Sunday, February 01, 2009

Slideshow: Superman Wins Melbourne

View slideshow on full screen by clicking the icon on the bottom right of the screen at the end of the photo strip.

Rafael Nadal has denied Roger Federer (and all the pundits) history. But he made a bit of his own.

Rafa is the first Spaniard to win the Australian Open.

22-years-old and owns 6 major titles at three of the four Slams.

Raja wept.

There's really nothing more to say.


b said...

and they call serena a bad loser.... has she ever broken down at the trophy presentation?

It really took away from Rafa's huge moment

Craig Hickman said...

We all know how I feel about the man, but I don't mind it at all that he broke down.

Pheasant Plucker said...

I thought it was sweet. The fact that the crowd were so for him, even after he lost, got to him. Fair enough, I say. A lotta love in that room for him.

sG said...

My god. My god. Rafa. Rafa!!!!
I knew you had it in you but even I thought if it went to 5 you'd lose. Wow, Roger. Wow. He's in your head. He's in your head deep.

I've never been a Fed fan but I was embarrassed (in a sympathetic way) for him as he had a full-fledged teary breakdown. I hate that they make the losers of big matches speak or do press immediately after such a big loss. It's cruel, IMO. It did take a bit out of my joy in Rafa's victory but I don't blame Fed for it. This loss clearly hurt.

Congrats, Rafa!!!! First Spaniard to win AO!!! Way to show them you can win anywhere, under any circumstances.

Beth said...

That was one of the most moving post-match ceremonies i've ever seen. Roger so upset....Nadal comforting him and showing understanding for what he was feeling. So much respect between them. I do feel bad for Roger, he puts up such a stoic front during matches. He held it all in throughout the match and finally was able to let it all out after the match. You could see that Nadal truly felt bad for him and a little awkward when he (Nadal) was speaking at the mic. And Federer crying when they stood side by side for the trophy photographs - it was a bit heartbreaking. I really thought the hug Nadal gave Federer on his own way to the podium was an incredibly touching gesture of just basic human compassion.

cate said...

Is it just me or does Roger break down if Rod Laver's around?

Either way, another great final. The better player won. Congrats Rafa!

Craig Hickman said...

Cate, you called it. It's Rod Laver that brings out the emotion.

He cried like a baby when he won Melbourne one year.

Beth said...

Craig, it was great to be able to share this with you and everyone else. Thanks for 'being there'. :-)

Tennisfan said...

Congrat to all Rafa fans from this blog.

I don't know how Roger would ever recover from Rafa complex.

b said...

Craig, you are most generous..... i still feel he could have held off a bit and cried before or after.... it's like reality didn't hit him until that moment....

were all the past legends there b/c they were going to celebrate fed tying sampras?

unlike most, I expected most of the match to be like the 5th set - but Rafa played horribly (for him) and I actually think Fed finally improved his response to Rafa hitting to his backhand

to me it seemed as if Rafa was missing uncharacteristic shots, not running, as if nursing an injury - perhaps just stiff from the verdasco match?

anyway now that i see how fed reacted losing in 5, it's just as well it was not a 3-set beatdown - I think that would have been too much for him

Beth said...

I still want to know how I can get one of those stuffed wombats!

cate said...

I'm with Beth on the wombats. They're just too cute.

Craig, his loss at Wimbledon was bigger than this one but he kept it together -- until that awkward manhug with JMac haha. Yeah, I think it's Laver.

He broke down in 2006, right?

Craig Hickman said...

Yes, cate. 2006 it was.

Beth said...

If anyone knows of a way to get one of those stuffed wombats, let us know! :-)

b said...

I sound like a broken record I'm sure but I'm quite adamant about this, blatant double standards really bother me:

ROGER FEDERER: Tough like many other guys. You know, in a fifth set,
anything can happen. That's the problem. Not usually the better player
always wins. Just a matter of momentum sometimes.

You know, maybe I should have never been there, you know, in the first
place. But, I mean, I think he played well. You know, I definitely
played a terrible fifth set, you know. I kind of handed it over to

There's plenty more for anyone who cares to read....

Craig Hickman said...

b, Raja is as terrible a loser as Serena is.

In the match I saw, Rafa should've won in straight sets.

But Rafa seems to have too much pity on Raja to take him out in straight sets in any final off of clay.

Raja is grasping at straws with those comments.

Yes, the powers that be had all the legends lined up to crown Raja with his history.

Rafa said, "Not so fast, people. Not so fast."

Serves them right.

sgh07 said...

Hi b, I completely agree with you. where can I get the rest?

Beth said...

It's in the Interviews section on the Australian Open website....

b said...

Craig, I actually think he's much much worse than Serena, especially w- all the backhand snipes/personal attacks, but I am more understanding of how bad roger feels (compared to Serena) as he has been inflated by the powers that be (i.e. imagine if a less talented Serena had been given all the "help" and encouragement that Sharapova/Roger have received) it's near impossible to maintain any kind of humility.... or any realistic view of one's abilities

Craig, seriously, you think Rafa played like that on purpose?, i.e. that he made a point not to repeat the FO final? That did not occur to me.... I thought something was wrong with him b/c Rafa was not playing his game.....

What makes you think he did that? I'm very curious....

Craig Hickman said...

I don't know if I'm right, it just seems that way.

Rafa is like Raja's grandmother. Always comforting him and disallowing himself massive celebration when he beats him.

Rafa understands that Raja needs to be the center of attention so he allows it.

I'd love to be a fly on the wall when he talks to his family about these victories and Raja's behavior.

Remember, Raja said after Wimbledon that the crowd felt sorrier for him than they felt happy for Rafa. He's now creating that situation when he loses.

He's a narcissist. I accept that about him now and it doesn't disgust me as much as it used to. That's why his breakdown doesn't bother me.

I saw it coming a mile away.

In a lot of ways, he's a tragic figure.

dapxin said...

to all of you bringing Serena's attitude into this, i say to you its just boring.

What do you expect him to say ? Kiss the feet Rafa was walking and flow with good words ?

I am sorry, I may not know the full dynamics of tennis, but in football, where I am competent, there is no such thing as gracious winner.

You either first, or you are nothing.

Either Serena or Roger or anyone else, nothing is wrong with repping your own qualities and the day it wasnt good enuff to win your game.

All this crap about Serena is just so annoying....

dapxin said...

hold on craig,

"In a lot of ways, he's a tragic figure."

who ?

Helen W said...

Craig, I agree with you -- Roger is a tragic figure in the classical sense -- a man defeated by his own character flaws.

I could never hold it against someone that they cried, in public or private.

So all the former greats were on hand to watch him win the famour 14th slam? I wonder if they will gather anew at Roland Garros ? Heh.

Tennisfan said...

I thought Rafa fans would be celebrating his hugh achievement. In stead.....It is still about Roger and all his flaws. A proud Roger fan I am....I guess, He IS the center of attention. Whatever works, Roger, Cry again if you have to.

b said...

Craig - many thanks for explaining.... your theory makes plenty of sense and Rafa is secure enough in himself to do that....

I definitely have noticed that Toni and Nadal seem to have some sort of pact that they constantly support and praise Roger..... and thought it might be a mind tactic as he never (unlike other atp players) states that he can't beat Roger in match.... all the while affirming that Roger is the greatest. I just never thought it extended to on-court..... I think also by not taking the offensive against Roger perhaps Rog doesn't work as hard to see what he needs to change to beat Nadal.

Rafa has always reminded me a bit of the Williams b/c of the unconventional upbringing and style of play. Also in being "unwelcome" in the tennis establishment. Difference being Rafa is completely loved in his own country. Rafa seems to me to be Serena's mindset, fighting spirt and talent w- Venus' personality.... Anyone agree or disagree?

Mad Professah said...

The match was lost by Federer in the 1st set. Once he lost that from being up 4-2, DOUBLE FAULTING on break point, I knew Rafa wbould win the match.

{I called it yesterday)

I went to sleep after Raja was down a set and a break. I'm curious to see the 3rd set tiebreak
because that would have been Raja's last chance to win but I saw early the way Raja was servin, if Rafa kept it close, he was goig to win those sets.

Good for Raja to get it to five but I wouldn't be surprised that was Rafa's doing.

Congratulations to Rafa! 6 majors, 5 of them over Raja is quite incredible. We seriously have to be talking about whether Rafa will also be breaking Laver's record, because unless he gets injred he will be in double digits by the time he's 25, in 2011.

Of course Raja cried--how could he not? It's cruel to suggest that he shouldn't.

anonymous said...

I felt so bad seeing Federer cry he really wanted to win badly...but he really shouldn't get upset so much over this loss...we know of his capabilities and it's not as if we've to choose between Nadal and him...each is a great player in his own respect and both are capable of defeating each other...who won head to head more times doesn't matter...till today, I slightly hated Nadal for the more muscular powerful style of play compared to Federer's elegant gameplay, but today I have great respect for him after what he said and did after seeing Federer cry.

To all those saying Federer shouldn't have cried (even I felt it for a moment when he said "God, it's killing me"), it's not that big deal just shows how honest he is and doesn't hide his emotions from the public....doesn't mean he won't get over it and that deep somewhere he hates Nadal and doesn't sportingly accept his victory. The only thing I'm worried about that's became apparent today in the fifth set and last year at the Wimbledon final is that something is holding Fed back when playing against Nadal that made him play like crap when it was 2-1 today in the fifth set. He should get over that and victory can be his.

chaos-theory08 said...

To call Roger off for crying is just unfair. He's human too. (Plus, Laver is there haha.)

I understand that most people here are Rafa fans (I'm on both sides of the river, so whatever harhar) and to some extent, do not like Roger. But hey, give the guy some credit. (But hey, people'll add insult to injury anyway.)

These two made history.

dylan said...


I've been reading your blog for quite awhile now, and as a confirmed Federer idoloter, never felt like commenting. But this morning is emotional.

There seems to me to be something in Roger that makes you hope for something perfect. Maybe this is childish, maybe Roger is a little big childish still. Maybe it is just that for a couple years, he did seem perfect, like the game had been solved. This was inspirational.

Regardless, Nadal is the truth, and there is no denying it.

And yet, it is hard not to feel bad for Roger. What a tragic development for his expectations, and mine.

Instead of perfection, or achievement, I'm now humbled by Nadal's superhuman generosity and real human warmth. It's easy to see larger the implications that these two men represent.

But really. Roger Federer: Tragic figure. Who would have known? A perfect insight, thanks.

Beth said...

dylan.....what a wonderful comment. :-)

oddman said...

It's taken me 3 hours to even begin to digest this fabulous win.

I'm still not able to fully articulate much.

I just wanted to post a quote from someone at VB - I'll go back and get the name in a sec -

'Superman wears Rafael Nadal pyjamas.'

heh heh. Darn tootin'.

oddman said...

Credit jharper at VB for that gem.

parseval said...

The theory about Rafa winning in three sets and giving it up to make Roger feel better is on the thresholds of inanity.

I hope that it was a joke and you aren't really suggesting that?

Although Roger played amazingly well today in parts, and outplayed Nadal in many points, his first serve was useless, and Nadal was clearly the better player over five sets with his consistency.

Also, if you're one set away from the biggest record in Tennis, and your audience consists of some of your biggest idols, and you lose it in the final set when you feel you should have won, I can understand if his emotions overwhelm him. Roger isn't a machine, he's human. Cut him some slack.

vince said...

Wow, the match was intense. Nadal would not give up, the amount of break points he saved was insane. Just when you thought Nadal was out, he dug deeper.

An extra day’s rest and a cakewalk in the semi and Federer still couldn’t find a way past the raging bull. Herculean mammoth effort by the Spaniard.

If Federer wants the 14th he has to earn it.

If Tennis Australia wants Federer to win the Aussie Open they could do him a favour by not lining up all the legends, not talking about the 14th slam, not fawning over him as in the trophy presentation saying Federer is “Australia’s favourite player” ... the hype and weight of expectations is getting inside Federer’s head and the Tennis Australia and whoever else is just perpetuating it.

With each subsequent Nadal beatdown, Federer is starting to look more and more like a fairweather champion.

Craig Hickman said...

Say it again, vince. Say it again.

Roy said...

The legends were there for Fed's crowning but it was not meant to be. I remember last year Laver was there to present the trophy to Fed also but Djok took it instead.

As for his bawling,this is not a once in a lifetime superbowl event. It's #14. Poor thing.

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