Australian Open Semi-Finals Preview: Federer to Meet Nadal for the 10th Time in a Slam

Before I proceed with my post, let me just say I have really enjoyed reading your comments and taking part in the discussion. My blog wouldn’t be the same without it so thank you for taking part. I have also enjoyed watching this Australian Open a lot as well as writing about it. The remaining quarter finals were concluded today and as was pretty much expected, it will be the top four competing for a final spot again. These four guys are just so far ahead of the rest, and they must be the strongest top four in the history of the sport. I like to see them in the semis, but the Federer/Djokovic and Nadal/Murray match ups started to get a bit redundant. It is a fresh change to have a Fedal and Djokoray semi. I hope to see that happen more often in the future. Before I get to the semi-final previews, let me just go over the remaining quarter final matches that were concluded today.

The Murray/Nishikori match was very one-sided, with Murray winning 6-3, 6-3, 6-1. Not much to say here aside from the fact that Murray is looking dangerous. His draw has been a bit of a joke but he hasn’t been troubled in the least and must still be very fresh. Nishikori on the other hand must have been pretty spent after a bunch of tough matches. Will the fact that Murray has not been tested so far, come back to haunt him? I don’t think so. Murray has been looking relaxed since hooking up with Lendl. We may just see a different Murray in his semi against Djokovic. I don’t expect Murray to all of a sudden beat Djokovic after he got destroyed in last year’s final, but this could be a much closer match. I am going to predict that Djokovic will win this one in four. In the last quarter final Djokovic played against Ferrer which Djokovic won 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-1.

It was physically a grueling match even though it just lasted three sets. Ferrer is fit as a dog and never gives up, but in the end Djokovic’s quality was just too much. He played some clutch tennis at crucial stages which made the difference. Ferrer doesn’t have the weapons to hurt Djokovic either. To beat Djokovic just retrieving everything is not enough. You have to be able to hurt him on the offense as well. Roger is basically the only guy that can do this. Although Murray has better offense than Ferrer, I still don’t think it’s good enough to upset Djokovic. Neither his serve nor his forehand is good enough. He does however have a great backhand, he moves very well, and he has good volleys and variation. That’s why I can see him taking a set. But in the end I think Djokovic is just too solid overall. His backhand has always been amazing, but now his serve and forehand has become weapons as well.

Now let me get to the main dish, the much expected Fedal semi. Whenever these two meet in a slam it is a special occasion, and this will be no exception. This will be their 10th meeting in a slam, with Nadal leading the head-to-head 7-2. This is of course not a great record for Roger, but we also know that five of those meeting were on clay. Those five meetings don’t matter much to me as Nadal was expected to win them all. On grass Roger leads 2-1, which is a good record. The one I don’t like is the 1-0 record Nadal has on hard court over Roger. Roger is the best hard court player in history and that loss to Nadal in the 2009 Australian Open final is the one that really hurt.  That is the one that has to be reversed here.If Roger beats Nadal he will have a positive head-to-head over Nadal in slams off clay. That is something I will be happy with.

But there is another interesting statistic. Nadal leads Roger 4-1 on outdoor hard, and the only match that Roger won he was down two sets and a break. There is no doubt that at first glance the stats doesn’t look very good for Roger, and that he is up against it here. But that would fail to take into account that Roger has had some telling wins in this rivalry as well. I know many Fedfans will basically assume that Roger is doomed here against his so-called nemesis. This is an attitude that I simply cannot accept. I read in some forums yesterday and I was disgusted at some of the Fedfan attitudes. I have to wonder why these people even call themselves Fedfans. If it is always a forgone conclusion that Roger will lose to Nadal, then why be his fan? I feel like that is a cowardly way to look at it and not worthy of a true Fedfan.

Personally I relish this challenge and I have a great feeling about it. Like I said, Roger has had some key wins in this rivalry, like for instance at the Masters Cup last year. If that win doesn’t give Fedfans hope then I don’t know what will. I mean it was utter destruction. I don’t care about the surface either. If you beat someone that badly it gives you confidence. I feel like Roger is overdue here, and the Masters Cup was a preview of what’s to come. This is Roger Federer the GOAT we are talking about here. It would be a sin to assume that he is going to lose. Especially given his recent form. I mean you couldn’t hope for better form going into this match. Not only did he crush Nadal 6-3, 6-0 at the Masters Cup, but he is on a 24-match winning streak and is playing some incredible tennis in his last three rounds.

But more important than all these stats is my gut feeling. I can’t explain it, but I just have a very good feeling about this match. For one thing I am very excited. You know, I can start naming all the reasons why Roger will once again lose to Nadal, but what’s the point? I would rather name all the reasons why he can win this. Let me first get back to Roger’s match against Del Potro. I already said the game at 5-3 in the second set was key. I think in the last few years Roger has all too often allowed opponents back into the match after having them in trouble. After losing to Djokovic for a second consecutive year in the US Open semis after being two match points up, it was time for introspection. I mean seriously, that is so unlikely to happen that you have to wonder if the tennis gods are trying to tell you something.

Apparently Roger listened to the tennis gods because he took time off thereafter to ask some questions. Ever since then he has not lost a match. I think that may have something to so with the fact that he took a good look at himself. A good example is the Del Potro match. I think in the past he would have lost serve at 5-3 and allowed Del Potro back in the match. You can say the fact that he even got nervous at that point is a sign of mental weakness, but I don’t look at it that way. I see it as the ‘new’ Roger. In that final he lost to Nadal in 2009 he let Nadal back into the match in the third set, and it cost him dearly. Ever since then he kept doing the same thing. I think things have come full circle for Roger now and it is time to put that demon to bed. If he succeeds in doing so we may just see a whole new era of Federer domination.

I know that sounds very optimistic, but I have never believed that Roger’s game has deserted him. Having watched him since the US Open last year I feel his game is as good as ever. The only problem before that was in the mental department. I believe that loss in the 2009 Australian Open final scarred Roger mentally and he wasn’t the same afterwards. The game is no doubt still there, and if he can exorcise that mental demon against Nadal tomorrow, he may just get back to his dominant best. As far as the tactics go we have discussed this many a time. The serve will be key as always. Roger has been serving very well since the indoor season and I expect the same tomorrow. Then on the return he has to take some chances and really try to hurt Nadal. The biggest challenge against Nadal is his retrieving and counter punching abilities.

We saw that against Berdych again. Berdych is one of the biggest hitters on tour, if not the biggest, and yet he found it extremely hard to penetrate the Nadal defense. I mean it is just unreal the balls he gets to and the accuracy with which he returns them. And this is slowish hard courts which makes it even harder to hit a winner against him. This is a reality that can’t be escaped, but if Roger stays patient and doesn’t lose his nerve, his offense is good enough to finish the point. In the past it is just that extra ball which Nadal returns that really gave Roger a headache. If you look at the 2009 final Roger did have chances to put Nadal away in the third set, but he became tentative. There is no doubt in my mind he would have won that match had he not doubted himself. So all he needs to do this time is to push home the advantage.

It’s easier said than done, but since I believe we are seeing a new Roger since the US Open, I believe he will get the job done here. I’m not going to go into anymore tactics here, because as we saw in the 2009 final, Roger does have the game to beat Nadal on this surface. It is more a mental game than anything else. Roger will no doubt get opportunities to take the initiative in this match and then he has to pounce. There will be no place for timidity this time. He will simply have to go out there and take the initiative with both hands. If we know one thing it is that Nadal won’t lose this match, so Roger needs to go out there and win it. I am feeling very positive. I think JesusFed will show up and do what he should have done three years ago.

Roger in 3

 

Ps: I have created a thread in the forum where you can chat during the Fedal match. I feel there is a need for it because some of you often come to leave comments during or right after matches. You can find the thread here.

Update: I just saw this tweet on twitter by @RF_link and I thought I’d share it with you:

Rod Laver:”I feel in my gut, I feel that Roger will be in the final “

I saw this after I made my post and it kind of surprised me, because I said pretty much the exact same thing in my post.

Laver/Federer interview: Good stuff http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=7501282&categoryid=2491545

OOP: http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/index.html

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112 Comments

  1. Completely agree with you RU-AN. Iv’e had a gut feeling about the AO for months. After last years USO i think Roger and Paul got very serious and we have seen the fruits of this. Roger has been more aggressive and coming into net more often, giving him points. Of late Roger has reminded me of Agassi in his last USO. Agassi hit the court with the air of a warrior and thats what im seeing in Roger. I believe Roger will take the AO and would be surprised if he doesn’t. Also believe he could very well take two slams this year. So frustrated with the lack of coverage i have had and always grateful for your Blog. Here we go,love Roger Federer.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    So glad my blog is helping you Susan! I really feel for you that you don’t have proper coverage!

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    Nelson Goodman Reply:

    Susan,

    Regarding coverage, where are you located and what do you have access to? I ask b/c ESPN3 has all the AO matches online, for free, both live and stored as “replays.” I think you have to log in with a us-based computer though.

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    Susan Reply:

    Hi Susan, when i moved into my new apt i just assumed my internet service would have ESPN3. Not so, i am going to change my provider so this never happens to me again. Roger has been playing around 3am my time and i try to stay awake but im older and cant seem to do it.ESPN2 has been showing the reruns of matches but not a given it will be Rogers. This is so fristrating because i believe this title is Rogers. May go to sleep and then set alarm for @:30 am and see if i can do it.Whatever, as long as Roger wins i will be happy. Do you know of sites the show the whole match after its over. I am in Vermont, US. Thank you Susan

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    Susan Reply:

    Just saw online that ESPN2 will run the Federer/ Nadal match again in the afternoon. So happy!

    [Reply]

    V.Adhithya Reply:

    Hey Susan,you can see live streaming at http://www.livescorehunter.com
    Do you get that website in your place???

    [Reply]

    Susan Reply:

    Thank you, i will see if i can get it.

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  2. Amazing article! I do feel that Coach Annacone has been a godsend for Roger in helping him overcome this mental demon. Roger’s tenacity to improve and to face this demon is why I love him. So many others would have given up by now. Hoping for good things tomorrow! FED ALL THE WAY!

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  3. I basically agree with you. I think Roger is dealing with his demons and is eager to get this GS on his pocket.
    Moreover, there is one detail everyone seems to be dismissing…Nadal’s own demons, that is Djokovic. The guy knows that in case he would win the match against Roger he would have to face Djokovic in the final and he can’t risk losing another GS final to him, at least not before the French Open. Such a loss would create so much pressure on him during Roland Garros that he would most likely fail to stop Djokovic there… If we look at Nadal’s QF post-match interview it seems as if he was laying the ground to accept defeat in the semis:

    “Semifinals is fantastic result for me. Start the season with semifinals in the first big tournament of the season is very good news.”
    “You know, quarterfinals is not a bad result, but at the same time is not a good one, no? Semifinals is a good one. Is start of season being in the four best of the first important tournament of the season. So is very good way to start the season”

    Come on, a guy that has 10 GS, 17 masters, has won one GS and went to 2 finals last year is very, very happy just getting to the semis? The only explanation possible is that the guy is scared of even thinking of facing Nole in the final and loosing…
    Once again very different from Roger… although Roger had though losses to Nadal he never avoided facing him; thus is a great Champion. It saddens me that a guy with Nadal’s CV does the opposite…
    I wouldn’t be surprised, at all if tomorrow we saw Nadal having a “bad knee” day to make his defeat to Roger look softer.
    All Best,
    Vasco

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Or, Nadal i just playing the underdog as usual to take the pressure off himself. I don’t think it matters to him that Djokovic waits for him in the final. It’s not even a 100% certainty.

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  4. Nice preview,Ru-an.I feel the same way you feel about the match .I have a gut feeling that Roger will in 4.As far as attitudes of Federer fan goes,I think what you say is aboslutely spot on and that those kind of people dont deserve to be Fedfans.As far as the tactics goes,Roger needs to get free points on his serve and his returns should be sharp as they have been in these previous two or three matches.He should not give Nadal too much on his forehand side and should mix it up so that Nadal does not get stuck to a rhythm.He should use his drop shots wisely as otherwise they may result in some tricky problems for roger.His off forehand and down the line back hand should be working perfectly and his errors should be minimal as they have been. Overall,I feel Fed in 4

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  5. peRFect analysis, pretty much what i had in my mind as well….. he beat 2009 USO champion in QF, now lets beat the 2009 AO champion in SF…..As always the first set will be the key…. My pick Fed in 4 ; 7-5 7-6 6-7 6-4

    Can somebody please record the whole match and put it in youtube? I think i might miss some initial action due to some other commitments :-(

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  6. Great preview, Ru-an. Like you, I have a really good feeling about this match. Roger has the tools and the will to win this match, and I have all the faith in the world that he will do just that. As you said, the ability of Federer to put some pressure on Nadal’s serve by being aggessive is absolutely crucial. So too is being opportunistic on break point chances (we’ve seen too many squandered break chances in these sorts of matches in the past, and this can’t be the case this time). I think another important tactic for Federer is to be aggessive with his backhand; to take some chances driving it up the line. Nadal, as we’ve seen in some past mathces, has the ability to expose Fed’s one-hander with his heavy topspin, lefty forehand, and Roger has to be careful not to get into long rallies that give Nadal too many short balls. Above all, though, Federer will have to summon his all-court genius to pull through: he’ll have to mix up spins, throw in drop shots to keep Nadal off balance, use the slice effectively to take away Nadal’s rythym, and come forward when opportunities present themselves to end points efficiently. But I’m sure Roger and Paul already know all of this :-)

    Keep up the terrific work, Ru-an. This blog is the best thing on the internet for Federer fans. I can’t wait to read your post-match analysis.

    This is your time, Roger. Your fans are behind you one-hundred percent. Courage!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks D.R. i really appreciate that. I love doing this and if people appreciate it it makes it extra special.

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  7. Beautiful post, Ruan! Very nice to read. I agree with almost everything you say. I haven`t seen Roger that extremely confident on court in a long long time. His backhand looks razor sharp and his variety is exceptional. I`d only slightly disagree with the importance of that WTF match. I mean Ferrer beat Djokovic 6:3 6:1 in London but lost today in straights against the same opponent. So I don`t think that WTF match will have a big influence. The current form will be much more important imo.

    One big advanatage for Roger: he loves the heat! I think he didn`t even break a sweat against Potro although it was scorching hot that day.

    I feel if Roger overcomes this obstacle, he will win the whole tournament.

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  8. As you Ru-an I disagree with all who are giving Nadal
    as the sure winner in this semi.Roger needs to believe he can beat him and play a focused match.He needs to start on fire just as he did against Delpo
    and Nole in RG.(which can´t be slower than this one)
    so the solw surface should not be a problem.He has the skills namely serve and all his variety.
    I think Roger and his coach have a plan to win this trophy, he looks confident and I have a good feeling too. So Roger goooo for it, remember what this guy is
    and remember who you are, don´t give him time to breathe, time to ask his uncle, nothing.CRUSH HIM.
    SEND HIM HOME.JUST DO IT ROGER!!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I like ‘CRUSH HIM’ ;-)

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  9. The carrer of Roger Federer reminds of another legendary athlete in athletics : Hicham Elguerrouj. For those who you dont follow track and field, Elguerrouj was the King of the 1500m from 95 to 04 like no other athlete dominated his sport in such a dictatorial and long way (maybe Bubka and Federer can challenge him). He was world champion 5 consecutive times, current world record holder (his last race was at the athene olympics final in 04). He had many seasons with 0 or one lost race.
    Why do Elguerrouj reminds me of Federer?
    The ultimate goal in athletics is to win a gold medal in the olympics. The guy, even if was dominating his sport brutally, he was enable to win the gold medal twice (96 and 00). He was having that psychological weakness that was freezing his legs and mind and we was ending up losing the most important race of the last 4 years wile he was winning by a big margin everything else.
    The end of his carrer was nevertheless wonderfull: at the athenes 04 olympic game, he not only won the 1500m gold medal but also the 5000m gold medal. The only other guy who won both gold medals did in 1926.
    In tennis, the ultimate goal is to do like Laver did in 1962 : winning all the slams in a calender year. Roger was so close in acheiving the Grand Slam (04,05,06,07,09), he is best hard court, grass court and clay court (yes I sayed clay) player but still had that psychological weakness during some finals that he should have never lost. He is the most complete and skilled and consistant Tennis player in the history of this sport.
    I dont see any fear in Federer’s game in 2012. He is ready for the ultimate goal.

    Federer will win in straight sets
    The way Federer is playing this year is just mind blowing

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  10. An epic battle it will be today between Federer/Nadal. But I think if we look at their game stats till now (Federer/Nadal Epic Semi- Final – What do Australian Open Stats Indicate?- Part 1 http://bit.ly/z4jhyP ), we can see that their weak points have been completely different till now at AO! Roger has hit 181 winners in just 4 matches, Rafa has done only 96 Unforced errors till date. A lot is at stake here and Roger will be raring to go esp after 2009 defeat here and the rift also that emerged just before the start!

    I just feel

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  11. Forget the fact that Roger thrashed Nadal 6-3,6-0 at the WTF less than two months ago, that Nadal could win nothing for the latter part of last year and lost to just about anybody with a racket as he suffered his typical year-ending “seasonal tennis affective disorder” – forget all that. Nadal is once again, as he is during the slams (and especially towards the end of the second week), at the peak of his dubious physical powers. Can Roger overcome that tonight?

    The contest is stark; it is a match in which the greatest player ever to have picked up a tennis racket will attempt again to overcome an opponent whose game has provoked unprecedented suspicion and public debate that he is the biggest drug cheat the sport has ever seen. It will be a tragedy for tennis if Roger does not win. We are all joined in hope for his victory.

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  12. Wonderful post, Ru-an. I really liked Balthazar’s comment yesterday.

    This may be some of the best tennis Federer’s ever played in his entire career. Correction: this IS the best tennis he’s played in his entire career, and that is saying something.

    If he continues in this form, he can and will win the Australian Open without the loss of a set, as he did in ’07. Except this time he will have defeated three Grand Slam champions in a row to do it, all of whom have beaten him in majors.

    What he’s doing is not based on running faster or hitting harder.

    Through his strategic play, he’s completely removing the opponent’s strengths from the equation. Del Potro’s power forehand and reach were completely nullified, just as were Tomic’s tricky spins and slices and Karlovic’s big serve.

    Nadal’s lefty forehand, topspin, and defensive skills can be nullified too. So too with Djokovic’s backhand and ball-striking abilities. It only remains for Federer to find the way of doing it.

    No one has ever played this kind of tactical tennis before–not at such a total level.

    There have been many great tactical players who played many great tactical matches, but to comprehensively shut down each and every one of the opponent’s greatest strengths, and to do it match after match against such a diverse array of opponents: this is a mastery never seen before. Only a genius could do it.

    Pity the sweating, grunting multitude of players like Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray who have to run endlessly and muscle the ball for hours in order to win.

    Federer has found a better way. If you play only the kinds of points which allow you to fully employ your strengths while completely denying the opponent the use of their strengths, then you win.

    Simple to state, nearly impossible to do, except for the man who has made a career of doing the impossible.

    This is his answer to the next generation: the younger, stronger, faster players who grew up watching him on TV. They can outgun him, they can outrun him, they’ve exhaustively studied his patterns and techniques until they know, maybe even better than he does, what he’s going to do in any given situation.

    But this Roger Federer, they are utterly unprepared for. No amount of speed or brawn or study will avail them against the man who neutralizes their greatest strengths while finding openings in their defenses they weren’t aware existed.

    I think he’s ready now. This is his time. C’mon Roger!

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  13. I think Fed has been playing at such a high level. I’ve so enjoyed watching his matches.
    Seems like Laver is hoping Fed will win. During the interview you could get that from his comments on Nadal.
    I guess I won’t be getting any sleep tonight! Maybe 2-3 hrs before work. It’s all worth it, GO ROGER!

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  14. Hey RU-an,Just a small thing.They arew playing today at night session.So who do you think has the advantage among Nadal and Roger??

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  15. Hi Ruan, very bold call with Federer taking it in three. But like you, I have a very positive feeling looking at Roger. He goes in with far less pressure given that this is a slam SF and the fact that Djoker will mostly await as a mountain to climb should surely play on Nadal’s mind, given the recent record against him. In the event of a scrap, Nadal may not want to give 120%, if he realises that he may drain himself of energy for finals.

    I think the mental part is key. Call me arrogant. All his recent losses to various players in grand slams have come with Federer relaxing at wrong stages of the match and letting players in. The exception to this was the final at French open last year when Federer kept fighting till 3 sets and Nadal just edged ahead. Losing matches after going two sets to one up can be explained only by mental lapses. Under Anacone, I think Federer is on the way to correct these and I think this is going to come crucial to today’s match.

    with regards to the matchup, Nadal will obviously question Federer’s BH like he always does, but today look for Federer to ask some questions to Nadal of his own. Djokovic showed throughout last year and you can push Nadal by keeping him deep in the BH corner. Nadal has not been hitting his BH as well as he can and Federer may be able to put pressure on Nadal. The slice serve wide in Ad court will be key. Federer has been hitting it really well last tournament and he also has the great serve down the T when he needs it. Federer’s return has been extremely good this tournament(surprised to see him break Delpo at will this year). He has always found it difficult to do so. Nadal is serving second serves at an average of 135kph. If Federer can punish a few of them early, Nadal may decide to go for a higher percentage on his first serve and this will play into Federer’s hands. Nadal is most dangerous to Federer if he serves hard and starts the first shot after serve with an attacking FH shot. If Federer can find a way for him to start the rally in neutral, he may have the edge here.

    Nadal’s defense was incredible in the Berdych match. But Berdych can only hit fast and straight, you dont get the angles to make Nadal run by doing that. Look for Federer to put away many of those winners. This is 2012 and Nadal has surely lost speed over the years. I would be extremely surprised if he is able to win by defense even on this slowish court.

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  16. (I post this again, just for emphasis ;-)
    It’s showtime! Federer is able to win against Nadal. He is also able to lose against Nadal. But it is his performance which will decide the outcome of the match. I’m excited about the chances of RF to bring the performance he’ll need. He obviously did his homework. And Nadal has lost his aura of unbeatable last year when Djoker exposed him again and again. And RF kicked his ass in London, which is a promising memory for the next encounters. And if Nadal goes and takes the title? I could not care less. No respect for Nadal anymore in my house. He is a cheater, a doper, a manipulator, a selfish whiner, complaining about the tour but playing exhos, pretending injuries, breaking the rules on and off court, unloyal, well, just simply a JERK! Ben Johnson could have run the 100m in 4s, I’d still just remember him as a cheater, not as an athlete. Nadal can win 25 slams as far as I am concerned, he’ll never be the GOAT. To me, he is not even a great tennis player, he is just the evidence that doping is a reality in Pro Tennis, and the proof that it works. I had given him the benefit of the doubt in the past, but his on and off court behavior shows clearly what he thinks of fairplay and rules. RF has already given me great joy in this AO, everything to come is a bonus now since he’s to compete against the magic of the juices.

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  17. Great Analysis, Ruan.
    Come Monday, 17-10 will imply two things. Nadal-Fed H2H, and Fed-Nadal Grand Slams won!
    Today we will see what we have been waiting for for almost five years. Federer beating Nadal at a slam.
    Go Fed!

    [Reply]

  18. How did the Nadal, who lost time after time from the USO last year through to the WTF at the end of the season, when he was trounced by Roger, so transform himself in a little over a month into the impassable obstacle – a physical monster who can play clay-court tennis on a hardcourt – to once again destroy the best player in history on his favorite surface? Indeed, how does he do this, enact this absurd renaissance, every year – and the tennis world think nothing of it?

    Tonight was one of the most depressing spectacles I have ever seen in modern tennis. Sure, Roger missed many opportunities, committed too many unforced errors, double faults and saw his backhand desert him at critical times, but even without those lapses I don’t believe he could have beaten Nadal at the top of his doping cycle. Ten years ago, if someone like Nadal arrived on the tour, playing like he did tonight, there would surely have been questions – disbelief even – about how he could do it. But not any more. Modern tennis has become a farce and we accept the lie that Nadal’s game imposes on us.

    [Reply]

    Robredo Reply:

    Shame on you Neil. Instead of humbly accepting defeat, you needlessly accuse Rafa of doping. Being a Federer fan does not entail stooping to such low levels. Your family should be ashamed of you, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You don’t think Nadal’s ability to get to absolutely every ball and NEVER tires seems a bit suspect?

    [Reply]

    vaibhav Reply:

    so u feel, dat after about 4 hrs of grueling tennis n 4 and a half hrs 2 days back, tht nadal’s lob return on break point ON A CLEAR FEDERER WINNER is normal?

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    @Robredo.

    I see you are Spanish. I am not surprised.

    [Reply]

  19. No Ruan. Because if you start thinking on this line, you’ll have to say that Djokovic as well as Murray are dopers and I am not willing to entertain this line of thought at all. Federer is aging, and he’s competing with players in their peaks. Why is this fact so hard to understand ? He is human. We should give respect where its due. I applaud both the players for giving us a great match. Let’s not spoil it by some baseless accusations.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well I blame this loss on Roger’s lack of mental fortitude, but i still find it incredible how Nadal gets to absolutely everything and NEVER tires. It is just surreal.

    [Reply]

    vaibhav Reply:

    yep i agree ruan, unforced errors was jst too much…btw i cudn c the first 2 sets coz of power cut here…i heard there was a time break in the second set after federer broke nadal…was tht a reason for swing in momentum?

    [Reply]

    Robredo Reply:

    Its a myth that Rafa doesn’t tire. We have seen US open 2011 and Miami 2011 where he was literally out of breath, and out of ideas as well. Federer doesn’t push Nadal to his physical limits, Djokovic has been off-late. I see Rafa tiring quite a bit against Novak since both these guys play a very physical game and push each other to the limits. (Of-course, i’m assuming Novak will take down Andy)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    It’s not really a myth. The USO last year was the first time i ever saw him tire, and given how much he plays and how much he runs it’s very surprising.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    You have to ask yourself why tennis of the kind played by Nadal was never seen on the tour even a decade ago. And you also have to ask yourself why Nadal is only able to play like this in a gruelling best of five sets in a slam – and preferably late in the second week. And if fans still want to believe in the patently absurd, then go to the website “tennishasasteroidproblem.blogspot.com” to see the farce that is the drug testing programme in professional tennis. Sure – Tony Soprano is an unfairly-maligned legit businessman – and tennis is clean. Just like cycling, soccer, swimming, track, baseball and so on and so on.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    The problem is we just don’t have proof. This is an obstacle you may never cross. I’d love to believe Nadal is doping. It would make these losses so much easier to accept. But I simply cannot do that when there is no conclusive proof. That would just make me look like a sore loser. I would rather look at Roger’s inability to close Nadal out when he has so many chances to do it. Maybe that is being too hard on Roger, but I’d rather put the responsibility on Roger than claim something I don’t have proof for.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    Ruan, if you had “proof”, as you put it, then we wouldn’t have been watching Nadal tonight – he would have been long-consigned to the Sporting Hall of Shame (where – in my opinion, and that of many others who seek to be informed on the doping issue – he properly belongs). But to therefore claim there is no evidence for his doping (and that of many other top players) is to be wilfully blind. That is what has enabled the sport, like many others today, to be corrupted by doping.

    Are you waiting for the tennis authorities to return a positive dope test for Nadal? – because they won’t, even if he fails. They have too much to lose. Agassi revealed as much in his autobiography, when he failed a dope test (for crystal meth) and it was covered up. The ITF’s own figures show that its testing regime is risible – they don’t want to catch their dopers.

    So, if that’s the proof you are waiting for you won’t get it. But if you seek information that is publicly available from a wide variety of sources, there is a very strong case that can be made against Nadal, amongst others. No, there isn’t 100% proof that he is a doper but if you do the research (and you have to) what do your instincts tell you? If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, what is it likely to be? Proof is the “totality of the evidence”; it isn’t necessarily one thing that does it – and in the courts it doesn’t have to be 100%. If that wasn’t the case there would be very few criminals behind bars.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    It’s too frustrating to keep blaming dope since there is no clear evidence. As a Fedfan it doesn’t make me feel any better to blame Roger’s losses on Nadal’s doping, because I just can’t be 100% sure. Maybe since you are not a Fedfan but a follower of tennis in general it doesn’t matter to you. I on the other hand have to find a different way to deal with the pain. If you keep bringing up the doping excuse it makes you look like a sore loser anyway. I have to look if there is anything Roger could have done differently to win the match, and if not then I have to just accept it.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    Roger would have had to play at the top of his game for 3 consecutive sets against Nadal. That’s what I thought before the match, and I still think that. But Roger can’t do that against the Spaniard. Against any other player – yes. But for the reasons I have made clear in other comments, Nadal makes it impossible for Roger in slams. But not, interestingly enough, in the best of 3 format, where he can be taken by anybody. Funny that.

    So, if that makes me sound like a “sore loser”, I couldn’t care less. I am tired of watching bullsh*t that passes for professional tennis.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I didn’t mean you when I said sore loser. I meant for Fedfans in general. I’m not even sure how much of a Fedfan you are. You seem to just appreciate attractive tennis. So I don’t even put you in that category.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    What’s a “Fedfan”? I think Roger is the greatest tennis player I have ever seen – and I have seen all the champions since Laver. Without him the modern game is a monochromatic bash and grind, without finesse and variety. I also think he is a very classy guy. I like to watch him play more than any other player, and I want him to win. His losses can really hurt. Does that qualify?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    In my book that qualifies but you have to decide yourself. Point is I wasn’t referring to you specifically in my comment.

    [Reply]

  20. I’m not as sad as before. I’m just happy to still see Roger play a high quality tennis at the age of 30. Roger is irreplaceable!

    [Reply]

  21. Well Federer used to be better then everyone so the ATP slowed all the courts down to give the rest of the players a chance. As usual these slow, high bouncing courts have done their job, well down ATP. At least we can look forward to the super fast grass courts of WImbledon, oh wait, those courts are really slow as well. Needless to say I’m not happy about this loss. Federer making the semi’s no longer gives me much solace, outside of the top four the rest of the competition is crap. I live on the east coast and had to wake up at 3:30am for this, now I have to go to work exhausted and bitter. Here’s to hoping Nadal loses in the final!

    [Reply]

  22. That was a very disappointing result (to state the absolute obvious). I’ll admit that mental fortitude (or lack thereof) had something to do with this defeat. In the end, though, it seems to me that we Fed fans have to admit that Federer just matches up awkwardly with Nadal. That’s simply the sad, plain truth — and both Fed and Rafa know it too. Unless they are playing on a very fast court, Nadal’s strengths play right into Fed’s vulnerabilities. This is a simple fact that we just have to accept. In fact, I’d say that this is the root cause of the mental weakness we can sometimes see from Roger in these matches. If you know that the other guy’s style and strengths are perfectly suited to have the advantage over yours, that thought is likely to affect you negatively during key moments in the match. So, yes, this is a disappointing result. But let’s remember that Roger has been playing quite well for a good stretch now (since the end of last season, at least) and we’ve got a long season with lots of tournaments ahead. I’m still hopeful that he can pick up another slam this year — perhaps a 7th Wimby title — and other big wins too. As for the rest of this tournament: I’m sure I speak for most people who read this blog when I say: “Go Nole!”

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Keep faith on Roger everybody! He himself during the presser said that “it is just the start of the season”. In my opinion, Roger lost the match rather than Rafa winning. He had the lead almost in all the sets, but got broken immediately after he broke Rafa. Against the top two, after breaking your opponents serve, one needs to be more careful and concentrate more in the next game. It is such lapse of concentration that cost Fed the match. Though Fed was bit unlucky in the break point at 4-5 in the 4th set, more than luck, it was the lack of preparation for the next shot that cost him that break-back chance. Playing against Rafa umpteen number of times over the years, he should have known well that there is every likelihood of each his shot coming back to the court. If he were well prepared for that, he could have easily got the smash and won the point. Despite missing many forehands down the line, he still went for those and continued missing them. Perhaps a little bit of controlled aggression would have helped. Anyway, I am not as devastated as I was when Fed lost to Nole in last years US open. I can still see some positives from this match. Believe me, on his day, sometimes in the near future, Fed will bit Rafa in a slam.

    [Reply]

  23. I have always defended Nadal on the doping issue but even i have become a bit suspicious now. Ofcourse i don’t have 100 percent proof or anything but its quite possible that he takes some sort of PE. I hope i am wrong though

    [Reply]

  24. It is courageous of you, Mike, to admit to your doubts about Nadal. I have followed all kinds of professional sport since I was a youngster, 50 years ago. One thing I know to be true is that the human body is the same today as it was then. Yet what I have seen in the last ten years coming out of Spain – in every sport and not just tennis – beggars belief. Defenders of Nadal say he is a “physical freak”. Well, when did we ever see a “physical freak” – Ben Johnson, Flojo, Marion Jones, Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, Lance Armstrong (according to 3 of his team-mates), and an endless list of East Germans, Russians, and American track stars (and now the mantle of “freakishness” has been picked up by the Spaniards – ‘Vamos, Alberto Contador!’) – who, it turned out, wasn’t doped to the eyeballs? What I saw tonight, in Nadal’s frankly incredible physical exertions, made a mockery of the feats of previous generations of tennis giants – and I have seen them all, from Laver onwards. Roger really didn’t stand a chance.

    [Reply]

    Mike Reply:

    what you are saying does make sense. Bjorn Borg, for example, was very quick but he was also skinny. The commentator said that some of the gets from nadal “defy logic”. It’s not definate proof or anything but i do believe there is a chance of him taking epo or something like that.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yup, I feel the same way. There is a chance, but that is all. We just can’t be sure. Maybe Nadal really is just a freakish specimen and works his ass off to be fit. Just like you can’t be 100% sure he is doping, you can’t be 100% sure that he is not just a physical freak either. So really we just don’t know.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    You don’t think players over the last 50 years, as well as today, haven’t “worked their asses off” to get fit? That Nadal is the first player to do this? (By the way, he is on record as saying he doesn’t work out in the gym and trains about “2-3 hours every day” on court. Wow. Well, I guess that explains it.)

    Funny also how Nadal is only a “freak” at certain times of the year – mainly in the slams. He sure isn’t in the second half of the year. Yep, he is a “seasonal freak”. That sure makes sense, too.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    It can all be logically explained away. It’s like saying there must be miracles because there are so many accounts of it, yet when researched there is never any proof. Nadal is obviously more tired during the second part of the year because his game takes a big toll on him and he puts a lot into the clay court season.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    Yet he completely regains his strength from his wimpish showing at the WTF in December in the 3 weeks to January – every year. But wait a minute, he gets the same break from Wimbledon to the beginning of the N American hardcourt season in August – but then he is tired. And that’s only half-way through the year. Doesn’t make sense.

    Remember the break he took halfway through ’09 because of his “knees” after the FO? Well the rest didn’t do him any good. Even though his knees were fine (he said so) he continued to lose muscle mass (15lbs) and power (15 kph on his groundstrokes) over the year. He got thrashed. But then a 3 week break over Christmas and – like Arnie – he is back. The rest of 2010 is history. So what exactly does he do over the Christmas break that he doesn’t do in the middle of the year? I would like some of it, too.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well Nadal brings his best to the slams. He is just very good on the big stage. To say it is doping doesn’t explain it. The WTF is at the end of the year when he is spent and the surface doesn’t suit him.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    Can you think of another player past or present – whose year follows that kind of pattern? Indeed, that begs the question as to why there should be pattern in the first place. Most players’ wins and losses are random.

    [Reply]

    AndyMugray Reply:

    Ruan,

    Rafa’s breaks after the Aussie Open and Wimbledon are about 5-6 weeks and his offseason break was only 3 weeks. Why would he be more rested on a shorter break?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Nadal usually gets tired by the end of he year. Makes sense to me.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    Only Nadal? Not anyone else? By the end of the year it’s more than six months since he played his gruelling clay-court season. (Is he tired at Wimbledon, immediately after the clay-court season? I don’t think so. But that would make more sense.) Also, how can he be so much more tired than anyone else at the end of the year, after playing on the same faster and less gruelling hard courts for the last six months of the year? (He sure wasn’t tired at the Davis Cup tie in December – played on clay, incidentally – when he exhausted Del Potro in 4 sets.) And then after a 3 week break at Christmas time he is back to peak form. Yet the 5-6 week break after Wimbledon doesn’t have the same rejuvenating effect. I don’t buy it.

    Finally, how can the fittest, strongest player to ever play the game be chronically tired at the same time every year – not to mention that he is almost constantly “injured”, yet this is without any real effect on his game. (See the bandage? Roger can’t beat a guy with a bad knee?) Was he tired last night, or in his match against Berdych – or at any time in the last fortnight – despite his phenomenal court coverage and incredibly exhausting stroke production? When have you ever seen Nadal exhausted in a slam? (But he will tire in a best of 3 format. Well, that’s logical, isn’t it?)

    Really, Ruan, if you believe all this stuff that Nadal feeds us then I have some real estate on the Moon that I would like to interest you.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    I have some real estate on the Moon I would like to interest you in.

    [Reply]

  25. I just can’t stand the mockery Rafa made with his false modesty: “It’s fantastic to have one player in front of you who doesn’t make mistakes, having a totally complete game.” – especially after Roger’s 63 UE and after his relentless attack on Roger’s vulnerability…

    [Reply]

  26. hey ruan,i get sadder as i think more abt todays loss…plz put a positive spin on ur post match review so tht it makes it easier for others to digest this loss…it’s like waitin forever if roger wins another slam, but even if he doesn, i dun want to b too upset abt the fact tht his career din end on a high note. i actually learnt alot from ur posts n lowered my expectations but u were mostly right in ur predictions n i dunno how, but nadal somehow makes life hard for roger n his fans….n as sioux commented,y did rafa have to mock roger? he’s been on roger’s case since the start of the tourney abt the tour schedulin…i dun understand, if only roger lowered his errors tday…tired of ifs n buts, but im a federer fan for this lifetime n i want to enjoy this ride at this point of his career where he may keep playin but eventually retire wid 16 slams. i look up to u n ur posts coz it’s right from the heart n ve been followin it ever since i found it.

    [Reply]

  27. Roger had his chances to win this match in the third and fourth. His Forehand was awful. I don’t how many errors he had but Nadal just waited for him to commit error after error. What is wrong with Roger? He missed so many easy shots. This has nothing to do with age, it’s entirely pychological.

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    He misses easy shots because Nadal is very fast.

    Nadal’s insane defense has the effect of shrinking the court for Federer. What would be a clean winner against anyone else often comes back. That makes Federer hesitate.

    He doesn’t feel comfortable with hitting a solid shot, he feels he needs to hit a great shot to keep Nadal from getting the ball back. So he thinks too much, even on the easy balls, and sometimes overhits, which in turn plays into Nadal’s hands.

    You saw how hard it was for Federer to go on offense or rush the net against Nadal–to his credit he did manage this quite a bit, but not with sufficient consistency to win.

    [Reply]

    Dave Reply:

    Perhaps I am being too critical of Federer. Needless to say he shanked quite a few easy shots at crucial moments. I know that Nadal wins by wearing his opponents down and patiently waiting for them to make mistakes, which Roger did. I do commend Roger for putting up a fight and playing great for the last five months. I think all of us Fedfans become spoiled sometimes when he wins all the time.

    [Reply]

  28. Nadal is playing really well for someone who is suffering from broken knees and a bad shoulder! He will probably need to be carried off the court on a stretcher after the finals!

    If we look at history though, Roger’s loss is really no surprise. Just look at the start of the rivalry. Nadal started off 6-1 vs Roger. If teenager, claycourt specialist Nadal could start off 6-1 vs Prime Federer, then imagine how much harder it would be for 30 year old Federer to beat Career Slam winner Nadal.

    Nadal’s game was built to beat Roger’s, especially in best of 5. Sure, a lot of it is mental, but I think Rafa’s game is uncomfortable for Roger, hence it brings out the worst in his game (the errors).

    [Reply]

  29. Here is a mind boggling stat that needs to be addressed:

    Nadal leads Federer 5-1 in outdoor hardcourt matches. All of these matches were played from January to March.

    Federer leads Nadal 4-0 in indoor matches (at in November at the WTF).

    I refuse to believe the argument that “indoors” are a horrible surface for Nadal. I could buy that argument in the 90’s when indoors meant lightning fast indoor carpet. But the guy has a Career Slam. Borg won a ton of titles indoors (on fast carpet).

    Nadal’s game falls off a cliff during the fall (he has a career total of 3 fall titles). He is not the same player and if Roger and Rafa met in October/November 20 times, Roger would win 16 of those times.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    Exactly. Point well made. Here’s a comment just posted on the website “tennishasasteroidproblem.blogspot.com”.

    “Only 2 months ago on the purest court in tennis with indoor conditions Nadal couldn’t hit a forehand winner against Federer….yet outdoors he hit more FH winners than Federer…..only 2 months ago on that same court he couldn’t chase down Federer’s forehands in the corner, yet last night he ran down everything for 4 hours, less than 48 hours after running down everything from Berdych for 4 hours…wonder what changed??”

    “Are we really supposed to believe the great Rafa hits the ball harder and more effectively when there IS wind, but when there is no wind he struggles and leaves shots short and gets pounded mercilessly and looks like a top-50 instead of a top 2?”

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Again that comment doesn’t prove anything. At most it makes you wonder.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    No, by itself it isn’t proof and doesn’t pretend to be. It just shows that you aren’t alone in “wondering” about Nadal. But can you think of another player who shows such a dramatic contrast in playing level in such a brief period? It is all part of the Nadal jig-saw – and there are other pieces if you look hard enough. Enough to make you stop “wondering”.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well even if it can make you stop wondering(which I’m not sure it can) it doesn’t change much cos he isn’t getting caught. It may be even more frustrating if you know he is doping.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    Well, now we can agree. Yes, it is frustrating – and very disillusioning. If Roger wasn’t playing I wouldn’t give stuff about professional tennis any more.

    [Reply]

    ines Reply:

    Well said Neil, I agree with your comments.

    [Reply]

    feddybear Reply:

    we cant get any proof, no one can, but it is clear as day light that he is a doper. i mean seriously, he rans like a maniac on speed for hours, he chases each and every ball down, he sweats buckets and he never EVER gets tired. fucking absurd.
    i just hope fed is clean caz you never know.
    btw i asked Bodo ystrdy what he thinks about PEDs in tennis and the roll of the media – he gave a totally evasive answer and said he is “not a cop”, he trusts the ATP anti doping protocol and generaly speaking everything is fine and dandy.
    fuck that

    [Reply]

  30. Its a sad day but lets hope Novak can reach the final and continue to be Nadal’s kryptonite, the way Nadal is Federer’s kyrptonite. Or if Murray does beat Novak, I hope its a level that can make me feel confident he would beat Nadal in the final. But I believe Novak will beat Nadal again if he reaches the final.

    [Reply]

  31. http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_DFLY59S1EFE/TJ65Zw4Op7I/AAAAAAAAAIY/z19Tv_-fMP4/s1600/nadal%2B2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://gheorghe77.blogspot.com/2010_09_01_archive.html&h=781&w=500&sz=46&tbnid=L69yYAf1_m-lVM:&tbnh=91&tbnw=58&zoom=1&docid=57Jxt0JXMuPnsM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Q6AhT4XLLsfatwehoo2iCw&sqi=2&ved=0CDQQ9QEwAg&dur=482

    There is your proof. I lifted for years, and in the mirror I look like that to me, but if you were to look at me, you wouldn’t accuse me of being roided out. G

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    That picture is nothing new. I know guys who never saw the gym or roids who looks like that.

    [Reply]

    V.dhithya Reply:

    It’s that attitude that had made Nadal—a natural righthander who was raised on clay and once used his serve merely to start rallies—the best lefthander since Rod Laver, an all-surface player with one of the best volleys in the game, and a server whose average delivery had risen in the past year from 107 mph to 119. Then, in an August practice session before the Open, Nadal shifted the grip on his racket to stabilize his wrist and began popping serves in the low 130s. He was broken only five times in New York.

    it is absurd that they think that Nadal has one of the best volleys in the game.
    These photos do nt serve as proof .they only tell that Nadal is also a body builder lol

    [Reply]

    V.Adhithya Reply:

    forgot the quotes.”It’s…….New York”

    [Reply]

  32. Well, I was wrong, my prediction was way too optimistic.

    Watching these late-period Federer-Nadal encounters, you start to get a sense of the magnitude of the task that Federer has set himself.

    He’s trying to break down a brick wall with nothing more than his shotmaking abilities and tactical acumen. Nadal’s defense was nearly impregnable but Federer kept gamely pressing and pressing, trying to force errors from Nadal’s backhand and throw off Nadal’s rhythm with his variety of shots.

    When they played before on this court, Federer was flailing away with the game he played in 2004-07, hoping to make something happen. It was the dying gasp of an old style that had become obsolete in the Super Baseliner era.

    This time he dug deep within and tried mightily to bring forth something new. If he were playing as he was back then, he would have been blown away. Nadal is physically stronger now and is hitting even heavier than he was then. But Federer kept it very close, with the exception of the blip in the second set.

    To get those margins on his shots right, to make the right decisions at the key moments, all while playing in a way that makes him very uncomfortable, that’s a feat of supreme difficulty. Like trying to scale a smooth and sheer wall unaided. He may never be able to do it, but it won’t be for lack of trying.

    If this match didn’t come out the way we wanted, at least the outcome is not unhopeful. He’ll spend maybe one day recovering mentally, and then he’ll resume training as hard as ever in preparation for the next encounter. The King will be back.

    [Reply]

    Raoul Reply:

    Steve you are my favorite poster on this blog and you are one i look for most of the time when i check the comments on here, but i just have to say i disagree with the variety of shots you mentionned in your post.
    I woke up at 3am since i live in the East coast to check out the match. I am always nervous when Fed plays until he breaks his opponent. I anticipated this encounter like nobody else, alarm clock set and recording just in case, and I can tell you I was disappointed with the lack of variety of shots he portrayed in the match !! What happened to the killer slice he was hitting against Tomic and Delpo ?? What happened to the disguised short return slice killer shot ?? Or the heavy topspin crosscourt bh ??
    I understand the plan he had trying to hit it the flattest and the wide serve on deuce ( which is the best strategy against nadal ) but nadal was prepared and showed it against berdych.
    I saw it wasnt going to work and i hoped that he would realize it and start to mixing it up a little bit more. He didnt use his bread and butter slice Once in the match !!! The only time he sliced the ball it was defensively when nadal was being the more aggressive one. And how in the heck did he let Nadal play that aggressively ? the answer is simple: He was too predictable ! I could read his whole game myself after the 1st set ! He should have got inspired by ” Funky Flo” when he beat nadal in shanghai last fall! Inspired tennis (funky style) and never let nadal guess your shots ( which he managed to do at WTF)! He kept hitting it hard the whole time. Few dropshots here and there but not enough variety to trouble the prepared nadal.
    And ive never seen Roger hit that many double faults !! What the heck?? Or lose that many points in the row ( end of second set and beginning of 3rd ) ?? Nadal is effectively in his head and its a pity he didnt decide to mix it up, thinking he had the perfect plan to beat him. I saw too many chances to hit the killer slice but he didnt bother,trying to bullfight all the time with the grinder.
    And how about the footwork? I admit nadal hit some amazing passing shots but there are few Fed couldve gotten to. He wasnt confident with his volleys to go full out, almost hesitant to get passed again ! Where was the swagger ? You get passed, it happens, you just got to come back harder a la Sampras. I think few of the passing shots were key moments in this match ! I felt Fed was stunned at a couple of them and played more and more hesitant !
    I still believe in the maestro though and I know he will get his 17th, we just have to be a little more patient.
    And now i can say i really hate Nadal ! Did you see how he celebrated as if he had already won the tournament?? or his multiple fist pumps and time wasting? or uncle Toni yelling at him “FINITO” several times and hyping up nadal during the last game when he saw that Fed wasnt going to just give up?
    I am a peaceful dude and tried my best not to hate him after all he did and still doing to Roger s career, but now im offically done with his antics and unsportsmanlike attitude and will start rooting for the next guy against him until Roger retires and then, ill be done with tennis. Roger got me back to playing tennis and is the sole reason i follow the atp tour religiously. I just hope he has at least 3 or 4 more years in him.
    Looking forward for your reply and others can join in if they think i am too harsh on Roger. Just had to point that out since it got me frustrated afet all that was at stake !

    [Reply]

  33. I am a believer and I have faith. Last night I believed that Roger will win finally against Nadal and revenge his 2009 finals loss! But again it was FO, Wimbledon & USO 2011 all over again! I said to myself I will not expect, but it is soo hard not to. We all saw how great he was against Tomic & JMDP! How come against Nadal he crumbles?! He was OK the first 3 games of the first set and I am kinda, YES! this is it! but then…

    I am again disheartened, did not get a sound sleep, but what the heck, I will always believe and I will always have faith that sometime soon Roger’s GS finals win will happen soon! I hope so….

    [Reply]

  34. Very disappointed with the result as I really thought Roger had a chance today. I certainly didn’t consider him favourite though as you did Ruan and I never will in a match against Nadal. Someone rightly commented before that all of Nadal’s strengths matchup perfectly with Federer’s weaknesses, I think that is definetly the case.

    Plus the age gap is huge, in most sports you are getting on abit at 30 and tennis is an extremely physical individual sport. Realistically we shouldn’t expect Fed to beat any of the top 4 guys who are all at their physical peak.

    Also really disappointed with Neil’s baseless accusations that Nadal MUST be doping. I suppose that means Djokovic must be SUPER doping since he beat Nadal 6 times last year, 5 in the first half of the year when they’re at their fittest and twice on clay which is Nadal’s best surface. Both Nadal and Djokovic were useless at the WTF due to injury and exhaustion and Murray also pulled out injured. Yet all three are in the last four of the Australian Open. Should we assume that’s because they spent the last 2 months pumping themselves full of steroids or because 2 months of mental and physical recuperation did its job? I know which one I believe.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    Before you start blathering about “baseless accusations” – the usual response of the intellectually lazy naive and uninformed – I suggest you do some research on doping in sports and tennis. And, yes, it is most unlikely that Nadal is the only doper in tennis. But by all means keep your blinkers on if it makes you happier.

    [Reply]

    Robredo Reply:

    Neil, until you have solid proof to backup your accusations, I advise you to exercise caution rather than babbling like a cry-baby. Look, we all love Roger but to bring the ‘doping’ thing up everytime Rafa wins against him is – simply put – absolutely despicable.

    After reading your comments Neil, people like you seem to prefer believing in conspiracy theories (e.g 9/11 was done by the US government itself, the world may end in 2012 etc. ) rather than plain facts. If believing in plain facts makes somebody “intellectually lazy, naive and uninformed”, then so be it. But it’s no worse than stooping to a level as low as yours. Your problem is that you can’t accept the fact that there can be people who have great stamina. You think there is no dope-control system in place in tennis. In your mind, when it comes to Nadal, the rule is he’s ‘guilty unless proven innocent’. Since there is no way to prove that he’s guilty or innocent, he remains guilty in your head.

    As Fedfans, you should be able to take defeat like a man and analyze what went wrong and look forward to the upcoming challenge. Instead you prefer mud-slinging.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    As Fedfan(s)? Careful now…

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    1. Like many (including, recently, the former FO champion Yannick Noah) I think Nadal is doping because a)I have researched doping in sports issues over the last 4 years b) I have followed professional sports and tennis for over 50 years, and c) I have observed Nadal’s career in detail since I first saw him play in Auckland in 2004. Have you done any of the above?

    2. I have seen athletes with incredible stamina over the last 50 years. None of them have been able to do what Nadal does. Yet Nadal does not do it consistently. Why is he only a phenomenal athlete in the slams and is a rather ordinary athlete in the latter part of the year?

    3. I do not think Nadal is doping because he beats Roger, as you claim. Even if Roger won the other night I would still think Nadal is doping, and I have thought that for some years. The evidence, in my view, points to it as the only credible explanation for the astonishing inconsistencies of his performance.

    4. I have no time for conspiracy theories, as you suggest. I am a trained lawyer and accustomed to assessing arguments according to the evidence. Are you? Neither do I believe that anyone, including Nadal, is “guilty until proven innocent”. If you knew of the maxim that most commonly applies to legal argument (in civil cases) and in everyday life it is we form our conclusions on “the balance of probabilities.” By that test, on the evidence available I can only conclude that Nadal is probably doping – and getting away with it. But then you need to do some research on doping. You clearly haven’t.

    4. What do you know about the rigorousness or otherwise of the tennis drug testing programme? If you knew something about it you would know that to be effective it requires frequent out-of-competition testing, yet figures supplied by the ITF show that only 7% of its testing is out-of-competition. That won’t catch anybody. And it’s not meant to.

    4. What are the “plain facts” you speak of? Pray, enlighten us.

    On a lighter note, I suppose there is some amusement to be gained from being condescended to by someone clearly born only yesterday but unaware of it.

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    Michael Reply:

    Neil, is your second point not obvious? Nadal physically destroys himself in the first half of the year, particularly the clay season when he plays virtually every day and simply cannot demand so much from his body for the rest of the year.

    Having just watched the 5 set epic that was Djokovic vs Murray do you believe both of them are also doping? How many more players do you suspect? Ferrer has tremendous stamina and has battled his way to number 5 mostly on his physical prowess rather than his technical ability. Doping? On his day Tsonga can demolish anyone on the tour through raw power, and a few years ago did such to Nadal at the Australian Open. Doping? If every physical player is doping and nobody ever tests for it then why doesn’t Federer do it too, it seems foolish not to.

    Your point about never seeing anything like that in your 50 years of watching sport is also pretty ridiculous. All sports have transformed unimaginably in the last few decades, would any tennis legend last 5 sets against the current top 4, probably not. How fast is Usain Bolt compared to the sprinters of the 60’s. Is he doping? In football the players of the 50’s and 60’s used to go to the pub before a game, now we have such physical specimens as Cristiano Ronaldo, easily comparable with Nadal. Is he doping too?

    Believe what you like but until you can back up your accusations with more than the fact that you’re apparently a lawyer you’ll have to forgive us for disagreeing.

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    neil Reply:

    Wait a minute, I state that I think Nadal is doping and all I hear is that I have no right to say that from fans who don’t want to think it’s true but wouldn’t know themselves because they haven’t done any research into doping in sports.

    Let me state it plainly: I didn’t give my opinion because I am trying to persuade people like you to agree with me. You can think what you like. But I will certainly defend myself from the counter-claim that I don’t know what I am talking about, or even that I must be wrong.

    Before you think you can say that I suggest, politely, that you should do some of your own research on the subject, because it’s obvious you haven’t. You simply express what you wish to believe. It’s also quite apparent you haven’t read the many earlier comments and debate about this issue on this blog. In that discussion I have given detailed arguments supporting my belief that Nadal is a doper but I won’t bore regular readers by repeating them just because you have turned up.

    And on a couple of points above, the huge improvements in sporting performance in the last 50 years can’t all be attributed to better training, nutrition, and equipment. If that were so there wouldn’t be a drugs problem in sport, and only someone who hasn’t been around over the last 50 years would think that. Do you remember the East Germans? I guess not. But the problem wasn’t confined to them and hasn’t gone away since then.

    The question you ask about the other top sportsmen is whether they are doping too. They certainly could be – because the problem is endemic in modern professional sport and proving impossible to eradicate. Essentially, dopers are proving impossible to catch. The founder of WADA said as much in a recent speech, when he said “the clock is ticking” – professional sports is running out of time to clean up its act, and eventually we will have only doped-up sportsmen.

    Finally, I don’t “back up my accusations”, as you put, by asserting that I know because I am “a lawyer”; I mentioned I was legally trained to make the point that I do have some basis for understanding arguments built on evidence, when it was crudely suggested otherwise.

    (By the way, in respect of your comments about Nadal, the clay-court season is the shortest part of the professional calendar – apart from Wimbledon and a grass-court warm-up tournament – as it runs essentially for only 3 months, from April through to June. So Nadal “destroys” himself in that short period, when he generally plays about 5 tournaments – even though other generations of clay-court specialists like Borg didn’t – and despite the fact that Nadal is reputedly the fittest player ever in the history of the game, a “freak” and a “phenomenon”? Gimme a break.)

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  35. fuck you nadal ya ficking doper
    no way this guy can ran like that for hours and hours there is just NO WAY HE IS CLEAN !!!
    he is a DOPER and i wish someone will expose him already

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    anewor Reply:

    I would like to think otherwise. But based on facts–that there are some atheletes who will do whatever it take for a moment of glory–I want to believe that he is! There is such a word as KARMA and if he is what most of us believes, it will catch up with him. I hope soon than later so that it will give JUSTICE TO ROGER! He and Uncle Tony is after Roger’s 16 GS titles and I reckon until he not stop until he achieve this! Goodluck to us all!

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    anewor Reply:

    typo error, I am still soo emotional. The last sentence should read “I reckon he will not stop until he achieve this!”

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    feddybear Reply:

    Ruan i apologize fot the language… its frustration talking, im really hurting right now… this is the only place i feel safe letting it all go.
    nevertheless i think fed faught well and nadal is a class A doper.

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  36. Once again, sadly, brute force wins over artistry. I really thought that this time, Roger would conquer the Spanish demon lurking so cruelly in his head, mocking all his accomplishments. But it was not to be. The demon is too strong. The demon breathes fire. Roger seems to wilt in its presence. Perhaps one day our hero will slay this dragon. But now there’s a good chance he never will. If this sad fate awaits Roger, I will not flinch from my support of him. This great Artist’s Masterpieces have given me too much joy over the years. His calm demeanor in both victory and defeat has been an inspiration for me, showing me the way to handle my own triumphs and disappointments. Thank you, Mr. Federer, for your brilliant example. And please keep trying to scale all the Everests still looming before you, even if you never reach the summit again. For you know as well as I, that all that matters is the journey, and how one conducts oneself over the valleys and the peaks. On that score, Roger Federer, you are the Champion of Champions. And always will be.

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  37. Damn! It’s so frustrating. Roger’s GOAT claim is taking a huge hit! But given what Roger has said in the presser, it seems he is not that concerned about the h2h. I guess it’s both good and bad then. He also appears to get over a loss rather quickly, again both good and bad. Maybe he should get more angrier or perhaps he doesn’t show it in public? All I can say is have faith my fellow fedfans. After all, it is still possible that Fed might outlast Nadal in the end, if Roger continues to stay motivated and healthy. Only time can tell.

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  38. I am very suspicious of the way Nadal transforms from ordinary looking in Masters, 500 and 250 level events to SUPERMAN in Grand Slams. He keeps doing it over and over.

    Loses early in Queen’s in 06-07 and 10-11, but makes the finals of Wimbledon.

    Finishes 2008 looking ordinary and wins the Aussie Open a couple months later.

    Looks like crap in the leadup tournaments to the 2010-2011 US Opens, yet plays like a beast in the US Open just weeks later.

    Then gets destroyed by Roger two months ago in London, but is back to his usual Grand Slam beast self when he gets to Australia.

    The absurd fact is that since the start of 2009, Nadal has made as many hardcourt Grand Slam finals as Masters hardcourt finals (4) despite playing in a lot more Masters tournies!

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    TD Reply:

    Not really a mystery. Nadal had a good teacher in Federer that taught him that the most important thing is getting to his best form in the slams. That is all there’s to it. He is extra careful after all his injuries so he gave up trying to win everything and concentrates in winning slams (and the clay season for the points). His body won’t sustain much more effort.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Exactly. Nadal just don’t care much about the events outside of slams, except on clay. He saves energy by losing early in the smaller events, because he knows he is good enough to bring it in the slams. It’s pretty simple.

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    neil Reply:

    Really, if it’s so simple why isn’t everyone else doing it? Why doesn’t Roger – or even Novak – who when peforming well will do so in all tournaments and not just the majors? You seriously think Nadal isn’t trying to win in the masters series? And this is the guy you have said only cares about winning!I would suggest to you that someone for whom winning is everything will probably do anything to win. You saw Nadal’s reaction last night. How much did winning that match mean to him? Do you think that if doping increased his chances of success he wouldn’t do it, especially if he knew he could get away with it. Tennis has an appallingly weak drug testing programme; pro cyclists have told me it is no drug testing programme at all. Nadal knows he is safe.

    There is a considerable amount of circumstantial evidence that points to Nadal doping – there really isn’t room to recite it all here. It takes wearing a blindfold to ignore it or discount it because you don’t have proof of a positive drug test. We wouldn’t find out if there was. I know former professionals on the tour who claim that Nadal failed a drug test in 2009, and that is why he had to drop out of Wimbledon that year – not because of his “knees”. For the rest of the year he was clearly not the player he had been. Signs were that he was off the juice. But it didn’t last. Do you know also that a French newspaper claimed in 2006 that Nadal was included in the list of patients treated for blood doping by a Spanish doctor? The case has been immensely controversial. Spanish judges have forbade publication of the list of patients (of course) and while Nadal threatened to sue he didn’t. Of course.

    You say that claiming Nadal is doped is like claiming there are miracles – there is no proof, so you don’t accept it. I disagree. I suggest that you do believe in miracles. Because Nadal keeps performing them.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    Professional sportsman who resort to illegal practices always deny they are doing it unless you manage to get some proof, be it direct or indirect. There’s too much at stakes for them, as well for the sportsman himself as for those who supply the stuff. In Belgium the guys who were selling these products to professional cyclists were even diversifying their activities by not only suppling to the sportsmen but also to the meat sector, and even killing the inspectors for it. If you don’t believe me, well have a nice read here…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johan_Museeuw
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/belgians-march-in-memory-of-hormone-mafia-victim-1319918.html
    http://europeanfilmawards.eu/en_EN/film/818

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  39. Ruan, a change of topic (since I have probably said quite enough on the other – for now!) but the Murray/Djokovic semi is a strange affair. Murray looks to have it, and then gives it away, and then Djokovic looks spent but suddenly regains the ascendancy. Either way, Nadal will be pleased to see these two beat each other’s brains out over 5 sets, which is what it is headed to. In any case, as well as the other semi-finalists are playing I would be surprised if either of them has the game to beat the current Nadal. After last night, the Spaniard is looking unstoppable. As you have said, Murray remians a choker, until proven otherwise, and Djokovic doesn’t look quite the overwhelming force he was last year.

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  40. Djokovic has the mental edge over Nadal. He’s got a warrior attitude and more irritating court presence than Federer which rattled Nadal in the previous Grand Slam finals. I just hope Djokovic will have the energy left to beat Nadal one more time.

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  41. Well seems like Djokovic will beat again Nadal Sunday night and we will have a small revenger for the loss yesterday.Was verry wird match to watch as the reader said above – since last matxh against Ferrer Djoko i believe is faking or having some problems. Knowing how nadal kakes those we might get surprised seeing Djoko running like a Speedy Gonzales from side to side for everyones pleasure :-) I am 100% convinced he`s as healthy as ever (advances in medicine and technologies do the ricks :-) and more than ready to take over Nadal for 7th straight win. A win over Fed gave Nadal a fake confidence since he falls behind in any department from Djoko and no new tactics will give him a win unless Djoko beat himself which won`t happen (Fed`s better here :)) Looking forward to see what a 7th hit can do the Rafa`s confidence :-)

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  42. This was the Final. Was an incredible match, extremely high level of tennis, with the exception of Murray letting of the pedal in the 4th set, which is what cost him the match in my view. He needed to keep being aggressive and go for the jugular, right then and there, come down like a kamikaze all over Novak and not leave it for a 5th “win-all-lose-all” set. I agree too, if Nadal doesnt come out as aggressive as Murray or even more so, Novak might just run him over in a 3-setter.

    These two, Murray and Novak, dare I say, will be the guys to beat from here on that will be vying for the next slams in few years to come. The hard-hiting combined with the incredible consistency from both wings is like seldom I have seen. They were literally 2 clones, so similar in hitting and running prowess. Nadal, I truly believe, wont be able to reach this kind of consistency due to his still much weaker Back-hand shot… no way. The only chance he’s got is to become a predator, a killing-machine on impact, not get involved in too may long rallys, cause he aint gonna be on the winning side on most of them

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