Rafael Nadal said “Roger Federer is not doing enough to challenge the authorities about the problems faced by players at the top of tennis. He finishes his career as fresh as a daisy because he is physically privileged, but neither Murray nor [Novak] Djokovic and I are fresh as a daisy."
One simple Question which comes to my mind is that why did Nadal chose to voice his opinion just before the start of the Australian Open? I respect his opinion but to criticize Federer just a day before Australian Open raises an eye over Nadal’s intention. This has been the first time Federer/Nadal are in the same draw since FO 2005.
What I can see in his statements is the negative attitude which has crept in his game since last year. Having faced 6 defeats in a row in the finals from Djokovic has clearly left a negative impression on the mind of the once known as the most down to earth person in tennis. Few questions that come to mind after hearing Nadal’s remarks:
1) Is this a mental strategy used by him to put pressure on Federer before the prospective SF clash?
Many teams especially Australian Cricket Team is known to use such methods before the start of any series to put pressure on the opponents.
Federer defeated him convincingly in the ATP World Tour Finals ~1.5 months back. So is the lack of confidence in his own game made him resort to such strategy?
2) Nobody has asked or forced Nadal to play with such a hectic schedule.He can obviously take rest like Djokovic/Federer did in 2011 to rest his body and take care of his niggles.Serena Williams is another player which comes to mind who plays on her own terms. So why can’t Nadal?
3) As per Nadal: “To finish your career with pain in all areas of your body is not positive.”It’s a well known fact that Djokovic/Nadal’s game requires lot of power as a result their body is more prone to injuries. Federer’s game on the other hand is well balanced and he focuses a lot on his training & scheduling. Recently Federer said that "Mirka's career-ending injury had shaped his approach to protecting himself with the help of his longtime fitness trainer, Pierre Paganini..."for instance, early on, when I became no 1, I and we decided that "less is more "; we have to take care of the body, because Mirka's body went first because she maybe overpracticed." Even Federer had his own share of injuries but he was careful. So can be Nadal, criticizing someone like this is never a good idea.
The more I think of it, only one question comes to my mind is that why raise the injury issue at such a critical point. “When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical.”
Has Nadal become more downbeat or pessimistic now?
A question which can only be answered by Nadal himself. No matter how much we debate on this issue, one thing is for sure, that it has spiced up the already exciting prospect of SF clash between Federer/Nadal. An apt tweet from Steve Tignor after this controversy: “Unconfirmed rumor: Aussie Open officials holding emergency meeting to somehow guarantee that Federer and Nadal reach semifinals”. I think not only the officials, but everyone will now be hoping for this SF :)!
Who do you think will win this mouthwatering clash if it happens in 12 days time?
The Big Four (Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, Murray) & Del Potro- Statistical Precursor to Australian Open 2012: Part 2
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