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Full Version: Federer vs. Nadal on 1/2 grass, 1/2 clay court
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A few more notes-

The talk of Nadal dominating Federer head to head is a little misleading. Yeah he's up 12-6, but most of those were played on clay because Roger was good enough on his weakest surface to advance far enough to meet Rafael. Consider that most matches are played on hardcourt, yet they have met 10 times on clay as opposed to only 4 on hard, with Federer holding a 3-1 edge there. He also still holds a small edge on grass.

It's amazing what the last couple of months have done for Nadal. To use a dumb movie analogy, if you were writing a script about this decade in men's tennis, it went from being about Roger with Nadal appearing in a couple scenes, to him being a full-blown subplot, to now Rafa possibly being considered the co-star.

I'm not sure this loss hurts Federer that much in the long run. While any player would certainly prefer to mow through 20 slams and shatter the record, champions, at least in the minds of fans, are defined almost as much by their struggles as they are their successes. As long as Fed gets those last few, every other championship Nadal and possibly Novak win is going to give that record more weight.
There's no way I'd put anything on Nadal winning the Open.
Nadal has been so close to breaking through on grass for the last few years. The previous two years' finals at Wimbledon have been close. This year he barely edged Federer in what is being hailed as the greatest tennis match of all time. He owns Federer on clay. They are pretty even on grass. Federer is much better than Nadal on hardcourt. If Nadal manages to win the US Open or Australian, we can start to talk about a new era in the game. But right now, I think Federer is still the best in the world. No doubt, though, that this rivalry and the level of play it is producing is the best thing for the two players, the sport, and the fans.

And I agree with everything Bailey wrote in the last post.
For the most part, Federer owns the hardcourt (more specifically American hardcourts), and Nadal owns clay. The even match, as we've seen the last few years, is on grass. Even though this was Nadal's first victory, he's been close. The first between the two to cross into the other's territory will have the mental edge in future meetings. For the past five years Federer saw Wimbledon as his grounds, because it was, and if the rain delay didn't hit the fifth I still believe Federer would have ran away with it.

And whoever said that the 12-6 record Nadal has against Federer is misleading is completely correct. On his worst surface, Federer is still better than everyone in the world except Nadal.
Jesus- I went to bed after Rafa broke Verdasco to even the match. (That point before set point was amazing.) I wake up and the match is still going on. Can't wait to watch the rest of the highlights.

Anyway, everything sets up for Federer, but hopefully it will be another epic final between the two.
Yeah the Rafa/Verdasco match today was one of the best matches I have ever watched. They don't really like each other off the court and it was obvious they would both fight till the death today.

Some of the volleys late in the game will be replayed in years to come! I was really rooting for Verdasco, but the nerves got a hold of him in that last game!
Holy fuckin shit - I am currently watching Feddy vs Rafa in the Mens Final of the Aussie Open right now. Tennis is simply not played at a higher level than Im watching at this moment.

Regardless of what the outcome will be (we're halfway through the 4th set and Rafa leads 2 sets to 1 with Feddy ahead 3-2 in the 4th), anyone who digs tennis if you missed it should track this match down.

It's quite simply jaw dropping.

If Rafa takes this, this may be the official changing of the guard between these two while if Feddy gets it he equals Sampras total of 13 (ETA - sorry 14) grand slams.

Epic stuff.

ETA: Jesus and now we're heading into a 5th set. First time an aussie open mens final's gone to 5 since the inaugural hard court open in '88

This is simply one of the best matches Ive seen, and Ive been watching tennis my whole life.

I feel like I'm only taking a breath once every minute or so.
Holy Fuck, after taking an epic five hour semi just 48 hours ago, Nadal's taken it in the 5th, six fucking two, he's the aussie open champ - first spaniard to hold the title.

I think I've just seen a siesmic shift in mens tennis - something broke in Federer mentally in that last set, Nadal now officially has his number.

I just don't know how Rafa not only lasted the distance but fucking won after his incredible match less than 2 days ago. It's unbelievable.
Nice one Nadal. His training regime must be off the scale. 10 hours of tennis in 48 hours - at that level - is amazing. I played 4 hours yesterday and am still a bit sore. It was 5 degrees though.

If Federer had served better he might have had a chance. He's no longer a tennis god, He has to scrap and fight to win matches, whereas before he won effortlessly.
Fuck, high emotion from Feddy. Poor bugger.

We adore him down here.

Classy, gracious guy.

Obviousliy a helluva lot of liking and respect between Rafa and him as well. Great to see.
I really wish I'd seen those final sets (had to go to bed), especially the fifth. I'm a big Nadal fan, and I left at 4-4 in the third; with Pat McEnroe predicting that the fatigue was going to cost Rafa.

Fed should get to 14... maybe 15 if another major player doesn't emerge this year or next. He's still on track to be the best ever. He's playing incredible tennis. The changing of the guard, as it were, happened last year at Wimbledon; but to do it on hardcourt really confirms it. What this also does is solidify the notion that this era of men's tennis will be remembered for two of the best champions tennis has ever seen. For my money they're better than Sampras/Agassi.
I agree, after watching that match last night, thsesed two are better.

...and yeah there was Wimbledon last year but don't forget Federer wasn't playing at full capacity last year after being sick. This year tho, not only was he back to full strength but he'd had a three day break to Rafas 2 and hadn't had an over five our semi-ifinal barn burner to get over - AND this was hardcourt.

No I think what started in Wimbledon was finished here in Melbourne last night.

I think Feddy will reach and breach Sampras record - but honestly, barring injury, I see Rafa beating that a few years later anyway.

When Feddy was Rafas age he had two grand slam titles under his belt - Rafa now has six.
At this point, to me at least, it's a foregone conclusion that he's going to win in France, and he and Federer will be neck and neck at Wimbledon, but I still peg him as an outside chance at the U.S. Open. The hard court in Flushing Meadows plays more like grass than the courts in Melbourne where they can get a big stagnant and slow the game down (which is why you see so many long rallies at the Australian). In my mind it's between Djokovic and Federer at the U.S. until Nadal proves otherwise.

So, I don't think Rafa is going to complete the Slam, but he's the odds on favorite for the French and subsequently Wimbledon if he wins.
I guess it depends on how you look at it RD. When Nadal won in Wimbledon, it was clear he was the number one player in the world; which is why I called it the changing of the guard. Yeah, Federer had mono or something earlier in the year, but he was still playing well enough to push Rafa to five sets in the final and win the US Open- he was alright.

However, there is no question getting over on Federer on hardcourt is huge.

The big factor in all of this is the rest of the tour. I'm not convinced yet that Nadal is going to have the kind of utterly dominant run Federer had; if only because it's so hard to maintain. However, he's gotten an early start, so to speak, and if his prime extends to 27-28 years old, then he certainly could get 9 more. First things first, though. If Fed gets to 15, I think he needs to be called the greatest until somebody bests it... no matter how big an edge Rafa has on him head to head.
I just gotta say, other than watching the Phils kick ass last season, watching Nadal and Federer go head to head over the past couple years has been the most exciting thing in all of sports to me. I could watch Nadal play for days. The way he covers the court is just ridiculous. If he can keep this progress up, the sky is the limit for this kid.
Holy shit, I did not see that coming. This blasts the door open for Fed to be considered the greatest of all time with no caveats. The most grand slams titles and the career slam that Sampras could never get. I know Nadal has increased his effectiveness on the other surfaces by leaps and bounds, so this isn't as devastating as it could be; but I am still stunned.
If Federer doesn't win the French now, he'll be kicking himself for the rest of his life.
So, Federer beating Nadal on clay wasn’t a fluke? Interesting.
I was at work at didn't get to see the match. What the hell went wrong with Nadal today?
I guess the guy had always given Nadal some problems, although this was the first time he beat him. Nadal didn't look nearly as sharp as I've seen him before- but the bottom line is the dude just beat him. Flat out played better. Surely this is just a glitch, right? Maybe he needs to play less tournaments, I dunno.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bailey
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I guess the guy had always given Nadal some problems, although this was the first time he beat him. Nadal didn't look nearly as sharp as I've seen him before- but the bottom line is the dude just beat him. Flat out played better. Surely this is just a glitch, right? Maybe he needs to play less tournaments, I dunno.

Well, that was my assumption when he lost to Federer on clay earlier this year, but not even getting to the finals? I mean, Nadal just lost more sets today at Rowland Garros than he did last year. In fact, more than he’s lost in 2007 and 2008 combined.

Just strange.
Is there anybody who can rally like Federer? That guy's mental toughness is just unreal.
Well, it's been announced that Nadal has pulled out of Queen's (British grass court tournament prior to Wimbledon) with knee trouble, which he acknowledged he has had repeated problems with. I worry that his style is going to lead to his body collapsing if he's not careful.
Well assuming that doesn't come to pass in the near future, Nadal just turned 23, even if he's one of the greats that fades after the age of 25, he's still basically got 12 grand slam tournaments before he hits 26.

My question is if Federer gets his first French and passes Sampras at Wimbledon or the US Open, will his focus diminish at all? Losing #1 to Rafael and having that "bad" year in 08, you could see after this year's Australian Open final what a toll the pursuit has taken on him. He was so close, and at that point it appeared like Nadal might never let him get there. With what's happening in Paris right now, it appears he might surpass even that by getting the long elusive French title. I can't help but think if he's at 15 after this year he might let go some.
I think it will go the opposite way, actually. Nadal being great by itself isn't going to stop his body from breaking down due to his style of play, while I think Federer will feel a renewed sense of focus if he wins The French and will go on a substantial run through the grass court season towards the US.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eric Cordo
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At this point, to me at least, it's a foregone conclusion that [Nadal]'s going to win in France, and he and Federer will be neck and neck at Wimbledon, but I still peg him as an outside chance at the U.S. Open.

Well, so far I'm wrong about the first part, but I think that makes the second and third predictions more realistic.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Eric Cordo
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I think it will go the opposite way, actually. Nadal being great by itself isn't going to stop his body from breaking down due to his style of play, while I think Federer will feel a renewed sense of focus if he wins The French and will go on a substantial run through the grass court season towards the US.

That's what I am saying. If he wins the French he'll almost certainly get Wimbledon, the US Open, or possibly even both. But once he passes Pete, and he's got the French title that Pete never got as a bonus, will he maintain the intensity after that?
I imagine it’d depend on whether or not he beats Nadal in doing so.
My fault, I didn't finish my thought.

Yes, I think he will. He needs 2009 to be his year, and if he's successful I believe he's mentally tough enough and still physically capable of beginning another dominant stretch. With professional tennis over the last thirty years the players tend to flame out by their late 20s if your name isn't Todd Martin, but Federer looks as physically imposing as ever. And I'm of this opinion based on his phenomenal ability to handle mental pressure, he had an off late 2007-2008 but once he passes Sampras he'll then have the opportunity to distance himself as the undisputed best ever if he can win about six or seven more slams. Which I think he will.
Federer was down the first set, and 6-2 in the second set tie break and came back to take it (the second set). How's that for mental toughness.
To me, he's got to beat Nadal on the courses that he never has in order to be the best. Nadal just has his number in some spots and he's got to overcome that.
Pretty epic match. Nobody can break in the fifth set.
Best. Match. Ever.
Wimbledon record for games played in a fifth set with 18, and they're at least going 20.
Unreal. Bet Roddick blinks here though.
Or not.
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