Nalbandian Might Not Win a Slam in 2008, But He Might Win the Davis Cup
by Sean Randall | February 7th, 2008, 11:45 pm
  • 82 Comments

I don’t have a lot of time, but I think I have just enough to scrape together a quick preview on the 2008 Davis Cup, which begins first round play in just a few hours.

Last year I blew it picking Croatia to beat the U.S. in the final. I guess it wasn’t a half-bad selection, but I’ll try to do better this year (thankfully I can’t even pick Croatia again!).

Tomorrow’s first round really has some tasty match-ups with Serbia v. Russia, USA v. Austria and even Sweden v Israel.

In the best opening rounder, Russia’s the slight favorite at home against a Serbian team that features the red-hot Novak Djokovic and the pesky Janko Tipsarevic. Russia, though, will counter with their own form of red heat with Marat Safin, Dmitry Tursunov, Mikhail Youhzny and Nikolay Davydenko. Having Marat back in the Davis Cup mix should get Russia through in a thriller to meet the Czech Republic, who’ll handle Belgium’s best.

Argentina will happily host and then destroy Great Britain, which won’t even have the services of Andy Murray. If GBR can get a point that would be a great effort. Israel’s an intriguing upset pick against visiting Sweden, but I’ll stick with Mats and Co. to find a way to beat down Dudi Sela and the Ram/Erlich in a real close one.

The bottom half of the draw is a little lighter in terms of overall strength with Peru and Korea, both of whom should go down quietly setting up a Germany-Spain clash.

France should have no trouble with Romania and I’ll take the U.S. to eek one out over the lefty Austrian team.

In the quarterfinals, the Czech Republic will have a good crack at Russia, but it’s tough to pick against Russia at home. And it’s even tougher to pick against Argentina at home against Sweden.

Germany v. Spain sounds good on paper but it really isn’t. Unless Tommy Haas is 100% and Nicolas Kiefer is back to his old annoying ways, Spain’s my pick over the home German squad.

And in the best quarterfinal match-up (and maybe the best match of the entire year), I’ll stay with the home U.S. team to bully France, which has a ton of talent, a ton of players, but playing in the U.S. on hard courts just ahead of Monte Carlo is not going to help the French cause. Richard Gasquet, JW Tsonga v. Roddick and Blake, Llodra/Clement v. the Bryans. That’s some good tennis. Hell, I might even buy a ticket for that one. Let’s hope it happens.

So my semifinals look like this: Russia v. Argentina, Spain v. U.S. And at that stage and with those match-ups, it really comes down to who’s playing at home. In this case that would be Argentina and Spain, so I’m taking both of them to make the final.

I know it’s a long way away, but I’ll take a flyer and go with David Nalbandian (he seems to play well at the end of the year!), the Fighting Guillermo’s – Canas, Coria, Perez-Roldan and even Vilas – plus Gabriela Sabatini to overcome the nerves and pressure and edge the visiting Spaniards in a good ol’ baseline brawl.

Now if you are Argentina do you play hard court or clay? Maybe even go indoors. I’m not sure but regardless, David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal, provided they make the journey, will not be easy outs. Yet in the end I’m still sticking with the Argies who’ll have the luxury (or luck) of never having to leave their country in capturing their first Davis Cup title. What a party that will be.


Also Check Out:
Nalbandian, Argentina Close in on First Davis Cup Title; Roddick Hires a Coach
David Nalbandian Has Retired From Tennis
Nalbandian Without a Coach, Gilbert Without $20
Nalbandian, Tsonga Fight for Shanghai in Final Match of ATP Regular Season in Paris
Nadal, Murray Begin Grass Season at Queen’s Club; Del Potro, Nalbandian Return

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82 Comments for Nalbandian Might Not Win a Slam in 2008, But He Might Win the Davis Cup

Aussie Ange Says:

Like I have written on another thread, a DC tie btween Argentina and Spain what a lot of hottness going on there. Especially with Canas, Hott Sauce Verdasco and Ferrer. I think I need a cold shower.


jane Says:

If they can get by the US, I think France have a good chance at winning it. Gasquet can beat, well, almost anyone if he’s on; Tsonga knows how to beat Rafa, no? And Llodra/Clement are no slouches. In all, France has a great team as well as newfound confidence and camaraderie with the addition of Tsonga to the ranks.


jane Says:

zola just pointed out elsewhere that Rafa and Ferrer are out of Davis Cup, so France would have an even easier time of ripping past Spain. Like I say, I think they’ve got a good shot this year if they all stay healthy and dedicated.

And as for the surging Serbs – Djoker and Tipsy both have the flu, reminiscent of the ties at the end of last year, when so many players were sick, so Russia will get through easily.


Colleen Says:

Jane, Nadal and Ferrer aren’t out of Davis Cup for the whole year, just for Peru. I don’t personally seeing France beating the U.S. away.


Dr. Death Says:

Perhaps England will pull off a miracle!

No, I guess not. Their “Jesus” has withdrawn to protect some body part. Even his brother was not happy with this decision according to the London Times. Murray is a joke except in the British press.

Go Roddick!


Von Says:

Colleen:

“Nadal and Ferrer aren’t out of Davis Cup for the whole year, just for Peru. I don’t personally seeing France beating the U.S. away.”

I think with the team Spain has presently, Verdasco, Robredo and Lopez, who is a big lefty server, they’ll do fine against Peru. To my knowledge, Peru does not have a stong team. If Spain can win this tie, and Rafa and Ferrer are healthy when the next time Davis Cup rolls around, I’d say Spain’s chances would be very good getting to the semis.

“Gasquet can beat, well, almost anyone if he’s on..”

I disagree. When he’s on he can beat some players, but not almost anyone. I don’t see France getting by the US. The US has the best doubles team in the world and Roddick has a good H2H against Gasquet and some of the other French players on hard courts. Tsonga has to stay healthy to beat either US singles players.

All things considered I like the US chances of getting to the semis/finals.

“And as for the surging Serbs – Djoker and Tipsy both have the flu, reminiscent of the ties at the end of last year, when so many players were sick, so Russia will get through easily..”

If Russia wins, it will be because they have an excellent team, irregardless of the unhealthy or healthy duo. Safin, Youzhny and Tursunov could have easily beaten Djok and Tipsy. Safin always puts out 100 percent+ in DC. I don’t recall many players sick with the flu in the ties last year. However, does this mean that they are not going to rip through Russia?


Von Says:

DrDeath:

“Go Roddick!” I am happy to see another dedicated Roddick fan. I am tired of playing solo. We now have a duo. Yeah, go Roddick!

I think Murray is saving his energy to defend his San Jose title. What he’s doing is so unfair. The LTA paid a huge sum of money to Gilbert for Murray’s coaching, and this is how he repays them? Very poor gamesmanship! Go Roddick!


Von Says:

Well Spain is up 2-0, likewise, France and the USA.


Dr. Death Says:

Especially for Von – Roddick has played more great matches that he has lost than probably anyone else in tennis history although I could never find the stats to support that statement.

He certainly proved his worth in the five setter against Austria in the Davis Cup.

As to Murray, if this lad does not play some consistent winning tennis soon, he will end up advertising after shave lotion on British tv. Today’s comment in the London times by John Lloyd is that Murray’s non-play is a one off. Excuse me, you just lost in the first round in the Davis Cup. You have a little bit of time to wait before the Media Saviour of British tennis is called up again.


Von Says:

Dr. Death:

You stated:
“Especially for Von – Roddick has played more great matches that he has lost than probably anyone else in tennis history although I could never find the stats to support that statement.”

Thank you, you’re so right. Unfortunately, his name is like dirt on these tennis sites. I am afraid to say anything about him because I’ll just open him up to more bashing, and I’ll be upset so it’s best to be quiet. I don’t understand the reason for the bashing. He has proved his mettle so many times. There’s no doubt that he is capable of playing and winning 5 setter matches. You mentioned his win in that 5 setter in Austria in Davis Cup and on that lousy clay court. Did you notice the concrete was showing through the clay. Unbelievable.

What really irks me about his status as an unsung hero is the bashing that’s added to his unrecognized accomplishments. Do you remember that 5 setter he played in the AO against Younes El Ananoyui, 19-21 in the 5th set. That matched lasted over 5 hours. I’m uncertain, but I heard one commentator stating that it was the longest 5th set in AO history. It just shows the mettle of which he is made, how big is his heart, and his fitness.

His consistency in the Top 10 for over 6 years speaks volumes. However, that’s another one of my pet peeves. When Andy was No. 3 as recently as mid ’07, there were those who only spoke of the top 2. Andy was forgotten. Now the GS winner is No. 3, it’s stated that it’s only the top 3 that matters. Can we have some consistency here. Why do they emphasize the Top 10, if only the top 2 or 3 is what matters? It doesn’t matter how they look at it, the guy has accomplished a lot and he also won Davis Cup. His place in the International Tennis Hall of Fame is secure.

As to Murray, I can’t figure him out. I often look at him and wonder what makes him tick. He supposedly has a problem with his leg/ankle? but he is playing on Monday next week in Marseille along with the No.3 player, who is also sick. I’m baffled. Sick for Davis Cup but not sick for Marseille. Murray could have shown up if even to give support.

Anyway, Go Roddick!


Dr. Death Says:

Cant feel too sorry for Roddick – assuming he is still going out with Brooklyn Decker.


Von Says:

Dr.Death:

“Cant feel too sorry for Roddick – assuming he is still going out with Brooklyn Decker.”

Agreed, and he has made many more millions of dollars than I’ll ever have, so all things considered he’s doing something right, plus all of the income he receives from his five (5) very wealthy sponsors.

As for his new little friend, Brooklyn Decker, we’ll see how long that willl last, considering how quickly his romance with Mandy Moore ended. He’s a very handsome young man. He once stated that when he retires he can picture himself sitting in a rocking chair with hopefully, a beautiful wife, sitting next to him. The guy’s got charisma, not to mention that turkey temper. Be that as it may, I still love him.

So you are a Brith, eh? I am a Brit-American. I couldn’t take those dreary grey clouds and foggy nights. Brrr. Sends chills up my spine just thinking about that “heautiful” weather. However, I do miss the London Times.

Cheerio.


Von Says:

Please excuse the typos: Last para, ist line, Brith, s/b Brit. Line 2, “heautiful”, should be “beautiful.”


jane Says:

Yeah, maybe you’re right about Gasquet, Von – perhaps I should have said he has the “skills” to beat almost anyone, but as we know, skill is not everryting.

I agree the Russians could’ve beaten the Serbs anyhow, but it might’ve been a tougher task with those two healthy.

Anyhow, I’m glad Andy and the USA are through! I’d like to see them defend their title.


jane Says:

Colleen,

“Nadal and Ferrer aren’t out of Davis Cup for the whole year, just for Peru.”

True – and if they both play they’re obviously a team to beat.

“I don’t personally seeing France beating the U.S. away.”

Would the tie be in the US and on their surface of choice? Hmmm…if so, then it would be a tough proposition for France but it won’t be a cakewalk for the US either.


Zola Says:

Is spain next going to meet France? wow!

Yes, Jane, they were out just for Peru. I think both Rafa and Ferrer were confident that Spain would win without them and they were right ( 5-0!). I am glad Rafa took this time off. Swithching to clay and hard could not be good for his knees.

When is Davis cup next? Well, I bet with Tsonga and Gasquet and perhaps Monfils? that will not be a sure win for Spain, but they can try. Do we know where the matches will be? In spain or in France?


Charles Davis Says:

The fact that Serbia can come away from Moscow having lost 3-2 with only one fully fit player (Troicki, who earned himself a 22nd birthday present by winning the dead rubber) is a fact the tennis world should note. True, Russia had its own problems – as well as Safin’s illness and injury, Tarpischev admitted that Davydenko had an abdominal strain and Youzhny wasn’t 100 per cent fit, though as that was in answer to the question “Do Serbia’s injuries devalue Russia’s win” it’s fair to wonder whether there may have been a little exaggeration for the sake of team pride. But the sense at the end of the weekend was that Serbia will be back, and stronger. In fact Tarpischev suggested that, with a more favourable draw, the young nation might even have gone all the way in the 2008 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas.

The future looks bright for the Serbian nation, even if it’s Russia who will be welcoming the Czechs in Moscow in April’s quarterfinals.


Zola Says:

I think Charles Davis had a post in another thread about the illnesses of Serbian and Russian players.

Just looking at the numbers of withdrawls, injuries and illnesses etc., I wonder why they still have the Davis Cup ties as the do? I think the players or at least most of them have talked about changing the Davis Cup schedule. The ATP tour is demanding the way it is. No other sport demands so much physical strength. Imagine even soccer players play 2 hours every week. A tennis player has to play every day in a master series and every other day in a grand slam, in matches that take sometimes 5 hours. Then we want them to squeeze Davis cup and olympics etc…in between. I admire all those players who take time for the Davis cup , but I think it is time for a good look at the Davis cup schedule. 4 weekends in a year , best of 5, on unpredictable surfaces, is not fais to any player.


Zola Says:

oops, sorry. Charles Davis.
I just replied to your post in another thread and then wrote about the Davis cup here.

I also wanted to add that as much as I don’t like Djokovic for his antics, but I think Serbia had a good chance against Russia without Safin and with a not 100% Davydenko.(So, they already had a great draw). Djoko did great by coming in and winning the doubles match. That made the match between Djoko and Davydenko the crucial one. It ended up in favor of Russia but could have easily gone the other way too.


jane Says:

zola,

I’m not sure who Spain meets next (Argentina?) but France meets the USA.


Charles Davis Says:

France completed a 5-0 whitewash of Romania in Sibiu with Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clement winning the reverse singles, against Andrei Pavel and Horia Tecau respectively, to add to their marathon doubles triumph on Saturday.

France has a great team and great young players, obviously Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with a great Australian Open.

US Captain Patrick McEnroe said :

“Not only do they have a great team, but great individual players and a lot of flair in their team. Playing in Winston Salem in 2007 was an incredible environment. We’re hoping for the same kind of scene there this year.”

best of luck :)


Zola Says:

Jane,
I checked on the Davis cup website. I think Spain goes to Germany!

tough!


Aussie Ange Says:

Spain does go to Germany and it will be interesting to see what surface they choose. I’m sure Ferrer will play and if Germany chooses HC then it might be close as Flo-Lo is a pretty decent player on HC assuming he gets picked. If Spain take Ferrer, Nadal, Verdasco and Flo-Lo that is a pretty good team. Flo-Lo and Nadal to play doubles and the other two play the singles. This will mean less pressure on Nadal so he can save himself a lot of energy.

The Argentinas might be the dark horse as they also have players who can play on HC but as they have a home tie against Sweden I guess they will choose clay.

This year’s DC ties are shaping up to be really interesting.


Zola Says:

when is the next tie? is it in March /April after Miami? Then it will be tough for Rafa.


Von Says:

Zola:

“>>when is the next tie? is it in March /April after Miami? Then it will be tough for Rafa..”

April 18th – 20th, after Miami.


Marko, Serbia Says:

To Mr. Davis : Thank you for this :

“The future looks bright for the Serbian nation, even if it’s Russia who will be welcoming the Czechs in Moscow in April’s quarterfinals.”


Marko, Serbia Says:

To Mr. Davis :

you wrote : “France completed a 5-0 whitewash of Romania in Sibiu with Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clement winning the reverse singles, against Andrei Pavel and Horia Tecau respectively, to add to their marathon doubles triumph on Saturday.”

Well,former star player Ilie Nastase resigned as head of the Romanian Tennis Federation on Tuesday, after newspapers criticized him for spending too much money on a Davis Cup match against France which Romania lost 5-0.


Zola Says:

Von,
***“>>when is the next tie? is it in March /April after Miami? Then it will be tough for Rafa..”

April 18th – 20th, after Miami. ***

that’s what I remember from last year. It is not a good time for Rafa . Right before the clay season. But it might be easier since it will be in Europe.

Marko,
That was a bad loss for Romania. But France has a very powerful team. Poor Nstase has to take the blame!


Tejuz Says:

Serbia is good team.. but just as good as Swiss, Czec where they have to rely more on 1 star to bail them out. Once star is sick or decides to not play a tie and they are out of the competition.

Russia, US, Argentina, Spain, France .. these are the team which have the capability to win Davis Cup… just because they have a very strong back-up. And i dont see that changing a lot in future either.


Zola Says:

Tejuz,
very good point about the Davis Cup. It is a tea effort and that’s why strong teams one the first tie.

I think in the coming years Tipsarevic and Troicki might become better players (They were both impressive in AO)and more effective and that will certainly help their chances.


Zola Says:

oops…I meant **team effort*** not **tea effort***
time to change the keyboard!


Tejuz Says:

Yeah Tipsy and Troicki are good players… but i would still not put them in the league of the top davis cup teams. Btw.. in my prev post i forgot to mention Croatia… Croatia have a very good team with Ljubcic, Ancic, Karlovic, Cilic … no wonder they won the davis cup a couple of years ago.


Zola Says:

Tejuz,
Great mention of Liubcic, , Ancic , Karlovic and Cilic. Fantastic players and great attitude. I was sorry to see Cilic bail out to Blake in AO.He was on a roll and Ancic is a delight to watch. He just very unlucky with all those injuries. In this team only Ljubcic might go out, but the rest is only going to get better and they might get another shot at Davis cup!


Lilly Says:

But Karlovic is in a row with Croatian Tennis Federation, so he doesn`t play DC. Hopefully Super Mario is back. He had such a dreadful last year. Ljubicic I feel has lost the desire for tennis…


Shital Green Says:

Well, I always want the US to win Davis Cup, mostly because we are the most dedicated team, and like Sean says, if it is a Spain-US semi, I am hopeful that we have a good chance to win another one next year.
But, Sean, how did you count out Nalbandian from winning a GS? I still think that he can win one this year. The only question is, “Does he have will or does he still think tennis is not his life this year like in the past?”


grendel Says:

I always feel with Nalbandian, it’s almost a matter of chance. He’s never going to be consistent through even a sizeable stretch of the season. That just isn’t his way. But at some stage, for a short while, he’ll be hot. Should this period coincide with a grand slam, then he has every chance of winning it – regardless of surface.


Zola Says:

grendel,
I think for Nalby tennis is more of a hobby. He is probably more into car racing…then he comes at the end of the year and wins everyone. Just amazing and very scary when he is in the “zone”. when he is there, he has the perfect game. I had the same feeling about Tsonga. The problem is , it is such a high level of tennis that maintaining it is hard. But doesn’t take away anything fom their brilliance.


xtroll Says:

Von, great post about Andy Roddick and I agree with what you said. I don’t know why he gets so much stick from people, including the Federer fanboys like Sean Randall and others at tennis-x but I guess some people will always take their insecurities out on a great champion and team player like Roddick. He seems to be a favorite target of theirs.


rogers twin sister Says:

When you’re lugging around as much excess belly fat as Nalbandian, you can’t play and win many matches. That’s why he can only shine sporadically. I vividly recall some x-bloggers ranting and raving over his incredible wins at the end of last year (after he’d had a few months’ rest)and claiming that he could beat Fed and anyone else in the top five. Well, let’s see him do it. Until then, please don’t bore me with how Nalby is the greatest thing since sliced bread.


Sean Randall Says:

xtroll, So I’m a Federer “fanboy”? Dream realized I guess. I will freely admit that I picked Roddick to beat Federer at the Australian Open last year.

As for Nalby, I would agree with Grendel/Zola that the guy can get hot for a short period of time, and if it happens to come during a Slam then look out.

But Shital, I just think he’s got a better chance at his first Davis Cup title than winning a Slam this year. The draw and all the home matches should really play in Argentina’s hands.

Also, US playing at Spain semifinal if it happens is going to be a very tall order for the Americans. I don’t see how they get out of Spain with a win provided Nadal, Ferrer, etc are all healthy.

I second the “good point”, Tejuz. To win the Davis Cup you really need to have a solid No. 2 player or even a good No. 3.

Again, the quarterfinal Davis Cup rundown:
Czech Republic at Russia
Sweden at Argentina
Spain at Germany
France at USA

And based on what I saw this past weekend I’ll stick with Russia v. Argentina and Spain v. USA semifinals.


grendel Says:

You make my point, Rogers twin sister. Nalbie shines sporadically. That means he can “beat Fed and anyone else in the top 5″ – sporadically. We never have any idea when this might be. Nalbandian’s the joker in the pack. His performance against Ferrero in the AO was horrendous. But it has no predictive value. If he’d won the whole shebang – same thing. Frustrating – or exciting, depends where you’re coming from. But never boring.
p.s. not keen on sliced bread myself. No accounting for tastes, though.


Tejuz Says:

Nalbandian sure has a game to beat the top-5 consistently.. and i still think he should be back in the top-3 or 4, because he is that good. But his consistency is something that can be questioned.

Till last year, his game during big matches (Semis and Finals) was always questioned.. (he almost choked away in his Master’s Final 2005 against a fatigued Fed).. but last year, after his incredible run in the indoor courts… atleast he has answered that he can win the Big matches.

I still think its the desire… he lacks the same desire that Fed, Nadal and Djoker does..to win the Grand Slam.


Von Says:

Tejuz:

“I still think its the desire… he lacks the same desire that Fed, Nadal and Djoker does..to win the Grand Slam.”

You’re so right on this. Amazingly, Nalby shines in the Davis Cup matches, because it’s his dxesire to win Davis Cup, so he puts everything he has into DC. I suppose we will just have to play it by ear this year concerning his consistency. He has the game, and has been in and out of the top 10, but it seems as though his desire to win tournaments is selective.


Von Says:

xtroll:

“I guess some people will always take their insecurities out on a great champion and team player like Roddick. He seems to be a favorite target of theirs.”

Absolutely. Unfortunately, sports fans have short memories and expect too much from players. They do not make allowances for a player’s losses. They want perfection. It’s difficult to make and keep them happy.

Roddick seems to be a favorite target. He’s a whipping post for the US fans/non-fans because he’s the face of America. It’s also selective, becausze Blake does not get the same bashing as Roddick. The same goes for Pete Sampras who was never really appreciated. It’s only now that Pete has retired that he’s somewhat appreciated.

Andy has proved his mettle. He’s got the stamina to play 5 setters. That’s more than can be said for some players. His devotion to Davis Cup is uncomparable. He foregoes many tournaments to stay fit for Davis Cup. Some players would tank a DC match so that they won’t have to play for the whole year.

I am glad to know that Roddick still has some devoted fans. I get blasted on both sides, when I post about him and am hated when I voice my opinions about other players. I guess I have something in common with him, we’re just blasted period, Except that he has millions and brooklyn Decker. Anyway, Go Roddick!!


Tejuz Says:

Djoker lost in Marseille.. he still hasnt been able to win back-2-back tournaments.


Von Says:

Tejuz:

I posted some comments to yyou on this thread about Nalby. Did you see it?


Daniel Says:

Have you all realize that Nalbandian only has 7 titles, in 8 years as a professional, and last year MS Madrid was his first MS event. Djokovic in the last two years and AO have more than that!

This shows the consistency problem.
He sure can beat everybody in the top 5, but he doesn’t win easily the top 10`s, 20`s, 30`s as he should do.

The thing with Fed and Nadal is that you know they gonna get at least until quarterfinal in every important tournament they enters as n. 1 and n. 2. The level that these two have put in the game in the last 4 years is remarkable and makes everybody else look small. The only time Federer looses badly in a first round match to Volandri people were totally shocked. The normal tennis players including a number one player occasionally lost that way in the past.

Someone mentioned that Nalby doesn’t want to win a GS that much. C’mon! Win a Grand Slam is so hard that even a player like Nalbandian could end his carrier without ever winning one.


Moya! Says:

Von:
People don’t blast Blake because he is likeable,Roddick isn’t that likeable and Sampras certainly wasn’t likeable.
Roddick a great champion? Don’t make me laugh, Roddick hates losing and I don’t know how you can like him.

Nalbandian on his day can beat anyone ( including the ” great champion roddick ” ) but he just isn’t on his day that often. The thing about Nalby is that he doesn’t win that often when he’s not playing well where as someone like Fed does.

BTW good to see Ancic playing again.


Von Says:

Moya:
I won’t answer about Roddick and Sampras. I didn’t blast Blake, I stated: “…because Blake does not get the same bashing as Roddick.” Would you say that’s blasting him? I don’t think so.

Nalby is good when he is in the zone, which is sporadic, and also he has that back problem and some other injuries that pop up.

Yes, am glad to see Ancic back again. I hope he is over his sickness/injuries.


Zola Says:

Nobody likes to lose. I actually like Roddick because he is very fair when he loses. Yes, he looks disappointed, but he never disrespects his opponent. Always gives full credit to the winner.
My criticism to Roddick is that I think he has stopped learning. I have not seen him improving anything. Look at Federer or Nadal. Each year they add something to their game. I haven’t seen that in Roddick yet.

Blake: don’t like the J-Blok, the headband, the baggy shorts and his phone call to ET and him replacing Korolev unjustly. Otherwise, he is handsome and a fast player ( except against Federer, it is a pain to watch him)


Moya! Says:

Von:
I phrased what I said wrong, what I meant to say was that I liked Sampras as a player from what I saw of him but off court I did find him pretty dull. As for Roddick I just find he lacks the vital spark to make me interested in him for instance Moya could hit a shot that basically is the same as a shot by Roddick but Moya’s shot would just look exciting, do you know what I mean?
I find Roddick’s rants quite annoying where as someone like Kiefer or Haas getting angry I find very funny but thats just my opinion, different people like different players.

Does anyone know whats happened to Monfils? Is he injured? I find it sad about a player like Monfils because he is infinately more talented than say Robredo but he just doesn’t have the mental ability or consistency that he does, I hope that he can at least win one grand slam as he certainly has the talent, lets just hope he can get more consistent.


rogers twin sister Says:

Grendel: Until Nalby sheds 50 pounds of blubber, he’ll never win a slam. His “handlers” really should have set fire to that yellow shirt, too. He looked like a big, fat, school bus…honk honk!


Zola Says:

Moya!
***Does anyone know whats happened to Monfils? Is he injured? **
I remember he was playing challenger some time ago. I love to be able to watch him. but he has the strangest ways of getting himself injured. He was one of these emerging young guns featured in the tennis magazine. now I don’t even know where he is…pitty.

rogers twin sister
If an unfit Nalbandian can win Roger and Rafa back to back and win two master shields, it is just scary to think what he could do if he was fit. A phenomenal player.


g Says:

rogers twin sister: well, lets leave aside


Von Says:

Moya:

“I find Roddick’s rants quite annoying where as someone like Kiefer or Haas getting angry I find very funny but thats just my opinion, different people like different players.”

“Does anyone know whats happened to Monfils? Is he injured…”

Re: Roddick’s rants, I also dislike them but his problem is mostly pent up tension when he is on court, especially if he has a difficult opponent or a bad call, then he lets it out. I doubt whether he could change that overnight, but he could learn to tone it down. I must say that if Hawkeye is being used during his match his anger dissipates. I find his match play to be exciting. How could you not like his serve. His matches are always well attended – he is a crowd favorite, which is as you stated, different strokes for differnt folks.

On the reverse side, he is very generous. He started his own foundtion at 17. He has a big heart and he is a very handsome youngman. So all things considered, I like him.

Re: Sampras, he was a flshy player on court, but very quiet off court. He always said that he lets his tennis do the talking.

Monfils has been on the injury list for over 6 months. The last time I saw him play was at the Legg Mason Tournament, Washington, in August ’07, where John Isner beat him. He also is charismatic, but he hotdogs around the court too much, hence his injuries. He has the game to succeed, but his problem is staying injury free.


Von Says:

Zola:

“Blake: don’t like the J-Blok, the headband, the baggy shorts and his phone call to ET and him replacing Korolev unjustly. Otherwise, he is handsome and a fast player ( except against Federer, it is a pain to watch him)”

Did you see that Vegas tournament when he made the big fuss about Korolev? That completely turned me off and he is not among one of my favorites anymore. I supported him out of patriotism more than liking him as a player. Talk about Monfils hotdogging, well Blake is right up there with Monfils, except Monfils looks more athletic and attractive when he is sprinting.


grendel Says:

rogers twin sisters (above : computer error, sorry):that was a bit of exaggeration for comic effect – and for dragging outraged Nalbie fans from the woodwork, I know your game rog twin sis – but you’ve set me thinking.

There’s something of the amateur about Nalbandian, seems to me. But I mean amateur in the old fashioned sense – someone who loves sport, but doesn’t make it the be all and end all. He’s a bit overweight? Guess he must like his food. I don’t think this man wants to be #1 – he understands the price which must be paid, and he just doesn’t want to pay it. He likes his car racing, as Zola said, he’s also a keen fisherman,and I daresay all sorts of other things. And sometimes – not very often – he plays spectacular tennis. Not too many tennis players can make Federer look a little lost and confused – but I’ve seen Nalbandian do it for a while. His serve looks casual,as if he just wants to stick the ball in the court and get on with the game, but last November it suddenly looked lethal for a while. It was as if: hmm, let’s have a go at this serving business, see what we can make of it. When he goes to the net,he understands when to go, he looks at home when he’s there, it’s not some sort of frantic experiment. But on the whole, he doesn’t seem to bother. With his particular base line game, why would he?

Those who have seen him are apt to say that Lew Hoad was the greatest talent among the great Australians, including even Rod Laver. Hoad was a buccaneer, a true amateur in spirit who played for the hell of it. You win some, you lose some, and meanwhile,how about a beer? Records? What records? Life is too short for that nonsense.
We all feed the worms when it comes down to it….

Such an attitude is scarcely possible today, money ruling everything, and fame being intimately linked to money. Furthermore, I wouldn’t call Nalbandian exactly carefree. He is reportedly quite an insolent fellow in some respects, and he is in his way ambitious, and no doubt encouraged to be so by Argentuians anxious to bask in his reflected glory. Even so, he is as close to the amateur spirit as you are likely to see. Others who come to mind are Safin, Gasquet, Monfils. I first saw Nalbandian when he beat another eccentric talent, Malisse, in 5 sets in Wimbledon semi-final 2002. He seemed to have a faint moustache, and I remember thinking he looked like a British second world war pilot, there was something dashing about him in a decidedly offbeat, casual sort of way.

Not everyone can be driven like Sampras and Federer and Nadal. And I’m not knocking that, that has its own fascination. But there’s room for the outsider who goes his own way. And who knows, he may sneak in a grand slam before he’s finished. And then he can relax and look like a porpoise if he wants.


Moya! Says:

I just saw that Coria was playing in the Costa do Sauipe and its really pleasing to see that. Hopefully we’ll be seeing him in the French Open because he really is an amazing player.
I remember seeing Coria play live at the US open and Felix Mantilla and he was amazing to watch live you can’t not like Coria!


Von Says:

Daniel, Moya, Zola:

FYI: Re your questions about Ancic. He has the game, and hopefully, enough energy left to pull off this upset over Baggy. I can’t pick because I like them both.

Mario Ancic (pictured), the lowest-ranked player remaining in the draw at No. 135, advanced to his first ATP semifinal since capturing his third career title at St. Petersburg in October 2006.

The former World No. 7 from Croatia knocked out 2004 finalist Robin Soderling of Sweden 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2 in one hour and 48 minutes. Soderling was playing his first ATP tournament since ATP Masters Series Montreal (Canada) in August 2007, when he suffered a left wrist injury in his first round match against Russian Marat Safin.

Ancic will face No. 6 and last year’s finalist Marcos Baghdatis in the semifinals. The 22-year-old Cypriot handed No. 3 Mikhail Youzhny a 7-6(2), 6-3 loss, only the Russian’s second in 14 matches this season. Baghdatis converted two of 10 break points while saving the only break point he faced in the one hour and 42 minute match.

Sorry, but I did not copy Ancic’s picture.


zola Says:

Von,
Ancic is now in the final with Murray.yeeeaaay!
I have to watch this final. Channelsurfing .net was down tody. I hope I find another link for tomorrow.


zola Says:

grendel,
**there’s room for the outsider who goes his own way. And who knows, he may sneak in a grand slam before he’s finished. And then he can relax and look like a porpoise if he wants. ***

that’s what is intriguing about Nalbandian for me. who knows, maybe one day when he is bored of car racing and fishing , he could say: let’s win a Grand Slam this year and if he is healthy, I don’t see many who can stop him.

Rafa is very driven. I would say his priority is tennis, but on the side he has other hobbies, Golf, fishing, playstation and he leaves the competetion at the court. He accepts losses even as more natural as wins and I think that helps him a lot to be calm and content. federer has Mirka and sort of another world besides tennis, which is probably very helpful for his state of mind too. Besides he doesn’t ( or didn’t) face many threats on the court.

I seriously believe that a lot of Djoko’s exhaustion is mental. Him and his family put him under lots of pressure and don’t let him relax.


Von Says:

Zola:

“Ancic is now in the final with Murray.yeeeaaay!”

Good for him, I hope he wins the whole thing to move him up the rankings. A few players will now be afraid to see him in their part of the draw in the future.


zola Says:

Von,
I can’t decide, because i like Murray too. But for the sake of rankings: Go superMario!


Von Says:

Zola:

“But for the sake of rankings: Go superMario!”

That’s why I would like for him to win the tournament, so that his ranking would go up. I think he has suffered enough and hope that he’ll be blessed with much success. All things aside, it would be only fitting for him to win — Murray has already won one (1) title for ’08. Thereore, I’ll say, go Baby Goran, go!!


Zola Says:

Von,
I hope to find a link to watch this final tomorrow.I have not seen Ancic play since Madrid. I really like him. As I said, very composed player and great game. I think a win will also boost his confidence for other tournaments. He is not in Rotterdam but perhaps in Dubai and IW!


zola Says:

Von,
I saw this link on the Marseille website, where it says live matches. I hope it is a live stream link. try it . The final will be at 2:30 pm which should be about 8:30 am ET.

http://www.cg13.fr/tvCG13/


grendel Says:

Lamenting not being able to watch Murray and Ancic, and others, at Marseilles, I dolefully looked in on the Delray Beach tourney. There was an American serve machine up against a Japanese qualifier – didn’t look too promising. In fact, there was an exciting end. The Jap cooly saved 4 match points against the serve machine, and then on his own match point, he ran round his backhand into the tramlines, jumped a couple of feet, and smashed Querry’s serve for a crosscourt winner.

Today, Kei Nishikori, after an exploratory first set, simply took James Blake to the cleaners. He has an impressive all court game, an excellent penetrating serve, promising touch at the net, and I wonder if there is a faster player than him in the game right now. And – perhaps most important – this boy (he’s only just 18) is nerveless. He served out the match as if it was a minor club game. On the few occasions he was in trouble, he calmly brushed the problem aside.

O.K., one swallow doesn’t etc, etc, and Blake was unpardonably sloppy. Even so, I’m going to stick my stupid neck out and predict this is a future grand slam winner. Make sure you catch him next time you get a chance – he’s one exciting player, and he’s absolutely for real.


Zola Says:

grendel,
the way you describe the match I feel so sorry I could not catch the Blake-Nishikori match. This kid seems very interesting. I hope he shows up in a mster series or in Dubai ….wow!

btw, I left a link here for Von. Apparently we could have been watching Marseille live all week! The match was too early for me. Just had to go on their website. So I missed it and ma Fave lost! It’s Ok. Good for Murray. But he seriously needs a haircut. Also brother Murray won in doubles too. But I am not sure ifthey will celebrate together

The same with Rotterdam. I think they offer webcast from their center court.

OK, Ancic, Murray, Tsonga, Nishikori…men’s game is getting very exciting!


Von Says:

Zola:

“..the way you describe the match I feel so sorry I could not catch the Blake-Nishikori match. This kid seems very interesting. I hope he shows up in a mster series or in Dubai ….wow!”

These matches were on the Tennis Channel also. I taped them. Saw an upset Querry demolished. However, I am sorry that I did not not watch the Blake/Neshkori match today before I posted — I now know the results. I’ve been watching Henin in yesterday’s semifinals. Did you watch the Ancic/Murray final, I could not get that link to work, but thanks anyway.


grendel Says:

Zola, Nishikori has been given a wild card for next American tourney, the one Murray won last year, can’t remember name, Jose or something. My God, age, what it does to the memory!

A completely trivial point about Nishikori, but one which might be of amusement to you, every now and then he screws up his eyes in a manner which briefly gives him an extraordinary likeness to Nadal (when he screws his face up). I wonder if anyone else has noticed, or is it just my imagination. He seems to be quite a charmer, too. There, the likeness ends, their games are nothing like.

Many, many moons ago, I sat entranced as the 17year old Boris Becker took the favourite, Johann Kriek, apart in the final of Queens. Kriek commented afterwards that if Becker served like that in a couple of weeks time, he would win Wimbledon. I don’t think too many people paid attention, but I did. I willed him through the rounds, although unfortunately, Kevin Curren spoilt the party by beating McEnroe, otherwise we would have had a Becker/McEnroe final – what a delight! McEnroe had destroyed Connors the previous year, and obviously had lost form (sadly, never to regain it – how mysterious these things are). But even in the form of 1984, Mac would have found Becker a handful – and so, I believe would anyone, Sampras, Federer, you name him. Somehow, Becker never (in my eyes) fulfilled his great promise. Oh, he was a great champion without a doubt, with a great record. But to me, after 18, it was kind of downhill, ever so gradually. No wonder the poor sod used to get so enraged. I believe he was crying for that magic touch which he no longer quite had,and couldn’t understand why he no longer had it, rather as we see Safin sometimes today; but with Becker, it was somehow more tragic, and there were brief moments when you almost feared for his sanity.

But I digress. I bring Becker up, because not since watching that marvellous youth have I been so taken by a young player as I have by Kei Nishikuri.

Well, I hope I don’t live to regret all this enthusiasm…..


Tejuz Says:

Grendel,
Boris Becker was my amd my brother’s fav too when we were kids.. but he always used to keep us at the edge of our seats.. mostly coming back from behind and winning in 5 sets or hitting ace on second serves… and losing 3 wimbledon finals in space of 4 years. Somehow.. he achieved less than what was his potential.


Von Says:

Tejuz:

“Boris Becker was my amd my brother’s fav too when we were kids.. but he always used to keep us at the edge of our seats mostly coming back from behind.. .”

I think Becker was one of those players who played better when in a tense situation. He liked that adrenalin rush.

I have been meaning to ask you about those matches you saw at the AO. Was it as noisy or rowdy as when it was on TV?


josh Says:

nishikori didnt get a wildcard he got a special exempt.


Von Says:

Zola:

The Rotterdam draw is tough and exciting. Rafa’s half of the draw has some tough players. He plays tursunov tomorrow. Tough for both of them. Davydenko has a tough half too. I see that Murray is not competing in San Jose but will be in Rotterdam.

I was disappointd for Ancic but he’l do fine in the ranking even as a finalist.

That kid Nishikori made Blake look like an amateur. The kid has it made now. He’ll surely draw some great japanese sponsors. He is the first Japanese in 16 years of Tennis history to win an ATP title. I am happy for him. He was a joy to watch, talk about refreshing, that’s him all the way. Bolliteri has a winner.


Zola Says:

OMG! what have I missed? I have to watch this kid.maybe I’ll find something on youtube. Grendel you talk with such enthusiasm about Nishikori, I feel so bad that I missed his match. I also think you have a secret admiration for Rafa! ..

Von,
Is he a”Bolliteri ” ? Oh man!

I think the future of tennis would be like: Bolliteri vs Pilic or Sancez vs Agassi…

Yeah, Rafa has a very tough draw. Tursonov, Hewitt, Soderling, Youzhny…you name it! But that’s it. The bright side is that he does not have any points to lose and he will get some great match practice here. Let’s see how it goes. One match at a time.!

I agree. Ancic is going to be fine. He moved up like 45 places!

Sean has a new thread on this wunderkid! let’s move there.


Von Says:

Zola:

“Sean has a new thread on this wunderkid! let’s move there.”

Now, if you listened to me you would have been privileged to watch him on the Tennis Channel. Seriously though, consider it.


grendel Says:

Tejuz: Becker really seemed to me to be one of those who flowered very early. It’s true, he did good things in his later career, but he seemed to play with true abandon only when very young. His great rival was Edberg, as I’m sure you remember. There was always a special buzz when those two played. Utterly different, but equals really. Sampras and Agassi used to beat Becker not exactly easily, but the results never seemed in doubt. But to me, this was never the great Becker. He’d lost that edge.


Tejuz Says:

Yes Grendel.. i agree Becker peaked too early.he had 3 wimbledon crowns by the age of 21. 6 wimbeldon finals by the age of 23. when he met Sampras in wimby finals 2005 at the age of 27, he was more like an old warhorse( how agassi was when he was 34) trying to challenge the world no 1. Imagine Fed or Sampras or Agassi at age of 27.. they still seemed young compared to Becker at the same age. The peak years of becker was till 1991.


grendel Says:

Yes, Becker wore himself out. A very, very physical game. Borg, also, having started so early, came to an early end – but in his case it seemed to be mental. I think it is a great pity he didn’t continue – I suspect he’d convinced himself that McEnroe had his number. But McEnroe, apart from his one year that even Fed couldn’t quite top, wasn’t really a dominating force.

Today we have Djokovic and Nadal having extraordinary records at so early an age. Can they build on this over the long term – or will they too burn out? Absolutely no idea!


rogers twin sister Says:

Grendel: I agree with you wholeheartedly on Nalby, his attitude, his other interests, etc., and I have no problem with that. I get annoyed when I see that there are some (maybe many) who still think he can be #1 if he wants to. They shout it from the rooftops as though it were a foregone conclusion. “Oh Nalby just doesn’t want it, but if he does, he’ll get it.” That day has passed. The reality is that he’s getting older and fatter by the day, so his window of opportunity is no longer wide open. This is somewhat of a disappointment to me since there was a time when I truly thought Nalby would and could do it…same with Safin.


grendel Says:

rogers twin sister:

I take your point. Probably I should have said something like: Nalbandian knows what it takes to be #1 (in terms of committment, i.e., not talent), and knows that he’s not there. And nor was he ever there, just not that kind of guy. I still think, though, that he could get a grand slam if he happens to go through one of his peaks at the right time. However, as you say, the windows of opportunity are narrowing.


Roddick, Blake Face Depleted French Squad in Davis Cup Says:

[...] Onto the Davis Cup quarterfinals which have already started. We have Spain visiting Germany, Sweden at Argentina and Czech Republic at Russia, in addition to U.S. v. France. I’ll stick with my original picks and go with Spain, Argentina, Russia and U.S. in what looks to be a rather uneventful quarterfinal tie weekend, though Russia v. Czech Republic has some promise early on. [...]

Top story: Roger Federer Wins The Davis Cup Title For Switzerland, Here's Video Of Match Point And The Celebration
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1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
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6 Andy Murray6 Agnieszka Radwanska
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