A Match 1 Year in the Making
by Dan Martin | July 4th, 2008, 10:05 pm
  • 58 Comments

A Match 1 Year in the Making

Both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have secured positions as great champions in the history of tennis. Last year’s 5 set Wimbledon championship match allowed Roger Federer to match Bjorn Borg’s record of 5 consecutive Wimbledon titles. Nadal left that match with more respect from the rest of the tour. Federer made a comment to the effect of needing to win now before Rafa starts winning everything. Since that time Roger won his 4th consecutive U.S. Open title and Nadal collected his 4th consecutive French Open title. Those are two stunning runs of dominance. Federer collected a Masters Series shield in Cincinnati, a Masters Cup title, titles at Basel and Estoril, and has added 11 grass court wins to his all time streak of 65 consecutive wins on grass.* Nadal has added Monte Carlo, Hamburg, Barcelona and perhaps tellingly Queen’s Club to his résumé. It has been a productive 12 months for each man even if the most recent installments in Madrid, Melbourne, Indian Wells, and Miami did not feature either as the winner. Are we ready for the re-re-rematch? I sure hope so.


New Pressure for Nadal

ESPN’s quick Sports Nation poll shows many average fans still feel Federer is the favorite, but many experts have been saying since July 2007 that Nadal will beat Federer if they meet again in the Wimbledon final. Nadal’s wins over Federer at Monte Carlo and Hamburg barely registered outside of clay because the matches were fairly close. His thrashing of Federer at the 2008 French Open final and win at Queen’s Club have many people buzzing. Patrick McEnroe has asserted that the key question is not if Nadal can beat Federer, but if Federer can beat Nadal on grass in 2008. P-Mac’s assessment is that Nadal will win the event. Just as was the case in 2006 and 2007, the victor of this event will be the default #1 in tennis regardless of what the computer says. Therefore, Nadal faces a new pressure of being co-favorite (or even the favorite) and an old pressure of having a chance to claim the top spot in the sport. Nadal handles pressure well, but it needs to be noted that this is a pressure packed encounter for Nadal.

28 straight sets for Federer since the French Open

Nadal is not facing a radically depleted or wounded Roger Federer in the final. Federer won all 10 sets he played in picking up his 5th Halle title. Marcos Baghdatis and Nichols Kiefer stand out as solid wins in the quick transition from clay to grass. The Fed has also posted straight set wins over Robin Soderling, 2002 Wimbledon Champion Lleyton Hewitt, 2004 Wimbledon semifinalist Mario Ancic, and the enigmatic talent of Marat Safin. Nadal made a similarly quick and impressive transition from clay to grass, but he did so with the wind of victory at his back not the sting of humiliation. Federer has looked sharp at Halle and at Wimbledon.

Nadal’s New Tricks

Rafa has been slicing his backhand more on grass. He has also been stepping into the court on his return game more often. Throw in a more aggressive posture on his forehand, better serving and opportunistic net play, and Nadal looks like a guy who has adapted to grass nicely even if the slower grass helps his extreme swing work in a way it could not have in say 1994. Playign more aggressive tennis helps; playing it cleanly helps a lot. If I had Roger’s ear, I would try to have Roger play in a fashion that draws errors out of a more aggressive player. Serving into the body, keeping the slice backhand low and angled, hitting through the ball as well as possible could all rob Nadal of the time he needs to play aggressive and clean tennis. Andy Murray found hitting through the ball to be easier said than done, but if Roger can make Nadal miss more than usual a tactical crisis may arise as to whether to stay with the new grass court tools or to revert to a style of play with a greater safety margin. Whatever player is making the opponent guess is the player at the advantage even if both guys transition from defense to offense as well as anyone in the history of the game. In sum, I think Nadal’s new tactics and weapons are a major plus, but I also think tennis players are creatures of habit so making Nadal choose between his more instinctive loopy style and more aggressive style might be a good play from Roger.

Mental Edge?

At the end of 2007, Federer had won 3 of his previous 4 matches versus Nadal. In 2008, Nadal is 3-0 versus Roger winning 7 of the 8 sets these two men have played. Nadal came from behind in both sets they played at Monte Carlo and in the first set at Hamburg. That belief that Nadal can comeback from big deficits is an edge. Clay does facilitate coming back from service breaks more easily than grass, but Federer will need to close out sets if he gets into a winning position. Otherwise, Nadal’s killer instinct just gets that much stronger. Federer won 3 of the 4 tiebreakers in the past two Wimbledon finals. That may be a mental edge for the world #1. Winning 66 consecutive matches on a given surface has to add to self-belief as well.

Fans Should Enjoy This One

I grew up in Kentucky, the heart of college basketball country. The 1996 and 1998 NCAA championships UK won were among the most personally exciting sporting events I have ever watched. The 2007 Wimbledon final was just as exciting to me if not more. These two guys play awesome tennis, but also have contrasting styles. They are both great ambassadors of the sport. I love watching both men, but in all honesty we all have rooting interests when the two do meet even if we like both players. If a major tennis fan dislikes one of these guys, I have to question the logic of such holding such a position. To put my cards on the table, as much as I like Nadal, as much as I am in awe of what he has accomplished, as much as I marvel at how well he competes, Federer is my favorite tennis player of all time. I realize saying this sets me up for criticism every time I write anything in the future, but I think honesty is important. I am sure Nadal and Federer fans alike will have butterflies at the outset of the match. Fans will have frayed nerves if the match is close. Fans of each player will be excited or disappointed at the outcome of the match. That is what it is all about. That is good for tennis.

My Prediction: Federer d. Nadal 6-3, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4

I think Federer will have less pressure on himself to win. If he has declined to a point where he is a top 3 player in the world swapping the #1 ranking and being in the mix for big titles, he is not in such a bad place (think Stefan Edberg, Ivan Lendl, and Boris Becker between 1989-1991). After Paris, the experts have doubts about him and that only adds to his motivation. Finally, Roger already matched Borg’s 5 in a row last year. Being the atlas of tennis for 4 years is a long time to carry the load. Melbourne and Paris proved in my mind that he is not the only guy holding up the heavens any more and oddly enough I think that will let him shoot from the hip a bit more freely and win his 6th Wimbledon title. I think the player who plays with less tension will win the title. Nadal might very well do that, but being co-favorite is new to him and having a co-favorite is a new less stressful situation for Roger.

* Federer did not get credited for a win in his 2007 walkover versus Tommy Haas so the grass court streak technically stands at 65 instead of the 66 that 5 Wimbledon titles (35 wins), 5 Halle titles (25 wins) and the six consecutive matches won to reach this final would total.


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58 Comments for A Match 1 Year in the Making

zero Says:

If there’s a 3-1 score, it won’t be Federer to win. In terms of technique, Federer is the better but overall Nadal has a shot. Nadal doesn’t care who is the favorite or anything else. The pressure put on Rafa much more in Roland Garros. With Roger, only one question’s playing in his mind “DO or DIE?”


Vulcan Says:

Ill go with Nadal d Federer in 5 (but im still not ruling out a more decisive victory)


Daniel Says:

Excellent article!

As much as Nadal’s improvement make me like him a lot more (and he deserve a wimbledon title someday – he is still a kid), I think Fed deserve this one more (it will also be great for the competition between the top 3 with all having a slam ythis year). Playing the way he is after the worst defeat he had in 4 years a month ago really tell us this guy still is hungry to win and have a few more words to say.

I think if Fed wins the first set and it is not to competitive (6-3 or 6-4) he will win it without dropping a set! Mark my words.


Ra Says:

Dan Martin,

I think this may be the first time I’ve read an article with which I can basically agree on every point.

I think that both of these guys have enough game to seize the title, but I feel that Federer will prevail this Sunday. I also agree with Daniel that if Federer is able to roll right through the first, he will take it in three. Don’t get me wrong, though, as even so I believe there could be precious little to separate these two in the end, and I will certainly not be shocked if Nadal emerges victorious.


Tote Tennis Pro Says:

I think Fed will win. Your prediction looks pretty spot on to be fair.

The point about the rivalry though, and where they both stand is two fold:

- Nadal is more likely to beat Federer on Grass, than Federer is to beat Nadal on clay! Nobody gave Fed a hope in the French Open final, and rightly so.

- On the other surfaces, Fed is still ahed of Rafa (4 consecutive US opens is a telling stat).


Roger had been out for awhile Says:

You guys are old conservative fools! And was comparing the titles that Roger has. But that guy has been around for awhile. And he is going to be 30 in 3 years. And he is in the twlight of his career. I don’t know that if he could be doing that well, when he is 28 or 29. Just like what happened to Lendl. And Roger is no Andre Agassi, who happened to be a late boomers and had his time off the tour in his early 20′s. Roger will be having a real tough time ahead of his career.


Roger had been out for awhile Says:

Andy Murray, Nadal and Djokovic will continue challenge him this year. Roger has already has his worst year and his worst defeat at the Grand Slam history this year. I am pretty sure that, things are going to get difficult for him. Instead of easier for coming months and years.


Dan Martin Says:

No doubt Roger will have more challengers and age will be a factor for him as it is for really any player. Still, most players that have great longevity be they elite players or more middle of the road have great returns of serve. Agassi and Connors obviously jump out, but look at Bjorkman too. Men can generally hold serve so if a player gives himself a chance to break he can win a lot of matches even later in his career. Federer is very hard to ace and this means players have to work to hold against him and therefore I think (all opinion here) that he can play well later in his career. Roger’s year to this point is pretty typical of any player who finishes in the top 3 over the past 20 years and there is a lot of tennis still to be played. He is somewhat the victim of his atypical success over the past 4 years. It is rare to win 90% of your matches or to lead the tour in victories for 4 years. The days of winning 12 events and 3 slams in a year may be over, but how long could Federer win 4-6 events a year and have chances at the majors (he is 17-2 in 2008 Grand Slam play)? What would it take for Roger to equal or surpass the type of year Hewitt posted in 01 or 02 or Roddick posted in 03? Those guys finished #1 in those years. Parity, improvements by the field and age will mean fewer wins, but the guy does not have 1 foot in the grave.


jane Says:

Roger is hardly a victim, and it’s kind of silly to paint him as such. He’s richer than any of us will ever be and has more titles than any player currently playing. We don’t need to feel sorry for Roger.

We need to feel sorry for the other players who want a shot. Let’s hope more of them rise up to the challenge. We need some change at the top, a little shifting would be good for the sport.

I am getting a little tired – much as I admire both Roger & Rafa’s talents – of reading article after article about them.

If a few more guys could get themselves in the running, like Djoko has done, we’d have a little more unpredictability and excitement instead of matches “a year in the making”.

No offense Dan – I’d just like a little more variety in the sport’s upper echelons.


Spirit Says:

Dan,

There’s an excellent point you’ve made in “Nadal’s New Tricks” section. Nadal’s improved grass style gave him advantage over the other guys (there haven’t been any 5-setters for Rafa so far this year), but I think Fed will prefer the new aggressive Rafa to the old return-everything-never-mistake Rafa’s style that drives him mad.
Anyway, I don’t want to go too far and predict anything about the final result, as I thought Fed might have taken French Open a month ago, but instead he was white-washed.


Voicemale1 Says:

Federer will have far more pressure to win Sunday. His 2008 is well below what his standards have been, winning only two small events and one of those was through a Davydenko retirement. If Federer wins, he can stifle the whispers that he’s not what he used to be for a while longer. However, if he loses here, on His Court, then not only does his own confidence plummet, but the Federer Aura of winning matches beofre taking the court will be essentially gone. Other players will start circling with the idea they can take him. Federer’s suffering what a lot of guys do when they get to the back half of their careers – he’s lost maybe a 1/4 step, not quite a half step yet. But inside that 1/4 step is where his greatness lay. There is a lot riding on this outcome for Federer.

“Comebacks” are easier on clay than grass? Don’t tell that to Djokovic then. At Queens Club he was up a break at 3-0 in the 1st Set with break point to go up two breaks, and Nadal wins the set 76. And Nadal did the same in the 2nd Set there, winning the last 3 games breaking Djokovic twice to take that title 75. Federer choked against Nadal in Monte Carlo, and Nadal rescued that match. Because of that match, we saw in Hamburg Federer just mentally collapsed into a nervous breakdown. Rafa’s effects on Roger this year have been cumulative – and that’s why we saw the French Open thumping. The common denominator in these “comebacks” is not the surface. It’s Nadal.

Last year’s Final here is where Federer had all the advantages in scheduling. Federer’s play went uniterrupted, so much so that the Haas withdrawl in their 4th Round left Federer free from play for 5 days – a virtual mini vacation within a Grand Slam. Nadal had to play a match for 7 straight days going into last year’s Final. And yet with all that scheduling advantage & four previous titles worth of experience, Federer still had to go to a 5th set and narrowly squeak out his fifth trophy.

Scheduling havoc is a non issue this year. Federer is clearly underperforming from previous years, and Nadal is having an outstanding year, showing his improvements even on clay. Rafa has been playing this year as though he’s been working for and waiting for this very moment for the last 12 months, and no one is tougher mentally these days. And let’s face it – he’s in Federer’s head. This Wimbledon has Rafael Nadal’s name on it. Nadal beats Federer in 4 Sets.


Voicemale1 Says:

Jane:

What does this claptrap of change at the top of the game being “good for the sport”? What, by definition, is “the sport”, and why is change “good”? And good for whom??

This is utter egalitarianism applied to sports. As thought Title Distribution among many different players is somehow more enjoyable, or the ideal to strive for LOL. Well, it would be – to those that think From Each According To His Ability and To Each Accrding To His Need is “good”, or ideal.

Federer and Nadal have been the ones that have put in the work to get where they are – no one gave it to them. And I’m sure they couldn’t care less about your fatigue at having their efforts rewarded with coverage honoring their efforts. Try to be less of a redistributionist, ok?


jane Says:

Good for fans, in my opinion.

And no, I won’t try to be “less of a redistributionist”. Can’t help it, will never be an imperialist.

In fact, I hope Rafa wins the title, so it is redistributed and perhaps there’s a new number 1 by the end of this year. Rafa’s been number two long enough.

Not everyone has to think like you; I’m entitled to my opinion and to write it too. No one needs to tell me to try and change it!. In fact I know a number of people who are tired of the stranglehold at the top.

Of course they’ve put in the work to get where they are, and as I said, I admire them for that, but all I am saying is that hopefully a few more players will do the same and there will be more rivalries at the top. To me that’s a little more exciting than watching the same two duke it out in nearly every final. So sue me! lol.


jane Says:

And change in any sport is good for the sport.

For example, it’s kind of a drag when the same team wins the Stanley Cup for 4 or 5 years in a row, unless you happen to be a supporter of that particular winning team. In any sport, there are fans of different players and teams. If the same players / teams win all the time, for a long time, the sport could lose its luster for a large fanbase, and they may even stop watching or following. That, generally, is not good.

A poster said on this blog, only yesterday, that he may not even watch the final, and it’s not that he has anything against either Roger or Rafa. (He also pointed out that he feels like he’s sworn against the Pope for saying such things, given the way some people react).

So that’s why change is good for sport; it keeps all myriad of fans interested if there are different and burgeoning rivalries at the top, and accordingly different players winning, and that brings in more fans, and also different fans, which is good in terms of the exposure of any sport.

Sport is about competition, yes. But one of the things that makes sport exciting is its unpredictability. If the same person or teams wins all the time, it loses that dramatic element. And a lot of people like to watch sport for the drama.

Rafa & Roger finals do and have provided a lot of drama -other than this year’s FO final -but like I said, different players would add variety to that drama. It’s like watching the same movie over and over again to a degree.

And don’t forget this either: sports are entertainment to a large degree too.


jane Says:

The good thing about this final is that it is slightly less predictable than it has been. Rafa really & truly has a good shot of winning this year -everyone knows it- and people are having a tougher time calling the result based on how close he came in last year’s final.

But typically, Rafa wins on clay; Roger wins on grass. That’s the way it’s been for a few years. I hope it changes.

Hard courts are a little, ahem, harder to call, which is some ways makes it the more exciting surface this year. Will Roger still win the USO? Will Rafa break through on hard courts? Will Djokovic win a second slam on hard? Will players like Gulbis or Murray rise up on hard courts? Will Nalbandian show up as a tour de force at the end of the year again? Will Safin or Roddick do something special on hard courts to reignite their careers?


Fedex Says:

“And let’s face it – he’s in Federer’s head.”

Really? then why is he 2-5 against federer on matches which are not on clay? Who made the come-back in 2005 keybiscane final from 2sets and a break down? Definitely not Nadal. who came-back from 15-40 down in two consecutive service games in last year’s final in london? Not Nadal.

Who was the guy who served 4 aces when down 3-4 and 0-30 at Shanghai last year? Not Nadal – The answer to all the above would be Roger Federer. Please explain to us why these hyped comebacks happen only on clay? If the surface is not the common denominator then why were all the come-backs you mentioned on clay?

And stop the excuses with the Wimbledon scheduling already! It was the same scheduling that forced Djokovic to retire after he schooled nadal in the 1st set of the semi-final last year. The same scheduling meant youzhny’s back troubled him when he was up 2 sets to none in the quarter-final. And the highlight being he had all the time in the world to finish off soderling in 3 sets (federer finished marat in 3 sets just before the rain came) but nadal couldn’t as he choked on a 2 set lead and barely won it in the 5th. (7-5). So please stop using scheduling as an excuse. And as someone mentioned, if hawk-eye did not show a call, which even the commentators were coonvinced was in, as out may be Roger would not have gone all-safin in that 4th set. See? we can all come up with “reasons”.

Anyway, it will be a great final tomorrow and may the better player win.

Jane:

You sound like one of those animal rights activists, who will cry shrill over the unfair treatments of animals while not having enough respect for fellow humans because they have a lot more luxuries than “poor animals”. How does anyone earning millions prevent them from being a victim when there is unfair treatment meted out? The media is trying its best to make everyone believe that tomorrow’s match will be the last wimbledon final federer will ever play incase he loses. They are desperate for revenue and the only way to sell things is by making things dramatic for people who want drama and not really see world class athletes push the standards higher every passing day. A lot of the idiots in the media predicted a Djokovic-nadal final. One can only hope they get their heads out of their butts to see tomorrow’s classic final.

Let’s hope tomorrow’s final will be a classic like last years and not a blow out like this year’s french or last year’s Masters Cup semi-finals. Go Fedal!


Voicemale1 Says:

jane Says:
And change in any sport is good for the sport.

For example, it’s kind of a drag when the same team wins the Stanley Cup for 4 or 5 years in a row, unless you happen to be a supporter of that particular winning team. In any sport, there are fans of different players and teams. If the same players / teams win all the time, for a long time, the sport could lose its luster for a large fanbase, and they may even stop watching or following. That, generally, is not good.

A poster said on this blog, only yesterday, that he may not even watch the final, and it’s not that he has anything against either Roger or Rafa. (He also pointed out that he feels like he’s sworn against the Pope for saying such things, given the way some people react).

So that’s why change is good for sport; it keeps all myriad of fans interested if there are different and burgeoning rivalries at the top, and accordingly different players winning, and that brings in more fans, and also different fans, which is good in terms of the exposure of any sport.

Sport is about competition, yes. But one of the things that makes sport exciting is its unpredictability. If the same person or teams wins all the time, it loses that dramatic element. And a lot of people like to watch sport for the drama.

Rafa & Roger finals do and have provided a lot of drama -other than this year’s FO final -but like I said, different players would add variety to that drama. It’s like watching the same movie over and over again to a degree.

And don’t forget this either: sports are entertainment to a large degree too.

Jane:

Athletes are rightly and completely selfish in their motives. They want to win. They don’t care one bit whether you or others like you are bored with their excellence or their efforts. And it’s an excellence that those that are bored couldn’t achieve if their lives depended on it, by the way. Federer & Nadal do what they do for them, not you or any audience. It’s about what they want for themselves. They’re not doing it for purposes of entertaining spectators. The “entertainment” is a by product, not the goal of athletes (unless you’re a media whore like Djokovic)

And that’s the nugget here. Those that clamor for bromides like “change” is “good” for “the sport”, and “entertainment” is a primary consideration have it wrong. Those are attempts to place viewers or onlookers in the role of orchestrating, or placing THEIR desires as the primary consideration criteria. They, rather than the athletes, become the issue (talk about narcissism!!). In effect, it’s a way to make the audience more important than the event or the people that make the event in the first place. That’s BS. The idea is to celebrate the efforts of those that are achievers, and the work they put in to what they accomplish. If you can’t do that, then you should take the cue for the other poster you mention: don’t watch it or read about them. Viewers, fans and whoever else either celebrate them or not, but it’s not up to them or anyone else to put something so ridiculous as an audience expectation or desire as what they should strive to accommodate.

The essence of sport is their accomplishments, not the desire of an audience. And that’s the way it should be.


jane Says:

I am a humanist actually, and this reaction to my desiring some change at the top it typically human. People don’t like change. I could’ve predicted people lashing out at me for saying what I said. In fact I knew people would get riled up. But who cares?

I am not carrying the party line, so don’t read my posts if they bother you. There’s no need to try to categorize me as:

1. a redistributionist
2. an animal rights extremist.

People really like to create order through taxonomies; me, i like a little chaos. So what of it?

Of course, I too hope tomorrow’s final is exciting and not a blow out. I will be rooting for Rafa to win his first Wimbledon – VAMOS NADAL!

It’s funny; i agree about the media treating Roger poorly in their quick rush to write him off. I’ve said as much on this blog a number of times in the past. But don’t forget that it was the same media that built him up into some sort of godlike character. So the media cuts both ways.

It is what it is; of course it wants to sell papers and get as many hits as possible. The media, obviously, is sensationalist. this is nothing new. But these things, the sensationalist taglines, much as we hate them, may get people to watch tennis, which will mean more exposure and better coverage of the sport. So one way to look at it is that it’s not all bad.


Joe Prarie Says:

jane,

you’re right! if the same two teams play year-on-year, then it will become ordinary. however, tennis, as an individual sport, is quite distinct. the consistency that both roger and rafa have displayed over the past 4 years on the grass and clay is a treat for the fans. this interval of confrontations at a grand stage will come to an end sooner than we think, regardless if nadal wins tomorrow or not. regardless if roger manages somehow to win on clay. there’s no greater proof than if we look upon history to know this will end. players with the abilities and contributions that roger and rafa have provided for us in the past 4 years doesn’t come often enough. the men’s game will shift to the unpredictability you so desire (as many others), even if momentarily, that is currently embedded in the women’s game, which isn’t very appealing. the only thing that benefits the sport and fans are players like roger and rafa: consistent and hard-working. it’s not easing coursing through these 2-week championships and vie for the big prize consistently (ask djokovic). the reward for the sport and fans are matches that leave you in wonder, which usually happens with the top players (people still talk about marat vs roger down under). as long as the matches between roger and rafa are competitive and nail-biting, i say…”play on!”

by the way, your point is well taken and understood.


jane Says:

But don’t forget that there will be no tournaments or sponsors if there are no fans. It’s a feedback loop. And, unfortunately, whether we like it or not, money makes this world go around.


Voicemale1 Says:

Fedex:

Good of you to bring up the 2 sets to one down comeback by Federer in Miami – 4 years ago. The scheduling last year helped Federer win Wimbledon – no question about it; everybody knows that. He had 5 days off – and needed every minute of it to win. And he’s done nothing but choke to Nadal all year long in 2008. Face it – when you’re up 5-1 in a set and you have Set Point on your serve and you lose that set 7-5, well, as I said – that’s more than a choke; that’s a neurotic meltdown. Federer needs to be very careful not to go down the gag road if it gets tight Sunday. His best chance is to blow Nadal off the court as quickly as possible.

But I’m with you. Think it will be a great Final – and may the better guy win.


jane Says:

Thanks Joe Prairie for taking my post for what it is and responding fair-mindedly. Your post too makes a lot of sense and is well taken. I agree it will end, (all things do) and I agree that when the contests are good ones, they’re exciting.


Fedex Says:

There seems to be 60% chance of rain the next 4 days at Wimbledon. I guess that must be the default prediction for wimbledon, but it will be painful to have this match stretched over a couple of days. From next year, Wimbledon and French should make a pact that the finals will be a best of 7 – nba style play-off. Winner gets both RG and wimbledon.

Jane:

The same media might have built him into a god-like figure but there definitely were voices of dissent against the media then, as well. What I dont understand his how you can claim too much of a good thing is the same as too much of a bad thing. How are those to equal or compensating each other?


jane Says:

Voicemale1

“The “entertainment” is a by product, not the goal of athletes”

Of course i agree. But Rafa & Roger, if they had no fans, and if the tournaments made little money, wouldn’t have as much money as they do. Yes, they want to be excellent, and have both achieve lofty heights in that regard. But the importance of fans and money in any sport is not simply a “by-product”. They’re integral to the success of the athlete’s themselves – not to mention the sport.

I dislike that money and media are so central to sports, but realistically, you can’t discount them.


jane Says:

Fedex,

“How are those to [2] equal or compensating each other?”

i guess I see it as the media being, in part, to blame for the crazy expectations put on Roger in the first place; the notion that he has to win virtually every match he plays or he’s slumping. Of course his amazing results speak for themselves and play a role in that, but the media really blew things out of proportion in some ways, and so they’re quick to tear him down. Do you see what I mean?

It makes a good story; unfortunately we like to see heroes fall from Olympian heights. It’s the same with celebrities.

But dissent is good; you should write the papers if you’re a Fedfan. I know i would!


Voicemale1 Says:

Jane:

Again, you’re cart-before-the-horse. Fans are the by product. If Federer & Nadal or any tennis player weren’t playing professionally – there would be no fans. And no media. And no money. Their decision to play as pros is The Primary – Fans, Money, Media, etc. is way secondary. Ergo, Fans, Money, Media ARE by-products. Athlete’s are The Chickens; Everything else would be The Eggs. See?


jane Says:

Voicemale1,

Yes, what you say is obvious: no tennis originating in England on the lawns, then no fans. It’s classic evolution, and I am an evolutionist.

However, the sport has been around for a long, long time, so now it’s become a matter of “survival of the fittest.” And in order to thrive and survive and be successful, it takes fans and money and exposure. That’s the evolutionary climate we have now in sports.

And mutation, and change? That’s evolution baby!


jane Says:

BTW, it’s media and fans and money that, in part anyhow, inspire athletes to become athletes in the first place – being little boys and watch Sampras win his first Wimbledon title and then picking up a racket.

It’s a feedback loop now; it’s not simple chicken and eggs.


Vulcan Says:

Its a very simple equation in regards to more variety at the top. You either get the greatness we have witnessed by Federer (and Nadal perhaps) or you get the variety…but you dont get to have both. As far as choosing between one or the other for me thats an easy call…Ill take being able to witness what Federer has contributed (and hope to be able to see him continue to dominate). Now, with that said…if you mean you would like to see more people in the conversation thats different. But there are and always have been. Djokovic, Roddick, Blake, Berdych, and Hewitt just to name a few. I mean its not like Federer and Nadal win all of there matches in straight sets…they are just dominant over the long haul. So Im not really sure I understand how a tennis fan couldn’t be enthralled with what we have had the honor and priveledge of witnessing.


jane Says:

Vulcan,
“if you mean you would like to see more people in the conversation thats different.”

There you go! That’s exactly what I mean.

But I don’t agree that there always has been players in the conversation – not media-wise. Not when there is a stranglehold on #1 & #2 for the longest time ever. Only Djokovic has broken through to come even close points-wise.

I mean being legitimate contenders for the throne, for number 1. There haven’t been a number of those for a long while. It’s been Rafa and Roger.

It’s great to wax poetic and admire the greatness of these two athletes, and i do I really, really do. I particularly like following Rafa because of his incredible benchmarks of improvement.

I am simply saying if there were 5, 6, even 10 guys close in the rankings point, then there would be real fire at the top.

In my opinion, Djokovic was a thankful party-crasher, because he’s made Rafa play even better, just like Roger and Rafa have pushed each other for years. If more players could get into that conversation, I mean *really* in that conversation, then it would be even more exciting and the tennis excellent would not suffer because of it.


Vulcan Says:

Couple of additional comments…It hasnt been mentioned much but Federer has already achieved the mini Clay-Grass back to back wins by winning Wimbledon and Gstaad back to back. Regarding Roddick, after he beat Federer this year in Miami (with no strings attached) I sincerely thought it could of snowballed into something bigger for him but that has not happened. If I feel sorry for anybody its him because it was looking like he got the monkey off his back and was going to do some damage at Wimbledon but alas it twas not to be…it seems like time is running out for Roddick much more so than his contemporaries.


jane Says:

I am not talking about banal variety or variety for variety’s sake, although I do believe that change is good for people and sports. I am talking about stepping up the competition at the top, having more players in contention for the slams so the finalists are not predictable. More players winning slams would mean more competition for number 1; it would inspire players to work even harder.

When something is within reach, you want it more and will try all the harder, perhaps, to get it. If it’s beyond reach it’s easy to think of it as a pipedream and/or to give up. So if we had 5 or 6 or 10 guys within reach of number 1, then we’d see more exciting matches, imo.


Joe Prairie Says:

Jane, Voicemale1

Athletes, fans, media, and all those others “players” attached to a sport are “rightly and completely selfish in their motives.” Additionally, these “players” are bound in a symbiotic relationship. The athlete strives for greatness, but the greatness wouldn’t mean much without the fans and media (and other elements). Also, yes, entertainment is inherently a by-product of a sport; however, a sport that can’t produce this “monetary” entertainment value will remain obscure or much less appreciated, i.e. look at lawn bowling and the state of soccer in the US (though interest/appreciation is growing).


jane Says:

Case in point – Murray at Wimbledon really wanted to win and i’d say one of the most exciting matches of the tournament, if not the most exciting one, was Murray versus Gasquet – what a great match, and either of them could’ve won right until that last set.

Similarly, I thought Gulbis versus Rafa was a good match: an exciting new player who seems to want to be in there, be part of the conversation.

I just want to see these guys move up and get to some slam finals.


jane Says:

Joe Prairie,

Again you make perfect sense, and “symbiotic” is the perfect word for what I was trying to say about the relationship between athletes, fans, media, and, of course, money; I had used “feedback loop,” but perhaps the relationship is even more interdependent than that.


Vulcan Says:

Jane, I think youre going to be getting more of what you want with the North American hard court season fast approaching. Hard courts are the great equalizer and at this point in time I would say that the US Open is up for grabs (i doubt if Roger wants to hear that though)


jane Says:

Vulcan,

I agree; that’s exactly what I said above in my 1:07 pm post. Hard courts may shake things up this year. Maybe not, but I can always hope can’t I?


Vulcan Says:

Yep, and as far as in the conversation goes and looking ahead (and behind) dont forget Nalbandian. If you saw Madrid and Paris last year im sure you remember what he did to Federer in those two consecutive matches.


jane Says:

Yes, Vulcan; I too mentioned wandering-Dave in that same post above; he was truly a tour de force at the end of last year. And he blew his chances in his quarter final at the USO against Ferrer last year. If, and if is a strong word in sports of course, but IF he had beaten Ferrer, it might’ve been Nalbandian in the final against Federer, and he certainly would’ve been in with a good shot to win the title; whereas Djoko was new and nervous, I think David would’ve come in with more experience. And he has no qualms about Roger.


Colin Says:

Rogerhasbeenoutforawhile – perhaps English is not your first language, in which case I don’t like to criticise. However, it’s often hard to work out what you’re trying to say. By the way, I love the idea that Agassi was a “late boomer”!


Voicemale1 Says:

jane Says:
BTW, it’s media and fans and money that, in part anyhow, inspire athletes to become athletes in the first place – being little boys and watch Sampras win his first Wimbledon title and then picking up a racket.

It’s a feedback loop now; it’s not simple chicken and eggs.

Jane:

Wrong again. Tennis Professional’s predate Sampras, the formation of the ATP, and your own awareness of tennis – just so you know. There were many professional tennis players LONG before there were ever things like televsion, sponsors or the like. It’s the reason Rod Laver, among many other pros, was banned from paying in Majors for 6 years – he turned pro in 1962 and couldn’t play until the advent of Open Tennis in 1968. If you think people like Laver, Emerson, Hoad, McKay, Kramer, Gonzalez, Segura, Pietrangeli, et.al were inpsired by money, fame & media covergae, then you go research and find out what kind of money these people were making back then. Prize money to win a tournament then often wouldn’t buy a souped up tennis racquet or a pair of tennis shoes today.

Money, media or fans, for all intents & purposes didn’t exist then, so there was no such “inspiration” from them. These men played tennis because they loved it – and the few that saw them or wrote about them celebrated their talent; they’d never think of treating athletes as though they were obligated to a public for anything. These guys, along with even their predecessors like Tilden, Austin, LaCoste, Budge & Perry are the true Chickens. So yeah, Chickens do come first. And if you had any clue about the origins & history of professional tennis, you’d know that too.

So, repeat after me Jane: Chickens First, Eggs Second. Got it?? Good!! And by the way – you post an AWFUL lot on this board on every single thread. Clearly, you have way too much time on your hands. Got get a life, will ya?? :)


Vulcan Says:

Voicemal1 are you somehow, in some shape or form, attempting to insinuate…that there might perhaps be a CONTROVERSY


jane Says:

I do know a lot about the history of the sport; i may not be as old as you Voicemale, but have been watching, read: a fan, since the days of Mac, Borg, Lendl, et al. And lots was written then, and it is still is now.

And if you read my or Joe Prairie’s posts, you’d see we’re talking about now not the formations of the sport. We’re talking about the evolutionary climate of sport and tennis NOW.

And as for getting a life, at least I don’t worship one player so much that I narcissitically follow the sport for the sake of his winning or losing. I follow tennis -the sport- because I love it.
And I’ll post as much or as little as i want. Skip if you don’t like it or suck it up dude!! :-)


NK Says:

It’s a lot easier to make the “change is good ” argument if your favorite player is not in the mix. I wonder if Jane would make the argument as emphatically if her favorite player was winning every time and was in line to win a sixth straight Wimbledon.

Yes, sport is entertainment, but in an individual sport like tennis, the only benchmark is winning. If you want entertainment, you can always go to the Fed-Sampras exhibition matches.

The amazing thing about Federer and Nadal is that they have consistently risen above the rest, fighting major odds along the way. Nadal re-invented his grass court game to win, not to entertain. Federer fought several demons since January and has contrary to popular opinion put himself in a position to win a GS event yet again.

To Jane’s point, it was refreshing to see Djokovic becoming a legitimate champion when he won the AO, but his loose talk and inconsistent play has put some question marks against his name. He proclaimed before the start of Wimbledon that Federer was vulnerable and the other players are not afraid of him any more. Yet, ironically, you see Federer in the finals of the FO and Wimbledon. not Djokovic.

Federer and Nadal have had to fight media bias as well. Can you imagine NBC not showing the men’s semifinals live if either of them had been American, or Sports Illustrated not putting either of them on the cover despite their accomplishments.

I would also venture to say that there is a large contingency of folks on these boards who don’t like like Federer for one reason alone — that he is not American and he threatens the legacy of Sampras.

Don’t get me wrong, we all have our favorites, and if we see them winning, change is the last thing we would want.


FoT Says:

Well, I don’t want to see “change” because Federer is my favorite so naturally I want him to win as long as he can. (yes, I’m selfish). I could care less if anyone else comes up (young players or old) as long as Roger is still dominating the sport. I can understand how others feel because if Roger was not my favorite, I’d like to see new #1 players and winners too. But since he IS my favorite – I want to enjoy this dominance as long as I can. And actually others should enjoy this dominance as you may not see it again for a long time.

I bet the golf world did not “hope” other players knock Tiger off his throne. Tiger was a name recognition player, and now that he is out for the year – I understand golf rating are hurting. No one knows these players now – or care – if a 240 lb Tim Herron (or whatever his name is) is a winner this week or leading the leaderboard. But if Tiger was in the tournament – everyone (even non-golf fans) would be tuning in to see if he could pull another one out.

Federer is in that situation now. Whether or not you like him, tennis needs him because he has become a name recognition player and even non-tennis fans are now tuning in to see “that Federer guy”.

So if no one else steps up to challenge Roger, Nadal, and Djokovic, then don’t blame them for winnnig all the time. If you must blame someone, blame the other players for not stepping up. But nothing but praises should go to Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic for doing their part.


jane Says:

NK-

You’re right about favorites of course, and it’s easy to not want change when one’s favorite is winning everything. Why would we want change if everything is going the way we want it eh? ;-) Listen, I respect your position as an ardent Fedfan and don’t mean to take anything away from that.

That said, I don’t really have a “favorite”. I have a few players I prefer, but I don’t subscribe to following or rooting for just one player. I follow the sport of tennis in general. Of late, I’ve been following Djoko closest, mainly because of his rise into the top three, and his serious challenge. But I like a lot of players. And I keep track of new ones too, as they come along, precisely because I like new faces and challengers in the sport. Maybe this preference comes from what I do; in teaching I get new students every term and it keeps things fresh.

On that note, a big congrats to Laura Robson – how cool that the Brits finally have a Wimbledon winner of their own!


jane Says:

FoT,

Fair enough, and you’re right about name recognition. But after a while, once the name is recognized and perhaps even a household name, people can begin to tire of it. Imagine if some young upstart came along to challenge Tiger in golf – it’d be great! Yes, it was good to see him battle through that bum knee, but it’d be even greater to see his greatness challenged by another young gun (if you can call golf-players that – lol).


FoT Says:

I understand Jane. And the fact is that after that Tiger match, I couldn’t find hardly anyone who remembered who lost in that playoff. They remember Tiger winning but couldn’t remember Rocco. So even golf has to do a better promotion of itself with other players than Tiger too.

Tennis started late in that aspect with Federer but I have recently seen several commercials with Roger, which is great. I just know that Tennis players have a shorter tennis-life-span than golfers so I want to enjoy the Federer-era as long as possible because I know it’ll come to an end soon just due to his age.


Ra Says:

I completely disagree with the notion that Haas’s withdrawal in any way helped Federer win Wimbledon last year. All it did was disrupt his momentum.


FoT Says:

Ra, I agree with you. In grand slams you want that rhythem of playing. Roger was already rusty in the Wimbledon championships last year because he didn’t even play Halle and then to have all those days off did not do him any favorites.

Also, when they interviewed Rafa today on ESPN and they brought up the fact that Nadal was probably tired and injured. Nadal said that wasn’t true. He said he was fine last year and not tired (his words, not mine)…

Anyway… last year is over. I am so looking forward to tomorrow’s match. The William Sisters lived up to their billing. I hope Roger and Rafa does too tomorrow (with a Federer win)! lol!


Von Says:

To hold unwaveringly to the thought that the sport of tennis has not changed with regard to money, etc., is also stating that all sports, in general, have not changed and/or evolved, with money as the primary focus, in the athletes’ zeal for being the No. 1 player. True, most athletes initially begin playing in a chosen field for the love of the game. However, as time goes by, priorities shift and some others take root, vis-a-vis, the love of money, recognition and idol/hero worshipping.

In the pre-open era days, those athletes definitely, without a doubt, played for the pure love of the sport. Money, accolades, adulations and popularity took a back seat. Sad to say, that this is not the norm anymore for the current day player. Any and everything now revolves around money, but more of a startling revelation is their insatiable appetite for power. There are so many insecure players, who can only feel secure in their personage when they have a currriculum vitae as long as a mile following their names, hence, the ridiculous stats that are now being compiled. This greed for power becomes stronger with each win, and its insatiability is akin to that of a bottomless pit. More, more and more, in the form of victories is needed to quench the burning fire of self-gratification, to the point wherein the sport is only relevant because of the satisfaction in terms of greatness it achieves to feed the fragile ego of the winner. The heady feeling each win produces is similar to the effects of a mood-altering drug, and the addiction is exponentially multiplied. Further, as is the norm with any mood-altering substances and/or experiences, only duplication of the positive results can quench the fire. Love of the sport, and its fans, become inconsequential and pale in comparison to the selfish desires of the player, whose only purpose in life is to acquire greatness.

a parallel comparison of SOME atheletes would be that of SOME doctors. I’m sure we all wonder why some of these healers choose medicine as a profession when we witness their exploitation of their patients and the medical system. Their choice initially began, in most cases, with a deep desire to heal, however, along the way, the greed of money takes over, and what was once a good doctor becomes a mediocre, richer human being — no longer first and foremost a doctor. Money becomes more important than healing. So too, athletes’ focus change and their love of the sport becomes compromised by money, fame and hero worshipping.

There will be many rebuttals to my statements regarding a few points, but it’s very difficult to read the posts which are written by those who have lost track of the real meaning of a “tennis forum”, and that is, EVERY poster has a right to his or her opinion. To use name calling and/or place handles on another poster is unnecessary. I’m positive that we’re all adults here, and have also progressed through our many stages of development successfully (you can look this up under the subject of “Human Development” in Developmental Psychology – Erik Ericksen’s Stages of Development). Hence, assuming we all have progressed satisfactorily, then I’d say we do not need to regress, do we? We should keep and have an open mind as to what we read.

Another ridiculous situation is that of so many stating that NBC or the United States media does not place more attntion on tennis due to the lack of Americans being at the top of the sport. What’s even more appalling, is that SOME of you live in the United States and are so openly biased against this country — biting the hand that feeds you. It’s ludicrous to infer and state that Federer is not recognized in the US because he is not American. Federer’s given more attention than an American would be given in Switzerland; the same for Nadal and Spain. The United States is a lot more generous to non-Americans than most other countries. Stop the generalizations and excuse finding for the poor media coverage. Go to the source, which is the ATP. The media will cover anything that pays them the big bucks. Today NBC witched from the doubles match to show a cartoon. Is it because an American is not playing? No, it’s because of contractual obligations and sponsorships. NBC was paid for X amount of hours and sticks to that contractual obligation. There isn’t anything “human” in these negotiations. it’s a matter of black and white. Tennis is losing fans. People are tired of the predictability — this is a 50/50 view of many not so ardent tennis fans, and it’s not about Americans or non-Americans being at the top.

The folowing is a piece I wrote on “tolerance among peers” some years ago in college. Perhaps it might add some insight and enlightenment regarding posting and co-existence among posters….

I have heard tolerance defined as supercilious condescension. And tolerance is often thought to mean agreement. Tolerance is not always seen as a virtue and even when it is seen as a virtue it is often misunderstood. Tolerance is the acceptance that other people hold different views from ourselves. Tolerance is the willingness to allow others to be different in their views and actions. Above all tolerance is the absolute avoidance of using power, violence or coercion to force other people to think and believe as we do. Tolerance is an attitude of loving kindness towards those who hold views which are different from ours and even towards those who hold views which are repugnant to us. Intolerance on the other hand is the willingness to use and the use of force, violence and coercion to make other people behave as we want them to and hold the views we want them to hold. There is also the intolerance that doesn’t want to force others to change but simply wants to exterminate or exile them for being different, There have been many atrocious examples of intolerance in the religious history of the world and also in the political history of the world.

Tolerance is not about agreement or being vague about differences and disagreements. Tolerance is, as I said already, maintaining an attitude ofloving kindness towards those who hold views which are different from ours and which are even repugnant to us.

I sincerely hope we can tolerate each other with some degree “tolerance”. Bulldozing someone to shut up is not the answer — you dont’t win that way. A bunch of people singing the same song non-stop is BORINg, some dissension adds a little bit of zing and spice.


Gordo Says:

The rivalry between Roger and Rafa is the best thing to happen to the sport of tennis. Until last year there was so much talk and articles written comparing and contrasting Federer and Tiger Woods because both men were being touted as the possible Greatest Of All Time in each of their sports.

Now Nadal has matured outside of clay to the point that Federer has an opponent who can give him fits, make him sweat and forces him to prove to everyone – perhaps even himself – what his own potential of greatness is.

Champions win. If Rogere Federer is indeed the greatest tennis player of the modern era he will win tomorrow. But if he fails to do so, don’t be surprised to see him dig deep and mount a remainder of 2008 full of dazzling tennis.

We should all be thankful for this rivalry, for it is better than McEnroe-Borg or Agassi-Sampras. Roger and Rafa are now into more Grand Slam finals against each other than anyone before. That just adds to the excitement.

As for golf – fans of that sport only wish the equivalent of a Raphael Nadal would rise from the links, because right now Woods only rivalry is with his bum knee.

Tomorrow is going to rock. May the best player on the day win!


Dan Martin Says:

First, let me thank everyone for reading and posting. Second, I think that rivalries are in general good for tennis. Navratilova-Everett, Graf-Navritilova, Graf-Seles, Connors-Borg, Borg-McEnroe, Mac-Lendl, Lendl-Becker, Becker-Edberg, Agassi-Courier, Agassi-Sampras, Sampras-Ivanesevic etc. all had their moments. The Lakers-Celtics, 49ers-Cowboys etc. in other sports all seemed like fun to me.

I also think the men’s tour usually has more depth than now and some rivalries used to overlap – Samras-Courier-Edberg -Agassi(91-92) from 1991-1993 for instance. I think more depth plus a compelling rivalry or two is ideal for the ATP. Normally that hits when generations shift – when Lendl, Edberg, & Becker could still contend for Slams, but Sampras, Stich, Chang, Agassi, Courier and Ivanisevic were all making assaults on the top 10 – that was a lot of fun.


Dan Martin Says:

One other thing here are my two musical themes for the match depending on the winner:

If Federer wins “Heroes” by David Bowie

“Though nothing-nothing will keep us together
We can beat them-for ever and ever
Oh we can be heroes-just for one day”

age is happening to everyone so nothing will keep Federer 26 forever, but a win would allow him to win “for ever and ever” as Bowie said.

If Nadal wins “Man in Motion” by John Parr from the St. Elmo’s Fire soundtrack (decent song/bad film and I say that a Georgetown alum).

“I can make it, I know I can
You broke the boy in me, but you won’t break the man.”

Such a win would be Nadal coming of age as the new man at the top of the ATP. He’d move beyond the past two Wimbledon losses.

Either way time also erodes people in their younger 20′s too. The first tennis match I remember watching was Connors d. McEnroe at Wimbledon in 1982. I got hooked on the sport and started diving everywhere watching Becker win in 1985. Those guys are missed. As (Paul Newman) Butch Cassidy told (Robert Redford) Sundance said:

Butch – “I’m over the hill, but it can happen to you.”

Sundance – “That’s just what I wanted to hear.”

Butch – “Now everyday you get older, that’s a law.”

I do hope that Roger and Rafa don’t go quietly into the night as surprising and one-sided losses in Oz, Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami might have suggested mortality for both men earlier this year. Butch and Sundance could not beat the Bolivian Army, and I am guessing Roger and Rafa aren’t going to beat Father Time. Then again Butch and Sundance didn’t lose for not trying.

Enough tangential movie and musical connections. This thing ought to be fun regardless of rooting interests. Let’s see these two get it on one more time.


NK Says:

“Tennis is losing fans. People are tired of the predictability — this is a 50/50 view of many not so ardent tennis fans, and it’s not about Americans or non-Americans being at the top.”

Von, Tennis is losing fans only in the U.S., and the American media’s lack of coverage because of the absence of top American players is not helping things any.

I talk to a good friend in Kuala Lumpur every week. He is a big sports lover and gets to watch NBA, American football, golf, cricket, soccer…everything sitting at home, without having to subscribe to cable or dish network. He and his friends enjoy full coverage of the grand slam events, and they get to routinely watch top tennis matches, not just the ones where Americans are playing.

You state that Federer is given more attention in the U.S. than an American in Europe. My friend was in Switzerland last year and he said he was truly surprised to find not a single billboard or ad of Federer anywhere he went. I would also venture to add that the Swiss know as much about Sampras and Agassi as they do about Federer. My American colleague at work who sits across from me knows nothing about Federer or Nadal.

I agree NBC is bound by contractual obligations; however, I was not making a specific case about this weekend’s coverage. My point was that if Federer and Nadal with all of their glorious legacy were American, NBC or any other network would have surely locked in exclusive full live coverage of their matches anytime and anywhere in the world.

Finally, since when does critisizing american media’s lack of tennis coverage amount to an open bias against America, or “biting the hand that feeds you.” I am appalled by your implication that any criticism of America by non-Americans living in the U.S. is unpatriotic and a reflection of an utter lack of gratitude. As a naturalized American citizen, I can assure you that I am much more critical of the country I originally came from than I am of America.


Naydal Says:

Andy Murray is a joke. People really need to stop mentioning him in the same breath with Federer, Nadal, or even Djokovic.


Dan Martin Says:

Well the experts – Patrick McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Stan Smith, Greg Garber, Peter Bodo, and James Martin (editor of Tennis Magazine and no relation to me) are all picking or hinting at a Rafa win.

Tracy Austin picks Federer by a nose, and G. Vilas refused to make a pick.


Von Says:

NK:

Well, I’ve done it again, haven’t I? To be precise, sparking an argument betweeen us. I don’t know if you remember my last post to you in which I mentioned I won’t respond to any of your posts in the future, however, you’ve made a liar out of me. The truth of the matter is, I dislike being unmannerly, and I dislike even more, perpetuating ill-will. My posts to some people might probably prove me as being inconsistent in these statements, but sometimes it’s done out of necessity to prove a point. That said, I will attempt to answer a few of your questions.

My remark about American ingratitude was not aimed specifically at you, but to those who have consistently targeted the Americans. I become somewhat miffed when I see statements blaming the Americans for every nonsensical problem. I do not think that it’s fair to the American people and the American tennis players. To state that the American media would have been more willing to supply better TV coverage if the Americans had gone deeper into the tournament, is getting a little carried away. I personally feel that the TV channels don’t care about providing good tennis media coverage, period. The media is all about money and would cover anything, if the stakes are high enough. Perhaps they would clamour to cover the American players’ matches, but that would be dependent on the amount of sponsors they can obtain for those matches. I can assure you that it’s not aboout favoritism, but money. There have been times when matches of the American players were cut off at crucial points due to the allotted time slot for the tennis coverage ending.

You mentioned your colleague at work who has not heard of Federer and Nadal. I’m not surprised. I’m a great tennis enthusiast and watch tennis as much as I possibly can, and aside from my son, who watches Sports Center and ESPN, and is cognizant of the tennis buzz, my daughter and husband are totally in the dark as far as tennis goes. We are a soccer, ice hockey, baseball and American fotball family. Is this the media’s fault? i don’t think so. It goes according to people’s preferences.

You stated: “You state that Federer is given more attention in the U.S. than an American in Europe. My friend was in Switzerland last year and he said he was truly surprised to find not a single billboard or ad of Federer anywhere he went.”

This proves my point. If his own country does not place a huge amount of emphasis on his popularity, then what do you want from the American public? However, he appears in commercials in the US. That being the case, isn’t the American media and the American public a lot kinder to Federer than most people presume or insinuate? I’m sure the American players do not appear in commercials in other countries. Each country takes care of its own, so why should the US be condemned if preference is given to it own players.

Finally, you stated that the American people don’t like Federer for the sole purpose that they don’t want to see him break Sampras’ record. I strongly disagree. I’ve always been a great Sampras fan and that thought has NEVER crossed my mind, and I’m sure the same is true for most of the American tennis fans.

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