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Laver Gives it an "E" 01/25/2007 - 8:22 AM

At every tournament, the most enterprising reporters take to the hallways after a match, looking for people to bushwhack for a quote here, a choice anecdote there. This is what we did again after Roger Federer's performance tonight against Andy Roddick in semifinals. The Mighty Fed played lights-out ("full-flight", as some of you like to put it) tennis, hitting winners that I won't demean with inadequate description, because any description would be inadequate. There's prose, poetry, and poetry-in-motion, and many of the shots TMF hit were poetry-in-motion, without the encumbrance of words. You get the idea. You'll see the tape.

Anyway, Ken Meyerson was grumpy, and trying to float the idea that Andy didn't have a good night (I'd say!). He can be forgiven; he's Andy's agent, and therefore born to serve. Tony Roche, lean and tanned, his face looking as craggy as something just carved off a promontory in North-west Australia, was his usual, phlegmatic self, allowing that Roger "had a good night" while Andy's train was traveling in the opposite direction.

Heinz Gunthardt, who used to coach Steffi Graf and now covers tennis for Swiss television, grinned broadly as he approached me. He had just interviewed Roger for his network, and had asked him if he felt like breaking into a grin at the start of the third set. Roger told him, "No, actually I was quite nervous. After that second set, I was worried that maybe my level could go down, and I didn't want to lose my concentration at that point to let him back in the match."

Heinz laughed out loud. "Can you believe that?"

About this, Federer was entirely right: his level could have gone down, because it certainly could not have climbed much higher.

While we worked the hallway, still shell-shocked by what we had just witnessed, TMF was huddled in the locker room with a guy who, more than any man, might have understood his plight at the beginning of the third set: Rod Laver. And what did the Rocket think of TMF's performance? Federer would tell us later, grinning in spite of himself. "He said it was excellent."

It's nice to know that words can fail Rod Laver, too!

StareodeathThe red-hot core of Federer's demonstration - for that's precisely what it was - was a stretch starting early in the second set, when he won 13 points in a row, and 16-of 17. Of those 16, nine were clean winners. This, against an opponent who came into the match with a big game and a big attitude, justified by a waxing game. And he got waxed.

Who would have thunk that Roddick would lose more service games than he won in a five-set match on a fast surface?

And if you have trouble believing that TMF was concerned, in that I've-got-nothing-to-smile-about- even-though-I'm-slaughtering-this-guy kind of way, heed the intel I gleaned from TW's loyal friend Miguel Seabra. In his French-language press conference, TMF repeated the word "fear" more times than anyone expected as he described what he had expected as match time approached.

In fact, Federer took Roddick's recent resurgence so seriously that he chose to play possum in their recent exhibition-match meeting at Kooyong (which Roddick won). He came to the net frequently in that match, partly because he didn't want to give Andy too good a look at the kind of game he would trot out tonight. TMF hit a surprisingly high number of sliced backhands at Kooyong, not just because of their value as approach shot. He was sandbagging Roddick, as he plotted to rely more heavily on the flat or topspin shots here. And did I mention that TMF and Roddick had practiced at least once here at Melbourne Park, with Andy tagging TMF, four-and-four?

The fear, it turns out, was bio-fuel for the raging machine of Federer's genius. Here's something for you stats freaks: Andy Roddick won 45 points in this match; Roger Federer hit exactly the same number of winners. And Andy had a significantly higher first-serve percentage: 63 per cent to 51. Note to Andy: do not, ever, examine the box score to this one.

From the hallways, we drifted to the press interview room. I saw one of my all-time favorite players, Mats Wilander, and went over to chat with him. It's one thing for me to suggest that this was the greatest single performance I had ever seen in men's tennis, when you consider the event (a Grand Slam), the stage (semifinal), and the opponent (a former No. 1, still at the peak of his game). It's quite another for one of TW's favorite nouns to say the same thing. But that's just what Mats thought, too. What would Roger say in his presser, we wondered. Mats suggested that he TMF should just walk in and say, "Okay guys, why don't you just write what you want and pretend I was here talking to you."

Yet even a demonstration of these proportions offers up some food for thought and academic excercises. Mats thinks it's suicidal to hit a crosscourt approach shot to Federer's forehand and come to net; diagramming the play in the air, he convincingly argued that it was physically impossible to race from the corner of the court to the net and get there before TMF can uncorked a whistling forehand passing shot.  "You have to be nuts to attack Roger's forehand in any event," Mats said. "The best chance you have is to try to make him hit high backhands." The problem with that, in this context, is that Andy has been flattening out his game in hopes of beatin - you get the drift.

DeerpresserAndy's presser was a gem; early on, he was so tight-lipped that it seemed like things might get really ugly. But, thankfully, it went the other way - make sure you read it at the Australian Open website. One of the many highlights: Ublado Scanagatta, an Italian blogger and chief tennis correspondent for La Nazione, observed that Andy's performance in the presser was better than his performance on court.

Andy replied, "No shit. If there were rankings for press conferences, I wouldn't drop out of the Top Five, I'd hope."

Andy put a brave face on it with gallows humor. But you got a sense of what a metallic taste the entire experience left in his mouth on one of the occasions when he sucked it up and answered a painful question directed at his recent mantra, which has been that since the U.S. Open final, the gap between himself and Federer might be closing rather than widening.

What do you want me to say? Do you want me to come in here and kick my ass on a daily basis? It's not going to happen. I'm going to try to keep fighting. I'm going to try to keep working. That's what I could on a daily basis. I wake up and work my butt off on a daily basis. I'm going to continue to do that. I'm going to try to take this like a man as much as I can. He outplayed me. He played a lot better than I did tonight. He deserves all the praise that he gets, not only for how he plays, but how he handles himself. Get up tomorrow, look forward.

For his outstanding effort in the presser, Roddick got a round of sympathetic applause when he left the interview room - a spontaneous sign of respect that is frowned upon by the more pious and self-important members of the press corps, tolerated by those who actually have a heart. Even so, this spontaneous outpourings of sleazeball press love is usually reserved for the winner of a major final. It was a poignant moment.

FedsfwinRoger came in shortly thereafter, looking as jaunty as he appeared to feel. He even wore his baseball cap backwards, although I wouldn't recommend mistaking him for Robby Ginepri in any other aspect. He faced what has become an increasingly daunting task for TMF: being appropriately modest  as well as honest. I don't know how you feel about it, but I've got no use for false modesty.

So TMF merrily walked us through his half-concluded highlight reel. When he was asked if he might lay claim to the GOAT title, He replied:

There's plenty I need to do before I'm the best of all time. So far away from beating the (record) for weeks at No 1. Slams, I'm still five away. Jimmy Connors has 108 titles. I have 45 (aw, Rog, what's 50 titles here, 50 there? Cheer up!). How can you put me in front of  him in terms of titles? It's still far-fetched. If I go at the pace I'm going right now, of course I'll break all the records. Nobody's ever done that (Now that's the Rog we know and love!).

Mikey Seabra asked Roger which of the icons of the game he would be most interested in playing, and he replied, Laver and Bjorn Borg. Seabra followed up (yes, he was on a roll) by asking Roger to define his legacy, to which TMF said:

Geez, I hope I'm remembered as one of the good guys. Fair. Kind of an idol to kids.That's what I needed to get started. I don't know what it takes to be remembered for those things.

Don't you worry, Roger. You're on the right track. And that's one gap that is definitely getting smaller.


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Posted by Samantha 01/25/2007 at 08:38 AM

Oh Come on to the Roddick fans, did you really think he had a chance? Roddick has a potty mouth. Go Justine!

Posted by chloe02 01/25/2007 at 08:42 AM

Great post, Pete - in my dreams, I get to to the press conference and rub shoulders with the coaches in the corridors, you lucky devil get to do for real!

I'm half with you on the 'lose in Kooyang, lull him into a fasle sense of security' line of thinking but that makes Roger even more scary. You are saying that the guy can turn on some of the best tennis the world has ever seen and not have to hone his game somewhere with someone from his peers? Are you sure there aren't several Roger Federer clones somewhere in Basel, marked A game, B game and the game I need to beat Robredo?

I was hoping that the A-rod would find some key to unlock Fed's game (I'd turned my Federbear to the wall so I could cheer on Roddick in this match), but no amount of warrior spirit could overcome Fed's magic play. 'Nuff said.

Posted by skip1515 01/25/2007 at 08:44 AM

This is the best thing you've ever written here. You hit all the reporter's and commentator's buttons. Thanks.

Posted by Andrew 01/25/2007 at 08:50 AM

In the AO Crisis Center thread I had Roddick as Coyote to the Federer Roadrunner. Andy definitely needs some ACME rocket shoes, and some dynamite...

chloe02, I love the Federer clones line....

But it's also interesting that Federer himself is pushing himself at 2-0, 2-0 - don't get overconfident, keep the level up, this is a strong opponent.

He is absolutely right to do this - I've played many matches (at 100 times lower skill levels) where a dominating player or team loses concentration for a minute, and the whole match turns. You don't win GS tournaments by listening to praise. You do it, if you're Federer, by reminding yourself that the other guy can still come back into it.

Posted by May 01/25/2007 at 08:51 AM

Pete, that was just a great piece. And I am glat to read about the applause to Andy - he fully deserved that.

Rog wore his baseball cap backwards? *going in search of pictures*

Posted by blinkety blank 01/25/2007 at 08:52 AM

That was a great article Pete! Thanks.

Posted by chloe02 01/25/2007 at 08:52 AM

Hey Pete, you didn't tell us that Mikey Seabra actually asked his 'what's the question you've never been asked' question!

Q: For the past four years you've probably given 500 press conference. Is there a question that none of us has ever asked you that you'd like to answer?

ROGER FEDERER: I'm sure there's a hundred thousand questions you can still ask me. Those will come for the next five years or so.

Go, Miguel!! Just for the record, Pete, did you guys have a little side-bet on whether he would ask it or not??

Posted by Ed McGrogan 01/25/2007 at 08:53 AM

Great post, Peter...keep this up; the pressers from the AO have just been a joy to read about. Am I actually the first poster on here...figured it would be littered by now? I would just like to say that I have never been prouder to be a Roger fan, as this was one of the finest performances I have ever seen him display.


Thanks, Ed

Posted by 01/25/2007 at 08:59 AM

In fact, Federer took Roddick's recent resurgence so seriously that he chose to play possum in their recent exhibition-match meeting at Kooyong (which Roddick won). He came to the net frequently in that match, partly because he didn't want to give Andy too good a look at the kind of game he would trot out tonight. TMF hit a surprisingly high number of sliced backhands at Kooyong, not just because of their value as approach shot. He was sandbagging Roddick, as he plotted to rely more heavily on the flat or topspin shots here. And did I mention that TMF and Roddick had practiced at least once here at Melbourne Park, with Andy tagging TMF, four-and-four?

Roger is a joker

Posted by ruy mendes 01/25/2007 at 08:59 AM

Andy forgot to do the right things, that is be patient, use the forehand to stay on the rallies, don´t go to the net following anything short oh a PERFECT approach.
Even if he had done all this correctlly, he would only had win a couple more games.
As Pete said - it was the best tennis performance he has EVER seen.

Posted by Matchup 01/25/2007 at 09:03 AM

wonderful insider staff, Pete.

I think Fed was genuinely worried about this match and he openly admits it. How he translates "fear" and a threat to his position into producing peerless performances surely counts as one of his best assets. At this stage, there seems not to be another tennis player around who can match Fed on talent, consistency, mental strengths and dare I say, happy-go-lucky thoughts.

BTW, poor Andy. Wonder how Connors is going to regroup his charges since plan A(-Rod) has simply not worked. And I also hope, Conners start to be friendly to Fed when they meet the next time, too.

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 01/25/2007 at 09:04 AM

I hope Andy can recover and RF was right and fair to say in his press conference to say it was a match for AR to simply put behind him and RF to remember - he actually said he was playing out of his mind.

I think ARs origonal decline from number one came from being obsessed about beating RF. I hope he can see how he has retooled his game to be able to compete well with the other 18 players in the top ten and make it consistently to finals. A goal he could start with is getting back to number two and see his last four months as a resounding success as everyone but two guys would see as such.

Posted by Maplesugar 01/25/2007 at 09:05 AM

Pete, thanks for another incredible inside look at your world and TMF. You always deliver.

That Roger would be such a fox and sandbag Andy as you wrote is another aspect of the man's genius that I would have never known had you not brought that delicious information to light.

Thanks so much.

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 01/25/2007 at 09:07 AM

I also think it is clear from RF's press conference, he really likes Andy as a person and respects him as a player. He said everything to help AR take something positive away from the AO and view this particular night one of those nights where everything goes right for one guy and wrong for the other.

Posted by Friday 01/25/2007 at 09:11 AM

Geez poor andy, I'm all go federer but i really feel for the guy. to get your hopes up like that and see it smashed to the ground into a million little pieces

Posted by Allie 01/25/2007 at 09:15 AM

Serves Andy right - "the gap is closing"!!!??? Beat Fed a few times in non-xo events before you say that again, punk.

Wertheim said it best, there is a mean streak to Fed. I love it! ;-)

Posted by DrD. 01/25/2007 at 09:16 AM

what's wrong with Roddick ? I hate the ugly american type as much as anyone but I see none of it in him. He might be unpleasant on court but you never get the sense he believes himself a superior being. This press conference he went through must be the most humbling experience one can be faced with, next to being dragged on the streets naked with a sign that reads "lick my Wilanders". It takes a man to endure it with such dignity.

Posted by robbyfan 01/25/2007 at 09:18 AM

Can anyone tell me what this does to the rankings? Does Andy move over Blake and where will Nadal be?

Posted by codepoke 01/25/2007 at 09:22 AM

You make these stories so much fun!

Now I'm scared though. Your article on Gonzo (comments closed already?!?! What's that all about!) made him my new second favorite player. When Fernando is done blowing through Haas, and Federer is dealing with letdown from the perfect match, it's going to be one nail-biting final.

Posted by May 01/25/2007 at 09:23 AM

Allie: so do I!. His meanness is chocolate covered, but it's there alright :)

Posted by May 01/25/2007 at 09:27 AM

Robbyfan: Nadal will still be number too. And yes, Roddick will move over Blake. I think he will be ranked fourth now.

Posted by Allie 01/25/2007 at 09:28 AM

DrD: Most of the time nothing is wrong with Roddick, cause he does have lots of personality, but a few times in the Open he was back to being a brat again. EG: Calling the chair ump a glorified scorekeeper, and calling Tsongas a "f---ing pr---"

May- chocolate covered, hee hee. Yum!

Posted by Andrew 01/25/2007 at 09:31 AM

Tokyo Tom: well said.

Federer may not know the song, but Roger acts as if he's aware of the line from Little Feat's "On Your Way Down"

"It's high time, that you found,
The same dudes you misuse on your way up, you might meet up,
On your way down."

I don't get any sense that at any time he has disrespected another player's skill or effort, in victory or defeat. That's partly why the Federer - Nadal low-five at Wimbledon last year may be my favorite sports memory of the decade.

The top tier of men's tennis, right now, is blessed with sportsmen who can handle both victory and defeat with honesty and grace (see Blake after Shanghai, Federer after Rome). It's a good time to be watching the sport.

Posted by johnnykay 01/25/2007 at 09:32 AM


great post. i would like to add something, but i think you already said everything. i really liked the poetry in motion line. unbeleiveable performance from federer but i still enjoyed watching it even though the result was never in doubt. feel a little bit sorry for roddick, though.

Posted by chloe02 01/25/2007 at 09:35 AM

From Eurosport "Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash has lamented the current state of men's tennis, claiming that Roger Federer's dominance has made the game too predictable."

http://www.eurosport.com/tennis/australian-open/2007/sport_sto1065975.shtml

This kind of stuff drives me crazy - The Mighty Federer (I think today he deserves the full title!) plays tennis at a level unseen before and Pat Cash claims he's boring. I hope Cash is just saying it to get some airtime because otherwise it makes him seem like a dope.

Posted by robbyfan 01/25/2007 at 09:35 AM

and 3 will be? How long will nadal remain at #2? I really don't understand protected ranking points and all that. but dont' want to go ot here and face steggy again. I'll repost over there on the ot post. thanks.

Posted by May 01/25/2007 at 09:45 AM

chloe2: Cash also gave Rafa the edge over Roger before the US Open. *shrugging" Another one-slam wonder who thinks he is very wise and astute. Next!

Posted by Todd and in Charge 01/25/2007 at 09:46 AM

Another winner Pete. I can't wait to see this match. I'll take Andy's "take it like a man" presser over "I went out there hurt" contortions any day of the week -- in sports, business, politics, life.

Posted by Tari 01/25/2007 at 09:47 AM

Posted by May 01/25/2007 @ 9:45 AM

"Cash also gave Rafa the edge over Roger before the US Open. *shrugging" Another one-slam wonder who thinks he is very wise and astute. Next!"

May, you are on a roll lately. Next, indeed. :)

Posted by Tari 01/25/2007 at 09:49 AM

Good point, TIC. :) Andy has thoroughly enjoyable pressers (from a fan's standpoint), win or lose. He's gracious, witty, and sincere.
No excuses. Part of the reason I became a fan of his in the last year or so. His interviews are a must-read.

Posted by ndk 01/25/2007 at 09:52 AM

I set my alarm for 4:14am, watched about 5 minutes of Roger's incredible shotmaking and went back to bed! I had to laugh when the cameras showed a shot of Roche smiling broadly (rare) after one of TMF's "incredible" shots.

I do feel bad for Andy- while his attitude on court is sometimes in your face and his game is not artistic, I have to respect the hard work and persistence..

Pete, did you ask Mats if TMF has Wilanders? :-)

Posted by gerrynjapan 01/25/2007 at 09:53 AM

Will 2007 be the year that TMF takes the Grand Slam? It's probably two days too soon to begin speculating, but unless the universe suddenly reverses itself, then I think we're headed in a very similar direction as where things were at last year. The next few months will definitely be very interesting, especially to see if Nadal can get back to where he was last year and whether TMF will be able to carry things through the clay court build up to RG. Is it just me, or apart from the awards ceremony, does it already feel like the AO is essentially over and done on the men's side?

Posted by Molasses 01/25/2007 at 09:54 AM

Damn straight, Roger! I'm so glad someone finally let the air out of Roddick's peacock-strut arrogance. Now maybe the ESPN-PMac-Roddick lovefest can go away. That scoreline is so ridiculous it literally has me laughing.

Posted by ptenisnet 01/25/2007 at 09:55 AM

Very cool pete.

Can't help feeling sorry for Roddick.
It is clear that the Fed respected Roddick on some level.
11 net approaches in this match as opposed to an average of 25-30 in all the others.

Posted by rudy3 01/25/2007 at 10:01 AM

"Federer after Rome"

Sorry Andrew, I have to disagree with you there. Hardly a shining momment for TMF.

No doubt Fed is a genius. He is a superb athlete. And he is playing with a confidence right now that is unpresidented. I think he has gained this confidence in part because he now knows he can get Rafa. His proven nemisis has been conquered. Both by him, and a string of lesser warriors. This allows him that freedom of mind. And TMF is all about the mind.

Posted by VC 01/25/2007 at 10:03 AM

Another sublime performance. Really, as fans we should stop doubting Federer. And he didn't let up on his intensity level at any point after the fourth game. This bodes very well for future matches against Nadal, where I think he has been let down by concentration lapses. The match he played against Nadal in Shanghai was definitely a step in the right direction, though he did have one poor game serving for the first set.

The major difference against an opponent like Nadal is, unlike Roddick, he would never go away. Roddick was clearly a broken man after set 1. Those winners in the early part of set 2 definitely played a part, though! It was some of the most incredible shotmaking I have seen since, uh, that Master's Cup final against Blake (seems long back)! Federer fans are truly privileged.

I still do think the semifinal win over Nadal in that tournament was his best performance ever. Nadal himself was playing incredible tennis after the first couple of games and would have easily beaten anybody else. The hitting from the baseline in the last couple of games of that match had to be seen to be believed. Nadal did not give away that match. Federer won it. For pure quality of tennis, it was a mini-classic.

Coming back to this one though, it does prove that mentally Roddick has some way to go, when Federer starts taking charge of the match. I did not see the same fight that he showed in New York and Shanghai, which is a bit of a pity. Maybe the slower surface here gave Federer more time to set up on those passing shots and time the returns better, and Roddick ran out of ideas when his plan A (to hustle Federer and get to net) failed. I would be interested to know what you guys think.

Posted by Jay 01/25/2007 at 10:12 AM

Alrighty, then. I taped this slaughtering, had my coffee all ready for a 3-hour tennis treat, and then Roger had to go and ruin it for me by playing lights out. I repeat, why does everything always happen to me? Roger deserves the title.

I liked the "We didn't really talk about it. Oops." portion of the Roddick presser. That was the highlight. That's exactly the kind of sarcastic remark that I would offer up.

Who knows, maybe Roddick saw Vaidisova out last night and they got inebriated to the beat of "Smack That". But I guess that would be statutory, wouldn't it? Don't worry Andy...she's 28!

Posted by Victor 01/25/2007 at 10:18 AM

Pete, on your last Fed post you said that Miguel wanted to ask if there was a question he hadn't been asked. Somebody actually asked him that today, was it Miguel?

The question I would love to see someone have the 'Wilanders' to ask him would be if he has ever sent a fruit basket or something to Luis Horna for that defeat at the '03 FO.

Posted by Tari 01/25/2007 at 10:19 AM

Posted by Jay 01/25/2007 @ 10:12 AM:

"Roger deserves the title."

Jay. Your sweetness is showing. :)

Posted by Victor 01/25/2007 at 10:22 AM

Abou Wilander btw, I don't get why he gets so much heat here for his comments on Fed. He does commentary for Eurosport here in the UK and he's actually quite good. Of course he can be really really wrong sometimes but the guy's only human, I for one find him quite entertaining in the commentary box.
Also, he only has good things to say about Federer; the guy has the same awe for his game as the rest of us. I think his 'wilanders' comments might have been a bit un-PC but the guy actually had a point and he should be respected for that.

Posted by MrsSanta 01/25/2007 at 10:26 AM

Federer is beyond nasty. For the first time ever I feel sorry for Roddick. Poor Andy . It's so unfair. He tries so hard, develops a reasonable fascimille of a backhand, hires a cheerleader and reminds himself regularly that he still has Wilanders during a match. And yet despite all this there is dreaded recognition that Roger Federer is going to going to have a good day and render all his improvements irrelevant.

That press conference though is pure comedy.

"Q. After a night like this, do you sleep well?

ANDY RODDICK: Do I sleep well?

Q. Yes.

ANDY RODDICK: It depends on how much I drink tonight. "

I feel like this everyday Andy.

"Q. You said this week that you thought the gap between you and Roger was closing, or at least wasn't getting any wider.

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, not tonight.

Q. The next time you feel that, will you keep it to yourself?"

Who is this reporter. Does he club baby seals in his spare time?

Posted by May 01/25/2007 at 10:31 AM

Mrs Santa, Roger isn't nasty. He just wants to avoid meeting your strippers, so he must win all his matches.


Posted by ndk 01/25/2007 at 10:32 AM

Victor, I agree Wilander is a great analyst- I have appreciated his thorough understanding of the game and how he is able to express it unlike some commentators. I think that some of the reason that I joke about the comment is that Federer lost a few matches while winning countless others. While TMF has never had a Sampras-Courier AO or Sampras-Correjta USO match, I do think he is a very subtle warrior and him winning Wimbledon after all of the previous Nadal losses showed his mental strength.

Posted by Tari 01/25/2007 at 10:37 AM

I heard Roger say once that he would never consider giving a point or a game away, even for a good friend. He basically said that you can't afford to do that because at any time the match could change and the next thing you know, your friend's smiling at the net because he won.

Posted by Sam 01/25/2007 at 10:39 AM

"This is the best thing you've ever written here. You hit all the reporter's and commentator's buttons. Thanks."

My sentiments exactly, skip. Beautiful piece.

Posted by Victor 01/25/2007 at 10:40 AM

ndk, of course TMF is a warrior all the way! But the way he played the FO final, especially after being so close in Rome, kinda validates Wilander's point. He played scared, that's the only way I can get my head around it. But yeah the way he managed to win that wimbledon final tells loads about his character...so much pressure and so much too lose.

Posted by MrsSanta 01/25/2007 at 10:51 AM

May

He is very Nasty. This is the equivalent of the skinny kid in high school spending all summer working out and drinking protein shakes and on the first day of school he not only gets his lunch money stolen by the school bully, but he also get his faced dunked in the toilet and an atomic wedgie.

And lap dancers for Dudi can do celebrations too. Call us Fed.

Posted by May 01/25/2007 at 10:56 AM

Mrs Santa,

If the skinny kid is delusional, whose fault is it? But come on, you will say I am nasty as well. Fed is a genius, and geniuses should perform to the best of their abilities. I am sure there were many scientists who worked much harder than Einstein did, and yet didn't receive the Noble Prize, and their names are long forgotten. C'est la Vie.

Posted by Todd and in Charge 01/25/2007 at 11:01 AM

I hope this doesn't reawaken in Andy the single-minded obsession with killing the "white whale." Last time he retooled specifically for Fed he had some pretty subpar results.

Posted by ndk 01/25/2007 at 11:06 AM

I am watching the replay now (yes, work has taken a backseat with the AO) and I guess with the way Roger played, Roddick even at his best could not have beaten him- wow!

I don't think Andy will become obsessed with the "white whale" again. I think they have all learned the hard way over the last couple of years when their rankings etc. dropped (roddick, hewitt, safin) that they have to worry about the rest of the field as well..

Posted by Shabazza 01/25/2007 at 11:06 AM

A really great piece Pete. Together with the Gonzalez post, you really on a roll atm. like those 2 guys you've given us the insides to their pressers and training.

I have to say the mens side far outshines the woman on at the AO this year. Federer is such a likable, modest and honnest Nr.1 we're really glad to have someone like him representing tennis. Gonzo is just a "feel-good" story and you just have to like him and admire his will to get better.

I feel for Roddick, but i'm sure he'll manage to forget this match soon and focus on the positives from this AO. He has every chance of winning against anyone not named Federer. His presser and Federer'S are always a great read.

I agree with Andrew wholeheartedly: I'm really glad to wittnes this time in tennis. A good time to be a tennis fan indeed.

Posted by sportsfreak 01/25/2007 at 11:07 AM

@ Ptenisnet:

I think it has to do more with Fed playing unbelievably well from the baseline, than showing respect to A-Rod by not approaching the net a lot.....I bet that wouldn't havee been the case if Fed was losing points from the baseline (errors from him/winners from A-Rod)

Posted by CM 01/25/2007 at 11:07 AM

I'm assuming last night's match was not a "warrior moment" for Roger, right? *she asks with her tongue firmly in cheek*

But who needs "warrior moments" when you have complete annihilation?

Posted by paleochora 01/25/2007 at 11:10 AM

Dr D - LMAO
'This press conference he went through must be the most humbling experience one can be faced with, next to being dragged on the streets naked with a sign that reads "lick my Wilanders". It takes a man to endure it with such dignity.'

Poor poor Rodders it was like witnessing the Christians being fed to the lions in Ancient Rome.

No shame for A Rod there - he came in with a much improved game.

But TMF was awesome - sport met art tonight.

Thanks Pete for the 'Inside Edition' Tennis notes.

Posted by ptenisnet 01/25/2007 at 11:12 AM

sportsfreak.
my point was, coming to the net didnt seem like a big strategy for that match as opposed to his previous rounds.

Posted by Cade 01/25/2007 at 11:14 AM

Federer is a neurological miracle--a genius of modern athleticism and the mental approach to that athleticism. The performance I saw last night was simply jaw-dropping. How sentient tennis watcher, from any corner of this planet, can "doubt" ANYTHING about Federer at this point is ludicrous. I have avidly watched/followed pro-tennis since the Laver days, and I can tell you that no single player has equalled the technical/mental brilliance of Roger Federer.

Don't get me wrong: Rod Laver and Pete Sampras are both geniuses who stand right alongside Federer, but neither possessed that extra bit of truly frightening court intuition that Federer seems capable of summoning, at will, on all the most pressure-addled occasions. Wizardy of the highest order...and that is not even an adequate metaphor. It's almost imposible to describe that *extra* peculiar genius of Federer. And it *is* peculiar...because no one else has it, or has possessed it to such degree. Thus far, I would say it is a solid triumvirate of three TRUE all-time geniuses: Federer, Laver, and Sampras. Mix-em up in any order, for the time being. They are all there...the power of three.

Remember, I am writing only from the perspective of watching all three play at their prime, and taking away all the technology, hyper-training of the new millennium, etc. This is about pure tennis skill, competitive will, and instinct to kill. Part of me would include John McEnroe and Boris Becker as true all-time geniuses--but only in the net aspects of their games. They are all time greats, immortals--not all-time geniuses. Bjorn Borg would come the closest to entering the triumvirate and making it a quartet. Yet, Borg deliberately stunted his career at a time when he needed to prove his mental genius in the face of an encroaching rival. Still, I am tempted to place Borg in the mix for pure, icy, well-rounded brilliance, but not tempted enough.

The one I will place as a true "auxiliary all-time genius" is Connors. Purely as a competitive force, his shadow looms so large that one can almost (but not quite) overlook the true deficiencies in his one-dimensional game.

But really, if Federer never plays another match, he has already made quite a visible case, strictly in terms of observable talent. Of course, the legacy needs to be solidified. He needs to win the French Open and is certainly capable (we often forget--he grew up playing on clay and he's come extraordinarily close to unseating Nadal on the surface already). If Federer takes this Oz Open and manages *at least* to win the French this year, his record will automatically eclipse that of Sampras, even if he should never win another Slam title. The French Open is crucial. If he should take the Grand Slam this year (possible, but not as probable as many are saying), the entire point is moot, and Federer simply becomes the acknowledged greatest tennis player in history.

As for Roddick, he is a fine player and (so far) one-time Slam champion, but there are too many obvious deficiencies in his game. That is not to say that he cannot remove those deficiencies. The only answer for Roddick, as I see it, is for him to play (this is going to sound odd) exactly the way Maria Sharapova played against Kim Clijsters in her Oz semi. Both Roddick and Sharapova have rather stiff, one-dimensional A-games. But Sharapova managed something in her semi that Roddick would be wise to duplicate. She did not serve and volley, but rather used her strong serve to place her firmly inside the baseline off-the-mark, and then she routinely followed big approach shots to the net for huge putaways. Roddick, I believe, is quite capable of this.

He will never be a good serve and volley artist (too late!), but he could become a powerful approach-shot maestro and start jamming Fed's frequencies at the net with putaways. But Roddick needs to keep working and start using those improving groundies as more than window-dressing. He must move forward and stick with his plan, particular against Federer, but only after drastic improvement in his confidence about the ground attack. he has much work to do, but I believe if he develops a world-class approach game, there are more Slams in his future. I would love to see it, because Roddick is a dtermined young American and tennis needs him; I don't give a rat's a$$ about his occasional on-court frustrations.

Nadal? Great clay specialist who had some surprising multi-surface results, but the toll on the body is now evident. He's too buffed, too pumped. His secret is out. He, too, needs to develop.

Unlike the opinions of, say, Pat Cash, Federer is the best thing to happen to the men's game. Federer will force the men to begin playing with the kind of true all-court savvy that the best technicians of the past were able to produce. Or else.

Pete--GREAT inside look at the post-match hullabaloo. Kudos.

Posted by sportsfreak 01/25/2007 at 11:14 AM

And, as many have mentioned here (Tari and TIC), I have always n'joyed ARod's pressers alot.

"If there were rankings for press conferences, I wouldn't have to worry about dropping out of the top five, I hope."

Andy, you would have been competing for the number one spot!!

Posted by sportsfreak 01/25/2007 at 11:17 AM

lol ptenisnet....thts wat I was saying too...except that Fed would have changed his strategy if his shots weren't working from the baseline.....he would have approached the net more....;)

Posted by ptenisnet 01/25/2007 at 11:22 AM

oh yes. I agree with that.

Posted by Sanja 01/25/2007 at 11:22 AM

Kudos to Andy.

That is great that Fed thinks about maintaining his concentration all throughout the match even after a bagel. I would think one would relax and hit out. It's quite brutal. I'm imagining some sort of wrench slowing closing right now.

I've always assumed Fed plays in a zone. I'm laughing thinking of that point at the US Open last year against Henman when he returned a shot between his legs *pure reflex* for a winning passing shot. He laughed inspite of himself (I felt he was saying to himself, This is unbelievable, just fantastic, I'm incredible) while holding up his racket and giving Henman a Fed Nod. Just Brutal, really.

Posted by MrsSanta 01/25/2007 at 11:22 AM

May delusion is all the skinny kid has to go on. Otherwise he might start getting beat up by Giles Muller again. And I mean nasty in a totally gangstar way.

Andy should stop playing matches against Fed and just do pressers from now on.

I'm amused by the difference between Pete and Andre's perception of Fed and those of Wilander and Cash.

Posted by May 01/25/2007 at 11:23 AM

Rod Laver on the question whether TMF is the GOAT:

"I have to believe it because he's got every shot in the book.

"And his experience of late seems to be (that) he's stepping it up even further.

"Just the shots that he uses in a match is quite incredible. He knows the safe zone and he knows when to hit out and go for winners.

"You don't see him being passed very often when he comes to the net and that's because he comes in at the right time. Sometimes (there is) the surprise attack and other times it's just (after) dipping the ball at a person's foot. I think the art of Roger is probably the best player I've ever seen."


I *heart* Laver. Since Rog cried on his shoulder last year, I have a special affection to him. And whenever he is asked about Fed, I know I am going to love the answer. Here is one great champion who is neither jealous nor cranky, just a class act.

Posted by Sanja 01/25/2007 at 11:24 AM

Love the picture of Andy and Fed.

A picture says a thousand words or something like that. The Rajah looks very pleased with himself but is trying to be humble. It's very endearing. It's ok Fed - you are FABULOUS!

Posted by Snoo Foo 01/25/2007 at 11:30 AM

"I don't know how much you forget it or how much you remember it. I don't know what's better in this situation, to be honest. But it's there. It happened. You deal with it. You try your best to move forward.... I'm not going to sit here and try to be in denial about it. You know, so I'm just still trying to figure out the best way to move forward."

A-Rod talks like he got freaking assaulted. I find him to be one of the least sympathetic tennis personalities but even I am feeling sorry for him today, what with headlines like "Roddick Ancestors Feel Beating." Props to him for not blaming his achy breaky arse.

Posted by May 01/25/2007 at 11:31 AM

Sanja, do you think Gonzo has committed a grave enough sin that will justify him winning the semi final and having to face TMF? I can believe that Haas has a karmic debt to pay, but Gonzo seems such a nice guy.

Posted by Sanja 01/25/2007 at 11:32 AM

I think Wilanders and Cash are subconciously or not playing the backlash card. Since there is a perception that everyone thinks he is the greatest they will counter attack. It's more interesting for everyone this way.

Fed is a class act, I love the way he handled the Djoko annoyance though he JUST couldn't help taking that big swing at the ball during that match. The man does have Wilanders after all.

Plus he is a professional athelete that does not feel the need to shave his legs (or wax his chest) for massage or asthetic purposes. GO FED umm at the FO this year but um not Sunday - OK?

Posted by Allie 01/25/2007 at 11:33 AM

Snoo Foo: "Props to him for not blaming his achy breaky arse."

too funny!

Posted by MrsSanta 01/25/2007 at 11:33 AM

"I find him to be one of the least sympathetic tennis personalities but even I am feeling sorry for him today, what with headlines like "Roddick Ancestors Feel Beating." Props to him for not blaming his achy breaky arse."

Ha ha.

Posted by FoT 01/25/2007 at 11:38 AM

Well guys - I'm in 7th heaven today - great win by Federer...but it's not over yet. One more to go!

Posted by Heidi 01/25/2007 at 11:39 AM

I have no words. Except to repeat that I will never doubt Roger again.

Oh wait, I do have words. How's the final not going to be a letdown? Well, I suppose if Gonzo comes out lights a-blazin' and Fed still waxes him, it can go up. Look, you read Fed's presser; he's not going to underestimate anyone. Here's to two great finals, I hope. Here's to me watching them, since last year my TV broke and I had to listen to the finals. And this one's picture tube is already starting to go around the edges. Sigh. GO ROGER!!!

Posted by May 01/25/2007 at 11:44 AM

No, no. It's not over yet. We must keep being worried or TMF will think we are taking him for granted.

*pins a WM badge on Rog for admitting he was too nervous to take his parents sightseeing*

Posted by Sanja 01/25/2007 at 11:46 AM

Sticks head up from conjuring up spells, lining up the Gods in favor of My Fernando.

I think Roddick took the beat down for everyone. It can't really get much worse. Everyone would understand.

It's a pity, though because it would be great to see just HOW ornery Tommy would get if he was receiving a smack down.

But I want my Fernando to have the opportunity. Where there is opportunity there is a chance. Also I know (much like Baggy) he will gain legions of fans - hard to resist those eyes and that smile.

Posted by Matt Zemek 01/25/2007 at 11:52 AM

May,

Let's remember that earning the right to lose to TMF will still give Gonzo or Haas a quarter of a million extra dollars.

Any human being should love to be humiliated for an extra quarter-mil... and it's not as though they're doing something immoral or debasing to bring about their humiliation, either...


Posted by ptenisnet 01/25/2007 at 11:55 AM

Lucy
If you are out there, Roddick deserves a WM (atleast 1) for coming up to shake hands with the Fed at the net and sticking around for the presser.

Posted by Sanja 01/25/2007 at 12:05 PM

Just when I'm getting inspired someone has to bring up money.

It's not about the money. It's about convincing someone for two months that you are serious about committing 100% to putting your all into being the absolutely best that you can be. It's putting yourself in the postion to succeed and realize your dreams. It's getting up everyday and doing that training regime eventhough it's the last thing you want to. It's dreaming the big dream.

Pfffffffffffffffftttttttttt Money.

Posted by Matt Zemek 01/25/2007 at 12:09 PM

In the aftermath of this Fed-Roddick match (and this amplifies what was said on the AO Crisis Center Day 11 thread, which had the match call), what's important to realize is that while Federer saves his energy for important moments (an oft-repeated theme of mine that I won't belabor anymore), Roddick did precisely the opposite.

While Fed coasts and saves energy against the Robredos of the world, Roddick needs to spill his guts to fend off the Ancics and of the world. It was an admirable performance in the round of 16 against Mario, but it was nevertheless against a player Roddick should beat.

There's an inverse relationship to Fed's and Roddick's performances in slam matches.

Fed is often pedestrian against those who are particularly impotent and inferior in the face of TMF's talents. Ergo, Fed only shows a B game in the middle rounds, a C-game in the first round.

But oh, once in the semis or finals of a slam, Fed puts on his "champion's cap," digs in, finds that positive competitive fear, and takes nothing for granted.

This helps explain why Fed (obviously; there never should have been any doubt about this whatsoever) net-rushed his way through Kooyong and sandbagged. Fed's honesty in admitting to pre-match nervousness is bracing and refreshing (it never gets old), but it should not be surprising. Fed's not dumb--he knew that Roddick was better, knew what happened at Flushing Meadows in September, knew that Jimbo had Andy breathing confidence.

This is where you get that grim game face... you know, the one that doesn't smile after preposterous backhand winners struck with a "girl-skipping-through-tulip-fields" pose.

For Roddick, on the other hand, grand slams present an inverted profile. Andy's had mixed results over the past few years, but on many occasions, he'll dust off the early-round patsies but then struggle in the semis or finals of the big events. The way Roger attacks a final is the way Roddick attacks a 4th round or QF. The way Andy attacks a semi or final is the way Roger attacks an early-round match.

Roger set himself up to peak, emotionally and physically, for this Roddick semi, which was a big deal throughout the tennis world and possessed obvious (and justified) buzz.

Roddick peaked for five matches, only to mentally wilt in the face of the challenge(r) he knew he had to stare down all along.

This match says so much about the way these two players approach certain matches and occasions, which--as we should know by now--are not created equal. It's not so much that folks should never again underestimate TMF; no, the point is that when TMF plays a match such as the one he produced against Robredo, we should not view it as a sign of genuine worry.

The time to worry is when that Robredo effort produces a loss or a wrenching five-setter that physically overextends Fed and leaves him drained for the next battle.

We all need to remember that Fed wins so many slams precisely because he straights all his opponents in the early rounds... even while pacing himself and muddling through on many occasions (and winning tons of tiebreakers, when the level is unfailingly elevated precisely because Rog knows that straight-setting matches is his true ticket to slam success).

Roger's parade of tough matches last year in Oz was the slam exception that proves the rule, by the way...

Posted by Matt Zemek 01/25/2007 at 12:15 PM

Sanja:

For both Fernando and Tommy, it's obviously not about the money. It's about championships and the things you accurately state.

I was simply responding to May and addressing the point about "receiving a cosmic smackdown" being something that's good to avoid.

No, it's not good to avoid a cosmic smackdown if receiving said smackdown gives you 250,000 extra smackers.

That's all... I know all too well about the insidious, poisonous influence of money in sports.

Nevertheless, one should always want to reach title matches (see "B" for Bills, Buffalo) even if one might lose in them.

Posted by Gen X 01/25/2007 at 12:30 PM

They have very liberal laws in Australia. I just saw some guy get sodomized on Centre Court for 83 minutes. Looked painful.

Posted by Sanja 01/25/2007 at 12:33 PM

For both Fernando and Tommy, it's obviously not about the money. It's about championships and the things you accurately state.

Nevertheless, one should always want to reach title matches (see "B" for Bills, Buffalo) even if one might lose in them.

+++++++++++++

Now we agree, and that's why I don't think compensation had a role to play here.

Keep Smiling.

Posted by robbyfan 01/25/2007 at 12:40 PM

They have very liberal laws in Australia. I just saw some guy get sodomized on Centre Court for 83 minutes. Looked painful.

Hilarious stuff! Andy would have laughed at that one I'll bet.

Posted by simplesanj 01/25/2007 at 01:11 PM


Andrew said:
I don't get any sense that at any time he [Federer] has disrespected another player's skill or effort, in victory or defeat. That's partly why the Federer - Nadal low-five at Wimbledon last year may be my favorite sports memory of the decade.

Eh? What are you talking about? The same Federer who keeps insisting that Nadal is one-dimensional and threw some hissy fits when Nadal kept beating him last year?

He's a great champion, I admit, but hardly the best at accepting his losses gracefully. I'm not sure why he gets so much credit for the low-five aith Nadal at Wimbledon. He'd won--he gets to be gracious. It was Nadal who displayed sportsmanship by touching hands with a man who'd accused him of receiving courtside coaching, and who'd repeatedly stated that he was getting closer to Nadal on clay, then got beat in the finals and given a less than gracious interview after.


Posted by Lisa 01/25/2007 at 01:11 PM

Alrighty, I've done my required tw reading and I can't say that I'm disappointed. It's a pretty fabulous morning despite not having hardly any sleep. I majored in partying at LSU and even my allnighters were limited, so that I stayed up for two matches throughout the night (Djok & Roddick)makes me a pretty proud Fedgirl.
Our boy did it. Did you see that they said Roger's mother had tears in her eyes when he won last night??? His family (sis, too) certainly treated it as if it was a final.

Posted by Ahead3 01/25/2007 at 01:19 PM

...They have very liberal laws in Australia. I just saw some guy get sodomized on Centre Court for 83 minutes. Looked painful.


HAAAAAA!!!!!! HAAAAAA!!!!!! HAAAAA!!!!!!

Posted by Mod Squad 01/25/2007 at 01:32 PM

I think it was a very good Aussie Open for Roddick. For the second straight major, he proved that if he's confident and determined he can make it deep into the second week of a slam. So that slump he went through when he was losing to a bunch of guys (not just Federer) seems to be history. That in itself is a victory. I think he should concentrate on continuing to make progress against the rest of the field.

Posted by WesternGrip 01/25/2007 at 01:32 PM

Simplsanj-When even the guys that you have just beaten to a pulp say that you're a class act (see Roddicks presser) you should get credit for it.

And if you don't buy the low five, how about when he gave Nadal the right of way when they were switching sides, and a big smile, during the Wimbledon match? That was a wonderful moment, and it came when they were in the thick of the match.

Look a little deeper, and listen to the people who are actually out there with him, and you'll understand why he gets the credit.

Posted by dibs 01/25/2007 at 01:37 PM

Getting to the US Open final and then the Aus Open semi only to lose to Federer both times must hurt Roddick. But I think he's one of the few players who will just try harder and not capitulate to Federer.

Whether saying he thought the gap was closing was a good PR move is questionable but if he's just, as he says, saying it honestly as he feels at the time I don't see any reason to criticize him for it.

If he had the talent to back up the belief he would be awesome. With his level of talent I think he's done really well - definite over achiever.

Posted by Sam 01/25/2007 at 01:42 PM

"They have very liberal laws in Australia. I just saw some guy get sodomized on Centre Court for 83 minutes. Looked painful."

OMG, that was hilarious!!!

On another note, I know Andy gets a lot of flack here, but I'm among those who think he gives good pressers.

Matt - Totally agree with your 12:09 post.

Posted by pointy head 01/25/2007 at 01:46 PM

TMF seems to have mastered the impossible:

face of a gentle soul..
flip the card...
heart of a killer...

Posted by Paranoid Android 01/25/2007 at 01:51 PM

simplesanj, Fed made a comment about Uncle Toni's coaching after ONE match last season; and it was the truth.

The one dimensional thing, which he has said after a win and loss, isn't meant as a criticism. However inaccurate you think that characterization is, Fed uses that term to describe Nadal's style of defensive, baseline play.

Posted by Danielle 01/25/2007 at 02:03 PM

Cade wrote:
"Federer is the best thing to happen to the men's game. Federer will force the men to begin playing with the kind of true all-court savvy that the best technicians of the past were able to produce."

I usually tune Mary Carillo out when I watch a match but she said the same thing last night and I have to agree. Fed's forcing everyone else to try and improve their game and you can see the results not just in Andy's newfound confidence and win streaks but in others like Gonzalez. Of course, the scary part is that Fed'll just up his game as well when he needs to! Which is fine by me...I went to bed with a big ole grin on my face last night.

Posted by dibs 01/25/2007 at 02:14 PM

Simlesanj said:

He's a great champion, I admit, but hardly the best at accepting his losses gracefully. I'm not sure why he gets so much credit for the low-five aith Nadal at Wimbledon. He'd won--he gets to be gracious. It was Nadal who displayed sportsmanship by touching hands with a man who'd accused him of receiving courtside coaching, and who'd repeatedly stated that he was getting closer to Nadal on clay, then got beat in the finals and given a less than gracious interview after.

Agree with you on this. Federer will never lose gracefully because his self belief doesn't allow him to acknowlege anybody being better than him. That's not a criticism so much as a fact, he won't tolerate it so if it happens he has to find an excuse.

The obvious comparison is Roddick saying he was getting closer to Federer and being gracious in defeat.

Posted by Tim 01/25/2007 at 02:25 PM

dlbs.. do you guys remember what McEnroe, Connors, Becker, Lendl and even Courier were like when they lost? To give Fed a bad time about his ungraciousness is pretty desperate for such a Unversally lauded champion, but I guess when y ou cant criticize his tennis, you gotta try something!

Fed's ungraciousness in defeat is about as ubiquitous as Serena's graciousness in victory ..

Posted by Tim 01/25/2007 at 02:29 PM

by the way didnt Fed lose gracefully to Murray last year, calling Carillo's 'tanking' comments ridiculous, that Murray won the match fair and square? or do we want to beat that Rome 'coaching' comment--which as paranoid said was a totally legit answer to a direct question in a presser--more to death than we already have?

*sorry, a tad cranky, no sleep for a week thanks to AO night sessions*

Posted by Jerell 01/25/2007 at 02:35 PM

tim, stop it, seriously, just say you don't like Serena, its not hard, you hate her, because we have give you or directed you to several instances were Serena has some benevolence and gratituity to her opponent.

Posted by ro'ee for Miguel Seabra 01/25/2007 at 02:37 PM

Miguel and Pete are having difficulties posting on the comment section from down under,so, direct via gmail, this is from the Portugese Federer:

Yep, Chloe and Victor, it was me who asked that 'pending' question to Federer -- but no side bets with Pete, though. I didn't ask it the other day, because the media liaison was urging us to finish the questioning, and that kind of question requires a certain timing. Actually, I thought his answer was a bit disappointing.


About Roger's legacy to the game, I was expecting that instead of the good guy approach he would talk more about the way he plays... a modern classic style in an era where the contemporary style (Safin-like, two-handed backhand) seemed to be the norm. Now, a lot of kids are following in Fed's steps...


About the use of the backhand:


Roger actually said he used the drive/topspin backhand way too much in that Shanghai Masters Cup match; then he confided that he served & volleyed and was at the net too much in the Kooyong exhibition match so that he would «not give Andy too much information» and the big difference in the Melbourne Park match was that he used the sliced backhand much more in the exchange... and we saw the outcome.

Of course, his drive backhand was also perfect when he needed to pass Andy (crosscourt or down the line)... but the shot I remember the most was a little marvel of a sliced backhand passing shot down the line that would make Ken Rosewall proud!

Posted by Rani 01/25/2007 at 02:54 PM

Anyone have a link to the highlights of this match? Can't seem to find it anywhere online...

Posted by Paranoid Android 01/25/2007 at 02:56 PM

Rani, here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHOrZfSsFL8

Posted by Rani 01/25/2007 at 03:11 PM

Many thanks, Paranoid Android. I can't BELIEVE I fell asleep during this one...

Posted by mici 01/25/2007 at 03:35 PM

First, pete great post about Gonzo, I sow the change already IN tornto and I said it right her, that his game around tornto started to remind me of fed. Gonzo sime like a great guy (and hot), I love how he smiled whan he mised that smah in the nadal match, I wish him good luck in the semi, always loved his game.

Fed-roddick: I wish I could have seen it live, but after I sow the tape of the match I have this to say:

1. In a way I falt sorrey for roddick, really did, but still wanted fed to win as much games as he could as I know and fed know very well you can come buck fed did if befor and you dont mass with roddick serve. I think roddick is beater player now and he probley would have beaten every other plyer, I just hope that this lose want demorlise him, keep working you have to be their for you chance (ex: haman, gora rafter chance whan fed gave them the bigest fevoret and knocked out sampras). Whan roddick needs to do is pot that match in a box and forget about it, just like fed said, and like opstmpic pepole think it was great match for fed to remember bad match for roddick to forget, it hapens forget about it. Don't LET THE PAST afct your all carrer, you cant change the result so move on work harder try to inporve. I said befor the match if roddick beats fed I cant say he wont deserbe it, so if he improves he pots himself in the posision that all every player ask for.

Roddick dont feel bad, I am fed fan and I am nit going to rabe it in.

2.Pete: I dont think fed trying to desive roddick with his tactics at all. we always comlain that players dont have plan b roght?! serve and volley was plan b if plan a didnt work, but plan a worked so ther wasnt a need for plan b.

Fed pactise serve and volley game becouse he needed to, especlly for roddick as plan b but not hust, but and the big but is, in the past fed serve and volley about 70% of the time he doesnt do that any more, and you forget thinks especlly at match-play. the skill will always be there but, hoe to aproch, get used to being past at the net etc those are thing you need tp prctise the more you do it in a match the beater you be at it.

ex: look at fed- hass game at 2006 aus open, fed played his usully game and won 2 set that was fed A game, that he lost costrasion (you can see it is his eays) and sadnly hass started to come it, fed tried to change tactic to serve and volley, but he had rust, I couldnt blive the UFE he was making the net he even missed smsh at the net,so he need prctise early on so whan he needs to use it he will be propred.


4.I am not suprised fed used the word fear at all, becouse he I always fell a littale denger from roddick becouse of his serve no mater how the H2H is, yes it depented of fed but things like the TMC can hapen whan a player have andys serve and fed for some reason at that match couldnt read it like he always does.

of course fed was afried for 3 set late down becouse it always hapens to him, in reglur atp turment in best of 3 match its usully 2 set woke abot In slams AND BEST OF 5 SETS its usully the 3 set or the 2 set.

I dont know if it the best fed played, I feel in the 2004 us final it was beater, the 2003 sw17 semi final was beater, and 2005 sw17 was beater and a lot of match a long the way.

5.about NO BALLS WILNDER, the tactics roddick tryed to use in this match are the same tactics he used in the us open and the TMC and every body said how great those tctics were.

I remember that I amd TIm said, that we dont think that fed played great in the 2006 us open, and that gave roddick maybe feeling its right tactics. If you look again at the us open final you can see how many times fed missed fh cross court from roddick aproch shot to fed bh side, and how many times he mised the bh down the line passing shot, those ufe made the match closer.

the tactics no balls taking about didnt work in the 2005 SW17 Final, go and look how many time fed passed roddick woth his short cross court angle bh. Roddick isnt fest enoght to cover the net befor fed hit that shot.

6. I said whan eurosport was comlaning about fed mod, and some ap articles, that they really dont get fed, and ecsplain why he did it, and I said the in the later stages the harder matchs we will se the same old "aice man" fed,

Posted by Tim 01/25/2007 at 03:45 PM

mici, do you think a Slam final is too daunting a prospect for Gonzo to play his best, and have a slight chance to even win? clearly, Fed has his # and that looms so large on the biggest stages...

I think Haas has no chance to actually win, as mici said, he only got back into the AO last year because Fed fell way down for a few sets ...

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