Del Potro Stuns Djokovic, Berdych Expectedly Chokes to Nadal in Indian Wells

Hi guys, I’m spoiling you again this weekend. You may end up getting four posts out of me. I was hesitant to make this post because it would take attention away from my last post and there was such an important discussion going on there, but I will just sum it all up here in a few sentences. There is no place for blind, biased followers on this blog. Here you will only find the truth. Nothing more, nothing less. If you want to be biased and blindly worship then there is RF.com and I’m sure many other Federer blogs that would welcome you with open arms. Now lets move on. In my last post I said I was looking forward to a Djokodal final, but it wasn’t to be. Del Potro spoiled the party and I couldn’t be happier for him. I made a prediction some years back that he would win many slams, but since then he has been plagued by injuries and inconsistent results.

I liked both his game and him as a person. He is a humble and honest guy. His inconsistent results annoyed me however and made me believe he was a bit of a flash in the pan. But this week he has really proved that he’s still got it. He has beaten the two best players in the world in succession, both times coming back from a set down. It reminds me of that US Open he won where he beat the two best players in the world back then on his way to the title. In full flow he is just about unstoppable. He just crushes the ball and has the biggest forehand in the game. I watched both his last two matches and it was a revelation to see him basically hit the two best players in the world off the court. Against Murray he breezed through the last two sets 6-3, 6-1 after losing the first on a tie break, and against Djokovic he lost the first set 6-4, and then reversed that score in the next two sets.

Just unreal. In the 3rd set against Djokovic he was even 3-0 down, and showed tremendous fighting ability to come back and break Djokovic at 4-4. That was a terrific game full of drama. There were some grueling baseline rallies in this match and it was good to see Del Potro not tiring and being fully fit. Does he have enough left in the tank to beat Nadal? I guess we will find out. Nadal on the other hand won 6-4, 7-5 as expected against mental midget Berdych. Berdych was up 5-3 in the second set serving for the set but went ahead and dropped 4 consecutive games to lose the match. At 5-5 he missed a shocker of an overhead on break point to hand Nadal the break. I mean the guy just doesn’t have big mach temperament and I don’t see him ever winning a slam because of it. No doubt he has the game for it but he is just too mentally weak.

Now we have a Delpodal final instead of a Djokodal final and I am just as excited about it if not more so. We have seen many Djokodal finals and it is nice to have something fresh for a change. I am a little concerned about how much energy Delpo will have left after two very tough matches, but I think he may have one last push left. You get the feeling this is his week and he has a point to prove. Not that he hasn’t already done so, but he badly wants to go all the way. And he has already shown his fighting spirit. Combine that with the crowd support and the adrenaline kicks in and he can do this. Of course Nadal is on a mission of his own and wants to prove that he is back just as badly, but I think Delpo definitely has the game to dislodge Nadal. Nadal’s heavy topspin cross court won’t bother his two-handed backhand and at the same time he can rip those immensely powerful forehands to Nadal’s backhand.

He destroyed Nadal 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 back in that 2009 US Open semi-final, and although Nadal was clearly injured he almost certainly would have won anyway. It shows that he can overpower Nadal and boss him around from the back court. It will be a lot harder to do this time around, but no doubt he is one of the few guys who can really trouble Nadal. He just needs to serve big and rip those forehands. His backhand is strong too and it is important that he plays attacking tennis and move to the net when necessary as well. This is also a match up that I like. In fact any match up that involves Nadal and a player with a two handed backhand that doesn’t fear Nadal I find very interesting. No doubt Del Potro’s mental strength will be one of his biggest assets in this match as well. You can rest assured that he won’t choke like Berdych did.

Vamos Delpo!

Highlights:

The shocker smash from Berdych is at 9:48. Personally I can’t even see where the ball went. The sun was in his eyes and clearly he should have let it drop first. Enjoy.

Posted in Uncategorized.

68 Comments

  1. Hey, Guys! I am reading your comments and I sense that there is definitely a switch in the point of view from Ru-an regarding Roger.
    First he said that Roger is going to have a great 2013. After the AO I predicted that there will be a slump in Federer’s game but everyone kept saying that I am speaking rubbish and that Roger 3.0 is here to stay.
    After the loss to Benneteau, Ru-an stuck to his guns and said that the loss occurred because of his back pain (which was just a rumor and not official by the way)
    Then after the loss to Berdych, Ru-an finally decided to switch and declare that Roger 3.0 is done..
    And now here, after the loss to Nadal, Ru-an is all the way on the other side of the argument, basically saying that Federer 3.0 is done and that there is no excuse for the loss to Nadal even though clearly, this time the back was an issue and it wasn’t just a rumor. Even Nadal and Djokovic saw it and mentioned it in their press interviews. Only Roger didn’t look for and excuse and I applaud him for it.
    The point is that I don’t think that “objective” reporting should mean saying that Roger 3.0 is not gone at one point and then saying the exact opposite only 2 weeks after that.
    To me, clearly Roger is struggling and there is a let down. Since Roger will evolve with time, maybe we might even see a 4th version of Roger.
    You never know. All I am saying however is that to be objective is not to be hyping one’s performance when Roger is winning and then dissing him when he is losing.
    It’s like the circle if life. There are ups and downs. Just because I saw and thought that Roger will have a let down doesn’t mean that he won’t have the ability to come back. So defending him now, when it’s not easy for him and it’s easy to tell how bad he played is actually being a true fan. Fanboys or not, we should stick together and try to believe.
    Allez!!!
    Current score: 0

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘Ru-an finally decided to switch and declare that Roger 3.0 is done..

    And now here, after the loss to Nadal, Ru-an is all the way on the other side of the argument, basically saying that Federer 3.0 is done’

    There is a big contradiction here. But yeah you are welcome to read another blog if my posts bother you.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Ru-an,

    There is no need for you to become defensive. After all, your blog is one if the best and I like the majority of your posts.

    It’s just that not every time everyone will agree with you. Sometimes, people will disagree. That shouldn’t make them less objective, less of a fan, etc.

    That’s all! After all I see that sometimes you are hyping Roger’s performances, proclaiming him JesusFed, Roger 3.0, etc. only for you to bring him down, rather harshly when he doesn’t have a good result.

    That’s not to say that I haven’t done the same. I do it too and it’s not a good thing especially now, when Federer’s perforamnces are not consistent as they used to be.

    I hope you take is as constructive criticism and not think that I don’t like your blog or anything. I have followed and will continue to follow it because it’s very interesting and it’s a gathering ground for all of us.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You must have misunderstood me then. I was not being defensive. Just stating facts, as I usually do. I don’t mind people disagreeing with me either. It’s the blind worship and bias that I despise.

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    veronica Reply:

    Well said, Vily. Ru-an, only one player does things to you : Nadal. Everytime. Doesn’t fail. Like clockwork. Just like how he does things to Roger … Hehe!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Nadal doesn’t do much to me Veronica. I respect how well he has come back and congratulate him on the title.

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    Fedfan Reply:

    Look I think Ruan and any fan is justified in changing or making informed decisions with what they have seen.

    Australian Open was very promising and that form is still somewhere in Roger but it’s not uncommon for fans to doubt him and question him when he lost to Berdych in Dubai, a match that he really should not have lost. And it is these matches in which Roger 3.0 is supposed to arise and not lose those type of matches.

    But that’s what being a fan is, you can doubt, question go through all sorts of phases but at the end of the day we must support him and hope for the best because Roger is that type of guy who has his way with surprises

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    Vily Reply:

    I personally have chosen to become a but more philosophical about it. To be honest, it got a little tiring after a while to check every single match, result to hope that Roger will do well, etc.

    Thus week, for example I didn’t care about Riger until the match with Nadal. Honestly, he needs to be winning all his early matches without trouble and he needs to show up in the business end if the tournaments to keep my interest. If he starts losing early or doesn’t make the semis and finals, it might be time to retire.

    I am not saying that’s what going to happen but the next few months will be very telling for Roger.

    I just don’t want to deal with the nitty gritty of a first round match or a second round match where Roger will always look good against lesser opponents, only to give a false impression and then lose against a Berdych. I hope you get my point.

    So we’ll see. Time will tell if what will happen. But retirement is not out if the question at this point. I think that it would be pretty immature but if Roger doesn’t win any titles this year it will be pretty telling. Let’s hope that this will not occur. Roger still has the game so it’s about motivation nowadays.

    [Reply]

    Fedfan Reply:

    Look, firstly just because Roger hasn’t defended titles from last year doesn’t mean he won’t be making the latter stages of tournaments anymore, that’s a bit hasty. Leave that judgement until after the season is done.

    2 things:
    -it got a little tiring after a while to check every single match, result to hope that Roger will do well, etc.

    Roger has had some TOUGH draws lately and no opponent is to be underestimated. As he gets older, there are more chances of him being a little out of it and what not but he is so consistent that as a fan you just enjoy him playing and take one match as a time.
    Also if Roger is playing is best what more can we ask more. Obviously he was not in Rotterdam and towards the end of Indian Wells due to injury but that’s where you are tested as a fan, are you with him or against him?

    If he starts losing early or doesn’t make the semis and finals, it might be time to retire:
    Really? Not this nonsense again. It’s only the beginning of the season as I said. Roger will turn it up in the slams which is what he focuses on. If he doesn’t make a final or have consistent results then maybe you can start worrying but it’s too early to question if he’s done.

    I think your last point refers to form being deceptive. Tennis is like that. Sometimes you can only play as good as your opponent lets you. As we saw Djokovic gave Tsonga a beat down only to be dismissed by Delpo in a match he really should not have lost whereas Federer needs to take a break and come back fresh, you’ll see when it happens.

    I hope it doesn’t come down to where he doesn’t win titles this year because I just think Roger is too smart and experienced that this is happened all before. The motivation will always be there as long as he loves it, his results in the past few months will make him hungry as ever. A motivated Federer (As we saw post US open 2011) who is in form (AO 2013, was only 2 months ago) is close to unstoppable.

    Wimbledon and the US Open=priorities. Wait to see what his results are at the bigger tournaments before making that sort of judgement. I respect it but I think you’re being a bit too harsh on Roger. it seems like you want him to be winning at the rate of players like Djokovic and Murray which is not going to happen. He also is a father, has a personal life, not everything revolves around tennis. The guy is still number 2, is 31, whatever he achieves now is only icing on a very tall cake.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    I agree with your call. It’s summing my thoughts. I like your optimism and hopefully you’ll be right!

    I’d love more than ever to see Roger come back strong as before. Let’s hope for the best!

    [Reply]

  2. I would like to think you are right about Delpo and that he could win the final. But to take out 3 of the top players consecutively might be just too much for him. I think only Djokovic has the game to consistently beat Nadal at his best. He has power, consistency, mental strength (these days), a backhand that can cope with Nadal’s topspin forehands – and defensive skills almost equal to those of the Spaniard. Delpo has some of that skill set – the power and the fighting ability – but he often lacks consistency, and he doesn’t have Djokovic’s order of defensive game, because he doesn’t move as well. That could be the crucial difference with Nadal. Still, as you point out, he has overcome Nadal previously on the big stage. He is no Berdych. So he has a real chance, even though the odds favour the Spaniard.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    In my haste I short-changed Delpo. He too has a great backhand, which of course you pointed out. And he is in terrific form.

    [Reply]

  3. Nice that you are happy for Delpo, so am I. But did I read correctly, you are saying that Djokovic and Murray are the two best players in the world? Did I miss something? I thought Federer is still the #2, even though not for long time anymore…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes Chris I think it’s pretty obvious from the last three events that Roger is not the second best player in the world.

    [Reply]

    Fedfan Reply:

    To be quite honest, Nadal is playing like the second best player in the world. Murray won Brisbane sure but the field was not to that of the elite players. Other than making the AO finals all he did was make quarters of Indian Wells where he lost a set in the opening round to some unknown Russian guy and then failed to do anything against Delpo in the third set.

    [Reply]

  4. I really thought that Del Potro could pull this off. Nadal was just too good. However, think about Potro’s last 2 games? He had to be exhausted and still did well, but, he lost to Nadal. Nothing is wrong with Nadal! I hope when Federer comes back he will be this strong. I still think Nadal is on something. It could be he was just resting and a fake knee problem.

    [Reply]

  5. As expected, Del Potro fought like a lion but he just didn’t have enough left in the tank after downing Murray and Djokovic. Sad because this was only his second Masters final and he missed out on a chance to win his first Masters title. He has really improved his game, adding a better slice to his repertoire and learning how to defend a bit better. But it just took too much energy to blast his way past Nadal on this slow court.

    Nadal had an easy path to the finals over a hobbling Federer and then his pigeon Berdych, not that it ever matters with him, since he never runs out of energy despite having the most grueling style of any player on tour. He could have gone three sets in every match and still been just as fast and strong in the final.

    It’s clear that nothing was ever injured except Nadal’s pride after losing to Rosol. And Djokovic doesn’t look to be in quite the form he was in during 2011.

    Del Potro unfortunately has a tendency to get injured after he hits a red-hot patch of form. So I don’t think he will be able to keep it up during clay season. Murray is poorer on clay than on hard courts and grass, I doubt he will be able to make much of an impression until Wimbledon. I doubt anyone except Federer will be able to challenge Nadal during the clay season, which is the way I want it.

    Hopefully Federer is hanging out with his family in Switzerland and getting his back tended to, relaxing and recuperating. I’m sure there’s no better medicine for his weary spirit than playing with his daughters. Then once he’s sufficiently recovered, he can train for clay season.

    C’mon Roger!!

    [Reply]

    Fedfan Reply:

    A couple of things. Nadal would not have missed the Olympics and 2 slams for reasons due to pride? C’mon now. He may have delayed his comeback due to his appeal to return to clay but that’s as dodgy as it gets i rekon.

    And also Djokovic was on a 22 match win streak was it before Delpo? Winning Miami which he has a pretty good chance to do so, probably his favourite Masters event will reboost his confidence to take on Nadal this clay season.

    The only way Federer challenges Nadal is if he gets good draws (unlikely) and Nadal or even Djokovic for that matter is way below par with Roger needing to play the clay season as 3.0 for 2 months. That ain’t going to happen.

    Roger needs to practice and clear his head mentally to prepare for Wimbledon and the US Open, that is where his chances are more realistic. He should let Djokovic and Nadal slug it out so that they get burnt out by the end of the season. If Roger couldn’t challenge Nadal on clay in his prime, there’s no way he is doing it now. Leave it up to Djokovic now Steve.

    [Reply]

  6. Nadal’s current form is so much better than it was before his injury last year I am surprised he doesn’t take more time off the tour. Injuries and months of no play apparently improve his game. Of course he claims he is still injured – he does wear a knee bandage and still complains about his injury – so despite his destroying Federer, thumping Berdych and wearing down Del Potro we can expect the fully fit Nadal to administer beatings to his chief rivals of the like we have never seen. Wonders will never cease.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Very good point Rich. This makes Nadal’s strange scheduling decisions look even more strange. He could have played much less events over his career judging from how quickly he came back. But instead he chased after appearance fees and put his body at risk? Makes no sense at all.

    [Reply]

    Fedfan Reply:

    Yeah, the backhand has immensely improved. Cannot wait to see a match with Djokovic. Hopefully right around the corner at Monte Carlo. If Djokovic won there, it would put serious doubts into Nadal’s head.

    [Reply]

  7. Only a month back from his injury break with 3 consecutive titles from 4 finals, a 17-1 win/loss record, and a defeat of the conqueror of Djokovic who is the world no.1 and the best hard court player on the tour, Nadal is arguably the best player on the planet right now. And his knees are still a problem for him. So here’s an interesting question, folks: just how good would he be if he was doping?(because we know he isn’t.) Just imagine how fast, how tireless and how strong he would be! Mmmm. Actually, I am finding it hard to imagine ..

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No one said we know he is not doping Rich. But we don’t have hard proof either. The problem if you keep accusing him of doping is that it looks like you are looking for excuses for Roger’s losses to him. Karma will catch up with him if he is doping. No need to keep harping on it.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Ruan, I am not looking for excuses for Roger. He played terrible against Nadal – it was embarrassing. People suggest he was hampered by injury, in which case I would have thought it better he didn’t play. I guess that’s why he isn’t playing Miami (but then neither is a triumphant and far-from-injured Nadal.)

    To me, Nadal is a completely separate issue and if I harp on about him, as you say, it’s because he represents what anti-doping experts (like the former head of WADA) are now saying about tennis, that it has a serious doping problem. I fear Nadal is only the tip of the iceberg. I don’t trust him, and I don’t think that we can trust that any of the players we see or support are clean. In my view, that’s a tragic development for the sport. You have written on this blog about your concerns of increased corruption in this world. I (and others, I might add) fear we are seeing just that in a sport we love.

    [Reply]

    Fedfan Reply:

    Roger isn’t the guy to retire or withdraw, he’s too good for that stuff unlike Azarenka and Stosur who did it on the same day before the match-can you imagine what would’ve happened if he retired. He was ok enough to serve and play but he was not 100% and to beat Nadal you need to be 100, if not 101%.

    Roger already released his schedule last year and he said he wasn’t going to Miami, it’s also an IMG tourney which explains Nadal’s last minute pull out-or maybe because he wants to rest up now and prepare for clay idk, I don’t care.

    [Reply]

  8. Guys,

    Nadal is something to be admired. Even though I don’t like I respect him. The guy came back and stamped his authority by winning 3 straight titles and a first hard court title in 3 years. I almost felt like that he could even beat Djokovic this week. I think that Novak was smart to lose to Delpo and avoid Nadal.

    Nadal is also becoming smarter with his scheduling by skipping Miami.

    So, it looks like the order of things is:

    1. Djokovic – just because of his consistency and the way he plays overall.
    2. Nadal – clearly he is on the rise and in the hunt now with 3 titles – he is exactly where Roger was at this point last year.
    3. Del Potro – he is confident and consistent – he is missing something but he is still pretty darn good.
    4. Federer/ Murray/ Berdych – there is no clear number 4 right now. I want Roger to assert his dominance but it will take couple of weeks of break to get back in the hunt again.

    With the ranking as it looks like with Nadal back in the top 4, I am actually glad that Roger is still number 2. I think that he may actually keep it after Miami as well unless Murray wins in the final, which I doubt. I think that Djokovic will take care of Miami but you never know.

    I also think that Nadal will stay in the top 4 up until after Roland Garros unless of course he drops points in the clay season which looks unlikely but I obviously can’t wait for Djokovic and Nadal to renew their rivalry.

    Roger will be lucky to win Madrid or get to the final if Djokovic and Nadal don’t play there. Then if he makes the semis in Rome it will be a positive result. Then in Roland Garros, a semi would be a great result.

    Then he must win Garry Weber for the confidence and then I just feel that he’ll go deep in Wimby but I don’t think he’ll defend.

    I think that his moment will come around in the US Open. But he must have positive results in the mean time and not let go.

    But for now, it’s clear that Nadal is on the rise and Djokovic is also looking pretty good so will see.

    I really wish that Roger would have much more to say about the course of things but currently he’s got a ton of work to do to even challenge those too. He still has to fix his game and really be more assertive against the likes of Tsonga, Berdych, Del Potro and Murray who obviously are improving just as well and it won’t be easy.

    But man, Nadal is just such a monster. In a way, I am a little happy for him. It basically says that if you take a break to regroup and rest, good things will happen for you.

    Let’s hope that Roger will benefit from the two months of as well. I think that playing in Estoril might also help him but will see.

    [Reply]

  9. From RF.com:

    Rafa was just as magnanimous in victory saying “if I think that I am better than him because I beat him 19 against 10, I will be very stupid and very arrogant,” he said. “This is not the case.”

    So you have to give it to Nadal. He might not have class on the court sometimes due to his desire to win at all cost, you have to admire his humility even though he beats Roger almost regularly.

    And that’s a good thing for the sport!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well he also said he isn’t the favorite against every one of his opponents yet he beat the all in straights aside from Gulbis and Del Potro. He also said he has a knee problem but he covered the court like Superman on drugs.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Ru-an,

    I think that such a long brake like this can do miracles for someone like Nadal. The guy is rested – and I mean rested. Plus, during his 7 months rest, he kept in shape and did not gain any weight or anything like that.

    Yes, he surpassed everyone’s expectations by beating everyone but I am not sure about the doping. It could certainly explain it but I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    If he begins to crush Djokovic into submission then I’ll be really shocked. You could certainly see it in the women too. Serena was injured for a long time and then she came back and for a while she dominated just as well. This rejuvenated Nadal might last through Wimbledon but sooner or later the knee will act up again and Nadal will have to rest again.

    Same thing with Roger. The problem with Roger is that age is catching up with him as we’ll and with that he has to battle so many more factors: bad back; improving his game which has become more predictable as of late, especially the servin; keeping a top 4 ranking, battling with the younger opponents, etc; Roger has his plate full and time is not on his side.

    Like he said, it’s about titles now and just adding to the legacy, extending records, etc.

    I sincerely hope that he looks really hard at himself and consider what he needs to do / even if it means changing his coaching staff, etc.

    Obviously fitness and rebuilding his back muscles will be important. But confidence, proper rest and practice will have a lot to do with it. I am sure Roger will find a way.

    I think that he may strike again towards the US Open and beyond.

    As I have seen in the last 3-4 years – tennis is a game if cycles and what is great today, eventually comes down and gets replaced by something else, etc. then the cycle repeats itself.

    Roger knows that and just has to stuck to his guns and experience and I am sure it will pay off in the end! :-)

    [Reply]

  10. Congrats to Rafa and more to Delpo. I watched the match. Delpo was superb, especially after beating Andy and Novak.
    As for Rafa, well done. He is back. Hopefully now he will be quite over not wanting hardcourts and more hopefully he will get rid of the tape around his knee, because we all know he has no more knee problems.

    Nevertheless, very nice done, Rafa. Also congrats to the Rafa fans worldwide.

    Looking forward to Roger.

    [Reply]

  11. Well can we agree to disagree that Roger is injured and hence perhaps dismal gut wrenching performance? He definitely need to get some rest and soul searching. Whatever slump he is going through, can we be a little more sympathetic and of course I hope he get his shit sorted out soon. Ok I know, I know I am getting borderline biased, lunatic, blind and crazy Federer Fan. Please don’t ‘ban’ me from your blog. Amazing stuff from both Nadal and Delpo, I would love it even more if the winner was Delpo instead of Nadal. He has become my next fave player after RF. I liked the way he engages the crowd, fun guy to watch and has a gentle soul yes?

    [Reply]

  12. What a letdown for Del Potro in the first game of the second set when he put an easy drop set outside that costed him so much tension. I think that was a turning point of the match reminiscent of the unsuccessful dropshot of Federer at FO 2011.The failed dropshot of Del Potro took so much energy from him to hold the game and sapped him of the energy required to defeat Nadal.I guess Nadal is out to try for a last run towards attaining four slams in a row which would make him a real GOAT overnight.He seems to have changed his game a bit and has accummulated the energy required for a last ditch effort.I donot think that he has the knee problem as he has been trying to make us believe. It is just his ego which caused him to take a long leave and any other similar letdown will send him packing from competitive tennis.

    [Reply]

    Fedfan Reply:

    It’s easy to blame a player’s loss due to dislikes of the other player. But that’s not right. If Nadal was going to protect his ego, where was his absence when he was getting humiliated by Djokovic 7 times in a row, losing 3 straight slam finals, Uncle Toni said that Rafa has never had to deal with such a mental challenge so I think Nadal is genuine with his injury as he pushed his body to the limit during last year’s clay season and was already showing knee problems as early as Miami.

    Just because he won indian wells, does not mean he is going to win every slam now, that’s just silly based on ONE tournament win. Let’s see what happens at the French first for once because Djokovic has a real chance there, if he beats Nadal a couple of times this clay season, Nadal’s confidence is not going to bode well enough to beat top players consistently at all the grand slams as well as over 5 sets.

    [Reply]

    bartelbe Reply:

    What you say is sensible, but I am afraid there are too many “nutty” fed fans on this site who have to believe that Nadal is a cheat or there is some conspiracy helping Nadal to beat Federer.

    It is simply a bad matchup for Federer, I don’t know why people can’t accept that?

    [Reply]

  13. Haha wow Berdych smash FAIL. Tennis Gods gave him karma for all the crappy things he has done as a person. His face is priceless I must admit after it. Mental weak link and it annoys me that THIS is the dude that stopped Roger’s dream run at the US Open last run, guess it was not meant to be-all Roger’s fault that one I gotta say.

    Kudos to Rafael Nadal. Totally deserved win, I was pulling for Delpo but Rafa is such a strong competitor, he will never go away. I think the Murray/Djokovic match factored in in the third, his movement slowed down a tad. Overall I really really do hope that this won’t be a one week only form from Delpo and that Indian Wells gives him the momentum and confidence needed for the rest of the season. If Fed isn’t winning slams, then I’d love to see Juan Martin. He’s a way too talented tennis player to only be a one-hit wonder. This season got interesting.

    Nadal out of Miami but apparently he is going to lose the number 4 ranking again (only just got it back) if Ferrer makes a deep run. We’ll see. Thanks for the post Ru-an, much appreciated.

    [Reply]

  14. Just an interesting point: Roger Federer will remain the undisputed King of Blue Clay because they have decided to switch back to red clay in Madrid – which is kinda boring but oh well. There is another record for the record books! LOL! :-)

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  15. “It’s clear that nothing was ever injured except Nadal’s pride after losing to Rosol.”

    I couldn’t agree more with Steve. And it’s not that I waited till now to say this, after having witnessed Nadal capturing his 3rd Indian Wells title – which by the way has got to be his most favorite 1000 Masters next to the clay ones – I’ve always believed that since last summer.

    Having said that, here’s a rhetorical question for all you Fedfans; Had Nadal got past Rosol on that ‘strange’ night, would he withdraw from the tourmament right afterwards because of his “injured knee”? Or he would better go all the way to maybe even winning this instead of whining in his presser about his knee problem and stating that he withdraws from his next match?
    Please tell me if there is a single person in this blog who believes the latter.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Simple question: how is his movement never hampered when he says his knees are hampered?

    [Reply]

    George Reply:

    Correction, sorry I meant if anyone believes Nadal wouldn’t have played his next (3rd round) match had he defeated Rosol in the 2nd round.

    [Reply]

    bartelbe Reply:

    Yeah Nadal took 7 months off when he wasn’t injuryed, and missed the chance to carry the olympic flag for his country. Can we please stop with the conspiracy theories.

    I know Nadal beats Federer and you are Federer fans. Federer is one of the best tennis players of all time, maybe the best. However he is human, he has flaws and so does his game. Nadal game happens to be ideally suited to exploit those flaws.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Another fan with his head in the sand.

    [Reply]

    George Reply:

    No disagreement here with you, bartelbe. Nadal has always been the perfect ‘antiFederer’ in every aspect of this sport called tennis; that’s why, in my opinion, this is the biggest rivalry in the history of the sport. Aside from their ‘monster’ game and the great spectacle they offer to millions of fans worldwide whenever they face each other, they kind of represent each others opposite tennis force ( great defence vs great offence, two-handed vs one-handed single backhand, etc.)
    Anyways, as you say Nadal is the man to exploit Roger’s flaws, he is a bad matchup for him, in other words. Add Nadal’s mental supermacy over Federer, and you know he is gonna beat him more often than not in the rest of their future meetings.

    But then again, this is completely irrelevant to my question. I mean I know he missed the chance to carry the olympic flag for Spain, and I myself never liked the conspiracy theories, but what I was wondering is whether Nadal would have quit if he had won that match against Rosol. Knowing his temperament and his character in general, I bet he wouldn’t have mentioned a word about it (any kind of injury) and continued his efforts for a 3rd Wimbledon title. My point is that the only thing that was R E A L L Y injured that night was Nadal’s pride. It took him several months to digest that loss (I’ve always considered Nadal-along with Federer- the best grasscourt player in the world since 2008), but Mr. Fast Runner seemed to have no problem catching a ridiculous amount of balls on the hard courts of Indian Wells. Huh, I sense that quite a few people – including me of course – were not impressed.

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  16. Sorry, but I think Nadal is doping. Since when does speculation need to be proved first, before it can be speculated on? Lance Armstrong was suspected for years by so many and of course, he passionately denied. Nadal has the oddest pattern of any of the top four. Though I also suspect Murray and Djokovic too. Not because I am biased, though I am, but because their sudden changes from unable to hang with Nadal in long matche to suddenly finding unknown reserves of stamina don’t jibe. At that level you’ve tried every training technique and every died. There’s only one to get more strength and endurance and that’s PEDs, which are rife in professional sports. Look at the money involved. It’s enormous and totally worth the risk from that point of view. You have to be naive not to suspect Nadal given his game is based on stamina and he has tons of unspecified injuries that miraculously heal. Plus his whole schtick is totally classless. The illegal coaching, the chest bump. His serve sucks, what keeps him in chasing down every point is EPO and other crap.

    His game does not match up against his career success. It’s predicated on wearing opponents down. It certainly doesn’t match up

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Jim, you risk being labelled by some a conspiracy theorist. But in my view your points are quite valid. I will offer this: a tennis playing friend was recently in conversation with the head of WADA, and he suggested to him that they’ve lost the battle against doping. The head of WADA replied that the dopers are introducing new masking substances every week – the authorities can’t keep up. Game over.

    If that is so – and it will be throughout professional sport – what do you think of the chances that top tennis players are doping? I would say just look at some players and how the game is increasingly being played by tireless physical automatons. Are they doping? If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck – it’s probably a duck.

    [Reply]

    Toni Reply:

    Great thoughts!!! Whish anyone could engrave them in their brains :-)

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    michael Reply:

    I agree. Nadal definitely served a silent doping ban. ATP/WTA have done that before (i.e. Henin, Serena Williams, ect…). Interestingly ATP now suddently introduces a blood pass.

    As far as I know only cycling has the same pass. Football, running, triathlon don’t have it.

    In contrast to Nadal’s knees, Federer’s back is really bad. Nadal just faked his knee injury, just read all the press releases after Wimbledon 2012. He changed his injury on a weekly basis, ending up with a Hoffa-syndrome (wtf is that).

    Dear tennis fans, open your eyes, Tennis is not about talent anymore it’s about the right “diet”. In 5-7 years we will see all this motherfs sitting next to Oprah.

    [Reply]

  17. Its fine to speculate on the whole doping issue. However on this blog, anyone who beats federer a couple of times gets accused of doping. I remember when Tsonga beat Federer a couple of times, someone on this blog accused him of doping.

    its pathetic to start accusing players simply because they can beat Federer. And while i have no doubt some players may be doping, its laughable to suggest that most players are. Otherwise Federer would not be able to hang in with them.

    As for Nadal, its certainly a possibility. However you cannot compare Armstrong case with Nadal’s. There were several eye witnesses who spoke out against Armstrong. Tennis is not a team sport and therefore there are no eyewitnesses against Nadal.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Mike, I don’t recall Benneteau, or Gasquet, for example, being accused of doping – because they have beaten Roger. Canas beat Roger a couple of times, too. No one goes on about him, either. (Well, whaddya know – he’s a confirmed doper.)

    If suggestions are made that some players are probably dopers it’s not because they have beaten Roger. It’s because they have shown unlimited reserves of stamina, incredible strength and speed, as well as strange cycles in performance and injuries that don’t limit their movement and are recovered from in miraculous time. All of that is typically associated with doping.

    Because doping is now almost impossible to detect – and that’s what the experts are telling us – anybody could be doping. That includes Roger. But to be fair to Roger, he doesn’t exhibit the usual traits associated with doping. He doesn’t have a powerhouse or “cut” physique, he conspicuously tires now, he often lacks power compared to the players he faces, and his game is declining by degrees as he is getting older. All of that looks pretty natural. But because detection of doping is well nigh impossible, then, yes – he may have doped. I just hope he hasn’t. But that’s the present-day reality of professional sport. We don’t know who we can trust. (And while we are about it, there has been considerable speculation that Henin has doped in her career. So it’s not so “comical” after all.) As for Lance, well he was fingered by his team mates – as you point out. Despite his being a doper he never failed a drug test that we knew of. As tennis players are not in a team the chances of the dopers among them being caught are very slim indeed.

    So tennis fans – enjoy watching the show, if you like what you see. But don’t kid yourselves that you are still watching a “clean” competition. Sadly, that was probably lost a long time ago.

    [Reply]

  18. how can someone seriously accuse henin of doping? its comical. And you cannot “definately” claim that Nadal has served a doping ban, we NEED EVIDENCE before convicting someone.

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  19. Has anybody heard of Uncle Toni’s latest rant against Fed? Here is the link:

    http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2013/03/uncle-toni-rafa-has-been-more-pain-roger/46843/#.UUu51zfRiSo

    This is the height of false modesty for all those great talk on Fed by Rafa.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    He just says what he thinks and states the facts. Nothing wrong with that. Of course Federer is not the favorite for Roland Garros. He might never ever be the favorite for a Grand Slam again. Doesn’t mean he won’t win another one. But it’s getting more and more unlikely. And the matches between Federer and Nadal are not highlights anymore, but pretty predictable most of the time. It’s a bad match-up for Federer, and Nadal fully exploits all weaknesses in Rogers game and mind. He’s doing a great job there, and Roger has failed to solve this challenge. But it’s not because of their h2h that I firmly belief that Nadal is the Lance Armstrong of Tennis. I just find it incredibly difficult to believe that he is not doping. Maybe Fuentes will solve the mistery when he finally speaks. But I don’t expect it. There would be no winners, only losers.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    My point is not what Uncle Toni said about Fed not winning (rather incapable of) another major for the rest of his professional career. Why in the earth should he compare Fed’s current back injury to the so called undisclosed injuries that Rafa has been suffering all along his playing years? This uncle and nephew combination is just the two sides of the coin: one is the drama queen on the court while the other one is off the court! I hope Fed is listening and this must be the tonic he desperately needs to get back the old fire in him. COME ON FED! YOU CAN STILL WIN AT LEAST ONE MORE MAJOR.

    [Reply]

  20. LOL Michael, “all these………sitting next to Oprah”! I almost died laughing!! Thanks Jiten for the link; what a “revelation” from uncle Toni! Rich, George, Jim, Michael, etc, thumbs up guys for being courageous to address this issue at the risk of being most unpopular and maybe, even banned from this blog!!! Unlike a lot of Fed fans, I do not hate Nadal; I’m not bothered by his OCD’s or whatever you call it; not even bothered by his illegal coaching, his endless injury calls whether justified or not and his extreme humbleness. I hardly ever make a hate comment about him. I actually admire what he has been able to achieve through hard work, mental fortitude, constantly improving his game and most of all, he really knows how to win a match – to Nadal, breaking his service literally means nothing; even a double break means very little. His calmness on court, the ability to think through and win a match despite everything against him is unsurpassed. We see Djoko also has this winning capability last couple years but Djoko is still susceptible to ups and downs whereas Nadal must be the most stable player of all. However, this last incident is the last straw. Of course what he has been able to achieve since coming back is AMAZING, to say the least. But I don’t think I will fully and trustingly believe another injury claim by Nadal again – sure he may get injured, his game warrants it but I have enough of “injury equals excuses; injury equals Nadal can’t play well” for Nadal. I’m also sick of people calling out Fed fans as sore losers – sure there are plenty of these; but please, let us be more discerning. Sore losers have no logic, are irrational and extremely emotional and prejudiced. I don’t think any commentator in this blog qualify as a sore loser; certainly not Rich. Heck, everytime Roger loses to Nadal, I’m always jumping on Roger except this IW loss which I felt a little understanding is in order for not being able to move well (afterall what is Roger WITHOUT his movement? – how can his shoulders/body language not slump when his movement is impeded?!! How can we expect a post prime injured Roger not slump his shoulders against a super fit Nadal when a prime and fit Roger often slumped his shoulders against Nadal?! – aren’t we just over- reacting to our own bad memories of countless losses to Nadal, our own disappointments and our own unrealistic and “monstrous” expectations of what we expect an unfit Roger SHOULD be doing against Nadal?!) although he NEVER asked for it but instead was punished for appearing on court!!! However, for the first time I am very happy to see the majority of journalists and sports commentators in IW acknowledging Roger’s injury and agreeing that it really hampered him. Anyway, whatever Nadal is and has done, the unproofed evidences and circumstances surrounding his career is highly suspicious and rather unusual. We need journalists, the media, fans like you and I, to keep the pressure on, continually prodding, persisting, before there’s even a slim chance of the truth coming out. Is there any athlete like Nadal in any sports? Or is he truly a unique, once in a life time super special species that defy nature? Well, everyone is innocent unless proven guilty; and therein lies the problem. Proving guilt has become a money/power game, not a moral issue/responsibility anymore.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Also, what’s the harm with all these suspicions? Afterall, they are not completely groundless. And most importantly, whether tennis is eventually proven clean or not, the suspicious ones have done their job in either clearing up the players or exposing the cheaters. It is a win-win situation.

    [Reply]

  21. No one is saying all Federer fans are sore losers. But some fans simply start accusing anyone of doping if they can beat him in a major. On this blog alone, everyone has been accused from Tsonga to Murray, Djokovic and Nadal.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    All right, Mike, I agree. Dope is overrated in Roger’s slam losses.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    I believe Nadal is doping, but not because of his record against Federer. I also got suspicious about Djokovic when he started to outplay Nadal, especially after the marathon Australian Open final in 2012. Tennis became extremely physical, suspiciously so. And Federer struggles to compete in this new form of playing this sport, which frustrates him as much as his fans. But doping is a systemic problem that becomes ever more evident in tennis even in the absence of proof. The losses of Federer have other reasons, such as poor play, lack of mental strengh, stubbornness, back problems, Federerror off days, or simply being outplayed by a better opponent. Ru-an has always been looking for the errors committed by Federer, criticizing him sometimes even harshly, and I can’t recall a single blog where he used the doping issue to excuse a loss. Personally, I think it is necessary to raise the issue, for the sake of the sport and its importance in our society. Cheaters should not go unpunished, and if nothing else, they should at least suffer the public accusations and constant harrassment leading to a rooten image in some public spaces. Fight corruption! No more Livestrong bullshit! We want fairplay! And this includes saying that Federer was absolutely embarrassing, ridiculous and ungraceful when trying to challenge his own first serve when the point went against him in the match against Stan. If this is a sign of what is to come at the end of his career, he better hang his racket soon and save us from the disappointment of seeing him lose his class.

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Mike, I hate to break it to you but at least 3 of 4 of those you name are widely suspected of using ped’s. The problem is with the game, not one or two rare players.

    [Reply]

  22. We can move on to some general tennis discussions as Roger is off for 2 months. I’d also loved to see how nadal fares in djokadal rivalry now. But we have to wait for some time to see if djokovic manages to upend the clay domination, maybe a revisal of 2011 that was incomplete !?? We have not seen much of nadal against safin, nalbandian, hewitt at their prime who had some great two-handed-backhands. Roger demoralized them too some extent by his utter dominance, also due to injury concerns they just couldn’t make full use of their potent. But djokovic is a complete version of modern baseliner, blend of safin’s aggression and hewitt’s defence whereas Roger brought his game from another world !!!

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Yeah, MJ-Ruban, I can’t wait to see Djoko renew his rivalry with the new (improved BH and enthusiastic) and rejuvenated (“rejuiced”? – haha! Sorry, no offence to neutral fans!) Nadal. Game on! And may Roger bring his out of this world game again to bring them back to earth!!

    [Reply]

  23. Hi guys, I have not read the articles or comments yet. But I do want to say this. We all love Roger to win, but if he loses (more than 3 or 4 times), lets not give up on the guy. He does not deserve that. Afterall he could be lying on a beach with his millions right now, but he is still playing, for the love of the game and for us, his fans.

    We are aloud to question him or to be angry at him or to be disappointed. But if you can be happy with him winning, then you should also “embrace” him losing. And by that I mean don’t write him off when he loses a lot. The year started promising, but is not over yet. I strongly believe he wants to focus on the period after May. Not the beginning of the year, but mostly the end of the year. Because believe it or not, there is one record Pete has that he does not have. And that is to finish the year as number one for the sixth time. I really believe he wants to do that. And he also “hopes” that in that period Rafa/Novak/Andy will be a little “beat” so he can strike.

    Afterall, do you know that Serena and Tiger are the current number one, at their age and after their hardwork. You think Roger wants to be left behind??? No guys, Roger is up to something. He is not talking about wanting to be number one again for no reason. Roger always thinks things through and he knows EXACTLY what he says. No don’t be surprised if Roger has a terrific season after May.

    As his fans you are aloud to question him and be mad, but don’t count him out. His backpain…. is worse and is hindering him, but he has lived and played with backpain his entire career, so it is now a little bit worse, but he can still handle his back. Maybe he wants to “save” himself for the period after May.
    The time without Roger is not passing fast, I cannot wait for Roger to play and show us all.

    Still his diehard fan, no matter what, no matter how difficult it may be and become, no matter a win or a loss, Katyani

    [Reply]

  24. Love your comments, Katyani! Fans like you are the reason Roger continues to play! After a gruelling 2012, a let down is expected and, like you, I think we shouldn’t over-react in Roger’s “slump” since USO and “embrace” all his losses! Ha! In Roger’s heydays, he could maintain good form/play in a whole year but it is unrealistic to expect that of him now. Even the gladiators, Djoko and Nadal cannot maintain consistent form throughout the course of one year or bring equal success to the next; but Roger did it consistently for 4 years!! Nah! who is the GOAT, huh?!! Anyway, Roger would be enough rested and completely over any lingering mental and physical exhaustion from last year by the time Madrid comes around. Yeah, if he could tie Pete for year end no. 1, it would be just unbelievable; and like you said, he just might be aiming for that!! I really hope Roger is about reinventing himself this break – new racket maybe – I feel overall, he needs more power in his game – I just hate to watch Roger sometimes being bullied around the court like a lightweight against a heavyweight. Can anyone shed light why Roger is so stubborn about racket changes? Maybe it is too late to change now; but we’ve been saying that for the last few years so if changes need to be made, now is as good a time as any!! Nadal is using a new racket since he came back and wow! it looks good. I’m impressed with his BH. He is driving through it. Ru-an, why can’t Roger drive through more of his BH to get more power? Why is Stan’s BH so much stronger than Roger? Can Roger not gain some power in his BH? Btw, well done Haas! I am impressed. What a match! He played such a smart and solid match. I think the variety in Haas rattled Djoko. I notice Djoko does not play well against good single-handed back hand players, eg Haas, Stan, Roger!!!! They match up well against Djoko!! Maybe therein lies the blue print to beat Djoko – variety! Which makes me even madder when I think of Roger’s tough losses to Djoko where he didn’t use his variety as much and/or his execution was poor. Roger should take a page out of Haas match with Djoko (although Djoko played poorly; mountains of unforced errors) Anyway, whatever, Roger’s gotta execute well. Ru-an, why is Roger’s execution so error prone? Sorry, Ru-an, for the silly questions, I’m such a tennis novice, please be patient with me! Hehe! I just don’t get it why Roger cannot hit more than a few shots without hitting into the net or outside the lines whereas Nadal/Djoko/Murray can hit 20 balls over the net and right on the line, time and time again!!!

    [Reply]

  25. Hi Veronica, it is always a pleasure to hear from you. From one diehard fan to another.
    Yes, Roger is stubborn. I am hearing this so many years.
    But is it not true that his backhand was not good at all but that he did work on it so that it is now good (not great as the others but good). He does listen. Not often. But if he did not want to change, he would be out a lot of years ago. So lets bare with him. Maybe he will change rackets, but is one month too short to get used to it?

    What about Tommy huh? I like him. He is funny and nice and plays very good. Yes the dinosaurs from yesteryears (that is what they are beeing called right) are still there and going nowhere.

    But Roger is up to something. For some reason I think he will have a great season after May.

    To be continued…….

    Ps: It is no fun without Roger…….

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Tommy??! One word, Katyani …….. H.O.T!!! So inspiring coming back with all that injury, having such love and enthusiasm for the sport; such a matured and professional attitude, his daughter and wife watching him play,etc, etc, ahhh….. what a story! Really hope that he goes and win it all now. If Murray wins, Roger would be knocked out of no. 2 which would not be good for FO draws although Roger may still be able to get it back if he does well in Madrid and Rome as Murray sucks on clay.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Btw, just love how Tommy “sliced” the Egg into half yesterday and kept feeding it with junk!! The Egg couldn’t survive without its regular feed of pace and rhythm!!

    [Reply]

  26. I donot know why so much worry for Federer being denigraded to number 3 ranking.I think that may be blessing in disguise because if he is No 3 for FO there is no chance for him to meet Nadal before final and that is better than him meeting Nadal before the final.He is better off with Murray or even with Djokovic on clay.

    [Reply]

  27. Of course the worse thing is the taking over of fourth ranking by Ferrer pushing Nadal to 5th ranking in which case Federer may have to face Nadal in the quarterfinal and the organisers want to see Federer lose as early as possible.After Ferrer reached the final in Miami he has bounced back to fourth ranking and I donot see Nadal taking over him before Roland Garros.

    [Reply]

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