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Old 05-25-2006, 04:10 PM   #31
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Castafiore, you made me laugh on this grey day, thanks.

Maria knows all about the racket throwing, poor thing.

I agree that a final without either Rafa or Roger would be kind of disappointing (particularly without Rafa ) but the media would only have themselves to blame. They seem to be forgetting there are many matches to be played and they keep going on about one thing and one thing only: The Rivalry.

Which, BTW, Roger now admits exists. But like Rafa, he's focusing on the early rounds first.

From The Guardian:
Quote:
Thoughts of a Nadal showdown can wait, says Federer

PARIS, May 25 (Reuters) - World number one Roger Federer has said it is too early for him to even consider a possible showdown with defending champion Rafael Nadal at the French Open.

"The rivalry with Nadal is a wonderful story," Federer told French sports daily L'Equipe on Thursday.

"But right now, I am focusing on the early rounds and on my own game," the 24-year-old Swiss added. "Because the first players I'm going to meet are very different from Nadal."

Federer arrives in Paris aiming to capture the only grand slam title he has yet to win, but faces the prospect of having to defeat a player who boasts a 5-1 winning record against the seven times major winner.

With the Swiss and the Spaniard taking the top two seeds, they cannot meet before the final in Roland Garros, which starts on Sunday.

Despite being ranked the lower of the two, Nadal has developed quite a stranglehold on Federer this season, beating him in finals at Dubai, Monte Carlo and Rome.

The last two victories were on clay, a surface on which the Spaniard has built an unbeaten run of 53 straight matches to equal Guillermo Vilas' claycourt record set 29 years ago.

Undaunted, Federer said he was relishing the challenge as it was a way for him to improve.

"It has been a long time since I had to ask myself the question 'how can I beat this opponent?'," he said.

"But I think my best chance of winning here will come either this year or in the next few."
http://sport.guardian.co.uk/breaking...844679,00.html

Is it just me or is Roger getting more modest by the minute?


ETA: I think Rafa is already in Paris. He's scheduled to practise at 7 pm.
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Old 05-25-2006, 04:33 PM   #32
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

From Charles Bricker's Sun Sentinel blog:
Quote:
On to Paris

Funny. The sky was a brilliant blue and the sun was hinting at an 80-degree day when I left Avignon in the south of France on Thursday morning. When I stepped off the train at Gare de Lyon in the east end of Paris two and a half hours later the sky was cloudy and there was the occasional dripping of light rain.

That certainly wasn't the weather Roger Federer was hoping for when he went on the stadium court with young Frenchman Gilles Simon at 11 a.m. for a practice session, and it wasn't a good two hours for Fed.

He needs faster conditions to suit his aggressive game and, though I've no doubt he can handle just about anyone on clay, no matter the speed of the court, he'd like to get a solid groove here when play begins Sunday.

Almost everyone who is planning to play the French is here now, including defending champion Rafael Nadal, who went on the stadium at 7 p.m. for a late afternoon session. Late afternoon? In Paris, oui. That's late afternoon because the sun doesn't set here until about 10 -- about the time you're sitting down to dinner.

Thursday was one of those days where you're never quite ready to take off the sweatshirt, but that's Paris. Friday, it could be toasty. Saturday, it could be sweltering.

The draw will be pulled Friday with, of course, the usual overdone French ceremony. They take an hour to get this done, announcing each name from the shuffled chips on a table or in a vase, with the names duly recorded on an oversized drawsheet.

It's interesting when you see it for the first time. It's mildly amusing the second time. By the third time, it's a bore. Why can't they do what they do at the U.S. Open. Plug in the names quickly and hurry it onto the website.

And if you're interested in the French Open website, it's rolandgarros.com
http://blogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports..._to_paris.html
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Old 05-25-2006, 04:55 PM   #33
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Quote:
Originally Posted by MariaV
Racket throwing the MARAT way, Castafiore, the MARAT way is the right way, not Johnny Mac.
I know...Safin does it with "panache" and when JMac did it, it was more a moment, wasn't it?

Somehow, when Safin does it, he usually gets away with it. I have no idea how he does that.
When JMac used to do it, you could hear a lot of people moan "oh, grow up".

I don't play monopoly that often anymore - because it usually ends ugly in an "oh, grow up" kind of way.
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Old 05-25-2006, 05:53 PM   #34
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Finally a decent preview rather than the usual hype about the rivalry. From Sports Central:
Quote:
Thursday, May 25, 2006

French Open Preview: Nadal Repeat?

By Ricky Dimon

Some years, magic happens at Roland Garros. Small miracles of sorts. Often, a champion emerges that leaves even the most passionate of tennis fans asking, "Who in the name of Gustavo Kuerten is he?"

In 1997, Kuerten was that miracle. The unseeded and relatively-unknown Brazilian shocked the tennis world that year by reaching the French Open final and erasing veteran clay-court specialist Sergi Bruguera in straight sets to win the title.

While Albert Costa had already made a name for himself on the ATP Tour by 2002, his triumph that year at Roland Garros was nothing short of shocking. Once again, an unseeded player toppled a heavily-favored opponent (this time the victim was Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero) in the championship match.

The same sort of miracle graced the French Open in 2004. Unseeded Argentine Gaston Gaudio rolled through the likes of Lleyton Hewitt and David Nalbandian en route to a final clash with countryman Guillermo Coria. At the time, Coria dominated the clay the way Rafael Nadal does now. Five sets later, after squandering a two-set lead and two match points in the fifth set, Coria was reduced to just another victim of Roland Garros magic. On the other side of the coin, Gaudio entered the tournament destined to be forgotten by history, but left a history-maker.

Of course, in other years, the champion has been exactly who we anticipated. Following his stunner in 1997, Kuerten slowly evolved into a clay-court force with whom the Roland Garros faithful fell in love. By the turn of the century, with no French hometown hero as a true contender, he was the man the crowd rooted for and expected to win. He did just that in both 2000 and 2001.

At the 2003 French Open, Ferrero was No. 3 in the world, but easily the top clay-court player. He finally realized his potential and erased the disappointment of falling to Costa the previous year.

And we all remember what happened last year, when Spanish sensation Rafael Nadal rode a tidal wave of momentum into the French Open by dominating the clay-court season. As expected, he could not be stopped at Roland Garros.

Lest we forget, however, even when the odds-on favorite has triumphed at the French Open, the magic is never lost. When Ferrero won in 2003, the runner-up was Dutch giant Martin Verkerk. I must admit I had never heard of him before that tournament. Not once. He had done nothing before, and has done nothing since. Adding to the shock factor is that Verkerk's game was best-suited for grass — clay should have been his worst surface. His run to the 2003 French Open final is something that can never be explained — it was truly a miracle.

Similarly, little-known and now-forgotten Mario Puerta stormed into last year's championship match and gave Nadal everything he could handle. Like Verkerk, Puerta had done absolutely nothing before his coming out party at Roland Garros. And all he has done since is test positive for performance-enhancing drugs (his second offense) and get banned for eight years from the ATP tour.

Needless to say, the forecast for what will take place at Roland Garros is never clear. Sometimes it calls for a miracle, other times it calls for the old reliables to put the upstarts in their place. It's impossible to know, but here is my best shot at a preview for the 2006 French Open.

Contenders

Rafael Nadal — He has won a record 53-straight matches on clay. He is three-for-three in clay-court tournaments this year, including Masters Series titles in Monte Carlo and Rome. Not only is he playing better than anyone else at the moment, but Nadal has also learned to play the big points better than anyone else (see: Rome final against Roger Federer when he saved two match points in the fifth set). Of course, at this year's French Open, he may not face any crucial points unless he plays Federer in the championship. Right now, Federer is the only player who can stay on a clay court with the Spaniard. Nadal is the overwhelming favorite to win the tournament and should not be bet against at any cost.

Roger Federer — Overall, he's still the best player in the game, although Nadal always gets hyped up during the clay-court season. At any other Grand Slam tournament — especially Wimbledon — Federer would be an even bigger favorite than Nadal is here. As the top two seeds, Federer and Nadal will be on opposite sides of the draw, so Roger should get to the finals. If Nadal somehow gets bounced along the way, Federer would instantly become the favorite, but even he does go up against Nadal in the championship, his showing in Rome proves he still has a legitimate chance.

David Nalbandian — In my mind, he is definitely the third choice to win the tournament. The Argentine won the year-end Masters Cup last year in a five-set epic over Federer, and the momentum has carried over into 2006. He has a whopping 24-6 record for the year, including a semi-final appearance at the Australian Open. Without question, Nalbandian is unfazed on tennis's grandest stages. He has also been thriving on clay as of late. He won three weeks ago in Estoril, and had strong showings at both Rome and Monte Carlo, losing in three sets to Federer and Tommy Robredo, respectively. Nalbandian should be seeded third at Roland Garros, so he can avoid Nadal and Federer until the semis.

Tommy Robredo — He is coming off the biggest win of his career, crushing Radek Stepanek in straight sets to win the Masters Series Hamburg on Sunday. Robredo certainly benefited from the absence of Nadal and Federer, but he still had quality wins over David Ferrer and Mario Ancic, in addition to his domination of Stepanek. The Spaniard also reached the quarterfinals of Monte Carlo (lost to Gaudio) and the finals of Barcelona, where he gave Nadal a decent match. Robredo is playing the best tennis of his life right now, and if he receives a favorable draw (i.e., avoiding you know who), he can do some serious damage.

Pretenders

Since "pretender" is synonymous with "American" at Roland Garros, I'll just put all the notable American players in this category. Hey, it's exactly where they belong.

Andy Roddick — I remember a few years ago when Roddick lost to Nadal in the Davis Cup final on clay and I considered it an upset. All I can do now is laugh hysterically at myself for thinking that. Roddick stinks on clay. He's played two tournaments on the red stuff this year and has produced no notable results. Tommy Haas took him out in Houston in early April, and 19-year-old Gael Monfils erased him in two uncontested sets in Rome. Adding insult to injury, Roddick has not even played well on the hard courts this year. His loss to Marcos Baghdatis in Australia is somewhat explicable (the Cypriot was unconscious the entire two weeks), but losses to David Ferrer, Igor Andreev, and Julien Benneteau are simply unforgivable. He'll be gone the first time he sees a seeded player, if not before.

James Blake — He's actually playing decent tennis right now and is really the only hope for an American man to get past the third round. Blake has had his fair share of clay-court disasters in the past, though, so advancing well into the second week would be a stunner.

Robby Ginepri — He's won three times in 2006 ... I'm talking about matches, not tournaments.

Taylor Dent — Please.

Mardy Fish — Zzzzz.

Paul Goldstein, Vince Spadea — That's when you know it's time to stop analyzing.

Ripe For an Early Upset

Lleyton Hewitt — He just played his first match of the year on clay two days ago, and to say it did not go well would be the understatement of the season. The fiery Australian lost to someone named Marcos Daniel from Brazil. The rest of Hewitt's 2006 campaign hasn't been much better. He has reached the quarterfinals of the French Open twice, in 2001 and 2004. He won't get close to that far this time around.

Gaston Gaudio — He is lethal on clay, as we all saw in 2004. But Gaudio embodies the unpredictability of the French Open better than any other player. He could either win the tournament or lose in the first round. After losing to Robin Vik last week in a World Team Championships match, Gaudio said, "I think I have to start again from scratch. That's as bad as I'm playing at present. I am very frustrated and simply only bad on the court." Uh, sounds like a first round exit is the safer bet.

Guillermo Coria — He spared himself by withdrawing from the tournament. Coria cited an elbow injury, but more likely is that he understood how bad he was playing.

Miracle Workers?

David Ferrer — The Spaniard is ranked 15th in the world and clay is by far his best surface, so it would only be a miracle if he won the whole thing. Ferrer has the tools to do it, but probably lacks the mental game to survive two grueling weeks at Roland Garros. He's a good choice to reach the quarterfinals, but if he goes down a set to one of the big guns once he gets there, he'll probably go in the tank and not come out.

Jose Acasuso — Another clay-court specialist who will never do anything noteworthy on any other surface. But the Argentine has had a good summer on the dirt, and he gained some valuable experience last year at the French Open in beating Roddick on his way to the fourth round. Acasuso has stormed into the top 30 in the ATP rankings, so he should be seeded at this year's proceedings. That will spare some other seeded player a terrifying early-round matchup.

Nicolas Almagro — This probably evokes a who-in-the-name-of-Gustavo-Kuerten-is-he kind of response from most readers, as Almagro is a relative no-name despite his recent climb to No. 42 in the rankings. With any luck, however, the 20-year-old Spaniard will make his presence known at Roland Garros. His record in 2006 is a mind-boggling 17-6 and recently he's been as hot as the summer sun. So far on clay, he has reached the semis of Acapulco, the semis of Barcelona (lost to Nadal), and the quarters of Rome, where he lost to Federer 7-5 in the third set. Almagro also won his first ATP tournament in Valencia. Still, however, his ranking won't earn him a seed at the French. Sound the upset alert.

Bottom Line

The ingredients are there for a miracle of Kuertenian and Verkerkian proportions to take place once again on the hallowed grounds of Roland Garros. At the same time, however, the tournaments two biggest stars are more-than-capable of fending off the magic that the upstarts will attempt to throw at them.

So that leaves me with only one option for my fearless French Open predictions. On one half of the draw, I expect the unexpected. On the other half, order will be restored. Quite frankly, I am way too terrified (and also too smart) to pick against Nadal, so it will be Federer who bows out prematurely. Nadal, meanwhile, will storm through the field en route to the finals, where he will play the Martin Verkerk of 2006. Until the draw comes out, it is anyone's guess as to who that player will be.

What I do know, however, is that there's a reason why that player will be the "Martin Verkerk" of 2006 rather than the "Gaston Gaudio" of 2006.

Gaudio won the whole thing.

He didn't have to play Rafael Nadal in the finals.
http://www.sports-central.org/sports...dal_repeat.php
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Old 05-26-2006, 12:42 AM   #35
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Good luck at RG Rafa
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Old 05-26-2006, 01:47 AM   #36
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

That's a really good article. While RG is known for surprises, I think that a Fed-Rafa final is most likely. However, I agree that if there's an upset, it's more likely to be Roger who bows out early and not Nadal.
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Old 05-26-2006, 09:02 AM   #37
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Quote:
Telegraph

Federer fired up for the 'Roger and Rafa show'
By Mark Hodgkinson
(Filed: 26/05/2006)

Play on the crushed brick of Roland Garros will start on a Sunday for the first time this weekend, a move largely designed to please television executives.

And yet the money-men of the small screen should probably be more animated about the prospect of the third Sunday's tennis, and the glorious possibility of the next full-length episode of the 'Roger and Rafa Show'.

Everyone in tennis wants to see a final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Probably even Federer. Switzerland's world No 1 would dearly love to defeat Nadal to win the only grand slam title that has so far eluded him.

He could hardly have been more defiant yesterday about his chances against Nadal, undermining suggestions in the tennis world that Spain's world No 2, the defending champion in Paris, had "got into my mind".

Twice Federer has been defeated by Nadal on clay this season, at the Monte Carlo Masters in April and the Rome Masters earlier this month, having previously lost to him this year on the Dubai cement. Federer has lost to Nadal in five of their six career meetings, including their first encounter on red dirt in last year's semi-finals at Roland Garros.

But Federer indicated that the thought of a showdown with the young Spaniard does not scare him. Far from it.

"It could get into my mind," he said. "I could start thinking, 'I can't play against this guy, his game doesn't suit me'. I could start accepting the fact that I have been losing against him, but that would be a bad thing for me to do."

Instead Federer suggested that he is edging ever closer to defeating Nadal on clay, pointing to the fact that he held two match-points against him in Rome.

"I know I can wait for the day when I beat Nadal. I've surprised myself how much I've improved since Dubai, as when I played him in Monte Carlo and in Rome. I always felt that I played a bit better.

"It's also important for me to know, going into the French Open, that I can cope with such a weird-playing leftie," he said.

"With the lead that I have in the rankings [Federer has 7,010 points compared with Nadal's 4,545] Nadal must expect that on any given day I can beat him. That's definitely my advantage, that over the years I've created this confidence in myself, that no matter how badly a guy beats me up I know that I can come back.

"I've sent out a message in the last couple of matches. I really feel that I should have won that match in Rome. And I like to be challenged. It keeps me ready."

Victory in Paris would make Federer only the sixth man to win all four grand slams. He would also become the first man, since Australian Rod Laver in 1969, to hold all four titles at the same time, and keep alive the possibility of doing the calendar grand slam.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/mai...6/stfede26.xml
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Old 05-26-2006, 10:28 AM   #38
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Here's the draw, courtesy of MadAliceCudlip of vr.com


Rafa's first matches should be OK, but he's got Almagro, Blake, Safin and Gonzalez in his quarter. Plus he's got 12 (twelve!) Frenchmen in his half of the draw.
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Old 05-26-2006, 10:37 AM   #39
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Naah, not that bad. Gonzo has shoulder problems or other injury problems, but will still take out Marat in the 1st, the French are not tough enough, and he can handle the likes of Almagro and GGL.
Good luck Rafael! All the way to the final and victory!
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Old 05-26-2006, 10:39 AM   #40
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Maria, Marat's draw sucks big time, but I wouldn't put it past him to take out Gonzo. Remember, he wins when no one expects him to!
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Old 05-26-2006, 10:44 AM   #41
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Quote:
Originally Posted by mallorn
Maria, Marat's draw sucks big time, but I wouldn't put it past him to take out Gonzo. Remember, he wins when no one expects him to!
Well, this time I'm REALLY not expecting him to win so I'll be calm(er) ... hopefully. Gonzo's been doing too well lately for going down to Marat. Marat cannot get fit in 2 weeks, he lacks basic fitness he missed at the season's preparation and I wonder when/if he'll be able to get back to any sort of form. Enough of Marat topic here. At least he won't play Rafa.
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Old 05-26-2006, 11:52 AM   #42
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

If someone hasn't seen it a the official RG site.
Quote:
Open secrets (V)
By Benjamin Waldbaum and Andrew Lilley
Thursday, May 25, 2006

Rafael's return
The tournament is now only three days away, and the big names are beginning to pour into Roland Garros. The courts were packed as early as 9am, with world number ones Roger Federer and Amélie Mauresmo joining James Blake, Marcos Baghdatis, Marat Safin, Daniela Hantuchova, Ana Ivanovic, Paul-Henri Mathieu, Andy Murray, Gaël Monfils and Fabrice Santoro on the Parisian clay. Perhaps the real talking point was the arrival of the respective world number twos, however. Kim Clijsters knocked up on n°2 court for an hour, while current men's champion Rafael Nadal went straight to Philippe Chatrier court for a session with Carlos Moya towards the end of the afternoon.
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Old 05-26-2006, 03:06 PM   #43
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Thanks to scoobsuk and jenanun who said that Rafa will be doing the ATP Blog from Paris.

This info came in their Fantasy Tennis update email:



I hope it won't be one distraction too many for Rafa!
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Old 05-26-2006, 03:19 PM   #44
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

OMG Ahhh ahhhh *getting a panic attack*
Isn't this too much for him, I mean especially at RG???
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Old 05-26-2006, 03:21 PM   #45
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Default Re: *~*~Vamos Rafa at Roland Garros!!! ~*~*

Vamos Rafa!
Defend your title!!
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