US Open Notes: Federer Open Era v Pre-Open Era
by Richard Vach | August 29th, 2007, 3:36 pm

OPEN ERA v PRE-OPEN ERA — The International Tennis Federation (ITF) runs the media info desk at the Slams, and does an excellent job, but can we dispense with the pretense that modern-day records should be evenly compared to the 1800s when the Slams began, rather than back to 1968, the official onset of the Open Era in tennis?

“Federer is now bidding to become the first man since Bill Tilden in 1923 to collect a fourth successive US Championships title, Tilden going on to win six in a row,” states the ITF media notes. “Only three men have won four successive titles in the history of this event: Richard Sears, William Larned and Tilden.”

The ITF goes on to note that Sears and Larned played during the “Challenge Round” era when as defending champs they only had to win one match to defend their titles.

Federer’s achievements in the super-competitive modern era are incomparable to an age where only certain players were allowed to compete, and there wasn’t such a world-wide influx of players competing at all levels, from tour to challengers, satellites and futures.

Federer winning four US Opens in a row would be a first-time feat — then if you want, throw in some asterisks from some of the years when the event was less of a worldwide phenomenon, go ahead. But let them remain asterisks rather than equals.

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28 Comments for US Open Notes: Federer Open Era v Pre-Open Era

kamret Says:

I totally agree with you, except for one thing: Federer is NOT going to win the U.S. Open this year. So, there will be NO first-time feat.

Dave Says:

Roger Federer is peerless. His dominance of men’s tennis is unrivaled, and he will likely win his 4th successive US Open – who can stop him?

Nadal, the only player who consistently makes Federer’s play seem human, has yet to prove he will even be a factor in the US Open. Roddick and Hewitt, for all their bravado, don’t seem to beleive that they can beat Federer. And Djokovic still isn’t ready, but he’s admittedly close, to be an Open champion.

If Federer does not win the US Open, it will be the result of Federer having a very off day, and a someone else having the match of their life. If Federer plays anywhere near his capability for all of the tournament, he will undoubtedly be crowed the US Open Champion for the 4th time.

jane Says:

Dave -
Not saying you’re wrong – but just curious – why isn’t djok ready? and don’t you think hewitt believed in cincy? he came awfully close, given, that was best of 3 not 5.

Dancevic FAN! Says:

Hewitt has an enormously losing record to Federer in their past, oh 11 matches, Federer having won all 11. Come close or not that’s a tough statistic to make it look like Hewitt has a very significant chance – although he is playing extremely well.

Djok is maybe ready – let’s see how his conditioning holds up. He’s a front runner for sure.

Nadal is still a tough question. He gets pushed by too many players on hard court, even 123rd ranked Alun Jones today. As much as Nadal believes he can beat Federer, and he indeed can, he has to always fight to finally make it to that Federer match, and it’s never an easy fight for him on hardcourt.

jane Says:

Hi Dancevic Fan,

Our guy played well against Safin, but kudos to Safin for really holding his cool today.

Rafa is clearly injured – both knees now. So I don’t know if he’ll go far.

I just thought that in Cincy, perhaps now with Roche behind him, Hewitt looked confident and on form, but he did go away in the 3rd set tiebreaker. Best of 5 wouldn’t hurt a fighter like Hewitt.

But in all honesty I’d rather see Djok come through.

Dancevic FAN! Says:

Yep, Dancevic did play extremely well…it was great to see, it would be extremely nice to see him win an ATP tourney one day! It was the one match I thought that he had a good chance in because of Safin’s off form as of late…he had his chances though.

Hewitt does look great…much better than he had been the past little while before that.

I would guess either Hewitt or Djoker would be in the final before Federer -> Nadal though. Let’s see what happens!

Dancevic FAN! Says:

And how about Henman? I’m very happy for him to come through against Tursunov!

funches Says:

Dancevic played like crap. Safin gave him every opportunity to win all three sets, but today, Dancevic did not have enough game to take advantage.

Dancevic FAN! Says:

Yah, Dancevic had opportunities. Hopefully his big stage jitters won’t be there as much next time! I was disappointed – he could have won that match.

It was a good opening round opportunity for him…hopefully the next opening round draw that he gets gives him just as good a chance!

The one good thing out of it is – deep down Frank must know that he could have won it – with all of those set point opportunities that he had.

Dancevic FAN! Says:

And Fed is starting to play – he looks so dapper in that black outfit! GO FED!!!!!

Dancevic FAN! Says:

I might even be as bold to say that Federer looks “sexy” in black – he’s bringing sexy back!! ahh yah!!!

Greenguy Says:

Federer is NOT going to win this year’s Open?

You sound endlessly confident on that score. So can you clue the rest of us into who IS going to win?

Debra Gardner Says:

I think Roger will probably win his fourth U.s. open unless there is an intresting upset. Roger sort of reminds me of Wayne Gretzky in that they went through their respective careers rarely getting injured and so able to take advantage of using their brilliant skills to score (Gretzky) and win (Roger. I just hope Rafa’s greatness isn’t swallowed up by injuries like Mario Lemieux’s. I know it’s probably hard to compare the two sports-one being single and one being a team-but they just remind me of each other because they were pretty much peerless in what they did and are doing.

Dancevic FAN! Says:

Hi Debra, it’s a tough comparison since a professional, NHL or Olympic ice rink is always the same – similar ice temperature, indoors, etc. so the conditions don’t vary. To me tennis is different in this aspect – there’s indoor, outdoor, clay, hard, grass, colder weather, warmer weather, windy, not windy, dry, humid – many different surfaces and conditions!

Do you think that Nadal is like Mario in that he’s peerless on all surfaces? I think that the way he’s been playing, I would say no, and that he’s peerless on clay and extremely strong on grass – but on hard and carpet?

I still think Nadal’s style is more prone to injury because of the physicality. I think Djoker will have more multi-surface success than Nadal, but just my guess!

Dancevic FAN! Says:

Federer’s quote on John Isner “well he’s not 6′ 10′”…lol let’s see how that match up goes

Debra Gardner Says:

I know it’s a tough comparison and it only evens itself out for me because although one has the same indoor surface in hockey, one is much more likely to get seriously injured than in tennis. (Roger will probably keep all of his teeth). I also think that Rafa’s game is more physical and prone to injury, which is a shame. Mario’s peerlessness is unfathomable because we’ll never know how good he could have been because of the very major stuff he had to deal with and that ultimately ended his career. I see that Roger has beaten his man again, although ending with four games your last two sets sounds better than the one game he got in the first. As much as I like Roger, I would really like to see him get in a few five set matches on the way to the finish line. I also want Joko to stay healthy. Heavens if all this interesting winning bunch stays healthy and in top form for next week there will be some memorable matches! Also isn’t Ivo Carlovic 6 ft 10? Does he now have company?

Kara L. Says:

Might be interesting for the journalists to bring up the fact that Isner put up a facebook group using expletives to describe what he was going to do to Federer, encouraging its members to heckle Fed.

Here’s the full quote from the facebook page:

“Federer, you ain’t sh*t, John Isner owns you!!”
Type: Sports & Recreation – Professional Sports
Description: These words uttered by John Isner. Alcohol may or may not have been involved.

When John gets into the US Open he will perhaps be matched up in the first round with world #1 Roger Federer. If, in such a scenario, you are totally prepared to make the trip to NY in late August to offer both rabid support of John and merciless heckling of the smug Swiss, then join this group.

“Dude. If I win NCAAs, and play in the US Open, and play Federer, you guys HAVE to be there. You guys have to be there and yell ‘Federer, you aint sh*t, John Isner owns you!!’. Im telling you,


Dear god. It’s juvenile, declasse and definitely not sportsmanlike.

jane Says:

Kara L –

But it’s teenagers/college kids on facebook; I wouldn’t put too much stock into it. Isner has not played on the pro circut for more than a couple of months. He’s still in “Animal House” mode. Give him some more time; he’ll mature.

He’s just looking for support anyhow – I am sure he doesn’t mean for people to yell that literally. And what are his chances? Like one in a thousand or more. So let him be a goof.

Kara L. Says:

jane – On one level I understand that these are college kids but this kind of behavior just irks me, especially when there are athletes far younger than Isner (i.e. Nadal, Gasquet, Djokovic) who behave more maturely and don’t feel the need to engage in mob-inciting behavior to win their matches. I’m also not a fan of players who encourage their fanbase to yell insulting/derogatory remarks at their opponents, it’s totally disrespectful.

Maybe if his game wasn’t such an affront to tennis (dear lord, have you seen that pitiful excuse for a backhand?) I might be more forgiving but as of now I just don’t have any patience for this overgrown fratboy. (Sorry, just expressing my own personal opinion here)

jane Says:

Kara L

I totally agree that Nadal, Gasquet, and Djokovic all have way more class not to mention game than Isner. But they’ve all been playing in the pros for years already and have been schooled accordingly.

Isner has been playing in college; it’s a totally different scenerio. The kid referred to “Dumb and Dumber” in his press conference after tonight’s match. So.

Like I said – he’s just in “Animal House” mode. He’ll get over it; he’ll have to if he wants respect in the pros.

I totally repsect – and mainly agree – with your opinion but am only suggesting that he might be cut a little slack for his coming-out party.

JDC Says:

Isner’s actions haven’t shown a lack of class or respect. In fact, the opposite: he showed the utmost respect to Federer. He posted those comments in jest, before his recent success on the tour. His belief in those statements was the same as if one of us made those comments. At the time, it was so far from reality that it was simply a humorous comment. Think about how many club players hit a winner and yell, “Eat your heart out, Federer.” His facebook comments are no different from that.

Voicemale Says:

Federer will have a lot less trouble with Isner than a lot of Isner supporters think. Roger has handled the Roddick serve to the extent of beating him 13 of 14 in four years. Isner will expect a lot of his shots to be aces – and when they come back more than he’d like, he’ll start to melt down mentally.

He doesn’t move well because he’s so tall – and he’s rewarded by fast hard courts that put a premium on big serves and very little actual playing of tennis. Federer has so many angled shots & low slices to pick from that when he starts jerking this kid around the court he’ll be so exhausted that a Third Set will seem like Water Torture. Federer in three.

max619 Says:

kamret, how much money would you bet against Fed?

missing agassi Says:

Regarding Roger and his place in tennis history, I would be tempted, at first glance, to say that he is the best ever, however, when you look at the opponents that “Sweet Pete” played against compared to Roger’s opposition, Pete obviously had the tougher opponents, would you say? That is not Rog’s fault, but it is a fact nonetheless.
Pete: Rafter, Becker, Edberg, Agassi, Moya, Chang, Courier, Safin(does he count now?), Kafelvikov, and the players ranked below these guys in Pete’s time were great as well! Wheaton, Gilbert (the dude could win!), Guga, Moya, Henners, etc. Feds has an easier road, but there is no getting around his talent, however, if Pete played Feds, in their primes, Pete would win based on his ability to hit the big shots when they counted. Even against Agassi, Pete’s stiffest competition, Pete, unless tired, NEVER looked human. Feds can look very human sometimes against Nadal.

JDC Says:

Why do you say that Becker, Edberg, etc are better than Fed’s competition? Because they won slams? Well, if Federer won less slams per year (as Pete did), his competition would have more slam wins. That would make Fed’s competition look as good as Pete’s competition did.

Nadal could have 5 (3 French, 2 Wimbledon).
Roddick could have 4 (2 Wimby, 2 US Open).
Hewitt could have between 4 and 6 (constantly losing to Fed in the quarters, semis and finals of slams).

These numbers compare to Pete’s competition: Edberg (6), Becker (6), Courier (4), Moya (1), Chang (1), Kafelnikov (2). Safin applies to both players (1 slam during Pete’s regime, 1 during Fed’s), as well as Agassi.

Also, don’t forget about the slams that Fed’s competition will win in the future. Comparing slam wins of Pete’s competitors (15+ years of playing) to Fed’s competitors (8 years) isn’t quite fair. Fed’s competitors will rack up more slam wins and respect in the next few years, especially when Fed stops hogging them all. History will reflect upon Nadal and Djok (my prediction) as greats like Edberg, Becker, etc.

Dancevic FAN! Says:

missing agassi: the argument can always go the other way : how would today’s top 10 / top 20 field be perceived if Federer never existed? perhaps then it would be regarded as a deep, tough field…

missing agassi Says:

Good points! I am willing to rethink my comments! I just miss agassi! Maybe I’m bitter! :-) Kidding!

Fides balagtas Says:

I agree with you that Serena talks sarcastically remarks when she has been upset by her oponents. No wonder..grace and etiquette begins from the family where you belong.She’s so frenzy about her loss….
More power!!

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