fed's now had trilogies of wim finals against 2 players:
04, 05, 09 - fed v roddick (3-0)
06, 07, 08 - fed v rafa (2-1)
anyone care to list their favourite for any reason(s), e.g. quality,
drama etc? my memories:
2004: the bathtub beats the kitchen sink
memorable for andy just bludgeoning the hell out of the ball for the
first half, and all with eyes bulging and a goatee that made him look
like one of those evil truckers from those road horror movies... after
the rain, fed remembers he needs to volley and earns a pivotal win,
and confidence boost - what would have happened had he lost? likely he
would have won just (or nearly) as much, but in a slower time, but i'm
not 100% convinced...
2005: overrated, in my opinion
fed played very well, yes, but rod really wasn't that great, esp up at
net. can't compare with 84 or 99 quality of wim finals, nowhere near:
this was the worst rod of all his 3 finals.
2006: not yet, rafa, but not bad
nadal still finding his grass feet, but comes back from a 0-6 1st set
- fighting hard, as ever. should've won the 2nd set, but even though
he took the 3rd breaker, fed was still a class above on grass, as the
4th set showed.
2007: still the champ on grass, but what's with this gold jacket?
saw this in a room without windows (more like prison cell) in
hongkong's infamous chungking mansions on a backpacking tour of the
far east... nadal was no longer just the apprentice - he seemed the
better player for much of the match, but fed's serve and play was so
clutch in the tiebreakers and that 5th set, especially after nadal had
won the 4th 6-2 and fed had seemingly cracked a little ("turn the
hawkeye off! sh*t, it's killing me, man!). as the previous year, 2
breaks of rafa's serve in the last set.
2008: welcome back to paris, monsieur nadal
went on and on and on and on, when will it end? the grass looks slower
than clay and rafa is getting *everything* back... fed playing better
than last year (forehand was amazing), but neither the surface nor his
opponent cut him any slack with his attacking play: again, the
seemingly better player lost...
i can accept the arguments that it may be the "greatest ever" (overall
quality, opponents #1&2, their story at wimbledon etc), but a few
things niggle. first, the slow grass - this match could have been
played anywhere, it was not a grasscourt match on the biggest stage of
all. second, rafa was really taking the p*ss by serving what seemed
like 98% of his serves (for at least the 1st 2 sets, or so it seemed)
to fed's bh, and fed being unable to do anything against them. not
rafa's fault, and perfectly legitimate - also better than a coaching
manual for showing how to exploit a weakness, but it did grate that
this simple ploy could be so effectice for so long, and fed couldn't
break free of his shackles to just wallop a bh return...
best/most outrageous bit: those 2 points in the 4th set breaker -
nadal's pass on the run and then fed's bh pass at mp down - no way!!
2009: sampras & ivanisevic, updated and upgraded for the 00s
finally, looks a bit more like a grasscourt match ... fed serving 50
aces!! 50!! thanks for coming, pete!! er, what was fed saying about
karlovic again? ...
roddick outrallying fed from the back, some smart play, and astute
judging of when to come into net... and where did that bh, esp on the
run, come from? ... smarter and faster than 04, and as powerful when
required, but fed flicks the switch in the 2nd set breaker with an
outrageous half-volley and rod fluffs his volley a few points
the american doesn't give up, does a job on fed in set 4 after losing
another breaker and a 5-set final for the 3rd year running... 5-5,
6-6, 7-7, 8-8, 9-9... wtf??!! all adrenalin, serves in overdrive, this
5th set has even more drama and tension than last year but...
yet again, for the third year running, i think the seemingly better
player loses, but fed deserves credit for*** in there and
ruthlesssly exploiting his chance. his physical fitness and champion
mentality are supreme...
for andy, one lost serve loses him the match - not easy to take...
all the best,