Mats Wilander on Roger and Rafa [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Mats Wilander on Roger and Rafa

nobama
10-12-2005, 02:35 AM
Mats Wilander comments in Tennis Week on Roger and Rafa:

Nadal is a very talented player, but I am not sure I think Nadal will have a good chance (to challenge Federer for No. 1) because the more he plays Roger, the more Federer's gonna learn how to play him and I guess that is Federer's strength: he adjusts so well to opponents and figures out how he has to play each opponent. I think where Federer differs is he is so talented physically, he can always work on his game and always improve stuff within his game. Federer can definitely improve his volley and he can definitely improve his serve. When you watch him, his serve and backhand are not always on all the time and I personally think he can improve his serve and backhand. Imagine if he even starts hitting his serve 10 mph harder how he will be even tougher to break than he already is now. Federer is one of those phenomenons and the question is how long can keep his mind into it to continue at this level? Will he get distracted or bored? I do hope guys will focus on beating him because it will be good for him and good for tennis. I personally don't like that he plays these smaller tournaments. Yes, it's great for those smaller cities that the world No. 1 comes to play, but I hope he doesn't burn out playing these smaller places.
Hmm....well I don't see Roger getting bored any time soon. And I think the other players ARE focused on trying to beat him it's just most of them aren't able to do it. Maybe they're getting bored of trying so hard to beat him only to come up short most of the time. :lol: I don't want Roger to burn out either, but I like the fact he plays smaller tournaments. Of course money is a big part of it, but it also shows that he's not some snob who will only play certain tournaments or not try as hard in smaller events because they're not important enough. EVery tournament he participates in he plays to win.

Daniel
10-12-2005, 02:44 AM
Indeed, our Roger goes to those smaller tournaments to make his ffans happy :)

hope he rememeber to visit his fans in South America one day :D

NicoFan
10-12-2005, 02:48 AM
I loved Mats when he played and obviously he knows the game.

I think that he may be right about Roger and Rafa over the next couple years. But then Rafa might move up a level...maybe even before that...and learn how to play the hardcourts better...he's already improved a lot this year.

Plus its hard to maintain #1 year after year.

But Roger is the best...and may go down as "the" best...so who knows???

It will be interesting to see how their rivalry plays out. I think its great for tennis.

The only thing I really disagree with is like you... I think Roger should play the smaller tournaments. That would be fine when he's like 28-29, but he's too young for that. I really believe that he'd lose his competitive edge if he only played the bigger tournaments.

Plus its bad for the game. Roger is a great draw...he needs to be out there. And he takes a fair amount of time off...he's getting his rest.

wcr
10-12-2005, 03:07 AM
How is the longevity for the clay court baseline grinders? It's not my favorite type of game so I really haven't paid attention to how long the grinders last. Is it any wonder that the one male player who dominated the sport finishing 6 straight years at #1 was an all court player - Pete Sampras? This is something Wilander isn't discussing. The wear and tear on the bodies of the grinders. The game doesn't seem to be as forgiving to those players.

nobama
10-12-2005, 03:11 AM
I loved Mats when he played and obviously he knows the game.

I think that he may be right about Roger and Rafa over the next couple years. But then Rafa might move up a level...maybe even before that...and learn how to play the hardcourts better...he's already improved a lot this year.

Plus its hard to maintain #1 year after year.

But Roger is the best...and may go down as "the" best...so who knows???

It will be interesting to see how their rivalry plays out. I think its great for tennis.

The only thing I really disagree with is like you... I think Roger should play the smaller tournaments. That would be fine when he's like 28-29, but he's too young for that. I really believe that he'd lose his competitive edge if he only played the bigger tournaments.

Plus its bad for the game. Roger is a great draw...he needs to be out there. And he takes a fair amount of time off...he's getting his rest.As long as the current situation remains (Roger #1, Rafa #2 - or vice versa) the only way for a rivalry is for Rafa to improve on hc and grass. Otherwise how often will they meet each other outside of events on the dirt?

I think Roger's smart with his scheduling and rests when he needs to - like this year when he took 5/6 weeks off after Wimbledon.

nobama
10-12-2005, 03:15 AM
How is the longevity for the clay court baseline grinders? It's not my favorite type of game so I really haven't paid attention to how long the grinders last. Is it any wonder that the one male player who dominated the sport finishing 6 straight years at #1 was an all court player - Pete Sampras? This is something Wilander isn't discussing. The wear and tear on the bodies of the grinders. The game doesn't seem to be as forgiving to those players.Well some here have suggested that hard courts do more damage to the body than clay. :shrug: Nadal is only 19 so I don't see burn out from him for a long time. But he should listen to Uncle Tony who I believe has said he would prefer Rafa not to play so much. I can't imagine Rafa keeping the same schedule next year and playing as many tournaments as he has this year.

NYCtennisfan
10-12-2005, 03:53 AM
Interesting comments. Federer needs to work on his upper body strength. A few pounds of muscle and he will be able to serve the ball 4-5 mph faster. He can't add 10 mph no matter what but even 4-5 will make that 1st serve that much bigger.

mangoes
10-12-2005, 04:11 AM
I'm actually eager to see how Nadal performs next year because I'm eager to see Nadal and Roger really develop a rivalry. I think tennis is about Roger and Rafael these days. I just hope Rafael doesn't disappear next year.

prima donna
10-12-2005, 04:12 AM
Mats Wilander comments in Tennis Week on Roger and Rafa:




This is what I've been trying to say for months and yet I get labeled a "troll" for it. Give me a break with this Nadal #1 stuff, it's wishful thinking ...

Chloe le Bopper
10-12-2005, 04:19 AM
Er, that's not why people were labelling you a troll.

Action Jackson
10-12-2005, 04:24 AM
Wilander on Federer.

I think Roger Federer is most probably a better tennis player than Pete Sampras was, and I think he will go into all four majors every year for the next five, six, seven years, if he"s healthy, thinking he can win and I think the other players know that he can win.

I think that even spills over into the French Open. Sampras was never a threat at the French Open but he was very dominant in the other three. I think Federer can win all four of them.

nobama
10-12-2005, 04:32 AM
Interesting comments. Federer needs to work on his upper body strength. A few pounds of muscle and he will be able to serve the ball 4-5 mph faster. He can't add 10 mph no matter what but even 4-5 will make that 1st serve that much bigger.But is his first serve really a liability? I thought it was the second serve that needed improvement.

Dirk
10-12-2005, 05:16 AM
Roger hits a big 2nd serve with lots of kick and topspin on it. Roger's volleys will improve and his BH upon usage.

megadeth
10-12-2005, 05:25 AM
Well some here have suggested that hard courts do more damage to the body than clay. :shrug: Nadal is only 19 so I don't see burn out from him for a long time. But he should listen to Uncle Tony who I believe has said he would prefer Rafa not to play so much. I can't imagine Rafa keeping the same schedule next year and playing as many tournaments as he has this year.

it's true that hard court does more damage to your body compared to clay since clay provides some sort of "cushion" and you don't push your body much when you have to break from sprinting.

but what is being discussed is the longevity on style of play. grinders such as chang, hewitt, and nadal push their bodies more compared to others. hence more wear and tear compared to serve and volleyers (henman, sampras) or baseline dictators (agassi, fed)

jacobhiggins
10-12-2005, 05:27 AM
Federer proved he was still king with the Rise of Nadal, this year belongs to Federer once again, I think next year will be much of the same thing!

Federerhingis
10-12-2005, 05:41 AM
Indeed, our Roger goes to those smaller tournaments to make his ffans happy :)

hope he rememeber to visit his fans in South America one day :D

Well his foundation is based in South Africa, so I would assume he visits the place a few times a year I would imagine. Besides Lynette his mother was born in South Africa, so there are ties between South Africa and Federer for sure.

Castafiore
10-12-2005, 07:56 AM
From an interview this week:

Federer says Rafa will be the next number 1

The suiss Roger Federer confessed his wishes to play against Rafael Nadal in Madrid, and defended the theory that the mallorquin will be the next number 1.

Federer smiled when Nadal's 2005 season "bad luck" was mentioned, because even though Rafa has won 10 titles, including a Grand Slam, he can't overpass Federer, clear number 1 and winner of 11 titles this year. " Something similar happened to me in 2003, when I did a great season and I was number 2 behind Andy Roddick. I couldn't play better, but I ended number 2. But I have no doubts that Nadal will get to the number 1 and he will stay on the top for a long time" Federer said
Source: Diario de Mallorca (translation by Yoly, Vamosrafa.com)

Also, I read a Spanish article (translated through google.com) that they asked the "some say that you are better than Sampras, how do you feel about that?" question and Federer answered that it's very difficult to compare players of different generations because people now see him play so his level is fresh in their memory but they tend to forget just how good Sampras or Agassi were in their prime.
(don't know how good that google translation was but that seemed to be what he was saying)


Mats does have a point: Federer does have the knack to 'figure out' his opponents but who knows how this rivalry will turn out?
In a couple of years, we might be sitting here wondering why there was so much fuss over this rivalry looking at the way Federer dominates each and every player OR the other scenario could be true as well, Nadal could find a way to figure out more and more how to play Federer.
Besides, tennis is about more than these two.
We'll just have to wait and see, won't we?

Rafa = Fed Killa
10-12-2005, 08:01 AM
If Nadal doesn't improve then he won't be #1.

However, he is only 19 and will continue to improve so one day he will be number 1.

Fedex
10-12-2005, 08:09 AM
But is his first serve really a liability? I thought it was the second serve that needed improvement.
Niether the 1st or 2nd serve are liabilities for Roger. His 2nd serve is one of the best in the game.

Federerhingis
10-12-2005, 08:15 AM
Niether the 1st or 2nd serve are liabilities for Roger. His 2nd serve is one of the best in the game.

Indeed, hes very fond of hitting second serve aces, they are so well timed. ;) Like swiss clockwork! :worship:

nobama
10-12-2005, 11:52 AM
Niether the 1st or 2nd serve are liabilities for Roger. His 2nd serve is one of the best in the game.If that's the case why does Tony Roche say he one of the areas he can improve on is his second serve (and his volleys)? John McEnroe has said that as well.

Action Jackson
10-12-2005, 11:55 AM
If that's the case why does Tony Roche say he one of the areas he can improve on is his second serve (and his volleys)? John McEnroe has said that as well.

Cause even Federer can improve.

bokehlicious
10-12-2005, 11:56 AM
His 2nd serve is one of the best, BUT Roche and McEnroe think he can improve it a little more...

nobama
10-12-2005, 12:00 PM
From an interview this week:


Source: Diario de Mallorca (translation by Yoly, Vamosrafa.com)

Also, I read a Spanish article (translated through google.com) that they asked the "some say that you are better than Sampras, how do you feel about that?" question and Federer answered that it's very difficult to compare players of different generations because people now see him play so his level is fresh in their memory but they tend to forget just how good Sampras or Agassi were in their prime.
(don't know how good that google translation was but that seemed to be what he was saying)He's right about this. And to me a comment like this just shows once again that he's NOT arrogant.

wowfed
10-12-2005, 12:02 PM
Indeed, our Roger goes to those smaller tournaments to make his ffans happy :)

hope he rememeber to visit his fans in South America one day :D
Do they have any grass or hardcourt events at all ? I don't think he would care to play a tier 3 event on dirt.. ;)

bokehlicious
10-12-2005, 12:05 PM
And to me a comment like this just shows once again that he's NOT arrogant.

Only the jealous guys think so :o

Action Jackson
10-12-2005, 12:10 PM
Do they have any grass or hardcourt events at all ? I don't think he would care to play a tier 3 event on dirt.. ;)

What Tiers are you talking about? This is not the WTA then again you don't have much of a clue do you, that some of these lower events of very good standard, like Buenos Aires and Rotterdam.

DhammaTiger
10-12-2005, 12:19 PM
I agree with Roger Federer that one day Rafa Nadal will be number one. Nadal works so hard, anyone who has seen him practise will attest to that, and he knows his weaknesses and always try to improve them.Do you remember he had a wek serve until the US open? Now his serve has vastly improved. I admire Federer and don't think he is haughty or arrogant. Earlier he was quite shy, you could see that during interviews, now I think he is more confident facing the hordes of the media. For me both Rs are head and shoulders above everyone else. Although, Mats Wilander has been my hero wen he used to play, and I still do admire him, I think he is not omniscient and therefore will be proven wrong regarding Rafa.

PamV
10-12-2005, 01:23 PM
Well some here have suggested that hard courts do more damage to the body than clay. :shrug: Nadal is only 19 so I don't see burn out from him for a long time. But he should listen to Uncle Tony who I believe has said he would prefer Rafa not to play so much. I can't imagine Rafa keeping the same schedule next year and playing as many tournaments as he has this year.
Hardcourt is more jarring to the body, but I think wcr is referring to the wear on the body by playing a grinder style of play that consists of long points and a lot of running. Furthermore if Nadal tries to play more hardcourt tournaments but still employs a grinder style it's even worse.

However, you are right that being only 19 and built so thickly should work in Nadal's favor.

PamV
10-12-2005, 01:28 PM
If Nadal doesn't improve then he won't be #1.

However, he is only 19 and will continue to improve so one day he will be number 1.

That's possible, but it also depends on what Federer does and also the rest of the field.

NicoFan
10-12-2005, 01:56 PM
Roger can still improve. Of start to go downhill as all players eventually do.

And Rafa can improve on hardcourts and grass. Or not.

Only time will tell - until then - its only speculation on everyone's part.

TennisGrandSlam
10-12-2005, 03:16 PM
Roger - 1st player who won 3 out of 4 Grand Slam singles titles since Mats

Rafa - breaks the Mats' record of the most ATP singles titles won before 20

RogiFan88
10-12-2005, 03:49 PM
If Nadal doesn't improve then he won't be #1.

However, he is only 19 and will continue to improve so one day he will be number 1.

:confused: Sounds like you are contradicting yourself here.

So will Nadal be #1 or not? I think yes. ;)

TennisGrandSlam
10-12-2005, 03:52 PM
If Nadal doesn't improve then he won't be #1.

However, he is only 19 and will continue to improve so one day he will be number 1.


Nadal, maybe another Michael Chang

Style : Chang -> Hewitt -> Nadal :o

RogiFan88
10-12-2005, 03:52 PM
... I just hope Rafael doesn't disappear next year.

I doubt that will happen.

vincayou
10-12-2005, 04:14 PM
Next year's race will be pretty interesting because it's hard to predict how much Rafa will improve. As it stands, Fed has a nice cushion in the ranking, but there are many points for Rafa to gain until the end of the season. It's not his favourite surface but he has performed better than expected this year so who knows.
I didn't do the math but I doubt he could put pressure on Roger before Wimbledon next year though.

NYCtennisfan
10-12-2005, 04:19 PM
^The greatest pressure that Rafa can put on Fed is in the beginning of the season. Fed has (250+450+250+300+500+500=2250 pts) to defend before the clay season. That's a lot considering that Rafa doesn't have that much to defend other than a few small clay court tournies and then the final in Miami. If Fed slips up at the AO and Rafa does well, or Fed slips up at IW and Rafa does well, Rafa could get really close if not overtake #1.

It will be interesting to see how big of a lead Fed has going into the AO. At this point, if Fed doesn't play another match and Rafa wins all of his matches, Fed would go into next year leading by 195 points. I expect that number to be at least 1000 by the beginning of the year.

vincayou
10-12-2005, 04:31 PM
I forgot that Roger had so many points to defend compared to Rafa until Miami.
This battle is good for the last two masters series of the year. Unlike last year, I don't see the top 2 taking the risk to miss one of them.

yanchr
10-12-2005, 04:41 PM
^The greatest pressure that Rafa can put on Fed is in the beginning of the season. Fed has (250+450+250+300+500+500=2250 pts) to defend before the clay season. That's a lot considering that Rafa doesn't have that much to defend other than a few small clay court tournies and then the final in Miami. If Fed slips up at the AO and Rafa does well, or Fed slips up at IW and Rafa does well, Rafa could get really close if not overtake #1.
So that's why I think Roger really takes Madrid TMS very seriously, and also Basle, and then hopefully Paris TMS which I actually won't be surprised at all if he pulls out in the end if he does very well in Madrid and Basle. The rest of the season except TMC is a good chance for Roger to gain net points to put off a little bit the pressure of defending tons of points into the next year. I believe Roger knows that only better than me, and he wants to stay at No1 position only more than I want him to.

R.Federer
10-12-2005, 04:53 PM
Nice words from mats.
It is a pity however that he says Roge should not play "small" tournamentes (I understand, anything outside slams and T.M.S). The No. 1 player should not become so snobbish about tournaments I feel

jtipson
10-12-2005, 05:01 PM
Nice words from mats.
It is a pity however that he says Roge should not play "small" tournamentes (I understand, anything outside slams and T.M.S). The No. 1 player should not become so snobbish about tournaments I feel

I thought that was a bit strange too. Not sure whether Mats realises how few optionals Roger actually plays - only five this year so far (compare Nadal's eleven), which is optimal for his ranking. He's got one left of course, but doesn't every player play his home tournament if there is one? Also I'd hope that Wilander was familiar enough with the ranking system to realise that it's no longer the best fourteen tournaments that count, but a player takes five optional results on his ranking. Federer has five Ws from his optionals - I'd say that was perfect.

jtipson
10-12-2005, 05:06 PM
It will be interesting to see how big of a lead Fed has going into the AO. At this point, if Fed doesn't play another match and Rafa wins all of his matches, Fed would go into next year leading by 195 points. I expect that number to be at least 1000 by the beginning of the year.

Yep, the lead to start the year will be pretty crucial. I calc'd it to be 135 under that scenario, which Roger could lose in the first week, and Rafa could be number one seed for the AO. Unlikely, but theoretically possible.

However big the lead is, it can quickly disappear if the performances aren't consistent. I think hanging on to number one is a big deal for Federer, and he won't give it up lightly, hence playing more this autumn.

MisterQ
10-12-2005, 06:16 PM
I don't know if Rafa will pass Federer in the rankings, but I do think Rafa is capable of continued improvement. He has already shown a capacity for brilliant defense and grinding, but he has weapons that could allow him to become a more offense-oriented player in the future. With time, he could evolve into a player that spends less time running around way behind the baseline.

R.Federer
10-12-2005, 06:49 PM
I thought that was a bit strange too. Not sure whether Mats realises how few optionals Roger actually plays - only five this year so far (compare Nadal's eleven), which is optimal for his ranking. He's got one left of course, but doesn't every player play his home tournament if there is one? Also I'd hope that Wilander was familiar enough with the ranking system to realise that it's no longer the best fourteen tournaments that count, but a player takes five optional results on his ranking. Federer has five Ws from his optionals - I'd say that was perfect.
Yes, he has played a very reasonable load this year. He has put health in front of everything else- withdrawing from Roma and also Montreal, when he needs to. Mats and other senior tour players who commentate depend on good draws for their own livelihood, so one woud think they like the crowd pulling players to come tomore tournaments
As for Basel, Roge woudl surely want to play for the people who supported him when he was young player. I am so glad Roge does not only show up (physically or in essence) for only big tournamentes like Pete used to

nobama
10-12-2005, 06:55 PM
I love all these "what ifs".....if Roger wins nothing and Rafa wins everything he'll take over #1. :lol: Does anyone seriously think Roger is going to tank in Madrid, Paris and TMC and Rafa will win those three events? Of course ANYTHING is possible, but I think that's highly unlikely. Even if Roger doesn't win another tournament the rest of the year I doubt Rafa will win them all - especially since they're being played on his least favorite surface.

Castafiore
10-12-2005, 07:03 PM
he has weapons that could allow him to become a more offense-oriented player in the future. With time, he could evolve into a player that spends less time running around way behind the baseline.
He's working on that!
Moya said this last week:

How are your trainings going with Rafa Nadal to improve your game on the net?
They are going well, a bit tough, he puts a lot of intensity, to train is perfect, since it gives you a lot of rhythm and he’s an exceptional partner.

Is this game on the net necessary to be able to win on fast court?
You can win if you are an Agassi or a Nadal or even a Hewitt, these players win without having to go up to the net. But if you complement a strong game from the end of the court with the capability of going up to the net and win the point, it gives a lot of important free points and enables you to not get so tired. Rafa, I think, is doing a lot of work in this sense.
(Source: Diari de Balears, translated from Spanish)

prima donna
10-12-2005, 07:09 PM
The only Roger Federer that can have #1 taken from him, is an injured Roger Federer. End Of Story.

Otherwise, Roger would have to start actually losing for Nadal to become #1. Just figured I'd point that out... :)

jtipson
10-12-2005, 10:31 PM
The only Roger Federer that can have #1 taken from him, is an injured Roger Federer. End Of Story.


<cue scary music>