Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor - The Rally: Those Guys Again
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The Rally: Those Guys Again 11/19/2010 - 9:24 AM

 

 

The Rally returns, only two days later than scheduled. This time fellow tennis writer Kamakshi Tandon and I will talk about a familiar, but seemingly inexhaustible, topic: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

***

Kamakshi,

I know you wanted something lively for our non-playing-week rally post, but are you sure you want to step into the middle of the Federer-Nadal fan wars? It is a fascinating topic, not so much because of the players themselves or even the arguments of their fans, but what it shows about our perceptions—though I'm not exactly sure what that is at the moment. So let me start with some questions.

First, is the fan rivalry more intense with these two than with past players, or is it just that the Internet has made it more obvious? I don’t remember an iron divide between Agassi and Sampras fans, but the Graf-Seles wars still rage online 20 years after they had their best matches on court.

Second, is there something about tennis itself that discourages bipartisanship? It’s the rare sport that gives you a chance to see two individuals meeting each other face to face. Maybe more important, it’s a sport that offers fans, especially on TV, easy scrutiny of a player’s every move, gesture, grunt, word, snarl, hair flick. We judge tennis players on how they walk, celebrate, fight through adversity, and call for the towel as much as we do the way they hit the ball. A lot goes into being a tennis fan. Unlike team sports, your favorite isn’t chosen for you, by the city where you happen to live. That makes the relationship an intense one, always in need of justification to the people who don't agree with you. I don't need to justify the character of any of the Philadelphia Eagles (except, well, bad example...)

Maybe, like the U.S. Congress, it’s evidence that we’re not wired for bipartisanship in the first place. As different as Nadal and Federer are in some ways, they’re alike in a lot of others, and they seem to get along well, as you can see from above. Yet on this blog and Pete’s blog, the idea of being a fan of both of them equally seems a little weird—or maybe just boring. When Tennisworld started, and to a lesser extent, when my blog started, both in 2005, most of the comments addressed the game as a whole rather than the merits of one player over another. But that slowly changed and people settled into different camps, which is the dynamic that drives much of the commentary now.

It may be inevitable that, as objective as we try to be, we’ll choose favorites for reasons beyond our comprehension, and all of our perceptions will be colored by that fundamental preference. What I’ve wondered is whether being a fan of one player makes those perceptions more or less reliable. From my own experience, I’ve begun to think that it’s the fan who sees his or her beloved tennis player in the truest light.

So my final question: What do you think of that?

Steve


***

Steve,

The answer is that Federer is the greatest of all time. Except that Nadal is greater. But Federer is the greaterest. No, Nadal is the greaterestish of all. No, Federer; no, Nadal; no...

And this is the problem. In general, being a fan of a player is a basic and vital part of pro tennis. It’s how most people are first drawn to the game, and it’s by watching their player that they get to know other pros and the intricacies of play well enough to develop an attachment to the sport itself.

Rivalries, too, are integral to tennis. Rooting interests play a big role in making a match emotionally relevant. But rivalries also invite polarization. Federer and Nadal are certainly good enough and different enough to make for a compelling rivalry—despite comparable demographics and values, they symbolize very different things.

Almost everyone agrees that Federer vs. Nadal is a great spectacle that elevates the sport to its highest level. The challenge is that it can also produce a level of intensity and polarization that threatens to suck everything else into its orbit.

I don’t object to what people want to discuss, of course, except to the extent that it becomes impossible to talk about anything without it turning into a pitched battle between Federites and Nadalians. Looks like Murray’s hitting his forehand better these days, doesn’t it? Oh yeah? It’s not as good as Federer's! Federer hah—Nadal's forehand is way better. No, Federer. No, Nadal..

Where were we? Oh yes. It’s a bit like the Cold War, a bipolar world where you’re either with us or with them, where neutrality only means you’re a spy for the other side, and where everything is defined in relation to that bigger conflict.

Or, as you said, a bit like American politics these days. It seems bipartisanship breaks down when there’s a perception of threat (or perhaps more accurately here, a threat to our perceptions), and Federer and Nadal are not only a threat to each other on court, but to each other’s claims as GOAT.

The Internet does plays a huge role in the level of intensity, because it’s made fans an independent entity for the first time, given them a voice. I’m sure people thought the same things before that they do now, it’s just that we didn’t know what we were all thinking and couldn’t talk to each other about it. Federer-Nadal is the first big epoch since the participatory Internet (blogs, message boards, social media) became fully mainstream.

So yes, it’s fair to say it’s an amplified version of a phenomenon that has probably always existed. In my subjective experience, the topics that shattered the peace and tranquility of the tennis community on the Internet in the late 1990s were:

 —Graf and Seles and the stabbing
 —the Williams sisters and race
 —Sampras' Grand Slam record chase and its meaning (this is incidentally
when we get the origins of the word GOAT)

For whatever reason, some players also seem to attract more militant supporters. I know this is probably asking for a storm in the comments (don’t take it too seriously), but here are the players I’d loosely say have the most reactionary fans:

 1. Venus and Serena Williams
 2. Roger Federer
 3. Monica Seles
 4. Rafael Nadal
 5. Stefan Edberg (though they’re always polite)

So two questions for you: One, what’s the good and bad in these wars? You made an interesting comment about fans seeing their beloved player in the truest light—what does that involve? Second, are you brave or foolish enough to make some general characterizations about Federer fans versus Nadal fans? We’ve all become familiar with the the on-court battle. What's the dynamic of the proxy battle?

Kamakshi



***

Kamakshi,

It’s true, sometimes I feel like I should begin every piece here with a warning: “This Post is Not About Roger Federer.” When I was at a Davis Cup tie a few years ago, I wrote a few pieces praising the winners, the U.S., and talking about Andy Roddick’s dedication to the cause. I noticed a few of Federer's loyalists in the comments talking about how easy it was for the U.S. to win, that it must be nice to have a great doubles team to rely on, that Roddick wouldn’t care about Davis Cup if he could win Wimbledon. The point being, that by praising Roddick for his dedication I was somehow implying a criticism of Federer, who skipped Switzerland’s first-round tie that year.

And you’re right, there are upsides and downsides to this war (I can’t bring myself to write Fedal, and definitely not TMF). When the discussion gets going, you can almost hear an “Oh God, here we go again” cry go up. But at the same time, it’s become so central that talking about anything else starts to seem drab and beside the point, and you can sort of feel people wishing that someone would come in with a vicious attack on either Federer or Nadal to get it started again—or maybe that’s just me. Either way, the stakes suddenly become much lower when you write or talk about anything else. As you said, Federer-Nadal is a vortex, and it even sucks other players into its orbit, like pawns in a greater game. Robin Soderling became a pet of Federer’s fans, and persona non grata among Nadal’s, after he beat Nadal at the French and thanked Federer for giving him “a lesson” in the final. Then, of course, he reversed those results the next year, so I’m not sure exactly where he stands. Maybe the Sod has broken free of the vortex and matters on his own now.

When I talk about a player’s fans seeing him in the truest light, I guess I’m saying that they’re close enough to see him the way a parent sees a child—no one has spent as much time, say, watching Federer’s mannerisms and game as his most ardent fans. Just as important, no one has spent as much time feeling his emotions with him—when you root for someone, you understand that player’s point of view; some of what they’re feeling seeps into you (it’s a strange relationship, isn’t it?). I’ve written about this before, but during this year’s Australian Open, I found myself rooting for Federer, and I noticed things about him that I’d never noticed. I could tell when he was nervous much more easily. I’ve also found myself rooting for Nadal in the past, and his fans typically say I “understand” him. I guess it depends whether you think a parent sees a “truer” version of their kid than anyone else. Maybe not, maybe they overlook or forgive obvious deficiencies. But fans do have insights into their favorites that other close observers don’t. Of course, they also say things like, “I love how Roger’s sweat stains are always heart-shaped.” 

Stefan Edberg had intense fans? I had no idea. I guess the gentlemanly types get that? Or was it just his hair? I was more of a Wilander guy myself. We can understand sympathy for Monica and the polarizing effect of the Williamses. In my experience, Federer’s fans are touchier than Nadal’s, maybe because he has been so dominant for so long that he seems to have elevated himself above all criticism—why nitpick the greatest tennis player ever when you should just be appreciating him? Or maybe there’s that gentlemanly aspect of his character as well, which get people to be protective of him. Federer makes his superiority look like the natural order of things. Nadal’s fans seem fanclub-ish or cultish, like they’ve known all along about this goofy but great kid that the world is just beginning to appreciate. That might change if he stays No. 1 for three or four years. I wrote something recently about how Nadal had had a good fall, but that he still needed to be at his best to win on hard courts; anything less and he would struggle. Someone commented, “Why is there always a ‘but’ when it comes to Rafa, why can’t you just say he's had an incredible year?” Greatness brings defensiveness. There’s more to defend.

What does each group dislike about the other player? Federer fans seem to think Nadal is falsely modest; Nadal fans think Federer is pompous. I'd say that each player has a different idea of what constitutes a genuine answer to a reporter's question. Federer believes in the truth as it applies to him, as he lives it—I''ve been the best for so long, the proof is in the results, so why should I pretend otherwise? Nadal is more philosophical, his truth more general. He's a tennis player, and tennis players lose, so it's natural for him to lose. The fact that they have these different ways of looking at the world makes their rivalry deeper and more interesting, and it makes their fans that much more exasperated when the other side can't see where their guy is coming from.

Overall, the whole thing is a positive, and I've been happy to learn on this site what tennis players can mean to people. I’ll finish by citing two commenters whom we’ve met, and who sit on opposite sides of this fence. Andrew Burton is a Federer fan—but not a bodyguard—who is always excited to see what Roger will do next and how he’ll play, no matter how seemingly insignificant the event. Seeing that type of passion from Andrew and others has made the tour more exciting to me, less routine; it’s easier to get into a tournament like Stockholm or Basel when you know that people get so much pleasure out of seeing what Roger Federer is up to, whether it’s his game or his hair or his shirt or his kids or the pattern of his sweat stains (sorry to bring that back up). That makes the whole sport more fun.

AmyLu is in the Nadal camp. A comment she posted a few years ago during the Australian Open stuck with me. Rafa made his debut for that season Down Under; he hadn’t played, or been shown playing, in at least a month. ESPN showed him walk on court and lift his hand quickly to the crowd the way he does. Then they cut to a commercial. AmyLu said something like: ‘I just got my first glimpse of Rafa of the year. Now all is well with the world and I can go back to studying.’ It’s worth the wars to know that a tennis player can make someone feel that way.

Steve

***


Steve,

Good points all. I agree with the general characterization of Federer fans and Nadal fans—the overall impression, though obviously there’s a lot of difference between individuals.
 
I think part of the touchiness is succumbing to the temptation to believe Federer is actually perfect, because he actually gets darn close to how a lot of people would indeed draw the perfect No. 1. Secondly, he climbed the mountain first, and now Nadal is at the gates, as it were. The established order must be defended.
 
Nadal is the challenger, and his energy and modern flair promise new and exciting things that it’s inviting to be a part of. Yet Nadal’s wins have often been in the context of Federer’s defeats, and sometimes the latter has taken prominence (Australia being a prime example). So there must be loud advocacy to make sure Rafa gets his due.
 
It’s natural, but it’s just a stage of fandom. You won’t feel about the next player the way you do about Federer or Nadal, probably. These two have attracted a lot of new and lapsed fans who are in the first flush of their enthusiasm. It’s great, but they don’t always realize that not everyone is in the same stage they are. Hence the “you're a Federer/Nadal hater” or “you’re a Federer/Nadal apologist” reactions (often to the same thing!) to what are, from the writer’s perspective, quite dispassionate comments.

Thinking about it, you’re right that we have a more ‘authentic’ perspective on a player when rooting for him (after all, people generally give themselves the benefit of the doubt). But paradoxically, it only increases the difference between perspectives. Pete’s post earlier this week contrasting a Federer-centered and Nadal-centered view of the London draw captured this quite amusingly. (Our goal for the next series should be to come up with a topic he doesn't write about the same week. ☺)

The flip side, as you say, is that it’s nice to see such delight taken in the whole tennis experience—identifying with a player, being captivated by the contests and getting to know the whole culture and vibe of the game. Hopefully what’ll last is the culture Federer and Nadal have united to create, and not what divides their followers.
 
Meanwhile, spare a thought for the tournament director of the Paris indoors, who spearheaded the faster courts at the event this year: “Before, we were accused with a slower surface of choosing it because of Nadal and now we are accused with the faster surface to do a favor to Roger.”

Kamakshi
 


 
172
Comments
 
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Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/20/2010 at 11:39 AM

and anyone who says pointing out Nadal's incredibly lopsided records on clay vs. other surfaces is 'riciulous' well, that says it all ... facts are facts, clay dominates his record and it's just on the page, fact, what's the big deal?

Posted by jewell - back to the grind. Gah! 11/20/2010 at 12:10 PM

Tim - I don't think saying that Rafa's stats are skewed towards clay is that big a deal. (although I would note that Rafa's also had a decent-ish record on grass for a few years now, & also been relatively consistent on HCs for the past couple of years. Although strangely I feel like he's had more WTF losses on them this year than last.)

It's the one step further - you know, the implication that you're not a real tennis player if you're a clay-court specialist - that tends to rub people up the wrong way. Not that you're not entirely entitled to think that. :)

Perhaps also any hint of an insistence that other people should see it like that, or that it is the only right way to look at it, can cause a fan reaction too. and that applies to many things and posts. :)

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/20/2010 at 12:15 PM

not at all jewell but i think my point is a good one re the GOAT --

would ANYONE call Rafa the GOAT on a hardcourt, grasscourt or indoors? then how can he be the GOAT overall? tennis writers don't think about these things and it bugs me, in case you didnt notice!

but Rafa's career is 67 percent victories on clay, and you cant get around that fact, like it or not ... subsequent reactions for good or not are out of my hands, these are just sides of the story that are not told often enough in the media, and theyre so obvious!

but good points all jewell, and done without rudeness or name calling, very good! :)

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/20/2010 at 12:27 PM

again as i read these posts, Nadal fans are in love with Rafa, his personality, competitiveness, body language, etc. etc., Federer fans far and wide are in love with his tennis, racquet work and sure, classy, elegant demeanor doeesn't hurt, but it's his magic with a racquet that counts ...

it's the difference between the two, and to me, it's a big one ... to me, Rafa could be a futbol/soccer player, or play another sport, and it woudlnt affect at all WHY his fans love him, the fact he has a racquet in his hands is almost irrelevant to his appeal... THAT is the difference...

Posted by jewell - back to the grind. Gah! 11/20/2010 at 12:30 PM

Gold star for me. :)

I probably agree with you that the media and some commentators can be too quick to crown people as GOAT and to get over-enthusiastic about recent achievements. I imagine that happened with Roger on a few occasions earlier in his career too.

But I thought most of them were probably saying that Rafa had the potential to be skipping about in the top field with Borg-Laver-Sampras-Roger and others from the pre-Open era, not that he was the greatest ever right now.

Posted by mytennis 11/20/2010 at 12:41 PM

Most difficult court to play tennis is clay.It requires not only talent,but also athleticism,stamina and intelligence.Hard court and grass court requires only to bash the ball in to one corner and the point is won,but on clay courts one has to think and construct the points.An easy win on clay is difficult if a players forte is big serve and bashing of balls.Playing on hard courts and grass courts are like playing darts.Points finish in a blink.There is no real tennis involved there.I think that once in a while WTF should be held on clay.Clay courts prove who is the real man.

Posted by jewell - back to the grind. Gah! 11/20/2010 at 01:00 PM

I love the way Rafa plays tennis. Although I'll happily admit to fangirling over his other attributes as well. :)

Posted by mytennis 11/20/2010 at 01:09 PM

Federer does not know to play on the real surface-clay.He only has 9 titles on clay after playing 12 years.It is a pathetic result for one who wants to be the greatest ever.It shows that he does not have temperament,patience,intelligence and athleticism to play on clay.He wants to win points without thinking or planning.Actually he should not be considered as greatest ever with such pathetic results on clay .It is unjust that there are ill-proportional no of hard court master tournaments and grand slams compared to clay court tournaments.There are 6 masters on hard court ,WTF,AUS open and US open on hard courts-9 in total,where as 3 masters and 1 grand slam on clay-4 in number.Still Rafa holds more no of masters than Federer.It is time to bring some rational distribution of surfaces.If we take away hard court grand slam wins from Federer,he will only have 7 grand slams!!!.

Posted by mytennis 11/20/2010 at 01:11 PM

Federer does not know to play on the real surface-clay.He only has 9 titles on clay after playing 12 years.It is a pathetic result for one who wants to be the greatest ever.It shows that he does not have temperament,patience,intelligence and athleticism to play on clay.He wants to win points without thinking or planning.Actually he should not be considered as greatest ever with such pathetic results on clay .It is unjust that there are ill-proportional no of hard court master tournaments and grand slams compared to clay court tournaments.There are 6 masters on hard court ,WTF,AUS open and US open on hard courts-9 in total,where as 3 masters and 1 grand slam on clay-4 in number.Still Rafa holds more no of masters than Federer.It is time to bring some rational distribution of surfaces.If we take away hard court grand slam wins from Federer,he will only have 7 grand slams!!!.

Posted by mytennis 11/20/2010 at 01:27 PM

Nadal won the Stefan Edberg sportsmanship award for 2010!.But Federer edged Nadal narrowly in the fans favourite category with 47% votes to Nadal`s 42%.It was a close fight.I believe Nadal lost in the fans section because of lack of militant fanatical attitude on the part of Nadal`s fans.

Posted by Donald 11/20/2010 at 01:39 PM

How can you not like both of these players? They are both gentlemen and great ambassadors of tennis. In fact, I do, but I love Federer. It did not come right away, but after I first saw him shed tears as the victor, I was hooked. Actually I felt the same way when Nadal broke down this spring upon winning Monte Carlo after having a long dry spell. You could see how much he wanted it. Head-to-head though, I involuntarily root for Federer. I've tried to tell myself before a match that I'm going to pull for Nadal, but then my heart won't let me. It's a gut reaction.

Posted by tennis RIP 11/20/2010 at 01:52 PM

These days it seems like about a third of the players on the tour are from Spain (I wonder why?!?!?) So Nadal starts out with a huge advantage in the vote. Roger has only Stan to vote for him, while Nadal has Ferrer, Verdasco, Lopez, Almagro,...the list goes on and on.

Posted by mytennis 11/20/2010 at 02:21 PM

TennisRIP, All of those spanish players that you named are in the Federer`s age group.If they are all the players in the ATP who can vote,how did Federer win for the last few years as all of these players were present then too.ATP does not consist of 6-7 spanish players alone.There are soo many players who are not spanish who voted for Nadal.Otherwise he could not have won.SOUR GRAPES.

Posted by Colts2011 11/20/2010 at 02:34 PM

Tim:

Regarding your 12:15am post, I could not disagree more. Like always, it's back to the GOAT debate, huh? You are using "dominance" (= winning percentage) on a single surface as your justification that Fed is the GOAT, and not Nadal. This reeks of desperation. With 5 more years of winning under his belt, it is impossible to claim that Nadal is the best ever yet. However, due to the combination of his overall success and the product of his historic rivalry with Fed, I believe there is an argument that Federer is NOT the GOAT. Again, this is different than saying Nadal is.

But re: your comments about Nadal (not Nadal is relation to Fed, but Nadal himself!), you are just way off base. Nadal is the youngest player to achieve the career slam. Furthermore, he has claimed 5 MS1000 titles in 9 finals and owns an Olympics gold medal contested on hard courts. To say his "career is built on clay" implies that his only noteworthy success has come on clay - this is absurd. Now, in the literal sense, to say that his career "WAS" built on clay is accurate. After all, it was not until recently (Wimbledon '08, Aus '09 - that's debatable) that his clay court specialist title was actually shed.

Back to the comparisons... Nadal will never be as "dominant" as Federer was on hard courts, but in terms of this ramification for future GOAT debates, he does not have to be. Dominance itself, regardless of surface, is not evidence or proof that one player is better than another. McEnroe & Borg both had more dominant 4 year stretches than Sampras over any time span in his illustrious career, but no one in their right mind would contend that they were "better" than Sampras. Accomplishments - that is, titles won, records, streaks and H2H against rivals all define one's legacy. Dominance is just another piece of that puzzle. To simply compare hard court accomplishments is not a measure used to define greatness.

Posted by amused 11/20/2010 at 02:48 PM

I, for one, am not surprised at all about Nadal won Edberg Award. Being an ATP tour outsider, I’m in no position to judge who should win this award. But a business veteran I am, I can tell ATP and the whole media wanted to give it to Nadal. And it’s easy. All it takes is for Toni made a couple of phone calls to heads of big national tennis federation and big tournament directors. These deep-pocket-Wall-Street-backed businessmen would promptly acted accordingly: just remind the pro players under their organization about the difficulties of using limited financial resources to support all these pro’s who need them on travel, training, coaching, and wild cards…

The whole Nadal hype up thing represents everything that’s wrong with USA and the world in this times: results drive means. ATP and tennis media decided that they’ve waited too long for Fed’s demise, and they are scared to death about the post-Fed era – about their own meal tickets. So they do all it takes to market Nadal. There’s no love or hate. It’s all business.

It’s not a conspiracy. One only needs to compare the well published media reactions to Nadal’s retirement in AO QF (every reporter felt sorry for him) and Fed’s mere mention of injury AFTER the WO loss (every report blamed him), one must admit that the whole hyping-up-Nadal plot is there, clear and present.

Posted by always_fed 11/20/2010 at 02:55 PM

I used to think tennis is boring, until 5 years ago, when I saw a match between Fed and Nadal by accident. I have no clue who they are. I saw the leftie took the first 2 set, and the rightie rallied to win the match. Only after the match is over, did I learned their names.

I had became a tennis fan since then. And that I have to thank Roger for. Watching him play, and to see how much he loves the game is what meade me a Federer fan, and always will be.

Posted by amused 11/20/2010 at 02:56 PM

Fed may have won more than enough his share of Edberg Awards, I don’t know. But it’s definitely a day of shame for ATP when they anouced to the world that a player who cheated in 3 of the 4 slams in 2010 won their Sportsmanship Award for 2010. Come on, there must be other players who cheated less!

There is no lowest point, only lower point. I feel sad for my idol Stefan Edberg.

Posted by mytennis 11/20/2010 at 03:00 PM

amused, Thanks for the information.So that is how Federer won the award for the last 5 years.We should have known earlier.With all those illegal banks in Switzerland,It is no wonder that Fed won all those awards.He should give back all those awards.We were wondering that ,how come Federer with his arrogant attitude and comments won all those awards.So players were forced to vote for him.It is disgraceful.

Posted by Northernboy 11/20/2010 at 03:24 PM

I find it interesting this column does't address the 'admittedly probably very small' portion of the tennis fan verse like myself who doesn't favour either Roger or Rafa, but whose favorite player might be someone else? 9 times out of 10 I am cheering for whoever is playing against Fed or Rafa - usual culprits are Djokovic and Andy Roddick, Soderling, Melzer is my new favorite.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/20/2010 at 03:26 PM

I think the ATP had a hand in the Sportmanship Award, they cant have the No. 1 clouded by illegal coaching and a bad rep ... just hard for me to believe the players actually voted for Nadal who drives everyone crazy with his slow play and time outs and hysterics ...

again, when 67 percent of your titles come on clay, the rest of the argument is over... that's a career built on clay, and expanded yes, by random hardcourt titles (cupcake infused) :)

its so easy to drive some rafa kids into hysterics its not really fair--but these ARE facts, just ones they dont want to hear

Posted by amused 11/20/2010 at 03:48 PM

Facts are: 900+ matches no retirement vs Retire 3 games from defeat.

100 Awards cannot change that.

Posted by mytennis 11/20/2010 at 03:51 PM

If HARD COURT SPECIALIST Federer`s Hard court slam wins are taken away,he will only have 7 grand slams!!!.He is not a complete player.After playing for 12 years he has a pathetic 9 clay titles.That also minor titles.He does not deserve to be called a great player when 67% of his wins has been on hard courts.As clay is the considered the toughest among the surfaces,he needs to prove himself on clay.These are facts.Some Fedtards are not able to digest that their hero is so pathetic on clay which is the real man`s surface unlike on hard courts where you play like playing darts.

Posted by amused 11/20/2010 at 03:51 PM

"The players voted Nadal the Sportsman, but fans voted Roger Federer the 2010 Fans’ Favorite Singles Player, over Nadal who won three slam titles this year. Maybe the fans have spoken. Nadal being voted the Sportsman is significant not only because he “cheats,” but his award also breaks Federer’s six Sportsman awards in a row.

At Wimbledon this year the 2010 Sportsman Nadal was warned by the chair umpire not to receive coaching from or talk to his uncle in the crowd. Yet later in the same match Nadal was slapped with a code violation for talking to his uncle, who was in the player’s box.

No one is making a big deal of this. Am I wrong? I’m no hater either, I like Nadal as a person and love watching him play. Is this just something that is a small thing and should be brushed off? Tell me I’m wrong."

http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2010-11-20/5753.php

Posted by mytennis 11/20/2010 at 04:00 PM

Federer got 47% and Nadal got 43% for the fans favourite award.It was close.If all Nadal fans were as fanatical and militant oriented as Federer fans and voted en masse for Nadal,then Nadal would have definitely won this award too.Thing is that Nadal fans are not crazy like many Federer fans.

Posted by mytennis 11/20/2010 at 04:09 PM

Nadal fans were casual about this fan`s award.I think that they should have taken this award seriously and voted en masse for Nadal.I don`t care about the award,if not for the arrogance of some Fed fans.

Posted by MindyM 11/20/2010 at 04:26 PM

tennis RIP,

Your response to my post is the reason why we have the Fed/Rafa wars and why it will never end. You are beyond presumptuous to label Rafa's tennis in ways that are unflattering and then heap tons of praise on Fed for his dominance, repetitive wins, excellence and lack of so-called drama or injuries! I am not sure why you think that you are the last word or that you must define the parameters in which this raging ongoing argument must take place. I do not wish to be defined by you or any other biased Fed fan, thank you very much!

I am always amazed at those who simply fail to understand Rafa's appeal and must use condescending and patronizing terms to describe his tennis. I have probably been watching tennis longer than you have been alive and am quite capable of deciding for myself what constitutes "excellence" or great tennis, if you prefer. It will always be subjective, however I take great exception to your descriptive phrases about Rafa. That is only your opinion.

If you have to take the time to demean Rafa's tennis and my reasons for loving it, then that's maybe symbolic of the futility of any real communication between Fed and Rafa fans. We will never see things the same way, because there are people like you who will keep telling people like myself that what I am seeing from Rafa is somehow inferior. You can't rewrite my reality or anyone else's, for that matter. If I say that I found Fed's tennis boring or not exciting, then that is my truth. I didn't connect with him. To each his own! I love to see competitive tennis, maybe you love to see one person dominating endlessly.

I love the passion, the fire, the spirit, the injuries, the comebacks, the intensity, the commitment, all of these are qualities I see in Rafa. Too bad you will never see them. At least I can give Fed respect as a great champion. I can acknowledge that he has achieved much in this sport and set the bar high. I just happened to find the thrill of my tennis life with the young man from Mallorca, the incomparable Rafa. All of the things you deride about him are the reasons why I love him. It's been a long wait for my second tennis love. It was well worth it!

Posted by mytennis 11/20/2010 at 04:45 PM

HARD COURT SPECIALIST Federer`s 67% of the wins has come on hard courts were players play like darts and on which surface most of the tournaments are held on.One serve,one forehand and the point finishes.There is no intelligence involved.On clay one has to use intelligence and construct the points patiently with commitment,talent and athleticism.Federer only has 9 clay titles after playing 12 years,where most are minor titles.How pathetic.He does not deserve to be called a complete player.He needs to prove himself on clay which is the real man`s surface.He is just a ball basher with good serve.

Posted by mytennis 11/20/2010 at 04:53 PM

If HARD COURT SPECIALIST Federer`s Hard court grand slam wins are taken away ,he will only have 7 grand slams!.He is pathetic on clay which is the real man`s surface unlike hard courts where you play like darts.After playing for 12 years,so called greatest has only 9 titles on clay,many of them minor titles.He needs to prove himself on clay to be called a true great.

Posted by Bbop 11/20/2010 at 05:16 PM

MTennis are you some type of mentally handicapped person? You obv. have nothing to contribute to this thread, please go away.

Posted by AB 11/20/2010 at 05:38 PM

MindyM: there's no pleasing some Fedfanatics. There is a rigidity of worship that often spews over as negativity, not only on Rafa, but anyone who has the temerity to enjoy Rafa's game.

Even bowing down to Roger's (fill-in-the-blank) excellence will not sate these kinds of RogerKADs.

Don't bother.

Posted by FoT 11/20/2010 at 05:38 PM

My take on the Fedal wars. I am a Federer fan - period. I do not 'hate' Nadal because I have never met the guy. The only (and I am speaking for myself) - the ONLY reason I do not pull for Nadal is because he is close to Roger and I want Roger's records to stand. Period. I want Roger to have the most slams; I want Roger to be considered the 'best'. I want Roger to have the most wins, records, etc., and the person closest to him - or the person that can prevent that from happening is Rafa. So I am NOT pulling for Rafa. That's the bottom line. It has nothing to do with him being a nice person, or him having a fist pump or whatever. It is all about Federer for me. See, Roger isn't just my favorite tennis player - Roger is my favroite SPORTS PLAYER period. The only time I actually find myself pulling for Rafa is if it benefits Roger in some way. Example: If Nadal is playing Djokovic or Murray and a loss by them will help Roger to finish year-end #2, then I'll pull for Rafa. But it has to be something that would help Roger. lol! Sorry - that's just the way I am.

Posted by mytennis 11/20/2010 at 05:39 PM

Bbop,Why don`t you tell that to Tim and Tennis RIP.Or are you the same person who wrote those deranged posts?.You just came here to tell me that you want the title of king insane?.Crazies feel that all others are crazy.

Posted by mytennis 11/20/2010 at 05:57 PM

Bbop, Now i understand why are you feeling crazy.You got so upset by hearing that Nadal won the sportsmanship award ,that you forgot to take your medications?.Nadal will win many more awards and titles in future also.So always keep your medications nearby.

Posted by miri 11/20/2010 at 09:03 PM

"In general, being a fan of a player is a basic and vital part of pro tennis. It’s how most people are first drawn to the game, and it’s by watching their player that they get to know other pros and the intricacies of play well enough to develop an attachment to the sport itself."

This is completely true of me. I've watched tennis since the Borg/McEnroe days, but my interest in it varied greatly depending on whether I had "a main guy" I followed. Wilander was my guy for a long time. Then he left, big servers took over and I got bored. It took Rafa to bring me back in.

I respect and admire Federer (I don't understand how one can be a fan of tennis and not do those things), but admit that I do sometimes get miffed at the "he's so smooth and perfect" comments. I shouldn't. After all, it's the smoothness and perfection that bore me. Obviously, those things aren't boring for Federer fans, so why shouldn't they celebrate those qualities?

I like a little more fire in my tennis players, but the fire-y ones can often be head-casey which drives me nuts. In Rafa, I have the perfect balance. That works for me - but I certainly don't feel the need to hate his opponents (any of them) or fans of his opponents...I just don't get that at all. I also don't understand the need to insult either player - they are both clearly giving their all to their game and the sport. Can't we just admire that and move on?

Besides the general nuttiness of fandom (and yes, I'm a nut too), I think one of the things that feeds the Rafa/Rog warriors the most is that writers can't write about one without mentioning the other. Their careers are so inter-twined that it's almost impossible to write about one without at least a passing mention to the other. This ticks off the die-hard fans of each - "wtf did they need to mention him? This article is about my guy!"

One thing I am so completely tired of: the GOAT argument. There can be no GOAT - conditions, courts, equipment and the level of opponents makes it impossible. I saw we simply celebrate the great tennis that's being played and don't worry about where pundits will later place it in the history of the game.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/20/2010 at 09:27 PM

mytennis, so by your brilliant surface logic, Pete Sampras' long streak of hard court events and US Open and Oz titles make him also ... what exactly?

LOL!

if youve ever heard the term hardcourt specialist by any tennis expert, let's hear it! if youre a hardcourt specialist, i think that makes you a tennis specialist, too! since 70 percent of the whole year is played on the surface...

Posted by Norm 11/20/2010 at 09:58 PM

I just have to say that I'm not a Federer fan and I am not a Nadal fan. I once got accused of being a Nadal fan after making a statement that a Federer fan didn't approve of. I'll tell you who I am a fan of. I am a fan of all of the poor fellas that have played their guts out to beat these two. Ok, so I don't like total dominance in sports. So sue me.

Posted by tennis RIP 11/20/2010 at 10:04 PM

MindyM,

The reason why I responded to your post was because you admitted that you hated Federer to the point of drifting away from tennis before you heard about Nadal, that your reaction to Nadal was "visceral," and that you found Federer "boring." I wasn't attacking you personally, just pointing out that there's little hope for understanding or respect between people who are fans of a player (Federer) because he epitomizes playing the game well to the point of ease (i.e. they are interested in the tennis) and people who are fans of a player because he gives them a "visceral" feeling and because he upset the apple cart of the other player's "boring" dominance (i.e. they are interested in the drama).

It doesn't make you a bad person if you like drama and don't really care about tennis. No one has to appreciate any particular sport, be it tennis, cricket, or elephant polo. But I submit to you that finding the incredible shot-making of vintage Federer 2003-2007 "boring" is incompatible with having any real appreciation for or understanding of the game of tennis. If you just hated him as a person or rooted against him as a fan of another player, that's a different matter. But boring? The infinite variety and creativity in his shot-making, his use of the entire court, his high-risk style, all are the antithesis of "boring" when you talk about the actual game. But Federer's occasional quiet fist pump after a spectacular winner versus the wild, distended, raging features and violent lawn-mowing motion of Nadal when celebrating an opponents' error sum it up: you should just admit that it's Federer's personality you find boring, and Nadal's you find exciting. You are interested in what goes on before and after points, not during them. You want a rock star you can worship, not a superlative practitioner of the sport whose game you can admire.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/20/2010 at 10:15 PM

Tennis RIP, exactly!

fist pumps, muscles and over the top celebrating make 'tennis' exciting-- Rafa could be a pro bowler, and if he wore the same muscle shirts when he burst on the scene, sweated, fist pumped, growled and all the rest, the same fans would be drawn to... bowling!


Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/20/2010 at 10:18 PM

hi FoT, im with ya its mostly about Roger, but my list of irks about Rafa would stand regardless, not that I think Murray or Djoker are exactly riveting personalities, I pray some new star comes along before Fed retires, so I have someone I truly care about watching ... this new brand of game is awful without some variety and net rushing...


Posted by MindyM 11/21/2010 at 12:48 AM

Tennis RIP,

Oh, you are going to have to do better than that to try to win this argument. First of all, Read what I wrote! Do you see anywhere in which I stated that I HATE Fed? No! I never said it. So you proceed from a false premise, i.e., that I hate Fed. Yes, I did say his tennis was boring to me. Then you tell me that I have no knowledge of the game of tennis! That is your idea of an argument? Wait, let me guess! You are the fount of all the wisdom of the ages! So if I wasn't connected with Fed, does that mean that I found his tennis ugly? I never said that, either. You can't make an argument by saying that I said things that I did not say. See, and people wonder why there is no peace in these endless Rafa/Fed wars.

It's because people like you have to get nasty and down and dirty about it. You presume to decide that I do not know the sport of tennis because I don't adore and worship Fed the way that you do. That doesn't mean that I can't have an appreciation for how he plays. If I say that I don't love him passionately, then I must be wrong. If I love the muscles and the grunting and the drama and the injuries, then why pray tell, did I also love Borg? He and Rafa bear no physical similarity. Borg was the icy Swede on the court. He didn't show emotion. His demeanor on court was the exact opposite of Rafa's. So where does that leave you and your phony argument? Nowhere!

This is the crux of the problem. Your post explains why there is so much resentment on the part of Rafa fans. You have declared what is "great" tennis and what is "not so great", or mediocre tennis. You are again setting the parameters of the debate. I am not going to allow you to do that. You are only offering your opinion about Fed. Should I tell you that you don't know anything about tennis because you think Rafa's style is ugly, unappealing, not aesthetic, not graceful enough for your sensibilities? I can return the favor by telling you that if you do not see the beauty and elegance of Rafa's movement on court, the power and precision of his down the line forehand and backhand, the awesome brilliance of that unbelievable cross court backhand where he gets the power from his right hand, all these shots somehow seeming to go beyond the baseline, yet at the last minute spinning and dipping right inside the line! Thank goodness that past tennis greats aren't as myopic as you and can see and appreciate the grace and skill of Rafa's game. He hits shots that no one else has ever been able to hit in this sport. He is like magic on court.

You see, I am not so narrow-minded as you. My two all-time tennis favorites were alike in many ways with their tennis game, but at the same time not very different in demeanor and physicality. When you put me in the box in which you think I belong, I can show you that I was never in that box in the first place. My eyes are wide open. I can appreciate the diversity in tennis players, whereas you are locked hopelessly into Fed. There can be no one else and if anyone dares to find someone like Rafa to be magnificent and dares to think that he has a game of real beauty, then in your small-minded opinion, that person knows nothing about tennis.

It is you who knows nothing about this sport and you never will.

Posted by mytennis 11/21/2010 at 01:41 AM

TIM, There should be equal no of main tournaments on different surfaces.Because of the easiness of maintaining the courts,most tournaments opt for hard courts.There is nothing special in hard courts other than it is more prone to causing injuries.There should be more clay tournaments.There is nothing great when HARD COURT SPECIALISTS winning most of the wins on hard court when most of the tournaments are held on hard courts.They should prove themselves on Clay to justify whether they are complete players.AS for Federer his wins has come overwhelmingly on hard courts-67%.If hard court grand slam wins are taken away from Federer,there will be only 7 grand slams for Federer!!!.After playing 12 years he has only 9 clay titles.How pathetic.He should prove more on clay courts to be justified as a complete player.

Posted by tennis RIP 11/21/2010 at 02:06 AM

MindyM,

You said you are not as narrow-minded as me, but then you said that I know nothing about tennis! Irony, no?

I have nothing against you, and I use the term "hate" as fans use it, not as enemy soldiers or members of opposing religions do. I imagine you would be glad to have Federer's autograph, and I would be glad to have Nadal's, though I think he is probably a doper (maybe Fed is too, though I doubt it).

Quite frankly, the similarity I see between Borg and Nadal is that fangirls swooned at his very approach; he was a star and sex symbol as much as a tennis player, as is Nadal. Federer, with his skinny arms and unimpressive hairy torso, is hardly a paragon of male virility. In some ways, Mirka seems to wear the pants in the family.

As for "my definition" versus "your definition" of beauty or greatness in tennis, I'm afraid mine is supported by the numbers: Federer goes for winners and makes them, while Nadal plays safe shots, applying heavy topspin to the backhand until his exhausted opponent dumps the ball into the net. These are generalizations, and of course Nadal is capable of great winners and aggressive play, but the stats don't lie. Nadal almost always has fewer winners than the opponents he beats handily. If you want to see points won, watch Federer. If you want to see points lost, watch Nadal.

Now perhaps you do like to see the ball beaten into the net again and again. Perhaps winners make you angry. Maybe you would like to watch eight consecutive double faults. But I don't think so. I think you are enamored of personalities, not tennis skills. Which is fine. But I'm not, so we can never agree.

Posted by paradox 11/21/2010 at 02:44 AM

Roger maybe among those innocent and unsuspicious looking thin athletes like Petr Corda who is on dope.The EPO based drugs does not help in musculature development,but helps in stamina and endurance which is more important in tennis.These athletes on EPO may even look skinny.But their endurance will be great.So there is chance that actual culprits may hide behind their skinny structure and avoid suspicion because of the misconception on the part of some ignorant people who believe that all drugs cause muscle growth and ill conceived notion that all genetically good,healthy,muscular structured individuals are on dope.

Posted by Dreamer 11/21/2010 at 03:01 AM

Thinking about Fedal and how great both players have been (and how much more hardware each would have if the other had not been around) I started wondering what the men's tour would be like if neither of them had ever played tennis. Who do you think would have emerged as the dominant player/players in their absense? Roddick would probably have a few more grand slams and we wouldn't be bemoaning the US' decline in tennis quite as much. Would Nalbandian or Davydenko have won a few? You really can't just look at which other players made it to the finals of the grand slams because Fedal have dominated so much that they may have even changed the psychology of the game for the other players in the men's field. You have to wonder how that has affected the drive of so many of the players behind them. Doesn't it seem that a lot of players just seem happy to be among the top players and maybe cede too much to Fedal at times?

Posted by beautiful tennis 11/21/2010 at 05:51 AM

tennis RIP:"The reason why I responded to your post was because you admitted that you hated Federer to the point of drifting away from tennis before you heard about Nadal, that your reaction to Nadal was "visceral," and that you found Federer "boring." I wasn't attacking you personally, just pointing out that there's little hope for understanding or respect between people who are fans of a player (Federer) because he epitomizes playing the game well to the point of ease (i.e. they are interested in the tennis) and people who are fans of a player because he gives them a "visceral" feeling and because he upset the apple cart of the other player's "boring" dominance (i.e. they are interested in the drama).

It doesn't make you a bad person if you like drama and don't really care about tennis. No one has to appreciate any particular sport, be it tennis, cricket, or elephant polo. But I submit to you that finding the incredible shot-making of vintage Federer 2003-2007 "boring" is incompatible with having any real appreciation for or understanding of the game of tennis. If you just hated him as a person or rooted against him as a fan of another player, that's a different matter. But boring? The infinite variety and creativity in his shot-making, his use of the entire court, his high-risk style, all are the antithesis of "boring" when you talk about the actual game. But Federer's occasional quiet fist pump after a spectacular winner versus the wild, distended, raging features and violent lawn-mowing motion of Nadal when celebrating an opponents' error sum it up: you should just admit that it's Federer's personality you find boring, and Nadal's you find exciting. You are interested in what goes on before and after points, not during them. You want a rock star you can worship, not a superlative practitioner of the sport whose game you can admire."

Great point. Unfortunately there is too much of Nadalites who see the "game" like this infesting the tennis-world. It's truly sad how many times I've heard somebody say they were bored with tennis before Nadal came in with his fist-pumps and other behaviour patterns not related to his actual tennis.

Posted by jackson 11/21/2010 at 08:23 AM

It's funny, but it's also very sad, how desperate the Fed fans get with every passing day as Rafa wins more matches and more (well deserved) awards. At least FoT is honest enough to admit that it is Rafa's challenge to Roger's proclaimed GOATness that induces his/her anti-Rafa sentiments and I can appreciate those feelings and opinions. The other pro-Roger arguments are just nasty negative tirades and say so much more about the posters than about knowledge of and appreciation for the game of tennis that is played so well by both Roger and Rafa.

Posted by rafafan 11/21/2010 at 08:34 AM

Enjoyable article. Only I would put a vocally obnoxious subset of Federer fans easily at no. 1 on the reactionary fans list, at least where this site is concerned. You only need to read this thread for evidence that criticising Mr Perfect in any way and not unreservedly swooning over his perfect game is a cardinal sin as far as these people (who have elected themselves arbiters of How Proper Tennis Is To Be Played And On Which Surface) are concerned.

PS Tim, this is the first year the ATP committee nominated Rafa for the sportsmanship award, and therefore the first year his fellow players were able to vote for him. Who knows how many times he would have won if he had been nominated before? Oh and the fan vote was split 47% Fed, 42% Rafa. Not exactly a huge difference there.

Posted by ncot 11/21/2010 at 09:39 AM

somebody said that those hating the williams sisters are not a group of a particular rival player. i kinda agree,but i wld also like to add that venus and serena each had intense and long rivalries with many players since the 90's, from graf and seles, to capriati and hingis, to henin and clijsters 2.0, to sharapova and these young wta players today. so yeah, there is no single player group that waged blog wars with williams fans.

full disclosure: im a venus, and to a lesser extent serena, fan from the philippines. rabid fan and proud if it!:D

Posted by ncot 11/21/2010 at 09:49 AM

how abt that?a rabid venus fan inserting a venus post in the middle of a fedal rabidfest! fandom is what it just is.:D

Posted by beautiful tennis 11/21/2010 at 10:03 AM

jackson, I'd venture its exactly the opposite. About 90% of talk about Nadals attributes here isnt about his tennis (technically speaking) but his fire, usually which brought the poster's interest back to tennis, annd that Feds "tennis" (not fist-pumping and making it look too easy) didnt do it for him/her/it.

Posted by Tuulia 11/21/2010 at 10:30 AM

Ah well, I'm sure players like Ivanisevic and Murray also know nothing about tennis since they prefer to watch Rafa's tennis. And all other players, past and present, who think Rafa's tennis is fabulous... oh the poor ignorant people. Some of them legends of the past, some of them top players today - how amazing that they've managed such great careers in tennis when they don't understand the first thing about it. Heck, maybe I should try a tennis career myself, I might be successful, too, being ignorant and all. lol
And meanwhile there are people on forums like this who REALLY know tennis and what it should be like, how it should be played. Such injustice! After all, surely there can be only one way to play tennis that can be accepted as worthwile.

MindyM, your patience is admirable. One needs to wade through a lot around here to get to posts like yours, Andrew's and miri's, but it's worth the trouble. :)

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/21/2010 at 11:55 AM

The Greatest Rivalry Of All Time was Navratilova and Evert. If/when these two get close to their number of meetings... well, that's a might big "if", I'm not expecting them to have their sustained rivalry-cum-friendship. I'm gearing up for the future of "Rafole".

Posted by Bjorn 11/21/2010 at 12:06 PM

Naderer...

Posted by Tuulia 11/21/2010 at 12:32 PM

Rafole sounds nice, tina, it should be a good one. :)

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/21/2010 at 01:49 PM

Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/20/2010 at 11:37 AM

hail just froze over if Nadal won the Sportsmanship Award, cmon, on court coaching, endless delays, fistpumping in other player's faces, that's just baffling...

of course Federer won the Fan Favorite award, no surprise there... Id say there's some ATP politics at play there, to boost the No. 1 player's stature a bit... no way is Rafa the best sportsman with all those games he's playing... that's the most baffling news Ive heard in ages ...
-----------

Tim, come on, now - the Sportsmanship Award is voted on by the other players of the ATP - not tournament directors or any other functionaries of the Association. And his fellow ATP members voted for him straight-up. If his opponents like him, respect him, and voted for him, you've got typical Fed sour grapes. Fer cryin' out loud, Fred won it 6 years in a row, even while he was a sore and poor loser a few times over those years; still, his opponents voted for him. You are one demented super-KAD.

Posted by tennis RIP 11/21/2010 at 02:14 PM

paradox,

Nadal fans usually respond to widespread suspicions that he may be doping by arguing that "Federer may be doping too." This is a very revealing response. First, it shows no confidence that Nadal is not doping. Second, it refers everything back to Federer, which is just another example of how Nadal fans bite the hand that feeds them. Objectively speaking, Nadal is still far short of the career achievements of Sampras and several others from different eras. But Nadal fans are not content to wait... he must be crowned the greatest right now, and their argument is that he has a winning head-to-head (mostly on clay, mostly at a few select times of the year) against Federer. At the same time, they want to tear down Federer. But if Federer is such a loser, why does the head-to-head matter? And if Federer benefited from a weak era, and is not that good, then hasn't Nadal benefited from an even weaker era since hardly anyone else besides these two has won a slam for the last six years? By the way, what you say about dopers not necessarily being muscular is absolutely true and absolutely irrelevant. The problem with Nadal is that he is muscular, and then not so muscular, and then muscular, and then not so muscular... and his performance changes along with his physique. Not to mention the fact that he has mysterious treatments for "injuries" which behave like no other injury of any other athlete, complains about drug testing, breaks all the other rules, comes from a country mired in doping scandal, and so on, and so on...

Posted by Me 11/21/2010 at 02:36 PM

Thanks to x-fan and Colt 2011 for the figures. In conclusion, the best tennis male player since about 2003 has been ...... FEDAL. Period.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/21/2010 at 10:22 PM

Tennis RIP you said thay verl well, u have the patience to explain it more thoroughly that I do, but I totally agree re the pscyhology of these Fedal wars and what's behind them ... hypocsrisy and double standards drive me crazy so the media attitude towards Fed and Nadal bugs me right now, being so relaxed and forgiving about Nadal, and so hypercritical and dismissive of Federer, especially when it comes to injuries and performances at non Slams...

i wonder how long Rafa's free pass will last?

Posted by paradox 11/22/2010 at 01:57 AM

Federer nuts don`t have any rational argument other than rant their irrational delusions and hallucinations and claiming that they are true.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/22/2010 at 02:29 AM

Tennis RIP:

Your 2:14 post is predominantly BS.

1. You state: "Nadal fans usually respond to widespread suspicions that he may be doping by arguing that "Federer may be doping too.'"

Please provide reliable statistics supporting your assertion about this alleged "usual response" of Rafa fans. Until you can, all you are doing is talking out of your ass.

2. You state: "Nadal fans are not content to wait... he must be crowned the greatest right now."

I'm a Nadal fan who has never maintained that Rafa "must be crowned the greatest right now." Plenty of Rafa fans have never taken this position.
Until you provide reliable statistics that the majority of Rafa fans have taken this position, you are once again talking out of your ass.

3. You state: "[T]hey [Rafa fans] want to tear down Federer."

Once again you are making generalizations about Rafa fans. Do you have reliable statistics supporting that assertion? If not, your voice has visited a familiar orifice prior to departing your body.

4. You state: "The problem with Nadal is that he is muscular, and then not so muscular, and then muscular, and then not so muscular... and his performance changes along with his physique."

Do you have photos and a reliable verification regarding the creation of said photos supporting this statement? Do you?

5. You state that Rafa has "mysterious treatments for 'injuries' which behave like no other injury of any other athlete."

Have you been provided access to enough of Rafa's medical records to have a reliable basis for this assertion? If so, on what date(s) did you access these records?

6. You state that Rafa "breaks all the other rules. . . ."

To which rules do you refer? The ATP rules? The rules of Spain? The rules of any other country in which Rafa has traveled while a member of the ATP?

Please be specific concerning your allegations concerning the rules Rafa has contravened if you want to have any reasonable hope of said assertions being taken seriously.

Posted by jackson 11/22/2010 at 04:25 AM

This is so much fun! Rafa winning this award has sent some Fed fans right around the bend. They're getting nuttier by the minute but it's definitely good for a lot of laughs.

Posted by paradox 11/22/2010 at 04:41 AM

Federer`s behaviour was arrogant from the beginning.But the media was blind then.Let us take one of his earliest comments,when he won couple of grand slams.He said that he has beaten Agassi so many times that he does not worry about him.Such disgraceful behaviour towards Agassi who was a legend at that time.His behaviour at wimbledon 2007 final was pathetic,when he used expletives and even asked umpire to switch off hawk eye!.Again during US open final in 2009 he was fined for using profanity while he argued with the umpire.He was even ordering the umpire not to ask him to keep quite.What a civilized behaviour!.In 2009 ,he even did not shake hands with umpires couple of times!.And then he got sportsmanship award.He ,with his arrogance never deserved those sportsmanship awards.

Posted by tennis RIP 11/22/2010 at 09:57 AM

manuelsantanafan,

Provide statistics proving that grass is green. After all, the grass outside my window is not green, it is greenish-brown. Provide one thousand photos of green grass with reliable legal certification that said photos are not doctored. Be sure to provide photos of grass from every country, territory, and region of the world, including Antarctica. If you do not provide at least 75 photos of green grass from Antarctica, you have no credibility. If you want your assertions that grass is green to be taken seriously, you must prove legally, scientifically, and mathematically that at least 97% of grass on every continent is green. This proof must be accompanied by detailed blade-by-blade spectroscopic analysis and signed affidavits by the owners of each region of pastureland from which you gather grass. You must also be specific about which patch of grass you are referring to when you make the statement that grass is green; otherwise, you will have no reasonable hope of having your assertions taken seriously.

Posted by tennis RIP 11/22/2010 at 10:09 AM

manuelsantanafan,

Your post is a typical Nadal fan reaction. It is the prototypical guilty response that pathetically picks at details and beats around the bush in the hope that chopping down one or two small trees will make the forest disappear. Take your response about rule-breaking, for instance. Everyone knows that Nadal breaks the time rules on almost every point, and receives illegal coaching from the stands during almost every match. Is this "against the rules of Spain?" WHO CARES? He is a serial rule-breaker and cheater. You claim that access to medical records are required to back up any assertion that his injuries are suspiciously atypical. But it is common knowledge that he claims to suffer from chronic tendinitis, and that after whining about his knees during the clay season he rushed to England the day after Roland Garros and practiced on grass in the rain without any need for a break. If you require documentation to prove that this sort of behavior is not a typical treatment for tendinitis, then there is little hope for you. As for your demand for photos proving Nadal's fluctuations in size, the fact that you dispute this phenomenon, which is as clear as the nose on your face, is further proof that Nadal fans pay little attention to detail and would not notice even if he shot up during changeovers.

Posted by wjr 11/22/2010 at 11:28 AM

any can tell me how in the world,nadal won sportmanship award,lmfao , hes the worst sportman ive ever seen.....WOW, my vote soderling,even,monfils.berdy,even....this guy yells at ball boys, takes a hour too serve, has his father coach him while playing,grunts when its your time to hit the ball,a real form of cheating, not to mention,juicing.....yes he,s a real sports man..........

Posted by wjr 11/22/2010 at 11:31 AM

ive talk too hundreds of people on line, we all wonder how in the world nadal won sportsman award????i totally agree with tim,etc...what a joke

Posted by Holly 11/22/2010 at 11:55 AM

Getting back to the actual blog, I found it interesting.

I read most of the comments...I had stopped doing that because of the anger and hate. Who needs it honestly? Rafa and Roger's rivalry will be played out on court where it should be.
I'm happy to be around during this period of tennis!

The only fan comment I want to make is that Rafa's peers voted for him as sportsman of the year. These are the men that are actually out there on court and truly know him. That says a lot to me.

I love the laughing video...fans should take a lesson from them!

Posted by Me 11/22/2010 at 02:02 PM

The truth, the truth and nothing but the truth

The truth is that Rafa tends to use a bit too much the injury excuse...
But it is also true that Roger has played 900+ matches and never withdrawn...

The truth is that Rafa gets too much on-court coaching from uncle Toni ...
But it is also true that Roger has played several years with no visisble coach ...

The truth is that Rafa's "incledible Hulk" looks is a bit supicious ...
But it is also true that Roger's body looks perfectly normal...

The truth is that Rafa's fist pumping on his contender's mistakes is plain rude ...

But it is also true that Roger makes an effort to barely show his emotions while playing... (except when, at the end, he is such a crybaby whether losing or winning, and we all know)

The truth is that Roger has to play against the whole field at once...
But it is also true that Nadal only has to play one guy at the time ...

The truth is that I love Rafa's incledible ability to focus and his cute dimples ...

But it is also truth that Roger makes me suffer because of his sometimes incledible amount of unforced errors...

Qué sería Roger sin Rafa ...
Qué sería Rafa sin Roger ...
RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/22/2010 at 04:20 PM

tennis RIP:

In my 2:29 post, I demonstrated that you had failed to provide convincing verification for most of your negative allegations concerning Rafa.

You continue to post, but don't provide said verification.

I commend you for continuing to use your ass to communicate intelligibly, altho not intelligently.

wjr, 11:28 states:

"[Rafa] has his father coach him while playing. . . ."

wjr: Please provide dates and locations concerning said assertion.

If you can't, perhaps you should consider joining tennis RIP in a singing out of your asses duet.

Posted by wjr 11/22/2010 at 06:17 PM

what a stooge,the whole world knows he gets coaching, dude u live in a igloo at the north pole?????

Posted by tenez 11/23/2010 at 04:37 AM

The Federer-Nadal GOAT debate is totally redundant. Roger Federer has 16 Grand Slams. Rafael Nadal has what, 9? Regardless of how rapidly Nadal accumulated his titles, or how quickly he became #1, regardless of whether or not they are on drugs, or whether Federer is hitting a steep decline, or queries on Rafa's sportsmanship are valid, the fact stands that as of today, Federer is has still been number one for longer, and has 7 more slams, not to mention about 20 more career titles. Anything beyond the stats we have at the present moment is speculation, and we all know 'if's and 'but's will get us nowhere. When the careers of these two have ended, then we compare. Till then, I don't see how a comparison is valid, or necessary.

Posted by gottakeeprunning 11/24/2010 at 02:06 PM

Considering that not a great number of tournaments are played on clay and Rafa is considered to be a clay court specialist - he hasn't done too bad in 2010...

Now, I wonder what would happen if the Year End Championship was ever to be played on a clay surface???

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