first up, what a graceful champion rafael nadal is... the way he takes victory is very sportmanlike, especially after roger broke down when he received the plate. luckily, roger managed to recover and with equal grace let rafa have the last word.

MELBOURNE: Rafael Nadal reduced Roger Federer to tears as he won a classic Australian Open final to secure his first hard-court Grand Slam title and stop the Swiss equalling the all-time Majors record on Sunday. Federer was left speechless by the defeat and broke down sobbing as he tried to address the crowd. "God, it's killing me," said the Swiss, who was consoled by his hero, Australian great Rod Laver. "I love this game, it means the world to me and it hurts when you lose," the dejected Federer said later. "In the first moment you're disappointed, you're shocked, you're sad. Then all of a sudden it overwhelms you. "You can't just go in the locker room and take a cold shower, take it easy - you're stuck out there. It's rough."

"Sorry for today," Nadal told his rival. "I know how you're feeling right now. It's really tough.

"But remember you are a great champion, you are one of the best in history and you're going to improve the 14 of Sampras."

there is no way this is going to beat last year's wimbledon final as the best match ever played which had 10-8, 9-7 games and rain interruptions. but i felt both players took it to another level, there appeared to be far fewer unforced errors in this game, and unlike the previous year, where federer was ill, federer was fitter than ever, hardly panting between strokes. he also played phenomenally out of his skin today, which must be infuriating for him. because he must know that he has played that well and it still wasn't enough. at the end of the day, tennis is not a winner's game. tennis is the type of game that goes to the player that makes the fewest mistakes. he made very few, but he didn't convert breaks. also, his first serve % could be higher, but really that's just nitpicking nadal was forcing him to hit to a very high standard.

at the end of the day, nadal is left handed, federer is right handed. federer continues using a single handed backhand, while nadal is a two handed backhand player. so nadal's powerful forehand keeps going to federer's backhand, so the stats are against him. if he can figure out a way to fight this, then he's a genius.

he is basically the anti-federer (actually he is much better than that, because he beats everyone else too, and has his own style) but basically his style of play was the one that was needed to displace federer, because of federer's main weakness in his game


nadal is perfect on clay winning all but one match ever. federer was the only guy who managed to beat him on that surface.

there were times where federer was even playing like nadal, just keeping the ball in court and winning, showing that he has learnt to compete better from the baseline. but at the end of the day that's just not his way, and he reverts to type.

but that isn't exactly a fair characterization of this match. there were times where nadal appeared tired, but what was amazing about him was that he would be able to psychologically beat the shit out his opponent. he would go down 0-40, giving federer 3 break points, pull back to 40-40, trade deuces 4 times before winning the point. try again next point federer. it was his ability to win clutch points or points that mattered, as if he knew when to use his energy and raise his game. it didn't matter that federer always looked more comfortable holding serve, because rafa would always break back when it mattered. he basically came back from the dead 3rd set, just like he did at wimbledon.

i grew up with roger federer, always watching him when i was studying. if he can pick himself up again after losing yet another 5-set final to win his 14th grand slam, he will be a winner. since 2004 he is in grand slams unbeaten except to one person, the opposite-handed (left) rafael nadal, his phantom nemesis. he gets up every grand slam to blitz his way to the final so he can play his practice match with rafael nadal, the only chance he gets to play with someone who can consistently beat him.

anyway, this summarizes it



"Playing Style"

get up again please, and inspire all of us.

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