Q: Could Federer have done anything different strategy-wise to give himself a better chance at beating Nadal?
A: I don’t believe he could have. Maybe, of course, hit that last forehand over the net. Clearly Federer was uncomfortable many times in the match and his staying back did not help him with his goal of trying to win a record sixth consecutive Wimbledon title.
Federer might have found it beneficial to attack more on Nadal’s serve but Federer tried everything he could and it just wasn’t enough.
Q: Has Federer given us his best tennis and should we not expect him to be able to give more than he has in trying to topple Nadal at this year’s French Open and also at Wimbledon?
A: In my estimation, yes, we’ve probably seen the best of Federer. He’s going to be 27 in August and he’s going to continue to be a great player for sometime but he is declining a bit at this stage in his career.
I could be wrong about that but he might be past his prime. And one issue factoring into the question of whether Federer is in even a slight decline is we don’t know the impact on his season of his bout with mononucleosis. There could be some lingering effects but in the Wimbledon final he did play five sets, not lacking stamina and competing in each set quite impressively.
Q: What are Nadal’s chances of winning the U.S. Open later this summer and given the issues with his knees how much should he play on hard courts prior to the year’s final major?
A: It’s going to be interesting to see how Nadal approaches the U.S. Open, where his best-ever result was making the quarterfinals in 2006. I don’t believe the Spaniard comes to the U.S. Open as the favorite. In my mind that distinction still belongs to Federer, who has won the last four titles at the New York major and is the best hard court player. This year’s Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic must also be in the debate over who wins this year’s Big Apple summer-swelter – which is certainly another unique test in the Grand Slam world of tennis.
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There is a concern over how long Nadal’s body can hold up in a given season considering how he punishes it with his all-out style of play. So maybe the less hard-court preparation the better for him. Federer is a guy who just seems to float around a court but Nadal is doing real hard labor on a court every time plays a match.
Q: Does Nadal have to win hard court majors to be considered a truly great player and can he do what Rod Laver did in winning all four majors?
A: Nadal is already an all-time great and he is developing into a player whose ultimate greatness may still be ahead of him. If he wins hard-court majors that would just enhance his already superb accomplishments. And I believe that he can win titles at the U.S. Open and at the Australian Open and place himself in Laver’s company. When it comes to Nadal, it’s not a stretch when anyone predicts his best is yet to come.
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