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Fedal - XXXVI
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shawnbm Offline
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
I always like to hear from Haelfix--does not post as often but is usually spot on, like last evening. I too have heard Courier and Annacone talking about the year plus Roger has take. To get acclimated to the new racquet with the bigger sweet spot and it sounds like a compelling explanation. Of course, at these guys' level it comes down to confidence and roger is definitely confident with the racquet and plays like it. He is simply handling the Nadal forehand like he did in 2006-2007 when he went on a 5-2 run against the Spaniard after losing 6 of the first 7 matches against him (all but one in clay during Rafa's clay streak). Folks forget that the rivalry was 8-6 in favor of Nadal going into the clay season in 2008. Then the tide turned starting in Monte Carlo when Roger shanked away leads in both sets to lose 5-7, 5-7 if memory serves. That match really hurt him after his major finals streak had been broken with his semifinal loss to young Novak at the AO that year. Then the beat down by Rafa in Paris set the stage for the big one at SW19, which really knocked with wind out of Roger and put the wind in Rafa's sails for the next two years.

Virgil Cane is the name ...
16-Mar-2017 08:28 AM
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El Dude Offline
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
(16-Mar-2017 07:11 AM)mrzz Wrote:  Last night´s match unfolded much like sets 1, 3 and 5 of the AO final. It does tell you something.

Yeah, I had the same thought. With AO, there was the sense that Roger was the far more dominant player and sets 2 and 4 were lapses. I was thinking of this while watching Novak and Kyrgios yesterday, that if Novak had come back it would have been similar to if Rafa had won AO: the lesser player (that day) would have found a way to sneak up and snatch victory away from the guy who was playing better.

It was almost as if Roger consolidated his AO play against Rafa: He played similarly, but without the lapses. Now maybe this is because it was a best-of-three. Maybe if IW was a Slam, Rafa would have found a way to win the third set and at least bring it to four. But it sure didn't look that way.

At AO it was almost as if Roger had the thought, "There's no way I can be doing this," and slowed on the gas and lost a couple sets, but then floored it in the fifth. In IW he just floored it the whole time and Rafa didn't know what hit him and didn't have time to adjust.

I can't help but wonder: When was the last time Rafa experienced such a beat-down? Only five games won in two sets? Worth researching.
16-Mar-2017 11:22 AM
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Front242 (03-16-2017)
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
Some researching. Rafa lost to Roger, 2-6 3-6 - winning only five games. I looked back over his matches to try to find the last time he lost so badly.

His loss to Grigor at Beijing last year, 2-6 4-6, was close but not quite as bad. But here's the surprisingly bit: The last time he lost worse than at IW was to Borna Coric at Cincinnati last year, when he lost 1-6 3-6.

What about a top player? Rafa thrives on competition, so maybe we can forgive his lapse against Coric. Well it is Doha at the beginning of 2016 where he lost to Novak, 1-6 2-6.

So it happens - and happened two or three times last year, that is Rafa getting rolled over in a best-of-three.
16-Mar-2017 11:26 AM
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shawnbm Offline
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
A guy like Nadal losing like that three times in the last 18 months is telling--he is either losing a step or confidence or both. Clearly, the aura around him has dissipated and players feel they can win. Three years ago only Novak thought that way.

Virgil Cane is the name ...
16-Mar-2017 04:19 PM
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GameSetAndMath Offline
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
I am not ready to write off Rafa. We need to see how he picks up this clay season. We can pass the final verdict after RG 2017.

"Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference" - Mark Twain
16-Mar-2017 05:03 PM
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kskate2 Offline
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
(16-Mar-2017 05:03 PM)GameSetAndMath Wrote:  I am not ready to write off Rafa. We need to see how he picks up this clay season. We can pass the final verdict after RG 2017.

You don't have to wait that long. News flash; he has declined: aka lost a step, is slower, lacks confidence etc. When you decline you have 2 choices, stay the same until my game completely deteriorates or try to make some adjustments to compensate for the new deficiency in your game.

I think it was good for his fans to see him compete in the AO final. That gave him belief that he can still play at a slam level. But after losing that match and a final to Querrey, he should be evaluating what is the next step I need to take to get me over the hump from being just a finalist,
16-Mar-2017 05:59 PM
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El Dude Offline
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
Kelli, I agree with you but my guess is that he doesn't really do that until after RG. He'll go into clay season playing his same old shtick, and that might even be the right thing to do. It isn't that like telling an 80-year old to stop quitting - sometimes it is just best to keep doing it, as the shock of quitting after 60+ years can be worse than continuing. This is not to say that Rafa is that far gone--he isn't--but that just before clay season is not the time to change his game up.

If he does well on clay--especially if he wins RG--then he can ride on the confidence high through the rest of the year and not really worry about results, then start a Federer-esque old man schedule modification in 2018 and beyond to try to optimize his chance on clay and at Slams, especially at Roland Garros.

Now if he comes up empty, or almost empty, from clay season, I think he'll go into grass feeling limp and may find a reason to withdraw from Wimbledon, and hopefully give his career and strategy a long, hard look. At that point he could think about whether he can adapt his game and try to give it another go, or whether it is time to hang up his racket and go fishing.

Either way, this clay season is crucial for his career going forward.
(This post was last modified: 16-Mar-2017 06:48 PM by El Dude.)
16-Mar-2017 06:46 PM
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GameSetAndMath Offline
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
Fed-Rafa H2H now is 23-13. It would be nice if many more Fedal matches come up so that Roger can rewrite the H2H story or at least control the damage. So, I was trying to estimate how many more matches we will probably get to see.

Roger has improved his ranking to top 8 and will be seeded so in Miami. The problem now is that both Rafa and Roger are ranked in 5-8 range. As a result, they cannot meet before semifinals. In the quarterfinals, players ranked 5-8 are drawn to play players ranked 1-4. That means unless both Roger and Rafa manage to reach the semifinals in the same tournament, we won't have a Fedal match assuming they both stay in the range 5-8 for the rest of the year (which is not far fetched). Finally, even if they both reach SF in the same tourney, there is only 50% of them meeting in SF as they could be in different semifinals.

Wimbledon will be an exception where I expect Fed to be seeded in top four. Unfortunately, in Wimbledon folks ranked beyond 100 take care of Rafa and so Fedal cannot happen in Wimbledon either.

In WTF, if they both are drawn in the same group we will get at least one more Fedal match. But, chances are by then Rafa would have gotten tired decided to pull off from WTF even if he qualifies.

Anyway, this year I expect a 0 or 1 more Fedal match. In the next three years, even if we get two matches per year, that will be a total of 7 matches. Assuming couple of them happens on clay, we may have 5-2 record going forward and so a final total of 25-18, which is not quite bad.

"Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference" - Mark Twain
16-Mar-2017 11:10 PM
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Fiero425 Online
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
I'm just glad Nole got to beat up on Rafa when he was still competitive in 2011! Took him in 3 Major finals and 7 straight wins from '11 IW to '12 AO! He's since added another 7 win streak without the loss of a set believe it or not! Roger can have the scraps I guess; Rafa's ready to put in for double hip replacement! Rafa will forever be ahead in the H2H with Roger, but hung on long enough to allow Nole to catch up and pass him too! Rolleyes No No Angel Dodgy Cover

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(This post was last modified: 17-Mar-2017 04:32 AM by Fiero425.)
17-Mar-2017 04:31 AM
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atttomole Offline
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
(16-Mar-2017 11:10 PM)GameSetAndMath Wrote:  Fed-Rafa H2H now is 23-13. It would be nice if many more Fedal matches come up so that Roger can rewrite the H2H story or at least control the damage. So, I was trying to estimate how many more matches we will probably get to see.

Roger has improved his ranking to top 8 and will be seeded so in Miami. The problem now is that both Rafa and Roger are ranked in 5-8 range. As a result, they cannot meet before semifinals. In the quarterfinals, players ranked 5-8 are drawn to play players ranked 1-4. That means unless both Roger and Rafa manage to reach the semifinals in the same tournament, we won't have a Fedal match assuming they both stay in the range 5-8 for the rest of the year (which is not far fetched). Finally, even if they both reach SF in the same tourney, there is only 50% of them meeting in SF as they could be in different semifinals.

Wimbledon will be an exception where I expect Fed to be seeded in top four. Unfortunately, in Wimbledon folks ranked beyond 100 take care of Rafa and so Fedal cannot happen in Wimbledon either.


In WTF, if they both are drawn in the same group we will get at least one more Fedal match. But, chances are by then Rafa would have gotten tired decided to pull off from WTF even if he qualifies.

Anyway, this year I expect a 0 or 1 more Fedal match. In the next three years, even if we get two matches per year, that will be a total of 7 matches. Assuming couple of them happens on clay, we may have 5-2 record going forward and so a final total of 25-18, which is not quite bad.

You seem to be assuming that Roger will continue beating Rafa regularly from now on, but remember Rafa is also able to tweak his game to counter Roger's changes.
(This post was last modified: 17-Mar-2017 06:58 AM by atttomole.)
17-Mar-2017 06:57 AM
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mightyjeditribble (03-17-2017)
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
An interesting way to look at the last couple matches is that Roger's main changes: taking the backhand early and punishing Nadal's serve is the same formula that helped Davydenko dominate Rafa on hard courts. Taking the ball extremely early off both wings and having a very good and aggressive return were big strengths of his. Obviously Roger has a lot more overall to work with too so if he can keep the backhand and return at near the same level as AO and IW it will be tough sledding for Nadal.
17-Mar-2017 07:16 AM
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kskate2 Offline
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
(17-Mar-2017 07:16 AM)DarthFed Wrote:  An interesting way to look at the last couple matches is that Roger's main changes: taking the backhand early and punishing Nadal's serve is the same formula that helped Davydenko dominate Rafa on hard courts. Taking the ball extremely early off both wings and having a very good and aggressive return were big strengths of his. Obviously Roger has a lot more overall to work with too so if he can keep the backhand and return at near the same level as AO and IW it will be tough sledding for Nadal.
And I credit these BH adjustments to Lubicjic. He was a smart player in his day.
17-Mar-2017 08:15 AM
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DarthFed Offline
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
Yes, Ivan has obviously worked wonders on getting Roger to be even more aggressive. The new racquet has helped out too. Obviously Roger has always played very attacking tennis, more so as he has aged, but he was usually chipping back the ROS against everyone and he wasn't going after backhands like this.
17-Mar-2017 10:47 AM
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GameSetAndMath Offline
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
(17-Mar-2017 06:57 AM)atttomole Wrote:  
(16-Mar-2017 11:10 PM)GameSetAndMath Wrote:  Fed-Rafa H2H now is 23-13. It would be nice if many more Fedal matches come up so that Roger can rewrite the H2H story or at least control the damage. So, I was trying to estimate how many more matches we will probably get to see.

Roger has improved his ranking to top 8 and will be seeded so in Miami. The problem now is that both Rafa and Roger are ranked in 5-8 range. As a result, they cannot meet before semifinals. In the quarterfinals, players ranked 5-8 are drawn to play players ranked 1-4. That means unless both Roger and Rafa manage to reach the semifinals in the same tournament, we won't have a Fedal match assuming they both stay in the range 5-8 for the rest of the year (which is not far fetched). Finally, even if they both reach SF in the same tourney, there is only 50% of them meeting in SF as they could be in different semifinals.

Wimbledon will be an exception where I expect Fed to be seeded in top four. Unfortunately, in Wimbledon folks ranked beyond 100 take care of Rafa and so Fedal cannot happen in Wimbledon either.


In WTF, if they both are drawn in the same group we will get at least one more Fedal match. But, chances are by then Rafa would have gotten tired decided to pull off from WTF even if he qualifies.

Anyway, this year I expect a 0 or 1 more Fedal match. In the next three years, even if we get two matches per year, that will be a total of 7 matches. Assuming couple of them happens on clay, we may have 5-2 record going forward and so a final total of 25-18, which is not quite bad.

You seem to be assuming that Roger will continue beating Rafa regularly from now on, but remember Rafa is also able to tweak his game to counter Roger's changes.

No, I am not. That is why I am placing the future H2H at 5-2 instead of 7-0.

"Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference" - Mark Twain
17-Mar-2017 12:56 PM
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El Dude Offline
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
I'd like to see the H2H get to 60-40%. At its worst it was 23-10, or 70-30. Now it is 23-13, or 64-36. Your prediction of 25-18 would be 58-42, which would be great.

All that said, regardless of what happens in their matchup going forward, two things will never change:

*Rafa will always have the edge over Roger in terms of the overall match-up.
*Roger will always have the edge in terms of career accomplishments.

I would also add that barring a surprising and unforeseen surge by Rafa to win a few more Slams, Roger's win at AO pretty much solidified his edge over Rafa on the GOAT list. If Rafa somehow turns the momentum back around and finishes up his career with several wins over Roger and a few more Slam titles, I'll change my tune, but it is hard to see that right now.
17-Mar-2017 01:29 PM
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Front242 Offline
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
I said years ago I expected the h2h to get a bit more respectable as they both aged but, while I did in fact expect it, I certainly did NOT expect the level of play Roger is displaying right now. It's pretty damned impressive. Really, if he hadn't been cheating himself out of winning matches for years with the much smaller frame, the h2h would probably be nothing like it is now. It actually makes the case for GOAT even more that he won so many slams playing at a significant disadvantage to the others on tour who have all used much bigger racquets their whole careers. Shank you very much.
17-Mar-2017 03:45 PM
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shivashish (03-18-2017)
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
(17-Mar-2017 03:45 PM)Front242 Wrote:  I said years ago I expected the h2h to get a bit more respectable as they both aged but, while I did in fact expect it, I certainly did NOT expect the level of play Roger is displaying right now. It's pretty damned impressive. Really, if he hadn't been cheating himself out of winning matches for years with the much smaller frame, the h2h would probably be nothing like it is now. It actually makes the case for GOAT even more that he won so many slams playing at a significant disadvantage to the others on tour who have all used much bigger racquets their whole careers. Shank you very much.

Yes, but, smaller racquet-head size suited his game for so many years. It was a part of his success because its always that racquet is taken according to playing style. So, it was apt for his game all along, I think.

18-Mar-2017 02:08 AM
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Front242 Offline
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
He should have changed in 2010 really. Reaction speeds slow as you age as does coordination and it would've given both more power and precision resulting in less shanks. Who knows how his career might have gone compared to now. I'd hazard a guess at least 2 more slams anyway.
18-Mar-2017 08:51 AM
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
(18-Mar-2017 08:51 AM)Front242 Wrote:  He should have changed in 2010 really. Reaction speeds slow as you age as does coordination and it would've given both more power and precision resulting in less shanks. Who knows how his career might have gone compared to now. I'd hazard a guess at least 2 more slams anyway.

I agree with you, in retrospect. However, it is impossible for him or for anybody to think about changing the racquet when you have just won your 16th Slam and won two slams in the year before and just became GOAT.

Actually, we all should be thankful that, unlike Pete who regretted it later, Roger at least decided to change it before his career is over.

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18-Mar-2017 09:36 AM
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shivashish Online
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RE: Fedal - XXXVI
(18-Mar-2017 09:36 AM)GameSetAndMath Wrote:  
(18-Mar-2017 08:51 AM)Front242 Wrote:  He should have changed in 2010 really. Reaction speeds slow as you age as does coordination and it would've given both more power and precision resulting in less shanks. Who knows how his career might have gone compared to now. I'd hazard a guess at least 2 more slams anyway.

I agree with you, in retrospect. However, it is impossible for him or for anybody to think about changing the racquet when you have just won your 16th Slam and won two slams in the year before and just became GOAT.

Actually, we all should be thankful that, unlike Pete who regretted it later, Roger at least decided to change it before his career is over.

What did Pete regret? I don't know the narrative. What was it?

(This post was last modified: 18-Mar-2017 09:59 PM by shivashish.)
18-Mar-2017 09:59 PM
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