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This is an excellent post about both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. It talks about why was this the toughest Wimbledon final for Federer, but most importantly,in some way it contadicts the opinion of the experts on Rafael Nadal. There is an excellent explanation for everything, and as I have a fairly similar opinion about this topic, I would strongly suggest you to visit this post.

Visit at: Federer Matches Bjorg, Analysts Appoint Nadal As Dr. Doom!

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We saw Roger Federer lifting the Wimbledon trophy for the fifth consecutive time, and thus the question remains can someone beat him on the grass surface.

After watching the Swiss master in Wimbledon, Tim Henman thought that one man alone could not get the better of Federer. “If you take Roddick’s serve,” Henman said, “and Agassi’s returns and my volleys and Hewitt’s speed and tenacity, then you’ve probably got a good chance against Federer. That’s a lot of people involved in beating one player.”

So, let us try and create an ultimate player, the one who could maybe stand a chance against Federer on Central Court.

Goran Ivanisevic’s first serve

The rest of Ivanisevic’s game may have been prone to falling apart depending on his mood, but he could always rely on his serve. Tall at 6’4” (three inches taller than Federer), and left-handed, the Croat could blast aces to a band playing. Unlike Andy Roddick, who just belts the ball for all he is worth, Ivanisevic could thump it, kick it, spin it and place it – and always it was devastating. When he won Wimbledon in 2001, he racked up a record of 212 aces over the course of the two weeks and when he was facing Tim Henman in that epic semi final spread over three rain-sodden days, he was as nervous as a kitten and yet still managed to serve his way into the final.

Pete Sampras’s second serve

Maybe not the most obvious of the American’s talents, but it was the one that brought him 14 grand slam titles, seven of them in SW19. He beat Jim Courier to win his first Wimbledon title in 1993 and Courier could not believe what he was facing. “I thought I played pretty well but it’s hard to beat a guy who plays two first serves on every point for the entire match,” the runner-up said. In that match, the average speed of his second serve was 110mph yet despite that, he only double faulted four times over four sets. The fans may not have noticed Sampras’s second serve, but his opponents dreaded it.

Andre Agassi’s return

Gifted with perfect vision and lightning reflexes, there was not a serve that Agassi could not read and defuse. He took the ball so early that he virtually picked it off his opponent’s strings and like a master of the martial arts, Agassi would take the force of the serve and turn that power back on the server. Backing up every break with a service game that was never flashy, never overdone but always as solid as a rock, he was a ferociously aggressive counter puncher.

Boris Becker’s intensity

Becker’s winning match face was a scary sight. With those pale blue eyes fixed on a point somewhere in the middle distance during the change overs, he was living in a place of his own making, a place where no one else was allowed to intrude. In his pomp, he would stride onto Centre Court as if he really believed he owned it and the opponent was simply not welcome. Players face Federer with that sinking feeling, hoping that they will not be humiliated by the Swiss, but against Becker, they were made to feel surplus to requirements.

Stefan Edberg’s movement

He was possibly the quietest and most unassuming of champions, but, as the old saying goes, the quiet ones are the worst. No one was ever sure quite how or when Edberg made his move to the net but he did it like greased lightning. In the blink of an eye he went from preparing to start his service action to hanging over the net like a preying mantis. Every part of his game was beautiful to watch and all of it depended on his ability to glide across the grass as if on castors.

John McEnroe’s volley

Maybe it is the effects of age or maybe it is just the old tapes of matches from a bygone era, but McEnroe seemed to move in slow motion at the net. Where others rush to snap their volleys away, Mac the Mouth appeared to have all the time in the world, holding the ball on his racket strings until his opponent had committed himself, leaving McEnroe to put the ball into the space left behind. He made it look so simple. Helped enormously by a left handed serve, his approach to tennis was the same as his approach to life – take it head on and attack.

Jimmy Connors’s fight

Connors was pathologically incapable of giving in, even when the cause seemed lost. In 1987, he came to Wimbledon with a leg injury and, aged 34, he was supposed to be in the twilight of his career. When he slumped to a 6-1, 6-1, 4-1 deficit against Mikael Pernfors in the fourth round, he should have been down and out. But with his pride wounded, Connors began to fight and, running away with 18 of the last 25 games, he cussed, hollered and roared to a five set win and was only beaten in the semi finals. He was not done as in 1991, aged 39, he scrapped his way to the US Open semi finals and only retired the following year.

Bjorn Borg’s ice-cold reserve

The man with a resting heart rate that was only marginally above unconscious, Borg could not be rattled on a tennis court. If they had dropped the bomb beside him during a match, he would have finished match point before looking up to see what all the fuss was about. His cold reserve was catching, too, and not even the volatile McEnroe would dare disturb the calm with an outburst when he was playing the Swede. Refraining from sex and shaving (an odd combo) during Wimbledon, he allowed nothing to disturb his focus on winning the title. The effort was exhausting, though, and he retired at the age of 26, mentally spent.

Now, the only thing that remains is to name this player.

(source: scotsman)

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Wimbledon champion Roger Federer took just 11 minutes to wrap up a convincing 6-2 7-5 6-1 win over Argentine teen Juan Martin del Potro.

Federer returned with a two-set lead and soon secured his 50th straight win on grass. Federer’s next opponent is Marat Safin on Friday.

There were also wins for Rafael Nadal, Lleyton Hewitt and Novak Djokovic.

Federer enjoyed a fairly easy victory against the 18 year old Argentininan as he was in control through the whole match.

Federer dominated the match with a number on unretunable serves and some amazing shots that Del Potro had no answer to. He is very pleased with this victory, but he expects a tough challenge from Marat Safin in the third round.

Elsewhere, fifth seed Nadal enjoyed an easy day’s work with a 6-2 6-4 6-1 second-round victory over Austrian Werner Eschauer.

The Spaniard produced some outstanding groundstrokes on his way to a comfortable win and will now face 28th seed Roger Soderling of Sweden, who beat Frenchman Sebastian Grosjean 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-2.

It was a good day for the seeds in general, though sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko had to battle from two sets down to reach the third round as he finally beat Australian Chris Guccione 3-6 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 6-2.

Fourth seed Djokovic needed four sets to get past world number 67 Amer Delic, finally seeing off the American 6-3 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4). Delic played very well, especially on the net, but Djokovic prevailed with his famous all around game hitting some great shots off the base line and playing well on the net.

Australian 2002 champion Hewitt steamrolled through his second-round match against Italian Simone Bolelli 6-2 6-2 6-1.

American ninth seed James Blake enjoyed a second straight-sets win to move into the third round, defeating Romania’s Andrei Pavel 6-4 6-3 6-3.

The 15th seed Ivan Ljubicic needed just over an hour-and-a-half to get past Czech Jan Hernych 6-4 6-3 6-4 in his rain-delayed second-round match.

Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu faces the big Croatian next after he beat David Ferrer 6-3 6-4 6-3.

Big-serving Australian Wayne Arthurs defeated the Spanish 11th seed Tommy Robredo with a 6-3 7-6 (7/5) 6-3. But, it is a known fact that Robredo is playing very poor on grass.

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Teenager Paul Baker, the ball boy in Wimbledon, is probably the happiest person in the world, especially among tennis fans.

He will never forget the day when,at the age of 14, he was a ball boy on Centre Court for the 2006 final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. All those months of training, all those 12-hour days at the tournament were worth it. He said:

“When Federer won the final point, I was right there, I got goosebumps,”

“You have a smirk on your face afterwards. You cannot describe the feeling – but it is a good one,” he said.

“I loved every minute of it and I wanted to do it again,” he said after coming off centre court as ball boy to Federer in his opening match at this year’s tournament.

The London schoolboy said that it was too late for him to start practicing tennis at the age of 15 and added: “Nadal started when he was four, Federer when he was five.”

He also mentioned the contrasting temperaments of the two best players in the world:

“Federer is very gentleman-like. Nadal is more wanting to win every point, that sort of passion for the game,”

It was his debut appearance at Wimbledon last year and as he said: ” It was very intimidating but a great experience. I was shivering with nerves the first time.”

Being a ball boy requires lightning-fast reflexes, and Paul had the ultimate test when he was on court with Andy Roddick:

“I did Roddick once. You have got to move as soon as you see the ball coming,” he said.
“You don’t realise how hard they are hitting the ball until you have been a ball boy. It is coming straight at you.”

(source: Reuters)

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Roger Federer’s task of trying to win five Wimbledon titles in succession begins on the Centre Court on Monday, when he takes on the Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili.

It may look a less than demanding start for Federer because the 22-year-old Gabashvili is making his debut in Wimbledon. Gabashvili played in France, but he had to retire in the first round.

Federer will be the first leading player to experience the Centre Court at Wimbledon minus its roof and test his sliks before the latter stages of the tournament come.

Marat Safin, the former US and Australian Open champion whose best Wimbledon was in 2001 when he was a quarter-finalist, should be Federer’s third round opponent. Tommy Haas of Germany, seeded tenth, is likely to be in line for the fourth round followed by fifth seed Fernando Gonzalez of Chile in the quarter-finals.

Third seed Andy Roddick, who has lost in two Wimbledon finals to Federer, begins against fellow American Justin Gimelstob and has the British No.1 Andy Murray, seeded eighth, in his half of the draw.

Murray – who has still to decide whether he will be able to compete because of wrist injury – beat Roddick at Wimbledon last year. Should they meet this year, it would be at the quarter-final stage.

Second seed Rafael Nadal, who won his third successive French Open title earlier this month, begins his challenge against the world no. 36 Mardy Fish of the USA, who has twice been in the third round at Wimbledon.

Fellow Spaniard, Tommy Robredo should be Nadal’s fourth round opponent but it is the seventh seeded Czech Tomas Berdych, in his fourth Wimbledon, who could present problems to Nadal in the quarter-finals. Berdych, 21, had his best Wimbledon last year with a place in the fourth round where he was beaten by Federer.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, in his highest seeded place, fourth, is in line to play Nadal at the semi-final stage having been beaten by the Spaniard at the same stage of the French Open. Djokovic has the prospect of the heavy serving Croat Ivo Karlovic in the third round.

Lleyton Hewitt, winner in 2002 and the only other champion in the draw apart from Federer, is seeded sixteenth and is in the same half of the draw as Nadal. Hewitt opens against the British wildcard entry Richard Bloomfield.

(source: Wimbledon)

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If Roger Federer wins his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title he will have equalled a record achieved only by one other man in the modern era. In the early decades of the oldest Grand Slam, William Renshaw won six titles on the trot and Lawrence Doherty claimed five, but since it became a truly international competition only Bjorn Borg has won five consecutive titles.

Now, when Roger Federer is so close in achieving his fifth consecutive title, one inevitable question appears: Who is better?
Presuming Federer does make it five in a row, would that make him merely the equal of Borg? Is there greater in-depth competition these days, and if so does that mean the Swiss player’s feat would be greater? Or would Borg still be recognised as the better player?

No definitive answer is possible.

Federer’s statistics are intimidating. When Wimbledon gets under way on Monday, he will be the world No1 for a record 178th consecutive week. He has won six of the previous eight Grand Slam tournaments, and ten of the last 16. His winning streak on grass stands at 48.

But Borg’s own records stand up to that, and in a couple of particulars at least they surpass it. He won 11 Grand Slams – one more than Federer’s current total – out of the 27 he entered. He won close to 90% of the matches he played at the four major tournaments. And, most impressively of all, he won six French Open titles – three of them in the same years as he became Wimbledon champion.

That, of course, contrasts with Federer’s inability to claim the main claycourt title on the calendar. This year, as was the case in 2006 as well, Rafael Nadal stood in his way. But, we have to bear in mind that Nadal is the best clay court player ever.

On paper at least, then, Borg could boast greater consistency. Asked last year to compare the two men, the veteran coach Nick Bollettieri highlighted that difference, but also suggested that in other respects Federer might have the edge.

Borg was indeed more stoical, at least in appearance and attitude. Federer’s love of the game is evident, and he is generally more good-humoured and light-hearted.

In the end, the choice is subjective. And in any case, we should accept that, even if Federer should lose in the final or an early-round upset this year, he could still come back to add to his four titles to date. Sampras, for instance, managed seven, but only in a run of three, then a missing year, then a run of four – and the American is still rightly hailed as one of the greatest grass-court players in tennis history.

Some facts about Borg and Federer:

Bjorn Borg:

Born: 6 June 1956, Stockholm, Sweden
Career prize money: £1,830,443
Career titles: 61
Grand Slam titles: 11

GRAND SLAM RECORD

Wimbledon
1973 Quarter-finals
1974 Third round
1975 Quarter-finals
1976 Champion
1977 Champion
1978 Champion
1979 Champion
1980 Champion
1981 Runner-up
French Open: Champion 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981.
US Open: Runner-up 1976, 1978 1980, 1981. Semi-finals 1975. Quarter-finals 1979.
Australian Open: Third-round 1974.

• Was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987 at only 30 years of age.

• Wimbledon success came early to Borg, he won the Junior title at the age of 16.

• Holds the Davis Cup record singles winning streak at 33 consecutive victories.

• Won his 11th Grand Slam singles title in 1981 in Paris at the age of 25.

• Won more French Open singles titles (6) than any other male player in tennis history.

• His 41 consecutive match winning streak at Wimbledon remains an all-time record.

• Won at least one grand slam singles title for eight consecutive years (1974-1981). Only Pete Sampras has matched this (1993-2000).

• Calm court demeanour earned him the nickname of the “Ice Man” or “Ice-Borg”.

• Played in six consecutive Wimbledon singles finals, still a record since the abolition of the challenge round in 1922.

Roger Federer:


Born: 8 August 1981 in Basel, Switzerland
Career prize money: £15,632,305
Career titles: 48
Grand Slam titles: 10

GRAND SLAM RECORD

Wimbledon:
2000 First round
2001 Quarter finals
2002 First round
2003 Champion
2004 Champion
2005 Champion
2006 Champion
French Open: Runner-up 2006, 2007
US Open: Champion 2004, 2005, 2006
Australian Open: Champion 2004, 2006, 2007
FACTS

• On his Wimbledon debut, in 1999, Federer suffered first-round elimination at the hands of the Czech world No 59, Jiri Novak.

• In 2001, the Swiss struck his first significant blow at SW19 when he beat four-time champion Pete Sampras in the first round on his way to the last eight, where he lost to Tim Henman.

• The French Open is the only one of the four Grand Slam competitions which still eludes Federer.

• In 2006 Federer became the first and only man to have held three of the four grand slam titles (US Open, Wimbledon and Australian Open) in two separate years.

• Federer has been ranked No 1 in the world since 2 February 2004, and holds the all-time record for most consecutive weeks as the top-ranked male player.

• Earlier this year, when Federer won his third Australian Open title, he became the only male player to have won three separate Grand Slam tournaments three times.

• He is also the only player to have won both the Wimbledon and US Open singles titles in three consecutive years (2004-2006).

(source: scotsman)

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As the seeds for the Wimbledon tournament have been announced for both gentemen and ladies, it is time to look at the top ones.

1. Roger Federer

The World No. 1 is a strong favorite to successfully defend his Wimbledon title. He has not lost a grass-court match since suffering a 3-6, 6-7(2), 3-6, loss to Croatia’s Mario Ancic in the opening round of the 2002 Wimbledon. He has not participated in any tournaments on grass before Wimbledon this year, deciding to rest for the big event.

2. Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal was the only man to take a set from Federer at the All England Club last year, where they played in the final. This year, Nadal played in Queens where he lost to Niclolas Mahut in the quaterfinal.

3. Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick has played two times in the final of Wimbledon and both times he lost to Roger Federer. Roddick, who reached successive Wimbledon finals in 2004 and 2005, lost to Andy Murray in the third round last year. Roddick ripped 24 aces and saved a match point in edging Nicolas Mahut, to capture his fourth career Queen’s Club crown this year.

4. Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic played in Queen’s Club, and lost to Arnaud Clement in the third round. Last year he was beaten by Mario Ancic in Wimbledon. Novak has been working hard for the grass court season, as he appointed Mark Woodford to help him prepare.

5. Fernando Gonzalez

Fernando Gonzalez played in Queen’s Club this year where he lost to the Russian Dmitry Tursunov. Last year he was stopped by David Ferrer in the last 32, which was then a big surprise as Ferrer is a clay court specialist. Gonzalez can be a threat on grass, especially because of his big forehand.

6. Nikolay Davydenko

He did not have much success on grass throuhout his career, and that is the reason he is seeded at number 6 despite being third on the ATP list. This year he played in Halle where he lost to Florian Mayer, and last year in Wimbledon he lost to Alejandro Falla (ranked 127 back then) in the first round.

7. Tomas Berdych

We will have to pay close attention on Tomas Berdych on Wimbledon as he is one of the best players on grass in the world. He won the trophy in Halle this year beating the likes of Nieminen and Baghdatis. Last year in Wibledon he defeated the likes of Fabrice Santoro and Tommy Haas, before eventually losing to Roger Federer in R16.

8. Andy Murray

The Brittish hope is still undecided whether he will participate in Wimbledon or not, because of his wrist injury. It will be hard for him to reach top gear right away, but anyway he is still one of the favourites because of his talent.

9. James Blake

Not the best of seasons for James Blake, looking the whole season. On grass he played in Halle and lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber in the quaterfinal. Last year in Wimbledon he lost to Max Mirnyi in R16.

10. Marcos Baghdatis

Atother player our eyes should be focused on, as he has great results on grass. He played the final in Halle where he lost to Tomas Berdych, and last year in Wimbledon he reached the semifinal where he lost to Rafael Nadal. Look for Baghdatis to reach one of the top spots on this years Wimbledon.

(source: tennisweek)

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