Chang Enters Tennis Hall of Fame, But How?
by Sean Randall | July 12th, 2008, 8:59 pm
  • 100 Comments

I am quite certain that at some point today, Thomas Muster, Sergi Bruguera and perhaps a few other former Grand Slam champions all scratched their head upon hearing the news that Michael Chang officially entered the Tennis Hall of Fame.

They scratched their heads not at puzzlement over Chang’s entry, but likely of their own continued omission.

Now let me be perfectly upfront, I have nothing against Chang. I congratulate him for his entry and for his success on the tour. From my lazy-boy recliner vantage point I thought he was a terrific player, gave it his all, fought hard and he helped promote the sport especially in Asia.

But I have to ask how does he get in when a guy like Muster, who won more titles than Chang (44 to 34) and even reached No. 1 is still awaiting his ticket to be punched to Newport?

Popular support argument might be: “Yeah, but Michael was such an ambassador of tennis in Asia and we all remember his underhand serve while he was cramping against Lendl.”

To which I might respond, “Thomas Muster. Hitting forehands. Wheelchair. Look it up!”

Again, not Chang’s fault, it’s the system.

And in my mind even someone like Bruguera has a case. He won one more French Open than Chang or Yannick Noah did and Sergi reached another final, yet that’s not enough for the Hall voters and my guess is it probably never will be. Unfortunately for Bruguera he never had the persona and popularity of a guy like Patrick Rafter who got in with two Slams and fewer titles than Bruguera, though the Australian was No. 1 for a few weeks and more importantly, was in the hearts and minds of many. Had Bruguera been a popular American clay-court specialist, guess what? He’s already in!

Yannick Noah, by the way: One Slam, 23 titles, career-high No. 4? Pourquoi?

So it makes me wonder just what the minimum standards for Hall of Fame entry are. Based on recent inductees I don’t think they really have any, but I could be wrong. That said, here’s my criteria for HOF consideration:

Player must have ranked No. 1;
or, have won at least two Slams;
or, won at least 40 titles;
or, have reached the finals at all four Slams, winning at least one;
or, won a Slam after practicing groundies from a wheelchair with at least one limb in a cast.

If you can say “yes” to any of the above, then you can get nominated. If you can’t, keep practicing. Seems simple enough to me.

And if Chang or Noah or even a one-slammer like Gabriela Sabatini can get in, what about other “single slammers” like Albert Costa, Michael Stich, Richard Krajicek, Goran Ivanisevic and Pat Cash. They, too, may have a case. (Ok, only Stich and Goran really do!)

As for the current guys. Obviously Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal are direct in. I think Marat Safin, Lleyton Hewitt and the just-retired Gustavo Kuerten get in. Radek Stepanek gets in for his off-court skills. I also think Andy Roddick – Slam, Davis Cup, year-end No. 1 and he’s American! – is in, as is Juan Carlos Ferrero who is deserving with a No. 1 ranking, a Slam and a Davis Cup title. And under my system even Carlos Moya gets in. He was No. 1. allegedly.

With the women, Maria Sharapova, Justin Henin, the Williams sisters, Lindsay Davenport, Amelia Mauresmo, Kim Clijsters and Ana Ivanovic can all book travel to lovely Newport.

Players I who I don’t think need to make any such bookings unless they plan on vacationing in Rhode Island include Thomas Johansson, Gaston Gaudio, David Nalbandian, Vince Spadea, Nikolay Davydenko and Anastasia Myskina. Of course they can all prove me wrong but right now I really don’t like their chances.

And that leaves just about everyone else is on that Hall of Fame bubble, scratching their heads.


Also Check Out:
Andre Agassi to be Inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame
Will Yevgeny Kafelnikov Ever Get Into The Tennis Hall Of Fame?
Kuerten, Capriati Enter Tennis Hall Of Fame; Shunned Kafelnikov Waits Outside
Jennifer Capriati Elected To The Tennis Hall Of Fame
Verdasco Stays Hot; Haas Upset; Isner v Hewitt On Hall Of Fame Saturday In Newport

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get Tennis-X news FREE in your inbox every day

100 Comments for Chang Enters Tennis Hall of Fame, But How?

Andy Says:

Perhaps it really is meant to be a Hall of _Fame_ and not a Hall of _Winning-The-Most-Tournaments_? I guess they’re not always well correlated.


kamret Says:

I totally agree with you. Too many people get in and I don’t know why they call it HALL OF FAME when anyone practically gets in (especially if they are Americans)! Muster definitely deserves to get in. I think the criteria to get in should be at least 2 Grand Slam titles or 1 Slam with a # 1 ranking. It should be simple.


Kevin Says:

Famous comes first, so it is no wonder Chang entered


deb Says:

With the dominance of Roger/Rafa in slams it’s going to be sim pickings for the years between 2004-8 amongst other players.

How about Ljubicic for his Davis Cup efforts and Esther Vergeer – five years undefeated, 2 gold medals and going for a third in Beijing.


Andrew Miller Says:

I love it. Stepanek in for his off court skills. Totally agree. All that is left for this Romeo to complete the grand slam of WTA players from the former Czechoslovakia is Hantuchova :) And I think if she agrees to a Starbucks date, Stepanek is in the hall of fame!

Note to future ATP pros: learn eastern european languages and russian. You’ll look back at this advice as golden!


Jaeger Says:

I agree 100%. How many of Chang’s 34 titles were even ATP major events, as opposed to smaller tournaments (Heineken Open? MFS Pro Championships?) against lesser competition? It is like inducting one-hit wonder Vanilla Ice into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.


Nuno Says:

I can only see why he is in.

Because of being an american.
As for the other potentials entrances i can only understand Stepanek entry because he’s a loved guy in the circuit and mostly because he’s also popular in the USA.

Soccer don’t have any kind of Hall of Fame, for what i see those Hall of Fames are an american tradition, so even if a player don’t win a single Slam during his/her career, or reach number 1 spot BUT HAS SOME POPULARITY IN THE USA, he/she can rest assured with the Hall of Fame spot.


Von Says:

Fame = famous, and if as some state, the Hall of Fame is an American tradition, then it’s only appropos that the Americans are elected, correct?. Perhaps each country in the world should have their own sports Hall of Fame and NOT rely on the Americans to supply this traditon then there won’t be any perceived unfairness toward some players.


JCF Says:

Andy Roddick is probably feeling good about his chances right about now… He is already a more accomplished player than Chang ever was, and he still has a good 5 years left.


Steve Says:

Michael chang is iconic, like Jimmy connors, Mcenroe, Pete Sampras, Agassi. Do a google search on Muster and Chang and you see who’s more famous. Hall of fame DO need to pick someone famous, unfortunately.

Michael chang was the one that won the French open for the Americans and started the great era of american tennis players like sampras, agassi, courier, you name it. He was highly ranked for many years, just not very good at getting grand slam title.


JCF Says:

“Unfortunately for Bruguera he never had the persona and popularity of a guy like Patrick Rafter who got in with two Slams and fewer titles than Bruguera, though the Australian was No. 1 for a few weeks and more importantly, was in the hearts and minds of many.”

Rafter was #1 for only a week btw. He lost it the week after and never regained it.


JCF Says:

“Players I who I don’t think need to make any such bookings unless they plan on vacationing in Rhode Island include Thomas Johansson, Gaston Gaudio, David Nalbandian, Vince Spadea, Nikolay Davydenko and Anastasia Myskina. Of course they can all prove me wrong but right now I really don’t like their chances.”

How about Kuznetsova? One slam, and 2 runner ups, #2 spot.


Von Says:

Roddick has already satisfied the requirements for the Hall of Fame. He’s won a grand slam; the No. 1 ranking, and won Davis Cup.


Sean Randall Says:

True, Fame = Famous. Perhaps it really is a popularity contest! Too bad.

JCF, Roddick is 100% in. American + year-end No. 1 and Slam win. He’s in. Kuz I would put on that HOF bubble. Since she isn’t one of the glamour girls she’ll need to do a little extra. One Slam will not be enough. She needs at least another Slam maybe even two more.

Deb, Ljubicic does not get in. No chance. At least not for his on court results. Esther Vergeer should make it, however, and I think she will.

I also should add Yevegeny Kafelnikov to the list of guys who should have a beef with the HOF. Perhaps he’s just not eligible yet? Kafelnikov won two Slams, ranked No. 1 and won 26 singles titles. Plus he had four Slam doubles wins. Like him or not, that should be more than enough for qualification. But just as I left him out of my post I’m sure he’s not in the mind of many voters.


Samprazzz Says:

Chang was consistently ranked at #2 in the World behind Pistol Pete. He was a fixture in the top 5 for years. He broke ground for Asian tennis. He also did alot of off-court things that increased his reputation. Being American helps, because his first language is English. He won a grand-slam at a very young age (17 or 18?)- which garners alot of fame. I agree with his nomination. I think that Brugera, Muster, and the others mentioned will be inducted too.


JCF Says:

Von,

You said Von was short for your real name… and I’ve been puzzled for days trying to figure out what that might be. It isn’t Vondra is it?

You’ve got a pretty good vocabulary. Are you by any chance a journalist, teacher or lawyer of some sort?


Dan Martin Says:

YK also won Olympic Gold in 2000. I think he is just not eligible yet. He has to be in the Hall of Fame. 2 singles slams, 4 doubles slams, 1 gold medal, and the #1 ranking … case closed.


Von Says:

JCF:

****Von, You said Von was short for your real name… and I’ve been puzzled for days trying to figure out what that might be. It isn’t Vondra is it?”

(1) You’re putting me on the spot here. That OCD you spoke of (you said you say things until you get them right) is really peaking. :) Normally, I wouldn’t answer about my name, but you’re a nice guy, I dislike unmannerliness, and I don’t want that OCD to become a problem for you. That said, my name is: YVONNE.

“You’ve got a pretty good vocabulary. Are you by any chance a journalist, teacher or lawyer of some sort?”

Let’s just say I have a background in law and leavce it at that, I also have a degree in Psychology — human devlopment. However, I felt I would better serve the world working in law. There’s a tremendous amount of psychology in law and marketing. The Psychology stuff, even though I love the subject, I knew I could not make a living from it — I’m too sensitive and somewhat compassionate, and I would not be able to let go of people’s problems. While in college I worked in Pubic Relations writing press releases, etc., and that coupled with the writing of legal documents, accounts for the wordiness of my posts. I’m hopeless.

How about you, what do you do? Is “J” indicative of John, Joseph, or jovial? :)


Andy Says:

If the Hall of Fame is a popularity contest (and the name suggests that is the goal), then maybe there should be a separate measure of career achievement. It could be a sort of career computer ranking based on the factors people have mentioned above: slams, weeks at number 1, weeks in the top 5, titles, etc. If someone came up with a formula, we could plug in all the great players stats and get out a ranking list. Anyone want to take a stab at it?


Dan_M Says:

Andy,

I think it is a good idea if it admits to its own flaws. The longer a record held up before it was broken and the degree by which a record was broken could somehow be computed. Rod Laver winning the calendar slam the final year he was an amatuer and the first year of the open era means many slams and many weeks at #1 were likely lost forever. The improved status of the Australian Open allows for players 1987-present 4 chances to add a slam to their total when for many years no one played Australia. There are many reasons beyond those previously listed as to why such a model should be distrusted as the final word on greatness, but it could be a really good tool for discussion.


rjnick Says:

No year-end #1 with at least one Slam has ever been denied entry — so Roddick, Hewitt, and Kuerten are givens. Hewitt has the benefit of having been the youngest #1 and Kuerten has the benefit of having been the first South American male to finish #1. Roger Federer is obvious, and even if Rafael Nadal never hits #1, he’s definitely a given, too.

By their standards of any #1 plus any Slam, that opens the door to players not only like Carlos Moya, but Yevgeny Kafelnikov (who also has an Olympic gold medal and was the first Russian #1). Marat Safin also gets in by that logic. In fact the only real question mark then is Marcelo Rios — the only male ranked #1 without a Grand Slam to his credit. If nothing else, he was the first South American ranked #1 period. The X-factor does matter — otherwise you wouldn’t need a Hall of Fame, just an ordered list of Slam winners and title winners.

The women I think are easier because they tend not to have the oddball #1s like the men do. On the other hand, they did let in Jana Novotna. Maybe Mary Pierce and Iva Majoli have something to look foward to.

I think the other problem is that players like Sampras, Agassi, and Seles are not eligible yet, and Newport feels a need to induct someone every year. So some of the lessers get in because the big guns just aren’t eligible, aren’t retired, or are already in.


Noel Says:

Von,
” Is “J” indicative of John, Joseph, or jovial?”
Extremely sorry to butt in but I have-for no apparent reason-somehow believed that JCF has something to do with Juan Carlos Ferrero.


Von Says:

Noel:

“Von,
” Is “J” indicative of John, Joseph, or jovial?”
Extremely sorry to butt in but I have-for no apparent reason-somehow believed that JCF has something to do with Juan Carlos Ferrero.”

You can butt in at anytime, no need to apologize. Thanks for volunteering that information, but while I would like to think I’m posting to Juan Carlos Ferrero, who is a rather classy guy, IMO, logic dictates that JCF’s English is too GOOD for it to be the Spaniard. Only JCF would know the answer, perhaps he’ll spill the beans. :)


Frank Says:

maybe add to your criteria for HOF consideration: someone who is the youngest to ever win a men’s grand slam?


JCF Says:

“(1) You’re putting me on the spot here. That OCD you spoke of (you said you say things until you get them right) is really peaking. :) Normally, I wouldn’t answer about my name, but you’re a nice guy, I dislike unmannerliness, and I don’t want that OCD to become a problem for you. That said, my name is: YVONNE.”

Why of course… Doh! I was thinking of every name with Von in it and was struggling big time. Somehow I missed that one. Then I tried looking up databases for baby names, and not many started with V… Of course, it’s so obvious now after you mentioned it. Yvonne was the name of my Doberman by the way. She may have ended up on someone’s dinner plate after we moved and had to give her away. I miss her. :(

Thanks for sharing though. You’re an interesting person. And I learnt some new words reading your posts, and I thought you were quite astute in picking out Joker from his aliases (You really do pay a lot of attention to what people say.). ;)

As for me.. JCF, that’s not my name. I stumbled upon this site some time back in 2003, and wanted to post some comments but couldn’t think of a name, and got lazy, so I thought of my two favorite players at the time, JC Ferrero, and R. Federer. I originally posted as Juan Carlos Federer, then started abbrieviating it. Back then, Ferrero was #1, and Federer was only #3. I was expecting something big for Ferrero, especially after making the USO final, but that never happened. I have a new spaniard to root for in Nadal though, who has stepped up and taken the reins from Ferrero. I love when these two play, because I like both players and it doesn’t bother me who wins, but Nadal is the only player in the game right now that beats Federer consistently or poses any challenge to him.

It might be weird being a fan of JC Ferrero now, since he hasn’t done anything since 2003 and his career is effectively over… but I’ve been too lazy to change the name, and people identify me already as JCF. Maybe I’ll change my name to Fedal, or Roger Fedal, or RF or something, if t-x requires name registration to post comments some day.

(Btw, I posted on RF’s forums ages ago under the name Juan Carlos Federer, and some idiot actually thought my last name really was also Federer)

If I’m not mistaken Von, you’re a Djokovic fan. I like him too. He’s a feisty little twat, but that’s what I like most about him. He can talk the talk, and has the game to back his mouth.

My roommate is Giner, and sometimes he posts under my name because he forgets to change it. So if I say something out of character… you know.

Sorry everyone else for that digression. I didn’t know where else to ask Von. =)

Oh and no, I’m not a spaniard, so you are correct again ;). I just happened to like some of their players (I liked Moya as well). I get a feeling that JC Ferrero will not be inducted into the HOF (even though I think he should if Chang did) because his english is typically bad, and he doesn’t have much of a presence outside of his country, so he isn’t all that marketable or ‘famous’ in the US. It’s not so much favoritism for americans, but if english is not your first language, you’re not going to have much of a media presence in the US.

The same would be true for Nadal, except he lets his silverware do the talking. If you look at interviews with Nadal after big wins, they’re typically not very long or detailed, because he can’t handle himself all that well in the press room.

If a guy like Todd Martin who didn’t win a slam gets the nod for HOF, that would say a lot about the voting process…


JCF Says:

“That OCD you spoke of (you said you say things until you get them right) is really peaking.”

Before you start thinking Howard Hughes though… yes I do say and do things over and over until I get it perfect, but I don’t repeat lines in front of other people… if others are around, I say it in my head, or move my lips but not say out loud. I’ve been caught ‘talking to myself’ as a kid and people thought I was strange. I would rehearse imaginary conversations over and over again not because I wasn’t confident in real conversations, but maybe because I just enjoy the conversations…

If I crack a toe joint or wiggle a finger, bend elbows or some other motion, I’ll keep doing that until it feels right. It’s completely irrational and I’m aware of it, so I’m not sure why I do it. I consider myself a rational person normally.

Strangely enough, I didn’t even know there was such a disorder. Incidentally, I didn’t even realize I had it until I saw Leo the Aviator. But he is probably a much more extreme case than I am. Even I thought he was kooky. I’m not going to do something dumb like say “It’s the way of the future” or “Make sure you get me the blueprints” 50 times. I have a much milder case of it than he does, though I’ll gladly swap places for his wealth and women…


Von Says:

JCF:

Thanks for sharing! Sorry you had such a difficult time with my name. OCD? :) To be truthful, I’m not known as “Von” to anyone. I tried to find something relating to my name when I initially began posting for the first time in my life, approximately 7 months ago, on Tennis.X. It seems like years since that time, as my initial post started a humdinger of a battle with a behemoth. I don’t post too much nowadays because I’ve found it rather difficult to stay out of arguments, and being a sensitive person the after taste of the unpleasantness lingers. Perhaps you can say I’m turned off from some of the posts.

BTW, so sorry about your Doberman, but if you still miss her, you should not associate my name with her. It’s sort of a Pavlov’s Bell, which will reinforce the loss.

I knew you couldn’t be Juan Carlos Ferrero, because he did write one post on Tennis.X, and his English was terrible. Also, he struggles with verbalizing his thoughts in interviews. I like hi — he’s classy and has some good business smarts.

No, actually I’m not a Djokovic fan, but a Roddick fan, Be aware of this because I’ll defend him even though I’ll probably get killed in the process. I’ve grown to like Djokovic’s game and his spunk. He has an engaging personality which grows on a person. I like Roddick for his appeal and he’s so glib with his pressers. I also think, and this is debatable, that he’s a very good athlete whose game engenders electricity and excitement, and guess what, he’s American, and I’m very patriotic. My statement will probably generate some unfavorable comments towards Andy, but today is not one of my defensive days, so I will let them pass.

I truthfully do not think the HOF is biased in favor of the Americans and Juan Carlos has satisfied the criteria for the HOF. However, if he’s on the same ballot as Roddick, I believe Roddick will win hands down, as he’s a more accomplished player. My reason for the Roddick parallel hinges upon the fact that they were both at the No. 1 ranking a few months apart. I’m sure if you inform the powers that be on Tennis.X in a post, that you want to change your post name, they’ll let you do that. I’m positive the impostor does not notify anyone. Why change a winning combination? By now everyone most probably know you as JCF. BTW our impostor posted on Saturday and today under another one of his aliases.

“And I learnt some new words reading your posts, … (You really do pay a lot of attention to what people say.). ”

I’m happy to know someone has learnt something from me. I knew you weren’t a Spaniard from your writing style. Additionally, I know that you’ve been schooled along the British system of education — you used the word “learnt” instead of “learned”, as the past tense of “learn” and only a British educated person is familiar with that usage as the Americans use the “ed” instead of the “nt”, e.g., “burnt” as opposed to “burned”. I’ve had to learn both ways of spelling, speaking and writing, which can become confusing at times, but I grew up in the UK and have lived in the US from the age of 19. These are also little subtleties, that I have been drilled to pick up in my profession to piece the truth together from the lies.

I do pay attention to what people say, maybe too much, because it influences and hinders the way I write. Worst of all, I have a good memory, to my detriment, and if it’s true that there is one, I have a photographic memory, so the posts flash in my mind’s eye, and Pavlo’ s ‘Bell begins ringing. Scary, but it has helped me sail through college when I was too lazy to study.

“My roommate is Giner, and sometimes he posts under my name because he forgets to change it. So if I say something out of character… you know.”

This happened a few times before and you caught it. Tell him not to slam Roddick too much. I really like Andy a lot — I’ve watched him grow up.

I don’t think Todd Martin will be in the HOF. The HOF is not that biased towards Americans as to let someone in due to nationality.


Von Says:

JCF:

“I’ve been caught ‘talking to myself’ as a kid and people thought I was strange. I would rehearse imaginary conversations over and over again not because I wasn’t confident in real conversations, but maybe because I just enjoy the conversations…”

I’ve done the same as a kid. Have you never heard of kids having imaginary friends? Well, you had one and nearly every kid has one too. I’ve repeated tests to myself for exams, and I’ve also rehearsed conversations, especially if I feel it’s an unpleasant topic. you’re probably also a perfectionist — I’m one too. Don’t worry about it; that’s not OCD. When you start answering yourself then you have to worry, and I hope that never happens. :) If you become like Howard Hughes though, I hope you have the money to back it up; then you’ll be rich, and you won’t care a hoot what others think. Enjoy the conversations! :)


Noel Says:

Von,
Am I happy that my hunch about the origin of JCF has hit bulls eye? :) Honestly,when I said JCF having something to do with Ferrero,I didn’t mean that Ferrero himself was posting here.I know very well that would be extremely unlikely and his english surely is far from the polished version we see from JCF.I meant a big fan just taking his initials or something along those lines.


Von Says:

Noel:

“Am I happy that my hunch about the origin of JCF has hit bulls eye? :)

Yes you were the smart one! Good thinking!! I didn’t even think about him being a fan, I went straight to the person himself, Juan Carlos. I’m tunnel vision galore! Did you see my post to you on the other thread about the smileys? i see you got this one right. Keep smiling! :)


Noel Says:

Von,
I saw your post about smileys on the other thread and wrote a thanks note there.It is indeed due to you that I have started smiling the way others do on this forum. :) Thanks!


Von Says:

NoeL

I just saw your post on the other thread and gave you some different forms of smileys.

“It is indeed due to you that I have started smiling the way others do on this forum. Thanks!”

Thanks so much for this kind remark. You’ve brightened my day! I have been accused of being too “sweet” by some which turned me off. Your post has shown me that there are others who appreciate humor and some niceties. We live in a tough and very sad world, but I have learnt that humor and kindness can brighten one’s day. Thanks a bunch for the positive reinforcement!!! :)


ChrisM Says:

Unbelieveable.


Von Says:

beau geste, n’est-ce pas?


blah Says:

I would rather see they choose too few players then too many players for the Hall of Fame. Just like in other sports, tennis HoF is becoming the HoVG(Hall of very good)
And Chang shouldn’t get in in my book.


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

I like green eggs and ham


SG Says:

Maybe there’s a symbolic (rather than iconic) factor to Chang getting in. Yes, he’s a yank, which some people will argue, helps his plight. But, here’s a little guy with tons of heart. He used what he was given better than anyone. He lacked height, he lacked the brute power of his contemporaries. Depsite all of this, he made it to 4 major finals and won one. Safin has made it to 3 major finals. And you can’t compare their natural talent. It’s not even close.

Chang will never be mistaken for being one of the 10 or 20 all time greats. But, he won a major. He was presence in the top 10 for what seemed to be 7 or 8 years. He won 34 tournaments. Whether they were Master’s Series tournament or not. No one looks at Agassi and says, he won those satellite events and they don’t really count. Chang worked his butt off and loved the sport. He was an excellent ambassador and he was a true sportsman. If he hadn’t win enough, I’d say he didn’t belong. But he won his share. Transport Safin’s psyche inside Chang’s body. You’d never have heard of Michael Chang. I’m not even a Chang fan. I just respect the guy for being such a gamer.


SG Says:

A guy who never belongs in the HOF…Marcel Rios. Talk about an utter waste of brilliant skill. Let’s hope that when he’s older and he looks back on his career that he doesn’t regret things(..too much).


SG Says:

When thinking of the HOF, we tend to look at things through the Wayne Gretzky, Micheal Jordan, Jack Nicklaus, Mickey Wright binoculars. Even among HOF’s, these people are at a different level.

Greatness is relative and subjective because in some ethereal way, it’s undefinable.


Vulcan Says:

Chang’s resume may not be the most convincing as far as HOF credentials, but if The Hall of Fame is about players that will always be remembered for something special that they brought to the table than he more than qualifies. My ranking for the top three greatest of all of time (at least in the block of tennis history that I am familiar with) in the department of never say die – never give up on a point – play every point like its match point – goes to:

1. Chang
2. Hewitt
3. Nadal


Noel Says:

Vulcan,
With all due respect, I’d probably rank Nadal at the top followed by Chang and Hewitt if I were to rank these three according to your criteria.


Fedex Says:

I think pound for pound, Hewitt, chang and nadal would be the order. Nadal has way too many weapons compared to the other two. It is like comparing a heavy weight boxer to a light weight boxer.

Also nadal has wilted mentally quite a number of times on the hardcourts once his opponent says bring it on. I hope he can translate his new aggressive game plan effectively to the hardcourts. If he can, there is no-one except Roger who can stop him. Roddick has a decent chance on a quicker court and djokovic has a chance if it is a 3setter and he is not suffering from any ailment! Rest of the players will have to hope that rafa’s old defensive habits keep surfacing frequently.

All said and done, the chaos at the beginning of the year seems to be a thing of past. Fed and nadal met in the finals in 4 of the last 5 tournaments that they both played. You have gotta say they have 1 foot on the “Jerkovich has upset the Fed-Rafa show” theory. If they repeat their performances of the last 2 months, in the next 2 months, Fed-Rafa will be the official rivalry of this decade.


jane Says:

Fedex,

“Fed and nadal met in the finals in 4 of the last 5 tournaments that they both played. You have gotta say they have 1 foot on the “Jerkovich has upset the Fed-Rafa show” theory. If they repeat their performances of the last 2 months, in the next 2 months, Fed-Rafa will be the official rivalry of this decade.”

You have a point here, but remember that we’re talking about clay – and remember that Djokovic, in most of said tournaments, was on Rafa’s side of the draw, and thus could never GET to the final. Rafa is unbeatable on clay. As for grass matched, Djoko did reach the Queen’s final and played convincingly there.

Now we’re onto hardcourts, the surface where Djokovic has had most of his prior success, so it may (or may not) be a different ball game, but I wouldn’t write him out of the running just yet!

BTW, I agree with Noel’s placement of the fighters, but I take your point about weaponry and light vs. heavy weights. Still since Hewitt & Chang are both GS winners / finalists, and since both were 1 &/or 2 in the world, then they gotta be considered at least medium weights! But Rafa’s tenacity for comebacks is something else, ihmo.


Giner Says:

Regarding JCF’s obessions and Howard Hughes, I’ve lived with the guy for a while now, and he definately is a hygiene freak. He’s afraid of germs, and everything has to be clean and tidy, BUT… I’ve never seen him lock himself in a room for days and store up bottles of piss… Thankfully!

And he doesn’t burn his sheets and clothes. I’ll let you know if he does something extremely nutty though. :D


JCF Says:

“I knew you couldn’t be Juan Carlos Ferrero, because he did write one post on Tennis.X, and his English was terrible. Also, he struggles with verbalizing his thoughts in interviews. I like hi — he’s classy and has some good business smarts.”

My spanish better than my english, no? I have lots of pression every time I do interview in english, no? Ugh.. sorry. You’re right. Someone with english like that can never be popular enough for HOF unless they win boatloads of titles. Whether he gets in I think will depend on how many are inducted each year. Is it only one per year?

“No, actually I’m not a Djokovic fan, but a Roddick fan, Be aware of this because I’ll defend him even though I’ll probably get killed in the process. I’ve grown to like Djokovic’s game and his spunk. He has an engaging personality which grows on a person. I like Roddick for his appeal and he’s so glib with his pressers. I also think, and this is debatable, that he’s a very good athlete whose game engenders electricity and excitement, and guess what, he’s American, and I’m very patriotic. My statement will probably generate some unfavorable comments towards Andy, but today is not one of my defensive days, so I will let them pass.”

Ouch on the Djokovic thing. I confused you with someone else who’s name escapes me now. It must be one of those other two you’re always quibbling with. Not jane I don’t think… she’s a Rafa fan.

I actually love Andy’s personality. I’m not a huge fan of his game (I was in 2003 however), but his humor and press conferences are the best of any player. He has come up with the best one liners in the game, and he sounds natural, not rehearsed. One of my favorites is “Umpiring. The only job you can screw up on a daily basis and still have one.” which he said in AO right under the umpire’s chair.

Another gem:

“It comes from playing like s**t. Why would I feel confident right now? If that was the case, I don’t think we’d be sitting here having this funeral-like press conference. It’s just weird because, I used to like hit for a half hour and then go eat Cheetos the rest of the day, come out and drill forehands. Now I’m really trying to make it happen, being professional, really going for it, and I miss my Cheetos.”
– Andy Roddick speaking with reporters on the source of his frustration and lack of confidence after his loss to Igor Andreev at Indian Wells.

“I’m happy to know someone has learnt something from me. I knew you weren’t a Spaniard from your writing style. Additionally, I know that you’ve been schooled along the British system of education — you used the word “learnt” instead of “learned”, as the past tense of “learn” and only a British educated person is familiar with that usage as the Americans use the “ed” instead of the “nt”, e.g., “burnt” as opposed to “burned”.”

Yeah, I’m from Australia. I didn’t even realize the thing about learnt. And I do use z in ‘ize’ as opposed to ‘ise’ usually just to blend in more… I’ve gotten used to it because the US owns most of the world (doing text searches in american english gets you better results than british).

Unlike you though, I’m as unpatriotic as it gets. I absolutely hate Lleyton Hewitt and cheer every time he loses. I don’t just hate him, I love to hate him.

“I’ve had to learn both ways of spelling, speaking and writing, which can become confusing at times, but I grew up in the UK and have lived in the US from the age of 19. These are also little subtleties, that I have been drilled to pick up in my profession to piece the truth together from the lies.”

Oh, so you grew up in the UK? What kind of accent do you speak with? I’ve had to learn both as well, and I actually write closer to US english than UK. “Learnt” is something I didn’t know about until now. I think it’s easier to say than learned. And I hate it when americans say “An historic” rather than “a historic”.

“This happened a few times before and you caught it. Tell him not to slam Roddick too much. I really like Andy a lot — I’ve watched him grow up.”

Eek! You really do know everyone here! This is scary.

I was a big fan of Roddick since 2001 until Federer rose to power. I was happy with him all throughout 2003, but then Federer did some really incredible stuff that impressed me, such as destroying Hewitt at Flushing. This guy was #1 for 2 years and Fed bagelled him 5 times in their first 4 matches of 2004.

Anyway, when Andy lost to Safin at AO 2004, the #1 rank changed hands to Federer, and Roddick said “I get a feeling it will be changing hands quite a few times this year.” Amusing when you think back on it now, but at the time it sounded realistic.

What Roddick needs to do is improve his backhand and work some more on those volleys imo. I cringed during a 2004 match in Houston against Hewitt. :(

“I do pay attention to what people say, maybe too much, because it influences and hinders the way I write. Worst of all, I have a good memory, to my detriment, and if it’s true that there is one, I have a photographic memory, so the posts flash in my mind’s eye, and Pavlo’ s ‘Bell begins ringing. Scary, but it has helped me sail through college when I was too lazy to study.”

Ok, that explains it. I’m the complete opposite. My short term memory is extremely bad. I can’t hold a thought for more than 2-5 seconds. If I’m busy doing something and a thought pops up and I remember I have to do something, I’ll forget what it was if I don’t stop what I was doing right away or write down what it was. This happens most in the shower, or even reading on the net. But in the shower, you can’t exactly act on it. By the time I’m done, I’ve completely forgotten. What I can remember accurately is completely useless details from years ago… strangely enough.

I envy you. My memory isn’t reliable at all.

Sorry to everyone else for going off topic… I don’t think Chang should have been inducted. He was a solid player but has the distinction of ‘one slam wonder’ and never reached #1. I thought he was a great player, and I liked him, but if only one person can be inducted each year, it should have went to someone else before him, if it was based solely on performance. He had some retirement ceremony at the USO, but it was dwarfed by Agassi’s retirement and Sampras’. He’s not even close to their equal when it comes to popularity.

And I don’t think Rios should be inducted either, though he’s another entertaining personality.


JCF Says:

Noel:

“With all due respect, I’d probably rank Nadal at the top followed by Chang and Hewitt if I were to rank these three according to your criteria.”

I think Federer should be on the list as well (at least post-2003 Federer). Definately after some of the fights he showed, most recently at Wimbledon, but also in his loss to Safin at AO ’04 and Gasquet a few months later. He doesn’t give up when he’s down match points, though admittedly it’s extremely rare that he gets into these kind of situations.

Hewitt definately would have been #1 on the list IF you were compiling the list a few years ago. He’s lost most of the fight in him now, and I would argue, the desire as well. He would say otherwise however. After he had his baby in 2005, his fighting spirit started dwindling, and he’s no longer winning those matches that he should have lost.

Nadal is ahead of him mentally at the moment, though it also helps that he’s got a lot more confidence too.

But I can see people’s point when they say that Nadal has more weapons and therefore his fighting spirit is less relevant, because he gets into fewer matches where he’d need to dig himself out of deep holes in order to win. Hewitt’s always gotten into lots of those… and out of them. For that, he should probably be more renowned for it than Nadal and higher on the list, though I do not believe he is actually mentally tougher than Nadal.


Von Says:

Giner:

You are very funny. I was laughing so much reading your post that my face got red/hot and began hurting. I’m sure if JCF goes ballistic you’ll mention it in one of your posts. You two seem to have lots of fun, enjoy the camaraderie. :P

__________
JCF:

“Yeah, I’m from Australia. I didn’t even realize the thing about learnt. And I do use z in ‘ize’ as opposed to ‘ise’ usually just to blend in more…”

I know that you’re from Auz-trah-lia; (I’m trying to do the Oz accent here) you mentoned that in a post before the ’08 AO; you were unhappy about them thinking of moving the tournament to another venue. I have long term memory. I also posted to you on that subject, but you didn’t respond and I thought, gee he doesn’t like me. :)

“And I hate it when americans say “An historic” rather than “a historic”.”

You’ve probably seen one of my posts using the “an”. That’s British BTW, Americans use the opposite, “a historic”. The rule is to use “an” before “h” if the “H” has a hissing sound. E.g., An hiss—. Got it!!

“Oh, so you grew up in the UK? What kind of accent do you speak with?”

A smattering of both. When I originally came to the US, I used to speak very softly and slowly, enunciating each word, the Americans would nod their heads, and begin walking away impatiently, as if to say “hurry it up, will ya”. Hence, I began to speak faster and have somewhat lost quite a bit of the British accent. People pick it up more on the phone as I can talk at my own pace and they have no choice but to listen. (There are many ways to skin a cat.) I get into many conversations with people on the phone who I don’t know regarding my accent — Interesting.

jane is the Djokovic fan. I think as he matures he’ll grow on me more — I like his spunk, but he needs to learn to tone it down a bit with his talk.

“What I can remember accurately is completely useless details from years ago… strangely enough.”

Remember, the mind is the first thing to go. I’m being facetious here, but from my studies on human development, it’s been proven that most people have difficulty with short-term more than long-term memory. Alzheimer patients remember details from years ago, but can’t remember from one second to the next. You’re probably a bit spread too thinly in your thinking. Focus. Isn’t that what all the tennis players say, “I have to be focused — stay in the moment.” From what you describe, you’re normal, conversations, et al. Don’t worry, be happy.


Von Says:

JCF:

Regarding Chang, he’s done a lot of work promoting tennis in China and he’s held up the US flag in tennis. That aside, he was a very hard worker, and played with his heart. His game wasn’t flashy or powerful but he maximized his strengths and did the best with what he had. He is what one would call a plodder — he didn’t give up. Also, he won the FO, which is one of the most difficult slams to win and many of the greats could not achieve that glory. That should account for something.

If I’m not mistaken, I think the HOF elects four (4) players per year, plus they also induct a newscaster or photographer for their contribution to the sport. When I watched Pete Sampras’ induction ceremony, he was the only American among the other inductees. That said, i absolutely don’t think that the HOF is biased. Aranxa-Sanchez Vicario was one of the players, and her English is not that much better than Juan Carlos’, so all things considered I still think he has a fair chance.


Skorocel Says:

Hey guys, why all this fuss about that HOF topic? Inducted or not, it doesn’t matter… These things are just a matter of personal opinion, but it’s the RESULTS of the given player that speak for itself the most! As for Chang, he definitely belongs there – American or not… The guy won the FO as a 17-year old, got to another FO & UO final, and won no less than some 30 or so titles in his career (of which 7 belong to the MS category), so he more than deserves to be there…


jane Says:

JCF- Not that you care, or will remember (har har), but I’m a Rafa/Djoko/Murray/Roddick/Safin/Gulbis fan. There are probably others too. Mainly, I am a tennis fan.


SG Says:

Vulcan,

Your three players who were gamers are definitely worthy of the HOF. Though I think there’s a guy in the HOF who defined guts and was as mentally tough as any of the guys on your list. How about Jimmy Connors? This was a guy who won 8 majors. Almost won the slam and probably would of in 1973 (…or was it 1974). Played in an era with so many great players and managed to more than hold his own. And his game didn’t have the weapons many of his rivals. Not really a great serve. Excellent backhand. Forehand was somewhat erratic at times though still a good shot. Played with a racket that had a sweetspot the size of that on a persimmon golf club. Hung in there and competed until he was 39. He was a consummate competitor. Maybe he didn’t play every point like it was his last, but he did play every match like it was his last.


Noel Says:

JCF,
My comment was strictly restricted to the only three players and three criteria specified by vulcan. :) We can easily go further back in history and include more players(including Fed) and more criteria as well.However,it will take a lot of convincing for me to change my opinion about Rafa’s top spot unless you go to players before the Borg/lendl/mac/connors era about whom I probably won’t know much.BTW,I beg to differ about Fed who probably will be way down in my list.He is way too relaxed and his focus/intensity esp on crunch points have gone down actually leading to this new ‘vulnerability’.He is a brilliant front runner but as you said,he rarely needs to dig himself out of a hole and when he needs to,he usually fails.In fact,his real test of character has begun now that his dominant phase is over.

If weapons or lack of them were an issue,I’d imagine a player like Fabrice Santoro should win just about every courage/bravery/fighting spirit/mental toughness award.He doesn’t have a big serve or big fh/bh.He doesn’t have any power compared to the players he competes against and frequently loses in the earlier rounds.Yet the very fact that he has beaten the high and mighty -i.e. almost all the top players he has played in his career- are sufficient reasons for pushing his case……..imho,all the three players listed by vulcan are essentially counter punchers.One may argue that Nadal has more weapons esp because of what he has shown off late but he doesn’t have the ‘obvious’ weapons possessed by the likes of Nole/Marat/Rod for instance.His serve has started earning him some free points now but we shall see if it is as effective on the harder courts.


Vulcan Says:

SG Says:

How about Jimmy Connors?

Got Jimbo?

Hehe, yeah, immediately after I wrote that post it occurred to me that I forgot Connors…so yeah, he definitely belongs in there in the “fighting spirit” category. Im not as familiar with the earlier eras but it would be interesting to know who the players were from, say, Laver’s era that were known to be the toughest competitors.


Vulcan Says:

Noel Says:
Vulcan,
With all due respect, I’d probably rank Nadal at the top followed by Chang and Hewitt if I were to rank these three according to your criteria.

Noel its a close call but I cant ever remember seeing the number of insane retrievals that Mr. Chang produced. I guess he just sticks in memory as the guy who never gave up on a point more than anyone ive ever seen. The other two facets are more up for grabs in my mind.


Noel Says:

Jane,
“I’m a Rafa/Djoko/Murray/Roddick/Safin/Gulbis fan. There are probably others too. Mainly, I am a tennis fan.”
I am extremely sorry if i am offending you but for a tennis fan,the absence of Fed is quite striking there unless he comes in “probably others” category or you are rooting for his challengers in the larger interests of the game’s competitiveness.While you are perfectly entitled to being a fan of whichever player you fancy,I’d love to know if there are other reasons for this ‘apparent’ dislike. :)


jane Says:

Noel,

I can understand your question, although I do know a number of tennis fans personally who are not Roger fans.

I appreciate Fed’s talent, but have never warmed to him as a personality on the court or off: too “cool” for me but yet not cool enough. If you know what I mean? ;-)

I am an innate “underdog” rooter too [I tend to like outsiders and monsters in films for instance ;-)], and so I admittedly got a little tired of Fed’s UTTER dominance of the sport, and for so long too – to the point where trying to predict a winner of tournament X became almost moot. And the press’s hyperbole only added fuel to the fire.

So, I like Rafa and Djoko for stepping up and challenging the Swiss master. I had followed Roddick and Safin a long time ago, before Roger’s dominance, so have stuck with them throughout. As for Murray, I simply love the variety in his game and the new heart he showed against Gasquet. Gulbis is just brilliant imho, so talented and powerful; a great kid to watch too. These two are new additions to the list – last year or so.

I liked Rafa and Djoko immediately: Rafa for his fire on court; Djoko for his audaciousness off it.

So there you go – still a tennis fan, regardless of not having Roger high on my list. :-) It IS possible!


Spin Says:

We can discern the smileys in the tone of your writing, so the visual is overkill.


Noel Says:

Jane,
Thanks a lot for your response.Fair enough.I had almost guessed as much from the underdog and dominance viewpoints.I guess,in hindsight, my question itself was a bit unfair because there can’t be an easy explanation for why one’s heart ticks for a particular person.I was very curious to know the reasons because I have found your views to be amongst the most balanced and fair on this forum.
Now that Fed is not too far from becoming an underdog to Rafa and Nole, I wonder if Fed will finally make your list. :)
BTW,I like just about everyone on your list and some more for different aspects of their game/personalities.However,when it comes to matches,the only player I don’t mind beating Fed is Marat.I didn’t feel bad at all when Marat beat Fed in that amazing 2005 oz sf although I don’t know if the reaction would be similar if Marat were to knock Fed out at a big event/match now. I became a big Marat fan the day he steamrolled Pete in the 2000 us open.However,I just fell in love with the aesthetics of Fed’s game much before he won his first major.The last time I had a similar if much less intense feeling was when I watched Edberg play although Mecir was a great mover as well.Fed’s records and achievements are still secondary to me so long as he continues to delight me with that beautifully balletic movement.Fed in full flight is amongst the greatest joys I have known.I know we may see more effective players but I often wonder if we will see anyone make modern power tennis-which is basically violence with racquets and balls-look so beautiful and graceful.


jane Says:

Noel,

Well admittedly Fed’s been more sympathetic to me now that he’s lost a match or two! I almost felt sorry for him when he lost Wimbledon. But not really. He’s won enough! I have never found the same excitement as you have watching his “beautiful & graceful” movement; the aesthetics of his game have never appealed to me, though I like his serve and forehand. (Maybe because I like punk rock not classical music – har har.) If I want graceful I’ll go to the ballet. LOL. I never loved Edberg either, though he had to be the best serve and volleyer to come around after McEnroe (one of my faves). Pete was great too, but Edberg had such touch at net.

Anyhow, thanks for calling me balanced; I try to be, even towards players who aren’t on my top 6 list. You’re totally fair too – in fact it’d be hard to pin you down as a Fed-fan since you have so many positives to say about other players, and just great insights into the game in general.

It is hard to define what makes one person tick and another tock innit?


Skorocel Says:

Noel said:

“I know we may see more effective players but I often wonder if we will see anyone make modern power tennis-which is basically violence with racquets and balls-look so beautiful and graceful.”

Very true, Noel…


jane Says:

i read this on another board regarding the criteria it takes to get selected for the HoF:

——————————–

“…the selection criteria to be looking for former players who had played within the past 20 years, had not played competitively for at least 4 or 5 years, and held “a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship and character.”

There does not appear to be a set formula. It is not like they have to have won a certain number of Grand Slams or tournaments.

The voting is done by a selection panel and requires at least 75% of the vote for a player to be inducted.”

—————————

Maybe that answers the “BUT HOW”? in Sean’s title…


jane Says:

So Sean,

If Muster and Bruguera are still playing competitively – say on Blackrock? – then I guess they wouldn’t get in? From the above post it appears there needs to have been a span of 4-5 years sans tennis (aside from exos and charity things I suppose). Plus, as you can see, the title count or ranking isn’t as high on their list as yours (nor is the cast / wheelchair requirement – lol).


Sean Randall Says:

Thanks for the info Jane. Although I don’t think playing on the BlackRock circuit has any impact on your eligibility. Chang even played last year I think – blew out his achilles if i recall correctly.


Noel Says:

Jane,
” If I want graceful I’ll go to the ballet. LOL.”
Phew!You do know how to get your message across.Don’t you? :) Point taken although I thought the bit about his equally effective tennis went without saying.
I was a big Mcenroe fan too and I talked about Edberg only because he came after Mac and that is why I called him the last player who lifted my spirits-albeit less frequently and to a much lesser degree-in terms of graceful play.That wimby 1984 final masterclass is still etched in my memory although I wonder if you watched the 1991 u.s.open final.That remains the best exhibition of s&v tennis that I have ever seen against a power player on a hard court.You just had to admire the fact that a touch player could dismantle a power player in such a clinical fashion.I couldn’t believe what I was seeing because at that time I didn’t think that it was even possible given his average serve.Edberg’s volleying was quite sensational.
I have admired the likes of Korda,Rios,Rafter etc for what they could do on some days.Pete was no doubt great.Probably the best big match(even big point) player-Fed’s big match record is close- I have seen although it helped that he had a hell of a serve,the best second serve ever and a great forehand.Very tough mentally and a huge confidence player which was partly due to the weapons he had.
I also liked Agassi-as a person also- a lot and Pete’s legacy won’t have been as great had Agassi been more focused and played all those oz opens that he chose not to play.I have always felt that Agassi can help improve Fed’s return game.Fed is better off spending some quality time with Agassi than fooling around with Pete at those useless exos.
Rod came across as a pretty cocky person and was too proud of his big weapons initially.While I admired his monster serve and big fh,it took a Fed to deflate him and for Rod to mature for me to warm up to Rod.Remember the kitchen sink and bath tub bit?That won me over.In hindsight,I was a bit harsh because he was so young at that time and I should have been kinder and that is why I don’t take Nole’s cockiness negatively although he-and his family-could avoid some of the trash talk about others at least.I get the feeling that their is some method to their ‘madness’.I just love Rod’s interviews.He handles himself very well even after tough losses and his wit and one liners can put the most pesky reporters-who can ask some horrible questions-in their place.I also liked the way he beat Fed after so many tough(close as well as lop sided) losses.That self-belief shows character.It is a shame that he is apparently not 100% for the start of his favorite part of the season.
I like Murray’s variety as well and he is probably the most promising ‘youngster’ because Rafa is a bit of a veteran and Nole is already up there.I was also rooting for Murray in the Gasquet match primarily because I thought he’d trouble Rafa more in the qf.As it turned out,Rafa produced the performance of the tournament. I felt sorry for Gasquet-whose shotmaking can be astonishing and I love it-because it was probably the crowd that won Murray that match.
I have liked Gulbis ever since the first time I saw him last year.He used to thrash Nole in practice when they were at the same coaching facility.A lot of people say that he is very similar to Youzhny-another one that I like-in the sense that he can play unbelievable on the practice courts but can’t quite reproduce it in match situations.The mental transition is not that easy as we have seen with Youzhny.
I like Berdych’s big game,Gonza’s fh,Blake’s aggressive style(his 2005 us open match with Rafa was like two boxers trading ugly blows),Ferrer’s service returns,Davy’s angles,Nalby’s x factor,Lopez’s serve,Monfils’ splits,Santoro’s magic and Tsonga’s swagger-bigger than Marat’s-as well as his powerful all-round game.I like Radek,Hewitt and Baghdatis as well.

“it’d be hard to pin you down as a Fed-fan”

I think you are the second person-after Von-who I have explicitly told my inclination to.I normally don’t want to praise him because just about everything has been said about him.As you said,the hyperbole can be a bit too much esp the GOAT argument-which is a very subjective and complicated one- which has been going on in the media and among experts since the time he had just five or six slams!!I guess it has always been the case with dominant players(Pete also had his fair share of praise)and due to the unprecedented nature of Fed’s domination,it is understandable if not always justified.The media love exaggerated and sensational stories/headlines. I am a big critic of Fed as well and try to find the weaknesses/problems he has esp in light of the ever improving competition.I know from history that things can change very quickly in tennis and the prime years of a player do not comprise very many years.That is why I am realistic enough about his future and appreciate and admire Rafa and Nole a lot and the ability/potential they have.Murray won’t be far behind.Rafa and Nole-esp Rafa- could both have been number one players in any other era given the amount of ranking points they have.
Von actually thought I was a Nole fan after I wrote a series of posts praising him.
As you can see,I am not a blind Fed follower and consider myself a bigger tennis ‘enthusiast’.While it is true that I pray/root for Fed in a match situation and do sometimes feel sad/upset after his losses(classic ‘fan’ symptoms),I am mature enough to keep it in perspective and give credit where it is due.I can not praise Rafa enough for what he has shown in the last two months and expect Nole to do much better for the rest of the year as compared to last year.


jane Says:

Noel,

Yep – I remember Edberg in that 91 USO final, and it was something! But a bit of a rout if I recall correctly (was it Courier or Connors on the receiving end?), and I always like a more competitive match, especially in GS finals. I liked Rafter a lot too – such a beautiful man, in more ways than one.

I also remember the bathtub / kitchen sink line from Andy. But I felt worse for Roddick in the previous final (04) because if it weren’t for the rain delay, who knows if momentum would’ve swung away from him like that. That might’ve been Andy’s best shot.

I liked Andy (Rafa, Djoko, Gulbis) immediately, mainly because I like young, rebellious types. Such excitement is generated in those “I’m here and I’m good” type scenarios. How could you not appreciate Tsonga’s and Novak’s AO final, and really their runs in that tournament? Such newness and excitement from both camps. (Maybe I have a soft spot for youngins, too, because I teach at college, so I love the energy of youth.)

I hope you’re wrong about Gulbis and that he’s not one of those who can’t translate practice greatness to big match play. He did pretty well against both Novak and Rafa at RG and Wimbledon respectively, so I am anticipating that continuing and I suspect his game could be killer on hard.

We’ll see soon enough, eh?

I also agree that Roger is one of the best big point and big match players; he is really able to pull through in almost every situation that it matters (or at least he has been able to, except for in the past year or so).

And I like most of the players / qualities in your extended list too. Davy bores me though; I know he’s got those great groundies but oy! Watching him play Fed at the USO was painful last year; everytime he broke Fed, he lost his serve directly after – it was like a ladie’s match for a while there. And Davy is just unexciting to me; he’s got no persona; he so strangely blank or something, just a workhorse. I don’t mean this disrespectfully. Maybe it’s one of those tick/tock things.

Anyhow, onward and upward.


Noel Says:

Jane,
It was Jim courier in that open final.I was just alluding to the heights Edberg reached and that need not imply I like thrashings in gs finals.

” I liked Rafter a lot too – such a beautiful man, in more ways than one.”

Yeah,I remember some survey wherein he was considered the sexiest athlete/sportsman on the planet. :)
I am not at all asserting that Gulbis won’t do well but the fact that people are surprised that such a talent is not already doing better.Of course,it didn’t help that he had to meet players in vary good form at rg and wimby.I had actually talked about the threat Gulbis posed for Rafa early on at wimby.I agree he has a huge game for the faster surfaces.
I have nothing against young,fearless players.Despite Nole’s win,as commendable as it was,I will remember oz open 2008 for Tsonga’s arrival.What swagger,what a personality and a huge game to boot!!Just hope he spends more time on the court than in the hospital.
I agree Davy and Ferrer are hardly the players one would like to watch but they-or for that matter most others in my extended list- have some qualities which i just tend to appreciate.It is not as if my heart ticks for all of them.
As for Roger’s big point ability,you are right about the lack of it over the last year or so.That has probably made more of a difference instead of the alleged health issues.Had Fed taken that all-important first set vs Nole when serving for it in the oz sf,who knows what might have happened.Nole just played the big points so well just like Rafa who didn’t allow Fed to convert those numerous break points in the wimby final.
I can’t wait for the toronto draw.I read somewhere that you live in canada.I wonder if you have been to either the montreal or toronto events or if either of these cities is close to where you reside.Must be a bit of a buzz in canada’s tennis circles.BTW,congrats on Daniel’s career slam!


jane Says:

Noel,

Right – I can picture Courier’s ball cap now.

I read somewhere that Noel, after watching Roger & Rafa’s Wimbledon final, texted either his coach or publicist and wrote “I have a lot to learn.” So as much as we hear his brash talk, I think he’s well aware of his real place in the pantheon. He admires both Roger and Rafa, and wants to be up there with them. I see him & Murray too as a couple of little kids looking up at bigger kids wanting to play too. You know? I am not trying to demean the stature of either Noel or Andy M, but just pointing out that I think they’re aware of their stature.

I am a Canuck, yes. But no, I haven’t been to the Canadian MS events because I’ve been teaching summers; I am off next summer though so I hope to go then! So far I’ve had to watch it all on TV. And yes, that’s great for Nestor. We’re proud of him here, but in a quieter way, as we tend to be. (Mind you if it was hockey, it’d be louder – you can bet on it!)


jane Says:

Noel,

“I read somewhere that Noel” er – that should be Nole. Remind me never to call Novak Nole when I am replying to you :-)


jane Says:

BTW, from whence do you hail Noel?


Von Says:

Noel:

“I am not at all asserting that Gulbis won’t do well but the fact that people are surprised that such a talent is not already doing better.”

I saw Gulbis play earlier this year in Vegas against Anderson, and I was not at all impressed wih him. He could not control his shots — perhaps the fact that it was a windy day may have been the reason, but on a parallel his opponent had to play under the same conditions. Anyway, I’d like to see him play again on hardcourt for me to think of him as a valid threat to the top players. I’ll probably have my answer soon duering one of the tournaments of the US Open Series.

BTW, I don’t know whether you saw my post, but I elaborated on the question you asked, per your request.


JCF Says:

“As you can see,I am not a blind Fed follower and consider myself a bigger tennis ‘enthusiast’.While it is true that I pray/root for Fed in a match situation and do sometimes feel sad/upset after his losses(classic ‘fan’ symptoms),I am mature enough to keep it in perspective and give credit where it is due.I can not praise Rafa enough for what he has shown in the last two months and expect Nole to do much better for the rest of the year as compared to last year.”

When I was a big Fed fan, I wanted him being pushed hard by his opponents so we could get some quality matches, but for him to ultimately come through in the end. So often times, I am rooting against him early on. Sometimes I want him to go down 2 sets to 0 and claw his way back. The Roddick 2004 match was an example of me rooting for Roddick, despite Fed being my #1 favorite player. Sometimes it goes too far and the guy I was rooting for ends up winning… Safin at AO 05 for instance. After that match, I was stunned… I saw Fed blow a match point in the 4th set and Safin square it at 2 sets all. I was then quivering all throughout the 5th set. And when it was over, I was stunned. I couldn’t move. I felt like I was hit by a car. I was sweating all over, yet felt freezing cold (in the scorching Aussie summer, no less). Having said that, a lot had to do with the fact that Hewitt was in the other semi-final (and likely to win it), and I was afraid of the possibility Hewitt would go on to win the title, but luckily, Safin (who happened to be another favorite of mine) pulled through. The relief at the end balanced out the shock of Fed losing.

I was never a blind Fed fan myself, despite him wanting to win the callendar grand slam. He’s moved down a few notches now in my book, and Rafa has moved up. Some of the previous matches between these two where I was rooting for Fed, looking back, I’ve been wishing Rafa won those instead (namely the Miami 05 final, and also Miami 04 and the first two RG’s, where I’m glad Rafa won now, whereas previously I was disappointed). How things change.

I’m not abandoning him because he’s down. I just find it amusing that he’s let a guy get inside his head, and I like it. Other, lesser players can handle Nadal better than he can. Every great player has their kryptonite.


JCF Says:

Noel,

I forgot to ask… Are you a guy? It sounds like a guy’s name, but I do happen to know a girl named Noel, so now you’ve got me guessing… and I hate guessing. ;)


Von Says:

JCF: I know, but I’m not gonna tell — keep guessing :) , There won’t be any baby names to help you this time !!

I see Giner wrestled the computer away from you for a few minutes.


jane Says:

JCF:

“When I was a big Fed fan, I wanted him being pushed hard by his opponents so we could get some quality matches, but for him to ultimately come through in the end. So often times, I am rooting against him early on. Sometimes I want him to go down 2 sets to 0 and claw his way back.”

You were definitely playing with fire then JCF; up to the AO this year, Fed had only a 40% winning rate after losing the first set; they announced that stat during the Djoko-Fed semi final match after Fed lost his first set break. And I am sure, given Fed’s results this year, that percentage will have dropped even further.

Fed & Djoko are great front runners, so the player who wins the first set in their match ups is at an immediate advantage.

Rafa, of course, is someone who can come from 1:5 down in a set and still win it. He’s a great fighter so will always be a force to be reckoned with, on any surface, so long as he’s healthy.


SG Says:

I think that there is some irony to Rafa’s success. He’s played Fed in 6 of the 7 slam finals he’s been in. By no means is Fed an “easy” draw. But, he does have the mental advantage over Federer. In pro sport, there is so little that separates one elite athlete from the other. A mental edge, even a small one, is huge. Rafa is just so tenacious. Even after losing to Federer in Hamburg last year, he didn’t let it affect him.

I do think that Nadal would struggle more against a flatter ball. I think that’s why guys like Youzhny and Djok can give him some trouble. I don’t think that Fed can play with such small amount of room for error over a 5 set match against Nadal. Fed tends to hit the ball with more topspin and then flattens the ball out when there’s an opportunity to hit a winner. I think that hitting flat shot after flat shot takes him out of his element. Rafa attacks the balls that Fed hits with spin and hits those balls to Fed’s backhand wing with depth and a huge kick. It’s a tough match up for Federer. Djok with his two hander is better able to muscle the ball back. I’d be curious to see how Nadal would fair against Djok in a major final. I think that some of his Fed-strategy would have to be altered.


Skorocel Says:

SG said:

“It’s a tough match up for Federer.”

Well, after coming out short in 12 matches out of 18, I would say yes :)


JCF Says:

Jane:

“You were definitely playing with fire then JCF; up to the AO this year, Fed had only a 40% winning rate after losing the first set; they announced that stat during the Djoko-Fed semi final match after Fed lost his first set break. And I am sure, given Fed’s results this year, that percentage will have dropped even further.”

I thought a guy like him could do it. I needed the matches to be interesting, even if the end result was going to be predictable. Having said that, I think he has only thrice come back from 2 sets down? Maybe 4.

“Rafa, of course, is someone who can come from 1:5 down in a set and still win it. He’s a great fighter so will always be a force to be reckoned with, on any surface, so long as he’s healthy.”

I don’t think he’s lost a best-of-five match on clay yet, which bodes well for the French every year. I think he should start cutting down on Valencia and Barcelona runs in future, even though he loves playing at home. He needs to plan for the longevity of his career.

“JCF: I know, but I’m not gonna tell — keep guessing , There won’t be any baby names to help you this time !!”

You torture me Von. Grrr!

“I see Giner wrestled the computer away from you for a few minutes.”

Actually I got irritated by a comment and had to walk away. He was around at the time, and I told him about it, and asked him to chip in. He doesn’t think Rafa will win the USO this year but has a realistic shot at AO 09. I think the USO is wide open. More contenders than last year. I’m more intrigued by how Federer responds to the Wimby loss than what Nadal can produce for the rest of the year.

“I do think that Nadal would struggle more against a flatter ball. I think that’s why guys like Youzhny and Djok can give him some trouble. I don’t think that Fed can play with such small amount of room for error over a 5 set match against Nadal. Fed tends to hit the ball with more topspin and then flattens the ball out when there’s an opportunity to hit a winner. I think that hitting flat shot after flat shot takes him out of his element. Rafa attacks the balls that Fed hits with spin and hits those balls to Fed’s backhand wing with depth and a huge kick. It’s a tough match up for Federer. Djok with his two hander is better able to muscle the ball back. I’d be curious to see how Nadal would fair against Djok in a major final. I think that some of his Fed-strategy would have to be altered.”

Good observation SG. Most players play two handed, so the single handers are a minority. Fed just happens to be one. But James Blake has had good success against Rafa (won the first 3 matches) and he has a single hander, as does Youzhny. There clearly has to be other things bothering Fed, that can’t easily be fixed, or he would have done so by now.


funches Says:

Noah’s in because he was black and charasmatic. People who have a problem with that have zero sense of history. Hall of Fames should not be exclusively about raw numbers.

Chang’s in because he won a ton of tournaments in an era with a lot of great players and he made the final of three of the four Grand Slams. I think Muster should get in, too, but he never got past the quarters of any slam but Roland Garros. He had his moments on hard courts, but for most of his career he was a one-surface player.

Bruguera won two Slams and did nothing else of consequence. He never should get in.

Rafter definitely gets points for his style of play, as he should. And unlike Muster, he made a final on more than one surface and was a few points away from winning Wimbledon in 2001.


nadalian Says:

The next few hardcourt tournaments which serve as the prelude to the US Open will really highlight what we can expect at the US Open in terms of the Roger-Rafa saga. It seems that it wouldn’t be too unrealitic to assume that several critics and players alike will be feeling that this is not going to be Federer’s tournament especially after his loss to Rafa at his backyard at.However,all pretenders better watch out cause Federer’s game is made for the Hard courts as well and his sublime shot making skills along with his brilliant court positioning with see him take out any player that comes his way, atleast up until the final. We can talk about momentum all we want, but it’s still going to be Nadal’s mountain to climb to reach the Final of the US open as there could be a lot of potential dangerous floaters in his part of the draw who’ve had success againgst him on hard courts such as Blake and Youzhny. Rafa’s going to have to put his persistant “forehand to his opponent’s backhand” strategy on serious overdrive as that’s going to be only way he can prevent himself from being bombarded from being on the receiving end of some and fast and flattened forehands. That really gives him a lot of trouble and completely takes the venom out of his game. Even if he can make it to both the Finals of the Toronto and Cincinnati Masters, I fear he might be left exposed on these hard courts if Federer pounces on him all angles unleashing those massive forehands whenever he gets an opportunity and add to that his pinpoint accuracy with his service games. Rafa’s going to have to put his life on the line to come out on top in the next few tournaments no doubt about it. The Swiss master is going to give the Spanish Bull all that he can handle, you can count on it!!!!!


jane Says:

Toronto Draw:

Nadal, Baggy, Gasquet, Berdych, Djokovic, Ferrer, Wawrinka, Verdasco, Safin, Monfils, Canas and Murray are ALL on the opposite side of the draw as Federer.

Possible threats on Roger’s side include Gulbis, Cillic, Tipsarevic, Roddick, and maybe Stepanek and Blake. Fed and Roddick could meet in the quarters.

There are 3 qualifier spots on Nadal’s side of the draw, with only one in his quarter, and there are 4 qualifier spots on Fed’s side of the draw, with 2 in his quarter.

There are


Von Says:

In a fair worls, Djoko, Ferrer and Murray should be on Fed’s side of the draw and Roddick should be on Nadal’s side. Another lopsided draw.


jane Says:

Fed shouldn’t be troubled by most of the players on his side of the draw; Tipsy or Step may bug him though. Fed seems to hate scrappers who gets everything back – think Rafa, Murray, Canas, Stepanek; they all take him out of his element at times and upset his rhythm (not all the time, however). Djoko does a good job of messing with his timing and taking him out of his element too. But of course, ALL of these players are on the opposite side of Fed’s draw.

I am not sure Gulbis will be effective against Fed, should they meet. Gulbis has a power game, which may just feed into Fed’s powerful hardcourt game. It depends on what he can use for tactics.

Apparently Djokovic has been practicing in Toronto with Tipsy and Ancic already; they all arrived on Thursday or Friday. Nadal has also already been practicing in TO.


jane Says:

Von,

Don’t forget about Roddick versus Roger the last time they met on hardcourts. Roddick still has a chance to get beyond the quarters, and if he does, I’d say he has a decent shot of getting to the finals! Keep hope alive girl. :-)


jane Says:

“But of course, ALL of these players are on the opposite side of Fed’s draw.”

Sorry – I added Step and Tipsy comments after I’d made up my “scrapper” list, and I am aware they are BOTH on Fed’s side of the draw.


Von Says:

jane:

Hope is good, but at times reality has to take precedence. Andy’s first opponent is Tipsy. Considering Andy had to pull out of Indy this week and has been sidelined with back issues from May, I’d say he won’t make it past the first round with Tipsy. Andy went into Wimby with just a few matches under his belt, and the outcome was frustrating . He has not played since that Wimby match; Tipsy will ensure he makes Andy work hard. Andy should just pull out — if he remains in the draw and loses, the headlines and the gloaters will be going at him ad nauseam and Tennis.X will write another “Roddick stinks up” article. I can’t say the fiance is a lucky charm. Sampras experienced a similar decline after he got engaged.


JCF Says:

funches Says:
“Noah’s in because he was black and charasmatic. People who have a problem with that have zero sense of history. Hall of Fames should not be exclusively about raw numbers.

Chang’s in because he won a ton of tournaments in an era with a lot of great players and he made the final of three of the four Grand Slams. I think Muster should get in, too, but he never got past the quarters of any slam but Roland Garros. He had his moments on hard courts, but for most of his career he was a one-surface player.

Bruguera won two Slams and did nothing else of consequence. He never should get in.

Rafter definitely gets points for his style of play, as he should. And unlike Muster, he made a final on more than one surface and was a few points away from winning Wimbledon in 2001.”

The whole point of Sean’s blog entry I think was to establish objective criteria on getting into the HOF. Your considerations, while pertinent, are anything but objective. It’s very subjective and open to debate. Hard numbers is the only unbiased way to look at it. The things you consider should of course be taken into account. Someone who has a boat load of majors but no personality or popularity obviously gets in. But the lines get blurred when it comes to one slam wonders.

When it’s subjective, there’s going to be disagreement. For instance, I do not think being black or charismatic should get you into the HOF over someone with similar results but is white. We can quantify the weighted value of being #1 or winning multiple slams. Can you quantify how much value being black or charismatic is worth in the consideration?

Which is why Sean outlined what he thinks should be the objective criteria defined.

Von,

Tipsy is a good player. He pushed Fed to 10-8 in the 5th at Australia this year, and had 40-0 on serve when he was finally broken. There shouldn’t be any shame in losing to him. The media can be harsh and fickle at times, as Fed can attest to. I don’t think he should avoid a tournament unless he is unfit to play however.


Von Says:

JCF:

“The media can be harsh and fickle at times, as Fed can attest to. I don’t think he should avoid a tournament unless he is unfit to play however.”

That’s the whole problem — I think he’s unfit to play. He has been advised by a specialist to curtail travel, etc., so why push it and play a competitor who pushed him very hard. Is it worth it? I don’t mind the press beng fickle — it’s the Tennis.X comments that bother me. To state he stunk up Wimby when others did the same does not bode well for me. Why single out the Americans,


JCF Says:

I’m not sure why Roddick draws as much criticism and scorn as he does. It could be that americans expect a lot from him, too much. Indeed he does carry a lot of expectation, as Hewitt does for Aussies.

Back in the past, americans had a lot more depth than they do now. They had multiple players who owned slams (Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Chang, McEnroe, Connors), but those days are gone and the current generation isn’t as deep. Roddick is the only american to own a slam at the moment, and that doesn’t look like it will change any time soon. So for a long time he carried all of the US’s hopes, and at 18 was looking poised to carry the baton. That didn’t materialize and maybe at a subconscious level the critics are reacting to the fact there aren’t many americans winning slams anymore (Federer has something to do with that). Fish doesn’t get derided as unfairly.

Back in 2003, the praise and expectation reached dizzying heights as he was favorite for every tournament outside of clay. Even into 2004, he was picked to beat Federer in finals. It wasn’t until the end of that year that the media realized it was futile and that Fed was the far better player. It got really bad when he lost to Muller at USO one year.

Maybe T-x was just disappointed that he didn’t get past the second round of Wimby, because he’s normally expected to get far further than that. They expected him to beat Rafa in the semis, or at least have a good chance of it. No one expected a spaniard to win Wimbledon before an american.

Winning slams, or beating Federer more often, is the key to getting back into people’s good books.


Von Says:

JCF:

You’ve hit the nail on the head. Andy is the face of America in tennis and has had to carry that burden alone since none of the other Americans have stepped up or did anything worthwhile. I believe the burden of those expectations have weighed heavily on his shoulders, and has in some ways, hindered him. That USO loss to Giles Mueller was the beginning of his slide. It’s probably etched in his memory. He spoke about it in an interview in ’06, as the one that broke his heart. He’s come so close winning additional slams, but Fed always edged him out. I doubt whether he’ll be back in the top 3 again, considering he’s now plagued with back problems. As a fan, it’s sad for me to watch his decline.


SG Says:

Roddick has had to live with worst curse of all…expectation. He won his first major at quite a young age and on his own soil. Since then he’s failed to live up to the promise of that first USO victory. It’s hard to say what the future holds for him. But, I tend to dislike the opinion that Andy isn’t at fault for his own results. That he’d have won more without Federer and others being in the picture. While it’s tru that Federer has a more decelptive and complete game than Andy, Andy really hasn’t done much to improve himself technically. His fitness, while not bad, is not Rafa like. I think the fame and fortune came too fast for him. Some handle it better than others. By the time Fed came along, Andy was already a very rich man and the motivation to make the changes required just wasn’t there anymore. Andy is a tennis player. A very good one. Federer and Nadal are excellent athletes and great tennis players.

We’ve all been in gym class and seen that one person who is just a phenomenal athlete. Yeah, there are some kids in the class that can throw a ball well, or run fast, or somebody that can play tennis. But, it’s the true athletes that can make the hard look easy. And because it comes so easy, they can change and learn new things really easily too. I think this is what differentiates the Feds & Sampras’ from the Changs and Roddicks.


SG Says:

Rafa is a very good athlete with a tremendous work ethic and commitment to fitness. Maybe Andy needs to hire him as his coach.


Von Says:

SG: You’ve got a sense of humor after all. Hiring Rafa as his coach, funny. :) Andy’s needs to get rid of Doug Spreen and hire Gil Reyes and Darren Cahill. I’m one of Andy’s biggest fans but I have to admit that he’s let his best yers go by. Doug Spreen is just baggage that’s not worth a hoot. There is a problem with Andy, that’s not much talked about, he’s had knee surgery when he began as a practice player for Davis Cup — they literally wore out the kid’s kness. After the surgery, his movement became impaired.

Maybe there’s an additional slam in the future for him — maybe not. I think his losses to Fed have disillusioned him — he’s now become very complacent.


funches Says:

JCF,

I know Sean was calling for an objective system, but to me, that’s a horrible idea. I don’t understand why humans, who are smart enough to fly into outer space and fix eyes with laser beams, want to take the though process out of all decisions.

Noah winning Roland Garros was a historically significant event in a sport that historically has not been friendly to minorities. I don’t understand how any intelligent person could argue that point, but I’ve learned that most people do.


JCF Says:

Like I said funches, people DO disagree about the significance of Noah, but no one disagrees that Pete won 14 slams. For something big like HOF, shouldn’t we have clear guidelines?


Noel Says:

Jane,
I am extremely sorry for not having responded earlier.I had gone out for the weekend and returned late on sunday.I could only check the latest thread(…..what lies ahead) and wrote a post there before attending to some important matter.Sometimes it can get difficult to keep track of what is going on esp with so many threads running simultaneously. I just forgot to check this thread and have seen your query just now.Sincere apologies again.
Normally I am very apprehensive about telling any of my ‘demographic’ details because I have faced a lot of abuse-esp racial- whenever I have revealed it on other forums.Some of it is subtle and a lot of it is blatant.I know from terrible experiences in the past that at the very least,things never remain the same i.e. ‘normal’ again after any such revelation.A lot of prejudice and bias creeps in.I just love being anonymous on the net now.However,I somehow feel obliged to answer your question honestly and without taking the option of contriving to deceive…….I first thought about asking for your email id for telling you not only about my nationality but some other details as well.However,you’d probably not want me-or the other forum members-to know your email id if I were to go by the slightly evasive reply you gave Shital today w.r.t. your location.I can understand that very well.You may think that I am making much ado about nothing but I know what I have been through.I hope this forum is kinder to me………..I am an Indian.


Von Says:

Noel:

I know your post was not addressed to me, but there is a question I have and some info i have been dying to get regarding some famous people of hstorical value in India. If you would reply to me, I’ll give you my email address. Let me know if it’s OK with you. The info is very worthwhile to me, and I’ll reveal same in my email as to the whys and wherefores. Thanks.


Noel Says:

Von,
No problem at all.Let me see if I am in a position to help you in any way although I must warn you against expecting too much too early because I live in a pretty small and remote place.


a j Says:

Michael Chang in the Hall of Fame? I don’t think so. Too many others more qualified and even still playing. And all that wearing of Jesus on one’s sleeve. Does he go to China and pump all that Jesus baloney. No, he should stay in Orange County with the rest of the bible thumpers and hustlers of the greatest con-job ever done on the people of the world. Sorry, bad choice for Hall of Fame. Look at his speech made in the San Diego Tennis hall of fame. More God and Jesus junk. And thank you Jesus for keeping my opponents from winning matches when I played. Thank you Jesus and all that junk.


Tim Says:

As a huge tennis fan since mid 1995, I am very familiar with the players of that era. I have no problem with Chang getting in the Hall of Fame. Although he was unable to win another Slam after his Roland Garros triumph in 1989, Chang reached three other Slam finals, losing to Muster in Paris, Becker in Melbourne and Sampras in New York. In an era filled with greats and dominated by Sampras, Chang never reached number one, but he was a fixture in the top five for several years. Plus, he single-handedly made tennis popular in Asia.

Here’s my feeling, though. If Chang is Hall of Fame worthy, then a guy like Thomas Muster has to be as well. Muster amassed 44 titles, including eight Masters events and one French Open. He reached number one in the world briefly in early 1996. Yes, the majority of his success came on clay, but he was capable on other surfaces. The earlier poster was wrong in saying he never got past the quarters at a slam other than the French. Muster reached the semis at the Australian Open twice, in 1989 and 1997. He got the quarters of the U.S. Open three times. Two of his Masters/Super 9 titles came on surfaces other than clay – Miami in 1997 and Essen in 1995. Although Nadal has more than doubled Muster’s clay dominance in ’95-’96, Muster went 111-5 on clay in those two years. He had winning streaks of 40 and 35 matches on the surface. Thomas Muster was undoubtedly one of the hardest working and most physically fit players the game has ever seen. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Top story: Serena v Woz, Halep v Aggie in WTA Finals Semis
  • Recent Comments
Rankings
ATP - Oct 20 WTA - Oct 20
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 David Ferrer5 Na Li
6 Tomas Berdych6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Kei Nishikori7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Marin Cilic8 Ana Ivanovic
9 Milos Raonic9 Caroline Wozniacki
10 Andy Murray10 Angelique Kerber
More: Tennis T-Shirts | Tennis Shop | Live Tennis Scores | Headlines

Copyright © 2003-2014 Tennis-X.com. All rights reserved.
This website is an independently operated source of news and information and is not affiliated with any professional organizations.