New No. 1 Nadal Looking Good at US Open
by Sean Randall | August 21st, 2008
  • 135 Comments

The US Open men’s bracket is out, and looking over the draw things look promising for the “big three”, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

The bigger question was again where would Novak fall, and this time he lands in the lower half which is now occupied by the second-ranked Federer. Nadal has the fourth-seeded David Ferrer in the top half. It’s good to be No. 1, isn’t? it

I won’t get into my picks yet, but I’ll quickly break it down quarter by quarter.

New No. 1 Rafael Nadal has what I think is an easy road to at least the quarterfinals. A couple of qualifiers, and then maybe Philip Kohlscrieber or Victor Troicki could get a set but they are not going to ruin the Nadal party. In the fourth round the Tomas Berdych-Ivo Karlovic winner might be waiting and then in the quarters James Blake or David Nalbandian are the seeds in the section. Blake, though, could meet Paul-Henri Matheiu in the third round while Nalbandian is slated to face my man Gael Monfils. Berdych gets Sam Querrey in a good first rounder and Monfils v. Robin Soderling could provide some second round fireworks.

The second quarter on the surface looks the easiest but it’s strong. Ferrer is really a weak No. 4 seed so I like the Juan Martin Del Potro-Gilles Simon winner to get through to the quarter. In the lower portion Andy Murray is more than capable of a deep run, though he’ll have to get by Feliciano Lopez in the third round and possibly Stan Wawrinka in round four. Murray v. Del Potro in the quarters would be a great match. Del Potro, who has won 19 straight matches, starts things off against countryman Guillermo Canas. Fun stuff!

Andy Roddick and new coach Patrick McEnroe have their work cut out for themselves. Roddick, who’s in the Djokovic third quarter, opens with Fabrice Santoro, then either Ernests Gulbis or Thomas Johansson with Fernando Gonzalez or Nicolas Kiefer potentially ahead. And that’s just to get to Novak who really has little in the way of trouble in a section which could see Marat Safin v. Jo Tsonga meeting.

In the final quarter, you could argue that Federer is now at the stage of his career where he needs good draws. Well, he got one in a big way. The defending champion shouldn’t have a problem getting to the semis with only Radek Stepanek in the third round, Fernando Verdasco in the fourth round and Nikolay Davydenko or Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinals. He’s got to be more than happy with the hand he’s been dealt.

The women’s field is wide open though somewhat top heavy. The quarterfinals according to draw order shape up to be Ana Ivanovic v. Dinara Safina, Serena Williams v. Venus, Elena Dementieva v. Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva v. Jelena Jankovic.


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135 Comments for New No. 1 Nadal Looking Good at US Open

Shital Green Says:

US Open 2008 Draw at a Glance
1st Quarter
Rafa vs. Qualifier in the 1st Rd.
vs. Qualifier or Rochus in the 2nd Rd.
vs. Troicki, Kholschreiber, or Horna in the 3rd Rd.
vs. Berdych or Karlovic in the Round of 16.
vs. Monfils, Nalbandian, Blake, or Mathieu in the Quarter Final
(vs. Del Potro, Murray, Ferrer, or Youzhny in the Semi)

2nd Quarter
Murray vs. Roitman in the 1st Rd.
vs. Llodra or Gabashvili in the 2nd Rd.
vs. Feliciano Lopez or Melzer in the 3rd
vs. Youzhny, Wawrinka, or Bolelli in the R16
vs. Del Potro, Ferrer, Simon, or Monaco in the Quarter

3rd Quarter
Djokovic vs. Clemant in the 1st Rd.
vs. Mahut or Qualifier, or in the 2nd Rd.
vs. Cilic or Ginepri in the 3rd Rd.
vs. Tsonga, Robredo, or Safin in the R16
vs. Gonzalez, Gulbis, or Roddick in the Quarter
(vs. Federer, Davydenko, Gasquet, Verdasco, or Tipsarevic in the Semi)

4th Quarter
Federer vs. Maximo Gonzalez in the 1st Rd.
vs. Qualifier in the 2nd Rd.
vs. Stepanek, Starace, Levine, or Guccione in the 3rd Rd.
vs. Verdasco or Andreev in the R16
vs. Davydenko, Gasquet, Tursunov, or Tipsarevic in the Quarter

Correct me if I have some entries wrong.

I am so excited that Djoko and Federer are on the same half. This should elevate the chances of Rafa-Djoko final. Finally the time has come to settle the old feud, Sean, if we get Djoko-Fed semi.


jane Says:

Sean,

“And that’s just to get to Novak who really has little in the way of trouble in a section which could see Marat Safin v. Jo Tsonga meeting.”

This statement in itself is contradictory, given that both these guys are in Novak’s section, and he lost to Safin at Wimbledon and he had a tight match with Tsonga at the AO. These guys are both threats, not to mention Clement in the first round and then perhaps Cilic, who took out Roddick in Canada, further along. Oh yes, and Ginepri who almost beat Roger in Cincy.

Djoko and Roddick have the toughest section.

Roger’s is relatively easy unless Richard decides to get it all together or Step pulls a worm-like performance.

Murray’s is also quite good; he should be through to the semis.

Where he’ll likely meet Rafa, although Rafa;s section has a few toughies, especially in the bottom section. But Rafa should be through to the semis also.


Noel Says:

From a quick glance,it appears to be an easy draw for Rafa and even Murray shouldn’t be able to stop Rafa in the sf.The lower half is not easy to call.Rod needs to be at a pretty high level to get past the likes of Gulbis/Keifer/Gonza.Current form points to Nole beating Gonza in the third qf and then advancing to the final by beating whoever comes up to the sf from the last quarter.I’d have picked Fed without any hesitation as a sf candidate but his hard court form has been poor and the only silver lining is the best of five format.Radek is not the sort of player Fed likes to play and the lefty Verdasco could be handful as well.Davy will fancy his chances of registering his first win against Fed.In any case,I’d be surprised if Fed were to reach the final this year.If he does reach the sf,Nole should take care of him.
Although,I have said before that Nole was my favorite to win the open this year,I don’t see him to be as big a favorite as I had assumed earlier.Rafa continues to surprise me with his brilliant hard court results and with little rest between the sf and final,Nole needs to avoid a tough sf if he wants to subdue Rafa in the final.The best of five format and the tight scheduling could balance the scales imho.However,if I were to stick my neck out,I’d still pick Nole to win the title although I won’t be shocked by a Rafa victory.


Von Says:

jane:

Re: Djoko, I’m sorry, I have to agree with Sean. Novak has very little to worry about. Clement is his toughest opponent and not much to worry about for a No. 3 player. Tsonga is playing match deprived and with an injury that has kept him out for 3 months. Safin’s win at Wimby was a one off. Since then his best result was the QFs at LA. Djoko has beaten Cilic before; Roddick’s loss to Cilic was due to his back/shoulder problems.
I agree with you that Roddick has a very tough section. He’s got the toughest 4 rounds of the top 8.


jane Says:

Von,

No need to apologies; we’re each entitled to our opinions. I haven’t seen Tsonga or Safin play of late, but I think if Djoko has to meet Safin, that last bad loss might play on his mind. However, in best of five Novak should come through. I didn’t realize Novak had played Cilic before either.

I still think Clement is a tough opener and that Safin or Tsonga could be tough outs though.

Roddick does have a tough go, no doubt about it – especially coming off injuries. Is the p-mac coaching confirmed?


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

“Andy Roddick and new coach Patrick McEnroe will have their work cut out for them.”

Is it official? PMc is Roddick’s coach?


Von Says:

jane:

“Roddick does have a tough go, no doubt about it – especially coming off injuries.
Andy’s got some kind of luck I tell you. Almot 90 percent of his draws are tough, and for some reason he nearly always lands on Fed’s side, hence the lopsided H2H.

“Is the p-mac coaching confirmed?”

I don’t know. I asked Sean about this in my previous post. If so, I’m happy Andy has finally made a change from brother John. PMac and Andy have a pretty good rapport — they each know what to expect from the other due to Davis cup (PMac’s the Captain and has worked with Andy for about 4 years). I hope some good comes out of it if it’s true.


Jason Says:

Von and Jane

There are a whole bunch of talented players in Djoko’s section, but Cilic and Gulbis imo are not ready to beat Djoko in best of 5 in a Slam and Tsonga is just too short on matches. I’d be surprised if he made it to play Djoko.

As for Roddick, I’d like to see him get to the quarters, but the way he’s looked this summer I think that would be a surprise. I think he might go down to Gulbis.

I have to say I’m surprised at how many people see Djoko as the favorite (not saying you two do). I know he has had some convincing wins over Rafa, but when you take into account Djoko’s fitness issues and mental toughness issues combined with the incredible wave of confidence Nadal is riding at the moment, I don’t see how Djokovic can be favored over Rafa.

I just don’t see Novak ready to win two Slams in one year, not unless he can get some luck and avoid Fed, Nadal and Murray. I’d say almost no chance that he could beat two of them on back to back days and a outside chance he could beat either Nadal (almost surely Nadal) or Murray in the final.


Go Maria Says:

Rafa’s half has tougher players. However, as usual, even though there are a lot of tough players, upsets will be plenty, so if Rafa plays to his seeding (number 1, ahm), he should have no problem meeting Novak in the final.

Oh, by the way, as much as I like Feliciano Lopaz, the Spanish grass court specialist is not a threat on hard court. After Wimbledon he was either knocked out in the first, or second round, of the tournament that he played in. Murray has an easy quater.


Shital Green Says:

Von,

First round, I’d not want to play an unknown or a qualifier. And in that, Rafa could have a tougher 1st Rd, and Djoko and Roddick have easier 1st round. Who’d want to play Gulbis in the 2nd Rd? Your guy could exit here, at least 30-40% chances.
In the 3rd Rd, I’d swap Cilic or Troicki (2 dark unpredictables) with Stepanek. So, Federer has easiest 3rd rd of all. Troicki can surprise Rafa; Cilic can Djoko, in the 3rd.
I don’t know what’s gonna happen between Fed vs. Verdasco and Davydenko. I hope Fed makes to the semi, plays Djoko, and proves me wr,,oops, proves me right.

I am close to making my 1st prediction: Murray will not reach semi. I am still working on it, so wait.


Jason Says:

Shital,

I really don’t see Troicki giving Rafa any trouble whatsover. I saw his match against Del Potro in Washington and I know Victor was a bit injured but he’s just not strong enough from the baseline imo to hang with Rafa. He looks like he has a decent serve, but Rafa should win the vast majority of points that go past three or four shots.

My blockbuster pick for the tournament is Verdasco d. Federer in round 4. Yes, Fed is long overdue for an early exit at a Slam.


andrea Says:

nadal is probably happy tsonga isn’t on his half of the draw.

sorry to say it, but i don’t even factor in roddick anymore. his time has come and gone.

i’m hoping for a fed/novak semi – only hoping that novak attempts to finish this time.

lopez did play well against fed in NYC last year – even took the first set in a heartbeat…but i agree otherwise that he’s not much of a threat.

no one seems to be mentioning del potro despite him chewing his way to 4 hardcourt titles as of late….


Von Says:

Jason:

“I just don’t see Novak ready to win two Slams in one year, not unless he can get some luck and avoid Fed, Nadal and Murray.”

I’m not one for speculations and/or predictions but I had hunch previously, and now that I’ve seen the draw, I’m more convinced that Fed, should or would, win the Open. I somehow can’t see Novak winning it either, but you never can tell what will happen if there are upsets.

_____________
Shital:

I think Andy got another bum wrap with the draw. He starts out against Santoro and then Gulbis, and playing match deprived with an injured back/shoulder. Although some have stated that he’s faking it. That said, I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know about facing a qualifier; usually, by the time they get to the first or second round they’re done after playing so many matches just to qualify. We’ll just have to wait and see as the mystery unravels.


jane Says:

andrea, we’ve been discussing del potro ad nauseum on the previous thread, hence no ones probably mentioning him here.

if fed meet djoko, djoko will finish alright; you can count on it. ;-)


Shital Green Says:

Jason,
I agree with you that if Djoko plays a tough opponent like Fed in the semi that goes into a long tiresome match, I’m inclined to give Rafa edge. But if he has an easy 3-setter and Rafa a 5-setter in the semi, I will lean toward Djoko.
Actually, I want both to win all tennis fans, by playing a 5-setter in the final, going into Pro-Set. If Djoko loses earlier (i hope he does not), I’d like to see Rafa-Fed final.


Shital Green Says:

Andrea,
Ref: “i’m hoping for a fed/novak semi – only hoping that novak attempts to finish this time.”

You said “hoping.” So, are you in my camp now? I will be very pleased to have you.

Ref: “no one seems to be mentioning del Potro despite him chewing his way to 4 hard court titles as of late….”

I did not mention his name, but one of the main reasons I am closing in to predict Murray’s not making to semi is he’ll have to get past del Potro, which won’t be easy.


NachoF Says:

If Djokovic manages to get beaten by someone before the SF, I think we are on the fast track to another Fed – Nadal (or should I say Nadal – Fed) final….


osazone4real Says:

From this draw Fed has a high chance of winning this tourney.

but if djoko gets to the semis he is almost sure to win this tourney.

As for my man rafa nalbadian is his freddy krueger giving me nighmares

as for murray and del potro,del potro has great groundstrokes but i think his serve is poor for a tall guy and murray is one of the best returners so no show for del potro.

for me right now if we use history matching with this draw my hunches now seem to point to TMF


Noel Says:

“no one seems to be mentioning del potro despite him chewing his way to 4 hardcourt titles as of late….

Only two of the titles were on hard courts(Washington and L.A.).The other two-admittedly much more prestigious on paper-were on clay at the gold series events in Kitzbuhel and Stuttgart.He didn’t beat any of the top players in any of these events.The only top-ten guy he beat was Rod and Rod is definitely far from his best at the moment in terms of his fitness.I don’t want to take anything away from JMDP because winning four events on the trot-no matter how weak the competition is-must be commended.However,we shouldn’t overestimate the import of these wins either.He has to work on some areas of his game and I’d be very surprised if he finds the going THAT easy at the slams or the ams events.He prefers the hard courts and has a good game but a qf will be a very good result for him imho.
JMDP is a big talent(no pun intended)and he was rated very highly by the pundits when he joined the circuit.In comparison,I don’t think the likes of Gulbis or Cilic have been hyped as much.It is good to see that Jmdp has finally started delivering albeit in the comparatively weaker events.However,it will be a while before he wins something seriously big.


Sean Randall Says:

Jane, Tsonga/Safin is overblown. Tsonga is playing his first tournament since who knows when, and Safin has hardly been a threat on the hard courts this summer, so no, I don’t think Novak should have any trouble. Tsonga in fact may go out in the first round, if not the second.

Von, regarding Roddick’s coach, unless I read otherwise I’ll go with it.

Again, in my mind Rafa, Novak and Roger all have a virtual walk to the quarterfinals. Once there I think Fed will have the easiest quarterfinal opponent.

Murray’s draw isn’t that difficult either.

Del Potro’s fitness and game could be put to the test early by Canas. Remember, best of 5.


JCF Says:

Which of the top 4 seeds has the toughest draw?


Fedex Says:

This from tennis.com:

“US Open men’s draw here. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are together in the top half, with Rafael Nadal in the bottom half with Andy Murray.”

Haha! People yet to come out of 4 and half years’ habit of calling Federer’s half as the top half. He really made the job too easy for the people dealing with the “flash news updating”.

Will be interesting to see how generous Rafa is going to be towards these slackers ;)

As for the draw, I hope to see a Federer-Nadal final. The build up to that match is going to be insane, if they do make it through. For the 1st time ever, Nadal is more certain of a lock-up for a non-clay court final than Federer. If not Federer/Nadal, I want murray/del potro to break through. Will be interesting to see how gulbis will like the fastest grandslam on the planet right now. It was here last year that he ripped robredo apart. How about a Gulbis – Del potro final? At the least there will be a few new millionaires added to the world, if that happens.

Sean :

Your “Federer, Nadal and Williams 3 matches from a gold medal” turned out true. Not sure about venus and serena in doubles but Fed and Nad won 3 more matches since then to clinch the gold. You can check about Venus and Serena in doubles and make that headline a “sticky” post on all your future blogs!

Will you be predicting qf matches onwards (like you usually do for all grand slams?) I need to swap your predictions and enter them in a contest ;) [I will split the brickbats/comlpliments 30-70 with you :)


Voicemale1 Says:

Nadal’s Quarter is good for him because it’s filled with many guys he’s already beaten this year. He’s seeded to face Ferrer in the Semi’s but Feru hasn’t looked sharp coming in, and has the pressure of defending Semi Final points here. But a long match or two for Nadal is entirely possible. The 3rd Quarter is the most brutal. Roddick’s recent form is basically way below par, and he’s got too many tough guys to beat just to get to the Quarters – so him making it that far is a real longshot. Djokovic should get through his section of this Quarter. But as always with Djokovic, one or two prolonged matches has had a tendency to wear him down.

Federer got the easiest draw of the Top 3 Seeds. There’s no reason he shouldn’t make it to the Semis. And a match-up with Djokovic there would be THE match of the tournament. But it will have definite repercussions on the Final. A Djokovic-Federer Semi is most likely to be a BRUTAL match, probably long and draining, both physically & mentally. It’d be better for the winner if the other Semi would be just as brutal. But unless the program is changed form previous years, the Men’s Semis are played on Saturday, the day before Sunday’s Final, with no break day in between. So if the Seedings hold, the title will likely come down to who can recover the most quickly from what could well be some brutal Semis.


JCF Says:

My favorite player right now is Nadal by a margin, but strangely enough, I want Federer to win the Open. I know it’s strange. A month ago you would not have seen me want this guy to win his 5th US Open in a row. But I feel guilty about writing him off. I’ve been a little bit too critical of him lately and feel bad.

Seeing his childlike reaction to winning the doubles with Stan (I have never seen this side of him before — it was like seeing a child after many times falling, finally learn how to ride a bike; very heartwarming! Not even winning a GS title has invoked this kind of emotion from him) made me realize just how much the gold medal–any gold medal–meant to him, and how crushing (nay, devastating) it must have felt losing to Blake in singles (and knowing that he’ll never win the singles gold medal now – 2012 is unlikely). I knew he was really hurt losing to Berdych in Athens and just missing out on a medal (coming 4th) in Sydney. This doubles gold confirmed that it really was one of his biggest goals in his career to win an olympic gold medal, and not some excuse to write off some recent tough losses.

So, perhaps out of guilt, I hope he salvages his 2008 season with the last GS of the year. But I don’t want him beating Rafa in the final. Rafa I’d like to see lose in the SF. Not that Roger knows nor cares about what I’ve said about him.


Sean Randall Says:

Not to worry FedEx, I will have picks for the tournament, then round by round as always, so you can bet (or not bet) accordingly.

Toughest draw is Ferrer who I don’t think will get past the Simon/Del Potro winner if he even gets that far.

As Voicemale says, if the seedings work out, having to beat Novak then Rafa to win the title is a very, very tall order on back-to-back days.


JCF Says:

I know this is off topic, but click the link in my name. It’s a 2 minute documentary on Nadal changing from right hand to left hand. It’s surprising to note that Nadal actually can’t do anything well at all with his left hand, outside of playing tennis. He’s about as good with his left hand as I am. But it’s incredible that he’s managed to learn to play top class tennis with his off hand.

I would like to see him play an exhibition match with his right hand just to see the difference.


Jason Says:

I just have to reiterate that I think this draw provides a huge boost to Nadal’s chances of becoming the first player in tennis history to be able to say he’s the best in the world at the same time on clay, grass and hard courts. What an amazing tennis player he is. Fed was so close to being able to say that back in ’06 but I really think Rafa’s going to do this.


jane Says:

Yes,I agree the draw is good for Rafa. I don’t think Murray can beat him in 5 and Murray’s most likely to come through the other half of the top draw. Fed’s draw is also pretty good; he should get to the semis. I hope it’s a Fed vs/ Djoko semi, but we’ll see.


jane Says:

Here’s a write up on Pete Sampras’ book, which links some of Pete’s struggles, e.g., breaking records and such, to what Roger is going through now. http://mvn.com/tennis/


Jason Says:

Jane,

Thanks for the link. I thought Sampras’ comment about not being able to hide when you’re No. 1 was an interesting one. It actually got me thinking more about Rafa that Fed though.

Even though Rafa’s been one step away for so long, it’ll be interesting to watch how he handles this new pressure. I’m sure he’ll embrace the challenge just as Fed did, but maybe we’ll see some cracks in his seemingly impenetrable mental armor?

He says nothing will change, and I’m sure it won’t has far as his hunger, preparation, etc., but I think the pressure is different and we’ll see if it can rattle him at all now that he can’t claim underdog status anymore.


jane Says:

The NY Times, and Courier, agree (with me, anyhow) that Novak’s got a tough section to get through in order to get to the final four:

“Djokovic wound up in Federer’s half of the bracket but could have a difficult time reaching the last four. The unseeded Marat Safin has the experience to create some havoc in Djokovic’s quarter of the draw, and he could face eighth-seeded Andy Roddick, who will start his tournament against Fabrice Santoro of France, in the quarterfinals. That leaves Nadal virtually free of elite competition for the first week of the tournament, which begins Monday.”


Shital Green Says:

In that piece, Jane, one particular passage stood out to me: “Sampras was in and out of the number one ranking during that six year period, he reached number one 11 times in his career. Federer, in contrast, held the number one ranking for 237 consecutive weeks with no breaks to relieve the pressure and that had to take a huge toll. There might be some good news, though. After Sampras got his record sixth year number one ranking, he was free to chase his remaining slams and not worry about rankings anymore.” If Fed feels relieved of the pressure of maintaining the ranking, he should be able to focus on and achieve the one and only goal of surpassing (or reaching) Sampras’ record. I also came to the same conclusion in one of the pieces I wrote for TP. Whether he can capitalize on this state of freedom depends on how positively he channels it. He’s got plenty of time to do it, and I think he will.
Thanks for the link.


JCF Says:

Latest x-poll:

Who is most likely NOT to win the US Open
-> Rafael Nadal
45%
-> Roger Federer
9%
-> Novak Djokovic
46%
-> Who Cares
1%
votes: 324

*Sigh*

91% of voters so far believe Fed is the most likely to win the tournament between the three.

Why am I not surprised?


Jason Says:

I see Wertheim is picking Djokovic to win while also picking Fed to reach the semis and Nadal to make the finals.

That seems like a bold prediction to make. Basically predicting that Novak will win the tournmant by beating – on back-to-back days – two players who will probably go down as top 3 all-time in the Open Era.


jane Says:

Jason,

I agree. But Wertheim also picked Dementieva on the women’s side, another bold prediction.


Samprazzz Says:

If by chance Rafa gets knocked out early, that top half of the draw is wide open. We could see a really whacky semi-final pairing. I don’t know who will beat Rafa, but at the U.S. Open, I’m not 100% confident that he’s going to get through to the semi-finals. This is his worst surface. A hot player who hits heavy could take him out. Byrdych could be dangerous for him.
As for the bottom half, Roger has a cake-walk to the semis, and then he’s got to dual with a tough opponent in Djokovic probably. If Roger doesn’t make it to the semis, we’ll know that something is really wrong.
As for Djokovic: where is his mind at? Who knows with this big dude. Mentally, he’s a hybrid between Marat Safin and Goran Ivanisovic. I wouldn’t be shocked if he lost early, or if he ran the table and won the whole thing without dropping a set.
My prediction is on Roger. He’s got the easy draw to the semis. He shouldn’t drop a set before semi-final Saturday. He’ll get a chance to play into form well rested, and when the chips are down, he’s money. Djokovic is a head-case who is overpsyched right now because so many picked him as Roger’s heir. Nadal on a great roll, but he’s just too vulnerable on hard-courts.
Prediction: Federer d. DelPotro in the finals
6-2 6-3 6-1.


jane Says:

JCF,

“But I don’t want him beating Rafa in the final. Rafa I’d like to see lose in the SF.”

If you’d like Rafa to lose in the SF, whom do you see Roger beating, or want him to beat, in the final? JMDP, like Samprazz; Murray? Who else could get to the final on that side? Blake? I suppose Roger could get some major revenge for the Olympics loss if that were the case…


NachoF Says:

I think if Federer beat Nadal in the final it would really make a statement that he’s really up to the task to putting a good fight to reclaim his rank back… it would be the perfect finale for this season and it would keep us very excited about 2009.. kind of like those movies that end and you just know there is gonna be a sequel cause it didn’t end conclusively


YY Says:

Wertheim’s predictions at the slams has been quite off this year :)


freakyfrites Says:

Hi y’all. Whoever said Roger is overdue for an early slam exit sent shivers up and down my spine. He/she is SO right. Maybe Fed and Stan should try for a last minute wild card into the doubles?

My tentative quarters predictions are:
Rafa vs. Monfils, JMDP vs. Murray (I predict it, yet don’t really believe it), Roddick (yeah, right) vs. Djokovic and Fed vs. Haas (except that now I’m on the “early exit” trip.)

Predictions suck. . .sigh. . .

The one I can make without second guessing myself is that Rafa will win it all – it’s the perfect way to end his (truly!) unbelievable season.


Vulcan Says:

NachoF Says:
I think if Federer beat Nadal in the final it would really make a statement that he’s really up to the task to putting a good fight to reclaim his rank back… it would be the perfect finale for this season

A Federer v Nadal final is definitely what I want to see…but Im not sure Federer would want to.
There is no reason why Nadal cant attack Federers backhand at USO the same way hes always done in the past…and I think hes getting better at it…in one of their previous encounters recently he hit 100% second serves to the Federer backhand for the entire set. If I was Federer I would be hoping for someone like Nalbandian to step up to the plate and knock Nadal out…I think Federer can deal with Djokovic’s pace better than he can deal with Nadal’s constantly attacking the backhand.


Shital Green Says:

For Rafa fans, if you have not seen already.
http://www.theinsider.com/news/1135105_Spanish_Sensation_Rafael_Nadal_s_Steamy_New_Cover

For those interested in history of tennis fashion, click the link at the bottom of the page:
http://nymag.com/fashion/08/fall/49256/


Vulcan Says:

Jason Says:

My blockbuster pick for the tournament is Verdasco d. Federer in round 4.

This is not totally out of the question. Verdasco is another example of a “clay court specialist” who probably plays as well on hard courts as he does on clay.


Shital Green Says:

About Murray, I said recently that he might not reach semi at the USO. I continue to have some doubt about him, though I’ll be happy for him if he does get there. Two of the reasons I am not fully convinced yet how far he will go at the USO are: His Cincy win could be largely attributed to Djoko’s elimination of Rafa; and his 1st round loss to an unknown Lu in Beijing raised some question about his ability to thwart an unfamiliar opponent. So, Murray’s making to the final will be surprising to me. However, if he only makes to the semi here, he’ll already have accomplished his mission of firmly establishing himself as the 4th player on hard court.


Vulcan Says:

Murray to me, is kind of where Federer was before he was able to put it all together…you can see the talent there and the variety but he just lacks the consistency. I think he has the ability to be mentally tough but perhaps the main think he lacks in that department is focus over the course of a long match. It still amazes me to watch how well he moves given his lackadaisical demeanor.


zola Says:

I don’t want to make any predictions. It is a very tough quarter and half for Rafa with Blake, Karlovic, Monfils, Nalbandian…all in his quarter and if he can get through, he has to perhaps play Murray/Ferrer or Del Potro.

Federer has the easy one. I see no obstacle for him till the qf and then his test will come in the semis against Djoko or perhaps Roddick.

It will be interesting to see how Roddick will do. If he is over his injury, he has the chance to beat the three big guys to get his hands on the trophy. His first test will probably be a qf against Djoko. Will be very interesting. I would love to see a Federer/Roddick semi as well.


zola Says:

btw,
Rafa will blog for timesonline during the US Open.

http://timesonline.typepad.com/rafael_nadal/2008/08/rafa-nadal-blog.html


Vulcan Says:

Zola, I agree that Nadal’s draw is no cakewalk. Blake can always be dangerous and particularly so if hes playing at home in NYC. Im not sure what to make of vs Karlovic…can the big guy last for 5 sets (we know Nadal can)?…dont forget Berdych who is in there too and likewise dangerous.


Vulcan Says:

As the first day approaches more and more it seems to me that Nadal is the one who has to be on guard for an early exit…not Federer. Given the year he has had he’s sure to be relaxed and confident…and one minor lapse in concentration and he could be gone in the early rounds. I dont see this happening with Federer who I expect will be as focused as weve ever seen him.


zola Says:

Jason,
you should do the atp racket bracket with that presiction. You never know!
I think in Toronto there was one person who had kiefer for the final and he won the first prize!

Vulcan
Karlovic is not easy for anyone. going to 5 sets is assuming Rafa wins 2! if he can win 2, I think he can win three , but against Karlovic on hard, I am not sure.
Blake just comes red hot from the olympics. I don’t think he is an easy match. Berdych loves to play Rafa. He just pounds Rafa’s short hits. If they play and if Rafa can win, that will be as significant as a win over Tsonga or Blake. a great confidence booster for Rafa.

The only thing I like about the draw is to see Murray on a different quarter than the big 3. I really see him as no 4 right now and not Ferrer.


Vulcan Says:

Zola, perhaps one of the downsides for Nadal in a Karlovic 5 setter is that the US Open has a tiebreaker for the 5th set…so Nadal cant think about rope-a-doping him to the fullest extent as he might at another slam. I wonder how many 5 setters Karlovic has even played…not many I think because from what ive heard he usually goes out early in the majors.


zola Says:

vulcan,
there is actually lots of pressure on Federer. Everyone says this is his last chance to win a GS this year. He said his focus was the olympics and he did not do well there. now for him there is either US Open or nothing and that’s a lot to take. Not to mention that he is defending 1000 points here.Rafa has only 125 to defend. For him the semis is a very good result. He has already won 8 titles this year and everyone knows he is tired. There are more expectations from Federer than Rafa.

I would love to see Rafa win, but I know he had a very tough year. I will be happy if he has a better result than last year.


zola Says:

I just hope someone else take Karlovic out before Rafa!

and I love Ivo…..If he beats Rafa, I want him to be the champion!


Vulcan Says:

I think the first person that could take him out would be Querrey. He can bomb serves also and has a better baseline game.


Vulcan Says:

About Federer and the Olympics…I think he did OK there…he still walked away with a Gold medal and Blake has always given him trouble. I know what you are saying about Nadal is true…and I know Ive brought this up ad infinitum…but the spotlight has gotta be on him too because of what he is in a position to accomplish….but the media does not seem to have picked up on it and certainly Rafa is taking it one day at a time as usual.


Vulcan Says:

One more thing about Nadal…Davis Cup is coming up right after the US Open…and Spain is in a good position to make it to the final given that they are playing the USA at home on clay…it seems Nadal would withdraw if goes deep at USO..but an early exit would still give him the opportunity to play Davis Cup…a win win situation. (although im not sure if he intends to play at all)


Jason Says:

Vulcan

I really don’t see any positives about Rafa losing at the USO. For me this is *his time* so to speak. He needs to just rack up as many Slams as he can while he’s the best player in the world. For me it’s been great following Federer’s quest for Pete’s record, but if Nadal can win the USO, that would give him 6 Slams and he’s still only 22! That would tie Borg by the way at that age with the AO still to play before Rafa turns 23.

For me Rafa’s main focus right now should be on the Slams and he shouldn’t let anything get in the way of that. He’ll hurt his Slam chances if, unlike Pete and Fed, he makes DC a priority as well. He’s already *been there, done that* so to speak.


Jason Says:

Zola,

Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll probably be wrong but I just have a bad feeling about Fed at this year’s Open and this streak of semis has been going on an on and seems like it due to come to an end.

Verdasco’s also got that really heavy lefty forehand that he can torment Fed’s backhand with, plus he seems to be in good form heading into the tournament.


zola Says:

Vulcan,
I love your positive outlook. I think RAfa takes it one match at a time. His attitude is to do his best and live with the result. If his best is not good enough to win the US Open, then there are things to improve and come back nest year. Surely, any RAfa fann would love to see him win this one too, but I want to stay realistic.
For starters, I will be happy to see him win his QF match!


zola Says:

Jason,
forgot to write that as much as Rafa loves his country, I have never seen him pritoratize Dc over a MS or a GS. He doesn’t even think that far ahead. Besides, he might just play one match in Davis cup. it is not a full tournament.so I agree, right now US open and his first match should be his priority.


Vulcan Says:

Jason, I tend to agree that there is alot on the line for Rafa for this tournament….among all the aforementioned…this is also an opportunity to shut the mouths of the “clay court specialist”
contingent once and for all (although Im sure some of them would insist he won on “slow concrete” as JCF so deftly mentioned many moons ago).


NachoF Says:

Federer has been able to deal with Nadal attacking his backhand in the past, especially on hard court…. if Federer is to win this tournament its gonna have to be completely regaining his form and beating whoever crosses his path, not being lucky at avoiding those who can hurt him when he is not at his full capacity.


JCF Says:

Jason Says:

“I see Wertheim is picking Djokovic to win while also picking Fed to reach the semis and Nadal to make the finals.”

For this to happen, he really needs to rout Federer and finish Nadal quickly as well. If Federer extends him to 4 or 5 sets on Saturday, I’m just not sure he will have enough in the tank for the final. He might be second match on Saturday, finishing in the evening, and then in less than 24 hours will have to play the final. He can’t afford to exert himself too much in the final either. To play back to back 5 setters would be a big ask even for Nadal to do.

Samprazzz,

“If by chance Rafa gets knocked out early, that top half of the draw is wide open. We could see a really whacky semi-final pairing. I don’t know who will beat Rafa, but at the U.S. Open, I’m not 100% confident that he’s going to get through to the semi-finals. This is his worst surface.”

I’ve done some thinking about this. People do say that this is his weakest surface. He doesn’t have any slams on hard yet, but does have a slam on grass and a few on clay, so logically hard court sounds like his weakest surface. But what would his weakest surface be if he were to win the US Open this year? Would people still say that hard court is his weakest surface? What if he were to go on and win the AO next year as well (two hard slams), but fail to defend his Wimbledon title? Will grass become his weakest surface? Or perhaps indoor carpet?

I am not saying he will win these, but it is food for thought in the event he does win a slam on hard some day.

“Nadal on a great roll, but he’s just too vulnerable on hard-courts.”

Just curious… have you been watching what’s been going on in the last 5 weeks or so?

jane,

“If you’d like Rafa to lose in the SF, whom do you see Roger beating, or want him to beat, in the final? JMDP, like Samprazz; Murray? Who else could get to the final on that side? Blake? I suppose Roger could get some major revenge for the Olympics loss if that were the case…”

Murray is due. Rafa does have a perfect record against him, never dropping a match, but there is always that first time for everything. Djoko was perfect against him too, now he’s lost twice in a row to Murray. The Scot is due, and he’s had more rest than the other guys thanks to an early exit in Beijing.

I don’t actually want to see Nadal lose. If Fed doesn’t make the SF, I’d like Nadal to win the title. My crystal ball gazing skills suck though, and I don’t want to make a pick on who I think will end up winning, at least not at this stage. Djokovic is capable of winning this, as is Murray, Fed, Nadal, and JMDP would be an outside chance. It’s tough to pick someone outside of these obvious contenders, but choosing between them is even harder. Rafa looks like the favorite on paper, but anything can happen with him. Sometimes a guy plays lights out tennis and he’s beaten pretty bad, like Tsonga and Gonzo did to him at AO.

I totally believe that Djokovic would beat Federer in his current form. I’m not 100% sure Djoko will make the semi-final though (the Safin match is mouthwatering), or even Federer for that matter.

“although Im sure some of them would insist he won on “slow concrete” as JCF so deftly mentioned many moons ago”

This is as fast as concrete gets in grand slams, so if they call it slow because he won it, then they’re just going to have to admit that there are no fast hard courts in GS. All courts are slow, which obviously will work to Rafa’s favor, right?

He has to win it first. I think it will be key for him to not be pushed too hard in the early rounds, as I’m not sure how quickly he’ll have recovered from all that tennis. He’ll want the right people to lose, like those guys who hit bombs all over the court, though personally, I’d like to see how he deals with them. A match with Karlovic is always up in the air, no matter who it is that plays him.


Jason Says:

JCF

Good point about Nadal’s worst surface. Certainly if Rafa had lost at Wimbledon to Robert Kendrick in 06 or Youzhny or Soderling in 07, the consensus in the tennis world going into this year’s Wimbledon would’ve been that grass was *by far* Rafa’s worst surface. Seems to me he eked out those matches but not some matches at hard court Slams and that’s pretty much the only difference.

For me it would be the upset of the year if Rafa does not reach the final. And once he’s there it seems he matches up great against Roger and has a mental and conditioning edge over Novak.


Von Says:

“He has to win it first. I think it will be key for him to not be pushed too hard in the early rounds, as I’m not sure how quickly he’ll have recovered from all that tennis.”

I’ll probably get some people’s knickers twisted into a knot, however, I’d like to think I’m objective, but maybe to some, controversial. Anyway, be that as it may, I find it very difficult me to understand why people make so many excuses when it comes to their favourite player’s draw and/or chances of winning a tournament. The plaintive cry by most Nadalfans, (I’ve chosen him, due to the fact that most of the excuses emanate from his fans) is always the same, “Rafa has the toughest draw”. Is there anytime that he ever gets an easy draw? Then the other most difficult to understand statement, “he’s played so much tennis lately, he’s tired”. Why is he more tired than the other players? The answer, because he’s played more matches? For starters, it’s a known fact that Nadal dedicates at least 5 hours per day in practise. A 3 setter match, most of the time he’ll finish it in 2 sets, at maximum the match lasts for 2-1/2 hours, sometimes in an hour and 15 minutes. Minus this amount of time from his 5 hours practice time, and we’ll come up with 2 1-2 or 3 hours less time exerted per day, if he’d practiced instead of played. There are times he practices after playing a match. He’s young and he has a lot of energy and this is why he’s ascended to the No. 1 rank, hence, what tiredness are we talking about. There are too many built in excuses. The same applies to all of the tennis players, they practice several hours per day more than playing in a match. I think some of us tend to judge these athletes by our own standards and/or limitations. That’s why they are athletes and we are sendentary workers. Practising and playing tennis is their job. It’s the same for most of us who have an 8 or 10-12 hour job, and mentally challenging jobs are much more draining on the human body as opposed to the physically demanding occupations.

Looking at the draw, and it’s been the consensus of opinion by most of the top tennis experts, that the US Open draw greatly favors the top 3 players. On paper if we look at the draw in it’s entirety, some of the names in each section of the top 3 draws contains big hitters and a few tough players with good games, however, looking more closely at the players the top 3 have to play for the first 3 rounds, there isn’t any great threat. To me the top 4 are akin to the queen bees, who have worker bees/drones doing all the hard and/or dirty work for them, and when the drones have cleaned up the mess, then the queen bees just have to deal with what’s left — the cream of the crop. The top 3 players are in the top 3 because they have demonstrated that they are better than the rest of the flock. Because those are the solid facts, then no player should be viewed as too tough for them to handle, I’ve never understood the reasoning behind the draw and that is the top players are nursed an/or enabled along the way so that they will be around for the SFs and finals. Due to that logic or illogic, then the top players will always win the most grand slams and tournaments, and in order for the other players to win would have to be an act of God. I don’t get it!


Vulcan Says:

Jason Says:

has a mental and conditioning edge over Novak.

Conditioning for sure but mental I dont know.
Rafa clearly has a mental edge over Federer but Djokovic has got to know that if everything is clicking and he is making all of his shots he has a good shot at beating Rafa…I dont think he is intimidated. If he is intimidated its only due to Nadal physical superiority over him and the fact that he knows that as the match wears on his chances to win it will dwindle if it goes too long.


Vulcan Says:

Von Says:

Due to that logic or illogic, then the top players will always win the most grand slams and tournaments, and in order for the other players to win would have to be an act of God. I don’t get it!

Its pretty simple economics really. Ticket sales pay for stadiums and prize money…the top names draw the biggest crowds…the more times the top names can be seen the more tickets are sold.


Von Says:

Vulcan:

“Its pretty simple economics really. Ticket sales pay for stadiums and prize money…the top names draw the biggest crowds…the more times the top names can be seen the more tickets are sold.”

I know that, this is why I mentioned that they are nursed and/or enabled with easier draws, but it’s exceptionally unfair to the other players. It’s all about the almighty dollar. I have a friend whose favourite statement is “Show me the money”. I absolutely despise the draws and the whole system really gnaws at me. It’s injustice personified to what exponent!!


Von Says:

“If he is intimidated its only due to Nadal physical superiority over him and the fact that he knows that as the match wears on his chances to win it will dwindle if it goes too long.”

This is so true. Mental toughness is at least fifty percent relevant to physical superiority and/or inferiority. In the minds of the other players they know that Nadal has a running game, more a war of attrition, and if they are not physically up to that kind of exertion, then Nadal has a greater chance of winning the match even before they leave the locker room.


Vulcan Says:

JCF Says:

Sometimes a guy plays lights out tennis and he’s beaten pretty bad, like Tsonga and Gonzo did to him at AO.

This is the main difference between Nadal and Federer. Federer is capable of both playing, and defending against, lights out tennis…while Rafa is pretty much capable of neither (excluding FO 08). Nadal’s game is steady suffocating pressure while Federer’s at its best is an unpredictable stream of brilliant shots.


Vulcan Says:

Just to make things clear about my last statement…Nadal is capable of hitting plenty of brilliant shots, his down the line curling forehand passes, and 10 foot behind the baseline backhand crosscourt passes to name a couple…but his game is not built around hitting brilliant winners in the way Federer or Djokovic’s is.


Ezorra Says:

Vulcan says;

“…This is the main difference between Nadal and Federer. Federer is capable of both playing, and defending against, lights out tennis…while Rafa is pretty much capable of neither (excluding FO 08). Nadal’s game is steady suffocating pressure while Federer’s at its best is an unpredictable stream of brilliant…”

“…but his game is not built around hitting brilliant winners in the way Federer or Djokovic’s is.”

I think it is quite inappropriate to assess Nadal’s game base on how he played last year. Everybody can see how tremendous he is in term of improvement especially in the previous 6 months. He has successfully enhanced his game in nearly every department. To me, the today’s Nadal is completely a different Nadal that we knew last year. Therefore, the best speculation on how he’ll play in USO08 should be based on how he played since the AO08 onwards.


Willie Says:

I don’t know what some of you guys call briliant winners. Winners are winners may it be “brilliant” or otherwise. On the one hand, both Federer and Djoko have said before that Nadal’s game is one dimensional and that their games have more variations. On the other hand, Nadal have never said negative about their games and simply said that tennis is a very simple game.

But look at their head-to-head! Nadal is ahead on both of them. So which would you prefer, a player with so much variations in their games and produce brilliant winners or a player who simply play tennis and produces not-brilliant tennis but wins most of the time?


JCF Says:

Von,

When players practice they aren’t exerting themselves the way they do in a real match, and the intensity is not there. Plus I don’t think they’re going to be spending 5 hours per day on the practice court in the middle of an actual tournament. They’ll have a hit for half an hour or so to loosen the muscles and that’s about it. There wouldn’t be enough courts for starters, and it’s suicide.

About fans who make excuses on draws, injury, etc… Sorry, but it takes one to know one, hon. ;)

Someone with Phelps-like stamina (and appetite) would do well in this game.

Vulcan,

“This is the main difference between Nadal and Federer. Federer is capable of both playing, and defending against, lights out tennis…”

When you can hold your own against lights out tennis, it doesn’t really look like lights out tennis at all.

“while Rafa is pretty much capable of neither (excluding FO 08).”

How about at Wimbledon? Against Murray? Federer?

” Nadal’s game is steady suffocating pressure while Federer’s at its best is an unpredictable stream of brilliant shots.”

That is correct. He’s not going to win awards for style. He’s about consistency, and playing the percentages. He doesn’t think the guy hitting brilliant winner after winner is going to be able to keep it up for three sets and will eventually start making errors. Whether they will end up ahead or behind in the winner/error count is what decides the match, and he expects them to be behind. The way he’s been taught is, it’s a crime to give away free points. He generally doesn’t go for it unless there is an opening or he’s already in control of the point.

Let’s give credit where it’s due: Federer is exceptional at hitting winner after winner without missing. Not just any winners, but impossible looking ones. He makes the game look easy. But he is exception, not rule.

“Just to make things clear about my last statement…Nadal is capable of hitting plenty of brilliant shots, his down the line curling forehand passes, and 10 foot behind the baseline backhand crosscourt passes to name a couple…but his game is not built around hitting brilliant winners in the way Federer or Djokovic’s is.”

Different players have different styles. I don’t think you can say any one style is better than another. I was impressed by the way Djokovic played against Nadal in Cincy in the first set. If he can play like that in every set, he’d be unbeatable.


Samprazzz Says:

JCF, Rafa’s worst surface is obviously hard-court, because his heavy spin doesn’t work as much to his advantage on a hard-court whereby the bounce is much truer. On clay and grass, his lefty serve is a big advantage to him. On grass, it spins low and away from a righty, and on clay, it spins high and away. Rafa has been beaten very badly numberous times on hard-court within the last 12 months by Nalbandian, Djokovic, & Tsonga. His Masters Series win in Canada this summer coincided with both Fed and Djokovic getting knocked out early in that tournament. His win over Djokovic at the Olympics on hard-court is impressive, but Djokovic beat him fairly convincingly a week earlier at Cincy. Add to that that Nadal has never even come close to winning a slam on hard-courts. I’ll believe it when I see him win the U.S. Open. Until then, I’m picking Fed, Dchokovic, Del Potro, Ferrer, and even Nalbandian to have a better shot at winning the U.S. Open than Rafa. In about 18 days, we’ll know who was right.


Von Says:

JCF:

“They’ll have a hit for half an hour or so to loosen the muscles and that’s about it. There wouldn’t be enough courts for starters, and it’s suicide.”

Sorry to disappoint you. He practises for several hours per day and after after a match. There was a lot of talk about that during the clay season and the foot problem.

“About fans who make excuses on draws, injury, etc… Sorry, but it takes one to know one, hon.”

OK, hon, are you saying I complain about injuries and/or the draw for Roddick? Sorry to disappoint you. I only speak about Roddick’s draws when it happens, not every tourney and the injury problem with his shoulder is a KNOWN fact. I mentioned that I don’t hold out much hope for him for the balance of the season due to his poor form. Can you absolutely look at his portion of the draw and say that he’s not got the toughest, hon? :) I don’t think so, unless your eyes are half-closed.


JCF Says:

“Different players have different styles.”

I got this from a tennis tips article (from an amateur point of view, not pro).

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

Now, if you are a regular reader of my column you know that I classify players into three principle categories: Type A players, Type B players and Type C players.

Type A players are people who usually play best when they are not thinking. They usually have one of two weapons and expect to dominate the match with these weapons. They rarely analyze their opponents, nor do they adapt their play very much to accommodate different styles of play from their opponents. Frequently, a Type A player will not even know that she/he is playing a left handed opponent until the second set!!! Type A players are usually the first to panic. If their weapons fail them, even briefly, they become fearful and this begins a very negative cycle. Getting out of this cycle is not easy for the Type A player.

Type B players (which is what I am) are players who may have some weapons but usually win because they help their opponent lose. These players are thinkers on the court. They are often referred to as “heady” players. They will adapt as many times as is necessary to win a match. They realize that there are no style points in tennis. They probe their opponents for weaknesses. Once they find them, they will give the opponent lots of what he/she does not like and avoid hitting to the opponent’s strengths. Type B players usually have a wide variety of shots in their arsenal of weapons. To me, John McEnroe was the best Type B player to ever play the game (some might argue that Pancho Seguro deserves this honor, but he was before my time).

Type C players are what we all want to become. A Type C player is a combination of both A and B. She/he has the weapons and begins each match simply playing her/his game. If, however, she/he gets in trouble, the Type B player inside takes over. The Type C player knows when and how to adapt on the court. Andre Agassi began his career as a Type A player. When Brad Gilbert became his coach he moved to a Type C player. I think Brad is doing the same for Andy Roddick. Mats Wilander was a Type B player who learned to add strokes and strategies to his game. He eventually became a Type C player.

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

From this list, I would call Nadal a Type B player. He does play smart rather than good. I have seen him find a weakness in a player and then keep showing it to them. When he loses, it’s often because he’s outgunned by an aggressive player and forced into submission (Djokovic is good at doing this, and that’s what Tsonga and Gonzalez did). I don’t remember the last time he handed a match away, and in my opinion doing that negates any highs from a big win in a previous performance.

Federer would be a Type C (to beat him when he’s not slumping takes an immaculate performance), and Djokovic Type A.

If you’re not a gifted player, you’re going to have to find other ways to win, such as by using your brain, playing smart, working hard off the court, and helping your opponent lose. Nadal I would call an innovator. He learnt to play left handed, trading a serve for a stronger backhand, and he learnt to put an extraordinary amount of spin on the ball (if their opponent doesn’t take the ball early–which requires better footwork and movement than they might be used to–they’ll either have to take the ball high or be pushed farther back if waiting for it to drop–it’s annoying either way). You don’t normally find this in the average player. He also worked a lot on physical conditioning and his footwork. He found his own way to win, and it’s worked well so far.

Every player would like to have Fed’s completeness, but they don’t and have to make do without.


Sean Randall Says:

Sampraszzz, “Nadal has never even come close to winning a slam on hard-courts”. What counts as close. In Australia he was two wins away? That’s close.

And you give Ferrer a better shot of winning the US Open than Rafa? Wowza.

So based on what you say, who beats Nadal then?


Sean Randall Says:

Von, do you think Roddick is still suffering from his injury May/June? I 100% think he isn’t. He’s just stinking things up right now, hence the move to Patrick Mac.

And no, players don’t usually practice AFTER a match. They may go for a jog or do some bike as part of a cool down, but they are not going to go back out onto the court unless their match went very quickly.


Roddick is a donkey Says:

Donkey’s fans complaining about top-seeds getting their well-earned cushion? Maybe they should stop the US open and just hand over the trophy to the donkey?

There is no way the donkey is going to win another grandslam without taking recourse to some illegal method. He is cooked like a thanksgiving turkey. Stick a fork in him and find a better player to root for and stop churning this drivel about draws and injuries.


FoT Says:

The thing about predictions and players is that the more a player wins, the more fans expect him to continue winning. First Nadal had not won a title in the first 3 months of the year, then some of his fans said, “just wait until the clay season”. Sure enough, he ran through the clay season and won the French.

Then fans said, “he can probably win Wimbledon because he should have won it last year”. And sure enough, he won it.

Now some fans are saying “He’ll win the US Open because no one can stop him”. Well, if he wins the US Open, then the fans won’t stop there.

They’ll say.. “Hey, he might as well go for the career slam at the AO”. …and it never stops.

And guess what… the more Nadal wins this year – he only has to follow it up next year doing the same thing over and over…

That is what us Federer fans have had in the past 4 years or so. Once Roger started winning, everyone expected him to continue to win until it got to the point that everyone was shocked when he not only lost a match, but heaven forbid – even when he started to lose a SET! Even he said in his press conferences that people would ask “what’s wrong” when he woul win a match 6-3, 4-6, 6-0! Because he lost a set!!!

That’s a lot of pressure no matter who you are. All I’m saying is the more Nadal wins…the more pressure he’ll be under and even if you’re Nadal, eventually the pressure will get to you.

It’s going to e interesting to see how Nadal really does, as #1 – not so much this year because this is an amazing year and everything seem to be falling into place for him. But what he wins this year will be ‘expected’ by some of his fans the next year or – heaven forbid – he’ll lose points! SO the real test will be 2009 I think.

Just some thoughts…


sensationalsafin Says:

JCF, you pretty much nailed it when you said Federer is the exception. The one line everyone keeps repeating is that we are finally seeing that Federer is human. And how are we seeing that? Because he’s missing the shots he used to. Because the game he once made look incredibly simple is now looking tough. Federer is a go-for-broke player who’s never ever been classified as a go-for-broke player. His game is so smooth, and when on, it looks so simple. But it’s not even remotely simple. He’s a flat-shot, low percentage player who happens to be capable of incredible defense. His game is very comparable to Blake’s.

Look at Djokovic’s game. He’s the perfect hardcourt player. He’s got every shot in the book (his volleys can still use a little work). Great backhand, great forehand, great serve. But when he plays, say, lights out tennis like he did in the first set against Nadal in Cincy, did it look easy? It looked perfect. Many winners and very few errors. But it didn’t look easy. It looked like he had been preparing for that moment for a while and he was working incredibly hard to keep that level up. He almost lost it, too. The second set was and edgy 7-5.

Then there’s Nadal. He never misses because he plays with an incredible amount of topspin and he plays the percentages. Except for when he used to hit ridiculous winners from way back. Idk how to explain that because he did it very consistently. Nowadays his game is very different. He’s not one-dimensional anymore. He’s very tough off both wings. His serve has improved. And his volleys are very good. The thing is, it’s tough on him. He hasn’t just improved, he’s had to go against his instincts and change up his style. Running around 10 feet behind the baseline is one thing but if you’re used to that then it’s not that hard. When you gotta go against that and step in and be aggressive it takes a much larger toll on your body. Nadal is definitely the favorite at the US Open and every single other tournament he plays in for the rest of the year. But something tells me he’s gonna be burning out around May next year. He’ll still probably defend his French title but he’s not gonna win Wimbledon next year. In the future, probably, but not next year.

Anyways. I hope Federer wins the US Open. He needs it.


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

I don’t 100% know if Roddick is still suffering from his shoulder problems. So I’ll have to factor in that his soulder and form is suspicious of being still injured. You said the same stinking up about Sharapova and look at what’s happened to her. She’ll be out for how many more months. She has been plagued since the AO with her shoulder problems, ergo, why would it not be possible that the same could pertain to Roddick?

About practising after a match, Wasn’t it you who stated that Nadal had no business going out to practise after playing a match at Monte Carlo. I don’t have the time to go back and check the thread, but when time permits, I’ll find it and quote your statement. i’m speaking from memory, which is not always reliable.

Tell me, Sean, what is it that you despise about Roddick? I’d like to know. You come across as extremely unsympathetic and to an extent, very angry. what gives?


Sean Randall Says:

Von, despise Roddick? Maybe I’m angry because I think he can do more with what he has, arguably one of the greatest serves ever. And I actually defend the guy! At the start of the year I thought he could steal a Slam – not looking real likely now. I even picked him to beat Federer last year at the Australian Open. He’s a sure-fire Hall of Famer, and I like how he’s so brash about the court.

As for practicing after a match, see what you can find. It happens, but only on very rare occasions.


Von Says:

“Now some fans are saying “He’ll win the US Open because no one can stop him”. Well, if he wins the US Open, then the fans won’t stop there.”

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it agin, fans are like bottomless pits. They cannot get enough of a good thing; they’re insatiable. It’s for the player to understand this, and not let the praise and the heady sensation he derives from winning get inside his head, or else he’ll find himself trying to maintain unattainable expectations.


Sean Randall Says:

sensationalsafin, very well said!

FoT, think about it. Nadal is 14 Slam match wins from a serious, serious historic mark: Winning four straight Majors plus the Olympics. Wowza.


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

“Von, despise Roddick? Maybe I’m angry because I think he can do more with what he has, arguably one of the greatest serves ever.”

ok sEAN, I now understand where you’re coming from. It was either you despised him or you’re angry at him. Glad to know it’s only anger. I can identify with the anger YOU feelL. Confession – I’m beside myself with anger and disappointment. I wwon’t admit it, but at times, I’d sit in front of the TV and say out loud, “Andy, how could you be so stupid.” Another confession, I think he got dazzled too soon by the bright lights and just coasted on his serve. A huge American talent slipping away, and nothing down the line of the young ones to replace it. I’m hearbroken.

____________
R Is a donkey:

He’s A HUMAN BEING. GOT IT!


Von Says:

Sean, please excuse the typos — I let my emotions get in the way of my fingers/typing. Sorry.


JCF Says:

“Add to that that Nadal has never even come close to winning a slam on hard-courts. I’ll believe it when I see him win the U.S. Open. Until then, I’m picking Fed, Dchokovic, Del Potro, Ferrer, and even Nalbandian to have a better shot at winning the U.S. Open than Rafa. In about 18 days, we’ll know who was right.”

If I may ask… how close has Nalbandian, Ferrer, and Del Potro come to winning a slam on hard-courts? How close do they have to be for it to be considered ‘close’? Does it require blowing championship points? Fifth set in the final maybe? 6-6 in the 5th set?

You have to see a player win it to believe he can do it? Does that mean you never saw it coming when any man won their first slam?


Von Says:

JCF:

“I have seen him find a weakness in a player and then keep showing it to them.”

Nadal’s MO, is targeting most of the players’ backhand. It’s a universal fact that most of the players’ backhand is their weakest wing. Hence, why not bring out or show the obvious. Fed’s backhand was once a huge weapon, but nowadays, it’s just clicking sporadically. As a result, Nadal just peppers that backhand consistently; Fed makes the error, and Nadal wins the point– point over.


JCF Says:

“Nadal’s MO, is targeting most of the players’ backhand. It’s a universal fact that most of the players’ backhand is their weakest wing. Hence, why not bring out or show the obvious. Fed’s backhand was once a huge weapon, but nowadays, it’s just clicking sporadically. As a result, Nadal just peppers that backhand consistently; Fed makes the error, and Nadal wins the point– point over.”

The last match that I saw him play was against Murray (I never saw anything in Cincy or Beijing). In that match he noticed early on that Murray’s forehand was going for big winners and was producing more errors than his backhand. He dared Murray to keep going for it and sent a lot more shots to Murray’s forehand instead of backhand (analysis showed more than 50% of Nadal’s balls went to the Murray forehand, whereas normally it’s almost always to the backhand). Murray did continue hitting lots of forehand errors, far more than backhand.

Murray came into the net a number of times and was succeeding (Rafa wasn’t passing him). Then he threw in a lob, which frustrated Murray because he hugged the net and realized he was a sitting duck to it. His expression of disgust (he hit the net with his racquet before the ball landed, conceding the point even if it landed out) was what gave away his weakness. Then Nadal started lobbing more often, and Murray might have came in less than he did. I thought that was a good case of smart adaptive play. It doesn’t work when the other guy is playing too good however.

“JCF, you pretty much nailed it when you said Federer is the exception. The one line everyone keeps repeating is that we are finally seeing that Federer is human.”

It’s not really fair to compare players to Fed and use him as the measuring stick others should be judged by. He’s raised the bar. He is a one of a kind talent, the likes of which we may never see again. For Fed to do all this without a real coach is all the more amazing. He has Safin’s talent but combined with consistency. Ever since 2004, he’s raised the requirements of becoming #1. Since then, in order to be #1, you have to produce a lot more ranking points than you used to in the past. In each of Nadal’s past 3 seasons as #2, he did more than enough to supplant Hewitt in his best year as a 20-21 year old, yet it wasn’t enough. Nadal’s years as #2 were better than any other player’s years at #1 in this decade, other than Federer.

One slam in a year won’t get you #1 anymore. To finally do it, he’s had to win two and 8 titles total, which is the best season he’s ever had (6000+ ranking points). If I’m not mistaken, Federer is the only player in this decade to have won more than one slam in a season*. Until now anyway.

*If someone has stats, I’d like to know how far back we have to go to find the last time someone won more than one slam in a season. Was it Agassi? Sampras?


osazone4real Says:

why do people want to spoil it for nadal fans:

“he sucks on HC”(he wins olympic not too far from GS Hardcourt in my opinion).
“He wil burn out”(peolpe having been saying it since 2005).
“He cant keep having good year in year out like Fed”(Fed dominance is exceptional and and by the way I dont care if nadal does that he is No1 now and I will savour the moment)
“He does not play brilliant tennis,lights out tennis(“I wonder what he played against gonzo-(beijing,murray-SW19,fed-FO is then).

You know what even if this year is the only year he is no1 I am very happy he has Gold(i never expected that) and he has won a GS apart from FO.
I will savor the moment.That is the problem most tennis fans have they expect their players to win everything.

Just by the side I like Roddick mostly because of his off court behaviour.But I am very angry just like sean said that Roddick wasted the BEST SERVE I have seen in tennis by not adding more weapons to his arsenal, he actually should have more US open,an AO open and a wimbledon title by now not to say the least.


Blah Says:

Before Federer started his run, the last time someone won more than one slam in a season was in 99, when Agassi won French and u.s. open.

The last time someone won three slams in a season, before Federer’s run, was Wilander in 88, he won AO, FO, and U.S. open.


zola Says:

JCF
first of all thanks for that great Nadal link. I loved it and love uncle Toni saying: “It is better to rely on hard work than talent alone.”

Second, you say you didn’t see any of the Beijing tennis. They are still online. Go to
http://nbcolympics.com, press on tennis and then on “results and schedules”. There you can find all the matches, singles and doubles, men, womee. You have to press on “Rewind” to see them.

Great job by nbc!

and to answer your question, the last timne someone won more than one GS in a year, was 1997 when Sampras won AO and Wimbledon.so quite phenomenal achievement for Federer to have 2-3 in a row for 4 years and now for Rafa to have two in a row. Golden era of tennis indeed.
you can find that info here:
http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/history?type=men


Blah Says:

Roddick (and everyone else) did run into Federer in his prime. Roddick won his slam in 03, at U.S. open. And then Federer started dominating, he won A.O. in 04, and then won every slam except French Open and the 05 Australian open (when Safin won it) until the start of this year. And now Nadal takes over. So Roddick unluckily ran into probably two of the best ever, and this year he’s also not close to his prime anymore.


Blah Says:

He also had a couple of things keeping him from being able to reach people’s expectations, imo. He wasn’t as good an athlete as some of the top players
(If you think about it, Federer in his prime- great athlete, Nadal- great athlete, Sampras- One of the fastest players ever when he was young, Agassi- great athlete (the period when he started to live up to his potential, when he recommitted himself to tennis). He’s also not up there with those players mentally in my opinion.
His serve alone should’ve won him more than one slam, especially a couple of wimbledon trophies (See Ivanisevic, Goran) but wimbledon had already been slowed down by the time he started playing on grass. And again, he ran into Federer.


Blah Says:

The argument people use again Nadal’s style is pretty stupid. In the end, it does not matter what style you win with, but if you win. If Nadal can win, say, two slams a year by playing percentage tennis, why would he not take it? Yes, another player at his best might be better than Nadal at his best, but can other players consistently reach that level against Nadal? In the end, the only thing that matters is the number of grand slam trophies you have.


Voicemale1 Says:

Von Says:

“Nadal’s MO, is targeting most of the players’ backhand. It’s a universal fact that most of the players’ backhand is their weakest wing. Hence, why not bring out or show the obvious. Fed’s backhand was once a huge weapon, but nowadays, it’s just clicking sporadically. As a result, Nadal just peppers that backhand consistently; Fed makes the error, and Nadal wins the point– point over.”

I’d say this was true up until this year started. Nadal has been going much more often to the Federer Forehand this year, and with great results. Federer is not moving as well as he has in previous years, especially to that forehand side. He also doesn’t hit his forehand with anywhere near the authority he used to when he’s stretched, or on the run. That’s what all players he’s been losing to have exposed this year: his half-step slower movement to cover the forehand side. Instead of just pummeling his backhand waiting for the error from there, Nadal and others have begun playing to Federer’s backhand as a set-up shot these days, and then pounding whatever return they get right into Federer’s open court on the forehand side. Nadal has also utilized the Body Serve against Federer more often this year, and not always going to his backhand on the serve either. All of which has Federer confused as to what do to. Since his main weapon isn’t carrying the day for him as much as it used to, Nadal especially, and other guys to a lesser extent, have been successful at keeping Federer guessing in their matches this year.

Case in point of the new Nadal tactic was in the 5th Set at Wimbledon this year when Nadal served at 3-4, 30-40, down Break Point for the only time in that 5th set. He pounded a 124 MPH serve into Federer’s body (Federer was looking for the wide serve to his backhand) and then drilled the return with his own forehand deep into Federer’s forehand court. Federer could only manage a lob when he eventually got to the ball, and Nadal put away the smash. With Federer’s main weapon shakier than it used to be, it’s no wonder more & more guys have zoned in on attacking that side, like Simon did when taking out Federer in Toronto. So if anything has brought Federer back to the rest of the pack, it’s his movement slowing down a little, especially to his forehand side, that’s largely been responsible for it.


ROXOLID Says:

To JCF and sensational safin:

There was a time as you guys had mentioned earlier when Federer’s winners just used to fall in most of the times and when others try to do the same thing it wont work.2004-2007….During those years he made it look simple and his game was surreal.But now its not working.Is it because of lack of practice or old age or pressure catching up to him or is it all of the above?…..what do you guys think is the problem for him now?


Vulcan Says:

Sean Randall Says:

Nadal is 14 Slam match wins from a serious, serious historic mark: Winning four straight Majors plus the Olympics. Wowza.

7 match wins would be enough to set a serious historical mark. No male player in the history of the game has ever one 3 consecutive slams on 3 different surfaces. (not to mention winning the Olympics in the same year)


sensationalsafin Says:

Honestly I think it’s lack of practise. And I’m not referring to Federer’s excuse that he didn’t have time because of the tight schedule. I’m talking about the whole year. In the beginning of the year he had a legit excuse with his mono, but Federer’s never been a practice, practice, practice type of guy ever since become number 1. Now that he’s not number 1 he needs to improve again and he’s gotta practice, practice, practice. You can’t say that it’s his age because I don’t think it’s possible to be really fast at 26 then fairly slow at 26 and a half and then 27. It’s been almost a year since we’ve seen Fed’s best tennis so I really doubt it’s age. You can say that when he’s 29 and 30.

It’s not only his technical game that’s been sucking, he’s been a retard on the court. This guy wasn’t just called amazing he was called a genius. How often are tennis players called geniuses? Well Federer certainly was one when it came to playing the game. Nowadays he’s an idiot. He used to be the smartest player on tour and despite what all the players and analysts said, THAT was the main reason he won. There were matches he didn’t win in the locker room. Sometimes he’d run into a real jam. And what got him out of it? Outsmarting his opponent. For 4 years Federer never went into double digit losses. He got out of so many matches even on his off days. It was his incredible tactical play that did it. Not so much nowadays. He’s become very stubborn. In his match against Simon he constantly went for big forehands that gradually failed him as the match went on. But he never changed his strategy.

Nadal not only claimed the number 1 status but has claimed the genius-on-court title, too. Not within the last week, though, for a little while now. He’s always been a smart player but with his new weapons and aggression he’s become even smarter. He figures his opponents out and gobbles them up. When he first became number 2 he beat a lot of opponents with scores like 7-5 6-1 and other similar scores in which the first set was tight and the second set was a roll over. Back then the reason was because his game was very physical and people had trouble with that. That’s not the reason anymore. I mean sure it’s a part of it, but I believe the reason is because he might be a little surprised at a good opponent at first but then he figures them out and runs away with it. Not due to his physical condition but due to his ability to adapt and figure out the best way to beat his current opponent.

This “genius” status is something Djokovic needs to strive for. He may never acquire the full “genius” of Nadal and Federer, but he’s gotta be smart. I’ve seen Djokovic play some great tennis but you don’t really see him change things up to the degree of our last two number 1s. He plays his game and we’ve seen it waaaayyy too many times where his game isn’t clicking and he doesn’t fight to the finish. I’m sure he’ll be number 1 someday but to be a true champion he needs to push himself that extra step.

I’m angry at Roddick, too. If there’s anyone who deserve “retard-on-court” it’s Roddick. I remember in 2006 when Roddick played Tipsarevic in the first round of Wimbledon and he lost the first set. The booth had Mardy Fish and whoever the commentator was asked Fish what he thought about the match so far. Fish said something along the lines of – I’m not too worried, Roddick is one of the smartest players on the court so I’m sure he’ll figure this guy out and come through. Come through he did but I laughed when he said this and I’d laugh if I heard it now. Roddick does something of the most outrageously stupid things on the tennis court. I watched the beginning of the second set when he was upset by Troicki and there was one point in particular that made me yell at the TV. They were rallying and Roddick pulled Troicki wide to the deuce side. Troicki barely got it back and he happened to hit it to Roddick’s forehand. Roddick had the perfect opportunity to smack his forehand into the ad side for a clean winner. What does he do instead? Hits it down the MIDDLE OF THE COURT where Troicki happened to be running to. Roddick ended up losing the point. I couldn’t believe it.

I think all expectations of Roddick should be lifted entirely. After starting the year with wins over the top 3 players I expected atleast a deeper run at Wimbledon. But no, he sucks. He’s a bigger disappointment than Blake is now. And that’s tough to do, no offense Blake. Atleast Blake has made a few good runs here and there. And I’m hoping he takes Nadal out at the US Open. I know he can, he’s just gotta get there and let it fly.


Vulcan Says:

sensationalsafin Says:

If there’s anyone who deserve “retard-on-court” it’s Roddick.

Roddick has never been known as the sharpest guy on tour tactically but to his credit he has alluded to this himself in the past. He has certainly improved on some the dumber things that he used to do…case in point…his incessant arguing over let cords. After hitting a big serve which was called a let, he would always waste energy on arguing over whether or not the serve was in fact a let…it got to be pretty idiotic after a while.


Skorocel Says:

To Voicemale1:

Gotta agree with you re: that point in the SW19 final which you’ve just mentioned. That was a very clever move from Nadal – in perhaps the MOST important point in the whole match, no less. Had Fed won that rally, who knows what would’ve happened, but the fact is – Nadal got away with it, and got away with it brilliantly! And this is exactly where you can see the difference between Nadal and the rest of the pack – whereas the other guys would cr.p in their pants in such a dangerous situation against Fed, Nadal simply wouldn’t… That forehand off the Fed’s return (which virtually decided the whole point) was a very risky shot – especially in such an important situation, but the guy just went for it, and it paid off…


jane Says:

JCF,

I like the type A, B & C post. I agree Novak is a type A, but he’s got some B going on.

Voicemale1 points out that Rafa has been going to the Fed forehand. Well in the AO semifinal (which I’ve watch at least 3 times, so trust me) Djokovic adjusted his game after eeking out the first set and he deliberately began hitting to Fed’s forehand. And then he cruised through the second set.

So while I agree that Djoko is mainly type A, and no where near as good at adjusting as Rafa, he can and does do it. But I agree with sensationalsafin that he needs to push himself to figure things out on court and adjust on a regular basis. I think sometimes he is sharper on court than others – physically and mentally. If he could just even that out, he could be consistently excellent. Right now, his ranking is right for where he’s at; he just needs to step it up a little. I hope he does because when everything is clicking I find his game exciting to watch, and his rivalry with Rafa is great – they really duke it out and bring out some good tennis in each other – that Queens final was stellar.


jane Says:

JCF, Yeah Murray may be due, but I am not sure, if it’s Rafa he meets, that he can do it over 5 sets.


Vulcan Says:

Well the qualifiers have been filled in for the draw…Nadal gets 136 ranked Bjorn Phau who he has never played before…Federer has the Chilean Paul Capdeville in his section (the #12 seed from qualifying and Indianapolis quarterfinalist)


Vulcan Says:

Also, Federer may well be playing Capdeville in the second round just as he did at 2007 USO (Federer won in straight sets)…hmmm…this is the last thing we need…now Von is going to go on a “Roddick Tirade” with more conspiracy theories about how the draws are rigged…j/k Von ;)


Von Says:

Voicemale:

“Case in point of the new Nadal tactic was in the 5th Set at Wimbledon this year when Nadal served at 3-4, 30-40, down Break Point for the only time in that 5th set. He pounded a 124 MPH serve into Federer’s body (Federer was looking for the wide serve to his backhand) and then drilled the return with his own forehand deep into Federer’s forehand court.”

You are correct that Nadal has been going to Fed’s forehand too. What I see Nadal doing is go to Fed’s backhand to get to his forehand and then that errant forehand of Fed’s just goes balistic. You mentioned that Wimby ’08 match, which BTW was re-broadcasted last evening on the Tennis Channel. I watched it after my post on Nadal’s MO, and you’re spot on that point where Nadal served to Fed’s body, which Skorocel also corroborated. Yes, Nadal has been using some new strategies against Fed and it’s paying off big time.

In the past, when Fed played an opponent a few times, he was able to read them like a book, and plan his strategy against them, but credit to Nadal, he has begun mixing up his shot selection and he indeed is confusing the heck out of Fed. BTW that ’08 Wimby match, which was edited, removing the rain delays etc., was only 3 hours and 15 minutes total match time, which makes viewing more enjoyable.


Von Says:

Hey Skorocel, good to see you posting again. I guess you listened to me after all, about being too lazy to post, or have you gotten tired of reading boring my jokes? :P

_____________
Vulcan:

“Also, Federer may well be playing Capdeville in the second round just as he did at 2007 USO (Federer won in straight sets)…hmmm…this is the last thing we need…now Von is going to go on a “Roddick Tirade” with more conspiracy theories about how the draws are rigged…j/k Von.” :)

So now you’re making fun of me, eh? OK revenge is sweet and I’ll get mine. :) Last night, when I finally got some time to post, I looked at this thread and thought to myself, this is a good time to post, no one around, and I won’t get darted and/or pounded, wrong. I opened a proverbial Pandora’s box. Anyway, the excitement is good.

Bjorn Phau is a 1, 2, 3 out, so is Capdeville, who is one of Fed’s first round regular customers. You can pencil in Nadal and Fed in the second round. Wow, isn’t that easy. Just to prove you’re right, I’ll say, pity we can’t do the same for Roddick, he’s got Sanotoro, which is unfair, and the draws are manipulated. :P There, I said it again, even though in jest, but it will evoke some comments. Leave my little guy alone, I’ll admit I tell him he’s stupid when I see him doing something he shouldn’t, but I’m privileged. How do you like them apples? :) I’m probably his only supporter.

________________
Senasationalsafin:

“I watched the beginning of the second set when he was upset by Troicki and there was one point in particular that made me yell at the TV. They were rallying and Roddick pulled Troicki wide to the deuce side. Troicki barely got it back and he happened to hit it to Roddick’s forehand.”

I was so mad at Andy with that shot, I said to the TV, “Andy, how could you do something so stupid, don’t hit the ball back to the guy.” I couldn’t bear to watch the end of that set. I was too frustrated.


Voicemale1 Says:

To Skorocel:

Thank you. And, picking up on your point, what I think would have happened had Federer won the point we spoke about and broken Nadal to go 5-3, he would have served for the Wimbledon title (and likely won it) after having been trailing the entire match. Who knows what that would have done to Nadal’s head, and confidence? I think you’re right – it very much was THE point of the match. And the way Nadal went after all 3 of his shots in that point (the serve, the forehand and the smash) with no hesitation, as though it were 1-all 15-all in the first set, tells you what he’s made of inside. My good friend told me he believed that was the moment Rafa decided he just wasn’t going to lose that match, period.

Jane:

Good to know that the attack of Federer’s forehand was happening back in Australia. I’m wondering if it wasn’t Tipsarevic in the 3rd Round that started that attack-the-forehand strategy against Federer? I didn’t see it, but it would make sense now as to why Janko nearly buried Federer that night.


Mjölk Says:

The era of Gasquet has arrived

Ricky G is going to dominate world tennis like nobodies’ business.

With a backhand capable of giving a female a moment of pleasure and a cap so cool it could turn the Sun to ice, it’s only a matter of time before we remember the naughty noughties as the era of Ree-shard Gas-kay!


Blah Says:

I would love to see Gasquet take it but he won’t win anything if he doesn’t fix his head. And maybe start being more aggressive with the shots that are available to him. And start hitting his forehand deep consistently. And learn how to finish off matches and not go away by the 3rd set.


YY Says:

To be fair on some of these players we call stupid, it is easy for us viewers to comment on how some shot selections seem stupid but when you are in the midst of a rally or game, things are quite different. Possible reasons could include

1. you may not have the time to think and go for the instinctively easier shot
2. you thought it through but not confident to execute the percentage shot and decide to play safe
3. you thought it through and decided to gamble that the “stupid” shot was so stupid the other player would go the other way.
4. you just don’t think. you whack the ball.
5. you have an itch in the crotch and that distracted you at point in time you hit the stupid shot.

Silly scenarios some, but my point is most players probably know what they should have done. It’s like hitting a double fault. It’s just so damn frustrating when your body isn’t listening to what your mind says you should do :)


Giner Says:

zola,

We tried the nbcolympics site, but it refused us because we weren’t from the US. Pretty much all online streaming of the Games is restricted to the country the network broadcasts in, and surprise surprise, no Aussie broadcaster bothered to offer any online coverage. The actual coverage of the Olympics on TV down here was abysmal at best.

“Federer is capable of both playing, and defending against, lights out tennis…while Rafa is pretty much capable of neither (excluding FO 08). Nadal’s game is steady suffocating pressure while Federer’s at its best is an unpredictable stream of brilliant shots.”

What my roomy meant to say here (I think) is, how do you know this? Lights-out-tennis(TM) has a way of not looking so lights-out when it is countered with LOT from the opponent. If a player is bagelled, then that player did not defend well against LOT. What kind of scoreline could we expect to see if both players played LOT? A tight match perhaps? How about 6-4 6-4 6-7(5) 6-7 9-7? The Spaniard was on the winning end of one of the greatest matches ever played, and one which tested his mettle.

“Anyway, be that as it may, I find it very difficult me to understand why people make so many excuses when it comes to their favourite player’s draw and/or chances of winning a tournament.”

Von,

When you pre-emptively offer excuses, you’re anticipating a (likely) defeat from your player. This isn’t necessarily so if you save your excuses for after the loss, and is considered a little bit more sporting. And we may not want to admit it, but a lot of the time when the favourite loses, there really was an excuse.

I think Nadal is about 50/50 to take the title. It will be between him and Djokovic. They won’t necessarily play each other, but if they did meet in the final, other factors will come into play, such as the elements, and their lead up to the title match. If it rains like it did in 03 when Roddick won it, I don’t see much hope for the Djoker. That year there was at least 4 days in a row of no play, and it was survival of the fittest. A lot more people were able to claim they made it to the second week than usual.

I haven’t bothered looking at the draw. I heard the top 3 got easy draws? I’ll just watch the matches as they come, and probably laugh at those ‘expert picks’ on the USO web page that usually end up looking embarrassing.

P.S. Don’t tell anyone I told you this, but a secret between you and me: JCF actually thinks about you a lot. He talks about you all the time. He finds you intriguing, and.. cute. You seem to have confounded him because on occasion he does have near sleepless nights trying to figure you out, with your mood swings and that memory thing. He reckons there’s more to you than meets the eye. He tries to picture who you are and what you look like based on the scant details he knows about you, and he even asks me! There are things he wants to ask you but dares not ask.

But let’s keep this between you and me, aye?

“There was a time as you guys had mentioned earlier when Federer’s winners just used to fall in most of the times and when others try to do the same thing it wont work.2004-2007….During those years he made it look simple and his game was surreal.But now its not working.Is it because of lack of practice or old age or pressure catching up to him or is it all of the above?…..what do you guys think is the problem for him now?”

Good question. I haven’t actually watched his losses so I can’t say how he lost, but I put it down to confidence. When you’re confident, these shots just flow. When you’re not, you get timid and hesitate. You either don’t attempt the shots you were once comfortable with, or you hit them half-heatedly. It happens to everyone.

He lost his confidence with mono probably, which got things started, but I’m only speculating. He still played well on the clay and grass after all. It was only after Wimbledon that he lost it completely. That makes sense, because Wimby is the tournament that means the most to him. The French doesn’t even compare.

The good news is confidence can be a fickle thing. It’s easy to lose but not hard to get it back. All you need is one good result (which he might get at Stockholm or Basel) and it’s all behind you. If he manages to win the US Open, he might be back to his old form. If he doesn’t though, he’ll have some demons to face for some time yet. This will be the first time he hadn’t won a title of significance in a long time, and the other players will no longer fear him.


Giner Says:

sensationalsafin Says:

“This guy wasn’t just called amazing he was called a genius. How often are tennis players called geniuses? Well Federer certainly was one when it came to playing the game.”

For your entertainment, JCF collected some flattering quotes from the press on Federer when he was at his best.

“Perhaps there is a universe level tour where Federer can graduate to in which he can represent the Earth.” -After winning his 3rd GS title of 2004

“It’s not often that the pre-match hype surrounding a match between the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the world centers around not who will win, but just how bad a blow-out it will be. World No. 1 Roger Federer lived up to the hype, defeating Lleyton Hewitt 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in a match that was never in doubt.” -After Indian Wells 2005 final against Hewitt (World No.2)

“Say what you will about the smooth and sophisticated cocktail that is Roger Federer’s game. Rave on about his 82 consecutive weeks at No. 1, about his 22 victories in his last 22 finals and his ability to reduce the explosive Andy Roddick and combative Lleyton Hewitt to earnest spokesmen for his brilliance.” -Reflecting on Federer’s incredible 2004 season.

“Rather than a drug test, Club Fed needs a Is-He-Human? DNA test.” -Tennis-x

“While history will show Roddick was a 6-2, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 loser in the Wimbledon final, realistically he was merely the best-placed observer in one of the greatest one-man exhibitions seen on centre court.” -After defeating Roddick at Wimbledon 05 final.


NachoF Says:

“Perhaps there is a universe level tour where Federer can graduate to in which he can represent the Earth.”

I miss those days :(


Von Says:

Giner:

Thanks for the explanation to my statement on excuses reference the players’ draw.

You are so funny. :) I think both you and JCF are very nice young men and if you ever get to the USA you have a standing invitation for lunch with me — my treat. Tell JCF I think he’s a very charming young man with a very warm personality.

How do you like your countryman Matt Mitcham? He won the Men’s 10M Platform Diving Gold. He was in 3rd place and then went ahead on the last two dives when the Chinese diver messed up. You guys should be proud of him.

I’m feeling on top of the world. The USA Basketball Team won the Gold. They beat Spain. It was a great match. Would you believe Kobe Bryant is 30 years old and some of the other guys close to 30 and still playing? That’s the difference between team sports — more player longevity, and Tennis which is an individual sport with a shorter career span. Catch ya later. :)


Von Says:

Giner:

Why don’t you contact the Aussie Tennis Association concerning the Olympics Tennis matches. I’m sure they would have some information, possibly a DVD. I know that they’ve already come out with a DVD on Michael Phelps’ swims. I’ll check with NBC and the USTA as to whether there’s an Olympics Tennis DVD. If I were more computer savvy I could download it from my PC onto a DVD. Perhaps my office tech support can walk me through the steps.


Shital Green Says:

Von,

Phau does not fit into the qualifier category I was talking about earlier. He is probably one of the weakest 1st rd. players for Rafa. The guy has not even reached an ATP final in his whole career (sorry, doubles is not tennis; it’s rag-tag badminton) and has won only 1 Challenger (Bronx in 2001). So, yes, your guy has tougher opponent in Santoro.

On a side note,

Ref: “The USA Basketball Team won the Gold. They beat Spain. It was a great match.”

Yes, they won, but by meager 11 points, not impressive at all, nowhere near to be compared Jordan-Johnson Team USA of 1992. We were supposed to beat them by 40+ points, but Spain was within 4 points with less 2 1/2 min. left. Our team was overconfident and, thus, careless from the beginning because we had beaten them in the pool round by 37 points (and in the entire 7 games, the margin of victory was 30.2 points). Only one guy played to my satisfaction in this match: Dwyane Wade.


Skorocel Says:

To Von:

No, not tired of reading your jokes at all :-) Bring ‘em on more! :-) That one about MJ was an all-time classic!


simba Says:

According to this article, Federer is having a problem in practice with this guy ranked in the 400x from Mexico, I think Federer cannot go past Stephanek in 3rd round.

http://www.boston.com/sports/other_sports/tennis/articles/2008/08/24/federer_still_has_1_thing_on_his_mind/


Latent Talent Says:

Rafael Nadal:

4 career doubles titles, 66-45 record, highest rank of 26

Roger Federer:

8 career doubles titles, 111-71 record, highest rank of 24

Jerkovich:

0 doubles title, 15-26 record, highest rank of 134.

1 of the above 3 is not like the other two. No wonder, jerkovich fans are trying their best to defame doubles.


jane Says:

Voicemale1,

I can’t recall too many details of the Tipsarevic and Federer AO match (and I didn’t record this one) but I seem to remember Janko going more to the Federer backhand than forehand. I also remember that Janko played extremely patiently, even “zen”-like. He didn’t let Fed’s amazing service display that night rattle him, nor did he let it bother him that many of his service games went to 40-30. In that way he was a lot like Rafa is against Fed. Very Patient. He was in the zone in terms of focus, whereas Roger was more impatient and thus made more errors. Tipsarevic took his chances when he got them. That’s what more players are doing now against Roger since they have a little more confidence going in. It wasn’t a poor match by Roger by any stretch; he hit some great winners and served really well. But in that match we got a preview of what we see more often now from Federer; him missing some key shots when things are tight.

He has a kind draw at the USO this year though so maybe he can play into form. We’ll see soon enough.


Shital Green Says:

A segment from the next page of your diagnostic file goes as follows. You’ve simply re-figured “bovine manure” into “jerokovich,” i.e. an object into a metaphor. But there is a pathological condition behind this reconfiguration. When you are scatologically coded in your DNA programmatics due to your childhood trauma related to alimentary canal, you’re prone to display an inkling toward experiencing excremental “jerks” in your orality (=experience feces in your gullet through the metaphor of “jerkovich”), apparently a socially less objectionable passage. Your incessantly aggressive jerko-viching is nothing but an attempt to reactivate, re-experience feces in another body location through a language of the gutter (a synecdoche for wastes and, by extension, excreta), which trans-configures discharge methods of libidinal energies (Something to think about: How will self-love through self-abuse, when converted into hatred and directed at others, be healthy for your neuronal immune system?). This technique allows you to acquire a transient delusional self-belief that you are being successfully vengeful, but note that it has a temporal dimension. Once the veil evaporates and the old wounds begin to reemerge with the passage of time, you are bound to realize in later stages of life that you did not do service to your neuronal immunity. Your negativity, for instance venomous slandering of a name, causes your neural journey to deviate, malnutrition, and degenerate further when you seek every opportunity to feed it with alien, fictively antagonized foods. The one directed toward others either directly returns straight back or ricochets to haunt you with double force. The end result could prove irreparably fatal not only to your brain cells but to whole organism. Take some concrete steps to clean your neurophysiological kaleidoscope before you perish in the name-denting, sewage work that you have recently employed yourself with.


Von Says:

Shital Green:

“Our team was overconfident and, thus, careless from the beginning because we had beaten them in the pool round by 37 points (and in the entire 7 games, the margin of victory was 30.2 points). Only one guy played to my satisfaction in this match: Dwyane Wade.”

I wholeheartedly agree with you, and yes, Dwayne Wade was the saving grace for the team. Both LeBron James and Kobe Bryant did not play to their potential, thus allowing Spain to keep the match so very close. That should not have happened considering the USA’s tem talent. I was hoping out team would just dribble, run around and keep the ball from Spain in the last 5 minutes of play, but even that they weren’t very effective in accomplishing, Spain got some points. If there was more time on the clock, I think USA would have lost. Anyway, I’m happy they were able to eek out the win and get a gold for our country, and for that I’m happy as a lark. :)


Von Says:

YY:

“To be fair on some of these players we call stupid, it is easy for us viewers to comment on how some shot selections seem stupid but when you are in the midst of a rally or game, things are quite different.”

I agree with you. It’s easier for us looking at the match and making our criticisms, but if we are put into the same situation, we would do worse. I shouldn’t join with the masses and become angry at our Andy, but I so want him to do better, and it irritates me so much when he’s so harshly criticized. It’s a catch-22 situation.


Cut the sheet, all of you Says:

Looks like some one is having a verbal “diarrhoea”

What is this insane obsession with excrement! that too on a tennis blog, no less! Do people change their names to reflect their interests? One can only wonder…..


JCF Says:

Whoa… Oh my. Wow.

/facepalm

That lying little twerp! I mentioned your name TWICE maybe three times over lunch. One of those was when I was trying to figure out your name. A lot of things keep me up, not just you Vonnie. Don’t believe everything this fool says.

I’m a pensive and introspective person. I do think about you. I wouldn’t say you consume my thoughts, but curiosities of all sizes have a way of staying in my head for a long time until the mystery is solved. I just can’t help being inquisitive. Even if what he said was true, he’d have no way of knowing exactly what I’m thinking unless I tell him, which I don’t often do.

Talk about some major embellishment!

I have ‘mind profiles’ of everyone on this board. When I think of their name, a made up image of their face forms in my head. Sean Randall is a middle aged bald man (sorry if I’m completely off! Actually, I used to picture him with curly hair), zola is a young, dark haired woman (possibly late teens and maybe Mediterranean or south american), jane I’m picturing as a brunette, early 20′s with maybe streaks of highlights. matt for some reason I see as an overweight guy (sorry!). :D ‘fed is afraid’ I see as a short, skinny little kid picked on by bullies. There’s no basis for any of this other than imagination, but for you, I see a blur. My image of you has adjusted a lot. I’m not going to ask for a photo (or even to describe yourself), for privacy reasons.

(I get a feeling I’ve ruffled some feathers just by sharing that… You guys are welcome to tell me how far off I was by the way!)

I do find you an interesting, or rather enigmatic person. I like when you joke, even though I often can’t tell you’re joking… And you’re the only person I speak to in which I need to keep a dictionary nearby. It’s something I have trouble getting used to.

P.S. I will get him back.


Von Says:

JCF: Hi guy. First off, I’m a little miffed at you for taking off and leaving me to wonder, where you disappeared to or if you were mad at me for sone reason re our last exchange. :) That’s a joke.

Don’t even worry about Giner’s remarks, I know he was just kidding. Confession, I think of all of you guys a lot too, and I’m similar to you, where I try to place bodies/faces and/or race on each individual. I see some as kind and some very arrogant and bellicose; some playing good politicians, rulers and favorites. I get a kick out of it all. To put your mind at ease, I’m most of the time kidding around with you, even in my last post to you, some 5 days ago. I don’t get angry very much unless when I come across a cantankerous person, and then I don’t hold back. Other than that, I’m pretty even-tempered and joke around a lot, with a great sense of humour. I see humour in everything. I laughed when Giner mentioned my mood swings bother you, because honestly I don’t have those, maybe once in a while. I’m accustomed to dealing and working with men, as you know, mine is a male dominant profession, especially here in Corporate America, and I know how to get along with men, more so than women. A tip whenever, I’m joking with you in the future, I’ll try to remember to put a smiley next to my comments, and that’s what I did in my last post, where I answered you back, as “hon”. :) All, in all, don’t worry about a thing. I’m not one for handing out phoney compliments, so you’ll know when I do I mention it, and I don’t cow-tow to people; my interaction is genuine. I’m not here to win a popularity contest. BTW, I think you’re a very charming, sincere and truthful young man. I say “young man” because I can tell you’re younger than I am and I have a family, which you don’t, so that’s on what I’m gauging my comments. I have an email friendship with a very nice young man that I met on this site and it’s enjoyable, so age doesn’t bother me at all, unless if I were to marry a guy, but I’m not doing that so it doesn’t matter much. Don’t beat up on Giner too much. I think he’s getting back at you for taking off and leaving him alone to house sit. :P Stay well and be good, if not be careful!!. :P :D My apologies to all that this post was public and off topic, but the thread’s nearly on it’s last leg.


Von Says:

JCF:

BTW — I think you’re a bit off on the ages of some of the people in your imaginay profile. :P


JCF Says:

Hi Von,

My mum was sick, so I bolted off back home to visit for a few days. She’s okay now. Sorry. I didn’t think anyone would really care enough for me to leave a message.

Giner and I have a rivalry. It started when I told his girlfriend something embarrassing about him, and he’s been playing practical jokes on me ever since!

I wanted to say, you can be quite alluring when you are being, well.. I forgot the word you used (I just can’t keep up with you). But joking. I visit several different forums a day, but this is the only one with female regulars, and you have a way of leaving a mark on me every day!

I think I’m getting the hang of your humor.

Giner was right when he said I think there’s more to you than meets the eye. I don’t believe in photographic memory you see… and my suspicion (laugh if you want) is that you’re taking notes on everyone. Okay, sounds dumb, but I’m stumped for other explanations!

“BTW — I think you’re a bit off on the ages of some of the people in your imaginay profile. :P”

If you know something about Sean that I don’t, you’re welcome to correct me. ;)

Dan Martin I picture as a late-20′s or early 30′s guy with a slight paunch but otherwise fit and strong. Richard Vach is my number 1 suspect as the identity of ‘Staff’ and x-bot. In other words, that caustic but witty writer of the barbs and Who’s got Funk/Trunk. They’ve never revealed the identity of whoever’s writing this stuff, but he’s got the be the one.

Anyway, good to be back. This place is a good time killer. There are a lot of intelligent and well spoken people here though I’ll probably stay out of discussions that reach 200 comments unless I get in early.


JCF Says:

By the way, that’s two new words I’ve learnt in your paragraph: bellicose and cantankerous. I’ve heard of the latter before but never bothered looking it up.

Where were you when I was writing essays in English class???


Von Says:

JCF:

“My mum was sick, so I bolted off back home to visit for a few days. She’s okay now. Sorry. I didn’t think anyone would really care enough for me to leave a message.”

So sorry about your Mum (that’s the English form for “Mummy”, US Mom “Mommy”. I always think of an Egyptian Mummy. Got it. :P ) I hope she’ll be alright soon. And, of course, I cared — I missed you, and that’s the truth. Have you ever seen Laugh-In with Lilly Tomlin? She used to say: “And that’s the truth.” phhh

“I wanted to say, you can be quite alluring when you are being, well.. I forgot the word you used (I just can’t keep up with you).”

Controversial,is the word. I have to keep people on their toes, you know. I can’t let them get too comfortable, then all my hard work will be for naught.

“But joking. I visit several different forums a day, but this is the only one with female regulars, and you have a way of leaving a mark on me every day!”

Thank you, and so do you. Call it an “indelible” mark, one which won’t rub out, and/or fade.

“Giner was right when he said I think there’s more to you than meets the eye. I don’t believe in photographic memory you see… and my suspicion (laugh if you want) is that you’re taking notes on everyone.”

Believe me — I honestly don’t keep notes on anyone — I don’t have the time. I’m observant and I remember stuff. After a while it’s easy to piece info together. That’s part of my job to be observant. It’s good that you’re inquisitive and curious. It shows an active mind and you’d do well in law enforcement. This is the only site I post on, and I do it just to take breaks from research, etc. My spouse always tells me that I have a memory as huge as an elephant. He likes it and sometimes don’t.

“If you know something about Sean that I don’t, you’re welcome to correct me.”

I don’t know anything about Sean. Truthfully, I don’t think he likes me at all, but tolerates me, especially when I take off on what Vulcan calls my ‘Roddick tirades”. I picture Sean to be Anglo-Saxon, or WASP, from his name. Tall, Ivey League type, and very intense, without a sense of humor and somewhere in his late 30s to mid 40s. He could very well look like you state, but his style and tone of writing tells me he’s younger and not bald. :) God, help me, he’ll put me off Tennis.X for sure now. :) :D

“Anyway, good to be back. This place is a good time killer. There are a lot of intelligent and well spoken people here though I’ll probably stay out of discussions that reach 200 comments unless I get in early.”

I’m genuinely glad you’re back. I really missed you. You keep me company when I’m up late at night working and don’t really want to, so I goof off a little chatting with you. Just like I’m doing right now.

“By the way, that’s two new words I’ve learnt in your paragraph: bellicose and cantankerous. I’ve heard of the latter before but never bothered looking it up.”

Well, I’m glad you learnt two new words. That’s me, I don’t even think of them at times they just appear. It’s so funny. Have you ever heard of “rumbustious” commonly spelt as “rumbunctious”, British version, which means boisterous or unruly. If not, there’s a new one for you.

“Where were you when I was writing essays in English class???”

Probably in College and changing baby diapers.

I’ll probably get a good chiding from Randall for my comments. Oh well, been there, done that at Boarding School with the Nuns and Mother superior, and after the chiding, I’d go out and do the same thing all over again. I made the girls laugh all of the time, and I’d be in trouble all of the time. But, for some reason, and I don’t know why, I was very liked and popular. So now you know all about me. Ta, ta, kiddo. catch ya later. :D

“Richard Vach is my number 1 suspect as the identity of ‘Staff’ and x-bot.”

I think staff is that woman Jill Neuharth and Richard Vach combined. Jill uses all those handles like “Hot Sauce” Verdasco. Who knows, I could be wrong again.

“Dan Martin I picture as a late-20’s or early 30’s guy with a slight paunch but otherwise fit and strong.”

I’d say Dan is in his early 30s nd fit. he plays tennis, so he should be fit.


JCF Says:

Haha! It’s a good thing none of the others are reading this anymore. I can’t imagine their reaction to our visual constructions of their physical traits based on their writing. :P

Thanks for sharing your insight on ‘Staff’. I figure your detective skills wouldn’t let me down. I haven’t heard much from Jill, but that was a good observation on the ‘hot sauce’. I wouldn’t have picked it up myself. It’s a shame Staff doesn’t want to be credited for his/her work. I find their sarcasm soothing, if a little harsh. Jill is AWOL most of the time, so I think it’s mainly Richard writing these articles.

Sean is an entertaining guy. I happen to like him. Abe Kuijl is a twit. His picks are always way off and irrational. He has a real fetish for those Williams sisters, Serena in particular.

(I normally write ‘mom’ instead of ‘mum’, but my friends have commented that it just sounds awkward coming from an Aussie.)


JCF Says:

‘I say “young man” because I can tell you’re younger than I am and I have a family, which you don’t, so that’s on what I’m gauging my comments.’

Believe it or not, my first impression of you was a young girl, 20ish (because you seemed so spirited and carefree) which would make you younger than me. Because we all know that all women are young and attractive, right… And that all men are fat and ugly, and older.

Reading your pieces have exposed just how comparatively limited my vocab is. I overuse a lot of words while you never seem to run out of new words and have a different synonym each time you need one. I should add a few myself. I probably need to learn new words just to not look dumb in your presence! You even have me caring more about spelling than I normally do (which is not much at all).

I’ve never been so self-aware in talking to anyone on the internet before. I even proof read my posts now if they’re not too long!

I’m going to try and improve my writing skills, though I’ll only be able to take baby steps.

You’re a good source for learning.

Anyways, a pleasure as always. I think it’s time to bury this thread once and for all though.

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