View Full Version : opinion of the greats on Federer vs. Nadal at French

05-25-2006, 08:04 AM
Mind Over Matter for Federer (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,19255960-2722,00.html)

No Holding Back (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/4995928.stm)

Here's the opinions of Laver, McEnroe, Vilas, Leconte, and Courrier:

Vilas: "I think Federer has everything...Nadal hasn't lost a match on clay for a long time. But Federer likes challenges....He likes to work at it on clay. He can do it."

McEnroe: "Federer is so good, he could adjust in like five minutes...But the guy's a genius. What the hell is the problem with playing a left-hander?" (McEnroe seems puzzled at the difficulty Federer has with a very good leftie)

Courrier: "No doubt he's in his head"

Laver: "Federer is a great player. He does everything you need, and smoothly...With some luck, he has the stuff to get a Grand Slam. And more power to him. I admire his game, and the way he carries himself" (Laver thinks Federer doesn't need to really do anything differently, but just a little bit of luck)

Leconte: "Attacking players still have a chance but they need the courage to move more often to the net and serve and volley sometimes...If you play a game like Edberg, or even now like Federer, I think you should come to the net more...He's going to have more easy points and with the clay at the French, and if the weather is the right and the balls are flying, it's great for attacking tennis...he should attack more - much more"

Well, there you have it, some all-time greats. Laver, McEnroe, Vilas all think Federer can win the French Open. The only one who seems to be negative is Courrier, and while he was a great player, hardly on the level of the aforementioned.

This is after the Rome Final, which, btw, many dimwitted Nadal fans were predicting would be a sweep. Now, the back-peddling is, "oh, we predicted the outcome right", and Federer played his best game, while Nadal played his "worst". What a laugh.

Aykhan Mammadov
05-25-2006, 01:16 PM
Aykhan Mammadov: " Federer is a genius, he is Doctor of Arts of tennis, he can beat Nadal easily, simply he must assure himself that he can and become very angry till the last point in a match. He is trembling and my words must make him nervous enough to make him angry"

lucky leprechaun
05-25-2006, 01:40 PM
All of them are right-on, except mcenroe.

05-25-2006, 01:48 PM
Aykhan Mammadov: " Federer is a genius, he is Doctor of Arts of tennis, he can beat Nadal easily, simply he must assure himself that he can and become very angry till the last point in a match. He is trembling and my words must make him nervous enough to make him angry"

I. Love. You. Marry me?

05-25-2006, 01:53 PM
Well, there you have it, some all-time greats. Laver, McEnroe, Vilas all think Federer can win the French Open. The only one who seems to be negative is Courrier, and while he was a great player, hardly on the level of the aforementioned.

I see. Does that mean Courier's opinion is worth more than Gilbert's?

Beware of giving a player's opinion more weight just because he won a couple more slams.

05-25-2006, 02:15 PM
There are just various quotes from interviews. It's not like they were all actually asked if Federer could beat Nadal at the French.

And I agree with McEnroe's lefty comment regarding Federer. If Fed is such a genius, he should be able to adapt to it.

05-25-2006, 02:34 PM
I think Nadal is a lock to win the French. Where on the womens side there are 6 women that have solid chances, in the mens there is also one. Just like at Wimbledon this year only Roger can win it, at the French this year only Nadal can win. They should hand him the trophy now. As a Roger fan I will be happy if he makes the semis or final, knowing the French title this year is unrealistic.

ACE of Hearts
05-25-2006, 02:45 PM
Nadal too win the french once again.

05-25-2006, 04:55 PM
There are just various quotes from interviews. It's not like they were all actually asked if Federer could beat Nadal at the French.

And I agree with McEnroe's lefty comment regarding Federer. If Fed is such a genius, he should be able to adapt to it.

Is there any way to see what feds career record vs lefties is without looking at all of his matches?

Id take courier's opinion over gilberts any day. Gilberts first book was amazing but has really went hollywood and is like a gossip queen. Doesnt mean i dislike him on tv, he just cant be considered an expert like the other guys.

Leconte is in that group as well (achievement wise) but i think what he had to say was pretty damn good. An attacking game will only make your baseline game more effective.

I think he needs to mix in more deep slices down the middle to make nadal work a bit harder at times. Short slices will also work if he can keep them low enough, you just cant have nadal on that baseline all day. Nadal will pop a few but thats expected, its like coming to net, you will be passed.

05-25-2006, 05:07 PM
May as well have Becker's take on this, too, as translated from Spanish by nou.amic of VR.com:


"Nadal y Ronaldinho siempre dan algo más"




"Nadal and Ronaldhino always produce that little bit more"

I've skipped the first half with questions about football, his great love.

-- What do you think of Ronaldhino?
.- He could be the star of the World Cup in Germany, together with Messi, Tévez and Ballack. The difference between a good player and a great player is the mental aspect. A great player always plays better in finals than a good player.

-- What would you distinguish about him?
.- I'd compare him to Rafael Nadal in some aspects. When they are on form they always produce that bit more, something extra. They always pull some trick out of the hat.

-- So you like Nadal as a player?
.- Yes. I like him because he's a very physical and also emotional player. It's always exciting to watch him play. He's young with loads of energy and he likes to show it.

-- Could he become world Nº1?
.- If he's Nº2, he can be Nº1, that's clear. He's knocking on the door, but the Nº1 at the moment is still Federer, although for Roland Garros Nadal is my favourite and the Swiss second. If they meet in the final match, it will be a dream final.

-- A final that they already played on clay in Monte Carlo and Rome.
.- Yes, I was in Rome last week. It was a tennis masterpiece, because they both played at their highest level for five hours! They are two great models to follow for the sport and two examples to tennis for their dedication, sportsmanship and talent.

--Nadal has become a champion at a young age, as you did. What advice would you give him?
.- The really difficult part for Nadal is what happens from now on. He can't win Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and the French Open every year, one day he'll begin to lose a final or other. Then, the press will start to question him, because if you have been Nº1, anything less seems like a disaster. Nadal has to learn that you can't always win.

-- By the way, getting back to football, who's going to win the World Cup?
.- Brazil, because they don't just have 11 talented players, they have 22. They have more than enough talent to make up two whole teams.

05-25-2006, 05:21 PM
Fed will win the French in a five+ hour final against Nadal. 5-7,7-6,6-4,6-7,7-5
Who really knows? The French is the hardest slam to predict, on any other surface the favorite would be Fed, but on clay Nadal has to be the favorite. But my pick is Fed just because his racquet looks better!!;)

05-25-2006, 06:09 PM
More interesting stuff from Becker, which I think some of you tennis historians will like which is why I'm posting it. Thanks to nou.amic of VR.com for translating it. It's amazing the stuff you get if you can get it through translation. The American press is rather vanilla at times:

ENTREVISTA: BORIS BECKER Tricampeón del torneo de Wimbledon

"Nadal puede ganar en 'la catedral', aunque no este año"

MANEL SERRAS - Barcelona
EL PAÍS - Deportes - 22-05-2006

The translation:

INTERVIEW : BORIS BECKER Three times Wimbledon champion

"Nadal can win Wimbledon, but not this year"

By Manel Serras

BARCELONA.- After he won Wimbledon in 1985, at the age of 17, Boris Becker became not only a superstar but also a social icon. The German tennis player (Leimen 1967) won Wimbledon twice more (1986 and 1989) and was the runner up there on four other occasions. He also won the Australian Open twice (1991 and 1996) and the US Open once (1989). When he retired in 2000, he had won 49 titles, but not Roland Garros, the only Grand Slam he never won. Becker is in Barcelona, where he will take part in various events, for the Laureus Awards.

.- Did winning Wimbledon at 17 complicate your life a lot?

BB.- There are two sides to every coin. Playing good tennis was obviously fantastic, but I lost part of my privacy. I felt under great pressure. However, if I could choose, I wouldn't change anything because, if it hadn't been for that victory, I would probably not have been the player I went on to be.

.- If you hadn't been a tennis player, what route would your life have taken?

BB.- All my family are architects. So, I think I would have gone in that direction. But, I also liked other sports, above all football and basketball. Perhaps I would have ended up being a football player...

.- Has tennis changed much since your day?

BB.- The basis, what's fundamental, has not changed. It's still the best of three sets, or five in the Grand Slams. But, the way the game is played has changed. Thanks to technology, raquets have improved and the game is much faster and more powerful. That is to say, with the new materials, you don't have to be very strong to be able to hit the ball hard.

.- Can Roger Federer one day manage to beat Rafael Nadal on clay?

BB.- Everybody has a player that they choke on. I think that Nadal is the only one that gives Federer problems. It's got a lot to do with clay. On grass, indoor carpet or hardcourt, Federer is better. But when you play on a slow surface, you have to hit the ball longer and play from the baseline. I think that's where Federer's problems with Nadal come from.

.- Is there any one capable of breaking those two's domination?

BB.- At the moment, they are the only ones that play another type of tennis completely. Both Nadal and Federer would have been at the very top of the ranking as much nowadays as 20 or 30 years ago. I wouldn't say the same about the rest of the Top 10.

.- The Spaniard has had four wins in a row over Federer. Do you think that, if they reach the Roland Garros final, this run might be broken?

BB.- The only thing I can guarantee is that, if that happened, we would see a great match. He could beat him because the last time they played, in Rome, he was very close then, he even had two set balls. That was one of the best matches I have seen in a long time. If this rivalry continues at the same level, we are in for a lot of thrills and excitement.

.- Can Nadal keep up this level for a long period of time?

BB.- At the moment he's doing everything well. But sooner or later, and I hope it is later, he will start losing some matches. He should understand that this is part of life. You can't always win. Then he will need his family and friends around him to give him support.

.- Do you know him personally?

BB.- I met him when he was 15, in Mallorca. His uncle asked me to have a look at him and give him my opinion. I told him that he was very good. But that was easy to see.

.- Did you imagine that he would take off so soon?

BB.- No, not at all. He was very strong and very powerful and talented. He has made himself into what he is. That's very good.

.- What's he like as a person?

BB.- He's humble. He's not arrogant. He doesn't only think of himself. That indicates a lot of aplomb and composure in one so young.

.- Could he win Wimbledon one day?

BB.- He could, but not this year. I think he'll get better and better on grass. But who would have predicted that he was going to win Roland Garros at 18 or have so many consecutive wins on clay? Who knows what he will be capable of in five years' time? He's very young. So, if he wants to, he can become even better.

.- What aspects of his game does he have to touch up on to win Wimbledon?

BB.- Grass is very different from clay. The problem is that there are now so many tournaments on clay and so little time to adjust to grass. That's not to his benefit, but it is to those that find grass suits them better.

.- Federer is like you: he has won all of the Grand Slams except Roland Garros.

BB.- No, I never won it. But, I reached the semifinals at a time when there was Mats Wilander, Ivan Lendl and Thomas Muster. I beat everyone else but they were better than me on clay. Federer has not won Roland Garros, not yet. For some reason, every great player has had a tournament that he couldn't win. Pete Sampras never won Roland Garros, and neither did John McEnroe or Jimmy Connors. Lendl never won Wimbledon. Federer has this same problem but he's closer to winning the title than McEnroe or I ever were.

.- Do you still have a following?

BB.- I'm involved in various things. I sell raquets and I have a clothes collection under my name. I have invested in several businesses and sell cars through Mercedes. I'm very busy. And yes, it's true, people still know who I am. It doesn't annoy me but at times it bothers me.

.- Was winning Wimbledon as important as having your first child?

BB.- You can't compare them. The family always comes before work. I adore my children and spend as much time with them as I can.

.- In your time, you commented that some tennis players were involved in doping. Do you still think the same?

BB.- What I said 10 or 15 years ago might have happened then. But opinions and situations change. So, don't ask me about that. My personal opinion is that neither Federer nor Nadal use dope. As for the others, it does not matter.

05-25-2006, 06:51 PM
Interesting intereview from Boris Becker. But the Nadal/Ronaldinho comparison is the worst piece of analogy I ever heard in my life. Geez, I thought he knew better about football. You can compare Nadal to players like Batigol, maybe. But Ronaldinho? I think even Catalanian will shake their heads.

05-25-2006, 08:58 PM
Good interview. But McEnroe was pretty damn close to winning the French in '84. Closer than Federer, certainly. But Becker probably meant that Federer's clay game is much better.

05-26-2006, 05:38 AM
Thanks for the Boris Becker interview, Vamos.

I just wanted to bring some perspective into this. If Rod Laver says, "Federer can win the French over Nadal," then someone on this board says, "There's no way Federer can win over Nadal," you kind of have to think that person doesn't know what they're talking about, and discount their opinion.


You want to say Nadal is the favorite to win the French, fine. I'd agree. You have to place higher odds on him than anyone else. However, to say he's a "lock" to win it just sounds ignorant in lights of how well Federer is playing on clay, and that their last match was a 5-hour 5-setter.

If Nadal played a 5-hour 5-set match against Federer on grass before Wimbledon, but lost, everyone would be saying "he has a good shot to win Wimbledon over Federer," and, while acknowledging Federer as the favorite, wouldn't say that he's a "lock".