Nadal Clear Favorite for French Open According to Federer

About Nadal:

“It doesn’t go week by week. I don’t know who’s talking all the time, but Rafa is the favourite, and then Novak, and then the rest, you know. It’s very clear,” insisted Federer.

“I think he’s back where he wants to be. He’s played the matches he needs to play. He’s even won at home in Madrid. So I think he probably is where he wants to be, in my opinion.”

About Djokovic:

“Three weeks ago he couldn’t play tennis anymore. When he was injured, oh, my God, you know. Things are looking so terrible. Now everything is great,” said the Swiss.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/tennis/french-open-2014/top-stories/Nadal-favourite-for-Federer-not-Djokovic/articleshow/35608339.cms

 

Hello, friends. I am currently traveling to my new job in the north of Thailand and have some time here in Bangkok before my bus leaves, so I thought I’d make a post while I can. I have said for a while now that Djokovic is my favorite for the French Open, but after reading this statement from Roger I can’t be so sure anymore. When it comes to tennis Roger always seems to get things right, so I was not particularly happy about this statement from him. It made me think that I have been biased myself, and it made me realize how differently we fans think from the players themselves. It seems to me that Roger is not bothered much about what Nadal is doing. I think he is just focused on being the best he can be and winning another slam. What Nadal does is out of his control anyway.

If Nadal wins the French Open this year I feel like his chances increase drastically to catch Roger in slam titles won, as opposed to him not winning it. After the setback that was the Australian Open, winning the French Open would put Nadal right back on track in his hunt for Roger’s record. And it doesn’t seem like it bothers Roger much. Eric remarked that Roger might be playing mind games and is just putting the pressure on, Nadal. In my own opinion he is just being honest, although we can’t know for sure. But if you look at it logically then I guess he is right. Nadal has won the title 8/9 times now while Djokovic has never won it. I just felt that Nadal has looked more vulnerable than ever this year after what happened in Melbourne. Even during the clay court season. So if ever he was gonna get upset in Paris I felt it would be this year.

Even in 2009 when he lost to Soderling he still won Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Rome, and lost in the final of Madrid to Roger.  Also, I think the Djokodal rivalry is alternating in terms of dominance. Djokovic was utterly dominant in 2011, winning 7 straight matches. Then starting from the clay court season in 2012 until the US Open in 2013 Nadal was the dominant one, winning 6 of the next 7 matches between the two. Finally at Beijing last year the tide started turning again with Djokovic winning the last 4 meetings, including the last one in the final of Rome. So as far as the rivalry goes Djokovic is definitely the dominant one right now. It makes me think of 2011 where Djokodal was on course for a meeting in the French Open final, only for Roger to save Nadal’s ass.

I truly believe Djokovic would have beaten Nadal there given how he was utterly dominating Nadal. How ironic was that? After all the brutal losses Roger had suffered at the hands of Nadal he goes and saves him with a God-like performance in the semis, only to hand Nadal the title again in the final. Is Roger suffering from Stockholm syndrome? Unbelievable. And now he is once again supporting Nadal as far as naming a favorite goes. I’m not sure you can trust Roger in these matters anymore. I have always felt he has too much respect for Nadal and not enough for Djokovic. Nadal has always been much more of a threat to Roger than Djokovic, and in my opinion one of the reasons Nadal owns him is because Roger shows him so much respect. In doing so, Roger is basically telling Nadal that the gamesmanship and other nonsense is acceptable.

As far as I’m concerned his attitudes towards Nadal and Djokovic should be reversed. He should be friendly with Djokovic who is no direct threat to him. In fact, Djokovic could even be seen as an ally, given that he has stopped Nadal from winning 3 slams and a Masters Cup since 2011. He is actually preserving Roger’s slam record. As for Nadal Roger should treat him the way he has been treating Djokovic, with contempt and disrespect. But who am I to tell the GOAT what to do? I’m just a nobody sitting behind a keyboard. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything Roger says and does, however. And, in this case, I don’t agree with what he does or with what he is saying. My opinion remains intact. I still think if there was ever a year for Nadal to relinquish the French Open title to Djokovic it is this year.

I think Djokovic has come closer every year, he is currently in the dominant position as far as the rivalry goes, and I thought he did a tremendous job in how fast he got back to his very best after his wrist injury. He had Rome only to get back to form and he had to beat Nadal if he was gonna have any chance of winning in Paris. He fought through 3-setters in his last 4 matches against 4 extremely competent clay courters in Kohlschreiber, Ferrer, Raonic, and Nadal. And if you think Kohlschreiber doesn’t belong in that bracket; he just won the title in Dusseldorf on clay. I say it again: if ever Djokovic is going to win the French Open it is going to be this year. He will never be as ready as he is this year, and Nadal has never been as vulnerable for defeat as he is this year. Sorry Roger old sport, but I am going to disagree with you here.

I think calling Nadal the clear favorite for the French Open is your lack of respect for Djokovic talking. I also think you show Nadal too much respect. Anyway, we will find out who was right at the end of next week. I just have a feeling that this year will be the 2011 that should have happened but didn’t happen. That is what my gut feeling is telling me. I don’t think Roger can actually be objective when it comes to Nadal. He thinks with emotion instead of logic because that is what Nadal has done to Roger. He has made him emotional. But too much analysis won’t bring us anywhere. We will just have to see how things play out in the next 13 days. As far as yesterday’s action goes the big news was that Stan lost in 4 sets to Garcia-Lopez. It’s been disappointing from Stan since winning his first slam in Melbourne, aside from Monte Carlo of course.

You would have expected him to gain much confidence from winning his maiden slam title, but it’s been a bit of a struggle for him, even losing his Davis Cup match to Golubev. Then the two big title contenders Djokovic and Nadal was also in action. Nadal double bageled Ginepri, but that was expected given his opponent. Djokovic only managed to deliver one bakery product and it wasn’t a bagel, but he played a much more competent clay courter in Sousa. Apparently Djokovic could have closed it out earlier in the third set, but beating Sousa 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 is a good scoreline in my book. Nadal’s scoreline of 6-0, 6-3, 6-0 looks more impressive, but like I said his opponent was a joke. It is just first round after all. Tomorrow there will be none of the top 4 men seeds in action, which seems kinda strange.

Roger will only be in action again on Wednesday against Schwartzman, who I’ve never heard of previously. But like I said previously I expect a pretty easy match for Roger, which would serve him well as far as match practice goes. I start work again on Thursday so I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to watch Roger’s match or blog about it, but at the very least I would catch up again with you over the weekend. Just to finish this post off I want to get to the quote Roger made about Djokovic as well. It is not clear whether he was having a dig at the media or at Djokovic, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a dig at Djokovic. Historically he hasn’t been very respectful to Djokovic and have said things like that about him. If it was a dig at Djokovic I think it was a mistake and I hope Djokovic proves Roger wrong by winning the French Open this year.

Posted in French Open, Grand Slams.

53 Comments

  1. Hey Ruan, nice to see you posting regularly.
    I don’t think Roger’s opinion is either biased or shows too much respect for Nadal.
    I think he is honestly expressing his thoughts and also think he is right to the point.
    Rafa is the reigning champion and the fact that he is having a mediocre (by his standards) clay season doesn’t mean a lot,in my opinion. He has shown time and again so much resilience and self-belief in this event that NOT considering him the no 1 favorite shows disrespect and bias. And Nole is the clear No2 favorite, maybe close to Rafa but still behind him. After the 2012 and 2013 matches between those two guys, i don’t see why i should put my money to Nole.
    Granted he is closing and closing, but still we should pay Rafa his due however painful this might be.
    Sorry for the long post and good luck with the new job.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You could be right mvasil, but you could be wrong too ;-)

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  2. Another good analysis as usual. Echoing what the poster Eric commented in the last post, we visit this blog because there’s always an interesting angle and breakdown, both on the mental side and tennis-wise.

    I am disappointed that Federer was so dismissive about Djokovic’s injury. After all Federer was also injured (although to his credit he never really complained about it much, unlike the younger guys). Then again maybe he thinks he has not gotten credit for his victory over Djokovic in Monte Carlo due to the wrist injury?
    In any case, Fed is right, I think: Nadal has earned the right to be the favourite based on his ridiculous record in Paris. 8/9? Crazy.

    As Ruan says I think Federer’s opinion of the two should be reversed. If anything, I’ve come to respect Djokovic a lot over the last years. He seems genuinely relaxed out there, in comparison to Nadal’s constant grimacing and angry looking face on court. The way Djokovic shared a conversation with a ball boy yesterday was the kind of thing Federer would do. I also like how he said his priority would be his family now that he’s going to be a father – again a lot of like Federer. I doubt Uncle Toni will allow Nadal that for a few years yet.

    I have never completely understood Federer’s dislike for Djokovic relative to Nadal, although it’s been discussed many times…maybe he’s a bit jealous of that backhand that does not break down under Nadal’s loopy shots :-)

    Anyway we can only speculate of course. Some of us are in the weird position of almost wanting Djokovic to win a possible semifinal encounter (but I think if it actually happens, we will want fed to win regardless because of who he is and the style he plays).

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Cheers Bharata. I would think my angle is pretty unique given how long I’ve been involved in the game and to what extent, so thanks for noticing. Good comment. I don’t understand Roger’s dislike of Djokovic at all. I could understand it before 2011, but Djokovic clearly matured after that. Like you say he is much more like Fed than Nadal is, even playing style wise(more attacking and his strokes are more pleasing to watch). That bh is especially pleasing on the eye. But in a way he is also quite different from Roger. Roger bh and returns could be viewed as his weaknesses, while for Djokovic those are his strengths. If Djoker and Fed played each other I wouldn’t mind if Fed wins. In fact I would back Djokovic, as I have said before. I would hate for Nadal to cruise to another easy slam title.

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  3. Djokovic working the crowds. He keeps coming up with stuff that is either funny or unique. I can’t decide whether he is just trying to get people to like him or if he is just being himself. I’ve always though he is a nice guy. I know it’s not possible to post links in the comments section. You could post it if you want.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YskqvyX1W7M

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    Alex Reply:

    Well maybe it is possible to post video links in the comments. Anyway, also spot on with your new post. I’m not sure if Federer is trying to keep pressure on Nadal but I do agree with you he is too respectful of Nadal and should make friends with Djokovic.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Alex yeah the youtube links work, so don’t be afraid to post them. I don’t think he is trying to put pressure on Nadal either. For that he is way too respectful towards Nadal.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good stuff Alex. I like Djokovic. Not as much as Roger of course but he has a funny personality and I like his tennis too. In a way he is Roger’s successor to me. I was immediately impressed with him back in 2007 when he beat Roger’s in the final of the Canada masters. I knew this was a special talent, but it took much longer for him to mature than I thought it would. Now that he has, he is one formidable tennis player who I believe have the talent and self belief to upset Nadal at the French this year.

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    Alex Reply:

    Indeed, I also remember back then when I hadn’t warmed up to Djokovic yet, I watched him play and I thought to myself, hold on, Nadal may actually burn himself out but Djokovic could end up being a bigger threat to Roger’s legacy than Nadal. Now though, after what Djokovic has done to Nadal I wouldn’t even care if Djokovic was the one to get more slams than Federer. It still would be better if Federer was not surpassed but I would much rather prefer Djoko to Nadal. Nadal surpassing Federer would be the worst for me as a tennis fan.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Right Alex, if anyone has to surpass Fed then let it be Djokovic. But preferably no one from Fed’s own generation must do it. That would be too soon.

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  4. Federer back in the day: “You know I don’t trust his injuries, no it’s not funny, I mean I’m serious, and I think that he’s a joke when he comes down to these injuries. The rules are there to be used but not abused and that’s what he’s been doing many times. That’s why I wasn’t happy to see him doing that and then running around like a rabbit again.

    Fed probably still thinks about djokovic the same. Their issues between federer family and djokovic family.

    On the other hand, nadal always downplays himself, says federer is better than him. Look at his titles i’m not much compared to him.

    Hence federer likes nadal and not djokovic.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah Djokovic is not the same he was back then. That is pretty obvious. And it looks like Fed’s respect for him has increased of late. But that may be just on the surface. If Roger is still hanging on to the past he should let go of it and give Djokovic his due respect. He’s earned it by now.

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  5. I think wonderful tennis player that Novak is, he seems to have to work hard to make himself popular. It doesn’t take much for him to have a go at the
    tennis fans, as we have seen in Madrid and the US open. Roger not the only one in the past to wonder at Novak’s injuries…Andy Roddick’s post match interview a case in point. Also ‘THE KING IS DEAD’ jibe attributed to Novak’s Mother must have left a lasting impression on Fed. Of course all this nitpicking sells stories! As for the French Open I would love for Nadal to lose but I wouldn’t put money on it.

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  6. Roger had better not pull another 2011 on us. Nothing more sickening than watching Roger do his best to beat Novak in an exhausting semi final while Dull is fresh as a daisy in the final after a series of byes, walkovers and nobody opponents putting up no fight at all. If Roger is just going to knock out Djoker and go to sleep in the final as he usually does Id rather he get to the semi, take his points and withdraw citing fatigue, leaving Djoker fresh to protect the slam record and dent Dulls confidence more. Roger can then hopefully go win Halle/Wimby and Cincy/USO and put the record out of dulls reach for good!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Agreed Killian. I’d be pissed even if Roger just tires Djokovic out before a final with Nadal. A repeat of the 2012 semis would be good. If Roger makes FO semis I’m happy. I don’t care if he then gets destroyed by Djokovic.

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    Killian Reply:

    The ideal situation of course is Nadull ousted before the semi. Then we could fully root for Roger. However, much as I hate to say it, even if Rog is the first semi with Djoker, nd Dull plays the second semi, its probably still better for Roger to lose. I dont want to see Roger beat Novak unless the final is free of Dull…. Roger will try his hardest either way to beat Djoker, whereas he should be more strategic about when he beats him :-(

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    Alex Reply:

    Exactly. And Unfortunately it looks like Roger will play the first semi (should he get there). If Dull hasn’t been knocked out by then, then Roger should assume that Nadal will make it to the final and let Djokovic win. However all this talk is premature as we really don’t know if any of these people will be in the semi’s in the first place. Lets not jinx things. Hoping as always for an early exit for Nadal.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes it would be nice if there was no dull in the final and Djokerer could just give us another epic, but I think if Nadal is even just in the other semi then there may be another sub-conscious tank from Fed, like what seemed to be the case in 2012. I don’t think Fed feels like yet another loss to Nadal in the FO final after 2011, and he sub-consciously knows he is not beating Nadal there. If Nadal makes semis he is not losing before the final anyway. Who will stop him? Murray? LOL.

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    Killian Reply:

    Unfortunately cant see Dull getting upset before the final at all. Is it just me or has he become immune to injury? Hes nearing 28 yet is probably better physically than ever. He hasnt had a knee injury in ages, the back injury cleared up in no time….. For someone who has such a physical style of play its surprising that his body hasnt given out yet. With ferrer still going at 32 and Dull obviously better than ferrer, its scarily possible that Dull might be still doing damage in his 30s :-(

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah it’s crazy. No limits for modern medicine ;-) Dull might get upset by Ferrer though. Who knows.

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  7. Hi Ru-an,
    I think there are pre-draws favourites & then, there are post-draws favourites. The pre-draw favourite this year was definitely Djokovic (just like in 2011). However, I feel the post-draw favourite is actually Nadal, simply because there is a high probability of Roger again defeating Djokovic in the SFs. Djokovic may have the game to beat Nadal, but can he get past Roger 1st… That’s the ultimate question.
    Also, I kind of disagree with your views wherein you sometimes seem to suggest that Roger would do the right thing by losing a match. You 1st suggested this is 2010 US Open, when Roger lost to Djokovic in the SFs && you wrote a post that Roger did the right thing because he avoided playing (& eventually losing) to Nadal in the finals. And again over here, you keep insisting that Roger made a mistake by defeating Djokovic in 2011 French Open SFs & fear that he may make the same mistake again this year!
    Let me tell you one thing Ru-an: As a true Fed fan, I would rather see him trying & fighting till the end rather than losing deliberately. Roger should not be concerned about how many GS titles will Nadal/Djokovic/ xyz eventually win, but he should rather be looking at how many GS titles he himself can win. Because if Roger was playing just to preserve his records, he could have always trimmed down his schedule drastically & only relied on luckier draws. But as I understand, ROGER IS ONLY PLAYING FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME & he is the hunger to try and win every tournament he enters. This is the right mindset. And for that, you need to keep giving yourself the opportunity after opportunity to reach the final. Eventually, you will win!!

    Stan hadn’t won a set against Rafa before the AUS Open final. Does that mean he should have deliberately lost in the Semis or even before that??? Give me a break! Stan was playing great, Rafa got injured? , etc. But Stan won, because he gave himself a shot at the title. So, from my perspective, Roger should also aim for the same. Try his best in every match & try to reach the final here too, even if its Rafa who’s waiting.

    And please don’t be too sympathetic towards Djokovic. He had his best chance last year. He was a break up in the 5th set against Rafa in the SFs, but still lost, knowing very well that he can easily school Ferrer/Tsonga in the final. He didn’t take his chance & eventually paid.

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  8. Leaving aside the questions of gamesmanship and excessive respect (and those are very worthy topics of course), I think that whoever is favored to win RG, it’s pretty close.

    I certainly would have picked Djokovic to win RG before Nadal played himself into shape in Rome, beating Murray and others in such a way as to pick up some confidence to carry to RG. I didn’t see the match with Murray, but all accounts I read described it as an excellent match, and it was probably exactly what Nadal needed to improve his confidence before RG.

    Even losing to Djokovic in the final, Nadal probably improved his fitness by fighting through some long matches. As Roger said, “He’s played the matches he needs to play.” So even the loss to Djokovic could turn out to be a good think for Nadal (dammit!), who is definitely back to dangerous beast-mode now, even if he’s not as dangerous as he’s been in past years.

    But Djokovic can still beat him if he is 100%. Ruan and Roger are far too knowledgeable for me to know who’s more right in this case, but I think both are very right.

    So although this one is definitely too close for me to call, I still think it will come down to who keeps his head AND HEART the best during their (still hypothetical) match. If Roger is not in the final (and I’m never going to overlook the effects of the Katanyi Factor!), then I think the lessons Djokovic should have learned from last year’s very close semi-final match with Nadal should be enough to carry him to the finish line this year.

    But anyway … Go Roger! And only if not…. then Go Duh-Joker!

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    Go Roger! And only if not…. then Go Duh-Joker!

    My sentiment exactly!!!!

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  9. There is also another element which not many people mention and that is because of its unpredictability and that is the weather on any given day, especially on clay courts. When watching the Rome final between Nadal and Djoko I felt that the match was played at a time when it started off with slightly windy conditions which I thought would benefit Nadal. For some reason windy conditions seem to favour Nadal’s game (probably because of his low risk grinding game playing the percentages). Anyway as the match went on, the conditions became absolutely perfect, the wind had settled and it was from what I could tell comfortable weather. This seemed to favour Djokovic. Of course, don’t get me wrong, there are so many different factors other than the weather, like momentum shifts, mentality going into a match vs being deep into a match and many others. If weather was the only factor then we might as well just pack up and go home. I just thought if it’s windy again like it was last year when djoko and nadal faced off at roland garros then this would not be the most favourable for Djokovic.

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  10. Ruan, I think Roger dislikes the Joker because he can’t forget how disrespectful the Serb and his camp were to him back in 2010-11 as Novak was rising to his prime level. And I totally agree with Fed’s feelings. I remember well the catcalls from Novak’s entourage during his Australian match with Roger at that time, a match the Serb won on his way to the title. The trash talk was so bad that Roger even complained to the umpire about it, who agreed and asked for silence from that box. Now add all of Novak’s chest thumping as he climbed the rankings, and his smug, belittling attitude toward Roger, and his condescending words during interviews, where he constantly minimized Federer’s amazing achievements… well, is it any wonder that Roger still feels the sting of those slights four years later?… So don’t be surprised if the Maestro comes out swinging if they meet in the semis, even if The Grinder of Grinders is looming in the Finals. I really don’t think Roger cares that much about any awaiting fate with Nadal. He just badly wants to spank the Serb’s ass, and I for one will be cheering him on.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Ha interesting comment Balthazar. I definitely get what you are saying. I guess there are two sides to every story. I’m just sick of Fedal matches. Who wants to see another beat down like at the AO? But in Paris we could have something like the 2008 final again. It could get very ugly.

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  11. Hey Ruan,

    Do you think a Fedal match would go down this year the way it did in the Paris 2008 final?

    I hope it wouldn’t! I hope Roger is still improving some techniques with his new racquet, has a better mindset, has learned a few things about Nadal, etc.

    :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Who knows Joe. You saw what happened at the AO. I don’t think Fedal will face off.

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  12. Hey Ru-an. What do you think is going on with Dimitrov’s development? He’s got so many beautiful parts of his game but can’t seem to consistently put them together. I like him and have had high hopes for a while now but am surprised by his recent loses. Granted, Ivo is a dangerous and weird guy to play, but I thought Grigor would handle him much better than he did. Thanks.

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    Eric Reply:

    I didn’t get to see the match but seems like Ivo just didn’t give him anything to work with. Nice attitude in hi press conference here.

    http://tennis.si.com/2014/05/27/grigor-dimitrov-loses-to-ivo-karlovic-french-open-round-one/

    I really like this guy and would love to see him step up and start challenging the big guys. Do you think he’s a future top fiver?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah I was as surprised by the loss as you Eric. I think he’s a future top fiver yes. It’s all down to him what he will be though. Gotta work hard and be dedicated. The talent is there.

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  13. Anyone see Feds match? How was he looking?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I watched Eric. He was good. Schwartzman was quite impressive. I will try to make a post tomorrow after work. Take care.

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  14. Great news. Both that he played well and that you got to watch. btw, when you say you’re up north now, is that Chaing Mai?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I’m close to Chiang Mai now yes! About a 2.5 hours drive. Looking forward to explore it. People keep telling me it’s the best place in Thailand!

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    Eric Reply:

    Would be great if you could live there instead of Bangkok, which is very hardcore. If you go to the magnificent mountaintop temple I once mentioned in doi suthrep, near Chiang Mai, I have a favor to ask of you.

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  15. Ru-an, sorry the coaching thing didn’t work out. I’m sure other opportunities will come your way, though.

    I choose to look at Federer’s victory over Djokovic at RG 2011 in a more positive way than you said in your post—I think Federer did it for himself. Being a great champion, he wants the glory of beating Nadal at RG for himself, and he stopped Djokovic from taking that glory away from him.

    Djokovic has to make it to the final first. If he does, I’d say he’s got a slight edge over Nadal, but until then it’s a moot point. Even then there’s no guarantee that he would beat Nadal—despite having pantsed the Beast at MC, Djokovic choked last year despite being a break up in the fifth set. Who’s to say he won’t do the same if he plays Nadal again? He hasn’t beaten Nadal in a major for over two years despite numerous victories in best-of-three, and he’s lost all but one of his last five major finals.

    There’s another factor to consider. Djokovic would be facing two opponents in the final: Nadal and his burning desire to complete the Career Slam. If he only had to deal with one or the other, it would be hard enough. But both at the same time is an immeasurably tougher proposition; it proved too much for Federer three times in a row. Are we really so sure the Serb wouldn’t buckle under the pressure?

    Having already completed the Career Slam, Federer would only be facing Nadal, and could concentrate on the tennis. The pressure would be far less; no one expects him to win.

    Sameer makes good points. If Federer is hoping for someone else to bail him out of his tennis challenges, then he ought to retire. That’s no way for a champion to think.

    Also it’s foolish to throw away chances to win. If you’ve worked hard enough to make the final four and only one man is standing between you and a shot at the title, why on earth would you deliberately pack it in? Grand Slams don’t grow on trees, not even for Roger Federer. He’s not so good that he can afford to spurn a chance at another one.

    Federer has already won enough titles for any ten players. So what if Nadal wins more? Let him run himself silly trying to chase down the record. Much good may it do him! He’ll still be a vacuous, miserable shell of a human being no matter how many shiny trophies they hand him or how much sycophantic ex-champs like McEnroe and Wilander gush.

    The beauty and creativity of Federer’s game are their own reward; the memories of his great victories and how he achieved them are what is most precious. The fact that someone else might have a few more victories doesn’t bother me very much.

    If he meets Djokovic, I want him to give his all to make a sixth final in Paris. Then I want him to give his all to down Nadal and we’ll see who the better player is on the day. If he loses, he loses. But if he wins, he wins. And boy does he win!

    So many people insist they know for sure what the outcome will be if Federer meets Nadal, but they don’t. No one knows. That’s why they play the matches.

    I’m a bit shocked at how many of Federer’s fans have written him off for dead in this tournament. At least give him a chance!

    [Reply]

    rahan Reply:

    LIKED it !

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    Dolores Reply:

    Hi Steve, like your comment very much, agree with you wholeheartedly should Roger be in the Final facing Nadal. If he is, he has earned it to be there. Your last paragraph says it all…beautifully and well stated, agreed.
    Best,
    Dolores

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  16. Steve, there’s a few bits in there I might argue with but I sure agree with you on this: “If he meets Djokovic, I want him to give his all to make a sixth final in Paris. Then I want him to give his all to down Nadal and we’ll see who the better player is on the day. If he loses, he loses. But if he wins, he wins. And boy does he win!?”

    The funny thing about all this is that logically I agree w Ru-an that I would prefer Djoko beating Nadal to Fed beating Djoko and losing to Nadal, but it just feels wrong to wish for that and I can’t do it. And I really like Djoko!!! Crazy. I think it’s so improbable that Fed will win this but it will be the greatest victory of all if he does. Allez!!!!!!!

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  17. Here’s a stat that Federer achieved today with his victory that we can all cheer and be proud of: he is the first man in tennis history to win at least 60 matches in all four majors! What a testament to his consistency, and yes, and to his Iron Will.

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    Alex Reply:

    That’s actually a really good stat.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Impressive Balthazar! The man breaks a record every other day and not many even raise an eyebrow! I always say Ppl may only finally appreciate and fully comprehend what Roger Federer has achieved and done for tennis ( and beyond) when he retires. And when that day comes, it is only fitting that the farewell should last a year to see off the greatest player who ever picked up a racket!!

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  18. Djoko is a good guy and I like him too. He seems objective, modest, and focused. I don’t think he’ll ever match Roger’s slam total because he’s too old, and basically had to deal with Roger and Nadal when he was coming up. But unlike Nadal he’s very consistent, and I was concerned that he might match one of Roger’s other records – consecutive semis (=23) until Stan bounced him at 14 at the AO this year.

    Nadal is a great competitor whom I don’t really like, although he has a lot of good qualities too. I’m not sure he’ll catch Roger’s slam total but there’s a very good chance he will. I think he would do a lot to achieve that. Even things Ruan has cautioned us about mentioning too explicitly (Sorry, Ruan!).

    Until a year or two ago (say, 2012 Wimbledon, although I could be wrong slightly about the date) Roger had as many slams as Djokovic, Nadal, and Murray combined, which is an incredible measure of his greatness during what I think is the most competitive era in tennis history.

    But Roger’s greatness just can’t be measured by his slam total, any more than it can be defined by his incredible consistency. Nevertheless, for me it would be just fine if these guys couldn’t catch him in either category.

    And I don’t think Roger’s done winning slams either – although that may the part of this post I’m actually least certain about. But it’s also the part I wish for the most, because I know another would mean so much to him. For Roger’s sake, not mine.

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  19. Great views expressed here, guys! Would really love to get into the discussion but really busy ATM. Schwartzman was quite a handful for Roger last night! Had him pinned to the baseline and it was Roger’s serve that won him the match more than his play, I thought, although he defended really well and was great at the net. Gotta step it up more. Tursonov is another big hitter. And what is Thiem doing playing Nadal 10 feet behind the baseline??!! Who is his coach?!! Such a waste, all that power and great play!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi folks I don’t have time for a post today. Maybe not even for responding to comments. First day at my new job and things are too hectic. I’ll catch up with you tomorrow.

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    eric Reply:

    Do what ya gotta do, brother!!

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    steve Reply:

    Good luck, Ru-an!

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    Veronica Reply:

    No worries, Ru-an! Happy teaching and we look forward to hear from you! Hope you can watch Roger tonight!

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  20. I think (hope) that Schwartzman was a good opportunity for Roger to keep playing himself into shape, which of course he’s still trying to do.

    I also think this match was a chance for Roger to play out of his comfort zone, and that can be invaluable too. It looked like he had a lot of opportunities to do that last night!
    :-)

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  21. I think you’re right Veronica, nice workout for fed. I’d still like to see more depth on his shots and fewer errors but he’s definitely playing himself into shape and hopefully peaks when he needs it. One thing I really didn’t give any consideration to but am starting to think about is Murray helping us out. He’s looking better and better every match. But the thing I’m really curious about is … Where’s my buddy Katyani????

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  22. Yes Eric, Joe, Roger was challenged and I think it is only good. Forces him to get match tough faster! He said in his presser that he couldn’t relax the whole match as Swartzman was dangerous (which was good to hear as Roger sometimes tended to under estimate and being too relaxed with lesser players) He was verbally irritated with his own errors too, which I hope meant he wanted it so bad! And yes, Eric, I want to see more depth too; as I’ve mentioned before, he does often look lightweight and oddly out of place with today’s players who are all power and machine like! Did you see Thiem last night? Where does he get his power?!!! Seems such a lean fella but gosh, the power was scary! I think Katyani is preoccupied constantly having to adjust her crystal ball as Nadal looms larger and larger in sight! Haha! She actually left some comments but there were probs and they didn’t appear. And you just maybe right about Murray. I’ve been thinking about him too. Let’s hope he gets there. But it is looking more and more like another opening of the Red Sea for the Spanish Bull. Ugh! Anyway, C’mon Roger!

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