One last bug up my ass I should dislodge.
The Nadal win over Federer in the RG SF was pretty predictable, but poor on-top of that given the shitty conditions. I still liked Federer’s court position and ability to get into Nadal’s serve, etc., which may have been enhanced in more neutral conditions.
We hadn’t seen the Federer collapse in a while — but at 4-4, 40-0, we got a nice reminder of some of that history. Again, a bit predictable, but a poor representation of decent, championship-grade tennis conditions, so the beat goes on with this partial digestion of clay and/or the degradation of that surface and major in the eyes of intelligent, all-world tennis connoisseurship.
But that’s not the bug up my ass (though maybe I have two bugs up my ass). The bug under consideration here is the flawed H2H that I have undermined, destroyed and try to ignore. I didn’t really hear much about this myth from the fans of stupidity much after this failed French semi-final last week. But if they did mention the count, Nadal was now at 24-15.
You should, of course, get some debate on the consequences of Federer’s walkover at the Indian Wells semi-final back in March. Nadal, as you recall, didn’t play, pulled-out of the tournament. I have actually read an interview of Nadal regarding that time of the year, his near depression at the prospects of him finding enough health to be able to launch a winning clay campaign.
He flew from Palm Springs to the clay and made a pretty good run at Monte Carlo a few weeks later, losing to the eventual MC winner in the semi-finals there. Foghat rock-and-rolled that match 64 62.
But Nadal was doing okay. He found his form weeks later, we guess, in Rome, which we predicted would put him (along with a favorable draw — things we clearly predicted) into favorite form in Paris.
In other words, I’m not buying the Nadal “depression” following Indian Wells. And more to my point, that’s a loss to Federer; some tennis folk count such withdraws as losses. This reference has 24-16, as does this source.
But this isn’t even my point, to get the numbers right, in favor of a particular player.
This, however, does pin-point the biggest problem with Nadal’s legacy. He has done this throughout his career, just as Roger has, unfortunately for him, done quite the same in the opposite direction — make so many deep runs at tournaments regardless of the surface.
The ATP does not count the Indian Wells Nadal “loss” or retirement. They have these two legends at 24-15.
All of this fails to account for the fact that Nadal has failed to reach play in some of these deeper draws, in conditions or on surfaces where he will likely lose.
The ATP WTF or year-end ATP Finals is a prime example. Nadal has never won this tournament; the last two years he’s actually pulled-out of the tournament, in 2017 doing so after he secured his year-end #1 points by reaching the Rolex Paris Masters (Paris-Bercy), where he, you guessed it, withdrew. Not everyone overlooks or forgets these kinds of shenanigans.
Early in Nadal’s career, he’d play huge on the clay and disappear on the grass and North American hard courts, which, as anyone with a brain should understand, affects all manners of Nadal’s H2Hs.
If you dismiss this, you have a dump in your pants.
So, this year’s had quite the vintage Nadal play-schedule built-in. Pulls-out in less favorable conditions, but takes advantage of classier players who don’t have the same desperation and dirt ball chops for the dingy dirt-ball tennis.
We see nothing new here, but have the brain of an elephant, looking for fucked-up poachers or fangirls alike to stomp into the ground.
The grass. . . .
We’ll post later about the Halle tennis we have on the near horizon. The draw is out there and Federer has a tough top-half to negotiate. We’ll discuss later this weekend.
I do want to say that Felix’s play continues to impress. He’s in the Stuttgart final today after getting a walkover against his fellow countryman and aging science fiction character Raonic in the SF.
FAA plays Mateo Berrenttini, which is a delightful run from the Italian. Berrenttini looks more like a clay court specialist, but did well on earlier hard courts this year, winning a Challenger in Arizona and reaching the Sofia SF.
He did in fact win Budapest and continued to compete well on the clay in 2019.
Here he is in the Stuttgart final, on grass! Bravo, Matteo!
Likewise, FAA did well on the season’s earlier clay, making the finals in Rio and Lyon.
He made the SF in Miami, flexing some very legitimate hard court game.
And here he is in Stuttgart, a win away from his first ATP title.
Let’s go, Felix. Can you say versatile and classy?
More on the Halle draw and other grass thoughts. Good to see Thiem withdraw from Halle, by the way, citing fatigue. We need a fresher Domi to strenghten our belief in the Thief. 😀