Djokovic Shuts Down Nadal’s Return to Form in Rome Final

How beautiful was that?! I was very grateful to be able to watch this match and that Djokovic played as well as he did. It didn’t start so well for Djokovic but it got better and better for him as the match progressed. Nadal drew first blood, breaking in the third and fifth games to take a 4-1 lead. Djokovic was looking out of sorts, maybe still feeling a little emotionally hung over after the mental battle with Raonic. He got one break back and pulled things back to 3-4, but Nadal held on to the second break and claimed the opening set 6-4. Djokovic was about to hit his stride however and unleash hell. He started like a house on fire and quickly raced to a 3-0 lead after breaking Nadal in the second game with a blistering cross court forehand pass. Djokovic’s lethal backhand was also beginning to inflict serious damage.

But the mental giant that Nadal is he was not gonna just let Djokovic run away with things as he broke Djokovic back when trailing 1-3 and 0-40. I mean the guy doesn’t give up on any match, any set, and game, or any point. Nadal would believe he can win at 0-6, 0-6, 0-5, and 0-40. Giving up has never been and never will be in his vocabulary. Djokovic then got the break right back after an extremely rare Nadal double fault on break point in the next game. It seemed like justice since Djokovic was broken in the last game after getting disturbed by the crowd between first and second serves on break point. 4-2 Djokovic. Both players held serve and at 5-3 Djokovic dug out a terrific volley at 15-30 to save that game and win the second set 6-3. Djokovic was lethal but I was afraid he would not be able to keep it up in the third set.

I was wrong to doubt him. Djokovic’s brutal backhand continued to rip holes in Nadal’s unreal defense as he broke him in the opening game. Djokovic’s world class returns were also swinging things in his favor. Only Nadal’s dogged determination kept him from getting broken a second time in the following game which was a marathon. Nadal is literally the only player in the history of the sport who could have avoided getting broken there. And as was the case in the second set Nadal got the break back to square things up at 3-3. But Djokovic would have none of it as he broke Nadal to 15 in the next game, held serve to love, and then broke Nadal again for good measure to win the decider 6-3. Just brutal hitting from the Serbian Slayer on his way to his third Rome title, third(Masters Series) title of the year, and nineteenth overall Masters Series title.

Kissed not bitten…is how we like it

That means he is 2 short of Roger’s 21 Masters titles. He will surely surpass Roger which would be quite an achievement given that he doesn’t rely so heavily on clay where there are 3 Masters, the way Nadal does. Still you would think Roger would be much closer to Nadal if there were at least 1 grass Masters and 2 on clay. This was also Djokovic’s fourth consecutive victory over Nadal which makes it even more delicious. In other words since the US Open Djokovic has cost Nadal an ATP 500, a Masters Cup, and 2 Masters. And with the way things are going he will cost him a slam in Paris too. I have said for a while now that I don’t think Nadal will win the French Open this year, and I also believe that this is Djokovic’s year to finally break through. And I think the Rome final will be quite telling as well.

I just don’t think that after what happened in Melbourne Nadal can come back to win the French Open, especially after losing to Djokovic in the Rome final as well. Maybe if he beat Djokovic he would have felt that he is right back to his best and then he could have gone on to win in Paris for a ninth time, but as things stand I’m not even discounting an early round exit by Nadal. I know you can never count him out, but my gut feeling says not this year. We will see. I’m just glad Djokovic won Rome and is back to his devastating best so soon after his wrist injury. It has really been a highly impressive week from him in Rome. He had a brutal draw which got more difficult with each round, and needed three sets to win all but his first match. He now gets a much deserved break before Paris which will be good for his wrist too.

I think this is the year that Nadal falls and Djokovic rises folks. I don’t want to set expectations but that is what my intuition tells me anyway. We will see because admittedly my track record at predicting Nadal’s results are poor. That is because I like to underestimate him. I figure if I keep underestimating him I have to get it right eventually. But if I’m wrong then Nadal is right back on track to catch Roger so hopefully I’m not. Well it was nice to finally catch up on tennis some more this week and it looks like I may get back into tennis offline after all, this time as a coach. The money is just much better for tennis coaching than it is for teaching English here in Thailand and I have a very good opportunity right now. I guess tennis is just in my blood and it would be fun to get back on court after such a long time away from it.

I hope you enjoyed this result as much as I did!

Highlights

Posted in Uncategorized.

72 Comments

  1. I know it’s childish but I am so happy every time nadal loses, especially to djokovic. Uncle Toni looked clueless in the highlights. Hahahahahahahahahaha

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    Edit* no it’s not childish. It’s brilliant!

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Alex, hate to see Rafa’s mom and girlfriend worry, but don’t mind seeing his dad worry, but most of all LOVE and LOVE seeing the Great Uncle Toni worry and be frustrated under his cap :-)

    [Reply]

  2. I just wonder. Is Nadal the only player that fights till the end and never give up????

    I know he does, but

    Nole & Roger, etc ….they do give up and stop fighting????

    I think that everybody is just buying the narrative that the media repeats every time he plays and never recognize the fighting spirit of the rest of players

    [Reply]

    Rosa Maria Reply:

    AH….and Bravo Nole for fighting

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    I am envious of these folks in Thailand that you will be coaching Ru-an. I would love to have the experience of being on the court w you and hearing your insight into my game. I bet you could help me get my indecisive ass up to the net faster!!!! Life has an interesting way of creating unexpected opportunities so you never know, maybe this can happen one day :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yep. If you want it, create it. Don’t you live in California anyway? That’s where I will live one day.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    So it will be then. When you want to come here to check it out, you have a friend and a place to stay. With great internet and cable tv. :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha awesome Eric. Good to know :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No one said Nole and Roger give up and stop fighting Rosa Maria. Especially not Nole. Roger has been known to fade a bit towards the end of long 5 setters. The point is Nadal is the ultimate fighter. He simply NEVER gives an inch. EVER.

    [Reply]

  3. Ruan,

    Thanks for another excellent post (as always)! Of course you’re right to say that these two have games that are tailor-made

    for great contests, some of the best in tennis history. I love to watch them play, and their intensity is inspiring to me even though I’m always cheering for the same player! :-)

    Hey I haven’t mentioned this before but I’ve wanted to for a while: you have a great gift for turning a phrase! Your caption “Kissed not bitten…is how we like it” is hilarious!

    Maybe you could start a page that has your most quotable quotes on it. I’d vote for that caption to be included!

    Best regards,
    Joe

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Joe. Haha yeah I like doing the captions. The page sounds kind of interesting but I wouldn’t want to choose my own quotes. I’d only do it if other people choose it.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey!

    Well in that case I’d also like to nominate, from the “Rome Draw: Federer is Playing!” post, this remark: “And of course at the end he [Nadal] bit the trophy again. It just leaves a bad taste in the mouth.”

    This is another excellent double entendre!

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Agree Joe, Ru-an has a great way turning words and his captions are just so spot on and memorable. It’s like he throws a great phrase serious faced and nonchalantly while I’m gaping with laughter and enjoyment on my end over here! Problem maybe he is so good with them, we take him for granted and don’t mention it too often but Ru-an is a genius. I love some of his earlier posts taunting Murray. They were so classic, had me in fits!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha thanks Mirka. The captions wasn’t something I always did, but it is something I enjoy and just sort of comes naturally.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha! I didn’t even realize myself what I did there Joe! I had to laugh myself when I saw that. I guess you are right about creating a quote page. Just to add another dimension to my blog :-)

    [Reply]

  4. “Djokovic was looking out of shorts, maybe still feeling a little emotionally hung over after the mental battle with Raonic…….” Glad I missed that part Ruan….LOL, Gary

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    LOL. Thanks for the heads up Gary I fixed it.

    [Reply]

  5. God damn, that baby crying affected djokovic for a little while. I panicked but credit for nole, he didn’t let it get to him for too long. That was during second set and it was on djokovic’s serve, obviously he got broken very soon.

    He stared at that baby for a good 6-7 seconds.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes he did Uchiha. It was unfortunate but thank God did not cost him the match.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Uchiha and Ru-an, I do want to say something about that. I saw it too and to be honest, I did not like what Novak did then. You know, you cannot have a silent crowd. You will hear a person yell something or a child say something or a baby scream or the wind or something falling. No matter how important the moment, you should be able to just focus and concentrate and move on. Him looking at the crowd after he was broken, was not a good moment for him. I thought that was petty. To be honest, Roger also did that at WTF 2013 against Delpo. A lineswoman made a call that was not right. Roger lost focus. Lost the point and after that looked angry at the woman (on camera) like ‘look what you did’. The commentators even mentioned it. I love the dude, but I thought that was not done. Bad of Roger. It is not someone else fault if you somehow lose concentration and lose a point. Like Andy making a big deal about Novak touching the net and lost the game. Or ofcourse Novak after he touched the net and lost the game at RG SF 2013 against Rafa. You cannot blame others or your surroundings. You lost focus and the point. Period. Your fault.
    Novak lost the point and got broken back. Why make it worse by looking in the crowd so everyone knows it is because of a baby???

    [Reply]

  6. Again an excellent post Ru-an. I am so happy that you would be working as a tennis coach. What better than your passion becoming your source of livelihood; nothing beats that. I earnestly hope that you will now have a stable life. The final match in Rome is reminiscent of exactly what Dull has been doing to Fed. Correct me if I am wrong, in the last three games of the match, I could see a feel of resignation in Nadal which was completely un-Dull like. It seemed he was just hoping that the match would be over soon. It is now more obvious what goes through one’s mind when you have been repeatedly pounded by the same person over again. What Dull has inflicted in Fed’s psyche, the same seems to be happening now to Dull. After all, life comes in full circle!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Jiten. Yeah we will see how the tennis coaching works out. I don’t know if Nadal was giving up towards the end. I think Djokovic was just playing unbelievable tennis, and yeah the karma is a thing of beauty.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Just wanna come in here, Jiten. Yes, Nadal is getting a dose of his own medicine. Sometimes we maybe too hard on Roger impatiently expecting him to just rise up against Nadal. It’s not easy. So much mental damage/afflictions over so many years. As Roger said before, he has to play a different way against Nadal whereas with all other players he plays one way. Nadal must be feeling this really deeply now. His FH topspin is his bread and butter and is a winning formula for ages; but now against Djoko, he is clueless, helpless. What is he gonna do? His biggest weapon is neutralised until unrecognizable, haha! I’m just thinking,Ru-an, Jiten, what happens if Nadal play flatter on his FH? Wouldn’t he be successful as well because he has so much power?!

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Nice analysis Veronica. Wow! I can see a shadow of Ru-an in your writing here. About the flat FH of Nadal, he employed that very well post Wimbledon last year and was extremely successful as well. If you replay some of his matches during that stretch, you could see that he was playing from well inside the base line. I am not sure why he had abandoned that. It is very difficult to continue with something which you are not used to; in Nadal’s case he is now back to where he is most comfortable with, that is his heavy top spin FH. Firstly Stan and then Djoker have inflicted so much damage to his mental side; itwill be quite a herculean effort for him to come out of that. This sure has affected his game against other players as well who can now challenging him toe to toe. His aura on clay is slowly fading away. I hope our own Fed can take advantage of this; hit the iron when it is hot!! :-)

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    My bad, it should read “who can now challenge him toe to toe”.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Thanks bro! You are really up-dated with your tennis knowledge and tennis IQ! Do you play?! Yeah, now that you mention it, I do remember Nadal was playing closer to baseline and was really aggressive post Wimby last year and maybe even in 2010 where he had a dominant year (the really powerful first serve he developed almost overnight, was it 2010?) but I haven’t really watched him last year as I find it really hard to sit through his matches; that’s why I forgot that he actually did play flatter. It’s good then that he is uncomfortable with this more risky/aggressive style and reverted back to his old faithful. Imagine if he is comfortable playing both ways, he would easily catch Roger! No, stay back, Nadal, stay back! and stick to your topspin! Hahaha!

    [Reply]

  7. This is a little scary. Take care of yourself, man.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/thailands-army-declares-martial-law-to-restore-peace-and-order-2014-5

    Also, we should all be so lucky to have someone in our lives that defends us the way Katyani defends Roger. Wow!

    I have to disappear for a few days, I am quickly approaching the Wimbledon of my job. :-)

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Eric, you are so sweet :-) Yes, I defend Roger with everything that I have, but please, I am not a saint and neither is Roger, sometimes he does something that does make me mad. A little bit….. For just a few seconds….. Then it is all over and I forget about that and I am back in love with the love of my life :-)

    But seriously, you have no idea. At my work the older people also follow tennis (Lendl and JMac time) and since they knew that I was Roger’s fan, I am beeing targeted EVERY and I mean EVERY single day. Even when there is no tour. I hear nothing about a match that Roger won or a title. But the moment Roger loses….. they come in a group of like 15 to 20 to make me hear about it and that Rafa is the best and that Roger is a has-been who should have stopped in 2012, bla bla bla…. Even my collegues who don’t watch tennis, join them (you know group mentality).

    So can you imagine what 2013 was like for me??? It was bad for Roger… BUT also for some of his diehard fans :-) But don’t think my collegues are mean or so. They are just having fun. And I did tell them that ‘oke, this is your time now, so go ahead and make fun of me, but MY Roger and I WILL be back :-) ‘ And they did promise to buy me dinner when Roger wins a slam :-)

    So you see…. defending Roger… has become a part of my life and …. my work :-)

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Oh and Eric, because I like you and think that you are nice and sweet, you are hereby also under my protection/defense :-) Anyone who says something bad about you…. I too will defend you like I defend Roger :-)

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    :-) I am truly honored, Katyani. I may need that some day. I also have a really obnoxious RafaisGod friend that drives me up a freaking wall, so I feel you. Oh, what I would do to see Roger beat Nadal – at RG – so I could stick it up this guy’s….

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Roger that Eric :-) And yezzzzz, please let that happen that Roger beats Rafa at RG….. Please…

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Eric, Katyani, you are not alone. All my family, relatives and friends are not Roger fans. It amazes me that Roger is the most popular champ yet none of ppl close to me are his fans! I get put downs constantly, can’t watch any match in peace while my family is around and even got my taped matches deleted! If I stay cool and don’t react, the taunting usually lessen; but how could I stay cool when Roger is playing!!! Life IS hard being a Roger fan! Haha!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha poor Mirka can’t enjoy her Fed without getting ridiculed for it! What kind of a family do you have anyway who doesn’t like the Fed? Well at least you have your online Fedfamily here who can appreciate class and beauty when they see it ;-)

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    I make it sound funny here, Ru-an but in real life, it is not funny. I actually get into heated arguements and I just hate it when Roger loses; not only I feel Roger’s pain (and all his fans’ pain too!) but have to face the taunts. But even if Roger wins, I have to mute my celebrations because my cousins get very angry!! Haha! It’s actually getting better now as I am more cool about Roger winning or losing; I don’t provoke them and I don’t allow them to provoke me! But all these pent up emotions have to be released/shared!! So, thanks Ru-an, for building this Fedfamily here where I can rant and rave, celebrate and cry, and……. write long comments too!!! haha!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Ah so that’s one of the reason you like to write long comments. All that pent up emotion and information you want to share! Are any of your family Nadal fans?

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Yup yup and yup! That’s why I really do not like Nadal! Too many Nadalites all around me! Haha! I’ve got this smart ass cousin who is also a tennis coach(!) but he teaches kids, who is fit and handsome and plays good tennis I hear but I don’t care to find out, who really pisses me off. The way he rolls his eyes and talks down Roger……uuugghhh, I wanna punch him,Ru-an! If only I were a man!! Hahaha! But these passions are not healthy and I actually experienced dizzy spells after which I decided not to invest so much emotional energy into Roger. So I’m not as fiery now but still get upset occasionally of course! What true Fedfan wouldn’t, huh??!!! Hahaha!

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Eric I hope you get a great win at your personal slam.

    And I think Katanyi defends Roger more fiercely than Nadal plays tennis!

    :-)

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Thank you very much Joe. Very sweet of you to say. It has been an excellent week. I would say I just made it into the quarter finals, which is huge for me. I have never won a grand slam. Of course my timeline is very different so now I need to be patient and prepare for a while until my next match.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Are you still talking about winning Wimbledon at your work Eric? Good luck!

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    Thank you Ru-an. This is a special time for me. Exciting and intense. I suppose I’m like a Fernando Verdasco at my career. I have been blessed to earn a living doing something I truly love, and to play on some of the greatest stages with the best players. I’m good, and work hard, but not “gifted” and maybe never quite lived up to my full potential to win the huge matches and tournaments that could have really changed my life. Like tennis, my work is a bit of a young persons game, so I don’t have as many chances for greatness in front of me as behind me. But right now I am making my way through a very big one and I am feeling strong (though nervous) and playing great. I should know in the next few weeks if I’ve made it to the semis, and that in itself will make me proud and feel wonderful. From there it would be months to the next round.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Ah that’s awesome Eric. Sounds like you are doing very well and congrats! I’m sure you will not make it only to the semis but go all the way. I feel you about tennis not being a young man’s game. I never felt I fulfilled my potential just like yourself, and sometimes find myself wondering what could have been. But I also feel I was not as gifted as some of the guys I saw and played against, so I just tell myself I would not have made it anyway. Fortunately I’m good at most things I do, which is why I didn’t just want to go into tennis coaching like most ex players. I wanted to develop some other talents. But it just so happens that tennis coaching has come across my path now. I didn’t go looking for it, and it pays well. It is also in a very nice area of Thailand right by the beach. So I’m not gonna say no. Anyway I believe everything happens exactly the way it’s supposed to, so I don’t regret anything. In life it is never too late. It only is if you think it is.

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    I also believe everything happens as it should and am very happy for you that you will enjoy a beautiful and peaceful place to be for a while after your tumultuous last months. And what you say is one of the most special things about tennis compared to any other sport and compared to life. It’s truly never too late unless you think it is. No time clock, no innings. Just points to win and points to lose. Believe in yourself, stay positive, keep fighting, and anything can happen.

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Eric, Congrats! I thought you were joking and talking metaphorically about wimbledon!! You mean you are a tennis player?!! Forgive me if I’m too thick, I don’t quite understand what you and Ru-an are talking about. You said you have not won a grand slam?! Wow! Are you a professional tennis player, Eric?!

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Ok, I get it now, Eric. You are talking about your career. What a wonderful way of putting it! Love the way you put it. A Fernando Verdasco…haha! Surely you are better in the head than he is, Eric!!! Here’s wishing you all the way to semis and finals! It’s not gonna be easy; the young will be pushing you and the Nadals will be in your face! Stay cool, meditate and maybe go gluten-free for the extra edge! hahaha!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha I wasn’t quite following at first myself Veronica.

    [Reply]

  8. Wow! A tennis coach! I’m really happy for you, Ru-an, that you are able to get back to the love of your life!! Must feel so good, putting on your gear, grabbing a racket, hitting some balls! Dream job, dream blog, it can’t get any better, Ru-an! Thanks for the wonderful report on the final. It’s so different if you have watched the game and you can share with us more. Hopefully this coaching job would complement your blog and we would have more regular posts from you! Ha! I don’t know if you guys would agree with me but I’ve realised that any tournament where Nadal is dominating, is usually dull. His style is just not appealing although I can appreciate some of his outrageous gets and passing shots and his mental toughness. Defensive players just don’t cut it and as long as the offensive players come through and balance off the counter punchers, a tournament becomes watchable. Btw, Roger is already practising in RG!! The guy is just raring to go, isn’t he?!! FO, for a long time, has been the dullest slam; mostly because of Nadal’s domination. This year is the first time in many years where palpable excitement is in the air and the anticipation and intrigue are almost unbearable! May the draw Gods be with Roger on Friday!! And, yes, Eric, I wish there is someone in my life who would defend me to death just as our Katyani would do it for Roger!! Haha!!

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    “FO, for a long time, has been the dullest slam; mostly because of Nadal’s domination”. Could not have said it better Veronica. That is why you are SO important. You say exactly like some of us or most of us feels but don’t know how to say it or to say it all.
    This is seriously after a while the slam I am looking forward too :-)

    And dear and sweet and very sweet Veronica. You are hereby also under my protection/defense :-) Welcome. Anyone who says something bad about you…. has seriously has to go through me :-) I will defend you like I defend Roger :-)
    But have to be honest too, if I have to choose between Roger and you…. sorry Veronica…. you do know the answer to that right??? Against anyone…to death…but between Roger and you??? Sorry :-)

    Oh and yes, I will defend Roger until one of us dies OR (God forbid) he pulls an Armstrong or a Tiger Woods :-) Doping I can somehow forgive, but the other one…

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    How more sweet can you get, Katyani?!! Are you made of Honey?! Hahaha! All right, Katyani, you are now officially the Head of the Defence Unit in Ru-an’s Army. Jiten is the Captain by the way if you all didn’t know already!

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Thanks Angelica, but who better than Katyani for the captain? She herself has admitted that even if she dies (God forbid, you have many many fruitful years to live), her ghost will defend Roger. I hope Mirka has not seen Katyani’s comment yet. Hahaha!!!

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Hahahaha! All right, you better relinquish your post then, Ex-Captain Jiten!! And I bet Mirka would be tying up Roger at home and not letting him out of her sight if she knew about Katyani’s undying love for Roger here! Haha!

    [Reply]

  9. Loved your post, but I have to respectfully disagree that Nadal doesn’t ever give up. He does. Remember the WTF when Roger beat him, I think it was 2012? He certainly seemed checked out. Other matches too. I think on clay that’s true, that he never gives up, but a lot of times, when he senses he’s losing, he does check out or go the injury route. He cares most about clay though, cause I think there’s a sense if his opponents perceive weakness there he’s finished. He’s overall dominance is totally dependent on his clay dominance and this year was brutal for him, that’s why I think this time is different. He isn’t going to win Wimbledon or the US Open if he loses the French. I just don’t see how that happens. His confidence is tied to the clay court season and he uses that momentum to carry him into surfaces where he is less able to dominate with his grinding game.

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Great observations, Jim ( all your comments are!). I do agree. His confidence is tied to clay. He had a great hard court wing last year which were circumstantial rather than he played well although I never underestimate what plain diligence and determination can do. He sort of he gave up in wtf 2012 towards the end and a handful of other matches. Once he realises there is nothing he can do, he sort of resigns. But it takes an awful lot to bring him to resignation. That’s what’s so special about his fighting spirit.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes I didn’t reply to Jim but I agreed. He takes long breaks from the game when things don’t go his way as well, due to supposed injuries. He doesn’t handle defeat well. He always has an excuse ready when he loses so it would seem he lost due to an injury and not because his opponent was better.

    [Reply]

  10. Hey Ru-an, great to hear about your tennis coaching. You went to Thailand to teach English and ended up teaching the thing you were born for, tennis. You see, after all the unfortunate things you had to go through, now you can give all that healthy energy to do the one thing you love: talk, teach and show how to play tennis. Right up your alley :-) You deserve it Ru-an. Just don’t be another Uncle Toni. Be like Annacone or all the other nice coaches and maybe…. we will see you on tv in the playersbox as “Ru-an, coach of the newest upcoming tennisplayer, also known as the newest RF” :-)

    Ps: Will this unbeatable Novak you describe be invincible for Roger?? Roger has a very good chance to beat Nole??

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Katyani we will see. I was never really drawn to tennis coaching but since the money is so much better than in English teaching I couldn’t refuse. Anyway I haven’t even started yet, and over here nothing is certain.
    As for Novak I wouldn’t say Roger has a very good chance to beat him. If Nadal is in the other half I wouldn’t want him to beat Novak anyway. I’m 99% sure Djokovic would have beaten Nadal in the 2011 final. I don’t want Roger to save Nadal again, only to get destroyed in return.

    [Reply]

    elizabeth Reply:

    Hi folks, I get the feeling that these are all feelgood posts! When I watched a replay of the Rome final I was amazed how much time Navak had on the ball. Is it that Novak was so good or that Nadal has lost a step, because I thought
    that Nadal looked perplexed and it was so unlike him not to find an answer..he always manages to slow the play down one
    way or another! I’m hoping for some of the same at RG although it would be foolish to underestimate Rafa. Ru-an, nice to hear that tennis is still very much in your life what is it they say about it being in the DNA haha

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha yes Elizabeth. Like I said I was not really interested in coaching. It was the playing that I enjoyed so much. But at least when I coach I will be playing a bit too and it’s mainly about the money anyway.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    This is a tough one I think! Roger has played very tight matches with Novak this year, and really for years now (e.g. a couple of US Open matches). So I think Roger has – if not a good chance, at least a definite chance – to beat Djokovic at RG. I’m also hopeful that Roger is still improving with his new racquet, and that his recent break has allowed him to condition aggressively for RG and still have time to rest…

    And I think you are quite right to say Roger almost certainly saved Nadal’s bacon in the RG 2011 final. It’s a shame too, since Roger played his best final at RG against Nadal that year. With a couple of close calls changed, I even think Roger could ‘possibly’ have won that match.

    Although it would be almost impossible for me to cheer for Novak to beat Roger, depending on the tournament situation (i.e. how or if Nadal is playing) I might need to do it. But it’s almost too hard to think about!

    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes lets hope it doesn’t come to that Joe. If Roger knows he will face Nadal in the final he will tank subconsciously anyway, so I don’t think it will be a problem.

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    Joe Reply:

    Another good point Ruan.

    Am I foolish to hope Roger’s mental equilibrium has improved enough for him to beat Nadal this year, even if not at RG?

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    eric Reply:

    As much as I would love to see that and will root for it with everything I have, I think it is wishful thinking. Rafa is our superman’s kryptonite.

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    elizabeth Reply:

    I read an article sometime ago written by an ex-player (can’t remember who) saying that it was perhaps good that Rafa came along, because Roger was just so good that at one point he even didn’t have to think about his game. I guess you guys will know what he meant.
    Myself I just wish that Nadal had chosen golf! Eric good luck with your tennis.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Without a doubt Elizabeth. This is another reason that it is unnecessary to hate Nadal. He challenged Roger at a time when he was so dominant that he became complacent. I remember in the FO finals where he was so complacent that he tried to hit Nadal off the court from the base line, and it never worked out. Every hero needs his villain. It’s just the way nature works. Nadal made Roger a better player and kept him humble.

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    Joe Reply:

    Well it’s not as if I can’t understand what you’re saying!

    But here are a few things I hope for, speaking from the other side. I beg your pardon Eric; I feel that I have to say these things. :-)

    First, Roger’s serve has definitely improved this year (racquet?). In the past, he has often tried for too much when serving against Nadal (e.g. gets down 0-30 on serve and goes for aces, etc.) and ends up playing mostly off his second serve. That’s a lot like giving the other guy the serve I think, and considering that I think Roger has played very well and with great heart against Nadal, although eventually running into fatigue issues in the later sets. But if Roger can serve well and stay relaxed on serve, not try to get an ace every time but just keep Nadal off balance, then I think his chances will improve significantly.

    Second, there’s a new and improved version of bhdtl going around this year, probably also due at least in part to Roger’s new racquet. In a good situation for Roger (i.e. serving well as noted above), it could be a game-changer. Also a great weapon to use to keep Nadal off balance.

    His mental equilibrium is also better than ever this year, don’t you think? And he continues to learn about tennis. His strategy and tactics seem better, but that may be due to the factors I mentioned above. He knows he doesn’t have many more years to win majors, so I think he’ll be tougher than he has been in the past, as long as he’s healthy.

    Finally, Katanyi really likes Roger. She likes you too, and you’re winning, right?
    :-)

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    eric Reply:

    I absolutely agree with everything you’re saying and of course I think it’s possible, especially this year. All I am saying is that it will be VERY hard to accomplish for Roger, so if he can pull it off, at RG, it would be one of the greatest accomplishments of his GOAT career. And therefore one of the greatest joys for me. Elizabeth, I have even heard Roger say he was grateful for Rafa because Rafa forced him to really improve his backhand. Thank you for the well wishes, my competitive tennis days were over after college. I was just using it at a metaphor for my career.

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    veronica Reply:

    Great discussion going on here; Ru-an, Eric, Joe, Elizabeth. It’s the serve. It has to become a lethal weapon again; not only against Nadal but everybody. Whatever needs to be done, he’s got to get it back to how it was; clutch serving, winning his service games quickly, getting him out of sticky situations. And then he needs some serious power. It is a power game these days. Finesse just won’t cut it. He’s gotta hit deeper. I maybe wrong and my tennis knowledge is I think 3 out of 10 but sometimes I feel Roger is such a light weight compared to the heavy weights like Djoko, Nadal, even Stan. I watched Djoko and Nadal live first time in AO this year and what struck me most was how more powerful and a bigger game they play than Roger. I’m always amazed at how deep Djoko hits the ball EVERY time! And especially when returning. And then the mental equilibrium as you say Joe. Work on these things and all other things will come together. He made some glorious bhdtl this year and is using it more frequently. I hope he continues to work at it and uses it at will like how Djoko was just free wheeling it to Nadal in Rome. Rome Djoko against Roger? I’d say if Djoko’s bhdtl is firing, it’ll be hard for Roger. But if Roger’s own bhdtl is firing as well, there might be a chance. And of course Roger’s service must be working. Otherwise advantage Djoko. Another thing is Roger being an artist works against him sometimes. He gets bored easily and doesn’t seem to like to repeat winning patterns/shots. You know what I mean, Ru-an? I was watching an old match, the Hamburg final and Roger was working Nadal’s bh nicely but he went for his fh too soon after a few shots. He should work it more before he goes for the winner to the fh or work it until it completely breaks down on the same side. And often you do see Roger doing well at the net or with certain patterns of play but later in the match abandon it all together. It is puzzling. The FO 2011 final was his best chance of beating Rafa. He blew it. If ever Roger’s gonna beat Nadal on RG, it has to be faster balls as in 2011. As for this year’s FO, Roger must get all his earlier matches done in straights, with a couple of 4 sets if it has to be. Otherwise it is bye2 to another FO as he doesn’t have the mental/physical energy/focus to sustain a high standard of play throughout a match; especially against the elite players. I’m therefore hoping for precise and efficient performances from the Maestro. He should be able to do it with lots of time to work at and fine tune his game and rest his body. Common Roger Federer!!

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    Eric Reply:

    Ha -you call that a 3 out of 10 tennis knowledge. I think it’s a lot more impressive than that. I would just add that, especially because it’s clay, he will need more than power. It’s everything you said, plus the variety, to keep them guessing, and moving in the wrong direction. If he can serve well, move well enough to dictate with the forehand, constantly mix things up, and stay focused for the whole match, he can do it. Not easy but not impossible either.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Yes, Eric, you can say that again and again! Variety! The magic word. What separates Roger from the pack is his variety. But he so often forgets doesn’t he?! I always say if he uses his variety, he wins but he can be so damn stubborn or proud and tend to get drawn into playing opponents game. He can’t match their power, stamina, defence. He has to use his variety, get them out of position, wrong foot them, keep them guessing, whatever. This is what he excels at!! If I were his coach I would make this his mantra variety variety variety and say it 100x a day!! Hahaha!

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    Eric Reply:

    I am such an idiot. It took me this long to figure out what bhdtl was. Haha!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good stuff Joe. Agree completely about the serve, bhdtl, and mental equilibrium. I would also add the volleys which has improved with Edberg’s help. The bh may be due to Edberg’s instruction as well, but the most important thing Edberg has brought to Roger’s game is a sense of mental tranquility and balance. Two legends of the game together as a team can only result in one thing…

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