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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 Master Ace 11/29/2010 at 10:11 PM

GC20,
Wonder why Babolat did not attempt to up their offer to keep Caroline. Babolat and her other sponsors still paid her bonus for ending 2010 on top to the tune of 4.5 million dollars.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 10:14 PM

AB,

I read it...but i couldn't follow it very well.

I didn't get the point of it..other than some rich guy having a tennis tournament of his own for his own pleasure, played on his rules entirely.

The pros are not wrong to play for that kind of money...what they do off the tour is their own business..but i have very serious doubts about what Teddy really called up Roger for the night before the FO final.

Posted by Ruth 11/29/2010 at 10:16 PM

SamE: A lot of Vika's up-and-down-ness (new word!) had to do with injury or illness. So, perhaps, if she can stay 100% healthy next year, she might live up to that potential that she clearly has, don't you think?

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 10:17 PM

obviously, rich is an understatement...

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 10:20 PM

Joe, agree to your point about 2009.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 10:22 PM

CWATC,

The rivarly has carried tennis for past 5 years...it just so happens to be the biggest rivarly in individual sports right now and other sports are paying attention. Whether its Roger or Rafa...they are tied to it, no matter how much it irks their respective fans. In the larger scheme for the actual sport, its good. Its impossible to take the name of one, without taking the name of the other.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/29/2010 at 10:24 PM

Hi Ruth, I would agree that she has a lot of potential and I would also agree that the up and don play has partially been due to injuries, but I think there are players who are streaky, capable of good play, butn't on a consistent basis and I think she falls into this category. I think her streaky play is part because of injuries and partially because that is the way she plays. It's both to me.

Posted by GC20 11/29/2010 at 10:26 PM

MA - I can only speculate that Yonex made her a huge offer. Plus, just about everyone I see on the public courts is already playing with Babolat so maybe they felt they didn't need her to sell racquets.

I think it is a risky move for the talented and beautiful one though. And it's not like you can paint job a Babolat to make it look like a Yonex.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 10:26 PM

Ross,

Agree about WSJ...

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/29/2010 at 10:27 PM

Samantha you could shop at 3.00am WOW where I live that is so not allowed. Shops in Perth are not even allowed to open on Sunday.

I so hope that is not true about Robin and Magnus as I love those two together.

Posted by Ruth 11/29/2010 at 10:27 PM

I wish it were Birk, Ross. But I'm fearing the worst about him because I haven't heard from him for so long. We always responded to each other's e-mails fairly promptly; and once, after a long break in communication, I learned that he had been in the hospital for a good while. Wish I had his grandson Halfdan's e-mail address. (Apologies for OT.)

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/29/2010 at 10:29 PM

The three things Caro will need to do to take it to the next level(Slams) 1. No passive play, stay aggressive, go for winners, she proved she can do this at the YEC. 2. Consistently serve like she did at the USO when she was hitting serves at 115. 3. Play less and peak at the slams something Serena does so well. This girl can win a slam. Kom sa, Caro, I believe in you!!

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/29/2010 at 10:32 PM

Yes, Angel in the states they have this day called Black Friday, it is the largest shopping day in the state and you can start really early in the morning and go all night. The Americans are crazy, they push and shove and shout at each other to get the best deals, but it's a lot of crazy fun.

Posted by TMFunk (formerly the prone-to-error typing TheMightyFunk) 11/29/2010 at 10:32 PM

well, well, didn't realise I was raising a bit of my firestorm with my banter with AB. :) Haven't read all comments/posts, but as CL pointed out, it was just my opinion, based on the reasoning I've detailed earlier, that Nalad's 3-slam achievement was not "greater" than Fed's just because it happened to be consecutive. And that comment had its roots in Ravi Ubha's contention that Nadal's 3-slam achievement was greater than Fed's.

All that said, Ruth, you are absolutely right - I should never decide anything - My wife made that very clear the day we got married and my 3-year old daughter enforces that policy every day of my life :)

CL - that answers your gender question? L)

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 10:35 PM

TMFunk...LOL

Posted by imjimmy 11/29/2010 at 10:36 PM

Just re-watched the WTF Final again ( yeah, I am crazy - nothing better to do). Gotta say that Fed's the best indoor player of this generation. If he's ON his best, you'll have to get Pistol Pete or Becker to beat him. Not sure whether any of these guys can.

As for Nadal, for whatever reason he's not been at his best since USOpen. Statistically his serve has been a good 8-10 mph(or more) slower on AVERAGE, his ROS has been abysmal; the backhand inconsistent and ditto for the slice. I mean, how can you win when you allow your opponents to win 90%+ first serve pts against you (Fed 92% and Murray 90%+). That's why Nadal only broke Murray once, and got broken thrice. Furthermore Nadal looked testy and edgy though the week, and the outburst against Berdych was shocking to say the least. Maybe he was trying to hard? I also find it odd, that he was so low of energy after a 5 week break! Still, he didn't do half bad.

I read some posts playing down Nadal's UsOpen win, and I wonder how those, who understand the game, post such drivel. Nadal was unstoppable during the UsOpen. That was ONE tournament where everything came together for him. He was serving 135 MPH bombs on command, his forehand was devastating and he sliced as he had never done before. I rate the UsOpen as the finest performance of Nadal's career (yes above F.O '08) , not least because it came on his worst surface. Again, the proof is in the pudding. There are 2 players who hold the record for winning UsOpen and being broken the LEAST no of times. ( Federer's NOT one of them).

Finally, it's been a great tournament. Federer showed everyone that's he's still the man to beat when he's at his best. That should put all his detractors back in place, and put Federer in a great position to gun for the slams next year.

For Nadal, the good thing was that despite not playing his best tennis, he did very well. He showed great mental fortitude even when he was being outplayed. The win against Murray was partly because of Nadal's refusal to lose, in a match where he lost the initiative several times. At least in that aspect the Nadal of old is back!

For the positive spin: This loss will give Nadal plenty to work on to improve his game. A win here could have given him some false complacency. Having been beaten here, he should have his competitive juice flowing top speed by the time the AO '11 comes around.

Anyway, I still believe it will be hard for anyone to take 3 sets off Nadal in a slam. Stay tuned for 2011!

Posted by CL/AtheGoat 11/29/2010 at 10:37 PM

"but I hope that we all have the right to question the soundness of the basis of anyone's opinion -- including mine and yours!"

Couldn't agree more, Ruth

"My wife made that very clear the day we got married and my 3-year old daughter enforces that policy every day of my life :)
CL - that answers your gender question? L)

TMFunk -not necessarily. Do you live in Vermont? Or Connecticut? Or Iowa? Or Mass?

;-)

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 10:41 PM

imjimmy...what about Nalbandian when he is full flight (regarding indoor player)? The last time i saw their match indoors..Roger looked umm....a little out of ideas.

Posted by TMFunk (formerly the prone-to-error typing TheMightyFunk) 11/29/2010 at 10:44 PM

he he, very fair poiunt CL. :) so to be very clear, yes, I'm a guy.

with that, g'nite all, as my 3-year old boss is hollering at me for being late with her cup of milk :)

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 10:47 PM

g'nite TMFunk...

Posted by CL/AtheGoat 11/29/2010 at 10:49 PM

Lady J -pls...don't even mention Plush Dave - the jelly donut of my nightmares...partly just because he CAN be so devastatingly good. Fed was out of ideas, Rafa was out of ideas...and everyone else along with them. I don't think there is a bigger differential within one player between the 'on' and 'off' days. On balance, it is better for tennis that there have been more offs than on, because that kind of self indulgent mickey mouse doesn't serve any sport well.

(Can you tell I don't like him?)

Posted by imjimmy 11/29/2010 at 10:51 PM

Right Ladyjulia. Unfortunately, the full flight Nalbandian comes once every generation. The biggest waste of talent..

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 10:54 PM

CL..he he...

its not fair that tennis dosen't have a slam for indoor courts..i, thoroughly, enjoyed him making Roger and Rafa look like clueless. And ofcourse, he has to do it in back to back weeks.

Also, 2005 YEC cup...fantastic five setter...its not often you see Federer throw up his hands and look at Mirka...and Mirka was shouting allez as if it was a wimby final.

*sigh* i miss Nalby.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/29/2010 at 11:06 PM

Good grief I don't know why I decided to go back to page 4 and read comments from yesterday. I can see things didn't improve.

Posted by CL/AtheGoat 11/29/2010 at 11:10 PM

Pffft...2005 doesn't count. Fed was playing on a broken ankle! EVERYONE knows that. ;-)

Now Madrid and Paris - THOSE counted. But I am just as happy that mostly Nalby takes himself out. I don't miss him one bit.

G-night all.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 11:11 PM

CL..:-)...night.

Posted by Indian T.v Serials 11/29/2010 at 11:53 PM

Nedal is the world best.....! No Doubt About It.

Posted by Tic 11/30/2010 at 12:06 AM

Further to the tired thingy, let me propose a different angle and a bit more insight into the Nadal-Murray conundrum.

BTW, loved very much the sheer elegance of expression by Alex Corretja in that El Pais article already qouted upthred:

"Andy, murrio matando" (=Andy, who died killing, i.e. who got killed himself, but also inflicted to his opponent a delayed-effect mortal wound).

IMO, this wound was much more of a mental than physical nature. Nadal managed to finally beat Murray on hard court after losing to him 4 times in a row (2008 USO, 2009 Rotterdam, 2010 AO, 2010 Toronto), and on indoors hard at that, his worst surface, and at WTF, his worst tourney, and at the very end of the season, where he finally did not show up all burnt out, and after his best and most exhausting season ever.

Managing this win against Murray in these circumstances took a lot out of him physically, but more so mentally. Their matchup is such that they struggle to outwit each other at practically each and every point, not only outrun or outhit, and it is taxing.

Even when Nadal did manage to beat Murray before the final on hardcourt previously (2007 AO R16, 2007 Madrid R16), he was visibly deflated and got soundly beaten in the next round, by Gonzalez and Nalbandian respectively. Not saying these two would not have won even without Murray's contribution, since they both played more than brilliantly, but Nadal played them without his usual fight after Murray drained him in their epic battles beforehand. The same happened here at 2010 WFT.

So, Murray proved to be his delayed killer on hardcourt so far. This time, the story repeated itself, but the positive thing is this all happened at WTF (indoors, end of season), after finally winning 4 matches there, instead of only 1-2 or none at all or even having to withdraw before the tournament due to injury, which happened twice.

Looking forward to future Nadal-Murray clashes as both continue to improve: Nadal learning to play on hardcourt, and reluctantly embracing indoors, and Murray learning to sustain his agressive game and keeping his negative mentality in check. ATM their h2h is 9-4 (5-4 on hardcourt out of which 2-1 indoors, 2-0 on clay, 2-0 on grass). As I said, Nadal finally stopped his 4-match streak of hardcourt losses against Murray (the same thing he did against Djokovic at 2010 USO, BTW).

Posted by Arun 11/30/2010 at 12:42 AM

Tic: Nadal defeated Murray in IW'09 Final.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/30/2010 at 12:47 AM

In less than five months, Federer had more wins over top-10 players than Nadal had all year, and the same number he and Nadal had last year."\\

amen!!

he cant help who he plays, but the whole clay court season was just sadly lacking in any kind of quality competition, he barely played a top 10 foe the whole season, excpet for spanish minions... a handful, because so many of today's men players suck on clay.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/30/2010 at 12:52 AM

Nadal WAS unstoppable at the US Open he played thw whole Spanish Davis Cup team (who he would beat on any surface 99 percent of the time anyway), then Youzney whos way past his prime and no threat to take home a slam either, and empty tanked Djoker... you couldnt have handed him an easier draw, how could be possibly have blown that draw? its not like he was some superhero he just played solid tennis

Rafa of most of the other years would have won the tourney with that same draw, certainly in 2008 at the very least ... lets not ignore the obvious here... best draw ever... and credit to him, he took it home...

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/30/2010 at 12:57 AM

again a title is a title but lets not act like Rafa performed some miracle at the Open, he did what he should have done, no more no less, there was no night match with Roddick or isner, no Murray rematch, no Soderling slug fest, nobody tough in his path at all ... and Djoker spent his last dime vs. Fed, and faded pretty badly going down early breaks and being pretty passive, he's no match or Rafa, and we've all seen was fred can do to him this fall, breadsticks galore!

Posted by AB 11/30/2010 at 12:59 AM

Arun: that was such a bizarre final, it's definitely an outlier.

Posted by Tic 11/30/2010 at 12:59 AM

Yep, you're right.

In finals on hardcourt, they're 1-1 (2009 IW - 2009 Rotterdam).

Rafa after losing 2010 WTF:
http://tinyurl.com/2bzagdd
http://tinyurl.com/25ju9oq
http://img684.imageshack.us/img684/4476/b4b65c7cfd20c9db7858647.jpg

Posted by AB 11/30/2010 at 01:04 AM

Tim: Do you live in a straw bale house? You're so adept at setting up straw men and carrying on your own private conversation with them that I figured you were a straw bale housing advocate or a farmer.

Though I did enjoy this gem from you:

Rafa...blah,blah,blah Ginger,blah,blah,blah Bad Dog, blah,blah,blah, Minion, blah,blah,blah... best draw ever... ****and credit to him, he took it home***...

Whaaaaah? Tim! You're starting to feel the Rafalove!

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/30/2010 at 01:29 AM

AB u gotta work on the snark, its not workin at all... try again, true entertaining snark takes practice ...

if u dont like seeing Rafa's cupcake US Open put in utter perspective, that's hardly my fault lol

Posted by Tic 11/30/2010 at 01:29 AM

Nadal can now finally chill out a bit. Like this, blending in the crowd on his one-day visit to 2010 Paris Masters:
http://img528.imageshack.us/img528/9167/paris1107eurodisneyensp.jpg
http://img804.imageshack.us/img804/9167/paris1107eurodisneyensp.jpg

Walking away from rather good 2010 (it began and ended with runner up trophy - Doha & WTF):
http://img571.imageshack.us/img571/82/davydenkonadaldoha.jpg
http://tinyurl.com/23ud5zc

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/30/2010 at 01:31 AM

IMSHEO, one or more of Rafa's knees was/were probably bothering him a bit during the YECs, which may have affected his training (including that devoted to cardio fitness) leading up to the tournament, his shotmaking during the tournament, and his disposition during the tournament.

His passing shots during the Federer match didn't have their usual power.

Rafa appeared to be much edgier than usual during the tournament. Dealing with persistent discomfort will bring that kind of attitude about, even in the most mentally tough of athletes.

Does knee discomfort (if it was a factor) put an asterisk on Federer's win?

Nope.

Would knee discomfort (if it existed) be an excuse?

Nope.

Many ATP players deal with niggling injury and pain in their matches. Rafa has, on more than one occasion, won by opponent injury default or benefited by an opponent's injury

Injuries are a part of the game.

Some posters on this blog believe that discussing the impact of injuries upon athletic performance violates some code.

I don't share said belief.

So, get over it.

Or not.

In any case, even if Rafa was suffering from some knee pain, any such pain may very well not have impacted the ultimate outcome of the match. Hitting harder passing shots from the deep positions Rafa was mostly in during the match may not have helped him win many more points. Being able to push off harder when trying to return Federer's serves to his backhand may not have won Rafa an appreciable number of additional points.

Posted by zenggi 11/30/2010 at 01:32 AM

Good morning,

sisu @7:34
Thank you for posting that video and the link to Evan's article. These words are really vintage Roger: "So I am quite exhausted, but who cares? I won't remember that in 20 years."

J.J. Mateo is trying his poetic skills with this article in El País: "Roger is infinite."
Apparently Novak didn't want to fall behind: "Every ball Roger touches listens to him"

http://www.elpais.com/articulo/deportes/Federer/infinito/elpepidep/20101129elpepidep_1/Tes

Tennis and bards. Excellent.

Posted by mick1303 11/30/2010 at 01:37 AM

Posted by NP 11/29/2010 at 12:03 PM
Can't believe I almost missed out on the sheer guilty pleasures that were on full display last night. So we've got online retards contending with each other to come up with the inanest whines about a minor passage because it doesn't jibe with their kindergarten conception of their pol, or because they've not seen enough fangirl paeans to their pin-up boy.

================================
How about those damned site rules? Or maybe it is not cool to insult someone in particular but perfectly OK to insult the whole lot of people alltogether?

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/30/2010 at 01:46 AM

msf what athlete in the whole world shows up in his or her sport, feeling perfect, ideal amounts of rest, no personal problems, no aches or pains, the stars all aligned, in other words, life being perfect?

Do you think Laver and Borg and Connors and Sampras and Agassi every played matches with soemthing hurting, or coming off a long semifinal, in their careers? did we have to read endless pages about it like we do now?

not on your life, these players showed up played the match and won or lost ... talk to del po, davyd, roddick, tsonga, murray, etc., whove all had longer breaks and far more serious injuries than nadal has ever had --

its like too many rafa kids absord rafa's OCD, and if his water bottle label is turned the wrong way, thats acutally a rational reason why he would play poorly -- I bet Pat Rafter would have foudn a way to glide by and knock em all over and laugh his arse off ...

Posted by Tic 11/30/2010 at 01:48 AM

"So I am quite exhausted..."

Federer was telling the truth, he looked completely drained:
http://tinyurl.com/23xw6fp
http://tinyurl.com/22qzrbt
http://tinyurl.com/2fnf4ea

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/30/2010 at 01:51 AM

Morning, everyone. :)

I see: so it's fine to say Djokovic might've been tired, but never fine for Rafa. I must remember that.

Djokovic can beat Rafa on a HC ok, game-wise. I think most of the difference in the biggest of matches is up top.

That said I agree with you, Tim, about the USO draw generally. And about the clay season, too. Sometimes, though, it just happens that way - and all players have had the luck of the draw at times, including Roger. And the winner still has to win - how many times in tennis history have we seen players *not* take their golden opportunity? Mac and Lendl both come to mind. Anyone who does should get all the credit going for doing so.

Although, if we were talking about ranking years in terms of GOAT debates, we'd want to look at toughness of opponents, among other things.

Isn't Murray vaguely looking for a full-time coach now anyway?

also: it's snowing!!! Makes up for the horrid cold. :)

Posted by Bree 11/30/2010 at 01:56 AM

Marat Safin and Roger Federer Temper Tantrums.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IM6x-sBoy1k

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/30/2010 at 01:58 AM

". . . if his water bottle label is turned the wrong way, thats acutally a rational reason why he would play poorly. . . ."

Haven't heard that one.

However, last year, was reading the speculation by some posters here that the marital problems of Rafa's parents and his (apparent to some) hair loss were negatively impacting Rafa's play.

Those posts were rather annoying, to me, at least.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/30/2010 at 02:02 AM

I'm sure Pat Rafter was far too much of a gentleman ever to have done such a thing! :)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/30/2010 at 02:07 AM

I think if we'd had the internet the way we do now, we'd have been reading pages and pages of speculation/opinion about most other players and performances, and why they did or did not play well or badly.

I can't remember who - might've been Pete - but I remember reading somebody who said that commentators/media people tended to reach for injury as an explanation too quickly these days in general. Think that was in relation to Serena.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/30/2010 at 02:19 AM

Thank you for the pictures, Tic. :)

Posted by tennis RIP 11/30/2010 at 02:34 AM

I have to agree that the Nadal fans on this site at least seem like quite a decent bunch. What sets off the Fed fans is the commentators and the media types who constantly explain how conditions are favoring Roger over Rafa and how many times Rafa has beaten Roger in the past (usually when conditions favored Rafa, but that part is usually left out). For instance, at the Madrid final which Rafa won this year, the commentators were laboriously explaining how the altitude would make Nadal's topspin forehands land just outside the baseline (as if they were ever consistently near the baseline anyway, even when he is in top form!) Of course, the observation that thinner air reduces the effect of spin is absolutely true, but also absolutely Rafa-centric. Fed, who hits far nearer the baseline on average, probably had to adjust at least as much after having played low-altitude clay-court tennis, since he has less margin for error. I also wonder how the commentators and writers, who obviously pay so much attention to Rafa's "tiredness," could fail to ask how he could possibly be too tired to win the YEC after five weeks of rest if he wasn't too tired to win Wimbledon after five weeks of play. Furthermore, the "Fed finally holds up his end of the rivalry" line is sickening when precisely the reverse is true: Rafa finally made it through to a late-year hardcourt final to play against Fed. Of course, Rafa just won the USO (with a JV draw compared to Roger's, though admittedly not as pathetic as Roger's at Cincinnati) but other than that Roger has made (and won) late-year hardcourt finals over and over during the last five years and Rafa has made nary an appearance to meet him. Does anyone think that the Rafa who got pounded by Del Potro 2, 2, and 2 in last year's US Open would have beaten Roger in the final? Roger would surely have another slam and a better H2H against Rafa not if Rafa had been worse, but if Rafa had been BETTER. Conversely, if Roger had never made the semis of a clay court tournament, his H2H against Rafa would be 6-4 and he would still have 15 slams.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/30/2010 at 02:34 AM

See that Tumbleweed mornings are back. :)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/30/2010 at 02:38 AM

LOL, that always happens!

Posted by Charles 11/30/2010 at 02:51 AM

I think Roger won because he used his down the line backhand effectively. That kept Nadal unready for the short angled cc backhand. Fed has always hit that cc backhand, but Nadal has usually gotten to it. I think it was Fed's improved dtl bh that made the difference. I realize that's not what everyone is saying, but that's how I saw it.

Posted by Holds2Love 11/30/2010 at 02:54 AM

can't have you tumbleweeding, jewell, so I will slip in just to say that yes, the falling snow is beautiful, and makes the cold worthwhile. also fun to hear the kids' delight as they step outside to leave for school. simple joys...

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/30/2010 at 02:54 AM

I'll say this for BBC commentary: they always, always mention the H2H; and they always, always point out how many matches were on clay.

We had Henman and Becker - Boris thought Roger in three sets, Henman had Roger winning in straights. And Andrew Castle but I have forgotten what he said. :) There was full and sometimes awed appreciation for Roger's brilliance in execution and strategy on Sunday, particularly from Tim, with some observation that Rafa wasn't quite at his best. I think I remember Becker & Castle having a discussion about tiredness - Becker was more unsympathetic to the idea, Castle was more inclined to consider it. I don't think it was unbalanced or Rafa-centric, although it's only one example; and I'd be interested to know what Cotton Jack or other Roger fans thought of it.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/30/2010 at 02:57 AM

*adores Holds2Love* Whereabouts are you?

Sadly there's not enough snow to allow me to skip going to work, or even actually build a six-inch high snow-man. LOL.

Posted by Holds2Love 11/30/2010 at 03:03 AM

*adores jewell and her moniker*

I'm in north London. and you? Surrey or environs, IIRC?

I may go get a massive coffee or hot chocolate and watch the snow fall in the park... see how the water fowl are faring. no, probably not enough for sledging in Primrose Hill...

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/30/2010 at 03:11 AM

I'm just outside of Surrey, about half-way between London and Portsmouth.

All the stretches of water here have been more or less iced over for about a week - poor birds.

The moniker was Sherlock's idea originally. :) Gosh, that was a strangely long time ago.

Posted by Or 11/30/2010 at 03:15 AM

I haven't read everything, but I'd like to add something.

When you factor in tiredness level for Rafa and Roger in their best respective years, one not just calculate the NUMBER of matches played and the w/l ratio (where Roger leads), but also the fact that in 2004 and 2006, Masters finals, and the Masters cup final - were best of five.

Today, it is best of three.

Would Rafa be able to take 3 consecutive Masters finals in a year if it was best of five? Who knows.

Posted by Holds2Love 11/30/2010 at 03:17 AM

I was originally meant to be out of town last week, so didn't get tickets for WTF. By the time my plans changed they were gone, so I really enjoyed hearing from those of you who were there. reminds me, time to put in for the Wimbledon ballot! well, must get the day started...

btw, tumbleweeds look beautiful with a dusting of snow =)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/30/2010 at 03:19 AM

Hehe, so true! Anyway I must find breakfast and get dressed & stuff.

Don't forget Queens, Holds2Love. :)

*waves to Or*

See you all later. :)

Posted by zenggi 11/30/2010 at 03:20 AM

Hey again,

Jewell, I'll keep you company. :)
Lord! Traffic was a disaster today.

Posted by zenggi 11/30/2010 at 03:22 AM

And there she goes...!

Or,
I hope you enjoyed your trip to London and the matches. You got on time!

Posted by imjimmy 11/30/2010 at 03:51 AM

Tim - Give it a rest. Cup-cake draws can be spun multiple ways. In UsOpen 2007, 2008, THREE of out 7 of Fed's opponents were NOT ranked in the Top 100. In UsOpen 2009, the average ranking of the opponents before the SF, for Fed was 110+, while for Djokovic (his opponent) it was 40+.

Does that detract from Fed's wins? Not in the least.

My pt was more about Nadal's quality of play. In the UsOpen 2010, he faced Istomin and Gabashvili - both played SOLID, first strike tennis. They would've surely troubled the big 4, and the Nadal of 09 - might have gone to 5 sets to grind a victory. Verdasco took Nadal to 5 sets in AO 09 when Rafa was playing pretty well. Lopez beat Nadal in Queens. Youzhny beat Nadal in UsOPen 2007.

Again the most significant thing is how easily Nadal beat ALL OF them. He did NOT lose a SET. He was broken ONLY TWICE in 6 matches! This from a guy who had NO game on fastcourts and usually played pusher defensive tennis. His serving performance in the UsOpen is BEST along with Andy Roddick ( for the past decade).

Now if you still didn't see the change in Nadal's game (not least his big serve) then you weren't paying attention.

BTW...Do you know Fed has a better record against Spaniards than Rafa does? So much for the Spanish minion theory..

Posted by mick1303 11/30/2010 at 04:07 AM

This is what I wrote on ESPN mb regarding the comparison of Nadal’s 2010 accomplishments with best year of Federer and significance of “consecutive” Slams versus “non-consecutive”:

Another poster: Nadal’s feat in 2010; that is, winning 3 consecutive Slams on 3 different surfaces, not only was never achieved by Federer, but by no male player, EVER !
Me: In 2006 Federer lost only 5 matches (w/l 92-5, 94.8%) and won 12 tournaments out of 17 entered (70.58%). In only Grand Slam he didn't win he reached the final.
Let's assume that Nadal wins YEC without dropping a match. In that case he'll reach w/l 72-9 (88.88%) and wins 8 tournaments out of 17 entered (47.05%). In only Grand Slam he didn't win, he reached quarterfinal.
Pardon me if I don't agree with you, but the disparity in numbers is so significant, that the fact that Nadal won Slams on three surfaces is getting lost on me.

Another poster: …Outside of the Grand Slam, achieved only by Laver in the Open Era, the conventional wisdom had it that the next level of achievement is to win the RG and Wimby in the same year. Borg did that 3 times, Rafa 2 time and Fedex once.....
Me: This statement does not pass as "conventional wisdom" for me. "Channel Slam" is a hefty feat. But it still constitutes only two Grand Slam titles. And IMO "conventional wisdom" would have to say that the next best thing after winning 4 Slams is winning 3 Slams and reaching the final in the fourth.
And BTW, I do appreciate what Nadal did this year. He had the stellar year all right. Just not the best ever.

Posted by temes 11/30/2010 at 04:08 AM

I wouldn't pay much attention to the most "passionate" Fed fans...their comments have devolved exactly like this: First Rafa was just a "dirt boy" clay master, then when he started having success at Wimby their focus went to how much he sucked at USO and how he was never going to win it, but now they lack proper ammunition and all they have left is being in denial and claiming the US win was a fluke. It's really laughable.

Posted by Ruth 11/30/2010 at 05:27 AM

My thanks to Tic for the always welcome pictures and for the thoughts on the tiredness issue. Reading that reminded me, to a lesser degree, of what I'd read as people commented on the strange almost lacklustre peformance of Monfils after his significant, but physically and emotionally draining, win over Federer at Bercy this year.

temes: There's a lot of truth in your characterization of a certain vocal segment of Fed fandom, sad to say. Let's all be grateful that it's not a universal condition. :)

Posted by mick1303 11/30/2010 at 06:00 AM

Posted by temes 11/30/2010 at 04:08 AM
I wouldn't pay much attention to the most "passionate" Fed fans...their comments have devolved exactly like this: First Rafa was just a "dirt boy" clay master, then when he started having success at Wimby their focus went to how much he sucked at USO and how he was never going to win it, but now they lack proper ammunition and all they have left is being in denial and claiming the US win was a fluke. It's really laughable.
========

But this is only half of the story, isn’t it? There was always a tit-for-tat game. And it may be important to say, who was the first to draw the blood. And by that I mean intentionally distorted statements, designed to hurt the fans of other player.
To my recollection, the first blow was dealt by Nadal fans. In the period between Roland Garros and Wimbledon of 2006 and 2007 Federer fans had to endure the galore of rubbish that Nadal is “the real #1”.

You can say, that McEnroe was original offender. I only can cite Eugenie Schwartz from “Dracon”:
- We were taught to do so!
- But why you became the best student, scum!

Posted by Federax 11/30/2010 at 08:15 AM

"IMO, this wound was much more of a mental than physical nature. Nadal managed to finally beat Murray on hard court after losing to him 4 times in a row (2008 USO, 2009 Rotterdam, 2010 AO, 2010 Toronto), and on indoors hard at that, his worst surface, and at WTF, his worst tourney, and at the very end of the season, where he finally did not show up all burnt out, and after his best and most exhausting season ever."

+++"where he finally did not show up all burnt out"
I see that the media, by sheer force of repetition, has made you believed the Nadal-rrative. Again, what the hell is that? It's not like Rafael Nadal plays more matches than the other top players. I still don't get why this "physical animal" would be more "burnt out" than the other players (other guys are probably tired a bit too, but according to the media, Nadal has the monopoly on fatigue).

Posted by freddy 11/30/2010 at 08:24 AM

Sad to see the level of conflict on this board. Can't we just agree they're both great players, give thanks that we're privileged watching them together, and have our personal preference but not disrespect the other? Fed and Rafa sure have realised this long back, and I just wish we could emulate them.

One thing I'm sure about - bet that 30 yrs later, if I'm still around, I'll be reminiscing about this decade of tennis.

Posted by Federax 11/30/2010 at 08:38 AM

"One thing I'm sure about - bet that 30 yrs later, if I'm still around, I'll be reminiscing about this decade of tennis."

+++I wholeheartedly agree.

Also, are there any great "can't miss" prospects coming up the pipeline? I hear about this Federer "clone" Dimitrov, curious to see if how he develops (and too bad about Del Potro - he was the real deal and a real threat to the Fed/Nadal duopoly; I sure hope he resolves his issues).

Posted by jackson 11/30/2010 at 08:42 AM

Tic, may I second Ruth's thanks for those pictures and your wise words about tiredgate. I was amazed by it last night and continue to be astounded at how defensive so many Fedfans are about what is said about some reasonable opinions and rational conclusions about the match. Fed said himself he was exhausted at the end of the tournament and after a long year, but it's blasphemy to suggest Rafa might have been tired too?

The funniest comment though is Mick1303's. It's all Rafafan's fault because they said something about Fed FOUR YEARS AGO! Oh noez!!!!

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/30/2010 at 08:44 AM

News Flash out of the Iberian Peninsula:

Rafael Nadal, who had been relatively stoic after this defeat in the YEC finals, was crying like a baby during much of the second half and the extra time of El Clasico beatdown.

From the Hall of Shame category, Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos's red card made him the most sent off player in Real Madrid's history, and Ramos is only 24. Dirtiest player in the history of Real Madrid. Pathetic.

Mr. X is, undoubtedly, not a very happy camper today.

Posted by Holds2Love 11/30/2010 at 08:46 AM

well said, freddy! I'll drink to that (green tea in this instance). Federax, I agree with you about Del Potro. Devastating to have such an injury just as he was accomplishing so much. Hope he comes back in 2011. ok, break over for me...

Posted by freddy 11/30/2010 at 08:52 AM

DelPo was the real deal...such a pity.

Not trying to add fuel to the fire, but I've been wondering where the next truly great 18 yr old is...Around the time Fed had hit his straps, dominating the tour at age 24, he had to deal with a fearless young Rafa. (Of course, he didn't have a great 29 yr old stubbornly hanging on to deal with!). Wonder which 18 yr old is going to stand up to Rafa the same way?

Definitely, DelPo was the man to do this...but as things have turned out, don't know whether he'll come back as the force he was...and it's certainly going to take him time to return to top level tennis.

Also wonder whether the Spanish clay court pipeline is drying up - the youngest of the lot is Almagro (other than Rafa), and he's no spring chicken. Where is the next teen Spanish clay master, who can give Rafa a run for his money? msf - any Iberian update on this?

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/30/2010 at 08:53 AM

Hey everyone. :)

Apparently Dimitrov pushed over a chair umpire the other day after losing to Ricardas Berankis. I don't know what relevance that has to his ability to move on to the main tour, but he might be fun if he does.

Word, freddy.

Posted by jackson 11/30/2010 at 08:54 AM

jem at 12:56 PM "Ruth: The point is, sarcasm aside, the YEC has for the most part been an indoor - usually hard court- tournament. It seemed Jackson was suggesting to change the surface to favour one contestant; that was the point of my objection."

Jem, just to clarify, I didn't suggest changing the surface to favour ONE contestant. I said a rotation of the surfaces would be fair for ALL the players on the tour. There really aren't that many that are proficient on indoor hard. Of course, to play on outdoor hard, the tournament would have to go somewhere in the southern hemisphere at this time of year but that might not be such a bad idea. And an occasional year end championship on grass or clay would be interesting too.

There is a lot being made about the H2H record on hard court between Roger and Rafa. It's 4-3 in Roger's favour now but one aspect of that record that I haven't seen mentioned is that 3 of those wins are on indoor hard. On outdoor hard, Rafa has the better record at 3-1 which is kind of surprising considering Roger's reputation for having Rafa's number on that surface.

Posted by jackson 11/30/2010 at 08:58 AM

msf, is that true about Rafa crying after the futbol match or are you just funning with us? I wouldn't be surprised if he was. He takes his futbol pretty seriously. :)

Posted by mick1303 11/30/2010 at 09:00 AM

Posted by jackson 11/30/2010 at 08:42 AM
....
The funniest comment though is Mick1303's. It's all Rafafan's fault because they said something about Fed FOUR YEARS AGO! Oh noez!!!!
==========
Are you trying to tell me that since then (2006-2007) “Rafafans” were such a civil bunch and I must’ve dreamt all those “Rafa inflicted humiliating beatdown (RG 2008)”, “Federer’s heart is taken from him” (Wimbledon 2008), “Rafa made Federer cry like a sissy” (AO 2009)? And the king of them all “Federer’s French title has an asterisk, because he didn’t beat Nadal”.

Posted by jackson 11/30/2010 at 09:02 AM

Freddy at 8:52 AM "Also wonder whether the Spanish clay court pipeline is drying up - the youngest of the lot is Almagro (other than Rafa), and he's no spring chicken. Where is the next teen Spanish clay master, who can give Rafa a run for his money? msf - any Iberian update on this?"


Freddy, I've seen youtube of a teenaged clay courter from Spain who looks a bit like a hefty Boris Becker rather than the sculpted physical specimans like Rafa and Nando and Feli. Sorry I can't think of his name right now but he's 16 or 17 and coming up through the ranks.

Posted by thebigapple 11/30/2010 at 09:03 AM

Barcelona - Real Madrid...hahhahhaha! Given the money laid out by Real, this is a nice return. For eg, I really still do not understand what they saw in paying so much for Cristino Ronaldo. An very good player but no more.

Anywway Los blancos can plot an answer at the return match.

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

"Fed said himself he was exhausted at the end of the tournament and after a long year, but it's blasphemy to suggest Rafa might have been tired too?"

+++Jackson, my apologies, but you don't get. Of course players get tired, it's true in ANY sports. But only in tennis do you see people clamoring to fatigue as a rational argument to justify that their favourite player is losing. "With rest, my player would have kicked your player's butt." That's dumb, as fatigue, injuries, et al. are elements world-class athletes deal with on a constant basis. So, Federer says he is tired. Fair enough, ok. But do you see the media picking this nugget up and adding it at the end of paragraph (like they did this Sunday with Nadal) to rationalize a defeat? They only do that with Nadal and that is where many Federer fans - and I'm sure neutral fans - have a problem. Dude already has a publicist I'm sure, he doesn't need the AP on top of it.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/30/2010 at 09:14 AM

Or we could just stop doing silly tit-for-tat altogether. I know how hurtful (daft, I realise, but it somehow is) some of the anti-Rafa or anti-Roger comments can be, but is lashing out back ever going to be the answer? Not to me.

Posted by Federax 11/30/2010 at 09:15 AM

It's just discussion, no "flame wars" or whatever people call them. Nothing wrong with that, no?

Posted by Ruth 11/30/2010 at 09:17 AM

"The funniest comment though is Mick1303's. It's all Rafafan's fault because they said something about Fed FOUR YEARS AGO! Oh noez!!!!

jackson: That comment you cited provided today's morning laugh for me, not to mention the fact that I've been around TW since 2005 (the year when Pete started taking reader comments), and I don't remember any such nonsense occurring. But I'm kinda old, so that might explain that! LOL

I'm watching the all-american Queens final on TC with the skinny ones, Fish and Querrey.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/30/2010 at 09:20 AM

freddy:

The last alleged Spanish up and comer I saw on youtube--maybe the same guy jackson saw--didn't impress me that much. It was a short clip, so I could have been missing much.

Bolletieri Academy supposedly having a major juniors tournament that started yesterday or over the weekend. Maybe, there are some young Spaniards entered in it.

Posted by NikeRoger 11/30/2010 at 09:23 AM

tennis muse: that was quite a good poem. Very well done.

Posted by jackson 11/30/2010 at 09:26 AM

Federax, are you trying to say that you've never seen the media mention Roger's mono? Really? As Jewell says, the tit for tat is a non-winner because for just as often as a Fedfan feels the press hasn't been fair to their guy, I can guarantee you the Rafafans can find every bit as many instances where their guy has been maligned. It surprises me though that the Fedfans are so sensitive because I can honestly say I don't think I've ever seen as much rhapsodic prose expended on any tennis player as Roger. The guy has been lionized in print and on the air and on the internet but it never seems to be enough. Strange.

Posted by freddy 11/30/2010 at 09:32 AM

A bit surprising isn't it msf? Been so used to seeing a steady stream of Spanish clay masters the last 20 yrs...Bruguera, Alberto Beraseteugi (with his bizarre backhand), Corretja, Moya, Robredo, Ferrero, Costa (and you can add the LatAms - Kuerten, Gaudio, Coria), Ferrer, Almagro, Nadal...so what's happened after Nadal broke through - its been a good 6 yrs now, and no really good new clay talent...

Posted by Federax 11/30/2010 at 09:38 AM

Yeah Jackson, you're right about the mono talk. (And it annoyed me to no ends.)

I should have been more specific: since last year (2009), Nadal is the media darling that can do no wrong unless he has problems with his knees (like me, you probably saw him play and run like a maniac against Murray at OA 2010. He was overplayed, period. But poor Murray, the story was Nadal forfeits the match because of injury. It's not like Nadal led 2 sets to none (in that case I'm 99.9% sure he wouldn't have thrown out the towel), his stomach, his feelings (parents' divorce) and now his elbow. What next? His tennis will suffer because he is preoccupied with his thinning hair???

Posted by freddy 11/30/2010 at 09:40 AM

Broader question - why do pipelines dry up like that suddenly? Australians - only Cash and Rafter after Laver, Rosewall and Newcombe....the Swedes are another example - several good to great players b/w Borg and Edberg, and then a 15 yr dry period (notwithstanding Norman, Johannson and now Soderling)...the US seems to be going through the same now after Sampras and Agassi, and likewise on the WTA after the WS...

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/30/2010 at 09:42 AM

To be clear, by tit-for-tat I don't mean discussing things like media narratives, I mean "Rafa fans are stupid!" "Well Fed fans are stupider!" and "Fed got lucky!" "Well, so did Rafa!" "Edward's so sexy!" "No, Edward is creepy, Jacob is cool!" etc etc etc.

And also, I don't truly think either "side" is better or nicer or more reasonable than the other. Plenty of lovely people on both of them, as well as plenty of not-so-lovely people, and plenty of nonsensical things talked on both sides too.

Welcome to TW, Federax, btw, if you're new. :)

Posted by Federax 11/30/2010 at 09:43 AM

At least these countries have pipelines... Canada would be glad to have just one player ranked in the top 100 (although there is this Raonic kid -and another one whose name escapes me at the moment - that are promising, for Canadian standards at least).

Posted by freddy 11/30/2010 at 09:49 AM

Ha Federax...I'm an Indian living in Poona, and I would give an arm and a leg to see an Indian come through...last we had was Sania Mirza on the girls side who reached around rank 30, and we now have Somdev Devvarman whos around 100...course we have Paes and Bhupathi in the doubles, as also the wonderful Indo-Pak team of Bopanna and Qureshi who reached the USO final this year...

So yeah, can empathise. Good thing though, is I see a lot of Indian kids taking to tennis (more so than before) and with the country's economy doing well last few years, there are more courts and facilities...so hopefully, we'll get some results in the next 10 yrs or so..

Posted by Federax 11/30/2010 at 09:49 AM

Thanks Jewell. I am a "long time, first time" if you will,
having "discovered" the site around USO 2007 (but started writing in the last week or so).

By the way, disclosure time, I basically watch all Federer matches AFTER they are over because I am too nervous (I thought that when he surpassed Sampras I would be good, but no). I look at the scoreborad or a couple points here and there, but I cannot handle the stress of a full live match (I only managed to do it for the RG 09 final, since I was "sure" Federer would win). I really am a wuss. ;)

Posted by freddy 11/30/2010 at 09:52 AM

Federax - I do the same, but only for matches against Nadal...against anyone else, I'm reasonably confident the outcome will be a happy one. :) These late O2 matches were at 130 AM India time, and I saw all of them..but the final started at 11 PM. Went to sleep, woke up around 2 AM...immediately started worrying about the outcome, said a few prayers while TW was loading up...and happily spent the rest of the night reading match reports and all the CC comments!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/30/2010 at 09:55 AM

I still feel nervous watching highlights or DVDs when I know what happens, I can understand that! :)

Posted by Federax 11/30/2010 at 09:55 AM

Freddy, over the years Canada has produced some unforgettable talents has Marc Laurendeau, Grant Connell, Glenn Michibata, Sébastien Lareau and Andrew Sznajder. The most successful one I can recall is Gred Rusedski from Western Montreal who ended up having his greatest success with - you guessed it - Great Britain. ;-)

Daniel Nestor is doing great things in doubles, but I have to admit that I don't care much for the doubles game nor the WTA (though I enjoy the Williams sisters (moreso Serena) as well as Henin and Wozniacki (I'm still sort of shocked she didn't come out on top in Flushing)).

Posted by Federax 11/30/2010 at 09:56 AM

"I still feel nervous watching highlights or DVDs when I know what happens, I can understand that! :)"

+++Hahaha! :D

Posted by jackson 11/30/2010 at 09:58 AM

Federax, Canada has Rebecca Marino who's rising with a bullet on the WTA. I believe she's just outside the Top 100 right now at 103.

Did you know that Raonic is going to be practicing with Rafa this month? He was so impressed with Rafa in Tokyo that Rafa took the time to give him some hints on what he has to do to improve and also talked to his coach as well. Milos was planning to spend three weeks in Barcelona doing some training so they contacted Rafa's camp about going to Manacor and it looks like he might get a few days there. Apparently that's quite a coup for Raonic as the Rafa people want someone who is competitive enough to give Rafa a good workout but they also want someone who can have some fun so that practices aren't too tedious. Hope it comes together for him.

Posted by Federax 11/30/2010 at 10:01 AM

"These late O2 matches were at 130 AM India time, and I saw all of them..but the final started at 11 PM. Went to sleep, woke up around 2 AM...immediately started worrying about the outcome, said a few prayers while TW was loading up...and happily spent the rest of the night reading match reports and all the CC comments!"

+++Hehehe! Good stuff! I do the same thing for the Australian Open (which has become my fav slam over the years), whose matches are played late-night or in the dead of night if you're near Ottawa/Quebec like I am. I remember going to the TV set every half hour or so to watch the score. Needless to say, I was a train wreck and basically got no sleep that night. But I slept well when all was said and done. :)

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