Don't think this has been posted yet. An interesting article in a variety of ways.
Nadal has shown Federer isn't as great as he thinks
Published Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Is Roger Federer as great as everyone proclaims?
No question, the guy has been utterly dominant in men's tennis the past few years. He's breaking records and creating new ones. Kicking butt and taking names. He steps onto the court, and just when you think guys like Andre Agassi and Marcos Baghdatis have a chance, Federer is smiling his seemingly toothless grin and waving in victory to the crowd and girlfriend Mirka.
That leaves viewers to wonder, "Who can beat this guy?" and, "Her?" And he does it all with an affable off-court demeanor, surprising accessibility to the media and arms that rival the Olsen twins' in their modest circumference.
Yet, his superiority remains unconvincing.
Look beyond the hairy Pete Sampras-like exterior, and there is an underlying vulnerability to Roger. Think I'm crazy? Who would you pick in a bar fight -- Jennifer Capriati or Federer? On second thought, given Capriati's background, maybe that's not the best comparison. ... I would pick her in any competition against anyone at any bar. The body shot is the shot she does best.
Anyway, thank goodness there is someone who can beat Federer on the tennis court. With the arrival of Rafael Nadal, the Mighty Fed (favorite nickname of journalists), the Fed Express (overused by ESPN), R. Fed (OK, I made that one up) has become human. Bring on the comic book metaphors, because with four of five meetings going to Nadal, it appears we have found Federer's kryptonite. And this kryptonite continues to rock the capri pants. In fact, their matches cannot even be considered fair until Roger dons an Old Navy vest to level the playing field.
Nadal's most recent victory over Federer, on clay at Monte Carlo in the final this past Sunday, must have been particularly sweet. Beforehand, when the press questioned Federer about Nadal's game, R. Fed temporarily forgot to be diplomatic, saying Nadal was "quite one-dimensional." Also, Federer predicted it was only a matter of time before he figured out the teenager's game.
Four-sets and another loss later, Federer still contends this to be true: "The more I play against him, the more I'll be able to figure out his game."
This argument would hold a little more weight if the same couldn't be said by Nadal. Or have these two secretly been playing each other without the other one knowing it?
There is an expression Federer's face makes, particularly when he misses a shot at an inopportune moment in the match. His lips contort in a scrunched up, Walter Matthau-esque fashion. His eyes narrow into darkened slits, and he transforms into a petulant 8-year-old who hasn't gotten his way. Then he berates himself, storms to the opposite side of the court and reverts to normal.
We will most likely see this face in the French Open final, when Roger shanks yet another backhand due to Nadal's lefty forehand spin.
Let the tantrum begin.