Tennis Product Reviews and Early US Open Thoughts
by Dan Martin | August 19th, 2008, 9:46 am
  • 231 Comments

I used to be a pretty decent tennis player and tennis coach. My skill set is still more or less intact, but I am not match tough at present. The desire to get into better shape while sharpening my game led me to purchase two different tennis related products.


1. The Sklz Powerbase Tennis Trainer was on sale at a local sporting goods store. I decided to give it a shot. It is basically a heavy disk with a dead tennis ball tethered to what amounts to a giant rubber band. I used it several times and was impressed with how portable it was. I also thought that if a player was hitting topspin shots off of either wing that a good workout could be had. Slice backhands and volleys did not really elicit much of a response, but a player with good mastery of topspin could have long “rallies” with the tethered ball while working up a decent sweat. So far so good…

The real test came when I next got onto an actual tennis court hitting balls with a human being. At this point, the limited usefulness of the Powerbase Tennis Trainer became painfully evident. It took me over 10 minutes to readjust to a normal bounce as the tether and rubber band certainly alter the physics of the tennis ball’s flight and bounce. If one hits with pace using the Powerbase, the ball springs back in a way that is not realistic for actual tennis. One might think this could help with reflexes since the Powerbase ball shoots back faster and lower than a usual groundstroke, but being early on all of one’s shots can lead to pulling the ball badly wide on a normal crosscourt groundstroke.

Final Rating: Avoid this item. It can help a person get into better shape so as a workout device it is fine, but it is detrimental to one’s tennis swing and timing on the court. I will be selling my Powerbase to a used sporting goods store.

2. Speedminton
is a game that meshes aspects of badminton and tennis. The shuttle cock/birdie known as a speeder is heavier and more compact than what is used in badminton. This leads to the speeder being much faster than its badminton counterpart. The basic rackets are made of aluminum and resemble a junior tennis racket. This racket can generate a lot more force than a badminton racket can produce.

I tested this out with a couple of other tennis players I know and the strokes we used seemed to be that of a flat approach shot or reflex volley depending on how hard our opposition had hit the speeder.

Final Rating: Speedminton is fun and is a workout. The mechanics of hitting were not going to lead to bad tennis habits as far as I or my hitting partners could tell. It also cannot hurt one’s reflexes as Speedminton does force a lot of reflex strikes due to the velocity of the speeder. This basic set comes with 2 rackets and 3 speeders. It is not expensive and is quite portable. If a tennis player is looking for some fun cross training, I recommend Speedminton.

U.S. Open Contenders:
I will not do what Tennis Magazine does and predict final outcomes for players weeks before the draw is announced. Still, much can be gleaned from the Summer hard court season. Needless to say the draw will make a huge difference as world rankings are not in perfect alignment with some of the more promising players in the tournament.

Men’s Contenders

1. Rafael Nadal – If Rafa can impose his will on a match and have it played on his terms, he wins. Fast hard courts make it harder for Nadal to impose his style of match on his opponent, but his post-Wimbledon results demonstrate that he is still the man to beat in New York.

2. Novak Djokovic – If I was a betting man, Djokovic would be my pick. His game is really impressive when he gets it going. At present he seems a little behind Nadal in terms of confidence and concentration on hard courts, but I think his two handed backhand up the line and his ability to bully Nadal on a hard court could be the difference if these two meet.

3. Roger Federer – I nearly placed Andy Murray here, but Roger has reached 17 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals and won 4 consecutive U.S. Open titles. There is something to be said for experience. If Roger’s tennis spirits have been recharged by his Olympic Gold Medal in doubles, then we have an interesting triumvirate heading into New York. If he still needs some time to get his groove back, Federer may struggle. Federer will have to take better care of his serve than he did in Toronto and play better in tie-breakers than he did in Cincinnati and Beijing to win a 5th consecutive U.S. Open.

4. Andy Murray – His game seems to be coming of age as the feel and touch he possesses is being complimented by increased power and toughness. Some may still wonder if he is tough enough to win an elite event. 2 weeks of 3 out of 5 set tennis in New York ought to be a good test for Murray’s toughness.

5. Juan Martin del Potro – The Argentine is powerful, 19 years old, and has momentum. Confidence can do many things for a player. Still, if del Potro wins at Flushing Meadows it will be because he transformed into a different player during the event. Sometimes players enter an event at one level and leave at another level. Therefore, the kid has at least a punchers chance.

6 -10. These players deserve watching, but the odds of a champion coming from anyone not in the top 4 listed drop off significantly. James Blake, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (if healthy), David Ferrer, Andy Roddick (if healthy), and Fernando Gonzalez have earned the right to attention in the draw. Finally, Stanislas Wawrinka and Gilles Simon likely lack the fire power to contend for a title, but both possess the steady play that could lead to upsets.

Women’s Contenders:

Dinara Safina has shown signs of becoming a dominant force on the women’s tour. I like how she is taking her game to her opponents and beating them into submission. Nevertheless, her serve is still not reliable enough to proclaim her as the clear cut favorite for the title.

Venus and Serena Williams are both likely to be factors if not favorites in Flushing Meadows. Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic both look fragile. Elena Dementieva may ride some Gold Medal momentum to a strong result. I have always liked her fight, athleticism and ground strokes even if her serve looks like a dead duck coming over the net.

Injuries, early retirements, fragile nerves and a few unsound service motions have left the women’s draw quite open-ended. Sadly, parity of this sort is not making for an exciting event. My hope is that Safina can win the U.S. Open and realize the potential of the firepower she has demonstrated for most of the hard court Summer. She is the one player on the rise who could lift the whole tour to higher levels of play.


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231 Comments for Tennis Product Reviews and Early US Open Thoughts

YY Says:

Personally I’d rather not place Nadal as the favourite (other than on clay). So far predicted winners have been jinxed when no one expected Nadal to do well (Wimbledon, the hardcourt MS, Olympics). Since I am hoping for Nadal to win the USO, my prediction is that Roger Federer or Djokovic will win it ;)


Dan_Martin Says:

YY, the problem is that when you win n Toronto and win a Gold Medal you become a favorite. Nadal has not been able to sneak up on anyone for quite some time. I do think climbing the mountain is easier than staying at the top of the mountain so I get the logic of not wanting Nadal jinxed, but I think he will be on top of the mountain for at least 52 consecutive weeks so take heart.


JoshDragon Says:

I believe Nadal is the slight favorite to win the US Open because he has a huge winning record over the two players most likely to upset him, Djokovic 10-4 and Murray 5-0. Nadal’s win over Djokovic at the Olympics proves that he can beat even the best players on his worst surface.

Although the big hitters may have the potential to take him out I don’t think that they will. He’s been beating them this year. He won twice over Blake, once over Tsonga, and also Roddick and Karlovic and none of those matches were on clay.


Jason Says:

I think that list makes sense overall. I would just say that the top 4 is relatively close. Rafa is clearly the favorite, not because of technical reasons (arguably Djoke has the best game) but because he has so much confidence and seems to be mentally superior to the rest. After the top four, we have a huge drop-off. Del Potro is not close to winning a major and I think this will be apparent after the tournament is over. The improvement during the tournament you mention would have to be something along the lines of develop a monster serve in the next week. Not gonna happen.


zola Says:

Jason,
actually the top 4 are not so close. I posted some numbers on the ranking points earned on decoturf this year, in the previous thread.
http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2008-08-17/575.php#comment-45424

It is surprisng to see that Murray has had more success than Fed on the hard courts this year. I can say Rafa and Djoko are very close, with the edge to Djoko. But Murray and then fed have a lower chance if we just look at the numbers.

Of course there is always the possibility of a major upset for various reasons.


zola Says:

Dan,
I think Rafa has some idea of staying at the top of the mountain through his 4 -year domination of the clay season. My concern about him is either injury or fatigue, especially after such a brutal schedule.

we just need to wait and see. I rather not speculate just watch and enjoy the tennis. Rafa has exceeded all my expectations this year. anything extra is just icing on the cake.


Jason Says:

Zola,

I think given what Fed did over the previous four years we can’t rate him too low based on a few results this year. I’m sure if we polled the players they’d have him at #2. I put him at #3 but if things fall his way he’s in with a shot. I think someone has to take Rafa out for him and by far the best candidate is Djokovic. If Fed can somehow make the final and he has a tired Djokovic as his opponent he could take the title. I realize my Murray pick is more questionable. But again I can see a scenario for him winning the tournament. Again, Djokovic would have to take care of Nadal for him. But if that happens and it’s a Murray-Djoke final I’d have to like Murray’s chances based on their last two matches.

All that said, Fed and Murray are much more likely to be upset than Rafa or Djoke, imo


zola Says:

Jason,
you are right that those numbers just look at this year’s performance. If we do a summation of the hard court scores in the past 4 years, surely Fed will be the favorite.

I guess, I used the numbers for this year, because things were not the same. Still, we are talking about Federer. So no one can rule out a major come back. there are also possibilities of other upsets, etc.


YY Says:

Why a “major” come back? Personally I don’t think Federer is really playing that much poorer. Not sure if you guys agree with me on this one. Most of the top players are vulnerable at the early stages of tournaments. As each tournament progresses, the top players find their form faster.

My take is that Federer has been really unlucky this year and especially recently at crucial points in the earlier rounds (look at the Ivo Karlovic match for e.g.) and for the matches he did make to the finals, the difference wasn’t that great. Even Wimbledon could have gone either way at the end. Given such a good run over four years, that kind of level and to some extent luck is really hard to maintain.


NachoF Says:

The most exciting scenario is a Fed-Nadal final…. they haven’t faced each other this year on hard court (Im pretty sure) and the last time they did Federer completely destroyed him…. it would certainly be a proper final chapter of all the finals this year…. then again, the same thing could happen at the TMC…. I just wish they get to face each other on hard court at least once this year


jane Says:

It’s interesting that Roger’s “decline” has been most noticeable on hardcourts. His two titles this year have come on clay and grass, and he reached the finals of the clay and grass slams. Overall, he played well on clay and grass, matching results with his number 2 ranking. However, he was eliminated earlier than expected at the AO and the Olympics, and his results at hardcourt MS events have been uneven – good at the beginning of the season with a semi at IW and quarters at Miami (although an early exit from Dubai was telling), but fairly poor recently, with the R32 and R16 exits at Canada and Cincinnati.

So I think that does affect his chances at this year’s final hardcourt slam.

I like Dan’s guesstimates as to who could win the title, but I think I favor Murray just slightly over Roger based on recent form at the MS events; it’s a tough call, though, because Murray has yet to put in consistent results, whereas Roger, prior to this year, has been very consistent on hardcourts. He did reach the quarters at the Olympics, but the only tough player he faced prior to losing to Blake was Berdych, and Berdych has had a mediocre year, definitely not as good as last year. Djoko had the toughest draw at the Olympics of the “big three”, imho.

That leads me to my main point – so much depends on the draw at the USO that it’s tough to even speculate prior to seeing it.


NachoF Says:

YY Says:

Why a “major” come back? Personally I don’t think Federer is really playing that much poorer. Not sure if you guys agree with me on this one.

Not at all…. just watch any video of Federer in 2006 or 2007, take special look at his forehand…. it was insane, too damn powerful… his current forehand is just nowhere near.


Vulcan Says:

YY, I agree…all this talk of “Federer’s decline” is exaggerated in my opinion. He’s shown himself to be human, thats all. His results in the majors have been the results of the number 2 player in the world at minimum. The thing is both Rafa and Federer are setting some ridiculously high standards. It bears repeating that Nadal is in a position to produce what could be perhaps the greatest tennis season ever recorded. Now thats going to be a tall order for him given his hard major results but hes certainly positioned himself to do it.


Vulcan Says:

NachoF, the one match I want to see more than any other is as you said Nadal v Federer on hard courts. Certainly with at least 3 or 4 more opportunities we will get to see it at least once this year.


JoshDragon Says:

YY,

I agree that the top players are usually more vulnerable during the early rounds and the Wimbledon final between Nadal and Federer definitely could have gone either way but there were other matches where he was clearly outplayed.

1. Nadal vs Federer French Open 2008
2. Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo vs Federer Monte Carlo
3. Djokovic vs Federer Australian Open
4. Nadal vs Federer Hamburg (Huge choke from Federer.)

He’s lost too many big matches this year for it to just be luck.


jane Says:

Based on the stats I posted on the previous thread, Roger’s serve works to his advantage on fast hardcourts – if he can keep his first serve percentage high and serve a lot of aces, that will help him win easy points.

However, he hasn’t been returning as well as in the past, so he’s not having much luck at breaking his opponents. This is something Roger used to always be able to do in the past, and usually at the most opportune times as well.

Measure Roger’s return stats against Djoko’s, Rafa’s, and further behind, Murray’s and he’s at a disadvantage here. These are all players who seem to be able to handle Roger’s serve fairly well, which gives them the slight advantage for getting the break. But they each have to take care of their own serves of course. If they can, they have a slightly better chance because of their good returns, imo.

Again, it’s not like there is miles separating these players; a lot depends on day form. As we know, anything can (and does) happen in tennis.


Vulcan Says:

There’s another dynamic which seems to be under the radar here as far as Nadal and hardcourts go.
Ferrer and Davydenko. These are guys that seem to pose minimal threat to Federer and Djokovic but whom Nadal has a losing record to on hard courts (Davydenko crushed him in the Miami final this year).


jane Says:

I agree with NachoF – Fed’s forehand, previously the best for sure, is no longer the best, in part because it is so errant these days – lots of forehand errors. Look at thefh errors in the 5th set of Wimbledon for instance; they may’ve cost him the match.

People have speculated that what’s going on with Roger’s slight drop in play this year is related to timing, which would or could be impacted on hardcourts due to speed and bounce. I am not sure about this???

I do think he’s moving just a touch slower this year though.

His “decline” (don’t know what other word to use) is miniscule; Vulcan is right. But there is something less potent in his game at the moment. He’s still one of the best players in the world, of course.


Hamilton Says:

Davydenko crushed Rafa in Miami, yeah, months ago, before Nadal put out Djokovic’s fire and lost only two more matches the rest of the way.


jane Says:

Del Potro is another great returner; he’s top 10 in all four categories. So his opponents at the open will have to take real good care of their serves when playing him. He’s not the best server though, so that might be a factor. In addition, he’s not previously performed well at Slams; he lost in the R64 at all 3 this year. So maybe the 5 set format will be a factor for him (or his opponents). Be interesting to see how he does here.


Vulcan Says:

Out of anyone else I would say that Davydenko’s game is probably the closest to Djokovics…with the exception that Davydenko is a just a bit more consistent and a tad less powerful…also Davydenko isnt nearly as good when stretched out wide the way Djokovic is (this has to be one of Djoker’s most unique qualities).


jane Says:

Davydenko’s serve isn’t as good as Djokovic’s either. Djoko’s first serve percentage can be inconsistent, which is something he needs to fix imo, but when it’s clicking it’s a definite weapon. Overall, I don’t think the same can be said about Davy’s serve.


Vulcan Says:

Jane, whose game would you say is the most like Nadal’s?


zola Says:

Jane,
Besides, I think the age is a factor too. I think Davydenko is past his peak, where Djoko’s still ahead of him.


jane Says:

Vulcan,

Rafa’s game is so unique in many ways so that’s a tough call. But in some ways I think Murray’s game is a bit like Nadal’s. Murray can mix up the pace and add spin, he thinks quick on the court, and he’s great at defense. But Murray’s been adding some Djoko-like aggression, hitting flat and deep too. That’s why if Murray’s game clicks, and he maintains consistency, he’s got to be a contender for slams, especially on faster courts, like grass and hard. In some ways, he has more variety than any other player that I can think of currently.

Rafa’s got incredible endurance and focus, which sets him apart. Djokovic has wicked groundies and hits deeper than most and is able to change directions easily; he’s also often very accurate.

I don’t know who’s most similar or who will win but I’ll say this: as a fan of tennis it’s absolutely fantastic to feel confused about all this burgeoning talent!


Dan_M Says:

Two most important shots in tennis – second serve and return of serve. Cliched yes, but it is because it is true.


Jason Says:

Vulcan,

I’ve always thought Verdasco’s strokes were the most similar to Nadal of anyone. Nowhere near the defense or mental toughness though.


Andrew Miller Says:

No Ernest Gulbis? (also known as the prime time upset machine for the last several grand slam tournaments?)

No Davydenko? (also known as the perennial grand slam semifinalist anywhere other than Wimbledon?)

I was hoping these guys would at least sneak in as “capable of making the second week”

If Safina wins I think that would be great. But if it’s anyone other than Dementieva or the Williams sisters, I would say that this year’s tournament fields a WEAK draw. Sorry to say, but outside of Safina’s emergence, the Wimbledon comeback of the Williams sisters, and injuries, this year on the WTA will be known as “retirement happenned, and it was brutal.” The tour hasnt recovered from Henin’s retirement. I love the serbian women (they are beautiful) but I find it hard to find excitement in Ivanovic’s game, and Jankovic just lets me down way too often.

The WTA looks a lot like Jankovic right now: kind o broken, but trying a lot of fancy stuff anyhows.


Vulcan Says:

Jason, I wouldve said Verdasco too…off the top of my head its so hard to come up with anybody even remotely close because first of all I cant think of anybody that hits the “Buggy Whip” forehand as often (or even at all) as Nadal does.

Jane Murray probably has even more variety than Nadal has…I think I would compare him more to Federer than Nadal. However in the mental department…particularly focus…hes not on the same level.


zola Says:

Vulcan
what part of Murray’s game do you think has more variety than Rafa? just curious.


NachoF Says:

I think Andreev plays like Nadal… people dont notice it cause hes not a lefty


Dan_M Says:

Oh, I think Davydenko and Gulbis are both capable of making the second week. I was just giving a little pre-draw premonition or something of the sort.


Vulcan Says:

Zola, one thing that comes to mind is his ability to change the tempo more often….he tends to hit more backhand slice than Nadal does. He seems to like to slow points down and can then bang winners unexpectedly.


Shital Green Says:

Jane,
Check out the new post on Planet: Nadal Sits on No. 1 Throne With Uneasy Calm. I’d appreciate your comment.


zola Says:

thanks vulcan. I was thinking that he uses the net more often and also changes the pace. He also uses the angles a lot. some of these Rafa does too, but with more power.
Last two tournaments Andy’s game reminded me of Rafa’s a lot. one thing in particular is his defence and getting to each ball which was phenomenal in Toronto and cincy.


Vulcan Says:

Zola, speaking of variety I notice that Nadal has never played Fabrice Santoro (who won Newport again). It would be fascinating to see how the “master of topspin” deals with the “master of spin”. Fabrice wont be around too much longer so hopefully well get to see this matchup sometime in the near future.


Jason Says:

Vulcan,

I like Santoro so I’d sort of rather not watch that matchup :-) Unless Fabrice could win a lot of points with his serve and volley, that one might get ugly, sort of like the Santoro-Nalbandian match at 06 AO


Vulcan Says:

LOL, Jason exactly…there seem to be only two outcomes in a Santoro match…either he confounds his opponents or he gets steamrolled (I have fond memories of the confound variety @ 04 Toronto vs Hewitt)


zola Says:

vulcan
that’s one match I would love to see. Is he going to play in US Open? I hope he postpones his retirement.

I think it will be awkward for Rafa to play him. Rafa might win because of his lefty topspin shots, but can be surprised by Santoro’s shots as well. my favorite: The spoon!


zola Says:

Dan,
next time you should try that two-handed racquet:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzNr90XZ05A

someone had posted this link in tennis.com yesterday. your prduct review reminded me of it!


Vulcan Says:

Vulcan, yeah I would love to see what Santoro does with that high kicking forehand to his backhand…it would really put his slicing ability to the test.


Jason Says:

Zola,

The only question, I’m afraid, would be how many games could Santoro win. I think 10 in three sets would be quite a feat.


zola Says:

Jason,
Blake hits pretty hard and he had a very hard time against Santoro. But the lefty topspin can be a problem. you are right.

maybe they should play an exhibition.


Jason Says:

They played a practice set before the FO and I think Rafa won 6-1. Granted, Fed didn’t do much better! At least not this year.


jane Says:

I always forget about Verdasco – but yeah he has some similarities to Rafa. I always had thought in the past Verdasco would break through and be a winner of slams; he has a lot of talent. But he’s never managed to get it all together. Too bad.

And yeah, the buggy whip makes Rafa pretty unique, and well as the fact that he’s a natural lefty and so hits his backhand with so much strength from crazy angles.


Von Says:

Vu8lcan:

“..there seem to be only two outcomes in a Santoro match…either he confounds his opponents or he gets steamrolled ….”

It all depends on which Santoro shows up. If you were to ask Marat Safin, who’s the player on his side of the draw he hates to see, his answer is emphatically, Santoro. Marat said Santoro gives him nightmares.

Strangely, up until ’07, Blake had never won a 5 setter, and he won his first 5 setter against Santoro, but it was a see-saw match. It seems that Santoro lives by the motto of the point isn’t over, until I say it’s over. He’s quite a character with his bag of tricks, and a joy to watch, if only for his on-court semantics.


jane Says:

Shital,

Thanks for sharing. I like that one even better than the previous one because imo that’s the exciting rivalry to watch at the moment; I liked the predator / prey analogies too. It’s so tough to call right now; I am feeling torn on predicting a winner for the USO as there are plenty of extenuating or exacerbating circumstances this year. I’ll await the draw with bated breath.

But no matter how the draw turns out, I can’t wait to watch it all unfold.


jane Says:

Von,

That Blake vs. Santoro match was INSANE! I enjoyed it thoroughly although I thought Santoro was pulling some gamesmanship. Luckily James kept his head in that match.

It was classic USO late night fodder; the stuff for big bowls of popcorn, that match.


Von Says:

jane:

“I enjoyed it thoroughly although I thought Santoro was pulling some gamesmanship. Luckily James kept his head in that match.”

That’s what I meant in my post about Santoro’s bag of tricks and on-court semantics. In that match with Blake he had trainer calls; he was walking around pulling up one leg of his shorts, shaking out his leg, you name it, he did it, and then, there’s always that beguiling smile. The guy’s one of a kind. I think God threw away the mould when He created him.

One player that has fallen off pretty badly on the North American hardcourts is Feli Lopez. He’s been going out in the second round of his last 3 tournaments. Also, he should have been much higher in the ranking if only for that wicked lefty serve. It appears that he and his talented buddy, Verdasco, are just content to remain in the top 20; too much pizazz and not enough work ethic.


Jason Says:

Shital and Jane,

I read that post on Tennis Planet and didn’t the comment “it’s hard to imagine Nadal beating Djokovic at this stage on hard courts” jump out at you? Didn’t that just happen three days ago? Certainly Djoko has some advantages on fast courts but it seems to be it’s going way too far to say a Nadal win against Novak is unlikely. If anything the 3 out of 5 format should make Rafa the favorite if they are to play at USO, imo.


zola Says:

Jason
I think if Rafa is 100% physically and mentally, he can win over Djoko in a best of 5.


Von Says:

jane:

“And yeah, the buggy whip makes Rafa pretty unique, and well as the fact that he’s a natural lefty and so hits his backhand with so much strength from crazy angles.”

I don’t think Nadal is a natural lefty. He’s an improvised lefty — a natural right hander. This is the main reason why his serve doesn’t have the power and impact as Lopez’ who is a natural lefty.


Shital Green Says:

Jason,
I agree that particular statement is a little bit skewed because Djoko fans are the target audience of the piece.
If Djoko is 100%, it won’t be easy to beat him on hard court. I’d probably give Djoko a slight edge.

My official position: the match can go either way, if both Djoko and Rafa are at their best.


jane Says:

Von – thanks for the correction; that’s what I meant to say – because Rafa’s a “natural righty” it makes the lefty backhand that much heftier.

——–

Re: Djoko vs. Rafa on hard court; it is probably 50/50 but a lot depends on if Djoko starts well. If he does, like in Cincy, then he’s the probable winner providing he can keep his level of play up. If he loses the first set, Rafa is way more likely to win the match. Also, night time favors Djoko, day time Rafa, imo.


Von Says:

“If he loses the first set, Rafa is way more likely to win the match. Also, night time favors Djoko, day time Rafa, imo.”

The night time definitely favors Djoko because of his breathing problems, but there are times when the nights can be very humid and that also can be a hindrance. Without a doubt sun/heat favors Nadal because the ball bounces higher. Djoko, like the majority of the players, is a front runner. It’s less stressful to win a match being in front of an opponent, rather than coming from behind. However, there are those who relish the challenge of coming from behind; the adrenalin rush produces a heady sensation. Some people work best by the light of their burning bridges.


Jason Says:

Is there any chance of Rafa and Djoko playing at night, provided there’s no rain?


Von Says:

Jason:

“Is there any chance of Rafa and Djoko playing at night, provided there’s no rain?”

Sure, if they are on the same side of the draw. They could meet in one of the SFs matches, which could be scheduled for night.


Dan Martin Says:

Zola, wow that is freaky. The racket looks interesting to say the least.

If they send me a free one to demo (grip size 4 3/4″), I would certainly give it a whirl. I will contact them. I doubt I’d get to keep the frame, but it would be fun to hit with one of those. Based upon my left handed shooting in basketball, I doubt I’d be hitting many lefty forehands, but who knows.


jane Says:

Jason,

Obviously a lot of the most exciting matches at the Open are played during prime time, early evening, and sometimes even late evening.

But since these two would only meet in a semifinal or, ideally imo, in the final, the strongest likelihood is late afternoon. US Open Men’s finals are usually scheduled around 4:00 pm, if I am not mistaken. The semis begin earlier, but they usually keep the “marquee” semi for later, and since the women’s final is on the same day too – Super Saturday – the second men’s semi can be early evening sometimes.


Von Says:

A footnote to my 8:13 pm post. Djoko being in the No. 3 spot is always very vulnerable to be placed in Nadal’s half of the draw now that he’s No. 1. This was the same situation Roddick faced when he was No. 3. He nearly always was placed in Fed’s side of the draw, which prevented him from progressing to the finals, and this accounts for the lopsided H@H. unfortunately for Roddick, even when he dropped to No. 4 and lower in the ranking, for some reason he still ended up on Fed’s side. One of those quirks of fate I suppose.


Jason Says:

Von,

I don’t think either a semifinal or final would actually be scheduled at night, but chances are, like Jane says, a Nadal-Djoko semi would be the “marquee” match so it would be a fairly late start – maybe 4:00.

Worst case for scenario I would think for Djoko would be if he has to play Nadal at 1:00 start, maybe because the other semi is Fed-Roddick (unlikely given Andy’s current form, by the way)


Von Says:

jane:

“But since these two would only meet in a semifinal or, ideally imo, in the final, the strongest likelihood is late afternoon.”

The only way they can meet in the final is if they are on opposite sides of the draw, but then you’re forgetting Federer, he’s still in the mix, and Djoko will have to go through Fed to get to the final, which can eliminate a Djoko/Nadal final. The scenario that’s a certainty is if they are on the same side of the draw and meet in the semis. Nadal being No. 1 will most likely be the featured evening match.


Von Says:

Jason:

I thought you were speaking in general for most tournaments, not solely the US Open. If it’s just the US Open, then the likelihood of them playing at night, e.g., around 8:00 pm in the SFs would not occur. Early evening yes. The Finals at the Open is always, as Jane stated, around 4:00 p.m.

“Worst case for scenario I would think for Djoko would be if he has to play Nadal at 1:00 start, maybe because the other semi is Fed-Roddick (unlikely given Andy’s current form, by the way)”

If, by some stroke of luck Roddick makes it to the Sfs (and you’re breaking my heart here reminding me of Andy’s poor form), he’s American and will be featured in the later SFs match — Andy’s always a big draw for evening/night matches. My heart wants this to be so, but my head tells me differently. He’s lucky to make it to the R16. So sad.


Jason Says:

Von,

But I think the women’s final would be scheduled at night and the 2nd men’s semi would go on just as soon as the 1st semi finishes.


zola Says:

Jason,
I think it was in IW, where they played at noon or 1 pm and I was so happy. Everything was perfect for Rafa to win. He was playing fabulous before that! and guess what! he lost!

So,I am hoping that RAfa is 100% and he is motivated. He took out Djoko in Shanghai inrelatively cool conditions. If they meet in NY, I hope the same Rafa shows up again ( and the same Djoko not the IW one!)


Shital Green Says:

Von,
If Fed happens to meet and beat Djoko at USO, I will be a re-born Fed fan. Fed fans, start praying so that this miracle happens, and I can once again become your fellow Fed fan.

If you asked me, would I want to play Fed or Murray, Tsonga, del Potro, Gasquet, or Monfils at this point, frankly I’d choose Fed.


jane Says:

I still think the more important thing is the draw; if Djoko’s spent, like after beating Scheuttler (coming off semis at Wimby), Youzhny and Monfils (always threats, perhaps especially on hardcourts) in back-to-back matches at the Olympics, whereas Rafa had a relatively easier draw (an injured Hewitt and then Melzer), then that’s a more telling factor than day or night. Similarly, I think Rafa was tired at IW after beating, I think (?), both Blake and Tsonga, both players he’d had trouble with previously.

So like I said before, the draw will mean a lot.

But then again, the draw can always open up and surprise us too.


Shital Green Says:

Forget about me, the greatest Olympian of all time Michael Phelps had always wanted to meet Rafa, and he did.
QUESTION: “Is there anybody you looked up to in Beijing?”
PHELPS: “I went up to Rafael Nadal, I love watching him play tennis, he’s such a good athlete. And I walked up to him and I just wanted to meet him. I told him good-luck and I love watching his matches.”


Von Says:

Jason:

“But I think the women’s final would be scheduled at night and the 2nd men’s semi would go on just as soon as the 1st semi finishes.”

Now you have me completely discombobulated*, shame on you. :) I originally based my answer on only men’s matches, focusing on other tournaments. I now remember the ’07 USO which Sharapova won, was at night. I can almost picture her in that Audrey Hepburn black dress under the lights. Forgive me for misleading you. You’re correct, the men’s SFs would be in the afternoon, back to back.

_____________
*NB: JCF take note: “discombobulated” dedicated to you. :P


Von Says:

Shital:

“Fed fans, start praying so that this miracle happens, and I can once again become your fellow Fed fan.”

You’re kidding!! You’ll become a Fed fan reincarnate and pass up all the controversy? I don’t think so. Then, I’ll be butting heads with you and ???? Lord help me. :) That’s one way to get me off Tennis.X pronto. A chorus of Hallelulias will be heard around the globe. :)


Dan Martin Says:

Shital,

Given the Phelps P(h)andemonium it makes one wonder how Nadal, Federer or Djokovic would be treated by the U.S. media if any of the 3 were born in the U.S. I get the sense that what Roger has done since July 2003 and Rafa since June 2005 that both would be massive massive stars on the U.S. sports scene if jingoism was not an obstacle for either man to overcome in the U.S. Sampras did mighty things, but kept the media at arms length much moreso than Roger or Rafa. Agassi had a lot of ups, but was never in a sustained 4-5 year run of extreme excellence. Both men could have been bigger than Andre. Novak’s personality and results would have given him a high Q rating if he was a U.S. citizen. Then again with the strength of the Euro, Lebron and Kobe are pondering a move to Europe.


Von Says:

“..if Djoko’s spent, like after beating Scheuttler (coming off semis at Wimby),..”

Come on Jane, Djoko was spent after playing against Schuettler? Rainer is an old man in tennis years. Please tell me you’re joking. :)


Von Says:

Dan:

“Sampras did mighty things, but kept the media at arms length much moreso than Roger or Rafa.”

You forget the US is only interested in what a player did yesterday or today. If you will go back in time, do you remember how cruelly Sampras was treated by the media during his decline, especially by the ESPN crew. The media had Pete dead and buried/cremated. I saw Pete recently on the Tennis Channel and the mentioned that his primary motivation to win his final GS was to shut up the media. What about Roddick? He’s treated like dirt.


Dan Martin Says:

Von you are 100% correct. Andy is not treated well by the non-tennis media. Sampras saw vultures during 2002, but those vultures had tape recorders and memo note pads. Pete got the last laugh for sure.


Dan Martin Says:

Karlovic beat Isner in New Haven in one tall match.


Shital Green Says:

Dan,
Fed will certainly be mentioned along side the likes of Ruth, Ali, Jordan, Woods, (and Canadian Gretzky).


Shital Green Says:

Correction: “would”


jane Says:

Von,

“Come on Jane, Djoko was spent after playing against Schuettler? Rainer is an old man in tennis years. Please tell me you’re joking. ”

Not Joking – are you playing with me? :-)

The sentence read Scheuttler-Youz-Monfils in back-to-back matches; so no, he wasn’t spent after playing Scheuttler, but I think after all three, especially the challenge Monfils put up, by then he was pretty tired. It was obvious in the first set against Rafa that he was tired, until he got a second wind, or woke up and smelled the coffee!


Shital Green Says:

Von,
I will keep my word.


Von Says:

Dan:

“Pete got the last laugh for sure.”

He got the last laugh and he also was laughing all the way to the Bank. During the 2002 USO TV broadcast by the ESPN crew, I wanted to strangle both John mcEnroe and Mary Carillo in the worst way. John said Pete did not have a decent chance period. And, mary, well you know Mary is John’s echo. The worst was Greg Ruzedski, the Canadian turned Brit. Anyway, it warmed the cockes of my heart to witness the walloping Pete put on Ruzedski, who later offered a lukewarm apology to Pete. That’s US media for you, one day hero, next day goat.


JCF Says:

Oddschecker’s odds:

Mens US Open
Rafael Nadal 7/4 Extrabet
Roger Federer 11/4 Sporting Bet
Novak Djokovic 13/4 Canbet
Andrew Murray 12 Sporting Bet
JM Del Potro 50 Sky Bet

Murray and Del Potro could return some pretty sweet money. Djokovic’s odds are tempting also. I wouldn’t bet money on Nadal. The returns aren’t that great, and he is no lock in for the title. His chances are good on paper (he’s had the best summer season so far), but I’m not confident enough to put money on him. It’s hard to imagine anyone outside of these 5 winning it, but surprises aren’t out of the question.

For the women, it will probably be a Williams or Safina. I am hoping Dementieva can make something out of her gold medal, but I doubt it will happen. She’s good for a few upsets, but eventually someone will dismantle her serve.


zola Says:

Jane
they have a day off betweem matches. I don’t see Youzhny or Monfils taking Djoko to 5 sets and making him tired. Murray/Fed maybe.
Del Potro, I am not sure either.

JCF
I can never predict man’r matches because I am not objective. But in WTA, I just like Safina a lot. I hope she can win this.


Von Says:

jane:

I was kidding around. Schuettler is not a threat, but Youz and Monfils, especially the latter is a tough out.

___________
Shital:

Then you had better make the switch now because I have a stong feeling Fed’s going to win the USO.


jane Says:

Von,

Hmmmm….you think Fed will win the USO; I agree he’s a top contender (in the top 5), but as I posted earlier, his weakest surface this year has been hard. That’s the major reason why my hunch isn’t leaning towards him.

On the other hand, there is no doubt he does not want to leave this year without a slam, so he will be giving it his all and out for blood. And that could make him dangerous – the predator, so to speak, right Shital?


JCF Says:

Von (referring to possibilities of a Djok vs Nadal night time match):

“Sure, if they are on the same side of the draw. They could meet in one of the SFs matches, which could be scheduled for night.”

The SF match will be scheduled for day. That would be Super Saturday, where the women’s final is scheduled for night, while the two men’s finals start during the day. All are played in Ashe.

There’s no chance these two play at night unless there are rain delays during the day.


jane Says:

No, I guess in either a semi-final or a final situation, if Nadal-Djokovic meet, it will likely be a late afternoon match.

The first men’s semi doesn’t ever begin before noon, so given that it should take at least a couple of hours, maybe up to 3 hours, the second semi wouldn’t begin until later afternoon 3:00-ish. Often the women’s final doesn’t begin until 7:00 or so.


Shital Green Says:

Jane,
No doubt Fed is hungry and will be “out for blood.” But the predator cannot get past Dutch at the end. Actually, nobody will be playing the roles of Billy, Poncho, Blain, Mac, and Dillion any more. Every one will be seeking immortality, not by winning a slam but by beating the hungry predator. Nobody will be playing the prey anymore. They’ve had enough. Ok, I was talking about the movie.

Back to reality. You could call it another version of fiction. Von’s “strong feeling” can help increase Fed’s chances of winning the USO but, let me add, on the condition that both Rafa and Djoko exit in early rounds. Possible but improbable. If they exit early, I will not have to “switch now” and ever.


Latent Talent Says:

Barring major injuries, Federer and Nadal will play for the US Open title on September 7th. One of them wants the No.1 back and the other one wants to keep extending his just commenced reign.

This is the premier rivalry of this decade and both of them will be hungry to bring their rivalry from the red and green to the blue.

Irrespective of which side of the draw, chokovic is in, he will not advance further than the semi-finals. He will not win more than a set in the semi-finals against either of them. Ditto for Murray or any other upstart. All streaks will come to an end against Federer/Nadal.

Get ready for the two greatest gladiators of our time to bring the fight to Deco-turf.


Von Says:

JCF:

“Von (referring to possibilities of a Djok vs Nadal night time match):

“Sure, if they are on the same side of the draw. They could meet in one of the SFs matches, which could be scheduled for night.”

When I made the above statement, I wasn’t thinking of the USO per se, but in general, say a Masters tourney, e.g., Cincy, et al. I further corrected my statement in a subsequent post.

Did you not read my post to Jason of 9:10 pm? You should, I tacked on a word there for you to add to your new collection. Tell me if you already know that one.


Von Says:

Shital:

“Von’s “strong feeling” can help increase Fed’s chances of winning the USO but, let me add, on the condition that both Rafa and Djoko exit in early rounds. Possible but improbable. If they exit early, I will not have to “switch now” and ever.”

Maybe my “strong feeling” is the luck and jolt of java Fed needs to win the USO. If he does win, he’ll owe me big time. I’ve never visited his website but I’ll do so then and paste my post there. Anyway, I see you’ve found a technicality whereby you could remain a Djoko fan(atic). Aren’t you ashamed of yourself!! :D

_____________
jane:

Even though Fed’s weakest surface has been hardcourts thus far in ’08, he just won that doubles match in Beijing. You’ll be surprised how rejuvenated a person can become from such an experience, ergo, my “strong feeling”. Unless, his old demons return to haunt him in singles, then it will be bye, bye, Fed, see you next year. I’m not always right, but I’m seldom wrong. (You can add that to your collection of little phrases, courtesy of moi.)


JCF Says:

Heh, ‘discombobulated’.

I’d heard of the word before in a computer game, but I thought it was a made up word. I didn’t know it was real.

Word duly added to vocabulary. Thanks. ;)

P.S. Do you use a thesaurus much, or is this all natural to you?

“Barring major injuries, Federer and Nadal will play for the US Open title on September 7th. One of them wants the No.1 back and the other one wants to keep extending his just commenced reign.”

You think so? I hope you’re right. That would make for a good final, and even better if one of them got past Djokovic the previous day.

Wanting to regain his No.1 ranking back would serve as great motivation, but it is by no means a guarantee that simply wanting something will make it a reality. I’m sure he’s had similar motivations for winning a French Open title, but that hasn’t materialized yet.


JCF Says:

Does anyone know what the story is with the US Open Series? Safina won first place, with the other two spots to be decided.

On the men’s side, nothing has been announced, but Nadal and Murray are tied for 1st place with 145 points, and JMDP just 5 points short of that (140). Since neither of the three are playing this week, the series should have been decided by now, shouldn’t it? Will the US Open really pay a 50% bonus to two people? That would be a lot of money if both Nadal and Murray made the final.


Von Says:

JCF:

“Word duly added to vocabulary. Thanks.

P.S. Do you use a thesaurus much, or is this all natural to you?”

Would you believe a natural part of my vocabulary, and I NEVER use a thesaurus. It’s mainly due to my Brit education in my formative years, and being an avid reader. Sometimes when I’m writing my comments on Tennis.X I remember your appreciation for new words and if the sentence warrants it, I’ll add an appropriate word that’s not used by most people. Isn’t it scary that I remember you? :) But seriously, I’m very happy when I come across a young person who’s interested in broadening their mind and word power. Keep on a truckin and be good, if not, be careful. :P


Von Says:

JCF:

“Will the US Open really pay a 50% bonus to two people? That would be a lot of money if both Nadal and Murray made the final.”

An additional One million bucks for the USO GS winner if that person was also the US Open Series winner, $500,000 if the GS finalist and the US Open Series winner. e.g., In ’06 Roddick was the winner of the US open Series points, and the GS finalist; he received $1 million for being the GS finalist and an additional $500,000 for being the Open Series winner.


Latent Talent Says:

JCF,

Agreed that wanting something back does not mean, Roger will get it, but it also has to do with where his strengths lie. However much he wants the French, the Parisian Clay just makes Nadal an impossible barrier for Federer.

However Deco-Turf rewards his natural offensive game. What Federer needs to do is get out of his own way and not 2nd guess himself. In his 3 losses on the hard-court, Federer opted for defense at points where he just had to keep the foot on the accelarator. This is where the doubles wins will help him – give him that little bit of zing or pop his game was devoid of. Sometimes the difference is that simple.

Infact if Federer plays Chokovic in the semi-final, I actually back him to do something he has not done yet – beat chokovic and Nadal in the same tournament. Besides, playing Chokovic gives Federer added motivation as he loathes chokovic. Federer totally detests choker for his notorious and well-documented faking of injuries and abuse of the injury time-outs. He dislikes choker so much that he warmed up to Rafa only when he saw the absolute contrast between the classiness that Nadal brings which gets all the more illuminated when you compare it with the utter uncouthness chokovic brings naturally to the court.

Actually it will be fun to have murray play Nadal and chokovic play Federer in the semis. It is like those 2 greatmen playing lesser versions of themselves (as far as their games are concerned). Ofcourse Nadal’s game is nearer to its best right now than Federer’s is, but as I said above, Federer is going to bring his best game out when he gets to the business weekend. His tougher test will be the initial tricky rounds where he should not falter like he did on the hardcourts this summer. (I believe he wont).

The other way round (nadal Vs chokovic and Federer Vs murray) will be interesting too as it will be a mini-preview of what Federer and Nadal might encounter the next day. That might work against Federer though as he needs his offensive game in the groove if he needs to get his 1st win of the season against Nadal. Two counter punchers in a row is going to drive him insane. chokovic would really warm-up Federer’s best game like at Monte-carlo where Fed really played a great match against Nadal the next day. He will not let the double breaks slip-away like he did on clay, though.


Djokovic has a good chance, if he doesn't play Murray! Says:

Nadal would beats him, if he plays like the way he did at the Roland Garros final.


It was amazing for Nadal to had hit those passing shots, when Roger come to the net at Roland Garros! Says:

You think those passing shots are easy stuffs? Nadal is the clear favourite. Then it would be Djokovic.


Roger in trouble being seeded two Says:

If he runs into Djokovic or Murray!


Jason Says:

Latent Talent,

I think you’re having trouble spelling Novak’s last name: It’s Djokovic.

The fact is this a young guy who has already won a Grand Slam title and keeps knocking on the door. The more experience he gets in big matches the better he’s going to play in them. Remember a guy named Lendl? Djokovic has arguably has handled pressure better than Ivan to this point.


mofo Talent phaggy Feda Says:

phaggy feda wets pants b4 rafi ‘n’ then bends over. noles biggy weiner got all the la’ taint talent to asphyxate phaggy fed in flushin’


Latent Talent Says:

Looks like the chokovic fans have gotten wedgies. Dont get your undies in a bunch chokovic fans. Didn’t expect you guys to be man enough to post anything better than that. After all chokovic is not man enough to complete his matches, is he?

Retirement after a strep throat? What next? Retirement after mommy scolds him?


Latent Talent Says:

Jason,

See the true color of chokovic fans? Have some advice for your friends?

Anyways, jerkovich is another option in case you think chokovic doesnt perfectly describe him. You want to compare him to johnny mac then? lol!


NachoF Says:

Seriously, Djokovic really needs to consider changing that last name…. there are just so many jokes you could make out of it that people will always come up with a new one.


Chokovic Says:

“Seriously, Djokovic really needs to consider changing that last name”

While at it, he should also find some way to grow some cojones! He could take a few of his fans on this forum too, who seem like they need them more desperately than him.


jane Says:

I thought I read earlier on this site that the Men’s USO draw would be made today, but I just checked the USO website and the men’s draw will be tomorrow, Thursday August 21st; I can’t find the exact time on the website.


The Choker Says:

Me either! I got to find out when I’m going to lose next week.


Vulcan Says:

Well yeah, his name may be fodder for comedians but his game is about as funny as a root canal if your’e his opponent. The guy does not miss.
And virtually all he hits are flat bullets within a foot of the baseline. I dont think hell ever live down the defaulting over a sore throat though.


jane Says:

Vulcan,

I can’t remember if you’ve ever said who you think will win the USO this year – care to share?


Vulcan Says:

Jane thanks for asking, I think Federer is going to win this year. This is do or die for him at this point and I think he will prove what kind of a champion he really is.


jane Says:

Vulcan –

“This is do or die for him at this point”

Yes, that will be a huge motivating factor for Fed the more I think about it. He’ll not want to leave 2008 slam-less, let alone without the number 1 ranking. The win wouldn’t give him number 1 back as he’s defending his title from last year, but it would be a good boost.

Two questions:

1. Do you think his hardcourt results this year are a factor at all or no?

2. To whom do you think he might lose? In other words, who could pull an upset against Fed here in your opinion?

I think some of the people who’ve beaten him this year in three sets have much less of a chance to get him in five – e.g., Fish, Blake, Simon and Karlovic.

But I think there are some who could get him in five – Murray and Nadal in particular. Murray’s game troubles Roger, because he gets so much back and switches up the pace a lot. Nadal’s got a mental edge over Roger, although perhaps not as much on hard courts (not sure?). I am also not sure about Novak’s chances against Roger at the USO; it was a close final last year, and Novak beat him at the AO, but it’s tough to say what would happen this time around.

Maybe there are a few others, but in a 5 set situation, Roger will be at an advantage; he got the the semis at the AO and finals at the other two slams, so whether he wins or not, I’d expect him to go deep here.


Jason Says:

Vulcan,

I hope you’re right, but I actually think Fed’s headed for his first pre-semifinal Slam loss since FO 2004. Hopefully by my predicting that, I’ll reverse jinx him and it won’t happen :-)

As for a winner, I just have to go with Nadal. It’s just so rare for a guy to win two Slams in his first Slam-winning year. That compounded with Djoko’s fitness issues I think makes Nadal a solid bet.

Murray would need a lot of luck and no one else has a prayer, imo.


jane Says:

Jason,

Can I ask you the same Q I posed to Vulcan: whom do you think could upset Roger, in 5 set format, before the semis? Just curious.


Jason Says:

Jane,

I think Murray is the obvious choice. I’d even go as far as to say Andy might even be the slight favorite (obviously not with the betting houses) if they played. I see Ferrer will be seeded fourth so he has to be excluded. I think anyone really quick who gets a lot of balls back and doesn’t make many unforced errors is in with a shot. If Davydenko’s mind weren’t in such a negative state, I’d give him a decent chance too (that would sort of cap off the nightmare year to lose to Nikolay!). Monfils, maybe, although he does tend to play overly defensively.

But I’m glad you posed the question, because the more I think about it – as a Fed fan – the guy I most want him to avoid is Murray. Anyone else and I’d feel that Fed really has no business losing the match (before the semis, that is).


Jason Says:

I should say “no business losing” if he plays fairly well. Obviously I think there’s plenty he could lose to if he plays the way he played against Blake at the Olympics, for example.


jane Says:

Jason,

Thanks for your reply.

I didn’t see that Blake match at the Olympics but I read that Blake played really well. What was up with Fed in that match? Errors? Movement? Those are the two things that I think could work against him at the USO. His serve is still a major weapon, though, as are most of his shots, providing he can keep the errors to a minimum. As Von pointed out earlier, the doubles win at the Olympics may’ve reinvigorated him confidence-wise too.


Dan Martin Says:

On a side note, Usain Bolt is more amazing after the 200M dash.

111 comments makes me think we need a couple of U.S. Open previews once the draw is released. I will submit something when the time is right.


Vulcan Says:

Jane, in response:

1. Yes they are and with champions (particularly veteran champions) its the Slam results that have to be weighed the most…so focusing solely on AO I would expect another semifinal appearance at UO.

2. Aside from the usual suspects, my first pick here would be Blake. Blake has played Federer close in all of there slam meetings and there is something about his game (hes one of the few guys that can stand on the baseline and trade groundstrokes with Federer)
that makes there matches always seem close. Add to that its in New York and Blake just beat him.
After that some of the other players that could give him trouble early on are: Roddick, Gonzo, Tursunov, Monfils, Stepanek to name a few.


Jason Says:

Jane,

I remember the main thing I took away from that Blake match was that he was getting outplayed from the baseline and couldn’t rely on anything (particularly his serve) to bail him out. (It got me thinking back to the AO 06 quarterfinal match with Davydenko where Fed served incredibly well at the end to save himself despite also getting beat from the back of the court.) I remember Roger also hit an atrocious volley in the tiebreaker to give away the first mini-break and he never recovered from that.


Jason Says:

Vulcan

I have to disagree with a couple of your choices. I always like how Fed matches up against Gonzo because he can really target Fernando’s backhand (that YEC match being the exception). Also I think the free-swinging shotmakers don’t usually give Rog as much trouble as the pesky counterpunchers. Tursunov also I think is not quick enough or tenacious enough to bother Fed.


Vulcan Says:

Jason, if Nadal wins, what will the champagne drinkers turn to for celebration then?
I for one would love to see Nadal make tennis history…and I think he can do it…but I think he has as difficult a task winning at USO as Federer did at the FO…the only difference is that Nadal doesnt seem to have any Freddy Krueger’s on the tour the way Federer did with Nadal and Nalbandian.


Vulcan Says:

Jason, as far as the counterpunchers go its hard to say. How is it that a guy like Canas beats Federer in two successive Master series yet he seems impervious to Hewitt and Ferrer. Im not sure there is any one type of player that Federer has the most trouble with.


Jason Says:

Vulcan,

I used to think Fed was almost unbeatable against slow pokes against whom he could hold serve easily against. But this year has made me change my tune with losses against Fish, Roddick and Karlovic. It just seems his return game has gone down a notch this year, and unfortunately with so many loose errors his serve game has too :-(

Let’s just hope that the Fed that played the final of Wimbledon reemerges. That level will be good enough to win more Grand Slam titles, I believe. The level he’s showed since then will not be.


zola Says:

Vulcan,
I think it is a big ask of Nadal to win the US Open. He has already done a lot this year. I hope he has enough in the tank to defend his points and go further. But it is two weeks of tennis and you never know what happens. A lot depends on the draw, the fatigue, injury etc. I can never forget Chennai, AO after Rafa’s match with Murray , last year’s QF match and of course Rome.
I am going to take it one match at a time. I will be happy with Rafa defending his points and staying healthy. The rest is bonus.

Jason,
Something is not right with Fed this year. either age, or mental /physical burnout….but his B+ game can take out the A+ game of many of those guys.


osazone4real Says:

Just to throw in a few lines( I am an inconsistent blogger although I hope an unbiased one.

I dont think nadal will win the US open I think he is tired and i still think Djoko is the better hardcourt player.
I think you guys are seriously undermining Djokos chances against either Rafa or fed.
Did you see how Djoko was absorbing Nadal supposed winners(that blew Gonzo off the court) and returned them with “compound interest” it is scary how djoko seems to be improving in rallies hitting flat and deep shots off backhands and forehands.
For me Djoko will beat fed in Straights(except fed returns to his high % 1st serve game and can cosistently “clutch serve”) as for Djoko vs rafa Rafa will only win if he takes the first set.
In my own opinion I pick Djoko as favorite except he meets murray along the way or in the final.

But as a strong rafa fan.

Vamos Rafa


Von Says:

Jason:

“I used to think Fed was almost unbeatable against slow pokes against whom he could hold serve easily against.”

When a player loses as much as Fed has lost to players he once dominated, he has to start second guessing himself. This is why he is now prone to losing to anyone. That self-doubt is now his demon. If Fed wants to get back on track he will have to beat everyone who’s in his path, not at just one tournament, but many subsequent tourneys. However, that’s easier said than done. Hewitt once stated that Fed is not a great returner; Fed keeps the ball in play with players who are not good movers, then makes a passing shot, but when he comes up against someone who can hurt him from both wings, and can change direction like Djokovic, he gets into trouble and makes silly mistakes. I believe Hewitt is entitled to make that statement due to him being one of the greatest returners.

Additionally, I believe Fed is not as powerful as he once was. He used to be able to block Roddick’s serve, which is a very heavy serve, but nowadays Fed cannot do that because he simply does not have the strength to handle the Roddick heavy serve. I believe this is one of the reasons he’s losing ground to those whom he used to dominate in the past. If you look at Fed’s body compared to 2004-2006, he has lost a huge amount of muscle mass. The present Fed is just bones with very little muscle. There’s something that’s not right with Fed physically which is affecting him mentally, but he’s the only one who knows and he’s not saying. I believe the USO will be the yardstick to measure where Fed’s game stands at the present time and what can be expected from him in the future.


Vulcan Says:

Zola, it is a big ask. But then again…think of the reward…*the greatest single year in tennis history*. I dont know if Nadal has even considered something so grandious – the Wimbledon website has the following quote:

“I want to be number one at the end of the year and I am aware that a good result at the US Open will mathematically give me this option,” Nadal told Marca.

Also I just read that Hewitt has withdrawn.


Vulcan Says:

Zola, also, regarding Chennai…that match does make one wonder if Nadal can be as mentally tough as Federer has been these past four years. I know he was tired but when has Federer ever let a final slip through his fingers in such a decisive fashion?


zola Says:

osazone4real
I don’t think anyone undermines Djoko on this surface. To me he and Rafa are tied and are ahead of Federer, mathematically. But in real life, many other things can happen.

Vulcan,
Rafa likes to concentrate on the next task rather than thinking about far ahead and I like that. A good result means bettering his QF result from last year. I thought it was almost impossible for him to win the olympics with that draw, but he did and I thought he would win AO and he didn’t. So I am just going to watch one match at a time!

Hewitt will have or had!) hip surgery. too bad. but he will be back in AO. I don’t know if he can play at the same level


Jason Says:

Osazone4real,

I don’t think anyone here is underestimating Djoko or his ability to knock off anyone in the USO draw, including Nadal and Fed. The question mark with him, at least from my perspective, is how 1. he can fare if he gets caught in a long grueling long four set or five set match against one of the top guys – Fed, Murray and especially Nadal. He’s showed signs recently of wilting mentally against Nadal when he’s not able to finish Rafa off easily. I really noticed this at Queens. It seemed to me Novak was just so mentally frustrated at not being able to put Rafa away in either of the first two sets than he mentally gave in and played some poor points to drop serve at the end. The same thing happened -maybe to a lesser extent – at Queens.

IMO, he’s got to prove he can stare Rafa down in a tough, close match and come away with the victory. We know Rafa will never give in mentally and Novak needs to show he can get over the hump and do the same.


Jason Says:

Sorry, I should really take more time to edit :-)

I meant “the same thing happened – maybe to a lesser extent – at the Olympics” And ignore that 1. I only had one point to make!


zola Says:

Vulcan
***when has Federer ever let a final slip through his fingers in such a decisive fashion?***

French open this year? and he was not even tired!

Rafa’s style of play is different. Federer has not been put into that test yet. To see that, he needs to have a 4-hour match the night before , then come to play a final next day at noon.

and to answer your question, I think Rafa is very tough mentally. That chennai match was physical. You can’t play when your legs don’t move!


Vulcan Says:

Zola, OK, allow me to refine my statement:

When has Federer ever lost a Final he was favored to win so decisively?


zola Says:

Vulcan,
I think I will wait to answer your question till Federer has a 4 hour match before a noon final the next day!

maybe he hasn’t had such a match yet, so we never know, but he has lost in the first round to those he shouldn’t be losing…but this is tennis and styles are different. That’s why I don’t like comparisons!


Vulcan Says:

Zola, we’ll have to go back to the archives to figure that one out…but Im sure Federer has had a few finals where he has had to deal with adversity. The main thing is the game he brings for the finals not the game he brings for the early rounds. Time will tell if Rafa can continue to bring his best for the finals.


NachoF Says:

The thing is, except from Wimbledon 07, Federer always won his finals easily…. every time he faced challenge he lost.


zola Says:

that’s true Vulcan.

Besides, me and you can go till infinity comparing Fed and Rafa. But the main contest is on the court. They are both great champions and they both have good days and bad days. As I said, many of m expectations and speculations have gone wrong, so I rather just watch and enjoy Rafa’s tennis as much as I can. Seriously after that Wimbledon final, I felt very lucky to be a tennis fan. we may not see another Federer or another Rafa for a long time.
I wish for both to have a long careers ( careera!) so that I can watch them!


Brian Says:

I plan on attending this years US Open and would love to know the best day to go to see Roger (or even Nadal). I plan to go one of the first days. I went second week last year and it was a bore. Most of the players (that we’re still left) we not scheduled to play the day I went. But first week is an opportunity to see much more tennis. Is there a pattern to when the TOP seeds first play?

Oh and I plan to do a day session.

Thx!


zola Says:

Brian,
so lucky!
I guess you have to go find the practice courts. They are usually there a few hours before the match. I have read that both Rafa and Fed are very friendly. Have lots of fun!
Oh, I read that he’ll attend the Kids day this Sunday. you may be able to see him there.


Vulcan Says:

Zola well said. I agree that the Wimbledon match was very special stuff…there are a few images that are etched on my memory from it:

1. Federer hitting the backhand passing shot from the tiebreaker to save match point.

2. Federer fighting to hold back the tears when
McEnroe interviewed him.

3. The flashes going off as the photographers took pictures of Nadal in the dark


Brian Says:

I agree with the images of Wimbledon…However McEnroe TRYING to interview Fed after the match was a little awkward. Not sure where that hug came from. Fed just wanted to get the heck out of there. Great match though!

Back to my US Open trip this year. ZOLA – Thanks for your insight. Yea, I tried the practice courts last year and there was like no one there all day long…Although it was also second week. So I am sure first week is totally different. Not sure. I want to see some TOP SEEDS actually in a match though and hopefully in the grand stand or the Louie Armstrong Stadium. Ashe stadium…forget about it unless you spend 2 grand for a seat near the court. I would just like to know what the pattern has been in previous years for top seeds play schedule in the first couple of days of the OPEN.?

Thanks for any insight!!


zola Says:

Vulcan
I can’t tell you how happy I was when Rafa finally won that match.When he lost last year, the image of him sitting on the chair with his hair in his face, was heartbreaking.
Still, when I saw Federer, trying to smile and not show the tears, my heart went out to him too. I almost felt guilty for my happiness. It was such a mixed emotion for me. But since then my respect for him is much higher. He is a true champion.


zola Says:

Brian,
If I remember correctly, the top half usualy played mondays and the second half on Tuesdays. I guess if you get tickets for both monday and tuesday (just ground passes), you might be able to spot Federer on one of those days. of course, just my opinion. also visit here and ask the same question. I am sure you will get some answers:
http://tennisworld.typepad.com/tennisworld/2008/08/your-call-aug-7.html


Shital Green Says:

Jason and osazone4real,

Rafa did not conjure his mental toughness or, for that matter, his consistent fighting ability, one day out of nowhere. He worked very hard and long to get there. Djoko does not have to match Rafa yet. As long as he can keep close, he will be ok. In a year or two, I HOPE, he will be there. Only after becoming No.2 for over a year or so, he should be worrying about matching Rafa in those areas, but not now.

About the USO, it is too early to make prediction. Looking at this year’s results, particularly last couple of months, Dan is not unreasonable to put Rafa above Djoko and these two over every one else. As I said on another occasion, I’d like to see both making to the final. I somewhat agree with you Jason that “Fed’s headed for his first pre-semifinal Slam loss since FO 2004.” Actually I am not sure how deep Federer will go here. I sure would like to see him making to the semi, preferably meeting Djoko, but, again, based on what we have seen so far from him, he might fall earlier. On the other hand, Federer might surprise all doubters and win the whole thing. Who knows!


Jason Says:

Shital,

Rafa may not have conjured up his mental toughness and fighting ability out of nowhere, but he sure has been showing it for a long, long time! Even I remember the second time I saw him play, which was against Roddick at the U.S. Open (the first time I saw him play was from the stands at KB beating Fed!) the commentators were all saying that this guy just has such an obvious hunger for a fight, even while getting beaten badly.

Certainly, too, he won some brutal matches even before he ever won his first Slam (think IO 05 against Coria). I think it’s fair to say that Rafa has just always been pretty much in a league all his own when it comes to mental toughness and fighting spirit.

But in a way, I think Rafa *makes up* for some other deficiencies with his otherworldly focus and effort. And if Djoko can just shake off *whatever* happens on court when they play (let’s say Rafa saves 10 break points in one set, or four set points) and has the same focus as if everything were going his way, I think he will win on fast courts because of slight yet clear advantages – especially the serve but also the return and backhand.


Vulcan Says:

I remember that Nadal v Roddick match at the US Open…Roddick was bombing serves as usual and Rafa was totally outgunned. I think even one serve knocked him down….hes come a long way since then beating Ivo Karlovic and Roddick at Queens


Von Says:

Shital:

“Rafa did not conjure his mental toughness or, for that matter, his consistent fighting ability, one day out of nowhere. He worked very hard and long to get there.”

Mental toughness is talked about a lot, but understood by very few. It is the ability to will oneself through less than ideal situations and conditions whether he is battling a compromised immune system, a physical handicap, or simply waking up early to workout and/or practice for extended hours. Mental toughness can come from many sources such as consistent physical exertion. Michael Phelps is a prime example of mental toughness.

For the majority of people, consistent and intense physical exertion is the most accessible and common way to build mental toughness, and the majority of people will never undergo the type of training that’s standard for athletes, but everyone can go on a long run or work out until their bodies are screaming to stop. and that’s the key to building mental toughness that anyone can follow. Lance Armstrong, is a perfect example of mental toughness, regarding his battle with cancer and strugles with pain.

Mental toughness can be summarized in a few sentences, vis-a-vis, When an athlete devotes the required amount of time needed for preparation by practising daily, he will acquire self-confidence in his abilities to perform at a high level which translates to mental toughness. For the most part, it all depends on the heart of the athlete and how badly he wants to win, and that desire is the propulsion fuel. Talent will not replace hard work.

Nadal has acquired mental toughness due to his work ethics. He practices for several hours per day, a lot more than many athletes, and as a result has built up the stamina to perform at a high level in lengthy matches.


Von Says:

Vulcan:

“I think even one serve knocked him down….hes come a long way since then beating Ivo Karlovic and Roddick at Queens.”

I wouldn’t place too much emphasis on Nadal’s victory over Roddick at Queens. Nadal won by one break of serve in each set, however, Roddick was at a huge deficit; he was match play deprived and playing with his back and shoulder injury, while nadal was match grooved. Queens was the first tournament Andy played in since becoming injured in Rome. Andy beat Nadal in Dubai earlier this year when he was healty. I’d like to see them play again when both are competing on an even keel — 100 percent healthy — and then we’ll know for sure how much Nadal has improved against the Roddick serve.


Jason Says:

Von,

You make an excellent point and certainly Rafa’s physical conditioning is a huge part of his mental toughness.

The only thing I would add is that Nadal has self-belief that even goes beyond what can be derived from incredible physical toughness.

Case in point is the 06 Wimbledon final. Federer had been in imperious form the whole tournament and after the first set I think many people were thinking that match was going to be a cakewalk just like the rest of the tournament. Needless to say, Rafa didn’t share that opinion. As a Fed fan, a chill went down my spine after Rafa got the break in the second set. Not because of the break but because of Rafa’s reaction. It was for lack of a better phrase “game on” and Fed was going to have to win that match the hard way. Rafa was not going to go down quietly like many other opponents would have.

I think this same belief manifests itself in really tight matches. No matter what adversity he encounters (this year’s Wimbledon final), he never mentally gives in. By contrast I think Djoko does. If you remember back to the Queens final Djoko played some shots in the last game that said to me “I’m done fighting for the day,” just some unusual net approaches and shot attempts that indicated he really wasn’t giving his 100% to win the match. I just can’t recall Rafa doing that, even in a match like the 06 USO against Youzhny where he lost the fourth set 6-1.


Von Says:

Jason:

“The only thing I would add is that Nadal has self-belief that even goes beyond what can be derived from incredible physical toughness.”

Ahh – you make a good point also, but, let me play you the following scenario, and you’ll see where I will tie in menatal toughness, to self-belief, which is another word for self-confidence.

Take for instance, when you were in school/college and finals were coming up. If, you had been putting in the rquired hours to study everyday, wouldn’t you be confident that you would ace the final, because you had the self-belief and/or self-confidence mentally, and that was all due to the many hours you put in studying? So too, an athlethe builds up mental toughness, self-belief/self-confidence from the knowledge that he put in the required work, and that’s where the difference lies. It doesn’t matter if things are not going his way, the self-confidence/self-belief derived from the hard will make him think I have the tools to do, because I’m prepared, and I can still pull this off. Fifty-percent of the battle is won in the mind.


Jason Says:

Von,

So true. Weird though how you have players like Lindsay Davenport who are so good (and you would think also very hard workers) that you think after some of her performances “what is wrong with her psychologically?!?!”

How can your game be that good but yet one thing goes wrong in a Slam final (05 AO) and you totally fall apart?


Vulcan Says:

Von Says:

I wouldn’t place too much emphasis on Nadal’s victory over Roddick at Queens.

I would…if Roddick was not healthy he showed no signs of it…one could make the same excuses for Nadal saying that he has continual knee problems.

Also you omitted Nadals straigt set victory over him at 07 Indian Wells where Nadal broke him three times. (lemme guess…Roddick was at 82.5% here for some reason)

Finally the purpose of the statement was not to say that Nadal has mastered the Roddick serve but rather to convey how much Nadal’s return and play on fast surfaces have improved since 2004.


Von Says:

Jason:

Davenport’s problem a few years ago happened because she was not fully committed to playing. She was going through a transitioning period in her life. She wanted to desperately have a baby and that was her main focus, as a result of which her game suffered. When she became pregnant, she said she had retired, however, after the baby was born, she realized she really wanted to play tennis, and because her desire was so strong, she began winning tournaments. Again, it’s a matter of the mind. I remember that AO slam. I saw her on court that day and she looked as though she was asleep, her eyes were half closed — that was such a disaster.


JCF Says:

Von,

“In ‘06 Roddick was the winner of the US open Series points, and the GS finalist; he received $1 million for being the GS finalist and an additional $500,000 for being the Open Series winner.”

Are you sure the US Open pays $1 million to the finalist? That’s what I thought they paid for the champion. The champion normally receives double what the finalist makes I think. $2 million for Federer would be a lot more than other slams pay.

jane,

“1. Do you think his hardcourt results this year are a factor at all or no?”

They definitely (:p) affect his confidence. His state of mind right now I’m not too sure of. His doubles gold medal might have boosted him, but the fact remains he hasn’t done that well on hard courts post-Wimbledon and has no momentum in singles. He will need to watch out for a bunch of guys he could previously have dismissed with the wave of a hand.

“2. To whom do you think he might lose? In other words, who could pull an upset against Fed here in your opinion?”

A lot more than a year ago. Someone like Gulbis, Querry, or Isner might surprise him. The guy hasn’t lost a lot of best-of-five matches in the last 5 years, so it’s hard to look back and find examples of his losses, other than a few from Nadal and one from Djokovic. Before that, the last player he lost to in best-of-five off the top of my head would be Safin in 05? Wow. That long ago.

“I think some of the people who’ve beaten him this year in three sets have much less of a chance to get him in five – e.g., Fish, Blake, Simon and Karlovic.”

Karlovic could derail him. All it takes is one tie break in the decider. Blake could get him in 4 (but not 5). For Simon to win, Fed would have to choke and blow the match away. There are a bunch of people I would not rule out in his current mental state, such as Haas, Scheuttler, Kiefer, Baghdatis, Gonzalez and more. Remember, guys that he had a perfect H2H record against have been beating him this year.

“But I think there are some who could get him in five – Murray and Nadal in particular. Murray’s game troubles Roger, because he gets so much back and switches up the pace a lot. Nadal’s got a mental edge over Roger, although perhaps not as much on hard courts (not sure?). I am also not sure about Novak’s chances against Roger at the USO; it was a close final last year, and Novak beat him at the AO, but it’s tough to say what would happen this time around.”

These three would be the usual suspects. I wouldn’t call it an ‘upset’ if either of them took him out. Novak could have been UP two sets to love last year rather than down. That would surely change the complexion of the match? He came close to winning it (6-4 was a tight third set) last year when Fed was still player of the year. The same performance this year would be enough to end his reign at Flushing. Imagine that… three places he’s owned for years, all seized from his grip by intruders on his turf.

“Nadal’s got a mental edge over Roger, although perhaps not as much on hard courts (not sure?).”

Nadal’s record against him on hard courts is 2-3. And in one of those he was twice only two points away from a straight sets win. He ended up losing in five sets. That was the one and only year that the Miami final was played in best-of-five. Any other year, and it would have been straight sets to Rafa (he also had a long three setter the previous day, 7-6 in the third). Hardly something to draw conclusions from. My observation is that the day Rafa wins his first slam, no one will be talking about hard courts being to his disadvantage against Roger or Novak. The only reason people mention it (hard court being his weakest surface) at all is because he won Wimbledon. If he didn’t, people would be saying that grass is his least likely surface to triumph on.

He is 2-3 against Fed on hard, and 3-4 against Djokovic. Neither player can say they’ve dominated him, as the difference is only one match. Djokovic wins big, but there are also losses he takes which seem inexplicable.

“Something is not right with Fed this year. either age, or mental /physical burnout….but his B+ game can take out the A+ game of many of those guys.”

It’s not age. He’s only one year older than he was last year. A year doesn’t make that dramatic a difference. It’s probably the mono, which made him uncomfortable, and he took some losses, and with it the problem cascaded. His confidence was shot, and he came up short defending titles that were his by right (Hamburg and Wimbledon), plus a drubbing in Paris has got to confound him a bit.

Vulcan,

“Zola, also, regarding Chennai…that match does make one wonder if Nadal can be as mentally tough as Federer has been these past four years. I know he was tired but when has Federer ever let a final slip through his fingers in such a decisive fashion?”

Nadal’s loss was physical. Fed’s losses have been mental. He played three-and-a-half hours the previous day, in three tiebreaks against Moya. Mental toughness can only get you so far. It doesn’t make the impossible happen. You picked that one match, where he was routed 6-0 6-1 as a sign he isn’t as tough mentally as people give him credit for, but what you’re basically doing is cherry picking his losses. Everyone has inexplicable losses that can be cherry picked. That’s not enough to draw a correlation. You’ve got to also consider matches that he DID win through being tough mentally, such as the Wimbledon final. He blew match points in the 4th set tie break, and could have and should have finished the match in 3rd set, or the 4th set, but suddenly, losing two straight tie breaks, it is two-sets-all with the pendulum swinging in Fed’s favor. He put it all behind him, concentrated on the task at hand, and did what he needed to do. I doubted that he would pull through, but it turned out to be the biggest match he’d ever won, and the biggest Fed had ever lost. He’s done it before (won a match over his opponent mentally), and he isn’t suddenly going to lose his ability to stay strong when the going gets tough.

“I dont think nadal will win the US open I think he is tired and i still think Djoko is the better hardcourt player.
I think you guys are seriously undermining Djokos chances against either Rafa or fed.
Did you see how Djoko was absorbing Nadal supposed winners(that blew Gonzo off the court) and returned them with “compound interest” it is scary how djoko seems to be improving in rallies hitting flat and deep shots off backhands and forehands.”

My feeling is that Rafa won’t win it either, but against Djokovic, he does play explosively (he took a 6-1 set against Rafa at both Cincy and Beijing) but I don’t think Djokovic can keep that up over five sets. Five sets works against him, because I don’t think Djokovic will have enough in the tank to go the distance, especially if other players pushed him earlier. They’ve never played on hard court in best-of-five, so we don’t know, but I don’t think he has it in him to win three sets unless it’s in straight sets. If he’s going to blow Rafa off the court like he did in Cincy, he’s going to need consistency to do it over a best of five, and I don’t think it’s there for the same reason that Karlovic can’t win three tie breakers all the time. Errors will creep into Djokovic’s game.

If Rafa wins the first set, or if he squares it in the second at 1-all, Rafa would be my pick to win the match.

Vulcan Says:

“Zola, OK, allow me to refine my statement:

When has Federer ever lost a Final he was favored to win so decisively?”

My question to you is, when has he played a match where he WASN’T favored to win decisively, other than Nadal on clay?

To answer your question: This year, against Fish, Blake, Roddick, Simon, and… I think you’re catching on. Let’s not forget Canas also. The names were so obscure that I don’t even remember who beat him at Cincy, even though it was only a few weeks ago. Karlovic?

And I don’t think Nadal was favored to win decisively against Youzhny given their H2H.

“Michael Phelps is a prime example of mental toughness.”

Agreed. The aussie swim coach has been talking to Bob Bowman trying to understand how it is this guy can keep getting himself up again after a big win and doing it all over again. We had success from some of our women who won their first race with a gold, and weren’t able to put the excitement behind them to win more gold, even though every event they entered, they all held current world records in and were big favorites to win.

“Case in point is the 06 Wimbledon final. Federer had been in imperious form the whole tournament and after the first set I think many people were thinking that match was going to be a cakewalk just like the rest of the tournament. Needless to say, Rafa didn’t share that opinion. As a Fed fan, a chill went down my spine after Rafa got the break in the second set. Not because of the break but because of Rafa’s reaction. It was for lack of a better phrase “game on” and Fed was going to have to win that match the hard way. Rafa was not going to go down quietly like many other opponents would have. ”

Rafa’s improvement against Roger on grass was a gradual one. In 06, he was the only guy to take a set off Federer at Wimbledon. Only one set though. In 07 he took off two sets and gave Fed something to think about in the fifth, but Fed was tougher mentally that day. In 08 he finally made it three sets. He remains the only player to have taken more than one set off Fed on grass since 02.

His improvements in general have pretty much been gradual. The Wimbledon win wasn’t a surprise, since he already twice showed he could make it to the final and challenge Federer. His hard court results haven’t been radical either. He has enough game now to win slams on hard. It will be up to how he’s feeling physically and how his opponents play on the day.


Von Says:

Vulcan:

“Finally the purpose of the statement was not to say that Nadal has mastered the Roddick serve but rather to convey how much Nadal’s return and play on fast surfaces have improved since 2004.”

True, Nadal’s game on hardcourt has improved since 2004, but you have forgotten Dubai this year where Andy beat him. I’m not trying to make an excuse for Andy’s injury, but equating Andy’s shoulder/back problem is not the same as Nadal’s knee problem. Nadal’s knees are fine. He’s only wearing that bandage more for precaution than anything else, as opposed to Roddick’s legit back injury which is still an issue. At Queens, Roddick definitely had an ongoing back problem — it was his first tourney since Rome. Anyway, we’ll see what happens when next they meet, since that will be the true determinant factor. I must add though, Andy’s back is still not 100 percent well, so if they meet at the USO Nadal will definitely have the advantage.


Vulcan Says:

To answer your question: This year, against Fish, Blake, Roddick, Simon, and… I think you’re catching on. Let’s not forget Canas also. The names were so obscure that I don’t even remember who beat him at Cincy, even though it was only a few weeks ago. Karlovic?

Yeah but correct me if Im wrong but none of those are finals…the point is that Federer somehow, someway, (and this is what Champions do) manages to win Finals irrespective of whatever adversity he might be facing…maybe hes just that good that he can turn it on when it really counts.


Vulcan Says:

JCF Says:

And I don’t think Nadal was favored to win decisively against Youzhny given their H2H.

That one is a closer call…but Nadal is the higher ranked player and in my mind he was the favorite to win that match.

Again, I only cite this match which may be a bit of an anomaly because of Federer’s record in Finals. He rarely (or perhaps never) has lost finals that he was expected to win…and that to me says alot about what a champion he is.


Von Says:

JCF:

“Are you sure the US Open pays $1 million to the finalist? That’s what I thought they paid for the champion. The champion normally receives double what the finalist makes I think. $2 million for Federer would be a lot more than other slams pay.”

I made a boo-boo, a typo, and/or miscalculation. I need you to keep me in line. Roddick won a total of $1.250,000. $750,000 for finalist and $500,000 for Open Series winner, making a grand total of $1,250,000. Guess what, he game me the extra $250,000 for being his PR Director on Tennis.X, that’s how come he only received $1,250,000. :P :D


Vulcan Says:

As far as Federer losing in finals two examples come to mind 07 Madrid and 05 Shanghai (I remember this one vividly because I was there for it)…both were to Nalbandian…who is probably as much Federers Freddy Krueger as Youzhny is to Nadal.


Vulcan Says:

Heres an interesting stat from Wikipedia:

As of July 6, 2008, Federer has won 55 of 76 finals during his career, for a winning percentage of 72.3 percent. This compares to 72.7 percent by Pete Sampras, 71.3 percent by John McEnroe, and 70.5 percent by Bjorn Borg.[citation needed]


Vulcan Says:

Of the 21 that he lost 10 were to Nadal, 2 were to Nalbandian, and 8 were prior to 2004…im not sure who the last one was to.


Jason Says:

Von,

The thing with that Davenport match at 05 AO was that she was winning and in good shape – up a set and on serve IIRC. Then all of a sudden she loses serve after being up 40-0 and that was it. She didn’t win another game. I know the opponent was Serena, but still, it was bizarre. And that was hardly the only time that happened to her in her career. She would quickly get down on herself and very negative. Very strange for otherwise a very level-headed person.

And many commentators have talked about this. I remember Mary Carillo saying something to the effect of “if only I could know what’s it’s like to play like Davenport once in my life, just effortlessly hitting winners all over the place. Yet Lindsay never saw it that way. Always seemed to see the glass as half empty.”


Fedex Says:

“Of the 21 that he lost 10 were to Nadal, 2 were to Nalbandian, and 8 were prior to 2004…im not sure who the last one was to.”

Djokovic in Montreal in a 3rd set tie-break.

JCF:

Fed received 2.3 or 2.2million $ for winning the US open last year. That is highest official pay-check in tennis thus far. Kim Clijsters had a 2million$ + paycheck as well in 2005 (?) (less than fed, though)


Colin Says:

Unless you’re British, you have no idea how pleasing it is to see Murray being discussed seriously as a contender at the USO. Years of Tim Henman have taught me not to expect too much, though!
Murray seems just a bit more consistent than Tim was,and when he has a lapse of concentration, he seems better able to claw his way back. I just hope his rather tame exit in Beijing hasn’t dented his confidence.
I’d like to see him get another victory over Novak, and then any further achievement would be a bonus.


zola Says:

Colin,
I became Andy’s fan after I watched his match with Rafa in AO 07. He has all the guns to get to the very top and stay there. He is more fit and more positive on the court and I guess that’s the biggest improvement because he can stay focused on the match.
He is a big threat when he plays any of the big 3. I am sure none of them wants him in his part o the draw!


matt Says:

Even though he has lost so many matches recently, I think Federer may win this USOPEN.

He still has the game, and sooner or later it will click again.

Sampras had a disastrous 2002 year and nobody gave a damn for him in that USOPEN. He was 31 and had been playing so much worst than Federer is doing this year.

But Sampras talent was just that incredible, and it all clicked in the right moment and he won that USOPEN beating Haas (then nº2 in the world), Roddick, and Agassi in the final.

Don’t you ever rule out a player that is so talented.

Federer is that talented as well and he may do something like that.


Jason Says:

Matt,

I really hope you’re right. But I think Sampras had one big thing going for him and that was there was no great player in his prime at that 2002 USO. You could say Hewitt, maybe, but I think Hewitt’s loss to Agassi in that semi was proof that Lleyton was not at that all-time great level.

Fed, unfortunately, has Nadal to deal with and I just don’t think he can beat Rafa right now. If someone can knock Rafa off (and if Fed can rediscover his A game) I think he has a chance. The draw comes out soon and what I’m hoping for is that Fed won’t have to deal with Murray and that Djokovic is on Nadal’s side of the draw. Unfortunately my confidence in my favorite player has tumbled that far :-(


Vulcan Says:

Jason Says:

Fed, unfortunately, has Nadal to deal with and I just don’t think he can beat Rafa right now.

This one is really up in the air in my opinion.
If Federer and Nadal’s match at Wimbledon was on Hard courts I think Federer might of had enough of an edge to win it. The consensus seems to be that their paths have diverged since then. Nadal has still never one a hard court slam….I just can see him as the favorite against Federer…i think this one is 50/50


Vulcan Says:

never won a hard court slam….I just can’t see him as the favorite against Federer…i think this one is 50/50


Dan Martin Says:

Diverging paths are indeed true as Gilles Simon, Ivo Karlovic and James Blake all demonstrated.

Still, Federer played at an exceptionally high level in early July 2008, so the odds are he can still find that level in August/September 2008. The question is not if the level still exists, but whether or not he can set aside some indecision and self-doubt and find that level again.


Shital Green Says:

Matt,
You are right about Sampras, who hadn’t won a single title on hard until the US Open. Actually, Fed is in a better position than Sampras was in 2002. I agree Fed might be able to do what Sampras did then.

Since you are sort of living history of tennis for us here, I am just curious whether there are other instances in history where a No. 1 ranking player had not won a single title on OUTDOOR HARD for almost a year and went on to win the last slam of the year.
Thanks.


zola Says:

I agree that Fed can strike back in US Open. He had the worst hard court season compared to Rafa, Djoko and even Murray. It is quite possible for him to find his A game again and win the US Open. That will be the ultimate come back. However, I think everyone expects that from him and that will create extra pressure that he has to deal with.

This US Open will be extra axciting.


jane Says:

Thanks to Jason, Vulcan, JCF for replying to my questions from yesterday.

I still wonder about Federer and hardcourts though. If you look at his results, going all the way back to early 2007, it was on hardcourts that Roger started to falter. On clay he remained (and remains) second best behind Rafa, and on grass he remained number 1 until Rafa won this year. But hardcourt is different; granted there are more events on hard.

He played an outstanding 2007 AO, maybe some of his best tennis imo, but then in the MS events he lost relatively early at both IW & Miami. He lost in Canada, although the match with Djoko was close. He won in Cincy, but both Rafa and Djoko were out early there last year, and Murray was injured. Hewitt played Roger really close at Cincy, but then Fed blew Blake off the court in the final. He won the US Open final of course, but as JCF pointed out – it wasn’t like he routed Novak. Had Novak held his nerve (and hence his serve), he could’ve been up two sets. But that time he did a classic choke; especially in the first set tiebreaker. In indoor hard, Nalby overcame Roger twice, but at the MC Roger ruled. So excellent results for Roger overall, but somewhat uneven.

In 2008, Roger has not won a hardcourt title, nor has he been in a hardcourt final. (Excepting his doubles win with Stan).

So to me, it seems like of all the slams, Wimbledon was his best shot to win. There Roger had less competition; I didn’t see many people besided Rafa and Roger getting to the final, once the tournament started. People like Gasquet & Murray had a shot, perhaps. But they canceled each other out. And then Rafa took care of the remaining man. Djoko lost early so Roger’s draw opened up pretty well, with Safin being perhaps the only question mark, even though I think Roger would’ve beat Novak on grass.

At the Open, on the other hand, it seems to me there are several players who could be dangerous for Roger (or any player).

There are, nevertheless, some factors that make me think Roger could still win it:

1. Talent: everything clicking at the right moment – as matt points out
2. Motivation: either revenge or perhaps “do or die” as Vulcan put it.
3. Rafa has not won a hardcourt slam: although I think he’s quite capable of doing so, he could be tired from the run he’s been on. THat said, if anyone has fight to go the last round? That’d be Rafa.
4. A good draw.


jane Says:

I read an interesting stat that should make us focus on JM Del Potro even more closely: no player who won three consecutive tournaments following his first tour win has not reached number 1. Del Potro, of course, just completed the first half of that statement; perhaps he’s a future number 1?

10 of 11 teenagers who won 4 titles in a season reached number 1; JMDP is the 12th to win 4.

He also the first player to win his first four titles in a row and is second only to Rafa in titles and consecutive match wins this year.

Finally, he says his favorite tournament is the US Open.

Those are some chops – he’s one to watch; I hope he lives up to the hype and doesn’t go out early like in all the other slams this year.


jane Says:

This much I know – Djoko’s on Fed’s side, so they could meet in the semis. Rafa has Karlovic and Nalby on his side. Djoko has Clement first round. I don’t know where Murray is as this is all from online articles.


jane Says:

This much I know – Djoko’s on Fed’s side, so they could meet in the semis. Rafa has Karlovic and Nalby on his side. Djoko has Clement first round. I don’t know where Murray is as this is all from online articles.


jane Says:

Sorry for double post – don’t know why that happened??


Shital Green Says:

Jane,
You’re ahead of everyone to post on draw. That’s great.


Von Says:

I don’t know how many of you know that DeVilliers announced has announced he will not be renewing his contract at the end of the 2008 season as follows:

“Etienne DeVilliers, Executive Chairman and President of the ATP, governing body of the men’s professional tennis circuit, today announced that he will not be renewing his contract at the end of the 2008 season. Executive Chairman since June 2005, Mr de Villiers has overseen the most extensive set of changes to the ATP Tour since its inception in 1990.

The changes, which will see $1 billion of new investment into the ATP Tour, include record breaking levels of prize money for players, new, world class tournaments, an enhanced, healthier calendar structure, unprecedented levels of promotional spend and a new brand look and identity based on extensive consumer research, designed to make the Tour more fan friendly.

Etienne de Villiers said:

“I was tasked by the ATP Board, three years ago, to create a vision that would involve bold changes for our sport. I believe that has now been achieved. I believe we have delivered the biggest modernisation of the ATP Tour since its inception, have attracted unprecedented levels of investment into men’s tennis and have begun to feed the growing appetite for men’s tennis globally, both in established and emerging markets. I am incredibly proud of what the Board and my dedicated team have achieved for men’s tennis and I am honoured to have played a part in taking our great sport to the next level. Now that this much needed change has been realised I believe this is the right time for someone new to build on this strong platform. I leave knowing, without doubt, that finally our players, tournaments and above all our fans have the foundations of a world class sport they truly deserve.’

Heineken Auckland Open Chief Executive and ATP Board member Graham Pearce said:

“Etienne has been an outstanding leader for our sport over his three year term, not least in the past months as we were forced to defend ourselves, successfully, in a Delaware court of law. He was asked to instigate change to our sport and he has done that and more. The levels of investment into facilities and promotion, as well as rises in prize money, are unprecedented for our sport and are set to take men’s tennis to the next stage of global popularity. Etienne has put in place a programme of change that is far reaching and exciting, and the end result is a sport that will be reinvigorated and ready to fulfil its true potential. Men’s tennis owes him a huge debt.”


Jason Says:

Have to think this really boosts Rafa’s chances. Really tough task for Fed or Novak if they both make the semifinals, one would think.


Von Says:

Murray is seeded as No. 6, so he he should be on Fed’s side, but who knows how well they’ll shake em up.


jane Says:

Murray is in the top half, with Rafa, and Murray has JMDP in his section, so we may get to see that match up we were writing about the other day…


jane Says:

Roddick is on the bottom half and is in Djoko’s – not Fed’s – section. Roddick meets the Magician first round!!!!!


jane Says:

Djoko’s Freddy Kreuger, Safin, is in his section, so is Cilic.


jane Says:

Tsonga is also in Djoko’s section – Novak has a tough draw.

Fed’s draw is not bad to the quarters – although he does have Stepanek and Verdasco. But in his little section there are 4 qualifiers!


jane Says:

In the upper half of Roger’s section there are a couple of possible tough outs – Tipsy, Gasquet, Haas, and of course Davydenko who seems always to be in Fed’s section.


jane Says:

The Djoko / Roddick section is packed- Gonza, Gulbis, Cilic, Safin, and Tsonga – lots of big hitters.


Jason Says:

It seems to me bad draw for Fed (would have to beat Djoko and Rafa in all probability on back to back days), bad draw for Murray (better to be on Fed’s side of the draw than Rafa’s) indifferent draw for Djoke (if Fed loses early or he can beat Fed in straights he could go into the final with Rafa rested).

Very good draw for Rafa. Sounds like toughest player is Murray and that’s a good matchup for Nadal. If Rafa’s lucky, Fed and Djoke meet in semis and have a really tough match.


jane Says:

Rafa has some tough people in his section too: Monfils, Karlovic, Nalbandian, Blake, Berdych.


Vulcan Says:

Hmmm, Gasquet gets Haas first round…and yeah Clement is no pushover for Djoker in the first round either.


Jason Says:

Jane,

Interesting you mention Nalbandian. I wonder what he thinks about Rafa being No. 1 and dominating the sport over the last five months.

I’m sure he has all the respect in the world for Nadal, but he might also be thinking in the back of his mind that he really put a hurting on Rafa in those MS matches late last year.

Of course you never know which Nalby is going to show up, but he does tend to play better in Slams than elsewhere. Kinda like Kafelnikov in that way.


Vulcan Says:

Nalbandian put a hurting on a lot of people at Paris and Madrid last year Federer included. I mean he was in the Zone of Zones for 2 weeks.


jane Says:

Actually, imo, Nalbandian had an outside chance of winning the US Open last year; he blew it against Ferrer in that 5 setter with a dumb drop shot at a key moment. But had he won that match, he might’ve got to the finals, and there I’d've given him a 50/50 chance to take the title from Fed.


jane Says:

Fed and Rafa have easy first round matches.

Fed could face Step in the 2nd round though, and Rafa could face Khols.

Djoko vs. Clement, then probably Mahut (both volleyers – Novak’ll have to keep them deep); Gasquet vs. Haas; and Roddick vs. Santoro, not to mention the fact that if Roddick gets by the magician, he’ll probably have to face Gulbis, those are some super tough first rounds for these guys.

Like I said, Djoko/Roddick quarter is packed with heavy hitters; if Djoko makes it through he should be match tough that’s for sure. Likewise for Roddick.


jane Says:

Fed and Rafa;s sections each have 5 qualifiers.
Murray’s section 4 qualifiers.
Djoko’s section 3 qualifiers.


Jason Says:

I’d like to see a Djokovic-Roddick match under the lights. If Roddick could play the way he did last year against Fed, that could be a great match.

Stepanek could be a tricky third round opponent for Fed, but at least he gets two matches to get his feet wet before having to deal with that challenge.

That’s a tough first-round match Del Potro has too. I’m sure Canas knows his game well, and this is the first time Del P’s going into a tournament with such high expectations. Going to be tough for him, imo.


jane Says:

Jason,

I’d like to see that Roddick-Djoko match too, although they both have a heavy load to plough through to make it happen, especially Andy’s first couple of rounds.

BTW, wouldn’t Step be second round for Fed?


jane Says:

Oh no you’re right, it would be 3rd round. Sorry.


Vulcan Says:

Yep I was just about to say the same thing for JMDP…Cañas can put anybody’s lights out if he’s playing well…he’s as mentally tough as anyone on the tour.


jane Says:

Yes, but. JMDP has a good return and Canas’s serve isn’t lights out is it? Plus, Canas has not had a stellar year and is not on a roll like JMDP; I like Del Potro’s chances there.


Vulcan Says:

For Nadal, Im sure hes happy that there is only one seeded player (Berdych) with a two handed backhand (and righty) leading up into the quarters.


jane Says:

Actually, I **really** like Murray’s chances looking at this draw; he should get to the semis I think. And if Rafa’s waiting for him, don’t write Murray off; if he gets that far, who knows?


Vulcan Says:

Del Potro Murray would certainly be an entertaining match


jane Says:

Yeah Vulcan – given that you tube revelation. I hope we get to see JMDP vs. Murray; that’s one match I look forward to in the draw. I think Murray has the edge in a 5 setter but it’d be fun anyhow.

BTW, having seen the draw, you still picking Roger?


Vulcan Says:

Regarding Nadal v Karlovic…I think Rafa has gotta be glad it would be best of 5…whats Karlovic’s endurance been like for five setters?


Vulcan Says:

Yes and along those lines there is the potential for a Nadal v Soderling rematch.


jane Says:

I think Rafa will be fine against Karlovic; Ivo may have an evil serve, but over 5 sets Rafa will handle him. I see Monfils or Nalbandian (if at his best) as bigger threats in Rafa’s section. But again, over five, you gotta like Rafa.


jane Says:

Oh yes – Soderling was a wanker at Wimbledon last year wasn’t he? Don’t know if he’ll make it to the round of 16, though, which is where they’d meet.


Vulcan Says:

Jane, yeah looks pretty good to me…I like the fact that he doesnt have to deal with both Roddick and Blake (particularly Blake) here on American soil…the last thing he needs at this juncture is a hostile NYC crowd.

But anyway, I think to a large extent its all about Federer anyway…if he can find the range early on I dont care if Godzilla (this could be taken to mean Rafa for Federer but I mean it generically) is there waiting for in the later rounds he is going to win the tournament.


Vulcan Says:

jane Says:
Oh yes – Soderling was a wanker

With a capital W…I mean you might think it was just a minor spat until you heard Rafa say that he has tried to be courteous to him and said hello on many occasions in the locker room and Soderling was rude and never said hello back.


Von Says:

“But anyway, I think to a large extent its all about Federer anyway…if he can find the range early on I dont care if Godzilla…”

Fed has it made in the shade. He could take a siesta in a hammock, under palm trees with a couple of saronged girls fanning him, while sipping a couple of Pina Coladas, and fade off to lala land. Then he can awaken for the R16. Ditto for Nadal.

Of the top 8, Roddick has the toughest 4 rounds. Djoko, Davy, Ferrer and Murray have a couple of guys who could give them a bit of a headache, but nothing to lose any sleep over. Almagro has some tough customers in his little section, somewhat comparable to Roddick’s section.

The draw is very interesting and we will see some unexpected upsets. Its unfolding will provide much excitement. Oooolalalala!!!


Vulcan Says:

Hmmm yes, I think I might be having some carved turkey for dinner in celebration of Roddick drawing Santoro in the first round ;)


Vulcan Says:

Anyone for diced HAM?


Von Says:

“Hmmm yes, I think I might be having some carved turkey for dinner in celebration of Roddick drawing Santoro in the first round.”

I assume you don’t like Roddick? Yes? Just like to know who will be butting heads with me concerning Andy. :)


Vulcan Says:

Von Says:

I assume you don’t like Roddick?

Well im sure you remember the video I posted.
I doubt a Roddick fan wouldv’e posted that would they?…or maybe they would…who knows…some of the comments seem to indicate that people like Roddick’s temper tantrums and childish behavior.


jane Says:

I’ll take carved turkey over diced ham anyday! ;-)

That’s said Vulcan, I can’t see Santoro beating Roddick; can anyone? I mean he might get a set, or 2 at most, but 3?? No doubt he’s a royal pain in the butt. Still…

If I were Andy, I’d be more concerned about Gulbis, who likes to roll at the big events and has a powerful game. Last year Gulbis got to the round of 16.


Vulcan Says:

Jane, the magician beat him the last time they played on a fast indoor surface. All bets are off with Santoro…also he’s coming off a Newport victory. Roddick has certainly never steamrolled Santoro the way you are describing.


Von Says:

Vulcan:

“some of the comments seem to indicate that people like Roddick’s temper tantrums and childish behavior.”

Oh yes, I remember that brouhaha that emanated from your comments and i fell for a bait. I should never have asked. Dummy me. It’s almost a given your lovely comments will start another shower of niceties thrown Roddick’s way. As for liking childish behavior and temper tantrums, what can I say, to each his own. I like someone with some life as opposed to the robotic type — again, you say to-may-toes, and I say to-mah-toes. Enjoy whatever unfolds.


Vulcan Says:

All I can say is Roddick better not flinch and get frustrated because 5 sets against Santoro could turn into an eternity for him if he isnt serving big. Needless to say, if you take Roddick’s serve out of the equation the match becomes very close. It will be interesting to see if Roddick doesnt elect to just serve alot of kick to the Santoro backhand.


Von Says:

jane: Santoro took Blake to 5 sets last year at the USO. He beat Roddick at Lyon — Roddick had injured his foot, but apart from that Andy’s been the better player in the past. Truthfully, due to Andy’s injuries over the last 4 months that has rendered him so match deprived, he’s prey for anyone. Gulbis is similar to Tipsy; he’s gives his all in the first match and then slowly fades out by the 3rd and/or 4th round. Rollercoaster times for sure.


jane Says:

Admittedly Vulcan, I was not aware of Roddick / Santoro’s history but I just looked it up; their H2H is 2-1 Roddick so they’ve not played a bunch. I do remember Roddick’s loss to him last year, but that’s in 3 sets, so those sorts of upsets are more likely.

Santoro is no easy out for anyone, it’s true; he played a fun match against Murray this year at Wimbledon.

We’ll see.


Von Says:

Santoro is a very trick player without a doubt. Didn’t he take Djoko out in the first round at marseille? I can’t remember exactly which tournament, but I know he did. I know Safin and Ljubicic hates to see him in their draw. Marat says he’s worse than going to the dentist. Poor Marat, he’s so funny.


Vulcan Says:

Von Says:

It’s almost a given your lovely comments will start another shower of niceties thrown Roddick’s way.

Really? OK, lets test your theory…Roddick has the best kick serve ever…or…emmm…one of the best forehand squash shots ever…Roddick was part of one of the most entertaining matches in tennis history (vs El Aynaoui)


jane Says:

Yes Von, now that you mention it, I think you’re right. And Murray’s match with him a Wimbledon was no walk in the park; I am pretty sure that the 3rd set was a tiebreak. Fabrice loves to put on a show as well, and likely they’ll schedule him and Andy at night, under the lights.


Vulcan Says:

Santoro in best of 5 sets is NOT what the doctor ordered for Roddick for a first round match whilst Rafa and the other guys get qualifiers.


Von Says:

Vulcan: “Really? OK, lets test your theory…Roddick has the best kick serve ever…or…emmm…one of the best forehand squash shots ever…Roddick was part of one of the most entertaining matches in tennis history (vs El Aynaoui).”

This is not going to test my theory. You’ve got to say he’s a brat, he likes to fight with the umpires, he’s a bully, et al., picks on the younger players, all the superfluous nonsense. then you’ll really see the garbage flowing. Maybe not, after the last nonsensical hoopla. Roddick is American and the whipping post for most anti-Americans.

About the AO match: That was some match and a night one to booth. The longest 5th set in tennis history. I liked Younes, the Rocking Moroccan, but he faded out so quickly. Isham Arazzi? his countryman also has gotten lost in the shuffle. i wonder what has happened to them.


Vulcan Says:

Hicham was quite a talented lefty…I clearly remember that match against Chang during his farewell tour in Cincy I believe it was where Arazi crushed him…it wasn’t a pretty sight.
Those guys are both well in their 30s now…incidentally El Aynaoui had a great match against Santoro in Dubai…where the magician beat him after spending the previous day in the hospital on an IV because he was so exhausted.


Von Says:

“Vulcan Says:
Santoro in best of 5 sets is NOT what the doctor ordered for Roddick for a first round match whilst Rafa and the other guys get qualifiers.”

Who said life was fair. I’ve yet to see an easy and/or fair draw for Roddick, and they say the draws are not manipulated? Go tell it to the mountains.

____________
jane: “Fabrice loves to put on a show as well, and likely they’ll schedule him and Andy at night, under the lights.”

And he’lls have his bag of tricks similarly to what he did with Blake last year. He was supposed to retire after the AO, I suppose he changed his mind, and why doesn’t he stick to doubles? I suppose none of the doubles guys want to team up with him. What a character with a capital ‘C”.


jane Says:

Von,

“the draws are not manipulated? Go tell it to the mountains.”

LOL – my aunt would be all over this; she is convinced the draws are manipulated to favor Federer the majority of the time. She is a rabid Rafa-fan, needless to say. But she’s had me convinced too at times, as she’s a wicked arguer, with precision-like logic.

“And he’lls have his bag of tricks”

Yes- I already thought the same thing; he’ll be looking to wow the audience. But Roddick just has to keep his head. I really think he can get through this one; I think Gulbis will be the tougher customer, but best of five and experience may help out Andy in that regard.

Andy may also feel reinvigorated with P-mac in his corner – if that proves to be true.


Von Says:

jane: “LOL – my aunt would be all over this; she is convinced the draws are manipulated to favor Federer the majority of the time. She is a rabid Rafa-fan, needless to say. But she’s had me convinced too at times, as she’s a wicked arguer, with precision-like logic.”

She’s my kind of person. I can’t for the life of me understand how Roddick lands on Fed’s side so often, regardless of his ranking. it’s unbelievable. And how is it the top 2 always draw so many qualifiers. Another observation I’ve made, ever since ATP fingered Davydenko about the betting thing, Davy has gotten very easy draws. To me, it seems that it’s ATP way of pacifying Davy for the betting anguish. As i said previously, go tell it to the mountains, over the hills and everywhere …. I’m convinced there’s a person playing chess with the draws.


JCF Says:

Come on Von. There is no rigging, the names are drawn out of a hat, usually by a player or a special guest.

I think Nadal and Ivanovic (the FO champs) did the drawing for Wimbledon.

It’s just bad luck, and it does happen.

The ATP has no say in this at all. I do think Davy should sue the ATP for the mental anguish those allegations put him in but.

Top story: Rafael Nadal: I Am Not The Favorite To Finish The Year No. 1
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