Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nadal - Federer

I caught the Australian Open 2009 final between Nadal and Federer on tv last night. What a game! This is probably the best rivalry in all of sports at this current juncture. Although I knew the result, I was sitting with baited breath watching Nadal and Federer hit one incredible shot after another. It is unbelievable how good both of these players are. Granted Fernando Verdasco played an amazing semi-final but it is clear that Federer and Nadal are above and beyond rest of the competition in world tennis. I really wanted Federer to win but more than that, I wanted to see an amazing game of tennis and it exceeded my expectations.

Watching Nadal in the first round was enough for me to annoint him the champion because he looked invincible, even for Federer. I hope Federer improves certain facets of his game to replace Nadal again at the top of the rankings. It is clear that Federer can no longer just rely on his skill level and elegance to get the better of Nadal. He needs to improve his serve (especially the second) because he gets to deuce on his service game way too often for a top player. I think a marginal improvement (one more point in his favor per game on serve) would do wonders for his overall record.

I think it is time Federer gets a coach as well. He can beat anybody (other than Nadal) by relying on his in game adjustments and ground game. To beat Nadal though, he will have to formulate a new strategy because Nadal's quickness and accuracy negates Federer's biggest strengths quite effectively.

Federer can improve his conditioning as well. It was apparent to anyone who watched the game that Fedex ran out of steam in the pivotal fifth set though Nadal should have been the exhausted one considering he played a thrilling 5 setter with Verdasco just 24 hours earlier. When you are competing against Nadal, who is probably the fittest tennis player ever, you need to be in great shape yourself to have any chance. Federer just wasnt.

Federer is certainly one of the greatest players to ever step on a tennis court and I want to see him return to the #1 ranking and provide more of a challenge to Nadal.