Nadal attains Borgian Status on clay. Winner of 4 consecutive RGs!!! - Page 4 -
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post #46 of 305 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 08:09 PM
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Re: Attempt to attain BORGian status on clay- The RG Thread

Originally Posted by yana View Post
Yeah, I actually wish those to be really Feddy's words Just imagine...Damn
The GM thread alone would have reached 500 posts already
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post #47 of 305 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 09:14 PM
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Re: Attempt to attain BORGian status on clay- The RG Thread

Originally Posted by Metis View Post
The GM thread alone would have reached 500 posts already
I know, right? Exactly what GM needs, another out-of-control 'tard fanwar. RagingLamb would've been working overtime editing every single post.

Thank goodness for Novak. The trash-talking sh*t that comes out of his mouth is for real and not invented by the media.

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post #48 of 305 (permalink) Old 05-22-2008, 08:02 AM
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Re: Attempt to attain BORGian status on clay- The RG Thread

@ Tangy!

Uhmmm, I feel pression but I'll make my prediction for the prestigious MIT after the draw tomorrow.

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Re: Attempt to attain BORGian status on clay- The RG Thread
Top Heavy: French Open men's preview
By Kamakshi Tandon

For a player so blissfully in his element on this surface, there has been a certain joylessness about Rafael Nadal during his clay campaign this year.

Not from lack of success - as in the previous three years, he has dominated the European spring circuit, defending his titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and winning Hamburg for the first time. Even his lone loss in Rome was precipitated by a badly blistered foot.

And yet, when he raised the trophy in Hamburg, marking 108 wins in his past 110 clay matches, his face held nothing except a tremendous weariness.

Perhaps that’s not a complete surprise. Nadal has had to fight hard on court, playing four straight weeks and putting in almost six hours during the last two days of Hamburg alone. “It’s not only the body. Mentally it is tough, too,” he said after the tournament.

He has also been fighting hard off the court. Nadal has repeatedly hammered ATP chief Etienne de Villiers over the decision to shorten the clay season this year, which left him one less week in which to play the same number of events. Together with his fellow Spanish colleagues, he is also embroiled in an increasingly ugly dispute with national federation president Pedro Munoz over the site selection for September’s Davis Cup semifinal against the United States.

Looking ahead to the Paris fortnight that will coincide with his 22nd birthday, Nadal knows that even with a victory he can do no more than fulfill the expectations set for him. “Of course I'll feel nervous,” he said. “I feel nerves with every game but especially in a match at Roland Garros.”

Heavy lies the head that wears the crown.


Hopefully a couple of days’ rest and a quick trip home to Mallorca will rejuvenate Nadal, because there is also much he should relish about this period. There is the prospect of winning a fourth straight title at Roland Garros and establishing himself practically alongside Bjorn Borg among the clay greats. There’s also the fuel of the current three-way race at the top of the men’s game, with Nadal hustling to stay ahead of the rising Novak Djokovic even as he continues his perennial pursuit of Roger Federer’s No. 1 ranking.

Finally, he is the firm favorite, and for a reason. Nadal has never been beaten on Parisian clay; the surface magnifies the impact of his speed and topspin and the tournament's best-of-five format allows the full brunt of his relentless defence to be wreaked on opponents. It becomes nearly impossible to hit through him the way other players have managed to do on faster hardcourts.

Federer will testify to this. For almost three years, the world’s best player has been the world’s second-best player on clay. His only barrier has been Nadal, who has won seven of their eight encounters on the dirt and all three at Roland Garros. “It is difficult to suppress him with winners,” said the Swiss. “That’s why he is so successful on that surface.”

It’s not like Federer hasn’t had his chances against Nadal during the past few weeks, going up 4-0 in the first set at Monte Carlo and holding a 5-1 and 5-2 leads in the first and second sets at Hamburg, respectively. ”The last two matches were some of the most strange matches between Roger and me,” observed Nadal. “But you know, when you had 16 matches against each other, some have to be strange.”

The reigning king of men's tennis has betrayed self-doubt against Nadal before (in the finals of Rome and Roland Garros in 2006, for example) but must be growing increasingly uneasy about his inability to find the right combination against his rival on clay.

At 26, Federer gives himself a few more years to win the only major still eluding him, but there’s little doubt that the task grows more difficult each year. He enlisted the help of veteran coach and clay expert Jose Higueras last month, and there will be much interest in seeing whether the partnership will make any tangible difference in Paris and beyond.

A bout of mononucleosis and a patchy start triggered speculation about a steep decline at the beginning of the year, though he has managed to subsequently dampen such talk. While some of his old aura has definitely faded, he insists his game has not. ”The more you lose, the more they start to believe they can beat me. But believing is not enough, you still have to beat me,” he said.

The one member of the Big Three who does seem to have been enjoying himself this spring is Novak Djokovic - and why not? He capitalized on his good fortune in Rome, winning the title in a week where two of his opponents retired and both Federer and Nadal lost early. But he also backed it up the following week in Hamburg by pushing Nadal to the limit in a three-hour thriller in the semifinals.

Djokovic planned to swing into Paris midweek. On Tuesday, he made a quick appearance in Europe's annual Eurovision song contest, being hosted by Serbia this year. On Wednesday, he celebrates his 21st birthday. There is no weariness on his face, or in his game.

Though No. 3 in the 52-week rankings, Djokovic leads the year-to-date Race and says his goal is to become No. 1 by the end of the year. He can move up to No. 2 by equalling Nadal’s result at the French Open, but hints his private ambitions are greater than that.

”Sure, Rafa is the number one favourite. Winning three in a row the French Open is a real achievement for such a young guy,” Djokovic told Reuters. “But this year is a quite different situation and it's going to be interesting to see who is going to win it.”

With his naked ambition and outgoing personality, the Serb is proving to be a polarizing figure. Some find him appealing, others off-putting - but all acknowledge he’s added some spice to the amicable atmosphere Federer and Nadal had established at the top of the game.

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post #50 of 305 (permalink) Old 05-22-2008, 04:11 PM
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Re: Attempt to attain BORGian status on clay- The RG Thread

Rafa is in Paris and has already been on the practise courts.

He and Ivanovic will take part in the draw at 11.30am CET tomorrow.
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post #51 of 305 (permalink) Old 05-22-2008, 04:24 PM
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Re: Attempt to attain BORGian status on clay- The RG Thread

I moved this post here, since it's more relevant than the 'news and articles' thread.

Originally Posted by l_mac View Post
Last year I'm sure they didn't have a really top player (ie not Fed or Nadal) If Rafa requests not to start on Sunday, I am sure they will grant his request.

Rafa and Ivanovic will make the draw tomorrow at 11.30 am CET
Ivanovic? I'm sure Djoko has appealed to her patriotic feelings to get him a cakewalk draw, but hopefully Rafa's ...charms will prevail

I don't remember about last year but in 2006 it was Federer on Sunday and he was pissed off about that.

It looks like it might be raining the first 4 days in Paris (60% chance)
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post #52 of 305 (permalink) Old 05-22-2008, 06:38 PM
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Re: Attempt to attain BORGian status on clay- The RG Thread

The King is back in town

Despite the overcast conditions, the courts were full again on Thursday as players got in some practice sessions out on the clay. The big news was the arrival of Rafael Nadal, with the three-time defending champion on Suzanne Lenglen court in the afternoon under the watchful eye of his Uncle Toni, who is also his coach. Beaten 2007 finalist Ana Ivanovic from Serbia was on Philippe Chatrier, while other big names including Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, David Nalbandian, Richard Gasquet, Maria Sharapova, Amélie Mauresmo and the Williams sisters have already been out on court.

Rafa and Ana get the chauffeur treatment

The draw for the men's and women's singles will take place on Friday 23 May at 11.30 am in the VIP area of Roland Garros (alongside Suzanne Lenglen court). As part of the Roland Garros stadium 80th anniversary celebrations, Rafael Nadal and Ana Ivanovic, who will be carrying out the draw, will be driven from their respective hotels to the stadium in two 1920s Hispano Suisa vehicles which date back to the founding of the complex.
For the women's singles, the non-seeded players will be draw first electronically before defending men's singles champion Nadal pulls the 32 seeds out of the hat. The men's draw will then be carried out in the same way, with Ivanovic, the 2007 women's singles finalist, picking out the 32 seeds.

A reminder that for the first time, the draw will be broadcast live on Eurosport France between 11:30 am – 12:30 pm. The whole draw will also be shown on, meaning that Internet users from around the world can follow the action.
Stupid weather
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post #53 of 305 (permalink) Old 05-22-2008, 06:39 PM
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Re: Attempt to attain BORGian status on clay- The RG Thread

Legends back Nadal for 4th French title

Agence France-Presse
Thursday, May 22, 2008 (Paris)

Bjorn Borg believes Rafael Nadal will storm into the history books at the French Open and join him as the only man to rack up four successive Roland Garros titles.

Borg, who performed the feat from 1978-1981, is not the only former champion expecting another Paris cruise for the formidable 21-year-old Spaniard.

Nadal's compatriot Carlos Moya believes that, barring injury, his countryman already has his name on the Coupe des Mousquetaires for the fourth time.

"Nadal looks extremely confident, extremely strong on the clay even right now, so that's definitely the guy to beat for Paris," Borg told ESPN.

"If he's as good as he looks right now and is going to continue, and stay away from injuries and be motivated, it's going to be tough to beat him at the French."

Moya, the French Open champion in 1998, believes Nadal, with 108 wins in his last 110 claycourt matches, has both the physical and mental edge over his rivals including Federer whom he has beaten in eight of their nine meetings on the surface.

"You have to concentrate," Moya said. "You just have to survive all the problems that come at you, it's like tennis's equivalent of a marathon.

"Mentally Nadal is unbelievable, he copes very well with the pressure. I think if he is 100 percent fit no one can beat him over five sets on clay. If he is fine in body and mind, I don't see anyone beating him."

Rome Masters and Australian Open champion Djokovic, the world number three, who lost a nail-biting three-hour semi-final to Nadal in Hamburg last week, refuses to attach great significance to recent problems suffered by the world's top two.

Federer is enduring one of his most disappointing seasons with just the Estoril title to show for his efforts; he has also lost the Monte Carlo and Hamburg finals - both on clay - to Nadal.

Nadal, too, has shown a degree of fraility, suffering badly from blisters in a second round loss to Juan Carlos Ferrero in Rome before needing treatment to a calf injury in the Hamburg final where he had trailed 1-5 in the first set.

"They're professional, and they're humans as all we are. It's normal to lose the first round, second round after so many years of dominance," said the Serbian who turns 21 on Thursday (May 22).

"All I can say is that mentally they're struggling because, you know, there is so much pressure and so much expectation that they have to be in the final on every surface and in every tournament that they play."

Federer, about to play his 10th Roland Garros, recognises Nadal's strengths, but refuses to give up his quest of a French Open title, a mission which proved even beyond the likes of Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg.

"Rafa's a more complete player. He's still young and improving. That's why it's important just for him to play compact and tough," said Federer.

"He brings that day in and day out on clay. For him it's just so natural and it makes it hard for the other players to beat him."

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post #54 of 305 (permalink) Old 05-22-2008, 06:43 PM
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Re: Attempt to attain BORGian status on clay- The RG Thread

King Rafa readies for return to clay-court palace

Rafael Nadal is an all-time best 21-1 in clay-court finals and has won 108 of his last 110 matches on clay.


Best four-year runs on clay:

Rafael Nadal

2005 (50-2) 96.2%

2006 (26-0) 100%

2007 (31-1) 96.9%

2008 (15-1) 93.8%

Total 122-4 96.8%

Bjorn Borg

1977 (24-1) 96.0%

1978 (25-0) 100%

1979 (29-2) 93.5%

1980 (24-1) 96.0%

Total 102-4 96.2%

By Douglas Robson, Special for USA TODAY

The French Open's playing surface is a complex arrangement of distinct materials: crushed pebbles, ash, limestone and a fine coating of crushed brick that gives the clay its burnt-orange hue.
Spain's Rafael Nadal, the master of that surface, is likewise a layered composite of skills that have made him the non-pareil clay-courter of his generation — and in some minds, at 21, already the best ever.

What are Nadal's layers? Biting topspin, an indefatigable spirit, court-shrinking defense and a sprinkling of bravado have come together to make the kid from the small island of Mallorca the King of Clay. Next week, three-time defending champion Nadal will put his 21-0 record at Roland Garros on the line. The season's second major, the only one on clay, begins Sunday. The draw is Friday.

"To me, the key is how much topspin he gets on the ball," TV analyst and U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe says of the whirring shots that buy Nadal precious recovery time and create high-bouncing headaches for opponents. "It's just scary."

Nadal has been so scary on clay since bursting onto the tennis landscape as a muscular, leaping, fist-pumping teenager that the only modern comparison is to Bjorn Borg, the undisputed ruler of dirt until now. So it's no surprise that the Swedish legend is an admirer.

"I enjoy watching him play," says Borg, who won six French Open titles in eight years starting in 1974. "He always gives 100%. He is kind of an artist on the clay."

Despite his unblemished mark, the swashbuckling Spaniard says the smell of red Parisian dust offers no extra inspiration.

"It's no special feeling," Nadal said via e-mail last week. "I look at it just like I look at another tournament. Things could go well or wrong, but as I say, I will always try to give everything on court."

Nor is he taking his Paris success for granted.

Asked if he ever looks in the mirror and pinches himself over his unbeaten record in this major, he says, "No, I only look at the mirror … to comb my hair. I have had a good run in Roland Garros, and I feel privileged. I know it is not easy."

Breaking records

Though Borg's Open-era record of six French Open titles is safe for now, Nadal has been so dominant that he has edged Borg in another category: the best four-year winning percentage on clay in the Open era (since 1968).

Nadal's 122-4 (96.8%) mark from 2005 to 2008 is slightly better than Borg's 102-4 (96.2%) from 1977 to 1980.

"What he did the last four years is unbelievable," marvels the 51-year-old Swede, who won 11 majors. "It's going to be very interesting to see what he can do the next five years on clay."

As if on cue, Nadal is hitting Paris just as he has since winning his Roland Garros debut in 2005: brimming with confidence after victories against his biggest rivals with a slew of clay-court trophies in hand.

Last week, the world's second-ranked player beat No. 3 Novak Djokovic and No. 1 Roger Federer on his way to his first title in the Hamburg Masters. It was his third clay-court crown of the season after wins in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

"This has given me more confidence for Roland Garros," says Nadal, who improved to 8-1 on clay against Federer — including the last two French Open finals — and 10-6 overall. The victory avenged last year's loss to Federer in the Hamburg final, which snapped Nadal's record 81-match winning streak on clay.

The Hamburg title also boosted his record to an ATP tour-leading 37-7. Nadal is an all-time best 21-1 in clay-court finals and has won 108 of his last 110 matches on clay.

"You always have to keep adapting to Rafa," Federer said in Hamburg after Nadal beat him 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, his second loss to Nadal on clay this spring.

Federer, still looking for his first French Open title, also lost to Nadal in the final in Monte Carlo.

Cracks in armor?

If Nadal is the favorite, there have been some atypically irritable moments for him this spring, and even a rare loss.

The preternaturally upbeat player has been a vocal critic of the scrunched clay-court calendar, during which three high-level Masters Series events (Monte Carlo, Rome and Hamburg) fall within a span of four weeks. The top players are required to participate in all of the Masters Series events, and the Beijing Olympics in August puts a further squeeze on the calendar.

In Rome two weeks ago, Nadal lost on clay for just the second time since April 2005 when Juan Carlos Ferrero — a fellow Spaniard and the 2003 French Open champion — upset him, though Nadal was hindered by blisters on his foot.

When Nadal held off Djokovic in Hamburg, he kept his 148-week streak at No. 2 alive. However, that was little solace for Nadal.

"It means that there is someone better than me in the top and that I have not been able to reach him," he says.

Still, on clay, Nadal reigns. No one looks more primed to equal or surpass Borg as the Open-era leader in French Open titles.

Honed footwork in soccer

Besides Nadal growing up on dirt, the foundations of his prowess can be traced in part to his upbringing.

Nadal's uncle Toni has served as his primary coach his entire life, ensuring a stability and single-minded insularity. Toni persuaded Nadal at 12 to switch to a one-handed forehand with his left hand (he used two hands on both wings and even today eats and writes with his right hand), a move not unlike Pete Sampras' switch to a one-handed backhand to cultivate an attacking style for grass.

In soccer-mad Spain, Nadal played tennis and soccer competitively until he was a teenager, honing his superior footwork. And under the influence of another uncle, former pro soccer player and Spanish national team member Miguel Angel, Nadal developed a disciplined professionalism. Some have even said Nadal's favorite pastime, fishing, is responsible for his dogged court patience.

"He seems to be only getting better," McEnroe says.

Nadal's hard work on other surfaces is paying off on clay, according to McEnroe. Taking the ball early, serving bigger and pushing into the court have created more attacking opportunities and allowed him to win matches more easily.

"He's drilling people," McEnroe says. "That's because he's playing more offensive and he's able to put guys away faster, which is saving energy for when he really needs it."

Though no one will concede the Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy in Paris — least of all Federer and Djokovic — Nadal's biggest obstacle might be his grinding style of play.

Because the 6-1 player expends so much energy chasing balls and whipping topspin-laden zingers, lack of freshness might be Nadal's one Achilles' heel. The second-round exit in Rome could be a blessing in disguise because it allowed him extra time to rest and recover from the blistered foot.

But even a weary Nadal is apt to grind opponents into submission, especially the longer the match goes. He has never lost a five-set match on clay and has never been pushed beyond four sets at Roland Garros.

"If someone is going to beat Nadal in Paris over five sets," Borg says, "he's going to have to play the best match of his life."

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post #55 of 305 (permalink) Old 05-23-2008, 10:58 AM
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Re: Attempt to attain BORGian status on clay- The RG Thread

Originally Posted by MariaV View Post
@ Tangy!

Uhmmm, I feel pression but I'll make my prediction for the prestigious MIT after the draw tomorrow.

Tough draw.
Nole, Nalbandian, Almagro all in Nadal's half.
Time to make your pick. What's you gonna say?

*waits patiently for it*


[6] Nalbandian vs Berlocq
Chardy vs Q
Garcia-Lopez vs Roitman
Q vs [30] Tursunov
[19] Almagro vs Pashanski
Q vs O Rochus
Hrbaty vs Acasuo
Eysseric vs [10] Murray

[15] Youzhny vs Becker
Q vs Q
Isner vs Chela
Ventura vs [22] Verdasco
[26] Nieminen vs Kiefer
Vassallo Arguello vs Lopez
Guccione vs Q
Q vs [2] Nadal
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post #56 of 305 (permalink) Old 05-23-2008, 12:19 PM
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Re: Attempt to attain BORGian status on clay- The RG Thread

Am I witty? I prefer Djoko to be in Fed's half of the draw at Wimby rather than RG

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post #57 of 305 (permalink) Old 05-23-2008, 01:12 PM
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Re: Attempt to attain BORGian status on clay- The RG Thread

Metis, put me down for Winner.

No way I'm picking SF and anything below that would be a major upset. So I'm left with the only option - Winner.
I'm not concerned with the draw, let's see how the things unfold and how far will Nole go. When/If he reaches the SF then I'll start worrying. First rounds don't look tough to me but I'm curious to see who is the Q that Rafa will play. Hopefully not another Troicki this time. As for Roger's half, Davydenko might prove to be a bigger threat than we think. The guy had pushed even Rafa to 3 tiresome sets before so should he face Federer in the SF and this time no any Estoril s*its things might become interesting.

I'm more worried about the strain in Rafa's right thigh. Any news about that? Is this strain gone or still bothering Rafa?

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post #58 of 305 (permalink) Old 05-23-2008, 02:41 PM
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Re: Attempt to attain BORGian status on clay- The RG Thread

He faces a few challenges with this draw, for sure. Still I don't see any unsurmountable obstacles blocking his path. Nalbandian is a bit of wild card since he's totally dominated Rafa in their pass meetings; of course this is clay so that H2H isn't the best indicator, although it's still looks to be a challenge.
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post #59 of 305 (permalink) Old 05-23-2008, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Attempt to attain BORGian status on clay- The RG Thread

Metis put me down for a final in MIT

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post #60 of 305 (permalink) Old 05-23-2008, 03:11 PM
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Re: RG: Attempt to attain BORGian status on clay- The first obstacle- "Difficult Draw

Now that the draw is out () it's time for everyone to make/change their predictions...

How far will Rafa go in Roland Garros? (200 points at stake)

1st –
2nd -
3rd -
4th -
QF - Metis, acionescu
SF - yana
F - tennizen
W- Blaze-2004, elessar, Foxy, Getta, GuiroNl, hra87, Luvyoyoma1954, MariaV, M.C., NaDALiTa, nashty, rafa_maniac, raven_gypsy, scarecrows, spriwi, tennischeto, TMJordan, Xoman

Last edited by Metis; 05-23-2008 at 06:46 PM.
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