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mallorn 05-18-2006 11:20 AM

*~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*
It's still ten days to go, but there are articles about RG already, so I thought I might just as well start a thread.

The official site:

Personally, I think it's the best of the GS sites. :)

In case you're wondering when Rafa's first match is going to be, no one knows yet. This article was translated by nou.amic of



Paris cannot decide between Nadal and Federer for the first day of the tournament

By Joan Solsona. Barcelona

For the first time in its history, Roland Garros begins on a Sunday, thus extending the length of the tournament by one day, to the delight of the fans. The second Grand Slam of the year begins on Sunday 28th May but, on that day, only four matches will be played on each of the three central courts: Philippe Chatrier, Suzanne Lenglen and the one known as the bullring because it is circular. The organizers are looking for attractive matches for an inaugural day with so few matches and they have to decide whether it will be Roger Federer, world number one, or Rafael Nadal, last year's champion, that will make his debute on the first day.

The organizers of the French tournament will wait until after the draw is made, at Roland Garros on Friday 26th May, to decide which of the two best ATP players first enters the ring in Paris. Toni Nadal, Rafa's trainer, is quite certain that if he could choose: "I would prefer to play on the Tuesday because that way you can train more and you're more into the tournament because it has already started." It is worth mentioning that the player that plays on the Sunday, whether it is Nadal or Federer, will have at least two days rest and will not play his second match until Wednesday.

Sharapova or Mauresmo?
Although last year's winner in Paris was Justine Henin, the two great attractions for the public are Amelie Mauresmo and Maria Sharapova. One of them will have to make her debute on the first day of the tournament, although both are injured at the moment.

mallorn 05-18-2006 11:22 AM

Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*
Two articles from Tennis Week:

Nadal French Favorite, Federer Favored By Bettors To Sweep Slam

By Tennis Week

Rafael Nadal continues to rack up clay-court titles and historic numbers. Nadal's dramatic five-set victory over top-ranked Roger Federer in Sunday's Rome final in which the clay-court conquistador came back from a 1-4 deficit in the decisive set and fought off two match points to prevail in a five hour, five-minute marathon was his 53rd consecutive clay-court victory tying Guillermo Vilas for the longest men's clay-court winning streak in the Open Era.

Nadal has beaten Federer in five of their six meetings, including four straight wins, but despite his struggles against the Spanish sensation, Federer remains a favorite among bettors to sweep the Grand Slam.
The Swiss stylist, who has won six of the past nine Grand Slam titles, is bidding to join Hall of Famers Don Budge and Rod Laver as the only men in history to sweep a single season Grand Slam.

Though Nadal has Federer's number and remains the favorite to successfully defend his Roland Garros title, 75 percent of the bets placed on Internet gambling site back Federer to capture all four major titles and complete the first men's tennis Grand Slam sweep since Laver accomplished the feat for the second time in 1969.

One of the Internetís largest sports betting sites, originally released odds on the number of Grand Slam tournaments won by Roger Federer in 2006 following his Australian Open win in January. Since then, bettors have flocked to the site to back Federer capturing all four major tennis championships, which currently stands at 11/2 odds.

"Despite immense Grand Slam backing, lists the more likely scenarios of Federer winning three (3/2) or two (8/5) Grand Slam events as the favorites," a PinnacleSports spokesman said. "The unlikeliest scenario is that the worldís top ranked player will finish 2006 with only the Australian Open title under his belt, listed as a 7/1 long shot by Pinnacle Sportsbook."

Although Federer is a favorite in nearly every tournament he enters, currently lists reigning French Open champion and clay court specialist Rafael Nadal, who has won a record-tying 53 matches on clay, as a 10/11 favorite at Roland Garros. Meanwhile, Federer is a solid contender at 2/1 to win his first French Open championship. has also created a betting option on the worldís top player winning his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title this summer and currently lists Federer as an overwhelming 1/2 favorite to be victorious once again at the All England Tennis Club.

How Many Grand Slam Tournaments Will Roger Federer Win In 2006?
One 7/1
Two 8/5
Three 3/2
Grand Slam 11/2

Odds To Win 2006 French Open?
Rafael Nadal 10/11
Roger Federer 2/1

Will Roger Federer Win Wimbledon 2006?
Yes 1/2
No 9/5

mallorn 05-18-2006 11:23 AM

Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*
The other one is very long:

Is Anyone Left To Win Roland Garros?

By Tim Joyce

The odds are always against a lefty-lefty duel over the Musketeers Cup, or in any final. Last year, when Rafael Nadal bested Mariano Puerta, 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-1, 7-5, it was the first all-southpaw final on the red clay of Paris since Marcel Bernard defeated Jaroslav Drobny in 1946.

Right-handers win at Roland Garros to a degree greater than at the other slam events. Still, the terre battue has been the site of some extraordinary displays of lefty prowess. Open Era champs on the menís side, in addition to Nadal, include Thomas Muster (1995), Andres Gomez (1990), Guillermo Vilas (1977) and Rod Laver (1969) ó who also claimed the French singles championship in 1962, to go with his 1961 doubles and mixed doubles titles there. Left-handed women who have raised the Suzanne Lenglen Cup during this time include Martina Navratilova (1982 and í84) and Monica Seles (1990-92).

Something about lefties seems to defy definition. As Lindsay Davenport said of playing Patty Schnyder (who has reached the fourth round at Roland Garros three times in her last four tries and reached the quarters in 1998) at last yearís season-ending championships, "Patty is probably one of the most tricky players to play. I mean, we donít see a lot of lefties in womenís tennis, and we donít see a lot of players that have the ability to create angles like she does, use the different spins ... So you play a match against her that you donít have to play against anybody else."

It was from the perspective of a different surface, but Andy Roddick expressed a similar view about la difference after his stunning first round ouster at last yearís U.S. Open by Luxembourgeois southpaw Gilles Muller: "I just couldnít get a read on his serve. It was very deceptive and tricky."

Although only about 10 percent to 15 percent of the general population, left-handers are not strangers to success. Examining the 20th century finds that arguably the greatest achievers in their respective fields have been lefties: Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Jimi Hendrix, Charlie Chaplin and Bill Gates, to name a few. And for nearly half of the last 60 years, a southpaw has resided at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (Presidents Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton).

The athletic world has also seen a great deal of left-handed prowess. For example, baseballís four most prolific hitters of all time are left-handers: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Barry Bonds. Given the recessive nature of left-handedness, it is not clear how biology and psychology play out in the success of southpaws, but in speculating as to why lefties might have an advantage in sports, Tiffany Herlands, professor of behavioral sciences at the Einstein School of Medicine in New York City, cited a Turkish study of soccer players which found that "lefties were more aggressive, and that aggressiveness was found to be correlated with superior performance in soccer." She also had at hand a fair number of additional studies highlighting the natural, physical advantages lefthanders may enjoy. Studies whose conclusions "... indirectly support the notion that left-handed people have neuroanatomically-based advantages in performing certain neurocognitive tasks, such as visuospatial and gross (whole body) visuomotor tasks."

University of Montpellier, France, sociologists Charlotte Furie and Michel Raymond have suggested from their 2004 study of primitive cultures that the reason for enhanced left-handed aptitude in one-on-one sports could have evolved from a higher success rate among lefties in primitive combat. It is a theory that seems to have a direct correlation to success in tennis: Because lefties have an element of surprise, they attain an upper "hand," as it were.

Roger Federer seems to be at least a partial proponent of that theory, as, following his defeat by Rafael Nadal earlier this year in Dubai, he was quoted as saying he needs to become more familiar with Nadalís portside game: "The more I play him, the more Iíll figure out how to play him. Heís a lefty and a good lefty [at that], and I donít get to face many lefties." That said, the world No. 1 currently has a 1-5 career won-loss record against the world No. 2.

In the Open Era, 10 male left-handers have amassed 30 of the possible 152 menís Grand Slam tournament singles titles (starting with the 1968 French and including the 2006 Australian). And Rod Laver, considered by many to be the greatest player of all time and the ultimate member of the left club, is also the only man with two Grand Slams to his name. Most startlingly, there was a left-handed U.S. Open menís singles champion (Jimmy Connors, Manuel Orantes, Vilas or John McEnroe) for 11 consecutive years, from 1974 through 1984. Perhaps the pinnacle of left-handed success was in July of 1979 when four of the top five men were left-handers: Connors, McEnroe, Vilas and Roscoe Tanner attacked the ball from that side, while only Borg came at it from the other.

Interestingly enough, left-handed women have not achieved as left-handed men have. Consider that there are only two women southpaws in the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Martina Navratilova and Ann Haydon Jones, while 16 male lefties are enshrined in the halls at Newport. Left-handed Wimbledon (1960) and U.S. (1959-60) singles champion Neale Fraser spoke to Australian radio about why lefties in the womenís game donít seem to possess the same advantages as their male counterparts: "Whereas the men are attacking more and the ball is swinging more through the air and theyíre rushing the net a bit more, women maybe play a little bit more from the baseline and theyíre able to see the ball a bit longer, and itís not as disruptive for them." The greater emphasis on baseline play could also play a role in why lefties have had less success at Roland Garros than at the other Grand Slam events.

Touching on the men and women in the Hall, it should be noted that Ken Rosewall and Margaret Court were natural born left-handers, but the prejudice of their times enforced on them a right-handed training regimen. Perhaps one day the same will be said of Maria Sharapova, a natural lefty who was turned around for tennis by her father. While there appears to be no tangible biological explanation for why the first years of the Open Era were so left-heavy, many sociologists opine that this was the first generation that was largely freed from a vigorous, societal-imposed anti-left bias. In fact, Martina Navratilova was actually encouraged to craft her beautiful serve and volley play from the left side, as her father knew of the significant advantage it held.

But the advantage was only lefty over righty. McEnroe hitting his wide, slicing serve in the ad-court against Borg may well have driven the stoic Swede from the game as he, with less reach as a two-hander on his backhand side, was forced to retrieve a ball 10, maybe 15 feet outside the sideline. His return would come back to a McEnroe charging the net with an eye on an open court in which to aim his follow-up volleys.

Conversely, when McEnroe played his other fierce competitor, Connors, his serve was neutralized by the fellow lefty as it bounced into the St. Louis-nativeís driving forehand, and McEnroeís approach was made without the advantage of the angle offered up by Borgís much weaker return.

The serve is often cited as the biggest lefty advantage. Since righties are not accustomed to playing lefties on a regular basis, it is harder to adjust to the angle on the return. According to Fraser there is even one aspect of the modern game that almost seems intended to benefit lefties: "In the tie-break, after the first point you change serves and the server starts in the second [ad] court all the time, and thatís the lefthanderís most [sic] favored side. Conversely, when the right-hander is playing and has to serve, he is serving into the second court that is not his favored side. So I think the tie-break definitely favors the left-hander."

Former Top 10 player Greg Rusedski echoes Fraserís view. Posting to his Web site, he explained that his serve is "... a big advantage. Two leftyís playing together is quite an odd match-up because they donít like each other. But in general, being left-handed definitely helps because on the biggest points ó game point or break point ó you can slide it out wide or you can hit the T, and you can really take your opponent off the court with the slice."

Baselining lefties, such as Guillermo Vilas, are not nearly as prolific Grand Slam champions as serve-and-volley or all-court lefties. However, play from that side still offers its backcourt advantages. Part of Nadalís record of success against Federer may result from how the teenage Spaniard plays one of the Swiss starís favorite shots. The inside-out forehand stymies most opposing players, but slides into Nadalís overpowering topspin forehand and offers highly advantageous angles for returning the ball.

It is all vaguely reminiscent of the late í70s and early í80s when Bjorn Borg was dominant. His biggest losses at Grand Slam tournaments seemed always to occur against lefties. For example, the combination of Connorsís lefty serve and groundstrokes ended Borgís hopes for a title in the finals of the 1976 and í78 U.S. Opens, the first on clay and the second on a hard surface. In addition to the Jimbo defeats, Borg lost in the last match of Grand Slam tournaments to McEnroe three times, and at the 1979 U.S. Open, Roscoe Tanner defeated Borg in the quarterfinals. However, Borgís record against lefty baseliner Vilas was a dominating 17-5, and he never lost to the Argentine in a Grand Slam event. Notably, Borg went a nearly four-year span (autumn 1976 to summer 1980) without losing a tournament final (any tournament, not just a major) to a right-hander.

Given Borgís struggles, one of the great what-ifs of Pete Samprasís reign is what impact facing a few more lefthanders would have had on his gathering up 14 Grand Slam tournament singles titles. Obviously, the answer will never be known. Goran Ivanisevic, a strong lefty, but probably not Hall of Fame quality, won only six of 18 against Pistol Pete, while one-time No. 1 Marcelo Rios ó a left-hander who seemed to thrive as the embodiment of clichťs like "tempestuous" and "crafty" ó was 0-2.

It seems obvious that a left-hander offers an important natural balance to a doubles team. From Australia came Fraser and another lefty, Tony Roche, to partner "singles specialists" Roy Emerson and John Newcombe (both right-handers), respectively, to Grand Slam tournament titles. More recently, John McEnroe(l)/Peter Fleming(r) and Navratilova(l)/Pam Shriver(r) both left their mark as partnerships. And currently the ATPís top team is the left-handed Bob and right-handed Mike Bryan. But once again, there are notable differences between the menís and womenís sides, with the men having four teams in the Top 20 feature a righty-lefty duo (No. 1, Bryan/Bryan; No. 5, Knowles/Nestor; No. 8, Fyrstenberg/Matkowski; and No. 19, Clement/Llodra) and the women but two (No. 15, Huber/Navratilova; and No. 20, Peschke/Loit).

"Nobody likes playing lefties," said Bob Bryan. Speaking of the benefit to the siblings of having a lefthander on the doubles team, he explained, "Without question the biggest advantage is with the wind and the sun, being able to negate [those] elements during a match [as, for example, a righty-lefty team can choose a serving sequence so that neither member ever has to serve facing the sun]." Why left-handedness, having been so prominent overall in the Open Era, is now making only a relatively small impact on the current tennis scene, is puzzling. Perhaps itís due to the death of serve-and-volley tennis, by which lefties can maximize the advantage of their unfamiliar style, or because of so few lefties being adequately coached to effectively employ the slicing serve out wide. Or perhaps we are just in a down cycle.

Nevertheless, it is a cycle that features a player who may turn out to be the best lefty since Laver. The 16th left-hander to rank in the ATP Top 10, Nadal has elevated himself as the only true rival for Federerís top ranking, once again positioning left-handed tennis to receive top honors. Intriguingly, Nadal is only a tennis lefty; he does everything else with his right hand, but started playing tennis with his "other" hand as a youngster and never changed.

After losing to the Spanish teen in last yearís semifinal in Paris, Federer described the difficulty in facing the Mallorcan southpaw: "Youíve got to understand he is a totally different player. The points are played a different way. My kick serve doesnít bounce to his backhand; it bounces to his forehand. So it changes everything. And his lefty spin always takes me a while to figure out."

Italians consider them sinistra. The French refer to them as gauche, and the modern English equivalent comes from the Anglo-Saxon lyft, meaning "weak." But left-handers, from the founder of the Davis Cup, Dwight Davis, to the man whose name is imprinted on the Australian menís trophy, Norman Brookes, to Laver, to Connors, to McEnroe, to Navratilova and now Nadal, have made a significant impact on tennis.

With the possible emergence of much-hyped, former junior No. 1, American lefty Donald Young, it will be interesting to see if the future left-handers will return to their just-passed dominance. Perhaps it would be wise for player development around the world to nurture the growth of lefties. They bring "that certain je ne sais quoi" (translation: I know not what) to whatever court they play upon. And for the betterment of all concerned ó the players, fans and overseers of the sport ó that high-profile southpaw presence is something for the sport to exploit.

Tim Joyce, a regular contributor, is also in his first year as the menís tennis coach at Sarah Lawrence College. His previous story for Tennis Week was "We Are The (TeamTennis) World" in October 2005.

mallorn 05-18-2006 11:25 AM

Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*
And from Sports Insiders:

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Joanne C. Gerstner: Moving the Needle

French Open might be a Slam dunk for No. 2 Nadal
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Rafael Nadal of Spain might be ranked No. 2, but he is, by far, the best player in the French Open field.
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Roger Federer is 38-0 with four title victories when he has not played Nadal this year. When Nadal is in the mix, Federer is 0-3.

The French Open begins in a little more than a week, and already this much is clear -- it's going to be Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam to lose.

He won the French in 2005, and has followed up by being the hottest clay player so far in 2006.

Nadal won an Open-era record-tying 53 straight matches on clay, showcasing his dirt-ball creativity and confidence.

Even world No. 1 Roger Federer, who lost the Rome final to Nadal last weekend, hasn't found a way to beat the crafty Spaniard. The two played an epic five-setter lasting more than five hours, with Nadal overcoming two Federer match points in the final set.

Nadal, who is ranked No. 2, is setting up to be the foil on all surfaces for Federer, as American Andy Roddick and Russian Marat Safin faded.

Federer is 38-0 with four title victories when he has not played Nadal this year. When Nadal is in the mix, Federer is 0-3.

Federer has only beaten Nadal once in six matches on clay, and there's little reason to think that could change in the near term.

What's scary about Nadal is he's only 19. He's just starting to gain confidence, the same way Federer slowly built his formidable game.

Nadal has won 16 ATP titles in his career, tying Bjorn Borg's mark for teen pro victories.

The French Open likely will prove to be another tough ride for the American men and women. There's something about the red clay that doesn't agree with the typical topspin-laden American game, especially against Spanish and South American players who spent their childhoods sliding around on the stuff.

Andre Agassi and Lindsay Davenport are out because of back injuries, Roddick isn't strong on clay, and the Williams sisters are injured and in questionable match shape.

The women's draw will likely shape up to be a battle between France's Amelie Mauresmo (barring another infamous mental meltdown), and oft-injured Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne. Russians Nadia Petrova and Maria Sharapova could challenge, too.

But watch the matches featuring Nadal and Federer. It's usually good stuff, elevated to brilliance when they're playing each other.

mallorn 05-18-2006 11:29 AM

Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*
And finally ;) my favourite picture from last year's tournament.


the_natural 05-18-2006 01:32 PM

Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*
Ok Do you guys really think he can win?? That Match in rome scared the hell outta me, see in Barcelona the only reason it went to 4 sets was because of the nervousness of Rafa, like he let his lead slip a few times and coulda had a MUCH MORE comprehensive victory. The reason im scared is because Federer and Rafa both played their best tennis and Federer just barely lost it and I think that hes gonna be lookin for Revenge at RG and will DEFINATLEY take his chances and will go that step further and win :( Someone cheer me up please?? Cos Im just soo nervous that Rafa wont win, I know everyone who is a fan of their fave player has undying Confidence in their fave player but like the stakes are so high. In Rome Rafa was just tryin to tie the all time record and protect a masters series titles, but if all goes to plan Rafa will be going for his 60TH CONSECUTIVE on clay in the finals! And He will have even more pressure to win because hes beaten Federer 3 times on clay and is the only man to beat him this year and hes called the greatest ever on clay and mr unbeatable on clay, AND hes defending a Grandslam title... Isnt that too much pressure for him?? Just a little bit?? Plus he will have to win best of 5 setters, And he looked a little bit tired for a while against Federer in the 4th... I think that Federer will be playing with nothing to lose, and Rafa plays very physical?? Wont he be more tired having 6 Best of 5 matches?? I just want him to win!!!....... I want him to make the finals easily and be full of energy and not even need to beat federer, I dont want federer to get the Calendar GS either!!!

jzpyt06 05-18-2006 03:23 PM

Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*
I think he can if rafa can come through beating fed even being 2 match points down it just proves he can even under such circumstances he can win. Rafa could have easily hit a stupid and or safe shot but he went for his shots and cleared his mind and played those match points as though they were the first points of the match. If anything we gotta give it up to rafa for having the mental state to stay cool and come through forcing fed to go for too much. If rafa can take a win with that much riding on it he can come through anything.

NaDALiTa 05-18-2006 03:44 PM

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

Originally Posted by mallorn
And finally ;) my favourite picture from last year's tournament.


my favorite too :wavey: i can remember it was the first page of a spanish newspaper; the title was "toda tuya" (alll yours ) :inlove:

casillas_girl 05-18-2006 03:55 PM

Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*
COME ON RAFA!! Make it at least to the 2nd week, so I can finally see you in real live!! :hug:

Ti-Anne 05-18-2006 04:07 PM

Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*
:bounce: :bounce: YAY !!! RG's almost here already !!
:bounce: :bounce:
According to the current atmosphere and being a Calvin & Hobbes fan I'll call it G.R.O.S.S. for Get Rid Of Sissy Swiss :haha: :haha:

Andre forever 05-18-2006 05:02 PM

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

Originally Posted by mallorn
And finally ;) my favourite picture from last year's tournament.



Andre forever 05-18-2006 05:05 PM

Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*
RAFA 's got a BIG chance of winning.... look what happened last sunday? FED almost got it.. but unfortunately.. bad result. RAFA WON! :worship:

im crossing my fingers for RAFA.. hope he can still do it. :angel:

the_natural 05-19-2006 12:30 PM

Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*
Im just worried I hope he is fully confident and Wins, he deserves it more than anyone.

Denisse 05-19-2006 04:43 PM

Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*
Thanks for all the articles mallorn!! you're an angel!!

GonzoFan 05-19-2006 04:50 PM

Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*
Good Luck Rafa in Roland Garros!!!!!!


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