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.