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  • Federer-Nadal rivalry under scrutiny

    1/10/13 1:09 PM | Johan Lindahl
    Federer-Nadal rivalry under scrutiny The long-term injury absence of Rafael Nadal and the slight but perceived weakness of over-30 Roger Federer have some in the British press writing off the world's tennis power duo.

    They are replacing that rivalry with the latest greatest thing: Andy Murray versus Novak Djokovic.

    Between them, the young guns have won six Grand Slam titles compared to a combined 28 for the senior pair, who have dominated the sport for much of the past decade. Murray and Djokovic have been on an upward track for a few seasons, with the Scot finally breaking through with a US Open and Olympic title in 2012, the year after Djokovic won three of the four majors.

    London's Mail on Sunday has been putting the boot into Federer-Nadal while hyping the prospects of Murray, now something of a junior ironman after a year of coaching from no-nonsense Ivan Lendl.

    Florida estate agent and one time Davis Cup captain John Lloyd, whose major claim to fame as a player was a marriage to Chris Evert three decades ago, was quick to tout the Murray-Djokovic chances. "I think the Grand Slams are Djokovic's or Murray's to lose this year.

    "If Andy's not the best player in the world, he's right on the shoulder of Djokovic. I don't see any draw tough for him until the semis now. Guys know that to break Murray down over five sets they will be under pressure on every point, and they will have to step outside their comfort zone."

    While the injured Nadal - he has not played for going on seven months - is currently written off, British broadcaster Mark Petchey, a former Murray coach, still appreciates the danger of Federer.

    "I'd be loath to say Roger won't have a voice in the majors. He is a unique sportsman, a unique champion who plays in a unique way.

    "'His technique has allowed him to stay injury-free alongside all the hard work we don't see, like the days when he sticks his feet in buckets of ice after training on burning hot courts in Dubai where he lives part of the year. I didn't sense any lack of motivation or desire when I was with him at the ATP Tour Championships in November (where he lost the final to Djokovic)."

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Comments

Nole - Murray will never come close to Fedal... That's a rivalry that comes once every blue moon... We're talking a legacy that has changed the entire sport and brand of tennis here!

aegis , 1/10/13 2:47 PM


This is a classic case of 'have we got a story to go with this picture?'

Just like no one predicted the dominance of Fedal, I don't think anyone can predict the dominance of Djoray.

nadline , 1/10/13 3:01 PM


"Nole - Murray will never come close to Fedal..."

Have a crystal ball there aegis?
In any instance when one player literally owns the other is cannot be classed as a `rivalry`.
At least not in my book.
Factoid; More people watched the `Djoray` US Open final than the previous 5 finals.
All of which included your precious fedal.

Twinge , 1/10/13 3:50 PM


^^^Fedal have never played at the USO. A few USO finals have been postponed to Monday because of bad weather which accounts for the viewing figures.

nadline , 1/10/13 7:42 PM


Imo the most exciting match-up in tennis over the past 3-5 years has been rafa-muzz, even if the results were much too one-sided in 2011 for my liking:-(

alex , 1/10/13 7:48 PM


"^^^Fedal have never played at the USO.."

Don't split hairs with me Nadline.
You know full well that i meant; either Rafa, or Roger of the Rafa n Roger show, otherwise known as soon to be cancelled show (like hopefully most of their bandwagon hopping, obnoxious & extreme fans too, although the nice ones and Rafa can stay) have been at the final of the USO for the previous 5 times. Just not at the same time. Not exactly enthused are they, if being on Monday evening fails to excite the masses to tune in or even tevo.
Or maybe it was all Novak's fault again
;)
But go on hype away,
Rafa is tennis! everyone only wants to watch Rafa! blah blah.
lol

Twinge , 1/10/13 8:51 PM


^^Plus one of those Monday finals WAS the last one with Nolandy or should i say Djoray. And still it was watched by more people than the last 5 had.
Although for the record a million more yanks watched Serena win.
I doubt the figurse would have even been half of that with azascreamer and shreikova.
But there you go.

Twinge , 1/10/13 8:54 PM


It remains to be seen how great the Nole/Murray rivalry will be. The greatness of Fedal has been established. No matter what happens from now on, that rivalry will be considered one of the greatest in the history of the sport.

Those who write off Rafa will live to regret it. He is not done yet. Fed accomplished some amazing things last year. I don't think many thought he would ever be #1 again. Winning another slam was icing on the cake for him. I don't know what will happen with Fed this year, but one thing I do know is that if he and Rafa meet in the semis or finals anywhere, at any tournament it will create the same excitement as in the past. It's always great to see them meet.

I think Rafa/Nole and Rafa/Muzz could also be rivalries that will continue on for a while. I am not yet ready to cede everything to Nole and Murray.

Nativenewyorker , 1/11/13 12:03 AM


^^For the record I did not write off Nadal.
And i won't be regretting anything when it comes to tennis.
I am hoping to write off Fedal however.
I do find it amusing just how prickly many of Nadal fans will get if i do this, while a few minutes later will be bickering endlessly about federer with his fans (usually defensively to be fair).
No doubt once Roger goes many of them will slowly become what they are fighting against at present. It's already begun.
What is clear now is that Fed has played a retirable amount of matches already and without (mostly) fixed draws and favourable scheduling would not have made it to his hundredth slam.
All good things must come to an end and I for one will be looking forward to seeing this special `rivalry` draw to a close, although there is so much (too much) invested in it by everyone including the suits, regardless what comes after it.

Twinge , 1/11/13 11:05 AM


Twinge, you are harping on about a rivalry that doesn't exist. Last time I looked, there was no Djoray rivalry. The two of them have not dominated tennis together for years like Rofer and Rafa have; Nole dominated for 1 year but Andy wasn't with him. Fedal became a phenomenon because they dominted for 6 years as #s 1 & 2 in the world rankings, not after they played each other in a couple of finals, so your excitement is a bit premature, especially as one half of Fedal is not on tour at the moment.

Don't count your chickens before they are hatched, there may never be a Djoray rivalry.


#Rafa Kool-Aid drinker and die-heard armada bandwagon driver

nadline , 1/11/13 12:41 PM


"Twinge, you are harping on about a rivalry that doesn't exist.."

^^lol you can talk about harping nagline.
Anyhoo dont be too sure fedal will be in perpetuity either.
And again i do not believe that fedal have much of a rivalry at this stage either as Nadal pretty much wins every time. Oh and neither are 1 and 2 (Roger won't be number 1 again and he knows it).
I am for the record not too excited about Djoray, at least not yet.
Although some great matches have been played already.
But i would think that it is pretty much a given that there will be a serious Novak Murray rivalry given their ages, abilities, matches played etc.
It's common sense. But yes we will shall have to wait a bit longer & see.
But Fedal IS coming to an end regardless, whether you want to accept it or not.

Twinge , 1/11/13 1:00 PM


^^I meant 1 & 2 together.

Twinge , 1/11/13 1:12 PM


^^^Stop blabbing on about something that has not happened and crystal balls don't work, for your information, fortune tellers will attest to this.

nadline , 1/11/13 2:05 PM


^^Your brain doesn't work
lol

Twinge , 1/11/13 2:10 PM


Best rivalry in sport of all time Raferer...

http://tinyurl.com/a6jz7z5

#MelBlanc

Conspirator , 1/11/13 5:22 PM


Twinge , 1/11/13 11:05 AM

I don't really know why you are getting so prickly. I stated my opinion. Simple as that. Also, don't assume that my comment about living to regret writing off Rafa, was meant for you.

Suffice to say that I disagree with some of your rather presumptuous assumptions about what Rafa fans may or may not do when Fed retires. I don't hate him and respect what he's accomplished. I have said that on more than one occasion. So don't go lumping all Rafa fans together or predicting what we will say, feel or whatever. We are all individuals. We have disagreed amongst ourselves. We don't all walk in lockstep. That should be obvious to anyone who has posted here for a while.

So you are ready for Fedal to be over. Good for you. That's fine with me. I can look forward to Rafa/Nole and Rafa/Murray. But if Rafa and Fed do meet up this year, I will be watching with great interest.

Nativenewyorker , 1/12/13 5:30 AM


I agree with Twinge that Fedal is over. Fed is propped up by fixed draws and schedules. If Rafa comes back in top form, he will continue to thrash Fed despite draw and schedule fixing.
If Rafa fails to return to top form, Fedal would be a damp squib even if Fed reaches finals on the back of rigged draws because he would be meeting a sub par Rafa in the early rounds or not meeting him at all. Frankly if Rafa cannot reach top form, I hope he retires for I would hate to see him lose to qualifiers and challengers like Rosol.
Djoko is definitely the man to beat at present and any true rivalry now has to have him in the equation. Muzza is already a contender for slams. It could be a trivalry if Rafa becomes fit. I doubt that Delpo will have a great rivalry with anyone unless he improves his fitness and movement.
On the other hand, no matter which rivalry comes to the forefront, it can never have the excitement of Fedal when the media created GOAT repeatedly met his waterloo at the hands of a young small town boy. The whole world kept expecting the so called GOAT to turn the tables. It was wonderful how the young upstart slowly expanded his domain leaving Fed with no domain to call his exclusive fiefdom.
Even if Rafa never comes back, he will always be the greatest for me because of his talent, his spirit and the unmatched excitement he brought to tennis. And Fedal is part of what made Rafa so great and exciting. Just as Rafa is what made Fedal so great and exciting.

holdserve , 1/12/13 6:28 AM


Fedal rivalry is indeed the best rivalry over the last decade. Dunno why some feel it will be over soon. It's obvious which fans want for it to be over.

Tennis fans are feeling a huge void with respect to competition among the top four with Nadal's absence, and will watch any final coz they like tennis. However, I doubt that many Fed fans would agree that the Murray/Djokovic matchup provides as much excitement as the Fedal matches.

scoretracker , 1/12/13 7:05 AM


Records are meant to be broken. Its related to the player's versatile game ,longevity,improvement in racquet technology etc.If Federer and Sampras played at the same time they would have split them and neither would have 7 Wimbledons. Someone like Nadal is hurt too much every year. You have to have a style of tennis play like Federer for longevity. Nadal,Djokovic or Murray has the best chance probably for matching Roger Federer's record of 17 Grand Slam titles but Nadal is playing hurt now. Even if he won 5 more to get the last 2 is so tough. Just look at federer. Its tough to win just 1 slam after age 29...let alone a few. Thats why you have to enjoy what you are seeing.
but to say Fedal is over is [preposterous].Just wait and watch and don't get ahead of yourself guys. You might see them turn the tables over upcoming younger players.
BABY Federer (Dimitrov), Tomic,Raonic have to play tennis consistently at the highest level for the next 10 years to match/beak Senior Federer's records...........

hrsikesa , 1/12/13 8:03 AM


^^^ Well you're assuming Rafa couldn't get back to his previous good level. Who knows, he may really concentrate on shortening points now by improving his serves, like his 2010 USO, and may even let that serve stays with him, for the grass and hard courts at least. He may just concentrate on clay and grass slams, where his main rival is Nole on clay and Murray on grass. Rafa has a good two to three years before he reaches 30 yo, so anything is possible for him. Never say never.

Rafa does have a foot problem to start with, so whatever he has achieved up till now is already amazing. If he can get close to what Fed has achieved in terms of slams won, then he's even more impressive IMO!

luckystar , 1/12/13 10:00 AM


As a 'duo', Rafa and Roger made history in this sport, there's no question about it.

But to me, as rivarly, Sampras-Agassi was really much more fun.

The Fedal rivarly to me is kind of boring and predictable. I mean, everytime I see a Rafa-Roger match I know exactly 2 things:

1) 80% of chances Rafa will win it.
2) Rafa hitting every damn spinned shot to Roger backhand. Roger making ridiculous unforced errors due to Rafa insane defense.

That's all.

They sure had some few epic battles (Wimby 2008, Rome 2006), but that's the least I can ask after so many matches between 2 legends of tennis.

Emiliano55 , 1/12/13 8:29 PM


^^^ Not true. There're the AO2009,AO2012, FO2011 and Wimbledon 2007 matches that were equally enthralling. Also Rafa doesn't always attack Fed's backhand these days. Please, not all surfaces take to Rafa's spins, grass in particular.

luckystar , 1/13/13 4:11 AM


I know fans often face every match their favourite plays with trepidation, but as a more objective fan of Fedal, I've got to agree with Emiliano. Wimbledon 2007/008 were two of the best matches I've ever seen but But 2008 was a watershed. After that always knew that Rafa would win, except indoors obviously when we knew it would be Fed. Their matches are/were always full of classy shot making but the excitement of uncertainty was gone.
Why I admire Nole so much, absolutely took it to Fedal.
Also why 2012 was such a terrific year for us fans, a different winner for each slam! And of course Andy in the mix.

deuce , 1/13/13 7:54 AM




^^^ Not true. There're the AO2009,AO2012, FO2011 and Wimbledon 2007 matches that were equally enthralling. Also Rafa doesn't always attack Fed's backhand these days. Please, not all surfaces take to Rafa's spins, grass in particular.

luckystar , 1/13/13 4:11 AM

AO2009, yeah.. kinda, if it weren't for Roger tanking that 5th set.... but AO12 and FO11 ?? C'mon.. those weren't epic battles. Wimbledon 2007 ? Yeah, we can add that as one of their epic. Anyway, to me Wimby 2008 and Rome 2006 were definitely the stand outs matches from these 2 legends, in what ? 28 matches ? Impressive.

Rafa is still continusly hitting sping shots to Roger backhand, that didn't change over the years, even on grass...where it doesn't hurt Roger as much as other surface, but it hurts his game anyway. That, to me, its really boring. Hey, not taking any credit to Rafa. He is doing what he has to in order to win the match. I'm just judging their matches and how their game marches on against these 2.

If you think their rivarly is the best in history, ok, good for you.
To me, Sampras-Agassi matches were much more fun. And even tho Sampras has an advantage in their h2h, their matches weren't as predictables as Fedal matches are, not only for the outcome (Nadal always win), but also in how the game itself goes on.

Emiliano55 , 1/13/13 4:53 PM


*spin shots

Emiliano55 , 1/13/13 4:55 PM


Their matches are/were always full of classy shot making but the excitement of uncertainty was gone.
deuce , 1/13/13 7:54 AM

I couldn't have said it better.


Emiliano55 , 1/13/13 4:57 PM


Fed tanked the fifth set of AO2009 final?? More like he ran out of ideas how to deal with a tired Rafa! The Fedal matches were always filled with amazing shot making, whether the end results were predictable or not. We watched the Fedal matches not only because of the results but because of the shot making. An unpredictable match doesn't make it exciting if its filled with boring shot making.

Rafa doesn't rely on his top spins on grass. Look at his Wimbledon 2010 final against Berdych, he used his slices more often than not to deal with Berdych. Top spin doesn't work well on grass.

Players now are all attacking Fed's backhand, knowing that is his weaker wing. Does that make the matches boring? The difference I believe is whether Fed wins the match or not. I find Fed vs Ferrer to be boring, because Ferrer always loses.

luckystar , 1/14/13 2:32 AM


^^^^

Well said! I am in complete agreement! Fed tanking the fifth set of a slam final? In what universe? A final in which he could have tied Sampras with 14 slams? Give me a break!

I always had the sense that Fed was expecting Rafa to just run out of gas after that brutal semifinal match with Verdasco in the semifinals. I think Fed couldn't believe that Rafa was still going after him with a vengeance in that fifth set. Rafa broke Fed mentally in that fifth set. That's what happened. Rafa's ferocious will to win just would not be denied. That was one of the gutsiest, most courageous wins from Rafa. It was also one of the most extraordinary things I have seen in a lifetime of watching this sport. On paper, there is no way that Rafa wins that match. But somehow, someway he did it. I think Fed just could not believe what he was seeing.

I also agree with lucky that Fedal matches are chock full of amazing shot making. It's like two great chess players using their smarts, savvy and skill to win. The contrast in styles produced some brilliant rallies and extraordinary shots.

The outcome of that 2009 AO was never a given. Rafa went into that match a distince underdog because he had never won a hard court slam up to that point and also because of that slugfest semifinal with Verdasco. Rafa also had only one day's rest to Fed's two days. Everything was against Rafa and the stars seemed aligned for Fed to win this one. The outcome was not a certainty heading into that fifth set. Fed had just won the fourth set, so the assumption was that he had the momentum.

However Rafa had other ideas. He came out fighting even harder and more aggressive in that fifth set. Where he found the physical strength to get through that match, I will never know.

I will always love watching Rafa and Fed because of the quality of their matches.

Nativenewyorker , 1/14/13 7:25 AM


Fedfans even claim that he tanked the olympic final!!!!!!!!!!!!

nadline , 1/14/13 8:43 AM


Rafa hits topspin everywhere and whether it works or not is a different story. It was his spin combined with the fact that he was a lefty that helped him beat Federer in 2008. No shame in that, that's how he has won matches for a very long time, simple and ruthless formula.

It is also the reason he cannot beat Federer indoors.

samprallica , 1/14/13 9:19 AM


^^^ Don't think so. If that's the case, Rafa would have beaten Fed in 2007 Wimbledon! It's not so simple. Top spin doesn't work well on grass, Rafa has to play aggressively, adjust his position at the baseline to win on grass. Top spin doesn't work against Murray, however Rafa beat Murray each time they played on grass at Wimbledon, and Murray wasn't playing badly at Wimbledon (if not be wont reach the semi finals).

Rafa beating Fed at the AO in 2009 not solely because of his topspin forehand, but his lethal flat DHBH, which worked so well against Fed's forehand on that day.

luckystar , 1/14/13 9:59 AM


I don't think Rafa lost to Fed indoors because of his topspin forehand. To me, Rafa was very much beaten up by the end of the season. In 2010, his best year so far, he was able to take a set off Fed when others couldn't, and had he not spent too much time on court the previous day against Murray, he probably could make a match of the final, instead of losing the final set 6-1(not forgetting he had to play on three consecutive days whilst Fed has a day's rest). Well they haven't played indoors at the beginning of a season, I'm looking forward to that, maybe at Rotterdam sometime soon?

luckystar , 1/14/13 10:19 AM


"but to say Fedal is over is [preposterous].Just wait and watch and don't get ahead of yourself guys.."

I was NOT getting ahead of myself.
I said that Fedal (as a united concept) is coming to an end,
didnt say it was over....yet.
And obviously fedal fans love fedal matches, particularly the nadal side (who wouldn't in their shoes?).
Im just putting it out there that there will be life after all of this overweening franchising & hyperbole has finally ran its (rather unnatural) course.
And if we lose the more extreme elements of Fed-dom, well I can't say i'll be missing them too much, that's all.
lol.

Twinge , 1/14/13 11:08 AM


^^Although as a genuine rivalry at least it really ended that summer evening in 2008.

Twinge , 1/14/13 11:31 AM


luckystar , 1/14/13 9:59 AM,

Thank you for mentioning Rafa's flat DHBH which he used to great effect in that 2009 AO final. The sports analysts believed that rAFA exposed a weakness by using his BH to attack Fed's forehand. It was a wickedly effectice shot for which Fed simply had no answers.

It's not always about topspin with Rafa. That's a bit of an oversimplification. Rafa has many weapons and his tennis brain allows him to know when and how to use them.



Nativenewyorker , 1/14/13 10:57 PM


Sorry, it should be Rafa in my previous post! Also it should be a wickedly EFFECTIVE shot!

Nativenewyorker , 1/14/13 10:59 PM


Precisely. Rafa has his wicked slices too, especially against Berdych at Wimbledon 2010 and against Nole at USO2010. He also has deft touches at the net. His second serves can be tricky too and his ROS is among the best, just behind Nole/Murray and Ferrer. I hope Rafa comes back with even better weapons (or sharpened ones) and gets right back on track soon.

luckystar , 1/15/13 1:43 AM


The AO is carrying on very well withut the enforcement of the 20 seconds between points which shows that the ATP should have left things as they were. Federer must have pushed for it as he thinks that's the only way he can cope with Nadal except for the few times when Rafa is not firing on all cylinders.

nadline , 1/15/13 11:28 AM


luckystar, 1/14/13 9:59 AM

"Don't think so. If that's the case, Rafa would have beaten Fed in 2007 Wimbledon! "

Nadal had Federer on the ropes in 2007 and choked. Roger being the great frontrunner he is then capitalised and ran away with the match.

"Top spin doesn't work well on grass, Rafa has to play aggressively, adjust his position at the baseline to win on grass. Top spin doesn't work against Murray, however Rafa beat Murray each time they played on grass at Wimbledon, and Murray wasn't playing badly at Wimbledon (if not be wont reach the semi finals). "

Nadal's spin is what sets everything up, even on grass. I'd urge you to watch those matches you cite so often and tell me if a higher percentage of balls he plays in the matches against Federer is to the backhand or forehand, and if more balls end up over Federer's shoulder on the backhand side or not.

If Nadal didn't have his ridiculous spin on the forehand side to Federer's backhand, suffice to say that he'd have lost all those matches he won. It forces Federer to okay on his weaker wing and drop balls shorter, and opens up the court for more plays. Its true that Nadal's backhand peaked briefly in the span of 2008/2009 but even then his main play was on the forehand.

Unfortunately, this doesn't work for Nadal indoors and being a creature of habit, he does look a bit confused when Federer handles him there because his basic play is well and truly nullified by the lack of bounce.

samprallica , 1/15/13 12:04 PM


Btw, about Murray - his problem had nothing to do with topspin against Nadal, he just couldn't handle Nadal's consistency and didn't have a regularly effective aggressive game to hurt Nadal. Compare the Murray-Nadal matches and the Djokovic-Nadal matches in 2011 and you will see what I'm talking about.

samprallica , 1/15/13 12:07 PM


^^Andy was playing well on grass but he was NOT ready to beat Nadal at wimbledon.
last time they played he took a set off of him by playing unbelievably aggressive and serving well.
But he doubted his approach and the whole thing came crashing down.
They will probably meet again at Wimbledon and it will be interesting to say the least.

Twinge , 1/15/13 12:11 PM


^^ That's my point, Murray just couldn't counter Nadal's game consistently enough - mainly because he wasn't used to the approach that it takes. Secondly, he was never giong to beat Nadal at Nadal's game.

samprallica , 1/15/13 12:31 PM


^^I was agreeing with you. I believe you have hit the nail on the head vis a vis Andy's problem with Nadal. Also he can be a little in awe of him like a little kid & that has also damaged his chances in tournaments where he could have made an impact ie on HC.
I would say that the ground will probably change in many ways over the next few years as Rafa shall have to compete against 2 mature players in Novak and Andy as opposed to one he had almost completely vanquished (and is on the way out anyway). Hence the self serving nostalgia so aggressively maintained & defended from some of Rafa's fans on this very site.
It should be more a competitive and therefore more interesting period from the 3 of them.

Twinge , 1/15/13 12:46 PM


LOL..if people think rafa's forehand is one of the most lethal weapon in tennis JUST because of his heavy topspin, they are perhaps not well informed about rafa's game or they have not watched his game transform. Firstly, talking about rafa's forehand, yes rafa biggest adv is the abnormal spin he generates but the year 2006 is an example where rafa was hitting way too much topspin ! in 2008, rafa started finding the right balance on hard courts and grass,he started to flatten out his forehand to complement his heavy topspin which made his forehand perhaps the most feared shot in tennis. Nick Bolletieri described rafa's forehand as a 'new' forehand during last year's OZ open mentioning rafa's ability to flatten out his forehand ....

Federer would have defeated nadal many more times, even on clay IF rafa had not evolved his forehand. GO watch the hamburg 2008 final, federer raced to a 5-1 lead so quickly, he was creaming rafa's heavily spun CC forehands. Then came a turn around, a match winning turn around. Rafa started hitting many more forehand down the lines and won that set 7-5 ! Similarly, rafa had to use his forehand down the line in many matches against roger because fed had found the anwer to his favored pattern of going CC too much .

During march or april 2008, federer was asked what makes nadal so tough to beat , esp for him..is it rafa's topsin forehand? Federer was quick to answer that no its not only his forehand,according to fed rafa' s backhand is very solid and he feels like facing a player with TWO FOREHANDS ! Remember, rafa' s backhand had not peaked during march 2008 !

What is this talk about rafa drawing short balls from fed's backhand? as great as rafa's forehand is, of course he is going to use that pattern. What does djokovic do so many times? He is shots does he hit to fed's backhand to draw short balls and then attack fed's forehand (either with backhand DTL or inside-in forehand ) . I would suggest you go and find how many percent of shots does novak hit to roger's backhand in a match and then compare it with rafa's percentage. i think there would not be much of a difference.

Lastly, here is a stat I would like to mention. During RG 2007, rafa hit 73% shots to feds's BH and 27% to his forehand...It was a decent 4 set battle...HOWEVER, during RG 2008, the biggest demolition ever in a slam final, rafa hit 65% shots to fed's backhand and 35% to his forehand !!!! so 73% vs 65% and we know the differences in results, not saying this % explains the result entirely but STILL..its rafa's superb BH cross court and the highly imprved inside out and DTL forehands that have kept him to track to dominating fed...oh and yes, also watch Oz 2012 semi , fed's backhand had all the answers to rafa's CC forehand in the beginning and then we saw rafa roar back with his inside out forehands, QUITE noticeable.

vamosrafa , 1/15/13 12:50 PM


^^^ Does Rafa beat Fed on the hard courts by hitting his forehands mostly to Fed's backhand? In 2004 at Miami he didn't; in 2006 Dubai he didn't; in 2009 AO he didn't as he had his lethal DHBH; in 2011 Miami he didn't and in 2012 AO he didn't because Fed had made improvement on his backhand! To say that Rafa could beat Fed mainly because of his topspin forehand is to oversimplify matters and in fact an insult to Rafa. And what about Rafa beating Nole in the past, prior to 2011? Just because Nole beats Rafa all those times in 2011 till AO2012 doesn't mean that now Nole can deal with Rafa and would have no problem with him. Rafa had just proven that he could also gain the upper hand on Nole again in 2012, at least on clay, and It took a great effort from Nole to beat Rafa at the USO and the AO. Whether Murray could gain the upper hand on Rafa going forward, we've to wait and see, till then it's anyone's guess.

luckystar , 1/15/13 12:51 PM


You said it right there samprallica! Rafa beat Fed NOT because of his CC topspin forehand to Fed's backhand. Rafa's lethal shots are his I/O CC forehand and his DTL forehand (which he used sparingly, surprising!). Rafa's backhand was always solid but reached its peak during 2009 AO. However, after his knee injury in 2009, it seems that his backhand had faded a bit and had become a liability in 2011. Note that he was left with only his CC forehand in 2011 to deal with Nole, when his backhand was breaking down, and his DTL forehand was non existent. In fact Rafa was way more aggressive back in 2003-2005 and his forehand was flatter back then. Like I said, he beat Fed the first time they met, in Miami 2004, not by hitting to Fed's backhand, but by hitting aggressively and forcing Fed back, and then came forward to the net to finish the point. Sadly, as the courts get slower, Rafa had to become more defensive and now engaged in longer and longer rallies. Contrary to what some believed, the slow courts are not helping Rafa, they're damaging his knees.

luckystar , 1/15/13 1:05 PM


"And what about Rafa beating Nole in the past, prior to 2011? Just because Nole beats Rafa all those times in 2011 till AO2012 doesn't mean that now Nole can deal with Rafa and would have no problem with him..."

Nobody is saying that but Rafa was always going to make a comeback against Novak on clay wasn't he?
Its elsewhere that will be more revealing.
The past performances against Rafa don't count for as much as the more recent as the players enter maturity.

Twinge , 1/15/13 1:09 PM


Oh I'm sorry, I mean vamosrafa, not samprallica in my above post. Well said vamosrafa! You put it better out there than I can do. Well done!

luckystar , 1/15/13 1:11 PM


BTW, on grass, the ball definitely doesn't bounce as high as when it is on grass. Watch the clip they shown during Wimbledon 2008, and see the different bounce on clay and grass; on clay the bounce was up to Fed's shoulder, on grass it was lower and within Fed's strike zone. Which explained why Rafa flatten his shots for grass and added in his slices. Rafa's game is definitely not one game fits all, he has to make adjustments to his game for different surfaces. He's most aggressive on grass and stands closest to the baseline on grass. Obviously on clay he has to defend more and can afford to stand further from the baseline.

luckystar , 1/15/13 1:57 PM


"During RG 2007, rafa hit 73% shots to feds's BH and 27% to his forehand...It was a decent 4 set battle...HOWEVER, during RG 2008, the biggest demolition ever in a slam final, rafa hit 65% shots to fed's backhand and 35% to his forehand !!!! so 73% vs 65% and we know the differences in results, not saying this % explains the result entirely but STILL..its rafa's superb BH cross court and the highly imprved inside out and DTL forehands that have kept him to track to dominating fed...oh and yes, also watch Oz 2012 semi , fed's backhand had all the answers to rafa's CC forehand in the beginning and then we saw rafa roar back with his inside out forehands, QUITE noticeable."

Well you just confirmed what I was saying vamosrafa. Nadal's main play even when he was at his "varied" best is the forehand to Federer's backhand. Or does 65% look like a minority play to you? Of course you aren't going to beat a great like Federer without a few additional killer shots in the mix, but his main play, the one that breaks Federer down and then sets points up for him is the forehand to Federer's backhand. Take that out of the equation and we would be seeing a different picture.

I don't understand why you guys even take offense at this. I am a die-hard Sampras fan who while acknowledging that he was a great all court player understands that his trump card was always going to be his serve. Every player will make adjusments here and there, but you willl always notice stand out features in how a player wins.

"In 2004 at Miami he didn't; in 2006 Dubai he didn't; in 2009 AO he didn't as he had his lethal DHBH; in 2011 Miami he didn't and in 2012 AO he didn't because Fed had made improvement on his backhand!"

5 matches in the whole rivalry. The two Miami matches were unique, in 2004 Federer was just caught by surprise and Nadal was deifnitely a flatter hitter who was experiencing a high from the extensive training he had taken after the Australian Open that year. In 2011, Federer was just awful.

In the 2009 AO, Nadal played a brilliant match although you will find that again - he would have used his majority play to good effect. He had to find an extra gear that day, and it is one of those performances I respect the most. But for the most part, it was usual form.

samprallica , 1/15/13 2:12 PM


"Nadal's spin is what sets everything up, even on grass. I'd urge you to watch those matches you cite so often and tell me if a higher percentage of balls he plays in the matches against Federer is to the backhand or forehand, and if more balls end up over Federer's shoulder on the backhand side or not.

If Nadal didn't have his ridiculous spin on the forehand side to Federer's backhand, suffice to say that he'd have lost all those matches he won"

Samprallica


With all due respect, this makes hardly sense at all. It would take a psycho to hit a higher % of shots to roger's forehand than his backhand. As i mentioned previously, EVERYONE does it ! this is what djokovic does as well ! He uses deep hard hitting to roger's backhand to draw attackable balls before going to roger's BH with his DTL backhand or inside-in forehand.

I am unable to find anty hawekye analysis that shoes wht % of shots do nole and muzz hit to roger's backhand ! If anyone finds it, post it please.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW7Lz38sAMs

Above is the link to hamburg 2008 final. watch how roger is moving up the court with his BACKHAND down the line to dictate play and rafa is in trble down 1-5. Then rafa starts hitting forehand DTL more often and suddenly he is in command, !just watch the first set everyone who is concerned.

Nole and muzz try their best to engage in a backhand to backhand cross court rally with federer, look for an opportunity to attack fed's forehand.

plus, it is also about hitting YOUR favorite shots. Djokovic's backhand DTL is perhaps his favorite shot and it is amazing how much damage his DTL backhand is causing to federer nowadays, its huge ! how many times do you djokovic hitting kick serves HIGH to roger's backhand and then dictating point with his forehand/backhand?? Note this pattern too, djokovic uses it VERY OFTEN.

So does it suffice to say djokovic would have lost all those matches he won agaisnt fed if djokovic had not used his backhand DTL or that kick serve?


vamosrafa , 1/15/13 2:19 PM


here you go, http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2012/11/46/Brain-Game-Djokovic -Backhand-Makes-Difference.aspx the power of nole's backhand down the line...

@luckystar, you have made some great points too ! rafa actually started adopting the clay court pattern on hard courts too because of the courts slowing down...thats an interesting dimension

vamosrafa , 1/15/13 2:22 PM


Take away nole's amazing use of his backhand DTL and i am sure fed would have won all the matches against him. now how is this? lol

vamosrafa , 1/15/13 2:31 PM


^^If you take away Roger's get out of jail card, his serve and there is no way he would have been as successful on the tour.
Weak eras or not.

Twinge , 1/15/13 2:34 PM


Samprallica, pleas note that those were the five hard court events that Rafa beat Fed, all of which were not just CC forehand to Fed's backhand. Those matches proved one thing, that Rafa wasn't beating Fed on hard courts by simply hitting topspin forehands to Fed's backhand. Didnt I said before, that topspin doesn't work well on grass? Likewise for the hard courts unless they're made to have high bounces. Regardless, Rafa didn't beat Fed on hard courts because of topspin and that's my point. You're using majority of their matches on clay to form your own conclusion! And Rafa had proven you wrong when he could beat Fed on grass and hard courts not depending on his topspin forehand, and that's the point I'm trying to make.

luckystar , 1/15/13 2:39 PM


Yup, lucky is spot on here. Rafa makes the most adjustments tactically among the big 4, esp as compared to fed and nole. The bounce on grass is not much higher than you would get on an indoor court ! Rafa defeated fed there ! rafa made the mistake ofgoing CC too much in 2006 wimb final (watch the match) , in 2008 it was evident rafa used a much more all-round game..

and yes rafa has lost indoors to fed but they have been matches at a single event , thw WTF! i would love to see their matches during some other part of the season ...rafa is often a spent force by the time WTF arrives...he struggles against many other players too at that event...he has withdrawn from that event too 3 times..

Had all of rafa's win on clay against fed come on montecarlo, would it have been the same? no! rafa has beaten fed in montecarlo, rome, hamburg, madrid, and of course RG...fed has had chances in every clay court event and all the diff conditions provided by diff events

vamosrafa , 1/15/13 2:59 PM


The Great Rafael Nadal has far more than the topspin in his tool box that's why he beats Federer on all surfaces other than indoors which Rafa doesn't really care for. Rafa beats Federer on hard and grass that are supposed to be Federer's territory time and time again.

nadline , 1/15/13 2:59 PM


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTnE1mbQtr4

AT LAST I FOUND SOME EVIDENCE ..haha...watch the entire 3 min clip above...there is a point in the video where you see a spread of shots.. goodall explains the variations rafa has incorporated in his game ...a telling stat mentioned is that in 2011 Rg QF against almagro, he hit 52% of his shots to nico's FOREHAND and 48% to his backhand !! TAKE NOTE : only 48% of shots to the backhand side of player (ONE HANDED BACKHAND, shorter in height than federer) on CLAY

vamosrafa , 1/15/13 3:05 PM


vamosrafa , 1/15/13 12:50 PM,

Thank you so much for this post! I know that you also made a few more, along with lucky. There isn't anything I can add, because both of you have made the argument so well. I appreciate the efforts and the facts and stats to explain what Rafa has been able to achieve in his matches with Fed on all surfaces.

Finally, it bothers me to read someone once again purporting to speak for some Rafa fans and their so-called nostalgia. Oh and Rafa having to play a Fed in his prime and at his peak when he was just starting out and in his teens, is not something to be dismissed. If anyone else could have beaten Fed, then it would have happened. It's also annoying to read that now Rafa will have to compete against a mature Nole and Murray, as though they weren't good from the start.

It's just a shame that someone has to persist in this kind of talk about some Rafa fans. Generalizing is not something that is admirable. What some or all Rafa fans think or don't think is known only to them.

I don't take anything away from Murray and Nole. I can appreciate how Nole had his breakthrough year in 2011 and has matured and shown great mental toughness and great tennis in the second half of 2012. I was very happy for Andy when he won an Olympic gold medal and his first slam.

I don't choose to demean the fans of either Nole or Murray and it would really be nice if that favor could be returned. Rafa's time is not yet done. There is more of his story to be written. He may not be playing Fed that much going forward. He may be up against Nole and Murray more. However, there is no way anyone can diminish what Rafa was able to do against Fed at his best.


Nativenewyorker , 1/15/13 6:25 PM


Ok let me make my case in the face of these rather irrelevant barrage of comments that deviate from the point that was being made (initially by Emiliano) and hope that logic prevails.

Let me restate my premise: Rafa's main play against Federer is CC forehand to Federer's backhand. This is his stock play, the play he uses the majority of the time, and this is FACT. A DTL backhand, or inside out forehand is not something Nadal uses as a stock play - for two reasons, its not a play he can sustain and Federer might just eat it up if he did that. If Nadal was not a lefty and did not have his heavy CC forehand crosscourt, life would have been a lot tougher for Nadal against Federer.

"With all due respect, this makes hardly sense at all. It would take a psycho to hit a higher % of shots to roger's forehand than his backhand. As i mentioned previously, EVERYONE does it ! this is what djokovic does as well ! He uses deep hard hitting to roger's backhand to draw attackable balls before going to roger's BH with his DTL backhand or inside-in forehand."

@vamosrafa, it makes perfect sense and why am I not surprised that you are missing the point? Is Djokovic's CC backhand to Federer's backhand anywhere as effective as Nadal's CC forehand? NO. Watch a Djokovic-Federer match and tell me the dynamic isn't more varied than a Nadal-Federer one; there are definitely more shots to the Federer forehand when Nole plays Fed. This just serves to re-iterate the point that Nadal's stock play against Federer is just a lot more effective and dominates their matches.

"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW7Lz38sAMs

Above is the link to hamburg 2008 final. watch how roger is moving up the court with his BACKHAND down the line to dictate play and rafa is in trble down 1-5. Then rafa starts hitting forehand DTL more often and suddenly he is in command, !just watch the first set everyone who is concerned."

@vamosrafa, This is a highlight reel, although I am happy that you posted it because of two things. Federer is camping on his backhand side expecting Rafa to go there, and trying also to perhaps run around his forehand. Nadal instead goes for broke down the line and inside out and is rewarded; whereas it is possible that he wasn't doing this previously. Perhaps this is because Federer appears to be playing with a lot more freedom on his backhand and moving into the shot with exquisite footwork. It is puzzling as to why Federer has not been able to do this otherwise on clay but I figure that has to do with the Hamburg surface.

samprallica , 1/16/13 3:29 AM


"Samprallica, pleas note that those were the five hard court events that Rafa beat Fed, all of which were not just CC forehand to Fed's backhand. Those matches proved one thing, that Rafa wasn't beating Fed on hard courts by simply hitting topspin forehands to Fed's backhand."

@luckystar, I didn't say Rafa was "simply" beating Federer by employing one tactic. I said that he has a stock tactic that he will use against Federer, and it shows in most hitting patterns during their matches; setting up points time and again for Nadal to finish. I don't care if that offends you, it is a fact. It is a constructed pattern of play which differs greatly for instance from Federer's more instinctive play.

"Didnt I said before, that topspin doesn't work well on grass? Likewise for the hard courts unless they're made to have high bounces."

So what? Are you an authority on grass courts to claim that topspin doesn't work well on grass? That may have been true in the 90s when the racquets were different, as was the surface a Wimbledon, but in today's game, grass is more receptive to spin than ever before. The ball does bounce higher than it traditionally has at the WTF and even a small height difference makes a significant difference for a one hander - the fact that a supporting hand is not available means he cannot compensate as easily for the higher bounce. Grass is also a receptive surface to spins of all kinds as seen by the fact that slices and slice serves work quite effectively. A natural property of the surface is that the ball will not rebound elastically as on clay but the same forward push off the surface due to topspin will occur (follow the revs on the ball) thus making for a heavy groundstroke regardless. That is still a rather difficult proposition for Federer and because he has less time on the ball on grass, he wouldn't be able to move in to the ball as much on grass as he did in that Hamburg clip. Same result being brought about due to different reasons but the contributing factor being Nadal's wicked spin on the forehand.

samprallica , 1/16/13 3:45 AM


"The Great Rafael Nadal has far more than the topspin in his tool box that's why he beats Federer on all surfaces other than indoors which Rafa doesn't really care for."

I never claimed that Rafa didn't have more than topspin. I don't think anyone has. But feel free to imply Nadal tanks indoors.

"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTnE1mbQtr4

AT LAST I FOUND SOME EVIDENCE ..haha...watch the entire 3 min clip above...there is a point in the video where you see a spread of shots.. goodall explains the variations rafa has incorporated in his game ...a telling stat mentioned is that in 2011 Rg QF against almagro, he hit 52% of his shots to nico's FOREHAND and 48% to his backhand !! TAKE NOTE : only 48% of shots to the backhand side of player (ONE HANDED BACKHAND, shorter in height than federer) on CLAY"

Your evidence is quite flawed, because we are talking about Nadal playing Federer; not players with lesser forehands and mobility around the court. 52-48 is an indication of how Almagro can be exploited - he is a much poorer mover than Federer for one - and does not have any relevance to what we were talking about.

samprallica , 1/16/13 3:51 AM


"So does it suffice to say djokovic would have lost all those matches he won agaisnt fed if djokovic had not used his backhand DTL or that kick serve?"

@vamosrafa, yes it would suffice to say that Federer would be kicking Nole's ass quite badly if he didn't have those shots. Nole already has some trouble with Fed as it is.

samprallica , 1/16/13 4:21 AM


Ha, who cares whether you care or not! The fact is Rafa's topspin forehand won't work the way it works on clay. If Fed couldn't handle Rafa's topspin forehand while a SHBH Almagro or Youzhny can on most surfaces, that exposes Fed's own weakness. Well you may insist all you want about Rafa employing the same pattern against Fed even on surfaces other than clay, but the fact is he didnt beat him on other surfaces doing that. He may be serving more to Fed's backhand, but other than that, he's not hitting every shot to his backhand. Please note that even on clay, Rafa has to first hit it out wide to Fed'a forehand to extract a return he desired from Fed before hitting it to Fed's backhand for a winner or an error from Fed. It's not like he can totally avoid Fed's forehand and keeps hitting to his backhand! If that's the case, we won't be seeing all those amazing shotmaking during Fedal's matches.

Rafa is very good at getting to his opponent's weaknesses. Against Almagro or Gasquet, he would be attacking their forehands and serving to their forehands instead.

luckystar , 1/16/13 4:36 AM


"he's not hitting every shot to his backhand."

Never claimed this, just said his stock hitting pattern involves hitting to the Federer backhand with his forehand; which generally involves heavy topspin. Maybe this time you will actually understand.

"Please note that even on clay, Rafa has to first hit it out wide to Fed'a forehand to extract a return he desired from Fed before hitting it to Fed's backhand for a winner or an error from Fed."

Seems more like if he was given a choice, he would rather work the point on Federer's backhand and then hit into the forehand once the court opens up more. Seems like you're watching Fedal in an alternate universe.

samprallica , 1/16/13 5:04 AM


"Rafa is very good at getting to his opponent's weaknesses. Against Almagro or Gasquet, he would be attacking their forehands and serving to their forehands instead."

Thank you for indirectly supporting my point that video vamosrafa posted had no relevance to the Fedal matchup.

samprallica , 1/16/13 5:08 AM


vamosrafa, you do make a good point about Rafa having two forehands ( Fed make reference to that). And that's why Fed couldn't take any advantage against Rafa all these years even with Fed's own forehand. However, Rafa's backhand really deteriorated after his knee injury in 2009, and now it's more a weakness in his game where Nole and Murray and even Fed now could take advantage. Thanks for reminding that Rafa lost his indoor matches mostly at the WTF/TMC and he had to miss 2005/2008/2012 due to injuries. He certainly was very much spent come the end of the year, not surprising that 2010 being his best performance there at the WTF when prior to that he had a few weeks rest.

The Hamburg final of 2008 reminds me of how well Rafa could change strategy mid match. I do know that Rafa's DTL forehand is one of his money shots but he only hit it when he's confident. He used that shot to good effect against Nole lately when he decided that attacking Nole's forehand is the way to go. Rafa also hit some good I/I DTL forehand shots at his backhand corner while playing against Berdych at Wimbledon in 2010. I would like to see him using his DTL shots ( both forehand and backhand) more often to keep his opponents guessing, instead of going CC all the times on both wings.

luckystar , 1/16/13 5:17 AM


Ok let me make my case in the face of these rather irrelevant barrage of comments that deviate from the point that was being made (initially by Emiliano) and hope that logic prevails.

samprallica , 1/16/13 3:29 AM

Good grief! It's not like this is the end of the world. We are just having a discussion about Rafa's tactics when he plays Fed!

I also take exception to your rather self-serving characterization of the barrage of these rather irrelevant comments that deviate from the point that you were making!

Guess what? That's what happens in a discussion on a tennis forum. People join in and make their points. The fact that you dismiss them as irrelevant is your problem, not theirs. Anyone is free to join in a discussion. If they are deviating from the point you think you were trying to make, too bad! It's not a capital offense.

If you could get your ego out of the way for a minute or two, then maybe there could be a reasonable discussion. But if you are intent on ramming your point down the throats of others, then any attempt to continue a reasonable discussion is moot.

I think vamosrafa and lucky are two of the most knowledgeable, reasonable and respectful posters on this site. I enjoy reading their posts. I have disagreed with them, but didn't need to make it personal.

You aren't hearing what they are saying. Also, nobody implied that Rafa tanks indoor matches. You are engaging in vanity posts, in which making your point becomes the be-all and end-all. You have to be right. But I think that vamosrafa and lucky have made their arguments well.

Nativenewyorker , 1/16/13 5:30 AM


samprallica has stated well that there is no real rivalry between Federer and Nadal . When Nadal meets Federer , Nadal exploits a weakness a majority of the time and thus Nadal owns Federer. There is no rivalry. If there is a rival for Rafa then it is with Djokovic.

nirv02 , 1/16/13 5:42 AM


samprallica and logic are poles apart. Imagine samprallica hoping that logic prevails. Isn't this the poster who implied that Rafa is serving a silent 6 month ban for doping? Must be a Fed fan. That accounts for the delusion and utter disregard for logic.

holdserve , 1/16/13 5:42 AM


nirv and other Fed fans are trying to establish that Rafa owns Fed because Rafa exploits Fed's backhand. How come nobody before Rafa could exploit this weakness and even now except Muzza, the others find it hard to beat Fed when he is on?
What they are loathe to admit and what is obvious to anyone not delusional is that Rafa is better than Fed and so wins despite all the scheduling advantages, cupcake draws etc that Fed enjoys.
Djokovic is enjoying dominance only because Rafa hasn't been 100% fit since Doha 2011. He tore his hamstring at AO, suffered a foot injury at Wimbledon, suffered crippling cramps at a press conference at USO showing he was not fit, had to play back to back matches from 4th round as against Nole who had at least one day between each match. Rafa suffered a different kind of knee injury at AO 2012, something which I am sure is the one which is now keeping him away. It is amazing how he fought Nole despite his injury. He is paying the price now for playing even thereafter.
I don't know whether Rafa will ever regain the level of fitness he had earlier but if he does, he will beat Nole, Muzza and Fed. His greatness is not accepted by the Fed fans which includes the media but 50 years down the line when time will lend objectivity/proper perspective, I am sure Rafa will be accepted as the greatest among Fed, Nole and Muzza. And the Fed fans attempting to fit him into the 1-D model will not be of any avail.

holdserve , 1/16/13 6:01 AM


Now samprallica, go watch that FO2011 final and see how Rafa attack Fed's forehand to open up the backhand corner before attacking it. It works either way, whether Rafa attacks the forehand first or the backhand first. It proves a point, that Rafa can't just avoid Fed's forehand and keeps attacking his backhand, and that's why Rafa is/was able to beat Fed on hard courts and grass despite not having any advantages on them (because of the lower bounces).

Fed beats Rafa indoors because 1) it's not about the bounce, but rather Fed's game, which was very much about timing the ball well, wasn't affected by the elements, matches being played indoors; 2) Rafa was very much spent by then, ie at the year end.

Now if Rafa doesn't have his topspin forehand, would he still beat Fed that many times on clay? I would think so, and that's because 1) Rafa has the best movement on clay; 2) he would've employed other strategies against Fed, like for example his Hamburg 2008 final; 3) the fact that he could beat Nole on clay by employing different strategies (from his 2011 encounters with Nole) tells me so. He's able to handle DHBH on clay (Nole), flat hard hitting on clay (Sod and Delpo), tells me that he'll be alright when handling Fed on clay, even if Rafa doesn't have his topspin forehand. I'm sure Nole's backhand is better than Fed's and so Rafa mixing it up and attack both Fed's forehand and backhand on clay is still a viable option for him (Rafa).

luckystar , 1/16/13 6:02 AM


"Good grief! It's not like this is the end of the world. We are just having a discussion about Rafa's tactics when he plays Fed!"

Yes the world seems in tact. Definitely not the end, I concur.

"I also take exception to your rather self-serving characterization of the barrage of these rather irrelevant comments that deviate from the point that you were making!

Guess what? That's what happens in a discussion on a tennis forum. People join in and make their points. The fact that you dismiss them as irrelevant is your problem, not theirs. Anyone is free to join in a discussion. If they are deviating from the point you think you were trying to make, too bad! It's not a capital offense."

Well this is the thing, you can state a point that does not relate to mine and I wouldn't really mind at all. But then using irrelevant stats (Almagro) and then twisting what I actually said (making it sound like Rafa only knows one thing when I actually was highlighting what his main strategy was) deserves a response. And the posters were directly addressing my point and claiming I was wrong, but not really offering a relevant response. Well I think if you're doing that, a logically structured argument is necessary.

"If you could get your ego out of the way for a minute or two, then maybe there could be a reasonable discussion. But if you are intent on ramming your point down the throats of others, then any attempt to continue a reasonable discussion is moot."

Hmmm, your sentences really speak for themselves here.

"You aren't hearing what they are saying. Also, nobody implied that Rafa tanks indoor matches. You are engaging in vanity posts, in which making your point becomes the be-all and end-all"

Nadline did say Rafa isn't interested in indoor matches with Fed. Secondly, it seems like they aren't hearing what we are saying at all. We're talking about what Rafa's stock strategy and they seem to be claiming we're insinuating that Rafa doesn't know another way to play.

"When Nadal meets Federer , Nadal exploits a weakness a majority of the time and thus Nadal owns Federer. There is no rivalry"

I didn't say there was no rivalry and that is totally nirv's view, but I would agree with him to the extent that i think it is hyped up. And I totally agree with him on what Nadal does a majority of the time in these matches; it is precisely what I was trying to highlight.

I love how lucky goes on about inside out forehands and DTL backhands as though they were Nadal's go to plays. Simply not true.

samprallica , 1/16/13 6:07 AM


"Now if Rafa doesn't have his topspin forehand, would he still beat Fed that many times on clay?"

You really believe that? Awesome then.

samprallica , 1/16/13 6:08 AM


"Isn't this the poster who implied that Rafa is serving a silent 6 month ban for doping? Must be a Fed fan. That accounts for the delusion and utter disregard for logic."

Massive fail. Never implied that Nadal was serving a silent ban anywhere. But now that you mentioned it..... hmmmm....

Not a Fed fan by any stretch of imagination. I've always supported Rafa against Fed, although at this point, I would say that Federer is the greater of the two.

samprallica , 1/16/13 6:19 AM


^^^ Why not? He'll simply adopt a different strategy. You think Rafa is one dimensional? Or you simply can't believe Rafa is better at handling Fed, even without his topspin, than Nole could? Rafa could simply handle Fed's backhand slices better then anyone else, and so Fed has one weapon less in dealing with Rafa. Maybe Rafa is a lefty, but so is Verdasco; maybe Rafa has his topspin, but so do others. Maybe it's his speed, but so do some others. It's a combination of all these that make Rafa a difficult opponent for Fed.

luckystar , 1/16/13 6:26 AM


Given that Nadal's forehand is his standout weapon I fail to see how what you say is possible. I'm curious to see how many people actually agree with you on this - the idea that Rafa would beat Fed even if his forehand wasn't what it was.

samprallica , 1/16/13 6:34 AM


Rafa's DTL and I/I forehands are true, if not how's he employing them to good effect against Berdych at DC final in 2009 and Wimbledon final in 2010 for examples. He didnt employ them in 2011 because he wasn't confident about his game, having a bad start during 2011- illness and injury. He employed the DTL forehands during the clay season last year, a sign of him recovering some of his confidence, though he's still nervous with each match he played, with even more tics in his serve routines.

luckystar , 1/16/13 6:36 AM


samprallica , 1/16/13 6:07 AM

Hmmm, your sentences really speak for themselves here.

And so do yours! If that's the best you can do, that's a shame. Oh and I thought it was so nice of you to quote me repeatedly while not really answering the points that I was making.

So here goes - nadline saying that Rafa wasn't interested in indoor matches with Fed was her opinion. Being disinterested does not equal tanking! That is a stretch that a reasonable person would not make. But your sarcasm was on purpose.

Next, you just might try to read lucky's post @6:02 AM. I think she responded quite well, while you just made another sarcastic response to the effect that lucky thinks inside out and dtl backhands are Rafa's go-to plays. That's not what she said! A non-responsive reply that distorts or misinterpets what someone says, does not a coherent argument make!

Also, I do remember the comment that holdserve was referencing in his post @5:L42 AM. You were careful not to say it outright, but the implication was there that Rafa was indeed serving a silent six month ban. The fact that you did your little "hmmm" means that you meant exactly what anyone would have thought when you made that comment. You know the rules on this site about accusing any player of doping, so you did it in a sly way that would not get you in trouble.

lucky,

I admire you for your tenacity. You keep coming back with good points, but all you will receive is another dismissive response. However, I have read your posts and thank you for making the case regarding Rafa's weapons and strategies against Fed.

Nativenewyorker , 1/16/13 6:44 AM


We're talking about Federer-Nadal, why are you bringing Berdych into the picture? Irrelevant to the argument.

While he has progressively incorporated the DTL, I/O and I/I forehands into his play against Fed, the forehand CC still remains his most dominant, fallback tactic.

samprallica , 1/16/13 6:44 AM


His forehand was flatter back in 2003/2004 than now, he was hitting big with his forehands. Rafa had beaten Fed in 2004 Miami and 2005 FO when his shots weren't that spiny, and certainly not hitting to Fed's backhand always. I think it was after or during the clay season of 2006 that he adopted this topspin forehand to Fed's backhand on clay. Well, in that TMC2006 SF against Fed, both were playing very well and Rafa wasn't attacking Fed's backhand all the time.

Also, Rafa's I/O forehand is a relatively flat shot but its equally lethal, likewise his flat DHBH when it's at it's best.

luckystar , 1/16/13 6:49 AM


Well, NNY since you insist; I have already responded to the 6.02 am post several times saying that while there will be natural variances in the shotmaking that Nadal employs, his main strategy remains the CC forehand to Federer's backhand. Surely, you're not denying this are you?


"while you just made another sarcastic response to the effect that lucky thinks inside out and dtl backhands are Rafa's go-to plays. That's not what she said"

Well unfortunately lucky seems to imply that the use of the dtl backhands and I/O forehands dare the reason Nadal used to beat Federer in several posts. I'm not saying he hasn't employed these shots effectively but if you take the forehand CC out of the equation, he simply wouldn't get into position to make these shots. Btw, I think it was the Nadal Backhand CC that was lethal when he was at his best.

"You were careful not to say it outright, but the implication was there that Rafa was indeed serving a silent six month ban. The fact that you did your little "hmmm" means that you meant exactly what anyone would have thought when you made that comment. You know the rules on this site about accusing any player of doping, so you did it in a sly way that would not get you in trouble."

Mere speculation on your part unfortunately.

"So here goes - nadline saying that Rafa wasn't interested in indoor matches with Fed was her opinion. Being disinterested does not equal tanking!"

So what was it, some subconscious negative placebo effect then? To suggest that Nadal lost only because he was not interested is rather disrespectful to Federer but that's an opinion and anything I state (an opinion) is a crime?

samprallica , 1/16/13 7:01 AM


"His forehand was flatter back in 2003/2004 than now, he was hitting big with his forehands. Rafa had beaten Fed in 2004 Miami and 2005 FO when his shots weren't that spiny, and certainly not hitting to Fed's backhand always."

I do agree with the above. The tactic certainly manifested somewhere in 2006. The peak of the rivalry was in between 2006 and the 2009 AO.

samprallica , 1/16/13 7:04 AM


NNY is right. I didn't say the DTL and I/I forehands are Rafa's go to shots. He hits his DTL forehand, lethal and that's why I call it his money shot, only when he's confident. And that's why I said I hope he plays his DTL forehand and backhand more often, in addition to his CC shots, to keep his opponents guessing. I don't think there's any contradiction there.

luckystar , 1/16/13 7:07 AM


^^ But then you would also agree that the majority of the dynamic revolves around the CC forehand because the shots you mention would usually serve to finish the point?

samprallica , 1/16/13 7:11 AM


Cross court as in both I/I and I/O, not just one way. Anyway the cross court shots are the most frequently played shots by any player. No player would go down the line all the time. Rafa has his I/O forehand to open out the court at Fed's forehand, if its not an outright winner, it sets up the point for his next attack, and his I/O forehand is a flatter shot, not a topspin shot. His backhand too is a flat shot, going CC most of the time and I hope he uses it DTL more often.

You seemed to mix up the DTL forehand and backhand that I mentioned. It's his DTL forehand that's lethal when it's firing, but he does it only when he's playing with confidence or with certain intent.

luckystar , 1/16/13 8:09 AM


Oh, I've to add that Rafa with his flat cross court forehand is still better than Fed's SHBH. Can't believe I've to say this. Rafa's forehand is one of the best out there. Even when it's flatter in 2004, it's already awesome that John Mac marveled at it during the AO that year.

luckystar , 1/16/13 8:50 AM


It is not a matter of who is the better player.

The fact here is that Federer has a 'weakness' in his game and Rafa style of play allows him to exploit that weakness to the maximun. That's why Rafa had such a success against him in their h2h.

Emiliano55 , 1/16/13 2:37 PM


luckystar, no use presenting logical arguments to someone who operates on delusions , hate and slyness.

holdserve , 1/16/13 2:39 PM


Not saying that if it weren't for that Federer would dominate their h2h, at all. But I do believe there would be much more parity, and of course, funnier and more interesting matches.

Emiliano55 , 1/16/13 2:40 PM


"Finally, it bothers me to read someone once again purporting to speak for some Rafa fans and their so-called nostalgia. Oh and Rafa having to play a Fed in his prime and at his peak when he was just starting out and in his teens, is not something to be dismissed..."

What's all this whining blah blah?!!
I didnt say anything about dismissing Rafa beating Fed back in the day.
And as you managed to mention it twice in the same post i think its fair to say we are all cognisant of not doing it in the future!
Honestly grow a thicker skin please, this site isn't your personal security blanket.
And my moniker is `Twinge` not...`someone`
If you have a problem with me at least have the stones to address me directly about it as that kind of behaviour REALLY enrages me.

Twinge , 1/16/13 2:47 PM


"The fact here is that Federer has a 'weakness' in his game and Rafa style of play allows him to exploit that weakness to the maximum..."

But as the rivalry that defined the previous 5 years or so.
I want to know why Roger never did anything about that weakness.
For someone whose game was (apparently) so multi faceted he seemed unable to adapt to the Rafa BH challenge.
I have to say that it is to his own great detriment that he never felt the need to do anything about it.

Twinge , 1/16/13 2:57 PM


Emiliano, what a bogus argument! If Fed has such a weakness, how come nobody except Rafa has been able to exploit it? Defies probability and common sense.
Instead of tying yourself up in knots trying to prove something based on delusions better admit Rafa showed up the goat for what he is: A fake goat.

holdserve , 1/16/13 3:01 PM


Twinge,

Maybe because he just couldn't ? Every game has a weakness. Federer has a intermittent backhand, plus the general weakness of all one-handed backhand players have: It is difficult to hit high bouncing balls from that side.

I don't think he didn't try to figure out that over all these years, to me it is a matter that his style cannot do anything against that. He find himself trapped into that side and as soon as he can get out he tries to hit really hard in order to damage Rafa, generating a vicious circle that mainly ends with him committing ridiculous UEs.

Every Rafa-Federer is almost the same. That's why I consider the Sampras-Agassi rivarly much better.

Emiliano55 , 1/16/13 3:11 PM


Emiliano, what a bogus argument! If Fed has such a weakness, how come nobody except Rafa has been able to exploit it? Defies probability and common sense.
Instead of tying yourself up in knots trying to prove something based on delusions better admit Rafa showed up the goat for what he is: A fake goat.
holdserve, 1/16/13 3:01 PM

Nalbandian was the first player to exploit that weakness, from the juniors era to 2003, until Federer improved a lot his backhand.

But high bouncing balls on that side still bothers him a lot, and Rafa is the only player in the circuit cappable of hitting that spinny balls. Being lefty helps him alot in this cause, mainly because he just needs to hit cross courts shots.

Emiliano55 , 1/16/13 3:17 PM


Anyone who claims Fed's backhand is a weakness is delusionsal. They are just refusing to recognize that Rafa's forehand is awesome. It is Rafa's main weapon and he uses it to great effect against everyone, not just Fed. So clearly it is his strength.
But Fed's backhand is not a weakness as it is a powerful weapon. But delusional fans insist it is simply because Rafa beats Fed.
We know Rafa's backhand isn't as strong as his forehand. Now Fed's forehand is also a powerful weapon acknowledged by all. How come Fed is not able to overpower Rafa on his backhand side?

holdserve , 1/16/13 3:18 PM


Good question by Twinge. Why Fed didn't do anything about it?

I've watched that Dubai final again and is now watching the MC 2006 final. We're doing Rafa injustice when we said he only beats Fed because he's always hitting to Fed's backhand. From what I see from the matches, Rafa's backhand was so solid back then and it could handle Fed's CC forehand, so Rafa was actually attacking and defending from both wings. He wasn't running around his backhand to hit his forehand back then. He was serving to Fed's backhand most of the time, realizing that his topspin serves to Fed's backhand could draw an error or weak return from Fed. However, once in a rally, he didn't always attack Fed's backhand, but rather moving Fed around from side to side using both his forehand and backhand until he drew a weak reply from Fed before attacking. That tactic apparently worked well back then, as he beat Fed four times in 2006. Now I'm wondering when did Rafa picked up that attacking Fed's backhand all the time tactic, it might not be in 2006 like I first thought. There might be something happening back then causing him to use that tactic more often after 2006.

As to why Fed cant figure out a tactic to counter Rafa, I would think that Rafa's game is not static but it's also evolving, so it's not easy for Fed to keep figuring out Rafa. Do note that Fed has since improved his backhand, as evident during WTF 2010, however, Rafa still had the upper hand in their rivalry, by changing tactic maybe?

Now Nole may seem to have Rafa's number in 2011 but Rafa has figured out how to beat Nole on clay again after his 2011 losses. Like I said before, Rafa always comes out with different strategies for different opponents.

luckystar , 1/16/13 3:25 PM


Hey,

No one is traking away credit to Rafa forehand. I'm just saying that Rafa style fits perfectly to Roger style, and I gave my reasons. Thats all.

Of course Rafa forehand is amazing. When he is eager and offensive, that forehand is simple amazing and unstoppable. There are times when he doesn't attack and just abuses of his defense, but he showed several times that he has a terrible weapon on that left arm.

Emiliano55 , 1/16/13 3:29 PM


Luckystar,

I already gave my personal opinion to that question after Twinge's question.

Emiliano55 , 1/16/13 3:32 PM


^^^Yeah emiliano, I think also if you change something fundamental about your game, such as going from a SHB to DBH its going to have quite serious ramifications elsewhere.
Either way will will never know if he did try anything drastic to counter Rafa.
As he would never, EVER admit to it ;)
As far as weaknesses go at present i would say that Novak Djokovic has no noticeable weaknesses to his game.
Maybe a few limitations but i can't see actual weaknesses.
Wow, You guys are really going hard on Sampra and Emi Today aren't you?

Twinge , 1/16/13 3:44 PM


...but Emil, not all SHBH are 'vulnerable' like Fed's. I don't think Almagro, Gasquet, Gonzo or Youzhny have the same problem when facing Rafa, especially on clay. It speaks more about Fed's backhand than Rafa's topspin. When Rafa was playing against Almagro on clay, he tried to avoid Almagro's backhand and serve/hit to Almagro's forehand most of the time.

Watch their Dubai final when Fed was hitting his backhand so well on that day, Rafa wasn't hitting to his backhand all the time back then, so not all Fedal matches are the same. Maybe the results are almost the same!

luckystar , 1/16/13 4:06 PM


As a Murray fan I have to say that the whole hitting to Federers BH doesn't always work.
Particularly in Wimbledon when the roof (sadly) has been put on.

Twinge , 1/16/13 4:09 PM


"When Rafa was playing against Almagro on clay, he tried to avoid Almagro's backhand and serve/hit to Almagro's forehand most of the time..."

Interesting if accurate, it would indicate that fed could have indeed done something about the situation. Perhaps his personality got in the way of that reality check?
It certainly wouldn't surprise me.

Twinge , 1/16/13 4:12 PM


Yep, watch Rafa/Almagro FO2012 QF match. Not really Fed's personality getting in the way, more like those players with SHBH - Almagro, Gasquet, Youzhny - all having their backhand as their main weapon, not their forehand. Fed's SHBH is his weaker wing, he may have all the varieties in that wing, like hitting those acute angles, however when under constant attack it breaks down, more so than those guys' backhand.

It's easy to just blame all of Fed's losses to Rafa on those top spins that Rafa generates, but how come others could deal with it better than Fed? Blake and Gonzo were able to beat Rafa on the hard courts during Rafa's early days in the tour, why Fed had problems then?

luckystar , 1/16/13 4:26 PM


...but Emil, not all SHBH are 'vulnerable' like Fed's. I don't think Almagro, Gasquet, Gonzo or Youzhny have the same problem when facing Rafa, especially on clay. It speaks more about Fed's backhand than Rafa's topspin. When Rafa was playing against Almagro on clay, he tried to avoid Almagro's backhand and serve/hit to Almagro's forehand most of the time.
luckystar, 1/16/13 4:06 PM

Yeah, I have never said it was just about Rafa spinny shots, I also mentioned that Roger BH was always his weakness, despite having improved it alot since 2002 (thanks to Nalbandian).

Almagro might be less troubled, yeah, but every one-handed backhand players have trouble to hit high balls on that side.

Emiliano55 , 1/16/13 4:31 PM


You have to jump over the ball and hit it really of sobrepique, something that for one-handed backhand players is more difficult. Of course some players might manage that in a better way, such as Almagro, maybe Blake.

It seems Roger never managed to do so constantly.

Emiliano55 , 1/16/13 4:36 PM


Well at least the ATP (time violations) and ITF (AO playing faster) are doing their best to counter Rafa's hold over Fed...

http://tinyurl.com/bb4sepm

#Conspiracy
#Tinfoil

Conspirator , 1/16/13 4:37 PM


I meant "on pique hit". Sorry, I couldn't find a correct translation for that frmo spanish to english.

Emiliano55 , 1/16/13 4:37 PM


Well at least the ATP (time violations) and ITF (AO playing faster) are doing their best to counter Rafa's hold over Fed...

http://tinyurl.com/bb4sepm
Conspirator, 1/16/13 4:37 PM

I noticed that also, the hardcourt at the AO this time might be just a bit faster than last year. Anyways, its not really hard to get that, last year AO was ridiculously slow.

Emiliano55 , 1/16/13 4:42 PM


So that answers the question - there's weakness in Fed's backhand, but not everyone is good enough to exploit it. The said weakness in the backhand is less susceptible on hard courts and on grass, hence attacking that backhand on grass is not enough to beat Fed. So, that explains why Rafa beating Fed on hard courts not by solely attacking Fed's backhand, but he has to attack from both wings in order to beat Fed.

luckystar , 1/16/13 4:49 PM


luckystar, 1/16/13 3:25 PM:

A really cogent, balanced and articulate argument, and that all by itself says almost everything pertinent on this topic of RF BH / RN FH. Thank you!

chlorostoma , 1/16/13 5:22 PM


Twinge , 1/16/13 2:47 PM

You know what? I don't need lectures from you about what I say or how I say it on this site. I also don't need patronizing crap about this site being my personal security blanket. That kind of condescending nasty stuff is what enrages me! You have your issues and I have mine.

As far as having the stones to address you personally, I will do what I wish to do. Obviously you decided that it was meant for you, so what's the big deal? I don't take orders from you. Sometimes I will copy and paste the quote to which I reply and sometimes I will just make a general reply. It's at my discretion, but it in no way indicated whether I have guts or not. So don't go after me with that assumption.

I made my point. I stand by what I said. You have been going after Rafa fans in a few of your recent posts. You have made your point about Fedal being over or wanting it to be over so that you can move on to Djokovic/Murray. I said in a previous post - good for you. I don't know what your issue is with Rafa fans lately, but you are the one who is being repetitive.

Nativenewyorker , 1/16/13 8:35 PM


wooh, so many posts now so I cannot address all the points.

Firstly, I cannot understand Samprallica when she questions lucky's claim of topspin not being really effective on grass and saying what authority are you. I mean , come on ! topspin is OF COURSE not that effective on grass, surely not effective enough to defeat ROGER FEDERER (7 time wimb champ). When rafa was progressing in WImb 2006, Pete Sampras was almost derogatory in his comments about rafa's progress. He said that you just need to pit a good serve and volleyer against rafa and he'l be in deep trouble. MORE IMPORTANTLY, sampras explained this by saying that TOPSPIN DOES NOT WORK ON GRASS so he implied rafa's does not stand a chance with his clay court game and spinny shots.

What lucky , NNY me and others are trying to say that rafa can VARY his game plan , his shots and everything according to the situations and there is no player better than rafa in doing this. Rafa has defeated federer by relentlessly attacking his backhand, he has adjusted his strategy whenever fed's backhand is clicking and he has been able to defeat federer by moving him from side to side which obviously involves rafa attacking fed's forehand too.

Rafa has done the same agaisnt djokovic in 2012 ! he served many more services to djo's forehand and varied pattern of his forehand shots because he said he was too predictable in 2011 against djokovic !

Rafa is able to adjust his pattern of play time and time again against so many players ! James blake is an example...blake was rafa's nemisis until march 2008 ! rafa was down 0-3 in the h2hd against blake and rafa finally defeated him. He did not win by simply hitting topspin to blake's backhand (now dont tell me blake is a poor mover too), rafa for the first time in their rivalry, stepped inside the baseline and CRUSHED 2nd serves returns ! flat forehand body blows ! blake was shaken and rafa won ! later blake commented that rafa is different this year because of his ability to finish points much earlier himself !

I can give many more examples ! nd the almagro video was NOT pointless, you did not grasp the point. I wjust wanted to point out the variations rafa can bring in his game, esp now when his game has evolved so much! you should go watch his match against almagro in madrid 2010 where rafa hit a higher percentage of shots to nico's backhand ! he paid the price in that match so the next time they met, he shifted the pattern !

So, rafa can topple anyone out there by adjusting his pattern of plays, its absurd , really absurd to say he would have lost to fed all those matches he has won had it not been for his heavily spun CC forehand. I hope this clears things up !

vamosrafa , 1/16/13 9:26 PM


i just read another point, why is samprallica now talking about rafa's 'Forehand' ?! The point we all laid emphasis on was when samprallica mentioned that if you take away rafa's forehand CC he'd lose all matches to fed. Well, you just substantiated our point ! We are also saying that it is rafa's forehand (arguably the best shot in tennis) that is so damn good that he is able to adjust his pattern of plays with that shot to dictate play against his opponents , be it federer, be it nole, be it murray , be it blake , be it berdych etc etc ! many analysts label nadal's inside out forehand as his BEST shot. I have no doubts rafa can use a different pattern by attacking fe'd forehand and then hitting in his backhand corner. He has used his DTL and inside out forehands more often against djo and nole lately because he knows his topspin CC shot is not very effective against them unless he combines that shot with a strong pattern.

Rafa has always found ways of overcoming challenges. be it conquering surfaces on which he was not meant to succeed (grass/hard) , be it vanquishing tournaments which were not meant for him to win (wimbledon , Oz, US ) or be it players of the highest caliber.

vamosrafa , 1/16/13 10:21 PM


just to clarify the sampras reference, pete did not insult rafa or anything like that...he prasied rafa's winning attitude on grass but it was some questions about rafa's chances of winning wimb when pete commented that topspin is not so effective on grass and ao strong serve and volleyer would have rafa on the ropes...

anyway, this was just a tiny point, other stuff in my above posts address the issue we have been discussing :)

vamosrafa , 1/16/13 10:49 PM


While we debate about these 2 legends of tennis, this is what's happening around the WTA nowadays:

http://tinyurl.com/aftrr7w

Impressive.

Emiliano55 , 1/17/13 12:16 AM


The point that was initially departed was just topspin and I brought the CC forehand into the discussion. Sure Rafa can change direction on the forehand - wouldn't be an all time great if he does not, but I just don't think he'd have been at such an advantage on Federer if not for the crosscourt. You just can't take Federer and what he can do on his forehand out of the discussion.

As for topspin not being effective on grass, relatively speaking perhaps not. But we're talking about Nadal's forehand and yes the newer grass is definitely more conducive to spin than previous versions of grass. If spin wasn't effective on grass, you literally wouldn't be able to hit a kick serve on the surface and we know that isn't true. I'm sure Federer would rather face the flatter Djokovic forehand on grass than Nadal's heavier one.

samprallica , 1/17/13 2:44 AM


And I also think Pete was using the surface he played on, and the racquets and strings they used as a frame of reference when he made that comment. After he started playing again, I think he realised that the change in equipment was no small factor.

Nadal's whip probably generates more angular racquet head speed than anyone in history and he uses Babolat RPM strings too. That's not 90s spin we're talking about.

samprallica , 1/17/13 2:48 AM


Put it this way, it's not because of Rafa's topspin that Fed lost to him on grass at Wimbledon. If its only the topspin, then why was Fed losing to Berdych, Tsonga, Delpo and Murray on grass? It takes more than topspin forehand to beat Fed. Movement and speed, power and skill all these make up the qualities necessary for anyone to have a chance to beat Fed on grass. Attacking that backhand is not enough, if not why are these players having to go the distance to beat Fed and many times they fall short. Just give credit to Rafa where it's due, he's been beating all others that he had to face all these years at Wimbledon, losing only to Fed, Nole and Rosol.

luckystar , 1/17/13 3:16 AM


One correction: Delpo didn't beat Fed on grass.

luckystar , 1/17/13 3:19 AM


Never took credit away from Rafa - he was going through his best method to beat Federer. What the Tsonga and Berdych wins prove is that there are other ways and means to beat Federer (you have to be very much in the zone though) and while it may come off, Federer will probably win more often than not. Berdych's technique is more solid so he can produce a great match more often.

I'm just saying the revs that Rafa puts on the ball give him a significantly greater advantage against Fed in comparison to other players and the results prove it.

samprallica , 1/17/13 5:17 AM



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