Tennis-X Wrap: Murray, Safina Win; ATP in Trouble
by Staff | August 4th, 2008, 1:05 am
  • 78 Comments

WSFG/Masters Series-Cincinnati
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Andy Murray beat a weary Novak Djokovic for the second time in two weeks 7-6(4), 7-6(5) in the final at the Masters Series-Cincinnati. Murray will rise to a career-high No. 6 after defeating the world No. 3. “By the start of the second set the standard dropped a bit,” said Murray, who also struggled with the heat on the hardcourts. “At the end it was very tough, physically tough.”


In the doubles final the world No. 1 Bryan brothers captured the title with a 4-6, 7-6(2), 10-7 victory over No. 3 seeds and defending champions Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram. The Bryans improved to 4-6 in finals on the year.

Rogers Cup
Montreal, Canada

Russian Dinara Safina continues her spring run into the summer, on Sunday crushing Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-1 for her third title of the year. it is the fifth final in the last six events for Safina. “It’s the first time in my life I’ve won back-to-back tournaments; I used to win a tournament then lose first round the next week,” Safina said. “But now I’m always just taking it one match at a time.”

The world No. 1 doubles pair of Cara Black and Liezel Huber collected the Montreal trophy, easing past the unseeded team of Maria Kirilenko and Flavia Pennetta 6-1, 6-1.

Nordea Nordic Light Open
Stockholm, Sweden

Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki wins her first career title, with the 18 year old topping both No. 1 seed and defending champion Agnieszka Radwanka, and then Vera Dushevina 6-0, 6-2 on a rain-backed-up Sunday. “It’s always tough to play two matches on the same day, but Vera had to do it as well,” Wozniacki said. She is the first Danish player to win a WTA singles title.

In the all-Czech doubles final, No. 4 seeds Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova defeated Petra Cetkovska and Lucie Safarova 7-5, 6-4.

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS

SHARAPOVA OUT OF OLYMPICS, US OPEN, MAYBE ANNA TOO: Maria Sharapova reinjured her dodgy shoulder last week at the WTA event in Montreal, and announced that the injury would keep her out of both the Beijing Olympics and the US Open. “I’m currently packing up real quick to hop on a plane to New York for a second opinion (on the injury) but I wanted to let you all know first that there is no chance of me competing in Beijing,” she wrote on her website, before results forced her to announce that she would also miss the US Open. “The timing is so unfortunate and this makes me more sad than anything.” World No. 1 Ana Ivanovic may be forced to pull after injuring her thumb last week in a loss at Montreal. “It was very frustrating because I didn’t know how it’s going to pull up. I was in pain through whole match,” Ivanovic said. “The pain wasn’t so sharp as I felt so weak in my right arm, couldn’t hold my racquet on the forehand side. It was very frustrating in the first set. I was really down by it, you know, really felt like I couldn’t do nothing.”

From a Blackrock Tour of Champions interview with Patrick Rafter: “Q: What is the best piece of advice you would give to a junior tennis player, hoping to become a professional? (Michael Stich walks into the room saying: ‘Sex, Drugs, & Rock ‘n Roll!’) There we go, Michael Stich just came up with some crackers right there…It might be ok for a while…I know Michael Stich tried that and he won Wimbledon…Best advice? Well, I think you have to learn to be very patient and learn how to play on clay. I think it’s a very good grounding for players.”…

Graeme Hamilton of Canada’s National Post on the Montreal women’s event: Stacey Allister of the Women’s Tennis Association credits Montreal for making the tournament an unmissable event in the summer calendar, and also for a “social climate” more open to women’s sports. Another theory comes to mind after analyzing pre-tournament coverage in the Montreal papers: The city has a weakness for gorgeous women. The top third of La Presse’s front page today is taken up with a colour photo of a smiling Ana Ivanovic, world No. 1 and very easy on the eyes. Inside the news pages there are pictures of a leggy Maria Sharapova and fellow Russian beauty Anna Kournikova, who never won a major tournament and is no longer on the tour. Ashley Harkleroad, an American player ranked 72nd in the world, merits a full article on the strength of her appearance in the current issue of Playboy magazine. Coverage continues in the sports pages with a full page of photos from the Player Party Sunday night, showing the women in high heels and high fashion. The Journal de Montreal has Sharapova on the front page with the headline, “The queens of tennis parade,” and inside there are three pages of photos from Sunday’s fashion show. “Fashion is really a way for me to express my personality,” Sharapova is quoted as saying in La Presse. You just don’t get that kind of incisive analysis of the men’s game…

BRING THE HAMMER DOWN: The WTA Tour’s Road Map 2010 (to be implemented in 2009) includes a 40% hike in prize money, but also threatens larger fines and suspensions for players skipping out with fake doctor’s notes on tournament responsibilities. Women’s tennis will get a 40 percent pay raise next year along with bigger fines, suspensions and responsibility for the leading players. “The 2006 season was a disaster,” WTA President Stacey Allaster told the media. “We failed to deliver on our player commitment to any of our Top 10 events. We just felt something needed to be done now. We’re trying to change a culture, where it’s not an option but a commitment when you enter a top-level event.” Under the new scheme, players must compete in at least 10 of the 20 “Premiere”-level tournaments, with four events — Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing — mandatory for all players, and five events — Canada, Dubai, Rome, Cincinnati and Tokyo — of which players must compete in at least four. “[Players] asked to put the best events in the right dates and we’ve done all of that,” Allaster said. “We’ve given them breaks. Now we’re saying, there’s going to be a little less flexibility on where you play and if you don’t play, then there’s going to be really significant ramifications.”…

SERVICE WINNER: American John Isner won his first round in Cincinnati, beating Italian Andrea Stoppini and winning all 39 first-serve points. Since the ATP began keeping match statistics in 1991, no player had won more than 35 consecutive points on first serve.

GETTIN’ IGGY WITH IT: According to Daniel Kaplan of the SportsBusiness Journal, covering the ATP vs. Hamburg trial, former ATP employee and current ATP board member Iggy Jovanovic has a number of side jobs that violate his ATP board bylaws: “…the trial threatens to go longer than its scheduled two weeks now, if it gets to the jury, because of delays last Thursday regarding a witness issue and break for settlement talks. Friday’s court session revealed that ATP board director Iggy Jovanovic had a contract while on the board to broker a sponsorship for Emirates Airline with Tennis Canada, owner of one of the elite ATP events. This appears to violate the ATP bylaws that player representatives on the board not work for a tournament member. He also worked for Abu Dhabi in trying to secure an ATP event. He was accused by the Hamburg tourney of using insider information to pass on to Abu Dhabi, especially as it related to Doha, Qatar, being available. The Qatari Tennis Federation owns 25% of the Hamburg event, and owns a tournament in Doha that applied for the second tier of the new ATP calendar but was turned down. Questioned if he had read the bylaws when he took his post in January ’06, Jovanovic testified he could not recall…he signed a contract with Tennis Canada, according to a trial exhibit, that entitles to him 10% of Emirates sponsorship fee, which is nearly $500,000.”…

MISC: Entering Montreal last week, Jelena Jankovic had not beaten a Top 6 player this year and has never reached a Slam final, but could have taken the No. 1 ranking for the first time…Roger Federer will carry the flag for Switzerland during the opening ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics, also the day of his 27th birthday…Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has pulled from New Haven with a knee issue…Marcos Baghdatis (wrist) and Maria Sharapova (shoulder) are out of the Beijing Olympics…Rainer Schuettler is petitioning the Olympic committee for a spot in the draw.


Also Check Out:
On-Court Coaching Saves Safina in Stuttgart Semis
Jankovic Remembers Former No. 1 Days, Beating Safina for Cincinnati Title
Kuznetsova Tops No. 1 Safina, Ends Title Drought at Stuttgart
Safina, Kuznetsova Reach 2nd Final in Two Weeks at Rome
Safina Wins 2nd Straight Title at WTA Madrid

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78 Comments for Tennis-X Wrap: Murray, Safina Win; ATP in Trouble

Haven't I told you guys that Murray is Djokovic's nemesis Says:

I hate to be right again! (GRIN) And Murray fears Nadal. He gotta buy Novak a dinner to say thanks for taking care a weary0 Nadal him. Well, it’s a dirty job. But someone gotta do it! lol


Colin Says:

Murray fears Nadal? After he won his semi he said he hoped he’d meet Nadal in the final, because Nadal was the man he hadn’t beaten.


ferix Says:

yay for murray! do we have a big 4 now? :)


ferix Says:

the first poster forgot about the AO match a couple of years ago between murray and nadal. no fear there. in fact, murray had that match on his racquet but he lost it on inexperience.

if it wasn’t for the wrist injury impeding his progress last year, murray would be far more accomplished and top 4 in the world. anyways, looks like he’s going to get there. very well deserved!


zola Says:

weary Djokovic?
why? what did he do?
Murray has played more matches than Djoko.Djoko also went out early in Wimbledon and lost to Murray in Toronto when Murray played the semis. HIn Cincy they played the same number of matches. Why weary? Djoko’s match with RAfa was a straight set win. It is not like he was on the court for 3 hours! Give Murray some credit!


TalkAboutSport Says:

First of all the Djokovic upset was rather depressing. No question, Murray is a solid player – but defeating Djokovic in 2 straight sets (although 7-6 7-6) is rather odd. When a match comes to be 7-6 7-6 the two players are playing at an equal physical level, but mentally Murray was on top. Several times before we have seen Murray fall under the pressure, but he pulled through this time (even with 43 unforced errors). Murray is making great progress, but I do not think he will break top 3 anytime soon.

VISIT MY BLOG AT: talkaboutsport.blogspot.com


GK Says:

To TalkAboutSport

Right said! A quite rare objective observation on these pages.


Marcus Says:

Hey guys, not to take anything away from Dinara’s win, but as authors of dysfunctional tennis I thought you’d like to have some mention made here about Alexandra Stevenson and her mother’s involvement in the tournaments (quallies and doubles) in Montreal last week.

Safina definitely stole the tennis show at the Rogers Cup but along the sidelines it was Alexandra and Samantha who really turned heads. Dysfunction personified.

http://tinyurl.com/66x6w8

http://tinyurl.com/6cdos7


Colin Says:

Regarding Novak’s “weariness” – I remember a long-ago match involving, I think, Gabriela Sabatini. She was gradually self-destructing, and Billie-Jean King said on the TV commentary “It’s tension. Not physical tiredness – she’s fit. But tension tires you quickly.” Billi-Jean knew a bit about tennis!
Could it be that Djokovic was tense, perhaps because he wasn’t succeeding in breaking down Murray’s game in the first set?


Gans Says:

Guys, it is that simple. Murray and Nadal are such good athletes that they get the balls on court that much better than others. What would notmally be a winner against anyone else is not enough against these two. That makes great hard-court players like Federer and Djokovic to go for that extra pace that causes the ‘unforced’ errors. Therefore, credit has to be given to Murray for contributing to Novak’s unforced errors. Having said that, I also think that it is also in a player’s mind to still play their natural game without putting too much pressure on themselves. Often times, they may gain more points by their natural games than by losing, so Novak shouldn’t have let his natural game go erratic. He was indecisive in key moments just as Federer was with Nadal. Murray is an equivalent of a right handed Rafa! :-)

- Gans, V.


jane Says:

Both Djoko and Murray were exhausted after that final; the NY Times called it a “grueling match” and I read elsewhere it was 35 degrees on court. Egad.

Djoko had 18 hours between completion of his match with Rafa and the final so he was likely feeling that

And as Colin astutely points out, there are different types of “weariness” – I’d assume, having lost his last 3 matches with Rafa, Djoko was really looking to assert himself in that semi, so by time he got over that hump, he might’ve felt a bit mentally weary.

In any case, Murray is in the top mix regardless of either player’s exhaustion and I look forward to more matches between them.


zola Says:

Jane,
that might be true, but then the same goes for RAfa, if not more.He was playing since Montecarlo in every final but Rome. Then coming to Cincy from Toronto with two days of rest. The day before his match with Djoko, he played that QF with Lapentti and earned to be world number 1. That was both emotionally and physically draining. Djoko had a relatively easier match earlier in the day. Not to mention that Djoko-Rafa match was not a long, grueling one.


zola Says:

Colin
***Could it be that Djokovic was tense, perhaps because he wasn’t succeeding in breaking down Murray’s game in the first set?***

that can be a factor. I also think Djoko’s breathing problems on court also stem from being over-tense. Perhaps against Rafa he had a plan and it worked, but against Murray, he was clueless. Actually after Murray lost those match points, Djoko relaxed a bit and his game was more effective.


jane Says:

zola,

Two things:

First, I agree with you that in the Rafa vs. Djoko semi Rafa would’ve been tired; he’s been on a roll for so long, but as such, he was not at his best in most of the matches in Cincy, imo. So that would’ve been a factor; however, as you’ll note from the discussion above, Rafa wasn’t part of the equation – we were taking about the Murray vs. Djoko final – not the semi.

Second, I utterly disagree with your point that “Perhaps against Rafa [Djoko] had a plan and it worked, but against Murray, he was clueless.”

I’d argue that while it’s true Djoko definitely came out with a game plan against Rafa, which he was able to execute almost to perfection in that first set, he also had a plan against Murray.

But there were mitigating circumstances in the Rafa match. The semi was in the evening, so it was much cooler and more accommodating conditions for Djoko. Second, Djoko was on fire from the start, making very few errors. In the final, he clearly was making more errors nor was he serving nearly as well. But that doesn’t mean he was “clueless” (!) or that he never had a game plan; he just wasn’t able to implement it as Murray was so effective in his service games, and as we all know, like Djoko and Rafa, Murray is both an excellent returner, and excellent at switching from offense to defense. I know you don’t like Djoko that much, but you needn’t let it color your perspective. You’re an avid tennis fan, so obviously you must know that the number 3 player in the world wouldn’t be “clueless” on the court – seems a little harsh!!


Milos Says:

I agree with Jane. :)


Von Says:

Mental and physical tiredness are subjective. Both affect each athlete differently. This is why we are all unique human beings with our own separate identities. It’s somewhat unfair to judge one athlete by another’s performance. It’s a case by case scenario and there isn’t a benchmark to gauge how the same situation will affect another. For example, each human being has his/her physical and limitations and if they push themselves any further than their capabilities it’s bound to backfire on them. Yes, Nadal played many tournaments and several more than Djokovic, but he is a different athlete from Djokovic. It’s been the consensus of opinion that Nadal is the most physically and mentally strongest on the tour presently. That being said, how can we expect Djokovic to perform the as Nadal does?

Djokovic is the type of athlete who performs better with one day’s rest in between, and when he is pushed to do anything to the contrary he becomes both physically and mentally burnt out. He also has some physical issues which are prone to atmospheric changes and these hinder his performance. Yesterday, was one of those occasions where the weather was a determinant factor on how well Djokovic played. We might then pose the argument that Murray played under the same conditions. True, and Murray himself stated he was physically exhausted too. However, Djokovic had an additional physical problem, that of breathing, which will cause him mental anguish and stress to perform under conditions he physically can’t. These factors caused the fatigue which was visible. As Vince Lombardi once said,” Fatigue makes cowards of us all” This of course goes back to preparation… or feeling unprepared. In Djokovic’s case he most probably had the feeling of being unprepared — unprepared to deal with the weather. His last match v. Nadal was in the evening, much kinder temperature with a light breeze. People talk about changes in surfaces and its effect on the athlete, however, we also need to factor in, atmospheric changes and its effects also.

Murray deserved to win yesterday — he was the better player. I posted my congrats to him and his fans yesterday. Enjoy his victory!

We all want our faves to perform outstanding but we also should not expect the impossible if we know their limitations. I’m aware of the favorite players’ capabilities and limitations, and as such, even though I would like to see them win or go deeper in more tournaments, I also am realistic about their inadequacies, and as a result, even though I, at times, become very disappointed, I’m happy that they are still playing and enjoy those occasions when they win.


zola Says:

Jane,
maybe clueless is not the right word. I didn’t mean to use it in an offensive way. Certainly Djoko had a game plan against Murray, but was not able to execute it. . He was tentative on many shots and was clearly frustrated during the first set. That’s what i meant

In his interview before final they asked him about his plan and he said that he knew what mistakes he made in Toronto and this time he knows what to do. But perhaps Murray did not play the same way and that frustrated Djoko.

I know Rafa was not irectly in the equation, but When they write weariness, you just think that the weariest of all must have been Rafa. Yet it was no mention of weasrinss when he lost to Djoko. you don’t immediately think of Djoko as weary. He hasn’t played much. The conditions during the final was the same for Murray and Djoko, plus as you said, Djoko had a night match , where Murray played the semis during the day under the sun. Not to mention that Murray has an ongoing knee injury. That’s why to me , writing a “weary Djokovic” was a bit odd.


zola Says:

Jane,
pardon my typos!there are a few wordas that need a “d”! my keyboard has been on strike the past couple of days!


Von Says:

Correction: Para. 1, line 5, s/b
For example, each human being has his/her physical and “mental” limitations.

Last para. Line 2, s/b, I’m aware of “my” favorite players’ capabilities ..

sorry for the typos.


jane Says:

zola,

I don’t think Rafa was mentioned because the article is about the final and Rafa wasn’t in it.

Yes, Djoko was frustrated that his plan wasn’t working, but let’s face it, even below par, Djoko took Murray to two tiebreaks. That’s not too shabby all things considered.

Yes, Djoko had a night match, and while Murray played a day match against Karlovic under the sun, he accordingly had more time to recoup for the final.

But these are fine lines we are drawing, and in some ways not really relevant.

The main issue I took with your post was with your word “clueless”. Frustrated? Most definitely. Clueless? Most definitely not. Djoko is smart on the court, though he could revamp his focus at times and not let frustration get to him.

We’ll see how these guys do in China; I don’t think the environment with bode well for Djoko’s breathing issues, and I also worry that we’ll see players who try to do both the Olympics and USO falling ill or losing early in the USO. Maybe not. But I have a hunch.

It’s a very tight schedule this summer.

Perhaps not until post-USO will we see things shake out between the top guys, through the indoor carpet season.


Von Says:

“We’ll see how these guys do in China; I don’t think the environment with bode well for Djoko’s breathing issues, and I also worry that we’ll see players who try to do both the Olympics and USO falling ill or losing early in the USO.”

As I was writing my previous comments in which I mentioned Djoko’s breathing problems, I thought about the Olympics and wondered how he would fare in that smog ridden environment. A very unhealthy atmosphere for all the athletes, but for those with breathing problems, an even more problematic one. The Olympics Committee should take environmental factors into consideration when deciding on a venue to hold the Olympics.


Von Says:

Nadal was lucky to have played the majority of his matches in the night. I don’t think he would have gotten to the SFs in Cincy had he played more day time matches. The heat and humidity knocks the life out of the athletes; some can deal with it better than some. The ATP should factor in weather conditions and change around the calendar when scheduling the MS tournaments. For example, why play in Hamburg in May when they know May is a cold, icky month in Hamburg. Cincy shouldn’t be played in August as it’s one of the most humid and hottest months in that state. These players are human beings and the ATP should stop treating them like machines.


zola Says:

Jane,
yep, rafa was not mentioned, but I find the wor”weary” for Djoko very strange, because he was one of the fresher ones going to that tournament. His weariness was the result of his frustration, not the match the night before.

I wrote in my above post that I did not use “clueless” was an insult. I read joko’s presser and he said himself that he had a plan. But on the court he could not implement his plan. Many times he was not decisive and sharp , the way he was against Rafa. I can say that Rafa was clueless against Djoko in the first set as well. He was surprised.

Anyway, beijing is just brutal. I read that the US Athletes are going to use special masks. I wish the US Open was delayed for one more week so that the players had a bit of time to rest. They have a whole month after wards ( or maybe not because of the Davis cup!)….

Anyway, I am very excited too, to see the young guns doing much better. I think next maybe ( or I hope ) to see GAsquet , o much better this year. Not to mention my two favorites Gulbis and Ancic.


zola Says:

OK! my “d”s!
wro=word
joko=Djoko
o much better=do much better


Von Says:

It’s difficult for me to assimilate why anyone would have a problem understanding that people can become extremely exhausted, like a “wet noodle”, to the point of physical exhaustion, due to a health condition coupled with unbearable weather conditions. The physical fatigue will cause mental tiredness also. This will happen regardless of whether an athlete has been playing 20 or 2 hours or rested for a week. If he’s susceptible to the humidity and heat it WILL have an adverse impact on how well he implements his game plan, that is if he can even think given the situation with which he’s dealing. The environmental conditions will make him tired. There are definitive studies on the adverse impact of the environment on physical activity.


jane Says:

“I read that the US Athletes are going to use special masks”

It is INSANE that athletes should have to wear masks to compete in the Olympics! Wow. What were they thinking when they picked China.

“The ATP should factor in weather conditions and change around the calendar when scheduling the MS tournaments. ”

I agree Von; I suppose Cincinatti is normally later, but the Olympics has mucked with things a lot. You also correctly point out that almost all of Rafa’s matches were evening matches, which would’ve helped to keep him fresher, although I think Rafa actually likes playing in the heat to a degree, being an island boy. And you’re also right that Djoko’s breathing issues will always be a factor, if it’s something surgery couldn’t correct. I don’t know. But most of all I agree that the players are all individuals with unique strengths and weaknesses. That’s the nature of the beast.


zola Says:

Jane,
I think Djoko’s breathing issues will eventually go away. Notice that he gets that problem more when he is over-excited. I am serious about this. watch him. The more experienced he gets, he will be more relaxed and this breathing issue will go away.

Ah that mask is so funny. I saw in in SI. It has the US flag on it too! Poor athletes. I on’t know if the rest have to rush back like the tennis players or not. It is really brutal to have them play right after the Olympics.

I think the schedule has a lot to do with TV rights and that’s very unfortunate. On top of everything I also don’t like back to back master series events. there should be a week in between.

well, now Rafa, Djoko and fed are all on the ATP board. I hope they can o something about it!


zola Says:

and I agree about Rafa playing at night. I think it was because of the TV coverage and tickets. RAfa likes to play under the sun and the heat helps the ball bounce higher , so it suits his game better. I think they shoul have changed his schedule with Murray’s.


Latent Talent Says:

Murray and Djokovic are talented but mentally and physically they are midgets compared to Nadal. Is this little league baseball, to complain about the heat? If you are fatigued, then donot step on the court. If you do and lose in straight sets, dont be a sissy and use that as an excuse.

Djokovic did not serve well, he was fatigued, his mommy did not say anything nasty about nadal – these are just excuses. The only reason Djokovic lost was he was an inferior player to murray on the sunday that counted. Why is it hard for people to accept that?

And yes, djokovic was clueless. If he had a clue he would have pushed the match into a 3rd set at the least, given how badly murray was choking. It was not as if Murray was playing his best tennis.


zola Says:

Latent Talent,

this is just tennis. no one wins all the times.
That’s how these guys evlove. by learning from their losses. There is no shame in losing a match and no name calling is necessary.

Right now Djoko is keeping his end respectful and I think he deserves to be respectd. These are all 21-22 year old kids who want to be successful. let’s enjoy watching them.


Djokovic is a sissy Says:

I guess we should be just glad that jerkovic didn’t pull the plug when he was a break down in the second set.

Maybe we should just be glad to witness the miracle of chokovic playing two complete sets in temperatures that led to millions of fatalities in the American mid-west!


jane Says:

Latent Talent,

I don’t think anyone – at least Von, zola or I, in our conversation – was having a hard time accepting that Murray was the better player on this given Sunday; I wholeheartedly agree and am a fan of Murray’s.

And yet that need not preclude discussion about why Djoko wasn’t playing as well as he can on hardcourts, need it? Seems to me it’s exactly what a player or fan would do – analyze the contributing factors to wins and losses, and in the player’s case, continue or adjust playing his game accordingly in future matches. In the fans’ case, I suppose we’re just looking for reasons – not necessarily excuses – although if you’re being cynical they can be construed as such, for why a player won or lost.

Speaking of which, heat does matter; if I am not mistaken, I believe there is even a rule about matches at the Australian Open – that they will be postponed if it’s too hot so as not to endanger the players’ health. Seems fair enough to me.

Anyhow, it doesn’t seem necessary to belittle one player to give credit to another. All credit to Murray – I am totally happy he won his first MS tourney and have also been waiting for his talent and game to come together the way it has since, imo, the outset of Wimbledon this year – his 1st round match with Santoro was thoroughly entertaining!

But I am also curious as to why Djoko played so poorly compared to the night before, that’s all.


zola Says:

Jane
**But I am also curious as to why Djoko played so poorly compared to the night before, that’s all.***

I think for various reasons

1- Murray varie his game a lot. did not give Djoko a rythm and therefore Djoko could not play the way he wanted. He said himself that Murray played lots of flar strokes and slices and that bothered him. I think Murray changed the pace a lot so Djoko made a lot of unforced errors returning Murray’s ground strokes.

2- That probably caused mental frustration and made things worse. In Djoko’s case I think it also affects his breathing.

3-I think heat was a factor too. Of course for both players. Murray a year ago would have been exhausted ( and he was by the end of this match too). But I think he is doing “steam Yoga” or something like that, which helps him in the heat. His fitness has improved a lot.

4- Djoko’s technique is excellent, but I have not seen him in a 5-set match yet. I remember against Tsonga in AO he was pretty tired.

5-there were some long rallies in that final. That can really take the breath out of the players. so that might be a tactic Murray employed against Djoko.


Von Says:

FYI, I’m not a Djokovic supporter or “fan”. In my comments I was merely pointing out the differences between athletes and people as a whole, vis-a-vis, we all have strenths and weaknesses. Those are facts, and atmospheric conditions, which may benefit one player might prove to be a hinderance for another. I still hold true to those definitive studies and their conclusions, that some athletes or some people in general, are more affected by weather elements than others. Additionally, I mentioned mental and physical tiredness are subjective. Hence, my comments were not in any way an intention to demean Murray’s victory. I posted yesterday to the effect that Murray was the better player of the two and played a smarter game. Djokovic on the other hand had difficultfy with his first serve, his footwork, ground game, and forehand range. That said, Murray deserved to win.


Latent Talent Says:

“even below par, Djoko took Murray to two tiebreaks. ”

Is this supposed to be your way of acknowledging that Murray was a better player than Djokovic yesterday?

There is a heat rule, but last I checked the conditions during the entire week never even came close enough to consider the heat rule. So why is that an issue?

Any analysis of why Djokovic was not as effective on sunday as he was on saturday needs to consider first and foremost the superior play Murray turned in. The rest of the reasons are all gravy.

Murray did an excellent job of stepping in on Djokovic’s serves and kept the ball consistently deep in the rallies. He kept Djokovic moving around the court and did not give him too many short balls to pounce on. He used his immense variety to keep Djokovic guessing. Add to that the fact that he mixed up his serves quite well.

Going into the match, no-one had “weariness” as a factor in the match up. Yet, here we are suggesting weariness as a factor for Djokovic’s loss. Under the circumstances, it seems an excuse and not a reason/factor!


Ryan Says:

I think both the players were not playing well but murray was a little better than djokovic.Surely the heat was a factor but even otherwise djokovic has tough time with murray these days.Even in toronto he lost to him.So that shows that murray has improved and djokovic as everybody else put it didnt have a clue.A lotta people talk about the variety that murray has like federer.I doubt that.I just think he has only as much variety as djokovic has.The only difference that I find between them is that murray is the better defender and djokovic is a better aggressor.Anyway looking forward to the olympics.


jane Says:

Latent talent,

First – the “below par” comment was about Djoko staying with Murray even though he wasn’t playing his best; I meant it as a comment about Novak’s perseverance, but it wasn’t meant to take away from Murray. In other words, at least it wasn’t a rout even if Novak wasn’t as well as Murray was.

Second – the heat in Cincy was mentioned by the commentators and the press, so it clearly was an issue; I presume it was a factor for some of the players too. If the commentators and the press felt it was worthy of mention, then I don’t think I am out of line mentioning it either.

Third – “Any analysis of why Djokovic was not as effective on sunday as he was on saturday needs to consider first and foremost the superior play Murray turned in. The rest of the reasons are all gravy.”

Sure, but it is also important to remember that in ANY tennis match it takes two players to arrive at the outcome; one could argue, for example, that Murray was able to step in on Djoko’s serves because Novak was serving crappy compared to how he served against Rafa.

I am not saying that was the case (see my comment below about Murray’s returns). The point, though, is that both players affect the outcome. They come in with a plan, and Murray played well against Novak last week too, so he knew just what to do. Novak probably had some adjustments planned based on that match, but wasn’t able to implement them due to Murray’s better performance on the day – and I would add attitude, Murray definitely had a good mindset from the get-go and he stuck to it even after blowing his chance to serve it out – but also in part due to Novak’s poor serving, which I think affected his attitude and focus.

Finally – perhaps you overlooked my earlier post (prior to the “sub par” one), in which I said the following:

“Murray was so effective in his service games, and as we all know, like Djoko and Rafa, Murray is both an excellent returner, and excellent at switching from offense to defense.”

On the day of the match, on another thread, I wrote this: “All credit to Murray, though, who’s had a tendency to go on “walk-about” mid-match in the past. That’s gone now. ”

And I has also posted this, in response to your own comment about Murray’s lack of consistency in results: “Latent Talent, I suspect Murray’s in it for the long haul now. He’s got the right team, the right girl, and the right game. So it’s all good.”

I also pointed out indirectly that Novak was not able to dictate against Murray like he had against Rafa in the previous match – and credit again goes to Murray for stepping in and being smart on the court.

So, I apologise if you feel I was not giving credit or being fair to Murray; he’s a player I greatly admire. Yet I stand by my belief that it takes two to tango on the court, and that there is nothing wrong in analyzing at the winners and the losers to determine how they got their results on the day.


jane Says:

typos galore, but should point out this one: “even if Novak wasn’t as well as Murray was” should read “even if Novak wasn’t
[playing] as well as Murray was.”


Daniel Says:

In this new “triangle” I consider two things that were mentioned above:

1. Murray and Djoko have similar games: Murray a better defensor and Djoko a better attacker

2. Nadal defends better tha Muray

The Djoko x Nadal matches on hard, to me, will all be for Djoko. Nadal plays the way I dislike with those ballon balls that fit Djoko’s perfectly. The only moment he played as he should on hard was the beggining of the second set, when he was furious after that firs set. But it will be a pattern, he will defend and wait to make those unbelieveble passing shots, nothing more. Djoko will always have the match in his hands.

The Djoko x Murray will always be close ones because as Djoko knows he is a better attacker than Murray and so he will go for the balls. If they stop entering, we will see those 50 unforced erros. If they get in, he will win in straigh!

The Murray x Nadal have the same condition of the above. Murray knows Nadal deffend better and will have to go for the balls. In Toronto he missed a lot an even though, it was a close one.
If he is in a good day, he can beat Nadal, but he will have to prove it first.

The forth element is Federer, he can beat them all on hard and lose too. The diiference is that these are players that a sub-par Fed won’t be enough for victory. He need to get his act together and deal with Murray first, because he lost to him two times and Murray is now a much better player. These wins gave him the confidance he was lacking.

These are now the front runners for the US Open. Beijing won’t tell us much, except in Federer’s case, which it will be crucial!


TD (Tam) Says:

Quote-”Could it be that Djokovic was tense, perhaps because he wasn’t succeeding in breaking down Murray’s game in the first set?”

I think Novack has been tense ever since he lost his chance to overtake Nadal as No. 2 in Hamburg. Even since then Rafa has been on fire and pulling away as a dominant force to be reckoned with this year. I truly believe that Nadal was spurred on this year by the threat of Novak overtaking him.

I was reading tennis-x’s trunk “Federer now just another top three player” and laughed to myself. How sad for his fans but also very true. I for one am quite happy with this new regime and do not wish for “King Roger” to reappear anytime soon!


Ezorra Says:

I am Nadal’s fan. I hate Djokovic before, but he has recently changed his attitude a lot by proving his talent more on court rather than in the press conference. So now I like him very much. To me, he is the new “nadal” and I hope he can stay humble an focus in his game (and stop imitate other players cause it is very annoying).

About Murray, I think he has the combination of Novak’s skills and Nadal’s determination which will make him a very dangerous player in any tournaments from now on. He is definitely the one for Nadal and Djokovic to beat in order to secure their place in the finals.

For Roger, to me, he has USO and AO 09 to make his fans believe in him again. If not, I’ve no idea what to say…

Having said that, I hope he’ll make it anyway…


Colin Says:

Regarding the problem of the USO coming right after the Olympics, Murray’s mother was quoted yesterday as saying players who went deep in the Olympics would probably not go deep in the US.
I don’t know how others feel, but I’d rather my favourite won a slam than an Olympic Gold. I’d only feel differently if absolutely all the top players were in the Olympics, so that it would in effect be another slam tournament.


I agree with you, Colin! Noone cares for the Gold medal! Says:

Tennis already has an Olympic of its own! It’s Wimbledon!


jane Says:

This was one sports writer’s comment on the conditions for the men’s final on Sunday:

“this was on a sun-blasted court with a temperature of 104 degrees F. I was lucky enough to be sitting with the photographers directly on court, and it was so hot that you thought real hard about whether you wanted to make the effort of talking to whoever was sitting next to you. “


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/feedarticle/7702100

Federer not so classy anymore now that he is losing all the time..


sar Says:

I’d rather my favourite won a slam than an Olympic Gold.

Colin, I think any future GOAT should have the gold medal.

Djokovic couldn’t bring his A game today after beating Nadal. In his mind I think he felt the real final was played already with Rafa.
Djokovic wasn’t playing anywhere near his best. I think the result would have been different had the final been played in cooler weather in the evening with Novak getting 24 hour recovery period…and sweltering heat did him in. Murray just outlasted him. Novak gave a wonderful speech and on other forums he is winning fans over.

Here is an interesting article.
http://mvn.com/tennis/2008/08/04/stepping-over-the-lines-a-brash-basher-from-belgrade/


sar Says:

Does anyone know if Beijing will be indoors or outdoors?


Sean Randall Says:

Sar, outdoors. 64-draws (men and women) begin Sunday.


Shital Green Says:

Sar,
To add to what Sean said above, Olympic tennis draw will be out on Thursday, August 7. Following the Olympic Charter, ITF runs the show. Matches will be held from August 10-17.

DecoTurf II has been chosen as the surface, the same as at the US Open.

Men’s singles will be best-of-three except the finals, which will be best-of-five. All third or fifth sets will be played out (until a player wins six or more games by a margin of two or more), and all other sets will be decided by tie-breaks if they reach 6-6.

One side story, Federer’s will not be staying at the Olympic Village, where all other athletes will be staying.
The day of the Opening Ceremony (August 8) is also, coincidentally, the day of his 27th birthday. It has been a tradition in Olympic history that whenever it’s an athlete’s birthday, a simple birthday party will always be thrown and a special present given to the birthday wo/man. Will Federer enter the Olympic Village then? Most probably not. Elitism or something else?


Gordo Says:

I always thought it was joke having multi-millionaires staying in the same complex as the other athletes. Much was recorded 4 and 8 years ago of a certain men’s basketball team keeping count of the number of female athlete’s from other countries that they “got to know.”

Fed doesn’t want to stay at the village at the Smogolympics? Good for him. So what?


Von Says:

Shital:

“Will Federer enter the Olympic Village then? Most probably not. Elitism or something else?”

Correct me, if I’m wrong. I remember way back when the Olympics were initially announced that there was a lot of dissension from Federer about the athletes lodging arrangements at the Olympic Village because he didn’t want to ride the bus. He, at that time, stated that he didn’t think he would compete in the Olympics in Beijing and went into something about the previous Olympics was more special to him because that’s where he met Mirka, etc.. Anyway, that aside, I suppose sometime later he must have decided to compete and was given a special dispensation from having to “ride the bus” and lodging in “mediocre” quarters. A case of “celebrity entitlement” perhaps? Amazing!!


sar Says:

Will Federer enter the Olympic Village then? Most probably not. Elitism or something else?

If he stays outside the village I think he only wants the medal and not the Olympic experience.


Von Says:

“Fed doesn’t want to stay at the village at the Smogolympics? Good for him. So what?”

The Olympics are a conglomeration of all athletes coming together in one area to compete with each other, bringing their own special skills and displaying their prowess. That’s an occasion where one athlete is not better than the other — they’re all equal in terms of human beings. As such, why should some athletes not have to endure the rigors and inconveniences just because they were blessed to have made some more mullions of dollars than the others? To me, this is a case of looking down your nose at the lesser fortunate athletes who are not as wealthy, and sending an unspoken message of “I feel I’m better than you all are, this is why I don’t want to associate with you.” Had the millionaire fortunate athletes not made their millions, they would be in the same boat as the lesser fortunate. My personal opinion is that professional athletes should not be allowed to compete at the Olympics, and is taking away from the original meaning of the Olympics. This is just my opinion and I believe I’m entitled to speaking my thoughts.


Gordo Says:

Roger Federer has had the “Olympic experience” – twice – and how well did he do? Not very. Well, that is not entirely true. He did meet Mirka at the Olympics, so that has got to be worth something.

But he is used to 5 star hotels and a specific routine. If you accept the fact that professionals are allowed into these goofy games then accept the fact that they should be allowed to live, eat and excercise wherever they like.

For Nadal and Djokovic and Murray this is their first time – let them bunk with the others and chug beer through funnels and excercise their hormonal urges.

So Fed is missing out on – what is that called? – the “Olympic experience.” I’m sure the food is good at the village but there have been a lot of comments about how difficult it was to sleep with all the “noise” in the past. Gee – I wonder if that has anything to do with the bowls of free condoms available to all the athletes, cause let’s face it – for the vast majority of athletes attending any Olympics – they are there just to participate, and they know their chances for a medal are slim.

Who do you think wants the Men’s Tennis Gold Medal more? Remember – for Nadal, Djoker and Murray 4 years from now they will be in their prime. Four years from now Roger Federer may not even be playing.

Side note on the matches – a 5th set in the final and no tiebreakers in the final set can only be a good thing.


Gordo Says:

Von -

I am with you. No professionals at the Olympics. That being said – is there any swimmer or sprinter who is really working at a job other than full time training?

Probably not – certainly not any of the athletes who will be receiving medals and wreaths.


Von Says:

Darn this Floridian weather. I had my comments written and then everything was blankety, blank — lost.

Gordo:

“So Fed is missing out on – what is that called? – the “Olympic experience.” I’m sure the food is good at the village but there have been a lot of comments about how difficult it was to sleep with all the “noise” in the past.”

This is exactly what I meant in my statement concering the “rigors” and ‘inconveniences” of staying at the Olympics Village.

We all know of the pivotal importance of sleep to a good functioning human body. Hence, if Fed is sleeping, dining and living in the lap of luxury for the duration of the Olympics Tennis tournament, and competing against another tennis player who has had to endure mediocre living hardships, can we say that he would be competing on an equal footing? Hardly likely. He would definitely have an edge in terms of food, rest and relaxation. Me thinks it’s unfair. I’ll say one thing without any doubt, Fed would not be competing at the Olympics if there were’nt any free points to be gotten and/or the gold medal. I think at this stage losing his No. 1 ranking, he wants those points more than the medal. I could be wrong, but my gut feeling tells me not. He’s not that patriotic — forget country. I know I’m going to get some heat for my comments from some, but, been there, done that.


Roddick is a donkey Says:

“I know I’m going to get some heat for my comments from some, but, been there, done that.”

Sounds like what the donkey thinks when he plays a better player.

“I have such a dumb game. I might look like a donkey on the court, but, been there, done that”


Von Says:

I Just read that article provided by: I like tennis bullies, etc., from the Guardian, UK, on Federer, in which Wawrinka states as follows:

“For me he is the best player ever,” world number 10 Wawrinka told reporters. “He is in good spirits and will do what he needs to get back to world number one.
“He is going to be ready, it’s one of his favourite tournaments for the year.”

Wawrinka is staying in the Olympics Village because he wants the experience.


NachoF Says:

So now we are criticizing Federer for the hotel he chooses to stay at??…. wow, this is getting out of control.


tennisontherocks Says:

von:”Hence, if Fed is sleeping, dining and living in the lap of luxury for the duration of the Olympics Tennis tournament, and competing against another tennis player who has had to endure mediocre living hardships, can we say that he would be competing on an equal footing? Hardly likely. He would definitely have an edge in terms of food, rest and relaxation. Me thinks it’s unfair. ”

its not limited to just olympics. even on regular tour, top players travel in business class, stay in better hotels of their choice, have bigger support teams etc. Players from developed countries have better facilities. But most of them have gone through the hardships of journeman/woman life and have earned their luxurious lifestyle. Let them enjoy it. Once they step on court, they are all alone fighting for themselves.


Von Says:

“But most of them have gone through the hardships of journeman/woman life and have earned their luxurious lifestyle.”

This is why I stated I don’t feel that professionals should be allowed to compete in the Olympics. The Olympics is for amateurs, the majority of whom are not wealthy. I personally feel allowing professionals into the Olympics is straying far from the original intent and purpose of the Olympics, and is detracting in a huge way, from the importance of amateurs competing at a very high level. My comments on living arrangements hinge on those thoughts as well. Hence, if a professional athlete wants to compete in the olympics, then he/she should adhere to the true purpose and intent of the Olympics where the athletes come together in the Village. Additionally, my feelings encompasses ALL of the professional athletes, not just Federer.


Latent Talent Says:

You would think Federer’s fellow athletes would know better than a bunch of morons from the “I hate Federer” club.

For what it is worth, from tennis.com:

Australian field hockey player Hope Munro reports that Roger Federer was mobbed in the Olympic cafeteria during a meal on Tuesday. “All he wanted to do was eat his lunch and star athletes from all over the world kept lining up to get his autograph or their photo taken with him,” she told Australian press. “You kind of feel sorry for the poor guy. I don’t know if he actually got his lunch.”

Federer should be competing on equal footing? So if his opponent has some injury, should federer break his leg to be on equal footing? Federer has worked hard to be where he is. As long as he is not doing anything illegal, people have no right to question what he does.


jane Says:

The Murray article is called “Murray rejects lap of luxury” for anyone whose interested; some times it takes a while for the link to show up so with the title you can google it up yourself.


jane Says:

sorry – not “whose” but “who’s” – durr.


zola Says:

I am very surprised too, that the professional players are allowed to participate in the olympics. I thought the olympics was for the amateurs.

I just read in Winkipedia that it was the rule before 1970 and then it was dropped. Still, doesn’t make sense to me.


NachoF Says:

I dont understand why the Olympics would be for amateurs at all… why would people watch it then??…. I find that having the best athletes in the world, all competing in the same event for the glory of their country to be very exciting… if it were just a bunch of amateurs then the Olympics would prove nothing.


Ryan Says:

“Federer should be competing on equal footing? So if his opponent has some injury, should federer break his leg to be on equal footing?”
I totally agree with Latent Talent.If we are looking for what is fair and unfair then this whole world is unfair.I could also say that nadal is stronger and younger than federer and it was unfair that he beat federer in the wimbledon final.Federer should only be allowed to compete with people of his age.There’ll always be differences between the rich and poor, strong and the weak, young and the old.But thats not an excuse for not performing in competitions.


Gordo Says:

OH PUHLEEEZE!!!!!

Federer can stay where ever he wants and if he wins the gold then you Fedbashers can say “Yeah, but nyah nyah – he was staying in a better hotel than_______________ (insert runner-up’s name).

Guess what? He also had a private jet, he imports his own food and water, he has his girlfriend on tour so he doesn’t nighthawk, and he can do that because he can afford it because he has made more money than anyone on the tour.

Maybe tennis shouldn’t be in the Olympics. After all, professional swimming, diving and skeet shooting are not.

Okay, I am being a smart ass. Want to know what I think is GOOD about tennis being in the Smoglympics?

Maybe, just maybe there will be a few killer matches and then a lot more people will watch a tennis match and maybe see how good this sport is.

I remember when Daniel Nestor and Sebastian Lareau won the Doubles Gold Medal for Canada 8 years ago. In the Canadian press there was more coverage for that match than what Wimbledon or the US Open received.

The Olympics have the power to do that. I watch kayaking for Heaven’s sake, and water polo if Canada is in it. I am certain there are millions who will watch tennis, maybe for the first time, and if they do they may get juiced on it.

It would be nice, cause this sport needs some shots in arm to attract new fans.

But please no more life is unfair comments, okay kids?


zola Says:

Gordo
**8Maybe, just maybe there will be a few killer matches and then a lot more people will watch a tennis match and maybe see how good this sport is.***

that’s a good point. more exposure. The Olympics with just amateur athletes will probably be more fair ( still the athletes in better-off countries will have better training), but maybe no one will watch it!

Still, look at the difference between gymnasts, wrestlers, runners, even swimmers, and then tennis players ( Are soccer or Basketball or baseball olympic sports?)

Anyway, this will always be open to discussion.

Ryan
**Federer should only be allowed to compete with people of his age.***
this was too funny to imagine the GS or MSs played by age groups!


Martina also said tennis already has an Olympics Says:

It’s Wimbledon, I remember that she made that comment in an interview.


tennisontherocks Says:

Olympics themselves have become a big money event, so no point really in keeping it just for amateurs…and as much as some of us may not like it, I don’t see that changing.

The only thing I don’t like about tennis in olympics is how it messes up the schedule. The calendar is already a mess, the grand slams are NEVER going to shift their dates, the players try to squeeze everything and get hurt or we get lousy matches.


Colin Says:

Nachof and zola – In the old days when the Olympics were all amateur, the best athletes in the world WERE amateurs. At least they were supposed to be! We all knew that Soviet athletes were state sponsored and thus able to spend all their time training; no doubt this was true of some others (think of sports scholarships to colleges). Even if they weren’t making big money, they had the advantage (full-time training) which a pro has.
It’s a circular logical progress: the public demands the highest standards for their entertainment, so sports have to be professional to attain that standard. Then they won’t watch the amateurs because they aren’t good enough. But whose demands forced the arrival of professionalism? The public’s!


Shital Green Says:

Colin,
What about amateur’s soccer (Under-23 plus three Over-23) and boxing at the Olympic?


Shital Green Says:

Nadal, “I think the facilities are more difficult in the village, but I never thought about not being there. For me I have to be there. It’s going to be a very exciting moment for me to be there with the rest of the sportsmen from around the world.”

I think there Nadal will have a bigger line of fans to get his autograph now than Fed did 4 years ago; Nadal is richer today than Fed was in 2004 summer; yet, he’s excited about staying in the Olympic Village. I am sure he’d be more excited to be staying at Olympic Village in London in 2012 because he knows the experience will be different with the world’s best, NEW athletes at a different venue then.


Gordo Says:

SG -

Every athlete is excited to stay at the village when they perform at their first Olympics.

As leader of the fed-bashers, would you spell out the point you are trying to make? Or is it all in the first 4 letters of your name?


Shital Green Says:

Gordo,
First off, I thought you were a good guy, and I spoke to you with civility in the couple of occasions that I did. I am disappointed to see your stooping to this level of cursing.

Second, there is no bashing unless you are a partisan Fed fan. I have only praised Rafa’s excitement to stay at the place where all most players are staying, and I was also answering some of the questions raised by others including you. No factor or privilege stopped Rafa from staying at the Village.
About the 1st time experience, you may want to look at what 10 time Gold Medalist Carl Lewis did (and there are others), who stayed at the Village even when it was his 5th time in 1996 Atlanta (See “One More Victory Lap” by Carl Lewis, available on Amazon). The point Lewis makes is each time the experience is new. Your first timer argument does not hold against many Olympic Gold Medalists who think otherwise.


Spin Says:

“Gordo,
First off, I thought you were a good guy, and I spoke to you with civility in the couple of occasions that I did. I am disappointed to see your stooping to this level of cursing.”

Nobody cares about your civility. Stuff it somewhere along with your disappointment.

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