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pound cat
06-11-2006, 02:47 PM
PARIS: Rafael Nadal ripped Roger Federer's grand slam dream apart at the seams on Monday when he retained his French Open title and became the first man to beat the Swiss in a major final.


The extraordinary 20-year-old Spaniard inflicted a 1-6 6-1 6-4 7-6 defeat on the world number one, ending Federer's bid for to be the first man for 37 years to hold all four grand slam titles at once.

Federer's quest to win the elusive claycourt grand slam goes on and he had only himself to blame on Sunday. The 24-year-old committed 51 unforced errors and by the end his backhand technique in particular was in tatters, bereft of timing and the source of a stream of free points for Nadal.

The Mallorcan, who also beat Federer in last year's semi-finals, slammed away a forehand volley to confirm victory and threw himself to the ground, a Y-shaped emblem of triumph in the dirt with his hands clasped over his face.

"It's incredible," said Nadal, who has taken his unbeaten record on clay to 60 matches.

Last year he earned his maiden grand slam success with victory over Argentine Mariano Puerta in the Roland Garros final but he said: "I think I prefer this year's title.

"Roger is the most incredible player that I know."

Standing next to him, Federer looked anything but, his loser's dish tucked under one arm and a distant look in his eyes.

"He deserved to win," said the Australian Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion. "I was close this year. I tried. Obviously it's a pity but I will come back next year."

It was Federer's first defeat in eight grand slam finals and thwarted his bid to join Rod Laver and Don Budge as the only men to hold all four grand slams at once.

He will also have to wait until 2007 to try to complete the coveted calendar year grand slam.

Federer's status as the world best player is also under serious threat from Nadal. The Spaniard has won four finals against the Swiss this year and six of their seven encounters in total, including three on a hardcourt.

The match was billed as history in the making but for long periods it was a forgettable stream of unforced errors.

Tennis is a non-contact sport but Nadal makes it feel like one. The Mallorcan has the presence of a claycourt colossus, with biceps like cannonballs and a venomous look in his eye.

Yet after bounding on court like a boxer he made a terrible start. Federer took the first set in 37 minutes with Nadal committing mistake after mistake.

MIRROR IMAGE

Both men seemed inhibited by the sense of history accompanying the match and the second set was the mirror image of the first. This time the Swiss was the one making all the errors, most of them on his backhand.

In the third set a billowing wind began to nag Federer and Nadal started to use the angles effectively. A break for 3-2 proved decisive and the champion squatted at the baseline roaring his delight when Federer slung another awful backhand long at set point.

The Swiss immediately lost serve and the fourth set quickly ran way from him. Error after error flowed from his backhand, leaving Federer rubbing his brow in disbelief.

Nadal still had to serve out his victory though, and when the moment came at 5-4, Federer applied some pressure and a wayward forehand gave him the brief respite of a break back.

Four consecutive errors in the tiebreak from the top seed gave Nadal the chance to serve again for the match and a big first serve brought him victory.

Nadal is the first man to retain the claycourt grand slam since Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten in 2001.

ACE of Hearts
06-11-2006, 02:50 PM
Sometimes some of these reporters get out of hand.It will be a threat when Nadal starts winning on other surfaces.By the way, i did agree about the part about blaming himself.He did make many unforced errors.

oscar_2424
06-11-2006, 02:51 PM
VERy well written

Breaker
06-11-2006, 02:54 PM
Some of it is very exaggerated, sounds like some of the posters on this board wrote it at some of the points. Still they got their point across well.

tennis-skater
06-11-2006, 03:00 PM
Yeah I agree good story but very exaggerated

Aykhan Mammadov
06-11-2006, 03:13 PM
There wasn't written that Fed completely crashed his own game, that because of the excessive fear he couldn't fulfil elementary tennis strokes, that he gave to Nadal this match for free. He lost his skills completely, at least for 90% because he was worried about the history more than he felt himself in the match.

While Nadal was worrying only in the 1-st set, then he was playing his own usual game.

pound cat
06-12-2006, 04:01 AM
I agree Aykham...just like few of the French Kings named Louis..Federer was too worried about his Place in the Sun instead of just going out there and playing his A game for himself.

As Mel Brooks said "It's hard to be the King"

jackcrawford
06-12-2006, 04:16 AM
The truth hurts, huh? Wilander said it - until Federer grows a heart and some balls, he'll be losing to Nadal. Last I checked, Federer was 1-2 on hard courts vs. Nadal and the one win came from two sets and 4-1 down. Federer has to hope Nadal loses to someone else at the US Open because he won't be beating Nadal head to head there or anywhere else this year.

Count Grishnackh
06-12-2006, 04:37 AM
The truth hurts, huh? Wilander said it - until Federer grows a heart and some balls, he'll be losing to Nadal. Last I checked, Federer was 1-2 on hard courts vs. Nadal and the one win came from two sets and 4-1 down. Federer has to hope Nadal loses to someone else at the US Open because he won't be beating Nadal head to head there or anywhere else this year.

Amen.

baseliner
06-12-2006, 05:19 AM
Don't know how, but I do know it won't be by standing a foot or two behind the baseline. Federer let Nadal dictate play.

textbook strokes
06-12-2006, 05:40 AM
The article is not an exaggeration. Did you guys see the match?. If you want to rate it, it sounds mild to me.
Fed fans, don't feel too bad!. After all, you still have grass:D .

norcal
06-12-2006, 06:22 AM
Wilander said it - until Federer grows a heart and some balls, he'll be losing to Nadal. Wilander is right. Even if Roger had pulled out the 4th in a TB I could not see him winning the 5th. He had no self confidence and no willingness to change a losing game.