No pressure on Nadal?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by miyagi, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. miyagi

    miyagi Professional

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    I thought this was an interesting article..........

    Australian Open - Nadal: No pressure on me

    Eurosport - Wed, 14 Jan 12:53:00 2009

    Rafael Nadal has begun the new year feeling no pressure after a sensational 2008 season.

    "I don't feel like I have to defend anything and I start this year from zero again," Nadal said ahead of next week's Australian Open.

    "I'm 22 years old and have won five Grand Slams, 12 Master Series titles, an Olympic gold medal and I'm world number one - that keeps me calm.

    "Seven years ago if somebody had said to me you will win those titles over your career I would have signed for it immediately."


    During the past 12 months, the Spaniard lifted his fourth successive French Open crown, ended Roger Federer's five-year reign as Wimbledon champion, won Olympic gold in Beijing and climbed to the top of the world rankings.

    Nadal's dream year came to an abrupt end, however, when he was sidelined with tendinitis in his right knee.

    Despite that setback and a slow start to the 2009 season, Nadal is not worried about defending his titles or ranking points.

    "I've won the Olympics and at Toronto, Madrid, Montreal and Indian Wells on hard courts. They are all big tournaments and I beat the same people I'm playing in the Slams at these tournaments," said Nadal.

    "I will continue to fight, improve and try and get to the final in Australia - and try to win."

    While Nadal became the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to complete the Roland Garros-Wimbledon double in the same year, the fact remains that he has never progressed beyond the semi-final of a hardcourt Grand Slam.

    Nadal, who lost in the last four at the 2008 Australian and US Opens, said his past successes on hard courts were proof that he could break his duck on Melbourne Park's Plexicushion surface.

    Nadal's 2008 will perhaps be best remembered for the match, described by pundits as the greatest ever seen, when he punched a mighty hole through Federer's aura of invincibility by beating his Swiss rival in the longest and most nerve-jangling final at Wimbledon.

    The Spaniard survived two rain breaks and an astonishing Federer fightback to claim a sensational 6-4 6-4 6-7 6-7 9-7 victory as dusk fell over the All England Club in early July.

    However, it was last June's French Open triumph which was Nadal's sweetest victory of the year. The irrepressible Spaniard enhanced his reputation as arguably the greatest claycourt player when he swept aside Federer with embarrassing ease, dropping only four games.

    "All the people talk about Wimbledon but maybe they forget about Roland Garros, which was an amazing tournament for me because I played my best tennis there last year," he said.

    "Winning Wimbledon for the first time in such an incredible final against Roger was special - but Roland Garros was very important for me."

    His season ended prematurely when he was forced to retire from the Paris Masters in late October with the knee injury, which ruled him out of the Masters Cup and Spain's Davis Cup final victory in Argentina.

    "Spain has a very good team whether I am there or not but it was tough to miss the final. At the same time I was happy for the guys and for myself because I played in the quarter- and semi-finals," added Nadal.

    Although he said having an injury "is never good", Nadal was glad that he had time to spend with friends in Mallorca, improve his golf and enjoy some fishing during his enforced break.

    Despite a slow start to 2009, highlighted by defeats to Andy Murray and Gael Monfils at Abu Dhabi and Doha, Nadal believes it will not be long before he rediscovers his best form.

    "I was out of competition for two and a half months, but have trained hard and hope to find my best level as fast as possible. I feel if I find my best tennis I always have a chance to win important tournaments and hopefully that will start in Australia," he said.

    With Novak Djokovic and Murray now pushing Nadal and Federer hard, the Spaniard was looking forward to a new golden age in tennis.

    "It was great when Pete (Sampras) and (Andre) Agassi were around and for the last few years it's been fun with the rivalry between Roger and me but now there are a few more young guys around, which will make it a very, very interesting season," said Nadal.

    The bold part made me smile :D

    I think he could do very well especially as all eyes are on the other 3!
     
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  2. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    My favorite sentence is " I'm 22 years old and have won 5 grand slams, 12 master series titles, an olympic gold medal and I'm world #1- that keeps me calm" :):):) That would surely work vs any pressure that might come up! Who could ever brag of such a resume at 22?
     
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  3. P_Agony

    P_Agony Banned

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    He sounds like such a great guy, so down to earth. Both he and Federer will have trouble though in AO, with Murray and Djokovic as the direct threats and young guys like Simon, Del Potro, Tsonga and Monfils wanting a piece of the pie. It'll be very interesting.
     
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  4. thejoe

    thejoe Hall of Fame

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    I wouldn't put him as a favourite, but I think he has a great shot at the title.
     
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  5. miyagi

    miyagi Professional

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    He does sound like a great guy.....btw I would put him as 3/4 favourite.....he is definately capable of winning it.....good luck to him.
     
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  6. DarthFed

    DarthFed Hall of Fame

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    I agree he definitely has a shot...Tsonga played lights out...if it wasn't for Tsonga he would have had no problems making the final
     
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  7. TheMusicLover

    TheMusicLover G.O.A.T.

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    A very nice fellow he is, indeed. I agree with the above posters - he surely has a shot at winning the AO, provided he doesn't run into someone playing lights-out tennis again like last year. That 'someone' might well be Murray if he keeps up his current form...
     
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  8. All-rounder

    All-rounder Legend

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    i think nadal chances of winning this slam get slimmer as these new players aka tsonga type players can catch fire out of nowhere and clean you straight
     
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  9. Emelia21

    Emelia21 Semi-Pro

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    I like how he says

    "I will continue to fight, improve and try to get to the final in Australia - and try to win"

    Nice article thankyou
     
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  10. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    The one positive thing about his chances of winning is that he has improved his results every year so far:
    In 2004 he made 3rd round
    in 2005 he made 4th round
    in 2007 he made quarters (didn't play in 2006 because of a foot problem)
    in 2008 he made semis
    If the logic continues, 2009 should be final or win!!
     
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  11. TheMusicLover

    TheMusicLover G.O.A.T.

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    Yep - and it looks like there are a lot of them around right now who might not score high on 'consistency' but surely have what it takes to bring down Rafa (and as we've seen the past couple of months - almost everyone else, too!), when they are in good form. Tsonga is of course a good example, but so are Gulbis, Simon, Del Potro, Nalbandian... perhaps even Hewitt, it looks like he's playing well right now.
     
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  12. miyagi

    miyagi Professional

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    Nadal will just have to suck it up if he wants to win on HC.....he should be prepared to find a way to win!!

    I dont expect ANYONE to blow him off the court again like Tsonga did he should have learnt from it....
     
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  13. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    Yes lots of players are dangerous for Nadal. This being said Nadal is 3-0 vs Del Potro and 2-0 vs Gulbis. He's 2-1 vs Simon and 2-1 vs Tsonga, so things don't look completely hopeless for him either...
     
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  14. TheMusicLover

    TheMusicLover G.O.A.T.

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    I don't think things are 'hopeless' for him at all... it's just that he's had so many times when he had the bad luck of running into an 'on fire'-playing 'minor' player. I well remember Youhzny and Ferrer at the USO in 2006 and 2007, just to name two examples, and these players (sorry, no insult meant to them at all) just don't have the qualities of one Djokovic or Murray, not even to mention Federer. And now we have the guys I already mentioned, who could well be capable of 'pulling the trigger' just the same.

    That said, I realize that there a lot of people underrating Nadal's capacities on HC. Somehow, the past decade of total domination on HC by Sampras and Federer seem to have made people think that any #1 player should be as dominant as them - but they were the exceptions, not the rule, setting the expectations set on any follow-up #1 to an almost incredible level.

    Rafa isn't at all as 'bad' on HC as many make him out to be. He might not be a HC-WONDER, as people rightly say, but he's a more-than-decent player on the surface, having managed semis in HC-slams, and getting to finals and even winning titles on HC in Masters, among other tournaments. Didn't he also win the Olympic Gold Medal with ease? Was on HC, if I remember well... ;)

    Rafa is a much better player on HC than Sampras ever was on clay, just to mention one thing. He has a good shot for the title at the AO, I'm pretty sure of that. No wonder Fed himself said that he's a good contender for the title as well, just like Murray and Djoko... :)
     
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  15. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Nice interview but the truth is that there's always pressure when you're number one in the world.However while I do think that Nadal prefers the role of the underdog than being the favourite,he has proven countless times that he handles pressure amazingly well.
     
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  16. DarthFed

    DarthFed Hall of Fame

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    Nadal on clay is ridiculous...wasn't he like on an 81 match winning streak?

    its impressive that two men held dominant records on all 3 surfaces

    i believe Fed holds the record for 65 grass, and 56 HC wins and Nadal holds clay....these most likely wont be broken for a while
     
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  17. Morrissey

    Morrissey Guest

    I agree, the real pressure will come during the clay and grass season. But he´s so good on both surfaces I doubt he´ll see it as pressure.
     
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  18. Morrissey

    Morrissey Guest

    Every year it gets slimmer for everyone. Tsonga type players? Name me other new players (or any) who play like Tsonga. I wouldn´t put money on him making the final again.
     
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  19. saram

    saram Legend

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    This is a good article. And, I think Rafa is one of the few blokes on tour that actually speaks his mind and ignores lip-service and what 'one should say'...he speaks from his heart.
     
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  20. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    For me one thing is clear, if he loses it's not because of pressure or nervs, never saw anyone so brutal on the court, no fear what so ever, that's the part i like the most on Rafa, what he did at Wimbledon last year really, that really blew my socks off...Roger is the better player technical wise but Rafa is the gladiator!
     
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  21. thejoe

    thejoe Hall of Fame

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    What? All of what he says is to keep the press sweet. He never says anything outlandish, which is partly why he is so popular. Are you talking about the same player?
     
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  22. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    He's popular because he's nice with other players, with the press and with people in general. He's just a nice guy :) (you make it sound like it's some kind of machiavelism, lol)
     
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  23. thejoe

    thejoe Hall of Fame

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    I pointed that out in the other thread. I agree, he seems like the nicest guy you would ever want to meet, but to say he speaks his mind in an outlandish way is a bit silly. :)
     
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  24. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    You're the one who used the adjective "outlandish", what saram said is he speaks his mind and he speaks from the heart. That just means he says what he thinks and he is sincere, that seems a reasonable statement to me.
     
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  25. thejoe

    thejoe Hall of Fame

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    He implied outlandish, by going against the book, and what he "should say." He is too nice to say anything bad. I'm not insulting anyone, in fact I'm complimenting Rafa.

    I think he says everything he "should say." The response to Djokovic's comments at Roland Garros 2006 spring to mind.
     
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  26. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    I agree that Rafa is tactful. He never tries to provoke anybody, the only guy he is harsh on (I mean among players) is himself! On the other hand he was extremely direct and outspoken about Munoz and he will defend himself if attacked (and give straightforward answers to the press), so he's certainly not a sycophant either.
     
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  27. veritech

    veritech Hall of Fame

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    tactful or just simply playing coy... who knows...
     
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  28. danb

    danb Professional

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    I think there is actually quite a bit of pressure on him to prove himself on hard courts in a GS. His style might wear his body down so he's got to prove himself sooner rather than later... Anyway - he is a fine guy. I like all 4 of them Fed, Nadal, Joker and Murray. Can't wait for the OZ Open
     
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  29. DoubleDeuce

    DoubleDeuce Hall of Fame

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    #29
  30. miyagi

    miyagi Professional

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    I dont think there is much pressure on Nadal most people dont think he can win on HC....he only has the pressure of being #1

    I used to think Nadal always lied on camera and said what was politically correct but now I get the feeling he is just genuinely nice (unlike me) lol
     
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  31. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    Nadal is not coy. I guess you didn't follow the controversy with Munoz, otherwise you would know how not coy he is!
     
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  32. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    Here goes, Nadal's flaws are he's always late, he's untidy (his mom says it , you have to believe moms on that), he has some nervous tics he cannot control (pulling the pants), he can go overboard with the complaining and is not easy to deal with when he's in a bad mood (mom's words again). Other than that he's quite perfect :)
     
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  33. GameSampras

    GameSampras Banned

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    IS it just me or do u think Nadal plays better as the player climbing the mountain as #2 and looking to overtake number 1 as he does as the Number 1 player in the world? I know Nadal reached Number 1 during the time of the season when he wouldnt have much success as he does during Clay and Grass season but it does to me he had more of that "edge" when he was hungry and breathing down Roger's neck. It can be lonely at the top and there is alot of pressure especially today as the world's #1.
     
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  34. edmondsm

    edmondsm Legend

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    There is always pressure on the #1 seed at a slam. It will be especially heavy on Nadal's shoulders because I think there are many players out there that believe they can beat him on hardcourts. They will be chomping at the bit, just like Monfils in Doha, to take out the world #1.
     
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  35. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

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    Bingo.............

    Absolutely, anyone who has the number one position has a target on his back and they know it. This press quote was just just that, a statement to attempt to ease tension. What is he supposed to say, "Oh yeah, I am shaking in my boots to hold on to #1"; I think not. :roll:

    Good new for Rafa is that he loves a challenge and has just as good of a chance at the title as anyone else, as long as his knees hold out. There are a lot of players out there that know if we stay with him we may cause a tire to blow on HC. This AO will be very interesting indeed.

    Cheers, TennezSport :cool:
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2009
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  36. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    Too early to tell, Nadal is never in good shape at the end of the season and starts slowly at the beginning. We have to wait a little longer to make that kind of observation. All we can say is that he had his best result at USO (so far) and a (slightly) better result in Madrid this year than last year. After that he had a break due to injury and he has only played 1 tournament in 2009! My personal impression is that his ranking won't affect his mentality at all. Nadal has always been strong in the mental department.
     
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  37. miyagi

    miyagi Professional

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    Wouldn't you need a few more matches to be in a postion to judge that?

    Lets see what he does this year and to be honest I dont think that is fair to say that yet?

    He's played one tournament in 09! LOL
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2009
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  38. seffina

    seffina G.O.A.T.

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    It's okay if Rafa doesn't feel any pressure, I'll feel all the pressure for him. I desperately want him to win the AO this year. Go ahead, Rafa, play pressure free. I'll take one for the team.
     
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  39. danb

    danb Professional

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    My favorites:

    1. Nadal and Murray
    2. Fed , Joker and Tsonga

    Make no mistake - there is pressure on all these guys - they just learned to live with it. IMHO Nadal is actually saying something like "I learned how to deal with the pressure".
     
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  40. edmondsm

    edmondsm Legend

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    I wouldn't have put Tsonga in the same league as Fed and Djokovic going into the AO, but now that he is having back issues I really doubt that he will go deep in Melbourne.
     
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  41. thejoe

    thejoe Hall of Fame

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    Nadal having as good a chance as Murray at a hardcourt slam? I don't think so.
     
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  42. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    By that logic, Federer should have won RG already.


    Didn't happen though. The beauty of tennis, you won't know what will happen.
     
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  43. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    For Federer at RG there was no progression at all, it was:
    final + brickwall
    (rinse and repeat as many times as needed :twisted:)
     
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  44. danb

    danb Professional

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    I should have said - my preferred player to win would be

    1) Nadal and Murray
    2) Tsonga, Joker, Fed
     
    #44
  45. edberg505

    edberg505 Legend

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    Boy you really hate the guy don't you. Did Federer steal your lunch money or something?
     
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  46. veritech

    veritech Hall of Fame

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    with that logic, he shouldn't play in 2009 because of a foot problem.

    *knocks on wood*
     
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  47. miyagi

    miyagi Professional

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    Hmmmm? I disagree with this.....Murray may be more talented on HC but Nadal is WAY more determined.

    Determination>talent imo

    Anyway we shall see :D
     
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  48. thejoe

    thejoe Hall of Fame

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    We shall see. I'm not ruling him out, but he isn't as good on hardcourts. This isn't clay, having the determination to run down balls will only take you so far.
     
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  49. vtmike

    vtmike Banned

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    The number 1 ranked player is ranked below the 4th ranked player as a favourite to win the AO, and Nadal says that he is not under pressure??? :grin: gimme a break!

    His interviews are always sugar coated to the point that they sound fake.....I'm not saying hes a bad guy (before some freaks start attacking me), but he obviously is trying to build a false image infront of the media....some people like that and some don't....I certainly like a player who is honest and does not try to be overly sweet and fake....
     
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  50. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    Not at all, I was answering a guy about Fed's progression at FO. I thought my post was humorous actually, it's also accurate what can I do? I can't change reality, can I? I can only describe it as it is!
     
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