Federer vs Nadal

9 07 2006

I don’t normally write much about tennis, but today I want to say a few things about the 2006 Wimbledon final.  So if you’re not interested in such, you can skip the rest of this post.

Critics of Roger Federer have been tough on him the past year, saying he didn’t have the resolve or the confidence to beat Rafael Nadal.  They said that Nadal was “in his head” because he had won all 4 meetings this year (all on clay).  Today they faced in the final at Wimbledon, a most unlikely scenario.  Nadal had a relatively easy draw in getting to the final, but he did play well, so I have to give him credit.  But today Federer showed that he does not have any mental block against Nadal.  Some might say he still does on clay, but I don’t think so.  I think he’s struggled at times to know how to best attack Nadal’s game, and so let Nadal control a lot of points.

Today Federer easily won the first set 6-0, then the second set was very close, but he stepped up when down a break at 5-4 and again in the tiebreak to win it.  Then in the third set tiebreak Nadal stepped up.  I have to admit that Nadal really went for his shots and played like a champion then.  And so the momentum was going his way, yet Federer didn’t back down.  In the fourth set, Roger stepped it up to go up two breaks.  It wasn’t that Nadal was letting down, but Roger started going for his power forehands and putting the pressure on Nadal, and it paid off.  And now he has given Nadal something to think about, and Roger has won his fourth straight Wimbledon, which only Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg have done.  Truly, Federer is one of the greatest tennis players ever!

And something else that’s good about this rivalry (besides the excitement and debate it brings to tennis) — Nadal is making Federer improve his game.  He’s certainly the greatest now, but yet there’s still room for improvement.  And if he keeps improving, he will certainly be the best tennis player ever.

It’s an exciting time to be watching tennis.  Federer is the perfect role model for the game — very classy, great attitude, he respects the game and the history of it, and he’s humble.  And he also represents the sport off-court very well, too.  And, of course, he’s an incredible athlete.  All this together is why he’s my favorite tennis player (if that isn’t obvious by now).

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3 responses

9 07 2006
Summer nights tennis

I love tennis, but the sad thing now days is there is no real american talent, and with andre retiring after the american open…. who is left?

10 07 2006
Beppo

While it’s true that there aren’t currently any “big-name” tennis stars playing well from the U.S., I still enjoy the sport. My favorite player is Swiss, and I don’t have a problem with that. For me, it’s about the sport, not so much the country.

On the men’s side, James Blake could be a star. And he has an incredible story, too. When he’s on his game, he can play very well.

Roddick needs to find his game, whether reverting to just crushing the ball and having fun like before or getting the right coach to help him develop his backhand and net game.

It’s sad that Agassi is retiring, because he is now one of the classiest athletes. He respects the game and the people involved, and he has a great work ethic. And he gives more to charity than any other professional athlete. He will be missed. I hope he stays involved in tennis in some way.

15 11 2006
Beppo

To update this post, men’s American tennis is doing well again. Roddick is playing really well now, and he even just had 3 match points against Federer at the year-end Masters Cup. Even though he didn’t win the match, to be that close against Federer is quite an accomplishment.

James Blake is also playing extremely well. I saw his match against Nadal at the Masters Cup, and Blake threw the smack down on him. Blake is now 3-0 against world number two Nadal, and he’s also 5-0 against world number three Nikolay Davydenko. That’s impressive! When he’s playing well, he can beat anybody, with the exception of Federer.

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