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Two "Characters" in Search of a Semi 11/27/2010 - 9:51 AM

Novak

by Hannah Wilks, TW Contributing Writer

Sometimes you expect much more from a match than it delivers. This has been the case a lot this week, whether because of the weaknesses and flaws inherent in the round robin format or because sometimes it just happens that way. The strength of the ATP is so concentrated in its elite players that even among the top eight, a natural division has quickly emerged between the best and the rest. Three semi-finalists have already been settled, with the fourth to be determined by tonight's clash.

Surely this one won't disappoint. Two players from whom one never knows quite what to expect; Novak Djokovic, an unpredictable firecracker, prone to lapses of concentration and bizarre physical reversals, and Roddick, the workhorse who can be relied upon to give his all, but whose game can run the gamut from almost unbeatable to ineffectual.

Their head-to-head is 5-2 in Roddick's favour, which in theory looks one-sided, but most of those wins have come for the American during Djokovic's prolonged slump. I understand it's strange to use the word to describe the progress of a consistent trophy-lifter who has been, during his 'decline', as high as no. 2 in the world. But since Wimbledon 2008, Djokovic's game has touched for periods on every variant of toothless. His serve has been broken down and rebuilt, he's visibly struggled for confidence. He's often looked like a shadow of the cocky upstart who barged on to a world stage dominated by Federer and Nadal and demanded that they yield the floor.

But all of that has seemed like ancient history since Djokovic's September resurgence in New York, wher he defeated Federer and stretched Nadal in the final of the US Open. Surely this time he can take it to Roddick.

An extra frisson is added by the fact that at times these two don't seem to like each other very much. Whatever latent animosity exist came to the fore following Djokovic's last victory over Roddick at the 2008 US Open, when the Serb's attempts to retaliate against Roddick's mockery saw him booed by the New York crowds. That the spat was public seems inevitable, as both have well-deserved reputations for being entertainers, earned with Djokovic's impersonations and willingness to make fun of himself, Andy Roddick's sardonic wit in press conferences and on chat shows. They're frequently referred to as 'characters', actively seeking to be larger than life.

One thing that doesn't disappoint is Djokovic's entrance. Aware of the fact that the abiding impression he has made this week came when contact lens problems derailed what promised to be a classic encounter with Nadal, he takes the court accessorizing his grave expression with a rakish black eye patch. Solemnly letting the small mascot lead him to his chair, he fits the eyepatch on to her head and sends her on her way. It's possible to read the stunt as a plea for affection, but the twitch of his lips, betraying his own enjoyment, suggests that in the final analysis he did it because he knew he would relish the joke more than anyone. It's a generous piece of slapstick, and the crowd love it. It's hard to imagine Roddick doing the same thing.

There's an odd, tense atmosphere. The crowd are more well-oiled than usual, enthusiastic but ragged, with no consensus favorite. Someone yells out during Djokovic's service motion and is roundly tutted for his pains. On the evidence of the first few games, it's going to be a proper tussle - maybe not in terms of quality of tennis, but it promises to be a prolonged bout of psychological grappling. Roddick pushes from the baseline, mixing up spins and pace, giving the Serb all the rope he needs to hang himself. It works; the rallies end more often than not with an error from Djokovic. Seduced into these circuitous exchanges, Djokovic's aggressive instincts seem to desert him. It's puzzling;  how can Djokovic be out-defended when he's so much better at it? The simple answer is that Roddick seems to bring out the worst in Djokovic.

But Djokovic has come a long way. He rapidly gathers himself and finds purpose and aggression. As soon as he starts hitting forehands moving forward into the court, everything is different. You expect Roddick to hold his ground, but as soon as he meets with resistance, he crumbles, giving up the first service break with a backhand slice that drifts wide. He holds the next game, but cannot find the wherewithal to finish points. At one point, he was obliged to wait for Djokovic's third defensive, desperate lob to get the miss. Roddick gives up the set - and I do mean gives up - with another unforced error long over the baseline, and we plunge deep into the realms of the anti-climactic.

Djokovic has qualified for the semi-finals, and he knows it. All that is left on the line for the American is pride. It seems like that should be enough, but he still cannot capitalise on the momentary lack of attention with which Djokovic starts the second set. In fact, it's the American who is lacking in intensity. The usual audible heavy breathing, the huffing and puffing like a steam engine which seems to get him around the court, is absent. After a failed Hawkeye challenge, Roddick stares at the umpire with obvious displeasure. The crowd cheers, hoping for Roddick to shed his patience and get fired up. But his unbelievably passive play continues. Roddick has had his health issues this year, but this seems almost a trend, and it's worrying. How can such an energetic and forceful person play so timidly?

One could also ask how someone as complex as Djokovic, with all the faults and fissures of his past, can play a game so miraculously smooth? I could watch him hit all night, not that Roddick seems likely to enable it. I've been searching for an image that describes the flight of his groundstrokes, when it comes to me; the limpid parabola of a stone skimmed across water. There's so much talent evident in every stroke. It's exciting to watch, simply because we don't know yet how his week, his year, his career, will turn out.

Roddick, it is plain, has no surprises left. He makes a gallant last stand to hold his final service game, but succumbs on yet another unforced error long over the baseline. He leaves London with no wins, but the crowd cheer him out of the arena with an affection that clearly demonstrates that Roddick is best-liked these days as a plucky loser.

Djokovic stays to chat, joking with the crowd, friendly and adrenaline-drunk. He's twenty-three years old and has proved he has the ability to stay in the mix; he has unnumbered chances left to shape the rest of his story. Roddick's opportunities are growing few and far between; his time in London has already run out.   


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Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 05:19 PM

CfR,

I think its tactics. The Fed cannot play his game against Rafa. I don;t blame him really, what can he do with 150,000 balls to his backhand.

Posted by NP 11/27/2010 at 05:19 PM

Well, IC P is already gone.

Me off, 2.

Posted by CL 11/27/2010 at 05:20 PM

Why on earth should Rafa be more tired than Fed beats hail out of me. Yes, he has had a couple of 3 setters and yes he has spent more time on court, but you can discount half of that due to how slow he plays, how slow he and Novak play when they play each other and Novak's eye exam. Plus, there is the little matter of ***cough, cough*** age. As in Rafa is 4/5/6?? years younger than Fed. Oh, and came into this tournament the most rested. But, whatever.

I'm w/TMFunk, (btw, glad people liked my 'if i keep typing I won't be so nervous' moniker story.) Of COURSE Rafa is the favorite tomorrow. He in the number one player in the world who is enjoying one the best seasons in history. And is playing an opponent over whom he holds a powerful H2J advantage. (I know this because everyone on both sides of the Fedal wars keeps reminding me of it. Just with different 'emphasis.') Plus, and actually way most importantly, his game matches up in the most perfect way possible to Roger's game. He wasn't...but it is as if someone designed a tennis player specifically to take down Roger Federer.

BUT- This court will give a little help to Roger...that killer topspin FH will not jump up QUITE so high to his BH...which really, is what that H2H is 90% about. Roger is playing extremely well right now..he is match tough and seems to have brought his friend TMF with him. I like THAT guy's chances against anyone. Tactics? See Madrid '09. And please, just 'no' to Rafa being tired there too.

Rafa's the favorite to win this tournament...but underdog Fed just might bite.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 05:21 PM

TMFunk

let's see tomorrow, no?

My prediction..Fed will come to the net..and he will passed. All the time.

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/27/2010 at 05:22 PM

zenggi at 4:38pm: "I think that Nole is looking more and more as one of those El Greco paintings."

http://tinyurl.com/36muu26
http://tinyurl.com/35mepwu

Posted by TMFunk 11/27/2010 at 05:22 PM

yup, we shall see. :) Or rather, you shall see, I shall follow ScoreBoard! Grr...

Posted by TMFunk 11/27/2010 at 05:23 PM

ok, I'm off folks. Enjoy the rest of the evening.

Posted by GB 11/27/2010 at 05:23 PM

I have a feeling Fedal might be an anti climax. Kinda reminds me of Madrid 09, where the semi was the awesome match. Might be more extreme awkwardness like Madrid this year, where they both wanted it too much.

Posted by GB 11/27/2010 at 05:24 PM

Poor Fedal with all the hype already. I have a feeling it might be an anti climax. Kinda reminds me of Madrid 09, where the semi was the awesome match. Might be more extreme awkwardness like Madrid this year, where they both wanted it too much.

Posted by CL 11/27/2010 at 05:24 PM

***Big Wave*** to PSPACE!!!!! :-)))

Oh, you missed a corker. Honestly, Muzz played terrific...yes he played some WTF shots...especially that DS.. I recommend an electro-shock collar... but he fought really well and there were times when he was totally dominating Rafa. Just couldn't quite keep it together..but he never gave up. And really was just a point or 2.

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog 11/27/2010 at 05:25 PM

"it is as if someone designed a tennis player specifically to take down Roger Federer."
CL ... there was and is. His name is Toni Nadal.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/27/2010 at 05:25 PM

CL, Rafa is never the favorite he's a boy from a small island with sore knees and who tires easily ... then when he wins, everyone can smack their forehead and say, 'how does he do it??'

Again, I prefer it when the best players step up and assume the top spot, and the responsiblities of winning that go with it .. Rafa's humility has always just been a way to deflect pressure to his opponent, i cant see how anyone can miss that one ..

Fed just stepped up and said I'm No. 1 I should win every match I play, period...

Posted by thebigapple 11/27/2010 at 05:26 PM

Back in day when the West Indies cricket team was dominant because accurate, powerful fast bowling....the cricket establishment (read mainly the british) changed the rules of the game. They restricted the most effective ball(used by the WI mostly) to only one per over and made up some other rules to destroy the WI advantage. (Of course, they could have just waited because the WI would soon implode anway.)

Maybe Fed should lobby to have the game rules changed to restrict high bouncing backhands. But the Swiss really have no powere and are way too polite.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 05:26 PM

TMFunk

I meant he will be passed...all the time.

You can't watch??? That is horrible. Even if the Fed loses, or wins..it will be a close match. And a good one.

CL..let's hope you are right and I am wrong.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 05:28 PM

GB Maybe I should pass you 3 bottles of Vodka for the match ok

I am not worried at all by the way.

Posted by GB 11/27/2010 at 05:28 PM

Maybe it's just me that's not over lensgate then, Tina. That was a sad day for Rafole.

Posted by Mike 11/27/2010 at 05:31 PM

First of all, Rafa had his best year wins and winning % wise in 2005, so it's hard to say he wasn't pretty darn close to what he is now back then.
And up until just 3 years ago, the Fed + Rafa H2H was very close to even ... so the whole 'Rafa has owned Fed for 6 years' is a bit much. Has Rafa run it up the last 3 years? Sure ... but the downside of pushing 30 had to show up sooner or later.

Listen ... we all know Rafa has always been a bad match up for Fed, and the wins have started to trickle onto other surfaces since TMF left the building ... but there's no reason to believe tomorrow won't be a coin toss as long as Fed's 1st serve is clicking. I'll be doing a 'walkabout', for sure. ;)

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 05:31 PM

GB We both posted at the same time look above ok

Posted by CL 11/27/2010 at 05:31 PM

BTW - other than a couple of mistakes, I thought Novak played really well today. some of those baseline to baseline rallies were just extraordinary. Its funny, but there have been a couple of matches over the last year or so where Fed has won a first set over Novak 6/1 or 6/2, but that has almost always been when Novak was playing poorly. This time, I thought he played really well, sans a df and a missed volley, but many of his errors were forced errors resulting from how hard and deep and with great variety Roger was hitting HIS shots.

Posted by Master Ace 11/27/2010 at 05:31 PM

Sunday Order of Play from London:

Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski or Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi vs Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic at 10:30 AM
Rafael Nadal(71-9; 11-4) vs Roger Federer(64-13; 15-6) at 12:30 PM

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 05:31 PM

GB We both posted at the same time look above ok lol!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 05:33 PM

type pad going crazy today

posts arent going through and then they are doubling up

Weird

Posted by sisu 11/27/2010 at 05:33 PM

“lefty forehand to one-handed backhand all day! Make him rally and rally and rally”

No doubt about it, this is what I see too. From where I sit it looks like Rafa is unbeatable - his confidence is sky high and he’s in a winning groove. He’s also 5 years younger, been sitting with his feet up for hours, the world #1 and I imagine he really wants to end his year with a bang. Combine the onerous match-up, Roger having the late match with less than 12 hours turnaround and being 29, his necessary recovery time just won’t be there. The old man needs more time for his old muscles and bones. Hope it can be a good match.

Can’t say I’m sorry Nole lost but I’m sorry for his fans. I love his play and I’m sending out super-duper vibes that he leads his fellow Serbians to a DC trophy!! I really want it for him and his team.

My online guide shows ESPN2 will be carrying the final live at 12.30pm EST/TW time and TTC will show a replay at 3pm EST/TW time.

Posted by Kristy 11/27/2010 at 05:33 PM

CL, I agree Fed has a chance tomorrow -- Rafa didn't look that sharp against Murray, and he even struggled against Roddick. So he seems to be a little bit off, though he also always digs out the win... Tim, I agreed when you said Rafa has an extra gear that Djoker lacks, that most of the other men lack. But Fed has that too, some of the time.

Anyway, I'll be back on the bus tomorrow, but amazingly, Greyhound have installed Wifi so there's a chance I can follow along.

Posted by GB 11/27/2010 at 05:34 PM

LOL AM! Looking like I have to play my drinking schedule around a 4:30 am match.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 05:35 PM

GB Start off slow put some in the coffee and then go to full strength ok lol!

Posted by eclipse22 (rafagirl VAMOS RAFA WINNER OF ALL FOUR GRAND SLAMS) 11/27/2010 at 05:36 PM

goodnight people as i pretend to meditate all night(even in my sleep) in an effort to find my inner-colm!!!

so what time is the mighty FEDAL display at the 02?

Posted by CL 11/27/2010 at 05:36 PM

Why does typebad love us so much that is posts everything twice? Because we are nice?

Crazy-for-Rog - well maybe.. a little bit...But the design plans for Rafa were pretty well under way even before Fed was TMF.

Where's Andrew? How do I know what really happened/what to think unless he is here to tell me?

GB - you may be right. Actually Fed's last victory at the YEC/WTF was pretty straightforward. But that was before Rafa was such a complete player and before Fed was 29. :-)

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 05:36 PM

CL,

At the USO...when Fed was asked about the Fedal matchup...he said that he and Rafa need not play anymore..that we are not going to see anything new with that matchup....

what do you make of that?

Posted by Ruth 11/27/2010 at 05:37 PM

I want to thank all of the Rafa KADS and Roger KADS for listing and explaining in detail all the reasons why neither of these two champions will be able to beat the other tomorrow.

I will now depart and prepare to witness tomorrow a spectacular and history-making event -- a tennis match with NO winner!

See y'all! LOL

Posted by CL 11/27/2010 at 05:38 PM

Lady J - was it before or after he lost to Novak in the semis?

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 05:39 PM

CL,

Before he lost..2nd round or 3 rd round presser.

Posted by CWATC 11/27/2010 at 05:41 PM

I'm with CL.
History shows that Nadal has yet to win a set off Fed at TMC and they've played twice. Yes, this court is slower, but at least it's low-bouncing which should help somewhat (think Hamburg). Problem for Fed is more that Nadal has just had his career year and is a better HC player than he was '06-'07, while Fed has had his worst year in a long time. Still he's been the better player so far this week.
Underdog in with a chance, if he can TAKE his damn opportunities and if Nadal doesn't suddenly decide to zone, which he hasn't done yet this tourney.

Comon' Fed, let's see the return of the king!

Posted by eclipse22 (rafagirl VAMOS RAFA WINNER OF ALL FOUR GRAND SLAMS) 11/27/2010 at 05:43 PM

MASTER ACE
sorry didnt see u had already posted match time tomorrow!

how am i suppose to sleep, that's like 6AMish for me!!! coffee help me!!! i have a hard time going to sleep before 1AM...

Posted by CL 11/27/2010 at 05:43 PM

lady j - Fed being pissy Fed. and trying to mess with the press a bit. also, its sorta true. Except that 'people' even non-KAD people seem to want to see it. Like Sampras/Aggasi - Pete had a major h2h advantage over Andre, but it didn't matter...that was the match that people wanted to see. (Well, at least American people...others may have felt different..;))

Posted by Kwaku 11/27/2010 at 05:43 PM

The way Fed has been playing, he's the clear favorite tomorrow. Looks TMF again. This time even the h2h is in his favor if we consider indoors matches. Masters cup experience and resumé. Rafa showing fitness issues by looking exhausted in a 3-setter. Etc. This is the simple true, Fed is fav.

To quantify, I don't think Rafa has more than 20% probabilities to win tomorrow.

The thing is... he doesn't normally need more than that to beat Fed in important finals :-P

Posted by Queeny 11/27/2010 at 05:43 PM

Well done Roger.WOW! WOW! WOW!!!

Should be a good match tomorrow :))

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog 11/27/2010 at 05:44 PM

And the world no. 1 has, predictably, set himself up as the underdog for tomorrow's final.
"Seriously I was a little bit tired in the second set," he said. "I don't know what going to happen tomorrow, how I'm going to feel. You can imagine, right now, I am very tired."

Watch him run like a rabbit tomorrow and retrieve ball after ball. Nobody deflects pressure better than the current number one !

Posted by Master Ace 11/27/2010 at 05:45 PM

Sunday Order of Play from London:

Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi vs Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic at 10:30 AM
Rafael Nadal(71-9; 11-4) vs Roger Federer(64-13; 15-6) at 12:30 PM

Posted by CL 11/27/2010 at 05:46 PM

Kwaku - well played!

Quick - someone send chicken soup, laced with vitamins up to Rafa STAT! And would that same someone kindly banish the twins to another bedroom so creaky old Fed can get his uninterrupted 8 hours.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny server Rafa fan 11/27/2010 at 05:46 PM

Woo HOOOOO~~~~!!! I see that Fedal has happened!!!!! My furious work has been all worth it, after all! Oh yeah. Now history on the line. Will it be Fed becoming only the third man to win 5 times or Rafa winning becoming only, eh.... 18th man? to win it 1 time... Oy, it's something! Fed totally cruised in 80 minutes, so he can't complain about his schedule. He is playing too good to bother about it anyway. So bookies are furiously betting on Fed for their easy money.

Posted by eclipse22 (rafagirl VAMOS RAFA WINNER OF ALL FOUR GRAND SLAMS) 11/27/2010 at 05:47 PM

CL
i hated that H2H as an andre fan it was heartbreaking been on the loosing team time after time, even though he did win a few!
so u can imagine the relief now that i'm a rafa fan! sure fed beats him here and now but more often that not rafa prevails, let's hope that's the case tomorrow!!!!

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog 11/27/2010 at 05:47 PM

Murray had a lot of praise for Nadal, following his match today ..
--------------
"I just love playing against him," said Murray, who served 22 aces and hit more winners than his opponent. "For me, as a sportsman, I don't know if there's been many better than him ever in terms of the way he conducts himself.

"His whole team that he works with is incredibly nice. I have a lot of respect for him. When I play against him, I really, really enjoy it."
---------------

A dig against Roger Federer, who, in Murray's eyes, is a poor sportsman?

Posted by CL 11/27/2010 at 05:48 PM

Crazy-for-Rog - well, it works for him, no? And always stay with what works. Another couple of years and he'll be actually able to claim old age for being tired. ;-)

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/27/2010 at 05:48 PM

so why dont the media jump on Nads and point out he's being 'low rent'??

youre a pro athlete, of course youre tired! can you imagine if Lance Arsmtstrong said that kind of stuff during the tour de France?

Nadal is really a piece of work, its all just mind games with him, i just dont respect that attitude at all ... he had 5 weeks off for pete sake!

Posted by wilson75 11/27/2010 at 05:48 PM

I'm very happy that we will have a Rafa-Fed final. The best way to end the season. I would love Roger to win but Rafa is the favourite and will win. Rafa is a bad match-up for Roger.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/27/2010 at 05:50 PM

well Andy, is you wanna win a Slam before youre retired, you better figure out how to be a little less happy for losing a match like that and enjoy it a little less and win a little more ...

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 05:50 PM

CL,

True..people do want to see it..but i interpreted it as that we are not going to see a different outcome or different tactics being played.

Posted by CL 11/27/2010 at 05:50 PM

Crazy-for-Rog - maybe its a dig at PA? Hmmmmm....

But really Andy...time to stop, um, brown nosing the guy who keeps beating you in the big moments. Not becoming. Try a little 'Federesque' denial...say you are still 'gathering information.'

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny server Rafa fan 11/27/2010 at 05:52 PM

What is all this bad match up crap? Sure if Fed stays all the time in the back and takes it in the backside like a wuss, then yeah, maybe. But he will furiously rush to the net beyond his mighty serves and against puny serves. He has not even pushed that much for even a set during this tourney! All that goes out of window just like that because Rafa's forehand that won't even bounce that high due to low bouncing indoor hard court?? Oy now I am confused.

Posted by eclipse22 (rafagirl VAMOS RAFA WINNER OF ALL FOUR GRAND SLAMS) 11/27/2010 at 05:53 PM

TIM
don't u think that just like in 2008 ,general fatigue after a crazy season is setting in? he's only human u know!!
as far as i'm concerned i'm mighty euphoric said fatigue waited after Us Open to settle in, after years of cramping our style after the summer!

Posted by CL 11/27/2010 at 05:53 PM

Lady J - different outcome from what? Madrid 09 or 10? YEC matches? I mean, we all do take the point that Rafa is the favorite, but its not as if Fed has NEVER won against him. I understand girded realism, but total pessimism? Gee...

Posted by GB 11/27/2010 at 05:55 PM

Crazy-for-Rog: can't Muzz just like Rafa without it having to mean anything about Fed?

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 05:57 PM

CL..different outcome in stats i guess. I mean ofcourse, Fed has chances tomorrow..I will accept that, but what I am trying to say is he isn't going to win if he keeps playing the way he's played for the past six years. Neither is he going to win if he comes to the net, because he will just get passed.

I am just saying tactics wise, there isn't much the Fed can do. Unless Annacone has something new up the sleeve.

But I admit that Fed will have chances...

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/27/2010 at 05:57 PM

Neil harman is ridiculous!!!! can you EVER imagine him Tweeting if Federer had a 3 setter, that "he hopes Federer isnt too tired for tomorrow" -- he just did that for Nadal, havent they LEARNED their lesson by now? honestly uncle toni must be slippin these guys some bonuses for this stuff...

why do these media idiots treat Nadal like he's 12 years old, and not a professional athlete of the highest order?

I just will NEVER understand this

Posted by Master Ace 11/27/2010 at 05:57 PM

Guess all reporters, other than Slams, will be covering the final tomorrow like ants on top of each other. Also, some of those same reporters will have their article on one or the other that the tennis world has not heard of.

Posted by CL 11/27/2010 at 05:59 PM

Completely off topic, but this must be the most 'Doh' headline of the decade. Possibly ever:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101127/ap_on_re_us/us_nelson_marijuana

I think I have to go off to RF.com to find a little wildly unrealistic optimism to balance all this pessimism.

(Maybe Andrew is writing the Racket Reaction?)

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog 11/27/2010 at 05:59 PM

Sure, GB. Muzz liking Rafa has nothing to do with Fed. However, I think there's been some pointed comments he's made to the press about Federer not giving him enough credit and being a sore loser. And then he praises Rafa alluding to the way he "conducts himself better than anybody else ever to have played the game". I think there's a point he's making without being obvious. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Posted by imjimmy 11/27/2010 at 05:59 PM

Murray with some glowing words -

""I don’t think there is a better sportsman than Rafa in the way he conducts himself, I’ve had many great matches against him and I’ve been able to win some. Hopefully I’ll get to play him more because these sort of matches are the reason I play tennis. ""

Posted by CL 11/27/2010 at 06:00 PM

Lady Julia - this Madrid 09/Zen Fed.

really off for a bit.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/27/2010 at 06:00 PM

eclipse, funnny how after all of Fed's amazing long seasons, fatigue was never mentioned at the TEC with him ... its just a knee jerk reaction to any Rafa match, he's tired, he's hurt, blah balh, seems like neither he nor a lot of his fans can escape the excuse laden pre match stress buster ...

give me 'arrogant' Federer anyday than phoney excuse filled Nadal .. saying youre tired is just SO utterly lame, he's had 5 weeks off, he had a day off between matches ALL week, i mean, tired?

then if he wins he's a Super Hero! i thought he was No. 1 and is supposed to win, call me crazy I cant keep up with all this reverse psychology games he plays

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/27/2010 at 06:02 PM

keep going Murray you'll lose a lot more matches lol!

he hates playing Fed because Fed can make him look like an idiot, Rafa lets him play, and its this whole different match up ...

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 06:03 PM

What Andy says about Rafa is not really a dig on Fed. Andy never said Fed was a sore loser..that was the British press, not the Muzz.

Surely the Muzz can say nice things about Rafa without it having to do anything with the Fed. Players are entitled to their own opinions and are free to express it. Obviously, Berdych does not have such a flattering opinion of the same player. Different people appeal to different players.

Posted by Nam1 11/27/2010 at 06:03 PM

if you take out the 10 times Rafa has beaten Fed on clay, then Fed is 7-4 against Rafa on courts other than clay..... that and Rafa being tired, yes, TIRED, (its not an excuse, its just a fact after playing for 3 hours and 11 minutes today) gives Fed the edge. Plus Fed is playing like a dream.

I think Roger will win in 2 straight sets tomorrow. I dont mind, thriiled for Rafa that he even made this final when he did so badly last year. I think he can go home after playing a good match tomorrow and feel really good about his year.

Posted by Mike 11/27/2010 at 06:04 PM

Well, it's set up to work for Rafa whether he wins or loses ... if he loses, he had a tough match against MAndy and his tank is empty ... while Fed more or less cruised. If Rafa wins, he would have overcome the aforementioned adversity to win another tournament he's never won before.

Of course, if Fed wins ... he gets to say he beat a 100% injury free Rafa in his prime ... at 29 years of age. If he loses ... just further proof he now lacks the 'Wilanders' to take out Rafa in an important final. ;)

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog 11/27/2010 at 06:04 PM

H2H over the last 3 years (since '08) ... 6-1 in favor of Nadal, including 1 grass court (wimby '08 F) and 1 hard court (AO '09 F). Fed's lone win came in Madrid '09 on clay, when Rafa was .. er... tired.

Anybody who looks at that record and calls Federer the favorite in tomorrow's match, is either full of baloney or has memory issues.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 06:04 PM

Tim,

The Muzz has said in the past that he likes playing Roger too. And he would..what with a positive H2H.

Posted by Vie 11/27/2010 at 06:04 PM

Well, hope this will be a good meeting between Rafa and Fed! Rafa has adjusted to the court, Roger is playing his best tennis. Considering their form, I'll probably put money on the Fed. I hope we all enjoy the match and the rivalry and stop the squabbles for this one match.

Posted by GB 11/27/2010 at 06:05 PM

Muzz and Rafa like each other, but it's not like Muzz doesn't fight like hell FTW. It's Rafa that he beats in slams, no?

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny server Rafa fan 11/27/2010 at 06:06 PM

Nam1, that's stupid. If you're justgoing to take out 10 clay losses, you have to take out Fed's two wins as well. So Fed is 5-4 against Rafa. Looks pretty good to me.

Posted by GB 11/27/2010 at 06:07 PM

Nam1: if you're gonna take out Rafa's 10 clay wins, you'll have to take out Fed's 2 as well:)

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog 11/27/2010 at 06:07 PM

Nam - and all 7 wins were between '05 and '07. None within the last 3 years ! You're overlooking that tiny detail !

Posted by Game Lover 11/27/2010 at 06:07 PM

I loved Rafa-Murray for the quality of it, even with Rafa's letdowns..

But then I went and played my own tennis (like Pspace...Hey you in San Francisco? Next time I visit maybe we can play?) and missed Roger-Nole; was Nole really drained of energies or what?

Was good old Rog in great shape?

When was the last time a Fedal happened guys?

I can hardly wait!

Cheers!

Posted by Genuine Realist 11/27/2010 at 06:08 PM

Is the final best of 3 or best of 5?

Posted by eclipse22 (rafagirl VAMOS RAFA WINNER OF ALL FOUR GRAND SLAMS) 11/27/2010 at 06:08 PM

CL lol
i'm aiming for realistic pessimism!!!!
i feel fed has slight edge he's hardly lifted a finger all week!! how can he not be the fav on a surface that favors him, everyone agrees he's been the best player this week, it all looks peachy from fedland shore view!!!
he can't possibly be more uptight about the match-up than rafa?

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/27/2010 at 06:09 PM

Mike its always the same, Im just amazed that reporters who are paid to kind of manage these storylines just feed right into it...i have never ever heard Federer say before a match he would be tired, or the media give him an excuse, he's been treated like Superman and he's expected to play like him--every match ...

Rafa got to play the first semi, for pete sake... i mean he's a serious whiner

Posted by Nam1 11/27/2010 at 06:09 PM

Moonpie Tim

We have heard all about disingenious, lying, cheating Rafa before, please find another angle to abuse him.

Posted by thebigapple 11/27/2010 at 06:10 PM

Of course Muzzz prefers Rafa.

Fed makes him look like a child at majors. While he looks quite manly when he plays Rafa in big matches. This is also what happened in this tourney. Despite RogMizz head to head, Muzz has had some shameful bombs against Fed. Against Rafa, he at least can look the press in the eye.

Whom would you prefer?

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 06:10 PM

GR,

final is best of 3.

GameLover, Nole was fine..he played well except for few games here and there..but no ideas really..he needs something extra to beat the Fed..and the Fed was on fire today..and just playing well wasn't going to be enough for Nole.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/27/2010 at 06:10 PM

with that, im going to enjoy a GE and dinner and enjoy Fred Fed playing at such a delightful level, today is good enough for now ... he's exceeded expectations this fall from my end and it would be a thrill if he can serve big and get through tomorrow...

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 06:11 PM

tba,

surely the Muzz can like Rafa..they are the same age..Fed is a senior citizen on the tour now...his saying nice things about Rafa has nothing to do with Fed or the shellshacking he got in major finals at the hands of Fed.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny server Rafa fan 11/27/2010 at 06:12 PM

Rafa says

“Seriously I was a little bit tired in the second set,” he said. “I don’t know what going to happen tomorrow, how I’m going to feel. You can imagine, right now, I am very tired.”

well if you stop picking up his shorts, you could have less tired by now! Just imagine all those calories saved by NOT picking up for 3 hours! The same goes serving all those puny serves that come back in play. This kid has to play all the points on his serves. He's got only himself to blame if he is tired by deserting his US open flat serves.

Posted by Genuine Realist 11/27/2010 at 06:12 PM

Thanks.

Fed seems to me more focused than any time in recent memory. Coaching helps.

Rafa is on a real roll.

Obviously, the serve deserting either guy makes it easy.

Other than that, we shall see.

Posted by Nam1 11/27/2010 at 06:13 PM

"I'm aiming for realistic pessimism" +1000

helps with the pain if he loses!!

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 06:13 PM

he he...Fed on Rafa:

piersnewbery:

"He's been done a few hours, he might be tucked up in bed already while I'm still doing my press conference."

Wonder who tucks Rafa in bed..

Posted by thebigapple 11/27/2010 at 06:15 PM

Maybe LadyJ. Muzz is free to like whomever he wishes.

You know Andy has the talent to win a major. He really show get one..soon.

Posted by GB 11/27/2010 at 06:16 PM

At least in slams you get a day off to saviour the unlikely wins. I'd like to be thinking about RafAndy instead of frazzling about Fedal

Posted by L.Rubin 11/27/2010 at 06:16 PM


"well Andy, is you wanna win a Slam before youre retired, you better figure out how to be a little less happy for losing a match like that and enjoy it a little less and win a little more ... "


Losing your grip on the English language, Tim?

I note in passing that Murray looked devastated after his loss.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny server Rafa fan 11/27/2010 at 06:16 PM

For tomorrow's macth, we can minimize the overall head to head and focus on indoor head to head history. 2-0. 2-0? yes. 2-0. I'm sorry what was that? 2-0. okay?

Posted by Mike 11/27/2010 at 06:16 PM

Yeah, Tim ... I hope Mirka can keep the twins quiet tonight. Ol Man Fed will need all the rest he can get. LOL

Posted by Game Lover 11/27/2010 at 06:19 PM

Thank you LadyJulia!

I still expect Roger's 1H BH to crack under pressure tomorrow, even with the lower bounce, but we'll see :)

Posted by GB 11/27/2010 at 06:19 PM

i have never ever heard Federer say before a match he would be tired"
Oh please, Tim. Fed talks about being tired. Didn't he just recently say he lost the USO semi cause he was worried about backing up the next day?

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 06:20 PM

old man Fed,

The planet has undergone changes since 2007. You know, completed a few revolutions around the sun..even on the planetary scale, a LOT of time has passed.

That way, should we take Hbarty's record seriously? Considering it was years ago? Heck, he has a positive H2H against both Roger and Rafa.

Posted by thebigapple 11/27/2010 at 06:24 PM

GB...there is quite a joke there. Fed was worried about being tired for a match he would not be playing. Silly fellow. Getting ahead of himself...

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny server Rafa fan 11/27/2010 at 06:24 PM

ladyjulia, what are you saying? I thought you are a Fed fan? Why denying Fed's obvious advantage in history?

Posted by L.Rubin 11/27/2010 at 06:26 PM

Fed-Al, Fed-Al, Fed-Al!

Fight, fight, fight . . .

Oh, how I missed this!

Posted by x-fan 11/27/2010 at 06:27 PM

Back and smiling while I read the posts...

Ruth,
I don't think you're still around but just for the record, I'm a Fed fan who actually thinks Roger is going to win so not all of us fans are deflecting the pressure the other guy's way :)

Andy and Rafa do seem to have a nice bromance going! haha...

Posted by L.Rubin 11/27/2010 at 06:28 PM

Old man Fed,

What is "Fed's obvious advantage in history?"

--Liron

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 06:30 PM

old man Fed,

The only advantage Fed has is that he is not afraid to face Rafa.

Despite having lost 14 times, having lost 6 GS, having lost the chance for calendar slam twice to the same guy. Having lost the chance for a sixth wimby title to the same guy.

That's the biggest advantage i see. He could have hung up his rackets last year, sat down in an arm chair and be content. Who wants to face the guy who has stolen and blocked your way every time? A guy who is 5 yrs younger, and in his peak. A guy who holds a tactical advantage over you?

The Fed is 29, and still willing to face his nemesis. That's the biggest advantage...what he is.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 06:32 PM

old man Fed,

The 2-0 is an irrelevant stat.

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