federer's backhand. Not earth-shattering.

Stationary, Nadal looks squat and chunky across the net from the lithe Federer. That impression all but disappears once they both start to move. Nadal's feet scuttle across the baseline like a beetle; it's better to watch the unbelievable speed with which his racquet whips around his head as he delivers each forehand like a grenade. Despite that, it seems to have been all Federer so far, bounding on to every short ball like an eager puppy to smack a forehand winner. More impressively, his backhand doesn't seem to be leaking errors; indeed, more often that not he finishes a protracted exchange by finding an acute and unexpected angle off that side. The same shot gets him the first break, his fifth forehand winner the first set, 6-3. He hasn't lost a point on his first serve yet.

Federer is playing great. Nadal isn't, quite. Whether it's the remarkable speed with which Federer seizes his opportunities or not, the Spaniard looks a step slow, and his shots don't have the same penetration they did against Murray. Time and again his balls have been landing short and Federer isn't giving him a second chance at any of them. At the changeover, he sits miserably with his hands in his lap, looking between coach and umpire as if unsure who to expect a telling-off from first. His is the only long face in here; Maradona, Princess Eugenie, Thierry Henry all get big cheers from a happy crowd. Boris Johnson gets the biggest, proving once again that the fact that people in this city have the good sense to fill arenas for tennis doesn't mean they display the best judgement in all areas of their lives.

Nadal, inevitably, regroups. A return winner at 1-2 lets him fist-pump and strut, predatory for the first time, and he breaks on Federer's first significant forehand error. When Federer slips and falls in the next game trying to reach a bounce off the net cord, the Swiss is starting to look a little frantic and Nadal firmly in control. One weak service game and the set is gone.

The crowd at least are pleased about it; everyone would have felt short-changed if this one finished in straights. It feels almost like the match proper is starting now, and the rallies are growing ever more spectacular; the tennis that these two men can produce on pure instinct, playing on their veins, is breathtaking. Nadal is hitting much deeper than he was at the beginning of the match, but Federer's serve—after a brief vacation in the second set—is clicking beautifully, time and time again leaving Nadal stranded by the wide serve to the deuce court. He's still finding those angles off the backhand, giving him a toehold on Rafa's serve at 1-2 down. When that toehold becomes break point, the roar from the crowd is earsplitting. Lars Graff would have barked 'Please!' down the microphone as if having to restrain himself from adding 'stop embarrassing yourselves!'; Layani, on the other hand, milks the moment, drawing out the words 'aadvaantaaage Federer!' Federer manages to box Nadal into a corner until his attempted passer flies wide and consolidates the break despite alternating service winners and groundstroke errors, and is suddenly looking rather impregnable at 4-1. When he breaks again, the Federer fans are ecstatic and the Nadal fans are putting on their jackets. It's a cold day outside.

There's a slight oddness to the end of the match, as Federer's winning forehand looks out to seventy-five percent of the stadium. The fans sitting behind that line are the first to cheer, then as Nadal shakes his head and starts walking to the net, Federer is next. He's actually won, even if it's taken everyone a moment to realize it.

During his speech, Nadal's voice creaks with fatigue. In a possible Freudian slip, he thanks the crowd for their support 'in Wimbledon.' Federer quickly reiterates the mention of Wimbledon in his own victory speech. Deliberate or not, both of them know that the real battleground is elsewhere. This has been an extended trailer for Roger and Rafa, 2011; coming soon to a Slam near you.

Watching the confetti and camera flashes, I think about the significance of this victory. I'm starting to share some of Pete's skepticism about the format and implications of this event. Nadal may have been defeated, but no-one can deny it's been his year, and a rocky one for Federer by his lofty standards. I doubt that this defeat will impact Nadal for long; and I don''t know what Federer's victory can give him in terms of motivation and confidence for next year that the champion doesn't already possess. The Fedal numbers may have shifted a little, giving the hardcore fans fresh ammunition in their ongoing battles, but I'm not sure it means much more than that.

But it has been a week of great entertainment, of tennis that's encompassed the entire range from execrable to exceptional. It's given the ATP a chance to showcase their product, and London an opportunity to demonstrate another facet of its nature as a tennis city. On a personal level, it's been a week of staying up until 3 a.m., trying to find the right words for the best players in the world; a week when taking longhand notes during Nadal matches left my fingers blistered, and Djokovic's smile distracted me enough that I left my mobile phone in his press conference. (He didn't call.)

It may not quite be the 'fifth Slam' just yet—but it's been a bloody good week all the same.


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Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/29/2010 at 12:40 AM

lol crazy!

IS IT ANY WONDER FED FANS WANNA TEAR THEIR HAIR OUT???

the utter swooning and excuse making for Nadal is shocking, and this is not the first time o course, this storyline gets played out often ...

why cant this 'extraordinary' athlete play more than 3 hours of tennis without needing life support??

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/29/2010 at 12:42 AM

tennis RIP writes about Rafa:

"Of course, he always has an excuse ready, and this time it is the "shoulder injury." But would that make his whole upper body shrink and deflate?"

I saw a photo of a shirtless Rafa taken from behind at this year's YEC and there was nothing shrunken or deflated about his upper back muscles. He was ripped.

Even well-developed abs can look not so developed during or after a tough match.

Perhaps tennis RIP would like to provide some convincing photographic evidence to support his insinuations.

Or perhaps tennis RIP will continue talking out of his ass, which, by now, must be very well developed in the areas devoted to oral communications.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/29/2010 at 12:44 AM

tennis RIP writes about Rafa:

"Of course, he always has an excuse ready, and this time it is the "shoulder injury." But would that make his whole upper body shrink and deflate?"

I saw a photo of a shirtless Rafa taken from behind at this year's YEC and there was nothing shrunken or deflated about his upper back muscles. He was ripped.

Even well-developed abs can look not so developed during or after a tough match.

Perhaps tennis RIP would like to provide some convincing photographic evidence to support his insinuations.

Or perhaps tennis RIP will continue talking out of his ass, which, by now, must be very well developed in the areas devoted to oral communications.

Posted by Jim McLennan 11/29/2010 at 12:45 AM

Nadal is still Number One - but Federer showcased amazing court coverage, superb serving, and deadly backhand cross court winners
He still has enough in the tank for another run at Number One
imagine if Murray had roger's service action
throughly enjoy your posts
Jim

Posted by daniel 11/29/2010 at 12:45 AM

@Crazy-for-Rog

based on those remarks, yeh he's making excuses. he could simply say "fatigue is not why i lost". and even if he was tired, that's his fault. in that case it would be a legitimate advantage for federer to have because he dismantled his group efficiently and nadal couldn't. it's like an F1 race. you get a better starting position because you were faster in qualifying.

Posted by courtsurfaces 11/29/2010 at 12:46 AM

It's great to read all those Rafa fans blow this loss off as no big deal after there boy "ducked" Paris because of it's fast surface and rest up to put in an all out front to win this thing. Nadal plays every point as if it's his last so losing this thing IS A BIG DEAL TO HIM. Just look at how vehemently he argued a point called against him vs Berdych. In a year that Nadal has won 3 slams and is the most confident he can be he still lost.
So let's see Fed 5 Year End Championships Nadal 0 (ZERO). 3 times FED won 3 slams in a year plus the Year End Championships. In 2 of those he beat Nadal in the semis and now a 3rd time.
Just accept the loss and move on.

Posted by susan 11/29/2010 at 12:48 AM

enjoyed the article. really evokes the sense of place. but beg to differ. i didn't hear a creak in nadal's voice that indicated fatigue and i don't agree that this win doesn't mean much or add to federer's motivation, as if his cup were always nearly full. like other champions before him, he has dips in motivation and confidence as well, which I think he successfullly hides more than many other players, and this win will strengthen fed's psychological armour that is normally weakest vis-a-vis nadal. in addition, he has been bypassed by nadal at no. 1, and failed at two grand slams this year, and, at 29, he knows the opportunities will inevitably decline sooner rather than later. that affects you subconsciously, no matter how well you have performed in the past.

Posted by susan 11/29/2010 at 12:49 AM

enjoyed the article. really evokes the sense of place. but beg to differ. i didn't hear a creak in nadal's voice that indicated fatigue and i don't agree that this win doesn't mean much or add to federer's motivation, as if his cup were always nearly full. like other champions before him, he has dips in motivation and confidence as well, which I think he successfullly hides more than many other players, and this win will strengthen fed's psychological armour that is normally weakest vis-a-vis nadal. in addition, he has been bypassed by nadal at no. 1, and failed at two grand slams this year, and, at 29, he knows the opportunities will inevitably decline sooner rather than later. that affects you subconsciously, no matter how well you have performed in the past.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/29/2010 at 12:57 AM

i think this is why i post so much after stuff like harmon's Tweet, if you dont try balance this crap out, it starts getting a life of its own, fitness is part of tennis and always has been, if you cant play back to back 2 of 3 set matches without severe fatigue, youve got problems, period...

it amazes me an internationl tennis writer cant grasp this angle of a story and literally writes off a whole match result as a fluke -- this is the same guy who Fed made fun of about his fitness I think ... LOL!

Posted by tennisfan 11/29/2010 at 01:02 AM


I don't really get the writer's take on this;"I'm starting to share some of Pete's skepticism about the format and implications of this event".
Pete and Hannah,especially Pete, have a free pass to view Grand Slams and other events around the world.They do this for a living.
The average (ordinary) tennis fan can only be delighted to watch the word's top players over the course of a week at a tournament like the Barclays ATP event.For example, the ordinary tennis fan buys a ticket for the semis and finals at a Slam only to find the top seeds bounced from the tourney in the early rounds.That can be frustrating,and so on and so on.

Posted by zenggi 11/29/2010 at 01:12 AM

Good morning,

First of all I want to thank you -Hannah/Gauloises- for this insightful article. You've are a very welcome breath of fresh air among the professional tennis writers with your chronicles from Bercy and London.
I hope you keep writing next year as well. Wimbledon?

Next. Commisserations to Rafa and his fans. He wanted this trophy as much as the other 7 players. He tried very hard to get it but as he said "Against this Federer is impossible to win."

And huge congratulations to Roger and my fellow fans. Roger's team, including Severin, have brought focus to his game since the summer. I'm glad that Paul Annacone will have time now to work with Roger for the next few years. He is too good a champion not to win tournaments.
Am I the only fan who was scared after Roger fell so badly during the match?

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/29/2010 at 01:14 AM

look this is a blog, and thus, opinionated, and clearly, a little of the personal interest/passion for the event or match went out of the last report, because of the results or players involved or whatever, so be it ...

this event should be played in early October, however, i mean the crowds alone and celebs showing up more than prove its a huge, big deal, in a huge media market, etc., with way more history than a lot of current events have...

Posted by adb 11/29/2010 at 01:17 AM

Hannah, you ignored Federer at Paris, preferring to watch other matches; or, you didn't write about him for some reason. I don't recall that you posted any previous articles regarding O2, but I don't think you covered Fed in any of them, if you did. If I'm wrong, apologies.

I think you do great color commentary, and passable narrative on matches, but you're no journalist. Your biases show through, particularly those regarding Fed. Pretty subtle, but there. Please stick to the color commentary. It's terrific.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/29/2010 at 01:24 AM

its a little like Pete when Fred wins a big title and he's clearly bored or disappointed with the result it comes through in the post ... but again, this is a blog, not the NY Times...its supposed to be biased, and admittedly so, and certainly from guest bloggers donating their time which is a pretty nice thing to do ... fly on the wall reports are delghtful we dont want to scare people off from contriuting, this can be a very tough crowd! lol

Posted by pov 11/29/2010 at 01:34 AM

"Rafa is the best player in the world right now, Roger has had one of the greatest careers; these things seem obvious to me."
Sorry to hear that an opinion and wild speculation seem obvious to you.

IMO Nadal is the #1 in rankings and Federer is still the best player in the world. Yes 2010 was Nadal's year, but all the rest is still in flux.

Posted by Syd 11/29/2010 at 01:44 AM

This may be a blog, but it's an extension of TENNIS magazine. When the chief blogger of tennis magazine dismisses and denigrates an important event it is a disservice to the fans and to the game. If a tennis writer is so disillusioned with their subject matter that they cannot bring themselves to find any positives whatsoever in an event featuring the top eight players in the world, perhaps it's time they moved on to greener pastures.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 02:01 AM

Lovely post, Hannah, as always. I think you did a brilliant job of crediting both players and the tournament and audience. And thank you for all the great writing all week. :) More, please!

My goodness. I read three comments or thereabouts and find that Gauloises/Hannah is a Rafa fan? LOL. You can take it from me that that is complete and utter rubbish. :)

Posted by Sherlock 11/29/2010 at 02:04 AM

Moderator, clean on aisle 1:58, please.

Syd, my apologies for forgetting to say hi earlier. How are you?? Long time, no see. I hope things are well. Congrats on Roger's nice win today. Very well played. :)

Alas, Monday morning awaits, so it's lights out time. Talk to you all later.

Posted by TennisFan 11/29/2010 at 02:05 AM

Hannah, why exactly does this match not hold significance?

If Roger lost press and everyone would be all over him - that he can't beat Rafa even on surface that should've suited him.

Roger played brilliantly and the match was short because he made it quick fire tennis - somethin he needs to do against Rafa. He took it to him and dominated in the final set.

In my mind, this match certainly sets the record straight. That H2H favors Nadal so much as so much of it is on clay. If Fed could beat him today, couldn't he have beaten him in USO during the years he was routinely winning there?

It certainly was a statement by Fed, and was kindof crucial for him to get back into GOAT debate.

I don't buy that Nadal was tired - whooaaa in whole of a 90 minute match? And Fed was the one who played the second semifinal - so if anything he should have brownie points. If Rafa took so long to beat Murray, it is on him.

It was a brilliant match for Fed - both tactically and execution wise. Wish he had hired Annacone a few years back.

Posted by freddy 11/29/2010 at 02:12 AM

Testing - my last 3 posts have all got eaten up :( Is there a block on my id?

Will post more if this comes up...BTW, why are wars raging now? The season's done and dusted, innit?

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 02:16 AM

Just for the record - I think most Rafa fans would agree that was a big deal for him, and that he truly wanted to win it. If/when we say something like "hard to be too disappointed, decent week, great year" - it's for us, it's for putting things in perspective - it's not to try to minimise the importance for Rafa. It's just like when Federer fans say "oh well, it's all gravy after the career slam, hard to mind too much about a loss here." ;-)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 02:24 AM

Syd - are you talking about Hannah's piece? Did you read the many other columns she has provided for TW this week - insightful, enthusiastic and brilliant reading, all of them, IMO - hardly dismissive or denigratory.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 02:28 AM

pov - do note that Hannah wrote "right now". Saying that Rafa is the player of 2010 is hardly wild speculation.

Hi freddy! Sorry about the posts.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/29/2010 at 02:29 AM

Hiya Jewell

So what if Hannah didn't write about the top two seeds there are other players playing in the one tournament. As the top two players getting plenty of attention it was nice that the other players get some recognition plus Hannah wrote about the doubles which gets left out most of the time.

Hannah thank you for the last couple of weeks for your contribution, hope you can do something similar in 2011.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 02:34 AM

Morning, Angel. :)

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/29/2010 at 02:37 AM

Jewell this place has been feral all day, kind of boring really.

Nice job by England in saving the first test. They batted brillantly yesterday.

Posted by mick1303 11/29/2010 at 02:40 AM

Posted by Nova Villa 11/28/2010 at 06:36 PM
Wow! Tennis Muse must really hate Nadal in using moronic poetry to mock Nadal. To come up with a poem as stupid and lame as what Tennis Muse posted only represents the "feces" like brain quality of a poet who wrote that piece.
=========================
Is this site moderated? The post above is in direct violation of the site rules.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/29/2010 at 02:40 AM

Mornin' Jewell

Trust you had a good weekend. Mine was pretty good and it was swimming weather which I took full advantage of.

Posted by Cotton Jack 11/29/2010 at 02:40 AM

I was trying to read through all theses comments but there's only so much, er, *under-pre-examined opinionating* one can take at half seven in the morning.

But to the people saying Nadal was hampered by injury: he didn't look injured against Murray, and was able to find an extra nth of desire at the end of that match.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 02:41 AM

Surely it's impossible *not* to jibe at Boris Johnson? ;-)

Corrie - perhaps Hannah left writing about Roger until the final thinking he'd be there? There are plenty of positive, appreciative comments about Roger in the piece, no?

Posted by freddy 11/29/2010 at 02:42 AM

Ok - that went through, so here goes:

First up, well done Gauloises! Your writing from Paris and London has been wonderful - real breath of fresh air on this site. Esp. liked your Murray-Rafa match article, and the bit about Fed and Rafa like kids squabbling in the back seat just cracked me up..

Not sure I go along with the somewhat violent reactions of some posters, including fellow Fed KADs and fans. However, would like to point out a couple of things:

1. While Wimbly 2008 can be regarded as a watershed / passing of the baton moment, the rivalry is by no means one-sided since. Fed has a great 2009, Rafa not so much; positions are reversed in 2010. They have played fewer matches since that Wimbly Final, and its been an even 2-2.

2. Totally disagreed with Pete's views on WTF (My detailed point by point comments got eaten up, I'm afraid, so I'm not going there again)...and don't agree that this match didn't matter much. It mattered to Rafa, enough to plan out his fall season towards this end...and it perhaps mattered even more to Fed. At least Rafa could view a loss here in the context of a wonderful year, but for Fed it was a litmus test for his rediscovered aggressive game under Annacone, and for his own assessment of how next year would likely work out. And of course, 14-8 reads a lot better than 15-7.

3. The Rafa tiredness factor is a bit over-extended in my view. Partly is a result of his own playing style. Plus, looking beyond the immediate prior match to the overall player's schedule, Roger's played Shanghai, Stockholm, Basel and Paris and went deep in all in the past few weeks. Rafa's had a much lighter recent schedule in comparison.

Anyway, great ending to another good year. Rafa had a fantastic 2010 and will look to repeat next year. Roger' s looking very good for more. Andy and Nole still have to step up and take it to these two. Soderling may threaten to expand the A-list to a Top 5. And I do hope DelPo is back in the mix. Wonder how 2010 would have panned out if Delpo's injury had not happened. After USO last year, I seriously thought he would be the challenger Rafa needed on clay...

Posted by AB 11/29/2010 at 02:44 AM

Hannah: thanks for your posts from London. I've enjoyed your turns of phrases. It takes courage to put yourself out here in internet land, especially posting under your real name.

Will re-post from the last thread:

As normally happens between generations, even tennis generations, there's been a cultural shift in discussing what used to be considered personal.

I don't put a value judgment on the change from a Laver to a Lendl to a Nadal in terms of players giving us a snapshot of their current mental/emotional/physical state, nor do I equate it with excuse-making.

Everyone these days shares more of their personal information. Athletes are not immune to this cultural shift.

Posters say more about their own value system then illuminate anything about the athletes. I note that gauloises is being "accused" of being a Nadal Lover in her "Final Thoughts" post. Hah!

Posted by freddy 11/29/2010 at 02:45 AM

Waves to jewell...Really bummed me out. I'd posted a point by point rebuttal on Pete's position re the WTF and it got lost...twice, after telling me "Your comment has been posted"

Posted by Cotton Jack 11/29/2010 at 02:49 AM

I'm surprised I haven't read anything able the possibility that Nadal was feeling nervous or daunted or something. Its only a minor spot on his CV, but he's got no YEC. Sampras 5 is it? Lendl 5? McEnroe 3, Becker 3 etc. Its a gap that will prey on his mind until its filled. And he was playing Federer, a man in clearly great form this week, feeling confident about going for YEC number 5 .... when you feel daunted its difficult to feel bouncy to feel like you take Take This Man Down. Even when he won the second set he looked unhappy, probably because it was more about a slip in Fed's play.

Think how nerves make your legs feel heavy. Think about how when your tails up you feel can achieve anything and.

Posted by freddy 11/29/2010 at 02:54 AM

Why I believe the longer schedule is as important as the immediate prior match in contributing to tiredness may need some elaboration. We often say 'he had no gas in the tank" when a player wins a tournament to crash and burn early in the one that starts next week. Say when a player loses in the QF, even if his immediate prior round was a straight set affair. Each match eats up some amount of gas in the tank, it's not only the immediate prior match.

Which is why the IW-Miami double and the Canada / Cinci doubles are so difficult to achieve. Fed's the only one in recent memory to have done the first one (twice!); don't think anyone has done the second recently. That's as much a function of his efficient playing style as of his overall skill on those court surfaces / dominance.

From this perspective, Fed has as much reason to talk about fatigue as Rafa has from his one SF match.

Posted by freddy 11/29/2010 at 02:57 AM

Daunted? Nervous? NADAL? Tough to use those words in the same sentence Cotton Jack :)

I think that this is Rafa's usual m.o. when it comes to big tournaments which don't suit his playing style. It's always 1 step better, each year...See Wimbly, AO, USO for reference.

Have no doubt he will win it one day (maybe even next year) - indoor, surface, end of year....blah blah...no matter.

Then maybe the WTF will start becoming a tournament of note again :)

Posted by jackson 11/29/2010 at 02:58 AM

jodiecate at 11:37 PM "It's funny, i haven't heard or seen even one Rafa fan saying "Roger won coz Rafa was wrecked". I've only seen Roger fans saying "You're wrong to say Roger won coz Rafa was wrecked"

Like, ...we're NOT saying it!!!"


Amazing, isn't it? You'd think the forum would be full of jubilation and joy from Fedfans celebrating his big win but it's been one huge whine. I don't know if Rafa has gotten into Roger's head as has been widely purported but he sure has gotten into the head of the Fedfans. I think they all have OCD themselves and maybe that's why they get so up tight about Rafa's OCD tics and habits! Pretty funny.

Posted by Cotton Jack 11/29/2010 at 03:00 AM

Corrie - "sycophantic praise for this writer"

I'm glad I don't live in a world in which a community fails to appreciate the efforts of a friend. Or does warm-heartedness upset you?

Given the range of fruitcake opinions daily on display here it was inevitable that someone writing from her own perspective would tread on someone's tail. I disagree with some of what Gauloises has said and written but somehow I can manage to read it with needed to start my response/s with a head on attack.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 03:00 AM

Well thank goodness I went to the Art gallery and saw wonderful drawings by Cezanne.

Sigh I wish I could draw.

Its a pity fans have to get like this

Listening to Rogers great speech todau he was full of praise for Rafa.

Just as Rafa is full of praise for Roger

We as tennis fans should be happy we have these 2 great champions.We might not get the chance in the future to see to see 2 great Ambassodoors of the game as well.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 03:02 AM

Freddy

Hi! long time no see

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 03:03 AM

Didn't Roddick do Toronto-Cincy-USO one year? That's an incredible achievement right there.

"do you think Nadal isnt basically sending out the "i was tired' message with his very passive aggressive, Im not going to talk about that, you saw the semifinal talk?"

Tim, I know you asked Andrew, but I'm going to throw myself in - I think he was most likely trying to head off the press questions about tiredness, the way he does about who's the favourite - seems to me he knows it's all just talk. He gave Federer plenty of credit for brilliant play.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 03:06 AM

Oh jackson - no lumping or insulting a whole group of fans, pleeease - it's how pointless silly wars get carried on. Someone makes a daft comment, others are cross and retaliate more or less blindly, making a whole lot of other more reasonable people cross, and the whole thing just snowballs from there.

Hi AB, hi AM, hi Cotton Jack, morning anyone I've missed. :)

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/29/2010 at 03:08 AM

Well my concern is for Murray. I went to bed with Rafa leading in the third set with only one service game needed so I went to bed. Imagine my surprise when I got up on Sunday and found out that Hampster Head (I am going to call Andy this until he wins a GS) forced the third set to a tb only to lose it after leading 4-1. I wished I had stayed up to watch it but I would of been pulling my hair out.

I still don't know if HH has it in him to win a GS while the top two are playing great tennis.

Posted by jackson 11/29/2010 at 03:10 AM

Cotton Jack - I don't know that Rafa's lack of a YEC will prey on his mind all that much. For sure it's something he'd like to have but I think he's going to be too busy savoring all that he did win than to be worrying about one that's very difficult for him. You mention Sampras, Lendl, McEnroe, Becker all having multiple YEC's. Yes they do, but YEC's are all played on indoor hard courts. None of those guys have a French Open but they are all still talked about as great tennis players. If the YEC was rotated around to different surfaces to make it completely fair to all the different players on tour, I'm sure Rafa would have one or two by now.

I do agree with you about the nerves though. He said publicly that he'd like to win this as it's the only big one he hasn't won, and it was obvious a few times this week that he was wound more tightly than usual. And yes, those nerves can make the legs heavy and tight and like a number of us have noted, he didn't have his normal jump today. Federer's sharp play took away a lot of his opportunities and he was a very worthy winner but as a staunch Rafa fan, from the first few points it was obvious to me that Rafa was nervous. Roger wasn't and he certainly deserved the win.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 03:11 AM

Jewell Hi! You would have had a great time with me today at the Cezanne expo I met a non tennis friend and we had a wonderful time not Talking Tennis.These drawings were from Paris.Sigh!

AA Hi!

Hmmm dont mention Mitchell Johnston to me ever again okay.Pfft.


Posted by Cotton Jack 11/29/2010 at 03:12 AM

Freddy - given that Rafa once admitted to crying in the final game of a match I think this a far from dumb thing to say. Anyone who thinks Rafa (or Fed) doesn't have nerves is creating some kind of cuddly superhero in their head, something to cling to in the depths of the night.

His ability to rise above his nerves and execute to the degree he normally does is part of the reason for his success.

I got the impression that Rafa had clocked that Roger was feeling (for whatever reason) no fear. In the opening games he tried, as usual, to put pressure on Fed's backhand, but unusually (for whatever reason) Roger was able to respond to this and was playing exceptionally throughout that first set. And so it all became too much. Mental momentum is important in anything (remember how winning the fourth set in AO 09 was as much as Verdasco could cope with and got broken at the start of the fifth)

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 03:13 AM

Rafa fans please

Juast Let It Go okay

Rafa has had a Amazing Year hell he made the final at London after last years dismal performance I think he did well.

Cant we every tournament ok.

Rafa is human too lol!

Move On please

Posted by jackson 11/29/2010 at 03:14 AM

Jewel, point taken about lumping all the fans as one as there have been a few reasonable posts, but really, out of the nearly 400 to date, by far the majority have been wind-ups about Rafa instead of celebration about Roger. I find that amazing.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 03:14 AM

I love Cezanne.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 03:16 AM

Jewell I agree with your 3.06am post 100%

Posted by freddy 11/29/2010 at 03:16 AM

AM - not my fault, if my posts kept getting swallowed :)

Yeah Roddick had great summer 2002. He was seen as the genuine next great American. Pity it didn't pan out that way.

jackson - certainly Rafa's not made any excuses. Nor have Rafa fans (as far as I know). The reaction is mostly to the undercurrent in media writing (I'm not referring to Hannah's current article here but to the professional journos / commentators and suchlike). Though given their levels of insight, objectivity and historical sense, I don't know why anyone would bother.

Certainly, there's a lot of jubiliation in a positive way among Fed fans, though given his record it doesn't make as much sense, perhaps, to celebrate a 5th WTF like it would for Rafa's 1st USO. You saw that kind of reaction when Fed won RG 2009, for instance.

I think its safest to ignore the extremists in both camps - there are plenty of middle-ground Fed and Rafa fans who are KADdish about their man, while at the same time respecting the achievements of the other.

Posted by tennis RIP 11/29/2010 at 03:16 AM

manuelsantanafan,

I did not say that Rafa looked muscularly deflated compared to Federer, Murray, or anyone else, but that he looked deflated compared to how he looked at the US Open. He is still huge compared to most of the other guys on tour.

Why is it that I must provide photographic evidence for my observations when you don't provide such evidence for yours? This is a fan forum, not a court of law. Anyway, do YOU deny that Nadal's physique fluctuates, along with his performance, more than most players? Is that really so hard to see?

I regret arguing with you because you do have knowledge of tennis history and make an effort to give other players their due. The fact is, I don't pick on your posts; rather, you target mine. That is obviously because I accuse your favorite player of allegations I cannot prove, but the circumstantial evidence is immense and presents the same type of warning signs that appeared in other sports, such as cycling, baseball, track and field, and swimming before they were brought to their knees by doping scandals.

If Nadal is clean, he is still doing a disservice to the sport (but particularly to himself) by acting in such a suspicious way and showing general contempt for the rules of the game (with time violations, illegal coaching, bogus timeouts, etc.). Considering the totally inadequate testing procedures, a top tennis player surely could get away with doping if he wanted to; therefore, it is incumbent upon players not only to avoid impropriety but to avoid the appearance thereof. If Nadal were ever "tired" after five weeks of play (i.e. at Wimbledon) rather than after five weeks of rest (i.e. the YEC) or if the treatments he supposedly gets had some medical research and a track record of success with other athletes backing them up, things wouldn't look so bad.

The bottom line is that I think you are a generally knowledgeable and fair tennis fan who has the misfortune of having a favorite player whose record is very dubious and likely to arouse suspicion by other fans who are also fair and knowledgeable. That isn't your fault or mine; it's Uncle Toni's.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 03:17 AM

Jewell I know you do.It was incredible.You would have adored it

Posted by Cotton Jack 11/29/2010 at 03:18 AM

Jackson - I think things can prey on one's mind to different degrees. But Rafa has clearly displayed a massive hunger to expand his game. He used to be just a clay-courter and now has the career slam, expanding his range slowly but surely. Its not unreasonable to suppose that he's going to be wondering how to can conquer indoor, now that he succeeded on grass and the various kinds of outdoor hard courts. Given that he's overcome every other challenge he's set himself, I expect that he will win this one. Maybe, like Roger at the French Open, he'll need his greatest/only rival to be taken out of the draw by someone else ;-)

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 03:19 AM

Thank goodnes I have a scroll button

I cant believe that last post

*rolls eyes*

Moves On

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 03:20 AM

Manuel If you are around please

Save My Sanity ok

I beg of you lol!

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 03:23 AM

Cotton Jack

Hi!

Last timed we have a good old chat you were going to buy half price Easter Eggs remember? LOL!

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/29/2010 at 03:24 AM

Marge I am not a fan of Mitchell Johnson's at all. I think he is over rated. Prolly has something to do with all the drama from the last Ashes tour and his mother. Really he should of told his mother to butt out.

I have just received an email of my friend who has moved to Rockhampton (Brisbane) and is a total cricket fan and she knows Mike Hussey and his family and can't stand him for various reasons. So even though he saved Australia she still could not stop criticising him.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/29/2010 at 03:26 AM

Ohh good to hear that I am not the only one who buys half priced easter eggs, man that was months ago.

Marge I have been on a diet for the last few weeks and I have not had any chocolate and I am going insane. Roll on Sunday when I can stuff myself silly.

Posted by Cotton Jack 11/29/2010 at 03:26 AM

Hi AM! My plan was thwarted! I was clearly too slow, there weren't any left :(

Posted by jackson 11/29/2010 at 03:27 AM

Rafa's post match quote was posted earlier and there was consternation that he was supposedly implying he was tired. From Piers Newbury's latest article, here is the WHOLE quote which should put that canard to rest.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/9236318.stm

""He played unbelievable all week, without losing a set, being in the final, so his level was very high. I tried my best this afternoon but he was better than me."

"I lost the match because I played against a very good Roger Federer on one of his favourite surfaces, and when he's playing like this it's very difficult to stop him."

And the 24-year-old refused to be drawn on just how much his three-hour semi-final win over Andy Murray 24 hours earlier had taken it out of him.

"I think it's not the right moment to talk about that," said Nadal. "The thing is everybody saw the match yesterday, so everybody's free to think his own opinion. I don't want to say I lost the match because I was tired.

"What I'm going to say and what I feel is I lost the match because I played against a very good Roger Federer on one of his favourite surfaces, and when he's playing like this it's very difficult to stop him."

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/29/2010 at 03:28 AM

Ok home time for me and as I left my USB at my sister's over the weekend will not be able to log in and chat. Hopefully tomorrow this place won't be as feral.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 03:29 AM

AA You dont need to go on a diet? what are you thinking of


Cotton Jack Dont despair there's always next year ok lol!

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 03:32 AM

Yes I have read that and I am sure most fans have too.

Rafa has never used any excuses for his loses since the day he has come on the ATP tour.

Lets just all move on.

Posted by Ivo 11/29/2010 at 03:34 AM

While I don't agree with everything you say, I thoroughly enjoyed every line of your piece. A really nice writing!!!

Posted by M&M 11/29/2010 at 03:36 AM

After finally beating Nadal, Roger still didn't seem happy. Roger knows in his head that his time is fading and he will move on. I wish Roger would not act like a jelous spoiled kid who wants to take home everyones trophy. He can't have the prize trophy everytime. Roger is the real spoiled child, not Nadal. Rafa has always shown respect towards Roger, but Roger does not show respect to Nadal. You Nadal haters can't even be happy that your spoiled baby Roger won. Just like Roger why can't you just be happy for the win and stop bashing Nadal. The poor guy lost! Come on!!

Posted by Slice 11/29/2010 at 03:38 AM

Hannah Wilks for Bodo's job! Really, that would be great, having her instead of Bodo. Tennis.com would become an undisputed king for tennis readers.

Posted by jackson 11/29/2010 at 03:38 AM

Totally agree with your 3:18 Cotton Jack. I've long said in the shorter season argument that the mental exhaustion of the top ranked guys is far greater than their physical tiredness. They're under extreme pressure from so many different angles besides just having to go out and play tough tennis for a few hours every day or every other day. And of course, as is often said, Rafa's mental strength is one of his greatest weapons. He felt so badly about how he had performed last year and I think maybe just getting into the semis and finals took pretty much all of his oomph out of him as he redeemed himself in his own mind. I too think he'll win this tournament one of these days, and this year was a big step towards that goal.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 03:43 AM

thebigapple and WTF: Funnily enough, no-one says you can't be critical or disagree with someone's points. Plenty of people disagreed with various comments Hannah made, and no-one slammed them for it.

Purely rude, dismissive and insulting comments disguised as criticism - yeah, those will tend to put people's backs up.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 03:44 AM

Yes I forgot to say how much I enjoyed Gauloises writing not only this London tournament but Berrcy as well.

Thanks again Hannah you a real Gem and I enjoyed reading every post

I know you dont like taking compliments though you will just have to learn how to accept them ok lol!

Posted by jackson 11/29/2010 at 03:44 AM

AM @ 3:32. I'd appreciate if you'd quit telling me what and when I can post. You've driven me (and many others) away from this board before but you're not going to this time. I scroll past most of your inanity so please just do the same for my posts.

Posted by Cotton Jack 11/29/2010 at 03:46 AM

Jackson - agree. Moving him YEC record from 4-7 to 8-8 was one BIG step. Shall we say that WTF '10 roughly equates to Wimbledon '06?

Incidentally I just saw who he beat at Wimbledon '06 - Baghdatis in the semis, Nieminen in the quarters, Labadze in the R16 :-)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 03:47 AM

I love Hannah's writing this week, from Paris, and for always, but I wish people wouldn't use it to bash Pete. :)

Posted by Puissance 11/29/2010 at 03:49 AM

The beauty of Twitter is that you don't have to read stuff like 3:36

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 03:56 AM

M&M - really? Roger doesn't show respect for Rafa? You know I truly hoped his comments from Saturday's press conference might put an end to that way of thinking:

"Q. Final against Rafa. It means career Grand Slamer versus career Grand Slamer. I think this is new history. This is a unique matchup. What do you think about it?

ROGER FEDERER: I'm not sure, but I'll try to answer. Look, what he's achieved is amazing. Obviously at his age to win the calendar Grand Slam or the career Grand Slam, three in a row, he has already now, is again, another great streak. And he has many other things which are amazing. So obviously he's a wonderful player. He's proven himself that he can play on any surface now. The ones who still call him a clay court expert, they still don't know much about tennis.

He's proven his point again today, how good he was under pressure. Pity obviously for Murray. I'm really looking forward to playing him for the first time in the finals of a World Tour Finals."

Posted by M&M 11/29/2010 at 04:01 AM

I agree with everyone this is a wonderful write up on the final, i was sad that Nadal didn't win, maybe next year. He came closer this time Im glad for that and he has had a great year winnig the USO 2010 for the first time and staying #1 for the second time. Im not a fan for the 02 arena tho I hope the final gets moved somewhere else.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 04:12 AM

Jackson I beg your pardon?

How dare you ok

Sanity? LOL!

Your came on here first and critised a Rafa fan Imjimmy causew you didnt like the way he critised Rafa? ok and then you attacked me cause I brougght up the fact Rafa had a lousy b/point stat????

I see you and Annie are in cohorts with each other? LOL!

I am not accepting I drive people away ok

Nice Try.Save your breath and just give people here the respect they should have and stop baiting people.

I have had enough of your CRAP

Savvy?? and I have never said for your to stop posting

My point being that lets all move on which I think is fair.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 04:17 AM

Just for the record, I don't believe Annie has anything to do with this particular argument, she's not part of any plot, and she's not even here right now. :)

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 04:18 AM

M&M I think Roger has a great respect for Rafa.Did you hear his speech today after he won.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 04:19 AM

Jewell Sorry she has told me the same thing ok

Anyway I dont want to get back into that discussion after Joys death I have had enough with her.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 04:24 AM

It all calls for a nice pot of tea, that's all I know. :)

I wish the neighbours would re-fill their bird feeders. They put out some new ones last week but it's been so cold & frozen and the usual food so scarce that the birds have been absolutely gorging themselves. Watching a lovely little coal tit on the bird table now. Not quite as pretty as blue tits but they have such velvety black heads, I can't help but like them.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 04:27 AM

I just wish there wasnt the snarky comments that come out when either Roger or Rafa wins.Its a pity this happens ok.I have read back posts and other fans that used to post here by the way wont come back because of the "fedal wars: and I dont blame them.

We have lost some good posters over the years because of it.Both Rafa and Roger fans and also fans in general.

I cant see the point of Harping on.Saying the same thing.

Roger won fair and square today.Rafa has had a incredible year.As fans of both players we should be proud.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 04:29 AM

Jackson You arent allowed to call peoples names here ok

Site rules and I will call for the Moderator

I have had enough from you

Posted by M&M 11/29/2010 at 04:29 AM

I did hear his speech, but Roger took his time getting around to it didn't he? Rafa didn't, he congrualated Roger right away, first before anyone else, not so with Roger. Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,you know Rafa is my #1 too.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 04:33 AM

M&M Well Roger did say in his speech how he admired Rafa ok

I know they both do.They have said many times over the years.

Posted by jenny 11/29/2010 at 04:34 AM

I fully concur with AM. Let us not give in to the taunts.

Federer was the better player in the Finals. Kudos to him.

Rafa lost to a better player and from the interviews, Rafa didn't offer any excuse for his loss.

I am happy that Rafa's YEC 2010 performance is a HUGE improvement over last year.

Posted by Moderator 11/29/2010 at 04:34 AM

jackson -

Please note - name-calling and personal insults are not allowed here. That last comment was over the line.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 04:35 AM

M&M - I loved the O2 arena. It truly was like the Quidditch World Cup stadium in there, even in the way the noise reverberated around. Fabulous atmosphere, particularly on Saturday, and good crowds all week.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 04:42 AM

Jewell How long is the contract for the O2 arena by the way?

Posted by temes 11/29/2010 at 04:43 AM

It's so exhausting reading the comments here lol!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 04:46 AM

I think it's till 2013...wish it was forever. :(

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 04:50 AM

temes LOL!

I need soem Coke a Cola

Hang on there for cleaning my windows

At least now with the tennis season over I dont need the drugs and alchol!

I wont know myself.

Posted by freddy 11/29/2010 at 04:54 AM

Cotton Jack @ 3:12

"Freddy - given that Rafa once admitted to crying in the final game of a match I think this a far from dumb thing to say. Anyone who thinks Rafa (or Fed) doesn't have nerves is creating some kind of cuddly superhero in their head, something to cling to in the depths of the night."

Please note the smiley at the end of the first line of my 2:57..

guess smilies aren't working as they used to before :)

Posted by M&M 11/29/2010 at 04:57 AM

Jewell, I think it is a beautiful place, but not good for tennis, the players get too physicaly betup on that surface and the place is too cold, atmosphere is great like you said.

Posted by mick1303 11/29/2010 at 04:57 AM

Posted by VE 11/28/2010 at 11:08 PM
Here's my take on Rafa, Roger and the whole darned thing: http://bit.ly/hLe1Sp
======
In the last six years, only four men have won majors. Two of those men have won one apiece
======

This is not factually correct. There were 5 men (it seems you forgot Safin’s win in Australia in 2005)

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 04:59 AM

mick1303 Thanks.I forgot about Marats win against Hewitt wasnt it in the AO final.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 05:05 AM

Freddy Correct.Rafa cried in the locker room at Wimby 07 he thought he would never have another chance to win and was soo upset.Uncle Toni said to him to stop there would be plenty more Wimby's to play.

The next year he won in 08? lol!

Also when he won Wimby 08 I saw him shed a few tears into his towel at the end of the match.

He really broke down at RG this year.I think he was soo wanting to regain his title after Soderling beat him the year before.He meant soo much to him.

Posted by jackson 11/29/2010 at 05:07 AM

Interesting. I didn't use any names in my post, but as the old adage goes, if the shoe fits, wear it.

And to the mod, wow. With the tone and the type of many of the posts on this forum, mine was pretty tame. Whatevs.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 05:15 AM

AM: it was the same in Monte Carlo, too. I know it was "only" an MS title, but that one, after an 11-month drought, meant so much!

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 05:16 AM

Jackason There you go again baiting

If the shoe fits whatever?

Cany you be civil and stop this childish behaviour ok

Lets just move on.

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