ATP Masters 1000Roger FedererRome Masters

Nadal Demolishes Federer in Rome to win Title

Hey guys, well what a big disappointment that was as Roger was comprehensively owned 6-1 6-3 by Nadal who took down his 24th Masters 1000 title in another solid display that sadly found Roger wanting and looking completely clueless out there.

I said in my prediction that I gave Roger a 10% chance but on today's performance I was being more than generous. Sometimes I'm not bothered whether Roger wins or loses and this was one of those type of matches, I felt like he had zero expectation and could play freely but the manner of this defeat has annoyed me. He got schooled out there, showed zero fight and virtually gave up. Very disappointing.

And before we go any further there will be no point or shot of the match today for obvious reasons ๐Ÿ˜›

Quick Match Analysis

Nice Performance

I tweeted before the start of the match that the first game is usually very important for assessing Roger's level – he hit 4 first serves, served and volleyed twice and held to 15. Sadly if you'd have taken my word as golden you'd have been very wrong as after that he fell to pieces and failed to hold serve again in the first set losing it 6-1.

He was serving at 82% first serves but as soon as the ball came back over the net he was losing pretty much every point with wild errors and really poor shot selection. He is like a different person out there when he plays Nadal, like a small child unfortunately and today he appeared on court extremely early and put up zero fight.

Nadal basically walked his way to the first set, looking completely untroubled on serve and no doubt thinking this was his easiest match of the week, which let's face it, it was. And that's even with Berdych playing a very weak match against him too.

The second set didn't get much better the only difference was Roger had his once chance to get his foot in the door but pussyed out like a big girl. At love 30 in Nadal's opening service game he missed an absolute sitter of a backhand volley into the open court, it was almost Roddick like from Wimbledon 2009 actually and a huge choke at that. He missed it for 2 reasons – Nadal is in his head and he wasn't ready to play it, he was slow moving in behind it when he should have been on his toes.

Even though Nadal got back to 30 all Roger got his first break point of the match yet made another schoolboy error by hitting a forehand long. I knew that was his one chance to actually build some confidence but the chance went begging and with it so did that match.

As expected he was broken in the very next game and soon fell behind a double break as Nadal moved into a 5-1 lead. 1 break was recoverable, as we saw in the very next game as he broke Nadal when he served for it, but 2 was a bridge too far as Nadal eventually served it out comfortably to take his 7th title in Rome.

Wasting break points early and then failing to hold serve at 4-1 was just criminal and if you ever needed evidence that Nadal is in Roger's head it is right there. If he'd broken serve he'd have got back into the match, and if he'd managed to keep the gap to one break, when he broke back they'd have been back on serve giving him another shot at getting back into it. He failed on both counts.

Match Stats

Federer vs. Nadal Match Stats

The stats don't make pretty reading.

Thoughts on the Match

Federer with his runners up trophy Rome 2013

I have 2 thoughts on Rome really, the tournament as a whole for Roger was a success because he made the final, but final itself was an absolute disaster as he didn't even try to win.

It was painful to watch really after the 1st game onwards and I'm kinda ashamed to say that Wawrinka put in a better performance in the Madrid final than Roger did today. Just zero fight, no real gameplan and he just gave up which I found pretty wimpish.

Nadal turns him into a complete wet lettuce on court. He can't even make simple forehands, the backhand turns into a cricket shot where there's more chance of the ball going out the stadium than landing within the lines and that volley at 0-30 in the first game of the second set, well, the less said about that the better.

As a fan I wasn't bothered if he lost today, but I am bothered about how easy he made it for Nadal, I thought he could at least make it go 3 sets and make him really earn the win by tracking down lots of balls but really he only had to come up with 1 or 2 ridiculous passing shots and the rest was just going through the motions for the Spaniard.

I think one shot probably sums up the entire match and that was an attempted slice backhand Roger hit at 40-30 up, and 1-4 down in the second set. It practically went straight into the ground. Of course he got broken and the double break meant he had zero chance of getting back into the match. If he had held there then when he broke Nadal it would have been back on serve, not 5-2. Tsk!

Positives? Well from this match there are none, it's just an unacceptable performance and a match where he completely failed to turn up. Who knows where the real Federer was, hiding in a corner somewhere from his nemesis I think.

The only good thing is the tournament as a whole seen as though he made his first final and gained some ranking points which could prove useful come the end of the year. He at least goes into Roland Garros with some level of form, but the big problem is that he's not going to beat Nadal if they meet. It's a foregone conclusion sadly and probably time we accepted it for what it is. It's up to the Djoker to take care of Dull, this his is role in tennis.

Now a couple of things I'd like to clear up that I saw getting tweeted a lot during the match:

First – back issues. Spare me the bullshit. Yet again deluded fans spouting complete speculation about Roger's back, oh he's changed his service motion. Give me a break, he just got owned today, simple as. He served at 82% in the first set and managed to win 1 game. That isn't due to a bad back. Even if has a niggle, it's up to him to tell us and he's been fine all week and stepped on court today so why invent excuses?

Second – Annacone. I saw some fans questioning Annacone's role as though he's got it wrong or he's not the right man for the job. Do me a favour, he's not the one out there on court spraying backhands into the tramlines.

All Roger's problems against Nadal stem from Roger's mental frailities that turn up as soon as he steps on court, he is constantly doubting his game and his abilities against this guy. Annacone has little control over that, it's all psychological. Even if he puts in place the perfect strategy, Roger needs to execute it and today I give him 0 out of 10 for execution.

He managed to serve and volley twice in the opening game but I don't think we saw him do it again, more evidence his mind becomes jumbled against his nemesis. So no doubt what Annacone says prior to the match goes in 1 ear and out the other by the time he's on court. So to say he should look for a new coach is just short sighted and basically stinks of looking for excuses or trying to put the blame on anyone but Roger. I don't like that.

Basically if Roger makes an early unforced error against Nadal he gets scared and freezes like a rabbit in the headlights and the match is over, simple, no coach can sort that unless he starts playing matches on his behalf.

Back to today's match and I'm not feeling too bad about it after writing this, we've seen this happen countless times so there's nothing new here to get too downbeat about, this match followed the script.

The thing with Roger is he can make you forget what the outcome of a match is supposed to be just because that's who he is, he's never not got a chance. But on clay, with modern equipment, against a guy who can run all day then you kinda just have to expect a loss. And fair play to Nadal, he plays from 20 feet behind the baseline and doesn't make any errors and it works. Hell he was even quite aggressive today which kinda just proves just how poorly Fed played I guess but he very much deserved the win.

Basically, it is what is it, Nadal is the antithesis of Roger, good vs.evil almost and Roger doesn't quite have it in to defeat him, not on clay anyway. That's all there is to say on the matter.

The good news is Roger played some solid matches this week and can definitely do some damage later in the year if he maintains this kind of form. Obviously clay is a bit of a write off for him in terms of titles but who cares? It's the slowest surface and favours the grinders. Nothing we can do about that.

Finally I thought I'd share with you a comment I read on Ru-an's blog from a guy names Steve who was responding to someone saying Nadal is a tremendous shotmaker:

I wouldnโ€™t call it shotmaking. Shotmaking entails taking risks, trying to hit into small areas of the court with relatively low margin for error. That is not what Nadal does.

Nadal has squared the circle. With the aid of whatever magic potions his team has dished up, he can hit error-free winners by pounding the ball with a combination of raw power (to overwhelm the opponent) and spin (for safety). If you hit with that much spin, the ball will always clear the net by a healthy margin and dip down at the last minute and never go out, so you never have to hit a risky shot.

So what is the point of watching, then, if it is impossible for him to make mistakes? It is as interesting as watching a buzzsaw cut through a stick of woodโ€“a purely mechanical process whose outcome is a foregone conclusion.

And if you have so much raw strength and speed, you can stay way, way behind the baseline and still hit with pace and depth, and still run down every ball.
The difference between Federer and Nadal is the difference between a master martial artist who defeats unarmed opponents with skill in hand-to-hand combat, and someone who defeats unarmed opponents by shooting them with a gun.

Now, because he is shooting unarmed opponents, the gunman need not be a good marksman (indeed, he might have very poor aim) nor does the gun have to be well-made; it could be even be a BB gun. But if you give the gunman unlimited ammo, he will always bring down his opponent. All he needs to do is fire in the opponentโ€™s general direction for long enough. As long as he has the modicum of intelligence needed not to shoot himself in the foot, heโ€™ll always win.

Sometimes the gunman could, by chance, hit an opponentโ€™s vital spot early on, at which point itโ€™s over quickly (like today), and other times he might fire wildly and the opponent might last a while longer. But either way, the opponent will go down eventually, through sheer attrition.

It would be a complete misunderstanding, and total abuse of language, to call our gunman a master martial artist, and it would be very silly for people to give him trophies for martial arts tournaments in exchange for his shooting down a series of unarmed opponents. Yet that is exactly what people do with Nadal.

What Nadal does wins tennis matches, just as what our gunman does defeats opponents. But that does not mean he is a great tennis playerโ€“he is like our gunman, very poor at some other activity that happens to win tennis matches as a corollary.

Now what is amazing about Federer is that he can beat the โ€œgunmanโ€ from time to time, using nothing more than his tennis skills. If he could do that at RG, that would be a really amazing thing, and a proof of supreme mastery.

I thought it was a nice analogy and a good assessment, as well as making me laugh.

Anyway, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the final.

Of course the next stop is Roland Garros, I'll be previewing that soon and we can guarantee Djoker and Nadal will be in separate halves of the draw!


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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  1. What a disapointing display by Roger. Nadal just killed him out there. Hope Roger can regroup for RG.

    1. I don’t think it will be too big an impact. Roger’s only issue is Nadal. He will probably do well in Paris until or if he meets Nadal.

      1. I hope Fed does do good in Paris.Has to seriously sort out his head when he faces Nadal. Especially after todays display it was really to ugly and disheartening to watch.
        I found Ruans bit quite interesting. But i totally agree with all your points you made regarding peoplemaking excuses about his back or Annocone. Not good just cheap excuses.

      2. Yeah I think he will do ok in Paris. Not gonna win it but will be solid I think.

        Yeah Steve’s comment from Ru-ans blog was interesting made me laugh too!

      3. To all Federer cheerleaders: This is Roger 3.0 – get used to it. His skills – on a consistent level, match after match – have deteriorated. He’s married with children – the will to win is gone. What the hell does he have left to prove to anyone?

        To Jonathan: Roger’s ONLY issue is Nadal? You cannot be serious!

        And to all those who think that somehow Nadal is inside his head – this is the same guy who beat Nadal as recently as 2012 Indian Wells in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, in the 2011 Barclays 6-3, 6-0. It’s not like he has NEVER beaten Nadal on clay – he has twice, once by the score of 2-6, 6-2, 6-0. Has anybody else ever bageled Nadal on clay? But that was then. This is now. When someone starts to lose their abilities, it doesn’t happen in nice, long, smooth progression, it is often quick and sudden. It’s happening now – and it grieves me, but I cannot bury my head in the sand and pretend it’s not happening.

        On a more optimistic note (yeah, it’s coming from me!) this is worth checking out, this guy may be on to something:

  2. Ouch! I agree to everything. I don’t think it was his back or he was making UFEs. He was intimidated into making errors. But the lack of strategy was the worst. And for that I do blame Paul. He was still standing close to the baseline making Rafa’s

  3. Agreed it was awful. At least the 2nd set got a bit better. But nothing seemed to click today. Completely different from what we saw most of the week. Which brings me to the positives straight away cause I’m like that ;). I do think it was a great week. Came back after Madrid’s early loss and did that (very) well. He made it to the final. He says he has a pretty good idea what works now and what doesn’t, so that’s a positive for RG. And judging from what he said during the ceremony he knows full well that Nadal is in his head. Just like Nadal is in more players’ heads.

    Very sorry to hear again the press saying Roger is finished and should retire. I suppose I will never get used to that. The vicious comments are disrespectful and I keep being amazed how he puts up with it.

    Oh and I also agree about the whole back issue brought up. Nothing wrong with the back I think. It’s sometimes like there always has to be an excuse for anything. While sometimes it’s just not good. Like today. But he made the final, as said, and that’s good. Onwards and upwards we go!

    1. Not bothered reading the press comments. To be expected though, they been saying the same stuff for the last 5 years!

      Yeah I didn’t like his comments in the trophy presentation. Sounded very defeatist. Guess he’s not a warrior like Nadal though. More an artist. The question is, has he already painted his masterpiece?

      1. Maybe so. And maybe not. We will have a few yrs to find an answer to that question. According to him at least. And those yrs will know more erratic losses and ups and downs. I”m sure of that. We’ll see who is willing to stick by him during those yrs and who isn’t. That’s a choice and what people like or don’t like. Each to their own if it comes to that. I for one made the choice to stay. Even though I literally couldn’t watch him play sometimes today… I just want to stick around as long as he’s there.

        And Fed is def not a warrior like Nadal. Thank God. It’d be so out of character. I do think he is a fighter. I know some people don’t agree with me, but I do think that. But in his own kind of way and today not so much, at least not on the outside. But artist is a great description. Unique in many ways.

        And about the comments: it was an unimaginative speech. Not like he normally does it even when he’s runner up. But it is what it is. He is only human and he sounded defeated just like you said. And why not? It’s not like we can’t imagine that, is it?!
        He gets older, he keeps competing on a very high level (he is top3 for a reason after all) but Nadal was just too good today and that would annoy the hell out of me too. And I do believe that was the general emotion there, annoyance with himself. But it’s always guessing what we’re doing. And he will never be open about this rivalry. I’m sure of that.

        Anyway. Apologies for my long reply Apparently I had to get something (more) off my chest ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. Don’t usually post on here, but:

      Hugely disappointing result: after the way he’d been earlier in the tournament, I’d hoped for a good match, and that he could at least take it to a final set, but even just from watching the live scores I suspected problems on a mental level. I was probably thinking about this in relation to Berdych some months ago, but if Roger is having problems on a psychological level with some of his opponents I for one would see nothing wrong with consulting a sports psychologist. As you’ve mentioned, the problem does seem to be at a mental level rather than anything else. Not sure how Roger would feel about the idea, though …

      Still, at least he’s got a reasonable amount of matchplay under his belt here, which is what he needs.

      1. Hey Alison,

        Hmm yeah, I guess he could. There was a guy who used to comment here called Tim who named someone who has helped lots of tennis players with their mindset. Forget the name though.

        I think it was a successful tournament anyway, just a weak final, the Dull factor as usual.


  4. Ouch! I agree to everything. I donโ€™t think it was his back or he was making UFEs. He was intimidated into making errors. But the lack of strategy was the worst. And for that I do blame Paul. He was still standing close to the baseline making Rafaโ€™s ordinary serve,that much more I tweeted before,how many times does he have to lose to Rafa, to be able to play free considering yourself as a clear underdog? Bottom line is being aggressive does not mean serve and volley.its to be able to convert a rally to your advantage by a great shot.Fed has a lot of great shots , but he played none almost feels like Paul is good for Serve and Volley.not for nothing else.
    At the end Fed played some great shots ,which makes me believe he can,if he chooses,but he has to be willing to stay back and fight …not just try to be aggressive by overdoing things..anyway always a Fedfan and hope for better things at RG.

    1. Don’t see how you can shift blame onto Annacone, he’s not the one out there playing.

      I think serve and volley is such an under used tactic. He used it twice in the first game, won both points and then never used it again. That is daft is you ask me.

      He got owned today, end of. No strategy was helping, he just got mentally beaten up and still looks surprised when Nadal tracks down his forehand even though he’s done it for the last 7 years.


  5. Shame, shame and more shame, no excuses Nadull is better than Federer H2H proves it 20 vs 10 como on !!!!

    1. That’s clay brother.. when you check their H2H most of the matches are from clay. Nadal owns that surface, but Roger is dominant on fast courts, where they seldom meet.

  6. Hmmm…weird match…

    I thought Roger HAD the game plan, and too me it was going for broke and just being as aggressive as he can. It would normally work. BUT he hasn’t played Nadal on clay for 2 years, and it just happens to be an off day for him, so his FH just went AWOL. At times I thought his BH was better, during the 2nd set he did make some marvelous CC BH that troubled Nadal.

    Well I don’t think Roger gave up, it’s just that the ‘game plan’ didn’t execute quite well, quite poorly actually. I see it as a positive loss, because there were a few points where the FH actually landed in, the speed of those shots were exceptional (on clay as well). Mind you Nadal played pretty darn well today by getting those balls back into play and forcing the UE from Roger. Passing shots were even more ridiculous from usual.

    IF Murray decides not to wimp out of RG, then Roger will be seeded #3 with Rafa #4. They’re not gonna meet until the final, and if Roger lands on Murray’s side I can see him reaching the final. But of course the draws are rigged so it’s not gonna happen. Either way I can see Roger seeded #2 for Wimbledon because the gap isn’t that large and they have the special seeding system.

    1. Yeah his execution was 0 out of 10 today. I thought he was very disinterested. Just lacked the mental toughness to even get close to Nadal.

      But it is what it is, can’t do much about it. Only way is to maybe fit him with some mini electrocution device in training so if doesn’t serve and volley then he gets zapped. Might learn quicker!

      Not sure I think Roger will be seeded 3, they take in current rankings + last 2 years on grass. Murray has been pretty solid.

      1. I don’t necessarily think S&V would do too much damage against Rafa, Roger got passed so many times today, and when Rafa does some unreal passing shots it will just hurt if S&V is used.

        Either way today’s loss was an anomaly and there’s not much to look into it.

        As for the rankings, I think I read somewhere it’s adding the points on grass from last year and 75% from the year before.

        So Roger gets (2000+450+Halle 2013) + (360+150)x0.75 = 2832.5 + Halle 2013

        Murray gets (1200+750+Queens 2013) + (720+0) x 0.75 = 2490 + Queens 2013

        Adding the points to the rankings now makes 11160 for Murray compared to 10832.5 to Roger. I think it is possible for Roger to overcome the 327.5 point difference over RG and Halle, considering Murray’s poor clay form.

      2. Well it worked pretty well in the first game, and we never saw it again.

        I think you have to understand Nadal is always going to come up with unreal passing shots, that’s part of his makeup but if you serve and volley you give yourself a better chance of winning the point. So what if he comes up with some unreal passes, if you can keep collecting cheap points from that play it’s worth doing.

        Roger is a much better player when he dares to do, doesn’t seem to dare against Dull though.

        Murray didn’t do too well at Queens I don’t think last year? Probably make final this year I think.

      3. Well, if he reaches QF he will overtake Andy so yes will be 2 for Wimbledon which is where he shld be! The big question there is where will 3/4 fall!!!!!

  7. Watching with extremely low expectations is the only thing that helped swallow the outcome today. That ‘attempted slice backhand’ basically sums up his mindset when it comes to playing Nadal. Fed has used that shot countless times to good effect and a surprising many of those times were service returns. But against Nadal, that same wondrous shot fizzles out like a wet firecracker. Very few of us expected vintage Federer today but instead a bundle of nerves in a moss green shirt shows up. I tweeted this earlier today and could stomach saying it only because of the low expectations we’ve had for him this year. I sincerely hope that he is saving his best for Wimbledon plus whatever other indoor / hardcourt titles he feels motivated enough to win.

    1. Haha yeah that sliced backhand was awful. Funny though.

      Just played like a wet lettuce really. Even gave it pussy talk in the trophy presentation saying something like “this is usually the case for me” yet again giving Nadal more of an edge.

  8. Hey Jonathan, you know today just wasn’t Roger Federers day, I really feel for him. He’s still fabulous in my mind and always will be the god of tennis for me! there was one shot, a backhand smash as elegant as they come that, in hindsight, made the whole experience worth while for me.
    He’s just unlucky that his greatest rival has such a natural advantage over him with not only their playing styles, but also now, after so many defeats, the psychological games that take place constantly in their minds. Roger must be strong, bounce back with confidence and simply look forward to Roland Garros. I don’t think this defeat will really change much for if and when they do indeed meet in the semis or final in Paris, but I’m more desperate than ever to see him beat Nadal at Roland Garros.
    After the match had just finished, I was really angry with Fed for showing, in my opinion, no fight or hunger until it was 4-1 in the second set and all but won for Nadal. I felt he’d just wasted an incredible opportunity…but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
    In my mind, Roger was scared today even before a point was played, so I’m now behind him more than ever! He’s 31 and still able to compete (not today ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) with the best in the game, how amazing is that?!! All I can do is continue to support him and hope that if he plays Rafa or Novak in Paris, he has a better day than today, because I truly believe he can do anything!
    Nadal, I felt was magnificent today, not only with the way he played, but also his kind gesture and respect towards Roger by not really celebrating that much after he’d won. He was entitled to roll around in the roman clay after such an amazing week!
    Sorry for such a humongous comment, I just couldn’t stop…:p

  9. Well shoot, although half expected (yes, i half expected an opposite outcome because its Roger, no matter who’s on the other end). Not really bummed but the scoreline is all that is pissing me off. Atleast a 5-7 4-6 was doable. Well nonetheless, we have similar thoughts jonathan, in a sense that the ranking points have improved.

    Nothing much to say about the match though. Obvious strategy by dull, attack the backhand and send the ball in no matter what, roger will do the rest and exactly that happened. 15-35 winner:errors. Handed the match really. AND THANK YOU FOR NOTICING Dull standing 15/20 feet from the baseline! You were right about it being a mental tank but nadal’s the one who was the pussy, not Roger (no disrespect). Roger got 82% of first serves in the first set yet couldn’t make a dent. Why? Because a f***ing queer was standing on the border line of Italy to receive fed’s serve! Fed isn’t young enough to serve at 215+ km/h regularly (unlike Gulbis and Berdshit) and hence his reliable serve was as slow as a spin ball delivery by the time it reached dull. He hammered away and roger was at loss of his usual first serve ad. So, tried to do too much with the groundstrokes and crumbled. I thought he could’ve played much better was it not for this (he would’ve beaten djoker too i think but at this point it’s just hypothetical). Although it got dull’s job done, a cowards strategy nonetheless and i can never respect it.

    No point dwelling over this now. Fed was/is in a much better form and needs only to playback the match so that he knows he made errors out of shots he could make all day…blindfolded! Nadal isn’t a tough opponent to beat in a technical sense (unlike the popular myth suggests), but when you let him get in the head, shit happens! He can run around the court all day, but he is able to make those “ridiculous returns” only because the player from the other side makes a very bad approach and shows no interest in making a return of his own. And dull’s second serve is a joke. Roger, are you really trying to tell me that dull’s serves are more difficult to return than isner’s, janowicz’s, del potro’s etc? Anyway, hope the level of a grand slam gets more out of fed in France than it did today. Still believe roger can school dull, even on clay, because exactly opposite to dull’s game, roger’s game is like wine; it only gets better with age.

    1. Hey Alvi,

      Yeah scoreline was bad. Did well to get 3 games in the end but I wanted 3 sets. I at least wanted some fight!

      Anyway, onto Paris. I think he will do ok. Hoping for a good end to the year. Allez!


    2. Hi J. Yes poor error strewn game from Fed but come on, Nadal hit his peak! Shots he hadn’t been making dropped in and he made passing shots out of nothing. Tough for Fed to play on clay, heat of the day, 2 yrs off clay with only 6 matches under his belt compared to Nadals 7 tourneys on the trot. This game really proved to me that Fed isn’t a clay court player in the traditional sense. Previously he had come thru on pure skill, superior movement, well placed serves and early ball taking taking time from his opponents. Nadals spin never allows him to take ball early enough, at right height for him so he is always chasing! He is simply not a player like Ferrer who can grind it out with controlled heavy top spin. As he gets older with slower serve, less side to side agility, clearly Nadal will look better and better. The 3 previous matches gave him no practice for this match at all. As Peter Fleming said on Sky, he hadn’t played enough to quite trust his shots( momentum, muscle memory people) and so hit a lot of UFE’S. However the spin from Nadals shots causing the ball literally to detonate in front of him, meant that many were forced errors. No excuses, gd tourney post Madrid, poor final. Personally I think he wants to get to at least semis if RG, knowing Rafa will be in his half ( if Muzza plays) and then go all out for Wimbledon no 8, stand alone record! Sorry for long post.

  10. I know I was wrong for saying Federer would win today and believe me this was a difficult loss for everyone to digest. Federer has a mental block with Nadal. I think Federer should really talk to someone and figure out a way to deal with fuckhead Nadal. I feel for Roger and I hope this trend doesn’t continue. On a positive note, Roger made it to the final and earned some points. Jonathan, can you find a link for his presser afterwards?

  11. Everyone’s really said all we all feel- pretty much sums up what I feel at the moment, and now it’s time to look ahead to Roland Garros, where the only thing that one can pray for is Nadal to end up in Nole’s half. If the draws are rigged as many of us believe that to be the case, there isn’t a hope in hell, but that’s all that we as Fed fans can hope for. Some one else to do our dirty work for us.

    I’m sorry to say this, but yeah. Nole might be God’s greatest gift to Federer.

    1. And if Murray withdraws, we have Djokovic seeded first, then Fed and Nadal as seed number three. Looking back to all slams in recent memory(and I know it’s apparently supposed to be “random”), I really can’t think of one slam where seed 1 and 3 have not been drawn together.

      It would really strike me as odd timing for this pattern to suddenly change.

      1. It’s official! Andy not playing RG! Fed no 2! Will def be put in Nadals half!! Watch this space for a Novak/Nadal final!

      2. [Nole might be Godโ€™s greatest gift to Federer]

        No fair, Gaurav. Everyone wins some, loses some to someone else ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Hi Jonathan!
    I don’t think Roger gave up as you portrayed him, I mean rewatch the match and see if he ever stopped running at all. Every time he tried to take the initiative, but it was not his day (or as people might correct me, Nadal is in his head) or even if he did take it, Nadal returns the ball to his BH with a huge spin, so he tries to continue being aggressive but instead makes the UE and as a result he loses confidence. You also have to consider that one of Roger’s best shots and one of the best shots ever in tennis is his slice BH or FH and that it totally gets owned every time he plays Nadal on clay, now mirror the picture and imagine an opponent who dominates Nadal’s Forehand, and every time he hits it, the opponent returns with a freaking winner from way behind the baseline, and then tell me what will be the score of this imaginary match and how will Nadal respond mentally and psychologically to this opponent?
    I’m sorry i wrote too much, but i do want other people to comment on what i said and say if they agree or not?

    1. Hey Youssef,

      Cheers for the comment. I don’t mean he gave up in the sense he stopped running though, he gave up in his mind. It boils down to two things – bad matchup issue and mental issues. Two fold makes it almost impossible for Roger.

      If Nadal was right handed, his talent might be enough to overcome the mental issues but combine that with the fact Nadal is in his head, completely different story!


      1. I don’t think that it is all a “mental block”, I think that the schedule SCREW him, because he didn’t get enough rest in the last 2 days. He looked tired and his shots out of range, because he played at night every day and suddenly the final is early in the day

        I just remember what happened at the olympics final against Murray, and it seems to me that he looked the same way, totally lost and I don’t think he has a Murray mental block.

      2. Ah nah Rosammariia I can’t agree with that.

        Roger didn’t have any tough matches at all and he’s had so much rest lately that scheduling didn’t play a part.

        The only bad thing was he wasn’t used to the day conditions, but he’s played a lot of tennis to know what to expect. He just got beaten by his nemesis.


      3. I don’t think he gave up in his mind at all, as i said he was trying to take the initiative every single time he got a chance to, and that is not giving up in my perspective. I mean, if he really gave up he wouldn’t have even bothered to try and break at 1-6 1-5, but let’s just admit it: Nadal reads Roger’s game completely, every time he slices the ball, he’s there taking it really early, every time Roger comes up at the net, he’s there doing an absolute weird passing shot.
        About Rosammariia, i don’t think it’s a scheduling thing at all, i mean Roger has played 1100 matches for crying out loud and that day light thing didn’t affect him at all.

    2. At the time, I did feel Roger was too easily overcome by Nadal and not willing to make the necessary mental effort to really continue to fight on after Nadal started dominating, but I’ve since changed my mind. It would have been a very tricky situation for Federer to be in, and although I do think he really tried his best to mount some sort of miraculous comeback, in the back of his mind was Nadal extinguishing his flame of hope, and sure enough that’s what happened. He can really only beat Nadal if he’s on fire and has one of those “God like” days.
      This imaginary opponents description sort of matches Novak Djokovic, heavy hitting and outrageous passing shots from behind the baseline, and he’s had considerable success against Nadal since ’11…
      But I think it’s sort of silly to imagine this scenario, and I don’t mean to be rude, I just don’t see much point in imagining it.

      1. It might be silly to invent this opponent, but my point was trying to explain why Nadal is in Roger’s head and trying to comfort my own wounds too!

  13. Hello All,

    I didn’t watch it because I had already played it in my mind and mentioned earlier it will be, on paper, a disaster for Roger. Neither did I feel motivated to get a comment in. But here I am. Roger’s game has devolved* to the extent that his rivalry with Nadal, and I’m not sure why that rivalry has been so hyped, has turned into an absolute mockery. One guy keeps upgrading his equipment to add insane power while the other still remains delusional enough that a wooden racquet is the way to go. Roger will not be able to defeat Nadal except on, as someone else mentioned, indoor hard courts or grass, that is if Nadal does not play anywhere near as insane.

    Everyone just keep it real. If Andy Murray is playing at the Nadal Open, we will see a Roger-Djokovic semi. There is no way Djokovic is losing that one. So, you can all look forward to another Djokovic-Nadal final. Roger’s participation in that event would purely be for the academic reasons of defending his 720 points. If I were Roger, I’ll take the deal and run.

    *I’ll explain why I used the word “devolved” in a separate comment later.

      1. Well, Steve went overboard. He was too emotional ๐Ÿ™‚ Besides, it’s not Nadal’s fault that he uses the heaviest arsenal available on surfaces that support it. Of course there are other reasons I believe that make Nadal super human.

        There is a deeply technical explanation of what the problem really is with Federer. Many of us already know. It has been discussed over and over again. But most fans don’t understand that regardless of how smoothly Roger beats other players, he will never have an answer to Nadal unless he changes his equipment. It’s too late in the game to do that. Roger has crossed the Rubicon. There’s no going back at his age.

        I wouldn’t think too much about this loss. Unfortunately for Roger, he was competing in his 13th clay final against Nadal whereas Nadal has met Roger a grand total of 6 times in finals on other surfaces (including only thrice on grass, which happens to be Roger’s green clay). As you said, Nadal plays to his strengths and has avoided title meetings with Roger most of the time when he didn’t feel he could win.

        More later.

      2. I don’t think equipment makes a huge deal.

        Wawrinka uses a 95 sq inch racquet and he shanked more balls than Fed. It’s all mental.

  14. Jonathan, you said you would write an article this evening.
    I wait ….. and now I am number 30 !!!
    Man, Roger and I cannot seem to get a break !!!

    1. Hi Batman, to be honest I thought and assumed that you would ‘destroy’ Roger in your comments when he lost to Rafa. But you didn’t. That is very classy of you. And I should not have assumed you would write something bad.
      Again, very classy. Had to say that.


  15. Do you think Roger will make RG final? I mean, would he beat Djokovic with this non-final tourney form? Last year he plate bad from Day 4. People writing Roger off for the billionth time. I mean, anyone would of lost to Rafa (maybe not Soderling). I think Fe should be happy and I’m optimistic for the French. When do you think Fed wins his first title? I think Halle!

    1. No, he cannot beat Djokovic. Not unless Djokovic shows a dip in form.

      Did you know that Uncle Toni paid Robin Soderling an undisclosed and obscene amount of money to stay away from tennis? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. The article about the BB gun had nothing to do with the skill match up here and a load of biased Nadal hating nonsense. It takes a high level of skill to hit a tennis ball as hard as Nadal does and constantly get it in. Nadal has beaten Federer on all surfaces and his favourite surface Wimbledon so you can’t just blame his unbelievable ability on clay for his dominance over Roger.
    So what if Nadal was standing on the border of Italy that leaves more space for tighter angle serves and Roger should change his tactics accordingly.
    There is only one player at the present time capable of giving Rafa a hard time and that is Novak as he is capable of playing at a much higher skill level the both when he is in the mood. His other great advantage is that he is not intimidated by any of the top guys.
    Sad to say but it looks that even the great Federer cannot halt the passage of time and looks like his high standard is gradually getting slightly lower.
    The only chance he has of winning Rolan garros favourable draw or not is if he gets really lucky and does not have to play either Nadal or Djokovic.

    1. Hey Paul,

      Yeah I wasn’t necessarily in agreement with the whole blog comment, it just made me laugh and I think there are some truths in it.

      Although I think strings and racquet play a big part in always getting the ball in.

      Agreed on FO though, Roger would need a very favorable draw.


  17. Really sad about the outcome of this match but Rafa has too much power on clay… lets hope Roger do better in RG and the rest of the season #GoRoger #GOAT

    1. Yeah the season is still young Emerson. Making the final in Rome was a good effort I think. Hasn’t made it since 2006 so can’t be annoyed.

  18. Didn’t see the match was it really that bad? –‘

    And Sid, I honestly think fed has a chance against Djoker if the met at RG, won’t be easy, but doable. And I’m not sure I’d blame it on the equipment, I think that’s just searching for excuses for his loss.

    Agree with you Jonathan about the excuses, no way it’s Annacone’s fault. Fans just got to suck it up when he loses.

    1. Simon, I guarantee you, the equipment is Roger’s biggest liability. The man in awesome. He has the best game on tour right now. He just doesn’t have the right tools. As I mentioned, he has devolved, for reasons that aren’t really in his control.

      And I agree, there is no way you can blame Paul.

      1. Sid I’d be quite interested to know why you think his equipment is his biggest liability when he’s choking mentally all over the place against dull.
        What’s wrong with the old Wilson wand?
        It seems to me more a case of bad fans blame their workmen’s tools no?

      2. Tommaso,

        I’m an above average club player at best but I have a good understanding of equipment. What Roger has been doing all these years, giving Nadal such good fights, with the equipment that he used, is nothing short of pure genius. I’ve expressed earlier that Roger’s racquet is what would be considered the modern equivalent of a wooden frame. No professional uses a 90 sq. in. frame. Nobody, I bet you, nobody can handle Nadal with that kind of equipment but Roger does it. More often than not, a few points decide the outcome. You cannot control Nadal’s ground strokes with a single handed backhand, using a nearly 13 oz, very head light stick that only gives you 90 sq. in. The fear of giving Nadal a clear path to his backhand is what forces Roger into errors. That is what really separates these two.

        Roger was at a very young age given the Pete Sampras Pro Staff 85 (which is much less forgiving). He represents the best of two ages. The classic front court genius (Remember his Wimbledon match vs. Pete? And the seven Wimbledons?). And, the base liner with the modern footwork and forehand. Unfortunately, the game has evolved too much. While his adversaries have embraced better and powerful equipment, Roger refuses to change one bit. Did you know that Pete Sampras, with his custom made Pro Staff 85, never got past the quarterfinal at the French Open? You think maybe there is a reason?

        In fact, it is Roger who has had to evolve most with changing court conditions and is still remains relevant at nearly 32 years of age. But I’m afraid he can evolve no more, unless he makes an equipment adjustment. This is it. Roger has reached his maximum potential. He may win Wimbledon if the draw is somewhat favorable or other slams if ill fate befalls Nadal and Djokovic. I, as a fan, have accepted it and am just happy I get to watch him play.

        Someday, someone will win more than 17 slams. It’s inevitable. But there never was, and never will be a player who can play the game of tennis any more perfectly, or gracefully, than Roger Federer.

        As the miserable clay courts season winds down, I have hope that Roger will turn in better performances. He has a lot of mileage left for this season and that should help him on grass, and faster and indoor hard court tournaments that remain.

        Go, Rog! Sie sind die besten!

      3. [It seems to me more a case of bad fans blame their workmenโ€™s tools no?]

        That’s an original one ๐Ÿ™‚

        Using the analogy by Steve as mentioned in Jonathan’s post above, if a classic old wild west pistoleer with only six bullets goes down fighting a modern automatic assault rifle that has virtually unlimited ammo, then the problem is more than just mental ๐Ÿ™‚

      4. Very interesting. I admit I know next to nothing about equipment having owned the same racquet for about ten years now so ill take your word for it. Thanks for the explanation

      5. Hi Sid… I too have to agree about Raquet equipment. I have played with wooden to graphite to composites and it makes a HUGE difference on what raquet you play with. I may not be as good as you Sid, but i used to play alot including tournys. Nadals raquet and strings has a clear advantage over Rogers. He defo needs to upgrade to counter the heavy topspins that are coming back at him 100mph. I know Roger may have mental problem agsinst Nadal but a different raquet and string could help elieviate the distastarous display we are currently watching. Serajul

      6. I am still not convinced… I am a pretty good player, quite a bit above average, and I have a few wooden racket lying around sitting up on the walls at home (love the look :D). I use a raquet which is similar to Roger’s, 90 sq inches, and just a little lighter, but more head heavy.
        And as much as I can go back to the wooden rackets once in a while and still play a very decent game (I actually won an official match with one cause my “real” raquet snapped :D). On the other hand, I just cannot play with a larger head, I just lose all my pop and start moonballing. If Rog changes his equipment to start plying like Dull, he’s lost a fan…

      7. Simon, we can’t compare what someone like you and I can do with a wooden racquet or a small frame at the amateur level we play. We are talking about negating the nearly 6000 rpm or more on Nadal’s ground strokes. You cannot do that effectively with a racquet that gives you the smallest available sweet spot.

        Why do you see Wawrinka and Dimitrov hit those singles handed backhands so well against Nadal? They use the Yonex (97 sq. in.) and the Pro Staff (95 sq. in.) respectively.

        It’s a no brainer. Roger is unable to cover Nadal’s high bouncing top spin effectively on both wings, specifically on clay, where the bounce is never true.

        Nobody is saying Roger should start moon balling. He will lose me as a fan too. His backhand will become as effective as Wawrinka’s.

      8. [Why do you see Wawrinka and Dimitrov hit those singles handed backhands so well against Nadal? They use the Yonex (97 sq. in.) and the Pro Staff (95 sq. in.) respectively.]

        Watch the Madrid final. Stan shanked more backhands than Roger. And he’s got a much bigger frame.

        I don’t think upgrading equipment will make a huge lot of difference for someone like Roger. No matter what the racquet size he’s still going to struggle with the high bouncing ball on clay with his backhand.

      9. Totally agree and it really shows on clay! Reckon even Ferrer wkd beat him at the mo with his insane spin and grinding! Feds smaller racquet head, smaller sweet spot leaves no margins for him if he mishits or mistimes the ball! Plus the upgrading of the strings Nadal uses yr after yr leave Fed with no answer. The weaponry is just not equal!

  19. Sigh. I had really hoped he would make it competitive.

    On the other hand, I’m still pleased he made the final.

    Sort of like his speech at the Olympics last summer – should I continue to be upset I didn’t win gold, or should I be pleased I won silver?

    1. He did well make to the final. I just expected some more effort in the final but he couldn’t summon anything. Not a painful match though in terms of after effects on the fans, just not fun to watch.

  20. Oh god I just read the most ridiculous article in the history of the sport… The swiss media is asking whom, between Rog and Stan, is going to get the better result at RG…. –‘

  21. Here’s the thing about this matchup. Nadal’s game doesn’t allow Roger to be as aggressive as he is against everyone else. He pushes Fed off the baseline and dictates the points the majority of the time on clay. Federer’s great serve is rendered neutral by Nadal’s returning ability.

    1. By Nadal’s return ability you mean the ability to stand 50m behind the base line and then get the ball back deep?
      I certainly agree that Djoker has a great returning ability, but nadal… not so sure…

      1. Regardless, he does a good job returning deep. His racquet gives him enough forgiveness and power from that far behind the baseline. From there on, he plays the roles of a Dobermann.

        The point is ugly or not, it’s an ability.

  22. I had always wondered, will I ever live to see the day when I play like Roger Federer? I feel like the wait is over ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Did feel a bit like that! At certain moments I was worried Fed cldnt even get a point such is nadals control, he never hits it out, so effective is that spin control! Seen to remember certain golf clubs being banned, surely time to ban Nadals strings!

  23. Hey there, Jonathan! It’s been a while since I’ve commented. I’m not gonna sit here and whine about his performance because we all know it wasn’t good. You’re right, it makes me mad that he doesn’t serve and volley more because it’s not only effective against Nadal, but other opponents as well. I can’t tell you how much I truly hate the clay season. It’s too slow for me, Nadal wins all of the tournaments involved and it’s all just too old for me now. I like it when Djokovic can defeat Nadal, but I’m truthfully sick of seeing that match up as well.

    There is an upside to Nadal winning in Rome though… he now moves back up to World No.4, and Murray is rumored not to play due to his injury this week, which means Roger will be the 2nd seed and Nadal the 3rd. There is a chance (major in my opinion since 1 and 3 are often on the same side of the draw) that Nadal will be on Djokovic’s half for Paris and can therefore take him out there in the semifinals if he can make it there and play a good match. I just say that because anything can happen before then and falling to Berdych before this week’s semifinals was a good example of it.

    Anyway, I think that if he could beat Nadal it would definitely help Roger’s confidence and he wouldn’t be worried about facing Nadal yet again on clay. Who knows… it’s something to hope for in the next week… and at least Roger had a good warm up leading up to RG. I was really hoping that he would get matches under his belt because of the long hiatus and match play is really what he needed. And hey… 1st final this season as well. He didn’t win it, but it’s a start to getting himself back on track.

    1. Hey Kelsey,

      Yeah clay is a boring surface. Too slow.

      The grass courts of the late 90’s early 2000’s were where the skill comes out.

      I’m not too downbeat about the loss. Just it is what it is.


  24. Spot on analysis Jonathan. That was a tragic mental choke, nothing else. After the first game Federer literally forgot how to play tennis. There were some really quite comical errors at times.

    Just a thought on all this talk of rigging in tournaments. If the French decide to avoid a possible fed nadal final by making them meet earlier, can you really blame them? That was quite possibly the worst match of the tournament. The only reason it was over an hour is because dull takes years between points. I really felt for the people who bought a ticket to that farce.

    On the plus side the person who’s most bummed is definitely Roger. He’ll move on, always does. Allez

    1. Excellent comment! +1

      I disagree though that it was a mental choke, as I’ve explained in some of my other comments.

  25. OK bad performance from Roger but we can’t blame PA. He is the one holding the racquet. I bit tad disappointed but at least he reached his first final. I was hoping he comes out playing freely as he already knows he is going to lose to Nadal. He is too eager and think too much out there, should have try to keep things simple and keep the ball in play. Positive said, its a good week for him and he is getting back to habit of winning. Let’s hope Roger will keep his quarters streak alive and some help from the draw.

  26. I told a Swiss Italian friend of mine to watch the Rome Final. I wanted to show her why I love the sport and since she’s Swiss, Roger seemed like the perfect candidate. And what better way to showcase Tennis than a match-up between Federer and Nadal? So she agreed and decided to watch the Final with me.

    And we all know what happened afterwards… lol. I unintentionally made my friend watch her country’s tennis representative get destroyed. (plus it was a boring match)

    I had to persuade her to watch highlights of Fed playing well, so that she doesn’t think Roger sucks ass. We had a laugh over it afterwards so it was alright, but man, I didn’t expect him to lose that badly. He was playing so well this week! And I agree, Nadal was completely in Fed’s head. But I also think age is getting to him. (He looked like a rusty old man out there). Still rooting for him though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Hi Jonathan, your article was harsh, but I cannot disagree with it, unfortunately it is true.
    Do want to say something though. About fans making excuses, not entirely true.
    I myself made a remark about his back, but that was because I saw him wear a white shirt yesterday under his green shirt. I thought he only did that when his back was hurting.
    But let me make myself clear, his back was during the entire tour (thankfully) fine.
    He did not lose today because of backproblems. A fan who says that is using it as an excuse.
    I just noticed his white shirt.
    But I don’t understand why he gets almost all of the night matches. It is not like Novak or Rafa don’t bring in the crowd. Why only Roger? This also happened at AO 2013 and of course Rotterdam 2013. He has all the night matches and the final is in the daytime.
    This is not an excuse from my part. Absolutely not, but I think it had a little bit to do with it.
    And even if it did, that is still not oke, a tennisplayer needs to be able to play anytime of the day and needs to adjust. I just noticed that he has everywhere the most nightmatches and that it is not like he is the only one who is popular.

    One thing I am glad about is that he played an AMAZING tournament. After AO 2013 this is his best tour. He is hungry to win, the stats of his matches are beyond good. The aces he hits, the first and second serves, the coming to the net, the low ue’s. He finally, after all these months found ‘the will’ back to play tennis. I really believe that.
    He was in all the matches since AO 2013 not that interested, not really in a fighting mood, almost seemed like he did not care. But I am so glad. With this tour he showed us that he is still hungry to win. That he is still interested. That he is still in winning mood. That he is still willing to do anything (practise, etc.) to win.
    And the most important thing he showed this tour is that he is fighting and that he is back.
    From now on till the end of this year we will see a Roger 2.75 (not 3.0). Who knows, he can beat anyone and I really think his year begins now and that he will not only win from here on, but that he will also qualify for WTF.
    He showed with this tour that the hunger, the fighting spirit, the love for winning is still there and is back.

    I will defy anyone who says this tournament was not a succes for Roger. But as much as I love him, I cannot say very good things about the final. I am definitely not an expert, but even I could see he was not good.
    Don’t think actually that he was schooled or destroyed, but if you guys say so, it must be true.
    The first ace in the first game he made it clear he was here to win. He got the first game. After that, it became bad. He lost faith and he made some stupid decisions. I think he wanted to turn it around, but he could not. And when he did in the second set, it was way too late. With only one break, he might have made it to a third set.

    I was kind of mad at him, to be honest, because I thought, why aren’t you fighting, but he was.
    He just lost hope I guess or the confidence. And when Rafa saw he had Roger where he wanted, he did not let go of the hold over him.
    I cannot believe it, but I was almost ‘praying’ in the second set for not a bagel. Not to win the match or to win the set, but please let Rafa not bagel him. Which fortunately did not happen.
    I already thought he was going to lose, but atleast in three sets and making it Rafa difficult. Because he was playing through out the tour really really good. And I thought there was even a slight chance he would win.
    But that he would lose like this???

    Now that Rome is over I feel for him. He knows he played not good in the final. To tell you the truth, you all say Rafa played amazing and in the zone and great, but I disagree. Rafa played like he always plays Roger.
    He just did not have to do anything else. Roger did help him by making it easy for him. Today Roger did not just get beaten by Rafa but also by himself.
    And if I am really honest, I will say this once and never repeat it again: For the way Rafa overcame Gulbis and Ferrer, he deserved the title. Yes, I said it and no, I won’t say it again !!!

    I hate to say this, but I don’t think Roger will win Rome ever. He might make a final, definitely some semis, but he will not win it. Next year Novak will not be beaten this soon, he will not be in opposite site of Rafa and of course Rafa will always be there. The dream of reaching all nine ATP titles first will remain a dream I think.

    Really, really don’t like the Great Uncle Toni. Would like to wipe that smuck smile of his face. Especially when Rafa was about to play his last point.
    Like I said kudos for Rafa for not making a bigger deal about defeating Roger (did not fall on his back, etc).
    Must be great to be Rafa, knowing that the greatest player in history is no match at all for him on clay.
    But also kudos for Roger for making another clay final against Rafa.

    I did notice this in interviews. Rafa ALWAYS referred to Roger (also when he defeated him) as the greatest tennisplayer in history. In his last presser or maybe the presser before that, he said Roger was PROBABLY the greatest tennisplayer in history. Although the mike did not work that well, Rafa for a moment did not know what to wish for him the rest of the season.
    I do believe Rafa NOW seriously thinks he has a great chance to outdo Roger for his records.
    I really believe he thinks he can get more titles than 76, more grandslams, more money than Roger, more ATP titles. I really believe Rafa thinks that he is almost 27, if he plays like this for four more years he will outdo Roger in maybe all the records. I honestly believe that and that is why I noticed that he now talks a little bit different about Roger (maybe learned that from the Great Uncle Toni too).

    Someone made a comment (heard it often) that Novak is the greatest gift from God to Roger.
    I so, so, so DISAGREE. That is not how destiny works people. If Rafa would not be there, Roger would have had close to maybe ten slams more. If Roger would not be there Rafa would have had much more slams. If Roger and Rafa were not there Novak and/or Andy would have had more slams.
    If Novak was not 2011-Novak, Rafa would still NOT have won al those slams. Maybe he would be beaten by Roger in a slam that is not clay, I am sure of that. Even though he lost in AO 2012, I really believe Roger would have found a way to beat Rafa atleast two or more times in a final (elsewhere then clay of course).
    And if Novak was still not 2011-Novak and Roger would not been able to stop Rafa, Rafa would still have not been able to get more than two slams. Because then there would have been someone else to beat him.
    Nobody thought it was possible to beat Roger and Rafa back to back, still Delpo did. Nobody thought Roger could be beaten on grass, still Tsonga and Berdych did. Nobody thought Roger could be beaten at USO, still Berdych did. No one ever ever ever thought Rafa could be beaten on clay, still Soderling did. Nobody thought Rafa could be beaten and a Rosol did.
    Therefor I totally disagree that Novak is the greatest gift to Roger. It does not work like that. You never know who (or for that matter Roger) will be in the final against Rafa and has the day of their life.
    I honestly believe that without Novak’s rise, Rafa would may have had two or three slams more, but he would have never been able to outdo Roger in 16 or 17 slams. It is not that easy to win many slams, haven’t we learned that from last year?
    Novak deserved his rise in 2011 and 2012 and maybe this year. But without him, Roger would definitely not be surpassed. I do not believe that for a second. Especially after the way Roger played last year.

    Those who made the remark about Novak beeing God’s greatest gift to Roger, aren’t you guys forgetting a small, very small, very very small, insignificant detail???
    Did Roger not get Wimby and world number 1 when a healthy, injuryfree, extremely dangerous and in prime Rafa (running for ten hours in a match without beeing tired) was present???? Did he not win from the later part of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 so many tournaments when Rafa was still in front of him, healthy, going strong and without injuries?
    He made world number 1 and won Wimby when Rafa was not “injured’. This alone tells me that Rafa would NEVER have had more slams or titles than Roger even if (2011-)Novak was not ‘present’.
    To say that Novak was a gift to Roger is actually an insult for Roger AND Novak. By saying this, people insult Roger’s AND Novak’s hard work, their need to improve and adjust, their willingness to train and practise more to get better.

    And why are we so willing to rule out Andy? Didn’t his rise begin when Rafa was stil present? Maybe he could have stopped Rafa if Novak and Roger were ‘not able to’.

    You wrote a true and harsh article Jonathan. Too bad that we cannot change anything.
    About Annacone. Sometimes I have to admit I get really angry at Annacone. But then I think to myself, what is his fault in all of this? There is not much left to teach Roger and on the court he is on his own. And it is not like Roger is looking at Annacone during the match for suggestions. Which I applaude, by the way. I see some do it and it irretates the hell out of me.
    Like Roger says, on the court you are on your own. You win, it is your and the teams accomplishment, if you lose you have only yourself to blame. That is why I love those sports (like running, swimming, tennis) where it is just one person. Victory is for you alone, defeat is only for you to blame.

    Speaking about blaming. Even if you are a diehard Roger fan, you cannot justify the Rome final. No excuses. He did not play good. I was during the match very disappointed. Posted a lot of comments, but I just could not watch the match. Roger played bad, but he does really not deserve such a loss.
    The loss of the Olympic final I can come terms with. The semi which he won from Delpo was in time almost equal to Novak’s and Rafa’s AO 2012 final. So that he did not win Olympic Gold, I did not mind too much.
    I knew he DESERVED the silver medal for playing the semifinal.
    But this Rome final just hurted. Now I am kind of over it, hopefully Roger too.

    I once wrote that I was proud of the fact that it still hurts Roger to lose. The pictures above show that.
    Hopefully this will have hurt him a lot and hopefully he will have a moment where Mirka says to him: ‘Roger this cannot keep happening. You cannot beat so many great players at your age, only to lose to Rafa the way you always do’.
    Hope that there will be some kind of moment like that.
    Because, one thing is true, Roger is playing supurb (just not when he is playing Rafa).

    But one thing I really hope is that Rafa will be soon the same age that Roger was when he started to lose.
    It is not good of me to say, but I will say it anyway. I REALLY hope Rafa will go through the same bad phase Roger went through at his age: losing a lot, beeing questioned, beeing disgraced and beeing bombarded with questions about retirement. I so hope Rafa will go through such a phase. He would deserve that and he would know what Roger has been going through all those years.
    Then they will respect Roger more. Lets face it, I don’t think Novak, Andy or Rafa will be number one or two when they hit 31/32. Don’t know if they will be even playing.

    And someone already said it. We should really be proud of Roger. He is in the same top four where the other three are 5 and 6 years younger.

    Today I was disappointed, but I will never leave or doubt Roger or tell him to quit.

    Man, I am the Goat of long comments. No competition there !!!

    Just two questions and one remark:

    If you have read this long story and your eyes are still open, can you tell me something else? Should Roger or Annacone hire a mental coach or something for Roger (like Andy did) to get him past this mental Rafa block??

    Second question. Eight finals in less than three months and winning six of them??? Really??? Really??? Not fishy at all??? All of it is talent and hard work and determination??? Really??? Really???

    And my final remark.
    Guys……….. from here on close your eyes and don’t read further:
    Atleast the female Goat Serena (my female hero) won the Rome final with the same score, so my day did not entirely go to waste !!!

    Still loving and respecting Roger no matter what, a win or a loss. He may have hit low, but in that case you can only go up and rise!!!

    Katyani, over and out.

    1. I read the last part.

      – Roger’s problem against Nadal is not mental. He doesn’t have the tools to handle Nadal and it seems that his problem is mental.

      – Soon to be nine finals. He will beat Murray in the semi at the French Open. This whole things smells like fried fish. I’ll never forget Toni Nadal’s famous words, “I believe nobody dopes ‘intentionally’.”

      – Serena is not the female GOAT. I’m sorry ๐Ÿ™‚ We can have a discussion on this if you want. I still can’t believe how someone who threatened to “shove the ******** ball down the line persons ******* throat” can be your hero.

      1. Sid, you know why I like and love Serena?

        Because at her age she still matters. Because she worries the other players. Whether you are the world number 1,2,3 or more, they all fear playing her. Not only because of her aces, but because she plays extremely well.
        You cannot ignore her on court. I like her because she is ‘killing’ all the young happening players from now who are 5 to even 9 years younger (reminds you of Roger?).
        Last year she started at rank 9 or 11. Now she is number one.
        She too has been written off thousands of time and asked politely millions of times (even when she just finishes her winnersspeech) when she will retire. And just like Roger she responses politely.

        I like her because she is so dominant that the only way to hurt her is by saying harsh things about her figure or about her beeing a man, and she still plays on, to shut those people up and because she still loves the game.

        But the most important thing about her what I love is that she was seriously injured (not Rafa fake injured, but I think she was even in a coma and for some time in the hospital). She could have said so easy that she already had all the titles, the money, the fame, that you would quit.
        But she didn’t. She got healthy, she fought back from her disease, she started to practise and play again. Basically she started all over again. That I admire SO much. That is why I love her and why she is my female hero.

        Sid, is she perfect? No, not at all. The incident you mentioned discusted me too. But we are now years later. She has not done that after that and she is really polite now. She still is not perfect.
        Aren’t we also a little bit tired that people still bring up the incident Roger had at USO 2009? We moved on knowing Roger is not perfect, so Serena deserves the same respect.

        That is why I like her so much. The fighting spirit. The fact that she matters at her age. The fact that you cannot ignore her as a tennisplayer. The fact that she is human and not perfect.

        You don’t want to hear this, but I am going to say it anyway, I love her because she reminds me of Roger Federer.

      2. Katyani, get ready to be torched by me ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m kidding!

        Serena is one of the most sore of losers on the women’s side, and is also a not so gracious winner. When she loses, it’s because she didn’t give it her best, or, as she once said after a slam semi loss….”I was like…here, do you want play in the final?….Cuz I don’t”.

        You would think that someone who has returned from a life threatening illness, would show at least a smidgen of humility? No, she returns and threatens a line judge, at her home slam.

        An important reason why she is so powerful is because it’s natures gift to her. It also helps that her parents are tennis coaches and the fact that she has a sister who plays too. So, you have two minds that work together. I’m not taking anything from her, but she is nothing short of a bully in the WTA. When she steps on the court, she acts like she owns it, because she is
        the Queen.

        The William’s sisters have destroyed women’s tennis. Serena is the Nadal of the WTA. There is a reason why she calls Nadal, “her booty brother”.

        It’s great that you love her, but I’m shocked that you can even compare her to Roger Federer. These two are at the opposite end of the spectrum and couldn’t be more different.

      3. Sid, seriously I ALWAYS have to smile when I read your comments !!!
        (Especially when you go on about equipment !!!).

        Same rule for you as with Jonathan: Lets agree to disagree and lets leave it at that !!!

        And please don’t say things about Rafa and Serena together (really, she does remind ME of Roger, thats all).

    2. Wow Katyani, I just read your comment and then decided to paste it into Word and it’s 2442 words long! And you wrote it at 2am. Crazy! And you make some valid points.

      As for a mental coach – maybe, who knows but I don’t know enough about them to know what they can offer him. Although I do watch Snooker and apparently there is a guy who helped Ronnie O’Sullivan out quite a lot. And he is a genius in his respective sport much like Roger so maybe it’s possible.

      As for his comeback, Nadal is a running machine, most likely juiced up but who knows.

      And as for Serena I agree fully with Sid, in my opinion the Williams sister ruined womens tennis, they took a sport that had something unique about it (grace, finesse, different ways to win points) and made it into a physical sport that was just a much lesser version of the mens game. It is now over run with mindless ball bashing. It no longer has anything unique about it, there is nothing to distinguish the mens game from the womens, except the womens game is of a much lower standard. If it wasn’t for joint tournaments and Grand slams the WTA would be long gone.

      I find it hard to comprehend how you can like both Roger and her, they are at opposite ends of the spectrum for me and represent completely different things. I for one can’t imagine Roger dancing on court after he’s won a match ๐Ÿ˜›

      I think you should watch some highlights of Steffi Graf or Martina Hingis. Or even Justine Henin, they were the last few players who weren’t trying to play the sport like guys.


      1. Hey Jonathan, did I go overboard with my comment?? Is it way too much??

        I just wanted to react to the match and to the comments some made about excuses from the fans, Annacone and the thing that bothers me the most about how Novak is God’s greatest gift to Roger.

        I cannot do short and to the point comments, but I am learning. Have the same problem at my work.
        You asked me once what I do for a living? Well, I work at an Insurance company.
        Yes, we are people too, we also have to pay bills and eat. We are not monsters.
        (In Holland they don’t like ‘my people’. They think all Insurance people are thieves, hopefully in the rest of the world they don’t think that !!!).

        About Serena…..lets agree to disagree. Lets leave it at that.

        Just one question Jonathan, do you think the way Roger is playing and the way Rafa is playing and rising, that this year the fan favourite award will go to Rafa?

      2. Hey,

        There is no word limit on comments Katyani, you can write as much, or as little as you like.

        Although if you go over 10,000 words, which is looking likely I will have to charge you 10p per word for every word you are over.

        I did ask you where you work yeah a few posts back. And now I know. Underwriter?

        As for Nadal winning the fans favourite, I doubt it. Long way to go until the World Tour Finals, pretty sure he will have barged into an opponent or called for a medical timeout before a tie break by that point. Nadal always rises when Roger falters, doesn’t change the fan count though ๐Ÿ™‚


  28. Enjoyed the quote at the end btw. As eloquent as it is though I can’t help but feel its quite harsh. I don’t like Nadals style of tennis in the slightest for all the reasons that I like federers. I can’t say though that he is not an exceptional shoemaker when he wants to be (which he rarely does). The obscene passing shot in the second set on break point is testament to that. That shot is the definition of small margin for error no matter how much top spin you put on it. Moreover he pulls them off all too often. Having said that Federer is the Goat of shotmaking, no doubt about that.

    1. Yeah he probably went a little bit far, but it made me laugh ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yeah Nadal can come up with crazy shots, no doubt about it. Roger makes them look even more insane than they really are though by not moving in quick enough and generally looking confused!


    1. Ah it wasn’t so bad Vandana. It’s never fun to see him lose but there have been so many worse matches than this one.

      This one was quick and painless really, just a really poor performance!

      Onwards and upwards.


  29. Someone please tell me, should I watch the rerun of this disaster of a match? Is there any point in watching it? Yes? No?

    1. It wld prove your point about equipment! Fed trying to cut through rock with a blunt sword or whatever the analogy is!!! Total power mismatch illustrates by the number of mishits as the grenade( ball) explodes in Feds face off the Nadal bazooka of a racquet!

  30. This is purely Nadal’s year. I am surprised to see lower ranked players like Gulbis and Dimitrov are able show that they have winning chances against Nadal, but definitely not Roger. Nadal-Federer rivelery is no more a rivelery, just a contest and it may look very similar to Federer-Rodick’s one by end of Federer’s career. I think it will take a long time for Roger to recover from this embrassement just like that demolition match in French Open Finals 2008 which impacted losing even Wimbledon after 5 consecutive tiltes. Let’s see if Federer can ever bounce back this year and when.

    1. I’m not sure it will take him a long time to get over it Ramesh. It wasn’t a painful loss. Just a really poor performance. If anything it should motivate him.

    2. [I think it will take a long time for Roger to recover from this embrassement ]

      Nah, I don’t think so. When you’re 2-13 vs. a certain someone on a certain surface, you’re not embarrassed, you are in sweet oblivion. You just forget it and move on ๐Ÿ™‚

    3. Why are u surprised! The younger guys always play out if their skin, with nothing to lose against the top guys and those with a solid game and big weapons such as JJ, Gulbis, Dimitrov are all potential banana skins. Also these match ups are less frequent so the play patterns are less familiar, the top player is subconsciously slightly more nervous, so upsets can occur. After 30 mtgs, and 20 wins, Nadal knows Feds game inside out, and unless Fed really changes things up, then trying to stay in a power/ spin based baseline attritional rally ain’t going to cut it! Doesn’t matter how many slams you hv won!

  31. I’ve had time to think on this match and now this post puts things into perspective.

    Firstly, the fans who are coming up with lame excuses such as the back and…Annacone? Really? Absolute joke of blind worshippers who probably will never accept that Federer cannot deal with Nadal.

    You know, I think Roger was really deflated in the ceremony, he seemed surprise by how one sided things were out there and as much as it was a mental thing, Nadal is pretty much a subconscious thing to Fed (on clay at least). I’m sure him and Paul had a game plan and Roger had the “go for broke” mentality but once he steps on court, it’s almost like he has no control of his mentality against Nadal and the funny thing is that the same thing is happening to Nadal with Djokovic.

    Fed is not one to put up a fight, especially with his form this week which is why I think we were all surprised by the lack of will and fight from Roger we normally get. I could see Roger going all aggressive from the get go and maybe that was the problem. He was over doing it and that’s when the errors sprung from his racquet. I think some of us are hard on Fed. I don’t have any clue what it’s like to face a guy who I’ve lost countless times to, including big matches where I had the match on my racquet. So we can sit here all day and say Rafa got in Fed’s head. It’s true but I wonder if Roger can control it anymore. It seems like he cannot and no matter how big of a Rival Rafa is, Roger himself was the true barrier to overcome this demon.

    The analogy is good but he got carried away there lol. But yes I agree, Nadal makes the opponent play and play and play, breaking them down, forcing them to play a low percentage shot. Rafa is no shotmaker nor will he ever be remembered as that.

    All I will say is I don’t think Roger is ever beating Nadal on clay again and if people think he is going to get it done at the French in a best of five format, well they are dreaming. Rome has been by far Roger’s best tournament since Australia so I am sure he will have some exciting tennis in store for us in Paris regardless of this match which we best not mention again.

    Roland Garros purely depends on Murray and the draw now. Have a great week off tennis everyone, see everyone back here for Slam number dos.

    1. Hey Alysha,

      Yeah all mental. I think there is plenty more to come though, not sure he can beat Nadal on clay though either but probably a couple more chapters to write in their rivalry.

      I actually think Nadal may lose early at Roland Garros. We’ll see.


      1. Oke Jonathan, this one you have to explain further. Rafa losing early at RG?
        There may be a chance he will lose in the final to Novak, but earlier than that?
        You do know he was in 8 finals and won 6 of them, almost all on clay right?

      2. Why do I keep getting this. I just wrote a reply of three sentences, when I push ‘post comment’ I get ‘you already sent the same message’.
        What am I doing wrong?

        Jonathan, I just wanted to ask you how you think Rafa will lose early at RG?
        I can imagine him losing to Novak in the final, but before that??
        He just won 6 titles (clay) in 8 finals. How can he lose in the earlier rounds??

      3. ie early round vulnerability v a big hitter! Always a possibility but not sure I wld place a bet on it! If he did then that wld be a huge motivator for Rog!

    2. Gulbis is a dangerous unseeded floater in the draw, but knowing the French organisers they will keep him far from Nadal.

  32. Should have given Roger a day match before the final (or a night match to nadal if the final was scheduled for the night session). Wouldn’t make a difference i guess but just saying. Night time matches and day time matches do play differently. No complains from the tournament whatsoever. As a matter of fact, roger did have the easiest of draws on paper.

    On a completely different note, Jonathan, the home page is not updating for sometimes now (since Madrid). It still shows the Nishikori match as the latest post with the fixed 49 comments. Is it something wrong with my browser? Please help, i’m losing in the contender race for the First Comment Slams of the year!

    1. okay i clicked refresh and now it is suddenly updated again. So, never mind ๐Ÿ˜€ oh, all the days i came into the site, saw the same post and left :'( my first comment tally is on a setback now!

    2. Hey Alvi,

      Yeah I guess not playing during the day was a slight disadvantage, but he’s played enough to know what to expect. And I bet he practiced during the day.

      Hmm, are you using Firefox? I think it will be a caching issue with the site, I noticed it sometimes too. If you refresh it seems to work.

      If you use Feedly or something and subscribe to my RSS you will know about the instantly…



  33. Hi Jonathan

    I knew in my heart he was not going to win – he just as the biggest metal block when it comes to playing Nadal, that said I was a little taken aback at how badly he lost I thought he would get a set at least, but he did get to the final and if he did it here he can get at least to the sumi’s if not the final at Roland Garros – to me he is still the most wonderful tennis player and lovely to watch and sometimes you have to accept that the guy at the other side of the net is better – particularly on the red stuff – Wimby just around the corner and we know how he likes the grass – onward and upward

    1. Hey Trudi,

      Yeah I wanted to see him get a set too, at least go down fighting. But it wasn’t to be.

      Like you say, onward and upward!


  34. LOL at Nadal not being a great player

    that’s the best joke since Groucho Marx passed away,the difference being he was comical on purpose…..

  35. I must say I was gutted by that performance from Fed. It is DEFINITELY a mental thing with Fed, which seems so hard to believe that anyone could question the mental strength of the greatest of all time โ€“ but having said that โ€“ I am surprised and disappointed he is showing a lack of mental strength at a time in his career when he has the most experience in dealing with that. I will never like Nadal because of his dreadful sportsmanship, he is a animal on the court, prepared to do whatever it takes to win, no matter how dirty. Which is where the following; making opponents wait when he is losing, inventing injuries and bringing on his trainer whenever he wants to slow an opponent’s momentum, picking his arse, bouncing the balls a million times, wild celebratory roaring at pivotal points, the pathetic grunting, all work to his advantage. Come on, youโ€™re holding a racket a striking a tennis ball and you are a fit, well built sportsman โ€“ does the act of striking a tennis ball really require a loud grunt? If you held an axe in your garden weighing several times more than a racket and were chopping a tree down, would the neighbours hear you grunting loudly after each swing. Grunting is nothing more than using one of the nasty tricks in the game which gets up the nose and into the mind of your opponent โ€“ and it has been scientifically proved that it works. But notice Nadal always says and does all the nice guy stuff off court, because by that stage the business on the court is already taken care of. I cannot bear the guy. Did anyone notice how when Rosol beat him, he just couldnโ€™t handle losing like a spoilt brat kid, and started trying all the tricks in the book to get into Rosolโ€™s head, slowing, shoulder barge, complaining etc, Rosol just ignored it, cool as a cucumber, like it wasnโ€™t affecting him in the slightest, and we all know how that result turned out. Why doesnโ€™t Fed just do the same and play Nadal at his own game? Try and get into Nadalโ€™s head in return and believe me the guy will start making errors as well. Why does Fed give Nadal so much respect as if he is simply unplayable, when players like Gulbis and Ferrer have already just won sets off him and given him big problems on clay? Iโ€™m bitterly bitterly disappointed by that performance from Fed, and as another guy on here said, (and it may sound over dramatic and it chokes me to admit this) but I just canโ€™t see him beating Nadal again before he retires.

    1. Rosol was inspired that day, almost an out of body experience. Can’t explain it.

      I’m not sure he will beat Dull again either, but I’m sure we will find out, plenty more tennis to play.


    2. Hey, we all recognise that mental fragility increases with age. Realisation, however subconscious, that time running out, fewer opportunities and increased vulnerability against opponents you expect to beat, and are expected to beat! Come on, we get it even at our very amateur level! That said, I am not sure Fed has ever worked with a sports psychologist, and wldnt do any harm!

  36. Hey Jonathan,

    Enjoyed the article. I share your pain in this loss. But I disagree on your opinion that Roger didn’t show any fight in this match. I think he was fighting till the very end. He kept trying to hit the ball hard and deep throughout the match. His execution was terrible and he was missing so many of those shots, yes, which I will get to, but he knew that he had to hit those shots, never gave up and always went for his shots. I don’t think you can count terrible execution as ‘not fighting’, at least he was trying, all match long. The positive take-away from this match was breaking Nadal’s serve once. Rafa was nervous serving for the championship and his level dipped. Roger recognised it and went on the attack. This is what made this loss less one-sided than the London 2011 match, IMO, which I was happy about because I feared this time Roger would get payback for that match. He didn’t get bageled and he did break serve once.

    I also think he had the right game plan all along, and he stuck to it pretty closely. Running around the backhand for second serve returns, hitting hard to the backhand, taking the backhand on the rise, playing aggressively. I thought he had the right idea, just that the execution is terrible, which I will get to now.

    IMO there are two reasons he was missing so much. The first is lack of practice. When was the last time he played Nadal on clay? RG 2011, almost two years ago. Since then, he hasn’t faced Nadal’s high bouncing forehands at all. And this week he’s been playing pretty flat hitters and getting accustomed to playing such players. He was using slices all week. I was worried before this match that he would be surprised by how high Nadal’s forehand bounces, because he hasn’t seen it for very long. It does shock you and one does need to get accustomed to it. Just ask Wawrinka. In the Madrid final, he was shanking his backhands initially, then changed to staying back deep and waiting for the high-bouncing ball to drop before hitting it, which of course allowed Nadal to run him ragged. Hitting the ball on the rise is the answer (ala Djokovic), which Roger attempted all match, but failed. I think it is difficult for him to get any practice for it, because nobody in the world can hit with such extreme topspin except Rafa. He himself said in the post-match conference that he wasn’t prepared for the topspin, that hitting those high balls deep was very difficult. I imagine he didn’t get practice for Rafa’s high bouncing forehands at all and had to adjust on the spot based on memory, which didn’t work.

    The second reason, as you said, is mental. To add on to your points (which I agree with), I’m certain that he is absolutely terrified of Nadal’s passing shots, particularly the running forehand pass. One commentator in the match was talking about the mental scar that Nadal’s passes have inflicted on Roger over the years, and it’s visible in this match. The high backhand volley in the beginning of the second set, the easiest course was deep cross court into the open court. Nadal was camping on his backhand side and leaving his ad court open, daring Federer to challenge his running forehand pass. He has that much confidence in that shot (which is justified, it’s seriously scary). Roger backed out and tried to change it at the last minute to a short cross court drop volley, which failed. Also, I lost count on how many times he missed when he’s inside the court and putting away a short ball. He either went for too much or was too cautious and ended up getting passed. IMO it is because he’s afraid of Nadal’s passing shot. This is a problem Annacone has to work on if Roger were to play aggressively against Nadal, which is the only way he can win.

    1. Hey Johan,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Hmm I’m not sure he really showed much fight though, ok he played till the end and didn’t get double breadsticked but I found him lacking.

      But I agree with you on all the other points, there are many mental scars for Roger with this rivalry, almost from their first meeting. They do make him doubt and they have mounted and mounted over time. Running scared almost.


    2. Being scared of an opponents passing shot shouldn’t be considered a mental issue. It simply means your opponent is better than you. Nadal’s equipment gives him ridiculous dip which is very difficult to handle when volleying and will end up in a sitter on the other side. Also, an outright passing shot allows him to go with great power because the ball will dip in. There is nothing mental about it. There really isn’t much Roger can do to overcome it. It really isn’t Roger’s fault that clay makes sure your volleys will lack the oomph and sit up on the other side. Not to mention Roger doesn’t have a good enough racquet to negate the spin produced by Nadal.

      When you lose to an opponent who has enough weapons to beat you, of course you will be scared. You can’t make an excuse that, “Oh well, it’s all just mental”. A record of 2-13 does not mean it’s a mental thing. It’s a technical thing.

    3. [Hitting the ball on the rise is the answer (ala Djokovic), which Roger attempted all match, but failed.]

      Of course he will fail. It’s clay, where the bounce is not true. And I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but Roger’s racquet will never allow him to neutralize the rotations Nadal generates. Also, don’t forget Nadal is using new strings this season that impart even more rotations. No wonder Roger had even more problems dealing with it.

  37. My thoughts on Roger’s year so far. I think he just has no motivation to achieve anymore. I can’t blame him for that, he has won all there is to win and achieved all his career goals. He hasn’t won Monte Carlo and Rome, but I think he doesn’t care about them at all and doesn’t think he can win them anyway. He’s not as motivated anymore; he doesn’t have any goal to achieve now. Frankly he can retire now and go down as the greatest player of all time. If you see his interviews this year, all he wants to do in any tournament is ‘do well’. He never mentions any concrete goal, for e.g. he wants to win it. It’s different with Djokovic and Nadal. You can feel their intensity. They come to any tournament to win it. They are hungry for more greatness. I don’t feel any hunger at all from Roger this year. He’s somewhat hungry in Rome because he was as disappointed as us in his performance after AO and his pride was bruised, which brought back some intensity. Pity he had to come up against his kryptonite.

    Also, he has aged considerably this year. He’s visibly slower around the baseline, particularly when defending his forehand. Players now dare to attack him wide to his forehand, to great effect, whereas they are afraid of doing so in the past. He gets injured more too, for e.g. his back.

    So all in all, he doesn’t have enough motivation anymore and he’s deteriorating physically. That’s what I feel from him this year. If he goes on like this, I think the only chances he can do well are Wimbledon and the season ending indoor hardcourt stretch, where the surface helps his quick-strike tennis. But I really hope he will feel the hunger again soon, for whatever goal. Watching him in Wimbledon last year was amazing. You could feel his intense focus and his hunger for that 7th Wimbledon and number 1 ranking. It felt just like Sampras’s last US Open, where he wanted to prove one last point. Sampras retired immediately because he had nothing left to prove. Roger didn’t retire, but after that he’s been playing like he’s got nothing left to prove. As a fan I hope he gets his drive back.

    1. He just made the final man, saying he has no motivation and he could retire is a very emotional response.

      I think he’s been lacking since the AO but you gotta at least give it to the end of the year before making conclusions about his desire or motivation.

      1. And who did he play to get to the Rome final, may I ask? ๐Ÿ™‚

        Having said that, fear not, the favorable part of the season starts soon and Roger will be open for business again.

      2. Agree, and I do think he always has 2 v clear goals every yr. Wimbledon( wld be no 8, stand alone record if he won this yr), and WTF’s.

  38. Jonathan,

    I’ve just about had it with your “yeah, it’s all mental” comments. I challenge you to a gun fight, mano-e-mano and lay this issue to rest once and for all ๐Ÿ™‚

    Roger is simply being outplayed, or rather, outmatched on clay. It’s as simple as that. When you don’t possess the necessary tools to counter what someone throws at you, it’s not mental, it’s all technical.

    1. There are zero other guys he’s struggled with on clay though. If he was consistently getting outplayed by other guys purely due to equipment then I’d agree, but he’s not.

      Like I said, Wawrinka shanked a million backhands vs Dull. He’s using a bigger frame. I can’t see upgrading to 95 sq inch making a huge difference, maybe it would, maybe it wouldn’t. But I don’t think its the reason he loses to Nadal.

      1. There are zero other guys who put more rotations on the ball than him.

        [Wawrinka shanked a million backhands vs Dull]
        Roger doesn’t shank as many but then again Roger doesn’t go for it as much because he simply can’t with that stick.

        You’ll be surprised what a tremendous difference an extra 5 sq. in. could do. It will be the difference between a shank and a ball that goes in. Or that extra pop on regular sweetly timed shots that will take a fraction of a second away from your opponent.

      2. Correction: There are zero other guys who put more rotations on the ball than Roger. And left handers among those guys is an even bigger rarity ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. I play a certain lefty at my club who is a nightmare. He beats me all the time. I can’t remember ever winning more than 2 games in a set. I know I have a good game and can beat right handers of his calibre, but I simply cannot overcome this guy. It’s not in my head. I just don’t have to tools to counter his lefty patterns, starting with the serve. I know that my solution to beat him would be to dump my extremely touch 90 sq. in. racquet and use a 97 or 98 sq. in. head. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that I will beat him if I do that, I mean, you could bet your life’s earnings on that. But I haven’t switched my blade yet. I guess I’m just stubborn. That’s why this Roger-Nadal match up issue interests me so much.

      1. Why not use a bigger racquet against him and your usual one for right handers? See if it makes a difference ๐Ÿ˜›

        Report back with your findings! lol

      2. How I fare against this certain lefty is irrelevant to this discussion. What is relevant though, is the fact that it’s important to come over the ball and cover the spin when Nadal hits those heavy ball to Roger’s backhand.

        Why do you think Djokovic has no problems with those high balls? Everyone knows the answer!

        Notice that when under pressure or when not in a creative mode, in which Nadal rarely is, he simply throws a high spinning moon ball to Roger’s BH. And what does Roger do? Nothing! Mental? Absolutely not! Technical? Absolutely! Djokovic would step in and go down the line with power or go cross court without a sweat and immediately take control of the rally. We’ve seen it over and over again.

      3. That’s because Djokovic has a 2 handed backhand, not because he uses a bigger racquet.

        I don’t know if a bigger racquet could help, it might, but it wouldn’t help him beat Nadal I don’t think. Needs more than that. Huge huge mental aspect to it.

      4. Precisely my point, Jonathan! After all, a two handed backhand is technically and left handed forehand. Plus, Djokovic uses a 98 sq. in. and a semi Western grip on the forehand. Roger has a severe limitation with the one handed backhand and he makes it only worse by using the smallest sweet spot available.

        Why? Tell me why is it that Roger cannot hurt Nadal from his backhand at all? All mental? All his 13 losses were mental? It’s just not possible for Roger to do anything more than what he already does with his backhand and that’s not going to change. Nadal has, and will continue to exploit that weakness. Notice how Roger hardly has any problems on indoor hard courts?

      5. So, the point being, because Roger cannot magically switch to a two handed backhand, what other options does he have left on the table? He doesn’t have the advantage of the leverage Djokovic enjoys on that wing. Hence, he cannot negate and/or absorb Nadal’s heavy top spin, and send it back over the net with interest. It’s simply not possible. Unless Roger turns to Superman and is able to arrive at his strike zone in no time and sweetly time the ball.

      6. I an totally with you on this. My husband and I watch Fed and Rafa endlessly, ( hey, what else is there to do?) and are mad with frustration at Feds stubbornness over his very unforgiving Wilson battling with Nadals copoly strings! Some Gut is fine for feel on grass, but versus synthetic spin inducing copoly, ineffective!!!!!

      7. Susie…….thank…………you! Finally someone agrees with me!

        I hope you read that little commentary I posted on the first set in the Rome final just to prove what the issue really was. Nadal barely did anything (other than serve well) except force Roger to hit off the backhand or try to go around it and self destruct. All Nadal had to do was show up at the other end. As someone put it, Nadal was being nice that he let the second set extend ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Yep this was exactly what I was trying to say in my previous post about the ‘positive loss’.

    1. Good read. I didn’t watch the match but I’m glad he played on his own terms. Still, the fact remains, that Roger will continue to be debilitated by the equipment he uses, no matter how much he changes his game. Don’t forget, Nadal returned this season with upgraded equipment. More power and rotations than what he already had. Good luck trying to counter that!

    2. Hmm yes nice article. This is what I was talking about too. He was following the correct game plan all match. Would like to see him use less slices though, including slice approaches. As he knows, Nadal eats slices for breakfast. He’s the best player IMO at putting away slices. Nadal is able to utilise the backspin on the ball to add even more topspin to his next shot, both forehand and backhand. Don’t know why Roger used so many slice approaches in the final. The only time it worked was the fake forehand drop that turned into a deep slice approach, fooling Rafa. All the other slice approaches, he got passed cleanly by Rafa.

      So he has the right idea, but working on the execution will be difficult, I think. He has to overcome his mental problems against Nadal first of all.

  39. So, the point being, because Roger cannot magically switch to a two handed backhand, what other options does he have left on the table?

  40. Hi All,
    Great posts as usual, fascinating reading. There are many points made here as to Federer’s inability to match Nadal, at least more often than not ( H2H now 20 -10 to Nadal ). If I can, I would like to put my points of view in a bullet-point format, which I hope will be easier to read:

    * The Technical Argument. Far be it for me to make any salient observations here as there are many better informed people on this blog who can give better views as to where Federer may be lacking technically, e.g equipment used, shot selection etc. Suffice it to say, my own tuppence worth is that sheer power has changed the men’s game, ably assisted by the slowing of most courts over the years, and this is to the huge advantage of such players as Nadal and Djokovic in particular. This is not Federer’s style and goes against the artistry of the great man, an attribute alone that has contributed to his GOAT status.

    * Drugs. There is no proof that any of the top players have / are taking drugs. I know there has been speculation in recent years as to both Novak and Rafa in particular being ‘on’ something. Who knows, innocent
    until proven guilty, right? We have to believe this even though some or many may have niggling doubts. Why do I make this point? I will refer people to the great athletics scandal of the last decade where Dwain Chambers and Marion Jones ( both sprinters ) to name but others, were found to be doping. They NEVER failed a drugs tests in their careers but were found to be systematically drug cheating for many years and avoiding detection. Cycling,athletics and weight-lifting lead the way in drugs detection in the world of sport, but its could be argued that drug testing here is more rigorous than in most other sports. This of course does not mean that there is little drugs in for example football or tennis. This may well be so. But it could also mean that the frequency and methodology of drug testing in the latter is less rigorous and effective than in other sports, therefore one could argue that there may be drugs cheats in these and other sports yet to be discovered. WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, is doing it’s best to harmonize procedures across all sports but this is proving to be a gargantuan task. Trying to get governments on board is proving as, if not more, difficult. A case in point being Spain, where in recent weeks the inept court system there prevailed over a huge drugs scandal that ended in farce. And many drugs cheats may well have slipped through the net. Even with the best will, co-operation and compliance between all sports bodies and national governments, the sophistication of drugs cheating is mind-boggling. Where money and power exist, it remains an enormous battle. We can only hope and pray that tennis is and remains clean. Father Time will give us the answer.

    * The Mental Side Most fans here believe that this is Roger’s main stumbling block where Nadal is concerned, and I tend to agree. As a practicing Life & Business Coach I am always fascinated with what drives people and how their mental prowess can be improved. However, the issue is not necessarily as simple as Roger hiring the best mental coach or sports psychologist, as it could well be the case that it could boil down to the physical and the technical side of the game, and what does Roger then do? Try to become as ‘physical’ or ‘technical’ (whatever these things might be ) as Nadal or Djokovic? And is Roger really bothered? Maybe he has already addressed the mental/ psychological side of things and decided there is really nothing he can truly do differently that can add to his game to match Nadal / Djokovic, or, to do so , e.g. to go for sheer power, that this might affect the equilibrium of the style that has made him the player he has become. Who knows? Does Roger ? But I will end on this note: if you don’t want to do something or are not motivated / willing to make changes then the best coaching and psychological assistance will come to naught. Only Roger has the answer to that.

    1. Excellent, Paul!

      I’m convinced doping exists in tennis. Given how lackadaisical the testing procedures are, and the fact that there’s so much money and fame involved, tennis players will dope if they know they won’t get caught. I believe Rafael Nadal is a heavy doper and even if he is caught, he will get a free pass to protect the reputation of the sport. Can you imagine what will happen to the tennis industry if it’s proven that some of the top athletes have indeed doped?

      I think Roger has already worked on the mental aspect. After so many crushing losses, he would be naive to not have. But I haven’t seen any technical adjustments from him except for the fact that his new pro staff is a little bit head heavier than the previous stick. Meanwhile, his peers go out to the market again and again to purchase power and spin. We all know how much spin and power Nadal possesses. Now listen to this…since his comeback, he is using new strings that impart even more rotations. Imagine what he will do once he gets comfortable with it?

      I agree with you that maybe Roger doesn’t believe a technical correction at this stage would be worth it. Maybe he just wants to get out of this whole thing but is under pressure from sponsors? Maybe he doesn’t really care if he is overtaken as the greatest of all time? Maybe he wants to spend more time with family. Again, as you said, Roger has the answers to that.

      As a fan, I still believe Roger can pull out at least two more slams and I’m really looking forward to Wimbledon.

    2. Cheers for commenting Paul.

      Very interesting on the mental side of things. I’m not sure a mental coach could help him either but I guess I’m just open to be proved wrong on that. Unless he feels the need to hire one, we won’t find out. Maybe it is just over reaction again.

      I’m not confident he will be able to beat Nadal on clay again, but there is nothing to stop him going and beating him at the French truth to be told, would just need something crazy to happen and his forehands to find the lines rather than the hoardings ๐Ÿ˜›


    3. Gd points! The Spanish drugs scandal story will roll on for yrs but nothing will emerge due to the collusion at the very top! As Muzza said, the whole thing stinks! The tennis doping stds hv been v slow to catch up rest of sport so yes, there are prob several players who hv doped under the radar!

  41. whenever I read someone who says they’re a fan but believes “Federer doesn’t care; he showed ‘zero fight’ ; he didn’t even try” it’s time to delete a bookmark. Bye.

    1. Wow Youssef, now I feel bad (about myself). I knew Roger was fighting, but still it looked to me like he lost the confidence and lost the hope, but this article clearly states that he fought till the end (which is why the second set was 6-3 instead of 6-1).

      Roger, your strategy was different and you tried something else to beat him. You tried !!!
      Next time you will succeed (hopefully RG). Sorry for doubting you Roger !!!

      1. Katyani, you should officialy be declared Roger’s most passionate fan ๐Ÿ™‚

        I agree it’s a good thing he changed his game’s tactic, but he has to execute it MUCH better… A post back, Sid and I thought “screw the unforced error count” but I’d have never thought it would with such a lopsided score. He’s got the work cut out for him, but if anyone can do it, he will ๐Ÿ™‚

        And Sid, I really think the equipment stuff is nonsense, these guys have access to the absolute best, Roger’s not an exception. If he would change racket, he’d have to change his game: which we defo DON’T want, and it’s simply too late: you don’t change a game going on 32 ๐Ÿ˜‰

      2. Hey Simon, I rather that Roger tried something different and lost big time (6-1 6-3) then he did the same thing to Rafa over and over again over the years and lose like a close 6-4 7-5.
        Isn’t that what Rafa is expecting from Roger that he plays the same game whereas Rafa keeps changing I think?
        And didn’t Sid say pretty much the same thing?
        He did something different. It did not work out. He tried. He will succeed next time.
        And yes, I know it is easier said then done, but he is willing.

        Don’t ask me the terms, but if you look at the ball Rafa played in the second set the advantage that made it 5-1.
        Roger comes left to the net, he plays it in the court on the left side, Rafa came running from Spain from the right side to the left side, not only made the ball, but got it behind Roger at the end of the court like a few centimetr still inside the court.
        To be honest, it was a quality shot, but who can do that?
        If I was Roger, after that shot, I would have given up. That is how strange it was that that shot was still in while he played it while he was still running.
        But Roger did not lose hope and got the two games after that.
        Again I don’t know the terms, but you guys will know right away what I am talking about.

        It did not work Sunday, but he knows, he can change it and yes, still has to improve it a lot and the next time it will happen.

        Maybe it takes time to get used to something different then your usual play??

      3. Of course he tried! Just because it didn’t work, doesn’t mean he gave up, and when Nadal has an on day, tough to get into the game!

      4. [And Sid, I really think the equipment stuff is nonsense]

        Roger will never beat Nadal, at least not on clay or in a slam (unless there is something really physically wrong with Nadal). You heard it first here. To your point, yes, if Roger changes his equipment, it will change his style. He wouldn’t. So, Roger will continue to suffer at the hands of Nadal, who is nowhere near as talented as Roger.

        Any past tennis expert who believes that Roger is not debilitated by his equipment against Nadal is being foolish.

    2. I read this article and i had a similar mindset/theory too. Except one part, “Nadal was returning like a man possessed.” Now i have said this once, and i’ll say this again and again and yet again if sentences like these come up. If I stand 5-6 meters behind the baseline, even i could return serves like a man possessed! Sheesh, numbers do speak the truth but if you have watched the match, you should know what i’m talking about!

    3. Cheers Youssef for sharing that, someone posted that further up the comments too so I hope everyone has seen it. Very interesting piece, I always enjoy his Brain Game articles.

      Maybe the guy has some valid points, I left a comment on there too.

      @Alvi – Nadal does get a lot of balls back in play so he is a good returner.. not as agressive as Djokovic but once it’s over the net he’s in the point…

    4. To be honest, most on this blog believed, and agreed that we will see a change in approach from Roger and we were ready for a disaster if his tactics were to fail. That’s exactly what happened. So, whoever it is that wrote that article, needs to learn something from us ๐Ÿ˜‰

    5. Thanks guys for reading and giving me the feedback. This article echoes the words i have been saying about Roger trying to take the initiative but sums it perfectly with numbers so i thought of sharing it and i couldn’t be happier that everybody’s approved it. I believe Roger’s going to beat Nadal very soon with this brand new tactic (Alll out war) instead of this long rally tactic which will never fruit against all the grinders (You know who i’m talking about, don’t you?). One last thing, let me remind you that this is what we wanted from Roger since that 2011 Wimbledon QF: Shorten the points as much as you can and start taking risks ’cause you’re too old to win with the rally way.
      Thanks again for the responses and sorry if i wrote too much -which i certainly did ๐Ÿ™‚ – Here’s to the greatest athlete of all time not being stubborn.

    1. A cheeky little handshake at 5:50 with Tim and…watch it, i don’t want to spoil for you all! ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. Cheers Alvi.

      FO 2011 highlights always a winner for me too.

      Seems ages ago Mercedes Benz were the sponsor. I used to love those “in our Mercedez Benz play of the week” videos they did.

      When you watch those you realise how everything has changed to instant gratification on the internet now, the intro on those old videos is like 30/40 seconds long, the new ones are like 5 seconds!

      1. [Buzzer goes off…like Sid did once]

        Not FO semi. Not even clay (i know then it’s irrelevant). So, i’ll give a hint: “It’s always great to watch videos like these, even when everything else is on a low. And it is tennis+Fed related!”

    1. Well means he won’t meet Djokovic until the final. But now he’s basically nailed on to meet Nadal in the semi final as no way they will draw him in Djokers half.

    2. I would be very very very surprised, pleasantly though, if Roger gets Ferrer in the semi final.

      1. uhuh. What are the odds of that happening? I’d call it nothing short of a miracle ๐Ÿ˜›

      2. The odds Sid, of course, SHOULD be very high as the number 1 seed plays the number 3 seed more often than not, i.e. Novak v Rafa. But, somehow amazingly, this now seems very long odds. I wonder if the bookies take bets on this, ha, ha!

      3. And it has happened! Although he has a tough quarter!!!!! I actually cannot believe Novak has to play Nadal in the semis!!! Shld hv placed a bet on that!!! Fed must take this and run with it!!!!!

      1. I’ve learned it doesn’t always work that way. So, look forward to Federer-Nadal debacle part II ๐Ÿ™‚ But like I said, I want to be surprised with Federer-Ferrer.

  42. French Open Seeds
    2003: 1/Hewitt vs. 3/Ferrero, 2/Agassi vs. 4/Moya
    2004: 1/Federer vs. 4/Ferrero, 2/Roddick vs. 3/Coria
    2005: 1/Federer vs. 4/Nadal, 2/Roddick vs. 3/Safin
    2006: 1/Federer vs. 3/Nalbandian, 2/Nadal vs. 4/Ljubicic
    2007: 1/Federer vs. 4/Davydenko, 2/Nadal vs. 3/Roddick
    2008: 1/Federer vs. 4/ Davydenko, 2/Nadal vs. 3/Djokovic
    2009: 1/Nadal vs. 3/Murray, 2/Federer vs. 4/Djokovic
    2010: 1/Federer vs. 4/Murray, 2/Nadal vs. 3/Djokovic
    2011: 1/Nadal vs. 4/ Murray, 2/Djokovic vs. 3/Federer
    2012: 1/Djokovic vs. 3/Federer, 2/Nadal vs. 4/Murray
    (a) 2013: 1/Djokovic vs. 3/Nadal, 2/Federer vs. 4/Ferrer (after Murrayโ€™s withdraw)?
    (b) 2013: 1/Djokovic vs. 4/Ferrer, 2/Federer vs. 3/Nadal (after Murrayโ€™s withdraw)?
    In the last 10 French Open tournaments 1 vs. 3 draw happened four times, 1 vs. 4 sixโ€ฆ.
    So (a) scenario would be a small โ€œmiracle.โ€

    1. Wow! Really appreciate the pain you went through to put this together ๐Ÿ™‚

      I still don’t understand why we are so stressed out about the draw. They will never match up the best player in the world at this time with the best player on clay in a semi final. I look at it a bit differently. In 2011 and 2012, Federer could have been paired with Nadal in the semi. Except, he was given a shot at Djokovic on both occasions. It would only be fair that he now has to face Nadal.

    2. Cheers for this Kazik. Interesting stuff.

      I think it’s pre determined.

      It’s like the Champions league draw – vibrating balls, heavier balls etc etc. All so you know who is who.


  43. Ok, this is a long post but I promise it’s an interesting read. Against my better judgment, I watched a re-run of this match, just the first set though to see if Roger’s problem was mental, or technical ๐Ÿ™‚

    Fed 0-0
    30-0 Nadal whips a forehand high to the backhand, Roger pats it back in the dead middle of the court, Nadal runs around and hits an inside out winner. While it doesn’t hurt Roger in this particular game, we all know what’s coming next.

    Nadal 0-1
    An inside in error from Roger gives Nadal the first point. 15-15 Nadal goes to Roger’s backhand with pace and Roger drop shots back to the baseline! Fed commits a forced error trying to deal with the pass.

    Fed 1-1
    0-0 After a few exchanges, Nadal probes Roger’s backhand thrice, the second return by Fed is weak, in the middle of the court. Nadal resists the kill, finds the backhand corner on the next, resulting in another weak return. Point is over as Nadal goes for the kill shot inducing an error from Fed.

    0-15 Second serve, Nadal immediately hits a forceful return to Roger’s backhand. Realizing what happened on the previous point, Roger goes around it but now finds himself in a go for broke situation, attempts the inside out, fails. 0-30. Fed works his way back to 30-30. Crucial point coming up. Nadal immediately loops a return to Roger’s backhand. Because the serve is from the deuce court, Roger cannot go around it and can only slice it back, but a poor slice, to the Nadal forehand court. Nadal races in, hits a wicked top spin shot to Roger’s backhand corner inducing another forced error. 30-40. That’s three points that Nadal won by simply going to Roger’s backhand. And to make matters worse, Roger throws in a forehand error to concede the break.

    Nadal 2-1
    0-0 Roger goes inside out a couple of times but is not able to find an aggressive line. Once in a neutral position, Nadal goes heavy again to Roger’s backhand. Roger is unable to hit with any conviction resulting in a poor unforced error as Nadal watches the ball go over his baseline. Adios! 15-0. Two more body serves that Roger is unable to deal with makes it 40-0. Next point, Roger attempts a flat backhand cross court, fails, and Nadal consolidates to 3-1

    Roger 1-3
    0-0 A slightly fortuitous service return winner by Nadal. You could hear that the shot was off center. Next point, Roger does everything to hit the ball inside out but ends up making an error. He loses the next point with another inside in winner attempt. So, to avoid playing the backhand, Roger’s has lost two points. The next point is a bit different. Federer actually plays a backhand cross court. Great, Nadal finds what he was looking for, a clear path to Roger’s backhand. After a few shots, Roger has to deal with another loopy ball on his backhand. He sends back a good sliced cross court. But wait, he forgot, this is Nadal the lefty! Nadal gets to it rather easily and whips a cross court winner, as easy as they come. This set is as good as over!

    They just show a graphic which tells that Nadal has hit 67% of his ground strokes with more than 3000 revolutions on the ball. Insane! The new strings are working!

    Nadal 4-1
    First point, Nadal sends another shot to the backhand of his bunny and Roger commits a UFE attempting a cross court line. Next point, he goes there again a few times but Roger deals with them well somewhat but misses a great chance for a forehand winner. He messes it up! A couple of serves to his backhand and it’s 5-1 already.

    Roger 1-5
    Ouch! Nadal starts with a moon ball to Roger’s backhand but a little later, Roger messes up an upper drawer forehand. Probably unable to control the spin and it was also played close to the baseline and on the rise. Not an easy thing to do against Nadal on clay. Roger’s serve and volley doesn’t exactly work out but what really kills him is a failed attempt on an inside out winner that makes it 30-40. A miserable volley gives the set to Nadal.

    Conclusion: Roger has not won a single point when Nadal has found a decent to aggressive path to his backhand and made him play off that wing. Other than a few forceful backhand returns, Roger has done nothing else. Add to that a number of failed inside out attempts by Roger, understandably to protect his backhand, and the story is very simple. Roger does not have an answer to Nadal’s heavy balls on his backhand. That’s the truth. There is nothing mental about it. Roger is overmatched. I am not saying that Nadal doesn’t have other strengths, but clearly, in Roger’s second and third games where he was broken, the backhand was his downfall.

      1. I’m simply saying that the problem is technical, not mental, that yet again the Nadal pattern to his backhand was his downfall. If it were as simple as changing the grip, we would’ve seen results by now. Roger is limited with what he can do. I’m talking a change in the frame size.

  44. Just saw Murray’s withdrawal. Can’t say I am pleased about this for two reasons but I had a feeling this would happen so Murray could prioritise Wimbledon :

    1. Nadal and Federer guaranteed to be in the same half so Djokovic for the second slam in a row can have a nice walk in the park
    2. Murray is going to lose the number 2 ranking after FO and Roger will move up guaranteeing him to be in Nadal’s half again in Wimbledon where I will bet they will meet in the semis with Nadal winning it

    I guess I have a tiny glimmer of hope that Fed does get Ferrer but it’s better I accept it now for what it is. Can’t say I blame the tournament organisers for wanting to rig the draw to get Djokovic/Nadal final after seeing the Rome final lol. Anyway wasn’t like Roger was going to win the FO anyway so not a big deal.

    I will leave with two final things to think about:
    – Toni Nadal doesn’t know when to stop does he? First he says that he thinks DIMITROV has a better chance of winning Paris then Delpo and Roger. The guy is talented but he hasn’t even made it past the first or second round of a slam has he? Oh Toni. And then he said it is a massive surprise that Nadal is the leader in points for the WTF. The guy has played 8 tournaments and won 6 of them, give me a break. I’d say you were rather disappointed that he hasn’t won all 8. Ugh, can’t stand this guy. I normally despise Peter Bodo, but he finally acknowledged that Rafa’s humble act is becoming more than a joke now so it’s good to see that people aren’t willing to take his crap anymore about not being favourite and expecting to win.

    – Whilst I do think Murray is injured, I don’t think it is to an extent where he can’t compete for this slam. He knows he isn’t a contender for the French so he is turning his attention to the Grass. Tbh that’s one of Murray’s problems on clay I guess. He’s never fully focused, always has one eye on Wimbledon so he will be all rested up for the grass season but with Nadal back I doubt this is his year at SW19.

    Anyway, let’s see what the draw brings and then we discuss more!

    1. Did Tony really spew that crap out?? That dimitrov had a better change then Delpo and ROGER?? Man, does he even know what he is talking about?…

      I’d rather have Djoker win French, as long as he doesn’t win the two others ๐Ÿ˜› But yeah, we all know that Fed is going to be in Nadal’s half… (even though the french crowd have great taste, and absolutely love Roger, way more than Djoker or Dull ๐Ÿ˜€ ) But for wimby… Don’t you think that’s the only place ( with the US open) that Rog has a chance to beat Dull? That’s one thing I want to see before he retires, I want him to beat Dull in a Slam (although not very optimistic about it know…)

      And murray’s a joke… I read an interview where he said his lower back had been bothering him since 2011, which is complete bullshit considering the year he had last year…

      1. Yes Simon, Dull’s uncle really did say all that nonsense, but I wouldn’t put anything beyond him now, the guy is a pest.

        Well if someone other than Nadal is going to win Paris, Djokovic is our best hope so as unfortunate as it is that Roger is going to get Rafa, I’m looking forward to Djokovic possibly schooling Nadal at his second home.

        Look, Roger hasn’t beaten Nadal in a slams since 2007. It’s not he can’t it’s if he can mentally overcome the hurdle to do it. Madrid is telling us that Rafa is winning Wimby this year so I’d like to think that stat is only a coincidence but I will not be surprised should Nadal even the grass head to head over Roger this year. He will definitely be out for blood at Wimb after last year so I too am hoping that Roger gets one more over Nadal before he hangs up his racquet but there’s no signs to prove that will happen. Yet.

        Yeah Murray is an enigma. He has some sort of injury every clay season that he aggravates at the same time at Rome normally so I’m not buying it, Wimbledon will always be his priority so I wouldn’t be surprised if he exaggerated this “injury” of his. And because it’s chronic, can it be called an injury? I don’t think so. I just don’t think he cares about the clay season because he knows he sucks on it.

    2. Alysha, you make some excellent points – yes I agree Murray’s ‘injury’ appears to be self-serving and he was probably advised by Lendl ( or Mummy ) not to compete. I do think however, he has a good chance of winning Wimbledon, and won’t fear Nadal there. I also have a feeling that Nadal will go the year slam-less despite his great start and I have a very strong inkling that Djokovic will school Nadal at the French. The scenario is simple: Nadal loses the French and he will probably go slam-less this year, win the French and he is a real danger for Wimby.

    1. It was out on Tuesday. Here it is…

      Top Half: –

      Bottom Half: –

      They have even released the draw for the final match,


      1. I almost read it with an interest, until I saw who the person commenting it was……. hmm

      2. So, you don’t take any of my comments seriously at all?!? ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. Hey guys, also hearing Delpotro is out as well. Sucks but one less threat on Fed I guess but still I enjoy Juan playing. Don’t understand why he chose to play Rome if he did not have good health, Delpo is another one I am puzzled by, never in good health or fitness-sad, probably the only one who I honestly believed could challenge the big four right now after result in Indian Wells.

    Will Delpo ever win another slam again? Remains to be seen.

  46. Gongratulations for the the honest report from the match. You kindda seem to sfift places with Ruan for this match. Unlike before when Ruan was bashing Fed`s performance and you stayed more neutral this time its like the other way arround. I liked how you named it….that he played like a school girl and did a pussy talkin the end. You hit the target. We all feel so sorry for himthatwe prefer that we no longer see that he has melted cheese between the ears when facing Nadal and kept inventing new excuses at the same time. The last one is that he just did not executed the pplan whch showed that he thinks how to change his game to beat him in the future. Well those balls out the whole match they are part of the mental meltdown and game plans have never been the problem with him sice with the skills he has he has been abale to beet him almost any time before .Its just his p….y attitude that failes him since 2006 Rome or Wimby 2008 or AO 2009. Whats bothering is that he doesnt seem to improve itsperformance vs Nadal but it only got worser and worser. Before he was ableto make set or maka 2 competitive sets while now he lasts untill the 1st break point on his serve. Many of the worshippers are now in adreamland think about his “best shot”in Wimby and US open. There are no best shots for him to win any tournamnet as lomg as Nadal reaches the final as well. Accept it. Only seroiuos bashing from us the fans can turn things aroundor other wise we will keep discussing that he represents the artista ot “thegood”vs the gunman and the evil till the end of times, count his clutch performances vs lesser players and adjust statistics รฏfthey hadmet”more often on non clay surfaces which would have destroyed Fed`s stats even more (think about the matches he tanked to Djoko to avoid him at Us open) I also haver thefeelinh that Rafa feels so sorry about him that let him back in the match as providing a silly break in the end of 2nd set…..
    I wonder how he wakes up after suchperformances and what motivates him to start a tourney when Rafa is รถt injured”- knowing he has to tank or wait if someone else can do his job when he still has the skills…might have been tough to play like this for the last few years…

    1. So, you truly believe that Roger has the right tools and technique to beat Nadal, and his only problem is mental?

      1. And I’m not talking about his tough losses at AO and Wimbledon, those truly were mental losses. I’m talking about now, the last few months.

    2. [ I also haver thefeelinh that Rafa feels so sorry about him that let him back in the match as providing a silly break in the end of 2nd setโ€ฆ..]
      Hahahaha! I sort of agree with it and I wouldn’t be surprised if Nadal did it for the sake of the people in the stands.

      [worshippers are now in adreamland think about his โ€œbest shotโ€in Wimby and US open. There are no best shots for him to win any tournamnet as lomg as Nadal reaches the final]
      Completely agree. If Roger were to play the final at Wimbledon or US Open today, as in right now, vs. Nadal, I can bet my left arm Nadal will win.

      [think about the matches he tanked to Djoko to avoid him at Us open]
      Maybe not. Fans console themselves by thinking that way. But those certainly weren’t tanks. I mean, if tanking was in his mind, he wouldn’t have reached two match points in each of those matches. Any error by Djokovic would’ve ended it. I think you got a bit carried away with that ๐Ÿ™‚

      Please understand that we are being too harsh on Roger. He is nearly 32 years of age. He shouldn’t even be there. I’ve also written a comment on how his equipment is just not good enough. If Rafael Nadal, Toni Nadal, and their fans are enjoying and making a big deal about these wins, then they are the lowest of human beings because Roger is far far away from his best and Nadal is practically near his peak again.

      1. Sid i personally consider the age as another excuse in the list of Fed followers. Fed is having these issues with Nadal ever since Rome 2006. Its been way too many years that he do not show improvement and self belief that he cam win at any surface different than ultra fast indoor courts like the one for the final amster in London last few years. The victory in IW in 2009 was due to pure luck (Fed is an amazing “wind”player and got lucky he was able to finish the match with an ace or that Nadal made an easy UE the point before that). Now when he finally passed 31 everyone can start playing with the age and will have a solid argument – its 32 right?:)The racket would not change much when as i said he`s having melted chees between the ears when facing Nadal , cannot calm down and no change in strategy or racket will help (hope to wrong:).

    3. Cheers Goran.

      I didn’t think I was too harsh, I actually want them to play again pretty soonish to see what happens. If it’s another complete disaster then I’m not sure what to expect if they play after that. More of the same I guess. But if it’s competitive or Fed even wins then it’s gonna be interesting.

      I don’t think Nadal is untouchable right now that’s for sure.

      Sid you are becoming obsessed with equipment lol. Are there any players that have successfully moved to a bigger racquet? I know Sampras says he might have had more chance on clay with one. It’s all about the high bouncing ball, bigger racquet don’t necessarily mean he’d handle it better. Dimitrov has a slightly different grip so he can.

      1. Um…. Djokovic? Racquet and CVAC? ๐Ÿ™‚

        Dimitrov uses a Pro Staff 95 and hits the ball nearly like Roger. Roger with all his talent can easily adapt to the bigger frame and it will also help him with the bigger sweet spot. It may hurt him at Wimbledon at the net because it won’t be as maneuverable (slightly head heavy and lighter frame) but nothing he can’t overcome.

        [ bigger racquet donโ€™t necessarily mean heโ€™d handle it better.]
        It absolutely will! Roger adjusts his Eastern backhand grip real time too.

    4. Goran, I read your comment a few times, thought about reacting or not reacting, but now I will ask you some questions:

      “Only serious bashing from us the fans can get things turned around”. Please explain.

      – If we Roger fans start bashing him for losing to Rafa, will he suddenly defeat Rafa?
      Will he suddenly try harder? Play with more confidence? Take more chances? Swith equipment? Make the lines? Do magic with his single backhand? Suddenly play with his left hand? Make less ue’s? Take the matches to three sets?
      Will his mental block suddenly vanish? Will he suddenly do to Rafa what Rafa has done to him all this years?
      Will he suddenly and magically play the Rafa style (win or die trying)?

      – Does this ‘lets make a winner out of someone by bashing him’ work in real life too?
      Is that what you should do to encourage people, lets make them even feel lower than they already do, but it is in their own interest, for winning?

      Goran, can you explain this ‘bashing for someone’s own good’? What can we as fans gain from this and what can Roger gain from this?


      1. Hi Katyani, i think that Federer should be critisisized more often by his blinded followers, which are the majority of his fans/supporters. They adore/worship him at all times no matter how he performs and keep coming with excuses to explain his losses ever since 2006/2007. Single-handed backhand, heavy topspin, gamesmanship, illegal coaching, fake injuries, doping โ€ฆageโ€ฆyou name it. All these are legitimate excuses but as Jonathan said it they don`t make him miss countless chances to make easy balls, win break points and or refuse to fight. Itโ€™s all in his head!!!:) He got used to play in a very calm competitive environment for too long where no one could challenge him for many years besides Nadal. He did not learn how to improve its performance versus him just because he is too sensitive a player (a kid if you will) and took those losses as personal drama he could never overcome. He plays with fear when meeting Nadal and for many years there was no one to address this problem in his camp besides his wife probably because he did not use a coach for many years. Now he has Anacone but the problem is still not resolved and again as Jonathan said Anacone cannot go down at the court and execute his strategy and shots for him!:)So we have only one option left to help him overcome that fear of Nadal. Blogs like these of Jonathan and Ruan must criticize him when he deserves it in a professional manner. By doing so these blogs will educate all of his blind followers where the problem is and next time Fed meets Nadal he will play with the thought that millions know his mental issues and are willing to help him overcome them ๐Ÿ™‚ If we leave him alone with his fears he will never cope with them!:) I prefer to be a supporter who can point these obvious mental issues so they can be addressed by the player (I hope you will agree that the blogs mentioned above are very influential and probably Fed`s camp is reading the articles and comments made on them:)
        We`ve been too kind and forgiving for way too many years and this did not help at all:) He won`t hire a mental coach cause he is stubborn and he prefers to suffer more but not leave the sport as scared by Nadal GOAT!:)H2h is not that important, he has to learn not to play with fear and show some motivation and self-belief:)
        I would kindly recommend to check those wonderful long videos dedicated to Federer made by a true unbiased fan. It clearly shows how he must be criticized and if he`s not willing to change again itโ€™s his own choice. I donโ€™t expect him to start winning as much as start playing without fear!!!:) Forget about age, equipment change, โ€œbad day in the office excusesโ€ etcโ€ฆ


        Goran, I read your comment, Jonathan’s and Sid’s reaction to it, my comment and your reaction to it again and again, but I still come to the same question and conclusion:
        What good does it do to bash Roger for losing to Rafa? You have not explained that good enough in your comment.

        I agree with one thing. In the previous years Rafa was there to challenge him, but he was not the only one. You don’t get to all the finals and winning them without any other player challenging you. With this remark you are actually saying that only Rafa made it difficult for him in the previous years. I disagree. Rafa was one of the challengers and he may have lost to Rafa very often, but it is not like he is going to the match with Rafa knowing that he will lose. I don’t believe that. He knows he can beat him and he tries, but when he sees it is difficult or it may not happen, that is where he loses hope. I don’t think he has a ‘mental block’ against Rafa before a match, but it is there during the match.

        I cannot comment on the time he did not have a coach, because I was his fan then too, but I did not follow him and his matches like I do now, but Goran, he must have done something right at that time. Did he not win like 10 or 11 GS when he did not have a coach? You cannot take that away from him by saying that there was no one to adress his Rafa problem when he had no coach. I think any of the players would trade anything for the GS Roger has got when he did not have a coach.

        When you say that Roger was lucky to win IW 2012 against Rafa, you are really insulting Roger. Saying that he won because he handles the wind better is something that Rafa fans say to explain Rafa’s loss. I thought we Roger fans were better than that.

        And by saying that we make excuses for him is actually insulting Roger fans.
        We are not explaining his losses all the time. If you look at the comments here or on Ru-an’s site or the comments fans leave behind on his own site, we are not all blind followers or worshippers.
        I love Roger because who he is and how he plays, but I don’t follow him blindly or explain his loss with an excuse. I too get mad at him for not winning or for giving me the idea that he does not care or for how he acts.
        I love Roger, but I was quite embarrested when he asked for a delay when it was ‘raining two drops’ at the Shanghai SF 2012 against Andy. I thought that was his weakest moment and I was mad at him. Those actions don’t suit him. He is far better than that.
        I was very disappointed and angry when he lost in the QF Rotterdam 2013 against Benneteau. Especially because I live in Holland and I had tickets for the SF to see him for the first time. He should have won that match. Just like he should have won SF Dubai 2013 against Berdych.
        The last time I was angry at him was during the Nishikori match, Madrid 2013. After the second set, they were spraying the court and he just sat there like he did not care at all. Jonathan even posted that picture. Those moments make me mad at him as a fan and I do say something about that, so do others. But we don’t bash him like YOU do.

        Have you read your first and second and third comment? That is not by someone who is Roger’s fan and wants to say something to him to make him ‘wake up and care’.
        You should read your comment again. You really are harsh about him, almost harsher than Rafa fans would be about Roger.
        And those video links you posted, I have not seen all of it and I don’t know who that girl is, but she is questioning Roger the way a fan should question him.
        Maybe you should watch it too and follow her example yourself.
        Maybe you should practise first yourself what you are preaching to me.

        Hope to see some more comments of you where you don’t bash Roger but question him with the right you have as a fan.
        Please don’t forget, he almost has 900 wins soon. You don’t get so many wins from beeing a p….y player or from playing like a schoolgirl (which is again an insult to the man).


        Ps: If you like tennisplayers who don’t fear another tennisplayer and win a lot and play like a man and not a kid, would you not be better of beeing Rafa’s fan?

  47. Let us step back and compare Roger at age 31 (2013) to other greats from the past.
    So far no titles, Overall record this year: 18-6 (W-L) , six months of playing left, ATP Ranking: 3
    Pete Sampras at 31 (2002):
    Retired that year, Won one title (US Open), Overall record that year: 27-17 (W-L), ATP Ranking: 17
    Andre Agassi at 31 (2001):
    Won four titles, Overall record that year: 45-15 (W-L), ATP Ranking: 3
    Ivan Lendl at 31 (1991):
    Won three titles, Overall record that year: 55-18 (W-L), ATP Ranking: 5
    John McEnroe at 31 (1990):
    Won one title, Overall record that year: 33-15 (W-L), ATP Ranking: 11
    Bjorn Borg at 31 (1987): Retired since 1983
    Jimmy Connors at 31 (1983):
    Won four titles (including US Open), Overall record that year: 52-11 (W-L), ATP Ranking: 3

    1. Another way of looking at it: At age 31, Roger already had 17 slams, and the record for most weeks at No.1, and the QF and SF streaks and…etc. etc. etc. So, his mileage meter was already showing a high number. It wouldn’t be fair to say others were better than him at that age should he fail to win a slam or any title at all (unlikely). Also, with modern tennis, brute strength and endurance have practically trumped skill which wasn’t the case with those gentlemen you’ve mentioned.

      It’s not over though. Roger will have a good second half of the season. Just get this stupid clay slam over with already.

      1. Sid, It was never my intention show that Roger was inferior at 31 as compared to other greats at similar age.
        I was just curious about it. In fact, I need to revise Rogerโ€™s stats because he had 21-5 record
        since turning 31 last year (2012). Roger is the GOAT regardless of his playing records to come.
        So, for Roger at 31 we have, Overall record: One tournament won (Cincinnati, 2012), 39-11 (W-L) , three months of playing left (until age 32), ATP Ranking: 3

      2. Oh no, I understand, Kazik. I just wanted to point out the fact that Roger already has so much mileage in terms of what he had achieved at 31 if someone were to compare, they need to factor that too.

  48. Hi All,
    This is my first time to comment on this blog although I have been regular visitor and reader for most of recent Jonathan posts and I like his analysis and what he brings. Well, first I was a big fan for the grate Marat Safin and I am a big fan of Nadal now, I love the intensity and the fighting spirit that he brings to the court and the PLAY-To-WIN attitude; however, I still admire and respect ROGER! For what he has achieved and for me he is the most talented player on this planet yet to witness.

    Sid, I have some comment on your theory of Mental Vs Technical. I tend to agree with you that the major issue for Roger with Nadal is Technical; but in the same time, do you believe he would be able to use bigger farm racquet with single backhand and have some success?! I doubt that. The Heavy Spin that Nadal generate can only be handled with Two-Backhand players with consistency, thatโ€™s why we see players like Gulbis and Demitrov can hurt Nadal. They were not able to beat him, yet, because they lack some consistency and the WIN attitude like Djoker, thatโ€™s why we see a lot of success from him against Nadal.
    So yeah itโ€™s more of Technical however, during their rivalry, in some big matches, Roger has some mental block where he failed to win some big matches like Wimby 2008 and AO 2009. I still remember some of the volleys that Roger attempted, so many each puts where he failed and I could see the frustrations on his face. Those big matches he failed, on my opinion, because of mental block and not technical.

    By the way I tend to agree with you and Jonathan about whether Nadal and Roger likes each other. I would see they donโ€™t! maybe they respected each other during 2005-2009 but not anymore ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Dimitrov can push Nadal?? With a CONSISTENT backhand?? No way, Nadal was clearly not at full during their MC match… If you watch highlights or matches dimitrov plays, you can see that 99% of the time, his backhand lands basically on the service line: give that to Nadal, and he’s toast (dimitrov I mean). I like his game and all that, but he got lucky at MC against a sub level nadal.

      I don’t understand the hype caused by Dimi’s backhand, fine it’s one handed and looks relatively nice, but it’s a weak shot… Was on fire against Djoker, but otherwise… His forehand and serve are good, but the backhand??

      And Shamtoot, nice to see a respectful Nadal fan! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. No, I’m not suggesting a two handed backhand for Roger. It’s won’t happen and will be a disaster if it does. I’m saying that given he must stay with the single handed back hand, what are his options at his age? The answer is simple, a more forgiving racquet. Perhaps next season. If he wins a slam this year, maybe a couple of Masters 1000’s, he won’t have to. But the season ends in disaster, what’s he got to lose by changing equipment? I really want him to add a slam or two.

      I don’t really think Dimitrov can hurt Nadal. They’ve played only once and next time Nadal will obliterate him. Dimitrov uses a 95 sq. in. frame and Wawrinka a 97 sq. in.

  49. FOr the past two years all the grand slams have had the 1 and 3 seeds together and 2 and 4 together. Only the Australian open has had 2 & 3 together. So, If this is to be repeated for a third year, then roger should be on david ferrers side and rafa should be on djokovic’s side. If not, it’s definately rigged. Al I can remember is Federer (no.3) always playing djokovic (no.1) in the semifinals of the last 2 yrs except this years australian open!!! Hence, if djokovic gets nadal then Federer has a chance of winning roland garros…

    1. True, but I’m busting champagne out if Fed’s in ferrer draw… It’s as unlikely as me winning Roland Garros ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜›

      1. Hold on with the champagne now…don’t you know someone said Ferrer is a bigger favorite than Roger to win the French Open? So, you really are looking forward to that match up? Hmmm?

      1. I’m so happy for Roger, hopefully he takes advantage of the draw and doesn’t become too relaxed. I’m sure if he really believes in himself he can win (even against nadal). It’s just that sometimes, in every case, when you keep losing to someone you lose confidence and stop trying which I think is what happened to Roger this year against nadal. He needs to show determination and then he can win (love you Roger!!)

      2. No way in a million years can Ferrer be a bigger threat than Roger! Just because TOni Nadal says something does not mean it’s true, he’s just looking out for other spanish players and giving them more confidence…

  50. While all you good folks are waiting with bated breath for the French open draw (Hint: Roger will meet Nadal in he semi), how about we play a game? Who can give the best caption to that picture of Roger where he has his hand on his forehead? May the smartest person win ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Oh come on, there’s tons for that one ๐Ÿ˜€

      “Oh god, are we having brocoli for supper?” is the first one that comes to mind ๐Ÿ˜›

      Or, to fit better with the moment “Why the fu*k did I come on court?”


      1. Simon, seriously? Don’t let me down man…I have very high expectations of you. Try again ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. (Reaching to run his fingers through his hair) “Oh no! I forgot all about the haircut!” ๐Ÿ™‚

      A belated entry to the contest, since by now the bated breath is a huge sigh of relief ๐Ÿ˜‰


  51. Hi guys, please let us know asap if the draw comes out who will be in Roger’s half?

    Don’t you think this is funny:

    Roger will be hoping for Ferrer or Novak but definitely not Rafa
    Novak will be hoping for Ferrer or Roger but definitely not Rafa
    Ferrer will be hoping for Roger or Novak but definitely not Rafa
    Rafa will be hoping for Ferrer or Roger but definitely not Novak

    Somehow I think Gulbis will be this time in Roger’s or Novak’s half.

    1. Roger’s in Ferrer’s half. He’ll probably have to deal with Tsonga in the quarters. I could only catch snippets of information watching it live in French, but Djokovic will play Goffin in the 1st round and probably Dimitrov in the 3rd. Not sure where Berdych is, but he has a match up with Monfils (wildcard), and in any case, Roger’s avoided him in the quarters.

      Nadal-Djokovic semi, of course.

      1. Yes !!! But now Roger has got to live up to this……….. all the way to the final.

        He HAS to make it, but again, lets take it one match at the time.

      2. And let us hope that Ferrer has NOT seen the light and decides that enough is enough, no more losing to Roger !!!

    2. Respective halves: Federer and Ferrer / Djokovic and Nadal. Fed will possibly have to go through Simon, Tsonga, Ferrer and of course Nadal / Nole for the title.

    3. In any case, I see Tsonga as the main threat. And even if Fed had Tipsarevic in his quarter and avoided Simon altogether, I couldn’t be much happier with the draw… as long as he avoids Nadal, he has a chance. Oh yeah, might have to deal with benneteau in the 3rd round too… chance for revenge, but the man is dangerous, as Wimbledon told us.

      Last time they played at Roland Garros, it was a tough straight sets win.

      1. Yep, that’s three French players Fed will need to beat but otherwise nearly the same draw as Rome. Hope to see him through to the final safely.

      2. Yeah, final is a realistic hope now. I see Benneteau and Tsonga as the two who will take sets off him. Unless they all do, in which case he’ll probably win the tournament a la 2009.

      3. Haha, let us take this one step at a time and not get ahead of ourselves ๐Ÿ™‚ Exciting couple of weeks ahead and I really do hope that they work out for him. Allez Roger!

    4. Berdych has been tasked with the possibility of playing Gulbis in the second round. That isn’t going to be easy.

      Also Katyani, about your earlier comment, I might have misunderstood but Nole and Roger are the top 2 seeds and won’t meet before the final. Same for Rafa and Ferrer. All that anyone could hope for was that Roger got Ferrer and, by some miraculous turn of events, it came true. Similarly, Gulbis had to be in one of Nole or Roger’s halves since they are on opposite halves. Hope to see Gulbis shoot down the Berd. Again, in case I misunderstood, please go ahead and ignore all of this.

      1. He James, don’t worry. I am just happy Roger hasn’t got Rafa.
        I don’t really understand how the draw works, maybe that is why I put names up there in the wrong order, but lets hope Roger realises that THIS is his chance and that he will have to go for it.

        If you want my honest opinion, Roger should make winning RG his goal for one and one reason only: to put the Great Uncle Toni in his place !!!
        That should be his only goal. Not for winning it the second time or for adding another GS or some other reason.
        No, the Great Uncle Toni is saying more and more stupid things about Roger. Maybe he meets Roger like a couple of times a year and thinks he knows how Roger should act and play. The guy has (on his own) just written Roger off and has now even said that winning is not Roger’s main priority and that he is not willing to do anything for it.

        For that reason alone, Roger should do his ‘legal’ all to win RG.

  52. But now it is up to Roger. He got a great ‘gift’ he should treasure.
    No Rafa till final, so he should do anything (of course legal) to get to the final.
    But again, one mach at the time.

  53. Oh wow, well that was…interesting.

    Roger deserved a good draw after all the rigged/shitty ones he has been getting. I am feeling good things this French Open, I cannot believe how good he has it. Loving the French right now haha.

    Will be waiting for your post Jonathan for further discussion. I see Gulbis and Tsonga are in Roger’s half, could potentially do something. Roger is favoured to reach the final at least right, should a Nadal/Djokovic SF slog fest ensue, well Roger has got luck on his side to get a second FO, Allez!!

    For now, I’ll be joining Sid and popping the champagne, Moet right?

    1. Dear Sweet Smart Jonathan, any chance for me getting the first comment, huh?

      Oh come one, even God is helping Roger !!!

      1. Aha! So that’s your idea of a bribe. Very Nadal like ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. Sid…………. did you just compare me with……. How dare you !!!
        By the way, how else am I gonna get first comment???

        Katyani (honest Roger type, remember !!!)

  54. Its pretty fun though that rosol is in dulls half ๐Ÿ˜€ not expecting anything but easy straights, but its nice ๐Ÿ˜›

  55. I have lost track of all the comments here so thanks to everyone who commented be it first timers or seasoned professionals.

    The only downside is that the two post popular articles on this blog are both match reports that were lossed to Nadal ๐Ÿ˜›

    I will be doing a post on the draw later today so let’s save some discussion for that post.


    1. Now that’s a pretty good example of irony… ๐Ÿ˜› Any chance you could set up a kind of “chat room”?

    2. Where the heck is the draw post?!? You and Roger have become total slackers these days ๐Ÿ™‚

    3. [The only downside is that the two post popular articles on this blog are both match reports that were lossed to Nadal]

      It’s not a downside, it means we care! ๐Ÿ™‚

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