It’s obvious that Nadal made a big statement by winning every tournament he played during the clay court season. Also, Federer has made a pretty big mess of things of late. He has lost the number one ranking two weeks shy of break Sampras’ record. As always, it as that man Nadal who is proving to be the thorn in his side. It is the nature of this rivalry that the fortunes of the two players don’t coincide. Therefor it is only expected that the good fortunes of Federer has diminished as the fortunes of Nadal has improved. It is part of the ebb and flow of this rivalry. Instead of securing the number one ranking, Roger has allowed Nadal in the back door and now Nadal seems to be back where he was in 2008. But is he really? It was more or less expected that he would win the French Open. He was the obvious favorite to do so.
Especially in the absence of Del Potro and Davydenko, and the poor form of Djokovic. I’m not sure what happened with Soderling in the final. I didn’t watch the whole match but Soderling did waste eight break point opportunities. Was last year’s win against Nadal some kind of fluke? I don’t think one needs to go that far. Soderling played a great match last year and Nadal was not quite himself. Even if Del Poptro and Davydenko was present, you still feel like Nadal would have had a chance to win Roland Garros and regain the number one ranking. In the end it is a combination of factors. The lung infection, the absence of Del Potro and Davydenko, and the inability of Roger to take match points in two consecutive tournaments in the US. All of these things helped the fall of Federer and the rise of Nadal.
If Federer had at least held on to the number one spot long enough so that he is still number one, things would have already been different now. But since Nadal has made a clean sweep of the clay season and took the number one spot, a major switch in the momentum of the Fedal rivalry has already taken place. I said before the French Open I would be satisfied if Roger makes the final and lost to Nadal, but he has done two worse. If at least he had the number one record secured, he could have taken a lot of confidence from that. Even if he defends his Wimbledon crown, he won’t regain the number one sport since Nadal has no points to defend from last year. His best shot to get back the number one spot will be from Cincinnati until the end of the year where he does not have that many points to defend.
Or maybe during next year’s clay court season where he won’t have many points to defend and Nadal cannot gain any points. Either way he has made things difficult for himself. The next objective is to win Halle first of all so that he will be in good shape for Wimbledon. He has already been training at Halle since he left Roland Garros, and he als0 played doubles today with Allegro, losing to the defending champions Kas and Kohlschreiber 6-4, 7-6(6). Roger can’t afford to lose a singles match in Halle. That would only be more signs of weakness. He needs to take whatever positives he can from the clay season and make a new beginning on his favorite surface now. Then he needs to go ahead and win Wimbledon for a seventh time. At least then he would have tied another important record of Sampras and the year would have already been a success with one more slam to play.
Nadal is only back to the extent that Federer allows him to be back. He needs to hit back right away at Wimbledon to stop Nadal’s momentum and put doubt back in everyone’s mind about Nadal’s dominance outside of clay.
May the Fedforce be with you.
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