My take on the final with a tactical analysis.

Mr Topspin

In the 1st set Federer played a sloppy 3rd game and was broken. But after that Federer served well and looked better on serve than Nadal. In fact, I thought Federer should have broken Nadal, as he was in almost all Nadal's serving games in set 1.

In set two Federer maintained a good percentage on serve and came out of the blocks with a 3-0 lead but Nadal came fighting back to even it up. However, Federer really should have done better and should IMO have won set 2. Nadal was IMHO very fortunate to get set 2 having been behind so early and struggling to hold serve.

In set 3 IMO Nadal got really tight in the 7th game with Federer offering him 0-40 and a 2nd serve and he failed to put in a decent bh return. Then again at 30-40, 2nd serve on Nadal's fh and Nadal imo got tight as he put a standard ball into the net. In the t/b Federer raised his game and imo Federer deserved it as he played and served clutch.

In set 4 it was nip and tuck as both men rallied from the back, there was a few half chances but nothing concrete. In the t/b IMHO Rafa played super tight. Rafa had a 4-1 lead, then 5-2, and at 5-2 he served a d/f and put a makeable bh in the net. At this stage I thought the match was getting too much for Nadal. He was so tight. Now we get to 6-6, after Rafa saves on set point with a fh error by Federer. Nadal get a championship point for 7-6 and Federer saves it. Then at 7-7 Rafa hits the pass of the tournament fh dtl. Now Rafa has Championship point and with a mid court ball on his fh he hits a cc pass only for Fed to hit the pass of the tournament. I can't fault Nadal at this stage but he had a another serve which Fed won to go 9-8. Fed then served an Nadal hit a makeable bh long. IMO Nadal played the big points in the t/b very tightly. At this stage I thought Rafa had blown his chances having a decent lead at 5-2 and losing 4 points in a row.

At this stage Rafa blew 0-40 in set 3 and 2 championship points in the 4set t/b. I could only see one winner in set 5, Roger Federer.

On to set 5 and It is nip and tuck with both guys playing tough. Then we have a rain delay at 2-2 on deuce with Fed to serve. They return and Fed holds for 3-2. IMO the rain helped Rafa as he was sloppy in the start of set 5 and was spraying his bh all over the place. I think the break helped him believe in himself and i'm sure Rafa's team helped him rebuild his confidence. IMO Federer would have won without a rain delay in set 5. Nadal had more energy in set 5, whilst Fed appeared tired. Game 9 provided the 1st bp in set 5, when Fed had a bp at 30-40 4-3 Federer, but Fed was dominated by Nadal as he was run ragged and Nadal put away a smash and then won next 2 points to hold for 4-4.

The next drama took place at game 11 where Fed was looking visibly tired. Nadal got to 15-40 and won 3 of those points on Fed's 1st serve, which showed how much the serve was slowing down. Fed saved 1 with an ace and 2nd was a shank form Nadal. Once again I thought Nadal had let a golden opportunity slip especially on the 2nd bp as he had a makeable fh and shanked it. From this point Federer could not lose or could he?

The drama continued in game 15 with Rafa getting 15-40 once again on Fed's serve at 7-7 in games but could Rafa's nerve hold? Fed saved 1st bp with an ace out wide, then the 2nd was by shank on bh side by Nadal who slipped prior to mishitting. Nadal gets another bp after fed hits fh long but fed saves with huge serve out wide. Then bp no 4 fed nets fh and Rafa is given a present as fed hit fh down the middle long.

Both guys were tight at this stage. Nadal has the chance to serve for the match. But could he hold those nerves and knee's together. Nadal loses 1st point and over hits fh 0-15, then 1st s&v for Nadal get 15-15, next volley putaway at net for Nadal for 30-15.
Next point is real tension as Nadal shanks a volley that was going long by Fed 30-30. Now Nadal gets a huge slice of luck as Fed shanks bh for - championship point 3. But Fed saves with bh cc wjich Nadal can't get into court. However, Nadal hits huge serve to fed fh and gets championship point no 4 and this time Fed puts easy fh into the net.

Tactically, I was shocked by Rafa's serve placement. He served almost 98% of serves 1st and 2nd to Fed bh. I thought this was suicide as Fed would be able to get a decent amount back and have chances to break more than Nadal because there was little variety from Rafa. Whilst Federer, served with greater variety and kept Rafa guessing on both sides. I was right as Federer had 13 bp chances. However, he only took 1 and that affected the outcome. Consequently, Nadal also had 13 bp chances but crucially took 4 of them.

Furthermore, Federer played the bp's poorly by not getting returns in and playing block or topspin bh, when he could have sliced. When Fed did slice Nadal netted a few returns. So imo Federer was too one dimensional on his serve returns.

In conclusion, Nadal had the 2 championship points and 6 bp's in set 5. Plus chances to break in set 3. So Rafa deserved the win more imo but it was close and I have to give credit to Federer for playing clutch tennis under extreme pressure and to Rafa for staying positive after losing significant opportunities in set 3 and 4. I did not think Rafa would come back strong in set 5 after the disappointment of missed opportunities especially while serving 2nd. I think that in reflection if Rafa had lost, it would have been the greatest disapointment of his life. IMHO it was a good match not great but it had so much tension and nailbiting. So hats off to both guys.


Hoenestly speaking, I think they have played enough times and have exhausted much of tactical options.

I don't think it's necessary to have complex analysis: Nadal started to return Federer's serve better in last a few games of Federer. IMHO, that was it.


Fed's problem is consistency. He plays well for long stretches and then he basically "disappears" for 3-4 points at a time. Sure, players can make 1 or 2 mistakes and be ok, but I've noticed that Fed (and not just against Nadal, he did this against Monfils in the French semis too) just starts making tactical mistakes or errors for several points in a row, virtually giving up a break to his opponent. This was what happened in the 2nd set when he was up 4-1. He just "disappeared". To his credit, he came back and played solid in the 3rd and 4th sets, but did you notice that during Nadal's service games, there were many games where the score would be 30-15, 40-30, etc. Fed was always in it. When Fed was serving it was an easy service hold (40-15, etc.) or it would be 15-40 or something like that where Fed needed to hit an ace to get back into the game (which he was able to do do for most of the match except for late in the 5th set). It's a shame that Fed pulls these disappearing acts against Nadal.


If that's not a great match, I don't know what is. I couldn't imagine a better final but I guess you have your right to your opinion. Nadal should've won set 4 and Fed should've won set 2. The courts started out dry and got damp later on which favored Fed imo. The grass seemed to get quicker and lower bouncing and Fed looked a lot like Sampras in sets 3-5.


Nadal time and time again exposes how "weak" Federer's backhand is.
however, both men served very well today.
and in the end, Rafa's steady/consistent strokes outlasted Federer's strokes.


Hall of Fame
Firstly, all credit to Nadal. And federer also put up a good fight and did his best.

On the surface, it appears to be Federer's consistency problem. But I think it really is his stamina, either due to his mono or to his age. At the beginning of every set, he can race to his love game and earn some break points. But as every set goes on and on, he will lose his sharpness and starts to serve not as well and can't convert the breakpoints.

This is exactly what happens to every old players. Agassi was like this during his last few years. If it is due to Fed's 5 years older than Nadal, Fed can't do much. If the mono caused that much destruction to his stamina, I hope he will be all ok soon.

Tactics? one thing is, Fed is too stubborn to use his backhand always and even his forehand to Nadal's backhand side, while Nadal just stood there and hit his forehand. When Federer started to move nadal around hitting some inside out forehand, he earned a lot of points. Other than this, both of them played their strategy well.


Hall of Fame
Mr. Topspin, I agree with a lot of your analysis, although I think that overall Rafa played better than you give him credit for. Yes, he did blow a couple opportunities, and if he had lost the match, it would have been deemed a huge "choke," but he only dropped serve once. That's a remarkable stat against a player like Federer.

And you are correct that the most amazing thing is that Rafa stayed positive throughout the fifth set. Most players would have gone away after those other disappointments, and Roger admitted that he thought the momentum was with him heading into the fifth. But that's where everyone underestimates Rafa and his will to win. That was breathtaking to watch, and I think they both displayed remarkable shotmaking. It's that type of spectacle that has been largely missing from the men's game for some time.


But that's where everyone underestimates Rafa and his will to win. That was breathtaking to watch, and I think they both displayed remarkable shotmaking. It's that type of spectacle that has been largely missing from the men's game for some time.

You're right on target there. Nadal approaches every point, regardless of where he is in a match, with the same determination to win. And his humility prevents him from underestimating anyone. Roger, despite recently saying that after losing to Ancic in 2002 he learned not to underestimate anyone, still has a tendency to think that things will be smooth sailing once he gets the match to a certain place with Nadal. This is how he lost Monte Carlo to Nadal after being up early. And he won sets 3-4 in the Wimby final because his back was to the wall and he could not underesitmate Nadal. After reaching the 5th set, however he committed the fatal error of thinking that he had the upper hand (the momentum, as he admitted) and despite all that hard work in the 3th and 4th, he let the 5th slip away. The guy doesn't learn his lesson. I'm a big Fed fan and was cheering for him the entire way, but I really wish he had a stronger killer instinct. I don't have teh stats to prove this, but I get the sense from watching his matches is that he lets way too many breakpoints slip away. It's just that in most matches, he's good enough to earn other chances later on. But against the best players such as Nadal or Djokovic, you really need to seize those opportunities.
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Hall of Fame
yeah please stop this expert attitude of analysis as if he near 5 hours of Johy Mac commentary is not enough...