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June 12, 2006



i am still attempting to recover as well from the match. i'm getting there especially after seeing the green grass courts again. anyhow, i agree with some points like i was really surprised too at how much he'd stayed at the baseline - and really far back at that - plus not slicing much and basically not adjusting during the course of the match. However, i'm really frustrated by people like mats discounting pretty much ALL of the other players except Nadal as legitimate tennis players. So now it all boils down to Roger beating Nadal and anyone else doesn't count for Roger's accomplishments. That's just NOT right on several levels which I won't go into here. I agree that it's premature saying he's the "greatest ever player" but it's them and the media who keep on pushing this on Roger. Can't we just enjoy his beautiful and amazing game on its own and laud his current non-trivial accomplishments right now without hyping these things so much?!?!?


AMEN, Alette. I'm hoping Wilander was just really pissed off and off-the-cuff with his remarks; it seemed that the interview was conducted shortly after the match.

Carl H

I don't think Mats was so much discounting "all of the other players" except Nadal, but rather reacting to Federer's response to this particular player and how it reflects on anyone's annointment of him as the greatest of all time. There's much in Mats' commentary that's true. Jimmy Connors would have relished the opportunity to vanquish Nadal; Fed seems timid and confused. Fed indeed has a beautiful game, but I have to question whether his failure to tame Nadal will damage his self-confidence and boost the confidence of the other possible challengers to his throne. (Nalbandian, perhaps, another bull who's been revving his game up to speed).


I should also say that Mats definitely is right that sports is about heart and guts as well as skill and athleticism, which Roger has in spades. I think I am so depressed by this match because Federer just seemed to wilt. I wanted to see that cold, terrifying fire that Roger can summon, like when he shot Nadal the coldest look in the Dubai final after a FUCK YOU shot, and how he screamed after he won the Nalbandian semi in Rome. He just was so so limp yesterday. I honestly am too down about it to post any articles today, lol. I think I need another day to recover.


Excellent Interview, sometimes its best to hear someone true feeling right after the match, and I won't ignore his comments ( Wilander) as they reflect a a true champion who knows what he's talking about. I have to agree with him as we all saw how Roger didn't seem into the match, and looked like he chocked. Kept playing the same bad way as he did for two sets and a half...That stuff doesn't work and he should have knowen it right away. He played 10 times better in Rome and had the perfect plan that day.Anyway he is still the best in my eyes, and I'm glad that there is a new guy who can challange him, it will only bring the best out. Borg:Mac Edberg:Becker Sampras:Agassi and now we have Federer:Nadal


Watching the match, it seemed like Roger had a bad attitude and lost easy balls.

Crretja was talking in spanish TV, and he went down to the court to see the last points.

He was 10 meters from Federer, watching the game.

He said it looked like unforced errors, but from that view, Rafa's shot reached an incredible heigth, and Roger simply could not control them.

It is not an attitude problem. It is desperation and impossibility to find an answer.

Roger is not stupid and he has the balls.

He has not the skills.

If you do not admit the problem, you are far from resolving.


Excellent interview by Wilander. I agree that Federer ought to have changed strategy based on the presumed understanding that he can't beat Nadal from the back of the court. I think Nadal's mental strength and overwhelming physical gifts make him sui generis from the run of other opponents. He will not go away after a bad set, and he will not give away cheap points. I hope that Roger will rise to the challenge that he presents, but I confess that I am not optimistic about that, given the fact that Nadal's career trajectory is unmistakably on the upswing, and Fed's is trending slightly in the other direction (due to respective ages). Also, mental edges are the hardest to overcome and Nadal has beaten him on faster surfaces too!


To say that Roger, who is only 24, and who has just been in his 4th straight grand slam final and his first French Open final, has a career trending on the downside is a bit silly. He lost a tough match on his least favorite surface to a great player. That's tennis. He and Nadal have many more years of great tennis to come, and I think the smartest best is that sometimes Nadal will beat Federer and sometimes Federer will beat Nadal.

John Emms

I know this might sound silly, but Roger is so scared of Nadal that I don't think he even believes he can beat him on grass. This is truly sad! Federer might be the most gifted player in the world, but I think he's been slacking off in his practice. Seriously, why does he need to practice when he can beat people like Roddick, Hewitt, and ... with little or no problem. Too sad he is letting his chance to be the best player of all time go that easy. How can you be the best player of all time when you are 1-6 against a claycourter like Nadal?

John Emms

I remeber when Federer beat Nadal in Miami a year ago, everybody thought that he would have no problem with Nadal on hardcourts. Guess what now? he is 1-2 against him in hardcourts. That's just amazing. Maybe Mcenroe is right! Maybe other people are so bad that we are thinking that Federer is so good! Maybe e he is not as good as everybody thinks. After all, Nadal who by the way can't beat Blake is 6-1 against him now!


i agree John. It makes me think as well. For me only Nalbandian is a real good contender for both and Safin when he is fit.

Did you see Safin beats Sampras when he was younger, and beats Federer as well.

Old Agassi arrives to finals....

Roddick, Ljubic, Henman...None of them are first class players. At least not all time first class players.

Corretja, Moya, Muster, Kuerten...

All of them were better


This is truly nuts. Yeah, all of those years we thought Federer was great, he actually sucked. And his competitors were like high school Junior varsity players. All of those times Federer made shots that looked incredible, he was just fooling us. One of the best forehands in history -- all just an illusion. Wicked vollying ability -- he just tricked us. A smooth serve able to produce aces and service winners at just the right moment -- must have been make believe. Now we know, because he has trouble matching up to one player,Nadal, that Federer just sucks. Oh wait, but Nadal has never beat James Blake. So Blake has exposed Nadal to be a fake, a fraud, a choker. So, based on the logic of some on this message board, Nadal has won only because everyone else in tennis -- all except Blake -- sucks. OR, maybe there is an alternatie explanation -- Maybe both Nadal and Federer are great players and Nadal just matches up well with Federer--just like Blake matches up well with Nadal. That's the way tennis is. McEnroe was the only person who could beat Borg consistently. That didn't make Borg less great, nor did it mean that everyone in tennis except for Mcenroe sucked or were over-rated. It meant that Mcenroe, a great player, had a game that matched up well against Borg, another great player. Right now men's tennis is exciting. There are two great players with shots, speed, power and determination crashing through the record books, and occasionally crahing into each other. They are giving us great tennis to watch and enjoy. Instead of belittling either one of them, or tennis in general, I suggest that people try to appreciate this moment in tennis. As a long time tennis fan I know that these eras do not come very often.


Great points made in these posts. Whatever Wilander's opinions might be- and let's remember that they are his opinions- we can agree to a few things. 1) Nadal is definitely in Federer's head; no one has beaten Federer as often and as consistently and that gives Nadal an edge that other players don't have. 2) Nadal is the guy to beat on clay- period. 3) The press and the fans and the pundits all place huge pressure on Roger to be the next great(est?) thing and that takes its toll.

I think that Nadal/Federer is the only true rivalry going in tennis right now. Unfortunately, it's a little one-sided at the moment. But, Federer is way too talented, way to driven, and way too proud not to make his mark at some point. He started off terrifically on Sunday, but, without cause, took the biggest walkabout of his career. Why? Who knows. The one thing that can be certain is that he will learn and he will recover. It's what the great champions do. Go back to the 70's where Evert OWNED Navratilova. In the 80's and after her morphisis into the tennis-hulk, Martina rattled Evert and swept 13 consecutive wins. Did Evert cave? Was her career ruined? Hell no. She came back, won more slams, creamed Martina in her worst career loss and took back the #1 ranking.

Roger will likely have the last laugh here.


"Roger will likely have the last laugh here."

I doubt that. The reality of it is that Roger Federer, being 5 years older, is going to retire before Rafa. Rafa said it himself that Roger can't keep up his level for that long. Rafa is going to be tailing Roger waiting for his level to drop or waiting until Roger retires to take the #1 spot. That is Rafa's ultimate goal.


First of all I believe that Wilander was way out of line. I don't know if he bet some money on the match or what..but he seemed way to irritated to be taken seriously. His constant mention of "balls" is disgraceful. It's demeaning to the women champions that play the sport. I feel that guts and heart are one thing. The only "balls" that need be mentioned in tennis are those all too familiar ones which tennis players strike on court. Secondly, tennis is is often compared to war due to it's high level of fact, most sports are.. However, the golden athletes of most sports are in fact artists in their respective fields. They seem to be in their element no matter how aggressive and tough the opponent. Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Roberto Baggio, Pete Sampras, Muhammed Ali (forgive any spelling errors), Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. Such players have heart and will but don't approach the game with the same perspective as many recreational and professional players. They can do it all and they make sure to use it all. This ability takes them out of aggression and into a level of competition that the viewers marvel at.
Roger Federer is far from being the best of all time. However, he has the makings and the ability to get there. The idea that the field is at a low in terms of it's absolutely obsurd. Don't believe me? Go back and watch some of the old matches you may have recorded. Watch Borg Macenroe in the 1980 Wimbledon final-Agassi Sampras in the 1995 Australian Final-or even Pete vs Andre at the 2002 US Open final. To paraphrase Pete Sampras himself ,"I felt like I played better and better as I got further into my career. And some of that stuff in the 2002 Open was my best tennis."
Tennis- along with all sports- changes with each generation. That's not to say that certain aspects improve while others get weaker ie ( the jumpshot and three pointer in basketball taking a backseat to lay-ups and dunks). However, the common staple seems to be progression in the level of competition. The great players of the past teach and drive the next generation to be better. I believe it was Newton who said in order to see further we must, "stand on the shoulders of giants." Such is definitive of sports. Roger Federer does not look good because everyone else makes him look bad. He struggles against one player with a very physical style of play. One with heavy topspin and great speed. He choked abit in the French Open but Nadal is the best in the sport on clay at present. He should not be questioned on his ability in this one. Clearly his game plan was muddled and he seemed dazed and confused. This doesn't mean he has no heart, no guts. He's pulled through alot of close matches. But with the wieght of the media, history, and a great young kid -who just so happens to have a match edge and a psychological advantage over Roger -the task was simply too daunting.
As far as longevity goes... One need only realize that Nadal's game is so physical and reliant on speed, it seems unlikely that he will have as longer career at the top than Roger. And I doubt Nadal will be the best player to follow in Federer's footsteps. His game takes so much energy for every seems unlikely to me that he won't slow more quickly than the current world's number 1.

PS. The comment about Blake beating Nadal to negate Federer's ability..I have only one thing to say. Roger has a 3-0 record against James ;)

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