Fedal’s Last Stand

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Hey, folks. I hope you are all having a good week and that the Fedfans have by now recovered from Roger’s loss in Rome after realizing that he is playing very well and still on course for resurrecting his clay court season which has been less than satisfactory the last couple of seasons. Ideally I’d like to see him make semis at the French and test himself against the best, but quarters would be fairly satisfactory as well as long as he plays a good match and loses to a good player.

We know by now that Nadal will be seeded 7th and can, therefore, fall in Roger’s quarter. But he could also meet Nishikori or Stan in the quarters who on a good day could eliminate him. Not to mention a dangerous youngster like Kyrgios who already defeated him in Madrid. So the draw will already be very interesting, especially for finding out in whose quarter Nadal lands. This brings me to the importance of the French Open for Nadal as well as the importance of Wimbledon for Roger.

  • The Importance of the French Open for Nadal

We already started a discussion on my previous post about the Fedal era coming to an end and I’d like to continue it here. Nadal’s career is basically on life support right now and a 10th French Open title alone can save it in my opinion. He has been subject to upsets since Halle last year and for the first time in 10 years has not won a Masters during the European clay court season. In fact, he only made one final! Who would have thought that would be the case before the clay season began?

Rafa-Nadal-Roland-Garros

He has dropped out of the top 5 in the rankings for the first time in 10 years too. These are all signs of undeniable decline. Roger went through the same thing in 2013 and was able to resurrect his career by making changes to his coaching staff and equipment. But importantly, he has not been able to win a slam since then. As for Nadal,  there has been no sign of resurrection so far. And I am afraid if he doesn’t win the French Open there may never be a resurrection. The French Open is no doubt Nadal’s last stand.

At least for a long time to come. Maybe he can compete for the French Open in the future again, but I am not so sure about that if he doesn’t win it this year. If he can’t gain confidence from the clay season then where will he gain confidence from? Either way he has clearly come to a defining moment in Paris, and I am not so sure he can defy the odds this time. I always had 14 slam titles in mind for him, and I think there is a good chance he will remain on that number indefinitely.

  • The Importance of Wimbledon for Federer

With the arrival of Fed 4.0 at the beginning of 2014, Roger went a long way towards putting the steep decline of 2013 behind him. But I’m not sure anyone can say that the disastrous season is well and truly behind him before he wins another slam. He came awfully close at Wimbledon last year when he lost 6-4 in the 5th set in that epic final against Djokovic. The resurrection of Roger was never going to happen overnight though, and I think toward the end of last year and this year so far we have seen improvements from Roger.

Roger_Federer-1200-3

He has already won three titles for instance compared to last year’s one at the same stage, and he’s been having a better clay court season too. The Australian Open loss was a setback, but I think it is fair to say his game has been fine tuned better since the beginning of 2014. But will it be enough to win a slam? I think most people would agree that his best chance is at Wimbledon and that it probably needs to happen this year. It will only get harder in the future.

Murray will already be a huge threat this year along with Djokovic. Djokovic himself seems to be playing better than last year, so what would Roger’s chances be if they met this year? Then there are several other dangerous players like Berdych, Raonic, Dimitrov, and Kyrgios. The situation has definitely not gotten easier since last year, and I am not even sure how much Roger has improved. His serve, net game, backhand, and mental game have all improved. But won’t he need his forehand to be at its best to win Wimbledon with the tough competition?

  • Fedal: The Last Stand

For one era to end a new era has to come along. The decline is not enough, or else the Fedal era would have been over a long time ago. The Djokoray era has been threatening for some time now to take over, but Murray was not quite up to the challenge. With his form so far this year and his first clay titles in Munich and Madrid, he has made serious statements. He has been extremely consistent this year and therefore it is no surprise he is second in the race. The Djokoray era looks primed to take over from Fedal once and for all.

The only way they will be stopped is if Fedal wins the French Open and Wimbledon. Here is an interesting excerpt from Roger’s presser after the Rome final:

“You cannot take away the last 10 years,” he said. “It’s going to be best of five sets, we know how tough Rafa is physically and mentally. He is the favourite still to me.

“Novak at this point probably has to win, like in 2011 when he didn’t lose the whole year so it feels similar to that in my opinion. Maybe Rafa isn’t having the same success as before but nevertheless that remains the situation for me. It’s all talk, in the end it’s the racket that is going to do the talking. They are doing good and I hope it is not going to be between the two of them!”

Roger is usually very accurate with his predictions, but I’m not so sure here. It’s almost as if he wants Nadal to win to hold the Djokoray era off one more time. It can also be interpreted that he is trying to put pressure of Djokovic. This time Nadal is well and truly up against it though and it will take a heroic effort to win a 10th French Open. The same can be said for Roger at Wimbledon. Fedal have held off the next generation for an extraordinarily long time, simply because they are arguably the two best players in the history of the sport.

Djokovic-Murray

Djokovic has been winning slams for some time now, but one guy is not enough to hold Fedal off. He needs the support of Murray. Murray looks primed for big things like I said and it would be very interesting if Nadal lands in his quarter in Paris after what happened in the Madrid final. But as far as the title goes Murray is a bigger threat at Wimbledon. I wouldn’t be surprised if Djokovic finally wins the French this year and Murray wins Wimbledon. But one thing is for sure; the Fedal era is under serious threat.

If they are going to extend their relevance for at least one more year then Paris and London will be the places to do it in the next couple of months. I would rate their chances of winning the French and Wimbledon respectively about the same as well. Nadal has been more dominant at the French, but he is in much worse form than Roger. And I don’t see them with much of a chance of winning slams outside of the two I mentioned, although Roger will still be a dangerous dark horse in New York.

What do you think? Do you think Fedal have what it takes to make one last stand or is Djokoray here to stay? All opinions and thoughts are welcome.

Can Fedal make one last stand?

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The is in your court.

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30 Comments

  1. I´m enjoing the fact that Roger can still compete with anyone as he approaches 34 years of age. The man is just amazing. I feel he will get another GS tittle. Djoko has gone to all kind of length to get his game up, Roger in top of his form great inborn talent did not need to do them.That´s shows the difference.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Indeed Ines. Amazing how well he is still playing and that he is still #2 in the world. But these days he seems to struggle at the slams. Probably due to stamina issues. As for the Djoker, I’m not quite sure what you are trying to say. That the Djoker is more dedicated, hard-working, and mentally strong than Roger?

    [Reply]

    ines Reply:

    No that the Joker is more dedicated than he needs to be dedicated to get his game up even being in his peak,Roger all talent in his peak.

    [Reply]

  2. I think we have been seeing a decline in Fedal for sometime now but I don’t see them going away for another 2 years at least. Maybe 2016 or 2017 will be the last time they win a slam.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Interesting Ajay. I don’t see them going away for two more years either, but winning a slam is another matter. Roger has not won a slam since 2012, and the more time passes the harder it gets. He seems to have stamina problems over five sets. That’s why I think he needs to get it done this year, even though I won’t completely write him off to win a slam for in 2016 either. As for Nadal, it’s about the same. His decline has been steep and if he loses the French I don’t think he can recover. He’ll be out of the top 10 and if he can’t do it on clay what will happen on the other surfaces?

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Well clearly I think we are going down the same path we went last year with Murray. Nadal will have a grand total of 400 points to defend after French uptill the Aus Open next year. Surely he is gonna be back in the top 8 by year end maybe even top 5. And next year he might start feeling better like Murray this year. Nobody knows for sure. Maybe starting from 2017 I will start believing Nadal’s physical decline but right now I don’t really buy it.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah, it’s difficult to say. But given the pounding Nadal’s body has taken over the years it’s certainly not impossible that his body is close to total collapse. Hasn’t it gotten much worse in the last few years? The injuries have become worse and the breaks have become longer. Ironically now that he seems relatively injury free his results are poor. I guess he doesn’t feel enough like the ‘underdog’ when he is not injured. :((

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  3. Who will get Rafa in their quarter?? Lets just make it easy on ourselves and say that with Roger’s luck he will be in his quarter :-)
    If Rafa and Roger are in the same draw…. then that will be Madrid, Rome and RG. I think Rafa is secretly hoping to get in Roger’s draw….
    I think they will give Novak an easy draw to make it easier to get to the final. But nowadays… what is an easy draw??

    And Roger saying Rafa is the favourite is logic. The guy lost just one match in 10 years. One match !!! And Novak is ofcourse also the biggest favourite. If Roger did it on purpose, then it is a good tactic to keep the pressure on Rafa and Novak. Let him be the “underdog”.

    By the way….I am not counting Murray out either…. something tells me… he will be a RG-SURPRISE :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Personally I am in two minds about a Fedal QF Katyani. It could give Roger the chance to finally get a win over Nadal at the FO, but it could also boost Nadal’s confidence to get a win over his favorite whipping boy.

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  4. Yes! They can pull it off one more time! Fedal is magic, Djokoray is a joke who probably never could win a clay masters tournament when it was still played best of 5 in finals, Fedal won such Masters, fedal4life!

    Guys enjoy the greatest tennis clay court match ever played with arguably 2 best tennis players of all time, no prime Djokovic or Murray could ever come close to such mastery.

    [Reply]

    FeDaL Reply:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXSqcGnB1hE

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Come on Fedal you are sounding awfully tardish here. The Djoker has come closer than Roger ever came at beating Nadal at the FO. And did you forget that Murray just destroyed Nadal in the Madrid final? To say that Djokoray is a joke shows a lot of ignorance. You don’t win 10 slams between you being a joke, with probably many more to come.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Obviously Djokovic is massive player but I just feel the Rome Masters finals, the two Wimbledon finals and the Aus Open final that these two played were out of the world. The matches that Nadal and Djokovic played that have been epic are the Aus Open 2012 Final and the French Open 2013 Final. But I just don’t think the level showed by Djokovic here matches the magnificence of those Fedal matches. Again I know very well Djokovic is amazing but aesthetically speaking Fedal matches actually look better.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah, here we disagree. I think the Fedal rivalry is overhyped and overrated. It is a mismatch. Nadal owns Federer, whereas Djokodal is way more competitive. It’s a much better match up. I don’t think Fedal matches look better either. They no doubt had some epic battles but usually it comes down to Nadal moonballing Fed’s bh until it falls apart. It’s a very poor match up. The Djokerer rivalry is also way better and more aesthetically pleasing.

    [Reply]

    FeDaL Reply:

    Why should I bother to include a Murray match where Nadal played abysmal and without much Heart? This isn’t about comparing two player when one of them is in his worst form ever, its about comparing them when they were at their best. Federer and Nadal at their best would smoke Djokovic/Murray at their best any day of the week. The fact that the FeDaL era is coming to an end is just due to Federer’s age and Nadal being burned out, had they not regressed fed would be up on 20+ slams by now and Nadal 16+ easily.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Is that why Djokovic 1.0 defeated Federer in the 2007 Canada final, and Murray def Nadal at the 2008 US Open final when Fedal were in their primes? You know better than to make silly sweeping statements like that Fedal. Or you should. Djokovic 2.0 smoked Fed at the 2011 AO and he smoked Nadal in 7 consecutive finals that included 3 slam finals 4 Masters finals when Fedal was still in their prime. Let’s not get into silly arguments. I already said Fedal is arguably the greatest two players in the history of tennis. What more do you want from me? It doesn’t matter how good they were, because age catches up with everyone and Djokoray is more than competent enough to take over from them. Djokovic has already done so and once Murray joins the party Fedal is history.

    [Reply]

    FeDaL Reply:

    I am not saying that Djokovic and Murray are terrible compared to other greats in the sport, its just that fedal set such a high standard it will suck when its over, but it has been over for quite some time now. Murray is key to making this new era worth anything, or else Djokovic would have no real threats on the tour kind of like Federer in 2003-2005.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No worries Fedal I understand that people don’t like change. But Djokovic is already getting up there and Murray has potential too.

    [Reply]

  5. Hey Ru-an,

    I know Roger is very respectful to Nadal, and I also realize that he knows more about tennis than I’ll ever imagine about the sport. But I do tend to think he might just be trying to put the heavy burden of expectation on Nadal’s shoulders by calling him the favorite this time around.

    Roger’s had that weight on his shoulders for many years, so he knows what it’s like better than anyone else. And we all know Nadal likes to play the underdog, right? He always prefers that someone else should be the favorite. Roger’s endorsement might even unsettle Nadal’s mental equilibrium somewhat. And I admit I like that thought!

    So I think Roger is definitely in a win-win situation here by saying Nadal is the favorite. That’s my interpretation, anyway – and I’m sticking to it! :-)

    It’s hard not to see where you are coming from when you say, “Roger is usually very accurate with his predictions, but I’m not so sure here.” This endorsement would really make me say hmm if I didn’t suspect it was really a mind game. And I can’t say how pleased I am that Roger is hoping to be in the finals himself. Many of us are saying QF or SF would be good. And it would be! But this year the FO is more open than it has been for a long time, and with a little luck Roger could be sitting on 18 BEFORE Wimbledon rolls around this year.

    Ru-an, on another note, I laughed out loud when I saw your poll! “I am a Fedfan and therefore only Federer can.” Tremendous! And then when I saw how many people picked that option I had to laugh again! Somehow I hope they are just having a joke with us…

    Best wishes,
    Joe

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey, something else. I wanted to shout out to someone who pointed out recently that Roger seems to be thinner these days. I haven’t been able to see Roger play lately but if it’s true then I’m sure it’s not an accident. I am hoping that it will help his stamina in 5-set matches.

    Glueckstern, allez, chum jetze,etc.!
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Chris Evert said Nadal is thinner too. Hopefully, it doesn’t help his stamina.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Joe! Nice to see you back ;-) And great comment too. Thanks providing us with a fresh perspective about what Roger said. I hope you are right because that is the kind of mind games I’d like him to play with Nadal. Hopefully, it has an effect on Nadal and he doesn’t win #10. And you are right it is more open this year.

    I hope they are joking with us too, but you know how fans can be :-?

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Ru-an, I hope your readers like this video of Federer to put the opponent off the hook way back in 1998 while he was just 17. He has this talent of playing mind games under his armory, but uses them pretty seldom.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LUWav7LJ0I

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Joe, I, Katanyi (as you call me :-) ) missed you and your comments :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    So did I! Joe, Alex, and Eric always make interesting comments and they are very missed when they are gone!

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Katyani!

    Thanks for your kind words. And I’m so sorry to misspell your name! I have a touch of dyslexia that messes me up on a personal and professional basis quite frequently. :\"> Not that it’s related to dyslexia, but I was misspelling Ru-an’s name for … well, about a year I guess! (Ru-an if it was much MORE than a year, please don’t feel any pressure to point that out!). :-)

    But it’s strange that I would misspell your name, Katyani, since I’m so curious about names (yours, for example) and what they mean.

    And when I think of your name, since I couldn’t find it in any searches, I put together Katy (=pure) and Ani (=grace) and came up with pure grace. And that’s how I think of you.

    But can you believe that after I thought that through, I would still continue to misspell your name? (!) Well, that’s dyslexia for you… :-)

    The best part is that whether or not it’s what your name means, that’s how you really are, sweet Katyani. So I’m just going to have to beg your pardon for misspelling! Everyone on this site is richer for your pure grace, and we’re always glad to hear from you. ;-)

    But after you pointed out that my slip was showing, I looked up your name again today, but I found a meaning this time! (Maybe I was misspelling it when I was searching before!!!)

    It’s listed as “Because my baby is gods [sic] gift” on http://cutebabynames.onlymyhealth.com/what-is-meaning-of-name-katyani-32884.

    That’s pretty good too, because you are a gift to everyone who knows you.

    But if you know the meaning of your name, and it’s different from these, I hope you know I’d be glad to learn it.

    And as far as my comment about who’s the favorite is concerned, I didn’t realize until after I posted it that you’d said essentially the same thing earlier! “If Roger did it on purpose, then it is a good tactic to keep the pressure on Rafa and Novak.” Ha, GMTA!!

    I’ve just been working too many hours, and jump on here briefly and then get back to work, so I miss a lot of good stuff from Ru-an and all the other great post-ers these days. But I want you to know that I miss you too Katyani, and your sweet comments. Please keep them coming!
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Nah Joe no problems from my side. I don’t remember you misspelling my name. That must be an annoying condition you have. It is not influencing the quality of your comments in any way though. :-)

    [Reply]

  6. Hey Ru-an, just saw the funny photo’s. I am sooooooooo loving them. Especially the one where Dull has to sign Roger’s cap, but the best one is Stan’s answer to Brad Gilbert :-) Yep, never take someone like Stanimal for granted and never assume he is going to lose. I guess we all learned that at AO 2014 right? Go Stan :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I’m glad you like them Katyani, but in the future if you have a comment about them please leave it on that page. Thanks.

    [Reply]

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