Friday, January 30, 2009

5h 14m

by Savannah

In the end it was two double faults. Forget the 90+ winners by Fernando Verdasco, a number unheard of until now. Forget the head to head coming into this match, 6-0 in Rafael Nadal's favor. It was all about who had been in this place before, who had stared into the ugly maw of defeat and come away with victory instead.

At the end Rafael collapsed to the hard court but willing himself up he stepped over the net and hugged the man who had pushed him to the limit. Brad Gilbert said Rafael could barely stand as he came off court.

Sunday is the men's final. Roger Federer, who took a little over two hours to dispatch Andy Roddick in his semi final match will stand across the net from Rafael Nadal. They're showing the Wimbledon Final now on ESPN. I've been up since 3:30a. It's 9:40a as I type this. I'm hitting the sack.

Rafa's comments on scheduling of the men's semi finals from his PRESSER

Q. You're not only the No. 1 in the world, but you are one of the top players in the politics of the ATP. Is there nothing you can do to avoid this problem of scheduling, that you have one day of rest and Roger has two? Apart from Wimbledon, every tournament is screwed up. The US Open, they do what they want. Roland Garros, they do what they want. Here the same. Don't you think the players should do something?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think Roland Garros is not like this, no?

Q. They play sometimes one day before the other.

RAFAEL NADAL: No. The last four years not (smiling).

Well, the US Open was for both player the semifinal the same day. Here is the only tournament is not like this. But, you know, you still have one day off. So that's the sport. For sure is a little bit more fair if you play the same day.

But is like this. Last year was for me, and this year was for Roger in this case, no? Last year I played on Thursday. I lost. I didn't play the final. But, anyway, I play on Thursday, and Roger play on Friday.

Well, this little bit unlucky play one match like today, too hard. So for sure Roger gonna be in much better performance physically than me for the final.

But at the same time I gonna try to be recovered for the final and play my best. I don't know if we can do something because we are involved of the council. But the true, right now I not ready for speak about politic.

Fernando was a little more forthcoming in how he felt about the scheduling of the men's semi finals.

About Nadal having one day less to rest, don't you think that players should do something to avoid these problems all the time? At the US Open they play Saturday the semifinal before the final. Here they play one day, then the next. Don't you think you, as players, should start to do something?

FERNANDO VERDASCO: I will speak with them in next tournament (smiling).

No, but I think, for sure, the semifinals supposed to be the same day, both semifinals, because I think, you know, is the most fair for everybody, no? Because like right now, yesterday Federer play three sets, and today Rafa play five sets, five hours, and he will have one day less, and with a semifinal much longer.

I think that for sure they supposed to play the two semifinals like the womans, the same day. And I think also with two weeks, you have enough days to make the schedule right and have it like this.

But I don't know why they did it, no? I promise, I didn't know that Federer was playing yesterday. I thought that yesterday was playing only girls, and today two semifinals. When I saw that he was playing yesterday, I was a little bit in shock. I was like, Why he's playing one day before us? He will have much recover, and in the final he will have a little bit more of advantage because he had one day more.

So I don't know why they did it. And I think that, for sure, they need to change it.


TopSpin said...

95 winners! That's gotta be some kinda record!

Some other stats of note:

Nadal only converted 4/20 break points (says a lot about Verdasco's serving)

Verdasco's 76 UFE count - the bizarre number of winners making this more palatable...

I loved Nadal's climbing over the net at the end; must have dispelled any kind of ill feeling amongst them from Queen's when Nadal wasn't taking Fernando's physical ailments very seriously.

Helen W said...

Incredible, incredible match. And I have never seen Rafa so wiped at the end of a match.

So did anyone find out why the AO scheduled the top half of the draw second? Why is it that the tennis establishment seems to always be finding ways to give Federer an advantage? Witness last year's US Open, Wimby 2007.

Can Rafa come back for the final? Well, if anyone can, it's Rafa.

Vamos Rafael!

TopSpin said...

Can't help feeling that it's a shame that their first meeting at a hard court slam final should be preceded by this epic. Nadal is a specimen but will be a too fatigued to make it a fair contest..

Savannah said...

Helen the only reason I can see that the number one seed played second instead of first was to give Roger an advantage. There is no other way to explain it. Couple that with a cupcake draw - there was a lot of talk about Delpo but he'd played a lot coming into the tournament and Roddick was never a real threat - everything was done to make sure Roger made the final and that if Rafa made it he'd come in battered and bruised.

Of course the talking heads on ESPN kept talking up the surprise finalist bull knowing full well that Verdasco wouldn't have a snowballs chance in hell of beating Federer. They were carrying on about Roger playing his best tennis but who did he play?

All the lactic acid should be out of Rafa's muscles 24hrs after the match. I'm sure Tio Toni won't let him near a court no matter how he carries on. Dad Sebastian is there as a back up.

And how is it Rafa gets called for a coaching violation when Verdasco had a running dialogue going all night with his box and nothing was said?

We'll have to see how Rafa looks Sunday night.

cp said...

Helen the only reason I can see that the number one seed played second instead of first was to give Roger an advantage.

Savannah I feel the same way about that. I also feel that they did not close the roof for Roddick/Djok to give Andy the advantage too. I think under better circumstances Djok would have beat Roddick. Can't have Djok in semis at AO against Roger again, can you?

Savannah said...

CP I'm no fan of Djoke but I agree with you 100%.

Karen said...

It is one thing to be a KAD, but it is quite another thing to be an objective KAD. Nadal said the correct thing. He said that last year he played the first semis on one day and Roger played the second semi the next day. That is the way it has always been. Look it up. As well, there is a heat policy in place. If the temperature gets to a certain point, they close the roof after the first set has been played. Previously, it was that if you commenced the match with the roof opened and it got hotter, you had to complete the match with the roof opened. They changed it after Sharapova almost melted in 2007 during her first round match. By the same token you will have fans of Svetlana saying that Serena got an unfair advantage after they closed the roof during her match. The organisers went by the established rules. Nadal has been cruising this tournament. He was the only player not to have dropped a set all tournament long. Roger played a 5 set match, and he played a tough 3 setter against Andy. It is unfortunate that Nadal had to play his 5 setter a couple days before the final, but no conspiracy here.

Helen W said...

Last year Roger's half of the draw played second at his own request, because he wasn't feeling well. Normally, the half of the draw with the top seed plays first. The question is: Why was this done differently this year? And why don't TPTB tell us about it?

craig said...

If you look at poster photo on top you will see Fed first,then Djok then Nadal. To the left you see Sharapova and Ana, champion and finalist. Going by that there should have been a photo of Djok then Tsonga. That says alot about who they want to win.

Helen W said...

Wow -- good catch craig! I am sure that some of this is due to their marketing folks thinking that Fed is a big draw, but it sure is a slight to some of the players, both male & female.

It is discouraging that the slams are not more concerned with the actual players, who are, after all, the heart of the event.

I agree with those who posted that MONEY is probably a big reason for scheduling semifinals on separate days. Of course, if they sold tickets for actual matches (e.g. first semi, second semi) they could have the best of both worlds. IAC, I don't think the scheduling should compromise the results by giving one or other player a distinct advantage.