Rome F: Djokovic Owns Nadal in the Dawn of a New Clay Court Era 6-4, 6-4

When I said “Owns” I really mean that. This is now the fourth straight final where Djokovic beat Nadal, and it looks like it is getting easier for Djokovic. You would think on clay Nadal stands a better chance, but Djokovic schooled him in straight sets in both clay finals as if he is reigning clay king. This loss will hurt Nadal a lot. You could see that he was really into this match and badly wanted it. He badly needed it as well. Beating Nadal at altitude in Madrid was one thing, but I didn’t expect that Djokovic would beat him this easily in Rome. I thought that Nadal would come back in this match and end Djokovic’s incredible streak. But this win without a doubt swings things in Djokovic’s favor for Roland Garros. I don’t care if it’s the best of five or a grand slam. If you lose in four straight Masters Series finals to a guy, two of them on clay, he pretty much owns you.

Like I said, this loss will hurt Nadal deeply. It reminds me of the 2009 Oz Open final where Nadal left a deep scar on Roger. Granted, this is not a grand slam, but four MS finals may as well equal a grand slam. The ownage is complete. As far as I’m concerned the French Open is now a mere formality for Djokovic. In fact I won’t be surprised if Nadal loses before the final in Paris now. You just can’t keep losing crucial matches to a guy without it taking it’s toll in you. We saw what toll it took on Roger to lose to Nadal in important matches. Mentally it takes a big toll. Djokovic is now doing to Nadal what Nadal did to Roger. It’s karma I guess. Nadal just had no answers today, but at least he tried something different. When Djokovic hit him off the court in the first set he started moonballing even higher than he usually does.

It seemed as though this was working a bit in the second set, but Djokovic would eventually have none of it. It was a shame that Nadal had to revert to those kind of tactics when he started losing. His moonballs are already tough on the eye, but he had to go and throw them up even higher to try and disrupt Djokovic’s rhythm. It reminds me of junior and WTA tennis. To see it at ATP level is very rare and ugly. I guess that shows us what Nadal is really made of, when the pressure is on – he pushes even more. On the other hand, he at least tried something different. You can’t say the same thing for Roger really, who will keep going to the opponents strength even if he is losing. Like he went backhand to backhand with Gasquet even though it clearly wasn’t working. On the plus side for Roger he at least doesn’t start moonballing when he begins to lose, which is just as bad as not changing anything.

Djokovic on the other hand can’t do a thing wrong. He has the perfect balance between attacking and defensive tennis. It’s just so fresh to see a guy who can give Nadal his own medicine on clay and then some. Djokovic has an incredible defense, while he can step into the court and hit winners as well. It’s great to see Nadal’s moonballs coming back with interest, to the point where he runs out of options. For at least six years now we have seen Nadal doing the same thing year after year to his opponents on clay, and along comes a guy who can do everything he does. Only better. That makes this clay court season the best we have seen for many years, bar 2009. Finally there is someone to challenge Nadal, after the clay season used to be something we just wished away. Djokovic is truly a savior in that sense.

He has come to save us from yet another soul destroying boring clay court season. This clay court season now reminds me quite a bit of 2009. Nadal has suffered a big blow today which could mean he loses early in Paris. I would say this could open the door for someone like Roger, but he hasn’t convinced me that he could take advantage of such a scenario. Maybe Murray? Either way Djokovic must be the clear favorite to win in Paris now and I am more than happy with that. The suspicions about doping is also increasing as Djokovic’s incredible streak continues. It is only normal that these kind of questions are going to be raised in the current doping climate. I saw Brad Gilbert totally denying on twitter today that Djokovic could be doping. That is just stupid in my opinion. How can you say for sure he is not doping with the current testing methods?

Either saying that a player is for sure doping or for sure not doping is naive. The one because there is no proof as of yet, and the other because there are for sure players who take advantage of the poor testing in tennis. It is quite a pathetic state that tennis is in, because everyone is left in the dark. You have on one side the people who is speculating, and on the other side people who condemn those that speculate, even though they have a perfectly legitimate reason to speculate. So you have these two sides arguing and blaming each other, while no one really argues with or blames the real culprit – the people responsible for doing proper testing of players. I have already made my position clear. If Djokovic is indeed doping, it doesn’t matter to me as Nadal is just as likely to be doping.

Only a doper can take down a doper. If you look at these two guy’s physical endurance it is just incredible. Nadal played his fourth out of five weeks in Rome, and didn’t look remotely tired in the final. Same with Djokovic. We already know that Nadal can play forever without getting tired, and now there is Djokovic as well. For me personally it is great to see a guy finally standing up to Nadal in every way, even if it means he is doping. And besides, Djokovic plays a much more attractive game than Nadal. Moonballing does not rule clay anymore. Today was a dawn of a new player who hits through that moonballing and plays tennis the way it should be played on clay. All hail new clay king Djokovic!

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106 Comments

  1. This is the greatest thing since I don’t know what, but it’s awesome. Tennis finally paints itself into a corner on this issue.

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  2. Hey Ruan, long time, no comment! haha Great articles, as always. I haven’t commented in a long time, but I still read all of your posts. Your commentary just seems to get better, so keep it coming! :-)

    Just wanted to throw in my two cents about Nadal. It’s short, but I feel like it’s important. The thing I’ve seen time and again is that Nadal does not sit down. He could suffer what some would call a “devastating loss,” but he comes back twice as strong as before. Where some players might be crushed, Nadal seems to get mad and be even more determined to win than before. I don’t know for sure, of course, but I could just see Nadal coming out with more of his cut-throat ways and continue dominating. Federer used to be this way (well, I guess he technically didn’t really used to lose haha), but he’s just lost that extra step he had in years past. Anyway, not that I want to see Nadal stay dominate, but I just wouldn’t be surprised to see it. Although Djok’s rise to dominance has been interesting for sure!

    Thanks for continuing to give us your time and energy to give us great insight into the tennis world!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Nice to see youre still here Johnny :-) Youre right, Nadal cant be written off. I guess we will just have to find out, wont we? ;-)

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  3. How great it was to see rafa helpless…
    A great sight indeed!!!
    Djoker’s cheap stunts are unendurable but we will take it.
    Roger is a class apart and these guys are mere perverts.
    Anyway rafa’s sleep is gone now for sure and i am feeling a little compensated for the scars he left on GOAT and us.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well said Muhammad, revenge is sweet :D

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  4. As awesome as it was to watch Rafa go down, watching him go down to el Djerko was actually very unpleasant.
    And he wins two titles in a row and he’s the new clay king? Rafa really worked to get to that title. Slow down, will you.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well you said it yourself, it was awesome. So lets give some credit to Djokovic as well. If Djokovic wins RG it will be official. The way i see it that is very likely to happen.

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  5. Interesting blog as usual Ruan. Do you think Roger thinks these players are doping? I dont think so because he would alude to it in interviews. The Roger Federer i know is a sportsman of the highest caliber and i doubt he would like the mean remarks made of other tennis players that are so prevelant in peoples remarks on this blog. Roger is the greatest tennis player to ever play the game. There isnt any player in the top or coming up who will even come close to surpassing him. I want to honor Roger with trying to have some of the graciousness which Rogers displays to all.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Susan, i see your point but ive already made my stance clear on this. I neither encourage nor discourage the talk about doping. To an extent the media is charged with coming up with the truth and that is what i am trying to do. I dont think the remarks on this blog has been malicious. I think the people who mention it really believes that it is the case. But ill check more thoroughly for anything malicious anyway.

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    neil Reply:

    “Either saying that a player is for sure doping or for sure not doping is naive. The one because there is no proof as of yet, and the other because there are for sure players who take advantage of the poor testing in tennis.”
    .
    Ruan, you know my views on this. I don’t think we have two equal options on this anymore: to either believe that players aren’t doping, or that they are.
    The indications increasingly point to the presence of doping at the top level in the game; I suggest that it is naive to think otherwise – but it does require quite some research to see that. However, we are unlikely to get the “proof” that many would require to be convinced there is a problem for two reasons: firstly, doping is easily masked and mostly can’t be detected now through standard testing, and, secondly, the ITF is terrified of actually catching the cheats in tennis, because of the damage it would do to the reputation of the game. (I also have that on the authority of a former pro who works as a coach in Europe and is well acquainted with players and their agents.) So, until the tennis authorities are fully committed to adressing the problem we are going to see more and more outlandish performances, that defy legitimate explanation.
    In the meantime, like you, I shall relish the absolutely unforeseen progession of the “gluten-free” Serb to the top of the tennis tree at the expense of the interminable moonballer from Mallorca. 7 wins of their last 9 encounters, with 4 in a row just this half of the year: yes, that is “ownership”.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You have to at least allow for the possibility, however small, that Djokovic is not doping since you simply dont have proof. Roger has been on runs like these as well. Was he doping?

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    neil Reply:

    Ruan, that is precisely my point, that the possibility Djokovic is not doping – and it is possible – is very small.
    .
    Was Roger doping? It is possible but I think much less likely, because his game has continued to decline over the last 3 years. Doping doesn’t produce a decline in performance but the reverse. If he had doped to reach the top, why would he have stopped? Of course, that isn’t the only reason I doubt that he is or was a doper; any conclusion about whether any player – and not just Federer – is likely to be a doper needs to be based on a whole variety of factors as well as detailed knowledge of that player’s career, and not just one argument – that’s not how ‘the balance of probabilities’ works. We have to form our conclusions on such a basis because, as you say, we don’t have ‘proof’ of the kind that a failed drug test would provide. But there are amny more cheats than are caught by tests and some of those who were ultimately caught never failed a drugs test.
    .
    So, on the balance of probabilities, and all things considered, I say that Nadal and now Djokovic are likely dopers and a contrary view is really putting one’s head in the sand.

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    william Reply:

    Hi Susan. totally agree with you that this talk of doping is a great disservice to Roger Federer. Roger is such an outspoken person that he would really discuss doping if there is anything about it. In case the Roger fanatics is not noticing, Roger also went on a 41 winning streak, would it also be fair that he won that much because he was also doping? How McEnroe, Vilas and the others? Or is it safe to say that Roger won that much because he came in when Pete was waning and the competition he had then (lets face it, Roddick, Hewwitt, Safin – they are not Murray, del Potro, Djokovic and Nadal) were never this good. I doubt if Roger could have as much Slams if this group came earlier or realize their potential immediately. No one can deny that Djokovic has the talent to match Federer and Nadal, it just that his mental strength is really a suspect, so he was not winning that much.

    Only those who believe in the fountain of youth will always discredit those who come in next and threaten their very existence. You see, if there is anyone who should be suspected of doping, logic points to Roger. Always physically strong, never been sick, can stick up to the last point of up to the 5th set? Even now, he is as strong as ever the only problem is that he is no longer winning because real talent is winning. Don’t you find it odd that this talks about doping surfaced only when Roger started declining?

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    neil Reply:

    William, see my comments above about Roger. No one seriously suggests that simply because a player starts winning that is proof of doping. There is much more to the issue than that.
    .
    Compare. Did Roger become the best player in the game by a sudden and dramatic elevation in his performance – in less than a couple of months – in the mid-point of his career? Did he change from a player whose stamina had often failed him to – overnight – acquiring reserves that were characterised as superhuman? Did he suddenly acquire a subtantial increase in mph in his serve, through a ‘grip change’, before a grand slam tournament? Did he add 10kph to his groundstrokes within two days of a tournament – and 25kph over a year and a half? Has he demonstrated the kind of stamina that would see him play an precedented gruelling 5-set semifinal in a grand slam and then come out and play the final with no signs of fatigue over another 5 sets? Has he even won simply by physically outlasting his opponents, rather than outplaying them? Has Roger shown bizarre fluctuations in his physique over his career – losing 15 lbs of muscle over a year and then putting it back on the next year? Has he suffered from a multitude of career-threatening injuries which he has played through and recovered from virtually overnight? Has he changed the level of his play from good to invincible by eliminating gluten, pollen, or whatever from his diet? I could easily cite more anomalies, but all of the above apply to either Nadal or Djokovic.
    .
    So, what if Roger comes out and accuses his chief rivals of being dopers? What do you think would happen? Well, he would be heavily fined by the ITF for a start; he knows he would likely cause irreparable damage to tennis as a professional sport; and his comments would be attacked as simple jealousy and resentment at being surpassed. It’s a no-win situation for him.
    .
    Without ‘proof’ of a failed drugs test against any of these other players he has to give them the benefit of the doubt; we don’t have to – we aren’t professional tennis players on the tour.
    .
    Take a look at the Youtube post I supplied of Gaudio and Coria in 2004, and then tell me that Nadal and Djokovic are playing the same game. That was only 7 years ago – how could it now be so much faster, so much more powerful, and absolutely tireless? You tell me.

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    IROCK Reply:

    Wiliiam,
    I would suggest you to go through the facts before speaking.About Rogers 5th set records the stats are’nt too encouraging.

    A win streak is not an effective way of finding dopers.dopers usually cycle down and cycle up.
    For eg Rafa in the slams usually plays badly in the first few rounds but he is an unbeatable monster during the semis and finals.Though it may suggest Rafa peakingit is quite hard to see a guy losing Pzetschner thrashing Berdych and Djokovic last summer

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    IROCK Reply:

    Did you also know that Roger has never won two consecutive master series?
    Speaks a lot about his never ending stamina

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    Lizzy Reply:

    Just the point this out, he definitely won Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back.

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    IROCK Reply:

    Actually I meant without a break you know they are separated by a few days

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    neil Reply:

    “Do you think Roger thinks these players are doping? I dont think so because he would alude to it in interviews.”
    .
    Susan, I don’t think Roger would accuse his fellow players – because he would be challenged to provide proof, which many wouldn’t accept without the evidence of a failed drug test (even though cheaters are rarely caught by tests), and he may prefer to give other players the benefit of the doubt. Indeed, it is very difficult for any professional player to speak out about doping – and not just Roger. Some have (without even naming names), and have been penalised or criticised for it.
    But we don’t know what Roger really thinks about it. As I have indicated, if he has his suspicions he would keep them to himself. However, the point is that you have to form your own view, based on your own perceptions, and whatever information there is out there. If you do some research it is surprising what emerges; there are many now who are increasingly concerned about what they are seeing in professional tennis – like many other professional sports. Undoubtedly, part of the problem is – as Ruan has indicated – that the tennis authorities do not appear to be genuine in their efforts to crack down on doping in the sport.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Exactly Neil. The situation doesnt allow for Roger to speak out.

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    Susan Reply:

    Neil and everyone, please send me valid links on the subject if you have time. If doping is going on than there is a big conspiracy among sportscasters, players and officials. I think it would be best to blow this open so it can end and the game of tennis is real. Other sports have the same problem. I dont understand how you can Clain Victory if you were cheating by using drugs. I am probably too much of an idealist in hoping if there is a problem it will be fixed. Right now i dont want to watch as many matches as accustomed. I will watch Roger but now have doubts as to the validity of what i see. Im sad and feel lost about it all if there is truth to the extent of doping. Wish this subject never came up.

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    neil Reply:

    Susan, I was rather unaware of the doping issue until about 2-3 years ago. It was an unpleasant discovery, to find out that our favorite sport of tennis (among others) could well have a serious doping problem. At least it tended to explain to me why tennis was now being played in ways that bore no relation to the game of even the recent the past, that changes in technology, technique and training couldn’t fully account for. I still hope that Roger’s game, as I saw it over the earlier part of his career and in his prime, was genuine. However, a realistic position, in the doping age, is also to be prepared to hear that even our favorite players have been dopers. Sadly, it means we have to watch the game in two minds: admiring, on the one hand, the incredible physical feats of modern players while, on the other, also being sceptical about how they do it. Here are comments from Tennis.com. managing editor Abigail Lorge, in an article called “Covering Tennis in the Doping Age”, published about a year ago.

    “I’m concerned that performance-enhancing drug use is more prevalent in tennis’ upper ranks than anyone would like to admit at this point. But overall, I’m hoping that there are more clean players than “bad seeds,” and I certainly don’t think that tennis is a complete sham, as track and field was for much of the 1990s and 2000s.”
    “.. but at the same time, I’m always bracing myself for the possibility that a player I admire will be exposed as a drug cheat. That kind of attitude—bracing oneself for the worst—is a necessity for a tennis journalist in this day and age.”

    http://www.tennis.com/articles/templates/features.aspx?articleid=5167&zoneid=9

    Susan, among the blog sites that are concerned with the doping issue are:
    – tennishasasteroidproblem.com
    – Le Dopage (French)
    – Steroid Nation (American)

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    Susan Reply:

    Neil, thank you for posting the links for me to check out. I really appreciate it. At first Novaks new game made sence because of fitness and getting his head straight. Remember him always fine with loseing to Roger and Rafa because they were the best. I figured he stopped admieing them and decided to go for it. This may be the truth of it but on the other hand when he wins now he gets so aggressive and primal with his scream it does me wonder.Also thank you for your wisdom as i try to figure out where i am with tennis and this whole doping issue.

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    m Reply:

    I rarely comment on any doping topics, since I find it a waste of time, but I do have to say one thing that made it very clear in my mind that this THASP site is simply not credible. THASP’s comment, when discussing Serena’s foot injury and trying to link it to doping – was something along the lines of ‘the most common reason for that type of foot infection is from injection or needle sites’ – I am sorry, but this is utter BS. So, from that, I would assume anyone who collects a foot infection/injury is sticking needles into their feet? Give me a fucking break, people.

    And many still think THASP is a credible site. Yup. Go on then.

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    neil Reply:

    “I rarely comment on any doping topics, since I find it a waste of time”
    .
    I can see why.

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  6. Ruan, can you direct me to articles on doping. I have not heard enough to be suspect of so many. Would like to be informed about this. Thank You

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    Ru-an Reply:

    http://tennishasasteroidproblem.blogspot.com/

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    ARAVINDHAN Reply:

    Funny that Nadal has Fever whenever he LOSES(to Davydenko) or plays a BAD match(Lorenzi)???? :-)

    Atleast he didn’t give the same REASON when STEAM ROLLED 6-4,6-4 by Djoker!!!

    And if things are REALLY what they seem like
    1.Aggassi Inducted in Hall Of Fame even after is admission to DOPING in his bio
    2.ITF Press Release
    Decision in the case of Wayne Odesnik
    London, England, 22 Dec 2010 – The International Tennis Federation announced today that Wayne Odesnik, who has been serving a period of ineligibility for committing an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article C.6 of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (Possession of a Prohibited Substance), has had the remaining twelve months of his ineligibility suspended pursuant to Article M.5.3 of the Programme, on account of ongoing Substantial Assistance provided by Mr Odesnik in relation to the enforcement of professional rules of conduct. As a result, Mr Odesnik will be eligible to compete again as from 29 December 2010.

    It gives a BAD Precinct to EMERGING Tennis players that “You are GOOD even when CAUGHT”!!!

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  7. I would like to add that of course Roger’s confidence has taken a beating as he’s losing to dopers who have the “confidence” of knowing that playing a 5 set match against Verdasco or a late, brutal 3 setter against Murray the night before the final will not in the least influence their stamina. Djokovic’s average groundstroke speed was 72 mph in the Murray match and it was 72 mph against Nadal less than 24 hours later. This from a guy who couldn’t put up more than 1 decent set in the US open final less than a year ago after beating Fed in a five setter. Ah, the miracles of a gluten free diet.

    Roger losing to these two cheats consistently has affected his confidence and they are confident they can always outlast the other guy. Look how often they lose the first set only to wear the other player down. What’s interesting is Nadal has met his match and now his confidence seems supremely shaken. Djokovic is a better player than Nadal and with some extra stamina (er, freedom from a damn wheat allergy) he can always beat him.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    If Nadal is indeed doping it has cost Roger at something like 6 slams and a whole lot of confidence. Too sad to think of.

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  8. Thank You Ruan for the information.If this is true then i feel hopeless for tennis and the joy it brought me. Why bother to watch matches if they aren’t true and honest. Is there some pressure fans can bring to the ATP to stop doping and bring integrity back to the game?

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  9. Djokovic, the New King of Clay. Nadal has a huge record on clay, you cant say that Djokovic is the new king of clay. He needs to win a lot to get to that title.

    Now I want Federer to get to the semis of FO and play Nadal because he now has a chance due to Nadal losses against Djokovic so he may be able to beat him. I dont care if he wins or loses against Djokovic just give Nadal a defeat or two so his mental strength is truly broken down.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I wont bet on Roger to make semis at RG. Im just hoping he keeps his QF streak alive.

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  10. Ru-an, a few more posts like this, and you may have to change your sitename to “Ru-an’s Djokovic Blog” :-)

    I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy seeing Nadal get a taste of his own medicine. It’s fun, in a completely crass sort of way, to watch him repeatedly get pounded into hamburger by Djokovic.

    But I wouldn’t say Djokovic is a savior; pretty soon we’re all likely to get sick of his dominance. It’s not imaginative shotmaking that is the basis of his wins, but the same limitless strength and stamina that Nadal displayed (and continues to display), and that Djokovic has acquired, ostensibly by eliminating gluten from his diet.

    As the players grow ever stronger and the physical feats on display become ever more ridiculous and outlandish, we’ll get bored and numb to it all. The same way we have grown numb to watching innumerable big-budget blockbuster movies with ever-bigger explosions and ever-flashier special effects.

    The first such movie is entertaining, the second merely amusing, and by the tenth such movie we’re all yawning and rolling our eyes and heading for the exit at the tediousness of it all; our nerves are jaded and overloaded from all the sensory stimulation.

    Federer has a low chance of winning RG this year, but you still have to give him a 5% chance, if only because he is Roger Federer. Anyhow, grass season is coming up after that.

    The nice thing about having won the career Slam is that he doesn’t have to worry about it anymore. If he loses at RG, he can still point to the Coupe de Mousquetaires from ’09 sitting in his cabinet, if he really needs to silence any silly critics who claim he can’t play on clay. So that takes pressure off.

    He can play entirely for himself now. In this sense, this is the real test of what he’s made of. He’s not playing for money, or for fame, or for the sake of breaking another man’s records, or to live up to others’ expectations of him. The only reasons for him to play now are love of the game and the pursuit of excellence; and we will be able to see how strong that love is, now that the external goads have been removed.

    As I have said I believe he can devise ways to beat these super-athletes without drinking from the same well; I’m pretty sure he did just that in London last year. So I think he can manage it.

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  11. ruan, don’t be a fool. Djoko is not saving it but destroying it. Remember this when you start hating Djoko just like you hate Nadal now. Both of them destroy tennis with their doping.

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    neil Reply:

    Djokovic’s astonishing success this year is raising eyebrows: people are questioning what they are seeing. Once, it was argued that only one player could play like that – Nadal – because he was a physical freak. Now we have two such ‘freaks’ – and one of them – Djokovic – has only become an athlete of this level this year. I am sure there will be others to come. I doubt that tennis will be able to maintain its facade of being ‘clean’ for much longer. Ironically, Djokovic may have hastened that process.
    .
    Meanwhile, there is a kind of justice in seeing Nadal being beaten, again and again, by a player who can now match him physically but is also a better player. It tends to demonstrate that, at the top level, only a doper will beat a doper now – and suggests, in my view, that if Nadal didn’t have the physical advantage that doping probably gives him then he would not have enjoyed the success he has and dominance he has exercised over the sport in recent years; with his style of game he probably would have been a very good clay-courter but not much more.
    .
    If you can’t remember what clay-court tennis used to be like, take a look at this clip of Coria and Gaudio in the 2004 FO final. It is nothing like the tennis played yesterday by Djokovic and Nadal – and yet it was only 7 years ago.
    .
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N9NalnxtTY

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I dont like Djokovic much but at least i like his game a lot more than Nadals. He isnt a moonballer. You people have to understand that its all about preserving Rogers records. Without Djokovic Nadal would cruise past Rogers slam record and become the GOAT. Fedfans should at least be grateful to Djokovic for that much.

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    manu Reply:

    no ruan, its not roger records(some of which will never be broken) i am talking of. Its about tennis as a whole. These two “Toxix Twins” destroy the game. True that Djoko doesn’t moonball, byt he does play rallies which exceed the subset of real numbers. And despite his “funny personality” and “handsome looks”, his behaviour is getting worse and worse. Both djoko and nadull are babies who like to have their own way. They do not play the way a man should play tennis. And the doping thing–I’ve lost hope. I just can’t believe there will be a time when the ATP will have stricter tests. In a way, its not the ATP’s or the players’ fault, its our fault. We, as fans, just accepted these superhuman acts. Just like “The Transformers”, this duopoly of the dopers is boring-they literally are the same players, with the same classless personality. By the way, Ines, where are you?? I’m sure this blog and Roger needs your support

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes i also wonder where is Ines. She just disappeared.

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  12. And please enough with the over-used “I have it from unnamed source” – you know it just like saying you have nothing to back you on.

    You think that if Deep Throat chose to shut-up then Watergate would have been an urban legend.

    As for the funny claim that Nadal and Djokovic had taken out the beauty of the game, that is just a claim from a minority group of disgruntled Exman’s fanatics. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and as long as there is tennis there will always some like me who will see beauty in this game. Federer’s absence not withstanding.

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    neil Reply:

    I cannot give a source’s name without jeopardizing his professional position, but just as I know I am talking to you on this blogsite I know I am not hearing voices in my head when I refer to this pro. But, whatever – I don’t base my arguments on anything that one person – including a former pro and coach tells me – and you should be able to see that if you have been on this blogsite for any length of time. But of course, a position of ‘fan-denial’ about doping may suit you better.

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    manu Reply:

    To quote Andre Illie:”The situation is becoming a joke. You may as well as let them have it, and when people start dying on court and exploding, they may change their minds. It’s amazing how people sacrifice their health for just three years of fame”.

    As for Federer, well, if you can’t beat them, join them :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    If Rogers dopes it wouldnt necessarily make a big difference. Certain players respond better to doping than others. For instance physical players like Djokovic and Nadal..

    [Reply]

    Neil Reply:

    Is this a Nadal Bash Board? I don’t see how anyone can take your blog seriously with your stupid uninformed statements.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    Ruan, same name but not me. The capital ‘N’ (for ‘neil’)indicates another typically indignant Nadal fan. Their hero is beyond reproach. Fact is, he is another Lance Armstrong.

    [Reply]

  13. Excellent text!
    We have to congratulate fantastic tennis that Novak demonstrated!
    Why people can not see further from their noses: first it was hard courts, then high altitude, now doping speculations – what is a next excuse? The guy played terrible schedule in Rome – two matches till midnight (thanks to ‘smart’ organizers) and still dug dip to win.

    [Reply]

  14. IF these guys are doping, teniis is well and truly in deep s***t right now. If this is indeed the case, Roger can’t hope to beat these guys unless he joins them himself.

    Sad days, these. But if it somehow works out as Neil thinks it will, maybe I’ll be ready to accept that there is a God somewhere.

    For once, Ruan, it seems that your reading is off.

    [Reply]

    Babel Reply:

    Oops, Typo : It’s tennis in the first line.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Why is my reading off?

    [Reply]

    Babel Reply:

    “Djokovic is truly a savior in that sense.”

    EVERYTHING THAT FOLLOWS IS UNDER THE ASSUMPTION THAT NADAL AND DJOKOVIC ARE DOPING:
    While I myself enjoy Nadal getting challenged (and, yes, beaten) as others have pointed out, it is too early to term Djokovic a savior. From 2005 through 2009, Nadal had his limitations on other surfaces and was generally beatable on every surface other than clay. What we could potentially see now, is TOTAL domination by Djokovic, a player who seems to present no loose ends or weaknesses. If Djokovic wins Roland Garros, He has an excellent chance to go one better than Wilander in ’88. You have to admit, it looks like a very real possibility right now.

    However, this could ALSO potentially kick off a roid race and a game of one-upmanship among the Toxic Twins. So far this year, the Twins have (I dig this nickname) won every important tournament. This duopoly has effectively put paid to Roger’s hopes of winning another Grand Slam (at least in the near future). Maybe, just maybe, if the escalating physicality of their respective games and that of tennis in general catches the eye of WADA (which, I have to assume, under the circumstances, is an impartial agency), the truth could come out. But who knows how far in the future this lies and whether Roger himself will be in a position to win a Grand Slam by then.

    [Reply]

    manu Reply:

    i hope roger ups the ante to save not only his prestige, but also tennis.

    It reminds me of that time when Napoleon was rampaging through Europe, just as djoko is now. These were the Russian Tsar’s words to the duke of wellington:”It’s up to you to save the world again”.

    [Reply]

    Babel Reply:

    Yes, that is what one hopes. Maybe if there was an indoor slam, I would back him to win. But beating the top two on slower outdoor courts is as tough a proposition as any that Roger has faced since he turned pro. Interesting parallel, though Djokovic is a at least foot taller. ;-)

    [Reply]

    Babel Reply:

    Er..typo; that’s “at least a foot”.

    [Reply]

    Maria Reply:

    You known what happens when we ASSume, right?

    [Reply]

    Babel Reply:

    I’m sorry but I’m unsure of what you mean by that.

    [Reply]

    Babel Reply:

    Ah, now I get it. Forgive me, I’m a little slow on the uptake. I thought I had made quite clear the limited scope of my reply earlier with its very first sentence; it seems I was wrong. However, your reply and the context in which it seems to have been written makes two things more or less certain:
    1) I’m not the only ‘slow’ person around here; and
    2) You have nothing of value to add in this discussion.

    [Reply]

  15. Hello William, you covered alot of territory and without seeing your message im affraid i may miss adding something i wanted to say. If i can figure out how to put my comment under your letter i will be able to answer. Thank you for the input, agreed with much of what you said but we could certainly discuss other points. Bottom line for me is if there is doping it needs to be exposed and stopped, for the players and the fans. I hope Roger didn’t lose because of people doping, and none of the current top players are going to surpass Rogers slam records. They will go back and forth taking turns winning.

    [Reply]

  16. Djokovic Qoute:
    “I was losing a little in the late stages of Grand Slams and important Masters 1000 events against Roger, against Rafa. I think this change from the Davis Cup title gave me an incredible energy really. Today I am definitely not thinking of losing a match and thinking only of winning.”

    Icredible energy LOL

    [Reply]

  17. I still believe that Nadal hasn’t been tested to the limit, since the game that joker and nadal played were best of three sets unlike the Grand Slam for RG it’s best of five sets. What is true in three sets maybe not true in five sets since the factor of stamina will come into play.

    [Reply]

    Melania Reply:

    So true. The slams are a whole different animal. I can’t wait to see how this all unfolds. I’ll put my money on Nadal. Fed isn’t even a factor now.

    [Reply]

  18. Since this a blog about Federer, it is extremely pertinent to discuss in depth as to what implication this has for Federer. Like Nadal stood upto Federer and gave hope and encouragement to rest of the field and put a dent into his aura of invincibility, Djokovic seems to be doing the same to Nadal, on clay too. Federer with all awesome talent should take a leaf out of this and has the weapons to beat Nadal.

    [Reply]

  19. hey pal i read your articles regularly. good work keep it going. i know it hurts when roger is not winning tournaments. on the other hand rafa’s losses are only going add mental strain to physical bruises. These things only make french open a lot more interesting. Being a loyal Federer fan all i can tell you is dont count off federer too early in grand slams. Especially when a person redefines what playing in a grand slam is with his unbelievable consistency. Beware all Federer opponents because playing him in a grand slam is totally different from playing him in the regular tour. Novak is having an unbelievable streak and is the hand on favorite to lift the musketeers trophy but it wont be easy though. it will be interesting to see rafa campaign because this clay court season proves rafa is beatable on clay. federer has to believe in himself and has outside chance of winning his second french. there are other contenders andy murray, ferrer, which makes an exciting two weeks.

    [Reply]

  20. What is it with Djoker’s over the top celebrating like it’s a DC match? It’s a tennis match, not war. He looks CRAZY! Eyes bugging out. His parents and box in their clown suits are a joke. Truly classless, especially in Madrid with Vjada topless grinding and humping a car! WTF? The nutritionist looks like a quack and needs to travel with him? Interesting.

    I also found it interesting that there was barely eye contact as well as a very weak handshake at the net. The bromance is definitely over.

    I’m waiting to see Nole in a 5 setter during the day in the heat.

    Makes me appreciate all the more the genuine respect and admiration that Roger and Rafa have for each other.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Its just cos Nadal cant handle losing. He is so used to dominating on clay with his moonballing that when someone comes along and owns him he just cant hold back his poor sportsmanship. So now you can see that all these years he was just ‘humble’ because he was winning. In truth he is arrogant and a very poor sport.

    [Reply]

    Babel Reply:

    I concur. Some of his comments in the post-match presser were in poor taste. He also supposedly ‘warned’ Djokovic that his streak would not last forever. As if someone needs to be told that. Do you think he was alluding to Novak’s new ‘diet’?

    And his true character is revealed by his on-court demeanor. As he loses more and more to Djokovic, this is likely to get worse.

    And what was that virus BS about? That same day, he trashed Lopez and the very next day, he creamed Cilic! And later Gasquet!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yup, always has an excuse ready. The virus obviously had no bearing in his play. It was just a readymade excuse in case he lost to Djokovic again. There is a saying on the internet by now: Nadal hasnt lost a match when fully fit!

    [Reply]

    Melania Reply:

    You bitter Federinas crack me up. I don’t recall him saying that was the reason he lost. In fact, he has said that Djoker is playing unbelievable right now, which is true. No doubt about it and he is playing with unbelievable confidence. Nadal may be down right now, but I would never count him out. He is always striving to improve and problem solve. It is going to make Roland Garros very interesting. Fed must be so embarassed to have fans like you.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You Nadulltards are pretty funny yourself. So naive its not even funny. Bet Nadull is delighted to have fans like you ;-)

    [Reply]

    Neha Reply:

    Well said Ruan!

    [Reply]

    Maria Reply:

    Nadal is a sore loser? What a joke? Of course he is going to be disappointed, however with every win, Nole is getting more and more arrogant. It was NOLE who barely made eye contact and gave a weak handshake. You sound like the sore loser because Nadal figured out Fed. Noel is playing unbelievable right now and Nadal has acknowledged that. If anyone will eventually figure out Nole it will be Nadal. He lives to compete, but realizes there are things outside of tennis as well. His accomplishments are more than he ever dreamed of and he is pure class on and off the court,

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Nadal is far from pure class on and off the court. He just has people like you fooled who buy into his crap. There are many things wrong with Nadal:

    1) Waste endless time between points.
    2) Gets blatant coaching from uncle Tony on court which he has admitted to.
    3) Always has an excuse ready in case he loses.
    4) Uses loud and subtle grunting to unsettle his opponents.
    5) Acts like he is the underdog despite being the clear favorite, thereby making naive people like you believe he is ‘humble’. Yet when he loses (ex. FO ’09) he throws his toys out of the pram.
    6) Tries to get the mental edge by fist pumping and vamos-ing loudly.
    7) Stacks his schedule despite needing rest due to greed for appearance fees.
    8) Has taken questionable injury time outs to disrupt opponent(ex. vs Petzschner Wimbledon ’10)
    9) Pulls panties from arse and all kinds of strange OCD that would baffle any psychologist.
    10) 99% certainty that he is doping.

    [Reply]

    vaibhav Reply:

    ruan, tht was spot on….nadal fakes everythin n takes injury timeouts for nuts…i think maria is losin it coz djoker is doin to nadal wt nadal did to fed…dont blame djoker…djoker always was arrogant n weird from the very beginning n now jst coz he beat nadal,she’s exaggeratin abt it….

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah, Nadulltards arent taking this ownage by Djokovic very well as expected. Like you said, Djokovic has always been like this. Its nothing new.

    [Reply]

    Maria Reply:

    Bitter much?

    [Reply]

    Maria Reply:

    And your doping allegations are RIDICULOUS. I suppose you think Djoker is doping now too?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good chance yes. I suggest you get educated in the subject for a change. How do you think you beat a doper? There is no other way than to become a doper yourself. Here is a website for you, should get you started on the right path http://tennishasasteroidproblem.blogspot.com

    [Reply]

    Maria Reply:

    I suggest you provide concrete proof for a change instead off talking out of your ass.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Like i said, i suggest you get educated on the subject instead of blindly worshiping your idol. At least that way you wont be heart broken when this all comes out one day.

    [Reply]

    Maria Reply:

    Blind worshipping? LOL, pot meet kettle.

    Again, until there is concrete evidence, you can speculate all you want.

    Just because someone is winning, doesn’t mean that they’re using PEDs. If that’s how you need to justify Nadal beating Fed, Djoker beating Nadal – whatever floats your boat. If that was the case, then should we start pointing the finger at Djoker? RIDICULOUS.

    Djoker has sorted out his problems and is just playing better, plain and simple. I can accept that, Nadal accepts that, so stop trying to spin it so you justify it in your KADness. That is the sport, ebbs and flows. It makes things more intersting and we will will see what happens.

    Obviously, you’re blind worshipping prevents you from recognizing that fact. It’s is so blatantly obvious that you have a pure hatred for Nadal. Pathetic.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Dont use words like ‘KADness’ on my blog. Its not welcome here. You cant point the finger at Djokovic since youre man is in the same BOAT. It takes a doper to beat a doper, so the way i see it this is pure justice for all those years of doping by Nadal. What goes around comes around.

    [Reply]

    Maria Reply:

    *YAWN*

    [Reply]

    vaibhav Reply:

    wow pure hatred for nadal?….lol maria, even u seem to have this ‘pure hatred’ for djokovic coz u cant c nadal lose….i think ur a sensitive heartbroken fan here…but its k we all got heartbroken when fed was beaten by dopers like nadal but we kno fed can beat thm even when they r on drugs, which nadal can never do…i cant wait for nadal to crash out in roland garros n lose the #1 ranking…lol imagine wt a joke it wud b…nadal crashin out n unable to hold on to #1 for even 52 weeks in a row despite doping…lmao

    [Reply]

    Maria Reply:

    *YAWNYAWNYAWN*

    And you have a reading comprehension problem.

    [Reply]

    vaibhav Reply:

    u sound like someone hu wants to bug fed fans jst coz nadal is losin…cheap stunts maria :-)

    [Reply]

    Maria Reply:

    Wrong again vaibhav. When you need to accuse someone of doping because they’re winning with ABSOLUTELY no proof, I would conclude you are looking for excuses.

    Djoker is playing better than everyone else right now. PERIOD. ACCEPTED.

    I don’t think he is doping. That’s the difference.

    Unless you can provide concrete proof or want to investigate this further on your own, then do it instead of talking out of your ass.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Absolutely no proof is just wrong. There are certain clues which you can pick up if you are educated on the subject, which you clearly arent. We dont need to talk out of our asses on this blog. Roger has a superior record over Nadal and that is not gonna change, especially with Djokovic on the scene now. Here we simply search for the truth. This is what this blog is about.

    [Reply]

    vaibhav Reply:

    allright…i got no proof…but its not possible for anyone to play at an abnormally high level after jst 20 hrs of a gruellin semi final….
    i aint lookin for excuses, its jst natural to b suspicous when u c stuff like this…i cant provide u wid any concrete proof…n besides this is jst a blog, i think we’re free to express our views….i honestly dun c nething wrong in speculating…ur being a child :-)

    [Reply]

    Maria Reply:

    You say:

    “but its k we all got heartbroken when fed was beaten by dopers like nadal but we kno fed can beat thm even when they r on drugs, which nadal can never do”

    then you say:

    “honestly dun c nething wrong in speculating…ur being a child”

    hmmm, first you flat out SAY he is a doper, then in the next breath you are speculating. Which is it?

    LOL, alrighty then.

    [Reply]

    Maria Reply:

    Ru-an, you see what you want to see to justify your KADness. As Roger, would say, “It’s a pity”.
    Good Luck on your search for the truth.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Didnt i ask you not to use that silly word on my blog? Here we try to use language that are acceptable and that everyone can understand. If you use the word again i will be forced to delete your comment.

    [Reply]

  21. k ive been followin ur blog for like 2 weeks…was jst goin thru pages n found urs….really good analysis dude….ur comments r actually motivatin whenever we fed fans r torn apart everytime he loses….
    i, like the rest of u all, pretty much enjoy seein nadal lose (infact i c nadal’s matches only hopin for him to lose)esp since the 2009 french open…n thn the shanghai final against davy n when he got thrashed out in the world tour finals tht yr not evn winnin a set….i was almost sure after the 2010 aussie open retirement tht nadal has no chance in hell to win another slam again wid fed bein in unbelievable form last yr i was rootin for a first aussie french back to back n thot fed wud do it……but dunno tennis is really unpredictable….i have my doubts on fed for the french n winbledon coz nadal is the best on both as of now (although djoker is playin crazy, he hasnt made the finals of both these slams yet so im not countin him in)….i personally want fed to win only 4 more titles…the olympic gold medal, 2 more wimbledons n the french open in a month….coz he wud b the only male player in history havin won atleast 2 of each slam n all time record of 19 pretty much unbreakable(i doubt if nadal can win another usopen n another australian open so fed wud still b the only one wid min 2 of each)….

    federer jst needs to 3 more wins against nadal without ne more losses to him…so it cud sound like a decent head to head 16-11 …10+ wins over nadal is enuff….

    i feel federer CAN REALLY DO THIS…although competition is catchin up, he has the game to win these 4 titles….

    abt doping, very gud possibility ….my doubts always were on nadal n still r on him….

    the only heartbreak is tht every player on tour officially has 3 shots which they averagely at the min…forehand serve n backhand….the prob wid fed is tht his backhand is below avg now….jst a shot to get the ball back into play…his topspin backhands have lost it…n court coverage is also slow coz he’s agin…he jst gotta work on holdin his serve n come up wid crazy serves in tiebreakers….thts the only way he can win….n he CAN DO IT…

    [Reply]

  22. I just finished Federer’s biography and one thing that I learned about Federer in all his years on the pro circuit, he went through a series of losses to players such as Nalbandian, Hewitt, Safin but found a way to turn that around and beat them many times after that. I was wondering if he will ever dominate Nadal in that manner. Djokovic has learned how to defeat Nadal, do you think Roger can turn around and do the same? I have a good feeling Nadal is heading for some major defeats at the hands of Murray, Djokovic and Federer( My opinion).

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    It would be hard to turn it around again Nadal now. But he doesnt really need to. He still leads the h2h off clay. The history books are not gonna care how he fared against maybe the best on clay ever. He cant be the GOAT on every surface.

    [Reply]

    Dave Reply:

    Ruan, I have one question? Why doesn’t Federer get in better shape? It seems that his most feared opponents Nadal, Djokovic, Murray are in much better shape and hit the ball somewhat harder and faster. I don’t think he has lost a step beacause of his age. I think it he has a step in his mind as “Bodo” was saying. It seems to me that Federer is a bit out of shape and not nearly as fast or aggresive as he used to be. Do you think it would affect his game adversely if he were to get stronger and lose some of that gut? I don’t know maybe I am being over-critical but Agassi was in better shape at 35 than Roger is now.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    But Roger has always had a bit of a gut. And you must remember that Agassi didnt nearly have the mileage on his body that Roger did when they hit 29. For Roger the problem is the mileage he has on his body and the fact that the competition has caught up with him. He also seemed to be set in his ways mentally. He cannot adapt his tactics. Even after getting a coach he seems very rigid in his mentality. For me that is the thing that hurts him the most, not the physical side. He needs to ask himself how much he really wants it and start winning through smart tennis for a change. He is not in his prime anymore where he can just hit opponents off the court. He has to accept the competition has caught up with him and be willing to grind it out. He lacks heart.

    [Reply]

  23. Ruan, it’s interesting how the tone of the discussion falls quickly into an abusive exchange when a commenter turns up who acts like everyone else (who doesn’t agree with her) is an idiot. Of course she/they dismiss the doping issue without having undertaken any apparent research, and appear also to be fiercely uncompromising Nadal or Djokovic fans. It is revealing (chiefly of themselves) without being informative.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Oh right, because an obviously biased opinion based on NO FACT OR PROOF is challenged. Keep wishing that certain players are doping and keep your kangaroo court in session.

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    You have obviously read nothing about the issue of doping in sports. But you do prove my earlier point.

    [Reply]

  24. I don’t know about anyone else, but to me, asking for ‘concrete’ proof of top athletes doping or not doing so is idiotic. Surely most of the people commenting here are ordinary people who only have access to the information the ITF and WADA supply regarding dope tests and can only speculate as to what the truth is?
    ..
    There is substantial evidence, albeit circumstantial, to make a case for the existence of doping in tennis. At the same time, the nature of this evidence means that it isn’t entirely corroborative.
    ..
    It is sad to see this kind of thing happen everywhere online. And it is always because of the bellicosity of a few commenters – the kind who exist solely to diss other people and who refuse to argue their case in a civilized and dignified manner. Oh well..

    [Reply]

    neil Reply:

    When they ask for ‘concrete proof’ they are generally saying, have they failed a drugs test? It is a naive challenge. Lance Armstrong never failed over 500 drug tests. But now he is being investigated by federal enforcement authorities and former team mates are coming forward and pronouncing him a doper. Anyone who expects drug tests to reveal the dopers will never see a drug cheat.

    [Reply]

    Babel Reply:

    If Armstrong was indeed a cheat, it doesn’t augur well for all of sport. As you say, he’s never failed a test. This means that it is next to impossible to catch drug cheats, especially if their country protects them (like a certain country in Western Europe). Which causes me to question as to what a federal investigation will accomplish when 500 odd drug tests have failed.

    [Reply]

  25. Looking forward to the French Open. The least favorite of the 4, but a slam none the less. As far as all the doping allegations go, if you Google Nadal, there are a bunch of pictures that come up. Look at the one with his muscle shirt on. He is so ripped, it’s beyond belief. See that picture and try to tell me he’s not doing something. I’m telling you, it just doesn’t look natural.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    Sorry, I just looked, and it’s the one with no shirt. I’ll see if I can post the link. Yeah, this one.
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Xux6ZnRsTlk/TO_rsBEINjI/AAAAAAAAABo/58B3NpcJMMA/s1600/rafael+nadal.jpg

    [Reply]

    Babel Reply:

    I’ve seen this one before. Always thought he looks like a Mr. Universe contestant in it.

    [Reply]

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