8 May 2007
PALMA CITY IN MAJORCA .- “The truth is that we spent two and a half hours in which we had a lot of fun, we had a really good time”, said Rafa Nadal. “Ever since I heard of this idea I felt attracted by the experience. It was important for us to go down in history with a unique event. I was very excited and spent an incredible day with the people”, said Roger Federer. The spectators who filled the 7,200 seats of the Palma Arena made the most of the Nº 1 and the Nº 2 players on the tennis world ranking, with the meeting between the “King on grass and the King on clay”. The Government of the Balearic Islands wants to make use of the contract option which includes two more years. “The Battle of Surfaces” was seen by almost 200 million television viewers all over the planet. The ideologist of this match, who broke the mould of this sport through his ingenuity and creativity, Argentine Pablo Del Campo, from the Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi agency, watched with satisfaction as that idea, which was not in the least delirious, was executed successfully, opening the doors to new events.
There’s no doubt, at this stage, that the event that took place on May 2nd. 2007 at the Palma Arena, in Majorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands, was a success. On a tennis court which was half clay, half grass, they played an entertaining game; it was competitive and both wanted to win it; Federer and Nadal, who once again displayed their competitiveness, quality and gentlemanliness. It was two and a half hours of tennis the grew in intensity and precision as it drew on, because of the adaptation which the players naturally needed to get used to that strange sensation of having to change sides every two games; changing their foot-wear for whichever surface they had to play on, and changing their tactics as they went along, rarely thinking which was the way it suited them best to hit the ball on grass, having to send the ball on to a surface of different speed and bounce, and with different movements from the opponent.
The court was up to the expected standard, having had to overcome the inconvenience of a last minute change of the grass, as a result of problems caused in its maintenance in a closed area as is the Palma Arena, without air or natural light. But the effort produced the desired effect, and the protagonists approved the condition of the ground. “It has been excellent; we have been able to play without any problem. It was a good experience”, said Federer, who was acclaimed by the Majorcan spectators, who clapped each of his witticisms on the court and his skills.
The victory, in a very dramatic ending, was for Nadal by 7-5, 4-6 and 7-6 (12-10). With an exciting tie-break in which Rafa, “The King on Clay Courts”, was able to wound the “King on Grass Courts” in the fourth match-point he had had, having twice avoided being defeated before that.
The event included a show before the game, with music, entertainers, videos remembering the great moment of each protagonist; the entry of both from the higher stands, descending among the spectators. Two great Spanish champions, Manolo Santana and Carlos Moyá , also from Majorca like Nadal, were there. Jaume Matas, President of the Balearic Islands Government, who made this event possible, together with IMG and Antena 3, and Pablo Del Campo, President of Del Campo, Nazca, Saatchi & Saatchi, Latin America took part in the prize-giving. And both Nadal and Federer, after receiving their trophies with the two-surface court–already a part of the history of tennis–as their framework, ended up good friends as they already are, showering each other with champagne. The best of curtains fell on a day that was not just one more, but a very special day instead.
“The Battle of Surfaces” is no longer a brilliant idea: it has turned into an agreeable reality.
2 May 2007
Indian, Japan, South Africa, South America, Brazil, Hispanic US, Sub Korea, Germany, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Macao, Thailand, Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Singapur, ,Middle East, UAE, Dubai
1 May 2007
It is all set to reveal the great uncertainty of tomorrow's event. Seven thousand fans will witness The Battle of Surfaces. This afternoon, the two contenders met with the president of Balearic Islands, Jaume Mattas. Pablo Del Campo, the mastermind of this unique experience was there as well.
After the press conference, all of them gather in a private tour visiting one of the main icons of the city: the Palma de Mallorca Cathedral.
"I'm very enthusiastic; it's a great idea for tennis", Roger said.
Rafa showed thoughtful respect for the world's #1, "I have a special feeling, I'm really proud of having Roger in Mallorca", he said.
Everything seems to indicate that this game will not be just one more game. It will make history.
I'm very pleased, because all over this meeting I could notice the happiness and excitement of the contestants about this game, Pablo Del Campo highlighted.
Nadal in his element.
MONTE CARLO.- Ten months ago, Roger Federer had a funny feeling. He had arrived at the Roland Garros finals for the first time. It was the only Grand Slam that he had as yet never won, and it was to be his top performance on a clay court in Paris. But the fact of having lost against Rafael Nadal-the player who best displays on that kind of surface-and finding himself momentarily with a 1-6 on his record against the Spanish player, rather diminished that pride that the # 1 players usually boast. However, he didn't go to sleep after his defeat. "I didn't play as consistently as I had been doing in Monte Carlo and Rome. Here I had my chances but didn't make the most of them. I wasn't happy with my return shots; I made many mistakes. All the same, I'll keep on trying. This is a tournament that I want to win, and I'm closer to doing so every day", he said at the time.
What were Nadal's feelings? He was immensely happy after his second coronation in Paris, but at the same time he felt a certain vexation. "This is worse than in 2005. I won the same tournaments, but every day I am further away from Roger on the ranking. To think that with the points I have accumulated I could perfectly well be # 1. But I'm # 2 and Roger has almost double my points. It's incredible. All that remains is that I continue as I am and hope that his performance may begin to decline to be able to get closer. That's all that I can hope for", he said.
On Sunday April 22nd 2007 they again came face to face on a clay court. And once again the winner was the Spaniard. Now then, why does Nadal always win on a clay court, or why can Federer not beat the Spaniard on that surface? There are specific considerations. Roger's serve is superior, but the slowness of ground clay minimizes his power and gives Nadal more chances of returning his serve. But please note: usually in these confrontations, the Spaniard generally counts on a good percentage of first serves (78% during the final on Sunday in Monte Carlo 2007) in order to be in charge of the situation; to control the game and place Federer far behind the back line, which was easy to see in this recent definition. With the Swiss player in a position of defence, not being able to hit any shot which will unbalance the game because he is too far behind the centre of the court, his task is made easier.
Likewise, Rafael feels more at home with long, more elaborate points, with strokes at very close angles, which oblige Roger to widen his play having to hit the ball while covering much more ground. Not to mention if he has to face a counter-attack. Nadal has prevailed in several of these duels basing his strength on a formidable defence, in which he first holds on to the point, awaiting some mistake or the right moment in which to change from oppressed to oppressor. There are very few who can do this when Roger stands before them.
Federer's game is much more technically oriented, and requires enormous precision as well. When points get long and on the other side of the net there is an outstanding player in defence who is Nadal, it is necessary to take greater risks, and it is then that Federer may come to grief, because his percentage of unforced errors increases. On grass, although the Swiss player has moments of doubt, what with his serve, his versatility and the duration of each point, he can dissemble or reduce the negative impact: on clay, everything goes against him, whilst his opponent is stimulated by this and becomes confident.
Consequently, a lot of patience is required; the best of feelings are to be drawn up; he must know how to get a grip on his nerves-it is clear that Federer is not at ease when he faces Nadal-and a dose of luck. This combination of factors could, one day, turn the tables on a history that is adverse to the Swiss player when performing on clay courts. Of course: a black day for Nadal would make things easier, and one cannot discard the possibility of the Spaniard one day not being in top shape.
MONTECARLO.- Growing expectations for "The Battle of Surfaces", Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, showed their enthusiasm for this big challenge.
"It is exciting. When I received the proposal 9 months ago, I said it would be fun to participate in this unique event, that has never happened before", the Swiss pointed. "This is great for both of us. It will be a nice experience. The tickets are totally sold out." commented the Majorcan.
That Monte Carlo...
BARCELONA.- Two seasons ago, when Roger Federer was already # 1 on the world ranking, Rafael Nadal, aged 18, was 17th on the PTA ranking, but there was talk of him being a potential aspirant to the crown, as the man who would arrive to establish a new duel for supremacy in tennis The Majorcan had just lost against Russian Igor Andreev in the quarter finals of the Valencia tournament by 7-5 and 6-2 and he arrived at Monte Carlo to make his debut against French Gael Monfils. That was the start of a series of demolishing matches on clay courts, where he broke one record after another.
Ever since then, and not including the Conde de GodÛ trophy (where he could raise his mark to 72 wins in a row), Nadal has a total of 67 consecutive victories on clay courts: 36 in 2005; 26 in 2006 and 5 in 2007, in 11 of his 19 titles, the most recent being the one obtained this Sunday, also at Monte Carlo, where he won for the third consecutive year, equalling Rumanian Ilie Nastase's mark (champion in 1971, 1972 and 1973). That total also includes four victories in the Davis Cup series. An impressive streak which, on July 25th 2005, allowed him to climb up to 2nd. place on the ranking and from then on, to begin to stalk Federer. At one time, the Spaniard’s performance was a reminder of that unforgettable 1995 performance by Austrian Thomas Muster and that of Argentine Guillermo Vilas in 1977, almost unbeatable on clay or beaten clay surfaces or any other slow court they would come across.
Nadal knows he is Nº 2 on the ranking only because it is his lot to share a period in the history of tennis which coincides with a giant such as Federer. He is also aware that it is impossible for him to struggle to reach the highest position on the ranking if the Swiss does not lessen his very high rate of efficiency, since the difference in points is, for the moment, impossible to make smaller.
Likewise, Rafael feels very sure of himself as to his position in the ranking, since he also has produced a considerable difference in points as regards his followers. So it all adds up to how he can bridge the gap to the top. And he has already started to change things on his tennis calendar. In 2006 he did not play the same tournaments. He maintained those on clay surfaces–this week he will take part in the Conde de Godó tournament in Barcelona–, but after that he changed some lesser matches for others on fast courts which will give him more points. He knows that that is the road towards his important goals.
Roger And The Ground-Clay Court
MONTECARLO.- The close victory over Italian Andrea Seppi (101st. On the world ranking) in the second round of the MONTECARLO Open must be taken within context for Roger Federer. It was his first match of the year on a clay surface; he had to play against an opponent who on paper was not hard to beat, but who was a bit more tuned-in after the two qualifying matches he had taken part in. Also, of course, when there is no pressure, it is a known fact that things can turn out better than expected.
Added to this, Federer arrived at this stage in a different position than, say, the year before, when he had won four titles in a row, among them, the Australian Open and the Indian Wells and Miami Masters Series. This time, the unforeseen defeats at the hands of Argentine Guillermo Ca√±as may probably have taken their toll on his confidence. Naturally: he is not used to losing, above all if it is not Rafael Nadal who is standing before him.
The Swiss player is aware of the fact. that the clay surface season is the one he finds hardest. There are many fighters on the circuit who feel at home on slow surfaces and who could make things difficult for him not forgetting that each match demands a greater physical effort because of the extension of points. However, last season he showed his mettle arriving at no less than three finals on beaten-clay courts that he took part in: MONTECARLO, Rome and Roland Garros. And at all three of them he only bowed down to‚Ä¶. Nadal. Which is why he knows exactly what May 2nd. will mean: ‚ÄúThe Battle of Surfaces‚Äù.
And we must not forget that at the definition in Rome, Roger was 4-1 above in the fifth set and later with the score at 6-5 he had two match-points, but Nadal being Nadal on a clay surface, was able to emerge triumphant and win afterwards in the tie-break. So Federer has a hard time on a clay court, but he is not obtuse, and each year he becomes more in-tuned to this surface. He wants to be the best of all times and knows that in order to be so, he needs to display to perfection on all surfaces. And that‚Äôs exactly what he‚Äôs after.
Period Of Adaptation
MONTECARLO.- Planning the season is essential, and each of the feature players of ‚ÄúThe Battle Of Surfaces‚Äù has his own recipe. Now then: the challenge is extremely interesting for Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and above all, innovative. It is clear that they are amused by it, and were enthusiastic at the idea, without losing any of their professionalism. But what parameters will they take into account in order to best prepare for each surface?
The grass stage is more direct: there are only six competitions throughout the year, the most important being Wimbledon, and it is played during the third and fourth of the five weeks over which the tournaments are distributed: Queen‚Äôs, Halle, s‚ÄôHertongenbosch, Nottingham, Wimbledon and Newport. This last one, played in the United States, does not count either of the two players as participants. They aim at Queen‚Äôs that begins on the day following the final at Roland Garros, where they warm up on the following week. There is not much margin: the idea is to become acclimatized as soon as possible to all the changes that going from a clay court to a grass court imply. It‚Äôs an authentic race against the clock in which Federer is in a better position because of his style. Not in vain has he been successful at All England in the last four years.
During the clay court stage, there have been notorious changes from 2005 to 2006 for Nadal, the specialist on this surface. Two years ago, when he was just appearing on the scene and climbing his way up on the ranking, he participated in tournaments in Latin America, Buenos Aires, Costa do Sauipe and Acapulco; later in Valencia, MONTECARLO, Barcelona, Rome and Roland Garros, and after that Wimbledon, also Bastad and Stuttgart. Once he became established as N¬∫ 2, he reduced his presentations on clay courts to the most select: MONTECARLO, Barcelona, Rome and Roland Garros. There, where the best converge and the ‚Äúbig points‚Äù for the ranking are obtained.
Aware of the fact that it is not easy to bridge the gap with Federer, he went out to fight on other surfaces, cement, giving up tournaments on clay courts that he was not particularly interested in winning and by which he had more to lose than to gain. The Swiss player, meanwhile, has so far only been playing three big tournaments on clay courts in the last few years: MONTECARLO, Rome or Hamburg and Roland Garros. Depending on how he does this week, there is a chance that he might play both in Rome and Hamburg (he won three times there), wherewith he would be raising his expectations to four tournaments. Thus, this year he aspires to achieving his old dream of raising the Musketeers‚Äô Cup.
A Similar Recipe
MONTECARLO.- Once the clay court season comes to an end in the most important segment, the protagonists of ‚ÄúThe Battle Of Surfaces‚Äù will start concentrating on their next objective: none other than Wimbledon; the Cathedral: the All England, where one breathes tradition; located on Church Road, and which has seen Roger Federer‚Äìthe specialist on grass courts‚Äìcrowned champion without interruption from 2002 to 2006, which means that he has had 28 consecutive wins there.
The Swiss player likes making use of the first week alter Paris to take part in some grass court competition, and to use the second week to adjust details, relax and wait for the third Grand Slam of the year with a very clear head. The tournament that he chooses to play is, since 2002, the Halle tournament in Germany, instead of the Queen‚Äôs tournament in London itself, which was the preferred spot of Pete Sampras, another legend on the British grass courts. In Germany Federer finds the climate better, without so much rain, and he feels that he is further away from the pressure. It was only many years ago, in 2000 and 2001 that he used to use those two weeks for playing the additional tournaments of s‚ÄôHertongenbosch or Nottingham. Afterwards, he decided to play only one week, a formula that he found highly satisfactory.
Rafael Nadal‚Äôs planning is similar, although his background history is shorter due to his age. In 2004, after winning his first Roland Garros tournament, he played on the Halle grass court and bid fare-well to it rapidly: German Alexander Waske eliminated him in the first round. At Wimbledon he only just made it to the second round: he was defeated by Gilles M√ºller, from Luxembourg. It was a different story by 2006. After his second success at Paris, he went to Queen‚Äôs and won two matches and after slight physical discomforts in the quarter finals he retired playing against Lleyton Hewitt. But he later made it no less than to the Wimbledon final, where he lost in four sets against the king on grass courts, Federer, playing two tie-breaks (one won, the other lost). That is to say that his progress had been outstanding from one year to the next.
What will happen in 2007? Hard to know. Roger continues to be the favourite on grass, but Rafael also wants to feel the glory of winning at All England. And he doesn‚Äôt feel far from doing so.
Journalist: What difference do you feel when playing on clay and on grass?
Nalbandian: They are two totally different games . While playing on flat grass, each move is difficult and every shot causes more damage. Playing on clay is more physically demanding and the points are longer.
J: Do you prepare in a different way when playing on clay than on grass?
N: Yes. The trainings are absolutely different and basically you use different muscles in each surface.
J: Is it hard for a tennis player to change seasons, from clay to grass?
N: It is hard. Hard because when you finish playing ‚ÄúRoland Garros‚Äù, shortly after you must play ‚ÄúWimbledon‚Äù. And it‚Äôs not easy to adapt so quickly.
J: What‚Äôs the tip for wining on clay?
N: To play deep and basically to be in good physical shape, as I told you before.
J: The last one, what‚Äôs your bet: Nadal or Federer?
N: Uhh. Its very difficult to predict because every 2 games they have to swap sides, so it is very hard to know!
‚ÄúThe Battle of Surfaces‚Äù is a creation of the Del Campo Saatchi & Saatchi agency, number 1 in Iberoam√©rica for its advertising creativity.
The fantasy was always there. To compare periods; to measure potential; to determine who is the greatest. Tennis has specialists; certain players dominate the sport in each kind of court. Now, then: What would happen if two players were made to play against each other on even grounds; on different surfaces in one same game?
Roger Federer is the best tennis player in the World and nobody can defeat him on a grass court. He can‚Äôt however, emerge supreme on a clay court, and his greatest obsession is to win at Roland Garros, where last year he made it to the final and was defeated by the vigorous, potent and tenacious Majorcan.
Rafael Nadal is the tennis players who has put the Swiss player in a tight spot most often and is almost unbeatable on a ground red clay court. One of his great obsessions is to win at the mythical All England at Wimbledon, and contrary to what many believed, in 2006 he made it to the final, where he was beaten by Federer‚Äôs exquisite and practical play.
To put them up against each other in one same game on a court with both surfaces in which each displays his best tennis, enlivens a unique event. The idea was born in the Del Campo Saatchi & Saatchi agency, and will take place next May 2nd at the Palma Arena.
‚ÄúI would love this to become a classic. When I see a city as inspiring as Palma de Mallorca, where through idols such as Moya and Nadal tennis becomes so relevant and with the new state-of-the-arts stadium which is the Palma Arena, I feel that the conditions are perfect to give life to the idea‚Äù, points out Pablo Del Campo, the man who came up with the idea and who is President of Del Campo Saatchi & Saatchi, the number 1 agency in Iberoam√©rica for its advertising creativity.
In a few days, presented by the Govern des illes Balears, Federer and Nadal will fight for tennis supremacy in a way that is unheard of to date: an historical classic that will be broadcast by Antena 3 and watched by 5,000 spectators who will fill the palma Arena.