July 03, 2008

Federer v. Nadal

There are a lot of things I'm excited about this weekend. America. The Sixers making Josh Smith an offer he can't refuse. Hitting the links on Saturday. But nothing tops the expected King Federer - Rafa showdown on Sunday morning. I'm already giddy in anticipation of Breakfast at Wimbledon. I can't wait to hear an Enberg Essay on how dominant these two players have become. And I can't wait to see Roger silence the doubters and maybe, if he's feeling feisty, ask Djokovic how he has enjoyed his fortnight (I REALLY wanted to get in the use of fortnight in this post).


Sean said...

Ill just let Jimmy tell me who won like I did last year.

Doug said...

Should be a great final tomorrow. I'm rooting for King Roger, but I'm not gonna lie that it's awfully tempting to pick Nadal in this match. Nadal is at his absolute peak at this point. I'll still go with Federer, but I think it's legitimately up in the air.

By the way, I was never a Nadal fan (I would go so far as to say that I didn't like him), but he's grown on me in the last year. Nadal respects the game, always defers to Roger, and seems like a pretty classy guy. And I've grown to appreciate his game. His speed and ability to hit great shots from anywhere on the court is remarkable. Nadal never gives up on a point. I'm becoming a Nadal fan.

One last thing. Even if Federer doesn't pass Sampras' majors record, he's still the greatest tennis player I've ever seen. If you put Federer in his prime from a couple years ago against Sampras in his prime, I'm taking Federer all day long. I was a Sampras fan, but I think Roger was better.

Jimmy Rogers said...

Great post Lips. You stole my thunder. I've been on record before the fortnight began that Rafa would win in 4 sets.

I think it's outstanding that with all the pressure and expectations, these two still breezed through their draws to get here. They are on a completely different level than the rest of the world.

Doug, you're dead right that Federer is the greatest ever. Some numbers to throw at you in support.

Federer's dominance has been on every surface - see 17 straight semis in Majors, and counting. Sampras never made the finals of Roland Garros. Only 1 SF and 3 QF, sprinkled with 8 1st & 2nd round exits. Roger has proven his white whale isn't nearly elusive as it may seem, losing 3 straight Finals to one of the undisputed best-evers on clay. But getting there is worth something.

Pete won 9 of his 14 Slams and 39 of his career 64 titles in his 5 "heyday" years from 1993-1997 (ages 22-26. His best record came in 1994 - 77-12, which he followed with his worst, in terms of record (72-16) and total titles (5).

Roger is on the tail end of his dominant stretch that ranks with the best in the history of the game. From 2003-2007 (ages 23-26), he flat out dominated the world. He won 42 of his 55 career titles, never losing more than 9 matches in any year. Between '05-'06, King Roger was a combined 173-9! Ridiculous. And of those 9 losses, he made the finals four times and the semis twice. He just flat out wins.

As I finish typing this, Rafa Nadal is dismantling the champion and might just triumph in straight sets, ala the French. Roger's amazing run of dominance may be drawing nigh, but it's more a matter of Nadal taking it from him and not Federer slipping in his play. Nadal is becoming a transcendent champino in his own right and the growing rivalry will only fuel Roger to regain his edge and keep up his winning ways for years to come.

New York City will be privy to one pissed off Federer.

Doug said...

Greatest match of all time?? As good as I've ever seen. Two incredible players with talent like I have never seen on a tennis court. Some of the shots that they were hitting (in the 5th set mind you) were absolutely remarkable.

Nadal deserved to win the match, and I agree with McEnroe that Nadal is now the best player in the world. Beating Federer in the French and now Wimbledon definitely is a statement. Nadal is on his way to becoming one of the all-time greats as well.

It will be interesting to see how Roger takes all this change. I think he'll bounce back and hopefully win the US Open. Either way, it is great to see men's tennis making a resurgence in the sports pecking order. It seems like a lot of people are still buzzing about that match.

Already looking forward to the US Open! Nadal and Federer are great ambassadors of the game. Two of the classiest champions you will ever see as far as I'm concerned. In particular, watching how Federer handles himself, how can anyone not like this guy??