Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - The Locker Room 5.21.07
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The Locker Room 5.21.07 05/21/2007 - 2:30 PM

[Tennisworld note: I am supposed to appear tonight on ESPN' News's Pregame show with David Lloyd, where I will be spouting about Federer, Nadal, and other tennis-related matters - PB]

I'm always pleased when a newcomer posts a questions about the meaning of "WMB" or asks why the hail I can't spell "h-e-l-l" the way the rest of the Tribe does, the right way!  It's not that I revel in the insularity of Tennisworld, and just for the record I've always detested cliquishness - at least the superficial kind. It's possible to have a big tent that's also interesting, diverse and colorful, right? We are a Tribe, we have our own manners, customs and language.

The Warrior Moment meme happens to be a great way to enter into a discussion of yesterday's momentous event in Hamburg - Roger Federer's "upset" - for that is what it was - of Rafael Nadal in that Master Series final, a win made that much more resonant by the fact that it curtailed Nadal's stupendous 81-match, single-surface winning streak. That's an accomplishment that, I'm guessing, is going to outlive the career of either of yesterday's finalists and rank as one of those unassailable records.  So let's pause for a moment of silence to honor Nadal.


*Bows head*

Okay, let's move on. Federer's win was not a Warrior Moment, but before you throw your hands in the air and pitch the computer out the window (warning: pedestrians afoot!), consider the term. A Warrior Moment in the strict, formal sense of the term is a tipping point of sorts - a performance in which a player dramatically alters or shapes the perception the public has of him or her by demonstrating uncommon passion, courage and fighting spirit on an appropriately big stage: Sampras vs. Corretja at the U.S. Open is the quintessential WM: that is, although it was only a quarterfinal match, it occurred in a time and place that created massive,  repercussions. But a WM isn't really about the repercussions (In Sampras case, the public, relatively indifferent to Sampras at the time, sat up and thought, Man, this hombre has Wilanders! He's worth caring about!).

Serena Williams had a WM in the Sony-Ericsson Open in Miami a few weeks back, although in her case the WM had less to do with public perceptions (she knocked that ball out of the park in Australia) than with her individual quality as a competitor. Now my original thoughts on Warrior Moments, which utterly distressed fans of TMF when I posted them, was that Federer was so danged good, so elegant and able, that he had yet to capture the heart of the world-at-large with a suitably epic performance - one that usually involves being, figuratively, at death's door, only to prevail. Sure a little vomiting or cramping or crying helps, but it's not about the hurling. It's about, as Jimmy Connors put it, "Spilling  your guts in front of 20,000 people."

Now nobody would ever confuse The Mighty Fed with Jimbo. No way, no how, not in a thousand years of Sundays. Yet there's another way in which TMF actually did something that Connors, with his signature bombast, only threatened to do in a hollow if widely quoted sound bite. After losing a Wimbledon final to  to Bjorn Borg, Connors was asked if he would go to Australia, to prevent Borg from potentially completing a Grand Slam. He snapped, "I'll follow him to the ends of the earth."

Actually, Connors never followed Borg anywhere, although they met from time to time at three majors (neither of them had an overpowering interest in Australia in a typical year). That is, Connors did not pursue Borg with the kind of determination that TMF has displayed in his clay-court drive to turn the tables on Nadal. That, to me, is the main reason he deserves that cherished Warrior Moment Badge, even though it is less of a Warrior Moment than a Warrior Achievement.

When I first posted my I'll See you in Hell (sic) entry, I had mixed feelings. Look, we all know that Federer is far too even-tempered and smooth an operator ever to go snarling and cursing through a match, even if it can be shown to have Waterloo-grade significance. But in looking Nadal squarely in the eye and essentially saying, I'll play you anywhere, anytime, no matter how often you pound me into raw hamburger, TMF was demonstrating the same kind of tenacity and fearlessness that Sampras showed against Corretja except in a much broader context. The only quibble I have with my assessment, other than that, is that the headline on my entry failed to adequately convey that TMF already was in a kind of hell. And at moments in yesterday's match, you could see that in his expression. It wasn't agonized as much as it was opaque, steely and unflinching. But make no mistake, the reflection of the flames was dancing on his sweat-glazed forehead and the back of his neck.

There's a much less melodramatic way to look at all this (but what fun is that?): TMF knew that he had nothing to fear in playing Nadal; he himself owns the Wimbledon title, as well as most of the hard court biggies. So, given his own talent, what does Federer have to lose in confronting Nadal on every possible occasion on clay, where Nadal had mesmerized us into conceding him everything? Federer had to be thinking: One day, I'm going too play my game, my way, and it's going to be good enough - either because I'm that good, or because Nadal, like everyone else, is going to let down his guard, burn out, or just plain have an off day. I want to be there for it.

In other words, TMF followed Nadal to the ends of the earth. He didn't do that in Connors-esque, gunslinger fashion. He did it like an Apache scout, silently and patiently following the backtrail of his rival. So take your pick of interpretations: you can have the "hot" one (I'll See you in Hell) or the cooler, more typically Federer-esque one. I'm going to hunt you down and  bring you to justice, no matter how long it takes.Fire

As far as the match went, I think another win over TMF with the weight of 81 consecutive matches on his shoulders and the deadness of the long season on clay absorbed into his legs proved too much for Jet Boy. I won't take any away credit from Federer: you know my credo: you show up, you play, you win or lose, and you shut up about the rest.

But we all know this was no re-enactment of Nadal's Warrior Moment match - last year's final in Rome - but with the roles reversed. But here's something else. For a few weeks now, I've been obsessed with Ivan Lendl (like, how scary an idea is that?). In almost every tennis conversation I've had, I've entrapped my interlocutor, casually asking him or her to name the five greatest male clay-court players in recent memory. On many occasions, I've even taken the most obvious choice - Borg - out of the equation, essentially yielding an extra pick.

I had responses ranging from Muster to Bruguera to Kuerten and Wilander. All the usual suspects. But not a single person - especially when I kept Borg in the equation - mentioned Ivan Lendl. Yet, as I wrote some days ago, Lendl clearly has a clay-court record second only to Borg. My pal John Hoffman said he left Lendl off the list because he's so anti-pathetic that you don't even think about him, and I suppose there's a point there. Yet Lendl is the role model for Federer, when it comes to playing Nadal, or any of the clay-court grinders who form his honor guard.

Lendl did not have a "clay-court" game. He won because he was all-around impregnable, powerful, consistent and determined. Lendl never needed a "strategy" to beat anyone, although it helps to, say, serve with enough variety and efficacy to keep a guy like Nadal from running around the kicker to the backhand and smacking a forehand. Great players win or lose based far more on their degree-of-confidence and execution than all but the most glaring - and correctable - of technical shortcomings. Sampras shortened the take-back and swing on his service return at Wimbledon - poof! - he's going in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. It took him all of three or four days to make the adjustment. The rest is not rocket science, just history.

Speaking of which: has it occurred to anyone else that this Hamburg final might have only happened because TMF and Jet Boy owed Hamburg, big-time? Last year, they simultaneously bailed on the de facto German Open (due to exhaustion from the exceptional Rome final) last year. I have to believe that the promoters of Hamburg made them promise to play in 2007 - no matter what the circumstances - in exchange for being gracious about the double withdrawal.

So in one fell swoop - and in this, I think I had it right in my I'll See You in Hell entry - Roland Garros is  brimming with reinvigorated significance. The biggest question looming now is whether or not both men can get to that championship round. I don't consider it a slam dunk by any stretch.

Getting back to this Warrior Moment thing: Nadal's clay-court streak, like Federer's win yesterday, was not a WM but a Warrior Achievement. I don't know that we need to mint Warrior Achievement Badges (the factory is running round-the-clock already; our Lucy passes out those WMBs with the fervor of a Christian missionary ladling out beef stew in a soup kitchen, and good on her for it!), but I'm open to the idea if you raise an outcry over it.

Once you get done with the on-topic discussion here, feel free to use this as your week-long gathering place to discuss non-tennis related subjects. Happy Monday, everyone!

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Posted by creig bryan 05/21/2007 at 02:42 PM

WM. Boom. To Fed. To Nadal. To us.


Posted by Pete 05/21/2007 at 02:44 PM

Lucy - pls. email me. . .

Posted by Karen 05/21/2007 at 03:05 PM

WM Federer -no doubt about that - he not only took him down, he bageled him on his favourite surface to emphasise that he was being taken down - if that is not a WM moment don't know what would

Posted by ptenisnet 05/21/2007 at 03:16 PM

When we say stuff like "this whole week has been a warrior moment for so and so" what we mean is warrior achievement.

Posted by doris/daylily 05/21/2007 at 03:17 PM

pete, it's nice to experience deja-vu when reading you today. back to the pete i know and one writes like you, sweet cheeks.

Posted by one bored and frustrated tennis fan (not a KAD) 05/21/2007 at 03:17 PM

Okay I am ready for and all of its KADs to finally move on from the ridiculous Roger and Rafa megasuperduper lovefest hype and start talking about the tennis tournaments going on RIGHT NOW, which means Bodo et al should start reporting on and talking about TENNIS PLAYERS OTHER THAN FEDERER AND NADAL. Yes? please?

Thank you.

one bored and frustrated tennis fan (not a KAD)

Posted by doris/daylily 05/21/2007 at 03:20 PM

pete, what time is the espn thing on???? i wanna watch!!!

Posted by chloe02 05/21/2007 at 03:20 PM

Pete, I'm struggling with you on this one. Go back to your definition

"A Warrior Moment in the strict, formal sense of the term is a tipping point of sorts - a performance in which a player dramatically alters or shapes the perception the public has of him or her by demonstrating uncommon passion, courage and fighting spirit on an appropriately big stage"

Surely the stakes for Fed had/have never been higher than for anyone else in the game. You and the highest echelons of tennis commentary have been offering this guy the chance to be thought of the GOAT. Every other week, Fed either walks on tennis water or is just a-n-other great player. Everyone knows that Roland Garros stands between Fed and his destiny.

If Fed hadn't beaten Rafa yesterday, surely he would have no chance in Paris, doesn't that classify as a tipping point? Fighting spirit? How about playing the toughest hombre on the block and coming back from a set and 2 break points down to turn the match around and allow your opponent one more game before a bagel set. And this after everyone questions Fed's Wilanders after the missed match points in Rome 06. Courage? How about the courage to 'blink' and change the whole way you operate (ie without a coach) 3 weeks before the biggest Championship of the year?

I'm a Rafa/Roger flip flopper because I love the way both guys are pushing the tennis bar high as the sky. One the WM question, though, The Mighty Federer gets my vote.

Posted by patrick 05/21/2007 at 03:22 PM

One bored and frustrated tennis fan (not a KAD),
On Steve Tignor thread- Deep Tennis: The Big Sticks, there is some blogging on the WTA. It is not much Fed-Rafa blogging there.
Unfortunately, Rafa and Fed are domintating the ATP. Until someone steps up to the plate(ie-Djokovic in Miami), Fed & Rafa is going to be conversation number 1.

Posted by Sanja 05/21/2007 at 03:29 PM

Yes Pete, please give us more info on what time the show is on. I couldn't find it on the ESPN TV listings. Is that on SportsCenter?

Is it too much to ask if we are still getting a Lendl piece/post?

Luis Horna with a comfortable win over DOLGOPOLOV JR., O. (UKR) today in Portschach. That's for you, Ray, dear.

Posted by Todd and in Charge 05/21/2007 at 03:30 PM

Interesting reflections, Pete. Watching that match I was thrilled by the way TMF stepped it up after that first set and simply raised his game to the level necessary to win, and win decisively.

I know you and others poo-pooed it when I suggested that perhaps Davydenko provided a road map in Rome on how to beat Nadal -- that maybe on clay against Nadal you have to play supercharged clay-court tennis, as opposed to the conventional wisdom (no long baseline rallies, come to the net, shorten points as much as possible). But wasn't this match validation that you can win against Nadal on clay by playing better clay court tennis? The difference for me was that Davy couldn't maintain that supercharged level for the long haul, while Fed stepped it up and sustained it for two straight sets.

Much like Gilbert Gottfried is considered a "comedian's comedian," I think clay holds a special fascination for players and diehard fans because the surface, in its modern form, requires you to play better -- no "cheap points" off serves, or easy winners -- you have to earn points by playing clever tennis, experimenting with a variety of shots, angles, strategies and techniques -- until you hit on the magic combination that produces a win in a very physical and demanding environment. In other words, on clay you cannot hide your weaknesses.

From my vantage point, TMF rallied with Nadal like a champion clay-courter, working points and angles, moving Nadal around, hanging on the baseline and waiting for the slightest of "short" balls, then pouncing and, when necessary or prudent, finishing at net with points that sometimes continued despite themselves. Nadal's incredible skill and athleticism, whether mentally fatigued or not, made this a memorable match with plenty of drama and excitement.

And what a table-setter for RG! I for one cannot wait for these champions to meet again and for....Verkerk to again assert his dominance on that hallowed red dirt (just kidding, I think).

Posted by Pete 05/21/2007 at 03:31 PM

Chloe - but Chloe, I think you will agree that it was a great achievement but not a great match. Hail, a love-set to end it precludes that. So it isn't about bestowing then withdrawing praise or censure, it's about making discriminating judgments and appreciating the distinctions.

Posted by Beckham 05/21/2007 at 03:40 PM


I don't understand how this is not a WM moment consider:
1. Fed had never ever beaten Rafa on clay
2. Rafa was on an 81 match streak and seemed invincible (Fed had tried 5 times before and had come up short in all 5)
3. Fed was in a supposed "slump"
4. Fed had just split with his coach
5. The whole world did not give him a shot against Rafa
6. If he had lost this match it would have been psychologically damaging as the FO is one week away
7. Fed had been playing shaky tennis(by his own standards)during the week
8. Fed was having serious issues with his serve during the match
9. He was destroyed 6-2 in the first set and was down 2 break points in the second set.
10. He turns that around and bagels the "king of clay" no less in the 3rd set.

And this is not a WM moment???what exactly does the Fed have to do to get a WMB???I dare you to come up with anyone apart from us Fed KADs (some of us didn't by the way) who actually believed that Fed would win this match???? I mean after the win itself Fed can't even get credit for the win...apparently Rafa was too tired that's why the Fed won...forgetting that Fed played some awesome FH winners and volleys during the match...I know that this doesn't mean anything for the FO but this was HUGE for the Fed, he needed this badly for his psyche as evidence by the scream he let out after he won the match.

Posted by Heidi 05/21/2007 at 03:43 PM

I think that the problem for someone like Chloe in agreeing with you, Pete, is that the way you bestow a WM has a lot to do with factors that the player can't control. I mean, one could hardly argue that it was Federer's fault that there was a bagel set (well, yes, but you know what I mean). It's like blaming him for the match not being close.

I knew Pete wouldn't call this a WM, and I kind of agree in some ways, but I sort of wonder if Federer will ever get a WM by Pete's definition because he has just set the bar so damn high. How can any win really add to the ridiculousness of his dominance and change our perceptions in an earth-shattering way? He does need to be injured and vomiting his way through a 5-setter to do it, I think. The more so because he is so known for his calm that it won't look very WM unless he sheds it, thereby shouting to the world that he's having a WM. I don't look for it to happen. I look for many, many more WAs. And that's fine with me. I'll sip Kool-Aid right through all of them.

Posted by Pete 05/21/2007 at 03:43 PM

Hey Todd - I didn't take part in that Davydenko discussion. But largely, I would dispute the idea that there is good "clay court" tennis as opposed to, simply, good tennis. Hail, if you can play serve and volley at a high enough level, you can win with that on clay, too, depending. . . Noah and Panatta did it although I concede it was ages ago. My main point is that an all-court player who is consistent and has one or more weapons ought to win on clay - period. If he doesn't he should spend more time on the analyst's couch than on the practice court.

Posted by Tari 05/21/2007 at 03:43 PM

Oh, goodness...I'm going to wait a while before I respond to this. :) My first inclination is to say MrsS hit the nail on the head yesterday, as usual.

Posted by Pete 05/21/2007 at 03:46 PM

Heidi, you're right. Strictly, a WM badge IS dependent on conditions - fate and luck if you prefer. But that's okay, right? But i'll tell you this, re. giving Roger the badge: If TMF and Jet Boy go 12-10 in the fifth in the RG final, with TMF winning, I imagine I'll be inclined to call it a WM. ;-)

Posted by doris/daylily 05/21/2007 at 03:48 PM

so pete, are you going to divulge the big secret of what time espn is on this evening so we can watch you?

Posted by Snoo Foo 05/21/2007 at 03:48 PM

If anyone deserves a WMB for what happened yesterday, it's The Bowling Shirt.

Posted by Snoo Foo 05/21/2007 at 03:50 PM

And Paul Goldstein deserves one for winning Forest Hills BY WALKOVER! As does Bambi for breaking his 7 match losing streak by beatin sam querrey on clay.

Posted by ptenisnet 05/21/2007 at 03:51 PM

ESPN News is the channel.
The show called PreGame is at 7 eastern.

Posted by Balazs 05/21/2007 at 03:54 PM


does it really matter whether this was a warrior moment or a warrior achievement? Is that really what we are discussing, here? Like, there is a universal definition of either one?

I think everybody can agree that Federer had to conquer himself before he could conquer Nadal on clay. That is always an astonishing accomplishment whether you're the world number 1 tennis player or number 5 in your local club.

It also sets up the FO to be much more exciting that many of us thought it would be. Federer has a real shot now, he knows the tactics, has renewed confidence. The question is can he sustain this level over best of five? Especially if Nadal is at his best (which arguably he wasn't in Hamburg) I can't wait to find out.

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 05/21/2007 at 03:54 PM

Becks - I suspect the match might mean as much or more to the other guys as it does to Fed when referenced to the French Open. They have had a good look at Davy, Hewitt and now Fed as a way to make an impression where it was difficult to make one before and I imagine the film sessions and coaching analysis is buzzing away.

How will the Rafa camp view this - a one off of something that needs to be addressed = if so is it wise to tinker with such a proven Clay court game on short notice before the big one?

Will Fed look smart going into the FO having not played as much if he can right the ship and play with consistency?

As Pete mentioned, will one of the other hungry guys make their break through? I agree with Pete this opens much up for interesting decisions all around.

I have never really understood this WM thing of Pete's other than to view it as almost film inspired drama quality to qualify. Fed going in to defeat his demons and the phenom Rafa on clay was clinical and not dramatic in delivery. Had Fed come back from the brink to win it 20-18 in a tie break perhaps he would have gotten that particular form of praise. It simply couldn't have been made into a telly series that would bring tears to the eyes.

Posted by Blake 05/21/2007 at 03:56 PM

Just an FYI---the Sampras/Corretja '96 U.S. Open match was in the quarters, not the Round of 16.

Posted by Or 05/21/2007 at 03:56 PM

Does this match stand on by its own, at all? I mean, if Rog takes on Rafa again come RG final, Hamburg would be remembered as the WM which changed all.

Should Rog lose, however, Hamburg would make little difference in the grand scheme.

Posted by MrsSanta 05/21/2007 at 04:02 PM

I would like to point everyone to Lucy's original theses on warrior moments

"Warrior Moments are not a matter of democracy. They are a farcical construct to be handed out arbritrarily by anyone trying to make a point"

Posted by AmyLu and Juan José (LIVE from the Imaginary Line) 05/21/2007 at 04:02 PM

*waves hello*

Greetings from Ecuador! (See if you can guess who is typing when...)

I just wanted to congratulate all Fed Fans. I missed the match because I was on a plane, but very well deserved and well earned victory for Roger. I hope that all of you are celebrating as you should.

And she really means it. She wasn't in a bad mood at all, but I'd like to think I have something to do with that. I was actually afraid I was going to be the one to break the news to her, but fortunately she caught the result on some airport TV.

About the match, I think it was one of the most impressive performances I've ever seen. Not in the God-like González-Haas way, but in the manner in which the Fed was playing for a solid D-minus and ended up playing at an A-plus. And I think he FINALLY grasped what Nadal's tennis is all about: punishing the short ball with your best stroke.

It was very beautiful to watch that forehand swing yesterday. The arm was just loose, and the things that came out of it were breathtaking.

Anyway, onto the French, I think.

I'd also just like to say that I find it impossible to be angry or disappointed that Rafa's claycourt streak ended. It is a tremendous accomplishment and one that should be celebrated. And I refuse to see the loss of it in any other light - I'm also very proud that he lost it in a meaningful match against a most worthy opponent - I would hate for it to have been broken in the first round of Stuttgart or something to a nobody.

Posted by joe_can_bike 05/21/2007 at 04:03 PM

As with all things Federer, his warrior moment did not come with neon lights or with any precedent. He had his moment serving at the early part of set 2, down two break points. I am quite sure everyone watching at that point thought it was over. Instead, Federer shrugged off his form for the last month, last set and last 2 points, stared down Nadal and took flight. The moment happened within himself, you might have blinked and missed it.

Posted by ptenisnet 05/21/2007 at 04:08 PM

WMs are like shots in billiards. You have to call attention to them before you make them.

Posted by Todd and in Charge 05/21/2007 at 04:09 PM

Pete from his ESPN insider chat last week:

"I think it is a measure of how well Nadal is playing that people are suddenly looking at the Davydenko match as if it held some secret clue at beating Nadal. This is going to sound crazy but if you want to beat Nadal you are going to have to play like Seles did in her prime. You will have to take the ball early, hit it to the corners with laser like precision and relatively little spin, and not venture into rallying contests because you will not win them. The other way is by somehow chipping and charging and making sure that no point lasts more than four or five hits."

Now Fed did take the ball early, and he hit to the corners some. But mostly he was playing smart tennis, constructing points and waiting for opportunities, which sometimes did not emerge only after a variety of backcourt exchanges led to an opening.

I completely agree, btw, with the concept that "clay court" tennis as a moniker should be retired -- I guess a better way of putting it was that Fed was not rushing points and seeking to end them as quickly as possible -- something you might see at Wimby and on fast hard courts.

Posted by Evie 05/21/2007 at 04:10 PM


I agree with you a lot!

Posted by Maplesugar 05/21/2007 at 04:10 PM

Fed felt the love yesterday. That was enough. He don't need no badge.

Posted by Fabio 05/21/2007 at 04:18 PM

"A Warrior Moment in the strict, formal sense of the term is a tipping point of sorts - a performance in which a player dramatically alters or shapes the perception the public has of him or her by demonstrating uncommon passion, courage and fighting spirit "

Wasnt the general perception that Federer couldnt keep up with Nadal on the fighting spirit departament on clay?! Wasnt the general perception that Roger had a mental block against the spaniard?! I mean- wasnt Roger a set (better said, he was trashed on the 1st set) and a couple of break points down?! How many of us around the globe thought at that moment: "that is it, Roger wont be able to come back, cause usually at this moment Rafa breaks and takes the match"?! And, at the first game of the 3rd set, when Roger faced another break point, many thought "yes, that is it- Federer will again fall, as he always does against Nadal on clay when he levels the match"?!! How many of us around the globe was thinking "sooner or later his groundstrokes will go down as usual against Rafa"?!

Roger did change the perceptions most of us had about him on clay against Nadal. The "Sampras x Courier" incident was another one too- the difference is with Fed x Nadal, there wasnt the Hollywood-like drama expressed so visually with Pete throwing up in front of everybody. But, in substance, it was the same. Look at Fed's expression at the end of the match: it was as if he was purging some demons out there. If you look carefully at this Hamburg tournament (much like Halle last year) we could see Federer exposing himself psychologically out there. The match was a Warrior moment that crowning a warrior achievement.

And I dont believe a match that ends with 6-0 isnt a great match. There are two kinds of great matches: the thriller ones and those where you can spot sheer brilliance. And the final had both- up until the end of the 2nd set/ 1st game of the third, it was a thriller. From then on, we saw sheer brilliance.

Nadal admited he was mentally tired -and I do believe in him. One of the reasons was the amount of matches he had lately, taking its toll on him. The other reason was that Nadal found himself in a place that his game plan (usually so effective) wasnt working out. The first reason only added up to the second one ... if his game plan was working, Jetboy would'd lifted that Hamburg trophy

Posted by Tari 05/21/2007 at 04:21 PM

Fabio from Brazil? Well said, though futile! :)

Posted by Pete 05/21/2007 at 04:23 PM

Man, y'all are so intense on the WM vs.WA stuff,I flove it! Let the world laugh at our hair-splitting and naval-gazing, we got nobody to answer to but each other, and ourselves, right?

Posted by Fabio 05/21/2007 at 04:28 PM

Sorry- I just made a mistake! It wasnt Sampras x Courier; it was Sampras x Corretja. I just checked the match on youtube- I was thinking about that against Courier at the AO! I always think about that one when it comes to Sampras amazing fighting spirit- specially cause it is beautifully depicted at that "Legends of Wimbledon- Sampras" that I just bought! hehehehehe

(but the idea is sort of the same in the end- and those who thought Sampras was a boring machine knows nothing about sports and psychology)

Posted by Sherlock 05/21/2007 at 04:29 PM

Shouldn't a WM involve a tight final set, whether 3 or 5? I'm not denying what a monumental achievement this was for Roger. It certainly was. But not a WM the way I've always thought of it. I mean, didn't Corretja actually have a match point or two against Sampras? Now THAT is pressure. Yes, the two break points that Roger saved in the second were huge, but come on, that's not exactly facing match points or a third/fifth set tiebreaker situation. It was one-all in the second.

Posted by CM 05/21/2007 at 04:29 PM

Warrior Moment, Warrior Achievement...semantics, schemantics!

It was a Warrior Something and it was nice to see. Nadal is still the King of Clay and the favorite going into Paris, but it got a whole lot more interesting after yesterday.

And that makes it a whole lot more fun for ALL tennis fans!

Posted by Fabio 05/21/2007 at 04:32 PM

Yes- Tari! ;) :D :D

(miss you btw!)

Why futile?!!! :(

Btw: that code we have to type is making me worry about the state of my astigmatism! Gotta get my new glasses asasp! LOOOOL

Posted by CM 05/21/2007 at 04:32 PM

I posted this on the other thread, but I wanted to reiterate it here. Some people have posted that Rafa was gracious to Roger in his speech (and he was...too cute!) but Roger did not return the favor. Well, that is not true. Here is the translation of what Roger said about Rafa:

***First I would like to congratulate Rafael for the final, it was probably a bit disappointing for him, he hadn't lost for 81 matches, this is an amazing winning streak, I have enormous respect for his achievements and I would like to congratulate him on everything he has done***

Both of these guys are very complimentary of one another and I'm getting sick and tired of people trying to trash one or the other just to try and make the other look good.

Posted by MrsSanta 05/21/2007 at 04:32 PM

*WMs are like shots in billiards. You have to call attention to them before you make them.*

That's what the vomit and Alex Corretja are for Ptennisnet. Fed didn't have those so no Warrior Moment for him apparently.

Posted by CM 05/21/2007 at 04:33 PM

This was posted on the Indo-Asian News Service:

***Hamburg, May 21: Rafael Nadal asked Roger Federer for his autographed shirt, in a gesture more typical of football than tennis, after losing to the world number one in the final of the Hamburg Masters Series.

"Roger signed it in the changing rooms. Both were very happy," a source close to the Spanish player told DPA.

The gesture of asking for a shirt as a souvenir is not very common in tennis, but Nadal and Federer - who as children both dreamed of playing football professionally - are comfortable with the ways of the most popular sport in the world, where exchanging shirts at the end of a game is a frequent habit.

Nadal lost to Federer in Hamburg Sunday, to end a record-breaking series of 81 consecutive victories. The Spaniard travelled to Barcelona Monday for a publicity session alongside Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho and Spanish NBA player Pau Gasol.
--- IANS***

How cool are Roger and Rafa??

Posted by ptenisnet 05/21/2007 at 04:36 PM

How long does a warrior moment have to last? How long does a moment last? Somewhere in that final yesterday was a turning point dont you think? If the 1st set was any indication, that break point early in the second set was pretty much match point.

Posted by ptenisnet 05/21/2007 at 04:39 PM

That's what the vomit and Alex Corretja are for Ptennisnet. Fed didn't have those so no Warrior Moment for him apparently.

Maybe he didnt throw up, but for most of the first set he looked like he had indigestion. Doesn't that count for something?

Posted by gvgirl 05/21/2007 at 04:41 PM

I say give both TMF and the bowling shirt the badges! It took awhle for both of them to win a tournament on clay. LOL

Posted by Sherlock 05/21/2007 at 04:45 PM


Certainly, there was a turning point. But is that what you think of when you think of a WM? Just a turning point? Sure, 1-1 in the second was big, but I guess I don't buy that it was akin to match point. When you know you've got the rest of the set to go, that's a completely different kind of pressure than late in the final set.

Posted by temes 05/21/2007 at 04:47 PM

I think a warrior moment is a moment when you win a match against a rival when you are injured or othewise playing below your usual level, struggling.
Serena has had plenty of those.

Posted by Snoo Foo 05/21/2007 at 04:48 PM

there's only one venue where tmf can have a certified wm. And yes I'm doing something archly. With my eyebrow. Like arching it.

Posted by MrsSanta 05/21/2007 at 04:49 PM

*Maybe he didnt throw up, but for most of the first set he looked like he had indigestion. Doesn't that count for something?*

No that's the Illusion of a WM or a IoaWM which like a WA is similar yet different from an authentic WM. The difference is primarily whether or not Fed is involved in a positive way.

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 05/21/2007 at 04:51 PM

MrsSanta - call for you on Breaking News

Posted by ptenisnet 05/21/2007 at 04:53 PM

Well it seems that you can only judge a warrior moment by the ultimate outcome. If Sampras had emptied his stomach and then gone on to lose to Corretja, the story wouldn't be about Sampras The Warrior, but Sampras The Nutjob Who Continued Playing And Jeopardized His Career In Spite Of Being Sick And Got His Butt Handed To Him.

Nadal won all of one game for the entire match after that hold by Federer. And what did Federer get as a result: His first clay court win against Nadal, broke his streak, silenced all those who were second guessing him about his split with tony, his slump, his wilanders.

Dont you think that is remarkable?

Posted by MrsSanta 05/21/2007 at 04:55 PM

TT is it Cesc? If not then please hold all my calls.

Posted by Marian 05/21/2007 at 04:56 PM


Warrior moment, warrior achievement, warrior whatever. The key word is warrior and Roger fought and won the battle. From now on we could as well call him
Walther (ruler of the army),
Ernst (battle to the death),
Andronikus (victory of a warrior.

But of course you want blood. Very unlikely to see it during a tennis match :).

Posted by Pete 05/21/2007 at 04:57 PM

Ptenisnet - feeling a loquacious today, are we?

Posted by temes 05/21/2007 at 04:59 PM

A warrior moment is also a moment when you enter a tournament in kinda low confidence/bad form kinda and you struggle early rounds, then when you meet the money players you rise to the challenge and beat them, win the tournament.
Then the whole tournament is a warrior moment.
I think Serenaserenaserenas AO win over Sharpie was the warrior moment of the year so far.
I mean, was it Peer who almost beat her in earlier round, and then she ends up crushing the number one player like some amateur.
That is warrior moment right there.

Posted by Tari 05/21/2007 at 05:00 PM

Fabio: I meant your argument for a WM was brilliant, but the idea that it will change any minds is futile! :) Thanks, btw. :)

I don't think Roger will ever qualify a WM, and I don't care anymore that he does. If beating his nemesis in such an emphatic way after taking two years, countless questions as to his Wilanders, tactics, mental state, questions of decline, odds...I could go on and on, not too mention being down a set and playing poorly...I do not want to see him qualify for one of these. :)

Posted by Snoo Foo 05/21/2007 at 05:01 PM

something about it, he was never against the ropes, maybe he never is against the ropes, but he never seemed out of the match (well maybe according to the bookies he was out of the match Saturday night but). I was never nairbeeous for him, like in rome last year. I'm not gonna use it in the movie.

Arrrghie, Mariano Zabaleta - speaking of disgusting hair - had to qualify for RG! I thought he made the cut off when he got to the finals of whaddayacallit green clay! :-(

Man I wish TTc would televise the quallies. If they bought the whole enchilada, why can't we see the quallies? something is deeply wrong with me.

Posted by Fabio 05/21/2007 at 05:02 PM

"Well it seems that you can only judge a warrior moment by the ultimate outcome. If Sampras had emptied his stomach and then gone on to lose to Corretja, the story wouldn't be about Sampras The Warrior, but Sampras The Nutjob Who Continued Playing And Jeopardized His Career In Spite Of Being Sick And Got His Butt Handed To Him."

I believe that it is called "the wisdom of hindsight" ;) :)

(btw: that indigestion post was one of the funniest I have ever read! Congrats! :) )

Posted by gvgirl 05/21/2007 at 05:04 PM

Snoo Foo:
Nothing is wrong with you. I wish that I could see the FO Qualies as well. I guess I'm a nut too.

Posted by patrick 05/21/2007 at 05:04 PM

Too bad I won't be able to see you on ESPN gameday, I will be traveling home from work at that time. Hopefully, someone will blog on what was said about tennis. This is rare publicity that tennis has earned in America.

Posted by Sherlock 05/21/2007 at 05:05 PM

I absolutely agree that it was remarkable. It was an amazing performance by Roger, without a doubt.

But if a 1-1 second set game is how we define a WM, then it's quite a different animal than I've always envisioned.

To me, that's like saying that striking out A-Rod with the bases loaded in the 4th inning of World Series game 7, with a 2-0 Yankee lead, is a WM. Even if I give up a 2-run single there, I know I have time. But if I strike out A-Rod in the bottom of the ninth with a 3-2 lead, that's a different stratosphere of pressure.

Posted by patrick 05/21/2007 at 05:10 PM

Snoo Foo(Hamburg Champ),
Nothing is wrong on wanting to see the qualies of RG. Some qualies can be very interesting. Winning 3 matches just to see your name in the main draw is just one intrigue to qualies.

Posted by ptenisnet 05/21/2007 at 05:13 PM

I should think that Federer had more riding on that single game than Sampras did against corretja, in terms of significance.

I dont think WMs happen at the end of matches. They happen at turning points. Like for instance where would you put El Gato's WM during his FO final ( that had to be one).

Sorry Pete,
I started typing and it didnt seem to want to end.

Posted by Sam 05/21/2007 at 05:14 PM

WM or not, as a Fed fan the most important thing to me is that he was able to find a way to defeat Nadal on clay, and do so in impressive fashion during the final 2 sets. That's enough for me.

Posted by Snoo Foo 05/21/2007 at 05:14 PM

Wes Moodie vs. Christophe Rochus! It's like a poor man's Gooch vs. TDOR! Not to mention Dudi v. Gorka!

Posted by ptenisnet 05/21/2007 at 05:15 PM

It is all hindsight. Unless we say that we can say that there are defining moments in a match that an be overridden by high def moments on your opponents part.

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 05/21/2007 at 05:15 PM

Mme Santa - weren't you the real life inspiration for "The Devil Wears Prada? and calls are on hold (unless it is someone really important)

Posted by Sherlock 05/21/2007 at 05:16 PM

At 1-all second set, Roger had more riding on it than Pete facing match point and getting knocked out of the US Open? Wow.

Posted by Gavin 05/21/2007 at 05:22 PM

Great stuff!!!

To me, it was a Wilanders moment as much as a WM or WA. After a horrendous first set, Fed could have just walked through the rest of the match, chalking it up to "he's too good today." But he showed his warrior creds, fighting off breakers at the start of the second and finding his game when he needed it perhaps more than at any time in his career.

How about Mats as Fed's next coach???

Posted by ptenisnet 05/21/2007 at 05:23 PM

I dont know.
Pete wasn't in an alleged slump.
He wasn't for all practical purposes anointed Corretja's bunny (euphimism alert)

Posted by Fabio 05/21/2007 at 05:23 PM

Tks Tari! :) :) :)

Oh!It might be futile indeed (even on other forums I might add)! But I just love it! :D The pleasure is in the exchange of opinions! Even if I cant top years of experience, right?! ;) LOL

Posted by Beth 05/21/2007 at 05:23 PM

Fabio - LOL - Sampras ,the nutjob... too funny - that would not have made a very good headline.
Wait - am I to understand that our Pete is going to appear on Gameday - that espn talking football heads show - where they analyze every possible outcome of every formation in the NFL's collective playbook through out the entire off season. And provide us with riveting draft analysis and other exciting topics? You mean they may let tennis be discussed on this show - have they finally run out of things to say about Peyton Manning or Bret Favre?

Posted by Kristen 05/21/2007 at 05:28 PM

"Unless he goes into today's match with Rafael Nadal in that frame of mind [I'll see you in hell], he's got about as much chance of winning as Nikolay Davydenko has of being the next, official American Idol. Or Russian Idol. Or Billy Idol, for that matter. Just between you, me, and the lamppost, there is no Rope-a-Dope scenario here for TMF. It's time to Cowboy Up."
Now, Mr. Bodo, how about that? I think that "The Locker Room 5.21.07" entry doesn't qualify as an escuse for that prediction.

And can I tell you how much I love when journalists make a mistake?

Posted by ptenisnet 05/21/2007 at 05:29 PM

Are you suggesting that Federer didn't go into it with an "I'll see you in hell" frame of mind?

Posted by Sherlock 05/21/2007 at 05:32 PM

Fair enough, Ptenis. I didn't mean to argue. I'm just grouchy today. Well, hopefully just today.

Beth, love your 5:23. I'm to the point where I can barely watch ESPN or listen to Cowherd, etc. If there wasn't an NFL Network already, they could rename themselves. I love pro football, but can we get a few months away from it? Sheesh. I thought it might quiet down after the overhyped draft, but they're STILL at it.

Posted by Beth 05/21/2007 at 05:33 PM

Kristen - how is that quote a mistake. He basically said -that Fed needed to bring it today ( sunday) or he did not have a chance. And Fed brought it - the game is on. If you think that Fed would have much hope of winning the French, much less Hamburg - if he had not stood up and fought when he was behind a set yesterday - you are much more of an optimist than I am.
And Davydenko still will never be the American Idol - no matter what he brings to the dance.

Posted by CM 05/21/2007 at 05:33 PM

Sherlock wrote: ***At 1-all second set, Roger had more riding on it than Pete facing match point and getting knocked out of the US Open? Wow. ***

There is no bigger WM that a favorite facing a MP to take him/her out of a GS. No one is arguing that. But for Federer, those breakpoints were, in essence, probably MPs. And considering the significance of him finally beating Nadal on was a WM for him, I think.

Posted by Kristen 05/21/2007 at 05:34 PM

No, I am suggesting that Pete was wrong in stating "Just between you, me, and the lamppost, there is no Rope-a-Dope scenario here for TMF."

Posted by Beth 05/21/2007 at 05:35 PM

Sherlock - I know - where do they find this stuff to talk about? I don't watch it - I just catch glimpses when I am channel surfing - but these people are amazing - they could analyze naval lint if it wore a jersey.

Posted by MrsSanta 05/21/2007 at 05:36 PM

Ptennisnet Pete was actually in a huge slump. That was the year he accidentally got to the semis of the FO then got bounced by noted misogynist Richard Krajicek in the semis of Wimby. And he had already lost in third round at the AO. By the USO everyone was declaring him done. Which is why I hate the stupidity of the WM discussion. Any match can end 10-12 in the fifth. A WM should be about how players respond in situations where they have everything to lose. That response could involve a tiebreaker in the fifth or a bagel to end the longest clay streak in history.

Posted by sophie 05/21/2007 at 05:39 PM

Let's face it people, Pete giving Fed a WMB is like SI putting Fed on its front cover - never going to happen, in spite of the fallout. Fed won't give a damn, a kiss from Mirka is all he needed + his trophy :)

Posted by Kristen 05/21/2007 at 05:40 PM

I'm not saying that Fed didn't fought or he didn't have a WM or whatever - it's just the way Pete dismissed him. He is the N. 1 in the world, had won 5 previous clay court tournaments and was close to beating Rafa last year in Rome, why couldn't he eventually beat Rafa someday?

Posted by Sherlock 05/21/2007 at 05:41 PM

Actually, CM, I think Ptenisnet WAS arguing that. :) Just kidding. I know what both of you are saying. I just disagree that 1-all second set is WM-worthy, regardless of circumstances.

Basically, I'm always right, and the rest is just details. :)

Posted by Marian 05/21/2007 at 05:42 PM

Question to MrsSanta,
Why do you call Krajicec misogynist?.

Posted by MrsSanta 05/21/2007 at 05:50 PM


"Eighty percent of the women playing at Wimbledon are lazy, fat pigs and shouldn't be allowed on the show courts""

"I may have exaggerated a bit when I said that 80 per cent of the top 100 women are fat pigs. What I meant to say was 75 per cent of the top 100 women are fat pigs"

Posted by Beth 05/21/2007 at 05:52 PM

Kristen- I see what you are saying - but I don't think Pete was dismissing Roger's talents - at least that is not how I interpreted the post - as much as he was saying that the time was now - No more information gathering - no more tweaking of the game and training- if you don't beat this kid now , he will put the final nail in your coffin on clay. And if Federer had not won yesterday, I think that would be the case. As it is - we have a much more interesting tournament to look forward to.

Posted by ptenisnet 05/21/2007 at 05:53 PM

He was less than complimentary towards the WTA tour.

kristen, pete wasnt dismissing him. He was just describing a must-do scenario for federer.

Posted by codepoke 05/21/2007 at 05:54 PM

> I'll follow you to the ends of the earth

Dude, I doubt that there will be many prouder moments in Roger Federer's accomplished life than overcoming the voices in his head at 1-1, 15-40 yesterday, and showing the world he'd done so with a bagel against the most delightfully, cussedly, stingy player on the whole tour. He dogged the Jet to Hamburg, but even then the first set was crushing. After folding so easily in their last meeting, he meekly accepted an even more humbling start.

That match had "tank" tattooed on it from the previous Monday, and how many FedKADs checked out on him Sunday morning? Did even faithful Mirka yet believe when he found himself buried under twin break points?

A WM happens in head and heart, and Federer was there.

(If anyone knows a legal way to buy that match on DVD, I'll gladly invest and wear out the disk.)

Posted by Christopher 05/21/2007 at 05:54 PM

Enough with the WMB already. Roger has the Gluckschwein and that's all he needs.

Posted by Beth 05/21/2007 at 05:54 PM

Mrs S - I remember that quote .Didn't Gimelstob make a similar one - somethng about supermodels dating the guys and the women players could not measure up ?

Posted by Rosangel 05/21/2007 at 05:56 PM

Pete, I am 100% with you! This was not a Warrior Moment! You are being entirely consistent with the way in which you have discussed this question previously, and as the term Warrior Moment was originally used by you, I believe you have the right to define it as you choose, much as the RNKAS has defined the Rear Admirables.

Borg going out to win the final set in the 1980 Wimbledon final after losing perhaps the most memorable tiebreak in tennis history to McEnroe at 16-18 in the fourth, looking rather untroubled by the tiebreak loss, was (IMO) a Warrior Moment. Sunday's match was not memorable enough in itself to be worthy of a Warrior Moment. An important match, but not a classic match. It's not within the control of the players or their greatest fans to decide whether it's a Warrior Moment or not - it's the way the public feel about the particular performance that will end up defining it. Not the outcome - the overall match. Quite likely the definition of a Warrior Moment depends as much on the quality of the loser on the day, as the winner. Not fair, but true. On that basis, Rome 2006 was worthier of a Warrior Moment designation.

As our friend steggy has previously noted, perhaps Federer's five-set defeat of Sampras in the only match they ever played, 4th round of Wimbledon 2001, qualifies as a true Warrior Moment.

Posted by Christopher 05/21/2007 at 05:56 PM

Enough with the WMB already. Roger has the Gluckschwein and that's all he needs.

I loved that it was called a "little talisman pig" in the caption of the photogallery.

Posted by temes 05/21/2007 at 05:58 PM

I think the Wta is the opposite to fat pigs, what a stupid thing to say.

Posted by Liz (for the Federer who will be French Open champion this year!) 05/21/2007 at 06:00 PM

I hereby award you Roger Federer Warrior Moment Badges for the following achievements during your rocky clay court 2007 season...

One, for courageously firing your coach less than than a month BEFORE a major Grand Slam (ironically, the only one you've never won) and dealing with all the questions, heat and hue and cry from fans and media.

Two, for bravely sticking with your game plan, even changing it up doing whatever you had to win on the surface. It wasn't pretty but of the three tournaments you entered, you made it to the final of two of them.

Three, for playing doubles during the clay court season helping out your fellow Swiss players. I haven't seen a top player embrace the doubles since McEnroe & Edberg. Usually they are so focused on their singles career they can't spare the time.

Four, for showing up in Europe early for the clay court season, knowing that its widely reported clay is not your best surface. Granted the Fed had plenty of time on his hands due to some early losses in the American hardcourt season (IW & Miami), but he came to the party. Unlike a couple of American singles players whose names I won't mention BUT let the record show the Bryan Brothers won in Monte Carlo & Hamburg. So Americans take heart, maybe an American WILL triumph at Roland Garros after all.

Five, for knowing a winning formula when you have one in your camp. Don't ever let Mirka go. You did this romantic heart proud when you acknowledged that as much as people say you are the best, you need Mirka to be the best. How many men do you know who will downgrade their achievements and give the woman beside the man (not behind the successful man as the saying goes) the credit? Sure, Federer's name is on all of those trophies and in the record books but say what you will about Mirka (I've heard she's a tough cookie) she's part of the most successful partnership in sports history. When have you ever known the Fed to openly show affection to Mirka during a televised tournament?

Can I stop or should I go on?? I can you know...

I'm a Federer KAD but I can appreciate Rafa and his achievements as well. And that is not a bone I'm throwing to the Rafa KADs. I totally agree with the commentators on the Tennis Channel. We are extremely lucky to have two such great champions at the top of our sport.

They both deserve WMB for what they bring to the sport.

But I thank Rafa for yesterday for as Johnny Mac says, "a rivalry brings out the best in both players and forces you to raise your game" Roger did some channeling, tapped his inner demons long dormant from his junior days and gutsed out the match. That's why we had the Federer who was swearing at himself in German during the Moya match. He was digging deep within himself to figure out that clay stuff and trying to win matches.

At least, that's the way I saw it...sounds like a Warrior Moment to me.

{{thwack}} -- {Liz hits Mats Wilander again}

Posted by Beckham 05/21/2007 at 06:08 PM

Hugs Liz for being a true Fed KAD...and here's hoping your screen name comes true this year :)

Posted by patrick 05/21/2007 at 06:10 PM

You are so right on the NFL. We do need some "breathing room" from it. The Cincinnati Bengals was weekend news. Henry goes to jail for failing a mandatory drug test and Nicholson was involved in a domestic abuse.

Posted by MrsSanta 05/21/2007 at 06:11 PM

*as the term Warrior Moment was originally used by you, I believe you have the right to define it as you choose*

*Warrior Moments are not a matter of democracy. They are a farcical construct to be handed out arbritrarily by anyone trying to make a point, a la Pete in the GOAT debate*

I believe we have reached a consensus. Shall we all hold hands and sing Kumbaya now?

Posted by Beth 05/21/2007 at 06:13 PM

Patrick -sooner or later , that whole team will be doing time -

Posted by temes 05/21/2007 at 06:13 PM

I'd prefer hey mister taleban taleban banana. Ok I go to bed now.

Posted by Beth 05/21/2007 at 06:16 PM

I would sing - but I only remember a few of the words- I'll just hum
And award Mrs S a WMB - for this moment of truth

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