Once again, Federer's mental weakness is showing up at the most critical points of the match. Failed to convert on his serve up 4-2 in the first set. Failing to make a decent percentage of first serves, thus putting immense pressure on himself to hold. This pressure then carries over into the other aspects of his game — shanked forehands, poor placements, blown volleys — all putting more and more pressure on himself. Just when he rights his own ship, Nadal then unleashes a brutal blow, again rocking Federer's mental boat. Fascinating, and the parallels to markets and trading are even more fascinating.





Speak your mind

4 Comments so far

  1. Henrik on February 3, 2009 5:24 am

    I thought the most interesting, and impressive part of the match was the third set.

    In the third set, Federer sets himself up for a triple break point, wastes the opportunity and thus signals to Nadal that he is fragile mentally. Nadal has the hardest head in sports - and is inspired by his weakness to push through his physical pain and take the set…

    I am a federer fan at heart (the better and more complete tennis player in my opinion), but this was truly a mighty performance by Nadal who might just be the greater champion because of his incredible mental fortitude.

  2. James Tar on February 3, 2009 10:26 am

    This is exactly correct. Federer has two options at this point as he enters the final trimester of his career: 1. Pick up 2-3 more Slams in his current mental form while Nadal probably wins 6-7 more, thus furiously catching up to Federer’s mark. 2. Use these last few big defeats to his advantage. He is now the clear cut underdog. He has nothing to lose. The pressure will now clearly be on Nadal’s shoulders. The problem in the last three of their matches was that Federer was overwhelmed with the fear of losing. He wilted under the heat. Mental tightness quickly translates into physical tightness, thus hampering the body’s ability to relax and play loosely for peak performance. This unfortunate disease destroyed Federer’s ability to serve well. The rest of his game gradually deteriorated thereafter. Rocky 3 is a film Federer must watch. It has a lifetime of mental lessons. What an opportunity Federer now has. Until Nadal, no player on the current tour (or ever) had the perfect combination of physical and mental talent to get within a mile of Federer’s head. Federer remains the most gifted physical talent of all time. If he can get over this huge mental challenge now in front of him, he will unquestionably be the greatest of all time. I suspect this happens in Paris and London this year.

  3. manuel bravochico on February 4, 2009 11:24 pm

    Nadal's edge is his intensity and brute strength. It seems he plays every point as though it was match point.
    I agree Federer so far, is more complete player, but let's not forget that Nadal is 22 and Federer is 27.

    ps. Nadal's no loss ever at Roland Garros is also astonishing.

  4. Murali on February 6, 2009 7:17 am

    Unless someone knocks out Nadal in the early rounds, Federer has little chance in Paris. Nadal's game is built for clay. He will expose Federer's backhand again. Coming back to the final, Federer served atrociously and, yes, he can't be the greatest of all time whilst having a losing recod against Nadal. He has to beat Nadal in a Grandslam final again, and it might happen in London.


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