Djokovic Defeats Nadal in Epic Australian Open Final and Protects Federer’s Legacy

Well it’s all over folks. The 2012 Australian Open is history and the pre tournament favorite was triumphant. But it was anything but a walk in the park. This must have been one of the hardest won slam titles in history. Ok so there have been players who played more sets during a title run, but Djokovi’c last four matches was all physically tough. The last two were especially tough. It was hard to believe that there could be a more grueling, dramatic match than the semi against Murray, but the final topped it. And by quite a margin. The Djokoray semi was 4 hours 50 minutes long while the final was 5 hours 53 minutes, the longest slam final in history. Roger said before the match that it could be an all time classic, and he was right as usual. He doesn’t often get it wrong, does he? This was without a doubt one of the most dramatic grand slam finals in history.

This was two ultimate warriors battling it out for a place in history. Doping or not, you have to respect the way these two were prepared to give their last breath for grand slam glory. There is not a shred of quitting or fear in either of these men. Djokovic started out slowly, spreading errors all over the place. Even though he came back from an early break he was broken again to drop the first set. You felt if Nadal was going to have a chance he had to win the first set. Djokovic seemed to be asleep in the first set. Maybe he was still tired from his semi-final with Murray, or maybe he was complacent. At the start of the second set Djokovic’s poor form continued and I was starting to get worried. Thankfully he soon got the break and took a 5-2 lead. However, Djokovic dropped serve at 5-3 when he served a double fault. NOT GOOD.

Nadal was back in the set. If he won the second set I am sure he would have won the match, so I was pretty disgusted that he dropped serve. Already the drama had started. Thank heavens Djokovic broke in the next game after a double fault from Nadal. Set all. In the third set Djokovic continued with his impressive play and got a break early on. He then broke Nadal to love at 5-2 with a cracking forehand winner up the line to win the  third set. He would also start serving again in the fourth set. At this point it looked like Djokovic had this title in the bag. In the first set his first serve percentage was below 50% and he was upping it with every set. It looked like this would be another comfortable four set win for Djokovic over his favorite whipping boy. At 4-3 and 40-0 on Nadal’s serve Djokovic had a chance to break and seal the deal.

I thought it was all over, but incredibly Nadal fought back and held serve. Major moment in the match. Holding serve there gave Nadal a huge boost as was expected, while I felt Djokovic might have let the match slip away there. Nadal looked more and more threatening. Even so Djokovic still had a 5-3 lead in the fourth set breaker. But yet again Nadal would fight back and win it 7-5. Unreal. The momentum was now on Nadal’s side and I felt like he was the favorite to win the match. Djokovic looked tired and emotionally drained at the start of the fifth set. He really looked out of it, which was understandable. When Nadal got the break to take a 4-2 lead it looked like a done deal. I felt like Djokovic had lost the match in the fourth set when he had the 40-0 lead on Nadal’s serve. Nadal looked to be cruising home at 30-15 on his serve and an easy backhand down the line coming up.

He just had to steer the ball down the line and Djokovic would have no chance, but he steered it wide. That was another huge moment in the match because Djokovic went on to break back to make it 4-3. Djokovic had made another great escape. Nadal was still serving first however which gave him a slight advantage. There was still no telling who would win this match. Unreal tension. At 5-5 Djokovic somehow managed to get the break, to my huge delight. Surely this time he would hold serve, which he did. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. It was just unreal how Nadal kept fighting. I mean the guy simply does not know when he is beaten. This is an aspect of the game where he is on another level than Roger. To come back after six consecutive final defeats to Djokovic in this fashion was unbelievable. He has my respect for that.

In his presser after the match Nadal was actually optimistic about this defeat. And who can blame him? It was the same as the Djokoray match in the sense that it was a positive loss. Both Nadal and Murray should gain confidence from their losses because they left it all out there and lost to an incredibly clutch player. Djokovic deserves massive respect for winning this match after that five setter with Murray. It is once again that x factor I spoke of. He just finds a way to get the job done against some of the best opposition in history. This brings me to Roger. While the rest of the top four all left it all out there on the court, the same can’t be said for Roger. Every time he went a break up against Nadal he surrendered serve immediately. After he won the all important first set he all but disappeared in the second set. In the third set breaker which was a pivotal point in the match he went down 6-1 in double quick time.

In the fourth set when he had break points to get back into the match, Nadal made an incredible lob and Roger tamely steered the smash wide. This is not an attempt to bash Roger. It is simply pointing out reality. I never thought I’d say this, but even Murray may be stronger in the mental department than Roger these days. As for Djokovic and Nadal they are in a different league altogether. It is the easiest thing in the world to bring up the doping issue now. But to me that is just denial. It shows unwillingness to look reality in the eye, which is that Roger doesn’t measure up in the mental department. This blog has always been about the truth and that will never change. There is way too much talk about doping in my opinion. There is a time and place for everything. But when doping is used as a a cover up for the truth, it becomes destructive.

You know as well as me that Roger lets himself down against Nadal. The same can’t be said for Nadal when he plays Djokovic. Nadal lost six consecutive finals to Djokovic(five was maximum for Roger against Nadal), yet he still came back from being 0-40 down on his serve in the fourth set and almost won the match. The time has come to give Nadal his dues. I don’t like his on court personality. I even despise it. But he has something which Roger does not have: balls of steel. That is simply reality and there is no way around it. And I had enough of the doping issue. Djokovic is just as likely to dope as Nadal which means the playing field was even. There are no more excuses. If Roger ever wants to beat Nadal in a slam again, him and his fans have to face up to reality. Blaming it on doping will only make things worse.

Roger is very lucky here that Djokovic beat Nadal. If Nadal won he would be well on his way to taking down Roger’s slam record. He is lucky that Djokovic is around to protect his legacy. If Djokovic was not around Nadal would be on 13 slams now, and would track Roger’s record down in no time. Of course I am happy about this, but it is time to give Nadal his dues too. He has beaten Roger time and time again on the big stage simply because he has bigger balls. He is not nearly as talented as Roger, yet he finds a way to beat him time and time again. The Fedal rivalry is something with a long and complex history, and I am not here to criticize Roger about it. I am simply giving credit where it’s due after what I saw once again today. Roger needs to see a psychologist, or he will soon drop out of the top three.

Highlights: 

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101 Comments

  1. Very good post as usual Ru-an!

    First of all I share the relief for novak’s win! 11 slams would have brought nadal too close to roger’s record, considering that he will probably win the french many more times!

    I too had the feeling that roger didn’t give his all..probably he feels that losing giving everything is far worse than losing but thinking that you could have done better..and i can understand it because thinking that there was nothing more you could do is devastating and makes you feel totally helpless;
    nonetheless it’s clear that nadal’s approach is the smartest because today he wasn’t far from winning and showed but little sign of the scar the previous six meetings had left.

    Last year it took Jesus-Fed to stop the djoker..i hope with all my heart that this year our champ will come up with some of his magic again!

    one last thought:
    OK, the players we saw today in the final are two great warriors, they are mentally stronger than the others, they are physically perfectly fit and they can play with the same energy and focus for six hours,
    BUT
    to me there still no greater pleasure than watching the marvellous shots roger comes up with, his perfect feet movements,the way he hits the ball, the way he dances on court, his incredible shot making from every corner of the court, the clever construction of the points and his gentleman-like manners!

    YES, I PREFER THE GENTLEMAN TO THE WARRIORS! :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Lucille, good comment :D

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  2. Ruan, thanks for some fantastic posts throughout the AO. about this last one – i agree with EVERY WORD.
    the fedal match up is a bitch for fed, just like the djoko-rafa is a bitch for rafa (the two handed BH makes all the difference, ha?) but i would sure like to see Fed fights and suck it up!! how many times have we seen him get the lead and then drops it??? way too many.

    well for me the question is – where do we go from here? fed is in good shape. he needs to pick himself up and carry on coz there are some crucial times ahead. AM has a lot of points to gain this spring and fed must not fall asleep or murray will surpass him in the rankings in no time. i believe a good showing at DC will give fed some insperation. hope he wont over-play in february and will keep his srength for the money time of the season. also i hope by the time RG comes around rafa will drop out of the top 2. that way he can end up in nole’s side of the draw…

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You are welcome Feddybear. It’s been a pleasure and I will do one more post reviewing the AO.

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  3. I like the post, Ru-an! When I think about Djokovic and the machine that he has become, the guy that turned him into what he is today is no other than Roger Federer. In the US Open 2010 after he lost to Novak after missing match points, he gave the incentive for Novak to become what he is today. I mean when you think about the toughest and hardest matches in which Roger has played, there come like 7 matches in mind and Roger has won only 2 of them.

    1. Wimbledon 2008 Final – he lost painfully to Nadal there.
    2. Australian Open 2009 Final – he lost and cried to Nadal there again!!!
    3. Rolland Garros 2009 semifinal – he toughed out a five-setter against Del Poteo en route to his first French Open (however, in the back of his mind he knew that Nadal was out, if he wasn’t he probably would have lost!)
    3. US Open 2009 Final – he lost again to Del Potro after having control of the match.
    4. US Open 2010 semifinal – he choked against Djokovich with match points there!!!
    5. Rolland Garros 2011 semifinal – here is probably again his most famous victory in recent years – even though he lost again to Nadal in the final and it was all for nothing.
    6. US Open 2011 semifinal – one of the biggest chokes again against Djokovich with 2 match points on his own serve.

    I mean these are like 2 wins in 6 tough matches against top players.
    You can definitely say that Nadal scarred Roger mentally and Novak capitalized on these self-doubts.

    Now, I know that Roger responded brilliantly since that loss to Djokovich, but after what I saw yesterday, I am not sure that he will ever beat Rafa and probably even Novak. I mean these guys were warriors to the debt. Roger is an artist and a genius, but these guys are gladiators.

    But it’s only natural. He is 30, they are 24-25. He has aggressive relaxed style, they have monster grinding retriever attacking style.

    I mean you see how much it took for Roger just to beat Novak at the French Open. He was emotionally drained after that. He thought it was a final. But it wasn’t.

    And what has Djokovic done? After 5 hours against Murray he backs it up with a win in 6 hours against Rafa. Mind boggling….

    My dream is if somehow Roger meets Novak in a grand slam final, and somehow beats him, it will leave me satisfied. I know he probably will never beat Rafa again. But if he could beat Novak in a GS final, that would be sweet and go along way to try to cement his legacy.

    I just hope that his legacy won’t be just protected by Novak but that he also goes a long way to protect it himself!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good comment Vily! Roger does not have a very good record in tough five set matches at all. This emphasizes my post nicely. He just isn’t very strong in the mental department. I don’t think he will beat Nadal in a slam again unless something drastic happens. I think he can beat Djokovic again however.

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  4. Very good post, similar thoughts to mines about Fed, and Murray points. I see Murray as the only one challenging Djokovic and Nadal this year, Fed will stay top 4, because the rest of the field is so weak, Fed destroyed Tsonga so many times and DelPo. The top 2 are in another league, and Murray is closing the gap. The point with Fed, is he willing to play tennis and be number 4 in the world this year, and always lose Semi-Finals to these guys? I always thought if Fed keeps playing, he may get that 1 window chance of opportunity if Novak or Nadal lose early, and he can win that elusive 17th GS. But as we seen in 2011, Murray aswell they keep reaching Semis of GS, will Fed get that 1 off chance to win GS like he did for French Open 2009? As a Fed fan I hope he can, but I don’t see the other 3 guys in the Fab 4, being inconsistent, it will be a tough year for Fed, the signs don’t look good. I can easily see Murray grabbing 1 of the GS later in the year, if he continues to play at the level he showed against Novak in the Semis. This will be a great year of tennis, with or without Fed making an impact on the big stages.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Azy and I agree with you. Exciting year ahead. Roger is not out of the running for a slam, but it will only get harder as Murray is also improving. he obviously has to avoid Nadal as much as possible.

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  5. Great post, Ru-an. I confess I thank God that Djoker was able to pull off the victory. Since Roger choked against Rafa again, the only thing left for us Fed fans is to deny Nadal another slam. This was simply a huge match, let’s face it. If Rafa had won it, he’d be at 11 slams and only 5 away from Roger.

    Now that Djoker won it, Nole is closer in slam count to Nadal than Rafa is to Federer. I have to admit I did have admiration for how Nadal fought back and how he dealt with defeat. He was gracious and gave a nice loser’s speech. I have always disliked Rafa intensely for obvious reasons — without him, Roger would have had 22 slams by now.

    I believe Djoker can go on and win the FO and deny Rafa his best chance for another slam this year.

    As for Roger, I have been gutted so many times by his tame defense against Nadal that like you, I have practically given up hope he’ll ever beat Nadal again in a slam. His weak response to Nadal in the semis is just in HUGE contrast to the heart and soul Rafa and Nole put into their match.

    Oh well… Roger has never been a mental giant. He still has 16 slams, still has the only watchable game in men’s tennis and is still beautiful and elegant. We have to content ourselves with that these days! :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Candace! Good comment. Like you say Roger still has 16 slams and looks like he will end up as the GOAT anyway! ;-)

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  6. Thanks Ruan for a great post. I will always be a loyal fan of RF but I completely agree with you. You simply have to appreciate Rafa and Novak’s physical strength and will power. For the first time in the fourth set, I prayed for Novak to win the way the I did for Roger when he played against Nadal. Novak’s faith and self-belief carried him through in the end. But I will always take Roger’s tennis skills and admire him for what he is both on and off the court any day.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You are welcome Rogiee. All you guys are saying pretty much the same thing and I agree. Roger still has the best game to watch and he has the best personality.

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  7. Well I havee to say I fist pumped when Novak won, much in the style of Nadal’s celebration after winning the 4th set… Now I hate the guy even more!Altough physically demanding, this type of match reminds me an “eye staring” contest in which one player just waits for the other to make a mistake

    I regret that many of you Roger fans are so disappointed by his loss to Nadal, that you can only imagine a dark future ahead. So, when Roger won 3 tournaments in a row last autumn he was back, and now, because he lost to Nadal once again, he is suddenly incapable of preforming to the highest level and winning majors? Despite palying some of the best tennis we’ve seen from him in the last 2 years?

    Like I said in a previous post: I would like to see Fed vs. Nadal in wimbledon, but especially in the US Open. Then I would take a final conclusion about this match up and Roger’s chances…

    I’m just not ready to throw the towel yet and I’m sure Roger isn’t also..

    All best,
    Vasco

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No one is throwing in the towel Vasco…

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    Vasco Reply:

    good!! so clench your fist smack the keyboard and say GO ROGER, Rotterdam is just in a fortnight!

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  8. You are right that Roger seems to fold against Nadal, in particular, on the big stage. But before you adulate Nadal and even Djokovic for their fighting quaities, where were the Spaniard’s “balls of steel” when he was crushed by Roger at the WTF last year, and when he lost to nobodies like Florian Mayer in the lead-up tournaments? Would you be holding up his lame results in the second half of last year as evidence of his preternatural ability to fight it out, like he did last night? Or Djokovic before 2011, when he was developing a reputation as a quitter, having bailed out of so many matches previously in his career, and when he frequently struggled against lowly-ranked players? I saw him quit against Roger at Rome a few years ago when he was facing yet another humiliating loss.

    I think you are wrong to separate the doping issue from how Roger performs. Quite frankly, I don’t think any player other than a player like themselves could have beaten either Nadal or Djokovic last night. That match was first and foremeost a contest of sheer physical strength, from the beginning until its unbelievable end nearly six hours later. No player without their strength and unlimited reserves of stamina could have competed out there. Roger would have stood no real chance – even if, as you say, he had “balls of steel”; his game is not built for titanic and marathon physical displays. Did you see how even at the end of the 5th set Nadal was still getting to every ball that Djokovic crushed to the corners? (According to ESPN, Nadal’s groundstroke speed was greater in the 5th set than in the first). That is what Roger is routinely up against when he meets these guys in the slams – but not, interestingly enough in the lesser tournaments, where Nadal in particular is nothing like the physical monster he showed us – once again – he is last night. Do you think that knowing he is up against tireless players, who will get to every winner, will not affect Roger’s fighting abilities? I would be astonished if it didn’t. Yet he owned the pre-2011 Djokovic, who before then conspicuously lacked the stamina he acquired that year and demonstrated again last night, and even in the last 4 years Roger could beat Nadal anywhere except at a slam, where Nadal becomes the so-called “physical freak” that commentators love to drool over. (Don’t give me that stuff about how indoors doesn’t suit Nadal – last night the Spaniard crushed 100mph winners falling back in the court; that’s good enough to blow his way through anyone anywhere. Nadal’s defenders used to explain his extraordinary physical qualities by saying he was a “freak” and a “phenomenon”; well, if that is so then how can Djokovic transform himself into the same? So they are both freaks now, right?)

    Sure, Roger isn’t the fighter these days that Nadal and Djokovic appear to be, but you have to be in dreamland not see the reason for their so-called combative qualities; they can stay out there for absolutely as long as it takes; unless you have the same kind of relentless grinding game, you (meaning Roger) don’t stand a chance. In his heart of hearts I think Roger knows that, and it crushes his spirit.

    So Ruan, before you say fans are being “in denial” about Roger’s poor fighting qualities (the winner of 16 slams until the two freaks came along) how about examining your own denial? I would put the house, the boat and the car on the likelihood that neither of the two finalists last night was playing on pure natural talent. (In fact I believe Djokovic’s rise shows absolutely that neither player’s skills are built on natural talent but something rather more sinister – otherwise Djokovic would not have the resources to stay the course with the outlandish Spaniard.) Sure they fought, but if I (or shall we say Roger?) was on what they were clearly on – well, the sky’s the limit. Yes, it was an incredible match but as far as I am concerned it was yet another staging post in the death of tennis. And that you can’t deny.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No denial from me Neil, just plain honest facts. Everyone aside from you and maybe Vasco so far thought this was a great post. I thought it was too. It was probably the most honest and fair I’ve ever been, and I am proud of it. I’m sorry if you take this post personally but it wasn’t meant that way. I am trying to respond to everyone’s comments and I don’t have time to argue with you. I have made my points very clear and I don’t need to defend them or make them again.

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    Vasco Reply:

    Hey ruan, I didn’t say your post wasan’t good. I just think we should look ahead and take it as it comes. Like Frank Zappa said: I expect nothing, so everything that comes is a bonus…

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I didn’t say you said that either. I just didn’t know what you thought. I am optimistic about Roger’s year. But if he wants to beat Nadal in a slam again he needs to see a psychologist or something.

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    neil Reply:

    Ruan, I didn’t say your post wasn’t honest. But I do say you are wrong on this one. You are especially wrong about the doping issue, because it looks to me like you just don’t want to see what is staring us in the face. You keep talking about lack of “proof”. Well, I guess if a truck ran over your foot but you didn’t see it you would say it didn’t happen, because there was no “proof”.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No Neil, you are the one who is wrong. Where exactly did I say there is no doping involved? You are so obsessed with the doping issue that you have to make every post about doping. My posts never denied doping, but doping has nothing whatsoever to do with this post. It is about Roger lack of balls mostly and Nadal and Djokovic’s presence of balls. I already said the playing field is probably even when Djokovic and Nadal plays each other, so doping doesn’t come into play. Can’t you just leave it at that? Can’t you make one post without bringing doping into the picture? Is that really all you care about?

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    Nelson Goodman Reply:

    But Ru-an, Neil’s point as I see it is directly responsive to yours about balls/mental fortitude. (But first, reat job last few days/post, btw, in really registering what has been an amazing week in men’s tennis.) The basic point being that the two issues – doping and fighting confidence/mental stamina/etc. – are not distinct but closely connected. In that if one is doping that surely provides a strong reserve that one can draw on – knowing that one will be able to physically hold up, or at least as well as the other guy. And to some extent that mental boost can be provided even if it is not fully justified by the effects of the roids, that is even if doping isn’t as important as one might think. B/c what one thinks is itself crucial – the placebo effect is very powerful. If someone thinks that a physical regimen including doping is going to come pay off as a match drags on, that gives you immense reserves of confidence to keep fighting each last ball, even if your belief in the regimen is somewhat exaggerated.

    Of course, Neil’s post is premised on the assumption that the two are doping. I’m not taking a stand on that either way – but just pointing out that it’s not unrelated to your points about mental strength to bring up doping. I see that as strongly connected.

    Now let me just put all that aside and raise a different point: I also think there is a connection b/t their respective games and what you are calling mental fortitude. Fed’s game – high-risk, low-margin – simply makes faltering more likely in high-pressure situations. While a lower-risk, grinding approach has the opposite effect – providing a larger safety cushion to rely on in pressure situations. That’s just a trade-off: Fed’s game takes less physical toll and will allow him to play at top levels much longer than either Rafa or Nole. But during their peak, Rafa and Nole will have more room in high-pressure situations. (Of course, there’s also the fact that Fed’s particular game is a large part of the reason he’s so much more revered than the others.)

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    neil Reply:

    Nelson, you explain it well. The issues are connected and can’t be treated as though they are not. To extol the virtues of last night’s competitors without addressing the issue of doping is astonishingly naive at best or wilfully blind. It is like marvelling at the performances of Ben Johnson and Flojo – as we all once did – without grasping or acknowledging their underlying reality. And what a cynical exercise it is to say that doping produces a “level playing-field” amongst competitors that dope and so therefore it has somehow become fair. That is like saying if everyone commits fraud it has become proper business practice.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Neil, you keep ignoring my comments so I will from now on ignore yours. I said about ten times that if they are both doping then there is no unfair advantage for either player. So guess what?! It comes down to who is the better tennis player. Amazing isn’t it? Saying it creates a level playing field if both competitors are doping is not cynical, it is a plain fact. If anyone is cynical around here it is you with your constant doping accusations without a shred of any evidence that would get these players in trouble. I never said doping is a proper exercise. I merely said if two players do it they don’t have an added advantage over the other. You are once again putting words in my mouth and frankly I am getting sick of it.

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    neil Reply:

    I am not putting words in your mouth; I am responding to your post as I read it. You are effectively holding the Djokovic/Nadal final up as a demonstration of how Roger lacks mental strength. It is a poor example, as others here have said. You discount the effect that doping can have on the confidence of a player, and also their opponent’s confidence, and you assume incorrectly that doping will have the same effects on different players, thus making them effectively equal. It is way more complicated than that; these players are not taking aspirin. Then you say there is not “a shred of evidence that either Djokovic or Nadal is doping”. As I recall you made a lengthy post about a year ago arguing that Nadal was probably doping. So why have you changed your tune? You may not have the 100% proof that you say you want but to claim there is no evidence is frankly ridiculous. Finally by holding up the Djokovic/Nadal match as an example of what Roger lacks is an affront to your many readers who have admired Roger’s courage and fortitude in his many matches where he has had to fight to bring home his extraordinary victories. I recall, if you cannot, one such battle against a certain Spaniard when he won the 2007 Wimbledon final for the 5th straight year. There was guts a plenty in that contest, even if Roger didn’t snarl and grunt his way around the court, or tear his shirt off in a bizarre victory celebration. But perhaps the issue here is simpler: it seems you don’t like to be disagreed with. Well, I would have thought that was in the nature of a blog where you invite comment.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You are still missing the point. If both are doping, which Neil is insinuating(both show unreal endurance so you can’t say one dopes and one doesn’t, can’t have it both ways), then neither have a mental edge over the other. So I say again, doping has nothing to do with my post.

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    Nelson Goodman Reply:

    Two points Ru-an.

    First, I am in now way denying that both players – but esp. Rafa – showing incredible mental strength in the match.

    Second, your point that if both were doping then that evens the playing field in terms of the relevance of doping for assessing mental strength is not quite right. It may even it between them – but even then, only if each assumes the other is equivalently doping, b/c if they don’t (i.e., Rafa doesn’t assume Nole is doping or on as effective a regime or vice versa) then they will still have a mental/placebo edge of thinking that they are physically better prepared to hold out longer. But the important point is that it only evens it *between* them, not between one of them and another player who is not doping. In other words, if he were doping Rafa would still get a mental edge from that when playing against Djoker than Fed would when playing against Djoker. The only proper comparison is between a doping player playing a doping player and a non-doper playing a non-doper. That is, Rafa against Nole versus Fed against anyone he doesn’t think is doping. Even there, I would agree that Rafa has steelier mental strength – I’m not challenging that he’s stronger than Fed in that dept – but (a) the difference would be smaller than what is suggested by implicit your comparison (of Fed against a doper); and (b) that difference is partly (not fully) due to the difference in their games, whereby the low-risk grinding game gives Rafa (and to a lesser but still real extent Nole) much greater cushion or margin for safety than Fed’s high-risk game.

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    anewor Reply:

    I reckon the reason both Nadal & Djokovic have balls of steel and that fighting spirit is because they know they are somewhat aided by something? Meaning medicines (to put it mildly) = CONFIDENCE???

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    Wilfried Reply:

    You are not the only fan, Niel, who is genuinely concerned about tennis and where the game is going. Russeljones writes in an appealing comment on Johan Overend’s BBC blog:
    “Want to Waiting for genuine fans of the sport to have their say.. (although the BBC has become less and less informative about tennis sans the mention of a customary early exit on the part of every British player with the exception of Murray)
    Hilarious that someone mentioned Djokovic’s ‘feigned’ injuries being something of the past. Did you or did you not watch the match? He’s a class act.
    As to offending groups, I haven’t a clue what you’re possibly referring to. Having watched this sport as long as I have and played it. I know what is being sacrificed for TV money and how it is affecting professional tennis players’ bodies. I also have a fair idea of where this will take the game and how the physical pressures will sow a dishonest culture in a previously gentlemanly sport. I am obviously concerned about the imminent arrival of mass performance enhancing drugs. Those a 14 year old will take to speed up his evolution into a contender on super slow courts.
    I don’t hold it against you if you don’t understand this. I think it’s alarming that a sports journalist would call one of the dullest Men’s Finals between a world #1 and #2 as one of the greatest ever. The appalling surface and balls together with huge time wasting gave you a long match. They handed out a trophy at the end. That’s all that it was.
    Anyone who’s watched tennis from the last 3 decades knows the game can be truly spectacular. One of the biggest reasons fans are interested in the sport and this interest grew in the past 10 years is Roger Federer. When he retires you will see a huge ebb. And it will be because of the reasons outlined in my original post”.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/jonathanoverend/2012/01/djokovi.html

    [Reply]

  9. Thanks RU-AN for another great post. I admit that the length of this match and my wanting Novak to win kept me excited. Yes these men are strong and powerful but, dare i say it, slugging it out on the baseline, to me, is boring. I don’t think Roger is mentally weak at all, i think he’d rather lose then to adjust his game to the new run up and down smack the shit out of the ball game. I would rather watch Roger any day of the week, even if he loses. I have loved tennis for 50 years and if this is the new face of tennis i am sad beyond words. Looking forward to this season, assume Nole will own Rafa and our Roger may take a slam himself. Then i want Andy in the mix to even it out. I”M feeling good about Roger as GOAT but then i always have. The sluggers burn their bodies out , can’t make it to the end of the year, none will hold #1 as long as Roger. It feels so strange how the playing of tennis has changed.

    [Reply]

  10. Ruan, regarding Roger’s mental toughness, one more Wimbledon showdown (or US Open) between Roger and Rafa can tell us more about it. I think if the condition plays fast, like the Fed-Tsonga match at SW 19 last year, Roger still has a chance at beating Nadal.

    Roger doesn’t have the fighting spirit of a Connors, that we know. But I think Roger’s mental problems against Nadal outside of clay really started in AO, 09. As for Wim 08, I am pretty sure he was down 2 sets and triple break points in the 3rd set, and yet he fought back. He also had championship point against him in the 4th set tiebreaker, but Roger managed to extend it to the 5th set before losing. Comparing that match to this match between Novak and Rafa, I think Roger showed more grit than Nadal. Of course rain delays also helped that match, but nonetheless Roger was there fighting.

    It is true that Roger’s mental state might have weakened somewhat, but I think he can still do it. He just needs to have a little more luck in his matches and the draws, e.g. just play one of the big 2 instead of having to go through both of them. After all, I don’t recall any past greats having to win slams in their twilight years by beating superstars from a younger generation back to back. Sampras didn’t have to, neither did Agassi, Becker, Lendl, Connors and so forth. Of course, if Roger does it, all the more power to him. All in all, let’s wait and see what happens next.

    [Reply]

  11. Btw, I wrote about WM 08 because of a poster from above mentioned it. My point is that I think Roger still has the mental strength to do beat Nadal despite some deterioration. It is much harder to be mentally tough when the ball just keep coming back at you and you don’t have the game to deal with it (like Novak). A faster playing condition would definitely help.

    [Reply]

    David C. Reply:

    should be “strength to beat Nadal”

    [Reply]

  12. Not sure I agree with you. Doping is related to their mental toughness; that is why they are so tough. They have a confidence that they can outlast Federer. On the flip side, Federer playing his ass off time and time again, hasn’t proven it enough as Nadal is able to track down every winner. Sorry, but mental toughness is a byproduct of PEDs; they feel invincible. It’s an advantage just as it is physically.

    I don’t have respect for that kind of gladiator-tennis. And I don’t think Nadal has “bigger balls” than Roger. Does it take big balls to bitch about injuries when you loose, use gamesmanship, get illegal coaching from your uncle. Nadal is a big, doped up baby.

    Don’t believe the hype, Ruan.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    So since you know Nadal is a doper, i guess you know that Djokovic is too. Then how does Nadal go down 6-0 in finals to Djokovic, yet comes back from 0-40 down on his serve in the fourth and almost wins the match? If Djokovic is also a doper then how can it be possible that Nadal does not fold like a cheap tent even after 6 consecutive final defeats? Please explain.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    Ruan, there is no doubt that both Djokovic and Nadal showed balls in that match last night. But I seriously doubt that either of them would have been able to battle at that level of physical intensity for nearly six hours without substantial assistance. There have been great 5-set matches in the past by former chamions; none of them were played at anything remotely like that physical level but they were certainly played with “balls”. I don’t think an unjuiced player, no matter how talented, could have taken either Djokovic or Nadal this tournament. I don’t care that the Serb and the Spaniard both showed “balls”; their physical performances are completely unbelieveable for anyone who knows anything about doping and has witnessed that great sportsmen in even the recent past couldn’t come near those physical feats. That is what modern tennis has come to. There was only one winner last night and it was the illegal pharmaceuticals industry.

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    Ru-an, you are a speed demon. How did you write this post so quickly?

    This is the match that established that the Super Baseliner era is here to stay–unless Federer can successfully raise his game. Admittedly it makes for awesome spectacle, though it renders skill and creativity secondary.

    I think you are being too hard on our man. Federer cannot physically match these beasts. And make no mistake, this is beast tennis, not men’s tennis. The guttural roars and bellows, the chest-thumps, flexed muscles, and flaring nostrils signify it’s not men we’re watching, but monsters. They are stronger, faster, physically superior in every way.

    Federer is older than they are, and pure defense is not his greatest strength anyway. If he is to win again, he must counter their power and speed with his particular strengths: shotmaking, variety, tactical acumen, creativity.

    With Federer so much of the effort is mental. Coordinating such a mind-boggling array of shots in real time and making the right decisions at the right times demands a degree of concentration, dedication, and awareness that other players with simpler games don’t require. Because he goes so close to the lines and risks so many errors, he has to know, with great precision, exactly what to do at any moment of any match against any opponent. The slightest hesitation or flicker of indecision and he’s lost.

    The foundation of his sublime shotmaking is his perfect footwork and form, which requires endless practice to maintain. It’s not enough just to be fast–he has to be able to move in the way that is smoothest and best suited to the surface, to shift his balance properly, and coordinate all his movements so he can be precisely positioned to hit the shots he needs to hit when he needs to hit them.

    Most of his labor is done off-court. He doesn’t let the audience see him sweat: we only see the smooth, elegant, beautiful end product of all those hours of work, and we think it comes easy, but of course that’s an illusion: the illusion that all performing artists seek to create.

    His challenge is not physical but mental: to break out of his rigid conditioning and fly free, to play fluid tennis without any fixed pattern. His opponent is not and never was Nadal. His true opponent was always himself: his rigid preconceptions of what constitutes “perfect” tennis, his own arrogance in believing that he can beat anyone by going head-on into their strengths, his laziness and reluctance to change. Nadal is no more than the agent who brings Federer face-to-face with those aspects of himself he would rather not deal with.

    Physical limitations are easy to overcome: you just go “gluten-free” and go from a solid world #3 to a dominant #1 who can grind down the ultimate grinder in a five-set Grand Slam final. Simple.

    Mental limitations are much more difficult to overcome. Most of us never even realize what our limitations are, let alone transcend them. Among those who do realize them, most prefer to avoid thinking about them, especially if they’re as successful as Federer.

    To his remarkable credit, Federer is confronting his limitations head-on. He showed true courage against Nadal, pushing himself to play in a way that goes against the grain of what he’s taught himself to do for so many years.

    Force of habit was surely pressing him to try to outhit Nadal’s forehand with his backhand, to just chip the returns back into play, to not rush the net unless he had a very easy volley, stick to what was familiar and comfortable and safe. There must have been a little voice in his head screaming: “C’mon! Go for it! You can hit him off the court! You’re Roger Federer! He’s nothing! Kick his ass!”

    He ignored all this and remained focused on trying to exploit Nadal’s weaknesses and playing patiently and with discipline. At no point did he give in to temptation and start blindly lashing out, trying to blow Nadal away by main force.

    Perhaps he didn’t fully believe he could win this way, but he did make an effort to do it. Perhaps if he keeps trying, he’ll get there. Or maybe he won’t. But one thing is sure: he won’t get there if he never tries.

    Federer’s battle with himself was no less titanic a struggle than the battle between Djokovic and Nadal, though it was a struggle carried out within the world of the mind, rather than the physical realm. This is where he must demonstrate “balls of steel”, as you say, by continuing to battle his own habits and prejudices that are holding him back from playing the sublime level of tennis that we all know he is capable of.

    Federer is trying to step into the unknown. That takes tremendous courage. Most of us, who stay safely within the familiar confines of our own limitations, don’t realize just how difficult it is to go into the unknown.

    He may be a little hesitant at the moment, but he has committed to take that step and I can only wish him well.

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    Ru-an, could you repost this comment in the main thread? I didn’t intend to put it up as a response to your comment.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I can’t do that from the admin panel Steve. Just leave it like that it’s fine.

    [Reply]

    jim Reply:

    Of course, Djokovic is doping–that’s obvious. Do you remember his match against Roddick in 2009? Or the U.S. Open against Nadal?

    I think Nadal was probably juiced more than ever for this one, as he and Uncle Toni knew they were running out of chances to stop the Djokovic juggernaut. Plus, he may have taken some inspiration from knowing that he had an extra day off and had a shorter match against Federer. And he’s wilted plenty of times too. (See the WTF match against Federer and even the U.S. Open final; despite his ability to steal a set off Djokovic.) I think he psyched himself up for this one well, but Federer has done the same at times. After all it was less than a year ago that he beat Djokovic at the French Open, the only person to really beat him at the peak of his game. That too, required “balls,” and he’s thirty fucking years old too, 5-6 older than these dopers. So they both have mental toughness. For me Federer’s toughness and achievements are built around an amazing, beautiful game and honest effort without resorting to PEDs. Conversely, Nadal’s confidence is built around PEDss, faking injuries, illegal coaching, and general gamesmanship. I think he’s a “warrior” when he wants to be and I think his win-at-all-costs, including destroying his body in the process is extremely damaging to himself and the sport. The values he represents are not ones I admire. I don’t believe it is ballsy to cheat.

    [Reply]

  13. Ruan, I disagree with your assertion that Roger is weak in the testicular and mental departments. Your view is an understandable reaction to Federer’s decline in the last two years. But to make the sweeping statement that Roger is weak-willed and lacks courage deep in his core is both inaccurate and unfair. One can not hold all the records the Maestro owns if one has such deep character flaws. I suggest you take a step back, take a deep breath, and look at the wider horizon. In a way Roger suffers the same fate as an incredibly beautiful woman—everyone is so dumbstruck by the elegance and delicacy of her features that they can’t see beyond them, becoming totally blind to the more substantive riches within her. Just because Federer moves so divinely around the court does not mean that it comes easily to him. Tremendous will power and endlessly grueling practice sessions lie behind his theatrical grace like unseen bulwarks. And when he was in his prime, he displayed obvious fortitude in many matches, both in victory and defeat. His epic losses to Nadal at Wimbledon and to Safin at the Australian come to mind, not to mention his courageous marathon victory over Roddick on the hallowed grass, when he broke Sampras’ record in front of the cool, dispassionate gazes of all those aging legends in attendance, many of whom wouldn’t have minded to see him fail. So go easy on Roger, Ruan. And remember, he is so much older than his present-day rivals. Let’s wait 5 or 6 years before we make sweeping pronouncements about Roger’s character. Do you really believe that Nadal and Djokovic can match Roger’s longevity? And doesn’t that speak volumes about the Maestro’s will and courage? Now, when it comes to his rivalry with Nadal, I completely agree with you—he should see a sports psychologist, he should probe deeply into his psyche and ask himself why, against only this opponent, does he freeze up and wilt so often? Perhaps he can find something buried deep in his past to explain these woes. Better yet, perhaps he can explore therapeutically why he so stubbornly persists in using failed strategies against his Nemesis. And counseling could also remind him that none of us can predict the future. Who knows, perhaps Nadal’s crushing loss today will trigger a precipitous decline, opening the door for Federer once again. Or maybe Roger could somehow, miraculously, slay the Spanish dragon in his own Realm at the French Open this year. Much stranger things have happened in this world, throughout history. So let’s all be a bit more humble with our indiscriminate declarations, and instead follow the advice of the Sages, who in unison proclaim that it is best to simply bow before The Mystery.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Cannot agree more Balthazar! This match could well do to Nadal what SW19 final in 2008 did to Federer in terms of facing the Djoker in grand slam matches in future.

    [Reply]

  14. I completely disagree wth this post. That was a boring grindfest and if this is what tennis has evolved into, that’s really disapponting. Federer has no balls? Ruan, he puts himself in tough situations and time and time again he has proved himself. Wasn’t it Federer that defeated Novak at the French? I guess that been forgotten already. Rafa made mistake after mistake and he had sixty or more unforced errors and he did the same Federer did and hit an overhead from the baseline and let it sail wide. This is ridiculous, I give Nadal no credit except that he can retrieve every ball like the dog thst he is. This was a contest of who could outlast who. I am surprised, this post sounds like you’re giving credit to Nadal for having “balls”, I think it was fear and fear of being owned by Djoker. I say we give Nadal credit for being the one guy that lost three consecutive slams. I think someone called the ” Rafa Loser Slam”.

    [Reply]

    Dave Reply:

    Another I have to say is these two clowns have no class, something they might want to pick up from Federer. Novak with his shirt ripping incident after he won or the screaming at his box like he is a warrior that just killed his enemy. I don’t think Rod Laver did this when he won. Rafa with his shouting and fist pumping. This great sport is being turned into a UFC Circus act. These guys lack maturity, something that used to be important especially considering they are role models.

    [Reply]

    Susan Reply:

    I couldn’t agree more and this has nothing to do with being a Roger Federer Fan. I am angry at what transpired today. Nole and Nadal are classless but Nole is far worse. As i said in my comment Novak acts like a thug.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I’m sorry you feel that way Dave. Can you show me where I said Roger had no balls? That is of course nonsense. You don’t win 16 slams with no balls. I am comparing him to Djokovic and Nadal here. I don’t think I’m gonna reply to any more comments because people keep putting words in my mouth. I am trying to do a nice thing by replying to comments but if people put words in my mouth and only read what they want to read there is no point in responding. I will respond selectively from now on. I think I have made myself clear in my post and I am not gonna go back on anything I’ve said. And btw I enjoyed the final a lot. I thought it was great entertainment and probably the best match in history.

    [Reply]

    Duarte Reply:

    ” thought it was great entertainment and probably the best match in history.”

    Totally disagree with this. Great entertainment?! This isn’t the tennis I used to know and I surely hope tennis doesn’t become this brainless grinding.

    I don’t find it entertaining, I find it very boring.

    I’m amazed that a Roger fan can find this match amazing after surely you having witnessed the shot making of Roger.

    On another note, nadal and djokovic want a smaller schedule, I say to them that if the courts are kept like this there isn’t schedule small enough to keep them from injury.

    If the majority of players start evolving into this kind of physical beasts and each match at a slam lasts at least 4 hours then I’m sure the next thing nadal will be whining for is best of 3 matches for slams.

    So disapointed tennis as turned to this.

    [Reply]

    Dave Reply:

    Ruan, I am not trying to provoke, offend or attack anyone. I was left with the strong impression that Roger has no guts, balls, whatever when compared to these two ass-clowns. Maybe I misconstrued the message you’re trying to convey and I have been wrong before but that is not the feeling I receive after reading your post several times. I do agree that Federer has a mental block with Nadal and needs to work on this. I didn’t think that you were a fan of the ,now acceptable form of tennis, which is slug it out from nine feet before the basline and see who wins the 100 shot rally. I am sick and tired of the praise these two get for outlasting each through that six hour joke fest. Federer might as well hang up his racquet if this is what it takes to win a slam. This is supposed to be an open-minded forum and I enjoy reading your posts, sometimes I can’t wait to read them. I just don’t agree with you on this one or the credit you lay on these two and am not trying to twist your words. I often feel that Federer, who is a lot smarter than Nadal and Djokovic, will figure out a way to defeat these guys. Until that time I will have to be patient.

    [Reply]

  15. Ruan – rightly true, its a little sad to know that Roger is weaker than Rafa and Novak in the mental department. Sometimes I wish he would really face his demons with courage and conviction. At least Rafa continue to work hard trying to beat Novak even though he lost 6x in a row. Roger could learn from both his younger opponents on willpower and fighting spirit. Not that he is lacking but he could use it more out there.

    [Reply]

  16. Ruan, you are being extremely unfair to Roger when you say he does not have balls to dig deep and fight. You do not win 16 grand slams without mental strength. At the top of the sport, especially if you are at the top for as long as Roger is, your every strength and weakness is dissected and it takes tremendous effort and mental strength to keep up the level for so many years.

    Call me biased, I found the match yesterday tiring to watch and not particularly exciting. The strokemaking was nowhere in the realm of a Federer in full flow. The match score was particularly deceiving. I think Djoker started the match more aggresively trying to shorten points. He was aware that a 5 setter would favor Nadal and he repeatedly tried to play attacking tennis and made a lot of UEs. In addition to this he served at 50% for the first set. In other words, as poorly as he can play and yet Nadal could not win a dominant set.

    In the second and third, Djoker played the usual keep Nadal in the BH corner game and did not make mistakes. Expectedly, Nadal did not have answers and lost both sets. He should have closed it out to fourth when he was 0-40 up at 4-4, but he played one or two bad returns(for his level) and Nadal found some serving to recover.

    For the majority of the match Nadal was 15 feet behind the baseline. He played this hardcourt final exactly like a claycourt match, running, retrieving, defending, trying to send passing shots(there were hardly any since unlike Federer Djokovic chose to stay back). Essentially he said, beat my defense. If Djoker were well rested, this would be a three setter or four sets at worst.

    I am one of the folks that see this match as half empty for Nadal. He had everything in his favor, got it to the fifth set the way he would’ve wanted, had the break in the fifth set, yet found a way to lose. I think the Djoker ownage is going to get worse for Nadal.

    BTW, if this is what Nadal needs to do to win grand slams, you can safely say that he is not going to beat Federer’s records. There will be other players with fitness, who have better stroke making ability than Nadal(look out for Murray this year) and it is going to get more difficult for the spaniard.

    Final word. I fully agree that both Nadal and Djokovic are better tennis athletes than Federer. I do’nt think either of them comes remotely close to Federer in the shotmaking ability. Even a 30 year old Federer played some amazing shots in his match against Nadal. It is sad that Tennis is now reduced to a grinders paradise with slow courts and balls. Nadal’s and Djokovic’s inherent style of play(defensive although Djokovic is more aggresive defense) helps them in 5th sets and close matches. Easier to play defense at a critical point than trying to play an attacking shot close to the line.

    [Reply]

  17. Since RU-ANS Blog is my safe place i need to say a few things. First im so angry that the top two players games are nothing i want to see. I wanted Novak to win only to stop Nadal, there really is no pleasure in this. I don’t like Novak, he often acts like a thug. His behavior after his win today was like a wild animal. I dont know what the youngeters will bring to tennis but i cant wait for the Nole/Nadal era to be over. Roger Federer has spoiled me for life, thank you Roger, thank you.

    [Reply]

  18. How can a 16 GS.Champion and N1 for almost 5 years have a weak mind and no balls?(really ugly).
    Roger had his most painful GS.defeat at the hands of Nadal in that 2008 Wimbledon epic at age 26 now Nadal
    shortly to turn 26 has his defeat at the hands of Djokovic.You can reply 5 minutes of oday´s final over and over and you would basically have the whole
    match. The only way this was EPIC was in the amount
    of time that was wasted by these players, hitting endless ralling, taking care not to move on a FOOT in on the baseline.EPIC to watch this type of tennis just to WILL Novak into preserving Roger´s legacy.
    Give me two minutes of Roger constructing a point any day over this.Give me one serve and volley by Edberg, Mc Enroe, Sampras.
    Brutal, sure.EPIC for all the wrong reasons.Tennis is officially gasping its last breath.Thanks God we have Roger and a few new interesting kids arriving.
    Love you Roger! next stand Davis Cup!!!

    [Reply]

    Wilfried Reply:

    I liked your comment very much, Ines.

    [Reply]

    Matarsak Zendeh Reply:

    Hi INES. I don’t know who you are, but I’m new to this site, which is very enjoyable to read- and imagine my surprise, when I scroll through the comments and suddenly find myself reading my own writing! You’ve cut and pasted my comments verbatim from the Roger Federer site forum here. I don’t appreciate it. I do not know how long you’ve had this habit, or how many other of your posts are other people’s words – but I don’t think its appropriate. This site also does not have any email to which one can send a comment (that I see)to point this out.
    Anyway, as Roger Federer fans, we all are in agreement on many points. Lets try to find our own words to voice those points.

    [Reply]

    ines Reply:

    May be you have written something similar because i´m not log in Roger´s site because I don´t like to be so biased,and as a Roger fan I´m not a cheater and these are my own words may
    be similar at yours, I don´t know who you are and less where you write.Sorry but you are mistaken.

    [Reply]

    Matarsak Reply:

    Now you are point blank lying, which is worse. Just go to PAGE 145 of the AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2012 thread – under ROGER AND TENNIS, posted 11:18 EST, 1-29-2012,by Matarsak and let me know if you find “your own words” there, or if you find identical words, down to the capitalization.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You didn’t even leave your correct email address so I couldn’t contact you about this issue. If you want to resolve it you better leave me your correct email.

    [Reply]

    Matarsak Reply:

    Perhaps I typed in the email wrong. Sorry.
    Too bad I can’t include a screen shot of the forum here, but I will email it to you. Here is my post, word by word – PAGE 145 of the AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2012 thread – under ROGER AND TENNIS, 11:18 EST, 1-29-2012.
    There are a few thousand members, including INES, who would have seen it there, before it appeared here. This is no huge deal, but just dishonest, and thus, irritating. I don’t like plagerism.

    I’ll be reading your excellent blog and all its archives soon…

    You can reply 5 minutes of this match over and over, and you would basically have the whole match. The only way this was EPIC was in the amount of time that was wasted by these players, hitting endless rallies, taking care not to move a FOOT in on the baseline, and the EPIC waste of six hours Roger Federer fans had to endure, to watch this type of tennis – just to WILL Novak into preserving Roger’s legacy. Give me two minutes or Roger constructing a point any day over this. Give me one serve and volley by Edberg – hell, McEnroe.

    Brutal, sure. Epic for all the wrong reasons. Tennis is officially gasping its last breath. Thank god we have Roger and a few new interesting kids arriving.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    How do you explain this Ines? I have to agree with Matarsak I don’t like plagiarism. Has this happened before?

    [Reply]

    ines Reply:

    Look Ru-an you know my thoughts since 2008 and just even my whole life. I´m not dishonest and you know it.I´m not log in in this forum I don´t like forum not even the one you have.I have never write a word there.You and all the people here know my comments after your posts more or less always thinking the same I´mm not jumping from one idea to another, I´m Roger´s rock, that´s why sometimes I disagree with you,and it´s good.That´s all I have to say.

    [Reply]

    Matarsak Reply:

    Wow. Your audacity and dishonesty are astounding. Or should I say your state of denial? Separate from the whole CLEAR and irrefutable time-stamped web entry on the rf.com thread which proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you cut and paste the comments, in a blatant case of pure plagiarism –as if there is need for any further proof– anyone comparing the grammar/linguistics of your previous posts, to this particular one, can also see what happened. A simple apology would have sufficed. But clearly your “honesty” precludes that.

    Ruan, if there is a way to remove this person’s post, I suggest you do so (and I can supply you with the screen shot of the original source). If not, we can let it go – this is too insane and delusional (and dishonest) to warrant further discussion.

    I am amazed. Wonders of behavior never cease on the anonymous web.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Don’t worry Matarsak I don’t approve of plagiarism either. I’m sorry about this. I wouldn’t like someone to do that to me either. I will erase the post no problem. I don’t encourage this kind of behavior so I hope you don’t think this is a trashy place or anything. I hope you will still be reading my blog and comment here. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior either. She won’t do it again, and if she does she will receive a ban from my blog.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I just looked for the comment and couldn’t find it. If you still want me to remove it then please tell me which post it is under.

    [Reply]

    Matarsak Reply:

    Hi Ru-an,
    Your reply to me is posted below the series of comments that started with the original INES post -which is post 18 under the first article on Djokovic’s win (preserving Roger’s Legacy). I’d prefer my future comments on your blog not be focused on this sort of thing, but rather on Roger, so if you delete, please do delete the whole series of comments and replies associated with comment 18, including my responses (this will also prevent further embarrassment for this individual). A record of these exchanges diminishes the content of the blog, and has no place here.

    If I knew how to contact you independent of public posts, I would have approached you that way, but it appears the only possibility is public posts.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I had a place where people could contact me but someone kept sending spam to it so I took it off, so sorry about that.

    [Reply]

  19. the so called ‘balls of steel’ wud be apt if u compared djokovic to federer coz djokovic is successfully reversin his H2H wid nadal which federer is unable to, n he has age on his side too, n not nadal…..n abt nadal havin balls? the chicken tht he is, he went to challenge his first serve which djoker returned for a winner so as to get another chance to play the point on a second serve, which he wud never do, had he won tht point… ISNT THT AN ACT OF COWARDICE?…how easy it wud b for federer to do the same when djoker returned his serve on match point for a winner last year? but he won’t, coz he knows djokovic played an unreal shot, n he accepts it…its not abt balls ruan, nadal owned djokovic before 2011, where federer was always behind in the H2H against nadal…it’s djokovic who’s got ‘balls of steel’ n he hanged on in the final set…in the final set, nadal, instead of being more aggressive, wanted to jst play safe so dat djokovic wud make the errors n it jst backfired. n unlike some, i found djokovic’s reaction after winning pretty normal, its coz of the intensity of ur opponent n the match…im quite sure tht djokovic wud not have reacted tht way, had he beaten federer in the final, coz federer is not an animal in reactin to winning points the way nadal is…it’s got a lot to do with how ur opponent behaves on court, nadal’s reaction after winnin the 4th set was sick….if federer wants to beat nadal, the only way is to develop a better backhand n hit his forehand wid unreal pace, thts all…nadal din have much weaknesses, djokovic’s backhand was too solid n nadal cud not handle the pace of some of his forehands….even serve n volleyin won’t help against nadal, jst ball bashin wid the forehand n a consistent backhand n hrs of runnin around. only a combination of these 3 can beat nadal. it’s quite simple to analyse, but next to impossible for federer to implement.

    [Reply]

  20. I’m with you Susan!
    From what I understand about doping is that one of the benefits is mental fortitude. It affects one just as much mentally as physically. Kind of interesting.
    I thoroughly enjoyed watching the DelPo and Tomic match. Roger played great. As far as the Nadal match, does Roger think he SHOULDN’T win at some level.
    His serve let him down. Maybe his back muscles were seizing up with the break in the cold night. His serve disappears when his back is an issue.
    Roger had a great winning steak. Let’s enjoy those moments.
    His schedule is jam packed now. Kind of a worry to me. Rotterdam, DC and Dubai.

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  21. Winning at any price, even if it means to ‘give the last breath’. Exactly. That is what has happened to tennis. It used to be a beautiful sport, with sportsmen like Federer representing the very best of it. I’m not sure if what we saw yesterday is still the same sport, of if it is still a sport at all. It looked like a war, and the players behaved like warriors, not like sportsmen. I won’t fall for the hype created about the 5:53h. I did not like it a bit. The only reason I celebrated yesterday was because Nadal lost again. I did not see any winner though. Tennis is dead. Let the killing continue

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  22. Very interesting posts and very interesting comments as well.

    @Federer has no Balls: Against Nadal on a slow court Federer runs out of options especially if Nadal brings everything back. Roger was totally helpless, like a rabbit caught in the headlights. He kept running to the net to be passed time and time again.
    Djokovic hardly ever approaches the net against Nadal.

    @Doping: Both players seemed to be increadible aggressive after points. Djokovic behaved like a gladiator after the match. Nadal “Vamoused” around during the match and so on. The power of endurance of these two players is suspicious, especially compared to the other top players who certainly do not eat Fast Food.

    @Style of tennis: I didn’t watch the whole match. It was just too boring. Brainless-Top-Spinn-Ball-Pounding for 6 hours. Well the real match time was like 4.5 hours (Djokovic and Nadal needed around 30 secs between two points). Did you see any great shot making? Did you see any great touch?

    @Djokovic’s balls: The guy has an increadible self- believe. Where does it come from? It cannot only be the Daviscup title in 2010. 2-3 years ago Djokovic was not very fit at all. Now he could finish an ironman.

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  23. Thanks for your quick post, Ruan, but I must say this time my feelings about what you wrote in your post are mixed. The only two points with which I really do agree is the fact that you mention that Roger’s legacy is protected by this result (1), and that the recurrent touch on the doping issue is unpleasant after all (2). But I disagree with you about the “fond”, the merits of the case.
    First of all I don’t quite agree with your comments on the mental department. “Having balls”, as you put it in your post, is not a component of being mentally strong in my opinion. When I’m driving downtown Brussels every day, I encounter daily on my way to the office many very aggressive car drivers with “big balls” and not “any scruples” at all, who are ready to push me of the road if you don’t look out for them. Are they mentally strong? Maybe, maybe not. Honestly, I don’t see any correlation between having balls and being mentally strong. To me there is probably a much stronger correlation between “having balls” and “being an aggressive, impulsive kind of person” (sanguine personality type). I can’t see Roger driving as a lunatic, where I can imagine very well Nadal driving that way, and also Djokovic to a lesser extent.
    Second, when you mention the mental department of the game, it is impossible to remain silent about the doping issue, because simply put, you can’t prevent blood that is flowing through/in your vains and muscles to not enter in your brains. My presumption therefore is that the use of performance enhancing drugs not only enforces your natural physical qualities but as well your mental tendencies, which would imply that a person who is by nature a more aggressive type of person, will become an even more aggressive one, and a person who is stubborn and tenacious, will become even more tenacious.
    Third, what kind of personality does Roger have? I don’t know Roger personally of course, and can only deduce of what I read and what I see. As a teenager Roger could get very, very upset after a loss. Does this point to an aggressive personality ? Not necessarily in my opinion, because children and young people in general haven’t learned yet to control their emotions, and losing is very unpleasant for all children. Their negative and aggressive reactions to a loss are very natural. They learn to temper those emotions when growing up, because education and society forces them to temper these emotions. Whatever is the case for Roger, Roger seems to have his negative emotions very much under control. In fact, to me he looks like a very, very nice guy and a balanced and empathic person. Being nice, balanced, and empathic may be a sign of weakness in our occidental society, but to me it is rather a sign of mental strength. Is he losing this mental balance when playing Nadal, do his nerves let him down a bit when being aggressed by his opponents by their unreal power. I would answer this with: who wouldn’t be nervous in such a situation? Agressivity being inflicted on us, always does make us feel uncomfortable. No shrink will be able to change that in my opinion.

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  24. Interesting, for Eurosport Djokovic is just about to become the greatest player ever to pick up a racket. I will need to google the word hype to understand how superlatives are becoming inflationary nowadays. For Ru-an this final was probably the best match in history, if I understood correctly. I get the feeling that the title of GOAT will become cheaper as the memory span of spectators gets shorter. This gives me an idea of how fast RF will be forgotten once he retires. In my book, to challenge the position of RF to be the GOAT in the history of tennis, it takes much more than winning 17 slams.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Hype:
    A fad. A clever marketing strategy which a product is advertized as the thing everyone must have, to the point where people begin to feel they need to consume it.
    1. to stimulate, excite, or agitate
    2. to create interest in by flamboyant or dramatic methods; promote or publicize showily
    3. to intensify (advertising, promotion, or publicity) by ingenious or questionable claims, methods, etc.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Sure it was one of the best matches ever Chris, but obviously neither Nadal nor Djokovic is even close to becoming the GOAT. Roger’s GOAT status is the least of my worries, especially after Nadal lost to Djokovic. So in terms of Roger’s legacy this final went really well for me. I am delighted about the result and was in a good mood after the match. Roger’s GOAT status is almost impossible to surpass anyway. It is just so balanced and complete with so many records. But something that was clear to me about this final was that these guys are stronger in the mental department than Roger. Doping or not, this is just a fact. And it is nothing to be ashamed of. Roger have other great attributes like his talent and grace, or his integrity. I find it surprising that people say I said Roger has ‘no balls’. I said no such thing. It is amazing how quickly people become defensive when they are pushed out of their comfort zones. It was never my intention to take anything away from Roger. I was simply comparing him with the best in the mental department, and he came up short. This doesn’t imply by ANY means that he has ‘no balls’. That is an absurd assumption which insults my tennis intelligence. You don’t win 16 slam if you have ‘no balls’. But the fact that all Fedfans have to come to terms with is that Roger is not perfect, and I don’t know if that is even possible. But fact is he is not perfect in the mental department. The numbers don’t lie. He has a poor 5-set record for a player of his stature. He chokes time and time against Nadal and lost twice to Djokovic in the USO semis after being two match points up. That is not coincidence I guarantee you. All in all Roger is the best, but like I said he is not perfect. Why is that so hard for people to accept? But it doesn’t matter if they accept it, because it remains a fact.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Fine with me. But remember that Federer was considered almost unbeatable for a very long period, longer than Djoker and Nadal together for the time being. He had and still has his shortcomings in the mental department. But the same applies for both Nadal and Djokovic, who have been choking many times as well. Although in the case of Nadal there is always some sort of injury to explain his shortcomings. But, he just lost his third grand slam final in a row, and the seventh final in a row to the same guy, not really a good record! Let’s see how they’ll do at the end of their career, when they are up against the new generation of hot guys in their prime, 5 years younger than Nadal and Djokovic. The final match of the AO was impressive, the way these two guys were fighting and neither of them was going away. In the category of fighting spirit and willingness to give absolutely everything, this will be hard to top, ever. They were made of steel out there, and battling like gladiators who know that the loser will be executed at the end. I understand your blog in the sense that you wanted to give credit where credit is due, and shedding a positive light on one of the greatest tennis battles ever seen, instead of being a sour grape and talking about doping to excuse the absence of RF in this final. I agree with you, and both Nadal and Djokovic certainly left a landmark out there in the history of tennis. I understand your latest blog as a noble comment on the currently best two tennis players in the world. Well done. Maybe some of your comparisons or conclusions you drew with regard to Federer sounded a bit provocative to some of your readers who did not get your point, and led to misunderstandings. But then a healthy level of debate and disagreement is healthy for your blog and makes us all return to see who posted the next comment ;-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Chris, you summed it up perfectly. The fact that Nadal getting owned now is what makes tennis so interesting and exciting for me. It puts Roger in a better light for all those who said his h2h with Nadal ruins his legacy. Thanks for understanding. I congratulate you because few people understood my post. I am gonna make a post today which will make things clearer for those who still don’t understand. I have a lot more to say about the AO.

    [Reply]

    onefly9 Reply:

    Hi Ru-an, Personally I do agree on these points:
    1. Roger is still the greatest, by a mile;
    2. The final was indeed a great match and I enjoyed it (though I wouldn’t call it the greatest match);
    3. Roger has bad match up with Nadal, and as a result has now developed a mental block against him;
    4. Roger is not the toughest in the mental department, though he is very very tough to begin with.
    Having said that, I have to admit that when I first read the article it came across as an unfair criticism to Roger. Now that the initial disappointment (in Roger’s lost) has gone and reading it the second time and more objectively too, I do get your points fair and square. Hope you and all the readers have a great season supporting Roger! Cheers and thanks for the wonderful forum.

    [Reply]

    onefly9 Reply:

    Oh, left out some other points to put things in perspective:
    5. Roger is now slower and no longer as powerful as Nadal and Djokovic;
    6. Roger is 5-6 years older and way off his prime vs the absolute prime of his chief rivals.
    I agree with some of the comments that the 2008 Wimbledon was a much higher quality match than this one, though it does not make this any less entertaining.
    Cheers to all.

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  25. Nadal gave away the match. Up 4-2, 30-15, and misses the easiest shot he will ever hit in his life and you say that he has balls of steel? Nadal is stubborn as a mule and LOST that match in the 5th set. You realize that he got defensive AFTER he controlled the lead against Nole and then eventually lost? He had done the same things 6 times vs Nole last year, and he tries to do it again and fails. People say that Roger has problems vs Rafa, but I’m sorry, Rafa has just as many if not more problems vs Djokovic because in that match-up, HE controls what happens. It is Rafa who consistently hits to Novak’s backhand (a defensive shot) and allows Nole to dominate the points. Quite frankly, that was not even close to being the best match ever. Length-wise, it was impressive, and the fact that they lasted that long, but in the 5th set especially, the tennis was POOR. The 5th sets in the Federer/Roddick and Federer/Safin and even Federer/Nadal W2008 matches were MUCH higher quality.

    [Reply]

    Kyle Johansen Reply:

    We also have to understand that a Federer/Djokovic match would not have lasted this long and would not have featured the same physicality. Fed is the fastest player on tour and Novak doesn’t take as long either when playing Roger. There is something about Nole/Rafa matches in which they both seem to take as long as humanly possible in between points and it is sickening.

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  26. Someone should invent a bottle holder for Nadal. It could hold two or three (if odd numbers are okay) bottles. When the bottles are dropped into the holes for the bottles, they are spun as a scanner scans them (need a label on them); when they are lined up perfectly, the spinning stops. No more having to waste time on this. :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Lmao.

    [Reply]

  27. I just thought of this also. The same kind of fight that Nadal showed in the 4th set was the same kind of fight Fed showed at Wimbledon in 2008 in the 4th set. And let’s not forget, Federer was TWO, not five, but TWO points away from defeat there. Like Nadal in this match, it was Federer who made that match what it was in the end because he would not give up and not quite on himself. In light of the superhuman efforts by Nadal and Djokovic, we must not fool ourselves into thinking that Federer is weak mentally. He is no more weak mentally against Nadal than Nadal is weak mentally against Djokovic.

    [Reply]

    Kyle Johansen Reply:

    Sorry. He was two points away from defeat at 4-5 0-30 and then of course he saved two match points in the TB.

    [Reply]

  28. Ruan or anyone, do you know what exactly Pascal Maria did or said as a “friendly warning” to both players who were taking too much time in between serves?

    [Reply]

  29. Great post by the way, Ruan. But I really can’t say with straight eye that the final was “epic” simply because I prefer to watch a match with lots of shot making than heavy base lining. You can blame Fed for that. LOL.

    [Reply]

  30. When Nadal plays Djokovic he feels pressured because Djokovic can run as long as he can but has an even more aggressive game. If he simply tries to grind Djokovic down he will be outhit. So he tried to maintain an attacking mindset. But trying to push his game so hard confuses him and takes him out of his comfort zone, and he makes mistakes on easy shots. He can’t sustain that level of aggression without making errors. It’s exactly the same thing that happens to Federer against him–except that Federer has enough variety and skill to potentially solve his dilemma, while Nadal’s skills are too limited to do that.

    When he was serving at 4-2 in the 5th set, at 30-15, he missed that easy backhand pass which he would have made 10 times out of 10 against anyone else. That allowed Djokovic back into the game, and ultimately he broke back and went on to win. That was Nadal’s crucial mental mistake–a mistake he would never have made had Djokovic not been putting him under incessant pressure to constantly go for the kill shot.

    I agree with Jim that Nadal was likely “amped” to a level beyond his previous matches with Djokovic. He didn’t tire in the fourth set, as he did in New York–or even in the fifth, when his average groundstroke speed was 3 mph higher than in the first!

    Ultimately it was his mind that betrayed him, not his body. It took a long time for that to be revealed, but revealed it ultimately was.

    I feel that Nadal has maxed out what he can do in terms of improving his game technically. He tried to hit more aggressive forehands, backed his second serve like a maniac, used his backhand down the line. All to no avail. He couldn’t do it often enough without making too many mistakes: he made a (for him) staggering 71 unforced errors, two more than Djokovic, while hitting 44 winners to Djokovic’s 57.

    The only way Nadal can beat Djokovic now is to get a physical edge so overwhelming that it can overcome even the powers of Djokovic’s “gluten-free diet.”

    I shudder to think what Toni Nadal has in store to give his nephew that extra edge. Super Nadal’s already enough of a beast as it is. What horrors lie in store when Uncle Toni unleashes Super Duper Nadal upon the world? How much more heavily can they blast the ball, how much longer can they run, how much more punishment can they take before they keel over?

    Djokovic said he was bleeding into his shoes by the end of the match. How much more until they bleed on the court or worse? As I said, I got the impression that I wasn’t watching men, but monsters. This is beast tennis, and the ultimate outcome will be beastly.

    Most everyone senses that this kind of tennis is headed straight for a massive trainwreck. The reason many people are so keen on following it is the same morbid reason people gawk at accidents: they want to be watching when the disaster happens.

    Ultimately there are no winners with this kind of tennis, only losers–no matter who ends up with the trophy.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    Yep.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    Two days have passed since this ‘epic’ final, and I am still, no, increasingly sad. There was a time I loved cycling, and there was a moment I totally lost all love and interest in cycling, for what it had become. And I just can’t ignore the feeling, the same thing is happening right now to me, this time with tennis. I am retiring from being a tennis fan. I suddenly lost all interest in the coming slams, in the records, in the rankings. Maybe by being just too good, RF has pushed some others to the dark side to challenge and beat him. Maybe RF is just as much involved as anybody else. Who knows?. But I have somehow got an idea of the iceberg which is below the surface, and I want to see none of it. Today I surfed a bit more on the web, and I’ll share some of it for those who might be interested in the topic. It was a pleasure to share this passion with all of you guys. I now move on, and I’ll keep the memories of what it was…

    Interview with Christophe Rochus
    You were the first to denounce doping in tennis. Did it come back to haunt you?
    A: “Oh yes! Notably, I received a threatening letter from the ATP that caused me problems later on, but that’s not a concern. It’s just proof that the system is rotten…”
    Q: You saw some “dirty” things regarding that during your career?
    A: “Like everyone, I saw some things. For me, it is inconceivable to be able to play five hours in the blazing sun one day, and run like a rabbit the next day.”
    Q: Do you remember a particular example?
    A: “Yes, I remember a match against a guy whose name I won’t mention. I won the first set 6-1, very easily. He went to the bathroom and came back to the court completely changed, almost. He led 5-3 in the second set and when I got it back to 5-5, his nose started to bleed. I said at the time that this was pretty weird.”
    Q: Is doping a taboo subject on Tour?
    A: “Yes, it’s like betting. There’s a lot of cheating. Simply, no one likes to talk about it. It doesn’t really upset me. I just want for everyone to stop pretending. The hypocrisy is exasperating …”

    http://tpatennis.net/christophe-rochus-speaks-out-about-steroids-in-tennis/

    Roger Federer told the Associated Press that the notification is a necessary evil, saying, “I feel like this is how you’re going to catch them, right? You’re not going to catch them ringing them up and saying, ‘Look, I would like to test you maybe in two days.’ The guy’s cheating and they’re smart, right? It’s an hour a day. I know it’s a pain, but I would like it to be a clean sport, and that’s why I’m OK with it.”

    Rafael Nadal, despite his unequivocal opposition to doping, has spoken out against the tough enforcement procedures. “I think it shows a lack of respect for privacy. Even my mother or my uncle do not know where I am sometimes, so having to send a message or to be scared all day in case there is a last-minute change seems to me to be a complete exaggeration,” the Spaniard said in a press conference. “It is an intolerable hunt. We have proved that we are a clean sport. You can count [doping] cases with one hand.”

    http://tpatennis.net/jim-courier-reveals-blood-doping-fears-in-tennis/

    http://tpatennis.net/english-translation-of-yannick-noahs-spanish-steroids-accusation/

    http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2009/07/steroids_anyone.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/10/sports/tennis/10doping.html

    http://tennisviewmag.com/pastissuearticle/doping-in-tennis-exploring-the-debate-on-performance-enhancing-drugs/

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    In many articles I read about this match, there was a certain undertone of the writers insinuating just how incredible the stamina was, a bit beyond what is considered normal for top athletes. I have a feeling that more and more people are raising eyebrows, though few places allow to say what you think. Thanks Ru-an for providing such a space. I just went back to read your blog from 30 September 2010, Does Tennis/Nadal have a doping problem? Interesting to read and to reflect on what has been witnessed since you wrote this. Don’t write it again, the comment section got ugly with people starting to insult you and each other. You said enough, reading it 1.5 years laters is an eyeopener to me. I hope more people start to ask tjese forbidden questions.

    [Reply]

    Susan Reply:

    I have been noticing the same trend with not just writers but comments from tennis fans on different sites. Some fans coming right out and saying Novak was drugged. His behavior after winning is always obnoxious but this time was bordering on insane. He was so amped up he looked like a wild animal out of control. What a mess our beloved tennis is in. I really hope something happens to bring things to light.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah I learned some thing from making that post. It doesn’t help to imply things you don’t have proof of because it puts you in a bad light.

    [Reply]

    Susan Reply:

    We are all trying to figure out this “new world” tennis, drugs no drugs. Your Blog RU-AN allows us to examine our Roger and Tennis as a whole. If not for you we would not have this forum and for this i am beyond grateful. Need your Blog more then ever with the new boring baseline sluggers. As a tennis fan i feel we have entered unchartered waters and i for one am uncomfortable about it.

    [Reply]

  31. The final match underlines the worrying trend, players won’t be able to finish points and their bodies won’t last the distance (career wise) unless they use PED’s to recuperate. I would say the standard was good, but not exceptional. It was your basic high-level tennis with one guy squeaking past. Serves were mediocre, and groundies not very powerful. Overall, a solid above-average performance by both players.

    The match was 5:53 long which translates to 21180 seconds, there were 26 change of ends, each of which is 90 seconds, which means that every point lasted 51 seconds.
    So that’s 51 seconds a point, including actual time when the ball is in play. If each rally lasted on average 20 seconds, then that means there was an average of 30 seconds per point. If both players had taken an average of 20 seconds per point, that’s a difference of just 10 seconds every point the match would have been 61 minutes and 30 seconds shorter!
    Yes, longest final in GS history only because of the amount of time both players were taking between points. It winds me up like nothing else when commentators talk about getting rid of lets, how about making players play faster?

    I also think that courts are too slow today. I have to say that this kind of game (the modern game) is way to obvious when R.N. is one of the opponents. He is a great player but for me he is the “a blessing & quite a CURSE” for the sport.
    ‘Cause this is the tennis today… Need to hit the ball as hard as I can now, cross-court preferably so that he has to run to retrieve it. Ok it’s coming back to me on the opposite side of the court, pretty fast too, I must run. Ok I’ve only just cleared the net, need to hit harder next shot. 13 minutes later I am leading 1-0. He is on serve now.

    And so, yeah, absolutely the pace of today’s play needs to be quickened. The uniformity of all of the surfaces is also a major problem. On a related note, does anyone find it aggravating that Nadal, who retrieves more than anyone else and practices with such intensity & frequency and does not take enough time off and is so often hobbled, complains most about the schedule?

    The variety of playing styles is what has made tennis so exciting for so long. If Djokovic’s, and particularly Nadal’s, efforts to supplant fast courts for slower ones and switch to a 2-year point system succeed, I fear men’s tennis will lose much of that excitement.
    Federer seems to be focused on the entire tour, rather than just the top guys, and maintaining the variety in the style of play that can win on tour by maintaining variety in the speed of the courts. Here’s hoping Federer prevails in that effort.

    [Reply]

  32. The results of 2012 Australian Open triggers once more ridiculous posts about Federer’s performance and his predicted “showdown”.
    I guess that none of those stupid analysts and commentators have any clue of what competing at world-class level means.
    While selling consulting services to TV channels, former pros should better refrain themselves from making lousy comments. None of them approached by far the consistent quality of Federer’s game.
    I would like to see this blog turning more professional and less biased. Roger and his team deserve our humble respect and full admiration. They are an undisputed role-model.

    [Reply]

  33. “He has beaten Roger time and time again on the big stage simply because he has bigger balls.”
    “Roger needs to see a psychologist, or he will soon drop out of the top three.”

    Hi Ruan,

    Sorry…I read with pleasure for some time your posts, but I can’t agree with these statements, first statement it’s like the one a great former tennis player said about Federer some time ago, not a nice remark though. Second statement is not a real advice, in my opinion Roger has to stay the way he is because he is and will be always in our hearts the GOAT. I don’t care if Nadal beats him for 50 times (I think that even Federer doesn’t care if Nadal continues to beat him on big stage)as this guy killed the tennis by his endurance antigame and deffensive style which mostly consists of digging trences on the baseline and running like crazy after every ball. I would simply say that Djoko and Nadal brought the game to another level of evolution, a physical, gladiatorial one, however a level which is not enjoyable anymore and can be quite painful as we could see in this final. If this is the future of tennis I will probably start switching in the near future on curling competitions. Regards…

    [Reply]

  34. Roger is over, we cannot do anything to change that. Djokovic and Nadal will ruin tennis, by what they do. And we cannot do anything about that either.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    See this is a silly comment to me. Roger is not over and Rafole is not gonna ruin tennis. Overreacting much?

    [Reply]

  35. Ruan
    Excellent blog- with so many interesting follow up commentaries. I will be visiting often to try to read everything I’ve been missing all this time (and hopefully not running into my writing in the comment sections- although as I said, its not the end of the world).
    Thanks for looking into it – and hopefully you have the corrected email – let me know.

    Do you ever post your blog content on the rf.com site as post-match analyses in match threads? I imagine you would find many folks interested in visiting your blog if you regularly provide links there.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks. No I don’t post my own links there. Feel free to post it there if you like.

    [Reply]

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