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Old 06-16-2008, 01:19 PM   #1
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Default Article in the Guardian on Wimbledon, Rafa, Federer and Djokovic

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

Quote:
Nadal blasts aside Djokovic to prove grass credentials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




* guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2008
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: Article in the Guardian on Wimbledon, Rafa, Federer and Djokovic

Interesting article, but if Nadal beats Federer in the final, he still won't be number 1?
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: Article in the Guardian on Wimbledon, Rafa, Federer and Djokovic

It would be nice if that journalist had gotten all his facts straight, right?
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Article in the Guardian on Wimbledon, Rafa, Federer and Djokovic

Not bad stuff except for the blunder you mention. Not too deep os specialized either...
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:42 PM   #5
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Default Re: Article in the Guardian on Wimbledon, Rafa, Federer and Djokovic

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Originally Posted by groundstroke View Post
Interesting article, but if Nadal beats Federer in the final, he still won't be number 1?
He won't. He would need Federer to lose in the early rounds.

Crazy, isn't it? but he would probably gain the #1 afterwards, as soon as Roger fails to defend anything big.
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Article in the Guardian on Wimbledon, Rafa, Federer and Djokovic

I think some journalists are just too lazy to research. For me the last para on the LTA's reputation for "Wimbledon's golden profits into base metal. It is to be hoped they do not muck up this event too."
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: Article in the Guardian on Wimbledon, Rafa, Federer and Djokovic

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Originally Posted by Bazooka View Post
He won't. He would need Federer to lose in the early rounds.

Crazy, isn't it? but he would probably gain the #1 afterwards, as soon as Roger fails to defend anything big.
Yeah, that's what I thought too, it is quite weird. If Federer reaches the final and as does Rafa and Rafa wins, Rafa will only gain 300 points on Federer.
If Federer reaches the final of the US open and Masters Cup I'm sure he'll still be number 1. Only problem is Nadal hasn't reached the final of either of either of those tournaments.
Federer can still win Montreal as he reached the final there.. There's something for him to build on. Next year for Aussie Open he can definitely gain more points.
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: Article in the Guardian on Wimbledon, Rafa, Federer and Djokovic

I see some mental weakness in the Djoker, too. He probably thought it would be much easier for him to beat Rafa on grass. When he didn't get the result he was looking for during the match, he began to falter.
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:58 PM   #9
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Default Re: Article in the Guardian on Wimbledon, Rafa, Federer and Djokovic

I think the article means the LTA is taking over the running of Queens, not Wimbledon.
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Old 06-16-2008, 02:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Article in the Guardian on Wimbledon, Rafa, Federer and Djokovic

Quote:
Originally Posted by groundstroke View Post
Yeah, that's what I thought too, it is quite weird. If Federer reaches the final and as does Rafa and Rafa wins, Rafa will only gain 300 points on Federer.
If Federer reaches the final of the US open and Masters Cup I'm sure he'll still be number 1. Only problem is Nadal hasn't reached the final of either of either of those tournaments.
Federer can still win Montreal as he reached the final there.. There's something for him to build on. Next year for Aussie Open he can definitely gain more points.
The problem is, being the winner of a slam final doesn't give enough points IMO. Either that, or being a runner-up gives too many. Who's greatest, a runner up than afterwards is runner-up too in an AMS, or a slam winner that misses that same AMS event?

I would fix it by giving 1.200 to winner and 600 to winner of AMS.
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Old 06-16-2008, 02:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: Article in the Guardian on Wimbledon, Rafa, Federer and Djokovic

Thanks for posting.

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

And I wish Rafa would take hardcourts as serious as he does grass. I love Rafa, but it annoys me that he doesn't put the same effort into hardcourts as he does the grass season.
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Old 06-16-2008, 02:05 PM   #12
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Default Re: Article in the Guardian on Wimbledon, Rafa, Federer and Djokovic

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Originally Posted by groundstroke View Post
Yeah, that's what I thought too, it is quite weird. If Federer reaches the final and as does Rafa and Rafa wins, Rafa will only gain 300 points on Federer.
If Federer reaches the final of the US open and Masters Cup I'm sure he'll still be number 1. Only problem is Nadal hasn't reached the final of either of either of those tournaments.
Federer can still win Montreal as he reached the final there.. There's something for him to build on. Next year for Aussie Open he can definitely gain more points.
I think that in that case the gap will be reduced by 600 points because, Fed will be defending 1000 from last year and will have won only 700 whilst Nadal would have added 300 to the 700 he is defending.
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Old 06-16-2008, 02:10 PM   #13
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Default Re: Article in the Guardian on Wimbledon, Rafa, Federer and Djokovic

Apparently it's not all too hard to work as a journalist even for reasonable newspapers (The Guardian isn't one of the worst at all) without checking the facts first...
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Old 06-16-2008, 02:13 PM   #14
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Default Re: Article in the Guardian on Wimbledon, Rafa, Federer and Djokovic

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Originally Posted by scoobs View Post
I think the article means the LTA is taking over the running of Queens, not Wimbledon.
Yes,you are right. I made the mistake in my first post, and should have corrected it.
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Old 06-16-2008, 02:23 PM   #15
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Default Re: Article in the Guardian on Wimbledon, Rafa, Federer and Djokovic

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Thanks for posting.

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

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