Federer vs. Sampras

For those who doesn’t know Roger is currently standing on thirteen grand slam titles, one grand slam title short of Pete Sampras all time record of fourteen titles. For a long time people have been debating whether Roger is better then Pete. And while it’s a relevant debate i don’t think it’s a very difficult one to settle.

Having said that Roger hasn’t equaled or passed Pete’s record yet, so this is probably a good time for me to write about the ‘rivalry’. The first thing to consider is the one career meeting that the two had at Wimbledon early in Roger’s career, probably the most important match in his career up until that point.

Federer stated after the match that it was important for him to beat Sampras in his own back yard, and he wasn’t going to falter. He won the epic encounter 7-5 in the fifth set. A truly significant victory given that Sampras had been sitting on the Wimbledon throne for the better part of a decade. And when the moment of truth came Roger was as solid as a rock, calmly steering a forehand return down the line to complete a historic win.

This loss marked the beginning of the end for Sampras and he would retire from tennis not long after. In my mind that was a very significant match in terms of the Sampras-Federer rivalry. It’s obvious that they are both geniuses in their own right, but it has always occurred to me that Roger has an edge over Pete. Hence the 7-5 in the fifth score. Had the score been 7-6 in the fifth set it would have been too close to make a call.

But the fact that Roger broke Sampras to win the match was significant to me, and probably overlooked by the untrained eye. This was just the start however, and ever since Roger has proven over and over to me that he is the better tennis player. As gifted as Sampras was Roger is even more gifted. Roger is more complete. Where Sampras hardly had a weakness in his game Roger has no weakness.

There simply isn’t any cracks in Roger’s game. Technically he has a more sound backhand then Sampras, and his returns is certainly better. There is also less margin for error in his game and when it comes to fitness I’d have to say Roger has the edge. Also Roger has better hands; when the two met in 2007 for three exhibition matches Pete remarked that Roger had a back-hand flick that he never possessed.

All of these factors makes Roger a much better player on clay then Pete ever was. If the best clay courter of all time in Rafael Nadal wasn’t around Roger would without a doubt won a at least one French Open title so far, if not the grand slam itself. Roger may never win a title in Paris but that takes nothing away from the fact that he is in another class then Pete on the clay surface.

Moreover Pete’s strengths was his serve, his forehand, his volleys and his mental abilities. In all these areas he was probably better then Roger, although it’s debatable whether he had a better forehand or mental abilities. Pete certainly had a lot of firepower. And he had a certain killer instinct that Roger does not possess. But then again Federer has a certain calm as he showed against Pete when he beat him in their only career meeting.

Personally i take a lot of satisfaction in the fact that Roger seems to be better then Pete. I used to be a big Agassi fan and it was frustrating and even boring how at times Pete could dominate the best returner of all time with his serve. Federer is of course in another class then Agassi, he has a certain quality as a player and a man that is almost unheard of. I’d have to say that not only does Roger have the edge over Pete as a player but also as a human being.

As a tennis personality he is more popular the Pete ever was, Pete was often labeled as boring and emotionless. Roger on the other hand does show a certain humanity out on court, whereas Pete was kind of stale and emotionless. Even Roger’s game is much more exciting for me to watch, you never quite know what to expect from Roger, whereas with Pete it was pretty much the serve and the forehand that was going to dominate.

Sampras even recently admitted that Roger will break his record and i don’t think there is any doubt that he will. The question is rather how many grand slams Roger will end up winning. I’d say he will at least equal Pete’s record next year, and after that he will only be 28, and who knows for how many years he can still win grand slams after that! It’s really hard to make a prediction here but Roger will almost certainly win at least two more slams then Pete, making sure that it can’t be viewed as luck.

Hopefully this post will put all doubts about who is better to rest and make people appreciate how good this man really is. And not only is he the greatest tennis player that ever lived, he is also a very special human being. I am really surprised when i hear people say Roger is boring or that he’s arrogant. Nothing could be further from the truth. People who say this either know nothing about tennis at all or they are jealous. And that is all there is to it.

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Federer-2008 in Review

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The 2008 season have come to an end and players are taking a much deserved break with family and friends or getting in shape for the 2009 season.  As for Federer he is still enjoying the sun and the sea, after which he will start training at the training camp in Dubai.  So what better time to review the 2009 season.

Federer had his worst season in 5 years, for the first time since 2003 not winning more then one grand slam title.  Still he had the second best season on the tour behind Rafael Nadal.  He still made the final of three grand slams and one semi-final, which is outstanding by any ones standards, accept the great man himself.  The start 0f 2008 wasn’t the best, maybe an ominous sign of things to come for Roger.

The first sign of a loss of form for Federer came against Janko Tipsarevic in the Australian Open which was a closely contested five setter. Something seemed to be off,  Roger seemed less dominant then we’ve gotten so used to.  So it was no surprise when Federer lost in straight sets in the semi-finals against in form Novak Djocovic.  Watching that match i could tell Roger  was out of sorts, he seemed nervous and lacked confidence, something we are not used to seeing from him at all.

So that was definitely not a good sign for all Federer fans. Luckily for us he was to hit his stride again during the clay court season and was the old Federer again.  In the French Open he was crushed by Nadal,  but as far as I’m concerned that was a long time coming.  Federer hasn’t figured out how to beat Nadal on clay and doesn’t seem to be getting closer to solving the matter. He really seems like a different player against Nadal on clay, like a stubborn child who does not learn.

Still getting to the final of the French was not a bad sign for Federer, even though he was obliterated in the final. But when Nadal won on grass at  Queen’s Club in L0ndon in the run up to Wimbledon, the warning signs were once again showing for Federer. As expected Nadal and Federer met once again in the men’s final and treated the tennis world to one of the most spell-binding matches in history of tennis on the grandest of scales. Nadal triumphed 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7 in an 4 hour 48 minute epic encounter, ending the five year reign of Federer.

Once again i was not particularly surprised by these turn of events since Nadal had been knocking on the door for a while and seemed to always be improving on the grass surface, which can’t be said for Roger when it comes to clay.  Overall Federer played a pretty good tournament, even though it must have been extremely disappointing for him to lose one of the greatest matches of all time in his own back yard, with everything that was on the line.

However his disappointment was somewhat offset by his triumph in the Olympic Games doubles event, in which he won the gold medal with Stanislas Wawrinka. Losing against James Blake in the sinlges must have been another great disappointment for Roger, but like any great champ he focused on the positive and therefor got more of it. He seemed like a different player going into the US Open. Even though he didn’t have the best of US hard court seasons he went into the Open with a sense of urgency, something that was clearly lacking at the start of the year. Did he become complacent? Did he start feeling the pressure from someone like Djokovic? Who knows, only Roger will know the answer to that, or maybe it was a combination of both.

Whatever the case may be the US Open of 2008 was going to be a pivotal tournament in the career of Roger Federer.  Should he not win it people would say Federer is burned out and it would have been hard for him to prove people wrong again. Should he win it everyone would say Federer is back and the whole slump of 2008 would be forgotten, and he could start anew in 2009. As a true champ would respond Federer won the Open, taking revenge on Djokovic along the way for the Australian Open loss and convincingly beating Andy Murray in the final 6-2, 7-5, 6-2.

At the Master’s Cup in Shanghai Roger wasn’t at his best, not making it past the group stages,  but he had back problems so his preparation wouldn’t have been ideal.  So all in all I’d have to say that 2008 was a good year for Federer, nothing more and nothing less. For anyone else it would have been an amazing season, but then again Federer isn’t anyone else. Only Nadal had a better season, and it’s hard to see Nadal ever having a season like that again. Like Sampras recently said,  he goes through a certain grind in his matches, while Federer has a much more economic, easy style.

The 2009 season promises to be as exciting as any, with Murray adding himself to the big three, making it the big four now. These four will fight it out for the grand slams in 2009, while Roger will be looking to at least equal Sampras grand slam record, and preferably pass it. It won’t be easy, but he will certainly come out firing in 2009. So don’t expect another slip up at the first grand slam of the year like in 2008. Roger is a man on a mission to be the greatest of all time, and he is going to take some stopping…

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First Blog

This is my first blog and i will use it to introduce myself. My name is Ru-an and i used to be a tennis player myself. I tried to make it as a pro but it is harder then you think! :-) Anyhow i finished with tennis in 2007 and since then i’ve been working on the internet. I was doing a lot of affiliate marketing but kind of got tired of the whole sales thing and i have since found Squidoo where i can create my own lenses at no cost and with little effort. It is a lot of fun and i have made some lenses of Roger as well. If you want to check out Squidoo the link is on my blog, it’s really a nice community over there. Since i have started there i have enjoyed writing and so i’ve decided to start a blog on Federer. It’s also a good way to get traffic to my lenses.

The reason i’m starting a blog on Federer is because i like tennis of course but i also basically worship Federer. I like him as a player and as a person, so i respect him in all areas. He is a rare individual, both a great champion and a very popular human being. In my mind he is already the greatest tennis player of all time and it’s just a question of time before he breaks Sampras slam record. Whether he wins the French Open or not is not that relevant in my mind since the greatest clay courter of all time in Rafael Nadal is around. In this blog i will closely follow the remainder of Federer’s career and on as well as off the court. I hope this will become a very popular blog amongst not only Federer fans but tennis fans in general, as i love the whole game not just Federer and will keep track of it in my blog.