Nadal Adds Olympic Gold to His Diet
by Sean Randall | August 17th, 2008, 11:19 am
  • 186 Comments

Indeed, Rafael Nadal fans, go ahead and pop that champagne, can things get any better? Nadal did right on his last day for now as a World No. 2 – he’ll finally take over the No. 1 ranking Monday from Roger Federer – by going out in style with an impressive 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-3 win over Fernando Gonzalez to capture (then eat) the Olympic gold medal in Beijing earlier today.

I admit, I didn’t see the match at all today – I’m really in the wrong time zone for this tennis event and I honestly didn’t think it would turn out to be a one for the time capsule – but from what I’ve read Rafa did what he does best, that is to go out and take care of business. Nadal fought off two set points in the second set, but otherwise was never broken and untroubled in the match by the Chilean who had wasted Rafa at the Australian Open back in 2007. Not the case today.

At the start of the week, no, make that the start of the summer, I’d say many of us, myself included, didn’t think Rafa could sustain the level, the intensity that we saw from him in wins at the French Open and Wimbledon. I definitely thought we would see him have his best run on hardcourts, but to basically run the table like this? Well, Rafa has proven us wrong yet again winning two of the three summer events he entered including Toronto and now the Olympics. Too good.

And after so much talk that there were so many more players that could derail the Spaniard on a hardcourt, the only guy to actually do it was Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati, and you could make the case that Rafa wasn’t all there for that match on that night.

Nadal has now won 38 of his last 39 matches including the last two Slams and after a three-year chase, Rafa will officially supplant Federer at the top of the new ATP rankings come tomorrow. And with Federer in freefall he’s now the clear favorite to win the US Open which begins a week from Monday (US Open draw is released Wednesday I believe). Can the run continue, can he add to his growing resume which at the age of 22 already includes the Davis Cup, Olympic Gold, French Open, Wimbledon and the No. 1 ranking?

Also today, Russia swept all three medals in the women’s singles. Elena Dementieva took the gold defeating countrywoman Dinara Safina 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 while Vera Zvonareva beat Li Na to win the bronze.

The Williams sisters remained perfect in Olympic play after winning their second doubles gold. Serena and Venus teamed to win the 2000 Sydney doubles gold.

For Federer, however, all wasn’t lost in Beijing after his disappointing loss to James Blake. Fed did manage to finally collect a gold medal of his own, albeit in doubles on Saturday when he and “Stanley” (as Fed calls him) Wawrinka knocked out Bhupathi/Paes, then the Bryans and then Swedes Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson in the final medal match. But how satisfying can a doubles gold be compared to Rafa’s singles gold? Or for Roger is it mission accomplished now that he has his gold?

As I’ve said before, I’m still lukewarm on the whole concept of pro tennis being part of the Olympics. The Olympics simply isn’t the pinnacle of achievement for tennis players that it is for athletes in the other sports where the gold medalist instantly becomes world’s best at that discipline. We now know that the world’s best swimmer is Michael Phelps, the world’s best female gymnast is Nastia Lukin and the world’s fastest man is Usain Bolt and so on. But is Dementieva really the world’s best female tennis player?

That said, I think for tennis stars like Federer part of the allure of winning the Olympic gold isn’t necessarily the recognition, the glory that comes with winning it, but it’s the possession of just having it. Just having arguably the world’s most recognizable sporting award in the trophy case is real the drive. Federer and Nadal both have piles and piles of trophies in their homes, but the gold medal is the only one that is instantly identifiable across all continents and all cultures and all races. And credit to them, they now each have it. Who figured that at the start of the week?


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186 Comments for Nadal Adds Olympic Gold to His Diet

YY Says:

Although i’m a big fan of Nadal, I don’t think he is a sure thing for the USO. His run is amazing and unbelievable enough already. Just hope this dream run continues!


YY Says:

While there are valid arguments against having pro tennis at the Olympics, I think there is a need to acknowledge the importance of winning an Olympic medal to any athlete. The Olympics is the world’s biggest sporting stage and any SPORTS fan will appreciate what it means to be an Olympic Medal. It may not be the pinnacle of tennis to some tennis fans but I’m sure winning the Olympic Gold ranks just as high as any of the other Grand Slams to most players.


YY Says:

Sorry typo… should be Olympic Medalist :P


rjnick Says:

I think the doubles gold might got at least part of the way to making up for some of Fed’s disappointment this year. One thing that Olympic tennis does do is that it places just as much emphasis on the doubles as it does the singles — something the Slams often fail to do.

Also, one positive thing to remember about tennis in the Olympics is that it has greatly increased the globalization of the sport. Many countries, including Russia, China, Croatia, and Serbia, only really invested in tennis when it became a gold medal sport in the Olympics. So even if only for that reason, pro tennis in the Olympics is a good thing.

I also think that for most players, as they have said often this week, it’s the Olympic experience they like most. And they prize the medal because it’s so rare. Roger can always try for Wimbledon again next year. He can’t go for singles gold again until 2012. And when you think about it, 420 Grand Slam titles have been handed out in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles since 1988 — but only 24 Olympic golds. And an Olympic gold, even in doubles, is something Roger and Rafa have that Sampras, Borg, McEnroe, and Laver don’t.


Rsutherland Says:

It was good to see Federer so happy and take something positive from this. In terms of Nadal; the young man is a real gentleman as well as an exciting champion. One would hope all of the anti-Rafa rationializations would cease at this point. I have read them all on here. My favorites have been the comments regarding the lack of hard court abilities (…two major wins within a few months of dominating on the other surfaces…”yes but…”, “yes but…” Then (speaking of but(t)s) there’s the butt-picking. Quite frankly, that derriere is one of the most spectacular blessings to the eye that God created. Pick away Rafa! Ah that I could pick it for you!


zola Says:

Sean,
thanks or another timely post. I love this line:***…..to capture **(then eat)*** the Olympic gold medal…****

You can watch this match ( any olympic event) from the past week on the nbcolympics.com page. Go to *tennis*, then in the table that has the events, you will see *Rewind*. If you press on that, you can see the whole match.

For those from previous days, press on the “Results and schedules* and press on the day you want.

Rafa played aggressive againt Gonzo, the way he played against Djoko. In the second Gonzo started going or broke with his forehand. He missed some but he was able to hold for a tie-break , whcih Rafa won. In the third, Gonzo was tired I think mentally and physically. Still he held Rafa at 5-2 and saved two match points.

What I liked was that Rafa was able to get those wild forehands back and as the commentators say “with interest”. He wanted this medal very badly and he got it.

The USA channel showed all the medal matches , but did not show the medal ceremony for Rafa!

Safina could not serve. She won the first set easily than had 17 double faults and started to stress out. Dimentieva held it together and won. The three women to win medals were from Russia, very impressive.

or US Open, we have to see how Rafa’s body will hold and how tired he is and how the draw will work out for him. He has had an amazin summer so far.

Interestingly RAfa said his experience of living in the village amog the athletes helped him overcome the fatigue. I was not a fan of tennis in the olympics as well, but the effort put by all the players, specially the top 3, made me change my mind.
I loved the way they all fought in Beijing, the crowd. the excitement ( only I could watch the medal ceremony)….It was amazing.

Again back to Rafa, what he has done, at the age of 22, is just unbeleiveable. Vamos Rafa!


simba Says:

If Nadal wins the USO, look for the hype at AO. He will be holding all the 3 major plus the Olympic gold going for the fourth GS.

That will be surpassing what Fed achieved going into French Open to complete his career Slam.


zola Says:

Sean,
what happened to my post? It did not show it the first time. I posted it again and it said it is a “duplicate” comment. and now it is not here.

Anyway, thanks for the timely post again. Congratulations to all tennis fans. I was not a fan of tennis in the olympics, but the enthusiasm and the joy displayed by all the players, specially the top 3, made me change my mind.

RAfa will be very confident going to the uS Open. but everything will depend on his draw, the fatigue level, etc. So far the summer has been good. I will take it one match at a time like RAfa does. Just thanks to him and all the great players in Beijing to make this a very special olympics.


zola Says:

I also wanted to add that you can watch the match on nbcolympics.com. just find the match and press “Rewind”. If it is not there right now, check in a couple of hours.

Also the USA channel showed ll the medal matches but decided not to show the mens singles medal ceremony. They will show it ” at a later time”….grrrr


Vulcan Says:

rjnick Says:

Also, one positive thing to remember about tennis in the Olympics is that it has greatly increased the globalization of the sport.

Its quite possible that we would not have been watching Rafael Nadal win on hard courts today if it hadnt been for the hard court facility that was built in Barcelona for the 92 Olympics.
China now has major tennis facilities in each of its major cities…it will be interesting to see how they are used in the coming years.


Ryan Says:

Sar and Simba are retards….

Sar “At 22 Nadal has number one rank, multiple slams and Olympic gold. What did Roger have at that age?”

Thats a really funny question.What did federer have at 22?Guess what he had multiple slams and no 1.Its not that federer was like nalbandian at that point.

Simba

Nadal went into Federer’s living room and took his prized possession away. Did Federer match that?”

Ofcourse he did.He beat nadal in hamburg with 6-0 in the final set in 2007.Besides look at the age.Nadal is at his peak and federer is past his peak.The younger guys will always have the advantage.Now after 3 years of waiting behind federer , nadal finally gets to number 1.It happened mainly because of fed’s downfall.


jane Says:

For those who didn’t get to see the awards ceremony, here’s a link to some great photos:

http://www.nbcolympics.com/tennis/photos/galleryid=227706.html


Vulcan Says:

There is absolutely no comparison between Federer beating Nadal in “Hamburg” and Nadal beating Federer at Wimbledon.


jane Says:

At 22 Roger had 2 slams – AO and Wimbledon. But yes, he did get number 1 by then.

At 22 Rafa has 5 slams an Olympic Gold medal and also, as of tomorrow, number 1.


Vulcan Says:

Yep, and throw in a 2004 Davis Cup Win for Icing on the cake…another achievement which Federer cannot match.


jane Says:

Vulcan’s right: if we’re comparing “living rooms,” and Roger’s is Wimbledon (5 titles), then Roger would have to beat Rafa at Roland Garros (4 titles) to equal what Rafa did this summer at Wimbledon.


Ryan Says:

You’re wrong Jane. At 22 Roger had 3 slams-AO and 2 wimbledons. He was no.1.

To Vulcan: There might be no comparison but if nadal beat fed in wimbledon its because fed was declining this year.We’ll see how nadal does in the french when he becomes 27.


JoshDragon Says:

Wouldn’t it be amazing if Nadal went on to win the US Open this year. I think he can do it. He’s undefeated against Murray and beat Djokovic on decoturf at the Olympics which is the same substance that the hard courts are made out of at the US Open.
If Nadal does win the US Open he’ll only need to win in Australia to win the grand slam.


zola Says:

I just watched the ceremony on that link on nbcolympics.com . Just move the button to the end.

I rather enjoy Rafa’s run right now than waste energy to compare him with Fed or any other player. Just one point. Yes, Rafa is younger, but Rafa beat Roger on hard at 2004 and 2006 at Roger’s peak. Something like Gulbis or Del Potro beating RAfa on clay right now.


jane Says:

Thanks for the correction Ryan; I had forgotten that Roger won Wimbledon in 2003.

However, in my opinion, you cannot say Rafa’s move to number 1 is solely because of Roger’s decline; that is a factor, yes, but had Rafa not been so consistent over the past few years, keeping the distance between him and Roger slim, and had Rafa not continued to improve and do well on all surfaces, then Roger would still be number 1.

A lot of credit, most of it in fact, has to be given to the Spaniard.


Ryan Says:

Nadal cannot beat a healthy djokovic on hard courts.That applies for this year’s US open.In the olympics djok was tired after the monfils match along with the humid weather.


Vulcan Says:

Ryan Says:
Nadal cannot beat a healthy djokovic on hard courts.

You gotta be Djoking with this one…did you even see the match or are you just pulling these statements out of your rectum?


Vulcan Says:

If Djokovic cant handle 3 setters in Beijing…I shutter to think how hes going to fair with 5 setters in NYC in August.


matt Says:

Nadal is now 22 years and two months old. He has won 5 GS, 12 MS, Olympic Gold, 31 ATP tournaments and just got the nº1 spot.

When Federer was 22 years and two months old (October, 2003), he had won 1 GS, 1 MS, 9 ATP tournaments and had never been nº1 ( he would be nº1 at 22 years and 5 months old ).

Does it mean that Nadal at 27 years old will be a more accomplished player than Federer is now?

NO.

Nobody knows what will happen in the long run.

Actually I think Nadal won’t win as many GS as Federer has now (12), neither will he end 4 straight years as nº1, because those achievements are tremendous (Only Sampras has done better than that) and I think Nadal won’t have a very long career of success.


Sean Randall Says:

When comparing Fed at 22 and Rafa at 22 Rafa’s far more the accomplished player. Doesn’t mean it will stay that way going forward.

Ryan, Nadal cannot beat a healthy djokovic on hard courts. Define “healthy”?

The most important revelation of the US Open draw will be on which side Djokovic lands. If form holds the winner would have to get through Novak and then Roger/Roger in the final on back-to-back days. Good luck. Based on probability, you have to figure Novak will wind up in Roger’s section this time.


JCF Says:

I’m happy for both Nadal and especially, Dementieva who went one better than her silver in 2000. I like Dementieva who exceeds expectations making it to big finals, yet has a habit of coming up short when it counts most. Hopefully she is breaking this trend and will continue challenging the top players.

I wasn’t expecting Nadal to win it a week ago, though I honestly was not sure who would. Perhaps Djokovic for gold, or Federer over Nadal for gold.

I still don’t think much of a gold medal in tennis, but for some people the glory of winning gold for their nation can be even more satisfying than winning a grand slam title for themself. Who knows if this is the case for Rafa and Roger.

I hope Rafa will be good for a deep run at the US Open, and I hope Djokovic will be on the other side of the draw this time.


jane Says:

JCF,

Not sure if you saw, but I replied to your question re: Djokovic and 5 setters on the previous thread.

I am not sure which side Djokovic will be on, but he was on Fed’s side of the draw at both the AO and Wimbledon; the only slam at which he’s been on Rafa’s side this year is RG.


matt Says:

This year there have been six Nadal-Djokovic matches, four Nadal-Federer and only two (well, one a and a half) Djokovic-Federer, so I want Djokovic to be in Federer’s half in the USO.

I like Federer-Djokovic matches so much, but they don’t face each other since MonteCarlo.


JCF Says:

Ryan,

“Thats a really funny question.What did federer have at 22?Guess what he had multiple slams and no 1.Its not that federer was like nalbandian at that point.”

Not quite. If you’re considering Federer at age 22 and 11 months, then yes. But at 22 and 3 months (Rafa’s current age) he had one Wimbledon, and rank #3.

“Simba

Nadal went into Federer’s living room and took his prized possession away. Did Federer match that?”

Ofcourse he did.He beat nadal in hamburg with 6-0 in the final set in 2007.Besides look at the age.Nadal is at his peak and federer is past his peak.The younger guys will always have the advantage.Now after 3 years of waiting behind federer , nadal finally gets to number 1.It happened mainly because of fed’s downfall.”

Hamburg was not Rafa’s living room, it was Roger’s. Roger was undefeated there in about 5 years. Rafa was the one entering his living room, and he got driven off. But he got the last laugh this year, his final shot at winning it while it’s still a Masters series.

“jane Says:

At 22 Roger had 2 slams – AO and Wimbledon. But yes, he did get number 1 by then.

At 22 Rafa has 5 slams an Olympic Gold medal and also, as of tomorrow, number 1.”

Again, you’re not comparing exact ages. You’re comparing Federer at 22 years and 364 days (practically 23) with Nadal 9 months short of that. At Nadal’s age, Federer had won his first Wimbledon title and got beaten by Nalbandian at the US Open 03. He reached #3 in the world. It wasn’t until 22.5 that he won his second slam and got #1, so Rafa is still ahead.

“To Vulcan: There might be no comparison but if nadal beat fed in wimbledon its because fed was declining this year.We’ll see how nadal does in the french when he becomes 27.”

His decline didn’t happen until after Wimbledon. During Wimbledon he was still playing his best tennis, getting to the final without dropping a set, and never pushed. I wouldn’t call that a decline.

“You’re wrong Jane. At 22 Roger had 3 slams-AO and 2 wimbledons. He was no.1. ”

You’ll have to wait 9 more months before that comparisson is fair. Let me teach you something about age… It is a continuous thing. You are not 22 one day and then 23 the next. You are gradually getting older incrementally by the day.

If a guy is born in Jan 1980 and another guy is born July 1980, and right now it is July 2008, then you can say they are both the same age. But technically that is not true. One guy is 6 months older than the other. One of them is 28 years old, the other guy is 28 and a half. They are not both the same age.

Let’s suppose you are 20 years old and you turn 21 on September 15. On 11:59PM September 14 are you still 20 years old? Nominally, yes. But one minute later you will be 21. Do you realistically age an entire year in one minute? There is no sharp discontinuity separating someone who is 20 years 11 months 29 days 23 hours and 59 minutes old, from someone who is exactly 21 years old.

What is the legal age of consent? At what age are you considered a mature adult? It’s normally 18 for most countries. In Australia, the legal age to drink alcohol, drive and have sex is 18. But can you really say that someone who just turned 18 is more mature than someone who 17 but a couple of days away from their 18th birthday? This hard line that distinguishes one from the other is an arbitrary one that us humans put in place for legal purposes. There is no such line in the real world. Just as a woman who is 6′ may be considered tall, while a woman who is 5′ is considered short. Is there some point in the middle where a woman is considered ‘short’ but if she was a fraction of an inch taller, then she would be considered ‘tall’? No. There are intermediates. There is only a smooth continuum in nature, no sharp discontinuity or cut off separating one class from another. And you can apply this to just about anything. Rich vs poor, tall vs short, young vs old, fat vs skinny, deep vs shallow, and so on.

Hopefully by now you understand that you are comparing Federer at 22 years 11 months with Nadal at 22 years 3 months. 9 months = 2 more slams. If you’re going to use Federer’s achievement by this point, then you’re going to have to wait another 9 months to see what Rafa does until May. Federer can be compared directly to Pete Sampras by age because they’re both born in august 10 years apart.

Federer at Nadal’s age had one slam to his name, and maybe just won the Masters Cup and reached #2 in the world. I don’t know the exact date — it may be too early to include even that masters result, but I’ll give him that much.

“Thanks for the correction Ryan; I had forgotten that Roger won Wimbledon in 2003.”

You were right the first time.

“Nadal cannot beat a healthy djokovic on hard courts.That applies for this year’s US open.In the olympics djok was tired after the monfils match along with the humid weather.”

This is not his problem. The only one who can be blamed for not being healthy is Djokovic. Who’s fault is that? If this guy has so many health and fitness problems, he can’t be given excuses for every loss he takes. That isn’t fair to people who know how to take care of their body, which is part of the game.

Ryan, take off those Swiss glasses and see the world the way it is, and not the way you wish it to be.


Shital Green Says:

Sean,
I am praying for Djoko to be on Federer’s side of the draw, primarily because I’d like to see Rafa-Djoko final than any other pair, and secondarily because you and I have to settle an old feud. Remember?


JCF Says:

“There is only a smooth continuum in nature, no sharp discontinuity or cut off separating one class from another. And you can apply this to just about anything. Rich vs poor, tall vs short, young vs old, fat vs skinny, deep vs shallow, and so on.”

I would also add black vs white to this list. This is one where we are very biased observers. Barack Obama is considered black, but he is as much white as he is black. Colin Powell is considered black too, but if you zoom into a patch of his face alone, his skin complexion doesn’t look black at all. But stand him next to a white man, and he will look black. Stand him next to a black man and he does not. Race intermediates have a lot of people fooled easily. It seems as long as people have just a little bit of black in them, they are considered fully black.

But I digress.


Shital Green Says:

Sean,
definition of “healthy,” = “Rafa wasn’t all there for that match on that night” (in your own language).


jane Says:

JCF,

First, I looked up those slam stats only quickly because I knew Fed didn’t have “multiple slams” at 22; however, I didn’t boil it down to months and exact ages.

But I should have. And that’s because in tennis a lot can happen in a few months – as matt’s and your posts show, Fed wasn’t where he was at 22 and 3 months vs. 22 and 11 months.

Second,

Some fitness / health issues are not as simply blamed on the person as you imply. Again, it’s not so black and white.

Djokovic was born with a deviated septum, for which he underwent corrective surgery prior to his break through 2007 season. But I have read that to correct this problem can sometimes take 2 surgeries.

If you look at the information I posted on the previous thread for you, you will be that over a roughly 4 year span, Rafa, Fed, and Novak’s wins / losses in 5 sets matches at the slams are incredibly close.

For people to say the number 3 player in the world is not fit or healthy seems a little unrealistic. Some people have stronger immune systems than others; that’s simple genetics, and it’s not easy to change.

Some people have respiratory issues that they’re born with and that are aggravated under certain conditions – look at your country’s swimmer, Grant Hackett; he has breathing issues too but he’s still a very successful athlete.

Or Murray, who was born with a split patella, so he will always have to be careful. Yes, he’s more fit now and has gained some weight, but he’ll always have to watch out for that knee; hence he travels with an ultrasound machine.

Anyway, my point is that, like age, health and fitness issues are not black and white. An athlete can do as much as possible in terms of prevention but some things are easily fixed and sometimes can be only worked around.


Dan Martin Says:

Nadal is dominating the sport and winning all of the big titles. That is great. However, one accomplishment in 2008 does not denigrate another player’s accomplishments in 2006 or 1995 or 1988 or … These guys compete in the history books to an extent, but mainly they play on the court in the here and now. What is past is already settled. Will Nadal have a better career than Federer? Maybe, but who really cares? Do people lose sleep over whether Connors or Lendl had a better career? If so, perhaps getting some perspective is in order.

Teams of the decade, players of a decade, GOAT’s etc. are not ever settled on the field of competition and that is what makes sports interesting IMHO not armchair experts pontificating about how no basketball player could ever match Wilt or MJ or Magic or…

Federer was asked if he liked being called the next Laver or Sampras and he said all of that was ok, but he preferred to be thought of as Roger Federer. I think that was a good answer. Similarly, Nadal is Rafa. A unique star in the universe of tennis. Does Sampras’ 7 Wimbledon titles take anything away from the memories of a 17 year old red headed kid winning Wimbledon? If not, then I suggest Rafa and Roger’s accomplishments alike might compliment the accomplishments of the other since they have tested and pushed each other, but I don’t see how they detract from one another.


jane Says:

I posted something in reply JCF, but it has disappeared.

The gist of it was this:

1) You’re right that age is not black and white; when I posted that stat I did only a quick atp check, not reducing fed and rafa’s ages to months. But months mean a lot in the ATP year, as matt’s and then your post show. Fed was less accomplished at 22 + 3 mos vs 22 + 11 mos.

2) But health / fitness is not black and white either. You have to factor in individual genetics. A player can work on fitness and health, but s/he is born with certain predispositions, conditions and immune systems; some of these cannot be overcome easily; some not at all.

Novak was born with a deviated septum for which he underwent corrective surgery prior to his break out 2007 season. However, I’ve read that this problem can sometimes take more than one surgery.

Some athletes suffer from respiratory issues more than others, and may have weaker immune systems. Certain playing conditions -heat, humidity – can aggravate those issues. Look at your country’s Grant Hackett; he has respiratory problems but it still a great athlete.

Or look at Murray, born with a split patella. He’s gotten fitter and gained some weight to compensate, but he will always have to be careful about his knee.

This all said, you should have a look at my reply re: Djoko and 5 sets on the previous thread – you’ll see that his win/loss in slam 5 setters over roughly the past 3-4 seasons is very similar to Rafa;s and Federer’s. Good, top players are not often pushed to 5 sets.


JCF Says:

Dan Martin: Well said.

jane, thanks for the stats. I forgot to thank you in the other thread.

Most players have some physical weakness. For Nadal, it’s his knees. My point is, I don’t like it when people use excuses as though it’s his opponent’s fault that he had niggles or got tired. If Djokovic can get to #3 in the world, then he’s already shown that he can deal with the handicaps he has. He has beaten Nadal before, even when tired. In 07 they both made the finals in Indian Wells, then straight up met again in the QF of Miami. Both had played the same amount of tennis, which was a lot, and he won in straight sets.

The difference in the third set against Rafa in Beijing was slim. He was on serve at 4-5 in the third set and got broken. You can’t blame that on fatigue. He was still in it. Surely he wasn’t so tired that he couldn’t hold one more serve?

The ATP site always uses years and months and sometimes even days when comparing ages in their articles. That’s the only realistic way to measure age, because a year is too long to be the smallest unit of separation. We take all this for granted for simplicity and just say “I’m 25″ rather than “25 and 4 months”.

Ryan Says:

“Nadal cannot beat a healthy djokovic on hard courts.That applies for this year’s US open.In the olympics djok was tired after the monfils match along with the humid weather.”

If he wasn’t healthy, or was tired during the Olympics, what makes you think it will be any different at the US Open? Is he magically going to be healthy and not tired there? Why does Nadal even have to fear about Djokovic’s healthiness? The way things seem to go with him, he is never healthy anyway. The demands will be even greater at the stage when these two are able to meet. There will not be a day off between the final and semi final, and the matches will be best of 5 sets. If he can’t handle being challenged at the Olympics, he won’t be able to handle the US Open.

If Djokovic ever gets into a grand slam tournament where rain delay will force him to play back to back matches without rest, he is screwed. Or if he gets pushed to five sets. He will either lose it due to exhaustion, or he will win it but lose the next match, and you will be quick and ready with a glib excuse. It sounds like the stars have to align and he breezes past all his opponents if he’s to win a title. He made it to the AO final without dropping a set, dropped one to Tsonga and leveled it at a set all, and he got tired! He needed the trainer to fix him up. Unbelievable.

According to jane, he physically is born with a disadvantage, so I’m not going to like his chances of being healthy every time he meets Nadal. So your point is probably irrelevant (it only matters when he IS healthy and who knows how often that is).


jane Says:

JCF,

“The difference in the third set against Rafa in Beijing was slim. He was on serve at 4-5 in the third set and got broken. You can’t blame that on fatigue. He was still in it. Surely he wasn’t so tired that he couldn’t hold one more serve?”

I agree; it was a slim difference, and Djoko blew it by losing his serve and missing that overhead at 30-40. No excuses. He was tired, but he turned it around and played excellent for the durations of the match. I don’t think he was unhealthy at all.

==========

“If Djokovic ever gets into a grand slam tournament where rain delay will force him to play back to back matches without rest, he is screwed. Or if he gets pushed to five sets. He will either lose it due to exhaustion, or he will win it but lose the next match, and you will be quick and ready with a glib excuse. ”

Actually this happened at 2007 Wimbledon; he played back-to-back (day after day) matches against Hewitt (won in 4 tight sets), then Baggy (won in 5 even tighter sets, then finally met Rafa in the semis, and after 3 sets retired due to infected blisters on his foot, much like Rafa had in Rome this year. He had shoe and slippage issues at Wimbledon in 2007 but he played great.

========================

“According to jane, he physically is born with a disadvantage, so I’m not going to like his chances of being healthy every time he meets Nadal”

He can do things to help those breathing issues. But I do like Rafa’s chances against Djoko in best of 5 matches when the conditions are really hot or humid, IF Rafa gets the early lead. If Djoko starts fast, he can win in 3 or 4 sets no prob.

I didn’t mean to imply that Novak is not fit or healthy (be pretty difficult to get to number 3 in the world if he were), only that he has some weaknesses, as you point other players have too. As we can see from his 5 set win/loss record, he’s done as well as Fed or Rafa in the last few seasons under 5 set circumstances.

I guess we can only wait and see how the rivalries pan out.


Henry Says:

Ryan, there’s really only one retard and that’s you ! Why can’t we just all enjoy the great tennis that we saw today in Beijing and be happy for the player that won.

And Sean, you’re totally off. The players present in Beijing do find a gold medal to be of equal or better value than a Grand Slam title and take representing their country serious at the ultimate event for any sports. Contrary to Andy Roddick and some other US players. Only for that reason already I would have loved seeing Blake win a Bronze medal.

Thanks JCF for straightening some things out about how normal people make comparisons.

This shouldn’t be about who’s better than the other, but about how great both Rafa and Fed are and how great some of the other up and coming players are.

However, if you wish to compare accomplishments, there is no doubt that Rafa blossomed earlier. It’s a simple fact. When comparing players you, indeed, need to take their exact ages as measure points.

When you do that only one player won more Grand Slams than Rafa at the exact same age.(Bjorn Borg with 6 as opposed to Rafa’s 5). Roger had one GS at 22 years and 1 month. Rafa won his first GS at barely 19. Roger was almost 22. Rafa won his first title at age 18 and reached no.5 that same year. At 18 Roger’s highest ranking was 38 and he won his first title 3 months prior to turning 20. Rafa reached no. 2 at barely 19, Roger’s highest ranking at that age was 14. His highest ranking at age 21 was no. 3 at which age Rafa was already in his third year holding no. 2

When it comes to titles, again, there’s no doubt about who’s beating who. Nadal today already holds 32 titles with still more than 9 months left until he turns 23 and potential titles and a possible sweep of the major clay tournaments prior to that. Roger ended his 22nd year with 19 titles

Federer only won one Masters Series titel prior to turning 23 (Hamburg at age 21). Nadal at age 22 already won 12 Masters Series titles – one more than Sampras in his whole career – and only two less than Federer at age 27. On top of that he should have a good shot at Indian Wells and Miami and an even better shot at winning Monte Carlo, Rome and Hamburg before he will be 23 in June next year.

I love both these players and what they mean for tennis and find it amazing how ‘real’ tennisfans apparently love trashing either one or the other or their fans and always seems eager to twist and diminish a win or great accomplishment by players they do not support. So, if after Rafa’s 7th hard court win you still need to find excuses and come up with that the Beijing courts probably were covered up clay courts, then go right ahead, but then you should really stop calling yourselves true tennisfans.


Shital Green Says:

Jane,
Check out my piece in Planet. It’s titled “The Last of Federer as No. 1: A Tribute.”


Shital Green Says:

JCF,
I have a comment for you on the other thread, “Nadal, Djokovic Renew Rivalry.”


Henry Says:

Jane,

Novak’s sinus problems are very common and were corrected with simple corrective surgery already at the end of 2005 in Italy (Milan). He has mentioned in numerous interviews afterwards that his breathing/sinus problems were solved. So, this should not be used as an excuse neither by Djokovic nor his fans.


jane Says:

Henry,

Comparing stats at certain ages is dealing in facts; you’re right. I don’t think anyone is trying to diminish Roger’s vs. Fed’s accomplishments by comparing where they are and were at at 22 (+3 mos). At least I wasn’t. I wasn’t intending to trash anyone and participated in no name-calling.

The point, for me anyhow, is perhaps that Rafa has had a “Federer-like” year in 2008, winning so much and dominating since the beginning of the clay season, so naturally people will begin to make comparisons and speculate about what the future holds for Rafa.

Since he “blossomed early” he may even surpass Roger’s achievements; but then again, he may have a shorter career and Roger may bounce back and have a great 2009. We can’t know. But it’s interesting to speculate. That’s all.


jane Says:

Henry,

His septum was operated on at the end of 2006 I believe. Jankovic has had the same surgery.

I have a friend who had her septum operated on and it wasn’t entirely corrected, so I was thinking maybe Djoko’s isn’t either. But I have no factual evidence, except that he seems to still have breathing problems from time to time on the court.

Again, I wasn’t intending to use it as an excuse; if you read my response to JCF, you’ll note that I said “no excuses” = he blew it in the third set against Rafa by losing his serve when it mattered and it had nothing to do with his sinuses!

However, he has also mentioned that he has a slightly weakish immune system in interviews as well. So I was pointing out that some players are simply genetically predisposed.

Not trying to make excuses – obviously Rafa is the better player in their H2H meetings so far.


Dan Martin Says:

Fed said when he became number 1 that he wanted to make sure that whoever was #1 next took it from him by playing great tennis, winning big events and dominating the tour. He then said Rafa has done all of that and 100% deserves his #1 ranking. Pretty spot on assessment by Fed.


jane Says:

Sorry in my 4:57 post it should say “Rafa’s vs. Fed’s” not “Roger’s vs. Fed’s”


Henry Says:

Jane,

definitely wasn’t referring to you as not being a tennisfan. Only my (later: 4.52 pm)post about Novak’s sinusproblems and surgery was a reaction to your post.

Rafa already had a breakout year between the ages 18 and 19. He won 12 titles then and a total of 16 prior to turning 20, equalling Bjorn Borg’s teenage record. And, yes, he’s definitely on a roll this year.

And for the Federer fans out there: Both Sampras and Agassi managed to win more GS titles after age 27 and Roger is actually ahead of Sampras right now with 12 GS titles. Pete had 11 and won his final three after age 27 and retired at age 31, so Roger can both equal or surpass him. And the same holds true for Rafa.


Henry Says:

Jane,

the corrective surgery took place end 2005 in Milan. You’re right that he (demonstratively) breathes heavily after he’s sent running from side to side. I truly love his game and potential, but I must admit that I think his breathing is part of his strategy, just like his eternal bouncing. I am also a great fan of Jankovic and love her upbeat attitude. She always finds time for a smile on court – even after losing a point, but also she loves dramatizing her injuries, taking medical time outs and then happily plays on 3 or 4 more rounds.


jane Says:

Henry,

Okay I wasn’t sure on the date. I think the breathing is actually linked to anxiety, but I could be wrong. Thankfully, he’s cut down on the bouncing considerably; he’s down to about 7 or so pre-serve. I love his game too.

The three at the top, along with Murray, are pretty exciting to watch, and there are a few 19 year-olds that should be in the mix soon too. Fun stuff should be in store next year.

I think Jankovic is great but she should play less events, imo. She is dramatic, true – maybe those Serbians like their theatre? They’re sure good at tennis anyhow.


Shital Green Says:

Dan,
That was nice of Fed.
Let me quote the original text: “if ever somebody were to take it away for me, he would have to play an incredible tennis schedule, you know, win the biggest tournaments, dominate the game basically, and then like this he can take No. 1. I didn’t want it to happen that I would play completely bad and somebody would pick up No. 1 in the world.
So I think Rafa totally deserves it.”


jane Says:

Shital,

I checked out your piece; you use some interesting and fitting adjectives to describe the two eras. I wonder if Roger will seriously consider playing doubles more regularly? He certainly did well with Stan – can’t get much better than Olympic Gold, beating the Byrans in the process.


Henry Says:

Jane,

I’m almost sure anxiety is part of it too. Remember he called his PR manager (who also happens to be Rafa’s PR guy) after Raf-Rog’s Wimbledon final and said that he still needed to learn a lot after having seen that final. His mis-hit on match point against Rafa in Beijing was a good example of still lacking mental/anxiety control.

Sure thing the Serbs are great players and a sure thing too that theatre is part of their game.

Yes, lots of great tennis in store from the players you mention. I have always loved their tennis but never really appreciated Murray’s and Djokovic’on court (and sometimes off court) behaviour. However, there’s been a really positive change over the last few months and it has shown – especially in Murray’s tennis. I’m really looking forward to the time when these guys make sure and force us to only talk about the great tennis they are capable


andrea Says:

what a year for nadal. smoking!

can hardly wait for the US Open. trying to find olympic tennis overage on TV was a moot exercise. with the US Open, it’s wall to wall coverage.


jane Says:

andrea – CBC had live streaming of most of it; I watched a good lot of it and it was well covered, so for future reference, or if you’re interested in watching any other events this time round – go to cbc.ca/olympics.


jane Says:

Del Potro won his fourth title in a row today, speaking of changing one’s “diet”…(though admittedly I haven’t seen him ingesting his trophies, or trying to).


Daniel Says:

After a long absence.. (too much sports, I didn’t even read e-mails) :)

All top 3 did their job and left China with medals! Congrats!!! Specially to Nadal, he played this tourney how he should play hardcourts, power, attack and killer strikebacks. Superb!

Guys, These age comparisons to me makes no sense, untill players retire.
Nadal became pro at 15, he took 4 years to win his first Grand Slam, and 7 to reach his prime (2008 age 22).
Fed became pro at 18 and took the same 4 years to win his first GS and 6 years to reach his prime (2006 age 24/25). In tennis what counts is the milestone. A normal tennis player last 8-10 years with high quality tennis. The Agassis, Santoros last 16-20 years. Unless Nadal plays untill 30, he and Fed are pretty the same in time to reach their primes.

Nadal would probably have 2-3 more years with this super level (Fed level) and then he will start to experienced what Fed is having now.

It’s amazing what he’s been doing, reaching semis or better in all tourneys excpet Dubai and Rotterdan, Rome doesn’t count.
Now I think he Djoko and Fed are equaly leveled for the US Open. Imagine the hype if he wins it, a possible carrer Golden Slam in sequence! Wow!

Regarding Fed I still don’t count him out yet, unless he lose before semis in US Open which doesn’t happen in the last 17 Slams. He is very hard to beat in Slams, usually losing to the eventual champion in tough matches (RG 2008 doesn’t count, he lost it in MC 2008).

This US Open will really shows us where he stands. The MS he was “allowed” to lose, but not in he last Slam of the season.


Jason Says:

Sean,

Despite Murray’s loss at the Olympics, I think he’s another player we have to scan the draw for. Certainly Djokovic doesn’t want to see that guy is his section. And even if Djoke is in Rafa’s half, Roger will not be off the hook by any means if Murray’s in his section.


Noel Says:

JCF,
“You are gradually getting older incrementally by the day.”

You forgot the hours,minutes,seconds and the fractions(micro/milli/nano etc). :)

More seriously,I agree with you that health/fitness/injury issues are an integral part of an athlete’s life and they have to learn how best to deal with them.These and other ‘excuses’ on various other counts can be used in discussions but should not be held against the winner of a match/tournament or to devalue their achievements.JMPD is playing and winning so many events on the trot.He will have only himself to blame if he isn’t fresh enough for the open.Fortunately,Nole has devised a very smart schedule this year and has worked on his fitness also.I don’t think his fitness is as big an issue as it was earlier.Of course,there is always room for improvement but his solid game also compensates for it somewhat imho.I agree with Jane that he needs to work more on the ‘mental’ side of it.
Rafa has won the gold fair and square and he was the best equipped to handle the conditions in Beijing.Congrats to Rafa and his fans on another brilliant campaign!
In fact it is Rafa who should be the most affected/tired given the amount of work he has put in this year.His superior mental and physical strength or the tough conditions/scheduling can’t be used as an “excuse” for his rivals’ defeat.Similarly,it was very unfair to Nole when mono/pre-event illness was cited as an excuse for Fed’s oz open sf loss.What control Nole had about who he played and in what condition?He-or any other pro- couldn’t have bothered less about it.

Continuous improvement in physical conditioning is a necessity these days.Fed practices in 45 degree Celsius and almost 100% humidity in Dubai.All his talent would probably have gone waste had he not worked so hard to become a better athlete.Rafa has worked very hard for it and is reaping the just rewards.In fact,in many matches his incredible athletic and mental ability prove decisive.His game is built around his unbelievable movement and never say die attitude on each and every point.On the other hand,he will also probably pay a price for the incredibly physical game he plays.There is always a trade off.In the long run,it might make the difference between winning many more slams and a long career versus a career shortened/afflicted by injury.So far he has managed it very well.
Borg was mentally-and possibly physically- spent at 25.His early retirement can’t be used as an excuse for his smaller slam tally compared to Pete’s tally for instance.He paid the price for the incredible effort he put in to achieve so much success in such a short period.Henin’s is a more recent example.We can not devalue the other girls’ achievements by citing Henin’s absence as an excuse.They can’t be blamed if Henin wasn’t “good enough” to continue.


Daniel Says:

Dan Martin

“Federer was asked if he liked being called the next Laver or Sampras and he said all of that was ok, but he preferred to be thought of as Roger Federer”

It’s funny, Phelps said something similar regarding Spitz just some hours ago! :)


Noel Says:

Daniel,

“Guys, These age comparisons to me makes no sense, untill players retire.”

I agree.Sort of.However,there’s really not much harm speculating about the probability of Rafa’s possible eventual tally based on an already solid “launchpad” as he enters his prime.We are all excited by Rafa’s tremendous success and comparisons are inevitable even if not always meaningful.


Noel Says:

Jane,
Any news whether JMPD has withdrawn from New Heaven or not?It appears that he wants more of the similar “diet”.


Fedex Says:

” Based on probability, you have to figure Novak will wind up in Roger’s section this time ”

Sorry Sean, but I am not sure that is true. Based on fairness, maybe we could make a case. Probability, I am sorry I need mathematical proof! If you are interested in a geeky discussion, let me know how probability dictates that? Remember probability doesnt know Roger and Rafa have swapped places.

Let us assume you think the no.1 has had the better luck so far in not drawing the no.3 as often as the no.2 So no.1 drawing no.3 more often from now on only makes sense logically/ mathematically (?). Unfair? Totally. Logically inaccurate? I dont think so.

To explain my point mathematically, I need help from any probability gurus.


jane Says:

Hi Noel,

JMDP is still on the Pilot Pen draw (seeded third), but if he was smart he’d withdraw and refresh for the Open. With these 4 straight titles, as it is, he moves into the top twenty and will be ranked no. 19 in the world tomorrow.


zola Says:

It is official,
A new king has arrived:

this is from ATP site, 8 pm, ET, Sunday Aug 17, 2008:

1 Nadal , R. 6700
2 Federer , R. 5930
3 Djokovic , N. 5105
4 Ferrer , D. 2865
5 Davydenko , N. 2700
6 Murray , A. 2415
7 Nalbandian , D. 1975
8 Roddick , A. 1845
9 Blake , J. 1825
10 Wawrinka , S. 1695

VAMOS!


zola Says:

Just add one note here:
“a new king has arrived” does not mean “the king is dead”! It means the old king has passed the crown to the new one and will always remembered for the high bars he set for this sport and his incredible achievements. Of course a fight to take the crown back is also expected. As fans, we are just lucky to have all these starts at the top.

VAmos RAfa!


simba Says:

It is high time to turn the page, so to speak, in tennis. Given how few points Nadal has to defend, he has a good chance to pass the ’7000′ marks. He can scale new height and we will all forget Federer.

There will be no media request for the new No.2, so Fed will spend more quality time with Ana Wintour and focus on his double career or a modeling career.


Noel Says:

Jane,
Thanks for the response.I agree JMPD should withdraw from Pilot Pen.He admitted himself this week that he was very tired.I guess he will take a bit more time to make his mind given that he has a first round bye.Actually,I don’t mind him playing this week because I picked him in my Atp fantasy tennis team for this week.


Sean Randall Says:

FedEx, great catch. I was looking at it with Nadal still in the bottom half which is no longer the case.

In the 12 events the big three have played in this year Novak’s been on Rafa’s half of the draw in eight of them. Because it’s a coin flip as to where Novak will fall each time, that trend should gravitate to 50/50.

However, with Rafa now swapping places with Roger that means Novak will likely to continue to land in Rafa’s half.

Beijing – SAME SIDE
Cincy – SAME
Toronto – SAME
Wimbledon
French Open – SAME
Hamburg – SAME
Rome
Monte Carlo
Miami – SAME
Indian Wells – SAME
Dubai – SAME
Australian Open


Noel Says:

Zola,
Congrats on your man’s ‘official’ coronation and for the gold as well!I saw on the other thread that the champagne started flowing well before the ‘official’ announcement. :)
As a tennis fan,I love the situation prevailing at the moment and fervently hope that Murray comes to the ‘big’ party as early as possible.If Fed can recover his confidence,the next few years may well turn out to be extremely exciting and unpredictable.


simba Says:

It is nice to see the gap between 1-2 is bigger than that between 2-3. I am rooting for Djokovic to overtake Fed at No.2. We will have more Nadal-Djokovic finals. When could Djokovic get to No.2?


sensationalsafin Says:

People need to stop making excuses about how Nadal is dominating EVERYTHING right now. He’s dominated the clay and grass court seasons, and now he’s dominating hardcourts. You can’t excuse that. But please, explain it. How is Nadal so f*cking good?


Fedex Says:

“Because it’s a coin flip as to where Novak will fall each time, that trend should gravitate to 50/50. ”

That is theoretically true, but in coin flip experiments, there is a good chance that there are a good no. of one-sided streaks even at high number of flips such as 1000 or so….

So the question really is how many is many?

Definitely, Roger and Rafa swapping their positions complicates the already complex experiment!

Talking of coin flips, see this :

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1697475


Dan Martin Says:

Simba, people will forget Federer? Bjorn Borg shows up at Wimbledon and gets treated like royalty despite his personal financial failures, despite Sampras winning 7 Wimbledon titles, despite ….. The point is the great ones are never forgotten. Nadal will not be forgotten, but please Simba show some sophistication. If you are indeed a member of the species Panthera leo I take it back as being able to type and access the internet is indeed sophisticated for a lion. For a fan of tennis who I assume to be human, you can do better.


Von Says:

“..people will forget Federer? Bjorn Borg shows up at Wimbledon and gets treated like royalty despite his personal financial failures, despite Sampras winning 7 Wimbledon titles, despite ….. The point is the great ones are never forgotten.”

It’s absolutely impossible to forget the great champions, especially one of Federer’s caliber. If for nothing else, Fed will always be remembered for his utter dominance from 2004-2007. Ken Rosewall, Laver, Ashe, et al., still enters the conversation whenever the topic of past champions is discussed, and some of these players did not totally dominate tennis as Fed has done; hence, why would Fed be forgotten, considering how much he has accomplished. Additionally, when it’s Fed’s time to be voted into the Hall of Fame, it’s a given that Fed will be on the first ballot. That said, I think it’s safe to assume that Fed’s name will be written in indellible ink.

I’m not one for speculation and/or prediction, but this I know, wherever Fed appears on the draw, his name will always engender fear in the minds of his peers in his quarter. His aura has not fully dissipated. Presently, he’s akin to a glass of champagne that’s left standing for a couple of minutes, some of the bubbles dissipate, but the potency is still there.


Von Says:

typo “indellible” s/b spelt “indelible”.


Ryan Says:

Some people here are really biased.When people like Simba come out with statements like its better for fed to stay home and that fed is mr.nobody , no one has a problem with that.Because fed is history.If I come out and try to take something from nadal its like as if everyone here is set on fire……Its funny.
Just coz nadal did a lot of things earlier does not mean he can keep doing that for the next 5 years.Sports is about unpredictability.Nothing is a guarantee.
As for hard courts when djokovic is on like the aussie open there is no way nadal can beat him on hard courts.
I know its not nadal’s fault that djok is tired but facts are facts.
Djok is the best on hard courts right now.We’ll see in the US open.
And vulcan kiss my ass you fukkin prik.

JCF : Thanks a lot for teaching me about details of ages.I didnt really fukkin know that.Big fukkin deal…..Let Nadal do a clean sweep of the slams and let him win more than 14 slams for people like you to put him up on a pedestal.Untill then fed is better no matter wat.
By the way you dont need to be swiss to be a fed fan…..

sensationalsafin—-The only guy here who tells the truth as it is like me without blind worship of today’s winners.


zola Says:

Noel
***Zola,
Congrats on your man’s ‘official’ coronation and for the gold as well!I saw on the other thread that the champagne started flowing well before the ‘official’ announcement.
***

thanks Noel. That was for the Olympics. There is a bigger one with cheese, chocolate truffles and chocolate ice cream ( and nutella!) for the “coronation”! everyone is invited!

*****

I don’t get the point of comparing Fed and Rafa right now. I agree it is best to compare the players when their “careera” is over! Right now just enjoy the moment . Rafa is no 1 and the top 3 each earned a medal in the olympics!

everyone come to the party!


jane Says:

“Talking of coin flips, see this ” Or you can watch/read Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are dead” in which the coin lands on heads something like 90 odd in a row… Games of chance are indeed unpredictable, even for the law of averages.


Ryan Says:

Tursunov recently said it as it is…..Nadal might be a better athlete than fed but fed is the better tennis player.Go ask any guy who knows about tennis.Go ask any greats sampras, borg or anyone…..nobody has said anything about nadal’s tennis the way they all have praised fed’s abilities.


jane Says:

Hmmm….”nobody” and “anything” are sweeping generalizations; I am certain players and pundits have said things about nadal’s tennis that are full of praise, perhaps even worthy of the praise given Roger. I am even pretty sure there are those who think Rafa is the better tennis player. But it doesn’t really matter.

It’s tough to say what Rafa doesn’t have as a tennis player though and even more striking is that fact that he’s always improving – his serve was great throughout the Olympics. He’s got one of, and in some player’s opinions the best forehand in tennis. His backhand is wicked, and he has a great slice. He’s got good & quick hands at the net. Fantastic eyes – I’d love to know his challenge record. He moves like a tiger, tracks down everything. He’s great at offense, defense, mental focus, physical endurance. He’s up there in terms of service and return stats, top five in a majority of the categories. I mean, he’s a phenomenal player. Hands down.

It can’t be boiled down at this point to who is better, who will go further, and so on, nor should it really need to be.

Anyhow, I am happy for Rafa; he deserves his current position as the number 1 tennis player in the world.


zola Says:

Jane,
beautiful post.Many thanks!


zola Says:

Ryan
Rafa’s being no 1 does not take anything away from Federer. His records and achievements are very well known. So is Rafa’s. They are both great with different styles.


jane Says:

Here are some interesting points about stats for “the big three” – seems Rafa is the better returner, with Djoko very close, and Roger is the better server in terms of first serves / aces (behind only Roddick and Karlovic); Djoko’s probably second in terms of service stats for the big three, though Rafa’s strength in serving is consistency, plus he’s improving, as I mentioned. [Just as an aside, in looking at these stats, it was striking how much JMDP's name popped up...]

Service Stats:
Roger’s top 5 in 4 of 6 service categories; top 20 in the other 2.
Djoko’s top 5 in 3 of 6 categories; top 20 in the other 3.
Rafa’s top 5 in 3 of 6 categories; top 30 in the other 3.

Return Stats:
Rafa is top 5 in 4 of 4 returning categories
Djoko is top 3 in 3 of 4 return catergories; top 10 in the other 1.
Roger is top 10 in 3 return categories; top 20 in the other 1.

So I guess they each have areas in which they could improve. I hope they continue to challenge each other to do so, and as Noel said earlier, that Murray and others join the party too! More fun for us fans…


NachoF Says:

jane Says:
He’s got one of, and in some player’s opinions the best forehand in tennis.

I think that is true as of right now… and thats simply because Federer’s forehand is nowhere near as powerful as how it was in his absolute domination days, 2004-2007….. right now, its hard to say who’s got the best forehand of the game,it could very well be Nadal’s… there are plenty good ones, but nothing like that of the old Federer.


Von Says:

There are a few posts discussing Nadal’s soon to be “coronation”, however, I’d like to ask since when has tennis acquired Royalty? In the past there were some Fed fans who referred to Fed as the “King” to which the fans of other players took umbrage. In light of what’s now being written, wouldn’t it be wise to refrain from such verbiage in order to prevent unpleasantness. Maybe a transposition of roles would place some light on what I’m saying, and then the question would be asked, would I like to see and/or hear such if my player were to lose his ranking? It’s alright to celebrate but do so without flaunting the obvious.


zola Says:

Disclaimer:
the word “king” was not used as an insult for Federer not now and not at any time. It was written out of respect.

Happy?


zola Says:

Nacho,
I think Rafa said the same thing in IW 07 in reply to a question, that Fed’s forehand is the best in tennis. I think Rafa’s forehand is different because it is lefty and has lots of spin.

Jane,
thanks for the stats. very interesting.I think Murray will be there too very soon. how did JMDP do in these stats? I am waiting to see how he will do in US OPen. Seems he is on a roll.
didn’t he have breathing problems too?


jane Says:

Nadal’s on a heck of a roll right now, but I’d be surprised – not shocked though – if he wins the USO this year too. It’s certainly and entirely possible, but I think he’ll win the AO first, for reasons I’ve mentioned before.

That said, Rafa is going against the grain of previous seasons this year, by continuing to play well post-RG & Wimbledon, so he may just keep the momentum going.

Once I see the draw, it’ll be slightly easier to speculate. But for now I am not picking a winner. I am inclined to think, like others have mentioned, that we may have a surprise winner this year.


Fedex Says:

Nadal is the new King of the Court. He was the King of Clay till Wimbledon. In just under two months he has become the leader of the pack.

There is no need to mince words here. Nadal is the prince who became King. As straightforward as that.


zola Says:

Fedex,
thanks for a very smart response to a very petty attempt of pot-stirring.

Lots of respect to you and your man. A king is a king. They rule and they pass the crown to their princes. that doesn’t change their status. very beautiful description.


zola Says:

Jane,
I am skeptical about US Open too. RAfa said himself that he was very tired going to the olympics and was only able to do what he did because of the support of the spanish athletes. He has been playing a lot. so we will see.

Besides, this is Fed’s and Djoko’s surface and they would want the trophy as much as Rafa wants it. not to mention Murray, Rodick and JMDP.


Von Says:

Only an idiot would call an attempt to keep peace pot stirring, but the English language is a very complicated subject. Bblessed are those with comprehension. Also, blessed are those who have the guts to speak up without piggybacking on someone else’s post or politicking, It’s amazing to see the games that are being played. Tear down every player and then throw a morsel by pretending to defend a negative comment. Enjoy!!!!


Debra Gardner Says:

lol! It’s kind of amusing to watch all the fans of the individual players say who can and cannot beat whom. I happen to like Roger, Rafa and Joko and I can’t speculate on how long Rafa will be number 1 because a small thing called “life” intrudes itself into what one is doing. When I came back to being interested in tennis in Jan. of 2007, Mario Ancic and Tommy Robredo were in the top 10. Now Mario Ancic has had to battle a nasty case of Mono and I hear something’s attacked him again, so his ranking has dropped (but hey, he’s the only tennis player I know of with a law degree), and Tommy has dropped down as well although he and Rafa are number 21 in doubles. Actually, if I had my way, I’d erase everyone’s points at the end of the year and they’d all start with zero in January. Whoever had the most points by the end of the year would be number one. We might have the same person over and over or we might have several different ones over the years. I hope Rafa manages to enjoy being number one. Apart from the point totals, it sounds like more work-more commitments and less time for yourself. I guess that’s why it’s good to be young when you have that. Imagine being number one and all it entails at fifty! (shiver)


zola Says:

Debra Gardner,
so true. I think it is best just to enjoy the tennis and what all these champions bring to the court. I am not one for speculations either.

*******

A very nice tribute to Rafa from ATP:
http://www.atptennis.atponline.net/en/players/gallery/?Event=nadalno1

what former No 1s say:
http://www.atptennis.com/1/en/2008news/nadal_no1tributes.asp


Lynx Says:

Just to make you think:

If you had to choose, would you prefer being a great tennis player due mainly to your talent, or would you choose to be a great tennis athlete due to your hard work?

Try to think about this question… Now try to imagine what would you think about this question in the future, when you are, say, 60 years old.

Now swap “tennis” above with any other sport you like, then read the question again.

Now consider today’s million dollar earnings of some of nowaday’s talented players and then about any great athlete you happen to know with not so many figures in her bank account.

A lifetime of fame, success…

Hey maybe that’s enough thinking for now. Please keep in mind that any inference, conclusions, etc. your brain starts after reading the above lines is yours, not mine ;-)

Sport is great, so is Tennis.


Lynx Says:

I meant “…then think about any…” (5th paragraph)


Fedex Says:

We have a new author for Satanic verses, looks like!

Salman rushdie has “one” competitor ;)


Serious! The gold medal that Roger has, is not the same as what Nadal won! Says:

But anyway, congrats him for winning gold for the double.


Jason Says:

Jane,

I understand the “surprise winner” prediction because of the brutal schedule these guys have played. But who specifically can come out of nowhere and win? As I see it, it would be one of the biggest upsets ever if one of the top 4 (and I include Murray in that group) do not win. Note also that since the USO went to hard courts no men’s player who has not been No. 1 at some point in his career has won the tournament.


zola Says:

Lynx,

interesting excercise!
I think talent and hard work go together. Can someone be a great tennis player without haveing talent or wihout putting som hard work behind it?
It is so competetive that I can’t imagine it.


matt Says:

In 1978 the USOPEN changed to hard courts (it was played on clay in 75,76,77 and on grass before that).

In 1988 the AusOpen changed to hard courts as well. (It was played on grass).

So from 1978 there have been three surfaces (grass, clay and hard) in GS every year.

Only Connors, Wilander and Agassi have won a GS in each of these three surfaces.

But no one has won three straight GS on the three different surfaces.

That’s the reason why I believe Nadal won’t win the USOPEN this year. It’s just too difficult to win three straight GS on three different surfaces.

Btw, I totally agree with Noel. If Nadal retires at 25 with 10 (or 11 or 12) GS, you can’t say he would have won 20 GS had he played until his 30s.

The same with Borg. He retired at 27 because he was mentally (and perhaps physically as well) burnt.

If Sampras or Agassi or Connors won GS tournaments in their 30s, credit to them. To say that other players would have done the same had they played longer is just unfair.


zola Says:

ATP’s photot gallery of Federer’s 237 weeks at no 1:

http://www.atptennis.com/en/players/gallery/?Event=federer1


What I don't like is Roger's ego!!! Says:

He refused to live in the Olympic village, while the new world number 1 is living in the Olympic village. And I remember how arrogant he is, when he beat Roddick so easily at the Aussie Open last year. He was saying stuffs like how talented he is and things like that. But Nadal humilated him at the French. But Nadal said that, Roger is the real number 1. That really tell you, Roger is not a true gentleman but a hypocrite. And people make fools out of themselves by saying stuffs like he is a real nice guy and true sportsman!


Roger's game got worst, since those exhibition matches with Sampras! Says:

Maybe Sampras gave him some advices to delibertly screwed him up! hehe


I think the American players have better chances to win their Grand Slams in the 30's, but not the European players! Says:

Because the Europeans are layback kind of people. But Americans have these drives and desires to get them going, even in their 30′s. Like Borg, Hingis and Justine all retire in their early age. Becker,Wilander, Lendl and Edberg both are not doing well in their 30′s.


jane Says:

Jason,

” Note also that since the USO went to hard courts no men’s player who has not been No. 1 at some point in his career has won the tournament.”

Interesting stat – thanks for sharing it.

In the “surprise” group, I had included Murray; after all, he just won his first hard court MS title, and he’s only even been as deep as the Quarters at a slam. But I suppose he wouldn’t be as much of a surprise as someone like JMDP.

Besides the streaking JMDP, other youngsters like Gulbis or Cilic could go deep, and if the draw opens up, say one of the major 4 is upset, who knows what could happen.

Players like Monfils, Karlovic, or Simon could go deep though I am not sure if they could win it – same with Gasquet, who has the talent, just maybe not the fortitude.

Earlier in the year, I also thought maybe a former winner like Safin or Roddick could notch up their games and win another USO, but with Safin’s latest hardcourt results and Roddick’s injury struggles, I suppose it’s not likely.

Like I said before, though, I want to see the draw before I say more.

—————-

zola, I don’t know if JMDP has breathing issues; never heard that before, though I do think he’s been injured a bit in the past (his back comes to mind). As for his stats, I think he was in the top 10 in a few of the categories.


Marjorie Says:

I love reading this blog ! Thanks !
Congratulations Rafa – I’m a fan. I saw him play all four RG finals ! Awesome (I’m bragging)
Did anyone see the great ATP video for Rafa congratulating him for his ascension to N°1 ? And the silly Nike ad on Rafa’s website about not being a lefty. Nike sure won’t help Rafa with this kind of milk toast. Terrible script. Thanks again all tennis fans.


zola Says:

Jane,
I remember from that Vegas tournament when JMDP retired against Blake with breathing problems. I have also read about his back.But I am glad he is on a roll.one title after another. very impressive.

I hope he doesn’t tire himself out for the US Open.


Fedex Says:

Blessed are the hatred mongers who can be peacemakers.

Also blessed are their alter-egos who promote hate.

The amount of politicking and hypocrisy on this board is amazing. Tear down another player (not our ally’s player ofcourse!) and call other posters names when we cant answer their posts.

Enjoy!!!


Vulcan Says:

matt Says:

In 1978 the USOPEN changed to hard courts (it was played on clay in 75,76,77 and on grass before that).

In 1988 the AusOpen changed to hard courts as well. (It was played on grass).

So from 1978 there have been three surfaces (grass, clay and hard) in GS every year.

Only Connors, Wilander and Agassi have won a GS in each of these three surfaces.

But no one has won three straight GS on the three different surfaces.

Matt, excellent point and thanks for posting this.
Nadal is in a position to make tennis history if he wins the US Open and it might even make for the greatest year in tennis history when taking what you have said into account.


Federer is donkey Says:

donkey’s puppets. stop selling yo hateraids
grow some balz and stop grumblin you friggin craybaby. donkey is a loser. the spanish bull’ll spit on your face every day. call whambulance
Suffer!!! yo’ days of teabagging


JCF Says:

This is a nice touch, when you go to the ATP site now, there is a three-second splash screen with Rafa on his knees in front of a surf wave which says “CONGRATULATIONS RAFA! World No. 1″.

They don’t normally do this, but since we haven’t had a new No.1 in 4.5 years, it is something special.

There’s also a tribute there from past No.1′s.

“Nadal, who had ranked No. 2 behind Federer for a record 160 consecutive weeks (since July 25, 2005), guaranteed himself the World No. 1 ranking after reaching the semifinals earlier this month at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati.

But Nadal celebrated his rise to No. 1 in perfect fashion yesterday, winning the Olympic singles gold medal in Beijing.”


Von Says:

“Tear down another player (not our ally’s player ofcourse!) and call other posters names when we cant answer their posts.”

Absolutely, Blake, Roddick Djokovic, Haas, Murray,et al., tear them down, look for every stupid thing that’s not worth mentioning, but state it anyway, nonstop, and leave your own player spotless. In the past Federer got his fair share of criticisms but his fans made sure it was stopped. Now we hear Fed’s a great champion and every accolade and adulation is showered on him, if not wrath will descend from his fans.

It’s infra dig to answer posts that are not addressed properly. Both can play the same game.

BTW how did you happen to get involved in this? None of this was dirested at or to you. However, you can’t pass up anything to start trouble can you? Is “Latent Talent” resting? Send him my regards.


Colin Says:

Regarding the laws of probability – as I understand it, the important point is, that you have to be very careful applying them to individual events. If a coin is tossed five times, and comes down heads each time, people often think the odds are that it will more likely be tails the sixth time. This is known as The Gambler’s Fallacy. Every single toss, the chances are 50/50 (assuming of course it’s a normal coin!)


Colin Says:

It will be interesting if Murray and Del Potro meet at the USO. In a recent tourney, during verbal exchanges during changeovers, Del Potro made some sort of disparaging remark about Andy, and included Murray’s mother in the remark. Andy got extremely riled.
Next time they play, there won’t be many hugs at the net after the match!


Vulcan Says:

Colin, its only 50/50 if its a perfect coin, a perfect toss, and a perfect surface to land on.
Statistics become important when you factor in the imperfections and trends become apparent as the number of tosses approach infinity…but yeah for theoretical purposes even if a coin comes up heads 1000 times in a row…the odds of it coming up heads again are only 50/50.


Vulcan Says:

Regarding Del Potro…I find it hard to believe he would say such a thing unless he had a very good reason…his oncourt demeanor is very gentle and personable (unlike Murray’s). Can you reference the comment or was it one of the broadcast’s commentators commenting on it?…if so what broadcast were you watching?


Von Says:

Colin:

“It will be interesting if Murray and Del Potro meet at the USO. In a recent tourney, during verbal exchanges during changeovers, Del Potro made some sort of disparaging remark about Andy, and included Murray’s mother in the remark. Andy got extremely riled.”

I remember that match. Murray got very angry and red in the face. DelPotro tried to shake it off by lying about it, but Murray was adamant and stated DelPotro was lying. If they meet at the USO, it will probably be unpleasant.


jane Says:

Colin,

I remember hearing or reading about that too, and didn’t Del Potro have to retire in that match as well? Not sure. If I am not mistaken, it was during the clay season this year…


Vulcan Says:

OK heres the video and commentary:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muM-UQc_Tnk
Apparently Murray initiated things by saying something to Del Potro on the changeover about a shot he hit directly at Murray.


Vulcan Says:

On initial inspection Del Potro seems to be in the wrong on this one…not cool to bring another guys mother into things.


zola Says:

Vulcan,
thanks for the video clip.
I had read about this incident, but never saw it. Apparently Murray gets mad at Del Potro for hitting him at the net and not apoloizing and starts talking to him on the changeover, which is a bit stupid. I guess Del Potro says something in Spanish which Murray says is an insult to his Mom ( purhaps a curse)….

I think Del Potro senied saying something like that and in the video he is composed and goes about his business.

I think it is expected that players at least apologize if they hit each other , if JMDP did not, would be good to know the reason. Still, Murray could just let it go…

I think a huge improvement in Murray is his on-court behavior. I am glad he is working on it and is saving his energy for the match not for useless and bitter arguments. That has helped him a lot.

It will be interesting to see these two in US Open. They are both cruising.


zola Says:

vulcan,
my guess ( I didn’t hear anything from Del Potro, just Andy’s voice..) is that probably when Murray started talking about the hit at the net, Del Potro probably said a word in Spanish and Murray took that as a personal insult. Maybe like what happened to Zidane in that famous world cup match.

not pleasant from both sides, but it can’t be just spontaneous. Why would two young guns not get along with each other?


Vulcan Says:

Murray seems pretty passionate and hot tempered on court but off the top of my head I cant recall seeing him ever behave unfairly…he always seems to have pretty good cause in his arguments…he seems like an intelligent guy and I think his game…which is pretty unique…reflects that.
He certainly doesnt look like your typical tennis player or even tennis player…and thats just because hes gangly and looks a bit awkward in his movement…but hes alot of fun to watch play because his talent is so unexpected and some of the shots he comes up with are also so unexpected.


Vulcan Says:

tennis player or even tennis player =>

tennis player or even athlete


Vulcan Says:

Zola, what I heard on the youtube video from Del Potro after Murray made the first comment was something along the lines of (in english):

“Its always the same thing”…
“Youre just like your mother”

These guys mustve had some prior history in juniors or challengers because this was their first ATP meeting.


zola Says:

Vulcan,
good ears!

but if that’s it, it shouldn’t be an insult.

I agree. I think there is a history. They are both very nice guys. I never heard anything about them.

Murray shouts at himself or his box, but never saw him insult a player or the umpire.


Vulcan Says:

Yes, having seen Del Potro play and his demeanor…the following questions come to mind:

Does Del Potro know Murray’s mother because she has been present at their junior matches and her comments have annoyed Del Potro in the past?

Has Murray’s mother then behaved like Djokovic’s parents in the past?

Was DP commenting on similar personality traits between Murray and his mother?

If DP has never seen or met Murrays mother was it just a stupid 19 year old comment on his part?


jane Says:

Yeah, Murray is (or at least has been) pretty passionate on the court, but it’s either self-directed or directed at his coach/box. I’ve never seen him insult / stick it to another player either.

Anyhow, now I hope they DO meet at the USO; it’d be interesting.

It’s fascinating to me that there’s like 3 people in the stands; I’d love to be at such a match.

Thanks for providing the link Vulcan.


Vulcan Says:

Jane, I was thinking the same thing about the late night match atmosphere there…kind of like a late night Todd Martin match at USO or Hewitt v Baghdatis at 4 am.


Bob Lewis Says:

It seems to me that the ones who are in a groove right now, poised to be a threat at the US Open, are Nadal, Del Potro, and Simon. Who else has been the least bit consistent all year or is progressing in finding a “groove”? Nalbandian is yesterday, as is Roddick. Djokovich is Mr. Inconsistent. Ferrer is never there when the smoke clears. Federer is just sad. What do you say? I keep seeing that defensive forehand dumping into the net. He needs that dink shot from the master, McEnroe.

And the women, holy cow! What’s with all the double faults? Do we need glasses?

I will not watch Dementieva any more than I will Sharipova. All the grunting and squealing is just too much. Tennis cannot be a spectator sport with that being a deliberate part of the training.


Von Says:

Vulcan:

How and/or from where do you obtain the YouTube clips for matches?


Vulcan Says:

Von that last clip was on youtube already…I just searched for Del Potro + Murray + Rome.


Von Says:

Vulcan:

Thanks. I’m not very computer savvy with YouTube, etc., but I’ll try the next time I need to look up something. I didn’t know it was that easy. If I get stuck I’ll send out an SOS for your help. :)


Vulcan Says:

Von…soitanly ;)


Von Says:

Vulcan:

When I was a little girl I used to watch the Bowery Boys with my Dad. Wasn’t it Mugs, the short one, who used to say “soitainly” and “dubitously”? Those were very funny movies.


jane Says:

Bob Lewis,

I agree with your post almost entirely, the one major caveat being your labeling Novak Djokovi “Mr Inconsistent”.

It’s true he’s had a few surprise early losses (Miami and Wimbledon being the two relevant ones) as well as that retirement at Monte Carlo due to strep throat, but otherwise he has had another very consistent season.

He’s reached Finals (Cincy, Queens), Semis (Dubai, Monte Carlo, Hamburg, Roland Garros – losing in most of those clay semis to Rafa), or at least Quarters (Canada) in pretty much every event he has entered, which, in my books anyhow, is pretty consistent.

He’s number 2 in the yearly race, and just brought home the Bronze Olympic medal, losing a tight and well fought semi against Rafa, and of course won at the AO, IW, and Rome.

So to call him “Mr. Inconsistent,” imho, seems a bit, er, inconsistent with his results.


Vulcan Says:

Hehe Von, I never saw those growing up…I was actually imitating Curly from the 3-stooges.


NachoF Says:

So….. the day has finally come, huh?…. wow, :( :( :(


zola Says:

Bob Lewis,

I think Djoko will be on fire for the US Open. whether or not he will be tired from Beijing, is another story. But my feeling is that he wants to add this to his resume. He got to the final last year and this year I don’t see many who can stop him . maybe Fed, Rafa, Murray.

US OPen is the ultimate test for Federer. If he can find his confidence and his forehand, the trophy is his to lose.

RAfa, I don’t know. He has played lots of matches. He is tired, but comes with the momentum. We have to see which one prevails.

Roddick has made it his goal to do well in the US Open, even with the price of skipping the olympics. I hope he is over his injury. but I am not sure if he can get to the final or even semis. But who knows. He is still the only one who has defeated the top 3 this year. If he gets to hat form he can be a contender.

who else? Murray, Del Potro?
Simone , I don’t know, feels a bit like Tsonga in the AO. but we have to see.

Gulbis and Cilic need at least another year. Monfils was good in the olympics, but no match for Djoko.

Too bad Ancic is out with mono again. I love watching him play.


Jason Says:

Zola,

I like Del Potro’s game, but I’d give him a 1 and a thousand chance of winning the tournament. It would be an upset on the level of Chang winning the French Open in 89. The reason being that he has to develop a lot more as a player. He’s a 6′ 6″ guy without a very good serve! His groundstrokes are very strong, but he’s basically like a Todd Martin type with not as good a serve or net game. And on top of that it’s hard to see how his competition could be tougher. Rafa in his absolute prime (though undoubtedly tired) Novak very close to his. Fed just past his. Murray close to his. Del P can be a threat eventually imo, but he’s a couple of years away.


zola Says:

Jason,
I agree about Del Potro. I think there are many players before him that can win US Open this year and I don’t know if he will be a slam winner. I would like to see him win a master series title first. The way Djoko announced his arrival.
I would give Murray a better chance than him.


Vulcan Says:

Jason, if I could get 1000 to 1 betting odds on Del Potro I would be looking to put some serious money down on him. 50 to 1 is more reasonable.


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

lol tennis-x will have to be puton suicide alert after their chosen king federer is dethroned and dead! hahaha vamos Rafael long live the new king!


Jason Says:

Vulcan,

Unless you have money to burn, you don’t want to put anything on Del Potro yet. Give him time. He’s got a lot of potential but I can guarantee that you that a 6’6 guy without a great serve is not going to win the Open. That’s pure fantasy.


Leftykick Says:

I agree with Zola that Del Potro is probably too inexperienced to win a slam just yet – witness his nerves in closing out his last match. However, he does have the tools to do it. Too many players around at the moment with big shots that can ‘get up’ for the odd game and cause an upset. I cannot wait for the US Open draw…


zola Says:

Jason
**I can guarantee that you that a 6′6 guy without a great serve is not going to win the Open.***

I was thinking what would happen whe he gets a great serve. Then you have a Karlovic with a great game. very scary!

*****

I like tennis bullies……,

Please son’t even pretend to be a Rafa fan by insulting Federer. You are too transparent. All sean needs to do is an IP check!


JCF Says:

From the WTA site:

“Ivanovic Returns to No.1″

“The 20-year old Serb, who held No.1 for nine weeks earlier this year (June 9 to August 10), returns to the top of the rankings by replacing compatriot Jelena Jankovic.”

Heh.. the last #1 held it for one week.

“This year, Ivanovic has won titles at the Tier I Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells and Roland Garros, her first Grand Slam title. She was runner-up to Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open in January and a semifinalist at two other Sony Ericsson WTA Tour stops in Sydney and Berlin. She is 30-8 on the season and has already secured a place in the singles competition for the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, set to take place at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, from November 4-9, 2008.”

Wow! A 30-8 record for the year with two titles, is enough to be #1 on the women’s tour? Compare that to what it takes to be #1 in the ATP tour.

“Since Justine Henin retired and immediately took her name off the rankings, three players have held the No.1 ranking: Ana Ivanovic (the next three weeks will be her 10th through 12th weeks), Jankovic (one week) and Maria Sharapova (three weeks). For a full list of the 18 world No.1 players since the inception of computer rankings in 1975, visit the Media Center.”

You could almost call this ‘depth’, if these three girls actually won lots of titles each. Their points are very close, just like the top 3 men, but the top 3 men have a lot of points (and are doing very great) compared to the rest of the tour, while WTA points are quite well spread (no one is really standing out).

Janks is now on the list of players who attained #1 status, even if it was for a week. And no GS finals yet. Just shows what a weak #1 the girl who preceded her was. If Henin was still around, the second player wouldn’t even be close to her. They need to send her a thank you card. Sorry for my cynicism but there’s just no excitement here.


Jason Says:

Zola,

I think a big serve is a prerequisite for JMDP if he’s going to win a big title. He needs that to offset the obvious lack of great quickness that goes hand in hand with being 6’6″


Vulcan Says:

Well ive watched the Youtube video more carefully and my opinion has shifted a bit since the first cursory viewing…Murray initiates the altercation by complaining to DP about him hitting a shot right at him. Then the following:

DP: You are always the same eh…you never change
Murray: You are
DP: You and your mother…the same always

Im pretty sure thats what was said
I dont think this really qualifies as an “insult” directed at Murrays mother
Its seems more like DP was referring to something from the past…and if so…Murray really seems to be trying to bully DP in this situation…he says something to DP on the changeover (players never talk to each other on the changeover) and then blames DP when he he tries to say something in rebuttal.


Giner Says:

Is this site going to bother updating the front page with a new poll? It’s been a while.

How about, “Will Roger Federer win the US Open this year?”, since the polls on this site seem fixated around Federer.

Of course, we can expect 95% to say yes. I want to know how many titles (of any kind) the readership expects Mr. Federer to win for the rest of the year. Surely he can’t end the year with only those two?


Vulcan Says:

Jason, this guys talent has been acknowledged quite a bit more than perhaps you realize…were not talking John Isner here or even Joachim Johansson…were talking a tall guy who is super talented…at least thats what I heard…anyway well see what happens for the US Open.


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

tennis-x still using the mono excuse lol

> 1. Roger Federer
> Wish you could just start the year over, this time without mono?


zola Says:

Vulcan,
very interesting. To me too, it seemed that Murray was more aggressive. JMDP did not even talk afterwards. The unpire had to calm Murray down…

What you have written suggests that they have a history.

But what is the role of the umpire? Why isn’t there any warning?

Jason,
The guys is still 19 and has lots of room for improvement. still has won 4 titles. I agree that a good serve will be a great help to him. Still, want to saa how he fares in US Open against the big boys.

Giner,
there are still one GS, two MS and the year -end MC left. So we don’t know if Fed will end up with 2 titles this year or more.


Jason Says:

Vulcan,

No doubt. I guess I first heard about him last year from Wertheim. He does blast the crap out of the ball with his forehand no doubt and has excellent court sense as far as knowing when to pull the trigger, but I just can’t see him beating Rafa, Djoke, Murray consistently if he has to get into too many long rallies. If he can hit 20-25 aces a match, that’s another story.


NachoF Says:

Im sorry but I just watched that video and the bringing Andy’s mom to the argument was completely unnecessary…. Del Potro has no excuse for that, it was completely unjustified.


NachoF Says:

hahaa, Im not sure if “unnecessary” and “unjustified” are words or if Im using them correctly but Im sure you guys get what I mean


FoT Says:

Well I read through all the comments and see that this site was visited by some ‘trolls’, but thankfully the ‘regulars’ kept them at arms lenght.

Congrats to the Nadal fans on your boy reaching #1. Like Roger said – he deserves it this year.

I also see that a lot of folks are making Nadal the favorite to win the US Open; Djokovic the next favorite; and you would have thought Roger would have been next…but fickle people are saying Del Potro is the next favorite along with Murray before Rooger.

Wel I say fine. Let Roger not be thought about as a favorite for the Open, but one thing… until his 18 slam SF streak is broken, I’m not going to cast him aside. lol!

Maybe it’ll be good for him to fly under the Radar.

One more thing…you know how when they ask Nadal if he’s the favorite (even at the French), Nadal would always say something like “I’m #2, I’m not the favorite”… Well he’s not #2 any longer so he’s the favorite! lol!

But deep down inside… I hope Roger pulls another great tournament out of his hat the next 2 weeks to prove that even though there is a a new king, maybe the old one still has life left?


NachoF Says:

FoT:
If Roger wins the US 08 it will not only prove he still has life left, it’ll be the beginning of his chase to get his rank back…. I don’t see any of those two things happening, but I definitely would be happy if they did.


jane Says:

FoT,

“Maybe it’ll be good for him to fly under the Radar.”

I think yes, you’ve hit on something here; look how well he flew “under the radar” playing with Stan. Doubles seemed to relieve some of the pressure he was feeling; maybe people looking at other players to win instead of (or along with) him will be good.

He’s number 3 in the race and number 2 in the rankings; it’s not like he has disappeared.


Von Says:

“NachoF Says:
hahaa, Im not sure if “unnecessary” and “unjustified” are words or if Im using them correctly but Im sure you guys get what I mean>”

I know your comments were not meant for me, and I dislike butting in other people’s conversations, but I’m an advocate of proper usage of the English language, and I admire those who want to improve on their English skills — “unnecessary” and “unjustified” are indeed proper words, and guess what, you get kudos for being 100 percent correct, where you used them in your sentence. :)


sar Says:

Jane, look at this site, entry #26 by Vida. It explains Novak’s problem which is more than a deviated septum. If this is true I feel sorry for him and wish him to win even more!

http://www.menstennisforums.com/showthread.php?t=129711&page=2


zola Says:

FoT,
nice to see you here. Thanks or the congrats.

About Fed in US Open, if his game is on, the trophy is his. That’s what I think. If not, then Djoko and them maybe Rafa or Murray. Del Potro is good, but has not yet won a MS title. If he can win the US Open, will be the biggest story of the year.

Fed looked very relaxed and that gold medal is probably good for his confidence. Maybe that’s what he needed. Also all these guys are coming from Beijing. They are tired but confident. So, I guess we have to see the draw and a couple of matches to see what is going on with them.

But noone is counting Federer out.

Sar,
a deviated septum is very common and can be treated with minor surgery ( I think Djoko has already had it). so, you shouldn’t worry about it.


jane Says:

Sar,

Thanks for the link; I had never heard of that thorax condition. But I suspected Novak might have a mild form of asthma. I hope he takes care and doesn’t overdo it. The post implies that he has good people around him, which is great. Reading about those kinds of struggles makes me appreciate what he’s already accomplished even more! It’s amazing what professional athletes do and what they put themselves through.


YY Says:

JMDP may not have won a MS title but given his form an upset in the early rounds is possible before he wilts in the later rounds. Just hope he’s not in Nadal’s quarter.

Zola
I like tennis bullies……,
Please son’t even pretend to be a Rafa fan by insulting Federer. You are too transparent. All sean needs to do is an IP check!

I think anyone is insulting Rafa by insulting any of his opponents. Given the sportsman Rafa and Roger are, these so called fans really do neither one justice nor respect.


zola Says:

Jane,
I think Djoko’s main problem is anxiety ( I guess I had written here before) and reading that link sort of confirms it. Perhaps by as he gets more experienced, he will relax more and will overcome this condition.

Still, a great effort by him to undermine a health condition and be willing to play.


bobby Says:

Whatever any writer may say,tennis players have proved that tennis defenitely belong to olympics.Players like federer,nadal,djokovic,blake,gonzales sweated their heart out to bring laurels for their country .It is an insult to them as well as to tennis when someone says that tennis does not belong to olympics.In the present scenario only to some rich american tennis writers does tennis look unworthy to be part of olympics.Tennis players are more genuine human beings than some tennis writers think.


NachoF Says:

bobby Says:

“Whatever any writer may say,tennis players have proved that tennis defenitely belong to olympics.Players like federer,nadal,djokovic,blake,gonzales sweated their heart out to bring laurels for their country .It is an insult to them as well as to tennis when someone says that tennis does not belong to olympics.”

But no one is arguing that the reason it shouldnt be in the Olympics is because the game isn’t athletic enough or anything like that… whats being said is that players don’t take it as that big of a thing… thats why you even see players deciding not to go carelessly… if players are always gonna care WAY more about any GS than an Olympic medal, in order to avoid disrespect for the rest of the athletes, it would be better to just keep it out (just like the professional soccer players dont play here cause they already got the World Cup)… anyway, Im not trying to get into an argument about it, I was just pointing out that there was a different reason for that proposal.


Lenny Says:

Debra:
“…if I had my way, I’d erase everyone’s points at the end of the year and they’d all start with zero in January.”

Well, that’s exactly what they do with the ATP Race system. But let’s face it, one good year does not a TRUE no. 1 make. It’s being able to be consistent in your results DESPITE what “life” may throw at you. It’s why the entry system rankings have ALWAYS been considered the true rankings by the players and the fans.

Simba:
Actually the diff between 2 & 3 (825) is MORE than the diff between 1 & 2 (720 pts)

Which brings me to this. I’ve seen the number of point-calculating geeks around here :) and I’d like to ask you guys something. Can anyone tell me what scenarios – if any – will lead to the foll by the end of the year?
1) Fed regaining his crown
2) Rafa staying no. 1
3) Nole taking over No. 2

Thanks.


Vulcan Says:

1) Fed regaining his crown

Initially this would seem difficult at this point…Federer cannot gain any points for the US Open as he won it last year…Nadal on the other hand would have to lose before R16 (or QF i forget) for him to lose any points to drop his total points. Similar math applies to TMC.
Federer could gain some ground perhaps at Paris and Madrid especially if Nadal bombs out there.
Just qualitatively it would seem difficult for Federer to get back to numero 1 this year.


Vulcan Says:

The differentials up until TMC assuming Rafa loses first round and Fed wins the tournament are:

USO +150
Madrid +275
Paris +775

So just one tournament, Paris is theoretically enough for Federer to catch Nadal.


Vulcan Says:

“assuming Rafa loses first round”
should be Rafa withdraws from tournament (first round loses still yield a few points)


YY Says:

Scary for Roger if he loses first round though, he will lose almost 1000 points!


Vulcan Says:

YY, yeah Nadal is only defending 150 points so hes in pretty good shape going into the indoor season. Djokovic is likewise defending alot of points for USO but I agree with you that the spotlight next week is really going to be trained on Federer.


YY Says:

Out of curiosity, when the points system changes next year (MS now become 1000 blah blah tournament) will the current points of the players be adjusted accordingly or will they just add points to what they currently hold? Which will be terribly unfair to those with many “old” points to defend.


Vulcan Says:

YY, Ill have to think about that one, Im still trying to digest how the point system works…but the ATP could always use some sharp bloggers pondering these scenarios when you consider what happened with the Round Robin debacle (nobody stopped to really think it through carefully)


zola Says:

I posted this somewhere else last night, but it fits this discussion too:

points in 2008 on Decoturf ( the uS open surface)

———–
MS(Canada, Cincy, Olympics)

1-Rafa: 500+225+400=1125
2-Djoko: 125+350+205=680
3-Murray:225+500+5=730
4-Fed: 5+75+100=180

————
MS+Dubai (also on Decoturf)
1-Rafa: 1125+75=1200
2-Djoko: 680+135= 815
3-Murray: 730+75=805
4-Fed: 180+0=180

—————
MS+Dubai+AO (on plexicushin, close ro decoturf)

1-Djoko: 815+1000=1815
2-Rafa: 1200+450= 1615
3-Murray: 815+75=890
4-Fed: 180+450=630

————
so looking at just numbers, Fed has a difficult task in us open.
but of course there are other factors. the balls, injury, fatigue, extra confidence from Beijing, ….etc.


Vulcan Says:

Zola thanks for those numbers…very illuminating.


Mary Says:

This is the first season where we seem to see Nadal winning, consistently?, on all surfaces.
Previously, injuries seemed to have bothered him by the time hardcourt season rolled around.

2009 is going to be very interesting when we see another player needing to defend winning a major amount of tournys.

In my analytical mind, if points and ranking were all important to me and I was Fed, I wouldn’t kill myself the rest of this season.


YY Says:

Yes. Fed should just relax for the rest of the season to rejuvenate but I guess he will go all out at the USO first to get at least one SLAM this year.


Mary Says:

YY: And why not? Nole and Nadal are injury prone, so it may be a strategic move on Fed’s part to kick back and put the burden on those two to defend the majority of points in ’09.
Of course, I’m not counting in other players in this, just the top three- all Federer really needs is for Nole and Nadal to not equal their ’08 season.


zola Says:

Mary,
Fed has to defend about 1800 points till the end of the season. Taking the time off will take him to no4 easily( he’ll have a bit more than 4000 points). Rafa has the least to defend ( 800-900) and Djoko a bit more. Coming back might not be that easy.

Besides there is always an argument on whether taking too much rest and have no match play will be good…it is a hard decision.


zola Says:

I am sorry. with 4000 points, he’ll still be no 3! unless Ferrer makes a move and wins several events to win more than 1300 points!


Mary Says:

Zola: I’m not saying take time off. I guess what I’m posting, not very clealy :>, is for him not to have a breakdown over the rest of the season.

The only problem is Nadal takes it easy the first part of the season, seeming to build into the clay court season.


zola Says:

Mary,
That’s right. I guess i misunderstood what you wrote. At least he shoud defend his point. for US Open, it might be tricky, but if he does it, it will be a great confidence booster and come back sign.

Rafa earns the majority of his points during clay so I think he is trying to peak uring the clay season. still , Rotterdam and dubai (QF) aside, he was in the SF and F of the hard court series.still not too light.


sar Says:

What’s better? An individual bronze or doubles gold.

Top story: Nadal Returns Tonight In Beijing, Djokovic Begins Final No. 1 Push; Serena Survives Scare
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