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post #286 of 2833 (permalink) Old 06-07-2009, 05:11 PM
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post #287 of 2833 (permalink) Old 06-07-2009, 06:13 PM
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2009 French Open men's singles final in figures

Sunday, June 7, 2009
By Benjamin Waldbaum

1 Roger Federer won his very first Roland Garros title at the age of 27.

2 Roger Federer had never before won a Grand Slam after twice being taken to five sets. In this year’s French Open, the Swiss beat Tommy Haas 6-7 5-7 6-4 6-0 6-2 in the fourth round and Juan Martin Del Potro 3-6 7-6 2-6 6-1 6-4 in the semi-final.

6 Roger Federer became only the sixth man in history to win all four Grand Slam tournaments after Fred Perry (1 Australian Open, 1 French Open, 3 Wimbledons, 3 US Opens between 1933 and 1936), Donald Budge (1 Australian Open, 1 French Open, 2 Wimbledons, 2 US Opens between1937 and 1938), Rod Laver (3 Australian Opens, 4 French Opens, 2 Wimbledons, 2 US Opens between 1960 and 1969), Roy Emerson (6 Australian Opens, 2 French Opens, 2 Wimbledons, 2 US Opens between 1961 and 1967) and Andre Agassi (4 Australian Opens, 1 French Open, 1 Wimbledon, 2 US Opens between 1992 and 2003). Like Agassi, Federer won on four different surfaces.

8 Roger Federer is one of eight players to have reached at least four Roland Garros finals. Like all his predecessors, he has now won the title.

10 Roger Federer has now won all ten matches he has played against Robin Soderling.

11 Roger Federer won the French Open on his eleventh appearance here. Just like Andre Agassi in 1999.

12 Robin Soderling will move into 12th position in the world rankings on Monday. Wins over David Ferrer, Rafael Nadal, Nikolay Davydenko and Fernando Gonzalez will take him into his highest placing ever. Roger Federer stays at number 2 in the rankings.

14 Roger Federer equalled Pete Sampras’ record number of Grand Slam triumphs Sampras won 2 Australian Opens, 7 Wimbledons and 5 US Opens between1990 and 2002. Federer has won 3 Australian Opens, 1 French Open, 5 Wimbledons and 5 US Opens between 2003 and 2009.

25 Roger Federer is the 25th different winner of Roland Garros since the start of the Open era in 1968.

41 Roger Federer hit 41 winners (including 16 aces) in the final, and 24 unforced errors. Robin Soderling hit 24 winners and 24 unforced errors.

59 Roger Federer won his 59th career title today. He is eighth in the Open era list behind Andre Agassi with 60 titles.

1 060 000 Roger Federer pocketed the tidy sum of €1,060,000 and 2000 ATP points, while Robin Soderling earned €530,000 and 1200 ATP points.

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post #288 of 2833 (permalink) Old 06-07-2009, 06:26 PM
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Thanks for the articles.

~~~Roger Federer (18 GS): Wimbledon 2003, AO 2004, Wimbledon 2004, US Open 2004, Wimbledon 2005, US Open 2005, AO 2006, Wimbledon 2006, US Open 2006, AO 2007, Wimbledon 2007, US Open 2007, US Open 2008, Roland Garros 2009, Wimbledon 2009, AO 2010, Wimbledon 2012, AO 2017 ~~~

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post #289 of 2833 (permalink) Old 06-07-2009, 06:28 PM
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Sampras calls Federer best ever

PARIS (AP) -- Pete Sampras says Roger Federer already earned the title of best tennis player in history, even before winning the French Open.

Sampras tells The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Los Angeles that he's happy for Federer, who won his first championship at Roland Garros on Sunday. It's Federer's 14th Grand Slam singles title, tying Sampras' record.

Says Sampras: "I'm sure he's going to go on and win a lot more."

Sampras retired after winning the 2002 U.S. Open.

Says Sampras: "Now that he's won in Paris, I think it just more solidifies his place in history as the greatest player that played the game, in my opinion."
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post #290 of 2833 (permalink) Old 06-07-2009, 07:00 PM
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R. FEDERER/R.Soderling

6‑1, 7‑6, 6‑4

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. We would like to know if you felt more suspense than we felt? You won the first set, second set in the tiebreaker, third, set break immediately. So for you it was easier than you expected,or...

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, sure, I expected a tough match today obviously because Robin's been playing well and it's a final of Paris, one that I've never been able to win yet.

So I knew the difficulty of this match. I was hoping for a good start; I got it, which then obviously relaxed me. I think second set was key to stay with him and not give him too many opportunities on my serve, which I was, again, able to do.

I played one of greatest tiebreakers in my career with the four aces obviously. But it was very hard mentally for me to stay within the match during the match, because my mind was always wondering, what if? What if I win this tournament? What does that mean? What will I possibly say? I don't know.

You can't help it but to tell yourself, you know, once you win you'll get all the time to think about all these things, but they keep on coming back.

I was very nervous at the beginning of the third set because I realized how close I was. The last game, obviously you can imagine how difficult that game was. It was almost unplayable for me because I was just hoping to serve some good serves and hoping that he was going to make four errors. It was that bad.

So, yeah,it was an emotional roller coaster for me.

Q. It's against our rules to applaud at a press conference, but you deserved it.

ROGER FEDERER: Thank you. Thanks a lot.

Q. Do you consider this, looking back to Australia and then coming forward, a rejuvenation in your career mentally and physically and in every other way?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I just think it's an unbelievable achievement, you know. You know, I mean,I'm very proud of my career, obviously. You know, I achieved more than I ever thought I would. My dream as boy was to win Wimbledon one day. I won that five times, you know, like one wasn't enough.

But it's just ‑‑ I think the French Open, like for instance this victory, sort of came up over the last few years when I realized what a great player I could actually become.

After starting to actually getting to love this city and the people and the center court, whereas in the beginning I had such a hard time getting used to the conditions here and just not feeling right for some reason. I had a lot of difficulties playing well on center court because the court was sobig.

I've come along way. To get it at the end as the last remaining Grand Slam, it's an incredible feeling. I'm, of course, very proud at this very moment.

Q. You won Wimbledon at 21 and Australia at 22 and the US at 23. Is there a value in life, a greater depth of feeling in having waited for something?

ROGER FEDERER: Absolutely, especially being so close for the last few years. You know, maybe close,maybe far. It depends how you look at it. I think it was very hard, you know,accepting the first defeat in 2006 I think was my first final here.

I lost in the finals and I was like,Oh, my God. I got to wait one entire year, and then I don't even know if I'll make the finals again. The last few years have been easier for me approaching the French Open just because I've been more relaxed and more aware of what's happening around me.

So I think, yes, the waiting and the age definitely has a big impact on how important and how nice this victory actually is. It's been a longtime coming, and I'm happy I got it today. I'm very proud.

Q. Looking back on spring season this year, I think you struggled with your play I think against Djokovic and Murray, but now you came back strong. So are you believing you could complete career Grand Slam?

ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I did. You know, people talked a lot about me having lost the grip and stuff. To some degree I guess it's true,because I lost my No. 1 ranking. But I didn't fall out of the top 10 or the top 1000. I still played very consistent, especially at the Grand Slam level. My record shows it there.

But important for me was to continue working hard, you know. I had issues last year. We all know what they were. People sometimes don't give you time to actually let them heal or let ‑‑ you figure them out, you know.

I'm not the type of guy who's scared of going into sometimes matches not feeling great at all. I don't care if I lose three times first round, I want to see where I'm at in a tournament situation.

I can also,of course, decide not to play for three months and then come back very strong again. That's not the road I chose. I'm the guy who likes to face it and see if I'm good enough or not. I actually played pretty good.

I was happy with the level of play. I thought I played great in Australia. It was also a good tournament in Indian Wells and Miami until I played Murray and Djokovic and all those guys where all of a sudden my game completely left me for some reason. I didn't know why. Maybe it was because my serve wasn't helping me out, the back was still hurting me. I don't know what the problem was.

So I always believed in my chances to win Paris or any Grand Slam. It's really for those that I tried to keep myself most fit. That was also s one of the reason why I took six weeks off after the Australian Open. Let everything heal and let everything settle, and then I came back very strong.

I'm very,very happy right now.

Q. How much is important in this belief or in this win the fact that Mirka is pregnant and you're awaiting a baby? How much important is in your mind to think about this?

ROGER FEDERER: I feel like it's two different issues,different things. You know, my private life is one part of my life. The professional one on the court is another one. Thank God Mirka's involved in both of them.

I'm, of course, very happy with thep regnancy. Mirka is feeling great, and we're looking forward to this upcoming summer and hope things go well for her.

But I don't know how much this victory has to do with it. It's definitely nice to get it at this stage of my career. I think it couldn't have come at a better time. So obviously the timing is very special with getting married and Mirka being pregnant.

Maybe it's more emotional, but maybe not. I don't know how much it has to do with it, to be quite honest. I'm just happy that my life is in great shape right now.

Q. McEnroe never won here, and Edberg never won here and Pete never won here. Are you aware there were a lot people thinking you sort of fit into that category and it would have been shame if you didn't do it?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I always tended to disagree with those. I had the feeling I gave myself too many opportunity over the years at the French Open. I think Pete was maybe once in the semis. Other players were maybe once in the finals. I was in the final three times, one semis before, and I was able to win Hamburg four times and be in the finals of Monaco and Rome, of all those tournaments.

I knew the day Rafa won't be in the finals, I will be there and I will win. I always knew and that I believed in it. That's exactly what happened. It's funny. I didn't hope for it,but I believed in it.

Q. Sorry to bring you on to not quite such a nice event. You were confronted today by some guy coming onto the court. It could have been a very nasty incident. Could you just talk us through how you felt when you saw him? The security seemed to take an age to get there as well and stop him.

ROGER FEDERER: First, I didn't know exactly what happened. All of a sudden I heard the crowd, and I looked over and he jumped over the fence or something. That gave me a fright, just like seeing him so close right away.

The good thing is like it happened before, you know, so that's why I guess I didn't panic. It happened in Wimbledon before when two guys ran out on the court, and once I think it was in Montreal when I lost to Roddick when I was playing for my No. 1 ranking in the third set.

So it wasn't the first time. Normally they always kind of look at me and go, I'm so sorry I have to do this, because they have some sort of a reason for it, you know. (Laughter.)

I remember the English guy was actually quite funny. He looked at me and goes, I'm so sorry I have to do this. I was like, Okay, just don't touch me, you know.

This guy, I don't know, he looked at me and I was not sure what he wanted. It seemed like he wanted to give me something. So I was actually okay,because I saw he wasn't pulling for anything stupid.

It definitely felt uncomfortable once he came close to me. Looking back, it definitely threw me out of my rhythm a little bit. One game later I thought that maybe I should have sat down and taken a minute or two to kind of reflect on what just happened. Was that real or what?

But I don't know. I mean, I wanted to play on and whatever, get over it. But it was a touch scary, yes.

Q. Svetlana Kuznetsova, who won this tournament yesterday cheers for you. Do you know about it? And what do you think about Russian women and men's tennis?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I was very happy for Svetlana that she was able to win. Russian tennis has been incredibly strong over the last few years. I always said I liked her game, so I was very happy for her, to see her succeed here.

Yeah, they have phenomenal players on both sides. I'm sure we'll see more of that in the future.

Q. I know isn't your plan, but if you had to retire tomorrow, would you retire happy?

ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I would, yeah, because I feel like I've put everything out there, you know. I fought for this moment and stayed positive and calm when things maybe weren't going so well, even though they were still going great.

So, yeah, I would ‑‑ I always said it doesn't matter when I retire, I'll be at peace. I can walk away from this game tomorrow, but I don't choose to because I love this game too much.

It hasn't appeared in my mind once yet that I want to retire. Tennis is not forever; I know that. But I'll try to definitely enjoy it as long as I can.

Q. Roger,with the rain and the history in your mind and the rain and this crazy guy, was this as mentally challenging a final as you've had to deal with? Obviously physically playing you weren't having a problem, but mentally.

ROGER FEDERER: I think it was difficult conditions, like you say. I was hoping for ‑‑ I said it in the press the other day I think when I spoke Swiss German. I said I hope for little ‑‑ no rain, because that would not be nice for anybody: me,the opponent, for the spectators. The rain interruptions are tough to deal with especially in a Grand Slam final.

Now, I do feel like it's ‑‑ it was meant to be this kind of weather for me. Looking back, you know, especially I think I drew inspiration the way Andre won here ten years ago.

I remember ‑‑ I don't want to say how lucky he got, but how things turned into his favor when he needed it the most. That's exactly what happened to me the last couple weeks. We're not talking about the Haas house forehand I had to hit on that break point down in the third set or other things.

But I was in desperate situations during this tournament. This was just part of this tournament, this terrible rain today and this tough conditions, the swirly winds and the dangerous opponent. I think I was able to handle all of it for two weeks.

I also said it many times that if you want to be a good clay courter, you have to be able to play in these kind of conditions and in nice conditions, too. That's where I've had my success in clay before, on bad ‑‑ in storms and in nice weather. I was able to show it these last coupleweeks. It's been very nice.

Q. What significance, if any, for you is there to winning your 14th Grand Slam title and matching that record?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I don't know. It almost gets forgotten a little bit, but it's really what ‑‑ I don't want to say it means the most to me, but it's an incredible feeling already having reached 14 and not having been sort of derailed by maybe losing a couple Grand Slam finals against Rafa.

That sort of I took my time and was able to regroup and come up to equal Pete's record, you know, here, in Paris is unbelievable.

Andre giving me the trophy,who was the last man to win all four majors, it seems just very fitting in away. I played against both players as well, and have the most respect for both of them.

I'm sure they're happy for me. I know it. It's a good feeling to have.

Q. Do you think the most important point of the tournament was the breakpoint when you are serving in the third set with Haas?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, it seems like it to me. But, sure, if you want to put it down to one point, let's put it down to that one. I had to play many tough shots during this tournament. Maybe one was also the breakpoint at 5‑4against Soderling when he shanks the forehand. Who knows if he makes it and gets to 5‑All. We don't know.

You have to go through many situations like this. I'm happy I was able to handle all of them. Like I said,I had tough moments against Acasuso, Haas, Mathieu, Monfils as well when he had set point, and against Del Potro, and again today, as well.

So I always had to come up with the goods, and I did great. I really did.

Q. Many people said that you are in the history and compare you and Rod Laver and Pete Sampras and say that you are the best in the history. What do you think about that?

ROGER FEDERER: I always thought it's nice to be part of the best. I feel very privileged and proud of my accomplishments in this sport. That's also why I thought I had to mention them on the court. I don't know if we'll ever know who was the greatest of all‑time, but I'm definitely happy to be right up there, that's for sure.

Q. You are probably not yet the best in history,but could this be a goal for you in the next years to come before the end of your career?

ROGER FEDERER: Look, I just tried to have the best possible career I can, and then I think it should be judged at the very end, you know. How well did I do? Good? Great? Very good? Or medium? (Laughter.) I don't know. It's for other people to decide.

Right now, I'm still playing. I haven't retired yet, and I think I still have many more tournaments to go and many more Grand Slams. I'll give it my best shot to have the best possible career. I am not addicted by beating all possible records, but I'm very proud of them.

I hope I can maintain records I have going at the moment, and I hope to break some other ones along the way. I hope to stay healthy, of course. That's most important. Because motivation and drive is not a problem for me it seems like.

Then I think with the change coming in my life with the wife and baby, it's gonna be very exciting next few years.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.

Q. Could you please tell us two things: This last game you were saying in English how nervous you were. Can you tell us that again? Second question, what did you do yesterday evening, and how did you manage the day before the match?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, the last game ‑‑ I'm never afraid to serve for the match. It's probably something difficult to do, but I always felt that the best was to serve for the match in the end.

When you a break or a double break,you to expect you'll be serving for the match, so this is why I've never been afraid of that moment.

But it was so emotional to play this first serve in the first game. I tried to serve four aces. He would make four errors, and that was done. So that's the ideal scenario.

But I also know that this is not likely to happen, so I tried to remain aggressive. I tried to remain smart with regards to my choices. Maybe I was not strong enough on my shots, on my forehand at 15‑Love or at 30‑All.

But these are things which are so difficult to achieve in those precise moments, and this is why sometimes you see that the score is turned around. Well, I don't know. You know, mentally, I was elsewhere. I was not seeing myself winning, but I was sohappy I was in that situation. I had toremain so calm, and at the same time I had to try and do my best. So it was such a magic moment. It's difficult to describe why and how.

But as foryesterday night, I was watching the two matches I played against Soderling in Madrid and in Paris,Bercy, here last year. I had the CDs tosee what he does well and not that well to prepare. Then we talked about the match, and then Ihad dinner in my room with Mirka.

You know, Ididn't want to have a big group of people around me. I wanted to stay in my zone, in my comfortzone, and it worked out and I'm happy.

Q. What'sthe best for you, is it winning the four in one year or winning 14 Grand Slamtrophies?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, the four are incredible. I mean, I don't want to comment myself, butif you've won 14 Grand Slam trophies, it means you've won the three others manytimes, which is difficult to achieve over many years.

Or if you win the four, you can dothat quicker because you're in good shape and it's the right time for you. Both are very difficult to achieve. Maybe it's easier to today to win the four inone year than it was 30 years ago when grass was much faster, when hard surfaceswere much faster, when clay was what it was.

In the past, you had clayspecialists and hard surfaces specialists. Now it's more mixed maybe to make it easier. But at the same time, it makes it moredifficult. I don't know.

Q. Soyou waited 27 years to win in Paris. Youwon the US Open, Wimbledon, and the Australian Open much earlier. Does to give a special flavor to this trophy?

ROGER FEDERER: First, I never waited 27 years, because 27years ago I was just born. My parentsnever told me, If you don't win Roland Garros we take you to the orphanage. They never said I had to win RolandGarros. It never came from them. They just hoped. They just wished I could achieve that.

But, having to wait gives you morepleasure, because a first victory, Wimbledon in 2003, that was a shock. Later on, you know what it's like winning,managing pressure, walking on the central courts, with the press, havingsponsors, being rich and famous. Yourlife changes.

Mine changed as from thefirst Grand Slam tournament I won in 2003. So today, yes, satisfaction is huge winning here in Paris after I was soclose many times in a row. So it was theoptimal moment for me to win Roland Garros.

Q. Why? Determination? Aggressiveness? Serve, didn't work in the other matches? Is it because of Soderling, or what?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't serve at 280 kilometers perhour. Each player is different. This is what makes tennis difficult. The conditions are different every day, andthe opponent is different every day. DelPotro, Soderling, and Monfils have a similar style, but they're different atthe end of day. They return differentlyand they have different favorite shots. They serve differently at important key moments. So you can't always serve or move in the sameway.

In tennis, you can lose althoughyou've played well; you can win although you've not played great tennis. Everything is possible. You need to make the good choices at theright time, and this is what I managed to do here. I'm very proud.

Q. What came to your mind when Soderling's lastball went to the net?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I hoped it wouldn't come on myside. Then I had to play a backhand, andI hoped I would surprise him. But heplayed on the frame of his racquet. Themoment the ball hit the net you know it's over. You don't know what's going to happen, if you want to run around thecourt or fall on the court or just do nothing.

I had those same reactions. I just kneeled on the court. This is what I did when I won against Samprasin 2001. This was almost the same thing,because that was something that I dreamt. That's the best way for me to express myself, to really feel that I won.

Q. When Nadal lost, you didn't make manycomments about it because you had to remain focused on your nextopponents. You had to be focused on thatrather than on Nadal that was no longer there. But now it's over, so can you tell us if you thought, okay, this isgonna be a good year for me? Did it cometo your mind?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I knew I had bigger opportunities thanthe years before, because, you know, records against Nadal are tough forme. Even I had defeated him in Madrid, Iknew that if he was no longer in the draw, things would be easier for me. I was not happy he lost. That's not the type of guy I am.

This is also why I had to keep myfeelings to myself. The press wanted tohear me and listen to what I had to say. When the time came for the press conference, they wanted me to saysomething about it. But to me, it'simportant to have respect for Rafa for everything he's accomplished over thelast four years. He never losthere. That's an exceptional record, andit shows how difficult it is to win a tournament five times in a row.

That's something. I know. I've done it in Wimbledon and US Open. He tried to achieve it here, and it shows it's not easy to achieve. Of course, I was disappointed for him, but Ialso knew that it was a big opportunity for me. But it also increased pressure on me.

Didn't makemuch difference right at that time, but for the final it did because I was not playingNadal but Soderling.

Q. Whatdo you foresee for Soderling? Do youthink he can win a Grand Slam?

ROGER FEDERER: I think he should be better on fastersurfaces. This is where he had thebiggest successes, on indoor tournaments. The US Open and Wimbledon are courts that should be better suited to histennis.

I think that it's important that hecontinues to work hard and take what's positive from this tournament and moveon.

It's difficult, but I guessit's something he can do.

Q. Twoshort questions: One, after you had beendefeated four years in a row, have you ever had any doubts you would make ithere in Paris? Second question, when youdreamt you would win here, did you dream these conditions with this light, therain?

ROGER FEDERER: No, I always had faith in my chancehere. Even if I had very tight rounds atthe end of tournament, I knew that I had the chance here in Roland Garros,because I'm too good a player not to have a chance at the end. That's one thing.

Second thing, I don't know if I hadseen the day would be like this. Iwanted to ‑‑ my dream when I was a kid was to win in Wimbledon ongrass. I was not dreaming I would winhere. This is something I hoped, but Ican't tell you I had any image in my head of how I would win.

Then I was so close and I sawRafa winning, and so I hoped I will achieve that one day. I was almost sure I would be kneeling on thecourt if I was to win here.

Q. Sincelast Sunday and the elimination of Nadal, there were great expectations onyou. Was it the longest week of yourlife?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, these were two long weeks, butespecially the last one, because it was as if I had to play four finals againstHaas, Del Potro, Monfils, and Soderling. The pressure is so big. Peoplereally wanted my to win.

It was very difficult to manage allthis. This is why I'm very tired rightnow. I think it's going to take me a bitof time to sort of accept this victory. It came as a surprise in the end because I've never won here, but thefeelings were great, absolutely great.

This is why I think it mighttake me a bit more time to realize that I made it.

Q. Soderlingplayed beautiful matches all along the tournament. Today he was almost absent during the firstset. What happened? Was it the pressure of the final? How do you analyze this?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, no, I don't think so. He probably didn't have the beginning of thematch he was expecting, because I was playing well. But when I analyze the matches he played andwhen I saw how he won, I said, yes, he won against guys who were playing veryfar from the baseline.

So this gave him time to organizeand he used his big shots. I never hadmany problems returning his shots. Iknew that there would be rallies, and it was important for me to be close tohim, to play hard against him, and use the advantages I have on clay.

This is exactly what I wantedto do, and it worked out. This is how Ibeat him the last nine times. I have thefeeling that the other opponents let him play too much. This is what I tried not to let him do.

Q. Iasked you the question on Friday, and you said, Ask me the question onSunday. I can't remember what it was,though. Well, it was about did you havesigns that it really was your year.

ROGER FEDERER: Yes. Well, the way I won the match against Acasuso and Tommy Haas gave methat feeling that this could be a good year. Then Rafa lost, and Djokovic had lost before that, so it didn't makemuch difference. But it allowed me tohave greater hopes.

But there were moments when I was soclose to losing. I feel it's just likeAgassi when he won in his days. It's notthat we're lucky, but we need to use luck when it's there. When I look at how I practice so hard,thinking I'm doing all this for Paris, for Roland Garros, everything came in atthe right time.

Maybe in some matches I wouldhave liked to have them earlier, but I managed to make the good decisions indifficult situations. Winning tightmatches showed me that, yes, maybe this is the good year.

This is whyI didn't want to answer your question. You never have any guarantees. IfI break my leg on the court, maybe it's not the good year. So I had to wait and see what would come out.

Last edited by trickcy; 06-07-2009 at 07:11 PM.
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post #291 of 2833 (permalink) Old 06-07-2009, 09:37 PM
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Re: Roger news and articles

Federer Completes Career Grand Slam, Winning Elusive French Title

Published: June 7, 2009

PARIS — Over the years, as Roger Federer imagined what it might be like to finally win the French Open, it was probably not quite like this.

How could Federer have imagined that the obstacle across the net in one of the most important matches of his life would be Robin Soderling, a relatively anonymous Swede, instead of Rafael Nadal, his left-handed Spanish nemesis?

How could Federer have imagined that with him cruising comfortably early in the second set Sunday, an intruder would jump out of the stands and on to the clay, run toward him and put a hat on Federer’s head, leaving the Swiss champion shaken before security guards finally succeeded in hustling the man off court?

How could Federer have imagined that, on top of all the pent-up pressure and imminent tennis history already weighing on him, that he and Soderling would also have to deal with some of the worst weather ever experienced during a major singles final?

No, it was all quite unexpected, but Federer, to his enduring credit, shrugged it all off and kept his eye on the one big prize he was lacking to win, 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4.

“This could be my biggest victory, the one that takes off the most pressure,” said Federer, who dropped to his knees on the clay after he had secured victory. “Now for the rest of my career, I can play relaxed and never hear again that I never won the French Open.”

The victory left the emotive Federer, 27, in tears (not for the first time this season), and it gave him a complete set of Grand Slam singles titles and allowed him to tie the career record of 14 major singles titles held by Pete Sampras.

But Sampras, the now-retired American champion who has become Federer’s friend, never won the French Open, the only one of the four major tournaments staged on clay. Federer is now one of only six men to have won all the Grand Slam titles during his career.

The others are Don Budge, Fred Perry, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver and Andre Agassi, the American who won the French in 1999, surprising even himself, and presented the trophy to Federer on Sunday.

“There seemed to be a form of destiny involved,” Agassi said of Federer. “A lot of people say it’s better to be lucky than good. I’d rather be Roger than lucky. The guy has earned his place in the game and earned this title.”

The match was played in swirling winds and, for much of the final two sets, in rain that ranged from light to heavy and had many of the fans in the Philippe Chatrier court hunkered down in their expensive seats under umbrellas. If Federer had not served out the match at 5-4 in the third set, the French Open tournament director, Gilbert Ysern, said that tournament officials were seriously considering stopping play at 5-5.

“We were really not far from having to finish the match tomorrow,” Ysern said. “We really were in a very precarious position all day because of the weather. We were lucky.”

Comparing greatness across tennis eras is complicated because the sport was once divided into amateur and professional circuits, with professionals long unable to compete in the Grand Slam tournaments until the sport went open in 1968. The mark of 14 major singles titles that Federer and Sampras now share is not a true benchmark, because top players in the 1940s, the 1950s and most of the 1960s rarely played in many Grand Slam events and because stars earlier in the Open era often skipped the Australian Open.

But with the French Open title now at last in his possession, a strong case can be made for Federer in the inevitable debate over who deserves to be considered the greatest player ever. “To me he’s the best player in history, he really deserved to win here,” said Soderling, the 23rd seed who defeated Nadal in the fourth round and was playing in his first Grand Slam final.

Federer has still not won the Grand Slam, which requires winning all four titles in the same calendar year. The only men to do that are Don Budge and Rod Laver, who managed it in 1962 as an amateur and 1969 as a professional.

“What Laver did is God-like,” Agassi said. “To win all of them in the same year twice — how do you argue with that? At the same time, Federer could have done it in a pretty intense era. He could have done it a couple of times. So for him to get over the line here, how could you argue anybody had done something better than he has? I wouldn’t be on the side of that argument.”

Federer has won the Australian Open three times, Wimbledon five times and the United States Open five times. But the French Open had eluded him until now because of Nadal, who beat him in the semifinals in 2005 and in the final the last three years. Last year, when Federer was still in the midst of his four-year run at No. 1, Nadal embarrassed him, 6-1, 6-3, 6-0.

That defeat was a harbinger of bigger disappointments to come for Federer, who had mononucleosis earlier in the season. Nadal then ended Federer’s five-year run at Wimbledon by beating him in a classic final and won the Olympic gold medal in singles after Federer lost early. Nadal then took over the No. 1 ranking. Though Federer recovered to win his fifth straight United States Open title in impressive fashion in September, he lost again to Nadal in this year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open.

During the trophy ceremony in Australia, Federer sobbed uncontrollably and was comforted by Nadal, who had, at that stage, beaten him five consecutive times and 13 times in 19 matches. With questions hanging in the air about his state of mind, Federer took a six-week break from the tour because of a lingering back problem. After his return, he failed to win a tournament until he unexpectedly beat Nadal on clay in the final in Madrid last month.

But with that match being played in quick conditions and with Nadal having played a four-hour marathon the day before against Novak Djokovic, Nadal still arrived in Paris with his aura intact and as an overwhelming favorite to win his fifth straight French Open.

Soderling changed all that last Sunday, and Nadal, citing a knee injury, has now pulled out of the grass-court tournament this week at Queen’s Club in London and is, according to his coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, questionable for Wimbledon.

How quickly momentum has shifted at the top of men’s tennis. “You never can forget the respect I have for Rafa; he was stronger on clay the last few years than me,” Federer said. “But even if I would have lost today, I would have still believed in my chances here until the end of my career, because I knew inside that I had the game to win here. But to have it happen, it’s very special.”

Soderling had never beaten Federer in their nine previous matches and it appeared that this one would be even quicker than usual when Federer jumped out to a 4-0 lead and swept through the opening set in just 23 minutes. Soderling’s big serves and groundstrokes were much less effective than in his previous matches, and Federer looked sharp and focused.

But with Soderling trailing, 1-2, and serving at 15-0 in the second set, an external factor surfaced as a red-clad male intruder jumped on the court from the photographers’ area and was soon face to face with Federer behind the baseline. The intruder reached up and placed the flag he was carrying over Federer’s head, obscuring his face, and then turned and hurdled the net, before being tackled by a security guard. He was then hustled off court by a group of security guards.

“That gave me a fright, seeing him so close right away,” Federer said. “The good thing is like it’s happened before, so I guess that’s why I didn’t panic.”

Federer has had matches at Wimbledon and other tournaments interrupted by on-court intruders. But Ysern said he deeply regretted the incident.

“It’s always a shame when it happens,” Ysern said. “You can’t view it fatalistically, though. We will try all we can to find solutions before next year so it doesn’t happen again.”

Federer would proceed to lose the next three points, two with badly mis-hit shots as Soderling evened the score at 2-2. But Federer recovered his cool and held serve in the next game and then took command of the match for good in the second-set tie breaker with aces on all four of his service points.

“That was huge,” Federer said.

He then broke Soderling in the opening game of the third set. At that stage, a victory was looking like destiny. But Federer still had to serve it out at 5-4 with his heart pounding particularly hard in his chest.

“It was almost unplayable for me,” he said of his nerves. “I was just hoping to serve some good serves and hoping he’d make four errors. It was that bad.”

Leading, 30-15, Federer made an unforced backhand error. At 30-30, he moved forward for a routine swing volley with his forehand and hit it long. But he saved a break point when Soderling mistimed a forehand. He then got to match point with a forehand volley winner into an open court, and won it all with a first serve that Soderling failed to return.

Federer was on his knees in tears, and despite all the significance of the moment, it was hard not to flash back to Australia earlier this year when his tears were flowing for quite a different reason.

source: The New York Times

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post #292 of 2833 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 01:22 AM
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Re: Roger news and articles

Coronation Day
Posted 06/07/2009 @ 3 :46 PM


by Pete Bodo

You couldn't really call him a streaker, and not just because the gawky apparition was wearing black knickers and red-and-white Switzerland stockings, and using the Barcelona football club flag for a cape. And you couldn't dismiss him as a mere clown, looking for attention he could never get any other way. The truth was that this stork-like, balding, whatever-it-was projected something menacing and blink-your-eyes unreal, something ugly in a way that somehow seemed lewd.

After loping onto the court (the crowd watched in rustling disbelief) the court invader (allegedly, someone who calls himself Jimmy Jump) stood there just a few feet from Roger Federer, taunting, shaking that blood-red flag, in a way that might have been described as childish, were it somewhat sinister and other-worldly, and were he not standing at point-blank range from the stunned and perhaps frightened player who was in the process of rewriting the tennis history books.

What might it have been like for Federer at that moment, when a millisecond earlier he had been floating happily in that shimmering, elastic soap bubble of his perfection - leading Robin Soderling, 6-2, 2-1, 15-0, in the final of the French Open that ultimately would earn him a career Grand Slam, tie him with Pete Sampras for the most Grand Slam singles titles in history (14), and vault him, in most eyes, beyond all his Open-era rivals for the title, Greatest Of All-Time.

What might it have been like to have that maniac prancing before him, like something out of a nightmare, a grotesque spook coming back from a terrifying dream Federer once had about Rafael Nadal, and what that dark young Spanish nemesis had done to interrupt the arc of his career at Roland Garros.

And then to have that lurid intrusion into his consciousness - the same well from which Federer had until then been drawing up beauty in buckets, one glowing and elegant shot after another - yank a strange red cap from its head, and try to place it on Federer's, it might have been terrifying in the same way as glancing at your forearm to find an enormous, multi-colored poisonous insect resting there.

Deranged "All of a sudden I heard the crowd, and I looked over and he jumped over the fence or something." Federer recalled later. "That gave me a fright, just like seeing him so close right away. It definitely felt uncomfortable once he came close to me. Looking back, it definitely threw me out of my rhythm a little bit. One game later I thought that maybe I should have sat down and taken a minute or two to kind of reflect on what just happened. Was that real or what? But I don't know. I mean, I wanted to play on and whatever, get over it. But it was a touch scary, yes."

Not scary enough to achieve its presumed intent, to unnerve Federer and throw him off his game. Although Federer lost that game (Soderling was serving) in a flurry of distracted errors, he regained his composure quickly and held his next service game to go up, 3-2. There followed the most dangerous portion of the match, as Soderling began to find his groove and hold serve, while gusts of wind sent red dust devils swirling on the court and the inevitable rains came as the set rolled on toward the tiebreaker.

When the games reached six-all, Federer was ready. Boy was he ready. He served only four points in the tiebreaker. Every one was an ace. I'd call it his career game but for the fact that if all you see Roger Federer do is hit aces, you're missing an awful lot - impressive as it is.

If this was indeed the coronation that seemed inevitable, by the time the actual match started it looked as if were being conducted on Golgotha. A day that had dawned clear and bright with a light breeze had, by match-time, grown dark and heavy with clouds. A cold wind whistled through the ivy on the side of the Court Philippe Chatrier. Soon, the skies would bleed a cold drizzle, imbuing this day with a funereal gloom.

It isn't supposed to be like that, for a coronation, especially a coronation on clay in June at Roland Garros. And most especially not for the coronation of someone like Roger Federer, the man whose game has always radiated ease, grace, along with an almost otherworldly lightness that belies the sting of that marvelously fluid serve, the hiss of that crosscourt topspin backhand, and the snap of that expertly lashed forehand.

It should have been bright and warm, with birds twittering on the limbs of the chestnuts while chic Parisians were Twittering on their Blackberrys and sipping their cafe cremes. The flags encircling the top of Court Chatrier hanging slack, like drapes, to create perfect conditions for a career-defining win.

But this was a tournament of surprises and a day of surprises, and while some are more pleasant than others, surprises are never welcomed by tennis players - at least not unless until they find themselves on the winning end of them. Oh, you could say Robin Soderling taking out Nadal in the fourth round here was precisely that sort of pleasant surprise for Federer, with the added bonus that Federer's opponent on this day of destiny fulfilled would be that same Soderling, still a first-time Grand Slam finalist and victim of Federer's rapier nine times in a row - and with no wins of his own from which to draw inspiration.

Soderling talked a good game before the final, promising to take it to Federer. That was refreshing, because it suggested that whatever else might happen, Soderling was not there to bear witness to history as much as to stop it from happening - which gives you a pretty danged good idea about what it's like playing Federer.

But Soderling's best intentions went to waste, as he learned something critical about the rivalry that existed in his own mind (if not in the record books). "The match was what I expected. I think I didn't play aggressive enough. But every time I play Roger I say, 'I played so bad today. . .' I learned (today) that it's not that I play so bad, it's that he makes me so bad."

He amplified that idea, admitting that he's never played anyone who plays as "fast" as Federer. Nikolay Davydenko also uses that precise word to lament losses in which he's swarmed and overpowered. 'It's much easier for me to be aggressive with Rafa," Soderling went on. "In all the match (his fourth-round upset of the defending champion) I dictated the play. But against Roger so far, it's been impossible for me to do that. Roger's game doesn't suit mine at all because he keeps me on the run all day and that doesn't allow me to be aggressive."

Tmf Still, it wasn't like The Mighty Fed could mail this one in. The pressure he was under was obvious and enormous - how would he have felt being the guy who, with a chance to complete a career Grand Slam etc. etc., lost to the world no. 25 against whom he was 9-0 etc. etc.?

That Federer asserted himself so forcefully and showed such poise in the face of every wicked surprise this day threw at him had to be comforting, and the amount of relief he must have felt was hinted at by his subsequent loquacity. There was a Soderling-grade dose of honesty and realism in his remarks, too:

Addressing his record on clay, Federer politely distanced himself from the otherwise excellent company of John McEnroe, Stefan Edberg and Pete Sampras - other icons who had somehow never won in Paris: "Well, I always tended to disagree with those (suggestions). I had the feeling I gave myself too many opportunities over the years at the French Open.

"I think Pete (Sampras) was maybe once in the semis. Other players were maybe once in the finals. I was in the final three times, one semis before, and I was able to win Hamburg four times and be in the finals of Monaco and Rome, of all those tournaments.

"I knew the day Rafa won't be in the finals, I will be there and I will win. I always knew and that I believed in it. That's exactly what happened. It's funny. I didn't hope for it, but I believed in it."

Now let me backtrack a little and admit to being a bit melodramatic at the top of this post. I had my reasons, but the fact is that Federer did not entirely surrender to fear, or paralysis, when that invader confronted him. It's easy to underestimate how quick-witted he is, and how quickly he processes information, and that's partly why that psychically violent intrusion didn't play a larger role in the match. Going into greater detail on his feelings, he said, in a surprisingly jocular tone:

"The good thing is like it happened before, you know, so that's why I guess I didn't panic. It happened in Wimbledon before when two guys ran out on the court, and once I think it was in Montreal when I lost to Roddick when I was playing for my No. 1 ranking in the third set.

"So it wasn't the first time. Normally they (the invaders) always kind of look at me and go, I'm so sorry I have to do this, because they have some sort of a reason for it, you know (at that point, everyone in the room - including Federer - laughed) I remember the English guy was actually quite funny. He looked at me and goes, I'm so sorry I have to do this.

"I was like, Okay, just don't touch me, you know.

"This guy, I don't know, he looked at me and I was not sure what he wanted. It seemed like he wanted to give me something. So I was actually okay, because I saw he wasn't pulling for anything stupid."

I'll have a broader analysis of Federer's achievement, and the way this tournament may be a game-changer for both Federer and Nadal, in the coming days. Meanwhile, I emailed Pete Sampras shortly after the match and he called me just a few minutes ago.

"This puts him at the top, as the greatest player in my eyes," Pete said. "But you have to be fair to Nadal, too. Rafa's just in the beginning stages of his career, but he has a good record against Roger. So what happens in the next couple of years could be real interesting."

Pete was a little late getting out of bed and saw just the third set, but he felt not a twinge of sadness or melancholy seeing his record equaled. "I was prepared for it, it was not a matter of 'if' but of 'when.' It's also great that he's a friend. Records are made to be broken, I really believe that, and if I'm going to have my record broken, this is the kind of guy I want doing it."

Does anyone agree that when Roger and Mirka have their child they ought to name him or her Robin?
i did suggested that...

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post #293 of 2833 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 01:55 PM
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Re: Roger news and articles

from Roger's site!


Roger beats Robin Söderling and wins the French Open! This title is Roger's 14th Grand Slam title! With this incredible win our champ levels Pete Sampras' record and is one of the six players who completed a sweep of the Majors!

Roger produced a near-faultless play and wrapped up a 6-1 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 victory in one hour and 55 minutes.
Roger backed that up with a majestic service game, which he held to love with one booming ace and the most delightful backhand.

After confidently winning the first set, Roger opened the second set with a double-fault but normal service was quickly resumed and an ace down the 'T' helped him take game one with little reason for concern.

At 4-3 up, Roger cranked up the pressure!

Söderling twice kept his composure when serving to stay in the set but Roger was in a class of his own during the tie-break serving four aces and gaining the first of three mini-breaks at 1-1.

The third set was decided in game three when Söderling double-faulted to gift Roger a break in game one.


1 - Roland Garros title (2009) and Rafael Nadal (only player he's lost to in a Grand Slam final)

2 - Ranking at time of Roland Garros title (also '04 Australian Open)

3 - Australian Open titles won (2004, '06-07)

4 - Times reached final in each of the Grand Slam tournaments

5 - Wimbledon (2003-2007) and US Open (2004-2008) titles won and number of times he's lost to Nadal in Slam finals

6 - Sets lost during his title run at Roland Garros, the most of his Grand Slam titles, and how many different players to complete a career Grand Slam

7 - Consecutive years of winning at least one Grand Slam title

8 - Hard court titles between US Open (5) and Australian Open (3); Losses in his streak of 20 consecutive semi-final or better Grand Slam appearances

9 - Countries of opponents he's beaten in Grand Slam finals (Australia, Chile, Cyprus, Great Britain, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, and U.S.)

10 - Record consecutive Grand Slam finals reached between 2005 Wimbledon and 2007 US Open

11 - Appearances at Roland Garros before winning first title (same as Andre Agassi) and number of different opponents he's beaten in Grand Slam finals

12 -Titles won in his streak of 20 consecutive semi-final or better Grand Slam appearances

13 - Last year's US Open where Federer won his previous Grand Slam title; 2000 Wimbledon where Sampras won his

14- Ties Pete Sampras for the most Grand Slam singles titles in the history of men's tennis

With kind permission by
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post #294 of 2833 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 03:45 PM
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Re: Roger news and articles

Rogge calls Federer’s achievement ‘unique’
33 minutes ago

Buzz up! PrintBRUSSELS (AP)—IOC president Jacques Rogge says Roger Federer is now arguably “the best ever player in the world of all time.”

Federer won the French Open final on Sunday to complete a career Grand Slam and earn a record-tying 14th major singles championship to tie Pete Sampras, a feat described by Rogge on Monday as a “unique achievement.”

Playing in his fourth final at Roland Garros, Federer became the sixth man to win all four Grand Slam championships.

Rogge told The Associated Press on Monday that he hoped the 27-year-old Federer would still be playing at the 2012 London Olympics.

~~~Roger Federer (18 GS): Wimbledon 2003, AO 2004, Wimbledon 2004, US Open 2004, Wimbledon 2005, US Open 2005, AO 2006, Wimbledon 2006, US Open 2006, AO 2007, Wimbledon 2007, US Open 2007, US Open 2008, Roland Garros 2009, Wimbledon 2009, AO 2010, Wimbledon 2012, AO 2017 ~~~

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post #295 of 2833 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 03:46 PM
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Re: Roger news and articles

French in hand, Federer looks forward to Wimbledon

PARIS (AP)—To Roger Federer, what’s important is not only that he finally won the French Open.

It’s how he did it.

“I didn’t think I played the greatest tennis of my life throughout this tournament. But I definitely played the right way: I was smart. I was strong. I had to show fighting spirit and all those things,” Federer said Monday. “It’s different for me to come through this way, instead of just dominating everybody.”

A day after beating Robin Soderling 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4 to complete a career Grand Slam and earn a record-tying 14th major championship, Federer met with reporters at a hotel in central Paris. It’s where he slept the past few weeks— and where he drank champagne and celebrated until the wee hours Monday morning with a group of about 60 people.

“I’m just mentally drained and exhausted—and just so happy and thrilled,” Federer said, his new trophy in tow.


Of the 19 times he has reached the final of a Grand Slam tournament, equaling Ivan Lendl’s mark, this was the first time Federer played two five-set matches along the way. He dropped the first two sets of his fourth-round match against Tommy Haas before coming back, then trailed against Juan Martin del Potro in the quarterfinals before coming through in five sets.

“I feel I’ve definitely become more a man now, the last few years, where I’m not scared of five-setters anymore,” Federer said. “I can handle the pressure.”

He said he’s not too concerned about regaining the No. 1 ranking he lost to Rafael Nadal in August. No, Federer’s priority is winning more Grand Slam titles. The first chance to get No. 15 and surpass Pete Sampras comes at Wimbledon, which begins June 22.

Federer’s run of five consecutive Wimbledon titles ended with a five-set loss to Nadal in last year’s final.

The 27-year-old Swiss star considers himself the man to beat this time.

“I do think I’m the favorite, actually, with all the success I’ve had,” Federer said.

Nadal’s 31-match French Open winning streak ended with a loss to Soderling in the fourth round. Five days later, Nadal pulled out of this week’s grass-court tournament at Queen’s Club, citing knee problems.

Referring to Wimbledon, Nadal said: “I hope I can be ready to compete by then.”

Federer expects to see his nemesis at the All England Club.

“It seems like it’s not 100 percent serious, his knee injury. I only wish him the best and I hope it’s not true that he will miss Wimbledon. I think it’s a lot of speculation at the moment,” Federer said. “He wasn’t taping his knees here in Paris. He seemed fine, (from) what I saw, anyway. I’ve played him so many times, I can tell when he’s in pain and when he’s not.”

Federer said his back feels OK—he took a six-week break this year because it was bothering him—but he also said he was considering withdrawing from the grass-court tournament in Halle, Germany, that began Monday.

As for his game, Federer figures he can keep improving, particularly on grass and hard courts, “when I can go for my shots more.”

He already has won five championships at Wimbledon, five at the U.S. Open and three at the Australian Open. Now—after having lost to Nadal in the three previous French Open finals—Federer looks forward to being the defending champion at Roland Garros for the first time.

“I’m sure I’m going to enjoy Paris even more in the future,” he said, “because the pressure is off.”

~~~Roger Federer (18 GS): Wimbledon 2003, AO 2004, Wimbledon 2004, US Open 2004, Wimbledon 2005, US Open 2005, AO 2006, Wimbledon 2006, US Open 2006, AO 2007, Wimbledon 2007, US Open 2007, US Open 2008, Roland Garros 2009, Wimbledon 2009, AO 2010, Wimbledon 2012, AO 2017 ~~~

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post #296 of 2833 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 07:13 PM
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Re: Roger news and articles

Roger Federer to get hometown naming venue honor
6/8/2009, 10:45 a.m. EDT
The Associated Press

(AP) — BASEL, Switzerland - Roger Federer's birthplace will rename its international tennis venue for its most famous sporting son.

Basel sports director Peter Howald said on Monday that St. Jakobshalle will be called Roger Federer Arena following a planned renovation.

Howald said the city had discussed ways of honoring the new French Open champion, who completed a career Grand Slam and tied Pete Sampras' record of 14 major singles titles with his victory Sunday at Roland Garros.



the recipe is simple yet but extremely rare:buckets of athletic ability coupled with gallons of mental tenacity are the core ingredients that produce a Tiger Woods,a Michael Jordan...a Roger Federer

roger is the best
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Re: Roger news and articles

Originally Posted by didadida View Post
Roger Federer to get hometown naming venue honor
6/8/2009, 10:45 a.m. EDT
The Associated Press

(AP) — BASEL, Switzerland - Roger Federer's birthplace will rename its international tennis venue for its most famous sporting son.

Basel sports director Peter Howald said on Monday that St. Jakobshalle will be called Roger Federer Arena following a planned renovation.

Howald said the city had discussed ways of honoring the new French Open champion, who completed a career Grand Slam and tied Pete Sampras' record of 14 major singles titles with his victory Sunday at Roland Garros.

the equivalent of Rod Laver Arena
now we have a ROGER FEDERER ARENA!!! thats awesome
now he really is a GOAT

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post #298 of 2833 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 06:56 AM
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RG: The A-List
Posted 06/08/2009 @ 6 :11 PM

If tennis is a sport of emotion, the French Open is its annual soul-venting outburst. Roland Garros makes and breaks players. Here is where Ivan Lendl became a man, Michael Chang became possessed, John McEnroe was brought to his knees, Rafael Nadal and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario announced themselves in a blaze of teenage glory, Ana Ivanovic choked and then beat the choke, Natasha Zvereva was forever humiliated, and Guillermo Coria lost it all. Whatever it is about Roland Garros—I suspect it's some combination of seeing red and hearing French—that pushes players to their emotional limits was in evidence again in 2009. Coming into the final weekend, we knew only one thing: There would be tears. Let’s see whose were for the better, and whose were for the worse. I’ll start today with the better.

Roger Federer

Can the first point of a match win the whole thing for a player? That’s what I wondered when Federer went up 0-15 on Robin Soderling’s serve in the opening game of the final. They engaged in a sharp rally in which neither player backed too far behind the baseline. Soderling took the same full-blooded cuts from both sides that he’d been taking all tournament, but Federer snapped them back without giving ground—he even took them early. Finally, Soderling, unable to find a hole, shanked a backhand wide. The ball kerranged off his racquet and hung in the air like a misplayed note. It was the sound of Robin Soderling becoming Robin Soderling again. He would lose his serve immediately and never seriously challenge Federer.

While the final was routine—the Spanish freak who jumped onto the court was a lot more menacing than Le Sod on Sunday—Federer’s 14th Slam was his most arduous, and for that it was his most memorable. I wrote after his U.S. Open win last fall, in which he’d survived a five-set scare against Igor Andreev, that Federer, who had shown us how good tennis could look when winning was easy, might end up showing us how good it could look when winning was hard. While he didn’t do that at the Australian Open—if anything, Federer showed us how hard losing can look in Melbourne—he came through in Paris.

Federer didn’t soar over the field this time. Clay-court tennis is about persevering more than anything else, and Federer spent the tournament finding ways to win. He dared to add a shot, the forehand drop. He outlasted a man seven years his junior, Juan Martin del Potro, over five sets. He belted aces, Sampras-style, to survive the tight second set against Soderling. He won key points at the net in the decisive first-set tiebreaker against Monfils. He threw caution to the wind and belted an unlikely winner when everything looked lost against Haas. He made Acasuso hit one more shot, which he couldn’t.

The Goat debate aside, what’s most impressive—incredible, really—to me is that Federer has matched the very different signature achievements of the two best players of the previous era: Sampras’ 14 majors and Agassi’s career Slam. Does it matter that he didn’t play Rafael Nadal to do it? No. He’ll be measured, as Sampras and Laver have been, on whether he won the French Open, not whether the draw worked out so that he could beat a certain player at the French Open. Still, it should be acknowledged that the stars did some aligning for Sire Jacket over the last two weeks. Coming into the French, he was 1-11 in his last 12 matches against the combined triumvirate of Murray, Nadal, and Djokovic; all three of those guys fell like dominoes before he had to face them in Paris. But to begrudge him that good fortune would be the same as begrudging him the good fortune that made him Roger Federer in the first place.

I’ve always liked and admired Federer, and I love what's he's done for the sport, but I've never been a full-on devotee. As with Sampras in his prime, I’ve found it hard to root all-out for a player who's winning all the time. Most of the time, my professional world is more interesting when these kinds of guys lose. (Though when I watch old clips of Pistol Pete, what seemed like slump-shouldered dullness back in the day now strikes me as a meticulously professional mindset that’s much more enjoyable to watch.) I appreciate Federer's smoothness and elegance, but unlike his more aesthetically minded fans, I don’t believe that beauty is truth, at least not the only truth, and certainly not the only truth in athletics.

Instead, Federer’s game proves something simpler but no less exciting to anyone who plays the sport. I know you’ve seen it before, but watch him watch the ball so carefully onto his strings. Watch him nod his head into his slice to make sure his body is fully coordinated for—fully into—the shot. Watch him extend his swing as far as possible without letting any other part of his body come out of its stance. Watch him make a transition forward without stopping to set up for the ball, yet without running through it, either. Federer makes elegance, which in tennis is another word for doing things extremely correctly, a formula for dominance. In the past, this formula didn’t apply to the down and dirty clay game at Roland Garros, which has always been the province of grinders, not high-flying shot-makers. Now that Federer has conquered Paris and owns every Slam, he’s shown that while beauty may not be truth, in tennis it can be universal. In other words, it can kick ass all over the world. A+

Svetlana Kuznetsova

Kuzzie is always in the shadows. That’s understandable, because she usually hangs around and loses just before the final. This time she made it all the way to the winner’s circle and was only pushed farther from the cameras than ever. Not only was she overshadowed by the Week of Federer, she was upstaged by her tearful losing opponent in the final, Dinara Safina.

Still, the Russian might be walking away a new woman. She beat Safina and Serena with superior shot-making and clay instincts. While she suffered her usual catastrophic lapses—how about going up 5-2 in the second-set tiebreaker in the semis before losing five straight points?—she always rebounded. She was disciplined in the final, where she put Safina on a string at the baseline without indulging her taste for the low-percentage. Plus, Safina’s depressingly anti-climactic double-fault aside, Kuz closed the match with confidence. She also showed a lot of down-to-earth class with her muted celebration and sincere trophy speech. A Kuznetsova without all the flaky baggage? That could be something to watch. A+

Robin Soderling

Soderling reminded us that impossible upsets are still possible on the men's side. Will we see more of the Sod in the near future? Grass is his friend, and indoor grass would seem to be an even better fit. Do we want to see more of the Sod? I’ll say yes, though I know I should be careful what I wish for. By the final, I enjoyed his sonic serve, which he seemed to use a step ladder to pummel from 10 feet above the court, as well as the highly unsubtle roundhouse bombs he threw from both ground-stroke wings. There’s not a lot to love about the guy—he’s the opposite of elegant, or even pleasant—but seeing him crush a tennis ball does have its vulgar satisfaction. A

Dinara Safina

She looked so ready. Then it all came undone over the course of 20 minutes. We’re back to Serena’s “real” question. Did Safina lose because she choked, or is she just not good enough to win a major? It always seemed odd that such an ungainly player would have her biggest success on clay, and now know that it really was unlikely. I loved seeing her calm ambition during the tournament, her willingness to shoulder the burden of being the favorite. And I’m a bigger fan than ever after seeing her painfully naked meltdown in front of the world in the final. But I thought she came out with too much intensity in the first game—Mary Carillo rightly said that her eyes looked like they were on stems—and that she needs to put some distance between her and her coach on the court. But more than anything, Safina ran into an athletic opponent who was firing her best stuff. Losing in that situation doesn’t make you a chicken. A-

Mary Carillo

She was at her empathetic—no, that isn’t a dirty word—best in the women’s final, when she brought us closer to Safina in her sad closing moments. A-

The Tennis Channel

Lots of tennis, lots of variety, not much studio nonsense, slicker production. McEnroe, Navratilova, Lief, Gimel, Ian Eagle, Corina, all of them likeable. The bio films on the young and semi-obscure foreign players such as Wozniacki and the Radwanskas that brought us pretty far into their lives. It was a high-water mark for the network. A-

The Men's Trophy Ceremony

Soderling smiles and speaks! Too much, unfortunately (like I said, be careful what you wish for). As for Federer, this was the anti-Melbourne speech. It all came flooding out again, this time in a torrent of words—"my lovely wife, she's pregnant!—instead of tears. A-

Toni Nadal

"They say it themselves and it's true, the Parisian crowd is pretty stupid. I think the French don't like it when a Spaniard wins," he said. "Wanting someone to lose is a slightly conceited way of amusing yourself.” Good line. A-

Juan Martin del Potro

He could have beaten Federer, but that doesn’t mean this patient power-hitter isn’t still climbing the ladder. Now he’s reached a Slam semi. We haven’t seen a sign of his ceiling yet. A-

Sam Stosur

Just when you think everyone on the women’s tour is going to be cloned in the future—big return, bloodcurdling screech, shaky serve, low visor, stir and simmer—Stosur showed them what a really good serve can look like. Even more so than the Sod, this was the most improbable run in recent tennis history. A-

Maria Sharapova

The hair flip, the string gaze, the clutch backhand, the scary focus—I enjoyed La Shriek’s suitably dramatic return. She’ still tough, and she can still go completely off the rails, as she did against Cibulkova. But that was kind of fun to watch, too. A-

Michelle Larcher de Brito

I don’t know how long I'll be able to take it, but the 15 minutes I saw of this Portuguese-via-Bradenton wild child were pretty exciting. She throws her body and then some into every ball—I’m amazed they have any kind of accuracy at all—and she’s still screaming when her opponent hits her shot. What’s the big deal, at least she’s not yelling “Noonan!” A-

The Linebacking Security Guard/John McEnroe

They missed the Freaky Intruder over on Federer’s side, but it was a textbook tackle that took him down in a cloud of dust. Football on clay, anyone? It also gave Johnny Mac his best line: “They should pop that guy.” He really is from New York, isn’t he? A-


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post #299 of 2833 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 06:57 AM
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Re: Roger news and articles

Tiger Woods watched French final before Memorial

PARIS (AP)—As of about noon Monday, Roger Federer hadn’t received a congratulatory call from Rafael Nadal, the man he succeeded as French Open champion.

Who did touch base? Who did send along good wishes when Federer won his first title at Roland Garros to complete a career Grand Slam and tie Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slam titles?

None other than Federer’s pal Tiger Woods, another man who owns 14 major championships. Yes, Woods showed up to the driving range a little later than usual Sunday before playing the final round of the Memorial. He watched Federer win in his fourth trip to the French Open final, and they chatted afterward.

“I was pulling for him. I was as nervous as can be for him,” Woods said after rallying from a four-shot deficit to win in Dublin, Ohio. “I was yelling at the TV, the whole deal.”

It’s a shame more people in the United States weren’t watching, too. NBC’s coverage of Federer’s 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4 victory over Robin Soderling at Roland Garros drew a 1.8 overnight rating—meaning fewer than 2 percent of homes with televisions in the country’s largest markets tuned in. The CBS broadcast of Woods’ victory drew a 3.6 overnight rating.

Sampras was among those who caught some of Federer’s performance on television. Home in Los Angeles, he also saw parts of Federer’s earlier matches at this French Open.

“I watched enough to see that he maybe wasn’t at his best and went through some tough matches that the great ones always find a way to win—and on a surface that is his least favorite,” Sampras said. “He just dug deep.”

Like Woods with a golf club in his hands, Federer with a racket is something special to behold. Good as they are, both are constantly looking for ways to improve: After recently deciding to try drop shots more often, Federer earned five winners off them against Soderling.

“For a few years, there was probably three or four areas of his game that were arguably the best in the word, from movement to forehand to shot selection to net game,” said Andre Agassi, one of the other five men to have won each of tennis’ major tournaments. “He just has it all.”

Like the 33-year-old Woods, the 27-year-old Federer gets called the “greatest to ever play,” even though his career has years to go.

Like Woods, Federer is talented and innovative, someone who not only is capable of dominating a sport but also of changing the way opponents play and train.

“Roger made everybody play better. He made every tennis player in the world be better, if they want to play with him,” said Guillermo Vilas, who won four Grand Slam titles in the 1970s. “That’s why everybody learns new shots and works differently: ‘Roger’s doing this, we have to do the same.”’

Like Woods, Federer does a good job of blocking out potential distractions. One example: Federer’s father wasn’t in the stands at Court Philippe Chatrier on Sunday, having returned to his hotel because he came down with a virus.

Like Woods, Federer knows how legacies are built.

“For me,” Federer said Monday, “it’s about the majors, really, right now.”

Federer lost to Nadal in the three previous French Open finals, and the Swiss star acknowledged feeling the pressure to come through this time after Nadal lost to Soderling in the fourth round. Federer knew history would view him differently if he could finally win in France.

“It’s going to take time for me to realize what I just did,” Federer told The Associated Press. “I might see things very differently right now. I don’t know. But at the moment, I’m just so happy. I’m so proud that I was able to come through after so many years coming so close.”

Woods and Federer share a management agency and sponsors. They’ve filmed commercials together. They’ve shown up to see the other compete in person.

And they’ve become friends, aware that no else in the world really knows quite what it feels like to be Tiger or Roger.

“It’s just truly remarkable when he gets it going. He just hits shots that nobody else can hit,” Woods said. “It’s fun to watch.”

Got that, America?


the recipe is simple yet but extremely rare:buckets of athletic ability coupled with gallons of mental tenacity are the core ingredients that produce a Tiger Woods,a Michael Jordan...a Roger Federer

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post #300 of 2833 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 07:23 AM
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Re: Roger news and articles

Steve Flink: Federer Hits Two Milestones at Once
6/7/2009 1:00:00 PM

PARIS- As Roger Federer stood at the podium following his first tournament triumph ever at the French Open, it was somehow fitting that the man who was there beside him during this presentation ceremony was none other than Andre Agassi. It was Agassi, after all, who had completed his career Grand Slam a decade ago on the same court. When Agassi secured the crown at Roland Garros in 1999, he received the trophy from the estimable Rod Laver, who had been the last man before the American to win all four of the majors. Laver, of course, had won two Grand Slams--- realizing that phenomenal feat in 1962 and 1969. But since Laver had won his second Grand Slam in 1969, no man had achieved a career sweep of the Grand Slam events until Agassi did it.

So there was symmetry to this crucial piece of history that was not lost on any of the principals. Agassi fully understood the pride Federer felt in claiming the one significant prize that had always eluded him, just as Laver recognized why Agassi was so overcome with emotion when he was victorious here in Paris ten years ago. Remarkably, Agassi won Roland Garros on his eleventh attempt when he was 29. Federer has now come through on the same stage in his eleventh appearance as he closes in on his 28th birthday.

But the similarities do not end there. Agassi wandered in an out of all kinds of precarious corners during that event, drifting within two points of defeat before toppling the Frenchman Arnaud Clement, coming from a set, 4-1, and two breaks down to oust defending champion Carlos Moya, and rallying from two sets to love down in the final to beat Andrei Medvedev. Now let’s consider the plight of Federer in 2009. He was in a serious bind against Jose Acasuso in the second round. Acasuso wasted four set points before Federer won the first set, but then the free swinging Argentine took the second set and went ahead 5-1 in the third.

Federer saved another set point on his way back to winning that set, and escaped in four tumultuous sets. He then was down two sets to love against Tommy Haas and was at 3-4 and break point down before he unleashed an inside-out forehand winner. Federer manufactured a five set comeback to oust the German, who unfortunately has made a career habit out of finding ways to lose matches he should win. In any case, after a straight set win over Gael Monfils, Federer was pushed close to his outer limits before rallying from two sets to one down to beat an inspired Juan Martin Del Potro in the semifinals.

Given the depth of Federer’s problems, many authorities believed he could be in for a trying afternoon against Robin Soderling. Not only had Soderling astounded the tennis world with his four set victory over Rafael Nadal--- handing the four time champion his first loss ever at Roland Garros--- but he had also accounted for No. 14 seed David Ferrer, No. 10 Nikolay Davydenko and No. 12 Fernando Gonzalez in his stirring run to the final.

Soderling had displayed immense heart and willpower in his semifinal victory over Gonzalez. After squandering two sets to love lead, he had fallen behind 4-1 in the fifth set before striking back audaciously to collect five games in a row for the triumph. Here was a man who had played 21 major events prior to Roland Garros, and he had never advanced beyond the third round. But this time, he had played with a blend of power and consistency we had never seen from him before, and had made his boosters think that this was his time of destiny rather than Federer’s.

And yet, at the outset of the championship match, two things were strikingly apparent: Federer was poised, purposeful, and seemingly devoid of the nerves he had exhibited in so many of his other contests. He looked a good deal more like the old Roger Federer, the man who once ruled the world of tennis so majestically. And on the other side of the net, Soderling was something of a basket case. He was clearly stricken by nerves, his movement impaired by his psyche, his strokes lacking accuracy, his serve entirely predictable and poorly located.

As a result, Federer--- who had been down a set in three of his matches, who had twice come perilously close to losing other opening sets—was able to move swiftly and comfortably through the first set. Federer was picking Soderling’s serve with uncanny ease, making deep returns, exploiting his overanxious adversary to the hilt. Soderling double faulted at 30-40 to lose his serve in the first game of the match, and Federer raced to 4-0 at the cost of only five points

Federer’s timing and execution were sweet and absolutely sound, while Soderling was not generating anything like the pace he had exhibited all through the tournament. Federer, meanwhile, was serving magnificently. His motion was fluid, his accuracy was unassailable, his variation impeccable. Soderling needed to counter that with some potent and effective serving of his own, but he failed miserably in that department. He lost his serve three times in an abysmal opening set. Most telling of all was that Soderling won only 53% of his first serve points in that set as he failed time and again to prevent Federer from blocking back deep returns.

Soderling relaxed more in the second set, and gave himself a chance at last. He won 70% of his first serve points and 66% of his second serve points, creating openings to come forward off shorter returns from Federer, and giving himself the opportunity to crack his inside-out forehand with more authority. Soderling held throughout that second set, but Federer remained confident and in command on his own delivery. Federer conceded only six points in six service games on his way to the second set tie-break.

In the tie-break, Federer stepped up with aplomb. He took that sequence 7-1. On all four points he served, Federer released aces. A brilliant serve down the T made it 1-0 for Federer. After getting the mini-break for 2-1, Federer aced Soderling wide to the backhand, and then aced him again down the T to make it 4-1. After advancing to 6-1, he sent out one last ace for good measure, this one wide to the backhand again. That was nothing less than a statement from a champion. He had brought out his best when it really mattered; Soderling’s one and only chance was to make it through that tie-break, and Federer had firmly denied the Swede that opportunity. It was an outstanding performance from a man who is 252-132 in tie-breaks over the course of his career, and 13-4 in 2009.

On they went to the third set, which was never much in doubt. Federer did have a few anxious moments as he edged closer and closer to simultaneously making history on two fronts. It was surely foremost on his mind that he could not only realize his great goal of securing a French Open title, but he could also join Fred Perry, Don Budge, Roy Emerson, Laver and Agassi as the only men ever to win all four majors in a career, while placing himself in a tie with Pete Sampras at 14 for the most Grand Slam singles championships garnered by a man.

Federer got the early break 2-0 in the third set, but thereafter his self consciousness was evident. At 2-1, he went down break point for the first time in the match, and he was fortunate at that stage. Federer completely miss-hit a forehand that dribbled over the net and he ended up taking that point with a clean forehand winner. Federer held on from there to make it 3-1. He had little trouble in his next two service games, but when he served for the match his tension was almost palpable.

At 30-30, Federer tried a delayed serve-and-volley as Soderling’s defensive return hung in the air. But the Swiss blasted a forehand drive volley long. Federer was break point down, but Soderling helped him out with a total miss-hit off the forehand without being under duress at all. Two points later, the match was over, and Federer had his 14th victory in 19 major finals, and his first triumph in four Roland Garros championship matches. In his straight set win over Soderling, Federer won 84% of his first serve points, 66% of his second serve points, and never lost his serve.

To be sure, he got every conceivable break he needed to record this victory. Of the top four players in the world, he was the only one to reach the semifinals. That was astonishing when you consider how reliable the leading players have been all year long. It was inconceivable before the tournament commenced that Federer would not face any of his three chief adversaries. Most notably, Nadal, after another stellar clay court season including three tournament wins and one final round showing, had bowed out in the round of 16 in a three-and-a-half hour match with Soderling.

Plainly, Federer was buoyed by the departures of players who could have made his life awfully uncomfortable during this fortnight. Moreover, he created some significant difficulties on his own by playing only sporadically brilliant tennis, and often inviting danger with fits of anxiety. But, in the end, he earned his triumph, and his level of play against Soderling was better than anything he had produced across the fortnight.

So now the question begs to be asked: does Federer deserve to be considered the best player in the history of tennis? My take on that is this: since we judge the greatest players on the weight of their records, Federer has made an excellent case for himself. Sampras had a fantastic record himself, but never won the French Open. I firmly believe Sampras would have more than held his own with Federer on a head to head basis, and my view is that he at the top of his game was better than Federer at his zenith on any other surface but clay.

But Federer’s numbers now are too large to ignore. The diversity of his triumphs---- winning five Wimbledons in a row from 2003-2007, taking five U.S. Opens in a row from 2004 to 2008, finally rounding out his record with a triumph at Roland Garros--- is enough for me to say unequivocally that he is the best of all time. But the fact remains that he is not through with his career, and Nadal has some big years ahead of him as well.

As it stands now, Nadal holds a 5-2 career edge over Federer in Grand Slam finals and a 13-7 lead overall in their head-to-head series. If the Spaniard manages to keep collecting big titles, eventually wins the U.S. Open for his career Grand Slam, and ties or surpasses Federer in overall majors, then it will be time to reexamine the question of all time supremacy. In fairness to Laver, his two Grand Slams--- particularly the 1969 Slam when he had to face all of the top players--- and his distinguished record elsewhere make him a strong candidate for the best ever.

But this much is certain: Federer has taken a giant step forward into the realm of history by winning at Roland Garros. His triumph would have been all the more gratifying if he had beaten Nadal in the championship match, but Federer’s victory should not be diminished in any way by having Nadal removed from his path. It would have been interesting, too, if Federer had been confronted by Djokovic or especially Murray. But that is all incidental and unimportant. He won the premier clay court title in the game. He silenced the skeptics with not simply his shot making flamboyance, but more so his grit and his gumption.

Roger Federer is the French Open champion of 2009, and no one will ever be able to take that away from him.


the recipe is simple yet but extremely rare:buckets of athletic ability coupled with gallons of mental tenacity are the core ingredients that produce a Tiger Woods,a Michael Jordan...a Roger Federer

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