It’s hard to sympathise with millionaire tennis stars, but they have a point.
IT CAN get really tough when players start talking publicly about pay and conditions, because it’s not really what the fans want to be hearing about.
They want to see us at their tournaments, they want to see everyone play, and they don’t have much sympathy for our personal lives or our families and friends, which is understandable.
We’re lucky. We travel to great cities, we’re well paid and we have one of the best jobs in the world, so we try not to open our mouths about a lot of that stuff. But we have some interesting times ahead because the players are more united than they have been in a while.
For a long time, it was impossible to get anything done, because all the players wanted different things, but that’s starting to change.
By the end of the year, everyone’s exhausted. We’ve been on tour now for 13 years, and we’ve had three-week off-seasons for that whole time.
Mike has a big house, a pool and a volleyball court that he doesn’t get to use – he just gets the bills, so he doesn’t think he’s getting much bang for his buck there.
This year we’re going to have a few extra weeks off, which is a really smart move by the ATP, because with how things have stood for the last 20 years or so, players haven’t really had a chance to work on weaknesses.
You don’t want to change, say, your serve, and go straight into a tournament. You need some time at home to work on things, to hit the weights hard rather than just try and maintain where you’re at.
Playing so much tennis takes a physical toll too. It puts a lot of pressure on the top guys especially. That’s why Rafael Nadal has been so outspoken, because if he’s going to get back up to No. 1 in the world, he just has to keep playing tennis. He can’t afford to miss any events.
That’s where the rankings system comes into it, because if you get injured, your ranking drops straight away.
Sam Querrey got hurt for three months and dropped outside the top 100. If we’ve had injuries, we’ve kind of had to push through them, take three or four anti-inflammatories before a match and keep playing. And that would be pretty standard, because everyone has something. Nobody’s ever 100 per cent, but they could be with a three- or four-month off-season.
In a perfect world, we’d have the US Open, have the tour finals for the top guys, then shut things down. As far as the rankings go, look at golf: their rankings are done over a two-year period, which means Tiger Woods can take a year off, come back and still be No. 1.
We have a player council of 11 players, and every group of players is represented on that. There’s a couple of doubles players, there’s someone who looks out for the top players, and players for, say, the top 25 and the lower-ranked guys as well. Everyone has someone they can talk to. In the past it hasn’t really worked too well.
Everyone’s had their own agendas. When you’re talking about cutting the schedule, the claycourters don’t want to lose any of their events, and the hardcourt guys are the same.
We have mandatory meetings that every player has to go to – you get fined if you don’t turn up – and the guys on the council get together eight or so times a year, whether they meet or have conference calls and go through what they’re all thinking. The meeting on the weekend was apparently pretty fiery.
But it’s cool that we have Rafa, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic on the council together – the big three. They might not be on the exact same page at the moment, but that’s going to happen. They’re uniting the players and making sure we have a voice.
They don’t need to do it – they’re millionaires, they’re great players and they could just focus on their tennis, but they’re trying to make the game better and take it into the future, and we’re becoming a stronger group because of it. We’re less divided than we used to be, and that will hopefully make it easier for things to get done.
We won’t be around when it happens, but we want things to be better for the young guys coming through in the future.
We have friends who’ve had hip replacements at the age of 40, and we don’t want guys to be limping around when they’re 25.
Faz umas três semanas, logo que a edição 113 da Tennis View ficou pronta com Rafael Nadal na capa venho escutando de amigos, colegas jornalistas, fãs de tênis que deveríamos ter colocado o Novak Djokovic na capa em vez do espanhol
Expliquei que o sérvio havia estampado a capa na edição de dezembro/janeiro, com a conquista da Davis e que o Nadal é o atual campeão de Roland Garros e joga pelo hexacampeonato para igualar Bjorn Borg. Por isso, mesmo com Djokovic tendo vencido os últimos torneios, optamos pelo Nadal na capa, sabendo sempre que num Grand Slam tudo é diferente e como bem disse Mats Wilander logo no início da quinzena em Paris, Federer tem 16 títulos de Grand Slam, Nadal tem 9 e Djokovic apenas 2. Isso faz diferença.
Nadal perdeu apenas um jogo em sete participações no Grand Slam francês. Ganhou cinco títulos e apesar de ter começado o torneio um pouco longe do seu ideal de confiança, disputando cinco sets com John Isner na primeira rodada, está na sua sexta final em Paris. Derrotou Andy Murray por 64 75 64 e no domingo desafiará Federer em mais uma decisão de Grand Slam. Será o nono confronto entre eles em finais de Grand Slam e o quarto em Paris, com Nadal vencendo as três.
Nesta sexta, o espanhol completou 25 anos de idade e após a vitória sobre Murray disse que vai comemorar bastante, afinal não é todo dia que se está em uma final de Grand Slam, especialmente depois do jeito que o torneio começou para ele.
“: I was saying each week is different. Each day is different. Each time I’m here to answer your questions, I’m telling you the truth. That is what I feel. Each time I’m in front of you, I’m telling you the truth.
To start with, in the tournament I was not playing that well. I was saying at the time, I have to change the situation, I have to have a better attitude, otherwise I could walk back home is what I said.
But, fortunately, things have changed for me, and I was very present on the crucial points. It was positive for me, and I’m going to celebrate, because reaching the finals of Roland Garros is not something easy.
Well, you know, this is something that people would dream of, reaching the finals. Nobody’s ever certain that they can reach the finals. Today this is a dream come reality to me. I’m really happy to be playing the finals for one of the most important tournaments in the world on clay, so I have all the reasons to be satisfied.
As you know I’ve had to overcome very difficult situations in the past one‑and‑a‑half weeks. I have reached the finals, that’s true, and I’m very happy.
I had to forget about this type of anxiety or the fears I had something like two weeks ago, and now I have gained more confidence. Well, during the first rounds, the first round, the second round, I was not feeling that confident.
I thought I shouldn’t lose any of these matches; otherwise my ranking is going to be impacted. But now I have more confidence. I think I fought for all the important points. I have no fears concerning my ranking any longer.
It’s not going to go down, so to me this is a splendid year. This is what counts. This is what I’ll take away with me, what I remember, a very good year.
I’m really very satisfied. Maybe I have had a few incidents, but apart from this I’m really, really happy. The rest does not really matter. I remember the positive sides.”
Federer parecia tão feliz quanto Nadal por estar na final. Derrotou Djokovic por 76 63 36 76 e tentará o bicampeonato em Paris depois de passar quase desapercebido durante as duas semanas na capital francesa. “Com toda atenção em cima do Djokovic e do Rafa nunca tive um Roland Garros tão tranquilo,” chegou a afirmar o suíço.
Wilander já havia dito em sua coluna no Jornal L’Equipe que Federer está jogando o melhor tênis no saibro da sua vida.
O próprio suíço, em entrevista ao mesmo jornal francês, antes de Roland Garros começar disse que preparou seu jogo no saibro e treinou duro com sua equipe por semanas seguidas. É, ele teve que ir atrás da concorrência e subiu seu nível de jogo para fazer uma das apresentações mais belas da sua história em Paris, como ele mesmo afirmou após a vitória.
Is this the best match you have played in the year 2011?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah. I would think so, yeah. I hope it was, because I thought it was played at a very high level for a very long time.
I can only talk about myself, but I thought I did really well today. It was a tough start, really, where I was able to break. There was break backs, because that’s kind of how we play against each other. It’s so intense and he’s such a good return player that I always know he’s got something in his racquet to really break me, as well.
I really wanted to make it as physical as possible, which I was able to make it happen. I think the end of the first and beginning of the second set was key to, you know, the outcome almost in the fourth set.
So I was really happy the way I played. I thought at the end it was also quite mental, you know, both of us know that whoever is going to win the set, either it’s over or we have to come back tomorrow, which makes it more tricky.
So for this reason obviously I’m somewhat relieved that I don’t have to come back tomorrow, even that would have been no problem. I thought it was a great match from both sides, really.
I said it earlier, I wasn’t here to spoil the party. I mean, just trying to put in a good match and trying to get to the French Open finals, which I’m now obviously happy I’m able to.
But almost feels somewhat like I’ve won the tournament, which is not the case, you know. Silverware is still out there to be won, and I’m looking forward to the match with Rafa, which I guess is my true rival for the last ‑‑ all those years, you know, since he became world No. 1.”
Se serve de consolo para Djokovic, que jogava para alcançar o posto de número um do mundo e quebrar o recorde de vitórias seguidas, Federer tinha o que dizer para ele: . I told him at the net as well. I said I think his record speaks for itself, how great he’s played already this season, and it’s not even over yet. He can still achieve so much more this year.
And, yeah, I thought we played some great tennis. The way the crowd got into it, as well, towards the end of the match, I mean, the way they back me here in Paris is just an amazing feeling. So obviously I know I’m very privileged to live this in my career.
Alguns números da final:
ATP rankings update
Rafael Nadal can retain his world No. 1 ranking if he wins the title here. If Nadal fails to win the title, Novak Djokovic will overtake him as No. 1 when the ATP World Tour Rankings are released on Monday 6 June.
Tracking the rivalry…
Today marks the 19th Federer v Nadal tournament final, moving them into 2nd place for the most meetings in a final in the Open Era. Nadal has a 45-17 win-loss record in finals, Federer 67-29.
Nadal and Federer go head-to-head for the 8th time in a Grand Slam final, extending their record for the most meetings between 2 players in a Grand Slam final.
Grand Slam Final match-ups (all-time)
|Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal||8||Roland Garros 2006-08 and 2011, Wimbledon 2006-08,|
Australian Open 2009
|Bill Tilden v William Johnston||6||US Champs 1919-20, 1922-25|
|Jean Borotra v Rene Lacoste||5||Wimbledon 1924-25, Roland Garros 1925, 1929, US Champs 1926|
|Rod Laver v Roy Emerson||5||Australian Champs 1961-62, Roland Garros 1962, US Champs 1961-62|
|Roy Emerson v Fred Stolle||5||Australian Champs 1964-65, Wimbledon 1964-65, US Champs 1964|
|Ivan Lendl v Mats Wilander||5||Australian Open 1983, Roland Garros 1985, 1987, US Open 1987-88|
|Andre Agassi v Pete Sampras||5||Australian Open 1995, Wimbledon 1999, US Open 1990, 1995, 2002|
Nadal has the most wins in the men’s game this year, having overtaken Novak Djokovic at the top of the leader board after his semifinal victory here. Federer is in 3rd place after ending Djokovic’s 41-match winning streak in 2011.
Most wins in 2011
Rafael Nadal 42-6
Novak Djokovic 41-1
Robin Soderling 32-8
Nicolas Almagro 31-10
David Ferrer 31-10
Nadal going for 6
Nadal is bidding to become just the second man in history to win 6 titles here, after Bjorn Borg who won 6 times between 1974 and 1981. Borg won his 6th title on his 8th appearance at Roland Garros, while Nadal is hoping to win his 6th title on his 7th appearance here.
Roland Garros title leaders
Bjorn Borg 6 (1974-75, 1978-81)
Rafael Nadal 5 (2005-08, 2010)
Henri Cochet 4 (1926, 1928, 1930, 1932)
Head-to-head: Nadal leads 16-8
2004 AMS Miami Hard (O) R32 Nadal 63 63
2005 AMS Miami Hard (O) FR Federer 26 67(4) 76(5) 63 61
2005 Roland Garros Clay (O) SF Nadal 63 46 64 63
2006 Dubai Hard (O) FR Nadal 26 64 64
2006 AMS Monte Carlo Clay(O) FR Nadal 62 67(2) 63 76(5)
2006 AMS Rome Clay (O) FR Nadal 67(0) 76(5) 64 26 76(5)
2006 Roland Garros Clay (O) FR Nadal 16 61 64 76(4)
2006 Wimbledon Grass (O) FR Federer 60 76(5) 67(2) 63
2006 Tennis Masters Cup Hard (I) SF Federer 64 75
2007 AMS Monte Carlo Clay (O) FR Nadal 64 64
2007 AMS Hamburg Clay (O) FR Federer 26 62 60
2007 Roland Garros Clay (O) FR Nadal 63 46 63 64
2007 Wimbledon Grass (O) FR Federer 76(7) 46 76(3) 26 62
2007 Tennis Masters Cup Hard (I) SF Federer 64 61
2008 AMS Monte Carlo Clay (O) FR Nadal 75 75
2008 AMS Hamburg Clay(O) FR Nadal 75 67(3) 63
2008 Roland Garros Clay (O) FR Nadal 61 63 60
2008 Wimbledon Grass (O) FR Nadal 64 64 67(5) 67(8) 97
2009 Australian Open Hard (O) FR Nadal 75 36 76(3) 36 62
2009 Madrid-1000 Clay (O) FR Federer 64 64
2010 Madrid-1000 Clay (O) FR Nadal 64 76(5)
2010 ATP World Tour Finals Hard (I) FR Federer 63 36 61
2011 Miami-1000 Hard (O) SF Nadal 63 62
2011 Madrid-1000 Clay (O) SF Nadal 57 61 63
This is the pair’s first meeting at a Grand Slam since the 2009 Australian Open final. The last time they met at Roland Garros was in 2008 when Nadal was responsible for Federer’s worst ever defeat in terms of games won in the most one-sided Roland Garros final since 1977. Federer also lost a set 60 for the 1st time since 1999. Federer has taken 3 sets off the Spaniard in 4 previous meetings here.
Nadal is one of just 2 active players who have had more than one career meeting with Federer to hold a winning head-to-head, the other is Andy Murray (8-6).
25^ Age 29
6’1”/1.85m Height 6’1”/1.85m
1 ATP Ranking 3
40,052,402 Career Earnings (US$)* 62,497,310
2,656,239 2011 Earnings (US$)* 1,436,951
45 CareerTitles 67
2 2011 Titles 1
130-18 Career Grand Slam Record 219-31
9 Grand Slam titles Best Grand Slam Result 16 Grand Slam titles
44-1 Roland Garros Record 49-11
514-107 Career Record 777-181
226-18 Career Record – Clay 163-49
42-6 2011 Record 34-7
23-2 2011 Record – Clay 12-3
15-3 Career Five-Set Record 18-14
3 Comebacks from 0-2 Down 6
124-80 Career Tiebreak Record 299-152
5-4 2011 Tiebreak Record 13-4
*Earnings as at 23 May 2011
^Nadal turned 25 on 3 June 2011
Fotos de Cynthia Lum
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