Well, I suppose a Nadal win was to be expected. I actually fancied a Roger upset but it just wasn’t to be. But still, I have to view the tournament on the whole as a positive – Federer is still definitely a force in tennis and is surely a threat at the 2 remaining Grand Slams. I actually think he’ll win Wimbledon.
Anyway, onto the match itself; Roger started really well, breaking early and racing into a 5-2 first set lead, he managed to drop the next 5 games with some loose service games and a flurry of errors to lose the set 7-5. This seemed to affect Roger mentally – his head dropped and he began looking tentative from then on.
He was immediately broken at the start of the 2nd and it looked like curtains. A mini revival saw him hit back to level at 4-4 only to be broken back immediately. At 40-40 and Nadal serving for the set, a downpour caused play to be halted. Whatever Annacone said in the break worked because Roger saved a set point and won the next 3 to level at 5-5. The set went into a tie break where Federer made what I can only describe as a succession of poor errors to lose it 7-3. This is where Nadals hold over Federer was visible for all to see. His first serve didn’t fire and he netted some basic forehands. Infuriating to watch, not just for me but I’m sure for Fed fans across the globe.
The third set appeared as though it was the last with the greasy spaniard moving into a 4-2 lead. But really out of nowhere, cheered on by the crowd Federer upped his game to steal the set 7-5.
As I expected, the 4th was a total anti climax, Roger wasted 3 break points in the first game and lost that set and the match 6-1.
A match of missed opportunities
This is what I’d describe as a typical Federer vs Nadal matchup – ie Federer creating many opportunities and failing to take them, Nadal moonballing onto the Federer backhand constantly and eventually breaking Roger mentally, resulting in Fed making errors by losing faith in his groundstrokes.
It’s like he has a hold over Roger in tennis, which is seriously annoying to watch as Federer is by far and above the better player. I just pray Federer can overcome this and show Nadal for what he is – a moonballer that has been manufactured to play left handed and grind opponents down.
The match for me wasn’t really that entertaining, I sensed the crowd felt that way too. It never really hit the heights of the Djokovic match 2 days earlier. And the match as a whole seemed to have an anti climatic feel about it. Sure there were some entertaining rallies and moments of tension, but as a whole, the match lacked the intensity and level of play that a grand slam final deserves.
The one thing I learnt from this match was that I like absolutely nothing about Nadal as a tennis player or a person. The only thing I can respect is his fitness and mental strength to hang tough for long periods. But as far as I’m concerned being a Federer fan and being a Nadal fan are mutually exclusive. His constant fidgeting, the stupid amount of time between serving and his groundstrokes that loop over the net and somehow find the lines are possibly the second most annoying thing in tennis, behind yeah you guessed it Andy Murrays Mum.
The further infuriating thing is that this play beats Rogers on clay. And in my eyes it’s just not good for tennis as a whole. Who wants to see a moonballer winning grand slams? Not me and certainly not the crowd on Chatrier. I just hope that Roger can one day put everything together and defeat Rafa in Paris before his career comes to a close. It would be not only a win for Roger, but a win for tennis as a whole.
What next? Well as a Federer fan I think it’s important not to dwell on this match, if anything Roger has exceeded expectation and can start the grass court season full of confidence so really I’m looking forward to Wimbledon.