~*~ Vamos Rafa in Rome ~*~ [Archive] - Page 2 - MensTennisForums.com

~*~ Vamos Rafa in Rome ~*~

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GonzoFan
05-12-2006, 08:27 PM
Monfils defeated Arod so he will be Rafa's next opponent.

silver7
05-12-2006, 08:49 PM
Good luck tomorrow against Monfils!But I know you will do it!!Vamos :yeah:

Andre forever
05-12-2006, 08:58 PM
GonzoFan :hug: :hug: It sucks when two players you like play against each other. :(

OOP for tomorrow:

CENTRE COURT
2.30 pm (1)Roger FEDERER (SUI) vs (4)David NALBANDIAN (ARG)
followed by Gael MONFILS (FRA) or (5)Andy RODDICK (USA) vs (2)Rafael NADAL (ESP)
followed by (3)Mark KNOWLES/Daniel NESTOR (BAH/CAN) or (7)Simon ASPELIN/Todd PERRY (SWE/AUS) vs (2)Jonas BJORKMAN/Max MIRNYI (SWE/BLR)
9.00 pm Merrill Lynch - Tour of Champions: Carl Uwe STEEB (GER) vs Henri LECONTE (FRA)


thanks so much.. :wavey:

mallorn
05-13-2006, 05:12 PM
Rafa's in the final! :D

He defeated Gael 6-2, 6-2 in 1h 17min. Well done Rafa! :worship:

I'll get to watch the match later so I can't really comment on his play, but it seems he didn't play his best tennis today and will need to step it up tomorrow against Roger.

VAMOS Rafa! Take the title! :bounce:

MariaV
05-13-2006, 05:12 PM
Oh, no'one's been here today yet.
OUR BABY RAFA IS THE BEST!!!!!!!!!! 6-2 6-2 over Monfils. The dream final is reality now. Ooooh oooh I'm gonna be nervous tomorrow. :scared: :unsure:
Fed was somewhat nervous already today vs Nalby. It was a great and exciting match and I'm happy Fed won in the end but it might've taken too much energy. 2 h 42 min vs Rafa's 1 h 17. :devil: Not that it would really matter much. Hopefully it's gonna be a great final again with the right outcome. ;)
:wavey:

Andre forever
05-13-2006, 05:15 PM
Oh, no'one's been here today yet.
OUR BABY RAFA IS THE BEST!!!!!!!!!! 6-2 6-2 over Monfils. The dream final is reality now. Ooooh oooh I'm gonna be nervous tomorrow. :scared: :unsure:
Fed was somewhat nervous already today vs Nalby. It was a great and exciting match and I'm happy Fed won in the end but it might've taken too much energy. 2 h 42 min vs Rafa's 1 h 17. :devil: Not that it would really matter much. Hopefully it's gonna be a great final again with the right outcome. ;)
:wavey:

i'll be nervous tomorrow too :eek:


RAFA pls.. WIN it

MariaV
05-13-2006, 05:19 PM
Hi Ania! :wavey:
Rafa did really well. :D He lost a tiny bit focus at the start of the 2nd set and lost his serve to 0, can you imagine. :lol: All 4 his UEs. But then he broke right back and broke twice more. :D Gael had some great shots too and was pretty OK but of course not enough vs Rafa. :D
Broke twice also in the 1st set. The stats look nice too. :) 22 UE's to Gael's 35 was it?
I recommend the match if you like long baseline rallies. There were really lots of long rallies. ;)
What I can only add that he volleyed well but the dropshot attempts were not too good, this he must do better vs Fed.
Anyway, good luck tomorrow baby!!!!!!! :banana: :bigclap: :yippee: :dance: :bounce:

sonia
05-13-2006, 05:19 PM
Well done Rafa!! :yeah: Good luck tomorrow!!! :bounce:

mallorn
05-13-2006, 05:24 PM
I recommend the match if you like long baseline rallies. There were really lots of long rallies. ;)
Aaah, so that's why the SB took so long to change! :lol:

Thanks for the recap, Maria! :hug:

From the official website:
13/05/2006 18:59 - NADAL TO PLAY FEDERER IN ROME FINAL

Can anyone stop 'the phenomenon'?

Rafael Nadal moved to within a match of the history books on Saturday with a 6-2 6-2 victory over unseeded Gael Monfils. He stretches his unbeaten run on clay to 52 matches and will equal the record held by Guillermo Vilas if he lifts the trophy after Sunday's final against Roger Federer. Nadal, the reigning Rome champion, has not been beaten on clay for more than a year.

In his semi-final he completely dominated his French opponent despite hitting more unforced errors than Rome spectators have come to expect, particularly on the forehand side. Monfils, who was playing his first masters semi-final after defeating Andy Roddick at the quarter final stage, himself hit 36 unforced errors and also struggled with his first serve consistency.

The nineteen-year-old has never come close to losing a match this year in Rome and will go into Sunday's final as the clear favourite, despite the fact that he is up against the world number one.

"The number one is not always the favourite but one thing is for sure, I will only win if I play 100%," he said after the match.

For someone so young Nadal has an extraordinarily postive attitude. At no time in his semi-final did he let up the pressure, despite the ease with which he was winning.

MariaV
05-13-2006, 05:38 PM
Hehe Ania, we kinda expected long baseline rallies with Gael and Rafa, no?
Gael played deep and didn't awlays give Rafa chance for attacs. But mostly Gael was the one who broke down then and made the UE.
I wonder what Fed will have thought for tomorrow. :scared: :unsure:
Fed got really mad at the beginning of the 3rd when he lost his serve. He threw his racket. :lol:
I wanted already joke that soon Fed and Rafa will both be screaming 'Vamos' just not into each-other's face, or maybe Fed will scream 'Allez'. :lol: :shrug: ;)

Andre forever
05-13-2006, 05:41 PM
I wonder what Fed will have thought for tomorrow. :scared: :unsure:
Fed got really mad at the beginning of the 3rd when he lost his serve. He threw his racket. :lol:
I wanted already joke that soon Fed and Rafa will both be screaming 'Vamos' just not into each-other's face, or maybe Fed will scream 'Allez'. :lol: :shrug: ;)
:haha:


im not gonna count my chickens yet... we knoe fed... his a tough player aswell..

just hope RAFA play GREAT tomorrow to beat federer again..

VAMOS RAFA :lol:

mallorn
05-13-2006, 06:14 PM
I wonder what Fed will have thought for tomorrow. :scared: :unsure:
Fed got really mad at the beginning of the 3rd when he lost his serve. He threw his racket. :lol:
I wanted already joke that soon Fed and Rafa will both be screaming 'Vamos' just not into each-other's face, or maybe Fed will scream 'Allez'. :lol: :shrug: ;)
I expect Roger will put up a great fight and won't give Rafa anything. His matches today and yesterday were longer than Rafa's but it doesn't have to mean anything. In MC Rafa spent much more time on court before the final and still won. Roger didn't play very well the last two days, but well enough to win against tough opponents. And Rafa's last two matches were also less brilliant than the previous ones.I believe that if he plays well he has a better chance of winning than Roger, but it doesn't mean he's there yet. Things happen.

Roger sometimes screems during matches against Rafa, but I don't think it's either Vamos or Allez. ;) If he starts throwing his racket maybe he'll shout Davai? :lol:

Andre forever
05-13-2006, 06:18 PM
I expect Roger will put up a great fight and won't give Rafa anything. His matches today and yesterday were longer than Rafa's but it doesn't have to mean anything. In MC Rafa spent much more time on court before the final and still won. Roger didn't play very well the last two days, but well enough to win against tough opponents. And Rafa's last two matches were also less brilliant than the previous ones.I believe that if he plays well he has a better chance of winning than Roger, but it doesn't mean he's there yet. Things happen.

Roger sometimes screems during matches against Rafa, but I don't think it's either Vamos or Allez. ;) If he starts throwing his racket maybe he'll shout Davai? :lol:
:lol:


any new pics from todays match?

MariaV
05-13-2006, 06:22 PM
I don' remember where Fed screamed 'Allez', maybe at RG last year, but sure not against Rafa. :lol:
And I'm sure it's gonna be a tough fight and I am gonna be soooo dead tired after the match. :scared: :unsure: :lol:

OK, I'll be going now. Need to shower and get some good sleep and get some work done tomorrow before the final. :wavey:

silver7
05-13-2006, 06:37 PM
Yessss!He is in final!:clap2:!Good luck tomorrow against Roger! Will be a tough match I think but you will win it!!Vamos!!!:yeah:

mallorn
05-13-2006, 06:45 PM
From Reuters:
Nadal sets up dream final with Federer in Rome

Sat May 13, 2006 6:45 PM BST
By James Eve

ROME, May 13 (Reuters) - Defending champion Rafael Nadal set up a dream final against Roger Federer at the Rome Masters tennis when he beat Gael Monfils 6-2 6-2 on Saturday.

If Nadal beats the world number one on Sunday he will equal Guillermo Vilas's all-time record of 53 consecutive wins on clay, set in 1977.

The final gives the world's top two players a chance to resume their intense rivalry in which Spaniard Nadal holds the upper hand after winning the last three contests including the final of the Monte Carlo Masters claycourt event last month.

"It's always special when the top two play each other. It certainly was in Monte Carlo," said Federer, whose best result in five previous visits to the Italian capital was runner-up to Felix Mantilla in 2003.

"We both look forward to it. It's good for us and good for the game, especially on clay."

While Nadal had few problems getting the better of Frenchman Monfils in the battle of the 19-year-olds, Federer was forced to come from a break down in the deciding set of his match against fourth seed David Nalbandian before winning 6-3 3-6 7-6.

It was his second close brush with defeat in as many days following his quarter-final against Spanish qualifier Nicolas Almagro, which he edged 7-5 in the third.

Argentina's Nalbandian promised to be a tough opponent, having beaten Federer six times in their previous 10 meetings including in the season-ending Masters Cup final last year.

The first four games all went against serve. The Swiss broke in the eighth game and then held serve to take the first set.

Instead of settling into his game, however, Federer hit a series of unforced errors to allow Nalbandian to go 3-1 up in the second set and serve out to level the match.

Federer started the decider in the worst possible way, losing his serve and flinging down his racquet in disgust at the changeover.

He hit back in the fourth game, which he snatched on his third break point when Nalbandian sent a forehand over the baseline.

Another break put Federer 4-2 up. He had three points to take a 5-2 lead but Nalbandian rallied to break back and level the set.

In the tiebreak, a netted backhand by Nalbandian and a winning service return by Federer gave the Swiss two matchpoints. He converted the second when Nalbandian put a forehand long.
http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=tennisNews&storyID=2006-05-13T174523Z_01_L13428886_RTRIDST_0_SPORT-TENNIS-ROME-UPDATE-2.XML

From the official website:
NADAL TO PLAY FEDERER IN ROME FINAL

Can anyone stop 'the phenomenon'?

Rafael Nadal moved to within a match of the history books on Saturday with a 6-2 6-2 victory over unseeded Gael Monfils. He stretches his unbeaten run on clay to 52 matches and will equal the record held by Guillermo Vilas if he lifts the trophy after Sunday's final against Roger Federer. Nadal, the reigning Rome champion, has not been beaten on clay for more than a year.

In his semi-final he completely dominated his French opponent despite hitting more unforced errors than Rome spectators have come to expect, particularly on the forehand side. Monfils, who was playing his first masters semi-final after defeating Andy Roddick at the quarter final stage, himself hit 36 unforced errors and also struggled with his first serve consistency.

The nineteen-year-old has never come close to losing a match this year in Rome and will go into Sunday's final as the clear favourite, despite the fact that he is up against the world number one.

"The number one is not always the favourite but one thing is for sure, I will only win if I play 100%," he said after the match.

For someone so young Nadal has an extraordinarily postive attitude. At no time in his semi-final did he let up the pressure, despite the ease with which he was winning.

GonzoFan
05-13-2006, 07:16 PM
Very nice win! :yeah: Rafa not playing at his best has beaten very tough opponents. Hopefully tomorrow the best Rafa will show up and he'll win Rome again! :D

VAMOS RAFA !!!!!

:banana:

rue
05-13-2006, 07:32 PM
He knows that he has to be very focused tomorrow against Federer. If he plays his best, he will win. I am sure that he is going to win tomorrow against Federer.

lilfairyprincess
05-13-2006, 10:37 PM
is anyone else here as nervous as me about tomorrows match?!? :scared:

VAMOS RAFA!!!:bounce:

mallorn
05-13-2006, 11:39 PM
lilfairyprincess, I'm always nervous when Rafa plays Roger. :scared:

The interview after the QF is finally up:
2006 INTERNAZIONALI D'ITALIA
ROME, ITALY


May 12, 2006

R. NADAL/F. Gonzalez
6-4, 6-3


RAFAEL NADAL

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. (Through translation.) You lost twice against him. Did you expect a tougher match?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) I am very satisfied with this match because I think I played a quite solid match. It was a special occasion for me, in fact, because I lost twice to him, but I came on the court very confident.

I think my forehand worked very well. It was solid with the backhand. I didn't serve as hard as yesterday, I mean for my standards, but I couldn't afford to. I knew if my first serve wasn't good enough, he would attack me, so I prefer to do that.

Q. (Through translation.) Which are the aspects of your game that you appreciate most of these four matches that you played here in Rome?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) I think I'm playing fine. What I like most is that I've been quite aggressive and I could come up to the net whenever I could. I also hitting closer to the lines. I'm progressing well with my forehand.

Q. How close do you think you are to your best level?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. Always I meet the same question a lot of people, no, the best level. I don't know what is the best level for me, no. I don't have a top. I don't know.

But I am playing well, no. My best level, maybe I never play too much better than now, no? I won Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, semifinals here. I can't play so much better, no.

I can improve my game. But play better now is difficult for me. I am happy with my game.

Q. (Through translation.) Which is the opponent that you would prefer for tomorrow?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) I don't think in those terms because I think about myself and my game. I want to play well. And if I go on the courts and I play well and I lose, well, I've done my best.

So I think that anyone who will reach the semifinals is the one who played the best so it's the tougher opponent.

Q. (Through translation.) Did you see Federer on television?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) Yes, I did see Federer on television.

Q. (Through translation.) Do you think about the record?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) No, I think about Rome semifinals.

Q. (Through translation.) Do you always think about the results of Federer as you have this sort of rivality?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) No, I don't. I don't think he does either. Anyhow, we have 3,000 points that separates us.

So if I be in the final and I meet him, well, I be glad to compete against him because I like to play against tough players. But for the moment, I am on semifinals.

End of FastScripts...

16681
05-13-2006, 11:46 PM
is anyone else here as nervous as me about tomorrows match?!? :scared:

VAMOS RAFA!!!:bounce:
I always get excited and nervous when Rafa plays :scared:
Especially when he plays Roger :eek: Vamos Rafa :hearts:

Jennay
05-14-2006, 03:18 AM
Another great week from Rafa so far :)
Good luck in the finals :yeah:

RogiFan88
05-14-2006, 04:04 AM
:wavey:

mallorn, don't be nervous about the F betw Rafa and Rogi, esp for Rafa -- the way he's playing this week -- it's really the best I've seen him [haven't seen all his matches and only one of Rogi's] -- he is playing far better than he did last year [and that's saying sth!] -- so I w be very surprised if Rafa didn't win. When a player is playing that well, he s win. Rafa KNOWS he can beat Rogi, esp on clay. doesn't mean I won't be cheering for Rogi to win cos he'll need it more than Rafa! ;)

just enjoy the match tomorrow.

veyonce
05-14-2006, 04:28 AM
ATP Official Site
Nadals Rolls Past Monfils, Faces Federer in Rome's Final
14 May 2006

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal will have the chance to match Guillermo Vilas’ clay court winning streak (53) on Sunday when he takes on World No.1 Roger Federer in the final of the Internzionali D’Italia (See more).

Nadal, a 19-year-old from Mancor, Spain, defeated fellow teenage Gael Monfils 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals of the Rome on Saturday, raising his clay court winning streak to 52. The Spaniard is only one win why from equaling Guillermo Vilas’ clay court winning streak (53).

See TV Schedule (http://www.atptennis.com/en/newsandscores/news/tvschedule/)

Nadal (audio) (http://www.atptennis.com/en/audio/) took control of the match in the beginning of the first set opening a 2-0 lead. He would eventually break the Frenchman again at 4-2 and serve out the set 6-2.

In the second set Monfils went up a break in the first game but couldn’t hold his serve in the following game. Nadal, who lost only 27 games in five matches (average of 5.4 games per match), then rolled to a 6-2 victory in the second set.

Nadal will try to become the first repeat champion in Rome since Thomas Muster in 1995-96. The teenage superstar, who holds a 11-0 record at the Foro Italico, made his tournament debut last year defeating Guillermo Coria in a five hour, 14 minutes marathon final.

The last the top two seeds played the Rome final was in 1979 when No.2 seed Vitas Gerulaitis defeated No.1 seed Guillermo Vilas 6-7, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2. This would be the first final in Rome between the top two players in the world since the ATP Rankings began in 1973.

Nadal is one of the few players to hold a winning record against Federer (4-1). In 2006 the Spaniard defeated the Swiss in the finals of Dubai and Monte-Carlo. Federer’s lone win over Nadal came in the final of Miami in 2005.

WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID:

Nadal (translated) On who is the favorite in the final: " No, not at all. I think the No. 1 is always the favorite. He's a huge player, an excellent player. So the fact that I've won sometimes with him only give me more confidence for tomorrow. I know that I have to play hundred percent if I want to beat him, and this is what I am going to try to do. "

On improving his game: " There is always something you can improve, obviously, on all sectors of the game. I can serve better. I am serving well, but I could serve better. My forehand could be harder still. My backhand could be - I could hit harder as well. I think I could come more into the courts. My volleys could be better. I mean, there's always something you can do better. I don't like to make - to compare with the last years, but I think that I don't know if I play better now, but I know that I know more things than before."

Monfils: " I think he played very well, you know. Before the match I knew it would be tough. He was just stronger than me today."

On Nadal: "On the clay court it's tough because it's physical, he's very strong. He get every ball. And when you play a little bit slow, he can attack your serve. To find a weakness, I don't know. It's very hard. I have to see again the match maybe. But it's tough."

http://i1.tinypic.com/zl94sy.jpg

STREAK SUMMARY – During Nadal’s 52-match winning streak, which began in Monte-Carlo in April 2005, he has defeated 39 different opponents from 16 different countries. The players he has beaten the most during the streak: Coria (3), Gaudio (3), Federer (2), Ferrer (2), Ferrero (2), Gasquet (2), Malisse (2), Monfils (2), Nieminen (2) Robredo (2) and Stepanek (2).

Here's a look at the streak by matches:

Best of Three Set Matches
Straight-set wins: 30
Three-set wins: 7

Best of Five Set Matches
Straight-set wins: 8
Four-set wins: 6
Five-set wins: 1

ROAD TO 50 BY TOURNAMENT/EVENT (8 titles) –
2005 Monte-Carlo 6-0
2005 Barcelona 11-0
2005 Rome 17-0
2005 Roland Garros 24-0
2005 Bastad 29-0
2005 Stuttgart 34-0
2005 Davis Cup vs. ITA 36-0
2006 Monte-Carlo 42-0
2006 Barcelona 47-0
2006 Rome (four rounds)52-0

http://www.atptennis.com/en/newsandscores/news/2006/rome_saturday2.asp
--------------------------------------

The Telegraph

Federer stands in Nadal's path
By Clive White in Rome
(Filed: 14/05/2006)

Unless Roger Federer can reverse the trend of defeat at the hands of Rafael Nadal, the young Spaniard will today claim a place in the record books alongside one of the all-time greats, Guillermo Vilas, before he is even out of his teens. Victory over the world No1 in the final of the Italian Open will stretch his run of consecutive victories on clay to 53, thereby equalling the achievement of the Argentine in 1977.

It's Nadal's bad luck that his momentous opportunity comes against a player widely regarded as the greatest of all time, but good luck that it's also against a man he has established, one senses, a psychological advantage over on clay and hard courts. Knowing Federer's respect for the aesethetics of the game, it is unlikely that the world's No1 will stoop to gamesmanship or any other disreputable means to stop Nadal, unlike Vilas's ultimate conqueror did 29 years ago.

On that occasion, at the climax of a tournament in Aix-en-Provence, the crafty Ilie Nastase took to the court wielding the subsequently outlawed spaghetti racquet, knowing it was the only way he could hope to nullify Vilas's superior clay-court game. After two and three-quarters hours of sheer frustration, the Argentine declared no masu, retiring at two sets to love down. At least the Romanian didn't have the temerity to describe his racquet as the Hand of God.

And should Nadal equal his record today, Argentine fans can hardly claim cheat now, knowing their stance on such matters, post World Cup '86. Even so, it's worth mentioning that after that match Vilas went a further 21 matches unbeaten on the brick dust. Assuming Nadal does improve his head-to-head record against Federer to 5-1, there looks nothing to stop him claiming the outright record in Hamburg this week or for that matter another 21 consecutive victories on the surface.

Yesterday at the Foro Italico he saw off the challenge of Gael Monfils, one of the young pretenders of whom, by rights, he should be among instead of representing the excellence to which the others aspire. He is just three months older than the Frenchman but it might just as well be a lifetime, so much more worldly does he appear on court, powering his way to win No 52 in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2, tellingly in less than half the time it had earlier taken Federer. He is one of those Vilas would probably say knows the secret of clay.

''Every surface has a secret,'' Vilas said on the phone from Thailand. ''You just have to talk to the guys who know that surface and they will open doors that will cut the time in your practice. It will be easier to get better.''

Perhaps Federer isn't talking to the right people, but credit him for eking out a victory yesterday like the natural clay-courter he isn't. One incident revealed how he really feels about the red stuff, which he still maintains he loves. When, for the umpteenth time, one of his shots didn't do what it invariably does on grass, he smashed his racket into the dust with a rare show of anger and frustration. In terms of sights you thought you were never likely to see it was akin to Sven-Goran Eriksson ripping off his England shirt and blazer and hurling it to the crowd in celebration

That Federer was ultimately able to celebrate himself here in his semi-final against David Nalbandian by 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 in two hours and 42 minutes spoke volumes for his resilience and tenacity. But that apart, it did not augur well for his chances of adding the French Open to his seven other Grand Slam successes next month in Paris. On this form he would have been ripped apart by Nadal.

To be fair, Nalbandian, the world No 3, isn't the easiest opposition for anyone, particularly on this surface.

Apart from you-know-who there aren't many players in the world who hold a superior head-to-head record against the world No1 and those who have generally haven't held it for long. Nalbandian did something even Nadal couldn't do by chalking up five straight victories against the Swiss, but ever since Federer assumed the mantle of arguably the world's greatest ever player he has been bit by bit expunging that smudge from his record until losing to him in the Masters Cup final in Shanghai last November.

Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but Federer was happy enough to serve it up whichever way in the burning, dusty heat of Court Centrale. He wrapped up the first set in 37 minutes but never looked entirely comfortable or dominant. Gradually Nalbandian, with his heavier ground strokes and blistering returns, forced his way into the match to level at one set all, but once Federer had put his tantrum behind him in the opening game of the third set, his game steadily improved without convincing anyone he will stop Nadal claiming that record - by fair means or foul.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2006/05/14/stwhit14.xml&sSheet=/sport/2006/05/14/ixtenn.html

----------------

Reuters
Nadal sets up dream final with Federer in Rome
14 May 2006
By James Eve

ROME, May 13 (Reuters) - Defending champion Rafael Nadal set up a dream final against Roger Federer at the Rome Masters when he beat Gael Monfils 6-2 6-2 on Saturday.

If Nadal beats the world number one, who overcame David Nalbandian in three sets in the earlier semi-final, in Sunday's final he will equal Guillermo Vilas's all-time record of 53 consecutive wins on clay, set in 1977.

The final gives the world's top two players a chance to resume their intense rivalry in which Spaniard Nadal holds the upper hand after winning the last three contests including the final of the Monte Carlo Masters claycourt event last month.

"It's always special when the top two play each other. It certainly was in Monte Carlo," said Federer, whose best result in five previous visits to the Italian capital was runner-up to Felix Mantilla in 2003.

"We both look forward to it. It's good for us and good for the game, especially on clay."

Nadal said Federer remained the favourite despite his own superb winning streak.

"The favourite is always the number one," said the Spaniard, who last lost on clay to Igor Andreev in Valencia 13 months ago.

"He's a huge player, an excellent player, so the fact that I've won against him only gives me more confidence.

"I know I will have to play at 100 percent to beat him and that's what I will try to do."

TOUGH SEMI

Asked whether he could guarantee the Rome crowd a repeat of last year's dramatic final against Guillermo Coria, which lasted more than five hours, Nadal replied: "I don't mind if it goes on for 20 hours, so long as I win."

Whoever is the favourite, there can be little doubt which player will go into the final on fresher legs.

While Nadal had few problems getting the better of Frenchman Monfils in the battle of the 19-year-olds, Federer was forced to come from a break down in the deciding set of his match against fourth seed Nalbandian before winning 6-3 3-6 7-6.

Argentina's Nalbandian promised to be a tough opponent, having beaten Federer six times in their previous 10 meetings including the season-ending Masters Cup final last year.

The first four games all went against serve. The Swiss broke in the eighth game and then held serve to take the first set.

Instead of settling into his game, however, Federer hit a series of unforced errors to allow Nalbandian to go 3-1 up in the second set and serve out to level the match.

Federer started the decider in the worst possible way, losing his serve and flinging down his racquet in disgust at the changeover.

He hit back in the fourth game, which he snatched on his third break point when Nalbandian sent a forehand over the baseline.

Another break put Federer 4-2 up. He had three points to take a 5-2 lead but Nalbandian rallied to break back and level.

In the tiebreak, a netted backhand by Nalbandian and a winning service return by Federer gave the Swiss two match points. He converted the second when Nalbandian put a forehand long.

mallorn
05-14-2006, 08:30 AM
:wavey:

mallorn, don't be nervous about the F betw Rafa and Rogi, esp for Rafa -- the way he's playing this week -- it's really the best I've seen him [haven't seen all his matches and only one of Rogi's] -- he is playing far better than he did last year [and that's saying sth!] -- so I w be very surprised if Rafa didn't win. When a player is playing that well, he s win. Rafa KNOWS he can beat Rogi, esp on clay. doesn't mean I won't be cheering for Rogi to win cos he'll need it more than Rafa! ;)

just enjoy the match tomorrow.
:hug:
I know all this in my head, but I'm still nervous. It doesn't mean I don't believe Rafa can win, because I do, but so many things could go wrong, and there's so much on the line.
To make things worse, I won't get live coverage of the final, only delayed broadcast in the evening. So watching the SB will be nerve-racking. :scared: ;)

Anyway, the media agree with you. ;) From The Boston Globe:
Federer is in for colossal challenge

By Bud Collins | May 14, 2006

ROME -- Roger Federer isn't playing the Colosseum this week. It wouldn't be much of a challenge anyway since the house lions of old were farmed out to retirement homes centuries ago.

Still, Il Foro Italico, a couple of miles away, is hot spot enough, what with the leonine-maned Rafael Nadal awaiting him with teeth bared this afternoon. Having never lost a tennis match within the intimate, steeply-tiered stadium, Nadal enters today's Rome Masters final with an 11-0 record following his 6-2, 6-2 semifinal crushing of whippy French teenager Gael Monfils. That's Raffa's 52d straight win on clay, either one or five short of Guillermo Vilas's pro record, about which there is some dispute.

From the overhanging pines to the beige earthen floor, the Foro -- built by an earlier dictator named Mussolini -- is definitely Raffa's den where he dictates with massively topspun groundies. Only once has the 2005 champion been threatened here. Guillermo Coria goaded him through five sets in the '05 final, which climaxed in an 8-6 tiebreaker. Coria has never recovered, losing this time in the opening round to qualifier Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo.

Although the top-ranked and highly composed Federer shocked the sun-sprayed, packed-in multitude of 9,000 yesterday by viciously hurling his racket at the ground as if he were trying to kill a snake, that act may have spurred him to a tense, very difficult victory.

This has not been Federer's town. Arriving with an 8-5 record on Roman clay, he had been a first-round loser twice, making it past the third round only once. Then he lost the 2003 final to unseeded Spaniard Felix Mantilla in straight sets. That was like being kicked down the nearby Spanish Steps for Federer, who was No. 4 at the time.

''I didn't know the final was best-of-five sets until somebody mentioned it at the press conference after the semis. I wasn't ready for that. I lost," he laughs, ''in the press conference."

Nor has the 19-year-old Nadal been Federer's optimal opponent. He trails the muscular Spanish kid, 4-1, all the defeats on clay,* lately the Monte Carlo final. In their first shot at each other, on Key Biscayne (Fla.) asphalt last year, Federer barely escaped in five sets.

After sweating, physically and emotionally, through 2 hours 42 minutes yesterday with No. 4 David Nalbandian, an old tormentor, Federer broke loose for a win in the decisive tiebreaker, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), as the patrons roared louder than a pride of Colosseum lions.

An erratic contest strewn with errors as well as some glorious shotmaking -- 50 mistakes for Federer, 53 for Nalbandian -- it was nothing if not dramatic as they clung to one another ferociously all the way.

Argentine Nalbandian, now 6-5 lifetime against Federer, won their most recent clash, the Masters final last November at Shanghai in a fifth-set tiebreaker.

Anyway, back to the attempted racket-mangling. It happened after Federer had lost serve to open the third set. Federer smiles that he can understand the ways of the noted philosopher and racket smasher Marat Safin. ''Sometimes you're so frustrated that it feels good to throw the racket," he said. ''You feel better. I was immediately down a break to start the third, so . . ."

Not in the burly Safin's destructive class, Federer got a good high bounce out of his weapon, but not a fracture.

In improved mood, he fought through the six-deuce fourth game to break back, depriving Nalbandian of three game points for a 3-1 lead. Instead it was 2-2, and a sizzling backhand passer sent Federer ahead, 4-2.

But the quick, sharpshooting Argentine scrambled back into the picture with double-barreled backhands to 4-4. Federer couldn't shake him. It was 5-5, then 6-6 as Nalbandian held though teetering 2 points from defeat at four junctures.

Federer strode ahead, 5-3, in the overtime on a big forehand, only to see Nalbandian duplicate that for a mini-break. A ringing backhand return made it 6-4 for the Swiss, but Nalbandian canceled the match point with a stunning backhand. However, Nalbandian, launching a last forehand beyond Federer's reach, groaned as it touched down an inch past the baseline.

So now it's what everybody wanted, world Nos. 1 and 2 squaring off in the dirt rectangle. Merely twice before in this 76-year-old tournament have the first and second seeds collided in the final. Both times the second seed won: John Newcombe over Federer's present coach, Tony Roche, in 1970; Vitas Gerulaitis over Vilas in 1979.

If that form follows, Nadal will make Federer wish he were hanging out in the solitude of the Colosseum rather than the feverish Foro.
http://www.boston.com/sports/other_sports/tennis/articles/2006/05/14/federer_is_in_for_colossal_challenge/

*Huh? :rolleyes:

Agassi Fan
05-14-2006, 09:53 AM
Vamos Rafa!!!!!!!!!!
Take this title!!!!!!

lilfairyprincess
05-14-2006, 12:44 PM
**You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to mallorn again.**

but thank u for al the info and hard work u continue to put into this thread!! :hug:

VAMOS RAFA!! :bounce:

lilfairyprincess
05-14-2006, 12:48 PM
" Asked whether he could guarantee the Rome crowd a repeat of last year's dramatic final against Guillermo Coria, which lasted more than five hours, Nadal replied: "I don't mind if it goes on for 20 hours, so long as I win." "

I love this quote from rafa!...it just goes to show how truely determined he is:)

:secret: as if we didnt know that already ;)

Givenchy
05-14-2006, 05:38 PM
I'm so glad for Rafa to win another title! What a match that was! :eek:

I was worried he wouldn't win being behind in the final set, but Rafa showed what a fighter he is by coming back and winning! :D :D

mallorn
05-14-2006, 05:42 PM
I'm still speechless.

:worship:

linus
05-14-2006, 05:42 PM
OMG, Rafa :worship:

this match really tough to slice over, some times during my watch, thought Rafa maybe would lose coz to tell the truth, Roger aggressive so and took chances from Rafa's serve :eek: while never lost confidence on Rafa's fighting back.

esp the 5th set, Rafa got broken first, while broke back even when Roger owned the gps :yeah: the most heart-attack thing happened at *5-6, Rafa weakened himself to send Roger 2 MPs :rolleyes: God is the only saver i could pray :aplot: Rafa too wonderful to save them both into tiebreak :cool: even in tiebreak, it is Rafa who first lost his own serve but but in the end, he took Roger's one :woohoo:

really a wonderful set, i enjoy it so so much, after match, felt more frightened :p Roger is too good today, he would be very regretful i am sure :devil:

anyway, Rafa breaks a new sky now :yeah:

MariaV
05-14-2006, 05:44 PM
O..M.G O.M.G O.M.G guys!!!!!! I am sooooooo exhausted I cannot really write anything here and not even troll so Ania & co, GM is your territory tonight. :o ;)
WHAT A MATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :bowdown: :worship: :bowdown: :worship: :bowdown: :worship: :bowdown: :worship: And Rafa still managed to win it. :bowdown: :worship: :bowdown: :worship:

Just a little note if somebody missed it - Prince Albert (he's still called so? :confused: ) was there from Monaco. I wonder whom he's supporting.
And I'm mad they cut the ceremony on NTV+ tennis channel. :( :rolleyes:
Rafa nearly cried or smth? Somebody who saw please report.
OK, cya all guys later! :wavey: *still in awe before Rafa the wonderman* :bowdown: :worship:

freesbee
05-14-2006, 05:53 PM
OMFFFFFFFFFnandocarlosrafatommyfeli as the lovely Carlita used to say :lol:

my god, what a match!!!! I'm so happy that Rafa could win it, and I was so nervous and I cannot think right now :lol:

:banana: Rafa is the king!! :banana: :worship:

mallorn
05-14-2006, 05:57 PM
Hi Maria, I read on vr.com that he did cry. :bigcry:

I can't blame him, I'm exhausted from watching the SB. I'm taping the match and will watch it tomorrow.

I still can't believe he pulled this off. Rafa :worship:

lilfairyprincess
05-14-2006, 06:01 PM
that match was insane..i cannot believe i was stuck watching it on a live scoreboard!!! i can't wait for someone to burn it onto dvd so i can buy it!!!

yea mariav...iheard rafa was crying after the match too- that makes me want to cry too!!!! im seriously sooooo hapy right now, after losing the first set in that tiebreak i honestly thot roger was going to win...then the match points...and being up mini breaks in the final set tiebreak......

i need to go lie down!! :lol:

can u imagine the tension if this is what the final of roland garros is going to be like!!!?? i'm scared that roger may win the next time they meet!:scared: but rome is supposed to be a faster clay court (supposedly MC is more similar to roland garros courts) so mayb not...

congrats again rafa..for:
1.defending ur rome title
2. beating federer AGAIN (and making him your pigeon :lol: )
3. equalling vilas' record for 53rd consecutive claycourt wins!!

TRUELY PHENOMENAL :worship:

MariaV
05-14-2006, 06:07 PM
Thanks girls. :hug: I need to lie down too. ;)
And I really don't know if I could take such tension in the RG final. Please Lord save me from this. :angel:

silver7
05-14-2006, 06:09 PM
Respect!:bowdown::bowdown:!What an unbeliebeable match! He is now with Vilas by 53 wins on clay!

GonzoFan
05-14-2006, 06:10 PM
OMG!!!!!!! WHAT A MATCH!!!!! :eek: :worship: :bowdown:
:worship: to both for the match they played.
I'm sooooo happy for Rafa!!! :banana: :worship: :banana:

lilfairyprincess
05-14-2006, 06:11 PM
i cannot wait to read the postmatch interview from rafa!!! :bounce:

mallorn
05-14-2006, 06:13 PM
I'm still dizzy after that match.

First reports are in. From BBC Sport:
Inspired Nadal equals record run

Nadal needed over five hours to battle past Federer

Rafael Nadal recovered from the brink of defeat against Roger Federer to capture the Rome Masters and equal the record for consecutive wins on clay.

Nadal came back from 4-2 down and saved two match points in the final set before triumphing 6-7 (0-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-5) in a thrilling final.

The win, which took over five hours, takes Nadal to 53 straight wins on clay, matching Guillermo Vilas' record.

It also puts the 19-year-old level with Bjorn Borg on 16 titles as a teenager.

Nadal, whose last defeat on clay was against Igor Andreev in April 2005, will overtake Vilas if he beats Tommy Haas in the first round of this week's Hamburg Masters, and could go on to take Borg's record if he clinches the title.

However, his participation in Hamburg, as well as Federer's, must be in doubt after a gruelling final in Rome - the longest match of the year so far.

Federer, who has beaten Nadal only once in five attempts, started well, clinching a high-quality first set after playing a near-perfect tiebreak.

And the world number one was on top for most of the second set but Nadal's trademark battling qualities kept him in it and out of the blue, he somehow earned a set point at 5-4.

The teenager was unable to take that one but edged another tiebreak to draw level.

The momentum was by now with Nadal and he looked to have made a decisive move when a break at 2-2 gave him the third set.

He had chances to break early in the fourth set but the Spaniard let his struggling opponent off the hook and Federer made him pay.

The top seed raced through the fourth set and took control of the decider by taking a 4-2 lead.

The Rome crowd, including Prince Albert of Monaco and Omar Sharif, looked on in disbelief as first Nadal levelled at 4-4 then fought off Federer again at 5-6.

Nadal's double fault, the first of the match from either player, helped Federer earn two match points but the world number one's usually impeccable forehand failed him on both occasions and the Spaniard survived.

Federer still had chances to win in the tiebreak which he led until the death, in particular when he mishit a forehand which would have given him a 6-3 lead.

However, Nadal underlined his aura of invincibility on the dirt by clinching the tiebreak and wrapping up his fifth win in six attempts over Federer.


CLAY-COURT WINNING STREAKS
53 Guillermo Vilas, May-Oct 77
53 Rafael Nadal, Apr 05-
46 Bjorn Borg, Oct 77-May 79
40 Thomas Muster, Feb-Jun 95
38 Muster, Aug 95-Apr 96
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/4770129.stm

From The Forbes:
Nadal Beats Federer to Win Rome Masters
By ANDREW DAMPF , 05.14.2006, 01:44 PM

Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 6-7 (0), 7-6 (5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (5) Sunday to defend his Rome Masters title and tie Guillermo Vilas' record 53-match winning streak on clay in the Open era.

The second-ranked Spaniard saved two match points at 5-6 in the fifth set when Federer missed two forehands, then closed out the win on his first match point in the tiebreaker when the top-ranked Swiss player hit another forehand long.

Nadal has now beaten Federer in four straight matches, including in the semifinals of last year's French Open.

The Rome Masters is a clay-court warmup for Roland Garros, which begins in two weeks.

The 19-year-old Nadal began his streak at the Monte Carlo Masters in April 2005 and has now won nine straight tournaments on clay. His 16th title also tied him with Bjorn Borg for most titles won as a teenager.

Vilas set his streak in 1977, beginning with a win in May at the French Open and ending with a loss to Ilie Nastase in October in Aix en Provence, France.

Nadal can break the record with a win against Tommy Haas in the first round of the Hamburg Masters next week.

Nadal also won a fifth-set tiebreaker in last year's final, beating Guillermo Coria in 5 hours, 14 minutes - the longest final of the Open era.

This year's match had the makings of a five-setter from the start.

The first set lasted more than an hour. After trading breaks, Nadal saved two set points on his serve in the final game before the tiebreaker and appeared slightly below his normal energy level as Federer stormed through the tiebreaker without losing a point.

In the first game of the second set, Nadal won one of the most entertaining points of the match, chasing a lob down with a shot through his legs that Federer volleyed into the net.

Both players held serve comfortably in the second set. In the tiebreaker, Federer made two uncharacteristic errors - a forehand approach shot that sailed long and a backhand passing attempt into the net - to hand Nadal the set.

Nadal broke serve to take a 3-2 lead in the third set and maintained the advantage throughout the set to take the lead.

Federer broke twice in the fourth set to even the match.

Federer dropped to 39-3 this year, with his only losses coming to Nadal. The other two came in finals at Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in March and the Monte Carlo Masters last month.

Federer employed more aggressive tactics than the Monte Carlo final, when he lost serve seven times.

He only served-and-volleyed sparingly, but aimed for the corners and followed his baseline shots into the net at every opportunity. Nadal broke serve only three times.

Nadal played his usual baseline game, and his heavy topspin consistently gave Federer problems. The Swiss star shanked several shots high into the stands.

Federer was coming off two long three-set matches. Nadal hadn't dropped a set since his first-round win over Carlos Moya.

Rome remains one of only four Masters Series events that Federer has not won. Monte Carlo, Madrid and Paris are the others. He also lost the Rome final in 2003 to Felix Mantilla.
http://www.forbes.com/business/manufacturing/feeds/ap/2006/05/14/ap2744497.html

veyonce
05-14-2006, 06:16 PM
From Reuters

Clay king Nadal equals Vilas record in Rome
14 May 2006
By James Eve

ROME, May 14 (Reuters) - Rafael Nadal equalled Guillermo Vilas's record of 53 consecutive claycourt wins when he beat Roger Federer 6-7 7-6 6-4 2-6 7-6 in the final of the Rome Masters on Sunday.

Nadal's victory, his fourth in a row over the Swiss world number one, made him the first player to win back-to-back titles in the Italian capital since Thomas Muster of Austria in 1995-96.

The 19-year-old Spaniard had to battle all the way, though, coming from a break down in the decider and saving two match points before closing out the contest in just over five hours.

World number two Nadal, who has now won his last nine tournaments on clay, will break Argentine Vilas's record if he beats Tommy Haas of Germany in the first round of next week's Hamburg Masters tournament.

Sunday's tight first set ran to a tiebreak, which Federer won to love by firing down a succession of winners before finishing off with a volley into an open court after Nadal had chased down a drop shot.

The second set was dominated by serve. Federer fended off the only break point -- a set point for Nadal -- when he came to the net to put away a crosscourt volley in the 12th game, but then hit three groundstrokes long to allow Nadal to take the tiebreak and level the contest.

The momentum swung Nadal's way in the fifth game of the third set when he whipped a backhand crosscourt winner past Federer to gain a decisive break before holding on to his own serve to close out the set.

Federer looked rattled and made a nervy start to the fourth set, pushing a routine volley into the net and staving off two break points in the opening game, but he recovered to break in the fourth game and again in the eighth when Nadal put a backhand over the baseline.

He broke first too in the decider. A forehand winner down the line in the fourth game created a break point, which the world number one converted when Nadal put a backhand long.

Federer seemed to have taken control and created two match points as Nadal served but the teenager refused to give up, scrapping for every ball to force a final tiebreak.

Even then he did it the hard way. Having fallen a mini-break down, Nadal needed a netted forehand and a wayward service return by Federer to earn match point, which he converted when Federer put another forehand long.

Updated on Sunday, May 14, 2006 2:02 pm EDT

-------------------

From AP

Nadal beats Federer to win Rome Masters, ties Vilas' winning streak on clay

By ANDREW DAMPF, AP Sports Writer
May 14, 2006

ROME (AP) -- Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer in a five-set match Sunday to successfully defend his Rome Masters title and tie Guillermo Vilas' record 53-match winning streak on clay in the Open era.

The second-ranked Spaniard saved two match points at 5-6 in the fifth set when Federer missed two forehands, then closed out the win on his first match point in a tiebreaker when the top-ranked Swiss player hit another forehand long.

Nadal, who won 6-7 (0), 7-6 (5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (5), now has beaten Federer in four straight matches, including the semifinals of last year's French Open. The Rome Masters is a clay-court warmup for the Roland Garros tournament, which begins in two weeks.

The 19-year-old Nadal began his streak at the Monte Carlo Masters in April 2005 and has won nine straight tournaments on clay. His 16th title also tied him with Bjorn Borg for most titles won as a teenager.

Vilas' streak came in 1977, beginning with a win in May at the French Open and ending with a loss to Ilie Nastase in October in Aix en Provence, France.

Nadal can break the record with a win against Tommy Haas in the first round of the Hamburg Masters this week.

The first set Sunday lasted more than an hour. After trading breaks, Nadal saved two set points on his serve in the final game before the tiebreaker. But Federer stormed through the tiebreaker without losing a point.

In the first game of the second set, Nadal won one of the most entertaining points of the match, chasing a lob down with a shot through his legs that Federer volleyed into the net.

Both players held serve comfortably in the second set. In the tiebreaker, Federer made two uncharacteristic errors -- a forehand approach shot that sailed long and a backhand passing attempt into the net -- to hand Nadal the set.

Nadal broke serve to take a 3-2 lead in the third set and maintained the advantage throughout the set to take the lead. Federer broke twice in the fourth set to even the match.

Federer dropped to 39-3 this year, with his only losses coming to Nadal. The other two came in finals at Dubai in March and the Monte Carlo Masters last month.

Rome remains one of only four Masters Series events that Federer has not won. Monte Carlo, Madrid and Paris are the others.

Updated on Sunday, May 14, 2006 1:55 pm EDT

------------

From Sportsticker

Nadal outlasts Federer in Rome final, matches record streak
May 14, 2006

ROME (Ticker) - Rafael Nadal again played the biggest points better than Roger Federer.

Nadal saved a pair of match points late in the fifth set and won the final four of the tiebreaker in a 6-7 (0-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5) triumph over Federer in 5 hours, 5 minutes to win the ATP Master Series Rome.

It was the 19-year-old Spaniard's 53rd consecutive claycourt victory, matching the record set by Guillermo Vilas in 1977. The reigning French Open champion has won his last 13 finals.

The second seed also improved to 5-1 lifetime against Federer, the top-ranked player in the world, including 3-0 in finals this year.

After the players traded breaks in the fourth and fifth games of the first set, Federer had a pair of set points against Nadal's serve in the 12th game before the Spaniard managed to hold. But Federer played a perfect tiebreak, recording five winners en route to claiming all seven points.

Federer saved a set point in the 10th game of the second set and held a 4-2 lead in the tiebreak. But he lost five of the next six points, allowing Nadal to even the match when he hit a backhand into the net.

Nadal broke the Swiss star in the fifth game of the third set and maintained the advantage to go up a set. But instead of wilting, Federer stormed back, saving a pair of break points in the opening game of the fourth set and breaking Nadal in the fourth and eighth games to send the match to a decisive set.

Federer broke the southpaw in the fourth game of the fifth set and saved a pair of break points the following game - the latter with an ace - for a 4-1 advantage. But Nadal held at love, then broke Federer after the Swiss star was a point away from a 5-2 cushion.

Serving at 5-6, Nadal fell behind, 15-40, but Federer hit a forehand long on his first championship point and another well wide on his second. Two points later, Nadal forced a decisive tiebreak with a crosscourt forehand winner.

Federer held a 5-3 edge in the tiebreak before again playing loose points, making a pair of forehand errors, then sending a backhand long to give Nadal a match point. After a long rally, Federer hit another forehand long to hand the championship to the Spaniard.

Updated on Sunday, May 14, 2006 1:31 pm EDT

mallorn
05-14-2006, 06:19 PM
i cannot wait to read the postmatch interview from rafa!!! :bounce:
Me neither. :lol:

In the meantime, here's Rafa's interview after the SF:
2006 INTERNAZIONALI D'ITALIA
ROME, ITALY


May 13, 2006


R. NADAL/G. Monfils
6-2, 6-2


RAFAEL NADAL


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. (Through translation.) Does it mean something to you that Federer had a tougher match than you and took longer time to win his matches?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) No, not really. What matters is that I am in the finals. This is what is important. I am happy to be looking forward to playing against him tomorrow.

Q. Have you ever played better than you are right now?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. I don't know, no. But I am playing very well, very good. I don't know if sometimes I play better, I don't know.

But maybe today and in this tournament I am play very good, and I am happy with my level.

Q. (Through translation.) You are much more -- I don't know how to say that. People like you very much here in Rome, much more than Federer. We've noticed that during the matches there are a lot of children who support you very much. Does it disturb you, or is it something positive?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) No, it doesn't bother me at all. I like it very much. I mean, it's great. I remember last year's final, and it was amazing. I was losing in the fifth set and it was only thanks to the public that I could recover.

So I only have words to thank them, and that's why I sign all autographs I can and I try to spend as much time as I can with them to say thanks.

Q. (Through translation.) Will you feel an extra pression tomorrow because you have this record which you could beat?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) No. What I think about is just my final. This is one of the biggest tournaments in the world, and to be in the final and to win the tournament is my goal. If I can beat the record, fine, it's an extra happiness. But if I don't, I mean, the tournament is more important.

Q. (Through translation.) Are you surprised that you are in such a great shape at the moment?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) Yes, I am. I'm very happy, of course. I couldn't have imagined it. I went through some very difficult times, so I am very happy. I am very pleased. I am much happier than last year at this time.

Q. (Through translation.) People think that you are favorite tomorrow because you won many times against him. What do you think? Do you think that, too?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) No, not at all. I think the No. 1 is always the favorite. He's a huge player, an excellent player. So the fact that I've won sometimes with him only give me more confidence for tomorrow. I know that I have to play hundred percent if I want to beat him, and this is what I am going to try to do.

Q. (Through translation.) You're obviously playing very well on red clay. Do you think there is something you can improve on your game?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) There is always something you can improve, obviously, on all sectors of the game. I can serve better. I am serving well, but I could serve better. My forehand could be harder still. My backhand could be -- I could hit harder as well. I think I could come more into the courts. My volleys could be better.

I mean, there's always something you can do better. I don't like to make -- to compare with the last years, but I think that I don't know if I play better now, but I know that I know more things than before.

BENITO PEREZ-BARBADILLO: Also he said he is improving his play at the net.

Q. (Through translation.) Will you live the final in the same way tomorrow, or will it be somehow easier because you already be in the finals last year?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) Yes, of course the experience helps, but it's something very special and it's good tension, it's positive. I like it as well.

Q. (Through translation.) Do you think it's easier to play nonfavorite against Coria or favorite against Federer?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) In fact, I think I was favorite last year and not this year. This is my opinion.

Q. (Through translation.) Last year we had a very special final, reach an emotion. It was a very, very long final. Are you ready to play five hours tomorrow as well?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) Well, if I want to win, maybe I will have to. I am ready for that. But I think with Federer is different because he doesn't play in the same way, so I think is not gonna last that long. But maybe is gonna last longer, so better not say anything.

BENITO PEREZ-BARBADILLO: He also actually said, because it was a funny quote for you, the final here last year was five hours, but if you tell me I'm going to win, it can last 20 hours if it wants - just as long as I win.

Then he also said I think it's going to be shorter because the points against Federer are shorter than against Coria. But maybe we'll have a 24-hour final, I don't know.

Q. (Through translation.) Do you think that tomorrow Federer will play more aggressive and will come to the net more often?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) Well, I don't know. I'm not in his mind. I think he will play his game, first of all.

Q. Will you adopt the same game plan as in Monte-Carlo, or will you play a little bit different?

RAFAEL NADAL: Me?

Q. Yes.

RAFAEL NADAL: I always say if the game are good, I don't gonna change, no (smiling).

But I always try play my game, no. Play my game, and if I play good my game, I can lose perfect because he playing well. I can lose, sure.

But I, for play good, I need play my game. If I am trying to do some things difference, I don't gonna play good, no. Because every player for play good need to play his game, no?

You understand, because I don't know if I am (laughter)...

Q. (Through translation.) Why do you say you're not the favorite, to convince us or yourself?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) I said just because I believe it and I'm not gonna say anything more. It's just that I think the No. 1 is always the favorite.

Q. (Through translation.) And who is No. 1 on the clay court for you?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) Last year it was me. For the moment it's going fine for me, but we'll see at the end of season.


End of FastScripts...

yoguis
05-14-2006, 06:24 PM
Great Match! Congrats Rafa! :)

16681
05-14-2006, 06:55 PM
Rafa just about scared me to death :scared: But thankfully he won :)
It gets me the way the interviewers are always trying to get Rafa to brag on himself, but Rafa won't do it. I don't think they understand that Rafa is just not the kind of person who is going to brag on himself.
Another reason to love Rafa :hearts:

Ti-Anne
05-14-2006, 06:55 PM
:eek: :eek: :eek: OH MY, OH MY, OH MY !!!!!!! :eek: :eek: :eek:

Everytime he does it to me, and he did it again ! Everytime he wins, I think he can't impress me more, and yet he does everytime !!! This lil' sweetheart of mine is just INCREDIBLE :hearts: !!!! Who CAN stop him ???????
Rafael, you ARE the best player in the world, without doubt ! :worship:
*Anne going to bed to have sweet Rafa dreams :inlove:*

maty
05-14-2006, 06:59 PM
OMG



i couldn't watch after the first set and when i looked at the scoreboard i almost fainted



RAFA WOOOOON!!!!!!!!!!!YAY!



he really is the king :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:

lilfairyprincess
05-14-2006, 07:07 PM
thank u for that match interview mallorn..it was interesting to hear rafa's feelings before the match...now for the afterthoughts.... :)

Mili
05-14-2006, 07:26 PM
God...that game! At least he won! I was frightened that he would loose after Federer started the 5th set!!! But even though they both almost had the same amount of points 179:174 for Nadal...well thank god Nadal won!!! ;)

NaDALiTa
05-14-2006, 07:50 PM
the only thing that i can say is :"THIS CHICO IS COMPLETELY CRAZY" :lol: :haha:

NaDALiTa
05-14-2006, 08:01 PM
Rafa is an "oh my god" player !!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Andre forever
05-14-2006, 08:52 PM
it was awesome... i was NERVOUS

Jennay
05-14-2006, 10:20 PM
:worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:

Rogiman
05-14-2006, 10:21 PM
Congratulations ;)

Unbelievable what these two do to the game of tennis, credit to Nadal, who managed to dig his way out of trouble, and to Federer, who gives Nadal his only test on clay :)

Hopefully we'll meet again on June 11th ;)

jacobhiggins
05-15-2006, 02:21 AM
:eek: :eek: :eek: OH MY, OH MY, OH MY !!!!!!! :eek: :eek: :eek:

Everytime he does it to me, and he did it again ! Everytime he wins, I think he can't impress me more, and yet he does everytime !!! This lil' sweetheart of mine is just INCREDIBLE :hearts: !!!! Who CAN stop him ???????
Rafael, you ARE the best player in the world, without doubt ! :worship:
*Anne going to bed to have sweet Rafa dreams :inlove:*

No offense, but Roger is still the best player in the world, most people agree!

It was an awesome match and it made me a Nadal fan, he is going to be an all-time great!

RogiFan88
05-15-2006, 02:28 AM
I'm still speechless.

:worship:

And I'm totally exhausted... and I only just saw the last two sets!

Well done, Rafa, I knew he w win, despite the fact that Rogi took it to him today. When I saw Rafa down 1-4 in the 5th, I knew he w become the real Rafa again and pump himself up to win. That's what Rafa does; he does not lose.

They didn't show the ceremony but I'm glad because I w have cried to see Rogi so demoralized and deflated after putting his heart out on the clay for a 5-hour-long marathon, only to lose again to Rafa.

The child prodigy does it again... and I've no doubt he'll continue winning. How can he not? He's supremely confident [who wouldn't be after beating the No 1 player in 3 finals?], he's playing well, and there are no other challengers, esp in his own peer group. Besides, he's young and has his whole career ahead of him.

Felicitaciones, Rafa! ;)

Rafalution
05-15-2006, 03:16 AM
I could barely keep my eyes open during the final set. Well done Rafa!

... I didn't know rafa could speak italian :o

Ti-Anne
05-15-2006, 05:41 AM
No offense, but Roger is still the best player in the world, most people agree!

It was an awesome match and it made me a Nadal fan, he is going to be an all-time great!

I'm not discussing what Roger achieved in the past two years, which is undisputable, but if ATP rankings had started again from scratch in 2006, Rafa would be #1 without doubt, that's what I meant. Not that I want to minimize Roger's performance of course. ;) I only hope those two will keep on blessing us with such matches because they both honor their sport in the greatest manner.

Mechlan
05-15-2006, 07:11 AM
Wanted to drop by and say congrats to the Rafa fans. Your boy was too good (again). His mental tenacity is simply amazing! Congrats to him on reaching Vilas' mark. He's really shown he deserves the record and something tells me he'll grab it for himself before long. ;)

mallorn
05-15-2006, 11:26 AM
Thanks to everybody who came by to congratulate Rafa, it's very kind of you. :) :hug:

Rogiman, if there's a repeat at RG I'll need Valium to carry me through the match. ;)

mallorn
05-15-2006, 11:27 AM
Lots and lots of articles about the final, here are the first couple.

From The Guardian:
Nadal confirms his jinx on Federer in five-set classic

Steve Bierley in Rome

Rafael Nadal has a life-size waxwork in Madrid's Museo de Cera and should a tall, dark-haired individual be caught sticking multiple pins into it between now and the start of the French Open later this month it will be Roger Federer. For the third time in a final this year the 19-year-old Spaniard defeated the world No1, this time to retain his Italian Open title with a 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 victory in the most intensely dramatic of matches that lasted beyond five hours.

Federer, leading 6-5 in the fifth set, had two match points but on both occasions he missed with his forehand, which let him down much more than normal during an afternoon of rich and vivid excitement. He then led 5-3 in the third and final tie-break, only for Nadal to deny him once again, the youngster throwing himself to the ground when a final Federer forehand went long.

This was Nadal's fifth win out of six against the Swiss, and the fourth in succession, including last month's ATP Masters series final in Monte Carlo, and last year's semi-final at Roland Garros, where the Spaniard went on to win the French Open title on his debut in Paris. He is an extraordinary young man, who by winning this final stretched his unbeaten sequence on clay to 53 matches, equalling the Open era record of Argentina's Guillermo Vilas, while at the same time tying Bjorn Borg's record of 16 titles as a teenager.

Nadal does not play soft points. His level of intensity, reminiscent of Jimmy Connors, is remarkable. Any young player who might doubt the correlation between effort and success needs only watch him once. Federer, the winner of seven grand slam titles, must have believed he had finally nailed him but instead he will walk through the gates of Roland Garros with doubts continuing to nag. The French Open is the one major he has yet to win and, although he edged that little bit closer to beating Nadal for the first time on clay, the nature of this defeat is bound to play on his mind should the two meet again in Paris where, as here, they will be seeded Nos1 and 2.

Before losing to Nadal in Monte Carlo Federer was of the opinion that the more he played him, the better his chances of ultimate success, even suggesting that the teenager's game was a little "one-dimensional". If so, it is a dimension he has yet to fathom and it seems he will have to be at the peak of his form to get past him on a surface where Federer's main weapons, the serve and forehand, are robbed of the edge they have on grass or hard courts.

Although Nadal appeared to tire in the fourth set, as in last year's final against Guillermo Coria which also lasted more than five hours, he discovered fresh energy when it was most needed, cracking forehands of such pace and angle that even a player of Federer's skill could not cope or fashion an adequate reply.

The start, as was to be expected, was a little tentative, with Federer catching Nadal cold at the back of the court with a beautifully executed backhand drop shot that flopped into the clay like a feather, although when he tried to get to the net on the Spaniard's opening service game he twice saw the ball rip past him.

When a tennis ball is mistimed it frequently makes a popping sound like a champagne cork being extracted, and in the fourth game such a noise reverberated off the Spaniard's strings, the prelude to Federer taking a 3-1 lead. Nadal frowned and gave his socks an extra little tweak as he waited to receive, all too aware that his opponent was determined to take the initiative. Instantly he hit back and, despite huge pressure took the opening set into a tie-break after just over an hour of riveting play. But these were only the opening arias to the full-blown opera.

The next seven minutes took everyone by surprise with Federer rattling off seven points without reply to go a set up. After a couple of physically and mentally taxing quarter- and semi-final victories over Spain's Nicolas Almagro and David Nalbandian of Argentina, it was precisely the fillip he needed, except all thoughts of a Roman chariot ride to the finishing post were quickly disabused by the teenager who levelled with a tie-break win of his own and gathered momentum for a two sets to one lead.

Federer responded with brilliantly controlled aggression but it was not quite enough - so out with those pins. As for Nadal he is due in Hamburg this week and will break Vilas's record should he beat Germany's Tommy Haas in his opening match. It would then come as no great surprise if he were quietly to excuse himself from further exertions.
http://sport.guardian.co.uk/tennis/story/0,,1775036,00.html


From The Daily Telegraph:
Nadal edges battle of serial thrillers

By Mark Hodgkinson in Rome

After more than five hours of edge and excitement and wonder shots, and after staving off two match points, Spaniard Rafael Nadal last night retained his Rome Masters title with a defeat of Roger Federer that was nothing less than a sweat-soaked, red-dirt classic, and in so doing extended his winning record against the Swiss to 5-1.

Had there not been a tie-break to decide the fifth set they would probably still be out there today at the Foro Italico, matching each other for all-consuming effort and outrageous winners. Nadal saved two match points at 6-5 down in the final set, and then came back from 5-3 down in the tie-break to win the next four points and record a 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 victory that meant so much more to him than just defending a title he won last year.

Still in his teens, Nadal, last year's French Open champion, is plainly already a clay-court great. By defeating Federer he stretched his unbeaten run on clay to 53 matches, putting him level with the record set by Guillermo Vilas of Argentina in 1977. And yet there were plenty of moments yesterday evening when it seemed as though Federer, the world No 1, was going to send Nadal all the way back to zero. It was that close. There was barely a puff of baseline dust between them.

The victory was also an important psychological triumph for Nadal. He has been victorious in the last four meetings with Federer and won all three of their matches on clay, following on here from the semi-final at last year's French Open and last month's final in Monte Carlo. And so Nadal will be imbued with confidence ahead of the French Open, which starts in Paris a week on Sunday.

Put simply, the world No 1 has been struggling to beat the world No 2. Federer may well go down in history as the greatest-ever player, and he is dominant against all the rest of the modern generation, but lately against Nadal his only reward seems to have been a growing complex. All three of Federer's defeats this season have been against Nadal and he was unable to put down a marker ahead of the French Open by beating the freak talent with his pumped-up biceps, his energy and enthusiasm, and his viciously struck forehands.

Playing Nadal is particularly troubling for Federer on clay, as the red granules slow and temper his play. Federer knew he had to be aggressive yesterday to stay with Nadal, and yet the Spaniard kept on turning defence into attack. Whenever he could, Nadal was at Federer's throat.

Tennis will plainly never tire of watching these two serial thrillers, with Federer, the right-handed sophisticate, versus Nadal, the left-handed brute. Mr Smooth against Mr Vivacious. Federer and Nadal - who also drew level with Swede Bjorn Borg's mark of 16 titles won as a teenager - were pure entertainment in Rome last night.

On Nadal's first match point, Federer hit a forehand long over the baseline, and the 19-year-old collapsed on to the court, the red clay staining his sleeveless top and his shin-length trousers. Nadal could hardly have been happier.

And yet he jumped quickly to his feet, not wanting to keep Federer waiting at the net for the post-match handshake.

A gentleman as well as a champion.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2006/05/15/sthodg15.xml&sSheet=/sport/2006/05/15/ixtenn.html

Castafiore
05-15-2006, 12:00 PM
Rogiman, if there's a repeat at RG I'll need Valium to carry me through the match. ;)
ditto and I thought that it couldn't get much worse than the Rome final in 2005 against Coria.

Watching it on a SB really isn't good for your health.

MariaV
05-15-2006, 12:10 PM
Thanks to everybody who came by to congratulate Rafa, it's very kind of you. :) :hug:

Rogiman, if there's a repeat at RG I'll need Valium to carry me through the match. ;)

There it won't end with TB so they could really go on and on and on... LOL, I wonder how long could they go on at the RG final. :tape: :bolt:
And I'd need some really strong medication. ;)

jacobhiggins
05-15-2006, 03:13 PM
I'm not discussing what Roger achieved in the past two years, which is undisputable, but if ATP rankings had started again from scratch in 2006, Rafa would be #1 without doubt, that's what I meant. Not that I want to minimize Roger's performance of course. ;) I only hope those two will keep on blessing us with such matches because they both honor their sport in the greatest manner.


Actually he wouldn't be, Federer would still be number 1. He's got the slam too. Plus this is Nadal's best part of the year, he's still very very far behind Federer and Federer is actually increasing his lead!

atheneglaukopis
05-15-2006, 03:37 PM
I'm not discussing what Roger achieved in the past two years, which is undisputable, but if ATP rankings had started again from scratch in 2006, Rafa would be #1 without doubt, that's what I meant.
That's what the Race is for, and if you look at the points there, Federer has 632 and Nadal has 384. 632/384 = 1.65, and 7010/4635 = 1.51, so actually, Nadal's fallen a little behind in 2006 compared to 52 weeks ago, a result of not playing AO and losing early at Miami.

veyonce
05-15-2006, 03:45 PM
2006 INTERNAZIONALI D'ITALIA
ROME, ITALY
May 14, 2006
R. NADAL/R. Federer
6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6

RAFAEL NADAL

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English or Italian, please.

Q. (Through translation.) Was it tougher this year or last year against Coria, and which one gave you more satisfaction?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) Well, I think both matches were very tough. Also there were I think only eight minutes difference. They were very long matches.

Federer is maybe tougher to beat because he's a different player. He's quite aggressive and he serves very well. Not that Coria is not a good player, but Federer has another style. If he hits a good serve and he comes in with his forehand, there is nothing you can do. In fact, I was lucky that when he had matchpoint he made a mistake with two forehands, one which was quite simple for him.

Q. Of the matches you've had against Roger, is this the most satisfying win because of the quality of the tennis today?

RAFAEL NADAL: Today is very emotive match, emotional match maybe. Final, good level, no.

But in both time, maybe I play better in Monte-Carlo. But is different, different match. I think is different match because Federer play not the same like Monte-Carlo. He change. He play very good with his backhand, and in Monte-Carlo he had mistake. With his backhand, he playing very good. With forehand, always same, no, unbelievable. And the serve, he was serving better, the second serve especially, much better here than in Monte-Carlo.

So is different. Is more difficult for me play against him here. I am very happy with the two weeks, no, but this one is special. Is five hours, six minutes. All the time final here in Rome, my sixth Masters Series for me. So unbelievable for me, no, I am very happy.

Q. (Through translation.) You went down in history today because you equaled Vilas' record, which was held for 29 years. Is it something a player thinks about before playing or not?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Speaking Spanish.)

BENITO PEREZ-BARBADILLO: He said it was obviously an emotional plus for him to beat this record. Obviously, it's going to be very difficult to do it again. Actually, "I don't think I'll do it again," said Nadal.

It's always something extra you have when you go on court, to think about it. Obviously, the most important thing was to win the Rome title.

Q. It must make you very proud, though, to have won that many matches. Did you ever believe it was possible?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Speaking in Spanish.) Sorry, sorry. No, I was thinking with the record two days ago, no, not tournaments before because is very difficult win every tournament, no.

Fifty-three matches is a lot of matches. When I look, is a lot of titles consecutive in clay. Is a lot, no. Before one tournament, I always think, "This week I gonna lose."

But I have lucky this year, and for now I won, no.

Q. You also tie a record today of Bjorn Borg's by winning so many titles before you reach 20 years old. What is it like for you to have the name Nadal there with Borg and Vilas, great players in the history of the game?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, for me is very nice have this...(speaking in Spanish.)

BENITO PEREZ-BARBADILLO: To be tied with them.

RAFAEL NADAL: But in a lot of things, I can't compare now with him, no, with Borg, with Vilas. I just have one Grand Slam and Borg had a lot of Grand Slams. So I need improve. I need improve a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot for have a good comparation with Borg, no.

Q. Well, you've equaled his record and Vilas' record. Whether you are comfortable with it, you're part of history now in tennis. Is that comfortable for you? You are part of history.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I am very happy for that.

Q. (Through translation.) How would you explain to a friend of yours or a mother simply why you won today.

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) To be honest, I don't know. I'm not sure. I could have lost. I have won, but I could have lost. I've been down many times, and so I don't know.

For sure I played very well, but it was a very tough match. It was complicated. Well, I'm explaining this to you but not to my mother because she doesn't care about tennis very much.

Maybe I played well the important points. I was aggressive when I needed to, when I needed to recover like when I was 4-1, and I think this is what made things change.

But this is sports. It happened in Miami for him, and now it happened for me today. Well, that is what makes the final.

BENITO PEREZ-BARBADILLO: The Miami situation, he was in the same situation as Roger in Miami. Well, he didn't have matchpoints, he said. But he was 5-3.

Today was his turn. The sport is like this. One day you win and another day you don't.

Q. (Through translation.) When you were 15-40 and you had the two matchpoints against you, did you feel very emotional? Was it a very difficult point?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) Yes, of course. This is normal. I think I played normally, I did nothing special. I was lucky because it's him who made a mistake, first with a forehand and then another one...

THE TRANSLATOR: Then if Benito wants to continue.

BENITO PEREZ-BARBADILLO: He said he started that game dizzy, he didn't start very well. He said you guys could have seen that, that he was a little bit dizzy and lost the first two points.

Q. (Through translation.) You won here today. Alonso and Pedrosa had excellent results. Is this something special for Spanish sport?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) Of course I'm very happy, very proud because I always follow those sports as well. Yes, it's a nice moment for Spanish sports.

Q. At the end of the match, you went down on your back but then you jumped up and you went to the net. Is it because you did not want Federer to wait at the net?

RAFAEL NADAL: Can you repeat, please.

Q. When you won, you went on your back. When Bruguera won the French title, he went on his back and Courier had to go all the way around to shake his hand. You went down on the ground, but suddenly you jumped. Was it because you thought you didn't want to make him wait? That was the question.

RAFAEL NADAL: No, of course for the loser is not nice wait to the net, no. So when I was...(speaking in Spanish.)

BENITO PEREZ-BARBADILLO: Down on the floor.

RAFAEL NADAL: ... down on the floor, I was fast because I need go to the net and is more nice if I go fast - maybe.

Q. (Through translation.) In the first set we've seen you running a lot and we were a little bit surprised because normally it's you who make your opponent run. Were you surprised as well? Some people think that maybe the gap between you is reduced, and maybe he can beat you on clay.

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) Well, you know, he's No. 1 in the world. It's normal. If I don't run with him, I don't with whom I'm supposed to run.

Anyhow, he's a very good player. He played a very good match, but he hasn't beat me on clay yet.

BENITO PEREZ-BARBADILLO: He can obviously beat him on clay. That was the end of the answer.

What he meant to say was that actually he can beat him on clay. This is nothing new, he said.

Q. (Through translation.) Federer said that this was a very special match for him. Do you think this loss can have affected him?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) Well, I don't know. I think he had two points to win me, so maybe.

But I think he's a great champion and he has overcome very many things, tougher things, you know. He won seven Grand Slams, and he been in so many finals. He's definitely at the moment better than any other player.

I think he's in history of tennis because if you see the gap there is between him and I, and I have played very well last year, this means that he's very special player.

Q. (Through translation.) You've played a lot of finals. Do you think that from a technical point of view this one is the best you played?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) I don't know. I have the feeling I played better in Monte-Carlo, but I think that Federer played better today. So I'm not sure.

I played well in Montreal also against Agassi and I played well in Stuttgart against Gaudio. But playing No. 1 is always special, so I think this one is special.

Q. (Through translation.) You beat him twice in a row. Do you think this might give you an extra advantage for Roland Garros?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) Well, I don't know. We have to play Hamburg first. We're flying there tomorrow and we'll see what happens.

Be in the finals in Roland Garros is very, very far away. It's a huge number of matches, so I cannot think about this now. Hamburg tomorrow.

Q. You're definitely playing Hamburg?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah.

http://www.asapsports.com/tennis/2006italia/051406RN.html

veyonce
05-15-2006, 03:52 PM
2006 INTERNAZIONALI D'ITALIA
ROME, ITALY

May 14, 2006

R. NADAL/R. Federer
6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6

ROGER FEDERER

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you talk about your emotions after that match and the experience.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, it was very close, no, I mean, from start til the finish. The result obviously reflects that, too.

Well, I guess it's a big pity for me because I came back well and in the end I should have won. He caught me right on the finish line, so that was a pity in a way.

But, you know, that's all I could do, fight hard and try and play as well as I could. It was a pity in the end.

Q. Did your performance today, Roger, make you think that he's more beatable than you originally thought?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, obviously, I would have liked to win, but I already knew after Monaco I was extremely close. I think this is another step closer because I got even closer to the win today than back then.

So, no, I'm on the right track. I think, again, you know, I improved a few things again for this match. So, yeah, it was good to play him already three times this year. Definitely helps me.

Q. He thought your backhand was working much better here than Monte-Carlo.

ROGER FEDERER: I played differently, too, which made it obviously a different match. I was working with my forehand way more in Monaco. Obviously, when he got to my backhand, he thought that was a safe option. Today I did more with my backhand, too, yeah.

Q. When you say you're on the "right track," would you have gone to the net so often against him before?

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I hardly serve and volleyed.

Q. No, you didn't serve and volley.

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, that's basically the way I played him all the time now, really trying to come to the net not as much as I could, but, you know, play aggressive because, like I said, he definitely gives me the opportunity to do that.

So for me just to hit it and move backwards again, that's not the way I learned the game, you know. My way of thinking is, you know, come to the net and finish it at the net. That's what I'm doing pretty well at the moment, and that's what makes me win the matches.

So worked for most of the time today, he hardly passed me today, which was a good feeling. So I have to keep that up.

Q. How much of your thoughts are already at the French, and how much do you think about keeping the Grand Slam alive?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, especially now in the clay court season, you know, it's all around me basically. That's been the case since I got -- played and hit my first ball on clay. So it's good to think about the French and be excited about it.

Q. On your two matchpoints you missed forehands. Did you rush them, do you think?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I think the second one was definitely rushed. I tried to hit a winner, why not, you know. I already had one matchpoint so I thought, I mean, might as well go for it a little bit, you know. I didn't try to totally hit a winner, but tried to play aggressive and I was a little late on it.

The first one I was more disappointed about because I was in a good position, and I didn't want to go for the outright winner at all. I just tried to play solid and with a lot of spin to his backhand and long. I just couldn't get quite over it in time. So that was a pity.

I think that's, I guess, the first matchpoint that cost me the match.

Q. Can you think of another match where you had to work as hard? You were out there for five hours. Did you prove something to yourself by getting through that barrier? You were out there for a long time tonight.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I don't remember playing for so long ever, but I had a long set at the French Open, you know, in the beginning against another Swiss. I don't know how long that took. I don't know how long the match took with Safin at the Australian Open.

But, yeah, I mean, it's good for me also, you know, to play these tough matches and really see, you know, if I'm fit or not. I think, you know, we played almost four hours in Monaco. Now we played more than five. I never had a problem, which is nice, you know, so that makes me confident looking ahead because that's exactly how I want to feel at the French Open, too, you know, being able to back up tough matches. This one was even more tough, I thought, with the two matches, you know, coming into the finals. He didn't have to work that hard. So I think that is, on the physical standpoint, a very good effort from my side.

Q. In the sixth game of the third set, you said I assume to Tony Roche, "Is that all right, Tony?" Do you remember that?

ROGER FEDERER: That wasn't for Tony Roche. That was for Tony Nadal.

Q. Tony Nadal?

ROGER FEDERER: He was coaching a little bit too much again today. Yeah, I caught him in the act, so...

Q. Did that upset you a little bit?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, not the first time. I told him many times already, through the entire match in Monaco already. But it seems like they don't keep a close enough eye on him.

Q. (Through translation.) Do you go to Hamburg?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, that's the plan. Obviously, you know, I have to see how I feel and everything tomorrow because that's an important wake-up (smiling). I'll know more tomorrow morning, I guess.

Q. And you will play there against Rafa before Roland Garros for the fourth time?

ROGER FEDERER: Oh, I'm not sure if our thoughts are right there right now.

Q. Do you need it, a fourth match, before Roland Garros?

ROGER FEDERER: We can practice together at the French Open - every day if he wants (smiling).

http://www.asapsports.com/tennis/2006italia/051406RF.html

veyonce
05-15-2006, 03:54 PM
From: Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia
Federer's cheat claim sours Nadal's win
Leo Schlink
16may06

ROGER Federer has set the scene for an explosive French Open showdown with nemesis Rafael Nadal after accusing the Spaniard's uncle of cheating.

World No. 1 Federer's accusation tarnished teenager Nadal's stunning 6-7 (0-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-5) victory in the Rome Masters series final.
Peeved at losing his fifth match in six meetings with the Mallorca prodigy, Federer claimed Nadal's uncle and mentor Tony was guilty of illegal coaching during another epic clash.

"I caught him in the act," Federer said.

Umpire Romano Grillotti spun around at least three times in his chair to look at Tony Nadal, but took no action.

Illegal coaching carries the potential for point and game penalties if done to excess.

Federer, who has had his colours lowered in three matches this season with Nadal, is optimistic he can turn the tables at Roland Garros from May 29.

Nadal, 19, has more pressing ambitions. Having equalled Argentine Guillermo Vilas's 1977 record of 53 consecutive claycourt victories, the left-hander will this week try to set a new mark in Hamburg.

Nadal's became the first player to successfully defend the Italian title since Austrian Thomas Muster in 1995-96.

Nadal rebounded from 1-4 in the fifth set, saving two match points to again bruise Federer's aura of invincibility.

World No. 2 Nadal, who has won his past nine tournaments on clay, will break Vilas's record if he beats German Tommy Haas in the first round of the Hamburg Masters.

"It was an emotional plus for me to equal this record but the main thing was to win the title," said Nadal, who also matched Bjorn Borg's record of 16 tournament wins as a teenager.

"Fifty-three matches is a lot of matches. Every week when I start a tournament I think, 'This week I'm going to lose'.

"For me it is nice to equal Borg but he achieved a lot more in his career. I still have a lot to learn and a lot to improve."

Federer will hope to exact revenge in Hamburg as he prepares for the French Open, the only grand slam title to elude him.

"It is a pity for me because I started well and had my chances to win, but he caught me on the finish line," Federer said.

"Even in Monte Carlo it was extremely close, but this was even closer. I came into the net more and he hardly passed me all today, so I think I'm on the right track."

Australia's Lleyton Hewitt yesterday returned to the top 10 after improving one place in the rankings. He will resume playing next week in Austria before the French Open.

http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,19147974%255E11088,00.html

Ti-Anne
05-15-2006, 05:08 PM
You know guys, I'm beginning to get tired of Fed's accusations on Tony Nadal for coaching... :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: I must say I was expecting more dignity from such a man as Mr Federer, widely known for his elegance and fair-play...I'm not saying Tony didn't do any coaching I'm not that blind ! But most coaches do that now, it's even question of allowing it, as it is in DC ! Anyway, Tony just coaches Rafa, it's Rafa who's on court, holds the racket, and keeps beating Roger !!! Taking this for an excuse makes him look like a little kid at school complaining to the mistress because big guys keep on bullying him ! Come on, Roger, you're not giving a good image of yourself acting like this ! We all know here you'll beat Rafa one day on clay, but we expect you to do it with more dignity than this ! ;)

mallorn
05-15-2006, 05:53 PM
I still haven't seen the match, just read what veyonce posted and the article below. From the article it looks like the umpire didn't think there was a good enough reason to intervene. So far (in previous matches) I've only seen Toni cheer Rafa on, I didn't see coaching. But if Toni's behaviour was out of line then Roger has the right to complain. Coaching is illegal after all.

If there is any reason to suspect Rafa is coached why doesn't the ATP investigate this? It's quite simple, just seat someone who speaks Mallorquin near Toni and see what he shouts to Rafa. :shrug: Such accusations, if unchecked, do nobody any good. :rolleyes:

From The Times:
The Times May 15, 2006

Nadal victory seals miserable weekend for citizens of Basle

From Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent in Rome

THEY will be dressing the windows of Basle in black for months. The football team who had led the Swiss league for an entire throughout the season, lost the championship in the 93rd minute of the lastfinal match. If the citizens of Roger Federer’s home town hoped he would do his bit to wipe away their tears, for once he let them down.

Federer lost the final of the Italian Open yesterday 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 to Rafael Nadal, of Spain, in five hours and six .minutes. Those are the barest of facts. That it was the finest match of 2006 to date and for many a long year between the No1 and No2 player in the world is the real point.

When he had finished cavorting across Campo Centrale yesterday, Nadal, having won a record-equalliing 53rd consecutive match on clay, made a simple but honourable gesture that most inside a bewitched Foro Italico probably missed. He held out his right arm in Federer’s direction as if to say "there were two of us in this."

There would be no winner without a loser and Federer does not lose often, except when Nadal is staring him down. He does not lose many having won a tie-break 7-0, having not served a single double fault, having had two match points whichthat both fell to his usually inimitable forehand and having led a fifth set 4-1, but then no player gets inside his head like the Spaniard. Obviously, his uncle does as well. Federer was not best pleased with what he regarded as Tony Nadal’s blatant coaching. "I caught him in the act," the normally uncontroversial Federer said.

Suspicious that something was up, Romano Grillotti, the umpire, had spun round in his chair three times during the match but neither saw nor heard enough from Tony .Nadal to consider calling him for "coaching", which could lead to point and game penalties itf done to excess. It was a pity Federer’s post-match criticisms should leave a bitter taste for this was an day to savour.

It does not help that he is 5-1 down in head-to-head combat and the match Federer won, in Key Biscayne last year, required every scintilla of his brilliance. There has never been the sheer amazement and satisfaction in Nadal’s eyes as there was as he stood alongside Federer on the dais to receive yet more recognition of his invincibility on the surface that is supposed to wreck havoc with a player’s weaknesses.

A cameo in the fifth set summed him up. Trailing 4-1 and 15-0 ahead on his serve, Nadal enticed Federer into a mis-hit attemptedlob that landed a yard long. The reaction of most players would be to grit their teeth, roll their eyes and gleefully collect the next ball to serve. Nadal leapt up, punching the air. It is hard to believe he suspected at that moment, with the finishing line so distant, that the tide had turned, for it was only 30-0 and he still trailed 1-4 to the world’s finest player. But that is Nadal.

He held serve then and broke back in the seventh game, though Federer had a point to lead 5-2 but was a fraction out againonce more and the ball spun wildly from his strings. At 5-6 behind, Nadal served his first double fault and was two match points down as Federer was content to roll the ball over the net and entice an error. In his dreams, Federer would want a match point against Nadal on his forehand. He would give up a Wimbledon championship up for two. Somehow, he missed.

Federer had led the second-set tie-break 3-1 and lost it, so when he nudged himself ahead in the fifth-set sudden death by the same score, one had a feeling in the that it might go the same way. A wrong-footing forehand pass that left the Swiss spinning in mid-air on the next point brought another momentum shift Spain’s way. From 5-3 ahead, he hit another two errant forehands that cost him extended rallies. Nadal did not fail, drawing a forehand error. The ball was still in its flight when Nadal was rolling in the dirt, his championship defiantly defended.

Amélie Mauresmo, the defending champion from France, and Maria Sharapova, who practised on the grounds yesterday, have both withdrawn from the Italian Open championship that starts at the Foro Italico today. Mauresmo has a fever and the Russian has an injury to her right foot.

POWER PLAYS ANOTHER CONTEST EMERGES TO CONTINUE TRADITION OF GREAT RIVALRIES

IT'S THE rivalry to rival all others. The dashing young Spaniard versus the Swiss who has been such a dominant figure in recent times with seven grand slam titles. Until now that is. Nadal, still only 19, has won five out of the six meetings between the pair to signal the prospect of a shifting power base in world tennis.

McENROE v CONNORS

Started crossing swords at Wimbledon in 1977, their rivalry expired in Basle 14 years later, but what memories it evokes, especially as they disliked each other with a passion. The pick of their 34 matches (John McEnroe won 20 to Jimmy Connors’s 14) had to behad to be the 1984 Wimbledon final, when McEnroe was was in his pomp and and won for the loss of four games.

SAMPRAS v AGASSI

Remarkably they, too, played 34 times and Pete Sampras won 20 to Andre Agassi’s 14. The archetypeal mix of styles, with Sampras all-out attack to Agassi’s resolute defence. They saved the best for last, as Sampras completed his grand slam collection with his fourteenth title, beating Agassi in the 2002 US Open final before an ecstatic crowd.

BECKER v EDBERG

They played 35 times, Boris Becker winning 25. German might against Swedish style, they were both superb athletes, possessed of great attacking panache and if Becker was more solid off the ground, Stefan Edberg’s backhand was a thing of beauty. They played three consecutive Wimbledon finals, the best of which, in 1990, Edberg won in a dramatic fifth set.

TILDEN v JOHNSTON

Big Bill Tilden played William M. Johnston in six of seven US Open finals from 1919 until 1925 — Johnston winning once before Tilden, who transcended the sport in the Twenties with his enormous personality and dashing style, took control, winning his last Open in 1925, 4-6, 11-9, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

PERRY v VON CRAMM

In the years immediately preceding the Second World War, Fred Perry, from Stockport, and Gottfried von Cramm, a charismatic German, would play each other in four grand slam finals, two in Paris and two at Wimbledon. In their final meeting, in the1936 at Wimbledon, the British star dropped only two games.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,5205-2181251_2,00.html

MariaV
05-15-2006, 06:07 PM
Fed is just a sore loser. No surprise here. It's easy to be nice when you're winning. Try to stay gracious when you lose.
Fed won't even get to the RG final. :p OK, I'm just kidding.

NaDALiTa
05-15-2006, 07:27 PM
i'm sick and tired to see that Federer is unable to accept the defeat, everytime it's the same thing , there are always excuses :( It's not Rafa and Toni's fault if Tony Roche and Mirka were dozing off in the audience!! :haha:

I can understand that federer can bear defeat it's normal for every champions, but the class would be to congrats Rafa and say that he'll try his best next time!! He behaved like a child!!!

i watched the match and we saw Toni saying vamos to Rafa,that's the only thing i saw!!

federer will be great the day when he'll be able not to find excuses and not saying that he knows how to win, it starts to be ridiculous i think!!!! Anyway, yesterday it was the best match of the year with the best player on earth !!

Deivid23
05-15-2006, 08:30 PM
Some pics of the final

mallorn
05-15-2006, 08:56 PM
Thanks Deivid! :D

You were actually there? That must've been an amazing experience! How did you survive? ;)

Deivid23
05-15-2006, 08:57 PM
Thanks Deivid! :D

You were actually there? That must've been an amazing experience! How did you survive? ;)

It was pretty nice to witness, and specially being "guests" as Roger was the local player by far there :lol:

mallorn
05-15-2006, 09:02 PM
It was pretty nice to witness, and specially being "hosts" as Roger was the local player by far there :lol:
"Pretty nice"?! That must be the understatement of the decade! :lol:

I'm not sure I would've been able to face this live!

Andre forever
05-15-2006, 09:41 PM
Nadalita..YES ur right.. i saw TONI yelling VAMOS to RAFA ..

yes FED is just sour grapes lol

GonzoFan
05-15-2006, 10:04 PM
i watched the match and we saw Toni saying vamos to Rafa,that's the only thing i saw!!

Me too ... I only saw that

Denisse
05-15-2006, 10:24 PM
i don't understand something, is cherring the guy the same thing as coaching him?? or is cheerring him too much the same thing as coaching?

Andre forever
05-16-2006, 01:02 AM
i don't understand something, is cherring the guy the same thing as coaching him?? or is cheerring him too much the same thing as coaching?


i know...:lol: for me what uncle tony did was cheering RAFA ONLY ... how can FED hear Tony coaching RAFA .. the crowds are too NOISY????

jacobhiggins
05-16-2006, 03:20 AM
Nadals camp has been warned about this in the past and I have seen it on a few occassions. Even the Umprie thought was something was up during the match. It's not Nadals fault but his uncle is not following the rules. Federer as the worlds Number 1 and the ambassador of tennis had every right to speak up and he did speak up, I would have been mad too!

I wouldn't expect anything less from Nadal fans to say that was not the case, but it has been made an issue in the past as well. I respect Federer for saying that because it is the truth!

Deivid23
05-16-2006, 07:13 AM
Nadals camp has been warned about this in the past and I have seen it on a few occassions. Even the Umprie thought was something was up during the match. It's not Nadals fault but his uncle is not following the rules. Federer as the worlds Number 1 and the ambassador of tennis had every right to speak up and he did speak up, I would have been mad too!

I wouldn't expect anything less from Nadal fans to say that was not the case, but it has been made an issue in the past as well. I respect Federer for saying that because it is the truth!

:haha:

:retard:

mallorn
05-16-2006, 12:56 PM
This article about the recent controversy was translated by nou.amic :hug: of vr.com.
Nadal: "Federer confronted my team for no reason"

He and his trainer think that the Swiss behaved "improperly" in the Rome final

By M. FERNÁNDEZ. PALMA

Rafael Nadal has become world number one Roger Federer's Achilles heel. The Swiss has now lost five times to the Mallorcan both on clay and fast courts.

The Manacor player's superiority head to head is getting excessively on Federer's nerves and, in the Masters Series Roma final last Sunday, he "twice behaved improperly" to the Mallorcan and his team, as Rafael Nadal pointed out on Sunday night and, on Monday (yesterday), once back in Palma, so too did his uncle and trainer Toni Nadal.

"I don't want to get involved in controversy," explained Rafael Nadal on Sunday night on Ondo Cero (radio) although he admitted that the Swiss had not behaved properly. "I think you should be a gentleman when you win and when you lose," said the player from Manacor, who added: "During the match he half confronted my team and there was no reason to. They even applauded him when he won a point."

"He didn't have his best day, on or off court.... You shouldn't look for things when there's nothing there," said the Rome winner, who pointed out that Federer had been 'discourteous': "He didn't trust me a couple of times when I marked a couple of balls; he even made the chair umpire get down.

"He doesn't usually do those kind of things and I suppose he'll realise that and correct himself," Nadal concluded.

"Nothing happened with Federer," explained Toni Nadal yesterday afternoon to Diario de Mallorca. "In the press conference, they asked Federer a question alluding to me, what had happened between us. Well nothing happened. During the match, he said to me, 'Everything all right, Toni, OK?' and I replied 'Yes, yes... don't worry'. That was all," he stated.

"I was behind the umpire and if I had done anything, he would have told me. I just do my job. I wasn't doing anything improper; quite the opposite, I applaud opponents when they win a good point," he added.

"He was the one that behaved completely improperly," said Tony referring to Federer. "He made the umpire get down a couple of times when the ball was clearly out. He doubted Rafa's good faith and that doesn't look very nice," affirmed Nadal's trainer.

"And there was a ball that didn't touch the line, and it was quite clearly out as we could see in the monitor that we had where we were, and he (Federer) tried to mark the ball a good 10 centimeters out. And he went on protesting after that," he added.

"Nervous? I don't think Rafa makes him nervous.... I think he makes himself nervous," said Toni Nadal recalling that Federer "has before him an almost unique occasion to win the four Grand Slam tournaments. Roland Garros is the only one he has left and it's very close".

"For whatever reason, lately he has been behaving in an abnormal way for him," concluded Toni Nadal.

Federer is nervous. He showed that in Rome last week against Nalbadian, and a spectator he shouted at. In Monte Carlo he also had his good moments and his bad moments. Nadal has really got on the Swiss player's nerves.
http://vamosrafael.com/messageboard/viewtopic.php?p=411361&sid=03e3b6b2e3caf627227a8ce9e9ed6469#411361

MariaV
05-16-2006, 01:54 PM
OMG, Fed shouted at a spectator at the Nalby match? :lol: Heeeheee. I didn't see this whole match. I saw the recket throwing though. Heehee. Now I really wish he'll never get the Grand Slam he so desires. He'd explode then from arrogance. :rolleyes:

NaDALiTa
05-16-2006, 04:53 PM
OMG, Fed shouted at a spectator at the Nalby match? :lol: Heeeheee. I didn't see this whole match. I saw the recket throwing though. Heehee. Now I really wish he'll never get the Grand Slam he so desires. He'd explode then from arrogance. :rolleyes:


i completely share your opinion on that point. Federer shown his real face sunday and 15 days ago in Monte Carlo, it must be because no one have resisted to him since 2-3 years..no one.....except that wonderkid called with an angel name : Rafael !!!

mallorn
05-16-2006, 09:45 PM
Finally had the time to catch up with all the articles, here are the most interesting ones.
From USA Today:
Federer sets sights on only trophy missing from shelf

By Douglas Robson, Special for USA TODAY

Roger Federer is seeing red. He has been since January, when he rolled to the Australian Open title, his third consecutive Grand Slam tournament win.

"I've been sort of preparing for the French Open since the Australian Open," Federer says of Paris' Roland Garros stadium, where the red crushed brick serves as footing and backdrop for the most prestigious clay event.

With a victory at the French Open, which begins May 28, he would join only five men who have won every major: Fred Perry, Don Budge, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver and Andre Agassi. Paris also presents a chance to hold all four Grand Slams at once following Federer's wins in Australia and at last year's U.S. Open and Wimbledon. No Open-era (since 1968) male player has won four majors in a row other than Laver, who won calendar-year Slams in '62 and '69. Pete Sampras was the last to win three in a row ('93-94).

"If he wins that tournament," says the top-ranked American, Andy Roddick, "you'd have a hard time not saying he's the best ever."

Federer has won seven of the last 11 majors, has a 119-7 match record since the start of 2005 and built as much as a 3,000-point lead in the ATP Tour rankings. For more than two years he has had a vise-like grip on the top ranking (120 consecutive weeks), behind only Jimmy Connors (160) and Ivan Lendl (157).

But the French has been his undoing, with three first-round exits and a 14-7 mark in seven tries. He won't be the favorite. That designation belongs to a bullish teen in pirate pants. World No. 2 and defending French champion Rafael Nadal, weeks shy of his 20th birthday, is making a case for all-time greatness on clay.

Nadal continued his hex over Federer on Sunday when he saved two match points to win the Italian Open in Rome 6-7 (0-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), his fourth consecutive win against Federer.

Federer, 24, who has beaten every top clay-courter on dirt except Nadal, grew up on clay and has five titles on it, three top-tier Masters Series events.

"Federer's got all the tools," says U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe. "He's got the speed, mobility, the court sense. He can play defense. He can slide well. He has one thing standing in his way, and it's not a clay-court thing. It's a Nadal thing."

Nadal poses major challenge

The French Open's slow, tricky clay has been quicksand for some of the most luminous champions. Greats such as John Newcombe, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg fell short at Roland Garros. Sampras won a record 14 Slams but reached the Paris semifinals just once.

These champions all had deficiencies on clay — aggressive styles unsuited to slower surfaces or general discomfort with sliding and movement.

"It's not like I couldn't play on clay," says three-time French Open semifinalist Becker, who grew up on clay in Germany but whose net-rushing style never translated well to the slow, granular dirt. "I go for winners instead of waiting for my opponents to make mistakes. On clay you win if you make less mistakes than your opponents."

It is what Nadal excels at on clay. His looping topspin shots bite into the dirt and bounce even higher. He can attack and play defense, and his ability to scramble is indefatigable.

But on any surface, he is the one who gives Federer the most trouble. The fiery Spaniard is the only player to beat Federer this season, in finals in Dubai in March, Monte Carlo last month and Sunday. He has a 5-1 advantage in meetings against Federer, including the semifinals of the 2005 French Open and all three matchups this year.

Combine that with a never-say-die attitude and precocious physical strength, and it's no surprise Nadal has been chasing his own history this spring. By repeating his title in Rome, he tied Guillermo Vilas' record 53-match winning streak on clay in the Open era. His nine consecutive titles on clay tie Nadal with Bjorn Borg for most overall titles won as a teen (16).

A southpaw, he not only can move Federer off the court with his inside-out forehand but he also is able to get the ball high up to Federer's backhand consistently to force him into a defensive position.

As Nadal says, "My forehand against his backhand is the best" exchange. Federer is unfazed.

"I just have the feeling that every time I play Rafael that it helps me to find out more about his game," Federer says. "OK, maybe he can say the same the other way around. But I believe I have more tools to dismantle him than he can do against me."

But Federer concedes he will have to make subtle adjustments unnecessary against other players.

"He's a brilliant shotmaker, but I don't know if we know yet if he's a brilliant tactician," former pro and ESPN analyst Pam Shriver says. "He hasn't had rivals that have pushed him to come up with the goods tactically."

Some also think Nadal has gained a psychological edge. "No doubt he's in his head," says Jim Courier, who won at Roland Garros in '91-92. "Rafa's in the kitchen rattling the pots and pans."

Federer bristles at the notion that Nadal, or anyone, has him psyched out.

"I haven't come out of any of our matches thinking, 'Oh, my God, I have no clue how to play this guy,' " he says. "He gives me so many chances to attack and to play my game that I don't feel totally out of place (like) how I used to feel against (Lleyton) Hewitt or (David) Nalbandian," rivals he once struggled against. "I'm at a stage in my career where there is no need to panic."

Still must play his own way

Still, as any player from time-obsessed Switzerland knows, the clock is ticking. If he fails to win this year, the pressure on Federer will only build. Nadal, still a teen, will only improve, and other youngsters such as rising French players Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils could emerge as Nadal did.

"If he wins the French now, it's almost like he's destined to become the greatest ever," McEnroe says. "But if he doesn't ... it's only going to get more difficult for him to win it."

For the last four months Federer has been strategizing closely with his coach, Tony Roche, stepping up his physical conditioning and preparing mentally for red clay. Hot, dry weather also could be advantageous for Federer because it speeds up the court, but he has won three times at Hamburg, considered the slowest, dampest and coldest clay-court event.

Should he and Nadal meet in a dream final, Federer will have to be the attacker and try to keep the rallies brief, balancing aggression with patience. One key could be his willingness — and success — in attacking the net. In his four-set loss to Nadal in Monte Carlo, Federer won 52 of 73 points at the net, or 71%.

Either way, Federer says he won't make radical changes in his game just to topple Nadal.

"Look, there is not any sense of urgency where I need to play more aggressive or I need to serve and volley so much more to beat him," he says. "I think that's the wrong approach to play in a way so only I can beat Nadal. That might make me lose before I actually play him."

Posted 5/14/2006 9:49 PM ET
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/tennis/2006-05-14-federer-focus_x.htm?POE=SPOISVA

mallorn
05-16-2006, 09:47 PM
From Peter Bodo's blog:
Shadows Dancing on the Wall

Posted 5/15/2006 @ 2:32 PM

Let’s start with this, TW readers and fellow tennis KAD’s: Do any of you think that your local (or, national) media – print or television – did justice to yesterday’s Roger Federer/Rafael Nadal final in Rome?

Conversely, did any of those same outlets so underplay or dis’ the match that it’s worth noting? Embed links in your comments, if you please. I’m really curious to know how much attention the match generated. For us, of course, this probably was the most thematically rich and compelling set-to since – what? – Andre Agassi vs. James Blake at last year’s U.S. Open final?

Here was The Mighty Fed, repeatedly stung by Nadal on clay – but never without reason to think, “next time” - perfectly positioned to wipe away an Alpine-sized mountain of Karma with a win in the Foro Italico – a venue where the clay traditionally plays “faster” (read: to Federer’s favor) than at other events.

Here was TMF, perfectly schooled to step on stage to play the role of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence – to end Nadal’s clay-court winning streak one match short of Guillermo Vilas’s record of 53 straight wins on red dirt (a record that was set in 1977). Pundits – and Federer fans – were licking their chops over the delicious irony in this, and how well it would play out for TMF if he pulled off the upset.

By contrast, there was Nadal, having to bear up under all that pressure. To many, Federer is a gimme for Nadal on clay. The assumption is simplistic and inaccurate. More importantly, the growing myth that Nadal is only sandbagging TMF on his own turf is simply untrue: Nadal 5-1 against TMF and, contrary to what the World No. 1’s most ardent fans would like to think, only half of those matches took place on clay.

But to me, even that advantage became a disadvantage for Nadal under the circumstances. Equaling or surpassing a record, like any other out-of-the-ordinary achievement, is always a spooky undertaking – one in which the striving party takes on an extra, oppressive burden of pressure. But that’s exactly why we celebrate those who establish new records; pressure is the ultimate value added component in sports.

Anyway, on this occasion the actual match more than lived up to the hype and tantalizing speculations (by contrast, check out last year’s much-anticipated but desultory French Open semifinal between the same two stars). To me, there was only one big question left when the red dust had cleared and Nadal had holstered his lollipop: did TMF choke?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

A number of people addressed this in the comments section of my post below (“Your Service Has Been Interrupted”), and Pennsyltucky’s own Steve Tignor will certainly have some thoughts in his thorough analysis of the match at The Wrap (his post should be up by the end of the day).

I’ll start the discussion by arguing that choking is one of those semi-taboo things that everyone does but almost nobody admits. Great players, at least ones that aren’t uptight and/or self-infatuated, can be very open about this – it’s cool to be open and forthright about an experience that can be so humiliating and ego-busting and it’s also therapeutic. The worst chokers of all are players who are in denial about choking. I’m not sure that Jana Novotna admits to being a choker to this very day.

Anyway, you have to give Nadal credit for making Federer have to win it. He simply never appeared to get discouraged, nor did he come out of his chair looking less combative or focused on some occasions than others. This is noteworthy, for you’ll remember that TMF was, at various times: Up a set and 4-2 in the second set tiebreaker; Up 4-1 in the fifth set; up 4-1 in the fifth set tiebreaker. . .

Nadal never looked like he was back on his heels, which means that he was going to make TMF win it. Another way to put this is that Nadal was not going to get dispirited and play so badly that all Federer needed to do was stay in his comfort zone to win. That is, Nadal was going to give TMF the opportunity to choke, should he get himself into a position to win the match. And that’s exactly what happened.

Okay: two match points, two botched Federer forehands. Here’s the dope, straight from TMF’s mouth He was asked if he “rushed” the shots:

Well, I mean, I think the second one was definitely rushed. I tried to hit a winner, why not, you know? I already had one match point so I thought, I mean, might as well go for it a little bit, you know. I didn't try to totally hit a winner, but tried to play aggressive and I was a little late on it.

The first one I was more disappointed about because I was in a good position, and I didn't want to go for the outright winner at all. I just tried to play solid and with a lot of spin to his backhand and long. I just couldn't get quite over it in time. So that was a pity.

I think that's, I guess, the first match point that cost me the match.

I’m not going to split hairs over the video replays of the Federer forehands, but I say TMF choked. This is all predicated on my belief that any time a player is in a good position (running or stationary), with sufficient time to produce the stroke he wants, an ensuing error is always by definition unforced – no matter how much, or little, he goes for.

Let’s break down his comments. Match point No. 1, Federer admits to being well set up, but simply declining to go for the outright winner. He opted instead to play “solid.” In that situation, you just don’t err on the side of caution and pick the “solid” option. You go for it. You sieze the day.

Match point No. 2: With thoughts of a blown opportunity still playing in his mind, TMF errs on the side of abandon, going for the winner. But note how he says he went for a winner but not “totally” a winner, he wanted to “go for it a little bit.”

Okay, you can say this is Federer grappling with the language, or not being about to say exactly what he means. Maybe. I think Federer is saying exactly what he means, in language that beautifully and accurately portays the biggest enemy of a player positioned to win against a quality opponent, and the root cause of most choking: Ambivalence. The horror of the halfway measure.

I think TMF’s last comment also underscores this. He ruefully – almost wistfully – admits that the first match point really cost him the match. This is very revealing. It's the key to the whole process of mental breakdown, and you can follow the trail as clearly as if someone had blazed the way with survey tape.

Federer unraveled because he went from playing it too safe, then wanting to atone by being very aggressive, only to draw back at the last moment. And I think he drew back because he understood, with every bit of his champion DNA and every fiber of his emotional being, that he was overreacting and in danger of adding too, rather than diminishing, his woes. This is an amazing mental collapse executed in two simple shots.

It’s funny, we have a running battle of sorts at TW over the relative importance of the mental (as opposed to the physical, or technical) game. This match again confirmed my conviction that intention drives execution, and that unclear or confused intention prohibits effective execution.

Translation: championship tennis is first and foremost about the wraiths and demons of the mental game; the forehands and backhands are merely the shadows dancing on the wall of cave, acting out the strange flowerings of a mind that is either supremely confident and bold or plagued by self-doubt or fear.

You know, there’s a slew of books out there that have titles like this: Everything I need to Know about Saving the World I Learned Before I Was Ten. I feel a little like that about tennis, sometimes and in some ways. As rich, complex and compelling as the latest installment of Federer vs. Nadal was, the plot was marred by a fatal inconsistency: TMF choked.

But there’s another way to look at this, of course. The door remains open to a more satisfying sequel. Paris, anyone?
http://www.peterbodostennisworld.com/

mallorn
05-16-2006, 09:49 PM
From The Wrap by Steve Tignor:
Nadal at the Wire

Posted 5/15/2006 @ 3:16 PM

So you probably heard there was a tennis match played yesterday. I know, I know, I wish I’d seen it too—how did Shahar Peer come back from a set down to beat Samantha Stosur at the ECM Prague Open? Unbelievable!

Instead, I was stuck for five hours watching two guys named Federer and Nadal on a dirty court in Rome, and just for kicks, another 2 hours and 48 minutes of Justine Henin-Hardenne and Nadia Petrova in Berlin. My DVR couldn’t handle either of them—Fed and Rafa were only in the third set when it gave up and stopped taping. I managed to avoid seeing the result over the course of the day (this is disgracefully easy to do in the U.S.; SportsCenter had too many May baseball games to cover to bother even mentioning Federer-Nadal) and caught the last two sets at 1:00 this morning.

I’m glad I did, because even after five hours, five sets, and 351 points, they were still deadlocked, at 5-5 in the final-set tiebreaker. This was the best match the two have played, both in terms of quality and drama. More important for the immediate future, it was the best that Federer has performed against Nadal on clay. The world No. 1 was the better player for most of the day. He just didn’t have the same core belief that he could win that Nadal did, as evidenced by his inability to capitalize on his many leads. Federer was up 4-2 in the second-set tiebreaker, poised to go up two sets to none; instead, Nadal won it 7-5 to even the match. In the final set, Federer was up 4-1 in games and then 4-2 in the tiebreaker. Again, Nadal nosed him out at the finish line to win 7-5.

Still, Federer looked good from the get-go. He won the first point at the net and the second with a drop shot, a smart clay-court play that he has disdained in the past. He seemed to have a game plan this time—pound his forehand into Nadal’s backhand to open up the down the line; get to the net on short balls; avoid Nadal’s forehand unless he had the offensive. This was the first time I’d seen Tony Roche, Federer’s part-time coach, in the stands in a while—maybe the guy is worth having around after all.

Federer maintained his advantage through the first two sets. He read Nadal’s passing shots well and consistently stuck his backhand volleys, even when stretched (his crosscourt pickoffs reminded me of John McEnroe’s, who was in the audience). At 6-5 in the first set, Federer hit a spectacular inside-out forehand that clipped the sideline. Nadal was impressed enough to purse his lips and raise his eyebrows as it went past—“Not bad, Rogelio, not bad.” Meanwhile, the Spaniard struggled with his return of serve. For the first time in this clay season, he looked unsure of himself.

All of that changed in the second-set tiebreaker. Federer went up 4-2, but Nadal, as always, responded to the threat by getting more aggressive. At 5-5, Federer overhit an easy forehand long. On set point, Nadal slipped on the clay and had to improvise an ugly forehand-chop approach shot. Federer drilled his pass into the middle of the net. The tone was set: Federer was unable to measure his game well on the biggest points, while Nadal did whatever it took to escape.

That scenario played out to an even greater degree in the fifth set. Federer served and fought well to go up 4-1, but leave it to Nadal to seem intimidating even when all hope is lost. The Spaniard came out to serve at 1-4, won the first point, and proceeded to do one of his leg-kicking fist-pumps, as if he were on the verge of winning the match. Federer looked surprised and went on to make series of errors. For his part, the Spaniard suddenly found his return of serve, just when he needed to. Has there ever been a player better than Nadal at ignoring momentum?

The torture wasn’t over for Federer. He went up 6-5 and, after Nadal hit his first double fault of the day (Federer had none, both shocking stats), he found himself at 0-30, two points from the match. During the next rally, Federer had a golden opportunity to come forward, something he had been doing successfully all day—he won 76 percent of his points at net—but he clung to the baseline and eventually lost the point. After a Nadal miss, Federer found himself with two match points. He misfired on both, the second one with a wild, premature attempt at a forehand winner up the line. Again, Federer had failed to measure the crucial point, and Nadal would sneak away with his fifth win over him in six matches.

Did Federer choke? Yes—it’s clear that Nadal is in his head to the point where Federer doesn’t play his best in the biggest moments. Should Federer be encouraged by the match? Yes and no. He proved conclusively that he can play with Nadal on clay, and the surface in Rome is close to what they’ll see in Paris. But Federer failed to get what he really needs—the win that will put a seed of doubt in Nadal’s head. After getting out of this one, Rafa must feel bulletproof going into Roland Garros. He'll be favored to wrap up a second-straight clay-court triple crown in Paris, though Federer will be desperate not to play the role of Alydar to Nadal's Affirmed.

Just-For-the-Record Department
The Women
Petrova vs. Henin-Hardenne was also a barn-burner. I didn’t think Petrova had the variety and speed to stay with Henin-Hardenne, but the Russian slugged, served, volleyed, and scrapped her way to her second win over the Belgian in 10 meetings. There were many long deuce games, and Petrova came out on top of her share, eventually winning 7-5 in the third. I’ll admit it, after her fourth tournament win of 2006 and 15th match win in a row, she’s got a shot at Roland Garros. And maybe the WTA has finally found a new top-tier player.

Nadal vs. Federer: The Pre-Match
I was curious to see whether Nadal would force Federer to wait at the net for the coin flip, as he does with everyone else. I wasn’t sure he would have the guts to do it to the world No. 1. I should have known better. Nadal kept Federer out there swinging his racquet nervously for a couple of minutes. Then he bounced out like a Spanish version of Cassius Clay. Prior to that, Nadal had also forced Federer to wait in the tunnel for a fairly long time before presenting himself so they could enter the court together. The kid knows his mind games. One nice moment: After the coin toss, they posed for a picture together at the net; once it was taken, they gave each other just the barest of “this should be fun” smiles before heading to the baseline.

Nadal vs. Federer: The Sportsmen
Both guys are good sports when it comes to line calls, but the heat of this battle did get to them. After conceding a few points early, Nadal suddenly couldn’t find a mark on an out call against Federer later in the match. He held his arms up as if the mark had just disappeared before his eyes. On an even more crucial call, Federer actually pointed at the wrong mark on a Nadal shot that had clearly been in. Don’t hold it against them. I’ve been tempted to do the same thing in Saturday morning pickup matches at my club. I can’t imagine what it would take to give away a point in the final of the Italian Open.

Roman Warriors
What else happened at the venerable Foro Italico? There was a lot of nice weather, and pleasant surprises from Gael Monfils, who reached the semifinals, Nicolas Almagro, who ran Federer all over the court before losing 7-5 in the third in the quarters, and Andy Roddick, who made a nice run to the quarters. Has the U.S. found a new clay-court hope?
http://66.232.148.140/blogs/thewrap/index.asp

Andre forever
05-17-2006, 12:29 AM
i completely share your opinion on that point. Federer shown his real face sunday and 15 days ago in Monte Carlo, it must be because no one have resisted to him since 2-3 years..no one.....except that wonderkid called with an angel name : Rafael !!! :worship: amen

Mimi
05-17-2006, 07:15 AM
i do think even if roger wins the FO this year, still, we cannot say he is the best ever, coz agassi also won 8 grand slams including the FO, if roger wins the FO this year+7 more slams, then i will say he is the best ever ;)

MariaV
05-17-2006, 07:18 AM
Some also think Nadal has gained a psychological edge. "No doubt he's in his head," says Jim Courier, who won at Roland Garros in '91-92. "Rafa's in the kitchen rattling the pots and pans."

:haha: :haha: The kitchen stuff again.
Thanks for the articles. :hug:

16681
05-17-2006, 07:45 AM
:haha: :haha: :haha: I think it is great that Rafa is in Roger's head because so many other players have Roger in their heads. And thanks for posting all the wonderful articles :) :worship: Rafa is the Greatest :worship:

Denisse
05-17-2006, 08:15 PM
remember the days when roger said that as long as rafa played RG he would never win it??? i guess he didn't think rafa was that big of a threat back then! hehe

Andre forever
05-17-2006, 08:43 PM
remember the days when roger said that as long as rafa played RG he would never win it??? i guess he didn't think rafa was that big of a threat back then! hehe
he is mistaken there :lol:

blessed
05-19-2006, 01:50 PM
For heaven's sake! When exactly was this, and provide proof please. If Federer could hear anything above the noise his hearing is to be commended. As far as I know, cheering is not coaching, and i'm not wrong. I watched on digital and the noise was tremendous except when the players were serving. What is unnecessary is to have dubious posts like this without proof. I want to see links to articles writing about warnings in matches, and not just posts that other individuals have sent. Put up or shut up it's said.


Nadals camp has been warned about this in the past and I have seen it on a few occassions. Even the Umprie thought was something was up during the match. It's not Nadals fault but his uncle is not following the rules. Federer as the worlds Number 1 and the ambassador of tennis had every right to speak up and he did speak up, I would have been mad too!

I wouldn't expect anything less from Nadal fans to say that was not the case, but it has been made an issue in the past as well. I respect Federer for saying that because it is the truth!

Furthermore - if this was so prevalent in the match as intimated why didn't the umpire do anything - that's his job - presumably Toni Nadal would have been speaking Mallorqui or Catalan, so how would he have known anyway? :confused:
The ump. should have said something for this to be given credence. I can't believe how such a non-issue has been blown up.
Lastly, Federer should know better than to complain about something minor like that, that is not the reason he lost.
He should pay attention to his game and continue figuring out a way to beat Nadal, and stop giving attention to non-issues like this.

Regards
Blessed

Ti-Anne
05-19-2006, 03:46 PM
:yeah: well said, Blessed ! Obviously, Roger did not lose because Toni coached Rafa, Fed lost once more to a player he cannot manage to beat anymore, and he's just freaking out, so he needs something to cling to, and to say 'Hey, this is not my fault if this brat keeps on crushing me !' Indeed, Roger, you are not guilty, nor is Tony or anybody else...Rafa is just too good for ya ! ;)

Mimi
05-20-2006, 02:15 AM
i don't think toni has coached nadal during match, if he really did this so frequently as roger said, why no other players complained :rolleyes: , whats more, i don't think coaching will help nadal, its nadal who plays and not toni :rolleyes: , yes Roger is gracious, but only when he is winning, when you win, you feel so happy, so thats why its easy to be gracious, but he is a sore loser :rolleyes: :devil:, roger still needs to mind his mouth more if he really wants to be "ambassdor of tennis", for me, Stefan Edberg is the real gracious one :worship: :worship:

Andre forever
05-20-2006, 01:06 PM
:yeah: well said, Blessed ! Obviously, Roger did not lose because Toni coached Rafa, Fed lost once more to a player he cannot manage to beat anymore, and he's just freaking out, so he needs something to cling to, and to say 'Hey, this is not my fault if this brat keeps on crushing me !' Indeed, Roger, you are not guilty, nor is Tony or anybody else...Rafa is just too good for ya ! ;)


FED thinks that HE can beat RAFA this time..and know what to do next...


:confused: will see about that

the_natural
05-20-2006, 02:31 PM
Nadals camp has been warned about this in the past and I have seen it on a few occassions. Even the Umprie thought was something was up during the match. It's not Nadals fault but his uncle is not following the rules. Federer as the worlds Number 1 and the ambassador of tennis had every right to speak up and he did speak up, I would have been mad too!

I wouldn't expect anything less from Nadal fans to say that was not the case, but it has been made an issue in the past as well. I respect Federer for saying that because it is the truth!


Dont mind this guy, he is seriously not right in the head. There is this forum on tennis.com and even the guys who are fans of Federer accuse this guy of having a poster of Federer with a hole in it (I wont tell you which part of the picture has the whole in it, or what is in the hole he has made in the wall, use ur imaginations :D ) which he worships several times a night.

He truely thinks Federer is some sort of God, really, he takes fanatic to another level so dont worry if the little bitch starts crying and trying to upset you in your forum :sad: (Feel free to make him cry he loves screaming out "ROGER MAKE ME FEEL GOOD MAKE ME FEEL GOOD") :wavey: :)

lilfairyprincess
05-20-2006, 11:32 PM
ok so a slight change of topic here...i FINALLY got to see the rome final match today!!! i had to buy it on dvd and wait for it to arrive in the post!..but i just want to say a big CONGRATUALTIONS againto rafa..he was outstanding!!!!!!!! :bounce:

vamos rafa in roland garros!!!:kiss:

bunnymoon
07-02-2006, 12:37 PM
Hi people,sorry for the late post, just want you to have some pics I took last may in Rome during QF Rafa's match!!
regards Ale

KingGuga'sQueen
07-02-2006, 04:59 PM
They're great, thanx :)