Is Rafael Nadal Ready to Take New York?
by Sean Randall | August 24th, 2008, 2:08 pm
  • 108 Comments

There’s an age-old saying in the financial markets that the “trend is your friend.” I like applying that same axiom to men’s pro tennis, that is the guys playing well going into Grand Slams tend to be the ones putting up the good results, while the guys struggling entering majors often get bounced early. Of course there are more than plenty of examples of players bucking that trend and performing counter to how they played pre-event, but in my mind of all the four Slams the US Open through the years is the one that finds form and follows the pre-tournament trend the most.

Players who reach the US Open final usually don’t emerge from nowhere like we often see at the French Open, Australian Open and to a lesser degree Wimbledon. A look at the recent champions list is a testament to that. And I think this year should be no different.

I said in July that with the addition of the Beijing Olympics to the schedule that results this summer would go rather unpredictably, with no one player dominating. Well, I was wrong. Turns out one single player did dominate the summer, and it was Rafael Nadal who won both Canada and the Olympic gold medal, and now he has sights firmly set on a third straight Grand Slam title, the US Open which begins Monday.

I also said last month that no player would be able to win both the Olympics and the US Open. It’s too tough, too demanding I thought. Well, I’m taking that statement back, because I think Nadal does just that. He stays on his roll, stays true to his uptrend and wins the US Open.

Now I didn’t think this way a week ago, but after seeing how the draw came out, I’m not sure how he loses. As I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, one of Nadal’s greatest weapons in a Slam is not his forehand, backhand or speed, it’s the format. In a best-of-five someone is going to have to win three sets to beat Rafa at Flushing over these next two weeks to stop him. And with the way he’s playing right now, good luck.

I need only three fingers to tally the numbers of players to win a set off Nadal this year in a Slam (Tsonga, Gulbis, Federer) and all of them are on the other half of the draw.

In fact, only two guys in Rafa’s half have beaten the Spaniard this year – Juan Carlos Ferrero and Mikhail Youhzny – and there won’t be a rematch for either in New York next week.

And another benefit for Nadal, and a big reason why I see him eating another trophy at the end, is that both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic wound up in the same side of the draw which, at the US Open, means if they do meet in the semifinals the winner would have to play Nadal the very next day. That’s a big advantage to Nadal, who will likely contend with an easier foe like Andy Murray. Plus, if the cards play out with Nadal v. Murray and Federer v. Djokovic, odds are the Nadal match will be the first match on that Saturday followed by the marquee Federer-Djokovic tussle immediately afterward.

All that said, maybe Nadal does not walk away with the title or even get to the final. Maybe No. 1 gets to him like it did to his countrymen – how many Slams finals did Carlos Moya and Juan Carlos Ferrero appear in after reaching they each reached No. 1 ranking? A big fat zero, that’s how many.

But I really can’t see Rafa losing before the quarterfinals where I think he’ll face James Blake. With the way the draw sets up, Blake is the only guy who I think can stop Rafa’s march. Again, Novak or Roger are better players than Blake, but they’ll have to beat Rafa a day after a semifinal while Blake gets Rafa with a scheduled day off, and he’ll have the NY night crowd and the J-Block fully behind him. David Nalbandian? Hasn’t exactly been lighting it up has he? And my man Gael Monfils? He’s improving but he’s still a couple years away from beating No. 1s in Slams.

As for Murray, I really like his draw and I do think he’ll emerge to the semifinals to meet Rafa. I really hope, though, that his path to get there goes through Juan Martin Del Potro, the summer star and winner of his last 19 matches. I watched a lot of Del Potro the last month and I like what I saw. The 19-year-old’s really got a massive game. He’s improved his quickness and shot selection, his ground strokes are deadly off either wing and he gets free points off his serve. He reminds me a lot of Gustavo Kuerten. But if JMDP does to get to Murray, and I think he will, the Scot gets him. JMDP won a lot of matches the last month but not against the elite-level players, and he hasn’t proven much of anything at a Grand Slam level or in big, pressure matches. Murray has.

As I touched on in my last post, Andy Roddick and his new coach Patrick McEroe are really up against it from the get go at the Open this year. Roddick starts with Fabrice Santoro only to then face Ernest Gulbis. Wow. Then to play Andreas Seppi followed by either Nicolas Kiefer or Fernando Gonzalez. Needless to say, things couldn’t have turned out tougher for the struggling Roddick early on. But I think McEnroe will ignite a spark under Roddick and he’ll somehow get through…Get through Fabrice Santoro that is, only to get beat by Gulbis. I really want to believe that Roddick beats Ernests, but it’s just an awful match-up for Andy who doesn’t do well against guys who have decent serves to go along with solid groundstrokes, and Gulbis has that and a whole lot more. Plus, the trend really is not Andy’s friend in this case. This summer hasn’t been one for the scrap books.

And while Roddick, Gulbis, Gonzalez and Kiefer fight it out, awaiting the victor of that section in the quarters will be Novak Djokovic, who really is on easy street with maybe Robby Ginepri in the third round and then Carlos Moya round four before a dangerous quarterfinal clash with Gonzalez.

That brings me to Mr. Federer. The former No. 1 and defending champion Mr. Federer, that is. Now that Roger’s hopes of Olympic singles gold have been washed away, his hopes of finishing the year No. 1 all but over, he’s now turned to the US Open to salvage his fledgling season. The trend however for Federer has been down on hardcourts, and down hard of late. Luckily for the Swiss the Tennis Gods have smiled upon him yet again by blessing Fed with a virtual breeze to the semifinals.

Might Roger lose early? The ways he’s been playing this summer he very well could. Maybe Stepanek breaks out that worm dance during play with Nicole Vaidisova, or perhaps Fernando Verdasco actually lives up to his vast potential and finally gets that big Slam match victory we’ve been waiting for, but I really don’t see either happening. So I like Roger to the quarterfinals where he could face his first real test in either Nikolay Davydenko or Richard Gasquet. Of the two, Davydenko would be tougher foe but I think it’s Gasquet who gets there. Unfortunately for Richard, in a best-of-five format I just don’t think he can mentally hold it together long enough to put away Federer.

That makes my US Open final four as Nadal v. Murray and Djokovic v. Federer. And in the final I like Nadal beating Novak leaving the Spaniard just seven Melbourne from an historic Rafa Golden Slam.

As for the women, in the semifinals I’ll go with Dinara Safina to beat Serena Williams and Sveta Kunzetsova to beat Jelena Jankovic. In the final I’ll take Sveta to pull the upset and beat Dinara.


Also Check Out:
Juan Martin Del Potro Has Withdrawn From The US Open
Serena Williams Out of US Open
It’s Official, Rafael Nadal Will Not Play The US Open
Andy Murray Hits New York, Visits Charlie Rose, Adidas [Video]
Rafael Nadal Says “No Thanks, Bad Memories” on Returning to Restaurant Where he Burnt his Fingers

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108 Comments for Is Rafael Nadal Ready to Take New York?

Colin Says:

As I’ve said before on this forum, it’s great from my British viewpoint to see the respect Murray is getting in America – more than he gets at home, on balance. But I’m surprised when, considering opponents for Nadal, Mr Randall lists Murray as easier than Federer. At the moment, I’d think any one of dozens of players would feel fairly confident against Roger. Now I’ve said that, he’ll probably win the flaming tournament!


Shital Green Says:

Sean,
Ref: “Rafael Nadal who won both Cincinnati”

You meant Toronto. Correct it.

Ref: “no player would be able to win both the Olympics and the US Open. It’s too tough, too demanding I thought. Well, I’m taking that statement back”

Thanks. That’s what I said at the time Toronto was going on.

Ref: “one of Nadal’s greatest weapons in a Slam is not his forehand, backhand or speed, it’s the format. In a best-of-five someone is going to have to win three sets to beat Rafa at Flushing over these next two weeks to stop him. And with the way he’s playing right now, good luck.”

I am not sure the best-of-five format alone ensures Rafa’s victory. If my memory serves me right, the Slam has always been best of five, including last year. If he wins the whole thing, it will be because he plays better than others.


Sean Randall Says:

Colin, on a hardcourt I’m sure Rafa would rather play Murray than Federer.

Shital, thanks for the correction. Right now Nadal’s playing much better than he was at this time last year, and in a best-of-five format that makes him that much tougher to beat.


Von Says:

Colin:

“As I’ve said before on this forum, it’s great from my British viewpoint to see the respect Murray is getting in America – more than he gets at home, on balance.”

As the saying goes, A prophet is never recognized in his own country. some of the American athletes receive more respect in Europe than they do in the USA. The media can make or break an athlete.

Even though I’m not one for speculation and/or predictions, as I’ve stated on the other thread, I’ve a strong feeling that Fed with win the USO and after seeing his draw, now I’m even more convinced it will happen. but, only time will tell …


Dan Scarlett Says:

If it all comes down to mental toughness, here is a telling line from The Guardian:
“Federer’s considerable mental strength is, essentially, manufactured–Nadal’s comes naturaly.”


FoT Says:

Well Roger’s done pretty well with that “mananufactured mental strength” hasn’t he! lol! He’s manufactured it all the way to 12 slams. Not bad for someone who has to ‘manufacture’ his mental strength.


sensationalsafin Says:

Wtf does that mean?


mel Says:

let’s face it, there’s only 1 reason rafa wins over ferd, and that’s because he’s a lefty. if he were right handed, i’d like to see him play fed on any surface.


sensationalsafin Says:

Agreed.


Von Says:

To the lay person mental toughness is a matter of individual perception, and is subjective. Mental toughness in small part is innate, but any innate attribute is dependent on honing and/or enlarging upon to take root in our psyche and become second nature — in other words we build upon what we have acquired through genes, DNA, whatever, but unless we are willing to improve upon them, then those skills will remain dormant. And, whatever avenues we choose and/or use to cultivate these innate attributes will be manifested as and/or become manufactured skills.

There are different levels and definitions of human progress, growth, development, evolution, and/or transformation. It is obvious that within the last year Nadal has shown changes in his game. However, we have to admit that it was not an overnight transformation, but a cumulative one that evolved from a rigid work ethic, i.e., dedicating more hours to practising. And, because of that work ethic he has become mentally tough.

Nadal’s growth, development, transformation, and evolution are are due to his motivation and desire to be the No. 1 tennis player and best athlete. He is motivated to want, develop, and attain something greater than what he currently has and is. There is a qualitative difference. It is a movement upwards and has created an evolution of a whole new plane of existence and consciousness in his life. He lives for, and thrives on this new evolution or higher plane to a status that has transformed him beyond his former self into another type of being — a one of a kind tennis player — a unique athlete.

The majority of athletes are fortunate if they make even a modicum of psychological progress (acquiring mental toughness) in their lives, due to their lack of desire, and dedication to a difficult and time-consuming work ethic. What Nadal has achieved can be gotten by many more athletes if they are willing to do what it takes. The analogy is simple, desire+hard work = mental toughness. there’s nothing mysterious to this formula. Anyone willing to work at something regardless of how weak an individual, will take him to a modestly higher degree of psychological strength enough to be deemed “mentally tough”.

Whatever the level of change an athlete may seek the key to making that progress is their level of aspiration — which is, in essence, a conscious intention to make a thing happen. Will they change because life forces them to do so, or because they consciously desire for it to come about? Conscious change is the best way, the way for the true, athletes of the future; but in order to do so a transformation has to take place at a conscious level — in the mind. It’s this transformation that embodies a permanent inner change which connects one to the inner workings of the mind and physical development, that leads to an athlete, becoming more physically enhanced in all areas of fitness. In this scheme, one rises from a 1 to a 1+ or perhaps a 2.

We can argue that Nadal is a mentally tougher athlete than Federer, but that’s purely our perception. His mental toughness is due to repetitive movement which becomes ingrained in the mind and becomes second nature. When such happens, a person is said to play within himself, staying focused on his MO and ignoring his opponent’s attempts to confuse and/or dismantle his game. However, there are occasions when the Mo has to be changed and/or improvised, due to the opponent introducing into his game a new set of tactics which were not visible before, which is what Nadal invariably does to Federer, that is interpreted as mental toughness. Mental toughness can render one fearless, e.g., at that one game at the Wimby match, when Nadal was down breakpoint, yet fearlessly, went for his shots. When this happens, it confuses a player and has him at a disadvantage. A classic example of this was manifested in Miami when Davydenko introduced a new formula to his game upsetting Nadal. In that match Davydenko was the mentally tougher of the two due to his placing of Nadal at a disadvantage, in unfamiliar territory. To reiterate, mental toughness is the result of phusical conditioning, which gives the indivual self-belief and/or self-confidence in his perfection of repetitive movement, and in the sport of tennis, translates to the perfection of shot selection, court positioning, and a more formidable opponent, with enhanced manufactured skills.


Von Says:

“let’s face it, there’s only 1 reason rafa wins over ferd, and that’s because he’s a lefty. if he were right handed, i’d like to see him play fed on any surface.”

The above, coupled with his two-handed back hand, especially on clay, which makes the backhand stronger, as opposed to Fed’s one-handed backhand.
___________________
Sensationalsafin, I don’t know if you remember, but you and I discussed this way back in April when the clay season began.


Mary Says:

I’d like to see Nadal win, just to see the reaction of fans around the world.

Does that confidence change when you become number one? I’ve noticed Nadal has been humble when asked about this. He may only be number one for a few months…..etc. I don’t think much of him, but I like the tactics– I give him respect in that arena.


Mary Says:

Forgot to put his out there:
What player would the NYC crowd get behind in a Nadal/ Fed final?
Federer has spent time here,– but there is that Winator woman he befriended– than Nadal.


Von Says:

Mary:

“What player would the NYC crowd get behind in a Nadal/ Fed final?
Federer has spent time here,– but there is that Winator woman he befriended– than Nadal.”

I think it will be a 50/50 thing. NYC, as you know, has a huge Hispanic population, and they’ll back Nadal. But, the other section of the crowd would back Fed. New Yorkers are fiercely loyal. I doubt Fed’s association with Wintour would have a huge impact on his popularity. Her type of appeal would focus on the very rich, socialite individual, and they don’t make up the masses. It’s the middle class who are the focal point and I think they’ll back Fed. Just my opinion.


Mary Says:

Von:
“I think it will be a 50/50 thing. NYC, as you know, has a huge Hispanic population, and they’ll back Nadal.”
You don’t live here do you? Spain and hispanic very, very, very different.
It’s like the one time I asked a cab driver with a Eastern European accent if he was from Russia– we were already chatting in the cab. He was from the Ukraine– he let me have it with both barrels.

“I doubt Fed’s association with Wintour would have a huge impact on his popularity.”

You missed the big Wintour/Fed spread in the tabs after he attended Fashion Week after the USO. Living in NYC, there’s more ink and blog items devoted to those two then him without her. People are fascinated by it.


Von Says:

Mary:

“You don’t live here do you? Spain and hispanic very, very, very different.”

I lived in NYC for many years and worked with many nationalities. I had a similar experience with a cab driver once. Yes, there’s a differentiation between the PRs and the people from Spain, but from my recollection, they seemed to become united on some things, even though one kept the other at arm’s length so to speak. Hence, my statement about them backing Nadal.

I did not see the Wintour/Fed spread and didn’t realize it would impact so hugely. But, anyway, from my recollection, that sort of stuff more targets the rich and famous who attend the marquee matches, and are not the majority. Then, maybe it will be a 3-way split. The Spanish, v. The Rich and Famous v. The Middle Class — which makes an electric atmosphere. If it’s a chilly September night, you’ll see some mink coats.


Shital Green Says:

Von,
Do you really think majority of tennis fans who buy tickets for a GS match are divided according to ethnicity, economic class, and you can add, gender, religion, region, nation, or language?


Von Says:

Shital:

Yes, I do, especially in large cities. Take for instance, baseball and,basketball. You’ll find more of the lower middle class Americans scraping together some money to treat themselves to a game, because those sports are American sports and tickets are cheaper. Football, which is a another American sport will attract the upper middle class or the rich because of the cost of the ticket. Soccer will definitely be supported by more Europeans due to that being one of their major sports. Given the foregoing rationale, we can then compartmentalize the differences into ethnicity, economic class, and you can add, gender, religion, region, nation, and/or language. In essence, especilly a city such as New York City, which is referred to as the “melting pot” of the United States, you’ll find these differences do apply. I’ll give you an example of New york City. Unfortunately, I’ll have to divulge my religion. I’m a Catholic/Christian who lived in New York City and attended Christmas Eve Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. However, in order to even step foot into St.Patricks Cathedral on Christmas Eve night, I could not just walk into the church. It was impossible. I had to have tickets and tickets were gotten through social connections and/or being a church donor. The seating was divided into categories, the church stalwarts, who are the rich and famous, then the upper middle-class, middle middle-class, and at the very, very back of the church standing, the not so well-off or unconnected. It is a foregone conclusion that at St. Patty’s on Christmas Eve night, if one is fortunate to get a ticket, they’ll be rubbing elbows with the creme de la creme of the NYC socialites. The USO, unfortunately, is very much along those lines.


sensationalsafin Says:

I’ve discussed so many things with so many people, sorry if I forget somethings. But yeah I remember sorta, which is probably why I didn’t get into it here and just agreed.


zola Says:

Sean…..
Can I beg you not to pick Rafa for the US Open? Pick Djoko or Federer….this is their surface after all!

Right now my two hopes for the US Open are:
1) for Rafa to stay healthy and injury free
2) Rafa won’t play in that horrendous outfit he was wearing for the Kids day!

If he is healthy, he has enough motivation to play his best.

I don’t understand the concept of super Saturday. How in the world are the players going to play a best of 5 semi and then play the final with less than 24 hou. rs of rest? It is just brutal.

Rafa-Murrat may not be as easy as you think. Murray is very smart and I am sure he has learned a lot from that Toronto match. He can give Rafa or any player lots of trouble.

I am worried about a Rafa-Berdych and a Rafa-Blake match. On paper, he should be able to win them, still very tought opponents.


zola Says:

Rafa-Murrat -> Rafa Murray
Pardon my many typos!


Von Says:

At least you remembered. I’ll jog your memory a bit of what we talked about. I had mentioned to you that Fed would do better with a two-handed backhand, and I said, think about it. To which you replied, no need to think about it, i know that for a fact. You further mentioned you use a two-handed backhand, but tried the one-handed and it was fun but it felt strange. Now this is just a paraphrase of what we discussed and not verbatim — it’s only from my memory, which could be a little off. Anyway, it’s about the gist of our conversation. This memory thing scares my young friend, JCF. :P


ROXOLID Says:

Even if nadal was a righty he can still beat fed.He brings too much power and too much spin which fed has a tough time dealing with.Besides djok can and has beaten fed.He is a righty.So it is possible.There is no point in bringing up what if scenarios.Lets be objective about it.Nadal is the no.1 now and he is theoretically the favourite for the US open.Fed is a one of a kind legend and whatever happened in those french open finals and wimbledon final this year was just bad luck for fed coz nadal had to come around during fed’s time.End of story.


Von Says:

It’s mostly the two-handed backhand that’s powerful more than Fed’s one-handed backhand. Djoko also has a two-handed backhand. Bottom line, a two-handed backhand is more powerful than a one-handed. Same as two heads are better than one.


;o Says:

If you guys are talking about New York, I want to get into the mix.

I live in Queens, and im actually about a 15 minute drive from Flushing Meadows.

but first, Im Asian. Im not a full fledged expert on the hispanic population in New York City. However, I have several hispanic friends, and most of them are not involved in tennis at all.
First most of them are Puerto Rican, not spanish.
And second, they don’t care much for tennis. They’re much more into baseball, especially the Mets and those hispanic players, than into Rafael Nadal.

Another thing is that its not a fair judgement to say the NYC crowd, because the crowd does not represent NYC. As people have said above, USO are extremely expensive. A Rafa-Roger match would culminate in a final on arthur ashe stadium. Those tickets sold out rather quickly, and are being sold on exchange sites for quadruple to 10x the list price.

I’ve personally, an upper middle class new yorker, bought one night ticket, and im being forced to scalp/get a grounds admission for a morning. I cant see any of my hispanic friends shelling out 75 dollars to get a soso ticket or taking a chance of not seeing there favorite player. Plus, that grounds admission isnt getting you into seeing a Rafa Match.

So to culminate what im saying, the USO is an upper class atmosphere. Sure, people win tickets or get free ones, but the crowd is mainly middle/high class. Most of them will probably be tennis fans, and have made their own opinions on both.

However, for a rich impulsive on the spot watcher, they would probably side with Fed. He’s much more clean cut than Rafa is.

and personally, go Nole!


Giner Says:

“But I really can’t see Rafa losing before the quarterfinals where I think he’ll face James Blake. With the way the draw sets up, Blake is the only guy who I think can stop Rafa’s march.”

Blake is the most dangerous guy in his quarter, but Karlovic is always an x-factor. A lot of times we say that about Ivo taking out a contender in the second round but he doesn’t end up getting past the first. You never know with him.

“That makes my US Open final four as Nadal v. Murray and Djokovic v. Federer. And in the final I like Nadal beating Novak leaving the Spaniard just seven Melbourne from an historic Rafa Golden Slam.”

Getting ahead of ourselves a bit aren’t we? I want to see if he’s really learnt how to take care of Blake. He did win the last two, but those were best of three sets (okay, bad argument, since Blake’s record in 5 setters speaks for itself). Blake has beaten him at the US Open before.

I don’t think Nalbandian will be a factor. Monfils might be, but he’s a longshot.

If Nadal can get past Blake or avoid Blake completely, I think he wins the title. Novak could play top flight tennis, or he could disappoint again. It depends on his match the day before.


Von Says:

;o Says:

“Another thing is that its not a fair judgement to say the NYC crowd, because the crowd does not represent NYC.”

It’s the NYC tennis crowd made of the McEnroes, et al., that I’m talking about.

“..but the crowd is mainly middle/high class. Most of them will probably be tennis fans, and have made their own opinions on both.”

You’ve confirmed what I’m talking about the class and culture differences in NYC. The USO is mainly for those who can afford to go there, which is predominantly, the middle to upper middle-class and the rich and famous. A good seat is a few hundred dollars. Additionally, tennis is not a lower class supported sport, and even thought of as a sport for intellectuals. Baseball seats are the cheapest and most attended of all the sports; followed by basketball, and football, but even football seats are too expensive for the lower class. This is why most of the fans are TV viewers.

“However, for a rich impulsive on the spot watcher, they would probably side with Fed. He’s much more clean cut than Rafa is.”

Because of the class difference I’ve mentioned before, and I didn’t want to state the obvious, but since you’ve mentioned it, yes, the upper class will go for Fed, especially since he’s more clean cut and well-connected to Tiger, Pete and Ms. Wintour. I tried to put it delicately by stating that New Yorkers are fiercely loyal, which translates to, they stick with their own kind. There’s a crowd of the rich and famous/socialites, elitists and the upper to middle-middle-class. A whole infrastucture within the melting pot.

That match at Madison Square Garden Fed v. Sampras, is indicative of the USO type crowd at a night match with celebs and the rich and famous.


Von Says:

Mary:

The more I think of the NYC crowd I’d have to change my estimate from 50/50 to 60/40 or even 75/25, in support of Fed. I also forgot the huge Asian/Oriental population who are not much into sports. So, all things considered, Fed will have a larger crowd support, except if he’s playing against A-Rod and/or Blake.


Giner Says:

“Nadal’s growth, development, transformation, and evolution are are due to his motivation and desire to be the No. 1 tennis player and best athlete. He is motivated to want, develop, and attain something greater than what he currently has and is. There is a qualitative difference. It is a movement upwards and has created an evolution of a whole new plane of existence and consciousness in his life. He lives for, and thrives on this new evolution or higher plane to a status that has transformed him beyond his former self into another type of being — a one of a kind tennis player — a unique athlete. ”

That’s how Michael Phelps does things. Not sure about the plane of existence stuff, but Phelps is motivated by naysayers, and I suspect Nadal is the same. They both have an exemplary work ethic and mental toughness.

Nadal said he wanted to win Wimbledon a few years back, and people scoffed. Now that the scoffing has continued with hard court slams, he just might pull it off.

If mental toughness can be manufactured then everyone should start making some.

“Federer has spent time here,– but there is that Winator woman he befriended– than Nadal.”

I didn’t quite understand this line, but in Paris the crowd was backing Federer when he wasn’t favourite, and at Wimbledon when Federer was the five time defending champion and favourite to win it, the crowd was mostly on Federer’s side as well. Fed is just a more popular guy.

The same will happen if they were to meet again in NY. If it’s Rafa vs Djokovic however, I wouldn’t know.

“Can I beg you not to pick Rafa for the US Open? Pick Djoko or Federer….this is their surface after all!

Right now my two hopes for the US Open are:
1) for Rafa to stay healthy and injury free
2) Rafa won’t play in that horrendous outfit he was wearing for the Kids day!”

zola, you sound really inconfident about your guy. Is that how you are in real life normally? There are guys he can and maybe will lose to since anything can happen in sport, but on paper there is no reason to presume that he will. And since we don’t have any way of foreseeing it, paper is the only realistic way to analyze a match. There’s no good reason to be worried for him or be superstitious. Jinxing does not work, believe me. Whoever Sean picks is not going to affect his performance, for I doubt Rafa will be reading this article.

“This memory thing scares my young friend, JCF.”

It sure does. I exploit it every day. :D

He’ll be back tomorrow. I might get in trouble for yesterday…

“Even if nadal was a righty he can still beat fed.He brings too much power and too much spin which fed has a tough time dealing with.”

Fed describes Rafa’s backhand being like a Seles-style two handed forehand. If Rafa were to play right handed, he’d lose the ability to exchange forehands with backhands and his backhand will be a bit weaker, though he will gain a better serve and forehand perhaps. He has a better deal the way he is now. Although one thing he can try is switching racquet hands mid point and hitting all forehands but that could confuse his footwork. It would take practice, but he’s one of the few guys on the tour capable of trying such an idea. He’s unorthodox about many things already, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he started playing with both hands, or Seles-style.


NachoF Says:

Unless there is something very particular about the NYC hispanics I can tell you that it is not a fact the hispanics will overwhelmingly support Nadal over Federer…. I live in Venezuela and most of my friends (who watch tennis) like Federer better(er).


zola Says:

Giner,
my plea to Sean not to pick Rafa is more of a joke. He has a terrible record. I actually think he is in the betting business jinxing the players by picking them, but don’t tell anyone! . :)

About RAfa, I am confident that if he is healthy he will play his best and that’s enough for him to win against anyone. I was really disappointed by his defeat in AO and then the blister in Rome. So I don’t want any surprises here.

And that outfit is just terrible. Seriously I am not sure if I can watch Rafa playing like a Federer clone just in different colors! Let’s hope we don’t see him in cardigans!


zola Says:

clarification: ( for obvious reasons!)

no offense to Federer. His outfits fit him perfectly, but Rafa’s appearance was just fine. To me there was no need ro change.


Colin Says:

Von – was it Oscar Wilde who said the Americans and the British are two peoples divided by a common language?
One of the phrases which means different things in the two countries is “middle class”, which you use to classify the average crowd at the USO. When I was young (a long time ago!)in England Middle Class meant professional people like doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers, and to the working class it meant “fairly posh”. Nowadays it seems to refer more to middle income. As far as I can make out, in America it means roughly Blue Collar. Am I right? Another term we use differently is “public school”. In America it means what it says; in Britain it means just the opposite: expensive and exclusive fee-charging schools. Isn’t life complicated?


Ryan Says:

Nadal has an ugly face with ugly groundstrokes.This is the reason why people support federer more than nadal wherever they go even in spain……maybe


Sad Smiles Says:

Von : I have been to USO twice when I was in NY – 2003 and 2004. I spent like 150 bucks or more each time Ihave been there. Reason being I like tennis and me being a lower mid class did not stop me from witnessing one of the greatest of the games…if I would have liked football,baseball,or golf I would have done the same thing.What I am trying to convey here is that people do spent more than what they are comfortable of spending if they love the sports and have the desire to watch watch their fav. sportsman.Look at Nascar , folks will travel,and spend big bucks just to watch cars go round and round and lots of these folks are from lower and mid class….


Sad Smiles Says:

2008 maybe bad for Roger but from GS perspective its been pretty decent. SF at AO, F at FO and WO.
I think he is still in the mix and believe that he is still the fav. to win 2008 USO.
In other words, the way things are NOONE IS CLEAR CUT FAV. Rafa has proved us wrong again and again. Can he do it again ? WE don’t know …time will tell. We don’t know the future.We can only wish or predict.


Miss Manners Says:

Shital Green wrote, “You meant Toronto. Correct it.”

Say please, you douchebag.


sensationalsafin Says:

Yeah Von now I remember. Djokovic’s game is very different from Nadal’s. I said it before and I’ll say it again, Djokovic’s game is just perfectly built for hardcourts. But on grass and clay I give Federer a pretty big edge against the Djoker. If Nadal wasn’t a lefty he’d pretty much be Hewitt… and look at Federer’s H2H with Hewitt. Once he figured out how to play like God, he’s owned Hewitt ever since. I think Nadal would have definitely won a few FOs even if he was a righty, but he definitely wouldn’t have won Wimbledon. If Nadal wasn’t a lefty I think if anyone would own him it’d be Djokovic. And I bet Murray would actually have a win or 2 over him. When Nadal plays anyone it’s sooooooo obviously clear that his leftyness is the greatest weapon Nadal has, not the format or the topspin.

Federer has had so much success with a one-hander that it’s hard to say he’d be more successful with a two-hander. Kuerten won 3 FOs with one hand and Federer would have 4 FOs if not for Nadal, with one hand. In 2005 and 2006, I don’t think anyone would have minded having Federer’s one handed backhand. It was just as incredible as his forehand back then. Now he just pushes it, but oh well.


S Green Says:

No matter how many aliases you try to hide under, your sewer work is so obvious. Your signature is all over. This time you decided to change your sex together with the name, “Miss.” Maybe the feminine cover does not suit you because you ended up cursing while teaching others manners. Maybe I have known Sean long enough and took the liberty of dropping “please.” Maybe I have hung out here long enough, and Sean thinks that I have earned this prerogative. Maybe he knows my intenion that I “asked” him, not “told” him to correct. Maybe, he is smart enough to detect my tone. And if and when he is offended, he knows how to convey that to me on time (he’d have done it at the time he responded to me). Maybe he does not need a self-proclaimed, abusive surrogate.


jane Says:

All this class talk makes me (kind of!!) want to stop watching tennis – ugh. But there is an element of truth to it.

Only this: crowds like and do get behind an underdog; and in NYC, they also like a star. Hence, in last year’s final, a good majority of the crowd were actually behind Djokovic. In the trophy presentation ceremony, he received a much longer cheer than Roger. And De Niro was in Djoko’s box.

This was reversed at the AO, where Djoko was the favorite, and the giant-killer, having taken out Fed. The crowd were behind Tsonga – the break out star at the AO. And while there were some antics from Djoko’s camp that might’ve alienated him, imo, even if Rafa were playing Jo-Will there in the final, the crowd would’ve been cheering on Tsonga.

At the USO this year, if it’s a Roger vs. Rafa final, Roger will actually, kind of, be the undedog! Therefore, I agree with those who think Roger will be the crowd favorite.

We’ll have to see. I just hope it’s a good final, regardless of who the crowd get behind.

And now, because of what zola has written, I can’t wait to see how bad Rafa’s outfit is…I’m intrigued.


Mary Says:

The people that pull Rafa’s strings are ready for him to take NYC:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121961283898867325.html?mod=2_1567_topbox


S Green Says:

Monfils becomes the 1st one to advance this morning, after a little over an hour and half, a quick 6-4, 6-4, 6-1. He played like he’s up to something, Sean.

Von,
I largely disagree with you about class thing except the front row, season tickets, etc. that make up a small percentage of the total spectators. Hope you’ll bear with me on this. I am not going to elaborate on this topic or argue about it because that will take me to Post-Marxism, and I don’t want to go there right now.


jane Says:

Mary – first off, thanks for the link.

And now may I say “Noooooooooooooo!!!!!”

I loved Nadal’s anti-traditionalist, pirate look, and it worked perfectly with him having just stolen number 1 from “the good guy”. Dumbies at Nike. Why would they want to go and make Nadal into Bill Tilden?? Durrr. Don’t they know that Nadal has brought a younger fan-base to the game because of his rebel style, not to mention his exciting game.

Now they want to transform him into a traditionalist. Sad, that. The article says Nadal chose this metamorphosis. Perhaps he did. But that seems to contrary to what we see on the court.

The upshot is he won’t have to towel off his biceps between points … or is that an upshot? lol.


Dan Martin Says:

I think Rafa is the favorite, but a player will almost always be tested in an event like this. My gut says Nadal wins the event, but faces 2-3 stiff challenges along the way.


zola Says:

Mary
I didn’t know tennis was a puppet show. I thought the players won because they played better!

But exactly it is that article that I don’t like at all. I don’t see any need to change. All this “image” thing is too much for me. I have to wait and see.

***********
It is interesting that Roddick is not included in any of the predictions. He has been injured and has not had the best preparation. but that’s his home crowd. I really want to see a Roddick/Djoko QF.

here is an article and some clips on Roddick:
http://tennis.com/tournaments/2008/usopen/usopen.aspx?id=142330


zola Says:

Jane
***I loved Nadal’s anti-traditionalist, pirate look, and it worked perfectly with him having just stolen number 1 from “the good guy”. Dumbies at Nike. Why would they want to go and make Nadal into Bill Tilden?? Durrr. Don’t they know that Nadal has brought a younger fan-base to the game because of his rebel style, not to mention his exciting game.
***

Eaxactly!

even if they wanted to change something, this was not the time. They could always start from AO or something like that. Rafa in that outfit looks like a Federer clone. I don’t like it a bit. It seems Nike has uniforms for no 1, no2, etc…..it is just ridiculus.


jane Says:

zola, thanks for the link on Roddick.

Actually I have read a few articles on Andy’s chances going into the US Open: there are articles on Roddick at USA Today, the NY Times, and I think the NY Sun as well. So he is involved in prediction talk, but may not be a top 3 or 5 contender in the discussions because of his injuries and post-clay summer results. But there is talk of his spring success and whether or not he can get back to that at the Open. I hope he can do well here and at least match last year’s results.


Von Says:

Colin:

“Von – was it Oscar Wilde who said the Americans and the British are two peoples divided by a common language?”

Yes, You are so right.

“When I was young (a long time ago!)in England Middle Class meant professional people like doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers, and to the working class it meant “fairly posh”. Nowadays it seems to refer more to middle income.”

You’re spot on. Times have changed!! Middle class years ago in the US meant those who lived a very comfortable life. However, it’s now been broken down to 3 categories: Upper middle class – Doctors, Lawyers, stockbrokers; middle-middle class computer analysts, medical field, e.g., nurses, lab techs, ultra sound; the teaching profession; and the lower middle-class, the blue collar workers.

“Another term we use differently is “public school”. In America it means what it says; in Britain it means just the opposite: expensive and exclusive fee-charging schools. Isn’t life complicated?”

Public schools in the US means open to all children, but is primarily attended by children of families who are from a lower income bracket. The private schools are for those children who come from the upper income families, and there are academies for the rich and well-to-do, or scholarship recipients.

What a world of classes, but a reality of the changing times.

_________________
jane:

“All this class talk makes me (kind of!!) want to stop watching tennis – ugh. But there is an element of truth to it.”

That’s the realities of life living in the US and new york City. I can’t understand how class differentiation cwould make you want to stop watching tennis since class segregation is a FACT of life all over the world. Anyway, to each his own.

I don’t think you should judge the USO by Djoko’/Niro box thing and what you see on TV. You have to actually go to the USO to absolutely experience the atmosphere. There are some who cheer louder for their preferred player, but I’m sure if a poll was taken, Fed would have been the favourite. The NYC crowd is a different can of worms.

“The crowd were behind Tsonga – the break out star at the AO. And while there were some antics from Djoko’s camp that might’ve alienated him, imo, even if Rafa were playing Jo-Will there in the final, the crowd would’ve been cheering on Tsonga.”

The crowd got behind Tsonga due to Djoko’s behavior, e.g., shaking his racquet at them and the other stuff coupled with his parent’s behavior. I don’t agree that even if Nadal was playing they would have gotten behind Jo Will, but it’s a matter of opinion.

“At the USO this year, if it’s a Roger vs. Rafa final, Roger will actually, kind of, be the undedog! Therefore, I agree with those who think Roger will be the crowd favorite.”

I disagree, it’s not because Fed is the underdog, but because he’s more liked and accepted by the NYC crowd. You don’t have to accept my explanation but I find your rationalization and your attempt to cover up the obvious a little difficult to swallow. To understand the NYC people, you’ve got to live there and experience life not by what you read and/or see on TV. I’ve lived there, even though I left 10 years ago, but the class thing never changes.

_______________
Shital:

No problem; that’s just my opinion from living in NYC.


Leftykick Says:

From what I am watching Nadal still has his “Pirate” look. Dont know when the Bill Tilden will turn up but against Phau it’s the same old scene.

Regarding A. Rod. I actually think that James Blake is going to be the American star of the tournament. Whilst Andy’s form has dropped off towards the end of the year, James’ has got much better. Trend-wise it has got to be Blake…


jane Says:

Von,

I don’t disagree with you at all that the reality of things is that we live in a classist world, but it’d be nice if it didn’t have to leak into sports too. This is just a personal opinion of mine; I don’t like elitism so I hate to see it translated as such. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that tennis has a classist history.

However, I still think that crowds, wherever they may be, love both a breakthrough star and an underdog. I’ve watched the USO final from last year a few times and the crowd was definitely cheering louder for Djoko in the awards ceremony. Maybe Roger’s fans were just quieter at that point.

I would love to go to Flushing Meadows, and admittedly have not been there yet, so my comments are not firsthand as yours are – I assume you’ve been to matches there more than once so you know what you’re talking about in terms of the specific NYC fanbase.

I can only go by what I’ve seen watching tennis for the last 30 years or so. And it does seem to follow that fans love an underdog and a break through performer, sometimes even regardless of their loyalties.

I also still think the AO crowd were enamoured with Tsonga, regardless of other issues between them and Djoko. Tsonga was a performer there, hamming it up for the crowd, ploughing through the draw. And he had that interesting Ali storyline which is always popular.

Anyhow, as you say, to each her own.

It’ll be interesting to see whether or not the NYC crowd do get behind Rafa.

But personally I still think the following:
a) yes, Roger is an incredibly popular tennis champ, as this website has proven over-and-over again.
b) but because he’s had such a tough year, and is currently slamless in 2008, I think some people who may not normally get behind may do so here.


jane Says:

Von,

“I find your rationalization and your attempt to cover up the obvious a little difficult to swallow”

I was not “attempting to cover up the obvious”; I was only stating my opinion. As I said in my previous post, I have not been to a match at the US Open so I can only go by what I’ve watched and read. I wasn’t trying to disprove anything only to state another perspective on crowd behaviour that I think has at least a grain of truth to it.


Von Says:

Sad Smiles:

“Von : I have been to USO twice when I was in NY – 2003 and 2004. I spent like 150 bucks or more each time Ihave been there. Reason being I like tennis and me being a lower mid class did not stop me from witnessing one of the greatest of the games…if I would have liked football,baseball,or golf I would have done the same thing.What I am trying to convey here is that people do spent more than what they are comfortable of spending if they love the sports and have the desire to watch watch their fav. sportsman.Look at Nascar , folks will travel,and spend big bucks just to watch cars go round and round and lots of these folks are from lower and mid class….”

I’m not saying that people from lower income brackets don’t go to the USO or higher priced sports events; but it’s not the norm for them. Maybe in a series they’d be able to go a couple of times but it will be a kind of trade-off, cutting corners in another area of their budgets. Anyway, for the upper middle class and the rich and famous, that’s not a problem, because they have the resources to attend all of the marquue matches and be in the front row in their boxes with a good view. When I attend any sport I like to be in the front, I’m petite and I also don’t like crowds, but even though I’m from a upper middle class lifestyle and could afford it, I felt it was a ridiculous waste of money. It all depends on our preferences and those who are sports fanatics are going to find the money to pay for the tickets, irregardless of their circumstances. Charge it and pay later. Aren’t credit cards wonderful? :) If you go to the USO, enjoy and say hello to Shea Stadium for me.:)

BTW, what’s with the name? What are you sad about? :D

________________
jane:

“Maybe Roger’s fans were just quieter at that point.”

They had nothing to cheer about and they are not generous in their support if it’s not their fave.

_____________
Giner:

“This memory thing scares my young friend, JCF.”
It sure does. I exploit it every day.:) ”

You are tooooo wicked!! He’s what you’d call an innocent — a very sweet young man. He reminds me of myself when I was younger, I was so truthful and gullible to my detriment, and still am, that’s why I get myself into so many scrapes.

“He’ll be back tomorrow. I might get in trouble for yesterday…”

You might be in the dog house begging for a drink of water and a blanket. He has my permission. :P


JoshDragon Says:

Good post. I have to agree the draw really looks good for Nadal this year.


jane Says:

Von,

“I felt it was a ridiculous waste of money.” just wondering, do you think this solely because of the ticket prices, or do you find it’s just as good to watch tennis on the tube? The reason I ask is that I’ve always wanted to go to a slam and see it live, but that Aunt I told you about previously, whom I watch tennis with a lot, has no desire to go to a live event because she thinks it’s better viewing on television, with replays, commentary, and a front row view for free!

——————————————

On a side note, how about Phau? He’s sure playing Rafa closely in this match. I also notice Rafa is still in his previous look, sleeveless and long pants. So I guess he hasn’t switched over yet.


Von Says:

Mary:

Thanks for that link re Fed and Nadal.

“He has won 12 Grand Slam titles, two behind Pete Sampras’s record 14, and reportedly collected an estimated $35 million in winnings and endorsement deals last year, enjoying the riches the corporate world usually bestows on the player who dominates a sport with …
“such a wealthy fan base.”

The above reinforces my thoughts on Federer with regard to the majority and type of fans that he will attract at the USO.

______________
jane:
“just wondering, do you think this solely because of the ticket prices, or do you find it’s just as good to watch tennis on the tube? The reason I ask is that I’ve always wanted to go to a slam and see it live, but that Aunt I told you about previously, whom I watch tennis with a lot, has no desire to go to a live event because she thinks it’s better viewing on television, with replays, commentary, and a front row view for free!”

In general, I feel sports prices are way too over-priced, and to an extent a waste of money. Also, I can’t stand crowds and was one of the main reasons I left New York for a quieter lifestyle. Your aunt has a good point about the front row seats and the camera does focus on different people who you wouldn’t normally see if you were at the stadium. However, nothing beats the electricity and crowd energy you feel actually being there. If you want to go to a slam, don’t let any of what I said stop you, do so by all means. It’s absolutely breath-taking, and you should experience that magic if only once in a lifetime. I lived in Flushing, very close to Flushing Meadows and Shea Stadium (Mets). Both stadiums were on either side of the train station stop. On Baseball nights, the train was unbearably crowded — it was claustrophobic.


jane Says:

Von,

Thanks for the response/advice. I want to go to both Wimbledon and the US Open as they’re my two fave slams, and now that I am rotating onto summers off, that’s a realistic proposition, though I’d have to go to the first week of the Open.

I won’t listen to my Aunt; I’ll take the advice of someone who’s been there and done that. Besides, I actually like crowds and the electricity they provide, so I suspect I’ll like it live.


Leftykick Says:

Jane,

I posted about the traditional Nadal look in my last post. Maybe they do read these sites…

I know it is early days but on this form I dont see Nadal going all the way here. Phau is playing a very smart game. Hitting very deep and really going for his shots. He is really cramping Nadal on his shots. Anyone that hopes to beat Nadal should take a look at this match.


jane Says:

Shital Green,

Turns out your qualifier theory was right, even in this match against Nadal. The thing with qualifiers is that they are motivated as they want to get into the draws more easily. That, and they are match grooved, whereas the seeded players are “fresh” in the first round, which can have both advantages and disadvantages.

—————————-

Leftykick,

Well it’d be nice if we had a little power eh?

Rafa will still win in straight sets, but you’re right that Phau is providing some interesting lessons here. The thing is that Rafa is so well conditions that he wears down his opponents, physically, but also mentally – which, as Von has pointed out earlier, are linked. The physical advantage is also a mental one, for Rafa for sure.


Von Says:

Leftykick:

“I know it is early days but on this form I dont see Nadal going all the way here. Phau is playing a very smart game. Hitting very deep and really going for his shots. He is really cramping Nadal on his shots. Anyone that hopes to beat Nadal should take a look at this match.”

Now you’ve piqued my interest. I’ll go and watch the match. I normally don’t watch his matches at the beginning of a tournament because of the lack of competition; it’s usually a runaway — I watch from the QFs onward. Anyway, I hope this match is more exciting and Phau is living up to your comments.


Colin Says:

I understand Nadal has had a time-out for BLISTERS!
If that’s so, it doesn’t auger well, does it? This is the first match, for goodness sake.


jane Says:

Colin,

No, it doesn’t bode well does it? The blisters were on one foot only, but we all know blisters cost him the Rome title this year.

Meanwhile, your Murray is cruising; could it be his year to win the title??


matt Says:

I’ve known many players physically great and mentally disastrous.

Nowadays almost every tennis player is fit and they all have great physical training, but you still see great differences in their mental ability.

Btw, Nadal looks a bit tight. To be nº1 is not a easy thing. And he already has blisters in his foot….it is not a good sign.


Leftykick Says:

Von,

Well it looks like I spoke too soon ;-(

The Nadal attrition machine has kicked into gear. He has figured him out now and is giving him a lot of slow balls and slice – Lots of errors from Phau.

He will win in straight sets as Jane mentioned but the blisters are a worry.


jane Says:

Well I sure hope to see more of the German Phau in the future; he even got the crowd behind him at the end there. Rafa’s just about to serve for the match but that was no easy match.


jane Says:

Oh I guess Phau has been around for a while, having turned pro in 99. He’ll be 29 in October so I probably won’t be seeing a lot of him in the future. Oh well, this has been a good match; well fought.

McEnroe thinks Rafa’s serve hasn’t been as good today so he’ll need to step it up in future rounds.


jane Says:

Phau breaks back…wow. 5 all in the third.


tennisontherocks Says:

Rafa moves to the next round. Since the first round is spread over 3 days at US open, I think he can request his match to be played on Thursday nite session to allow for more time to heal the blisters.


Von Says:

Leftykick:

“Well it looks like I spoke too soon ;-(

The Nadal attrition machine has kicked into gear. He has figured him out now and is giving him a lot of slow balls and slice – Lots of errors from Phau.”

War of attrition and pretty much same MO; the balls were kicking up high to Phau’s shoulder and backhand side, and the guy’s only 5’9″. Phau had no alternative but to slice some of them back and then Nadal drew the error. it was an entertaining 3rd set, so I’m glad I followed your lead.

Nadal won’t have to play until Thursday which will help his blisters to heal. Could be the reason he opted to play today to get the 3 days off.


zola Says:

RAfa through to the second round…
That was a tough match and Phau played great during the whole match.

But I was just happy to see Rafa in his normal attire rather than the “clone” one. I do hope they read these sites. That’s a ridiculus idea to make Rafa a “traditianalist”, when all his tennis career he has been the image of youth and freshness. His look is so unique and it has been working for him. I don’t know why the want to change something that works perfectly fine. Anyway, I am glad it was not during this match.

Someone mentioned Rafa’s poor game and I agree. But he won the match and that is all that matters. He now has time to rest a bit and get ready for the second round match. Again, credit to Phau for playing fantastic.


Von Says:

A friend e-mailed the following to me on blunders by the commentators at the Olympics. I thought long and hard as to whether I should share it because I most probably will raise the ire of the prim and proper posters. Anyway, here goes — there were 9 blunders but only one pertained to tennis.

“Here are the top nine comments made by NBC sports commentators so far during the Summer Olympics that they would like to take back:

9. Tennis commentator: ‘One of the reasons Andy is playing so well is that, before the final round, his wife takes out his balls and kisses
them… Oh my God, what have I just said?’”


S Green Says:

Jane,
I missed Rafa-Phau match. I had an appointment with my committee chair, and it just went on and on.

Yeah, looking at the score, Rafa certainly did not have an easy match with the qualifier, not as easy as Murray, Ferrer, Monfils, and Nalby.


S Green Says:

Parade of champions comprising King, Laver, Nastase, Lendl, Evert through Roddick and Federer, Whitaker introducing dignitaries, band, good music from a hall of famer, and celebrities like Paula Abdul in the audience. I like the opening ceremony this year better than last couple of years.

Surprising turn around for Canas in the 1st set after having been broken in the 1st game. del Potro could be exiting in the 1st Rd. It could very well turn out to be good news for Murray.


Dan Martin Says:

Juan Martin Del Potro is struggling, but Canas is a rough first rounder for a guy trying to become elite. Expectations are on JMDP’s side of the net, but Canas is the type of guy that makes you earn it so no free points to reduce the weight of expectations. We shall see as they say.


jane Says:

Looks like JMDP will do what he’s done all year – exit early at the slams. Canas hasn’t been on form and JMDP has, so I am slightly surprised.

I like Murray’s chances more and more Shital; in fact, after today I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get to the final rather than Rafa. But it’s hard to say this early along.


Colin Says:

It’ll probably be a good thing if Murray doesn’t have to play del Potro, in view of the way they clashed last time they met.


S Green Says:

Jane, actually the close-to-prediction was directed at you because I thought we agree a bit too much on everything, so I was trying to spice it up. It is better to make some bad predictions, but again something made me hold back. This kid just started showing frustration as soon as Canas took the 1st break back after 1-4 down in the 1st set. Now Canas is playing a mind game. I don’t see del Potro recovering. There you go he is at the verge of losing in the 1st rd. after making some splash with 19 games winning streak. He’s not ready for the big stage yet. Grand Slam is just too big him to handle the pressure.


jane Says:

S Green,

Funny – spicing it up eh? Well, how’s this? Maybe JMDP is ready for the big show after all; he just evened up the second set after being down love – 3. Now it’s 4-4-.

We’ll see. ;-)


jane Says:

Seriously though, what’s making the difference in this match? I can follow only scores and stats, as TSN is showing the Jankovic match right now.

Do you think it’s a focus / mind game thing? Stats-wise you’d think JMDP would be winning; he has a higher first serve %, more net points won, more winners – but also more errors. He’s even won more points overall. But it looks like Canas has been able to convert on the break points more easily?


Von Says:

jane:

You can follow the Canas match in spanish, not that understand it, but it’s better than nothing. Try:

http://www.justin.tv/sportstech/profile


jane Says:

Got it up now Von; thanks for reminding me about Justin TV!


S Green Says:

You and Dan influenced my judgment (as if I ever had one) and I got carried away to draw a premature conclusion. Now I don’t know what’s gonna happen at the end. del Potro is not done yet; he is hanging in there.


Dan Martin Says:

Donald Young got a bad draw (or I am sure the USTA feels that way).


jane Says:

Blake got through that first set in 18 minutes – wow. Not bad. Johnny Mac seems a little down on Donald Young and his level of commitment, to training etc.


Blah Says:

Young takes second set 6-3. Match is starting to get interesting.


jane Says:

Young has a lot of talent but needs stronger tactics on court. He could take even more advantage of his lefty status, as Mac has pointed out tonight.


S Green Says:

del Potro proved tonight that he can fight back against the odds of a set down and an experienced opponent. I am really happy that he’s made through.


jane Says:

Me too S Green. Oops; there I go agreeing with you again.


Blah Says:

Great 4th set. wow. Young takes Blake to fifth.


jane Says:

Yeah Blah, it was a great 4th set; excellent shot-making by Young. Too many errors by Blake though.


S Green Says:

What’s your Young man doing, J? He’s making Blake really work hard. Can the old man handle the 5h set in the middle of the night?
I was watching on and off because of the Democratic convention. Finally, it’s over for tonight. Now I can watch the rest of the match. Right on time for the climax.


Dan Martin Says:

Young might have been a bad draw for Blake and a good thing for Nadal. One set to see what happens.


S Green Says:

Dan,
Young is playing fearlessly. Everything is working for him. I am particularly impressed by his net play. He appears to be heading to shock not just Blake but all of us.


Dan Martin Says:

I have always liked Young. He has a great sense of feel on the court. This match sort of reminds me of Rios v. Chang in a night match at the U.S. Open in 1997 I think.


S Green Says:

Blake is just unlucky tonight. He squandered double break chances.


jane Says:

Blake has been playing error-prone tonight, which is too bad. But overall it’s been a pretty exciting match. Young is fast, and yes, very good at the net. I’d probably rather see Blake through only because I can see him playing into form and going deeper into the tournament, whereas I can’t say I see that from Young. You never know though I suppose.


S Green Says:

I agree, Jane. With that break, Blake will now win another rare 5-set thriller.


Dan Martin Says:

Well Blake might just pull this out. A good sign for Young if he can build on this.


jane Says:

Blake gets the break. Young played an incredible match but experience gets Blake through. Some excellent challenges by Blake in those last few games.

Great match – love nights at the Open!


S Green Says:

Thanks, he did it. It was a tough win.


Blah Says:

Young looked like he got too defensive toward the end. Blake escapes.


AfriendofAfriend Says:

everyone of you guyz just need to sit back and watch the freakin game. seriously, everyone fights and debates over there opinon that has little or no factor in US open champion. While watching wimbledon, im sure everyone if not close to everyone was picking federer just because history and his overall performance favored him greatly….well everyone, especially me was in shock when rafa won out the 5th set. Things happen. rafa could fall just as quick as anyone else just like federer. who to me has shown that he can be the most dominate player for wut 237 weeks or something. this tourmanment says alot but im sure next year things will have a crazy turn of events. maybe none of the two will win. thats the beauty of tennis. Surprise!!!


JCF Says:

“Another term we use differently is “public school”. In America it means what it says; in Britain it means just the opposite: expensive and exclusive fee-charging schools. Isn’t life complicated?”

That’s interesting. This is only the second disagreement between the two where Australia sides with the Americans. The only other I know of is that we call soccer ‘soccer’ rather than ‘football’. That’s because we have our own brand of football (and I’m not a fan of it), as do americans. Europeans hate it when I use the term ‘soccer’ and always correct me, calling it ‘football’. Tough s— I say.


Von Says:

JCF: “That’s because we have our own brand of football (and I’m not a fan of it), as do americans.”

Would your “Football” be the same as the British “Rugby”, where the ball they use looks like the American football, sort of a pointed oval ball?. Colin, please help me out on this. Thanks.

“Europeans hate it when I use the term ’soccer’ and always correct me, calling it ‘football’. Tough s— I say.”

I don’t know if it has changed but I remember when I was younger “football/soccer” was correctly referred to as “Association Football.” Maybe, Colin can shed some light on this too.


JCF Says:

Ryan Says:

“Nadal has an ugly face with ugly groundstrokes.This is the reason why people support federer more than nadal wherever they go even in spain……maybe”

You’ve got to be djoking. He has a meteor named after him, discovered in his home town.

“When Nadal plays anyone it’s sooooooo obviously clear that his leftyness is the greatest weapon Nadal has, not the format or the topspin.”

What about his record against other lefties? He’s done very well against them. I don’t find it that big an advantage to be a leftie. The advantage is purely because the righty isn’t used to playing a lefty, while a lefty is used to playing a righty. The serve might take some adjusting to get used to. There’s not much else in it, since cross court they will both be hitting forehand to backhand. If you’re letting the lefty hit forehands to your weaker wing, that is your own fault.

“Federer has had so much success with a one-hander that it’s hard to say he’d be more successful with a two-hander. Kuerten won 3 FOs with one hand and Federer would have 4 FOs if not for Nadal, with one hand. In 2005 and 2006, I don’t think anyone would have minded having Federer’s one handed backhand. It was just as incredible as his forehand back then. Now he just pushes it, but oh well.”

Kuerten’s backhand was also a lot better than Federer’s. He has perhaps the best one handed backhand in the game. His bank manager liked that shot.

Gaston Gaudio also had a great single hander, and it was enough to get him an FO title.

“Kuerten won 3 FOs with one hand and Federer would have 4 FOs if not for Nadal”

You can also argue that Nadal might have 3 Wimbledon titles if not for Federer. Roddick might have two US Opens and two Wimbledons if not for Federer. Hewitt a second US, Safin a second AO, and so on. Who said life was fair?

I think a clear difference between Federer and Nadal or Kuerten at the French is desire. Federer doesn’t admit to wanting it all that much (he says he’d like to win it, but no more so than an Indian Wells or any other title). For many FO champs, it is the tournament of the year for them. It’s the slam they have the best chance at winning, and the one they prepare the most for. Every dirt baller dreams of winning the French – it’s what they live for. Federer cares most about Wimbledon. Even Pete wanted the French more than Federer has. He’s had enough practice against Nadal on clay to figure out how to beat him. If he can’t do it, I’d say he just hasn’t made it a big enough priority.

“This was reversed at the AO, where Djoko was the favorite, and the giant-killer, having taken out Fed. The crowd were behind Tsonga – the break out star at the AO. And while there were some antics from Djoko’s camp that might’ve alienated him, imo, even if Rafa were playing Jo-Will there in the final, the crowd would’ve been cheering on Tsonga.”

The aussie open has a way of producing a lot of Cinderella stories (Baghdatis, Gonzalez, Tsonga, Clement, Scheuttler, Johansson). These are guys who were not top tier players but managed to defy the odds and make an unexpected final at the AO (their first final in a GS) and the aussies lap it up. (I don’t believe Djokovic did anything reprehensible during his run, at least no more than any other player they accept.)

Tsonga also happens to be a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve, like Baghdatis and Hewitt, and the aussies love this. They love to see emotion on the court over the stiff, wooden guys who don’t so much as grimace. Tsonga and Baghdatis produced emotions of joy (Baggy’s smile just melts your heart) that were contagious (like laughter), and they have a way of sharing this with those watching.

And yes, Aussies do root for the underdog. Unless they are against a fellow Aussie. Maybe they just want their money’s worth.

Then again, most of the NY crowd were pulling for Hewitt in the 04 final against Federer. And Hewitt was a guy who made racist comments in a match against Blake in 2001. He’s also been something of an American killer at the USO (serving at 4-5 in the 5th set against Hewitt, Andy Roddick was robbed twice in a row on bad line calls and was broken — Hewitt was very lucky to win the USO that year). I can’t understand why the Americans like him. I sure don’t, and I’m supposed to like him more than you do.

Young has improved a lot since those years when he got wildcards into every tournament. I don’t believe in jinxes, but every time he got a wildcard he did lose in the first round… This time though, he helped Blake improve his 5 sets records. I probably don’t expect Young to grow up (no pun intended) into a top 5 player contending for slams, unless he’s a late bloomer. He’s still 18ish so you never know, but he should start producing big results very soon if he wants to be the future of American tennis.


JCF Says:

Ryan Says:

“Nadal has an ugly face with ugly groundstrokes.This is the reason why people support federer more than nadal wherever they go even in spain……maybe”

I want to remind you that this is Tennis, not Mr. Universe. People come to watch a match, not a beauty contest. Watch Gladiators or something if you’re into that kind of stuff.


Murray My Pick to Beat Federer Today in US Open Final Says:

[...] rise to the occasion, as great champs do, and play a scintillating tennis and get through. But as I said at the start of the tournament, the trend for Fed at least on hardcourts has been down, and even though he’s enjoyed an upswing [...]


Federer, Nadal and the Future Says:

[...] is still buzzing over Roger Federer’s US Open triumph. Federer, written off by most including yours truly at least for this US Open title, walks away the clear victor, while guys like Rafael Nadal and [...]

Top story: US Open: Roger Federer Has To Like His Draw, Djokovic And Murray Probably Won't!
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