Roger Federer was not as dominant as I thought he was going to be in the final against Nadal, he won in 3 sets,6-3,-3-6,6-1, but he got the job done nevertheless!
The tactics Federer used were slightly more aggressive than the tactics of the past. The surface, which is medium speed with quite a low bounds,made it easier to step in and take the ball earlier for both players. Nadals topspin forehand didn’t get up as high and that makes a big difference especially into the most vulnerable shot of Federer, his onehanded backhand from above chest high. By the way who has that shot? Gustavo Kuerten maybe!If anyone that reads this can come up with one more, please let me know! Remember, it has to be onehanded.
Federer used his “slice serve”more than usual,especially in the deuce court and I have a feeling he’ll use it more even on the other “high bouncing” surfaces. Now back to Federers backhand. He “went” for it early on in the first set and hit a few key winners crooscourt, one on Nadals serve on breakpoint,to give Federer 5-3 and he then held his serve to love to win 6-3.
In the beginning of the 2nd set Nadal looked tired and beaten. But like all great champions do, he figured out the “plan” that would give him the best chance to turn things around under the circumstances. He started to “go” for his shots more and even though he missed a couple of forehands he took momentum away from Federer who took a few steps back behind the baseline and looked like Federer usually looks like against Rafa, scared and preoccupied with thinking about the end result instead of staying in the present.Rafa served a lot of “bodyserves” that either produced a short reply or a missed return. I really thought Roger was going to win in two straight sets but now Rafa had me questioning my prediction!He has this natural self belief that he will find the way to play that gives him the best chance to win.Was it going to be enough?
Well it was not. Federer came at Nadal straight away in the beginning of the third set, just like he did in the first, and the same as he had done against Ferrer, Soderling, Murray and Djokovic earlier in the week. This “new” way of playing makes the next 18 months so interesting leading into the 2012 Olympics in London at Wimbledon,’cause that’s the trophy Roger wants the most and apart from Davis Cup, the only one he doesn’t own.
So thank you, Roger and Rafa for this year, another great year in mens tennis and for the future. Can all of you scientists working on “timemachines” please hurry up before we lose these two guys and the greatest rivalry in the history of the game!
The Davis Cup final is next weekend in Serbia and Novak Djokovic has the chance of a lifetime to become a true hero in his home country, with a little help from his friends!I will be watching and blogging during it.In the meantime,watch the ball,move your feet,stay safe and take a lot of chances, Mats