Article in the Guardian on Wimbledon, Rafa, Federer and Djokovic [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Article in the Guardian on Wimbledon, Rafa, Federer and Djokovic

DhammaTiger
06-16-2008, 01:19 PM
Very interesting article on Rafa's win yesterday and what it means to Federer, Djokovic and other contenders for Wimbledon title. The last paragraph is very interesting about the L.T.A reputation for mucking things up. One quibble I have with the article is it's inaccuracy on Nadal's record in A.O. This year he lost in the semi and not as the article says, didn't go past the quarter-finals.


Nadal blasts aside Djokovic to prove grass credentials

· Spaniard looks to go one better at Wimbledon
· Federer's five-year reign under threat from Serb too

* Steve Bierley at Queen's Club
* The Guardian,
* Monday June 16 2008
* Article history

Anyone searching Rafael Nadal's tennis bag yesterday afternoon would probably have found traces of the red clay of Roland Garros still lurking in the corners. Astonishingly, only one week after winning his fourth consecutive French Open title in Paris, the Spaniard captured his first grass court title, defeating Serbia's Novak Djokovic 7-6, 7-5 in an Artois Championships final of such white-hot intensity that it was tempting to view the result as the forerunner of Nadal's first Wimbledon title.

"The last two years I have reached the quarter-finals here and went to Wimbledon and played very well. This year I won, so you never know what may happen this year," said Nadal. "When I was young my goal was to play at Wimbledon. It has always been very, very special to me and to have played in the last two finals has been a dream. Now my dream is to win the title."

Across the North Sea Roger Federer, the five-times Wimbledon champion, who extended his undefeated grass-court record to 59 matches when he won the title in Halle just before Nadal's triumph, would not have been surprised. His last defeat on the surface came in the first round of Wimbledon against Croatia's Mario Ancic six years ago, yet Nadal came within a couple of shots of beating the Swiss world No1 in the final over five enthralling sets at the All England club last year. Federer is well aware of the threat.

So the heat will be on him again, perhaps doubly so, for he will not want to have Djokovic on his side of the draw when it is made on Friday. The reigning Australian Open champion, who defeated Federer on Melbourne's hard courts in this year's semi-finals, was within a point of a 4-0 lead in the opening set here and served for the first set in the tie-break.

It was a final bursting with brilliant tennis and the Serb, at 21 a year younger than Nadal, came close to succeeding. He and Nadal have been vying all year for the No2 spot behind Federer, with Nadal staving off Djokovic's concerted attack during the clay season and beating him in the semi-finals at Roland Garros. Meanwhile Federer has been faltering, all of which promises an enthralling contest between the three at Wimbledon in a week's time. Nadal has been beaten in those last two finals by Federer, and Djokovic reached his first Wimbledon semi-final last year, losing to Nadal.

It is difficult to imagine anybody else getting a look in. France's Gaël Monfils snatched the fourth semi-final place in the French Open and many will hope Britain's Andy Murray might have a similar run on grass. However, as things stand, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are a class apart. Federer will remain the favourite.

Tournaments like Queen's, coming just before one of the majors, are used by the players to gain confidence and hone technique, especially here where the lurch from clay to grass is violently quick. But once the semi-finals are reached the competitive animal kicks in and Nadal and Djokovic badly wanted to win.

Djokovic had the better start yesterday, hitting the ball wonderfully cleanly and leaving Nadal to chase in vain. Had the Serb gained a 4-0 lead in the first set there might have been a different ending. "I had a lot of chances but he managed to come through," he said. "Partly that was my fault, partly luck as well. I should have been a little more aggressive." The problem for all Nadal's opponents is that the Spaniard's level of intensity and aggression rarely falter.

It is only on the hard courts of the US and Australia that the unforgiving nature of the surface is more than Nadal's occasionally vulnerable body, notably his knees, can take. He has never got beyond the quarter-finals of the US or Australian Opens, the principal reason why over the last three years he has never managed to knock Federer off the No1 spot.

But now he will believe he can at least end Federer's dominance on grass and by doing so this may lead to him taking over as the world No1, although Djokovic has equal ambitions in that direction. Initially the Serb looked the fresher but Nadal was ultimately implacable. He is the first male Spaniard to win a grass-court title since Andres Gimeno in 1972 and the first player to win both the French Open and this title since Romania's Ilie Nastase in 1973, when it was called the London grass court championships.

The Lawn Tennis Association, the sport's governing body in Britain, is poised to take over the running of this tournament next year. The LTA is renowned throughout the world for turning Wimbledon's golden profits into base metal. It is to be hoped they do not muck up this event too.

This article appeared in the Guardian on Monday June 16 2008 on p9 of the Sport news & features section. It was last updated at 00:14 on June 16 2008.




* guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2008

groundstroke
06-16-2008, 01:41 PM
Interesting article, but if Nadal beats Federer in the final, he still won't be number 1?

Castafiore
06-16-2008, 01:42 PM
It would be nice if that journalist had gotten all his facts straight, right?

Bazooka
06-16-2008, 01:42 PM
Not bad stuff except for the blunder you mention. Not too deep os specialized either...

Bazooka
06-16-2008, 01:42 PM
Interesting article, but if Nadal beats Federer in the final, he still won't be number 1?

He won't. He would need Federer to lose in the early rounds.

Crazy, isn't it? but he would probably gain the #1 afterwards, as soon as Roger fails to defend anything big.

DhammaTiger
06-16-2008, 01:48 PM
I think some journalists are just too lazy to research. For me the last para on the LTA's reputation for "Wimbledon's golden profits into base metal. It is to be hoped they do not muck up this event too." :eek:

groundstroke
06-16-2008, 01:51 PM
He won't. He would need Federer to lose in the early rounds.

Crazy, isn't it? but he would probably gain the #1 afterwards, as soon as Roger fails to defend anything big.
Yeah, that's what I thought too, it is quite weird. If Federer reaches the final and as does Rafa and Rafa wins, Rafa will only gain 300 points on Federer.
If Federer reaches the final of the US open and Masters Cup I'm sure he'll still be number 1. Only problem is Nadal hasn't reached the final of either of either of those tournaments.
Federer can still win Montreal as he reached the final there.. There's something for him to build on. Next year for Aussie Open he can definitely gain more points.

nadal4ever
06-16-2008, 01:57 PM
:wavey:I see some mental weakness in the Djoker, too. He probably thought it would be much easier for him to beat Rafa on grass. When he didn't get the result he was looking for during the match, he began to falter.

scoobs
06-16-2008, 01:58 PM
I think the article means the LTA is taking over the running of Queens, not Wimbledon.

Bazooka
06-16-2008, 02:00 PM
Yeah, that's what I thought too, it is quite weird. If Federer reaches the final and as does Rafa and Rafa wins, Rafa will only gain 300 points on Federer.
If Federer reaches the final of the US open and Masters Cup I'm sure he'll still be number 1. Only problem is Nadal hasn't reached the final of either of either of those tournaments.
Federer can still win Montreal as he reached the final there.. There's something for him to build on. Next year for Aussie Open he can definitely gain more points.

The problem is, being the winner of a slam final doesn't give enough points IMO. Either that, or being a runner-up gives too many. Who's greatest, a runner up than afterwards is runner-up too in an AMS, or a slam winner that misses that same AMS event?

I would fix it by giving 1.200 to winner and 600 to winner of AMS.

NicoFan
06-16-2008, 02:03 PM
Thanks for posting.

He must mean Queens, not Wimbledon. I doubt the All England Club would let an organization like the LTA take over running their event.

And I wish Rafa would take hardcourts as serious as he does grass. I love Rafa, but it annoys me that he doesn't put the same effort into hardcourts as he does the grass season.

Black Adam
06-16-2008, 02:05 PM
Yeah, that's what I thought too, it is quite weird. If Federer reaches the final and as does Rafa and Rafa wins, Rafa will only gain 300 points on Federer.
If Federer reaches the final of the US open and Masters Cup I'm sure he'll still be number 1. Only problem is Nadal hasn't reached the final of either of either of those tournaments.
Federer can still win Montreal as he reached the final there.. There's something for him to build on. Next year for Aussie Open he can definitely gain more points.I think that in that case the gap will be reduced by 600 points because, Fed will be defending 1000 from last year and will have won only 700 whilst Nadal would have added 300 to the 700 he is defending.

Sunset of Age
06-16-2008, 02:10 PM
Apparently it's not all too hard to work as a journalist even for reasonable newspapers (The Guardian isn't one of the worst at all) without checking the facts first... :rolleyes:

DhammaTiger
06-16-2008, 02:13 PM
I think the article means the LTA is taking over the running of Queens, not Wimbledon.

Yes,you are right. I made the mistake in my first post, and should have corrected it.

DhammaTiger
06-16-2008, 02:23 PM
Thanks for posting.

He must mean Queens, not Wimbledon. I doubt the All England Club would let an organization like the LTA take over running their event.

And I wish Rafa would take hardcourts as serious as he does grass. I love Rafa, but it annoys me that he doesn't put the same effort into hardcourts as he does the grass season.

You are absolutely right, it's Queens and not Wimbeldon. Wimbledon is run by the club and they will not change.
As for Rafa and hard courts. He really is trying to improve. Remember he won Montreal 2 or 3 years ago and he does well in I.W. and Miami. I think we will see vast improvement on his performance in the US Open Tour building on his new better serve and now he takes the ball earlier. He demonstrated that in R.G and Queens. So let us see what happens. I am sure he will surprise us.

lurker
06-16-2008, 03:24 PM
You are absolutely right, it's Queens and not Wimbeldon. Wimbledon is run by the club and they will not change.
As for Rafa and hard courts. He really is trying to improve. Remember he won Montreal 2 or 3 years ago and he does well in I.W. and Miami. I think we will see vast improvement on his performance in the US Open Tour building on his new better serve and now he takes the ball earlier. He demonstrated that in R.G and Queens. So let us see what happens. I am sure he will surprise us.

I agree. Last year, he had a knee injury to protect, therefore it's understandable he didn't go on an all-out assault of the hardcourt season when his body wasn't ready. He and Uncle Toni have made no secret of the fact that their focus is on the crown jewels of the summer, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Last year, they would not have wanted to risk a serious knee injury that would have prevented play this year.

Barring injury, I predict Nadal to pick up quite a bit of points the US Open Series and US Open, as he does not have as much to defend as Djokovic and Federer.

valexie03
06-16-2008, 03:24 PM
You are absolutely right, it's Queens and not Wimbeldon. Wimbledon is run by the club and they will not change.
As for Rafa and hard courts. He really is trying to improve. Remember he won Montreal 2 or 3 years ago and he does well in I.W. and Miami. I think we will see vast improvement on his performance in the US Open Tour building on his new better serve and now he takes the ball earlier. He demonstrated that in R.G and Queens. So let us see what happens. I am sure he will surprise us.

He did win the final in Montreal in 2005 playing against Agassi. However, he hasn't done very well in this Masters since then. Incidentally, it's being played in Toronto this July.

groundstroke
06-16-2008, 03:27 PM
You are absolutely right, it's Queens and not Wimbeldon. Wimbledon is run by the club and they will not change.
As for Rafa and hard courts. He really is trying to improve. Remember he won Montreal 2 or 3 years ago and he does well in I.W. and Miami. I think we will see vast improvement on his performance in the US Open Tour building on his new better serve and now he takes the ball earlier. He demonstrated that in R.G and Queens. So let us see what happens. I am sure he will surprise us.
In 2005 he won a few hard court events as Federer choose to skip them as he was injured. Had Federer been there - he would have won none. If Donkey can beat him 6-3 6-2, what chance does have of winning against Djoker or Federer?

l_mac
06-16-2008, 03:35 PM
Yeah, that's what I thought too, it is quite weird. If Federer reaches the final and as does Rafa and Rafa wins, Rafa will only gain 300 points on Federer.
If Federer reaches the final of the US open and Masters Cup I'm sure he'll still be number 1. Only problem is Nadal hasn't reached the final of either of either of those tournaments.
Federer can still win Montreal as he reached the final there.. There's something for him to build on. Next year for Aussie Open he can definitely gain more points.

600 points.

While it's true if he wins Wimbledon he won't become #1 straight away, he'll have put himself in an exceptionally strong position to finish as YE #1. Assuming he beat Fed in the finals, he'd be more than 200 race points ahead.

Fed is my favourite to win Wimbledon though, so such talk is irrelevant.

I think it's fair to say Federer needs to win Wimbledon to have a good chance of holding on to his ranking come the end of the year.

DhammaTiger
06-16-2008, 03:41 PM
I agree. Last year, he had a knee injury to protect, therefore it's understandable he didn't go on an all-out assault of the hardcourt season when his body wasn't ready. He and Uncle Toni have made no secret of the fact that their focus is on the crown jewels of the summer, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Last year, they would not have wanted to risk a serious knee injury that would have prevented play this year.

Barring injury, I predict Nadal to pick up quite a bit of points the US Open Series and US Open, as he does not have as much to defend as Djokovic and Federer.

I tend to agree with you. I think this year he will show usall what a great athlete he is. But sadly, the haters will come out in force and say he did well because the courts were slowed down in the US open :haha:

DhammaTiger
06-16-2008, 03:44 PM
He did win the final in Montreal in 2005 playing against Agassi. However, he hasn't done very well in this Masters since then. Incidentally, it's being played in Toronto this July.

yes, they alternate between Toronto and Montreal. I think after the big injury to his ankles in 2005 his hard court performance faltered but I think this year he might surprise a few.

cherry@cupcake
06-16-2008, 05:21 PM
Apparently it's not all too hard to work as a journalist even for reasonable newspapers (The Guardian isn't one of the worst at all) without checking the facts first... :rolleyes:

The Guardian doesn't have the best tennis coverage though, I've found. As somebody wrote earlier, it tends to be quite shallow. If I want tennis articles/ news, it's to The Times I go! :D

DDrago2
06-16-2008, 05:50 PM
I tend to agree with you. I think this year he will show usall what a great athlete he is. But sadly, the haters will come out in force and say he did well because the courts were slowed down in the US open :haha:

Rafa can't play in fast conditions, but who cares? He is the most lovable and best tennis player outthere. Fed is just a mean machine

Sunset of Age
06-16-2008, 06:09 PM
The Guardian doesn't have the best tennis coverage though, I've found. As somebody wrote earlier, it tends to be quite shallow. If I want tennis articles/ news, it's to The Times I go! :D

That's obvious...
Apparently the some of the 'better' papers don't seem to care much about the quality of their sport journalism. It's the same over here, having just read a load of bollocks in my country's 'best' paper of Rafa being the BIG FAV to win Wimbly now... :rolleyes:
Yeah, Fed has retired, so I heard. :silly:

NicoFan
06-16-2008, 06:43 PM
He and Uncle Toni have made no secret of the fact that their focus is on the crown jewels of the summer, Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

Crown jewels for some, not for others. Depends on the player.

star
06-16-2008, 06:53 PM
I think the article

means the LTA is taking over the running of Queens, not Wimbledon.

Whew! That's a relief.

I went back to read the article, and you are absolutely right. "This tournament" was a little confusing after the writer had talked of Wimbledon, but I see now it's clearly Queens.

Corey Feldman
06-16-2008, 06:56 PM
:lol: the Nadal fans

"THE POINTS THE POINTS !!!!!"

peterparker
06-16-2008, 07:35 PM
:wavey:I see some mental weakness in the Djoker, too. He probably thought it would be much easier for him to beat Rafa on grass. When he didn't get the result he was looking for during the match, he began to falter.

I also got that impression. He will not make the same mistake again, consequently I actually think he got more out of this match than Rafa. :(

Henry Chinaski
06-16-2008, 11:07 PM
normally Brierly posts his articles on the blog site so I get to tell him what a tool he is but not this time unfortunately

Fedex
06-17-2008, 01:53 AM
I honestly don't think Federer cares whether or not Djokovic is in his half of the draw. Djokovic has only beaten one quality opponent on grass in his career, and that was an aging and out-of -form Hewitt.

In fact, Federer should hope he draws Djokovic, because after he goes up two sets, Djokovic will retire within the first game or two of the third set, thus giving him more rest for the finals.