View Full Version : Prepare for an upset, say Borg and Wilander...

06-07-2008, 10:29 PM
From the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/jun/08/frenchopen.tennis1). It's probably quoting Borg and Wilander out of context -- I think I read Borg's full context, and he went on to say Nadal was improving too, and playing best ever, and would probably win. But none-the-less, Wilander says he was astonished at how Federer played Monfils, that, "In Federer's mind, he was already in the finals". That could mean two things. If taken out of context, it could mean that Wilander thought Federer was sloppy and unfocused on the match; or if not out of context, it means that he thought Fed was playing the right strategy to beat Nadal, against Monfils. He did say some things after that that suggest the latter interpretation (Federer playing better now than last year, going into it thinking he can win, etc). What do you think? I haven't been able to find that Wilander quote anywhere else:

Listen to the Swedes. On the eve of another eagerly anticipated match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the man who has never lost at Roland Garros, two former champions, Bjorn Borg and Mats Wilander, who won the French Open nine times between them, both think Federer has a real chance of causing an upset.

Betting is supposed to play no part in tennis but if that fact does not change the odds this morning, nothing will. For the average punter, Nadal is a shoo-in. Not only has he won here three times but he has beaten Federer on every occasion, once in a semi-final and twice in the final. In addition, the hugely powerful left-handed Spaniard is considered to be virtually invincible on red clay, and the stats back up that assertion.

On clay, Nadal has won 21 titles and his defeat at the hands of Juan Carlo Ferrero in Rome this year was almost certainly caused by badly blistered feet. It was only his second reverse on the surface in three years. No one has beaten him on clay in best-of-five-set matches and there have been 40 of them. But...

Before Borg appeared at a fascinating press conference, I caught Wilander having a coffee in the players' lounge. The man who won here for the first time at the age of 17 has a sharp analytical brain. 'I couldn't believe how Roger played GaŽl Monfils,' he said. 'In his mind he was already in the final. There were lapses he cannot afford against Rafa, but I think it will be different for him. I think he will go into the match knowing he can win. He is playing better now than last year.'

That has not been the perceived wisdom after a start to the year that has seen the Swiss win only one title, in Estoril, after a bout of mononucleosis in January, but Wilander is adamant.

'He may have lost to Nadal in Monte Carlo and Hamburg but there have been blocks of tennis - like leading 4-0 in one set and 5-1 in another - when he has shown he knows how to play Nadal now. Three years ago he won the first set easily and thought that was the way to do it. But you can't attack blindly against Rafa. You have to try and get in and, if you can't finish the point, be prepared to back-track and start again. He does that now. And if he serves well, I think he will win.'

Borg spoke in similar terms. 'Roger is playing much better now compared to Monte Carlo and Hamburg. For me, it's a big difference. He's a bit more patient. Maybe he has been talking to his coach Josť Higueras. It's like he's even more comfortable on the clay and he's waiting for the right shot to be aggressive. Sometimes before, he was too aggressive from certain positions in the court. But against Nadal, you have wait for the right shot.'

Borg, who says he tries to watch Nadal and Federer every time they play on television, admits that the Spaniard is 'playing his best tennis so far; looking stronger, hitting the ball harder, moving well'. But Borg, who has always been a man of firm convictions, is not swayed by that. 'I think this is going to be the first time for Roger - I think he knows exactly what he's going to do. I think Roger has a really, really good chance.'

There is someone else who is worth listening to. In 1979, Victor Pecci played Borg in the final here and gave the Swede one of his toughest matches, winning the third set on a tie break. The big Paraguayan was a chip-and-charge merchant with a big wingspan at the net. He feels Federer must attack, but says, 'It is easy in theory but difficult in practice. Especially as Federer is going to have to change his game a little.

'For me it was natural to get in all the time but Roger likes to stay back more. He can't do that because if the ball crosses the net more than three times, Nadal will win 80 per cent of those points.'

Todd Woodbridge only played Nadal in doubles, but the Australian gave an insight into what it is like to face the champion. 'It is not that he hits the ball hard so much as that it does strange things. He puts all that funky spin on it, especially on the serve and it is very difficult to get the ball in the middle of your racket.'

Woodbridge is not as confident about Federer's chances as the Swedes but all agree that Federer's problem is not clay - it's Nadal. Just look at the record. The Swiss is clearly the second-best clay-court player in the world. He was won the Hamburg title four times, including his lone clay-court victory over Nadal last year.

Then he has twice previously been in the finals of Monte Carlo, Rome and Roland Garros. The only man to have beaten him in any of those was Nadal.

The only certainty about today's duel is that it will wind its way into the tapestry of the game's history; it being only the second time in the Open era that the same two players have contested the same Grand Slam final for three consecutive years, Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg at Wimbledon 1988-90 being the other occasion. And for Borg, watching two men who are encroaching on his records of six French and five Wimbledon titles, it will be a pleasure. 'I am happy to be a spectator,' he says. 'Watching other great players play unbelievable tennis like I want to see and everybody else wants to see. It's not that I'm sitting there saying, 'Oh, I wish I was down there playing tennis, you know. I wish I was 25 years younger. But I had my time and I had a great time.'

06-07-2008, 10:51 PM
Recording the finals in HD. I'm really excited. No matter what, I think it's going to be dramatic.

06-07-2008, 11:00 PM
To be honest, they always say to prepare for an upset to hype it up. Let's see what happens.

I don't really listen to commentators anymore. They just mess me up with their constant change of mind. Not long ago he was on a major slump now he's going to topple the king of clay??:confused: I'd rather not think and just watch. If Fed wins, vamos to him.8) though I would be terribly upset:cry: records are there to be broken and there's no way Federer can win more than one Rolangd garros.:-?

06-07-2008, 11:05 PM
^ If commentators were always right, I wouldn't listen to them. Why would I want to know who wins before I watch? For me, it's fun to read the thoughts of people knowledgeable about the game, simply for the sake of firing up my imagination and giving the match a richer context.

pound cat
06-08-2008, 02:46 AM
What Wilander meant was that Federer was already worried about playing Rafa and it threw of his concentration because he assumed he would beat Monfils easily (wrong).

Pete Sampras said Safin would be the star of tennis in the coming yearsafter USO 2000. Almost every prediction Jon Wertheim from SI.com makes is wrong. . Everyone has a 50/50 chance of predicting the outcome without even having to know anything about tennis.

BTW, sportinglife.com odds seems accurate to me. Federer 3.75 Nafa 1.29 . They don't see Federer winning, and they've in the betting business for 50 years.

Predictions mean nothing. 2 more hours
til showtime!

06-08-2008, 03:10 AM
The odds are disparate enough that some big bettors, , betting on Federer, might pull some stunts. The best one, is aiming an emf laser at Nadal. They can be as small as a cigarette lighter nowadays. Those are pretty tempting odds.

06-08-2008, 05:00 AM
Fearless forecast: this will be boring.

06-08-2008, 05:14 AM
From what I hear, the fix is in, Look for Federer to take it. Take it from someone who has seen it all.

06-08-2008, 05:55 AM
Federer is taking it alright :D

Legend of Borg
06-08-2008, 06:01 AM
I'm not seeing the upset, so far.

06-08-2008, 06:03 AM
Wow - Fed held his serve.

06-08-2008, 06:22 AM
Prepare for boring.

06-08-2008, 06:48 AM
Look for something extraordinary to happen. Fed in five, betters wipe up.

06-08-2008, 06:53 AM
Hahaha your funny Bjorn, that would be amazing..

Nadal 5-0 third set 40-0, Federer miraculously wins 5 points in a row and than just blows by Nadal.

06-08-2008, 06:54 AM
Hahaha your funny Bjorn, that would be amazing..

Nadal 5-0 third set 40-0, Federer miraculously wins 5 points in a row and than just blows by Nadal.

Roger will blow by Nadal...

... on his way out the door.

06-08-2008, 06:54 AM
2 more games for Nadal to win the French Open...Federer looking out of place so far...

06-08-2008, 06:55 AM
Roger will blow by Nadal...

... on his way out the door.

Hahaha! Yeah in like 5 mins, when this set is over, haha!
Man, I really wanted the Fed to win!

06-08-2008, 07:16 AM
unfortunately i didn't see this thread till after match.

but what reasonable basis was there for fed winning??

06-08-2008, 07:18 AM
Yeah, there was an upset.

An upset Federer after the match.

06-08-2008, 07:22 AM
Lol DarkSephiroth. Disappointing for Federer.

06-08-2008, 07:33 AM
From what I hear, the fix is in, Look for Federer to take it. Take it from someone who has seen it all.

Tank It. Not Take it. Tank. Tank.

06-08-2008, 07:43 AM
NEITHER OF THEM PREDICTED AN UPSET FOR FEDERER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You can watch it on Eurosport.com

06-08-2008, 07:56 AM
Yeah, there was an upset.

An upset Federer after the match.

I second that statement.