Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Rafal Nadal - Press conference video

Finally found the press conference on video. Unfortunately you cannot embed this video so here is the link


Rafa meets Diego

We all saw Diego Maradona at the World Tour Finals last week. Here he is paying Rafa a visit after the final on Sunday.

Facebook update

Back to Spain from London yesterday. Yesterday and today in San Sebastian and flying to Madrid later today!


More photos

Zimonjic reaping rewards

Around the same time as notching his career-best singles victory with a win over Grand Slam great Andre Agassi, Nenad Zimonjic made the seemingly incongrous decision to switch his tennis focus to doubles.
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Last week he won the ATP World Tour Finals with partner Daniel Nestor for the second time, bringing down the curtain on a partnership with the Canadian which also earned them two Wimbledons and one French Open title.

This week, however, all his personal achievements will be put to one side when he plays for Serbia in the Balkan country's first Davis Cup final, against France in Belgrade.

"It's a completely different achievement," said Zimonjic, who has won 23 of his 30 doubles rubbers since making his debut in the competition for the former Yugoslavia against Benin in 1996.

"But it's the biggest achievement that Serbia has as a country in tennis. I'm looking forward to... playing the biggest final in our tennis history.

"It would mean everything to the players, to the Federation, to people there, to say we are world champions. Maybe not all of them knew what is Davis Cup. Now I believe they know that it's like a world championships in tennis."

Zimonjic, who will most likely partner Janko Tipsarevic or Viktor Tricki in Saturday's doubles, plodded the lower levels of the men's Tour after turning pro in 1995, hardly rising above 200 in the rankings.

By the time he beat Agassi in 2004 he had already made the decision to concentrate on the doubles arts.

"It wasn't so much a choice," he said ruefully. "I didn't have sponsors. I didn't have chances to hire a coach that could travel with me. I never had a chance to concentrate on it for six, seven months.

"The money I was making in doubles was being re-invested in myself so that I could keep playing the singles circuit."

However, what was merely a means to an end suddenly offered Zimonjic the chance to shake off the journeyman tag and establish himself as one of the world's best doubles players.

With a variety of partners he began collecting doubles titles and in 2005 he became a Grand Slam champion when partnering Karerina Srebotnik to the Wimbledon mixed crown.

In 2008 he teamed up for the first time with Nestor, winning Wimbledon and finishing the year as the world's number one duo. Last year they won nine titles and seven more followed this year, including the French Open.

Like many players from Serbia, Zimonjic's route to fame and fortune was a tough one with crumbling sports facilities and the region being torn apart by war.

Training took place in a drained swimming pool in Belgrade - the same makeshift arena that provided an improvised court for former women's world number one Ana Ivanovic.

"That was actually a good place to practice," he recalled. "There were no indoor courts and the swimming pool was ideal. It was actually quite luxurious compared to what I'd been through.

"I was playing tennis in the worst time for the country. The worst time for athletes. We had embargo sanctions. We could not compete as juniors. I had to fly out of Budapest, which is six hours by mini-van.

"Every time I had to leave the country, six hours to Budapest, then fly somewhere. It was really rough and difficult to get visas to travel. Then there was the army and the passports, it was difficult to be a tennis professional."

Out of adversity, however, Serbia has become a tennis powerhouse with world number three Djokovic leading the team this week against France.

France may have a depth rivalled only by Spain and facilities to envy, but Zimonjic believes Serbian team spirit could hold the key.

"There is no comparison with us and France, they are nine times Davis Cup champions," he said.

"They have eight or nine players that can play any day in the Davis Cup. But we are strong. We are good friends, all four of us, off the court, which helps a lot in situations like this coming up."

Courtesy: Yahoo

Llodra ready for Singles too

Michael Llodra hopes his recent victory against Novak Djokovic could land him a singles start in the Davis Cup final against Serbia next weekend.

The French doubles specialist said on Tuesday that the victory against the third-ranked Serb at the Masters in Paris earlier this month was a confidence booster.

France captain Guy Forget said he will decide who will play ahead of the draw on Thursday.

Llodra said "I'm ready, but it's up to Forget to decide" who will start in the singles on Friday.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was ruled out of the December 3-5 final with a knee injury, leaving Llodra to compete with Gilles Simon for a singles spot alongside Gael Monfils.

Serbia is seeking its first Davis Cup title against nine-time champions France.

Courtesy: Supersport

Carlos Moya Special

Article in Spanish from iB3 regarding a Gala to be held for Carlos Moya.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Rafael Nadal - 2010 has been "fantastic"

Spain's Rafael Nadal, who won three successive Grand Slam titles this year, said Monday that 2010 has been "fantastic"."I think it has been a fantastic year in my life, to have ended at the level that I did is a great satisfaction," he said during an interview with Spanish news radio Cadena Ser.

The 24-year-old finished the year firmly atop the world rankings despite losing to Roger Federer in the ATP Tour Championship final in London on Sunday.

"I can only congratulate Roger because he was better than everyone, better than me and for that reason he has the trophy at home," he said.

Nadal has 12,450 points, 3,305 ahead of Federer, whom he replaced at the top after winning the French Open and Wimbledon during the summer.

He went on to win the US Open, while Federer took the year's first Grand Slam title in Australia making him only the seventh man in history to complete a coveted career Grand Slam, winning the world's four main tennis tournaments -- the US, French and Australian Opens and Wimbledon.

Courtesy: Yahoo

Art of Tennis auction - Finished

All the auctions are now closed.

Rafa's sold for $26, 500
Roger's sold for $27,300
Novak's sold for $22, 103
Andy Murray's sold for $7301
Robin Soderling's sold for $5100
Tomas Berdych sold for $3001
David Ferrer's sold for $3350
Andy Roddick's sold for $33, 100

Serbia counts on Djokovic

The coach of the Serbian Davis Cup team poised to play a historial final against France said their strength, aside from world No 3 Novak Djokovic, is the friendship among the players.

"Djokovic is important – he is not only the leader of the team, but he has also opened the eyes of the other players that Serbs can do well in individual sports," coach Bogdan Obradovic said.

A Davis Cup victory would be a first for Serbia, which a decade ago were a blip on the tennis radar known more for their football and basketball successes.

But having one star player cannot be a coach's only ace in the pack, Obradovic insists.

He is counting on the friendship between Djokovic and Viktor Troicki, Janko Tipsarevic, all peers in age, and the older doubles specialist Nenad Zimonjic, who is hugely respected, to pull the team through.

"The friendship within the team is surely the second element that makes it strong (...) I think the good atmosphere, the energy and the eagerness within the team will lead us to victory in the final," he said.

He waved away any doubts on the fitness of Djokovic, who will be coming off a long and punishing season which saw him lose in straight sets to Roger Federer in the ATP Tour Championship semifinals in London on Saturday.

"There's no doubt he will be tired, the season lasts 11 months but all of that is part of playing sports at the top level and he knows that. He is very motivated, he wants to play for his country," the coach said.

Earlier this month Djokovic called winning the Davis Cup "my priority for this year.

"This is a big opportunity that you don't experience ... many times in your life ... We really want to win that Davis Cup final," he said.


For Obradovic the recipe for success is that everything needs to fall into place on the day.

"First Novak (Djokovic) has to play his matches with great intensity and quality. He has to find that last atom of power and give that needed extra push to the rest of the team," he said.

In Belgrade the Serbian Tennis Federation is in full preparation for the final played here next weekend.

"The importance of this match is immeasurable, without taking into account that it is the biggest success of the Serbian tennis team to date, it will also be the biggest sporting event of the last decade in Belgrade and Serbia," said the federation's president Slobodan Zivojinovic.

The former pro-player and ex-Davis Cup coach said the federation was doing its utmost to ensure the final will go off without a hitch.

"The crowd in Belgrade has shown several times that they know their tennis, that they respect the players but also passionately support their team. This crowd will applaud for an adversary when they deserve it," he said.

Any worries over recent incidents with Serbian football hooligans who last month provoked violent riots in Belgrade during a gay pride march and days later caused a Euro 2012 qualifying match to be called of in Italy, were firmly dismissed by the coach and the federation.

"What has happend (the riots) unfortunately has happened, but such things have never happened in tennis," Zivojinovic insisted.

"The worries expressed (by the French side) are probably part of the mind games."

Coach Obradovic said that security worries were probably bigger when the Serbian team faced off against the United States in March this year.

In Serbia, Washington is unpopular because of its leading role in the 1999 NATO bombing campaign of the country in order to force Serb troops out of Kosovo.

"Still no one even whistled during their anthem," he said.

"And with the French our peoples have had historically friendly ties, I think any incident is out of the question."

Courtesy: SuperSport

ATP rankings - 29/11/2010

Rafael Nadal has finished the year firmly atop the world rankings despite losing to Roger Federer in the ATP Tour Championship final in London on Sunday.

The Spaniard has 12,450 points, 3,305 ahead of Federer whom he replaced at the top after winning the French Open and Wimbledon during the summer. Nadal went on to win the US Open, while Federer took the year's first Grand Slam title in Australia.

Andy Murray, meanwhile, moved back above Robin Soderling to fourth place on the back of his run into the semi-finals in London.

Nadal and Federer have filled the year-ending top two spots in the world rankings since 2005.

World Top 20:-

1. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 12,450 pts

2. Roger Federer (SUI) 9145

3. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 6035

4. Andy Murray (GBR) 5760 (+1)

5. Robin Soderling (SWE) 5580 (-1)

6. Tomas Berdych (CZE) 3955

7. David Ferrer (ESP) 3735

8. Andy Roddick (USA) 3665

9. Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 3240

10. Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) 2920

11. Jürgen Melzer (AUT) 2785

12. Gaël Monfils (FRA) 2485

13. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 2345

14. Marin Cilic (CRO) 2300

15. Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 2160

16. Mardy Fish (USA) 1991

17. Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) 1965

18. Sam Querrey (USA) 1860

19. John Isner (USA) 1850

20. Marcos Bagdhatis (CYP) 1785

Courtesy: Times of India

Post match interview with Rafael Nadal

Short interview with Rafa after the match

Rafael Nadal - Press Conferernce transcript

6-3, 3-6, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Could you give us your thoughts on today's final.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, he played unbelievable. I think in the beginning was unplayable I think this first set. I still having chances in the second, and the beginning of the third, so-so.

But, anyway, my though is he played better than me, he beat me. I just can congratulate him for his victory and another great tournament for him. He played unbelievable during all the week without losing a set, being in the final. So his level was very high.

I try my best this afternoon, but he was better than me.

Q. Yesterday almost nobody believed that you were tired, because you're never tired, but today you seemed to be tired. You were a little slow. Did you feel that in your legs, apart from Federer playing well, or not?

RAFAEL NADAL: I think is not the right moment to talk about that. The thing is everybody saw the match of yesterday, so everybody's free to think his own opinion.

But I don't gonna say I lost the match because I was tired. What I gonna say and what I feel is I lost the match because I played against a very good Roger Federer in one of his favorite surfaces. And when he's playing like this, is very difficult to stop him, no?

I had little bit chances. I was there, but wasn't enough.

Q. On what level did you find it difficult or the most difficult, most demanding, to play against Roger today? Was it on the physical, tactical, or mental level?

RAFAEL NADAL: He played very aggressive. He played great. His serve was good, with good percentage outside in the important moments, wide in the deuce. The forehand was unbelievable. And he was playing really well with the backhand, too, no?

Was difficult to play because he played very close to the baseline, going to the net. He tried to don't play very long points from the baseline, no? He's trying to play inside and play very aggressive. He did well, no? So everything. Roger is probably the more complete player of the world.

When he's playing well, is difficult to find solutions. But for the moment, I found it. I am happy about my match of this afternoon if we think about the global conditions. Was very difficult final for me. I still won a set. So in general I'm very happy about this afternoon.

But I am more happy about all the week. Was a fantastic week for me. Four top-8 players in the same week in a difficult surface for me. So I think never happen that in the past. So that's very good new for me.

Q. How has your rivalry and your relationship with Roger changed over the years?

RAFAEL NADAL: All the time? Another time you want to know?

I think everybody knows about our relationship, no? We have a great relationship all the time, no? Our relationship didn't change a lot since the beginning because was all the time very respectful. The only way the relationship can improve is being closer and closer because we spend more time together, always being in the council, being on court, playing exhibitions together.

Right now we going to have these exhibitions in December, one in Zurich for his foundation, one in Madrid for my foundation.

So I think is not a rivalry. We were playing lot of important moments together. So I think that's makes something like (speaking in Spanish).

THE MODERATOR: All these moments in tennis makes you appreciate it more.

RAFAEL NADAL: We never had any problem in all of our careers. So being a lot of hours on court, a lot of tension moments, never had a problem. I think that's not easy. That says that we always had a really good relationship, no?

Q. Can you tell us what you'll be doing over the next three or four weeks until you play those charity matches.

RAFAEL NADAL: This week I gonna work with the sponsors. I have to do some TV spots. So I have to work almost every day, tomorrow till next Monday. So that's going to be my holidays (laughter).

After that, practice. I gonna start to practice next Monday. Practice as good as I can to be ready for January. That's what I gonna try, try to repeat the same like last year, that I practiced all well in December and I arrived to the beginning of the season with very high level, but without calm to don't win in a long time.

My opinion now, if I arrive with the same level like last year in the beginning of the season, the situation can change, because the calm going to be there after this probably more emotional and good season of my career, no?

Q. This is a time when we're all perhaps a little tired, but we all like to reflect on the year that's gone by. What would you say were the images that most come to your mind when you reflect on 2010?

RAFAEL NADAL: Everything, no? Was a lot of important moments for me during all the season. I think was a very emotional season, no? Was difficult for moments in the beginning, but after a tough time probably, because I had this difficult time, I was able to play with ambition all the season, no? All the time trying to convert the options, the chances to win and keep winning and keep playing well because when you spend 11 months without a victory, when you pass some difficult moments, you really know how difficult is win a tournaments, how difficult is be there, how difficult is be competitive every week.

So when you are there another time, for me the only thing that I was thinking all the time is, Be focused, don't lose this dynamic, don't lose this level, no, because with this level I was feeling I have chances to win in every tournament, no?

In general, was fantastic, no? For me the first two tournaments of the year -- well, first one was Abu Dhabi. Was an exhibition, but everybody wants to play well there. Was fantastic level. In Doha was probably one of the best sets of my career, the first set against Davydenko. So after that I say, Well, I am here. I am playing well another time. I am ready to try to win and compete for the important titles another time.

It happened. Was very hard, very difficult to accept for me the Australian Open injury another time. But I was lucky because I had to stop three weeks, but after that I arrived to Indian Wells and Miami with another time a very high level. That was the key of the season: feel that I was playing really well, but don't win.
So when I started to win the first time, first tournament in Monte-Carlo, everything was more easier, no, because I pulled out all the pressure, all this anxiety. After that I started to play really well. Roland Garros, without losing a set. Wimbledon, very difficult Wimbledon victory, with so many difficult matches, but finally the win. And the US Open the same, no? Don't lose a set before the final.

You must be playing really well to be in two Grand Slam finals without losing a set, no? So in general was a very emotional season for me. I am very happy for everything and just can say thank you very much all the people that support me all the time when I had the difficult moments, when I was winning, all the sponsor that keep having confidence in me, and everybody was seriously really fantastic with me last year.

Q. Obviously you wanted to win this tournament, but you can't complain because this season was absolutely fantastic. Next season you're going to have to work a lot on how you're going to deal with expectations. I know Roger is still there. A lot of the eyes are going to be towards you. A lot of people will think, Is he going to repeat what he's done this season? How are you going to handle this, work mentally to prepare yourself for what's going to come?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, is not the first season of my career. Going to be right now six seasons being in the top two of the ranking. So for me doesn't make any differences if I won three Grand Slams this year or if I won one or two. It happened in the past.

When I start the season, everything starts. You know, I don't think if I have to defend 100,000 points or if I have to defend 1,000 points, no?

In Australia or in Doha when I start the season, I have zero points. So we start from there. First goal is qualification for London next year, and after we will see. For me, every day and every season start, and I gonna work to be ready and be competitive to try to be in the top positions and to compete to keep winning titles.

But the pression for me gonna be the same. When I go to the tournament, going to be the same pression for me to play in Australia than to play in the US Open, doesn't mean if I have to defend 2,000 points or 350 points, because the goal is the same, try to play well, try to compete against everybody, and try to be in the final rounds.

Courtesy: ASAP Sports

Nadal sets sight on "Rafa Slam"

Rafael Nadal

RAFAEL Nadal will limit his off-season break to six days as the world No.1 plots another coup at January's Australian Open.

The French, Wimbledon and US Open title-holder, Nadal was denied in the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals by Roger Federer.

But within minutes of the 6-3 3-6 6-1 loss, Nadal had begun planning for Melbourne Park, where he will attempt to complete the "Rafa Slam" - and own all four majors at the same time.

"This week I gonna work with the sponsors," the Spaniard said.

"After that, practice. I gonna start to practise next Monday. Practise as good as I can to be ready for January."

Nadal admitted yesterday to a lack of composure as a title drought threatened to derail his 2010 Australian Open campaign before a knee injury ended it in the quarter-finals.

The Mallorcan said he was devastated at having to retire against Andy Murray, saying it was one of the most traumatic moments of his career.

(It) was very hard to accept the Australian Open injury," Nadal said. "But after a tough time, probably, I was able to play with ambition all the season.

"In Australia or in Doha when I start the (2011) season, I have zero points (in the race to the ATP Tour Finals).

"So we start from there. First goal is qualification for London next year, and after we will see. For me, I gonna work to be ready and be competitive to try to be in the top positions and to compete to keep winning titles."

Nadal denied he was tired after scraping through an epic semi-final against Murray on Saturday, preferring to praise Federer.

"Roger is probably the more complete player of the world," Nadal said.

"When he's playing well, is difficult to find solutions."

Federer landed his fifth season-ending title and his 66th overall with a performance of brilliance and style. The Swiss won this event in Houston (2003 and 2004) and Shanghai (2006 and 2007).

Australian Open champion Federer was elated to have secured his fifth title of the season, but bemused at suggestions he had experienced a disappointing year.

"I don't see how someone can say it's been a bad season," he said.

"I had some tough losses, sure. You're not going to win every tournament you play. Obviously I can't play every season, make 16 out of 17 finals like I did back in 2005. It's just not realistic.

"I'm happy I made my ninth final this season. I've won five titles, won a slam. I think physically I was better than the last two seasons I've had. That obviously makes me be very positive for next year, that I believe I
can have another great season in 2011.

"I like the pressure of being defending (Australian Open) champion. I love playing there. I'm sure I'm going to play well."

Canadian Daniel Nestor and Serb Nenad Zimonjic defeated Indian Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi, of Belarus, in the doubles final 7-6 (8-6) 6-4.

Courtesy: Herald Sun

2011 Slam predictions

This tennis season has come to an end. We can hardly wait for the next to begin.

Nadal fans especially are eagerly awaiting the Australian Open 2011 where they expect their hero to make history by achieving the non-Calendar year Slam and go on to win the rest of the slam titles to complete a calendar slam and an unprecedented seven-in-a-row.

However, Roger fans, who have suffered the disappointments of a 3-in-a-row-slam-title-drought for their idol, have taken heart from his end of season performance. His win at WTF, defeating Nadal, has led them to hope to see him get back his number one ranking and lift a few more slam trophies, possibly dominate the tennis world as he had done till end of 2007.

Also hopeful are Djokovic fans. Djokovic was seen as a likely successor to Roger Federer after his astounding performances at age 20 at USO 2007 ( where although he lost to Federer in the finals, he revealed his enormous potential) and at AO 2008 (where he won his maiden slam). But he flattered to deceive or so it appeared when he seemed to suffer mysterious losses of energy at critical junctures and failed to win any more slams. He also seemed to make it a habit to lose to Federer in the USO semi-finals.

However, all that changed this year with his good performances at Wimbledon (where he made it to the semis) and his success in ousting Federer at the USO semi-finals. The young man certainly seems to have finally come of age.His fans expect him to win at least one slam, maybe at the AO or the USO and grab the number one ranking or at least firmly occupy the number two ranking by the end of the year.
Andy Murray fans have been cheered by his performance at AO( where he reached the finals ), at Wimbledon( semi-finals ) but more by his defeat of Federer in the finals of the Masters at Toronto and Shanghai(  has he finally laid the ghost of Federer- in- the- finals?). His performance against Nadal in the WTF semis showcased his enormous talent. True, he still seems to be a headcase but given enough time this man is sure to deliver on his promise and so his fans hope he will win at least one slam next year, at the AO or at the USO. They also hope he will be ranked at least number 2 next year-end, if not number one.

What about Del Potro? He impressed many tennis watchers with the way he thrashed Nadal in the semis of USO 2009 and went on to lift the trophy from right under the the Swiss Maestro's nose. Many expect him to be the next number one. Even Federer stated that  the young man had it in him to win more slams and has tipped him as a future number one.

So what are my predictions?

I have based my predictions on my studies of tennis superstars who have held the top 10 year-end ranking, who have held the number one year-end ranking (1973 and later) and more particularly super champions who have won at least 6 slam titles in the Open era.

The tennis superstars had their best performances between 21 and 27 with their peak performance being near or around 24. High performance was possible for some superstars at 28, 29 or 30 but there was a distinct drop after 30.
Year-endnumberone_original_original_original_original_original_original_original_original_original_crop_340x234 Age at year-end rank number one 
All the superstars who won at least 6 slam titles, have held the number one ranking at least for a brief while between 23 and 25 and most of them had their best performances between these ages. All of them, except  Agassi, Lendl and Connors, won most of their slams before 25 . Only Agassi and Lendl won more slams after 25. Connors won 4 before and 4 after 25.

Connors, Lendl, Agassi and Sampras won some slam titles at 29 or later. Connors :3  Lendl: 1; Agassi: 5; Sampras: 1

So Nadal, Djokovic and Murray who would be in the age bracket 23 to 25 during 2011, are likely to have an excellent chance of the best performances of their careers. Roger Federer unfortunately is 29 and will be 30 in August 2011.

Nadal, in 2011, would be 24 or 25 and therefore he would be in a period when Nature usually blesses a tennis superstar with peak physical condition. He will, in all probability, win at least two slams and most likely, three. Can he win all 4? This event is highly unlikely but not impossible. Should he get at least one good draw and be fit at all four slams, he definitely has a chance. But it is an outside chance.

Federer is at the age where few superstars have held number one ranking or won slams.So, it is unlikely that 2011 will be his best year. Will he win any slams? Did not Sampras and Agassi win slams after 29 and is not Federer playing at a high level? Yes to both questions. But there is an important difference between what Pete and Andre faced and what Federer is going to face in 2011 .

The years 2000 to 2003 are popularly known as the tween years because they fell between the decline of Sampras and the rise of Federer. In fact, in USO 2002, Sampras and Agassi between them were able to demolish all the opposition and Sampras exercised his winning edge against the older Agassi to lift the last GS trophy of his illustrious career.

Unfortunately for Roger, such a situation will not exist in 2011.

There will be Nadal, already a great, and in the prime of his playing life. There will be Djokovic and Murray also in their primes and enormously talented. Murray also enjoys a positive head to head with Federer.
They are joined by Soderling, Berdych and Del Potro who have already shown they can beat Federer in a Grand Slam match.

Federer on his day can get the measure of any of them. But can he last seven rounds in a Grand Slam tournament in the best-of-five-sets format? Can he beat 3 out of this group of Soderling, Berdych, Murray, Djokovic and Nadal in three successive rounds?

By the time he reaches the Quarter finals, he would probably be battle- weary and his age would not let him bounce back as easily as in his younger years.

I suspect that the likes of Soderling and Berdych will stop him at the Quarters in at least one slam.


Djokovic or Murray will probably stop him at two of the semis should he reach any. If Djokovic should be in Federer's half at the French Open in 2011, the chances of Federer reaching this final at least are very low.

Even if he gets through to the finals, he will not be in the best condition after battling with at least two superstars in the Quarters and Semis. And he will probably face Nadal.

Does this mean Federer has little chance of winning a slam in 2011? No, he has a chance. A player of Federer's caliber will be a title contender at every Grand Slam tournament. But because of his age, he needs to be lucky to avoid too many bruising battles. So if the draw opens up for him, he should be able to take home a trophy. But, as there is more than the usual amount of luck required, I do not expect Federer to win more than one slam title.

Will Federer get back his number one ranking at least for a week? Had Federer been 30 or more, I would have said, almost impossible, based on the ranking history of superstars. Only Agassi has held the number one ranking after 30 for a few weeks. None of the others could do it. But as Federer is 29, i.e. below 30, probability is not weighted too heavily against him, though it is low.

Djokovic has been consistent this year and his performance at the slams was QF, QF, SF and F. He is hugely talented and is slam material on hardcourts and on clay. As he  would be in the good books of Nature, he has a very good chance to win a slam next year and also get the number 2 ranking.

Murray is also enormously talented but he is considered a headcase because of his inconsistent performances. His performance at the slams was F, 4th, SF, 3rd. However, his fans can take heart from his wins over Federer at the Toronto and Shanghai Finals after his losses in two Slam finals earlier ( AO this year and USO in 2008) despite enjoying a positive h2h. He showed he is a big threat to Nadal by his performance at the WTF semi-final this year.  The year 2011, with Nature giving him the best, could well be Murray's breakthrough year with him winning a slam, probably at either AO or USO.

What about Del Potro? He has had a bad year with injury and missed most of the action because of surgery and rehab. Though he is now supposed to be fit, he needs to get matches under his belt and I suspect he maybe handicapped by the pychological fear of recurrence of serious injury. So, while in the later half of the year he maybe a formidable threat, I doubt that he will win any slam titles.

Rafael Nadal will retain his number one ranking unless there is a repeat of injuries as in 2009. But, repeat of 2009 is a low probability event given that he has managed his schedule well this year.

Summary of predictions:

Nadal: At least 2: Likely 3.

Federer: Not more than 1

Djokovic,Murray: Both have a good chance to win 1 slam title.

Del Potro: Nil

Rafael Nadal will continue his dominance and be number one throughout 2011.

Courtesy: Bleacher Report

Murray to continue alone

Andy Murray is ready to keep faith with his present entourage rather than replace Miles Maclagan, the coach he parted company with this summer. The 23-year-old Scot had been planning to spend some time this winter recruiting a replacement, but after finishing the season on a high note he has had second thoughts.

Having won two Masters Series titles since the split with Maclagan, Murray ended his competitive campaign by reaching the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals, an achievement that secured his return to No 4 in the world rankings. He lost 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 to Rafael Nadal on Saturday in one of the best matches of the year.

Alex Corretja, the former world No 2 who originally signed up to help during the clay-court season, has continued to work with Murray on a part-time basis, while Dani Vallverdu, a close friend since his days with the Scot at the Sanchez-Casal academy in Barcelona, has been a regular hitting partner. Jez Green and Matt Little, Murray's physical trainers, and Andy Ireland, his physiotherapist, have also provided continuity.

Might Murray consider carrying on with the present arrangements? "Definitely," he said. "I like working with the guys I work with. I've started improving and learning stuff again and the way things are now I feel everyone works well together. I just need to make sure that if I feel everyone is as motivated as I am to get me working to get to No 1, I'll probably keep working with the same bunch of guys and don't necessarily need to add anything. I need to wait and see because there are a lot of great coaches that I could work with."

After flying to the Bahamas later this week to play in a charity event, Murray will go to Miami, where he will spend the rest of the off season training before playing in the Hopman Cup in Perth in the first week of the new year.

Having come within two points of beating Nadal, Murray said that the performance would give him encouragement for the future.

"I need to be able to play that level for the whole year," he said. "This match is a huge motivation to get myself prepared properly in Miami and to improve everything. It does come down to the small differences. I need to train like the best player in the world. That's the only choice I have."

Courtesy: Independent

Roger Federer - No plans to quit

No quit plans for Fed

Roger Federer said retirement was the furthest thing from his mind after clinching a record-equalling fifth ATP World Tour Finals title on Sunday.

The 29-year-old overpowered world number one Rafael Nadal 6-3 3-6 6-1 at London's O2 Arena to pocket one million pounds and draw level with Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras for most titles at the season-ending championships.

Federer, who holds 16 Grand Slam crowns and won five tournaments in 2010, indicated he had no plans to call it quits just yet.

"I have no plans at all - stopping, quitting, whatever you want to call it," he said.

"As long as I'm healthy, eager, motivated, which clearly I am. I've played 10 full seasons in my career, nine of them I made the World Tour Finals, so I've always had long and exhausting seasons."

"But I seem to enjoy it and take pleasure out of travelling the world, playing against the best, challenging myself in practice and so forth."

"It's been an amazing career. I hope I can play for many more years. It's a goal anyway, I think it's possible."

Federer saved his best for the final in London as he steamrolled Nadal in the first and third sets to wrap up the win in one hour and 38 minutes.

"I'm really thrilled the way I played all week. To win a fifth time is obviously amazing. I'm very happy to have won such a prestigious tournament. You ask all the top guys, we love this event," the Swiss star said.

"I'm just really happy the way I was able to finish the season in style, playing some of my best tennis, really saving the best for last. I believe I can have another great season in 2011."

After a well-deserved off-season break, Federer will head to Melbourne in January where he will attempt to defend his Australian Open crown - and start on the road back to regaining the world number one ranking.

"I think tennis, the men's game, is at an absolute high right now, with a lot of exciting games being played, with a lot of respect," he said.

"Also, I think having had me and Rafa both make the career Grand Slam already at a young age I think is great for the game. We're obviously playing not only for ourselves and beating the other guys, but also for history. I think there's a lot at stake always in all our matches we play. I think it's wonderful."

"I always knew it was going to be an interesting match (on Sunday). I think we obviously have a huge amount of respect for each other. I admire his game. Today was another great match, I thought, with some fantastic rallies. I know it doesn't take anything away from his great season, because it was magnificent."

Courtesy: Sportal

Sunday, 28 November 2010

No excuses from Rafael Nadal

Good lad :)  Not sure it would of been the same had the result been reversed.


Rafael Nadal refused to use fatigue as an excuse on Sunday after his incredible year ended in defeat by Roger Federer at the ATP World Tour Finals.

The 24-year-old world number one played one of the matches of the year to battle past Andy Murray in a three-hour semi-final but he found Federer in sensational form as he went down 6-3 3-6 6-1 in one hour 37 minutes.

"I think is not the right moment to talk about that," Nadal told reporters when asked if he was suffering physically against the 16-times grand slam champion.

"The thing is everybody saw the match yesterday, so everybody's free to think his own opinion.

"But I'm not gonna say I lost the match because I was tired. What I'm gonna say and what I feel is I lost the match because I played against a very good Roger Federer on one of his favourite surfaces. When he's playing like this, it's very difficult to stop him. I had chances, but not enough."

Rather than dwell on his defeat, Nadal preferred to look back on a year he described as the most "emotional" of his career.

After going 11 months without a title he returned to form in Monte Carlo in the Spring, winning on the Riviera clay for a sixth consecutive year, and the confidence flooded back.

From then on he was virtually unstoppable, winning the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back for a second time and completing his career grand slam by winning the U.S. Open.

It was all a stark contrast to 12 months ago at the London finale when he failed to win a set in three matches.

"This was a fantastic week for me," Nadal said. "Beating four top-eight players in the same week on a difficult surface for me. I think that's never happened in the past.

"There have been a lot important moments for me during the season. I think it was a very emotional season.

"There were difficult moments in the beginning, but after a tough time, I was able to play with ambition all the season and I managed to have chances to win and keep winning.

"Once I won the first tournament in Monte Carlo, everything was easier, all the pressure and anxiety left and I started to play really well."

Courtesy: Yahoo

Rafa loses the World Tour Final :(

Depressed :(

Roger Federer gave Rafael Nadal little chance to mount a challenge in the 22nd meeting between two of the greatest players of all time, winning his fifth season-ending title 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 Sunday.

Federer won an incredible 92 percent of the points played on his first serve in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals, and lost only 13 points on serve in the entire match.

Nadal, the top-ranked Spaniard who won the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open this year, was able to break Federer once in the second set, but he appeared to tire as the match wore on. On Saturday,
Nadal spent more then three hours and three sets beating Andy Murray to reach the final of the tournament
for the first time in his career.

"I know I didn't spoil his vacation after this because he's had an amazing year," Federer said. "A year that any player dreams of."

The win cut Nadal's career record to 14-8 against the second-ranked Swiss. In Grand Slam finals, Nadal is 5-2 against Federer, but Federer has now beaten Nadal all three times they have faced each other in the final tournament of the season.

In the first set Sunday at the O2 Arena, Federer lost only three points on his serve, and broke Nadal once. He then lost five points on serve in both the second and third sets, but four of them came in one game, giving Nadal his only break of the match.

Federer has won a record 16 Grand Slam titles, the last coming at this year's Australian Open. But after ending his semifinal streak at major championships at Roland Garros and then faltering at the last two Grand Slam tournaments, Federer has played some of his best tennis this week in London.

He won all three of his round-robin matches in straight sets, and then swept Novak Djokovic on Saturday to reach the final.

"You played unbelievable all during the week," Nadal said to Federer on court after the match. "So well done for everything."

Rafael Nadal - photos from the final

Tennis TV preview video

Jason & Robbie preview the final

Facebook update

Another short update from Rafa.

Getting ready for the final this afternoon. It will be VERY difficult. Thank you very much to all for all the messages, the support. It is unbelievable what we are living!

Preparandome para la final de esta tarde. Sera MUY dificil. Gracias a todos por el apoyo, los mensajes. Increible lo que estamos viviendo todos.

Rafa Nadal's press conference photos

A few photos from the press conference following Rafa's semi final win over Andy Murray.

I love his facial expressions!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Rafael Nadal - post match interview

Another post match interview from Rafa

Federer "scaling new height" says Djokovic

Roger Federer began 2010 in devastating fashion and is ending it in unstoppable fashion too, according to Novak Djokovic who was thrashed by the Swiss in the semi-fnals of the ATP World Tour Finals on Saturday.

The Swiss made light work of world number three Djokovic with 31 winners during a 6-1 6-4 victory that set up a dream final against Rafael Nadal, with both players gunning for the $1.6 million jackpot for an undefeated champion.

Federer did not drop a set in his round-robin victories over world number seven David Ferrer, number five Andy Murray and number four Robin Soderling but he went up another level against the unfortunate Djokovic.

"Every ball kind of listens to him," Serbia's Djokovic, who can now concentrate on next week's Davis Cup final against France, told reporters. "I think he was playing unbelievable from the first moment.

"He was playing smart. He was coming in. He didn't give me any time to try to get into the match. In just half an hour, it was already 6-1."

The 29-year-old Federer, bidding for a record-equalling fifth title at the year-ending showpiece, produced a Saturday night feast for the 17,500-capacity crowd at London's O2 Arena.

Djokovic was troubled by his contact lenses during a group phase defeat by Nadal, complaining after that it was impossible to play the Spaniard with one eye.

He would have needed eyes in the back of his head to keep track of the winners that flew off Federer's racket.

The writing was on the wall for Djokovic when he dropped his first service game and he never really recovered despite a brief fightback against the Swiss who won this year's Australian Open but who has since been overshadowed by Nadal.

Federer trailed 0-3 in the second set but that just provided a platform for the 16-times grand slam champion to unleash his full arsenal as he won six of the next seven games with a series of irresistible winners.

He sealed victory with another graceful swish of his right arm to send a service winner whizzing past his opponent.

Earlier, Nadal fought his way past Britain's Andy Murray in a three-hour tussle and Federer will start as favourite in Sunday's final which will be only the second time the two players have met this year.

Courtesy: Yahoo

Rafael Nadal is "mentally fresh" for the final

Rafael Nadal has reached his first title match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Rafael Nadal insisted on Saturday he is "mentally fresh" after he beat Andy Murray 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(6) at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

"I played very well," said the World No. 1, who will look to lift his eighth tour-level trophy of a career-best season on Sunday. "I think I [am] play[ing] better than ever on this surface. I am fresh mentally.

"When you play indoors against the best players of the world, [there] are more specialists than me. You can play defensive for moments, but you have to come back to the attack. If you're not playing really well, it's impossible.

"For that reason, I say [this] is the most difficult tournament for me to win - not only for the surface [but] for the opponents, too. I am lucky I played really well and I am in the final."

Nadal, who required three hours and 11 minutes to beat Murray, praised his opponent after their 13th meeting (Nadal 9-4).

“It was a fantastic match,” he said. “I am very happy to beat a great champion like Andy. For me [it] is an amazing victory. I am very happy for everything because was a really difficult match against one of the best players of the world.

“His level is unbelievable almost always. If he plays like this, I don't have any doubt he going to have big chances to win very important titles.

“He's [a] very talented player because he can do everything. His serve for moments was unstoppable. His defence was unbelievable. He's very fast. He sees the ball very quick, before the rest of the players I think.”

Nadal has a 71-9 match record on the season, highlighted by three Grand Slam championship titles at Roland Garros (d. Soderling), Wimbledon (d. Berdych) and the US Open (d. Djokovic).

He is the first Spaniard to reach the title match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals since David Ferrer in 2007.

Courtesy: ATP

Rafael Nadal's semi final press conference

Here is Rafa's PC after reaching the final of the World Tour Finals. It switches to Andy half way though

Courtesy: meko1686

Rafael Nadal into the World Tour Final

Andy Murray was beaten by Rafael Nadal as he attempted to reach his first final at the ATP World Tour Finals. The Spaniard beat Murray 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 7-6 (8-6).

The Scot started well as he fired down seven aces in his opening four service games of the first set, losing only four points in the process. Having a chance in a Nadal service game was a different challenge altogether, but Murray was certainly making the world No1 work to stay on level terms.

Neither player was prepared to give an inch and, momentary confusion about the score in the ninth game aside, the set proceeded smoothly all the way to the tie-break.

The quality from both players was extremely high but it was Nadal who made the first move, exploiting a short Murray forehand to take a 3-1 lead.

The Scot was not finished, though, and he retrieved the mini-break with a backhand volley winner at the end of a titanic rally to make it 5-5.

Nadal composed himself to engineer the first set point, and he took it with a sublime volley despite the best efforts of Murray, who really had played a terrific set.

A good start to the second set was vital for Murray, who had never previously come from a set down to beat Nadal, but instead his level dropped and he found himself facing two break points – the first of the match.

Now was the time for the Scot to show his fighting spirit, and he did, with a brave second serve saving one before a backhand winner took care of the second.

The crowd sensed that could prove a big moment, and Murray got to 15-30 for only the second time in the match in the third game, but again Nadal was rock-solid.

The Spaniard was troubling Murray continually with serves into the fifth seed's body, and his frustration was evident as he searched for a way through.

But this was not the Murray who sometimes allows his negative emotions to take over, he was focused and determined, and in the seventh game he got his chance.

A gift from Nadal was followed by two terrific points from the home hope to take him to 0-40. But the bigger the moment, the better the Spaniard plays.

An unbelievable forehand flick off a decent Murray drop shot saved the first break point, and the Spaniard was just too good on the remaining ones as well.

It was not over, though. Nadal overcooked a backhand to give Murray a third chance, and this time he took it, leaving his opponent standing with a searing cross-court backhand.

The crowd had been split at the start but there was no doubt who they were supporting now, and suddenly it was Nadal who looked rattled and a little flat-footed.

Serving to stay in the set at 3-5, the Spaniard was left helpless as Murray blasted his way to 15-40 and then drilled a backhand winner cross-court to level the match.

But it was in a dramatic third set that the Spaniard broke through to the final. In an exciting match-winning tie break, Nadal beat Murray who appeared to have suffered a late injury.

Courtesy: Guardian

Rafael Nadal semi final photos Part 2

More photo from Rafa's sem final win over Andy Murray.


Rafael Nadal semi final photos

A few photos are out from the semi final against Andy Murray.