Roger: “The clay court season will not be judged here, but in Paris. We will see what happens in three weeks. It’s unfortunately — or fortunately — like that. If we win all the tournaments like Rafa now and then go out in the first round of the French, everything will be questioned.”

Rafa: “Well, that’s a respectable opinion that I don’t share. And not because I have won the three (Masters 1000s) leading up to it, which some might think, but because I think it is unfair to think the whole clay season is decided by one tournament.”

Yo Fed and Rafa, if this is your idea of an argument, YOU FAIL.

It’s not so much a matter of right or wrong in this instance as a difference of outlook for two players at different stages in their careers.

For Fed, now that he’s in unchartered waters, his career seems to be solely defined by his slam records in the media. It’s hardly news to anyone that tennis-wise, he’s been building his game to peak in 3 periods of the year for the last few years. And mentally, (he’ll never admit this) non-slam tournaments are the equivalent of cashed-up practice sessions to him these days, or on the odd occasion – like yesterday or Cincinnati 09 – a chance to work on some H2Hs.

Naturally, losses at smaller tournaments don’t alarm him the way it alarms poor old Dootsie. What does alarm him is his form going into a slam, the records at stake, each and every possibility realised or unrealised on the big stage.

It is however, one of the few times he has expressly given voice to a Serena-like attitude that has been developing for quite some time.

For Rafa, he is still in the part of his career where the whole season matters, not just in stretches. And for a relatively young player, it’s the right outlook to have. If everyone took Federer, Kim or Serena’s approach to tennis, I’d only be blogging 10 weeks a year.

But for the likes of Federer or Serena? With records on the line, history to be made, expectations at ridiculously high levels and their own career longevity surely at the back of their minds, this is the exact attitude I want them to take.

By the way, yay or nay I asked. The ayes have it. There is a new theme on Picket Fence, click over and see for yourself, if you’re reading this in a RSS reader.

xx doots


Tags: ,

36 responses to “Quotable Quotes: I WANT A PROPER DISAGREEMENT, DAMNIT!”

  1. marcoiac says :

    i think there is something true in what fed says. if, for the sake of argument, rafa goes out early in paris (which i don’t see it happening, btw), at least part of the media will question his clay court season, even though it’s ridiculous, because to win three masters on clay is sensational and never done before.
    i agree that fed structures his all season around the major, but i wonder how much of that is strategic decision and how much by necessity. masters are really tough. the field is on average better than a major (because it’s a smaller draw, and the best of the best are in it), you play day in and day out, and have no rest between matches as in majors. indeed, the guys that are on top of the ranking for masters won are two fabulous grinders: rafa and andre. fed’s style is totally different. if you look at things from this perspective, it’s quite amazing how many masters titles he managed to win in his career

  2. pban says :

    At 28 soon to be 29 I can totally get Fed’s point, fact is a masters is a best of 3 sets 5 match tourney whereas a slam is a 5 set grind of 7 matches over 2 wks. you can play 2 three setters consecutively and still win the third match but in a slam consecutive 5 setters will always come to bite you later as mental fatigue sets in at the end of slams.

  3. jfK says :

    He’s right. Last year Nadal and Djokovic were having the best clay seasons. Making the masters finals, winning Barcelona and Belgrade. Everyone predicted that it would be Djokovic and Nadal in the final. But then Paris comes around and then what? Neither make it to the 2nd week.

  4. breadstix says :

    Oohh, new layout?


    Okay, I think they both have a point. Lemme just crawl under something until clay season’s over, ‘kay? :”)

    • Deborah says :

      Great post, doots. I personally think Roger’s game is just more suited to the Slam format. Tennis is defined by the Slams so naturally, the undisputed leader of the sport is going to aim for that. I don’t take that to mean he doesn’t want to do well at other tournaments. Personally, I’m not a Rafa fan so I always have a hard time believing anything he says that is not all about his career. This statement fits that profile.
      I am a little surprised he would ever even slightly disagree with Fed. Must be feeling it after defeating him once more. I suspect, if he hadn’t he’d be mumbling something about ‘Federer is the leader, he’s the favorite, he knows best, no?”

      • marcoiac says :

        deborah, i think rafa feels the pressure. after all he hasn’t won a major in more than a year. i guess he’s thinking “wait a minute, i won all three masters on clay and that doesn’t count? it’s all about paris?” in a way it’s good news for his opponents (less for fed, if they meet, they meet so deep in the tourney that pressure is less of a factor). but it’s unlikely to make a big difference. rafa seems too dominant on clay, even if he feels some pressure, he should be able to control it.

        • Deborah says :

          Good point and made me remember the hilarity that broke out when a member of the British sports press declared Andy Murray the “real number one” because of all that success he was having in (non-clay) Masters. Rafa’s dominance on clay is undisputed. I think the misguided atempt to become something else cost him last year. With all his wisdom about the game, I just don’t get it when pundits doubt Roger. He called the Rafa situation just as he called the Murray situation.

  5. Jack says :

    He’s got a point. If Rafa wasn’t to win RG, i think it would be classed as a dissapointment for him. Sure, the masters series are important but more people are going to remember you for winning RG, then for winning 3 masters titles.

    An example of this is 2008 hardcourt season leading up to US Open, Rafa has practically won everything whereas Fed was struggling. And Fed was the one who won it and Rafa didn’t even get to the final. So, it does show that a good build-up to a slam isn’t everything.

    Plus, at the end of the day, Grand Slam are what every players competes for. And in my opinion, the clay season, and grass season, is determined by one tournament; RG and Wimbledon. The hardcourt season is different because it more spread out but with the grass and clay season, everything leads up to those two Grand Slams.

  6. Ru-an says :

    Wheres the link for the quote?

  7. whynotme says :


    Okay after the first ‘shock’, the thing I miss most from the previous are the colors 😦 I mean, black white and grey only, really? I loved the green and blue of the previous one! (but maybe you want your blog to match Roger’s outfits? So we’ll get blue back for RG? :P) Honestly I think it kinda hurts the eyes, and it lacks liveliness…….. which is quite the contrary of that blog actually 😉
    And the home page looks chaotic because there’s no separation between the different articles and sections… Plus we cannot go directly to the comments anymore because there’s no link on the home page (okay that’s a detail, I know xD)
    And then there’s the thing with the quotes being huge compared to the text.

    Sooooo I kinda dislike it. A lot. LOL but it’s your blog and you do whatever you want and anyway I’ll always come here no matter what because the layout may change but the awesome content will never change 😀

    About your post and their different povs I completely agree. I think they’re both right, it just reflects the way they organize their season and the way they see tournaments, because they’re not at the same stage in their career. As someone put it on tennistalk (the only sensible comment among all the Fedhate): “Rafa is more in the ‘now’. For him the season has been an incredible success so far and it would be ungrateful to say otherwise. Roger looks at the long term and what will people think of a player when evaluating their career overall. So in a way they are both right.” (of course the guy ruined his own comment by adding: “That said, I think Roger’s comment shows a level of disrespect for the Masters 1000 tournaments that doesn’t appear when he wins. Also he may be trying to put extra pressure on Rafa, playing a bit of a pre-slam psychological game if you will, to see if Rafa buckles under the pressure of redeeming last year debacle at RG.” WHATEVER.)

    • marcoiac says :

      well, if fed made that comment to put some mental pressure on rafa, he’s a really smart cookie. because i think it worked…or at least rafa wants us to think it worked, according to his reply to fed’s comment

    • PJ says :

      To disgress just a little…I HATE tennistalk. I used to like going there, read the match previews and analysis, and Cheryl Murray is a pretty good writer. But a certain RD (in his comments, to be fair, his articles managed to stay marginally objective) and a bunch of Fedhaters just ruined it for me – they mocked and taunted Roger mercilessly (and also without common sense/logic) when he loses, and when he wins? He doesn’t deserve it/opponent handed it to him on a plate yadda yadda.


      Sorry, had to rant and get it off my chest a little. It was like one of the first tennis sites I frequent and now I just never go there anymore.

      • marcoiac says :

        PJ, people on top are easy targets. in every human activity, with success come the haters. and the internet is a terrible thing for this. people say terrible things that would never say in person (for many reasons, most of them worked out from a psychological and even neurological standpoint, but i don’t think this is the place for a lecture on that stuff…) fed has been on top of the game for so many years, he obviously gets all that hate. you are doing the right thing, forget those other forums, the only civilized net forums are the ones in which fandom is the common denominator. stick with this one.

      • dootsiez says :

        PJ, I’m with you on tennistalk. It is FOUL these days.

        But I’ve also disciplined myself not to scroll through the comments. They say birds of a feather flock together, once a blog starts going for the shock and awe and haterade – sensible readers gradually leave and you’re left with a bunch of morons.

    • dootsiez says :

      No no. I didn’t like the green layout. I wanted a black and white layout with wider columns, hence the current layout. I’m sorry you don’t like it, but YOU WERE OUTVOTED YO! And I’m all for democracy yo!

      You’ll get used to it 😛

  8. Yolita says :

    I think Federer could have said:”The clay court season will not be judged ONLY here, but ALSO in Paris”. It would have been so much nicer, especially after losing.

    • ruanz3 says :

      Tennis is not about niceness. Its about winning.

    • whynotme says :

      Yolita, do you think he is stupid enough to say (and think!) that M1000 don’t coun’t at all? By “the clay court season will be judged in Paris” he means “when RG is over”, that is to say that after RG we will look back on the whole clay season, but right now we cannot judge it on the whole because it not over.
      His pov is just that RG counts a lot more, then you can argue on that and it depends of the perspective you have as a player.

    • TGIF says :

      Roger may not have been particularly diplomatic (is he ever?), but at least he was not totally self-serving. Last year, after he beat Rafa, he stated that “now is not the moment to get carried away, but it does give me confidence”; meaning that the important thing is what would happen later at the French.

      So he’s been consistant in his perspective, whether he won or lost.

      Of course, Roger talking down the importance of his own win is not going to make headlines.

      • marcoiac says :

        excellent point. actually, you made two points, and they are both excellent. and i am impressed that you remember what he said a year ago, i think that the media get away with a lot of crap because people don’t remember what was said back then. 🙂

      • dootsiez says :

        Good point. (Except I *do* think Roger is very diplomatic. He’s just bluntly truthful about how he feels at times because he thinks he can afford to be. Which he can. In a way.)

        What was I gonna say?

        Oh yeah – when Roger says the right thing, it’s not news, when he says something that might irk fans of other players, it’ll get plastered on every tennis site across tennis fandom. Totes agree with you.

        • Puffin says :

          Yes, I too agree with everything said here. Excellent points. It is also unfortunate that a lot of people don’t seem to like hearing the truth, and with Roger “what you see is what you get”. He is always truthful and has a logical way of seeing things, and quite honestly I don’t think he knows any other way to be.

        • dootsiez says :

          … And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Imagine Fed going into a slam saying “I don’t think I’m the favourite”. LOL.

        • Puffin says :

          Precisely! He tends to say, “I’m one of the favourites”. Which is both true and diplomatic at the same time. Don’t ever change, Rog! Keep being you! 🙂

  9. TennisAce says :

    I had the weirdest thought the other day in trying to come to terms with the hatred expressed by both Rafa and Fed fans. Do you think that the hatred being spewed towards these 2 guys is not as a result of their respective camps but as a result that these 2 may have contributed to the demise of many tennis fans’ favourites not meeting their expectations. Give a listen. How many players who would have won MS tournaments and Grand Slams as well as other tournament wins have not been able to do so as a result of the juggernaut that is Federer and Nadal? Think about it. Could it be that it is not really Federer and Nadal fans that is driving this wedge into tennis fandom but rather fans of Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Djokovic, Liubijic, Nalbandian, Hewitt, Moya, Ferrero, Ferrer, Verdasco and many other also rans. Guys who had a big game, lots of talent, everything to be a contender but every single time they came up against either Federer or Nadal in damning those dreams. How about Safin? Could any other player have performed so dismally after beating Federer at the AO05? Never won another tournament. I am just thinking maybe it is not the fans of Federer and Nadal but rather the anti-fans? Any thoughts

    • Jack says :

      I think you do have a point. The way I see it is that the more successful you are as a player, the more hate you are going to get. Because there is also an underlying tone of envy with hate.

      To take examples off the womens side, Serena, Maria and even Ana all have their fair share of haters. And all those women have achieved varying degrees of success in their career. Yet I’ve never heard of Dementieva haters!

      I do think the majority of Fed and Rafa hate comes from their opposing fans. I’ve also seen Fed hate from Murray fans too.

      I do think its stupid to hate a player just because they are successful though. Would Roddick have won Wilmbledon without Fed around? Probably. But you just have to deal with it. Yes, those players are unlucky to compete in an era with two unbelievable players. But they should use them as an example to improve because Rafa and Roger didn’t win all those slams by not working hard.

    • dootsiez says :

      I think that’s definitely part of it. Look no further than the number of fans Gulbis got over night just because he beat Federer. Tsk tsk.

  10. PJ says :

    Hmmm. I see the point in both comments. At first I was inclined to agree with Rafa more – but after a Twitter exchange with whynotme, I see Roger’s point. After all, Rafa had an incredible clay season before RG – but all everyone remembered was that Bobby Sod sent him packing in Round 4.

    So maybe the winner of RG wouldn’t necessarily be crowned Best Performer on Clay if he was bundled out in first round of all pre-RG tourneys…but if the guy WINS the French…no one’s gonna say he’s the worst. At the same time, if Rafa at this stage went out early again to, say, Dolgopolov (HAHAHHAHAH) in Round 2, everyone’s going to talk about Rafa’s 2010 clay season as a “shock loss to Dolgopolov” and not “remember how he broke Agassi’s record AND won all THREE clay Masters IN A ROW??”

    But Rogi had better be tuned and ready for RG. I don’t want ANY more heart attacks Haasi/Delpo style. Not when I have to present my thesis in front of the entire Economics department IN THE SAME WEEK.

    Fed vs Bobby Sod for RG2010?? YEAHHH.

    • dootsiez says :

      Same deal as US Open 08. Not many people remember how dominant Rafa was in summer hard court tournaments that year. To this day, sports fans (as opposed to hard court tennis fans) see the US hard courts as something Rafa has yet to be good on, which is totes silly really.

      By the same token, not many people remember Fed was bundled out of Cincy and Montreal second and third round, and couldn’t win a set off James Blake in Beijing. Yet everyone remember him hoisting the US Open trophy and triumphant once again. ❤

  11. Anjali says :

    One more thing to add here—if you read the latest Tignor/Bodo contributions on tennis.com, a different thread emerges beyond the slam/masters quagmire. That is, the fact that Federer actually played less tensely, and actually looked like he was “enjoying” himself, even though he lost. I think Fed played more experimental tennis (trying and failing at several new shots) and I think this bodes well for him at future matches with Nadal, were they to happen. Nadal played well and deserved to win, but it was good to see Federer try new stuff, even though he still appears to suck at returning Nadal’s inevitable second serve at his backhand.

    • TennisAce says :

      One of the things that I noticed in that Madrid match was the way how Fed was using his backhand to pull Rafa off court and then going up the line once he had opened up the court. It was working very well until I think Fed kind of stopped using it. In addition, he also used the drop shot quite judiciously, except when he did not. It was a very close match and for me I think Fed played exceptionally well.

      In addition to my earlier post about the fact that a lot of these haters of Federer and Nadal are really fans of other players, apart from Gulbis, there were the supposed Canas fans, Simon fans, Soderling, DelPo and many others. Where were all these people all these years. It is like they just came from nowhere and started hating on Federer and Nadal. Very weird.

      • marcoiac says :

        tennisace, i agree. fed needs to use that crosscourt backhand more. he can generate a lot of angle with that shot. it’s a little risky as a shot (not the sliced one, the topspin backhand you are talking about), but he needs to go for it, especially against rafa. he can play more conservative with the other guys, but he needs to go for his shots against rafa on clay, especially on big points. it’s also a beautiful shot to watch, above all when he generates those incredible angles. i think fed’s backhand is way underrated. he can do all sorts of things with it. i think that mentally though, if he misses a forehand (and he can miss some, can’t he?) he still goes for it, but when he misses the backhand, he tends to become more conservative and slice it rather than going for it

      • dootsiez says :

        “One of the things that I noticed in that Madrid match was the way how Fed was using his backhand to pull Rafa off court…”

        When Fed’s strategy depends on the execution of his backhand, there’s a good chance that he’ll fail. Having said that, there’s no way he’ll win without a “good backhand day” against Nadal.

    • pban says :

      Did they really,well I thought Iwas the only one who felt the same and put it down to my building castles in the air where Feddy is concerned.I thought Nadal returned pretty well and got in some lucky ones at deuce,Feddy could have served a wee bit more intelligently though. RG looks very remote but it should help at Wimby.Good to see the feet moving though

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