Hey, guys. No, I am not done blogging. Not yet anyway. I did, however, feel yesterday like giving up blogging after Nadal beat Djokovic yet again in Paris to win a ninth French Open. A few things that came out of this match:
- I was wrong with my prediction and Roger was right as usual.
- Nadal will catch up with Roger’s slam count or surpass it.
- Djokovic is not and never was the protector of Roger’s legacy.
I will start with #1 and work my way down. I admit it, I was wrong. And I should apologize to Roger for calling him emotional and not logical when he made his prediction about Nadal being the favorite for the title. Instead, it was me who was emotional and illogical. Us fans just have a different mentality than the players themselves. Roger realizes that Nadal is a threat to his records, but he knows it is out of his hands what Nadal does and is therefore focused on himself. He has already stated that we will probably never know when asked who will become the greatest between him and Nadal, and I tend to agree with that. I wanted Djokovic to win so badly that I was biased in my prediction. I did not want Nadal to catch Roger or surpass him. I have already admitted to you before that my predictions when it comes to Nadal are poor. They are not logical. They are biased.
I want Nadal to lose so I keep predicting that he will. That is not a prediction based on logic, but a prediction based on emotion. That does not mean there was no logic at all in my prediction. There were certain things that made me believe that this was going to be Djokovic’s year finally. But deep down I also knew I could be wrong and that Nadal was probably the favorite. I took a risk with my prediction and it didn’t pay off. But who cares? No one knows the future which is why I normally don’t like to make predictions. I have for instance never predicted a score of a match. I find that totally pointless. Let’s move on. I have realized yet again how good Roger is with these predictions and how smart he is when it comes to tennis. It seems obvious that Nadal was the favorite in hindsight, but this is not the first time Roger gets something right about tennis.
This has happened again and again in the past and I will never doubt him again. I will also never underestimate Nadal again. This was the last time. I am now convinced he will equal and possibly surpass Roger’s slam count. I have read some comments and I think the people who say Nadal will win 20+ slam are exaggerating and being emotional themselves. People tend to be that way after a big disappointment. That said, I am going to stay true to my word and not put anything beyond Nadal anymore. So I don’t think winning 20+ slams is completely out of the question for him. It is just astonishing how he keeps proving people wrong and smashing records. Nadal is already 28, he was an early bloomer, and he has the most taxing game style in the history of the game. That makes me wonder.
Yes, you know what I am talking about. But since there is not a shred of official proof we have to assume he is clean, as well as congratulate a respect him. Even if we are convinced we know the truth(which I’m not saying I am), we must keep quiet and be respectful. So I want to congratulate Nadal on a record ninth French Open title and for equaling Sampras’ fourteen slam titles. I don’t like Nadal’s on-court antics or his tennis, but I have already said many a time that there is much even Roger can learn from him, regardless of whether we believe he is achievements seems to be a little too good to be true or not. Nadal is mentally extremely strong which is an area where Roger has come up short in the past. He is also more adaptable than Roger. Roger have made the mistake in the past of being self-satisfied and not wanting to change and adapt.
Nadal, on the other hand, doesn’t have that sense of pride and is always trying to improve and adapt. Now before people put words in my mouth again, let me just say that I never said Roger is mentally weak or that he doesn’t adapt. I am merely saying that Nadal is better than Roger in those areas and is probably going to be the reason he surpasses Roger in slam count. Nadal was never as talented as Roger and realized early on that if he was going to be as good as Roger, he will have to stick his pride in his pocket and do whatever needs to be done to win(feel welcome to make of that whatever you want). I don’t know what that all entails but I do know that Nadal almost never chokes and that he is constantly trying to improve and adapt his game. So for that he has my respect and admiration.
Now I get to #3. Djokovic is not and never was the protector of Roger’s legacy. He is first of all not good enough and second of all it is a little absurd to expect Djokovic to ‘protect’ Roger anyway. Roger is the only one that can do that. If he can’t then Nadal deserves to surpass him. I believe yesterday was a big day in the career of Novak Djokovic. One that may haunt him for a long time. Djokovic is already a great tennis player, but yesterday’s loss could have made him so much greater than he already is. Completing the career slam alone would have put him in some very elite company, and one would have thought that he could win many more slams. Now he has lost in four straight slams finals. That means he slips to 6-6 in slams finals. If only he won yesterday everything would have looked so much better.
Even the Djokodal rivalry that was 12-6 in Djokovic’s favor since 2011 and 3-3 in slams now slips to 12-7 and 3-4 in slams. The overall head-to-head goes to 23-19 and 9-3 in slams instead of 22-20 and 8-4 in slams in Nadal’s favor. I think for Djokovic to now trail the head-to-head in slams both pre 2011 and post 2011 means Nadal has not firmly taken control of this rivalry too. There is just no one who can really challenge Nadal in a head-to-head. I truly believed it could be Djokovic, and for a while he was really a thorn in Nadal’s side, but yesterday Nadal has even gotten the better of Djokovic. I thought Djokovic 2.0 would be to Nadal what Nadal was to Roger, but I guess Nadal is simply invincible. Yesterday was the day that Djokovic was supposed to once and for all end Nadal’s chances of catching up with Roger, but he failed.
And it wasn’t even very close. It was a hot day with no rain, which was the first sign that this was once again going to be Nadal’s day. He doesn’t get denied often, does he? That said, Djokovic won the first set 6-3 and it looked like the beast would finally be slayed, and that tennis would be saved from his clutches. But it wasn’t to be. Djokovic started fading towards the end of the second set and never recovered, losing the next three sets 7-5, 6-2, 6-4. When Nadal went up a break in the third set I knew trouble was brewing. I pretty much gave up at that point already, but when Djokovic broke back in the fourth set to square things up at 4-4 I thought there just might be a twist in the tail left. At the same time the clock was ticking and the worst heat had passed. Djokovic was able to take off his hat as the sun subsided, and the stage was set for an epic comeback.
But as quickly as things seemed to have swung back in Djokovic’s favor, things swung back in Nadal’s favor and he was biting another French Open trophy. Things ended on a bitter note too, as someone in the crowd was shouting out between Djokovic’s first and second serves on match point. This may have been the cause of Djokovic’s double fault, but it didn’t matter. The writing was on the wall. Nadal had put the disappointment of the Australian Open loss behind him and equaled Sampras’ record which seemed so far out of reach after Melbourne. This situation now very much reminds me of 2009 when Roger’s heart got broken in Melbourne, after which he bounced back in the best possible way by completing the career slam at the French Open and then breaking Sampras’ all time slam record at Wimbledon the same year.
Those two slam wins may just be my fondest memories as a Fedfan. And now it looks like Nadal will do the exact same and even surpass it. Nadal is now my firm favorite for winning Wimbledon this year. It was Roger and Murray before the final in Paris but I am now convinced Nadal will win a third Wimbledon. Hopefully since I got the Djokovic prediction at the French Open wrong this prediction will have a jinxing effect and Nadal will not win Wimbledon. Believe me, no one wants me to be wrong more than myself. In fact I was going to give up blogging forever unless Roger won Wimbledon this year. And I might still quit blogging if he does not win Wimbledon. Roger winning Wimbledon would make yet another huge disappointment bearable. I have already stated that if Roger wins an eighth Wimbledon I don’t care what Nadal achieves thereafter.
For me it would be the ultimate if Roger wins the record amount of titles at the most prestigious tournament in the world. That would make him the greatest ever in my book, regardless of what Nadal achieves thereafter. If however Roger fails to do so I may just quit following tennis. I have neither the time nor the inclination to watch Nadal kill tennis with his anti-tennis game style and dirty tactics. He represents the opposite of why I love and respect tennis and I simply can’t bare to watch him dominate the sport any longer. I am a fan of Roger because he has class and plays the game fairly. I am also a fan of his tennis because it is beautiful and entertaining to watch. Roger plays first strike tennis and takes initiative. He doesn’t retrieve and moonball relentlessly until his opponent falters.
To me that is negative and gutless tennis. I respect Nadal’s mental strength and willingness to adapt but I simply can’t appreciate his ugly game and dirty tactics. So if Nadal wins Wimbledon I may just quit blogging. Even if Roger fails to win Wimbledon and someone else than Nadal wins the title I may already quit blogging. I think this will probably be Roger’s last chance to win Wimbledon. If he fails to do so Nadal will just catch his slam count and surpass him, whether Nadal wins Wimbledon or not. And why would I stick around for that? It s clear that Djokovic can’t stop Nadal, and neither can Murray. Murray is more a fan of Nadal than an opponent. If it was up to him he would help Nadal surpass Roger. I have tried to make it clear numerous times that this is not a fan blog.
It is first of all a tennis blog, and then a Federer blog. So although I am a fan of tennis first of all and you might ask why I would quit blogging if Nadal keeps dominating, I would answer that Nadal represents what I don’t like about tennis and that I am not just a tennis fan. In a big way Roger represents to me what tennis is all about. Fair play and beauty. In a way Roger is tennis to me. Yes he is not bigger than the sport but he is as close to being equal to the sport as it gets for me. So to watch his very antithesis eclipse him would not interest me. That said, I have always believed that everything happens for a reason and that all will be well in the end. Well maybe not always but these days anyway. I don’t think this thing is over yet. Roger represents goodness to me while Nadal pretty much represents the opposite.
And I believe that good always wins in the end somehow. So I have not given up hope. The ideal is that Roger now takes his own destiny in his hands and wins a record eighth Wimbledon. Then good has triumphed as far as I’m concerned. If Nadal wins Wimbledon then evil has triumphed(please don’t take that too the extreme) and I have no reason to keep blogging or following the sport. I have enough going on in my life these days as it is, and I have big goals I have set myself. So if blogging and following tennis is not absolutely worth my time I won’t do it. My time is becoming more and more valuable, and I simply won’t waste it on something my heart is not 100% into anymore. I hope you understand that.
In the mean time the Halle draw is out which you can view here, but I don’t have time to discuss it. I will however follow Halle and blog about it. I assume Roger will start on Wednesday so maybe I can even fit in a quick draw post tomorrow. We shall see.