Federer Bids for Olympic Tennis Gold in Beijing
by Sean Randall | August 7th, 2008
  • 111 Comments

I have to admit, I’m pretty lukewarm when it comes to pro tennis being part of the Olympics and the Beijing games which open tomorrow. To me the Olympics is about bringing the best athletes in the World to compete for the greatest prize in their sport: The Gold Medal.

Yet unlike other competitions such as gymnastics, track and field, swimming, etc., the Olympics isn’t quite that pinnacle of achievement, that end goal for tennis players. It’s one of them perhaps, but just the not highest award.

And that’s because in tennis we have the Grand Slams, the Davis Cup and as far as the competition goes, we already get to see best in our sport battle week-in, week-out. So from my chair, what’s the real difference between watching the Olympics and say playing Toronto? From a competition standpoint there isn’t much. In fact, winning the Olympics is arguably an easier achievement than winning Toronto since the draw is not as deep.

So really for me if the highest achievement in a given sport isn’t winning the Gold, then maybe that sport shouldn’t be part of the Olympics. And that’s how I feel about tennis.

Anyway, enough Olympic ranting for one day, on to the men’s draw which was released overnight in Beijing.

All eyes will again be on Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Federer is of course the top seed and still No. 1, but he’ll lose that ranking come August 18. So this could be the last time Federer is ever seeded above Nadal at any event. Who knows? That’s pure speculation and so to is trying to handicap the draw.

As I said when the summer began, because of the Olympics this hard court season is going to be a roller coaster of a ride, filled with plenty of twists and turns and so far it has been just that and I think we stay on that ride through Beijing.

Some of you suggest Federer has an easy draw, I think otherwise. I know Murray, Djokovic and Nadal are on the other half, but…Right now the Swiss is just 12-6 on hardcourts on year and given the way he’s been playing there are no easy draws for him. He opens with Dmitry Tursunov who I think could get him, and looking ahead he could run into Ivo Karlovic, Tomas Berdych or Gilles Simon, all of whom have beaten him on hardcourts – Ivo and Gilles this summer, Berdych at the last Olympics. So it’s going to be a tough road in what I think is Fed’s last chance at Olympic gold. The Swiss by the way turns 27 tomorrow.

The second quarter is a real crap shoot. For some reason though I like Nicolas Kiefer to emerge. I also think the Nikolay Davydenko-Ernests Gulbis match is the best first rounder of the tournament. David Ferrer-Marin Cilic could be a cracker as well.

Jumping to the bottom, Nadal has an easy early few rounds before hitting perhaps Andy Murray in quarterfinals. A lot will depend on just how fast/slow the court is but I could see Rafa in the semifinals where I think Novak Djokovic should be waiting.

The Serb really has only a couple legitimate threats in his quarter, Mikhail Youzhny and my man Gael Monfils. I’m not convinced of David Nalbadian’s health, so I’m already eliminating him as a contender. Novak’s the clear pick in that section.

But back to Federer.

As I wrote last month, we are going to learn a lot about Roger this summer. And so far we have. We learned that he’s not the same hardcourt player he was even a year ago – his losses to Simon and Karlovic suggest that. And we learned that he’s officially shifted into Pete Sampras gear, focusing solely on the bigger events like the Olympics and the Slams.

“Toronto and Cincinnati weren’t the tournaments that are going to make me cry for months and months,” Federer told the press yesterday. “It’s really the Olympic games and the U.S. Open that matter to me in this point of my career.”

Well, the Olympics is now upon us so it’s truly put up or shut up time for Roger. Let’s see how he handles it.


Also Check Out:
Roger Federer: I’d Love To Carry The Swiss Flag Again In The Olympics
Federer Grabs Olympic Gold in Doubles; Djokovic Beats Blake for Singles Bronze
Bravo/NBC Olympics Tennis TV Schedule
Nadal Adds Olympic Gold to His Diet
Rafael Nadal Not Focused On No. 1 Ranking In Beijing, Just Focused On Playing Well

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111 Comments for Federer Bids for Olympic Tennis Gold in Beijing

Shital Green Says:

Jane,
This is a response to your query on the other thread. It was Sean who said a couple of weeks ago, “How players who go deep at the Olympics react/perform at US Open is anyone’s guess right now. I have a hard time seeing any player winning both Beijing and the US Open given the tight the tight schedule, the distance and the physical demands.”

The point I noted at the Planet was no player ranking above 6 has ever won Olympic Gold since 1988. And for this reason, if the history is to continue, top three players have a slimmer chance of winning a Gold.

I agree with Sean that players who feel that “the Olympics isn’t quite that pinnacle of achievement” “because in tennis we have the Grand Slams” have not done and will not do well. Those who can transcend this feeling are more likely to yield better results. The history since 1988 is testimony to that. It is more about a nation’s glory and in return the respect one earns from the nation and its people. Take the example of Nikolas Massu who is revered as a national hero in Chile because he’s remained the only Gold Medalist in Chile’s Olympic history in any sports.
Among the top three, if their articulation in public is indicative of their urge, Rafa seems to be more motivated for the Olympic event. On the other hand, Federer could be equally driven by the urge to erase the doubt surrounding him and to keep the gap with Rafa closer. In tune with Sean’s argument, tennis players in general value the Olympic Gold less than Slams, and this COULD be more true with less accomplished players(exception: Agassi and Kafelnikov).

About the draw, once again Sean is right about Federer. Even if his is the easiest draw, it could prove him the toughest because of the way he has been tumbling to any one and every one on hard court this year.


Shital Green Says:

Correction: “less accomplished” should be “more accomplished” (in the last sentence of the 3rd paragraph).


jane Says:

Thanks for the response Shital. Sar also replied that Judy Murray has speculated as much publicly, so I probably read it a couple of times.

I am not sure yet whether we can conclude Fed is a lesser player on hardcourts, or as Sean puts it: “he’s not the same hardcourt player he was even a year ago – his losses to Simon and Karlovic suggest that”

There is less sharpness, for sure, and seemingly a confidence struggle, but perhaps too it’s that the competition are less afraid of him; so the results of late are probably a combination of things.

To give credit to Simon and Karlovic – Simon had just come from winning a hard court tournament, and after beating Fed he reached the semis, so he was playing well. In addition, Karlovic is more than a serve now, and I think we could see that in his match with Rafa at Queens.

So in addition to whatever is going on with Roger, the competition are improving and are hungry; they are seeking to improve by working on areas of their games – all of them, including Rafa (his serve, his shot selection), Djoko (his second serve, the net), and Murray (his aggressive style, his fitness).

What I’ll be interested to see all the way through the beginning of next year is whether Roger will dig down with his coach and work on areas of his game. It’s clear he didn’t do much after Wimbledon, admitting he’d practiced only 3 or 4 days before the hardcourt season, but maybe his results in Canada and Cincinatti have spurred him to do so.


zola Says:

Sean,
Just because Berdych won Federer 4 years ago or Simone or Karlovic Beat Fed this summer, doesn’t mean he has a tough draw. He has 12 GS titles , 7 of them on the hard courts and many master series titles. Don’t tell me Simon is a threat for him and Hewitt is not for RAfa or NAlbandian is not for Djokovic.

Federer is the frehest of top 3. Having played only 3 matches after Wimbledon and has been in China long enough to get used to the condition and get over the jet lag. He says his ocus has ben on the big events, then that’s it or him. Don’t expect Tursunov ( H2H 2-0 Fed ) be a threat for Roger.

btw, I just read that Karlovic might be out. So there you go, red carpet or Federer to the final. There has never been such a lopsided draW !

Djoko is a better hard court player than Rafa and Rafa looks beaten. I hope he can make it to the semis.I think the inal will be between Fed and Djoko.

If Federer cannot get to the final with this draw, I would say his best days are behind him.This is a real test for him.


Milos Says:

Djokovic will win :)


Shital Green Says:

Jane
Ref: “not sure yet whether we can conclude Fed is a lesser player on hard court.”

Fish, Simon, Karlovic did play their best tennis when they beat Fed. However, I am a little inclined to agree with Sean, with some qualification, of course. Fed has been a lesser player after semi final loss at AO (one could go further back to Indian Wells 2007), lesser to his own standard that he set in the past and lesser to a couple of players. This neither means he will remain the same as he has been recently nor it means he will certainly regain his consistent dominance of the past on hard court. My guess is he will show spark here and there: Those sporadic moments of lightening could prove better than ever (they can come at the Olympic and/or USO or even later). I don’t think anybody believes that Fed has arrived at the dead end of hard court or his career; however, I think it is not quite unreasonable to assume that the reign of his consistent dominance on hard court has ended. In other words, during those 4+ years, his grip on hard was nearly limitless and flawless; now it has reduced to a limited grip. Even here, Federer can prove them wrong, including me. I can only wonder what is left of him and what miracle he can still manufacture in the future.
It is funny that I am even trying to disagree with you. A moment of aberration, maybe?


jane Says:

Shital,

No, no aberration. ;-)

You make a good point, about going all the way back to early 2007 to mark a slight decline in Fed’s overall play.

However, note that then was also the rise of a few players, like Djoko and slowly Murray, so I still maintain that the competition is improving perhaps simultaneously with a lessening of Fed’s grip – on dominance, on his forehand, on timing, on confidence.

It’s symbiotic perhaps. That’s all I was saying.

And it also remains to be seen how hard Roger is willing to dig in and improve areas that before he didn’t have to.


Noel Says:

zola,
It is not about Fed’s past results.It is about what Fed has done on hard courts this year(12-6).His current form is what makes a lot of people think that he won’t do very well not only at the Olympics but probably in the rest of this year at least. In fact,I agree with Sean that there is a potential upset lurking against Tursonov who has been in good touch of late.However,I agree with you that Fed will find it easier to reach the final although only if he gets past the third round against Karlovic or Berdych esp the former.He will get some confidence as the tournament progresses and his form improves. For Fed,rest is probably not an issue at the moment.I am sure he’d have preferred more hard court matches/wins going into the games.His match fitness/preparedness is a bit doubtful to me.We have seen those “red carpets” before in this season esp when Nole wasn’t drawn in Fed’s half but Fed wasn’t good enough to reach even the sf stage at quite a few events.
I totally agree that Rafa has the tougher draw but only from the qf onwards but Rafa has been in the form of his life and as Jane says, draws can and do open up.Do you seriously think that a Hewitt or a Nalby-provided he gets to that stage- coming out of injury are in a position to challenge Rafa/Nole at the moment?
I also agree with Sean on the Davy/Gulbis match.Davy has the toughest first round amongst the top players. Nole’s first match could also be a bit tricky only because he normally starts a bit tentatively.Ginepri is not someone you’d ideally like to play in the first round on a hard court.I expect Nole to reach the sf easily thereafter unless Youzhny catches fire. The pollution levels have apparently gone down quite dramatically in Beijing in recent days and that should help Nole play well.I get the feeling that the winner will come from the lower half(Nole/Rafa/Murray) although the trend-as Shital has pointed out-tells us to expect a surprise.However,I’d be surprised if another really unexpected champion were to emerge this time also.


jane Says:

Noel,

Just wondering where you read / how you heard about the pollution levels dissipating in China of late?


Von Says:

jane:

Beijing is expecting rain today, or maybe they’ve already gotten a rainstorm — we’re 12 hours behind them. The following might be of some interest to you. However, with pollution, rain only clears up it up temporarily, and it will again climb up to unacceptable breathing levels.

On “After clear days earlier in the week we were hopeful of good filming conditions, but then this thick smog rolled back in overnight,” he said.

“Visibility is down to a few hundred metres.”

As the hours tick down to the showpiece Olympic opening ceremony, chances this heavy smog will lift today appear slim.

“It’s a very still day in Beijing and there doesn’t appear to be much sign of rain today, which are the conditions that normally drive out the smog,” Mr Wiles said.

However, rain is forecast for tomorrow afternoon. Conditions are then tipped to be favourable but mainly overcast for tomorrow night’s opening ceremony, the ABC reports.


jane Says:

Von – thanks for the update. I have a friend who travels to China on business at least twice a year and she had said the pollution was horrible the last time she was there.

I suppose any let up a little rain brings is great, but it’s the long terms effects that really bother me. Tennis aside, this is the world we’re talking about, the one we will leave to our children. We need to care.


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

“So really for me if the highest achievement in a given sport isn’t winning the Gold, then maybe that sport shouldn’t be part of the Olympics. And that’s how I feel about tennis.”

I agree with the above. I’ve stated on another thread that I don’t feel professionals should be allowed to participate in the Olympics. The true intent and purpose of the Olympics is that of a goodwill ambassador, where athletes from all nations of the world are allowed to bring their highest degree of skill in a specific sport and be able to compete “peacefully”. The athletes’ achievements and/or participation is two-fold; (1) for their personal gratification, and (2) his/her country’s representative and/or goodwill ambassador.

Tennis has its own Olympics — Davis Cup and/or the Grand Slams. In Davis Cup, the tennis players’ primary intention is that of being their country’s representative, and to an extent, depending on the player, personal gratification. In the Grand Slams, it’s all about personal gratification. That said, I would think winning the Olympics Gold would not be a more coveted prize than that of winning a grand slam. I’d say if the tennis players were given a choice they would choose a GS title over an Olympics Gold medal. considering the lack of interest shown by some of the players towards Davis Cup, in my opinion, playing for the glory of their country is very far down on their list of priorities when it comes to representing their country at the Olympics.


Shital Green Says:

Jane,
Symbiosis it is.
One may call it “structural coupling”: Two or more systems (psychic/ individuals or interaction) may co-evolve around particular issues or ideas. To achieve homeostasis, the system is normally supposed to react only after confirming disturbance in the environment. However, it is possible that the potent Rise has preemptively responded to the the supposed Fall, assuming its numerical value amounting to more than negligible. The Fall may have only been symptomatic and not actually have occurred. Be that as it may, the entropy in the environment must have increased (Fed being the environment for the improving players); and what this means is in certain regions the entropy may indeed have decreased (Rafa, Djoko, Murray, Simon, Karlovic’s regions, etc.). The complexity (improvement) of the system (other players) depends on how much it can assimilate from its environment. The decrease of the entropy among the improving players may not have been DICTATED by the increase of entropy in one top player, but they certainly have found it meaningful to respond to the changes occurring in their relevant environment (if I may, Fed’s relative decline). The relationship between the two is rather one of constant irritation (excitation), with one reacting to the other, but always on its own terms. In different terminology, one could say the response is trans-lated, trans-cripted, mediated, or re-presented. In the co-evolution of the two, each includes the other in its environment, interpreting the outputs of the other in its own terms on a continuous basis. The tennis universe too seems to be not immune from Second Law of Thermodynamics.
I apologize for talking crazy stuff here !


jane Says:

Shital -

Not crazy – fun! Chaos theory works well. The butterfly effect could be the atmospheric flutter caused by Fed’s unparalleled and unexpected losses early last year, which in turn lead to tornados elsewhere in the “environment,” as it were. That is to say, the rest of the players responded, those near the top, by improving and competing harder. Overall small changes in a system can lead to bigger ones, no doubt about it.


Shital Green Says:

About pollution in Beijing, check this out, and give it your own read. My “initial” take on the piece: It could be the new Empire’s exaggeration of the pollution or contamination of the Orient to present itself as pure, free from Capitalism’s excesses as well as a cover up for not ratifying Kyoto protocol in its original form.
Link: http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/news?slug=ap-china-pollution&prov=ap&type=lgns


Noel Says:

Jane,
Sorry for the late response.I read about the apparent decline in pollution levels in the newspapers.Admittedly,the figures quoted were from the Beijing municipal bureau of environmental protection and reported by Xinhua.July saw a drop of 20% in air pollution levels and the air pollution index went as low as 28 last Friday.They consider anything below 50 as ‘excellent’ and 51 to 100 is ‘fairly good’.The Chinese authorities are waging a war against pollution and have actually stopped polluting industrial units,banned polluting vehicles,reduced vehicular traffic,stopped construction work etc starting from around 20th july.This ‘clean’ period will end around the 20th august.The IOC and the WHO have also said that the implications of the Beijing smog/haze for air quality and consequently athletes’ performances have been exaggerated by the media.The Beijing sky has been much ‘clearer’ in recent days although the expected ‘help’ from rain and wind hasn’t materialized to the extent they were hoping for.I don’t have the numbers at the moment but the claimed reduction in the different pollution-measurement indices were quite dramatic although we must keep in mind that the levels were very high and,in absolute terms, they could still be not all that low now.I guess we will know for sure about the ill-effects on performances only when the outdoor events commence.


Von Says:

Shital:

“Take the example of Nikolas Massu who is revered as a national hero in Chile because he’s remained the only Gold Medalist in Chile’s Olympic history in any sports.”

Aside from Massu winning the Men’s singles tennis gold, didn’t Fernando Gonzalez win the gold in the doubles with Massu? If yes, then Massu is not the only Olympic Gold Medalist for Chile. Yes/no?


jane Says:

Thanks for the reply Noel and for the link Shital. Both are interesting and informative.

Perhaps having the Olympics in China is a blessing in disguise after all, as it raises awareness about the pollution problems in so-called “developing” countries, where we in the West off-load a lot of our production.

It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee …. or something!


Gordo Says:

The stars are aligned for a men’s tournament resulting in a dramatic storyline.

By winning the Gold Medal, Federer – aided by a draw that not only should see him cruise to the final but exorcise his demons of meeting and beating Simon and Karlovic, can give himself something to smile at again.

There is something different about Federer at the press conferences and in his interviews now. Actually – no what was different was the sudden surly manner he had acquired between losing at Wimbledon and through Cincinnati.

It is almost as if now knowing the date he loses the number one to Nadal has removed a weight from his shoulders, and I do think he is set to glide again. He knows this is his last great chance at a Gold medal he longs for – let’s see what happens. If it does – imagine the confusion…

How to Confuse the Non-Tennis World, Part One: Nadal wins 4 tournaments – including 2 Slams (Roland Garros, Queens, Wimbledon, Canada Masters) in a row but is not ranked number one.

How to Confuse the Non-Tennis World, Part Two:
A week Monday, in papers around the globe, Nadal is proclaimed the Number One ranked player in the world. The accompanying photo has him biting on his Silver Medal, looking up at a smiling Federer on the podium as the Swiss national anthem is played.

Wait for it!


zola Says:

Noel,
thanks for the post. I understand that Fed has not had good results on the hard courts recently, but it does not justify this unbalanced draw. He is there as the world no 1. Let’s say he is out in the first round, which is very unlikely, but then who is their to gt to the final? Only Ferrer and Davydenko and they are not playing their best either.
While in the bottom half, Murray, Djoko and Rafa are the three hot stars on the hard court and two of them has to be eliminated before the final.Add to that Nalbandian and Hewitt, who are not lesser players thanDavydenko and ferrer.
That’s what I mean by unbalanced.

Maybe such an easy draw puts more pressure on federer. There is really no excuse for him not to at least reach the final.

Davydenko-Gulbis should be a nice match. That kid is fun to watch.

When we talk about the air pollution in Beijing, how bad is it? Is it over the standard limits? If so, then hos is it possible to endanger lives of so may young people? Why do they even have the Olympics there in the first place? is it all politics?


Shital Green Says:

Von,
Yes, you are right. My slippage.
Thanks for the correction.


Von Says:

Does anyone know who’s replacing Karlovic in the draw now that he has withdrawn?


Noel Says:

Jane,
You are welcome!I just checked the link provided by Shital.I guess I have been reading only the ‘good’ news as reported by the official sources.It is quite clear that the skies haven’t been clear on a consistent basis and the amount of pollutants are fluctuating albeit still in the ‘safe’ range.I know that most of the measures are temporary but the awareness it generates is unprecedented and it will benefit the Chinese in the long run.Some other cities in China are already doing much better and have been very pro-active in introducing pollution control measures of a more durable nature.I am sure Beijing residents will be inhaling better air in the not too distant future.

Developing countries consider it their ‘right’ to pollute as it is now their turn after the developed world’s ‘contribution’.However,it really can’t go the old way if the future generations are to be left with a better legacy.The developed world must help the developing countries by providing cleaner technologies and encouraging/persuading them to be more responsible while at the some time setting a good example themselves and avoiding double standards.I strongly think a fresh ‘climate’ agreement/protocol is needed more than the wto trade talks.We just can’t afford to let things drift.


JCF Says:

‘“Toronto and Cincinnati weren’t the tournaments that are going to make me cry for months and months,” Federer told the press yesterday. “It’s really the Olympic games and the U.S. Open that matter to me in this point of my career.”

Well, the Olympics is now upon us so it’s truly put up or shut up time for Roger. Let’s see how he handles it.’

If all else fails, there’s always the Masters Cup in Nov.


Von Says:

The following is Federer’s reason for not steying at the Olympics Village:

It’s not possible for me to stay there [Olympic Village], there are so many athletes who would want their pictures taken with me…I don’t mind it, but everyday? I cant escape it…”

I’d say he should enjoy it for as long as it lasts. In a few years the line will be much shorter.


Noel Says:

zola,
With due respect,I don’t think my post justified the unbalanced draw at any point.I have actually agreed with you albeit in a different way.It is certainly more difficult for the hot three and easier for Fed but a final for Fed is not a forgone conclusion.Davy and Ferrer are still ranked higher than Murray.Of course,it is true that the three hottest players are in the bottom half.However,Keifer and Simon are also in the top half besides Ivo.I know you’d say I am comparing apples with oranges but you’d agree that they have been in good touch of late while Hewitt and Nalby are just coming out of injury.I could argue that Fed/Davy are playing players ranked 35/38 while Rafa/Murray are playing players ranked 71/74 respectively in the first round.Appears a bit ‘unfair’,doesn’t it? Normally the top players want to avoid ‘dangerous’ opponents in the first round and prefer to work their way through the tournament to be in good touch for the later rounds.By that time,they are confident of taking on and beating anyone.I am sure a lot of people are not happy that two of the hot players will be ousted before the final but this ‘anomaly’ won’t last long.Fed is going to be dropping down to third spot in the rankings the way he is playing and Murray will be in the top four before long.I think Nole and Rafa will probably feel relieved if they find Fed in their half instead of Murray if the trend in form continues.We will soon be talking about whose half Murray is drawn in just as we talk about Nole now.Then,either Nole or Rafa will be having the ‘red carpet’. :)

The Beijing pollution is not going to kill any athlete or visitor who will be there for a brief period.It is actually the residents who are,quite naturally, at a greater risk because of the constant exposure for a long period of time.
Olympics host city/country selection is all about politics and has been for a long time although the more sleazy acts have come to light only in the recent past.However,I think Beijing/China was a deserving winner in the face of some stiff competition and I am sure they will put up a very good show.They promised to bring down their pollution levels to acceptable levels and have taken several measures since 2001 to improve the air quality.That effort is an achievement in itself although they probably haven’t succeeded as much as they wanted to.


JCF Says:

“I’d say he should enjoy it for as long as it lasts. In a few years the line will be much shorter.”

That’s pretty cocky of him. I guess it means something since he’s still #1. Four years ago, he did stay at the Olympic village and revelled in the moment… until Berdych sent him packing. Then he left as quick as he could.


Tim Says:

To All,
Does Roger win the Olympics? The US Open? He should, but this is 2008, not 2004-2007, so who knows? We all can talk and say this or that but really, who knows?
I don’t even think Roger in his heart knows. Great Champions that made a lasting mark changed their games as time went on and made history. 2009 will be a challenging year for him. As someone said earlier, other players have caught up with his game. As an add on, and even more important, his confidence has been rattled, and in any game that is 50 % of the game. He needs to gain it back, be willing to change and adapt, and am I am sure his fans think he has the ability to do just that. Go on Youtube and find “Top 10 Best of Roger Federer” and no one can deny he is and maybe was the best ever. If anyone can change and adapt he has the ability. Can Nadal? Nadal has overpowering topspin and has adapted his topsin style to dominate now but what happens when someone figures it out? Yes he may dominate for awhile but the will it last? How physical do you have to be to play that style? He is not going to get 14 slams…no way his style of play cannot handle it. I guess we all we see, but I think we are in for one hellava 2009 season……and no Nadal will not dominate…Novak we have seen can beat Nadal and Federer can also…Murray may be caoming also. I guess we all we see, but I think we are in for one hellava 2009 season!


Von Says:

“That’s pretty cocky of him. I guess it means something since he’s still #1. Four years ago, he did stay at the Olympic village and revelled in the moment…”

This is my PRINCIPAL reason for disliking Federer. He’s a good tennis player, but the cockinesss, incongruence and vacillation is something I find difficult to accept and it cancels out his great tennis. I don’t mind a player’s semantics, arguing and/or shuoting on court, but when they’re vacillating and incongruent, I have a big problem dealing with such. Fed basks in the sunshine of the attention, that’s why he loves being No. 1. hence, why complain when he’s getting the attention. It blows my mind.


zola Says:

Noel,
well, interesting argument about Fed/Davy playing ranks 34/35 while Rafa/Djoko plating 74/45.But you know that even pointwise there is not much difference between them. Ginepri is no less dangerous than Tursunov. I can then argue that there is less top 10 players ( 4) in the top half. but none of these are the issue. As you said, it is not a balanced draw. If it was the WTA and you had say Serena in one half and then Justin, Sharapova, Venus, Safina, in the other half, it would have been easier to say how unbalanced a draw it is.

I am not sure if Federer is going to be No3. That will not be good. I really miss Rafa-federer matches and want him to be around longer. But I agree ( and so happy to see) murray playing so good. Even right now, I don’t want to see him in RAfa’s quarter!

About the air polution, yes, 2 weeks is not going to kill anyone, but it will be good to know the levels and numbers. That way it is easier to interpret. I think on top o the pollution the humidity and hot weather are also big factors. It will be very tiring for the players who have to come back for US Open. To me it is brutal.
Well, let’s see how it goes and thanks for the discussion.


zola Says:

Oh, btw,
KArlovic is not playing in the Olympics.


Sean Randall Says:

Shital, I wouldn’t put a lot of weight into the fact – assuming it is fact, though Agassi and Kafelnikov both won Gold – that no Top 6 player has won the Olympics. Each Olympiad is different from the previous one so for me at least it’s hard to see a trend.

Zola, what does being fresh have to do with winning? Fresh does not equal winning. That goes for Federer, too, who you could argue might not be in the groove after having played so few matches. Whereas a guy like Dmitry Tursunov knows where his game is, same with Gilles Simon.

And I see no reason why Rafa could not beat Novak in Beijing. If it comes to such a clash, I’ll likely take the Spaniard!

Regarding the “unbalanced” draw, bad luck? That’s all it is.

Von, how strange of players to pass up Davis Cup but play Olympics? Are they being selfish or did they get a case of nationalism? While a Slam trophy certainly carries a lot of weight, a Gold Medal is instantly recognizable across the entire globe. Saying you got one is a big draw for a lot of the pro players.

Gordo, the ranking systems are a mess, but until something better comes along that’s the breaks. I guess we and the players simply have to live with it. Look at the WTA system which will crown Jelena Jankovic No. 1. Monday despite the Serb having never ever reached a Slam final.

JCF, add Basel to the new Fed Faves list. Ha.

And as for Fed staying in a hotel and not the Olympic village, so what? Good for him. Hell, he should stay in Dubai and just helicopter in for matches. Stay out of that polluted air, or alleged polluted air.

Fed’s done the Olympic village thing, he found Mirka there in his first trip, found Berdych in his second but no gold. Maybe the village was holding him back…???


Noel Says:

zola,
We could still see Fed-Rafa matches despite Fed dropping to number three or four although they will then be meeting in the semi-final also depending on the draw.The crucial question is whether Fed will be good enough to reach the advanced stages of big events in the future.


jane Says:

‘Hell, he should stay in Dubai and just helicopter in for matches. Stay out of that polluted air, or alleged polluted air.”

There’s a contradiction in here somewhere…lol


Ezorra Says:

Just curious… how’s the court’s condition in Beijing? Is it faster/slower than Cincinnati/Toronto/USO court?


sar Says:

I don’t know if Novak’s lungs will be able to handle this polution. I hope I am wrong.

On another note, there are rumors that the Djokovic marriage is in trouble, so maybe that is what is affecting Novak? I guess Novak’s father is in love with Marijana Mateus, whoever that is, and the mom is trying to hold the marriage together. I hope it’s not true.


JCF Says:

“Nadal has overpowering topspin and has adapted his topsin style to dominate now but what happens when someone figures it out? Yes he may dominate for awhile but the will it last? How physical do you have to be to play that style?”

I think people know how to beat his style. It’s just easier said than done. Just as I’m sure people know how to return Karlovic’s serve in -theory-. It just isn’t easy.

“He is not going to get 14 slams…”

Of course not. How many players have actually won 14 slams? You make it sound like winning 14 slams is low expectations that any promising player can match. Isn’t 14 a bit high a measuring stick to judge players by? Players don’t have to win 10, 12, 14 slams to have an outstanding career you know. Andre was 6 short. 8 slams with at least one on each surface. His achievement is an admirable goal. Rafa should set his sights on winning a few hard court slams and then he’ll be as good as Agassi. Forget the 14 total.

One more slam (preferably on hard) and he matches Becker and Edberg. Two more and he matches Wilander. There is still time.

“and no Nadal will not dominate…Novak we have seen can beat Nadal and Federer can also…Murray may be caoming also. ”

So what? Novak’s record against him is 4-9 (4-2 on hard), Federer’s is 6-12 (3-2 on hard). Murray is 0-5. You don’t have to win every match against a particular player in order to ‘dominate’, whatever that word means.


Von Says:

Marijana Mateus- wasn’t she married to Lotar Mateus, the fottball/soccer player? Lotar divorced her for a 26 year old woman from Kiev.


jane Says:

I don’t know but I googled her after I read Sar’s post (yep, I am a sucker for gossip) and checked out some images – blonde, buxom ( not everywhere), you get the idea. Kind of like a vamped up version of Novak’s mom. Sad that, if it’s true. With the 3 boys, especially the youngest, marital troubles are tough. It could definitely play on Novak’s mind because you get the idea theirs was / is a really tight knit clan.


jane Says:

I mean “I” get the idea, no “you” (sorry Ra, wherever you are, but at least I caught it!)


zola Says:

Jane,Sar,
I read the somewhere else too. I was hoping for it to be a just a rumor.I am sorry it is true. I am sure it is hard for Djoko and his brothers.

Sean,
of course being fresh doesn’t guarantee a win, but being tired can affect someone’s game and lead to a loss. RAfa, Djoko and Murray have played more than Federer. They have a tough draw and they have just arrived in Beijing while Federer has been there a week before them.

well, let’s see what happens. There is also the US Open. I just hope RAfa doesn’t get knocked out in the early stages of the Olympics.


Ryan Says:

I think fed lost to ivo on purpose.He wanted to hand over nadal his no 1 ranking.He does not want someone else like djokovic to take his no.1 ranking away from him.


zola Says:

Ryan,
right!
Federer cannot lose to Nadal. It must be a handover!

This Federer is some guy! and all this time I thought that 12-6 H2H was for real!


Ryan Says:

I’m really thinking about that wimbledon title.9-7 in the fifth….maybe fed didnt want nadal to feel bad the third time and lost to him.He and Nadal are very good friends.12-6 is because of the clay record.Its not fed’s fault that nadal is never around during the hard court season.This miserable head to head could have been avoided if fed had just lost on purpose to someone right before facing nadal.


Ryan Says:

To von and to whoever who said that fed is cocky:

There’s nothing cocky about fed saying that he doesnt want distractions in the village.He’s aiming for the olympic gold this time.The other 2 times he just went there to have some fun and to get the experience.He cant even eat or sleep in the village because people are surrounding him 24 hours a day and taking photographs and videos.What is he supposed to do? He cant even talk to mirka.
We have to understand that fed is a human being and needs some rest and privacy.Fed is never rude to any fan.So this is why he is planning to stay outside.Got it everyone?


andrea Says:

copy that. anyone who WANTS to be smothered by fans and requests all day long clearly has not had to deal with that kind of distraction.

just because an athlete wants to focus on the task at hand and weed out distraction does not make them cocky. it makes them a realist. everyone is there to win.

and for the record, roger did not bask in the distractions last olympics – he commented that it was really tough; hence, this time, the hotel off site.


Noel Says:

“I think fed lost to ivo on purpose.He wanted to hand over nadal his no 1 ranking.He does not want someone else like djokovic to take his no.1 ranking away from him.”

That is just not true imho.While players can ‘tank’ points/games/sets and even matches-Pete used to do it quite often esp the point/game/set bit- for a variety of reasons,Fed really needed to win some matches in Cincy after the early Toronto loss and the delicate ranking situation.Sampras used to tank points and games reather regularly-even in big events- once he got a break because he had confidence in his awesome serve.He really was one player who always kept the larger picture in mind.
I think Fed hated being dislodged from the top rank.Period.I don’t think he cares much whether it is Rafa or Nole although he has expressed his endorsement of Rafa’s credentials for the top spot several times in the past and always said that Rafa was the much bigger threat as compared to Nole.Even I used to think that it was a ploy to undermine Nole’s talent/potential.I always thought Nole was the bigger threat and he’d go past Rafa to dethrone Fed this year itself.Fed’s ‘confidence’ in Rafa’s abilities have been justified and he has been proven right at least on this count.I didn’t expect Rafa to put together such a brilliant season and it is difficult for me to imagine Fed taking the top spot back now.Rafa will continue to do well on clay and grass and there will be a dog-fight for the hard-court spoils whereas Fed dominated it earlier.This opening up of the hard court season will make Rafa’s task of retaining the top spot a bit easier.The prospective number ones may have to wait a while yet for their turn.


Noel Says:

Ryan,
Fed and Rafa are not THAT friendly and certainly Fed is not THAT generous to gift away a wimby title to make Rafa feel good.While I agree that their h-2-h is influenced heavily by the clay matches,Fed surely doesn’t have to tank matches to avoid meeting Rafa in order to prevent further worsening of that h-2-h.Rafa has beaten Fed on hard courts also and it is not as if Fed’d have dominated Rafa on the hard courts the way Rafa dominated Fed on clay although he’d definitely have started as the favorite.That was in the past and I am not so sure about that now because Rafa probably will be the favorite on any surface against Fed in the future.


simba Says:

Federer told the press yesterday. “It’s really the Olympic games and the U.S. Open that matter to me in this point of my career.”

He is lying through his teeth. Everyone knows that his goals are finishing the year as No.1 and winning Wimbledon. Both are gone. He badly wanted to win Cincy and Toronto to get on a roll and hold on dearly to the No.1 ranking. If you lost this and said it would not matter, Fed should have been better than this.


Ryan Says:

“It’s really the Olympic games and the U.S. Open that matter to me in this point of my career.”

Now tell me what is wrong with that statement.He says “in this point of my career”.Its not like he started out the year with this goal.Sure he must have wanted to win wimbledon and be year end no.1.But its no longer valid now so what do you want him to do…….regret about his earlier goals and start crying.Give him a break.


Ryan Says:

To Noel:

“Fed and Rafa are not THAT friendly and certainly Fed is not THAT generous to gift away a wimby title to make Rafa feel good”
I was just playin man…….


Willie Says:

“Toronto and Cincinnati weren’t the tournaments that are going to make me cry for months and months,” Federer told the press yesterday. “It’s really the Olympic games and the U.S. Open that matter to me in this point of my career.”

well, that’s a very typical Federer…. I bet he likes Estoril better than any of the Master Series he had lost. didn’t some people call it sour graping?

Let’s see what he’s gonna say when he didn’t win the Gold Medal…i bet he’ll say it’s really the US Open that matters to him….and oh, the Master Cup. He’ll be going on and on with that until he runs out of tournament….until he’s back to his beloved Estoril.


Gordo Says:

Ryan – you have to understand that this tennis-x blog is really a home for Fed-bashers. In here is labeled an elitist, a liar, pompous and various other names that for the life of me I cannot understand.

Maybe these are kids (20-somethings) who embrace that mysterious “x” factor “Yeah, baby!” and naturally rebel against the status quo, in which case in 5 years they will be insulting Nadal or Djokovic, or whoever has been at the top for a while.

Well, there is so much negativity not only in the blogs, but by the main writers as well, who love to call the female players “fat” and deride them for their looks.

I guess this is really the site where the beautiful all-knowing ppl come to tell us all off.

I prefer to chat about tennis – the game and the players who make it great, so thank heaven there are other more reputable sites out there. Over and out.


sar Says:

….maybe fed didnt want nadal to feel bad the third time and lost to him.

Too bad Nadal didn’t return the favor at FO. LOL


Cici Says:

Perfectly Put:

~~~Gordo Says:
Ryan – you have to understand that this tennis-x blog is really a home for Fed-bashers. In here is labeled an elitist, a liar, pompous and various other names that for the life of me I cannot understand.

Maybe these are kids (20-somethings) who embrace that mysterious “x” factor “Yeah, baby!” and naturally rebel against the status quo, in which case in 5 years they will be insulting Nadal or Djokovic, or whoever has been at the top for a while.

Well, there is so much negativity not only in the blogs, but by the main writers as well, who love to call the female players “fat” and deride them for their looks.

I guess this is really the site where the beautiful all-knowing ppl come to tell us all off.

I prefer to chat about tennis – the game and the players who make it great, so thank heaven there are other more reputable sites out there. Over and out.~~~


Ryan Says:

To sar: Of course nadal wont return the favour.He’s a selfish motherfukkin basturd…….


Shital Green Says:

Jane,
Ref: “Hell, he should stay in Dubai and just helicopter in for matches. Stay out of that polluted air, or alleged polluted air.”

You: “There’s a contradiction in here somewhere…lol”

Me: I am blind; I cannot see the contradiction. Does emission of methane, CO2, NOX, etc. at higher altitudes really aggravate greenhouse effect? That’s just Gorish.
Wait, I remember a country feminist wearing “Git ‘her done” T-shirt at a conference and Roddicked (remember country Roddick from Omaha with country Mirka?), or Bushed, “Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.” –Bush, in parting words to Gordon Brown and Sarkozy at his final G-8 Summit, punching the air and grinning widely as the two leaders looked on in shock, Rusutsu, Japan, July 10, 2008

Sean: “Shital, I wouldn’t put a lot of weight into the fact..it’s hard to see a trend”
Sean: Fed “is not the same hardcourt player he was even a year ago – his losses to Simon and Karlovic suggest that.”

Me: Yes, you are right, Sean, twenty years incessant draught is no trend, but Fed’s two consecutive losses on hard court is definitely a trend.

Olympic History in nutshell: Tennis “was one of the original nine Olympic sports in Athens in 1896″; “Tennis withdrew from the Olympics after the 1924 Games but returned as a 21-and-under demonstration event in 1984,” meaning there was no tennis between 1925-1983 at the Olympic; and when it returned in 1984, it was only U-21. Tennis was reintroduced “as a full medal sport at Seoul in 1988.” Since the 1st appearance of tennis as a full-fledged, professionals included with no age restriction, Olympic sport, “no player ranking 5 or better has won a Gold medal” Although Kafelnikov, Agassi, Becker, Edberg, Goran Ivanisevic, have won an Olympic Gold, none was ranking above 6 at the time of playing or winning it (all the quotes and info are from ITF).
Is this a trend? Absolutely, it is a flawless trend. Do I think it will be broken this year? Maybe, might be. If anyone breaks it, it will be either Nadal or Djokovic. It would not be the one who charters a helecopter from Dubai, to avoid pollution.


Shital Green Says:

Correction: “have won an Olympic Gold, none was ranking above six at the time of playing or winning it.”
Should be read as “have won an Olympic medal, and only Agassi and Kafelnikov have won Gold in singles since 1988, the year tennis became a medal sport again, but they were ranked 6 and 8, respectively, at the time.”

Clarification: (1) “At the 1984 Olympic… Games tennis was a demonstration sport, Edberg won the men’s singles gold medal. Four years later, at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, tennis became a full medal sport and Edberg won bronze medals in both the men’s singles and the men’s doubles.”
(2) “Becker and Stich teamed up in 1992 to win the men’s doubles gold medal at the Olympic Games in Barcelona [1992].”
(3) In 1992, Goran Ivanisevic won bronze medals in both singles and doubles.


jane Says:

Shital,

Take a helicopter and yet stay out of the air? Seems impossible, ha ha – I know Sean didn’t mean it in the way I am implying; I was just kidding around.

But more seriously, helicoptering back and forth would contribute greatly to pollution; the less driving (or flying, as the case may be), the less pollution: simple as that. So flying to stay out the of pollution is a little ironic perhaps.

I was being facetious, just like Sean.


Shital Green Says:

Jane,
Ref: “helicoptering back and forth would contribute greatly to pollution”
You must be kidding me? Where did you hear that from?
They did not teach me that at school. My high school would not teach helicopter, pollution, Darwin.

Tha anly tam smoke burned ma eyes woz wen Sarty’s father burnt Faulkner’s barn, remember?

We were in our early 20′s then just like we’re today to stay put in the disreputable site.


jane Says:

Shital,

“You must be kidding me? Where did you hear that from?”

Wasn’t George Bush talking about it the other day? From a helicopter?


Von Says:

The 20 yearolds show their maturity when they can accept another’s opinion not by telling them to “shut up”. Silence those with a brain and let the brainless speak. I don’t believe 20 yearolds, who are intelligent, resort to cursing and name calling when they can’t prove a point or accept another’s opinion with civility not sarcasm. If I’m not mistaken it’s realy the adolesents who do that sort of thing, but heck what do I know, consider how much I get chided, I might still be in my terrible twos stage throwing the tantrums I see here. Take a look at who’s agreeing with whom.


Roddick is a Donkey Says:

Why is everyone talking about the Olympics? Could you please throw the donkey a bone …. er… or some grass? He plays tennis too incase you guys forget.

Shoulder injury and back injury vanished as soon as all the top players hopped on the plane to Beijing. A miracle not seen since the Biblical times.

Go Donkey!


Von Says:

Gordo:

“Ryan – you have to understand that this tennis-x blog is really a home for Fed-bashers. In here is labeled an elitist, a liar, pompous and various other names that for the life of me I cannot understand.”

From my observation of posting here, I’m assuming you’ve only just recently, say for one or two months, been posting on this site regularly, unless you used another post name. Just in case you have not figured it out, this is an extremely pro-Federer site from the writers down to the posters. There’s a ratio of about 10:4 in favor of Federer. It used to be about 10:2 Federer, but has changed somewhat with Nadal’s and Djokovic’s recent rise. However, it’s still largely pro-Federer, and most of them are the worst bashers of other players and offensive, period. If a non-Federer poster were to write a post simiar to the “Roddick is a donkey post”, there would be verbal bloodshed. From that post anyone with just a few brain cells can figure out the extent of that poster’s intelligence. That aside, I was under the impression initially, that you were a civil poster, but recently my views have changed. Anyway, enjoy it. You’re privileged to say whatever you like, tickles your fancy and/or makes you happy.


Roddick is a Donkey Says:

Von -

Donot talk about me, unless you want me talking about you. If you can, talk about the content of the post. If you can’t then STFU!

Who gave you the right to judge anyone’s intelligence? You want to volunteer for a rating on your intelligence and your half-baked posts? Next time you personalize a post, I will replace Roddick with Von.


Von Says:

I’m talking about the content of the post. I don’t feel any human being is a donkey.


sensationalsafin Says:

I’m having a tough time with my view on Roddick. I mean I like him and I understand his decision. But at the same time it does kinda look like he’s wimping out. I don’t think he deserves to be called names because if anything, the decision was obviously tough for him and he’s admitted to having some regrets. But it’s just the Olympics, right? A masters event without byes and for less points. Who wants to play that?


JCF Says:

Ryan Says:

“I think fed lost to ivo on purpose.He wanted to hand over nadal his no 1 ranking.He does not want someone else like djokovic to take his no.1 ranking away from him.”

This is stupid. Have you thought about the logic behind this? Nadal is significantly ahead of Djokovic, so how does handing it over to Nadal stop Djokovic from getting his hands on it? It has to go through Nadal in order to get to Djokovic, so tanking to Karlovic brings the top ranking closer to Djokovic than away from it. Why would he not be better off keeping it for himself? And if he does throw a match, why do it 7-6 in the third? He could have just lose 7-6 7-6 and nobody would have suspected a thing. Or he could have let Ginepri get the win. Or he could have pulled out entirely.

“I’m really thinking about that wimbledon title.9-7 in the fifth….maybe fed didnt want nadal to feel bad the third time and lost to him.He and Nadal are very good friends.12-6 is because of the clay record.Its not fed’s fault that nadal is never around during the hard court season.This miserable head to head could have been avoided if fed had just lost on purpose to someone right before facing nadal.”

Right.. and those distraught tears afterwards were just a show? He felt bad about beating Nadal three times in a row at Wimbledon (his own favorite tournament) despite the fact that Nadal beat him 4 times in a row at RG, so he decided to fix the match so that he would lose 9-7 in the fifth? Such vivid imagination!

As for the head to head on hard. It’s 3-2 in Fed’s favor. I doubt the record would be lopsided in Fed’s favor if they played each other as much on hard as they did on clay. And I don’t think it would be the case on grass either.

“There’s nothing cocky about fed saying that he doesnt want distractions in the village.He’s aiming for the olympic gold this time.The other 2 times he just went there to have some fun and to get the experience.”

Yeah? Did you see his interview after losing to Berdych? He looked so disappointed he barely answered any questions. Then when he next played Berdych and won, he said it was personal, because Berdych was the guy who ruined his olympic dreams. Why did he only NOW go gunning for gold, after 12 years? The first two he just wanted fun, but only now he is serious about it?

Being a Federer apologist is fine. But claiming to know his mind when you can’t even read his body language and reactions is ridiculous.

Ryan, sometimes you make sense, but this time you went off the deep end. Fed has his own (perhaps valid) reasons for what’s happening lately, your dross is not it.

simba:

“He is lying through his teeth. Everyone knows that his goals are finishing the year as No.1 and winning Wimbledon.”

Fed has made it clear several times that these are his two most important goals every year, to the point that sacrifices would need to be made elsewhere (e.g. Davis Cup). This is the first time he’s failed in both goals (or even one of them), so seeing how he reacts in the latter parts of the season, we’ll be able to learn something about Federer that he didn’t give us any glimpse of in the years past.

Ryan:

“Now tell me what is wrong with that statement.He says “in this point of my career”.Its not like he started out the year with this goal.Sure he must have wanted to win wimbledon and be year end no.1.But its no longer valid now so what do you want him to do…….regret about his earlier goals and start crying.Give him a break.”

The way it was worded did sound like the other things didn’t matter to him. It could just be a misunderstanding however.

Gordo:

“Ryan – you have to understand that this tennis-x blog is really a home for Fed-bashers. In here is labeled an elitist, a liar, pompous and various other names that for the life of me I cannot understand.”

When it comes to bashing, I am more or less equal opportunity. Some players I like more than others, but I’m not going out of my way to defend someone. I don’t really ‘bash’ Federer, since I do like him more than most players, I merely criticize and point out facts as I see it. If a player says something controversial, it’s going to be pointed out and criticized.

Ryan Says:

“To sar: Of course nadal wont return the favour.He’s a selfish motherfukkin basturd…….”

Federer and Nadal of all players are going to protect the integrity of the sport. Throwing a match for whatever reason, is illegal and dishonest, even if it was for altruistic reasons. It is a requirement for a player to give their best in every match. If you purposefully play less than your best, you’re tanking it (unless you’re conserving energy for later rounds, but that requires you win this one), and that’s going to get you fined. Worse, if you deliberately lose, that’s match-fixing and can get you suspended!

sensationalsafin Says:

“I’m having a tough time with my view on Roddick. I mean I like him and I understand his decision. But at the same time it does kinda look like he’s wimping out. I don’t think he deserves to be called names because if anything, the decision was obviously tough for him and he’s admitted to having some regrets. But it’s just the Olympics, right? A masters event without byes and for less points. Who wants to play that?”

People who do it are doing it out of national pride. To give credit to Andy, when he lost in Athens, he didn’t just go home like everyone else. He stayed back and cheered on his fellow americans in tennis and other sports. This time he didn’t see as much purpose in it. Perhaps he wants to stay back and rack up some easy US Open Series points (now that small tournaments are unfairly counting double points) and score some easy bonus cash at the USO. He could probably finish first place if he wins two tournaments going into the USO. Maybe with his injuries this is his way of getting his confidence back. I don’t think he would have gone far in Beijing in the condition he’s in, had he chosen to go, so perhaps it’s wiser to get some match practice with a more depleted field elsewhere.


JCF Says:

Gordo Says:

“Ryan – you have to understand that this tennis-x blog is really a home for Fed-bashers. In here is labeled an elitist, a liar, pompous and various other names that for the life of me I cannot understand.”

Funny that. I just saw a google ad on this site somewhere linking to a poll:

Roger Federer: Yes or No
10 Second Poll. Is Roger Federer The Best Tennis Player Ever?

If you go to the site, the results are very heavily in his favor.


Von Says:

JCF:

“To give credit to Andy, when he lost in Athens, he didn’t just go home like everyone else. He stayed back and cheered on his fellow americans in tennis and other sports ….”

“I don’t think he would have gone far in Beijing in the condition he’s in, had he chosen to go, so perhaps it’s wiser to get some match practice with a more depleted field elsewhere…”

Andy’s decision was partly due to his back and shoulder problems, and because of the uncertainty of that problem, he felt it would have been better to step down and let one of the other players, who’ve never gone to the Olympics be given the opportunity to do so. I think that was very noble of him. Another player would have gone despite the obvious and would not have cared if they went out in the first round. Roddick did something similarly recently at Cincy. He made sure he alerted the officials of his neck problem and stepped aside before the match started so that another player could have the opportunity to play and the crowd would also see some tennis. This is why I like Roddick, he’s not selfish and is very fair.


Von Says:

sensationalsafin:

The above post to JCF pertains to some of what you stated in your post. I know that you like Roddick and you support him. I was disappointed he didn’t go to the Olympics too, but his reasons made good sense to me. I’d prefer for someone else who’s health to go instead of Roddick. He’s had this niggling back problem since Bercy last year, and at the TMC, he played with a frozen back. Unfortunately, he re-injured it at Rome and I think that was the last straw.

In addition to the above, it makes sense for him to skip the Olympics since he has to defend his Legg Mason title. The tournament is next week, and if he doesn’t he’ll fall out of the top 10 for sure. Right now he’s barely hanging on by his chipped fingernails.

How did you like Safin’s recent run? He made to the QFs in LA this week. I would have liked for him to go further, but it’s a good sign that he’s stringing matches together. He’s playing next week in Washington too. Keep the faith! :)


Von Says:

I don’t know how many of you saw the Opening Ceremonies at the Olympics showing some of the tennis players in the athlete’s parade. I saw Fed bearing the Swiss flag, Nadal and Almagro with the Spanish team. Nadal was smiling and looked happy. I also saw Blake, Kobe Bryant and Lindsay Davenport. NBC cut away just before Chile and I didn’t see Fernando Gonzalez. All of the athletes appeared to be enjoying themselves tremendously.


sensationalsafin Says:

I like Roddick. To me he’s an good player, not great. But he’s got a great personality. I don’t care if he lashes out at the umps, I think he’s funny. But when it comes down to it, he’s very honest and I respect that. I’m upset he’s not going because I like him but I agree that what he did is for the best and he was being fair about it. If there’s any tennis player who doesn’t need to prove his nationalism it’s Andy Roddick.


Von Says:

sensationalsafin:

“I like Roddick. To me he’s an good player, not great. But he’s got a great personality. I don’t care if he lashes out at the umps, I think he’s funny.”

I’m with you on the above. I agree Roddick’s not the best tennis player ever, but he’s good and I enjoy his matches. The umpire thing doesn’t really bother me because they all do it, except with him, his comments make me laugh. He’s got chutzpah, originality, and most of all, he’s very honest. Like you, I respect that. I prefer honesty above perfection or prim and proper, and I can live with that. You’re somewhat like him — you call a spade a spade and sometimes you make me laugh too. :) Roddick has proved he values his country.


sensationalsafin Says:

Thanks Von, haha. Since we’re talking about Roddick let’s talk about his game a bit. The guy gets so much criticism for his “one-dimensional” game. Well my friend was raving about his match from last night against Gicquel. When Roddick is playing his best tennis he is basically playing a huge-serve-huge-forehand game. How can you not enjoy that? Seriously! I mean yeah it’s great to watch Federer and Nadal play ridiculous rallies and points but cmon! Roddick’s style is so much fun to watch when he’s playing well. It’s not like Federer and Roddick haven’t had their fair share of spectacular matches with great stuff being produced by both players.

Also, I’ve been playing Virtua Tennis 3 for PS3 a lot lately and lemme tell you Roddick is so much fun to play with. Big serve, big forehand, point over. Ideal way to win a point. Maybe Roddick’s got the right idea. Unfortunately, Roddick doesn’t always play this style. And it’s a shame. His loopy shots are flat out stupid and it’s not fun to watch. He shouldn’t hit a huge serve and retreat behind the baseline. He needs to play aggressive because that’s how he can win efficiently and a lot. Plus, it’s more fun to watch offense to defense imo.


JCF Says:

sensationalsafin,

Virtua Tennis is very unrealistic. The ball bounces so high off a defensive dive or lunge that the opponent can smash the ball from meters behind the baseline. What dreck. I’m talking about the ball bouncing way higher than the height of the opponent. This isn’t one of Nadal’s loopy heavily topspun muscled shots I’m talking about. It’s just a defensive block and it bounces so high it puts Nadal to shame even when he’s trying for it!

So high that they can smash the ball from the back of the court. My other gripe with the game is how players insist on diving for the ball even when you’re in range with a bit of a stretch. Once you dive, you’ve pretty much lost the point anyway.

Tennis games these days just suck. Top Spin 3 and Smash Court 3 are unrealistically slow. It just isn’t tennis.

My favorite is still Smash Court 2 on PS2 (also Roland Garros 2005), and Top Spin 1 (although this one was also very unrealistic, at least it was fun and spectacular).


Von Says:

Sensationalsafin

I just finished watching Roddick v. Gremelmayr. If you remember, Grem gave Fed a lot of trouble at Estoril. He’s a good returner and likes long rallies. Tonight however, Roddick put Grem in his place. Andy came to the net and volleyed!! Did you hear me, he volleyed!! He had 7 of 7 net points won. WOW. He was hitting some good forehand shots down the line, mixed up his serve, and that serve was just sizzling. He won 6-2, 6-2, in 55 minutes. Roddick has soft hands at the net, but you’re right, at times he goes for those loopy shots and then he loses his game plan. I think he tries to improvise when things are not working to his satisfaction, but he gets himself into a hole. Roddick’s backhand has improved tremendously and now he’s playing an all-court game. I enjoyed last night’s match and tonght’s. Tommorrow he faces DelPotro who is a good server, and is hot, coming off 2 titles on clay. We’ll see how that shapes up. You know by now that even though I agree Fed plays a great match, I prefer to watch Roddick. He’s not the best, but he brings excitement to his matches. I believe it’s his appeal and that electic energy he has. He’s a personality alright!! Just like you. :) That’s what makes us unique! Wouldn’t it be dull if we were all yes people. Gosh, where would controversial moi fit in?

On an aside, Roddick mentioned that Wimby is not as fast as the US Open. The commentators asked him if it was the balls or the court and he said it was hard to tell, but the US Open is definitely faster. Did you see that uS open commercial where Fed asks Roddick if he stole his sandwich? The way Roddick answered, it looked like he did. It’s funny. Catch ya later. :) BTW, if you’re interested, the LA final is on ESPN2 at 5:00 pm. tomorrow, Sunday. If you watch it, enjoy!! It should be a great match.


sensationalsafin Says:

Don’t get me wrong, though. There’s no one I’d rather watch than Federer at his best. To me, that’s aggression at its peak.

Virtua Tennis 3 is the most realistic tennis game I’ve ever played. Everything except for the diving is realistic. Especially after watching this year’s Wimbledon final. Nadal and Federer get every ball back in real life the same way they do in the game. Djokovic was smacking perfect winners against Nadal the other night just like players in Virtua Tennis. I mean it’s a video game so the players play perfectly. But players in real life have shown that ability.

The first Top Spin lags and that game is waaaay unrealistic when it comes to getting a ball back that’s 15 miles away from you. Smash Court has the best Pro mode because it has the actual slams and I’ve learned to love the mission-style play. Makes losing a possibility. But the game is ridiculous. Once you master it, that’s it. I’ve won best of 5 set matches without losing a single POINT! How realistic is that? Ace after ace, winner after winner.

Idk if I’ll catch the final tomorrow but I think Roddick should win. It’ll be an upset if he loses and he really can’t afford to lose because the scrutiny will be never ending. And if he wins no one can say everyone good is in Bejing because Del Potro is no slouch and I just read he has the second longest win streak this year behind our soon-top-be number 1, Nadal. Not a weak opponent by any stretch.


jane Says:

Von – see we get the Roddick vs. Del Potro final! I hope Andy wins but I hope it’s competitive. It’s nice to see Roddick at his best; I agree with you guys. Johnny Mac always says, when asked if Roddick can win another slam, “with that serve and that forehand, there’s no reason to think why not?!”


Roddick is a Donkey Says:

JMDP exposed the donkey on the court! That was totally worth it! What’s next for the donkey? challengers?

Go donkey go!


JCF Says:

Hey Gordo, about Tennis X being anti Federer, here is the current poll on the front page.

X Appeal

Who wins more Slams from this point forward?
-> Roger Federer
90%
-> Rafael Nadal
8%
-> Novak Djokovic
1%
-> Someone Else
0%
-> Who Cares
0%
votes: 5526

Out of 5526 voters, 90% said Federer wins more slams from this point forth. The next highest is 8% (Nadal), and then 1% (Djokovic). Really now… we’re an anti-Fed community are we? I do not recall even a single poll where Federer did not come out as heavy favorite, even at the French Open!

It’s completely unrealistic that only 9% total think Djokovic or Nadal could win more slams in the next few years. They are still in their prime.


jane Says:

Wow – JCF – those numbers really do put things into perspective.


Von Says:

jane:

Yes, it was a DelPotro v. Roddick final alright. Del Potro won. He was the better player today. I’m not disappointed Andy lost considering he had the trainer out on 2 occasions in the first set because of pain and stiffness in his lower back. Also, he only had 16 hours to recover from the evening match and DelPotro had 24 hours. It’s not enough time recovewry time for an injury-free person, much more for someone who has an injury. Roddick’s travelling with a Chiropractor, and that, in itself, speaks volumes concerning his back injury. I give him credit for staying in and making the second set competitive where another player would have retired, His trainer calls are genuine because he hardly ever calls for one. and When he does, he nearly always retires. His back stiffness caused his timing to be way off. He missed most of his first serves.

There are positives to be taken from this tournament. Considering he has not been able to string 2 matches together since May when he got injured, and he made it to the final in LA, after being laid up for such a long period of time. I had him going out in the second round. He got in some good match play which should help him at the US Open, barring any aggravation of his back problems. He played very well. Go Roddick!!!!


jane Says:

Von, Sorry Roddick lost – looks like he was taken by surprise by Del Potro in that first set; I don’t know if they had ever met before. And too bad he couldn’t take it to a third because then you never know what might’ve happened. Del Potro is on a hot streak too – wow – I am quite surprised he won, but clearly his confidence is riding high. In any case, it’s good Roddick got to his first LA final. We’ll see how things go in Washington. Keep the faith! :-)


jane Says:

Von,

I was posting you at the same time you were posting me! I was able to follow only the scores, so I didn’t realize Roddick had the trainer out; that explains a lot.

I think they should make as many finals as possible evening finals or very late afternoon; then it would give the later scheduled semi final winner more time to recover. It just makes sense to give each player at least 24 hours if possible. I guess it’s a fan / work week thing perhaps?

Anyhow glad to hear you’re being so positive!! Onto next week to see what unfolds!


Von Says:

JCF:

“I do not recall even a single poll where Federer did not come out as heavy favorite, even at the French Open!”

As I stated previously that the ratio used to be 10:2, but it’s now 10:4. I guess, according to your stats, for which I thank you; you’re so very smart, :) it’s really 10:1 and the 10:2 was a figment of my imagination. Most of the Fed fans have not been posting due to his many, recent losses. If he was winning, there would be a lot of them posting. Maybe he’ll win the Gold and we’ll see them in abundance. Tennis.X has always been a pro-Fed site and that won’t change. Whenever I mention Fed in one of my posts, I get this subconscious feeling that they’re looking over my shoulder ready to attack. It’s a weird thing.


Von Says:

jane:

No, Roddick and DelPotro have not played against each other before. Last evening Andy spent some time sitting with the commentators after his match, and from the gist of what he said, he was somewhat positive DelPotro would not present a problem; he practiced with him previously and won 7-5. If Andy didn’t have that flare-up with his back, I’m sure the first set would have been closer. After the trainer call, he definitely began playing better, but it was clear his timing was way off. Pam Shriver at courtside, was the first to notice the timing problem. She also stated when she saw him in the players’ lounge before the match, he was grabbing at his lower back.


Shital Green Says:

Sad to see Murray lose in the opening. Did he listen to his mom, in action, and plan to begin preparing for USO?

Rafa admitted that had Starace served better, anything could have happened. He had to play a 3rd set to advance.

My man Djoko looks good, beat my countryman. It is not fun to watch countryman being beaten, so I did not. Nalby was in dangerous form to destroy Zeng. Should they meet, it could be another interesting match to watch, on DecoTurf.

Future No. 3 player Fed did not have any problem winning the first game in straight (he’s now one game closer to the Gold). Fed did not look too happy to see Canas and Simon advance.


Vulcan Says:

Hmmm, nobody seems to be talking about the fact that Federer is staring right down the barrel of another encounter with Tomas Berdych…how interesting.


Vulcan Says:

And Nadal has to deal with Hewitt in the second round?…thats a really tough draw. Hard to believe Hewitt has dropped to 38 in the rankings.
But who knows what hell come up with for the match…im guessing something special given the occassion…as im fond of saying…he is one tough little SOB.


Noel Says:

The heat and humidity in Beijing have become much bigger issues than the air quality.Players playing in the evening sessions are at a big advantage and the weather has become a big factor.Murray probably is relieved that he doesn’t have to continue in these stifling conditions.He becomes an even bigger contender for the us open now imho.These conditions-combined with the jet lag- could jeopardize the us open chances of most players reaching the medal stages in Beijing.


jane Says:

Noel -

“He becomes an even bigger contender for the us open now imho.These conditions-combined with the jet lag- could jeopardize the us open chances of most players reaching the medal stages in Beijing.”

I think I agree with you here but I am not sure. i don’t think Murray listened to his Mom (sorry Shital), as Sar posted recently Murray’s words disagreeing with her. I think Murray is still playing in the doubles event with his brother, isn’t he? So he’s not going anywhere just yet.

The reason I said “I think” though is that the USO doesn’t begin until August 25th; that means the players should definitely be over their jet lag by the time the USO begins, I’d think. It only lasts a few days (I’ve travelled to Hong Kong and back to Canada a number of times in the past). But they may be worn out by the whole experience, especially the medal winners.

We’ll see.

Speaking of Murray being upset, I was surprised to see that Tipsy upset Ferrer – Ferrer’s year has been so-so. I wonder how long he’ll stay number 5.


jane Says:

Does anyone know how fast the court plays in China? Is it comparable to Cincy or AO or the USO?


jane Says:

From AFP -

“Federer, seeded top as the outgoing number one, warned he was gunning to reclaim the top spot after a confidence-boosting performance against Tursunov.

“My goal is to try to get the number one ranking back,” he said.

“I need to play well again. I need to win the big matches. That’s what I’m looking at at the moment.”"


zola Says:

Jane,
the surace in china is exactly the same as the one in US Open. but it might play different because of the humidity. I read in a stratace/Rafa match report that it played very fast.

Re Fed, well, It seems he is trying to get his strength back and fight, which is always good.No 2 or 3, will be a new position for him and it is importnt to see how he adjusts to that.

A new number one every once in a while will just add to the excitement. I am sure Fed has to deal with more than Rafa ( Djoko, Murray,Gasquet, …) in his Fight for No 1. He needs to defend lots of points and The US Open draw may not be so kind to him ( of course we never know!).So, Beijing is a perfect start with that more-than-generous draw.


Von Says:

Shital Green:

“Future No. 3 player Fed did not have any problem winning the first game in straight (he’s now one game closer to the Gold).”

Only ONE GAME!! I know you mean match, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to be facetious — I gotta keep you on your toes. :)

jane: “the players should definitely be over their jet lag by the time the USO begins, I’d think. It only lasts a few days It only lasts a few days (I’ve travelled to Hong Kong and back to Canada a number of times in the past…”

Ahh, but you didn’t have to play tennis everyday in the smog and heat/humidity. Going as a visitor or even for a meeting, is a lot different from playing tennis for 2 or more bours everyday. The humidity is what makes the heat unbearable and it goes right back to the pollutuion. A vicious circle.

I haven’t been following the Olympics tennis — The Roddick fans had their own Olympics here in the US over the weekend. I see from the comments today that Murray lost; who beat him? And, I suppose Djoko beat Ginepri. Oh, Oh, there goes one of the US’ chances of acquiring a medal. Shame on you Djoko! :)


Von Says:

Vulcan: “Hmmm, nobody seems to be talking about the fact that Federer is staring right down the barrel of another encounter with Tomas Berdych…how interesting.”

Berdych has not been playing well this year. After that 2008 Olympics victory over Federer, he hasn’t had much success against Fed — he chokes.

Hewitt has been playing with an injured hip for most of this year, so I doubt he’ll be a threat to any of the top 3.


zola Says:

Roddick is a ….
do you have a personal thing against Roddick? He is just a tennis player! sorry, but it makes your posts very unpleasant and difficult to read.

sensational Safin,
thanks a lot for that tennis game review. the best I have read. my son rented topspin2 ( in search of a non-violent game!) and it was just not good. I will tell him about virtua tennis!


jane Says:

Von -this is true; they may be tired from the conditions, etc, but the jet lag should be gone (when I went over it was work-related, that former career in fashion, and we’d work long, 12 hours days (but no tennis…) And yes, Djoko beat Ginepri 6-4, 6-4. Murray was upset by an unknown (at least to me) player from Taipei.

Oh, and I agree about Berdych; he needs some confidence pills or something.

zola – thanks for the update on the surface; I figured it was playing fast given that Rafa was taken to a third set.


Von Says:

jane:

Thanks for the update. I looked at the draw and am very surprised at some of the early losses. Are some of these guys tanking on purpose to prepare for the USO? Ljubicic and Karlovic got sick and withdrew. Ferrer knocked out by Tipsy, and Murray knocked out by that virtual unknown from Taipei. Let’s be realistic, the chances of most of these guys medaling are very slim. Hence, I suppose withdrawing and/or losing in the early rounds will give them ample time to prepare for the USO where they have points to defend. I like Murray, but I hold back from pinning any long term hopes on him remaining in the top 10 for the long haul, because I feel he has a problem with consistency. It’s just a feeling based on my observation of his performance, and I hope he proves me wrong.


jane Says:

Well you’re hesitation about Murray is totally valid Von; he’s not been very consistent up until the recent Wimbledon/Toronto/Cincy run, and now he’s crashed out here. I read that he and Jamie won their doubles match, though, so he’ll be in Bejiing until they lose out. I hope Murray can be consistent, but only time – one measure of consistency – will tell.

How does the draw look for Washington? Maybe I’ll go have a look now.

Cheerio.


jane Says:

Sorry re typos – you’re should be your – I am marking finals at the moment, and so any grammatical errors I’ll blame on the students who are marring my writing & brain by osmosis! UGH!


Noel Says:

Jane,
You are right about Andy playing doubles.I don’t know how I forgot that.He’s not going anywhere just yet.My bad. :) Having said that,the doubles probably will be easier and not as intense as the singles and I wonder if the Murrays are going to do very well and even if they do well,Murray’d still be ‘fresher’ compared to the other leading players if they go on to win medals because most of them are playing doubles too.I guess only time will tell what implications Beijing has for the us open.
I was stunned by Andy’s loss.He had no business losing that match and the conditions were very comfortable also due to the rain the previous day. I could only attribute that to the tough conditions he faced going into the first match(journey on a circuitous route and brutal first few days in Beijing) and it is in this context that I talked about Andy’s ‘relief’.Sometimes,circumstances can overwhelm you and the last thing you want to do is play tennis.I also get the feeling that he probably won’t be as consistent in the immediate future as Fed/Rafa/Nole have been but I do think that he is going to be much more consistent from now on than he has been in the past.As you say,keep the faith. :)
Of course,he didn’t listen to his mom and that is quite obvious.He won’t travel that far just to fool around but quite clearly,he was tired/lethargic and looked totally out of touch.It was an awful match with both players making more than 60 unforced errors.Apparently,he was in similarly poor touch in his doubles match also although Jamie played well enough to win their first round.I’d be surprised if they were to beat either the Clement-Llodra pair or the Elrich-Ram pair in the next round.
BTW,I am quite intrigued by your switch from the world of glamour to academics.


jane Says:

Noel,

“BTW,I am quite intrigued by your switch from the world of glamour to academics.” LOL. Well, it happened around the age of 30, when my goals & priorities were shifting. Ten years in that business was enough; it ended up that I couldn’t be as creative as I had wanted since as the almighty dollar dictated design (it wasn’t haute couture, let’s just say). My initial focus, right out of high school, was a double major in Fine Arts and English, so you can perhaps sense the link or precursor between fashion and my current gig teaching literature & film to college students. Anyhow, hopefully it’s a little less intriguing now! ;-)


Noel Says:

Jane,
It sure is much less intriguing now.I must admit I was curious about the fashion side of it i.e. photography/choreography/designing or modelling.Thanks a lot for providing the answers. :)


Roddick is a donkey Says:

Noel – good job on making donkeys out of all these donkey fans. They are even more stupid than the donkey on a tennis court.

While we are at it, my cousin is going for 8 Golds at the Olympics. :lol:


Vulcan Says:

Von Says:

Berdych has not been playing well this year.

Yeah but anything can happen at the Olympics. The normal rhythm and patterns that seem to apply during the regular season just seem to be out the window for the Olympics. There are so many factors that can contribute to this. First take the draw itself…at the Olympics you could be playing someone who isnt even in the top 500 in the 3rd round or you could be playing someone who is top 50 in the first round…the draw is like a composite of a satellite, challenger, and main tour draw. Then take the fact that there is no home court advantage or prior history…players always tend to play better when they are playing somewhere were they have had previous success. Finally factor in national pride…some players seem to be able to summon superhuman powers (Nico Massu is the textbook example) at the Olympics.


Vulcan Says:

About “Roddick is a Donkey”

It would be interesting to see what Nicolas Lapentti, Alberto Martin, and Ivan Ljubicic would have to say about that one.


Vulcan Says:

But then again Im sure Sjeng Schalken would have something a little more positive to say.


jane Says:

Vulcan,

” Finally factor in national pride…some players seem to be able to summon superhuman powers ”

I totally agree nationalism can lead to big things, but does Berdych possess this? I don’t know. I know he usually plays Davis Cup. He has a powerful game, and he can/could beat Fed (even at the AO, were it not for brain cramps at crucial moments) he *could’ve* been up 2 sets. Still, I just don’t know if he has the focus. It’d sure be an interesting story, though, if he were to oust Roger again (!) at the Olympics. Roger would be waking up from nightmares and cold sweats in twenty years yelling out “BERDYCH!!”


Spin Says:

“I apologize for talking crazy stuff here !”

It’s about time.

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