Federer Out of Halle

This post was written by Ru-an on June 6, 2011
Posted Under: Uncategorized

http://www.rogerfederer.com/en/esp/news-detail/news/3517-absage-des-5-fachen-halle-champions.html

It seems Roger has some kind of groin problem and he finally decided not to play Halle after consulting with his team. It’s a bit sad for us fans but I am happy about it. The focus is now heavily on Wimbledon and I wouldn’t want him to do anything to jeopardize his chances there. I have already said why it is so important for Roger to hit back at Wimbledon. Since losing to Nadal in the final of the French Open again I have already seen some bad press on Roger, saying that his aura was once again dimmed by the loss. There is two sides to that argument. I think it is incredible how Roger arguably had his best French Open campaign at the age of 29. How can it possibly detract from his aura to end the winning streak of the best player this year, who by the way was 4-0 in sets against Nadal in the clay season, and then give Nadal a very tough match in the final?

Clay is after all Nadal’s best surface and Roger’s worst. Aside from the fact that the score was very close, the result in the final was completely expected. How can it possibly detract from Roger’s aura then? If anything this French Open has added to his aura. It all depends on how you look at it. If you are a critic you are gonna look at the fact that he lost in another big match to his nemesis. If you are a reasonable tennis fan you will conclude that it didn’t hurt his aura, legacy, or GOAT status. Having said that, I do feel like he has something to prove at Wimbledon. If Nadal manages to beat him there as well, then and only then it would detract from his aura. He lost do Nadal at Wimbledon once, but that was very different conditions. It was Roger’s slump year after he contracted mono at the beginning of the year.

The mono caused him to lose confidence and it was the reason he got trashed 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 by Nadal in the French Open final. Roger is obviously at a different level of confidence this year after losing 7-5, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-1 to Nadal. Going into Wimbledon this year things are clearly different. Roger did not suffer a demoralizing defeat in Paris this time around. In fact he will feel quite good having extended Nadal so far this time. Surely he goes into Wimbledon as confident as he’s ever been. So I see no reason why he can’t win Wimbledon, even if he faces Nadal in the final. Well, in a way I can. Given his history with Nadal I guess it is just impossible to call Roger the definite favorite, no matter what the conditions. This is not the way I want it, and it’s not good for Roger’s GOAT status. He can’t just keep losing to Nadal.

The bleeding has to stop somewhere. He must go win Wimbledon now. Period. In other news Nadal is playing Queens. Surprise surprise. The guy never gets tired. Ever. He has played the toughest, most grueling clay court season ever, yet he is ready to play as ever. This is something that baffles me. Of the top players Nadal plays the most events, the most rounds in those events, and plays with the most taxing game style by far. I’m sorry but something seems off here. I can’t say for sure that it is doping, but wouldn’t be surprised in the least if it is. What does doping do? It makes you a kind of superman that never gets tired. It gives you inhuman reserves of stamina and endurance. This is exactly what Nadal has. Not even the machine that is Djokovic is playing this week, and he also took a week off during the clay season which Nadal didn’t.

The human body does have it’s limits. It can’t take inhuman punishment for an unlimited time without breaking down. Lets not forget the ATP’s little role in this. They encourage doping with a brutal playing schedule and then hardly does anything to stop players from doping. I think tennis is in a more tragic situation than people think. Imagine if Nadal is indeed doping and what potential damage it can do to Roger’s legacy, not to mention the damage it has already done. Doping or not, I believe Roger can win Wimbledon this year and I believe he must for the sake of his legacy. Lets keep the faith!

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Reader Comments

Nice post, as usual. Hope Roger is ok and glad he pulled out. Save it for the big time. He’s playing really, really well. The press are mostly idiots, unsurprising that they have zero context, they just see oh, Roger lost again to Nadal. Doesn’t matter that Roger is almost five years older than Nadal, that Nadal never made the finals all the years Roger was competing in the finals at all the hard-court and grass events.

Of course he’s doping. No question. You simply do not have muscles like that without dope. Nor do you have stamina like that, without EPO or something similar. Doping is so widespread–even tolerated–in Spain athletics.

Too bad, Nadal seemed to be on the ropes for a bit. Hope his confidence doesn’t improve. Not sure Djokovic could have done better and no regrets about backing RF all the way. Fuck, that one drop shot and it would be a different story. 5 sets at least. Glad somebody pointed out the Roddick failure in Wimbledon. I guess you win some and lose some. Something is going to happen to Nadal I think. An early-round loss. He just didn’t seem that impressive. Roger could have beaten him that time, it did not seem unwinnable. I hope that’s the lesson he took from the match, not blowing a couple of opportunities.

Anyway, he’s playing beautifully and the BH was improved, despite the number of UEs. It was much worse before.

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Ru-an Reply:

Thanks Jim. Yeah those muscles is another thing. Once again it is a question mark, because we have never seen a tennis player who is that muscular. Good to see you are supporting Roger all the way and not regretting Djokovic didnt make the final. Great attitude. As for Nadal losing before the final, i dodnt know about that. After winning the FO his confidence will be restored.

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Manu Reply:

The press are idiotic people.They clain you are their grandfather today, and tomorrow they will presently say that you are their uncle.

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#1 
Written By jim on June 6th, 2011 @ 9:14 pm

Roger made a wise decision, Ru-an.
On the Nadal subject, whatever happened to those knees he always had problems with? Just a thought.
Kindly,
Dolores

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#2 
Written By Dolores on June 6th, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

One comment: Roger has a 50% chance of being in Nadal’s half of the draw. So it could wind up being a semifinal match!

Also, I am the one part of Rafa’s body that does get tired!

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IROCK Reply:

I think you might hve heard of it but anyway here goes
Wimby officials have a right to seed a players on their own so quite obviously I think roger’s going to be seeded 2nd

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#3 
Written By Rafasknees on June 6th, 2011 @ 9:25 pm

Ru-an, I am reposting this comment, because it is more apropos here:

As Neil and Ed have said so well, it’s not the surface that makes the ultimate difference in Federer-Nadal matchups. It’s Federer’s mentality and his confidence in his game plan. He could lose even on fast hard courts to Nadal if he’s not mentally ready. So it’s instructive to return to Federer’s last victory over Nadal, in London last year.

After watching Nadal edge Murray in a three-hour marathon semi, no one could have doubted his ability to win in London. That encounter was typical Nadal grinding: Murray won more points: overall, on service, and on return. He had more breaks of serve than Nadal (three to Nadal’s one) and converted a higher percentage of break points. By every measure, he should have won. Yet he lost, because he failed to play well on the key points. Nadal played 100% on every point, because he is a mental machine. He stuck obstinately to his simple formula and outlasted Murray. He was the better machine.

Federer took a totally different approach from Murray. Instead of allowing himself to be dragged down into the mud in endless rallies, as Nadal so often does to him (and to everyone else), he played his high-flying, irrepressible style of tennis and forced Nadal to try to take to the air to match him.

The match was played completely on Federer’s terms. By playing so aggressively, he constantly forced Nadal to take more chances, go for bigger serves and returns, more aggressive shots. And eventually Nadal’s game self-destructed and he started making fatal errors, because only Roger Federer is capable of playing that level of attacking tennis without making mistakes.

If Federer had not had total confidence, he would have failed to take his opportunities. It would have become a grinding match, just like against Murray, and he would have lost in three close sets.

But on that occasion he converted all his break points. Not only that, but on the first two times when he broke serve, Nadal had game points, 40-30 and 40-15 respectively. Those service games were all but over, but Federer stuck to his attacking approach and eventually broke them open. In other words, he created his break point opportunities; Nadal did not give them to him. And after he had created them, he took them.

When he was broken himself he didn’t lose momentum and retreat into his shell; he kept bombarding Nadal and eventually got the win.

This is the key to his beating Nadal. Even if an opening doesn’t appear, he must create it himself and then seize it. That victory is proof that he is still mentally capable of doing that. And if he can do that on one surface, he can do it on others.

But to be in good enough form, and confident enough to execute that day, he had to play many hard-court events, winning Cincinnati, Basel and Stockholm, and doing well in Toronto, USO, Shanghai, and Paris. It took a while for him to get comfortable with such an attacking game plan. And that was on a surface well-suited to his preferred style of ultra-aggressive tennis.

On clay, which is much less suited to first strike tennis and where Nadal’s defense becomes nigh-impenetrable, Federer must use a different approach to construct the points, an approach he does not naturally prefer. Given that he hadn’t won a clay title, or even made a clay final before RG this year, his clay game was perhaps not in the fully confident state it would have needed to be for him to beat the greatest clay court player of all time in the final of Roland Garros. It was amazing enough that he could topple the unstoppable Djokovic.

Grass season is so short that he won’t have much time to adjust. But his partnership with Annacone has had time to ripen. And grass is his favorite surface; he naturally plays well on it.

Since Nadal has won Roland Garros, he’ll probably make the Wimbledon final. But Federer is used enough to turning away the Spaniard at Wimbledon even after losing to him at RG.

Despite experiencing the worst Grand Slam defeat of his career in 2008 in Paris, he still fought back from two sets down in the Wimbledon final, leveled the match at two sets all, and took it to 9-7 in the fifth. Since he played so well against Nadal at RG this time (as I said, he was six or seven points away from winning in straight sets), he has a much better chance at the All-England Club.

Whether he will be mentally ready to lift the cup, of course, depends entirely on what’s going on in his head. But that’s where the suspense lies.

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neil Reply:

Steve, the test of mental strength is not creating breakpoints but taking them; it’s not putting oneself in a winning position but winning. Roger lost. You might say he lost well – but he still lost. It was a match he could well have won, but he didn’t break Nadal when he had his opportunities, and he didn’t secure the lead he had. Roger may not be mentally weak but he isn’t as mentally strong as Nadal – when it counts. That’s why he loses to Nadal. It now seems to be an established pattern. I don’t see it changing because I don’t see that Roger has enough belief he can win when he plays Nadal. He has that belief against everybody else – even Djokovic – who is, in my view, the far better player than Nadal and has shown it. But against the Spaniard it is Roger’s mind that betrays him. He has lost to him too often on the big occasion. There was no bigger occasion than Sunday’s final. It was less a test of tennis ability than mental resolve. We know who came out the winner on that account.

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neil Reply:

Steve, I realise we are talking about two different matches but the one that counts is the grand slam final, on Nadal’s favorite surface. I still make the point that Roger didn’t lose because he couldn’t play well enough. He showed what he could do against Djokovic and up to the point of serving for the first set against Nadal. After that, another part of Roger’s mind took over.

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BA Reply:

Exactly. Its nothing but a mind game.

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Ru-an Reply:

I agree with everything you said Neil. Do you believe Roger cant beat Nadal on grass either?

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neil Reply:

Roger can always beat Nadal; the problem is that he rarely does. Roger may play brilliantly against Nadal – like he did at Wimbledon in ’08, or the AO in ’09, but he seems to find a way to lose. Either Nadal is ultimately the better player – which I don’t accept, even though he is a bad match-up for Roger – or that Roger loses the match mentally. I think the latter is more likely. Although Roger’s chances have to be better on grass than clay, Nadal has shown that on Wimbledon’s slow lawns he can play the tournament almost as though it is Paris. That would be fatal for Roger. I fear that if they were to meet again in a final at Wimbledon the outcome would be depressingly familiar. Yet, ironically, I would think Roger would beat Djokovic if they met in a final there and Djokovic, for my money, would now beat Nadal on grass.

Djokovic now has the game to match Nadal on any surface, and the self-belief to take the Spaniard. For Roger, Nadal’s game is always going to present more difficulties but the Achilles heel for the Swiss is mostly mental. Were that he had the psychology of an Ali or a Jordan – or even Sampras! Then no-one could take him.

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steve Reply:

Neil, my point is simply that any Federer victory, anywhere, provides evidence that he’s still mentally capable of standing up to Nadal. As you say it’s mentality, not the surface, that’s decisive; Federer could play Nadal on the fastest grass or hard courts in the world and he would still lose if he weren’t mentally prepared.

Not only did he create his break points in the WTF, he took all of them: he was 3 for 3. That day he was absolutely confident, both in creating and converting his chances. He did indeed believe he could win, and belief became reality.

At one point during the second set in London he slipped and fell, literally coming to earth, and I was terrified that that was one of those unfortunate distractions that often seem to happen when he plays Nadal, that would puncture his confidence and allow Nadal to run away with the match.

My worries were unfounded. He got up and kept attacking, and eventually won.

It wasn’t a Grand Slam final, but it was still a very important final, in a tournament featuring the eight best players in the world; Nadal was gunning for the WTF as the crown on his three-major year. He played fantastic against Murray and had Federer not been in top form, Nadal would have won.

As I said, Federer’s win there followed nearly three months of hard-court tournaments. He added Stockholm to his usual regimen to get extra matches. And in all that time he was showing superb form, making the semis or better, and winning several titles.

By the time he reached London he had had all those hard-court wins and several months with Annacone encouraging him to come forward and play extra-aggressive tennis. He must have been very confident in his hard-court game. Only with that confidence was he able to express himself with total freedom on the court–the necessary prerequisite for him to beat Nadal.

During this year’s clay season, he won no titles, made one semi and lost early twice. He wasn’t in good form on the clay, and it was incredible that he even made the final at RG. He had enough to get through Djokovic, but lacked maybe that extra little bit of trust in his game that he needed to play freely and go all the way.

Add to that the difficulty that Federer cannot play the kind of quick-strike tennis on clay that he can on fast hard courts. If he wants to win on clay, he must make more significant adjustments than he’s obliged to do on hard courts.

I think he can make those adjustments and become fully comfortable with them, in time. But he certainly was far from 100% comfortable during the clay Masters, and was maybe 99% comfortable against Djokovic. But against Nadal, 99% comfortable isn’t enough.

It’s all or nothing. Either Federer’s totally certain of his game, from the first point to the last, in which case Nadal’s reduced to a spectator, running futilely for balls that Federer has placed precisely beyond his reach.

Or Federer’s just a tiny bit hesitant, and his game falls apart into a sea of errors, despite occasional patches of brilliance.

Federer can bluff other players without playing his absolute best tennis, he can exploit their mental lapses, scrap and play for time until they make a mistake, and even trade on his reputation. He can fudge his way past them.

When it comes to Nadal, however, he has to create a perfect masterpiece to win. And that’s ultimately good for us, because otherwise he would have no goad impelling him to create those masterpieces.

The flip side is that his losses to Nadal are incredibly ugly and frustrating, the more so because he always seems to have chances to win but fails to take them. But one always has to pay a price for beauty.

I believe he will create more such masterpieces against Nadal, and that he will do so in Grand Slam finals. Only time will tell, of course.

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#4 
Written By steve on June 6th, 2011 @ 9:26 pm

I am so sick of the press and their questions and remarks to Roger. They are, for the most part rude. Roger played an incredible French and really made Nadal work hard for the victory. The final could have gone Rogers way but for the errors and it happens. I know Ruan you worry about his GOAT status but i dont.Roger and Rafa and Nole will probably take turns winning the slams for the next couple of years. For Rafa to get 6 more slams will be difficult.It was a joy to see Roger playing his best again and cant wait for Wimbledon to start. If Rafa dopes and keeps pushing his body he will not have as long a career as Roger. His knees are vulnerable and i heard Uncle Toni say he didn’t think Rafa would play but another couple of years. All the older tennis champions think Roger has more slams in him and i certainly do too. I like hearing tennis players talk about Roger over fat ass reporters.

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#5 
Written By Susan on June 6th, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

I’m tired of seeing the Cyborg Nadull destroying Federer in Grand Slam finals. In face of Djoker, the Cyborg wouldn’t have win one set with his annoying moonballing game. Please Federer, don’t be happy by trashing the Djoker chances, because he´s the only thing between you being the GOAT or the GOAT… AN (After Nadoping…)

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oz Reply:

I don’t think Djoker would beaten Nadal in the final either. Two to bear in mind:
1 – Nadal is playing is best tennis since the start of the year.
2 – Federer wasn’t playing his best tennis at the start of the year either.

Djoker wouldn’t have won in Miami or Rome if Nadal was playing his best. See what happen to djoker, when he gets some competition? He folded. Another thing which affected Djoker during the semi final matcvh was that he was comfortable in the first set matching Federer stroke for stroke which Djoker likes too but if you realized that most of Djoker unforced errors came when Federer, takes the pace off the ball forcing Djoker to use his own power and it works. Thats what Nadal does to Federer too, Nadal knows federer likes the balls coming on fast and flat, so he lobs the ball or moonball it, as you all call it. What it does it takes away federer timing, forcing him to use his own power and it also gives nadal a split second to get back in centre of court or run down federer’s return. It’s called strategy, in sports it’s not always the best player who wins a match but the smarter player or the one who siezes the inniative. Federer is not not comfortable using a two handed back hand, it will take away his timing and let more person in on his game. Why change a win ning formula, if it gets you 16 slams? Same goes for Nadal, why changed a winning formula, if it works? While watching the semifinal between Roger and Djoker, that was the best ball stiking I have ever seen from two players in the first two sets. ruan, i like that picture you had of Ali downing foreman. Remember what happened to foreman after Ali whipped him? Djoker was just on a streak, so was MacEnroe and how much as Mac achieved, what is Djoker record against Federer and Nadal, its a losing record. You can’t take one streak to say that Djoker his nadal slayer, he has to prove himself over a period of at least two years consistly. One thing I can say, if federer maintains this form and Nadal find his right form, we won’t be seeing djoker in a next final for at least two years.

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Ru-an Reply:

I believe Djokovic would have beaten Nadal. Two reasons:

1) He was already in his head after IW, Miami, Madrid, and Rome.
2) He is a much worse match up for Nadal than Roger. His bh is too strong for Nadals moonballs to bother it. Nadal has nowhere to go. The fact that Roger beat Djokovic means nothing. It only means that Djokovic was a better match up for him than Nadal.

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Oz Reply:

Ruan,

I don’t think Djoker would win. Nadal hasn’t find his form yet. Federer has and Nadal might find his true form at Wimbledon. Djoker peaked too soon, he has no further to go. He will start reaping dimishing return for the rest of the year. don’t be surprised, if Djoker lost by the third round in Wimbledon. I know if you can recall in the semi final against Federer, after the lost the first set and he went to sit down, the camera was on him and he was searching franitically for something in his bag, he couldn’t find and the camera shifted while he was still searching,butr he seemed real puzzled he couldn’t find it. Djoker was living a dream, Nadal and federer had lack form, why do you think Djoker lostr to Federer, simply, when federer or nadal is playing well they way above the rest. Djoker beaten them when they are off form is like taking candy from a baby but the moment one kid decided to stand and say, hey, you not taking mine, you see a different outcome. Djoker is not use to handling pressure like Federer and Nadal, I guarantee that as the year roll on Djoker will be playing second fiddle to both Federer and Nadal. Honestly, I never give Nadal a chance to win the french from the way he was playing earlier in the year, even at Monte Carlo but I guess the surprize, even himself. But, honestly, I don’t think Djoker would have won against nadal. He may won four times this when Nadal wasn’t up to par but if Nadal was below par and Djoker couldn’t bagel him earlier in the year, why do think that Djoker can win against a Nadal or federer in form or finding form. That’s more of a wishful thinking.

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neil Reply:

A ‘gluten-free’ Djokovic will keep beating Nadal this year: I will put money on it.

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jim Reply:

I agree. Djokovic is a better tennis player than Nadal. And a souped up Djoker can outlast him. He beat him quite badly in Madrid and Rome and Nadal wanted those matches. Nadal was tanking at the beginning of the FO partly because he was freaked out by Nole. He improved in the final because he felt freer and felt confident he could handle RF, especially on clay. The thing that I keep returning to about that match is that utterly tacky calling of the trainer when he was getting schooled in the 1st set. It’s so typical of him. He is a terrible loser and will use all these ridiculous tactics to win.

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marron Reply:

Tiresome, tiresome. If you think calling the trainer, DURING a changeover, just before his own service game, threw off RF, then you don’t think much of RF’s mentality. If *that* threw him off, it’s amazing RF ever won anything – what, conditions have to be just perfect? Bah.

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jim Reply:

oh please. He does this kind of thing constantly. He did it at Miami against Berdych. It’s a pattern, there are many examples. He does it to slow down momentum, just as he pushes the boundaries on his service games and getting coaching from Uncle Toni (finally he was reprimanded in Wimbledon). Give me a break, look up all the matches where he’s been losing and called a trainer. it works, but it’s cheesy.

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marron Reply:

Constantly? When did he adjust/remove tape before at this tournament? Any time at Rome? Madrid? Monte Carlo? Against Djokovic? Go look up the definition of ‘constantly’ in your dictionary, please.

Did this slow momentum? On his own service game? Slowed momentum enough that Fed had a set point?? Yeah, I’m sure Fed was pissed that he had a set point – ‘damn that Rafa, he made me get a set point!’…. hmmmm.

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neil Reply:

(“Hmmmm”. So what exactly does that mean? You have started singing to yourself?)

The Aussia commentators at the French Open final indicated that Nadal plays an ‘incredibly slow game’ between points, although, as Wally Masur said, it was ‘within the rules’. Well not quite, said his colleague Fred Stolle: Nadal was taking well over the permissible limit of 20 seconds between points: he timed him at repeatedly taking around 30 seconds between points that had often involved an exchange of only 2-3 shots. The umpire didn’t call him on it this time but Nadal has received code violations in matches for time wasting. Many of us call that cheating – what do you call it? As he isn’t using it to physically recover what purpose is there to it other than trying to disrupt his opponent’s rhythm – especially on the big points, like break points? You don’t think he knows he is doing it? It’s pretty much the same as calling an MTO (when he has no apparent injury) when the momentum of the match has swung against him. It works. Nadal manufactures his own ‘rain delay’ to turn the match around. We saw that in the Petzschner match in Wimbledon last year. He has also been fined for receiving coaching during a match. But to you I guess Nadal is an exemplar of sportsmanship, and his game a thing of beauty. Hmmmm.

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Ru-an Reply:

I dont think there is any doubt that Nadal uses gamesmanship. He does so very subtly though, so that his naive fans can still love and adore him. It just goes to show again the drastically different mindsets of Roger and Nadal again. Roger plays for the love of the game and doesnt think that BS needs to be part of the game, whereas for Nadal its all about winning, and he will do anything to make it happen.

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Manu Reply:

The more I see Nadal, the more I get the feeling that he is considering tennis as a job and not a sport. And in a job, how you do it, sadly, seldom matters to people these days…its the money they’re after.

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#6 
Written By jaques on June 6th, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

Boy, Roger has to feel bad after this loss. I agree that his GOAT status is getting diminished. The new media here in America was just feeding him to the wolves. Nothing positive at all.

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#7 
Written By Denise on June 7th, 2011 @ 1:57 am

the media, nadulltards, and bandwagon tennis fans are just ridiculous. tbh, fed should have been nowhere near the FO final to start with. the fact that he can even make it there at 29 (almost 30 btw), while beating a streaky djokovic on the way should ADD to his legacy, not detract from it. stupid how fededer is being punished for being good on clay (his supposedly weakest surface) when in fact he should be rewarded for it. nadal is just lucky he was weak on HC and grass when he started winning his RG titles

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jim Reply:

agree with this so much. Fuck the press, it’s ridiculous. Fed did amazingly. Christ, he beat Djokovic when Nadal couldn’t and then had to play Nadal two days later. They laud Djokovic and Nadal so much and neither has come anywhere near Fed. Take away the clay and Nadal has four Slams. His stupid, ugly, game lends itself to clay.

I had to throw out the NY times today, the headline made me sick: “First among equals.” Made me gag. No one mentions Federer is FIVE years older than Nadal and six years older than Djokovic. That is huge in tennis.

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Manu Reply:

The fact that the press continues to write obituaries for Roger sybolize how great he is. Even when he is said to be third behind Mr.Muscles and Mr.Prince(The Prince is dead long live the Prince!), they still have such high expectations on Roger and treated his win over Djoko as business. I would be surprised the day the newspaper stop their doomsday speeches for Roger.This doesn’t mean you have to take the press seriously. Heck, they said roger was on decline in 2007 too!!

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jaques Reply:

Roger is not on decline. He never played so well in the FO, but losing one more time against Nadull is worse for his legacy than losing to a rising Djoker. Believe me.And now i fear for Wimbledon. Who can stop The Cyborg?

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Davd C. Reply:

Roger is on decline, has been so since mid-2007. He is unable to sustain the level he once had for an entire season. He could still play great tennis, like this FO. The fact that he is not as good as before but still ranked 3rd in the world just shows you how good of a player he is. But no, he is not the same player back in the days, from 2004-mid 2007.

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#8 
Written By Arthur on June 7th, 2011 @ 2:40 am

These lines from an article I read sum it up beautifully:
“He was “done” in 2009, and went on to claim his first French Open title, and a record number of Grand Slams. He was “done” in the middle of 2010, and went on to dominate the second half of the season. He is “done” again. What will he go on to achieve this time?
It is very dangerous, very dangerous indeed, to write off Roger Federer.”

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#9 
Written By BA on June 7th, 2011 @ 5:05 am

‘Nationalist’Americans are naturally against the GOATness of Federer because he spoilt Sampras’s chance to win Wimbledon 2001, has broken or is in the line of breaking almost every record that Sampras held, negated Roddick at least four GS titles and what not. So, it is natural that they are jealous of Federer’s achievements. It is better to let them vent their anger through the press.

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Ru-an Reply:

Exactly. All sour grapes since Roger destroyed American tennis in every possible way.

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Gary Reply:

I’m an American, and am one of his biggest fans, as if you didn’t know. I will never like Nadal or Djoker. It’s just a feel, and I think before I told you that I hated Fed when he beat Sampras, but how could you not like the style of tennis and grace he has. That was the reason I started liking Fed. Djoker stands a chance, only cause when Fed retires, I want him to stand in Nadals way, or maybe someone might come up thru the ranks who can kick his ass. Gregor Dimitrov comes to mind. G

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Ru-an Reply:

‘I hated Fed when he beat Sampras, but how could you not like the style of tennis and grace he has.’

Too bad all Americans arent that logical, but nonetheless great to see that there are some.

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#10 
Written By mridul1 on June 7th, 2011 @ 6:46 am

Hey all, an antidote to the moronic press and commentators everyone has been (rightly) complaining about. Agassi shares our response to Fed’s recent run (said after the Djokovic semi and b/f the Rafa final):

“He’s changed the game of tennis, he’s raised the standard. To me he’s the best of all time now – maybe Nadal has a chance in his career to prove differently, but right now I think Roger’s the all-time best, and to watch what he did against Djokovic was so special, so good for tennis, and I think win or lose [the final] he has so much to be proud of.”

http://www.theage.com.au/sport/tennis/federer-the-best-of-all-time-says-agassi-20110605-1fn5q.html?skin=text-only

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muhammad Reply:

Thanks for sharing nelson :-)

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#11 
Written By Nelson Goodman on June 7th, 2011 @ 8:21 am

Ruan, I thought I would re-post a comment from the previous thread because you may miss it and it touches on an important subject that you raised with Ed and Steve, who both offered some valuable insights. You may want to take it further or just think about it. It is offered as a positive acknowledgment of who you are and what you offer to all of us who share in your blog.

Ruan, I agree with Ed, that you are making choices in your life, and meaningful choices, regardless of what came before. Your life may be difficult, with more than its fair share of disappointments, losses and reversals, but I don’t believe it is set or predetermined in that way. Your spirit rises above these things. We can see that in these pages. It matters less what happens in our life, and even what we choose, than the attitudes we form to those events and choices. If you believe your life to be significant and with purpose, then it will be so. Believe that, my friend.

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Ru-an Reply:

Thanks Neil, i replied to you on the previous post.

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#12 
Written By neil on June 7th, 2011 @ 10:39 am

those hands r gonna raise the golden trophy next month n the silver trophy at the States 2 months later….point by point, game by game, set by set , n match by match, m gonna jst gonna support till his retirement….i belive we owe him this much after wt he has given us fans n the sport….RF for life! ur break down analysis of each loss esp makes me feel really motivated…it’s tht analysis of yours tht aids me to digest his losses faster n the same time when he wins, ur posts raise a lot of confidence in his fans…great juan…keep it goin ! :)

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#13 
Written By vaibhav on June 7th, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

oops sorry my bad..ruan***

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Manu Reply:

Awesome…Juan. You a delpo fan by any chance??? :)

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#14 
Written By vaibhav on June 7th, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

Something that the press grossly overlooks is that Nadal has just the one US Open title/final and one Australian Open title/final for his entire career. Considering he’s played during a hardcourt era, that’s really pathetic for the supposed greatest player of all time.

How can anyone claiming he is the GOAT overlook the 4 blowout losses in 5 years at the Australian Open to Gonzo, Tsonga, Murray and Ferrer?

Or the US Open losses to Blake, Youzhny and Ferrer during seasons he won the French Open?

That is far, far worse than Roger getting to the French Open final five times and losing four of them to Nadal.

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Ru-an Reply:

Well said. Nadal has won 6 of his 10 slams on clay. He is now the clay GOAT. But he has far to go to become the real GOAT, or to rival Roger anyway. Having said that, he is catching up. Id like to see Roger win Wimbledon. That is now the priority. If he does that he will be on 17 slams and will be very hard to catch. No one logical will ever question his clay court prowess, since he has been the 2nd best clay courter behind the clay GOAT for the better half of a decade, and he does have the all important RG title. No one logical cares that he didnt beat Nadal at RG, since you dont have to be the GOAT on all surfaces to be the GOAT. Nadal is just the GOAT on one surface. He isnt close to being the GOAT on hard or grass. Roger is the GOAT on hard, and very close to being the GOAT on grass. A win at Wimbledon this year would seal the deal.

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TenniFan Reply:

Isn’t it ironic that Roger’s quest for the career Slam actually HURT his legacy in many ways? I think it also cost him THREE Grand Slams.

Consider this hypothetical if Roger had lost one round earlier in all of the claycourt tournaments he had played. There would be no Rome 2006, French Opens 2005-2008, no Hamburg 2008, etc. Nadal would have never gained the mental edge over Federer without these meetings.

I’d say there’s no way Roger loses Wimbledon 2008 and Australian Open 2009 without those prior claycourt losses. Roger also would have easily defeated Djokovic in the 2010 US Open semis, because he would not have been nervous getting ready to face Nadal in the final.

So at this rate, Nadal is a 6 time French Open Champion with maybe the 2010 Wimbledon title to go along with it. And that’s it.

Roger meanwhile would have 7 Wimbledons, 6 US Opens, and 5 Australian Opens for 18 total! No career Slam, but he’d be the clear GOAT!

What do you think?

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marron Reply:

If this, if that…

To quote Roger – ‘it is what it is.’

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#15 
Written By TennisFan on June 7th, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

I feel that sooner or later Nadal is going to be the Lance Armstrong of tennis. His achievements all have a weird taint to them. How did he suddenly get through the US Open without losing a set and increase his serve speed by 10 mph. It’s the stupid mentality in Spain that excuses–almost sanctions–doping.

Anyway, no way can Nadal even reasonably be considered the GOAT. His entire connection to it is that he has a winning record against the true GOAT. Roger elevates him.

Anyway, hopefully, RF will win 1-2 more Slams. I really truly thought the FO was a break through. I think his belief will be stronger not on clay. He was chewing Nadal up at the beginning of the match and then just fell off, but still fought back valiantly. I also think the other players noticed Nadal’s vulnerability. Del Potro or Djokovic could beat him. Maybe even a strong big server like Isner.

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#16 
Written By jim on June 8th, 2011 @ 1:31 am

there is new grunter town! RF. just watched a repeat of the FO final last nite and heard the great one grunting.

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Manu Reply:

Gamesmanship vs Gamemanship??

I guess Muscles is better at that :)

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#17 
Written By emy on June 8th, 2011 @ 7:17 am

Roger will go Golden Slam in 2012 and shock even me, the most mercurial, loving AND sceptical of fanatics. I sense a year where Roger will do all he can to CEMENT his legacy in the eyes of all detractors even though we already know he is the best. EVER. I believe. Absofuckinglutely.

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#18 
Written By mark on June 8th, 2011 @ 8:53 am

hey ruan
good post.don’t be disheartened.the game what is presented on Roland Garros is from another planet.nadal is just like Italian football team,only defensive play. He is making tennis a different game,by introducing negativity in the game.many new players are now copying him ,as they are all becoming much more defensive play.it is also very easy to learn such type game because you can manage by less technically perfect shots.
nadal is not able to be attacking against 100th ranking player,because he can not play tennis he only can play neg tennis i.e. negative tennis.
be ready for 17th and 18th grands slam for roger.this is my assurance.

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#19 
Written By raj swa on June 8th, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

I can make a pretty strong case for Nadal doping. Nadal has established a pattern of being in form for certain periods of the year and not others, regardless of the surface.

If one looks at the four Grand Slam surfaces, the French Open is obviously the most suited to Nadal’s game. After that? The Australian Open is by far better suited to his game than either the Wimbledon grass or US Open quick hardcourts. The Aussie’s slow, high bouncing courts are so good for his game, yet look at his results there. In his last four losses, he hasn’t won a single set against the likes of Gonzo, Ferrer, Tsonga and Murray. Plus he bailed on the 2006 event (which even Pete Bodo questioned).

Look at the timing of Australia versus Wimbledon. Australia is in no-man’s land. It’s four months ahead of Roland Garros, so it’s timing is a huge inconvenience to Nadal. Wimbledon comes right on the heals of a French Open victory. If Wimbledon was held in September or October, he probably would have zero titles there.

This regular pattern of being on and off form for specific times of year strongly suggests Nadal is doping and then cycling off his drugs for the “less important” parts of the tennis season. Look at what happened the one time he won Australia: he lost at the French! He probably altered his doping regime to get the one Aussie title and then it upset his form for the spring.

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Ru-an Reply:

The way how he plays every event possible and never ever gets tired is a big enough case for me.

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marron Reply:

And yet your comment, that Rafa ‘was getting tired in the third set at the RG final’ means what then?

Was he or wasn’t he?

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Ru-an Reply:

That was the first time ever it looked like he was getting tired. Yet miraculously he was fine in the fourth. Just face it, the guy is juiced to the gills. There is no other explanation.

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marron Reply:

Yet I recall you writing all about how tired Rafa looked in the third set of the 09 AO (go back and read it…), and THIS is the first time it ever looked to you like he was getting tired…

hmmmm.

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neil Reply:

Marron, Ruan makes it pretty clear what he thinks about Nadal; you don’t have to pretend to be a prosecuting lawyer to work that out. More to the point, where do you stand on the question of Nadal being a doper?

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Ru-an Reply:

That AO is the best example yet to suspect that he is doping. Not the best example to use…

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neil Reply:

Quite. If ever there was a smoking gun for Nadal being a doper those AO matches in ’09 have to be it.

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Ru-an Reply:

I just couldnt believe it. Before the match i thought Roger has this in the bag. Just no way Nadal could recover from that match with Verdasco with a days less rest. Roger was a retard for losing the 3rd set though. If he had won it then surely Nadal would have given up.

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marron Reply:

Not the best example to use? Really … go back and read what you wrote.

Ru-an: ‘That was the first time ever it looked like he was getting tired’ – meaning the final of the ’11 RG.

My response: ‘Yet I recall you writing all about how tired Rafa looked in the third set of the 09 AO…’

So are you lying when you say this was the first time it ever looked (to you) like he was getting tired?

This was my point.

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Ru-an Reply:

Ok so i forgot. Huge deal. Nadal got tired twice. Twice in his entire career. That doesnt seem suspect to you?

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TennisFan Reply:

I just think it’s so strange that in the last 5 Australian Opens, Nadal has lost 4 times in straight sets to unproven Grand Slam players. And in the one year he won the AO, he lost the French.

If the Australian Open was held the last two weeks of March, I think he might be a 2-3 time Champion there. But not with the tournament being in January.

Has the time of year ever determined a player’s success more than Nadal?

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Ru-an Reply:

Valid point. Seems suspect. Cant be mere coincidence.

On the other hand, that AO took a lot out of him. Maybe that was the reason?

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TennisFan Reply:

But he still managed to win Indian Wells, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome!

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Ru-an Reply:

All the more reason for him to be tired!

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neil Reply:

So what is your ‘point’, Marron? That Nadal can’t be doping?

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marron Reply:

That Ru-an said one thing and contradicted it in an earlier post.

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neil Reply:

Iam sorry but that sounds kind of petty, Marron – and evasive. You see Ruan, myself and quite a few others here think Nadal is likely to be doping. Your criticism of Ruan for being supposedly inconsistent – I don’t really see that myself, I can see what he is saying about Nadal – ducks the main question. Do you believe Nadal can’t be doping?

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vaibhav Reply:

anything is possible. But the possibility of nadal doping is much more appealing than him ‘naturally’ having UNLIMITED amounts of stamina and energy.

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neil Reply:

Since when has anyone naturally had unlimited amounts of stamina and energy? Athletic sports have always depended upon fatigue as a factor in their outcome; Nadal appears to have changed that. And Djokovic. And Schiavone. The pattern is unfortunately more and more prevalent.

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Ru-an Reply:

I just dont want people to think that this is sour grapes from me. I still think Roger had chances to beat Nadal several times and screwed it up in the past. If Nadal is doping then that is not the only factor in Roger losing to him. He crumbles mentally and that is something he must overcome. If Nadal beat Roger at Wimbledon then its not gonna be good for his legacy lets face it. If Roger wants to be the GOAT then he must be able to even overcome a doper. In the Rumble in the Jungle Foreman was by far stronger than Ali but he found a way to win anyway against all odds. I wana see the same thing from Roger.

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neil Reply:

Ruan, I think the example of Ali and Foreman and ‘the Rumble in the Jungle’ is spot on. Ali realised he couldn’t outhit the slugger Foreman so he had to find another way. He did. That is the measure of his greatness. Nadal is Foreman to Federer’s Ali. Roger couldn’t – or can’t – outslug Nadal. But he didn’t find another way. Even more to the point, he seemed to stop looking. If Federer had beaten Nadal this year at the French – which he could have done – after taking out Djokovic, the best player in the world this year, and coming back from a year in which many critics (including myself) considered his career was heading inevitably downhill, I would have been amongst the first to triumphantly proclaim Roger as the greatest player ever in this sport. But something in him found a way to lose. He is not Ali. That ‘something’ in Roger has always been there, and was, above all, revealed by an inferior player of nonetheless greater determination than himself. Roger remains one of the great players but he cannot be the greatest. Nadal has seen to that – even though he himself will never be the greatest, simply because of the way he plays. You see, it’s not just titles, as Ali shows, it’s ‘something’ more that is indefinable. It’s to do with heart.

Current score: 1

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Ru-an Reply:

You think it is too late for Roger to become the greatest? Even if he beats Nadal at Wimbledon?

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neil Reply:

Roger can change his game (as Steve has frequently argued) but he can’t change himself. Nadal has revealed what it is that Roger doesn’t seem to be able to change; it’s what Ali had that made him supreme but that Roger can’t seem to find, and I think it’s to do with character.

Current score: 1

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Ru-an Reply:

Ok and i know i dont have the character to change my conditions that i was born in. I have tried a million times but i just wasnt strong enough. And my conditions get worse every day. I guess there is just one thing left for me to do.

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Ru-an Reply:

Come to think of it, i dont care much if Roger is the GOAT as long as he ends up ahead of Nadal. He will have a great argument for being the GOAT then anyway.

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TennisFan Reply:

There is no such thing as GOAT.

Sampras never won the French.
Federer has the career Slam, but a losing record against Nadal.
Nadal has too many bad hardcourt losses in Slams.
Borg never won the US Open.
Laver doesn’t have as many Slams as Roger or Pete, plus played in an era with two surfaces.

There is no GOAT!

Current score: 1

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Ru-an Reply:

Agree. Again i say to you that i made this post for entertainments sake, and to prove how far Nadal still is from being a GOAT contender. Even if there is no GOAT it is still fun to speculate about these things and compare.

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Manu Reply:

how do you think Roger won against Delpo in FO 2009??

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#20 
Written By TennisFan on June 8th, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

I would like to say that I have been quite happy to read this post until its author has started talking about Nadal’s suspicion of doping. I am also a fan of Roger, not as much as the writer of course, and even if I am unconditionally for Nadal, I would never arise the possibility that Roger dopes. This is just unfair.

You might not remember how many consecutives matches Roger played at the age of 25 nor all the injures Rafa has had from the beginning of his career (yes, human body has its limits). Why shouldn’t he be able to face many tournements now? Perhaps, his uncle should suggest to him not to play more than two per month, in order not to arouse suspicions of dope. Come on!

Roger may probably win Wimbledon this year and I’ll be happy for him but if he doesn’t, don’t blame Nadal’s good shape for this. Mental condition is the only thing that has betrayed Roger against Rafa in the past. Now Roger is 29 so he has the right to get injured; besides, he’s got a family…everything counts. Otherwise, he’s the best player in history, all of us recognize it. But remember, there are a lot players in the grass that can beat Roger, not only Rafa…and I don’t think they will face each other this time.

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Ru-an Reply:

You’re right, Nadal is not a doper.

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#21 
Written By fernando martinez on June 8th, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

Does RF even want to be called the GOAT or just his fans? GOAT or not, does it take or add anything to his achievements? there is no doubt many people think he is a great player, isn’t that enough? do we really need to taint other players’ images just to prove that RF is the best? I for one believes that his achvements are enough, and there is definitely no need to accuse other players of what not.

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Ru-an Reply:

Well doping is unfortunately a reality in the sport. Maybe you should write a letter to the ATP if it bothers you that people talk of doping.

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neil Reply:

Emy, maybe you should do some research into ‘what not’ before you rebuke others for raising it.

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#22 
Written By emy on June 9th, 2011 @ 11:11 am
#23 
Written By IROCK on June 9th, 2011 @ 11:29 am

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