Match report

Novak Djokovic ©
5/21/12 1 2 Tot
rs  Novak Djokovic 5 3 0
es  Rafael Nadal 7 6 2
Rafael Nadal ©
  • Nadal takes Rome title over Djokovic

    5/21/12 3:13 PM | Cheryl Murray
    Rafael Nadal won his second straight match against Novak Djokovic, with the Spaniard capturing his third clay court title in four tournaments.

    Rafael Nadal has firmly regained the title of King of Clay with another straight-set victory over arch-rival Novak Djokovic.

    Nadal lost in Rome finals last year to Djokovic but returned the favor this year, and with the win secures the world No. 2 spot back from Roger Federer.

    The first set was slightly scratchy from both players. Nadal secured the first break of serve in a game where Djokovic badly botched an overhead that he sent directly in front of him without even touching the net. Djokovic got an immediate break back on a shaky service game from the Spaniard, with Nadal sending a weak forehand into the net on break point.

    Nadal finally got a second break of serve from the world No. 1 as Djokovic served at 5-5 to do his part to force a tiebreaker and Nadal served out the set, winning his second set point.

    Nadal carried the momentum into the second set, kicking things off with an immediate break of the Djokovic serve. The Serb was uncharacteristically sloppy though the second set, donating another botched overhead to the Nadal cause along the way.

    Nadal earned himself his first match points on Djokovic's serve at 3-5; the No. 1 seed literally gave away match point with a double-fault.

    The win assures Nadal the No. 2 seed at Roland Garros and a spot opposite Djokovic in the draw.

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I was unable to watch this match, but honestly, I thought Djokovic was going to take it (before it started). Obviously Nadal had something to say about it! lol Impressive "WIN" by Nadal! Congrats to Nadal, and fans. :)

sky , 5/21/12 3:44 PM

I see what Cheryl is doing with the picture here.....the last time she got a prediction right was in Monte-Carlo!!!

RickyDimon , 5/21/12 4:00 PM

Yeah!!!.............could not have started my day better!!!

By the way.......isnt today Novak's birthday?!!!

Monalysa , 5/21/12 4:05 PM

Now go to RG and make it a clean sweep of the RED DIRT!!!!!

Writing records in the red dirt left, right and centre.......................

Vamos Rafa!!!!!!!

rafaisthebest , 5/21/12 4:12 PM

Everything's right in the tennis world again ;)

smr , 5/21/12 4:13 PM

@Monalysa , 5/21/12 4:05 PM
no, Novak's birthday is tomorow 22

sisuphos , 5/21/12 4:22 PM

Oh, Okay.............thanks!!!!

Monalysa , 5/21/12 4:30 PM

Sky = class

Man you guys have some pretty high standards.

Yes a lot of unforced errors but has to do with the players on the other side of the net. Fedexal said it very sell on another thread. These two just realize how much they have to go for and high margin tennis won't get the job done. A lot of errors came after long rallies when energy is dropping.

There were many fine rallies and winners. Nole did dump numerous shots into the net but a lot of them were after he was getting worn down. Rafa's serve pct was low in the first set as he was tight against the best ros in the game but he righted the ship in the second set. Must have been up at around 70% in the 2nd. Much better match than Nole muzz final.

As such, combined with the MC win over Nole making it 2-0 on clay this year, this is indeed a statement win and I'm sure both Nole and Rafa see it that way. It was important for rafa's confidence heading into next week.

Great to see these two back in the 1 and 2 positions again (even if I'd like the positions switched).

Commies to Nole fans and Vamos rafans!!!

On to RG!!!

agfmilos , 5/21/12 4:52 PM

And I feel once you watch the match over again you will see that they did not play THAT badly and you will understand the UFE count.

Monalysa , 5/21/12 4:59 PM

As Rafa said after MC, it was important to stop that bad (his word, not mine) losing streak. Nole had an insane 2011, he was untouchable. Rafa said it was unsustainable and he was right.

Still, we haven't seen the last of the battles between these 2's like an arm-wrestling contest.................I love it!

rafaisthebest , 5/21/12 5:03 PM

Congrats to Rafa and his fans :)
Commies to Nole and his fans especially zare and danica :(
Nole down a notch from last year. Rafa up a notch? Lucky?
Am sure these two will meet at RG, gonna be very exciting :) Which one will be "cruising for a bruising"?.....;)

deuce , 5/21/12 5:09 PM

Also zare, danica, sabs, Bharata, need more posters like you. True class. #respect

Hopefully, hawkeye can take a well deserved break for a while with all of the trolls under their rocks nursing their wounds!!!

Vamos Rafa!!!!!!!!!!!!

agfmilos , 5/21/12 5:16 PM

As far as I am concerned, no contest between Rafa and Nole has ever been a foregone conclusion. Rafa generally got the better of Nole for years and Nole got his own back last year, now Rafa is on track again.

This is more of a rivalry that that between Rafa and Roger because you just never know who will win, it's always been like that.

Onwards we go to RG where I hope Rafa will kick ass.

Vamos Rafa!

nadline , 5/21/12 5:16 PM

As a "neutral" I've got to agree with nadline. The Rafole matches are much more exciting than Fedal, precisely because you just don't know who will win.
If I'm taking a punt I'd say Rafa at RG, Nole at Wimbles, unless young whathisname, no not Fed, can spoil the party.....I wish...;)

deuce , 5/21/12 5:21 PM

This match only proves how important MC final was to both of them...Rafa got his confidence back but more importantly Nole lost his aura of invincibility that he rightly earned in 2011 especially when it comes to facing now it's not surprised that Nole made more UEs than expected but was also expected to see Rafa nervous to some extent...after all those edgy matches they played of course Rafa would end up being nervous and that is where that poor first serve percentage came from...I disagree with most of you saying that this was not a high level match...I think they both played great tennis and errors would only come due to other side playing outstanding tennis and as someone rightly pointed out due to long exhausting rallies...

Great athleticism, fair play and mutual respect showed on court today...true champions they are...

So proud of our Rafa!

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 5/21/12 5:22 PM

Race to London (2012 pts to date):

1 Djokovic, Novak (SRB) 4,920
2 Nadal, Rafael (ESP) 4,750
3 Federer, Roger (SUI) 4,225

Rafa closing in on race for number 1 - will lead points this year with decent margin if he wins RG!!!! VAMOS!!!!

agfmilos , 5/21/12 5:24 PM

for me rafa is the favorite at wimbledon very closely followed by federer. Djokovic is 3rd favorite... rafa is the favorite for RG and nole 2nd favorite..Us openis far away so cant say much but for now may be nole the favorite followed by nadal/federer

vamosrafa , 5/21/12 5:36 PM

I am so happy I cannot stop smiling. Well done our Rafa, I am so proud of you.

Great for us Rafa fans but sorry for Nole fans. There will be many more battles between these two great champions and I hope they will be rivals for a long time to come.

Vamous our Rafa & God bless.

schatz , 5/21/12 5:42 PM

On so many levels, this is why I love this guy:

Q: Last summer you said I know what it is I have to work on but no time and so I'll wait to the off season. Are things now working well this year?
NADAL: I said this when I lose some final and you cannot expect to be perfect and your opponent is not going to be perfect all the time and when you are losing finals like I did last year and one this year you have to control of your emotions when you lose and win and nothing is terrible when you lose and fantastic when you win and you just find the right point and keep working and keep winning and be competitive in every tournament and work every day and accept the lose because this is the game and in this sport you always will lose ? you finish 3rd or 5th or you lose in the semi or the quarter or the finals ? you win only one but it is normal that you lose and be you need to be patient to wait for you moment and I accept my loses and to keep being competitive? And you win a few points and you lost and you lose a match and today I won and this is the difference. You don?t need to find great things ? it is the small things that make difference.

In a nutshell, how to live life. What an example. nterview-Transcripts/Nadal-Final.aspx

agfmilos , 5/21/12 5:44 PM

"You don't need to find great things; it is the small things that make difference." so true DEAR RAFA, so true indeed...

natashao , 5/21/12 5:49 PM

Rafa and Novak will face each other in the final at RG.

Though would love to see Roger or Delpo spoil the party.

abhirf , 5/21/12 5:53 PM

Where is bleck, the rankings guru? Solitudine and chr18 dearn't come out of hiding because it's Rafa's day today; in Rome the skies were blue, the sun was shining and Rafa was biting the same trophy for the 6th time. Yes, the first player to win 3 different titiles 6 times.

Vamos Rafa!

nadline , 5/21/12 5:56 PM

Nadline, plz leave them under the rock where I feel they should stay!!!

Cant wait for RG...............I hope Rafa brings out his best tennis there!!!


Monalysa , 5/21/12 6:06 PM

Don't feed the bears nadline, they'll be back soon enough. Hawkeye needs a rest.


agfmilos , 5/21/12 6:08 PM

Thank you sky for your nice post.

schatz , 5/21/12 6:21 PM

nadline 4 titles >=6 times not 3

MonteCarlo, RG, Rome, Barcelona

sanju , 5/21/12 6:33 PM

Well played by Nadal, he was aggressive with some big inside out forehands and the rest of the time, impenetrable defence. Djokovic made around 40 errors (this does not include 'forced' errors) and seemed to hit the net a lot. But anyway Nadal was going to win this match whatever Djokovic did, especially after he saved all those break points in the 2nd.

Bharata , 5/21/12 6:44 PM

Rafa is the greatest competitor the game of sport has ever seen. He is not the most talented player out there in tennis if we are to take into account players of different eras BUT the passion , dedication, motivation, focus and modesty is second to none.
You can never count Rafa out , some of the retrieving skills he displayed today to me were out of the world. You can never ever count him out...........

Win or lose at RG, Rafa is going to have a great year.

fedexal , 5/21/12 6:51 PM

This is what Rafa teachews us:

1. Respect. For your self, those around you and most importantly, your opponent. This is what standing up to Tiriac was all about, respect for himself. Respect for those around you, he tells it as it is, no bs. Respect for his opponents, i have never heard Rafa say a bad word about any of the other palyers on Tour, EVER.

2. Never give up. It would have been so easy for him to hang his head and give up after those pastings by Nole. He did not. Instead, he went back to the drawing board, put in the hours on the practice courts, to improve. Improve he did, you have to be blind to not see that.

The tide turned in the loss at Oz2012. I saw a different Rafa in that match. then he came in his post Oz2012 presser and he was smiling.....I knew HE WAS BACK!!! In fact, he said in that presser he expected everything to come together during the clay season, beginning with the North American hard court swing...........

Monte Carlo was significant, it confirmed the progress. Those who were blind to the progress chose to emphasise the impact of Nole's unfortunate loss.

People make the mistake of trying to pin the Roger (peRFect) and Nole (machine-like) narrative on Rafa and when that doesn't work (because he is neither!) they dismiss him................

Oh boy.................they do not realise they would have more success (in understanding him) by simply looking at him through the prism of any ordinary person. He has his highs and lows. Plays like a God one time and like a donkey the other. The difference, and why Rafa is the transcendent figure he is, is that he is honest about it and himself.

We have not seen the best of Rafael Nadal. The best is yet to come.

Enjoy this most unique of sportsmen.

rafaisthebest , 5/21/12 7:21 PM

i never really trust Rafa no more when he's playin Djoker based on last seasons mauling at the hands of the serb! but on the last two performances i've been over the moon! its a statement to everybody that the king of clay is back not that he had gone away too far...i'm just saying that last year was the best chance for anybody looking to win RG when nadal's confidence was down and out

but this year he's brimming with confidence and looks unstoppable

on to RG we go...

on a further note its still quite worrying that nadals last trophy outside of clay was way back at the US open 2010

rafakid , 5/21/12 8:10 PM

I would not say its worrying, its bcos of Novak's year last year. Rafa made almost all finals in every tourney that he entered but he was not able to win bcos of Nole. He had a great 2010 and it took its toll in 2011 plus the Novak factor. So I am expecting him to post better results this year on every surface!!! If any one of the top ten tennis players (excl Novak) had a year like Rafa in 2010, they woyld be over the moon!!!

Monalysa , 5/21/12 8:32 PM

**** in 2011 I mean!!!

Monalysa , 5/21/12 8:34 PM

To me, Novak fan, this looked like Rafa got lucky in this one match as Nole was lucky against Rafa for whole 2011. Never saw Novak so based in every attempt to regain control of match... I have even started to sort out happenings to pure luck, sport luck, judges, bumps... This looked like one small man tried to change gods will, and hit the wall on each step... It would be more fun if Novak won first set...

atg , 5/21/12 9:29 PM

I am still having a headache due to the lack of sleep :))). And in fact, I am not sad because Nole lost. I have a feeling he did have the upper hand in that first set, up to that unfortunate call that totally threw him off balance, anyway. In second set, still frustrated, he couldn't capitalize on some great chances he had and miss hits just flew one after another. However, being great champion also means recovering quickly and finding one's composure and mentally, he wasn't able to do that.

Rafa outhit him a lot in the second set. Honestly, some of those rallies were fantastic. I am not sure a lot of players, would be able to sustain such a pace.

Monalysa, I totally agree with you. In fact, I was pointing out the same thing some time ago. Rafa's 2011 season was great. Just consider if Nole had an average year, Rafa would've won most of those tournaments. By anyone's standard, all those finals on different surfaces and titles he won, would be fantastic.

Anyhow, it won't hurt to repeat this on this tread too: congrats to Rafa and his fans for a well deserved victory.
I am really anxious to see what the RG draw would look like :)

danica , 5/21/12 9:35 PM

I don't agree that Nole had the upper hand in the first set at all. Rafa had break points to love in Nole's first service game and Rafa was the first to break serve, even though he conceded his in the next game. Nole had the advantage of serving first that's why Rafa was serving to stay in the first set.

Rafa's serve was off and he was still keeping up with Nole in the first set, just imagine if he was serving better than that, he would probably have taken the first set at first count as he broke Nole twice, and could even have broken him 3 times if he'd converted the break points in the first game.

nadline , 5/21/12 10:04 PM

Nole made 24 UEs in the first set to Rafa's 12, and he made 10 winners to Rafa's 7.

nadline , 5/21/12 10:07 PM

Fair enough Nadline.
This is just my view. I didn't take into consideration who served first. I was looking at the quality of rallies and it looked to me that Nole played better at that stage of the match. Like I said then, nothing could be taken for granted so I wasn't at all surprised (just a bit disappointed) when the set went the other way.

What is encouraging for a Nole fan like me is that he seems to be getting to his form. I am pleased with the season so far. Only that loss to Isner I see as something that should have been different result wise.

danica , 5/21/12 10:50 PM

I think it's unfortunate that some are trying to point to that call in the first set as some sort of game-changer for Novak. This is a guy that has won Grand Slams! You don't get to that stage in your career without having the mental fortitude to shrug of these things, and yet we're supposed to believe it totally rattled him and cost him the set and possibly the match? I'm sorry i can't buy that. I see it as yet another excuse to avoid giving Rafa the credit he deserves. If Nole was rattled enough to lose the set and match because ONE call, then that's on him. I don't believe that, because I believe he is a much stronger player than that. He played badly today, worse than Rafa did and he lost. Simple. There is no shame in admitting that.

storyteller , 5/21/12 11:13 PM

And the worst thing too...............this is not the first time thais has happened!! It has happend to ALL players in tennis.....bad calls unfortunately are part of the game.................occupational hazzard!! I was actually fearful after the call that Rafa would get obliterated by Novak seeing how upset Novak was but he let it get to him.......toof!!! The same thing happemd to Rafa in a previous match in the week.........and look.........he is the Rome Champion!!!!....excuses, excuses, excuses!!!!!

Rafa, well deserved win. Plz rest well, take care of your knees and go kick arse at RG................for you are the KING OF CLAY!!!!!

Monalysa , 5/21/12 11:28 PM

, 5/21/12 10:04 PM

I couldn't agree more...

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 5/21/12 11:40 PM

If you guys read a bit more carefully what I wrote, you wouldn't be writing those posts. Rafa deserved the win. I congratulated him and his fans on more than one occasion. Nole didn't deliver. He usually has a bit of a slump in second set. Against Rafa, you are not allowed a second of a lost focus. Things like those calls do happen, but I also happen to see how frustrated he was from reading his lips. This is not an excuse. I see it as a fact. You don't have to see it the same way. We are all partial towards our preferred players and that's ok. Nole was beaten, Rafa won, end of story.

danica , 5/21/12 11:45 PM

djokovic is not playing great federer gave him the win and if he doesnot improve he has no chance against nadal in RG

isfand , 5/22/12 12:52 AM

Speaking about "lucky".... Fed is the luckiest when he won Madrid recently... so damn lucky...

tettylds , 5/22/12 2:28 AM

there is no lucky federer played better than rest so he won in madrid and nadal played better than rest in rome so he won in rome

isfand , 5/22/12 2:55 AM

I finally came here to share my thoughts and celebrate with my fellow Rafa fans. I kept waking up to see if the match started, if there was any rain delay. I woke up at 4:30 am and my sleepy eyes saw that they were playing. It was still in the first set and was close. Then I went back to sleep and woke up later and saw that Rafa won the first set 7-5 and was in control in the second set. So I went back to sleep. Then I woke up at 5:30 am and there was the trophy ceremony. That's when the tears came.

Then I had to go back to sleep. When I woke up later this morning I sat down and watched my recording of the match. This is a wonderful moment, a great day and a time to be thankful and grateful.

I am so proud of Rafa! This is the "no excuses" win! Finally! No more of it being about the death of Nole's grandfather, just luck, a fluke, whatever. Rafa was the better player today and deserved this win. Nole didn't play his best, but I think that Rafa had something to do with that.

So many thoughts were running through my head as I watched the match. How things seemed to have been turned on their head. Nole was the one who was frustrated and missing shots he would make in his sleep. I have never seen Rafa so calm and filled with steely determination. He didn't even celebrate some of the great shots. No vamos and the leg kick, he was focused and intense throughout.

For all the times I had to read here and elsewhere that Nole had found a way to to beat Rafa and Rafa would never beat him again, for all the naysayers who refused to realize that last year Rafa did not play his best clay court tennis, for all those who gave Rafa grief and endless cheap shots and also his fans, now I can say - I told you so!

I said on this site before the final that there would be no way that Rafa would lose. I knew he would do whatever he had to this time. It's true as ritb said that after this year's tough loss at the AO, it was a different Rafa. He found the answers and knew he could have won the match. Then in MC he showed that he had found answers at AO and implemented his game. But it all got lost in the second guessing.

So now there will be no excuses, no what if's, should have's, could have's. This was Rafa's moment. He should not have been in the position of needing a win in the final to get the #2 ranking back. He should never have lost it, if not for that abominable blue ice skating rink that bedeviled him and Nole and other players. But Rafa rose to the occasion. It wasn't his best tennis. He will be even better at RG. But it was miles better than how he played in last year's Rome final.

It was interesting that Nole was the one to doublefault this time at match point. I found myself thinking back to Rafa doublefaulting to lose the second set at th AO, the times last year when he doublefaulted at crucial times against Nole to lose his serve. It was all turned around. Nole couldn't handle Rafa's shots today. He was the one who seemed out of sorts and frustrated.

For the loss at I/W that started the downward spiral and then Miami and Madrid and Rome and the three losses at slams, for all of that this is such a happy moment for Rafa. Two straight victories after seven losses! The tide has turned.

Take that haters! But then I don't expect to see them here. Funny how they disappear when Rafa comes back triumphant.

Congratulations to Rafa for a great victory, for his courage and determination and for never giving up. A big hug to all my fellow Rafa fans who has stood firm in their support of Rafa in this long journey.

I am still on cloud nine!

Nativenewyorker , 5/22/12 3:32 AM

"Take that haters!"
But who? What haters? This is Rafa's win over Nole not over Roger. I don't think there are Nole's fans (at least, I am sure there's not a lot of them) who despise Rafa. Roger's fans more often than not seem to be hateful towards both Rafa and Nole while Nole's fans usually like Rafa.

danica , 5/22/12 4:12 AM

I do agree that after rewatching the match, I find that it's not a poor quality match. Just because Nole made so many errors doesn't mean it's a poor quality match. After all, a true clay court match is more about working the points, defends well and forcing errors out of your opponents. Who else but the king of clay understands the clay court game better than anyone else and plays a clay court game to win on clay! And that's precisely why we have different surfaces for tennis matches; if we want first strike tennis, then go watch the hard court matches, or matches on slippery blue ice rink.

Rafa defended so well during the match and to be fair I can't say that the defensive Rafa came out to play as he wasn't really defensive all the way. His serve was off because of Nole's good returns, just like Fed's was off when facing Nole at the semifinal. His one main problem was his forehand DTL shots, missing so many of them that he was forced to go CC most of the time. I feel that had his DTL shots worked well, he would have ended the match earlier.

I feel that both were nervous facing each other. Even though Nole has seven straight wins over Rafa, I believe deep down he knows that it's always a battle against Rafa and all his wins don't come easy. He knows he has to be in tip top conditions physically to hang with Rafa and has to be mentally focused throughout a match in order to beat Rafa, not an easy task.

Going forward, both still can improve at their game and still have a few more gears to move up to. I believe if Rafa can serve better, like he did at MC against Nole, with his DTL shots functioning well, and plays close to that level that he plays against Berdych, in other words, he's playing his offensive game with good defence, then he should be near invincible again on clay.

luckystar , 5/22/12 4:13 AM

danica, 5/22/12 4:12 AM,

What on earth could make you think that I meant you or any Nole fan? We all know who goes after Rafa and his fans on this site - some of the rabid Fed fans. That is to whom I was directing that comment. I just wonder why you would think that it has anything to do with you. Nole fans have not been a problem. The few Rafa hating Fed fans are another thing entirely.


I am on complete agreement with you! Those were my thoughts as I watched the match. Defense isn't a bad thing on clay. People who don't understand clay court tennis and the importance of great defense like the rabid Fed fans, will say that it's bad. But the truth is that this is how you get your opponent to make errors and how you force your opponent to keep coming up with one more shot. No one is better than Rafa at great clay court defense and it's a thing of beauty.

I also agree with the dtl forehand shots. Robbie Koenig and Nick Lester were the British commentators on the tennis channel and they pointed out four or five missed ones in that first set. I agree that if Rafa was making that shot, the match could have been over sooner. Very uncharacteristic of him. He has been hitting that shot so well throughout the tournament.

Rafa was moving into the court to close out points, being aggressive when the opportunity arose. He also was hitting his groundstrokes at the baseline or even inside the baseline at many points in the match. He also was the one who went for the winners at times in the rallies. There was a mix of aggressive and defensive tennis, which was nice to see.

I think Nole might have been nervous because he knows that Rafa beat him the last time and has gotten some confidence from the victory. Nole knows better than anyone that Rafa can turn it around, that he is a great champion capable of playing much better than he did last year. So he would have a reason to be nervous. Also, he's not playing at the amazingly high level he was last year. He was the one having trouble hanging with Rafa in those long ralllies.

Of course, both can and will improve. Nole isn't going to go away. He will use this as motivation to get better. Rafa now has real confidence and belief and three titles as he tries to make history by beating Borg's record at RG.

Rafa's serving can be better and that dtl forehand needs to work. We have a lot to look forward to at RG!

Nativenewyorker , 5/22/12 5:06 AM

NNY, what do you think of Rafa's backhand in this match? I have to say, Nole is one formidable opponent for Rafa. Rafa was hitting both his forehand and backhand so well this tournament, his backhand holding up so well against the forehands of all his other opponents. However, once it is Nole across the net, we see Rafa's backhand breaking down after a few exchanges. Rafa has really met his match in Nole. Or maybe because they peak at different times, I thought. Had it be the 2008 Rafa, the matches on clay won't even be that close (even that Hamburg match which went the distance, it's because Rafa was off for a week nursing his blistered foot, Rafa finished off Nole in straight sets at the FO that year, and almost went 7-0 in the third set tiebreak before Nole fought hard to win three points in the end).

Right now, Nole is very close to Rafa on clay, I feel he has the upper hand on hard courts all along. It's funny, I feel that it's on grass that Rafa may have an advantage over Nole, despite his loss to Nole at Wimbledon last year. Nole's game is the least effective on grass, very much because of his movement on grass. He moves well at the baseline, even sliding on grass side to side. It's his movements up the net that's not that good.

Rafa is better than Nole at the net, his aproaches, his reflexes, his positioning and anticipation are all better than Nole's. Rafa really needs his forehand functioning well when playing against Nole, his forehand to forehand strategy against Nole at the AO was one good example, add in his intelligent serving like at MC, his good net game, and I feel one more thing that he needs, ie his DTL backhand to counter Nole's backhand DTL shots. With all these in place, he'll definitely be in a very good position to beat Nole again.

IMO, Fed is very fortunate not to have someone like what Nole is to Rafa, to trouble him during his peak years, other than having a Rafa on clay.

luckystar , 5/22/12 5:57 AM

Isfand, when I said Federer was lucky for Madrid win is much better that what you said that Federer give the win to Nole....

tettylds , 5/22/12 6:46 AM

rafa vs Nole is very close on both clay and hard. Not too sure about grass though. Always boils down to who plays the bigger points better. Rafa was always able to do that in the past except 2011 and 2012 AO. in Rome again, we saw familair scenario of Rafa being mentally tough and playing the big points better

atul1985 , 5/22/12 7:43 AM

Congrats rafa for his win

Really great stuff from rafa

anji123 , 5/22/12 8:12 AM

Hopefully this statement from Delpo puts to rest the constant refrain to explain some fav's losses:

"The courts, I think, is getting faster at all the tournaments, and the ball is changing to play more faster than many years ago," del Potro said in Rome last week. "Also the players are getting more power to play more aggressive." french-open-how-power-hitters-john-isner-fare-french-open

rafaisthebest , 5/22/12 8:43 AM

luckystar, 5/22/12 5:57 AM,

I always thought that Nole was close to Rafa on clay. Remember the 2009 Madrid semifinal? That was a match that Nole could have won. Even he said this loss affected him for a long time. It caused him to lose confidence.

Regarding Rafa's backhand, it just doesn't stand up against Nole. He hits it differently now. It's slower and doesn't have that wicked angle. I think that Nole is strong off both wings and that's why he is a tough matchup for Rafa. Rafa can have a field day going after Fed's backhand and using his backhand to great effect. But Nole is a whole different player.

I actually felt really good about this match. Nole was the one who seemed to get tired in those long rallies or who blinked first. He was the one getting frustrated while Rafa remained calm. Rafa won this match the way he used to win matches against Nole - with mental strength, confidence and will. I agree with atul's comment @ 7:43 am. Rafa brought the goods on the big points. Nole had an error-fest and missed shots he would make in his sleep.

I definitely think that Rafa has the advantage on grass. Even thought he lost in the Wimbledon final, that was more of mental breakdown because he was playing some of his best tennis. Nole is nowhere near the volleyer that Rafa is and doesn't have that great touch at net. I think Rafa's movement on grass is almost as good as his movement on clay.

I agree that Rafa will need his dtl backhand working and better serving. Nole is not going anywhere. This is the new rivalry in men's tennis. I think that Rafa played his best clay court tennis in Rome, but will only get better at RG.

Nativenewyorker , 5/22/12 9:19 AM

I have to admit that Nole's fans on TT are not Rafa haters, I don't know about other sites.

Last year, Rafa did not play well against anyone. I watched his match against Nole in Rome last year and there is a big difference in his level. For some reason, he did not seem at ease with himself and the fact that he made so many finals is testimony to the gap between him and everyone else except Nole.

This year, Nole is having problems even in the early rounds but he seems to raise his game when he meets Rafa. I hope he is not falling into the Muzza trap who thinks he only has to give lip service to lower ranked players and only has to up his game against the top players.

Most top 5 players would have beaten the Roger who played in the SF in Rome because he didn't play well. My secret hope for Nole to beat Roger in the SF and for Rafa to beat Nole in the final came to pass, because had Roger beaten Nole everyone would now be saying it's thanks to Roger that Rafa won the title because Nole would have beaten him in the final.

nadline , 5/22/12 9:46 AM

NNY, great post ! good points about the movement and volleying skills on grass. Also , rafa is able to hit his groundies (esp the BH) and his ROS much more aggressively on grass than on other surfaces. Rafa's slice servesalso become tougher to return on grass , thsi is something murray highlighted in 2008 and it makes sense too. Also, rafa is much more confident on grass than he is on hard courts. One thing that rafa has on grass and novak does not is a good sliced backhand ! it is a very very important shot on grass and apart from nole I have not seen a wimbledon champion without a good sliced backhand . Rafa can use that shot very intelligently on grass to implement his new tactics against nole

And about the backhand, it was only at 60% of its ability yesterday ! I think rafa will hit it more aggresively in RG...his backhand is usually at his aggressive best in slams but I agree about the nole effect on rafa's backhand

vamosrafa , 5/22/12 9:48 AM

@RITB, that is a VERY interesting post !thanks for sharing. So the courts are also getting faster somehow :S the balls are lighter perhaps in many tournaments , babolat balls are an e.g

vamosrafa , 5/22/12 9:53 AM

I think Delpo means the clay court surfaces are getting quicker and not all courts in general. The fact that big servers, big hitters and giants like Isner, Raonic and Delpo himself could serve their way to win matches on clay seems a testament to that. On slower surfaces, their big serves would be less potent.

luckystar , 5/22/12 10:25 AM


I am loving reading your posts, too. You make me think and also bring things to my attention that I had not thought about. I love your analysis of Rafa's strength on grass. It is interesting that he hits his backhand and ROS so much better on the grass. Thanks for bringing up the sliced backhand! Great point! I have admired that shot when I watch him play. Grass is where that shot is so effective and Rafa is smart enough to know that and use it to great effect. I do think that sliced backhand along with his other adjustments, will help him if he does meet Nole at Wimbledon.

I would also agree with your percentage for Rafa's backhand. Sounds about right. I do think we will see Rafa using it more at RG.

These are the discussions that I enjoy! It's nice that the haters are gone. All it took was for Rafa to win another clay court title and take back the #2 ranking. I am still on cloud nind. I don't want to come down!

Nativenewyorker , 5/22/12 10:52 AM

hahaha NNY, I can see how happy and excited you are , you wrote lucky's name instead of mine at the top of your post lol.

Yes, these discussions are great. About rafa's backhand, its a bit of a mystery nowadays. Against berdych and even in the MC final , rafa was changing pace with it so well. The sudden injection of pace on the backhand side makes rafa's backhand such a weapon . I remember hewitt was asked in 2010 to form the 'dream player' and he said for forehand either rafa's or roger's would be perfect and for backhand he picked rafa's ! he said rafa has a very solid backhand.

Rafa's counter attack had great length against berdych and the MC was up and down in the merlbourne final but it was surely off in the final yesterday.the only big CC bomb he hit was at 1-0 40-40 in set 2 and it was so effective.
I hope he strikes it better against nole then next time around

#lucky, yes this is what delpo meant perhaps. The clay courts are getting slightly quicker seemingly, look the results of big hitters and big serves since 2009! soderling, berdych, now raonic !

vamosrafa , 5/22/12 11:23 AM

Great blog:

I especially like this bit:

"Anyone can win when they play perfectly all the time. Today proved that, against Nadal on this clay, playing your best is the only way to win. Djokovic played poorly, especially at the most important moments, but it would be backhanded indeed to pretend Nadal played no part in this. Nadal was far from perfect ? three days ago he vouchsafed us a view of what perfection might look like when he denied a very strong Berdych so much as a set, and today was not like that ? but on this surface his good enough is more than good enough. Djokovic afterwards insisted he didn?t think his opponent had played that well...............

..............Apart from that match against Berdych, Nadal was by no means at his best this week. But when you?re the greatest clay-courter ever to heft a racquet, it hardly matters."

rafaisthebest , 5/22/12 12:04 PM

tettylds well federer did give the win to djokovic he played extremely bad ( i am not saying intentionally ) and i still dont think djokovic can even beat federer in RG at this form to talk of nadal is unquestionable unless he improves and federer won fair and square nadal and djokovic lost their matches and federer won all 5 matches

isfand , 5/22/12 1:23 PM

ritb @7.21am, nadline @10.04pm & NNY @3.32am.

I really enjoyed your posts and agree with most of what you have said. It is great to see that Rafa can bring out such loyalty and emotion in his fans.

I too have not been able to stop smiling since yesterday as I am so happy not only that he won but the way he won. You could see the determination and will to win on Rafa's face during the match yesterday. I feel that we have got our Rafa back and it is wonderful to see him playing such great tennis and with such a positive attitude.

We are all proud and happy for him which is as it should be.

Vamos our Rafa & God bless.

schatz , 5/22/12 2:23 PM

This is the reason I am very dismissive of so-called tennis pundits. One such Eminence, Douglas Perry, wrote a blog just after Rafa's loss to Verdasco in Madrid, a blog titled: "The end of the Rafael Nadal Era". Yesterday, after Rafa's win in Rome this is what he had to say:

"Last week, I was sure Rafael Nadal's dominance on clay was over. Sure, he'll keep winning tournaments, even more French Opens, I said. But the days of clocking Top 10 players 6-1, 6-0 were gone.

I might have to amend that assessment." _returns_to_form_w.html

Okay, Perry is a self-confessed Fedfan, but even then, to publicly write Rafa's professional orbituary................after a loss on THAT "clay"? You have to wonder...........someone pays these people?

rafaisthebest , 5/22/12 3:02 PM

RITB - I'm shocked that he would say that after Madrid, especially considering how well he played on real clay in Monte Carlo. The surface in Madrid was so obviously compromised, most of us were just in tacit agreement that the result there hasn't a whit to do with the rest of the clay season.

cherylmurray , 5/22/12 3:45 PM

Am I so gald that rafa and Novak them what is is like to play on REAL clay! Now more that ever it seems Rafa and Nole were perferctly correct in putting Madrid, this sham of a clay court tourney, at their backs!!!

Monalysa , 5/22/12 3:57 PM

cherylmurray, 5/22/12 3:45 PM

Here is Perry's first blog where he proclaimed the end of the Rafa era post his Madrid loss: el_nadal_er.html

Truth be told, a lot of fans called him out for this and he attempted to clarify his remarks, unconvincingly imo, thus: when_we_tal.html

"I received some blowback from commenters and tweeters yesterday to the headline: "The end of the Rafael Nadal era." Get a grip: it?s one measly loss, said one. Another wondered if I?d had the same reaction about Roger Federer after his shock Key Biscayne loss to Andy Roddick earlier this year.

Well, I stick by that headline....................

Rafa's loss to Fernando Verdasco yesterday in Madrid, coupled with his Madrid and Rome losses last year to Novak Djokovic, do represent the end of the Nadal claycourt era. For half a dozen years, Rafa was truly unbeatable on clay."

Well................he still is, truly unbeatable, duh. But being a Fedfan, Perry had an agenda i.e. to try to convince us that what they laid in Madrid was "clay".....

Convoluted logic, imho.....................

If Rafa had lost early in Rome, or had been neaten by Novak in the final, that would have cemented his argument that Rafa's clay dominance was over.

Now, Perry's tying himself in knots back-tracking.................

I wish fans like Perry, Bodo would stop trying to pass themselves off as objective tennis journos and just admit to what they are...............trolls.

rafaisthebest , 5/22/12 4:26 PM

RITB@12.04, did he really say that? Zare, danica you must get on his case AT ONCE, we can't have him turning into Fed, now can we?.....;)

deuce , 5/22/12 4:27 PM

deuce, 5/22/12 4:27 PM

Nole did say that in his presser but I did not think he meant any disrespect to Rafa because:

1. Rafa agreed with him in his own presser, Rafa said he did not play his best.
2. Anyone who watched the match would agree with that assessment, Novak was not at his best and neither was Rafa!

But was is damning from Novak's point of view, in my opinion, and this is what the author of the article is pointing out: If Novak is conceding that he was beaten by a sub-par Rafa, how can he then turn around and say he is confident going into RG?

rafaisthebest , 5/22/12 4:46 PM

Congratulation Rafa-fans I knew Nadal could win Rome when I saw him playing Berdych, he had it in his eyes. another confidence boost before RG :) congrats again.

I hope I can see my Rog playing Rafa in RG ;)

OnTheRise , 5/22/12 7:25 PM

Why, thank you, OTR, very kind of you...................

Regarding your Rog, well Friday all will be revealed re the draw, then we can judge the chances for a meeting with our Rafa..........

I wish you fav a good tournament..............

rafaisthebest , 5/22/12 7:32 PM

rafaisthebest, 5/22/12 4:46 PM,

You beat me to it! That's exactly what I was going to say. Essentially Nole is saying that Rafa beat him with less than his best. So what does that say about the state of his own game now? He has struggled to find his form this season and now even a subpar Rafa can beat him in straight sets? Or is it his belief that if he was at his best then he would have prevailed?

I just don't get that at all. As far as Rafa, that was not his best but it was good enough. His best was against Berdy. That was his best match for the clay court season. I am sure we will see more of that.

vamosrafa, 5/22/12 11:23 AM,

Maybe I get confused with who I talking with now. I should have addressed it to both you and lucky. I love reading your comments about Rafa's backhand. You have so much knowledge and great perception. I am interested in your thought that Rafa's counterattack had "great length" in the match against Berdy. Could you talk about that a bit more? Are you saying he was hitting his backhand deeper? The thing that lucky and I were talking about is how Rafa's backhand doesn't stand up against Nole. It doesn't trouble him.


That guy is just another biased Fed fan. It's just like Pete Bodo. They aren't even decent tennis journalists. That's something I said to Pete Bodo when I contacted him directly. I spoke about how I have watched tennis all my life and become a student of the game and its history. I reminded him that we never heard this baloney about being a one-dimensional player when Borg was around. His prowess on clay was celebrated and revered. Of course, he also showed that he could master grass. But Rafa has done the same. He may not yet have five titles, but he is sure to get more.

I would never trash Fed's accomplishments. That would be foolish. So I take great exception when any so-called journalist or analyst or expert trashes Rafa. This guy is going to have all kinds of trouble justifying his comment now that Rafa has won Rome for the sixth time. Three titles in the clay court season and it's the end of the Rafa era?

I think Fed is going to have a tough time bumping up against either Nole or Rafa in the semis at RG. The draw will tell us a lot.

Nativenewyorker , 5/22/12 8:37 PM

I expect Federer to be in Nole's half and 3 of Isner, Berdych, Raonic and Delpo in Rafa's half with the 4th popped into Nole's quarter.

Look for a Monday start for Roger and either a Tuesday or Wednesday start for Rafa.

Expect Rafa to face a Nalby, Andujar, or Kevin Anderson type in 1st and/or 2nd round.

Expect Fed to get James Blake or Donald Young or qualies in the 1st couple of rounds and an R32 matchup with Andrew Roddington.

LOL - just having fun.

Conspirator , 5/22/12 9:34 PM

All jokes apart, I think Rafa has had his fair share of the giants in a slam so has Andy Murray it's now Nole's & Fed's turn. All the giants except Dr Ivo will be seeded so they won't pop up until the 3rd round by which time I hope someone would have taken care of them if they end up in Rafa's Qtr.

nadline , 5/22/12 9:47 PM

Isfand, in my opinion when player plays too many UEs does not mean he gives the win, but because of the opponent. I saw Djoko, Nadal, Fed, Murray wins because of the opponents made too many UEs.... so win is a win...

tettylds , 5/23/12 2:25 AM

The key take away from this match for me is that it looked like 2011 never happened. This was Rafa v Novak as it was pre-2011. Both guys having chances, Rafa not serving all that well, Novak making many errors. And in the end, Novak broke down and Rafa kept his nerve and played the big points better. THAT is what was missing from their 2011 encounters. Novak just didn't break down, Rafa did. And Nole didn't lose concentration, Rafa did. People will say it's only one match (discounting MC altogether but fine, let them have that) and it doesn't mean Rafa has "solved" Nole. To that I say, people don't say that don't understand Rafa the player. Once you are out of his head, you are OUT. Just ask Soderling. Rafa will lose to Novak again but it won't be because he has a mental block against him. It'll be because Novak will play better than him on the day. But make no mistake, the days of Nole dominating Rafa match in and match out are over.

rafaisthebest , 5/22/12 3:02 PM

The truth is there are tennis commentators out there who WANT Rafa to fail. Chalk it down to being tired of the same story come clay season, or just good old fashion schadenfreude but there's no getting away from the fact that a lot of people jumped on the Nole train because it was Rafa that was losing. If it had been Federer that Novak was beating so soundly, do we fondly imagine the headlines and analysis would have been the same? Of course not. It's just a fact of tennis life I'm afraid. But these people rushing to write his professional obituary aren't the first, nor will they be the last to do. Rafa has been doubted at every stage of his career. And each time, Rafa proves the doubters wrong. Let the hits keep on coming.

storyteller , 5/23/12 9:00 AM


Great post! I completely agree with you. Don't ask me why some tennis commentators want Rafa to fail, they just do. Bizarre. However, every time they write Rafa's tennis obituary, they make themselves look foolish all over again. I guess we should be used to it by now, but somehow it never gets easy reading their nonsense.

I also loved the quote from ritb that you included. I hadn't read that post, but it was a beautiful one. I also agree with all of it. It is like 2011 never happened. It's back to the way it was before last year. It's true, Rafa will lose to Nole again but not because of any mental block. That is gone. Two straight final wins over Nole now, and counting.

There was something I read online, but can't remember who said it. I was thinking it might have been Steve Tignor on It was something to the effect that whether or not everyone thinks that the MC final really was significant, doesn't matter. To Rafa it counted and that is what is important. This was written before the Rome final was played. I think that is an excellent observation. Rafa isn't going to tell himself that he won only because Nole's grandfather died. He is going to tell himself that he changed up his tactics, served very well, got control of the point and good court positioning and beat him. What the world thinks about the final has nothing to do with how Rafa sees it. I thought that was a very perceptive comment.

Nativenewyorker , 5/23/12 9:50 AM

Rafa served an ace in the match with Berdych which was overruled by the umpire even though Berdy himself told him the serve was good but that did not stop Rafa from moving on and winning a very close match. Smilarly, at the AO this year, Rafa was unfairly refused a challenge on a Berdy ball that was clearly out in the tie-break enabling Berdy to win the tie-break, but Rafa went on to win the match.

I'm sorry, but it's beginning to look like people are surprised when Rafa beats Nole these days and look for reasons. I never accepted the excuse they gave for Nole's loss to Rafa at MC and as for Rome, if one bad call determined the outcome of a match, how easy would it be to fix a match. Some go on about the chances Djokovic didn't take to break Rafa's serve, that's because Rafa didn't let him. The fact is, they both had 7 break points each, Rafa converted 3 of his and Djokovic only converted one. They talk as if Djokovic had 25 break points.

It's not as if Rafa never beat Nole before last year. Rafa was leading their h2h by a mile, so get used to it people.

nadline , 5/23/12 10:00 AM

This is the most accurate match report I've read so far:

Nadal beats Djokovic to reclaim ATP Rome Masters title, becoming a six-time champion

By Abhimanyu Nagpal 21-May-2012 14:39

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic battled it out yet again, as the two ambassadors for the sport of tennis put in yet another exhilarating display at the final of the ATP Masters in Rome.

King of clay - Rafael Nadal recaptured Rome, as he re-affirmed his status as the 'man to beat' on clay by beating World No.1 and arch-rival Novak Djokovic in two sets. The win lifts him to second in the ranking charts. The Spaniard played a patient and precision-oriented game committing only 21 unforced errors compared to Djokovic's 41. Djokovic's play was erratic which will disappoint the Serb.
Nadal started the match dominantly and was quickly rewarded for attacking the Djokovic serve as he broke the serb in only the fifth game of the match. The Spaniard however, was unable to consolidate that break of serve as the Serb came clawing back to break back immediately to level the set at 3-3. From then on in, the Serb seemed to be advancing as Nadal dug deep every service game to prevent Djokovic from breaking.

The tables however turned with the match tantalizingly poised at 5-5, 30-30. An umpiring call to replay a point when Nole seemed to have it, angered the Serb. He clearly showed his disapproval and that moment served as a potential turning point with Djokovic losing the game to two unforced errors. On serve, Novak leading the next game 40-15, couldn't close it as Nadal capitalized on some needless errors from Djokovic. The tide had turned and Nadal took the first set 7-5.

In the second set, Djokovic still reeling from the debacle of the previous set, lost his first service game to Nadal who seemed focussed and willing to close out the match as soon as possible. Nadal was truly in the ascendancy as he held on to his serve easily in the following game.

In the fourth game of the second set then, Djokovic seemed to have gained some focus back and and attacked Nadal to force three break points, Nadal responded in typical fashion to ward off the Serb yet again. The World No.1 could not threaten the Spaniard beyond that, and lost composure again, constantly berating himself and making unforced errors. Nadal finally closed out the match in just under two and a half hours to win his sixth ATP Rome Masters title. vic-to-reclaim-ATP-Rome-Masters-title-becoming-a-six-time-champion-848 575.htm

nadline , 5/23/12 10:09 AM

^^^Re the above, I don't agree that the bad call influenced Nole for the rest of the match. If it did, then he is not as ironed willed as he is given credit for.

nadline , 5/23/12 10:15 AM

tettylds yes but see the match and see what UE he made and first serve % and the complete match that federer played but a win is a win no doubt about that

isfand , 5/23/12 11:22 AM

isfand, whoever play Djokovic or his caliber, first serve precentage will be low, because he absolutely can return it no matter how hard you serve. Same thing with the UEs. You must make it flat and good placing otherwise he will kill it....

tettylds , 5/23/12 11:48 AM

well i dont think so in my opinion federer played below par and djokovic is not in a very good form

isfand , 5/23/12 1:10 PM

Ha ha, Federer appears in crushing form when he faces almost anyone other than Rafa or Nole and appears below par when facing them in any event that matters to the younger two.

holdserve , 5/23/12 1:18 PM

thats why he is no 3 plus he did beat nadal in indian wells in straight sets so thats not entirely true

isfand , 5/23/12 1:29 PM

After watching the match again, I'm very happy about Rafa's performance and the match results. Rafa didn't serve well and his DTL forehand was missing the mark all the time, yet he won the match, not by overpowering Nole but by outwitting him. In this match, we see Rafa's tennis skills in full display, also his good tennis brain was functioning so well throughout the whole match. He dropshot Nole at the right moment, moved up to the net at the right time, threw in a desparate but well placed lob to outplay Nole, forced Nole to go for one more, two more or even three more shots and forced errors out of Nole. All these were more effective against Nole rather than some hard hitting or trying to outlast Nole. Smart Rafa, I love what I see from this match, after watching it again.

The 2008 Rafa is the best in terms of speed and power and his unwaivering consistency and mental focus. The 2010 Rafa is the best in terms of his aggression(MC 2010) and he being the chess master like strategist(Rome 2010). The 2012 Rafa? Well, he may not be as quick or as powerful as his 2008; or not able to maintain his consistency or focus as before; however he more than make up for that with his improved skills - his volleying, his serves, his lobs, his slices, his court craft and his shot selelctions - and more importantly, his ability to put all these together in a match to outwit his opponent and varies his tactics according to the opponents that he faces, be it a Berdych or a Nole. His tennis brain is definitely working in full force during all his matches. Vamos Rafa! Go get the big prize at Paris!

luckystar , 5/23/12 1:40 PM

and nadal is playing batter than djokovic since the year began (AO loss was extremely close and on djokovic's best surface) so i dont think that djokovic will end the year as world no 1 as nadal is only 170 points behind him in 2012 and he would fare better djokovic is FO wimbledon and oympics and djokovic has a lot of players to compete with in the american hard court swing so nadal might sightly be my favourite to end 2012 as world no 1

isfand , 5/23/12 1:42 PM

but djokovic has his chances as well nonetheess the next 3 tournaments RG Winbedon and olympics are very important for djokovic nadal and federer djokovic and nadal have to fight for slams as 2012 2013 might be best chances for them to win multipe slams in one year (in djokovic's case add 2014 as well) plus they would be fighting for world no1 AS regards federer he might look to get to no1 for 5 6 odd weeks or to win a grand slam at the closing stages of his career though RG seems a ong shot away from him atleast however he can fancy his chances at wimbledon to some extent

isfand , 5/23/12 1:54 PM

I'm sorry, it seems like I misunderstood your post from two days ago ( 5/22/12 3:32 AM). Since it was a match between Rafa and Nole, I thought that you were referring to Nole fans who possibly showed displeasure and hatred toward Rafa, although I don't remember seeing such posts here. That's why I asked who did you think were the haters. But I agree, there are a lot of those who hardly wait to see a player falter to start announcing their end, lack of form and what not.

danica , 5/24/12 12:04 AM

Ha ha, Federer appears in crushing form when he faces almost anyone other than Rafa or Nole and appears below par when facing them in any event that matters to the younger two.

holdserve , 5/23/12 1:18 PM
Truth should be said like this!!Genius

KMA , 5/24/12 12:20 AM

danica, 5/24/12 12:04 AM,

I am glad that I had the chance to clear up the misunderstanding. When I referenced "haters", I was referring to the Rafa haters and some rabid Fed fans here who have trashed him and his fans endlessly. In no way was I referring to any Nole fans. I think Rafa and Nole fans have for the most part gotten along pretty well. I certainly don't want to emulate the behavior of some Fed fans who attack Rafa and his fans in such a personal, spiteful manner. We don't need any more of that here.

Rafa and Nole are going to be meeting a lot more and we will be able to look forward to some great matches. This is the real rivalry in men's tennis now.

I also have to agree with holdserve's comment that Fed is said to be in amazing form against anyone except Rafa or Nole and and then is below par against them. It's really a joke when you think about it. Fed can look good against the likes of Berlocq, Seppi and Ferrero but when he is up against Rafa or Nole then he looks quite ordinary.

I also have to laugh about some comments here to the effect that Fed gave the win to Nole. As if that would ever happen! Fed has no love for Nole and would never give him a win anywhere, anytime. Some of the rationalizing that goes on among a few of the Fed fans is positively bizarre.

Nativenewyorker , 5/24/12 2:05 AM


isfand , 5/24/12 2:38 AM

and rather than despising federer or any other player have faith in nadal he might be able to surpass federer one day

isfand , 5/24/12 3:04 AM

But seriously, where were you isfand when the likes of tomnjerry, torres, bleck, advan were despising Rafa?? Why didn't you stand up for Rafa and criticize them for despising Rafa?? Btw, players like Seppi, Berlocq and Ferrero did make Fed look good, until Fed met his match in Nole. I don't think telling the truth as it is should be considered as despising Fed.

luckystar , 5/24/12 3:32 AM


Maybe you don't understand how a forum works. You see people get to share their opinions. Then others are free to disagree with them. You are the one who opened up your big mouth and said that Fed gave the win to Nole. That's not only ridiculous, it's insulting to Fed! He would never give away a match. Even I know that and I am Rafa fan!

Also, it's rude and inappropriate to post in caps. It's the equivalent of shouting. Totally unnecessary. You need to keep your cool.

Lucky is absolutely right! Where were you when the Fed trolls were here insulting Rafa? Funny, we didn't hear anything from you.

I also agree with her about telling the truth regarding Fed's form. He looked good against lesser players, but didn't have the goods against Nole. No way would Fed ever want to lose a match to Nole!

Nativenewyorker , 5/24/12 4:23 AM

^^^ I think it was not long before Fed defeated Nadal in straight sets at IW and WTF.

abhirf , 5/24/12 4:40 AM

^^^ I think it was not long before Fed defeated Nadal in straight sets at IW and WTF.

abhirf , 5/24/12 4:41 AM

isfand has become hysterical!
abhirf, although it maybe hard to swallow for you, IW and WTF weren't important to Rafa or Nole. With both in peak form, they are conserving their energy for the slams and some of the tune ups where they may have a point to prove e g Rafa on red clay.

holdserve , 5/24/12 5:39 AM

^^^ u are contradicting urself! First u are giving ur statement based on a Masters tournament and later defending it by comparing it with GS. Pheww. Didnt expected that from u.

abhirf , 5/24/12 6:41 AM

I think a slam is definitely more important than a Masters or a WTF title, though of course winning all of them would be even better. Rafa beats Fed at the AO, and that really matters to Rafa as the AO is a hard court slam and he's able to get the better of the hard court master so that's something to be proud of. Rafa is slowly but steadily encouching onto Fed's turf, first on grass and then on outdoor hard courts. Indoor hard courts next?

luckystar , 5/24/12 6:57 AM

abhirf, if your remark is addressed to me, I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. I know that logic is never a Fedfan's strong point ( otherwise he wouldn't be a Fed fan). But you can at least explain your logic so I can point out the lack thereof.
When was the last time Fed beat Rafa in a gs? Wimby 2007! He was defeated by Rafa the next 5 times he met him.
Djokovic's record against Fed is not quite so formidable but in the last 4 slams, he has won 3 times.
I have little doubt that if Fed is in Djoko's side this RG, he ( the #3 in bleck's lexicon) will lose to Nole (#1)
Fed is definitely below par when he meets Rafa or Nole in a slam or in any event these two consider important.

holdserve , 5/24/12 7:14 AM

naah, Fed could beat Nole at the French Open. he did it last year when Nole was at his peak, no reason why he cannot do it again this year.
Therefore, #3 could beat #1 if they meet in the Sf's of the French Open

atul1985 , 5/24/12 7:32 AM


I don't agree that Fed can beat Nole this year at the FO. Last year he played the best match of the year against Nole to beat him in the semifinal. I didn't think Nole played his best in that match, maybe the pressure of the winning streak got to him. I don't know. But Fed definitely played better on that day and that is what it took to get a win against Nole. Now it's true that Nole isn't playing at his overall 2011 level, but Fed isn't playing amazing tennis either. He has done well to win four titles this year, but a slam is a whole different thing entirely. That performance against Nole in the Rome semifinal should concern Fed fans. It was awful. Fed managed to play some decent tennis in the latter stages of the second set to push it to a tiebreak. So he cosmetically made the score look better. But Fed was never in that match. It's easier to be Nole in a Masters where it's best two out of three than at a slam where it's best three out of five. Just looking at Fed's matches against Nole, you can see that he cannot sustain a high level of play over a best three out of five. Look at what happened at last year's USO. Fed went up two sets to none, yet he let Nole back in the match. We all know what happened. Nole evened it up at two sets all and then in that fifth set Fed had the match in his hand. Two match points and all he needed was an ace or a big first serve. But he muffed it and Nole ended up winning.

Fed has done well to remain competitive at this stage of his career. I give him credit for doing so. However, he is clearly not at the level of Rafa or Nole.

Finally to abhirf's point, what is important is slams. As long as Rafa beats Fed in slams, I am okay with an occasional loss to Fed at a hardcourt Masters event or the WTF, an indoor hardcourt.

Nativenewyorker , 5/24/12 7:46 AM

Holdserve, u said it urself that Rafa n Novak make look Fed ordinary. As far as i can remember, Fed d Nole in one of their previous meeting in a GS, and had match pts. in the other. Against Rafa, Fed was defeated in tough contests in AO N FO ( 1st 3 sets were really competitive). Now, if thats ur logic of rendering somebody ordinary, then Nole has made Rafa look pretty ordinary in the Slams and thus shuld easily get his hands on this FO. That's wat ur logic interprets.

abhirf , 5/24/12 7:47 AM

Sorry, in my last post I meant to say - It's easier to BEAT Nole in a Masters.

Nativenewyorker , 5/24/12 7:47 AM

NNY, like u, even i dont look too much in the result of these masters title. As far as i have followed Fed, he doesnt give much importance to DC, Masters nd other tournaments. He cares mostly about the GS and Year ending Championships. He may be in the twilight of his career, but dont be surprised if he still manages to get a slam or 2 (just like most athletes achieve something at the fag end of their career.)

abhirf , 5/24/12 7:57 AM

Ifsand, if Fed gv d win to Djoko... So now I can say that Murray gave d win to Fed in the AO 09 final... Bcause murray played so poorly... And many of Fed wins were like that... Bcause d opponents played so poorly.... Isfand please accept d lost..

tettylds , 5/24/12 8:07 AM

abhirf, your logic is faulty. I was talking about Fed vs Nole/ Rafa , not Nole vs Rafa.
These two are the elite players now and they make Fed look ordinary.
Against each other at slams, since Wimby 2011, Nole has made Rafa seem so vulnerable that despite Rafa's haul of 6 titles at RG to Nole's none, he ( Rafa) is not the overwhelming fav.

holdserve , 5/24/12 8:15 AM

^^^ i didnt applied that logic. U r the one who made it.

abhirf , 5/24/12 8:19 AM

Though, yeah everyone has their days. There was a time when Fed made everybody looked ordinary. Now it's his time to look ordinary. Sometimes later, OTHERS will be made to look ordinary.

abhirf , 5/24/12 8:25 AM

of course I am the first to admit you don't apply logic. I just analyzed your "logic" and proved it wasn't logic.

holdserve , 5/24/12 8:25 AM

^^ neither u applied any.

abhirf , 5/24/12 8:27 AM

Fed made everybody seem ordinary at one time because they were ordinary. Remember the weak era? He never made Rafa look ordinary because Rafa was elite. True, Fed was also elite but sorry, he is now past his prime. He is still in the conversation bcos of his wins at minor events.

holdserve , 5/24/12 8:29 AM

That's ur viewpoint. Anyways.

According to u all, Nole will get the better of Rog at the FO. But, Fed will still be the favourite should they meet in Wimbledon. Now dont tell me that Nole has a better game on Grass then Federer

abhirf , 5/24/12 8:34 AM

Fed better hope he doesn't meet Big Bird in the second week at Wimbledon, cos BB is playing a lot better now and I don't think Fed is.
Of course, for the record, I don't want Andy to meet BB either!
nadline, perhaps we could arrange for BB, Delboy, Raonic and Lofty all to play each other very, very early in the first week?

deuce , 5/24/12 8:46 AM

Fed in his prime was better than Nole is now on grass. But the Nole of today will beat the Fed of today at Wimby.
I find it strange that Fed fans are still expecting him to win Wimby. In my opinion, based on the fact that since 1973 (since when I can see the results), there has been no Wimby champion aged 30 or more, there must be something about the surface which doesn't favor the 30+ers. Maybe the low bounce or the faster reactions required on the unpredictable natural surface?
I would say Fed's best chance is now on hard courts but Nole will probably thwart him there.

holdserve , 5/24/12 8:46 AM

"That performance againstNole in the Rome semifinal should concern Fed fans."
Nativenewyorker , 5/24/12 7:46 AM

Why should it? It was an off day for him. Im rather happy that he atleast made it to the Semi. I didnt expected him to win this. I dont see him winning back 2 back Masters title. Im rather happy with his performance. And I still believe that on his day, he can beat anybody anywhere ( except Rafa at FO).

abhirf , 5/24/12 8:53 AM

Holdserve, Djoker has a very vulnerable game at Grass. Last year, he won it coz he was on a roll. So, i still feel that Rafa,Fed n yes even Murray can defeat him there( though i would love it if he proves me wrong).

abhirf , 5/24/12 8:59 AM

holdserve , 5/24/12 8:29 AM

So according to u only 2 players are elite here Rafa n Novak. As Fed had only Rafa as an elite, his era was weak and the others were ordinary. So that makes even this Rafa-Novak era a weak one too!

abhirf , 5/24/12 9:14 AM

I don't know for certain that Fed won't beat Nole in the semis at the FO. They both have to get there first. We haven't even seen the draw yet. I just think that at this point in Fed's career it will get harder to get by either Nole or Rafa at the slams. I never said that he can't or won't win another slam. I think things will have to align in a way to make it happen.

I am not at all sure that Nole can beat Fed at Wimbledon. He is not playing as well as last year. Fed has the superipr grass game, but will it hold up even now? The truth is that all great champions have to get old. I have watched tennis all my life and this is the way of it. It's not a tragedy. So Fed won't dominate anymore. Well, he had enough years dominating. He has done so much and now it's time for younger players to step up and have their time. I don't know why it bothers Fed fans so much. As I said, he has done well to be competitive in slam events. It's not as if he is getting knocked out in the early rounds. Now that would be a real concern.

As far as Fed's performance against Nole in the semis at Rome, I stand by what I said about it being a real concern. Why? Because this was real clay, much more like the surface at the FO. Madrid's horrid blue faux clay ice staking surface had zero similarity to the FO. Could it have just been a bad day at the office? Possibly. But many were saying that Fed would beat Nole in Rome.

All we are doing here is speculating until the FO draw comes out on Friday. Then we will have something real to talk about.

Nativenewyorker , 5/24/12 9:32 AM

^^^ U are right there. Federer will lose most often than not. So it should not be a spot of bother. As for the defeat in Rome SF, i think he is one of the greats of the game and should not find it hard adjusting to the surface at RG. So i think he has enough matches under his belt at the moment.

As far as his game on grass is concerned, i think he will make all the neccessary adjustments as he takes Wimbledon very seriously and due to the Olympics too he's much more focussed on the Grass court season.
But 1st things 1st. Let's see how this RG pans out and what are its implications. And yes, for that we have to wait till tomorrow for the draw.

abhirf , 5/24/12 9:51 AM

To all of you first of all i dont know about when bleck torres or any other guy insulted nadal so i dont have anything to do with this 2. when i said fed gave djokovic the win i made it clearly many times that he didnt do it intentionally i meant he played bad and i donot discredit djokovic for this win 3. block letters were accidental i dont take these forums seriously so no matter what you say i wont get mad 4.i dont have any problem with anyone having opinions so no matter whatever anyone says facts will remain facts that federer won 16 slams 5.tettylds i am not solely a federer fan so i have no problem excepting that he lost to djokovic and even if anyone doesnot except it it wont matter because he did get defeated 6. I have my own opinion i think federer can beat djokovic in RG and all of you can and should keep your opinions 7. holdyourserve i am not hysterical but u should read your own posts and then decide where is any logic in anything you have ever said ??????????????? but i am sure if you look beyond nadal you will regain logic in your arguments 8. Having said all that i think that anyone who plays good tennis should be appreciated and to me its nadal federer and djokovic respectively at the moment though things may change as we proceed (everyone can disagree that is solely their choice ) and i would stand for nadal as much if someone said scornful remarks against him and as i remember i even did it once here when people criticized nadal for wanting 2 year ranking system thats why i said its perfectly justified for him to wish that so Nativenewyorker i didnt mean to SHOUT by block capitals it was by mistake but i ll be careful about it in future but i hope u get my meaning when i said federer gave djokovic the win and i dont discredit djokovic for any win in his entire career and i dont discredit him of this win as well when he beat federer in straight sets

isfand , 5/24/12 1:50 PM

abhirf, Federer, like Rafa and Nole, is an elite. But he is now past his prime. He enjoyed a weak era but Rafa never did. Rafa had first to contend with Fed and now when the Swiss is past his prime, Rafa has Nole.
Even AndyM, despite his slamlessness, is more elite than any of Fed's contemporaries. He is ahead of everyone else except the top 3. Such a constant lead over the rest of the field was not maintained by any of Fed's contemporaries.

Had the top 3 not been there, AndyM would probably have been a multiple slam winner for he is clearly ahead of the rest. Like Nole, he needs to find the mental toughness to stare down the other elites to win slams. I am hoping he will do it soon.
Rafa's 10 slams are won in the teeth of competition from his equals but much of Roger's were won before Rafa, Nole and AndyM had reached full age and the rest were non-elites or elites past their prime (Agassi).

holdserve , 5/24/12 3:44 PM

^^^ had Roger not been there, people like Andy Roddick, Hewitt, maybe Safin too would have been multiple slam winners. Ferrero and even Ferrer was there. That's where your point falters. See weak era concept is a mere disguised one that is more often brought about in the argument than it should be. And unless Muzzer wins a slam, he cant be labeled an elite . He is just one of those talented lot who is yet to make a impression on a grand stage. Yes, he is a class above the rest, but still lacks that killer instinct which will promote him to greatness. I do acknowledge that the men's tennis is going through a really competitive era. The professionalism that the players are showing will only make the game even more competitive in the coming time. So u see we cant be just sitting here and compare different time periods. Every game goes through a phase of change with time. So comparing different eras becomes irrelevant. So we should not undermine somebody's achievement. We, rather, should concern ourselves what the present nd future of the game has to offer to us.

At least, this is what i feel. Though, you are free to have your opinion. Doesn't matter.

abhirf , 5/24/12 4:57 PM

Most times I get really angry at the venom that some Fed fans through at Rafa but I also find it a bit unfortunate the criticism hurled at Fed here. Yes, he is 30 and has slowed down some, but he is still an excellent tennis player! Not too long ago he beat Rafa and I was blown away by the way he put Rafa away at IW! However, these are not SLAMS and Rafa, Nole and Fed too ALWAYS find an extra gear at the slams. Fed is still a top contender and whenever Rafa, Nole and anyone else faces Fed, they NEVER underestimate him, that is why they all bring out their best games when they play him bcos they know he is still able to beat them!! He is a very gifted tennis player and Nadal and Nole, Im sure would rather not have to face him in a slam!!

However, what I will say is that nowadays, Nole and Rafa at their best will more than likely beat Fed at his best esp in a SLAM, but if the two of then are having an off day, Fed at his best CAN surely beat them both!!

I really dont see the point in speculating about RG esp as the draw has not come out yet! I remain quietly confident that Rafa will bite the trophy this year but I am weary of Isner, the Big Bird, Del Po and Ferrer if they are to meet Rafa in the early rounds bcos the slams is where many players become trully inspired!!! Who would have thought that Fed would beat Nole last year?!.............there are always suprises at GS so lets not go ahead feeling certain the the top four will end up in the semis...........there could well be a dark horse this year!!!

Anyway, I do feel that the comments about Fed here are a bit harsh! Afterall, its through him that Rafa and Nole are at the top of their games today and he is #3 in the world, above AndyM, so Im not sure if he has past his prime yet!!!!

Anyway, wishing Rafa all the best for RG-2012................he just looks so cute when he bites those trophies!! I also wish Nole, Fed and Andy a good tourney too bcos without their play RG will surely be a dud!!!


Monalysa , 5/24/12 5:08 PM

"Fed is still a top contender and whenever Rafa, Nole and anyone else faces Fed, they NEVER underestimate him, that is why they all bring out their best gameswhen they play him bcos they know he is still able to beat them!! He is a very gifted tennis player and Nadal and Nole, Im sure would rather not have toface him in a slam!!
However, what I will say is that nowadays, Nole and Rafa at their best will more than likely beat Fed at his best esp in a SLAM, but if the two of then are having an off day, Fed at his best CAN surely beat them both!!"

Well said. Couldn't agree more :)

abhirf , 5/24/12 5:23 PM

What the Fed fans fail to realize is that there are two finalists spots. Safin made one final where Federer deprived him. Hewitt did not lose to Fed in any final. So at the most Safin would have one more slam if Roger wasn't there but even that is not a given.
If Roger hadn't been there, 2003 to 2007 would have been a continuation of 2000-2002 with many one-slam wonders as in the WTA.

holdserve , 5/24/12 5:26 PM

"^^ had Roger not been there, people like Andy Roddick, Hewitt, maybe Safin too would have been multiple slam winners. Ferrero and even Ferrer was there. That's where your point falters. See weak era concept is a mere disguised one that is more often brought about in the argument than it should be..."

Federer's reign up to 2007 WAS a weak field.
No disguise is required, youre saying as much yourself by admitting how lucky we were to have at least one great player in that tedious, lopsided period.

Twinge , 5/24/12 5:30 PM

Holdserve, get ur facts right first. Fed d Hewitt in USO 2004 in the final. And, Twinge, i have already pointed out that u are free to form ur opinion. It's not going to affect anybody's health. The level at which Fed played in his prime is the best which many have seen. Federer of 2005-06 will definitely beat both Novak and Rafa of present in every GS other than RG ( where he may even defeat Novak, not Rafa though.) But now since Roger is past his prime, u guys just keep on speculating based on ur so called 'great logics'. Logics render predictability, which, i dont think that Tennis is.

abhirf , 5/24/12 6:39 PM

"Federer of 2005-06 will definitely beat both Novak and Rafa of present in every GS other than RG..."

So many Fed fans remind me of the sycophantic little green 3 eyed Aliens in Toystory
`oooo behold he is so wonderful, the greatest there's ever been blah blah,
As to the above, well abhirf lets me say that `that u are free to form ur opinion`.
Because that is all that it CETAINLY is ;-)
As the Nadal fans have stated about 100 times before Roger is amazing etc,
when he is allowed to be.
That is all..

Twinge , 5/24/12 6:59 PM

Monalysa, 5/24/12 5:08 PM "Yes, he is 30 and has slowed down some"

I disagree that Fed has slowed down some. He is as good as and in some ways better than he ever was. He makes the likes of JCF, Berlocq, and Seppi who are 32, 29 and 28 yrs old respectively, look as bad as he always has. And conversely, they make him look as good as he' ever has. Hasn't missed a step. Also, Rafa doesn't beat him anymore today than he used to since 2004 when he was 17.

Again, the difference is NOT Federer. The difference is the competition. The field has caught up to him. The difference started with Rafa, and now Nole. When at their best, Del Potro, Berdych and Tsonga would easily handle Roddick, Safin, Ferrero and Hewitt at their peak and have all beaten Fed in a slam.

The top 8-10 from 2008-2012 is so much stronger than the top 8-10 during 2004-2007.

agfmilos , 5/24/12 7:22 PM

And as Twinge points out, Federer was and continues to be an amazing, incredible talent on the court. One, if not THE, best of all time because he still had to execute that consistently to put up the numbers he did AND at almost 31 has the longevity to still win tournaments and continue to consistently go deep in slams making him a credible threat.

agfmilos , 5/24/12 7:27 PM

^^^ U are really making a fool of youself Twinge. u go on to predict that this Nole and Rafa would have beaten Roger in his prime in slams. Seriously man. Wats the guarantee?

Though, it again turns out to be a futile argument. Everybody will stand his own ground and his own opinion without giving much of a heed to what other has to say.

abhirf , 5/24/12 7:30 PM

agfmilos, i agree on most oe your points. Though, i feel that had Federer not been around, Roddick would have accumulated more than 10 slams till now. What Roddick can do at his peak is a testament for others. On his day he is still the best server in the game; much ahead of this bunch of big hitters.

abhirf , 5/24/12 7:38 PM

Please read, very interesting article.

Monalysa , 5/24/12 8:10 PM

Maybe not 10, perhaps 5-6 slams. but all you are saying is that other than Fed (who was on a completely different level) Roddick was the best of the weak field and I woudn't necessarily disagree with that. Still think that Berdych and Delpo and to a lesser extent Tsonga are better at their peaks than Roddick was at his. Again, more generally, I'd compare the top 8 from those two time frames not just look at Roddick.

agfmilos , 5/24/12 8:13 PM

"u go on to predict that this Nole and Rafa would have beaten Roger in his prime in slams. Seriously man. Wats the guarantee? "

Self awareness doesn't seem to be a strong point. Whats the guaruntee that "The level at which Fed played in his prime is the best which many have seen. Federer of 2005-06 will definitely beat both Novak and Rafa of present in every GS other than RG.."?
Nothing more than your opinion.
Your words, of which you are clearly very confident about, despite there being more evidence to support the former than the latter.
ie Nadal and Novak had not the benefit of a weak era with which to make their mark & shine while Roger did.

Twinge , 5/24/12 10:38 PM

Monalysa, 5/24/12 5:08 PM,

Sorry, but I don't think there is anything wrong with saying that Fed isn't going to dominate anymore at this point in his career. No one is demeaning or disparaging him by stating the truth. As I have said repeatedly, all great champions have to get old. As they age, their skills and game deterioriate little by little along with the mental strength. It happened to all of them - Laver, Rosewall, Newcombe, Connors, McEnroe, Sampras, Agassi. It's a rite of passage.

If Fed fans thought he would be #1 and keep on winning slams until the day he retired, then they were sadly mistaken. In the case of Borg, he walked away at the very peak of his career. So he didn't get to age gracefully and no longer dominate. Fed is still playing some great tennis at his age. It's a good thing. He can still win titles and be competitive at slams. However, there is nothing wrong in saying that it's a new era and the younger guys now have their chance to dominate the game.

No one is being harsh at all with Fed. It's just stating the reality. It has been almost two and a half years since he won a slam. He may well have the chance to win one again. This is not a tragedy. Seeing a 25 year old Borg just walk away without a word was a tragedy.

Nativenewyorker , 5/24/12 11:32 PM

well that was indeed a tragedy

isfand , 5/25/12 12:47 AM lity-Versus-Top-10-Records.aspx
check this link

isfand , 5/25/12 12:54 AM

Please don't include clown AndyM in any discussion. He is noway near the level of nadal,djokovic & Fed. The 25 years dude still sits way behind 31 yr old Fed.

KMA , 5/25/12 1:09 AM

Anybody knows the timings of the draw?

abhirf , 5/25/12 2:04 AM

Er... Rafa >>>> Fed anytime at the FO; Rafa of 2008/2010 = or > Fed of 2005/2006/2007 at Wimbledon; Nole of 2011 = or > Fed of 2005-2007 at the AO; Fed may be better than Rafa and Nole at the USO. My opinions.

luckystar , 5/25/12 3:53 AM

abhirf, pl verify your facts. Who were the finalists at AO 2004?
I don't want to waste further time and effort in convincing you of weak era. In the last one year I must have explained at least a dozen times in great detail. If there are flat earth guys around, it is their problem, not my job to convince them that the earth is round.

holdserve , 5/25/12 4:08 AM

abhirf, pl verify your facts. Who were the finalists at AO 2004?
I don't want to waste further time and effort in convincing you of weak era. In the last one year I must have explained at least a dozen times in great detail. If there are flat earth guys around, it is their problem, not my job to convince them that the earth is round.

holdserve , 5/25/12 4:09 AM

31 yr old Fed is ahead of AndyM only because Fed is favored with respect to scheduling and the draws are fixed in his favor.
AndyM is at least as talented as Fed but he did not have the benefit of a weak era. Had he been Fed's age, I am sure he would have won at least 8 slams.

holdserve , 5/25/12 4:15 AM

"If there are flat earth guys around, itis their problem, not my job to convince them that the earth is round." Well same could be said about many of u guys here too. Neither we are gonna accept, nor u. End of story.

BTW, did i ever brought out AO 2004 Final? I think i rather spoke about USO 2004 final. Though, u have asked about it so I would answer it: it was b/w Fed and Safin.

abhirf , 5/25/12 4:42 AM

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