Nadal Wins 9th French Open and 14th Slam to Equal Sampras

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:

  1. I was wrong with my prediction and Roger was right as usual.
  2. Nadal will catch up with Roger’s slam count or surpass it.
  3. 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.

Highlights:

Posted in French Open, Grand Slams.

50 Comments

  1. Ru-an,

    I read your passionate piece but I think that you are still hurt by this loss do much that once again you are taking it to the extreme. As far as I am concerned, what happened yesterday was supposed to happen – after all Nadal is the King of Clay. Roger should be lucky to even have held a French Open trophy once while so many mere mortals died trying. That being said, I am not too worried – yet… Unless Nadal wins Wimbledon or the US Open or the Australian Open next year, there ha nothing to worry about. Yes, some might point out that he is confident but he still has troubled to overcome on grass and both Murray and Djokovic can CAUSE him trouble on the grass, believe me. After all, they’ve won there and are not pushovers.

    As far as Roger is concerned, I agree that winning an eighth Wimbledon would be amazing! I never thought that it would come to this but he probably needs it in order to preserve his slam record. I do not think that Nadal can win it this year but then again one can never underestimate NadalStrong. He is scheduled to play Halle so we’ll see what the deal is there. There is no time to panic… of course there is still hope!!!!

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    I agree with Vily.Ruan you just need to calm down a bit.Three slams is still a lot.Lets just wait for Wimbledon and I still think Roger has a chance in US open as well.So lets just all wait for till the US open and if the difference between Roger and Nadal is greater than or equal to three slams I still think its pretty much 60 – 40 in Roger’s favour.That being said I also think Roger will have a good chance to win Wimbledon next year as well.And once someone (ideally Djokovic) defeats him in the French (I am not saying it will be next year but it could be) I think its over for Nadal or atleast he wont win more than one or two after that.Again I don’t think I am being biased to anyone here.I think right now its 50 – 50 for Nadal to pass Federer and with each passing slam that is going to decrease.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    At least I’m not so convinced that Nadal will win 20+ slams like some people here. But who knows, he never slows down. Nothing would surprise me anymore.

    [Reply]

    elizabeth Reply:

    Hi Ru-an who knows if Nadal will slow down or not, I’m sure his agenda is win at any cost! When you think of the number of times everyone said his knees won’t last..what knees, haven’t heard a mention of them for ages!! I must have read your blog for years before I posted and when you see all the posts, Ru-an it’s your fault you make it inviting for tennis fans and Roger’s in particular to air their views. As I’ve said many times Nadal does nothing for me his poking,jiggling and time waisting makes for painful viewing, on the other hand if Roger Federer decided to call it quits that would be more painful. I think it’s commendable that Roger plays and he’ll know better than us what it feels like to lose when he was a serial winner. Today at Queens I saw leyton hewitt being interviewed he said Roger was so good the best ever.

    [Reply]

    Marcus Reply:

    Well said indeed! I agree with you and think that Nadal is NOT unstoppable. Roger, I think, has it in him to take his Destiny into his own hands and Win Wimbledon. He knows he has to keep his record intact to avoid being called second fiddle to Nadal in the All-Time count…Ruan, keep the Faith…we’ve followed your Blog for years now and I’m sure none of us would welcome the day you stop blogging. Yes, Life is greater than the joys of Tennis and I am glad you have many things to look forward to. I just want to say that it’s been consistently part of our Lives to hear your take on Roger and by extension Tennis…

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    Hey Ruan I too agree with Vily in that this was not your best post. You are still hurting as we all are. I still cannot accept what happened and it was understandable that you would want to stop following tennis. We all felt the same way at that point. like…what’s the point anymore? I’ll tell you what the point is. Roger may dissapoint us again at wimby but he may yet win it. He has a great chance. Djokovic was NOT AT HIS BEST IN THIS MATCH. Sometimes we can say that Nadal does not allow his opponents to play their best but that was not the case yesterday. Djokovic was badly affected by the heat and who knows maybe even a stomach bug. He threw up…some said he fainted on the bench as well (though I can’t remember that part). Maybe one day they will choose to have RG final at 4pm instead of 4pm (could have made a hell of a difference). Nadal and spanish players in general are more used to the heat than other players.
    Djokovic WILL RISE AGAIN. Of that we can be certain. He is too good not to. He will be determined and he will be wiser now. He has always worked extremely hard and one day he will prevail over nadal at RG. I agree we should never underestimate nadal again. But who knows, maybe djokovic will turn that H2H around in the smaller events. I mean it has to count for something when a guy you have played with so often has beaten you more often than not when you have similar playing styles.

    Nadal chose his tactics well. Played more aggressive. Had it not been for the heat the tactics may well have failed again. But even so djokovic will be more prepared next time for nadal’s aggression. There is no doubt that nadal’s tenacity and willingness to adapt are impressive and admirable but we must stay positive that as you said good will prevail over evil in the end.

    Nadal is afterall reaching that crucial age of 29 where inconsistency starts to set in, where decline starts happening. Hopefully he will be on the receiving end of many more ass woopings from djokovic. Obviously though djokovic must at some point beat him in a slam final again to dent his confidence a little.

    You have to stop comparing federer and nadal and their careers. It doesn’t mean that because fed lost australia and in the same year went on to win RG and wimby that nadal will repeat this feat. Sure he is capable but it doesn’t mean it will happen. Try to be more positive. Sorry for being too critical but I enjoy your blogging and I am just trying to share whatever positivity I can muster up with everybody.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    edit* I meant RG final at 4pm instead of 3pm

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    edit again* age 28 is when decline starts happening not 29

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Djokovic throwing up twice during the match show how right you are that he wasn’t at his best! A healthy Djokovic might have pulled out the win. You’re right; he will surely be back!

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    “shows how right you are”
    :-)

    [Reply]

  2. I mean 20+ slams is almost an impossibility in this day and age.I am only asking people to be positive so that we can get on with our daily work happily.I know how much of an emotional toll it takes on us seeing Nadal win again and again.We just gotta believe it will end soon.How soon only time will tell.. :-)

    [Reply]

  3. Great post ! Thanks Ruan!

    And just in case you missed it, I would take a look at the following article:

    Happy Birthday Nadal! You’re Probably Too Old to Pass Federer

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/happy-birthday-nadal-youre-probably-too-old-to-pass-federer/

    [Reply]

    lob Reply:

    One problem with the analysis in the link is that tennis changes very fast with generations. All that was true 20 years beck is not true now. But the even bigger problem is the assumption that Nadal has proven to be the exception to many such statistics. So, it is very difficult to circumscribe him to a particular trend in numbers.

    [Reply]

  4. Ru-an, I don’t know anything about the business of blogging, but maybe you should consider the opposite. What would it take for you to make a living with your blogging so you don’t have to spread yourself so thin working other jobs. Is this possible?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Not sure Eric this is something that has always been on my mind. Not sure whether it’s possible to make a living blogging. I’m sure you can make some money, but to make a living or become rich you need millions of page views a day basically. That is very difficult with a tennis blog, if not impossible. I’d love to make some money with my blogging. I have some Adsense ads on my blog but the money I make from them are minimal. I have also put a donate button on my blog before and got some donations from some generous readers. I’m just not sure how else to make money with my blog, but I’m sure that’s just in my mind. I will put the donate button back on my blog and change my mindset some more about making money with blogging :-)

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Yes, put it back up and I will gladly donate. :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Cheers Eric. Why is it always the people who already contribute the most to my blog that donate?

    [Reply]

  5. Somebody REALLY smart once wrote this and I agree with it completely. I wonder who that was….

    “In my mind Roger is the GOAT. He is as perfect a tennis player as there ever was. Nadal is starting to threaten his records but I don’t think he will actually bypass Roger as the GOAT. And even if Nadal does get close to his records, Roger will always be the most complete player there ever was. He is also respectful to everyone and a very popular champion. This all makes being a Fedfan a very rewarding experience.”

    Don’t sweat the slam count, Roger is and will always be the greatest!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha thanks Eric. Only saw this comment now. So many comments to read and I am so busy. Yes it seems I have to listen to myself sometimes…

    [Reply]

  6. Djokovic played poorly. He got some stomach illness before his match against Gulbis. He looked tied in this match too. If Djoko had been in his normal form, he would have beaten Nadal in 4 sets. So this loss was bad luck. Nadal was not so dominant.
    I think we should all quit tennis at the moment Nadal equals Roger’s record. At that point in time tennis will die forever. But before that we should enjoy tennis of some great players and switch off if Nadal enters the court.

    [Reply]

  7. I am not saying this as a Nadal fan. I am not. But by now it is pretty obvious that barring major injury, Nadal will make it to at least 17 or 18 slams. Nadal has at least 3 more years of tennis left. Heck, he can get to 17 by playing and winning RG alone, leave out other majors. What Nadal uses are smart tactics and strategy that are necessary for the moemnt. He is also a master of picking his battles. He won’t mind losing small matches because he always has the big prize in mind. He is not stubborn like Federer or emotional like Djokovic. If Nadal can recover like this from a loss like the one to Stan at Melbourne, getting 3 more majors is for all practical purposes a near certainty. Federer is wise. He is enjoying life because he realizes that his tennis legacy is out of his hands now. He is not that desperate to win. He likes to be on the tour because he enjoys being on the tour and yeah it doesn’t hurt his endorsements either. My consolation is that tennis has changed. It is more a game of attrition now. Federer was the last great attacking player to reach such heights. Attrition tennis pulls in crowds and ratings. That’s the future of tennis.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    I would hope that Nadal doesn’t get 17 or more grand slams but I honestly think he will. Of that you are probably right. But you couldn’t be more wrong about everything else you said.

    [Reply]

  8. Keep the faith guys it isn’t over until it’s over! Like I said three majors doesn’t just happen, it’s still quite a gap. And we get to see Roger’s awesome grass court tennis continuing Wednesday, and that cheers me up in an instant. :-) Because he’s not done either! He won’t just lie down while Rafa passes him. Rafa will have to earn it and if he does fair play to him. Which brings me to the one thing that would plant any seed of doubt into Nadal at this stage. Roger getting his s**t together against his biggest rival on HIS turf, SW19. It can happen, and I’m looking forward to the battle commencing. I hope we see Rafa in Halle. No more anxiety and negativity! Whatever happens it’s been an amazing story Roger’s career. His influence will remain, I mean I do my bit and try to be half the guy Roger is. I’m proud whatever happens and I hope others will join me in just smiling and enjoying every shot, every match and yes every fight there remains against Nadal even if it ends in valiant defeat. There’s more to life than tennis records. Roger has it all with his beautiful family I almost feel sorry for Nadal.
    Looking forward to Wednesday! Will be sad to see you go Ruan if that’s what you decide best of luck :-)

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    Right on, Tom!

    [Reply]

  9. Ruan, your prediction might have been wrong but I for one think it was very close to being right! If Djokovic had made it to a fifth set I think it’s very possible he might have won. Nadal was struggling with his back, was completely winded at several points, and might have been almost completely exhausted. One of the announcers I listened to (Mary Carrillo?) compared to Ali and Frazier’s last bout. If you know about that, you know how close both men came to losing (“closest thing to death I know about,” said Ali after the fight).

    So … there may have been some emotion in your prediction, but a lot of logic and knowledge was in there too – can someone give me a shout on that? – and if the weather had been just very slightly different, you might well have been right!

    Besides, Roger plays with these guys, sweats with them, watches more tape than we do, etc. so he has a ‘slight edge’ when it comes to these kinds of assessment.

    And one more thing, we all love your passion for the game! (Ha, I probably don’t need to say that, since it was obvious from the post-match comments that we were all emotionally affected by the loss!!) So please don’t remove the passion from your great posts.

    2.Nadal will catch up with Roger’s slam count or surpass it.

    Well I think we’ll just have to wait and see! Lots of things can happen on the court after all, can’t they? I feel like I’m borrowing a page from your own book of wisdom to say that too Ruan! :-)

    As Tom just pointed out, three majors is too big an effort for anyone to take them for granted (except possibly Roger himself, during the height of his unparalleled career). :-)

    Expectations can surely lead to disappointment. You’ve been right about that too many times! But if we lower our expectations just to avoid disappointment, then we’re just living the disappointment right now. Wouldn’t it be better to suspend a prediction and see what happens?

    I hope this comes across in the way I mean it, which is the respectful manner in which one treats a friend (especially when one knows the friend has a lot more knowledge about tennis!).

    3.Djokovic is not and never was the protector of Roger’s legacy.

    I’m not going to comment on this one. I just want to say you’re the best blogger. We all love your passion and knowledge about tennis, and we love how you aren’t afraid to feel the big disappointments deeply. That’s what separates a champion from an also-ran.

    I’ll close by making the fairly obvious observation for everyone who felt like that match like a punch in the gut – as I did – that there’s a lot of tennis still to be played this year!

    Best Regards,
    Joe

    P.S. Thanks for NOT posting a picture of anyone biting a trophy…
    :-)

    [Reply]

  10. Playing ugly or not, being evil or not, Nadal and his uncle Tony raised long time ago a problem to be solved by tennis community. An incredible topspin whip forehand, combined with incredible stamina and mental fortitude in the key moments of a match. It is something that can cause depression and tears at trophy presentation, but should not cause resignation or stopping one to continue finding solutions against his unique style of play.

    Tennis players and coaches have to continue finding ways to neutralize his lethal weapons on RG clay, they could ask for some help from Agassi on how to build a “dragon” ball machine, spitting balls at around 4000 RPMs all over a clay field for hours (if necessary only towards the backhand side of the human player). After playing 1 or 2 million balls like that per day, one may know how to deal with Nadal at RG. I know it is a very difficult problem, but Soderling found a solution to it in 2009 (with or without a dragon ball machine in his backyard), because of:

    – his height (6ft 4in)
    – the way he played, he declared he entered the field and played with no stress, as in a practice session
    – his aggressive power with grounstrokes and serves around 200 km/h
    – even after loosing the second set, Soderling kept attacking and winning in a cool, icy, borgish manner, electively panicking Nadal

    Back to the drawing boards and tennis courts dear tennis players and famous coaches ! Fermat’s theorem has been solved in 10 years, maybe Nadal’s problem will be solved
    for good during the quest for his 10th title at RG.

    [Reply]

    Kelly Reply:

    Excellent idea! May be Federer should build and start using this “dragon” ball machine immediately to prepare for 2015 French Open. Like you said, he must make sure the machine hits at least a million balls per day to his disability called his backhand.

    [Reply]

    elizabeth Reply:

    Haha we should all be so lucky to have the disability you call his backhand!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes it’s hardly a disability Elizabeth. It’s one of the best one-handed backhands in history.

    [Reply]

  11. Ruan,

    Good post overall, a little disagreement here.

    While Nadal is mentally tough and works very hard on his game, it seems to me some have exaggerated these two traits (I am not saying you are, Ruan). Nadal has had an edge against all of his major rivals right off the bat, therefore he knows he can beat them. So while Nadal is mentally strong, he never really has to face someone whom he can’t beat and then learn to beat him as time passes on. While Novak manages to gain the upper-hand for a while, his game has never presented the kind of match-up issue Nadal has with roger. Rafa also has clay to fall back on, which really suits his game. In other words, Rafa can be mentally “strong” simply because his opponent cannot find a way to solve his spin and counterattack.

    As for Rafa’s constant work ethic to improve his game, while he does work hard, I don’t think he has to improve all that drastically. He has used more slice, and he plays more aggressively, but the overall game plan and style remains the same. The same is true with just about every other top player these days, no matter what surfaces they play on. My own opinion is that the slowing down of the court, its high bounces, and racquet technology favor Rafa’s game so much that I doubt he really needs to adjust his game all that much. In other words, I don’t think he really has to adapt much, given the game has chosen to adapt to him instead. This is not to take credit away from Rafa, for he is an amazing player, top 5 if not top 3 all time at this point. He has tremendous work ethic and is very tough mentally. However, I am doubtful he is as incredible in these 2 areas as some fans make him out to be.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    What I am impressed with is his continuous ability to just win majors – this is his 10th straight year with at least 1 GS. Clay does suit his game and he is exploiting it as much as he can. No wonder why his resume is so lopsided. 9 Frenches and 5 of everything else. That is why I like Federer’s resume more. But no doubt, the clock is still on and we’ll see what happens.

    [Reply]

    David C. Reply:

    Yes, Nadal is very impressive in winning majors year in and year out. However, nothing is set in stone until both Roger and Nadal retire. So, we shall see.

    Btw, in my original post, I wrote “I don’t think he has to improve all that drastically.” It should’ve been “I don’t think he has improved all that drastically.”

    [Reply]

  12. Ruan, thanks for a great blog! I totally empathize with your feelings…. And I’m one of those people, as you alluded to, who said Nadal might very well breeze past 20 Major titles. Unlike you, I don’t think such a prediction is as farfetched as it may seem, especially considering the concerns I spoke of in my last post. But I am letting all that go now. I will just bow reverently before Clio, The Muse of History; She will be the final Judge about this troubling matter.
    So all the best to you, Ruan. And I hope you keep blogging for years to come, even if it isn’t about tennis.

    [Reply]

  13. During the first set/set and a half of the final it felt like there was a changing of the guard happening right in front of everyone, and then, just like that, it didn’t happen. Now, instead, it feels like the eleventh hour of tennis. If Nadal wins Wimbledon of all tournaments, a place where he has done god awful the last two years, tennis is all but dead. It’s up to an unlikely group to stop this from happening. Federer, past his prime, inconsistent even now after improving since 2013, Djokovic, who has gone from a mental giant to a mental midget and who has been absolutely destroyed emotionally by Nadal, and Murray who has not been close to the same since Wimbledon last year.

    But why would that ever mean there wasn’t a chance? The monster can still be slain. Everyone comes in with a fighting chance. Nadal has lost before and is more likely to lose every passing day. I say, us Fed fans should stick together until Nadal is the undisputed GOAT, because if we stop watching tennis now, we won’t witness Federer’s final matches, or Nadal’s inevitable downfall (even if it’s due to old age it will be spectacular). We need to find the small, good bits of tennis that are left.

    Here’s to the chance.

    [Reply]

  14. This is how champions handle themselves and their emotions. You have got to love this guy and we should all be as dignified. No crying over spilled milk from the great Roger Federer.

    “Of course I was really happy for him. What he’s proving on clay year after year is gigantic,” he said.
    “You only can raise your hat to him. For me Rafa was the favourite before the tournament. Only afterwards did everyone say ‘it was clear that he would win the French Open’.
    “They said he can’t play tennis because he lost two matches on clay and therefore I think it’s nice that he showed it to everyone again.”

    The Swiss world number four is eager to prepare as well as possible in Halle for the third slam of the year at Wimbledon.
    “Here in Halle I have to defend my only title from last year and at Wimbledon I have nothing to defend,” he added.
    “I have to prove myself at Wimbledon. Normally there’s enormous pressure about the points and that you are playing well. Probably this year I can relax a bit at Wimbledon but now in Halle there’s big tension.”

    [Reply]

    elizabeth Reply:

    Eric you are so right, to hear Federer
    applaud Nadal’s success truly shows another reason to be a fan of such a great Champion.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah good stuff from Fed. Just shows again how much the players differ from the fans. He knows his record is under serious threat though, so he better get his shit together and win Wimbledon. Or else Nadal will become GOAT.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Nadal possibly could get more slams but he will NEVER be the goat.

    [Reply]

  15. Despite that loss, Federer said he is in no mood to retire.

    “It’s true that I have won everything, but I am still fascinated by the sport and by the desire to face the daily challenges of the world’s best players and the young stars,” said the 17-time major winner.

    [Reply]

  16. Excellent blog Ruan.
    I watched the French Open only because I thought that Novak would beat Nadal. But no Nadal is just a beast at times and can’t be stopped. Once Roger retires I doubt that I will watch any tennis if Nadal is still around. I don’t like his style of play and there is no one else that can take Roger’s place. It will be a sad day when Roger is no longer on the courts.

    [Reply]

  17. Even if Nadal should surpass Federer in grandslam titles won, his resumé is still never going to be as impressive as Federers. That is why I like both players, they are very unique in their talents.

    And I agree, I would love for Federer to win the record 8th Wimbledon. That would end the debate of who is the greatest grass court player of all time.

    [Reply]

  18. It’s obvious to me that Novak was sick. It was apparent during the Gulbis match. The combination of his (FLU) and the Paris heat conspired to make Novak lose again. I know this sounds like I’m making excuses but it’s true.

    I did not accuse Nadal of faking at 2014 AO. I thought he had a legitimate problem. However, Nadal brings such things on himself. This time there actually was a “wolf” and nobody believes him.

    Bact to Novak. There is much to be admired in this person. Anybody as sick as he was and still competes as well as he did is to be revered. Even vomiting on court but still continues. As Ru-An pointed out, I also thought he could come back in the 4th set after it was tied at 4-4. The sun was not out and Novak even took his hat off. But, it a blink of the eye, it was over.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    This vomiting is interesting to me. I did not even see it. When did it happen?

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    It was between the 3rd and 4th sets

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I quite watching for a while when I thought the outcome was inevitable. In think it was at the start of the 4th set. Must have happened then. I can’t believe how lucky Nadal is. I think the universe is conspiring in his favor, and I don’t understand that since I thought the universe conspires in favor of improvement and goodness.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Just found this on twitter. Wow. http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/nbc-showed-novak-djokovic-throwing-up-during-the-french-open.html

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    I thought you had seen it. I was wondering why you didn’t comment about it. Yea he must have had a stomach bug.

    [Reply]

  19. Hey guys, finally I am at work and am able to comment. Have been waiting since a few days. Well, I have to keep it short, I am going home soon, so here it is:
    Hey Ru-an, nice article. Not good…but not bad :-) I want to reply to your 3 points:
    1) You were wrong in your prediction. Happens. No biggie. That is life. We predict. 50% chance of doing it right and 50% chance of doing it wrong. Moving on. Next. No biggie. Once (or even more) our prediction (positive for Roger and negative for Rafa) will come true.
    3) Nole is not the protector of Roger’s slam. I don’t think a young boy named Nole picked up a racquet years ago and began to practise like hell, so he could save our Roger :-) Nole is (and should be) in it for himself. Roger will do alright. He will protect his own slams. And if he can’t make that happen… the dude got 4 children. Much more important and in about 20 years they will take revenge on Rafa’s children :-)
    2) The most important one: Rafa will NOT equal or surpass Roger’s slams. He might get lucky and win nr 15, but no more. And really?? Rafa will win Wimby?? Faith/Destiny always finds a way to put someone on the “ground”. If it wasn’t for Rafa, Roger would have 25 to 30 slams (even with 3 years all 4 slams). But…. Destiny “gave” Roger a Rafa to keep him grounded. If it wasn’t for Nole than Rafa would have won 5 or 6 more slams between 2011 and 2012. NOT… Destiny would “give” Rafa someone else to stop him from beeing too dominant. Now… it looks like Rafa is unstoppable. But that is NOT TRUE. There will come another player to stop Rafa. Maybe a young kid (no one like Roger or Nole or Andy). But it will happen. No one can be too dominant.
    I hope it makes sense what a wrote. If not… just believe in Roger. He is still playing some amazing amazing tennis and now he knows Rafa is getting closer.

    And for me, one good thing came out of RG… and that is that… finally the Beast is getting tired and human :-) I mean my God, he even admitted it himself.

    No despair, lets not quit tennis because of one dude/Beast. There is a lot more Roger and a lot more of Roger to go around.
    If Rafa can get 17 to 20 slams…really, is it not possible (with the joke draw Rafa had at RG) that Roger can get atleast 1 or 2 slams with such a draw in the remaining 10 slams???

    I am feeling very good. This was IT for Rafa :-)

    [Reply]

  20. hay Ruan first of all a great post..Definatly hard times for all us Fed fans but thats what life is all about, evil will alwyas be challanging..About Murray though..Its so strange to have a top layer player so in awe of his rival..I mean its almost as if he wants Nadal to play unbelivable tennis so that he can say how unplayable his serve has become or how Nadals forehand is the greatest ever..I mean its unbelievable hero worship from a top player..But thats what explains his inability to constantly challange for no.1 as well….Whatever it is its pathetic.. Anyway I just hope u keep up on tennis..It desperatly needs true tennis fans in these really testing times….

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *