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urban
06-10-2008, 06:01 AM
After the demolition of Federer at the hands of Nadal, i thought about the importance of defeats for the careers of sporting greats. Can such a rout tarnish the career, the reputation or self-confidence of a player or fighter. In Boxing, defeat is certainly the hardest to take. We saw such greats like Joe Louis or Roberto Duran hitting the ground. And maybe the image of Sugar Ray Robinson or Muhammad Ali stayed so clear and high, because they never got really knocked out cleanly. Robinson suffered a heat stroke against light-heavy Maxim, and Ali was safed by his coach Angelo Dundee, when being outclassed by Larry Holmes. But they lost sitting on their stool, not lying in the dust. On the contrary, Mike Tyson was never the same fighter again, after his defeat by Buster Douglas, when he was searching his mouthpiece on the ring floor.
In tennis, all great champions had bad losses, Laver against Taylor at Wim in 1970, Tilden vs. Cochet several times, Gonzales vs Hoad at Forest Hills 1959. But this loss by Federer, is stats wise in the range of the Connors-Mac massacre 1984 and the Rosewall-Connors rout of 1974. Both didn't win a big title after that, but both were past their prime at the time of the losses. Its interesting, how Federer will react on this bad loss. Sometimes such drubbings leave mental scars, which never heal. I remember Borg's loss to Mac at the USO 1981, especially his despair look at the 3-4 game of the third set, when Mac turned the match around with two passings and two topspun lobs in succession. Borg gave in and went out of the game into the night. Sampras lost much of his aura, when he got hammered by Safin at the USO 2000. Afterwards, he went into a big slump. I think, this defeat will have a psychological impact on Fed's career, and will be hard to overcome. Now all other sharks in the locker room will smell the blood.

SempreSami
06-10-2008, 06:02 AM
Holland pwned Italy yesterday.

cueboyzn
06-10-2008, 06:56 AM
After the demolition of Federer at the hands of Nadal, i thought about the importance of defeats for the careers of sporting greats. Can such a rout tarnish the career, the reputation or self-confidence of a player or fighter. In Boxing, defeat is certainly the hardest to take. We saw such greats like Joe Louis or Roberto Duran hitting the ground. And maybe the image of Sugar Ray Robinson or Muhammad Ali stayed so clear and high, because they never got really knocked out cleanly. Robinson suffered a heat stroke against light-heavy Maxim, and Ali was safed by his coach Angelo Dundee, when being outclassed by Larry Holmes. But they lost sitting on their stool, not lying in the dust. On the contrary, Mike Tyson was never the same fighter again, after his defeat by Buster Douglas, when he was searching his mouthpiece on the ring floor.
In tennis, all great champions had bad losses, Laver against Taylor at Wim in 1970, Tilden vs. Cochet several times, Gonzales vs Hoad at Forest Hills 1959. But this loss by Federer, is stats wise in the range of the Connors-Mac massacre 1984 and the Rosewall-Connors rout of 1974. Both didn't win a big title after that, but both were past their prime at the time of the losses. Its interesting, how Federer will react on this bad loss. Sometimes such drubbings leave mental scars, which never heal. I remember Borg's loss to Mac at the USO 1981, especially his despair look at the 3-4 game of the third set, when Mac turned the match around with two passings and two topspun lobs in succession. Borg gave in and went out of the game into the night. Sampras lost much of his aura, when he got hammered by Safin at the USO 2000. Afterwards, he went into a big slump. I think, this defeat will have a psychological impact on Fed's career, and will be hard to overcome. Now all other sharks in the locker room will smell the blood.


I would agree with you if you stated you thought this defeat might leave permanent mental scars for Federer on clay against Nadal. But suggesting this will carry over onto other surfaces at other events is plain stupid and pure sensationalism. Roger knows he is the best elsewhere than than clay.

oberyn
06-10-2008, 07:03 AM
If this loss had happened at Wimbledon, I'd agree with you.

It didn't, though.

Nadal was the favorite going into this match. He'd beaten Federer three straight times at Roland Garros heading into the match (once in the semis and twice in the finals).

The end result was (obviously) far more lopsided than people thought, but I can't just assume that Federer will be psychologically damaged by this defeat heading into Wimbledon and then the hardcourt season.

One can certainly make the argument that it will bolster Nadal's confidence, but I don't think you can compare Federer to Tyson in the aftermath of his defeat to Buster Douglas.

AAAA
06-10-2008, 07:30 AM
Stats from the ATP site

Ken Rosewall Birthdate: 2-Nov-34
Connors Birthdate: 2-Sep-52

So Rosewall was 18 years older than Connors. In tennis terms that is almost two or at least 1 generation different. Prime vs non-prime.

The match in question
1974 Wimbledon Connors vs. Rosewall 6 - 1 , 6 - 1 , 6 - 4

Connors was about 22 at the time while Rosewall was about 40. Young man 22yrs in his physical prime beats a 40 year old way past his physical prime. How anyone can view this as a knock on Rosewall is exercising poor judgement, poor analysis or no analysis at all.

Likewise
Connors Birthdate: 2-Sep-52
John McEnroe Birthdate: 16-Feb-59

1984 Wimbledon McEnroe vs. Connors 6 - 1 , 6 - 1 , 6 - 2

McEnroe was about 25 and Connors was about 32 for that match. Roughly 6-7 year age difference. Despite Connors' famed durability and longevity people past 30 are not in their physical primes for tennis so again this doesn't tarnish Connors' reputation.

2008 Nadal vs Federer - Destroyed him
Age difference about 5 years, close but...

1) Clay is Nadal's best surface and Federer's worst

2) 3 time Winner of the tournament vs no time winner of the tournament

3) Nadal is the superior mover on clay, faster, superior balance. Federer at times doesn't even move properly on the surface, he slips while Nadal even when stretched wide to hit a defensive shot is still on balance.

4) Nadal is at least as mentally strong as Federer on clay, probably stronger.

5) Nadal has superior tactics, shot selection and more effective shots than Federer on clay.

6) Nadal is physically stronger than Federer.

7) Nadal is arguably much fitter than Federer.

8 ) Nadal has an overwhelmingly superior 9-1 head-to-head against Federer on clay.

9) Nadal has an overall 11-6 head-to-head lead against Federer taking all surfaces into account.

To expect Federer to beat an opponent when so much is against Federer is wishful thinking and rationally poor judgement.

I defy anyone here to name any former #1 who beat their slam final opponent whilst conceding so much to their opponent like Federer had to.

zagor
06-10-2008, 07:33 AM
The OP may be right but I think Federer enters Wimbledon with a very different mindset then the FO so we'll see.I also think Federer is mentally tougher then most people think here and will recover for the rest of the season.

Bengt
06-10-2008, 11:52 AM
Stats from the ATP site


Likewise
Connors Birthdate: 2-Sep-52
John McEnroe Birthdate: 16-Feb-59

1984 Wimbledon McEnroe vs. Connors 6 - 1 , 6 - 1 , 6 - 2

McEnroe was about 25 and Connors was about 32 for that match. Roughly 6-7 year age difference. Despite Connors' famed durability and longevity people past 30 are not in their physical primes for tennis so again this doesn't tarnish Connors' reputation.

I think graphite versus steel played a bigger part in this demolition than did age.

dh003i
06-10-2008, 11:58 AM
If Federer was so mentally weak, he wouldn't have made it to the FO finals 3 straight times, despite being beaten by Nadal all those times on clay.

urban
06-10-2008, 12:07 PM
It's not the surprising element of the loss, but the sheer magnitude of the loss, which was shocking. We are talking here not about a Chris Lewis or Brian Gottfried or Marty Mulligan, but about a 12 times major champion. I think, Federer has basically four options to react on the loss:

1. Take it, as if it were another bad day in office, with no psychological damage at all. Would be good for him, but it is not the habitude of a great champion.
2. Get angry like Connors, who said after his bad Wim loss to Borg in 1978, he would follow the SOB to the end of the world. But Fed is not Connors, going by his remarks after the RG final, he better would like to see Nadal as early as next year.
3. Get really hurt by the loss. This would be the baddest solution, it could tarnish his self-confidence for ever.
4. Be more humble. But maybe he can learn from this humbling experience, and should not talk about goat or numbers or legacy or anything that any more, not talk about other players deficits and shortcomings: Look on own deficits, go back to the basics, phone Tony Roche. Maybe then, he can gradually overcome it.

cueboyzn
06-10-2008, 12:37 PM
Federer will take this as a bad day at the office for him and an extremely good day at the office for Nadal, and move across to Halle, then Wimbledon. The grass is always greener on the other side... :twisted:

AAAA
06-10-2008, 12:51 PM
It's not the surprising element of the loss, but the sheer magnitude of the loss, which was shocking. We are talking here not about a Chris Lewis or Brian Gottfried or Marty Mulligan, but about a 12 times major champion.


Why is the magnitude so shocking? How do you know other champions would have played better when facing such a poor matchup against them?

urban
06-10-2008, 01:01 PM
Because it has something to do with pride. And, as Hemingway once wrote, pride is the greatest asset of a champion.

CyBorg
06-10-2008, 01:11 PM
I don't know. Roger is strange and I never understood his body language on clay. It has always been poor, particularly in this match.

But he seems to find a way to move on and excel on grass and hardcourts in the summer. I don't know how he does it, but he does it.

Roger didn't look happy after this loss, but he seemed eager to put it behind him. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe a five-set loss would do more damage and exhaust him. He played almost as if he didn't want to hurt himself, strain himself too much. It was as if he kind of realized almost immediately that he had no chance and simply refused to grind out the long points. "I'll set things right at Wimbledon" - I bet he told himself this.

He took his knocks, got destroyed, but there's less disappointment, you know? It's as if there was nothing he could do. No regrets.

Now he goes to Wimbledon right away with a chance to put all that behind him. I think the pieces may fit again if Roger wants them to.

AAAA
06-10-2008, 01:17 PM
Doesn't answer my question though.

How do you know other champions would have played better(or had had the pride to do better) when facing such a poor matchup against them?

I just need the name of one player and the match so I know players do exist who can play better when facing a lop-sided mismatch against them of the magnitude that Federer faced.

cueboyzn
06-10-2008, 01:19 PM
Because it has something to do with pride. And, as Hemingway once wrote, pride is the greatest asset of a champion.


The same pride that made him play the previous two finals against Nadal from the baseline?

If he had done the same this year he would still have lost but it would probably have been a great deal more respectable like the other previous finals were. So he put his Pride in his pocket and did what all the so-called experts wanted to see him do: come to net and attack. And it didnt work. If Roger had allowed his pride to dictate how he played this match he would have been slugging it out again from the baseline and achieved what exactly? A 3 or 4 set loss to Nadal, most likely a tired body, resulting in a probable scratching from Halle (again) and poor preparation for Wimbledon (again).

He did what everyone wanted to see him do and still he lost. Now the same people who wanted to see him do that rip him for losing so heavily and having no pride... Go figure. :evil:

dh003i
06-10-2008, 01:28 PM
The same pride that made him play the previous two finals against Nadal from the baseline?

If he had done the same this year he would still have lost but it would probably have been a great deal more respectable like the other previous finals were. So he put his Pride in his pocket and did what all the so-called experts wanted to see him do: come to net and attack. And it didnt work. If Roger had allowed his pride to dictate how he played this match he would have been slugging it out again from the baseline and achieved what exactly? A 3 or 4 set loss to Nadal, most likely a tired body, resulting in a probable scratching from Halle (again) and poor preparation for Wimbledon (again).

He did what everyone wanted to see him do and still he lost. Now the same people who wanted to see him do that rip him for losing so heavily and having no pride... Go figure. :evil:

I agree completely. People ask him to be more aggressive; well, that has it's risks, especially against an all-time great on clay, in prime form, playing the clay game about as perfectly as it can be played.

It gives him a chance to win; it also gives him a chance to be destroyed. That's the way it is with the aggressive game. I do think that he forced Nadal to come up with some of the shots to beat him -- he forced Nadal to beat him -- and Nadal came up with those shots consistently.

So what can you do but say, "too good"?

Rhino
06-10-2008, 01:55 PM
Nadals heavy defeat at the hands of Tsonga: 6-2 6-3 6-2 at the AO (not to mention the Youzhney final in Chennai), didn't seem to affect Rafa at all. Hopefully Federer will bounce back on other surfaces too.

cueboyzn
06-10-2008, 02:05 PM
Nadals heavy defeat at the hands of Tsonga: 6-2 6-3 6-2 at the AO (not to mention the Youzhney final in Chennai), didn't seem to affect Rafa at all. Hopefully Federer will bounce back on other surfaces too.


One of the most intelligent posts on this thread.

But as we know, some people just love to sensationalize everything.

AAAA
06-10-2008, 02:12 PM
I think graphite versus steel played a bigger part in this demolition than did age.

If that's true it's a double-whammy.

daddy
06-10-2008, 05:27 PM
The same pride that made him play the previous two finals against Nadal from the baseline?

If he had done the same this year he would still have lost but it would probably have been a great deal more respectable like the other previous finals were. So he put his Pride in his pocket and did what all the so-called experts wanted to see him do: come to net and attack. And it didnt work. If Roger had allowed his pride to dictate how he played this match he would have been slugging it out again from the baseline and achieved what exactly? A 3 or 4 set loss to Nadal, most likely a tired body, resulting in a probable scratching from Halle (again) and poor preparation for Wimbledon (again).

He did what everyone wanted to see him do and still he lost. Now the same people who wanted to see him do that rip him for losing so heavily and having no pride... Go figure. :evil:

Basically what you are saying is that he lost so heavily because he did what the experts suggested. This is not even funny, I do think once he saw what was coming after a set, he'd change swiftly to his old tactics and try to get a respectable score on the board rather than eat a bagel. If this was true.

dh003i
06-10-2008, 05:45 PM
Basically what you are saying is that he lost so heavily because he did what the experts suggested. This is not even funny, I do think once he saw what was coming after a set, he'd change swiftly to his old tactics and try to get a respectable score on the board rather than eat a bagel. If this was true.

Maybe he figured a small chance of winning is better than 0 chance with a more respectable score?

Look, here's reality: ultimately, winning is all that counts. Losing isn't much better if it's 6-0 through 3 sets or 7-6 through 5 sets. It is better to play in such a way that you risk losing lopsidedly, but give yourself a chance to win if things go your way, than playing in a way that makes the score more respectable but gives you no chance to win.

daddy
06-10-2008, 05:49 PM
Maybe he figured a small chance of winning is better than 0 chance with a more respectable score?

Look, here's reality: ultimately, winning is all that counts. Losing isn't much better if it's 6-0 through 3 sets or 7-6 through 5 sets. It is better to play in such a way that you risk losing lopsidedly, but give yourself a chance to win if things go your way, than playing in a way that makes the score more respectable but gives you no chance to win.

Cmoooon ! I do agree with you about the winning and losing, the winner takes it all regardless. But don't tell me one would not prefer to lose to 4, 4 & 5, especially Roger ? I know people are making a bit too much out of it, its a loss and thats all there is to it. A heavy and unpleasent loss but a loss. But believe you me, if he could have won a few more games, he'd do it no matter how much effort was required.

urban
06-10-2008, 11:34 PM
So, if i understand the last posts, Federer said 'No mas' (anyone remember the famous Duran-incident?), because he preserved his body for Halle? With all importance at Paris at stake? Instead of saying to himself: OK the guy is good, but i am the champion, and i will dig in and go down in a blaze. Is that a champions mind?

cueboyzn
06-11-2008, 04:08 AM
So, if i understand the last posts, Federer said 'No mas' (anyone remember the famous Duran-incident?), because he preserved his body for Halle? With all importance at Paris at stake? Instead of saying to himself: OK the guy is good, but i am the champion, and i will dig in and go down in a blaze. Is that a champions mind?


Urban. I dont think anyone can profess to know what was going through Federer's mind when he played Nadal. What I am pretty certain of is once he went a set and a break down, he probably saw the writing on the wall. He was trying something different but it wasn't working at all. So all of a sudden now 1 set down he should revert to his "old" tactics which were never good enough to cut it against Nadal on clay? or continue with the tactics he had and if they didn't cut it, well, just too good from Nadal. I am not saying he tanked the match. But lets be real here. Roger knew there was no way he could come back and win against Monster Nadal going back to the baseline and slugging it out after he was a set down. With a set start from Nadal that game plan ain't going to get a win let alone from a set down.

I personally think he did the right thing peristing with the attacking tactics. But because they didn't work on the day everyone jumps up and makes a whoo-haa that he has no Pride, guts, balls, blah blah blah a la Mats Wilander. :evil:

What a joke.

The upside of this is that he goes into Halle (and Wimbledon) fresh with proper preparation. And the way everyone seems out for his blood lately (players, "fans", press, has-been "experts", etc) I think he made the correct choice.

As a Federer fan, I for one sure am glad he is going to be fit and well prepared for Wimbledon rather than losing some grinding 3 or 4-setter to Nadal from the baseline and withdrawing from his only Wimbledon tune-up exhausted as a result, with his rivals and everyone else it seems out for his blood. :rolleyes:

I am sure however that secretly all the Fed-haters, Djokertards, *********s etc would have liked to see exactly that happen. :twisted:

cueboyzn
06-11-2008, 05:05 AM
“It was clear for me quite quickly that I would go to Halle. The final was not too exhausting,” he smiled. On Sunday evening, he had let tournament director Ralf Weber know that he would be coming. “We wanted to speak on the phone on Monday but I thought he could probably sleep better if I let him know straight away,” Federer added. “And the final in Paris was not that exhausting for me.”
Roger Federer

http://www.gerryweber-open.de/en/current-news/news-gerry-weber-open.html?id=2693

AAAA
06-11-2008, 06:35 AM
So, if i understand the last posts, Federer said 'No mas' (anyone remember the famous Duran-incident?), because he preserved his body for Halle? With all importance at Paris at stake? Instead of saying to himself: OK the guy is good, but i am the champion, and i will dig in and go down in a blaze. Is that a champions mind?

Still doesn't answer my question though.

How do you know other champions would have played better(or had had the pride to do better) when facing such a poor matchup against them?

I just need the name of one player and the match so I know players do exist who can play better when facing a lop-sided mismatch against them of the magnitude that Federer faced.

I'll rephrase the question for you:
Which other champions done better when facing a lop-sided mistmatch of equal magnitude to Federer?

I just need one name, not a dozen just one. Perhaps this was the first slam final ever where the #1 seed was so mismatched against the #2 seed. If you can name just one slam final where the #1 seed performed better under the same circumstances as Federer then we can say 'look he done better than Federer when facing a similar mountain to climb. He has sent a new precedent'.

Just one name from you will convince me Federer could have played better because someone else before him in a similar situation done better. I just need one name. edit: and match

AAAA
06-11-2008, 09:49 AM
So, if i understand the last posts, Federer said 'No mas' (anyone remember the famous Duran-incident?),

Poor analogy. I remember the Duran - Sugar Ray Leonard boxing match. Duran quit on his stool, Duran didn't go the distance.

Federer didn't quit the match. Federer went the distance. People can say Federer mentally quit after the first few games but he was man enough to take his whipping to the very end, he was man enough to suffer a (supposedly) humiliating defeat. Federer was man enough to take the beating for all 3 sets.

Federer had lost the previous 2 FO finals to Nadal and a SF before that. Federer could have taken the easy way out and lost early, to give himself more time to prepare for Wimbledon, and make up the lost points elsewhere but he didn't.

Federer could have tanked against Monfils so he wouldn't have to take another beating from Nadal in the final, but he was man enough to go for the beating because the champion in him hoped he'd get lucky because realistically getting lucky was his best chance of beating Nadal.

Now do you have an answer to my question?

urban
06-11-2008, 10:38 AM
Now there are many examples of champions, who were up against inspried opponents, went down with one or two sets, maybe lost, but battled to the end. Federer, and this was seen by all people in attendance, gave in at 3-3 in the second. Alone to speak of a god given mismatch in the context of a strong pretender for goat, is a irony in itself. If this is sports today, to oeconomically safe yourself and resign to just 4 games in a three set major final, i must say, i don't understand sports anymore.

AAAA
06-11-2008, 11:33 AM
Now there are many examples of champions, who were up against inspried opponents, went down with one or two sets, maybe lost, but battled to the end.

Urban, You say there are many examples so name just one you were thinking of. Just one name and the match then I can look up the surface head-to-head and see if it was a mismatch on similar scale.

urban
06-12-2008, 06:53 AM
I only cite some fightbacks here, which were no complete turnarounds. There are so many comebacks in tennis history, i cannot cite all here. Becker-Agassi or Becker-Wilander semis on clay at RG come to mind, which were not especially good matchups for Becker (on clay). Although he lost at the end, he still put on a fight. Agassi-Sampras on grass. Agassi wasn't a good fighter at the outset (see USO final 1990), but despite being quite chanceless in the Wim final 99, he fought to a 5-7 last set. In 1994 he took the qf match from a 0-2 deficit to a fifth set. Aging Mac was much older than Sampras at USO 1990 and had few chances since the outset, yet he took the match to a fourth set. Borg-Laver 1975 on har- tru at USO wasn't a good matchup for Laver (37), considering the 18 years he gave away and Borg the two time RG champion. After losing the first two sets clearly, Laver put on stiff resistance and won the third 6-2. He lost in four, but not without a fight.

dh003i
06-12-2008, 07:29 AM
Cmoooon ! I do agree with you about the winning and losing, the winner takes it all regardless. But don't tell me one would not prefer to lose to 4, 4 & 5, especially Roger ? I know people are making a bit too much out of it, its a loss and thats all there is to it. A heavy and unpleasent loss but a loss. But believe you me, if he could have won a few more games, he'd do it no matter how much effort was required.

The issue wasn't effort. The issue was that the strategy for him that would likely result in a more even score is playing more conservative, at the baseline, etc. And that would give him absolutely no chance to win.

What I'm saying is that a chance to win, with a chance to lose lopsidedly, is much much better than no chance to win but losing respectably.

dh003i
06-12-2008, 07:36 AM
I only cite some fightbacks here, which were no complete turnarounds. There are so many comebacks in tennis history, i cannot cite all here. Becker-Agassi or Becker-Wilander semis on clay at RG come to mind, which were not especially good matchups for Becker (on clay). Although he lost at the end, he still put on a fight. Agassi-Sampras on grass. Agassi wasn't a good fighter at the outset (see USO final 1990), but despite being quite chanceless in the Wim final 99, he fought to a 5-7 last set. In 1994 he took the qf match from a 0-2 deficit to a fifth set. Aging Mac was much older than Sampras at USO 1990 and had few chances since the outset, yet he took the match to a fourth set. Borg-Laver 1975 on har- tru at USO wasn't a good matchup for Laver (37), considering the 18 years he gave away and Borg the two time RG champion. After losing the first two sets clearly, Laver put on stiff resistance and won the third 6-2. He lost in four, but not without a fight.

Right, but if Borg played his best tennis from start to finish, Laver wouldn't have won the third set. There's no way that a 37 year old Laver would beat Borg playing his best at 19 or whatever. Come on. Obviously, what happened was Laver upped his level for sure, but Borg dropped his.

Federer tried everything; Nadal just played perfectly from start to finish. The games Federer won, he basically had to play very aggressively, and play perfect tennis.

Bengt
06-12-2008, 07:38 AM
If that's true it's a double-whammy.

It's true. McEnron started using the graphite Dunlop Max 200G in '83 which set the stage for his superb 1984 including the demolition of Connors who, I believe, was still using his steel Wilson.

And if you take into account that the grass was still really fast back then, it's a triple-whammy.

Kaptain Karl
06-12-2008, 08:45 AM
I've seen Federer (and Nadal ... and Djoker ... and Roddick ... and ...) win matches when they were not playing well. I've seen it happen when they were looking ill.

I think what we saw at the French '08 was a combination of Nadal being very "on" and Roger -- for whatever reason -- being very "off". It happens.

_______________

I remember one of my own matches where I was playing GREAT tennis ... and I lost 0 & 0. Every game went to Deuce at least once; he just played the key points better than I did. But I was playing really well for me. He was just better.

I've also played matches where I was hurt or sick and I can't explain how I won other than to say I wanted it more than he did.

And I had one match I'll never forget.... I played like a zombie. I wasn't trying anything different. I wasn't thinking. I cannot explain what happened, but that 1 & 1 loss was -- for me -- the worst match I ever played ... because I couldn't seem to get my head in the game.

_______________


I am so many levels below Federer, it's not even funny, but competition is competition. Stuff happens. Unfortunately for Roger, *it* happened in the Final of a Major.

All this psychoanalysis is premature. Only six months or six years from now will the French '08 Final (possibly) have any significance in Federer's career. Wait and see.

- KK

ninman
06-12-2008, 09:26 AM
I've seen Federer (and Nadal ... and Djoker ... and Roddick ... and ...) win matches when they were not playing well. I've seen it happen when they were looking ill.

I think what we saw at the French '08 was a combination of Nadal being very "on" and Roger -- for whatever reason -- being very "off". It happens.

_______________

I remember one of my own matches where I was playing GREAT tennis ... and I lost 0 & 0. Every game went to Deuce at least once; he just played the key points better than I did. But I was playing really well for me. He was just better.

I've also played matches where I was hurt or sick and I can't explain how I won other than to say I wanted it more than he did.

And I had one match I'll never forget.... I played like a zombie. I wasn't trying anything different. I wasn't thinking. I cannot explain what happened, but that 1 & 1 loss was -- for me -- the worst match I ever played ... because I couldn't seem to get my head in the game.

_______________


I am so many levels below Federer, it's not even funny, but competition is competition. Stuff happens. Unfortunately for Roger, *it* happened in the Final of a Major.

All this psychoanalysis is premature. Only six months or six years from now will the French '08 Final (possibly) have any significance in Federer's career. Wait and see.

- KK

I think Federer's biggest problem however is the fact that he has blown many big opportunities to beat Nadal, even at the French Open. The semi in 2005 was very close, the Final in 2007 was very close, he had match points against Nadal in Rome 2006, he was 4-3 with a break and 4-0 up in Monte Carlo this year, as well as being 5-1 and 5-2 up in Hamburg this year, and he lost all of those matches. I think realistically Federer should be 5-5 with Nadal after 10 matches on clay, but he's not he's 1-9, and that type of thing can really wear at you mentally and tear away your confidence.

I think as well if you watch all of Nadal's matches against Federer, every single one of his victories came after just 1 match point. By contrast Federer lost Rome 2006 having held 2 match points, he needed 2 match points I believe in Wimbledon 2007, he needed 4 match points in Shanghai 2006, he lost Dubai 2006 when up a set and a break and looking extremely good, he failed to serve out Wimbledon 2006.

Federer is more than capable to defeating Nadal regularly on clay, what he has to get over is the mental hurdle he has when facing Nadal. I also feel that in 2005-2007, maybe Federer felt that he could still improve, now he's 26 he probably thinks that he's playing as well as he can play and he's just lost the motivation to keep trying new things. In reality the only problem he has is in his head.

Kaptain Karl
06-12-2008, 09:52 AM
An interesting and thoughtful analysis, ninman. I still say it will be at least six months from now when we can honestly (and somewhat accurately) conclude what really has been going-on.

- KK

Rhino
06-12-2008, 01:58 PM
I think Roddick said it best today in his interview:
"I'm going to go out on a limb here and say Roger's pretty mentally strong and is capable of overcoming a defeat to win a tennis tournament."

daddy
06-12-2008, 03:33 PM
The issue wasn't effort. The issue was that the strategy for him that would likely result in a more even score is playing more conservative, at the baseline, etc. And that would give him absolutely no chance to win.

What I'm saying is that a chance to win, with a chance to lose lopsidedly, is much much better than no chance to win but losing respectably.


This is correct but then I misinterpreted your previous post so sorry.

daddy
06-12-2008, 03:37 PM
Federer is more than capable to defeating Nadal regularly on clay, what he has to get over is the mental hurdle he has when facing Nadal. I also feel that in 2005-2007, maybe Federer felt that he could still improve, now he's 26 he probably thinks that he's playing as well as he can play and he's just lost the motivation to keep trying new things. In reality the only problem he has is in his head.

For once a reason from you. Anyways lets just say that he can not win regularly vs Nadal on clay becaus he lost too many times now and I think his chance to be regular at that is non existant today. If the things were to happen differently on a few occasions in the past, he could have a winning record on clay vs the man, but at this point you have to admit his time is running out quickly if it's not gone completely.

This goes only vs Nadal, thought Id mention that.

AAAA
06-13-2008, 11:13 AM
I only cite some fightbacks here, which were no complete turnarounds. There are so many

comebacks in tennis history, i cannot cite all here. Becker-Agassi or Becker-Wilander semis on clay at RG

come to mind, which were not especially good matchups for Becker (on clay). Although he lost at the end, he

still put on a fight. Agassi-Sampras on grass. Agassi wasn't a good fighter at the outset (see USO final

1990), but despite being quite chanceless in the Wim final 99, he fought to a 5-7 last set. In 1994 he took

the qf match from a 0-2 deficit to a fifth set. Aging Mac was much older than Sampras at USO 1990 and had few

chances since the outset, yet he took the match to a fourth set. Borg-Laver 1975 on har- tru at USO wasn't a

good matchup for Laver (37), considering the 18 years he gave away and Borg the two time RG champion. After

losing the first two sets clearly, Laver put on stiff resistance and won the third 6-2. He lost in four, but

not without a fight.

Urban, You started this thread about Federer playing poorly against Nadal in the 2008 FO final. I asked you to name someone else who played better given the same or similar lop-sided mismatch facing Federer. Federer was 1-8 on clay against Nadal before the final and had a losing 6-10 h2h overall.

Your first example of Becker vs Agassi on clay doesn't come close to the Federer-Nadal mismatch.

1991 FO SF Agassi vs. Becker 7-5 6-3 3-6 6-1
Before the match the head to head was 3-3 with no matches on clay so Becker was not facing a confidence knocking 1-8 record on clay.

1985 R64 Wilander vs. Becker 6-3 6-2 6-1
This was their first match ever so again Becker dosn't have to face the doubts suffered from 8 previous defeats on clay or the disappoint of losing 2 FO finals to the guy.

1987 SF Wilander vs Becker 6-4 6-1 6-2
By 1987 Becker was 4-1 head-to-head against Wilander so he has the psychological advantage and the 1987 FO match was only their second match on clay. Again one and only one previous loss to wilander on clay can't be compared to the 1-8 deficit facing Federer.


1999 F Wimbledon Sampras won 6-3 6-4 7-5
Sampras lead 13-10 before the final and their only previous match on grass was a 5 setter in 1993. Again it's not even close to a 1-8 deficit. Agassi didn't have 8 previous losses to discourage him.


Mac-Sampras 1990 USO QF.
Not close the Federer-Nadal on clay comparison.
Compare
2008 FO Final : Federer no FO titles vs. Nadal all 3 previous FO titles.
1990 USO QF: Mac 4 USO titles vs Sampras no USO titles.*

*At the time of the match Sampras had no USO titles so that hardly compares to the established and proven 3 time FO winner that Federer faced.

Borg-Laver 1975 on har- tru at USO
Again like with Mac and Sampras, not a close comparison to Federer-Nadal on clay. According to the ATP site the USO open matching was only their second on clay and only their 5th match against each other, tied at 2-2 before the USO match.

urban
06-13-2008, 11:27 AM
AAAA i don't get your point. Do You really state, that Federer-Nadal is a mismatch of historic proportions? More a mismatch than Agassi-Becker in clay? We are talking here about a pretender to be the all time best tennis player. Per definitionem there can be no mismatch with that calibre of player involved at the losing end. And all circumstances cannot hide the fact, that Federer basically said no mas at 3-3 in the second set. I not speaking of a sensational comeback, only of a decent fight, so safe some pride, which is imo essential for a great champion.

AAAA
06-13-2008, 12:35 PM
AAAA i don't get your point. Do You really state, that Federer-Nadal is a mismatch of historic proportions? More a mismatch than Agassi-Becker in clay?


Urban, Each name you gave was dismissed for the reasons I gave. I thought I stated those reasons clearly.

Fed-Nadal on clay is now 1-9.
Becker-Agassi on clay was 0-1 lifetime.

Becker only ever played 1 match against Agassi on clay so Becker was never in a position of playing a 10th match against Agassi having lost a confidence destroying previous 8 of 9 matches to Agassi. Federer was in such a situation against Nadal. Like I said originally until we see someone else in that situation we can't compare.


We are talking here about a pretender to be the all time best tennis player. Per definitionem there can be no mismatch with that calibre of player involved at the losing end.


That is your personal defination and more fitting for a 'PERFECT' player label. GOAT does not mean perfection, the GOAT doesn't even need to be the best in every measure imaginable because the GOAT is a relative measure against other players and not against a perfect ideal. So the GOAT only needs to be 'better' compared to all others as measured by the chosen criteria, and there is no generally accepted list of judging criteria.


And all circumstances cannot hide the fact, that Federer basically said no mas at 3-3 in the second set. I not speaking of a sensational comeback, only of a decent fight, so safe some pride, which is imo essential for a great champion.


I think I've responded to your 'no mas' comment in an earlier post. Furthermore all this ignores Nadal's contribution to the match. It ignores the possibilty, a very real possibility, that Nadal prevented Federer from doing anything effective on court in sets 1 and 3.

We could say Nadal's destruction of Federer is proof that he neutralised every single strength Federer has on clay in sets 1 and 3 thereby making any comeback by Federer impossible.

CyBorg
06-13-2008, 12:49 PM
That is your personal defination and more fitting for a 'PERFECT' player label. GOAT does not mean perfection, the GOAT doesn't even need to be the best in every measure imaginable because the GOAT is a relative measure against other players and not against a perfect ideal. So the GOAT only needs to be 'better' compared to all others as measured by the chosen criteria, and there is no generally accepted list of judging criteria.

You make a good point here, but wouldn't Roger have to be almost near darn perfect to have a better track record than Laver?

Laver at one point was objectively the best player on all surfaces and he was a contemporary of the great Ken Rosewall - one of the three best clay courters of all time.

I think urban is right to say that Roger seems nothing but a pretender at this point in stage. That may still change, but I think some of us got ahead of ourselves in wanting to anoint Roger as the best of all time.

CyBorg
06-13-2008, 01:08 PM
I sympathize with Roger in one respect here - it has to do with the way the clay and grass seasons are set up.

We've talked about Borg and his ability to transform his game from clay to grass and dominate in both majors. We compare this to Roger quite a bit.

In my opinion this potential transformation is tougher on Roger for at least one reason (though there are other variables that may have made it tougher on Bjorn - the faster grass being the main one).

We have the clay and the grass come back-to-back. There is two weeks in between the majors. For Bjorn his best surface came first. For Roger his best surface comes second.

This was a nicer scenario for Bjorn I think because he would go into the French with a perfectly polished clay game. Once he'd win the tournament he'd have a limited time to prepare for grass, but the upside was that he had nothing to lose by making drastic changes to his style in preparation for Wimbledon. Often after Wimbledon he wouldn't play for a long time, perhaps getting his game back to normalcy.

Roger does have quite a bit to lose and I could see these toughts racing through his head: "Should I transform my game; to what extent; should I grind with him more; should I attempt to stay out there for four-five hours?"

But at once Wimbledon is on his mind as well. If he absorbs himself in the clay game now, how will this affect him on grass? Tough question. Look as Muster and the adjustments he made to his game in 1997 to play better on hardcourts. It payed off with a win in Miami, but he was never the same player on clay again.

I think Roger just said 'screw it - I'll take another Wimbledon.' Can we blame him?

What if he takes Rafa to a fifth set, loses there and then struggles big-time at Wimbledon, resulting in an early-round loss? Do we respect him more?

urban
06-13-2008, 01:41 PM
Yes, of course, i would respect him much more. I have critized Sampras for his tame efforts at Rg since 1996. After reaching the sf at RG and losing to Krajicek in 1996 at Wim, he always safed himself for Wimbledon. That was maybe clever, but not especially noble. Therefore i have much respect for Lendl, who gave all he had to win the missing link, Wimbledon.

krosero
06-13-2008, 05:01 PM
Becker only ever played 1 match against Agassi on clay so Becker was never in a position of playing a 10th match against Agassi having lost a confidence destroying previous 8 of 9 matches to Agassi. Federer was in such a situation against Nadal. Like I said originally until we see someone else in that situation we can't compare. If you're looking for comparable situations purely in terms of H2H, what about any instance in which there's a long domination by one player, but the other one still fights?

McEnroe had a long win streak against Connors when he gave up 4 games in that W final, but Connors took a set in their next match, pushed him to 5 in New York, and later broke the streak.

Connors had lost 7 matches to Borg, including two straight-set beatings at Wimbledon in which he never got more than 3 games in a set, when he took a 2-set lead there over Borg in '81.

Connors never broke his losing streak to Lendl but he always fought hard.

Victor Pecci had lost all 4 of his matches against Borg, all on clay in straight sets, and then lost the first two sets in their RG final, 3 and 1, with Borg serving for the match, but Pecci snatched the third set away and made it a match. Next time they met, Pecci won (on clay).

Gerulaitis never beat Borg, but in their last meeting he pushed him to 6, 5, and 6 (at a time when Borg was still undefeated on that court, at Wimbledon).

Of these, there are many examples.