FanDuel - WFBC

July 07, 2008

Nadal-Federer epic the most thrilling of all the Wimbledon finals: I came here to see what the buzz was and was shocked to see Nadal/Federer hadn't been posted already. I only saw part of the match and sadly missed most of the last set, but it seemed pretty epic to me, especially during the 4th set tiebreaker.

posted by drumdance to tennis at 01:45 PM - 44 comments

As a rule, I generally don't watch tennis. However, I stopped on the coverage near the end of the third set since it appeared that Federer was up against it, and I was absolutely riveted for the rest of the match. I thought sure that Federer was going to pull it out after forcing the fifth set. Nadal, however, definitely showed great spirit and perseverance to win it (not to mention great amounts of skill). How does Federer bounce back from this? He will, but it's my guess is that Federer and Nadal will alternate wins here and there for a few years.

posted by trox at 02:23 PM on July 07

I guess Federer is no longer the dominanat force in Men's tennis

posted by lsutigers96 at 02:25 PM on July 07

Why did it seem as if the crowd was strongly in Nadal's corner?

posted by bperk at 03:07 PM on July 07

I watched the third, fourth and fifth sets all the way to their 6-6 tie, but my TiVo wasn't set long enough to capture the ending. The crowd was strongly in Federer's corner in the third and fourth sets, and was cheering him on in the fifth when he was on the verge of getting his serve broken. When Nadal had three championship points in one game of the fourth and Federer came back to win the game, the crowd went nuts rooting for Federer. I was amazed that Nadal didn't get rattled in the next set. This was an incredible match, and I may catch it again when it airs tonight on ESPN Classic (at 7 p.m. Eastern, I think). As great as Federer is, he's lacked a rival who is on par with him over the past five years. We're set up for a couple really good years of tennis. Nadal just kept Federer from tying Borg for consecutive wins at Wimbledon and consecutive championships. That has gotta hurt.

posted by rcade at 03:24 PM on July 07

...and grass is Federer's best surface.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:47 PM on July 07

I think the video should be at the Wimbledon site. Probably kind of large files though...

posted by chris2sy at 03:50 PM on July 07

I'm still amazed Nadal was only broken once because his actual serve isn't anything special. Improved, yes. But it usually takes a dominant serve to avoid breakage. And as great of a match as it was, Federer beat himself, imo. So many mishit balls and unforced errors. His backhand was nowhere near his average backhand. Nadal was fortunate to win the first two sets. And Ralph Furley very unfortunate to be down 0-2. But I have to say there is something to be able to conjure points when up against it, and Nadal was able to do that very efficiently. I'm still not sure how he was doing it, but he did it. And on a side note, Nadal's clothing sponsors need to do something about his underroos. Dude picks his ass constantly.

posted by garfield at 03:56 PM on July 07

Nadal just kept Federer from tying Borg for consecutive wins at Wimbledon and consecutive championships. That has gotta hurt. Actually, he was already tied with Borg for consecutive championships at Wimbledon (5). He was on the verge of setting the new (open) record of 6 consecutive. As for the match, I only caught the tail end of the 4th set and all of the 5th set, and I couldn't turn it off after I started watching. I was pulling for Federer (to set the record) and to make the miracle comeback, but Nadal winning is fine too. I thought it was cool that McEnroe declared it the best final ever, since it pretty much dethroned his match against Borg in 1980 as the best final ever at Wimbledon.

posted by grum@work at 03:59 PM on July 07

I basically watched the first half of the match, until Nadal battled back in the third set after being down momentarily. I figured, this is good tennis, but it's Nadal's day at long last. This shouldn't take much longer. I can go into work for a while and get caught up. Got in the car and remembered having been in the exact same position before Game 6 of the 1980 NBA finals. I went to work when I didn't have to and missed seeing rookie Magic dominate and score 42 to win the title in one of the all-time great Finals games. So all through the pm yesterday I kept thinking what if Federer comes back, because he is capable of that. I said to myself I think I could be passing on a chance to see some history being made. Late in the afternoon, called a friend to get the final result. Nadal must have closed it out by now I figured. Found out they were STILL playing, with rain delays. Oh my word. That meant Federer had taken sets 3 and 4. Nothing I could do, no screen at work. Did not see epic history being written. Saw some clips later, and read a few written accounts, but I knew that this was another one of those mythic events that will live on mostly in my imagination, even if I get to watch the entire match on replay someday. Folks talk a lot about the uplifting quality of team sports -- for instance, how great it is when the Celts and Lakers get to go at it, and how great it is to be a Boston sports fan at the moment, etc. All very true. But we are so fortunate to have just witnessed two of the greatest extended length high noon dramas ever seen in individual sports. First Tiger and Rocco. Now this. Back to back. It still hasn't totally sunk in. All in all, 2008 has been one heavy year thus far.

posted by beaverboard at 07:22 PM on July 07

Got in the car and remembered having been in the exact same position before Game 6 of the 1980 NBA finals. I went to work when I didn't have to and missed seeing rookie Magic dominate and score 42 to win the title in one of the all-time great Finals games. Heh. Some spofites will remember this moment.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:15 PM on July 07

I saw the whole thing. Well into five sets the both of them were running down impossible shots. (They were both also running around their backhands, which I don't care for, but I'll get over.) I suppose it's because he's a clay court afficionado, but Nadal definitely has a sweeter touch on the ball. He played drop shots and sweeping cuts much more effectively. And to only lose one service game (against Federer's impressive four service game losses) in a 62 game match is remarkable. He was obviously prone to nerves in the tie-breakers, where Federer showed his storied mettle. I was afraid he might fold in the fifth, but he stayed right up there. Incredible match. Also, Federer's magnanimity in the post-game celebration was wonderful to see.

posted by bobfoot at 10:51 PM on July 07

Nadal just kept Federer from tying Borg for consecutive wins at Wimbledon and consecutive championships. That has gotta hurt. Actually, he was already tied with Borg for consecutive championships at Wimbledon (5). He was on the verge of setting the new (open) record of 6 consecutive. Actually, he was on the verge of tying William Renshaw for 6 consecutive titles (1881-1886). However, back then the reigning champion had a bye through to the Final. Interestingly, his opponent in three of those six were his twin brother Ernest, with whom he also won seven more Wimbledon titles in doubles.

posted by bobfoot at 11:32 PM on July 07

Why did it seem as if the crowd was strongly in Nadal's corner? Wimbledon crowds like underdogs. It is, after all, mainly composed of British tennis fans. It was a fantastic match, and it took them both to make it so. The reaction of John McEnroe on NBC -- who, remember, ended Borg's streak at Wimbledon in 1981 -- summed it up. Though I don't think we'll see Federer walk away in Borg fashion.

posted by etagloh at 04:11 AM on July 08

Actually, he was on the verge of tying William Renshaw for 6 consecutive titles (1881-1886). Hence Grum's use of the word "open".

posted by JJ at 06:10 AM on July 08

Why did it seem as if the crowd was strongly in Nadal's corner? Wimbledon crowds like underdogs. It is, after all, mainly composed of British tennis fans. It is, after all, mainly composed of sexually repressed middle-aged, middle-class, middle-English women for whom the sight of an inflated Latin biceps brachii is enough to inflame their tinder-dry sexual ardour. Come on, Tim!

posted by JJ at 06:17 AM on July 08

I guess Federer is no longer the dominanat force in Men's tennis Considering that he's been the man for about 5 years in Men's tennis, this loss was long overdue. He was supposed to have a threat to his title in Andy Roddick and Roddick failed to beat him. Then there was James Blake and he got no where near to being true competition to Federer. Nadal has been the only player that I've seen that has been able to compete against Federer and this is just his first win at Wimbledon. I can see these two playing against one another for years to come but it amazes me to hear people say, "Well, where does Federer go from here?" My reaction to that is, "Where the hell is he supposed to go?" Federer has plenty of game left in the tank and if anyone thinks that Federer is just going to lie down and let anyone take him off of his throne without a fight, they are sadly mistaken. Nadal may have won this one but I can bet that Federer will not go out quitely. People have been wanting for Federer to have a rival so that he can in fact go down as one of the true greats in this sport like Bjorn Borg/John McEnroe to Andre Agassi/Pete Sampras and now we have it.

posted by BornIcon at 06:38 AM on July 08

Federer's had a clear rival since 2005, Nadal. Nadal is the guy who's kept Federer from winning the French, who'd played Federer the closest at Wimbledon, and he's the only guy on tour with a significantly favorable win/loss ratio against Federer.

posted by aerotive at 07:54 AM on July 08

Federer's had a clear rival since 2005, Nadal. Nadal is the guy who's kept Federer from winning the French, who'd played Federer the closest at Wimbledon, and he's the only guy on tour with a significantly favorable win/loss ratio against Federer As I said from my earlier post: Nadal has been the only player that I've seen that has been able to compete against Federer and this is just his first win at Wimbledon And to think, Federer's still been #1 in the standings of Men's tennis and also won the most important title in tennis for 5 year's straight and that's Wimbledon. If it were that clear of a rival as you suggest, Nadal would've challeged Federer for that Wimbledon title years ago IMO and not just on the clay surface from the French Open.

posted by BornIcon at 08:53 AM on July 08

If it were that clear of a rival as you suggest, Nadal would've challeged Federer for that Wimbledon title years ago IMO and not just on the clay surface from the French Open. This is the third year in a row that Nadal has been in the final. If that's not a challenge, I don't know what is.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:03 AM on July 08

Really? So this is the first time that Nadal has actually beaten Federer since Federer's been dominating Wimbledon since '03? Now that's comp. Sorry to disagree but I find it hard for me to say that Nadal was real comp for Federer when Federer has had Nadal's number for years. Nadal just finally came thru in the clutch at this year's Wimbledon but no one can take anything from Nadal since he did win. My only complaint is how people are making it sound as if Federer's career is now over since he finally lost at Wimbledon after 5 years straight of utter dominance.

posted by BornIcon at 10:27 AM on July 08

I also don't understand the talk about Federer being done just because he lost Wimbledon. It was an extremely close match and I don't see how by Federer losing this he automatically loses everything that helped him win five straight Wiimbledon's and dominate the tennis world for these past several years. I suppose it could be a crushing blow mentally, but I would think Federer would have the ability to bounce back anyways. He hasn't let French Open losses affect him in other matches.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 10:41 AM on July 08

Wikipedia has a great Federer vs. Nadal page that sums up their matches. I think those of us who are saying "the game is on!" to their rivalry, post-Wimbledon, are wrong. It's been on for a while. Nadal won the last four times they played, all in the finals of a tournament.

posted by rcade at 10:51 AM on July 08

Really? So this is the first time that Nadal has actually beaten Federer since Federer's been dominating Wimbledon since '03? Now that's comp. By "comp" I assume you mean "competitive", not "compensation" or "compliment" or any of the various other words beginning with "comp". Perhaps you could define "competitive", then. In my dictionary, it does not mean "always winning". Sorry to disagree but I find it hard for me to say that Nadal was real comp for Federer when Federer has had Nadal's number for years. They went to five sets last year and four the year before. Again, if that's not a challenge, please define "challenge". I think you're humpty-dumptying in an effort to support your contention that Nadal has not previously provided Federer with a challenge at Wimbledon (or on any other non-clay surface) -- a contention that I would say is not borne out by the facts.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:03 AM on July 08

Nadal leads the series 12-6. Perhaps he is the one who needs some better competition.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 11:59 AM on July 08

9 of those wins are on clay, which Nadal has been dominant on for years. He's 3-6 everywhere else.

posted by yerfatma at 12:08 PM on July 08

Yeah, but he's not exactly been chopped liver everywhere else, either, yerfatma. I don't think this really characterizes a breakthrough year (or event) for Nadal except on the most superficial level: he's been closing in on Federer on other surfaces, not just clay, for a while now.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:14 PM on July 08

9 of those wins are on clay, which Nadal has been dominant on for years. Now that Nadal has beaten Federer on grass at Wimbledon, isn't he the more complete player in spite of his No. 2 ranking? The monkey on the back has moved to Federer, who has to beat Nadal on the French Open clay. The fact we're having a prolonged argument about the top player in men's tennis is a pretty good sign for the sport, in my opinion.

posted by rcade at 12:26 PM on July 08

I also don't understand the talk about Federer being done just because he lost Wimbledon. To be fair, I don't think it's just about losing Wimbledon. There are a number of factors. First, Federer has set ridiculously high standards for himself over the past few years. With the exception of Clay courts, he has utterly dominated Tennis. This year, though, has been less than stellar. He lost in three straight sets in Djokovic in the Australian open. And then was crushed by Nadal in the French open before losing to him in Wimbledon. He's also 26 which is practically middle aged for Tennis. That being said, the Wimbledon final was Epic. I can only hope that Federer is not done and that we can see more matches like this between Federer and Nadal. On Preview: Despite the rankings, it's pretty clear that Nadal is the best player in the world, right now.

posted by cjets at 12:47 PM on July 08

Yeah, but he's not exactly been chopped liver everywhere else, either, yerfatma Now that Nadal has beaten Federer on grass at Wimbledon, isn't he the more complete player in spite of his No. 2 ranking Sorry, I didn't mean to demean Nadal. That was just in response to YYM's "12-6" comment. While I agree Nadal's been the better player for a year or so (as best as I know, I'm not a huge Men's Tennis fan), I think it's a stretch to say Nadal needs to go walkabout to find real competition.

posted by yerfatma at 02:26 PM on July 08

Really? So this is the first time that Nadal has actually beaten Federer since Federer's been dominating Wimbledon since '03? Now that's comp. Nadal turned 22 last month, so to imply that he has been some kind of longterm journeyman player is simply inaccurate.

posted by Irish627 at 02:37 PM on July 08

Why do some people who know more about tennis than most of us worry this might spell trouble for Federer? Maybe they have long enough memories to remember what happened to Borg. Part of Federer's dominance has been built around... well, his dominance. When holes start appearing, it's natural, surely, to wonder how long before the whole thing collapses in on itself. I'm an unashamed Federer fan, but I really admire what Nadal has done. He has worked and worked to overcome not only the tennis of Roger Federer, but also the myth or legend that went (and still goes) with that. Nadal's backhand was a weakness, so he worked on it and turned it into a strength (it now looks more like he's just got two forehands, one of which he plays double handed). What would be really cool would be if someone from the golfing world (perhaps Nadal's compatriot for one) could examine what he has done and replicate it in his own sport to challenge Tiger. As rcade said, it's cool to be having a discussion about it though! And as Irish627 and lbb put it (much more politely than I would have) get your head out of your ass BornIcon.

posted by JJ at 04:51 PM on July 08

I'm not "humpty-dumptying" anything but I did love that song from Digital Underground. Anyways, I gave my opinion and you disagree which is fine. I think that Nadal is a fantastic player but I'm in the same boat with JJ, I just don't get what the big fuss is all about with Federer now that he finally lost at Wimbeldon and it happened to come at the hands of Nadal. Nadal has dominated Federer at the French Open which is played on clay and Federer just hasn't played well on clay. For people to imply that it's all over for Federer now that he lost at Wimbledon just makes me laugh. I'm just glad that Men's tennis is actually being spoken about more than Women's tennis because it just seemed as if Men's tennis was in decline since most everyone was just watching Federer's dominance and no one else. I love Women's tennis so for us to be having this discussion about the Men's division is a breath of fresh air. BTW, comp is a short version for COMPETITION, not "computer", not "comprehensive" and definitely not "completion", comprehend? And JJ, stop being an asshat, it makes you look foolish even if you do have something interesting to say.

posted by BornIcon at 09:34 AM on July 09

Please. You step on your ding dong all the time, declaring What's What for everyone and then start back-pedaling like a dyslexic at the Tour de France and now you're going to jump on everyone else?

posted by yerfatma at 01:00 PM on July 09

Whatever neph. No one is back-pedaling. Just read WTF I wrote to begin with and there won't be any confusion. Ding dong? What are you? 7?

posted by BornIcon at 01:26 PM on July 09

Dude, he did say you can step on it. I thought that was a compliment. And yeah, I'm like, 11.

posted by tselson at 01:51 PM on July 09

Well, I did take that as a compliment but I just can't believe that he said ding-dong, he could've said penis if he didn't wanna seem vulgar but ding-dong? I haven't heard that since I was a kid. BTW, the dyslexic at the Tour was very weak. How about a dyslexic at a spelling bee? No? Yea, that doesn't work with your back-pedaling analogy. Sorry, just trying to help.

posted by BornIcon at 01:53 PM on July 09

Um...Tour De France...bicycles...pedaling? Ring any bells? I thought it was kind of clever. Exept for the fact that it might offend dyslexics.

posted by hawkguy at 02:39 PM on July 09

Only if you read it to them.

posted by yerfatma at 02:56 PM on July 09

cnuts

posted by JJ at 05:13 PM on July 09

cnuts Isn't he that Danish cyclist at the Tour de France? The new Rasmussen?

posted by owlhouse at 05:32 PM on July 09

Rasmussen?

posted by JJ at 05:16 AM on July 10

"neph"?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:19 AM on July 10

Except the Chicken is banned from competition for two years.

posted by apoch at 08:27 AM on July 10

Too bad I'm late to this post (which itself was inexplicably not posted on Sunday night!). Thoughts on the match: Perhaps the best match ever in terms of overall drama and quality of tennis. Not only the rain delays, the comeback, the two tie breaks, Nadal's possible injury, the extra games in the 5th set, the dying light, but also the fact that history would be made no matter who won the match. Now that's drama. The tennis was intense as well, with Nadal dominating Roger early and possibly winning in straight sets if not for the lucky rain delay. Nadal probably should have closed out in the 4th set tie break, but he blinked, giving up a double fault then he was serving for the match. His ability to shake off that moment, which would have devastated most players, was the difference in the 5th set. In the end Roger was physically and mentally tired while Nadal continued to be rock solid. The better man won the match. As far as comments being made here, a couple of observations. Nadal is a huge problem for Roger because he is a terrible match up. Nadal has exposed Roger's backhand as a major weakness. His brutal topspin forehand just destroys Roger's one-handed backhand (although Federer stubbornly refused to run around his forehand the first two sets and you see where that got him). There is no debate on this, we've seen it now every time they've played over the past two years. People often can't believe how many time Roger shanks the ball when he plays Rafa; "Roger played terribly, that's why Rafa won" is what I often hear. But the truth is that those shanks are caused by the fact that he can't handle Rafa's heavy topspin forehand. He just can't. Nadal came very close to pulling off the double last year and this year it seemed inevitable. Nadal also seems dialed into Roger's serve and he doesn't wilt when Roger hits amazing winners, as most players do when facing the number one. On the other hand, Rafa's iron will scares Roger, that much is obvious, although Federer showed alot of heart coming back on Sunday. My hat's off to him. Roger is not done, he's still one of the top three players on the tour, but depending on the day and the surface he can be as low as three or as high as 1, same with Nadal and to a lesser degree Djokovic, the third player in the mix. The key thing is that Roger no longer has an aura of invincibility, in fact, it seems that it is Nadal who increasingly has opponents beat before they step on the court. Head to head Nadal has totally undermined Federer's confidence. I look forward to the hard court season to see whether this is permanent or temporary. At age 26 Roger has probably peaked, I find it difficult to believe that he will have the will to "improve" his game as many have talked about. On the other hand Nadal has been improving every year since 2005 when he came into his own on the professional tour at the age of 19! He has untold depths of humility that makes him always believe that he needs to improve Scary. Calling Nadal's serve "nothing special" as someone did upthread is really mistaken. The casual tennis fan probably thinks that pace is the only measurement of serving. So if that's the criteria you're working from then I can understand why Rafa's serve would seem ordinary compared to Roddick's. But ask yourself why Federer can break Roddick's 150 MPH serve so easily and he has a very difficult time breaking Nadal's. It's because good serving, like good pitching, is not just about hitting/throwing the ball as hard as you can. You have to mix up your serves, use strategy, placement, spins, consistency, all of those factors make Rafa a superior server despite having a top speed of "only" 130 MPH. You also have to know how to finish points on your serve once the ball is in play. That's why Roddick will never win another slam, he's too predictable and one-dimensional. Right now Nadal is playing the best tennis in the world, everybody's waiting to see if his astonishing improvement on grass will lead to more hard court titles. But people forget that although he had a disappointing USO series last year due to injuries, he still had the third best overall results between July 07 and May 08, only Djokovic and Federer were better. I can't wait for Cincinnati, Montreal and Flushing Meadows, I think that Rafa is finally going to put his critics to rest once and for all!

posted by sic at 09:42 AM on July 12

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