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RF Fan Story: Alex at the French Open

Hey all, following on from Wanda's Monte Carlo post and Simon / Rita's Davis Cup experience this new Roger Federer Fan Story post is from multiple first comment Grand Slam Champion and live chatter, Alex, who got to see Roger for the first time at this years French Open in the second round.

It's another great fan story from the court-side perspective and is just another reinforcer of what Roger brings to tennis. In fact Jim Courier even called him the most under paid athlete of all time on ITV last week which sadly confused a few people.

Courier wasn't debating actual numbers here or trying to suggest that Federer has a tough time paying his bills or feeding the twins. What he meant was Federer makes far less than his market value based on the value he adds to Tennis as a whole; and when you read fan recaps like this it's easy to see what he was talking about. Take it away Alex πŸ˜€

One RF Fan Story

Federer Schwartzman 2nd Round Roland Garros
Federer vs Schwartzman 2nd Round Roland Garros 2014

A few years ago, if you had asked me to watch a tennis match on TV, I would have laughed at your face and sent you away. What? Tennis? That boring sport? No thanks! I have better things to do! Let alone asking me to spend money and buy tickets for a live tennis match.

However, one afternoon – the afternoon of Sunday, June, 7th 2009 – this changed for me.

I was preparing for an Operating Systems exam that was stressing me out and everybody else in the room was watching some tennis match.

I hated tennis. I hated that they cancelled some of my favourite TV programs in order to broadcast boring tennis matches where two players would send a ball I couldn't even see sometimes over a net, over and over again.

I hated those very polite crowds, with their immaculate clothes and behaviour. I hated the grunting and the umpire calls.

I hated that I didn't understand a single rule of the game, but still was obliged, when I needed to concentrate on my lessons, to sit through one, just because it was the only children-free room where I could study, and they were watching a tennis match.

I was sitting back to the TV, trying as hard as I could to resolve a difficult exercise but unable to do so.

Frustrated, I decided to take a break and see what's so interesting in this tennis game that got everyone else in the room so excited. A tennis game!! Pff…

After a few minutes, I thought about leaving the room but something kept me there, eyes fixed on the screen.

The player in blue had something special about him that kept me watching. And as the match neared his end, the commentators started enumerating some Swiss player's achievements (I still didn't know which one of the two he was – everybody was so concentrated and wouldn't answer my questions). They said how he won everything a tennis player could dream of, except for this one trophy he was playing for.

I started praying that they were talking about the guy in blue. Because I felt for the champion they were describing and wanted him to complete his collection, but I wanted THAT guy to win. No matter if I didn't understand a single thing of the game.

Then the match ended. The guy in blue went to his knees, overwhelmed. So that was him. The Genius they were describing, the one and only Roger Federer.

I was happy for him. Really happy. He won me that day.

Not tennis. I still hated the sport.

I missed Wimbledon'09, and AO'10. I barely knew Rafael Nadal from the sports news, and for me, Djokovic or Murray were nobodies.

I saw a few matches now and then, but not enough to understand or appreciate the game. Still, it was enough to confirm that I liked seeing Federer play and loved seeing him win. It was enough to confirm that even if I respected his fighting spirit, I didn't like that Nadal guy's playing style as much.

In a total position of ignorance, I still would cheer for Nadal against any other player, but whenever Federer was involved, I would support him with all my soul.

I reconnected with tennis again in 2011 when I watched the FO final with some friends.

By that time, I had understood the game. I appreciated tennis more and the more I watched Roger play, the more I liked the sport.

I wouldn't miss a tournament from that time forward.

And this year I decided that it was time to experience it live. All of your statements helped me take the decision and having a friend who is as crazy as I am and who was willing to go with me sealed the deal.

Anna – my friend and a perfect-tennis regular visitor, who was actually the one to introduce to me this amazing community πŸ˜‰ – and I started the hunt.
We chose Roland Garros.

First, it is a Grand Slam. And, as we live in Morocco, it is the nearest for us. We won't have much trouble getting a visa and affordable plane tickets, we speak French fluently and the accommodation won't be that big a problem as we have many friends living in Paris.

We missed our shot the day they opened the tickets sale for the public but we wouldn't surrender. We practically lived in front of the official tickets exchange web page until we found an opportunity: two 2R tickets for the 28th of May on the Philippe Chatrier. Sure, nothing could have assured that we would see Federer play, but it was our only chance and we bought the tickets.

We checked the schedule Tuesday evening and to our big disappointment, they had scheduled Fed on the Suzann Lenglen!

We were devastated not to be able to watch Federer live, but still excited to be there. At least we could see Djokovic, Tsonga or even Sharapova play on Center Court.

The first scheduled match on Philippe Chatrier was Venus Williams Vs Anna Schmiedlova, but we preferred watching Eugenie Bouchard Vs Julia GΓΆrges on Court NΒ°7. Genie didn't deliver the best first set and as Venus looked like she was about to win her match (one set and one break up), we left for Centre Court to be on time for Djokovic.

Well, we had to wait more than an hour for that, but I should admit that I liked what I saw from the ladies. It wasn't near as boring as I thought it would be.

Then it was time for Nole Vs Chardy. And the truth is that he didn't look as impressive as on TV. Or maybe it is that Chardy didn't give him much trouble.

Anyway, I was only half in his game as all I could think about was how to get into Suzann Lenglen.

Right after the first set, Anna and I left Philippe Chatrier and raced to one of Suzann Lenglen gates hoping that somebody was willing to exchange his tickets with us. Unfortunately, we weren't the only ones who had this idea.

It seemed that by the end of Serena's match, everybody left Philippe Chatrier to try to find a way to watch the Genius at work. Not that the court was that crowded in the first place…

There we were then, two girls running right and left, asking everybody who was leaving Suzann Lenglen if they wanted to exchange tickets.

One woman gave us hope after the first two games of Federer's match, but changed her mind for no reason and denied us our first chance…

The first set ended, and we were still there moving from one gate to the other, and following the match on the big screen.

We could have abandoned and gone back to watch Djokovic win but seeing some people succeed gave us hope. Plus, there wasn't much to watch in a one way match…
The second set ended too and we were still out, while Federer was playing a few meters away.

Maybe it would have been easier if he wasn't playing that day, but knowing he was there and hearing the crowd shout his name and still not being able to be part of it made it so hard for us.

We finally found a French man with his little girl who was coming out from Suzann Lenglen sometime mid third set. I asked him without much conviction if he wanted to exchange tickets with us. He then returned the question to his daughter and asked her if she wanted to see Tsonga and Sharapova. As she nodded, I felt so happy I wanted to kiss her.

Anna and I gave them our tickets and took theirs to catch the last fifteen minutes of the Maestro.

For the first time, I wanted Federer to lose a set, just to be able to watch him longer. He didn't of course, but the little I saw was just peRFect.

If we weren't that impressed by Novak, Roger didn't disappoint us. As many of you already know, watching him on screen is nothing compared to actually being there and watch him live. He's so elegant and graceful. Even the outfit that I didn't like very much on the pictures looked better.

It was the beauty of his movement that first attracted me to his game. His peRFect touch, his wondeRFful approach, his fluidity, his creativity, the genius shots only him can produce are all things that were spoken of since many years. These were the things that made me love him so much and love tennis because of him.

That 2R match wasn't his best and no magical shots were displayed during the time I saw him play. But the thing with Federer is that he makes the simplest gesture seem exceptional. I could see the degree of his concentration on his face but his movement never seemed forced. It looked effortless, easy and at the same time precise and powerful. It was something words can never really describe. I felt so blessed to be able to witness his mastery live and couldn't take my eyes off of him.

At that moment, I was a happy girl.

His on court speech was hilarious and he really took a long time to speak to journalists and sign autographs. We unfortunately were a little too far to compete for one.

After all we did to have the tickets, we decided to stay for the last match between AlizΓ© Cornet and Taylor Townsend. And we didn't regret it. It was a great match. The crowd support for the home player and some clever playing by the young American made it a very nice way to finish a very special day.

It is so sad Roger couldn't go further than 4R, but I like to joke about it and tell my friends who tease me about his loss that after all I went through just to see him for 15 minutes, when he knew I was leaving Paris on Monday, he said that he couldn't stay behind one more day πŸ™‚ At least this way I am not as sad as I tend to be when he loses.

He wasn't winning this FO anyway, so onto the grass now, and may he have the Wimbledon we all wish for, with nΒ°18 happening by July, 6th.


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. Its just so random, you know? When I hunt your posts to get here first, refreshing for hours, I dont get to be first somehow.
        Now I just saw the post on facebook and opend the link, scorlled down to see if any comments where posted (first thing I allways do, even if I know Im late), none where there, so I just got really emotional and wrote “first” as fast as I could. πŸ˜€

  1. Nice story.
    My second title of the year.
    Hope Roger will win his second this next week.

    How about what Simona Halep did?
    Best womens tennis I ever saw.

    Have a good one!

    1. Congrats for your 2nd title Tilas!
      Sharapova wanted this title so bad. Only natural she won. Although Simona played incredible. Better luck next time??

      1. I know Simona will win some GS titles in the future.
        She doesn’t need luck.
        It was a good experience for her.
        … and yeah Sharapova took way too long between points.

        Thanks Alex!

  2. Great story Alex. I really enjoyed reading your history of getting into tennis. I first started to enjoy watching Borg, so a very long time ago, but I have to say there have been many droughts between him, the likes of Ekberg and now Roger. Great tennis players don’t come along every day and I cannot at the moment see anyone replacing our man. It does go through boring periods.

    I certainly know what you mean about watching Roger live being a very different experience to watching him on TV. On TV they capture the great shots but they cannot follow the stealth-like movement across the ground between shots. It’s magical isn’t it.

    Thanks for taking the time to write such a great story Alex πŸ™‚

    1. Thx Rita πŸ™‚ I really enjoyed writing it. So glad you like it πŸ™‚
      And thanks to Jonathan who gives us this place to share our experiences!

  3. Btw, apologies to all if my appearances on here now and over the next few months are sporadic. I’m not very well at the moment, sometimes I feel great, other times less so. I am always with you in heart and spirit though, even if not on paper.

    1. Oh Rita, sorry to hear you’re under the weather. Get well soon as I’m sure Roger’s performance on grass would cheer you up πŸ™‚

    2. Rita, I’m so sorry. Sending positive energy your way. May you be safe; may you be happy; may you be healthy; may you live with ease.

  4. So happy for you Alex!

    Even just 15 minutes, seeing Fed live would be surely worthwhile for anyone. The sentence “It was something words can never really describe.” said it all. Love it πŸ™‚

    Also always lovely to read Fed fans’ ‘the first moment being captured by the GOAT’. There’s something in his nature to attracts people’s heart, isn’t there? Those moments described by somebody else make you emotional as his fan, too.

    Thanks for writing your experience, Alex. And thanks Jonathan for giving us space to share.

    1. Yeah he just steals your heart before you even notice. I really wonder how there can be people who don’t like him…
      I hope I’m gonna have another opportunity soon πŸ™‚ I promise to write something again if it happens πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    2. Yeah, he just steals your heart before you even notice πŸ™‚ I wonder how there can be people who don’t like him…
      I really hope I’ll have another opportunity to watch him live again soon! It’s so special πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  5. Nice story, and happy for you! I wanted to see Roger just once live, since then as soon as I have a chance I grab it πŸ˜› Glad you at least got to see one set! πŸ™‚

    Better luck next year? πŸ˜‰

    Thanks Jonathan for letting others post here, makes for a great experience πŸ™‚

    1. Thx Simon! If I have again a chance to go next year, I won’t hesitate!
      It was an amazing day πŸ™‚

  6. Thank you Alex for sharing lovely story from your journey to discovering Roger and RG14. You manage to get the best of both courts PC and Lenglen – wow. Roger has this aura that I can’t explain but he can make people melt.

    Lastly thank Jonathan for creating this place for all of us to share our experiences.

  7. Hey Alex, great post. You are a good writer. It use to take me less then 3 seconds to zapp to another channel if tennis was on (thought it was boring, didn’t understand it or the rules). Once I was too slow zapping and…. I saw Roger play an amazing point. That is how I found Roger πŸ™‚

    1. That’s so nice of you Katyani πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ It was really a pleasure to share this with all of you πŸ™‚

    1. No Simon, have faith in Nole. He will win πŸ™‚ Maybe even in straights. I predict Rafa will atleast put his hands twice on his back, showing that Nole won, but….he did have backtroubles again…

      1. Ya I’m a little less nervous now… don’t care if it’s in straights, as long as Djoker wins πŸ™‚

  8. Why o why is Nole tired and Rafa NOT?? So much for me saying “a tired and low on confidence Rafa”.
    What do they put in his bottles???

  9. Brace yourselves for the Pablo jerk-off… Man, looks like the USO 13 final, Nole just not in it….

      1. Simon, are we the only ones following this match?? Where are the others?? Djoko HAS to win today. If he doesn’t, he might never get such a chance again.

        Finally…. he broke back. COME ON NOLE. Nothing is lost yet

    1. I was watching on and off, got a bit boring really and Nick Mullins on ITV was winding me up by constantly saying Djoker has brought Becker in to help him mentally. Must have said it about 50 times.

      1. I was in the meantime reading comments on Roger’s site. But had to leave there. Feeling gutted. 3 commentators druling over Rafa over and over and over.

        Would have been nice if the father to be-Nole would have won… but what to you do against the Beast. Now, Rafa is saying over and over again that he was tired. From what??

        Anyway, congrats to Rafa. This means Roger now has to win Wimby 8th and 9th. DOABLE πŸ™‚

    1. Weird final. Both guys looked dead on their feet which is strange considering it wasn’t that gruelling. I think there might be a few changes at the top over the next 12 months, it’s clear to me Nadal isn’t going to be a huge force over the next ~2 years off clay.

      The more interesting thing is can Djoker win Roland Garros ever? Becoming a mental block now.

      1. It was odd, wasn’t it? I wondered if the temperature was much hotter out there than forecast, although I suppose it might have been a bit humid, too – Djoker in particular looked quite sunburnt. If he’d managed to hold out in the 4th, I was totally expecting Rafa to take an MTO at the beginning of the 5th.

        And it was a very muted ending, too, wasn’t it, double fault or no double fault.

      2. Hi Jonathan.. What makes you think so?? If Novak does not stand up to Nadal, he could romp ahead of Roger in next 2 years in slam count..

  10. What a poor match by Novak…What a poor match in general. Loads of unforced errors, finishes on double fault., awful feeling to see Nadull win again here, but that monsetr topspin is just too hard to contain on clay. 9th RG is some achievement, that’s for sure. I’ll be angry and grumpy for some time now…hopefully Wimbledon will do some justice

    1. Yeah a double fault on match point lol. Poor final. Gotta say the crowd are a bit of a joke at Roland Garros, hooligan mentality.

      Nadal better player overall, although Djoker should have broken at 4 all in the fourth and then it’s wide open. Lost his way again.

      1. Didn’t he double fault on match point in 2012? Becoming a habit lol… I agree that Dull is defo looking less unplayable now (bar clay of course)

      2. Yeah done it twice now. He is usually unreal clutch but not at the French. Lost a lot of major finals lately. Not won one since AO 2013 now. He needs to break the duck really otherwise going to play on his mind if it isn’t already. Becoming worse than Fed lol.

        Nadal is a beast but I think he is slowing down from what I have seen. Maybe he can keep on going and prove me wrong but I’m not totally convinced. Feds decline first started in 2008 when he was late twenties and he plays a much less physical game.

      3. Yep. Every time I wanted to abuse Novak today, it was along the lines of telling him that I know he really wants to be Federer, but overcooking his first serve and being mentally weak at important points weren’t things he should be copying πŸ™‚

        I shall be wiping this one off the DVD when I next have the recorder on …

      4. I actually enjoyed part of what I saw today, to my surprise, but maybe it’s because I didn’t even try to watch the whole thing – saw most of the 1st set and part of the 4th. Agree Nole should have broken at 4 all there. Didn’t see him be sick on court, but then NBC decided they had to show the replay. In slow motion.

        But there were some nicely constructed, not too dragged out points, & some amazing gets by both players. I guess I was just so prepared to hate it that ANY good shot felt doubly good!

  11. Nadal now #14. Oh dear. Djoker looked ill, gastrointestinal like years past. Maybe Uncle Toni spiked his water with gluten. Anyway, Roger was right. Nadal the favourite no matter what.

    Alex, thanks so much for the post. Nothing better than seeing Roger live. I’ve been fortunate to have seen him a few years at IW. An experience better than most in life!

    Rita, all the best to you.

    1. Yeah I saw him be sick on court. Not good. Both guys were looking very jaded physically. Djoker looked real flat against Gulbis, I figured that would cost him here.

      1. “Yeah I saw him be sick on court”

        What, today? Must have been when I wasn’t watching.

        Anyone want to bet on Nadal pulling out of Halle?

        Yes, Rita, I hope you’ll be a lot better, and preferably soon.

      2. So, let me get this right: Nadal has won precisely two tournaments this year? One only because his adversary, who was schooling him, got injured, and the other one he has some help with because his opponent was sick (because *Nadal* wasn’t playing at anything like his normal level)? How come some people get all the luck?

    2. Agree. Some of my friends still think I am a fool to have spent so much money to go to a tennis tournament but they have to live it to understand me πŸ™‚
      Glad you all guys do πŸ˜‰
      You know what would be awsome?? All of us meeting for real for a Fed match πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ wouldn’t that be amazing? ?

      1. Would be cool. Logistical nightmare as people are in all 4 corners of the globe. If I make a mill anytime soon then I’d try subsidise it. Although I have about 2 years max!

    3. I was right too: I’ve been saying for the last month that it’d be same old same old once Rafa got to RG. Given the weather today, I doubt there was any chance of me being wrong.

      1. And realistically, I think the only way Rafa would have gone out here is if someone had taken him out in the early rounds, before he’d got into his groove. Given the way his draw fell to pieces, there was no way that was going to happen. I kept looking at it and thinking, “Well, Roger would have beaten that player too, no question, but he’s on the other side of the draw”.

  12. Oke, atleast one good thing came out of RG…. it’s over πŸ™‚ Moving on to Halle and Wimby. Next πŸ™‚

    Sorry for my wrong prediction for RG. Wimby…. Go Roger πŸ™‚ 18th coming up πŸ™‚

    1. Please stop predicting Katyani. I beg you.I mean nothing you say happens. I don’t want to be rude but please don’t jinx Roger in Wimby. Lets just all enjoy the tennis and not predict anything.

      1. Deal Ajay. I won’t do it again, but if somehow something I comment sounds like a prediction, than don’t be mad πŸ™‚ For me personally, it gets boring saying we will take it one match at the time. Especially since I still believe in Roger, that he can win many more slams and because he himself doesn’t enter tours to come far or to go deep but to win them.

        I won’t predict anymore, but my hope and believe in Roger will never go away. Sorry Ajay πŸ™‚

  13. Not sure why center court (Philippe Chatrier) hasn’t been renamed to Court Rafael Nadal.

    No one’s even taken him to 5 sets let alone beat him (except Soderling but look at where he’s at now).

    Disappointing Final due to lack of quality. Djokovic got mentally broken and Nadal wasn’t pushed to his limits.

  14. Hmn, Djoker choked, nope he din’t choke, he wilted away, like he never believed he could do it and I wonder why. Watching the match, I even wished it was Federer at the other end.
    Nadal at 14, key word for us to hit 18 and 19, may the draws favor us going forward. I don’t want to panic just yet. I’m stll predicting we win Wimby and US by a whisker.
    I would like to see the top 10 rankings tomorrow, Gulbis now top 10? Hmnnnn….
    Nadal playing Halle…..sincerely hopes he drops out
    .i think I will be very sober till Wimbledon is over….now we won’t get enough of the darned tributes et al, smh

    1. Well, one good news for us. Wilander said that Roger vs Gulbis was the best match of RG. But then… he also said the didn’t think 9 slams will be equalled/surpassed….

    2. I thought it might just as well have been Fed on the other side of the net: at least in that case it would probably have been over more quickly …

      Several people have said that Fed/Gulbis was the match of the tournament. What does *that* say for the rest of it?!

    3. You just gotta take it as it comes. I don’t really care if Nadal overhauls 17, don’t make much difference to me personally or change who I preferred to watch. Records always get broken. Ultimately you can’t do anything about it, unless you work at WADA and decide to be a whistleblower πŸ™‚

      1. I’m getting beyond caring, too, as you might have gathered from my post just preceding this one. Whatever.

  15. Nice one Alex, I can imagine how you felt, the excitement and all. Just reading your story made me smile, picturing you standing hopefully at the gates πŸ™‚
    It’s almost like we have 3more years to see Fed play, I’m hoping I wouldn’t thrash tennis after that.
    Now to Halle and the World Cup.
    Guys! What do I have to do to make Federer win Wimbledon and the US Open, tell me and I will do it!!!
    Fed hasnt tweeted in a while, reckon he’s practicing hard hopefully.

    1. Thx Utch! After one hour a security agent called me and said that he saw me and my friend running right and left and that he feels sorry for us. He even told us to write a paper saying that we have tickets to exchange. Maybe that way we would find some more easily… lol

      1. I tried same thing at Wimbledon 2011 wanting to exchange my Centre Court ticket (the first row), Nadal-Delpo match to Roger’s 4R in the Court 1, running around desperately with a placard saying “want to see Rafa?”. Sadly nobody wanted. So lucky you, Alex πŸ˜‰

      2. We were both at that match Wanda πŸ™‚ Nadal cheating with that medical timeout. Some of the worst gamesmanship I have seen really.

      3. Oh Jonathan, you didn’t spot a potato-head grandma (as the GG says)? Shame on you not recognizing me πŸ˜‰ I know I’m not as pretty as Duchess of Cambridge…
        Wouldn’t be great if we have PT goods like badge or cap that recognize each other as PT fan when you go to a match?

        Yeah, it was poor from Nadal really. I actually didn’t know he was a cheater nor didn’t dislike him until then, though I never liked the guy’s tennis.

  16. Who joins me in thinking that yesterday’s women final was far more interesting than today’s??
    Saw Djoko at one time crumble on his chair… weired… he certainly didn’t seem like himself since the second set…
    I really wanted him to win this one. Nadal or not Nadal. He deserves a FO title finally.
    Time for Halle now!! Finally some real tennis to watch!

  17. With all the tennis talent in the world, is there no one to beat Nadal at Roland Garros? Only hope is some new kid raised on clay with a similar game to Nadal’s maybe. None of the current bunch seem up to the task. Djokovic with 2 finals losses to Nadal at RG has entered Fed territory.

    Let’s all just assume that Nadal will at least the next 2 or 3 french opens. If one is unbiased, it’s clear that Fed’s GS record is at risk.

    Fed was probably sipping a beer at home today knowing exactly how Djokovic felt.

    1. That’s because nobody is allowed to beat Nadal at Roland Garros. That slam is a joke. The surface is pathetic. It’s not skill that wins you slams there, it’s pure endurance. Talent has no place on clay. You take all the talent in the world and put it up against Nadal on clay, and it will be no good. All you need is the gym, and dope.

    2. Fed’s in Halle … But the rest I can agree with πŸ™‚

      I would really have liked Novak to win it, too. I can’t believe I’m saying that!

  18. Great story Alex, so happy you hv seen him live! Nothing compares to Fed!
    Rita, wish you well! Just chill and watch Halle/ Wimby and will Fed to win!
    I didn’t watch final as playing a must win Aegon ( club team tennis) match all afternoon, singles and Dubs in that heat! (Go figure Rafa/Novak!!!)

    Anyway, just watched highlights and all I can say is what was wrong with Novak?? Clearly under the weather! Epic choke ( again) at match point! Poor match generally! Halep/ Shazza far better!
    Agree with Jonathan! Will he ever win it??? Only if a Soderling comes along and takes Rafa out!!

    Generally a poor men’s FO! No great matches!
    For once women’s, thanks to Bouchard and Halep, and Muguruza, more watchable!

    Final comment! Wtf ( scuse my lingo) is Muzza thinking?? Mauresmo??????
    Ok Jonathan, that decision warrants a big reply!!
    Onwards to Halle! Roger already underplaying his chances, saying how tough the field is! Allez! Time to get tough!

    1. Thanks Susie πŸ™‚ All I can say about yesterday is that it was a weired final :-/ Hopefully Novak can shake this loss off as quickly as possible…

    1. Hey Susie, congrats πŸ™‚ And yes, what is up with that? Muzza and Mauresmo?? Beginning to think that his mother is the best coach for him, no one else πŸ™‚

      1. Shbh ! Lots of slice !
        Ps how many matches do we think Nadull will play in Halle? I am betting on 1!

  19. Every year I heard and read comments about the end of Rafa. “Rafa won’t win a slam again”, “Rafa is done” And every year he comes to shut up all the ignorant mouths. 91 5set matches on clay, 90 wins and counting. 9 RG and counting, 14 Slams and counting. Absolutely dominant against his all time greats rivals, 9-2 against Fed and 9-3 against Djoker at Slams.
    Simply The Greatest of All Time.

      1. +1 Only stupid people won’t understand what you said. And you can’t fix stupid πŸ™‚

    1. Pablo, like your hero says himself: “If anyone thinks I am a better tennisplayer than Roger, they don’t know anything about tennis”. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  20. This win proves again that Nadal is not the greatest of all time. Greatest clay courter ever? Yes. 9 or 14 slams on clay. 18 out of 27 Masters 1000’s on clay. An improbable 90% win rate on clay, and a huge gulf between his closest rival on the same surface. Six of Nadal’s slam nine slam wins over Djokovic have come at RG, and 14 of his 23 wins have come on clay. His record against Novak on other surfaces is 9-15. That is nowhere near absolute dominance. You cannot be considered the greatest of all time, with a resume so lop sided, on a surface that is not fair to all players (judging by win overall win percentage), by far, when compared to hard courts, and grass.

    Nadal will win another slam and finish on 15th. A 16th will be extremely difficult but he might eek it out. Novak Djokovic will win the French Open in 2015. I did not give him a chance this year anyways and Rome was nothing but a decoy.

    1. Great points Sid. I only disagree with Dull’s slam number. I predict around 20. Who’s gonna stop him? Ferrer plays competitive at the age of 32, so Rafa still has 4-5 FO in his bag.

      1. This Gargantouas guy thinks slams grows on tress and you can just pluck them.I don’t know who the troll is here.

      2. How many slams and Masters 1000’s does Ferrer have? He plays competitive, because he has a lot more mileage left.

        I just don’t see Nadal playing at the same level in 2015. This is his last good year. The reasons are twofold. The field catches up. It has nearly caught up, and will close the gap. And Nadal’s level will dip. It also opens up the debate about doping. In 2015, they will introduce what’s called the “biological passport”, and hopefully testing will be taken a lot more seriously. This is Nadal’s opportunity, probably until Mid-2015. Without doping, this guy is nothing.

        You may argue, “Well, he just disposed off Novak”. Yes, but he did it on a surface that is his favorite, where he owns a 14-4 record over Novak, at a Slam where he is most comfortable on, the one which suits his grinding, “juiced up” playing style. Every factor was against Novak.

        My guess is, Nadal will win one of the next two slams. Then he will have to put in a monumental effort to win RG 2015.

        That’s where it ends.

      3. Sid, haven’t they already introduced the biological passport? I thought it was about a year ago. Or something changed at RG last year, didn’t it?

      4. I’m not sure if it is late 2015 or late 2014. I’m guessing it’s late 2014. Anyone knows for sure? Even if it has started, it takes a while, perhaps a year or two, for it to completely kick in. This is big business man. Nobody wants these “athletes” to suddenly turn normal. Too much invested into them.

        If it’s already in place, then they are doing a very bad job testing Dopal.

      5. I wish you are right Sid but I just feel that Uncle Toni has come too close to Roger’s 17 to stop now. They will do anything to get to that number or surpass it. I doubt that tennis authorities will ever expose one of their cash cow, Dull has millions of fans who think he’s a humble warrior. It’s just sad times for tennis, guess we’re paying the price for becoming mainstream sport.

      6. Gargantouas, thanks for the link! It’s exactly what I envisaged, that the passport will take time to kick in as it relies on history. This should at least slow down, if not completely stop cheaters like Nadal.

        The randomness of the test should make it more effective. The question is, will this top athletes comply to random tests? Nadal has already stated that players like him are above the rules. We’ll see.

      7. Question about the whole passport thing – if its effectiveness is based on variation from a norm, then if a person is already doping, isn’t the norm distorted? So that additional doping would just look like staying the same?

        Obviously I don’t have a huge understanding of the whole thing, & I don’t really want to get into mud-slinging; but I WOULD like understand this in principle!

      8. BP is already fully operational according to that article. I thought they started taking the first samples to form the baseline about a year ago, which I thought might have explained a few odd results.
        Thinker: I thought it was variations from an individual’s norm? I guess that if you’re doping it means you’ve either got to keep on doping at the same level, and run the risk of being caught by increased testing, or reduce or stop all together, with presumably some effect on your performance.

      9. From what I read in that link posted earlier, it’s not fully operational. It should be though by September.

        The question of baselining the passport is very interesting. One of the issues I see with this approach is the timing, and frequency of the samples to ensure the passport is kosher. If they allow athletes to submit sample at their convenience, it won’t work. They could very easily to with a dumbed down passport, then appear for tests only when they are not doping. In case of Nadal’s his mysterious periods of absence, that is, the times when he really needs to doctors, or when he is going through a phase of doping down cycle.

        At least six tests must be conducted per athlete, at the time chosen by those who run the tests. Or it will simply end up being a gimmick.

    2. Honestly Sid, I don’t have hope for Djokovic anymore at RG. He had a very very good opportunity to slay the dragon but threw it away. Novak is mentally fragile in recent slam finals now, a bit worrying. This loss is going to hurt him for sure- I don’t know if Djoker will ever beat Nadal at RG…

      1. Hey Alysha, what I thought was weird was that Nole was looking at his box over and over again for long periods of time. Like he didn’t know what else to do. Congrats to Rafa. So, now that that is out of the way, we have to be honest: Nole played great, but he has himself to blame, just like Roger for losing to Gulbis. 2nd and 4th set, if Nole have kept his own game….

        Wow, shouldn’t all Roger fans be very grateful to Soderling? If it wasn’t for him Rafa would have the Career Slam (and Olympic Gold) and Roger would not have had the Career Slam….

      2. Novak is making the same mistake Roger made, over and over again. Critics say that to considered truly great, a clay title is necessary. I don’t believe it’s necessary. Anyways, Novak, just like Roger, has taken the bait, and continues to lose to Nadal on that surface. The mental and emotional scars have kept building up over 14 losses.

        This is what Nadal does best. He lures you into playing him on his favorite surface. And he will play you on your favorite surface, whenever he wants to, whenever he feels ready. Very few people understand this strategy.

        All the effort Roger put into winning clay titles was laid waste. You will say, “He did get rewared. He did win RG”. Yes, but only when Nadal’s level was “down”, and he was slayed by Solderling. Novak should not have taken the “Rome bait”. It left him with not needing to find any more answers, and gave Nadal an opportunity to gauge his game before RG. Uncle Tony is too cunning to throw and plays at Novak before RG. It’s called slow playing your hand. The Nadal’s care more about RG than a Rome 1000. We all know what happened.

        I will go further and say that if Novak had not played Nadal at Rome, he would’ve had a much better chance today. He needs to avoid Nadal on clay as much as possible and focus instead on hard courts where he owns the H2H against Nadal, and grass, where he can easily stop the Spanish doper.

      3. Sid, I definitely agree with what your saying re nadal and djoker on clay- the mental scars are starting to build up now. It already had an impact on him in other slam matches and will continue to most likely. I honestly believe Novak’s best chance to beat Rafa at the FO was in 2011.Even last year, had he not touched that net, would’ve been a fine chance he won it.

        I know a lot of people will blame Novak’s physical condition as to why he couldn’t maintain any consistency in the match but I’m not buying it. Also I don’t think needing this title makes you finally accomplish greatness. Djokovic is a top-tier player who has achieved a lot in his career already but completing the career slam has been twice now by his rivals and winning the French really would solidify his place in history. We all know how much it meant to Roger to finally win RG, even though he didn’t beat Nadal to do it, just winning that title was huge. It probably is the same for Novak now. So many chances, all to be roadblocked by the same guy over and over again.

        We’ll never know what would’ve happened had Nadal and Djokovic not met in Rome but Djokovic had the capacity to take him out yesterday but he like Roger at the French has a sub conscious with Nadal to not be the aggressor and give up.

        Novak yes dominates the rivalry off clay but this is where you must ask the question how much an effect their rivalry on clay has off it? Roger’s H2H with Nadal has been scorned because of his clay history with Nadal- the mental beatings he has gotten with him has and and always will come back to him on ALL surfaces. Tennis is 80% mental, Djoker once again has failed to get Nadal on clay where it actually counts. Sooner or later it’s gonna come back to him in this rivalry on other surfaces and already has. Will see what happens at Wimbledon.

      4. The key fact is playing 5 set matches instead 3. Mental problems come out when you are not able to find solutions. The difference between Rafa and the others is that he always found solutions to keep going and improve. He never gives up. the biggest competitor ever, Le Roi.

      5. The key fact is dope is more effective over a longer [five set] match.

  21. This clay season marked a interesting change of strategy for the Dull camp. Instead of being in beast mode the entire time, he struggled a lot in 500 and 1000 tournaments but miraculously fought off “injuries” and “confidence” issues the right moment to produce his best tennis. He also relied a lot on easy draws to go deep in tournaments (Rosol anyone?). I think this could be their strategy for the years to come, take it easy in non-Slam events and even early rounds of Slams and then QFs and on being in Beast mode. I guess they started implementing this pattern a while ago but never in clay season, probably the human liver has finite capabilities? Hang on tight people, we will see a lot of Dull Slam triumphs sooner or later.

  22. Fantastic article, Alex! Thanks for sharing with us. Your beautifully crafted story allowed me to imagine what it was like for you every step off the way. In fact, my journey isn’t that much different from yours except that I picked up a tennis racquet a year or two before knowing who Roger was, and the way he carries himself on and off the court is what keeps me fixated. As much as I love playing, I’m not sure I could keep up the same drive if it weren’t for him. I had already promised to work hard and play for as long as he does, but once he hangs his racquet up, most likely so will I. That is, until Leo, Lenny, Charlene, and Myla start playing πŸ˜‰

    1. Happy you liked the article πŸ™‚ Thx!!
      Unfortunately I can’t play tennis now (back problem) πŸ™ So bad I started appreciating the sport too late for me to practice…

  23. You guys are so lucky to being able to see Roger play live!! That must be AMAZING! So sad I can’t do that, it sucks not having money ¬¬ It’s kind of my dream to see him play before he retires, but i don’t see that happening. Anywaaay..

    I’m very upset! Yesterday, i was rooting for Halep; today, i was rooting for Nole… Now, they both lost! WTH!! Should i stop rooting for people so they can win? It happens all the time.. LOL!
    Djokovic seemed really tired, it was weird, don’t understand what happened today, i guess it just wasn’t his day..

    1. Hey Claudia, I know what you mean. Was rooting for Halep and Nole, but who wins instead:
      Rafa and Female Rafa. Atleast AO had 2 great, nice and deserving winners πŸ™‚

      1. Sorry Katyani, Silliams is the female Nadal. She dopes, and has a really bad attitude. Plus, she runs into her panic room when a doping official shows up at her door πŸ™‚

      2. Hey Sid, true, Serena is the female Rafa, but man, did Maria disappoint me or what?? What I don’t get (honestly) is the fact that they don’t seem to think they are doing something wrong. She basically took Halep’s chance of beating her and still… she had the nerve to smile !!! I don’t get it. Oke, maybe the moment itself is a rush. But when you are alone with your team and watching the match all over again, didn’t she really not know/see that she was using gamesmenships?? I always felt bad for her that she loses to Serena (for the past 9 years), but now… she deserves it.

        And no Pablo, the only similarity between them is not mental toughness. Rafa and Maria use both gamesmenship and are dishonest and disrespectful to the opponent and to the game.

        But Pablo, what goes around comes around. Rafa tried to use gamesmenship against Stan like he always does against Roger. But Stan saw through him, now more players do the same and are not afraid to say anything about it.

  24. Hey guys, this is not a prediction, so relax πŸ™‚ But an observation. Like all of you I am gutted, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel: Rafa’s on court interview with Barbara Schett. He said 2 or 3 times that he was tired. That if he hadn’t won the 2nd set, it would have been hard for him to win, even in 5. He also said that when Nole broke him in the 4th, he was really really tired. That got me thinking. Tired from what?? Nole beeing tired is understandible. He played longer matches against more difficult opponents. But why was Rafa tired? He had easy first rounds opponents. Won in less that 2 hours each. Ferrer took a set off, but after that set, Rafa won in less that 1,5 hours. Andy’s match was his easiest, in 1 hour 40 min. So why was he so tired?? And I believe him. He was not acting or something. He did bend over a couple of times because his back hurt and he was tired.
    THIS Rafa will not win a lot this year, unless he takes a couple of months off to recover.
    I mean come on, he had the easiest road to the final and still…. he was tired??

    THIS Rafa won’t win GS, unless he takes months off to recover. And even if he did that, who would believe another injurybreak? He is stuck, in his own webb.

    1. Would love to know what he said so secretly to the Great Uncle Toni when he hugged him… Something like: Get me out of Halle??

    2. I don’t believe what Rafa said. The guy is a physical and mental machine. Had he gone down two sets to love, there is no doubt in my mind he would’ve had it in him to push it to 5 and even win the whole thing. This match exposed the mental fragility of Djokovic in slam finals, seems as the guy is cursed since winning his last slam in 2013. What Nadal is saying about him being tired is a load of absolute garbage IMO- He hasn’t even played that much of a full clay season and he got an easy ass draw compared to Novak. He got let away easy by Murray and Novak gave him many opportunities in that final, so I cannot see where his reasoning lies (like most times). Had Nadal lost to Novak, his back would’ve been an excuse just like it was in Australia. Hoping he gets booted out in Wimbledon early once again.

      1. Normally I wouldn’t believe him too Alysha, but he sounded sincere….. Oh yeah, he also made a joke at the end πŸ™‚

      2. He was death, sames as Novak. I wouldn’t call playing at the SF of a Slam against Gulbis a tough draw haha.

      3. I never said that Djokovic had a tough draw- I said in comparison, Rafa had an easier path. In fact I’m pretty sure Sharapova spent close to or more amount of time on court than Rafa? Either way I don’t understand why these two guys were so tired coming into this match, they’ve had it far worse before.

      4. The conditions of the match were tough, close to 30 degrees and a lot of humidity. Plus they always push each other to the limit and the pressure they had.

      5. Still don’t buy it Pablo. They play in hotter conditions in Aus and this match was only 3.5 hours over 4 sets? This was by far one of the worst matches they’ve played. The intensity only came in patches and Novak pretty much summed the match up twice: once when threw up and second when he double faulted on match point. Actually he summed up this year’s FO.

      6. No, I did think the tiredness thing was odd, too – but I tend to believe him on this one. Maybe there’s a different type of tiredness from *not* being pushed hard and having a stroll through, perhaps followed by having a tough fight when you’re not so mentally prepared for it.

      7. Nadal is already practicing on the grass, so I don’t think he was death by any means. Maybe he was mentally exhausted because of the loss in Australia but that’s it. Nadal is fine. And looks like he’s going to Hale so go figure…

  25. Alex, I was wondering where you had got to and how your day at RG went! Beautifully written, almost poetic – thanks so much for sharing it with us. SO pleased you got to see Roger if only for a few minutes!

    I confess I’ve been thinking about trying to make Cincinnati, which is not impossible for me, though a stretch…

    1. I would watch Roger play live anytime πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I was so happy writing the article so I’m really pleased you like it πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
      I love writing and I love Roger and what a better place to share it of not with the people who love him as much πŸ˜‰

  26. Well this French Open BLEW. Disappointing effort from Novak there after looking strong in that first set, first serve dropped out of nowhere and Dull took advantage of all his missed opportunities. Sad to say but it’s looking like Rafa is well in reach now of the 17 and really there is a slight chance Fed even adds to that tally.

    The question is if Novak will ever win the FO, this is gonna hurt him big time. Rolly G gonna be what Wimbledon is to Lendl for the Djoker? So many chances now. Might need a year like 09 where Dull gets kicked out early to get the career slam in the bag. All I can hope for is that the early loss at the French for Fed was a blessing in disguise and he got some critical extra time for grass season. Really think he can do some damage here with Stefan at his side.

    Also RE Alex: Touching story, it’s quite a remarkable thing to see Fed live- the amount of impact he has on people is really incredible to witness.

    1. Roger made a tennis fan out of me πŸ™‚ a,d I’m sure of many more people πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
      He really is a Legend!!

      1. Noop, trust me, Rafa is not getting to 17. He might get lucky and get to 15, but not 17.
        Rafa’s draw at RG was (no offence to the players) a joke, easy peasy. But… we didn’t expect it to be. Can we honestly say that Roger will not have once such a draw??
        I don’t understand this: If Rafa has the ability to get to 17 or 20 slams…. is it so hard to believe that Roger can get 1 or 2 slams more in like the remaining 10 slams???

        Believe people. Faith in the Goat. The Beast is getting really really tired and this time he confessed it himself. You guys honestly think he will win Wimby???

        Faith in the Goat dudes πŸ™‚

      2. Katyani I think it’s time we start accepting the fact that Rafa’s career will end up equalling or surpassing Roger’s. The guy is still 28 and could very well be a force on the clay courts up until his early 30s. I probably don’t see him winning Wimbledon or the US Open again but the courts in Australia and RG give him chances every time. There’s a good chance he gets 3 slams by the end of next year or the year after that. if so kudos to him, not much you can do about that except give the respect deserved.

        Roger on the other hand. Realistically will he ever win a slam again? who knows. Not impossible but the problem is as he’s been getting older his consistency is not constant. Roger is a player who relies on momentum especially at the slams. His window is really closing now in a way- would be incredibly special if he gets an 18th slam but don’t keep your expectations too high. Now with Stefan, I think it’s now or never for Roger to get another slam. Hoping they have something in store for us this Wimbledon but I worry about Roger mentally these days- seems everyone is a threat on the court.

      3. I have question marks about how Rafa can play on Wimbledon next years due to his knee but I’m sure he will be a force on the USO. His performance last year was unbelievable, probably his highest level ever. Unbeatable

      4. No Alysha, I respectfully disagree. I am now at work just reading your comment and I will reply to you why I disagree, just cannot do it now, but I will πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  27. Sorry Roger, now you have to hear JMac, Agassi and company again falling all over each other to be the first to say that Rafa is the Goat. Sorry dude. Atleast you know now, Nole is just like you… human.

      1. So, even Pablo admits that Nadal is not human. That would explain a lot πŸ™‚

  28. Dull’s luck was monstruous again. A baby cry provoked a DF for Djoko to lose his serve (and the set) in the second.
    He served first every set but the 1st (which he lost).
    The weather helped him a lot. One could feel Djoko was taking the advantage at the end of the match with the weather cooling down, but his serving second cost him. The sun really made him suffer today.

    Another pathetic day for tennis. Onto real tennis in Wimbledon, where we will spared Dull’s disgraceful “tennis” as soon as the 2nd round max.

    1. It was unfortunate for Djoker but you gotta be able to handle the crowd. After all I can cope with dog walkers walking in my eyeline when break point down πŸ™‚

    2. I’m amazed they allow babies onto the show courts. They’re specifically prohibited at Wimbledon.

      1. Well, they’ve allowed a cry baby to play at Wimbledon all this time, so why not regular babies? πŸ™‚

  29. Hi Alex,
    Nice story about finding love for Roger and Tennis. Good post. Thumbs up : )
    Anyway back to French Open 2014.
    I knew all the hype surrounding Novak to win this one is all went in garbage eventually. I feel awful. Sad for Novak that he had no clue what was going on in the last three set. And it was worst way of ending the match – Double fault. Wooow, he lost the same way in 2012 French Open final.
    This reminds me the similar story of Andy winning his first Wimbledon in 2012 against so called old Roger Federer. What happened? Both Andy and Novak lost their matches after winning their first set respectively against the world’s best grass and clay court player of all time.
    It was awful match to watch. I don’t see any fight, not so technical and certainly not beautiful match to watch. Pathetic from start to finish. Thank god the clay is over. Now just do it on grass : )

    1. Thx PhantomTheGhostWhoWalks πŸ™‚

      The grass season has finally begun πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Finally some beautiful tennis πŸ˜‰

      1. Yes, nice to see them playing on the right-colour surface at last. Much easier on the eye. Even if centre court at Queen’s does look a bit like a carpet at the moment.

      1. Yeah it’s obvious Nadal is! Come on! Haven’t you seen his record on grass?? He is ahead (by a hair’s width) of stakhovsky. What an Achievement!

      2. Pablo, I hope you aren’t dragging Nadal in the best grass court player discussion! A player who loses before the 3rd round two consecutive years in his prime is immediately disqualified! If Federer loses before 3rd this year again, he can remain as GOAT grass court player as his age permits him to reach consistent results!

      1. Hi Pablo,

        You are absolutely right.
        Tiger wood is the greatest grass court player

        Totally agree with u dude.

      2. Hahaha not even uncle Toni would say that. Nadal a great grass court player? You are truly a cave troll of Lord of the Rings caliber.

  30. LOL, everywhere I see Dopal fans are making him favorites for remaining slams this year.
    The worst thing is, they are started claiming that he will beat Fed’s 17 slams record by next year French Open 2015 !!!

    : )

    But they forgot one big thing is that Fed can and will win one or two slams by end of his career.

    #17 and continue …

    I don’t care what Federer wins from now on but all I care for his Wimbledon #8 and US Open #6.

    1. Very optimistic. The USO is gonna be imposible for him (Nadal-Nole land) and I don’t think he can win W but we
      will see, defenitely he has more hopes on it.

      1. Well Pablo, we will see how nadal will defend his hard court title. Poor guy has never done it in his entire life. Shame, never defended title on grass and hard court. first pray that he will reach quarter final in Wimbledon and then we will talk about whether he is great on grass or not? fYR, clay is clay, don’t mix with grass.

      2. You should rewatch some highlights of the W2008 Final. You might have forgotten sth. πŸ™‚

      3. Conal, that video can be dismissed as not having an enough sample size for the comparison. Regardless, the surface/soil as Wimbledon has been made tougher so it withstands the tournament especially with equipment getting powerful and rallies lasting much longer. That completely changes the characteristics. The skid goes away, and the bounce become much higher. That’s not how grass is supposed to be. They are doing it simply to extend the life of the surface and in doing so, they are turning it into a clay court.

        While grass is still different in behavior compared to clay and hard courts (the last two are fairly similar these days), it’s not the same as it was in the past. That’s where the question of variety comes in. You’ve got to have at least one slam on a super fast surface that significantly skids the ball. Roger should’ve been on 9 Wimbledons by now.

  31. After the Edberg era I stopped following tennis. But when I first Watched Roger played at AO 2003 though I can’t remember who Roger was up against I was hooked, line and sinker! So when I migrated down under in 2008 my first agenda is to watch Roger play LIVE! And I did in Jan 2009 against Thomas Berdych which he won after being 2 sets down! Then again in jan 2013 and got a picture of myself with Roger at the background! Probably my one and only picture with Roger in it!

    1. Careful, Anewor. The Edberg era tennis was, “not even tennis”, according to Nadal.

      According to Nadal and Aunt Toni, tennis should be a game where skills shouldn’t matter. The only things that matter are endurance, long rallies, courts that don’t hurt the knees, dope, gamesmanship, grunting, blaming the ATP for not being able to win certain titles, and for the long tennis season with utter disregard for hte fact that the not so great players also need to win money for a living, dope, supporting two year ranking systems so that the top player can stay on top longer, bumping into opponents, abusing rules to take extra time during serves, blaming injury when an opponent soundly beats you at a slam final, opposing strict doping regimens, refusing to take doping tests, threatening to withdraw from certain tournaments because the surface suits a particular opponent more, blaming the crazy wind for a loss, looking up for illegal coaching and blaming the ATP for calling illegal coaching as illegal, and last but not the least, doping.

      That’s tennis! πŸ™‚

  32. Hello everybody,
    Nadal just posted a pic on Facebook with him training on grass after RG. I think it was in Hall so there is a very good chance he is participating after all. And when I think he said he was tired and had an acking back after the final… What a joke

    1. I’m pretty sure Dull would play in Halle, just to psych Roger out if nothing else. Hope Roger can play well and win Halle to set the tone for the big one.

  33. Hi Alex

    Great write up and I know exactly how you felt when you saw him – everything he does is so effortless I have watched and loved tennis for a long time I remember seeing Borg play at Wimbledon against Roger Taylor he and Fed are my favourite players of all time (although Fed is definitely my most favourite) so glad you got to see him be it only for a short time – it’s better than never seeing him play live at all (Have managed to see him twice and both matches lasted just over the hour (I would have liked him to be on court all day) but I was on cloud 9 after both games –

    1. I couldn’t stop smiling the whole evening too πŸ™‚ easily one of 2014 best days for me πŸ™‚
      Thanks Trudi!!

  34. Halle looks like such a cute little tournament to go to. Has anyone been? A great place to see all the players. I guess Nadal figured he better show up since he pulled out last year. All the best for Roger. Singles and doubles on Wed?

      1. Hmm, Sid’s post of June 9, 2014 at 1:03 am has started getting me paranoid. Does it apply to grass, too? If so, then maybe we should think twice about Fedal …

      2. Does it apply to grass? Why not? Call me paranoid, but that’s exactly what Nadal does.

        After Novak completed a string of 7 wins vs Nadal at AO2012 guess what happened next. From that point, starting January 2012, until Montreal in 2013, a period of roughly 18 months, Nadal played Djokovic five times, on clay, including twice at RG, and won all of those matches.

        It was then followed by hard court wins at Montreal, and the USO. Once Djokovic found his bearings, he went on a 3-0 hard court run, including the WTF, and made it 4-0 at Rome.

        Roger will do himself no favors, even if he were to beat Nadal in the Halle final, that is, if it comes to that. And perchance, if they were to meet again at Wimbledon, Roger would be a sitting duck.

        What Nadal is doing is not wrong. It’s called strategy, to build a great H2H, and preserve himself to win the big titles. The likes of Roger, who played virtually all the time, and Novak, have taken the bait, again, and again, and again.

        If Nadal had played “injury free and hadn’t required frequent doctor visits”, his H2H against Roger would have been very even, and Novak would actually have had a winning record against him.

      1. me too.. But somewhere deep down I want Roger to get some wins & improve the H2H somewhat! But head says no…!

      1. Remember the surface used for the third exhibition match between Roger and Pete in 2007? It was like a basketball court and heavily favored Pete. Man, the ball used to just zing on it. We need a couple of Masters, and at least one slam on that kind of surface.

        Here’s the link to one of those parts. Absolutely enjoyable!

        Of course, the Nadal’s would say, “To us, that is not tennis” πŸ™‚

  35. My goodness! I’ve just seen Roger’s Toronto/Cincinnati outfit and – I LIKE it! I’ve been wanting him to go back to this cool green for ages, & I love using the darker color from the same color family on trim and shorts, and – I want him to use this for way more than 2 tournaments! Heck, I want to run out & buy it myself, & I’m the wrong gender!

  36. Who wants a wet wimbledon, I do… Roger under the roof especially against the top 4 is unplayable.. I just hope it somehow rains and the matches are played under the roof.. If it is a dry summer in London then we might see Djokovic or Nadull winning again..

  37. hey guys…been following this blog for a REALLY long time, since Fed lost to the djoker in USO 2011
    finally got the courage to comment
    I know the basics of the blog fairy tale, like Sid and Jon as the dark knights, simon, katyani, thegreekgambler, gaurav, and others making up the bulk of the army, all led by SuperFedMan (Roger) defeating the evil but comical dragon Pablo πŸ˜€

    @Thinker … where was the link to his outfit? I couldn’t find it

    1. oh, and btw, my top five roger outfits are : USO 2007DarthFed; French2009; IW 2011; AO 2009, and the best one…RG 2011

      1. Thanks, Jonathan. You’d think the shirt trim and shorts would be the same colour but not. I think it will look good on Roger though. Better that FO 2014!

  38. Is agassi on meth again??Q: You recently said that Rafael Nadal was the No. 1 player in the history of tennis, Federer before, because of the quality opponents who made him and face. L’Equipe conducted a survey of 16,500 users whether they agreed with you, they said no to 61%. How do you explain that?
    That does not surprise me. It is natural to think that that was the world number one for the longest (302 weeks in this case for Federer, considered by many as being the best player in history, ed), record for grand slams ( 17, note), is the best. But it is nowhere written in the history of the sport’s greatest player must meet this definition. Rod Laver won four Grand Slams in the same year, in 1962 and another four in 1969, and eleven in all charts. Roy Emerson won twelve from 1963 to 1968. Nobody thinks as far as Emerson is better than Laver. Then Pete Sampras broke the record of Emerson (with 14 grand slam titles, ed) and told him that it was the greatest. Even knowing that he never won once at Roland Garros. Is it better than Borg who won six times in Paris, and 5 Wimbledon?

    What Roger does is amazing. But Nadal, he did something that I thought impossible for him. He dominated Roger on any surface, perhaps less in indoor, beat him 23 times out of 33 games, including 6 of 8 Finals Grand Slams, it’s about. These statistics are comparable to those that I had to face Sampras (20-14 for Sampras, ed.) And there was never any discussion about knowing who was the number one of us. He beat me in all the great moments. Users can say what they want …

    Q: Maybe because Roger Federer has all shots in tennis racket, it is stylish …?
    People see Federer actually a player class, top in all compartments of the game moves very well, he is able to beat players from the baseline, coming to the net … When you look at Nadal, he beats all players on a single way. And it has one of the best hands in history. When playing forward, tell me the last time you saw him miss a flight? Never or almost. Spectators enjoy watching Federer play, he almost effortlessly slice, soft, short strokes, deep, touching, amortized Nadal knows … But also do! It may even counteract a damped by another, no problem. Only the first service Federer is better than Nadal. The second ball moves a lot of the latter, it is difficult to be aggressive on it.

    See also his Olympic gold medal, four Davis Cup, its dominance in direct confrontation with other players in the top 100. It lacks the Masters, yet. On his best surface, grass, Federer is seven wins in Grand Slam (Wimbledon, ed), Nadal on clay is nine (Roland Garros, ed.) And that during the reign of Federer! All persons should think about this before saying that Federer is the greatest player in history.

    1. Wow. I lost all respect for Agassi when he mocked Sampras for not giving tips in the Haiti exhibition.

      1. I saw that on Youtube I think. That was a really horrible thing to say. But then again, those are the kind of fans that Nadal has πŸ™‚

  39. Very nice write up indeed Alex. Very nice of you to share with us the way you first got interested in watching tennis.
    I couldn’t help it though and I got stuck with this French man with his little girl you met. I mean I was thinking about Disneyland but then wouldn’t it be far better if I took my daughters to Wimbledon instead ? that would be something they would never forget.
    Especially my older daughter, she is now seven she loves to play tennis and anything else that involves rackets and balls. I had the chance to watch her practice a couple of times and she s developing lovely strokes with complete openings and follow through.
    Unlike her useless dad, poking and slicing the balls trying to get away with a few points to win his even worse tennis partners πŸ™

    Anyway concerning Wimbledon and Fed don’t you all get too carried away. I also have a good feeling but its better not too raise your hopes too much don’t take anything for granted and just take it as it comes.
    Roger can win the trophy or can even only make it to the quarters. You never know. And that’s the beauty of the sport.

    Last but not least, Rita get well soon. I m sure you will .And as Katyani said you should watch Roger and follow the blog and that will make you feel better πŸ™‚

      1. True.

        Disneyland beats Wimby only if you are under 6 .
        Then its always Wimbledon.

        What happened to projected R-R final? (Raonic- Roger)
        I guess it wont be on for 2014 πŸ™‚

        Btw my daughter says Raonic kinda looks like a mouse . Milos Mouse lol

    1. Went to Disney on the following Saturday. If I were to re-do it I would buy tickets for another tennis day πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰
      So Wimbledon without hesitation πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ better than hours queuing for attractions you end up disappointed by…

  40. For me, unless I win the lottery, I’ll have to visit Disneyland again.
    Did you guys see the turn out for Roger’s practice today on court 1. The place was packed, more people than the matches at Queens!

    1. Hey Sue, when I saw that picture I thought they were joking and that it was an actual match…. until I saw Roger play there in his “practise”-outfit πŸ™‚ What a turnup πŸ™‚ Stefan is also there right? Hope Roger won’t be too tired from playing all these matches….

  41. Are you kidding me!!?

    A set that should have been 6-2, is lost 6-7. The return game woes!!! So frustrating.

      1. Seams his sorting things out now, so no worries .

        Smelled a bit bad after 0/7 bp and a set down

      2. I guess its just tough to switch from dirt to grass. Takes a litle time.

        I mean look at what happened to Drownich πŸ™‚

  42. Maybe Roger peaked at Dubai.


    I for one (and probably the only one) am not worried about Roger being a bit out of sorts right now. I’d rather have him go through this at Halle and hopefully do all the work and worrying here – come up with some strategies with his team now – than go to SW19 without having confronted the “older guy kinks” he is more and more familiar with.

    And on Uncle Toni and his nephew: Nadal wants SW19 bad. He’s at Halle two days after RG to get used to grass fast and ensure something different happens for him than in ’12 and ’13. At 28 he knows time (and the last two years) are not on his side. It’s now or never to push on the gas and catch Roger. I am afraid. We talk about his dominance on clay and lack (relative to Rog) of wins elsewhere. But before 2012 was anyone besides Roger as dominant at Wimbledon for 6 years straight than Rafa? He’s no push over on grass that’s for sure.

    But here’s hoping for a repeat of Wimbledon 2012 for Rafa and Roger respectively.

  43. Nadal loses the first set to Brown. What inspired returning from the guy. It’s even better than watching Djokovic pulverise the Nadal serve on a hard court.

  44. Is ANYBODY seeing this. I switched on the Nadal Brown match at 4-5, Nadal serving to stay in the set. It’s 3-0 in the second set and I have to say, these 4 games have been THE MOST ENTERTAINING 4 games I have EVER seen. The last time I saw Nadal get humiliated like this was against Tsonga in the 2008 Australian Open semis.

    Brown, where have you been?? I wonder if he can maintain this to close it out.

    1. A set and 5-0 to Dustin Brown. And the crowd is LOVING this. You would never see this kind of reaction from the crowd anywhere in the world if it was Federer losing like this. The crowd are COMPLETELY behind Brown. One game to go.

      1. Wowza. Although to be fair, since I didn’t really even expect Rafa to make the trip after how wiped he looked in the RG final, I suppose I have to give him credit for showing up. I’m only seeing scores though, so…. from your comments, was Dustin really playing that well, or did Rafa fold?

      2. And Brown does it. 6-4 6-1. Here you have it. The French Open, world number 1 in his prime getting beaten in the first round to a guy ranked 85.

        Just goes to show what Nadal might have achieved (not) if all the courts in the world hadn’t been slwed down to clay speeds.

      3. Thinker, think back to the Tsonga- Nadal 2008 semis, Australian Open. This was a blowout. Brown made Djokovic’s returns seem tame in comparison. He played as fearlessly as anyone Ive ever seen. Serve and volley, drops and lobs, aces, return winners. He had it all. Best match I’ve seen all year. No doubt. At least the most entertaining by far. Every shot was for the highlight reel.

      4. WOOWW That was such a joy to watch! Pure agressive tennis!
        “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true tennis”
        ohh fast courts…

  45. Nadal is out of Halle in straights!

    …I suspect a Rafa Toni evil plan/conspiracy to lull Murray/Nole/Fed and the whole SW19 field into a trap of confused expectations.

    1. Ah, so that’s what it is. It’s all of Rafa’s fiendish plan πŸ™‚ Although Halle is faster than Wimbledon, isn’t it, so I wouldn’t pay too much attention. And Brown *is* German, of course. The organisers must be tearing their hair out by now: Roger, you’d better stay in – this tournament is turning into enough of a joke as it is. (And Queen’s is doing … interestingly … too. Really didn’t expect Andy to get SS-d.)

      1. Yeah.

        Rafa-Toni Fiendish Plan Conspiracy Theories (RTFPCT) protect me from massive disappointment when/if Rafa runs through the field at Wimby with a “sore back and bad knees”.

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