Wimbledon’s over, Davis Cup fever is wearing off, and the next big tennis tournament isn’t for a few weeks. It must be time to stir up the Federer vs. Nadal pot! Here’s what’s simmering
Vintage Peter Bodo Fedophile baiting. The man does love his fishing! Via ESPN:
Injury, or some trace thereof, is not just the topic du jour each and every day, it’s corrupted and clouded the relatively straightforward art of figuring out and communicating what happened in any given tennis match, and why.
You’ll remember that right after Roger Federer lost to Tomas Berdych at Wimbledon about two weeks ago, practically the first (unsolicited) words out of his mouth in the postmatch press conference were that he had a bad back and a sore leg.
And although Nadal played and looked fit, we weren’t very deep into the postmatch dialogue when one of the ink-stained wretches called out, “How are the knees, Rafa?”
I felt like smacking the guy. Here we go again. There’s nothing more straightforward than a tennis match. There are only two guys — or women — out there. One of them wins, the other loses. That’s the beauty of the game. One of them makes 82 percent of his first serves, the other makes 25 and adds 22 backhand unforced errors, just in case you thought he might still win. It isn’t rocket science. So it’s all the more pity that players, as well as the press, spend so much time discussing injuries.
I will give Nadal a break on (hence, I’m accused of having a double standard by foaming-at-the-mouth Federer fans), because we know the guy has had trouble with his pins. You don’t miss the chance to defend your Wimbledon title, earned in what many call the greatest tennis match every played, unless you have a darned good reason.
Federer’s case is a little different. Often when he loses a big match, injury becomes a critical element in the narrative — sometimes through no fault of his own. You’d think he were 650-0 in matches played in the full bloom of health. There was the mono thing and the bad back at different times down in Australia. (I’ve gotten lengthy e-mails from Federer fans who swear — swear! — that they could tell that Federer was borderline crippled by the look of his service motion.) At Wimbledon, it was the back and leg.
I do agree with Bodo’s gripe about injury talk in post-match press conferences – yes, it detracts from what happened on the court and unfairly focuses attention on the guy who lost instead of the guy who won. But I’m not sure what the point of his Roger vs. Rafa comparison is, except to rile up the various fanatic contingents into leaving dozens of comments on his post (And there are some enlightening ones – do you know that there are now Peter Bodo conspiracy theories? This guy really has made it!) Since when have Roger’s injuries become “a critical element in the narrative” of his losses? I thought we were all blaming them on the twins and his supposed desire to “save it for the majors”? And really, how was Roger’s “mono thing” not rightfully newsworthy? (Please excuse me while I wipe the foam from my mouth. . .)
“Federer is a great ambassador of tennis and he doesn’t make excuses. He talks straight. It was obvious that he was not moving well. It happens when your lower back starts troubling you. He began by spraying the balls all over. He was obviously not fit,” Bollettieri, who was here to pick Indian youngsters for the IMG-Reliance scholarship programmes, said.
Bollettieri said it is early to write off Federer and he can still add to his Grand Slam tally.
“Federer can still win Grand Slams; he just needs to be fit. It will be tough now though as players no longer fear playing him. When Pete Sampras had a slump, he did manage to come back but players in the locker room no longer were in his awe.”
“Federer faces a strong challenge from Nadal who is in top form and his confidence is very high. Winning US Open for Federer won’t be easy but if wins it, he will start believing in himself.
“Nowadays, players have a longer shelf life and they play till 32 years at least. Federer is still young.”
But before you accuse Nick of being Federer biased, check out this snippet from his blog post titled “Nadal has the talent to be the greatest of all time”:
He’s only 24. The limit to what he can achieve in the rest of his career will be determined only by whether his body allows him to continue. But he says that he’s healthy, and with some careful scheduling of his season, why shouldn’t he play on, at this level or something close to it, for another three, four, five years? There is no reason. Holy cow!
Could he even win another eight Slams to match Roger Federer’s 16? It’s utterly extraordinary that we can even pose the question. But it’s not outside the realms of possibility. Rafa is one of the greatest and can go further.
Wait, was that Nick making injury excuses? Where’s Peter Bodo when you need him?
ESPN‘s self-described Federer “addict” Scoop Jackson confesses his new crush on Rafa:
So here I am: a Nadal non-appreciator-turned-acknowledger, a Nadal adversary-turned-advocate. I never thought I’d succumb to Federer’s Darth Vader. Never thought I’d be forced to give credit where credit is long overdue. But I have. He gave me no choice.
So my apologies, Rafa. Sorry it took me so long to become your witness. Now I see you for who you truly are and have been for the past three years, sans injuries and your parent’s divorce. I can finally see past Roger’s 16 Slam titles and fully appreciate the eight (and counting) you’ve claimed. And although Bjorn Borg, McEnroe and Rod Laver are the best I’ve ever seen, I (finally) realize that you are one of them.
One of the best I’ll/we’ll ever see.
The Oregonian has become a beacon of Fedophile-ism with its blogger Douglas Perry. He presents an interesting point in his latest post – the US Open has become Roger’s last stand against Rafael Nadal.
Federer always has been able to throw off his torpor when the moment required it — that is, at the big tournaments. And the tournament where he has always played his best tennis is not Wimbledon, but the U.S. Open. Recall the two bagel sets he dropped on Lleyton Hewitt in the 2004 final, or the way he kept Andre Agassi — “the Punisher” — from dictating points in the 2005 final. Or take another look at any of the next three finals, thumping wins over Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Federer was barely pushed at the U.S. Open for nearly six years, until Juan Martin del Potro finally sumo-wrestled him out of the ring in last year’s final. Through those six dominant years in New York, Federer never faced Nadal. Rafa couldn’t make it to the final for the much-sought showdown. . .
. . .This might be the year Nadal and Federer finally meet at the U.S. Open. Rafa is managing his schedule better than ever before, and he’s looking even tougher than he did during that magical 2008 season. Plus, now that Federer has fallen to number three in the world, the two great rivals might not have to wait until the final to meet. The question is, can Federer, a 16-time major champion and soon to turn 29, still hit the accelerator when he needs to?
We also have Steve Tignor’s thoughts at Tennis.com, where he asks “Is Nadal the new Federer? And if so, can he catch his major-title count?” His starry-eyed answer: Yes, but only because this era of tennis has made the seemingly impossible possible. (He thinks Rafa can get 3 more French Opens, 2 more at Wimbledon and the Australian and 2 at the US Open for a grand total of 19.)
Suddenly the motives behind all this Rafa vs. Roger talk become clear to me. We’re all bored and missing the high stakes Federer vs. Nadal drama! Fedal U.S. Open (semi)final or bust! We want tears, hair pulling, crazy superstitious fan rituals and fanatic trash talk! Maybe a Rafa vs. Roger hug at the end, so I can post the photo here and try to bring both sides together in brotherly love. Honestly, I’m not ready to think about this yet. Passions – and the stakes – are just too high. Huh, anyone know if the Samurai are hitting the road with Sam Querrey this summer? How’s that Melanie Oudin doing, lately? Favorite WTT name: Kastles, Lasers or Sportimes?