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Nadal v. Federer: The Crying Game


Roger Federer had an unusually emotional reaction to his loss to Rafael Nadal after a grueling five set match in the final of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Saturday. Federer was speechless and could not hold back the tears after failing to match Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slams.

Said Federer: "In the first moment you're disappointed, you're shocked, you're sad, then all of a sudden it overwhelms you. The problem is you can't go in the locker room and just take it easy and take a cold shower. You're stuck out there. It's the worst feeling. ... It's rough."

Said a gracious Nadal: "Roger, sorry for today. I really know how you feel right now. Remember, you're a great champion, you're one of the best in history. You're going to improve on the 14 of Sampras."

Watch the moment, AFTER THE JUMP....

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  1. Oh dear god, he's swiss, not russian!

    Posted by: tobal | Feb 2, 2009 8:08:01 AM

  2. Roger is Swiss not Russian:)

    Posted by: meb | Feb 2, 2009 8:13:20 AM

  3. Isn't Federer Swiss?

    Posted by: JH | Feb 2, 2009 8:14:56 AM

  4. I'm glad that Roger cried! In a TV world of prepared questions and answers on late night talk shows (that are supposed to look spontaneous), and boring, prepackaged sound bites from politicians, it's nice to see something real for a change. He felt emotions and it showed. A man in tears. And a super-successful athlete at that. Wait until he get to 14 and and 15 wins, then we'll see what happens!

    Posted by: Robert | Feb 2, 2009 8:27:24 AM

  5. I absolutely LOVE HIM!!! GREATEST ATHLETE EVER!!!!

    Posted by: fab | Feb 2, 2009 9:56:46 AM

  6. I got up at 2:30 am to watch this & disappointed when he lost. I think he's feeling the pressure of breaking Sampras' record of 14 Slams. I could feel it when he was playing. He had so many chances to win but he was either too tight or Nadal would just not give it to him. I think this humanizes him. He's always been known for keeping it together on the court & has been called robotic many times. Nadal is really the first player to really challenge him after dominating for the sport for 5 years. It can't be easy being beaten by somebody younger & fresher than you. It happens in every sport & he's going to have to figure it out. I'm still confident he'll beat Sampras' 14 slams. It'll just take longer because of Nadal & other younger players, particulary Murray & Djokovic.

    Posted by: scar2 | Feb 2, 2009 10:03:14 AM

  7. Saw the (amazing) match. Watched the heart-wrenching trophy ceremony, too. As a long-time tennis fan, these two champions are an absolute BLESSING to the game -- they are fantastic competitors who absolutely love the game. They are both thrilling to watch on the court and their Grand Slam finals never disappoint. I worry that Roger has become too "Swiss" about his temperament and it took something like this for him to fall apart emotionally (yikes--in front of 20,000 at Melbourne Park). He has brought out the best in Rafa's game over the past few years, but now he cannot seem to get to Rafa's level of play. Hire a coach, perhaps? A sport psychologist? I heard Martina's name being tossed around in the mix of being a potential new coach. How GREAT would that be?? We love you Rafa AND Roger! Until the next match...

    Posted by: michael | Feb 2, 2009 10:56:46 AM

  8. He should have saved the tears and served better. These beat downs are due to the fact that Nadal is in his head, not that nadal is that great a player since Roger has everything in his game, excpet the mental edge. And, until he gets rid of all those in his entourage that won't tell him that, Sampras's record will remain as long as he chokes up when he sees nadal across the net and with fear and tars in his eyes.

    The womens final was far better than this long match where you knew the ending from the jump.

    Posted by: JP | Feb 2, 2009 11:18:56 AM

  9. I agree that Roger really needed to serve better. Serving at basically 50% against Rafa won't do it. I also agree that Rafa is in his head. Roger was up against Nadal in sets several times last year-- including on Rafa's beloved clay. Roger choked.

    Roger hit his topspin backhand better than I've seen him hit it since he beat Rafa in Hamburg in 2007 and he still barely lost. His tactics against Rafa were the best I've seen in a long time.

    Roger has to believe that he can win and go for his shots in clutch moments. He wasn't doing that in the match. And there are so many things he can do: get a coach, get a racquet with a little bit bigger head for a greater margin or error, perhaps hit the backhand with a more closed grip to get more topspin, etc.

    The test of a champion is how one deals with adversity. If Roger can solve the Rafa problem, he can truly be considered the greatest of all time. If not, then he's just great with an asterisk.

    Posted by: Brandon | Feb 2, 2009 11:47:21 AM

  10. Spot on Brandon, but, if Roger can't serve out a set without double faulting like he did in the thrid, the tears are going to continue to flow, and, I for one don't see him beating nadal in a major again, just weeping.

    My only wish is that some of the other guys will step up to the plate, this all nadal show just does not do it for me on any level in men's tennis. But, the head games have already afflicted the rest of them except maybe Murray and if sexy boy del Potro can get his head togather, he might since his game is awesome.

    Posted by: JP | Feb 2, 2009 12:21:34 PM

  11. Michael: It'll be awesome if Fed hires Martina as a coach. I'm old enough to remember Martina crying in the press conference after Steffi Graf beat her handily for the first time . It's almost the same situation here. Although Martina had a great rivalry with Chris Evert, it was really Graf who ended her domination. However, Martina still stuck around for a few more years to challenge Graf. I hope Fed can do the same to Nadal, with or without Martina.

    Posted by: scar2 | Feb 2, 2009 1:00:36 PM

  12. So, I'm guessing it was not 14 in-a-row then?

    Posted by: anon | Feb 2, 2009 1:52:11 PM

  13. Dammit. Now Federer's all human and crap and I gotta blow him.


    The things I do for you people...

    Posted by: Jerry | Feb 2, 2009 7:59:47 PM

  14. JP:

    Really? It was clear after Serena went up 2-0 in the first that Safina was clearly out of her element. That made the ladies' match better how?

    Posted by: Jerry | Feb 2, 2009 8:22:01 PM

  15. *** I'm old enough to remember Martina crying in the press conference after Steffi Graf beat her handily for the first time ***

    I think there was also the trophy ceremony at the 1981(?) US Open final loss to Tracy Austin.

    Posted by: MAJeff | Feb 2, 2009 10:07:07 PM

  16. MAJEFF: Yes, I do remember Martina crying after she lost to Austin. However, that was actually tears of joy cuz she got a big ovation from the audience. It was a turning moment for her as it was the first time Americans showed their love for her after she immigrated from Chechoslovakia(?).

    Posted by: scar2 | Feb 2, 2009 11:08:47 PM

  17. Federer's not used to loosing-he's all lovely and gracious as he wins but come on -to blubber about not getting that next SLAM to tie Pete or whatever it was about I don't know? I felt bad for him but it was pathetic. I'm sorry ladies or fellas? but that award ceremony should not have been about his loss, but rather, Nadal's Win. Imagine that spectacle in any other sport and/or would we have been so understanding if a women player fell apart like that. I don't think so. Luckily for him the superbowl and the bong photo took all the attention/heat off him in the press that Sunday after the tournament. Also, all those crying vids were removed from you tube-i don't know but i think Roger's lawyer must have made a few phone calls to spare the embarassment. Even Mirka looked stunned and unemotional(n.b.:Dick E. interestingly refered to her in the match as Roger's constant companion!-rather than girlfriend!) AND Nadal was such the REAL man embracing FED and being so cool about the whole thing and i do think it diminished his moment and sucked the life out of his celebration-it was all about #1-oh I mean #2, and this was a great achievement for Raf- he's winning against the best player of all time supposedly. Fed didn't have the same level of competition (as Rafa has with Fed) earlier in his career-as Pete had with Andre. Fed's a very great and beautiful player but clearly he's got to get a GRIP in more ways than one if he wants to surpass Pete. (And we'll find out if he's coachable if this Cahill thing happens)

    Posted by: brad | Feb 20, 2009 1:45:05 PM

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