>After talking all week about how an incomplete game can win on clay, and how much easier it is to win on clay, world number 1 Roger Federer, who only won Roland Garros last year for the first time, has been defeated on clay by Rafael Nadal again in Madrid. The win takes Nadal to 14-7 in the head to head against Federer, 17 of those matches have been finals. Since their very first match against each other in 2004, they have either played semi’s or finals against each other – a truly remarkable record. “The most important thing is winning at home; winning in Madrid is a dream. After that, I think about the ranking. Against this opponent, it’s always going to be difficult.”
Federer, however, holds out hope that he will defend his title at Roland Garros, suggesting that the French Open is the only tournament that actually matters (I’m sure the Masters tournament directors are delighted). “The clay court season will not be judged here but in Paris. We will see what happens in three weeks. I feel I’m ready for Paris.If we win all the tournaments like Rafa now and then go out in the first round of the French, everything will be questioned… I felt a major improvement in my game compared to last week when I came here from Estoril. It’s been a wonderful event for me. I’m sorry I couldn’t defend the title. Rafa’s had an incredible clay season, he was supreme today.”
I don’t know what you think, but it sounds a little bit like Rog has a case of sour grapes to me. He also quipped about not having had to play a left hander for a while, whereas Rafa plays right handers regularly.
I like Nadal’s come back in regards to the French Open being the decider for the clay court season. “Well, that’s a respectable opinion that I don’t share and not because I have won the three leading up to it, which some might think, but because I think it is unfair to think the whole clay season is decided by one tournament.”
Possibly a little unfair to judge the clay court season in such a way after bombing out in Rome, Roger.
“I’m not too disappointed. I’m number one in the world, defending champion at Roland Garros.”