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Around the World in 1000 Words 11/30/2010 - 12:40 PM

Debut by Pete Bodo

Hey, anybody know who won the final in that tournament in London over the weekend?

Seriously, though, Roger Federer's win over his nemesis Rafael Nadal this weekend brings with it a significant sense of "closure," at least to the tournament year in tennis. But, as I wrote in a post for ESPN, "closure" works better following an unexpected tragedy or bout in a court of law than in sports. So let's remember, there's still this little matter of the Davis Cup final coming over the weekend.

***

Bad News for Davis Cup Reformers

The run-up to this Davis Cup final vividly demonstrates the significance of the tournament to all but the most transcendent of international stars, and it ought to resonate with those who cling to the idea, promoted mostly in the American Davis Cup-averse media, that the premier annual international team sports competition is passé, or of no interest to anyone not wearing a seersucker suit and straw boater.

When Novak Djokovic said the impending Davis Cup final in Belgrade (where Serbia will host France) was a distraction that prevented him from perhaps having the kind of World Tour Finals he would ordinarily hope for, you know that this "nobody really cares about Davis Cup" meme is somewhat threadbare. And guess what? The increasing number of emerging, top-quality players from nations other than the U.S. is only going to boost the luster of the competition. 

Belgrade may not be a major tennis capital (yet) or media center, but if this final delivers what it promises, Djokovic may pull off a John McEnroe. When McEnroe arrived on the scene, Davis Cup was at low ebb in the U.S. He reinvigorated it, and it's safe to say he took the whole world with him. It was simply because he believed in the concept and credibility of Davis Cup. Also, McEnroe more or less shamed a number of his countrymen, including Vitas Gerulaitis and (briefly) Jimmy Connors into re-examining their indifference to the competition. So forget the problems of marketing Davis Cup, the so-called overloaded calendar, the trials of having to play a Davis Cup tie in the after glow of a major). The blunt truth is that top players—most top players—have the utmost respect for the competition and do their best to take part in it.

The Bureaucrat

While next weekend will belong to Djokovic, Janko Tipsarevic and company, this last one was all Federer's, although he did recognize his own supporting cast of two, even though neither man lifted a racket. After winning, Federer acknowledged the impact Paul Annacone has had on his results since they began working in earnest in June. Here's the exact quote from The Mighty Fed:

"I had to regain some confidence. That only comes through winning matches. After having somewhat of a disappointing clay season, Halle, Wimbledon stretch, where I wasn't able to win any tournaments and didn't play my best tennis, played a bit passive, it was important that I was able to pick up my game. I started moving better, started feeling well physically and mentally. I'm sure Paul has helped in this regard. So has Severin (Luthi). That's why I'm very happy with my team at this stage of the season."

This is typical Federer commentary, and it confirms the feeling that the guy could have a heckuva second career after tennis as something like a high-ranking UN official. Notice the baroque, elusive touches. "I'm sure Paul has helped. . ." not simply, "Paul really helped. . ." What exactly did he mean by "happy with my team at this stage of the season?" I thought the season was over. Note the patient stating of the obvious: "It was important that I was able to pick up my game."  How about the nod to Severin Luthi (how many part-time coaches can one guy have)?

The instinct to spread around the credit and not give anyone too big—or small—a share, to not leave anyone out while also not admitting to over-reliance on anyone, is typical Federer and not all that different from the hard-working bureaucrat's mindset. And yes, I know that you could parse anyone's comments, delivered in a press conference, in a similar fashion. There's a lot of fat and grisle in most conversations. But TMF's is of a certain kind that I believe sheds a little light on his personality. I have to admit that this manner of speech and the thinking it implies leaves me a little cold, because, hail, it is cold.

I don't want to take credit away from Luthi; he's served Federer steadily if, to us, opaquely. That's fine. But from here it looks like the big change in Federer's attitude as well as certain aspects of Federer's game, owe to Annacone, the apostle of aggressive, "show your opponent that you're Roger Federer and he's not" tennis. Or, if you prefer something less blunt and more literal: "Play to your strengths." (As in,  don't just bunt back some kind of return with your shotmaking arsenal.)

The rounded edges of Federer's speech can be explained various ways, starting with his talent for and presumed desire to avoid making waves. Note that Federer divulged no state secrets in praising Annacone and Luthi and contrast that to what we know about the working relationship between, say, Andy Roddick and Larry Stefanki, or even the late-career technical analyses freely offered by Andre Agassi, or even the obsession with the role of character in tennis so often indulged by Boris Becker.

Ironically, Federer's approach brings to mind something Becker once told me about Annacone's other iconic protégé, Sampras. I paraphase: Pete has a great talent for setting up walls that keep the rest of the world out and help him stay focused on his mission. You could say the same of Federer.

Three Things You Can't Avoid. . .

It's funny, but the news in tennis tends to come in bunches having a greater relation to the Grand Slam and Masters calendars than any other factor. That's because outifts like the ATP and WTA like to drop their big news items during moments when the eyes of the world are focused on tennis. Hence, it was a pretty big week for all kinds of news, resounding as well as ephemeral. Did you see that Serena Williams pulled out of Hopman Cup as well as the Australian Open? She's still recuperating from surgery and issued a heartfelt promise that she'd be back and "better than ever."

Rere Maybe, when she's fully healed, Serena could have a heart-to-heart with 40-year old Kimiko Date Kumm, who recently averred that she may not be able to compete in the next Asian games (she lost in the semis this year) because by then she'll be 44 years old. I'm just hoping Serena and her sister Venus Williams can stick around long enough to hit, say, 32. On the other hand, starting in their late 20s, players are basically hostages to the unpredictable master, injury.

Kimiko said she's been feeling the strain of top-grade WTA tennis in her 40-year-old body, and I say we need to immediately launch a Don't go, Kimiko! campaign. I'm not a sentimentalist who thinks players ought to quit while they're on top or near it. Play as long as you want and can, knowing that there are three things in life you can't avoid: death, taxes and the WTA or ATP ranking/entry system. That's something Serena will have to deal with as well, if and when she returns. She'll probably be out of the Top 10 by then.

Spouting off the Starboard Bow. . .

How about that tempest in a teapot in Wales, where the chief executive of Welsh Rugby Union got his shorts all in a bunch because the BBC stayed with that thrilling Andy Murray vs. Rafael Nadal match at the World Tour Finals. Because of the length of that match, viewers were denied the first seven minutes of a match between the Welsh and the All-Blacks (New Zealand). It's usually tennis advocates complaining about the lack of respect they get in the big picture, so while I sympathize with the Welsh, all I can say is:  a food chain is not a pretty thing, try to live with it.

***

Well, I'm already over my promised 1000 words, and I haven't even touched on the Aussie old guard, who are back in the news. John Newcombe called out 18-year-old Bernard Tomic for being in poor physical shape (while admitting he doesn't actually know what Tomic is—or isn't—doing, fitness-wise), and Tony Roche is back for another stint as Lleyton Hewitt's coach.

Let's leave the implications of those two items for the start of next year, when we'll be homing in on Melbourne and the Australian Open. For those of you who care, this is a spinoff of the News of the Day, which was a hard format to float because it appeared at random, and often dwelt on items (as does this piece) that are not exactly hot off the presses.

But this, or something like it, probably will become a regular feature at TennisWorld except during weeks when I'm traveling and providing on-site coverage. I'll try to keep to the word count, too. . .


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Posted by Slice-n-DIce 11/30/2010 at 10:21 PM

Andrew,

Thank you for eloquently stating what should be self-evident to all who come to join in in lively discussion. And without Pete's impetus, we might have little to talk about.

I do think that Pete may be right about the relative devaluing of the Masters events when their format was changed to best-of-three sets, but I also can see why that was necessary, as most of the masters events are a one-week affair.

However, I've always thought that a nice compromise would be to play a best-of-five set final. And particularly at the YEC (Masters Cup Finals or World Tour Final, or whatever you want to call it), it seems that a best-of-five set final is to be expected.

Posted by Deuce 11/30/2010 at 10:25 PM

Thanks Ruth - Good point re the real driver of tennis relevance is the networks and ad spending. Still it was nice to see stands full. The women's YEC did not have that luxury.

AB - I like the caddy analysis. I wopuld say then that Annacone is coach and Luthi caddy but so long as Fed has a team working for him thats fine by me. I quite enjoyed last weeks tennis:)

Smiling at your 9:57 imjimmy "Now if you want me to admit that the '03-'06 with - Roddick, Hewitt, Safin, Ferrero, Nalbandian, Davydenko, Haas, Ferrer, Gonzales, Blake, Bagdhatis Phillippoussis, Ljubicic etc - who couldn't get out of their own way, much less challenge consistently, is a STRONG field, then I will :)" There are a few grand slams, YECs, Slam final appearances and MS 1000s owned by that group though with some pretty notable wins for each one. At the end of the day only Rafa and Fed truly stand out from that group. Where Murray and Djokovic stand versus that group at their career ends will be interesting to me.

Posted by CL 11/30/2010 at 10:25 PM

Christopher - thanks for your 7:57...I missed some of those particular moments, and probably just as well. REALLY just as well. On balance of course, we all should be grateful to Pete that he has provided this forum. But IN this kind of forum gratitude doesn't trump opinion. IMO. Hopefully any disagreements will be respectfully stated...from both end of the looking glass.

I have spent the last 2 days grousing about the media narrative re perceived Nadal tiredeness issue in the WTF. You will all be glad to hear, I am sure, that I have now put aside that particular grievance. (Really, I was getting as dead bored with it as I'm sure most of the readers here were.)

Instead, I have decided to opt for the 'if you can't beat'em/join 'em technique. Herewith is the first, but not last, offering from "CL's Wire Service/Tennis Line. Coverage...a day or two late, but not a modifier short... of the WTF final.


Federer Defeats Nadal to Win World Tennis Finals.

London -

Roger Federer, holder of 16 Grand Slam titles, today defeated Rafa Nadal, who this year completed his own career Grand Slam, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, before a packed house at London’s O2 arena. With the win, Federer claimed his 5th ATP World Tennis Finals..

Federer, who began the year strongly by winning the Australian Open, only to falter in 1/4 final losses at the French Open and Wimbledon, often struggles against the younger Spaniard, who had turned in a stellar year of his own in 2010, capturing 3 out of the 4 Grand Slams. But this time Federer was able to counteract one of Nadal’s chief weapons - a powerful, looping topspin FH that kicks up high and bedevils the Swiss - by hitting his own backhand with pace, authority and depth, none more so than on break point in the first set when Federer sent a cross court BH scorching past the scrambling Nadal to take a 4/2 lead, and ultimately, the set.

Though the match will not go down as a classic between the two men, it still featured many brilliant rallies with outstanding shots from both players; retrieving the unretrievable. finding angles that exist on no protractor, and creating winners out of skill, desire, inspiration and often, desperation.

In the second set, Federer’s serve and aggressive mind set seemed to falter and it was Nadal who claimed control of the baseline, forcing Federer into ever more awkward positions. Nadal broke in the 4th game of the set after Federer missed a volley and a forehand. Nadal continued his dominance in the set and closed it out at to even the match at a set apiece.

The final set opened with Nadal again applying pressure to the Federer serve. But a crucial backhand miss by Nadal gave Federer all the reprieve he would need as once again he became the dominant force on the baseline and frustrated Nadal repeatedly with perfectly placed serves out wide to Nadal’s back hand. In the 4th game, a rocket like return and superb net play, which Federer had displayed through much of the London tournament, broke Nadal for a 3/1 lead. The Swiss star would break again and serve out the match, ending on a Federer FH that caused the crowd, and Federer, to hold their breath awaiting the call. When the ‘in’ call came, Federer threw up his arms in triumph.

Some observers at the O2 felt Nadal seemed tired and displayed an uncharacteristic lack of desire to chase down every ball. After the match, when asked if he was tired, given his marathon semifinal victory over Andy Murray the day before, Nadal said, “Everybody saw the match of yesterday, so everybody’s free to think his own opinion. I’m not going to say I lost the match because I was tired. What I am going to say and what I feel is I lost the match because I played against a very good Roger Federer.” Even given the Murray match, it would seem strange that the 24 year old Nadal, who had 5 weeks off before the tournament, would have been any more tired than his 29 year old opponent, who was playing his 4th tournament in 6 weeks. Strange, and potentially ominous for a player knows for his fitness and ferocious competitive zeal.

For his part, Federer pronounced himself, “just really happy that I was able to finish the season in style, playing some of my best tennis, really saving the best for last." He also went on to credit his new coach, Paul Annacone and his long time coach Severin Luthi with helping him regain confidence shaken by anonamolous Wimbledon and French Open losses. “I’m sure Paul helped me in this regard. So has Severin.....That’s why I am very happy with my team at this stage of the season."

Asked about his holiday plans, the Swiss star further tormented mere mortals by asserting that, “Yeah, I can eat biscuits and everything, have fondue ...no problem...deserts 10 days in a row. I never have to be to careful.”
-------------------------------------------------------------------
See? - header and first paragraph- just the facts ma'am. Middle paragraphs...description and some vivd writing...last paragraphs, summation, speculation, quotation. Done and dusted.


Posted by Karly 11/30/2010 at 10:30 PM

ImJimmy, I never said you said Rafa was going to break his records, just like I never said I thought Nadal would retire at 26, just that it's possible that he could be done at that age or any age, etc. I re-state my point, discussing and making a big deal about an athlete's accomplishments compared to another athletes at different ages when the careers of both are not over is just not something I think is that worthwile. When Roger was a young player, just starting to win slams, they were already predicting he would "beat pete's records" and doing that was many years away. It might not have happened, there are alot of things that can stop a player's acheivements, injuries, personal issues, burn out, somebody else coming along that has their number. In Roger's case the premature annointment of his future GOAT or King of Slams crown turned out to be prescient, but it was a LONG HARD ROAD and he looked like he wasn't going to make it not that long ago. Rafa has a LONG HARD ROAD in front of him to even stay at the level he is now. We'll see what happens in the next couple of years.

Posted by Christopher 11/30/2010 at 10:32 PM

Best article I've read about the match yet, CL.

Posted by CL 11/30/2010 at 10:35 PM

Thanks Christopher! Much appreciated. Actually there was a pretty good piece in the Miami Herals yesterday. It actually can be done.

Posted by Deuce 11/30/2010 at 10:35 PM

Best article I've read about the match yet, CL. +2

waves at Arun

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 11/30/2010 at 10:38 PM

amen well said perfect and finito ... this truly says it all pass it on to the lazy reporters who pull out the same utter nonsense ever since Hamburg 2007 ...

Even given the Murray match, it would seem strange that the 24 year old Nadal, who had 5 weeks off before the tournament, would have been any more tired than his 29 year old opponent, who was playing his 4th tournament in 6 weeks. Strange, and potentially ominous for a player knows for his fitness and ferocious competitive zeal.

Posted by Arun 11/30/2010 at 10:39 PM

Hi Deuce! How goes it?

Posted by CWATC 11/30/2010 at 10:39 PM

Hey, CL, do you want to do some published tennis writing?
Email me at kjoella@yahoo.com

Posted by Karly 11/30/2010 at 10:41 PM

For the record, I don't get any personal enjoyment out of jumping on Pete Bodo for his comments. I enjoy the site, but sometimes become very disappointed when comments are made that are so off the wall or just seem to be so grasping in finding something desultory to say about Roger or some other players, I show my displeasure. I mean come on, when I read "Bureaucrat" in reference to Roger, when you consider what just went down in London, and all the things that could have been talked about with legacies, rivalries, level of play, the future... I don't know what other people think when they see somebody called a bureaucrat, but in my neck of the woods that is an extremely insulting thing to call somebody. ANd for the life of me, I can't imagine what Peter was thinking when he wrote that or even thought it up, but I assume Pete is a smart man, so it makes me question the intentions of it all. It just seemed unnecessarily nasty. Especially after Roger played such a fantastic tournament after so long of a time that he struggled to win the big title or big matches with rivals. This whole tournament was a major triumph for the Fed, like a return to his glory form, and I get to read a bizarre and illogical dismissal of the man. Instead of "champion" "29 year old warrior" "winner" ... I get " the bureaucrat".. wow

Posted by CL 11/30/2010 at 10:42 PM

CWATC - um, ok...tomorrow?

I want to do some DC stuff. Really intrigued by some of the potential match-ups. Just a bit unclear how much I will actually be able to see given my schedule.

But in any case, I'll be in touch. thanks. :-)

Posted by xyz 11/30/2010 at 10:42 PM

Bravo, Arun - that should debunk that "weak era" baloney.

Don't forget that Ljubicic just beat Nadal as recently as IW. Davydenko and Nalbandian who were perennial semis opponents of Roger 5 years ago have great records if not better H2Hs against any of these new stalwarts.

Posted by imjimmy 11/30/2010 at 10:45 PM

I agree Arun, there's not a lot in it in terms of the difference. I see your point. That said, I would put Djokovic and Murray a little higher ( Djokovic has a respectable h2h with Fed; won a slam; great h2h with Nadal outside of clay, and Murray has done well against Fedal anyway), plus there was a time when we had Delpo in the mix too. So Fedal, Murryokovic (made that up), Delpo, Soderling - wouldn't be too shabby.

But again remove Fed, and this starts to look like less formidable, like the '03-'06 sans Nadal (who wasn't much of a factor then). So I would say that's it Fed and Nadal, together, that make the competition look tougher than it is. As I said before, things seemed easier for Nadal in Paris and Wimb, once Federer was out. And if he did not have to contend with Federer, maybe he would get more slams in the future?

But I see your pt overall, although I still maintain that the culture of tennis has shifted from the 80's and 90's when we had several great players together. Now we just have 1 or 2 :)

Karly: I agree. Let's see how things pan out for Nadal. It's certainly unreasonable to assume that he would go on a rampage, just as it is to predict that he will flame out soon. The good thing about Nadal is that he still keeps on trying and improving. Good post though. I enjoyed reading it..

'Nite all..

Posted by Syd 11/30/2010 at 10:46 PM

CL,

Best article and the ONLY article that actually describes the match. And your billboard 2nd graf sets up what is to follow so well.

Three cheers!

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 11/30/2010 at 10:47 PM

well i think Fred is considered an 'elitist' and thus, gets slapped a lot by Pete, whereas Nadal is more the 'outdoorsy' type, 500K watches withstanding ... lol ... i dont care how many Slams Fred wins, the write ups after always resonate far, far from the Warrior tag he should have by now earned ...

Posted by CL 11/30/2010 at 10:50 PM

Karly - there is many a bureaucrat who is insulted by the fact that you think being called a bureaucrat is an insult. ;-) This piece it reads to me as a bit of a grab bag and possibly put together in a bit of a hurry by Pete. (I think at a certain point he got bureaucrat and diplomat mixed up.) And it certainly is about the oddest word you can choose to apply to Federer. But heck, even Homer nods. I have certainly have had my run ins with Pete and one thing I have TRIED, not always successfully, to learn is not to assume an agenda given only the evidence of what may just be a poorly chosen word or phrase. 'Cause we all do that - professional or amateur writers both.

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 11/30/2010 at 10:51 PM

that said Im already concerned about another really uncompetitve clay court season, talk about weak eras! we cant count on 30 year old Fred to be on the only decent challenger to Nads, I mean, losing Del Po and Davyd REALLY killed the clay season for any kind of drama or thrilling masters series events...

for now, who cares, I know, but the weak era story could really be applied to that surface, a big hole causes by Del Po's injury... lets hope he's ok, is what ive read true, that he's still hurting?

Posted by CL 11/30/2010 at 10:52 PM

Syd - thanks!...means a lot coming from you guys.

Posted by CL 11/30/2010 at 10:53 PM

Tim - DelPo runs silent, runs deep.

Have you seen Bored to Death yet? It may be off HBO for a bit..but get to it man! You'll luv it.

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 11/30/2010 at 10:54 PM

i think that's true, cranking out tons and tons of copy and trying to also nail a narrative is not exactly easy, and mistakes can be made ... the depth of writers to fill space and pages has shrunk as the budgets have, so I think the mag gang have their hands full filling both day in and day out ... more amd more blogs are going to become the domain of the readers and contributors becuase ad budgets are so slim and content is less valued..i dont like to say that but its true

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 11/30/2010 at 10:57 PM

CL, no i havent i did watcha few eps in the first season, i will check it out, Boardwalk Empire is almost over!

great write up again, and frnakly is doesnt come across as a fan at all, it presents all sides and poses questions the way journalism should, it drives me nuts when these big tennis writers opine as if it were fact, and never question the flip side, that an older player with many weeks in a row on Tour is fresh while the young player piddles out after a few matches ...

to me thats a big story and Fred deserves a Warrior moment! badges to Fred!

Posted by Arun 11/30/2010 at 10:58 PM

imjimmy: Sorry, but 6-13 isn't a H2H I would call 'respectable'. If I have to, then Hewitt's H2H against Federer is equally respectable. And Nalbandian's is a winning H2H. :) Soderling has had 2 incredible slam victories against Fedal. Apart from that he has been the Davydenko of this era - a more powerful version.

Yeah. It's a pity about Delpo. What are the odds that a guy beating Fedal in one slam doesn't play a full tournament next year? Sux.

Now the comparison of the strength of era in terms of 90s and 2000s? It's a bit tricky. A case could be made for either era as a stronger/weaker one depending upon what our metrics are, with a slight edge to the previous era without a question.

PS: I do think tennis at the very top level was at its strongest between the mid 80s and early 90s -- poor Lendl! The peak was USO'92.. A buffet of many legendary players (at various stages of their careers) eaten alive by Edberg. *waiting for CL to pat on my back*

Posted by thebigapple 11/30/2010 at 10:59 PM

CL...nice match write-up. Balanced and without contrived efforts to be cute.

Posted by CL 11/30/2010 at 11:00 PM

I'm not sure even a healthy Delpo poses a real challenge to Rafa on clay. On HC he can be trouble for anybody...but clay? Yeah, I know how hard he pushed the second best clay court player in the '09 FO, but on that surface Nadal is just so far ahead of anybody...he's like a dolphin in the ocean...pefect match of environment and being.

Posted by Fernando 11/30/2010 at 11:03 PM

we all know that tennis writers must stir up controversy to draw readers.Calling Federer's comments that he "is sure his coach has helped him" cold is beyond preposterous. Bodo.. you have to do better than this or time to go to the Fox Network

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 11/30/2010 at 11:04 PM

CL the only reason I say it, is, Del Po has the height power and serve to make the surface less relevant, at least on a hot day ... its POSSIBLe, anyway, i dont see one player who has the power or weapons to challenge Nads on clay, and thats SAD indeed... i mean the whole season last year was utterly anticlimactic, not one close match, really, i Gulbis is the biggest challenge to Nads then we're all in big trouble...

Posted by CL 11/30/2010 at 11:04 PM

Tim/the big apple- thanks..the match was pretty exciting...kinda tells its own story if the writer just gets out of the way a bit...at least til the end of the piece.

I can't believe Boardwalk Empire got such so-so reviews. I think it is terrific. Can hardly wait to see who 'survives' the season wrap up.

That's it from me...g-night and cheers to the overnight/morning crowd.

Posted by Andrew 11/30/2010 at 11:04 PM

thebigapple: If you're paying Tennis.com to access TW, that makes you a customer. I myself haven't paid anything at the door, which might make me a gatecrasher, I suppose. Gosh, and I thought I was too old to live on the edge....

Pete gets paid to write content for Tennis magazine. If he's paid extra to post here, that's fine with me. I know the effort he's put in to build an online community, and the kindness and generosity he's shown to those of us who've met and/or worked with him isn't something he charges for.

Posted by Deuce 11/30/2010 at 11:04 PM

Hi Arun - it goes well. Been busy but had to duck back in here a bit for theh YEC and DC. I chuckle at your comment "Yeah. It's a pity about Delpo. What are the odds that a guy beating Fedal in one slam doesn't play a full tournament next year? Sux." Reading too many Fed pressers over the years with the "it's a pity":) Seriuously though what a bummer not to have had

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 11/30/2010 at 11:06 PM

but wait a second here... Pete must know Annacone better than almost anyone, cant he just call him up and ask him if Fred is a cold fish to work with?

Im kidding, but in truth, I think a long interview is in order for the off season, as long as fed wants to let him loose in the media...

i saw Annacone on SKY sports after the match and he was quite happy with the set up, obvoiusly!

Posted by CL 11/30/2010 at 11:07 PM

Tim - yeah...but its the movement that will do him in. Rafa would run him like a roped elk. Do they rope elk??? hmmm? But you know what I mean. :-)

really off now.

Posted by Deuce 11/30/2010 at 11:08 PM

And there went the typepad. I was trying to say I concur about it being a bummer not to have had Delpo in the mix this year given the wins he had in 09.

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 11/30/2010 at 11:08 PM

totally andrew, i think most agree with that, but a blog is a blog, and with it, comes a million opinions, its 2010 and the whole media terrain has changed ...

i mean if you want to take your life in your hand, guest write on this blog! talk about horrifying haha...

Posted by Amoureux de tennis 11/30/2010 at 11:12 PM

And your writing, Pete, leaves me totally cold. You have no depth or understanding; you can only make mountains out of thin air for lack of any real ideas.

Time to take a break and maybe mull over some real issues facing this world.

Posted by Deuce 11/30/2010 at 11:14 PM

Re Pete's Fed comments. I too was surprised he used the word "cold" but then again he is writing a blog and tries to bring something different in terms of analysis and nuance to keep his readers reading. To my knowledge there is no editor checking his blogs before they go up to say "Was this the right terminology here Pete for your point because it comes across a bit funny etc" Not the words I would have chosen but I was happy for another viewpoint/article to read and any new knowledge to be gleaned from it!

Posted by Karly 11/30/2010 at 11:14 PM

Lol, CL. You know you are right in that one shouldn't assume any agenda or personal malice from one comment, the thing is I have read many comments over the years here just like this one, after Fed has had success, it's a back slap here, a side slap here, towards him, his wife even. After a pattern develops, you start to see an agenda or underlying something or other going on. It's always something so irrelevant too! I'm glad Roger probably doesn't read Tennis.com. If he does, I hope he reads the poster's comments for some heartwarming balance in his favor. ;-)

Posted by TMFunk (formerly the prone-to-error typing TheMightyFunk) 11/30/2010 at 11:16 PM

CL: Great report. You should join Gauloises :)

Andrew on page 2 - "Seems a bit odd to have a party going on and have lots of guests dissing the host within his earshot."

- Got to say I don't agree with the analogy here. For one, I only saw a couple posters, whose monikers I did not recognize, use particularly disrespectful language in disagreeing with Pete. Most of the disagreement was passionate, but not disrespectful or rude. Second, Pete being the catalyst for this site has no bearing on the inappropriateness of being disrespectful in a public blog. Kudos to Pete for giving us all a forum to publish our thoughts, but it doesn't matter one way or the other that he did as far as posting etiquette goes. Disagree but do so respectfully. Period. Doesn't matter if its with Pete or anyone else.

Posted by Deuce 11/30/2010 at 11:16 PM

Sounds like for the most part we can all agree Delpo was missed this year and Fed winning the YEC makes the storyline a bit more interesting for all as we head in 2011.

Who is everyone pulling for in DC? I'm rather pulling for Nole and Serbia to win. I'm still annoyed with Monfils about his Gasquet comments this summer.

Posted by CWATC 11/30/2010 at 11:16 PM

Completely OT, but this classic vid of tennis history just surfaced on rf.com: the Fed/Safin racket-smashing split screen that Fed talked about on Letterman that made him want to change his attitude:

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

Wow, what a difference a decade makes.

Posted by Arun 11/30/2010 at 11:16 PM

Deuce: ha. It was unintentional.
I hope he comes back strong next year. Not only because it will be thrilling to have an equal-opportunity Fedal beater waiting to pounce upon them; but he seems/seemed like a nice, unassuming kid. He did not have to do all the drama to show that he was fired up nor did he demand attention. He earned stardom/attention the right way. You know what I mean?

That's more than too much for today.

Have a good night/day, all.

Posted by Karly 11/30/2010 at 11:16 PM

If Delpo can come back healthy and get back into form, he's a danger to everyone, including Nadal. This is a big guy who can run and defend, he was hitting 109 mph forehands at the French Open.. the guy is a beast, and he's not a mental midget either, nor does he fear other top players. He loves Nadal's high bouncing balls, they bounce right into his strike zone. Beware the Big Pony on any surface.

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 11/30/2010 at 11:18 PM

"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."

interesting ... i think this is because nads plays so few Top 10ers in all the clay events, because most of the Top 10 sucks on clay...

Posted by kris 11/30/2010 at 11:20 PM

pete bodo is desperate for media attention. It is unfortunate he exploits the greatest player ever to get his exposure. Luckily he is relegated to minor tennis posts like tennis.com. Thankfully we will never see him on TV.

Posted by thebigapple 11/30/2010 at 11:22 PM

Andrew, I cannot claim to understand how the internet works. My basic, maybe wrong understanding, is that many websites make their money from attracting users. So each time I "click" to read or write on a site, the site owners gain potential economic benefit from this site activity. They charge advertisers money to show adverts to my peering eyes. I thought that was how this site worked. Several months ago, I think we were all mauled by a tree (?) when we came on this site. I thought was an advert that someone was paying for because some-one at this site tipped them off that we would all be clicking away at some point.

Also, some sites make no money but they are a part of the coporate activity (brand building) of an enterprise such as a magazine etc that choses to use several channels to reach its customer base. Wrong again?

Now, neither a guest nor customer should be rude. But the appropraite conduct is different.

Posted by thebigapple 11/30/2010 at 11:26 PM

You are never too old to live on the edge.

Actually the older you are the less you have to lose. Climd out! Come on!

I am sure Pete is a nice guy. I wonder if he is as delicate in ego as your concerns indicate. Perhaps he gets a laugh out of this endeavour?

Posted by Deuce 11/30/2010 at 11:28 PM

Agreed Arun on Delpo. Let's hope he is healthy next year! I should be off to bed long ago. Good night all! Be back later in the week for DC!

Posted by mad about fed 11/30/2010 at 11:39 PM

note in this video how nadal's parents greet federer after he defeated their son in the WTF final. would that we fans of the two finalist could be that cordial to each other on this post. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVwN1xHbncY

Posted by Ruth 11/30/2010 at 11:42 PM

The BBC Sport (tennis) site is the site that I go to when I want to read good match reports, especially for matches I've missed seeing live. That's where I went when I got home at 7 pm on Sunday night having missed both the almost-live ESPN2 broadcast of the match and the first TC replay at 3 pm. Check it out if yu wish:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/9235392.stm

Since then, I've read quite a few other pieces that barely mention anything about the so-called "tiredness issue." I guess I've just been reading the wrong places. Will try to do better in the future. :)

BTW If I were writing about the match, I might mention, if it was too obvious to ignore, that Nadal seemed tired or lethargic at points; but, like this BBC writer and others, I wouldn't feel the need to go any further than that.

Posted by Slice 11/30/2010 at 11:44 PM

Seems that Bodo is inferring a lot about Fed's character from the presser. But that's fine, let me infer something too (and something which will not surprise you and I was not surprised by Bodo's comment). What if Annacone was not Annacone but say Corretja? (i know that's not possible given that he coaches Murray:). But let's assume that. And let's assume that Federer's game would pick up after he hired Alex. And then he would make a comment about him and luthi in the way he did about Annacone and Luthi - would Bodo raise his eyebrow at all? I think he wouldn't give a damn....
and I am saying this only because I've read probably 100-200 posts by him in the last few years...
Everyone has his and her bias - everybody, and this post itself is very biased. But what I really cannot stomach about Bodo's writing is that he's not, as a professional, trying to battle it at all. In fact, I have a feeling he's not even aware of what one would usually coin his "ugly Americanism". His articles are so tendentious and so predictable: London's WTF - ah, bad bad format. Fed Cup - super important, lot's of talk about it (I wonder whether Bodo would spent a single minute discussing it if Russians were playing the Czechs or something like that.....basically if there's a meaningless competition, it often is this one).
Roddick's work ethic...fantastic, on court and off-court. Roddick, a choker? That would never cross Bodo's mind. Querry, Isner..gosh how much these overgrown top-30 players were in the limelights here...when they began playing doubles, Bodo was all about them being the next big something?..well at the end of the season i am not sure their doubles amounted to anything...it just goes on and on and on.
The reason why he's been receiving so much criticism in his comments (but also praise, to be fair) has exactly to do with his one limited way of seeing the world -those who see it the same, love him. But too many, he just is provincial.

Posted by Karly 11/30/2010 at 11:50 PM

It's great that Nadal's parents are friendly with Roger. I wish his coach and he though, would stop laying seeds of "injury" and "fatigue" at every tournament he plays when a meeting with Roger looks imminent due to the Fed's form or surface of the tourney..... Early in the week before Nadal's first match he supposedly "tweaked his ankle" yet he ran like fox vs Murray a few days later. We also heard long before the finale how this surface sooooooooo favored Roger, yet this is a slow hardcourt, this really should have been a very neutral surface for both, Nadal just won the fast hardcourt US Open as we all know. And the ball was bouncing up to Roger's shoulder sunday, not exactly a low bounce. There is an article given to Spanish press on another forum, and translated, the Nadals (coach and nephew) reference "fatigue" and "schedule changes to protect players" and how slanted toward Federer the surface was. That's not exactly class and giving credit where credit is due. We don't see that in the English presser, because some people are quite canny in trying to maintain the image of the "humble, gracious boy-man Spaniard"... Utnil I stop hearing "pre-cuses" for Nadal from his own camp and himself when he enters tournaments where he knows a few other players are a big threat to him winning (mostly Fed) I'm never buying that they are a humble gracious bunch, I consider Toni and Rafa to be quite manipulative with all this stuff, and the American media has bought into it hook line and sinker. It's a headgame to tell Roger and maybe others that 'no you can never beat me when I'm healthy and fresh"... It sucks and it's not good sportsmanship.... Sure, every player is going to have an injury or be tired once in a while, but when things like this are thrown out tournament after tournament, year after year.. well... don't think it's not by design. When Murray said he thought he had little chance to beat Nadal, Nadal countered with something like "well this surface favors him, he's just trying to take the pressure off himself, now the pressure is back on him" well how gamey is that? Murray worships Nadal, he may have been sincere in thinking he couldn't beat him even on a hardcourt, yet Nadal immediately thought "gamesmanship".. maybe that's because he does this mental gamesmanship and projects his own habits on others?

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 11/30/2010 at 11:50 PM

oh man I could cut and paste enough 'tiredness' stories to keep you readin til sunrise ... this is whats so insulting this inference that Fed fans just make this stuff up, as if we have nothing better to do--this isnt nads' fans at fault, but too many high profile writers just have no excuse !

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 11/30/2010 at 11:52 PM

even Alex Corretja made it very clear the match was about Nadal being tired, and going back to the Murray match ... talk about 'low rent'! whats worse talking about being injured or blaming a result on a long match and fatigue?

whats the difference in the end?

Posted by Slice 11/30/2010 at 11:52 PM

and to add to my rant(and that's it for today): and what also makes me sick about Bodo's approach: that all the criticism and bashing he constantly receives here is interpreted by him as "fanatic fans, no one can say the truth cause there's so many fanatics". His contempt for his readership (the critical one) is obvious and he uttered so much in a few interviews and posts as well. Compared to Tignor (who only once took it out on his readers as far as I remember), this has become Bodo's default option.
My suggestion to him: try to focus on the technical aspects of the game...when you do that, you're writing is reasonable. And just don't try to pass out too many value judgments on things that are foreign to you or you know little about and go with your "gut feeling". for it's this gut feeling of yours that a lot of readers here cannot stomach.

Posted by susan 11/30/2010 at 11:56 PM

CL

Keep writing!!!!!

Posted by Michael 11/30/2010 at 11:56 PM

I'd agree with Slice, though your tone could be improved.
And I would not be surprised if your posts got deleted(moderators?); this has been the practice here for quite a while now as far as I can tell.

Posted by Karly 11/30/2010 at 11:59 PM

Tim, if Nadal can't handle playing a competitive three setter after a five week break from tennis, with days off between the matches at the season ending championship, with five year age difference to the opponent he was playing who was on the court five hours later than him, then he's not the athlete we are always told he is. I think Pat McEnroe is one of the few commentators who was skeptical about the big fatigue excuse. He said something similar to what I just said. If anybody should have been burnt out, it probably should have been Fed. He played alot of tennis in the weeks leading up to London, whereas Nadal was resting. He played the later semifinal match, and he's five years older and needs more recovery time than younger guys.. Playing until 10pm at night then doing the obligatory press, physio and everything else a player has to do after a match probably meant Roger didn't hit the sack until 1 am or later,, then had to get up and get ready and play tennis at 5:30 pm the next day... where is his excuse? oh that's right he won the match, and if he lost it, no mention would be made of HIS schedule, I'm sure.

Posted by Simon 12/01/2010 at 12:05 AM

Excuse me, but is this a Federer members club of fanatic fans?
Then let me get out of here, this blog is a mess!

Posted by Ruth 12/01/2010 at 12:06 AM

Yet another article on the final in which the writer didn't make an issue of anybody's tiredness, this time from the AP posted on the ESPN web site:

http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/news/story?id=5859913

And now, goodnight, all!

(Just watched the Murray-Nadal match again on TC. Now, that was a great match -- and Rafa certainly didn't look tired at the end. heh heh)

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 12/01/2010 at 12:08 AM

well karly i think that's the logic a real reporter woudl bring to the match, but so few did! its just they seem to default into this 'nadal the wounded warrior' expose and ignore anything else, when you feel like you could do a more accurate job reporting a big tennis match, well, take to the tennis boards, i guess!

i just find it baffling and yes, McEnroe totally shot it down in flames, but then u have high profile guys like Robbie Konig totally write off the match to 'fatigue' on TV and Twitter .. then people buy this and believe it... bah!

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 12/01/2010 at 12:09 AM

well lets hope enough shame has been heaped on these brainless reporters now that they change their tune a bit, common sense and logic may make them reassess their lazy reporting a bit ...

Posted by CWATC 12/01/2010 at 12:16 AM

Karly,
Do you have a link to the Spanish article you reference?

Posted by Slice 12/01/2010 at 12:21 AM

to andrew:
"The fact that we have a Tribe at all is due to Pete's generosity, and the time put in by the now-departed steggy and some other volunteers. You don't have to agree with or feel you have to praise Pete's opinions, but respect is due."

Your logic is strange: because you were helped/profited/enjoyed Pete's friendship/help/articles or whatever else I need to pay my respect to him? What?
What kind of argument is that? Do you pay respect to other writers (whom you find horribly misguided) just because they helped someone here or there?

I come here as a tennis fan who likes to read quality tennis articles (i.e. I come here for Tignor and for the general quality of comments that, while not all of them, are actually good ...at least compared to some other board discussions). I know Bodo as a writer, I've read him for years now..and I reward him by reading his writing..that's all what a writer can demand and want from a reader. And I will criticize him as much as I want.

I pay respect to him by strongly disagreeing, pointing out why I disagree and taking the time to write all this. That's good enough.
What you're asking us is to see Bodo through your own purview, through your own interactions with him and through your own value judgments.

I don't use ugly and low profanities to criticize Bodo - in this way I am paying respect too. But I will criticize him anytime he writes things that I consider unpalatable. And obviously I am not the only one who' thinking this way.

The problem and beauty with posts like these is that there's nothing (other than deleting this) that you, or Bodo or anybody can do about this. Either you write in a way that appeals to the majority of your readership (and this can be critical as well), or you write critically and in a way that does not appeal to your readership. Bodo does the second, Tignor does the first.

Posted by MJK 12/01/2010 at 12:24 AM

I have to say I love this quote from Fed's presser:

"I don't want to say I gave it to him, but obviously Rafa is good enough off second serves he's going to win at least 50 percent off them usually, unless you're on a roll and he doesn't kind of figure out your second serve"

In other words, I don't want to say I gave it to him, but what I'm really saying is I gave it to him.

Whether it's true or not, Fed seems to believe the match was on his racquet, and I hope he goes into future matches against Nadal with this sort of confidence.

I read Nadal's comments the same way: I don't want to say I was tired, but you all saw the match against Andy, I was clearly tired.

While I'm at it, this is how I read Murray's comments: I'm in love with Rafa. There, I said it.

Posted by Ruth 12/01/2010 at 12:30 AM

One last thing: Those who would like to convince the readers of TW that the entire universe of tennis writers or the large majority of them either stated or implied that Nadal's possible fatigue caused him to lose the WTF final may choose to ignore or be annoyed by the two links that I have presented that refute their attempts to distort reality.(I could but I won't present even more articles.)

Too darn bad!

Posted by Ivo 12/01/2010 at 12:31 AM

to MJK:

Excellent observation! I was not able to put it this way but you're spot on! Basically both Fed and Rafa are saying and not willing to say what you're suggesting:). It's quite funny, of course the value judgment that we make about these quotes is based on where we stand as fans. But I think that you're totally right.

Posted by susan 12/01/2010 at 12:32 AM

insufferable.

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 12/01/2010 at 12:32 AM

MJK, no kidding! Murray's got a severe man crush, don't tell Kim! lol ...

though I have to say, that laughing Fed and Rafa YouTube video has man crush written all over it, in a dorky straight guy kinda mancrush way ... LOL ... Rafa kinda affectionately looks at Fred like he's nuts, and Fred's got this happy guy goofiness and clear affection for Rafa that it's hard to believe really ...

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 12/01/2010 at 12:35 AM

well as I said, I noted that the media is starting to change its tune, re the more upbeat articles posted here by ruth as proof, because I think theyre finally realizing they have egg on their faces when an old man beats a younger rival because of fatigue! ...

Posted by susan 12/01/2010 at 12:41 AM

mjk good laugh before i head off to work.

Posted by Slice 12/01/2010 at 12:43 AM

to Tim:

what country are you from? Could it be something cultural? For I don't see what you're seeing in Rafa and Fed: they are friendly with each other, that's all. There's no doubt in my mind that Rafa and Fed are pretty bad bastards, as macho as it gets when necessary. The fact is that it shows differently....it's a certain maturity amongst men..not having to show off their rough edges all the time.
Not everybody must be McEnroe, Connors, Sampras, Agassi..in the way their interact with each other. I was appalled when Agassi-Sampras went after each other during a stupid exhibition match. Both Rafa and Fed were startled by that too....and yet, no one can say that Rafa neither Fed have less competitive edge to them than the two clowns Agassi and Sampras - and I use the world "clowns" only in the context of the exhibition for their behavior was just immature.

Posted by ladyjulia 12/01/2010 at 12:47 AM

CL...great report! Totally fair..

Ruth,

Why are none of those reports also mentioning that Federer said in his presser that he was totally exhausted?

Also...most crucially, why are none of those reports mentioning that Nadal was asked a question in the presser that "nobody" believed that he was tired/could be tired...and Nadal replied "Everybody watched the match and can form their opinion"?

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 12/01/2010 at 12:47 AM

lol American Slice, what can I say, you might be right, but i think yes, guys might have this overly macho exterior (insecurity driven of course), that I dont see with these two.. i like it for sure, just unusual for sporting heroes .. certainly never saw any US players be so loose and boyish and unguarded

Posted by CWATC 12/01/2010 at 12:49 AM

Ruth,

From your first link:

"Nadal had been hoping to land the only significant title to so far elude him but a three-hour semi-final against Andy Murray on Saturday looked to have taken the edge off his game, and Federer proved the stronger in the closing stages. "

From your second link:

"Nadal, the top-ranked Spaniard who won the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open this year, was able to break Federer once in the second set, but he appeared to tire as the match wore on. On Saturday, Nadal spent more then three hours and three sets beating Andy Murray to reach the final of the tournament for the first time in his career."

Also "I think Federer had the edge in this one . . .I think Murray took alot out of Nadal" is the one reader comment highlighted.

Sorry, but the press tend to follow each other like lemmings, I'm afraid.

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 12/01/2010 at 12:51 AM

lol julia, well, maybe one of those geniuses in the presser could have asked how one match could make the No. 1 in the world so tired, dont they pracitce 3 hours every single day without a hitch, many practice, sets etc?

I think Berdy is right, the umpires and media are scared of Nadal and bow down too quickly ... and whats never mentioned is Fed played the night match, losing all that recovery time with those old Swiss bones!

Posted by ladyjulia 12/01/2010 at 12:54 AM

Ruth,

Neil Harman on twitter said tht Federer needs to raise a glass to Andy Murray for winning the WTF final.

Is that pointed enough for you?

I don't know what Neil Harman actually wrote in his report, because the Times is not free to read.

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 12/01/2010 at 12:54 AM

exactly CWATC... its laziness and following the 'nadal the wounded warrior' storyline as I said before, and unless people cause an uproar over such laziness and frnknly, total inaccuracy, they will keep going ... posting on high visibility tennis boards is one small way to do some 'reporting' of our own and keep them honest ...

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 12/01/2010 at 12:56 AM

julia that was the one that pitched me over the edge, just outrageous, either pandering to the locals at Fed's expense or just plain dead wrong ... a top level journo should never write something so ridiculous...

Posted by CWATC 12/01/2010 at 01:02 AM

This has to be the funniest one tho':

"A third match in three days for Nadal. If you asked a footballer to do that there would be moaning managers galore," says Andrew Castle on BBC 2.

Uhh, all tennis players play matches on consecutive days in tournaments outside of GS's. Unbelievable.

For the record, the Nadal fans on the site have by and large been great.
Last thing I want to do in whine after a happy victory.

And Nadal did seem tired to me. To be honest I'm not quite sure why he was so beat. Fed still had to play excellently to win, which he did :)

Posted by ladyjulia 12/01/2010 at 01:07 AM

CWATC,

""A third match in three days for Nadal. If you asked a footballer to do that there would be moaning managers galore," says Andrew Castle on BBC 2."

Ridiculous...Fed went 3 hrs (QF), 3 hrs (SF) and 5 hrs (F) on three consecutive days and not once did he say before the final that he was exhausted (at least i don't recall it).

Spoilt generation. Laughable.

Posted by ladyjulia 12/01/2010 at 01:16 AM

Ruth,

This is from the BBC just yesterday:

"Remember, in 2009 he failed to win a set at the O2 as his knees creaked beneath him."

I don't remember who defeated Nadal in 2009 at the WTF...but they must have been silly to celebrate. I don't recall Nadal saying his knees were injured at the O2...guy had taken 10 weeks off...comes to play and his knees were "creaking" beneath him.

http://tinyurl.com/37mpplc

Sorry Ruth...but if you want to make the case that some of us Fed KADs hallucinate, go ahead. I may be biased, but I read what I read.

Posted by CWATC 12/01/2010 at 01:22 AM

One last comment:

This was an important final and the last match of the year from both players. A champion is often able to play through fatigue in such a situation given the adrenaline rush of competition.

In the 2004 Toronto tournament, Fed complained of fatigue the whole week after a too-short vacation following Wimby-Gstaad back to back. He played a come-from-behind 3 set semi and then had to face Roddick in the final, who'd he'd just narrowly beaten at Wimby, looked to be in better form, and was thought by many to probably have the edge on hardcourts (lol now but not then). After the match was over, the first thing Fed said at the trophy ceremony was sth like "I'm exhausted." But you never would have known it watching the match.

To me, that was the match which cemented Fed's dominance over Roddick, because the Wimby final had been a bit a squeaker. Altho' Roddick had looked far the better player in the semis, a different Fed showed up at that final.

I feared a bit that Nadal would do that at the WTF, suddenly show up in the zone, shaking off the messiness of his previous matches. Didn't happen.

I do wonder about the future of his "new serve" and whether it will re-appear next season.

Posted by GB 12/01/2010 at 01:23 AM

Again, just wanted to mention amongst all the outrage that there was a similar response by some to Nole's USO fatigue.

Wertheim tweeted that Fed deserved an assist for the USO and wrote this:

"Nadal owes Roger Federer some Omaha steaks or somesuch. Stellar as Nadal was tonight -- and all tournament -- his job was made a bit easier by Djokovic's level of fatigue, the understandable legacy of that five-set masterpiece against Federer. Depending on your viewpoint, it's either weirdly fitting or doubly ironic that Federer gets an assist for this historic Nadal title. In this respect, perhaps we should be thankful for the Sunday rainout. If Djokovic felt as though he had cinderblocks tied to his ankles tonight, imagine how he would have felt on less than 24 hours of rest."

Pete and other journos talked about Nole's tiredness too.

Bruce Jenkins also, said:
"The two all-time greats may not face each other indoors for another five years, but if they do, bet on Federer (not you, Teddy Forstmann) every time. Nadal's at his best with a bit of a breeze at hand, something he can easily overpower, while he literally immerses his body in a patch of red clay. Give Federer an indoor surface, no wind and a bit of motivation, and it's all over."

So, it's kinda hard, for me at least, to maintain the sense that he was saying Fed prevailed cause Rafa was tired.

Posted by zenggi 12/01/2010 at 01:24 AM

Good morning,

CL,
You are a writer!!! And a good one too IMHO. An insightful and accurate description of the final match of one of the most important tournaments of the year. Furthermore it includes an observation from observers and the players' comments afterwards. What more could I ask for?
Maybe Roger's metabolism?

I'm thrilled with this "new feminist age" at TW starting with those excellent articles by Gauloises from Paris/Bercy and London.

CWATC,
Thank you for posting that video. Marat and Roger smashed a few racquets! Part of their legacy and of their youth.

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 12/01/2010 at 01:33 AM

julia we dont hallucinate, we hear voices, according to Sherlock, so keep it straight!

LOL

i mean as far as I know every masters series event requires daily matches, no? what an idiot castle is! and dont footballers have like dozen teammates helpng them along? is this a new concept, tennis players playing one match a day during a tournament????

Posted by ladyjulia 12/01/2010 at 01:33 AM

GB,

Novak played Rafa after a day...if he had played next day, because he finished at night..its understandable after playing five sets, because the final is the afternoon.

Still, Roger has played second semi multiple times and went on to play in the finals. So, its doable but its a distinct disadvantage at USO because each SF is a five setter and the final is next day.

But Novak had a day of rest. End of story.

That said, USO scheduling is awful. Its a GS for heaven's sake. Two five setters on Sat and final on sunday is pure madness.

Don't know what Jon W was trying to get with that point.

Posted by ladyjulia 12/01/2010 at 01:37 AM

Ruth,

I don't know why the British are so fond of the word "creaking" but this is the Guardian:

"On a night as cold as charity, Federer showed a clearly creaking Nadal no favours with an emphatic win in the ATP World Tour Finals."

I have no idea why they didn't carry Nadal off in a stretcher. Do you?

Posted by GB 12/01/2010 at 01:42 AM

test

Posted by GB 12/01/2010 at 01:43 AM

wilson75: thanks for the vid of Rafa's family congratulating Fed

The hand of g-d touching the famooss ass:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoxKNwZ0UXU

Posted by crazyone 12/01/2010 at 01:44 AM

what I don't get is how politely Maradona gets treated in London. I'd think they'd hate him!!!!

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 12/01/2010 at 01:44 AM

they couldnt use a stretcher because his IV drip at courtside couldbt be pulled out! I feel like Tweeting all the Brit journos "Is Nadal still in hospital? hope u signed the sympathy card, or was that your byline?"

Posted by CWATC 12/01/2010 at 01:44 AM

Fair points, GB.

And I have to say I think emphasis on Nole's tiredness at the USO is silly too. If the final had taken place when scheduled, that's a different matter. But since he did get the day off, he should have been OK.

I watched most of the match and while Nole was tired by the 4th, I thought it was Nadal's game that did that to him. The rallies were amazing in that match I didn't notice anything unusual about Novak's movement tho' I'm not close observer of him.

Nadal won because he was clearly the better player, IMO.

For the record, I'm not saying players never lose matches due to fatigue. As a longtime Fed follower, I'll say the loss to Hrbaty in Cincy '04 was clearly fatigue, and the Cincy '06 loss to Murray partially fatigue as Fed was not himself in that match, tho' Murray deserves credit as his game does bother Fed.

Fed was tired in the Montreal final this year, tho' I don't know if he would have won if he wasn't (my guess, based on Shanghai, probably not :))

Posted by GB 12/01/2010 at 01:46 AM

crazyone: I don't remember hearing it on my broadcast, but Neil Harman tweeted that there were loads of boos etc. He himself didn't seem that thrilled to have him at the tennis:)

Posted by ladyjulia 12/01/2010 at 01:57 AM

Ruth,

The main point is if you read it once, its fine.

But its over a period of time, not just this year...its so much that Federer once commented in his presser that

1. just because he dosen't make noises, grunts or sweats too much, it dosen't mean that he is NOT suffering. You can make your own interpretation as to why he said that.

2. he said he plays in pain 80% of the time. He said ALL players do. Everybody has some or the other problem with their bodies most of the time when they take the court. But they play anyway, its their job.

That is why I said, Venus sets the best example. Otherwise, instead of tennis focusing on actual skills, all we will be hearing is how they cannot play because their girlfriend left them, or they got up on the wrong side of bed, or how they stubbed their toe.

Meanwhile Mahut, who played for 11 hrs on three consecutive days and lost, does not even get a wildcard to tournaments. I don't even know how much money he makes...but the top players are millionaires and all they talk about is how their knees, abdomen, back, leg, thigh affects them (this includes Roger and Rafa who are supposed to set examples to the lower ranked players on how to deal with media).

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/01/2010 at 02:02 AM

Morning everyone. :)

Still snowing!

Enjoyed the post, Pete. I was really sad to read Serena was out of Australia. Hopefully she will come back strong as the WTA is just not the same without her play.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 12/01/2010 at 02:21 AM

At 11:59, Karly informs us that Rafa is "not the athlete we are always told he is."

Karly, I believe that you are absolutely correct.

Rafa may have a 3300 or so lead in ATP ranking points over Federer, but Rafa is not the athlete we are always told he is.

Rafa may have won three majors in 2010 while Federer only reached the finals of one major, but Rafa is not the athlete we are always told he is.

Rafa may have won nine majors at a younger age than did Federer, but Rafa is not the athlete we are always told he is.

Rafa may have a 14-8 overall head to head lead over Federer, but Rafa is not the athlete we are always told he is.

Rafa may have a 6-2 head to head lead over Federer when they've met in majors, but Rafa is not the athlete we are always told he is.

Rafa may have won a Olympic Gold Medal in tennis singles, whereas Federer has not, but Rafa is not the athlete we are always told he is.

Rafa may have given Federer one of the worst beatdowns in majors finals history at Roland Garros 2008, where Rafa only allowed Federer four games in three sets, but Rafa is not the athlete we are always told he is.

Karly, thanks for setting the record straight.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 12/01/2010 at 02:52 AM

Thank you, Tic, for the pictures of Rafa. :) I'm beginning to come around to the bobble hats, I must admit.

Posted by MJK 12/01/2010 at 03:04 AM

manuelsantanafan, I haven't been here very long, but you're quite repetitive aren't you? One day you'll have something new to contribute, I just know it.

Posted by A 12/01/2010 at 03:07 AM

MSF @2.21pm,

Interesting countering there. At the risk of being indiscreet, are you a rather young person?

Posted by NP 12/01/2010 at 03:11 AM

"Two five setters on Sat and final on sunday is pure madness."

Yes, Super Saturday is such "pure madness" that the great but somehow less athletic predecessors of today's top players have given us some of the best and most memorable matches of the Open era during this not-quite-48-hour-long marathon.

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