2017 AO Final: Fedal XXXV

Folks, I haven’t had a computer all day (this from my phone), so I’m unable to really write, but what is there really to say at this point?

This should be a competitive match, imho, for really two reasons:

1. Dimitrov did push Rafa to the edge.  This point concerns Rafa’s form.  He has not been the Rafa of old but for the last couple of matches.  Since the Zverev match, we’ve begun to entertain the idea that his unbeatableness might be back, and headed for the final (the collective awe and anticipation was intensified as we saw Roger making the same kind of run).  I have been critical of Rafa for a few years. His ball is too short, he’s slower, his serve is unthreatening, etc. Many an ATP athlete were beating him. The intimidation hasn’t been there, not to mention that the Don of the tour was a Nadal antidote.

So this UNBEATABLENESS is relatively recent, which leads to #2.

2. Everyone and I mean everyone is looking at 2009 as a comparison. Even Nadal playing a brutal 5 set SF fits the model. But there’s a difference between then and now.

Nadal was #1 in the world then. Sure Roger was #2; but that Nadal – 22 years-old, #1 in the world, had beaten Roger at WB six months earlier – is a quite different player compared to this year’s final. You might say, “well, Roger is #17, so there’s that.”  True, but he’s been off since 2016 WB where he made the SF.  He sat out the ’16 FO but did make the ’16 AO SF. And he made the ’15 finals, as we know, at WB and USO.

No matter what has happened in these last few years (Nadal completely MIA, Roger fairly competitive) the players still have to bring it tonight.

But the point is that this ’17 final has a quite different build-up and historical context from the ’09 final.

Hence I think this will be a tighter match than people think.

Oh, I just thought of a third point that might suggest that this match isn’t quite what we have in mind (A predictable Nadal victory): this tournament has been a circus!  #1 and #2 dismissed early, Mischa Zverev, Dimitrov (for those unaware), and a Fedal final!

I have stayed-up countless nights and/or awakened early and eagerly many many mornings to watch Nadal beat Federer. I understand the popular opinion on this match better than you can imagine. Fed has suffered I am sure.

None the less, as a rabid fan of the sport, I remain hopeful that we get something very competitive, balanced, classic and breathtaking. These men deserve that. We fans deserve that.

Maybe I’ll have a chance to comment on the Nadal v Dimitrov SF since it was classic and so positive for the Bulgarian. I’m glad my call on his form has been verified. He almost upset the Spaniard. That tells us a bit I think, not of my eye for talent/form 😉  but of the topic of this post: Nadal is beatable. I reiterate that only because we sometimes forget this fact when he’s running around a court deep in the draw at a major, best-of-five.

Good luck to both champions.

Enjoy the match, everyone. Talk to you on the other side!

17 thoughts on “2017 AO Final: Fedal XXXV

  1. Caligula

    What a weird final! You could almost foresee when one of them was going to dip in quality, it played almost out like a Soup opera! Nadal blew it, really. But my hats off to the old king, even though they both played some of the most conservative and boring tennis much throughout the match, and the amount of unforced errors for Federer were painful to witness at times. There were some moments of greatness here and there, but the Nadal meltdown in the deciding set I could never have foreseen. Especially since he is so used to spanking Federer in these Slam finals. No matter who had won I think they were both deserving of the title, but Federer has somewhat redeemed himself against Nadal with this win, sure it’s easy to say they both are past their prime etc., but a win is a win, and the Grandmaster will look back on this with pride knowing he at last defeated his arch nemesis (looking at Prime Fedal era, no one other than Nadal could touch him) when it really mattered. #18 in the bag, what a resume…

    As for our friend Nadal, I wish him the best for the FO this year, wouldn’t it be the greatest send-off having won it 10 times? I think so and if he conserves his form this might even become reality. 2017 has so far shown itself to be a breath of “fresh” air, Ha ha! You know what they say Matt, the more things change the more they stay the same, yet I for one will be sad to see these two giants retire, yesterday I saw the highlight reel of Fedal in 2006 Rome masters final, when some Lonnie Toons say the Fedal rivalry is overrated I can only laugh. If they could play that level of tennis again these two would have double digits in Slam count per player by know, overrated? I am sorry Novak fangirls I truly am…

    Take it away Matt, looking forward to some of your words of wisdom and wrap up of this tournament.


    1. Utsav

      Were we watching the same match? Agreed, it was up and down – but both of them were going for it. This is the highest quality final I’ve watched in some time.


      1. I thought it was very solid overall. Even when Roger took control like in the third set, he was very offensive and the serve came up big at times.


    2. Very up and down. I thought Nadal would take advantage of that break in the 5th, Roger would struggle to bounce back. Incredible run at the end.

      The errors began to creap into Fed’s game but his BH was very effective, offensive and proved to be a pivotal weapon. Very little slice on the BH. There were some great exchanges. Great match with the twist at the end giving it some drama. Other than the 5th, pretty one -sided alternate sets. Twist, high drama came in the 5th.

      Nadal is a great champion. I have been very critical in the past. I hope this is a sign of great things from both this year.


      1. Utsav

        Roger decided to go for it in the 5th and was rewarded. He said as much in the post-match press conference.

        23 winners in a 6-3 set.

        Nadal hit 28 in the whole match.


  2. Jason Bourne

    Just want to point out very interesting (auspicious, maybe?) numerics on this AO for Federer:
    AO 2017
    Coming in as no. 17
    And 17th seed
    With 17 grand slams
    His 100th AO match

    Quite amazing coincidence, isnt it?


    1. Josh

      And there’s 17 grand slams between this GS win and his last GS win!

      US Open 12
      Australian Open 13
      French Open 13
      Wimbledon 13
      US Open 13
      Australian Open 14
      French Open 14
      Wimbledon 14
      US Open 14
      Australian Open 15
      French Open 15
      Wimbledon 15
      US Open 15
      Australian Open 16
      French Open 16
      Wimbledon 16
      US Open 16


  3. Josh

    I can’t believe that Roger’s backhand won him the match. It feels poetic, that he was able to turn around his greatest weakness against his biggest rival on the grandest of stages.


  4. Pingback: 2017 AO Final: Federer Beats Nadal and Secures 18th Grand Slam Title | Mcshow Tennis Blog

  5. Pingback: What is the Biggest Surprise of 2017? | Mcshow Tennis Blog

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