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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 Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 05:17 AM

Jewell oops forgot that one thanks for reminding me

Posted by Moderator 11/29/2010 at 05:21 AM

jackson - it was perfectly clear who you were referring to. The rules aren't there so that people can work around them.

AM and jackson - Let's all move on, please, with no more berating each other.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 05:22 AM

Jewell By the way how long is Nic staying in London for?

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 05:25 AM

AM - I think she went back to her university on Saturday. It was fantastic to meet her!

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 05:27 AM

Jewell Which Uni is she at and what course is she studying

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 05:28 AM

Moderator Will do and I aplogise.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 05:41 AM

Up in the northern wasteland somewhere and I think - international studies? Something like that.

Posted by GB 11/29/2010 at 05:41 AM

I just wanted to say something about Rafa supposedly raising tiredness as an excuse. The quotes raised obviously omitted the questions which gave rise to them. He was actually responding to a journo's perception that he looked tired, saying he/she was entitled to that opinion, but he didn't feel it was a factor. I personally didn't see anything wrong with what he said.

http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=67863
_-------------------

Q. Could you give us your thoughts on today's final.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, he played unbelievable. I think in the beginning was unplayable I think this first set. I still having chances in the second, and the beginning of the third, so-so.
But, anyway, my though is he played better than me, he beat me. I just can congratulate him for his victory and another great tournament for him. He played unbelievable during all the week without losing a set, being in the final. So his level was very high.
I try my best this afternoon, but he was better than me.

Q. Yesterday almost nobody believed that you were tired, because you're never tired, but today you seemed to be tired. You were a little slow. Did you feel that in your legs, apart from Federer playing well, or not?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think is not the right moment to talk about that. The thing is everybody saw the match of yesterday, so everybody's free to think his own opinion.
But I don't gonna say I lost the match because I was tired. What I gonna say and what I feel is I lost the match because I played against a very good Roger Federer in one of his favorite surfaces. And when he's playing like this, is very difficult to stop him, no?
I had little bit chances. I was there, but wasn't enough.

Q. On what level did you find it difficult or the most difficult, most demanding, to play against Roger today? Was it on the physical, tactical, or mental level?
RAFAEL NADAL: He played very aggressive. He played great. His serve was good, with good percentage outside in the important moments, wide in the deuce. The forehand was unbelievable. And he was playing really well with the backhand, too, no?
Was difficult to play because he played very close to the baseline, going to the net. He tried to don't play very long points from the baseline, no? He's trying to play inside and play very aggressive. He did well, no? So everything. Roger is probably the more complete player of the world.
When he's playing well, is difficult to find solutions. But for the moment, I found it. I am happy about my match of this afternoon if we think about the global conditions. Was very difficult final for me. I still won a set. So in general I'm very happy about this afternoon.
But I am more happy about all the week. Was a fantastic week for me. Four top-8 players in the same week in a difficult surface for me. So I think never happen that in the past. So that's very good new for me.
---------------

Posted by temes 11/29/2010 at 05:47 AM

I thought Rafa was exceptionally gracious in his post match presser.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 05:47 AM

Jewell Thanks I hope she enjoys it and is successful.

Briony would love to live in London when she ws there earlier.Though she said in her line of career choice there wasnt much work for her at that time.She would love to go back and visit more.Though in the Summer lol!

Posted by temes 11/29/2010 at 05:49 AM

Lol AM...frazzling season is over for now. Though with Serena out for so long I kind of miss frazzling and booze and drugs. And you need to stop getting into TW fights lol!

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 05:49 AM

GB Thanks for that.

Well Rafa I thought summed up his feelings very well.I know he would be pleased with the results like he said.It had been a great week for him and Roger was too good for him in the final.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 05:52 AM

Hey GB. Hope you're surviving ok. :)

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 05:53 AM

temes I dont wish to get into TW fights let em tell you

Though I wont be called that ok and I knew I should have scrolled in th first place LOL!

Moving on I will miss Serena too.I wathched her live this year at the AO Open.Its going to sttange this year going and she wont be there.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 05:55 AM

GB Can I offer you another Vodka?

Or have you had enough today/night already

Maybe a strong coffee instead

Chocolate???

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 05:58 AM

oops hang on next year to the AO2011 I meant

Sorry the drugs from Rafa's match havent worn off yet lol!

Posted by temes 11/29/2010 at 05:59 AM

AM I know. lol

I will say it again it so lucky of you to have a GS nearby...here the only live tennis I can see is Jarkko Nieminen and Jonas Björkman playing an exhibition haha! Well there was a wta tournament here some years ago called something Nordic light open but that was cancelled then pff.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 05:59 AM

Tea with a shot of brandy in? :)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 06:00 AM

And some nice ginger biscuits too.

Where are you, temes?

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 06:02 AM

temes Well its only 1 hour by plane

Though to drive its a long way between Sydney and Melbourne

A 13 hour car trip if you dont stop ok

I dont think people realise how big and open our country is at times

Posted by aussiemonkey 11/29/2010 at 06:03 AM

woah, you editors do seems pretty over tennis for the year. i thought it was a great match, and the only time it seemed like nadal felt the pinch was once he was 4-1 down in the third. while this diminished the match a tad, as he didn't have his usual fight to the end (and who knows, fed may have gotten tight) i still think federer was playing too well, and nadal knew it.

also, i think there were a lot of differences with how this match was played from normal. Nadal couldn't hurt fed's backhand as much as normal with the low bouncing of the court, so fed's backhand was top notch. Federer was ripping his backhand, as we have seen him do before against Nadal a few times, but this time he seemed to be going cross court even more than normal.

On Federer's side, the all out aggression i think was moreso than normal. Whether it is just the type of court for this mentality, i'm not sure, but he seemed to have more of a game plan than normal to be aggressive, hit aggressive returns, smash anything short with his forehand and come in, but he also managed to scrap a few points with amazing defence (again the low bouncing court seems to help him here.) I really think that this mentality helped him on the break points, where he is normally very hesitant, and tries different things, and normally fails. This time he just seemed like he knew what he wanted to do, and he has been playing well enough this week, and with the court to allow him to do this.

Nadal v2.0, with his new serve (not as effective as it was at the open, but still a noticable improvement) has really learnt to flatten out his shots (especially his backhand) and take the ball earlier. Obviously, this has resulted in him making more errors than normal, and generally, while i think this has helped him against the players he would sometimes lose to, i think against federer it actually hurts him.

I definately think this was a really important win for Federer, mostly for the fact that if he could not beat Nadal on this court with those conditions, and him playing as well as he has this week, i don't know where he would be able to. I don't agree with everyone believing that he is a definate now to win the Aussie Open over Nadal, because conditions are very different there, but i think this win, and if he can keep up his form next year, i think he will have a really good and motivated year.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 06:03 AM

Yummy I take the biscuits Jewell ok

GB Please answer me

Last time I thought you were dead

Earth to GB come in please?

Posted by temes 11/29/2010 at 06:04 AM

I really hope the Fed-Rafa rivalry can continue strong next year...even though Fed is old now I think he has 1 more year where he can make multiple grand slam finals if he finds the consistency he was playing *that* well this year end championship...and in the GS finals against Rafa! Oooh. One can dream.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 06:05 AM

aussiemonkey Good post

May I ask where you are from by the way

Its not the first time you have posted here and Welcome by the way

I have enjoyed reading your posts

Posted by GB 11/29/2010 at 06:07 AM

I think I'll stick with the vodka AM. Still kinda need to be numbed:)

Not gonna lie, Jewel I'm sad he couldn't win. Trying --absolutely trying-- to just focus on how delirious I felt after the MAndy match. Given your 'positive acktitude' I almost feel like I don't have to ask if you're ok:)

Temes: is Serena your absolute fav? Do you have an ATP fav?

Posted by temes 11/29/2010 at 06:08 AM

Jewell I'm in Finland.

Oh AM excuse me I was under the impression you live in Melbourne lol...don't know where I got that. Well I also have to admit I forgot how big Australia is and also Finland is quite large but all the civilized people are packed in a small area in the South where all the distances to places are small and the barbarians live in the North.

Posted by GB 11/29/2010 at 06:12 AM

I'm sure this will disgust you, Jewel, but I don't like tea or brandy!

I think Fed's gonna be in lots of slam finals next year.

Posted by temes 11/29/2010 at 06:13 AM

GB, Serena is my absolute absolute fav. Wow I just enjoy her.

ATP Marat was my fave. Lol It was very painful and since he is no longer present I have the luxury of not getting too anxious in anyone's matches. Though I'm a bit more Fed fan than Rafa but not a kad by any means. I like both a lot.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 06:14 AM

GB Good to know your still with us

Come on cheer up hey

Rafa didnt win a match last year? look what he has done this year in this tournament.Cant win every tournament he goes into ok.Though hey it would be good lol!

Passing you another Vodaka

Temes I guess your not a barbarian then lol!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 06:15 AM

Finland...but then you have the Kontinen brothers who are going to take the tennis world by storm...or so says White Line Fever. :) And Caroline.

GB - I'd have liked to see him take it, too, but Roger was just too good. Besides, he gave us some fabulous moments through the week, and was fifty million times better than last year - hard to be too cast down. :)

Posted by x-fan 11/29/2010 at 06:17 AM

Final thoughts from me:

Hannah (Gauloises) I truly enjoyed your writing. Thank you very much for the effort and time put into giving us an insight into this tournament and thanks for Pete too by extension.

While I didn't find the tournament extremely exciting, we did have a couple of compelling matches and we got to end the official season with a Fedal, not too bad I think :)

I do believe the results of these matches affect both Roger and Rafa.
I think Roger will be even more ocnfident going into 2011 and Rafa will want to learn from what happened here as he moves forward.

Before I go, I left posts for Ruth and Ladyjulia in the previous thread (in case you ladies see this)

Have fun everyone and be nice! :)

Posted by temes 11/29/2010 at 06:17 AM

AM of course not! lol In fact if anyone's cares about my views of Finland's future I think it's ridiculous such a small population is scattered in a relatively large country, we all should just live in the South things would run a lot smoother. Just leave the other area to be a huge national park.

I'm going way too off topic I shall correct this.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 06:18 AM

I meant, you have Caroline as Scandinavia's #1 and world #1, not that she thought the Kontinens were set for world domination.

LOL GB. I dunno how people survive without tea, I must say. :)

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 06:20 AM

Bye X Fan

Hey we are always nice

Well most of the time lol!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 06:20 AM

Bye x-fan, come back soon!

I'm going to have to brave the horrid cold and go out...meh.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 06:21 AM

temes I am always in favour of nice national parks

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 06:22 AM

Jewell I heard your weather is cold for this time of the year and there is snow falling already in some parts?

Posted by temes 11/29/2010 at 06:23 AM

Jewell...Kontinen brothers? Blerghhhhhh. I really don't want to sound like a hater dream crusher person but where are the results?

Posted by GB 11/29/2010 at 06:27 AM

Bye x-fan and Jewel!

From Marat to super limited frazzle would be an enormous change Temes

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 06:30 AM

Hmm I miss Marat too for lots of reasons

Major Sigh!

Posted by temes 11/29/2010 at 06:31 AM

I also want to compliment Hannah Wilks/Gauloises on her writing I have enjoyed all the posts...it takes skill there are times I wish I could write 2 comprehendable sentences in a row.

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 06:34 AM

oops thats reminds me I need to give out my Rafa Fans Awards for 2010

Drum Roll please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Rafa Poster of the Year for 2010 goes to

Well its a tie this year

Lynne and Jewell!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rafa fan award to the poster who is one of my favs and will give her self a Heart Attack for sheer "Frazzlement" my new Poster of the Year Award goes to you guessed it

GB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Take bows guys you earn it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Drum Roll over

Back to the tennis

Posted by mellow yellow 11/29/2010 at 06:40 AM

wow fed fans being disappointed in Roger for shock! horror! making him wait at the net; thinking this blog posting was completely fair and unbiased. Never in doubt. Especially from the so-called KADs. LOL

Posted by Aussiemarg,MadamePresident,Rafa Is Still My No 1!!! 11/29/2010 at 06:41 AM

Well thats it for me I need my rest

I will see everyone hopefully next year.I have some personal stuff thats needs my full attention concerning my husband and I just hope he will be ok.

Bye!

Posted by GB 11/29/2010 at 06:42 AM

Awww thanks AM, although being recognised as a uniquely insane fan might not be a compliment:) And don't think you can end the 2010 frazzle with awards season - just wait until the exos!

Posted by temes 11/29/2010 at 06:43 AM

Bye AM hope everything is ok.

Posted by GB 11/29/2010 at 06:45 AM

I really hope Peter's health is okay and everything turns out well for you AM.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 06:54 AM

*takes bow*

Well, I'm stunned! Cheers, AM. :)

Posted by fedfan 11/29/2010 at 06:58 AM

Well done. Thank you for your wonderful posts this week!

Posted by Mike Romeling 11/29/2010 at 07:01 AM

Kind of a fun article but:

Don't like the format: why not? It's different--fun--best 8 players in the world playing---got the final everyone wanted--what's not to like?

Rafa is so tired poor guy: Oh please--he's 23 freakin' years old. Let's give that excuse a permanent rest for everyone. No other sport gets into that foolishness.

The "rivalry" has been over since 2008: Oh-oh--did I pick the wrong mushrooms again?---because I've been under the impression I just watched another cool chapter in the rivalry.

Well the writer does frankly admit to not being excited and gives the event a compliment or two so it's okay I suppose--but tennis journalism does seem to have a way or stepping on it's own toes perhaps more than is good for the sport. I loved the event and kudos to The Tennis Channel for its coverage and great commentary.

Posted by Pierre 11/29/2010 at 07:02 AM

The final was a monumental event in tennis. This is the first time I can remember Federer coming out with a change in strategy against Nadal. Federer is extremely stubborn. He can beat everyone else by staying back and playing defensive tennis. He always tried to do the same thing against Nadal, the result of which was that Nadal would gradually dominate from the baseline and get fired up emotionally with every point he won.

This was the best I have seen Federer play in a long time. He was killing the backhand, really hitting it hard. And taking big cuts on serve returns. It was actually a bit funny at first, because he was hitting almost all of his second serve returns out. But he stuck to the strategy.

By doing this he controlled the points, even the ones he lost. And Nadal couldn't do anything about it. Nadal became passive as the match went on, all the talk about fatigue also reflects the fact that he lost his demonstrative yells and fist pumps and redundant running around on the court that he usually does.

In fact for this match, the two of them exchanged roles. Wouldn't it be cool if Nadal stays number one for some time, while Federer starts to dominate their meetings and "get inside his head?"

Posted by Jane 11/29/2010 at 07:14 AM

Well, the article sounds as if this tournament was meaningless. Its funny, it wasn´t meangless to American media when Sampras won it 5 times.

Posted by GM 11/29/2010 at 07:21 AM

Nadal never made the excuse that he was tired. He admitted himself that Federer just played better. So this whole 'tired' business is coming from other people, not from the player himself, so why are people making so much of it and analysing it so much??

Posted by mick1303 11/29/2010 at 07:27 AM

Pierre, re: 6:02 - you must've missed Madrid 2008 final.

Posted by jodiecate 11/29/2010 at 07:35 AM

Hey GB!!

When focusing on your "post MAndy match delirium" no longer DOES it for you, here's a new thought to cuddle up to, straight from the mouth of Rafa:

"I am happy about my match of this afternoon if we think about the global conditions. Was very difficult final for me. I still won a set!!" :D

"Global conditions" (he cracks me up!!!) being Fed playing "unbelievable" on his favourite surface.

There's positive acktitude for you! Aint it grand???

Posted by Sally 11/29/2010 at 07:38 AM

American media is nervous, Roger equals Sampras 5-5 in WTF hahaha

Posted by jackson 11/29/2010 at 07:41 AM

It's true GM that Rafa's not using it as an excuse and that's not surprising. He very seldom makes excuses and almost always gives due credit to his opponent....but. It was pretty obvious that he didn't have his usual doggedness and verve. I don't think I've ever seen him stand and watch so many balls land away from him. My personal opinion is that it wasn't so much physical tiredness as it was emotional exhaustion after a long and very roller coaster year. He's not the sort to quit or not give his all, but there just wasn't much left in the tank to give and up against a Federer who was playing lights out, he just didn't have it yesterday afternoon.

I think his pride took a hit last year when he played so badly and he desperately wanted to make up for that this year, which he did by getting past the round robin. The Murray match was a corker. Most situations he would manage to gut it out in the final but Federer was playing too good. Perhaps if Rafa had gotten more chances in the first set he would have found some strength from deep down but it just wasn't to be. Too bad, as it would have been nice to see a well contested match between two relatively fresh players, but Federer fans got to see their guy in full flight and Rafa fans aren't too upset because he's provided more thrills and excitement than anyone could have expected a year ago.

Posted by Ruth 11/29/2010 at 07:57 AM

"GB, Serena is my absolute absolute fav. Wow I just enjoy her."

In the "old" days of TW (circa 2005, 2006), the very young temes used to give us fellow TWibers many giggles (and Steggy, many small headaches) with some of his expressions of his "enjoyment" of Serena. LOL

Missed x-fan again, but I'll check his comment that he mentioned on the other thread. I'm sure that he read that I'd award him the prize for most sensible and candid predictor of the winner of the WTF final.:-)

Oh, dear, dear. I hope, based on my quick reading of the "overnights," that we TWibers don't have to suffer any more of those long, persistent, repetitive whinings about what people -- NOT ON TW --have said about future Fedal matches (or anything else) on their Twitter accounts or in other blogsand media outlets. Heaven knows, we have our hands full dealing with the outrageous comments posted on TW by both regulars and drive-by trolls at these times. SamE has even stopped berating us about what mean things the people on WTA World have said about Caroline; I hope others follow the same route. Please!

Posted by mick1303 11/29/2010 at 07:59 AM

Posted by Sally 11/29/2010 at 07:38 AM
American media is nervous, Roger equals Sampras 5-5 in WTF hahaha

================
One doesn’t cry about the hair when the head is lost.

Posted by Carol 11/29/2010 at 08:10 AM

Good morning everybody

AM, maybe some of the federers's fans (I've said "SOME") are the ones that have to let it go
I understand that they are celebreting the Roger victory but I DON'T UNDERSTAND why they keep talking not too good about Rafa, again and again and again
Read please some comments from yesterday at night and then tell "who has to let it go"

Posted by Carol 11/29/2010 at 08:24 AM

GB, thanks for that link. Yesterday at night I posted another link similar but it was in Spanish
By the way I have to tell you that I like a lot your comments

Jackson, well said, Rafa's fan are not too upset because he's provided more thrills and excitement than anyone could expected a year ego.
And just too read the posts after the match we can see that Rafas'fans were OK, not big deal

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 08:29 AM

GB,

Thanks for the presser quote..the statement "everybody saw the match etc etc" makes sense with regards to the question.

Think Rafa was fair to answer the question that way. And nothing wrong there. And is not using any excuses either. Sets a great example as #1 that other players can follow.

(*shows fist to journos who keep writing about tiredness in every report of the match*)

Ruth..i tend to go by stats a bit..and something that happens this year takes precedence in my book over something that happened in 2007. Besides, when a player is on a roll winning 3 GS a year, with considerable retooling to his game compared to 2008 (when he was already #1), I would never bet against that player. Surfaces only matter so much in the long run for an all-court player.

If you still want to believe that Rafa cannot play on indoor courts, and that Roger will continue to win title after title..and most of all defeat the one guy he couldn't in his peak..but rather do it when he past his peak...go ahead, but i won't bet my money on it. I can bet with you right now, that this was a fluke. Watch them play on indoor courts next year, and I can assure you Rafa will defeat Roger. Despite Roger being 3-0 on indoor hard courts.

I have yet to see one instance in the history of sports where an older player starts winning against his nemesis who is 5 yrs younger and has the tactics to defeat him when nobody does. It will happen, no doubt, here and there...but just like Roddick pretty much lost the Wimby final at 15-all in the fifth set...so will Roger lose to Rafa. A win here and there...ofcourse,it will happen. But if I would have bet 22 times, I would bet on Rafa each time if i had known that he negates Fed's game...and I would have won 14 times and lost only 8 times.

Losing my bet 8 times, for a player who could not defeat Rafa when Rafa had a pathetic serve at 90 mph, when Rafa was actually a clay courter playing on hard courts, when Rafa was actually not winning 3 slams a year on three different surfaces...is fine for me.

I ain't betting against Rafa, no thank you.

What Roger couldn't do at the age of 25, he isn't going to get it done at the age of 30. As long as the H2H remains skewed and Rafa plays left-handed, I will pick the nemesis to win. Always in that matchup.

Posted by Carol 11/29/2010 at 08:32 AM

GM, some Federer's fans are acting like Federer lost. If they are talking like taht when he wins, can you imagine what they say when he loses? pptttffff

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 08:44 AM

xfan,

We differ there. I think players would do best to keep quiet.
Nothing is ever going to be perfect for any player.

Even Roger makes a ton of excuses sometimes..he will start off by saying.."I don't want to make excuses, but it was really windy".

Well, thank you for that, now I have to bribe nature so that the conditions are perfect for him to play. The sun bothers him, so he takes a bathroom break to give time for the sun to set...its windy, its rainy..I mean it never does end, does it?

Their pressers are quite a joke sometimes. Seriously. Its just whining. Once its okay. Too many times same thing, and they are just spoilt.

Posted by Federax 11/29/2010 at 08:57 AM

Pretty depressing write-up if you ask me. I'm not a fan of style over substance writers. While Peter Bodo can be pompous, I enjoy reading his takes nonetheless. I enjoy reading Tom Perrotta (where is he now?) as well, Ed McGrogan, Kamakshi Tandon and obviously Steve Tignor, but this writer and Tom Tebbutt are very annoying. Sorry to taint the lovefest.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 08:57 AM

Ruth,

"Nemesis: An opponent that cannot be beaten or overcome."

from the dictionary.

I think that pretty much sums it up.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 08:59 AM

Federax,

Tom Perrotta writes for the Wall Street Journal and covers tennis over there. His articles are a pleasure to read. Its up at WSJ.com, if you ever want to read them up.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 09:02 AM

From FanHouse, Greg Couch's take on the match:

http://tinyurl.com/2bh8rnb

part of the article:

"But it was a big moment for tennis, anyway, even bigger for Federer. He is 29 now, and Nadal is the best player in the world.

What Federer did Sunday, the whole week really, was to show that he's still here for the fight. Tennis needs that fight. It needs the Federer-Nadal rivalry, the best individual rivalry in sports.

Until Sunday, Nadal owned Federer. It wasn't so much a rivalry anymore as the rise of one, the decline of the other. A rivalry requires not only someone hitting, but also someone hitting back.

Federer finally hit back Sunday. And this is not to welcome him back so much as to ask what took him so damn long."

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 09:02 AM

From FanHouse, Greg Couch's take on the match:

http://tinyurl.com/2bh8rnb

part of the article:

"But it was a big moment for tennis, anyway, even bigger for Federer. He is 29 now, and Nadal is the best player in the world.

What Federer did Sunday, the whole week really, was to show that he's still here for the fight. Tennis needs that fight. It needs the Federer-Nadal rivalry, the best individual rivalry in sports.

Until Sunday, Nadal owned Federer. It wasn't so much a rivalry anymore as the rise of one, the decline of the other. A rivalry requires not only someone hitting, but also someone hitting back.

Federer finally hit back Sunday. And this is not to welcome him back so much as to ask what took him so damn long."

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 09:03 AM

From FanHouse, Greg Couch's take on the match:

http://tinyurl.com/2bh8rnb

part of the article:

"But it was a big moment for tennis, anyway, even bigger for Federer. He is 29 now, and Nadal is the best player in the world.

What Federer did Sunday, the whole week really, was to show that he's still here for the fight. Tennis needs that fight. It needs the Federer-Nadal rivalry, the best individual rivalry in sports.

Until Sunday, Nadal owned Federer. It wasn't so much a rivalry anymore as the rise of one, the decline of the other. A rivalry requires not only someone hitting, but also someone hitting back.

Federer finally hit back Sunday. And this is not to welcome him back so much as to ask what took him so d-a-m-n long."

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 09:03 AM

From FanHouse, Greg Couch's take on the match:

http://tinyurl.com/2bh8rnb

part of the article:

"But it was a big moment for tennis, anyway, even bigger for Federer. He is 29 now, and Nadal is the best player in the world.

What Federer did Sunday, the whole week really, was to show that he's still here for the fight. Tennis needs that fight. It needs the Federer-Nadal rivalry, the best individual rivalry in sports.

Until Sunday, Nadal owned Federer. It wasn't so much a rivalry anymore as the rise of one, the decline of the other. A rivalry requires not only someone hitting, but also someone hitting back.

Federer finally hit back Sunday. And this is not to welcome him back so much as to ask what took him so dang long."

Posted by mick1303 11/29/2010 at 09:03 AM

I do not agree that Nadal did not have much at stake in this final.
Not only had he lost a good chance to grab significant title, which is missing on his resume. He also lost a chance for a season with single digit losses. Federer had 4 such seasons in 2004-2007. Nadal so far has none.
He is not so young already in tennis years and chances like this may not present themselves. Who knew in the end of 2009 that Del Potro and Davydenko (two players who seemingly had Nadal’s number) will fall of the map? Nadal took advantage and bagged a great season. We shall see what will be in store for 2011. I hope that Del Potro will return to good form and Cilic will mature and start to play to his potential.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 09:04 AM

eh? Why is this post not going through?

From FanHouse, Greg Couch's take on the match:

http://tinyurl.com/2bh8rnb

part of the article:

"But it was a big moment for tennis, anyway, even bigger for Federer. He is 29 now, and Nadal is the best player in the world.

What Federer did Sunday, the whole week really, was to show that he's still here for the fight. Tennis needs that fight. It needs the Federer-Nadal rivalry, the best individual rivalry in sports.

Until Sunday, Nadal owned Federer. It wasn't so much a rivalry anymore as the rise of one, the decline of the other. A rivalry requires not only someone hitting, but also someone hitting back.

Federer finally hit back Sunday. And this is not to welcome him back so much as to ask what took him so long."

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 09:05 AM

ooops...I thought it was going to spam because of the word at the end.

Sorry for the gazillion repeat posts.

Posted by Federax 11/29/2010 at 09:08 AM

Thanks ladyjulia (re: Perrotta)!

Posted by Krakondack 11/29/2010 at 09:20 AM

I'm starting to get the impression that finals are only "great" if Federer loses.

Posted by Fred 11/29/2010 at 09:24 AM

Congrats to Roger, sooo happy for him and the way he won.

Even Roger makes a ton of excuses sometimes..he will start off by saying.."I don't want to make excuses, but it was really windy" : Disagree, sometimes Roger is reluctant to acknowledge the superiority of one player after the lost match but he's not the kind of player to seek excuses (injury or whatsoever) to justify a defeat.

Posted by Federax 11/29/2010 at 09:25 AM

Good point Krakondack. I, for one, enjoyed the heck out of that one. Love it when Federer is the agressor and dictates the points, which he did almost all match. Can he continue to do so? Here's to hoping Annacone continues to drive the point home (if he is indeed the instigator of Roger's renewed agression).

Posted by Federax 11/29/2010 at 09:30 AM

Yeah, Roger makes excuses too sometimes, like he did against Soderling and Berdych in RG and W this summer. Which, to me, shows that he, like Nadal this year, win the sportsmanship award because they win all the time... In my mind, a guy like David Ferrer should get the Stefan Edberg award: I seldom see the guy complain or play the little mind games that Roger and Nadal seem to enjoy. But hey, this is an award voted by the players, so I guess they know better.

Posted by Syd 11/29/2010 at 09:37 AM

Jewell, I was talking about Pete's couple of posts about WTF. In addition, in a separate post I addressed Hannah and her true confession about not being excited about the match; or in fact the whole thing is a steaming putrid hunk of excrement. According to Pete and now, (these things are catching), to Hannah.

Free tickets, great seats, free booze, privy to the player interviews and even the privilege of putting questions to the world #1 & #2, I can see why she'd be less than enthusiastic.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/29/2010 at 09:44 AM

Just glancing through the night's post, I would just like to say something about the general criticism that I've read of Pete's, Steve's and Hannah's Gauloise's articles.

I don't mind constructive criticism but I've only seen dismissive and rude rants from people which has been dismissive when they have picked out a sentence or two that they, personally, didn't like or wasn't flattering to their favourites.

TW is the best blog around, so I think it would be nicer if posters could show a little appreciation of it.

Posted by mick1303 11/29/2010 at 09:59 AM

Posted by Fred 11/29/2010 at 09:24 AM
....
"I don't want to make excuses, but it was really windy"
....

Could you kindly provide a link where Federer says this?

Posted by Ruth 11/29/2010 at 10:00 AM

++Ruth,

"Nemesis: An opponent that cannot be beaten or overcome."

from the dictionary.

I think that pretty much sums it up.++

ladyjulia: How does that "sum up" anything when the so-called (by you) nemesis just got beaten? Color me baffled! :) I'll have to re-read your comments.

Meanwhile, I think that what you overlooked in your calculations and interpretations of your statistics etc is not the importance of surface or past history or any of the things that you say you de-emphasized; it is something that I think both x-fan and the Vegas bookies (who picked Federer BTW) did not overlook -- the way that the players were performing immediately leading up to the contest.

You saw how Roger was sailing amazingly through a field that was roughly the same in toughness as the field that Rafa was fighting through with thrilling matches but certainly not with the dominance Fed was exhibiting. Ask the DC and Fed Cup captains, for example, what is probably the main determinant in their decision about whom thy pick to be on their teams or play on a given day, and I bet they will all tell you that the way the player is performing during those lead-up days is vital to their decision.

I don't do picks and predictions, but I can't understand how anyone would overlook that factor when considering an upcoming match and focus instead on ranking or nemesis-status or almost anything else. I really don't.

(Have to run an errand, but will return later.)

Posted by cool h 11/29/2010 at 10:02 AM

....."No one tries like Nadal
To disguise like Nadal
That he shoots HGH in his thighs like Nadal
“I find it so fun and invigorating!”
My what a guy, that Nadal!"


Nice.I said many times:Nadal has used/is using performance enhancing drugs.Who will the give his titles to when they take them away because he cheaed?

Posted by Fred 11/29/2010 at 10:11 AM

Posted by Mick 1303 : Could you kindly provide a link where Federer says this?

Mick I was referring to something written by Ladyjulia (8.44 am), if you read the end my post I was expressing my disagreement over this.

Posted by mick1303 11/29/2010 at 10:13 AM

Sorry, Fred - I should've address the question to her

Posted by Jay 11/29/2010 at 10:23 AM

Late to the post-match party, but I want to congratulate Hannah on a very fine series of articles this week. Next best thing to being there, in my opinion.

Like some others, I am ambivalent about the tournament itself, and the implications of the results. I look at the year-end tourneys for men and women as a sort of honorific for the players who've had the best season, and nothing more than that. The players get to make a ton of money, even if they lose, in addition to the recognition that comes with being among the elite 8 for that season. I have my favorites like everyone else, but yesterday I was mainly excited to see these two greats in what has become a rare final.

Both Federer and Nadal did great by making the finals. Both had to beat players that have seriously challenged them before, including each other. If hard courts are Nadal's weakness, then indoor hard courts are his extreme weakness. Overcoming wind and/or heat conditions in particular, are among Nadal's strengths as a player.

I know that its not pc to say it, but Rafa did look tired to me in the match. If he was, it does not take away from Roger's victory. On the contrary, that Roger was able to get through the week in such stellar fashion, without losing a set, thereby playing far less tennis than Rafa, he deserved to enter the finals in better shape. Nor could Roger be blamed for the scheduling that gave him a day off between the final round robin and the semis. Just luck.

It was Roger's day, and I was happy to see him win.

Posted by TennisArticles 11/29/2010 at 10:37 AM

nice to federer back on top. A good bet for the aussie open

Posted by TMFunk 11/29/2010 at 10:45 AM

ladyjulia: I have tons of respect for the way you stick up for your points of view on rules and objectivity irrespective of your fandom, but really wish you wouldn't keep calling Fed's win yesterday a fluke. Calling it a fluke implies it was a stroke of luck, an accident. Let me assure you, Federer's skill as a tennis player had a lot more to do with it that plain old lady luck. Unless you think he was just lucky to get a lot of first serves in, or that each time Nadal attacked his b/hand he simply closed his eyes, muttered a prayer and stuck his hand out, and hey presto, it's a winner! I sincerely hope you don't think that, becasue then I'd have to question if you are a Fed fan at all!

Nadal is a phenomenal player, and often comes out on top in his battles with Fed, but none of their victories over each other or anyone else ever a fluke. Frankly at this level, no victory is a fluke. Soderling now has won only once in 15 tries against Federer. But that one victory was not a fluke. It was made possible becasue he played brilliantly that day. Don't believe me? Just ask Federer! Thats what makes sportsmen at the top of their game so special. On their day, they are just that good.

Posted by Ron 11/29/2010 at 10:47 AM

@Geellis Ellis
"Federer's BH--honestly, perhaps the best BH performance the Fed has EVER HAD. Seriously, it was stunning and without flaw. Question is whether Fed can repeat this performance or whether it was a one-off. The smart money is on one off. It's not likely that he's going to suddenly overcome what has been a career-long achilles heel. But I guess stranger things have happened."

One more egg Luke, thump thump, just one more ....... ahhhhhhhhh he's gonna puke, whaa whaa, come on Luke, just one more .... double down cool~~

Posted by TMFunk 11/29/2010 at 10:49 AM

And I also want to second posters who have pointed out that constructive criticism is one thing, insulting or rude comments is another. It takes a lot of courage to be a first-time author on a board especially when you are also opening yourself up to real-time feedback! Lets all tip our hats to Hannah/Gauloises for showing that courage, and if we can, help her be the best she can be at doing what she obviously loves to do, which is write about tennis. Not pull her down with dismissive or insulting comments.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/29/2010 at 11:02 AM

Any day that begins with a reference to Cool Hand Luke has more potential than most to be a good day.

Posted by Ron 11/29/2010 at 11:12 AM

I watched the blogs all week not cover TMF, watched them dismiss the YEC as spectacle. I don't care if Federer wins 10 YEC's or 20 Slams, he'll never be as good as the blogs say he isin't.

Posted by CL 11/29/2010 at 11:20 AM

GM and others - I think if you read Tom Tebbut's piece in Racket Reaction you will see that 'all this tiredness talk' is ALSO coming from at least some professional journalists. And their narrative will, in large part, determine how the casual tennis fan sees this match. If you read Tebbutt's piece there is a great deal in it about how 'sad' it was that a great athletic 'animal' - his word, not mine- like Nadal was so tired and/or injured that he could not play his best. There is an 'oh btw, Fed hit his BH pretty good' but that is about all the shrift that Federer gets.

I think that part of the job description, indeed, raison d'etre of fans, and even more, KADs is to often rationalize away when their fav loses. I know that I do that sometimes...not always...but sometimes when Roger loses. If people didn't come to TW to argue about their favs and what was REALLY going on, the TW blog hit number would be in the toilet. So though I may feel compelled to point out the error of their ways, I have no real problem with any fan or poster here rationalizing away a loss. Including myself.

But when this narrative drifts CONSISTENTLY out into professional tennis writing, as, going by Tebbut's article and the journalist he quoted in his article, it has, THAT I DO have a problem with. Alas there isn't really much I can do about it except fire off sternly worded missives to any journo I can find an e-mail addy for. And also, come here to vent. Lucky all you! ;-)

Someday, I would like the more extreme pro-Nadal journalist OR KAD to provide a list of matches that Nadal just plain lost since, say, 2006...having nothing to do with feet, knees, tiredness, teeth, shoulder, state of parental divorce, etc., etc. etc. See if they can get up over ten. Off the top of my head, I can think off a couple of dozen that Fed 'just plain lost.'

In other news and on other fronts, I totally join the 'hat tip to Hannah brigade.' I think her articles from Bercy and London have been sensational. Am very envious - both of the fact that she got to be at both of those tournaments AND how well and how originally she wrote them up. I really do hope she keeps writing for TW.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/29/2010 at 11:24 AM

Yesterday, I posted that Rafa was coming out of this tournament with a 3600 points or so ranking lead. Actually, the lead is about 3300.

Additionally, the December Bilbao Masters Tenis exhibition has announced that Ivan Ljubicic will be participating, along with Juanqui, Ferru, Wawrinka, Almagro, Robredod, and others.

Alberto Berasategui, who was born in Bilbao, and who probably had the most unique forehand in the history of the ATP tour, is the tournament director.

Posted by TMFunk 11/29/2010 at 11:27 AM

CL - To me, there's a difference between saying tiredness was a **factor** in a loss and saying "he would not have lost if he had not been tired. I honestly don't have a problem with the former. This is professional sport, not golf :) These guys have to actually run around and sometimes that can be a problem if they have not recovered sufficiently from a particularly tough match earlier. Thats reality. And imo, it happens with Federer too. Apparently he too is human! Personally I have always thought the tiredness from his preceding two tough three-setters was a factor in Fed's loss to Murray in the finals Toronto. A factor, mind you. I would never say he would have won that match if he had not been tired. That's just not fair the Muzz who played great to win the match. Same goes for the final yesterday.

Posted by wilson75 11/29/2010 at 11:38 AM

I'm very happy Roger was able to win yesterday. I honestly thought Rafa would win. Roger once again that he is still a contender. I think tennis was the true winner yesterday as the two best players in the world seem to be back at the top of their games at the same time since 2007. It's unbelievable now that at the end of 2009, there was talk of a changing of the guard and proclamations of Rafa's and Roger's demise. I'm excited to see what happens next year.

Posted by CL 11/29/2010 at 11:42 AM

""I think it's not the right moment to talk about that (fatigue from the Muzz matc)," said Nadal"

Smart boy Rafa. You saw what happened to Fed at Wimby and decided to kick the can down the road a bit..w/out confirming or denying.

TMFunk - did you read Tebbut's piece? Bit more than 'fatigue may have played a factor.' And though you and I and a few random Fed fans who post on the internets might think fatigue was a factor in Toronto and Shanghai, have you ever seen it mentioned as a even a possible factor, let alone a cause, in a Fed match when it was written up in the professional tennis media?

And there is this sort of backhanded compliment going on - Andrew did it last night; (paraphrasing), 'Rafa seemed fatigued or like he had tweaked something, but it doesn't take away at all from Roger's victory.' Huh? Those, IMO, ARE mutually exclusive. Where do you draw the line? If Rafa had hobbled out on crutches wearing the Djoker's eye patch, with a fever of 102 would people still say, with a straight face, 'But of course, that doesn't take anything away from Roger's win'??

Again, the cauldron of pot stirrers, rationalizers and general 'my guy is better than your guy all the time if he is healthy' is frustrating but perfectly fine when it happens here. And in fact there have been quite a few Rafa fans who post here, maybe even the majority, who HAVEN'T gone to the tired/injured default mode. They are actually doing better than some of the so-called 'pros.

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/29/2010 at 11:44 AM

After one page of comments, I can't bear to read on. Accusing Hannah of trying to get political - I dunno, loads of Londoners I know also preferred "Red Ken" to Boris Johnson - who at one point was a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother, if I'm not mistaken. (It might have even been the series with Navratilova.) But did our Gauloises really get in such a harsh "dig" on Boris? After all, he apparently got bigger applause than both Kings of Hand Balls - Maradona and Henry under one roof, and not for footy.

I'm not what one would call a huge Murray fan, but I'm glad he's reclaimed #4, it didn't seem right with Sod there.

I could have sworn that earlier this year, Nenad was considering retirement, so I erroneously assumed the split with Nestor meant he was quitting. But I guess if you're not twin brothers, doubles teams change every few years. The team of Zimonjic and LLodra is very promising, and the prospect of that will put a spin on the DC dubs in five days.

Posted by Tigress 11/29/2010 at 11:49 AM

Another great chapter in the Federer Annals and further cementing his place as the Greatest of All Time. The Divine GOAT reigns again on HC and should be the clear favourite to repeat as Champion in Melbourne for #17!

Comparative career totals in the Masters Cup/WTF (by far the biggest tournament outside the Grand Slams): Federer 5, Nadal 0. NO contest. Case closed! This is in addition to Fed's huge superiority in virtually every other category (except clay court H2H and Clay Grand Slams)

Total points yesterday: Federer won 74-56. 57% to 43%. CLEAN KILL, as Andrew always says when winning % is above 55% (but I think forgot to this time).

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