The Swiss Crash Out of Rome, Nadal Finding Form…

Hi folks! It was another couple of crazy days for me here in Thailand, but I have stayed up to date with the tennis and even caught some of Roger’s match. I saw him winning the first set 6-1 and then saw some rust in the second set which he lost 6-3. I still thought he would probably get the win. I couldn’t watch the third set but Roger went a break down early and then broke back at 3-4 to square things up. Things went down to the wire with a tie break where Roger served for the match at 6-5. Chardy then made an amazing passing shot which swung things in his favor and he won the tie break 8-6. Roger still sounded upbeat in his presser and it was just one of those matches where the opponent came up with something out of the ordinary and it slipped away. You can’t be too upset about it.

But it meant that Roger had to once again count on Djokovic if he was gonna keep his all important top 4 ranking for the French Open. Djokovic had to beat Ferrer yesterday to keep Ferrer from once again passing Roger in the rankings, which he did impressively 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. Djokovic had not played since Monte Carlo where he lost to Roger and Ferrer is always tough to beat on clay. It’s been impressive how Djokovic has fought his way back into form so quickly. He is not at his best yet but he is getting there fast. He will now face Raonic and you would like his chances to make it to the final at least. As for the other Swiss Stan, he once again disappointed by losing in the third to Haas in three sets. But that is OK because this time Dimitrov beat Birdshit and we won’t have yet another bend over in the semis.

Windy conditions made things difficult

Dimitrov also defeated Haas after winning the first set 6-2 and then Haas retiring. Dimitrov now faces Nadal after Nadal had yet another tough three set win over Murray. He also needed three sets to defeat Simon and Youzhny. Nadal still struggling with his confidence but he is slowly but surely playing himself back into form as well, thanks to his luck in Madrid. I didn’t see the match against Murray but it would have boosted Nadal’s confidence because from what I hear Murray was playing well. Nadal just keep grinding out these wins with his relentless will. He is no doubt one of the mentally toughest in the history of the sport, if not the mentally toughest. He just never gives up and never stops believing. It is quite extraordinary. And this is something which people who are blinded by bias and hate can’t see.

Anyway I don’t want him to win Rome or the French Open so I am hoping Dimitrov can stop him, and if not Dimitrov then Djokovic. But it is like the stars are aligning again for Nadal because of his never-say-die attitude. He just never accepts defeat or failure. What happened in Melbourne obviously crushed his confidence but even after that he is still bravely fighting on and trying to defy the odds. I don’t like Nadal but I have to respect that. If he keeps fighting like he has been he may just dispose of both Dimitrov and Djokovic and be the favorite for the French once again. I mean the guy was in ruins before Madrid but then gets lucky with the draw and takes full advantage of it. He also got lucky in the final but again he never gave up during that match. And now he has fought his way all the way to the Rome semis once again.

Doesn’t look very upset, does he?

I’m not counting out that Dimitrov can defeat him, but knowing Nadal he will probably find a way to grind out another three set win. We may just be heading for another Djokodal final which could be a preview of what’s to come in Paris. I think Nadal’s confidence is still shaken and anything can still happen, but he is also gaining confidence with every win. Even if he wins Rome an early round exit in Paris in not impossible. But a 9th French Open title is not out of the question either. I just felt that this year it would be very difficult for him after what happened in Melbourne and he has after all never won the French five times in a row. My gut feeling still says Nadal won’t win the French Open this year, but with him you never know. Can he bounce back the way Roger did in 2009?

If he does bounce back and win the French Open then he is still on track to catch up with Roger’s slam count or even surpass it. We have reached a crucial stage in this GOAT debate. Nadal’s confidence took a massive hit in Melbourne and he needs to bounce back in the best way asap, or time is running out for him. If he does win the French Open he is right back in the hunt and the crushing loss he suffered in Melbourne will be all but forgotten. I do feel like Nadal basically have to win Rome and beat Djokovic in the final if he is gonna win the French Open though, so we will see what happens. I’m looking forward to today’s matches and I’m definitely gonna try to watch. As for Roger winning the French again at this late stage will be difficult, but I’m not gonna completely count out his chances.

He is Roger Federer after all.

Highlights:

Posted in Uncategorized.

27 Comments

  1. Hey Ru-an, you and I and the rest still don’t like Rafa, but his mental toughness, you cannot not admire that. Eventhough I wanted him to lose SO BADLY, I was really impressed how he came back to defeat Simon, Youzhny and Andy.
    Really, if you play a 3-setter with Rafa, you HAVE to win in straights, otherwise you are literally lost in the third. Then he becomes this beast again.

    So so so much respect for Andy. He fought like hell, but he was playing Rafa in the third, so….

    Ru-an…. I literally DON’T want Rafa to win Rome and RG.
    Come on Nole, come on Dimi, enough is enough, he has to be stopped….

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You have the right attitude Katyani. You are not a blind hater which is good to see.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Well Ru-an, it is not always so easy to have this right attitude :-) My admiration for Rafa is much much much less than my dislike for him. And the schmuck grin on his uncle’s and father’s faces does not help either :-)

    Come on Novak, you have to beat him….

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    Well, Katyani, how much is there really to admire in a machine? One can admire the fiendish cleverness of the machine’s creator (i.e. Uncle Toni), but the machine is just a machine. It has neither agency nor consciousness, no qualities to admire.

    The machine succeeds by being a machine–by maintaining a consistent level that never flags or falls off, while human beings, being human, fluctuate and eventually tire. There’s nothing more in it.

    As for Murray, it’s the same old story. He has a much worse record against Nadal than Djokovic or even Federer but somehow everyone always thinks that this time will be his time to depose Federer/Nadal/Djokovic and ascend to the top of men’s tennis.

    I doubt it will ever be Murray’s time to reign at the top, aside from the odd Grand Slam. To be #1 will take a sustained effort on all surfaces for a whole season and he can’t manage that.

    Federer is no longer in this tournament, so I’ve stopped caring about the result since I have no other player I actually like to cheer for. Tomorrow either the machine will crush another victim or it will be overcome by another machine. Either way it won’t be fun viewing.

    Whatever tennis is left in Federer, he will show us, and either it will be enough to maintain his records, or it won’t. That is all.

    The records are not the point, anyway. He is playing for himself, to see if he can top himself and overcome the challenges of a generation of younger, physically stronger players by pushing his game further and achieving even greater levels of perfection.

    Obsessing over who has more trophies detracts from his quest to raise his game. It’s best if he simply focuses on his own game, on his training, and on figuring out new tactics to handle the young guns. He no longer has to worry about Sampras’ records or anyone else’s records, he’s earned that right.

    A happy Federer is a Federer who’s playing his best tennis.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Steve, good to hear from you. Please don’t focus too much on my admiration for Rafa. That is nothing compared to my dislike for him. I don’t like him (never have, since the first time I saw him, even before I knew about Roger/Rafa-rivalry).
    But…. I don’t know if you saw his matches against Simon, Youzhny and Andy. I wanted Rafa to lose so badly, but have to be honest too, it was mighty impressive how he still managed to win. It is truely not an exxaguration when they talk about him beeing the mental strongest tennisplayer of all time. Because, lets face it, like him or not, he is.
    I can admire that about him. Does not mean I am his fan all of a sudden or like him. No way !!! No way !!! That will never happen. But I don’t see him win Rome or RG. Maybe Rome, but not RG. I mean come on, no offence, but Youzhny, of all players, Youzhny almost beat him.

    And about Roger. He plays because he loves the game. He has nothing to prove to us or to make his legacy grow. BUT… he is in it to win titles too. And he will. I am sure of that. No matter how seriously bad 2013 was for Roger, except for the Rome final 2013, he was not outplayed or destroyed anywhere. He always lost close matches, on a point or two. Now, he is healthy and physical fine. He gets close so many times, now all he has to do is take it one step further and win titles. And he will. He is really not done yet. Starting with RG :-) Go Roger :-)

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Oh and Steve, those who somehow don’t appreciate Roger or his game, really should have watched Rafa vs Simon match.
    Simon played great, but oh my God, what a “boring” match. Don’t get me wrong, it was exciting, nervewrecking, Simon playing great, Rafa too, some beautiful points, but oh my God… long rallies !!! One after the other. I thought it would never end. More than 20, 30, 35….. It just didn’t stop. Now that is a match where you will never see someone play like Roger.
    That is why we all love Roger’s matches. He takes chances, plays offensive, takes risks and some of the points he makes… wow, just wow.
    But this Rafa vs Simon…. long long ongoing rallies…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    It is one thing to dislike Nadal Katyani and another to disrespect him. Don’t worry what Fedfans on this site will think about you if you have admiration and respect for Nadal. Don’t crack under the pressure. If they judge you it is due to their own weakness, and this is my site and you are free to respect and admire who you want. I will not tolerate bias and blind worship here as I have made clear in the commenting rules. I expect people to be open-minded and respectful if they want to comment here. You should be congratulated for your insight in the situation, not scolded. So I congratulate you once again.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Actually there is a fair amount to admire about this ‘machine’ if you let go of the bias and hate Steve. It’s a trap I have fallen in myself but I have risen above it. For one thing Nadal owns Roger in the head-to-head, and if you can’t admire that you are admitting that Federer is not difficult to own in a head-to-head, and everything else that it implies. Nadal must be admired for his relentless will and absolute refusal to accept defeat, or you are simply making Roger’s achievements less impressive by refusing to do so. If some of us would have Nadal’s persistence and refusal to give up we would have achieved much more in life by now.

    [Reply]

    Gargantouas Reply:

    Interesting discussion! Nadal is most likely one of the mentally toughest athletes of all time. However I believe that this stems mostly from his supreme physicality and an unprecedented risk-free game (topspin) rather than a mental toughness per se. In other words, he hasn’t tasted and tamed his fears, rather he has a “Forrest Gump” approach to tennis (I’m not trying to offend anyone here, this is just an analogy to demonstrate the point) and he simply doesn’t get fazed by adversities. Couple that with the ability to outrun almost everyone on the tour and voila! In my eyes this is less worth of respect and awe compared to i.e. climbers that scale mountains without bottled oxygen, the epitomy of mental will.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I think Nadal’s mental will is up there with anyone Gargantouas. Professional tennis is unbelievably competitive. I gave it a go myself and it is just scary how good these guys are. For a guy like Nadal who is not the most talented player out there to be close to the GOAT debate is even more worthy of respect and awe than guys who climb mountains without bottled oxygen in my book. He is utterly relentless in his will to win. I have never seen anything like it. It defies logic.

    [Reply]

    elizabeth Reply:

    Firstly let me state that I am a Roger Federer fan…best tennis player I’ve ever seen. I don’t like and never have liked Nadal but I grudgingly admire his dogged refusal to lose mentality. Even the most ardent Fed fan can only wonder at this man’s tennacity, because even before a ball is struck we see all this picking,
    poking and jiggling of his anatomy, enough to put a grown man off not Nadal he’s just getting in to first gear. The thought of 5 hour matches between Novak and Rafa does nothing for me, i’d much rather go to youtube and watch Roger and Safin play in Houston,,,you know the era where tennis was supposed to be easy!!!!

    [Reply]

  2. Hi all! Hi Ru-an, glad you’ve sorted out everything in Thailand. I’ve been busy too so it’s been a while since I could post.

    Congrats to Roger Federer and his family which has just increased by half with the birth of two healthy boys! Four children in just two pregnancies and a perfect 50-50 gender balance, superb efficiency and impeccable timing since he can now play Roland Garros without having to worry about the course of the pregnancy. Just what one would expect from the Federers.

    With such a close loss one can agonize forever about this point and that point, shoulda coulda woulda but what’s the point? He played Rome less than a week after the twins were born, his mind was bound to be elsewhere; in ’09 he played Montreal after the twin girls were born and lost a weird match against Tsonga after being 5-1 up in the decider. Sure, he could have skipped Rome and avoided this defeat but I think he’s eager to get back on tour and hungry to win. Now he has a couple weeks to stay with his family and spend time with his new sons while he prepares for Paris.

    Good thing he got in some clay-court matches in Monte Carlo. He had about as much clay-court prep last year and he still made the quarters in Paris despite his poor form. In contrast, this year he’s healthy and his game is at a high level. I don’t think this early loss augurs any kind of dip in form or loss in confidence. He made a spur-of-the-moment decision to play this tournament right after a momentous event in his personal life and he very nearly eked out the victory despite being distracted and underprepared and playing in extremely tricky conditions. I don’t think he’s going to brood over this or overthink it.

    It can’t keep going against him forever. At some point he has to catch just one small break and he’s off to the races and riding the momentum. He could even conceivably win RG. Just play one match at a time.

    Go Roger!

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Missed you Steve!!! Thanks for taking some time to post!

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    Hi Veronica, good to see you again!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Steve. Been wondering where you were. Good that you are back.

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    Thanks, Ru-an.

    [Reply]

  3. Nadal finding form…. Well said Ru-an! It looks like the pattern of Nadal down Roger up is not happening as smoothly this year. The Spanish is relentless and may just come to his best at FO. Whatever happened to those darn knees and the bad back that lost him AO??!! And It doesn’t look good for Djoko ATM, just got broken back by Raonic who’s playing some outstanding tennis in Rome. Ugh! Common Djoko, you can do it!!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well Nadal seems to be back up in Rome and Roger lost to Chardy. Coincidence? You can answer that for yourself. That said, Roger is not down for good after one match and Nadal is not up for good after grinding out a few 3 setters. Djokovic just beat Raonic in a fantastic match. I am very impressed with both players, but Djokovic just too strong in the end. Good to know he is in the final for insurance in case Dimitrov fails.

    [Reply]

  4. Yesssss!!! Well done Djoko! Looks like Roger owes Djoko! He has protected his no.4 ranking and now maybe saving us all from another trophy bite and ultimately protecting Roger’s slam record!! Thank you Djoko!!

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Veronica and others, I would like to say something about this comment I read everywhere. That Roger owes or should be grateful to Novak for protecting his legacy by beating Rafa. Yes… it is true. Cannot deny that.

    BUT… also look at it from this point of view: Novak (even Rafa and Andy) also owe Roger a great deal or should be grateful to them. If it wasn’t for all the surfaces beeing slowed down a lot, Roger would still be beating them left and right. Occationally they would win, but if the surfaces were fast, Roger would have won far more and a lot. So… doesn’t Novak also owe Roger for that?
    Roger is the most powerful player in tennis. If he was a bad guy or selfish, he would have stopped slowing down the surfaces a long time ago and it would have happened.

    I mean come on, Rafa and Novak told the Madrid organisation that they would not play the next year if the clay was blue and see what happened? It magically disappeared the next year. Can you imagine how fast most of the surfaces would have been if Roger was that selfish??

    So yes, Roger should be grateful to Novak, but so should Novak be to Roger.

    Did I explain myself correctly or does this sound stupid???

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Hey Katyani, as far as I’m concerned I’m just making a light remark that Roger owes Djoko. I don’t mean it to be taken as a deep discussion who owes who! Ha! The players make their own success and luck; Roger just got a lucky break with Djoko doing well at the right times. Roger certainly doesn’t owe Djoko and vice versa!

    [Reply]

  5. Well…. atleast Nole will be in the final.
    So… tomorrow, a tired Nole against a fresh as a daisy Rafa…… Come on Novak :-)

    [Reply]

  6. Djokovic the winner again. And this time beating Nadal while in top form. Take that Nadal. Haahahahahahahahahaha

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Immense from Djokovic. What a delicious match and victory that was.

    [Reply]

  7. After watching the semifinals I thought, this is not good because nadal is finding form and rhythm and not missing while djokovic struggled a little against raonic with a few more unforced errors for my liking.

    The commentators from sky said it today. Rafa is the undisputed king of clay but if djokovic plays his best he usually beats him on clay. Must be crushing for dull.

    Sometimes I can’t help but admire the shot selection from djokovic. Not even a guy as experienced as dull can read it.

    Not being greedy or anything but djokovic still has some work to do in order to turn that H2H in his favour so that nadal too can have critics saying well how is he the GOAT with a negative H2h against djokovic?

    Thankfully he is also older than djokovic so that may also help the cause of slaying the monster.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Djokovic is 12-6 vs Nadal since he grew up in 2011, although 3-3 in slams.

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

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