Almost 4 years ago, Wilander said Federer had no balls against Nadal - MensTennisForums.com
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post #1 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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Almost 4 years ago, Wilander said Federer had no balls against Nadal

These were his comments:

"I think Roger Federer, today, unfortunately came out with no balls," and claimed the Swiss suffered a "mental block in terms of tennis smartness" and lacked an aggressive mindset even while winning the first set 6-1.
"He should have realised in the second set, surely, after two games, 'Wow I'm not hitting the ball quite as well, let me try going back to the game plan', which surely couldn't have been staying at the baseline as much as he did... "So I think he choked from the first point to the last point because I don't believe that he thinks he can beat Nadal from the baseline. I can't imagine that. Because if he can't beat him from the baseline on hardcourts, then he sure as hell can't beat him from the baseline on clay. That's crazy."

Wilander said Nadal was the first player to challenge Federer in a grand slam final. "After the first set today, Hewitt would have thrown the towel in, Roddick would have thrown his towel in," Wilander said.
"Everybody says Federer is too good, and he is too good, but they don't have the balls that Nadal has to say, 'Listen, if you play like that throughout the whole match, then it's true, you are the greatest player ever … but if you're not the greatest player in the world, then you're not going to be able to keep that up'.
"(Federer's) not the best player ever, by a long shot, yet. You face him against the likes of Jimmy Connors and I don't know that he's going to beat Jimmy Connors for two reasons here (Wilander points to groin) (andy neyer here: that must have been funny as hell )

"Sports is about balls and about heart and you don't find too many champions in any sport in the world without heart or balls. He might have them, but against Nadal they shrink to a very small size and it's not once, it's every time."



Do you agree with that?

He said all that after Federer lost the 2006 French Open final and also probably in consideration of other several tight matches in which Federer had lost to Nadal before.
Nowadays, I think that -in all fairness- in a few of the matches he's played against Rafa he's showed some tough resiliance, even when he lost (like Wimby 2008, coming from 2 sets down to play a fifth set). Nevertheless, I see the point of Mats. Federer. For a tennis great, I'd say Federer lacks a bit of mental strenght and that factor becomes particularly more important when he faces Nadal. I'm not saying he's a mental clown like many here would probably want to exaggerate (after all, you don't dominate tennis the way Federer has if you don't have a winning mentality) but he's certainly not amongst the best in the mental department.
I'm talking of Federer match-wise (mental strenght in tight matches, to be clutch and produce the big shots when it counts the most) and not career-wise (to be consistent with your game and not let your head get clouded by success as it happens to many-in that department Federer is awesome, imo).

All that said, I think Mats would fit it perfectly here. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to find out he's a regular user of MTF

PS: I couldn't find the original 2006 thread in which these declarations were discussed. If someone can find it, I'd have no problems in continuing the discussion there.

Last edited by andy neyer; 05-16-2010 at 07:10 PM.
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post #2 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 08:14 PM
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Re: Almost 4 years ago, Wilander said Federer had no balls against Nadal...

ooh!! karma is a B*TCH
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post #3 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 08:16 PM
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Re: Almost 4 years ago, Wilander said Federer had no balls against Nadal...


Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic: The Evoulution of a Handshake
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post #4 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 08:19 PM
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post #5 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 08:47 PM
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Re: Almost 4 years ago, Wilander said Federer had no balls against Nadal...

Yeah and 15 years ago Fed was a virgin with zits. Debate that!

Roger Federer | Benoît Paire| Stanislas Wawrinka | Nick Kyrgios

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post #6 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 09:00 PM
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Re: Almost 4 years ago, Wilander said Federer had no balls against Nadal...

Excellent topic, you've hit upon an untouched gem that is sorely lacking in debate and discussion on MTF.

Regardless of what Wilander said back in 2006, time and tide have proven that he does not have a clue what he's talking about as a pundit (and I'm talking about far more aspects of the game than just Federer, although for the record he completely backtracked on the above comments last year in feeble fashion). The most recent pearler at the AO this year was his announcement during Federer-Andreev that he picked the latter to win RG back in 2007 when he got to the quarters - which is either a lie or an incredibly stupid prediction.

The Wit and Wisdom of the Tennis Journalist, Indian Wells 2004

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I remember this one time when I went on a vacation on the Maldives. That was in the year 2001, I think. I went to this spa. I went to walk around with my girlfriend. I walk in, and we want to book a spa. This guy goes, "AHH, I remember you. You beat Sampras. I saw you on TV." That was like, really, how can you remember me? This guy has probably never been off his island and still knows me. I was a little bit shocked. Then I went to play tennis with him because he was actually the tennis teacher. It was nice.

Q. Were you naked at the time in the spa?

ROGER FEDERER: No. It was at the front desk. I didn't walk in naked.
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post #7 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 09:39 PM
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Re: Almost 4 years ago, Wilander said Federer had no balls against Nadal...

Wilander is talking about the tennis he likes, which is the one of a gritty fighter.
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post #8 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 10:03 PM
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Re: Almost 4 years ago, Wilander said Federer had no balls against Nadal...

I don't see how Wilander's wrong.

Federer never did figure out Nadal and, as Wilander points out, Federer indeed played like he had no balls in that match.

So, he's right. The Connors comment points to a hypothetical matchup in which supposedly Connors' determination would win out. Not necessarily a statement suggesting that Connors was the greater player.

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post #9 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 10:04 PM
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Re: Almost 4 years ago, Wilander said Federer had no balls against Nadal...

Well Mats clearly changed his mind about Roger. I've never really heard him be critical about Roger after 2006. If I remember correctly, Mats apologized for his comments. Mats likes to talk A LOT, so he occasionally says really strange things even on air commentating matches..

Bottom line is Nadal is a bad matchup for Federer, and clearly Nadal got the early upper hand in some important matches. Couple that with a few years of similar scenarios between the two mainly on clay and you have a Federer who can't bring his A+ game against Nadal as quickly as he can against most other opponents.

Federer / Haas / Safin / Gaudio / Kuerten / Youzhny / Nadal / Gonzalez / Ljubicic / Hewitt / Soderling / Wawrinka / Coria / Nalbandian / Kohlschreiber
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post #10 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 10:16 PM
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Re: Almost 4 years ago, Wilander said Federer had no balls against Nadal...

No balls... too many balls... so many problems...

Wilander speaks his mind.

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post #11 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 10:18 PM
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Re: Almost 4 years ago, Wilander said Federer had no balls against Nadal...

To be fair to Wilander, I think the worst thing about those comments is how harshly-worded and demeaning they are, as they probably contain an element of truth - Federer plainly isn't as confident facing Rafa as against most others, but that doesn't mean most times he is simply going to let Rafa walk all over him without a fight (Wimby 08 final as an example).

Interestingly he (along with Borg) backed Federer to beat Rafa in the French Open 2008 Article about it here, where he kind of expands on the same theme but in a more positive light:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/ten...ael-Nadal.html

Wikipedia also has a link to Peter Bodo claiming tennis fans used to use Wilanders as a euphemism for balls as a result of it, not something I remember but kind of funny anyway!

Will Federer regain the #1 spot and break Sampras's record for most weeks at the top?

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post #12 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Almost 4 years ago, Wilander said Federer had no balls against Nadal...

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Originally Posted by HKz View Post
Well Mats clearly changed his mind about Roger. I've never really heard him be critical about Roger after 2006. If I remember correctly, Mats apologized for his comments.
Yeah, he personally apologized to Federer when he was interviewing him once.
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post #13 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Almost 4 years ago, Wilander said Federer had no balls against Nadal...

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Wikipedia also has a link to Peter Bodo claiming tennis fans used to use Wilanders as a euphemism for balls as a result of it, not something I remember but kind of funny anyway!
lol. I've never heard people using wilander's name in such a way. It's funny in any case and I might start using it just for fun.
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post #14 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 11:25 PM
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Re: Almost 4 years ago, Wilander said Federer had no balls against Nadal...

Still doesn't until proven otherwise.. In the big matches, Federer has folded like a cheap suit more times than not.. is this disputable? 7-13 h2h with losses in the finals of every surface and 3 of the 4 slam finals. You know Nadal is on the end of the net.. Fed's game takes a downswing.. This has been evident time and time again... Was very evident in wimbledon in 2008 when he reached the final without losing a single up until that point, and soon as he sees Nadal he finds himself in a 2 set hole. nadal is the only player never to cower to Roger's prescence in the big matches. Unlike so many others. Its just shame Nadal had to get injured when he did right at his peak because he was the hands down most dominant player on tour.. Roger an afterthought. it wasnt until Nadal went down did we see Roger win again since with no Nadal around, he had a free ticket to slam wins
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post #15 of 78 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 12:31 AM
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Re: Almost 4 years ago, Wilander said Federer had no balls against Nadal...

The problem is probably the VERY extreme wording, aimed against a guy who, aside from being a multi GS champion, really isn't used to be talked to like that (and doesn't talk this crudely himself, either).

Had Mats said Roger doesn't have the right tactics against Rafa, or isn't feeling as confident against him - it would have been a none-issue.


I think the timing is also important. This was after Roger lost in Dubai to Rafa, lost MC, lost Rome after 2 MP, then lost the French - but before two important victories on grass and in the TMC.

I dare say that Mats wouldn't have said it at the end of 2006.

Plus, I think by now it is all clear that Roger has a match up problem with Rafa which goes beyond choking or balls.

And yeah, there was a feeable apology. Before the FO 2008 final(Maybe Mats regreted it after the final...), Mats kinda apologized, on camera, for 'those things he said' without eleborating and Roger graciously accepted. Roger, as far as I know, was never asked about the apology in any interview (well, his next presser was the one after the FO final, so they had better things to ask), but I do admit I'm curious.
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