Tennis Planet

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Revisting Madrid championship point.

Posted by tennisplanet on May 17, 2010

If you have been playing professional tennis, forget about anything before turning pro, for 12 freaking years AND you have NEVER had such a mishap at championship point specially considering the match was in no way decided either way so disproportionately, to warrant this weak a response, you have to dig deeper to see if this was an isolated incident or part of a developing pattern.

The pattern could be traced to other high profile matches: The AO final and Wimbledon final – both against some guy who was there this time too. If you have watched the final moments of all three matches, you cannot deny that Federer’s shot selection, body language, movement on the court to absolutely ensure he DID engage his forehand etc. all pointed to this: UTTER and STARK PANIC.

That was at the root of the process that eventually selected the shot AND executed it. If that’s a given, you have to dig further to determine if this panic mode gets engaged at EVERY high profile loss or the opponent in question is largely responsible for it to kick it in gear. The other two prominent losses (losses to Safin and Djokovic at the Australian Open) do not carry that strain solidifying the theory that its not as much the moment as is the personnel involved that evokes this response.

The ball was too close to Federer’s feet to attempt an ‘on the rise’ shot further compounding the bad bounce piece of the puzzle. Further, Federer was trying to connect the ball at the top of the bounce – a hugely documented rookie mistake – on clay. If Federer would have faced anyone else today, history says that he may have acted far more judiciously by at least taking a step back and making an easy ‘put away’ shot since the ball was short among other ‘easies’.

What happened instead was unfreakingbelievable: Federer of all the people COMPLETELY missed the ball. You have to work real hard to pull that off – on championshipfreakingpoint no less. This is just another exhibit in a long line of them already lined up to prove Federer’s immensely vulnerable mental state against Nadal in particular and others in general. The panic mode that Nadal evokes from Federer is such a deep setting pattern by now that even a lone win at Roland Garros will find it difficut to completely wash away.

Bottom line: This match could have easily gone the distance if not for Federer’s panic and the more than obvious manifestation of it to show for it.


7 Responses to “Revisting Madrid championship point.”

  1. M said

    TP, given some of the run-ons in this post, imo you’re just rantatiously irritated (I think lots of us might be a little disappointed) that we didn’t get a three-setter.

    I’m sure you remember a bad bounce at RG that Roger went after also, that time with his backhand. There was so much force packed into the stroke that when he missed, I’m just really glad he didn’t hurt himself.
    But that was against Montanes, and, since we know he ended up in the final, we know he won that match.

  2. sperry said


    • M said

      LOL, Sperry. It’s the adverb form of “rantatious”, which UM17 told me was one of her new favorite made-up words after one of TP’s. 🙂

  3. Sol said

    There is just one problem with that theory of yours, TP.
    If you see the point right before that one, at 6-4, Fed goes for an agressive cross-court shot from the baseline which leaves Nadal one meter from the ball. And that’s a championship point on Nadal’s serve. If Fed was panicking, no way would he have 1) tried that shot 2) made that shot (which he did miss a couple of times during the match).
    Bottom line, as others have said, I know you’re frustrated like us, but it was a bad bounce. It happens all the time, and players have been complaining about it alot in Madrid. I also wonder if maybe he hesitated for a split second to go for a drop shot since Nadal was way behind the baseline and that bad bounce threw him off.

    • Jenny said

      It’s true, so many bad ball bounces in other matches too. Sorry, but Madrid isn’t my favourite typical clay court tourney, I preferred it when it was hardcourt. I truly hope the great Manolo Santana doesn’t share Tiriac’s view on blue clay. I wish it could have been in the wonderful Plaza de los Toros, that venue takes some beating, sadly only one court, no roof, and wishful thinking on my part.

  4. Bola said

    Agree with TP, Federer is never sure what shot to hit at crucial times when playing Rafa, he panicks, you can see that blank look in his face, and Rafa’s heavy spin does not help either. The badly missed shot on match point comes from heavy spin, taking the eye of the ball, trying to decide whether to hit to Rafa’s forehand or back hand, and being worried that he will have to volley (Rafa gets him most of the time at the net). The millisecond of uncertainty created by Rafa across the net does him in often over the years.

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