If you’re ever lonely for death threats from 12-year-olds or e-mail in-boxes full of character-slandering abuse, just publicly question a record that world No. 1 Roger Federer possibly can’t achieve.
In this case, Pete Sampras’ six consecutive years ending the ATP Rankings at No. 1.
Federer is half way there after already clinching this year’s top spot. He is, by the estimate of most, on his way to the title of best-ever in men’s tennis.
Still — and here’s where Federer fans’ veins started popping and keyboards were thrown against walls — it was proposed, nay, prognosticated, that the smooth Swiss would not match Sampras’ six in a row, that it was too difficult to maintain in this age of major injury and the rise of opponents such as Rafael Nadal. And pointing to Carlos Moya’s comments that in his opinion, Sampras had tougher competition in the ’90s than Federer does now.
Apparently, even as a big fan of the Swiss, one can’t venture an opinion other than that Federer is a god among men who will break every record imaginably then ascend to the Popehood.
Commenter Siva Natarajan says: “I also think this is an article in poor taste trying to put down Federer’s achievements and potential.”
Only you and the entire Fed Army.
arsh says: “You just simply think Roger is not as great as Peter, but this is not an appropriate reason to predict his decompose, or that’s just your wish maybe.”
Lot of problems with this statement, as I think Rog would have dominated Pete had they played in the same era. All I touched on was Rog not in my opinion reaching the six in a row — and his competition being less than Pete’s. Also not sure Sampras has ever been called “Peter” by anyone other than his mother, nor is he to the point of decomposing.
JCF says: “I’m saving a copy of this article for 3 years time. Richard Vash should retire as a Senior Writer and consider a career in comedy. This is great stuff Richard, keep it up!”
Don’t stop at one article, start a scrapbook. But seriously — no, seriously, you can start a scrapbook if you want. In three years if Rog is looking at six year-ends in a row, dinner is on me. It certainly won’t be for lack of talent on Federer’s part, but today’s tour is an out-of-control injury factory where they don’t regulate technology like other major sports — yet they still try to get the players to compete on an incremental basis.
tequilaandchili says: “yeah, Mr. Vach, why you don’t dedicate some time of your life to cook and sale tortillas in the streets of LA instead of trying to put down Roger’s achievements down.”
You gotta like arguments that start with “Yeah…” like “Yeah, Mr. Doodoohead, stop talking about Roger that way because he is great and you’re not as you’re just jealous because he is great!!!!!!!” And putting down the tortilla guy in L.A. ain’t cool. Those guys do you right for like $3 bucks a pop.
joeseph o brien says: “I don’t know why i bother reading this site anymore. Your views are one sided, and arent backed up by proper evidence and I am sick of the idiotoc and juvenile writing of Richard Vach.”
We agree. You should stop reading this site. And spelling stuff.
John says: “I think you’re just grasping at straws trying to bring Federer down to earth when clearly he’s so far a class above the rest. Since no current player has matched up to him (except Nadal, and that’s open for debate)you’re trying to resurrect the ghost of Pete Sampras in the hopes of giving federer a credible adversary.”
Thank God, a voice of reason. That pretty much hit it on the head. Federer is a class above the rest, and I was grasping at straws, one of the few straws left, I’m saying one of the few records he won’t get is Sampras’ six in a row.
Joy Parker says: “Wow, the Federer fanz are out in full force. Pete was the best in his era! Roger is the best at the moment…Will he break Pete’s records???? Maybe. Does it kill Sampras fans that that is a possibility??? Yes for the most part…So reading all the comments from this article makes me smile because I know what the Federer fans are going through.”
No Joy, you don’t — you don’t know what Venkat is going through:
Venkat says: “Federer is more than a player, he is a genius and you better appreciate his greatness…Finally, Fed is such a good person off the court that none of us would like to see him injured. You saying that Fed might not be able to break Pete’s record of year-end No. 1′s on the basis of injury sounds selfish to me.”
That was pretty selfish wasn’t it, pointing out that with the runaway injuries on tour, it’s unlikely anyone could sweep six straight years of No. 1.
I should have listened to anonymously yours who said: “The crazy Fedtards will hunt you down and kill you.”
These were just the blog message responses, you should have seen the e-mails.
One completely insane poster, kamret, commented: “I think the article was a good one. I don’t understand why so many people (probably a lot of teenagers whose knowledge of tennis cannot come anywhere close to an author who has been a fan and analyst of the game for several decades) on this board are criticizing the article and the author. Rich Vach never said that he thought Sampras was greater than Federer, or vice-versa. Instead, all he said was that in this new era of brutal tennis, it would be almost impossible to stay #1 for 6 straight years without getting injured. I totally agree with him.”
Thanks Mom, er, kamret. Like I say, if I can just reach THAT ONE READER, save THAT ONE LIFE, then my years in medical school were not wasted.
Blake Backs Talk with Action
James Blake walked the walk in Sunday’s Bangkok final, handily beating Ivan Ljubicic 6-3, 6-1, after talking the talk earlier in the week that U.S. men’s tennis was far from in the doldrums.
“Andy (Roddick) is just 24, playing great tennis…I’ve continued to improve, and there’s no sign of that stopping. I like the way American tennis is looking right now,” Blake said. “I think it’s a tough situation we’re in. American tennis fans are a little spoilt. Agassi, Courier, Sampras, Connors — that’s the best generation of tennis players from one country ever. They’re so used to having an American in a grand slam or masters final every time and it’s tough to compete with that.”
Roddick’s slide out of the Top 10 this summer sent U.S. fans and media into a panic, which part-time coach Jimmy Connors putting his foot up the former No. 1′s ass has only partially solved. At least it looks like both Roddick and Blake, unless they totally fall off the table, will qualify for the year-end Masters Cup — especially since Marcos Baghdatis is now unfortunately pulling from multiple tournaments with a shoulder injury.
Props to Ljubicic, who played an awful final in Bangkok, for not going to the shoulder injury card after having problems earlier in the week, and hope it’s nothing serious. Big serving takes a big injury toll on the shoulder — ask Joachim Johansson and Martin Verkerk. Remember last year when over half the Masters Cup field pulled with injuries or other maladies? Seems little has changed in 12 months after Shanghai officials asked the ATP to look into the rash of injuries.
The U.S. with two male representatives in the year-end Top 10, a feat only Spain will probably match, will be enough to take the heat off the U.S. men and fan it back toward the U.S. women — which will finish with no representatives in the Top 10 for the first time — ever.
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