Tag: Rafa Nadal
David Ferrer was born on April 2nd, 1982 in Valencia, Spain. Ever since he turned a professional at the turn of the century, the clay court specialist has lived under the shadow of his fellow countryman Rafael Nadal. And it’s not as if the second best ranked Spaniard hasn’t been doing well for himself. On the contrary, he has proved his worth especially in the last three years. Let’s not forget for a moment there that he reached the semifinals of the 2012 French Open, proving that he’s strong hold is set over the red crushed brick clay of Paris, but he has also has had success on hard courts. For instance, Ferrer made it to the semifinals of the the 2007 US Open and 2011 Australian Open. As a bonus, perhaps, he was part of the Spain Davis Cup team that won the finals in 2008, 2009 and 2011. But despite holding some good numbers and plenty of tournament wins, his resume is just not in the same league as that of one Rafael Nadal.
Even though the grass courts of the All English club have by no means been his forte, this year, the 30-year-old Spaniard is proving that his got what it takes to become a real contender down the stretch. Ranked 6th in the World by the ATP Rankings, Ferrer has placed himself in a very interesting position this year at Wimbledon. He managed to defeat Andy Roddick 2-6, 7-6(8), 6-4, 6-3 in the third round of the latest Grand Slam, but he also did so, just two days after Rafael Nadal suffered one of the most exciting upsets we’ve seen in years when Nadal was stunned by Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 6-7(9-11), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Rosol was certainly more powerful and his very strong serve proved to be a little too much for the Spaniard who just couldn’t keep up with the Czech’s rhythm. Ferrer will now have to face the argentine Juan Martin del Potro in the fourth round of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships.
Both Ferrer and Roddick arrived to the third round with a strong run. They both had had a good run at ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Eastbourne respectively, and even though Ferrer had a short 6-4 advantage in their head to head history, they had never played together over a grass court. Roddick took an early lead in the first set with his strong serve and managed closed the first set under 23 minutes of play. Still, in the second set, Ferrer got his fighting gloves on and began attacking the net. Soon enough, he had the game turning his way with his masterful groundstroke that kept Roddick holding back in the baseline and playing a very defensive match.
Now, if Ferrer manages to defeat del Potro in the fourth round, he will be advancing to the quarterfinals for the first time ever in Wimbledon. Sure enough he’s got an 8 game winning streak behind him as a motivational boost, but it seems that the 2009 US Open winner is going to be a hard bone to chew on. “It’s going to be going to be so difficult. To win him I will have to play very consistent. Is very important my first percentage with my serve. I will have to play very, very good,” Ferrer said of his game against DelPo. Let’s see what happens for now as these two guys take the courts tomorrow.
Roger Federer turns 31-years-old this August. Many fans, sports commentators and both retired and active players still consider him the finest tennis player in the history of the game. And he has certainly made a great argument for himself. He has held the ATP No. 1 position for a record 237 consecutive weeks from February 2, 2004 t August 18, 2008. Federer has occupied the #1 ranking for 285 overall weeks, one week short of the record 286 weeks held by Pete Sampras. Federer has appeared in an unprecedented 23 career Grand Slam tournament finals, including a men’s record ten in a row, and appeared in 18 of 19 finals from the 2005 Wimbledon Championships through to the 2010 Australian Open, the lone exception being the 2008 Australian Open.
As if that was not enough, Federer holds the record of reaching the semifinals or better in 23 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments over five and a half years, from the 2004 Wimbledon Championships through the 2010 Australian Open. But that is not really was had made Federer, the star he is. At the top of all his accomplishments, we can’t forget that the Swiss Maestro, as he is often dubbed, has won 16 Grand Slam titles, breaking the previous all-time men’s record of 14 by Pete Sampras. For the sake of comparison, please consider that Federer won 16 Majors in a span of 27 Majors (2003 Wimbledon – 2010 Australian Open), while Sampras won 14 in 49 majors (1990 US Open – 2002 US Open). So, looking at those numbers alone, and comparing them to Sampras’ it should be evident that Federer still has a couple of great years ahead of him. But considering how dominant both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have been this last two seasons, it becomes clear that this is his best chance.
Only Sampras has won more times at Wimbledon than Roger Federer. Sure enough, Federer hasn’t won a Grand Slam tournament in all of his previous nine tries, but if a win is going to come this season, it is going to be here, at the grass field of the All English Club in Wimbledon. The Federer Express game is best suited to the grass courts, perhaps that’s why he has won here 9 different times. The big issue here is that between Spaniard Rafa Nadal and the Serbian Novak Djokovic, these two have won every grand slam since the 2010 Australian Open. So he is still considered a long shot, when it comes to wagering on the Wimbledon 2012 Champion.
Then again, FedEx knows very well that a win here will certainly mean that he is going to go back to the top of the ATP Ranking tour. The two last Grand Slams of the season are down the stretch. This is it: a win here would give him the momentum he needs to finish his career in a high note. “It’s up to somebody else to break that [Djokovic-Nadal] mold,” Federer said in a press conference in Wimbledon. “I hope I can do that. I played two quarterfinals now the last couple years. I want to do better. I have to do better at this event.” He knows what it takes to win here. Let’s see if he can make it to the Championship Game.
Let it there be no doubt: Rafael Nadal is the King of Clay. He was the No. 1 favorite to win this tournament and he didn’t let his fans down. The 26-year-old Spaniard was playing at his favorite tournament over his favorite surface and against his latest archrival. All the ingredients for a perfect Grand Slam Recipe was there, and even thought most fans would had loved to see Novak Djokovic put up a little more of a fight, at the end, the Spaniard came clear with a 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 win to clinch his 7th French Open Title. To put that into perspective, let’s consider that with his latest win he has now won his 11th Grand Slam and that at lucky number 7th, Nadal has broken a tie with Bjorn Borg for the same mark. Now, it is time to give him all the credit he deserves, Rafael Nadal is the King of Clay. Let it there be no doubt about this one, he is the best player to have ever competed in this surface.
Because despite what your opinion might be in regards to the young Spanish pro, one thing is for certain, he has won more times here than anyone else. As a matter of fact, no other player has so many times in the other Grand Slams. His dominance over the clay courts of Paris has made him virtually unbeatable. Since he played here first played in the French Open back in May 2005, when he was only 18 years old, Nadal has lost only one game. That is a 52-1 record in this tournament. His only lost came in 2009 when he lost to Robin Soderling in the fourth round. But it’s not just the in the French Open that he has been a dominant player. Wherever there is clay, Rafa Nadal has won a mayor. Just look at the numbers: Nadal’s won eight titles at Monte Carlo, seven at Barcelona and six at Rome. Enough said.
Now, beating the No.1 ranked Novak Djokovic wasn’t as easy as it might seem by looking only at the scoreboard. Let’s not forget that before the game got canceled on Sunday because of rain, the No.1 ranked player was cutting down on his big deficit and had won 8 straight games to get back in the matchup. That’s not all, deep inside, Rafael Nadal knew very well that Novak Djokovic had beaten him in the finals at Wimbledon in July, the U.S. Open in September, and the Australian Open in January. But just like he did with Roger Federer in 2006 and 2007, the years when the Swiss Maestro was one Grand Slam away from joining Don Budge in 1938, and Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969 as the only players to have won the four Grand Slams in succession, Rafael Nadal came with his strong game in Paris to put an end to their dreams. Well, just like it happened to Federer when he got his chance, it was Nadal who got on his way. Now, the fight is on. Federer is slowing down as age is catching up to him. Nadal has won 11 grand slams. But up ahead we have Wimbledon, and it seems that it is Federer and Djokovic who will have the advantage this time around.
I believe that the word epic is used a little too often by sport writers and commentators. On very few occasions is the match, the game, or a given performance really worthy of such an adjective. Novak Djokovic defending his Australian Open Championship on Sunday against Rafael Nadal put on one heck of a matchup, that extended for little under 6 hours of the finest Tennis that we have seen in decades. They put everything they had into this game. Keeping nothing to themselves, Nadal and Djokovic put on one of the finest matchups for the 15,000 fans at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, who cheered from the moment both players began the warm-up until Djokovic received his trophy.
It took Novak Djokovic 5 hours and 53 minutes to outlast Rafa Nadal in what can certainly be called an epic game. The No. 1 ranked player in the world took a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 victory over Rafael Nadal in what has been the longest championship match in a Grand Slam since the Open Era began in 1968. This was a very tough game. Djokovic had to overcome a break in the fifth set, but he managed to win his 5th Grand Slam title and make it into the elite list of players who have managed to win 3 consecutive Grand Slams, a list that includes the likes of Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Rod Laver, who was among the 15,000 fans himself watching the Final of the Australian Open.
So, perhaps what we should note here is that the two of them have made it to all the Grand Slam finals played since the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, and each time it has been Djokovic the one in charge of making the best out of each matchup. Now, Novak has only one Grand Slam pedding in his wish list: the evasive Roland Garros. Many are already expecting to see these two players make it into the final of the French Open in May. Nadal has been a very strong player on clay, as a matter of fact he is dubbed the King of Clay, but last year, Djokovic won the majority of the clay-court tournaments but what ousted by Roger Federer in the semis. If both could make it to the final, it would be perhaps an even more competitive match than this one.
This match was really about holding off the pain. “I think it was just the matter of maybe luck in some moments and matter of wanting this more than maybe other player in the certain point,” Djokovic said in the postgame interview. “It’s just incredible effort. You’re in pain, you’re suffer(ing). You’re trying to activate your legs. You’re going through so much suffering your toes are bleeding. Everything is just outrageous, but you’re still enjoying that pain.”
This was a demanding game. Particularly for the Djoker who had to play for almost five hours to leave Andy Murray behind in the semifinals. RAfa Nadal didn’t have it easy either. He really had to go into overdrive mode to defeat Roger Federer, but despite the difficult matches in the semis, these two really put on an epic show in the Australian Open Final.