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Joy and pain in Paris

Jonathan Overend | 07:30 UK time, Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Roger Federer poses with the French Open trophyThree hours after Robin Soderling's final forehand dropped into the net, Roger Federer was still going strong.

Switching effortlessly between languages, and lifting his new prized possession, the Coupe Des Mousquetaires, from camera to camera, Federer granted every single interview request.

In a telling move, Federer cut back his media duties as soon as his great rival Rafael Nadal was knocked out of the tournament. Only contractual obligations were fulfilled through until the final but, in the aftermath of his finest hour in Paris, there was time for everyone.

Conversations in French, English, Swiss-German - TV, radio, print - studio visits, live link-ups, plus his regular knockabout with the cheery folk at Japanese station "Wow Wow". (Yes they are for real. Often at tournaments we'll walk past commentary boxes with "Wow Wow" on the door and keep our distance, fearing dubious activities inside, only to hear good things about their Banzai-meets-Sportsnight tennis coverage.)

Tipsy on emotion, he even had to restart a conversation with the man from CNN after getting into a long answer, only to stop, smiling, to say; "sorry, I've forgotten what you asked me!".

All this happened in the bowels of Court Phillppe Chatrier, the famous old centre court in Paris, where hours earlier Federer had won the title he so desperately craved and desperately deserved.

Not just because it would equal Pete Sampras' all-time record of 14 major titles, not just because it would enlist him into the Executive Club of Champions who have completed the set of Grand Slam titles, but because Federer is a remarkable clay-court player.

Without the incredible Nadal, he would almost certainly be a multiple Roland Garros champion. Mats Wilander, the three-time winner in Paris, told me he thinks Federer is "the third or fourth best clay-court player of all time". Quite a statement.

So many of the modern-day greats never managed to win at Roland Garros - Sampras, McEnroe, Connors, Becker, Edberg, the list goes on. Now Federer has completed the set and it is hard to know which is the most impressive statistic on his list of achievements.

He has contested 15 of the last 16 Grand Slam finals and has featured in the semi-finals or better at the last 20 majors. Just think about that for a second and match it with your own favourite sport. Does anyone come close to that sort of consistency at the highest level?

Admittedly he didn't have to play any of his rivals in the "big four" to take the title, but he had different challenges along the way - 5-1 down in the third set to Jose Acasuso, a set down to Paul-Henri Mattieu and two sets to one down to Juan Martin Del Potro, a Paris champion of the future, as well as being two sets down (and then a break point in the third) to Tommy Haas.

Federer's flashing forehand which struck the last fleck of sideline paint, serving at 2-2 third set against the German, 30-40 down, will go down as the defining shot of the tournament.

The moment of triumph in the final was followed by the inevitably emotional reaction. The single teardrop draining from the left eye during the Swiss national anthem was a poignant moment of reflection - a moment to consider the enormity of this sporting achievement and all it takes (athleticism, dexterity, pace, fitness, determination, concentration etc) to lift one athlete to a never-achieved-before feat.safina595.jpg

The previous day there were different tears. Tears not just of disappointment but of embarrassment and profound insecurity.

Dinara Safina had looked virtually unbeatable during much of the tournament and, indeed, most of the clay-court season.

Back-to-back titles in Rome and Madrid had confirmed her as the world's most in-form player and many expected her to justify her number one ranking with a debut major title.

But as she served to the advantage court, championship point down to Svetlana Kuznetsova after a ragged performance, Safina's first serve looped painfully into the bottom of the net followed by a second which flicked off the net cord and bounced wide.

Her eyes instantly flashed to her coach at the far end in the players' box and never was there a more fragile looking figure. Millions watched the despair in her eyes as she searched in vain for an explanation. And not for one second did they look like the eyes of a world number one.

She continues to be a masterful baseliner with a cross-court backhand which has become one of the most feared weapons in the women's game, but careers are not judged in places such as Rome and Madrid.

They are ultimately defined by performances in the Grand Slam cities of Melbourne, Paris, London and New York and in three major finals, Safina has failed to win a set.

Even if Serena Williams triumphs on the grass of Wimbledon, to hold three of the four majors, we are told that Safina is projected to remain top of the list until the last week of July at the earliest.

But congratulations to Kuznetsova, one of the hardest-working players on either tour, who deserved her second major and there will now be obvious attention on her at the All-England Club in a fortnight's time.

As there will on Michelle Larcher De Brito, the 16-year-old from Portugal, who was surprisingly handed a main-draw wildcard along with Laura Robson and the usual collection of Brits on Monday night.

De Brito became a minor sensation at Roland Garros with her ridiculous screaming during rallies. She also has a very unsporting habit of wildly celebrating opponents' errors.

One of her opponents in Paris complained, the umpire told her to turn the noise down, but nothing further was done and she charmed us afterwards with an engaging defence of her one-woman cacophony.

But the authorities are known to be concerned (there is pretty much universal agreement that the screams (not grunts) are way over the top) and she now faces a tabloid frenzy at SW19.

The newshounds will chase her down Somerset Road and the radio programmes will be full of her high-pitched firework display, unless her advisors can get her to see sense.

Her tennis is good enough to make the headlines but, if she draws a top seed in the first round and gets placed on Centre Court (possibly under the roof), there will only be one story in town.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I think we will see Roger loosen up now at Wimbledon. I can't possibly imagine what the pressure must have been like the closer he edged to 14 grand slam titles.

    He might get a bit tense around the semi-finals but I expect him to coast for much of the tournament. Everything has come together for him now, marriage, child on the way, a French Open title and 14 grand slams. He must be at peace inside now with all his daemons slain.

    I really hope Nadal makes the finals and is in top condition. Last years final was a joy to behold and I for one am rooting for much of the same.

  • Comment number 2.

    There will only be one story in town because irresponsible and lazy media correspondents put it there.
    Around a fifth of this article (supposedly about the winners and finals in Paris) is given over to a story which is not even a story yet about the playing habits at the all England championships of Michelle Larcher De Brito.
    The noises players make or dont make when striking the ball is not newsworthy and is only focused on by the public because journalists like Overend bring it to their attention and keep it there. In France where I live there is nothing like this kind of attention to what is pure trivia.
    When there are so many worthy tennis stories which need to be developed:
    - the rise of new generation mens players (Del Potro, Cilic, Soderling)
    - the spectacular and apparently unstoppable failure of the LTA
    - the amazing success of Russia in womens tennis
    - the battle for supremacy in the womens game
    - the remarkable success in Paris of older players (Santoro, Norman)
    - the relocation of the end of season Masters to London
    (to name but a few) this state of affairs reflects very poorly on both Overend and his employer the BBC and goes a long way to explaining why British tennis (the Murray brothers excepted) is in such a terminal decline.

  • Comment number 3.

    I am in Japan and i watch WOW-WOW!...yes bizarre name too. Mind you, they only show the semi's and the finals live. Everything else is a delayed telecast, very disappointing, no idea why?! Also no dual language commentary. When the Masters series is shown on another channel, i can listen to J.H et al in English, flicking my dual language button...but not with WOW-WOW :(

    However, concur, Federer, one of the most complete players ever, if not the most complete. Pure pleasure to watch. The quote from Matts Wilander is rather poignant too.

    I suspect now that he has RG and the big 14th, he will relax and perhaps play some seriously awesome tennis free of the mental burdens and conflicts in his own mind of not having them. He can be free and play with such relaxation since anything from now on, is just a bonus! This could be the spring board for even more from the already greatest ever player...I'm salivating at the thought of even more brilliance and magic.

  • Comment number 4.

    I can't help thinking that the two most successful male sporting individual 'ball game' players in the world have a 'telepathic link' as friends often do , following their fantastic results on Sunday.
    Yes, Roger and Tiger finished top of the shop again, both needing excellent weekend performances to achieve their wins.
    The more I practice, the luckier I get........
    The gap is widening for these great achievers and their rivals.
    Nadal is clawing away at Roger's records, who is on Tiger's tail ??
    Well done both.!

  • Comment number 5.

    Great blog - especially the bit about "Wow Wow" - only the Japanese have that ability to make entertainment both cool and cringy.

    What a wonderful achievement, I am absolutely delighted for Roger. How on earth he managed to get to that final after Nadal's shock exit, let alone hold that final service game to clinch the title, I will never know.

    I guess that's what champions are made of.







  • Comment number 6.

    I will admit to being a big fan of Federer. He is a joy to watch the way he plays tennis and he is a really nice guy too. The one thing that bothers me about calling him the best player of all time is, that now he is being dominated by one of his peers and not only on clay. I think he will have to turn around his deficit to Nadal before he can be considered the greatest.

  • Comment number 7.

    You can only be the best in the particular era in which you play-it is specious to say anything else. Yes, Federer would be bound to beat say Rod Laver from the 60s but that is only because of 21st century equipment and diet and fitness regimes as well as people being must bigger and stronger now generally. Perhaps Federer's dominance says more about the relative lack of opposition to him until Nadal came on the scene.

  • Comment number 8.

    We have the pleasure of seeing the greatest player in frequent competition with one of the greatest players and the greatest clay-court player of all time.

    What times?

    What does New York now mean for Nadal?

  • Comment number 9.

    I don't understand comments like:
    "...The one thing that bothers me about calling him the best player of all time is, that now he is being dominated by one of his peers and not only on clay..."
    Is being world No.1 continuously for 4 1/2 years, being in some 19~20 semi/finals of grand slams in a row, winning 14 grand slam titles in roughly half the time of P.Sampras, just for startes, not dominant enough for you?

  • Comment number 10.

    a good round up of the finals. hats off to you ...

    @mglinert, if you think the spectators don't notice the noise players making screaming noises then, possibly someone must be having a deaf ear.
    everyone watching the live matches does talk about player activities and loud noises and no exception. whenever i remember Monica Seles, i first remember the noises she used to make rather than count her 9 grand slams ( i hope i am right in my counting).

  • Comment number 11.

    To early to call him the best player of all time I think, we should wait for him to retire.

    I also disagree that Nadal has dominated Federer on other surfaces beyond clay. Ok, he won the last grass and hard court matches they played but that hardly constitutes domination. Remember it's 2-1 Federer on grass courts and 3-3 on hard courts. Had the grass season been longer I doubt we'd have such a lopsided head to head between these guys...but it's just an IF.

  • Comment number 12.

    I loved reading this blog so thank you! First of all congratulations to Federer, no-one would disagree he is an amazing versatile all-court player and thoroughly deserves his achievements. I think he is the greatest player ever. Rafa is doing really well too, he is quite a bit younger though. I would agree with what Murray has said about Roger and Rafa being the 2 best players ever.

    All this obsession over Roger's head to head with Rafa is irrelevant - he has beaten Rafa at Wimbledon, clay courts -Hamburg and Madrid Masters and hard courts too. Rafa has also been beaten by Djokovic and Murray.
    I believed in Federer last year even when the media started writing him off despite him coming to the final of every gran slam bar the Australian (soon after Federer had glandular fever).

    I would agree with Matt Wilander that Roger Federer is a fantastic and probably the 3rd or 4th best clay court player ever (after Rafa, Borg and possibly Kuerten)which is also an amazing tribute.

    Federer really is an all round superb player. He and Nadal are a credit to tennis and sport in general - the way they behave, the mutual respect they have for each other and how they don't run the other down. All sportsmen should follow their fantastic example. I am really glad to hear Nadal will defend his title at Wimbledon - it would not be the same without him or Federer. Federer was so close to winning last year, it was an epic final and Nadal deserved his victory. Here's to another epic final between them both with Federer reclaiming the throne.

  • Comment number 13.

    So pleased for Roger - such a talented player deserves the legacy of having won all 4 slams. Having won it during the Nadal era, even if the Spaniard wasn't present, makes it all the more special.
    Personally, I think pulling out of Queens is rather suspect and smacks of an excuse...
    It seems rather hypocritical to bemoan the noise of De Brito whilst ignoring that made by the Williams sisters or Sharapova.
    Is it just because they are champions that they are allowed to go about their screeching? Surely all loud players are a problem?

  • Comment number 14.

    Congrats to Federer. An astonishing feat, surely. However, he should never have won this tournament.

    Everyone knows that Rafael Nadal is Federer far superior on clay in a best of five match. Remember how he completely tore the Swiss apart last year in the final? This year he got injured and lost playing far below his level - but typical for the sportsmanlike Spaniard he never blamed injuries.

    Everybody suspected that Nadal was hurt when he lost to Soderling - a mediocre clay court player - early in the tournament. Now with him pulling out of Queens all suspicions were confirmed. Sadly, it looks as though Nadal's knee problems are chronic. Obviously, he never talks about it - keeping his cards close to his body - but everyone knows that there's something seriously wrong when Nadal don't win at Roland Garros, practically his home. A 100 percent fit Nadal simply does not lose in Paris these years.

    Roger Federer simply got lucky this time around and he still needs to show that he can beat the only real quality player who has been around in his period of dominance a period signified by a lack of top quality tennis players. Federer has won his titles too easily with no real competition out there.

    So, congratulations to Federer but his win at Roland Garros doesn't hide the fact that Nadal is, at the moment, a far better player than the Swiss. Its a cheap win.

  • Comment number 15.

    Nadal pulls out of Queens suspect? he is injured for christsake! also Federer has pulled out of Halle is that suspect because Nadal pulled out of Queens,. Why is it so many Fed fans make bad comments towards the Great Rafa Nadal, and yes he is great and the most gracious out of the two in defeat, why can't you all just appreciate these two greats and think how blessed we are to have these great personalities at the top for so long, its a great era for tennis stop bitching everyone! and enjoy the sport!

  • Comment number 16.

    federer's overall consistency is what makes him the greates of all time. to accomplish this in this time period w/ so many great players puts what the others have done to shame- no question or debate about it. the same is true for virtually all sport as athletes become bigger, stonger, faster, better equipped and better coached e cetera. there will always be those who want to defend their generation, but they are only fooling themselves...

  • Comment number 17.

    "...The one thing that bothers me about calling him the best player of all time is, that now he is being dominated by one of his peers and not only on clay..."

    Speaking as a huge fan of both players, I think this argument is a little unfair. I've always thought the Roger/Rafa head-to-head record was a red herring, in that out of 20 meetings over half of them have been on Nadal's best surface in other words, they've faced each other on clay on more occasions than all the other surfaces put together. That's at least partly down to the fact that, during the early, formative years of their rivalry, Nadal wasn't regularly reaching non-clay finals; whereas Federer *was* regularly reaching clay finals where, inevitably, he'd run into Nadal. (And lose). Imagine if they'd met 11 times out of 20 on, say, grass, rather than clay: we can't know, obviously, but I think it's a fairly safe bet Federer would have won many more of their encounters and the head-to-head record wouldn't currently be so skewed in Nadal's favour.

  • Comment number 18.

    It's terribly painful to watch Michelle Larcher De Brito because of her screams. I thought Maria Sharapova's grunt had reached the peak, but De Brito has taken it even further. If I were to be her opponent, I would definitely complain. I don't think people at Wimbledon will warm up to her.

  • Comment number 19.

    "Just think about that for a second and match it with your own favourite sport. Does anyone come close to that sort of consistency at the highest level?"

    - yup! Valentino Rossi. 159 podiums from 218 Grands Prix starts, with 98 race wins for 8 World Championships in 5 different classes (125/250/500/990/800) including 5 back-to-back wins in the premier class (and he hasn't been short of competition). He's got a few other records as well, but there ain't the space to list them here :-)

    Props to Federer though - I'm not a huge tennis fan but always enjoy watching him play. He just seems to have a grace and ability on and off the court that the others (obviously!) simply can't match. Plus his fierce determination to win and talent for playing some absolutely jaw-droppingly sublime shots.

  • Comment number 20.

    There's no doubt of Federer's place in history, his remarkable consistency over the last 5 years is unsurpassed. His allround game is certainly more impressive than Sampras's, who's modern day record he beat. Even before the French win, he'd been in the final twice and semis once, Sampras hadn't made the final.

    Rod Laver with 2 real grand slams was the best of his era, but it's difficult to compare eras, the equipment is so much more advanced and makes for a different game.

    I don't think Federer's win his cheapened by not having to play Nadal, Nadal was in the tournement and was beat, he can only beat who he plays.

    All that said, there's little doubt he's been equalled and overhauled by Nadal in the last year, and Fed has broken his French duck in probably his least impressive season of form since he first won Wimbledon.

    Federer became the 6th player to win a career slam of titles, it won't be a great surprise to see Nadal become the 7th two tournements later for all his poor record at Flushing Meadow to date.

  • Comment number 21.

    "He has contested 15 of the last 16 Grand Slam finals and has featured in the semi-finals or better at the last 20 majors. Just think about that for a second and match it with your own favourite sport. Does anyone come close to that sort of consistency at the highest level?"

    Come on Jonathan, do some research!!

    Ok, I'll do it for you. Federer's stats are incredible, but if you're looking for consistency at the highest level I am going for Jahangir Khan's 5 year, 555 match unbeaten run during a period for squash that was very competitive. That's not just reaching finals and semi-finals, that's winning every single thing you enter for 5 years.

  • Comment number 22.

    I have been a fan of RF since I first saw him play in the early part of this decade. One can debate and argue the pros and cons of his title as the greatest tennis player ever( and I think he is!). I simply say that he is the most elegant and stylish tennis player I have ever seen, playing on all surfaces and with a total completeness not seen before.

    To paraphrase a quote I heard recently (believed to be from Jimmy Connors)... 'in the modern game there are clay-court specialists, grass-court specialists, hard-court specialists and there is Roger Federer".

  • Comment number 23.

    I cannot believe that DonDel14 said that Federer's win at Roland Garros was 'a cheap one'. He wasn't always at his best but his fighting spirit was tremendous and the mental strain - evidenced by his withdrawal from Halle - almost unbearable. Even if you are not one of his millions of fans around the world you should at least have the intelligence to appreciate the man and his beautiful game otherwise why call yourself a tennis fan.

  • Comment number 24.

    Both Roger and Rafa are great tennis players. They are both so humble, gracious and have the greatest respect for eachother. We are so lucky to see both these players. They haven't retired yet, so lets leave deciding who is greatest until they have retired. Until then I look forward to seeing these two playing tennis of the highest calibre. We need them both to be in Wimbledon.

  • Comment number 25.

    Thanks for writing about the "Three hours after Robin Soderling's final forehand dropped into the net, Roger Federer was still going strong." Unfortunately there is too much opinion and not enough news reporting. Tennis fans like me want to read about what goes on with our favorite players, and everything else at tournaments when the TV match coverage stops. Hopefully you can fill that void.
    "Admittedly he didn't have to play any of his rivals in the "big four" to take the title..." is not warranted. Are all grandslams are won by defeating one of the top four? No.
    When Jimmy Connors in 1974 won Wimbledon thrashing the 40 year old Kenny Rosewall, some journalists remarked that Jimmy had not beaten Newcombe or others. His famous answer was If Newcombe and the others could not enter the finals it's not my fault or problem". How is it Roger's fault that Rafa or one of the other top four could not avoid an upset (that Roger managed to avoid as you well wrote) and make it to the finals?

  • Comment number 26.

    Federer's toughest moment came against Tommy Haas. A lesser man was comfortably written off but not Federer. That is the exact point he came into immortality. That is the moment when the stuff God puts into the greatest of champions surfaced.

    There will always be some nitpickers who will stay on Federer's back for escaping Nadal through a backdoor, but ask Soderling what he came up against after having bulldozed a three-time champion.

    I have always been a fan of Federer and have had to live with some heart-breaks. Today I proudly salute him, and my tears mingle with his.

  • Comment number 27.

    I fully agree with Federfan and TennisMasta following DonDel 14's comments. Rafa was not injured when he played Soderling; he may not have played at its best but he played an average (compared to other players a superb) game of tennis.
    DonDel14 - you better get your facts straight and continue enjoy the rivalry as long as it lasts....

  • Comment number 28.

    20 Slam Semi-Finals in a row is the most remarkable statistic. The next best is 10 (Ivan Lendl I believe).

    This is put into perspective considering Rafa'a run of consecutive Semi-Finals ended after 5 at his favorite Slam!

  • Comment number 29.

    I just love watching tennis - but sadly, living in Australia, this time our TV only gave us one hour a day of highlights of the French Open (ads were included).
    Last year, for Wimbledon, I was able to subscribe to the series and choose any courts, live streaming - it was wonderful! But this year, I can't find any way to watch Wimbledon online. Have I missed something? Can someone help me?

  • Comment number 30.

    I am a huge fan of Federer, and think he has lifted tennis to a level of artistry not seen before. And I think that psychologically, winning the french may restore that deep self-belief he needs to reconquer Nadal. We all idolise Federer, and somehow try to push Nadal's prodigious talent into a corner ("if it wasn't for Nadal, Federer would have won blah blah")to accommodate our adoration of the Swiss player. But more likely, I think Nadal's achievements will supersede him. Consider this: at 22, Nadal has won 6 majors; Federer had only won 3 at the same age. Nadal has already won three of the four slams, and has won on the same surface (Melbourne hardcourt) as the one he is yet to win, the US Open.

  • Comment number 31.

    To mvisontay:
    You seem to forget the following facts:
    1. You are unable to extrapolate number of majors and years like a mathematical formula as tennis players are human beings and not machines;
    2. Rafa has not been able to win the US Open in his best year; how is he going to achieve this when 'the chips are down'?
    3. Rafa's style is prone to injury - you have experienced the first taste of this already and his type of play will result into more and more injuries showing up-watch this space.
    Also in 20 or 30 years people will hardly remember Rafa (Rafa Who?)
    Roger is definitely on the way back to No 1 and... and ...

    Form is for the moment - Style is forever!

  • Comment number 32.

    Freotti
    I am not trying to minimise Federer's achievements...His consistency and style are unmatched. It says something about the level he was at that every time he lost, it was a shock,. You can't say that about any other player. But I was taking a cold hard look at career trajectory. There's a similar pattern with Sampras: he won 11 out of his 14 majors by the age of 27, Federer's current age. I get the feeling there is a peak period for tennis players from their early 20s to 27-28, when they are as fearless as they are strong. I could be wrong. And maybe Nadal's early ascent will mean he peaks and trails off sooner than others have done. If it means more slams for Federer, then I will be ecstatic. I could watch federer play all day and night. And I hope to, for many more years.

  • Comment number 33.

    I think we'll see a second wind for Fed now, we started to see the pressure of not just getting 14 but having to beat Nadal to do it get to him in Melbourne.

    Pressure is most definitely off - I think he'll loosen up and play as well as he's ever done at Wimbledon. He's still to beat Nadal in a Slam - what is it now 3 in a row for Nadal.

    i hope Nadal not just plays Wimbeldon but is fully fit and we'll see a titanic battle not just at Wimbledon but to come.

    Nadal obviously has the US to win to claim his "set", I hope he does it sometime in the next few years. As deserved as Fed's set, some would justifiably say he's had to adapt to grass and hardcourts more and he's beat Fed to win more than the just the French.

  • Comment number 34.

    It is interesting to hear the arguments for and against both Federer's and Nadal's places in history here. Only time will tell how it all shakes down, but I dismiss out of hand the claim that Rafa will be forgotten in 30 years' time. He has already staked his claim to tennis immortality. Last year's epic Wimbledon final alone has seen to that.

    As for Roger, he is now at peace with himself psychologically - but this is no guarantee that he will enjoy a winning summer. We only have to go back nine years to the Open of 2000. Pete Sampras had gone out in front in singles Slam terms by winning at SW19 two months earlier, surpassing the record he had jointly held with Roy Emerson for a year. This was surely a man at peace with himself. Sampras's opponent was a young Russian making his first slam final - and Marat Safin played him off the court in less than 100 minutes.

    Nothing is guaranteed. Not, I suspect, that the great Federer will be taking anything for granted!

  • Comment number 35.

    #29 findbecca

    If you go to wimbledon.org you can pay the subscription and watch live streaming. That's how I watch it here in Japan...

  • Comment number 36.

    I am also a RF fan and enjoying the debate. It´s good that someone highlighted the fact that the head to head record between FR and RN is based more on matches played on the surface that favors nadal. Anywaym there can only be on great in an era. If it´s not RF, will anyone argue that it´s Nadal? Maybe in the future. I think we will do well to just argue based on what has been achieved and not trying to extrapolate into the future. That way, you will see that RF is the greated.

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm listening to you live now. I agree that the state of British Tennis needs improving. I think the key is for more free tennis courts. I'm a tennis fanatic and I find it hard enough to play regularly because there are very few places to play. So if I find it hard, how can people who are new to the sport play and how can it's popularity increase if there are few resources?

  • Comment number 38.

    People talk about last years Wimbledon final as being the greatest in living memory, and in my limited experience its hard to argue to the the contrary. I mean when you consider how little the 2007 final is talked about it really makes you realise by how far last years final ecplised it by, and lets face it the 2007 was a 5-set classic in itself. However, i do have one bee in my bonet, and its to do with the Aussie Open. I just dont understand why people dont talk about it more! For me it was an incredible match of the highest quality with the exception of Federer's last set capitualtion. But for all intents and purposes it was a classic, just like the last two Wimbledon finals... am i the only one who feels this way??? please say no!!!

  • Comment number 39.

    It amazes me that people are so quick to write off Federer. Even experienced commentators predicted he would fall away as he is now 27 and past it. 27??? Look at Agassi and Sampras! I'll admit he has lost his invincibility but even as a mere mortal his talent and importantly his desire has still brought him two Major titles, the two he is missing were lost in 5 set marathons to Rafa.

    Don't get me wrong, Rafa rightly deserves his no.1 ranking but he has only had it for 3/4 of a year, let's see if he can keep it for a year before we start using the word domination.

    I truly hope Rafa is 100% for the rest of the season but personally I think he will have to wait until Rolland Garros for his next Major. Who's to say Federer won't hold all 4 by the time it rolls round.

  • Comment number 40.

    I agree with Clearanceclearance's comments on Fed's record against Rafa.

    He is currently 13-7 down but the vast majority of these matchesd have been on clay. Because Fed was so good he made all the clay court finals 04-08 and then came up against Nadal - hands down the best clay court player ever. But until post Wimbleson 08 Nadal very rarely made a hard court final meaning he hardly ever played Fed on his favoured surface. You could say he was a victim of his own success.

    I will be very interested to see the Wimbledon crowd's reaction if Murray plays Fed this year. I think many of them will not know quite who to support. Internationl team sports you support the country but individual sports you quite often go with the player who you have always followed

  • Comment number 41.

    Federer is great. But surely doubts remain if he is the greatest tennis player in his own era let alone all time? Does anybody doubt a healthy Nadal couldn't win 14 or more? He already has a Slam on every surface, beating the "Greatest Tennis Player of all time" in Grand Slam finals on all 3 surfaces!!
    Don't be so quick to rush a coronation. I thin we can all agree though these are very exciting times for mens tennis. The Federer-Nadal rivelry is engrossing and I am sad that we'll have to wait until at least Flushing Meadows to see it again on the big stage.

 

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