Nadal Flattens Anderson, Kyrgios Eliminates Federer’s Conqueror

So it was a pretty interesting day’s tennis as I expected. First Nadal flattened Anderson which was easy to call and then Kyrgios did what Roger could not do, which was to come back from two sets to love down, win the fourth set tie-break, and progress to the next round. Berdych also defeated Tomic in the mean time, but I wasn’t very interested in what went on there. Whoever won was likely gonna lose to Nadal and I didn’t think it would make for interesting tennis anyway. Berdych won comfortably in straight sets only going to one tie-break. He will now in turn get destroyed by Nadal in straight sets or win a set if Nadal plays as badly as he did against Anderson. Nadal was out of sorts, but even that was good enough to beat Anderchoker 7-5, 6-1, 6-4. At 5-5 Nadal went down 0-40 on his serve. Anderson choked away five break points and after that it was one-way traffic.

Nadal just played the percentages and Anderson self-destructed. Shocking performance from the South-African but expected. So like I said Nadal now plays his bitch Birdshit who is on the verge of losing a record 18th straight match to his master. And I can’t think of a more deserving player of that dubious honor, so I am very much looking forward to that match. Nadal is likely to raise his level from the Anderson match too in which case we could see another beat down as well. In the semis, Nadal will face the winner of Kyrgios or Murray, who just defeated Dimitrov 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5 in a reasonably interesting match. The honor of match of the day belonged to Seppi and Kyrgios though. With the Australian crowd behind Kyrgios, it turned into a Davis Cup atmosphere. Where Roger choked against Seppi in the fourth set breaker, Kyrgios was clutch and I’m sure much missed Aussie member of this blog Veronica would have been delighted.

She may even have been there. Anyway when Kyrgios got the break in the decider it looked like he would win the match for sure but then there was more drama as Seppi broke back. In the end, Kyrgios and the crowd had the last say however as Kyrgios ran out a 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5), 8-6 winner. He fell on the ground holding his head with the Aussie crowd in ecstasy. Finally, they have an Australian player to be genuinely excited about after Hewitt and the disappointment of Tomic. I mean he is the real deal and I like him. He is pretty cocky, but I do like his game. You can never go wrong with a big serve and a big forehand, but what I like most about him is his mental fortitude. He is a big time player as he already showed when he defeated Nadal at Wimbledon last year, and that at 18 years of age. Very impressive indeed. Can he go a couple of steps further now by making the final?

I think that is a tough ask. Going one step further by beating Murray will be tough enough. I think he can do it but beating Nadal is unlikely. It would be his first slam semi against a veteran in the area and Nadal almost never gets upset by the same player consecutively. But like I said Kyrgios will have his hands full with Murray. I don’t think anyone is stopping Nadal before the final. Murray has lost seven of their last eight matches and trails Nadal 2-7 in slams. Depending on who Nadal faces in the final he could even win the title and complete his second career slam. I don’t think he is ready to beat Djokovic but if Stan takes him out again then Nadal could get revenge for last year in the final. I realize I am looking way ahead now, but such a scenario is not impossible given Nadal’s luck(or Stan’s ability to spoil things if you want to call it that). Personally I’d love another Djokodal final where Djokovic wins again but we can’t always get what we want.

Tomorrow it is the top half’s turn to complete their fourth round matches which should be another interesting day’s tennis. I guess the higher seeds are all favorites to win their matches but who knows. The Nishikori/Ferrer and Raonic/Lopez matches could get interesting, but surely Djoker and Stan will win. A semi-final which would be interesting is Djoker vs Nishikori, but we are not there yet. Mind you Nishikori himself could possibly upset Djokovic like he did at the US Open, but Djokovic is still the favorite for me to make the final. He did well to defeat Verdasco in straight sets in the last round. He now plays Muller which could get ugly for Muller. Finally, I want to thank the commenters who have stayed optimistic and interested in the tennis after Roger’s departure. We have already had some great discussions and I hope that will continue.

Posted in Australian Open, Grand Slams.

117 Comments

  1. “Nadal now plays his bitch Birdshit”

    hahaha, that was a hilarious line, thank you for including that. :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey man good to see you are still around after 6 years ;-)

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  2. The only player that has challenged tfa has been a qualifier. icon_eek.gif He is playing like a challenger level player, it’s just that his opponents have been that much worse. Honestly a healthy Kyrgios should be able to beat this guy. Murray (as long as his next match isn’t a marathon) should also crush him. Too bad these two are out to eliminate each other. I wish tfa was playing Kyrgios next and then Murray. But of course he has the draw gods on his side.As always. And don’t tell me the draws aren’t fixed. I know. I know. He’s just a really lucky guy.lol

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  3. Hi Ru-an,
    Nishikori and Stan are in the same quarter and could meet in QF and not in SF. So Djokovic has just to beat one of them.
    Have you guys seen Kyrgios as a kid? :-) http://resources3.news.com.au/images/2014/07/02/1226975/098187-00ccaa6c-0185-11e4-9138-9da47e60188f.jpg

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks for the correction Florian. Was just a typo which I changed now. I meant a Djokovic vs Kei SF would be interesting. I saw that picture on twitter but never bothered to read the caption. Who would have thought that kind would go on to beat Nadal at Wimbledon?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Dimitrov is now even trying to copy Fed in the racquet smash department http://ftw.usatoday.com/?attachment_id=441395

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    Dolores Reply:

    Ru-an, am a bit annoyed with your statement about Dimitrov copying Roger’s racquet smash department.
    So Roger smashes racquets regularly???
    Best,
    Dolores

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    Florian Reply:

    I also think Kyrgios will be the next number one in the long run. It’s really impressive how he plays at the big tournaments at his 19 years of age. This becomes even more impressive if one considers that he has only won 1 single match on ATP level apart from his Grand Slam wins.
    http://www.tennisabstract.com/cgi-bin/player.cgi?p=NickKyrgios

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    Florian Reply:

    Sorry, Dolores!
    This shouldn’t be a reply to your question.
    But…Roger was a hothead as a junior and a young professional. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/10/sports/tennis/10federer.html?_r=0
    All the best, Florian

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    Dolores Reply:

    Florian, Thank you so much for the article you quoted which I just read. I knew of some of his temper tantrums back in his younger years he had but not to the extent quoted in the article.
    My apologies to Ru-an, hope he will forgive me. My reaction was a bit hasty as I have been reading so much negativity on Roger and his game at the AO. Did not think he deserved all the negative remarks for all Roger has accomplished in his still young tennis life. 33 maybe old for tennis bus 33 is still very young. Am still hopeful for Roger to win another GS, hope shall never die!
    Thank you, again, Florian.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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    Katyani Reply:

    Don’t worry sweet Dolores. Roger is down, but not out. Nothing is wrong. He just needs to realise that he is the Goat of scheduling and for God sake, he needs to be more selfish and listen to his body. He needs to stop doing ALL these millions activities for the tour directors. And just like ALL the other top players, only practise and play. Nothing more. He and his body need rest !!!

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  4. Ru-an, I have a question for you. This may sound absolutely silly. But suppose a miracle happens and berdych ends up beating nadal. What will be your impression about berdych then?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    My impression of Berdych won’t change. It would be due to Nadal’s poor play. Mind you it’s not out of the question with how poor Nadal has played. But Berdych would choke it away even if he was two sets to love and a break up.

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  5. C’mon Ru-an, how about just a teeny weeny little more love for my boy Dimitrov. He’s a damn good tennis player and really still improving every year. Yes, he’s styled his game after the GOAT… but can you blame him?? His problem is that at 24 already, he’s still a boy, not yet a man. But Rasheed is working on that and he’s inching forward. I’m not saying he’s the next coming or anything, but I believe the guy has a GS or 2 in him when he finally comes into his own. And winning a GS these days is a damn hard thing to do. On other fronts, I also wouldn’t rule out Nadal winning this event if his INCREDIBLE LUCK continues and the unlikely occurs with Djoko losing before they meet. Nadal is so damn clutch when it matters that he really doesn’t have to be at his best to beat just about everyone out there – he manages to get there on the points that matter most – gotta take my hat off to him on that. But anyway, I don’t think that happens but I do think Nadal makes it all the way to the final and then gets disfuckingmantled by Djoko – like crying to his mommy, peeing in his shorts, humiliated. At least that’s what this guy would like to see. Cheers Ru-an, you’re a champ for keeping up the posts despite Feds exit. Thank you!!

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Eric, I hope the Tennis Gods are not that cruel that they would have Stefan Edberg (Roger’s coach) hand over the AO trophy to Rafa !!!

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    eric Reply:

    Oh man, that would be cruel, indeed!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Brutal. And knowing Nadal it will probably happen too.

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  6. First off, I wouldn’t assume the Berdych will choke. He has a new coach, is playing very relaxed and hasn’t even been pushed. Ok now that for sure he would have beaten Roger playing the way he is playing. Obviously, losing to Nadal 17 times in a row is utter embarrassment but so was Seppi losing 10 straight to Roger and we know what happened.

    I give him a shot. As we have seen Nadal ALWAYS gives you chances. He’s not an unbeatable machine. The key is to be CLUTCH and take those opportunities, if you do that, and withstand the onslaught that comes shortly after, you are with a great shot. Berdych serving this tournament from the Stat department has been lights out. So I exkect a lot from Berdych.

    In any case, the other QF between Murray and Kyrgios will be very interesting as well.

    I know about Kyrgios being 19 years old but even I am worried about how much more is left in the tank. The guy is a monster when on and his clutch is almost like no other. But I just don’t know.

    I’d say that Nadal has a tough road ahead though.

    First, he has to beat Birdman. Then potentially Murray/ Kyrgios (each of which have beaten Nadal in a best of 5 before). Murray even has a personal vendetta of sorts as well after being schooled in the French Open. He also beat Nadal in Abu Dhabi as well. He should be fresher than Kyrgios but if Kyrgios somehow takes him out, I’m all for it to destroy Nadull as well.

    On the other side of the draw obviously Djokovic can beat Nadal but as I stated before I’d rather see Kei in the final (big gamble – I know) but Kei has also played very well against Nadal. He was schooling him in Madrid like Nadal has NEVER been schooled in his life on clay… But then he got injured.

    So, we have to see. You know that Kei recently made a Slam Final. He is hungry as well so it will be very very interesting. After the Roger loss, I am all for Nadal losing and them Djokovic losing as well. It would be the best. Hopefully, it can happen!

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    eric Reply:

    Vily, I just have to go back to your comments about it being all fatigue and not mental and answer with this. On 2 of the absolute biggest points of the match, Fed didn’t even try to make the volley, he just let it go by and land in. Match point was one of them and I believe the earlier was a set point. That’s not tired, that’s defeated.

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    Eric Reply:

    And by the way, you can go back and look, I was the first one to say flying around the planet doing silly moneymakers was a big mistake. I hated his schedule and said so. But that doesn’t nearly completely explain his performance against Seppi.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Eric and Vily, I honestly don’t think Roger does do all that for money. Ofcourse he doesn’t get out of bed for free, but he has so much money and his parents have always kept him grounded. He doesn’t do all these things for money, but in my opinion for one thing and one thing only: adulation. I honestly believe he is “hooked” on the kind of adulation he is getting. I don’t think he can be without that. Roger playing in one of the small courts with a few crowd…. no… that wil be the “end” of his career.
    That is why he does all the exho. He loves beeing popular. Even if that means getting tired over it and doing stuff he should not have done.
    I mean, come on, Kids Day everywhere year in year out, Andy is never there, Rafa is never there, Stan is never there, Novak once in a while, but who is always there?? Roger. Those are the things he should do less. Thank God he already stopped beeing the Council President.

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    eric Reply:

    I absolutely agree. It’s about being loved by people everywhere, not the money. Totally agree.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Eric, I don’t know if you are beeing sarcastic :-) But let me clarify. Even the great Goat doesn’t do anything for free, but money… nah… he doesn’t “need” that that much.

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    Eric Reply:

    Nope, not being sarcastic, I completely agree w you! I think it’s a huge mistake but I don’t think it’s for the money either. You are absolutely right, he’s become an adulation whore – hehe. :-) . I’d rather him hold off the victory tours for a couple of years, win 2 more grand slams and be the undisputed goat for the rest of his life, silly me.

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    eric Reply:

    But honestly I also really do appreciate that it’s not about what I want. Mr Federer has FULLY EARNED the right to do whatever the hell makes HIM happy.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Oh my God, Eric, did you just call my hero, the love of my life, “an adulation whore”?? Watch it dude, you don’t want to see me mad :-) :-)
    #fedfanforlife
    #cannothearanythingbadaboutthefed :-) :-)

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    Eric Reply:

    haha, yes, but the difference is you know how much I love him too. He just tried something different with his schedule to be able to participate in some fun stuff, and really f’d up his chances at a rare winnable slam. And that bums me out.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    It’s just another way of stating the truth Kat. It’s obvious that he finds the adulation very addictive and pleasing. But fame does that to most people.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Are you saying the fame went to his head? Judging from his record against Nadal, who has a lot less talent than him, it might have. We can criticize Nadal for many things but he never became arrogant or complacent. He was always working to improve. He never assumed he was unbeatable by anyone.

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    Eric Reply:

    I would say yes in one sense. He loves to be loved. But I think all stars let it get to them eventually, most much worse than Roger. But I don’t think the head to head or comparison to Nadal is about that. Fed is just a completely different animal from a different world. He never has and never will be willing to suffer to win the way Nadal is. He’s Swiss, upper class, dignified, proud and probably thinks it’s ridiculous to suffer to win. It’s just a completely different mentality.

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    Eric Reply:

    I said it a long time ago, but I’ll say it again. I’d much rather watch Roger play and root for him. I’d much rather have dinner with him. But if I had to choose one of them to play for my life, it would be Rafa 100 percent. He plays like his life depends on winning and Roger doesn’t. And in tennis and in life that is very often more important than talent.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah you summed it up well. Problem is for Nadal winning seems too important, the way it is in the world too. People destroy the planet and each other in the name of winning. This is the mindset that causes immeasurable suffering and destruction, and can soon cause the end of the world as we know it. It is primitive and uncivilized. Winning should never be so important that you cause suffering for others and destroy the planet.

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    Eric Reply:

    This is the true blessing / curse of humanity. It’s why we rule the planet and are the cancer of it that is on course to destroy it. My primitive instincts want Roger to be enough of an animal to beat Rafa, to always win. But in truth it’s beautiful that Roger is not that. The Swiss have a remarkable balance that few do. They, and he, are perfectionists for excellence, but they and he don’t destroy all in their path to win. Yes, they have UBS and chemical companies that ravage but in general they have figured out and maintain a pretty fantastic balance. That is why I spend more and more of my life there, married a Swiss, and love Roger Federer, even if he can’t slay the beast. Life is art, beauty, nature, love… And succeeding too, but definitely not just winning.

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    Jiten Reply:

    Life is definitely not just whining (a la you know who) as well! :-) :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Reminds me of that quote by Einstein: “With fame I become more and more stupid, which of course is a very common phenomenon”. And I totally get what you say about the Swiss vs Spanish mentality.

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    eric Reply:

    Haha, that’s great. Guess where that smart man was smart enough to move to and make his home???

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    David C. Reply:

    I think we underestimate Roger’s desire to compete, to win and to improve. He wouldn’t have gone out to hire Annacone in 2010 and now Edberg along with switching to a bigger racquet if he doesn’t have a burning desire to win. It’s just with his age and his already well fine tuned game, any improvement for Roger will be difficult and perhaps not easily perceivable. I think Roger always know he is not invincible, that’s why he is doing these things.

    On the other hand, while Nadal has unquestionable desire to win, I am not sure this narrative of him constantly working and actually improving his game is true. His game pretty much peaked at around 2008-2010. Sure, he makes changes to his strategy from time to time in order to defeat his opponents, but most top players will do that as well. What I am suggesting is that most great players will try to improve as their career progress, but eventually there is a ceiling to their improvement. The same is true with Nadal. If Rafa can stay at the age of 24 for another 20 years, he is still not going to serve like Sampras and volley like Edberg. EVERY player has their ceilings, no one is exception to it.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t believe in ceilings. There will always be things to improve in tennis. You can never be the complete player and regardless of your potential you can always improve, whether it be mental, physical, tactical, or technical aspects of your game. Nadal has for instance relatively recently adjusted his game to suit hard courts more by playing more offensive tennis, and that has allowed him to improve his results on the surface a lot.
    As for Roger’s desire to compete and improve his game I totally agree. He has made many improvements of late but the problem is it all came to naught as soon as Nadal appeared on the horizon.

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    David C. Reply:

    Ru-an,

    I think we disagree somewhat then. For I do believe in ceilings. Even with Roger’s talent and desire to improve, he is still never going to be able to volley on a constant basis like his current coach or Mcenroe. The same is true with Nadal.

    As for Nadal playing offensive tennis, he has been doing that since at the latest, 2010. We can all recall his big 1st serves at U.S Open that year (117+ mph throughout the tournament) and also at Wimbledon (114+). Nadal has also been hitting big ground strokes over the years, both finals of USO 11 and AO 12 are testaments to that (despite losing both times). Therefore, I doubt it’s a recent thing that Rafa started to attack more instead of relying on his superb defensive skills.

    I also don’t think Roger’s improvement comes to naught when he is facing Nadal. The problem has always been a issue of match-up. Unless Roger totally restructures his backhand, I am not sure he can fully counter Nadal. Of course, it is way too late for that to happen now. Nonetheless, one can always hope that should the 2 of them meet in a future slam, our man will prevail. I fully recognize faith is both a wonderful and a terrible thing. But we shall see.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    So you think a player can reach a point where they can’t improve in either physicality, mentality, skill, tactics, or technique? If so please site an example.

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    David C. Reply:

    The volley example given above is one. If a player can constantly improve as long as he or she works extremely hard, then any player can eventually reach the level of a Edberg or Mcenroe. But in reality, this is not the case. In fact, one can say that in theory both Edberg and Mac can still improve on their volleys. But in reality, their level is so high that they have also reached their ceilings.

    Another example would be Nadal’s physicality, energy level. In theory he can probably still improve. But in reality, he has gotten to the point where I seriously doubt any improvement is possible as he has reached his ceiling.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I get what you are saying but I think it’s inaccurate. It doesn’t matter if Edberg and Mcenroe can’t improve their volleys(which I’m sure they can). That is only one of the vast aspects of the sport and they can still improve loads in the rest. There never has been nor will there ever be a player who is complete in all the aspects of the game. There will always be something to work on. You can more or less do your potential justice but you will never reach a ceiling.

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    David C. Reply:

    I think we are not really disagreeing then. I use the term “ceiling” to simply mean the highest level a player can reach in accordance with his talent level. Everyone has limitations, and some have higher ceilings than others.

    As you also said, there will never be a player who is truly complete. And this is exactly what I am suggesting as well. In theory you can have the perfect player, but in reality, there is only so much a player can improve due to his genes, if we can call it like that.

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  7. Everyone here hopes that Nadal is not going to win this. But is it just because we want Roger to keep his major record? I don’t think so.
    The competition is not in itself a bad thing and I wouldn’t have a problem if it was someone else. But deep inside (maybe not so deep) we know that there is something fishy about Nadal. And the saddest thing of all is that the ATP even helps him to be considered one of the very best of their sport.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Florian, if Rafa was equalling or surpassing Roger “the honest way”, I would have felt bad for Roger, but would have said kudos to Rafa. But…. he is NOT doing it the honest way. He is using the d-word and far worse, he is using gamesmenship and is getting away with it, because the Powers To Be are LETTING him get away with it.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well we already know what’s going on. It’s not a secret anymore. He uses loopholes in the system. He is not necessarily doing anything illegal. He is doing PRP, stem cell, and all kinds of weird stuff that can give an unfair advantage, but it is all legal far as we know. If anyone should be blamed it is the system. I don’t like it, but if it is legal then he is within his rights to do it. The system is to blame because it gives the stars who have the money to get the best doctors an unfair advantage.

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    We know what we know. But we do not know what we do not know. Usually, there is more to know than what we know.

    [Reply]

  8. Exactly Florian, fishy indeed. He’s the only player showing no rust after month-long hiatus. He always suffers from injuries yet his physicality is unmatched and never gets injured during clay season! Also, isn’t it funny that his “chronic” knee problems have recently disappeared?

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  9. To me, what’s disturbing is the strategy that Nadal is using in order to try and steal away the GOAT status away from Roger. Let me explain:

    Basically, Roger has the most GS Titles for now. He also has the most GS Finals (for now).

    There are certain other record, that Nadal will never touch – the Total Weeks at Number 1; The consecutive GS Finals, SFs and QFs records.

    Roger also has the most WTF Titles (for now). Djokovic may challenge that but Nadal won’t.

    Roger has also the Singles Silver and the Doubles Gold Medal as well as finally the Davis Cup.

    What Nadal has going for him is the Singles Gold and Davis Cup as well as the most Masters 1000 titles. Roger may actually be surpassed by Djokovic in that department as well.

    What upsets me is that Nadal knows that of he gets to 17-18 he can claim that he’s the greatest because the Weeks at Number 1 cannot overcome the GS titles number. So, since he knows that he picks and chooses where and when to compete.

    When he skips half a season, obviously he refreshes his body so that he can go on a winning streak and capture a bunch of GS. Something he wouldn’t be able to do if he was playing a full season year in and year out.

    It reminds me a bit of Serena when she was injured for a long time so she skipped like half an year and then came very refreshed and started to win a bunch of GS titles recently.

    What’s difficult for Roger to do (skip a GS) seems to be a good thing in Nadal’s case. He thinks that if he skips a Slam yogi e himself the proper preparation and rest, he can reach a GS final in the next one.

    At the same time Roger can play all 4 Slams but only be able to reach a SF or a Final in one of them.

    I hope that you understand what I am trying to say. Basically, Roger is trying to hold on the longevity records (playing consecutive GS, etc.) even though he might not be well served to do so in the long run. Because we’ve all suggested that maybe Roger should skip the clay season altogether and then WiN Wimbledon but we know that he won’t do that.

    But in the end, Nadal is thinking: Hey if I can get 18 even I skip a bunch of tournaments, take half the year off, etc. – no one will care. My 18 slams will trump Roger’s 17, Weeks at Number 1 and all the longevity records.

    I would like to hear your view points on this. It’s certainly frustrating because Roger seems to be the whole package – a GS champion, a consistent and great player all around with all these “secondary records”. Yet everyone talks about the GS title record so since Nadal has no chance of equaling or surpassing any of Roger’s other records, he’s just concentrating on the big record – the GS record by using any means necessary…

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    Florian Reply:

    To be well rested is not the main reason for Nadal’s breaks. Have you forgotten that this guy never tires and is playing his best at the latter stages of the tournaments? No, he is using his “injuries” to get his dodgy treatments which are legal certainly but should mask the illegal stuff he uses. Miraculously he never missed the clay season because of an injury.
    Roger’s case couldn’t be more different and I don’t think that long breaks would help his game. Skipping the clay season including the French would’t guarantee him to win Wimbledon. I think he shouldn’t burn out himself at the clay tournaments but use them to get match practice and prepare for Wimbledon. But basically he is doing it this way since 2012, which definitly helped his Wimbledon performance.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good comment Florian. We don’t know for certain but it is certainly a possibility that Nadal uses the legal treatments to mask doping. And it is very likely that he takes breaks to get these complicated treatments. It is an ongoing thing and I’m sure the doctors are working 24/7 to beat the system. How can you respect a guy who is injured so often but never during the clay season anyway? Anyone can see that is just flat out lying.
    And yes I totally agree with you that Roger should not skip the clay season. It is the one surface where he actually has nothing to lose vs Nadal and he is still a very good clay courter. I just hope Nadal does not win the AO. That would be absurd.

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    Katyani Reply:

    “Anyone can see that is just flat out lying”.
    Then why can his so called fans not see that?
    Why does he still have millions and millions of fans?
    What would Rafa diehard fans say if the situation was reversed? What if Roger was injured all the time, but not during grass season and he had won 9 or 10 Wimby?? Rafa fans would be the first to say that that does not make him Goat and that it was fishy.

    That is why I honestly believe that, even if Rafa equels or surpasses Roger, he will never be such a thing as the Goat, because he doesn’t even play a full season !!!

    [Reply]

  10. And maybe to follow up – the question is: Should Roger skip the French in order to be better rested and prepared to win Wimbledon. It certainly helped Murray win his. And it certainly helped Roger a Slam Final there last year after falling early in Paris. Maybe Roger should stop with all these longevity records of in the end people care about the Slam Titles and what would give him the latest preparation for it.

    IE. If Roger feels a bit of fatigue from last year and maybe his back issues shows up around April/May. I’d say rest and screw the French and go all in at Wimbledon. I wouldn’t even dare thinking about such a thing a year ago but now he needs to do what Nadal does IMO…

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Vily please comment only from one email address.

    [Reply]

  11. Hi Ru-an like you can’t see Berdych beating Nadal. The young Aussie Nick seems the real deal but it will be a tough ask to beat Murray. Have to confess I don’t have any idea who will win that one, the only thing I can think of is that if Murray wins he like Nadal hates to lose and Nick well at 19 and playing at home he may well be fearless! But you never know maybe Berdych will win!!

    [Reply]

  12. I’ve enjoyed all these comments. I have to say that when I read from the previous post, Ru-an refer to ‘Anderchoke’ I laughed out loud. I watched that first set and it was sickening to see Nadal get out of those break points. TO his credit, I think he saved two with good serves and Anderson tried to be aggressive with them and missed. That’sOK. But on another he just threw up a defensive shot and Anderson missed a sitter. And I feel that is what infuriates me about Nadal, I don’t mind if he wins because of hitting winners. It just seems like a lot of points (especially clutch ones) come from forcing his opponent to make an extra ‘easy’ shot. But the easy shots are actually the hardest because you feel like you’ve already won the point and you tighten up. I don’t know how Nadal reaches some of those balls and gets them over the net. Maybe it’s his string tension.

    Not sure if people watched Garcia-Lopez and Stan yesterday (or today I guess) but that was a great 4th set tiebreaker. Stan was down 5-0 in minigames and then turned it around. Both men had fantastic one-handed backhands, flat and deep all the time. I had no idea who this Garcia-Lopez is but I was very impressed . As Robbie Koenig said they were hitting an ‘oil-painting of a backhand’ down the line, all the time.

    I think Nishikori will get Stan though, the guy just takes it so early and can change directions with great disguise. Also he goes in and out of a match sometimes, energy-wise, and I think this actually makes him hard to play against.

    As for Berdycn and Nadal, I didn’t know Berdych has a new coach, but it won’t make a difference…I predict 3 sets, 7-5 6-3 7-5, with Berdych being broken both times at clutch moments.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks for the comment Bharata. Yeah I watched the tie break between and Stan and GGL. It was a good one but GGL should have won it. I started watching a bit earlier and I quickly saw he had a flaw, which is his touch at the net. In the short time I watched he missed two easy touch volleys at the net and one in the tie break which was a bit more difficult since it was a half volley but he made such a mess of it that Stan had the easy put away, and that was on set point for GGL I think. That frustrated me because GGL has great ground strokes(he has a win over Nadal) and by improving his touch at the net to a reasonable level he can have much more consistent results and make much more money. The difference between being top 100 and top 20 are very small things like that but the difference in money is massive, and it frustrates me to see a player not fixing such a small and basic thing. Anyway it was entertaining and I’m glad you enjoyed it too. As for Kei vs Stan I think Kei will win too. He could even upset Djokovic, but I’d rather have Kei in the final than Stan in case Nadal is there.

    [Reply]

  13. I watched most of Fed’s match against Seppi, and it seemed obvious to me that he was lacking in confidence. Which seems odd to me, because he had been playing well and he had such a good record against Seppi. I’m not so sure he lost confidence because he saw Nadal playing well. It could also be that he feels that his ability in best-of-five-sets format is gradually declining, which is inevitable with age. Perhaps that would explain why Fed’s confidence wasn’t sky-high after having won Brisbane.

    Also, Fed hasn’t even posted his schedule for this year yet, other than saying that he’s committed to Dubai. That should be considered very uncharacteristic of him. To me, it seems like he has entered a late stage of his career, where he takes things as they come, and he seems to be tying up loose ends (e.g. Davis Cup) more than going for new records.

    Finally, this is the first time I’ve heard Fed say that he was looking forward to a break at the start of a Grand Slam. He won’t say it out loud, but I somehow get the feeling that he never really meant to peak for this Australian Open. It was more like the last stop on this stretch from Davis cup to IPTL to Brisbane.

    I’m not predicting a Federer retirement, but in my mind, I feel like I’m starting to watch a “farewell tour” of sorts, where good feelings are starting to be more important than contending with Nadal, Djokovic, for slam titles. Part of that is because I’ve also noticed that Fed has started saying “nobody knows how long I’ll continue playing” instead of “I intend to continue playing for a long time”.

    Does anyone else here feel like Federer has transitioned to the last stage of his career now?

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    “Does anyone else here feel like Federer has transitioned to the last stage of his career now?”
    Nope Albert, I don’t. The guy is nr 2 in the world, it is getting harder to win, but no, no retirement hints.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    i don’t hear any retirement hints at all. But it’s undeniable that he’s in the final stage of his career, even if this stage lasts a few more years.

    [Reply]

  14. Ps: I know it seems impossible, I know it IS absolutely impossible, but I am backing Berdych to beat Rafa :-) If Stan could do it last year, who knows…. maybe Berdych also has that believe :-)
    Come on Berdy :-)

    [Reply]

  15. You know Katyani, With the way both of them are playing I really do feel this is a possibility as well. However, Ru-an has very very strong feelings that No matter how well Birdshit is playing, he will be Rafa’s bitch, and Ru-an has damn good tennis instincts.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you Eric. Yours isn’t too bad yourself! We will see. Tennis is of course very unpredictable which means Berdych can win, but I like Nadal’s chances.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    The first set will be key, as always.. Berdych did give a tough time to Nadal in 2012. I believe he can do so again but he needs to take the lead to believe more.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Utter destruction in the 1st set. If Tomas I able to stay out of trouble on his own serve, this maybe a straight set victory. Long way to go but a perfect start. Love the stern look of his coach. No excitement whatsoever. He knows 1 set means squat. 2 more to go.. But loving it so far. Go BirdMan. ;-)

    [Reply]

  16. Well that is a surprise. Berdych looking quite calm and composed, two breaks of serve and the first set (!) I am afraid this will make his inevitable defeat even more agonizing…most telling was that he down 0-30 on his serve at 4-2 and showed some guts and got out of trouble.

    [Reply]

  17. 2:0 in the 2nd set. I TOLD you that Nadal AWLAYS gives you opportunities. It’s up to Tomas to take it home now. This is HIS moment to shine!!!!

    [Reply]

    Bharata Reply:

    Well credit where credit is due – you said Berdych had a shot here, that his new coach would make a difference, that Nadal was not quite up to form yet…and you seem to be right so far (!) But he has to win 3, not 2…

    [Reply]

  18. Well, I hope Tomas is offering coffee along with the bagel he just handed to Nadal. Wow, Nadal might be missing some regulation shots, but Berdych is just hitting some bombs and standing at the baseline without fear.

    Mind you Nadal probably was giving up anyway, down 4-0, but you cuould see in the final game (serving to stay in it at 0-5) he was trying to get some momentum with the fist pumps, etc…then Berdych starting pounding the groundstrokes.

    [Reply]

  19. Wow!!!!!! 6:0 and the 2nd set! 2nd Knockdown: 5, 4, 3….

    Wow! The last time Nadal lost a 6:0 set in a slam (A BAGEL) was to Roger in the the 2006 Wimbledon Final.

    I dare Ru-an and everyone on this blog to STOP dissing Birdman EVER again if he pulls this out. No disrespectful Birdshit comments, please.

    He’ll have earned our respect if he takes this. Serving 1st in the 3rd. Straight sets?! Yes?!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Careful Vily you are on very thin ice. Winning 1/18 matches against the same player in nothing to get cocky about.

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    Actually Berdych has now won 4/22 matches against Nadal. He led the h2h 3-1 at one stage

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah that makes it even worse. From 3-1 to 4-22 is good going.

    [Reply]

  20. Incredibly Berdych saved two break points at 4-4 with some clutch serving, I was sure that was the moment he choked, after missing a relatively striaghtforward volley at deuce. Good for him anyway, whatever teh outcome of the match, but surely he has to apply the crucial pressure now to Nadal, as if it goes to 4 sets it will be trouble…the crowd is mostly behind Nadal, of course…

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    No no no, it’s not good for him whatever the outcome. In this case it would be horrible for him if he lost. Only good if he can finish with the big W.

    [Reply]

  21. Bravo!!!! Bravo!!!!

    With some clutch play and some BIG nerves, Tomas BIRDMAN Berdych has just produced the TKO victory over Rafa Nadalstrong!!!

    He has several opportunities. It wasn’t smoothie the end but Tomas has FROM THIS DAY forth EARNED my respect and I propose that we never disrespect him EVER again by calling him Bitdshit.

    We can breather easier now. Another year gone and another opportunity for the Double Career Slam gone. For Nadal. ;-) Roger may still have a chance to do it at the French! ;-) ))

    Now, please Milos, or Kei or anybody – Murray – beat Djokovic and prevent him from getting his 5th AO…

    But Mission Accomplished!!! Yahoo!!!

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    Hey Vily, it’s not about disrespect. It’s just funny calling him Birdshit. He has definitely earned a lot of points though with me as well. Anyone who beats Nadal is instantly likeable on this blog (I should think). Lets hope Fed doesn’t face this improved version of him in a grand slam.

    [Reply]

    rahan Reply:

    Alex: I feel the same !!!

    [Reply]

  22. Well, I have to say this outcome was worth throwing away my sleep…Berdych nearly let it slip but held firm with a great return at 5-4 when the momentum had swung back to Nadal.

    And now for the newspaper articles claiming the age of Fedal is over…Brad Guilbert, the commentator, was saying that Nadal’s hamstring was bothering him, but really Berdych was too good today and played aggressive hard court tennis. He’s gotten Fed twice before at slams after all and is no slouch (unless he ‘s playing Nadal, but not anymore it seems (!))

    [Reply]

  23. Yeah, respect. Never to be called Birdshit by me again either. Nadal sucked today but Byrdman got it done, which is never easy. Good for him.

    [Reply]

  24. Winning a slam isn’t as easy as it looks. We shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that Nadal’s going to win the whole tournament just because he defeated Smyczek. Perhaps he regains his confidence during the clay season, as he likes to do, but we’ll see. That was a good performance from Berdych. People are starting to figure out the formula for beating Nadal.

    [Reply]

  25. this was a really fantastic opportunity to beat a weak Nadal at a grand slam. He played terribly and the win was there for someone bold enough to take it. I just wish it was Roger that was there to take advantage of the unusual opportunity.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah Nadal was shockingly bad but at least Berdych held his nerve in the 3rd set. After 17 consecutive losses even Berdych becomes bold.

    [Reply]

    mridul1 Reply:

    I do not think that Nadal is weak. As all the other greats he is also prone to wear and tear and that is exactly what happened. You saw how he almost forced the fourth set in which case he might go on to win the match and subsequently the whole tournament. I was so nervous watching the match. Thank God, Berdych did not choke this time

    [Reply]

  26. What a relief, the bug has been dashed. Nadal almost sent the match to 4th set after being 1-5 down in tiebreaker. Thank God Berdych did not choke. I do not mind being his fan for this tournament. Congrats everybody. Now let us hope that somebody slays the other demon in Djokovic

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    Why is Djoko a demon? He’s awesome!

    [Reply]

    mridul1 Reply:

    I did not mean to denigrate Djoko, I only meant that he is the favorite in this tournament and if he is defeated Federer will have not less than his AO trophies and that is what I was implying. And unlike for Nadal, I have all respect for Djokovic

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Personally I don’t mind if Djokovic gets the record at the AO. He is probably the best on plexicushion and he won’t surpass Roger’s overall HC numbers I think.

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    And I personally don’t believe in rooting against great players just to protect Rogers records. Roger has plenty of records and he needs to defend them himself, on the court, by fighting to stay in the tournaments harder. Nadal is a special case for me. I immensely enjoy watching him lose to anyone at all.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    We’ve said this before, if someone were to surpass Roger’s records I’d prefer it to be firstly, no-one, secondly Djokovic, thirdly anyone except Nadal.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    haha, yes Alex, cheers to that.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes I agree. Funnily enough this was possibly the first time I did not enjoy Nadal losing. I badly wanted him to beat Birdshit a record 18 straight times. He was playing so badly that I didn’t think he would win the tourney if he beat Birdshit.

    [Reply]

  27. First of all, let me say this!!!! Yahoooooo!!!!

    Good Job, Tomas! You are the man!!! I’ve been wondering for the longest – what will happen with Nadal once he gets to that stage of his career like Roger did from 2010 onward. Will he continue to dominate or would he get the same tough losses that Roger did.

    And I am glad that the latter has occurred. It shows that no matter how dominant a player is, sooner or later he’ll lose.

    Roger’s GS record is intact and the 3rd round loss is forgotten. Not Forgiven, though! Frankly, when you guys say though that Nadal was bearable, I am ok with that statement but he was beatable today and now and only by Berdych.

    Roger would not have beaten Nadal. Definitely not from what I saw from him this tournament.

    To me the favorites for the title are:

    1. Djokovic
    2. Nishikori
    3. Murray
    4. Berdych
    5. Wawrinka
    6. Kyrgios

    Now, obviously I would love for Novak to lose here as well because, yes I do want Roger to preserve his record. I mean it’s enough that Novak has taken at least 2 AOs away from Roger and just beat him at Wimbledon but another AO title would only feed into his confidence and relax him even more.

    Novak has a tough road ahead: Raonic who has improved from last year and Nishikori who I like very much. Murray is looking good too. And Berdych has elevated his game as well.

    If anyone but Djokovic wins, it would be perfect for Roger in many ways:

    Novak will start doubting again after a tough loss in the US Open and hopefully here. He’ll be spinning his wheels during the hard court and clay season therefore tiring himself more physically and mentally.

    Nadal losing is great because he’ll also feel the pressure going into the French. Actually, he’s got to lose there eventually as well which would finally bring him to the first year in as many without a Slam.

    Roger would be perfect because his confidence will be sky high after knowing that both his biggest rivals will be out and not adding to their GS totals (especially Nadal)

    He’ll rest and recuperate and if he goes smart with his schedule and pick his spots, he’ll definitely be able to challenge in the 2nd half of the year.

    BTW, the Ranking Picture is huge after today: (positive)

    Roger was able to add only 90 points but lose 720 points (-630 points difference)

    Nadal was able to add only 360 points but lose 1,200 points (-840 points). Therefore, Roger will be able to breathe much easier in the 2nd spot. Djokovic will probably extend his lead by beating Rainic but if Nishikori beats him (and Wawrinka), he’ll jump all the way to 4th and possibly challenge for 3rd place.

    So we’ll see. Very exciting times ahead. If Roger manges to stay in the top 2 at least until Wimbledon, he should be in good shape. Nadal still has 2000 points to defend at the French as all..

    Roger has stated he wants to play Nadal. If Djokovic loses here, he may be vulnerable as week. Let’s not forget that apart from the 3rd round loss to Seppi, Roger has had an amazing 6 months and most recently won in Brisbane.

    I can’t believe how quickly can Roger’s fortunes change for the positive when Nadal loses. Simply insane!

    So far only Djokovic and Berdych haven’t dropped a set. Pretty interesting stat as well..

    Suddenly Monte Carlo and Rome do become once again important targets for Roger as well if he cares about them as well. :-) ))

    Feeling good. Hoping for Kyrgios tonight but probably Murray will prevail. Wouldn’t mind if he wins his first AO either I guess..

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Vily, great comment. I just disagree with one thing. “Roger who beat Bolelli” would not have beaten Rafa. But “Roger who beat everyone and Raonic at Brisbane” would definitely have beaten Rafa. Not in straights, but in 4. Roger before and during Brisbane was mighty mighty impressive. I have no doubt he would have won. But the Roger who showed up against Bolelli and Seppi…. nah… don’t think he could have beaten Rafa.
    Too bad Roger is not around now, but what can I say, Seppi was just too good that day. No worries. Roger is not winning AO, but more importantly neither is Rafa.
    I guess if Roger can’t win RG twice (which he will !!!), then Rafa cannot win AO twice.
    I saw most of the match before I went to work. And Berdych was as concentrated and focused as Seppi was. He played amazing. Rafa was not injured or whatever he will say as an excuse. He was just blown away by Berdych’s performance, the way he was blown away by Stan’s performance last year during the first set.

    Like you, I don’t want Djoko to win AO. I am rooting for Berdych or Nishi. But most of all for Berdych. Come on Berdy, you deserve it.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Maybe, Katyani, maybe!

    The good news is that – hey Berdych lost 17 times in a row and yet found a way to beat Nadal in a Best of 5 format.

    The key was to take the chances given and to not choke under the pressure. He almost did / I mean missing the two marcg points at 6:5 and even more dangerously, letting Nadal back in from 5:1 up in the tiebreak.

    I feel that even though Roger hasn’t nearly lost as much against Nadal (10:23) vs Berdych (4:18), Roger rarely takes the lead in a slam like he should and could have done in some of their recent meetings. I am almost 100% positive that he would have choked too in that 3rd set.

    The one caveat is that if Roger had a 2:0 set lead and even if he choked in the 3rd set tiebreak, he would have still composed himself and pull out the victory in 4 or 5.

    But if he won the 1st set and he had chances for a 2nd set lead and didn’t take them and choked, then Nadal would have won.

    That is why I was so impressed with Tomas today. He was composed, calm, relaxed – not thinking too much about the outcome but about the next point and the next. And it was beautiful to behold, especially those first two sets. The 3rd set was a bit nervy but that’s what it takes to beat Nadal – to hold your own when it matters most.

    [Reply]

    jason Reply:

    Be careful there to extrapolate current results far into the future, Vily. Nature as it is, is largely non-linear. In 2009 we thought Roger was finished after crying at AO loss…only to witness he won the FO & Wimbledon, and almost winning the USO.

    When he won 2010 AO, we all thought it was Roger of old again who came back. But then for 2.5 years he won no slam while Nadal who we thought after 2009 FO loss was gone, just came back w/ triple slam year…and just a whisker away from Rafa slam.

    I’d be careful to write off Rafa not surpassing Roger’s record. We all know how poor we are at predictions…be it Roger, and especially Rafa.

    Having said all these, yes this is a good day. After Roger’s loss, the only thing important is Rafa loss. Today we get one. To me, it doesn’t matter who wins it’s all good. I can see the bright side of Djokovic winning…he will get mentally stronger and who knows he may be able to squash Rafa at FO later. I don’t mind Murray, Stan, Nishikori, or even Kyrgios winning it either. Heck, even Berdych it is still good!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah Jason I find it surprising how people are once again writing Nadal off after all the times he has proved them wrong. I didn’t even expect him to get to the QF after his run of poor form, and who knows what could have happened had that last return dropped over in the tie break. Knowing Nadal he will still win two slams this year and end up breaking Roger’s slam record. It’s wayyyy too early to write him off.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    I agree we can never write nadal off. However the competition is catching up to him also and he is starting to get into that same phase where we saw federer start losing to people he never used to lose to in the past. Sweet times :-)

    [Reply]

    jason Reply:

    LOL… And by saying all these I hope, I just hope that it jinxes Nadal heavily. That would be ideal.

    Bottomline is we just dont know. Nothing can be ruled out, including Roger winning FO this year. Low probability, yes. Impossible, no.

    [Reply]

  28. By the way, I do feel a bit bad for Rafa. The Great Uncle Toni was not happy. Not happy at all. I hope he doesn’t make Rafa sleep outside of the house :-)
    I am sure that when the draw came out and they saw Berdych QF and Roger SF, they drank some champagne :-)

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Uncle Tony can screw himself. The way he is punishing the body of his nephew is simply insane. Unfortunately, with the rise of Nishikori, there will be more suffering on the clay for Rafa..

    [Reply]

  29. Ok this is a bit of a longshot but does anyone think that it is remotely possible that Nadal subconciously choked because of the thought of maybe facing Kyrgios (which wasn’t even a reality at the time?). I highly doubt it but I didn’t watch the match and from what people are saying he didn’t play well.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Dunno, Alex. It looks like Murray may actually win this..

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    I actually disagree. It wasn’t that Nadal didn’t play well. It was that Berdych DIDN’T allow him to play well. He was playing BEAUTIFUL FIRST STRIKE tennis.

    It’s the type of tennis that Roger has utilized as well to beat Nadal in the past. But as it was seen, it’s very difficult to sustain that level. Tomas did very well to jump on top of Nadal for that 2:0 set lead. That was absolutely crucial. And the clutch play towards the end of the 3rd was just as important. But no, Nadal played as well as he was ALLOWED to play.

    [Reply]

    mridul1 Reply:

    I agree that Nadal played as well as he was allowed. He is just overrated. He cannot be always lucky. As per his level comparable to Berdych’s on this particular day he lost the match. There is no surprise. Of course, Berdych did not choke and that is a bit of surprise. Maybe it was not meant to be a terrific record of 18 consecutive losses to a single player.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Ok I will end the madness. Nadal was absolutely atrocious in the first two sets. It was the worst I have ever seen him play. It has nothing whatsoever to do with not being allowed to play well. If anything Nadal’s level made Birdshit look good. Not the other way around. It was only in the third set when NAdal raised his level that Birdshit was able to hang on for dear life. Like I have said before if you have lost 17 times in a row and you are going for the record it is easy to all of a sudden look like you have some mental strength. To get one back after 17 straight losses is admirable but nothing at all to brag about. And no you don’t win 14 slams by being overrated and lucky. I thought you were smarter than that.

    [Reply]

    FeDaL Reply:

    Absolutely true statement from Ru-an! Berdych is a low class player compared to Nadal, and only by Nadal being godawful today, did Berdych get his win over him.

    [Reply]

  30. Kyrgios doesn’t know when or how to quit but enough is enough. Murray takes the 2:0 set lead.

    I think that he’ll make the final. Berdych got his big win today but Murray is much better than Nadal at the moment.

    To know that Murray lost to Roger 6:0 6:1 not to long ago is simply Ming boggling.

    It will be interesting if Kei beats Djokovic, who would you think would be the favorite between Kei and Murray.

    In a way, I want Murray to take because after being in so many AO finals, he should be able to win. He should be pretty fresh in the final too.

    But let’s take it one step at a time.. :-) This is one WHACKY and exciting tournament – even with Roger and Nadalstrong out.

    [Reply]

  31. Well folks what have they done with the real Thomas Berdych? This Thomas was fantastic, power, precision and a calmness that we don’t uaually see with him against Nadal. Murray has just won so that will be interesting. Nadal being out has for me just made the AO very watchable again!

    [Reply]

  32. Rarely (if ever) has someone liked by so few been celebrated by so many. :-)

    But after all, the only times we can enjoy a victory by someone we don’t like – is when he beats someone we like even less!

    Berdych has had a lot of talent for a long time but obviously hasn’t broken through at a slam, and he’s older than Nadal. I know Tomas has to be very pleased with his victory yesterday, and I hope his newfound mental equilibrium, coach, etc. will allow him to continue to beat – Nadal.

    [Reply]

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