Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Federer v Nadal as it happened

French Open Final result:

R NADAL (Spa) bt R FEDERER (Swi)

6-3 4-6 6-3 6-4


By Piers Newbery

Fourth set

“He’s so difficult to beat on this surface, he’s just brutal and bludgeons you.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Federer 4-6 Nadal
No nerves, no doubt, no messing…. Nadal captures his third Roland Garros title with a superb game, bullying Federer on serve to get to 40-0 before the Swiss obliges by putting a forehand long. Nadal falls to the court and then gives it some Pat Cash by clambering through the stands to find his family. An incredible display from the 21-year-old and he’s now 21-0 at Roland Garros. Tasty.

Federer 4-5 Nadal
Some great stuff from both players and it would be good to see another set of this. Federer gets to game point with a stunning forehand before Nadal levels with one of his own. Federer holds with a big serve and Nadal must finish the job himself.

Federer 3-5 Nadal
Well, the second point sees an unusual exchange of volleys at the net and the crowd enjoys it but Federer really should put his chance away. He doesn’t and Nadal comes through to 15.

Federer 3-4 Nadal
It can hardly be called a comeback but Federer withstands serious pressure, taking the game with a magnificent cross-court backhand winner. It’s time for a change of shirt (Federer, not me), hopefully not for the presentation ceremony.

Federer 2-4 Nadal
Nadal holds serve to love, not the merest hint of a crack in his armour. If anything, he’s getting stronger.

Federer 2-3 Nadal
Well done Rog – he comes through what could have been a tricky game in style but it seems a long way back now. A relaxed looking Amelie Mauresmo watches from the stands, her diary free on French Open finals weekend as usual. OK, bit harsh but it’s been a long 15 days.

Federer 1-3 Nadal
No messing from Nadal – he eases through another service game and looks like he could go on for another three hours.

“The errors just keep creeping up from Federer but he’s got to keep going for his shots, he can’t go back to rallying with Nadal.”
Five Live analyst Pat Cash

Federer 1-2 Nadal
Desperate moments for Federer when Nadal gets to two break points by chasing down a drop shot. The Swiss saves the first but buries a routine forehand into the net on the second and that could be curtains.

Federer 1-1 Nadal
Federer battles his way to a break point and has his chances to attack in a lengthy rally but in the end it’s Nadal who takes the initiative, finding a forehand winner down the line.

Federer 1-0 Nadal
Aaah, the restorative powers of a cup of splosh – someone should get a kettle down to Federer for the next changeover. The world number one does his bit anyway, coming through a tough game that sees one incredible backhand winner from Nadal.

Third set

“It’s hard to see where the consistency is going to come from for Federer, he just hasn’t got the balance right.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Federer 3-6 Nadal
Federer does his best but the relentless hitting from Nadal looks like it’s starting to wear down the world number one as it has everyone else. A classic scything forehand on the first set point is enough to put the Spaniard in front again.

Federer 3-5 Nadal
Nadal gets to set point but Federer holds firm, dominating the rally from the start before polishing off the game with an ace.

Federer 2-5 Nadal
There’s no sign of Federer breaking back and in fact his forehand has gone off the boil, hopefully only momentarily. Both men enjoy bananas at the changeover, lucky beggars. I’m expecting a tea/biscuit boost any moment.

Federer 2-4 Nadal
One of the balls finally gives out after a heavy pounding and after 15 days I know how it feels. The point is replayed, and Federer holds to 15.

Federer 1-4 Nadal
After a couple of ominous Federer winners Nadal takes control of the key point at 30-30, moving his man around and finally finishing him with a heavy forehand. The game moves to deuce and Nadal seals it with a cross-court backhand that sends Federer sprawling at the net.

Federer 1-3 Nadal
Federer gets a huge cheer when he serve-volleys on the second point and follows up with an ace. Nadal keeps him honest with a clubbing backhand winner off the return but the Swiss holds to 15.

Federer 0-3 Nadal
Nadal is powering through this set. Federer is making a few more approaches to the net with mixed results, although he does hammer one forehand winner from way behind the baseline, but Nadal holds comfortably.

Federer 0-2 Nadal
Nadal makes the first move in this set, moving to 0-30 with a big forehand and a backhand winner helped by a net-cord. He then rifles a forehand winner down the line to secure two break points and converts the first, catching Federer out of position at the net.

Federer 0-1 Nadal
A scrappy game goes Nadal’s way and we’re in the traditional early-set lull.

Second set

Federer 6-4 Nadal
A few nerves all around when Federer goes 0-15 down but he recovers with two first serves and a magnificent sweep to the net. Nadal sends a forehand long and we’re all square.

Some breaking tennis news: Bjorn Borg will not make his first grass-court appearance for 26 years at next week’s event in Liverpool – he’s been bitten on the right leg by a dog called The Wolf, a friend’s Alsatian, at a barbecue at his home outside Stockholm.

I’ve heard some excuses in my time but…

“I’m looking forward to this game because you just don’t know which Federer is going to turn up.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Federer 5-4 Nadal
With the pressure momentarily off having held serve Federer lets go on a couple of backhands and it works a treat – he even starts blowing on his fingers in the style of Bjorn Borg. I used to do that, looked absolutely ridiculous.

Anyway, two set points come and go as Federer fails to make a return and Nadal saves a third with a backhand winner that draws a few gasps from the crowd. Federer narrowly misses the line with a backhand on his fourth set point and he must now serve for the set.

Federer 5-3 Nadal
Just when thoughts turn to a five-set epic, Federer makes three desperate forehand errors to slip to 15-40. All credit to the big Swiss cheese though, he starts unleashing on the forehand and gets back to deuce with one that clips the line.

Nadal gets to break point again and throws up a towering defensive lob that is incorrectly called out – it would have had Federer in all sorts of trouble but he wins the replayed point and goes on to hold.

Federer 4-3 Nadal
At last, Federer plays an absolutely stunning game, moving to 0-40 up with a couple of charges to the net. Nadal saves break point number 11 with a big backhand winner but Federer finally makes the breakthrough with a winning cross-court forehand. That’s the standard Federer has to play at throughout though – very tough.

Federer 3-3 Nadal
“Stitch that!” is what Federer must surely say in Swiss-German when he cracks a huge forehand winner on the second point, and a sharp volley helps him to a solid hold. A few more “Roger, Roger” chants do the rounds.

“I doubt the way he’s playing that Federer believes he can win this match. There’s been no change of tactics, he hasn’t hit one sliced backhand yet”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Federer 2-3 Nadal
OK, now we’re cooking – the best rally of the match sees both players hitting shots that would normally go for a winner before Federer chases down a drop shot and flicks over a forehand winner. From 30-30, two Federer errors let Nadal off the hook.

Federer 2-2 Nadal
Federer is forced back under a barrage of heavy hitting and sticks a forehand into the net to give Nadal break point. A lengthy rally ensues and Nadal goes long with a backhand before Fed finds an ace and a backhand winner. Hopefully that might give him a kick-start.

Federer 1-2 Nadal
A comfortable hold of serve for Nadal and Federer’s groundstrokes are starting to misfire a bit. No sign of stars of the week Don Johnson, Antonio Banderas or Ilie Nastase in the crowd yet. Guillermo Vilas is in, but then he’s there every day.

Federer 1-1 Nadal
The focus has been on Federer up until now and his bizarre inability to convert break points but Nadal is starting to fire. One searing cross-court backhand pass serves as a warning to Federer should he choose to approach the net but the Swiss holds on.

Federer 0-1 Nadal
The crowd seems a little stunned by what they saw in the first set, as does Federer. Meanwhile, Nadal powers through a love-service game.

First set

“I don’t think Nadal played a particularly good set there but Federer faded badly.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Federer 3-6 Nadal
Federer hauls himself back to 30-30 when he finally makes a couple of first serves but Nadal gets to set point and promptly thumps away a forehand winner. Two break points converted by the champion in that set, none from 10 by Federer.

“It’s hard to explain but Federer just hasn’t played well enough on the big points.”
Five Live’s Jonathan Overend

Federer 3-5 Nadal
Two loose shots see Nadal slip 0-30 down and Federer then wins a baseline battle to get himself yet another three break points. We then get a Nadal service winner, a Federer forehand error and a Federer backhand error. If your break-point conversion rate is 0/10 you’re going to struggle to beat Nadal on clay. A champion’s effort from the Spaniard so far though.

“Federer’s getting dragged into some long rallies and that’s Nadal’s territory. He needs to try and shorten some of the points.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

Federer 3-4 Nadal
I think we could all see that coming – after a 14-minute epic in the previous game Nadal makes Federer pay by breaking to love, although the Swiss is at fault with some sloppy errors.

Federer 3-3 Nadal
Thnigs are hotting up now, this is a stunning game – Federer earns two more break points at 15-40 but an ace and another big first serve get Nadal out of trouble again. Federer is unbowed and attacks the net to earn another chance but this time plays a wild forehand. Sixth and seventh opportunites pass by before Nadal finally holds. Five break points go begging for Federer in that game alone.

Federer 3-2 Nadal
After missing a couple of break points in the previous game Federer does well to hold serve comfortably, despite hitting his backhands very short and serving at a dreadful 25%.

Federer 2-2 Nadal
Federer opens the game with one of his trademark shots, a wild forehand shank off the frame that endangers Raymond Domenech more than Nadal. The Swiss recovers with a thumping forehand return winner and a similarly effective backhand return. A patient rally follows finished by a Federer smash and it’s two break points.

Federer nets a backhand on the first and Nadal smacks a winning forehand on the next. The champion then steps up another gear, bossing things from the baseline and he gets out of trouble in style.

Federer 2-1 Nadal
Nadal misfires with a couple of returns but does play one beautiful drop shot before Federer holds to 30. Thierry Henry is in the crowd today – does this mean the striker is abandoning Arsenal for PSG, who play just a few minutes’ walk from Roland Garros? Probably not. Oddball France coach Raymond Domenech is also in the stands.

Federer 1-1 Nadal
A couple of heavy Nadal forehands let Federer know what he’s in for over the next couple of hours, although he probably had a fair idea. The Spaniard gives us the first fist pump of the day.

Federer 1-0 Nadal
Federer creates an open court for himself at 15-15 before burying a simple forehand into the net, but he claws his way back into the game to hold. Cue more chants of “Roger, Roger”.

“Why doesn’t someone just come along and kick Nadal’s water bottles over? It would have happened in my day, but I don’t think Federer’s bothered.”
Five Live analyst Pat Cash

1400 BST: A good cheer for Nadal and an even bigger one for Federer – the locals seem to be backing him and there’s even a chorus of “Roger, Roger” from the considerable Swiss contingent. Nadal goes through his usual laborious routine arranging water bottles while Federer waits at the net for the toss.

“Rafael Nadal is quite a strong favourite with the bookies for this match and against someone like Federer that shows you how great he is on clay.”
BBC Sport analyst John Lloyd

1355 BST: Right, no excuses today, we need – we demand – a great final. Decent matches have been thin on the ground over the last two weeks but these two can make up for all that today.

Federer is trying to complete his set of Grand Slam titles and become the third man after Don Budge and Rod Laver to hold all four at once. Nadal can become the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win three French Opens in a row.

History beckons wherever you look – and it’s a nice day in Paris too.

Story from BBC SPORT:


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