Thursday, March 26, 2009

Quote For The Day

"You could analyse in a big way but at the same time, it just happens sometimes. Of course I was disappointed at the way the match ended in Australia and also in Indian Wells but it is not the end of the world. It doesn't really play on my mind a whole lot because I go out there and try to play every point as tough as I can.

"I've tried many different things against Rafa. Usually it is the aggressive playing style that makes me beat Rafa, especially on the hard courts. I haven't had many chances on hard courts against him, I've had so many more on clay. On hard court I have to play aggressively against him. There is no way around that. I know how I have to play him. I've beaten him enough to know."--Roger Federer

They've split their six hard court matches.


oddman said...

I read this bit yesterday and I'm *still* LMFAO.

Pamela said...

You too Oddman?

I didn't say anything because I didn't want to be disrespectful but denial isn't just a river.

Oh wait .. no comment. lol

Beth said...

He certainly does have a way with words, doesn't he?

rabbit said...

I guess what Roger means is that he has beaten Rafa pretty decisively two of the last three times they have met on hard court, and in the match he was beaten, it came down to a badly played fifth set.

But anyways, these comments are really, really disappointing. He does seem to be in denial. This is no longer 2006, Roger. If he does not change any of his game plans or strategy, how in the world does he expect to turn the season around? Very dispiriting for any fan of Roger's tennis to hear these words. I will just keep hoping that he has been thinking of new strategies that he is not revealing yet...

b said...

Roger doesn't seem to understand that Rafa's game, unlike his own, has changed significantly since the last time he beat him on a hard court. Many people who could beat Rafa on hard courts back then are having trouble with him now... e.g. James Blake used to own Rafa on HC now the h2h is 3-2 but Blake's 3 wins came 05-06

Anyway, the tone of this statement is better than his usual ones....

rabbit said...

Another interesting part of the presser, I thought, was this comment. For those who say Mirka is the problem:

"No, I think it's up to me, you know, to make the right decisions. I'm sure I'm still going to be very, very focused, you know, in the game of tennis. That's what Mirka wants, anyway, as well. That's a good thing."

sG said...

It's stupid, I mean, who keeps blaming the girlfriend? Why the girlfriend? Is Mirka that bad behind the scenes? I ask because I do not know -- I'm not a fan so I don't follow Fed gossip. What gives?

MMT said...

I'm curious - tactically and strategically what is it that he has going to do differently to beat Rafa?

oddman said...

MMT, great question. I assume you agree, Raja needs to be more aggressive when playing Rafa. Makes sense to me too. What is funny to me is 'because I go out there and try to play every point as tough as I can.' If that is true, I sure didn't see it at 1-1 in set 5 of the AO. I didn't see the AM-RF semi of Indian Wells, but read that many were once again puzzled by Raja's 'going away' in the 3rd set.

No one knows for sure what's going on in Raja's head, (except Mirka, I'm sure) but of late his interviews are fascinating to me, filled with contradictions and convoluted statements. Anyway, this season is shaping up to be very interesting, imho.

Graf_sampras said...

the challenge for roger, imo, has not been because he is or was not playing "aggressively".

it is so easy to forget that as a baseliner - which is really what roger is, along with rafa - roger IS an aggressive player.

but rafa is MORE aggressive than he.

when roger tries to go "aggressive" -- clearly - refering to attacking the net MORE .. rafa outshines him THERE as well.

so - roger has no real choices.

the point is -- roger is NOT a naturally or instinctively attacking player -- in terms of using the whole court in the front to "stick" the shots down in creating pressure on rafa or any baseliner.

in order to do that -- roger has to be as authoritative as Tsonga was in the AO last year.

on the other hand - side-note: TSONGA would do well to increase his baseline game a bit more...just to be sure- against a player of rafa's present development - a TRUE AGGRESSIVE ATTACKING player like Tsonga need not fear of being buried alive at the backcourt...while seeking for his opening to apply the pressure on and then finish off at the net.

but roger's problem, imo, is that he is

1) neither as strong as rafa from the backcourt
2) roger's "frontal attack" game is not so solid as to put enough, consistent pressure and then execute successfuly nearly as often as he attempts his "pressure games".

TSONGA remains the current example of how to beat rafael - with the combined power from the baseline AND the pressure/attack game...

amounting to what roger might call "aggressive" game.

just an 'aggressive game' from the baseline isn't going to do it.

just an "attack game" at the net not backed-up by a strong baseline defense isn't going to do it

and CERTAINLY a less than fully authoritative approach and net game, like Tsonga's, is not going to do it.

put all those together -- and you have a player that can TRULY be called "complete".

BECAUSE OF THIS -- it has always been ERRONEOUS to call roger "the most complete ever".

and THAT is his real problem. every player that is professional has SOME ability to play all facets of the game, with differing success .

but a true complete player has to have a very strong baseline game , offense and defense , a strong approach game to pile on the pressure but also defend properly and cover the court from ANY passing shots or lobs,

and of course an authoritative net game, both in offense and defense.

there are therefore - at least SIX categories:

2 EACH in every aspect of the court:

baseline : defense,offense
approach : defense, offense
net game : defense, offense

in these roger is lacking in some.

even rafa is lacking in some but he keeps developing and matches up against roger's attempts very well.

this is why , rare as the instance was - Tsonga's example at the AO -- was perhaps the MOST COMPLETE GAME i have ever seen since pete sampras...

both offense and defense were successfuly played in all three main areas of the court game: baseline, approach/midcourt, net

that's why - whether rafa was THEN or NOW -- THAT would remain a SERIOUS threat to EVEN rafael nadal - if someone like Tsonga can replicate that incredible performance.

but THIS is NOT in the over-all make-up of roger's game and mentality.

it is not as easy to "switch on" what is not inherent in his nature or his game.

pete sampras said something about the difference between himself and roger in their meetings lately:

"he's going to play HIS game,i'm going to play can't change the nature of the beast".

oddman said...

And, I haven't a clue what Raja could do tactically better against Rafa... but there are hundreds of suggestions to be found all over the blogosphere, no? Even JMac, Mats, Pete S, etc, have weighed in with their opinion.

I do like Raja's answer to some of those suggestions, where he snapped at the press once that they weren't out there on court playing Rafa. Hee. What Fabrice said too.

I love that Fed keeps talking, and that they keep asking, and hounding, and so on... keep him right up there in the spotlight. Yep, that's the way... (grin)

Savannah said...

The Murray/Fed match was stunning. I mean they played two competitive sets, Roger was on a roll coming into the third set, Murray took a tumble and that was all she wrote. I don't know what distracted Roger but his walkabout was worse than any I've seen Venus take.

I'm not a fan but I have to say words can't express what I saw in that third set.

Craig Hickman said...

Savannah, are you saying you were so stunned that you felt sorry for Raja?

Graf_sampras said...

World number one Rafael Nadal is even better than most people appreciate having become a more complete player, according to his American rival Andy Roddick.
TENNIS Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick - 0
More Stories

* Miami drawsheet
* More tennis news

Roddick, ranked sixth, believes Spaniard Nadal's reputation as a powerful baseline player camouflages his improved skills around the court.

"He has developed a chip that gets him out of trouble a lot that no one ever really talks about. They talk about the running and heaviness, but he volleys well.

"He's able to play returns, as evidenced by Wimbledon last year," said Roddick, who like left-hander Nadal is preparing for a second round start in this week's Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.

"They talk about how he stands back, but he's able to mix it up. I don't really think he gets credit for how complete of a tennis player he is.

"I think he kind of gets pigeon holed into what people remember from five years ago," added the 26-year-old.

"The thing about Rafa's game, and the type of ball he hits coming from the left side is that, maybe more so than other players, he's able to kind of say, 'This is what I do. You're going to have to deal with it.'

"But that being said, the guy knows what he's doing on a tennis court. He knows his way around," Roddick said.

Nadal currently holds three of the four Grand Slam titles and his win at Indian Wells last week gave him his 13th Masters victory.

The Spaniard beat Andy Murray in the final, ending the Briton's good run of form in match-ups between the pair.

Murray said the key to taking on Nadal was not trying to beat him with every shot.

"He's so consistent and really fast. You know, he has obviously one of the heaviest forehands the game has ever seen.

"It's easy to think, you have to play unbelievably all the time. That's not always the case.

"You have to pick the right shots to go for the lines and play aggressive against him, and then you've got a chance.

"It is obviously very difficult, because when you get more tired in the tight situations, you know he's not going to give the points to you.

"That's where you have to be very strong mentally to win against him, especially in the big match tight situations," Murray said.

b said...

Savannah - Everyone keeps thinking it was the fall..... but it was actually the shot right before the fall..... If you look at the match you'll see right before that Fed hit a big smash off a lob that 99.9% nearly always ends a point..... Murray, unlike most, RAN to other side of the court after it, somehow picked it up off near shoe level and then lobbed it over Fed (standing in shock at the net) to win the point....

It was a marvellous get and Fed gave up.... in the same manner most of the atp has been giving up against him.....

On another note, the stuff against Mirka is really ridiculous..... I remember reading an interview w- her a couple years ago - sounded like she worships him.... attends to his every whim..... and believes in doing her best to help his career while he has a chance to make him great.....

As far as I'm concerned any success he's had is largely due to her

b said...

I think the key is not for Fed to be more aggressive but to get in better shape.... lose weight (yes he has had a spare tire for some time now).... and play a better and more consistent defensive game so that he can chose when to attack rather than trying to hit winners out of annoyance or frustration

Despite all the flowerly labels Fed is an aggressive baseliner

Tsonga played Nadal well..... but he is a great and extremely versatile retriever - and great all-court and volley player

rabbit said...

b, yes, if a fall can be so distracting, Roger did not deserve to win the match. And regarding that point, yes, that was pretty awesome anticipation by Andy, almost Federer-esque. Ironically, there was a very similar point that Roger himself played against Andy in Shanghai last year: see around 5:23 of this clip.

Also, I agree about Mirka. All of his success has come after teaming up with her. Not a coincidence.

b said...

rabbit, thanks for the great clip
yes was similar except 1 big difference the smash was in roger's direction rather than the other side of the court

the other one i don't blame roger for thinking it would be a winner b/c most players don't even bother to run when they see someone lining up to hit that type of smash

Also I hope people remember that Roger has a 0-2 h2h against simon

rabbit said...

I agree that the shot was fantastic, but actually the smash was made right at Andy. Around 4:08 here:

b said...

hi rabbit pls resend that link - it didn't work - i think part cut off thx

rabbit said...

Sorry! Link

b said...

rabbit wow thx - i really "misremembered" that one - yes he hit it in murrays direction and it was a great return from an awkward position.... not quite a lob either

Federer's shot at the YEC was more "elegant"..... Murray's looked far more ungainly.....

Graf_sampras said...

Blogger b said...

Savannah - Everyone keeps thinking it was the fall..... but it was actually the shot right before the fall..... If you look at the match you'll see right before that Fed hit a big smash off a lob that 99.9% nearly always ends a point..... Murray, unlike most, RAN to other side of the court after it, somehow picked it up off near shoe level and then lobbed it over Fed (standing in shock at the net) to win the point....

It was a marvellous get and Fed gave up.... in the same manner most of the atp has been giving up against him.....


this is correct.

i've reviewed the Youtube moments. and that's one of them...

and indeed it was THAT shot that really deflated roger...

because he had what was a "winner" and closer...and it was HIS MOMENT to "become aggressive" as he now says...

but that revealed to him it was NOT good enough.

see -- what I have observed abotu roger at the net over the years is:

he is good at ONE good hit ..but can not really follow-up if he is seriously threatened THERE .

THAT is what differentiates him from a sampras, or becker, or rafter.

even nadal is better than roger at that.

Graf_sampras said...

in masterful net playing -- we all have seen , wehther it is during the times of laver or sampras or today --

regardless of how good the baseliners are -

it almost always requires about 3-4 or even 5 volleyes - both requiring the qualities of offense and defense at the same time...

as for example if a sampras has to be at the net applying pressure BUT is met with resistance with attempted passes or lobs ..and has to be ready to shift with lightning speed..

naturaly a player has to be very athletic and in great condition and unhamered by injuries or exhaustion or old age.

that is why -- when we saw Tsonga play nadal -- there was nothing nadal could do FROM the baseline -- considering that nadal is one of the greatest "baseliners EVER"..

it was simply a demonstration of the SUPERIORITY of a TOP of the LINE performance by a PROPER allcourter and serve and volleyer.

Federer fails in the latter category. that is the problem with his talk of "being more aggressive".

his aggression is LIKE nadal's -- from the baseline.

but has been surpassed BY nadal and neutralized by murray in THAT category...and roger has NOT the kind of athleticism and touch AT the net and the APPROACH shot that sampras in his quicker days or tsonga in his healthier days possess.

Graf_sampras said...

Federer has the "refined game" = he does not have the "BIG GAME"

the BIG GAME - when played properly -- will defeat ANY baseliner , ANY player, any day.

that it is not happening MORE today -- is NOT because Nadal is "better than others at the baseline" or roger WAS in his is because there are FEW that have mastered the ART...

and the RARITY like TSONGA is far to inconsistent or injured and has to keep "building up steam" FIRST before really finding the point of very high execution of THAT game -- as was shown in the AO last year against nadal.

the TRICK is to be able to apply it when necessary and round after round...but there are precious FEW if ANY , apart from Tsonga that have the total package to do it .

as Navratilova said:

"it is just too difficult to master quickly".

仲祥 said...

I think Nadal is not the only opponent Roger needs to face, the biggest one is himself.