*~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~* [Archive] - Page 2 - MensTennisForums.com

*~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

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MariaV
06-09-2006, 07:45 PM
This match could take a lot of casualties. :lol: :hug: MTF may be a little empty from Sunday on. ;)
:lol: :hug: I won't have time to come here much next week actually. I've got so much work piled up. :(
Will you have holidays next week too?

silver7
06-09-2006, 09:14 PM
:woohoo::bigclap:FINAL!!:bigclap::woohoo:

RogiFan88
06-09-2006, 10:01 PM
Beating Roger is "not much"? After all those close matches? After what happened in Rome? :eek:


This match could take a lot of casualties. :lol: :hug: MTF may be a little empty from Sunday on. ;)

Mallorn, it doesn't matter how easy or tough the match is for Rafa because in the end he almost always wins... esp vs. Rogi. I feel that it's up to Rogi to win this final -- he has to make it happen for himself. He will be v nervous since it's his first RG final and there's a lot at stake. When he is nervous, he never plays well and 99.99999% of the time, he loses. Also, if the match goes to 5 sets, it's over and out for Rogi. But we'll see how he comes out on Sun. Sure, Rafa will be somewhat nervous also even tho he keeps saying that the pressure is for those who have never won RG, that person being Rogi! :lol:

Whatever happens, I shall prepare myself for the worst. How can Rafa fail after he's succeeded so well on clay this year and beating Rogi in the big TMSes. Those 3 title defences proved that he didn't need to pre-prepare on clay in S Amer. Think about it! ;) He's done remarkably well considering his late start -- but therein lies the key! Rafa made sure he was 100% healed before going onto the court again! [unlike Marat, for example, who s have stopped playing tennis on his bum knee a year ago and taken care of it -- now look at him w nothing to show for it -- he's no spring chicken either! -- poor MariaV! :sad: ]

I shall dream of Rogi holding up the trophy cos it may only be that... sadly...

adelaide
06-09-2006, 11:57 PM
OK, so I've become one of those that only linger in GM and NT forums and not the players forums :lol: but I really, really adore the way Rafael reacted after today's victory awww! He seemed truly ecstatic and it was adorable. GOOD LUCK IN THE FINALS RAFA!

And I really, really wish the GM could brush all the childish arguments aside. :tape:

I am not going to be able to see the Final, I will be at work counting inventory :sad: :sad: ARGH :sad:

justClaudia
06-10-2006, 12:01 AM
Just want to wish good luck to Rafa in the final.

Vamos chico, kick some ass! :banana:

missbungle
06-10-2006, 02:11 AM
Good luck Rafa! Not that you'll need it! Roger will have to wait till next year if he wants to win RG :)

the_natural
06-10-2006, 01:23 PM
Mallorn, it doesn't matter how easy or tough the match is for Rafa because in the end he almost always wins... esp vs. Rogi. I feel that it's up to Rogi to win this final -- he has to make it happen for himself. He will be v nervous since it's his first RG final and there's a lot at stake. When he is nervous, he never plays well and 99.99999% of the time, he loses. Also, if the match goes to 5 sets, it's over and out for Rogi. But we'll see how he comes out on Sun. Sure, Rafa will be somewhat nervous also even tho he keeps saying that the pressure is for those who have never won RG, that person being Rogi! :lol:

Whatever happens, I shall prepare myself for the worst. How can Rafa fail after he's succeeded so well on clay this year and beating Rogi in the big TMSes. Those 3 title defences proved that he didn't need to pre-prepare on clay in S Amer. Think about it! ;) He's done remarkably well considering his late start -- but therein lies the key! Rafa made sure he was 100% healed before going onto the court again! [unlike Marat, for example, who s have stopped playing tennis on his bum knee a year ago and taken care of it -- now look at him w nothing to show for it -- he's no spring chicken either! -- poor MariaV! :sad: ]

I shall dream of Rogi holding up the trophy cos it may only be that... sadly...


Rogifan you are very complimentary but, the fact that Rafa has won all these matches on clay and won those titles on clay is what makes it so difficult, the records prove that he is the best on clay against ALMOST anyone in the world (I dont believe he has versed Nalby on clay? Not that i think hed lose), but having them backing him into the final just puts more and more pressure on him! Thats the problem, hes got almost as much pressure as Roger, maybe more, I know Roger is going for true greatness in history (the grandslam is huge) but Rafa has the record against Fed and has the record on clay and hes "expected" to be the favourite and hes so young, plus hes 3-1 against Fed in Finals, won 4 straight, won 3 this year on coming back in finals... Its very tough for him. I think what is easy for Federer is that he has lost to Nadal and is hungry for the title and furious at the losses to nadal and the threat to his crown.

I want rafa to win more than anything but I just fear that destiny is going to choose one man tommorow and I fear it may be your boy, and rafa made me so sad he seemed a bit hurt by wat Ljubicic said so many on Federers side and I just want Rafa to win it hes such a wonderful young'un.

I think there are TWO FEDERERS that you may see two game plans that Roche and Federer will be working on. The first is "all guns blazing" A la Rome final, take the first set and get a strangle hold on the match and then when hes up to just keep going for everything and be as agressive as possible to just overpower rafa, attack the backhand and move him around as much on Rogers serve because Rafa stands too far back. The other one is if hes very nervous and loses the first set, Try to wear Rafa down, hes been working on his short chipped return, he used it against Mario, backhand return hit like a drop shot off the serve, make rafa run, and also lots of Drop volleys and drop shots to move rafa around as much as possible and make him work as hard as possible, also without going for outright winners, make him work to wear him down and since Rafa is so back on his opponents serves, use lots of drop shots and use the extra angles to make him work on ur own serve even if u lose.

I wasnt totally satisfied with this Victory until near match point when Rafa started stepping in and onto the baseline rather than staying back and playing too defensive and "safe" to "protect" his winning position, thats what he has done against Hewitt and PHM when he was losing and Federer will exploit this hugely, I just want him to play his best tennis and play to win like he used to before the record!!! COME ON !!!!! VAMOS RAFA!!!!!

mallorn
06-10-2006, 03:47 PM
Mallorn, it doesn't matter how easy or tough the match is for Rafa because in the end he almost always wins... esp vs. Rogi. I feel that it's up to Rogi to win this final -- he has to make it happen for himself. He will be v nervous since it's his first RG final and there's a lot at stake. When he is nervous, he never plays well and 99.99999% of the time, he loses. Also, if the match goes to 5 sets, it's over and out for Rogi. But we'll see how he comes out on Sun. Sure, Rafa will be somewhat nervous also even tho he keeps saying that the pressure is for those who have never won RG, that person being Rogi! :lol:

Whatever happens, I shall prepare myself for the worst. How can Rafa fail after he's succeeded so well on clay this year and beating Rogi in the big TMSes. Those 3 title defences proved that he didn't need to pre-prepare on clay in S Amer. Think about it! ;) He's done remarkably well considering his late start -- but therein lies the key! Rafa made sure he was 100% healed before going onto the court again! [unlike Marat, for example, who s have stopped playing tennis on his bum knee a year ago and taken care of it -- now look at him w nothing to show for it -- he's no spring chicken either! -- poor MariaV! :sad: ]

I shall dream of Rogi holding up the trophy cos it may only be that... sadly...
After what happened in Rome Roger believes he knows how to win this match. Sure, he has extra pressure on him, but he wouldn't be a seven time GS winner if he didn't know how to handle nerves. I suppose Rafa will also be nervous, because it's the first time he's defending a GS title, and everyone keeps telling him he's the favourite. We'll see who deals with it better. If the match goes the distance, the fact that Rafa played four hours and forty minutes (!) longer than Roger to reach the final may be a factor, and I would never say it would be over and out for Roger (as we saw in Rome).

Surprisingly, I'm very calm all of a sudden. I thought I'd be a bundle of nerves but I'm not. The fact that Rafa's had such a great clay season and reached the final here somehow steadied my nerves. Of course, I'll be cheering him on madly tomorrow, but if he plays very well and loses - hats off to Roger. The one thing I would hate to see is Rafa play too passively and lose the final rather than Roger win it. He's been working on playing more aggressively and that's what I want to see tomorrow. I also hope that regardless of the result the atmosphere after the match will be better than recently and both players will be gracious in victory/defeat.

mallorn
06-10-2006, 04:03 PM
New interviews of Rafa and Roger are up.
Day 14 - An interview with Rafael Nadal
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Rafael Nadal

Transcribed Interview

Q. After the Rome final, Roger Federer said, "Now I guess I know how to beat him." What do you think? How can he do this probably?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't think nothing about that, no? Maybe he can beat me not now, after Rome. He can beat me in Monte‑Carlo, last year here, in Rome. Every time he can beat me. He is No. 1. I need find solution for beat him, not he find a solution for beat me, no?

Q. If you compare these finals of Rome, Monte‑Carlo, do you think the two of you got closer together, or the games were closer?

RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe that's not true. That's not true. Maybe that's not true. Every match is different. Every match is different history. Every match is different sensations, different places. Is not we can't compare one with other one. Is not exactly now he know me better and he can beat me because he can beat me in Monte‑Carlo and in every place. He's the best of the world, one of the best of the history, no? He can beat me in clay, for sure. But not now; every time, no?

Q. Are you getting used to all the show biz, coming today, talking to the journalists, the publicity? Does it make you tired or are you getting used to it?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I know I need do that. Is a part of the work. And I know, no? I know why we need do that, no?

Q. Tomorrow's final, are you waiting it with tension because of the intensity of the match or are you waiting it with, I would say, tennis appetite?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I am waiting with motivation. I wait with motivation and with...

Q. Is there an extra stress of playing against Federer compared to the other matches?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, is against the No. 1. I know he's the No. 1. He has the pression. I want to win, sure, but he has the most pression, no? He's the favorite. If he win tomorrow, he have the Grand Slam.

So for me, he has more pression than me, no? I gonna try my best. But I am quiet, no? I am with calm now. Tomorrow before the match I gonna be nervous, sure.

Q. But do you sincerely believe he is the favorite?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, sure.

BENITO PEREZ‑BARBADILLO: He says he's not throwing balls away. He said, "I'm not throwing balls away."

Q. What do you remember about last year's final? Puerta seemed to be injured at the beginning, then he played very, very good. It was very exciting for you. It was a closer match than you expected?

RAFAEL NADAL: Final last year?

Q. Last year against Puerta, it was a very good match, you enjoy?

RAFAEL NADAL: I enjoy and suffer. It was a very, very tough match. Nice, maybe. Many emotions, emotive. So I remember exactly the final. I watch this final on TV a lot of times. I run a lot. I was running a lot and fight a lot, no? So I had a very good remember all last year, no.

Q. You think it is sad that Puerta cannot play now, or that's the rules and that's how it has to be?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't want to speak about that, no? Because I always think about the good faith of the players, and maybe is a mistake. So I don't want to speak about nothing because he's a... (in Spanish).

BENITO PEREZ‑BARBADILLO: Working companion.

RAFAEL NADAL: Working companion. I don't want to think he want to do the doping he don't won. Is better lose the final of Roland Garros for sure than not play for never, no?

Q. You've been unbeaten on clay for over 50 games in a row. How much confidence do you take out of this fact? How much confidence does this give to you?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, is confidence for sure. I have 59 matches consecutive on clay, so that's an unbelievable record for me.

Is very difficult. I know very much I could lose, sure, but when I go to the court I feel with confidence for that, too, no?

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.

Q. What is the difference between the final of last year and this final? The match, the opponent, everything?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't like comparing previous years with this year. I don't think you can compare. It's different times, different situations. It's a different moment in life. I don't think we can compare. These are two entirely different finals.

Last year and this final are completely different. I think last year I was probably the favorite. This year it's not the case. It's a completely different moment.

Q. How are you preparing from the mental point of view for the final? And, second question, what past player would you have liked to play a final of Roland Garros against?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I'm going to prepare the same as any other match. I don't think I'm going to do anything special. I like to follow my routine. I think it's extra pressure to change your preparation. I'm going to try to prepare the same as ever.

And in terms of players of the past that I would have liked to face Kuerten. I think I would have liked to play a number of players.

Q. Can you explain the influence of your uncle Miguel Angel on your career?

RAFAEL NADAL: Miguel Angel?

Q. Yes, his influence. Did he have an influence on you when you were a child?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't think so. I think that my family benefitted from the experience. I think that it helped me to assimilate a number of things. It served as a reference, possibly.

But he also had his life, he had his work. Until last year practically, I didn't see him that much. I saw him when he was home in Mallorca, but he was frequently away and I was frequently away as well.

Q. We know that you don't really like to change your tennis in terms of your opponents, but you want to be more aggressive against Federer?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, but I'll follow my usual game. You have to play your own game. If you try to do something you don't know how to do, you'll probably play badly. I'm going to play my usual game, my usual tennis. That is the starting point. I might try to attack a little bit more, to be a little bit more aggressive, to try to get into control of the match.

Day 14 - An interview with Roger Federer
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Roger Federer

Transcribed Interview

Q. The other day, yesterday, you said that winning the Slam, holding all four titles, would be an extraordinary accomplishment in sports. Can you compare that to some of the other accomplishments in sport, like Tiger Woods holding all four of the golf titles or Lance Armstrong with his six straight?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you would almost have to compare to what Tiger did, I guess, because they have also four majors. He won them in a row. I don't think he won it the same year. With Lance, obviously, it's always hard to be compared. He's got this one big race every year which he wins and he did that for so long. That's sort of a different accomplishment. Same as the one with Schumacher, it's also very different against him.

Yeah, you have to almost go towards Tiger, I would think.

Q. Rafael said tomorrow you are the favorite. He said in every single match you play you are the favorite because you're No. 1 and probably you have more pressure because of this Grand Slam feat you might accomplish tomorrow. What do you have to say about that?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, that's his opinion, so that's okay, you know. I have a different opinion. It's not the same, so that's okay, too. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Preparation has been good. My fitness is good. Weather is good. So why shouldn't I be playing good? I'm looking forward till tomorrow.

Q. I imagine your Blackberry or e‑mail is going nuts today, the day before the final. Can you give us a sense of who you've heard from, former players or anything like that, wishing you luck?

ROGER FEDERER: Many fans came from Switzerland, obviously, for the weekend. Even more coming for tomorrow. We need many tickets. And that's always the case either here in Paris or in Wimbledon, which is around the corner for us Swiss people. So it's gonna be interesting, you know, with many friends watching.

Yeah, haven't gotten that many good luck wishes yet, but I know all of them, they think that. Nobody wants to disturb me now, so it's all right.

Q. Have you ever had the chance to talk with Rod Laver about what he went through, winning the Slam? Did you ever get that deep with him?

ROGER FEDERER: No.

Q. No?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, we met in Australia briefly a couple times, and we didn't speak about that feat. I just heard him talking about it in the press, but we never spoke about it together.

Q. Can you just fathom somebody who's done that twice?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I spoke to Tony about it because he was playing when he did it. And he said the first one was not everybody was playing, not to take anything away. The second one was when everybody was playing. He said after he won the second one, he never won another Grand Slam, which is kind of surprising.

It is quite incredible, especially with maybe six, seven years in between. It's an incredible accomplishment. It's Tony who actually told me more about it than obviously Rod Laver himself.

Q. With everybody talking about the potential of you winning a noncalendar Grand Slam and potentially a calendar Grand Slam, is it hard to remove that from your mind and just think about the match?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, it is kind of simple because the preparations are always the same for each and every match. Then you, you know, have been trying to put yourself into this position so there's no reason now to get nervous. I think the nerves were more intense in the beginning of the tournament, you know, the Sunday when I started and then throughout the whole tournament. I never want to lose before ‑ especially before ‑ the finals. To allow myself the opportunity, and that's exactly what I did.

Right now, that's exactly where I wanted to be. I don't want to miss this opportunity. I don't think I'll be nervous now. This is more of an excitement now, a positive one.

Q. Rafa beat you the last three times. I don't know if it can affect you psychologically or not. Also, you were close to beat him last time. What do you need to beat him finally?

ROGER FEDERER: I need a good match, very simple. Same as when I used to play Hewitt, you know. I know that the average match is not gonna make it, you know. So I need to play a good match, and that's gonna give me an option then to either win or lose.

So I'm looking forward to play good tennis because so far it's been good and I'm coming rested. I think that's important coming into this final, not like in Rome where I was already quite tired before. But also there was no problem physically. Even though it's hot now, I have no doubt it will not be decided physically but especially mentally. There I have the feeling I'm very strong at the moment, especially on clay. Those matches with Nadal toughened me up, actually, in Monaco and in Rome. So I'm very positive for tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.

Q. I'd like to ask you about your hitting partner. Have you tried working with a left‑handed player to prepare for this final against Nadal?

ROGER FEDERER: I played today with a left‑handed junior.

Q. A Frenchman?

ROGER FEDERER: A Romanian.

Q. Will you do the same tomorrow to warm up? Are you going to play a lefty?

ROGER FEDERER: I think it's important to get used to the effect of shots played by a lefty because it's something that you need to adapt to. It's relatively simple, in fact. It's always the same when you play a left‑handed player. You need to get the right ideas in place and remember how the shots are played. This is why we always warm up or train with a lefty.

Q. You're very concentrated now. Are you impatient to reach tomorrow?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I'm glad I have a day's rest to prepare from the mental point of view in particular. Tomorrow is going to be a big day for me. So I've been training well. I feel fit. I think everything is going according to plan. I'm trying to relax. I'm not too sure about my program for the afternoon, but in any case I'm delighted to be able to play this final tomorrow.

Q. You have two fabulous series, yours and that of Nadal. One of them will be ended tomorrow. Is that an extra pressure?

ROGER FEDERER: No, not necessarily. I'm used to that as well. There was a lot of pressure in the Masters because I had won a number of finals in succession, a number of victories in succession. I hadn't lost since, in fact, last year here.

In the end, I was injured and I knew that there was a risk that I could lose, not necessarily one match but possibly even three. So I got used to streaks being interrupted.

It's not exactly that that's worrying me. I think it's more the atmosphere, the important points, the atmosphere with the crowd. That's something you can never be sure of in advance.

Q. How do you prepare mentally for a final in a Grand Slam? I'll be more specific. Is this something that occupies 100% of your thoughts throughout the day, or do you try to think of something else, or is it something that's always in the background of your thoughts?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's something that you start thinking of more. You start thinking about the way you're going to play, the way your opponent is going to play. This started the day before yesterday with Nalbandian. As soon as you reach the semifinals or you're playing one of the top 10, you start thinking more about your match. This is normal as far as I'm concerned.

I do try to think about something else, do something different, go out instead of just staying in my hotel. But otherwise, I keep the same intensity, the advantage possibly, as compared to Australia where it was really tough because the match was late. I think this time the match will be earlier and it will be easier.

Q. Seen from outside, we get the feeling that this is your most important Grand Slam final since the first in Wimbledon. You always are aware of the history of your sport. Do you get the feeling that this is the most important Grand Slam final since the first in Wimbledon?

ROGER FEDERER: It's difficult to say. Each final is important because you win your first final, first US Open, first Australian Open. Every time, it's the most important match. And even a year later, you have another match, it's potentially more important.

So for the moment, it might be the most important match in my career, but I think this will change again. For the moment, yes, it's the most important match, but it is also thanks to many other matches that I won that I am where I won. Each match is important.

Q. What tactical lessons did you draw from the final in Rome?

ROGER FEDERER: This was just an extra match. It was a very long match. It gave me some information as to the best way to play him, what works well and what doesn't. I brought a few changes since Monte‑Carlo final. I think that was important.

I think that I have everything it takes to beat him on clay, and that is the most important thing for me to draw from Rome, from the final in Rome, to know that I can do it by playing my game, and that is exactly what I felt afterwards.

Q. Nadal said that in spite of the fact that he beat you in the last matches, he considers that you are still the favorite for this match and that pressure is on your side, that he is more motivated than nervous because you are the favorite for the match of tomorrow. What do you think of that?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I don't agree. I've said this four times before. I think this is the fifth.

Q. A very brief question. Do you sleep well on nights preceding a Grand Slam final?

ROGER FEDERER: Yes, usually I do. About 80%. I think once I didn't sleep too well, but normally I do.

jacobhiggins
06-10-2006, 07:18 PM
Congrats to Rafa on his win today :) My only concern with him meeting Federer again is the difference in the amount of on court time. I think Federer had the easier draw between the two of them. Vamos Rafa it's time to win another Title :)

Federer had the much harder draw, he just took care of buisness better then Rafa, that's the reason why he was off the court longer!

mallorn
06-10-2006, 09:56 PM
Federer had the much harder draw, he just took care of buisness better then Rafa, that's the reason why he was off the court longer!
Who had the harder draw is a matter of opinion and Mae is entitled to have a different one than you.

This is also an opinion: Rafa was longer on the court because more of his opponents put up a fight. :)

Andre forever
06-10-2006, 10:20 PM
CORRECT mallorn.

Jogg
06-11-2006, 12:30 AM
:bounce: VAMOS RAFA :bounce: Lots of good luck for the final

RogiFan88
06-11-2006, 01:01 AM
After what happened in Rome Roger believes he knows how to win this match. Sure, he has extra pressure on him, but he wouldn't be a seven time GS winner if he didn't know how to handle nerves. I suppose Rafa will also be nervous, because it's the first time he's defending a GS title, and everyone keeps telling him he's the favourite. We'll see who deals with it better. If the match goes the distance, the fact that Rafa played four hours and forty minutes (!) longer than Roger to reach the final may be a factor, and I would never say it would be over and out for Roger (as we saw in Rome).

Surprisingly, I'm very calm all of a sudden. I thought I'd be a bundle of nerves but I'm not. The fact that Rafa's had such a great clay season and reached the final here somehow steadied my nerves. Of course, I'll be cheering him on madly tomorrow, but if he plays very well and loses - hats off to Roger. The one thing I would hate to see is Rafa play too passively and lose the final rather than Roger win it. He's been working on playing more aggressively and that's what I want to see tomorrow. I also hope that regardless of the result the atmosphere after the match will be better than recently and both players will be gracious in victory/defeat.

Rogi "believes" -- we'll see if he can put that belief into practice
Rafa has shown that he can deal w pressure and nerves better than anyone on the tour, remarkable for such a young guy [totally unlike his more average peers, who act their age]
Rafa has learned fr bitter experience how to deal w his physical being and his health so if it goes 5, I see Rafa, not Rogi, winning -- he can come up w reserves of energy and concentration when he needs it most
Altho I like both players, I am cheering for the hapless Rogi, but if I were cheering for Rafa tomorrow, I w be calmer than I am
Yes, Rafa has had a stellar clay season, which will culminate in the RG F
Rafa play passively? Can't recall him ever doing that... sounds more like Rogi in SF vs. Nalby for a set and a half

I just want a good match, not one-sided, and I'd like to see both play their tennis at a fairly high level... not much to ask for, eh?! :p

See you in about 24hrs, if I'm still alive. Enjoy the final, Mallorn! ;)

KingGuga'sQueen
06-11-2006, 01:34 AM
:worship: GOOD LUCK RAFA!!! :worship:

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j102/msrocks111/Rafa.jpg

16681
06-11-2006, 04:47 AM
That's a great made up picture :) I don't know how you managed to think that one up :lol: Well mallorn may be calm, but I'm a nervous wreck. Maybe because I just read a Bud Collins' article that said Roger was going to win :eek: May Rafa prove Mr. Collins very wrong :) Vamos
Rafa :inlove:

KingGuga'sQueen
06-11-2006, 05:15 AM
I used a program tht came with my digi camera, only just worked out how to use it in the last few days lol.

Btw... your not the only one thts a bag of nerves, i should be sleeping right now but i can't. :scared: All i've heard all day is... Federer's gonna win.... Federer's gonna win!!!! :mad: He's not gonna win. :nerner:

:worship: Come on Rafa :worship:

mallorn
06-11-2006, 08:27 AM
Rogi "believes" -- we'll see if he can put that belief into practice
Rafa has shown that he can deal w pressure and nerves better than anyone on the tour, remarkable for such a young guy [totally unlike his more average peers, who act their age]
Rafa has learned fr bitter experience how to deal w his physical being and his health so if it goes 5, I see Rafa, not Rogi, winning -- he can come up w reserves of energy and concentration when he needs it most
Altho I like both players, I am cheering for the hapless Rogi, but if I were cheering for Rafa tomorrow, I w be calmer than I am
Yes, Rafa has had a stellar clay season, which will culminate in the RG F
Rafa play passively? Can't recall him ever doing that... sounds more like Rogi in SF vs. Nalby for a set and a half

I just want a good match, not one-sided, and I'd like to see both play their tennis at a fairly high level... not much to ask for, eh?! :p

See you in about 24hrs, if I'm still alive. Enjoy the final, Mallorn! ;)
By "passive" I meant that Rafa is sometimes too defensive, is too far behind the baseline and plays those short balls that ask to be put away and drive me crazy. ;)

Well, hopefully it'll be a good match that everybody will enjoy! I'm still calm, but I'm sure I'll be nervous during the match. :p

Jogg
06-11-2006, 10:48 AM
I'm a bag of nerves :scared:

it may be a good thing that everyone keeps saying Rog will win though, takes a bit of pressure off Rafa

Vamos :bounce:

stebs
06-11-2006, 11:42 AM
Good luck Rafa fans. I know it must be every bit as nerve racking for you watching your fave chase a second RG final as it will be for me watching Roger chase his first.

Can't say I'll be hoping for Rafa to win but I honestly do hope they both play well and that none of you burst a blood vessel.

Have a good RG final.

Stebs/

jenanun
06-11-2006, 11:46 AM
vamos rafa

:bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

MariaV
06-11-2006, 11:49 AM
Ahh, I just hope they won't play 5 hours again. :lol:

KingGuga'sQueen
06-11-2006, 12:23 PM
Not long now :scared: lol

:angel: Saying a prayer for you Rafa :angel:

:worship: Good Luck :worship:

silver7
06-11-2006, 12:33 PM
Good Luck Rafa!:kiss:
VAMOOOSSS!!!!:bounce:

mallorn
06-11-2006, 12:35 PM
Thanks, stebs. Good luck to you too. I also hope there will be no burst blood vessels. :lol:

Well, I'm off to watch it now. Hope to see everybody after the match ("priority access only" permitting).

http://www.cosgan.de/images/smilie/musik/k015.gif

VAMOS RAFA!

http://www.cosgan.de/images/smilie/musik/k015.gif

the_natural
06-11-2006, 01:23 PM
Federer had the much harder draw, he just took care of buisness better then Rafa, that's the reason why he was off the court longer!

Nope ur wrong as usual :) Ancic was worn down, Berdych didnt bother to show up and Nalbandian withdrew. Dont worry nobody expects u to understand any of that since ur intellect rivals that of a fern plant :wavey:

the_natural
06-11-2006, 01:24 PM
Good Luck Rafa!:kiss:
VAMOOOSSS!!!!:bounce:

yesss Vamoss!!! im just nervous, its the hottest day at RG in the whole two weeks, thats a bad omen, it means aggressive play will pay off!! And it will help the balls travel faster and the court will play faster.

NaDALiTa
06-11-2006, 01:33 PM
vamos rafael puedes hacerlo !!!!!!!!!!!!!! :woohoo:

16681
06-11-2006, 04:23 PM
Congrats to Rafa on his repeat win at RG :) Rafa the Clay Court King :)

diddlina90
06-11-2006, 04:29 PM
VAMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Carlita
06-11-2006, 04:33 PM
:banana: http://img2.menstennisforums.com/500/thumbs/yu.gifhttp://img2.menstennisforums.com/500/thumbs/yahoo.gifhttp://img2.menstennisforums.com/500/thumbs/winner_first_h4h.gifhttp://img2.menstennisforums.com/500/thumbs/icon_slide.gifhttp://img2.menstennisforums.com/500/thumbs/dance3.gifhttp://img2.menstennisforums.com/500/thumbs/give_rose.gifhttp://img2.menstennisforums.com/500/thumbs/dance2.gifhttp://img2.menstennisforums.com/500/thumbs/good.gifhttp://img2.menstennisforums.com/500/thumbs/kiss2.gif:woohoo:

Well done Rafaaaaaaa :bounce: :hug:

Björki
06-11-2006, 04:47 PM
:woohoo: yeah for Rafa :woohoo:

:bigclap:

MariaV
06-11-2006, 04:47 PM
LOL Sjoukje! :hug: :woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo: :) :dance: :yippee:
I wanted to say after the match - "Change the shirt silly!" when he was sitting down before the ceremony. :lol: :lol:

Stats
Federer (SUI) Nadal (ESP)

1st Serve % 72 of 119 = 61 % 85 of 111 = 77 %
Aces 8 3
Double Faults 1 0
Unforced Errors 51 28
Winning % on 1st Serve 49 of 72 = 68 % 59 of 85 = 69 %
Winning % on 2nd Serve 25 of 47 = 53 % 17 of 26 = 65 %
Winners (Including Service) 35 25
Receiving Points Won 35 of 111 = 32 % 45 of 119 = 38 %
Break Point Conversions 3 of 10 = 30 % 4 of 12 = 33 %
Net Approaches 30 of 41 = 73 % 10 of 16 = 63 %
Total Points Won 109 121

Those UEs from Fed. :eek: That was so shocking after the great 1st set. And that's what decided it. But Fed still forced himself to fight till the very end so props for that.

mallorn
06-11-2006, 04:55 PM
:woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo:

How incredible is he? :D To get off to such a poor, nervous start, be rolled by an impeccable Roger in the first set and then come back so strong? I kept thinking "Remember Dubai, remember Dubai." :lol: Granted, Roger's level of play dropped a lot, but Rafa just stepped it up and never looked back! :worship:

Roger played a sublime first set (helped by Rafa a little bit ;) ) and then - I'm not sure what happened. Maybe the nerves finally got to him? It was as if he took a step back, to the time of Dubai and MC. :confused: It'll be interesting to read his interview. Whatever happened, I admire Roger for being able to smile during his speech. He was desperately disappointed, but very, very classy. :worship:


I'm so happy for Rafa. :D I think he may feel liberated now and play with much more freedom for the rest of the season - and even the rest of his career. There were so many obstacles he needed to overcome, and he did. He proved he is the best player on clay and he proved he's able to withstand the pressure of defending very big titles. :hatoff: Now the sky is the limit.

Jogg
06-11-2006, 05:08 PM
:worship: :woohoo: :worship: :woohoo:

:bounce: well done Rafa :bounce:

I really thought he was done for after that first set but to turn it around like that was just amazing :D

I agree with you Mallorn Roger showed a lot of class with his speech :yeah:

NaDALiTa
06-11-2006, 05:14 PM
INCREIBLE RAFA !!!!!!!!!!!!! :woohoo:

In the first he was under presure, but he managed to change the situation......congratulations you deserved all that you have chico!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

silver7
06-11-2006, 05:38 PM
:woohoo::woohoo:RAFA:woohoo::woohoo:
:bigclap::yippee::bigclap:ROLAND GARROS CHAMPION:bigclap::yippee::bigclap:
:worship::worship:won 60 consecutive matches on clay:worship::worship:
:woohoo::woohoo:RAFA:woohoo::woohoo:

lilfairyprincess
06-11-2006, 05:43 PM
simply amazing

:worship:

KingGuga'sQueen
06-11-2006, 06:02 PM
Wow that was fab - we really are not worthy. :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:

:dance: Rey de Rafa de las felicitaciones de Roland Garros :dance:

maty
06-11-2006, 06:04 PM
RAFAEL

you are my hero chico :worship: :worship: :inlove:

The King of Clay-RAFA

MariaV
06-11-2006, 06:08 PM
Roger played a sublime first set (helped by Rafa a little bit ;) ) and then - I'm not sure what happened. Maybe the nerves finally got to him? It was as if he took a step back, to the time of Dubai and MC. :confused: It'll be interesting to read his interview. Whatever happened, I admire Roger for being able to smile during his speech. He was desperately disappointed, but very, very classy. :worship:

I'm so happy for Rafa. :D I think he may feel liberated now and play with much more freedom for the rest of the season - and even the rest of his career. There were so many obstacles he needed to overcome, and he did. He proved he is the best player on clay and he proved he's able to withstand the pressure of defending very big titles. :hatoff: Now the sky is the limit.
I guess you need some :hug:s. ;) :hug: :hug: At least it wasn't exhausting and nerve-wrecking today. :lol:
Roger sure has class. And he knows now he CAN do it. Maybe next year, if Rafa will be out or smth.
But Rafa is such a silly boy with the most incredible smile. :lol: Hugging his family all covered in clay. Did his dad really cry? His mom looked great. :D

mallorn
06-11-2006, 06:19 PM
I guess you need some :hug:s. ;) :hug: :hug: At least it wasn't exhausting and nerve-wrecking today. :lol:
Roger sure has class. And he knows now he CAN do it. Maybe next year, if Rafa will be out or smth.
But Rafa is such a silly boy with the most incredible smile. :lol: Hugging his family all covered in clay. Did his dad really cry? His mom looked great. :D
Thanks, Maria! :D :hug:

The most shocking aspect of this final for me personally was that I wasn't really nervous :eek: (well, only when Rafa was serving for the match).

Rafa was dirtier than ever, he really should've changed his shirt. :lol: Yes, his Dad cried and his Mom was very moved too. And he even got a kiss from Maribel. :D

MariaV
06-11-2006, 06:22 PM
Yes, his Dad cried and his Mom was very moved too. And he even got a kiss from Maribel. :D
Sheesh, I need to watch it again now. :)
And he even got a kiss from Maribel. :D
THAT I saw. :lol:

mallorn
06-11-2006, 06:35 PM
Gee, the vr.com messageboard crashed hours ago and it's still not back. :lol:

atheneglaukopis
06-11-2006, 06:37 PM
Congratulations, Rafa, you really deserved it. You are officially the mentally toughest player on tour--nothing new there--and you got Federer to play your game today. You're going to go for 126, aren't you? :eek:

liisa
06-11-2006, 06:37 PM
does anyone have a video of Rafa hugging his family? I couldn't watch it :sad:
please,if someone has it,post it here

MariaV
06-11-2006, 06:45 PM
Fed's interview is up. Rafa's not yet.

Day 15 - An interview with Roger Federer
Sunday, June 11, 2006

Q. Did you expect before the match to serve better? And also you had many unforced errors especially maybe in the backhand. What was the problem that caused that? Was it mainly the topspin game of Nadal, or was it that maybe starting with 6‑1, you didn't expect it would break your concentration?

ROGER FEDERER: No, that I make mistakes on my backhand side, you know, with the aggression of Nadal, that's normal. I saw I did a few too many on that side. I wasn't as consistent today unfortunately like I was in Rome or maybe even in Monaco.

Obviously, you know, I had missed opportunities, you know. I had them early in the second set. I think if I don't get that break early on, the match is different. If I break in the third set at Love‑40, the match again is different. And in the fourth I had my chance again.

So anyway it was a pity, but I didn't play as good maybe as the last few matches. But his level was, once again, solid after the tough start in the first set. But he makes it tough, and I guess in the end he deserves to win.

Q. Is it a case of real deep frustration at this particular moment, seeing what was possible and what went?

ROGER FEDERER: No, not really. I mean, I tried. I can't do more than try. Both of us having this real unique opportunity that we haven't seen in such a long time in tennis. Obviously, it's a pity, but goes on, right? I got the grass court season coming up, and looking forward to that one.

Q. You had said yesterday in the press conference that you felt after Rome you'd learned a few new things and that if you played your game you felt comfortable you could win. Did you feel you played your game today?

ROGER FEDERER: It was difficult, you know. I knew that the conditions here were slower than in Rome, and it was hard to get to the net really. I guess that's the conditions here. But I was hoping to come in more often. But somehow, you know ‑‑ maybe it was the heat. I don't know. We both tried to cut down on the points, in the first two sets especially, that never we really got the good sort of rhythm going from the baseline. That only really started towards the third and fourth set.

Maybe it had something to do with the heat because I had the feeling he was struggling, and that's why I was disappointed not to have played a better second set, you know, after winning the first set, which was kind of tough, you know, after all. We hadn't had warm weather like this in three weeks, so...

Anyway, that's how it went.

Q. I want to know how disappointed are you right now? You don't look that disappointed, and yet...

ROGER FEDERER: I can. I can if you'd like (smiling).

Q. I'm sure you're disappointed. Can you try and explain how disappointed you are.

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I have no other choice than to accept the fact, right? I mean, so...

Q. Is this the toughest moment?

ROGER FEDERER: No, it's not. I've had worse, you know, than this. I am at a different stage in my career now than I used to be where every loss was, yeah, another world. That's not the case anymore because I tried so hard and I know I left everything out there, and maybe I missed a few opportunities. Maybe hear that for years, but that's my problem.

So, no, it was a good tournament after all for me. I mean, first time in the finals. You got to also see the positive and that's what I usually always do, even though maybe, you know, at the end of my career I miss, you know, this moment, to have it again, to win the French Open right away today. But it didn't happen, so I got to create this opportunity once again.

Q. Do you think that by the end of your career, after the way you've played here the last two weeks, that you will be able to win the French Open at least once?

ROGER FEDERER: We'll see. It's obviously my goal, yes, to win this event. And it only gives me once again, you know, more thrive (sic) to try to win this. I got a step closer once again, you know, from last year around. I think in every year that goes by, gives me again more maturity on this surface.

It's a matter also of if he can keep it up, if another clay court player comes along, how the draw looks. Look, I mean, we're talking about something that's not going to be a subject for a year, so we'll see.

Q. He's only 20. He's going to be around for some time. It seems almost impossible to beat him at the moment on clay.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, he's tough to beat, but he's not impossible to beat. That's a big difference. Otherwise, we wouldn't have to play. He can just lift the trophy on the first day ‑ which he almost did with that other trophy. But anyway...

Q. He was almost a wall in the last three sets. Didn't miss anything. It's so hard to get anything by him. He's just amazing that way. What are you thinking, and any way possible to sort of counter that?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, you've got to be patient and, you know, wait for the right moment. That's what I did. And then when I had it, I couldn't do it.

But, I mean, I definitely felt, you know, that second set was a big turning point. If just there I can keep up with him and then, you know, put him really under big pressure, maybe lead two sets to Love, then obviously it's very different. But I think just giving away the second set like this, I think that was maybe the key.

But, look, I mean, he did a good job to come back and an incredible effort to do it all over again. So, no, he's got my respect for sure.

Q. You said that you played better for sure in Rome, probably also in Monte‑Carlo. What about Nadal? Do you think he played well today or not that well also him compared to the other two?

ROGER FEDERER: Look, it's a Grand Slam final. It's not Monaco, Rome finals. That obviously changes. That you could see in his approach to the first set. He was not as comfortable because obviously the pressure is high, and it took him a while, you know, to get used to that. But once he got into the match, I knew over five sets he will, he will be very, very strong.

I mean, my feeling tells me about his game, he will always bring a certain level of play, same as Lleyton, you know. But he never really goes out of total extremes, you know, where you have absolutely no chance. Where with me and maybe other players like Safin, Roddick, it's different. We can play a much higher level.

So he's a different kind of a player. For me, it's harder to relate to him than maybe Hewitt. I don't know.

Q. Are you going to play in Halle?

ROGER FEDERER: It's in the plan right now, yes.

Q. Are you going to enter, of course?

ROGER FEDERER: It's my plan.

Q. Could you talk a little bit more about that second set. What happened? You had a pretty clean first set, and then some errors came in. What happened in the second?

ROGER FEDERER: You didn't watch, or? No, seriously, I mean.

Q. I wanted to hear it from you.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you should have watched the match then because, I mean...

THE MODERATOR: French questions, please.

Q. Along those four sets, what would be the point that you really regret most?

ROGER FEDERER: Several things in the second, the third and the fourth, in fact.

But it's always like that when you play in five sets. You have to seize the opportunities when they appear in order to control the game, and I gave him the control of the game very easily at the second set. Then he really started to play very well. He started to move much better on that surface, and it was very difficult for me to get back into the match.

It's a number of missed opportunities on my side.

Q. Now, there is the topspin and the lifted balls that explain on his side. It's a very strong side on his side. But anything else come into the picture like the wind, the heat, whatever?

ROGER FEDERER: I didn't play well. I missed a number of shots and normally it's not easy for him to serve, but he's managed. He's managed to break quite easily against me today.

I suppose this is the point that I really regret. I should have returned better on his serves, and I didn't manage to do that very well today.

Q. Do you find his serve is underestimated, at least on clay? Everybody speaks about his forehand and so on, but what about his serve?

ROGER FEDERER: 85% first serves in Rome, so it's quite a high figure. He always has then the first forehand. I think it's something that helps him a lot, and I think this is the optimal way of serving for him that helps him win on clay.

I think you have to look at the way he plays as a whole, not only just the serve separately.

Q. You came very prepared for the French Open, more prepared than ever. Now if you look at the film of the match again, what would you say really went wrong?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, unfortunately, I didn't play the match that I wanted or that I hoped. I missed a number of shots. I won the first set easily, and usually in a situation like that I don't let things go by. But, you know, it's a final. It's against Nadal. It's on clay. That makes it very difficult ‑ more difficult maybe than other cases.

So you get back into the match, and at the pivotal points I didn't play very well.

Q. What is more prevalent in your frame of mind: you are disappointed or frustrated?

ROGER FEDERER: Disappointed because I really did the long way of preparation and I wanted to conclude the four Grand Slam tournaments and titles.

Just the same, I was very pleased to reach a final here. I'm very positive for the rest of the season, very positive for next year, because this is going to give me a lot of confidence, and I cannot complain about my results.

http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/news/interviews/2006-06-11/200606111150049160869.html

mallorn
06-11-2006, 06:50 PM
Q. He's only 20. He's going to be around for some time. It seems almost impossible to beat him at the moment on clay.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, he's tough to beat, but he's not impossible to beat. That's a big difference. Otherwise, we wouldn't have to play. He can just lift the trophy on the first day ‑ which he almost did with that other trophy. :lol: But anyway...
Good to see Roger was able to make a joke. :yeah:

Viken01
06-11-2006, 06:54 PM
congrats rafa, you deserve this win :wavey:
best of luck for the grass season :D

Neely
06-11-2006, 06:59 PM
Congrats Rafa & fans for the win! :) :yeah:

Scotso
06-11-2006, 07:08 PM
:worship:

mallorn
06-11-2006, 07:20 PM
Rafa's interview is up.
Day 15 - An interview with Rafael Nadal
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Rafael Nadal

Transcribed Interview

Q. You have often said that Roger's No. 1, you're No. 2 in the rankings, and the rankings are important, but there's also the importance of when you play each other. You've now beaten him four times this year. When are you going to admit that you are at least his equal now in the world of tennis?

RAFAEL NADAL: If you look the list, you look a lot of points difference, no? So he is the No. 1 because he play better in all surfaces, no.

So I admire him. He's a very complete player. I never saw nothing the same with ‑‑ so, I have 20 years old before when I was born...

BENITO PEREZ‑BARBADILLO: Since I was born.

RAFAEL NADAL: Since I was born, I never seen that before. He's a more complete player. So he is the best. I can't say I am better than him because that's not true, no.

Q. Four wins.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, but four wins. That's important, that's very, very nice for me. So for that I won today, no? But we wouldn't have comparison now, no? Not now.

Q. Does it actually mean more this year because you've retained the trophy and beaten the world No. 1 in the final? Does this mean more to you now than last year?

RAFAEL NADAL: Can you repeat, please?

Q. Yes. Does the victory mean more to you now because you've retained the trophy and beaten the No. 1 player to do it? Is it more special?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, that's a little bit special. But is more special because I have difficult moments in the beginning of the season, the last year final season. So for me, is a dream stay here, no, No. 2 in the race, winning two Masters Series, one Grand Slam. I never think that in January, in December, because I know I have a difficult injury, important injury.

So that's very nice, and, sure, is more emotive for me.

Q. The emotions at the end were because you knew how important it was and you were feeling so bad at Christmastime, say? The emotions at the end are even more intense because of what happened to you around Christmastime, your foot injury, etc.?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, sure. I value a little bit more now. Last year I value it, too, no? But now, when you have problems, when you don't know exactly if you gonna be in the same level like before the injury, so you value a little bit more, no? Is special.

Q. Today after a bad start you seemed to serve better and better. It looked as if it made you also hit your forehand better as you served better into the match. Would you agree with that? And the second question is like today Federer made a lot of mistakes on the backhand. Did you play insistently in the game when you saw that?

RAFAEL NADAL: I was beginning very nervous, no? I begin bad, a lot of mistakes. Roger is playing good, but nothing special, no? He's playing his level, and he beat me 5‑0, 6‑1 very easy because I was playing very bad.

After, maybe he has the control of the game, but he give me a good chance, no, because he had 1‑0 for me in the second, but 40‑Love for him, and he is playing better than me, no? I feel nervous. I don't feel very good the legs for the nervous.

After, he have three consecutive mistakes ‑‑ no, two consecutive mistakes. I play one good point and I can do the break. When I have the break in the second set, 2‑0, I improve in my confidence, no, because I was thinking, Now is my chance. I was playing very bad, but now I need to take my opportunity.

So I play a little bit more aggressive with my forehand. I feel I am trying with my forehand put pressure on his backhand. And maybe he was nervous, too, no? He play with nervous, too, in the second, in the third. In the first set, maybe he don't feel the pression because I play very bad. But when I ‑‑ when the match little bit closer, he and me, we feel very nervous. And, finally, is not easy play with because Roger play today for be in the top of the history, no? So this pression is a lot, no?

Q. Where will you celebrate your victory, and what company will be celebrating with you?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, I have a dinner with my family, with my team, with a lot of people. And tomorrow I go to Queen's. I can go out a little bit, but after, not too much, no? I play Tuesday doubles in Queen's, I hope. I want to play one match before my singles in Queen's. I hope play doubles on Thursday, and Wednesday singles.

I know the normal thing is I gonna lose in Queen's first round because is very difficult, the adaptation, the adapt. Is very difficult adapt in just two days. But if I lose, I want to lose because I don't feel exactly perfect for play on grass, no? But not the same last year, because last year I play on Queen's without concentration ‑‑ in Halle, sorry ‑‑ without nothing. But this year I want to play with concentration, with a good chance for play good match because that's important for the confidence for Wimbledon, no? So I want to ‑‑ I want to arrive and practice there and feel the good chances.

Q. Do you think the turning point of today's match was early in the third set when you recovered from Love‑40 down and then immediately broke Roger's serve?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, is very important moment, no? Maybe in the second set, when 2‑0, is important moment with the break of 2‑0. And the second is this one, no, 2‑1, Love‑40. I play three good points. I have little bit good luck with one forehand of Roger, go out like this.

But after this moment, I improve a lot in my game, I think, no? Is my opinion. After this moment, I play better with my serve. I play more aggressive. And he feel little bit more nervous. So after this moment, I play my best tennis, no?

Q. It's been said about you that as good as you are, your service could still get a lot better. Today, you went unbroken for 14 consecutive games. Is this the best you've served against Roger Federer in all the matches you've played against him?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know, no? I don't remember exactly all the matches, if I served better or not. Because against Roger, I know I need play with my serve very regular. I need improve my serve for try do aces, for try play more aggressive with my serve, because I know if I don't win my serve, I need play with the first serve. I can't play with the second serve because he put me a lot of pression with the second serve. So I need play ‑‑ I need find the regular for put a lot of first serves inside, no?

Q. What is your secret? Why you don't try?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. Nothing special, no. I try my best always.

Q. You actually serve and volleyed twice, I think, today, maybe three times.

RAFAEL NADAL: I am thinking.

Q. You're thinking already of grass?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah (smiling).

Q. What do you find is the greatest difficulty moving from the clay to the grass for you?

RAFAEL NADAL: For me, that's the most important point because is different. Is very difficult move the same on grass because I slide a lot on grass, no. When I go difficult ball, when I come back, I slide, I don't feel with confidence for the potential, no?

But I gonna try and need improve in that, too, no? I gonna play three weeks consecutive on grass this year. Four is difficult, but I gonna try (laughing). I gonna try.

But I hope anyway I gonna play four, no.

Q. You had the trainer out on court. Can you tell us what the difficulty was at that point.

RAFAEL NADAL: The trainer on court? No, no, nothing, nothing. I had just a little bit problem with the tape because push me a lot. Nothing.

Q. Did he retape your ankle?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, just a little bit cut.

THE MODERATOR: Spanish questions, please.

Q. Two questions. Do you believe that the crowd was in favor of Federer? You don't speak about past champions. Do you ever ask about how Borg won on clay and then on grass?

RAFAEL NADAL: Borg was playing early on clay and was practicing in Wimbledon. He played no tournament whatsoever before Wimbledon. I will try this year. I don't think we can change games overnight.

As to the crowd, I believe it was normal that the crowd was supporting him because he could enter into history. Only two were able to win the Grand Slam. He was able to make it. So I understand that the crowd was behind him and there were also many Spanish spectators.

I thought the crowd would be much more on his side and I thought it was rather balanced. I would like to thank them.

Q. Two questions. Who can beat you on clay according to you? Secondly, is that the first step to become No. 1 in the world?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. I believe on clay many players can beat me. I won many matches for sure, but often those matches were a fight. I had problems against Mathieu, Hewitt. Today I suffered a lot, so I can lose at any time.

As to the No. 1 position, I believe that it depends on the present No. 1 rather than on me. I believe that we have fewer options than last year. I believe last year he won in different tournaments, Miami. On clay he won one. He went to the semi here. So I don't know. 1250 points. He went to the final in Monte‑Carlo, final in Rome, 600 points. So I'm even further from him as far as points are concerned this year than last year.

But I don't put any pressure on myself.

Q. Let's talk about this match. Two sets to one. The third set you were dominating. There were too extraordinary games. Did you remember Rome? You made artistic points. Did you have doubts?

RAFAEL NADAL: At any time, the match was difficult and I believe if in Rome I was lucky, I was afraid that this time I would be unlucky. At 15‑30, I returned on the right backhand and it touched the net, the tape, and I didn't know where the ball would bounce back. There, I was unlucky.

On the next point also, at 5‑4, I was more lucky. I didn't know if the ball was going in. At that moment, he was playing very well. But there were difficult moments. It's difficult to say that I'm going to go up to the net because I'm not used to it.

Q. What is the difference between today's match and the last final?

RAFAEL NADAL: Which final?

Q. Last year's final.

RAFAEL NADAL: The final here, okay. Of course it's different. You can't compare two different finals. Each year is different. The feeling is different. This year, beating No. 1 after the injury I had means more emotions.

Q. After the match you were lying on the clay. What did you think?

RAFAEL NADAL: I was thinking about nothing.

Q. What emotions did you have?

RAFAEL NADAL: Nothing.

Q. Do you realize you were not thinking about anything?

RAFAEL NADAL: What do you want me to think about? You just don't feel the tension anymore. I didn't even realize I was falling on the ground. I didn't fall myself on the ground. I just fell. I didn't think about it before.

Q. After that moment, I'm sure you felt a lot of happiness. You went to kiss your family, your father.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, after that weak moment I was able to realize what I did, and it was a lot of happiness. I realized many things. I went to kiss my father because he did everything for me. Since I was injured, he came everywhere with me. He was always with me. He supported me a lot. My family helped me a lot. But my father was always next to me. And my uncle also was there, and he gives me the motivation to continue.

Q. I believe everybody saw there was great respect between you and Federer. I believe it's a model for young players and men and women who are playing tennis because some opponents don't have good relationships.

RAFAEL NADAL: I believe there's no tension between us on the court. We are calm, both of us. We are faithful to each other. We respect each other. We never had any problems, and I don't think there will be problems. When we shook hands, he wished me good luck for Halle (sic). So we have absolutely no problems.

Q. Before Federer said that he was a little bit like Safin or Roddick; that you were more solid like Hewitt. Do you believe that it is the fact that you are solid which is your best quality? He said you don't miss the important points.

RAFAEL NADAL: I am a very consistent player. Generally, I'm able to maintain a good level, an average level. I believe you should not make a mistake. If you look at Federer, he plays eight tournaments, he plays eight finals, so it means he's also very consistent. He's much more consistent than I am.

Q. What lessons do you draw from this tournament? Do you remember the lessons you drew from last year's tournament? What can you tell us about that?

RAFAEL NADAL: I didn't have much time to think about that. I'm not going to think about what I did well, what I did bad. What is important is that my attitude was always positive. I had a winner's attitude. What is positive is maybe that I was not playing at my best level, but I still maintained an excellent attitude. And if you play with a good mental attitude, even if you are not a hundred percent, you can win because, in fact, you win more with your heart, with your will power than with anything else.

Q. 5‑Love, 24 minutes first set. Were you afraid?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. I was afraid before.

Q. Beyond the 6‑1 against Federer, the others all have 8‑love, 8‑1 against Federer. You are his only rival. To become No. 1, you said it depended on Federer. Doesn't it depend also on other players who can challenge Federer? Maybe they can take pressure off of you. Am I clear?

RAFAEL NADAL: It's true that if Federer loses no matches whatsoever, I will not be No. 1. I have to improve. But with the points that I'm winning, if Federer hadn't been there, I would have been No. 1. But we are at a time when the No. 1 is the most consistent player of the whole tennis history, so you have to take this into account.

Secondly, I believe that he's at the top of the game for two years. He's playing his best tennis. He will not be able to play that way all his life. It's true for me also, but I'm a bit younger. I can prepare myself well, and maybe when he will come down a little bit, then I might be able to have the sufficient level to become No. 1.

Q. Sixty victories in a row. Two titles consecutively in the French Open. You seem very calm after that.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, all that inspires me that I was very lucky because 60 matches in a row means that you are a bit lucky, because suddenly you can be injured and lose a match.

It also inspires me that everything went well. If you fight all the time, if you have a good mental attitude, it works. Otherwise, it's important to win 60 matches in a row. Things haven't changed. It's as usual. I just won the French Open. It was my first Grand Slam last year. I am not looking for anything more.

Q. The second victory in the French Open, did it have an impact personally on you?

RAFAEL NADAL: You can't compare this victory with last year's. Everything is different. I think this victory is more important for me because I was injured in the beginning of the season. I wasn't sure I could come back to my best level, and I see I'm still No. 2. Winning here is a very special feeling. It's an excellent emotion.

Q. This final, you won it with your heart, with your willpower, or with your tennis?

RAFAEL NADAL: A little bit of everything. A bit of everything is combined: a bit of luck, a bit of tennis, a bit of mental attitude. Federer made more mistakes than usual. All these things were together.

Q. You won against Ancic in Wimbledon. If someone tells you that you can reach the final, do you say he's crazy, or do you think it's possible?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, not crazy, but it's going to be difficult, very difficult. But I hope one day I'll have this possibility.

Q. Does it depend on the draw?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, it depends on many things. It's difficult. Anyway, I have to improve. I need to keep a positive attitude because then I will not depend on all the external factors; I will depend on my game only. It works on clay, so I hope it will work on grass. I want to have that same attitude on grass.

Q. One day as a junior you reached the semifinal of Wimbledon.

RAFAEL NADAL: When I came here, I played the semifinal in Wimbledon also. This means I played good matches. I didn't play badly. I went to the net. But I still have to improve some parts of my game. But you need to prepare yourself. We have not much time. The tour is not well organized in my opinion. We have not much time between the two major tournaments of the year. Federer is more adjusted to grass, so it's going to be difficult for me to go there with good chances, but I'm going to make an effort in the following days to be ready not only for this year, but also for the following years.

Jogg
06-11-2006, 07:42 PM
thanks mallorn :hug:

Q. Where will you celebrate your victory, and what company will be celebrating with you?

:lol: nice try

MariaV
06-11-2006, 07:45 PM
From the ATP site.

ROLAND GARROS 2006
PARIS, FRANCE
June 11, 2006
Nadal Denies Federer's Shot at History in Roland Garros Final

Defending champion Rafael Nadal recovered from a horror start against World No. 1 Roger Federer to clinch his second consecutive Roland Garros title with a 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(4) win in Paris Sunday.

Nadal dropped the first five games of the match but from that point on did not surrender his serve until he served for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set. Although Federer broke serve to take the match into a tie-break, Nadal held his nerve to record his sixth victory in seven career meetings against Federer.

Read Rafa's Exclusive Roland Garros Blog

Federer was bidding to become just the sixth man in history to win all four Grand Slam titles and just the third man to win four consecutive Grand Slam titles.

Nadal improved his perfect Roland Garros record to 14-0, his clay court winning streak to 60 matches and also moved his career record on clay to 100-12.

Nadal, who also defeated Federer in the finals of Masters Series Monte-Carlo and Rome earlier in the clay court season, handed Federer his first defeat in eight Grand Slam finals. He also snapped Federer's 27-match winning streak at Grand Slam level.

The Nadal Clay Court Streak

The Rivalry: Federer & Nadal

Nadal is the youngest back-to-back Roland Garros champion since Bjorn Borg in 1974-75. He has now won 14 consecutive finals.

Federer was plagued by unforced backhand errors during the match. He made a total of 51 unforced errors during the match (compared to Nadal's 28). He also was unable to put pressure on Nadal's serve, with the Spaniard winning 65 percent of points on his second serve.

Both players will now make the transition to grass next week at ATP tournaments. Federer will be top seed at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle and Nadal is the top seed at the Stella Artois Championships in London (Queen's).

WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID

Nadal: "You can't compare this victory with last year's. Everything is different. I think this victory is more important for me because I was injured in the beginning of the season. I wasn't sure I could come back to my best level, and I see I'm still No. 2. Winning here is a very special feeling. It's an excellent emotion."

On whether he can become No. 1: "It's true that if Federer loses no matches whatsoever, I will not be No. 1. I have to improve. But with the points that I'm winning, if Federer hadn't been there, I would have been No. 1. But we are at a time when the No. 1 is the most consistent player of the whole tennis history, so you have to take this into account. Secondly, I believe that he's at the top of the game for two years. He's playing his best tennis. He will not be able to play that way all his life. It's true for me also, but I'm a bit younger. I can prepare myself well, and maybe when he will come down a little bit, then I might be able to have the sufficient level to become No. 1."

On winning his 60th consecutive clay court match: "I was very lucky because 60 matches in a row means that you are a bit lucky, because suddenly you can be injured and lose a match. It also inspires me that everything went well. If you fight all the time, if you have a good mental attitude, it works."


Federer: "I definitely felt that second set was a big turning point. If just there I can keep up with him and then put him really under big pressure, maybe lead two sets to love, then obviously it's very different. But I think just giving away the second set like this, I think that was maybe the key. But, look, I mean, he did a good job to come back and an incredible effort to do it all over again. So, no, he's got my respect for sure.


"That I make mistakes on my backhand side, with the aggression of Nadal, that's normal. I saw I did a few too many on that side. I wasn't as consistent today unfortunately like I was in Rome or maybe even in Monaco.

"So anyway it was a pity, but I didn't play as good maybe as the last few matches. But his level was, once again, solid after the tough start in the first set. But he makes it tough, and I guess in the end he deserves to win. So, no, it was a good tournament after all for me. I mean, first time in the finals. You got to also see the positive and that's what I usually always do, even though maybe at the end of my career I miss this moment, to have it again, to win the French Open right away today. But it didn't happen, so I've got to create this opportunity once again."

http://www.atptennis.com/en/newsandscores/news/2006/ROLAND14.asp

MariaV
06-11-2006, 07:47 PM
From Reuters.

WRAPUP 1-Open-Nadal rips Federer's world apart
Sun Jun 11, 2006 6:52 PM BST

By Bill Barclay

PARIS, June 11 (Reuters) - Rafael Nadal ripped Roger Federer's grand slam dream apart at the seams on Sunday when he retained his French Open title and became the first man to beat the Swiss in a major final.

The extraordinary 20-year-old Spaniard inflicted a 1-6 6-1 6-4 7-6 defeat on the world number one, ending Federer's bid to be the first man for 37 years to hold all four grand slam titles at once.

Federer's quest to win the elusive claycourt grand slam goes on and he had only himself to blame on Sunday. The 24-year-old committed 51 unforced errors and by the end his backhand technique in particular was in tatters, bereft of timing and the source of a stream of free points for Nadal.

The Mallorcan, who also beat Federer in last year's semi-finals, slammed away a forehand volley to confirm victory and threw himself to the ground, a Y-shaped emblem of triumph in the dirt.

"It's incredible," said Nadal, who has taken his unbeaten record on clay to 60 matches.

Last year he earned his maiden grand slam success with victory over Argentine Mariano Puerta in the Roland Garros final but he said: "I think I prefer this year's title.

"Roger is the most incredible player that I know."

Standing next to him, Federer looked anything but, his loser's dish tucked under one arm and a distant look in his eyes.

"He deserved to win," said the Australian Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion. "I was close this year. I tried. Obviously it's a pity but I will come back next year."

It was Federer's first defeat in eight grand slam finals and thwarted his bid to join Rod Laver and Don Budge as the only men to hold all four grand slams at once.

Federer's status as the world best player is also under serious threat from Nadal. The Spaniard has won four finals against the Swiss this year and six of their seven encounters in total, including two on hardcourt.

The match was billed as history in the making but for long periods it was a forgettable stream of unforced errors.

Tennis is a non-contact sport but Nadal makes it feel like one. The Mallorcan has the presence of a claycourt colossus, with biceps like cannonballs and a venomous look in his eye.

Yet after bounding on court like a boxer he made a terrible start. Federer took the first set in 37 minutes with Nadal committing mistake after mistake.


MIRROR IMAGE

Both men seemed inhibited by the sense of history accompanying the match and the second set was the mirror image of the first. This time the Swiss was the one making all the errors, most of them on his backhand.

In the third set a billowing wind began to nag Federer and Nadal started to use the angles effectively. A break for 3-2 proved decisive and the champion squatted at the baseline roaring his delight when Federer slung another awful backhand long at set point.

The Swiss immediately lost serve and the fourth set quickly ran way from him. Error after error flowed from his backhand, leaving Federer rubbing his brow in disbelief.

Nadal still had to serve out his victory though, and when the moment came at 5-4, Federer applied some pressure and a wayward forehand gave him the brief respite of a break back.

Four consecutive errors in the tiebreak from the top seed gave Nadal the chance to serve again for the match and a big first serve brought him victory.

Nadal is the first man to retain the claycourt grand slam since Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten in 2001.

http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=tennisNews&storyID=2006-06-11T175250Z_01_L11115490_RTRIDST_0_SPORT-TENNIS-OPEN-WRAPUP-1-PICTURE.XML

mallorn
06-11-2006, 08:42 PM
From Tennis Week:
Rafa Rules Roland Garros

By Ronald Green
06/11/2006

Streaking forward into the face of the world's top tennis player, Rafael Nadal's eyes remained riveted on the ball which floated above the center of the court as if momentarily suspended by a string. Biceps bursting from beneath his sleeveless shirt, the reigning Roland Garros champion was in no mood to play the waiting game. Nadal not only took his shot at history on the rise, he swatted it right out of the air.

Ripping a swinging forehand winner crosscourt on match point with all the force of a vicious uppercut that crumpled an opponent he had cornered, Nadal completed a 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(4) knockout of World No. 1 Roger Federer in stirring style to capture his second consecutive Roland Garros crown and extend his Open Era record clay-court winning streak to 60 matches.

Denying Federer's bid to become the sixth man in history to collect a career Grand Slam and hold all four major titles simultaneously, Nadal ended the seven-time Grand Slam champion's 27-match major winning streak in handing Federer his first loss in eight Grand Slam tournament singles finals.

Seconds after his swinging forehand bit into the dirt causing a clump of the crushed brick court to rise as red dust, Nadal finally backed down for the first time all day. Collapsing flat on his back, Nadal pushed his white, Nike headband off his head and closed his eyes tightly in realizing the dream he had long visualized.

"I'm very happy. It's unbelievable for me," said Nadal, who is 14-0 lifetime at the French Open. "It's a dream for me now."

Rising from the court, Nadal sprinted to the back wall and climbed into the stands where he wrapped his arms around his coach, uncle Toni Nadal, gave a heartfelt hug and kiss to his mother, Ana María, and engaged his father, Sebastián, in an extended embrace that left both father and son on the verge of tears.

Playing tenacious tennis throughout this French Open, Nadal spent the final solidifying his status as the game's greatest clay-court champion and its most ferocious fighter. The 20-year-old from Mallorca concluded his second championship showing his passion for playing tennis is surpassed only by the deep love and bond he shares with his family.

An emotional Nadal pinched back tears from his eyes as he stood on the podium while the Spanish national anthem played prior to the trophy presentation. Spain continues to reign in Paris finals as a Spanish man has raised the Roland Garros title trophy seven times in the past 14 years.
While a smiling Nadal was hoisting the silverware above his head, Federer was left to ponder the only puzzle he has yet to solve on court.

Federer's own fingerprints littered the front of his white headband leaving little red traces of red across the cloth as he continued his struggle to regain control of the match from Nadal's grip over the course of the final two sets. He had played much of the first set exhibiting the skills of an artist creating eye-catching angles with fine brush strokes only to see his backhand betray him as he started spraying shots like a spasmodic paint pistol unable to out duel the physical force staring him down who seldom seem to miss the mark.

The second-ranked Spaniard still trails Federer by more than 2,000 ranking points, but it was Federer who was unable to gain any ground on Nadal in a rivalry that remains one-sided: Nadal has won six of seven career matches with Federer, including all four of their clay-court clashes. Federer owns a 44-4 record on the year with all four losses coming to the clay-court conquistador.

Federer took the court continuing his quest to claim an elite place among the most esteemed champions in tennis history and departed conceding Nadal is in a class by himself in securing his own spot in history by extending his record-setting clay-court win streak.

"He's the best clay-courter in the game right now � maybe the best of all time," Federer said of Nadal. "He's got the right to write that history. I had my chances, but I couldn't use them and it's a pity."

A master of improvisation who forces most opponents to adjust to his game, Federer is unable to find the right formula of offense, transition play and defense against an opponent who seems to have all the answers against him.

On the surface, Nadal is a powerful physical presence who sprints out onto the court after the opening coin toss to start each match and is so strong he often pounds opponents into submission after grueling rallies. Look deeper into his game and you see one of Nadal's greatest weapon sits on top of his shoulders: Nadal is one of the game's great tacticians. The Spaniard possesses shrewd court sense, a sharp understanding of point construction and the supreme skill to make opponents to probe opposing players' weaknesses, provoke them into playing their most suspect shots from awkward positions and then pummel them until they break down under pressure.

Federer's failings in the final were clear � his one-handed backhand let him down against the tremendous topspin of Nadal that bounced shoulder high, he played passive tennis for sustained stretches and did not convert any of the four break points he held in a crucial fourth game of the third set � but it was what Nadal did right rather than what went wrong for Federer that ultimately determined the outcome.

Nadal committed 12 unforced errors in an abysmal first set that saw him fall behind 5-0 before he finally got on the scoreboard, but once he found the range on his shots the Spaniard would commit only 16 unforced errors over the final three sets.

Beneath a searing sun that pushed on-court temperatures above 90 degrees, both players mis-hit balls as if staring into sun spots at times during the first two sets. Nadal, who failed to convert two break points in the opening game and a third in the fifth game, admitted he was immobilized by nerves that slowed his usually fleet feet and caused him to commit suspect shot selection.

"I can't move at the start," Nadal said. "I am playing one of the best players in history and I was very, very nervous."

Splitting 6-1 sets to start the match, the pair commenced the third set with a freshly-swept court. Over the course of the next two sets, Nadal covered the court with the conviction of a man determined to step on every square foot of the crushed red brick.

Staring at triple break point in deep 0-40 deficit in the fourth game of the third set, Nadal showed his shot making skill in a stirring sequence that saw him land shots on the lines three times. A Nadal forehand struck the service line and skipped away from Federer who missed his favorite shot � the forehand down the line � slightly wide of the sideline. Nadal spun successive aces of the sidelines to draw to deuce. Two points later, Federer flailed a backhand wide as a focused Nadal, who fought off four break points, held for 2-2.

Still dwelling on his lost opportunities, a disconsolate Federer drifted further behind the baseline and his shots strayed behind the sidelines. When Federer blew an overhead, Nadal had two break points and two points later, the Spaniard trotted to his seat with the break in hand and a 3-2 lead he quickly stretched to 4-2. In the space of that sequence, Nadal took hold of the match in rallying from triple break point down to the 4-2 lead.

"It's unfortunate; I don't think I played as well as I have throughout the tournament," Federer said. "I missed my favorite shot, my forehand up the line, in that fourth game. But I still had opportunities. He's a fighter, he's a grinder and he deserved to win here."

Sprinting to his left to slide into his favored forehand, Nadal spun a sizzling short angle forehand winner crosscourt for 40-0 then, seeing Federer shading toward his backhand side, Nadal smartly snapped a forehand winner down the line to hold at love for 5-3.

Swiping the sweat from his forehead with the back of his white, Nike wristband, Federer launched an ace wide to close to 4-5. Federer mis-hit two backhands then lined a forehand long to hand Nadal double-set point and when Federer's backhand bit the dust beyond the baseline, Nadal screamed "Vamos!" as his coach, uncle Toni Nadal, pumped his fist in support of his nephew, who was one set from successfully defending his title.

It was Federer who was playing defense in the early stages of the fourth set. Nadal, who is accustomed to playing so far behind the baseline he could easily tell time by reading a linesperson's wristwatch, effectively took Federer out of his comfort zone with the high topspin that the Swiss, whose ideal strike zone is lower, could not consistently attack.

Unable to push forward, Federer found himself drifting further beyond the baseline and increasingly on the run. Trying to stay with Nadal in running rallies from behind the baseline on clay is as wise as trying to stay one step ahead of the charging bulls of Pamplona while running backward � sooner or later you're bound to get stepped on.

Whacking a weary backhand long, Federer fell behind break point to start the fourth set. Sprinting forward with his eyes seeming to widen with each step, Nadal muscled a forehand winner down the line to break for a 1-0 lead. A meek Federer backhand return found the net as Nadal confirmed the break with a confident love hold for 2-0.

Maintaining that break throughout the set, Nadal held at 30 to take a 5-3 lead. Perspiration pouring from his pores, Nadal stepped up to serve for the title at 5-4, but it was Federer's turn to make a stand.

Chasing a short ball, Nadal's right foot touched the net and he lost the point for 30-all. Defending with desperate determination, Federer careened from corner to corner chasing down Nadal's shots. Federer ran down a drop shot and responded with a backhand down line followed by a reflex forehand volley short in the court. When Nadal pushed a backhand wide, Federer broke serve for the first time since the first set to forge a 5-5 tie.

In the tiebreak, Federer cracked a forehand winner down the line on the first point. Nadal, who had won four of the seven tiebreaks he'd played with Federer, hooked a forehand into the net to give Federer the first mini-break and a 2-1 lead. Three points later, a Federer return floated long as the players changed sides with Nadal in charge with a 4-2 lead.
Federer knifed a backhand volley into the corner to creep to 3-5 then followed with a fine forehand volley winner to close to 4-5, but he could not get any closer.

Stepping up to serve for the championship, Nadal sliced a serve that spun Federer off the court and his backhand return sailed long to give Nadal championship point. On the eight shot, Nadal hooked a swinging forehand crosscourt winner then collapsed to the court clothed in clay and arose wearing the regal red clay on his back as the undisputed clay-court king.

http://www.sportsmediainc.com/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=15487&bannerregion=

mallorn
06-11-2006, 08:47 PM
From ESPN:
Roger's reign on hold with Nadal's dominance

By Greg Garber
ESPN.com

PARIS -- Between French Opens, Roger Federer's reign as the world's best tennis player has been complete.

The Swiss champion won at Wimbledon in 2005 and then the U.S. Open, and again in Melbourne this past January -- three Grand Slam singles titles out of three. The No. 1-ranked player was poised to make history on Sunday, attempting to become only the third man to win four consecutive Grand Slams.

When Federer, at his liquid best, took the first set of the 105th French championship by the score of 6-1, history seemed to be beckoning.

But at Roland Garros, where the clay dulls his array of gorgeous angles and trajectories, Federer has this little problem. His name is Rafael Nadal, and he has utterly destroyed Federer in the last two championships here. There is a suspicion that as long as the 20-year-old Spaniard is around Federer may never win here, putting him in the good company of Pete Sampras, Boris Becker, Jimmy Connors and Stefan Edberg.

Nadal, after losing that first set, blinded Federer with a savage barrage of shots and won his second consecutive French Open title, 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (4). Technically, he is the world's No. 2-ranked player, but head-to-head he has now beaten Federer six times in seven matches.

Nadal, who missed some time earlier this year with a foot injury, said the second title meant more to him.

"In December and January, I had a difficult injury," he said. "When you have a problem, and you don't know exactly if you'll be at same level as before, you value it a little bit more."

Federer, for the record, was Nadal's 60th consecutive victim on clay, a mark that seemingly has no end in sight. And so, Federer's own streak -- he had won 27 consecutive Grand Slam matches, two shy of Rod Laver's Open Era record -- is over. Further confirming Nadal's mastery, it was the first time in eight Grand Slam finals that Federer has lost.

"I have no other choice but to accept the fact," a glum Federer said after the match. "I tried. I can't do more than that. Both of us having this real unique opportunity that we haven't seen in such a long time in tennis. Obviously, it's a pity, but [life] goes on, right?

"Maybe I missed a few opportunities. Maybe hear that for years, but that's my problem."

The absurdly anticipated match did not rise to the level of the hype it generated; the immensity of the moment produced, at times, some exceedingly ugly tennis. The match required a relatively lean 3 hours, 2 minutes, but it felt longer. The victory for Nadal, however, was no fluke. Nadal is a perfect 14-0 at Roland Garros, and he has now beaten Federer on clay three times in a span of seven weeks.

It was an oppressively hot day that touched the 90s that, in theory, favored Federer's heavier game. And that's just how Federer opened the match, tres chaud. He needed only 37 minutes to win the first set and, in some minds, anyway, the coronation had already begun.

Nadal, of course, was unmoved. He needed only 32 minutes to level the match, breaking Federer in the second and sixth games. And so, a seemingly simple transaction, as so often happens in France, evolved into a nuanced negotiation.

If Nadal has a singular skill, it is turning a defensive position into a launching point for offense. This, in a larger sense, is essentially what he did in the fourth and fifth games of the third set -- the match's critical juncture.

Nadal, down 1-2, was serving to get even when Federer won the first three points, the last an elegant forehand pass down the line. Nadal erased the first break point with a superb cross-court forehand winner. The second evaporated with a terrific backhand drop volley. The third, which came with Federer in control of the point in the middle of the court, was a forehand that sailed inches wide. It was reminiscent of his two forehand misses when he held matchpoints in Rome.

Nadal eventually won the game with a 198-kilometer-per-hour ace that was originally called out. The chair umpire, upon inspecting the mark, called it good and Nadal had produced an extraordinary escape.

And then he followed it with an aggressive beak of Federer's serve. It was an unsteady game for Federer, who blew an easy overhead to give Nadal two break points and then pushed a relatively simple forehand into the net for the game. Up a break, Nadal went on to win the set.

Federer rallied at the end, breaking Nadal in the 10th game of the fourth set and forced a tiebreaker. Federer held a 2-1 lead, but lost both points on his serve (a nervous, ill-advised drop-shot attempt and a queasy forehand that sailed long) and Nadal won it with a swimming, mid-court forehand volley.

He fell back in the red clay, making a mess of his shirt. Sitting and applauding the 15,000 cheering spectators at Philippe Chatrier, Nadal looked like a dirty kid in a sand box.

Federer has still won seven of the last 12 Grand Slams contested. On anything but clay, he has been dominant. He still has won seven of the last 12 Grand Slams contested. But what will it take to win the French Open?

Federer did everything right in the run-up to Roland Garros. He played two terrific tournaments in Monte Carlo and Rome, losing in both finals to Nadal. He arrived 10 days early here and practiced hard. He was in the best condition of his life. And yet, it wasn't enough.

"Maybe, you know, at the end of my career I miss this moment, to have it again, to win the French Open right away today," Federer said. "But it didn't happen, so I've got to create this opportunity once again."

Nadal becomes the youngest player to win back-to-back titles here, going back to 1974-75, when Bjorn Borg was a year younger. The following year, Borg started off on a five-title streak at Wimbledon. Which begs the question: Can Nadal similarly diversify his game and prove he is not a one-surface wonder?

Asked where he would be celebrating his victory, Nadal downplayed the question.

"I'm playing doubles on Tuesday at Queens, so not too much celebrating," he said. "I have singles and doubles at Queens. This year I want to play with concentration on grass. I want to practice a lot.

"Is difficult to go to grass, because when I slide I don't slide with confidence. But I've got three weeks with grass. I'm going to try. That's all I can say -- I'll try."
http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/french06/news/story?id=2479425

RogiFan88
06-11-2006, 08:55 PM
Felicitaciones, Rafael! :worship: He always proves that he is the best on clay and mentally. Beating the No 1 player in a slam final will give him boundless confidence to continue winning every final he plays, regardless of surface. Now he can go to the grass of England happy and optimistic! There's nothing to stop him now -- he's truly on a roll. This is the rise and rise of Rafa Nadal. Five titles and counting this year... no reason why he can't equal or surpass his 11 titles from 2005. This is the new domination, guys! ;)

Mallorn, Rogi is very human [contrary to what most think] -- he usually wins w his brilliant, artistic, natural talent -- he doesn't win w his mental toughness or his superior physical -- and that's not enough, esp to win RG [just ask Juanqui, he knows ;)]. Rogi simply didn't play HIS tennis; Rafa didn't let him. All credit to Rafa.

mallorn
06-11-2006, 09:15 PM
Mallorn, Rogi is very human [contrary to what most think] -- he usually wins w his brilliant, artistic, natural talent -- he doesn't win w his mental toughness or his superior physical -- and that's not enough, esp to win RG [just ask Juanqui, he knows ;)]. Rogi simply didn't play HIS tennis; Rafa didn't let him. All credit to Rafa.
:hug:
I don't think Roger's inhuman ;) but I did expect him to cope better today. I just thought he drew more confidence from the Rome final. And the first set proved Rafa can get very nervous too - he just has this uncanny ability to turn things around and think positive when he's down. The guy just never panics (on the court, that is. Unless we're talking bananas. :o ). I agree, Roger didn't play his tennis, and Rafa did - from the second set on. What surprised me was that Roger started off so well and then went completely off the boil. I thought they both might have a nervous start and then play themselves into better form. Rafa did just that but Rogi couldn't. I didn't see this coming. :shrug:

MariaV
06-11-2006, 09:35 PM
[B] Five titles and counting this year... no reason why he can't equal or surpass his 11 titles from 2005. This is the new domination, guys! ;)

:lol: Yeah right *evil Rafa grin* ;) ;)

Btw Ania, Rafa 'choked' serving for the match at 5-4 in the 4th set too so... they're both human. And that's nice to see. ;)
At least they didn't give me a heart attack today. ;)

mallorn
06-11-2006, 09:54 PM
Btw Ania, Rafa 'choked' serving for the match at 5-4 in the 4th set too so... they're both human. And that's nice to see. ;)
At least they didn't give me a heart attack today. ;)
He did choke. Mats couldn't believe his eyes. :lol:

:secret: I wasn't that surprised because I've seen him fail to serve out the set before, and judging from the first set I thought he could get nervous. When Roger started to serve better I had a feeling he would make a last ditch effort and this set was going to a TB.

The Daviator
06-11-2006, 10:35 PM
:woohoo: Congrats Rafa :worship: A terrific fight :yeah:

RogiFan88
06-11-2006, 10:37 PM
:hug:
I don't think Roger's inhuman ;) but I did expect him to cope better today. I just thought he drew more confidence from the Rome final. And the first set proved Rafa can get very nervous too - he just has this uncanny ability to turn things around and think positive when he's down. The guy just never panics (on the court, that is. Unless we're talking bananas. :o ). I agree, Roger didn't play his tennis, and Rafa did - from the second set on. What surprised me was that Roger started off so well and then went completely off the boil. I thought they both might have a nervous start and then play themselves into better form. Rafa did just that but Rogi couldn't. I didn't see this coming. :shrug:

I think Rafa was more nervous than Rogi in that first set and HE couldn't play HIS tennis! :p Rafa is THE toughest mentally, bar none... ;)

GonzoFan
06-11-2006, 10:50 PM
Congrats to Rafa for his second Roland Garros title!!!! :worship: :worship: :worship:

LadyNalbandian
06-11-2006, 11:20 PM
how many points get nadal for the win?

linus
06-12-2006, 12:29 AM
i thought i was happier than Rafa himself :aplot:

really proud of him to stop a lucky Roger this year :devil:

atheneglaukopis
06-12-2006, 05:38 AM
Let me just extract one quote, translated from another language, from all context. ;)
RAFAEL NADAL: We [Roger and I] are faithful to each other.Wonder what he did mean by that. :shrug:

the_natural
06-12-2006, 06:04 AM
I think he meant honest, good sportsmanship, no gamesmanship and no animosity. Like when Federer was starting to lose I think in the 3rd set he hit a fault and wanted to check the mark and Rafa signalled it out and Federer just moved on, I believe thats what he meant.

the_natural
06-12-2006, 06:07 AM
I think Hewitt can be as mentally tough as Rafa, but right now Rafa is more mentally tough than he, he doesnt show fear against ne1, but Hewitts run at the Aus Open was a sign of how tough he can be mentally...

Anyway Rafa your the greatest to play on clay and the only man on the pro tour, in the world right now who I think would be able to really challenge you is Guga at his best, that would be a beautiful match to watch, I believe the two best of their generation on Clay. What an amazing teenager Good luck on the grass courts, u are such an intelligent player so underatted, and what beautiful artistic shots u started to come up with when u were on a roll, U should do it more often!!!

mallorn
06-12-2006, 04:39 PM
how many points get nadal for the win?
He didn't gain any points, he defended his points from last year.


Some articles after the final.

From the Independent:
Nadal confirms mastery on clay
By Paul Newman at Roland Garros
Published: 12 June 2006

He has conquered the planet but earth will have to wait for another year. Roger Federer's hopes of joining the greats by adding a Grand Slam title on terre battue to those he holds on fast courts and grass were ground into the red dust here in Paris yesterday by a foe who is becoming all too familiar.

Rafael Nadal, the raging bull of clay-court tennis, retained his French Open crown by beating Federer 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 in three hours and two minutes of sun-baked drama.

The world No 1, attempting to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam titles, made a scorching start, only to be worn down by Nadal's indomitable spirit and unrivalled ability to make his opponent play the extra shot. It was the first time Federer has lost the final of a Grand Slam event, having won on all his previous seven appearances.

In Nadal, Federer has come up against a rival who, on this surface at least, has truly got his number. Since losing to the Spaniard in last year's semi-finals here, Federer has been beaten by him in four successive finals, including three on clay.

Each match has ultimately followed a similar pattern, with Federer going on the attack, constantly looking to force the pace, and Nadal defending with dogged resolution. The Spaniard forever retrieves balls on which others might have given up, forcing his opponents into mistakes or finally hitting winners of his own. At least Federer is in good company, for this was the Spaniard's 60th successive win on clay.

Federer thought he had been getting closer to the world No 2 when he had two match points in Rome last month, but this was the easiest of the Spaniard's clay-court victories over him this year. "I wasn't as consistent as I was in Rome or even in Monaco," Federer said. "He managed to break me quite easily and I should have returned better on his serve."

The Swiss did not hide his disappointment at failing to complete his set of Grand Slam crowns but said he was pleased to have made the final. "It's obviously my goal to win this event and I got a step closer than last year. Every year that goes by gives me more maturity on this surface."

Nadal became the first player in the Open era to win Roland Garros titles at his first two attempts, an extraordinary achievement for a 20-year-old, yet it was Federer whom the public took to their hearts.

The world No 1 has an elegance and apparently effortless panache that the French love in their sporting heroes and whenever he got into trouble cries of "Roger! Roger!" rang all around Philippe Chatrier Court.

In blazing sunshine at changeovers the players draped towels packed with ice around their necks Federer in particular seemed keen to avoid long points. He targeted the Spaniard's backhand, which produced a stream of errors in an uncharacteristically loose first set.

Federer had chances to make early breaks in both the second and third sets, but each time Nadal recovered from 0-40 down. On the second occasion Federer promptly dropped his own serve by missing three regulation forehands and a simple smash. "I was nervous in the first set and I think he felt nervous later on," Nadal said.

The Spaniard quickly regained his composure, however, and even started attacking in one service game he started playing serve-and-volley as Federer, making frequent backhand errors, suddenly looked vulnerable. Nadal broke in the first game of the fourth set and when he dropped only four points in his next four service games to lead 5-3 the end seemed very close.

There was to be one final twist. Two mishit Federer backhands took Nadal within two points of victory at 30-15, but a lucky net cord brought parity before the Swiss won a point of breathtaking brilliance. Having out-Nadaled his opponent by chasing down shots on both flanks, Federer won the point after the most delicate of drop shots and an equally exquisite stop volley.

When Federer won the next point to level at 5-5 the crowd rose to new heights of frenzy, but it was only delaying the inevitable. Federer broke first in the tie-break but then lost two points in a row on his serve with a poor attempt at a drop shot and a loose forehand. Nadal served out for victory, secured with a smart drive volley.

The Spaniard lay on his back in the clay he so adores, shaking with emotion at his achievement, before climbing into the stands to celebrate with family and friends. At the presentation ceremony he stressed his admiration for his opponent "Roger Federer is the most incredible player I know" but in this court at least there is only one king. Considering he has only just passed 20, it will be remarkable if a string of further records do not fall to him in future years.
http://sport.independent.co.uk/tennis/article799593.ece

mallorn
06-12-2006, 04:43 PM
From The Times:
The Times
June 12, 2006

King Nadal retains his crown as Federer's quest fails

By Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent

HIS symbols were laying on the dirt, his bandana, a single tennis ball and his racket, in a perfect triangle. At his moment of triumph, Rafael Nadal had whipped the first from his head, plucked the second from his pocket and allowed the third to slip from his grasp. One of the groundstaff picked them up and placed them back on his chair as the champion clambered into the guest box and fell into a familial embrace.

The shot that propelled the Spaniard to his second Roland Garros title — he has not lost a match here and is now 60-0 on clay since the quarter-finals of Valencia in April last year — was a whipped forehand crosscourt volley, perhaps his finest shot of the match. To attempt it at any time requires enormous talent and fortitude, to do it on match point against the world No 1 takes one’s breath away.

Nadal’s 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 victory over Roger Federer, of Switzerland, in yesterday’s French Open climax was not the occasion one had hoped for. It did not touch the heights of a meeting between the best two players on earth because neither man played well enough for long enough and the first two sets were so one-sided that they could almost be disregarded.

It may have had to do with this being the hottest day of the championship — 30C, the same temperature under which the England football team wilted after 45 minutes of their 1-0 victory over Paraguay on Saturday. Perhaps the immensity of what awaited Federer, should he have become the sixth player in history to hold all four grand-slam titles, was too much of a burden for the Swiss meister to handle.

Even pocketing the first set in 37 minutes did not set his juices flowing as we know they can, probably because he assumed Nadal could not keep playing so ineffectually. Indeed, this was nowhere near as intense or full of glorious strokeplay as their previous two finals this spring, in Monte Carlo and Rome.
Instead of lording it over Court Philippe Chatrier once he was ahead, Federer went into a shell, his backhand started to decline, the defending champion squeezed the throttle a touch and won the second set in half an hour.

The final turned Nadal’s way decisively at the start of the third. He trailed 1-2, 0-40 and may well have lost serve had Federer not hesitated on a baseline call, wondering if he had won the point unfairly. The umpire, Cédric Mourier, down from his chair, indicated that the ball had touched the line, the point was replayed, and Nadal won the next four in succession.

He shrugged off a fourth break point with an ace, held serve and promptly snatched the Federer serve, reaching break point with a remarkable couple of backhand recoveries that so stunned Federer that he sent an overhead two yards wide of the tramlines. For the first time in the match, the Spaniard had his nose in front.

Just at that moment, the wind began to tug at the flags above the stands and Federer’s disgust at the turn of events was all too visible. On the contrary, Nadal was inspired, firing forehand winners from improbable angles, targeting the increasing errant Federer backhand. Though he stumbled when serving for the match, ending a run of 13 successive service holds, Nadal was rock steady in the decisive tie-break.

“Frustration?” Federer, whose defeat yesterday was his first in eight grand-slam finals, said. “Not really. I tried, you can’t do more than try. It was a unique opportunity and it’s a pity but life goes on. There’s the grass-court season to come. The conditions were slower than in Rome, and it was hard to get to the net. I was hoping to come in more often, maybe it was the heat. I’ve had worse moments than this. I’m at a different stage of my career now where I used to be, defeats aren’t the end of the world now. It was a good tournament for me, first time in the finals, a step closer — you’ve got to see the positive. I have to create this opportunity once again.”

The problem for Federer on clay is that Nadal has the aura that Federer himself carries on grass and hard courts. He knows how it feels to be in Nadal’s position, where everything is so natural, it is as though you don’t have to work at it. Factor in the size of Nadal’s heart, the sheer physicality of the man, and here is the epitome of the warrior that Roger Draper, the chief executive of the LTA, keeps saying he wants a new generation of British players to become. Well, here he is boys. Take a look at him in the flesh at Queen’s Club this week — he is quite a sight.

The youngest back-to-back champion here since Björn Borg 31 years ago, Nadal is just starting out. Who would have thought of this when, at Christmas, he was at home in tears, wondering if an injury to his left foot would recover sufficiently for him ever to enjoy again the emotions that overflowed yesterday. He went to the United States and came home with shoes made especially for him inscribed on the left foot with “Vamos” and on the right “Rafa”. It is the 2006 French Open catchphrase.

BELGIAN HAT-TRICK

Justine Henin-Hardenne won her third title at Roland Garros by beating Svetlana Kuznetsova, of Russia, 6-4, 6-4 in the French Open final on Saturday. The Belgian became the first woman to win consecutive titles at Roland Garros since Steffi Graf in 1995 and 1996. The No 5 seed also became the first woman to win the title without losing a set since Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in 1994.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,5205-2221763,00.html

mallorn
06-12-2006, 04:44 PM
From The Wrap, by Steve Tignor:
Slow Start, Big Finish

Posted 6/11/2006 @ 3:43 PM

Sometimes the great players rise to the occasion, as they say; sometimes the occasions maintain the upper hand. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal staged a classic last month at the Italian Open, a tune-up for Roland Garros. Today, for the second straight year at Roland Garros itself, they seemed weighed down by the occasion, their brilliance only intermittent. Still, you have to hand it to Nadal: Just when you think it’s his turn to fail in the big moment, he doesn't.

The Spaniard was subdued at the start, foregoing most of his usual pre-match fidgeting and posturing. Remember what I said about the particular pressure of a Grand slam final? It’s enough to make even the highest spirits a little gunshy. Worse, it carried over into his play—Nadal started flatter (more flatly?) than I’ve ever seen him. He was broken in the second game on a weak, tentative forehand into the net and went on to shank away the set; his backhand in particular was awful. Federer did a good job of keeping him down by moving around his own backhand and hitting penetrating inside-out forehands.

Besides the startling result, three things struck me about the first set. (1) I think Nadal was flat in part because of his deference to Federer. No matter how many times Nadal has beaten him, Federer, older by five years, remains in his eyes a kind of idol. Nadal, who said he was “very nervous,” seemed to feel the weight of the moment as he looked across the net and saw his opponent. His trademark exuberance was damped down completely—how many times has Nadal gone through a first set with zero fist-pumps? (The first came at 1-0 and deuce in the second set.) (2) There were two new elements to Federer’s strategy: To work in the swinging volley when he had the upper hand in the point, and, rather than use his usual short crosscourt slice backhand, which the lefty Nadal typically drills, shift it down the line. Neither tactic did much damage. (3) While there’s no way it was a trap by Nadal, losing the first set 6-1 quickly took the pressure off him and put it on Federer—Laver and the Grand Slam were suddenly on the horizon, approaching fast; that would be enough to make anyone blink.

The match turned early in the second set. Nadal broke Federer from 40-0 down (one of his specialties) for 2-0, and from this point the errors began to flow from Federer’s backhand. He looked stymied on that side, caught flat-footed and swinging with all arm. At the end of the set, he put one backhand return into the dirt on his side of the net.

How could the world No. 1 look so bad on that side? Federer has said in the past that Nadal’s shots are harder to read than they appear, and there does seem to be something in Rafa’s lefty topspin that makes Federer hesitate. Also, I think you can go back to the tactics that Federer and Tony Roche talked about before the match, their elusive combination of aggression and patience. The result was a confused approach to the backhand. You could imagine Federer asking himself, Do I come over it, attack it, float it back? The same was true on the forehand. Federer was caught a number of times in no-man’s land and subsequently sprayed a forehand long.

Robert Landorp once told me that the only way Pete Sampras would win the French Open was by playing exactly the way he did on hard courts. Federer may be better served by the same tactic: Lose the "patience," stick with the "aggression." After all, Federer played his best tennis here in the second set against Nalbandian basically by saying "me hit winners now."

Nadal was in top form for the third set and much of the fourth. He came back from 0-40 in the fourth game to hold with some big forehands and serves. He broke serve and then held after being down 0-30. It’s those mini-comebacks by Nadal that must demoralize an opponent. By the end of the set, Nadal was flattening out his backhand, scrambling well, and hitting nasty forehand crosscourts that had Federer’s wheels spinning. To hold for 5-3, Nadal hit a huge crosscourt forehand winner and followed it up with an even bigger one down the line.

By 4-2 in the fourth, it looked like Federer was ready to call it—one floating backhand followed another. I caught a glimpse of Tony Roche flicking his wrist in a backhand motion and shaking his head at one stage. Down 4-5, Federer shanked two backhands that nearly landed in the stands. While he climbed back with a spectacular scrambling point at 30-30, Nadal maintained his composure—no Vaidisova meltdowns for him—and ended it with the shot that Federer had come out hitting in the first set, a sharp-angled swinging forehand volley.

Afterward, Federer said “it was a pity.” He was unwilling to sound crushed after being turned away at history’s gate. Nadal was emotional, saying that his struggles with injury at the beginning of 2006 made this moment more special. Whatever you think of his on-court antics, you have to love Nadal’s passion for the game and for winning. It’s unmatched in tennis today.

Federer and Nadal were bound at the hip for the last two months; now they’ll go their separate ways. It’s almost as if Nadal is being banished to the minor leagues for a while. Even he laughed today when he speculated about getting to the second week of Wimbledon. The consolation for him is that the pressure is off—he’s done what he was supposed to do (and made perhaps more money than any athlete in the world since the start of April). Meanwhile, Federer presumably goes on to further glory, and the expectations that go with it. The key to their rivalry continuing and growing will be the summer hard-court season in America, and particularly Nadal mounting a challenge at Flushing Meadows. Wouldn’t it be nice to see them play a big match on something other than clay this year? There’s no reason it can’t happen. Nadal is the defending champion at the Canadian Open, Federer is the titleholder in Cincinnati. You have to think they’ll meet somewhere in North America.

For the record
Federer’s record number of undefeated wins in Slam finals is over at eight; Nadal’s 60-match clay-court streak goes dark for a little while.

Nice moment
(I mentioned this after the Rome match as well) Nadal and Fed doing a brief arm touch after their pre-match photo. Nadal’s was quick, Federer’s slow and casual. Too bad they were both wearing blue. Can’t they coordinate these things with Nike?

Also, as the tournament progressed, the sniping between the two went quiet. That was only appropriate for such a big event—the talk was over, the moment of truth was here.

Best sightings in the stands
We’d seen Nadal's mother and father, but today we also got his other uncle, Angel Miguel, the Beast of Barcelona and former Spanish World Cupper. He’s got Rafa’s arms. Three questions: Was that Jennifer Aniston up there? Was that Nadal’s sister right behind his mom? And was Nadal’s dad sitting next to a rabid Federer fan?

These are the crucial things you miss when you have to sit in the press box at Roland Garros and don’t get to watch it on NBC!

Wrap note: I fly to NY tomorrow, but will try to have a final post up either Monday or Tuesday.
http://66.232.148.140/blogs/thewrap/index.asp

mallorn
06-12-2006, 04:45 PM
From Peter Bodo's blog:
Lost in Translation

Posted 6/11/2006 @ 3:11 PM
The match that nobody dared believe we could get turned out to be the kind of match nobody expected we would see: it was bizarre, ragged, baffling and unsatisfying – Hey, what was it that some comment posters said after yesterday’s woman’s final? Get this garbage out of here and bring in The Men?

It was a match that left Rafael Nadal Kool-Aid drinkers deliriously happy (doesn’t every match Rafa win do that?), Roger Federer KADs disconsolate and in contemplation of flinging themselves into the Seine, and Tennis: The Game KADS scratching their heads, wondering how it could all go so wrong. So horribly wrong. The entire face of world tennis got plastered with that look you last saw on your single, slightly overweight sister-in-law’s face when she opened up that Christmas present that you thought would be a fun, family, in-joke, and she saw that it was a Gut-Be-Gone.

Oh, well, You can lead a tennis player to clay but you can’t make him rally. Or something like that. We got a nice preview of where this was all going when Nadal, wheeling away from the coin toss and obligatory photo, bolted for his baseline and tripped over his own foot, almost doing a face plant and taking out a divot bigger than any of the craters that would be left by his forehands.

I’m still trying to make sense of all this, but I have to confess that I thought this all was fun, in a warped kind of way. Here’s a stadium full of tennis fans at a Grand Slam final, repeatedly turning toward each other after a Nadal forehand rocket to the cheap seats, or a pigeon-seeking Federer backhand, and saying, “Wow, like what's up with that?"

I shaved my chest for this?

Sometimes, though, it’s great for tennis to throw up something utterly inexplicable. It’s good for the soul. It’s a good reminder for us not to get too complacent and take those occasional works of art that the game throws up for granted (Rome final, anyone?). Look at it this way: It didn’t go 32-30 in the fifth. You still have something to live for. These two a champions turned chumps for the day are still young.

Maybe it’s all a sign from above. You should all be reading. You should all be reading Moby Dick. Actually, if you’ve never read Moby Dick, don’t bother; you just saw it, and if you did read it you know what I mean: It wasn’t good, but it sure went slow.

But, our little TennisWorld community always looks on the bright side of things, and always finds intriguing, contemplation-worthy elements in every match. They existed in this one, too, so let’s run through it.

Nadal was bad, off-the-charts bad; he was so nervous that I feared he was going to run to the north end of the court and shout up to the player's guest box, “Hey Tony, run and get me a Depends!”

But even then, there were brilliant moments, as there would be throughout this match; seven or nine-stroke rallies ending with a really deft, acutely angled inside-out forehand from The Mighty Fed, or an on-the-run, two-handed passing-shot blast – a chip shot out of the red clay, really – from Dirty Boy Rafa. Does anyone get more - and more sweetly - out of the inside-out forehand than Federer, and is there a better thread-the-needle backhand (in desperate situations) than Nadal’s?

In the second set, it was as if Rafa said, “Okay, Prada boy, here’s the shoe, now you wear it!”

In the second game (Nadal having won the first) TMF led 40-love but would find a way to lose what was the first of the two most important games of the match – and, inarguably, the first of two hugely important games in which he led, 40-0 but couldn’t close it out. (The other one occurred with Nadal serving at 1-2 early in the third.

Nadal addressed each of these junctures in his presser. Of that break early in the second, he said:

After, maybe he has the control of the game, but he give me a good chance, no, because he had 1 0 for me in the second, but 40 Love for him, and he is playing better than me, no? I feel nervous. I don't feel very good the legs for the nervous.

After, he have three consecutive mistakes no, two consecutive mistakes. I play one good point and I can do the break. When I have the break in the second set, 2 0, I improve in my confidence, no, because I was thinking, Now is my chance. I was playing very bad, but now I need to take my opportunity.

Federer’s own comment on that game were revealing, and brimming with the kind of melancholy, coulda, woulda, shoulda tristesse that you expect out of, oh, Edith Piaf, not The Mighty Federer:

I definitely felt, you know, that second set was a big turning point. If just there I can keep up with him and then, you know, put him really under big pressure, maybe lead two sets to Love, then obviously it's very different. But I think just giving away the second set like this, I think that was maybe the key.

After being broken in that second game, TMF would melt into the slough of despond, immediately and almost irretrievably. My match notes say: This match reminds me of two guys who woke up in the dark in the same room and are taking turns fumbling around, looking for the light switch. . .

Those of you who are perverse enough to have read along so far are my kind of folks, so you’ll know what I mean when I say that at this point, I thought, Cool. Each guy has played a set of anti-tennis and gotten the demons out of his system. So it’s like, okay, I’ve got an idea! Let’s pretend it’s a best-of-three final and see if we can provide these patient people with their money’s worth.

Oddly enough, I also felt at that point that Federer may have effectively (and unconsciously)set the tone of the match, and that it would work in his favor. For this was largely a match of slam-bang tennis, full of errors and some winners interspersed with explosive, ever-so-seductive moments of glory that you just won't get out of a Ljubicic in a million years.

Here’s an intriguing comment from TMF’s presser, supporting this theory:

. . .I was hoping to come in more often. But somehow, you know maybe it was the heat. I don't know. We both tried to cut down on the points, in the first two sets especially, that never we really got the good sort of rhythm going from the baseline. That only really started towards the third and fourth set.

Still, much like Federer blew a critical 40-love advantage in the two-set prelude, he blew one in to launch the last three sets. The handwriting was on the wall, and writ large, too. Nadal also thought his recovery from 1-2, 0-40 down in the third was noteworthy, saying:

Yeah, is very important moment, no? Maybe in the second set, when 2 0, is important moment with the break of 2 0. And the second is this one, no, 2 1, Love 40? I play three good points. I have little bit good luck with one forehand of Roger, go out like this.

But after this moment, I improve a lot in my game, I think, no? Is my opinion. After this moment, I play better with my serve. I play more aggressive. And he feel little bit more nervous. So after this moment, I play my best tennis, no?

The upshot, though, was that this was neither a track meet nor a marathon, both of which would have favored Nadal. And, as your own eyes saw, Nadal was the one who ended up playing the role scripted for Federer. He won big points with a serve that hit like a bullet, sending up a red puff of smoke; he took the game to TMF, forcing the action, a few times even coming forward to volley.

At the same time, Federer played against type and gave an Oscar-worthy performance as the Evil Counterpuncher, in a film that might have been entitled, Wake Me When It’s Over. By the middle of the fourth set, though, he had been forced to hit so many high backhands off Nadal’s high-bouncing forehand, both feet leaving the ground, that he looked worn out. He showed a brief flurry of life when he broke Nadal to level the match at 5-5 in the fourth, but the themes of the day returned to haunt the tiebreaker and the match ended on a note of anticlimax.

Here are the more intriguing stats: Nadal’s first serve percentage, at 76, was 16 points higher than Federer’s. Federer had only 10 more winners than Nadal (35 to 25), but he had almost twice as many unforced errors, 51 to 28. It sounds right, but then my stat sheet also says nobody hit a service returner. . .

This kind of screw-up isn’t unusual here at Roland Garros, where translations can be very loose and asking things like why all the English transcripts aren’t posted on the website have a way of morphing into immutable ones, like, What is the meaning of life? Or, How come the game always goes to 14 deuces when I’m waiting in the tunnel to get in?

In fact, you may have caught a major faux pas during the presentation ceremony, when a French official mistranslated Nadal’s comments for the the crowd – elicting a shower of boos and catcalls.

In essence, DBR said, “Roger is the toughest guy I play, the best I lose to, even on clay.” The translator tightened and brightened this up, saying, “Roger’s the toughest guy out there except on clay, where I rock the world!” Or something like that. The crowd went nuts, and after the match the translator ran down to the locker room to apologize to Nadal, while Nadal's people were looking for Federer's people to apologize and see if their boy wanted to do lunch with their boy.

It wasn’t the only thing that got lost in translation on this zany day at Roland Garros. Federer vs. Nadal in the Roland Garros final. It sounded too good to be true. That's just how it turned out.

PS - I thought it might be fun to end this tournament on a nostalgic note, so I'm linking to a story Charlie Bricker wrote on Harold Solomon, Fast Eddie Dibbs partner in crime.
http://www.peterbodostennisworld.com/

MariaV
06-12-2006, 06:57 PM
Thanks Ania. The Britsh press obviously loves him and this is nice. :D :D :D

RogiFan88
06-12-2006, 07:12 PM
I believe there have already been quite a few features on Rafa in the UK papers already, which will culminate at Wimby. They are heavily featuring him and probably will hype him up even more in the next couple of weeks. ;)

mallorn
06-12-2006, 07:14 PM
Honestly, they should put the hype on hold until he wins three matches in a row on grass. :p :lol:

RogiFan88
06-12-2006, 07:29 PM
Mallorn, it makes me laugh a little to see the Brits giving Rafa so much press esp in anticipation of Wimby when all they used to do was criticise and put down the Spanish [and that extends to the Spanish in general, not just in tennis and playing on grass]. They can be such hypocrites sometimes and blatantly so but then when one is superior... ;)

Hmm... I wonder which mansion Rafa is renting w Feli? Wimbledon is such a lovely leafy English village.

MariaV
06-12-2006, 08:19 PM
I believe there have already been quite a few features on Rafa in the UK papers already, which will culminate at Wimby. They are heavily featuring him and probably will hype him up even more in the next couple of weeks. ;)
Yes they have written some great features on him. I really like it. :D :D
Let's hope he can show some good play on grass for them. :D

eddie_hyden
06-13-2006, 03:23 AM
Yes they have written some great features on him. I really like it. :D :D
Let's hope he can show some good play on grass for them. :D

CONGRATS RAFA!!!

wow what a nice time to be a rafa fan, isn't it?

been some time since i last wrote, partly because i was afraid i would jinx him if i say wrong things (which was what probably happened to martina hingis :)

anyway, just wanna say hi..and yeah KEEP ON GOING RAFA!!


...ed

Rafalution
06-13-2006, 05:39 AM
Real Madrid Club de Futbol congratulates Rafa on defending his french open title! :worship:

The called him a "Champion with a white heart" because he's Madridista (Real Madrid fan)

http://www.realmadrid.com/articulo/rma31759.htm

** they also congratulated Fernando Alonso (F1) a Madridista aswell

the_natural
06-13-2006, 09:06 AM
Im just angry with that Translator, I think its cos rafa spoke fast and he didnt take many breaks, he said lots at once, and its more logical to say "Im better on clay". Cos the French treat him badly enough as it is, I just see bad things for next year, like lots of anti-nadal hateration comin on :( ... I know its a year away but stilll, i just hope they cleared it up, not that the RG crowd would give a damn enough to even pay attention to any attempts to fix up the confusion :rolleyes:

mallorn
06-13-2006, 04:08 PM
Some more articles.
From The Globe and Mail:
Nadal ends Federer's slam streak

TOM TEBUTT
From Monday's Globe and Mail

PARIS — If there was doubt whom the crowd was pulling for in the French Open men's final yesterday, with Roger Federer aiming to be the first man to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once since Australian great Rod Laver in 1969, it was obvious after he took a 3-0 lead in the first set and raucous chanting of “Roger, Roger” rained down as he sat during the first change-over.

Le beau rêve (beautiful dream), as the French put it, seemed possible, especially after he closed out the set 6-1 in 37 minutes against Rafael Nadal. But once Federer lost serve in the second game of the second set after leading 40-love, Nadal, over what he later referred to as “nerves,” rolled inexorably to his record 60th victory on clay, defending his title with a 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (4) win.

As has happened to everyone who has played Nadal on clay since April last year, Federer seemed to have nowhere to hit the ball. The Spaniard muscles back virtually every ball with a lethal, leaden topspin and repeatedly runs down shots other mortals would not reach.

He has now beaten Federer four times during the streak and by doing so yesterday ended the world No. 1's streak of seven wins in Grand Slam finals.

It seems symptomatic of Federer's competitive queasiness against Nadal that he cited his own poor form at as early a juncture as the second set as crucial to the outcome.

“I definitely felt the second set was the turning point,” he said. “I think just giving it away like that was maybe the key.”

The women's final on Saturday had a similar turning point when Svetlana Kuznetsova, after winning the first 10 points of the second set, could not seize the momentum and was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by Justine Henin-Hardenne.
At 24, the Belgian now joins rivals Martina Hingis and Venus Willams with five career Grand Slam titles. It was Henin-Hardenne's third French Open title (2003 and 2005).

“Even if I had a lot of trouble in the last year [hamstring, shoulder and knee injuries as well as a stomach ailment at the Australian Open in January], I keep winning [at least] a major title every year [for four years],” she said. “That's not a bad average.”

Nadal, 20, has also had to battle adversity. A troublesome stress fracture in his left foot forced him off the tour between last November and February of this year.

After acknowledging Federer as “probably the best player in history and the most complete player I've seen” at the presentation ceremony, he got personal. “I'd like to thank my mother and father,” he said. “We had difficult moments at the beginning of the year [because of the foot] and there were times when we weren't sure I'd be here.”

Nadal's victory was one in an unbroken line of wins over the past 20 years on Parisian clay by baseliners over a category broadly known as attacking players. One of those was in 1988, when Mats Wilander of Sweden was too steady for the wondrous but wild skill set of Henri Leconte of France.

Yesterday, Wilander, 41, was critical of the stoic demeanour of Federer. He cited the fourth set tiebreaker and said, “Why, when he breaks to 2-1, isn't there room for a come on or something to show Nadal that I'm still here and I'm No. 1 in the world and about to win four majors in the same 12 months? He walked by him like it was a junior against the man. David versus Goliath.

“It seemed weird he didn't get more pumped up.”

Leconte, beaten 7-5, 6-2, 6-1 by Wilander in 1988, insisted an attacking player such as Federer can win, but “he has to go to the net more, take more risks.”

Of playing Nadal, Leconte, 42, said: “You have to rush him on two or three shots. Once you get involved in rallies with him, it's tough. You really have to be wired physically — and you can't be scared.”

Nadal, who, after a first-round bye, will likely meet American Mardy Fish on Wednesday at the Queen's Club event in London, said yesterday of the quick turnaround from clay to grass: “The tour is not well organized in my opinion. We have not much time between the two big tournaments of the year. I am going to try, but I don't think you change games overnight.”

That is this week. But more immediate for him was the moment after victory yesterday when he lay flat, exhausted and ecstatic, on the ochre terre battue that is indisputably his domain. Special to The Globe and Mail
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060611.wxfrenchopen12/BNStory/Sports/home

mallorn
06-13-2006, 04:23 PM
From The Herald News:
Nadal ends Federer's major win streak

Feat of clay: Winner captures second straight French Open
the associated press

PARIS — Unflappable and unbeatable against anyone else, Roger Federer looked helpless at times Sunday, his bid for a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title disappearing in the clouds of clay kicked up by Rafael Nadal.

Over and over, for three hours and with the temperature at 90, Nadal scampered and skidded his way to reach seemingly unreachable balls. Going long stretches without a mistake, No. 2-ranked Nadal beat No. 1 Federer 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (4) to win his second straight French Open title.

"I won the first set easily, and usually in a situation like that I don't let things go by. But it's a final. It's against Nadal. It's on clay," Federer said. "That makes it very difficult — more difficult maybe than other cases."

His 27-match winning streak at majors ended. Nadal's 60-match winning streak on red clay lives.

So consider this: Nadal is now 6-1 against Federer over their careers. And this: Federer is 0-4 against the Spaniard in 2006, 44-0 against everyone else.

Nadal also is the first player to beat Federer in a Grand Slam final. The Swiss entered Sunday 7-0 in that category, the best such start to a career since the 1880s.

"I can't say I'm better than him. Since I was born, I've never seen a more complete player. He's the best," Nadal said. "Maybe he was nervous, too. Roger was playing today for being on the top of history. This pressure is a lot, no?"

Federer was trying to join Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962, 1969) as the only men to win Wimbledon, U.S. Open, Australian Open and French Open championships all in a row. He also had a chance to become the sixth man with a career Grand Slam.

But it was Nadal who deposited a forehand volley to end the match, then slid onto his back on the clay and spread his arms and legs, as if to make a snow angel. After they shook hands, Federer sank in his seat, residue of the red dirt smearing his white headwrap.

"I tried. I can't do more than try," Federer said. "But having this real unique opportunity that we haven't seen in such a long time in tennis — obviously, it's a pity."

It was the first French Open final pitting men seeded 1-2 since 1984, but the play never really lived up to the hype, particularly in the surprisingly lopsided first two sets. Still, it was an intriguing contrast in styles and personalities that created a competing fugue of "Ro-ger! Ro-ger!" and "Ra-fa! Ra-fa!" chants at changeovers.

Nadal's biceps-baring sleeveless shirt and below-the-knee white shorts. Federer's more traditional collared shirt and shorts.

Nadal's "Ugh-ahhh!" grunt on nearly every shot, sounding angry at the ball. Federer's barely perceptible exhale.

Nadal's baseline excellence. Federer's volleying.

Nadal's left-handed topspin. Federer's right-handed variety.

It's actually that last one that might be most responsible for the one-sided nature of the emerging rivalry, for Nadal's high-bouncing forehands make things tough on Federer's backhand, already his weakest shot.

On Sunday, Federer made 24 unforced errors with his backhand. He finished with 51 miscues in all, 23 more than the steadier Nadal.

"I suppose this was not Federer's best game, because if it were, he would have won, no doubt," said Nadal's coach and uncle, Toni.

Federer sure looked great at the start, racing to a 5-0 lead by breaking Nadal in each of his first two service games. Remarkably, though, Federer wouldn't break again until Nadal served for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set.

In the third set, Nadal used a 114 mph kick serve for an ace to erase the last of four break points in the fourth game. Then he broke to a 3-2 lead with the help of two telling points.

Nadal slid and stretched to send a hard shot back, able to muster only a weak lob. Aware of his foe's range, Federer looked for Nadal, then shanked an overhead long. Nadal broke when Federer roamed two steps outside the doubles alley to run around his troublesome backhand and hit a forehand that wound up in the net.

"I improved in my confidence," Nadal said. "I was thinking, 'Now is my chance."'

The backs of Nadal's sneakers have yellow block letters that read "Vamos" on the left and "Rafa" on the right, and they were always moving Sunday. Nadal bounced in place, working himself into a lather, while waiting to be introduced to the crowd. He jumped on his toes right in Federer's face during the coin toss. He sprinted to the baseline for the warmup period. And that was nothing compared to what he did when the ball was in play.

"He makes it tough," Federer said, "and I guess, in the end, he deserves to win."

In the middle two sets, Nadal was downright superb, making only six unforced errors while keeping points going long enough that Federer made 29.

Nadal, who turned 20 during the tournament, is the youngest man to win a second straight French Open since Bjorn Borg was 19 in 1975.
How did he do it?

"A bit of luck, a bit of tennis, a bit of mental attitude. Federer made more mistakes than usual," Nadal said. "All these things together."

Federer, meanwhile, is left to ponder what he can do to add the only major missing from his resume. He spoke before the tournament about wanting to avoid the fate of Pete Sampras, who won a record 14 Grand Slam titles but whose best French Open run was to the 1996 semifinals. Sampras' age at the time? The same as Federer's now, 24.

"I was ready to put him at the top if he were to win this," seven-time major champion John McEnroe said during NBC's broadcast, "but he's got some work to do."

06/12/06
http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/heraldnews/sports/4_2_JO12_FRENCH_S1.asp

mallorn
06-13-2006, 04:25 PM
From The Olympian:
No matching Nadal on clay

Federer falls short in bid for slam
BY CHARLES BRICKER
SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL

PARIS -- One more tap of the racket on the bottom of his red clay-caked shoes. One more deep breath before the final serve. And then, one more point -- a perfectly struck swinging forehand volley from midcourt that slammed down with such accuracy that Roger Federer knew instantly his next move would be a handshake at the net.

Predicted by many two weeks ago, Rafael Nadal, like Justine Henin-Hardenne a day earlier, won back-to-back French Open titles, and this 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (4) triumph was so emphatic that it left one wondering whether he is now Federer's equal, regardless of what the rankings say.

Federer not only will remain at No. 1 this week but will increase his lead over No. 2 Nadal by about 250 points because he reached the final this year and the semifinals in 2005.

Nevertheless, with four Nadal wins over Federer this year and six out of seven overall, the question of who is the best player in the world is clearly an open question, with just about everyone except the terminally humble Spaniard.

"If you look at the list, you look a lot of points difference, no? So he is the No. 1. So I admire him. He's a very complete player. I can't say I'm better than him because that's not true," said Nadal.

Perhaps he can't, but there are going to be a growing number of people that will say it for him.

After a dreadful opening set, in which he had four winners and 17 unforced errors, Nadal recovered to win 14 consecutive service games, twice came back from 40-love and love-40 deficits to win key games and in the most important moments did a brilliant job of exploiting Federer's strangely debilitated backhand ground stroking.

It has been many years since Federer's backhand was as bad as it was in the second set, and though it improved in the third and fourth sets, it remained a liability right into the tiebreak, when he struck one backhand long to go to 1-1, hit a poor backhand chip shot into the net for 2-2 and had errors on service returns from the ad court to go down 2-4 and then 4-6.

"That I make mistakes on my backhand side with the aggression of Nadal, that's normal," said Federer, who didn't do a good job of hiding his extreme disappointment at failing to win the only Grand Slam trophy to escape him.

How disappointed was he? "I mean, I have no other choice than to accept the fact, right?" he replied. But he said he has had tougher moments.

"I am at a different stage in my career now than I used to be where every loss was another world. That's not the case anymore because I tried hard and I know I left everything out there, and maybe I missed a few opportunities. Maybe I'll hear that for years, but that's my problem."

He was supreme in the 37-minute opening set, but a lot of that had to do with Nadal's horrible play. Then, on his seventh break point of the match, Nadal shot out to a 2-0 lead in the second set and, less than a half-hour later, had pulled even.

Two games in the third set turned this match decisively in his favor. Serving at 1-2, he came back from love-40 to hold, then broke Federer to go up 3-2 with a pair of significant shots.

First, his running backhand stab lob from deep in the corner touched down 5 feet inside the baseline, and Federer blew the overhead wide. Then, at 15-40, Federer went outside the doubles alley to hit an inside-out forehand that was intercepted by the net.

In the fourth set, Federer finally broke back to 5-5, but he had nothing to sustain his game in the tiebreak. With the title tucked away, Nadal dropped the second ball from his pocket, threw off his headband and dropped on his back in the dirt in joy.

Then, to celebrate this 60th straight clay-court victory, he climbed into the stands to join his family.

"I kissed my father because he did everything for me. And my uncle gives me motivation to continue," he said.

He is not so naive as to think he's going to challenge Federer at Wimbledon in two weeks. In fact, he'd be happy getting to the quarterfinals. But he has beaten Federer twice on hardcourt as well as four times on clay, and there has been nothing fluky or aberrant in any of those matches.

It probably won't be the last time these two men play each other, and as long as they are No. 1 and No. 2 it will have to be in a final. That can only be a good thing for men's tennis.
http://159.54.227.3/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060612/SPORTS/606120378/1002

mallorn
06-13-2006, 05:28 PM
From The Telegraph:
Nadal remains the king of clay
By Mark Hodgkinson in Paris
(Filed: 12/06/2006)

After a Roland Garros final that was more baffling than it was enthralling, Roger Federer's attempt to create some history and become only the third man to hold all four grand slam titles at the same time ended in failure yesterday, with Rafael Nadal retaining his status as the undisputed king of clay.

http://img157.imageshack.us/img157/7629/sthodg12get8oc.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
Rafael Nadal
Winning feeling: Rafael Nadal

On a searing hot afternoon in south-west Paris, the contest never quite justified all the hype. Federer, arguably the greatest ever, was playing the biggest match of his life. And yet the world No 1, normally characterised as the Swiss who doesn't miss, and who had started so promisingly, was soon flunking and skewing a high number of strokes. So, instead of completing his quartet, he lost 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6, his first defeat in his eight grand slam finals.

It was an odd match and one that was more than a little unsatisfying, and not just for Federer.

There was to be no history for Federer on the Philippe Chatrier Court, just some extremely violent hitting from the second-ranked Nadal. The sense was that Federer, in his first Roland Garros final, would almost certainly have managed to do the 'Roger Slam' against anyone else. However, as he was not close to his best he was ultimately unable to fend off the funk and the felt-scorching forehands of Nadal, now unbeaten in a record 60 straight red-dirt matches. "He is a fighter and a grinder and he deserved to win," Federer said.

After smoking a forehand swing volley for a winner on his first match point, Nadal threw himself on to his back, the red dust smearing and splattering his white three-quarter length pirate pants and his blue muscle-vest.

And so more glory for Nadal, the 20-year-old tennis freak talent. Nadal's on-court persona and life can often seem very cartoon-like - 'Rafa's Clay-court Adventures'. But the pity for the young man was that when he pulled himself up from the crushed brick there was not quite the same applause and acclaim that he received last season. A year ago Nadal had been the crowd favourite, as he won Roland Garros on his first appearance, but this time most of the tennis world had been demanding an assault on the record books by Federer.

No matter. The celebrations continued for Nadal after winning his second slam, as he scrambled into the VIP box and up and across the stands to hug all his family. The Majorcan was then in tears. "This is a fantastic victory and an incredible moment in my career as a tennis player," he said. "Federer is the best player in history. No other player has ever had such quality.''

Only two players have completed the full set of grand slams, the American Don Budge performing the feat before the Second World War and then the Australian Rod Laver achieving it twice in the Sixties, and Federer had been obsessed with his chance to join them having won last year's Wimbledon and US Open titles and this year's Australian Open.

And Federer's defeat also stopped him from becoming only the sixth man to win all four slams and killed off his chances of doing the true grand slam with a calendar sweep this season.

Nadal is now 6-1 in the head-to-head with Federer and has won their last five meetings, including all four matches on clay. What sort of rivalry is this, some critics may suggest, when Federer cannot even win a match against the second-ranked player? Certainly, no other opponent presents such a challenge for Federer. But playing Nadal, and playing Nadal on clay, can do odd things to Federer.

What made the occasion particularly strange was that the two never played well together. Nadal had been his usual self beforehand, with kangaroo leaps in the corridor as he waited to run out into the stadium, but his early tennis was horribly nervous. Jennifer Anniston, providing some Hollywood A-list glamour from the third row of the VIP box, was only moved to clap her hand against her Chinese fan for Federer's early tennis. Nothing that Nadal did in the first set was deemed worthy of any Anniston applause.

Suddenly, the Roger Slam looked like it was on. But then, almost as quickly, the chances of the Roger Slam disappeared. While Nadal rid himself of his nerves, Federer became gradually worse and occasionally was even guilty of playing some sloppy tennis.

Having broken twice in the first four games of the match, Federer did not strike again until the 10h game of the fourth set, over two hours later, when Nadal was serving for the title at 5-4. Nadal, though, quickly countered, and won the tie-break for the loss of only four points.

Nadal, the king of clay, would not shift from his Roland Garros throne.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/sport/2006/06/12/sthodg12.xml

Jogg
06-13-2006, 07:45 PM
The Britsh press obviously loves him and this is nice. :D :D :D

:D yeah they do, I remember last year one paper had an article on him with the headline "Finally a reason to get excited about Wimbledon" :lol: But they are not overhyping him, all the articles are pretty realistic about Rafa's chances it not like they are expecting him to win it, well not yet anyway if he wins a few matches it'll be a different story :p
Anyway there are definately two people who will thank Rafa for taking all the press attention.....Henman and Murray :p

MariaV
06-13-2006, 08:03 PM
Yeah, they've been very nice articles, that's why I'm so happy about them, not too much hype but very nice. :) And I mean they're in the quality papers like The Times and Guardian so hopefully people read them. ;)
I don't have too much time to read the Bristish press but what I've gathered they've been too hard on Gantleman Tim and putting too much pressure on Andy M which doesn't seem very nice. So I am positively surprised, the writers obviously know tennis well but I guess with compatriots emotions sometimes take over.