Re: Rafael Nadal's "Who Cut the Cheese?" Thread!!!!
Federer fired up for the 'Roger and Rafa show'
By Mark Hodgkinson
Play on the crushed brick of Roland Garros will start on a Sunday for the first time this weekend, a move largely designed to please television executives.
And yet the money-men of the small screen should probably be more animated about the prospect of the third Sunday's tennis, and the glorious possibility of the next full-length episode of the 'Roger and Rafa Show'.
Everyone in tennis wants to see a final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Probably even Federer. Switzerland's world No 1 would dearly love to defeat Nadal to win the only grand slam title that has so far eluded him.
He could hardly have been more defiant yesterday about his chances against Nadal, undermining suggestions in the tennis world that Spain's world No 2, the defending champion in Paris, had "got into my mind".
Twice Federer has been defeated by Nadal on clay this season, at the Monte Carlo Masters in April and the Rome Masters earlier this month, having previously lost to him this year on the Dubai cement. Federer has lost to Nadal in five of their six career meetings, including their first encounter on red dirt in last year's semi-finals at Roland Garros.
But Federer indicated that the thought of a showdown with the young Spaniard does not scare him. Far from it.
"It could get into my mind," he said. "I could start thinking, 'I can't play against this guy, his game doesn't suit me'. I could start accepting the fact that I have been losing against him, but that would be a bad thing for me to do."
Instead Federer suggested that he is edging ever closer to defeating Nadal on clay, pointing to the fact that he held two match-points against him in Rome.
"I know I can wait for the day when I beat Nadal. I've surprised myself how much I've improved since Dubai, as when I played him in Monte Carlo and in Rome. I always felt that I played a bit better.
"It's also important for me to know, going into the French Open, that I can cope with such a weird-playing leftie," he said.
"With the lead that I have in the rankings [Federer has 7,010 points compared with Nadal's 4,545] Nadal must expect that on any given day I can beat him. That's definitely my advantage, that over the years I've created this confidence in myself, that no matter how badly a guy beats me up I know that I can come back.
"I've sent out a message in the last couple of matches. I really feel that I should have won that match in Rome. And I like to be challenged. It keeps me ready."
Victory in Paris would make Federer only the sixth man to win all four grand slams. He would also become the first man, since Australian Rod Laver in 1969, to hold all four titles at the same time, and keep alive the possibility of doing the calendar grand slam.