*** Vamos Rafa at Wimbledon!!! *** [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

*** Vamos Rafa at Wimbledon!!! ***

06-21-2006, 08:39 AM
Since Rafa is back in London, and the seedings are to be announced this afternoon, I thought it was about time to start the Wimbledon thread...may it be long. :unsure: ;)

From the official site:
Nadal Looks Ahead to Wimbledon

Monday, 12 June, 2006

The most sensational teenager in tennis is no more. Rafael Nadal arrives at Wimbledon all grown up at the age of 20, firmly entrenched as the world number two, a second French Open title under his belt, and surely not satisfied yet. Rich as he is in charisma and sheer star quality, he is richer still in talent. His extraordinary physique is matched by mental musculature few can equal. Fanciful as it seems to think he could pose any serious threat to Roger Federer on the lush lawns of SW19, there is a school of thought which believes that the young Majorcan might be capable of much on grass.

The fact that his grasscourt form will not rival his 60-strong match winning streak on clay should not obscure the sense that Nadal could do plenty on the green stuff. True, twelve months ago his triumph at the French Open could not bounce him beyond the second round at the All England Club, but in his only previous appearance in 2003 he became the youngest man since Boris Becker in 1984 to make the third round. In any case, there is plenty of time yet for the player who has already achieved so much. Other players’ testaments speak volumes.

“The guy is nothing short of phenomenal,” states Tim Henman. “He hits the ball so hard, he’s exciting to watch and he’s immensely charismatic. Every sport needs a leader, a figurehead, and he’s that person.”

John McEnroe agrees.

“He is going to be one of the great players,” says the three-time Wimbledon champion. “He’s so fired up and that’s what the sport needs – a guy who loves to be out there. He plays to the crowd, and I love seeing that.”

It would be entirely understandable if young Nadal were very impressed with himself indeed. But not a bit of it. He still lives at home with his parents and sister, where his mother chides him to tidy his room. He has said will be very happy if at the end of his career he has enough money to buy “a little house.” He might just manage that, although another wish may prove more elusive: “I just want a nice quiet life with no attention.”

Anonymity tends not to go hand in hand with blazing achievement on a world stage. However, Nadal began 2005 outside the top 50, yet by its end only Federer superseded him in the rankings. He won 11 tournaments, including eight on clay, the most for any player in history. No teenager has earned more prize money than the $3.87 million (about £2.2 million) amassed by the Spaniard. Yet injury saw the year end in frustration, and he has spoken of being moved to tears watching Federer win the 2006 Australian Open – a tournament Nadal was forced to miss thanks to a nagging foot problem which ruled him out for four months until February.

But he came back with the proverbial vengeance. In March, only the fifth match of his return saw him line up against Federer in the Dubai final. An utterly thrilling encounter brought Nadal back from a set down to take the title, ending a 56-match winning streak on hardcourts for the world number one. Further sensational victories over Federer followed in Monte Carlo, Rome and of course Roland Garros. Six times in seven encounters the young swashbuckler has overcome the Swiss. Nadal, it seems, is the only player on Earth who has Federer’s number.

“Most of the guys who are set up as Federer’s rivals are not his rivals at all because they can’t beat him,” observes former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash. “Nadal is different. He manages to get under Federer’s skin and produce nagging doubts deep inside his brain.”

Whether Nadal can do this at SW19 remains to be seen. But there are plenty who want to find out, including Nadal himself.

“Who knows what will happen?” he says of Wimbledon 2006. The fun starts here.

Written by Kate Battersby

06-21-2006, 08:42 AM
Uh oh, so you think we need a separate thread for Wimby. Yeah, probably. :D
BUENA SUERTE CHICO! :bigclap: :bounce: :yippee:

06-21-2006, 08:47 AM
^^^ What's that supposed to mean? :ras: :haha:

From the BBC:
Nadal fit for Wimbledon campaign

World number two Rafael Nadal says he has overcome the shoulder injury which forced him out of the Stella Artois Championships and is fit for Wimbledon.

Nadal withdrew from his Queen's Club quarter-final against Lleyton Hewitt.

"I pulled out as a precaution after I started to feel some pain, but now I have overcome the problem," Nadal told Spanish newspaper AS.

"All I am thinking about now is playing at Wimbledon again. I have a week left to prepare myself well."

Nadal will play Finland's Jarkko Nieminen and Australian Mark Philippoussis in two exhibition singles matches at this week's Marsh Classic at the Hurlingham Club in London.

But the French Open champion does not believe he is ready yet to go on and add to his Grand Slam total at Wimbledon.

"I need to take it one game at a time. My only objective is to improve my play on a surface I find difficult, and I don't expect to go far," Nadal added.

"In the short term I am focusing on having a good tournament, working hard to prepare myself to be able to win there in the future.

"I don't think I will leave as champion this year but we will see what happens."

06-21-2006, 08:50 AM
From The Ledger:
Published Monday, June 19, 2006

Names in the Game

By The Associated Press

French Open champion Rafael Nadal said he is limiting his ambitions at Wimbledon to improving his performance on grass.

Nadal is recovering from a shoulder injury that forced him out of the Queen's Club tournament last week,

"In Wimbledon, I have to think about it game by game and not beyond that," he told the sports daily As in an interview published Monday. "My only objective is to improve my play on a surface I still find difficult, which is grass, and I don't expect to go far, much less win"

A sore shoulder forced Nadal to pull out of the Queen's tournament Friday during the quarterfinal match against eventual winner Lleyton Hewitt.

"I pulled out as a precaution because during the match with Hewitt I started to feel some pain, although I have overcome the strain now," Nadal said.

"All I am thinking about now is playing at Wimbledon again," he said. "I am very excited and really looking forward to it but there's still another week so now what I have to do is prepare well and then we'll see what happens.

"In the short term I am focusing on having a good tournament. But of course I am working hard to prepare myself to be able to win Wimbledon in the future," he said. "But I'm not thinking I will end as champion there this year."

Wimbledon begins next Monday.

06-21-2006, 08:52 AM
they should give him the no.2 seedings :wavey:

hahah, nadal is really too humble, wants to buy a small house :confused: :p , he can buy 100 :eek: :devil:

06-21-2006, 08:55 AM
From The Herald Sun:
Searching test for both Scud and Nadal

Leo Schlink

MARK Philippoussis is the unlikely testing material for Rafael Nadal's suspect left shoulder -- and the Spaniard's Wimbledon aspirations.

Wildcard entrant Philippoussis will confront world No. 2 and French Open champion Nadal at the Hurlingham Club tomorrow night in what shapes as a vital clash for both men.

While the match is little more than a Hopman Cup-style exhibition, plenty hinges on the contest for both.

For Philippoussis, again hoping to compete as a world-class grasscourter, Nadal presents the ultimate examination of the Victorian's fragile fitness.

And for Nadal, Philippoussis brings a unique contrast of styles with his bullocking volleying and ballistic serving.

Nadal yesterday confirmed his Wimbledon participation as his mentor, Carlos Moya, and former All England Club champion Lindsay Davenport withdrew from Wimbledon.

Moya is plagued by a shoulder ailment. while Davenport, absent from the French Open, has a back problem.

Serena Williams (knee), Taylor Dent (back) and Guillermo Coria (elbow) are the other major casualties.

Nadal's recovery, however, is a windfall for Wimbledon given the young left-hander's ballooning profile.

Nadal succumbed to his shoulder injury at the Stella Artois Championships on the weekend when locked at 6-3 3-6 with eventual champion Lleyton Hewitt.

"I pulled out as a precaution after I felt some pain, but now I have overcome the problem," Nadal said in Spain.

"All I am thinking about now is playing at Wimbledon again.

"I am very excited and have a week left to prepare myself well. After that we'll see what happens."

A second-round departure at Wimbledon last year, Nadal holds modest hopes for next week. "I need to take it one game at a time," he said.

"My only objective is to improve my play on a surface I find difficult and I don't expect to go far.

"In the short term, I am focusing on having a good tournament, working hard to prepare myself to win there in the future.

"I don't think I will leave as champion this year."

The website for this event: http://www.marshclassic.com/

06-21-2006, 08:57 AM
^^^ What's that supposed to mean? :ras: :haha:

:angel: :angel: :D

Btw, I'll have a holiday on Friday so I won't be here for the draw. :( I'll be back home on Saturday to check the draw though. :) I hope he won't get a tough server up first.

06-21-2006, 09:22 AM
Have a good time on Friday, Maria!

Rafa'll need a decent draw. *fingerscrossed* ;) Does anyone know if the draw will be online like at RG?

06-21-2006, 11:13 AM
Rafa's been named the second seed. :yeah:

From Reuters:
Wimbledon-Nadal named second seed ahead of Roddick
Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:48 AM BST6

By Bill Barclay

LONDON, June 21 (Reuters) - Spain's Rafael Nadal was named second seed for the Wimbledon men's singles on Wednesday, ahead of American Andy Roddick.

Claycourt specialist Nadal has never been beyond the third round of the grasscourt grand slam while Roddick has been runner-up the past two years to Roger Federer.

Unlike other grand slams Wimbledon organisers use a formula taking into account past grasscourt performances to decide seedings rather than purely following the ATP rankings.

Nadal is second in the ATP rankings having just won his second successive French Open. It means he cannot meet defending champion Federer, the top seed, until the final. Roddick, who is ranked five by the ATP, will be third seed at Wimbledon and could therefore meet Federer in the semi-finals.

The top five women's seeds are the same as in the WTA rankings. France's Amelie Mauresmo is top seed, followed by Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne, Russia's 2004 champion Maria Sharapova and her compatriot Nadia Petrova.

Defending champion Venus Williams is seeded seven, five places higher than her WTA ranking. China's Li Na is seeded 28, becoming the first player from her country to be seeded in a grand slam singles draw.

No British player is seeded in the men's singles with Greg Rusedski, Andy Murray and four-times Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman all too far down the rankings.

Wimbledon fortnight starts on Monday.

06-21-2006, 11:38 AM
:bounce: :bigclap: YESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D

Erm Ania, I don't think the Wimby draw will be online like at RG. At least it doesn't say so anywhere. :shrug: The traditions and stuff. :lol:
And that's all it says on the official site:
The draw for the 2006 Championships will be held at the All England Club at 10.30am on Friday 23 June in the main press interview room, located in the Millennium Building.

06-22-2006, 03:45 AM
I think it helped rafas cause to get the number 2 ranking because of the fact that Roddick lost at Queens this year on top of only being number 5 in the world. Hmm I wonder is it good that Rafa is 2nd rather than 3rd?? I mean it gives an outside chance of a Wimbledon Rafa-Federer final haha With Rafa in 5 hahaa (What a dream for me but he will have to work waayyy too hard to make the finals this year)

Andre forever
06-22-2006, 11:30 AM
he is not really expecting that he will win in wimby..he's main goal is to improve his grass experience... but who knows .. maybe this yrs wimby will be RAFA's :angel: ( crossing my fingers)

well we will see what will happens..as RAFA was saying...." lets see what happens"

im glad both of my fave tennis players are playing.... :D

06-22-2006, 12:50 PM
vamos Rafa show them you can also be a great gardener :lol: :lol:

06-22-2006, 04:52 PM
From ESPN:
Updated: June 22, 2006, 11:39 AM ET

The transition from clay to grass a difficult one

By Greg Garber

The transition from the red clay of Roland Garros to the green grass of The Queen's Club was an abrupt one: Less than three hours. That was how long it took the sleek Eurostar to deliver Rafael Nadal from Paris to London.

"Very fast," Nadal explained. "Very, very fast."

After winning seven matches in the French Open -- the last one a resounding four-set victory over No. 1-ranked Roger Federer -- Nadal was exhausted. Yet he dragged himself out onto the practice court at Queen's.

"I want to feel the grass," Nadal explained. "But I feel a little bit dizzy on court. The legs very tired. Is not easy."

Which begged the obvious question from the assembled media: Is it silly to have Roland Garros and Wimbledon -- two of the four Grand Slams, separated by all of 15 days -- so close together?

"Yes," said Nadal. "Always is the same question. But, for sure, yes. It's different. The points always very short, just one ball. So is different.

"Different sport."

On clay, Nadal has been literally unbeatable; Federer was his 60th consecutive victim. On grass, Nadal is ordinary. His record at Wimbledon is a modest 3-2. Federer, on the other hand, has won 41 straight matches on grass, tying the record Bjorn Borg set from 1976 to '81.


Because clay -- which slows the ball, increases hang time and extends points -- plays to Nadal's uncanny ability to retrieve and his unmatched endurance. Because Federer's genius is better complemented by grass, which plays far quicker.

The two surfaces, though both creatures of nature -- together, they are your front yard -- could not be more different. The grass season for men and women comprises 10 tournaments over a scant five weeks. That's 35 days in a calendar of more than 325.

Not surprisingly, players struggle with the transition.

For Martina Hingis, it has been particularly hard. After three years away from tennis, her comeback season has been a great success. But after she lost to Kim Clijsters in the French Open quarterfinals, she contemplated leaving the safe haven of clay.

"It's pretty much the same for everybody," she said. "Nobody really practices on grass. It's been awhile since I stood on a grass court."

Five years, to be precise. She will almost certainly be among the top 16 seeds, but her progress in the early rounds bears watching.

While hard courts, because of the friction they create, are the hardest on the joints, clay's tendency to prolong points takes its toll, too. Grass, players say, does the least damage. It is soft and the points are shorter. That said, there is still a physical adjustment period.

"In the beginning, I always get back pain," Federer said. "Many balls are very low and you always have to go down and get it. You feel that. Same as maybe the groin areas on grass affect you in the beginning.

"But once you're used to it, it's really easy on the body."

Patrick McEnroe, the U.S. Davis Cup captain, agreed.

The balls skid a lot more and stay low," McEnroe said. "It forces you to use a different muscle group. Your ass -- can I say that on the Internet? -- gets really sore. For the first few days, it's really, really tough."

Consequently, players try to get as much time on the grass courts as possible; some -- hello there, James Blake, Fernando Gonzalez and Sebastien Grosjean -- even allow themselves to play doubles. This has become a nice little cottage industry for the quaint grass tournaments in England, Germany and The Netherlands. The DFS Classic in Birmingham is a Tier III women's tournament that offers a diminutive total of $200,000 in prize money, but Maria Sharapova won the title there in 2004 and went on to break through at Wimbledon for her first Grand Slam title. She won the DFS Classic again in 2005 and was the top seed in 2006.

The Stella Artois Championships at Queen's is a relatively modest affair, but Pete Sampras won there in 1999 and followed it with a Wimbledon victory. Lleyton Hewitt achieved that double in 2002, and Andy Roddick won three straight titles during 2003-05 and reached the semifinals and two finals at the All England Club.

While clay rewards defensive ability and mitigates the power strokes, particularly the serve, grass tends to have the opposite effect. Historically, there has been a correlation between big serves and success on grass, particularly on the men's side. Look no further than the first-round match between defending champion Hewitt and Ivo Karlovic at Wimbledon in 2003. Karlovic, an unknown 6-foot-10 Croatian, served Hewitt off the court for his first Grand Slam victory ever.

Consider the best grass-court records compiled in 2005: 1. Federer (12-0); 2. Roddick (11-1); 3. Richard Gasquet (11-2); 4. Mario Ancic (9-2); 5. Thomas Johansson (12-3). Max Mirnyi (9-3) was just behind the top five.

Overlay the 2005 ace leaders: 1. Roddick; 2. Ivan Ljubicic; 3. Ancic; 4. Mirnyi; 5. Federer; 6. Johansson. You can see the relationship between big serves and victories on grass.

In the past, those who succeeded at Wimbledon -- Martina Navratilova won six straight titles during 1982-87 -- have served and volleyed their way to the silver trophy. Today, the serve-and-volley is basically extinct.

The contenders at Wimbledon will find a way to finish points by moving forward when they can, but they will pick their spots. Players say that bigger balls and a slightly slower grass surface have contributed to longer rallies.

Tim Henman, one of the last serve-and-volley dinosaurs, traces the change to 2002.

"I think it comes as a surprise to everyone when the conditions change so dramatically," Henman said. "On a grass court, before it was about serving and volleying on both [service] balls. You can count on one hand, I'm sure, how many times I serve and volley [now].

"There's exceptions to every rule. Karlovic, is he going to stand back [on the baseline]? Probably not. But you've got to have an exceptional serve to be able to keep hitting it through the court because it is -- with the balls and the court -- much, much slower."

Early on, you never know what you're going to get with grass.

In his first-round match at Queen's last week, Hewitt drew Fernando Vicente, who had previously won only four of his 13 ATP matches and was coming off a loss in a Challenger event in the Czech Republic to Jaroslav Pospisil. Yet somehow Vicente stole the first set from the former Wimbledon champ.

"You want to go out there and execute and hit the ball great right from the start and, suddenly, you're in a bit of a dogfight, in an awkward match out there," said Hewitt, who rallied to win in three sets (Queen's is a best-of-three tourney). "The first match is always one of the toughest. I've normally been able to translate from clay to grass as well as anyone, but it's never easy."

Added Federer, "Getting used to quick points instead of long rallies, getting used to the slice serve instead of the kick serve, getting used to the little steps instead of the sliding. It adds up and is a lot. This transition is tough, and this is why we have many players who actually don't like this surface, who can't really move on this surface.

"Thank God I'm not one of them."

Two leading questions emerged from the final at Roland Garros. One: Can Federer ever win there? Two: Can Nadal ever win a Grand Slam singles title anywhere else?

Nadal has spoken often of a desire to win Wimbledon, but Henman believes it will be difficult.

"When you compete as well as he does, it's very dangerous to write him off on any type of surface," Henman said. "But I do think with the extreme nature of his game -- how much he relies on his movement, and I think of how much harder that will be for him on a grass court -- I think it's unlikely."

Nadal himself understands it will take a monumental makeover.
"I need to play more aggressive," he said. "I need serve with more decision. I need serve always here the same like the important moments on clay.

"I need [to] change a lot of things. I need change a lot of things of my head."

06-22-2006, 08:11 PM
From the BBC:
http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/7375/0076pl.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Roger Federer has won Wimbledon three years running, while Ivan Ljubicic has never gone past the second round, but did you also know that Federer is an AC/DC fan and Ljubicic loves naan bread?

BBC Sport brings you the facts you really need to know about this year's Wimbledon contenders...

Odds: 2/5
* Full name -Roger Federer. Disappointingly, no middle name for the Fed. Perhaps it's Archibald and he's too embarrassed to say.
* Also known as - Fed Express, Club Fed. His girlfriend calls him Rogi while in German-speaking Switzerland, they call him Der Künstler (The Artist).
* Wimbledon high - Clinching his title hat-trick a year ago. Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg are the only other Open-era players to have won three in a row. Federer needs another two to match Borg's record five on the trot.
* Wimbledon low - It's not a gratuitous dig at 'Our Tim' but losing to Henman in 2001 two days after ending Pete Sampras' hopes of five titles in a row was, let's say, a bit of a let-down.
* Celebrity status - Still a 'B' for the world's best. Fed is rarely seen at celebrity do's and his long-term relationship with girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec has left him no opportunities for the sort of A-list dalliance which would push him onto the front pages.
* In his own words - "Obviously for the next few years I'll definitely be a huge favourite for Wimbledon. Doesn't mean necessarily I'll take them all."
* Need to know - Federer is a big fan of heavy metal rockers AC/DC.
* Grass rating - 10/10

Odds: 25/1
* Full name - Rafael Nadal Parera.
* Also known as - Rafa, El Magico, King of Clay, El Nino, Boy Wonder, El Toro. The list is endless.
* Wimbledon high - Before the prodigy had even set on Roland Garros clay, he had graced the grass of Wimbledon. At 17, Nadal reached the third round on his 2003 debut, knocking out grass lover Mario Ancic along the way.
* Wimbledon low - We'll be fair and give him time.
* Celebrity status - Rafa is Spain's golden boy along with F1 star Fernando Alonso. However, admitting in his blog that he put on a "black tie suit for the very first time" at the recent Laureus Awards in Monaco was a celebrity no-no.
* In his own words - "I always say Wimbledon is special for me because in Wimbledon only one Spanish player won, Manuel Santana. I want to improve on grass. I like play on grass, no? Is nice. I want to do an important tournament here."
* Need to know - Rafa is a superstitious fellow. He must have his water bottles lined up in a certain way by his chair and before each point, he takes three balls and throws one away, adjusts his socks and pants, and tucks his hair behind his right ear.
* Grass rating - 6/10

Odds: 33/1
* Full name - Ivan Ljubicic
* Also known as - Inevitably... Ljubo, Ljubi
* Wimbledon high - In 1996, Ljubicic reached the boys' final, beating Brit Martin Lee along the way before falling to Belarussian Vladimir Voltchkov.
* Wimbledon low - It's hard to pick just one. Ljubicic can safely book his holiday for the second week - in six previous visits, he hasn't managed to get past the second round.
* Celebrity status - A sporting hero in Croatia after leading them to Davis Cup glory, Ljubicic's star is yet to even get off the ground in the rest of the world.
* In his own words - "I wake up in the morning as a happy man because I know that my career is successful no matter what I do from now on. I know that the day I stop I can say my career was successful. I won a Davis Cup."
* Need to know - Blogging for the ATP website, Ljubicic revealed that one of his "favourite things to eat" is naan bread.
* Grass rating - 6/10

Odds: 12/1
* Full name - Lleyton Glynn Hewitt.
* Also known as - Rusty.
* Wimbledon high - Baseliner Hewitt shook the Wimbledon establishment by triumphing in 2002.
* Wimbledon low - The following year, Hewitt crumbled to an embarrassing first-round defeat to 6ft 10ins Ivo 'Giant Killer' Karlovic, a result which at least kept the headline-writers happy.
* Celebrity status - Since his marriage to Home and Away star Bec Cartwright, Hewitt is an unqualified 'A' in his home country. The couple signed an exclusive deal with Women's Day magazine, said to be worth an unprecedented Aus$1.5m, for pictures of baby Mia and a series of columns by Bec.
* In his own words - "Off the court, I'm shy. I'd prefer to be in the background."
* Need to know - Earlier this year, Hewitt was voted the 10th most hated athlete in the USA by GQ magazine, who cited his "weird Rocky fixation" as their reason. Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens was the number one.
* Grass rating - 8/10

Odds: 8/1
* Full name - Andrew Stephen Roddick.
* Also known as - A-Rod. He recently confessed he was called Little Roddick when he was younger - er, obviously because he was shorter than his older brother.
* Wimbledon high - He's reached two straight finals...
* Wimbledon low - ...but he's run into the invincible Federer on both occasions.
* Celebrity status - Andy gets an 'A'. He's best buds with Sir Elton John, used to go out with pop starlet Mandy Moore and was rumoured to be dating Maria Sharapova.
* In his own words - (after Federer beat him in last year's final) "I tried going to his forehand and coming in. He passed me. I tried to go to his backhand and coming in. He passed me. Tried staying back. He figured out a way to pass me, even though I was at the baseline."
* Need to know - Roddick's official website notes that the American's favourite sandwich is ham and cheese.
* Grass rating - 9/10

Odds: 33/1
* Full name - Marat Mikhailovich Safin.
* Also known as - His fans refer to him as the Safinator.
* Wimbledon high - Found his feet on grass last year as he powered into the third round, looking every inch a title contender.
* Wimbledon low - In typical Safin-style, he dramatically lost his way and slumped to a straight-sets defeat against Feliciano Lopez. Later in the year, he gave an interview in which he launched a scathing attack on Wimbledon and its "horrible food".
* Celebrity status - Safin says he "cannot stand" the word celebrity. That didn't stop him showing up to Boris Yeltsin's birthday party earlier this year though.
* In his own words - "If I don't want to play, I don't want to play. There is no really good reason."
* Need to know - Safin fell out with Andy Roddick during the 2004 Olympics. Safin refused to reveal what the disagreement was about, but added: "The man has changed and not for the best".
* Grass rating - 5/10

Odds: 66/1
* Full name - Andre Kirk Agassi
* Also known as - Double A, A-Train
* Wimbledon high - Feels like about 14 years ago now...hold on, it actually was 14 years ago that Agassi collected the first of his eight Grand Slam titles on the grass of Wimbledon.
* Wimbledon low - Thrashed by Henri Leconte in 1987, Agassi left Wimbledon in a huff and didn't return for four years. He said later: "I remember feeling it was inconvenient in my schedule."
* Celebrity status - Double A-list. Agassi ticks so many boxes - previous relationship with fellow celebrity (Brooke Shields, Barbara Streisand), unusual kids names (Jaden Gil, Jaz), and his own aftershave.
* In his own words - "I am an optimist at heart, and I believe in more moments that I can still have out there. When my body is right, there's still a considerable amount left in me, I believe that."
* Need to know - Agassi was born in the Chinese year of the dog.
* Grass rating - 7/10

Odds: 50/1
* Full name - Timothy Henry Henman.
* Also known as - Timbo, Tiger Tim, Henners.
* Wimbledon high - Glorious failure in the semi-finals on no less than four occasions. As John McEnroe once put it, most players would kill for a record like that.
* Wimbledon low - Last year. First there was the eyesore of a five-set win over journeyman Jarkko Nieminen in the first round, then there was the horrible defeat to Dmitry Tursunov in round two. All in all, a tournament to forget.
* Celebrity status - 'B'. Britain's former number one could, we imagine, have a spread in Hello every week if he so chose. But instead he and wife Lucy tend to hide themselves away in their £2m mansion near Henley. And who can blame them?
* In his own words - (speaking at Queen's this year) "For the first time in a couple of years I feel comfortable with my style of play. I haven't enjoyed the last few years on grass because I was not comfortable and was not playing in the way I felt I could or should."
* Need to know - Last year, Henman admitted he was hooked on Celebrity Love Island and stayed up to watch the final the night before his first-round match.
* Grass rating - 9/10

Odds: 50/1
* Full name - Andrew Barron Murray. That's BARRON.
* Also known as - Kevin the Teenager.
* Wimbledon high - Shortly after Tim Henman trudged off court after a dispiriting second-round loss last year, Murray blew away the disappointment for the British fans by crushing 14th seed Radek Stepanek.
* Wimbledon low - The newspaper and television debates on whether Henman Hill should be renamed Murray Mount or Murrayfield. Can't we just call it Aorangi Terrace?
* Celebrity status - Not really been seen on the celebrity circuit yet, but being cheered on by the legendary Sean Connery on your Centre Court debut isn't a bad start.
* In his own words - "I'm not really too sure what I love about tennis - I just enjoy winning."
* Need to know - At the age of 12, the promising striker was offered a trial by Rangers, but he is actually a fan of Hibs, the club his grandfather Roy Erskine played for.
* Grass rating - 7/10

Odds: 200/1
* Full name - Gregory Rusedski.
* Also known as - Grinning Greg, The Joker, Ruser.
* Wimbledon high - Rusedski warmed up for his appearance in the US Open final by reaching the Wimbledon quarters in 1997, falling to Cedric Pioline.
* Wimbledon low - That would be losing his cool in spectacular fashion during 2003's third-round loss to Andy Roddick. The All England Club is still recovering from Rusedski's expletive-ridden outburst at the umpire.
* Celebrity status - The Rusedskis are classic C-listers. The couple are pals of the Beckhams and attended the reception following Sir Elton John and David Furnish's civil partnership ceremony.
* In his own words - "I'll be 33 this year. I didn't think I'd be here - I thought I'd be retired by the time I was 30. Your perspective changes all the time. My daughter is the first thing and the most important thing. It's as simple as that."
* Need to know - Despite being brought up in Canada, Rusedski opted to play for Britain - but he had other options. His father Tom is German, of Polish-Ukranian descent.
* Grass rating - 7/10

Odds provided by Ladbrokes as at 16 June 2006

06-22-2006, 09:50 PM
Henman and Rusedski if they weren't english.....they woudn't be on the list :lol:

06-23-2006, 02:22 AM

Wimbledon-Nadal eager to prove grasscourt credentials
Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:06 AM BST

By Pritha Sarkar

LONDON, June 23 (Reuters) - Two weeks after being crowned claycourt king at the French Open for the second year running, Rafael Nadal will face the more daunting task of becoming the first Spanish man since 1966 to lift the Wimbledon trophy.

It has been 40 years since Manuel Santana had his name engraved on to the famed Challenge Cup. None of his countrymen have come close to emulating the feat even though many have reigned supreme across the Channel in France.

Over the past 14 years, Spaniards have won seven Roland Garros titles but many have never had the desire to test their skills on the manicured lawns of the All England Club.

While players such as Albert Costa and Sergi Bruguera opted to put their feet up in the Iberian sunshine during the grasscourt season, Nadal has repeatedly bucked the trend.

So keen was the Mallorcan with bulging biceps, cut-off pirate pants and flowing dark hair to hone his craft that he was practising on grass barely 24 hours after his Paris triumph.

"I am hungry to play on grass," Nadal said during last week's Stella Artois Championships.

"A Spanish player winning the French Open is not unusual but to win Wimbledon would be unbelievable.

"This is the grand slam I want to win most because it is so special. Only one Spanish player has won and I want to improve on that."

For a man undefeated on clay for a record 60 consecutive matches, Nadal has no qualms about putting his reputation on the line on the slicker surface.

The 20-year-old's attitude has won him an army of admirers.

"I respect how much he's valued Wimbledon and what he's said about it," said Andre Agassi, who famously boycotted the home of grasscourt tennis during the early stages of his career.

"It shows you the competitor's heart he has. Any time you got a ticker like that, you got to leave room for some great things."

After winning only one match on grass in 2005, Nadal realised his shortcomings and chose to enter both singles and doubles at this year's Stella Artois Championships .

In an riveting quarter-final against Lleyton Hewitt, Nadal showed off the strides he has made on the green lawns by dominating the first set. Charging wildly about the court, he took the Australian by surprise with his willingness to approach the net.


Although a shoulder injury abruptly ended his challenge, the display proves that Nadal will be no pushover when the season's third grand slam begins on Monday.

"When you compete as well as he does, it's very dangerous to write him off on any type of surface," warned four-times Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman.

It has been 26 years since a winner of the French Open took the Wimbledon title in the same year -- when Sweden's Bjorn Borg successfully made the switch from clay to grass.

Since then Agassi is the only man to have captured both majors, albeit seven years apart.

But as one Spanish paper declared, Nadal has all the traits to succeed as "he comes from Planet Nadal where babies don't play with dolls but rackets, muscle grows before bone, courage is learnt before speech and the heart beats faster".

He proved that this week when he declared himself fit just days after quitting against Hewitt and will be determined to progress beyond the third round at Wimbledon for the first time in his career.

Despite his eagerness to prove his worth on grass, Nadal was under no illusion about his ability to replicate his claycourt feats on the sport's fastest surface.

"My expectation is to improve but I'm not going win 60 consecutive matches on grass," he smiled.


© Reuters 2006.


06-23-2006, 02:55 AM
Special to ESPN.com

How to beat Roger Federer
By Patrick McEnroe
Updated: June 22, 2006, 7:07 PM ET

Clive Brunskill/Getty IMages
Rafael Nadal's forehand is the main reason he's the only player to beat Roger Federer in 2006.

When you look at the No. 1 players the past 25 years -- Pete Sampras, my brother [John], Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander and Bjorn Borg -- they all could play either defense or offense really well but were just OK at the other. Sampras was a great offensive player; Borg won with defense.

But Roger Federer is the best I have ever seen at both. He will play defense if he is not feeling comfortable attacking early on, but when he does decide to step up his offensive game, there is no one on tour better. That's why he is the toughest player in the world to beat. He can beat you in almost any way.

However, if Federer is going to be beaten, there is one basic strategy: attack his backhand. The one commonality players who have given him trouble in the past couple of years all have is they hit extremely well off the left side of their body. Take a look at the strengths of the four players who have beaten Federer since 2005:

• Rafael Nadal has a big lefty forehand that generates a lot of topspin.

• Marat Safin has the huge two-handed backhand and can rip it cross-court. (Safin beat Federer in the semifinals of the Australian Open in 2005.)

• David Nalbandian -- whose best shot is his backhand -- beat Federer in five sets at the Masters Cup in Shanghai.

• Richard Gasquet's biggest weapon is off his backhand side.

What's amazing about Federer, though, is that after each of his eight losses in the past two years, he has turned it around the next time against each opponent, with the exception of Nadal. After his loss to Safin at the Australian Open, Federer beat him five months later in Germany. Nalbandian is 0-2 this year since beating Federer in December, and the Swiss is 3-0 since losing to Gasquet.

In the 2005 U.S. Open final, Andre Agassi pounded Federer's backhand with high-kicking serves out wide. Agassi won the second set and was up a break in the third, but Federer made a few quick adjustments and had little trouble thereafter.

The one player Federer has not been able to get by is Nadal because the young Spaniard's game matches up really well, especially on slower surfaces. After Federer won the first set at the French Open, his backhand broke down for the final three sets. He committed error after error from that wing (24 total errors from his backhand side), and it was clear Nadal could attack Federer's left side and get away with it. The Spaniard is unique in that he plays with so much topspin and can consistently get the ball up high to Federer's backhand. He can do this not only on clay but also on a slower hard court.

But the X factor here is that Wimbledon is played on grass, and that's a different beast. Grass completely neutralizes Nadal's spin. The Spaniard's high-bouncing topspin forehands won't be a factor on a faster, slicker surface. Federer likes to take the ball waist high, even below the waist. It's rare on grass that a ball comes up higher than that. He has such great hands and feet and can improvise shots when the ball is low, something most players can't do.

There's more to beating Federer than just attacking his backhand, no matter which surface he's playing on. Although his opponents need to attack his weaker side, they also need to do something with the next shot, and that's a lot easier said than done. Federer is very mobile and can turn defense into offense better than anyone. He is very comfortable hanging back and slicing his backhand deep into the court and waiting for an opening. That's why you see so many players on the court with Federer beat themselves. They know how quick he is and understand he can turn it on at any time, so they rush and make mistakes.

What these players also need to do, especially on grass, is attack Federer's second serve and put pressure on him right away. If you don't, he'll be all over you and then it's over. Mario Ancic is a player who could give Federer a hard time. (Ancic is the last player to beat Federer on grass. However, that was four years ago in the first round at Wimbledon.) Ancic has a huge serve, hits his two-handed backhand well and attacks second serves.

You also need an attitude when playing Federer, like Nadal has. You saw how confident he was bouncing around like a boxer before the French Open final. Most players take the court -- especially on grass -- intimidated when playing the top-ranked player in the world.

Lleyton Hewitt has that attitude, and his best chance is on grass; however, I don't think his game matches up particularly well with Federer's. He doesn't have a big weapon, and he lacks the overall firepower.

Although beating Federer does not happen all that often -- just eight times in the past two years -- the players who have beaten him all have one thing in common. They can hit strong off their left side and attack Federer's backhand, his weaker flank.

Patrick McEnroe, the U.S. Davis Cup captain, provides analysis for ESPN.com during Wimbledon.


06-23-2006, 09:57 AM
Rafa will play a wild Card in the 1st round of Wimbly, he doesn"t have a very tough draw :woohoo:

06-23-2006, 09:58 AM
Rafa will play a wild Card in the 1st round of Wimbly, he doesn"t have a very tough draw :woohoo:
Phew!!!!!! :o

06-23-2006, 10:04 AM
Yep, Alex Bogdanovic is Rafa's first opponent. Not too bad. ;) I hope. :unsure: ;)

06-23-2006, 02:36 PM
From the ATP site:
Wimbledon June 23, 2006
Federer Handed Tricky Wimbledon Draw

The singles draw for the third Grand Slam of the season was made at the All England Club on Friday, with ATP World No. 1 Roger Federer beginning his quest for a fourth successive crown against Richard Gasquet of France at the 120th Wimbledon championships.

Federer will look to join Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras as the only players in the Open Era (since 1968) to win four titles in a row. Borg won five in a row between 1976 and 1980, and Sampras captured four of his seven titles from 1997 to 2000.

But his bid will not be easy. Federer holds a 3-1-career record over Gasquet, the Frenchman ranked No. 66 in the INDESIT ATP Rankings. Last week Federer narrowly beat Gasquet in the Gerry Weber Open second round 7-6(7), 6-7(7), 6-4.

Gasquet stands in the way of Federer breaking the Open Era grass-court winning streak record he currently shares with Borg of 41 straight matches, with the winner taking on either four times semifinalist Tim Henman or Sweden's Robin Soderling in the second round.

Since losing to Mario Ancic in the 2002 Wimbledon first round, 24-year-old Federer has won 20 straight matches at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle and 21 at the All England Club.

Last week Federer collected his fourth straight title in Halle, over Tomas Berdych, to extend his ATP-level match record in 2006 to 49-4.

Rafael Nadal, who successfully defended his Roland Garros title over Federer to extend his Open Era clay-court winning streak to 60 matches earlier this month, will play British wild card Alex Bogdanovic in the first round.

While Spanish men have won seven Roland Garros title in the past 14 years, none have come close to bucking the trend at the All England Club. Can Nadal do so this year?

The 20-year-old will be keen to improve upon his career-best 2003 third round performance, with an eye on becoming the first Spanish man since Manuel Santana in 1966 to lift the trophy.

Borg was the last player to successfully make the switch from clay to grass, winning the Roland Garros and Wimbledon titles 26 years ago.

One of the beneficiaries of Wimbledon’s seeding formula has been Andy Roddick.

Roddick has been elevated to No. 3 seed, despite an INDESIT ATP Ranking of No. 5, on the back of 2004-2005 runner-up finishes and fine performances at Queen’s Club.

The three times Stella Artois champion will meet Serbian Janko Tipsarevic in the first round, with a possible clash with either No. 15 seed Sebastien Grosjean or No. 18 seed Marcos Baghdatis in the fourth round.

David Nalbandian, beaten finalist in 2002 and quarterfinalist last year, is No. 4 seed, despite an INDESIT ATP Ranking of No. 3. The reigning Tennis Masters Cup champion and winner at the Estoril Open in May, takes on South African Wesley Moodie.

Ivan Ljubicic will look to repeat his 2006 Australian Open third round win over Spain's Feliciano Lopez when the Croatian fifth seed meets last year’s beaten quarterfinalist in the first round.

Ljubicic, ranked No. 4 in the INDESIT ATP Rankings, reached the 1996 junior final losing to Vladimir Voltchkov but in senior competition at Wimbledon has a 2-6 record. Ljubicic reached the second round in 2002 and 2003.

Lleyton Hewitt has been promoted to No. 6 seed. The 2002 champion, with a 21-6 match record at Wimbledon, will meet Italy’s Filippo Volandri in the first round. Hewitt reached the 2004 quarterfinals and 2005 semifinals, losing to Federer both times.

The Australian returned to the Top 10 of the INDESIT ATP Rankings, at No. 9, for the first time since January on the back of winning his fourth Stella Artois Championships in seven years.

Seventh-seeded Croat Mario Ancic, the last player to beat Federer at Wimbledon in 2002, reached the 2004 semifinals and will meet Nicolas Almagro of Spain. Almagro won his first ATP title in Valencia two months ago.

Auckland and Marseille finalist Ancic could meet Federer in the quarterfinals.

James Blake, who is ranked a career-high No. 7 in the INDESIT ATP Rankings, is seeded No. 8. The recent Stella Artois Championships finalist at Queen’s Club meets Danish qualifier Kristian Pless in the first round.

While Blake looks to improve upon his 2-3 record at Wimbledon, another American, Andre Agassi, the 1992 champion and No. 25 seed, returns to the All England Club for the first time in three years.

The 36-year-old takes on Boris Pashanski in his 14th appearance at the grass-court Grand Slam.

06-23-2006, 03:10 PM
Oh no, Rafa's picked up another (hopefully minor) injury. :awww:
From the BBC:
Britons handed tough draw at SW19

Henman is unseeded at Wimbledon for the first time in 10 years

Tim Henman will meet Robin Soderling in the first round of Wimbledon, with defending champion Roger Federer a possible second-round opponent.

Fellow Briton Greg Rusedski faces an opening clash with Marat Safin while wildcard Alex Bogdanovic will meet world number two Rafael Nadal.

Andy Murray will be more optimistic against 31st seed Nicolas Massu.
The reward for Josh Goodall, who came through qualifying, is a tie with Melle van Gemerden of the Netherlands.

World number one Federer has an extremely testing match to open his bid for a fourth straight title as he meets France's Richard Gasquet.

I find it quite difficult to deal with all the attention surrounding Wimbledon

The Swiss is seeded to meet David Nalbandian in the last four, although Lleyton Hewitt is in the same half and begins against Filippo Volandri.

Andy Roddick is in the opposite half to Federer, and the American is up against Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic in round one.

Andre Agassi starts what could be his last Wimbledon against Boris Pashanski of Serbia, with Nadal a possible third-round opponent.

Nadal, who pulled out of his Queen's quarter-final against Lleyton Hewitt with a shoulder injury, withdrew from the Marsh Classic exhibition event on Friday.

The 20-year-old woke up with a sore foot :eek: but the injury is not thought to be serious.

British number two Murray, who reached the third round on his Wimbledon debut last year, admits he has mixed emotions as this year's tournament approaches.

"I do look forward to Wimbledon - it's one of the biggest tournaments in the world, so I wouldn't be a tennis player if I didn't get excited at the prospect of playing there," he said.

"But there's a lot of things which go with it. I find it quite difficult to deal with all the attention surrounding Wimbledon.

"It is all a little bit over the top, but last year was a great experience because it helped me understand how much attention there's going to be on me, not just over the next few weeks but the next five or six years."

In the women's singles, defending champion Venus Williams opens against against fellow American Bethanie Mattek.

Maria Sharapova is in the same half and will play Anna Smashnova in the first round, while world number one Amelie Mauresmo starts off against Croatian qualifier Ivana Abramovic.

In the lower half, Justine Henin-Hardenne begins against China's Yuan Meng.

Martina Hingis will take on Olga Savchuk of Ukraine and Kim Clijsters meets Vera Zvonareva, the winner at Edgbaston last week.

British number one Anne Keothavong will play Croatia's Karolina Sprem, while wildcard Naomi Cavaday faces 18th seed Ai Sugiyama of Japan.

06-23-2006, 06:43 PM
What a sore foot is ? :eek:

06-23-2006, 06:53 PM
^^^ It means he has some pain in his foot, Nadalita.

Damn, why can't we have one peaceful, injury-free day? :sad: :lol:

06-23-2006, 11:06 PM
thanx mallorn :hug: , actually i was wondering if it was an injure ...just like a twist or only a pain without explications :lol: ?

06-24-2006, 04:57 PM
I'm sorry, Nadalita, I don't know any specifics about the injury, just that it wasn't serious. Hopefully it's true.

From the official website:
Stars Reflect on Inspirational Agassi

Saturday, 24 June, 2006

Grand Slam champions Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal paid tribute to Andre Agassi today, after the former Men's Singles champion announced these Championships would be his last.

The 36-year-old American, who will hang up his racket after this year’s US Open following two decades on the tour, was described as a ‘legend’ by current Roland Garros champion Nadal.

The 20-year-old Spaniard cannot remember Agassi’s Wimbledon victory in 1992 but says he watched many of his US Open finals. When asked if he could imagine spending 20 years on the tour, he joked: “He’s a legend. It’s very difficult to do the same as Agassi.”

Nadal - still riding high from his French Open win - is looking forward to playing on the grass at SW19. Should he match his title-winning performance in Paris, the Spaniard would become one of the few men in the Open era - along with Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg - to win at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year.

But the Spaniard is under no illusion. “I like to play on grass but I like to win too … and I win more on the clay,” he smiled.

He would do well to speak to Maria Sharapova, who defeated Serena Williams to become the Ladies’ Singles champion in 2004 at the tender age of 17. The Russian, who faces Anna Smashnova of Israel on Tuesday, is equally impressed with Agassi’s achievements.

“There isn’t one bad thing you can say about him," she said. "It’s amazing to have someone still around who has achieved so much and done so much for the sport.”

Up-and-coming Scot Andy Murray, who admitted to "sweaty palms" when he practised with Agassi at Queen's two weeks ago, is also not too young to recognise the American's legacy.

"He made tennis a cool sport," Murray said. "He made it big in America and became a worldwide personality. He's huge and he obviously deserves it. I think to lose someone like him is obviously a shame for the game. Guys like him don't come around too often."

Written by Helen Gilbert

06-24-2006, 05:00 PM
From The Times:
June 24, 2006

by Katie Scott

Nadal casts shadow on court of King Roger

IF YOU can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same . . . So goes the Rudyard Kipling quote that is etched over the players’ entrance to Centre Court at Wimbledon.

Roger Federer is more familiar with the sign than most. The world No 1 from Switzerland is also familiar with triumph on the court that he describes as “the most special in the world” and where, on Monday, he will begin his attempt to become only the third man to win four consecutive men’s singles titles in the modern era.

Disaster, on the other hand, is not something that Federer has had to contend with in SW19, at least not since he lost to Mario Ancic in the first round in 2002.

Federer would be loath to classify his defeat in the final of the French Open to Rafael Nadal as a disaster, but there was no doubting its significance. Not only did it rob him of the opportunity to complete the full set of grand-slam trophies, it was also the fourth time this year that he has been unable to work out a way to beat his Spanish nemesis. It must have hurt. Yet he strode to the net, offered a handshake and a smile, dusted the clay from his shoes and within a week was winning the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany.

“It [the defeat by Nadal] didn’t hurt like you think it would hurt,” Federer said. “I was a little bit disappointed when I woke up on Monday morning, but then it was like, ‘We’re leaving for the grass-court season’, so that’s what I’m looking forward to. It was good to go and play Halle straight away to shake off the loss, so now when I talk about my last matches, it’s the ones in Halle, not Paris. I think that’s important for me.”

Federer has arrived in London on the back of a 41-match unbeaten streak on grass, equalling the feat of Björn Borg. The 24-year-old’s dominance means that breaking and making records are part and parcel of his career, but he refuses to let that become a distraction. “It would be nice (to beat Borg’s record), but that’s not what I’m interested in,” Federer said. “It’s exciting stuff, but I care more about the tournament. It’s good to beat it, but I don’t feel that I’m better than him if I do.

“It makes me proud because Borg was one of the all-time greats, but I haven’t won them all at Wimbledon like him. He did five in a row [between 1976 and 1980]. I’m a long way from that. Since I got my seventh grand-slam I have started thinking, ‘OK, Sampras [who won a record 14] is in sight. I know where I stand, but unless I win here again, there is no point thinking about catching these guys.”

Federer faces a tough opener against Richard Gasquet and a possible meeting with Tim Henman in the second round. The draw is inconsequential to the Swiss, however. He is more concerned by his game than that of his opponent.

“Since I have worked with Tony Roche [his coach], my levels have gone up,” he said. “It’s because of him that I want to improve. I want to be the best I can be. It’s not about beating others. I’m just interested in my own game.”

The extent to which Nadal has worked his way under the skin of Federer was demonstrated when the Swiss failed to include the 20-year-old’s name in his list of rivals at Wimbledon. “Roddick and Hewitt,” he said.

Nadal is undoubtedly a clay-court specialist but is seeded No 2 and proved his worth on grass by winning two rounds at the Stella Artois Championships before retiring because of injury against Lleyton Hewitt. How will Nadal do? “He should do OK,” Federer offered. As if to say, not in my backyard.

06-24-2006, 05:44 PM
Rafa seems positive but it looks like he isn't 100% after all.
From Reuters:
Nadal ready to play despite sore shoulder

Sat Jun 24, 2006 10:25 PM IST9
By Bill Barclay

LONDON (Reuters) - French Open champion Rafael Nadal said on Saturday he was ready to play at Wimbledon despite not having fully recovered from a shoulder injury.

The 20-year-old has been unable to practise at full strength for the grasscourt grand slam after he retired from his Queen's Club quarter-final eight days ago because of pain in his left shoulder.

"It's okay, I can practise, I can play," the claycourt specialist told a news conference on Saturday at the All England Club. "I will see but for now I am playing without pain."

Second seed Nadal faces British wild card Alex Bogdanovic in the first round at Wimbledon, where his best previous showing was reaching the third round in 2003.

However, the Mallorcan took great encouragement from his run to the Queen's Club quarter-finals, where he took a set of eventual champion Lleyton Hewitt before retiring.

"I played a very good tournament at Queen's," he said. "I'm improving with each day and I feel good. I'm happy with my level."

Nadal beat world number one Roger Federer to retain his French Open crown earlier this month and said that victory meant he could approach Wimbledon in a positive frame of mind.

"I'm really motivated in practice," he said. "Winning the French Open was good for my confidence here because I can play a little bit more calmly without a lot of pressure.

"This is a different tournament and it's very important too. Paris is forgotten now."

Andre forever
06-25-2006, 02:23 AM
geez im worried about him..is he ready for wimby or what? wimby is almost there.. i hope he gets 100% fit before his match... accck

06-25-2006, 04:00 AM
I really hate the thought that he will be trying to play at Wimbledon at anything less than 100%. But apparently that will be the case :sad: It would be difficult enough for him on a grass court, but then to not be 100% healthy is really bad :eek: I really have to admit I wish he wouldn't play because it could make his shoulder worse :scared: And yet another mention of pain in his foot :eek: I'm sorry I don't have a good feeling about this at all :scared:

06-25-2006, 06:34 AM
We are the champions - my friends
And we'll keep on fighting
Till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions of Wimbledon 2006 :p

06-25-2006, 09:58 AM
Mae :hug: we just need to hope for the best. It would be an awful shame though if he was injured in two out of three majors this year. :(

vviva, that's the spirit! :lol:

Bits and pieces about Rafa in various articles.

From The Observer, about Andre's retirement:
Agassi says goodbye to 'greatest tournament'.

Richard Evans
Sunday June 25, 2006
The Observer


Within minutes, Agassi's seat in the Wimbledon press conference centre was being occupied by Rafael Nadal, who could possibly meet Agassi in the third round. He was five when Agassi won his first Wimbledon. 'No, I did not watch, but it was 1992, no?' said this bright young man from Majorca whose flamboyant appearance brings to mind the early longhaired Agassi.

When asked about Agassi, Nadal was quick to seize on the defining period of the American's career. 'He's a legend, no? It is so difficult to go and come back and be as good as before. Mentally so tough to do that. Unbelievable.'

Nadal, with his limited English, was right on the mark. Nothing became Agassi more than the way in which he accepted a startling slump in his world ranking to 142 in 1997. He proceeded to climb back up, beginning with the humiliation of playing an event on the second tier tour.


Nadal, just a year older than Murray, says he is fit again after the shoulder problem that forced him to withdraw from the Stella Artois.
That may not be what Alex Bogdanovic wanted to hear, but the first-round meeting still offers a great opportunity for Britain's least fulfilled talent.


You can read the whole article here (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/sport/story/0,,1805422,00.html).

A nice article about Roger with Rafa inevitably mentioned:
In the presence of greatness

He might have lost to Rafael Nadal in Paris again, but the world number one has a fourth Wimbledon title in his sights - and becoming the most successful grass-court player ever will be just a bonus

Jon Henderson
Sunday June 25, 2006
The Observer


'I've had some good battles since I've been number one - with Andre Agassi, with Lleyton Hewitt, with Andy Roddick, with Marat Safin - and now with [Rafael] Nadal. For me, they've all been very special because I've played them very often in finals.' And, with one notable exception, prevailed against them all. Nadal is that exception, the Spaniard having beaten Federer in the 2005 French Open semi-finals and in this year's final two weeks ago to establish his supremacy on clay. How Federer would love to play him at Wimbledon here in the title match on World Cup final day.

The chances are he will not, though, with Nadal's fitness and limited grass-court experience making him an unlikely finalist despite his number-two seeding. Federer nominates Hewitt and Roddick as the players he fears most because 'they're the guys with the greatest experience on grass, next to Agassi'. How about Tim Henman, who has reached more Wimbledon semi-finals than any of them except Agassi, and is Federer's likely second-round opponent? 'Yes, Tim,' Federer says by way of acknowledgement. 'But he's not been winning too many matches.'

If there is a blemish, perhaps it is Federer's failure to assimilate the idea of a killer instinct in quite the same way as Nadal has. Federer can give the impression that it is better to lose beautifully than win ugly. There was a hint of this a fortnight ago in Paris when Federer still went for wonderful winners when just staying in rallies with Nadal would probably have been more productive.

Referring to this defeat, he says something that makes you wonder whether he no longer dislikes losing as much as a great champion instinctively does. 'It took me a very short time to get over it. Maybe it was because I thought the run of winning three grand slams in a row, plus reaching the final in the fourth, was so fantastic that there was no need to be disappointed. I lost to the better man on the day, so there was not much reason to be too disappointed. When I woke up on the Monday morning, OK, I felt it was a little bit of a pity, but the grass is coming up and everything is all right.'

Somehow you feel John McEnroe and Boris Becker would still have been smashing the furniture. And one defeat was all it took to persuade Borg it was time to start considering retirement at close to the age Federer is now.
You can read the whole article here (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/sport/story/0,,1805360,00.html).

06-25-2006, 10:01 AM
An article about Roger and Rafa, from The Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/sport/2006/06/25/stwhit25.xml)

Hovering on the brink of greatness

By Clive White
(Filed: 25/06/2006)

Since the Roland Garros men's final a fortnight ago the pundits - and not a few former tennis greats - have been back-tracking faster than Rafael Nadal in pursuit of the supposedly unreturnable with regard to their assessment of Roger Federer as the greatest player of all time. Even the very best have to lose occasionally, but it was the manner of Federer's defeat to his nemesis Nadal that made some of them hastily revise their opinion.

Could the "greatest tennis player in the world" really fall apart that easily and be so devoid of imagination and, it has to be said, courage? One could argue that until the Spaniard came along Federer had not been properly tested. Perhaps we were guilty of heaping too much praise upon him too soon - a regular fault of the media - although in fairness it was easily done given the effortless and graceful way he went about racking up win after win, title after title, record after record.

His reputation was built up to such a degree that reaching a slam final was no longer good enough, he had to win it, too. One look at the record books at the number of times the other greats, like Bjorn Borg, Pete Sampras and John McEnroe, lost finals will tell you how ridiculous that is. And if he recovers his poise and confidence and, as is likely, wins his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title in a fortnight's time will he again be hailed as the greatest ever?

But can he be the greatest if there is a contemporary out there who is whipping his backside six times out of seven? One could just imagine how his heart must have sunk when he got news from the Queen's Club of how readily Nadal had taken to the grass. "Oh no, not that surface, too," he must have thought. Wimbledon is almost like sacred ground for Federer, not that he doesn't feel an affinity with Flushing Meadows or Melbourne Park, but SW19 is his domain.

Not that one could see Nadal challenging Federer on his home patch just yet, he probably won't even get far enough to justify his No 2 seeding. But if Nadal can seriously trouble - and beat - Federer on hard courts, it doesn't require that great a leap of faith to believe he could do it at Wimbledon, too, one day. As for this year's Championships, one imagines Federer would like nothing better than to face him in the final and exorcise a few demons in the process.

If he did get to play him, Mats Wilander, for one, wouldn't be over-confident about his chances. "Federer's not the best player ever, by a long shot, yet," said Wilander, speaking as one seven-time slam champion about another. "You face him against the likes of Jimmy Connors and I don't know that he's going to beat Jimmy Connors, for two reasons: sports is about balls and about heart and you don't find too many champions in any sport in the world without heart or balls. He might have them, but against Nadal they shrink to a very small size and it's not once, it's every time."

There is a theory that beautiful shotmaker though he is, the world's No 1 tends to dazzle his opponents into submission rather than ripping their heart out "and squeezing it until all the blood has come out", as the otherwise mild-mannered Sampras once delicately put it. Nadal does that. When his stroke-play deserts him as it did sadly at Roland Garros, Federer doesn't seem to know how to get down and battle as eventually he must against a born fighter like the Spaniard.

Some of Nadal's play may be a bit agricultural at times but one way or another he gets the job done, he wins the war. Federer could be happily playing on his own, it seems sometimes. He's usually in a class of his own.
The Swiss may have won the title in Halle, Germany, last week, as he has done before each of his three Wimbledon successes, but he didn't look quite as relaxed as he usually does there. The first round apart - and even here he was taken to an opening set tie-break by a player ranked 252 in the world - he was forced to go the distance in every round. Against Olivier Rochus in the quarter-finals he had to save five match points.

If nothing else, he got plenty of grass-court practice. But if, by some freak of nature, Federer is not at his best this time - and to be honest he hasn't been all year, even when winning the Australian Open in January - we could have the most open men's singles since 2001, which, in this instance, Tim Henman would happily be reminded of.

The former British No 1, who famously lost to Goran Ivanisevic in a rain-affected semi-final five years ago, has made one of his best starts to the grass-court season in years, after a typically disappointing clay-court one. But for some atrocious line-calling in his semi-final against his old nemesis Lleyton Hewitt he would probably have reached the final of the Stella Artois Championships last Sunday. And had he done so he might well have fancied his chances of beating James Blake, whom he had defeated in their only previous meeting.

Henman regularly talks a better game than he plays these days, but there is some justification for it on this occasion and with some of the pressure off, thanks to the emergence of young Andy Murray and possibly affairs over in Germany, he can have a real crack at it this year, slow courts, slow balls, whatever. He must know if it's not his last chance it's probably his penultimate one. And he also knows that to have any hope of winning, even in a Federer off-year, he must play serve and volley with conviction, as he did for a few blissful moments against Hewitt at Queen's.

Murray's form in the Red Letters Day Open at Nottingham last week was surprisingly well-timed. There was never any doubt that the young man who regards slow hard courts as his best surface could also do well on grass, maybe even better than on the surface on which he was schooled - clay. His first serve, when it's functioning properly, as it was last week, is a real weapon on grass, as is the quality of his returns. He may still be Britain's best chance of success this next fortnight.

However open the men's event may turn out to be it won't be the lottery that the women's has become ever since Serena Williams turned her attention to acting. With Lindsay Davenport absent, too, the only course and distance winners in the field are Serena's sister, Venus, who of course is the defending champion, Maria Sharapova and Martina Hingis. What a story it would be if the Swiss Miss could return to Wimbledon in triumph nine years after her last success there. What odds a Swiss double?

The withdrawal of Russian Nadia Petrova, the form horse on clay, won't make much difference to the outcome. Amelie Mauresmo, the No 1 seed, has done it when it really matters, in Australia this year, and has the game for grass, but could be suffering post-Roland Garros depression.

And Kim Clijsters's chances may depend on her fitness. As ever, fellow Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne seems unprepared for it. "I have to play more aggressively, go forward, serve and volley, I have to work on it," she told The Sunday Telegraph immediately after clinching her third French Open title.

"On clay I can be defensive and still win, on grass no way can you do that." Asked if she would ever consider sacrificing Roland Garros for Wimbledon, she replied: "Never."

In which case it could be just the right opportunity for a Sharapova-type success. And who could be more Sharapova-like than 17-year-old Nicole Vaidisova, the powerful young Czech Republic player who sensationally defeated the home favourite Mauresmo and Venus Williams in Paris and should have sensationally defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova, too, to reach the final.

This could be her chance to make amends. The leggy blonde is definitely the dark horse.

Andre forever
06-25-2006, 10:45 AM
I really hate the thought that he will be trying to play at Wimbledon at anything less than 100%. But apparently that will be the case :sad: It would be difficult enough for him on a grass court, but then to not be 100% healthy is really bad :eek: I really have to admit I wish he wouldn't play because it could make his shoulder worse :scared: And yet another mention of pain in his foot :eek: I'm sorry I don't have a good feeling about this at all :scared:

me too.... but i hope he can do it ....

06-25-2006, 02:20 PM
Rafa's interview is up. :)
Rafael Nadal
Saturday, 24 June, 2006

An Interview with Rafael Nadal, 24 June 2006

Q. Will your English be better because you are in England and this is where the language started?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know for that reason. Maybe because I need to speak a little bit, but maybe I have improved too much, maybe.

Q. How do you feel about coming home to grass now? You have obviously left Paris, fantastic tournament for you, now on grass, how are you feeling about playing on grass?

RAFAEL NADAL: I was playing a very good tournament in Queens. I arrive here on Thursday -- Tuesday. (Inaudible) Well, I improve with the days and I feeling good, practicing good and I am happy with my level.

Q. And the shoulder?

RAFAEL NADAL: The shoulder, it's okay, I don't have a lot of time for operation, but it's okay. I can practice. I can play. And I am going to see, but I am playing without pain.

Q. It was painful at, Queens, though, wasn't it and obviously when you had to stop playing against Hewitt, but you feel in practice, it's good, the shoulder now?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, it's good. I can't force things. I don't want to force a lot, because I need play on Monday, maybe Tuesday.

Q. How important is it for you to become better on grass?

RAFAEL NADAL: It is important for try to do a better player, more complete player, so for that reason and because on grass we have one of the best tournaments in the world, so for that two reasons, I need to improve.

Q. Are you feeling confident after Paris, or is it totally different now that you are here? You come as French Open Champion. Does that make you feel good coming here or is that -- doesn't matter because of the different surface?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, surely it's better if you win the French Open, but here it is different, I am practicing with a lot of motivation. Sure, when the French Open is better for the confidence for play here because you can play with a little bit more calm without a lot of pressure, so that's better. This is a different tournament, this is very important too and Paris is forget now. I want to think just about that; now I want to play here.

Q. I am told that if things go to plan, you might play Andre Agassi in the third round and it might -- if you beat him, that will be his last ever match at Wimbledon. How do you fancy the prospects of that?

RAFAEL NADAL: Florida I won two matches and Agassi too. So four matches. We are going to see now.

Q. Andre has just been sitting where you are; he's just said "This is my last Wimbledon; US Open; then I finish." Obviously you are much younger, can you remember Andre playing here before? Can you say anything about Andre?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't remember when Andre won here in Wimbledon.

Q. Were you five?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Laughs) '92, no? Six (laughter). I don't remember, but I saw him a lot of Finals against Sampras in US Open. I saw here some Finals, I remember too. He's a legend. It is very difficult to do the same like Agassi because he was very good after he go out, no, he was very top player after go out, and after come back and after he stop, come back and after that when he came back -- I think that's very difficult, very tough mentally. That's unbelievable.

Q. One of the great things that he's achieved, one of five or one of four guys who have won all four Slams on the four different surfaces. As someone who is better on some surfaces than others, can you talk about how difficult that must be to achieve that?

RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, it is very difficult to win on all surfaces, but if you improve you can do, but surely, it is very difficult, if you look at the history it is very difficult because I don't know what four, five, so that's -- you need improve a lot of the game and you need to play good. Agassi really played good. You need to serve good. You need to have a very complete game, so that's very, very difficult and just some players, some special players can do that.

Q. Are there things you like better about grass than clay? Are there some things you enjoy more on grass than playing on clay?

RAFAEL NADAL: I enjoy playing on grass. I enjoy winning, so, I won a little bit more on clay than on grass in this moment. I don't know in the future. But now the grass, it is very nice to play. It is special the green, the grass is always nice playing on this surface, so maybe if any day we change and just we use one serve, just one serve, not two service, going to be the nicest surface in the world, no, because it is special, no. But if you play against one big service the match is not nice. If you can play off the baseline it's very, very nice.

Q. Andre played for more than 20 years on the Tour. Can you imagine yourself in 20 years here?

RAFAEL NADAL: Very, very -- I'm beginning at 16, 17, 19, 20, I have four. We are going to see now.

Q. Can you describe Federer for us, his weakness, his strengths.

RAFAEL NADAL: He's the best in the world now, for sure. (Inaudible) I never seen before one player so complete like him, so he's unbelievable. I like a lot his style and he can play unbelievable on all surfaces. It is very difficult and maybe he having bad things.

Q. Do you think after Paris he'd like to play you here in Wimbledon?

RAFAEL NADAL: I hope. It was unbelievable tournament for me.

Q. Have you seen the video of the French Open, the
Final, did you watch the video of the match again?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, certain points.

Q. What chance does Spain have in the World Cup?

RAFAEL NADAL: We have chances. We are playing good football, very fast football.

I like a lot the Spanish team. I enjoy watching the game. Maybe we have chance. We have difficult match in the next against France, sure, it's not the best luck for the first round after the qualifying, but we win the three matches; France won just one and two draws against Swiss. (Inaudible) Yesterday France played better maybe but we are playing very good.

Q. Will you try to watch the match against France?

RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, I hope I am not playing at the same time.

Q. Have you been watching this World Cup; been watching a lot of the games?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Inaudible) Yeah, I saw a lot of matches.

Q. Did you see Argentina against Serbia?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I saw until Thursday because after that I go to the court.


06-25-2006, 04:41 PM
Hey I'm back, finally. ;) Ania, IS he OK or not? He is SAYING only blah blah blah. :shrug: :scared: :unsure: *doesn't know whether to panick or not to panick*
The draw doesn't look too easy but Fed's got it hard. :hug:s to everyone!

Edit: Q. And the shoulder?

RAFAEL NADAL: The shoulder, it's okay, I don't have a lot of time for operation, but it's okay. I can practice. I can play. And I am going to see, but I am playing without pain.
This 'operation' word is just his bad English for 'treatment' or WHAT? :tape: :ignore:

06-25-2006, 05:15 PM
Hey, Maria! How was the holiday? I hope you had a great time. :D

Ok, "to panic or not to panic." It seems that no one knows really. He doesn't have any pain when practising, but goodness knows how the shoulder will react to a real match. :shrug: We'll basically only find out during/after the match, so personally I'm apprehensive.

"Operation" seems to be bad English, because this interview is the first time I've seen any mention of it, and it wasn't picked up by any of the media that wrote their articles yesterday.

The draw is not bad, if only his health allows him to take advantage of it. *fingers crossed*

06-25-2006, 05:35 PM
Yeah Ania. Bogo should be do'able, no? But this home crowd thing AGAIN, poor Rafa. And those British are gonna all support Bogo and be against Rafa. :( :o :scared: :tears:
And thanks for asking, I'm OK, ready for Wimby now. Even if I have to work. :mad: ;) You doing OK? :hug:

06-25-2006, 05:37 PM
:lol: And Rafa should still keep taking English lessons. :lol: :o

06-25-2006, 05:52 PM
well, to me it just sounds as if Rafa would actually need a rest for maybe a couple of weeks to recover his body fully from all the matches, but players who are in good form and are winning a lot just tend to be so ambitious, that they can´t accept, it is better to not play. Coz what can you achieve under these circumstances? win a couple of rounds and then get home with having made the injury worse.
Actually I would say, the players know what they do, they would never risk their health, but there´ve been examples in the past, like Haas, Coria, Safin :smash: :sad: , and they made exactly this mistake.
I certainly cannot judge if these injuries are comparable to what Rafa has, maybe it´s okay to play, what I really hope, but I´m a little worried, as all what he´s saying and showing tells me, this guy just needs a rest :rolleyes:
However, I hope he proofs me wrong, and good luck for him :wavey:

06-26-2006, 02:45 AM
Reuters 25 June 2006 Clip on Wimbledon 2006
Rafa looks like a schoolboy in Nike's Wimbly polo t...

http://today.reuters.com//tv/videoChannel.aspx?storyid=b676d3f8bc80658a1d59c899 80902d1ecf667ab6
Link to download (http://videodownloader.net/get/?url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=qP1r5CNQsi4)

Big guns roll up for Wimbledon
Rough Cut
Jun. 25 - Roger Federer's biggest challengers have arrived in London for Wimbledon.

After failing in his bid to snatch Rafael Nadal's claycourt crown, Roger Federer will try to mimic the Spaniard by breaking a record and then retaining one of his own grand slams this coming fortnight at Wimbledon.

Last month Nadal opened his successful defence of the French Open by beating Guillermo Vilas's record of 53 consecutive wins on clay and Federer will surpass Bjorn Borg's grasscourt streak of 41 wins in a row if he wins his first round match on Monday (June 26).

An air of wild unpredictability hangs over this year's battle for the women's singles title at Wimbledon. Defending champion Venus Williams, seeded seventh is short of both match practice and consistency.

If power is everything, the Russians have it in abundance. Fourth seed Maria Sharapova heads their challenge at the grand slam that is dearest to her heart following her 2004 triumph.

"It is important if I become a better player, more complete player, so for that reason and here on grass we have one of the best tournament in the world, so that are two reasons, that I can improve."

"I feel like I am hitting the ball well at the moment it was hard going in to Paris not a 100 percent physically fit but i felt like ball striking wise I was hitting the ball well. I tried to bring that same mentality in to the grasscourt and I got better with every match, felt a little bit rusty in the first match in the grass, which is to be expected, got better as the week went on, by the end of it I was playing some good tennis out there, so this last week it's been the mater of just keeping the same rhythm going that I was able to do it in Queens and try to keep you confidence out there."

"Well you know I have won it before so I can't think that I can't win second time. You know I love coming back every single year, I look forward to this tournament and once Ill get out on the court, my game will come in to place. I'm looking forward starting, it is the biggest tournament of the year for me."

"Well really to be able to perform at the best, lot of people wouldn't think that I could really handle it any more, the power game, and all this ideas that people had, it was really nice to shove that it is still possible. Maybe i didn't win a Grand Slam yet or didn't get all the way, but I was able to win the tournament which was very nice to do again, and we will see, step by step."

06-26-2006, 12:40 PM
Originally Posted by MariaV
:lol: And Rafa should still keep taking English lessons. :lol: :o

:haha: :haha: :haha:

06-26-2006, 12:55 PM
Originally Posted by NaDALiTa
Henman and Rusedski if they weren't english.....they woudn't be on the list :lol:

I'm British but i totally agree with you. Henman and Rusedski (Murray aswell) haven't got a chance:rolleyes: . I apologise to any fans of the above:angel: , but the 3 of them just haven't got the same charisma or power as Rafa:worship: has, (or say Federer, Safin:worship: , Roddick, for a few more examples). They definitely would not be on the list if they weren't British. I know i should be defending my fellow countrymen, but i'm sorry, they're just not exciting to watch. In fact, completly the opposite.

06-26-2006, 07:48 PM
Court 1 1.00 pm Start

1 Gentlemen's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Robin Soderling (SWE) vs Tim Henman (GBR)

2 Ladies' Singles - 1st Rnd.
Kim Clijsters (BEL)[2] vs Vera Zvonareva (RUS) T/F 5-4

3 Gentlemen's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Alex Bogdanovic (GBR) vs Rafael Nadal (ESP)[2]

06-26-2006, 10:56 PM
Thanks, Maria. Somehow I doubt Rafa's match is going to be shown here. :(

06-27-2006, 06:01 AM
Another article by Andy Murray's mom on the behind the scenes in the players' lounge..

The Telegraph

Rush for the lounge as covers come on
By Judy Murray
(Filed: 27/06/2006)

It was a nightmare. Rain on the first day at Wimbledon. You just didn't need it. Picture 256 singles competitors plus the doubles specialists and add their coaches, fitness trainers, psychologists, agents and assorted family and friends trying to find refuge in the tournament building. It was like being on the Tube in rush hour.

Most made for the players' lounge with its 20 internet stations and sofa seating for around 60. Not surprisingly there were as many people sitting on the floor as there were bums on seats and another 20 or so were standing around the sole television set that was showing the last-16 World Cup match between Australia and Italy.

A quick scan around the internet stations showed that most of the players were checking results or rankings on the ATP or WTA websites, a couple were looking at the statistics for the few matches that had had some play and others were checking e-mails or updating blogs on their own websites. Very popular these blogs. It is a great way for the players to communicate directly with their fans. I'm told that Rafael Nadal's daily blog during the French Open fortnight took over two million hits. More hits, more potential sponsors, more money.

The internet appears to have taken over from the more traditional forms of entertainment. Nobody was reading a newspaper or magazine and not one game of cards or backgammon was in progress.

Of course, this could have been going on somewhere more comfortable. It was pretty cramped and stuffy in the players' lounge, which could explain why several of those lucky enough to have found a seat had fallen asleep.

Others were sending text messages or chatting on their mobile telephones, listening to music or were being harassed by the students who form part of the Wimbledon research team to conduct surveys on their choice of accommodation and eating habits.

I'm not sure how accurate the findings will be since most of the foreign players were struggling to understand the questions. I wonder if they were asked their opinions on the English weather?

Those players scheduled for the third or fourth match on their court were just waiting for the next announcement on the "unsettled weather" before packing up and heading home whereas those involved in the unfinished matches had to hang on just in case there was a chance of any more play. If there is less than an hour's play, tickets have to be refunded, so the tournament organisers will wait to the bitter end to try to fit in some action. Better for the tournament but very tough on the players.

Rain delays are a real test of mental strength. Players whose matches are interrupted were unlikely to have been found in the players' lounge yesterday - better to be in the locker room or the open-air section of the players' restaurant talking strategy with their coach or loading up on carbohydrates. It is impossible to know if the match will be resumed in half an hour or five hours so it helps to have an experienced coach in your corner who can keep the player focused and away from distractions as well as advising on what and when to eat, the importance of keeping hydrated and the best place to hang out.

The latter is probably a matter of choice. Some players prefer to have company as this helps them to relax while others opt for the peace and quiet of the locker room, their own company and probably an iPod.

Half an hour before the match is due to resume, players are likely to have a final briefing with their coach to refocus on the game plan before heading to the locker room or gym for a physical warm-up. That way the mind and the body are ready for the challenge of the match. Again.


06-27-2006, 06:04 AM
Excerpts From The Telegraph

Nadal right at home
By Sarah Edworthy
(Filed: 27/06/2006)

Rafael Nadal, the only man who has beaten Roger Federer this year, has signalled his intent to justify his No 2 seeding here. "Dirtballers", or clay-court specialists, rarely bank on surviving until the second week of play on grass. Indeed, Rafa has never progressed further than the third round.

But this year the 2005 and 2006 French Open champion has eschewed staying in a hotel on a daily basis (and suffering English food, which he hates) and rented a house close to the club with fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

"It is more expensive, but they love being able to walk to the house, especially when rain interrupts play," a Nadal camp insider said.

"Rafa has brought his girlfriend, Xisca, for the first time, and Feli has brought his girlfriend, Maria-Jose, a former Miss Spain. They're very relaxed."

06-27-2006, 06:20 AM
Thanks, Maria. Somehow I doubt Rafa's match is going to be shown here. :(
You're welcome. :) :hug: I'll report if I get any coverage. At least the weather should be better today. :)

06-27-2006, 07:29 PM
Congrats to Rafa on his win :) I'm sorry I didn't write down the score, but I thought someone would have already posted it.

06-27-2006, 07:29 PM
Phew. Rafa won 6-4, 7-6 (3), 6-4. :yeah:

From watching the scoreboard :rolleyes: it looked like he struggled on his serve, at least in comparison to Bogdanovic. Got broken when serving for the second set :o.

If anyone has seen it, I would appreciate any comments.

06-27-2006, 07:31 PM
Hey hey! :wavey: It wasn't easy, Rafa took his time again - 2 h 31 min. :lol: 6-4 7-6 (3) 6-4.
I saw the last set, some entertaining tennis, longer rallies. None of the guys serve & volleyed. :lol: But Rafa finishing points at the net was pretty good. :)
25 UEs for Rafa doesn't look good though.
Here the stats:

Bogdanovic (GBR) Nadal (ESP)
1st Serve % 82 of 111 = 74 % 79 of 108 = 73 %
Aces 1 3
Double Faults 0 3
Unforced Errors 29 25
Winning % on 1st Serve 58 of 82 = 71 % 60 of 79 = 76 %
Winning % on 2nd Serve 12 of 29 = 41 % 14 of 29 = 48 %
Winners (Including Service) 22 36
Receiving Points Won 34 of 108 = 31 % 41 of 111 = 37 %
Break Point Conversions 1 of 5 = 20 % 3 of 9 = 33 %
Net Approaches 17 of 28 = 61 % 19 of 25 = 76 %
Total Points Won 104 115
Fastest Serve 126 MPH 121 MPH
Average 1st Serve Speed 108 MPH 110 MPH
Average 2nd Serve Speed 90 MPH 88 MPH

Now I'm off watching football. :wavey:

06-27-2006, 07:33 PM
Thanks, Maria!

Spain are 1-0 against France. :D

Edit: Not anymore, 1-1. :o

06-27-2006, 07:36 PM
Phew. Rafa won 6-4, 7-6 (3), 6-4. :yeah:

From watching the scoreboard :rolleyes: it looked like he struggled on his serve, at least in comparison to Bogdanovic. Got broken when serving for the second set :o.

If anyone has seen it, I would appreciate any comments.
Yeah I only heard he got broken. Well, Bogo had BPs on Rafa's serve in the last set too (3 I think) but Rafa fought them off serving well. And then took Bogo's serve to finish the match. :D That's what makes the difference, Ania! ;)
Norm Chryst was umpiring btw.

06-27-2006, 09:22 PM
From ESPN:
Updated: June 27, 2006, 4:49 PM ET

Like Federer on clay, can Nadal win on grass?

By Greg Garber

WIMBLEDON, England -- There was a moment, however fleeting, that found British wild card Alex Bogdanovic trying to insinuate himself into his Tuesday match with Rafael Nadal.

Bogdanovic lost the first set, but pressing in the second-set tiebreaker, he was at 2-all and seemed to have a notion of drawing even. Going for too much, he missed a loopy forehand wide. On the next point, Nadal demonstrated why -- at the still-fresh age of 20 -- he already has won two Grand Slams.

Sensing a marginal opening, he charged to net and knocked off a backhand volley for a winner. Nadal won the tiebreaker and the match, 6-4, 7-6 (3), 6-4. Sixteen days after his triumph on the red clay at Roland Garros, Nadal already has the look of a young master on grass.

After disposing of Roger Federer in the French Open final, Nadal's clay win streak stands at 60. On grass, the streak is now one.

Lost in the wake of Andre Agassi's sentimental journey and Federer's bid to win four straight Wimbledon titles is Nadal's modest quest: To win the French Open and Wimbledon back to back.

It is a rare, but not impossible, double. Twenty-six years ago, Bjorn Borg followed his victory at the Roland Garros with a win at Wimbledon. No one has done it since.

Nadal has already proven he can win on hardcourts -- he defeated Agassi in last year's Montreal final -- but grass is an entirely different beast. Exhausted from seven grueling matches in Paris, Nadal nevertheless crossed the English Channel and played a credible tournament at Queen's Club. Nadal reached the quarterfinals, beating Mardy Fish and Fernando Verdasco, before retiring against Lleyton Hewitt with a shoulder injury.

Can he win on grass? His serve has gotten stronger, but it is not a weapon on the order of Andy Roddick's or Mario Ancic's offerings. Based on his match with Bogdanovic, Nadal is making an effort to adapt the peerless game that won in Paris. He has the arrogance to think it is possible. And that is impressive.

For those of you scoring at home, Federer and Nadal have won the last five Grand Slam singles titles, and it's only Federer 3, Nadal 2.

No one is predicting that Nadal, the controversial No. 2 seed over Andy Roddick, is going to meet the No. 1-seeded Federer. But, at this stage, it can't be ruled out as a possibility. Next up is American Robert Kendrick. The third-round opponent? Some guy named Agassi.

"It takes a lot to win out here," said Agassi, himself a first-round winner on Tuesday. "Especially with the surface you've got the different styles of player with Roger sort of doing everything. Then you've got a guy like Andy [Roddick] with a big serve. You've got guys like Lleyton [Hewitt] who can really hit the ball low, take the ball early, move so well.

"[Nadal will] have his hands full trying to accomplish that, no question. You can say on paper it's not ideal for him. We've also seen the way he competes. We've seen what I never thought would be broken in all sorts of matches on clay, the kind of strength that takes mentally and in your heart -- it's incredible.

"If there's somebody that can do it, it can be him."

Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

06-27-2006, 10:13 PM
well...rafa won but spain lost.. i really wanted them to win :(

06-28-2006, 03:33 AM
The Guardian

Nadal flashes past Bogdanovic but jury still out on Spain gain

Robert Kitson
Wednesday June 28, 2006

Mention 1966 to a Spaniard and they will associate it with tennis, not football. Never mind England's World Cup victory, it is also 40 years since Spain last claimed the Wimbledon men's singles title and until clay courts are installed at the All England Club the odds will be against a repeat. Unless, of course, someone special emerges. Step forward Rafael Nadal, a player with all the tools, if he can somehow overcome his surface tensions.

At just 20, Nadal was launching his attempt last night to be the first man to win Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year since Bjorn Borg in 1980. Few saw Borg coming before the impassive Swede began his five-year winning streak in SW19 in 1976. It was much the same with Boris Becker. Nadal, the only opponent to spoil Roger Federer's progress this year, boasts greater warrior tendencies - and bigger muscles - than even those illustrious predecessors. If anyone can emulate Manuel Santana, still the only Spanish man to win the title and a guest here yesterday, it will surely be Nadal.

On the evidence of his opening match against Britain's Alex Bogdanovic it will not be a freewheeling blitz. Beforehand the talk was of Nadal's sore left shoulder that forced his withdrawal at Queen's Club. Inconvenienced or not, he never threatened to wrap up victory in time to watch Spain kick-off against France in Hanover. Poor Bogdanovic, ranked 133 places lower, was not so much outplayed as worn down 6-4, 7-6, 6-4 in fading light.

Like his uncle Miguel, Spain's centre-half in the 2002 World Cup, "Rafa" is a big unit. He is also versatile - he writes right-handed but plays with his left - and, unusually, he is not easily distracted.

"I have never played for money . . . I play because I love to win. I'm not interested in buying things and you won't ever see me driving a Ferrari. I would like to meet a girl with her own career who doesn't want to change her life for mine."

Perhaps there is something in the water in Mallorca. If not, his family deserve all the credit. His uncle Toni, who gave him his first racket at the age of four and still coaches him, warned his young nephew that he would cease to instruct him if he threw his racket on court. The closest he comes to a rebellious streak are his trademark sleeveless shirts.

He has not progressed beyond the third round here in two previous attempts. His strength is obvious, his grass-court instincts less so. As Martina Hingis observed yesterday -"You've got to bend your knees or you're nowhere" - natural clay-courters have to adapt or die.

As Bogdanovic found, there is no doubting Nadal's stamina. While the British No4 played well enough and broke his opponent's serve to give himself a sniff in the second set, too many tracer bullets whizzed past him down the line. As he took only six games off Federer in the first round two years ago, at least this was progress of a sort.

For Nadal, a third-round meeting with Andre Agassi remains on the cards. Meanwhile, his seeded compatriots Juan Carlos Ferrero and Tommy Robredo also progressed. Maybe a men's champion from Spain is closer than we think.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006


06-28-2006, 04:00 AM
great stuff from bogdanovich, I must say. But VAMOS RAFA! Has anyone else noticed how suddenly the (non-spanish) media has started talking about Nadal as "handsome", "heartthrob" etc? That was definitely not the case last year in the U.S.

06-28-2006, 07:59 AM
Match Reports
Nadal Overcomes Bogdanovic Challenge

Tuesday, 27 June, 2006

Rafael Nadal, the King of Clay with a record 60 consecutive wins on the ‘red dirt’, is certainly feeling his way on the grass of SW19. Nevertheless he had to overcome some slippery moments to record a satisfactory straight sets victory in his opening match at this year’s Wimbledon.

For the flamboyant Rafael Nadal, with his pirate trousers, headband and ‘muscle’ top, this year’s visit to The Championships is his third as a senior. He made his debut in 2003, sat out 2004 with a stress fracture to his left ankle and returned again last year.

However Rafa, as he is affectionately known, is no stranger to Wimbledon having not only reached the semi-finals of Junior Wimbledon (2002) but the third and second round of the main draw in 2003 and 2005 respectively. A modest record for the man ranked second in the world behind the defending champion Roger Federer.

It is only in the last 12 months that the Spanish 20-year-old has established himself firmly on the world circuit and as such, appears at this year’s Championships seeded two. While his expectations may not be high, he is the only player to have beaten Roger Federer this year, albeit not on grass.

So Nadal could not have asked for an easier introduction into this year’s Championships when he saw he had drawn the British No.4, Alex Bogdanovic, to open his challenge. Ranked 135 by the ATP and appearing at Wimbledon for a fifth time on a wild card, the prospects of the Briton causing an upset looked very slim.

The two left-handed protagonists exchanged shots predominantly from the baseline and, for much of the first set, the 22-year-old Bogdanovic held his own only to suddenly find himself being out-hit as he dropped his serve for the first time to trail 4-5. A forehand pass wrong-footing the Brit then sealed the opening set in favour of the Spaniard.

An early break in the second set put Nadal in a strong position, but to Bogdanovic’s credit, he toiled away to level and force a tie-break. There Nadal needed just seven minutes to go ahead two sets to love.

Bogdanovic, who has never progressed past the opening round at Wimbledon having had the misfortune of meeting one of the top two seeds twice in three years, continued to battle. Though in many ways he was outclassed, he did himself plenty of credit with his tenacity and effort. He remains a talented player who has yet to reach his potential and on this showing, could well progress up the rankings over the coming months.

The records will now show that Nadal beat Bogdanovic 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 in an entertaining match, the Briton having detained him on court for two hours and 31 minutes.

Written by Henry Wancke

06-28-2006, 07:28 PM
Centre Court 1.00 pm Start

1 Gentlemen's Singles - 2nd Rnd.
Robert Kendrick (USA) vs Rafael Nadal (ESP)[2]

I NEED to get home for the match but I'm not sure if I can. :( :mad: OK, buena suerte cariño! :bounce: :bigclap:

06-28-2006, 07:38 PM
First match on Centre Court! Yes! There's a chance I'm going to see it then. :D




06-28-2006, 11:24 PM
:lol: Mallorn those smilies are so funny :p

GOO Rafa tomorrow!! :dance:

06-29-2006, 05:44 AM
Vamos Rafa :)

06-29-2006, 08:00 AM
Vamoosss Rafa

06-29-2006, 03:57 PM
OMG OMG!!!!!!!! Rafa won!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D 6-7 (4) 3-6 7-6 (2) 7-5 6-4!! :woohoo: :woohoo:
Ania, did you see any of it?

06-29-2006, 03:59 PM
Let's see the stats:

Kendrick (USA) Nadal (ESP)
1st Serve % 109 of 171 = 64 % 115 of 152 = 76 %
Aces 28 7
Double Faults 8 3
Unforced Errors 35 17
Winning % on 1st Serve 90 of 109 = 83 % 93 of 115 = 81 %
Winning % on 2nd Serve 30 of 62 = 48 % 24 of 37 = 65 %
Winners (Including Service) 73 49
Receiving Points Won 35 of 152 = 23 % 51 of 171 = 30 %
Break Point Conversions 1 of 2 = 50 % 2 of 9 = 22 %
Net Approaches 51 of 94 = 54 % 29 of 35 = 83 %
Total Points Won 155 168
Fastest Serve 132 MPH 126 MPH
Average 1st Serve Speed 120 MPH 114 MPH
Average 2nd Serve Speed 110 MPH 94 MPH

06-29-2006, 04:02 PM
BP conversion not good again. :( But net approaches seem pretty decent. :)
It will be an awesome match against Agassi. :D I don't expect him to win but I just wanna see this match. :) 3rd rd is OK for Rafa this time, no? I mean it's not like anyone is expecting him to challenge Fed in the final. :lol: The way Fed demolished Tiger Tim yesterday - :tape: :tape: :tape:

06-29-2006, 04:13 PM
OMG OMG!!!!!!!! Rafa won!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D 6-7 (4) 3-6 7-6 (2) 7-5 6-4!! :woohoo: :woohoo:
Ania, did you see any of it?
Yes, all except the 3rd and 4th games of the first set when they were showing a Polish WTA player finish her match from yesterday. :rolleyes: Thank god she won rather quickly. ;)

Every time I have some work to do Rafa goes and lands himself in a five setter/longest fourth setter in history and I can't get any work done! :fiery:

I forgive him though because he's in the next round! :hug:

06-29-2006, 04:17 PM
:bowdown: oooh thank you sooo much for winning!!!! :bowdown:

Well done little man :hug: I'm happy he plays Agassi next!!! Nice for Rafa and nice for Andre :D

06-29-2006, 04:56 PM
that... was a fun match! my heart died a little but still ;)

well done rafa :yeah: good luck against Andre :)

06-29-2006, 05:14 PM
that... was a fun match! my heart died a little but still ;)

well done rafa :yeah: good luck against Andre :)
Yes, it wasn a very entertaining match.
I must say as much as i like Rafa i want Andre to beat him and advance to the next round.

06-29-2006, 05:54 PM
:lol: Well we all know that Rafa still has some work to do on his grass court game, but we also know that Rafa is a fighter. So I'm glad he fought his way to a win today :) Vamos Rafa against Andre :)

06-29-2006, 09:39 PM
Rafa's interview is already up. :D :D :D
R. Nadal Interview - Day 4
Thursday, 29 June, 2006

Q. That was a very tough match. What happened out there? How would you describe it?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, was very tough, no? He play a very good match, very complete match, no? When I had chances in 15-30, 0-30, so every time he had a very good point, very good serves and volleys. So I had my chance in the first set in the 3-0 in the tiebreak, and 4-1 I had one double fault. So that's bad, no? But after I play good all match, no? I was playing very well. I play with very good attitude all time because was very tough, no? So I am very happy for the victory.

Q. You've come back from two sets down before, but to come back on grass, what does this mean to you?

RAFAEL NADAL: Was tough, no, because he's serving unbelievable. He was serving unbelievable. So I was think I can't do more mistakes, no? So I am trying put the match under pression for him, have a chance I'm put my best attitude. So I have I arrive to the tiebreak, and I play very good tiebreak, no, after.

Q. What I mean is to come back like this on a surface that has been least favorable for you, and to come back and win on grass, what kind of a step forward is this for you?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know, but was very important and I am very happy, no?

Q. What are your thoughts on playing Andre Agassi in the next round?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, is exciting match, no? Is nice match for me. So is a nice match for everybody, no? So I gonna enjoy and prepare good the match, no? Is tough.

Q. What is the biggest challenge to you in his style of play, and playing him on grass?

RAFAEL NADAL: Biggest challenge? No, I know he won here. He has a very good level here. But I am in third round, too, no? I am playing good. This match is gonna be positive maybe. So we gonna see, no? I know I need play my best tennis for win, but I gonna try that, no?

Q. Many years later, after your tennis career, you can be a great linesman. You show 'out' many times. It was a example of pressure to Kendrick and this match? Many times outside, he shot 'out'. The ball was out. It was an example of pressure of the match?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I don't know what's happening, I know, with the lines. I don't know what's happening in the last months, last tournaments with the referees, no? Is strange because every time put me a lot of pression with the time. Today, he put me a warning for time when I am putting the ball for serve. After, he say me, You can't say wait a second for serve. That's unbelievable, no? Because if the if Kendrick is serving when I am not prepared, I am prepared. Not I am doing the towel, no. When I am in the match here and watching down (standing up), he can serve. I watch him, when he serving, I said, Wait, one minute, one second. The referee say me, You can't do that. That's a new rule, maybe. I don't know, is just for me, no? I don't know. After Rome, when Federer say you have coaching and when Ljubicic say the time on Roland Garros, I don't know if is for that reason, no? But maybe the referees need looks more, no, because is not my fault sometimes. So that's not nice for me.

Q. The crowd were siding with Kendrick today. We could hear them cheering. When you scored, they would moan. When Agassi comes out, he's such a hero here, will back him as well. Does it bother you when the crowd are against you, if you like?

RAFAEL NADAL: I understand perfect, no, so is his last Wimbledon. I hope I gonna have more (smiling). So is normal, no? But I know that and is better if you know, no?

Q. Andy Roddick yesterday told us that Andre Agassi changed the way of playing tennis a bit, that he was the first guy who really swung at the return. In what way did he influence your game specifically?


Q. Andre Agassi, yes.

RAFAEL NADAL: I saw him lot of times always. I saw him lot of times when I was kid in the TV, but I never have idol, no. I only watch me.

Q. After you fell behind two sets, were you nervous at all or worried?


Q. Concerned?

RAFAEL NADAL: Ah, yeah, sure, sure. You are losing 7-6, 6-3, and he is playing very good. I am playing well, but I am losing. Is not for to stay very happy, no?

Q. How frustrating is it to come from Paris where you can master Roger Federer, then come to grass where you can lose two sets to somebody rated 276?

RAFAEL NADAL: But that's different sport, no? That's another surface. That's different.
So, yeah, every match is very difficult. And if you find any player when he is serving very well, gonna be very tough match, no? Today, was that. So I am very happy for this victory. Sometimes is more important win some matches here than (speaking Spanish) winning here.


Q. Coming back from two sets down on grass, how much will today's match help you for the rest of the tournament?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. I feel if I gonna lose in the next round, not helping me a lot, no?
But, sure, is important have a lot of hours on grass, no, for my improve. So I always say I put me a goal, no, a special goal is in the next two, three, four years have a chance for play a very good tournament here. I don't know if this year I gonna play this tournament, but my goal is in the three, four years have to be prepared, no, for this tournament. So if I play more matches here, if I play more hours on this surface, I play more matches, tough matches against big servers, so that's important for my improve, no?

Q. Your belief mentally is to know you can do that on grass, is that good?
RAFAEL NADAL: That's very important, no? Is very important believe you can play good, no?

Q. I noticed after, when you were two sets down, you started to serve and volley. Do you feel that's something that you need to practice more? Is that a way forward on grass, to serve and volley for you?

RAFAEL NADAL: The serve and volley?

Q. Yes.

RAFAEL NADAL: Hewitt was winning without serve and volley. Federer is not always come to the red. Nalbandian is playing very good and not go to the red net, sorry.

Q. Today you won some good points going to net.


Q. Today you went to the net.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah. I am playing well in the net, no? I improve my volley, so that's important because sometimes I can go to the net, no? But I am young, no, I need improve. So is difficult have a serve and volley. But you never know, no, if I improve a lot the serve.

Q. You take three balls, sometimes four.

RAFAEL NADAL: No, just three. Always.

Q. Just three when you serve. What's the reason? Is it just routine? How do you make the choice?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, because sometimes the ball, one ball is like this, one ball is like this.

Q. And you choose which one?

RAFAEL NADAL: First serve, the smallest.


Evil Fed and Ljubo getting to him. :( :tears: :hug:

06-29-2006, 09:52 PM
Nadal Fights Back to Avoid Upset
Thursday, 29 June, 2006

French Open champion Rafael Nadal was taken the five-set distance by little-known qualifier Robert Kendrick in the first classic contest of the 2006 Championships.

The 26-year-old American, ranked 235 places below the world number two, threatened not only to beat the Spaniard but to hammer him out of the second round in straight sets, before Nadal dug deep to come through 6-7 (4-7), 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5, 6-4 in three hours and 41 minutes.

Kendrick defied logic for most of the match. Only last week he was hitting his way through the windswept conditions at the qualifying event at Roehampton. Today, he used his debut in one of the great theatres of the game to humble one of its fastest rising stars over the first two sets. And even after Nadal had fought back to take the third set, the American went within two points of winning the contest at 5-4 in the fourth set.

Kendrick began the match with the boldest of game plans in that he opted for a serve-and-volley approach, a tactic that some had said would no longer pay dividends on Wimbledon's grass. But Kendrick disproved that theory, serving a regular flow of aces to keep Nadal downbeat.

Only one break point was earned in the first set, against Kendrick, and the match went to a tie-break, in which Kendrick recovered from conceding a mini-break and won six points in a row to seal the set.

If there was an element of surprise in the Californian's performance this far, that was soon dispelled when he broke serve at the start of the second set for a 2-0 lead and his serve was never sufficiently challenged in the rest of the set.

Nadal must have been wondering if the storm on the other side of the net was ever going to subside. Kendrick saved a break point in his first service game of the third set and kept the aces flowing as the prospect of a straight sets win began to beckon.

Nadal held on, stabilising his game more and more. At 6-5 against service, Nadal had two set points but Kendrick saved them with an ace and a backhand volley winner down the line. Going into the tie-break Kendrick was still marginally in control but Nadal swept to a 5-1 lead, dropped a point, and then took the next two points on serve to prise himself back into the match.

In the fourth set Kendrick requested the trainer on court after the seventh game when he appeared to be asking for some salt. He also signalled for the crowd to give him some emotive support - and they did. It meant that Nadal had to use all of his skill to hold at 5-5 after being within two points of losing the match. Nadal broke in the next game when Kendrick double faulted for the sixth time and served out for the set to love.

In the final set a tiring Kendrick was broken at love in the fourth game when he double faulted and at last Nadal put some space between him and his opponent to wrap up an emotional victory.

Written by Barry Newcombe

06-29-2006, 09:54 PM
Nadal Learns From Nail-biter
Thursday, 29 June, 2006

Rafael Nadal’s nerve-jangling second round encounter with qualifier Robert Kendrik was the Spaniard’s second match on grass since he was forced to retire with a shoulder injury in the quarter-finals of the Stella Artois Championships at Queen’s.

The clay court specialist and French Open champion finds the grass at Wimbledon a difficult surface. “It’s a different sport on another surface. Every match is very difficult.”

This was evident today, when second seed Nadal was two sets down to Kendrik, ranked 276 in the world.

“He was playing very well. I was playing well, but I was losing.

“My goal in the next three, four years is to play a good tournament here. I don’t know if it’s going to happen this year. But tough matches against big servers are good for my improvement, no?”

Despite his five-set struggle today, Nadal feels confident going into his third round match against sentimental favourite Andre Agassi.

“It’s a nice match for everybody. I’m going to enjoy it and prepare well for the match. I know I need to play my best tennis to win, and I’m going to try.”

Vanquished opponent Kendrick confirms that Nadal's confidence is not misplaced.

"Do I give him a chance? Of course. He's Rafael Nadal. He's full of fight."

Written by Eileen O'Hely


06-29-2006, 10:43 PM
Wimbledon-Stop picking on me, says Nadal
Thu Jun 29, 2006 6:58 PM BST

By Bill Barclay

LONDON, June 29 (Reuters) - Rafael Nadal believes umpires are picking on him because of criticism by opponents over the time he takes between points while serving.

The Spanish second seed was upset after being given a time warning for slow play during his five-set win over American qualifier Robert Kendrick in the Wimbledon second round on Thursday.

"I don't know what's happened in recent months and tournaments with the umpires," Nadal told a news conference.

"It's strange because every time I feel under a lot of pressure over time. Today he gave me a time warning when I was bouncing the ball to serve.

"Later he told me I couldn't say 'Wait a second' (when receiving serve). That's unbelievable, no? That's a new rule, maybe. I don't know, maybe it's just for me."

Nadal was warned for slow play several times during his successful French Open defence earlier this month.

His semi-final opponent at Roland Garros, Croatian Ivan Ljubicic, described the amount of time Nadal was taking as "ridiculous" and called on umpires to take firmer action. The Mallorcan was also criticised by world number one Roger Federer at May's Rome Masters after the Swiss claimed Nadal was receiving coaching from the sidelines.

"I don't know if it's because in Rome Federer said I had coaching and Ljubicic talked about the time at Roland Garros," said Nadal.

"But maybe the umpires need to look more closely because it is not my fault sometimes. It's not nice for me."


06-29-2006, 10:55 PM
Thanks Maria. :hug:

I'm afraid all those controversies are robbing Rafa of his joy of playing. :(

06-29-2006, 11:10 PM
I hope he doesn't take it all too close to heart. He has adjusted pretty well already so hopefully he can maintain his positive mindset. :D I didn't see the match today but I doubt he's taking too long really, even if it's a few seconds over 20 sometimes I don't see the problem. :shrug:
OK, I'm trying to get some sleep now. *deep sigh, mega sigh, uber sigh ;)*
ttyl :wavey:

06-30-2006, 02:43 AM

http://img523.imageshack.us/img523/7406/57418781818ui.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
Rafael Nadal survived vs. American qualifier Robert Kendrick on Thursday to advance at Wimbledon. But Matthew Cronin senses the young Spaniard is a bit down after listening to him answer more questions about his alleged lack of sportsmanship. That's not good with Andre Agassi up next.

More sportsmanship questions for Nadal
Matthew Cronin / tennisreporters.net
Posted: 1 hour ago

WIMBLEDON, England - About an hour after his heroic 6-7 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (2), 7-5, 6-4 win Thursday in the second round at Wimbledon over the inspired American journeyman Robert Kendrick, Rafael Nadal's wide smile had disappeared.

The Spaniard is angry because he feels that he has a target on his back, placed there by a few fellow players, officials and administrators.

He's not sure who is entirely responsible for why chair umpires are all over him for taking too much time between points, but he's stressed out about it and feel it's completely unfair.

"In February and March, when I wasn't doing that well, no one was saying anything about it," said the Spaniard, who is 39-4 this year. But since I started playing well, everything's changed and I haven't changed anything. It's like it's become a problem with my personality and all of a sudden I'm causing all these problems."

Nadal fought very hard to subdue Kendrick, who served and volleyed like he never had before and was just two points from the match in the third set. On a surface that he is unfamiliar with (one that doesn't allow him to extend points), the 20-year-old Spaniard was often left struggling.

But he never put his head down, stayed mentally solid, began to serve better and found his passing game. Kendrick looked like the better player on the day, but the flashier man doesn't always come through, especially against a two-time Grand Slam champion.

But Nadal's super-charged celebration after the tremendous comeback was short-lived.

Sportsmanship questions persist

He was very upset that he received a warning in the third set for taking too much time and was irked that the umpire overruled two of his balls that landed close to the line in the final game.

Later, he threw out a mini-conspiracy theory and named a few names, saying the campaign against him could have started two weeks before the French Open after the Rome final, when Roger Federer accused Nadal's uncle, Tony, of coaching him from the stands.

He said the conspiracy grew worse in the Roland Garros semifinals, when the chair umpire told Nadal's agent, Carlos Costa, that if he didn't stop yelling toward Nadal (the Spaniard said Costa was only yelling "Vamos, Rafa!") he would give Nadal a coaching warning.

"I heard Ljubicic's coach yelling to him the whole match, and the chair umpire didn't say anything to him," Nadal said.

Then, a week later in Queens, he was stunned when an official approached him the day after his match against Fernando Verdasco, and asked him to hurry up play in his next match.

"I know I have my faults, Nadal said. "But other players do things they could be talked to about. The chair umpires need to have more of their own personalities and make their own decisions, rather than listening to what someone is telling them about me. They need to watch me and see what is really happening."

Against Kendrick, Nadal felt the umpire was pushing him too hard, even though he has specific routines before he starts points.

"Today, I was told I needed to change how I returned serve, that I needed to bend down faster," he said. "It puts me under a lot of pressure. Kendrick is serving when I am not prepared, but that's supposed to be OK. I asked, 'Wait one second? The referee said to me, 'You can't do that.' That's a new rule, maybe.'"

Last year, after he won his first French Open, Nadal was still a happy go-lucky teen who wasn't expecting to win every time on court.

But now that the world No. 2 has beaten top ranked Roger Federer six out of seven times and looks like a surefire No.1 in the future, he's become a slightly more serious man with a lot of weight of his shoulders.

No athlete wants to be called unsportsmanlike, and that's what Nadal believes is happening to him.

Unquestionably, he does take a lot of time in between points and admits that, but he thinks he is playing fair and doesn't want to be painted as a guy who is looking to bend the rules.

"It's not very nice for me," he said. "It's like I'm someone with a problem."

An edge for Agassi?

This crack in Nadal's mental armor may just give Andre Agassi the opening he needs when the two meet on Saturday. Nadal won their only other prior meeting, in the final of Montreal last summer, but a turf battle between the soon-to-retire, 36-year-old legend and the grass court greenhorn will be an entirely different matter.

Nadal has let it be known that this is the big trophy he wants to hold up next and that he wants to shed himself of the reputation of being just another excellent dirtballer who can't transition to the grass.

But his ball doesn't get up into foes' grills as high on grass, which should give Agassi a much better chance to dictate play and end points quicker.

"He's very confident, (a) great competitor," said Agassi, the 1992 Wimbledon champion. "Very talented and fit. So it's gonna be a hard match."

Nadal said the match will be pretty for the people, matching the game's most popular player ever against its new marquee attraction

Agassi must take Nadal's legs away from him.

"He's always playing with high margins because he can cover so much," Agassi said.

"He's aggressive with considerable margin because he doesn't have to end the point. If you get one away, he's gonna track it down. If you come in, he's gonna get it down knowing that he's gonna cover your first volley. His movement is probably his greatest asset. And his mind, his concentration, his determination. (Those are) big weapons, too."

Nadal watched Agassi growing up, so he won't underestimate him. But he needs to put the conspiracy theories aside because, although he does have an incredible ability to maintain his focus, his nerves are currently a little frayed.

He doesn't want to leave England as the two-time French Open champion who Agassi faced down in his last Wimbledon.

"This is his last Wimbledon," Nadal said, finally cracking a smile. "But I hope I'm going to have more matches. That's normal, no?"


06-30-2006, 02:50 AM
Nadal calls on desire in different ball game
The Times
30 June 2006
By Julian Muscat

CENTRE Court galleries weaned on Pete Sampras and Goran Ivanisevic were served up something quite different yesterday. Enter Rafael Nadal, baseliner par excellence and warrior without peer. The French Open champion stared defeat in the face and promptly stared it down, in the process enthralling a crowd that had unashamedly embraced Robert Kendrick, his obdurate and talented opponent.

This was a compelling tussle, with Kendrick, an American journeyman, playing more than a supporting role. It looked ominous for Nadal when Kendrick’s cocktail of thumping serves, intuitive volleys and booming ground strokes secured him a two-set lead. But British fans as yet unexposed to Nadal’s insatiable desire were to glean exactly what makes the man as formidable as a Majorcan mountain.

Even then, it required an infinitessimal drop in Kendrick’s exemplary level before Nadal could impose himself. The qualifier with a world ranking of 237 played sublime tennis, exposing Nadal’s inexperience on grass to the point where he stood two points from victory. It was as close as he would get. As Andre Agassi, who would play the winner, noted wryly at the time: “He has to get over the finish line, which is probably still a mile away.”

It was not for the want of trying. At 5-4 and 30-30 in the fourth set, Kendrick actually thought he had reached match point when a forehand drive from Nadal seemed to elude the baseline. Kendrick appealed, the crowd booed; even Nadal looked sheepish. But television replays would prove the umpire correct, and from there, Nadal never looked back. In breaking Kendrick’s serve for the first time in the next game, he effectively delivered the last rites.

If Nadal’s leviathan proportions grate with the purists, it is hard to deny his raw energy. His biceps bulge out of a sleeveless top but there is grace in the way he covers the court. He whips his forehand with the action of an overzealous headmaster. And there is no finer exponent of acute angles than the man who has won a record 60 consecutive matches on clay.

However, Nadal’s problem at Wimbledon is that the huge kick his ground strokes generate on clay serve only to tee up the ball for his opponent on grass. Many times, Kendrick was able to step forward and dispatch winners from either wing. Only when the strain of hitting so big for so long told on him did Nadal look entirely comfortable during his 6-7, 3-6, 7-6, 7-5, 6-4 triumph in 18 minutes short of four hours.

The same couldn’t be said of the line judge directly under the Royal Box, who fainted ten minutes into the match. It was a further three before he was attended by a member of the St John Ambulance, by which time some wag intoned that Kendrick himself would soon be carried off the court on a stretcher.

The American quickly disabused the notion, rallying from a 4-1 deficit in the opening-set tie-break to reel off six points in succession. At that point he seemed to grow six inches — and served accordingly as he protected an early break in the second set with consummate ease.

By now Nadal, seeded No 2, was frustrated. The umpire had warned him for taking too long between points. And each time he fashioned an opening, Kendrick usually delivered one of 28 aces that would sustain his quest for the upset of the tournament to date. And when his serve was returned, Kendrick advanced smoothly to the net, where he displayed uncommon prowess.

The match ultimately turned on the third-set tie-break, in which Kendrick trailed 2-1 after missing a sitter of a high backhand volley. From there he could not repel the strength of his opponent’s ground strokes. Kendrick had inflicted more than 900 cuts on the Spanish bull but he could not finish him off. Blood coursed through Nadal, who started holding serve with an ease he had found elusive in the first two sets. Appropriately, the crowd rose in unison when Kendrick, by now living on adrenalin, was finally counted out.

Expectations are now considerably higher of the man who derailed Roger Federer in the French Open final. But Nadal himself accepts that his greensward greenness will count against him. “I am young; I need to improve,” he acknowledged. “My goal is to play a very good tournament here in three or four years.”


06-30-2006, 02:56 AM
Nadal survives a nail-biter to set up Agassi showdown

Paul Weaver at Wimbledon
Friday June 30, 2006


Another sporting occasion might claim your attention tomorrow afternoon but if the football becomes a little too much for the fingernails there is a tennis match to savour on the Wimbledon lawns, a famous meeting between Spain and the United States that never happened on the fields of Germany.
Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal come from different continents and epochs, they speak different languages and prefer different playing surfaces. But they have in common a fierce desire to win their third-round meeting here, Agassi because he is making a sentimental farewell journey at these championships and Nadal, the double French Open champion, because he wants to prove he can play on grass after failing to get beyond the third round on his two previous visits.

They both played yesterday and it was Nadal, travelling long-haul, who stirred the place. If a five-set victory over the American qualifier Robert Kendrick, world ranked 237, showed up the Spanish second seed's limitations on this surface it also underlined the strength of his mind and his refusal to flinch when his opponent was serving like a demon. The American sent down 28 aces.

Nadal, 20, had his first shock when, as he was serving at 1-2 in the opening set, a line judge fainted. After a five-minute delay the official was taken away in a wheelchair.

The Spaniard lost the first two sets, when Kendrick's forehand and volleying were as devastating as his serve. Nadal lost the first set on a tie-break, in which he led 3-0, and then lost the following set after being broken in the second game.

Nadal, whose sleeveless top and pirate pants evoked memories of a younger Agassi, one whose unconventional clothes had outraged staid old Wimbledon, then fought back memorably, winning the third set on a tie-break and the last two 7-5 and 6-4. But at one point Kendrick, 5-4 up in the fourth set and facing serve at 30-30, was only two points away from victory. In the final set Nadal broke in the fifth game and served out for victory.

Kendrick, 26, had made just one previous visit to Wimbledon, as a lucky loser from the qualifying tournament in 2003. He had attempted to qualify for 13 other grand slam events, including five Wimbledons. But he had not dropped a set in his three qualifying matches at Roehampton last week, or in his first round match here against Yen-Hsun Lu.

Nadal said afterwards: "It was a very tough match. His serving was unbelievable. I was worried. He played a very good match. It was important to come through. I think I played a good match overall."

Agassi received another emotional reception when he appeared on Court One for his match against the 68th-ranked Italian Andreas Seppi. He said: "It means the world to me. To miss it for the last two years and to come back ... the crowd haven't changed. I wanted to get out there and do something special for them."

Talking about Nadal he said: "He's very confident and a great competitor. Needless to say, he's very talented and fit. So it's gonna be a hard match. His speed stands out, the way he moves on court. He's very aggressive too, but his movement is probably his greatest asset. And his mind - his concentration and determination - is a great weapon too."

They have met just once before, on a hardcourt in Canada last year, when Nadal won 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. "In Montreal it was a very fast, high-bouncing court," said Agassi. "His ball was just ugly. It wasn't comfortable at all. Here, the ball doesn't bounce as high which hopefully will allow me to set a little bit more on my ground strokes."

Agassi played considerably better yesterday - winning 6-4, 7-6, 6-4 - than he had done in his first-round match on Tuesday but his lack of mobility still prompted the thought that his final Wimbledon might be something less than a long goodbye.

His service games were littered with deuces and break points. He struggled to retrieve wide balls and when he back-pedalled one could almost hear the bleep-bleep of a reversing juggernaut.

Taking the ball early used to be one of his trademarks; yesterday, stretching and grunting, he played some so late they were positively posthumous. But once his body had warmed up and he had adjusted to the pace of the court, he played a clever match, lifting his effort levels for the crucial points.

At times his service was about as good as you would get at Fawlty Towers - there were five deuces in the third game and Seppi had other break points later in that opening set. But Agassi took it in 40 minutes and once he had clinched the second on a tie-break the result was not in any serious doubt.

Watch the football if you will tomorrow, but for quality the Agassi-Nadal match on Centre Court might just have the edge.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006


06-30-2006, 04:07 AM
it reminds me of seles ... they complained of her grunting when she was at her peak, she had to remain silent during the final of 1992 wimby and lost badly ....

i do wish they gonna be fair for nadal, he is not unsportsman like, he always give points to opponents even the point was already given to him :worship:

how come the empires are so bad :mad: :mad: :mad:

06-30-2006, 04:40 AM
ican someone explain to me pls, how come they said nadal's shot will land more high in the slow clay than the quick surface? coz for me, the balls should bounce high in quick surface instead :confused: :confused:

06-30-2006, 10:21 AM
I'm so happy that Rafa won! :woohoo: It brightened my day! :D It would have been too much for me if Rafa and Marat lost in the same day! :sobbing:

06-30-2006, 10:29 AM
What's this whole story about Nadal being unsportmaniship?? Are they mad??? Rafa is one of the most fair-play guys on the tour! He rarely gets upset for wrong calls against him and always respects his opponent!

06-30-2006, 03:25 PM
From The Telegraph:
Nadal back from brink in thriller with qualifier

By Mark Hodgkinson
(Filed: 30/06/2006)

The King of Clay was occasionally made to look like a knave on grass yesterday, with Rafael Nadal, a double French Open champion and the second seed, having to work his way back from two sets down against a little-known American qualifier, the free-swinging Robert Kendrick.

This was the second-round thriller that no one in the tennis world had been predicting, *cough Brad Gilbert cough* with Kendrick, the world No 237 and a supposed draw-filler, producing the performance of his life against Nadal, a Spaniard with ambitions of one day winning the Wimbledon title here on Centre Court. Of the two, it was Kendrick who yesterday looked like more of a natural grasscourt performer, as he was serve-and-volleying and playing with flair and ambition.

Twice Kendrick was two points from victory in the fourth set, and it was unfortunate for the American that he suddenly tired in the decider. An animated Nadal then came through for a 6-7, 3-6, 7-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory that sets up tomorrow's third-round showdown with Andre Agassi.

What a shock result it would have been. While Nadal has now reached that level of tennis celebrity where he is known only by his first name - Rafa :lol: - Kendrick is barely a household name around his own kitchen table in Florida. :tape: Nadal is straight from the pages of tennis's 'Who's Who', while Kendrick is more of a "who's that?" Wimbledon competitor. But, after a match that was brimming with colour, drama and incident, there was barely a pair of Nadal-style pirate pants between the two of them. "I was worried. That was tough," Nadal said afterwards, with some understatement.

What was so astounding about Kendrick's tennis was that he was playing with such nerveless ease. Most of the tournaments that the 26-year-old has contested this season have been on the second-tier Challenger circuit, with occasional dips down into the level below, and so he has undoubtedly grown accustomed to playing in front of tiny crowds. The same week this month that Nadal defeated Roger Federer in the Roland Garros final, Kendrick had been busy playing a Challenger tournament in Yuba City in California, where he lost in the first round.

But Kendrick was not scared or intimidated by walking out in front of almost 14,000 on Centre Court. Far from it. Towards the end he even gestured to the crowd to make some more noise, :rolleyes: and then, on the way out, he decided to stop and join Nadal in signing some autographs. And how Kendrick deserved it.
Nadal, hoping to become the first Spanish men's champion at Wimbledon since Manuel Santana in 1966, equalled his best result at the All England Club. But the match with Kendrick showed that his brand of tennis, which is so effective on red clay, is taking some time to adapt to these lawns.

As early as the fourth game, there was some drama, with one of the line-judges suddenly fainting to the turf, causing plenty of commotion and a delay of about five minutes. With no service breaks, the set went into a tie-break, which Nadal led 4-1 only to lose the next six points. And still Kendrick continued swinging away, taking the second set.

And then, in the opening game of the third set, Nadal was warned by the umpire for stalling between points. He was aggrieved by the decision and claimed in his post-match Spanish interview that he was being victimised by the officials over alleged slow play. "Umpires need to develop some personality," he said. :p But Nadal edged that third set, dropping just two points in the tie-break.

It was when Kendrick was leading 5-4 in the fourth set, with Nadal serving, that the qualifier twice was two points from the third round. And, on the second occasion, with the score at deuce, Kendrick believed that a stroke from Nadal should have been called out, which would have given him a match point. The crowd then booed the officials, :rolleyes: It was plum on the line!!! behaviour that you would not normally expect from Centre Court.

Almost inevitably, Kendrick was broken in the next game, serving a double fault on break-point. And then, as the match went into the fifth set, his energy levels were clearly dropping, and he was then broken in the fifth game, again with a double fault on break-point. And Nadal was not going to lose from there.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml;jsessionid=4UCGSBGA4ONGDQFIQMGSFFWAVCBQ WIV0?xml=/sport/2006/06/30/stnada30.xml

06-30-2006, 03:31 PM
A preview of Rafa's next match from Reuters: (http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=tennisNews&storyID=2006-06-30T134009Z_01_L30261947_RTRIDST_0_SPORT-TENNIS-WIMBLEDON-AGASSI-PREVIEW.XML&pageNumber=1&imageid=&cap=&sz=13&WTModLoc=NewsArt-C1-ArticlePage1)
Agassi primed for Nadal challenge

Fri Jun 30, 2006 2:40 PM BST
By Martyn Herman

LONDON, June 30 (Reuters) - When long-haired teenager Andre Agassi made his Wimbledon debut in 1987 he won just five games in his first round defeat by Henri Leconte and could barely disguise his contempt for the All England Club traditions.

Now, nearly two decades on, another bandana-wearing upstart, Spain's Rafael Nadal threatens to bring down the final curtain on Agassi's magical relationship with the grasscourt grand slam that he eventually grew to love.

Nadal, 20, has already written his name in the record books with two French Open victories and 60 consecutive claycourt wins, but Saturday's third round meeting with 1992 champion Agassi will cast him very much as the master's apprentice.

The Mallorcan spin king looked like a grasscourt novice during his five-set victory over American qualifier Robert Kendrick on Thursday, although his ferocious will to win allowed him to recover from a two-set deficit.

The 36-year-old Agassi's back may be creaking these days, but there is very little the American does not know about the subtleties of Wimbledon's lawns.

Nadal was not even born when Agassi played his first professional match. Yet despite his naivety on grass, Agassi knows he will need all his experience to fight off the raging bull on Saturday.

"(Nadal) will have his hands full trying to master grass, no question," Agassi said this week,"This surface takes an edge off what's happening with his ball...it's more difficult for him to hit it how he normally does. On paper it's not ideal for him.

"But we've seen the way he competes. We've seen what I never thought would be broken in all those matches on clay, the kind of strength that takes mentally and in your heart, it's incredible. If there's somebody that can do it, it can be him."


On slow claycourts Nadal is virtually impossible to pass while on bouncy hardcourts his opponents need step ladders to return his kicking horse forehand.

On Wimbledon's skiddy grass, however, his topspin is muffled and a well placed 125mph serve leaves even him swishing at thin air.

Agassi lost their only previous meeting in Montreal last year, but this time feels the surface will favour him.

"In Montreal, it was a very fast, high bouncing court, you know. His ball was just ugly," he said.

"Here the ball doesn't bounce as high which hopefully will allow me to set a little bit more my ground strokes.

"But, listen, he's very confident a great competitor, very talented and fit. So it's gonna be a hard match."

It should be a fascinating contest and one which three-times former Wimbledon champion John McEnroe is relishing.

"I know that all of us are looking forward to Andre playing Nadal," McEnroe, NBC's lead tennis analyst, said.

"If Agassi is up to it physically, he has the tools, comfort level and type of game to do well on this surface even though he's not a big server or volleyer.

"I think it's a boost for tennis to have one of the all-time greats up against an up and coming superstar. That's the type of match we need."

Nadal plays down his chances, saying he still needs three or four years to have a chance of emulating Manuel Santana, the last Spaniard to win Wimbledon in 1966.

If he beats Agassi and gets into the second week, however, there is no telling how far this extraordinary fighter might go.

06-30-2006, 08:25 PM
And the match itself is up first on Center Court. :D

Centre Court 1.00 pm Start

1 Gentlemen's Singles - 3rd Rnd.
Andre Agassi (USA)[25] vs Rafael Nadal (ESP)[2]

06-30-2006, 09:24 PM
I'm glad they're first up, hopefully someone else will also get to play on this court tomorrow. :p



06-30-2006, 09:59 PM
I'm glad they're first up, hopefully someone else will also get to play on this court tomorrow. :p



Me too!:bounce:
I hope they'll broadcast it here.. last time it wasn't:crying2:
Btw.. I'm New here :wavey: Hope my English isn't too bad.. :angel:

06-30-2006, 10:31 PM
Hi Weebl, welcome to MTF. :wavey:

07-01-2006, 12:37 AM
I think that there is a lot of jealousy around Rafael, he is young and "fresh", his game is based on unsual features , and we all know that tennis institution doesn't like when you are too different. They want to put all the player in the same category, and Rafael is far from being a normal player, it's to say that he doesn"t behave as ATP would like him to do. He wears strange clothes, he shouts, he has an unsual way of celebrating, which drive old tennis lover over the edge !
What for?? To keep unchanged the ''flat" image of the tennis, the traditional tennis must survive, but they think that Rafa is killing their old golden tennis. It's wrong Rafa deconstruct it, as Marx and Freud did with their experiment, deconstruct to re built something better .....it looks like a conspiracy of the traditional against the future. They can't understand why Rafa win with this "abnormal" way of playing, in the tennis book it mustn't be written.
They know he needs a lot of time to serve, he is a very tidy boy that constantly wants thing to be at their right place; he has kind of rituals...that's why they are trying to hurrying him so that he'll loose his marks and by the way a match , they are uncessantly behind his back telling him what to do, what not to do....they want to change his real personnality to make him suitable with what they have decided. So why are they always repeating him the same thing about rule? why ALL umpires give him a warning at every match? why yesterday he couldn't reach his hand to tell R.Kendrick that he wasn't ready to receive?why the ump is constantly staring at Toni to see if he is coaching while so many players do so?why they asked him to hurry up before playing Hewitt ?
a lot of questions that a normal player would never have to ask himself......all except rafael

you must think i'am crazy :lol: , i feel like a conspiracy against him , and i hope Rafa won't fall in their trap ....Rafa is very different from last year, especially on his way of celebrating, he seems less happy on the court.

I was wondering why a lot of player that has been on the top 10 , have suddently changed their way of behaving whereas they were on the top with their attitude. For example look at Andy Roddick he was so excited on a court when he was number one, Lleyton was shouting HUGE C'Mon staring with gazing eyes to his opponent, Safin was also crazy on the court, breaking racket helped him to be focused , now he changed, please don't tell me all these player grown mature, i can't believe it !!! ATP forced them in a way or in an other to change their behaviour (fines,warning,....) It's wrong to hide player's real personality :( :(

07-01-2006, 10:06 AM
Thanks Mallorn:hug:
And Nadalita, I totally agree with you. Poor Rafa!:sad:

07-01-2006, 11:51 AM
A couple of articles previewing the match today. From The Guardian:
Nadal or bust, charisma is guaranteed in this clash of generations

Eleanor Preston at Wimbledon
Saturday July 1, 2006
The Guardian

If Rafael Nadal ends Andre Agassi's Wimbledon career today there are bound to be a few tears. Amid the sadness at the departure of one the most charismatic figures the game has ever known, though, there should also be joy and relief. In Nadal, the sport appears to have found a replacement. Replica versions of Nadal's trademark pirate pants are being bought by the children of fans who once dreamed of having denim shorts like those Agassi wore.

A glance at the number of autograph hunters at Wimbledon's Aorangi Park practice courts suggests it is Nadal whom the under-12s want to emulate. He is the cool one, the one with the air of rebelliousness and the explosive magnetism. His face glares out from thousands of posters just as Agassi's once did.

In the same way that Agassi had Pete Sampras' taciturn, undemonstrative excellence as a contrast to make the Las Vegan look even more wild and exciting, so Nadal has the elegance of Roger Federer, who projects an image far older than his 24 years, down to the blazer he has been wearing on to court.

Both were prodigies. Agassi emerged from Nick Bollettieri's academy as a punkish 16-year-old in 1986, in much the same way that Nadal burst out of Mallorca, and even though the American's feat of winning all four grand slam titles makes him one of the greatest players of all time, the Spaniard's progression has already been quicker than his at the same age.

By 20, Agassi had made four slam semi-finals and won 10 ATP Tour titles but, while he had reached No3 in the world, he had yet to beat a world No1. Nadal, who turned 20 last month, has already won two French Open titles, 13 Tour events and has a hex over Roger Federer - six wins in seven matches - which Agassi never came close to getting over Sampras.

Even before he won his first slam title at Wimbledon in 1992, Agassi showed ruthless focus, a trait he has spotted and admires in Nadal. "When he gets a hold of a point, he doesn't let it go. A lot of great players, once they take over a point, it's good night," said Agassi.

This strength may burn Agassi today. Nadal has a marked physical advantage over a man who turned pro the year he was born, and the 16-year gap may be decisive. Against that the American has experience - a big plus here as Nadal admits he is still learning to play on grass.

Today may mark the passing of the metaphorical bandanna from one generation's superstar to another. But, whatever the outcome, charisma will be guaranteed a place in the last 16.

07-01-2006, 11:54 AM
From The Times:
The Times July 01, 2006

Bank on Agassi to put the super into 'Super Saturday'

By Brad Gilbert

The top tennis coach says his former pupil is not ready to take his leave of Wimbledon yet, although Nadal will fight all the way

HAS there ever been a Wimbledon Saturday to match this one? Andre Agassi facing Rafael Nadal followed by Andy Roddick against Andy Murray. I’d pay £100 for a ticket. Having been coach to both Andre and A-Rod, I’m in a privileged position. Equally, I know how important the crowd is going to be today. They can have a decisive effect on which way the matches swing.

Against Nadal, Andre needs to be dictating play. He needs to be on the offence, taking it to the kid. He cannot afford to be defensive. He has to serve well and make the rallies short — he doesn’t want ten or 12-stroke rallies to develop.

This is a big step up for him. He has seven sets under his belt, he is familiar with the feeling of best-of-five again and against Andreas Seppi on Thursday he was a lot better than in his first match.

Nadal was in a huge amount of trouble against Robert Kendrick, but he got way better in the fourth and fifth sets. What impressed me most was that he was hitting the ball harder in the fifth than he had been in the first. He reminds me of "Marvellous" Marvin Hagler, the great middleweight — put him in the back room and he’ll come out fighting like nobody.

Take it from me, Agassi is pleased he’s playing Nadal. He wants this, with great respect to Kendrick.

That’s the kind of guy he is. He loves the meat of the draw. I think the crowd will be absolutely electric and I really believe they can help to push him through. They want him to win. They know they will be seeing Nadal for the next ten years, but this is the last time they’ll have a chance to get real close to Andre.

I know Nadal will be a much better player today as well, but it will be hot, the court will be a little faster and Andre has a great shot. He will have spent last night in one of his favourite restaurants, business as usual. I think he’ll win.

Murray played what was a practice set yesterday but it was also his best of the tournament so far — very relaxed, in command. A-Rod hasn’t dropped serve yet and that is the nugget of the match today. Murray has to take care of his own serve because on this surface it’s almost impossible to break Andy’s. He did it three times in San Jose, but that was different.

Revenge doesn’t come into it. Roddick has only lost to Roger Federer in this tournament in the past three years, he wants this title more than anything else. Whether or not it’s Murray today doesn’t enter into it.

07-01-2006, 02:30 PM
I was wondering why a lot of player that has been on the top 10 , have suddently changed their way of behaving whereas they were on the top with their attitude. For example look at Andy Roddick he was so excited on a court when he was number one, Lleyton was shouting HUGE C'Mon staring with gazing eyes to his opponent, Safin was also crazy on the court, breaking racket helped him to be focused , now he changed, please don't tell me all these player grown mature, i can't believe it !!! ATP forced them in a way or in an other to change their behaviour (fines,warning,....) It's wrong to hide player's real personality :( :(

I know! You are totally right! all these players seemed much more comfortable and happy to be on court before! :( Stupid ATP!! :(

07-01-2006, 02:52 PM
Rafa won 7-6 (5), 6-2, 6-4 :woohoo:

He played an incredibly solid match, was never broken (Andre is supposed to be one of the best returners but he never even had a BP on Rafa's serve), served 18 aces! :eek: and played some amazing defensive shots as well as winners. :yeah:

07-01-2006, 03:00 PM
That was wonderful, simply woderful. :hatoff: And nice interviews after the match! :worship: :worship: Thank you for great memories Andre! :worship: And now I wouldn't bet against Rafael really one day winning Wimbledon too! :D :D
The Russian commentator said btw that he thinks the superfinal Rafael-Roger is possible in this Wimbledon again! :lol: Who knows. Labadze next shouldn't be that hard. :D
And today no-one should have enything to whine about. :D

Here the stats if you like:
Agassi (USA) Nadal (ESP)
1st Serve % 63 of 108 = 58 % 55 of 79 = 70 %
Aces 7 18
Double Faults 2 2
Unforced Errors 18 10
Winning % on 1st Serve 45 of 63 = 71 % 48 of 55 = 87 %
Winning % on 2nd Serve 22 of 45 = 49 % 16 of 24 = 67 %
Winners (Including Service) 23 44
Receiving Points Won 15 of 79 = 19 % 41 of 108 = 38 %
Break Point Conversions 0 of 0 = 0 % 3 of 11 = 27 %
Net Approaches 16 of 22 = 73 % 5 of 7 = 71 %
Total Points Won 82 105
Fastest Serve 128 MPH 129 MPH
Average 1st Serve Speed 112 MPH 117 MPH
Average 2nd Serve Speed 95 MPH 96 MPH

Rafael served incredibly well today. :D :D :D

07-01-2006, 03:02 PM
:woohoo: Rafa
Well done!
I mean against Agassi he is a really really good returner and Rafa served 18 aces (thx mallorn for the information :))
Great job!:dance:

07-01-2006, 03:06 PM
Match time 2 h 14 min - I hope everyone's happy now. Rafael got it done well in time before the football match started. :D :D

07-01-2006, 03:15 PM
Match time 2 h 14 min - I hope everyone's happy now. Rafael got it done well in time before the football match started. :D :D
:lol: :p

Just in time for the football. ;)

07-01-2006, 03:23 PM
:hug: well done lil man :hug:

07-01-2006, 03:57 PM
From Reuters (http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=tennisNews&storyID=2006-07-01T151111Z_01_L017640140_RTRIDST_0_SPORT-TENNIS-WIMBLEDON-AGASSI-UPDATE-2.XML)
Wimbledon-Merciless Nadal too good for Agassi:

Sat Jul 1, 2006 4:11 PM BST

By Martyn Herman

LONDON, July 1 (Reuters) - Andre Agassi's 14th and final Wimbledon fling was ended in brutal fashion by second seed Rafael Nadal on Saturday, the Spaniard winning 7-6 6-2 6-4 on a baking hot day on Centre Court.

The 36-year-old American was given a thunderous reception when he walked on court and an emotional one at the end as he bowed and blew kisses to the crowd in the historic arena he has graced so many times.

"I've had so many incredible years here," Agassi, one of only five men to have won all four grand slam titles, told fans.

"I will never be able to repay you for how you've embraced me over the years. You're awesome tennis fans and you've shown me so much love."

For more than an hour the Las Vegan shotmaker rolled back the years to 1992, his sole Wimbledon triumph, going toe to toe with the merciless 20-year-old double French Open winner who had bounced on to court like a prize fighter.

The precocious Nadal, who appears to be revelling in the challenge of mastering grasscourt tennis, added his tribute to Agassi after a masterly display.

"It's unbelievable for me," he said. "To play one of the best players in the history of tennis on Centre Court.

"This was my best match on grass, I'm very happy."

Nadal's relentless baseline power stretched every sinew in Agassi's creaking frame in a riveting first set, but the 1992 champion refused to buckle, fending off break points at 1-2 and 2-3 and then saving three set points at 4-5.

Agassi looked to have gained the upper hand when he led 5-2 in the tiebreak, but he threw away the iniative with a couple of costly errors before an astonishing running forehand pass and an ace clinched the opener for Nadal.

Agassi, who played his first grand slam match when Nadal was only two months old and who is retiring after this year's U.S. Open, wilted in the second set, dropping serve twice.

With his wife Steffi Graf watching from the royal box, Agassi re-grouped in the third and kept his nose in front on serve until the seventh game when Nadal's pressure earned him another service break.

There was no way back for Agassi and three games later Nadal ended the contest with an ace to reach the fourth round of the grasscourt slam for the first time where he will play Irakli Labadze of Georgia.

07-01-2006, 04:40 PM
Nadal Ends Agassi's Dream
Saturday, 1 July, 2006

Andre Agassi said goodbye to Wimbledon on a quiet but dignified note, losing in straight sets to Spain’s Rafael Nadal, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 6-4.

Giving away 16 years to the 20-year-old Nadal, Agassi was gradually worn down after a gruelling opening set played in extreme heat.

When he lost the tiebreak in that first set, squandering a 5-2 lead, it seemed increasingly unlikely that in his 14th and final Wimbledon the 1992 champion could progress beyond the third round.

After snatching the first set the young French Open champion stepped up the pressure, breaking serve in the first and seven games of the second. As the match wore on, Agassi found it harder to run down Nadal’s angled shots and cope with the Spaniard’s raw power.

The final set was just as one-sided as unforced errors crept into the popular American’s game. Agassi departed, after two hours 14 minutes, as he had arrived, to a standing ovation from the Centre Court crowd.

Written by Ronald Atkin


07-01-2006, 06:02 PM
Very nice from Rafa. :D :D
Nadal Insists It's Agassi's Day

Saturday, 1 July, 2006

“It’s not my day,” Rafael Nadal said as he acknowledged the place Andre Agassi holds in the annals of tennis history.

But then the Spaniard has also now scratched his name in the Wimbledon record books as the man who brought the curtain down on the American legend’s career at The Championships.

Nadal was always looking forward to the meeting, stating that the clash would be an exciting experience. At the time he stated in his charming fractured English: “It’s a nice match for me – a nice match for everybody. I’m gonna enjoy and prepare good for the match.”

Having now gone through that experience in a more comfortable fashion than he probably expected, the 20-year-old French Open champion was clearly satisfied with himself. “I know today I played a very good match,” he asserted. “That’s important for the next match and for my belief I can play good here. So I am happy.”

The emotion of the occasion was not lost on the young man. “It was very emotional. I am very happy for Andre because he deserved it as he’s one of the best players in history. He’s a legend, an unbelievable career. Today is not my day. Today I played my best match, but it is not my day to have a good celebration. It is his day.”

Both players left Centre Court to a standing ovation with an emotional Agassi, the sentimental favourite, close to tears. The crowd was no doubt aware that it was watching the new generation taking over from the old. Again the Spaniard was well aware of the situation having revealed on reaching the third round, that he expected them be firmly behind Agassi. “It is his last Wimbledon,” he said and then added, “I hope I'm gonna have more!”

For Nadal the future looks promising and he admitted that Agassi himself had congratulated him on his win, and what he had achieved over the last few months, which obviously meant a lot to the youngster who is definitely destined to fill the void which the 36-year-old Agassi is leaving.

Nadal said: “He wished me the best of luck for the future. And I said he is the best, he is unbelievable and congratulations for his career.”

Written by Henry Wancke


07-01-2006, 06:27 PM
I think that there is a lot of jealousy around Rafael, he is young and "fresh", his game is based on unsual features , and we all know that tennis institution doesn't like when you are too different. They want to put all the player in the same category, and Rafael is far from being a normal player, it's to say that he doesn"t behave as ATP would like him to do. He wears strange clothes, he shouts, he has an unsual way of celebrating, which drive old tennis lover over the edge !
What for?? To keep unchanged the ''flat" image of the tennis, the traditional tennis must survive, but they think that Rafa is killing their old golden tennis. It's wrong Rafa deconstruct it, as Marx and Freud did with their experiment, deconstruct to re built something better .....it looks like a conspiracy of the traditional against the future. They can't understand why Rafa win with this "abnormal" way of playing, in the tennis book it mustn't be written.
They know he needs a lot of time to serve, he is a very tidy boy that constantly wants thing to be at their right place; he has kind of rituals...that's why they are trying to hurrying him so that he'll loose his marks and by the way a match , they are uncessantly behind his back telling him what to do, what not to do....they want to change his real personnality to make him suitable with what they have decided. So why are they always repeating him the same thing about rule? why ALL umpires give him a warning at every match? why yesterday he couldn't reach his hand to tell R.Kendrick that he wasn't ready to receive?why the ump is constantly staring at Toni to see if he is coaching while so many players do so?why they asked him to hurry up before playing Hewitt ?
a lot of questions that a normal player would never have to ask himself......all except rafael

you must think i'am crazy :lol: , i feel like a conspiracy against him , and i hope Rafa won't fall in their trap ....Rafa is very different from last year, especially on his way of celebrating, he seems less happy on the court.

I was wondering why a lot of player that has been on the top 10 , have suddently changed their way of behaving whereas they were on the top with their attitude. For example look at Andy Roddick he was so excited on a court when he was number one, Lleyton was shouting HUGE C'Mon staring with gazing eyes to his opponent, Safin was also crazy on the court, breaking racket helped him to be focused , now he changed, please don't tell me all these player grown mature, i can't believe it !!! ATP forced them in a way or in an other to change their behaviour (fines,warning,....) It's wrong to hide player's real personality :( :(

Nadalita!!!!!!!! Guapísima!!!

Estoy totalmente de acuerdo contigo!! :hug: :hug: :wprship: :kiss:

07-01-2006, 07:26 PM
Rafa's interview is up (http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/interviews/2006-07-01/200607011151772254609.html)
R. Nadal Interview - Day 6
Saturday, 1 July, 2006

Q. You played well today? You are happy?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, yeah.

Q. How did you feel? You got into your rhythm very quickly.


Q. You seemed to be moving very well, good rhythm very early. Were you happy with that as opposed to yesterday when it was, you know, a bit tougher?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, no, is okay. I think in the beginning I play good, no? On the warm up, the five minutes, I was thinking I gonna lose easy. Agassi was touching the ball unbelievable, very low, very tough. I can't return the ball. But in the match, always is different, no? Maybe I serve my best day in my career, sure.

Q. We also saw at the French Open you were behind the baseline, couple of feet behind the baseline. But today you were right on the baseline. You stepped up into the match. Are you changing your play for grass?

RAFAEL NADAL: Not always I go inside, no? But I need go a little bit more aggressive here, I need play little bit more aggressive. So, yeah, I'm trying, no? I'm trying to improve every day. The last match was very important, no?

Q. What does this match mean to you and what does it show you about how far you might go here at Wimbledon?

RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, I need go day to day, no? I need think about Labadze now, this match. Gonna be a difficult match, sure. He's playing well and he's a dangerous player. He play tough. He has a good serve. So gonna be difficult, no? I know today I play a very good match. That's important for my confidence for the next match and for belief I can play good here. So I am happy for that, and tomorrow I gonna think about Monday, no?

Q. How memorable do you think those last few moments were, beating Andre Agassi and also having the time on the court where he spoke and you spoke and you both got the crowd's attention and adulation?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, was very emotional, no? I am very happy for Andre because he (speaking Spanish) deserve. So he deserve that because he's one of the best players in the history. He's a legend player. He has unbelievable career, no?

Q. It seemed like your celebrations, both after important points and at the end of the match, were a little less emotional.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, sure, is not my day, no? Today I play my best match, but is not my day for have a good celebration, no? Is his day.

Q. You spoke before about this being good for your belief, playing on grass. Do you have that belief now, do you believe you can beat the best players in the world on this surface?

RAFAEL NADAL: I believe I need improve. I believe that, sure, no? I believe that I can play good matches, but I need improve for play with regularity.

Q. Consistency?

RAFAEL NADAL: Consistense (sic) with myself, serve like today. I don't serve like today every day. But I need improve my serve for any day, serve every day like this, no? That's very important in this surface. And the rest, if you are serving well, the rest is more easy, no, because you play with more calm, you can return with more calm, and that's decisive, no?

Q. If you can do it once, you must feel that it can be done? You showed today you can do all those things.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I know, I know. I know if I am playing well, I can win a good matches, no? So that's important for I say before, no? That's very important for my confidence for this tournament, but for the future, no? Is important for continuing practicing with illusion, with motivation. Because any day, one day in the next years, I want to have a chance for play the final here.

Q. Andre spoke about how well you moved today on the court. Can you talk about the challenge for you of running and moving on grass?

RAFAEL NADAL: Is little bit more difficult for me, no? But is important understand the surface, no, understand the court, learn to run in this court, no? You need go little bit more like this, not like this all the time. You understand me?

Q. I think so. It's feeling more natural?

RAFAEL NADAL: I can how you more... (smiling).

Q. It's becoming easier for you to understand the surface?

RAFAEL NADAL: Easy? Sure is not easy, no? So two days ago I was two sets to down, no, with one more point and I am now in the beach at home, no? Today I was (putting his arms behind his head.) You know the tennis and the sport is like this. I play one shot on the line, on the 40 the deuce, no?

Q. What did you say to each other at the end with Andre Agassi?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, he say me congratulations for all, for the last months, and the best of luck for the future, no? And I say he is the best, he is unbelievable, and congratulations for his career, no?

Q. You've now got a day free to relax in London. What will you do to relax and to prepare for Monday?

RAFAEL NADAL: The same like every day, day off, no? So this afternoon I gonna buy some things because in the home I don't have no more things for dinner. I finish. Maybe a little bit massage. After, I gonna show the football. Brazil against France tonight. Tomorrow maybe I gonna practice 45 minutes, the same like every day off, and stay with calm, no? I don't think I gonna I don't gonna have a lot of things.

Q. Since Spain is not playing in the World Cup anymore, who is winning the World Cup in your opinion?

RAFAEL NADAL: My opinion, I don't know, because is just one match. And is not easy have a prediction, no? So we gonna see. Brazil wasn't playing very well, but, you know, no? They have unbelievable players, no? We will see tonight. I think Brazil gonna have a difficult match tonight, no?

07-01-2006, 07:30 PM
Just seen the match, been out all day, OMG it was amazing. :banana:

07-01-2006, 07:31 PM
It was sad watching Andre though, awwwww :sad:

07-01-2006, 10:42 PM
Congrats to Rafa on his win :yippee: He is looking more comfortable on grass courts all the time :) But I agree it was sad about Andre :sad:

07-02-2006, 01:35 AM
congrats rafa

07-03-2006, 03:28 AM
From: Guardian
Movement and speed give Nadal fighting chance

Eleanor Preston at Wimbledon
Monday July 3, 2006

Rafael Nadal is publicly circumspect about his chances of becoming the first person since Bjorn Borg to win the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back. But in bringing a brutal end to Andre Agassi's Wimbledon career on Saturday the 20-year-old showed he is adapting fast to his least favourite surface.

This is Nadal's third attempt to get the hang of the All England Club and he should progress to the quarter-finals today against the Georgian qualifier and world No166 Irakli Labadze. Bob Brett, the man who coached the Wimbledon champions Boris Becker and Goran Ivanisevic, believes Nadal's desire and speed have put him in a position to emulate Borg.

"Nadal is a player who is still improving and still making adjustments," said Brett, who has also worked with Mario Ancic. "There was a guy called Borg who didn't do that too badly either. Nadal might one day have a very good chance of winning Wimbledon. Nobody thought Borg would do it either, and he managed it five times."

"Labadze is dangerous but one of the great things about Nadal is that you know that he's giving 100% every time he steps on the court and that's an important factor. In terms of fitness he's a leader of his generation. He has cardiovascular capabilities that not too many have had. That's just a huge advantage because he knows he can get to every ball and make the opponent play."

Brett also points to Nadal's speed around the court, which he believes has allowed him to adjust to grass more easily than other players who, like him, were brought up sliding around on slow clay courts. "I'm amazed at the speed with which he gets from one side of the court to the other. He's so quick that it doesn't matter that he can't slide. He'll get there anyway."

After feeling the full force of Nadal, Agassi concurred. "His movement translates to every surface," said the eight-times grand slam champion. "There's no question about that. I think he's the best mover that's out there, you know. He just seems to really explode and anticipate and do a lot with the ball.

"Grass is a shot-making court. And if he's making guys feel like they cannot hit winners out there on grass, then that speaks for his presence out there. You know, you leave a lot of room for a champion's heart and mind, and he can certainly be here with high expectations."

Brett believes that changing conditions at Wimbledon, where the grass plays slower than it used to, have also played into Nadal's hands this year. "The transition is not as hard as it was, especially with the way grass-court shoes are today, the surface, the hot sunshine we've had. All of those things help him," he said. "Winning matches on hard courts and on other surfaces and just winning as many matches as he has, full stop, is going to give him confidence on grass.

"His attitude helps because he came over and played Queen's, which will have given him confidence on grass. I saw his matches there and he seemed to be coming in a little bit more and getting more comfortable with being at the net. He's like Roger Federer in that he's always looking for a chance to improve. That's what drives both of them."

The last 16 of Wimbledon is an unfamiliar environment for Nadal, but in years to come making the second week may be the least of his ambitions. Brett thinks so. "Nadal's got the mentality of a champion," he said. "That mentality, with his athletic ability, with all the talent he's got, is what puts him above others. That's what gives him the chance to improve."

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006


07-03-2006, 11:56 AM
When will Rafa play against Labadze :confused:

donna karen
07-03-2006, 01:38 PM
Rafa is last on court 1.

07-03-2006, 02:41 PM
Good luck for today's match Rafa :worship:

:boxing: Go get him !!! :boxing:

07-03-2006, 03:01 PM
Rafa is last on court 1.

Thanks ;)
on Dutch tv they weren't very clear about it..

GO RAFAA:bounce:

07-03-2006, 03:16 PM
Vamoooossssss Rafa!!!!:rocker:

07-03-2006, 05:42 PM
Those people are Crazy!! :eek:
Rafa is playing and they show a repeat of Hewitt-Ferrer!!
I've already seen that I want to see Rafa:fiery:

07-03-2006, 06:57 PM

Rafa's in the QF! :D He deafeted the crazy Georgian 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3 and now will play Jarkko Nieminen.

Well done! :yeah:

07-03-2006, 07:04 PM
Wonderful Rafa, wonderful!!!!! :woohoo: :woohoo: :banana: :bigclap: :yippee: :dance:
And the match vs Jarkko is winnable so the semis vs Lleyton - :eek: :eek: Absolutely incredible! This is already an incredible Wimbledon for Rafa! :D :D :D
I only saw the last set after Jarkko-Dmitry match which is unfortunate of course. :sad:
OK, here the stats, look pretty nice. :) Match time 2 h 9 min - not bad. ;)
Labadze (GEO) Nadal (ESP)

1st Serve % 62 of 102 = 61 % 54 of 85 = 64 %
Aces 8 7
Double Faults 7 0
Unforced Errors 35 13
Winning % on 1st Serve 44 of 62 = 71 % 43 of 54 = 80 %
Winning % on 2nd Serve 21 of 40 = 53 % 26 of 31 = 84 %
Winners (Including Service) 24 31
Receiving Points Won 16 of 85 = 19 % 37 of 102 = 36 %
Break Point Conversions 0 of 0 = 0 % 2 of 6 = 33 % - could've been better
Net Approaches 15 of 29 = 52 % 17 of 21 = 81 %
Total Points Won 81 106
Fastest Serve 137 MPH 128 MPH
Average 1st Serve Speed 121 MPH 114 MPH
Average 2nd Serve Speed 99 MPH 93 MPH

07-03-2006, 07:10 PM
Congrats to Rafa for his win today :) And Congrats for his best showing at Wimbledon so far :woohoo: Vamos Rafa :yippee:

07-03-2006, 07:11 PM
well done Rafa :D :)

07-03-2006, 08:20 PM
:woohoo: Rafa good match today. :bounce:
And now beat Nieminen.

07-03-2006, 08:32 PM
:bounce: Vamos Rafa :bounce:

really good win :yeah: also really good to see that he didn't let Labadze's antics distract him.

Got to watch his first two matches at Wimbey (pics to follow once I have sorted and resized them) and it seems (with the exception of the first two sets against Kendrick who played out of his skin and took everyone by suprise) that Rafa is getting better and better each match.

07-03-2006, 08:56 PM
From Irish Examiner.com:
Nadal moves step closer

Rafael Nadal moved a step closer to becoming the first man since Bjorn Borg to add the Wimbledon crown to his French Open title in the same year with a straight-sets win over qualifier Irakli Labadze.

The 20-year-old second seed continued his fine transition from clay to grass against the Georgian, who was simply outclassed despite taking the second set to a tie-break.

Nadal, the number two seed, was quick to take command against the world number 166 who had reached the last 16 of a major championship for the first time when Mardy Fish was forced to retire.

Labadze simply had no answer to the young Spaniard’s range of shots as Nadal moved to the net to pave the way for an early break.

The world number two held his next service game to love, which included an 111 mile-per-hour ace, and was soon 4-1 ahead in rapid time.

Labadze was struggling to keep pace and the Georgian was soon serving to save the set.

Although the 25-year-old held to love, Nadal made no mistake in game nine to take the opening set 6-3.

Labadze is nicknamed ‘freak show’ for a history of ill-tempered behaviour on court – and there was a glimpse of his short fuse in the second game of the next set.

The 25-year-old threw his racket to the floor in frustration – but was not called up by the umpire.

As the set developed, the Georgian, once in the world’s top 50, was at least now finding some range from the baseline.

Both players continued to hold serve, entertaining the early-evening crowd with a few exchanges at the net.

From the BBC:
Federer & Nadal reach last eight

By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Top seeds Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal continued their progress through the Wimbledon draw with fourth-round wins on Monday.

Defending champion Federer hardly broke sweat on a sweltering Centre Court as he won 6-3 6-3 6-4 against Tomas Berdych in one hour 23 minutes.

And Nadal was equally impressive in beating Georgia's Irakli Labadze 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 on Court One.

Federer meets Mario Ancic next, while Nadal takes on Jarkko Nieminen.

World number one Federer broke Berdych's serve in game seven and, apart from saving a break point at the start of the second, was completely untroubled by the Czech 13th seed.

But he later insisted: "It was an awkward match - Tomas was obviously struggling with a shoulder injury.

"I cannot say it was my best match. The first two rounds were better. I knew from the first second I was through and just had to wait for the break to come.

"I thought I was the better player, but I have been tested."

And after clay-court king Nadal reached the quarter-finals on Wimbledon's grass for the first time, Federer considered the prospect of facing the Spaniard in Sunday's final.

"Obviously it will be interesting on grass, we still don't know how good he is," said Federer, who has lost six of his seven matches against the French Open champion.

"He's had a pretty good draw, even though Andre (Agassi) is a pretty tough player.

"If he made the final that would be quite a surprise to many, even though he's such a good player that you could expect him to do that.

"It would surprise me to a certain degree."

Nadal coped well with the hard-hitting Labadze, ranked 166, breaking him early to take the third set and fighting back from a mini-break down to take the second set tie-break.

As pumped up as ever, the Mallorcan kept up the intensity in the third set as his opponent wilted, wrapping up victory in two hours 12 minutes.

"It's very important for me to be in the quarter-finals," said Nadal. "You can see in the history it's been very difficult for Spanish players.

"I didn't think that (I would get this far) before the tournament.

"Now I know I'm playing a very, very good tournament. I've achieved my goal because I'm not playing bad on this surface."

07-03-2006, 08:57 PM
Rafa's interview.
R. Nadal
Monday, 3 July, 2006

Q. How does it feel to be in the Wimbledon quarterfinals?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, very happy, sure, no? Is very important for me be in the quarterfinals. If you look at the statistic, that is very difficult for any Spanish.

I am very happy. Today I play serious the match. I am very, very happy because is not I wasn't think that before the tournament, no?

Q. Are you surprised to be in the quarterfinals?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, sure, no? I know I am playing very, very good tournament so I (speaking Spanish).

INTERPRETER: My goal, I achieved my goal.

RAFAEL NADAL: Because I am not playing bad on this surface, no?

Q. How difficult was it to keep your concentration today?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, was tough, no? He was joking a lot, (speaking Spanish).

INTERPRETER: Fooling around.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, so is not easy, but is okay, no? I was very concentrate all time. I wasn't see the other guy. It's always it's okay, no? I just was thinking about the match and the victory, no more.

Q. Did you expect that from him today?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don't expect nothing. I just think about the match, no, about the game. Not think about the other things before the match, no? And in the match, too. For me, is the same. He can do anything.

Q. Was a strange match.

RAFAEL NADAL: Was strange because he is playing very tough, no? He play all balls tough, so I have my chance in the second set. I have breakpoints in the 4-4 maybe. I can't. He has one ace, two good serves. So was tough.

But after, in the tiebreak, I am I (speaking Spanish.)


RAFAEL NADAL: I got my concentration all the time.

Q. Difficult to find a rhythm maybe today as well?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, was very important I play a very, very good match. I touch very good the ball, so play with a lot of confidence. Is impossible because he is playing without rhythm, no?

Q. Next is Nieminen. You had a very tough match in Barcelona.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I play against Nieminen, one match before this tournament one grass here, no?

Q. You played on clay, but was tough.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, but is different, no? We can't compare the clay against the grass. I remember in clay I have very tough match, I was losing 4 1, no? Here is all different. Maybe is more difficult. So we gonna see, no?

Q. There was coverage in a French newspaper yesterday according that your name is on a list of Dr. Francis who is suspected of doing blood doping for sportsmen.

RAFAEL NADAL: I gonna speak in Spanish and he gonna translate.

INTERPRETER: I don't want to speak about untrue statements, nonsense. I've never taken anything in my life, and I never will. I'm well enough educated in the sporting world and out of sporting world to not cheat. People who write lies about other people are bad people. There's nothing more to say about this. It's lies and it's just people who write lies are bad people. He's a coward. He should sign what he writes at the bottom. My manager is speaking to my lawyers.

Q. Your tennis has improved on grass tremendously over the last year. I heard somewhere that you had built a grass court in Spain and were practicing on it. Is that true?

RAFAEL NADAL: I was practicing...? In golf, I was looking.

INTERPRETER: Visualizing.

Q. It's very hot here at the moment, obviously. Is it helping maybe you because the courts are a bit firmer and a bit harder perhaps than before?

RAFAEL NADAL: Sure is better for us, for the Spanish, if is good weather, no? Is better that, no?

Q. What do you do for fun in Wimbledon to relax after your match?

RAFAEL NADAL: Relax a lot, fun, no, match. Have a house here, one minute here walking. So I am cooking. That's my best. I enjoy my best. The day after the match, after watching the television, watching films. No more. Not a lot of things. Not much.

Q. We heard your statement about this. What is your opinion about cycling in general and what has happened with cycling and this top sport?

INTERPRETER: He doesn't know. He doesn't want to speak about something he doesn't know about. It's something that harms other sports as well. The fact that it happens in cycling damages other sports.

Q. You had a time warning, and I think Agassi was joking that you took a little time between your points. Are you making more effort to take less time between points, or you're just playing your time as normal?

RAFAEL NADAL: Agassi is playing very fast, no? He's faster. Always he is prepared. So I am playing with the normal time.

Q. Your normal time. You're not paying any attention; you're being yourself?

RAFAEL NADAL: No (indiscernible) attention today. The first day lot of matches, no? So that's good. I am improving in my time. I don't have problems before in February, so now is not possible have problems now, no, because I am doing the same.

07-03-2006, 09:03 PM
Good that they're considering legal action. This doping stuff is ridiculous. :rolleyes: I don't wanna talk about it more either. Now they have said there are no tennis players or footballers invloved.

07-03-2006, 09:26 PM
Nadal Unfazed by 'Freak Show'
Monday, 3 July, 2006

A freak show arrived on Court One this afternoon, but it did not quite live up to the billing. Irakli Labadze of Georgia, a qualifier with the nickname "Freak Show" thanks to his history of bad behaviour on court, stood between Rafael Nadal and the quarter-final. But despite moments of colourful behaviour, Labadze – who plies his trade largely on the Challenger Tour – could not prevent Nadal triumphing 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3.

With a ranking of 166, Labadze – a chap of somewhat chaotic sartorial appearance - is not a name familiar to many. But his claim to fame is that he is the founding father of that exclusive club whose members have lost to Roger Federer in a Wimbledon final, by dint of his defeat at the hands of the Swiss in the junior final eight years ago.

The first set passed largely without incident. Nadal secured an early break and closed it out. It was in the second that events took a mild turn for the vaguely freaky. Labadze – a left-hander like Nadal – got a taste for the match, and realised he could cause his illustrious opponent some problems with the power of his own serve.

He also began to live up to his nickname, warming up by hurling his racket to the ground after a bad bounce at 1-0, and later becoming irritated about a ballboy collecting a ball late after getting entangled in the back netting. But he saved his best display for 4-4. Frustrated with himself, he capered about on the spot, bandying his arms around his body in a fashion that had the crowd tittering.

The tennis was also eye-catching in that game. Twice Nadal had break point, and twice the Labadze serve saved it. But he required nine deuces before he could hold. The tussle continued into the tiebreak, and Nadal had to scramble to take it. Labadze, the first qualifier to reach this stage since 2000, greeted the loss by wrenching off his cap and kicking it towards his chair, frowning throughout the changeover.

His mood did not improve at the start of the third, as he berated the umpire and mockingly applauded him for a call which did not please him. At 1-2 he tried and failed to play a shot between his legs, and then put his head down to gaze between his knees after the departed ball. Sending a forehand wide on break point did not please him either. It gave Nadal a 4-1 lead, and that was that.

So the Spaniard finds himself in the quarter-finals and also in a rather agreeable position. He is the number two seed, he is a two-time Slam champion, yet still barely anything is expected of him here. It can almost be said that he has nothing to lose.

The theory is that clay is his surface, which is obviously true – 60 successive victories attest to that. But the fact is that he now finds himself in the last eight at Wimbledon, which is further than many a talented grasscourter achieves in a lifetime.

He is getting the hang of this grass court stuff. Many observers believed Andre Agassi was in the kind of form to send Nadal back home to Spain, but the Majorcan conclusively proved that precisely the opposite was true.

Maybe he is increasingly curious about the ever-nearer prospect of a final on grass against Federer. Nadal has Federer's number on clay, but perhaps Nadal is keen to discover whether that mental baggage might damage Federer on grass. Certainly such is the Swiss' record on this surface that absolutely nobody would expect Nadal to win, in which case he would be free to go for broke.

Perhaps this is the prize which Nadal is focused upon. After all, it would be a prize worth having.

Written by Kate Battersby


07-03-2006, 09:31 PM
UPDATE 1-Wimbledon-Nadal eases into last eight
Mon Jul 3, 2006 10:26 PM BST

(Adds quotes)

By Martyn Herman

LONDON, July 3 (Reuters) - Second seed Rafael Nadal moved ominously into the quarter-finals of Wimbledon with a 6-3 7-6 6-3 victory over qualifier Irakli Labadze on Monday.

The 20-year-old Spaniard struggled for rhythm against the unpredictable Georgian who entertained the court one crowd with a mixture of spectacular tennis and pantomime antics.

Nadal was never seriously troubled, although Labadze, the world number 166, did become a nuisance during a protracted second set before the world number two won a tiebreak 7-4.

French Open champion Nadal raced away in the third set to secure a clash with Finnish 22nd seed Jarkko Nieminen.

"It was tough, he was joking a lot," said the Mallorcan who has shown a real liking for the All England Club's grasscourts after his incredible 60-match winning streak on clay.

"But I was very concentrated all the time. I wasn't really seeing the other guy. It's hard because he played with no rhythm but I just was thinking about the match and the victory."

Labadze seemed determined to enjoy his moment in the sunshine, after a terrible year in which he has lost in the first round of eight Challenger tournaments -- the second rung of the tennis ladder.

If he was not diving around at the net, he was conversing with line judges and playing to the crowd with comical impersonations of some of his own bad shots.

The 25-year-old Georgian, bizarrely nicknamed Freak Show, also packed a potent first serve that meant he at least kept his young opponent honest throughout an entertaining contest.

On a dusty claycourt it would almost certainly have been a no contest, but although Nadal was made to work a little harder than he probably expected, he was delighted to come through.

"I played a very good match," said Nadal, who ended the Wimbledon career of Andre Agassi on Saturday.

"I hit the ball good, I played with a lot of confidence."


07-04-2006, 04:14 AM
Vamos Rafa :)

07-04-2006, 06:42 PM
Court 1 1.00 pm Start

1 Gentlemen's Singles - Qtr. Finals
Radek Stepanek (CZE)[14] vs Jonas Bjorkman (SWE)

2 Gentlemen's Singles - Qtr. Finals
Jarkko Nieminen (FIN)[22] vs Rafael Nadal (ESP)[2]

07-04-2006, 10:16 PM
Vamoooosss Rafa!!!
You can beat Jarkko :rocker:

07-05-2006, 10:00 AM
From The Guardian:
Even the best can get bored when practice is a big yawn

Federer faded fast, Hewitt just hung on, Ancic ambled.
'Who wants to hit on a day off?' asks Mike Anstead

Wednesday July 5, 2006
The Guardian

The sun beamed down on Roger Federer's sweat-drenched brow as he slumped his weary body into the net yesterday. The reigning champion is as hungry as ever to retain his title, but still he was tiring of the monotony of hitting a tennis ball. Even the greatest can grow bored of practising on their day off.

Federer, like his opponent today Mario Ancic, had been allotted a noon slot on one of the 16 Wimbledon practice courts located beyond Henman Mound in Aorangi Park. Watched by a faithful band of some 100 fans despite the midday heat, the pair went through their paces on adjacent courts and looked uninterested and lethargic - or perhaps they were just wary of unveiling any polished tactics ahead of today's encounter.

Plainly, this was not where Federer and the seven other men left in the singles competition wanted to be on the day before their quarter-finals. Players feel empty on their rare days off - frustration and boredom often get the better of them. Practice is no substitute for the thrill and noise of Centre Court.

"They won't hang around these courts for long," said Mark Petchey, the former coach of Andy Murray. "Most people will just eat and get out of here. Boredom is always there even in a week as big as Wimbledon. It's just another week on the tour. Everybody kills time in their own way - they're used to it, it's their job."

A quick joke with Tony Roche, Federer's 60-year-old coach, briefly sharpened the Swiss's spirits and he fired down some bullet serves that crashed against the court's wire-mesh fence, on which young fans hung patiently for autographs.

He was, however, in no mood to loiter, departing long before Ancic and pausing only briefly for photographs before retreating to the showers. He was soon being driven back to his hotel half a mile away in Wimbledon Village, the base for the majority of the players - although he did pop up later in the day to give his Nike-designed cream jacket an ostentatious airing with Sue Barker in the BBC studio.

Ancic remained on the practice court nearly half an hour longer than Federer - then admitted the session was a chore he could have done without after enduring such a long match against Novak Djokovic the previous evening. "I'm very privileged to still be here but I'm feeling very tired," he said. "I felt fine before the Djokovic match but I'm tired now. Hopefully I'll be OK for Roger."

Asked what he planned to do with the rest of his day, Ancic seemed stumped for an answer. "Today is a day off and it's great to have it," he eventually offered. "I'll just have rest, maybe with some therapy and massage. I'll maybe watch the football later. I won't really do much, just get back to my hotel."

The No7 seed instantly shook his head when the idea of staying on to watch the women's quarter-finals was mooted. All a last-eight player really wants to do is get back to the calm of the hotel room, where there is uninterrupted time to be enjoyed with families and friends, away from an endless stream of fans and TV crews.

With Federer on his way out with Mirka Vavrinec, his girlfriend and agent, the vacant court was soon occupied by Lleyton Hewitt. The Australian's feisty returns were in contrast to the work of Federer and Ancic, but he was clearly only there to work off a little energy. Some 15 minutes later, after pausing for a quick interview with Michael Stich, he was back in the shade of the practice pavilion contemplating an afternoon relaxing with his wife and daughter.

"Other people who are a bit fresher might do a bit more but it's each to their own," Petchey added. Presumably Rafael Nadal had squeezed in a siesta before finally turning up for his practice session four hours later than scheduled. For Wimbledon's men, this was just not the day to be holding a racket.

07-05-2006, 10:02 AM
From The Telegraph:
Dreams grow of Federer-Nadal final

By Mark Hodgkinson
The Telegraph
(Filed: 05/07/2006)

Some at the All England Club have been discussing the real possibility of a final on Sunday between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Such conversations would have seemed just slightly delusional on the first Monday, but, with the quarter-finals today, they are both now just two matches away from a dream title-match on Centre Court.

Not that Federer, hoping for a fourth straight title, seems totally convinced that it might happen. Switzerland's world No 1 has said that he would be "surprised" if Nadal, a first-time quarter-finalist on these lawns, reached the final. "If he made the final, that would be quite a surprise. That would surprise me to a certain degree," he said, though he did then go on to talk up Nadal's qualities, suggesting they could be transferred from his favoured surface, clay. So it was not quite the dismissal of Nadal's grasscourt abilities that some had been suggesting.

For such a dream final to happen, Nadal must defeat Finland's Jarkko Nieminen, who will also be making his first appearance in the last eight here, having won just three matches from his three previous visits to the All England Club. Should Nadal beat Nieminen he will play either Australian Lleyton Hewitt, the 2002 champion, or Greek-Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, Andy Murray's fourth-round conqueror, in the semi-finals.

Of the two, Nadal, a double Roland Garros champion, would almost certainly prefer to face Baghdatis in the last four as Hewitt has considerably more experience on these grass courts.

Federer, unbeaten in a record 45 matches on grass, meets Mario Ancic, of Croatia. Ancic is the last man to have beaten Federer at the All England Club, having knocked him out in the opening round four years ago. But it would be an almighty shock if Federer did not advance to a last-four meeting against either Swede Jonas Bjorkman or Czech Radek Stepanek. It would even qualify as a minor shock if Federer dropped a set on the way to the final.

Almost everyone in tennis wants to see Federer and Nadal closing in on a final, especially after everything that the young Spaniard, one of tennis' good guys, has had to cope with in recent days.

Nadal is someone for tennis to celebrate, a flamboyant global poster-boy and also a player who, off the court, is polite and respectful. But the 20-year-old has had to cope with potential distractions ahead of his match with Nieminen. Nadal has been forced into strongly denying doping allegations, has dealt with what he feels has been victimisation by the umpires over alleged slow play, and has also been made aware of increasing jealousy and resentment in the locker-room.

Of all the difficulties Nadal has faced, the most serious was a report in a French newspaper at the weekend which loosely linked him with the drugs scandal that has been rocking the Tour de France. An article in Le Journal du Dimanche, a French weekly paper, claimed that Nadal could have been involved in the illegal blood-doping. Nadal strongly denied the allegations late on Monday night, calling them "untrue" and "nonsense". "It's lies and people who write lies are bad people," Nadal said. He also suggested he might sue the newspaper.

Nadal is one of the most tested players on the tour, if not the most tested, and his results have always come back negative. "Rafa knows that he is clean," a source close to the Nadal camp said. And a minister for the Spanish government has denied that tennis players are involved in the doping scandal.

Another difficulty has been Nadal becoming increasingly exasperated at the umpires talking to him about taking too much time between points, and he has already been formally warned during the Championships for stalling.

Nadal had suggested that the umpires had been hassling him ever since Federer accused him of receiving illegal tutoring from his coach and uncle, Toni, during the final of Rome in May, and also after Ivan Ljubicic said pointedly after their semi-final at Roland Garros that the amount of time that the Majorcan took between points was "ridiculous". "It's not nice for me. Umpires need to develop some personality," Nadal said.

The source close to Nadal says he has noticed that a small minority of players have become aggrieved at the attention he has attracted after achieving success at such a young age. :eek: :rolleyes:

But Nadal has kept his focus. "There are a lot of things that could have disturbed Rafa, but because of his strong personality he has not let them affect him," the source said. "He still seems relaxed here and he seems to be enjoying himself. All he cares about is playing tennis and winning matches."

07-05-2006, 11:53 AM
Vamos rafael.....

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

07-05-2006, 10:39 PM
Vamos :D

07-06-2006, 04:16 AM
I guess since they didn't get the Match in today like they were supposed to I should say Vamos again for Rafa :)

07-06-2006, 07:31 AM
Yes, Vamos Rafa :bounce: again - let's hope the weather doesn't get in the way, I think the forecast isn't great.

From Sports Illustrated:
Head games

Despite history, Federer wants to face Nadal in final

Posted: Wednesday July 5, 2006 8:38PM; Updated: Wednesday July 5, 2006 8:45PM

WIMBLEDON, England -- Maybe it's those dainty country-club roots. Maybe it's that the word "love" is thrown around liberally during a match, or the lack of direct physical contact between opponents, or the fact that the game's first superstar, Bill Tilden, was gay. Whatever the reason, tennis has always been obsessed with proving its manhood. It's boxing from a distance, the aficionados will tell you. It's about blood and guts, Jimmy Connors insists. On Tuesday, some guy stripped down on Centre Court and showed the world his equipment. Streaking has been out of fashion for decades. At Wimbledon, though, it's never a surprise.

So really, now that we are closing in on the showdown everyone wants to see -- No. 1 Roger Federer vs. No. 2 Rafael Nadal -- it's no shock to find some tennis minds simplifying the matter into a variation of the old Saturday Night Live sketch: Quien es Mas Macho? The facts are simple: Federer has lost six of his seven matches with Nadal, including that four-set demolition in last month's French Open final. It's indeed a curious state of things when the player who thoroughly dominates the field is yet dominated by one man, and theories abound. But the most heavily trafficked these days -- if only because of both source and outrageousness -- is the one voiced by Swedish tennis legend Mats Wilander. "Rafael has the one thing that Roger doesn't: Balls," Wilander told Sports Illustrated in Paris. "I don't even think Rafael has two; I think he has three." :eek: ;)

Wilander backed off a bit for L'Equipe: "He [Federer] might have them, but against Nadal they shrink to a very small size and it's not once. It's every time," he said. Then, to make sure no one missed it, Wilander threw the interview up on his own Web site.

These are, as everyone in journalism knows, great quotes, and when coming from a seven-time Grand Slam winner, they carry the ring of authority. Who would know better? Yet let's leave aside Wilander's possible fear of being left in the historical dust -- Federer's next Grand Slam title will give him eight -- or the thought that maybe he sees John McEnroe's continuing fame and figures some outrage could boost his visibility. The fact is, Wilander's is an easy theory to absorb, far easier than the wonky notion that Nadal's cross-court forehand exposes Federer's weakest shot, a high backhand, or that his speed and left-handed attack allow little room to establish a rhythm. Federer's game is all about elegance and flow; Nadal disrupts it like a street thug crashing a cotillion. That he does so while oozing testosterone, flexing his biceps in a sleeveless shirt, only seals the image of a man's man, Marlon Brando to Federer's Fred Astaire.

Yet it should be said that, in Federer, we're not talking about a celebrated icon like Andre Agassi, who lost his first three Grand Slam finals, or stern workhorse Ivan Lendl, who lost his first four. Federer has been nobody's eunuch. He won his first seven Grand Slam finals and a record 24 straight tournament finals overall, and has repeatedly proven himself ready to scrap. In the 2004 U.S. Open, he beat crowd-favorite Agassi over two rain-interrupted, windswept days; in the 2005 Australian Open, he came back from 2-5 down in the fifth set and pushed Marat Safin to the brink before losing 9-7. Nadal? In his one win over him at the 2005 Nasdaq 100, Federer was down two sets to love, 4-1 in the third, before coming back to win. In Rome this year, Federer was down two sets to one, came back to take the fourth and had two match points in the fifth before losing in a tiebreak. He certainly sagged in Paris the last time they met, but to dismiss Federer as gutless seems like the judgement of, well, some pontificating hack -- not a player who's been there. Wilander should know better.

"Look. There's many former players, many experts, who think they know everything," Federer said Wednesday after disposing of Mario Ancic, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. "Sometimes they're right, but they can also be wrong. You can't always listen to them, especially as a player. From a former top player -- almost a legend of the game -- to hear stuff like this is obviously very disappointing. I thought I got along well with him; I probably still am, because he never told these things to my face. Next time I see him, maybe I'll say something. Or maybe he's not a man to be around for me. Because if you say stuff like this? There's professional [life] and there's friendship, but if you cross the line too many times eventually you're going to lose your friends. That's maybe what he's doing."

It's too bad, really, because the looming matchup is intriguing enough on its own. Arguably already one of the top 10 clay-court players ever, the 20-year-old Nadal came into his third Wimbledon looking to merely to improve on grass. But upsets have cleared out his side of the draw, and despite complaints about his slow play and a hotly denied report that he was being investigated as part of the anti-doping probe that has gutted this year's Tour de France ("Nonsense," he said Tuesday. "I've never taken anything in my life and I never will."), Nadal has looked right at home. If he should beat 22nd-seeded Finn Jarkko Nieminen Thursday, only Marcos Baghdatis, whom Nadal beat 7-5, 6-0 in Indian Wells in March, would block his way to Sunday's final. Federer, meanwhile, would have to get past 34-year-old shock semifinalist Jonas Bjorkman, whose attitude toward him isn't what you'd call aggressive. "He's just the perfect No. 1 we can have," Bjorkman said Wednesday after he beat Radek Stepanek, 7-6, 4-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4. "Both on the court and off the court."

Federer has won three straight Wimbledons, a record 46 straight matches on grass, and would enter this final heavily favored. But he also knows Nadal's presence would charge the air like no other opponent. That feeling of inevitabilty that has hung over the men's draw for a month would evaporate, replaced by questions. Could the courts, baked by a week of 90-degree heat, give a Nadal-struck ball enough bounce to trouble Federer's backhand even here? Would Nadal's lack of fear, not to mention the prospect of losing to him on grass, spark an anxiety Federer has never felt before? Would Federer, admittedly prone to playing his opponent's style, try to beat Nadal from the back? Or press his advantage and serve-and-volley like he hasn't done in years? And, if you're Wilander, what would a loss to Nadal, at Wimbledon, say about Federer's masculine cred?

Federer's not ready to concede that possibility. "Credit to him that he came so far, and credit to him that he may go all the way to the final," he said. "All the way? I don't know." Asked if he wants a piece of Nadal here and now, on what he has come to see as his own turf, Federer doesn't hesitate.

"I would love to play him," he said. "I've lost so many times against him on his favorite surface; I've gotten so, so close. Obviously I'd like to play him here four or five times, but grass is such a short season. I'm lucky enough my strength is also on clay, on hardcourt, indoor: That's what he's still working on. That's also why I'm by far the No. 1 player in the world."

That last reminder was unnecessary, but perhaps the clearest sign that Nadal is in Federer's head. You know what they say about overcompensation. Sometimes, even real men get insecure.

07-06-2006, 02:39 PM
:woohoo: :woohoo: Rafa!!!!!!
6-3, 6-4, 6-4
well done Rafa :hug:!Vamooosssss

07-06-2006, 02:39 PM
Rafa won 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

Well done Rafa! Made it to Wimbledon SF, quite incredible. :dance: :yippee:

Didn't see the match (women's SF :rolleyes: ) - hopefully they'll show it later. In the meantime, some stats.

http://img469.imageshack.us/img469/7584/msqf6wh.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Looking at the SB it seemed as if Rafa's concentration came and went. Anyone seen it?

07-06-2006, 02:58 PM
Ania, I saw the whole match, it was wonderful, wonderful. :D
Jarkko played some good shots too, some great rallies, and was fighting till the end. I liked the match a lot, but then again I like all Rafa matches so I am biased here. ;)
I wouldn't say his concentration came and went, it was more that Jarkko did all he could and my respect for the match. He is progressing nicely too. :yeah:
But Rafa was very solid the whole match. As you can see Jarkko only had 2 BPs and couldn't convert any. He has his small small chances there but failed at the decisive moments, gave the 2nd set away with 2 DFs on his serve for example.
But there were some long games with many deuces, especially at the beginning of the 2nd set. And when Rafa prevailed you knew it was done. In the 3rd set Rafa broke in the decisive 7th game. Uhh, that's all I can say right now. Match time 2 h 14 min. No time warning this time. He took a bit long again in the 1st set and at the very end of the match maybe :shrug: (he prepared very meticulously for his serves ;)) but with my clocking it's max 23-25 seconds and it only happens a few times. Usually he was well within the 20 seconds so I don't see a problem really. But now everyone can also say I'm biased. :shrug:
You know I took the special interest in it just because ppl talking about it. It's not more annoying than other players habits.
I hope you get to see the match later. :wavey:
And LMAO, you made a photo of the stats. :lol: Why didn't I think of it.

07-06-2006, 03:07 PM
Thanks for the recap darling! :hug: It's good to know that he didn't struggle with his concentration, cause those looong service games at the beginning of all sets looked a bit odd.

You timed him?! :haha: Yeah, I'm sure if he had gone over the time limit he'd have been given a warning.

I hope I'll get to see the match after Mauresmo/Sharapova - if not... :mad: :smash:

P.S. It's a print screen, a wonderful function :hearts: which I discovered quite recently. ;)

07-06-2006, 03:23 PM
Thanks for the recap darling! :hug: It's good to know that he didn't struggle with his concentration, cause those looong service games at the beginning of all sets looked a bit odd.

You timed him?! :haha: Yeah, I'm sure if he had gone over the time limit he'd have been given a warning.

I hope I'll get to see the match after Mauresmo/Sharapova - if not... :mad: :smash:

P.S. It's a print screen, a wonderful function :hearts: which I discovered quite recently. ;)
I wonder if it works on my laptop. :scratch:
And yes, there were long games especially at the beginning of the sets but gee, it wasn't Rafa's fault when there were like 3 or 4 deuces. :lol: At the beginning of the 2nd set it was like 7 or 8 min and 5 min per game. :lol:

07-06-2006, 04:28 PM
Congrats to Rafa on his win :yippee: And his 1st Semi-Final at Wimbledon :woohoo: Rafa has come a long way with his play on grass and it is really very amazing to me since there are only a few grass tournaments available to even play in. I'm glad Rafa doesn't rush his serve. There are players on the Tour that serve so fast you would think they had an airplane flight to catch :eek: I mean it would be one thing if he stood out there and took a minute or two before he served, but he doesn't do that. There are people who just like to pick Rafa apart because they are jealous of how well he plays :(

07-06-2006, 04:43 PM
Rafa :woohoo:

07-06-2006, 07:15 PM
Nadal Wins Battle of Fire and Ice

Thursday, 6 July, 2006

In some ways, the two men who took to No. 1 Court to compete in the last - rain-delayed - quarter-final of this year's men's singles had plenty in common. Both were left-handed, both 6ft 1ins, both began playing tennis at the age of four and both were competing in the last eight of Wimbledon for the first time.

But the similarities end there - Rafael Nadal and Jarkko Nieminen are as different as fire and ice.

The former hails from the warmer environs of Spain, makes a fair old noise when he hits the ball and has a unique dress sense and very muscular physique, which means he commands attention from the moment he steps on court.

Nieminen, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. The fair-haired Finn is cool, calm and collected, very rarely makes a sound – even if he is engaging in 20-stroke rallies – and chooses to wear your average tennis shorts.

Then there’s the small matter of results. Number two seed Nadal, known to virtually everyone as "Rafa", is a Grand Slam champion twice over, having scooped the Roland Garros title in 2005 and again in 2006.

Number 22 seed Nieminen, meanwhile, has never advanced beyond the last eight of a Grand Slam, and has lost to the Spanish sensation in their two previous meetings.

However, that should not have been a reason to write him off. This is grass after all and everyone knows Nadal has been brought up on a diet of clay. Besides, the 2006 Championships are only the Spaniard’s fifth grass court event, compared to Nieminen’s eight. Surely he would have a chance wouldn’t he?

Erm, well, no. The Spaniard produced a sizzling performance of grass court tennis to ensure his place in the last four and silence critics who ever doubted his adaptability to the green stuff. He charged the net on numerous occasions, threw in slices when it mattered as well as playing his devastating baseline game.

And, once again, it was hard to take your eyes off him. If Rafa missed an easy ball he would yelp out in dismay, long rallies would be soundtracked with gruff grunts and he would dance to the baseline at the change of ends. While one entertainer may have retired in the name of Andre Agassi, a new one has most certainly been born in the name of Rafael Nadal and it seems Wimbledon tennis fans are welcoming him with open arms.

The 20-year-old becomes only the fourth Spaniard to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals in the Open Era. He is now only two matches away from his grass court dream and, if he proves successful, he will become the first man to win the rare double of Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year since a certain Bjorn Borg in 1980 - another man who had the distinction of standing out from his contemporaries.

Written by Helen Gilbert


07-06-2006, 07:16 PM
Nadal Finishes Finn In Three Sets

Thursday, 6 July, 2006

French Open champion Rafael Nadal completed the line-up for the men’s semi-finals with a clear-cut victory over number 22 seed Jarkko Nieminen.

The Spanish second seed was on top throughout, with his power game from the baseline earning him a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over the Finn in two hours and 14 minutes.

Spain's only Wimbledon champion Manuel Santana, who won in 1966, was in the crowd to see the 20-year-old Nadal win quickly enough to be able to conserve some much-needed energy for his semi-final against Marcos Baghdatis tomorrow.

As both players fought for an early advantage, it was Nadal who set the pace with a break of serve in the fourth game, a forehand passing shot hit cross court doing the damage to the Finn's serve on break point.

Nadal defended that break successfully to end the set with a service winner after 41 minutes.

Nieminen tried to introduce some more pace and court craft into his game but Nadal was more than ready for that. The ninth game proved to be key to the outcome of the second set as Nieminen double-faulted twice, the second time on break point. Nadal duly extended his lead to two sets without undue pressure.

Nieminen reminded Nadal of his qualities by gaining a break point in the fourth game of the third set but the Finn could not improve on that and lost his own serve in the seventh game and could not delay the by now inevitable defeat.

That put Nadal into the last four, the first French Open champion to reach this stage since Andre Agassi in 1999 and the first left-handed player since Goran Ivanisevic in 2001.

Another factor which might encourage Nadal is that he is the first left hander into the semi-finals since Goran Ivanisevic in 2001.

Written by Barry Newcombe


07-06-2006, 07:19 PM
Nadal Aims to Go All The Way

Thursday, 6 July, 2006

Rafael Nadal saluted his "unbelievable" progress into his first Wimbledon semi-final after his win over Jarkko Nieminen and vowed to try his best to go even further.

He said: "I knew my goal was to come here and play a good tournament. My special goal after the tournament, when I think about the tournament, is to say, yes, I improved a little bit on this surface."

On his win against Nieminen, Nadal said: "I am playing with more confidence, especially with my serve. With my forehand I am playing more aggressive. With my backhand I am playing good all tournament. I am coming in a little bit more, that's very important on this surface."

He now only has tonight to prepare for his biggest Wimbledon match yet and he said: "This is new for me. I know when I go to Roland Garros I can win if I am in the semi-final. So now I think about the semi final here and that's new for me."

"I am still learning. I am 20 years old and I need to improve always. I believe I can play good here and I can improve more." :D

Written by Barry Newcombe


07-06-2006, 07:23 PM
YAY!!! And the interview is up! :D :D
R. Nadal Interview - Day 10[B]Thursday, 6 July, 2006

Q. You held every service game again today. What are the keys, besides obviously you're serving well, that's allowing you to do that?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. Maybe I am serving with confidence maybe. Today I have some bad points, not much, but some ones.
But my serve is with confidence. I find a little bit the consistency in my serve because I can serve at 112 miles with confidence.
So I am happy, no? I am playing with all shots good, not bad. So the serve is very important for play other shots with more confidence, no?

Q. How are you feeling physically? Obviously, Baghdatis played yesterday. You have to play today. How are you feeling to have to play tomorrow?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, is important for me play today fast match, no? I play very concentrate. I know that. So I finish fast, no, so that's important for tomorrow, no?

Q. What about Jarkko Nieminen, pressed you quite hard in Barcelona two months ago, were you expecting a tougher opponent today?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, maybe I play I beginning well. Maybe I serve better today than him. He's a tough player always, no? He's a regular players, consistent players. He's having a very good year, no?

Q. Do you think Roger is hoping that Marcos beats you in the semifinal?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. I hope. Maybe he hope win Bjorkman, no?

Q. You're still learning on grass. Can you believe you're in the semifinals of Wimbledon?

RAFAEL NADAL: Can you repeat? I understand, but not...?

Q. Is it a surprise, how well you've done here?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, sure. Yeah, sure. Is a surprise be in the semifinals, no? Is unbelievable tournament for me, to be in semifinals of Wimbledon. I gonna try my best for the next match. Is very important for me.

Q. Realistically, how far did you think you would be, how well did you think you could do here? Did you think third round, fourth round?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, I never have a goal, no? I know my goal is come here and play good tournament. My special goal is after the tournament, when I think about the tournament, say, Yes, I improve a little bit on this surface.
So for sure I gonna, after this tournament, I gonna have that. But now is a different tournament, no? Now I think about tomorrow, about the semifinals. My goal is just improve in this tournament. Now maybe, sure, I can achieve that, no?

Q. You had to start the week with this terrible insult about drugs. How hard is it being to put that away from your mind? Has that made you angry?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) He's already spoken about that. He said everything he has to say about it, and it's not going to affect him because he knows he's completely innocent.

Q. I was just wondering how difficult that had been, to put it away from his mind.

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) It hasn't been difficult because he's never taken anything in his life, and he never will.

Q. Are you starting now to believe that you can actually win this tournament?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I think I am in semifinals, no? I think I play tomorrow the semifinals, no?

Q. So you're not thinking

RAFAEL NADAL: Is new for me. I know when I go to Roland Garros, I can win if I am in semifinals. So now I think am thinking about the semifinal, but that's new for me. So we gonna see.

Q. You don't think about a final until you've won a semifinal?


Q. Is that how you operate? You don't think about a final until you've won a semifinal?

RAFAEL NADAL: I have a very difficult match tomorrow. Is stupid to think about the final, no?

Q. What sort of match do you think it's going to be? From the outside, two young guys, exciting players. What sort of match do you think it will be?

RAFAEL NADAL: You never know, no? You never know. The tennis sometimes is strange. Maybe is a tough match for him and for me, I hope. For him, too, I hope.
We gonna see. I have a very good motivation, very good illusion of the match tomorrow.

Q. Does it excite you to be playing someone who plays in the style of Baghdatis? Is it an exciting prospect?

RAFAEL NADAL: For me, is exciting to play in the semifinals of Wimbledon against everybody, no?

Q. Does grass still frustrate you at times? Do you feel like you're still learning, or have you figured out how to play on this surface?

RAFAEL NADAL: I still learning for sure, no? I just have 20 years old and I need improve and improve always.
Sure, I have a good result this year, and that's important for continuing improve, no? For believe always in this tournament and believe I can play good here and I can improve more, no? So is very important for me.

Q. Santana was the only Spanish player who won Wimbledon, okay, way back. Do you know him? Have you ever had a chat with him? I mean, did he give you some advice or anything?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I was with him before the match in the locker, after the match in the locker, no? Sure, I have a very good relation with him, no?

Q. Did he tell you you can go all the way?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. He always give me good luck, he give me, 'C'mon, Rafita.' I have a very good relation with him. That's all.

Q. Which part of your game do you think improved the most since the beginning of the tournament?

RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe all, no, because I play the first match not very well. Now I playing with more confidence, especially with my serve, sure. With my forehand, I playing more aggressive. With my backhand, I am playing good with my backhand all tournament, no? I am playing regular.
But with my forehand, I am especially happy, no, because I am improving, I am coming in a little bit more. So that's very important in this surface. Is very important play with security and aggressive, no? So I am finding that, no?
You understand (smiling)?

Q. Who do you think will win in the World Cup final, Italy or France?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. Is 50% everybody, no?

Q. Who do you prefer?

RAFAEL NADAL: Is okay. Is a nice match. I prefer see a good match, no?

Q. What do you think about Jarkko Nieminen as an opponent? How did you find today's game?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I say before, no?

Q. Can you elaborate a little bit, please.

RAFAEL NADAL: No, he maybe... (speaking Spanish).
(Through translation) He's a player who's had a great year, who's improved a lot this year. Today I think I played a very good match, and it was tough for him to play his game. He saw that it was harder for him to hold serve than me. He had a few chances to break in the first few games of the third set, but he was never leading so it was tough for him to develop his game.


07-06-2006, 07:50 PM
I hope I'll get to see the match after Mauresmo/Sharapova

that was actually a pretty entertaining match, :p :rolls:

07-06-2006, 07:54 PM
UPDATE 1-Wimbledon-Nadal beats Nieminen to reach semis
Thu Jul 6, 2006 6:25 PM BST

(Adds quotes)

By Clare Lovell

LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) - Second seed Rafael Nadal ground down Finland's Jarkko Nieminen 6-3 6-4 6-4 on Thursday to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals and a meeting with Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis.

Double French Open champion Nadal, looking more and more comfortable on unfamiliar grass courts, wore down Nieminen's resistance in long baseline rallies, breaking his serve in each set.

The Finn, seeded 22, tried to mix up his shots and volleyed successfully when he could get to the net. He saved a match point with a forehand down the line.

But Nadal's movement and retrieval skills were too much and the Mallorcan reached his first Wimbledon semi-final after two hours 15 minutes with an uncharacteristic volley on his second match point. That was great. :yeah:

Nadal said every part of his grass game had improved since he arrived last week. "I am playing with more confidence, especially with my serve," he said.

"With my forehand I am especially improving. I am coming in a bit more. That's very important on this surface...It's very important to play aggressive," he added.

"I am still learning for sure. I am 20 years old and I need to improve and improve always."

The match was held over from Wednesday because of rain and Nadal will have had less time to rest than Baghdatis who beat Lleyton Hewitt a day earlier.

But he was full of confidence, saying that if he were to find it tough, Baghdatis would too. "I have very good motivation," he said.

Nadal is the first Spanish man to reach a semi-final at Wimbledon since Manuel Orantes in 1972. The only Spanish man to have won the singles title here was Manuel Santana in 1966.


07-06-2006, 08:01 PM
OK, enough for the night I think. But here the Jarkko interview with parts about Rafa taking time. ;) Yes I noticed he used the towel and prepared meticulously again at some points but that wasn't anything special. Thanks for being fair Jarkko, and good match. :yeah: :D
The journalists like to dig, btw. ;)
J. Niemenen Interview - Day 10
Thursday, 6 July, 2006

Q. Talk about the challenge of playing him on grass as opposed to playing him on clay. I know you played him in Barcelona. Is it a different challenge on the different surfaces?

JARKKO NIEMINEN: I think I was he was serving pretty well, so put a lot of first serves in. That's more difficult on grass than on clay. I think otherwise his game is more dangerous on clay. But he's playing really well on grass, too. It's really surprising. But I already had seen him playing before here, so it wasn't surprise for me. But when he came first on grass, I thought he is not that strong, but he's really playing well on grass, too.

Q. People thought that it might be a while before he could win on grass, partly because of his serve. He hasn't been broken now in three matches. How is he making that happen?

JARKKO NIEMINEN: I think he puts a lot of first serves in. On grass, you gonna have to serve aces or so hard to win the point. I returned really bad today, so many times I hit short and then hit strongly the second shot, and he's already like in the point. He can control the point after that, the second shot.

Q. How do you feel after this match, and do you have any regrets, something you could have done better?

JARKKO NIEMINEN: No, I feel, I mean of course, he's tough opponent, and he is playing well. But at the same time, I'm disappointed how I played. I think this was my worst match here. I mean, after playing well here, it's a great achievement to be in quarterfinal. Would have been nice to play also well in quarterfinals. But, I mean, you can always lose and win, that's different thing. But the most important for me is to play well. If you then lose or win, that's a different thing. But that's just I'm not happy how I played today. There was many things that I did worst than in the other four matches.

Q. But does Rafa let you play your game?

JARKKO NIEMINEN: No, of course, it's difficult. But there was many things that are not even I mean, he can't even affect like my serve. I served really bad today. That's nothing, I mean that's up to me, how I serve. I didn't serve well. So of course the other game, sometimes he doesn't let you play your own game. That's a different thing. But some easy shots, some easy volleys and returns, serve, I didn't do well today.

Q. When he broke you in both the second and third sets, he seemed to use the towel a lot while you were preparing to serve. Did that affect you in any way?

JARKKO NIEMINEN: Not really. I didn't mind. I didn't even notice that. I just concentrate on my own game. I didn't know. Didn't bother me at all. :yeah: :D

Q. He does take a lot of time between points, though? Agassi remarked on it. Does that affect a player against him?

JARKKO NIEMINEN: Well, it's for me, sometimes I'm too fast. I don't know, many times I think I'm the guy who is too fast there. So I don't know how much really how much time he took. So comparing others, he's taking a lot of time. But, I mean, wasn't a negative effect to me. I don't know what the other players think, but I didn't even think about that. I just sometimes it's me who is very fast. So if it happens even against other players that I am the first player to start serve, I don't know.

Q. So you would have no complaints about any of his activities out there today?

JARKKO NIEMINEN: No, no, no. Not today, no. :yeah: :D

Q. Do you think it's possible that you didn't play so well because you were aware have of who your opponent is?

JARKKO NIEMINEN: Well, that's I mean, tough to say. But it's best of five, so at least I should have played better in some stage of the match. Maybe I started worse because of that. It's quarterfinal and maybe I tried too much. But then there's lot of times you adjust the game. There was just few moments I was happy how I played in the second and third sets, few games.

Q. Did the rain delay bother you at all?

JARKKO NIEMINEN: No. I think I played a really tough match the round before. Rafa Nadal had a easy day, like 3 Love win. I think it was me who got the advantage from that.

Q. Seems to be a popular view that Federer can't lose this title. Do you buy into that?

JARKKO NIEMINEN: I think he's a strong favorite. It seems that he's playing even better. Like I thought three years ago that he was playing perfect grass court tennis, but it seems that he can even play better and better. This year he has been cruising to the semis.

Q. From what you saw of Nadal today, from what you know about Nadal, is he a potential rival for Federer in the final, serious rival?

JARKKO NIEMINEN: You always have to beat him, he gets so many balls back, so it won't be easy for anyone. But Roger is playing so well at the moment, and so well on grass, for me, he's still a very strong favorite. But you never know. That's a different thing, final. If they meet in the final, it's like a revenge from France. May be mental things which can affect, but I think Federer is still very strong favorite.


And vs Agassi there was no reason for Agassi to complain either. :shrug:
Oh, and I wouldn't say Jarkko played bad today. :shrug:
OK, bye for now. :wavey:

07-06-2006, 08:18 PM
Maria, thanks a lot for all the articles. ;) :hug:

I sent you a PM. :wavey:

that was actually a pretty entertaining match, :p :rolls:
Oh yes, immensely. :rolleyes: It took so frigging long that Rafa's match was then cut short (by almost an hour). :mad:

Rafa's was a very good match though, some really nice points. Glad to read that Jarkko is a good sport and didn't whine about Rafa's pace. :yeah:

07-06-2006, 08:23 PM
Thanks for the PM Ania. :hug:
Jarkko is always a good sport and a very nice guy and today there was really no reason to complain. :) Some journos just have to dig on it as I said. It's their right of course.

07-06-2006, 08:26 PM
Btw Maria S is on her opponents face like today vs Amélie and screaming and no-one is complaining. :shrug: (Except for Elena D when asked ;))

07-06-2006, 08:33 PM
Btw Maria S is on her opponents face like today vs Amélie and screaming and no-one is complaining. :shrug: (Except for Elena D when asked ;))
Maria was awful in the Dementieva match, awful... I couldn't watch it because of the noise. :lol:

07-06-2006, 08:40 PM
OK, enough for the night I think. But here the Jarkko interview with parts about Rafa taking time. ;) Yes I noticed he used the towel and prepared meticulously again at some points but that wasn't anything special. Thanks for being fair Jarkko, and good match. :yeah: :D
The journalists like to dig, btw. ;)


And vs Agassi there was no reason for Agassi to complain either. :shrug:
Oh, and I wouldn't say Jarkko played bad today. :shrug:
OK, bye for now. :wavey:

Of course... Anyway he didn't choke a banana there... so no reason to complain

07-06-2006, 08:52 PM
Of course... Anyway he didn't choke a banana there... so no reason to complain
Oh yes, speaking of bananas. JuJu had a very similar accident today - she choked on an energetic bar, and funnily enough it was also after the first point of the game was played (if I remember correctly). She was asked about it in the press conference:
Q. Did something get stuck in your throat in the second set, you needed a drink?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: Yeah, because I always eat energetic bar.

Q. Wasn't a banana?
JUSTINE HENIN HARDENNE: No, wasn't a banana.

Q. You just needed a drink to swallow?

Q. No problem?

So suddenly Rafa doesn't look so stupid anymore. ;)

07-06-2006, 10:00 PM
Nou.amic :worship: of vr.com translated a very interesting article.
Nadal: "The key to everything was my five set match against Kendrick"

"I feel especially confident in my serve"


After defeating the Finn Jarkko Nieminen today, the Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal described reaching his first semifinal at Wimbledon as "unbelievable". He put this down to his confidence having increased, especially in his serve, and said that he felt the key to the tournament for him had been the match against Robert Kendrick of the USA.

The Manacor player said that the match against Kendrick, more than the one with Agassi, had been the 'key' to him gaining confidence on the surface. "The latter made me realise that I could play a great match on this surface but the one that really boosted my confidence was the former because I held my serve for the last three sets. That was the key match," he explained.

"When I arrived my goal was to play a good tournament. Now, when I think of the tournament, my aim is to be able to say that I have improved my game on grass," he said.

The Spaniard made special mention of the "confidence" with which he had played against Nieminen, especially the confidence in his serve. "I'm much more aggressive with my forehand and my backhand has been working well all tournament. I keep coming forward a bit more and that's important on this surface," is how Rafa explained the change in his game.

Nevertheless the twice champion of Roland Garros pointed out that "he's still learning" and that, at the age of twenty, "he always needs to improve" because he thinks he can still do things much better on the London grasscourts.

Last of all, the world number two underlined the importance of knowing that he can play well on surfaces other than clay, but reiterated that the number one is stil the Swiss Roger Federer.

"This will be very important for me in the future and at the present time because last year I had already shown that on hard court I could also play well, but I had never proved anything on this surface," he concluded.


07-06-2006, 11:19 PM
From The Times:
Nadal bold enough to make light of surface tension

By Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent

EACH day it edges nearer, the match destined to leave sweat marks under the sleeves of Roger Federer’s handsome cream jacket. Rafael Nadal is in the semi-final of Wimbledon, it is not an illusion but the reality no one in the coaching fraternity questioned before the championships would have staked buttons on.

Impossible. A miracle. Not a chance. Pah! These were considered opinions about Nadal reaching the last four and given that the Spaniard had played nine matches of lawn tennis before this third attempt in SW19, it seemed like a decent call, until you investigate deeper what makes the 20-year-old tick, the bedrock of his talents and the fact that he has never entered an event without the serious intention of winning it. Just check that out with the Fedmeister .

Having been forced by Wednesday’s rain to wait a day longer than his fellow semi- finalists, Nadal is bound to be less fresh against Marcos Baghdatis on Centre Court this afternoon than he will need to be.

The 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 scoreline against Jarkko Nieminen, of Finland, suggests something of a stroll and yet none of the three sets was completed in fewer than 40 minutes. This was gruelling, baseline biff-bang, played out on increasingly scuffed brown patches.

The same may be true today, although this pair are from the extrovert side of the street. They are like frisky colts, leaping, high-kicking, bounding through the formative years of the careers you hope never weary them. It is all full-frontal, fist-pumping stuff, but you have to wonder, too, at their technique. Nadal’s eyebrows are permanently knitted. That has to do with his levels of application, for what comes naturally to him on clay has to be worked at thoroughly on grass.

But he is more and more aware of where he needs to be, he is moving farther into the court than he would on clay, knowing that he needs to take the ball early if he wants to exert the vicious spin on it that bewitches the opposition on the red stuff. He has an instinct for the volley that marks him down as a different breed of Spaniard, and those who questioned whether he would be able to use the forehand to the levels of devastation they have become used to have had those doubts erased.

Baghdatis can play any shot he likes whenever he likes. He was two sets to one down in the first round to Alan Mackin, of Scotland, was physically sick on the court, called the trainer twice and looked like death warmed up. Fast-forward ten days and rewind six months at one and the same time.

This is the Baghdatis of Melbourne, the man who gave that event its zest, its worth, its character.

This is a man who left home at 14 with his parents’ tearful blessing, travelled to Paris and joined the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy and cried himself to sleep, wondering if he had done the right thing. From all the sacrifices, all the lean years, he has emerged a strong, well-adjusted young man who could have the game at his mercy. Centre Court is made for him, for them both.

Nadal said he had no goal coming here other than to improve on grass. He may say it, but do not take him at a face value that appears so innocent.

He came here to win, because he knew it could be done. There have been two break points on his serve in the past three matches, and the serve was meant to be his weak point. “I have a good motivation and good illusion of the match tomorrow,” he said. “I’m still learning. It is important on this surface to play with security and aggressive, no?” The expectation is that the second semi-final today will last longer than the first, which is meant as no disrespect to Jonas Björkman, just a rational conclusion drawn from the facts. Federer has not dropped a set to the Swede in their three previous meetings, and has not dropped a set this championship. He is ten years younger, he has won the title three years on the spin and all Björkman can hope for is to hang tough and hope Federer is in touch with his compassionate side.

07-06-2006, 11:28 PM
From The Independent:
Nadal on trail of the ghost of 1966

By Brian Viner at Wimbledon
Published: 07 July 2006

The England footballer Peter Crouch was in the Court One crowd yesterday to see how quarter-finals are won, as Rafael Nadal overpowered his fellow left-hander Jarkko Nieminen in straight sets to become the first French Open champion since Andre Agassi in 1999 to reach a Wimbledon semi-final.

Not since Bjorn Borg in 1980, six years before Nadal was born, has the winner at Roland Garros actually triumphed at Wimbledon, and the Spaniard later declared it "unbelievable" that he had reached the last four.

But he is visibly becoming more confident on grass, and must be starting to fancy his chances. After all, he has twice before won a Grand Slam quarter-final, and twice before gone on to win the title, albeit on French clay.

That he would make it through to meet Marcos Baghdatis today - and what a match that could be - never looked in the slightest doubt. Nieminen gave Nadal a fright on clay in Barcelona earlier this year, leading 6-4, 4-1 before losing. But here he was outclassed, and although he competed well from the baseline, he missed far too many volleys, and landed only 51 per cent of his first serves, 20 per cent fewer than his opponent. When a man returns the ball as hard as Nadal, you need a first serve in good working order. The second seed duly completed a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory in two hours, 15 minutes, and will be delighted to have made relatively short work of it, given that Baghdatis had the day off.

Afterwards, Nieminen, seeded 22, had no complaints, not even when asked about Nadal's copious use of the towel. There can't be many men from Majorca who come to south-west London and feel the need to towel themselves down every 45 seconds, but Nieminen refused to take the bait, even when it was further pointed out to him that Agassi, after losing to Nadal in the third round, had noted how long he seems to take between points. "I just concentrate on my own game," said the Finn, diplomatically.

Whatever, nobody can cast doubt over Nadal's raw talent. Many wonderful clay-court players down the years have been unable to prosper at Wimbledon, but he, it seems, is not one of them. On clay, his success is based on his remarkable powers of retrieval, but with every passing day he is adding variety to his grass-court game, and even seized a series of opportunities to attack the net yesterday. It remains unlikely that he will be spotted at the Homebase in Wimbledon Park buying seed, moss-killer and a lawnmower, but he is manifestly learning to enjoy grass. "I just have 20 years old and I need improve and improve always," he said. His English will get better, too.

As for his first Wimbledon quarter-final, it would plainly be wrong to say that Nadal did not break sweat: a bundle of drenched towels prove otherwise, not to mention some impressive grunting and groaning that was occasionally matched by his opponent, giving the crowd something to chuckle about.

There was also the almost obligatory lone cry of "C'mon Tim!" in the third set, causing a further ripple of merriment. It was appreciated particularly by one Spanish journalist, who kept repeating "Vamos Teem!" under his breath, and heaving with laughter. Whether at the mordant, ironic wit of the British, or at the conspicuous absence of a home-grown player in the later stages of these championships, it was hard to know.

Nieminen had only a handful of chances to frustrate the second seed, and failed to take any of them. At 4-5 in the second set, having just delivered a pair of double-faults to lose his own service game, he found himself 0-30 up against the Nadal serve. But Nadal simply cranked up the tempo and soon closed out the set. In the third set the Finn had a break point to lead 3-1, but was again outgunned. Afterwards he shared Nadal's surprise that the Spaniard was playing so well on grass, but stopped short of tipping him to win the title. "For me, [Roger Federer] is still a very strong favourite," he said. "But you never know." First, of course, both Federer and Nadal have semi-finals day to negotiate.

But already Nadal will be reflecting on the fact that it is exactly 40 years since the only Spanish victory in the men's singles at Wimbledon; indeed the man who won that year, Manolo Santana, is here urging him on. It is not only England's footballers who have to grapple with the ghosts of 1966.

And it was not only Crouch, the man nicknamed "El Asparagus" by Spanish newspapers, who left Court One yesterday walking tall.

Men's semi-finals: Head-to-head

Roger Federer (1) v Jonas Bjorkman (Federer leads 3-0)

2001 Wimbledon, grass, outdoor, R32, Federer, 7-6, 6-3, 7-6.

2003 Marseilles, hard, indoor, Final, Federer, 6-2, 7-6.

2004 Rome Masters, clay, outdoor, R64, Federer, 7-6, 6-3.

Rafael Nadal (2) v Marcos Baghdatis (18) (Nadal leads 1-0)

2006 Indian Wells, hard, outdoor, QF, 7-5, 6-0.

07-07-2006, 04:56 AM
The Sun

He's a Raf diamond
7 July 2006

RAFA NADAL is most at home on a clay court or a Majorcan beach.

But the world No 2 is just starting to get a liking for grass.

In today’s battle of the holiday hotspots, Nadal faces Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus for a place in Sunday’s Wimbledon final.

Nadal was far too powerful for Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen yesterday as he roared to a straight sets win in the quarter-finals.

But the Spaniard is genuinely stunned he has reached the last four here, such is his lack of experience on this surface.

Nadal was so uncomfortable on grass that less than 24 hours after winning the French Open, he got on a Eurostar train to London, dumped his bags in a hotel and headed directly to Queen’s Club to practise on the green stuff.

And the hard work has clearly paid off as he beat Nieminen 6-3 6-4 6-4.

Nadal admitted: “It’s such a surprise for me to be in the semi-finals. It’s such a big thing. My goal was to come here and play a good tournament and improve a little bit on this surface.”

“I am obviously still learning. I am just 20 years old and need to improve.”

“In my first match against Alex Bogdanovic I did not play very well. Now I am playing with more confidence, especially with my serve.”

Nadal was always in command against the 22nd seed in a match which was hardly the most exciting contest.

A few nice shots, for sure, but nothing to get you on the edge of your seat.

Hopefully today’s clash with Baghdatis will have a bit more spark.

Nadal will certainly face a tougher test than he did on Court One yesterday.

It seems a certainty the winner will face Roger Federer in Sunday’s showpiece, with the Swiss star hot favourite to beat Sweden’s Jonas Bjorkman in the other semi-final. Yet Nadal insisted: “I am not looking at the final. I never do.”

“I have a tough semi-final against a player who is doing extremely well.”

One thing is guaranteed on Centre Court today — Nadal will take an age between points when serving.

At times yesterday, the delay was 30 seconds — five longer than the rules allow.

A few umpires have mentioned it before and during games but no one really seems to be doing anything about it.

Nieminen said: “Compared with others, Rafa is taking a lot of time. But it wasn’t a negative effect on me.”

The Herald

Tennis: Nadal looking more at home on the surface

7 July 2006

Rafael Nadal is finding English harder to learn than the art of grass-court tennis. The man from Majorca may have to turn to his interpreter when he struggles with words but he does not need advice from anyone on how to play the game, whatever the surface.

After a serious scare at the hands of the unheralded American Robert Kendrick in the second round, where he lost the first two sets and won the third only on a tie-breaker, he has quietly made his way to the semi-finals.

Yesterday, he trounced the Finn, Jarkko Nieminen, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, on No.1 Court. For a clay-court specialist, his serves were deep and consistent, and he hardly missed a return.

His reward is a clash with the Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in the more promising of today's semi-finals. Roger Federer is hot favourite to breeze past the Swedish veteran, Jonas Bjorkman, whereas the match between the 20-year-old Majorcan and the Cypriot, who is 21, involves two of the tour's most charismatic players.

Nadal has been criticised by opponents, including Andre Agassi, for taking too long to get ready between points, and watching him close up, it certainly looks as if it is a tactical ploy to pinpoint his serves and work out his game plan.

Nieminen, a fellow left-hander, had no answer for Nadal's style of play. The Majorcan's sheer power is too much for most players and he now has a genuine chance of securing back-to-back French Open and Wimbledon titles, a feat which has not been achieved since Bjorn Borg did so in 1980.
Although Baghdatis will be tougher, Nadal believes he has the ability to win today.

"I am serving with confidence, maybe," said Nadal. "I play some bad points, not much, but some ones. My serve is with confidence. I find a little bit of consistency in my serve, because I can serve at 112 miles [per hour] with confidence. So I am happy, no? I am playing with all shots good, not bad."

"It is important for me to play Baghdatis today in a fast match, no? Is unbelievable tournament for me to be in the semi-finals of Wimbledon. I can do well."

Baghdatis trained at Aorangi Park, the training complex at Wimbledon, yesterday and was his usual smiling self.

Having scrambled past one Scot, Alan Mackin, in the first round – his opponent stopped just short of accusing him of gamesmanship after the Cypriot called for the services of the trainer twice during the fourth and fifth sets – Baghdatis showed in the fourth round against another Scot, Andy Murray, how good he is.

He also put up a decent showing against Federer in the Australian Open final earlier this year, so taking on Nadal today will hold him no fears. "Playing in Australia gave me great experience," he said. "I had some doubts in the middle of the year after that and some small injuries, but I have come back well.

"I think I have a chance of winning the tournament now. Why not? I'm in the semi-finals and everybody can beat everybody at that stage. Nadal had to play yesterday and I didn't, which means I have had an extra rest day; that is an advantage to me."

Most money may be on Nadal's power play but the crowd favourite will be Baghdatis, who has lit up the tournament.



Nadal makes strides on grass to muscle aside angular Finn

The Spaniard is showing the form that could lead to a final with Federer and even back-to-back slams

Richard Jago at Wimbledon
Friday July 7, 2006

Rafael Nadal intruded on what was supposed to be a ladies day and arrived 24 hours late in the semi-finals of the men's singles. But so quickly did he make up for lost time during a 2hr 10min 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 trouncing of Jarkko Nieminen that it no longer sounded quite so daft to whisper that he has a chance of becoming the first man to win Wimbledon and the French Open back-to-back since Bjorn Borg 26 years ago. So quickly is he adapting to the insecurities of the surface in only his fifth grass-court event that an eighth meeting with Roger Federer in Nadal's first Wimbledon final now looks a possibility.

No one should be fooled that yesterday's was either an easy match or an easy opponent. Nieminen is an angular spiky-haired, surprisingly emotional Finn who accidentally bounced his racket over a fence in joy at winning his previous match and who recently reached the top 20 for the first time. He also gave Nadal a hard time recently in Barcelona and it was possibly the intensity of his feelings on the greatest stage of his career which prevented him from making it even harder.

"I played a very good match and it was difficult for him to play his game," said Nadal, managing not to sound the slightest bit immodest. "He found it harder to hold serve than me. He was never leading so it was difficult for him."

This was probably Nadal's best grass- court match so far. He served excellently - harder than usual with the first delivery, secure but forcing with the second - and did not drop a service game all through. One break of serve in each set was enough to see him home. He also took his groundstrokes much closer to the baseline than on clay, relying less on his vast powers of containment and counter-attack and frequently forcing the issue without inconsistency. "His game is more dangerous on clay but he's playing really well on grass too, it's really surprising," said Nieminen.

From the moment the umpire called "play" and there was a 25-second delay before Nadal served, his was a methodical, well thought out, well-adapted performance in which progress was hard-worked but largely uninterrupted. Nor were there complaints, as in the Agassi match, about time-wasting. Nadal broke serve at the second attempt, pummelling three points with muscular forehands and making the fourth with a searing pass. By the time he had consolidated this advantage to 5-2 he was already constructing different rallies, twice winning points with decent approaches and decent volleys.

These, though, were occasional staccato interludes in lengthier more flowing rhythms, many of which brought exciting moments within a predictable overall direction. Had Nieminen taken a couple of brief chances to reach break point in the third game he might have inhibited Nadal's growing confidence. But while the Finn had the weapons and the tactics he may not have been mentally ready for such a breakthrough.

Another long game in the second of the second set saw Nadal save break point with a fierce drive, a fierce approach and a solid smash. If there was a moment when the 20-year-old realised that he was coming of age on this surface this might have been it. Nieminen had only one other chance for a break, at 2-1 in the third set when Nadal averted danger with a heavy serve, following it with another in an impressive change of gear.

By now the viperish quality of the yellow-and-black markings on Nadal's racket had become more conspicuous as was the happily silent composure of his uncle-coach Toni, whose courtside "encouragement" recently brought him a private audience with a critical Roger Federer.

Nieminen lost the second set with two double faults to drop serve in the penultimate game, and five games into the third the watching Peter Crouch decided it was over and departed. He was right. Two games later Nieminen's hopes evaporated when he misjudged a bounce at break point down at 3-4. Although he tried to break back with gambles at the net his volleying betrayed him. At the end Nadal threw off his sweaty bandanna with alacrity. The weather had grown hot and one could imagine the line judges in their twenties stripey ties wanting to do something similar.

Could he win the title, Nadal was asked. "No, I am in the semi-finals, no?" he replied. "I have a difficult match [with Marcos Baghdatis] so it is stupid to think about the final." He added: "My goal here was to improve. I think have done that."

But he did agree that it was important to have won in three straight sets to save energy for today. Nieminen was more forthcoming when asked if Nadal might take Federer's title. "Well you always have to beat him," said Nieminen. "He [Nadal] gets so many balls back so it won't be easy for anyone. Roger is playing so well on grass that for me he is still a very strong favourite. But you never know."


Marcos Baghdatis Cyprus
Age 21
Seeded 18
Career prize money $1.03m
Born Limassol
Lives Limassol
Grand slam titles 0

Rafael Nadal Spain
Age 20
Seeded 2
Career prize money $7.1m
Born Mallorca
Lives Mallorca
Grand slam titles 2 (French 2005, 2006)

Nadal leads 1-0

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006


07-07-2006, 07:07 AM
veyonce thanks for all the wonderful articles :) It's great that Rafa is in a Semi-Final on a grass court :woohoo: Vamos Rafa :yippee:

07-07-2006, 09:43 AM
Vamoosss Rafa :bounce: You can beat Marcos. Vamossss.

07-07-2006, 10:57 AM
:woohoo: Go Rafaa :woohoo:

07-07-2006, 06:18 PM
Who would have thought that two weeks ago...Rafa in the final! :eek: :woohoo: :yippee:

07-07-2006, 06:19 PM
Congrats to Rafa for his 1st Semi-Final win on grass :woohoo: I'm sorry I got so excited I'm not sure about the score. Anyway Rafa won :yippee:

07-07-2006, 06:21 PM
Rafa :bowdown::bowdown::bowdown:

07-07-2006, 06:38 PM


:banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana:

07-07-2006, 06:40 PM
OMG, I am sooo scared of the final. I better stay away from GM. :tape: :tape:
The score was 6-1 7-5 6-3 if you forgot, Mae! :lol:
Oh dear, oh dear. I am not sure I want this final. :scared: :unsure: :bolt:

07-07-2006, 06:46 PM
The stats:
http://img429.imageshack.us/img429/7074/mssf6xq.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

I'm not scared of the final at all. Rafa is the underdog, he has nothing to lose, he can play freely. I don't expect him to win, but after all he's done I wouldn't be shocked if he did. :lol:

07-07-2006, 06:51 PM
MTF is going to explode that for sure. :lol: :tape: :ignore: :unsure: :scared: :bolt:
I better stay away from the Fedtards. :wavey:

07-07-2006, 07:05 PM
OMG ~ wot a fantastic match !!!!!

Rafa in the final :woohoo: :woohoo:

07-07-2006, 07:06 PM
I expected Rafa to beat Marcos. But I certainly didn't expect him to beat Baggy in such style. :worship: The match was simply amazing. I felt bad that Baggy failed in important moments, because if he didn't fail, it would prove even further how solid Rafa is on grass. But all in all, it was Rafa too who put the pressure on Baggy.

His move and his shots on grass now are just great. I dont think anyone who have watched that match and is smart enough would still have the nerves to argue and dismiss him as a dirtballer tho. Those who do obviously didn't see the match. I can't say if it is the best match because I have not watched all... but this is certainly one of the best.

Fedtards can stay in denial as much as they can about Rafa's ability on grass. I dont think many of them even have the balls :angel: to watch it.

07-07-2006, 07:15 PM
^^^ :yeah:

From the official site:
Nadal Sets Up Federer Final

Friday, 7 July, 2006

The incredible Rafael Nadal continues to storm his way through the 2006 Championships. Another full-blooded battling performance left the gallant Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis beaten in straight sets, 6-1, 7-5, 6-3, after two hours 26 minutes.

So Sunday's final will not only be between the first and second men's seeds but features the two men who contested last month's French Open final, won by Nadal.

Despite Federer's domination of Wimbledon, Nadal is someone who will fancy his chance of dominating the world number on grass just as he has done on clay.

Just like Federer, Nadal has dropped his serve only twice in six matches so far, the same as Federer and today he fought off nine break points to preserve that mark.

Poor Baghdatis must have wondered just what he had to do to achieve that break of serve, since every time he faced danger Nadal produced something extra special.

Even in the first set, which Nadal swept in exactly half an hour by breaking the Cypriot three times, Baghdatis held two break points in the sixth game.

Trading shots with Nadal, as Baghdatis attempted to do, did not prove the wisest of tactics against someone capable of hitting the ball deeper and harder.

Though Baghdatis halted Nadal's five-game winning streak by holding serve to 1-1 in the second set, Nadal was always in front, and pushing hard for his two-set lead. At this stage Baghdatis was getting his best reward from a sequence of drop shots which worked well against someone playing from the baseline, or behind it.

Four of them worked, but Nadal was quickly onto the ruse and ran down subsequent ones. He held two set points at 5-4. Baghdatis saved them bravely and, with the help of his first two aces of the match, held serve to 5-5.

At 6-5 to Nadal another set point was luckily saved by the Cypriot when what looked a wide serve was called good, but the Spaniard promptly worked his fourth set point and clinched it with a forehand winner which landed on the line.

As he laboured in the face of Nadal's relentless onslaught, Baghdatis fell several times in the third set and was clearly tiring, though he might have done himself more serious injury when he struck himself repeatedly over the head with his racket after failing to convert two break points in the opening game of the third set.

Nadal then broke serve for the fifth time in the match to go 3-1 ahead, putting away a high forehand volley after the ball had struck the tape and bounced up invitingly. Still Baghdatis battled, missing four more break points at 2-4, but when it was Nadal's time to serve for the match he did not falter, going to match point after a 19-shot rally and then sealing victory with a smash.

Ever the showman, Nadal fell to his knees to celebrate. Sunday should be memorable.

Written by Ronald Atkin

07-07-2006, 07:31 PM
From Forbes:
Associated Press

Federer Vs. Nadal in Wimbledon Final

By STEPHEN WILSON , 07.07.2006, 03:05 PM

It's Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal in another Grand Slam final. Federer, hitting breathtaking winners from all parts of the court, overwhelmed Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman 6-2, 6-0, 6-2 in 77 minutes Saturday to close in on his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title.

With the loss of only four games by Federer, it was the most one-sided men's semifinal at Wimbledon since the tournament adopted its current format in 1922.

Nadal, the two-time French Open champion, continued his stunning run on grass by beating Marcos Baghdatis, 6-1, 7-5, 6-3 to reach his first Wimbledon championship.

Nadal has beaten Federer in four finals this year, including at the French Open last month, and has a 6-1 career edge. Federer is 55-0 against all other players this year.

The 20-year-old Nadal is bidding to become the first Spaniard to win the title here since Manolo Santana in 1966, and the first player to win the French and Wimbledon in the same year since Bjorn Borg in 1980.

It's the first time since 1952 that the same players have reached back-to-back finals at the French Open and Wimbledon.

While Federer came into the tournament as the overwhelming favorite, few expected Nadal to get very far. He's won a record 60 straight clay-court matches but had little expectations in only his fifth grass-court event.

Nadal was close to tears after the match.

"I'm very emotional," he said. "It's amazing to be in the finals."

While Federer's victory was lopsided, Nadal had to work extremely hard to hold off a spirited challenge from Baghdatis, the 21-year-old Australian Open runner-up from Cyprus.

The match lasted just under 2 1/2 hours, and the second set produced some of the best tennis and drama of the tournament.

Nadal saved all nine break points against him and broke five times. He hasn't dropped serve since the second round and has won 15 sets in a row.

After putting away an overhead on match point, Nadal dropped to his knees, leaned back and pumped both arms three times. After the handshake, he went back to the center of the court, fell to his knees again and raised his arms as the crowd gave him a rousing ovation.

Nadal lost just one game to take the first set in 30 minutes. But the second set was as tight as it gets, with both players hitting soft drop shots, making great gets and going for winners. The set was decided on one service break, and it came in the 12th game when Nadal ended a long rally by ripping an inside-outside forehand which hit the sideline.

Nadal went up a break in the third at 3-1 on a thrilling point. After luring Nadal to net with a drop shot, Baghdatis had the open court, but his shot hit the top of the net and popped in the air. Nadal, who had slipped and fallen, sprang to his feet and hit a reflex volley to win the point.

In the seventh game, Nadal fell behind 0-40 but managed to save four break points. Baghdatis felt aggrieved when the linesman called his shot long at 30-40. Replays showed the ball hit the line. "No way, no way, no way," Baghdatis said to chair umpire Andreas Egli. The call stood, and Nadal went on to hold.

Federer won 11 consecutive games at one stretch against the 59th-ranked Bjorkman to extend his Open era record grass-court winning streak to 47. He hasn't dropped a set all tournament, and could become the first player to win the title without losing a set since Bjorn Borg in 1976.

"I was flawless," Federer said. "I had high expectations to win this match today. And then to come through and play at the level I did today, that's great."

He was in that rarefied zone where it seemed as if he could do no wrong.

"It's just a beautiful feeling," he said. "You don't get it very often. When you can dominate an opponent, it's always sort of nice. But then especially in a semifinals of a Grand Slam, it's even better."

Federer is the first player since Fred Stolle in 1965 to get to the final of five straight majors. He's reached 16 straight consecutive tournament finals in all.

The 24-year-old Swiss is on course to become the third man in the Open era to win four straight Wimbledons, joining Bjorn Borg (five straight from 1976-80) and Pete Sampras (1997-00).

The 34-year-old Bjorkman, the oldest Wimbledon men's semifinalist since Jimmy Connors in 1987, is one of the world's top doubles players but was no match for Federer.

"I felt like I played a guy who was as near perfection as you can play the game," Bjorkman said. "I had the best seat in the house in a way. He just makes it look very simple."

Federer had 30 winners, including nine aces, and only 13 unforced errors. He broke Bjorkman seven times and never faced a break point. Federer won nearly twice as many points - 80 to 43.

At the end of the match, Bjorkman smilingly asked Federer whether he was seeing the ball as big as a "bowling ball or a basketball."

"He said, `Yes, it was almost like that,'" Bjorkman said.

In Saturday's women's final, top-seeded Amelie Mauresmo plays No. 3 Henin-Hardenne in their second Grand Slam championship matchup this year. Henin-Hardenne retired because of stomach pain trailing 6-1, 2-0 at the Australian Open in January, handing the Frenchwoman her first major title.

Henin-Hardenne is bidding to complete a career Grand Slam by securing the only major championship missing from her collection.

07-07-2006, 07:36 PM
:woohoo: well done Rafa :D

07-07-2006, 07:50 PM
From Reuters ( http://ca.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=sportsNews&storyID=2006-07-07T185638Z_01_L07725144_RTRIDST_0_SPORTS-TENNIS-WIMBLEDON-COL.XML):
Federer and Nadal line up another duel

Fri Jul 7, 2006 2:56 PM EDT

By Bill Barclay

LONDON (Reuters) - With perfect symmetry, Roger Federer will entertain Rafael Nadal on his favorite tennis court on Sunday after the world's two best players won their Wimbledon semi-finals comfortably on Friday.

A month ago Nadal played and beat Federer in the French Open final on his own preferred surface of clay at Roland Garros but the Mallorcan will be a clear underdog on Sunday.

In the last four, triple defending champion Federer thrashed 34-year-old Swede Jonas Bjorkman 6-2 6-0 6-2. It was the heaviest Wimbledon semi-final beating dished out since the abolition of the challenge round 84 years ago.

Nadal downed Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 6-1 7-5 6-3, a victory that showed he had come to terms with a grasscourt surface on which until a month ago he was considered a novice.

The 20-year-old second seed has won five of his six matches at this Wimbledon in straight sets and he will have the confidence of knowing he has beaten Federer in four finals already this year.

None though, were on grass, where the gulf between the Swiss and the rest of the men's players is at its greatest.

Federer has yet to drop a set in the tournament and has won a professional era record 47 matches in a row on grass.

"It was flawless," the top seed said, and there was no disputing that after his 77-minute exhibition in a match delayed two hours by rain.

"It's just a beautiful feeling. When you can dominate an opponent, it's always sort of nice. But especially in the semi-finals of a grand slam, it's even better I think."

Bjorkman was an admiring spectator for most of it as Federer struck a series of shots that other players pull off only in their dreams.

"Today I felt like I played a guy who was as near as perfection you can play the game," said Bjorkman. "I had the best seat in the house, in a way. He just makes it look very simple."


Nadal became the first Spaniard to reach the men's final since Manuel Orantes in 1966 with a victory over Australian Open runner-up Baghdatis that was just as impressive, if not quite so effortless.

He was able to match Baghdatis's court covering ability and eventually wore the Cypriot out with his greater weight of shot.

Nadal smashed away match point before falling to his knees and pumping both his well muscled arms in his moment of triumph, almost as if he had won the final itself.

Sportingly he then walked over to applaud Baghdatis's band of supporters whose enthusiasm has matched their hero's.

Nadal will be playing in only his third grand slam final on Sunday.

"I'm emotional," he said. "I'm amazed to even be in the final. It was a tough match but I played with a lot of concentration."

Baghdatis said: "I played quite well but I didn't find the solution to win. I didn't take my chances. But it's been fun being here. I've started to like grass."

07-07-2006, 08:02 PM
From the official site:
Fired-up Nadal Makes Final Diversion

Friday, 7 July, 2006

The most under-estimated man in the tournament blasted his way through to the Wimbledon final this evening. Rafael Nadal may be the number two seed and twice a Grand Slam champion, but he arrived in SW19 regarded as merely an interesting diversion. He was nobody's pick to play so brilliantly on the green stuff that he would earn the right to face Roger Federer on Sunday. But today this unrecognisably improved grasscourt player brushed aside the tough 18th seed Marcos Baghdatis 6-1, 7-5, 6-3

This was a match which was widely anticipated to go the distance, and many observers favoured Baghdatis as the likely finalist. The Cypriot was at times dazzling, always resourceful, and never gave up. "It's in the Bagh," read one fan's t-shirt at courtside. But Nadal's lustre would not be dimmed for so much as a set.

Yet throughout the match Baghdatis had nine chances to do what only one other player – strangely, Robert Kendrick, the man ranked 237 whom Nadal struggled to beat in the second round – has done, namely break the Spaniard's serve. The eighth break point was particularly agonising, as Hawkeye technology showed that the break should have stood. But it didn't.

Nadal's appetite for today's task was plain from the start. Even before the match began he ran out on to Centre Court, as if he had already broken serve and was on his way back to his chair for the changeover. Even the toss went his way, and then he sprinted to the baseline for the warm-up, dodging and weaving like a rugby player on his way to the tryline. No wonder he elected to receive, judging by the way he attacked the Baghdatis serve from the outset. An error from the Cypriot handed over the break.

Baghdatis was not visibly down-hearted, playing keepy-uppy in the next game with a ball he had received via a Nadal ace (Baghdatis is among the select band of devotees who support Apollo Football Club on his home island). But Nadal was pushing him back behind the baseline with heavy, pacey groundstrokes, and if Baghdatis could claim the first service break was down to early nerves, he could not say the same when Nadal broke again for 4-1. It felt as if the set went cheaply, and Baghdatis could ill-afford such a loss.

There was nothing cheap about the superlative quality and entertainment of the second set. Nor was there any let-up in the depth of Nadal's groundstrokes. Baghdatis, too, was producing simply marvellous stuff, which was just as well because his need was the greater – it was difficult to envisage him coming back from two sets down to an opponent in this mood. Meantime, pity the crowd whose loyalties were torn. They loved Nadal for his swashbuckling play, and for the prospect of that final against Federer. But they cheered Baghdatis too, for his beaming countenance, and the deftness of his touch.

In the second set the Cypriot escaped from Nadal's first set point courtesy of a linecall so clearly erroneous that it had the Spaniard gesticulating in wild despair. But he buckled down at once to securing another opportunity, and converted it with a flourish.

What mountaineer could have conquered such a formidable peak? Baghdatis kept going, deploying time and again the breathtaking dropshot with which he outwitted even Nadal's famous haste about the court. But at 1-2 and on break point, for the first time Nadal reached it, beginning an extraordinary exchange which gave the Spaniard 3-1. There was no way back.

The Cypriot's reward for reaching the semi-final will come next Monday, when he will find his ranking elevated inside the top ten for the first time in his career. Meanwhile Nadal has suffered just two breaks of serve this Wimbledon. Just one other player can boast the same. Using your skill and judgement, try to work out that other player's name.

The final is an utterly intriguing prospect. It hardly seems possible that any player today could hold a 6-1 win-loss advantage over Federer, but Nadal is that man. Can he succeed where others have failed this summer and denude Federer of as much as one set at Wimbledon, never mind three? Will Federer continue on the upward curve of form he has shown this fortnight, and simply thrash Nadal as if he were some ordinary opponent? Is there anyone at all who can truly claim they believe the Spaniard will win?

Nadal has played throughout this Wimbledon with joy, as if relishing each new day of learning in his grasscourt education. Whether he will relish Sunday's lesson remains to be seen. Despite the vast praise he merits for his achievements this Wimbledon, he will need to prove himself the most under-estimated grasscourt player of all time if he is to defeat Roger Federer.

Written by Kate Battersby

07-07-2006, 08:22 PM
Rafa's interview:
R. Nadal Interview - Day 11
Friday, 7 July, 2006

Q. Since the beginning of the tournament you've said you just wanted to improve on grass. Now you're in the finals. How do you feel? Are you surprised?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, sure, I am surprised, no? Maybe I improve it a little bit, no? So, sure, no, is I'm very happy now for me. Is unbelievable results here, no? Is very difficult. For me, is the most difficult thing in the year for sure, no, and the best tournament for me when I playing, no?

Q. What do you feel you now need to do for Sunday?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. I just finish my match. But, sure, I gonna have a very, very, very difficult match I gonna play against one of the best of the history, especially in this surface in all surface, but in this one more. So I need play my best match in my life, no, for win. So I gonna try that.

Q. Two weeks ago you said you thought you had no chance of winning Wimbledon. Here you are. How have you learned so much so quickly?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know, no? I put my best in every practice, in every match, every point. I am playing with a lot of concentration, with big motivation. I enjoying, no? I am playing, enjoying the tournament.
I put all on the court always, no? So maybe for that I am in the final, no?

Q. Can I ask you to comment why you won't go to Swedish Open? Can you also give a message to your Swedish fans, especially female fans.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, for me is impossible to go to Swedish, no? Is one of my favorite tournaments of the year. I was there the last three years. So for me is very nice, this place. I am disappointed for don't go to Bastad. But is impossible after after I don't know. I have the last months. I just stop three days, no? Is not is impossible, no?But I want to say sorry to the Swedish fans and see you in Stockholm, no?

Q. At one point, Baghdatis hit a serve that was wide and it was called good and you were very upset for a moment. Can you talk about how you kept your focus after that happened and didn't continue to be upset.

RAFAEL NADAL: The ball was out or good?

Q. It was out.

RAFAEL NADAL: I say to the referee, After, go to the TV. No, no, I am sure. I am sure is in the line. After, go to the TV. No, sure is a tough moment because I saw the ball out, and is a set point, set point for the second set. And was very important for me, no? But is not good for me, this moment. But after I Marcos the next point I remember, the next point, no? I have a return. He go first (indiscernible), I return slice. He put one ball, I arrive very difficult, I put another one very easy for me, and he repeat me, no? I put the passing here and he miss the backhand volley, no? So this point, this point was decisive in the match, no?

Q. In the last five matches, your serving has been way up here.

RAFAEL NADAL: The last six. Because in the second, in the second match I lost the first two sets, but in the I win third. I win the next three. But, yeah, today I have a lot of problem, a lot of breakpoints.

Q. But you held serve every time.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, but I have one Love 40.

Q. But the whole point is you concentrated and held serve. Have you ever concentrated as much as you have on your serve in this tournament?

RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, I am serving well, I am playing with very good concentration in my serve. Because if you don't lose a serve for five match, is impossible without a good concentration don't lose the serve, no, especially with my serve, no? So I am serving well. I am serving with confidence. Today maybe is the day of the day when I have more breakpoints down. But I don't know, no? I have little bit lucky in the 4 3, Love 40. 4 3, 4 2? In the third?

Q. 4 2.

RAFAEL NADAL: 4 2. Yes, 4 2, Love 40. I play very good point. But after, I all the time stay with very good concentration, so that's very important, no?

Q. Do you take any inspiration from knowing that Bjorn Borg, who was fundamentally a clay court player, played with a clay court grip, etc., was such a great champion here?

RAFAEL NADAL: I can't give a lot this relation to Borg because I never saw him, I just saw him some points when is raining. In the locker is putting the last finals, no? But sure, if he yeah, Borg, he was unbelievable, no? He won six times in Roland Garros, five times here. So that's unbelievable, no?

Q. Because you have such a good record already against Roger, does it mean that even though it's on grass you can play him with no fear?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Speaking Spanish). Oh, sorry. I have fear to Roger any surface, no? So on this surface more because he is the best, no? He is the best on all surfaces, but here more, no? More different. If you look his matches, he is winning very easy. He is playing very good and he won the last three times here and this year is in the final. So gonna be very, very difficult, no?

Q. Are you having to play differently on grass to how you play on clay?


Q. Do you play different tennis on grass to how you play on clay?

RAFAEL NADAL: I play more aggressive for sure, no? With putting more concentration in the serve. When I touch the ball with my forehand, I am trying every shot doing do anything, no? I going to the net more times. I am using a little bit more the slice sometimes. So that's the change, no? And I am running good now, no? I am running. I adapt very good the run here. I am running very well, no?

Q. You said you were happy with the preparation that you made after the French Open for grass. Can you talk a little bit about how you prepared and how you adjusted your game for the grass?

RAFAEL NADAL: I am happy with the preparation because I put my best mentality after French. Is not easy, won a Grand Slam, Monte Carlo, Rome, Barcelona, and after that continuing with the best concentration, no?So after the final of French Open, the next day I come to Queen's and I am practicing in Queen's the next day, no, and the next afternoon. The next day, I played double no, it was raining. The next day I am trying to practice more. I am trying. My idea was practice four hours the next day, but I can't because was raining. I played the first match against Mardy Fish with very good concentration, with very good motivation. I know before the match I know is gonna be very difficult match, but is important. If I win this match, if I can play some matches here, that's very important for Wimbledon, no? So I am trying my best there. I finish because I have my problem in the shoulder. And after, I come back to Mallorca just two days, no, because I have one TV spot. And I come back here, no, on Tuesday morning for practicing Tuesday afternoon. I am practicing every day. So that's my preparation, no?

Q. Would you swap your two French Open titles for one Wimbledon title?


Q. Would you prefer to win one Wimbledon title ahead of your two French Open titles?

RAFAEL NADAL: I prefer two (smiling). I prefer two: two French and one Wimbledon.

Q. Why does Wimbledon mean so much to you, because some Spanish players have not given Wimbledon so much importance over the years?

RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe the Spanish put importance, no? But sometimes the Spanish playing, is playing the lot of matches on clay and come back here a little bit tired. But is important put a good motivation, good concentration and in the preparation for this tournament. But we play good, no? We play Verdasco here, fourth round, with two sets one, 3 0 for be in the quarterfinals. Ferrer lost against Hewitt in fourth round, too. Ferrero lost last year in fourth round, too. Feliciano last year is in quarterfinals. We are not playing very bad. We are very improving maybe.

Q. Today it was raining early on and your match was delayed. Do you have a problem at all when it rains? Do you ever get worried by the rain?

RAFAEL NADAL: Can you repeat, please?

Q. When it rains, does that ever worry you?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, sure, no? Is boring, no? I am in the locker room, waiting. I come to the here outside in the grass. Yeah, outside, here. So, no, not a lot of things I can do, no, because today I can't go to the home because I am not practicing before. So I am waiting. Very good patience, no?

07-07-2006, 08:25 PM
Marcos's interview:
M. Baghdatis Interview - Day 11
Friday, 7 July, 2006

Q. How frustrating was that today? You actually played quite well, didn't you, the second and third sets?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, was playing quite well, but I didn't find the solution to win. That's the most difficult thing, frustrating.

Q. You had a few chances, didn't you?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, I had a few chances in the second set to break him. I didn't. I didn't take my chances. In the third set I got broken once and I had another chance to come back, Love 40 on his serve. That's all.

Q. You had a bit of a dodgy call as well, didn't you, in one of your breakpoints?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, it happens. It happens to everybody. I cannot say that turned the match. I was two sets down. But it happens to everybody.

Q. Could you tell us about your experiences of Wimbledon and how you've enjoyed it? The crowd's really taken to you?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, it's been fun. It's been fun being here. I start to like grass. That's a good thing. And, like I said, it's just another experience for me. I played a semis of a Grand Slam. The most positive thing is that I feel close to the top, and close to Nadal, close to Federer. That's the most important thing. I feel that I need some more experience to maybe have a win at them.

Q. Do you think Rafael can get near Roger on Sunday?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: I mean, everybody can get near everybody. Everybody can get near everybody.

Q. Not with Roger. No one else has so far. Do you think Rafael could be the first man here to?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: I don't know. I don't know. Just think that my thinking is that every day is different and everybody can beat everybody. I mean, Roger, it's sure that he's playing great tennis, but everybody can do anything.

Q. Nadal seems to have this quality that whatever you get at him, he still somehow gets the ball back again. How hard is that to deal with?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, I mean, it's pretty hard. Not a lot of players in the circuit like this. When you're playing against him, you just lose some points in important moments that he brings the ball back one time more and you just miss it because you're not ready. That's why I said it's a matter of experience for me to play at this level all the time and gain some more confident.

Q. Is it key to attack the net more?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, but I mean, not like pushing it. You have to be patient, just try to find the perfect shot at the right time to go to the net.

Q. And if you are able to do that, how do you think he can deal with that?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: I mean, I was playing really aggressive today in the second set and he didn't like it. He was under pressure, I think. But, like I said, important points, I wasn't there. I didn't take my chances. So for sure he doesn't like it when you aggress him all the time. But it's not easy to do also. It looks maybe easy outside the court, but I can tell you inside it's not really easy.

Q. If you had to say, who do you think is the best player in the world right now?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Roger. Most talented. He can play everywhere. He's a great athlete. Maybe Roger about 5% more than Nadal.

Q. So they're close?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, they're very close. They're the two best players in the world at the moment. You cannot say one is the best, you have to take both of them. They're playing great tennis, and I think they have a step ahead of the other players in the Top 10.

Q. If you had to use a word or a phrase to express this wonderful year you've had, what word, what phrase would you use?


Q. Because?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Because I'm having fun in my life and I'm succeeding. Not a lot of people have this chance to do what I'm doing. I'm just trying to have fun with it and enjoy it and, I mean, that's all (smiling).

Q. You lost to him in Indian Wells, yes, 6 0 in the second. Do you feel today you made progress? Obviously, your second set here was fantastic. Do you feel like you're getting closer figuring him out a little bit?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, I mean, like I said, it's a matter of experience. That's all. I mean, he has two years more on the circuit than me, and it's my first year that I'm really on the circuit playing Top 20 and Top 10. So he's been here for a bit longer than me, has more experience. I just need time to gain confident in me and believe in my ability.

Q. Could you speak about how you felt coming out on the court for the first set. Were you a little bit nervous? Were you surprised at how quickly Rafa got off to a start? Did it take you a while to find your game?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, I was a bit nervous. I wasn't so confident on the court, I can say. I wasn't having fun. But it's a bit normal, like I said. It's a bit of experience. And after I played a great tennis. I just relaxed and just played great tennis. So I cannot say was a bad match. It was a great match from both sides.

Q. Does Wimbledon need an instant replay or player challenge system? Is that disputed shot, the HawkEye system on TV showed it was in.

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, I don't really know about that. They tried it in Miami. I think it was not bad. It was good because you can challenge, you can see the call, that's good. But, I mean, tennis is like this today. I mean, that's not the reason I lost. But if they have a chance to put HawkEye challenge in this game, I wouldn't say no.

Q. If you have to find out some weakness on the Nadal play, which were this kind of weakness?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: There are not a lot, you know. I mean, there are not a lot. When he's in defense, he's playing unbelievable. He can put the ball he's nowhere and he can put the ball so deep and you cannot just go and play the other side. And, I mean, when he's attacking, I mean, the ball is like so fast. You just run everywhere and you don't know where to be on the court. He's a great player. He's serving pretty good. I think he's serving better than before and he's returning better than before, that's for sure. He doesn't have a lot of negative things in his game.

Q. How do you feel Rafa can beat Roger?


Q. How do you think he can beat him?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: I don't really know, to tell you the truth. I don't know.

Q. Did you see the French Open final?


Q. In your box there was a delightful little girl cheering. Who is she?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: It's a daughter of the owner of my academy of my academy of the academy I practice, sorry (smiling).

Q. Last time you left here, you were signing autographs for fans about 20 minutes. Do you enjoy the extra attention you're getting?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: It was five minutes. It was five minutes, not 20.

Q. Do you enjoy that extra attention you're getting as opposed to a year ago?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Do I enjoy? Yeah, it's fun. I like giving love to people. People give me love and they support me. That's all. I mean, it's important for me to show people that I'm not selfish and I want to show people who I really am.

Q. Do you think Rafa has been underrated at this Wimbledon?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: What does "underrated" mean?

Q. He's seeded 2, but nobody expected him to go so far.

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, of course, nobody expected him. But like I said, he's starting to feel good on grass. He's starting to play great tennis. I mean, I don't he had a good draw. I mean, the bottom half of the draw was not easy but, I mean, not a lot of players were there. All of them were up on the top half.
But, I mean, he deserves to be where he is, and he's a great player.

07-07-2006, 08:26 PM
Fedtards can stay in denial as much as they can about Rafa's ability on grass. I dont think many of them even have the balls :angel: to watch it.

Unlike our boy we do have balls :wavey:

07-07-2006, 08:29 PM
From Roger's interview:

Q. What is your preference in the second semi, would you like another shot at Rafa?

ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, both would be nice, you know, really. I had a great match with Marcos at the Australian Open. Would be nice to play him again, another Grand Slam final. At the same time, obviously I would like to play Rafael, you know, because of the matches we've had in the last couple of months. And so for this reason, doesn't matter who comes to the final.

Q. Who do you think is a tougher opponent for you?

ROGER FEDERER: I don't think there's much in between.

Q. If it is Rafa, how much of a difference do you think playing on grass will make?

ROGER FEDERER: We'll know Sunday night then.

Q. Do you expect to find it easier to hit as many winners as you are at the moment against Nadal on grass, given his retrieving abilities?

ROGER FEDERER: It's a totally different match. Obviously, he's a lefty. That changes many things. But it's normal on grass you play many more winners than other surfaces. It always depends how the opponent brings the ball back. Sometimes if they don't bring it back, you can't hit a winner. Also depends on these kind of things.

He definitely covers the court very well. It seems he does it better and better as more matches he plays on grass, too.


Q. How would you describe your confidence against Rafa?

ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, well, I guess it's a bit different. But, uhm, confidence against Rafa, I mean, it's there. I know I can beat him. I guess I don't need to think of, you know, playing against him. I need to focus on me playing on grass, my style of play, playing aggressive.

It's gonna be only easier on grass to do that than on clay where he can cover much more ground, when he can play further in the baseline. So, no, I'm confident for the finals no matter who it is really.


Q. One of the more interesting things that has been said during this fortnight was your admission that you like to beat your opponents on their own game. How does that mindset relate to your matches against Nadal regarding the French Open final and then eventual Wimbledon final?

ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, well, you know, I don't always play their game. But, uhm, I don't know. That was in my nature, you know, early on in my career, trying to beat guys the way they played. If they play from the baseline, I also used to also play much more from the baseline and so forth. But I still keep my type of game plan.

Now against Nadal, obviously it's so different that I cannot play like him because he's a lefty. I don't know. He's just totally different, you know. So for this reason, you know, I know I have to go back to my game plan, what I usually do and what usually works. This normally works against most of the players. Against Nadal, it hasn't been working the last few times. I hope I can turn that around in case he wins today.

07-07-2006, 10:48 PM
Come on Rafa in the final ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡

07-07-2006, 11:22 PM
Yeahh :bounce:
Even if he would lose i'd be happy:banana:
:aplot: that's cute

07-08-2006, 04:56 AM

Self-doubt demons plague Federer
By Angus MacKinnon in London
July 8, 2006

ROGER Federer will not only have to beat Rafael Nadal in Sunday's Wimbledon final.

The world No.1 must also overcome the self-doubt that appears to creep into his game every time he looks over the net and spies the hunk of Spanish muscle that stands between him and a fourth consecutive title at the All England Club.

Seven times the two best players on the planet have gone head to head, and only once has Federer emerged victorious.

That was on a Miami hard court last year, when Federer had to rally from two sets and a service break down to prevail.

Since then, Nadal has chalked up five straight victories, including a run of four this year that culminated in his four-sets triumph in last month's French Open final.

Past performance, of course, is no guide to future returns and Federer's supporters will be quick to point out that Nadal has never had to contend with their man's unrivalled range of shots on grass, a surface on which he is unbeaten in 47 matches.

“It will be a very difficult match against one of the best in history, especially on this surface,” said Nadal.

“I'll need play the best match of my life to win.”

By his own admission, Federer, who has yet to drop a set in this tournament, arrived in London two weeks ago struggling for his best form.

But with every match, his level of performance and his confidence have edged upwards, culminating in a near flawless semi-final demolition of Jonas Bjorkman.

The man on the receiving end of the heaviest semi-final defeat since records began has no doubts about Federer's right to be regarded as one of the all-time greats.

Bjorkman has been around long enough to have crossed swords with Pete Sampras and Stefan Edberg, and he believes that the different elements of Federer's attacking arsenal surpass even the biggest weapons of those grass court greats.

“Stefan's movement was so great, he was like a cat, so smooth,” said Bjorkman. “But Roger is almost above that. He doesn't look like he's moving a lot but he's always there and seems to have so much time to play his shots.

“Pete, on his serve, had that pure power combined with hitting it in the corners. But Roger can mix it up as well and with the same toss on every serve it makes it very hard to read.”

Such high praise does not however prevent Bjorkman from suggesting that Nadal's psychological edge over the Swiss could make Sunday's final a close-run thing.

“I think Nadal is probably the only one who has an idea about how to play Roger at the moment,” he said. “He's obviously managed to get into the head of Roger a little with the head-to-head record and that's going to help him in the final.

“And maybe with his lefty spin he can get Roger out of position a little bit more often than other guys can.”

Former champion Pat Cash echoed Bjorkman's comments when he observed that Nadal “gets under Federer's skin and produces nagging doubts deep inside his brain.”

That theory is certainly supported by the hesitant tone Federer adopts whenever the subject of Nadal comes up, his bullish comments apparently as much for his own benefit as for his audience.

“I know I can beat him,” Federer insisted, playing down the significance of his defeats by Nadal, four of which have come on slow clay courts.

“I don't need to think about playing him, I just need to focus on me playing on grass, my style of play and playing aggressive,” Federer said.

“That's easier to do on grass than clay where he can cover much more ground, so I'm confident.”

In public at least, Nadal has been happy to embrace the status of under-dog.

“It's Roger's surface,” he said modestly after the typically gritty display that allowed him to squeeze past Marcos Baghdatis, the conqueror of 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt, in the semi-finals.

Nadal also accounted for Andre Agassi on his way to the final, although it will not have been lost on Federer that the person who came closest to beating the Spaniard was the American qualifier Robert Kendrick, who served and volleyed his way into a two-set lead before running out of steam in the second round.

Federer might not go that far but he knows his way to the net and that could be the factor that makes the difference this time around.

But on the evidence Nadal has presented this year, this will not be his last chance to knock his rival off his Wimbledon throne.

Agence France-Presse



Nadal beats dashing Baghdatis
by Dave James in London
July 8, 2006

KING of clay Rafael Nadal will attempt to dethrone Roger Federer as the undisputed superman of grass after setting up a dream Wimbledon final against the triple champion overnight.

Twenty-year-old Nadal beat dashing Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 6-1, 7-5, 6-3 to become the youngest men's finalist since Boris Becker in 1986.

The win also gives the double French Open champion the opportunity to extend his staggering dominance of Federer, over whom he holds a 6-1 career record including all four meetings this year.

"It's a dream for me to make the final, I feel really emotional right now," said Nadal who also shrugged off his record over the Swiss world number one.

"This is his surface. It will be very tough."

Triple Wimbledon champion Federer made the final with an easy 6-2, 6-2, 6-0 win against Swedish veteran Jonas Bjorkman and Nadal seemed on course for an equally comfortable afternoon after a one-sided first set.

But Baghdatis, who knocked out 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt in the quarter-finals, won over Centre Court with his big-hearted resistance which eventually proved fruitless.

Nadal, bidding to become the first Spanish Wimbledon men's champion since Manolo Santana in 1966, stormed through the first set with three breaks in just 30 minutes.

Baghdatis recovered his composure in the second and had chances to break in the third and seventh games but the Spaniard, who came into the match not having lost his serve since the second round, held on.

The Cypriot, who was Australian Open runner-up in January, had Nadal on his toes, but he still had to fight off two set points in the 10th game and another in the 12th.

But he could do nothing with the fourth set point when Nadal unleashed a vicious forehand down the line to take the second set 7-5 after an entertaining 94 minutes on court.

Baghdatis had two more break points in the opening game of the third set.

Again, Nadal was equal to the challenge and he got his reward for his tenacity when he clinched a break to lead 3-1 with a stirring mixture of defence and attack on a point that Baghdatis had dominated.

A love service game followed for the Spaniard as the fight drained from the Cypriot wasted five break points in the seventh game which would have put him back in the tie.

Nadal punished his opponent for the last time when he took the match with a smash on his second match point after an enthralling two and a half hours.

Both men walked off to a standing ovation with Nadal sportingly saluting his opponent.

Agence France-Presse

07-08-2006, 03:33 PM
This gonna be the great final!I hope that Rafael has got enough strength to win this match.VAMOS RAFA!!! Rafael - the king of the courts :rocker:

07-08-2006, 05:49 PM
Rafa Enters the Dream Time

Saturday, 8 July, 2006

Just why does Rafael Nadal have the edge over Roger Federer, when all other players seem to trail in the Swiss champion’s wake? It’s a question that intrigues tennis watchers, but the truth is a closely held secret.

And if Nadal has insight, he’s not about to tell. When quizzed on the matter ahead of Sunday’s men’s singles final against the world No.1, the Spaniard could only respond with humour. It helped, he joked, to push Roger around a bit in the locker room before the pair stepped on court.

Those biceps almost make it believable …

“No, no, no, I don’t know, no?” Pushed to elaborate, Nadal offered: “I try my best. I fight every point. I continue believing with the victory all the time. But sure, it is not normal to win four consecutive times against one man just when he loses four matches in the year.”

In any case, Nadal knows his revelatory run over the past two weeks is nothing more than an entrée, for Federer at Wimbledon is a unique prospect. The pair haven’t played each other on grass before, and the Swiss has just broken Bjorn Borg’s winning streak on the surface. “He’s the favourite by far,” Nadal said. “I’m gonna need to play the best match of my life.”

If that means rich pickings for fans, the growing importance to the sport of his rivalry with Federer is not lost on the Spaniard. “Maybe it’s nice for people to watch finals [between] the same people, because maybe they can think this time Roger’s gonna win, this time Rafa’s gonna win. The No.1 against the No.2, maybe that’s good for tennis, no?”

He’s practised hard to adapt his game to grass – he says he doesn’t feel “strange” on the surface any more – and he’s settled into village life at Wimbledon with ease. The night before the final he’ll hang out at home, cook his dinner, and head for bed only when he feels ready.

Chances are he’ll dream about playing in the Wimbledon final, just as he did when he was a kid. “The dream is real, no? I was thinking the last days, the last week, if I am playing my best, I have a chance to be in the final.” And Federer should stand warned: “In my dream, when I was young, I would win, not lose,” Nadal said.

Written by Adam Lincoln


07-08-2006, 07:00 PM
Was the server down? Already?! :scared: :lol:
Rafa's interview:
R. Nadal Interview - Day 12
Saturday, 8 July, 2006

Q. Can you talk a little bit, you obviously have two uncles, one uncle is your coach and the other uncle, as we know, is a great Spanish footballer. Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration that he gave you as a boy?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, so my coach, I was with my uncle, my coach. I began with him at three years old. I am all life with him. So maybe for him I am now professional player, no? Without him, was impossible. So after, with my other uncle, with Miguel Angel, the football player, sure I have unbelievable relation with him, but now I have more relation with him than when he was in Barcelona because I am play living in Mallorca, he is living in Barcelona for eight years. I was speaking with him a lot of times on the phone. Sometimes I go to Barcelona for watch him.

But is different, no? You have more confident when you are watching him every day. Now I play (golf?) with him, I go to anything with him a lot of time, no? He has time now. But I don't have maybe my uncle is positive for my family. When I was beginning winning, everything... (speaking in Spanish).

THE INTERPRETER: They knew how to manage him, how to keep him humble.

RAFAEL NADAL: My family have a very good experience with him. It's good, have this experience, no?

Q. Do you feel you now are as big a star in Spain as your uncle?

RAFAEL NADAL: Is difficult to compare, no? First of all, the football is biggest than the tennis. He play three World Cups. He won the Champions League. He won maybe four or five ligas in Spain, championship in Spain. But he was not the No. 2 in the world, no (smiling)?

Q. You seem to have the evil eye over Federer. Why is this? You've won six of your battles against him. What do you do, do you intimidate him? Your sleeves and the muscle...

RAFAEL NADAL: Before the match in the locker I (pushing), after he go to the court a little bit... (smiling). No, no, no, I don't know, no? I always play very good matches against him. I am trying my best. I have little bit lucky, sure in Rome. In Dubai maybe, too, because I was losing easy. He was playing unbelievable.

But I don't know, no? Maybe I am try my best. I fight every point. I continuing believing with the victory all the time. But, sure, is not normal win four times consecutive against one man just when he just lose four matches in the year, no?

Q. He said earlier this is his surface and it all depends how much you want to win. He wants to win it badly. Now it's a test how much you want it as well.

RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe that's not true, no, because I want to win, for sure. But not for that reason because I gonna win, because is his best surface. He is the best in this surface, for sure, no doubt. He is the favorite by far. So I gonna try my best always, no? I gonna try my best. I gonna need play my best match in my life for try the victory, so I gonna try that.

Q. Do you have a tradition how to spend an evening before the final?
What do you usually do? Maybe you are trying to go to sleep early or visit some restaurants or listen to the same music.

RAFAEL NADAL: No, nothing special, no. The same like every day, no? I gonna go in my home, I gonna cook my dinner. Nothing special, no? I gonna sleep when I am tired. So nothing special, no? Maybe I don't gonna sleep very early, no, because I don't like to sleep a lot, no, and I can't.

Q. What does this rivalry mean to tennis, do you think, between you and Roger?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know, no? Maybe something's good, something's bad, no? I don't know exactly, no? For me, is good, sure, no? Maybe is nice for the people watch finals against the same people, no, because is nice one time you always can think this time gonna win Roger, this time gonna win Rafa. So maybe that's nice for the spectation (sic) against the No. 1, against the No. 2. Maybe that's good for tennis, no?

Q. How do you think you've been serving here?

RAFAEL NADAL: Serving? The best tournament in my life for sure. I just lose two times the serve.

Q. Because Roger has just said although your serve hasn't been broken, it should have been broken during some of these games.

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know exactly. I am not (speaking Spanish).

THE INTERPRETER: I don't agree very much.

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't agree very much Roger can say that. Because if he look my matches, maybe I just have one breakpoint in the second round against I lost one time in the second round against Kendrick. After that, I just have one breakpoint down, maybe? I don't remember exactly, but maybe is that, no? After, I don't have breakpoint against no one not one against Agassi, not one against Labadze, against Jarkko some one, I don't know, three or four. Yesterday I have nine, and I have one Love 40, sure.

Q. How much time did you spend on the practice courts? You said you adapted your game pretty quick to the surface. Did you spend more time on the practice courts here than other players?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know, but sure I was playing with a big motivation and a big illusion, no, every practice, very concentrate, enjoying. I enjoy the week off, the week before on Queen's, too. I was practicing. I was playing on Queen's with a good mentality, very positive attitude. So maybe this couple things is good for arriving to Wimbledon with confidence. So this was very important for me, the second round against Kendrick.

Q. How will Wimbledon compare to the achievement of your uncle winning the Champions League? Is it bigger?

RAFAEL NADAL: Is different, no? We can't compare the football with the tennis because is another sport, because is a teams, that's singles. So is stupid have the comparation (sic). Sure, the Champions League is the best thing in Europe for the win, no, the clubs, for clubs, no?

So in the tennis, winning Grand Slam is the best, too. So maybe you can't compare the football with tennis because the football involve a lot of people. The tennis involve people, but not the same, and you are playing just for one.

Q. By what percentage has your grass court game improved during this fortnight?

RAFAEL NADAL: A lot, because I was playing now with confidence, comfortable on court. I don't feel nothing strange when I go to the court, and that's the important, no?

Q. You said that when you was very, very young you was dreaming about this final, to play the final in Wimbledon. How this dream was finish, you was winning or you was losing? And do you are dreaming these days about tomorrow final? If you close your eyes, what happen?

RAFAEL NADAL: I was thinking I have a chance, because that's true, no?

Q. But the dream.

RAFAEL NADAL: The dream is the real, no? I was thinking the last days, the last week if I am playing my best tennis, I have a chance for be in this final, no? Now is very, very, very, very difficult. If I am playing good normally, I gonna lose tomorrow, no? But I know before tomorrow if I am playing my best tennis, I can play this final, no? So in my dream, when I was young, is win, not lose. But just I have 20, no? I hope is not the last.
Q. What does your uncle think of you supporting Real Madrid?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, when my uncle play on Barcelona, I support Barcelona, no, sure? Is my family, no? So, no, no, I don't have no problem. We speak football with him, but for him it's okay because he know when I was when he play in Barcelona, I want to win, I want to he win, no?


07-08-2006, 07:04 PM
Roger's interview. He had very nice words about Rafa, but he was surprised Rafa wasn't broken in four matches. :lol: I guess he didn't watch too closely.
R. Federer Interview - Day 12
Saturday, 8 July, 2006

Q. There's a lot on the table tomorrow, obviously. What's foremost in your mind as far as what's at stake tomorrow?

ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, a Wimbledon title, one more for me. Looking forward that I've created myself another opportunity to win here in Wimbledon. You know, never really reached a finals of any Grand Slam as easy as this Wimbledon, so I hope I can finish it off in style.

Q. Why has it been so easy then?

ROGER FEDERER: Why? I guess I played very well, that's one thing. I was always pretty much in control of my matches from the start on. No, I think I took this tournament extremely serious from the beginning on. I had no choice with the draw and everything. So I'm very pleased that I came through so convincingly.

Q. Nadal's record against yours is very good. Does he get in your face? This mighty muscles bit, does he intimidate you?

ROGER FEDERER: No. I see 10% of what he does, I turn around so quickly. So it's an advantage for me because I don't get to see all the things. I mean, I don't think he acts bad or anything. He just pumps himself up. That's legal, no? And, no, I mean, we've had some good matches in the past him winning obviously more than me. It's gonna be an interesting match on grass obviously tomorrow.

Q. When you're the No. 1 player in the world does it irk or annoy you that you have one player that has such a dominant record against you?

ROGER FEDERER: I wish it was different, but again, when I came on tour, I also had bad records against some players. Over the last few years, I've been actually almost putting all the negative records into positive ones. Now I have one that happens to be negative again, and it's against the No. 2 player in the world. I'd rather have that than against the number 50th player in the world. It's kind of better this way.

Q. Does the way he slows the game down make it difficult for you? He takes a long time between points.

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, it's not because of that I lose, I don't think.

Q. Does it make him difficult to play against, though?


Q. What aspect of your game, your consistency, your creativity, your power, gives you the most pleasure yourself?

ROGER FEDERER: You have to repeat yourself, I'm sorry.

Q. Which aspect of your game, your consistency, creativity, or your power gives you the most pleasure?

ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, I enjoy, obviously, the all around style, you know. Once come to the net, once stay back, once serve well, once move well, once play good defensive shot. I like, you know, obviously the change. I like everything. That includes part of everything you just said.

Q. Throughout the world history of tennis there's been some great battles between extraordinary players like Borg, McEnroe, Lendl, Edberg, Becker, so on. It seems like you and Rafael Nadal will be the next couple that are there. What do you say about it? Do you think about it?

ROGER FEDERER: Absolutely, we've been more or less one year now, we met in tournaments playing each other on a few big occasions, you know. Yeah, we won so many titles last year and again this year. Didn't look very good this year for him early on with the injury, obviously. So I was happy really to see him coming back, you know, because it's always disappointing when you have one of your main rivals sitting on the sideline watching you from home with an injury.

I saw how it felt during in October, November, when I tore my ligament, you know, watching him win Madrid and watch Berdych win Paris and watching especially somebody else winning Basel. It's not great fun if you think maybe you could be there yourself and competing for the title.

No, I mean, I definitely think we've been, you know, playing for the No. 1 spot for the last year. Before, it was me and Lleyton or me and Andy, me and Marat, maybe me and Andre also at one stage. I'm happy I went through all those different players. This time around it's Rafa and it's great we play back to back in Grand Slam finals. I think it's very exciting for the sport.

Q. With his record against you, do you go into this match as confident as you do other matches? Obviously, he's got the upper hand on you when you played seven times.

ROGER FEDERER: It's obviously different going into a match like this when you know it's on Centre Court in Wimbledon. That changes obviously very much. It's different than going into, you know, the French Open final, because there it's on clay, it's his favorite surface. This is my favorite surface. That obviously changes a little bit.

But, uhm, obviously, I mean, I don't have many bad records against players, so this is one. Maybe you enter the match a little differently, I don't know. But I don't think I have been affected by him beating me because I know it's been very close all the time. When I played him, I didn't feel like I played bad, you know. I think that, for me, is very important to know heading into a final.

Q. You're so experienced on Centre Court in this kind of a final condition, do you think that will give you the upper hand, the pressure aspect?

ROGER FEDERER: Don't know. I think he's handled the pressure extremely well over the years even though he's been you know, he's very young. He defended his French Open title. That shows how strong he is.
He's never been in the Wimbledon final, and I don't know how much it really means to him, you know, if it means more than the French Open. I don't know. But I've been in this position, and maybe I can draw some experience out of it.

Q. When you first began playing on grass, do you remember what was the most difficult aspect of the surface or your game to make work well?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, you have bad bounces on clay and you have bad bounces on grass, but it's a different type of bad bounce because you have more time on the clay still to adjust, where on grass you sort of shoot through, you know. I think that's what you have to adapt to.

And then I think most importantly is the footwork because you got to go from we come always from clay, you know, you slide and hit, and here you do little steps and you hit. That is constantly. I think that's the biggest change you have to do for grass.

Q. Has there been a time in this fortnight where you thought someone's given you a good game? On paper, it looks easy for you.

ROGER FEDERER: I actually thought, you know, a few guys played pretty good against me, you know. I was just really playing very well, you know, didn't allow them to actually be, you know, leading the score. I mean, Bjorkman told me yesterday he felt all right. Ancic, I thought he played pretty good, you know. Mahut, I thought he served incredibly well. I had some players I thought played pretty good against me.

Q. Which one was most difficult?

ROGER FEDERER: Until now? Well, I think I don't know. I mean, I was worried before many matches this year. I guess the most difficult one might have been Ancic, looking back, I think.

Q. You said yesterday you went out with Peter Lundgren, your former coach, and said, Be gentle with me. Dare we say you actually had a drink or two, your clean living image?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you never went out or...?

Q. You said, Be gentle with me, in your quotes yesterday. You went out and played a game.

ROGER FEDERER: I told Peter, yeah.

Q. You said you didn't get in until, what, four o'clock in the morning?

ROGER FEDERER: I didn't say when I came home. I said I came home late and I had to wake up early.

Q. Which aspect of him, Nadal game on grass, surprise you the most? Is the serve, is the movement he has now compared to last year?

ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, you know, I mean at the beginning of the tournament I said who were my favorites, you know, next to me. Was Roddick and Hewitt, I thought. I said that very clearly, and because Nadal hasn't had the opportunity to prove himself yet.

But Nadal has been playing very well on hard court. Some people forget that, especially the media, I think. They totally underestimated him here. He's won Madrid, which is fast. He won Dubai, which is fast. He beat me there. For me, it's not a surprise to see him here in the final. He's been able to adapt to different surfaces pretty well over the last year. He's obviously going to improve, he's still very young.

For this reason, you know, I'm not surprised with any, his movement or his returning or his serving, I knew he could do all that.

Q. He didn't lose any serve the last four matches.

ROGER FEDERER: He didn't lose his serve? I mean, he should have been broken several times.

Q. Do you think the competition in men's tennis on grass is slightly lower than it used to be in the mid '90s or do you think it's improved?

ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, hard to say. I think back then you had many more players who, you know, maybe really believed they could win Wimbledon because their game was suited to grass much more than it is now. More people probably think they can win the US Open, Australian Open, French Open. Before, many people aimed much more for Wimbledon.

Q. You said you prepared perfectly for this tournament, focus and everything else. Was that a problem that you had to sort out early on in your career with the focus and going into tournaments, the way you prepared?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. When you're young, you're trying to find out what's the best solution, you know. Is it getting enough matches heading into a Slam? Is it having enough rest going into a Slam? You know, what do you need as a player?

Q. The late nights before...

ROGER FEDERER: That was the last tournament of the year. I'm talking about now Grand Slam preparations, you know.

For instance, one year I went to Rosmalen. I played the semis there, lost to Lleyton. I remember I couldn't even play the semifinals because my whole mind was on Wimbledon, you know. So after a while, I figured out that maybe for me it's best to not play the week before a Grand Slam, you know. If I do, I play only an exhibition like in Kooyong. Other than that, I really have time to prepare, you know, relax, and then be at a hundred percent when the Grand Slam tournament comes around. That's, I think, the difficult part early on in your career which you have to make up your mind for.

Q. You have a routine?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, obviously.


07-08-2006, 07:44 PM
:lol: The server is certainly going to explode tomorrow, Ania. :haha:
And Roger interview sounds funny, I mean the Rafa's serve part and stuff. Is he nervous or something? Despite saying Rafa is not under his skin. :eek: :aplot:
if you haven't seen the BBC article too and the video interview. Rafa with Michael Stich and Johnny Mac. Here the link so have fun. :wavey:

Federer ready for Nadal challenge
By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Roger Federer faces the biggest challenge yet to his Wimbledon supremacy when he takes on Rafael Nadal in Sunday's eagerly-anticipated final.

The match pits the best two players in the world against each other in their fifth final meeting of 2006.

Switzerland's Federer can win a fourth straight title, while Spain's Nadal is in his first Wimbledon final having surpassed all expectations on grass.

And Nadal holds a 6-1 record against Federer, including four wins this year.

"I always played very good matches against him and I have got a little bit lucky," Nadal explained.

"I fight every point and continue to believe in the victory all the time."

I'm going to try my best always and I'm going to need to play the best match in my life

The most recent of those wins came last month when Nadal, 20, took a second successive French Open, stopping Federer from holding all four Grand Slam titles at once.

Federer and Nadal are building the kind of rivalry that might stand alongside the great battles of the past, and history can be made in numerous ways on Sunday.

World number one Federer, 24, can become the seventh man to win four straight Wimbledons, the last being Pete Sampras in 2000.

Victory for Nadal would be the first time since Bjorn Borg in 1980 that the French Open champion had gone on to win Wimbledon.

He would also become only the second Spanish man to win Wimbledon, following Manuel Santana in 1966.

2006 (French Open, clay)
Nadal won 1-6 6-1 6-4 7-6
2006 (Rome, clay)
Nadal won 6-7 7-6 6-4 2-6 7-6
2006 (Monte Carlo, clay)
Nadal won 6-2 6-7 6-3 7-6
2006 (Dubai, hard)
Nadal won 2-6 6-4 6-4
2005 (French Open, clay)
Nadal won 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-3
2005 (Miami, hard)
Federer 2-6 6-7 7-6 6-3 6-1
2004 (Miami, hard)
Nadal won 6-3 6-3

"I definitely think we've been playing for the number one spot for the last year," said Federer.

"Before it was me and Lleyton (Hewitt), or me and Andy (Roddick), or me and Marat (Safin), maybe me and Andre (Agassi) also at one stage.

"So I'm happy I went through all those different players and this time around it's Rafa, and it's great we play back-to-back Grand Slam finals. I think that's very exciting for the sport."

Nadal has insisted throughout the championships that his aim is simply to improve on the grass, but now he is in a Grand Slam final there is no doubt he wants to go all the way.

"In reality the pressure is on him but it may be the only time I play in a Wimbledon final, so I'm going to try and win it," said Nadal.

"He is the best on this surface, for sure, no doubt. I'm going to try my best always and I'm going to need to play the best match in my life.

He's never been in a Wimbledon final and I don't know how much it means to him

Roger Federer

"I was thinking the last days, the last weeks, if I am playing my best tennis I have a chance to be in the final (but) now it is very, very, very difficult."

And Nadal has relished making the necessary changes to his game in switching from clay to grass.

"I play more aggressive," he said, "with more concentration on the serve. I'm going to the net more times, I'm using a little bit more the slice and I am running good now, no?"

Federer believes the media underestimated Nadal at Wimbledon, bearing in mind his recent improvement on hard courts, but says he is not worried by his poor record against the Spaniard.

"On clay it's his favourite surface, this is my favourite surface, so that changes it a little bit," said Federer.

"Obviously I don't have many bad records against players so this is one and maybe you enter the match a little differently, but I don't think I have been affected by him beating me.

"I know it's been very close all the time and when I played him I didn't feel like I played bad. I think that to me is very important to know heading into the final.

"I think he's handled the pressure very well over the years but he's never been in a Wimbledon final and I don't know how much it means to him."

07-08-2006, 11:04 PM
^^^ That video is simply precious. I wish I knew how to save it. :bigcry:

Rafa looks like a boy next to Michael and JMac. :lol:

07-08-2006, 11:59 PM
I don't know how age is considered in Spain, but Rafa is still a boy in the U.S. In the U.S. you aren't considered an adult until you are 21 years old. So Rafa still has a year to go :) It's great him being in the Wimbledon Final :D Win or lose tomorrow Rafa you will still be the greatest to me :hearts:

07-09-2006, 12:01 AM
Good luck on Sunday Rafa :banana:

07-09-2006, 08:52 AM
I don't know how age is considered in Spain, but Rafa is still a boy in the U.S. In the U.S. you aren't considered an adult until you are 21 years old. So Rafa still has a year to go :) It's great him being in the Wimbledon Final :D Win or lose tomorrow Rafa you will still be the greatest to me :hearts:
I don't know either, but I was talking about the way he looks. I mean, sometimes he looks more grown up, but in this interview he looks sort of small and very young, shorts and all. :lol:

Yay, the Wimbledon final! I'm thrilled, whatever happens. :yippee: He's stunned his detractors (again!), he's improved his play visibly, he's earned loads of points, he's gained confidence on fast courts - what an incredible fortnight. :D

07-09-2006, 09:17 AM
:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:VAMOS RAFA!:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
:yeah: GOOD LUCK TODAY :yeah:

07-09-2006, 09:38 AM
Guys, that BBC interview can be downloaded from here:


Thanks to Thyrfing of vr.com. :hug:

07-09-2006, 10:52 AM
¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡VAMOS RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Muy buena suerte hoy en tu partido.

Good luck today in the match. :yeah:


07-09-2006, 11:35 AM
:bounce: Vamos Rafa :bounce: Good Luck

I still can't believe he's in the final :yippee: He's done so well

Hope it's a really good match

07-09-2006, 12:44 PM
good luck rafa! u can do it vamos!

07-09-2006, 12:55 PM
This is it then. :lol:




07-09-2006, 04:31 PM
It's sad,but don't give up Rafael! You are the king of the courts still!!! :smooch:

07-09-2006, 04:34 PM
Great 2 weeks Rafa :yeah:
He lost but I think it´s ok. I mean against Roger on grass...
I think we can very proud of him that he reached the final. :hug:
Rafa we all love you :kiss:

07-09-2006, 04:42 PM
Rafi :hug: did really well in the tournament, and fought hard in the final. Too bad he had such a nervous start :confused: and then couldn't take the chances that he had (especially in the second set), but Roger was just too good in the end. :hatoff:

Gee, I have a headache. :lol:

http://img262.imageshack.us/img262/5193/msf8rt.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

07-09-2006, 04:45 PM
I have a headache too Mallorn. I know that I should be really happy that he got to the finals...who would have thought it. But I wanted him to win, and I just feel devastated. I cried when he lost.

I love this kid. :hug:

07-09-2006, 04:50 PM
:worship: Brave fight little man!! :worship:

You showed everyone!!!!! :woohoo:

*very proud*:angel:

07-09-2006, 05:25 PM
I'm proud of Rafa too. :worship: :bowdown: :worship: :bowdown: :) :wavey:

07-09-2006, 05:40 PM
Congratulations to Rafa for showing his great tennis on grass! I haven't been around for a month since I had to focus on Rogi in "his" season. ;)

Rafa can feel proud of himself for exceeding expectations in reaching the Wimby final. He came up a little short vs. the four-time Wimby champ -- no shame in that.

He can rest up and get back to his beloved clay in Stuttgart.;)

07-09-2006, 05:42 PM
I am very proud of Nadal to have made it to the finals. He was not expected to come this far to play Federer too. Once he improves his serve and volleys he will one day take the Wimbledon title. It was a learning experience and it should help him gain more confidence in himself.

07-09-2006, 05:44 PM
it doesn't really matter that he lost to me:hug:
he has improved his game on grass so much!!
Maybe next year he can win:bounce:

07-09-2006, 06:28 PM
it doesn't really matter that he lost to me:hug:
he has improved his game on grass so much!!
Maybe next year he can win:bounce:
I agree the improvement on grass has been outstanding :yeah: Rafa we are proud of you and love you :hearts: :worship: And we all believe that you can and will win Wimbleton :D

07-09-2006, 06:54 PM
Rafa's interview is up.
R. Nadal Interview - Day 13
Sunday, 9 July, 2006

Q. You didn't seem to be on top of your game the way you have been in the last couple of matches.

RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe in the first set was tough for me because he's playing different than the other guys, other players. He play with more slice. He change a lot the game. And is difficult because, sure, he begin well, he break me the first game. So that's tough for me. And after, I don't see very well the goal in the game, no? Not the goal. I don't see very well the strategy of the game, no, because he was playing different with his slice. And after he change the rhythm. So was tough the first start. (Speaking in Spanish.)

THE INTERPRETER: It was tough to get to his level.

RAFAEL NADAL: But after I have a little bit good luck in the first game of the second set. Maybe I play very good second set, no? Finally I play bad the 5 4, for sure. But for that, maybe in this these moments, maybe I lost a match, no? But after I play very good the tiebreak of the third. Sure, the third set I play very well. And in the fourth I play good. I play good, too, but I miss the volley in the breakpoint down, and that's decisive, no? But is not easy with the wind. Is tough. That's why it put me a little bit down.

Q. Do you believe Roger is or can be the greatest of all time?

RAFAEL NADAL: He can, sure. He can. They always say he win a lot, and he win easy, no, a lot of matches easy. So that's good for try to do the best of the history, no? But he has 8, Sampras 14. We gonna see.

Q. I know it's disappointing to lose, but while you were playing, were you enjoying how great the tennis was that you guys were playing?

RAFAEL NADAL: I enjoy the match, sure, after the first set. I play good after, no? So is important for me play good this final, after the first, because I know in the is important for me for the future belief I can win here, no? I can beat Roger, too. Is important for me to believe I can win Roger, too, here, in this surface. After I play good tennis, and when I play good tennis, I have a good chances, too, no? He don't beat me easy after that, no? So that's good.

Q. Can you explain what makes Roger's serve so difficult to return?

RAFAEL NADAL: Because is tough because I can't (Speaking in Spanish).

THE INTERPRETER: I cannot see where he serves, read his serve.

RAFAEL NADAL: I cannot see where he serves, no? So he change very good angles. And for him is the same. He can put toss the ball like this. He can serve here, he can serve here. Is not some guy if he serve the ball here, serve here or serve here, but he change all the time. That's tough, especially in this surface because it's faster, no?

Q. What are you going to take away from this whole Wimbledon? You didn't think you could reach the finals. You got to the finals. What will you take from that in the future?

RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, is important, is unbelievable tournament, unbelievable tournament for me play this final, no? I improve a lot in this surface this year. I can play good in this surface, sure. So I want to continuing improve because I want to win here.

Q. What was the best match here on Wimbledon by the level of your game?

RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe Baghdatis or Agassi, I don't know.

Q. Yourself and Marcos Baghdatis seem to come here with the belief that they could beat anyone, you could beat Federer. There doesn't seem to be anyone else on the tour who shares that belief. Do you think they're letting themselves down; that too many people walk on the court and think they're beaten before the first point?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I don't know, no. I don't know exactly because I am not inside the other guys, no? So I can't say exactly. But, sure, I go to the court believing with the victory, no? And if every player come to the court the same, Roger sometimes gonna have more problems. But now he's winning easy, so that's tough for the other players, for everybody, no? So we gonna see in the future. He's unbelievable. Now he's the best. We gonna see in the future.

Q. You made some big winners from your backhand. Was it a surprise for you to be so good on the backhand?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, not surprise because I was playing very good with my backhand all tournament, no? I was feeling very good before the tournament, during the practice. So after, in the tournament, when the tournament come back, I improve a lot with my forehand. But before the tournament, I was playing better with my backhand, no?

Q. Did you feel special coming to Centre Court for the finals? The tradition of Wimbledon is very special, the way the guy carries your case. Did it feel special this morning coming on to court, this afternoon?

RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, is a little bit special sensation, no? We are in the cathedral of tennis, so it's nice. For me is very nice be in this final, be the second Sunday here. I never think that before when I was young, no. It was my dream, but I never think I can be there, no? So now I arrive today, and I hope any more year I can come back, no?

Q. You are the only person to take a set off of Roger this tournament. How close do you think you are to beating him on grass? How many years?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know, no? I don't know exactly what. But I saw in the match when I was playing my best tennis, when I was playing good, the match is close, very close. Not much difference, no? So that's good. That's nice for me. And the title is for him, so that's the real thing now, no? But we gonna see. We gonna see. I want to improve. I just have 20 years. He has 25. So maybe, maybe in the future I can improve.

Q. What can you improve? Maybe your second serve?

RAFAEL NADAL: Anything always you can improve. Anything. Here, in clay, in hard, always you can improve. Federer is difficult, but always we can improve (smiling).

Q. What were you thinking after you lost the first set?

RAFAEL NADAL: I was thinking, Win one game (laughter). That's important for me, because I just need one game for come back to the match, no? I know that. I was thinking about that, sure.

Q. How much more do you know about playing on grass now than you did when you arrived at Queen's, what was it, three weeks, four weeks ago?


Q. What sort of things?

RAFAEL NADAL: I know more the movements, the strategy on court, the way to serve and play more aggressive with my forehand than with my backhand. I need change a little bit, or play a little bit more slow, not with a lot of topspin. Sometimes you can play, but not every ball, no? That's the real important points for improve on this surface, no?

Q. Would you come to net more if you played this match again than you did today? Would you go to net more?

RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe not because I saw Federer against the big servers, and was tough, every time passing shot, every time. He has unbelievable passing shot, especially on this surface. You need go to the net sometimes, but not much, no, because he has unbelievable passing shot. The forehand, you can't go to the net with his ball, with his forehand. With his backhand, sometimes, but not much, too. I saw once against Ancic, it was unbelievable.

Q. Would you agree that Roger played better in this match than the match that he beat you in Key Biscayne in 2005?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, but is a different history maybe now. That is last year, in the beginning of the year. Maybe now is maybe lit the bit different. We can speak about the last matches, but about in Miami, sure, he can play he play better today, sure, because he was playing no good in the first two sets. But maybe is different now. I improve a lot, so is different.

Q. You've shown a real love for Wimbledon and an appreciation for this place and different surface and everything. The next time you guys meet in a major potentially would be the US Open. Do you feel the same strength and same desire to win at the US Open as you do here and of course at Roland Garros?

THE INTERPRETER: I forgot the question.

RAFAEL NADAL: Because he has a nice watch (laughter).
Yeah, sure, I want to play good in the US Open, no? Is one of a special goals of this year, no, because I never play good there. So this year I say a lot of times, and I speak with my team always about that. So I need have a good preparation for the US Open, no, because last year I arrive there without hundred percent mentality, no? I need to stay hundred percent for this tournament. I want to play a very good tournament there, no? I gonna try. I gonna do (smiling).

Q. You've qualified for Masters Cup Shanghai. What's your expectation for Masters?

RAFAEL NADAL: Now I am qualified to the Shanghai maybe, no?

THE INTERPRETER: Hundred percent.

RAFAEL NADAL: Hundred percent, good. So last year I can't play. I was there for a week before, but I can't play. So I hope this year I gonna play, no? I hope that the surface gonna change, and I hope gonna play this tournament because is one of the biggest tournaments of the world after the four Grand Slams. So I gonna try play my best tennis there.

07-09-2006, 08:56 PM
¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡Rafa congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!








I'm very proud of you too.

As Lolyriality says, don't be worry, this year you've take the plate. Next year the cup so you'll have the whole crockery!!!! hahhahahaha!!!

07-09-2006, 08:58 PM
Q. You've shown a real love for Wimbledon and an appreciation for this place and different surface and everything. The next time you guys meet in a major potentially would be the US Open. Do you feel the same strength and same desire to win at the US Open as you do here and of course at Roland Garros?

THE INTERPRETER: I forgot the question.
:lol:That's so cute

07-09-2006, 09:26 PM
:bounce: well done Rafa :yeah: he did brillantly over the fortnight and made Rog fight for it

so very proud of him :kiss:

but still I keep torturing myself wondering what would have happened if he had held serve and won that second set :o

But maybe that trophy will have a new name on it next year :)

07-10-2006, 12:44 AM
I'm sooooooo sad that Rafa didn't win :sad: but i'm also so proud of him :worship: , he did really well.......... maybe next year ;) :banana:

:woohoo: Well Done Rafa you did us all proud :woohoo:
:kiss: :kiss:

07-10-2006, 01:32 AM
i am feeling a bit sad about his lost :sad: , should he won the second set when he was serving for the set at 5:4, he would push the match into 5 sets and may have chance to win :sad: , also he made an unlucky error at 1:3 at break point, that smashing :sad: , but still i feel so proud of nadal, he pushed the best grass player in the world to the limit, no boby pushed roger in this way , and i really hope he can win next year :worship: :worship:

thank you, nadal for the great fight, I love you and wish you the best in the coming years, long live little nadal :wavey: :hug: :bowdown: :inlove:

07-10-2006, 02:23 AM
Associated Press
Wimbledon runner-up Nadal upbeat in defeat

Associated Press
10 July 2006

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) - The ugliest, costliest shot of the day by Rafael Nadal sent the damper in his racket strings flying to the other end of the court.

He stood at the net while Roger Federer scanned the lawn along the baseline, looking for the dime-sized piece of gear.

"No, no, no. Behind you," Nadal said, pointing to the damper near the backstop.

Federer eventually found it, allowing their Wimbledon final to resume. While Nadal's equipment came apart, he never did, but a slow start against the world's best player was too much to overcome.

Federer earned his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title and exacted revenge in the rivalry Sunday by winning 6-0, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (2), 6-3.

Nadal was upbeat in defeat, with good reason. The runner-up finish represented his best showing on his worst surface, exceeding all expectations, and he gave Federer his toughest test of the tournament.

All in all, Nadal said, the two-week performance surpassed the run to his second successive French Open title a month earlier.

"This was my best tournament of the year," he said. "I played better here than I did at Roland Garros, for sure."

The clay-court king had defeated Federer five times in a row, including at the French Open the past two years. But the meeting was their first on grass, where Federer is unbeaten in his past 48 matches.

Considering that Nadal has played only 16 matches on the surface, the margin in the final was small.

"When I was playing my best tennis, the match was close, very close," Nadal said. "That's nice for me. It's important for me to believe I can beat Roger on this surface."

Nadal became the first opponent to win a set from Federer in the tournament. The Spaniard was outscored by a total of five points over the last three sets, and Federer acknowledged battling nerves as the match became tighter in the fourth set.

But with Nadal facing a break point at 1-2, he leaped for an overhead, misjudged the ball in the breeze and shanked the shot, losing his damper and the game.

"That's decisive, no?" he said.

The slow start also hurt Nadal. He dropped a set at love for the first time in his past 131 matches, winning only 12 points. The final was 30 minutes old before he won a game.

Federer hit a lot of slice backhands at Nadal early, keeping the ball low and the pace slow to throw off the aggressive Spaniard's rhythm. The tactic worked.

"The first set was tough for me, because he's playing different than the other players," Nadal said. "I didn't see very well the strategy of the game."

He adjusted and put more pressure on Federer as the match progressed, especially in the final two sets.

"I was sort of surprised how hard he started to hit the ball," Federer said. "He started to really go flat-out. It makes it more difficult, because all of a sudden he's more dangerous."

Still only 20, Nadal likely will pose a threat for years to come. Everyone found his rapid improvement at Wimbledon surprising, including the champion.

"It's a great tournament for Rafael," Federer said. "I honestly didn't think he was going to play the final here."

For Nadal, it was an achievement to savor, even following the first loss in his past 15 finals.

"We are in the cathedral of tennis," Nadal said. "For me it's very nice to be in this final. When I was young, it was my dream, but I never thought I could be there.

"So now I arrive today, and I hope in one more year I can come back, no?"

The Independent

Nick Bollettieri: 'I've had an absolute ball here. Hell I even wore a tie'
Published: 10 July 2006

I spoke to Brad Gilbert yesterday, minutes after the Swiss Sorcerer had carved himself another notch in tennis history. "Hey, buddy, what did you make of that?" I asked. "Big Onions," said Brad. To translate that into Italian for you, Big Balls.

I agree. That was what Roger Federer showed out there on Centre Court, because, believe me, Rafael Nadal is one hell of a player. He, too, has the potential to be a great, and never has there been as much pressure on Roger to step up to the plate and remind his Spanish opponent what entry to the pantheon is all about.

We know he has it all, but in this match I thought that Roger's slice was key in a first set where Nadal took time to get going. Chop, chop. One set up. Now come back at me. Nadal did, but Federer moved up the gears, winning the second set on the breaker.

Federer's serve was so important. It is possibly one of the most underrated tools in world tennis - and that's even when we rate it sky-high. It was immense yesterday. Power. Placement. Variety. Consistency. At its best at the biggest moments.

Still Nadal hung on, winning the third-set breaker. Holy Mackerel. Here we go. Nadal's battling spirit is incredible. But Federer stepped up again, while remaining oh so composed the entire time.

The rivalry is well and truly on. I can't wait for the US Open now, for Federer to attempt to move to nine Grand Slam titles, while Nadal tries to stop him. We could be in for some spectacles between these two in the years to come. And if the end of yesterday's match was any indication - class and humility from Federer in victory, and a smile and graciousness from Nadal in defeat - we have much to savour.


07-10-2006, 02:23 AM
The Sun
Roger 'n clout

10 July 2006

WE already knew that Roger Federer was very good at hitting a fuzzy ball over a net.

We already knew this bloke was a true Wimbledon great.

And we already knew wearing a white jacket over a tennis shirt looks a bit dodgy.

Yet in the best Wimbledon final for five years, we received official confirmation of something else.

That Federer and Rafael Nadal are at the beginning of a truly fantastic tennis rivalry.

Just like those that developed between Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe.

Like Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg. Like Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

The world No 1 beat Nadal in four sets — but it was by no means a Sunday afternoon stroll in SW19.

Give Nadal another run on grass, more time to get used to a surface which is virtually foreign to him, and he will have a chance of snatching the Challenge Cup off the boy from Basel. You have to remember Nadal is only 20.

This was only his fifth grass court event at any level of professional competition.

While most Spaniards have always crumbled at the sight of the green stuff, Nadal clearly loves it.

Equally, he is the only man in the world who likes playing Federer.
As he had already proved with five successive wins, Nadal knows how to play the Swiss star.

It is not just that the Majorcan muscle-man is a damn fine player.
He has worked out how to get under Federer’s skin.

In the French Open final, Federer won the first set 6-1 then totally lost it.
Yesterday, he took apart a nervous-looking Nadal 6-0 in just 25 minutes.
But as at Roland Garros, Nadal proved he has no fear against the Fed Express.

In a fabulous second set, which saw both players delivering an array of amazing shots, Nadal went at Federer.

He broke early on and had the edge before a double fault and a poor forehand presented Federer with the chance to break back for 5-5.

Nadal suffered the tiniest of dips in the tie-break, which Federer won 7-5 — but there was no repeat at the same stage of the third set.

Serving well and returning even better, Nadal was too strong in the tie-break and conceded just two points.

This was only the fifth time Federer, 24, had lost a set in four years.
Maybe it was gamesmanship, or maybe Federer really did need a pee, but he bought some time to gather his thoughts with a loo break.

Thanks to a terrible smash at the net by Nadal, Federer broke for 3-1 and then did it again for 5-1.

Despite one bad service game, Federer was never going to lose — and Nadal handed him yet another title by sending a backhand wide.

With this sort of form, against any other player in men’s tennis, Nadal would today be Wimbledon champion.

But this is what makes Federer unique.

Let your game drop by just one per cent and he will hammer you.
That is what happened yesterday in a 6-0 7-6 6-7 6-3 victory.

Lasting just under three hours, it was not a classic. But it was certainly the best final since Goran Ivanisevic against Pat Rafter in 2001.

Before receiving the trophy from the Duke of Kent, Federer changed his shirt and then donned that jacket.

Sewn on the pocket is a tennis racket for each of his three titles. Joking afterwards, he said he will need a bigger pocket next year.

Five rackets could give his designers some real problems.

But with Nadal around, the Wimbledon title — thankfully — will no longer be a formality.

07-10-2006, 07:13 AM
me too, i keep thinking of that second set :sad:

:bounce: well done Rafa :yeah: he did brillantly over the fortnight and made Rog fight for it

so very proud of him :kiss:

but still I keep torturing myself wondering what would have happened if he had held serve and won that second set :o

But maybe that trophy will have a new name on it next year :)

07-10-2006, 07:24 AM
Don't be too :sad: guys, he will get the Wimbledon title when it's meant to be. :) :hug:

07-10-2006, 08:06 AM
I don't believe in destination but I hope he can create more opportunities for himself to win the Wimbledon title. He is motivated and committed, so that bodes well for the future.

As hard as it is he must shake off the disappointment and see it as a learning experience. I'm not only talking about improving grass court play (which will hopefully also help his hard court game), but also learning to play the big finals. People keep thinking about him as some sort of robot who never gets nervous, when in fact he's said many times that he gets very tense before matches. Usually he can control his nerves by the time the warm up is over but not in the last two finals. It's something to think about and work out because he can't afford to start that badly. I know he said he had difficulties reading Roger's game in the first set but that doesn't explain the problems in his own service games.

07-10-2006, 08:32 AM
mallorn, I agree...

Sure I was disappointed that he made some crucial mistakes too easily. But c'mon, him getting into the final far exceeded our expectation already, no? It'd be hard to expect him to beat the king of grass himself in the 16th match on grass of his pro career. Not to take any credit from Roger, but Roger has played on clay far more than Rafa has on grass. So give the boy time and he'd sure do it.

On the other hand, I think this loss would be a blessing in disguise for Rafa. I always thought that his loss to Roger in Miami 2005 was what toughens him up and enables him to come back in both Rome finals (2005 against Coria and 2006 against Roger). That is to say, 1 loss to Roger last year was probably what gave him 4 victories against JesusFed this year. I'm not saying that he would keep beating Roger again, coz Roger is a champion's breed too. But I think this loss would eventually yield much better things in the future.

And like Bodo said, all Rafa fans should be proud that Rafa lost becuz he was outplayed, not becuz he was outfought ;)

07-10-2006, 11:09 AM
You know, I was thinking along similar lines, about the loss having a positive side to it.

This is only speculation but I got the impression that recently Rafa was a bit overwhelmed by being seen as the favourite against Roger and it put extra pressure on him. I remember he was quite snappy at RG when journalists kept asking him about it as if it was obvious that he'd beat Roger and he kept saying Roger is clearly the best so he always sees him as the favourite. Some people thought he was playing mind games, but I'm not convinced. Now that he's lost that pressure of always being expected to win is off and hopefully this will help him, along with the fact that he hates losing ;) ...and that he's made visible improvements.

I have such mixed feelings about this tournament, I'm happy and a bit sad and very proud of Rafa all at the same time.

07-10-2006, 11:13 AM
Originalmente publicado por mallornQ. You've shown a real love for Wimbledon and an appreciation for this place and different surface and everything. The next time you guys meet in a major potentially would be the US Open. Do you feel the same strength and same desire to win at the US Open as you do here and of course at Roland Garros?

THE INTERPRETER: I forgot the question

:lol: :haha: :lol:

07-10-2006, 11:23 AM
:bigcry: Rafa !!! :crying2:

I feel so sad, I really thought he'd do it...:sad:

But I feel so proud too, proud of what our little man did, never mind he lost in the final, he played so well throughout the tourney, he was so courageous and so gracious even in defeat...

Don't worry Rafa, you'll win Wimbly one day, you proved you have all it takes to achieve this. You're a great man already, an extraordinary sportsman, you'll win many more titles, it's obvious, you're so talented and brave ! But above all this, you're a wonderful young man, so kind and respectful of others, and I think that if you lost the tourney, you probably won many hearts...Of course mine was no more to be won, you know it's always been yours...;) Congrats my sweetheart, I'm so proud of what you are ! :inlove:

07-10-2006, 12:23 PM
just want to say, i thought Rafa played so well yesterday. it was the first time i'd watched him play since RG final 2005 (we get no tennis coverage here) and despite it being on grass, the Wimby final against Roger, Rafa played some amazing shots and really surprised me. i wasn't expecting him to do so well at Wimby this year...but having seen him play on grass now, i really believe he will win the tournament one day. it was a great learning experience for him yesterday and it well help him a lot for future Wimby campaigns.

Olé Rafa!! :banana:

07-11-2006, 01:22 AM
i laughed so much when seeing the poster saying rafa and roger are pure class because they showed the respect towards each other in the ceremony but why this scene was not seen in FO final? the answer is so simple, its because rafa is a much more gracious loser than roger, roger showed a sad and black face while losing the FO final, thus rafa did not dare to get close to him and showed the big five, while rafa, despite losing, still smiling, thus making the beautiful scene workable ;)

07-11-2006, 01:37 AM
I agree with you, Mimi... Rafa's way too gracious than Roger...

The Independent

Federer applauds the rise of Nadal

By Paul Newman
Published: 11 July 2006

When Roger Federer was a month past his 20th birthday he was ranked No 12 and had one senior title to his name, having beaten Julien Boutter, the world No 67, in the final of an indoor event in Milan.

Rafael Nadal was 20 last month. He has been world No 2 for a year and has won 17 titles, including two French Opens. He holds the world record for successive wins on clay, and has beaten Federer, the world No 1, in six of their eight meetings, including four finals this year.

Federer's four-set victory over Nadal in the Wimbledon final on Sunday proved that he remains the world's best player on grass, but the question of whether he can go on to rewrite the record books is probably in the hands of the young Spaniard as much as it is down to himself.

Four successive Wimbledon crowns have already elevated Federer, at just 24, to joint fifth on the All England Club honours board, alongside Rod Laver, Anthony Wilding and Reggie Doherty. Ahead of him are Bjorn Borg and Laurie Doherty, with five titles to their name, and Pete Sampras and William Renshaw, with seven.

Only five players have won more Grand Slam titles than Federer, who has eight (Sampras tops the list with 14). Federer has been at the top of the world rankings for 128 weeks in succession, the third-longest reign since they were launched in 1973, behind Jimmy Connors (160 weeks) and Ivan Lendl (157 weeks).

How long before Nadal starts to join some of those lists? "I'm only 20 and Roger's 24, so maybe I can improve in the future," Nadal said as he reflected on Sunday's final. "When I was playing my best tennis the match was very close."

"I wanted to play well in this final because it was important for my belief in my ability to win here in the future. I know that I can beat Roger and it was important for me to believe that I can beat him here as well."

Federer enjoys the rivalry. "When we play so often in finals I think it adds something to the game," he said. "He's up-and-coming. I used to be the youngster but now I'm getting older. It's a great rivalry."

Nadal's progress on grass is all the more commendable considering his lack of experience. As a junior he played in only one grass-court tournament, losing in the Wimbledon semi-finals. He arrived at the All England Club last month having won only three matches in his two previous senior appearances there and with just two other wins on grass under his belt, against Mardy Fish and Fernando Verdasco at Queen's Club four weeks ago.

The Spaniard has learned much over the last month. "I know more about how to move on a grass court, about strategy, how to serve, how to play more aggressively with my forehand," he said. "I need to change a bit, to hit the ball a bit more slowly, without a lot of top-spin."

Federer has already noticed the latter change. "I was surprised how hard he started to hit the ball in the end," he said. "He started to stop hitting the balls with spin and instead was just swinging more freely, especially his backhand. That makes it more difficult because all of a sudden he's much more dangerous."

The world No 1's coach, Tony Roche, believes his man can only get better. "I know he wants to improve," he said. "As long as he has that attitude, there's no reason he can't."

If Nadal is the undisputed king of clay and Federer reigns on grass, what of hard courts and the forthcoming American season? Nadal has won two of their three meetings on the surface, including the most recent in Dubai earlier this year, but he has not gone beyond the third round in three visits to New York, where Federer will be going for his third successive US Open title.

Moreover, other players, such as Ivan Ljubicic, James Blake and David Nalbandian, will see the US Open as their chance to make some ground on the top two. Some of Nadal's contemporaries are also starting to break through. Marcos Baghdatis' run to the Wimbledon semi-finals took him into the top 10 for the first time in yesterday's new ranking list and proved that his appearance in the Australian Open final was no fluke.

As some of the older guard slip down the order - Andy Roddick, at No 11, is out of the top 10 for the first time since 2002 - three 19-year-olds are climbing swiftly. Gaël Monfils is at No 23, Novak Djokovic has climbed 28 places to No 35 in the last six weeks, while Andy Murray's rise to a career-high No 36 has seen him reclaim British No 1 status from Greg Rusedski.

Murray, who is the top seed this week in the grass-court tournament at Newport, Rhode Island, has always said that he expects to perform best on American hard courts and won the US Open junior title two years ago.

For the moment Federer is the man they all look up to, but, as Nadal has shown, men's tennis can be a rapidly changing world.



The Guardian

Coach says Federer has a rival to be relished

Rafael Nadal is danger now on grass as well as clay;
Wimbledon champion can thrive under the pressure

Eleanor Preston
Tuesday July 11, 2006

Roger Federer headed home to Switzerland yesterday but he cannot afford to spend too long celebrating Sunday's win over Rafael Nadal, which earned him a fourth consecutive Wimbledon title.

According to Federer's coach Tony Roche, the Swiss is expecting his rivalry with the 20-year-old Spaniard to intensify over the coming weeks as the pair head towards another showdown in August's US Open. "I think Roger relishes it," said Roche, under whose tutelage Federer has won four of his eight grand slam titles. "I think it's a great rivalry."

The normally laconic Roche chewed compulsively on a rubber band throughout Sunday's match. Having watched his charge lose to Nadal in four finals this year the Australian's nerves were understandable, for the consequences of Federer losing to Nadal on grass, a surface on which he has not been beaten in four years, would have been dire.

It was Federer's opportunity to reassert his authority and when he had completed the 6-0, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 win the relief was as evident on his face as it was on Roche's. "I think it was important in terms of their rivalry because this is Roger's back yard and it was played on his terms. It was very important that he win this match," Roche admitted. "The pressure was on Roger to get four Wimbledons in a row because that's pretty special in the men's game."

"I give a lot of credit to Rafa because he played this tournament a lot better than people thought he would, including me. It was a terrific effort and he's going to be a danger in the years to come on grass. I think this was a statement of intent. He improved so much over the two weeks."

"If he can maybe practise a little bit more on grass coming into next year's Wimbledon then he's going to be that much better on it. He's come a long way and he can improve a lot, no question."

Federer's Wimbledon victory will give an extra frisson to the last grand slam of the year, the US Open, which starts on August 28, where they will once again be seeded one and two respectively. Federer is defending champion there but Nadal has beaten him three times on hard courts over the past two years so the Spaniard has no reason to fear him - or anyone else - at Flushing Meadows.

"I want to play well in the US Open. It is one of the special goals of this year because I never play well there," said Nadal, who reached the third round in New York last year. "I told my team I need to stay 100% for this tournament. I'm gonna try." He then corrected himself. "I'm gonna do," he said, nodding his head for emphasis.

"Roger still has to find a way to beat him on clay and there's not much in it on hard courts either because Rafa plays such good tennis on those too," said Roche. "That's a big test for Roger on both of those surfaces." He hinted that he and Federer might transfer the strategy they used against Nadal on grass to the American hard courts. If so, Nadal should expect to see Federer attacking him at every opportunity, as he did on Sunday.

"He had to be aggressive. He's been aggressive throughout the two weeks at Wimbledon and he just couldn't afford to back off against Rafa," said Roche. "He had to mix his serve up and attack Rafa's second serve, especially in the fourth set, because Roger was then able to get around and use his forehand a little bit more. That was important at the beginning of the fourth set because Rafa was getting on a roll and he gets very confident. It was good to see Roger step up."

With another Wimbledon successfully completed, Federer and Roche can enjoy a brief respite before the battle with Nadal continues. The celebration may be short-lived but it is certainly deserved. "I think a lot of people doubted Roger could do it because he had a loaded draw, with Richard Gasquet, Tim Henman and Mario Ancic," said Roche. "To not only win but to do it in the manner that he did just shows what a great player he is."

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006


07-11-2006, 01:51 AM
yes veyonce, rafa may need to learn the grass court skills from roger, but roger does need to learn the good manners from rafa ;) , rafa was born to have a good nature, genuine, humble, polite, his parents also did a good job, i feel so angry when seeing people saying his praise about roger are fake compliments but i do believe he is sincere, whats more, despite roger saying him one-dimensional, on court coaching etc, he still is not upset and showed such warmth and love to roger, oh god, how good is this young man :hug: :bowdown: :bigclap: :yeah:

07-11-2006, 02:30 AM
excellent good post Ti-Anne :worship:

our little man shows the maturity, respect, good manner that go far beyond his young age, in fact, many people who are a lot older than him still has to learn from his maturity, humbleness and good manner :worship: :worship: :D
:bigcry: Rafa !!! :crying2:

I feel so sad, I really thought he'd do it...:sad:

But I feel so proud too, proud of what our little man did, never mind he lost in the final, he played so well throughout the tourney, he was so courageous and so gracious even in defeat...

Don't worry Rafa, you'll win Wimbly one day, you proved you have all it takes to achieve this. You're a great man already, an extraordinary sportsman, you'll win many more titles, it's obvious, you're so talented and brave ! But above all this, you're a wonderful young man, so kind and respectful of others, and I think that if you lost the tourney, you probably won many hearts...Of course mine was no more to be won, you know it's always been yours...;) Congrats my sweetheart, I'm so proud of what you are ! :inlove:

07-11-2006, 07:24 AM
i laughed so much when seeing the poster saying rafa and roger are pure class because they showed the respect towards each other in the ceremony but why this scene was not seen in FO final? the answer is so simple, its because rafa is a much more gracious loser than roger, roger showed a sad and black face while losing the FO final, thus rafa did not dare to get close to him and showed the big five, while rafa, despite losing, still smiling, thus making the beautiful scene workable ;)

so true mimi, I think all Rafa fans noticed that, while no Fed fan seemed to have seen any difference...;)

07-11-2006, 07:29 AM
:bigclap: :yeah: so true :nerner:
so true mimi, I think all Rafa fans noticed that, while no Fed fan seemed to have seen any difference...;)

07-12-2006, 02:26 AM
got a red dot from JM power saying I am a "Stupid Asshole!" by just saying the truth in the "Pure class" thread ;). you can see how "classy" are some of roger's fans ;)

my post in General Message "Pure class thread":
"thanks, but this pure class, why only happened in wimby final and not french open final ? its because rafa is a much more gracious loser than roger . Roger showed a sad face when losing, thats why rafa did not dare getting close to him at the ceremony, ut rafa is a pure class, even he lost, he accepted it with grace, all smiling, thus lead to this lovely scene ":

07-12-2006, 05:33 AM
It was good to see such a gracious runner-up. He will win Wimbledon one day.

07-12-2006, 06:30 AM
got a red dot from JM power saying I am a "Stupid Asshole!" by just saying the truth in the "Pure class" thread ;). you can see how classy are some of roger's fans ;)

"thanks, but this pure class, why only happened in wimby final and not french open final ? its because rafa is a much more gracious loser than roger . Roger showed a sad face when losing, thats why rafa did not dare getting close to him at the ceremony, ut rafa is a pure class, even he lost, he accepted it with grace, all smiling, thus lead to this lovely scene ":

I think majority of roger's fans are like that.... ;)

07-12-2006, 06:46 AM
thanks for sharing my view veyonce :hug:
I think majority of roger's fans are like that.... ;)

07-13-2006, 12:31 PM
Yeh Mimi Rafa is amazing, I hope he never changes his attitude to life and to tennis. I really really hope he makes the USO finals this year, I really do, but hes gotta play on Hard courts more like he was playing on grass, standing on the baseline and dictating rallies. And from that part of the court his return game has REALLY got to improve,more than anything the second serve definatley has to improve cos u saw Federer moving as soon as he tossed the ball for the second serve, but If he really wants to be able to destroy opponents without needing so many tie breaks, getting an "agassi-like" return will help tremendously. And i dont think his serve can improve too much, his technique isnt one that allows for a whole lot of improvement from where he is now, it uses too much arm not enough body rotation and knee bend :sadness: I just want him to WIN THE USO AND BEYOND!!!!! I hope the USO is the start of something special :) win that then the Aussie then Defend RG :) How amazing that would be.

07-13-2006, 02:24 PM
got a red dot from JM power saying I am a "Stupid Asshole!" by just saying the truth in the "Pure class" thread ;). you can see how "classy" are some of roger's fans ;)

my post in General Message "Pure class thread":
"thanks, but this pure class, why only happened in wimby final and not french open final ? its because rafa is a much more gracious loser than roger . Roger showed a sad face when losing, thats why rafa did not dare getting close to him at the ceremony, ut rafa is a pure class, even he lost, he accepted it with grace, all smiling, thus lead to this lovely scene ":

Mimi don't pay attention to JMPower, we are on the same french board and i've came to the conclusion that he is obsessed with Rafa.He has blinder when it deals with Federer he is unable to reckon that Rafa has qualities others than his physical and that what he has achieved is great !!!!

:hug: :hug: vamos nuestro chico :smooch:

07-13-2006, 05:30 PM
got a red dot from JM power saying I am a "Stupid Asshole!" by just saying the truth in the "Pure class" thread ;). you can see how "classy" are some of roger's fans ;)

my post in General Message "Pure class thread":
"thanks, but this pure class, why only happened in wimby final and not french open final ? its because rafa is a much more gracious loser than roger . Roger showed a sad face when losing, thats why rafa did not dare getting close to him at the ceremony, ut rafa is a pure class, even he lost, he accepted it with grace, all smiling, thus lead to this lovely scene ":
:eek: :o :o :o

07-14-2006, 02:22 AM
thank you so much for all your kind words: the natural, NaDALiTa and mallorn :hug: :hug: :inlove:

07-14-2006, 07:22 AM
The pleasure is all mine, Rafa deserves every bit of praise, unless hes the greatest actor in the world, he has to be one of the most genuine nice guy tennis players I have ever seen, theres not a mallice bone in his body, hes alot like Pat Rafter or Stefan Edberg.

07-14-2006, 07:37 AM
i do believe rafa is genuine, i still remember he came to visit the sick kids in hospitals as soon as he got off the plane, even he was tired, he still played with them :D :worship:

yes rafa is as nice as pat and edberg :D :worship:
The pleasure is all mine, Rafa deserves every bit of praise, unless hes the greatest actor in the world, he has to be one of the most genuine nice guy tennis players I have ever seen, theres not a mallice bone in his body, hes alot like Pat Rafter or Stefan Edberg.

07-14-2006, 10:47 AM
Mimi, the haters in GM are not worth your attention. ;) I ignore them for the most part because worrying about what they say is a waste of my time and energy. Some of their posts are so stupid it's sad and everyone who has half a brain sees them for what they are.

People who aren't blinded by hatred can appreciate that Rafa is a special person. Even those who didn't respect him initially are slowly being won over.

07-15-2006, 02:24 AM
thanks mallorn :D

i cannot control my temper when seeing people bad mouthing rafa with unreasonable excuse :shout: , why to attack a person you don't know and who have never hurt you :mad: , i hope i can keep a cool head as you :worship: :hug: :bowdown:

Mimi, the haters in GM are not worth your attention. ;) I ignore them for the most part because worrying about what they say is a waste of my time and energy. Some of their posts are so stupid it's sad and everyone who has half a brain sees them for what they are.

People who aren't blinded by hatred can appreciate that Rafa is a special person. Even those who didn't respect him initially are slowly being won over.