Rafael Nadal

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Posted by motoman 02/28/2009 @ 15:41

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Come out of your comfort zone, Roger - ESPN
Topics included the Rafael Nadal-Roger Federer rivalry, the state of flux in the women's game and what Evert has learned about golf from watching her husband, Greg Norman. The following are excerpts from their conversation: Bonnie D. Ford: Chris,...
Sports in brief: Federer stops Nadal on clay - San Jose Mercury News
Roger Federer got a badly needed confidence boost ahead of the French Open, beating top-ranked Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4 Sunday to win his first title of the season at the Madrid Open. It was only the second victory Federer has on clay against his top...
Nadal Fans: Please stop the excuses - Bleacher Report
Rafael Nadal is one of the fiercest competitors I know and, if he's as superstitious as they say that he is, I can just as easily see him thinking that if he doesn't compete to his ability that somehow the tennis gods will punish him and he'll suffer...
Madrid 2016 “Magic Box” Hosts Major Tournament - GamesBids.com
Tennis champion Rafael Nadal said, "the best thing about the tournament here has been the atmosphere. The Spanish people have been spectacular, really lively. The main court is spectacular". Mercedes Coghen, CEO of Madrid 2016's bid said,...
She Said, He Said: Who's playoff bound, Cowboys without TO or ... - Fort Worth Star Telegram
Has Rafael Nadal lost Roger Federer's number? (Remember, everyone claimed Nadal had it!) CHAREAN: I, like just about everyone who follows tennis, was stunned that Federer beat Nadal on clay. I'm not betting against Nadal in the French Open since he has...
Rafael Nadal French Open Roland Garros 2009 Favorite - Sports-Odds.com
On clay, more than on any other surface, Nadal is truly in his element as watching him is truly like poetry in motion. Year in and year out, the Majorcan has dominated all clay-court tournaments, and as hard as it is to believe, he's still getting...
Nadal, Federer Djokovic reach Madrid semifinals - The Associated Press
MADRID (AP) — Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal reached the Madrid Open semifinals on Friday, on pace for a clay-court showdown in the final. Federer beat Andy Roddick again, 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-1 while Nadal stayed perfect against Fernando Verdasco with a...
Wimbledon roof is great, but pity those left out in the cold… - Reuters Blogs
Until this year, there was not much a player such as world number 100 Sergio Roitman would have in common with the likes of Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon. Except when it rained that is. No matter who you were, if it rained you were stuck...
Roger Federer Upsets Rafael Nadal 2009 Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open - Sports-Odds.com
Roger Federer Upsets Rafael Nadal 2009 Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open: Roger Federer was finally able to do the impossible on Sunday's 2009 Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open Final, as he snapped Rafael Nadal's 33-match win streak. Federer -- the 2009 Mutua...
Real Kindergarten Cop leaves class behind for UFC - Edmonton Sun
MADRID -- A victory over Rafael Nadal in a clay-court final has Roger Federer feeling good about his chances heading into the French Open. Federer broke a sluggish Nadal once in each set for a 6-4, 6-4 win Sunday that earned him a second Madrid Open...

Rafael Nadal

Nadal holding the Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy after winning the 2006 French Open.

Infobox last updated on: February 16 2009.

Rafael Nadal Parera (IPA: ) (born June 3, 1986) is a Spanish professional tennis player who has been ranked World No. 1 since August 18, 2008. He has won six Grand Slam singles titles and the 2008 Olympic gold medal in singles. He has captured the last four French Open singles titles, joining Björn Borg in 2008 as the only men to have won four consecutive singles titles there. In 2008, Nadal became the second Spanish man to win Wimbledon. Nadal is only the third male player in the open era to have won the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year. In 2009, Nadal became the first Spaniard to win the Australian Open, the fourth male tennis player—behind Jimmy Connors, Mats Wilander, and Andre Agassi—to win Grand Slam singles titles on three different surfaces, and the first male tennis player to hold simultaneously Grand Slam singles titles on three different surfaces (2008 French Open, 2008 Wimbledon Championships, and 2009 Australian Open).

Since 2004, Nadal has had a rivalry with Roger Federer, which many consider to be among the greatest in tennis history. They are the only men in the open era who have played each other in seven Grand Slam finals, with Nadal winning five of those matches. Nadal was ranked World No. 2 behind Federer for a record 160 weeks before earning the top spot. Nadal has won 13 of their 19 singles matches, as well as all five of their most recent encounters.

Nadal has been especially successful on clay courts. He has a 22–1 record in clay court tournament finals and is undefeated in 43 best-of-five-set matches on clay. In each of the last four years, he has won both the French Open and two clay court Masters Series tournaments. He also owns the longest single-surface winning streak in the open era, having won 81 consecutive matches on clay from April 2005 to May 2007. As a result, some tennis critics and top players already regard him as the greatest clay-court player of all time.

On October 18, 2008, Nadal clinched the year-end World No. 1 ranking for 2008. The same year, he was given the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for his achievements in sports.

Rafael Nadal was born in Manacor, Majorca to Sebastián Nadal and Ana María Parera. He has a younger sister named María Isabel. His uncle, Miguel Ángel Nadal, is a retired professional football player, having played for RCD Mallorca, FC Barcelona, and the Spanish national team. Nadal supports football clubs Real Madrid and RCD Mallorca. His other uncle, Toni Nadal, a former professional tennis player, introduced him to tennis when he was three years old. Toni Nadal has been coaching him ever since. Toni spotted that Nadal had a natural talent for tennis, and at eight he won an under-12 year regional tennis championship at a time where he was also a promising football player. This made Toni Nadal intensify training, and at that time he encouraged Nadal to play left-handed, as he noticed Nadal played forehand shots with two hands. The natural right-handed Nadal took the advice. When Nadal was 12, he won the Spanish and European tennis titles in his age group and was playing tennis and football all the time. Nadal's father made him choose between football and tennis so that his school work would not suffer. Nadal said: "I chose tennis. Football had to stop straight away".

When he was 14, the Spanish tennis federation requested that he leave Mallorca and move to Barcelona to continue his tennis progression and training. Nadal's family turned down this request, partly because they feared it would hurt his education, but also because Toni Nadal said that "I don't want to believe that you have to go to America, or other places to be a good athlete. You can do it from your house." The decision to stay home meant that Nadal received less financial support from the federation; instead Nadal's father covered the costs. In May 2001, he defeated former Grand Slam champion Pat Cash in a clay-court exhibition match. By the age of 16, Nadal was ranked in the world's top 50 players.

In April 2002, at 15 years and 10 months, the World No. 762 Nadal won his first ATP match, defeating Ramón Delgado, and became the ninth player in the open era to do so before the age of 16. The following year, Nadal won two Challenger titles and finished the year in the top 50. He is the second-youngest man to be ranked this high. At his Wimbledon debut in 2003, Nadal became the youngest man to reach the third round since Boris Becker in 1984. During 2004, Nadal played his first match against World No. 1 Roger Federer at the Miami Masters, and won in straight sets. He missed most of the clay court season, including the French Open, because of a stress fracture in his left ankle. Nadal at 18 years and six months became the youngest player to register a singles victory in a Davis Cup final for a winning nation. By beating World No. 2 Andy Roddick, he helped Spain clinch the 2004 title over the United States in a 3-2 win. He finished the season at No. 49 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings.

At the Australian Open, Nadal lost in the fourth round to eventual runner-up Lleyton Hewitt in five sets. Two months later, Nadal reached the final of the Miami Masters, and despite being two points from a straights-set victory, he was defeated in five sets by World No. 1 Roger Federer. Both performances were considered to be breakthroughs for Nadal.

He then dominated the spring clay court season. He won 24 consecutive singles matches, which broke Andre Agassi's open era record of consecutive match wins for a male teenager. Nadal won the tournament in Barcelona, Spain and beat 2004 French Open runner-up Guillermo Coria in the finals of the ATP Masters Series tournaments in Monte Carlo and Rome. These victories raised his ranking to World No. 5 and made him one of the favorites at his career-first French Open. On his 19th birthday, Nadal defeated Federer in the French Open semifinals, preventing the Swiss from potentially achieving a career Grand Slam. Two days later, he defeated Mariano Puerta in the final, becoming the first male player to win the French Open on his first attempt since Mats Wilander in 1982and the first teenager to win a Grand Slam singles title since Pete Sampras won the 1990 US Open at age 19. Winning the French Open increased Nadal's ranking to World No. 3.

On June 8, three days after his victory in Paris, Nadal's 24-match winning streak was snapped in the first round of the grass court tournament in Halle, Germany, losing to Alexander Waske of West Germany, and then he lost in the second round of Wimbledon to Gilles Müller of Luxembourg.

Immediately after Wimbledon, Nadal won 16 consecutive matches and three consecutive tournaments. Winning the clay court events in Båstad and Stuttgart caused Nadal's ranking to rise to World No. 2 on July 25, 2005. At age 19 years, 1 month, and 22 days, he became the third teenager to reach World No. 2 in the history of the ATP computer rankings, which began in 1973, joining Boris Becker (age 18 years, 9 months, and 17 days) and Björn Borg (age 18 years, 10 months, and 2 days) as the only teenagers to be ranked second.

Nadal started his North American summer hard court season by defeating Agassi in the final of the ATP Masters Series tournament in Montreal, Canada but losing in the first round of the ATP Masters Series tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio. Nadal was seeded second at the US Open, where he was upset in the third round by World No. 49 James Blake in four sets.

Nadal played only three events the remainder of the year. In September, he defeated Coria in the final of the China Open in Beijing and won both of his Davis Cup matches against Italy. In October, he won his fourth ATP Masters Series title of the year, defeating Ivan Ljubičić in the final of the tournament in Madrid. He then suffered a foot injury that prevented him from competing in the year-ending Tennis Masters Cup.

Both Nadal and Federer won eleven singles titles and four ATP Masters Series titles in 2005, thus Nadal broke Mats Wilander’s previous teenage record of nine in 1983. Eight of Nadal's titles were on clay and the remainder on hard courts. Nadal won 79 matches, second only to Federer's 81. Nadal won the Golden Bagel Award for 2005 with eleven 6–0 sets during the year. Also he earned the highest year-end ranking ever by a Spaniard and the ATP Most Improved Player of the Year award.

Nadal missed the Australian Open because of a foot injury. In February, he lost in the semifinals of the first tournament he played, the Open 13 tournament in Marseille, France. Two weeks later, he handed Roger Federer his first loss of the year in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Men's Open. To complete the spring hard court season, Nadal was upset in the semifinals of the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California and in the second round of the Sony Ericsson Open.

On European clay, Nadal won all four tournaments he entered and 24 consecutive matches. He defeated Federer in the final of the Masters Series Monte Carlo in four sets. The following week, he defeated Tommy Robredo in the final of the Open Sabadell Atlántico tournament in Barcelona. After a one week break, Nadal won the Masters Series Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, defeating Federer in a fifth set tiebreaker in the final after saving two match points, thus Nadal equaled Bjorn Borg’s tally of 16 ATP titles won as a teenager. Nadal broke Argentinian Guillermo Vilas' 29-year record of 53 consecutive clay-court match victories by wining his first round match at the French Open. Vilas presented Nadal with a trophy, but commented later that Nadal's feat was less impressive than his own because Nadal's winning streak covered two years and was accomplished by adding easy tournaments to his schedule. Nadal went on to play Federer in the final of the French Open. The first two sets of the match were hardly competitive as the rivals traded 6–1 sets. Nadal won the third set easily and served for the match in the fourth set before Federer broke him and forced a tiebreaker. Nadal won the tiebreaker and became the first player to defeat Federer in a Grand Slam final. also he became the youngest back-to-back champion at Roland Garros since Borg in 1974-75.

On grass, Nadal injured his shoulder while playing a quarterfinal match against Lleyton Hewitt at the Artois Championships, played at Queen's Club in London. Nadal was unable to complete the match, which ended his 26-match winning streak. Nadal was seeded second at Wimbledon but was two points from defeat against American qualifier Robert Kendrick in the second round before coming back to win in five sets. In the third round, Nadal defeated World No. 20 Andre Agassi in straight sets at Agassi's last career match at Wimbledon. Nadal also won his next three matches in straight sets, which set up another final with Federer, who had won this tournament the three previous years,becoming the first Spanish man since Manuel Santana in 1966 to reach the Wimbledon final. Federer won the match in four sets. Nadal and Federer were the only pair of men during the open era who had reached the Wimbledon final after having just played each other in the French Open final.

During the lead up to the US Open, Nadal played the two Masters Series tournaments in North America. He was upset in the third round of the Rogers Cup in Toronto and the quarterfinals of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati, Ohio. Nadal was seeded second, but lost in the quarterfinals to World No. 54 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia in four sets.

Nadal played only three tournaments the remainder of the year. Joachim Johansson, ranked World No. 690, upset Nadal in the second round of the if... Stockholm Open 6–4, 7–6. The following week, Nadal lost to Tomáš Berdych in the quarterfinals of the year's last Masters Series tournament, the Mutua Madrileña Masters in Madrid. Afterwards Nadal blamed mental and physical exhaustion for his recent losses. During the round-robin stage of the year-ending Tennis Masters Cup, Nadal lost to James Blake but defeated Nikolay Davydenko and Tommy Robredo. Because of those two victories, Nadal qualified for the semifinals, where he lost to Federer 6–4, 7–5. This was Nadal's third loss in nine career matches with Federer.

He went on to become the first player since Andre Agassi in 1994-95 to finish as the World No. 2 in back-to-back years.

Nadal started the year by playing in six hard court tournaments. He lost in the semifinals and first round of his first two tournaments and then lost in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open to eventual runner-up Fernando González. After another quarterfinal loss at the Dubai Tennis Championships, he won the Masters Series Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California before Novak Djokovic defeated him in the quarterfinals of the Masters Series 2007 Master Series Miami.

He had comparatively more success after returning to Europe to play five clay court tournaments. He won the titles at the Masters Series Monte Carlo, the Open Sabadell Atlántico in Barcelona, and the Masters Series Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome before losing to Roger Federer in the final of the Masters Series Hamburg. This defeat ended his 81-match winning streak on clay, which is the male open era record for consecutive wins on a single surface. He then rebounded to win the French Open for the third straight year, defeating Federer once again in the final.

Between the tournaments in Barcelona and Rome, Nadal defeated Federer in the "Battle of Surfaces" exhibition match in Majorca, Spain, with the tennis court being half grass and half clay.

Nadal played the Artois Championships at Queen's Club in London for the second consecutive year. As in 2006, Nadal was upset in the quarterfinals. Nadal then won consecutive five-set matches during the third and fourth rounds of Wimbledon before losing to Federer in the five-set final. This was Federer's first five-set match at Wimbledon since 2001.

In July, Nadal won the clay court Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, which proved to be his last title of the year. He played three important tournaments during the North American summer hard court season. He was a semifinalist at the Masters Series Rogers Cup in Montreal before losing his first match at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the second-seeded player at the US Open but was defeated in the fourth round by David Ferrer.

After a month-long break from tournament tennis, Nadal played the Mutua Madrileña Masters in Madrid and the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris. David Nalbandian upset him in the quarterfinals and final of those tournaments. To end the year, Nadal won two of his three round robin matches to advance to the semifinals of the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, where Federer defeated him 6–4, 6–1.

During the second half of the year, Nadal battled a knee injury suffered during the Wimbledon final. In addition, there were rumors at the end of the year that the foot injury he suffered during 2005 caused long term damage, which were given credence by coach Toni Nadal's claim that the problem was "serious". Nadal and his spokesman strongly denied this, however, with Nadal himself calling the story "totally false".

Nadal began the year in India, where he was the runner-up to Mikhail Youzhny at the Chennai Open. Nadal then reached the semifinals of the Australian Open for the first time. He also reached the final of the 2008 Master Series Miami for the second time.

During the spring clay court season, Nadal won four singles titles and defeated Roger Federer in three finals. He beat Federer at the Masters Series Monte Carlo for the third straight year, capturing his open era record fourth consecutive title there. He won in straight sets, despite Federer holding a 4–0 lead in the second set. He then won his fourth consecutive title at the Open Sabadell Atlantico tournament in Barcelona. A few weeks later, Nadal won his first title at the Masters Series Hamburg, defeating Federer in the three-set final. He then won the French Open, becoming only the fifth man in the open era to win a Grand Slam singles title without losing a set. He defeated Federer in the final for the third straight year, but this was the most lopsided of all their matches, as Nadal only lost four games and gave Federer his first bagel since 1999. This was Nadal's fourth consecutive French title, tying Björn Borg's all-time record. Nadal became only the fourth male player during the open era to win the same Grand Slam singles tournament four consecutive years (the others being Borg, Pete Sampras, and Federer).

Nadal then played Federer in the final of Wimbledon for the third consecutive year, in the most anticipated match of their rivalry. Nadal entered the final on a 23-match winning streak, including his first career grass court title at the Artois Championships,becoming the first Spanish man to win a grass-court title since Andres Gimeno in 1972, staged at Queen's Club in London prior to Wimbledon. Federer had won his record fifth grass court title at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle without facing a break point and then reached the Wimbledon final without losing a set. Unlike their previous two Wimbledon finals, though, Federer was not the prohibitive favorite, and many analysts picked Nadal to win. They played the longest final in Wimbledon history, and because of rain delays, Nadal won the fifth set 9-7 in near-darkness. The match was widely lauded as the greatest Wimbledon final ever, with some long-time tennis critics even calling it the greatest match in tennis history. By winning his first Wimbledon title, Nadal became only the third man in the open era to win both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year (after Rod Laver in 1969 and Borg in 1978-80) as well as the second Spaniard to win Wimbledon. He also ended Federer's record streak of five consecutive Wimbledon titles and 65 straight wins on grass courts. He became the first player to remain No. 2 for three consecutive (non calendar) years from 25 July, 2005 to 24 July, 2008.

After Wimbledon, Nadal extended his winning streak to a career-best 32 matches. He won his second Rogers Cup title in Toronto and then made it into the semifinals of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a result, Nadal clinched the US Open Series and, combined with Federer's early round losses in both of those tournaments, finally earned Nadal the World No. 1 ranking on August 18, officially ending Federer's record four-and-a-half year reign at the top. Nadal is also the fifth left-hander to rank No. 1, the first since Chilean Marcelo Rios in 1998. Other left-handers to hold the top position are Austrian Thomas Muster (1996), and Americans John McEnroe (1980) and Jimmy Connors (1974).

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the semifinals 6–4, 1–6, 6–4 and Fernando González of Chile in the final to win his first Olympic gold medal. Nadal became the first male player ranked in the top five to win the gold medal.

At the US Open, Nadal was the top-seeded player for the first time at a Grand Slam tournament. He did not lose a set during his first three matches, defeating qualifiers in the first and second rounds and Viktor Troicki in the third round. He then needed four sets to defeat both Sam Querrey in the fourth round and Mardy Fish in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, he lost to Andy Murray 6–2, 7–6(5), 4–6, 6–4. Later in the year in Madrid, Nadal helped Spain defeat the United States in the Davis Cup semifinals.

At the Mutua Madrileña Masters in Madrid, Nadal lost in the semifinals to Gilles Simon 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(6). However, his performance at the event guaranteed that he would become the first Spaniard during the open era to finish the year as the World No. 1. Two weeks later at the BNP Paribas Masters in France, Nadal, received a first round bye and defeated two French favorites Florent Serra and Gaël Monfils before making it to the quarterfinals where he faced Nikolay Davydenko. Nadal would lose the first set 6-1, before retiring in the second with a knee injury. The following week, Nadal announced his withrawal from the year-end Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai citing tendinitis of the knee. On 10 November Nadal withdrew from his Davis Cup tie final against Argentina as his injury to his knee had not healed well enough.

Nadal started 2009 at the Capitala World Tennis Championship, an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi where he lost to Andy Murray in the final.

Nadal's first official ATP tour event for the year was the 250 series Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. Nadal faced Fabrice Santoro in the first round for the first time in their careers, with Nadal prevailing 6–0, 6–1 in 47 minutes. After the match, Nadal was awarded the 2008 ATP World Tour Champion trophy. Nadal eventually lost in the quarterfinals to Gaël Monfils, 6–4, 6–4—his first defeat to the World No. 13 in four matches. Nadal also entered and won the tournament's doubles event with partner Marc Lopez, defeating the World No. 1 doubles team of Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic in the final.

At the Australian Open, Nadal won his first five matches without dropping a set before defeating compatriot Fernando Verdasco in the semifinals 6–7(4), 6–4, 7–6(2), 6–7(1), 6–4—the longest match in Australian Open history at 5 hours and 14 minutes. This win set up a championship match with Roger Federer—their first meeting ever in a hard court Grand Slam final and nineteenth meeting overall. Nadal defeated Federer in five sets to earn his first hard court Grand Slam singles title, making him the first Spaniard in history to win the Australian Open and the fourth male tennis player—after Jimmy Connors, Mats Wilander, and Andre Agassi—to win Grand Slam singles titles on three different surfaces. This win also made Nadal the first male tennis player to hold three Grand Slam singles titles on three different surfaces at the same time.

Nadal played both doubles and singles at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. In the first round of doubles, Nadal and partner Ignacio Coll-Riudavets fell to Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra. In the singles final, he lost to second-seeded Murray in three sets, becoming the second Spainard to be a runner-up in the tournament, after Juan Carlos Ferrero. During the final, Nadal called a trainer to attend to a tendon problem with his right knee, which notably affected his play in the final set. Although this knee problem was not associated with Nadal's right knee tendonitis, it was serious enough to cause him to withdraw from the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships a week later.

Nadal generally plays an aggressive behind-the-baseline game founded on heavy topspin groundstrokes, consistency, speedy footwork, and tenacious court coverage. Known for his athleticism and speed around the court, Nadal is a capable defender who hits well on the run, constructing winning plays from seemingly defensive positions. While primarily a baseliner, Nadal is also a comfortable net player, using well-struck approach shots, drop shots, and volleys when situations dictate. Nadal's touch and skill at net and his ability to finish points from that position on the court are one of the most underestimated aspects of his game.

Nadal employs a full western grip forehand, often with a "buggy-whip" follow through, where his left arm hits through the ball and finishes above his left shoulder—as opposed to a more traditional finish across the body or around his opposite shoulder. Nadal's forehand groundstroke form allows him to hit shots with heavy topspin—more so than many of his contemporaries. While Nadal's shots tend to land short of the baseline, the characteristically high bounces his forehands achieve tend to mitigate the advantage an opponent would normally gain from capitalizing on a short ball. Nadal is also able to hit his forehand with a more traditional follow-through when a deeper, more penetrating shot is called for.

Nadal has developed his serve into a solid weapon since his earlier years as a pro. Nadal is able to deliver a high percentage of first serves, struck with pace and placed strategically. Nadal's second serve usually employs a hard left-handed slice towards right-handed opponents' backhands. Nadal relies on the consistency of his serve to gain a strategic advantage early in the point and earn a respectable amount of aces and service winners.

Nadal's mental resiliency and strategic approach to the game is another noted strength. Nadal is able to avoid discouragement regardless of match score, allowing him to singularly focus on winning the current point and gaining an advantage. As a strategic player, Nadal can assess outside variables such as court surface, weather conditions, and his opponent's tactics in order to adjust his own play to best adapt to present conditions.

While Nadal's game is best-suited to clay courts, Nadal is no longer considered a "clay court specialist" due to continued success at tournaments played on other surfaces. Despite praise for Nadal's talent and skill, some have questioned his longevity in the sport, citing his build and playing style as conducive to injury. Nadal himself has admitted to the physical toll hard courts place on ATP Tour players, calling for a reevaluated tour schedule featuring less hard court tournaments.

Nadal uses a discontinued Babolat AeroPro Drive racquet with a 4 1/4" L2 grip. Nadal's racquets are painted to resemble the Aero Pro Drive with Cortex racquet in order to market a current model which Babolat sells. Nadal uses no replacement grip, and instead wraps 2 overgrips around the handle. Nadal uses Duralast 15L strings—strung between 55 and 56 pounds—while promoting Babolat's Pro Hurricane Tour strings for marketing purposes. Nadal's Babolat tennis bag displays his nickname as well as 4 brown stars symbolizing his 4 victories at the French Open and 1 green star symbolizing his victory at Wimbledon.

Nike serves as Nadal's clothing and shoe sponsor. Nadal's signature on-court attire entailed a variety of sleeveless shirts paired with 3/4 length capri pants. For the 2009 season, Nadal has adopted more traditional on-court apparel. Nike encouraged Nadal to update his look in order to reflect his new status as the sport's top player and associate Nadal with a style that—while less distinctive than his "pirate" look—would be more widely emulated by consumers.

At warmup tournaments in Abu Dhabi and Doha, Nadal played matches in a polo shirt specifically designed for him by Nike, paired with shorts cut above the knee. Nadal's new, more conventional style carried over to the 2009 Australian Open, where Nadal was outfitted with Nike's Bold Crew Men's Tee and Nadal Long Check Shorts.

Nadal wears Nike's Air Max Breathe Cage II tennis shoes, bearing various customizations throughout the season, including his nickname—"Rafa"—on the right shoe and a stylized bull logo on the left.

Nadal has appeared in advertising campaigns for Kia Motors as a global ambassador for the company. In May 2008, Kia released a claymation viral ad featuring Nadal in a tennis match with an alien. Nadal also has an endorsement agreement with Universal DVDs.

To prevent confusion and double counting, information in this table is updated only once a tournament or the player's participation in the tournament has concluded. This table is current through the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, which ended on February 15, 2009.

To help interpret the performance table, the legend below explains what each abbreviation and color coded box represents in the performance timeline.

Nadal played with La Armada on 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008, winning the trophy on 2004 and 2008, and fighting to remain on the world group on 2005 and 2006. He wasn't able to play on the final of the 2008 Davis Cup due to an injury on his left knee.

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Federer–Nadal rivalry

Federer serves to Nadal during the 2008 Wimbledon final

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are professional tennis players engaged in a storied rivalry that many consider to be among the greatest in tennis history.

They have held the top two rankings on the ATP Tour since July 2005 and are the only pair of men to have ever finished four consecutive calendar years at the top. Federer was ranked No. 1 for a record 237 consecutive weeks beginning in February 2004. Nadal, who is five years younger, ascended to No. 2 in July 2005 and held this spot for a record 160 consecutive weeks before surpassing Federer in August 2008. Thus, Nadal is currently ranked No. 1 and Federer No. 2.

Nadal leads their overall head-to-head series 13–6. Because tournament seedings are based on rankings, 15 of their matches have been in tournament finals, including an all-time record seven Grand Slam finals. For three consecutive years, 2006–2008, they played in the finals of both the French Open and Wimbledon. Then they met in the 2009 Australian Open final. Nadal won five of the seven, losing only the first two Wimbledons. Three of these Grand Slam finals were five setters (2007 and 2008 Wimbledon, 2009 Australian), and the 2008 Wimbledon final has been lauded as the greatest match ever by many long-time tennis analysts. They have also played in a record seven Masters Series finals, including their epic five setter at the 2006 Rome Masters.

They played their first match in March 2004 at the third round of the Miami Masters. During the previous 9 months Federer had won his first two Grand Slam titles and earned the No. 1 ranking in February at the age of 22. Nadal, only 17 years old and ranked No. 34, shocked the tennis world by defeating Federer in straight sets.

Their second meeting was a year later, again in Miami, but this time in the best-of-five-set final. Coming into the match, Federer had been a dominant No. 1 for over a year. Nadal, still an up-and-comer ranked No. 31, won the first two sets. However, Federer recovered to win the third set in a tiebreak then controlled the final two sets, extending his record win streak in tournament finals to 18. Despite the blown lead, this match was considered by some tennis analysts as a breakthrough performance for Nadal.

They played again two months later in the semifinals of the French Open. This was their first meeting on clay, and the stakes were very high. Federer needed the French title to achieve a Career Grand Slam, having already won the other three Slams. But Nadal was now ranked No. 5 due to his emergence as a dominant clay-court player, winning five tournaments and 17 consecutive matches leading up to the French. He continued his win streak by defeating Federer in four sets en route to his first Grand Slam singles title.

Though they did not play again in 2005, they formed an effective duopoly over the mens game by winning three of the four Grand Slams and all eight Masters Series they entered. They both won 11 titles, including a single-season record four Masters Series each. Federer won his third consecutive Wimbledon and second US Open. During the second half of the year he won 35 consecutive matches and extended his record win streak in tournament finals to 24, but both streaks ended when he lost only his fourth match of the year in the Masters Cup final. Nadal became No. 2 in July, won eight clay titles, and finished the year on a 36 match clay win streak.

They played six times in 2006. Nadal won the first four, beginning with the Dubai final in February. This was Federer's first loss of the year and ended his Open era record of 56 consecutive wins on hard courts. But he rebounded to win his third straight Indian Wells Masters and second Miami Masters.

The spring clay season ensued, and Nadal continued his domination on clay, defeating Federer in the finals of the Monte Carlo Masters, the Rome Masters, and the French Open. The Rome final was an epic five hour battle in which Federer held a 4–1 lead in the fifth set followed by two match points, but he failed to convert and Nadal eventually triumphed in a tiebreak. With his comeback victory, Nadal tied the Open era record for consecutive wins on clay. He then set the record at the French Open. The final was their most-anticipated match thus far, and Federer quickly won the first set. But Nadal fought back and won his second French title in a fourth set tiebreak. This was also his 14th consecutive win in a tournament final, which is second best in the Open era after Federer's 24.

They faced off again a month later in the finals of Wimbledon, which was their first meeting on grass. Nadal's run to the final was somewhat surprising, as most tennis analysts considered him a clay-court specialist. On the other hand, Federer had broken the Open era record for consecutive wins on grass with his first round victory. Federer then fulfilled expectations by capturing his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title in four sets, also ending his five-loss streak against Nadal.

They did not meet again until the semifinals of the year-end Masters Cup. Federer won in straight-sets then captured the title for the third time in four years. Nadal's career head-to-head advantage was now 6–3.

For the second straight year they dominated the men's tour, this time winning all four Grand Slams and holding the top two rankings for the entire season. Federer had his best year, setting the all-time record for most rankings points by capturing a career-high 12 titles, including three Grand Slams, the Masters Cup, and four Masters Series. He won 92 of his 97 matches and finished the year on a 29 match win streak spanning five titles. But four of his losses were to Nadal, who finished the season undefeated on clay.

An important footnote is that the ATP decided to end best-of-five-set matches in Masters Series finals after 2006. This was due, in part, to both Federer and Nadal withdrawing from the Hamburg Masters tournament because it began the day after their grueling five hour match in Rome. Thus, their ensuing best-of-five-set encounters all occurred in Grand Slams.

They played five times in 2007, and Federer won three. This is the only season he won their head-to-head matchup, narrowing Nadal's career advantage to 8–6.

Federer began the year where he left off in 2006, extending his win streak to a career-best 41 matches. He dominated his opponents en route to his third Australian Open title, becoming the first man since Björn Borg in 1980 to win a Grand Slam without losing a set. He then won his career-high seventh consecutive tournament by capturing the Dubai title for the fourth time in five years. But his dominant streak ended in March with surprising losses to Guillermo Cañas in the early rounds of both Indian Wells and Miami. Nadal fared better at Indian Wells, winning the fifth hard court title of his career.

The spring clay-court season ensued, and for the second straight year Federer and Nadal played in three finals on clay. Nadal won the first meeting in straight sets for his third consecutive Monte Carlo title. A few weeks later they met in the Hamburg Masters for the first time. Nadal entered with an 81-match clay win streak spanning over two years, but Federer defeated him for the first and only time on clay. He even bageled Nadal in the deciding third set. The next tournament was the French Open, and Nadal won their much-anticipated rematch in four sets, capturing his third consecutive French title. Federer squandered 16 of 17 break point opportunities, including 10 in the first set.

Their last two meetings in 2007 were also a repeat of 2006: the finals of Wimbledon and the semifinals of the Masters Cup. Once again Federer won both, though the Wimbledon final was much closer this time. After Federer won the first and third sets in tiebreaks, Nadal dominated the fourth set, resulting in Federer uncharacteristically losing his cool and complaining to the umpire about the Hawk-Eye line calling system. Nadal continued to apply pressure in the fifth set and earned two break point chances at 15–40 in both the third and fifth games. But Federer served well and saved all four break points. He then broke Nadal in the sixth game and swept the remaining games to earn his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title, tying Borg's Open era record.

As in 2006, they held the top two rankings for the entire year and won all four Grand Slams. For a record third time in four years Federer won three Slams, including his Open era record fourth straight US Open title. He also won the Masters Cup for the fourth time in five years. Nadal continued his mastery on clay, winning five titles.

The only potential disruption to the status quo was the emergence of Novak Djokovic as a strong No. 3 in the summer. He earned this ranking by defeating the top three players in sequence at the Canada Masters. But against Federer in the US Open final he squandered seven set points en route to losing in straight sets.

Federer and Nadal played four times in 2008, and Nadal won each time, extending his career advantage to 12–6. He also supplanted Federer as No. 1 in August, ending Federer's record four-and-a-half year reign.

The first three months of the season were a threat to the top two because of Novak Djokovic's continued success. In January he won his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, defeating Federer in the semifinals. This was the first Grand Slam that neither of the top two had won since the 2005 Australian Open. Djokovic then won the Indian Wells Masters and thus closed in on Nadal for the No. 2 ranking. But Nadal held him at bay by reaching the finals of the ensuing tournament in Miami, followed by yet another dominant spring clay-court season. Federer's performance dropped at the beginning of the year, and he later revealed that he had contracted mononucleosis in December 2007. However, he was back in playing shape for the spring season.

For the third straight year Federer and Nadal played in three clay-court finals. Nadal beat Federer in the Monte Carlo Masters for the third straight year, capturing his Open era record fourth consecutive title there. He won in straight sets, despite Federer holding a 4–0 lead in the second. A few weeks later Nadal avenged his only clay-court loss to Federer by defeating him in three sets for his first Hamburg Masters title. And for the third straight year they played in the finals of the French Open. This was the most lopsided of all their matches, though, as Nadal only lost four games total and gave Federer his first bagel since 1999. This was Nadal's fourth consecutive French title, tying Björn Borg's all-time record, and he won it without dropping a set.

They also met in the finals of Wimbledon for the third straight year, in the most anticipated match of their rivalry. Nadal entered the final on a 23 match win streak, including his first career grass title at Queen's prior to Wimbledon. Federer was also on a roll, having won his record fifth grass title at Halle without facing a single break point and then reaching the Wimbledon final without losing a set. Unlike their previous two Wimbledon finals, though, Federer was not the prohibitive favorite, and many analysts picked Nadal to win. Amidst rain delays, they played the longest final in Wimbledon history (4 hours and 48 minutes), and Nadal captured the title by winning the fifth set 9–7 in near-darkness. Many long-time tennis analysts promptly declared that this was the greatest match ever. By winning his first Wimbledon title, Nadal became the first man since Borg in 1980 to win both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same season. He also ended Federer's record streaks of five Wimbledon titles and 65 wins on grass.

Nadal continued to play well after Wimbledon, extending his win streak to a career-best 32 matches. He won his second Canada Masters title then made it to the semifinals of the Cincinnati Masters. However, Federer lost early in both tournaments. This course of events guaranteed Nadal the No. 1 ranking on August 18th, officially ending Federer's record 237 week reign.

Nadal then solidified his No. 1 ranking by winning the gold medal in singles at the Summer Olympics and reaching the semifinals of the US Open for the first time. Meanwhile, Federer lost in the quarterfinals of Olympic singles but won the gold medal in doubles with Stanislas Wawrinka. Federer then captured his fifth straight US Open title, becoming the first man to win two different Grand Slams five consecutive times each. Both Nadal and Federer defeated No. 3 Djokovic in the semifinals of their respective title runs.

For a record fourth consecutive year they finished as the top two players and once again combined to win three Grand Slam titles. Nadal had his best overall year, seizing the No. 1 ranking after a record 160 consecutive weeks at No. 2. Federer's overall performance dropped from his previous four year run of dominance, but he still played well enough to narrowly edge Djokovic in the year-end rankings.

Federer and Nadal have played once this year, as of February 28. Nadal won for the fifth straight time, extending his career advantage to 13–6.

They both began the year strong, reaching the finals of Australian Open. This was the first hard court Grand Slam final for Nadal, but Federer was undefeated in 8 hard court finals (5 US Open, 3 Australian) and had the extra incentive of his first opportunity to tie Pete Sampras' all-time Grand Slam title record (14). To compound matters for Nadal, he had survived a grueling 5 hour and 14 minute semifinal two days prior, while Federer had a comparably brief straight sets semifinal victory and an extra day of rest. The final was another grueling match (4 hours and 23 minutes), but Nadal prevailed again after Federer wilted in the fifth set. With his sixth career Grand Slam title, Nadal joined Jimmy Connors, Mats Wilander and Andre Agassi as the only men to win Grand Slams on all three surfaces (hard, grass, and clay), but he is the first to do so within a 12-month period.

This section analyzes the rivalry in several respects: the role of court surface in their matches, their professional and personal relationship, how the rivalry has affected their legacies, and the overall cultural impact of the rivalry.

As with all tennis matchups, court surface is an important factor. But before analyzing the rivalry from this perspective, it's important to understand the distribution of court surfaces on the top-level ATP Tour schedule.

The tennis year runs from January through November, consisting of tournaments held on four types of surfaces. Approximately two-thirds of the events are played on hard courts, mostly held in outdoor venues but also a few indoor events. The most prestigious of these are the Australian Open and US Open followed by the year-end Masters Cup and 6 Masters tournaments. Clay is the second most prevalent surface, and all of the prestigious events (the French Open preceded by 3 Masters) are held from April to early June. The third surface is grass, on which a few tournaments, including Wimbledon, are held in the month following the clay season. Lastly, there are a handfull of indoor tournaments played on carpet.

What follows is an an overview of both men's proficiency on each playing surface and how their respective skills and tactics help explain the head-to-head results. The subsections are ordered by number of matches per surface, so there is no section for carpet, as they have not played on that surface.

They have played 10 of their 19 matches on clay, despite the prevalence of hard courts. This is primarily due to the fact that they have consistently been the two best clay court players since 2006. But Nadal is especially suited for this surface. From 2005–2008 he won every French Open, defeating Federer each time, and won 2 of the 3 clay Masters events each year, defeating Federer in 5 of those. As a result, many analysts and players already consider him the greatest clay-court player ever.

Much has been written about why Nadal matches up so well with Federer, especially on clay. First, Nadal plays left-handed and generates tremendous topspin on his forehand. Since clay courts have the most bounce, topspin will kick up higher than on any other surface. So one of the cornerstones of Nadal's gameplan against Federer, especially on clay, has been a relentless bombardment of topspin forehands and serves to Fed's one-handed backhand, which is the weaker of his two groundstrokes. This, in turn, results in Federer hitting a greater frequency of errors and short backhands that Nadal can put away for winners. Second, effective movement on clay requires sliding and quick change of direction, with emphasis on defensive play, all of which Nadal does better than anyone. Third, Nadal has improved every aspect of his game over the years.

Despite Federer's overall success on clay, he has received criticism for his lack of stategic variety against Nadal and wilting under pressure in their matches. Numerous tactical changes have been suggested for Federer, such as running around his backhand and approaching the net more. His mettle has also been questioned, most famously by former seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander, because he squandered many opportunities against Nadal, including: 2 match points in the 2006 Rome Masters final, up a set in the 2006 French Open final, converting only 1 of 17 break points in the 2007 French Open final, and unraveling in the fifth set of the 2009 Australian Open final.

They have split their six matches on hard courts. Federer has been undoubtedly the best hard court player since 2004, winning 8 of the 11 hard court Grand Slams and 3 of the 5 Masters Cups. Nadal has always had solid results on hard courts, winning 8 tournaments since 2005, including 4 Masters Series. But he has improved considerably over the years, reaching the semifinals of both Grand Slams for the first time in 2008, winning the 2008 Olympics, and defeating Federer in the Australian Open final in early 2009.

Despite Nadal's success on hard courts, some analysts have criticized his lack of consistency in reaching tournament finals for skewing the overall head-to-head results. They contend that more hard court encounters, especially in the early years of the rivalry, would likely have resulted in a better winning percentage for Federer.

Federer has been so successful overall on hard courts, compared to Nadal, because he hits a flatter forehand, has a bigger serve, and moves equally well. Hard courts are the fastest courts, meaning that the ball tends to bounce lower than other surfaces. So hitting flat, i.e. without spin, results in even lower bouncing, faster moving shots. Thus, Nadal's topspin is least effective on hard courts, because it doesn't bounce up as high to Federer's backhand, enabling Federer to hit better. Nadal has improved his serving speed and placement over the years, but Federer still serves faster on average and earns more aces and service winners. Federer's movement and footwork is exemplary, and Nadal's movement advantage on clay is nullified since the traction and firmness of hard courts makes sliding dangerous.

As on clay, Federer and Nadal have been the two best players on grass for the last 3 years. Federer has been the preeminent grass player since 2003, winning 5 consecutive Wimbledons plus a runner-up to Nadal in 2008. Nadal has steadily improved on grass, playing Federer in each of the last three Wimbledon finals, with better results each time. One of the reasons for Nadal's success (and Federer's to a lesser extent) is that in recent years Wimbledon management has firmed up their courts to make them more durable, with the side-effect that the new courts play more like clay. This means more opportunity for the effective tactics Nadal employs on clay, as discussed above.

It is actually remarkable that they have played three matches on grass, since their only opportunities to do so have been at Wimbledon. The grass season is brief, with only two weeks between the end of the French Open and the beginning of Wimbledon every year. This means that both men play just one other grass tournament, but they have always entered different events.

Both their personal and professional relationship is good-natured and gracious. Though they are both highly competitive, they maintain a healthy regard for each other and have had virtually no source of personal animosity. The lone issue, albeit minor, was Federer's complaint about Nadal's slow, deliberate style of play on the eve of the 2008 Wimbledon final.

Of particular significance is the on-going debate of Federer's legacy. Some analysts and legendary players have already anointed him as the greatest player ever. But many others are skeptical that a player should be considered the greatest if he has a weak record against his biggest rival, especially in Grand Slam finals.

Their rivalry has increased overall interest in tennis. For example, the highly-anticipated 2008 Wimbledon final drew strong television ratings for tennis in the U.S. and across Europe. The match was also featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which was the first time in years that tennis made the cover.

ATP, Davis Cup, and Grand Slam main draw results included.

On November 21, 2006 they played an exhibition match on a hard court in Seoul, South Korea. Federer won 6–3, 3–6, 6–3.

On May 2, 2007 they played in the "Battle of Surfaces" on a hybrid court that was half clay and half grass. Nadal prevailed 7–5, 4–6, 7–6(10).

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Roger Federer

Federer in Cincinnati during the 2005 US Open Series.

Infobox last updated on: February 2, 2009.

Roger Federer (pronounced /ˈrɒdʒə ˈfɛdərər/; born August 8, 1981) is a Swiss professional tennis player who is currently ranked World No. 2. He was the World No. 1 ranked player for a record 237 consecutive weeks, from February 2, 2004 to August 17, 2008. Federer is widely considered to be one of the greatest male singles tennis players of the open era.

Federer has won 13 Grand Slam singles titles (3 Australian Open, 5 Wimbledon, 5 US Open), currently just one shy of all-time leader Pete Sampras. He has also won 4 Tennis Masters Cup titles, and 14 ATP Masters Series titles, as well as winning Olympic gold in doubles. He holds many records in the sport, including having appeared in 10 consecutive Grand Slam men's singles finals (2005 Wimbledon Championships through the 2007 US Open) and 19 consecutive Grand Slam singles semifinals (2004 Wimbledon–present). He also holds the open era records for most consecutive wins on both grass courts (65) and hard courts (56). He has a storied rivalry with Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who recently succeeded him as the World No. 1 player.

As a result of Federer's successes in the sport, he has been named the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for four consecutive years (2005–08).

Federer was born in Basel, to Swiss-German Robert Federer and South African Lynette Federer (née Durand). He grew up in suburban Münchenstein, ten minutes from Basel and close to the borders of France and Germany. Federer considers Swiss German his first language. He also speaks German, French and English fluently and conducts press conferences in all four. He is Roman Catholic and met Pope Benedict XVI while playing the 2006 Internazionali BNL d'Italia tournament in Rome .

In addition to tennis, he also played football as a boy and considered becoming a professional footballer before deciding to pursue a career in tennis. As a youngster, he enjoyed watching Marcelo Ríos in action. He especially liked Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and Marcelo Ríos and has cited them as idols.

Federer is highly involved in various charities. He established the Roger Federer Foundation in 2003 to help disadvantaged people and to promote sports to youth. He was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF from 2006. Since then, he has visited South Africa and Tamil Nadu, one of the worst tsunami-affected areas in India. He has also appeared in UNICEF public messages to raise public awareness of AIDS.

He is currently dating former WTA player Miroslava "Mirka" Vavrinec, who retired from tennis in 2002 after a foot injury. The two met at the 2000 Sydney Olympics where they were both representing Switzerland.

In 2007, Federer was photographed by Annie Leibowitz as King Arthur. This was part of a series of photographs taken by her of many different celebrities for Disney's Year of a Million Dreams project.

Federer started playing tennis at the age of six. He began participating in group lessons at the age of nine and began weekly private coaching when he was ten. He also played football until the age of twelve when he decided to focus solely on tennis. At fourteen, he became the national champion of all groups in Switzerland and was chosen to train at the Swiss National Tennis Center in Ecublens. He joined the ITF junior tennis circuit in July 1996. In 1998, his final year as a junior, Federer won the junior Wimbledon title and the prestigious year-ending Orange Bowl. He was recognized as the ITF World Junior Tennis champion of the year.

In July 1998, Federer joined the ATP tour at Gstaad. The following year he debuted for the Swiss Davis Cup team against Italy and finished the year as the youngest player (for the year) inside ATP's top 100 ranking. In 2000, Federer reached the semifinals at the Sydney Olympics and lost the bronze medal match to Arnaud di Pasquale of France. Federer reached his first final in Marseille which he lost to Marc Rosset and was also the runner-up in Basel. He failed to make an impression at Grand Slams and Masters Series tournaments, and ended the year ranked 29th. (All results and ranking history from ATP).

Federer challenged for the top ranking in men's tennis during 2003, finishing the year at World No. 2 just behind Andy Roddick and just ahead of Juan Carlos Ferrero.

In the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, Federer lost in the fourth round of the Australian Open to David Nalbandian. He then won two hard court tournaments in Marseille and Dubai before being upset in early round matches at the Tennis Masters Series (TMS) tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami.

On clay, Federer won the tournament in Munich, was the runner-up at the TMS tournament in Rome, and lost in the third round of the TMS tournament in Hamburg. Although Federer was seeded fifth at the French Open, he lost to Luis Horna in the first round.

Federer won both of the grass court tournaments he played. He defeated Nicolas Kiefer in the final of the tournament in Halle before winning his first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon. He defeated Roddick in the semifinals and Mark Philippoussis in the final and lost only one set during the tournament, to Mardy Fish in the third round.

During the North American summer hard court season, Federer lost to Roddick in the semifinals of the TMS tournament in Montreal and to Nalbandian in the second round of the TMS tournament in Cincinnati. At the US Open, Nalbandian again defeated Federer, this time in the fourth round.

During the autumn, Federer played four consecutive indoor tournaments in Europe. He won the tournament in Vienna but failed to reach the finals of the tournament in Basel and the TMS tournaments in Madrid and Paris.

To end the year, Federer won the Tennis Masters Cup in Houston. As the third-seeded player, he defeated Andre Agassi, Nalbandian, and Ferrero during the round robin phase before beating top-seeded Roddick in the semifinals and Agassi in the final.

Federer had one of the most dominating and successful years in the open era of modern men's tennis. He won three of the four Grand Slam singles tournaments, did not lose a match to anyone ranked in the top ten, won every final he reached, and was named the ITF Tennis World Champion. His win–loss record for the year was 74–6 with 11 titles.

Federer won his first Australian Open singles title by defeating Marat Safin in the final in straight sets. This win helped him succeed Andy Roddick as the World No. 1, a ranking he would hold for four years until August 18, 2008. He successfully defended his Wimbledon singles title by defeating Roddick in the final and won his first US Open singles title by defeating Lleyton Hewitt in the final. Federer was the top-seeded player at the Athens Olympics but lost in the second round to Tomáš Berdych 4–6, 7–5, 7–5. Federer finished the year by taking the Tennis Masters Cup in Houston for the second consecutive year, defeating Hewitt in the final. Federer's only loss at a Grand Slam tournament was at the French Open, where he lost to former World No. 1 and 3-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten in straight sets.

Federer did not have a coach during 2004, relying instead on his fitness trainer Pierre Paganini, physiotherapist Pavel Kovac, and a management team composed of his parents, his girlfriend and manager Mirka Vavrinec, and a few friends.

To begin the year, Federer hired former Australian tennis player Tony Roche to coach him on a limited basis. He then reached the Australian Open semifinals before falling to eventual winner Marat Safin in a five-set night match that lasted more than four hours, 5–7, 6–4, 5–7, 7–6(6), 9–7. He rebounded to win the year's first two ATP Masters Series (AMS) titles: Indian Wells (by defeating Lleyton Hewitt of Australia in straight sets) and Miami (by defeating Rafael Nadal of Spain in five sets after being down two sets to love). He won his third Hamburg clay court title in May by defeating Richard Gasquet, to whom he had earlier lost in Monte Carlo. He then entered the French Open as one of the favorites, but lost in the semifinals in four sets to eventual winner Nadal.

Federer won three of the four Grand Slam singles tournaments and ended the year ranked number one, with his points ranking several thousand points greater than that of his nearest competitor, Rafael Nadal. Federer won the year's first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, by defeating Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis. In March, Federer successfully defended his titles at the Indian Wells and Miami Masters, and became the first player ever to win the Indian Wells-Miami double in consecutive years. Federer then started the clay-court season by reaching the final of the ATP Masters Series (AMS) event at Monte Carlo losing in four sets to Rafael Nadal. He then reached a consecutive AMS final, along with Nadal, at the Rome Masters where it seemed as though Federer would finally defeat his rival on clay; however, Nadal won the epic five-set match, which lasted five hours, in the decisive tiebreak after saving two match points. Federer chose not to defend his title at the Hamburg Masters, where he had won in the previous two years. At the French Open, Federer lost in the final to defending champion Nadal in four sets. Had he won the French Open, he would have completed a career Grand Slam and become the first man since Rod Laver to hold all four Grand Slam singles titles at the same time. Although the clay Grand Slam title eluded him, he became one of only two then-active players who had reached the finals of all four Grand Slam singles tournaments, the other being Andre Agassi.

Federer won his third Australian Open and tenth Grand Slam singles title when he, as defending champion, won the tournament without dropping a set, defeating Fernando González of Chile in the final. He was the first man since Björn Borg in 1980 to win a Grand Slam singles tournament without losing a set. His winning streak of 41 consecutive matches ended when he lost to Guillermo Cañas in the second round of the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, after winning this tournament three consecutive years. At the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Florida, Federer again lost to Cañas, this time in the fourth round in three sets. He was awarded four ATP Awards during a ceremony at the tournament, making him the first player to receive four awards during the same year.

Federer started his clay-court season by reaching his second consecutive final of the Monte Carlo Masters. As in 2006, he lost to second seeded Rafael Nadal. Federer lost in the third round of the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome to Filippo Volandri. This defeat meant he had gone four tournaments without a title, his longest stretch since becoming World No. 1. On May 20, 2007, however, Federer defeated Nadal on clay for the first time, winning the Hamburg Masters tournament, and ending Nadal's record of 81 consecutive match wins on clay. At the French Open, Federer reached the final for the second consecutive year but lost to Nadal for the third consecutive time. The day after the final, Federer announced that he was withdrawing from the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, which he had won the last four years. He cited fatigue and fear of getting an injury. He therefore entered Wimbledon for the first time without having played a warm-up grass-court tournament. Despite this, Federer once again defeated Nadal in the final, however Nadal was able to push Federer into a fifth set, with his last five-set match at Wimbledon coming from 2001 where he beat Pete Sampras. With the win over Nadal, Federer tied Björn Borg's record of five Wimbledons in a row.

Federer won the Cincinnati Masters title for the second time, beating James Blake in the final, to collect his 50th career singles title, his 14th ATP Masters Series title, and the 2007 US Open Series points race.

In the US Open final, Federer beat third seed Novak Djokovic. It was Federer's 12th Grand Slam title, tying Roy Emerson. As champion of the US Open Series points race, Federer received a bonus of $1 million, in addition to the $1.4 million prize for winning the US Open singles title.

Federer entered the year-ending Tennis Masters Cup where he lost his first round robin match to the 2007 Australian Open runner-up, Fernando González, 3–6 7–6(1) 7–5 . This marked the first time a player had defeated Federer in the round robin of the Tennis Masters Cup and González's first win against Federer. Federer went on to defeat Rafael Nadal 6–4, 6–1 in the semifinals and David Ferrer in the finals 6–2, 6–3, 6–2.

Federer began the year by attempting to defend his title at the Australian Open. He lost, however, in the semifinals to eventual champion Novak Djokovic 7–5, 6–3, 7–6(5). This ended his male record of ten consecutive Grand Slam finals. It was the first time that Federer had lost in straight sets in a Grand Slam singles match since he lost in the third round of the 2004 French Open. His last straight-sets loss at a hard court Grand Slam tournament was during the fourth round of the 2002 US Open.

In March, Federer revealed that he had recently been diagnosed with mononucleosis and that he may have suffered from it as early as December 2007. Federer also had an illness related to food poisoning prior to the start of the Australian Open. He noted, however, that he was now "medically cleared to compete".

Although Federer was seeded first and was the defending champion at the Dubai Tennis Championships, he lost to Andy Murray in the first round with a score of 6–7(6), 6–3, 6–4. On March 10, Federer won his third exhibition match out of four against former World No. 1 and fourteen-time Grand Slam singles titlist Pete Sampras at Madison Square Garden in New York City 6–3, 6–7, 7–6.

At the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, the first Tennis Masters Series event of the year, Federer lost in the semifinals to American Mardy Fish for the first time, thus ending his 41-match winning streak against American players dating back to August 2003. Federer's next tournament was the Masters Series Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, where he lost in the quarterfinals to American Andy Roddick. Roddick's last official win against him was in 2003.

Federer began the clay court season at the Estoril Open in Portugal, which was his first optional clay-court tournament since Gstaad in 2004 and his first tournament with coach José Higueras. Federer won his first tournament of the year when Nikolay Davydenko retired from the final while trailing 7–6, 1–2 with a leg ligament strain.

Federer then played three Masters Series tournaments on clay. At the Masters Series Monte Carlo, Federer lost to three-time defending champion Rafael Nadal in the final in straight sets. Federer made 44 unforced errors, lost a 4–0 lead in the second set, and fell to 1–7 against Nadal on clay courts. At the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome, Federer lost in the quarterfinals to Radek Štěpánek 7–6(4), 7–6(7). Federer was the defending champion at the Masters Series Hamburg and won his first four matches in straight sets to set up a repeat of the previous year's final against Nadal. In the first set of the final, Federer built a 5–1 lead and served for the set twice. Nadal, however, won six consecutive games to win the set 7–5. Nadal again broke Federer's serve in the opening game of the second set, but Federer broke back and won the set 7–6(3). Nadal then won the third set 6–3 and the tournament.

At the French Open, Federer was defeated quickly by Nadal in the final 6–1, 6–3, 6–0. The last time Federer had lost a set 6–0 was his first round match in 1999 against Byron Black at the Artois Championships played at Queen's Club in London. This was also the fourth consecutive year that Federer and Nadal had played at the French Open, with Federer losing his third consecutive final to Nadal as well as their semifinal match in 2005. Federer's record of 23-4 (2005-08) at the French Open is second only to Nadal's record of 28-0 during the same period.

Federer bounced back by winning the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany without dropping a set or a service game. This was the fifth time he had won this event. With this result, he tied Pete Sampras's record for most titles on grass in the open era with ten.

At Wimbledon, Federer reached his 17th consecutive Grand Slam singles semifinal and his 16th Grand Slam final, tying Björn Borg for fourth most in male tennis history. He once again played World No. 2 Nadal in the final. A victory for Federer would mean his sixth consecutive Wimbledon singles title, breaking Borg's modern era record and equaling the all-time record held since 1886 by William Renshaw. Federer saved two championship points in the fourth set tiebreak but eventually lost the match 6–4, 6–4, 6–7(5), 6–7(8), 9–7. The rain-delayed match ended in near darkness after 4 hours, 48 minutes of play, making it the longest (in terms of elapsed time) men's final in Wimbledon recorded history, and 7 hours, 15 minutes after its scheduled start. The defeat also ended Federer's 65 match winning streak on grass. John McEnroe described the match as "The greatest match I've ever seen." After Nadal surpassed him as World No. 1 later in the year, Federer stated that his main goal would be to regain the Wimbledon title rather than the top spot.

Federer made early exits in his next two singles tournaments. At the Masters Series Rogers Cup in Toronto, Canada, Federer lost in the second round to Gilles Simon after receiving a first round bye. At the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati, Ohio, Federer was the defending champion but lost in the third round to Ivo Karlović for the first time in seven matches between them.

Federer was chosen to carry the national flag at the Beijing Olympics. At the Summer Olympics in Beijing, Federer lost in the quarterfinals to James Blake for the first time in their nine matches. Federer however, finally won his first Olympic gold medal in the men's doubles when he and compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka upset the World No. 1 doubles team of Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan of the United States in the semifinals and defeated Sweden's Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson in the final, 6–3, 6–4, 6–7(4), 6–3. The following day, Federer lost his World No. 1 ranking to Nadal after a record 237 consecutive weeks.

At the US Open, Federer reached the fourth round without dropping a set. There, he defeated Russian Igor Andreev 6–7(5), 7–6(5), 6–3, 3–6, 6–3. In the quarterfinals, he defeated Gilles Müller in straight sets and then, in a rematch of the 2007 US Open final, he topped third-seeded Novak Djokovic in the semifinals 6–3, 5–7, 7–5, 6–2. On a Monday final, he defeated Andy Murray 6–2, 7–5, 6–2 to win his 13th Grand Slam title and his fifth straight US Open title and extended his US Open winning streak to 34 matches. Federer became the first player in tennis history to have five consecutive wins at both Wimbledon and the US Open.

At the 2008 Madrid Masters, Federer reached the semifinals without losing a set. His run ended when he lost to Murray, 3–6, 6–3, 7–5. Meanwhile, he became the all-time leader in career prize money in men's tennis, earning over US$43.3 million at the end of the tournament and surpassing former World No. 1 and 14-time Grand Slam champion, Pete Sampras.

Federer won his 57th career title at the Davidoff Swiss Indoors in Basel, beating David Nalbandian in the final, 6–3, 6–4. He became the only player to win the title three consecutive years. He reached the quarterfinals of his next event, the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris before withdrawing because of back pain. This was the first time in Federer's career of 763 matches that he had withdrawn from a tournament. This meant that 2008 was his first since 2003 in which he did not win a Masters Series title.

Federer entered the Tennis Masters Cup as the top-seeded player after Nadal withdrew from the tournament. He drew Gilles Simon, Andy Murray, and Andy Roddick in the Red Group. In his opening match, Federer lost to Simon 4–6, 6–4, 6–3. Simon became just the second man to defeat Federer in the round robin stage of the Tennis Masters Cup. Federer kept his hopes alive by defeating Roddick's replacement, Radek Stepanek, 7–6(4), 6–4. In his third match, he faced Murray in a repeat of the US Open final and Madrid semifinal. Murray went on to win the match 4–6, 7–6(3), 7–5, although Federer came back from trailing 5–2 in the second set and 3–0 in the third set. Federer had also received medical treatment for back and hip problems in the third set and lost after saving seven match points. This was the first time that Federer had not advanced to the semifinal stage of the event. However, Federer still ended the year ranked World No. 2.

In preparation for the Australian Open, Federer played two exhibition tournaments and one official tournament. He lost to Andy Murray in the semifinals of the Capitala World Tennis exhibition in Abu Dhabi. He then lost in the semifinals of the ATP World Tour 250 series tournament in Doha, Qatar to Murray 6–7(6), 6–2, 6–2. Federer won the AAMI Classic exhibition in Melbourne when he defeated Stanislas Wawrinka in the final 6–1, 6–3.

Federer defeated each of his first three opponents in straight sets at the Australian Open, including former World No. 1 Marat Safin in the third round 6–3, 6–2, 7–6. In the fourth round, Federer rallied from two sets down to defeat Tomas Berdych 4–6, 6–7(5), 6–4, 6–4, 6–2. Federer reached his record 19th consecutive Grand Slam semifinal by defeating eighth seeded Juan Martin del Potro in the quarterfinals 6–3, 6–0, 6–0 in only 80 minutes. Federer then defeated another former World No. 1, Andy Roddick, 6–2, 7–5, 7–5 to advance to his 18th Grand Slam final (one behind the all time record set by Ivan Lendl). In the final, Federer was defeated by long-time rival Rafael Nadal in their first meeting on a hard court in a Grand Slam tournament. The match lasted over four hours with Nadal victorious in five sets. Federer broke down in tears during the trophy presentation and struggled to make his runner-up speech. Federer blamed the defeat on a lack of rhythm in his first serve.

Federer then withdrew from the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships and from Switzerland's Davis Cup tie against the U.S. because of a back injury he sustained in late 2008. He stated that this is "a precautionary measure" to make sure his back is "fully rehabilitated ... for the rest of the 2009 season".

The main reason why Nadal poses difficulty for Federer is because of Nadal's forehand. Nadal plays left-handed and his cross-court forehand shot is always towards Federer's backhand - this is a high percentage play. Because of the amount of topspin that Nadal puts on his forehands, single-backhanders have more difficulty returning the ball compared to double-handers and while Federer's forehand also goes to the Nadal's backhand, Federer is not able to break the backhand of Nadal. For this reason, in many of their matches, the same rally occurs in a majority of the points. Nadal continually attacks Federer's single backhand until an unforced error is made. This is most notable in the 2007 and 2008 French Open finals. The same tactic was employed in the 2007 and 2008 Wimbledon finals to great effect.

Federer has a versatile, all-court playing style and can hit all of the fundamental shots with a high degree of proficiency. His versatility was epitomised when Jimmy Connors said "In an era of specialists - you're either a clay court specialist, a grass court specialist or a hard court specialist... or you're Roger Federer". He is an adept volleyer and an excellent baseliner who can dictate play with precise groundstrokes from both wings. While there seems to be no definite answer regarding which forehand grip he uses, most agree the grip is between eastern and slightly semi-western. This grip is usually referred to as a "hybrid grip" or "extreme eastern". He can generate extreme top-spin with the forehand, allowing him to open up cross-court angles while still hitting the ball with pace. He keeps his eyes locked on the contact point longer than most players and keeps his head fairly still despite his speed of swing. David Foster Wallace described the exceptional speed, fluidity and brute force of this forehand motion as "a great liquid whip", while John McEnroe has referred to it as "the greatest shot in our sport" on numerous occasions. Federer plays with a one-handed backhand, and has an excellent slice, and can also fire top-spin winning shots. Federer tends to hit his groundstrokes early, while the ball is still on the rise, much like Andre Agassi did. While this requires excellent reactions and footwork, it means that Federer hits his groundstrokes closer to the net than most of his opponents. This reduces the reaction time of his opponents and allows him to hit the angled winners that are a trademark of his game.

His serve is difficult to read because he tosses the ball in the same spot no matter where he intends to serve it and he turns his back to his opponents during his motion. His first serve is typically around 190 km/h (However, he is capable of serving at 220 km/h). His second serve usually has a heavily kicked delivery. Federer generally serves with placement and precision, but on occasion he will hit a powerful serve to keep his opponents off balance. His footwork, balance, and court coverage are exceptional and he is considered to be one of the fastest movers in the game. Unlike most players who take many small steps when approaching the ball, like Jimmy Connors, Federer takes long fluid strides. He can hit a strong shot on the run or while backpedaling, allowing him to switch from defense to offense. Federer's relaxed, smooth playing style belies his aggressive and opportunistic tactics, as he constructs points which allow him to hit winners with his powerful groundstrokes. Federer is capable of performing in high pressure situations, often saving break, set or even match points during a match.

Federer currently plays with a customized Wilson Six-One Tour Racquet, which is characterised by its smaller hitting surface (customized) (90 square inch), heavy weight (customized)(12.7 oz strung weight), and thin beam (18 mm). Federer strings his racquets at a 53–60 pounds tension (depending on his opponent and surface), although at Wimbledon 2008 he was stringing at around 48 pounds with natural gut main strings (Wilson Natural Gut 16 String) and polyester cross strings (Luxilon Big Banger ALU Power Rough 16L String). Federer also uses string savers to extend the life of the natural gut strings. Federer endorses Wilson tennis racquets and accessories and Nike footwear and apparel (he wears the Nike Air Vapor V and Nike Sphere Pinstripe Polo shirts). For the 2006 championships at Wimbledon, Nike designed a jacket emblazoned with a crest of three tennis racquets symbolizing the three Wimbledon Championships he had previously won. This jacket was updated in preparation for the 2007 Wimbledon Championships, with four racquets. In Wimbledon 2008, Nike even made him a personalized cardigan which exuded stylishness and had the mark of the supreme champion. He now has his own logo, an R and F joined together. He also has endorsement deals from various other companies, many of them being Swiss. He also endorses Gillette and Jura, a Swiss based company.In addition, he has had a long standing endorsement deal with Mercedes Benz.

In October 2003, he launched a fragrance called RF Cosmetics.

With 57 career singles titles, Federer is tied for eighth on the open era career singles titles list. Time Magazine named Federer as one of the 100 most influential people in 2007.

Roger Federer holds a number of records in tennis history, the most prominent of which is that he has won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in the same year three times: 2004, 2006, and 2007.

Federer has won numerous awards during his tennis career.

Federer was named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year in 2005. He also won this award in 2006 through 2008.

To help interpret the performance table, the legend below explains what each abbreviation and color coded box represents in the performance timeline.

To prevent confusion and double counting, information in this table is updated only once a tournament or the player's participation in the tournament has concluded. This table is current through the Australian Open in Melbourne,, which ended on February 1, 2009.

NMS - neither an ATP Masters Series 1000 event nor an ATP Masters Series event.

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Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic at the 2008 Tennis Masters Cup.jpg

Infobox last updated on: February 23, 2009.

Novak Djokovic (help·info) (Serbian: Новак Ђоковић, Novak Đoković, pronounced , born May 22, 1987 in Belgrade, Serbia (part of Yugoslavia at the time), is a Serbian professional tennis player who is currently ranked World No. 3.

He won his first Grand Slam singles title at the 2008 Australian Open. After beating World No. 1 and defending champion Roger Federer in the semifinals, Djokovic defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final, becoming the first player representing Serbia to win a Grand Slam singles title and the youngest player in the open era to have reached the semifinals of all four Grand Slam events. He was the runner-up at the 2007 US Open and won the bronze medal in singles at the 2008 Olympic Games. He won the Tennis Masters Cup in 2008 and has won four Masters Series tournaments.

Djokovic was born May 22, 1987 in Belgrade Serbia, then Yugoslavia. He was born to Serbian parents, Srdjan and Dijana, and is the oldest of their three sons. His two younger brothers, Djordje and Marko, are also tennis players with professional aspirations. He started playing tennis at the age of four, and was spotted by Yugoslav tennis legend Jelena Genčić at the age of eight, who stated "This is the greatest talent I have seen since Monica Seles." At twelve years old, he spent three years at Nikola Pilić's tennis academy in Munich, Germany, and at age fourteen, his international career began, winning European championships in singles, doubles, and team competition. He currently resides in Monte Carlo, Monaco and is coached by a former Slovak tennis player, Marián Vajda.

Djokovic speaks Serbian, Italian and English fluently and often gives interviews and press conferences in all three. He also speaks a bit of German.

Djokovic is also known for his often humorous off-court impersonations of his fellow players, many of whom are his friends. This became evident to the tennis world after his 2007 US Open quarterfinal win over Carlos Moyà, where he entertained the audience with impersonations of Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova.

In the beginning of his professional career, Djokovic mainly played in Futures and Challenger tournaments, winning three of each type.

He participated in the 2006 Hopman Cup with fellow Serbian player Ana Ivanović, with the pairing narrowly missing the final.

In May 2006, various reports appeared in the British media about Djokovic's mother Dijana reportedly approaching Britain's Lawn Tennis Association about her son joining British tennis ranks and the possibility of their entire 5-person family moving from Serbia to live in Britain. All the rumours didn't affect Djokovic's play, however. He started 2006 ranked 78th, but with an excellent path to the quarterfinals at the French Open and a fourth-round appearance at Wimbledon, he found himself in the top 40.

Just three weeks after Wimbledon, he won his maiden title at the Dutch Open in Amersfoort without losing a set, defeating Nicolás Massú in the final. Djokovic won his second career title at Open de Moselle in Metz, and with this victory moved into the top 20 for the first time in his career.

At the US Open, Djokovic lost in the third round to former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt 6–3, 6–1, 6–2.

Djokovic began the year by winning in Adelaide, defeating Australian Chris Guccione in the final. At the Australian Open, he lost in the fourth round to eventual champion Roger Federer in straight sets.

His performances at the Masters Series events in Indian Wells, California and Miami Masters, where he was the runner-up and champion respectively, pushed him into the world's top ten. Djokovic lost the Indian Wells final to Rafael Nadal but defeated Nadal in the Miami Masters event before defeating the resurgent Guillermo Cañas in the final.

He later played in the Masters Series Monte Carlo Open where he was defeated by David Ferrer in the third round in straight sets. At the Estoril Open, Djokovic defeated Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the final. He then reached the quarterfinals of both the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome and the Masters Series Hamburg but lost to Nadal and Carlos Moyà, respectively.

At the French Open, Djokovic reached his first Grand Slam semifinal ever, where he lost to eventual champion Nadal.

During Wimbledon, Djokovic won a five hour quarterfinal against Marcos Baghdatis 7–6(4), 7–6(9), 6–7(3), 4–6, 7–5. In his semifinal match, he was forced to retire against Nadal due to a back injury and foot problem. He became the first player to retire from semifinal match at Wimbledon.

Djokovic then won the Masters Series Rogers Cup in Montreal. He defeated World No. 3 Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals, World No. 2 Nadal in the semifinals, and World No. 1 Federer in the final. This was the first time a player had defeated the top three ranked players in one tournament since Boris Becker in 1994. And Djokovic was only the second player, after Tomáš Berdych, to have defeated both Federer and Nadal since they became the top two players players in the world. After this tournament, Björn Borg stated that Djokovic "is definitely a contender to win a Grand Slam (tournament)." However, the following week at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati, Ohio, Djokovic lost in the second round to Carlos Moyà in straight sets.

He nevertheless reached the final of the US Open. Djokovic had five set points on serve in the first set and two against serve in the second set but lost them all before losing the final to top-seeded Federer in straight sets. On his way to the final, Djokovic won a nearly five hour second round match against Radek Štěpánek 6–7(4), 7–6(5), 5–7, 7–5, 7–6(2).

After recovering from a minor injury, Djokovic won his fifth title of the year at the BA-CA TennisTrophy in Vienna, defeating Stanislas Wawrinka in the final. Djokovic's next tournament was the Mutua Madrileña Masters in Madrid, where he lost to David Nalbandian in the semifinals 6–4, 7–6(4). At the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, he was upset by Frenchman Fabrice Santoro.

Djokovic, then assured of finishing the year as World No. 3 and for the first time, he qualified for the Tennis Masters Cup. Djokovic was the first player to arrive. He was also the first player to exit the tournament, losing all three of his round-robin matches in straight sets. He lost to Ferrer 6–4, 6–4; Gasquet 6–4, 6–2; and Nadal 6–4, 6–4.

Djokovic started the year by playing the Hopman Cup along with fellow Serbian World Number 3 Jelena Janković. He won all his round-robin matches and the team, seeded first, reached the final. They lost 2–1 to the second-seeded American team consisting of Serena Williams and Mardy Fish.

At the Australian Open, Djokovic reached the final without losing a set. Along the way, he defeated the top-seeded and defending champion Roger Federer in the semifinals 7–5, 6–3, 7–6(5). This ended Federer's streak of 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals. Djokovic also became the first person to beat Federer in straight sets in a Grand Slam tournament since Gustavo Kuerten at the 2004 French Open. Djokovic then defeated unseeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final to earn Serbia's and his first ever Grand Slam singles title. At the age of 20 years and 250 days, he was the youngest male to win the Australian Open singles title since Stefan Edberg in 1985. This win also enabled him to surpass US$6 million in career prize money.

At the Open 13 tournament in Marseille, Djokovic was upset by Frenchman Gilles Simon in the second round 6–2, 6–7(6), 6–3. Djokovic's next tournament was the Dubai Duty Free Men's Open, where he lost in the semifinals to World No. 6 Andy Roddick 7–6(5), 6–3.

At the Masters Series Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, Djokovic won his ninth career singles title, defeating American Mardy Fish in the three-set final. At the Masters Series Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Djokovic was upset in the second round by Kevin Anderson 7–6, 3–6, 6–4.

On red clay at the Monte Carlo Masters, Djokovic retired from his semifinal match with Federer while trailing 6–3, 3–2. However, two weeks later, Djokovic won his tenth career singles title and fourth Master Series singles crown at the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome after defeating Stanislas Wawrinka in the final. The following week at the Hamburg Masters, Djokovic lost to Nadal in a three-hour semifinal match 7–5, 2–6, 6–2. At the French Open in Paris, Djokovic was the third-seeded player behind Federer and Nadal. Djokovic lost to Nadal in the semifinals 6–4, 6–2, 7–6(3).

On grass, Djokovic once again played Nadal, this time in the Artois Championships final in Queen's Club, London, losing 7–6(6), 7–5. At Wimbledon, Djokovic was the third seeded player; however, he lost in the second round to former World No. 1, but unseeded, Marat Safin 6–4, 7–6(3), 6–2.

Djokovic then failed to defend his 2007 singles title at the Masters Series Rogers Cup in Toronto. He was eliminated in the quarterfinals by eighth-seeded Andy Murray 6–3, 7–6(3). The following week at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati, Ohio, Djokovic advanced to the final after having beaten World No. 2 Nadal in the semifinals 6–1, 7–5, ending the Spaniard's 32-match winning streak. In the final, he lost to Murray in straight sets.

His next tournament was the Beijing Olympics, his first Summer Olympics. He and Nenad Zimonjić, seeded second in men's doubles, were eliminated in the first round by the Czech pairing of Martin Damm and Pavel Vízner. Seeded third in singles, Djokovic lost in the semifinals to Nadal, the eventual champion, 6–4, 1–6, 6–4. This match was also noted for Djokovic's reaction after the match, because on match point, Djokovic missed a relatively easy smash. When Nadal came to the net, Djokovic gave him a hug, and then proceeded to later leave the court in tears, barely able to wave to the crowd. Djokovic then defeated James Blake, the loser of the other semifinal, in the bronze medal match 6–3, 7–6(4).

After the Olympics, Djokovic entered the US Open as the third seed. During his fourth round match with Tommy Robredo, he was plagued by both a hip injury, for which he required two time-outs, and exhaustion. Nevertheless, he won the match 4–6, 6–2, 6–3, 5–7, 6–3. Eighth-seeded Andy Roddick later said in a press conference that Djokovic was "either quick to call a trainer or the most courageous guy of all time", insinuating that his opponent had a reputation for being injured, as well as giving a list of ailments he thought Djokovic might have. After defeating Roddick, 6–2, 6–3, 3–6, 7–6(5) in the quarterfinals, he was booed on the court during in a courtside interview, after sarcastically saying, "Andy was saying that I have 16 injuries in the last match, obviously I don't, right?" Djokovic later apologized to Roddick, saying that it was a misunderstanding. His run at the US Open ended in the semifinals when he lost to Federer 6–3, 5–7, 7–5, 6–2 in a rematch of the 2007 US Open final.

At the finals of the Thailand Open, in a rematch of the 2008 Australian Open final, he lost to Tsonga in straight sets.

He was upset in the third round of the Mutua Madrileña Masters in Madrid by Croat Ivo Karlović 7–6(4), 7–6(5) without any breaks of serve during the match. Two weeks later at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, he lost in the third round once again to Tsonga 6–4, 2–6, 6–3.

In November, Djokovic was the second seed at the year-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. In his first round robin match, he defeated Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro in straight sets. He then beat Nikolay Davydenko in three sets before losing his final round robin match against Tsonga 1–6, 7–5, 6–1. However, by having a round robin record of 2-1, Djokovic qualified for the semifinals, where he defeated Gilles Simon 4–6, 6–3, 7–5. In the final, Djokovic defeated Davydenko once again to win his first ever Tennis Masters Cup title.

Djokovic started the year at the Brisbane International in Brisbane, Australia. He was upset by Ernests Gulbis in the first round 6–4, 6–4. At the Medibank International in Sydney, he lost to Jarkko Nieminen in the semifinals 6–4, 7–6(3).

Djokovic then participated in the Open 13 in Marseille and reached the semifinals only to be beaten by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the fourth consecutive time 6–4, 7–6(1).

He is good friends with fellow junior graduate (and sometimes doubles partner) Andy Murray, who was part of the British team that Serbia and Montenegro defeated in the Davis Cup in Glasgow in April 2006. Djokovic got the decisive win on April 9, 2006 by defeating Greg Rusedski in four sets in the fourth match, giving his team a 3–1 lead in their best of 5 series, thus keeping Serbia and Montenegro in the Group One Euro/African Zone of Davis Cup.

Djokovic has represented Serbia since Montenegro gained independence in June 2006. By winning all three of his matches, Djokovic played a key role in the 2007 play-off win over Australia, promoting Serbia to World Group in 2008. In Serbia's tie against Russia in early 2008 in Moscow, Djokovic was sidelined due to influenza and was forced to miss his first singles match. He returned to win his doubles match, teaming with Nenad Zimonjić, before being forced to retire during his singles match with Nikolay Davydenko. Djokovic also had a big role in promoting Serbia to the 2009 World Group.

Djokovic is an all-court player. His greatest strengths lie in his dominant groundstrokes, especially the forehand which are powerful, deep, well angled, and hit with strong topspin, although his preferred groundstroke is the backhand. With considerable speed, his serve is one of his major weapons winning many free points from his flatter first serve and employing a sharp curving kick serve as his second serve. While very sound and powerful from the baseline, he would often finish his points by coming to the net similar to Roger Federer. He also utilizes a well-disguised backhand underspin dropshot and sliced backhand (groundstroke) in his repertoire.

Djokovic endorses and is sponsored by adidas and Head. He wears the adidas Barricade V shoes and the adidas Edge Group clothing. Djokovic played with a new prototype Head racquet since the start of the 2009 season, said to be released in May. He also uses Tecnifibre X One Biphase Strings.

To help interpret the performance table, the legend below explains what each abbreviation and color coded box represents in the performance timeline.

To prevent confusion and double counting, information in this table is updated only once a tournament or the player's participation in the tournament has concluded. This table is current through the Open 13 tournament in Marseille, which ended 22 February 2009.

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Mardy Fish

Fish (right) with his partner Amer Delic during their first-round mens doubles match at the 2007 Australian Open

Infobox last updated on: February 23, 2009.

Mardy Fish (born December 9, 1981 in Edina, Minnesota) is an American professional tennis player. He is one of several young American tennis players who rose to prominence at the beginning of the 21st century. He is currently ranked #20 in the world. Fish has won two tournaments on the main ATP Tour, and has reached the final of two elite Masters Series events; Cincinnati in 2003, and Indian Wells in 2008. His best result at a Grand Slam tournament came at the 2007 Australian Open, where he reached the quarter-finals before losing to compatriot Andy Roddick and the 2008 US Open where he also reached the quarters before losing to current World No. 1 Rafael Nadal. His biggest win in singles came when he defeated the then World No. 1 Roger Federer at the Pacific Life Open in 2008.

Fish is the son of a tennis teaching professional and a housewife, Tom and Sally Fish. He was born in Edina MN. Mardy earned his first taste of fame in 1984 when, at the age of two, a Minneapolis, Minnesota TV station ran a profile of the young athlete hitting tennis balls from the baseline over the net. In 1985, Fish's family moved to Vero Beach, Florida, where Mardy attended Vero Beach High School for three years. Fish then moved to Boca Prep in Boca Raton, Florida for his senior year of high school. During that year, he lived with the family of Andy Roddick, where the two young promising players raced their cars to school. Fish returned to Vero Beach in 2000, where he spent part of the year training at Saddlebrook Academy in Tampa, Florida.

Fish turned professional in 2000 at the age of 18. He spent his first few years as a pro playing in the Challenger and Futures circuits, the minor leagues of tennis. He earned his first title on the ATP Tour, tennis' premier professional circuit, in 2002 playing doubles in the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships in Houston, Texas, with Andy Roddick.

Fish's career improved significantly in 2003, when he won his first ATP singles title and reached the biggest final of his career, Cincinnati. His singles victory came near the end of the season, where he defeated Swedish player Robin Söderling to win the Stockholm Open in Stockholm, Sweden. In addition, he defeated 5th-seeded and former World No. 1 Carlos Moyà at the 2003 Australian Open in the second round, 3–6, 7–6 (8), 6–4, 4–6, 6–2. He finished the year ranked No. 20 in the world.

Fish played well in 2004, reaching the finals at the SAP Open in San Jose, California and in the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany. Later that year, in August, Fish obtained a silver medal for the United States at the 2004 Summer Olympics, when he lost in five sets to Chilean Nicolás Massú. Fish defeated players such as Juan Carlos Ferrero and Fernando González to reach the final.

In 2005, Fish injured his left wrist. It eventually required two surgeries, and as a result he only played 17 matches in the year.

Fish was awarded a wildcard in April into the US Men's Claycourt Championships. He won the tournament, defeating eighth seed Juan Mónaco, Rainer Schüttler, Vince Spadea, Tommy Haas, and Jürgen Melzer in the final 3–6 6–4 6–3.

At the 2006 Wimbledon Championships, Fish signaled his return to professional status as he reached the third round, defeating fellow American Robby Ginepri, and Dutch player Melle van Gemerden. The night prior to his third round match, he suffered from food poisoning. He could only play one set before retiring against Georgian Irakli Labadze.

Fish began 2007 by achieving what was his best finish at a Grand Slam. Fish reached the fourth round of the Australian Open eventually losing to his old roommate and doubles partner, Andy Roddick, in the quarterfinals. Fish made waves on Day 1 of the tournament by knocking off Ivan Ljubičić, the fourth seed, and had an easy win in the third round when his opponent Wayne Arthurs retired in the opening set. Fish had few problems in his first four matches, but lost in straight sets to Roddick in the quarterfinals. However, he moved by 17 places up the ATP ranking, due to the quarterfinal.

Fish started off 2008 quite well at the Hopman Cup, an exhibition event in Perth, Australia. Partnering Serena Williams, Fish, won the title. Williams was ill and arrived after the start of the event, but Meghann Shaughnessy filled in for the first match against the Indian team. Fish won against Indian, Rohan Bopanna and Australian, Peter Luczak, and received a walkover from Czech Tomáš Berdych. Although Fish lost the first doubles match to the Indians with Shaughnessy, he and Williams were undefeated in 2 mixed doubles matches. They qualified undefeated for the final where they faced the top-seeded Serbians, Novak Djokovic and Jelena Janković. Although Fish lost in singles against Djokovic, the Americans again won the mixed doubles match to win the title.

Fish fell to Jarkko Nieminen in the third round of the Australian Open after a code violation caused him to lose his composure. Chair umpire Damian Steiner of Argentina believed Fish attempted to hit a linesman with a ball early in the third set. While Fish attempted to downplay the incident afterwards, he reacted to the violation by berating the chair umpire and was clearly frustrated while only winning three more games during the rest of the match.

Fish then went on to make a quarterfinal showing at the 2008 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships before losing to long time friend and wild-card entry Robby Ginepri.

At the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, Fish defeated Florian Mayer in the first round, 31st-seeded Igor Andreev in the second round 6–3, 6–4, fourth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko in the third round 6–3, 6–2, former World No. 1 and 24th-seeded Lleyton Hewitt in the fourth round 7–5, 4–6, 7–6(4), and seventh-seeded David Nalbandian in the quarterfinals 6–3, 6–7(5), 7–6(4). Fish then defeated World No. 1 Roger Federer in the semifinals 6–3, 6–2 in what Fish described as "a great win" after failing to beat the Swiss player in five previous matches. However, Fish lost in the final to Djokovic, the third seed, 6–2, 5–7, 6–3.

Fish then lost his next match at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida to Arnaud Clément 6–3, 6–3.

At the French Open, Fish lost in the second round to 25th-seeded Hewitt 6–4, 6–3, 6–2, with Fish committing 58 unforced errors compared to Hewitt's 12.

At Wimbledon, Fish lost in the first round to eighth-seeded Richard Gasquet of France 6–3, 6–4, 6–2. Fish hit 33 winners and 18 unforced errors while Gasquet hit 45 winners and 14 unforced errors. Fish failed to convert his one opportunity to break Gasquet's serve while Gasquet converted four of his six break chances.

At the US Open Fish triumphed in straight sets over one of his best friends on tour James Blake 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4). Fish hit 16 aces and had 28 unforced errors. Fish would reach the quarter finals where he lost to Rafael Nadal of Spain 6-3, 1-6, 4-6, 2-6.

Fish currently plays with a Wilson Six.One 95 racquet with Luxilon BB strings. The strung weight of the racquet is 12.3 oz and the string pattern is 16 by 18. His grip of choice is "Tourna Grip". He wears K-Swiss clothing and shoes.

Fish uses his strong serve and powerful backhand to win points from the baseline. He would often move around the court and find his way to the net to put away a ball by volleying. In short, he is an all-court player.

In November 2007, Mardy became engaged to Stacey Gardner, a California attorney and a "Briefcase Model" on NBC's Deal or No Deal. The two were married in September 2008. Fish's friend and fellow tennis player James Blake served as groomsman.

To prevent confusion and double counting, information in this table is updated only after a tournament or the player's participation in the tournament has concluded. This table is current through the 2009 Australian Open.

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Source : Wikipedia