Foolish to write off Rafa, says Federer

Roger Federer admitted on Sunday he was shocked his old rival and four-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal had been written off as a spent force.

World number one Federer, who will renew his rivalry with the Spaniard at the Rome Masters this week, likened the criticism aimed at Nadal to the experience he went through a year ago.

Back then, many people were claiming that Federer was past his best as he had not yet won a tournament that season and had dropped to number two in the world rankings.

And yet he finished the year as world number one once again, having won two more majors and having completed a career Grand Slam.

Until a week ago, when he claimed a sixth straight Monte Carlo Masters crown, Nadal had not won a tournament since Rome last year, an 11-month drought.

"I was surprised to hear that everyone thought that Rafa was not playing so well," said Federer.

"He surely should have won Qatar in January because he was playing so well over there and for those who saw the match against (Nikolay) Davydenko (in the final) he was clearly the guy but Davydenko got lucky, saved match point and played incredibly in the third set," said the Swiss.

"Things would have been very different going into the Australian Open but then he pulled out injured (in the quarters) and so everybody gets negative.

"So even if he wins everything after that then people are not going to be happy because the focus is on the Australian Open.

"So I think that there was a little too much negativity around Rafa and I went through the same thing (last year).

"It's true, 11 months for a player like him is a long time without winning a title but you'll have to assume that once the French Open was on and the clay season on, then he would be back on again."

Date: 25.04.2010, Source: AFP


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