Nadal Takes the Fall to Fognini in Barcelona

It has not been the best two weeks for Fedal. Neither could pass the third round in Monte Carlo and Barcelona respectively. And of course Nadal got routined by the Djoker in Monte Carlo too. Today Nadal lost 6-4, 7-6(6) to Fognini in another shock upset. These upsets happen so regularly these days though that you can hardly call them shock upsets anymore. The reason that this loss is another new low for Nadal is because he played well in Monte Carlo and everybody was assuming he is basically back and would win Barcelona.

He had already destroyed Almagro 6-3, 6-1 in his first match, so he was looking ominous. But it looks like that loss to the Djoker in Monte Carlo may have indeed had an effect on Nadal. I have no proof of that but the Djoker shutting Nadal out 6-3, 6-3 couldn’t exactly have filled Nadal with confidence. Nadal needs every bit of confidence he can get right now and you never know how even one game can affect the outcome of the entire clay court season. Today Nadal looked out of sorts again.

  • The Match

But not by much. It takes only a slight drop of form at this level against a player who is having a good day and the upset happens. I couldn’t watch the whole match, and from what I saw Nadal was lacking a certain edge again, but Fognini deserves credit for taking full advantage of it. The first set went with serve until Nadal got broken at 4-5 while serving to stay in the set. In the second set there was a total of six breaks of serve. Nadal broke in the opening game after which Fognini broke straight back.

In the very next game Nadal broke again, only to get broken back serving at 4-3. Nadal then broke yet again in the very next game, and this time he made sure he made Fognini aware of it by running towards the net and doing three fist pumps. It didn’t appear to affect Fognini much though as he made an epic passing shot to break Nadal to 15 with Nadal serving for the second set. Priceless. Both players  proceeded to hold serve and the second set would be decided by a tie-break.

Not this man’s day

Fognini took an early 3-0 lead and at the turn he was leading 4-2. At 6-3 Fognini held three match points, but in true Fog style he wasted all three just to mess with us. Finally at 7-6 he scored the upset when Nadal drove a forehand long after a pretty average return from Fognini. So like I said Nadal was looking vulnerable again but credit to Fognini for a well played match. This is now his second consecutive win over Nadal after defeating him in Rio earlier this year.

  • What Does This Mean?

Losing a second consecutive time to Fognini on clay is a new low for Nadal, and that after he suffered a second consecutive loss to Verdasco in Miami as well. These are the kind of players he used to beat like clockwork. It sure isn’t doing his confidence wonders. Personally I didn’t necessarily think Nadal would win Barcelona, but I thought he had a great chance. I sure didn’t think he would lose in the third round. If he was going to lose I thought it’d be to Nishikori or Ferrer perhaps.

But like we saw last year Nadal lost to Ferrer in Monte Carlo and Almagro in Barcelona, so he already did better than that this year. Nadal only won one tournament in Madrid last year during the warm-up events, and probably only because Nishikori got injured in the final. Yet he still won the French Open. So I think it is too early to draw any conclusions. It would be better to draw some conclusions after Madrid and Rome, but even if he wins neither of those he can still win a tenth French Open.

Pennetta approved

The Djoker can’t be forgotten though. He is playing better than he did last year, and Nadal probably needs to win at least one of Madrid or Rome to get some confidence going for Paris. The Djoker will be fresh and ready to win both the Masters, and if he does that then he will just about be my favorite going into the French again, even after getting it wrong last year. We gotta remember that the Djoker has not exactly had an awful lot of luck in Paris since 2011, and at some point his luck is bound to turn.

  • 2011: The year the Djoker had his best shot at beating Nadal so far it just so happened that Federer played his best match of the year in the semis. Maybe his best clay court match ever.
  • 2012: I missed this match when I was working in the states but apparently Djokovic was turning the match around in the fourth set after which Nadull and his uncle Toni somehow managed to convince the officials to stop the match for a little rain, which caused the Djoker to lose his momentum.
  • 2013: This I did not miss and no one who saw it could ever forget it. This was the Djoker’s big chance when he led by a break in the fifth set, but incredibly Nadal stole it away from him again to win 9-7 in the fifth.
  • 2014: Last year I thought the Djoker would finally get it done, but he didn’t seem a 100% in the final and afterward there was footage of him vomiting on court.

Take a bow the Fog!

WTF?! The guy seems utterly cursed at the French and yet at the same time he doesn’t seem deterred in the least. I didn’t know if he would ever come back from that 2013 loss, and no doubt it affected him for another year probably in which he lost three more slam finals, and in the quarters of his best slam. But he just kept believing and finally broke through at Wimbledon and never looked back. He added two more slam titles since that fateful day and if anything it only made him stronger.

He looks better than ever probably, and a man like that is hard to keep down. His luck is bound to turn in Paris eventually and it might very well be this year, even if he has to play Nadal yet again to get it done. Nadal is more vulnerable than ever, and if Djokovic can prevent him from winning no clay titles before the French that would require Nadal to do something he has never done before, which is to win the French Open without having won a clay title in the run up to Paris…

 

  • Highlights

The  is in your court.

Posted in ATP 500, Barcelona.

46 Comments

  1. This just confirms what I already said before about Nadal, he is a complete shadow of his former self. It is what it is; everyone has his limits to what his body is capable of performing and for how long. Nadal might be 5 years younger than Federer, but will never be playing as well as Federer at the age of 33. I predict he will most likely retire within the next 2 years. As much love as I have for the FEDAL era, time has is catching up on both of these legends, but Federer will surely be the one who will leave the sport more gracefully due to a much less physically demanding playstyle. Elegance has its virtues. As for Djoker, I can only admire his physicality and ability to outlast players who in their prime had nothing to fear from him, surely it is not tainted by things many of you are so quick to accuse Nadal of using. In any case, men’s pro tennis will never be the same when FEDAL retires.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, a golden era of tennis this is Fedal. But it is the Fedalovic era. Those three are all legends and Djokovic is still far from done. Fedal is closer to the end but they have a few more years left too. Francisco Roig recently said Nadal will be like Fed when he is 33, competing for major titles http://www.menstennisforums.com/showthread.php?t=620162

    [Reply]

  2. Nole has moved forward by following Roger’s footsteps and adapting to the changes in the modern game with equipment and tactical developments but Nadal has not gone too far from his effort full style of grinding baseline play.

    Nadal has also put a lot of mileage on his body and currently he looks emaciated and weak (his physical appearance was shocking from the pic still I saw from press conference): he looks like he has been run over by a train. He will need a new coach and have to change his approach to hang with the crowd cause everyone he now plays knows they have a chance against him on any surface.

    Ragarding Djokovic it’s hard to say whether he will actually get to the final at RG. On pen and paper you can definitely claim it but he has been maintaining a high level of form so far for a while and it can dip for any reason ( speaking in terms or probability here). He can go on a tear and capture all the clay masters and expend all mental and physical energy reserves and get knocked out in the third round at RG for all we know. Men’s tennis is pretty deep.

    Regd. Federer he is playing great tennis and if he keeps enjoying he can do some damage at the French. But I hope he uses these clay events as a warmup for a revenge battle against Djoker at Wimby and win that one.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I wouldn’t hold out much hope of the Djoker of losing in the third round of the FO, but it’s tennis so I guess you never know.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    On a slightly different note – we’re all carefully saying ‘Don’t write Nadal off at FO’ – but how many of us would be amazed if HE were the one to lose at RG in the earlier rounds?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I wouldn’t be overly surprised myself Joe. I have had it in mind for some time now, that he could lose before the quarters. And having seen what happened in Barcelona I think it is even more likely. I dunno, he really looks impotent to me at this point. But like I said lets wait until after Madrid and Rome to draw any more conclusions.

    [Reply]

  3. Hi Ruan–Great analysis as always. As I remarked in an earlier comment to one of your posts, I am struck by how Nadal’s topspin balls are landing short in the court, and making it easier for opponents to hit through even on the clay court. Today was no exception –Fog played deep penetrating tennis, and seemed much more willing to gut out the point than Nadal. I know Nadal is having some mental issues but am not sure why he has retreated to playing the kind of defensive six feet behind the baseline tennis. And he looks positively panicked on the court. Like you, I agree he may still win FO, but I do think players have to feel like they have more of a chance against him after today’s display. And WTF with all these declarations of vulnerability and lack of confidence? Patrick M. (Serena’s coach) made an excellent point and said that this what the Nadal camp does to always take the pressure of Nadal–make him the underdog even though he isn’t. I am curious to see if he plays the same way at Madrid. High altitude means the balls will fly and he will be punished even more for his defensive play. If he catches Isner in his draw, he’s going to lose!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you Sakhi. Agree that he will most likely be punished in Madrid.

    [Reply]

  4. Ha, I was just thinking that noone beats Nadal back to back except Djoker and Fed. But then Fognini did it and you pointed out Verdasco did the same this year.
    Its very odd to see Nadal like this – I’m use to him taking a break and then going on a win spree like in 2013.
    I also predicted that after the appendicitis that physicality wouldn’t be the same. I haven’t watched much of Nadal play this year – since I despise his style.
    Ruan, whats your opinion on Nadal’s current form vs before the appendicitis?

    Thanks for the article btw

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You’re welcome Gordon. Who knows whether the appendicitis made any difference. He was losing to low ranked players since Halle last year. I think his body is just starting to catch up with him after all these years of abuse.

    [Reply]

  5. Sorry, I am leaving your blog. I don’t mind taking a broader view of tennis than just Federer, but I’m not interested in a Djokovic blog. He’s fine, but has an ugly game. That picture that you have posted reminds me of the Serbian nationalist that he is. (Google it if you don’t believe me.) You say he suffered during the war, perhaps he did, but do you realize what his countrymen did during that war?

    Anyway, nice knowing ya. You seem to be writing Federer off. Not me, I still enjoy the Maestro. Your fickle, a little too fickle for my taste. Ciao.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I think you are the fickle one. I have been a Fedfan since 2001 and blogged about him for 6+ years, and I am still a fan and blogging about him. You, on the other hand, stopped supporting my blog the second I show support for one of Roger’s rivals, ruled by your prejudice towards Serbian nationals.
    You remind me of the typical obsessed Fedfan who I have been discussing much of late on my blog. You cannot appreciate any other style than your hero’s(Djokovic has a beautiful game). You already decided and judged by yourself that I have written Federer off and that this is now a ‘Djokovic blog’. That my friend is called extreme fanaticism and it is the kind of attitude I don’t welcome on this blog. Thanks for doing me the favor.

    [Reply]

  6. Hi Ru-an, in the tie-break, it was not Nudull who drew the first blood to lead 2-0, it was Fognini who won the first point on his serve, and then won the next two points on Dull’s serve. Whatever I have watched so far of Nadull this year, I am having the feeling that he is entering the court quite reluctantly against his will and just trying to hang on. The spark is simply not there. But as you said, I am still not going to write him off French open. We have already learnt enough lessons in the past. However, this year the cycle of his patterns could be off the orbit! Let us wait and see.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you for the correction Jiten. Another one of my trademark concentration lapses. Gotta sort that out, if indeed it is at all possible.

    [Reply]

  7. Hi Ru-an, its working… The winless streak keeps going! :-)

    Ah, so nice to see Nadull get beaten by his former bitches. Fiasco did a double on him? That is a huge one. Those fist pumps (yes, you got huge biceps we know!) that used to intimidate his opponents now looks so silly.

    What a great way to end the week. Any post covering a Nadull loss is a good post. That dude who is leaving your blog? Just get lost! Embarrassement to true fed fans if you can’t understand how good the situation is now for fed to have a decent successor take over mantel of #1 tennis player.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes your prediction is spot on so far :-) So true what you say at the end. It is just a natural progression. Fedfans should thank their lucky stars that there is someone to save Fed’s ass in the GOAT debate. But as usual many Fedfans are spoiled and ungrateful. They want Fed to slay the monster, even though they know deep down that ship has sailed ages ago. I am extremely grateful for a successor like the Djoker who has not only prevented Nadal from already being the GOAT, but also has a funny personality and a fresh game to watch.

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    I don’t think any ship has sailed, Ru-an, and I don’t think Federer does either.

    If Federer really doesn’t think he can beat the Beast, he should do himself and all of us a huge favor and hang up his racket right now.

    I’m far harsher on him than you. Because I don’t want him going through the motions of playing if he’s given up in his heart of hearts. Better he should retire than just mechanically show up and give a half-assed effort for the sake of appearances.

    I also beg to differ with your definition of “spoiled” and “ungrateful.” One would only be “spoiled” if one allowed the fact of Federer’s not beating Nadal at RG to ruin one’s life; one would only be “ungrateful” if one said Federer’s entire career was meaningless if he didn’t beat Nadal.

    I can accept that he may end his career without having beaten Nadal at RG. That is a realistic prospect. My life will continue even if he doesn’t manage it.

    I’m also thoroughly grateful for all the enjoyment he’s given me. It won’t spoil all the fun I’ve had watching him if he doesn’t beat Nadal. He’s given me lots of great memories, lots of beautiful tennis.

    But if he knows he’s going to lose, if he’s accepted defeat before he even steps on court, then what’s the point of playing at all? If in your heart you think you’ve lost, you obviously won’t win. This is why I cannot give up hope as long as he plays.

    It ain’t easy to be a Federer fan these days, going through the roller-coaster of early losses and nail-biting five-setters, and debating with people who are all too eager to bury and denigrate his amazing achievements.

    Why would I do that, stay up all those nights watching tournaments on the other side of the world, for a man who had given up?

    [Reply]

    elizabeth Reply:

    Well Sir one thing is for sure be assured that when you are sitting up watching those tournaments from all parts of the world, that you are not alone…you have thousands for company!

    [Reply]

    Albert Reply:

    Federer hasn’t given up on beating Nadal… he’s a positive thinker and he’s won 30% of the matches they’ve played. But yes, that last stat means he’s the underdog when he goes up against Nadal. There’s no shame in being underdog if you go out and give your best effort. And there’s nothing wrong with cheering for the underdog if you appreciate his effort, playing style, and sportsmanship.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Long comment Steve but I’ll answer. I totally agree with you. It would be terrible to give up on a player you supported so long. Also no one said he consciously gave up on beating Nadal at the FO, but most realistic people would say it’s impossible. You have always been a tad unrealistic, even though your optimism can be refreshing. Of course Fedfans always loved you for it, because you say what they want to hear. As for myself my blog is always been about facing the facts, while popularity was secondary. That is something much harder to do and which most people shy away from, but I guess I am just not like most people. And the facts are Nadal leads the h2h 23-10 and 9-2 in slams, and Roger will never recover that h2h.
    It’s time to face the facts once and for all Steve. And to get back to Federer having given up, I guess if you haven’t understood the message by now you never will. But I will say it one more time. The subconscious overrides the conscious. You can believe all you want that you can beat someone, but if you don’t believe it in the depths of your being(or subconscious), it aint happening. But who knows tennis is a funny game. Maybe he gets Nadal in the QF at the FO and Nadal is way off his game and gets the win you so badly want? I certainly wouldn’t put any money on it though.

    [Reply]

  8. It’s reasonable to say that Nadal may be about to hit the rock-bottom now, like how it was the case for Roger in 2013(when he lost in Wimbledon). If Nadal loses early at FO, I don’t think he will be mentally strong enough to come back and get to his top form. It took a while for Roger but he did get back close to his top form. In 2013 nobody would even think that Fed will be able to beat Nadal or Djokovic in the future, and look what happened in 2014. He was 3-2 against Djokovic. Never mind schooling Djokovic twice on fast courts in their recent meetings. Much has been spoken on how mentally strong Nadal is. However I don’t think he’ll have the required confidence to come back strongly if he hits rock-bottom. In Roger’s case he was able to do it since he plays for the love he has for the sport, whereas for Nadal it’s always about winning, and that’s the reason why he might not be able to ressurrect himself later.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes and since Roger’s rock-bottom he has not been able to win a slam. If Nadal does not win the FO he will hit rock bottom and then it is hard to see him winning another slam. Roger has a more forgiving game style and with equipment and coaching staff changes he made a great comeback, but like I said still haven’t been able to win a slam again. And he may never. For Nadal it may be even harder as his body is breaking down so badly. But he is so good on clay that he could probably compete for the FO for a few more years. Roig thinks he can anyway.

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    Lol. He says Nadal can play like Fed when he’s 33? Why does everyone go so overboard when they talk about Nadal? I thought Nadal only gets into his opponents’ heads. Now it seems as though he gets into retired players’ heads as well. :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t know Nakul, maybe the Nadal camp knows something we don’t?

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Maybe they understand the miracles of modern medicine as few others do…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    The Spanish do indeed.

    [Reply]

  9. I wouldn’t put too much into it, TBH. Last year he was again a completely different player in Paris despite his difficulties on clay. He also played very well at Wimbledon and was a point away from a two-sets-to-one lead over Kyrgios. Had he won that point, he most likely would have won the tournament.

    Nadal’s strategy these days is to focus entirely on the Slams and the clay Masters to conserve energy. Like I said, he can play mediocre tennis outside the Slams and then very quickly return to top form during a major, as his style is totally mindless and robotic and depends entirely on his physical attributes.

    With RG/Wimbledon under his belt, he can afford to tank all the other best-of-three tournaments and focus on USO and then the YEC.

    Djokovic’s issue with Nadal at RG isn’t physical, it’s mental. I just don’t think he has the stomach for another five-hour, five-set war. To grind mechanically for that long, without a single letup mentally, is exhausting. Nadal’s style is predicated on steadily inundating the opponent with an incessant torrent of monotonous topspin shots until he just gives up and lets Nadal win by default. No one can beat him at that game, not on clay.

    And Djokovic has no alternative but to play on Nadal’s terms. His game is fundamentally a baseline style, requiring lengthy, punishing rallies. He can’t play enough short-point tennis or vary the rhythm of rallies enough to unsettle Nadal. He’s got to pound Nadal down the hard way.

    If the margins are so narrow that they come down to things like how much the court was watered, or whether Djokovic had an upset tummy the day before, then it’s hard to see that Djokovic will ever prevail. There will always be some tiny thing going wrong that screws up his day.

    Mentally, the losses may start to take their toll. It took him a year to get his head right after that loss in 2013. Maybe if he loses again he’ll start to question whether he’s ever meant to win in Paris. If he starts to entertain those doubts, the end of his time as a dominant champion won’t be far off.

    Like I said in a previous post, Djokovic has not yet come face-to-face with his own limitations in the way Federer has. He looks tough and mentally strong now because he hasn’t stared his own decline in the face. We’ll see how he looks afterwards.

    Every champion–Becker, McEnroe, Borg, etc.–faced that crisis when they came to the downside of their career. There were a very few like Agassi–and Federer himself–who lasted a long time playing for the love of the game, but I don’t know if Djokovic is like that. We’ll only find out what he’s really made of once he starts losing more often.

    I agree with Nakul’s assessment about Nadal’s lack of resilience. If he ever has to accept the runner-up plate at Roland Garros, chances are high that he’ll melt down the way Hingis did when she lost to Graf in ’99. Especially if it’s Federer holding the Coupe de Mousquetaires.

    In the end, you can’t cheat Father Time. Your day of reckoning will come. Nadal’s whole career has been based on the premise that it’s possible to avoid this reckoning forever–his plan is undoubtedly to break Federer’s record and then promptly retire triumphantly, so he’ll never have to face his decline and everyone will remember him as the GOAT who was unjustly forced out of tennis by his ailing body.

    If he loses at RG, he has to face the possibility that he may never catch Federer. And I think he’s staked his entire existence on that prospect for so long that it would devastate him. The only reason he plays tennis is because he feels sure that one day he will overtake Federer and be lauded as the GOAT. If that’s no longer a certainty in his mind, then tennis will lose all charm for him and become a tedious chore.

    Federer doesn’t play because he wants to end up with the most toys. He plays for love of the game. That’s why he can continue at such a high level. The trophies are just a by-product of the perfect tennis he seeks to play. He’s motivated by tackling new challenges and the quest to raise his game to yet-higher levels.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    These are good points Steve.

    But Djokovic has lately started to vary his baseline approach somewhat; don’t you think?

    Maybe he’s starting to plan for the long term, but it will also help him when playing against other baseliners if he can S&V or attack the net, if only to surprise or unsettle his opponents from time to time.

    Having a year like 2011 is going to boost his confidence tremendously; I think he’ll go to RG thinking he can beat Nadal this year. He is at least as strong this year as he ever was, and the jury is still out on Nadal’s form. But I suspect Djokovic is thinking that this will be his year.

    If Nadal doesn’t win at RG ’15, I think it will discourage him a great deal in terms of catching Roger’s slam count. And if Roger wins at Wimbledon this year, it will have the same disheartening effect on Nadal.

    Call me greedy, but I am unashamedly wishing for both!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes Djokovic is becoming more complete all the time. He is actually adjusting his game very well for faster courts. His serve has improved and despite being awkward in the forecourt I admire his willingness to fail in that area to try and improve. And he is improving in that area. Unlike Nadal he doesn’t just go to the net to finish points. He actually goes to the net for its own sake.
    And I think he believes he can win the FO this year too, despite all the setbacks. He is relentless like that. He keeps coming back no matter how painful the disappointment was. That is something I admire immensely in Djokovic. I know the deepest meaning of disappointment and I can tell you it is harder than hell to come back time and time again.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Careful Steve, you already made a big blunder when you said Djokovic reeks of burnout at the start of Monte Carlo. I wouldn’t want Djokovic to win the French and make you look even worse.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    To me steve post comes out as biased against djokovic. A lot of us fed fans have jumped on the djokovic bandwagon because we love to see nadal lose. In 2011 it was great to see nadal outplayed as well. But yeah it’s very obvious that djokovic will be faced with father time soon as well. Anyone who can’t enjoy and appreciate what each of these athletes has brought to the game before their decline is just bitter if you ask me.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Of course Steve is biased. He reeks of bias. If you want to call it jumping on the Djokovic bandwagon that is fine by me. Call it whatever it means to you. For me I have already explained countless times what it means and I won’t do so again here. As for father time why worry about that? Does it look to you like Djokovic will be faced with father time soon? That is just more Fedfan bias from Steve. Tennis players are more and more peaking at later ages these days. There is no telling how much longer the Djoker can dominate.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Some priceless things here which I just have to comment on as well.

    ‘And Djokovic has no alternative but to play on Nadal’s terms. His game is fundamentally a baseline style, requiring lengthy, punishing rallies. He can’t play enough short-point tennis or vary the rhythm of rallies enough to unsettle Nadal. He’s got to pound Nadal down the hard way.’

    And Federer? He had another alternative and yet Djokovic has fared far better than him in the h2h vs Nadal. Explain that!

    ‘If the margins are so narrow that they come down to things like how much the court was watered, or whether Djokovic had an upset tummy the day before, then it’s hard to see that Djokovic will ever prevail. There will always be some tiny thing going wrong that screws up his day.’

    Not even sure why I reply to this nonsense, but I wana see you come back from a heartbreaking loss like the 2013 SF stronger than ever.

    ‘Mentally, the losses may start to take their toll. It took him a year to get his head right after that loss in 2013. Maybe if he loses again he’ll start to question whether he’s ever meant to win in Paris. If he starts to entertain those doubts, the end of his time as a dominant champion won’t be far off.’

    More wishful thinking. Djokovic has handled the losses to Nadal at the FO better than any player in the history if the sport ever could. You are unfortunately forcing me to bring Federer up again. I don’t know if it’s a deliberate tactic from you to turn Fedfans against me, but yeah if you are worried about anyone’s ability to come back from tough losses vs Nadal then worry about Roger. Still not over the 2009 AO loss 6 years later, and it took the Djoker only a few months to start beating Nadal like a drum again.

    ‘Like I said in a previous post, Djokovic has not yet come face-to-face with his own limitations in the way Federer has. He looks tough and mentally strong now because he hasn’t stared his own decline in the face. We’ll see how he looks afterwards.’

    To me it looks more like you are the one who hasn’t come face-to-face with Fed’s limitations Steve. You act like a little baby throwing its toys out of the pram now that Djokovic is doing what Roger never could. You are providing the ideal example for everyone to see what being a spoiled rotten Fedfan in deep denial is like. ‘If Federer can’t do it then no one can, so we have to quickly discredit everyone who succeeds where he could not’.

    Very lame indeed.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    Co-signed!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    ;-)

    [Reply]

  10. When Roger had back problems and low confidence in 2013 Fedal played loads and Rafa fans were lapping it up. Now that Nadal is experiencing these problems Fedal don’t play at all because Nadal can’t reach him when he’s not at his best. And they’re still singing 23-10. Eugh. The Fedal rivalry is so skewed it’s annoying. Like what happened in IW but props to Raonic he was way too good that day.
    I actually hope they play at the French because Fed will improve on clay through Istanbul and Madrid and Nadal just isn’t playing well at all, I’d fancy Fed’s chances if they play. I’m almost laughing saying that but with Nadal’s level right now… At this rate Rafa could be the 6 or 7th seed at Roland Garros and they may even play in the quarters who knows. How cool that would be! Although I guess best of 5 is a whole different ball game so we can’t write Rafa off until then as you wisely remind me.
    I like that you’re giving Novak his due again here, I’ve got so much respect for him, growing up in a fractured childhood like that because of the war could’ve easily have made him very bitter. But it’s clear to see he’s a great guy. Sure he’s a little needy with the crowd but not everyone can be squeaky clean like Roger as you say. Roger is just too awesome so he raises expectations of others around him, which is not Roger’s fault of course, but it’s tough tits for every other player on tour who have to try and deal with that.
    I think with all the attention on Novak though some other quality clay courters could take advantage. I expect a whirlwind campaign like Fed’s ’09 victory with multiple 4 and 5 setters. Remember how Fed was so close to going out to Haas, I think Djoker will face a similar test… Nadal or no Nadal. Oh I can’t wait! The clay is so much more exciting now that the king of clay is abdicating his throne (for now).

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey Tom. Nice to hear from you. Like I said many times tennis is a funny game and who knows what can happen at the FO. Maybe if Fed’s form improves even he has a chance of winning it? But yeah I feel like Djokovic deserves it the most after getting so close and being so unlucky in Paris. Certainly he came closer to beating Nadal there than Roger ever did, and he has a much better record vs Nadal on clay.
    I also think he has come a long way as a player and a person. I’ve already said I identify more with him than with Roger and his ‘ideal’ upbringing. I quoted ideal because there is a reason he folds under pressure vs Nadal and in long five set matches, while Djokovic in turn stands tall. Adversity makes you strong. Also I find the Djoker more entertaining compared to Roger’s ‘perfect’ personality.
    It’s a bit boring for my liking. I like the Djoker’s sense of humor and antics on court. He wears his heart on his sleeve which is kind of endearing. You can see a certain vulnerability there and it is much easier to identify with than Roger’s ‘perfect’ appearance. For me anyway. Maybe other Fedfans had easy lives as well and thinks everyone should be perfect and act in an exemplary fashion.
    Me I prefer a bit of imperfection because I know I have flaws myself and don’t try to hide it. It’s been liberating being a Djoker fan.

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    elizabeth Reply:

    Ru-an I must admit it’s a bit strange to read that you find it liberating to be a Djoker fan…I thought that after ‘Ru-ns Federer Blog’ that no longer would you be a’FAN’ of anyone but tennis. Now I have so much enjoyed reading all your posts and although I love Federer I was a tennis fan long before he came on the scene I must admit that I find it hard to swallow all the hard lives that some players had compaired to the ‘ideal’ upbringing of the Swiss. No one can deny that it’s the same for all although Djo is the only one I’ve read that has talked about how hard it was in Serbia, so I applaud all the Serbian players who must have gone through the same. And of course not forgetting Raonic’s coach Ivan whose family fled for their lives.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I’m sure there are other Fedfans who share your views Elizabeth. But like I said many times my previous blog was not exclusively about Roger. It was not a typical fan blog. But because of the name of my blog some people became confused. So I changed the name that people are no longer confused. My blog itself has not changed much. I am still a Fedfan as always but I am now a big fan of Djokovic too. And as you see below the title it says ‘On the cutting edge of the men’s game’. That is where the Djoker is right now, and that is what this blog is mostly about. About the big three but also about tennis as a whole. I have also already said that being a Djokovic fan is a natural progression from being a Fedfan, and many Fedfans agree with me. I see the Djoker as Roger’s successor in many ways, and I am very much enjoying seeing him doing to Nadal what Roger never could.
    The Fedfans who can’t do the same are missing out on an awful lot. That I can tell you. As for finding it hard to swallow about hard lives you are not being asked to swallow anything. You can only see for yourself the undeniable fact that Djokovic copes better than Roger with Nadal and long five set matches in general. And then you can ask yourself why. Or you could be in denial like many Fedfans and not bother to ask why.

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    elizabeth Reply:

    No Ru-an I’m not in denial Nadal has won well against Federer so I don’t kid myself that it all happened by accident, I think of all the players Nadal has been the toughest. I also think it’s great that Djo is playing so well and may be Nadal’s biggest threat. I feel kind of strange to be classed as a Fedfan although in truth I do love watching him play…but I also love watching Stepanek play and so many othere so maybe you do right to shoot me down in flames haha x

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Same here Elizabeth. I feel strange being classed as a Fedfan these days but I appreciate him even more now. What is wrong with supporting other players? Don’t worry what spoiled, stuck up Fedfans think. It’s like worrying what flies or mosquitoes think. A complete waste of energy.

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  11. You should really get back to having a Roger pic as your main pic. Sure Novak is great and all but you really shouldn’t be asking most of us here who are Federer fans to see his face all the time when coming to the blog.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I’m not asking you anything.

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  12. I liked the blow-by blow account of the match, as I missed it (I just assumed Nadal was winning and didn’t check scores until late Friday).

    Love the subdued reaction of Fognini after he wins, doesn’t yell or even raise his arms…just quietly walks to shake hands. Contrast with the triple fist pumps.

    I don’t think this is the end of Nadal, it’s just that as he gets older he will have more off days, like Federer as he entered his late 20s.

    I think what Steve said about Federer playing for the love of the game (and the lifestyle of it) is true. If he was playing to win he would have retired by now, he hasn’t won a slam for 3 years and only made 1 finals since. As for Nadal I am not sure.

    He said something apparently in his post match interview, which I read on the BBC article: he said his forehand had not been worthy of ‘his ranking and career’. I think that’s the first I’ve ever heard Nadal say something that actually acknowledges his success, usualy he has the familiar ‘gee I’m so humble’ routine . Is Nadal happy to play at a level below what he was in his prime? Federer is – I remember in one on court interview with Courier he referred to his ‘good years’, so he is quite aware that his best is behind him.

    As for Djokovic, well he has survived the demons of losing at RG to Nadal in 3 close mathces to come back. But he has not dealt with real physical age-related decline yet. As Steve said Borg, McEnroe and others could not really deal with it; Sampras to some extent did, and Agassi and Federer are the gold standards.

    Don’t worry there’s a lot of poeple out there staying up at crazy hours to follow a Federer match on some half-dead stream :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Glad the blow-by-blow account helped you out Bharata. Not always sure how many people are interested in that. Of course Roger plays for the love of the game and that is why he keeps playing. I’ve been saying so for years after which Steve adopted the idea.
    Again bringing up the decline thing. If anyone can deal well with it it is Djokovic. How often has he been injured? That’s right, less than Federer even. And that’s because he stretches a lot and looks after himself. He is also married and has a kid now. People said it would affect his game negatively, but it had the opposite effect. He is balanced and happy. I can see him playing into his late thirties, winning slams for many more years.

    [Reply]

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